Not Like Old Times, But Still Like Old Times

by Jim on 2023/05/18

Jimbaux can’t control you; you’re not his destiny.

A Bounty And The Trauma

This really was a heck of a day.  I accomplished plenty.  This will be a large post.

Today, three days after I visited Baton Rouge and Opelousas, I had to go to the homeland for the first time in six months, and I got as close to my actual home as I have been since I was embarrassingly evicted from it more than four years ago.

A Bad Start

I left the house at 07:50 CDT, which was late; the lateness was due to my having trouble sleeping the night before. I didn’t get to sleep until 02:00, partly due to anxiety due to the topics that I knew that I was likely to discuss today, partly due to a bug problem in the house, and partly due to not having showered before I went to bed, because I wanted to take a shower this morning before leaving, and I took a shower yesterday morning after mowing the grass.

I had to stop and get a tank of gasoline before I left that place.

Living In The Past

Strangely, yesterday, I went through a Godsmack kick.  I listened and watched ‘Keep Away’ at 1999 Woodstock on YouTube, and I was blown away by how young Sully Erna looked, even though I saw him in concert maybe that year but, for sure, two years later.  I guess that that’s a sign of how old both of us are now.

He just looked so young and raw.  Then I checked him out on social media.  He seemed to be trying to keep his mouth shut about politics, but the hints that he was dropping – and he may not have even intended them to be hints – indicate a more conservative stance, plus, and I hadn’t realized this, he did a tour with Aaron Lewis a few years ago.

There is a nice video of him from earlier this year promoting a new album.

He seemed mellow, not quite feminine, but looking like Mister Camille; that was nice in a way, and it was kind of refreshing, as it was to see him promote mental-health awareness.

I really wish I didn’t live here, even though there are plenty of nice things about this place.

No Berry

The onramp at New Iberia was being rebuilt.  Let’s just leave it at that.

I will also say something else, something that will make sense when I get to the Morgan City part of the story, and that is that, even if I felt like I had time and even if the light is good, I have figured out that there is little-to-no point in going into New Iberia when I am making these eastward treks back home.  The railroad scene there has become quite boring even when trains are moving, but no railroad action other than BNSF action happens before mid-morning in New Iberia.

About 20 years ago, I not-very-seriously toyed with the idea of moving to New Iberia, due to mystique, railroad, particularly, the cool Louisiana & Delta Railroad action and presence at the time, etcetera, and I am so glad that I didn’t do that.  I would have gotten bored with it even as it was then anyway, and the railroad scene has only gotten much more boring, as it has done generally everywhere.  In general, the place has problems, and I would have missed out on New Orleans.

At 08:36, I stopped to take a leak along State Highway 668 near Jeanerette.

Familiar Music And Familiar Terrain

With my appointment near Bayou Lafourche being two hours, my plan was to first stop in Berwick or Morgan City, but I realized that I am not doing well on time.  I should have gotten gasoline yesterday, and I should have showered in the early evening yesterday.

As I came into Berwick, I heard the Godsmack song “Straight Out Of Line” play on Eagle 98.1; coincidentally, it was the performance of that song on Jay Leno’s show that came up and played on YouTube yesterday that led me to my Godsmack kick last night.

That Jay Leno version is good, but I don’t even like that song much anymore, or even Godsmack itself.  What I was doing last night was more like a nostalgia tour; I was paying attention to this band’s video from 1999 not because I like the band now but because I liked it in the past.

So, I went on this Godsmack kick not so much because I like the band now but because I liked them in my past, which is why it was a bit of a nostalgia tour for me.  Damn, I feel old.

Morgan City

At 09:05, crossed Atchafalaya River.  I wanted to check out the railroad action in Morgan City and also stop at McDonald’s.

After getting my MCD biscuits that then made me thirsty due to all of the salt content, I went to the Port Of Morgan City, and I saw hopper cars there.

I decided to not photograph hopper cars at Port Of Morgan City, because it is getting to be a habit, a pattern, a boring way to start every blog post of every trip back home, especially now that I have figured out that there is no point to going to New Iberia in the morning and that there is little point in checking out Baldwin.

I did, however, take pictures of cars sitting in the Morgan City runaround track with no train around, something that I have not seen before.

I presume that the cars are setouts for – or from – the Union Pacific Railroad’s New Iberia Turn.

Okay, that’s all for Morgan City.

A Pleasant Diversion

I then took a circuitous route that I may never have taken before, and, if I did, it was in 2012 when I was working professionally around here.

Coming eastward from Morgan City, I got off of the old highway, Highway 182, eastbound at Boeuf, and I came north to see any railroad action at Boeuf.  The fact that there were cars parked north of the derail at North Boeuf indicated that there was no live train here, but I kept driving north to see what was parked on the track.

And, since I was going that way, and since I did have a little bit of time to spare, I kept going north.

I kept going north and went to Bayou L’Ourse and kept going on Highway 662 as it bends south to get to Highway 90, which I did at 09:43.  I made that loop.  It was a nice drive.  I don’t recall ever taking that eastern part of the horseshoe before.

I took no pictures.  It was hot, the light is bad, it’s too bright, and there is really no place to pull off and get pictures.

The Sacred Place

I arrived at the sacred place a little bit after 10:00.

It appears that part of the piling system here has been destroyed.

Looking east, we see nothing unusual on the track, though that flatcar, likely a Maintenance-Of-Way car, is a tad bit unusual.

Now, we look westward, and we see a few things.

The LDRR 1850 is just parked there, which makes me wonder if the Schriever Job has once-again been abolished, but there is one civilian automobile, an old sedan, parked there, and we see one spotted centerbeam flatcar on the old Houma Branch, as well as the ‘crossing’ there being reworked, which is why I went no closer to the depot than this.

In the brief time that I was there, a lady in an automobile asked me if she could cross right there, and I said that it doesn’t look like it.  Today is not an Amtrak day, which makes sense why this work is being done today and also why it doesn’t make sense that this person would be trying to cross here today.

Now, it’s time to make my way to the dentist office.

Stephanie Rodrigue’s old house appears to be being remodeled, and there are no automobiles there, which makes me wonder if she died or moved or sold the house.

I then went through the zig-zag of Ducros Road and Nora T Lane.  It was somewhat depressing; the place could use plenty more large trees.

Then, I drove functionally northbound on Highway 20 until the end of Saint Charles Street and took it all the way to what was South Acadia Road, right where the track was, and took a right; then, I took a left on Cardinal Drive, the reason being that I wanted to see the new school.

Real Life

First, I wanted to see something.

The school structure in the above picture is one of those of two schools that will be demolished and replaced by the structure – and the new, consolidated school for which the structure exists – in the below images.

We have some history here.

I have some history here.

I feel detached from it all.

I feel detached from all of the significant parts of my life.

I always was autistic.

I just did not know it until seven years ago, and I am constantly learning what that means.

It explains why this place is both home and alien to me.

I think, too, about the darkness that Trumpism has revealed.

I hear Seether songs in my head here, even though Seether came into my life after this place stopped being a part of it.

I miss who I thought my friend here was.

I guess that I miss who I thought that people in general, too, are.

I came through here, in so many ways.

This is the nexus.

Yes, I got as close to home as I have been since I left there.

There is so much meaning here.

There is a Chick Fil A on campus now, which I think is awful.

Yet, now, I am nothing.

At 10:31, I walked into dentist office and checked in, and I didn’t have to wait long to be seen.

The dentist appointment was good.

I then went to visit a family friend, hoping to talk about something very important and difficult with her. 

Back To The SRV

On my way there, I went to Schriever again, and, then, I saw that the L&D job was on duty, with the locomotive working the eastern end of the yard.

Is that its normal start time?


I visited with the family friend, cried, and accomplished everything that I wanted to accomplish in that visit plus more.  I learned about her perception of the tragedy that befell us so long ago, when I was too young to really know what was happening.  She helped to remind me of how much of a tragedy it was and even remains, and, in the process, that I am okay for being affected by it in the way that I am.

I am blunt, but I still have a filter.  My bluntness has precision and restraint.

I barely remember the dynamic, creative, intelligent woman whom she remembers.

The friend offered to let me spend a night there when I come into town for future visits.

This visit was great, even if difficult, and it was time to leave.

It was time to head south.  I head Bon Jovi’s “Livin On A Prayer” on the radio; in some ways, it is an appropriate song for today.

Going Farther Back In Time

At 13:31, I passed the new, obnoxious Rouse mansion on Highway 1.  Then, I noticed a big house going up at the beginning of Country Club Boulevard.

It’s partly because I didn’t “want” to be here when I had the ‘chance’ to put down roots here that I had to leave, but maybe I never actually had such a chance.

I heard the Pearl Jam song “Go” on the radio, followed by “Shortest Straw” by Metallica on 98.1 FM; I don’t think that I have ever heard that song on the radio. “Shortest Straw” might be an appropriate song for today, but maybe not, since I didn’t really draw the straw.

I went to see railroad stuff in Raceland, but I found no actual trains, not even the L&D job, though I didn’t have much time for searching.  There were three hopper cars parked on post-office track, tank cars parked by Highway 182, a few tank cars at the mill, and the usual cars at the MTi place.

I saw my grandmother’s house in a way that I have never seen it before, because, as per what Dad told me yesterday, the tree in front of Verina’s house had to be removed, and Verina’s house isn’t there, either, though it has been gone for years.

It also looks like my great-great-grandparents’ house is falling apart now, which is so very sad.

The storm damage at the old nursing home looks so sad.

I was hungry!

I passed by the high school, the school that was so much of my life for three years that now seem like another lifetime.  There were plenty of buses in two side-by-side rows, both on the north side and the east side, and the whole thing was very weird to me, like just very uncomfortable, and I thought briefly about the F family.  Something about the whole factory feel to it made me feel bad, even though that isn’t different from when I was there; it’s just that I am different, but I am actually the same.

Nanny called as I passed Adams Fruit Stand – or what was Adams Fruit Stand – to inquire about my transit progress.  The irony that she was a coworker at that factory school and doesn’t seem to see the problem.  Really, so few people do see the problem, and most of the people who see it are neurodivergent.

I passed where some of my cousins live; I don’t talk to them anymore, and it’s weird that I learned about my autism at the same time that Trumpism happened.  I think about that quite often.

It was time to eat.

I wanted to talk to them, or maybe just one of them, about the same topic that I discussed with the family friend.  That was my goal for this gathering.

However, the opportunity in the conversation did not arise, I had not previously told them that I wanted to have a serious and difficult talk with them, and I was emotionally drained from the conversation with the family friend shortly before on top of the insufficient amount of sleep that I had last night.

So, we left, and we went somewhere else.

I guess that I hear more Seether music in my head now.

There is so much place, meaning, and identity here.

All of this makes me sad.

It makes me sad even if the Catholic Church is not a good institution.

It makes me sad even if most of the people who come here believe, think, and enable bad things.

Of course, that so many people in general believe, think, and enable bad things itself makes me sad – and more than sad.

This place is special.

It is home.

Home is a fraught concept, indeed.

I want to go home.

That was a good visit.  Talking about the difficult topic with the crew here is the one thing that I had intended to accomplish today that I did not accomplish today, but I got so much more done.

This is all well and good, as we are about to get to the fun part of the day!

Opening The Release Valve

First, let’s check out Kraemer Road.

Wow, is this no longer a sugarcane field?  If so, why?  What has happened here?

It’s the good-old 39.

Fewer than 20 minutes later, I was at Melodia.

You can see the headlight! 

By 16:23, I was standing atop the truck here.

I don’t know what train it is, though, but it’s almost certainly either the L&D Schriever Job or a westbound BNSF Railway train.

I am not really all that excited to see BNSF orange anymore, but I am here, this is home, and I will get a train shot, dammit.

I remembered wondering in 2010 if the flame knew about the tragedy.

I was thinking about this due to the conversation that I had with the family friend, who knows the 2010 flame but (at least as far as I know) not that I had a relationship with her, because it was so impactful.

I heard the horns for several minutes before the train came into view.

A Very Pleasant Surprise

A full 10 minutes after I first saw the headlight, we have our train, and what in the heck is this?

Wow!  What a heck of an oddity – and a heck of a treat – this is!

Seriously, in all of my years watching and photographing trains, I don’t think that I have ever even seen let alone photographed, a Canadian Pacific Railway locomotive leading a train on the Lafayette Subdivision.  I have maybe seen one or two Canadian National Railway locomotives leading a train here.

Especially, when UP ran more trains on this line, Norfolk Southern Railway power and CSX power was common here, Ferromex power would often lead trains through here years ago, and you can even see an NS locomotive in this consist, which I think is itself a treat, but it’s nothing like that leader.

Now, before the train even finished passing, I realized that we occasionally see Kansas City Southern Railway power on this line, and, now, KCS and CP are the same railroad; so, we’re essentially seeing a KCS locomotive here, even though the KCS no longer exists.

I like bulkhead flatcars loaded with plate steel.

Well, that was certainly neat, and, now, I know what I am doing for the rest of the afternoon! 

Let’s have a look toward the bayou and then get out of here.

So, maybe it is because of the recent merger that we have this CP treat.

I’m Hungry

Anyway, next, I went to Five Guys and thus forewent any possible opportunity to photograph the train at Schriever, but I got shots of the L&D locomotive and a lumber car.

There really is no place like home.

You can never go home, though, at least not if you’re me.

Thank your lucky stars that you are not me.

That’s fine.

Sacred Lumber

So, as I said, I stopped in Schriever, confident that I would catch up with the train again.

I like loaded lumber cars, and the light is good here.

Let’s get that northside view of the depot.

Okay, let’s get one more of the LDRR 1850 with the loaded ATW 300443 before we depart.

I can’t remember where or how I ate my purchase from Five Guys.

Speaking Of Beef

What I do know is that, at 17:41, I was at Boeuf, atop my truck with little time to spare, experiencing the exhilarating intensity of the loud approaching train blaring ever-louder-to-me horns.

One year ago today, when I came back into town for the same reason that I came today, I photographed a westbound train here at Boeuf, which is the reason for the title of today’s essay.

That was intense!

Berwick Bay

Next, I went back into Morgan City, where I noticed the same string of hopper cars that I saw this morning.

I was wondering if the UP local passed here already and if it is the train that the BNSF train that I am chasing supposedly met at Schriever.

Federal Avenue in Morgan City looks nice, as usual, but it’s a weird name for a street.

Anyway, for whatever reason, probably due to the fact that I was ahead of the train that had to wait on the Berwick Bay Bridge to be ready and to the fact that there are not good shots for a while west of here, I landed here.

This is the railroad bridge at 3rd Street with Pacific Street in the foreground, as seen from north of the track.

Here is our train.

This is a new shot.  I am certain that I have never done this view before, and I think that it’s likely that I will rarely-if-ever do it again.

In the building at right were some very annoying dogs that hounded me for the entire time that I was there, and I never saw any human being with them.

Hey, there is a meet happening here!

I wasn’t able to capture the bark in any of these pictures.

Trust me when I say, however, that they were annoying.

You can catch a reflection glimpse of our train in that image.

People are annoying.  People put these dogs here.  People did this to me.  I see this as not morally different than if the human beings themselves had yelled at me from behind this glass the entire time.

I did not learn what train this eastbound BNSF Railway train was.

So, that’s that.  I left Berwick and those annoying dogs and continued westward, fairly quickly getting ahead of the train and preparing to do the Bayou Sale overpass shot, which I did with the UP New Iberia Turn one year ago today.

As I was leaving Berwick, I realized that I was witnessing not just a meet of the two trains that I photographed from the corner of 3rd Street and Pacific Street but of three trains; there was another eastbound train behind the eastbound BNSF Railway train that I saw taking the siding at Berwick.

A little bit after 1800, through trees from Highway 90, I saw some carbon black hopper cars not moving.  Carbon black hopper cars would be on the UP local, and the UP local is about the only regular train that would be short enough to fit into the siding with a regular-sized road train.

I would be interested in seeing if it is going to pick up those hopper cars parked in Morgan City, but I quickly decided that I am not doubling back to see that.

Next, I had to figure out how to double back on the Bayou Sale shot.  I figured out how, and, as I later learned, I didn’t have to have tried so hard.

Maybe there was a slow order somewhere around here, or maybe the train speed was limited due to its contents, but I spent probably more time on this overpass waiting for this train that I ever have before.

Perfect Lighting For A Neat Train

I got in position on the overpass no later than 18:31.  The headlight appeared no later than 18:47, meaning that I got there way too early.  My first shots there that really showed the train were made at 18:56.

This is BNSF Railway train M-CSXLAL, the daily interchange train between CSX and BNSF in the New Orleans Gateway and originating at CSX Gentilly Yard.  Any cars bound for BNSF-served industries anywhere east of Lafayette must first be switched out of this train in Lafayette Yard and then move eastward.

Normally, I would mention what train some train was far earlier in the narrative, usually, right upon no later than when images of it are first rendered, but this time is different due to the excitement of the rare CP locomotive leading the train.

Also, I am tempted to call these views the shots of the day, but they are tied for that with the Melodia shots.

Just before 19:00, I am getting the heck out of here, finally, and I am yawning.  That Blizzard is going to be good!

It is not as needed as the sleep is, though.

The Final Stand

At 19:12 CDT, I was at Moresi Road, with the light fading fast.  I knew that this would be my last stand for the day and that I wasn’t even guaranteed to get a shot here today.  The train would need to get here quickly, and maybe the day’s shots will have ended at Garden City at the overpass, which is not a bad way to end today.

On NPR, there was an interesting piece on anti-Asian sentiment playing.

Joey showed up.  I guess that he had heard about this “CP” locomotive on the radio, and I guess that he knows about this location!

Well, it was nice to see him.  At 19:31, we spotted a headlight.

Ten minutes later, the train shows up.

Yes, this is anticlimactic, given the great shots at the Bayou Sale siding.

However, the going-away shots here are better.

Yes, this is how it ends, and this is a good way for it to end.

That’s all. 

Joey and I talked for a little while, but I had to get going.  I began driving away just before 20:00.

This has been a heck of a day.  I accomplished everything that I wanted to accomplish today except talking to the ‘Port crew about the difficult topic, the topic about which I talked to the family friend, but the family friend really helped me.

As I was driving westward on Admiral Doyle Drive before I really got into New Iberia, thinking about the bad land-use patterns out there, I heard, for at least the second time today, “Sweet Child O Mine” by Guns N Roses on the radio.  I heard it (the second time) on Admiral Doyle Drive on my way into New Iberia, which is appropriate given that was in the old ‘hood today.

So ends an incredible day.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Buddy Simons May 19, 2024 at 18:12

Cool Photos Jim…. Brings me back. Been there, worked there, done that! Missing my old friend – you know who!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: