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Liberty Center ~ Eunice, Louisiana









Eunice, Louisiana blessed with climate this time of year (;-)), gracious people through out the year, good food and good music and tight bands to play that music, showcased at the Liberty Center. Just imagine in this day’s mind set a successful and constructive collaboration between local government and the federal government: the Liberty Center restoration! I am sure the town of Eunice has benefited from this collaboration in a huge way.

I for one am glad to see it!


Saturday 2/26 2011 we experienced two Cajun bands at the weekly TV/radio show ‘Rendezvous Des Cajuns’ produced and aired within the walls of the Liberty Center:  les Feres Michot and Harry Young and COD (Cajun On Demand).





















Good stuff as you can see from the dancers faces.

“Lesse Le Bon Temps Rouler”












28 Feb 2011

Savoys’ Music Center ~ Saturday Jam

The thought of a lounge full of dancin’ drinkin’ folks at 8:30 AM drove us on past Fred’s Lounge in Mamou to Savoy’s Music Center outside of Eunice. I found Fred’s (and Slim’s Y-Ki-Ki) a little intimidating. Savoy’s did turn out to be more our speed. Good folk, good music – folk from everywhere, jam session music from Acadiana.  The hot bed of Wilson Savoy and the Pine Leaf Boys. Woo Hoo!

The jam sessions have been right on, I may be getting too old for that bar scene.

Imagine that … Oh well.

Lots of exceptional folk musicians in Louisiana, young and not so young alike,  keeping the ‘music’ alive.

Good Stuff!

27 Feb 2011

Graciousness and Hospitality ~ Washington, Louisiana

A day of touring: Washington and Grand Coteau, Louisiana.

Magnolia Ridge circa 1820.  The Washington town museum and a lady who is the soul of hospitality and graciousness. Live Oaks and the National Registry.


A good day of touring ended with  the righting of a wrong and some Cracklin’s and Boudin (say Boo-dan) from Ray’s Boudin. The boudin at Ray’s corrected the lingering blah taste in my mouth from bland boudin on Avery Island  awhile back. The Cracklin’s don’t sound good but boy were they. The Spicy Boudin was just that and way good.

26 Feb 2011

Louisiana Rt 82: Pecan Island, Grand Chenier and Cameron Prairie NWR

The long way round …

Tomorrow St. Landry Parish ~ Chicot SP

23 Feb 2011

TLAFA ~ Home Grown Goodness in Terrebonne

Louisiana cowboys and cowgirls, young and not so young alike, from the Terrbonne Parish/Houma area have banded together to form the  Terrebone Livestock and Agricultural Fair Association. The TLAFA for short. I had the opportunity to shoot one of their events, a Saturday night rodeo under a full moon.  Good people running this organization.  Parents, families, community, extending themselves for the youth of this area, working to give their young people something energetic, exciting and entertaining to fill themselves up with.

The following images are a good sampling of the evening’s rodeo photography action.  At some point in time this week there will be a very large inclusive gallery posted containing all of the worthy photos from the evening’s action.  We will be glad to sell digital files with all sales proceeds going to TLAFA’s current fund raising project. We are trying to figure out the simplest and easiest way to do that. Thank you for your patience. We are living on the road and working out of a small camper. Life is simple, Life is good!

The image sizes are constrained  in the blog. The electronic digital image files will be high resolution 4X6 files.

There’s a young man that I know, his age is twenty-one
Comes from down in southern Colorado
Just out of the service, he’s lookin’ for his fun
Someday soon, goin’ with him someday soon

My parents can not stand him ’cause he rides the rodeo
My father says that he will leave me cryin’
I would follow him right down the toughest road I know
Someday soon, goin’ with him someday soon

But when he comes to call, my pa ain’t got a good word to say
Guess it’s ’cause he’s just as wild in the younger days

So blow, you old Blue Northern, blow my love to me
He’s drivin’ in tonight from California
He loves his damned old rodeo as much as he loves me
Someday soon, goin’ with him someday soon

When he comes to call, my pa ain’t got a word to say
Guess it’s ’cause he’s just as wild in the younger days














So blow, you old blue northern, blow my love to me
He’s drivin’ in tonight from California
He loves his damned old rodeo as much as he loves me
Someday soon, goin’ with him someday soon
Someday soon, goin’ with him

Ian Tyson Sung by Judy Collins

I am an old woman named after my mother
My old man is another child that’s grown old
If dreams were lightning thunder was desire
This old house would have burnt down a long time ago

Make me an angel that flies from montgom’ry
Make me a poster of an old rodeo
Just give me one thing that I can hold on to
To believe in this living is just a hard way to go

When I was a young girl well, I had me a cowboy
He weren’t much to look at, just free rambling man
But that was a long time and no matter how I try
The years just flow by like a broken down dam.

Make me an angel that flies from montgom’ry
Make me a poster of an old rodeo
Just give me one thing that I can hold on to
To believe in this living is just a hard way to go

There’s flies in the kitchen I can hear ’em there buzzing
And I ain’t done nothing since I woke up today.
How the hell can a person go to work in the morning
And come home in the evening and have nothing to say.

Make me an angel that flies from montgom’ry
Make me a poster of an old rodeo
Just give me one thing that I can hold on to
To believe in this living is just a hard way to go

John Prine


Thank You

Kim Triche and Marty Rogers

21 Feb 2011

Lake Fausse Point State Park ~ Larry’s Ladies

17 Feb 2011

New Iberia ~ Lagniappe Too and The Shadows

Breakfast out turned into lunch at Lagniappe Too in New Iberia. Cajun breakfast service apparently shuts down at 10:30 – 11:00 AM; my guess is that the Cajun’ cooks want to get right to the seafood. No matter. Lagniappe Too was good comfort food, Cajun’ comfort food. Fair portions at a good price done well. Wait staff was friendly and talkative. If I’m local then I go back here often.  The older guy, a patron, at the entry when we were looking at the menu, called out that this was the place to eat. I have to agree!  The owner chatted us up as we were leaving. Nice guy! Again good food at good prices.

The Shadows On the Teche a wonderfully preserved and restored 19th century antebellum style sugar plantation house is on Main Street, New Iberia in the historic district. Beautiful place. Take the tour; ask for Audrey, she doesn’t miss a beat. Go when the pink azaleas are out. Nice place to photograph. They have done a nice job with the restoration and preservation. It is good that there are property owners amongst us who think ahead, along the lines of preservation and restoration, especially those with resources. God bless the idiosyncratic quirky folks among us with money. … And I am not being snide, on the contrary I am being quite sincere.

Here, Here! to the Week’s family and the National Trust.

Imagine all my skies in this post as deep blue and not burnt out overcast. Thank you!

16 Feb 2011

St Bernard Catholic Church ~ Breaux Bridge, Louisiana

15 Feb 2011

Bryan’s Swamp ~ The Atchafalaya According to Bryan Champagne

Bryan Champagne, good ole’ boy (not sure if they use that descriptive term down here?) and bilingual Cajun, knows the water’s of Lake Martin and the adjacent swamp lands like he grew up here. As he did. Bryan runs a very professional yet down home and laid back swamp tour. He knows the swamp and bayou environment around him and presents the information necessary to make his tour a learning experience for all. As an added bonus he has a great sense of humor which he enjoys putting on display. His boat is comfortable and allows for all participants to have good views.

Nutria, swamp rat, McIlhenneys mistake. Five bucks a tail.

This one I would go back and do again; $20.00 felt like a good price point!

Tell Bryan Steve sent you. Enjoy!

15 Feb 2011

Breaux Bridge ~ Woo Hoo!

Got turned around looking for ‘wifi’ or a coffee shop to upload in and ended up in Henderson having our big meal of the day mid-day Saturday at Pat’s Fisherman’s Wharf. There were a fair number of local folks in there having their big meal of the day mid-day on Saturday as well? No one seemed ready for a laptop to be trotted out and an uploading session undertaken.

Enjoyed a chat with Harvey Huval of Pat’s who truly likes where and how he lives and was willing to pointedly enumerate his reasons. Mae took care of us at the table serving Crawfish Etouffee and home-made Pecan Pie. Took her a little while to realize we were from away and didn’t necessarily know what we were doing when it came to eating food out of the swamp or speaking the Cajun tongue.

Back to Breaux Bridge we went just in time for the weekly Saturday afternoon Cajun music session at The Coffee Break.

Woo Hoo! Good people having a good time making good music! Good stuff!

We will come back to Breaux Bridge again!

13 Feb 2011

Avery Island ~ Tabasco and the Buddha

Avery Island

Interesting Place

Salt Domes, McIlhenny Family Tabasco Empire, Bird City, Public Gardens, Shrine to the Buddha

Louisiana Enlightment

Pay the man in the little toll house on the wrong side of the road your $1.00 via a long stick and a wooden clothes pin and cross onto the island.

‘Charlie’ is a Tabasco guide without compare, with a welcoming smile and southern graciousness (a sunny California import who followed her heart).

Try the Sweet and Spicy and Jalapeno ice creams. They are surprisingly good!

The gardens are worth the time and entry fee; the shrine to the Buddha was well done. No fat-bellied Buddha here! What is the difference?

Bird City was empty but the rookeries were prepared, awaiting the arrival en mass of Snowy White Egrets. Let the breeding begin!

Access to the rest of the island was controlled by way of pleasantly subtle yet threatening signs; I did so want to ignore the signs and go check out the rest of the island.

But no …

Say ‘HI’ to charlie while you are here, tell her Steve McKinney sent you.


12 Feb 2011

Bayou and Swamp ~ Atchafalaya Basin ~ Lake Fausse Pointe SP

Grand place once you get here. The GPS  consistently tried to bring us in the back way: single lane dirt (mud as it was raining) around the levee road. At one point in time it directed us to drive up and over the levee on a slightly improved road called Spillway Road. We called the park and got directions to come in on the paved road around the levee. I now understand the central place ‘levees’ have in lots of delta blues songs.

Dusk on the ‘C’ trail brought out the deer and some barred owls yesterday.

A skim coat of ice on the standing water greeted the morning sun today.

I have never seen Cardinals and Cedar Wax Wings in flocks the way I do down here.

To be considered a bayou you must have moving water, a watercourse, and usually be connected with a delta. A swamp is low-lying, marshy wetland, and is usually forested and seasonally flooded. This area has them both.

Hunt up the interpretive guy, Ranger Larry; good folk. Tell him Steve McKinney sent you.

11 Feb 2011

Grand Isle By the ‘B’light of Day

Grand Isle is a conundrum. I am not sure what to think. The mix of graphic images matches the mix of thoughts and emotions. The light of day, which usually helps, has only made matters worse when it comes to a judgment on Grand Isle. It was a tough sort on the photographic images and it will likewise be a tough sort on what to say in print. I am even conflicted about the sequence and order of images.

Apparently the island supports three groups: those that make a living from tourism, those that make a living from the various commercial fisheries and those folks connected with the oil industry. Way small island to hold  all the development and industry that I witnessed.  Of those  groups whose responsibility was it, is it to steward the land and the sea?

This is not the stewardship that I have grown used to and expect.

What I have seen of Katrina along the Alabama and Mississippi coasts felt better than what I have seen of Grand Isle and the BP Oil Spill.

Again the stewardship question?

You tell me. What are your thoughts and impressions of Grand Isle? Especially if you have been here before or live and work here.

We will be moving on tomorrow; disappointed, hoping to find parts and pieces of coastal Louisiana that are not as scarred.

8 Feb 2011

2nd Day New Orleans & Thoughts On Moving On ~ Grand Isle and the Selling of a State’s Soul

Spent Sunday back down in the city of New Orleans. I have to admit I am quite taken with the city center and its presentation: Jackson Square, the River Walk, and the French Quarter. Must be the old hippie in me. We have yet to see the cemeteries and the Garden District. Reason enough to return. We hung out and listened to music, walked and did some touristy shopping. On the recommendation of a youthful local tobacco and alcohol store employee we had dinner and watched the Super Bowl at the MRB Bar (Mississippi River Bottom). Good food and a good sound system. Interesting set up. The restaurant folks rent the kitchen facility from the bar. End of the night two bills: alcohol and food. Cash only. An ATM lives in a dark corner. The kitchen folks also did their sea food boils (shrimp and crab) out on the street, there on the sidewalk by the double front doors. The shrimp was great! I would go back here for the seafood. The double front doors made the sidewalk a part of this establishment.

We also ate at Rocky and Carlos in St Bernard’s /Chalmette the night we got in to town. This one is an original too: pretty intense local ambiance and good food and working man portions for the money. (Reviews)  Introduced myself to a Muffelata.  I want to take this sandwhich, or at least the recipe, back to New Hampshire with me. Good stuff but a whole Muffelatea at Rocky and Carlos’ is two meals.

Dave of Steve’s RV made the call on Rocky and Carlos for dinner. He sent us to Today’s Ketch Seafood as well but we showed up too late for the kitchen. He also built us a tow light wire connection. Nice place and nice people. I would go back here as well!

St Bernards Parrish had a blue collar working feel to it. It also felt like it had been under ten feet or so of water six years ago. The Murphy Oil refinery had a presence in the parish. The area that we were in had a mixed breed feel to it as far as economics and class went.  McMansions right next to the working man’s place right next to the Katrina hovel; confusing. Lots of class confusion for me on this trip.

I am writing this on Grand Isle at the far end of Jefferson Parish as the wind rocks the camper and make me feel as if we are on the plains of Kansas/Nebraska. The drive out to this barrier island State Park was disturbing. The salt marsh and wetlands seemed to be giving way to the oil industry. Sad to see.  Not the wildlife presence I was expecting or promised. If I could have closed my eyes to the presence of ‘Big Oil’ (or maybe it is now ‘Big Cleanup’) out here I might be able to appreciate the area. Not sure what tomorrow and the light of day will bring


7 Feb 2011

NOLA ~ Morning Frost On the Ground In St Barnard’s Parish SP

Chilly and cold last night. This morning there was a light frost on the ground in St Barnard’s Parish SP. Yikes! Must be way cold every where else!

Drove into New Orleans yesterday, our first time. Driving around and through St Barnard’s Parish we were exposed to lots of lingering desolation and destruction from Katrina. We passed through the 9th ward on the way into the city and the sense of desolation and destruction only got worse. Bright colors help but they don’t really change whats underneath. The snippets and sound bites that sounded like promises from politicians end up looking like lies five years out.

When we got into the city we spent our time on the River Walk, in and around Jackson Square, and on the side streets of the French Quarter. I was prepared for seedy but it did not feel seedy at all to me. The soul of this city is still there. We felt like we were in a European city, Quebec City up north maybe. Very distinctive place. I am not sure it can or will last unless the relationship with the Mississippi River and sea level is figured out.

River Walk Images

Entering Jackson Square

The Car Guy ~ Circus Smirkus

I truly enjoy street people and street entertainment but  I do not enjoy being separated from my hard earned money, especially if I feel had or taken.  Lots of street people, street entertainment in NOLA. I wasn’t suitably prepared mentally or behaviorally. Right off the bat I was separated from some of my cash by a horn player of no particular reknown or skill other than to  make me feel cheap. This left me feeling pissed off and uncomfortable. Later, but not enough later, a young guy who was obviously trying to hone his presentation, hit us, me up for a NOLA shoe shine based upon his ability to guess correctly where I got my shoes (I got my shoes on my feet). This I felt some better about but I was still feeling taken by the city of NOLA. So I got change for a twenty, mostly ones and decided I would take part in the scene but get out in front and support the acts and presentations I enjoyed as opposed to being and feeling fleeced.

We ran into a ‘car guy’ from up north Circus Smirkus in Vermont,  a silver statue who very politely and sincerely thanked me for my offering, a gravel voiced black man serenading the crowd outside the church on Jackson Square. Those I felt good about.

Proactive In Control New Orleans tourism.


Busking In NOLA

6 Feb 2011

Davis Bayou ~ Gulf Islands National Seashore

1 Feb 2011