Yankee on the Bayou Part Trois

Before I get to the main event, I want to pay tribute to my mother, the award-winning, best-selling novelist Ann Petry, on the anniversary of her death in 1997. (For those of you keeping track, it’s still April 28 here.)

With that, here’s the next installment of my bayou voyage. And I’ve updated Part Deux with an undated photo of Uncle Fisher. He lived to be about 90.

October 25 – Wednesday

A frustrating day off from research. Went to the library, but there were too many people, and the books I needed were missing. A bunch of old white women and one man glared at me. The man said, “Lotta people in here today.” I left.

Got directions to the post office  I wound up at a bowling alley [in a shopping center] where a class of high school students occupied a few lanes. Maybe they were learning math? From there I went to the grocery store down the road from Mickey D’s, then to a loan agency. That guy knew where the p.o. was, which turned out to be only about a mile from the hotel. People here are really bad with directions!

Since I had eaten a huge breakfast, I wasn’t hungry for lunch and so went back to the hotel and called Daddy.

In the p.m. I visited Avery Island with my friends from dinner the night before. It’s a company town. Everyone pays $.50 to enter the grounds of the plant and gardens [over a little bridge with a toll house.] I assume the big house is the residence of the present McIlhenny. The tour was truncated because the employees (except for the field workers, all black of course) were attending the funeral of a former co-worker.


We took a fabulous driving tour of the Jungle Gardens. There was this small log moving rather quickly against the flow of the current. I saw eye bulges. It was a baby ’gator. Farther along, here an egret, there a heron, here, there and everywhere baby ’gators along the banks of lagoons and in the bayou.

The star attraction, a Buddha given to a McI. ancestor, is encased in glass, nestled into the beginning of the camellia gardens. The car in front stopped just short of the exit. The woman passenger jumped out and then gave a thumbs up as she jumped back in. We saw, disappearing through the brush and bamboo, a deer, and then another.

The bird sanctuary was empty (wrong time of year), but we saw moss and holly, a variation that looks more vine than shrub, also giant oaks. Why do their trunks grow crooked? Overall the gardens are beautiful. The only down side is that the biggest population is mosquitoes. I had visions of malaria, West Nile, encephalitis as I resisted scratching.

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