Sunset at Prien Lake Park

Sunset at Prien Lake Park

Friday, June 11, 2010

Cameron Parish

Today Bob and I explored Cameron Parish. We've been on the Creole Nature Trail many times. Anytime we entertain out of town guests, we always take this scenic drive so our visitors can get a sense of coastal Louisiana. We started our journey at Hackett's Cajun Kitchen. I've driven past this restaurant numerous times en route to the airport. And it always wins awards in Lagniappe Magazine. So I've been curious to try this establishment, and it did not disappoint. The portions are huge, food is excellent, prices reasonable. We ordered plate lunches; Bob had shrimp creole, I had beef and gravy over rice, we both had banana pudding for dessert. And neither of us needed to eat the rest of the day.

From Lake Charles, at first, driving south is all about farms. Farmland, farm animals, farmers, fields. Then it quickly becomes all water and marsh grass. We drove through Big Lake, Grand Lake, Sweet Lake; places I've heard of but hadn't yet seen. They're small towns; schools, churches, farms. The requisite Dollar General.

This is a scene in Big Lake. Beach houses are so colorful.

Then we hopped on the Creole Nature Trail and headed south. This visitors' center is relatively new, and I've been wanting to check it out. I've heard it's nice. The sign said it closes at 3:00 on Fridays. We got there no later than 2:55. I think they left early today.

Cameron is not only the name of this parish, but also a small town. A very small rural coastal town that was basically wiped off the map in 2005 after Hurricane Rita. They've slowly been rebuilding. Hurricane Ike in 2008 didn't help any.

We found some fishermen on a pier. I'm not sure which was more impressive; the fish or this guy's sunburn. Yikes! (photo used with permission)

We saw lots of shrimp boats today. Fishing has not been restricted due to the BP oil spill on this side of the state. Some fish boats trolled. Hard to see it in these photos, but I think shrimp boats look like giant birds, with their nets fanned out and unfurled to the sides.

Others rested. We bought three pounds of shrimp here right off the dock. Doesn't get any fresher than that.

After Cameron, we rode the ferry over to Holly Beach. The Gulf was it's usual muddy self -- that's normal -- but fortunately there's no sign of oil here on the western edge of the state. Not yet. As you can see, I kicked off my flip flops and put my toes in the surf

Lots of pretty shells on Holly Beach.

From Holly Beach we head back north along the western edge of the Creole Nature Trail. The Sabine Wildlife Refuge is a beautiful place to bird watch, look for alligators, and feed mosquitos. I saw some nutria there once, too.

Bob and I walked out onto a marsh overlook. This guy knows the routine. When the alligator saw us, he immediately swam up and stared with those pleading eyes, begging like a dog.

We stopped in Hackberry for ice cream. First at the Exxon station, which advertised "ice cream cones," but their machine was being repaired. They kindly directed us to Brown's Grocery, where the self-serve soft serve machine sat next to the cappuccino machine. Chocolate or vanilla? I had a little of each. Bob held out for Winkydoo's Malt Shop in Sulphur just a ways up the road. I told him it would be closed in the evening. And it was.


Common Household Mom said...

Thanks for the tour! The names sound great - Creole Nature Trail, Cajun Kitchen, and Winkydoo's Malt Shop. Please let us know what you did with the shrimp.

Angie Kay Dilmore said...

Dear CHM,

We grilled the shrimp this evening. They were good, but we tried a new marinade recipe that we didn't care for much.

Luke said...

Excellent travel post, Angie. Informative and interesting. I enjoyed it.