Category Archives: Louisiana

Duck Commander

So as many of you know, we attended a wedding in Fort Walton Beach, Florida this past weekend. This meant a 10-12 hour drive, one way, depending on how many times we stopped. Driving thru five states with good people is pretty fun but more on all that goodness later. I’m about to tell you about greatness.
Now, Sy and I have become hooked on this show called Duck Dynasty. It is greatness. It’s based on these hillbillies in Louisiana that became millionaires by inventing duck calls. Regardless, they are funny, wise and completely personable and I can’t get enough. If you haven’t seen the show, take a moment to stop reading this post and go ahead and set your DVR to record every upcoming episode. Go ahead. Every episode. Yes I’m serious. Good? Alright!
So our trip began bright and early Thursday morning. I was first to drive out of the metroplex (YAY! Out of the metroplex we go!) and headed east! A couple pee breaks (thanks Ray!) and we finally hit our first gas fill up, randomly taking an exit in Monroe, LA. Here I was, at this little ole gas station (not even realizing what town I was in) and looking across the street seeing this sign that says “Bayou Pawn”. Wonder what they had in there is really all that was going thru my head. I got booted from driving and as soon as we got back onto the road, I grabbed Sy’s cool phone with the Internet and started Diana’s rambling.
“I wonder where Duck Commander is.”
“On the way back we have to stop at Duck Commander!”
“It’s a weekday, I wonder if Uncle Si is at Duck Commander.”
“Ah hell, we should’ve tried to find it on our way thru Monroe!”
“We ARE stopping on the way back!” Period.
Sunday rolls around. I have been driving from Fort Walton Beach and we’re rolling into Monroe. Florence, the navigation on Sy’s phone, tells me to exit. I exit. Take a left. I take a left. I go over the highway overpass and stop at the light. What do I see in front of me… Bayou Pawn. !&%@(!
I’m not even kidding you, I took the first right past Bayou Pawn and Duck Commander is sitting right there on the left. Thursday, I was across the street from this place and I didn’t even know it and with my luck Uncle Si and the rest of the gang was in Duck Commander and I was with my city folk across the street. How does this happen?! Next time, I’m going to be prepared! We’re planning ahead!
 My Sy standing next to Uncle Si and the crew! “Hey” “Hey”
City boy. Country girl. Duck Commander love!
We just spent the last three days on a white sandy beach on the Florida coast, at a wedding at that and this is the only picture we got together all weekend. Ah well! It’s Duck Commander!
The ducks are still on the roof but it looks like Willie got a new door to his office!
To the folks at Duck Commander, you are fantastic! I’ve even convinced a guy at work to grow out his beard (or maybe he’s convinced me he will do it). We’re coming back thru in September… how about you just happen to be around one Saturday morning? Please?!Now the real question – let’s be realistic here, we weren’t the only ones that stopped to take a picture so I’m figuring there’s some traffic to check out the building. Are any of the guys actually there during the week?

Oak Alley Plantation

One of the most beautiful places I have been in the South is Oak Alley Plantation in Vacherie, Louisiana. Believe me, I will be the first to tell you that I think Louisiana smells dog gone awful. This plantation proved to me that there are hidden gems everywhere, including Louisiana. Note: It didn’t smell on the plantation.
The plantation is located between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. To get to the plantation, you must cross over this large bridge that goes over the Mississippi. The view alone will make you start grabbing for your camera. As soon as you cross over it (well I guess it all depends on which way you are coming from eh?) you take Route 18. Following this little old road, on the left you will go by old, little Southern homes and other plantations. On the right, there will be a bank and on the other side of that ole thing is the Ole Mississippi.
Near the end of the way you will come across Oak Alley Plantation. You can’t miss it as the trees, oh the trees are a sight to see. If you stand at the end of the walk you will look directly at the main house. If you are at the main house you will look directly at the Mississippi River. The magnitude of these trees is just magnificent. It completely takes your breath away. I think I could’ve taken pictures and just basked in the presence of these trees all day.
Some quick history – although to get the entire story you will have to go visit the plantation yourself!
The “Mansion” was originally built in the late 1830’s by George Swainy. His father-in-law was the architect of the home. When you think mansions today, I at least envision these 10,000 sq. ft homes. This isn’t the case. Mr Swainy was having the home built for his wife, a Southern belle from New Orleans. She left the city life to go live with her husband on the plantation and he wanted to provide her with a bit of the life she left behind. The home is grand, surrounded by 28 columns around the home. Each window has an adjacent window on the other side of the home to help the air flow thru and cool the house down. The entire first floor was covered in marble. It’s since been removed as one of the later owners of the home allowed his sons to race the horses thru the house. So the story goes. The home was originally built to be elegant and to host numerous parties.
Oak Alley was a sugar cane plantation. Sugar canes are still found on the surrounding property. Throughout the years, the home has passed thru numerous owners. The home still has some original pieces as well as the list of how much they paid for their slaves and other items within the home. The most expensive being the silverware.
The property also boasts luscious gardens, blacksmith building, “slave housing”, a restaurant, gift shop and you can even stay the night in the cottages if you like. Movies have also been filmed here. The tour of the home is spectacular. Spoken in the Cajun tongue, it really allows you to feel as if you’ve taken a step back in time and can partly envision what the home was like back years and years ago. The home itself is beautiful but I can’t imagine how it must have looked when it was just built. I asked the question… “Does anything weird ever happen here?”. Sure enough, the tour guides stated that you never feel alone in the home and that some have experienced strange phenomenons. I wouldn’t doubt it, nor would I want to be left there alone.
And the trees, I don’t think I’ll be able to get over the size of these trees. They were gorgeous!
If you are ever in Louisiana, be sure to swing by Oak Alley – someday I hope to make it back!