2024 Events

2024 Founders Tour

March 24-29
Getting There
Paul and Tracy, David and Joyce, Darrin, Barrett, and I headed down 90 to Lafayette, Louisiana. The slow going on 90 took its toll, but when the rain started, it was nice to be traveling slowly. About 30 minutes into the rain, the blue skies appeared, and the next challenge appeared. The big green sign that was posted at our next turn said Highway 90 was closed at the border. We traveled the remainder of the route on the interstate, traveling 60–65 miles per hour.
We arrived at the destination with just an hour until the opening banquet. The greetings started, and we went off to our room to refresh. We meet with the other six members of the Great Southern Region, the Bibb’s, McClellan’s and the Senkbeil’s.
We walked over to the opening banquet. It was a nice time to say hi to everyone and get the basic information for the days to come.
Crawfish and Cantilevers
The first day of the tour started at the hotel. We visited the German Heritage Museum in Roberts Cove. The museum houses the story of the German families who settled in Acadia. We were served the most delicious, buttery German cookies.
Our next stop was at D&G Frey Crawfish Farm in Iota. We learned how the small crawfish are peeled and packaged. It was interesting that the more fat and darker the yellow fat, the better they will taste. The ladies that peeled the crawfish were so fast.
We watched the sorter clean and sort little, medium, and large into colored bags. The big ones go to the restaurants, and the small ones this year were pealed due to the shortage of crawfish.
We were served salad, crawfish etouffee’, and an assortment of cookies. After lunch, we headed to Crowley for some Cajun entertainment. We then found Frozo ice cream. There is nothing better than ice cream on a tour.
We ventured over to the Ford Model A dealership. The vehicles would ship to dealers in a box with their parts sideways in the crate. The dealer would bolt all the parts together using the vehicle elevator. The building had since been turned into a museum and housed City Hall.
Jungles, Hot Sauce and Rip Van Winkle
We started the second day of the tour at Mel’s Diner. It is a nice breakfast spot. It is designed to mimic the 1980s sitcom.
Louisiana has some great back roads to travel. There are stretches of wide open spots with farmland. Anything from rice paddies to sugar cane fields can be found. The “don’t blink or you will miss it” little town centers are reminiscent of days gone by.
After about an hour of travel time, we arrived at Avery Island. We stopped at the gate, received our pass, and drove over the two biggest speed bumps ever.
We stopped at the little country store and got our pass to enter the Jungle Garden. The three-mile-long trail through the garden let us experience the best of everything in the typical vegetation of south Louisiana. We stopped to pose in our cars with the azaleas in bloom. We drove around a pond and saw several alligators, turtles, and ducks. The massive live oaks were dripping with Spanish moss.
We traveled over to the Tabasco plant for a tour and lunch. We viewed the vats, which are two stories high. The Tabasco could be in the vats for 2 or 3 years. The vats had an automatic system for stirring. Barrett found a button you could push, and it would stir the vats and send the smell out for you.
In another building, they were bottling. That was cool to see two of the four lines in operation. One worker on the line held up a handmade sign that said welcome cruisers.
Lunch was a sample of the menu from the 1868 restaurant: red beans and rice, gumbo and etouffee’ along with hot bread pudding.
After lunch, we drove over to Jefferson Island. We entered the area through the long, live oak corridor. As we went up the hill to the Joseph Jefferson home, we viewed the home through the many flowers in bloom.
When we got out of the car, we were greeted by peacocks—lots of them. The island has a unique history that includes the actor Joe Jefferson, who played Rip Van Winkle in the 1800s.
We all discovered we were not in as good of shape as we could have been. The walk to the house was a bit steep. We learned about the family and had the chance to see as authentic home belongings as we have seen.
After returning to the hotel, a “few” of us headed to Borden’s Ice Cream for the Buzzard Breath meeting.
Riding with Steve and his Buddy
St. Martinsville did not disappoint. On the third day, I chose to ride with Steve Eason in his 1957 Corvette.
The morning was spent at St. Martin De Tours Catholic Church. When we walked in, all the statues were covered in purple cloth. We sat for a while in pews that were built in the late 1700s. They were from the original church building. This church evolved into a cross-shaped structure in the 1800s and very early 1900s.
We were on our own to tour the church grounds and the Teche boardwalk. We made it over to the Acadian Museum, where we looked at a mural and listened to a recording representing the people depicted. Each person was told this in the voice of their descendant. The African American Museum was next door. The museum had many items that displayed the culture of the people. Lunch was at St. John’s restaurant. It was in an old train depot building. The food was excellent. We were lucky to be the first to be seated and served. Due to some confusion, many people had to wait an hour and a half to eat.
The afternoon includes a guided tour of Shadows on the Teche. The Weeks family had a big story to tell about the history of the sugar cane industry, slavery, the Civil War, and more. The grandson was the last member of the family to own the home before donating it to the Historic Preservation Society.
We all walked to the Bayou Teche Art Museum, which housed the Blue Dog artist, George Rodriguez.
After our tour, but before heading back to the hotel, we headed over to Baskin Robin’s for ice cream.
Don’t Rain on my Parade
You could see the looming rain in the distance as we left the hotel. This was not going to stop our fun. On our fourth day of the tour, we drove quite a few miles past many of the places we had been. We saw the frogs in Rayne, the Rice Theater in Crowel, and the crawfish farms that covered the plains, all on the way to Jennings.
Our first stop was on Main Street. The street was blocked for us. This made for great photos.
We started at the Ziegler Art Museum, where several Louisiana artists were featured, including James Audubon and Elton Louviere. After viewing the works of art, we went across the street to an antique store. I found some interesting things but did not bring any home with me.
We then walked back to the other end of the street to see the W. H. Tupper Merchandise Museum. This housed the entire inventory of the store at its closing in 1949. We did continue down to the end of the street to check out the bakery. Before we knew it, it was lunchtime. Mike’s Seafood provided a buffet lunch that was very good.
The afternoon took us to Gator Chateau at Oil and Gas Park. We all took turns holding a year-old alligator.
From this stop, we caravanned over to the SW Louisiana Veterans Home. It was beginning to rain quite a bit. We didn’t see many vets, but we sure hope they saw us.
Acadian Culture
The thunderstorms woke us up during the night. The rain was heavy and washed pollen out of the air.
On our last day of the tour, we headed to Vermillionville to tour the reproduction of Acadian Village. We spent the morning casually strolling through the buildings.
The highlight of the village was the ferry across the bog. Darin and David gave several rides across.
Lunch was at the event center on the grounds. This place had the spiciest food so far. That made it much easier to not overeat.
We drove .2 miles to the Jean Lafitte Acadian Cultural Center and walked through the artifact display. We watched a 30-minute movie about the hard lives of the Acadian people. We left there and headed to Borden’s Ice Cream for a late snack. A short break at the hotel was welcome before the closing banquet.
This was a fun tour, and so many new friends were made. We are looking forward to the next one!
– Charlotte

2024 AACA Annual Convention

February 8-10
We went to the Convention in Chantilly VA and we had a wonderful time! We toured the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center which is the National Air and Space Museum in Chantilly. We spent several hours touring the facility. Some of the highlights include a Lockheed Blackbird (pictured on the cover), a Concord Jet, the Discovery Space shuttle, and The Enola Gay. We had lunch on a balcony overlooking the Space Shuttle. Lunch was absolutely amazing! A buffet offering salmon, chicken, green beans, salad and of course dessert.
After the tour we stopped at the Sully Farm. The home was closed for the winter but the grounds were open. The home was originally owned by Richard Bland Lee, a great uncle to Robert E Lee.
We were treated to the First Lady’s lunch where a speaker from Days End Farm talked about the rescue of horses. Other features of the convention included seminars, judging schools, the trade show. One evening featured a night of gambling. But of course, it was with play money. Everyone started out with the same amount and then you played with that money and traded it in at the end of the evening for raffle tickets for prizes that had been donated. It was a lot of fun and enjoyed by all.
The highlight of the Convention is the National Awards Dinner. We had a wonderful meal at the host hotel followed by the presentations of awards.
If you are interested in seeing the National Awards, you can find it on the AACA Website:
Congratulations to Charlotte for winning the Master Editor award for our newsletter!
– Vicki Bolton

Birmingham and Montgomery Alabama's Local Antique Automobile Club