Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Welcome to Delcambre

Our Welcome Committee
Delcambre rhymes with Welcome!  It took us a few tries to get it, but I think after the welcome we received here... we've GOT it!

It's a bit out of the way... just over 8 miles up the Bayou Petite Anse and Bayou Carlin.  But North Pier Marina in Delcambre, LA. is WELL worth it!  Be sure to let them know you're coming so you get the full effect!

You Can't Miss IT!
We planned our anchorages and stops with a visit to Delcambre in mind.  We first heard of the growing popularity of this town from our Cruising friends.  Coincidentally there was also a write up in Cruising Outpost (second edition I think) about it and that sealed it!  We're going!

I had no need to be nervous about navigating up the Bayous.  The depths were over 10 ft. the whole way and there was plenty of room to maneuver.  We enjoyed the wildlife and scenery and this new experience.  It seemed that we were rounding the last bend with the bridge and shrimp boats in view all too soon..

Plenty of Room in Delcambre
I had another new experience in store for me as we docked.  The winds from behind were stronger than I had realized, no sweat as I turned the boat around to dock head to wind... But what I hadn't counted on was the opposing current, which quickly took the stern back out before we could get a line ashore.  Another pass (OK, maybe two more) and we were securely docked and receiving the warmest welcome we will EVER get!

The town of Delcambre realizes that it's off the beaten path.  That's why they go to such a lot of trouble to make those of us who DO find them feel so welcome.  Katherine and Jim are Cruisers... so they KNOW what we like!

The welcome basket was overflowing with food, spices, information... everything we want, and nothing we don't!  After they got us docked, they left us alone to finish settling in... then it was off to Dream Away for happy hour!

Katherine and Jim have been all over in their years as Cruisers and Liveaboards.  They have a LOT to say!  We could have talked forever!

That's a Piratical Feline...
While Bruce and Jim talked about guy stuff, Katherine and I bonded over our mutual love of felines... and planned the events of the next couple of days.

Katherine and I found that we have several mutual friends.  What a small world this turns out to be...

I gave Katherine complete creative control of our days here... She was full of ideas and I want do to it ALL!

See more pics in the slide show below.
Bruce and I left her to plan and we took off on our bikes for a tour of the town.  As Katherine warned... it wouldn't take too long!

We hadn't been off the boat in three days and needed to get our blood pumping, so we rode the narrow, quiet streets of Delcambre until we came upon the town cemetery.  You KNOW how we love to poke around cemeteries... We spent some time there walking the aisles, marveling at the rich marble and ornate markers.  There were several common names, many Delcambres... It was a beautiful place.

The marina was still and quiet
By the time we returned, Katherine had a whole itinerary laid out for our approval.  We had rum drinks aboard Dream Away and talked well past dinnertime.  We would meet in the morning and head out on a full day's excursion to see the sights of the surrounding towns.

The first stop on our outing the next day, was the Konriko Rice Mill.  We drove to New Iberia and joined other tourists for a brief orientation and tour of the mill.

The Mill is the oldest working mill in the US and is run by a total of 17 people.  The site was admitted to the Historical Site Registry in the 80's and it seems as if time stands still within these tin walls.

The Packaging Is All Done Right Here
The floors, walls and machinery are all original.  If something breaks, they figure out how to fabricate a repair.  There aren't Rice bin fixers coming out of the colleges these days...

Natural Pest Control
The operation is very simple, down to the natural pest control methods still in use to this day...

Rice dust hung in the air... we got to see a big bin in action shaking the bran off the rice.  Who knew that making rice could be so interesting?

Louisiana and Texas are third and fourth in the country for rice production.  This little mill sells to distributors for shipping all over the US and Canada.  Their products are wholesome and healthy.  Look for the brand in stores or order online.  We bought all we could store...

We had a nice lunch, lots of authentic home cooking' Cajun style... at a place called Victor's Cafe.  The food was delicious and I was amazed at how they can make familiar foods so uniquely Cajun...

View from the second story back porch of the garden and Bayou Teche.
Onward to a tour of "The Shadows on the Teche".  It was here that our appreciation of all things "Acadia" was born.  The rich and heartbreaking history of these people, the Acadians (shortened to Cajuns) unfolded before our eyes.

We were not allowed to take pictures inside the home, so you'll have to go there yourself to see it.  We were fascinated by this glimpse into the lives of olden times.  The Shadows enjoys a history documented by four generations, passed down in the form of thousands of personal letters, plantation records and receipts.  They provide an unparalleled true representation of how life was on the plantation in it's heyday.

The epic poem: Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie describes the heartbreaking history and story of the plight of the Acadians, the original Cajuns who made this part of Louisiana what it is.

We learned of all four generations of families who have lived within the walls and walked these gardens.  It was awesome to walk the lawns and imagine life as it was for these people.  Go see it!

We drove back to Delcambre as the afternoon wore on... We stopped at Shawn's Cajun Meats to shop and to thank Shawn for the AWESOME gift we found in our Welcome Basket!  We REALLY like gifts of the edible kind!  Remember I had one failed attempt at buying Boudin before... Well, thank goodness for that!  I found plenty of information and variety here at Shawn's.  My only regret is that we don't have more freezer space!

We had an hour to ourselves back at the Marina to rest (read: find places for the meat and rice goodies we had purchased), before we met back at the car to be on to our dinner destination!  I know, why didn't we just stay at the boat and eat BOUDIN!?  We went to the neighboring town of Abbeyville, LA to eat at another local institution... Shucks!  We dove into their Sassy Shrimp and the Shrimp Po-Boy is second to none... full of the very different Vermilion Bay's Sweet White Shrimp found only here!  I've eaten a LOT of fresh Gulf Shrimp in my lifetime, but none as sweet and delicate as these...We even took home a bottle of Sassy Sauce for later...  YUM!  I think we need to get out of here before I gain those lost "Libras" back!

We collapsed into bed with full tummies this night...  My head was spinning with all the experiences of the day.  What could we possibly do tomorrow to top this!?

Well, our day started with Bruce working feverishly to install the two new batteries we got from Mike at Le Blanc's Oil Company.  We had called ahead and made arrangements for Mike to have two new AGM 4D batteries available for delivery to the boat upon our arrival.  The guys showed up and helped Bruce get them onto the boat and took the old batteries (over 100 lbs each)away.  Chances are, if you need something repaired or replaced while you're in Delcambre, Katherine can hook you up!

All of that cut our second sight seeing day short.  We were only able to have lunch and one other stop... so we combined the two at the Rip Van Winkle Gardens.  I was starved so we stopped at the Cafe first...  We were there at 2:00 and they closed at 3:00 so the place was emptying fast.

We got the primo table in the front left corner with a stunning view of sparkling Lake Peigneur.  This benign looking lake was hiding an unbelievable secret...  Take a few minutes and watch the video link...

I think we'll be buying our fish TOO!

We strolled the quiet gardens well past the season for flowers and tried to imagine what must have been going through the minds of the people here on that day...  All of it made me a little nervous to walk atop of the salt dome that is Jefferson Island...

We took the tour of the old home and found once again, no photos allowed inside.  This is a true pity for you as the home was filled with original furnishings and the hand painted walls alone are worth a thousand words...  The charming tour guide took us through the home and pointed out so many unique items I have no no words to describe it.

One strange thing happened while we were inside viewing the original paintings by Joseph Jefferson.  He was an actor, famous for his Rip Van Winkle, and thus the gardens are named...  His painting was displayed in one room of the mansion and many are known for hiding animals within the brushstrokes on the canvas.  The tour guide pointed out many of these and I pointed out a face, staring back at me from the frame.  She said there wan't any such face.  I outlined it for her and she was amazed that this face had never been discovered before.  She was astounded at my discovery.  It was a ghostly face and I wonder if she'll be able to find it again after we left...

Sadly we had no time left for more site seeing and returned to the marina to prepare for our departure in the morning.  I can't say how much Katherine and Jim have enriched our experience of this marvelous place.  Thank you to the City of Delcambre for this opportunity.  The town itself is a simple place.  But the people and the nearby attractions make it a most AWESOME (for lack of a better word) and Must-See stop on your passage along the Louisiana ICW.  These are just SOME of the things to do in Southern Louisiana...GO.

See all the photos from our visit to Delcambre in the slideshow below:


  1. Great post - thanks for sharing! Mark is actually from New Iberia, so it's great to see how much you enjoyed the area.

    1. Ah New Iberia was so pretty. We are loving the area and the rich history. I just wish I could pack it all into my brain!! Oh, and I got to see the Tobasco factory after all after our little debacle... Thanks for reading!