I spent a leisurely afternoon recently with my aunt. She invited me to lunch, knowing that I am headed across the ocean soon, and will be missing the bayous, Spanish moss, crawfish, and real people of my home state.

My aunt suggested the Cypress Inn – a beautiful seafood restaurant located on the banks of Bayou DeSiard in Monroe, Louisiana.

All kinds of creatures indigenous to Louisiana (a taxidermist’s delight) decorate the establishment: bass, alligator,  and snapping turtles, to name a few.

My aunt and I sat on the back porch to dine so that we could admire the bayou – and the creatures that call it home, like the turtles that were hanging out near the pier, begging for food.

Auntie knows me well, and figured that the quietude of the bayou would calm my nerves and restore my peace.

She was right.