Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Memo

To: Self
Subject: Never visit an interesting site with little time available. At best, you will see a few intriguing sights, then kick yourself for not allowing more time to study these discoveries and search for more; at worst, you will not know what you missed and, thus, will have no reason to return to discover a if-only-you-had-asked-more-questions-when-you-received-the-recommendation place.

Either way, you lose out on some interesting finds.

Case in Point: In the course of our con-versations with Allen and Winnie (see yesterday's entry), they encouraged us to visit historic Grand Coteau, LA.

"Just take I-49 north toward Opelousas and take the exit toward Grand Coteau on LA 93. This highway goes right through town. Then take the street behind the main street to see a lot of the historic buildings." They also recom-mended that we see the Jesuit Spirituality Center, the Academy of the Sacred Heart, and the street lined wtih live oaks.

Well, a couple of days later, we followed these directions to the businesses (photos above) along Martin Luther King, Jr Drive, Grand Coteau's main street.

We passed Casa Azul (photo 2) with gifts from around the world, studied the antiques on the porch of St. Romaine's Petite Rouge (photo 3), missed breakfast at the Creola Cafe (photo above), and approached the door of our destination, the Kitchen Shop.

But the door was locked, an hour after it was scheduled to open. So, we missed out on Gateau NaNa and café-au-lait, the specialty of the Shop's pastry chef.

We then turned onto Chatrian Street and came upon some of the 70+ properties of archi-tectural or historic significance in the Grand Coteau National Historic District.

From "Grand Coteau is a town situated on what was, some two thousand years ago, the west bank of the Mississippi, not far from where it flows into the Gulf. It is called Grand Coteau, from its situation on a sloping ridge or 'coteau'--not a lofty ridge, but a long one.

"The Grand Coteau Historic District is one of the few primarily rural districts on the National Register of Historic Places."

Walking down Chatrian Street--literally, there were no sidewalks--we were presented with a number of buildings and homes that date to the 1840's and 1850's.

I was able to identify only a couple of the buildings. This is the Sanvald House (c. 1850), built by Theophile Sanvald, a shoemaker and now a private residence.

The Brinkhaus Store (c. 1880) was originally a millinery store and cobbler shop; it is now vacant.

Although we did not see any people around the homes, several appeared well-maintained and welcoming.

The steps or stairway on the front porch of this Acadian cottage leads up to the gar-çonniere, the second floor where the boys slept.

One of the shops on the edge of town had this interesting sign still gracing an exterior wall. On the store's porch were some interesting displays of merchan-dise.

It was unfortunate that we did not see more than half a dozen people on the streets and in the shops. This is too interesting a town not be visited more frequently by more people.

To be continued.

1 comment:

Pat Morgan said...

Thanks for the stroll down memory lane. The Brinkhaus Store was my great-great grandfather's, and I spent a lot of time in Grand Coteau while growing up. Your photos and comments stir fond memories.