When Barry Toups purchased 28 acres of crawfish ponds near Kaplan, La., he didn't know it would eventually lead to opening a bed and breakfast.
It all started when he went check on his ponds and met a Mrs. Rose Robicheaux, an elderly woman who lived in a house nearby. As they developed a friendship, he inquired if she would consider selling him her home, a 1903 Acadian-style structure. After she passed away in 2013, her son offered Toups the opportunity to purchase the home.
After Toups did, he had no idea what he was going to do with the house. Located in Cajun Country
(a little over an hour from Lake Charles
and less than 40 minutes from Lafayette
), he thought about turning it into a camp
and renting it out to duck hunters. However, it was a crawfish excursion with relatives from Biloxi, Miss., which provided him the direction to take.
"We were out crawfishing, and they were saying how fun it was and I needed to commercialize it."
So Toups, a retired school maintenance manager, decided to convert the dwelling into Crawfish Haven/Mrs. Rose's Bed and Breakfast
. He opened in April of this year offering some Louisiana-only activities
"It's a true Cajun experience," says Toups about both the crawfish excursion and crawfishing with the nets.
The excursion is opened to both guests and non-guests (non-guests fee is a little higher.) During crawfish season Toups takes everyone out on his boat and guides them through how crawfish are harvested. Crawfishing with nets is available only guests at Crawfish Haven/Mrs. Rose's Bed and Breakfast and is done during the season in the pond directly behind the property. With both activities, guests have the opportunity to purchase crawfish at market price, and can either boil the bounty of crustaceans themselves at the house or have Toups do it for them.
"I had a couple visiting from Ohio, and neither one of them have ever eaten crawfish," said Toups. "After I boiled them, I showed them both how to peel them. Once they had it down, they nearly ate five pounds of crawfish a piece."
Also, guests can also fish onsite or in areas 15 - 20 minutes away. Close by and opened year-round is Rockefeller State Wildlife Refuge and Game Preserve
. Explore, view wildlife and go crabbing (seasonal.)
As for the property itself, there are three bedrooms and two baths, and it can
sleep up to 13.
has its own Louisiana personality reflected by names like The Cypress Room, The Crawfish Room and the Fleur de Lis Room. Amenities include free WiFi, DirectTV and more. Guests have full use of the kitchen, living room, wrap-around porch and outdoor cooking equipment. Rooms can be rented individually, or the entire house can be rented out.
photos courtesy of Crawfish Haven/Mrs. Rose's Bed and Breakfast