Faith, Friends, and Foam in New Orleans, Part 1 – 16 December 2006

by admin on 2016/12/16

On Saturday 16 December 2006, The Rail Baron and Sierra Papa came (home) to town to help Dr. Diesel move.  My new (used) Canon 17-40mm/f4 lens, which I wanted in time for my upcoming 10-day trip to Mexico, had arrived just the day before.  This occasion called for a group foam mission, of which I was a part, along with The Shadow Warrior and Kurt.

I guess that we met at the Dumaine crib, but I don’t remember.  Anyway, apparently, our first foam stop was at NS Oliver Yard.

Apparently, the Rail Baron had been out foaming earlier that afternoon and had gotten some good pictures, including of this power set in action.

Wow!  Looking at his pictures, I see that the Arabi job waiting to enter Oliver Yard that afternoon had a bunch of Airslide hopper cars!  It was a couple of years later that I started regularly paying attention to that job, and I don’t recall seeing Airslide hopper cars on that train.  Apparently, though, this mid-aught period was something of a farewell for Airslide hopper cars, as I saw some 15 days later on a KCSdeMéxico train in Nuevo León, and I’d see some nearly two months later on Rich Mountain, which you will see, too.

I really love those things; my first memories of trains are of Airslide hopper cars carrying refined sugar moving on Southern Pacific branchlines, and the ones on the Arabi job likely were moving refined sugar from Domino Sugars in Arabi.

Maybe in Heaven there are Airslide hopper cars moving behind high-nosed GP9s and ahead of cabooses, but, for now, we continue our look at Oliver Yard this evening.

So, this is what life is like at the southern throat of Oliver Yard, much to the chagrin of the hipsters who moved into this neighborhood after these pictures were taken.

I think that what I like about the term “hipster” is that the person using the term is never asked to name any specific person who is a hipster.  I seem to recall that maybe a couple of times it was used to describe me, but I mostly don’t fit whatever the very fluid descriptions of the term are.

The Rail Baron was making a homecoming of sorts.

Heading north to the other end of the yard, we stopped to pull over on Almonaster Avenue for some reason that I don’t remember.

We eventually made our way to the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad’s France Yard.

Paper is offloaded here, but, today, there is some other company doing something – I don’t know what – in hopper cars here.

But, especially in 2006, this place was just a small shell of its former self.

More recently, though, you’ve seen many of my pictures from France Yard.

Twelve minutes later, we are on the other side of the Inner-Harbor Navigational Canal at the eastern end of CSX’s Gentilly Yard, and we see this parked eastbound train with Union Pacific locomotives.

It’s one of the best images that I’ve ever taken at Gentilly Yard, and that isn’t saying much, since I hardly ever take pictures at Gentilly Yard, since, for a variety of reasons, I just don’t care much about that place.

It was after this that the libations started.  The five of us went to Cooter Brown’s (where I had, as you might recall, been one night a few months earlier) and sat outside, ate, drank beer, and talked and watched trains.  This was quite a fun experience, and one that gave me a weird kind of hope.

After a few hours of this, quite inebriated, we decided that it would be a wise decision to go and throw down our tripods and lenses by the track just outside of the bar.

Well, that’s interesting.  Yes, that’s the US Army Corps of Engineers building at the right, and you saw the other side of 10 years minus six days later.

You’re also going to see more of it in my upcoming postings from the mid-aughts.

Well, that’s it for that.  Up until now, our post-libation night photography session hadn’t required us to move our automobiles, but, still quite inebriated, we decided that it would be a good idea to get into our automobiles and drive to other locations and set up our tripods and take more pictures.  I seem to recall that we piled into two vehicles, and that mine wasn’t one of them.

Our first stop – yes, we made a few stops – was at the Esplanade Avenue Wharf and the downriver corner of the French Quarter; I’m not sure what the other foamies were trying to do here, but, apparently, I didn’t find much to photograph here other than some of my companions.

Like many other locals, I basically avoid the French Quarter; as Shawn Levy used to say, any place that the tourists go, many of the locals avoid it.  I have since come to learn that that isn’t nearly as true as I got the impression that he was making it seem.  Anyway, I just love this next shot of Shawn lighting up a cigarette.

Well, at least it wasn’t cigarettes that killed Shawn.  He had a big impact on me, for sure.

Here’s a view upriver on the trackage; at left is the NOPB mainline, and, at right, are streetcar tracks.

At one time, this area was much busier, with Louisville & Nashville Railroad tracks and Southern Pacific Railway tracks.

We would leave here and go to two more photo locations, but since those happened after the stroke of midnight, they will be in a separate posting tomorrow.  Stay tuned!


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