Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.
Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.
My road trip reached its end on Grand Island, Louisiana.
Highway 1 literally ends on this barrier island.
This is Cajun country.
It is home to a bunch of new friends with colorful names like Rollie, Sambo, Knuckles and Herk.
Pssst. Wanna know a secret?
This is the deep south.
But it's a far cry from the bible belt.
Don't tell anyone.
There are Catholics here.
When these folks set to throwing a party someone's bound to slip into their residual French and my four years of French language instruction are totally useless.
Want to purchase real estate?
Napoleonic Law governs the transaction.
Anyway, the island isn't very wide - only about 40 acres across where we stayed.
You'll see trailer homes like this one-
And fancier houses like this-
You're probably thinking - What's with the silts?
Most everything is built up off of the ground.
Everything here is perched on pilings so as to avoid being swept to sea by the inevitable tidal surges that accompany the inevitable hurricanes.
In spite of the sturdy utility pole legs our hosts lost their trailer to Katrina
Most of it ended-up somewhere out in the gulf.
So they replaced it with a new trailer only to have Hurricane Gustav rip it apart.
Repairs were made and Hurricane Ike did it again.
Following that a metal roof was installed along with more fortifications.
You're probably thinking - Why would anybody want to live in a place where this happens all the time?
For starters the climate is terrific. Hot and sunny accompanied by refreshing gulf breezes.
And the fishing is awesome. Surf fishing on the beach, fishing from the pier or fishing from a boat.
Oh sure - there are the oyster men, and the shrimpers. The oil service industry is huge. Saturday nightlife gets pretty interesting when the crews are rotated ashore from the oil platforms.
The sunrises and sunsets are awesome too.
Nonetheless - fishing is the crown jewel and good eats are what follows.
No trip to Cajun country would be complete without the company of everybody on the block for a traditional crawdad boil.
If you want to do this yourself here are some simple and easy-to-follow instructions.
To begin you need to obtain a heaping bushel of these.
Dump them in a cooler and fill with fresh water. Drain, rinse and repeat. This purges any gumbo muck from the critters.
While waiting for the purge you should crack-open a cold brewski.
Transfer the crawdads to a laundry basket and rinse, again, with a garden hose.
Discard any dead ones.
Your Labrador retriever will want to roll in them.
Hey - the dog is on vacation too.
Fill your biggest kettle half-way with water and bring it to a boil.
To that you should add a couple of bags of red skin potatoes (unpeeled) and a bag of sweet onions (peeled).
Bring back to a boil and continue to sip your beer.
Dump the crawdads into the kettle - being sure to cover your ears to stifle the sound of screaming.
Add a half jar of Creole seasoning and bring back to a boil.
Add a big pile of fresh mushrooms, okra and smoked deer sausage.
Open your second beer.
At the very end add a large quantity of sweet corn.
Finish your beer.
Fetch the basket filled with all of this stuff from the pot, drain and shovel onto beer trays and serve.
Twist-off the tail, suck out the meat and repeat.
Very messy but Ooooh so good.
Coming soon - Fishing!