Category Archives: Anniversary

Our Last Hours in the Swamp

Sunday afternoon we took one more ride in the boat with no seats. This time we ventured deep {well, deep enough for us} into the swamp with Lisa & Glenn. I just can’t tell you how peaceful it was. We had a few hours before the steaks & shrimp were to be cooked, so there was no rush. Tim was able to fish in the swamp and caught this Louisiana Large Mouth.  He had to have weighed at least a pound or two. 🙂

After a couple of hours boating around in the swamp, we went back to Lisa & Glenn’s and decided to go meet Clint. He was home with a few of his friends, just doing what most people do around there…eating odd things LOL. We pulled up to his house {me with my backpack filled with everything we needed to document our meeting} and around the corner we came. He knew we were in town {like everyone else}, but I don’t think he was prepared for the excitement of my camera, signing autographs, & making videos.

Clint is very laid back and enjoys his quiet evenings at home. This was far from quiet. We laughed alot and he blushed a little and we had lessons with words that neither of us understood. I found his pet bunnies, only to find out they weren’t pets :(. Yes, I shared my thoughts about that with him to which he laughed. We left him and his friends to their table of food and headed back to the Templet’s to dine with their son Kellan, his wife Amanda, Glenn’s brother & sister-in-law Corey & Bethany.Kellan, Me, Glenn, & Tim

 Me, Lisa, & Bethany

Kellen, Corey, Glenn, & Tim

Monday morning, we sadly packed our bags and headed back to Georgia. The entire way home we planned our next trip back to Cajun Country. While planning this trip, I had no idea that it would turn out the way it did. Not only did we experience Pierre Part to it’s fullest, we made connections with the wonderful people of this small town. We stopped in New Orleans for some beignets from Cafe Du Monde and a quick stroll around the square and ventured back home to Georgia. We will forever hold Pierre Part and those Crazy Cajuns close to our hearts. Little do they know, we’re coming back and bringing the family with us!

The big crop in that area is sugar cane. The fields along side the road were full of sugar cane. In the background, you can see the Sunshine bridge over the Mississippi River.

As we were pulling into New Orleans, we noticed men washing the Super Dome. Look closely…those little dots are men with pressure washers. I don’t think I would like that job.

This is an old building we spotted as we were headed to French Quarter.

As you may know, New Orleans is full of entertainment. Not sure who was preparing to play these, they were just sitting on the bench.

St. Louis Cathedral, New Orleans, Louisiana

Be Blessed…

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Headed to the Camp

One thing we noticed while talking with all the locals was that everyone had a camp. People kept asking Glenn, “you going to the camp next weekend?” Tim & I didn’t fully understand what that was. Glenn explained to us that they often went to the camp on the weekends. It was a place where they hunted, relaxed, and mostly had their “man time”. Lisa and the ladies shop while the men are away. Now mind you we are in Cajun Country, so nothing is the same as ours. Glenn & Lisa decided to take us to the camp on Sunday…by boat. You see, the camp is out in the swamp. People rent land or water space for about $125 and $70 a year to place either a house or houseboat on. They drive their boats to different areas and hunt squirrel, rabbit, and duck.  What an odd combination huh? Thankfully squirrel and rabbit season came in the following weekend of our trip, so I didn’t have to taste that. We loaded up in Glenn’s little boat {did I mention it doesn’t have seats?} and headed out into the Achapallia Basin Spillway {that’s big water if you’re wondering}. Many of you may know my history with boats. I have this thing about falling out and something touching my feet. This boat was deep & wide enough that I didn’t have to worry about that. I figured if they can hold thousands of pounds of gators then it could hold me!

Something happened on this trip. It was so peaceful on the water and sitting on the bottom of this boat with no seats. Tim & I agree that our time on the boat might have been the most enjoyable part on the trip. As we were traveling at high speed we approached this barge pushing something very large. We got closer and realized they were pushing a camp house out to someone’s camp. This little ole camp house was about as big as our house! Notice the men on the front porch.

We motored on down the spillway {it was a nice smooth ride} and came upon some cows. Yes, I said COWS. That was quite amusing and unexpected. 

After about 15 minutes of peaceful speedy boating we took a right and there it was. The camp.

There was the Templet’s house {on land} and to the right down the little bayou were 3 smaller house boats. Glenn knew the people {they all know everyone} so he passed their place and we made some new friends. We parked the boat {and let me tell you he can park. He got the nose of that boat in a corner so we could get out and visit…and of course use the restroom} and right there in front of my eyes Glenn’s sweet brother began cleaning this catfish. 

It was more than I could handle so I had to turn my back and be rude :(.

We went inside and looked around at their camp and made small talk for a bit. It was truly like a camper, just on floaties and not tires. Interesting thing was, these things were everywhere. As we road through the swamp, we would come upon one alone or a community of several. It was so neat.

Random Camp out in the canal.

This is the view from their camp house. You can see that our boat only had a quilt. Glenn used the cooler to sit on while he drove. And yes, those are our bags. They made fun of me and my back-pack. I had everything I needed to survive out in the swamp…a comb, water, change of clothes, my camera, & a few other necessities.

We had to head back home because the Saints were playing and Lisa couldn’t miss her game and Tim {you’ll find this hard to believe} wanted to eat at Landry’s again. As we were headed back we spotted a gator. I was so excited to see him/her sunbathing on the land. As we turned around it scooted {I guess gators scoot} into the water. We got very close to this monster. It had to have been at least 3 or 4 feet long lol. 

 

We had such a fun time looking at the camps and we even boated in the Little Gator Airplane Canal. I was told that this is Willie & Jr’s hunting area {if you know who they are}. We saw several marked trees…could this have possibly been theirs?

 

Our experience on the swamp for the first time was breathtaking. You just can’t imagine how peaceful it really is until you visit it. Not what I had in mind at all. 🙂

to be cont…

 

 

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Yes…I ate it!

Finally the time arrived for us to eat some “real cajun cookin'”. After our ‘party barge’ ride, we drove over to Landry’s seafood. It’s a local seafood place and they say it’s often hard to get a seat. The LSU game was on Saturday evening so thankfully most of the regulars were at home. As I looked over the menu, I knew the pick-in’s for me were slim. After viewing the different frog, shrimp, alligator, and turtle options, I finally found some chicken.

Our sweet waitress Sharon was kind enough to bring us some gator bites to start us off for the evening. My friends all told me that if I was going to Cajun Country, I had to try some various animals. Well…I did it! Want proof? Here’s the video of me eating Gator with my cheering squad surrounding me. 🙂

Needless to say, we had an interesting evening at Landry’s. The food was so delicious that Tim and I ate there again on Sunday. I was so excited that Sharon and the other waitresses remembered us. Glenn said it was because I was so loud. I don’t believe that.

This is Sharon, our waitress at Landry’s. Super sweet lady and she was so kind to keep the odd animals and gooey gumbo coming to the table.

Not sure if I mentioned the casino’s in an earlier post, but I’ve got to share this. When Tim and I entered the Pierre Part area we began to see HUGE lit up Casino signs. We laughed about it being alot like Vegas and that maybe we could win some money. As we passed by the Casino facilities, we noticed they were all small service stations. Confused but humored we kept driving {not that we had planned on stopping anyway}. I was hoping to possibly see some big lights or shows, but there were none. Most of the stations/restaurants over there advertised a casino. Landry’s had a casino. Are you ready for this…and I’m not making this up at all! Here’s the entry door into the casino.

Yes my friends, behind those two swinging doors were 2 slot machines. I never saw anyone go in there and I wasn’t about to. Not sure if they ever have any big winners. I’ll have to ask on that one.

After a great meal at Landry’s, we headed back to our cabin and rested up for what was to come on Sunday.

to be cont…

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The Party Barge

As our exciting day came to an end we drove to meet some new friends and take a sunset ride on Lake Verret. Glenn & Lisa had been telling us about the Party Barge ride we had scheduled and I’m sure it’s no surprise to you that there was a communication error. You see, when I heard party barge, I thought of the picture to the left. I had no idea who all would be on this thing, I was just sure it would have a bathroom. Well, many of you may know, Sun Tracker makes a Pontoon boat that many call a party barge…LOL yes, we went with a few new friends on a peaceful pontoon boat ride on Lake Verret. There was no need to pull out my new gold shoes and change out of that orange shirt that I wore ALL day and had on in EVERY picture.

The store that I mentioned in my first post, Pierre Part Store, is owned/ran by Ken & Karen St. Germain. We visited the store earlier Saturday and I was able to meet sweet Claire, Ken, and our captain for the afternoon ride, Ken’s son Kyle. {sadly I didn’t have my camera in there with me}. They were so kind to give Tim & me a basket full of goodies including 2 Tervis Tumblers with their 100th Anniversary Logo on them. A keepsake I’ll always enjoy. 🙂

We met Karen earlier that day while riding through town and found out that she is their State Representative. She was very ‘down to earth’ {not sure if those Cajun’s know what that means…it means the REAL DEAL} and was very proud of her community.

We loaded up on the St. Germain’s Party Barge with our Captain Kyle, his friend Cheri, Glenn, Lisa & their daughter Shadie. The ride was absolutely beautiful.

Interesting things about these cypress trees. The things around them are cypress knees. Click here to watch Troy Landry explain what their function is.

As you can imagine, after a long ride away from land with four women on a boat, we were in desperate search of a bathroom. Thankfully we came upon Mr. Mark Newchurch’s camp. His home was across the road {I’ll explain about their camps in a later post} so Glenn ran across the road to ask for use of his facilities. He was kind enough to let us park the boat and enter his camp.

The sun was setting so we headed back to shore. We had to get back in time to eat at Landry’s Seafood. Tim had waited as long as he could for some good ‘ole Cajun Cookin’. The drive home was just as beautiful. The sun setting through the cypress tress was breathtaking. 

We made it back safely, thanked our Captain, and headed to eat at Landry’s.

to be cont…

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We Finally Meet

After an adventurous morning in Pierre Part, we decided to drive back to Duffy’s to see if any of the Landry boys were there. When we arrived there was a small crowd…a sure sign they would be there soon.  We parked the car and ventured our way to the cooler. We saw Bubba Landry and chatted with him until the boys rolled in. 

Jacob was hunting with his younger brother this season, so Mr. Troy was home resting. I spotted his red truck pass by so we quickly made our way to the front of the store. Everyone stood back as he got out of his truck. I shouldn’t surprise you that I was the 1st person to go up to him. I’d been planning this trip for 4 months, I wasn’t about to be last in line lol. He was so kind to us and spent as much time as he could talking with us. I decided it was rude to take up his time and not share him with the other fans, so Tim & I explored his boat. 

It was neat to see all of his “tools” {far lack of a better word} that he used for hunting. I tried to get Tim to sit in it, but he wouldn’t.

After getting our items signed and visiting with Mr. Troy, we headed to the cooler again to wait on Jacob. The camera crew rolled in so we knew the gators were on the way. They had sent word that Jacob had 2 big ones. We had no idea they would be as big as they were. The producer sent Mr. Troy back home to get his blue shirt that he always wears and then they revealed the catch. The crowd stood back as they tossed most of the gators out of the boat and then…the lift pulled up to the boat and removed 2 monster gators. Can I tell you that this was a learning experience for me. They were both males…that’s all I’ll say. 🙂

We got Jacob to sign some items for the kids and took many pictures of these monster creatures. Today was my 1st close encounter with alligators so I was a little nervous about being among them. Not to mention the smell that reeked under the shelter. Mr. Troy told us that once a gator is shot, they vomit. You can imagine how pleasant the smell was. Tim had his phone taking pictures and videos and sending them to the kids and his family. People were going crazy sitting on them and touching them all over. It was almost more than I could handle. And then…Mr. Troy called us over and said, “sit down let’s take a picture.” I can’t tell you how horrified I was…but I did it. Lisa was able to capture the moment on camera. Yes, I was about to cry.

After all of the excitement was over, we went to a local burger joint, Buddy’s Drive-In, for a late lunch. 

The day was far from over. We regrouped {as I like to say} and got ready for a ride on the Party Barge.

to be cont…

 

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the Cajun Michelangelo

Saturday morning we began our day by FINALLY traveling in to Pierre Part, LA {it was only a few minutes from our cabin}. We met Glenn and Lisa and together went to Duffy’s Shell Station for coffee and conversation. As we walked in the door, I quickly spotted Jacob Landry and a few older gentlemen sitting around in the back corner drinking their coffee. When we walked in everyone began their ‘good mornings’ and Jacob was introduced to…the girl on the phone from Georgia and her husband Tim. I spoke with Jacob on the phone a few days before we arrived and I was so excited that I talked the entire time. I’m not even sure that he was able to talk back to me. I can assure you it was a phone call he’ll always remember lol. {Glenn says I sound like Mickey Mouse on crack}. I allowed Tim to have a chance to talk with him {after all, he’d heard enough of me} and their conversation was quickly guided towards the cork board filled with ‘trophy deer’ pictures.

The television crew began coming in getting ready for the big hunt. As Jacob and the crew left, the little men just sat and chatted longer. No one was in a hurry around there. Sort of a nice pace for Tim and I to experience. As we looked around at…well…the service station and the small selection of cajun reeboks I noticed a little man gather up his pan of pancakes and head out. I found it cute that this little man cooks pancakes and takes them up to the store for whoever to eat on.

One of the men told us that Troy had a big gator in the cooler out back and we should take a look at it. This was my first experience with a alligator close up and I was not prepared for the smell. He was HUGE…but not as big as what we saw later that day. 

While at Duffy’s, we met a man named Adam Morales. I overheard Glenn tell him, “yeah, I’ll bring them by.” I had no idea what we were about to encounter. After a nice warm breakfast from a local station/store, we headed to Atchafalaya Swamp Treasures. “The Driftwood Man” aka “the Cajun Michelangelo” had a nice little home buried beneath thousands of pieces of driftwood. Mr. Adam has spent years boating the swamps, looking for pieces to put together, or to just simply add an eye to. I found this video on YouTube that some previous passer-bys videoed: click here. His work has been featured in numerous magazines and art shows. His talent is truly breathtaking.

This piece was one of my favorites. One side is the mother and the other side is the baby. He only added the eyes.

These are the Swamp People. The little boy on the end is Mr. Adams grandson and Mr. Adam is the tall guy on the right.

I thought these turtles were pretty neat as well.

This is one of the few table designated to body parts. THEY WERE EVERYWHERE!

Mr. Adams cypress driftwood art museum was such a unique expereince. We had no idea that we would be going there, but we were so glad we did. He was so kind and he enjoyed showing us what nature has to offer in the swamp. If you’re ever in the New Orleans/Baton Rouge area, he’s worth the drive.

Atchafalaya Swamp Treasures   338 South Bay Road  Perre Part, LA  70339

to be cont…

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We arrived

As we traveled I-10 the anticipation of meeting our new Cajun Friends was just about to get the best of me. I had NO IDEA what the weekend would hold, but I knew it would be good. We passed the USS Alabama Battleship, the exits to Biloxi and the sites of New Orleans.

As we approached Bayou Corne we found our little cabin and settled in.

Around 5:30 Jen the photographer arrived for pictures, as did our wedding guests. The preacher, Darren, and his wife Malinda, Glen & Lisa, our host family for the weekend, and Mr. Arnold Blanchard from Tony’s Seafood.

Hadn’t met Mr. Arnold yet {probably the only person in Pierre Part I hadn’t spoken to on the phone} but he was so kind to stop by and give Tim & I a welcoming gift. If you can see this close enough and know me well enough, you’re asking, “what will Jaye do with this?” I asked myself the same thing lol. I think I’ll get a few more lessons from our new Cajun family before opening the box. 🙂

We had a great ceremony on the wharf by the bayou {I think I said that correctly} and enjoyed cake with our new friends. Afterwards, Tim & I went to the Grapevine {which was so unique and delicious}. We settled in our little cabin on the bayou excited about what Saturday would bring. Little did we know that it would be as amazing as it was.

to be cont…

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and we’re off!

With months of secret planning, and the help of my friend Shanna, operation Secret Anniversary Trip was on. The kids were in safe hands with Katy, Mandy, and my mother mainly in charge, so I was at ease with our long trek. Tim has known my desire to travel to Vegas and let Elvis renew our vows {how romantic I know lol}, so he felt strongly that was what I was planning.  We began our trip on Thursday and he had an idea where we were going. We traveled to Pensacola {to break the trip in half} to see our good friends John & Jennifer {AKA the Good-Lookin’ Couple}.

With John & Jennifer in on the secret, we had a great visit and then off to bed with a “have fun in Vegas” slip up from John. Jennifer arranged our wedding cake so I snuck it in the jeep while Tim was getting ready. We left their place Friday morning and had a surprise breakfast {which Tim figured out as well} with our friends Josh & Kristin. Josh & Kristin are in ministry in Pensacola at Liberty Church. When we first met, we connected with them instantly!

With our belly’s full and Tim’s mind rolling with the good advice that Josh shared…we were off. I felt sure that Tim had it figured out by now, but he was sure we were boarding in New Orleans. We decided it was time to share the surprise. After telling him the story, starting back in June, he drove in disbelief. I tried to video his reaction, but there wasn’t one. Silence. He honestly didn’t believe that we were traveling to Pierre Part, LA, to hang with some people we didn’t know. After he processed the change from Vegas to Pierre Part, he got a bit excited.

to be cont…

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Hey Baby, let’s go to Vegas…or not! ;)

Many of you may not know that Tim and I renew our wedding vows every 5 years. September 21st was our 15th wedding anniversary and this year was my year to plan. After years of planning a trip to Vegas to let Elvis renew our vows, my plans drastically changed. Tim {like many others} has taken a STRONG liking to the show Swamp People. His favorite hunters on the show hands down are the Landry boys. As we sat one day in June watching the show, I realized that the BEST anniversary gift I could ever give Tim would be to visit Pierre Part and meet those Landry boys. Boy, did I have some planning to do. I began googling Pierre Part and came up with 1 store with a website. That store was Pierre Part Store. I called the number on the website, asked for the floral department {because I was planning a ceremony along with the trip} and was connected with a sweet young girl name Claire. Our conversation began like this, “Hey, I know this is going to be the strangest phone call you’ve ever gotten. I’m Jaye Bice from Albany, Ga and I’m trying to plan a surprise anniversary trip to Pierre Part in September.” I gave her many more details about how Tim thought we were going to Vegas and how he would much rather go to Pierre Part {you must know that EVERYONE in Pierre Part thought that Tim was cRaZy! They’d much rather be in Vegas than there.} Sweet Claire took my name and number and told me she would get some names for me and call me back. To my surprise, she called back. She gave me the number to Duffy’s Shell Station {the Landry’s family business}, Bell River Baptist Church, and the Justice of the Peace. I called the church first…left a long crazy message, then the J.O.P., and then Duffy’s. By the end of that week, the entire town new some crazy girl from Georgia was calling around trying to plan a trip. A few days later the PW from the church called me back. Malinda Carpenter and I became buddies quickly and she was as excited {if not more} as I was about my  anniversary surprise. She began helping me plan and gather numbers to local people. She found these little Cajun Cabins on Bayou Corne {my new Cajun friends will be so proud that I referenced that…you can only imagine how confused I was with the Parishes, Bayous, and Lakes}. I called Mr. Dennis {the owner} and spilled my long story to him. One thing I wanted to make sure of was that we experienced the area to its fullest. I wanted Tim to experience the lifestyle of the cajun culture…and the cookin’. Mr. Dennis gave me the number to a man named Glenn Templet {pronounced Tome-Play} and you guessed it…I called him too! His sweet wife Lisa answered the phone and thankfully didn’t hang up {she told me she almost did lol}. With both of us a little scared and unsure of what the other would be like, we began to plan. This family made sure that we had the experience of a lifetime. Little did we know, we would become friends for a lifetime too.

Months of planning went in to this trip…so it’s going to take a few blogs to tell you all about it.

to be continued…

{photograph by Jen Menard}

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