Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Such a deal. You can grow a crop of rice, then while the fields are still flooded, you can "grow" crawfish, harvest, then put in soy beans or another crop of rice. Hey, that will put your kids through college. Now, huge dryers dry the rice so it can be stored for years and you don't have to sell until the price is right.  I never get tired of eating rice, or crawfish, so I thought I'd learn how this is done.

First we visited the Rice Interpretive Center in Crowley, a town that boasts 200 buildings on the National Historic Register. Included was Crowley Motors, an old Ford Dealership, that houses-get this-the history of Crowley, the Interpretive Center, a Ford Museum, and the J.D. Miller Recording Studio,  plus the Mayor's office and five other city offices. Whew!  All beautifully melded in this lovely, lovely restored building. We sat on the "still usable" freight elevator and watched a film. These people did a fantastic job on this place.

As you can see, the outside of the building is beautiful. The freight elevator below shows the wooden post and beam construction on the inside. No steel girders.

Tourism Coordinator, Charlotte Jeffers told us that Henry Ford shipped Model T's to Crowley Motor Company with two to a boxcar. Ford figured out how to stack them four to a box car,  balanced on the bumper with fenders and wheels removed, cutting his costs in half and putting the responsibility on the dealer to re-assemble the cars. The Model T was so successful, Ford made it unchanged for 19 years.
He ordered  Crowley rice packed in cypress boxes. The milled cypress wood made steering wheels for his special cars. Later, he farmed out the chassis to another company. He ordered the chassis shipped in an oak crate with a blueprint for how they would be made. The milled shipping crates became wooden flooring in his cars. And we thought recycling was a new idea!

The J.D. Miller Recording studio, once owned the building. We were able to press buttons and listen to Lazy Lester, Paul Simon,  blues, zydeco and cajun greats, music that led to Rock n" Roll hits like Kitty Wells "Honky Tonk Angels."

Now, the rice.  This is a did-you-know:  One rice grain produces about 300 grains? Rice is a swamp grass? There are 120,000 varieties of rice?  Rice growing provides wetlands for migratory birds? Unique to Louisiana is soaking the rice grains and planting them by airplane?
But, this isn't what I wanted to see. I wanted to get out into one of those old mud crawlers and see how they "plant" and harvest the crawfish.

 The mud crawler was there.

The rice field was full of crawfish pots like the one above.

It was rainy and muddy. We were led astray. We found ourselves in a parking lot where there was no turn around for the Motor Home, thanks to poor signage.  Finally the right parking lot, but it was full and muddy besides. We left the Crystal Rice Company without going out on a rice field in a mud crawler. Dang!  Maybe another day.For more pictures go to:

No comments: