Feb16 (RD14) (AFHD38)
Another not-quite-in-the-routine-day here on the ST. We knew from the beginning of the ride that we were going to be riding fairly close to where my Camino Amigo, Fr Ken Domingue, lived in Leonville, LA. We planned the exit from the ST route as close as we were going to get to that location, and loaded me and bike in STella and headed that way. It was not much of a “detour” at all in the giant scheme of things (around 50 miles), and would have been unthinkable to come this close and not drop in on the amiable Padre. We had enjoyed such great camaraderie four years ago on the Camino de Santiago and have been keeping tabs on each other ever since. So, off we went, to St. Leo the Great Catholic Church, in Leonville, Fr Ken’s parish since 2007.
Knowing that we would have a fairly compressed schedule for the day, we had asked Fr Ken if he could show us to the most totally authentic Cajun cuisine in the area, since we are “smack dab” in the center of this ethnically rich Arcadian descendant bayou country. He was happy to oblige and gave us a ride to Arnaudville to the home of The Little Big Cup. He certainly did not disappoint! For starters, the location was right ON the Bayou Fusilier, and our table overlooked said bayou in full technicolor sunlight. Fr Ken knew exactly what he wanted and having described it, I was sold as well:The “Kenneth (owner) Cajun “stand-up” Po Boy”. Cathy chose the “Special” for the day when she saw one being carried to a table nearby. I hesitate to even post these pictures, since I so often remark about OTHER people posting pictures of food, but I’m going to anyway.
The satisfying sounds we made eating these would have been embarrassing in any other eatery, but here, they were almost expected. A locally made brew made the experience all the more enjoyable. Fr Ken stated it would be “impolite” not to have the triple-berry cake and dark coffee to finish off the feast. Well, we can’t have that, can we?
Fr had brought along his trusty lap top that had his Camino slide show loaded and we enjoyed going through all those pictures and laughing/remembering/groaning at all the shared memories. He also gave us the news that he is returning to the Camino, via the Camino Portegues and is leaving the US on Easter Sunday accompanied by some friends from New Zealand that he met on the Camino Frances in 2013. We were so happy he is able to do this again. It simply could not have been a more enjoyable repast.
Going back to the very comfortable rectory in Leonville, Cathy expressed an interest in walking through the nearby cemetery. The Grotto shown here was constructed to be a site for the “Year of Mercy” announced by Pope Francis and celebrated throughout the world last year. We signed our name to the many-paged registry and wished we had a passport to have it stamped with the logo of St. Leo.
We strolled through the very old, very French/Acadian cemetery with its above-ground crypts and mausoleums and French and Spanish surnames. The older part of the grounds held the remains of many Confederate soldiers killed during the Civil War.
It was an all too quick ending to a wonderful visit, with promises all around to stay in touch.
We drove STella back to the ST route and got in a few more biking miles before the necessity of finding a campsite got us all loaded up again. We were on our “third strike and you’re out” attempt at finding said place when we found Allen at Pine Grove estates. His facility is geared for more permanent residents, but between his Army Armored background and my USMC background, we found enough “common ground” that he welcomed us aboard. Good people. Everywhere.
Tomorrow will be Texas!