Swamp People are the Best People


Usually, the Terrors and I head out for an “Historic Road Trip” for spring break. I like driving in the car with them, listening to audio books, listening to the bickering, and then ending up somewhere with tons of stuff I want to see and just enough stuff for Terrors to be interested in to keep them from staging a mutiny.  This year I wasn’t sure what we were going to do. We could spend more time out East with our friends, but they weren’t on spring break and then you just become a problem instead of a guest. So where to go…where to go…?

The DH decided he needed to get away as well, which was nice for many reasons, not the least of which was we could now go CAMPING!

The DH and I are huge RV fans. We have a small camper and love to take it out with the kids. Someday, when the kids have moved out, we intend to be full-timers. I have never taken the Terrors camping on my own for spring break before because I simply cannot back up the camper. I lack the whatever it is in the brain that can do this feat of mental and physical dexterity. I don’t even like to pull it into a gas station, for fear of getting stuck. The DH, however, can back a camper into ANY SPOT! It’s truly a gift. I am in awe of his awesomeness.

So now we decided to go camping. But where?

Our damp, snowy, cold, overcast winter left us longing for warmth and sunshine. The DH checked the weather around the States and came up with Louisiana being the warmest place in driving distance for that week.

Now, if you know me, you know I LOVE New Orleans. I love the food, love the little bit of French, love the art and architecture. I was thrilled with this idea. The true brain storm, however, belonged to the DH: “Why don’t we stay out in the swamp and see if we can go on a tour. What about Pierre Part, where they film Swamp People?”

Seriously? The DH was going to take me to (hopefully) meet my “boyfriend in the TV” Mr. Troy Landry? Was he nuts? Could I pack fast enough? Even the boys couldn’t believe that this was how we were going to spend historic road trip. It was a spring break miracle.

We dug the RV out of its snow pack, set a land speed record for getting it prepped and ready to go, and headed out.

The first day was pretty uneventful. A lot of NPR on the radio, a lot of iStuff in the backseat. The next day was the interesting one. Ever drive across a 5 mile bridge over a lake in thunderstorms, 10 yard visibility and wind gusts up to 50 mph? Wish we hadn’t.

We spent our first day introducing the Terrors to New Orleans. We fed them alligator, walked them through the square, let them make a mess out of themselves with bags full of powdered sugar they call beignets.

First bite of gator sausage

First bite of gator nuggets

Tuesday was the BIG DAY. We were going on a swamp tour with Captain Vic. Capt. Vic was recommended by the good people at Duffy’s. If you watch Swamp People you’ll know that this is the gas station/quick mart/seafood storage place that the Landry family owns. Who else would you go to for a swamp tour? They hooked us up with Capt. Vic and we couldn’t wait to bake in some swamp sunshine and hopefully spy a few gators.

I had never been to a swamp before. It is indescribably beautiful. Crowds of cypress trees standing knees deep in thick water. Green everywhere. You should really take the time to see it. If you are in Chicago there is a great one in Southern Illinois you can check out. We saw two gators that were about 12 feet or larger, and Capt. Vic made the comment that he wasn’t sure if we were circling the gators, or they were circling us. At one point a gator we were watching splashed and disappeared: Capt. Vic couldn’t get us out of there fast enough. That’s when it hits you that you are not, in fact, on a Disney ride and these animals could flip the boat and gorge on Terror nuggets.

Every time we got in the car the boys would beg us to go to Duffy’s. They were sure that they would get to meet Troy Landry if they just went there enough times. Like you had to stalk him for a certain amount of hours before they’d let him out of the back. We needed gas, so we went there. And wouldn’t you know, the people out front told us that Jacob was inside.

Jacob is Troy’s son, also a cast member on the show, and he couldn’t have been sweeter.

Jacob Landry

Jacob Landry

He was helping out in the store when we walked in. I told him he had some huge fans in the Terrors, and he dropped everything to talk to them. They told him about the gators we saw. He teased them about not noting which ponds they were in so he could track them down in gator season. He signed all their hats, posed for pictures, and MADE THEIR DAY.

As great as this interaction was, it only made them more desperate to meet Troy. Not that I was against that idea, but I had no intention of spending our entire vacation at Duffy’s.

The next day was the Tabasco factory, and the next morning we packed up to leave Pierre Part for good. The Terrors were BEGGING us to make one last trip to Duffy’s. Please. Please. Please. They said he goes there in the morning. We need sunflower seeds and gas. Please…! 

We pulled into Duffy’s with the RV and to their crushing disappointment Troy was nowhere to be seen. We were done filling up, we had purchased our snacks, and it was time to go… when, what…wait…who’s that walking through the door? TROY LANDRY! The boys ran and got the hats that Jacob had signed. Troy came out of the back and The Rookie walked right up to him and says “Will you sign my hat?” Troy laughed and then talked to the boys for a bit (and I actually can understand what he’s saying…you just have to pay attention), posed for pictures, and gave me a little squeeze when I thanked him for being so nice to the boys. Then I gave even BIGGER thank you’s and squeezes to the Terrors for not telling Troy just how big a crush their Mom has on him.

Troy Landry

Troy Landry

Our swamp vacation was a huge success. J still lights up like a Christmas tree when he talks about it. We even managed to sneak in some history by taking the Natchez Trace Parkway back up to Nashville.

Don’t know how I’m going to top this next year…

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