December 2010 Sampler

by Jim on 2020/12/01

Greetings, and welcome to the December 2010 Sampler essay. As was not uncommon for me at that time of the year at the time, the first decade of the Third Millennium, I took plenty of southeastern Louisiana pictures in the last month of 2010, though not a huge quantity of them but a decent quantity spread out over several dates and a variety of subject matter, and, in many ways, it was the end of an era for me, the end of my first block of New Orleans time and the end of a difficult, painful year.

Saturday, The 4th

Sensing that my time in New Orleans – and Louisiana itself – would soon come to an end, I resumed my old weekend-morning foam traditions on the first Saturday of the month, and I got CSX’s morningly transfer run between its own Gentilly Yard and the Canadian National Railway’s former Illinois Central Railroad in Metairie returning to Gentilly Yard with traffic generated on local CN lines.

I like that.

Sunday, The 5th

The next day, I was on the riverfront in the afternoon, where and when I grabbed the inbound Kansas City Southern Railway train M-SHCX with its CSX interchange traffic rolling on tracks of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad by Cooter Brown’s.

Back then, it was still common to see solid-grey, solid-widenose locomotive consists on the KCS.

Tuesday, The 7th

On the way back from the job thing, I saw this parked Union Pacific Railroad grain train at Westwego.

That’s always neat.

Wednesday, The 8th

For the first time in a long time, I did the shot of a grain train from Barataria Boulevard in Marrero, with the train long enough that the Harvey Canal bridge was still down even as the front of the train is getting close to Barataria Boulevard.

This is the New Orleans & Gulf Coast Railway, a shortline railroad captive to UP using UP rails here, while the right of way of the former Southern Pacific mainline parallels it where the dog is in the foreground.

Thursday, The 16th

More than a week later, we see the same locomotive, this time at Gouldsboro Yard.

This yard was historically used as a staging area for the ferry that the Texas & Pacific Railway used to access its Race Street Yard across the Mississippi River from here and as a place for handling traffic that went down the “lower coast” branch that went down the western bank of the Mississippi River; it still handles the remaining traffic that uses what remains of that branchline.

Saturday, The 18th

A couple of whoadies and I went foaming on the morning of the Saturday before Christmas, and one of several things that we saw was NOPB 1502 returning to NOPB France Yard after serving industries on the eastern side of the Inner-Harbor Navigational Canal.

I like that view, and I am not sure that I had ever gotten a shot of an NOPB train making this move until this image.

Sunday, The 19th

On the 19th, I photographed another train, the CSX-to-NOPB job with the KCS interchange traffic, making the same route as the train shown above, but the picture that I am showing you from this date is the one that I made of the soon-to-be-demolished Carver high school building.

I am sure that this place could tell some stories.

Wednesday, The 22nd

I was freed from the WJ (or so I thought at the time.) Here is a sign on a wall on South Carrollton Avenue that, given what I experienced that year, really struck me in my soul.

It’s a Bible verse, which makes it all the more interesting.

Thursday, The 23rd

It’s time to go foaming on the NOPB, and, after I got a shot of a triple-headed switcher move, here is a shot of cars that I like, some of the best freight scenes in this relatively boring era of railroading: bulkhead flatcars loaded with plate steel.

That is just off of NOPB France Yard.

Friday, The 24th

It was time to go home, and I stopped in Lutcher along the way to photograph the bonfire things that people were building.

It’s an old tradition, of lighting up the riverbank in flames so that Santa Claus can find his way.

Saturday, The 25th

It was Christmas Day, and I was in a special place, all the more special given the death that occurred of the man who lived the last 60 years there less than a month before.

Unfortunately, it is difficult for me to look at pictures like this without thinking of certain thorns in my side associated with these subjects.

Sunday, The 26th

I headed back east, back to New Orleans, and I passed the building that had been the library in Raceland.

I think about, especially given the events of the decade since this picture was taken, how society is still dominated by violent tribalism, despite our illusions to the contrary. You don’t just have to learn to fight on your own; you have to learn to fight in a group.

Monday, The 27th

On the morning of Friday, the 27th, I chased, for the first and likely only time in my life, and photographed the Norfolk Southern Railway branchline train to Braithwaite, Louisiana. Once the train got to the Stolthaven facility in Braithwaite and I got a photograph of the crew posing, I then returned to New Orleans to photograph a gathering that, a decade later, knowing myself much better than I did then, view very differently.

This was some kind of bicycle pub crawl thing, and it’s not that I look at it differently so much as I look at my own ‘interest’ in and decision to photograph it very differently. Honoring who I am, I’d have almost no interest in doing this today, but the photographs that I made of this event show an aspect of the story of my life back then.

Tuesday, The 28th

I went to the Crescent City Farmers market, which, on Tuesdays, is (or was) held along Leake Avenue.

This was a local citrus grower in Plaquemines Parish. My dream is to be a citrus farmer, but the family farmland was sold long before I was born.

Wednesday, The 29th

When I was in Lockport visiting the family survivors, I stopped to check out the new bridge that had been a railroad flatcar.

I had to use the bridge to get to this spot, but, since then, that bridge has become privatized.

The next day, with the help of the Gentle Giant, I’d move the last of my stuff out of the ratty Broadmoor crib for my next big adventure, a somewhat sad adventure, because, of course it is sad.

Oh, well. That is all for a tumultuous year.


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