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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

DAY 142: EUNICE - OPELOUSAS - PORT BARRE, LOUISIANA

An unusual feature of Cemetery construction in the Bayou Country of the South: Burial is NOT normally under the ground. Graves are ON TOP of the ground. The reason, I am told, is the abundance of water flowing under ground...in heavy downpours, the pressure of the water - which does not easily compress - from below sometimes lifts underground burials out of the ground, sending then floating away...so, above ground with HEAVY stones to keep them where you put them.

Saves on grass cutting maintenance. One man with a weed eater was trimming the grass as I stopped to chat.

High humidity and heat quickly makes things grow...even on stone. This same advertisement was displayed at the entrance of three (3) Cemeteries near OPELOUSAS, LOUISIANA.

Walking along US 190, I noticed two pipes coming out of the ground, draining into this roadside - and front lawn side of homes - ditch of standing water. One pipe had a permanent plaque reading "Sewage Outfall # 1"...the second read "Sewage Outfall # 2". I knew I was mistaken, so did not take a photograph. Later I have learned that what I observed is correct. Most folks still use Septic Tanks. With all the ground water flowing just under the surface, there is no place to run a proper Septic Drainage Field...so, the "overflow" is simply piped into the handy ditch...surely to be washed away during the next rain downpour.

Another side note I did NOT photograph: Entering each village on US 190 is a sign "Drinking Water Control Area".

and a couple hundred miles away, there is not enough water to grow cotton.


Two nights ago it thundered and rained a bit. This afternoon, walking along US 190, these "rumble strips" are still brimming with rain water from nearly 24 hours ago. The high humidity does not allow the high heat (over 100 F.) to evaporate the water away.

Interesting place regarding humidity and the water table.

Beginning to come across many Bayou streams with flowing water...even a couple large rivers. The water is always muddy. In one, I watched two turtles swimming along, heads skimming the water with their bodies fully submerged (I was standing above them on a bridge).

The banks of the Bayou are not easily visible...too much vegetation growing.

A beautiful "southern" home in downtown OPELOUSAS, LOUISIANA. Turns out it houses the offices of Lawyers. No indication of it's history.

The main street i.e. US 190, in downtown OPELOUSAS. Modernization and maintenance is NOT high on budget considerations...one can easily break a leg trying to negotiate the sidewalks.

A two-square-block area of central OPELOUSAS has some nicely maintained streets and buildings.

During the Civil War, OPELOUSAS was the Confederate Capital - for a short time !

Spanish and French history of OPELOUSAS, LOUISIANA.

Again, in English.

Court House Grounds are enhanced by 30 or so gaily decorated Violins placed all around the one-square-block property.

OPELOUSAS, LOUISIANA Court House.

Side Grounds of the Court House...note violin.

Came upon this field full of Mobile Homes. No sign or indication of why so many - estimate many hundred end to end and side to side - are parked...and deteriorating. The missing trailer homes to house homeless from the New Orleans Hurricane ???

Two similar trucks sit side by side. They are quite different in efficiency, however. The truck on the right has a raised "wind deflector" built into and above the drivers cab. The truck on the left does NOT.

Walking the highways, I must hold down my hat as the "left" truck goes by: reason: Without the wind deflector, the truck creates a virtual tornado of wind which hits everything it passes - including walkers - like hitting a brick wall. This tornado causes severe turbulence for hundreds of feet after the truck has gone by.

The truck with the wind deflector "slips" by the walker with hardly a breeze to ruffle the hat.

Left truck is PUSHING a large amount of air around as it moves down the highway. Right hand truck slips through the air. Fuel (diesel) consumption is also much higher for the left hand truck

Note of interest: How much does "air" weigh? At sea level, air weighs about 29 pounds per square inch. This measurement is made using a Barometer. So when that truck goes by, the wind "blast" can be devastating. Factual note. I have ridden the TGV (French Bullet Train) many times to and from PARIS, FRANCE. When two trains pass one another, the impact of the air being "compressed" between the trains sounds like an explosion just occurred...shaking the dickens out of the train until they complete their pass.

Planting season is here for this part of Louisiana...Looks just like the Cotton Farmer planting machines pictured a few weeks ago.

Popular are "concrete" sculptures. Many large businesses offer concrete sculptures of every imaginable animal, person, bird bath, ...whatever. This enterprising business has carefully painted a number of their sculptures...I could go for this Pelican in my yard.

PORT BARRE, LOUISIANA is a small village with a long history. SPIA, SAM & ME are staying the night here at the home of Ronnie.

During Steamboat Paddle Wheel days, a booming trade was done at this River (Bayou) Bank. The dock remnants are still in place where the boats tied up.

A bit of history.

Please say HELLO to Ronnie. Ronnie is a local resident, selling fruit along side U"S 190 from his trailer. Please see narrative below. (Secret: Ronnie sprinkles a bit of SUGAR over his prepared cantaloupe and lets it "cure" for a bit before serving.

Ronnie's place of business...a place to find solace from his recent great losses.

DAILY REPORT: Walked 26 miles today.

SEE YOUR IMPACT.ORG: Credit 26 miles @ $0.02 = $0.52 for the day.

It is now 8:00 am, June 08. Still parked at Ronnie's home, hooked up to his electricity. In a few moments, we will pack up and continue our saga East on US 190. Towns are getting closer together - not the 30 to 50 miles separations from out West -, so travel may be a bit slower.

We shall see.
INTERIM REPORT:

Is now nearly Midnight. Have spent the entire evening with a new friend, Ronnie Delome. Ronnie is a local resident of PORT BARRE, LOUISIANA, who sells fruit from his trailer. Ronnie recently lost his Wife and both Grand Children in an auto accident. After buying a Cantaloupe, Ronnie invited SPIA, SAM & ME over to his home to have electricity for the Mini and A/C. We ended up washing all my dirty clothes, dining on spaghetti and cantaloupe, and watching the Dallas Mavericks defeat Miami in Game 4 (Steve & Kelsey must love that).

An evening I have been hoping for but found so elusive.

Will wait till morning to update today's walk...all is good at this end.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

THX for sharing