Beer on the Bayou

Or: The only place in this country where your brewery taproom bartender responds cheerfully, “How do you say in English? Live in that parking lot there!”

Quick, Colorful Drive across Louisiana

This is the first time in Louisiana for both of us, and, within the first few minutes of driving east right above I10, we were wishing we had more time here.

More time to stop at the kazillion roadside shacks selling shrimp, crawfish, boudin, cracklins.

(Boudin is like a sausage meatball, often with crawfish inside. Says Wikipedia. We better get some today!)

So many places had been damaged from the recent storm: almost every roof, a tree down everywhere you look, and no building signs left standing.

For lunch we did find a spot to pull over in a trailer park neighborhood, in front of shuttered Rosie’s Dance Center, and I walked to a restaurant that I can’t pronounce to grab po boys, although crawfish is out of season so mine was possibly farmed from the numerous crawfish farming and processing plants we passed by. (We also saw rice fields and drying machinery.)

Lunch though: huge sandwiches eaten in the sweltering trailer in Rosie’s parking lot, but we caught a breeze while waiting for a tanker train to clear the tracks ahead.

You learn so much by driving backroads. Lots of trailers and poverty where we were (sometimes it was hard to tell if a storm had hit a trailer or if it just is that way).

But unlike in Texas where trailer after trailer on the side of the road exude KEEP OUT, these were interesting. Weird. Possibly fun. Among them: The Cajun Music Hall of Fame. The Creole Heritage Folklife Center. Next time, we’ll go in.

We saw only one Trump sign, but plenty of signs for politicians who are women, African Americans, even Black women! And all the small business names start with the owner’s name. Scooby’s Boudin and Cracklin Drive-Thru.

Bayou Teche Brewing

Our destination: another Harvest Host.

People are laid back around here, to a level I’ve never seen. I called beforehand to tell them we were coming, but no one asked about our rig or our Harvest Host membership card or gave instructions on how to park. “Come on!” was the directive.

When we found the brewery/bottling facility/taproom/woodoven pizza kitchen and parked in front of a huge Class A RV (a bus), I just had to run in to investigate.

A young, bone-thin guy in an apron and short dreads told me in accented English that we could park over in the next lot, no problem. It looked like an abandoned lot for a closed coffee roaster, so I asked again, and with a laugh he said yes, park anywhere we like.

Oh, we’re so amusing, we uptight out-of-towners!

So we moved from the hot full-sun lot with the other rv to the shaded one, and we didn’t even have to unhitch.

Across the road

Of course I wanted to go drink beer right away, and Tracy in his wisdom thought we should wait. It’s beer, so we went with my plan.

Oddly, all the million IPAs they have on tap tasted weak. “Where’s the hops?” But Tracy’s two porters were excellent, and my tart beer was good enough.

Banjo was very excited but managed to settle under our table …. just when a storm rolled in. So we picked up our beers and the last of our Cajun sausage pizza and bolted for the trailer for a game of gun rummy.

That’s a benefit of living in a brewery parking lot! (Or coffee roaster, wherever the heck we are.)

And when the rain stopped, we walked our pint glasses back and decided on just one more each.

We had the beer garden to ourselves, except for the staff of 20-year-olds who came out briefly during a break and laughed around a table, smoking weed (my guess), and dancing a little and chatting in patois.

Now we’re back in the sweaty trailer (no electricity in the parking lot and all window shades drawn because we’re right along a country road that people fly on, with a break between about 2am and 4am: the drinkers and the workers, and the poor sods who are both today).

I didn’t sleep but Tracy did, and he’s the one driving us to southern Mississippi today. We both wish we had more time in Louisiana. To eat at roadside shacks. To explore the bayous. To try to figure out what the brewery worker is saying with a laugh.

Okay, you guys stay safe. And duh, vote if you haven’t already.

4 thoughts to “Beer on the Bayou”

  1. “And all the small business names start with the owner’s name. ” Preferred roads and towns.
    Franchises be gone!