NOGC, Street-Running, and Chip! (And Driving While Black)

by Jim on 2011/09/09

[Jimbaux is in the flesh, baby, but you can’t see him!]

What’s good, y’all?  I’m dead tired right now, and I’m busy as hell.

The Stares Of A Million Pairs Of Eyes, And You’ll Never Realize . . .

The feedback continues to pour in from the request to affirm our rights on this Sunday 9/11, and it seems that I’ll be joined by people across this great country in these endeavors.  I’m humbled.

I got a few pictures this afternoon before and after Friday libations.  Let’s take a look at them before we get ready for Sunday.

New Paint, Old Locomotive

At least one of the New Orleans & Gulf Coast Railway’s switcher locomotives has been recently painted into the railroad’s colors from the UP colors it wore for many years, even under NOGC ownership.  Today, I got a picture of one of them, the 1039, for the first time with the new paint.

The second locomotive is the NOGC 507, a GP7, the first time I see one of those in action in awhile.  This train, too, was rather weird, being only four or five tank cars.

This is the original SP line from Algiers.  Man, to have been able to watch and shoot here in SP days must have been a great thing.

You Will Foam, As I Say, Back To The Yard . . .

What, you don’t like Metallica?  Anyway, a little while later, I was back at Gouldsboro Yard, and a parked westbound was staged for departure.

I like these GPs, mostly ex-GP40s.  Below, we go telephoto with the GNO bridge in the background.

Yeah, I’m going to need to do some weed-removal next time I’m there.

Chip!  Remember This Guy?

For the first time in 15 days, I shoot what was a common subject of mine for the month of August and the latter part of September.  This is the UP’s Morgan City Local, the LLS51, or The Chip Local, named after the conductor who has held down the job for an eon.  Anyway, I heard him get permission from the Livonia Sub dispatcher to go through the Live Oak crossovers and enter the Livonia Sub, and I figured I had just enough time to get in position to catch him.  I did, with about a minute to spare.  You see him below where you saw him when you last saw him 15 days ago (not really, since it took me a week to post the results that time, but those pictures were taken 15 days before these below.)

That UP 360 has been his power for at least a week now.  I saw it last Thursday (1 September) for the first time on the train (but got no shots then.)  Today’s train had 18 carbon black loads followed by an eight-car block of mostly empty pipe gondolas and a few boxcars.

Since he wasn’t on the Drill Extension track today, he was going much faster, and I couldn’t set my exposure in time for the crew shot below, but I’ve learned that it’s a shot much easier done when it’s cloudy and therefore less contrasty

How’s that?  Look at Chip’s indelible smile!

Driving While Grey

Below is a cropped greyscale version of the same shot.

I wish I could get more light into that cab when I take these crew shots.  Oh, well.

That’s it for pictures this evening.

Driving While Black

On that note, I want to share with you one development that has happened since my publication of my story of harassment and deprivation of rights at the hands of the New Orleans Police Department.  In talking to some of my black colleagues about these incidents over the last few days, some of them have said that what happened to me seems very much like the “driving while black” phenomenon from which many ‘suspicious’ black people suffer.

“Black people get that all the time,” I was told today by a black colleague whom I’ve known for a few years but who had never, before today, brought up any issues of race with me, especially issues of accusing others of racial persecution.  So it is true for a few other black colleagues too.  These are people who are very hesitant to bring this up because they don’t want to be perceived as playing the race card.  How do I know this?  Because this is exactly how I felt, being scared to publicize my story for more than three years, fearing judgment from others because perhaps the pigs had somehow subconsciously convinced me with all of their yelling and demanding that I stop taking pictures that I was somehow wrong, somehow criminal, that I somehow deserved that treatment.  Oh, and since we’re on the subject and if anyone is wondering, the two undercover NOPD officers who accosted me on that bridge and prevented me from taking photos, including that woman woefully unworthy of the badge, were both white.

Also, if you read that article I just linked above, it discusses how the driving-while-black phenomenon has resulted in, among other things, a general mistrust of law enforcement among black people.  Unfortunately, I can relate all too well.  I don’t trust law enforcement nearly as much as I once did, but that decline of trust in law enforcement didn’t begin until just after 9/11, with that nasty incident with the Baton Rouge police after I was taking pictures from public property.  I was an ardent believer in the system before 9/11.

By coming forward with my story earlier this week, I’ve reached many railroad enthusiasts and photographers, but unexpected discoveries are sometimes the best kind, and I’m now grateful to have made this connection with my black friends and colleagues on this issue, because it helps me understand many things I didn’t see before.  Wow.  Thanks.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 NormSchultze September 10, 2011 at 09:00

If you go to, you can download the ACLUs paper on Rights of Photographers on Public Property. Keep a copy handy.

And for those old enough to remember, “Hey Officer Krupkey, Krup You !” Leonard Bernstein-West Side Story.


Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: