We decided to make a stop in Lake Charles instead. Having never been here before it would be new territory for us. We had forgotten that Hurricane Laura had passed through here in August of last year with winds of over 140 miles per hour. We saw plenty of buildings in Lake Charles that were still in bad shape and even one of the large casinos still had roof repairs going on a year later. Lake Charles has numerous oil refineries and businesses that support the off shore drilling rigs. We had to try three RV parks before we found one that had an empty space for us. We were the only tourists in the park everyone else worked in the refineries or oil fields.
We took the Creole Nature Trail south towards the Gulf Coast and passed through the Sabine National Wild Life Refuge. The terrain was very similar to that of the Everglades, a never-ending river of grass. As we entered the town of Cameron, we passed a church that was almost completely destroyed. The light pole in the parking lot was bent all the way over and the top was touching the ground. Almost all of the homes were gone and in their place were RV trailers. The only building of any size that was still standing was the library which as you can see below was built to withstand the storm. The oil refineries in the area were all up and running and at least these people have jobs. We took the Jeep on its first ferry ride across the inland water way to Cameron National Wild Life Refuge where we did not see many birds.\ but the water lilies were in full bloom. When we stopped to look at a small alligator in the ditch we had two more join him and all three came right at the Jeep. we are sure that people are feeding them and that's why they came to us.
Back in Lake Charles we were stunned to see the former bank and office building in downtown with many boarded up windows. They are still deciding whether to fix it or tear it down. We then had an early dinner of Steamed Shrimp for Josie, no surprise there. I had Crawfish Etouffee and we split a Boudin Ball. It was made of pork sausage and rice with plenty of Cajun spices rolled up into a ball and deep fried. It was served with a spicy dipping sauce that was heavy on the fillet, a Cajun herb made from ground sassafras leaves. On our last night in town we again treated ourselves to the local cuisine. Josie ordered the crab cakes but the crab boats did not go out today because of the stormy weather, so she ended up with, you guessed it, the shrimp. I had the Shrimp Crayfish Gumbo with rice and a Pistolette , a French roll that is lightly fried and stuffed with a creamy crawfish cheese sauce. We finished up our meal with a fantastic bread pudding with bourbon sauce and topped with ice cream.