How's Bayou? Invasion of the costume people, part 1
They fly in from around the world: Germany, England, France, Japan, Washington state, the Carolinas, Cote d'Ivoire in western Africa.
They pay exorbitant baggage fees to airlines for extra suitcases filled with carefully, and often exquisitely, crafted ethnic, historic or fantasy costumes, culled from the pages of historical journals, family albums, fashion magazines and romance novels.
Madewood becomes their backdrop, mise-en-scene or Buhnenbild.
French couples, from effervescent kids in their mid-twenties to confused octogenarians who cling for dear life to the curved walnut stair raiing, sweep down the staircase channeling la vie de Rhett et Scarlett.
They are the costume people, and most show up with hoop skirts (how do they ever get those in a suitcase?), tailcoats and waistcoats that envelop floppy cravats.
But others bring a taste of their particular culture or field of interest to the nightly reception held in Madewood's library prior to dinner.
Last week, Wolfgang, 54, and Heike, 47, Luckert of Strassberg, Germany (not the better-known French city, Strasbourg), brought a touch of Alpine authenticity with them to Madewood. Too calm and gemutlich in their custom-made dirndl and lederhosen to have just escaped from a witch's oven, they might have been the volks that Hansel and Gretel grew up to be.
They're both teachers, leaning toward physics and mathematics, but work in the firm that Wolfgang founded in 1993 to publish schoolbooks and scheduling calendars.
Before Heike joined the firm, she had a year's sabbatical from her teaching position, and she and Wolfgang spent the end of summer 2008 traveling across the U.S., she in a sassy red Sebring convertible, he trailing on a massive motorcycle.
This year, they came directly from Munich's Oktoberfest, where, Wolfgang maintains, he never yodels until after the fifth large stein of good German beer.
At home, they play volleyball three days a week with the home team, the Street Mountain Hoppers (Strassberger Hupfer), and spend evenings among their collection of antiques -- one of the main reasons they wanted to stay in an authentic Southern plantation house.
Eclectic producer/director Quentin Tarantino had considered Madewood for the mansion occupied by Leonardo DiCaprio's squirrely squire in his upcoming "spaghetti Southern" flick Django Unchained, in which a German bounty-hunter-type helps a runaway slave return to free his oddly-named wife, Broomhilde.
I assume the mansion in the film meets a nasty end, so I'm not going to suggest that Wolfgang and Heike see the film. After all, they're close enough to Bayreuth to see the real Brunhilde.
How's Bayou? the secrets of remaining sane while running an upscale B&B on Bayou Lafourche, is written weekly for NolaVie by Keith Marshall, a former Rhodes Scholar and graduate of Yale and Oxford universities who now runs Madewood Plantation House in Napoleonville.
How’s Bayou? the secrets of remaining sane while running an upscale B&B on Bayou Lafourche, is written weekly for NolaVie by Keith Marshall, a former Rhodes Scholar and graduate of Yale and Oxford universities who now runs Madewood Plantation House in Napoleonville.