Wherever the Road Leads

Lingering in Louisiana

Cuz Texas Has a Whorehouse In It

After a bone-jarring, bad-mouthing trip to get to New Iberia Louisiana, I’ve decided to stay. Once settled in here, a good night’s sleep and a trip back up to the office to apologize to the Park Manager for being such an Angry Yankee and to thank her for her patience, I began to consider my position.

I seem to have settled into an unnecessarily hectic routine: pull, set up, relax the next day, sight see for a day or two, grocery shop, laundry, pack up, pull out, repeat. Using my slide problem with the partially-open drawer as an example, or remembering to move the soap dish as well as the shampoo in the shower before pulling, there’s a lot to learn. There is a huge difference between this 40′ fifth wheel and my 26′ pull trailer. Traveling with a cat is both a blessing and an issue as well as a learning experience. I realized that I don’t have to see the entire country and be an expert RV-er all by June.

Additionally, I looked at the map. I had considered returning to Hattiesburg Mississippi for a month. After that month, I’m headed to Shreveport. I decided that to get back to Hattiesburg, I would have to travel back over many of the same roads that beat me to death to get here. Then more parish (county) roads to Shreveport. Looking at the map, I can travel from where I currently am up federally-funded, smoother I-49 AND save myself about $100 of diesel. I like that.

Before I committed to the extra week, I did travel around the area. Given that the Southern state of Louisiana doesn’t have to deal with snow, ice and frost creating pot holes and cracks in the pavement, the roads are pitiful. However the local roads are better than the highway where even Tupelo was ready to jump ship. The city roads are narrow, though, requiring concentration to stay between the lines, being as a Dually’s ‘hips’ are 16″ – 20″ wider than a conventional pick up truck.

There is plenty to do locally, including a local production of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, to which I already had a ticket, (and thoroughly enjoyed.) So here I am. The cost for a month’s stay here – $450 incl electricity –  is about the same as the smaller RV Park in Mississippi and this Park offers wi-fi and cable TV… a much better deal than in Natchez, where I paid around $270 for a week’s stay.

Natchez, Mississippi, while I’m glad that I went, was really a bust. It was interesting as an old cotton town and had more than its fair share of antebellum mansions as, in its 1850 heyday, half the millionaires in the US lived in Natchez. There were two cities on the Mississippi River that I wanted to see. I have visited Vicksburg which, due to its strategic location, was the most important city on the river during the Civil War. Whoever controlled Vicksburg, controlled the river.

My interest in Natchez was historical, but different. Natchez was second only to New Orleans as a slave trading center during antebellum times. That part of Natchez’ history is what I wanted to see. The antebellum homes there are magnificent but so are the ones in Vicksburg Ms, Nashville Tn, Savannah Ga and Charleston SC; I’ve seen them.

There was an interesting display in the Visitor’s Center that did outline that part of the city’s history, including a visual of a receipt for a number of slaves averaging a cost of $1,250 per slave. That surprised me when put in context of today’s dollars. However, it does indeed depend on one’s point of view. I took an open-top double-decker bus tour of the city where, for most of the hour-long ride, I was the only passenger. I knew that the slave-trading area of the city was called ‘Forks of the Road’. When the bus got there, there appeared to be nothing commemorative at all. It was a bus stop.

 

When I mentioned this to my very personable, young, black tour guide, only then did he point out the 8′ square of concrete with metal hoops embedded to attach the slaves’ shackles to. I expressed my surprise at the 1800’s cost of a slave – $1200. However from his point of view, I’m sure he considered it a pittance. Understandably so.

I guess in today’s world, the city does not want to promote itself as a slave-trading center, so Natchez downplays the slavery aspect of its history – why I went –  and plays up its millionaires and mansions – what I’ve already seen elsewhere.

 

However, I was able to get another bottle of Chanel after shave in 7% sales tax Mississippi and saved $2.50 over 9½% sales tax Louisiana or Alabama. Not all was lost!

 

From the soundtrack to the movie, “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas”, Dom DeLuise performing, “Texas Has a Whorehouse In It”. I saw the movie – probably on VHS – when it first came out in 1982 and doubt I’ve seen it since. I truly enjoyed the local production put on by the Iberia Performing Arts League in a small theater in downtown New Iberia.

 

Lord, have mercy!

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Comments

  1. Alistair Mair  March 19, 2018

    Great read. Amazing, rich history of this area regardless of the negative aspects . It would be a great adventure to take that river boat “cruise ship” up or down the Mississippi. Makes you think of the different local cultural aspects of the USA.

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