Madisonville, Louisiana 1/22/16 – 1/29/16

From Alan –

Population = 1,106, latitude 30º 24’, longitude 90º9’, elevation 24 feet, average January low temperature = 40.7, Average July high temperature = 92, average sunny days = 218, annual snowfall = 0, annual rainfall = 58.7”

Madisonville is a quaint little town on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana.  It is an old town, established in 1800, before the area was even part of the USA.  A walking tour of the town passes by fine examples of classic Creole and Acadian style houses.  Whenever the sidewalk comes up against one of the massive live oaks, resplendent in little ferns and Spanish moss, the tree wins.  There are two rush hours here; school kids being released from school and commuters being released from work.  Otherwise, the pace is measured by the rhythms of daily life in a small town.

Huge live oak.
Acadian home (I think)
Creole home (I think)

Something most Northerners do not realize is that Mardi Gras is part of a season, not just a one day party.  Everywhere in Louisiana, from 10 days after Christmas until the day before Ash Wednesday, it is Carnival season.  Every town, large and small, has it’s Krewes that throw parties and parades.  Our first Saturday night is the parade in New Orleans for the sexy, satirical, and raucous Crewe du Vieux.  All afternoon, the French Quarter has been filling with rowdy partiers, dressed for craziness, drinks in hand, wandering the streets and bursting out of the bars.  Finally, just after dark, the sirens wail as police clear the streets.  The parade is on!  The floats are obscene, political, funny, or all of the above.  Colorful, sexy, costumed marchers follow along, tossing beads, candy, and stickers to the fans.  Marching bands belt out the distinctive and infectious rhythms of New Orleans marching jazz.  It is wonderful chaos, loud and colorful.

Krewe du Vieux float. Yes, it is what it looks like.
Marching with the Krewe

On Thursday we cross the Causeway again, 24 miles of arrow straight bridge over Lake Ponchartrain, this time for a concert by Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas.  They are playing the Rock N Bowl.  It is more than a little challenging picking our way across the city to get there after a leisurely afternoon exploring the French Quarter.  Rush hour traffic is oozing out of the downtown, rattling over the pothole-ridden cheese grater streets.  Once we finally do find the place, it is a fine old joint!  The food is good, the beer is cheap, and Nathan and the guys have the whole place jumping.  Et toi!  Hate to leave so soon, but it is a long drive back across the Causeway.

Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas shake up the Rock N Bowl.

No trip to Louisiana is complete without a deep dive into some amazing cuisine.  Willy Mae’s famous fried chicken, po boys with oysters, po boys with shrimp, roast beef po boys, dripping with gravy, BBQ shrimp and grits, enormous muffalettas, homemade boudin, jambalaya, gumbo, and on and on.  You have to try it all, to hell with calories.  I’ll diet in the next state.  And, of course, there are lots of beer breweries here, making some excellent beers.  A big Thank You to Erin and Brian at Covington Brewhouse for their hospitality and fine beer!

Willy Mae’s chicken. Green beans and gravy over rice and mashed potatoes and gravy for sides.
Roast beef debris po boy with gravy. A three napkin sandwich! Crawfish étouffée on the side.
Shrimp with BBQ gravy over grits and biscuit. Roast beef and gravy over cheese grits and biscuit, topped with fried eggs.
The taproom at the Covington Brewhouse. Not too hoppy, just right.

The best thing about Louisiana though, is the people.  Everywhere we went, the people were fun and funny and interesting and interested.  Our landlady in Madisonville was the absolute best!  She is a great mix of old timey Southern hospitality, modern fun and feisty career woman, and party animal.  We hit it off over a batch of Sazeracs and became new old friends right away.  We’ll see you again, Sarah, you and your great friends, next time we pass this way.  How often do we get the chance to be leprechaun grandparents?

Next up: Abita Springs


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We are two recent retirees who decided to sell the house, pull up stakes, and explore North America. We are both being tourists and looking for the right blend of people, place, and geography that makes for the perfect place to retire.

9 thoughts on “Madisonville, Louisiana 1/22/16 – 1/29/16”

  1. I found it. There was no picture or anything on facebook–just the link. But the link worked fine to get me here. I am not on facebook that often so I miss an awful lot of stuff. I’ve been feeling pretty crummy since the move so I don’t always comment even when I read posts and I did read this one already–sorry. I have arthritis in my shoulders plus the fibro loves shoulders and necks–so I have days where I just don’t want to type as much–or can’t really. I couldn’t even make it out with Leah grocery shopping today (arm, hips, and lower back stuff and too stubborn to use the electric cart–yet). I see I have missed a lot of your facebook posts. (Totally agree with you on Trump!)

    I do read all you guys’ posts, though, even if I don’t always comment every time. Am so enjoying your travel adventure! I don’t think I could live where they had partying going on in the streets for months, though–LOL! I don’t drink anymore (since the early 90s) and am like 95% vegetarian (still eat chicken and fish on rare occasions) so BBQ places hold no personal appeal, but I still love to see them. I keep wondering where you guys will end up. Or if you will just keep wandering until you can’t wander anymore. LOL!


  2. Fun to read aboutyour recent adventures. Looking forward to the next post. Wish we could’ve met you in New Orleans. We love that place!
    So far this winter has been tolerable. ..not too much snow, cold snap not too long. Of course it’s not over yet!
    Safe traveling dear friends!


    1. We should be in Arizona in March. Meet us there? We could find a 2 bedroom place to share. BTW, here in Abita Springs we had a little surprise that made us think of you. Our place has a sauna. Didn’t use it, but fun to have it.


  3. I can almost feel the Mardi Gras craziness….never experienced it, but been to New Orleans. It’s another world everyone should experience. Took a Grey Line tour of the city. I can’t believe all the yummy looking food! What fun for you….


  4. Oh you guys are just the best! Been hopping around your site and I am very impressed with my “Leprechaun grandparents” (LOL)!!! I couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful couple to host in Madisonville while you were here. I sincerely hope you guys make it back down one day. Everyone asks about what you guys are up to and now that I have footloosefogeys bookmarked I can be sure to tell them! I’ll be keeping up with you, stay warm 🙂 chachachaaaaa


    1. Thanks to you for being our personal Louisiana sweetheart, Sezerac specialist, beer guide, and parade hostess for two weeks. Hope to see you next year. Thank your friend from from Turkey(? can’t remember his name) for the translation of fairy godparents into Leprechaun grandparents. We love it! The good times are rolling.


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