Saturday, November 17, 2012


We drove over seven hours from Texas to Chicot State Park in Ville Platte, Louisiana. I am seriously considering writing to the Louisiana government and suggesting they add a pronunciation key to all of their signs so that people from the rest of the world can figure out how to pronounce all the funky names of EVERYTHING!! For example, the state park we stayed at is pronounced Chi-co state park. And, in Louisiana they pronounce pralines as praw-leens. Almost every town we drove through I had to search Google to see how to pronounce. So, a little note under each name would be very helpful!

We stopped at the first place we could when entering Louisiana, it was the welcome center. We all used the bathrooms then decided to walk down by the water to see if we could find an alligator. As soon as we got down by the water we saw a little gator hanging out on the bank. The girls were so excited and I was terrified. Even though that sucker was small I had this huge fear it would leap out of the water and eat me in one bite! It didn't though and we were able to get a few pictures of him before we finished our drive to the state park.

Entering Louisiana

On the way to Louisiana we had a blow out on the tire. That tire was gone! It was really hard for Rob to change a tire on the side of the highway. Every time a semi drove by the whole trailer would shake and wobble. I was worried it would end up blowing over on the side from the force of the winds of the passing cars. That flat tire set us back about an hour and we were already behind schedule.

Tire Blowout Driving Down the Highway

We made it to our destination after getting lost many times. The state park is located in not the greatest area and it was hard to find because our directions told us to go two miles when we actually needed to drive seven miles down one road. We arrived after the front gate had closed and we were starting to panic a little. A ranger was still in the office and let us in and told us where to go.

Chicot State Park was much more interesting than I expected. Our campsite backed up to a little forest area and a swampy water “hole” as the little boys at the camp ground called it. The park had a few hiking trails but we didn’t have the time to explore them. We did spend time looking in the lake for alligators. At the main bridge we were able to find a small gator hanging out on a branch in the water. We only saw him once despite crossing the bridge many times during our one week stay. One night we tried to ride our bikes to the bridge to see if we could see the gator. It wasn’t really night time yet, it was probably around 4:00 but it got dark really quickly and we kept trying to make it to the bridge. It turns out the bridge was much further than we thought, about three miles, one way. We made it two miles before the creepy forest and gun shots made us turn around.  We also went to the docks to see if we could find any but never did. At the end of the campground there was a path to another part of the lake. It was super swampy. We never found any alligators over there but we did see the smallest frogs I’ve ever seen in my life! They were so tiny I couldn’t even get them on my junky camera. The frogs were probably about the size of a cricket. We also saw a group of deer every time we drove in or out of the park, I assume it was a little family, the deer were always in the same spot, maybe 200 feet before coming to the bridge with the alligator. I have seen more deer during this trip than I have ever in my life, but about half of those I’ve seen have been dead on the side of the road. 
Lake Chicot and the Bridge

Swamp Area near our Campsite

The city of Ville Platte is old, it is obviously poor and it is run down. Apparently there is a problem with saggy pants and loud music because while driving through the town we saw the greatest sign I’ve ever seen!!! The girls really got a kick out of the signs too. Every time we would pass one they would get excited and read it! See the photo below:

Apparently sagging is called "slabbing" in Louisiana

We spent one day driving to New Orleans. It was a three hour drive each way. The drive was interesting. Because so much of Louisiana is water most of the freeways are long bridges. We spent hours driving over bridge after bridge, miles and miles long. The whole time we all were looking below in the water to see if we could spot any alligators. We did see a few but not very many. We saw more turtles than anything else. New Orleans wasn’t as exciting and fun for the kids as we were hoping it would be. We spent a little while driving around and seeing the city then we went down to the French Quarter. Not much for the girls to do down there, it was all shops, bars and clubs. We did buy a praline candy and it was tasty. I will though forever call it a pray-leen not a praw-leen, it’s unnatural for me to say anything else! We walked along the Mississippi river and watched the river boats go by. I don’t think we spent more than an hour or two before deciding to head back to camp.

To and Around New Orleans

The French Quarter
One thing that is strange to me is the cemeteries out in these southern states. The graves look to be above ground. I’m not sure why, I’ve never seen anything like that before. I don’t know why anyone would want to be buried that way but I can only assume it has something to do with hurricanes or flooding????

We had a great time in Louisiana. It was fun to explore the state park we were in. It was also fun to watch Rob try so hard to understand the locals when they spoke!! Since it is hunting season we heard more gun shots than I’ve ever heard in my life! There’s no hunting in the state park but with how loud and how many we heard each day you’d think we were in the middle of South LA!! We also learned the standard uniform for Louisiana residents is camouflage Monday through Friday, and then on Saturdays they were purple and gold to support the LSU football team. On Sundays the whole state is wearing New Orleans Saints gear! The state definitely loves their football and loves to blend into the woods. I don’t know that I’d live in Louisiana but I’d definitely visit there again!!

Night by the Fire

The Group Photo (I don't know why I look so mad??)

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