Cade, Avery Island, and Emma

by admin on 2017/04/18

Jimbaux realizes that there's no shelter in this world.

Greetings.  This time, I’ll promise to keep “political” stuff out of the picture presentation and save what I have to say about other things until after the pictures.

Okay, really, I mean it!  :-)

A Train, A Salt Dome, And The Old Railroad To The Salt Dome

Well, after yesterday’s shrimpy outing with sprinkles of Louisiana Hot Sauce, BNSF, and rice, we have, today, a salty outing with sprinkles of Tobasco sauce, alligator, BNSF, and L&D.

A Train

East of Cade, I found an eastbound BNSF Railway manifest train, and I chased it around the woody bend to the other side of Cade, where I got this shot with no time at all to spare.

I guess that that is okay.  Eight minutes later, I got this shot of his rear end (yes, that sounds gay, I know) as he was coming into New Iberia.

Yes, you can see a Louisiana & Delta Railroad locomotive at the western end of the interchange yard there; I waited a little while to see if it would emerge, but I got impatient and left.

Avery Island

Next, for the first time in my life, I went to Avery Island.

This is a well-known, intriguing, geographically unique, and somewhat culturally significant place in the southern part of my home state, and, somehow, I had not ever been here until today. One of these human-sized lizards was out sunning himself by a pond.

Coincidentally, yesterday, one of these things crawled out of a drain in Metairie, scaring the heck out of onlookers.

Okay, let’s get back to my own pictures.

I have, for years, been intrigued by the idea of Avery Island, due almost totally to having the first Louisiana & Delta Railroad locomotive I remember seeing being named after the island.

The L&D inherited from the Southern Pacific Railway a branchline to Avery Island that has since been abandoned, and I’ll discuss that topic more later when I present pictures of the remnants of the railroad line.

I don’t remember what these water plants are called.

Yes, this is the entrance way to the Buddha.

Two friends of Edmund McIlhenny, the man who developed this island and invented Tobasco sauce, gave him this statue in 1936 after finding it in a Manhattan warehouse.

McIlhenny also had this pond dug for the Buddha.

I didn’t go up close to the statue; I guess I don’t care that much.

There was some wedding photography happening here.

Sometimes, the photographer needs to be photographed.

Now, it’s time to go to back to the entrance of the island, but I’m noticing a troubling problem with the truck; there is what appears to be white smoke coming out of the tailpipe.

That view is looking north, and the below view looks south down the main road that lacks public access.

At left above, you can see the roadbed of the railroad branch to the salt mine, and, below, are a couple of closer views of the roadbed.

The Tabasco plant did railroad business until no later than 1980, after which the salt mine was the only railroad customer for years until the branchline was abandoned.

The deregulation of the railroad industry following the 1980 passage of the Staggers Act doomed the Salt Mine Branch, as it allowed railroads to charge what it actually cost to ship the products, meaning that railroad service to the salt mine was doomed.

When the Genesee & Wyoming corporation decided in 1986 to purchase most of the Southern Pacific Railway’s remaining branchlines in southern Louisiana to create the Louisiana & Delta Railroad, G&W management thought that the salt business – SP also served, also on branches, a salt mine on Weeks Island and a salt mine near Breaux Bridge – would be a real money-maker for the railroad.  The reality was that the salt business for the L&D was mostly a money-loser, as it mostly had been for SP.

Prior to deregulation, hauling salt by rail was not profitable for railroads.  Deregulation allowed railroads to raise rates enough to cover costs, and this meant that salt mines that also had barge access, as did – and as, to this day, do – the mine at Avery Island and the mine at Weeks Island, switched to shipping totally by barge; not having barge access, the mine at Breaux Bridge is the only remaining salt mine in southern Louisiana that ships by rail.

Here are the remains of the railroad bridge on the northern edge of the island.

SP served the salt mine regularly, but deregulation had already taken place by the time the L&D took over; so, while L&D did serve the salt mine for a few years, since the service wasn’t profitable, L&D raised rates enough to drive away the business, and the salt mine stopped shipping by rail by some time in the 1990s.

A few decades ago, trains crossed these waters right here!

There is still smoke coming out of my truck’s tailpipe, and I need to give it a rest, but it’s getting late, and I don’t want to spend the warm night out here.

Check out these people fishing!

So long, Avery Island; I’ll be back one day.


I have two more pictures, and they are almost too identical to each other to post both of them.  We’re at Emma, not far south of I&V Junction, where the SP Midland Branch diverged and where today’s L&D Abbeville Branch diverges from the old Salt Mine Branch.

Those are storage cars at right on a part of what is left of the Salt Mine Branch, and I’m just perplexed at that one boxcar sitting there amidst a bunch of two-bay hopper cars.

I hereby confess that Emma is the location where I would love to start an orange farm.  If only I had the money, or if only I had been born with the land like my great-grandfathers were, I’d plant at least 1,000 orange trees back here next to the Abbeville Branch, grow some potatoes, onions, garlic, bell pepper, and maybe tomato, too, and have some chickens for eggs.

A guy can dream, and, in a world without unconditional basic income, about all that most guys can do is dream.  I see basic income as the modern equivalent of the free land that many white settlers in America, including many of my ancestors, were given.  My great-grandfathers didn’t have to “look for work”; they just walked out of the back door, worked, and that’s how they survived.  I am not so fortunate, and it is truly a societal sin, as a colossal amount of technological advances in the last century or so has meant that “full employment” is both no longer possible and, critically, no longer necessary.

You see, everything is ‘political’; me simply pointing it out doesn’t make it political.

Anyway, here’s a slightly closer view of the crossing itself.

That’s all for pictures today.  Ten years ago today, I got a set of train pictures in Gretna, Louisiana.

What Happenin’?

It’s time to spout off a few thoughts that have no direct connection to today’s pictures.  I’d like to reiterate a point that I made yesterday, that I almost entirely confine ‘political’ commentary to the contemporary postings, meaning the postings that I make as quickly as I can after the pictures were taken.  The anniversarial retrospective articles, usually posted 10 years to the date after the pictures in them are taken, are almost completely devoid of such commentary.

Need I explain why, or do you get why?

Whoadieville Happenings

Well, it looks like the last court case standing in the way of white supremacist monument removal in New Orleans just got cleared.  So, now, maybe they’ll finally come down.

I searched as best as I could, but I couldn’t find a way to defend their continued presence there.

I agree that the fact that the monuments are already there and have been there for a long time is an argument that has merit, and, really, it’s the only argument for keeping them there that has merit, but this needs to be weighed against what those monuments continue to this day to honor.

Also, it looks like there is talk of establishing a quiet zone for the railroad crossings in the Bywater.

I have plenty to say about how some people are reacting to that, but I don’t feel like typing it now.

America’s Ongoing Self-Degradation

I continued to be disheartened by how much my country hates itself.

I appreciate that there are principled conservative persons like Charlie Sykes who stand up to this stupidity, and that Bill O’Reilly finally departed, but it’s sad that sexual harassment of a few employee – and not decades of public denigration of the less fortunate – is what got him.

And it is now painfully obvious that very few Americans, and even very few Republican voters, are “conservative” in the way that that word has normally been presented.

And that suggests that their motives are tribal, which is disheartening.

It doesn’t have to be this way, people.

I’ll talk to you more tomorrow.

Thank you.


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