Thursday, November 21, 2013

Woodman-Bon Creole-Sugar Farm

I’m going to tell you right now, this is going to be a long, large, lengthy (?) blog post cause we did a lot of stuff all in one day.  So pace yourself, get a cup of coffee and get comfortable.


We spent a whirlwind day last Saturday driving outside of New Iberia to visit Gerald Judice, The Wood Man. Gerald and his family go to the swamps in February when the water is high and harvest pieces of cypress. 

They bring the wood back home and stack it around the trees in their front yard to dry for a couple of years before making it into wood decorative items.

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Gerald sells most of his creative wares at craft shows and Farmers’ Markets in the area. His passion was turning bowls on his lathes. Gerald’s prices are very reasonable and he works in various types of woods. 

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Gerald also has 25 fruit trees in his back yard and he is very generous in picking fruit and having it available for us to take.

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After we made our purchases Gerald turned a bowl for us and explained the process.


Look at the size of some of the blocks of wood Gerald turns. These will make 10 to 12 inch bowls.  Gerald said it is getting very hard to find wood pieces this thick.










You can read these blog posts about our previous trips to Gerald’s:  Cypress Wood Man  and Woodworking-Lunch-Acadian Museum

We then went to Bon Creole Lunch Counter.  This is a favorite place for Jim and I…the food is soooo good.

Beautiful murals on outside
Like many lunch counters, you place your order
then you sit down and when your food is ready they yell out your name to come and pick up
We ordered the shrimp po’boys
Betty got gumbo
Karen isn’t a fan of seafood, but she was very pleased with her over-filled ham po’boy.

As if this wasn’t enough activity for one day, we then drove to Loreauville, a little town along the Bayou Teche a little ways from New Iberia, to visit the Walet Sugar Cane Farm. I was very excited about this visit as I’m very curious about sugar cane operation.  This is their harvest time (October thru December) and there are huge fields all over this area. We’ve seen the large machinery cutting the cane from a distance, but I wanted to understand the whole process.

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Betty is friends with the Walet family. Here is Miss Amaryllis (pronounced a-MAR-a-lis) and her daughter, telling us the history of the former plantation.






The cane is very tall and grow from 4 to 19 feet tall. 





Next we drove a mile from her house to the fields, where Dan (her son) was driving the large cane harvester.
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Dan was so kind to explain the whole operation to us. Canes are placed mechanically in the ground and must contain at least one bud.  New sprouts grow up from each joint. Some of the cane tumbles to the ground during harvesting and start growing there. It takes about 14 months for the cane to grow to a height to be cut. They get several cuttings from one planting through the years, but with declining yields each year.  Dan said they replant about every five years.  Look at the size of the harvesters  used.

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Here are some of the cane

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The gentlemen peeled some cane and let us chew on it to extract the sweet, sweet juice.

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I remember when I was little growing up in Florida my dad would send me to school with a section of peeled sugar cane to chew on as my recess treat.


You see carts and 18-wheelers full of sugar cane driving down the highways around here this time of year on their way to processing plants in Jeanerette and St. Martinville.

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We really appreciated The Walets for giving us so much of their time to show us around and explain things.  They even gave us a large bag of early processed sugar for us to divvy up amongst us to taste.

We finished up about 2 p.m. with plenty of time to get back to Betty’s for our daily 4:30 p.m. happy hour.  But it had been a full day of activity, but very enjoyable.

Remember, you are loved.
Read the story behind this saying HERE


  1. Wow and double wow. Wish we were there. We may get to your area in early March. We'll see.

  2. Wow!!!!!! Woman you and Jim sure do know how to have fun,,,,,doing the simple things which are always the best!!!! Trout's

  3. Great post and so informative to boot! Sounds like you are having a great time at Betty's.

  4. It's always fun at Betty', the shrimp po boys had my mouth watering!

  5. Howdy B&J,
    Oh boy howdy, sugar-cane, UMMMMM !!!!
    Do they BURN the fields, like they do in Florida and I supposed used to do in Loozianna ??? Seems like I can remember them 'burning' some back in the 50s, when I drove a truck hauling lumber from down that way !!! I'd buy me a stalk of fresh-cut cane and have to cut it into pieces to get it in the truck cab and chew it all of the way back to Ft Worth !!!
    Remember y'all are too, also !!!
    butterbean carpenter

    1. Yes, they burn the sugar cane fields here also. They are careful about the direction of the wind so the smoke doesn't go towards schools, nursing homes, etc. But on any given day you can see 3 or 4 smoke columns in the sky.

  6. Sounds like a great day in LA. Have you been to the Laura plantation, or Oak Alley? That shrimp po boy sure looks good.

    1. No, we haven't visited those places yet. It sounds very interesting online, so we'll see.

  7. Great post ! Loved reading about the sugar cane fields. Sounds like a really interesting place to visit. Thanks for the pics (love the one of you standing in front of the cane) and all the detail. Hugs to you both !


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