All last week we were the pampered guests (paying) of Carnival cruise line, five days aboard the Carnival Triumph, sailing out of New Orleans to the Mexican ports of Cozumel and Progresso and back. Five nights in a floating hotel, lodging, meals and entertainment paid for as a part of the package.

Special occasion! This was written on Friday, in the Gulf somewhere between the Yucatan and Louisiana, 50 years to the day after Lynn and I were married in St. Gregory Catholic Church in Houma. Far more years of ups than downs.

Cruising? Even considering the convenience of not having to repack and change lodgings every day or two, it's not my favorite mode of travel. I like to see different towns or attractions, and aboard a cruise, 90 percent of the sights are the interior of a floating hotel.

This trip, for example, made two stops, Cozumel island and the industrial deepwater port called Progresso. At Cozumel, we paid for a tour to Cedral, where we sampled the remnants of ancient, pre-Spanish culture, including a Mayan ball game and local traditional foods and dances.

Progresso is relatively barren, the starting point for bus tours of Mayan pyramids by the acre. I recommend passing up the zip-lines and beaches for cultural tours like we took to Dzibilchaltun, about 20 miles inland.

Dining: Passengers are well fed, both in quantity and selection. We were assigned to a table in the main dining room, where we ate every evening with three more couples, from Shreveport, Monroe and St. Louis, ordering from a changing menu. I generally get unfamiliar dishes, ones I would not order at home.

I figure I may discover a new favorite, but if the choice is terribly wrong, I can go upstairs to the buffet, since folks may dine there without an additional expense. This trip I sampled snails and rabbit without permanent damage.

Out of touch: Uninterrupted cellphone and email service is available, but at a price. Being thrifty (maybe stingy), I cut the connection. I have not read my email for a week, likely missing a few requests for publicity or responses to earlier information queries. I will begin returning phone calls as soon as we are home.

Rougarou Tents: One of the ways you can help with Houma's Rougarou Fest in October is getting organizers connected with someone whose company has one of those 20-by-20 commercial tents. If you or someone you know has one, email Jonathon Foret at or call 850-7289 to discuss lending the festival such a tent. For Rougarou information, visit

Houma Ammo Plant? Recollections of an ammunition plant in Houma in the 1940s are coming in, but two calls on that subject came as we were being driven to board the boat in New Orleans, and my rough notes need revision. Both callers were children in the '40s, and neither is certain about the owner's name. But the location is clear, off Morgan Street, about five blocks off Main Street. More soon.

Houma Tuesday Market: I have been out of touch for more than a week, but I expect the farmers/artisans market will go on as usual, 3-5:30 p.m., corner Main and Naquin streets, outside the South Louisiana Seed store. Or check the Facebook page, “South Louisiana Seed Market.” Click “like,” to become a follower and get automatic market updates.

Responding? Contact Bill Ellzey at 381-6256,, or c/o The Courier, P.O. Box 2717, Houma, LA 70361.