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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A brief history of Louisiana

    No other state has a more varied or colorful past than Louisiana. The state has been governed under 10 different flags beginning in 1541 with Hernando de Soto's claim of the region for Spain. La Salle later claimed it for Bourbon France and over the years Louisiana was at one time or another subject to the Union Jack of Great Britain, the Tricolor of Napoleon, the Lone Star flag of the Republic of West Florida and the fifteen stars and stripes of the United States. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Louisiana became an independent republic for six weeks before joining the Confederacy.
    Earlier, in 1803, Louisiana had become a part of the United States because of the region's importance to the trade and security of the American mid-west. New Orleans and the surrounding territory controlled the mouth of the Mississippi River down which much of the produce of the mid-west traveled to reach market. To get the vital region in American hands, President Thomas Jefferson negotiated the Louisiana Purchase with Napoleon.
    With the acquisition of Louisiana, Jefferson nearly doubled the size of the fledgling U.S. and made it a world power. Later, 13 states or parts of states were carved out of the Louisiana Purchase territory.
    Through much of its early history Louisiana was a trading and financial center, and the fertility of its land made it one of the richest regions in America as first indigo then sugar and cotton rose to prominence in world markets. Many Louisiana planters were among the wealthiest men in America.
    The plantation economy was shattered by the Civil War although the state continued to be a powerful agricultural region. The discovery of sulphur in 1869 and oil in 1901, coupled with the rise of forestry sent the state on a new wave of economic growth. Eventually, Louisiana became a major American producer of oil and natural gas and a center of petroleum refining and petrochemicals manufacturing, which it remains to this day.


Monday, September 13, 2010

The French influence in louisiana

    Ok, in my blog I say alot of stuff about being cajun and use some french words. To all my viewers out there, I just wanted to let you know where that comes from. All of louisiana has some french influence espacialy in south Louisiana.Cities and streets in Louisiana with French names, primarily in New Orleans and in the Acadiana area. No, people in Louisiana don't typically speak french or creole, however, a small portion of people in the acadiana area (in and around Lafayette) speak a version of French usually referred to as Cajun French. Both cajun and creole cooking techniques are partly influenced by French cooking techniques and the law of the State is based on French civil law which is different from the rest of the country where the law is based on British common law.So here is some of the History of the French influence in Louisiana.
     The story of the French in St. Louis was a part of the struggle of several European powers to dominate North America during the colonial era. The French were eager to start a colonial empire based on furs, trade, and sugar cane. They colonized four major areas in the Western Hemisphere: the North Atlantic maritime region, which became known as Acadia; the St.Lawrence River Valley and the Great Lakes, known as New France; the lower Mississippi river Valley and the Gulf Coast region, known as Louisiana; and various island holding in the Caribbean (the West Indies). In 1685, Henri Tonti established Poste des Arkansas on the Mississippi River; the French founded Natchitoches, Louisiana, in 1714, and New Orleans four years later.

    The French colonial empire was centered on the Caribbean island of Santo Domingo, with its cash crop of sugar cane. Louisiana, extending from New Orleans up the Missouri River to modern-day Montana, served as a granary for this empire and produced flour, grain, salt, furs, and lumber for the sugar islands. The Mississippi River was the major avenue of transportation, settlement, and trade.

    With European competition for America's resources came friction and a series of wars in America and Europe. By 1762, the French knew that they would lose the Seven Years War (called the French and Indian War in America), and with it their entire North American empire. The French did not want the British to possess Louisiana, and so ceded the area west of the Mississippi to Spain, which administered the colony for 40 years. By the terms of the 1763 Treaty of Fountainbleau, the British received the portion of Louisiana east of the Mississippi.

    In late December 1763, Pierre Laclede, a partner in the New Orleans fur trading company of Maxent, Laclede and Company, paddled his way up the Mississippi landing 18 miles south of the junction of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Laclede sought a suitable place to establish an Indian fur trading post, and chose a site near the present location of the Gateway Arch. At the time, the site consisted of a narrow, flat bank topped by rocky limestone bluffs. Laclede's 13 year old stepson, Auguste Chouteau, returned to the site on February 14, 1764 with a small group of men, including several African-Americans, to begin construction of a village. Laclede predicted that the site, named St. Louis in honor of France's King Louis IX, "might become, hereafter, one of the finest cities" of the continent, "by its locality and central position." Laclede and Chouteau realized that with the English moving into the Mississippi Valley, most of the French inhabitants of Illinois would be eager to move across the river to territory held by the Spaniards.

    By 1770, when the first Spanish governor arrived, the small community of St. Louis had taken shape. French settlers from Illinois brought windows, doors, and other parts of their houses across the river to start anew. They came to take advantage of the fertile soil on the west side of the river, and the protection that the new town offered from the English and Indians. The community of St. Louis was composed of French Canadians who had settled in Illinois in the late 1600s, and other French people from the Louisiana coast and Europe. With them they brought many African slaves, who were regulated by Roman law. This meant that slaves could earn money by working evenings and weekends, and could purchase their own freedom. The area's Indians were friendly to the French settlers, and enabled the community to thrive.

    Laclede and his patterned St. Louis after other French colonial cities of the day, especially new Orleans. The block where the south leg of the Arch now stands was reserved as a public square, known as the Place d'Armes or Place de Publique. Directly behind this square was the founder's home, which served as Laclede's residence and also as a headquarters for the growing village. The company block was set aside a short distance to the west, and adjoined the church square (where the Old Cathedral stands today), a religious center for the Catholic town. Father Gibault dedicated a temporary log chapel on the site in 1770 for the Roman Catholic Church. The first church bell of the village, hung in 1774, may still be seen in the museum of the Old Cathedral. A second, larger log church was constructed in 1776 and stood until 1820. In May 1818, Bishop Louis DuBourg laid the cornerstone for his brick cathedral; the present "Old Cathedral" was not built until 1834.

    All other land besides the company block and the church plot was given away by the Maxent-Laclede company to encourage settlement. Each lot was enclosed by a log palisade, called pieux en terre (stakes in earth). Some of the larger stone houses were surrounded by stone walls, and had courts or gardens which enclosed not only the house, but slave quarters as well. Great attention was paid to gardening, and orchards of apple and peach trees were also planted. At the top of the hill behind the town (today's Broadway) stood the Coteau des Granges (Hill of Barns), where the community's livestock, hay and grain were stored. The common fields (commune), used as community farm land, ran south to the River des Peres, seven miles away.

    Except for the church, the cluster of barns on the hill, and the fortification, nearly all community activities took place in the homes of private citizens. There were no retail districts, no waterfront warehouses, and no industrial centers. Houses were built in the Poste a terre fashion, and on average sheltered about five persons. When large trading parties returned from the upper Missouri, houses were crowded, for there were no inns or hotels. The houses varied in size from the very small to the home of Labusciere, the mason and carpenter, which was 66 feet long. They were topped by the steep French hip roof adopted from Canada, had casement windows, and were sided by a porch or "galerie" adopted from New Orleans and the Caribbean, which sometimes extended to all four sides of a building.

    St. Louis was administered by the Spanish from Havana, Cuba, by a Royal Governor located in New Orleans. Two Lieutenant Governors, one in Natchez and the other at St. Louis, supervised affairs and commerce along the Mississippi. Few Spaniards, however, ever lived in the colony. The French people of the Mississippi Valley gave their communities bitter nicknames fitting for frontier settlements; Carondelet was Vide Poche (empty pockets); Ste. Genevieve was MiserĂ© (miserable), and St. Louis was Pain Court (short of bread). They gathered together in villages for reasons of security and sociability. In St. Louis, farmers lived alongside artisans, and houses formed compact residential blocks separate from pastured and cultivated fields. In this respect, early St. Louis resembled the old villages of Europe. There was a sawmill and two windmills for grinding grain, a bakery and a maple sugar works, and of course, in a town based on the fur trade, there were tanneries.

    In 1779 Spain, after years of covert help to the American cause, entered the Revolutionary War against England as an ally of France. (Spain never openly allied with the Americans). In St. Louis, a stone tower was built by order of Spanish Governor Fernando DeLeyba at the corner of today's Walnut and Broadway. Named Fort San Carlos, it was this simple stone watchtower which saved the city of St. Louis from destruction from a combined group of British subjects and Indian warriors who attacked on May 26, 1780. Sioux, Sac, Fox, and Winnebago warriors fell upon the community and its barely-completed entrenchments, killing several settlers and slaves who were tending the fields on the outskirts of town. The firing alerted the able-bodied male populace, who were all militiamen. The battle lasted two hours, with 21 villagers killed and 71 captured. The attack was repulsed, and the British were prevented from obtaining control of the Mississippi.

    In 1783, as part of the settlement of the Revolutionary War, the Mississippi River became the border between the new United States and Spain. Spanish Governor Esteban Miro (1782-1791) noted the growing westward migration of the Americans; he allowed settlement in Louisiana only if the newcomers pledged themselves to Spain and the Catholic Church.

    An era came to an end with the purchase of Louisiana by the United States from France in 1803. An official transfer ceremony was held in St. Louis on March 9, 1804, when Captain Amos Stoddard, a U.S. Artillery officer, received the territory for France, and Captain Meriwether Lewis delivered the territory for Spain, along with the Spanish Governor, Delessus. The following day, the French tricolor came down, and the stars and stripes were up the pole.



Friday, September 10, 2010

My Top 5 Places to eat in Lake Charles

                                                      The contents of this page are strictly my opinion
                                                      and DO NOT reflect the views of others!!!!!!!!!


                                                             Top 5 places to eat in Lake Charles

1.     Casa Manana. My girlfriend and I frenquently eat at ths reastraunt. Most people in my town call is Casa for short. It serves what I like to call tex-mex. Tex-mex is Mexican food with an American spin on it.Casa has been in our town since 1976. Has great food, friendly service, and a great atmosphere. That is why Casa ranks #1 on my list of my top 5 places to eat in Lake Charles. Phone # (337) 433-4112. Adress 2510 Ryan Street ,Lake Charles, LA 70601-7324 Open Weekdays 11am-9:30pm; Sat 11am-10pm; Sun 11am-3pm

 2. Cotton’s Famous Hamburger. Can you just say delicious? I have eaten at allot of famous hamburger places and not one can come close to cottons. Cottons is a close second to my #1. It has an old style feel as you walk in and then the aroma comes right up to you and hits ya in the face. Your mouth salivates all you senses are heightened. Then you order the most beautiful mess of a hamburger you have ever seen. THE BEST doesn't even do their hamburger justice. If you are visiting Lake Charles or anywhere around Lake Charles, you are missing out if you don’t stop by this place.2001 Oak Park Boulevard Lake Charles, LA 70601-7827 (337) 477-9759

3. Tony's Pizza has the best Italian food you are going to find in Lake Charles. The people are friendly, and the atmosphere is great. Food is served hot and fresh. The garlic bread and sprdetti is to die for. Do yourself a favor if you’re in the mood for some Italian and are visiting Lake Charles and stop by Tony's Pizza.335 East Prien Lake Road Lake Charles, LA 70601-8504, (337) 477-1611
4. Sea Food Palace. The above picture is a platter of crawfish I got at Sea Food Palace.(If you want info on what a crawfish is, just refer to my previous posts.) As far as I am concerned this is the only real (sit down) place to eat sea food in Lake Charles.Do yourself a favor and if you are in Lake Charles check out Sea Food Palace.2218 Enterprise Boulevard,ake Charles, LA 70601-7668(337) 433-9293.

5. Sothern Spice. If you are in Lake Charles and just want to go relax at a non-formal, non-expensive place to eat, then Southern spice is the place to do it. The food they serve there is like home cooked meals. Great service and Friendly People3901 Ryan Street,Lake Charles, LA 70605-2817,(337) 474-6065

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Crawfish Boils In Lake Charles

MMMM Gotta love some crawfish

For thoes of you that have never heard of a crawfish...........lets fill you in

Crayfish Information


General Information

Crayfish, also called crawfish or crawdad, are closely related to the lobster. More than half of the more than 500 species occur in North America, particularly Kentucky (Mammoth Cave) and Louisiana in the Mississippi basin. Crayfish also live in Europe, New Zealand, East Asia and throughout the world, including the Tristan da Cunha Islands. Nearly all live in freshwater, although a few survive in salt water. Crayfish are characterised by a joined head and thorax, or midsection, and a segmented body, which is sandy yellow, green, or dark brown in colour. The head has a sharp snout, and the eyes are on movable stalks. Crayfish are usually about 7.5 cm (3 inches) long.


Crayfish Appearance

The crayfish is typical of most shrimplike crustaceans and is characterised by a joined head and thorax, or midsection, and a segmented body, which is sandy yellow, green, white, pink or dark brown in colour.

Crayfish are usually about 7.5 cm (3 inches) long. Among the smallest is the 2.5-centimetre-long Cambarellus diminutus of the south-eastern United States. Among the largest is Astacopsis gouldi of Tasmania; its length may reach 40 cm and its weight about 3.5 kg (8 pounds).

The head has two pairs of sensory antennae and a pair of eyes on movable stalks. The appendages, or pereiopods, of the thorax include four pairs of walking legs which, as well as walking, are to probe cracks and crevices between rocks looking for food. Crayfish also own one pair of clawbearing chelipeds, which it extends in front of its body while moving. These strong pinchers are specialised for cutting, capturing food, attack, and defence. A pinch can hurt! The crayfish also has several pairs of specialised food handling "legs," bailers to cycle water over the gills, and five pairs of swimmerets which are under the abdomen. All of these "legs" can be regenerated if broken off.

Crayfish have a hard outside skeleton. This jointed exoskeleton provides protection and allows movement, but limits growth. As a result, the crayfish regularly gets too big for its skeleton, sheds it, and grows a new larger one. This is called molting. and occurs six to ten times during the first year of rapid growth, but less often during the second year. For a few days following each molt, crayfish have soft exoskeletons and are more vulnerable to predators.


Crayfish Behaviour

Crayfish, common in streams and lakes, often conceal themselves under rocks or logs. They are most active at night, when they feed largely on snails, algae, insect larvae, worms, and tadpoles; some eat vegetation (various water plants). A dead fish worms, corn, and salmon eggs are also favourites of the crayfish. Studies show that adults (one year old) become most active at dusk and continue heavy feeding activity until daybreak. Young crayfish are more likely to be the ones out during bright sunny days, while the older crayfish are more active on cloudy days and during the night. General movement is always a slow walk, but if startled, crayfish use rapid flips of their tail to swim backwards and escape danger.

Most crayfish live short lives, usually less than two years. Therefore, rapid, high-volume reproduction is important for the continuation of the species. Many crayfish become sexually mature and mate in the October or November after they're born, but fertilisation and egg laying usually occur the following spring. The fertilised eggs are attached to the female' swimmerets on the underside of her jointed abdomen. There the 10 to 800 eggs change from dark to translucent as they develop. The egg-carrying female is said to be "in berry," because the egg mass looks something like a berry. Females are often seen "in berry" during May or June. The eggs hatch in 2 to 20 weeks, depending on water temperature. The newly-hatched crayfish stay attached to their mother until shortly after their second molt.

The natural predators of the Crayfish include alligators, burbots (a type of cod), chicken, turtle, painted turtle, desman (a type of otter), grackle (a type of a bird) catfish, and of course here in Lake Charles Us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now how we do it in Lake Charles
          Let me start off by saying, crawfish are in season in Lake Charles from early spring, well till the crawfish run out. Crawfish are a delicacy here in Lake Charles. When in season you can find them at almost any seafood place here in town, but that’s not the way we like to eat them here in Lake Charles. We have what we call a crawfish boil. This is usually a social gathering, with friends, family, and with the smell of freshly cooked crawfish in the air some people might show up that you don’t know too. Usually accompanied by some zideco music (which I will cover in a later blog).The crawfish are usually served outside on a plastic covered table with corn, potatoe, and anything else you can throw into the pot.
The cooking process

The cooking process changes from cook to cook but I couldn't stop this blog without letting you know the basics. Usually you start with and outside burner and a large pot. Fill the pot up with water. Let the water come to a boil. Season the water with the spices of your choosing. Add whatever else you would like to add to the boiling water. Finally add the crawfish. Crawfish are much like shrimp as far as the cooking process; they are usually done in 7-12min

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Colleges in Lake Charles

                                                 McNeese State University
Founded in 1939, McNeese State University is located in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Earlier, it was a part of the Louisiana State University system. In 1950, the school parted from the LSU system and became the McNeese State College, and it gained university status in 1970. The main campus of McNeese State University consists of more than 65 buildings and covers 121 acres. It offers over 80 degree programs through the following academic divisions:

•College of Business

•College of Education

•College of Engineering & Technology

•College of Liberal Arts

•College of Nursing

•College of Science

McNeese State University’s men's sports teams are known as the Cowboys, while the women's athletic teams are the Cowgirls. They participate in NCAA Division I (Football Championship Subdivision (I-AA) for football) in the Southland Conference.

       The Southwest Louisiana Trade School was established by the Louisiana Legislature in 1938, and in 1940 classes began in five programs of training. In 1962, the name was changed to SOWELA Technical Institute due to expansion of facilities, growth of the student body, increased curricula, and the need for additional technical education.

        In 1971, SOWELA Technical Institute gained significant recognition upon its accreditation by the Commission on Occupational Education Institutions of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools - one of the most prestigious educational accrediting agencies in the United States.
        SOWELA Technical Institute moved to its present location in January 1980. The institute was renamed SOWELA Regional Technical Institute in March 1990, as it served as the regional center for Region Five.
       Another milestone was reached on July 27, 1995, when the school was renamed Louisiana Technical College - SOWELA Campus. SOWELA is among the largest and most progressive post-secondary technical colleges in the state.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Red Fish found in the waters around Lake Charles

Redfish are plentiful in the saltwaters around Lake Charles. They earn their name by the redish color their scales give off when in the sunlight.You can easily identify a louisiana red fish by the distinctive black to on the tail.(Refer to above picture) These fish have been known to get up to 85lbs, but more common sizes are 1-20lbs.

Catching redfish and feeding habits

Smaller fish feed in schools near shallow grassbeds and oyster beds on tide changes, especially in the early morning or late evening. Commonly feeds in schools and packs in and near the surf, around shallow reefs, and in bays and inlets. Large reds often hide behind pillings in channels, poping out to pounce on any edible tidbit. Feeds on molluscs (squid, clams, mussels, oysters), crabs, shrimp, and minnows (menhaden, herrings, anchovies, mullet, pinfish, croakers), even as large fish. Will chase schools of baitfish into shallow water, and also often can be seen 'tailing' in shallow water when it pokes its nose into the sand in search of food.

                                                                A Good Side Note
Very omnivourous and popluar for sport and table, its popularity almost brought this species to extinction. After extremely tight management and some stocking, as well as net bans in some areas, the population has again recovered to healthy levels. Commonly stocked in Texas and Florida in a marine hatchery program. The red will take a wide variety of flies, lures, and baits, but can be both very picky and very aggressive. A common surf fisher's target from Maryland to Florida and around the Gulf to Texas. It is also caught off piers and bridges, in the flats of bays, bayous, near oysterbeds and grass flats, in deep channels in passes and bays. Good flies include clousers, streamers, and poppers; lures such as plugs, poppers, twitchbaits, and spoons are effective; baits such as live shrimp, fresh squid, clams, crabs, mullet, croakers, and pinfish are effective either freelined or fished near the bottom. Watch the tide changes for prime actions.

Common Name: Red Drum

Other Common Names: Redfish, puppy Drum, drum, Channel Bass

Scientific name: Sciaenops ocellatus

Family: Sciaenidae (Drums)

Related Species: Black Drum, Atlantic Croaker, Southern Kingfish

Visiting Lake Charles

A Brief history of this great town

Lake Charles is the fifth largest incorporated city in the state of Louisiana, located on Lake Charles. It is the parish seat of Calcasieu Parish, a major cultural and educational center in the southwest region of the state, and one of the most important in Acadiana.

As of the 2000 census, the population was 71,757. Lake Charles is the principal city of the Lake Charles Metropolitan Statistical Area, having a population of 194,138.It is the larger principal city of the Lake Charles-Jennings Combined Statistical Area with a population of 225,235. A 2008 population estimate of the five parish area was over 285,853.

This growing city is considered a major center of petrochemical refining, tourism, gaming, and education being home to McNeese State University and Sowela. With over 75 festivals held annually, Lake Charles is referred to as the Festival Capital of Louisiana.

                                                         LAUBERGE DU LAC
             The gaming industry has always been a major part of Lake Charle's economy.One of the newer casinos and a major tourest attraction to come to down is LauBerge Dul Lac hotel and casino.Many tourist from as close as texas and as far away as Washington visit this casino each year.
             This premier facility is ideal for the business traveler or guest looking for the ultimate in hospitality and dining experiences, plus non-stop gaming action.

The property includes a 26-story hotel complex with approximately 750 spacious rooms and suites; an 18-hole golf course designed by Tom Fazio; 26,000 gross square feet of meeting space, including a business center and conference registration area; a pool with lazy river and private cabana courtyard; full-service salon and spa and cardio fitness center; retail stores; ten innovative dining outlets; and top-name entertainment.

The casino features 30,000 square feet of Vegas-like gaming action with 62 table games and more than 1,600 ticket-in ticket-out slot machines.

                                                        Hunting and fishing in Lake Charles
              Our lakes, bayous, river and streams - not to mention the nearby Gulf of Mexico – are teeming with wildlife. Year round fishing is a pastime in Lake Charles Southwest Louisiana where the mild climate allows wildlife to thrive no matter when you visit.. Just kick back, smile, feel the sun on your face and enjoy the abundant waters of Southwest Louisiana. During the fall hunting season, you’ll see hundreds of thousands of waterfowl who winter here – smack in the crosshairs of the Mississippi and Central Flyways. Local hunting guides can show you the ropes, and some even come equipped with lodging, ready to put you up for the hunt!
                                                       Madi gras or (Fat Tuesday)

From king cakes, balls, and the throughing of beads Madi Gras has almost always been a major tourest attraction of Lake Charles. The parade starts in down town Lake Charles and slowly makes its way through the streets dispersing candy beads or anything else that can be thrown into the crowd. The town is absoulutly alive with people and music when Madi Gras is in town. Mardi Gras is something you would have to witness to truly apreciate its greatness!

 So come visit our town! ( We cajuns have a saying)

"Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez"

Let The Good Time Roll