The Longdogs

The Longdogs
Willy, Harley (back center), and Gretchen

Longfellow - Evangeline State Historic Site

By this time, we were getting rather hungry. Everything on the main street was closed. We thought we were going to have to go to Subway.....nothing wrong with that but it didn't really fit our tour. Two ladies coming out of a restaurant with the last two orders of barbeque told us we should go to St John Restaurant so off we went. The outside is not impressive especially on this side.

But there were cars in the parking lot and they had a good reputation.

Lots of different groups of people inside. Menu looked good.


Food was fantastic!


Next up.....back to the Evangeline theme at the Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Ste.

There was only one man on duty but h set us up with a notebook to take our own walking tour. In legend, the Bayou Teche area was the meeting place of the ill-fated lovers, Evangeline and Gabriel. In history, it was the meeting place of French aristocrats fleeing the French Revolution and the Acadians cast out of Nova Scotia. It was also the meeting place of wealthy people escaping the horrible heat and epidemics prevalent in the summer in New Orleans. Bayou Teche is also the meeting place of the swamp and the prairie in nature.

Once part of Louisiana's royal domain, the historic site was first used as a cattle ranch or Vacherie. It later became an indigo plantation. The property was acquired by a wealthy Creole family in the late 18th century and later inherited by Charles DeClozel Olivier in the early 1800's. He successfully managed it as a very prosperous sugar plantation. He built the plantation house in 1815 and improved it in 1840. It is a good example of a simple and distinctive architectural form called a Raised Creole Cottage which combines Creole, Caribbean, and French influences. The ground floor walls are brick 14 inches thick. The upper floor walls are made of a mud and moss mixture called "bousillage" placed between cypress uprights.

Maison Olivier was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1974. It was already the first Louisiana State Park as of 1934.

The house is furnished with mid 19th century furniture.

Bedding was a stuffed mattress on top of a rope webbing.




This is a guest house.

This is the kitchen house. Kitchens were separate buildings due to the danger of fire and the heat they generated.


This is an example of an Acadian farmsted, a much simpler dwelling.



Outdoor garden and wood storage area.


We wandered on down a path to another area which seemed sadly neglected.

When we asked about it, the gentleman on duty said they only had three people responsible for the whole park.....maintenance and tours after statewide cutbacks. this place could really use an active Friends of the Park organization. The Eagle Scouts are working on a pathway with signposts telling about the flora and fauna but it is a long term project.

The Visitors Center houses a museum and has a video which is interesting.

Our final stop was Lake Martin. We stopped to ask some young men what they were fishing for in the ditch (not the lake itself) and they said garfish. On our way back we saw a shadow in the ditch.

Yes, it was a good sized alligator. Caroline said they are very good at climbing even steep banks so I took the photo from the car.
 
I had a wonderful visit with my friend Caroline and really enjoyed the area. There is lots more to see on another visit down the road so I will be back......just a warning Caroline. Thanks again!

Evangeline and St Martinville LA

Next stop.....St Martinville

So......what do you know about Evangeline?  Well, it was Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's first epic poem.  Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie, published in 1847, is a story of loss and devotion set against the deportation of the Acadian people in 1755. The Acadians were French living in Nova Scotia. When the English took over the Nova Scotia area, they wanted the French Acadians gone. They were put on boats and shipped to places along the east coast of the U.S. as well as to the Louisiana area. The poem elevated Longfellow to be the most famous writer in America and has had a lasting cultural impact, especially in Nova Scotia and Louisiana, where most of the poem is set.

Evangeline is not the only unique thing about St Martinville.

We started our tour in a small park near the river.

It is mostly dedicated to Longfellow and Evangeline.

This lovely bed and breakfast is available right next store.


You are right next to the river.



There are two museums dedicated to the Acadians which were both unfortunately closed but we peeked in the windows.

Another couple walking around let us know that the courtyard was not locked so we went in for a peek. The original Acadian family coat of arms were on display.





Across the street, there was another memorial. The bell over the fire hydrant is a memorial for a heroic fireman.


Our next stop was the main street downtown which is dominated by this church. More on this a bit later.

We thought this was a restaurant but it was more of an event center and they were all set up for a big event.

Many of the buildings are very historic and interesting.

Looking back towards the main part of town.

The Opera House.....

This beautiful building was originally a post office. See plaque below.




Interesting statues connected to the church.


The inside of the church was really beautiful.





A statue to Evangeline.


Next to the church is a college.


Statue dedicated to the Attakapas Indians.

Somehow the turret on this building looked like an afterthought.