by Jim on 2020/01/25

Jimbaux knows that - and accepts that - this is the end, 
This is the end, beautiful friend
This is the end, my only friend
The end of our elaborate plans
The end of ev'rything that stands

The End

This is the end. Yesterday, Friday 24 January 2020, I returned to New Orleans from the homestead, as I have been bouncing back and forth every day or two or three, to return to the city for my final weekend in the metro area.

No Safety Or Surprise

This morning, I did my last weekend morning foaming in the city, but not after taking my usual walk, and, this time, due to the finality of the situation, I took my SLR camera along for the walk with me.

I am full of emotion as I see and do this.

This place is, at one, so mine and also so alien.

I understand, to the best that it is possible for me to understand, why; understanding that I am autistic makes it all make sense, at least to best that I can make sense of it.

I am forever torn between my profound and painful longing to be a part of it all and my revulsion to the very same prospect.

So, we have these pictures of the American Can Company building, which, back when it was, until the late 1980s, a place that manufactured cans, served by the railroad that was removed about 15 years later, where the Lafitte Greenway now is.

This is Bayou Saint John, an interesting place with which I have a weird relationship.

Yes, or no, there are no trains here.

There are some nice, commonly-desirable homes fronting the bayou, and I am okay with not caring much about that anymore.

Of course, I am still photographing it, both because it’s an interesting photo subject and because of habit and routine, habit and routine that I am okay with ending.

Oh, look, someone who is in the “Yang Gang” lives or works near here.

Yeah, I left that crazy train last summer; there is too much noblesse oblige to it, and too many bad myths about money.

Here is that neat bridge in front of Cabrini High School.

Here is the end of Esplanade Avenue, the location of the recently-removed P. G. T. Beauregard statue.

Some jerk on Esplanade Avenue yelled back at me this morning that it’s daytime, that he doesn’t need his headlights on.  This is so arrogant.  When you are driving an automobile, your headlights should be on, regardless of the atmospheric and lighting conditions.

I’ll Never Look Into Your Eyes Again

Here is the New Orleans Museum Of Art, a place that has long been important to me even though I have been inside it only a few times and don’t have much concern or affinity for what is inside of it.

I think that this is an example of idealization. I wish that I did not do that!

I like the walkways toward the museum.

Actually, there are probably plenty of people who like and frequent this area while not going inside the museum much.

South of the museum, here is the little two-foot-gauge railroad.

Here, just on the other side of that railroad, is the sculpture garden.

I went to the bathroom.

The lawn care people with their blowers in the sculpture garden remind me of the experience of working one day with that lawncare crew in 2016.

I like the big trees in the park.

This place is meaningful for many people.

I simultaneously long to connect with them and long to avoid them.

This is beautiful, yes.

It’s weird that this was ever a three-minute walk away from where I lived.

I am thinking about what it means that we even ask that Thomas Jefferson could have been autistic, that his privileged upbringing is what allowed his autistic traits, which would have made achieving such status ‘on his own’ had he had to play the status-and-hierarchy game that we autistic folks are so terrible at playing, virtually impossible, is what allowed him and his supposed autisticness to shine and thrive.

The West Is The Best?

This is City Park Avenue, which had overly-idealized meaning, I now see, for me.

In my mind, I think of Rage Against The Machine, old-style Nissan Xterras, and a friend named Toby.

I really had no business living there, but it was post-Katrina (as in, a year later) New Orleans, housing was scarce, and I was impatient and insecure.

Here is the neutral ground of Orleans Avenue, where I always think of The Mid-City Marine, someone else who helped lure me here and who made me think that Mid-City was the cool place for me.

It’s an idea that I would do well to shed and largely have shed, even though it can still be cool as a past thing for me.

Next, it’s time to get into the truck and go foaming, perhaps for the last time in the greater New Orleans area, at least the last time that involves sleeping, the night before or the night of, in some place that is not a hotel or a bummed friend’s residence.

So, here, on this probably-last morning foaming that I do in New Orleans, I am both at a location that so well represents my photography of New Orleans and photographing a train, the morningly CSX transfer run to and from the Canadian National Railway, that so well represents my photography of New Orleans.

For as long as I have lived here, every morning, the CSX railway sends, from its Gentilly Yard, a train of CN interchange traffic to the CN Mays Yard in Metairie and returns with interchange traffic from the CN; today was no exception!

I don’t know what those men are doing in the right foreground of the picture; I had never seen anything like that before.

The train is passing the Frenchmen Street signal; I remember the old Southern Railway cantilever signal that was removed here some time in about 2013.

There were 92 cars on this CSX CN transfer run, which is unusually high, about double its normal length; that plus the there were two blocks of grey HOKX tank cars and two blocks of auto racks makes me suspect that this is two day’s worth of transfers, perhaps because Mays didn’t have the previous day’s cut ready in time.

And that, right there, my dearest readers, may be the last good action train picture that I ever take in New Orleans.

And that’s okay.

Next, I went north along the NS, I don’t really remember why, because there really aren’t great shot opportunities there, and found this.

This is some parked maintenance-of-way equipment.

I guess that those are sleeping and kitchen quarters for M-of-W crews.

I guess that the boxcars are for parts and equipment.

This is the curve around the intersection of Press Drive and Hayne Boulevard.

The nearby baseball park made me think of the really terrible experience that I had recently at the end of my time in New Orleans, with a job that made me want to kill myself.

That’s part of why I am okay with this ending, even that way, because I know that it can only get worse.

I hate that, to be totally sure, but I accept it, and perhaps that is most important.

Not all of us can be the idealized versions of ourselves, I guess.

So, we have the pictures and we have the lessons, and we have lost plenty of precious, irreplaceable time to get them.

I still feel like I am dying, but perhaps I am more accepting of that, which is both good and terrible.

Reality bites.

I returned southward and found the CSX yard job again, this time on CSX rails at Alvar Street.

There, the train is soon to enter CSX Gentilly Yard.

And All The Children Are Insane

I then went to the Popeye’s on Paris Avenue, my favorite Popeye’s location in the world, because you can watch trains from the lobby while eating, probably for the last time.

There are televisions in this Popeye’s, and I hate TVs in restaurants and coffee shops and the trend that has more and more of TVs in such places, and the TV is showing a college basketball game between Missouri and West Virginia. Back When I really cared about college basketball, the guys on this court were infants. Gosh, I feel so old.

Basketball was always so foreign to me, and I think that I have a better understanding of why now: autism. 

While I was there inside of the Popeye’s (dammit, Ben Carson, you made me think of you when I think of Popeye’s now), an eastbound train passed.

True to form, just as I walk out of the Paris Avenue Popeyes for probably the last time, a dude sitting right outside of it asked me for change as I walked outside.

So, after I finished my food and got out of Popeye’s, I went and found the train that I saw from Popeye’s, and I grabbed a lame shot of it.

Unless I try to do this again in the next few days, something that I really probably don’t have time to do, that right there, that lame picture above, will be how my years of photographing trains in New Orleans ends.

That’s all for pictures for today.

I then went to a party at Chrstiane’s apartment, thanks to her inviting me, something of which I wish that I could do more.

I used the weedeater on open grass where a lawnmower should have been used, I learned my lesson about why that is bad, and I am so tired

I took two showers between dawn and dusk today.


I won’t really miss New Orleans all that much.  What I will miss and already very much do miss is the sense of possibility and hope (and even of connectedness) that being here gave me a decade ago or even half of a decade ago.

I now can distinguish the latter from the former.

As I look back at the NOLA Post pictures from a decade ago, the signs were there.  It’s just that I can see them now!

After I didn’t get that DCC job for which I interviewed on Oct 1, for which I returned to town on September 30 and the day after which I made that great chase of the New Iberia Turn with the patched SP GP60 leading, I completely, finally gave up on trying to stay in New Orleans; that job possibility was my last chance.

So, that’s all. With both a heavy heart and a sense of relieved resignation, I am saying goodbye to Whoadieland.

I love all of you.



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