Monday, February 28, 2011

Following the Historic Cane River Road (part 2)

Here is the rest of the story from our day trip to Natchitoches.
228 Henry Blvd. - my great-grandparent's house where my grandmother (Frances Thomas Walker) grew up.

My Dad said he remembers staying here as a little boy when his family would visit for the weekend.
 After driving around Natchitoches for a while, we decided it was time to hit the "Old Cane River Road" and see all the countryside and all the beautiful, old plantation homes that line the river.  Here are a few of the sights we saw.

We never could figure out what the name of this place was....but it looked like it came straight from the history books.

One of several old church building we saw as we drove.

One of the slave's houses on the Oakland Plantation grounds.  Over twenty-two original building still stand,  some dating back to the early 1800's.

A side view of the Oakland Plantation main-house.  It had an awesome wrap-around porch that was probably 12 feet deep and 10 feet off the ground and had rocking chairs!

Melrose Plantation, also known as "Yucca Plantation," was a mecca for visiting writers and artists in the early 1900's, including Clementine Hunter, who lived and worked at Melrose for most of her life.  She died in 1988.

Another beautiful, smaller plantation home on the "Cane River Road."  We're not sure of the name of this one either.

Looking up the driveway towards Magnolia Plantation, which was already "closed" for the day.  Supposedly an elderly woman still lives here with a whole bunch of cats, and will only let people see her "clean" rooms.
Well....we drove south until we hit I-49 about 20 miles south of Natchitoches, so we figured it was time to turn towards home and find our way back to Ruston.  I always enjoy taking the "back-roads," so we drove back through Ajax, Coushatta, Ringgold, Fryeburg, Bryceland, Arcadia, and finally made it to Ruston.  All in all, we had a great day of seeing some of our beautiful home state, Louisiana!  Hopefully we'll have a few more journeys to write about soon!

Following the Historic Cane River Road

Well, our latest little road trip wasn't as exciting as Dorothy's following the "yellow brick road," but we definitely enjoyed last Friday's excursion to Natchitoches, LA, where we saw an old fort, ate Natchitoches meat pies, toured a plantation, and found a few Walker-family houses.  The day was absolutely gorgeous with sunshine and a high around 75F.  We left Ruston around 9:30am and headed south on HWY 167 to Winnfield, where we got on US 84 west to Natchitoches.  We arrived a little after 11am, and made a quick drive thru beautiful, historic down town Natchitoches, with its brick paved streets, and French/New Orleans style architecture right on the banks of the Cane River.  We decided to spend some time before lunch at the Fort St. Jean Baptiste museum and really loved the 15-minute video, the exhibits inside the building, and then walked around the rebuilt fort.
Me, in front of Fort St. Jean Baptiste....we were pretty sure an Indian would have had no trouble scaling that wall.

There was a short walk from the museum to the fort.

Amanda, posing in front of the prison...notice how cute she looks with her awesome baby bump!
Next, we went to find some local food.  We had heard how good "The Landing" was, and we were not disappointed.  We ordered some world-famous Natchitoches meat pies, a shrimp po-boy, and crab-cakes with fried green tomatoes!  Yummy!!  We even got to talk with our waiter, who is planning on attending Southern Seminary next fall in Louisville, KY.  When we told him we were fellow seminarians and that we recently returned from Africa, he talked to us for a while about ministry and family and the future of missions.  We enjoyed meeting him and left with a smile on our face from the good food and fellowship.

My beautiful wife, inside "The Landing" restaurant....trying to decide between the Shrimp Po-boy or the Blackened Catfish Opelousas.

Brick streets with the Cane River just below

traffic was a bit congested on the narrow streets, but we enjoyed walking around

A typical building front found on Front St. in downtown Natchitoches, LA

After lunch, and a little shopping in downtown, we decided to try to locate a few of my family's old houses, where my grandmother and great-grandmother grew up.  My dad's mom (Frances Thomas Walker) grew up in Natchitoches, and we had the address of the house where she spent her childhood.  We also had the street names of a few other houses where relatives lived and where my Dad remembers spending time as a kid.  We used our handy-dandy GPS and in no time had located them.  We took some pics, and enjoyed showing them to my Dad and hearing his stories of what things were like "back in the good ol' days."  He wants to give us a personal tour of Natchitoches one day soon....that would be fun to hear all his old family stories.

(to be "part 2")

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Moving Bridges

Well...yet another LONG gap in updating our blog.  But have no fear...these last couple of months have been quite unusual for the Modern Nomads.  People kept asking us if we would change the name of our blog once we returned to the States, but I think we have been more nomadic in the last two months than we ever were in Africa. :) :)  We are blessed to have parents who love us and allow us to stay in their home for a week or two at a time.  We have affectionately deemed our moving times as "Moving Bridges."  And we have had some fun along the way...

When we are at my (Amanda) parents' home, we get to wake up every morning to two little girls.  My mother keeps my nieces while my sister is at work.  There are days where we hear Taylor (the oldest) standing outside our door wondering if we are awake.  It's all quite precious...sometimes!  :) Then I normally go in and eat breakfast with her while she insists on having exactly what "Aunt Mimi" is having.  She even drinks coffee on the mornings I drink coffee.  If I eat cereal, she eats cereal.  Then we say good morning to Makaylan, and I answer a million questions about how Makaylan is doing and why she won't "come out" and play :) :)  I think God is giving us a little taste of what the future holds for us :) :) 

Aunt Mimi with Emmalane and Taylor (about 6 months old)

Uncle Chris, Aunt Mimi, and Landon

When we are at Chris parents' home, it is quite different.  The house is normally quieter, but we enjoy them just the same.  I think my favorite thing about his parents is the "boyish" look his dad gets when we first arrive.  He always looks at us and says: "It's way more fun having kids around."  And of course, we are "the kids." :) :)  Chris and my relationship was SO fast that I didn't get to REALLY know his family before we got married.  These last two months have been such a blessing for me because it has allowed me the opportunity to sit and talk with them, hear their heart, and become just as comfortable with my new family as I am with my family of origin.  Last week we even had a visit from Craig, Nicole, and Landon.  We hadn't been around them in a long time, so it was a blessing all being under one roof for a few days. 

Chris and I are SO blessed to have grown up in stable, Christian families with parents who model for us what a godly marriage looks like.  We are forever thankful for their outpouring of love and support for us during our nomadic period.  In years to come, we will definitely look upon these last few months with smiles and gratitude!!  We love you guys!!!