Louisiana Trip Countdown
by: Jessica Blosberg
6. Wonderful tours of various businesses around Louisiana. Our industry stops included an airboat tour, the Laura Plantation (a Creole, sugar cane plantation), the Tabasco Pepper Sauce Factory, the Frogmore Plantation and Gin (cotton, mostly), Louisiana State Univeristy, and the Insta-Gator Ranch.
5. Vans, each with their own unique driver. Some cranked up the tunes and sang, others let everyone sleep, and all were fun to drive around with! Everyone made it to each destination, and all were great to have along! (Thank you, drivers for keeping us all safe and happy!)
4. Fun-filled days from the snow of Minnesota to the marshes of Louisiana and back. We toured the state, made new friends, and experienced some new parts of the American agriculture industry!
3. Different hotels in three different cities. From New Orleans, to Alexandria, to Baton Rouge, we were hosted with style and grateful for places to stay along the way. We enjoyed “group bonding” over games of cards, laughing as we swam in the pools, and were happy to find a comfortable pillow at the end of each busy day.
2. Quick flights between the states. For some, it was their first time on an airplane! No baggage was lost, and we all arrived safely at both destinations.
1. Incredible experience in a state that may be in our time zone, but definitely has a culture of its own. Thank you to all who helped plan the trip, guide tours, and overall, make this week a huge success!
by: Eric DeBliek
When we started our last morning in the Bayou at 4:30 a.m. it was well over 50 degrees. Our last day was very short since we had a 7:10 flight back to the tundra that we call Minnesota. Now while I could go on and on about the shock of coming back to Minnesota, I think that the experience in Louisiana was unforgettable.
On Friday we left the Twin Cities and landed in New Orleans. While we did get in late we still had an opportunity to check out the area around the hotel and get a late night snack before bed. Saturday began with the group getting up and heading out of New Orleans. Now while this may have been the first full day, it was by far one of the best. The first thing that we did was go on an airboat tour through the bayou. What we say on this tour was completely awesome; it started with just the overall marsh and canals and turned to wildlife with an emphasis on alligators. When we were done
with our airboat it was back to New Orleans for some free time to swim and explore the city.
Sunday was our first day on the road. It started with a tour of the Laura Plantation which was a historic and mostly restored sugar cane plantation. From the plantation we continued on and had lunch as a group. After lunch we took off and headed for Avery Island for our tour of the plant where Tabasco Sauce is made. We ended our night up in Alexandria with sometime in the pool and a couple hands of cards. The next morning we were up and going again with the vans ultimately pointed towards Baton Rouge. Although before we got there we had one stop to make, this stop was at a cotton plantation and gin. This plantation gave us an opportunity to learn about historical all the way through current
practices. Once we got done we on the plantation we set a course of LSU in Baton Rouge. Personally this was one of my favorite parts of the trip. While on Campus we received an excellent tour, saw Death Valley, and even got to meet their live mascot. Once our tour was over we headed over to a crawfish boil with the LSU CFFA. Afterwards it was back to the hotel to catch some sleep for the night.
Come Tuesday, which was our last full day, we got on the road one last time to head for New Orleans. Along the way we had a tour of an alligator farm where we had the opportunity to touch and even hold live alligators. Once we made it back to New Orleans it was time to go to the pool while it was still nice out and pack for the morning. Finally we came back to wonderful state of Minnesota which to say the least was really cold compared to what we were used to. Overall the trip was a great experience and one that I will never forget. I do have to say THANK YOU! to our two chaperones that did all the planning and kept an eye on us while we tried to stay out of trouble.
Home Sweet Home
It was an early morning, pulling out of the hotel before 5 a.m., all packed and headed for the airport. I know that I was eager to get back to my own bed, but sorry to leave the warm weather and sunshine behind… After a groggy flight, the chilly weather brought us back to reality and made us appreciate the gorgeous Louisiana weather even more. Full of spicy fried foods, brand new knowledge of agriculture in the south, and miles of memories, we’re ready to share everything (or almost everything) with our friends and family back at home.
The highlight of our first day of touring was the gator ‘Big Al’ on the airboat tour. The following day, we learned all about Creole ways at the Laura Plantation, everything from bedroom offices and the Code Noir to breezeways and pink bananas. On Avery Island, we saw how Edmund McIlhenny spiced up the world with his famous Tabasco pepper sacue. Monday morning brought fluffy puffs of cotton from the Frogmore Cotton Plantation and Gin, which has been in operation since the early 1800’s. We also got a wonderful tour of Louisiana State University and a delicious meal of boiled crawfish and jambalaya from LSU’s collegiate FFAers. We began our final full day down south with beignets for breakfast and a very informative presentation on varying aspects of the state’s agriculture from the LA Farm Bureau. The very last tourist stop in the sunny weather was the Insta-gator Ranch, where we learned all about gators while we fed them marshmallows.
Like all good things, our trip had to come to an end, but it was an incredible experience we all loved and that none of us will ever forget.