We had to wake very early this morning to be on one television show and two radio shows, but Jim got to see an amazing Elvis collection at KTDY. Then it was on to the French Press in downtown Lafayette, a restaurant located in a restored printing company building with high ceilings and exposed brick walls. Our menu consisted of homemade organic granola, yogurt and fruit, grits and grillades, a breakfast sandwich dedicated to Saints quarterback Drew Brees that consisted of a fried boudin ball, bacon and cane syrup on a biscuit and the French Press’ take on eggs Benedict, only this time it was a poached egg on top of boudin and French toast topped with gumbo!
University of Louisiana at Lafayette professor Hector Lasala gave us a quick history lesson on Lafayette, then a walking tour of the downtown area. We saw both old and new architecture and Jefferson Street (named for a Broadway actor who lived in the area, not Thomas Jefferson) lined with beautiful bald cypress trees. People who saw us on TV shouted to us on the street.
The tourism folks kept hinting that they had a surprise for us, and they did! They took us to St. Joseph’s Diner, where the homeless are fed daily, plus boxed lunches and other food products are brought to home-bound Lafayette residents. They even donated food and a cash gift to St. Joseph’s in our name.
We stopped briefly to see the revolving Evangeline Maid bread sign next to the bakery, then headed to the 450-year-old St. John’s Oak tree, a massive tree next to St. John’s Cathedral and cemetery.
Lunch was at Don’s Seafood, a restaurant that has been part of the Lafayette landscape for decades. Lafayette Mayor Joey Durel joined us for crawfish bisque, shrimp remoulade, fried alligator and catfish and bread pudding.
The afternoon consisted of a press conference at Vermilionville, a “Cajun Williamsburg” Chef Pat Mould explained to us. Here, a collection of old Cajun buildings are assembled to form a village with docents demonstrating crafts of the early Acadians. Mayor Durel presented us with gifts and made us honorary Cajuns and the Lt. Governor’s Office welcomed us to Louisiana. Chef Mould said of his time with us: “Any opportunity I get to share what we have in Lafayette is not only a pleasure, but a real honor.”
After touring through Vermilionville, we stopped for malts at the Hub City Diner where Elvis is everywhere. There’s even a pelican painted like Elvis called “Pelvis”! Of course we had to don T-shirts and tape a video in front of him.
Our last meal in Lafayette is at Pamplona Tapas Bar & Restaurant and then it’s time to hit the road. It’s a long way to California.
Coming here to Lafayette has been such a pleasure. We hate to leave.