Memory Lane Road Trip Part 16

17 Oct

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites


Day 16 – Wednesday 5/2/2018 


Because of my word dyslexia, I don’t really like to read, so to satisfy my literary needs, I listen to audio books on CDs in my car.  One of my favorite authors is James Lee Burke, many of whose books are read by Will Patton.  One of Burke’s series revolves around a detective, Dave Robicheaux, whose duties take place in and around the south Louisiana town of New Iberia, and Will Patton makes Burke’s characters come alive for me.  Since my route today was taking me south, on U.S.- 90 from Lafayette, my first stop was in New Iberia, to visit the Bayou Teche Museum.  Who knows, I might even meet James Lee Burke, somewhere on Main Street, on my way to the museum.



This is a small museum that displays memorabilia and artifacts related to the people, history, culture, and industry of New Iberia and the surrounding area.  In addition to being the hometown for Burke’s detective, Dave Robicheaux, (who I didn’t see at the museum or in town) it was at one time the hometown of Blue Dog artist George Rodrigues.



I continued southeast on U.S.- 90 to visit the Wedell-Williams Aviation Museum located in Patterson, LA.  This is a good-sized museum filled with artifacts and memorabilia related to the Golden Age of Aviation.  The museum also has nine beautifully restored Golden Age Racer airplanes that flew in air races all over the country during the 1920s and 1930s.  I have read about these very airplanes for years, but it’s something else to see them in person, and so well taken care of.  The Wedell-Williams Air Service was formed in 1928, and became Louisiana’s first commercial airline, providing passenger and mail service between New Orleans and Houston.



The museum building actually is home to two museums, the Wedell-Williams Aviation Museum and the Cypress Sawmill Museum.  I had no idea that Jimmie Wedell’s partner, Harry P. Williams was associated with the Cypress lumber business.  As it turns out Harry P. Williams was the son of Frank B. Williams, who is credited with starting the Cypress Milling Industry in Louisiana, and was also known as “The King of the Cypress Industry.”  This museum displays memorabilia, artifacts, and machinery related to the harvesting and milling of Cypress lumber in south Louisiana dating from the late 1800s.  I was amazed at the size of some of the Cypress logs (cross section) and the machinery needed to handle those huge logs.



Heading east a few miles on U.S.- 90 I visited the International Petroleum Museum located in Morgan City, LA.  This museum consists of a full-sized ocean oil drilling rig and barge, on which is displayed the associated equipment to support ocean oil drilling operations. If you have ever seen photos of an ocean oil drilling rig, then you can understand why I didn’t want to climb up to the base of the rig.  I’m sure my bad knees wouldn’t have survived the climb to where the museum’s artifacts and memorabilia are located.  The photo below will just have to suffice.

Continuing east on U.S.- 90 I visited the Regional Military Museum located in Houma, LA.  I was surprised to find a museum of this size out in the middle of what I call bayou country.  This is a fairly large museum that displays artifacts and memorabilia from all branches of the U.S. military services.  They have one tank, one howitzer, one helicopter, one air force airplane, one navy airplane, two jeeps, a motorcycle with sidecar, and a cruise missile. It didn’t take me long to go thru this museum.

During my 2016 Midwest America trip, a couple of museums, not far from New Orleans, had been closed and I thought I would try them again today.  So I headed northeast on U.S.- 90 until I picked up I-310/I-10 around New Orleans, and headed east to visit the Busted Wrench Garage Museum located in Gulfport, MS. I was looking forward to getting some photos of the 50+ restored automobiles of all makes and models.  As luck would have it, the museum had closed to the public sometime in February of this year.  Phooey!




And to top it off, the Model Railroad Depot Museum located in Bay St. Louis, MS was closed when I got there.  Not to be deterred I stopped, on the way back to New Orleans, at the Slidell Municipal Airport to see if anyone was sky diving on this beautiful afternoon. The answer was NO.  They are only open on the weekends.  The Skydive Nawlins hanger was closed, but I got a big kick out of their sign on the door that read, “SKYDIVENAWLINS.COM,”



So I gave up for today and asked Greta to take me to my motel for tonight.  After I got checked in, I asked the desk clerk about a good place to eat and he said he liked Don Jose’s Mexican Grill not too far down the road. I had Don Jose’s Chili Relleno filled with shrimp and cheese.  It was delicious and was a new taste treat for me.  As usual, there was nothing worth watching on TV, so it was early to bed for me again tonight.




—–To Be Continued—–





Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 61 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.




One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

3 Responses to “Memory Lane Road Trip Part 16”

  1. fuonlyknew October 17, 2018 at 7:46 pm #

    It’s amazing what you find when you just hit the road. I’ve been to that Military Museum. Took a ton of pictures.


  2. divoran09 October 17, 2018 at 4:08 pm #

    I liked it.


  3. GP Cox October 17, 2018 at 6:53 am #

    Local museums often have more to offer than people expect. I was happy to learn that when I was a kid and took a school trip to see the Nassau County Museum. I go to any museum I come across, thanks to learning early!!


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