Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Whooping it up in Cajun Country

April 19-20, 2013
Abbeville, Louisiana
Betty’s RV Park

A big shout out goes to Mr. and Mrs. Heyduke of On the Road of Retirement for writing a post about their memorable experience at Betty’s RV Park here in Abbeville, La. Originally, Vic and I intended to spend about a week in New Orleans, possibly attending the NOLA Jazz Festival, but after reading about the good times to be had at Betty’s in Cajun Country we chose to skip the crowds and expense of New Orleans and spend our time in the small towns of Vermilion Parish, whose motto is “the most Cajun place on earth.” This is the first time either of us has been to the state of Louisiana, but it surely won’t be the last! 

Good thing we were forewarned not to be alarmed when we saw the sites at Betty’s. The park itself is basically a large u-shaped gravel parking lot with seventeen full hook-ups for the reasonable rate of $20 per day for 50 amps. No showers, restrooms, pools, or shuffleboard courts, but what you have is something much better: Miss Betty’s incredible hospitality and her kitschy outdoor patio where she hosts a nightly happy hour gathering for her guests. As a result, the park has earned the distinction of being named one of the 25 Top RV Parks in America and Most Fun Small RV Park in the United States.

Miss Betty is an Abbeville native who was recently inducted into a local museum’s Living Legends program for her activities and work promoting Louisiana culture. Betty weaves her magic with the park’s guests not only by hosting her nightly gatherings, she also serves as a tourist guide making sure they know the best places to go and experience true Cajun culture. Guests also get a flavor of local culture just by viewing the many artifacts and whimsical art pieces she has on display in her Louisiana room and outside pavilion.

Betty also brings the spirit of Acadiana to the park by inviting local musicians to play for her guests and by bringing in or making Cajun meals. The first night we arrived, Betty asked if I wanted to place an order for boiled crawfish and shrimp as most of the guests would be dining together after happy hour.  We gladly put in our order and then she casually mentioned there might be live music that night too as she invited her friend Eric, a French Canadian, and Dave, a local Acadian, to play some Cajun music for us.  What a treat. 

Miss Betty even joined the musicians by playing on a small rubboard which she also passed around for others to try. Notice her signature fleur de lis wine glass, painted with the official symbol of the state of Louisiana. 

Crawfish, wine, foot-stompin’ music, and Betty’s joie de vivre are all part of the magic formula that makes this a special place to come together with fellow RV’ers who share a common love for seeking fun travel adventures. Of the dozen or so other campers there that evening, we were the only ones who were first-timers to the park. Most had been here as long as a month or two and had stayed here on several occasions. They welcomed us newcomers with the admonition that we would be likely to become Betty inductees ourselves. One fellow, Marvin, seems to have made the park a home away from home. He vows to only come for a month, then he says Betty casts her Jedi spell on him and before he knows it four or five months have passed. Such is the life of those who, to mix metaphors, get “caught in Betty’s web.”

As if this first evening wasn’t enough fun, we were invited to go with another couple to a Zydeco breakfast at Café des Amis in nearby Breaux Bridge. The only catch was that to ensure we would get a table at this popular Saturday morning event, we would need to leave at 6:30 a.m.!  I was all in but Vic, not so sure. Fortunately, by the evening’s end, he was fully embracing the Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler philosophy and set his alarm for 5:45 a.m. and off we went by 6:30.

We arrived about 7:15 a.m. and garnered a spot almost at the front of the line. At 7:30 a.m., the doors opened and we secured an eight-top table where some other locals joined us adding to the friendly experience. The band, Dikki Du and the Zydeco Krewe, was already setting up while we started the morning with the strange combination of Zydeco Bloody Mary’s and Vic’s first sampling of beignets. Off to a good start. 

Our strategy was to delay our breakfast order so we could get in some dancing before eating. It worked perfectly as by the time we ordered, the restaurant was packed and the food didn’t come out for another 45 minutes. The dance floor was pretty much full at the first sound of accordion notes drifting across the café.

I used to know how to Zydeco dance, but that was about fifteen years ago; however, Vic and I watched closely and figured we could come close.  I danced with a couple other Zydeco dancers first before Vic felt confident to hit the dance floor with me.  What a way to start the day!  Of course, just watching everyone else have fun was quite entertaining as well. Check out this video. This guy was a hoot.

Café des Ami zydeco dancers

The only downside to starting out the day this way is what comes next?  Fortunately, we had plenty of other possibilities ahead including, of course, the daily happy hour at Betty’s. I will leave you with scenes from Café des Ami. Stay tuned for Part II.

zydeco dancers1


  1. Sooooo happy to see this post as it brings back such fond memories of the fun to be had at Betty's. Great food, great music, friendly folks...Enjoy!!!!

  2. Thanks for sharing! Looks like a special place to stay. Glad you're having so much fun.

  3. OK this is about the third rave I've read for Betty's. I'm not sure I can read another one and not drop everything and drive right over there. Looks like you are having a FINE time. I want to see Vic and zydeco. Dancing before breakfast and up at 6:30 to go there. Y'all are definitely having bon temps.

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  5. Noticed that Sharon didn't mention it but the fellow dancing in your video is the same guy Sharon danced with at the Zydeco event we attended while at Betty's...

  6. We stayed over the 4th of July at Betty's a few years back. What a hoot. If you want a swamp boat ride, she knows a great guy who will give you an awesome experience. We loved ours.

  7. What a way to start out the day! Obviously this is something we need to add to our list of things to do when we go through LA again.

  8. Dancing at breakfast...what a hoot! Gotta go! No better way to enjoy the culture and excitement of the area!
    Thanks for sharing.


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