The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Greetings from Chattanooga

We left Louisiana this morning after touring Honey Island Swamp with Cajun Encounters, where our very entertaining tour guide Greg took us by covered boat down the Pearl River into the swamp. Adam spotted the first alligator of the tour, though we got to see several others -- the tour guides lure them out by tossing marshmallows into the water, which the alligators apparently love -- plus turtles, dragonflies, herons, bald cypress, and several other birds and insects. It was very hot out but the swamp was shaded and the air was lovely when the boat motored down the river, and because they swamp has no stagnant water, there were no mosquitos.

We stopped for lunch at a huge Chinese buffet and sushi bar in Mississippi, where we also went into Best Buy to get Michael Jackson's Number Ones, having concluded that since it's the soundtrack for this road trip already courtesy the news, we might as well enjoy it. Then we drove through Alabama and a corner of Georgia into Tennessee, where we arrived in Chattanooga just as the sun was setting behind AT&T Stadium. Once the baseball game ended, there were fireworks that we could see clearly from our tenth floor hotel room window. Since we had CDs on rather than radio news, I have only one question regarding Sarah Palin, which is: WTF? But then, in my quick skimming of the pundits on the internet, that seems to be their reaction too!

One of the alligators of Honey Island Swamp swims out of the duckweed in search of marshmallows.

The land in and around the swamp is protected wetlands, so no hunting is permitted, but apparently bringing tourists out to see gators is not considered sufficient disruption to be banned.

Paul filmed the alligator as it followed the boat.

This is a real "marsh mallow" -- a relative of the hibiscus.

There were numerous dragonflies among the plants and occasionally in the boat with us. Regrettably, we did not see the legendary Honey Island Swamp Monster.

Anne Rice is a member of the Nature Conservancy and requested that the scene where Louis and Claudia dump Lestat into the swamp be filmed on Nature Conservancy land in the Honey Island Swamp. This is the spot, by a slowly rotting cypress tree that was struck by lightning.

Before we left New Orleans, we drove through the Garden District and went to see Anne Rice's onetime house, Rosegate, upon which she modeled the Mayfair home in The Witching Hour. It's for sale for a little less than $4 million if anyone is interested!

Here is a view of the stadium and fireworks in Chattanooga from our hotel room window.

Have a very happy Independence Day, or, if you live outside the U.S., a great weekend!
Tags: trip south 09

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