Our friend Suzanne told us about her family’s sugar mill, the Lula Sugar Factory, which dates back to the 1800’s. Your family has a sugar mill?! Eureka! This piece of sugar nostalgia, we had to check out. We hopped on a plane across the country to New Orleans and landed in the middle of a torrential rainstorm. No one in his/her right mind would drive 1½ hours in crazy weather but we were on a sugar mission and nothing would stop us. Thank goodness Suzanne was equally crazy and willing to escort us. As you can see below, everything in Louisiana is as it was. The directions, like the recipes, have been retold from one generation to the next.
Route to Lula Sugar Mill:
Take highway 10 west across the lake. That would be Lake Pontchartrain. This is a two-lane highway over swamp water for approximately 20-30 minutes. Don’t make a wrong move, don’t swerve, you are in the middle of a lake. Pay extra attention if there is rain or fog (we had both). You will end up swimming with alligators.
Exit the freeway.
Turn left at the coffee house. Stop at the coffee house for some cafe au lait and beignets. They only have two sizes, small and large. Do you have non-fat milk? “No, Ma’am!” The coffee is sublime. Rejoice that you are on solid ground. Make sure to pick up some Swamp Dirt seasoning and the alligator head shaker to take home as a souvenir. Also, grab some New Orleans BBQ Shrimp Mix on the way out. Get back on the road. Slowly sip that delicious coffee as you cruise down, “The Lane.”
Cross over the bridge. That would be Sunshine Bridge. I expected an old wood rickety bridge but I drove across a feat of modern engineering. This steel bridge was built for shipping vessels to pass underneath on their way to pick up sugar from the mills. That was, until the Mississippi was dammed.
Keep going until you turn left on Highway 1.
Go until you hit Uncle Rufus’ house.
Then go further a few streets down and turn right. You’d better be in a truck as you head down the lane to the Lula Sugar Mill. Make sure you have rubber boots to walk around in the muck and your poncho in case anything “drips” on you.
Ahhh. You’ve arrived.
We learned more than we ever could have imagined about sugar and we’ll fill you in more in a later blog. The lengths we go to for adventure…