There is a monument in Franklin to the confederate fallen of the civil war. It’s the first we’ve seen. I realise that it’s a contentious subject, but we’re better to remember the reason than to forget the fight.
We travelled down West Main Street past stretches of French colonial homes shaded under trees dripping in moss and history. Living in ghost of former times, we wondered what stories these trails tell. Slow carriages and brass bands encouraging lines of young men in a trial they thought was right, history and the victors delivered a different destiny.
Riding riverways and the Teche bayou in the morning light. Silence but for the steel tack in my tyre, with its rhythmic click, click, click. Like the passage of an old engine on the line. I was reluctant to remove its fragile promise of retained pressure. We soon made the Morgan City expressway. Click drowned in the hot thunder of another passing truck.
Crossing the Atchafalaya to Whiskey point then trailing south through broken ship yards with its parallel worlds of rusting ruin and strip bars. Nothing ever change. Boarders between worlds are always places of interest and debauchery. Frontiers of human connection.
Then there is this bridge. Like a forced ripple on a hot rail, it bent skyward over a warm river with the Proud Mary at berth at its festering shore. We rode up a shallow levy with weeded waters at its banks. Finally we saw him. Smiling up at us from the shallows. All black steel and slow. A ‘Gator’ at least nine feet long. Handsome and brave. I think we were as happy to see him as he was eager to see us. He wasn’t the first that day.
Backroads to Thibodaux
We felt we’d found the true bayou. Warm wetland all a slumber. Things are slow here… but slow is a danger, speed is a friend. That one single ten mile road made the whole trip worth it, we had found bayou back roads and secret places of stills and sweet waters.
We got to a Thibodaux at five. Our witching hour. We dove into a small bar called Rene’s. Been around for more than a century and judged by the deaf bar-keep we understood. Six o’clock closing just meant a closed door and wickedness within.We met Gina there, sloshing her way across the sodden floorboards to eventual salvation. Regulars are their own legends in a small town. Her and partner Mike, invited us along to the Amercian legion for supper and stories. Mike was a veteran. Serving as a barber on the DMZ in a Vietnam, wielding clippers and a saw (M60 machine gun) depending on the nature of the day.
We had a wonderful night with generous people and the best keylime pie I’ve ever eaten. Legion 11, you are legends.
There is a levy that runs from the Bourgeois house of soul cooking north to Thibodaux called the Brule Guilllot road. It runs through true southern swamplands, where the humidity draws life from the soul and somewhere in those lazy backwaters is the sound of stills and sure footed gators. A worthy detour.