Our last stop in Louisiana was Fairview-Riverside State Park in Madisonville along the Tchefuncte River at the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain. This park is much smaller than the other two and it is right in the middle of Madisonville – the town’s harbor and tiny downtown are within sight of its boat launch. The primary attraction of the park, other than the river bank, is Otis House. The park was originally the estate of a wealthy sawmill owner, and the beautiful southern style family home was built in the 1880’s. It is now on the Register of Historic Places and available for tours during the day. One boundary of the park backs up to a very nice neighborhood with large houses just across the fence, so we were right in the middle of everything.
After being in remote locations for the first party of February, I must admit I was delighted to get to a park that was so close to civilization. It was nice to go out to run quick errands without having to drive 20 minutes before seeing the first convenience store. Of course, there was a bit of road noise and the stars were not quite as brilliant at night – but there was a Kohl’s down the street!
Part of the reason we selected this location was so Mike could continue to use his Louisiana fresh water fishing license for as long as possible. He fished the river from the boardwalk a couple of times. The fish were not too plentiful, but he did get a good show watching all sorts of fancy yachts and fishing boats pass along the river on their way to the mouth of the lake.
We drove into New Orleans on two separate occassions to walk around and eat some classic creole, once to the French Quarter and once to the Garden District. One day I went shopping and found a place to have a manicure and pedicure. We went to a real grocery store instead of a Walmart Super Center and I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed having a real selection of brands and options from which to choose!
The most memorable thing about our stay at this park however, will be the rain. Aaron Neville sings a 1927 song titled “Louisiana”. The tune was on a loop in my head for the entire week. The lyrics include verses that say “it rained real hard and it rained for a real long time”, “The river rose all day, the river rose all night”, “They’re trying to wash us away”. The entire time we were at Fairview – Riverside State Park it rained. Toward the end of the week we had so much weather, our site was covered in water. We couldn’t leave the coach without rain boots. The dogs were muddy and stinky. It was a mess! The swamp behind our site encompassed our picnic table and firepit before the rain finally stopped. I kept looking for snakes and other creepies down in the water. We never saw any snakes, only minnows swimming under our table.
By the time we left the rain had cleared and the water receeded but the mud was still everywhere. Time for change – headed to sandy ground in Mississippi to begin the month of March with some sunshine.