Iberia to Morgan City and beyond, it is made up of very
old towns, farms, mills and constant action. The cane harvest
is at full throttle. There are still majestic carts towed by tractors
waddling down the roads. The trend is toward semi trucks,
but still those close enough to the mills have stuck to the old ways.
Then there are none of the negatives associated with the area.
The heat and humidity has been replaced with the cool and
crisp winds of Autumn. There are no "love bugs". There are few
mosquitoes lurking in the hidden places. And, people seem to
be in a descent mood enjoying the approaching holidays and
just getting it done.
I come down here often. Am I obsessive? Not really,
It's close by. A round trip will only net 180 miles or so.
I want you to fully understand what I'm talking about
when I go off on one of my euphoric rants. The first bit of
knowledge you need is a map. This is Jeanerette. It sits on the
line between Iberia and St.Mary Parishes, LA. My first set of
pictures, this page, was taken from a ditch on Albania Rd.,
east of town, marked by the red arrow. The curve is marked
by the purple arrow. Green is unharvested sugarcane, tan
reflects harvested fields. This picture was, of course,
That out of the way, my next excessive worry is the requirement
that you know everything about an outing. Pictures may
say a million + 2 words, but they may not say the right ones
and they may not say anything at all. So, here goes another
I was late getting out and missed the eastbound Sunset Special.
No problem, I've seen, and you've seen, an eastbound Sunset.
But, you haven't seen one in Sugarcane Alley in the Fall. That
does tear at my obsessive fabric. I meant "worrisome fabric".
When you use the word "obsessive", many relate that to a mental
dysfunction. Heavens forbid that anyone gets labeled with that.
Much less, me!
I'd have to settle for a westbound later. Resignation is my friend.
It doesn't hurt, just let it happen.
Then, I got a perfectly audible radio message wrong.
The westbound freight at Baldwin was already on the move
when I was on the move east and we passed each other, unknowingly
behind Jeanerette. I sat in that ditch for a long time, waiting. Thankfully,
no road traffic passed. Often when these great local folks see
a person standing in a ditch, they stop and ask if everything is OK.
That requires a similar explanation to the ones given above.
Often they leave in mid paragraph. By the way, if ever
approached by members of law enforcement concerning what
you are doing, proceed in giving so much information that their
head swells. Adding a repetitive phrase after each sentence, like,
"Are you related to...", make up a name with the same last name
on his badge, can't hurt. Always say you are from a town that
he or she recognizes. "New York City" is not a good idea nor
is "Atlanta" or "Dallas" or any other team city that Saints fans
despise. Keep it simple, use Kaplan, but if you do, you better
sound like you are from Kaplan. The Maytag repairman
right off the bat, knew I was not from Breaux Bridge though I've
lived here for over a quarter century and working well into another one.
Oh, if you give them an erroneous home address, and they
ask for your driver's license, just tell them you lost it.
You don't want to be caught lying. Whew, then it gets thick.
I'll have to look at the next shot to see where I was. Worrying can
lead to a bit of confusion if you worry about too many things at once.
I guess the above brought me to this ditch. I'm satisfied
with that explanation.
From the Albania (name explained later) ditch, I zoomed
toward the curve in Jeanerette. By the way, Jeanerette
was served by the Missouri Pacific and Southern Pacific.
The MP rails had passed just north, or closer to Old US 90
than these rails formerly owned by the SP, now BNSF.
Mile Post 113 (from New Orleans, west bank)
The folks were scurrying across the tracks.
The BNSF (formerly Santa Fe) led train was coming around
the bend. Her bright red nose glistening in the sunlight.
The train was coming fast.
With these cookie cutter diesel engines, dress makes the machine.
Santa Fe, undoubtedly, had one of the prettiest color schemes.
Their engines were used commonly among model train manufacturers.
I lusted after one of their diesels. All I had was a switcher steamer.
So, wanting a better life for my son, I bought one.
Blurry, but I do not worry about photographic quality.
Here came the real deal, my hobby further upgraded.
She was blowing smoke and accelerating.
Oops she got by me w/o a cab shot. I'd get one later.
I zoomed out as to not miss anything, possibly another
The rails were empty.
The crossing was open.
The horizons were full of smoke from burning sugarcane fields.
The mill at Sorrel was hard at work.
The rails were empty. (did I already say that?)
The bike said to chase that sucker, so I did, but knew I'd
never catch it, but that's another worrisome worry, I guess.
Oh, I did catch it and that's on the page to come plus even
better shots of the Santa Fe.
Then I ran off to Baldwin to catch the westbound. It was
coming in as I was and I blew it.
The camera would not reload and I missed a second approach
shot. Through the miracle of modern photography, I'll create one.
Click it, like the rest, and it will get real big.
The train is just about to pass where the old Baldwin depot was located.
I know, worthless.
It was not going "20".
It is an impressive machine.
..... not so impressive I can't scrunch it up in one little picture.
Next, I found out, by the radio, that my old buddy, the Santa Fe,
was waiting for the Sunset to get by at the Baldwin sidetrack.
This is waiting at the Cleco Power Plant crossing. The camera
was at about half throttle. That is looking far across La.83
from my tree location.
The train (red arrow) was up the tracks a good ways.
Blue arrow is my tree.
Yellow arrow is the rail bridge over the Charenton Canal.
Then I zoomed way out creating these water color pictures I really like.
Reality is so dull.
The bridge had said to go, but the signal at the engine was tripping
which screwed it all up. Finally, after nearly 40 minutes, including
a putt up there to see what was going, on, the dispatcher finally issued
Yes, he was moving very slowly as is this write.
I reeled it in.
I almost got the cab shot. Again my timing was punk.
Here's the layout: Red arrow is my tree and yellow arrow is the bridge.
Now for a few loose ends before we head back west.
This is the Old US 90 bridge over the Charenton Canal.
Albania Plantation is where Albania Road is and where my ditch is, too.
The Wiki page is HERE. No not about my ditch, the plantation.
These are some of the "out buildings" that served "the big house".
Filmed at the plantation was:
|In the Electric Mist (2009) |
A detective in post Katrina New Orleans area has a series of surreal encounters with a troop of friendly Confederate soldiers while investigating serial killings of local prostitutes, a 1965 lynching and corrupt local businessmen. Dir: Bertrand Tavernier With: Tommy Lee Jones, John Goodman, Peter Sarsgaard Crime | Drama | Mystery | Thriller '
evening dance at the Louisiana and Delta yard adjacent to the
main line in the northwest of town.
A carbon black train was aimed for Baldwin and the
Port of St.Mary plants.
Yep, good ol' 15o2. I take that back, she was probably
headed to the plants at Bayou Sale as that is her realm.
Now this was cute. An engine had gotten stuck in a train.
I wonder if they are still looking for it?
Again, there are a lot of carbon black hoppers in play.
1708 waited. I though he'd come in from the north. No.
The carbon black train pulled forward and stopped.
Out of the blue here came 1707 rolling backwards from the
plants at the Iberia Industrial Park. Yep, the cars are being
pushed with the brakeman on the lead car. Honest. That
is the way they do it. It's not often you see this. Come around
4:30 and sit at the Camp Pratt historic marker north of
New Iberia and Spanish Lake on La.182 to catch the show.
It is a very pleasant shaded place. I'll probably be there
and willing to sign copies of my new book and dvd.
That's it, a bunch of trains and a little history. Good night.