Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Bayou Segnette State Park, New Orleans and the 2014 New Orleans Jazz Fest

Campsite 14 at Bayou Segnette State Park
We arrived here at Bayou Segnette on April 19th.  We stayed in this park 10 years ago when we visited New Orleans for our 10th anniversary.  Our 20th anniversary is coming up this June, so we thought is was a great time to re-visit New Orleans.

Bayou Segnette is located in Westwego, LA which is about 15 minutes away from downtown New Orleans (on the West bank of the Mississippi).  The sites are very large and well spaced.  There's no sewer, but the sites have electric and water, and the campground has free wifi.  The bonus feature is that the campground has free laundry rooms.  I think that all of Louisiana state campgrounds offer this - what a nice feature!

Everything in this park is about flood control.  There are concrete levees all along the road where the Bayou runs, and it looks as if they've built new gates.

The levee wall at Bayou Segnette State Park

Levee Gate at Bayou Segnette State Park

The Bayou is very pretty, with lots of wild flowers growing along it - wild Iris and I think the pink ones are Mexican Primrose.

There used to be 20 cabins along the Bayou, but Katrina took them all out, and all that's left are pilings.

Remains of cabins after Katrina - Bayou Segnette State Park
On Monday, Mirra had an appointment for an "interview" at Camp Bow Wow where we would be boarding her for two separate nights - one when we went out to dinner, and another when we went to the Jazz Festival.  She got a few hours of free play time so that they could see how she behaved with other dogs.  We took the opportunity to walk around Lafayette Cemetery Number I in the Garden District.

Lafayette Cemetery Number 1 New Orleans
On Tuesday we decided to take the drive to "the end of the world" as they call the town of Venice.  It's pretty much as far as you can go on Highway 23 (the Great River Road), which is the only road that runs that far into the Mississippi Delta.  Hurricane Katrina devastated this area, and you can see that by how many mobile and manufactured homes there are.  Most homes were underwater, and only one school survived.  Most people lost their homes and simply couldn't rebuild.  Here's a picture of what Venice looked like after Katrina..

Wikipedia Commons - Venice after Katrina

It's not hard to image the place flooding so badly when you see how close the water is to the road.  This picture was taken from the truck, and the water comes pretty much right up to the highway.

Shrimp boats at Venice, Louisiana

This whole area is about fishing - sport fishing and shrimping - and OIL!  The oil and gas companies are down here in force, with refineries, natural gas plants, storage facilities - you name it.

Bob got a great picture of a Spider Lily while we were on our way back to the campsite.

Spider Lily
On Wednesday we dropped Mirra off at Camp Bow Wow and after touring the WWII Museum, enjoyed a delicious pre-anniversary meal at Emeril's Delmonico Restaurant.  Bob and I both got a cup of Gumbo, followed by the Shrimp Clemenceau , which was excellent.  After that we went gambling at Harrah's on the waterfront.  Neither of us won, but we managed to gamble for a few hours without spending much money.

Thursday we made an excursion to get andouille and boudin sausage.  We found excellent andouille sausage not too far away at Jacob's Smokehouse in LaPlace, but we had to drive another 65 miles into Cajun country to get boudin sausage.  Boudin is a combination of cooked rice, pork and onions. We finally ended up at Don's Specialty Meat Market in Scott, got our Boudin, and headed home to have it for dinner.  What a treat!

On Friday we took a hike in John Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve.   We walked about two miles through some interesting swamp land with beautiful cypress trees.

Jean Lafitte National Historic Park and Preserve

This cypress must be hundreds of years old - a real giant!

On Saturday we took the drive down River Road to see the plantations.  We decided to take a tour of Laura, a Creole sugar plantation dating back to 1804.  Laura was owned by the French Duparc family.  You can tell immediately that it's a Creole plantation because of its bright colors.

Laura Plantation

What made this tour so interesting to me was that the guide (who was a Creole, and whose family had also owned a plantation) placed a huge emphasis on how horrible slavery was.  You got a feel for the suffering that the slaves must have gone through.  This tiny cabin actually housed two extended families, one on each side - possibly as many as 16 people crammed into this small space.

Sunday arrived, and Bob and I headed out for the main event of our Louisiana stay - the New Orleans Jazz Festival.   We were lucky to get perfect weather - partly cloudy and about 84 degrees with a nice breeze.  If the sun had been out all day we would have really felt the heat, but the sun hid behind the clouds most of the day.

We saw some great acts as we walked around and visited the different tents. One of them was John Boutte who sings the theme song from HBO's show "Treme".   There was lots of dancing going on around the Sheraton tent, featuring the Cajun band Fais Doo Doo.

We had a great time just roaming through the Fairgrounds.

I caught a parade going through the Fairgrounds:

At 5:15 the headliner, Eric Clapton came on, and blew the crowd away.

Here's a picture that I got from the Jazz Fest's Facebook page:

But here's all that we could see being so far back in the crowd:

What an outstanding performance.  Even though I could only see him on the screens, it was still great hearing him.  He's as good as ever, and hasn't lost anything.

It's been a great time in Louisiana, and I feel that we really got to see and do a lot while we were here.  It's one of my favorite states to visit.


  1. Lovely post and Happy Anniversary :)

    We stayed at Bayou Segnette when we visited New Orleans too. Usually we boondock so paying the fees to camp was hard but it was a nice park. Do they still offer free laundry? That helped us feel better about paying to stay there as we were hardly in the park at all. What we saw it was nice.

    Happy travels...popped in from Rick & Paulettes feed.

  2. Yup - the laundry is still free, which is just great. I really love this park, since the campsites give you so much room and are so lovely. It's one of our favorites. Thanks for dropping by, Brooke, and thanks for the anniversary wishes!

  3. Envious! What a great time to be in NOLA...we've stayed there several times, but not for the jazz fest. Lucky you. Happy anniversary. There's some great Cajun restaurants and markets kinda southwest of New Orleans, neat small towns and good music etc...

    1. Sallie - I wish that we had been there a little bit longer, because even though we drove though the Cajun country, we didn't have time to stop and eat at any of the restaurants or hear any of the music. Maybe next time - I just love Louisiana, and especially that area.