South Louisiana Bucket List – 5 Cajun Country Destinations You Must See Before You Die
When people speak of "bucket lists" they usually speak of wild adventures or out of the ordinary things they would like to do before they die. While sky diving, traveling to Australia and swimming with dolphins does have a certain appeal, I think there are some very noteworthy moments that can be found less than an afternoon's drive away from where you live. These are things that I found to be quite comforting, stimulating, and uniquely inspiring in a very satisfying way. What made them that much more impressive was the fact that they were here in my own backyard.
I have often mentioned on the air how much I love Magdalen Square. I love the huge trees. I love the big branches that lean to the ground. I love the cooling shade and the sound the breeze makes on an autumn afternoon. If you're fortunate enough to be in the square at dusk the combination of crickets and church bells give a surrealistic ambiance to what may be the most peaceful place on Earth. It's not flashy, it's not high tech, it's simply a special place to reconnect with those who have relaxed beneath the branches before me.
I have had the pleasure of performing on the stage of this magnificent venue. To see the Grand Opera House of the South from the outside tells nothing of the stories within. This place was once a hub of entertainment when the railroad between New Orleans and Houston was king. Within its walls there is the echo of laughter from vaudeville comedians, notes from world class performers and the home grown voices of local performers as well.
The acoustics in the Opera House are such that an on stage whisper might be heard in the far back of the house.
The foyer and grand entrance hall are elegant and inviting. There is truly no place quite like this magnificent structure.
To glide silently along the still waters of Lake Martin in a kayak or canoe is time well spent. One might not think of a swampy wetland area as a place you must see, but Lake Martin is different. It is alive with the sounds of birds and bugs. There is the occasional splash of a frog, or was that a gator?
The broken sunlight peaking through the overhead canopy of foliage provides a magical sparkle on the water as you drift in what seems to be a different dimension of time. There seems to be no hurry on Lake Martin. The creatures and the leaves all dance in unison with the breeze in a most magical place that can only be experienced from the inside out.
To make this even more special you need to be at Poche's on the weekend before Halloween. On the last Saturday in October one of the most relaxing fishing and camping areas in the world becomes a huge old fashioned Halloween party. While the late October moon shines down on the waters and the sound of Classic Country Saturday Night fills the air, a village of vagabond strangers become friends. People from just down the street and people from several time zones away share a cocktail or cold beer together. They pass out candy to costumed children. Campfires and grills fill the crisp air with tempting fragrances of sausage, burgers and gumbo. It's a magical place that once you've experienced, the memory will never leave you.
Most of us have driven by this huge expanse of green space in the heart of Lafayette for years. It wasn't until a proposed land swap thrust The Horse Farm into the public consciousness did we really begin to understand what an amazing treasure we had in our midst. In the heart of the busiest part of town was this amazing green space. It was as if a blank canvas had been dropped onto an easel and we the people were given the paint brush to create a landmark that would become a land mark and legacy for our community. The Horse Farm as it stands now is breathtaking. There are trees with inviting shade and there is plenty of room to run in the grass. What this place will be in five, ten or twenty years is the stuff that dreams are made of. I hope someday to share a walk in this park with my grandchildren and see what memories we can make.