Saturday morning the rain started before daylight and did not end until well into the evening. About 10am our Radio Shack weather radio went off alerting us to a severe storm heading our way and they had issued tornado warnings in a nearby community. Rudee packed up a "bail out" bag and we headed for sturdier surroundings :-). We ended up at Wal Mart which had a McDonald's inside. We sat in the restaurant and waited for the worst to pass which took about an hour. We returned to the 5th wheel to find that all was well and ended up staying inside the rest of the day.
Sunday the sun was supposed to shine at least part of the day anyway :-). I decided we needed to get the bike out and Rudee agreed. The temperatures were still a little on the cool side in the mid 50's so we would have to bundle up some.
Rudee had been doing some research on Mardi Gras events and mentioned that the town of Eunice, La was having a celebration on the streets downtown. This was about 50 miles away and would be a nice ride so I pointed the bike that direction.
Eunice is about the size of our old hometown of Lebanon. They had blocked off the streets and had 2 band stands set up at either end of the business district. We walked and checked out the few vendors that were set up and eventually found our way to a small cafe for lunch. We shared an Alligator Po' Boy and enjoyed this new experience. The alligator was fried and served on a hoagy type bun with lettuce and a spicy mayonnaise spread.
With lunch over we spent some time listening to the Cajun music and watching the locals dancing.
There was also a kids parade scheduled to start at 3pm so we found a place to sit on the curb and waited for the "run" to start. I had read a little about the "Mardi Gras Run" and learned that the Cajuns would go throughout the local countryside on wagons and horse back to beg food stuffs from the local farms. The parade commemorates the return of the "Mardi Gras", which the group was called, to town where a large feast of Gumbo was prepared.
While waiting for the parade to start an elderly gentleman, Mr. Smith, sat down beside me and we began to chat. He told me he was 89 years old and had started doing the "Courir de Mardi Gras" when he was 6 years old. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Courir_de_Mardi_Gras
He told me in the old days only men could make the run because there were no "facilities" for the women. Now they make accommodations for the ladies which explains the port-a-pots tied onto the wagons :-). He remembers his grandfather making the run and they would collect rice, veggies and some would even give a live chicken. He was quite an interesting character and extremely alert and fit for being 89 years old! It was a joy listening to his stories and learning the history of Mardi Gras in this area.
The parade started and the kids would throw beads at all the people lining the parade route. Everyone on the "floats" had to be in traditional Mardi Gras costumes and the kids wore colorful clothes and some had hats and masks.
We enjoyed the parade and Rudee got a nice collection of beads for the grand kids (no skin had to be exposed in the "gathering of the beads").
We headed back to the 5th wheel after the parade so we could make it before the sun dropped too low. We enjoyed our short ride and day out. The temperatures never made it out of the mid 50's but the next few days are supposed to be even better. I'll keep you posted.