Either Or Neither In The Saddle Or Or Nor Saddled

by Jim on 2021/10/23

Jimbaux wonders what the hell he is doing here, 
He doesn't belong here

The Mid-City Marine, a great friend whom circumstances have prevented me from seeing for a few years, and I had scheduled to meet at Schriever this weekend, but the weather was too damn warm.

I suggested that we meet in Hammond, where we could get some shade and air conditioning by the track, and it ended up being a good choice, even though I had overestimated the ability to get trackside air-conditioning, for today, Saturday 23 October 2021.

I have had some realizations about DJ Rhett, about him being a Trumper, and what that means about my realizations about myself and why I couldn’t pull off being the Cajun parody guy. I totally could do it, but I could do it only at the expense of speaking my truth.

I left the rental house right at 08:30 as it was still quite foggy.

What the hell am I doing here, I don’t belong here, I’m a creep. That song was playing on 106.3 FM when I turned on the radio at 0932 south of Opelousas, enemy territory.

I think about the reasons for my last visit to this area, a little bit more than a decade ago. 

The drive was interesting and slightly depressing.

I got to Blanks and found a parked train.

I think that this is the MEWLI.

This is the first time that I photograph at this location or any location near here, because this is the first and only time that I come to this area since 2003 when I came this way on a cloudy February morning with Shawn Levy on the way to Rich Mountain, my first time going there.

I turn about 45 degrees to the southwest.

These are my first pictures on the old Gulf Coast Lines between Eunice and Lobdell.

The locomotive is clean.

Here’s a little church by the tracks.

Next, I am watching a single locomotive entering Livonia Yard from the north on the old Texas & Pacific Railway mainline.

Well, that’s okay.

Next, back by US Highway 190, I see the River Dodger, the Baton Rouge train, returning to Livonia westbound.

I don’t know the name for this channel of water other than Port Allen Lock, but that seems weird.

I would have chased this train to this spot that I found north of the Livonia Yard, but the first car was graffitied. 

There was a loaded lumber car, a GTW car, which presumably comes from near here. 

This Crossing is at milepost 622.19.


These are the first pictures that I have ever taken in Livonia. I’m not sure that I have even been here before, except maybe to ride with me to Rich Mountain almost nineteen years ago. I think that we came this way, I just don’t know if we turned north on 71 West of year mark continue to Opelousas, but I’m pretty sure that it’s the latter.

At Erwinville, thinking that I was in Lobdell, I went north on the highway, I think Highway 413, they are, until I realized I have made a wrong turn. But then I turned this into an opportunity, and I am now heading eastbound on Louisiana Highway 620 via which I hoped to catch the Kansas City Southern Railway main line.

At 11:10, and I just turned onto Highway 415, just realized that my earlier wrong turn was because I misstook Highway 413 for Highway 415.

At 11:21, I saw and crossed the Mississippi River, which I had so missed.


I crossed the Mississippi River, the first time that I am on the eastern side of it since 29 February 2020.

I didn’t hang out here for long. I do miss the spartan-cab trains on this bridge, though.

I got to the riverfront in Baton Rouge, and it was getting hot, really. I got what is a new shot for me, particularly in the digital era.

Note that auto rack and two graffitied boxcars right behind the power.

Just note them!

Here is the State Capitol building.

This job is doing some switching.

The CN yard, the former Illinois Central Railroad yard, is in the background.

Yes, I am getting repetitive here.

I don’t get to see spartan-cab CN locomotives like this anymore!

And look at this first-generation locomotive behind the lead locomotive!

I go to Whataburger to get one of those mint shakes, and then I go straight to Hammond.

Here, I arrive in Hammond just before 13:10.

I found my whoadie, the first time that I see him since as far back as early 2017.

These are tablet-computer images.

And the next many pictures until after the survey marker are DSLR-camera pictures.

This relatively-new platform, which sits where the old southbound mainline, which I think was removed in the 1990s, is a really great improvement for passengers and crew, though it has fouled the best photo opportunities in this area.

The track at right is the southern leg of a wye that is also the beginning of a short branch that goes to some facilities just west of the airport.

This is a good place, a good place to catch or get off of a train, not that I have ever done either here.

Next, I am set up to photograph the southbound City Of New Orleans, and you can see at the right how the new platform took away some old photographic opportunities.

Here is the train.

Yeah, it’s not as cool as the old shot that was possible before the new platform was installed.

Only about one or two persons alighted and only about one or two persons boarded.

You should try to get a job at Amtrak!

This is Hammond today.

Here is a survey marker on the depot.

Okay, as we hang out in the breezeway, here are a couple of tablet-computer images of my DSLR cameras and lenses.

It’s all getting old, really.

Here, north of the depot, is what remains of the platform of the Baton Rouge, Hammond & Eastern line that crossed the Illinois Central Railroad mainline here.

See the little piece of stone work?

We’re looking south here.

Here is a crane car, or something like that.

Here is a pile of new-looking spikes.

That’s interesting.

All of the rest of the images in this essay are tablet-camera images!

We went eat. While we were there, the northbound Amtrak City Of New Orleans passed.

We were eating at the Mariners Inn. I wasn’t very hungry. We split a poboy.

A southbound grain while I was in the bathroom at 15:25. I was able to see the end of it.

A Ford Aerostar van passed at 15:30. I had not seen one of those things in years. My uncle had one when I was a little kid, and, so, I remember them well. Paul said that they are not common anymore due to some mechanical reasons.

I needed to hang out in the restaurant for a while just for air conditioning, shade, and cold drinks.

We then returned to the depot, where I went to the bathroom. Once again, while I was in the bathroom, a train came, this time, a southbound loaded coal train.

Even though I missed the head end, I got the rear-end DPU.

We continued chatting with the station agent until almost a half hour later when we heard horns to the west, which could only mean that a train was coming from Baton Rouge.

So, I ran northward and then crossed the curved track that is the end of the Hammond Subdivision in preparation for taking some poorly-lit picture of this train, and here is a view southward back toward the depot where I was less than one minute before.

Here are some pictures of the train, as my pal decided to get in my admittedly-otherwise-not-good-anyway tablet-computer pictures.

Hey, do you recognize that auto rack and those two boxcars?

That’s what we saw in Baton Rouge earlier today!

I like centerbeam flatcars and bulkhead flatcars, even if they are empty, especially because, with every single boxcar on this train graffitied, these are the most interesting non-graffitied cars on this train.

These boxcars look like the cars that come from the mill at Zee.

I like these old cars with the French spelling on one side.

I like these Wisconsin Central cars, too.

I hate the graffiti, though.

Anyway, this is the daily northbound manifest train out of Baton Rouge. It was called M301 some years ago and may still be called that, but nobody seems to be able to confirm it anymore!

I like the going-away view at Hammond Junction.

I like that view.

So, we return to the depot.

Gosh, I will never respect Lil Boosie again; he said something really awful this weekend.

I think that it was about this time that we went and explored the little branchline that goes toward the airport, which I had never done before. I didn’t take any pictures of that jaunt.

We then went to PJ’s Coffee on West Thomas Street.

Paul didn’t stay for long, though. He had to leave to return to New Orleans to feed cats.

So, all of these images were made after he left.

So, I left the coffee shop and returned to the depot briefly. I couldn’t meet with Neal and Leah either.

Oh, well.

“Rooster” by Alice In Chains played on 95.7 as I left Hammond on US Highway 190, followed by “The One I Love” by REM.

After getting gasoline at the Stop & Go place in Livingston, I headed south on Louisiana Highway 63 to I-12, about 1.8 miles.

At 19:48, I crossed the Mississippi River westbound. “Cult Of Personality was playing as I entered New Iberia on Highway 31 at 21:05.

UP 1364 and UP 7610 are the power for the UP local train in New Iberia. There is one bulkhead flat car loaded with plate steel among the cars that the train set out in New Iberia apparently this evening. There are also a bunch of boxcars, all of them badly graffitied, most sadly.

Here is New Iberia.

They aren’t CF7s.

I was tired.

I arrived at the rental house at 21:56, needing shower and salad, as I had been nibbling on fruity trail mix.

Okay, this was a great, memorable day.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Norman Schultze December 14, 2021 at 13:18

The ‘crane car’ appears to be a pile driver. It is suspended from the end of the boom of a crane.
You can find out a lot about waterways and the bridges over them at the bridgehunter website. You can Seach by county or parish. Many are photo’d.


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