Sunday, October 24, 2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Old Relic

The past couple of day I've been feeling like a bit of an old relic my self. This old hull has been left on the Bayou Portage and I really do hope it's going to be fixed up. From the looks of her she must have been a fine ride in her day. Even with her tired and weary look I can still imagine her spirit as she flew past all the camps along the levee. One of those camps was where in 1965 I spent my summer days learning to swim at the sand bars and returning to night fish on Lake Dautrieve. Well actually the fishing lasted only as long as the mosquitoes weren't around.
I remember the wonderful fried catfish we had with lots and lots of ketchup and all the hot french bread you could eat. It was kind of a ritual to have fried catfish on Friday evenings at the camp and come Saturday mornings fresh boudin for breakfast. Sunday's were saved for the BBQ Chicken, that was my daddy's' specialty. I'll be honest, I miss those days. It seems it was such a short moment in time. I really do hope some one takes this old boat and gives her another chance to float past the camps again.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Early Morning at the Rookery

Decided to take a ride out to Lake Martin for the sunrise. Several people were already out on the lake fishing and paddling. This paddler asked if I had seen any alligators this morning. Not her favorite thing she told me. I completely understand I told her. Their's not much protection from a 15 footer in that little kayak. Beautiful fall colors are taking over the rookery right now.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pumpkin Sunrise

Driving past St. John Sugar Mill in the early morning light always gives me this haunting feeling. It’s as though I half expect to have a headless horseman cross my path on Sugar Cane highway. The orange glow silhouettes the massive oaks along the Bayou Teche, and it always makes me think of homemade Pumpkin Pie.

It’s true that the Halloween holiday is my favorite. Not so much for the witches, goblins, and pumpkin pie but mainly because fall has arrived and I know that the Cypress trees in the Atchafalaya River Basin are glowing. Most people think of South Louisiana as a subtropical landscape and for the most part it is. But come around this time of the year and you’ll find the native Cypress giving this landscape the beautiful hues of rusty reds and golden nutmeg. The reflections in the swamps would make any photographer want to spend endless hours trying to capture that pure light. I guess it’s obvious I’m longing to spend some time out their just sitting on a camp porch watching the pumpkin colored sun set on Lake Dautrieve.

Some pie would be nice to.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Swamp People

Okay! I have to admit it. It's sometimes hard to watch the reality show The Swamp People. I guess it's the Cajun's dialect that makes it hard for me to listen to. If it weren't for the beautiful scenery of the Atchafalaya River Basin I'm sure I'd channel surf over to the cooking channel. But truth be told I'm a Cajun with my own heavy accent and it won't be going anywhere, anytime soon. So as I flipped the channel away from the Swamp People I came upon Zachary Richard interviewing an Acadian woman from Nova Scotia. I listened to the sound of her voice and I understood that the Cajun French spoken by my mothers sisters on Aunt Lula's porch so long ago, had a such a beautiful musical sound when telling their stories. I know what you're thinking. (Here's your sign). You'd be so right.

So I surfed back to enjoy more of the Atchafalaya and her people and I remembered I had this picture of an Alligator harvest I photographed near Bayou Benoit in the Atchafalaya River Basin. 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Lake Faussey Point

This photo was taken in the early fall of 2008 on the edge of Lake Dautrieve in the parish of St. Martin. The vibrant colors just make me dream of the fall season. Gustave and I were traveling down the levee road when the filtered evening light with its amber glow caught my eye. It might seem a little strange to most people who celebrate the fall foliage, with all its glorious colors, that I make such a big thing about this photo. But down in south Louisiana with its tropical setting you are more likely to see only shades of green. As fall slowly creeps into Louisiana and the cypress trees turn a deep shade of rust, I treasure the colorful display in her swamps. Its like food for the soul.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Amelie's Nickels

My grandmother’s name was Amelie and she lived in a small Acadian house next door to my Aunt Chicks in a small little village in the Parish of Iberia. My memories of her takes me back to round rimed glasses and a flowered apron. It seems as though there was always a hand reaching towards me filled with extra nickels. Nickels she saved for my walk down the well worn path to Mr. Crips mercantile store. On many sleepovers I remember listening from my bed, in the early morning , to the ringing church bells from St. Joseph’s and the smell of strong black coffee filling her house. Some say it’s a tradition that in every Acadian home they start the day off with a good cup of coffee. Thats one tradition I've still kept to this day.

The name of my grandmothers hometown was Loreauville and back then I guess you could say it was a one light town. Even to this day it still has only one red light. Back then the soul of main street belonged to two of Amelie's daughters, Nadege who cooked bowls of southern goodness at Masso’s CafĂ©, where families gathered to have okra gumbo and crawfish etoufee, and Edith, Amelie's second oldest child, who was the proprietess of the Pool Room Saloon. Uncle George gave her plenty of room to rule the roost as they served good cold Jax beer along with interesting stories of the Atchafalaya basin. Wonderful stories that were greatly embellished as only a good Cajun storyteller can.
I treasure those memories and I really miss her.

This photograph was taken at one of my grandmothers’ birthday celebrations. It documents all of her fifteen children.
My mothers name was Pola, she was the ninth child of Amelie and Admar Breaux and she also had many stories to tell.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Memory Box

Often memories can be so selective. It’s as if I want to remember the good times and place the bad ones some where in a box labeled “Open at your own risk”. But more often than not when I begin to think of those old memories good and bad I realize they are all connected in some way. My box is filled with all them all side by side, all inter-connected.

My home town was a small village in Iberia parish. It's a place where cousins are almost too many to count and everyone is related to everyone else. Cajun nicknames are a common thread that ties everyone together. Names like T-Boy, Coocoon, Kitty, Josephine, Mut, and Papoose. Even our pets were given names like Pocketknife, the horse, Casco, the cat, or Poopay the puppy All of these names have such a loving sound to me even to this day.

Looking back one of my childhood friends will always hold a special place in my memories. As children we lived across the street from each other on a gravel road . We learned to ride bikes together and played out the stories of Wilma and Betty Flintstone as bank tellers. Their were many foot races with us trying to beat each other to the ice cream truck as it’s musical sounds filled the air. I was the chubby child and usually lost the race to my long legged friend. In my mind I remember second place rewards were just as sweet.

Yesterday a long overdue phone call to my friend brought back memories of a September birthday and waiting in line for a ride on the tilt-a-whirl at the Sugar Cane Festival. I can still see her brown hair curled around her finger as we waited in line to buy our tickets. It’s not that we were afraid that somehow we would be thrown out of the spinning top, but just having someone else in control of the off button makes you kind of wonder whose in charge of this rolling contraption anyway. But as my memories of that ride have faded into the next one and the next, that one image has some how taken hold in a corner of my mind and I revisit it from time to time.

She was the fourth daughter of Hazel and with much excitement named in honor of her daddy Rene. Today Rene’e lives in a quaint log cabin in the town of Abbeville and always has time for an old friend. She’s a sweet wonderful friend that even today makes me feel special. Our friendship has been going on for some 58 years now and when September's autumn wind blows in and it takes me back to that box of memories I’ll remember to push aside the worrisome ones and pull up the memory of the little girl with the brown curls standing next to me at the carnival.

About Me

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St. Martinville, Louisiana, United States
A tiny piece of land.