It's an amazing feeling when we meet a family who resembles what you grew up with. Unconditional love and an open door policy is something I know well and hope I always give to those I know. The Sonnier Family from Lake Arthur, Louisiana opened their home to us on the word of their son Byron who we knew from Birmingham. We were on our way to Texas and had just left Baton Rouge so Lake Arthur was a perfect half way point. We got into town late afternoon and the sun was setting on the Bayou. Very quickly we realized this was a part of Louisiana we had not seen yet. Lake Arthur is set is Southwest Louisiana and is way more Cajun than the East side. The Sonnier Family instantly was ready to show us the real Louisiana. They brought us to a traditional Cajun spot called D.I.'s. Now when I say traditional I am not just talking about crawfish I am talking about a straight up Cajun band, who sang in french and had a stand-up bass and fiddle. We sat at a giant table with more food than I could imagine eating, watching local couples dance. The sense of community here was amazing, so many families here eating and dancing and catching up with one another.
We got back to the Sonnier's house and as we were about to go to bed so we could get an early start they offered to show us the real Louisiana if we wanted to stay one more day. We had to get to Texas but we could afford one more day for sure.
The next morning we got up early and walked around town with Hank. The town was so quiet and the water on the lake so still. The Sonnier's first took us to Leo's childhood home. This was something out of the movies for sure. This old Southern farm was littered with old alligator bones and the most beautiful donkey's I have ever seen. The Sonnier's Louisiana tour took us to the Gulf of Mexico where we watched Hank first encounter with the ocean. We could have watched him chase the waves for hours. We ate Boudin, hurricanes, saw real alligators it was amazing.
Then as we drove down a dirt road we came across the most amazing thing to date I have ever seen. An alligator graveyard. Thousand and Thousands of bones, skulls and teeth. I can't explain why it was there or what it was. Leo told us it had been there forever and before the hurricane, the collection was much much larger. Even when I look back at these photos I can't believe we were there.
We had to be getting on our way, Texas was calling our name and we had tickets for Willie for Jerimiahs birthday. Before we left we got a little help from some extends family welding up our ever problematic sway bar.
It was a sad goodbye, we loved this town and we loved this family. We hope to make it back soon to visit.