A St. Patrick’s Day Feast And Parades Of Trains and Humanity – 17 March 2007

by admin on 2017/03/17

Due to both the quantity and quality – the variety and vivacity – of subjects that I photographed on Saturday 17 March 2007, this is one of the weirder photo essays that you will ever see here on Jimbaux’s Journal; we will start with trains, then see a great parade and some partying, and then see more trains, which will continue into the wee hours of the next day with tomorrow’s article.

We start at 09:51 at the Kansas City Southern Railway yard in Metairie.

Sights like these are common to Jimbaux’s Journal, but, eventually, there will be a drastic change to some other subject!

This is shortly before the Heritage paint scheme started arriving on KCS locomotives.

The track in the foreground in the below image is the eastern-southern leg of the wye.

I spent plenty of time around here in 2007.

Heck, there are still several locomotives in the FNM two-tone blue scheme, which I really liked.

Within about a year-and-a-half, due both to the arrival of the ES44ACs and to the onset of the Great Recession, these scenes would look quite different.

Let’s take a closer look.

Now, let’s go to the other side of the yard to see what the yard is building to send to the CSX via the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad.

Adding to the coolness of this story is that our pal El Chico De Norco is in the conductor’s seat!

Okay, so, here’s how things worked for this operation in the two years after Hurricane Katrina.  First, it’s important to note that KCS’s primary activity in the New Orleans Gateway is the traffic that it interchanges with the CSX Railway, and, since New Orleans is the only place south of a circuitous route in northern Mississippi that KCS has a connection with the CSX, most of the KCS-CSX interchange for traffic south of East St. Louis passes through New Orleans, and it constitutes the majority of the small amount of traffic that KCS sends and receives via the New Orleans Gateway.

In the approximately two years preceding Hurricane Katrina, this traffic – KCS train M-SHCX and its counterpart, the M-CXSH – moved via the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad; this train often exceeded 100 cars and carried plenty of traffic from old KCS territory north of Shreveport and new KCS territory west of Louisiana, some of it originating in Mexico.

Katrina, which happened at the end of August 2005 (I sometimes forget that I have to mention when it happened, since I forget that it’s not etched into the brains of anyone not from the affected areas), wiped out much of the CSX mainline from New Orleans well into coastal Mississippi, and it was not until early 2006 that it was repaired and reopened.

During that time, KCS and CSX rerouted the M-SHCX/M-CXSH – except for the locally-originating-or-terminating traffic in it, which is the point of this description – via the Meridian Speedway, through Vicksburg, Meridian, and the Meridian & Bigbee Railroad to a CSX connection in Alabama.  Once the CSX got restored in early 2006, KCS and CSX, apparently pleased with the new route of the M-SHCX/M-CXSH, kept the train on its new route, but it didn’t make sense to move some traffic originating or terminating in southeastern Louisiana on this route, hence the existence of the train that you see here.

This was KCS’s short, daily transfer to the CSX via the NOPB that lasted for a couple of years before the big train returned in the latter part of 2007, and we see it moving here at Dante Street.

Get accustomed to this location, because you’ll see it and a similar location much more today.

Three minutes later, we’re about a mile downriver by the US Army Corps of Engineers building.

At some point in early 2007, El Chico De Norco leaned out of the cab of one of these NOPB-bound KCS trains at around this spot and said, “it’s going to be on the internet tonight!”  I believe that this was that time.  Well, I’m a decade late, but, yeah; as you’ll soon see, I got too preoccupied with other activities on this day to post anything on the internet that night.

Next, you can see the building at left.

Well, that was fun.  I’m not sure how I knew that another train was coming, but, eight minutes later, we’re back at Dante Street for this inbound BNSF train.

At least I got a different automobile in the wider shot than the one that was in the wider shot of the first train.

Well, at least in the going-away shot, you get another view of the Corps of Engineers building, which I like.

It looks like by this time BNSF had already won some of the local carbon black business from Union Pacific, a trend that would accelerate in the next five or so years.

Just like last time, I’m not sure if or how I was alerted that another train was coming, but, 15 minutes later, we are in the same spot, as NOPB’s transfer run from Mays Yard – former Illinois Central Railroad, today’s Canadian National Railway – is approaching.

This was shortly before the paper mill at Zee closed; perhaps that is where those boxcars are originating.

Practically all of this train is traffic that originates or terminates on the CN in Louisiana.

From a view of the Corps of Engineers building from Dante Street, we go to the Corps of Engineers building.

We’re about to break away from the railroad action until nightfall.

I do not recall either the route or the rationale, or whether I had intended to attended it or stumbled upon it, but 89 minutes later, I’m in the Irish Channel for the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Well, this is starting to get different than trains.

Perhaps I came here because a couple of pals – The Cajun Porkchop and Saint Jude – were here, and perhaps I knew that they’d be here, but, again, I cannot recall.

Somewhere on Magazine Street, I spotted the Porkchop.  Now, I needed to get his attention, but it was damned crowded and loud; so, the modern day version of calling needed to be made, and here he is answering it.

I’m telling you that the dude has lost 100 pounds since then!  With my shoulder pressing my telephone against my ear because I needed both hands to steady the camera and lens, I got, at the moment that he noticed me, one of my favorite friend pictures.

Well, that’s fun.  So, too, is this.

This is an interesting parade.

Yes, some of you have seen some of these pictures before in presentations that I have made just about this parade itself.

However, the point of these retrospective blog articles is to present all of the presentable pictures from one day in chronological order, regardless of subject.

Magazine Street is the place to be on St. Patrick’s Day!

I had fun at this event for a few years (for about five years after this one), and then my more introverted nature got stronger (and I stopped being ashamed of it.)

At the time, Reggie Bush was still very popular in New Orleans.

This was just two months after the New Orleans Saints, with Bush as a running back, went to the NFC Championship game and lost to the Bears, the farthest that the Saints had yet gotten in the playoffs in their history, which would be eclipsed three years later when they won the Super Bowl.

I watched that game in a bar with Porkchop a few blocks from here.

I like the children at parades.

I like the children at parades especially because I fairly quickly grow tired of the way that adults act at parades (and in general.)

I think that the difference between “childish” and “childlike” is grossly underappreciated.

I think that this is part of why people love having grandchildren so much.

Anyway, now it’s time to hike over to Parasol’s.

The NOPD was faithfully at the scene, as usual.

During parade season (which is basically any time that the weather is good enough), officers work plenty of overtime hours.

Hey, look, it’s Swig!

Next, I go inside some bar, either Parasol’s or something nearby.

Although I have some memory of the strange thing that would happen next, I have no memory of these two ladies here, or of photographing them.

I was probably fairly well hammered from Guinness.

I guess that I should be glad that I don’t remember this.

But, what happened next, I do remember, and it involves two other ladies whom I did photograph but whose photos I will not show here, for their own protection (and mine.)

There were these other two chics, no, not the ones you’ve just seen, but another two.  Oh, gosh, why am I talking like this?  ”Chics”?  Hey, that’s what an inebriated twenty-something heterosexual male will do, even it’s generally a step out-of-character from his more sober, introverted, more egalitarian self, okay?

And I was talking to them, and they were talking to me, or something like that.

And then we decided to go to another bar, I think in the Warehouse District.

And I don’t remember how we got there, but we got there.

And I had never met them prior to this evening.

And it was like I was going to go ‘do something’ with at least one of them.

Or it wasn’t.

The outcome was not yet clear.

Now, the typical thing that a heterosexual male is supposed to do in this situation is just to try harder.

But, eventually, I saw the light.

I don’t know if it was because the alcohol was starting to wear off or because the passage of time allowed me to see the ridiculousness of this spectacle, but I eventually freaked out at my own actions, as this totally isn’t my style, totally isn’t who I am.

Just as I don’t remember how I got there, I don’t remember how I left, but left I did, and it felt like such a relief on this beautiful, cool night.

And this night was about to get more beautiful and cool.

I assume that I got back to the crib before I heard the horns, but hearing the horns led me back out, to the Bernadotte Line.  The one thing of which I am fairly certain is that I did not fall asleep between the time that I left the bar and the time that I took the following pictures.  Now, I must say that I am highly tempted to put all of the following pictures into tomorrow’s post, being that they start at 23:55 and that this night photo session would end at 00:26, but I am following the literal definition of a date and including the pre-midnight pictures in this post for two reasons, in addition to an adherence to literalness and chronology.

First and foremost, I wish to convey the sense of continuity in all of the various photographed events – and unphotographed events – of this day, that all of this was part of one progression, from the KCS pictures, to the NOPB pictures, to the parade pictures, to the block party pictures, to the bar-chic stupidity, to the Bernadotte Line.

Second and functional to the aforementioned reason, there are also some pictures that I took during the daylight hours tomorrow, and, as such, I don’t want to include all of the pictures (from the 17th and 18th) in one post.

So, with the alcohol slowly wearing off, with the gears in my brain still moving at warp speed due to being in sensory overload from a very eventful day, I throw down the tripod for this.

Yes!  This is awesome!  It’s a high-nosed NS locomotive, and with CNOTP sublettering!  Do you feel the history, geography, and trains – and Guinness – running through your veins now, punk?

No matter what the outcome of my shallow I-just-met-you-tonight tail-chase of earlier would have been, since I’m more than just a mammal, this is much better!

Hey, look at my old truck in the picture!  The locomotive is about to run around the two loaded boxcars here.

Very soon thereafter, the clock, at least the one in my camera, would strike midnight, and we’ll pick up on the rest of this story tomorrow.

Stay tuned!

Thanks for listening!


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Steve Boyko March 17, 2017 at 08:30

GREAT story and series of photos. Lots of great train action and St. Patrick’s Day action.

I probably would have freaked out and left, too. Not my thing at all.

What was that unit at right in the top two photos? Looks like the back of a F unit.


2 Thad H. Carter March 17, 2017 at 16:23

I believe it’s a passenger car but not sure what line. Thad Carter


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