The Missing Letterbox Blues
Unlike some of the other places we've visited on this trip, Lafayette promised a good supply of letterboxes, so we decided to begin the day on a treasure hunt. First we went to Vermillionville, a living history museum and folk life center. It mattered not that we arrived before they opened because the letterbox was hidden near the parking area outside the fee area. Alas, it was not there.
No worries. There were plenty more to search for. Next we headed to Girard Park, a 33-acre haven of recreation in the city. A series of three boxes was planted there by Cheekee Monkey, a very talented Tennessee carver. Certain we checked the intended locations, we found not 3, not 2, not 1, but none of them.
Fine. Another series of three boxes by Lionsmane, a New Mexico letterboxer, awaited at Acadian Village, a private cultural park. After striking out at the previous locations, we were excited to find just one of them. Again, we were confident that we had searched the places the planter described. That left us with a 1 for 7 record for the morning. Not our most successful boxing experience, but we were seeing a bit of Lafayette in the course of our search anyway.
At our earlier stop at Vermillionville, a similar historical Cajun cultural center, we noticed that they were hosting a Cajun music jam in the afternoon. So we made our way back there after lunch to take in some authentic local music.
Opened in 1990, almost twenty years after Acadian Village, Vermillionville is a living history and folklife park which seeks to preserve the cultural heritage of Acadian, Creole and Native American people living in the area between 1765 and 1890. Located on Bayou Vermillion, the 23-acre site also offers a look at restored historic houses. Costumed interpreters are on hand to educate visitors about life in this era.
|Joel Pautz in the village ecole|
Still waiting for the jam to start at Vermillionville's Performance Center, we wandered around the artificial hamlet, checking out other historic structures. Typical of Cajun cottages of the period, La Maison Acadienne, an 1830s house, once served as the schoolhouse on a local plantation.
|La Maison Acadienne|
You can judge for yourself. Here's a sample of the 97-year-old Milton singing and playing his august fiddle. The song, "Une Grosse Erreur," relates the regrets of a man who leaves his wife and then, seeing her happy with someone else, realizes he has made "une grosse erreur" (a big mistake).
Tomorrow we'll head back east to Baton Rouge and check out the Louisiana State Capitol.
- Miles driven: 38
- Letterboxes: 1 for 7
- Authentic Acadian villages visited: 2
- Weather: sunny, 48° to 79°
- Cajun musicians: 16
More Photos from Today
|Maison Buller at Vermillionville (note external staircase to garçonnière)|
|A spot to relax on the back porch, Vermillionville house|