A Black Cat, An Orangie And Chip, And White Ducks

by Jim on 2012/07/14

[Jimbaux did not see a black dog, but he saw a black cat.]

Omens And Distractions

Well, here’s a fairly quickly-posted post considering the timeliness (or lack thereof) of recent postings.  Here are pictures from the Friday afternoon drive from Bayouland to Woadieville, Friday 13 July 2012, to be specific, and, yes, there was a weird omen on this day of supposed “bad luck” that I experienced as I pointed my camera to the track, but resist the temptation to scroll ahead and see what it is instead of reading first!

“Brees Signed, Chip”

That’s what the Berwick Bridge Tender radioed to Chip this afternoon, even though I’m not certain Chip even went that far today (or how much he cares about Brees.)  That’s interesting.  I laughed.  It was good to hear the bridge tender in his happy voice.

Amazing it is, though, how much so many people allow stuff like that to have such influence over their emotions.  I have nothing at all against Brees or the amount of money he makes, and I furthermore agree with the sentiment held by the local masses that he’s a great guy (he gives plenty of his money to charity); what is scary is, like I wrote a few weeks ago about Obamamania, the idolatry of him among the masses.  I think that Gandhi said something like that when he said something to the effect of “I like your Christ, but I just don’t like your Christians.”  So true it is about the people who refer to an otherwise normal decent man as “Breesus Christ.”

A recent letter-to-the-editor in The Times-Picayune stresses all of the other things that can be done with the money, but it misses the larger point that the money can only and does only come from all of the attention that the idolizing masses place on such figures.  They only make that money because you give them that adoring attention, and major media fall over themselves to compete for your attention – and money, via advertising – because of that power that you willingly (even if you don’t realize it) give them, all while it provides a nice distraction from real issues affecting real people (which gets us back to what was a very valid point, on its own, of the aforementioned letter writer.)  That’s why much of the fan outrage over the recent punishments for the “Bountygate” scandal was quite hypocritical, and it’s probably a safe assumption that TV and radio stations made plenty of money from their reporting over that so-called “saga.”  Where’s your outrage for the real problems facing the world, the country, and the state today?

Chip is kind of like my Drew Brees, and it seems like my recent confusion about what I thought was his retirement is much like Brees’s contract holdout, but what makes Chip infinitely more real and cool to me (and a few of you) is that he does his job – and gets paid – regardless of whether or not any of us pay attention to him.  Brees would not be able to make $100 million – or any money at all – doing what he does if nobody paid attention to him (he’s an intelligent person and would probably have a well-paying “real job” somewhere if he didn’t play football), meaning that he doesn’t provide a product and barely a “service” either, but Chip only makes his money because the rest of us consume the products made from the material that he hauls or products made from them, even if we’re ignorant of who he is.  I heard someone say yesterday, “Brees signed, now we can move forward.”  Really?  Seriously?  Him not being signed wasn’t stopping me from moving forward!  That it stops others is their choice.

Part of why I give Chip so much attention – and exposure – here is that the rest of society and the major media funded by advertising focuses less on people like him and more on people whose existence is predicated on you giving them attention in the first place and not the other way around, a self-perpetuating cycle as major media and corporations (and even governments) tell you what you’re supposed to be interested in, and some of you comply!  Nobody tells me – especially nobody on TV, radio, or in an apparel store – that I should care about Chip (or any other railroader, for that matter); that is also part of why I do it.

That’s enough of that, though; let’s get to the real reason why you came here (and why I created this site): pictures!

An Omen In The Siding In Berwick

I made a quick check at Berwick to see if there was anything happening there, like maybe Chip’s train tucked in the siding there.  Imagine my surprise when I arrived on the scene and saw this:

What more reassuring thing to see on Friday the 13th!  Is this some kind of omen?

Actually, as it eventuated, it was, although I didn’t realize the connection to the chance encounter I had later that evening until I got back to the crib afterward and downloaded these shots.  Unfortunately for the still-curious among you, I cannot divulge the details.  Anyway, as you can see below, it turns out that there indeed was something in the siding in Berwick.

Well, that was interesting.  I can’t remember the last time I saw a black cat.


There wasn’t squat happening on the Lafayette Sub this afternoon, meaning no Friday Afternoon Happy Hour In Raceland.  I got to Avondale and noticed that Chip was rolling into the yard on the Drill Extension Track.

A New Shot, Albeit A Grab Shot

This isn’t really where I want to photograph a train, and it’s the first time that I ever do this shot, but there were no other options, and I fired off this shot with absolutely no time at all to spare.

That’s the LLPX 2272 with 27 cars.  The lighting here was poor, and I did a relatively large amount of work in Photoshop to get it to look presentable, but I’m still not satisfied, as something looks a bit too fake about it.  Oh, well, it’s just electrons.

I have to remember that if I want a cab shot, I need to quickly widen the aperture of the lens, often guessing the exposure, and it looks like I guessed well this time.

Like is often the case, Chip had an “orangie” with him today.  It seems like both Chip and his train are good teachers of just about anything a railroader will need to do, at least outside of a yard.  Here’s one more view showing the orangie and the smiling Chip.

I’m fairly sure that they needed those raincoats today.  It’s been very rainy here in the last two weeks.

Here’s a view in the other direction of The Chip Local passing a yard job on what is apparently new track.

Those LPG tank cars that he’s carrying came from the Discovery Gas Plant in Paradís.  I have some photos of Chip in action there from back in December.  Maybe if I ever find the time (and time is money) one day, I can process those images and post them, but doing what I do here is resources-consuming enough as it is!

Looking below again in the same direction, we see the now-empty gondolas that he had brought west two days before, as you saw here, and we see the carbon black – 17 loads total – that he had picked up in Ursa from interchange from the Louisiana & Delta Railroad.

Well, that’s a fitting and satisfying way to end the day, and I don’t feel so bad about not getting any zinger action shots.  At least I didn’t slip and fall into any bayous on this Friday afternoon.

Let’s take one look at a flock of local inhabitants before we call it a night.

I wonder what our ominous black cat would have thought about that.  Shortly after taking these pictures, I had a lovely chance encounter with someone at the grocery store, someone with whom I had lost touch but who had been trying to contact me, and someone of whom I had coincidentally been thinking as I took the pictures in Avondale an hour before.  She was thrilled to see me, and the feeling was mutual.  Life, indeed, is never boring.

That, mes amis, is a wrap.



1 Nathan Herring July 14, 2012 at 18:57

Chip is definately a guy who loves his job, and loves the limelight. Glad you have been able to become friend with him and as always enjoyed the pics you shared.

2 Ray Duplechain July 14, 2012 at 21:34

Chip is a good rail, safe and experienced; an assest to the UP. The subject in the siding at Berwick appears to be a clone of my pet. Her name happens to be “Tramp” and I found her as a kitten on NOGC right of way, MP 18.

3 Alex July 15, 2012 at 11:00

is it me or is the engineer not wearing his vest? lol

4 Donovan Reed July 15, 2012 at 13:54

Im very happy to see that Chip hasn’t retired yet. I always enjoy seeing him smile in each and every post!

5 Daniel Sykes February 20, 2013 at 21:18

Ha!! “Orangie” O well… Only a few more months and I don’t have to wear an orange hat anymore. But that is an awesome pic of me and Chip. Can I gen a large copy of that from you?

6 Patricia Weber Golden July 14, 2013 at 21:11

And I just found out, my dad remembers Mr. Chip very well! Said he was always smiling…must be him!!! Really enjoyed reading and looking at your photos!

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