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Winter Wanderings Day #14, Davis Bayou, Gulf Islands National Seashore, MS, Fountainebleau State Park, Mandeville, New Orleans, LA

We swung by the visitors center at Davis Bayou, first thing in the morning. We were refunded for the nights, we were no longer staying, which was nice. I got my National Park Passport stamped then we headed out, towards Louisiana. It was only 1.5hrs to Fountainbleau State Park.

We arrived in the rain to find the most beautiful park. As we drove into Fountainbleau, we crossed the Tammany Trace, a 31mi bike path from Mandeville to Slidell, part of the Rails to Trails program. The park was covered in huge, ancient live oaks with lush resurrection ferns and abundant Spanish moss. We saw ruins from the former sugar cane plantation and brickyard, that once stood on that land. As we drove through the park, we went on past the campground to the park’s waterfront on Lake Pontchartrain, directly across the water from New Orleans. We were impressed by what we saw from the van of the beach pavilion/bathhouse, pier, splash park, fishing pond, picnic area, and multiple trailheads, although, it was too nasty to check it out at the time. We drove from there over to the cabin area and were blown away. The cabins were fabulous! They were modeled after old Louisiana fishing cabins with colorful wood siding, each on stilts out in the lake with boardwalks to access them. Near the cabin area, was a meeting pavilion, and cool, giant tee pees for group camping. Incredible facilities! We were thrilled with the park, just icing is its being so close to New Orleans and Ashe.

We stayed in the van in campsite #20, all afternoon due to the stormy weather. Our site was in the middle of the loop, not private, but at least under a canopy of trees. We loved that we could hear a symphony of frogs, all around us, from inside the van. The non-electric campsites were really private and wooded, but Wiley wanted power, so we stayed put. Late afternoon, Ashe came to pick me up to take me to stay with her in New Orleans for a few days. It was great to see her. Over Christmas, I had been so sick with the flu, I did not get to spend the quality time with her that I had wanted, so this spontaneous get together was wonderful. Wiley and the puppies would stay at Fountainebleau while we had our girl time NOLA.

Ashe and I were excited to see 10+ deer, as we were leaving the campground. We drove the 50min from the park, over Lake Pontchartrain, to Ashe’s apartment, 0.5mi from Tulane’s campus. It was a perfect evening with Ashe, the drive, dinner, then just hanging out at her apartment, spending time with her newly adopted, 5yo Snowshoe, rescue kitty, Jugo. I’m just in love with him. He was so cuddly and sweet, showering me with attention, since I was new on the scene. So happy that Ashe and Jugo found their way to each other. Warms my heart to see my baby with a baby of her own. She’s a great mama!

Because it is New Orleans, I have to tell you where all we eat this week. Ashe definitely knows where to go. I raised her right! Sunday night, we went out for Vietnamese at Jazmine Café near Tulane for dinner. We got spring and summer rolls to start then I got a salmon and spicy tuna poke bowl and Ashe got grilled beef and rice. She liked mine better. I absolutely loved it! We were born on the wrong continent, seeing how both of ours favorite foods are all Asian.

After dinner, we spent the evening in, catching up, playing with Jugo, then watched Tremé, which I had been dying to share with Ashe. It is a great TV series, set in New Orleans 3mos after Katrina through 5yrs post-Katrina. It follows the lives of several main characters from all walks of life; musicians, DJ, Mardi Gras Indian, Pro-bono attorney, Tulane professor, bar owner, and chef/restaurant owner. Ashe enjoyed it. I loved sharing the show with her and being there with her. My heart was so happy. Great night!

Sorry, for the lack of pics, but this is what happens on a rainy day…