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Ellen’s Amazing Adventure

Our five days of babysitting duties completed, we restarted our day with “second breakfast.” It being Carnival season and all, we chose this as our sumptuous second breakfast treat.

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King Cake from Cake Cafe–ours was apple and goat cheese, the cafe’s specialty

Then we hit the road to Bay St. Louis, a small town on the Mississippi Gulf Coast forty-five minutes from New Orleans where we are building a beach house (have I told you that?). We pinned down the paint palette for the outside of the house (for joy, for joy!)

Olympic Sapphire paint for the beach house
Olympic Sapphire paint for the beach house, which is a deeper indigo than this photo conveys

and we toted home wood samples for the kitchen island and kitchen table—don’t you love physical objects? There’ll be no cabinets in the house, except lower cabinets around the stove. We’ll be using a simply designed island and a table by the refrigerator, both wood.

American Cedar (bottom) and Peruvian Walnut (top) for kitchen table and kitchen island
American Cedar (left) and Peruvian Walnut (right) for kitchen table and kitchen island, respectively—unstained, clear finished. I love beautiful wood.

On our way to and from Bay St. Louis, we took Chef Menteur Highway/90 East. This route is slightly longer than the I-10 route we usually follow, but it passes Lake St. Catherine (the shallow lake between Lake Ponchartrain to the north and Lake Borgne to the south)  and the Rigolets (the strait connecting Lake St. Catherine to Lake Borgne), all of which eventually open to the Gulf. These water routes into New Orleans have shaped the city’s history, including its age of pirates and the devastating surge from Hurricane Katrina. As a result, they figure prominently in the novel I’m working on, Jazzy and the Pirate, so I was all-out, nerd-alert, goober-head excited about what I was seeing. Here’s just a taste:

The return trip home immediately past Fort Pike, the Rigolets, and Lake St. Catherine
The return trip home immediately past Fort Pike, the Rigolets, and Lake St. Catherine

As if this weren’t cool enough, I’m reading aloud about Fort Pike, the turn off for which we had just passed, and I’m making up stories that would convince the powers-that-be to let me into the by-appontment-only attraction (“I’m a famous writer working on a novel about Fort Pike” (the honey) or “I’m a blogger and I’ll talk bad about you if you don’t let me in” (the vinegar)) when I mentioned to my husband that Fort Pike might be the actual local of Carcosa from the final scene of the first season of True Detective.

If you didn’t watch True Detective, it’s gonna be hard for me to describe the eerily disturbing, grass-covered, tunnel-riddled, brick ruin used in the finale. The show’s first season was set in New Orleans, and I knew they’d used an old fort for the deranged killer’s hangout, and I was thinking it might be Fort Pike.

So I’m thumbing the phone, researching, and I correct myself, “No, that was Fort Macomb, and it’s closed to tourists because it was badly damaged by Katrina.” I relay this information at the same time my husband points left.

Yep. Fort Macomb.

Fort Macomb
Fort Macomb

My brilliant husband took a radical turn, and I ran from the car, passing along the way the dramatic evidence of why the fort was closed to the viewing public

The damaged walkway
The damaged walkway

I would’ve given anything to get to the other side where the arches and tunnels are revealed, but not being Matthew McConaughey (un, huh, I’m including a link to Matthew McConaughey for the two of you who don’t know who he is), I had to be grateful for what I could getIMG_2939

and I wasIMG_2942

We left this riveting landscape

The Irish Bayou outside New Orleans proper
The Irish Bayou outside New Orleans proper

and continued on home. Oh, and on this amazing adventure? I was wearing the jeans I mended using the Japanese Boro mending technique I’m only learning to do but am wildly excited about.

My boro repaired jeans
My boro repaired jeans

All in all, a fantastic day.

 

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