Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler

By: Stacey Purcell

I am returning this otherwise good typing paper to you
because someone has printed gibberish all over it and put your name at the top.  ~English Professor (Name Unknown), Ohio University

It seems many of my blogs have to do with some form of research and how to breathe life into a manuscript in unusual ways. This past weekend I had the opportunity to take a group of writers from my chapter on a road trip! This was a hands on form of research, made sweeter by the presence of other writers and friends.

Louisiana elicits images of swamps, pirates, spicy food, mysticism, and tales of dark passion. Was it simply based on stories passed down from one generation to the next that grew in the storytelling? We were on a mission to discover for ourselves the allure of this intriguing state. A little research ahead of time and then we were off to New Iberia in the heart of Cajun country.

We rolled into town, got our stuff settled and headed for the Tabasco factory and Avery Gardens. Who knew it takes up to three years for Tabasco to age? They also use whiskey barrels the liquor companies are forced to throw away after one use. Recycling at its best! There are only a few ingredients in this world famous sauce- peppers, distilled vinegar, and salt mined from the island it sat upon. Appropriately, the word Tabasco comes from the Indians meaning “place where soil is humid”. They got that one right!

After visiting the factory, shop and museum, we explored Avery Gardens which sits on top of a salt dome reported to be taller than Mt. Everest. We entered a paradise steeped in breathtaking beauty only to discover dark secrets hiding under the verdant green. Our group consisted of writers representing many different genres so our brainstorming sessions produced story bites from all walks. Since I’m a suspense/thriller writer, I found unique ways to hide my heroine in swampy water while a crazed killer was after her. Goodstuff!

Does she survive? You’ll have to wait for the book to come
out.

Others spun paranormal tales, Ya stories, and I’ve heard a rumor that a new children’s book is in the works about a tree looking for a home. The ideas were endless with such an unearthly splendor coloring the background of our future best sellers. What a way to get the creative juices flowing.

Our weekend marched along far too quickly. The culminating sight we investigated was Jefferson Island and Rip Van Winkle Gardens. The day was perfect. Temperatures hovered around 80, a stiff breeze blew over the lake and the giant oaks stretched out weathered limbs to shade us. A more perfect day would be hard to find. We toured the magnificent old home owned by a famous actor in the 1800s. The only actor more famous, at that time, than Joseph Jefferson was a fellow named John Wilkes Booth…we all know what happened to him.

We did find swamps, pirates, LOTS of spicy food, mysticism and a darkness that craved to be explored by brave souls. We also found camaraderie, laughter and a ton of brainstorming. (I think they got tired of me trying to kill all of the characters that we dreamt up.)

I highly recommend a writing road trip for research. You will find so much more than what you bargained for-

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler (Let The
Good Times Roll!)

14 Responses to Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler

  1. Jody says:

    Stacey,
    Thanks for describing the “research” trip so vividly. I put research in quotes because I think of research as spending days in a dusty library and nights in front of my equally dusty computer. This sounds like you were surrounded by good food, good friends, and good brainstorming.
    Jody

    Like

  2. Stacey says:

    This was the best “research” I’ve done in ages! I think it’s the way we should always learn about a place.
    It was a good time, but when other writers are there, they don’t look at you like you’re crazy when you throw a rock in the water to see how long it takes for the green carpet growing on the surface to close back up…you know to hide from the psychotic killer hot on your heels!

    Like

  3. Melissa says:

    Sounds like you guys had so much fun! Wish I could have joined you. Brainstorming and murder…awe man. Could it get any better. LOL I agree, roadtrips are the best part of research and having friends to share it with is awesome! 🙂

    Like

  4. Stacey says:

    We missed you, Melissa!
    Our next field trip will be to the US Marshall’s office. Get Ready, because you are coming with me to check it out ahead of time.

    Like

  5. jbrayweber says:

    I really hated to miss this one. I had been looking forward to taking the trip for some time. Darn softball games! LOL! I guess I’ll have to venture out that way soon.
    Sounds like a great time was had by all.
    Thanks for sharing, Stacey!

    Like

  6. Ruth says:

    Wow, sounds like it was a great time. Sorry I missed it. Hope I get to join at least one of the outings.
    Ruth

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  7. Stacey says:

    Jenn, this trip had your name written all over it. The general consensus is there was too much to see so it needs to be repeated at a later date! Maybe this time include New Orleans?!?!?!?

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  8. Stacey says:

    I hope you get to join us on the next road trip as well…especially since no one was gracious enough to host the wine and chocolate party in their room!
    I would love to have you come next time and help with some creative brainstorming. I think I’ll try to structure that bit a little more so everyone comes out with concrete ideas.

    Like

  9. Hi Stacey,

    sounds like you had a great time. Make me want to get in the car and go too.

    Cheers Peter

    Like

  10. William says:

    Sorry I missed this one, maybe next time! I think Halloween would be the *perfect* time for a road trip to the Swamplands of Louisiana…:)

    Like

  11. Stacey says:

    Will…..you think Halloween is the perfect time to do everything! But, you’re right. It would be a nice cool month with a hint of festivals and goblins in the air.

    Like

  12. Stacey says:

    Hi Peter! Waving at you from Texas.
    I wish you could come with us. I want to bring out that writer I know you have lurking in there!:-) If you were to come, you’d need lots of planes and then a car…they haven’t gotten around to building that bridge for us to traverse the world.
    I’m usually the one wishing I was with you on your trips to Malaysia etc.

    Like

  13. Oh! THAT sounds like so much fun.

    Nothing like walking, talking, breathing the life into your muse. And sharing it with other writers? Oh, soul food for the creative portions of the mind.

    🙂

    Like

  14. Nicely put, Candi! It was indeed soul food on many different levels. Some of our members were overwhelmed with family stuff so to be able to get away was wonderful for the creative side. It was nice to see how much imagination everyone had-

    Like

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