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Sanford Junot, left, and Adiren Wheeler hold up Junot’s 40-pound catfish caught in Lake Palourde near Lake End Park in Morgan City.
—Submitted photos

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Lake End Park entrance

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Adiren and Lynda Wheeler fish off the bank at Lake End Park in Morgan City.

Go with the Flo: RV campers make Lake End Park a Christmas destination

Over and under and through the woods, to grandmother’s house we go; the horse knows the way to carry the sleigh, through the white and drifted snow!
This old children’s song brings back vivid memories of when our family used to drive across town to my grandmother’s house for Christmas each year. That was our tradition. All of our aunts, uncles and cousins would be there for a grand dinner with presents exchanged afterwards.
This past week, I was on deadline getting out an article for the May 2018 issue of Mississippi/Louisiana Game and Fish Magazine. The assignment required me to select two better locations in Louisiana and Mississippi, where people could take their families during the summer and camp, fish, and just plain recreate.
I’ve done quite a few of these “destination” features over the years. They can be a pain in the you know what and fun at the same time. But, when I got to thinking about this particular job, I had one of those “well-duh,” moments. Why don’t I include Lake End Park right here in Morgan City?
In the past, I have covered fishing tournaments at the park. I have done a little photography, taking pictures of brown pelicans and wading birds there. I’ve watched boat races, fireworks, and ceremonies there. What’s more, there were always plenty of campers taking in those activities — both RV and tent.
Plain and simple, Lake End Park is a little gem resting right here on our dirt in St. Mary Parish. It also provides visitors a location where they can access the southern portion of the Atchafalaya Basin.
This past weekend, my wife and I met up with some folks who spend Christmas at Lake End Park annually. Adiren Wheeler and his wife Lynda are from Villa Rica, Georgia, located about an hour’s drive west of Atlanta.
For the past four years, the Wheelers have left Georgia in early October and towed their RV camper to Morgan City, staying at the park through the Christmas holidays. Both husband and wife said they love to fish and sometimes catch bass, perch and catfish from the bank while there.
Adiren Wheeler, clearly enjoying his retirement years, said, “We’re thermometer campers really. When the temperature gets below 73 degrees back home, we head south to Morgan City. And, when it gets above 78 degrees here, we head back home.”
Sanford and Judy Junot from Port Allen say they found Lake End Park 25 years ago and have been coming every year since. The couple spend five months out of the year at the park, including the Christmas holidays.
Sanford Junot retired five years ago from Placid Refinery, but his wife still has to work. The couple love the park so much that, during the week, Judy commutes back and forth from Morgan City to Port Allen.
Judy Junot said, “Sanford’s dream is to one day live on a houseboat at Lake End Park but right now there aren’t any spaces available. There is a waiting list and we’ve been on it a long time. Hopefully, one day we’ll get a spot.”
While talking to the Wheelers and Junots, it just so happened Sanford Wheeler had caught a good mess of catfish that morning on jug lines out on Lake Palourde. The biggest fish was a huge blue cat that pushed the scale upwards of 40 pounds.
For those who don’t know, besides a boat launch and marina on Lake Palourde, Lake End Park has 147 RV camp sites complete with electricity, water and sewerage. There are 20 tent sites and six deluxe cabins for rent on the lake as well. There are four pavilions to accommodate such things as parties and family reunions, a swimming beach, walking trail, a children’s playground, and plenty of bank to fish off of.
Over the years, living in Louisiana, I’ve noticed how people travel to spend Christmas with friends and family just like we did when I was growing up in Michigan. But, I’ve also had the unique experience of spending many Christmases down the bayous at my late father-in-law’s trapping camp in the marsh.
I always knew RV campers like to get away during the holidays, but that was “away” from home. As Christine and I walked through Lake End Park, it never dawned on us that so many people made it their Christmas home away from home.
A couple of RVs were decorated with lights and ornaments with a back drop of redish-orange cypress trees that were rapidly losing their needles, surrounded by water oaks with rich dark-green leaves. The perfect setting for a Cajun Christmas at Lake End Park.
If you wish to make a comment or have an anecdote, recipe or story you wish to share, you can contact John K. Flores by calling (985) 395-5586 or by email at gowiththeflo@cox.net.

ST. MARY NOW & FRANKLIN BANNER-TRIBUNE

Franklin Banner-Tribune
P.O. Box 566, Franklin, LA 70538
Phone: 337-828-3706
Fax: 337-828-2874

Morgan City Daily Review
P.O. Box 948, Morgan City, LA 70381
Phone: 985-384-8370
Fax: 985-384-4255