Saturday, May 16, 2015
Janis Joplin was born and raised through high school in Port Arthur, Texas, just 22 miles south of Beaumont where we had spent the night (along with thousands of Jason Aldeen fans who were in town for a concert of his at the Ford Pavilion). Saturday morning we started the day at the Museum of the Golf Coast in Port Arthur; they have a small section of the museum dedicated to Janis and other musicians who hailed from the area (among them another who died too young, J. P. Richardson, the Big Bopper, who died in a plane crash along with Buddy Holly and Richie Valens).
Port Arthur seems to have fallen on hard times: the downtown area alternates between well-kept and near-derelict, but the people at the museum are hopeful for better times to come. They seemed delighted that we had gone out of our way to come see the museum. Charming people and the museum is much larger and more interesting then one might have imagined.
Continuing east, we rejoined I-10 a few miles later and crossed into Louisiana over the Sabine River. Lunch in Lafayette at Steamboat Bill’s: shrimp and crawdads and other delicious morsels. After lunch it occurred to me that we weren’t too far from New Iberia, the setting of many of James Lee Burke’s novels about detective Dave Robicheaux, so we diverted south off I10 again and headed into Acadian country. Linda explained to me that if you slur the word Aacadian, that’s where the word Cajun comes from. Thanks, Mom! All those years of reading Mr. Burke’s novels, and I never before made that connection!
New Iberia is similar to Port Arthur in its mixture of well-maintained historical buildings and some down-at-the-heels parts of town. But I enjoyed seeing the home of both fictional Dave Robicheaux and his creator James Lee Burke along the banks of Bayou Teche.
Since we were already well off the beaten path, we decided to head even deeper into southern Louisiana. We ended the day on the shores of Lake Palourde outside of Morgan City at Lake End Park. Filled with people camping, and fishing; feeding ducks and squirrels; enjoying the warm weekend weather. It’s a beautiful place, filled with trees draped with Spanish moss, breezes off the lake and the sounds of happy people. So here we will spend the night in the RV (which, by the way, has acquired a new boo boo: this time I was at fault. I hit a low-hanging branch and broke the vent cover over the bathroom. We figure if it rains, we can leave the toilet lid open & hope all the water goes in it!).
Total miles: 260; total time (including stops) 7 1/2 hours. A short day today to balance out the really long day yesterday.