Friends And Trains In The Post-Ida Homeland

by Jim on 2021/11/10

Jimbaux knows that we're told this is the golden age
And gold is the reason for the wars we wage.

I left the house at about 7:39ish, but only at 7:52 did I start moving from a position a mile from the house due to being stopped by maritime traffic at the bridge, something that won’t be a problem (at least when I am going eastward) once this saga of this hellish living situation is over, hopefully by the mid spring. I wish that I had gotten going sooner. I now have to pick, probably, between either walking in downtown Morgan City or getting to the Malaysia Plantation Road – that’s how the voice feature typed it, and that’s how I will now cryptically reference it – shot for the westbound Sunset Limited.

I wish that I had gotten going sooner! I just said that. When I left the house, I just had a strange vision of a bearded The Duke waving me, almost like the night at the end of Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade. The whole thing bums me out, as does the feeling of me going to my homeland and the only person I can see to visit there has not responded to my messages. This is not a triumphant return! The George Michael song “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go” was the first thing that I heard when I turned on 102.1 radio station FM.

There are people in the area who might be willing to meet with me Schriever area might be willing to meet with me, but they are Trumpers, and I don’t feel like meeting them on what is something of a retreat for me.

I very briefly stopped in Baldwin.

This is an eastbound BNSF Railway train in the siding, and I am not sure that there is a crew aboard.

The second locomotive was a BNSF 1122 still wearing the Heritage 1 paint scheme, which is, by far, the best paint scheme that this company ever had.

There were no Louisiana & Delta Railroad locomotives moving, but a crew was working on one of the locomotives which appeared to be runnin. The crew was working on the LDRR 1717, and the other locomotive there was the LDRR 1536. This is only the second time that I see that locomotive, and I did not take a photograph of it this morning, as it was in the shaded area, and I was in a hurry to resume the journey.

My visit to Baldwin was just brief enough so that I could find all of these things happening. I saw it no cars other than the carbon black hopper cars that define this operation now. I left Baldwin at about 08:45.

I stopped briefly in Morgan City. The Taco Bell did not appear to be open for breakfast. Oh, well.

So, I stopped to see this MofW equipment in what remains of the old loop track.

There were a bunch of hopper cars in the port track.

I did not go ride by Patterson Tubular, which means that I must have gotten back onto Highway 90 at Dr. M.L.K. Jr. Boulevard.

In Donner or Chacahoula, I saw what was the most beautiful citrus tree that I have ever seen.

As I came in to Schriever, I began to notice effects of Hurricane Ida. I hadn’t thought about that before today. I saw what looked like an RV area, a parking lot full of RVs, I thought that I had never noticed that there before, then I immediately got the thought that maybe it’s there because of people living there due to Hurricane Ida, and that’s when I started noticing Ida damage.

When I arrived in Schriever, I noticed a new gate and the western end at the eastern edge of the borrow pit! I was quite disappointed by this, but I understand the need for it, and I will never again be here often enough for it to really bother me.

I got gasoline at Go-Bears because of tradition.

These pictures were made with my tablet computer.

There is nothing intrinsically special about this place; it’s just that this was a common place for me to get gasoline more than 15 years ago.

That overpass in the overpass over the Sunset Route mainline and the siding.

These next pictures, after I left the gasoline station, were made with the DSLR camera.

We are at Schriever Proper here.

There is an eastbound Louisiana & Delta Railroad train there at the end of the siding in the above image, but, because, as you can see, it was difficult to see, I wasn’t sure of this right away, although the lack of a locomotive parked at the usual locomotive-parking spot and the presence of two civilian automobiles there led me to believe that the job was at least working today.

Here is the view in the other direction, to the west.

There are two cars loaded with gypsum board being unloaded on what remains of the old Houma Branch.

So, I go west of the depot, I look west, and I see this.

That is a foundation for a new passenger platform, like one being built in New Iberia. That’s going to screw up the classic depot shot, but, oh, well.

Here is another tablet-computer picture of parked Maintenance-Of-Way hopper cars.

These next few pictures are tablet-computer pictures.

That is the depot.

Here is another view of the HE centerbeam flatcars loaded with gypsum board, presumably for Dufrene Building Materials.

You can see the new raised house track, raised in a way that makes crossing it with my truck impossible, killing that old process of me parking on the eastern side of the depot, meaning no more sitting in the truck in the shade in the late afternoon.

Now, I am a few hundred feet west of the depot, waiting for the westbound Sunset Limited.

Next, we are back to the DSLR camera, and maybe you can see the difference.

The time was about 10:47. The westbound Sunset Limited train is running late for some reason, even though Julie said earlier that it was still on time. It must have once again and got delayed somewhere around the the Huey P long Bridge, just as it did on Saturday. Schriever looks like Schriever, except that there is a little concrete foundation for what apparently is going to be an Amtrak waiting waiting area, and it’s going to screw up this shot that I’m doing, that I’m doing today and that I’ve done many times before, albeit admittedly not that good of a shot, but the more or less iconic Schriever Amtrak shot, at least for westbound train. So, that’s that.

I am hungry!   Yesterday, I was pondering where in town I should eat today. I am now leaning towards Taco Bell, even though I was thinking Burger King yesterday.  Regardless, I must stop eating fast food. 

At 11:12, Julie said that the train will be here at 11:29, even later, as, last time, she said that it would be 11:12.  Had I known this when I was in Morgan City, I definitely would have not only done some walking there but would have picked up some food, as well. 

I like these old cars.

At about this time, a big-rig truck with a big flatbed trailer arrived to unload more of that gypsum board from those HE centerbeam cars.

At 11:36, I finally heard horns off to the east. Shortly thereafter, this happened.

Damn, yes, clouds moved in right before, dammit. 😡

The clouds didn’t really cooperate, but that’s okay.

This is classic Schriever, a scene that I have photographed many times before for damn near two decades now, even though I have never boarded a train here and have gotten off of an Amtrak train here only once, when I was in second grade.

Somebody’s journey is starting.

More people should ride more Amtrak trains.

So long, westbound Sunset Limited; I hope to see you again.

I will get a few car shots before I leave.

Here is a view of a BN hopper car over the slab of what will apparently become the Amtrak covered waiting area.

I went to Melodia to try to scoop the eastbound L&D job, but, apparently, I missed it.

On my way out, rather by accident and coincidence, I saw my friend, as he was supervising the dismantling of some historic properties that had been damaged by Ida, something that made all of us sad. It was good to see him.

He told me to go into the Laurel Valley village to see the damage. I didn’t want to do that, because I figured that it would be depressing, but, because he told me to do so, I did. It didn’t seem any more depressing than what I had seen in the pictures that I had seen of the damage.

So, I went to Taco Bell.

All that I could do was think about the past as I enjoyed the air conditioning.

Then, I went to North Thibodaux and visited Willie Neal! That was great! I learned plenty, including that Dufrene Building Material gets about six to eight cars per week delivered at Schriever. I mentioned about how he was the last railroader living in this area who had roots in this area.

Then, I went to the dentist, passing very close to home.

It hurts so very much.

Then, I left the dentist.

I feel like my early years were another lifetime.

It’s like I was another person, yet completely the same.

I do miss those times and the hope for the future that we had back then.

I wish that I knew more about my people of that time.

I wish that I could recapture that glory in an adult form appropriate for this stage of my life.

Most sadly, I have not.

So, I went across town, to the original home.

That tree was there for me a long time ago.

It’s still there now, just not for me.

I remember the culverts!

This is where it all started, the window from which I saw high-nosed GP9Es leading Airlside hopper cars.

I feel the loss intensely, as I do every day.

The good went away, all too fast.

I just wish that I could be normal sometimes.

So, it was time to return to Schriever in the hopes of catching the UP local coming westbound, and that’s what I did and what happened.

Some things don’t change, or some things get altered only slightly.

That’s a good-looking train for 2021.

Let’s see a cropped version of that image.

Is all of this the best that I can do?

I guess so.

I scurried out of town and got set up at the Greenwood Bridge for the train, but something delayed him.

So, we have a look at the old pipe yard here.

The past is always with us.

And Jimbaux can be expected to try all of the different angles that he can try.

It got too dark, and I gave up.

I went to Berwick to wait for the train at the bay.

I am doing the best that I can.

I am not that much of a photographer, really.

That’s all for the DSLR-camera pictures today. I went walk around on the northern side of the tracks after I gave up on the possibility of photographing the train. I did get to see the train and then got to see an eastbound train that had been waiting on it in the siding in Berwick, an eastbound manifest train with one locomotive pulling about 80 cars, some of them the new CN hoppers like I saw a few days ago in New Iberia.

Speaking of New Iberia, that’s where I stopped to eat.

Yeah, it’s not the healthiest of addictions, but it’s actually not much of an addiction anymore, given the rarity that I do this anymore.

I think that today has been a good day. Really, the conversation with Bill, the fact of the Edmonton hey, after that was the icing on the cake, I’ve been taking care of my teeth; today was a homecoming of sorts.

Thanks for reading all of this.

I am just so weary.

Oh, well, take care.



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