In another room they have a glass case full of styrofoam pieces and meal worms. Apparently meal worms eat styrofoam. Maybe these little critters can get get rid of some of our trash.
We left that building and started investigating the old houses on the grounds. In the first house we met Mary Morning Star, who told us a little about the house. It's supposed to represent the three cultures of the area - Native Indians, Canadian Acadians and Frenchmen. But the most interesting thing she told us about was the chimney. It was built with a combination of mud and sticks, and the stick ends protrude beyond the chimney walls. They were useful for climbing up to work on or paint the chimney. And paint was important. If there was a white strip around the top of the chimney, it meant there was a marrigable daughter in the house. If the chimney was all white, no such luck.In another building we found a weaver who had finished carding some cotton and was starting to draw it into thread. To me this is like magic - just by holding that fluffy cotton at the right angle and tension, the wheel twists it into usable thread.
She used to use the big loom in the other room to weave cloth, but recently she's been told not to use it; it's old. Her view is yes, it's around 200 years old and it's doing just fine! But she uses another loom, anyway. Most of what she creates is a natural cream color, but some cotton is dyed. The red comes from a little beetle called the Cochineal scale. It's still used to dye things today.I love these things. My grandmother didn't weave, but this looks similar to stuff I saw in her house.
Most of the houses have an upstairs, and the staircase is outside, on the porch. And they paint the porch ceilings blue.
This is a southern tradition, based on the theory that wasps think the blue is the sky so they don't build nests there. I don't know if it works, but it's such a charming idea that we painted the porch roof blue on our house in Illinois.
The smallest house was a little one room building that shows the trend of leaving the top row of roof shingles long on one side. It was probably an easy way to avoid creating a roofline cap.
Inside a little schoolhouse were a couple of musicians (an accordion player and a guitar player), several student desks, a teacher's desk, and a blackboard filled with the phrase "I will not speak French" written 100 times. Children must have struggled between speaking French at home and English at school.
The fireplace in another house was a testament to success of the man of the house, with decorative candlesticks and a formal portrait. But at the hearth, sad irons are a reminder that the woman still had some hard jobs.
Some of these houses were moved here from elsewhere. Sometimes you can tell by looking at the doorways.
To get to the last house, we had to cross the Vermillion river. Fortunately there was a ferry, and fortunately Randy was with me. He ferried us across by pulling on the rope strung across the river.
This house was significantly larger than the rest. It had a formal dining room with a big fan overhead, like the one we saw at Longwood in Natchez.
The master bedroom was large enough to include a little dressing table and a metal tub, lined with a bath sheet.
The kitchen was well equipped, including a small mandolin and a sausage stuffer.This family who lived here had 16 children. No wonder they needed a three-seater bathroom!
A couple of the larger homes had remembrance hair wreaths. A docent told us that sometimes the wreaths were made with hair from living family members, sort of like a family portrait. But they were more commonly a way to remember lost loved ones. Glad we have photos now.By this time we were ready for lunch. We went back to Poche; it's the best place we found here and we recommend it to anyone who wants good, local food. Their menu changes daily; today I got crawfish étouffée and Randy got ribs. The mac-and-cheese, dirty rice and french fries were excellent, too.
With one last afternoon to spend in Breaux Bridge, we visited the antique and junk shops, identifying things we would like to have, someday, when we have a house again.