September 2011 Sampler

by Jim on 2021/09/01

Greetings, and welcome to the September 2011 Sampler essay, which will be one of the biggest sampler essays – and may be the biggest, but I don’t care to go back and look at the others to verify – that I have ever done, which simply means that there were plenty of days in the month of September 2011 in which I took at least one presentable SLR-camera picture!

This was, as indicated in the “August 2011 Sampler” essay that showed images from the previous month, a weirdly memorable time in my life. I was in the process of learning to love my homeland like I had never loved and appreciated and knew it before after spending six months away in the Washington, DC, area, and less than a year and a half later, I would learn that I was going to lose my own home, which would lead to my eviction from my homeland less than a decade later.

By September, I had returned to work at the school where I had had glory, but much of the glory was gone, as, having really burned out on the profession, I was like the aging NFL quarter back who is still playing and still being paid because a team still saw value in me even though I should have quit when I was still in my prime.

I couldn’t afford to quit, and, with some energy still in the tank and with different assignments, I did do well for a while. I tried to return to engineering school by taking a calculus class at UNO at night, but that didn’t work, due to the demands of the day job and of commuting an hour each way to it from bayouland, compounded with my desire to take pictures and post to this website, which was in its first year of existence.

I couldn’t do it all, and I ended up failing at all of the above.

Friday, The 2nd

On this day, a few days more than 10 years to the day that the powerful Hurricane Ida struck this area, Tropical Storm Lee was dropping plenty of rain and some wind on the area. I was on my way from the school to home on the afternoon of the 2nd when, in Paradís, I caught an eastbound BNSF Railway manifest train moving through Lee’s rains; I hoisted myself atop the truck in the rain just in time to get this picture.

The highway signs and the old highway are what make the shot.

Tuesday, The 6th

Four days later, back at work after Labor Day, I was coming west on Highway 90 in the afternoon when traffic was stopped, apparently due to big dump truck that had tipped over and was blocking both westbound lanes.

I vaguely remember talking to other motorists in that afternoon.

Wednesday, The 7th

Here is the daily BNSF train to the Norfolk Southern Railway in New Orleans crossing Florida Avenue to enter NS Oliver Yard.

Well, it’s different.

Thursday, The 8th

The New Orleans & Gulf Coast Railway was a big target of mine for the latter third of 2011.

You can see the transition from the GP7s to the GP38s on the NOGC in this picture, as the 505, to the right, is inactive; soon, all of the NOGC GP7s would be inactive, after I caught some of their final movements on camera.

Friday, The 9th

Here, on the 9th, is Chip at Waggaman.

I wonder what became of Engineer Ken.

Saturday, The 10th

On the 10th, I did get some decent pictures of trains, but the picture that I am choosing to present here is what I think is a neat image, mainly due to the geometry of the road, of motorcyclists approaching the railroad crossing at Kraemer Road.

I wonder what they thought.

Sunday, The 11th

Ten years to the day after the big attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Virginia, I went out all day taking pictures as a way of protesting the restrictive security state and the culture of fear that had developed in my country after those attacks. Unlike the homicidal, selfish jerks who tried to apply this mentality to the coronavirus a decade later by objecting to social distancing and vaccination measures, my actions did not spread harm and death to others, let alone clog up the healthcare system.

At left, we see Norfolk Southern Railway train 355 waiting as the tail end of train 314, which had arrived at Terminal Junction just to the left as Union Pacific train QLINSB before making a block swap at the beginning of the train, passes Oliver Junction on its way out of town to Birmingham.

I like those coil cars.

That was a memorable day, but, looking back on all of the hyping of “freedom photography” that I did for that ‘event,’ I cringe.

Tuesday, The 13th

Here is the eastbound Amtrak Sunset Limited climbing the Huey P. Long Bridge in Bridge City.

What I remember most from this day is that, as I was climbing down from the truck after taking the picture, I heard someone yell “Jiiimbaaaaauuuuxx” out of a truck passing by; it was Engineer Ken, whom you see in the picture from the 9th.

Like I said before, I wonder what became of him.

Wednesday, The 14th

Here is a train on the NOGC with a switcher leading two GP7s.

I got some decent pictures that day.

Thursday, The 15th

Here is the Chip Local arriving from the west at George Street at Avondale.

As I described in the post of that day’s pictures, the train would then cross over to the Drill Extension track at the far right.

Friday, The 16th

I like this shot that I got at Avondale showing a train with a Ferromex locomotive on the front between the Avondale yard tower and the gondola and boxcar tail end of an eastbound train at Avondale Garden Road.

I got some other decent pictures, including at Gouldsboro Yard, that afternoon.

Monday, The 19th

This is bad, I know.

I can’t deal with it right now.

Tuesday, The 20th

Here, on Isbell Street in Gretna, we see some NOGC GP7s leading a northbound train on Madison Street.

This would be one of the last times that I photographed GP7s moving on the NOGC.

Thursday, The 22nd

Once again, we see the newer locomotives taking over the NOGC while one of the GP7s sits sidelined.

This is the former Texas & Pacific Railway yard in Gretna.

Monday, The 26th

Here is the westbound Amtrak Sunset Limited passing through Hollygrove on its way out of New Orleans.

That’s the only time that I ever took a picture there, and you can probably imagine why.

Tuesday, The 27th

Back on the Madison Street track in Gretna, we see another NOGC train, this time on Burmaster Street, this time with a GP7 in the power consist – unless it was just along for the ride – but not leading.

I miss both those times and these places.

Wednesday, The 28th

I like this scene. Here, near the end of the month, as the weather is getting more tolerable, we see a Ferromex locomotive leading a Union Pacific Railroad train on New Orleans Public Belt Railroad trackage and with an NOPB crew at the controls about to be delivered to the CSX railroad yard.

The train is passing through a floodgate. This was back in that brief period when UP ran CSX-bound run-through trains via the NOPB, which I imagine may still happen occasionally, but it was a regular occurrence back then.

Friday, The 30th

I put many of my pictures from the latter third of that September into one post at the time. When I reprocessed them in advance of the 10-year anniversaries of them, I decided to process a few raw files that I had never before processed, among them being this one.

Some colleagues and I at the local high school would go to this neat place, Gattuso’s, in Old Gretna, a block away from the NOGC track on Fourth Street. I broke off of the libations to go and photograph a train and came back to photograph this dog getting fresh with one of my colleagues.

That was fun, and perhaps more fun than October; stay tuned for the October pictures.


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