We left Fountainebleau State Park this morning at 9AM and continued to head west on I-12 and then I-10. It was not the nicest part of the drive west so far, especially through Baton Rouge. There was a lot of traffic, and a lot of truck traffic, which I really dislike being a part of. It was pretty cool, though, driving over the Mississippi River for our first time. I guess we are officially no longer on the east coast!
I found the interesting part of the day came as we went further down the highway, and approached the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge. The Atchafalaya Basin is the largest swamp in the United States, and the bridge going over it is 18 miles long. I found it fascinating, and not knowing anything about the area, I proceeded to look it up once we settled in for the day. It was designated a National Heritage Area in 2006, and spans 14 parishes in Louisiana. It is among the most culturally rich and ecologically varied regions in the United States, home to the widely recognized Cajun culture as well as the diverse population of the European, African, Caribbean, and Native American descendants. As we passed by the welcome center, I was wishing we had several days to stop and explore this area. I even found a sample 6 day itinerary for exploring the region on the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area website.
We then turned northward towards Shreveport on I-49, heading towards our overnight stop at Ajax Country Livin' RV Park. It's a small, 28 site park right off the highway, easy on and off, and with Passport America rate was $16.26 for the night. I figured that was not a bad price for a clean place with full hook-ups for the night. But anyway, as we were traveling on I-49, I noticed a sign at one exit for Cane River Plantations. So, of course, I had to look that up as well :-). Cane River Plantations turns out to be another National Heritage Area in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Cane River's plantation homes pre-date the Greek Revival type of plantation homes that we all imagine. These homes reflect Creole architecture, one of only six types of colonial architecture developed in America. "Creole architecture includes three basic types of dwellings: the single-story Creole cottages typical of the Isle Brevelle area, the Creole townhouses found in the Natchitoches National Historic Landmark District, and the Creole plantation houses that line the banks of the river. All three styles were constructed using a mixture of mud, mule or deer hair, and Spanish moss as a fill between upright and angular wooden posts. Called "bousillage", this type of construction is usually described as a method imported from France, Canada, or the West Indies; nearly identical techniques were also found in Native American and West African societies."
Well, I thought this was all very interesting, and if we weren't on a schedule to get first to Texas and then to Colorado, I would have loved to spend several days here. Ah, well, those days will come soon enough, won't they! On the list it goes! On to Melissa Texas tomorrow, for a visit with more family.