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Roundup of our Bayou roadtrip

I belatedly realized that I hadn’t posted a summary of our Bayou roadtrip yet. Well, here it is. We drove 4,106 miles through 5 states in 11 days to see 11 parks, plus spend New Years Eve in the French Quarter of New Orleans. In doing so, we finished off the states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arizona in our national park quest. I hope to get the photos posted in the next couple of weeks or so.

All in all, it was a great trip. I’m glad that I won’t have to drive through Texas again (we did it last winter for our Texas roadtrip and the summer before that for our post-wedding trip through the South) – and that was enough. It was interesting to see another part of the country (you’re up next New England!), though I am yearning for some large, wilderness parks.

  • Most surprising unit: Vicksburg National Military Park
  • Most disappointing unit: Chalmette Battlefield (or New Orleans Jazz NHP)
  • Unforgettable memory: New Years Eve in the French Quarter
  • Forgettable memory: having a dead car battery on Christmas Eve at a New Mexico rest area
  • Best food: Oceana, just off Bourbon Street. We ate there consecutive nights.
  • Worst food: Chuy’s restaurant in Van Horn, Texas.
  • If we would have had more time: we would done walking history tour of New Orleans
  • Best part of the trip: spending it with Kim

National Park Service units we visited (9 new, 2 repeat visits):

  • Big Thicket National Preserve (TX)
  • Cane River Creole National Historic Park (LA)
  • Poverty Point National Monument (LA)
  • Natchez Trace Parkway (MS)
  • Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail (MS)
  • Vicksburg National Military Park (MS)
  • Natchez National Historic Park (MS)
  • New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park (LA)
  • Jean Lafitte National Historic Park (LA)
  • Jean Lafitte National Preserve (LA)
  • Fort Bowie National Historic Site (AZ)

Blog posts on

  • An inauspicious start
  • Christmas driving, Riverwalk, and the Negotiator
  • The plantations of the Cane River Lake
  • Poverty Point and Vicksburg
  • Driving the Natchez Trace and touring an antebellum mansion
  • Ringing in the New Year in NOLA

Blog posts here on

Some final random thoughts:

  • Natchez Trace Parkway is full of really cool stuff and it’s a nice drive too. I definitely recommend some time along it.
  • Jean Lafitte National Historic Park & Preserve is one of the more diverse units in the system. It contains several cultural centers, a prime French Quarter visitor center, the Chalmette Battlefield and the Barataria Preserve. Not bad for a relatively obscure park.
  • Vicksburg National Military Park could do with a more reasonably priced auto tour drive – or at least allow visitors to borrow it for the tour (Lyndon Johnson National Historic Park did this well).

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