Alexandria, Louisiana, and surrounding areas….

Louisianna is somehow different; a fun place to visit.
Only in Louisianna do you have drive through Marguarita bars and signs warning to watch for bears, turtles, and alligators…..
Last time we were in northern Louisianna, in February, 2009, we visited most of the well known tourist sites, but there is always something more to see wherever we go.
In nearby Alexandria, we visited the Silver Dollar (Cajun) Pawn shop of TV fame.  It was so packed with every conceivable item.  It was part museum, part antiques store!

And of course the whimsical and unexpected
One day we visited the Melrose Plantation with the Hedmans.  This plantation is one of several along the Cane River. It was one of the largest plantations in the United States owned by free blacks.
This was the original home on the land, until the main house was built in 1833.  It  later became an artist/writer haven in 1884.  As long as there was progress made on a project an artist or writer could continue living there.  
The upstair of this building has murals painted by a former cook, Clementine Hunter.   She became a well known artist, known for her primitive folk art depicting life on the Cane River.  (We were not allowed to take pictures of them) 

We had lunch at Natchedoches, at Lazones, famous for their fried meat pies; and I also had to try the fried green beans, both of which were really good!

Paul had the Gumbo

Another day we went south to Washington.  It was founded in 1720, incorporated in 1835, and is the third oldest settlement in Louisianna.   It was known as the largest steamboat port between New Orleans and St. Louis, Missouri.  The last steamboat left in 1900, after the arrival of the railroad. Eighty percent of the buildings in the town are historic or of architectural significance.  It is now known for their antique shops.  But for us, we will remember the unexpected family friendly Mardi Gras parade.

Vehicles were the theme, with army at the front of the parade.

We were surprised to see Mickey and Minnie there!

And Marie and I got our beads 😉

We took a trolly tour after the parade, got a feel for the town and some of the old homes, which were very diverse!

The old 2 story school house was made into an antique mall, with 100 shops in the gym alone!

And of course we had to get our off-road itch taken care of.

We found a couple of these small cemeteries in the middle of the Kisatchie National Forest.

The cold weather followed us home.  I love seeing these in the winter!

This is along our interstate highway!  In the spring these icicles become mini waterfalls…. We love traveling around, but we love coming home to Tennessee….

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