A couple weeks ago I found myself in Louisiana for my first trip to the state outside of New Orleans. Now, I love New Orleans – the music, the lifestyle, the food all comes together in a beautiful, decadent mix of emotion. Where else can you sit down for a five course formal brunch in the morning and fine yourself covered in Mardi Gras beads and someone else’s vomit 10 hours later? (Hint: probably nowhere.)
Anyways, less on New Orleans and more on not-New Orleans. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you Mandeville, Louisiana!
Now, those of you who not immediately familiar with this particular area of southern Louisiana (meaning nearly everyone not living in southern Louisiana), Mandeville sits pretty comfortably at the northern end of Lake Pontchartrain, a lake that’s actually an estuary and that has the honor of being the second largest inland saltwater body of water in the United States. Impressive, right?
Getting from New Orleans to Mandeville requires a trek over the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, the longest continuous bridge in the world. Record number two in this short blog post! I’d talk more about this impressive piece of infrastructure, but the causeway and I are currently not on speaking terms.
Once you get there, you see trees, lots of them, many of them large Southern Live Oaks covered in Spanish Moss. Very picturesque, as you can see in the image gallery. For good measure, I’ve included a black and white version, because black and white shots make the average person think I’m a better photographer while also making everything look like a Scooby Doo set.
Aside from gaping slackjawed at antebellum trees, you can also gape at the water – that huge brackish expanse called a lake. For two days we lived literally above this water in a small cabin surrounded by mosquitos, lots of morning fog and a few lurking Great Blue Herons. I highly recommend this for anyone who usually spends their days listening to fluorescent lights hum all around them.
Fact: Nobody has ever starved to death within Louisiana state lines. This holds double true in Mandeville, where fresh steamed crawfish from the Mandeville Seafood Shop go for $2.49. I really wanted to link to the place, but Mandeville Seafood, fittingly, lacks a website yet easily makes up for this in crustaceans and spice. For a little upscale dining you can head down to The Lakehouse a fine Cajun/Creole establishment with a penchant for fish and crab stuffed baked potatoes (tip: try this).
My time in the area was split almost equally between meetings and swatting at mosquitoes, but I did take a few pictures. Here they are: