How 2021 Starts

by Jim on 2021/01/04

Jimbaux heard one guitar, just blew him away.
He saw stars in his eyes

Hello. I don’t know why I am saying that this is “how 2021 starts,” since today is Monday 4 January 2021 and since I got some pictures yesterday in DeQuincy, but here we are.

Today ended on a rather disturbing and disappointing note, but I’ll get to that later.

One year ago today, I got some pictures on my return from the homestead to New Orleans to start my last month in New Orleans in anticipation for going to Mobile the next day.

One week ago today, I got my first pictures of Port Rail action, and that is where and what I did this morning, too.

I was in need of a shower, because I hadn’t had one in more than 24 hours, since before I went to DeQuincy. I paced around on Marine Street, immediately east of the port of Lake Charles, while the GMTX 106 was doing switching chores, and, then, at almost exactly the same that the train departed the port one week ago today, it left again today.

Here I am at 09:31 at Jabez Drive, where, just like last week, the GMTX 106 is pulling a six-car train out of the Port Of Lake Charles.

The biggest difference this week is that the locomotive is oriented in the opposite direction from last Monday’s train.

Next, we are at Lake Street.

Gosh, like I said last week, I can learn to live with this!

That graffiti pisses me off.

That blue is neat, though.

I really miss those old cylindrical hopper cars with the open-frame end, or whatever it’s called, like that.

Those things are so rare now.

Next, we are by Stanton Street, for some good street-trough running.

I really like that!

Next, we are at Ryan Street.

This is an unusual (for me) way of adding context to a scene.

Now, let’s focus more on the train, like normal.

Here, I am once again doing something that I criticized Chris Palmieri for doing back in the day.

I know, I know, I know.

I like trains.

Next, after the train makes its slight southerly bend, we are at 7th Avenue.

This is just a classic train scene in the year 2021!

I really like this.

I may eventually tire of this, but railroad action doesn’t get better than this anywhere around here anymore.

I’m doing it again, I know.

The old Missouri Pacific Railroad yard was somewhere around here, and the yard office and facilities were just to the left.

With that being the last opportunity to shoot this movement before it gets to the yard on the other side of Gerstner Memorial Drive, I broke off and went to check out this concrete pad of foundation north of and parallel to the track at 5th Avenue.

I wonder what this was, like either part of an old passenger depot, maybe a freight depot, or some sort of railroad customer in this otherwise residential neighborhood where the houses, like the streets, are on the ordinal grid, not parallel with the railroad like this concrete slab is.

Below is the view just northward from here.

I do wonder what this area looked like 70 years ago.

Next, 20 minutes later, I am one street – or one avenue – over, where I am waiting on the ‘train,’ which is now just light power, to return to the port.

Yeah, I’m just going to get this one shot of this carless train and leave.

I then returned to the house, took an overdue shower, ate lunch, and finished working on shots from 6 January 2020.

I then left to go to the mainline to do something I had not yet done before: photograph the Amtrak Sunset Limited in Lake Charles.

As I was driving northbound on Gerstner Memorial Boulevard, approaching going underneath the Interstate Highway 210 overpass, I was thinking about home and missing home, because I was thinking, I had just been thinking about how I need to return to the homestead soon and how I’m back at the old pattern of spending a few days with my ‘rents and then going back to a residence where I live alone, even though it’s now at a family property, and I was thinking about and missing home, and, when I saw that I-220 overpass ahead of me, I was thinking about how there are no overpasses back home, how there are no separated grade things anywhere at home, no automobile road or highway and goes over or under another automobile road or highway.

I put the automobile radio on scan and landed on the station 101.3, and it was playing “Pour Some Sugar On Me” by Def Leppard. Then came another song an old classic rock song oh, damn I forget how it goes, I never knew the name of the song, I don’t think. Then, “Juke Box Hero” by Foreigner played as I ducked under I-10 on Enterprise by the railroad yard here at 14:00.

Damn, there’s just big barbed wire fence on the south side of the yard. Oh, at least the sun came back out now

At 14:04, I got to the Amtrak station, a freight train was occupying the mainline, doing some switching and causing automobile traffic on Ryan Street to back up, and that song “Just What I Needed” by The Cars was playing on 101.3.

I guess that this thing will get out of the way in time for the #1, right?

The old Southern Pacific passenger depot was somewhere around where that pile of ballast is.

Below, we are looking back westward to where the Amtrak station is.

The station is unmanned, which is somewhat sad, even though the real sad thing is that the only passenger train to serve this area is a thrice-weekly train between New Orleans and Los Angeles.

In the above image, you can barely see the approaching train. Below, obviously, you can see at arriving.

Yeah, apparently, that’s the best that I can do photographically here.

A few passengers alighted.

A few passengers boarded.

I got the impression that at least one of these persons was a volunteer of some sort here.

I suppose that I should have asked.

And that’s that.

Now, somewhere around here, I must have lost something really important, but I just hadn’t realized it yet.

It would ruin my day, really, and necessitate a call to the police.

In the meantime, I like those clouds.

So, then, I went over to the Farmers Rice Milling Company.

I can’t remember if it was before I got these pictures that I went and got food at the Subway place south of here, but my notes say that I was the only masked customer in the place. This place is both beautiful and hideous at the same time, and it’s wildly depressing and interesting.

I am pleased at this set of fairly clean UP hopper cars.

Some of these are the same cars that I saw here on Thursday.

I like this!

I really like that old NdeM car.

Whoah, wait, what is that horn that I hear off to the west?

Ah, yes, the UP local train that serves this area is here!

This is only the second time that I have photographed this train, the first being on June 15.

This locomotive is a locomotive that I photographed in Schriever in July 2005, my first digital train picture!

When the engineer really tried to shove hard on the cut, sparks were flying on the 1369!

I don’t know if this is supposed to happen.

Apparently, the crew dragged a cut of all cars going onto this branch here and are now sorting cars here for different customers.

It feels weird seeing this locomotive from 15 years ago, the locomotive that was the subject of my first DSLR-camera picture.

It looks like he may be switching out cars for the rice mill right across the highway.

I couldn’t really tell at the time, but that apparently was what he was doing.

I like this, and I am imagining SP scarlet and red right here!

The old MoPac mainline was right here.

That debris pile is, I guess, debris from Hurricane Laura.

That was a harrowing experience.

I like how the debris pile helped make the shot, what this area is like in the wake of Hurricane Laura.

This shot right here is my “happy new year, welcome to 2021” shot.

I was able to get this telephoto shot of him switching this little yard, but I may have already noticed something very wrong by this point.

I couldn’t find my tablet computer anywhere! I had thought that it must have fallen between a seat and a door in the truck, but I couldn’t find it anywhere!

So, I went all the way back to the Amtrak station, following my route from there, looked all over the place there but could find no trace of it, and could find no trace of it along the path between there and the rice mill.

What happened? Did someone steal it? I think that I would have known had it flown out the window. How could I have missed that?

After I returned from my return to the Amtrak depot, the UP local was going into the rice mill.

Well, this is the best that I can do here, which is really not at all great, but you do get an idea of what is happening. The track closer in the foreground is the old SP Lake Arthur Branch that now connects with the old MP track to the port; it’s how those cars that you saw on this morning’s Port Rail train get to the mainline.

I left the scene again, I think to go to the Subway just south of here to see if my tablet was there. (Maybe I did that first, before the above shots of the train entering the rice mill, and then checked out Subway afterward.)

Anyway, almost an hour later, here is the UP local train, apparently done its work at the mill.

Well, at least I know what this looks like now, but it’s nothing like the action at the Abbeville rice mill, which I truly miss.

So, back again by the old SP Lake Arthur Branch, now the lead going to the port track, I am positioned to catch the train exiting the rice mill.

I guess that it is okay.

This is how it ends today.

That’s all for the pictures for today. I did accomplish some things, some photographic targets, that I had never before done.

I also lost my tablet, a communication device upon which I heavily depend, in the process!

I was on the phone with AT&T for an hour and 37 minutes this evening, mostly on hold, of course. I had to get the thing deactivated and a replacement sent. I am very worried about personal information being stolen and exposed.

I also met with a very cordial and fully-masked Calcasieu Parish sheriff’s deputy, and I, a strict masker, wasn’t even masked at the time, because we were outside.

Anyway, that’s reassuring in this very Trumpy country.

So, this malignant narcissist of a President of ours is really trying to be a dictator, really trying to steal an election. We warned you!

In other completely unrelated news, I listened to the song “Dre Day” recently for the first time in ages. I was struck both by how good it was musically and how terrible it was with the misogynistic lyrics, even though I heard the same song more than 25 years ago.

Anyway, although I was emotionally frantic about losing my tablet, it ended up being not a huge deal, other than the worry and the lengthy telephone call and the rest of the wasted time and energy spent finding it, plus $37 that AT&T charged me. I am just frazzled, though, at how it could be possible, about how I could have let the tablet slip from my reach somehow, like what that says about me, or whatever.

Anyway, though, I have to drive back to the homestead tomorrow without my tablet and with a cell phone that doesn’t know what the date or time is, that thinks that it’s still 2020. Maybe I will get some decent pictures, but I don’t have as good of a way of taking notes while out in the field anymore.

Peace, and happy new year.


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