By the numbers:
- 110 miles, from Natchitoches to Shreveport LA via the Oakley Plantation– 3393 total miles for the trip.
- highest temp: 97 and over 90% humidity for part of the day.
- no new states and no new license plates.
- One new national park: Cane River Creole National Historic Park – 18 total park sites for the trip.
- One World War II Museum – The former Eighth Air Force Museum, now the Global Power Museum on Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport. – 4th for the trip
Visiting military bases is always an interesting experience. After living in Washington DC for 2 years we got used to the reality that security at every place is going to be different. At Lackland AFB we almost didn’t get in. They usually required advance approval but a phone call to staff at the on-base museum and a 30 minute wait got us in. Here at Barksdale AFB, the guard met us at the gate asked for our driver’s licenses and then said to follow him in our car as he walked around the corner and pointed to an adjacent parking lot. He said we could park there, right next to the museum and he would keep our licenses until we were done. He was quite cheerful and noted that he was also from Seattle and promised us he would take special care of our licenses. It all worked out.
The Cane River Creole Historic Area around Natchitoches covers a lot of history but mostly a large number of old plantation sites in this area. We visited one specific site at the Oakley Plantation. This part of our country’s history is so sad. I have a hard time understanding the attraction that some people have to this era. Being here while so many conversations are going on about he confederate flag is very odd. The argument I have heard on news shows several times in the past week is that the Confederate flag is not about racism, it is about states’ rights. But I have to ask when I hear that phrase, “States’ rights to do what?” The civil war wasn’t fought over states’ rights to build roads, the right to provide schools or hospitals for citizens, or about how a state generally chooses to tax or spend its money. It was specifically over the “states’ right” to continue a system of support for one group of people to enslave another group of people and treat them as property. I don’t know if the confederate flag defenders don’t get that or if they don’t want to get that. The confederate flag is part of history but I have a hard time seeing how it should be the official part of any level of government anywhere in the currrent day United States.
One other item we learned today was that there is a special food item we should look for while in this area: a Nactchitoches Meat Pie. The key thing to understand is that these meat pies are like Grape Nuts – They aren’t pies and they aren’t (usually) filled with meat. They are what we would call an empanada and are usually filled with crayfish. If we run across one I will report.
The sky was beautiful today as we just managed to finish our day before a thunder storm rolled through the area.
As we got close to our hotel I asked “Do you suppose they have any Texas roadhouses in Louisiana?” The next instance right in front of our hotel was this sign. We had a great dinner and I told the waitress I had only one complaint. Their prime rib is so good I can never bring myself to try anything else on the menu.