Ryan and I are fans of day trips. Our default is straight north out of Baton Rouge to St. Francisville. Even in our dating days we loved getting out of the city and escaping life for just a little while and be among trees and friendly people. Today we headed west over the Atachafalya to St. Martinville and fell in love.
Since high-school I’ve been enamored with Evangeline–the Acadian maid of true love and devotion. She is my un-official patron saint. Saint Martinville is where she sat under her famous oak and waited 40 years for her love, Gabriel, to return to her. Her oak still stands on the bank of Bayou Teche and finally today, I got to see it.
We could not have picked a more beautiful day to visit. Our hearts swelled in the breeze coming off the bayou down Bridge Street. Ryan was excited to visit Saint Martin de Toures Catholic Church. This church was built in 1765 and the structure is as it was originally built. It has been maintained and modernized–electricity, sound system and what appeared to be AC, although they weren’t keen on using it apparently. If you close your eyes and listening to the creaking altar and feel the sun through the simple stained glass windows you can imagine Father Felician preaching forgiveness from the pulpit.
The worst part of days like these is the drive east down 1-10 coming back into Baton Rouge. Drivers are rude, people are selfish, the pavement and pre-fab buildings make the air is stale and still. It all comes together to create an oppressive fog around you making your skin and your heart heavy.
Everything about this day has set our hearts on on living west of the basin. Everything from the senic drive through Parks, the friendly persons on the street and the glorious lack of traffic. Baton Rouge sucks so much compared to anywhere over there. Baton Rouge is a historically important city. A lot happened and some important people came through and left marks. But you wouldn’t know the city existed before Huey P. Long if you visited. There is very little appreciation for history or heritage in Baton Rouge. It’s all about progress and glitz. Breaux Bridge, Parks and Saint Martinville are simple towns comfortable in their history, and there is such an appeal in that.
Now when we sleep and when we dream, visions of oaks and colonial history will dance in our heads hanging like a carrot in front of our face just out of reach motivating us forward. These are some of the dozens of pictures I took.