Graham Hey, IPA UK member
In October 2016 my wife Kathy and I set off for a special retirement holiday, visiting parts of Louisiana and Texas to follow our interests in American history, Cajun food and country music. The trip had been a year in planning, and at an early stage we completed the IPA travel form to seek advice. After an initial contact, we were contacted by Louis Gaydosh, a lieutenant in the New Orleans Police Department, and Ed Kassof, a retired NYPD officer and current president of the San Antonio region. Both provided useful information and advice that helped us with our plans. We decided to fly to Dallas Fort Worth and after a few days there drive to Louisiana staying for nearly 2 weeks across the lake from New Orleans at 2 different locations, Abita Springs and Lafayette. Then we were to drive to Texas with stays at San Antonio and Austin. Finally we would drive back to Dallas for our flight home. Stopping in Dallas a few days before our long drive was a good decision given that our main luggage did not make the connection at Heathrow, and we had to wait 2 days for it to arrive… We had a very enjoyable time in Louisiana thanks to a lot of information given by Louis Gaydosh on various sites and attractions in the North Lakeshore area. In particular, considering our interest in history, Louis arranged for us to contact a friend of his, Katrina, who is a professional guide in New Orleans. With her we arranged a personal guided tour of the French Quarter and were given a lot of information and insight into the history of New Orleans. While in Louisiana, we also took in a swamp tour, a brewery trip and the 3-day Cajun food and music festival at Lafayette. In San Antonio we stayed in the Menger hotel, recommended by Ed Kassof. It was a superb choice as it is a hotel with lots of history and special rates for IPA members. It also met our particular interests as it was built only 25 years after the famous Alamo battle and is opposite what is left of the old mission. Ed met us on our 2nd day in San Antonio and took us for a tour of the Alamo. For lunch, we shared a Mufaletta sandwich, a gigantic sandwich cut into 12 sections. Even the sandwiches in Texas are big! Afterwards Ed gave us a tour of the Riverside Walk area, including a boat trip. Ed’s knowledge of the history of Texas and the Alamo in particular was fantastic. In Austin our accommodation was only 10 minutes’ walk from the Department of Public Safety, which now incorporates the Texas Rangers. Louis Gaydosh had mentioned the DPS had their own museum. On presenting the IPA membership card, the officer on duty was very welcoming and allowed us to visit the museum. Despite being quite small, the museum includes a lot of exhibits and gives a good account of the history of the DPS and the Texas Rangers. On the drive back to Dallas we called at the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame and Museum at Waco. It is dedicated to the history of the Texas Rangers and also has a large section devoted to particular Texas Rangers who have given service above and beyond the call of duty. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Louisiana and Texas. Our thanks go to Louis Gaydosh, Ed Kassof and Bud Lathrop for all the help they gave to make it more enjoyable and memorable.
Graham Hey, IPA UK member
Picture: Ed, Kathy and Graham at the Alamo