A very late morning departure landed me in downtown Lafayette. I rode in circles, never latching onto an idea that would take me anywhere. Then, I remembered when Mark, Al and I had gone to DeQuincy, I had accidentally guided us down behind the big rice dryers at Elton. I had pledged to return because I have always found them awing. I'll venture a reason. We live in an extremely flat area. To add to that, the "fields" out on the Prairie are rice patties and rice is not a very tall plant. This gives us a lot of sky. Anything that invades that sky is awing.
As a further enticement, a very busy railroad runs into Elton and eventually into DeQuincy. This line is the one I visit so often in Opelousas, Port Barre and Krotz Springs. It traverses the piny woods of Western Louisiana, the Cajun Prairie, the Bayoulands of the Atchafalaya Basin, crosses a historic bridge at Krotze Springs and then rides through Sugarcane Alley where it visits the famous Livonia Yard, a majestic place, and then into Port Allen where it crosses the branch which mirrors the Mississippi on up to New Roads and then the Red River into Alexandria. Now aren't you excited?
In my next moment of consciousness I was wandering Rayne, the Frog Capital of the Universe. I have a frog. I should bring him one day.
The little towns tore down so much of their history, in particular railroading history. Now they pay artist to paint murals commemorating what they once had in living color.
All these pictures are "thumbs". Click them to enlarge and then hit "<---" to return. The buiding behind the Rayne Depot may be the one below this one.
It had to have been a hotel.
That of course means the depot was to the right where
their "Depot Park" is now located off La.13.
A neighborhood store was near.
I'd ride downtown from west to east for a change. The
big dryers can be seen in the distance. The rails are to the
No visit to the Plains can be without paying Mowata a visit.
These large buildings all seem to have a little building
near which is likewise interesting.
The other side.
A wider view.
Next, just east of Basile, this ominous structure looms.
Yep, next to the tracks.
From the front. Caution. It is next to a "Correction Facility".
The "Correction Facilitators" (gumshoes) were eyeing me.
I considered lightening these up.
The aura would have been lost.
I was just east of Elton, the target of this ride. This little
home is the accompanying building here.
The dryer was on the south side of the rails. I was headed
west into town.
Another set was ahead.
There was a cold wind. The sky darkened. An eclipse?
I know this was the location of a lumber mill at one time.
There is a spur crossing the road.
This is the spur to where all the trees are lying. I was
shooting back to the east at the dryers.
This is a fair sized operation.
Continuing west. That is one tall water tower. It had
"....... Dryer" written on it. Why would a dryer need water?
A matching washer?
This building was noticeably newer.
There's the little building that I know was a school house.
I went to the end of that building above and shot back.
Notice the antenna attached to the tall tower.
They just get better, don't they!!!
I jumped the tracks for a better angle. The sun was now
at my back.
I struggle to read what that sign said.
This warehouse, like many of the other buildings, once had
The sign still bothered me.
Across the street was a building with the same name, but
more readable, " Elton Storage", case solved.
This is Elton, the Indians win here.
Look closely at what is on that porch/landing. Notice the
rails, also. Put them together and you have found where
all trainmen fear to be, "Where the rails go to _ _ _ _"
Looking, once again, back the other way. Same rails.
Crossing the tracks, across US 190 is what I know was a
honkytonk. Look at the dance area behind the bar room.
There might have been more back there than dancehall.
Honkytonks could be cock fight arenas, too. Add to that
other forms of "gaming" and you'd need a big building.
Another steel building.
I always have a Cody Dupre' moment when I see a Canal
Station. "Canal, Canal, Economical".
I left town and stopped to do some personal maintenace.
While I was in Elton, looking to the west, the track signal
had been a bright red. I knew something was coming.
From my maintenance area, next to the tracks, I was set
up for what came next.
Just checking the other way. "X" marks a crossing coming.
As he had passed, he yelled, "Catch me if you can". That
was a first. I had been challenged to a duel. His mistake.
I roared out after him finally stopping east of Eunice. No
train. He had stopped. From the east here came another
He was loaded for bear. There were 5 engines. The sound
I knew as soon as the westbounder had cleared, the east-
bounder would be making tracks. I ran down Grolee in
Opelousas to my favorite spot east of town at the 190
turnaround under the 190 rail crossing bridge. His eyes
were as big as pool balls when he saw me. Touchet,
This one goes in the "Trains Under Bridges" photo novel.
I have now completed 4 pages. Since the Robicheaux series
seems to be in the water, I've contracted JL Burke to do the
narative for my book.
My wife doesn't like my writes anymore. To playcate her
I have included this scene somewhere north of Leonville.
Oh, the Southern Pacific ran very close to the back of their
house. That's it, now go and find your own steel buildings,
railroads and rice dryers. These are all copywritten.