After having their fresh oysters barbecued in garlic, butter and Parmesan cheese, I have all but abandoned raw oysters on the half shell.  These critters are served by the dozen with a chunk of French bread to sop up the overflow of sauce and all you need do is add a couple of cold beers to make this a meal fit for royalty!

Another of the New Orleans dining requirements is breakfast at “Brennan’s” on Royal Street. Breakfast in New Orleans is usually served until early afternoon so it isn’t beyond the norm to include a bottle of wine with your meal and a finish of Bananas Foster…

Each of these “chairs” is inscribed with the name of one of the victims of the bombing of April 19, 1995.  The chairs are arranged according to the location within the building and floor on which each of the victims died.  The small chairs represent the 19 children who perished on that day, and 3 chairs have 2 names, representing the pregnant women.   We have been told that to fully appreciate this site you should visit it both during the day and after dark when the bases are illuminated.  Neither of us, however, was up for a return visit.  You will discover that a visit to this site will leave you with a very personal feeling of loss…

This bridge, opened in May of this year, replaces a ferry which made the crossing several times a day until it could no longer keep up with the demands of the modern world.  There are still many ferry systems in operation throughout the U.S. and we have discovered that, in addition to a break in the driving, they offer the occasional opportunity to stretch your legs and chat with other motorists; something you just can’t do on a bridge.

After 300 miles of driving, something we are loath to do in a day, we pulled into Slidell, Louisiana and the Elks Lodge on Bayou Liberty…

This dish is comprised of a couple of bananas sliced lengthways and then halved; toss in a generous scoop of brown sugar; sauté in Banana Liqueur and flame with light rum.  The result is poured over vanilla ice cream and genteelly inhaled.

Once we were properly fortified with Creole and Cajun delicacies we were ready to head over to the balcony behind “Jax Brewery” for a night of one of the finest fireworks displays to be found anywhere in the nation. 

Sit back and scroll slowly through the following fascinating photos of pyrotechnics which my bride captured using a variety of exposure times and camera rotation (she might even say camera “jiggle”).  Some actually appear to have been taken from a galaxy…….. far….… far……. away.

At nearly 4 inches in length, this thing kept moving toward me as I maneuvered for a picture and I actually began to feel as if I was being stalked!  Now I may be a pleasingly plump old fart with a top speed approaching molasses on a winter day, but I still managed to outrun this bayou beastie.

Slidell, located a mere 35 miles from New Orleans, was the perfect place to abandon our rolling home for a holiday tryst to the Big Easy for a couple of days of great food and Fourth of July fireworks.  And deciding upon which of the variety of haunted French Quarter hotels in which to spend a few spooky nights is not an easy chore.  We chose Le Richelieu for its on-site parking and close proximity to the French Market and the Fourth of July fireworks display on the Mississippi River…

(Sorry, Jane, you never stopped moving long enough for us to get your picture.)

They live in one of the suburbs of OKC and Tom recognized our motorhome and Jeep when he was driving by the Elks Lodge one day and decided to drop by for a visit.  Living as we do, with the entire country being our “neighborhood,” it is always a pleasure to share some time with a couple of our neighbors.

We next stopped in Natchitoches, Louisiana, one of our favorite places…

That handsome white carriage drawn by the intelligent looking white horse (it is NOT a mule!!) is the one that carried my daughter and I to the Royal Sonesta Hotel for her wedding back in 2005…

Hope y’all enjoyed our little fireworks display.  See you next time.  Hugs, Chunky Crab & Lanky

These guys can be seen performing at a number of venues throughout the Quarter, including parades and jazz funerals playing their own rendition of Viper.

Summer is an excellent time to visit New Orleans if you can endure the temperature and humidity; but every shop, hotel and restaurant in the city is air conditioned and you need only contend with the outdoor environs for the length of time it takes you to duck into the next store or watering hole.  If walking from place to place is not to your liking, you can always grab a cold drink and hop aboard a horse drawn surrey for a leisurely tour of both the historical and legendary sites of the Quarter…

When not walking along the multitude of rivers we encounter on our travels, we will occasionally locate a small creek beneath a canopy of lush vegetation along which we may enjoy an early morning stroll.  Occasionally we encounter one of the local inhabitants who have screwed up the courage to greet us nose to nose in hopes of obtaining a treat…

That’s the sash from my bathrobe that I wedged under the Wii and satellite TV receiver inside the left side cupboard and the VCR and Blue Ray players on the right. 

And not to be out done by a crummy road, the wind decided to put in an appearance as well…

 Cajun Country                                                                         July 7, 2011

This was the setting for the movie, Steel Magnolias, as well as the real thing…

This message was written on the wall of an adjacent building by one of the search and rescue teams: “We search for the truth.  We seek justice.  The courts require it.  The victims cry for it.  And God demands it.”

OKC has also spent a great deal of time in the rebuilding of an area called “The Brickyard.”  In addition to a Minor League baseball team and stadium, they have also developed a River Walk, similar in appearance to the one in San Antonio, with a man-made canal for boats to ferry locals and tourists alike to the various restaurants, nightclubs and shops along its perimeter…

In anticipation of these encounters with the indigenous folks, we carry a supply of raw peanuts for an assortment of wildlife as well as treats for both dogs and cats when embarking on these forays into the wilderness.

One morning we answered a knock at the door and were astounded to see Tom and Jane, a couple of our Jeeping pals from Moab…

​Welcome back.  If you navigated through our website to get here, you will have noticed that “Chuck’s Updates” has been replaced with “CC & me.”  My Bride, the eternal tinkerer, cannot simply sit back on her haunches and enjoy a product that has served us well for many years and insists, instead, on constantly refining and redefining that which, to my simple mind, is already perfect.  Included in this annoying trait is the re-tooling, re-arranging and anagramizing (??) of the letters in an already perfectly acceptable name, “Chuck Bryan" - me!  By taking those ten wonderful letters that comprise my name and re-arranging them you end up with, “Chunky Crab.”   And taking it to the next logical step (in her mind alone!) you end up with “CC.”   So there you have it: I am “CC” and she is “me.”   Of course, if you received this missive via a direct link, you haven’t a clue what the hell I’m jabbering about!

Our tale of wind-borne catastrophe picks up again as we cross the border of New Mexico and strike out across the Oklahoma Panhandle.  The roads in this particular section of the state are comprised of 50-foot stretches of concrete which have been laid together end to end to form a highway.  The result is similar to an Aboriginal bridge spanning a river chasm comprised of a collection of odd sized tree limbs held together with vines.  Were it not for seat belts and shoulder restraints we would have spent the day bouncing twixt ceiling and floor.  As it was, the industrial strength Velcro holding our TV in place failed miserably and my bride spent much of the day holding it in place until I came up with an “Okie” solution to the problem…

The kitchen slide topper (an awning that unrolls when the slide-out room is open to prevent debris from collecting on the slide-out roof) was blown open by the incessant cross-wind and re-furled around the roller end instead of the drum.  This accumulation of twisted fabric prevented the room from opening and required yet another spider-like trip up the side of the RV for repairs…

Natchitoches, pronounced Na-ka-dish, is also home to the oldest general store in Louisiana, Kaffie-Frederick…

Although we are less than a mile from town, the surround of thick undergrowth, tall oaks draped with Spanish moss and a bayou teeming with turtles, frogs and gators offers the other-worldly illusion of a place far removed from the present day.  And just when you think you’ve seen it all, something like this crawls out of the swamp…

Undaunted by our mounting mishaps, we continued on to the Elks Lodge in Midwest City, and from there, made a run into Oklahoma City to visit the OKC Memorial…

We really love this place and spend hours just wandering around looking at all the stuff they still carry that hasn’t been popular for 50 or more years but is still in demand.  I especially enjoy their collection of Radio Flyer wagons, scooters and trikes.  This place is a “must see” if you should ever find yourself in this part of the world.

Another of the things we really enjoy is taking the “road less travelled.”  To this end we meandered about 300 miles from Natchitoches to Slidell, Louisiana via some roads along the Red River and over the Mississippi River between the cities of New Roads and St. Francisville on the newly opened Audubon Bridge…

I find it amazing that my daughter has aged so much since that day and yet I continue to grow younger with each passing year.

On each visit to New Orleans we like to try a new-to-us restaurant.  Although we were only in town for 2 nights on this trip, we did manage to check out “Louisiana Pizza Kitchen”  located across from the French Market (Check the New Orleans restaurant guide in our "Gobblers" section for information regarding all restaurants mentioned in this update) and we always return to our favorites which include “Drago’s” for barbecued oysters…

Legend has it that in 1802, when France took back Louisiana from Spain, several Spanish soldiers were shot for treason on this site.  The ghosts of some of these Spanish soldiers have been reported to walk the grounds of this hotel near the swimming pool and small bar.  Other than the ghosts of various spirits I imbibed, I saw not a single Spanish soldier anywhere.  In addition to the Bryans, other celebrity guests have included Paul & Linda McCartney, Jerry Lee Lewis, Loretta Swit and some lesser known group calling themselves Steppenwolf.

As we wandered the streets of the French Quarter we spotted many familiar faces from past visits including one of the most recognized groups of “street musicians,” the Paulin Brothers Brass Band…