January 2012 Sampler

by Jim on 2022/01/01

Greetings, and welcome to the January 2012 Sampler essay. This is the start of what may be the last year for which I do these “sampler” essays, as I hope to resume all-out all-good-pictures-from-every-day postings in 2013, which I think is possible since I took much fewer pictures that year, which would give me a head start on other picture processing.

Many of the images in this post, too, are already blogged, but some are not.

Wednesday, The 4th

Gosh, I really remember this day well. After the most memorable part of the day, the combative encounter with the farmer burning his sugarcane field, after I dropped off my visitor, I was back in the homeland just before dusk to photograph the Chip Local at Melodia Plantation.

That boxcar amid the carbon black hopper cars is almost certainly coming from the rice mill in Abbeville, and, later this month, I would make my first chase of a train on that branch, a branch of which I got to document the final year of operation before the closure of the mill in April 2020.

Thursday, The 5th

Here is the LDRR 2009 in the siding at Schriever, with plenty of nice BNSF boxcars in the storage track and Willie near the crossover switch.

Willie went to work for Southern Pacific in about 1980 or maybe 1981 and retired from the Louisiana & Delta Railroad in 2021.

Friday, The 6th

The next day, I am back at, of course, Schriever, and this is interesting! This is the westbound Sunset Limited, but it’s in the siding, because it had just done its station stop on the mainline but then backed through the crossover into the siding to clear the path for its eastbound counterpart.

I have photographed the Sunset Limited, especially the westbound Sunset Limited, so many times at this spot, but this may be the only time that I photographed it in the siding here, and, of course, I prefer this view, because you can see more of the train.

Monday, The 9th

The Kansas City Southern Railway hired me to photograph the party aboard its business train at New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal in town for the BCS Championship game. I cannot to show you pictures of attendees or the inside of the train, but I can show you this.

I remember that night well.

Sunday, The 15th

What had by this time happened in my homeland, my ancestral homeland, to the Lockport Branch depressed me so much.

This is a southward view at Barker Road on Clotilda Plantation, and almost three years had passed since the last train to ply these rails passed here.

Monday, The 16th

This was the Martin Luther King holiday, which explains why I was in Morgan City on a Monday when I still had a full-time job in Jefferson Parish. Here is the Chip Local setting out three loaded pipe gondolas at Patterson Tubular.

This day started with an overexposed view of Union Pacific Railroad train MNSEW somewhere along Highway 631 in Saint Charles Parish, then the Chip local in Paradís, possibly at about the same spot, with the GMTX 2128 and four cars, a covered hopper car and three loaded gondola cars, then shooting it coming into Raceland, then shooting the westbound Sunset Limited at Kraemer Road, then shooting the Chip Local somewhere around the Saint Charles Community, then shooting the MNSEW coming out of Schriever, then shooting it in Chacahoula, then shooting it in Gibson, then shooting it in Morgan City, then shooting the Chip Local there, as seen above, and then, on its return trip, at Boeuf, and at Chacahoula.

Sunday, The 22nd

I may have been returning to Whoadieville from the homeland via Kenner on this Sunday, as I caught up with Canadian National Railway train L516 as it passed through Kenner, where the train is in this picture even though I am in River Ridge.

Four years and a few months later, I’d get to know this area a little bit better when I briefly did paid work here.

Monday, The 23rd

Okay, this is weird, but maybe the more relevant thing is that what seemed like the right thing to do at the time now seems very weird to me. Anyway, here is a young woman sitting and studying by Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans.

It’s a good photographic composition, but, in addition to the weirdness of taking it (I was still running a New Orleans photography blog at the time and was scoping out shots for it), there is also the matter of what I was even doing in this part of town at all, let alone on a Monday afternoon, and it was that I was taking a class at the University Of New Orleans at the time, a class that circumstances would not allow me to complete, causing me to finally give up on the dream of getting an engineering degree.

Thursday, The 26th

I have no memory of taking this picture, but I am captivated by it as I was captivated by an effort to determine where it was taken, but I was able to determine that this is Melodia Plantation and that Bayou Lafourche is where the trees are.

I love this photograph. The next question is what I was doing at home – a place that I miss so, so much – when I still had a day job in Jefferson Parish.

Friday, The 27th

I’m just going to say that it was a big day for my family, which was also the reason that it was the first time that I chased a train on the Abbeville Branch. Here is LDRR 1707 pulling two cars bound for the rice mill in Abbeville at Leleux Road in Delcambre.

On this day, taking off of work for a big family event that very much foreshadowed or foretold my own future, I headed west from home and stopped in Baldwin to photograph a couple of CF7s, the LDRR 1501 and the LDRR 1506, both of which have since been scrapped, parked there, then photographed the eastbound Sunset Limited at the depot in New Iberia next to a parked LDRR 2000, photographed a parked loaded pipe train at Cade, saw and photographed another CF7 pulling some cars off of the Midland Branch, and then just so happened to find this Abbeville train and chased it all the way to Abbeville, which was very convenient for me given the broader point of the day.

Unfortunately, I don’t have time to process and present all of those pictures now, hence the reason for these “sampler” essays. This was the first time that I chased and photographed a train to Abbeville, and it was the last time that I chased and photographed a train to Abbeville until almost three years later.

Saturday, The 28th

This was the big day, and I managed to sneak a little picture in the process.

That’s the 1938 bridge over Bayou Vermilion in Abbeville.

Sunday, The 29th

I remember this day very well, too, as I headed back east, back home, a home that I would learn later this same year that I’d lose for reasons totally dependent upon the events of this weekend.

At the end of the large set of pictures from this day is this eastbound BNSF Railway manifest train coming out of the siding and beginning to cross Berwick Bay.

On this day, I visited Kaplan for the first time in my life, then went northward to Rayne, then to Lafayette to the BNSF yard, then to Broussard where I saw a BNSF MofW job dropping ties, then to the Port Of Iberia where I saw and photographed a CF7 and some pipe cars, then to the Patout spur where I saw a tank car knocked over at Patout and saw some cars normally upright at the QLF JLF, then saw and photographed the IAVLB at Baldwin, then visited downtown Franklin and the neat signage in the highway there, then to Berwick, where there was a meet between an eastbound BNSF manifest train and a westbound UP manifest train.

The exploring that I did on this day, especially in Saint Mary Parish, at new places was a foreshadowing of the work that, still unbeknown to me, I would soon be doing there, only two months later, and, more broadly, it was a foreshadowing of how the changes in my life due to the events of the weekend would have me getting to know these areas more.

There was a magnet pulling me westward, but it wasn’t obvious to me at the time.

Stay tuned for the mostly-back-in-New-Orleans February 2012 essay.


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