Colette La Fleur, your Executive Editor, reporting on one of the most interesting and enjoyable adventures yet for The Hawaiian Princess. We have traveled all the way to Grand Isle, Louisiana.
Grand Isle State Park is run by the Louisiana State Parks. It is located at the very end of Grand Isle. It is a beautiful spot with long clean beach, beautiful facilities and deep in the heart of the Bayou.
To put where Grand Isle is in perspective, here’s a wider view of the map. New Orleans is at the middle of the map and Grand Isle is highlighted with a red marker at the bottom. After getting to the outskirts of New Orleans, it took Madame an hour and a half of narrow road driving to get to our destination. Seeing what is at the end of the road is one passtime we at THPaTWP all enjoy. We usually find the most interesting and beautiful places and meet memorable and astounding individuals.
We took a very long and interesting causeway and bridge to get from the mainland and the islands.
To get to Grand Isle, the first obstacle is a toll booth and a long bridge.
What caught our eye on the longest bridge was there was another bridge, ninety degrees to the one we were on.
As we got closer, we discovered a right turn in the middle of the bridge.
We were to learn there were lots of other interesting and unexpected things waiting for us.
The bridges just kept coming for over 8 miles.
When we finally got off the bridges and saw the sign for Grand Isle, we weren’t expecting that we were still fifteen miles away, down a narrow road.One of those expected finds was a stoplight along the road. We sat for a few long minutes and not a single car appeared.
When we finally got to Grand Isle, we saw that almost every structure is built on stilts, This area has been repeatedly hit with devastating hurricanes. Still the town and economy thrives. After we got off the final bridge and into town, we had five more miles to go.
Hallelujah, we finally made it to the park.
This was The Hawaiian Princess’s second time staying at a Louisiana State Park and it far exceeded the last park. The park is well laid out, clean, the facilities are all top-notch and the beach is long and wide. This was the first time we ran into a park where the bath houses were air conditioned. Formidable! The washers and dryers were also FREE. That is a luxury when you are hunting laundry facilities.
Getting to Grand Isle is a long and winding trip, with a lot of the trip spent on bridges. Because this is the Louisiana Bayou, there is water everywhere and bridges to get from one place to another. There are major maritime industries in Louisiana. The petroleum industry drills, supports and transports oil and gas all through the bayou.
Support ships constantly leave the channel that runs alongside the park. The drum of their huge engines can be heard for miles.
Overhead, helicopters ferry crews to and from the rigs in a constant back and forth.
Add to the mix, large shrimp boats trawled just a couple of miles offshore of the beach. We watched as they worked methodically through an active spot.
Behind the island in the bay, bait shrimp boats worked to supply the ever-increasing demand for live shrimp for bait.
When we pulled into the park, the ranger asked us if we were here for the annual Tarpon Rodeo. We were unaware of the rodeo. In addition to all of the other marine traffic, the waters were active with fishermen and women.
While we were enjoying a day in the water, Madame and Him spotted an unusual vessel heading into port.
We didn’t know what to make of this thing.
As it go closer, it had three legs, a big crane and pushed around by a tug boat.
We later saw one tied up at the dock. It was huge. The legs were two hundred feet tall and about five feet in diameter. We learned these are work barges. The legs are lowered until the hull lifts free and this gives the work crews a stable platform from which to work. It was amazing to see.
We spent three days in the water at the beach. This beach was much different then the Florida beaches Our Princess has come to love. The sand was brown and cloudy from all of the sand in the water. There were also stone breakwaters all along the beach.
The very first thing Her Royal Highness (HRH) insists upon is having a look at the beach after we get setup. That smile on her face indicates she approves.
Him is happy to see the wide and empty beach, but wasn’t too sure about the dark clouds just over his shoulder. It’s only liquid sunshine, M. Him.
The full length of the beach was protected by stone breakwaters. On our initial trip to the beach, we were curious about the metal poles and the buoys floating near the breakwaters.
We discovered the next day what the buoys and stakes were all about and were we surprised and happy.
A family was camping on the beach, which is allowed at Grand Isle State Park and I wish more camps offered it to the campers.
Four family members waded out to the poles and buoys, reached into the water and pulled out a wire trap.
When they pulled it out, we saw the trap had live blue crabs in it.
Our princess got closer and started to talk to the people. Their family met every year at Grand Isle and they put out a dozen blue crab traps baited with chicken quarters. The next day they pull the traps, keep the crabs with the exception of the females with eggs, rebait the trap and let the trap set for another day.
This is a female with its eggs on the outside. They are immediately returned to the water. The day we watched, the family pulled in at least fifty pounds of blue crab. They boil them up in a huge kettle and feast.
The campers beside us came over the same night after boiling up fresh blue crab they caught, told us they had more than enough and asked if we would like them. We readily agreed. Julie, the lovely lady, asked us if we knew how to eat them. We told her we did not and she gave us a quick lesson.
This is before.
This is after.
We took them inside and ate like we hadn’t had food in weeks. The crab was delicious, not difficult at all to get out of the shell, but it is messy. The next day we thanked her and her husband profusely.
During our visit, HRH tried repeatedly to get pictures of the many brown pelicans, the state bird of Louisiana, but they are hard to capture.
We dined out one night at a local restaurant called Yums.Service was fast and this place has a drive up window, so you can get all this Yummy goodness without getting out of your vehicle.
When in the bayou, frying is the cooking method of choice. Our Princess had shrimp and Him had catfish. It was perfectly cooked.
We needed to go to the grocery store for supplies one morning and as we walked around and tried to understand what was being said by the staff with very heavy Cajun accents we discovered two bonuses.We had seen lots of references to a staple of Louisiana cooking. This is boudin, a sausage made with pork and rice and great spices.
Our Princess found this tasty beverage. It is frozen and enjoyed. This was call Maui Wowie. Madame gave it good marks.
Mesdames et Messieurs, that is our report from the bayou and Grand Isle, Louisiana. Madame says we will return here tout suite. We leave here and head back to the Sunshine State and St. Andrews State Park in Panama City Beach, Fl. Join us soon.