The Walls Come Tumblin’ Down: A Black, Female Sheriff for St. Landry Parish? Go, Laura Balthazar! Friday, Sep 29 2006 

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Cheif Deputy Laura Balthazar Announces Her Candidacy

Will St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, elect a Black female sheriff on September 30?

I hope so!!!!

This is a momentous occasion for all of the citizens of St. Landry Parish to build a lasting bridge. Ms. Baltasar served the late former Sheriff Howard Zerangue as Chief Deputy for many years, rising through the ranks from Dispatcher to Chief Deputy. Will this rural South Louisiana Parish rise above its racist legacy to make history?

We’ll see on September 30.

Go, Laura!!!!!

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For our post-Katrina friends and neighbors in Houston, a modest proposal in the interest of perpetuating good will between our cities Wednesday, Sep 27 2006 

dome.jpgAfter my post Monday night after the Saints beat the Falcons, my sister in Brazoria County, Texas, emailed about the consternation that Houstonians are raising on the local radio talk shows about FEMA’s shelling out millions to bail out the Superdome, yet leaving Houstonians saddled with the housing (and crime) crisis that persists even now, over a year after our good Texas neighbors opened their doors and hearts to the flood of Orleanian evacuees streaming in on I-10.

Well, I can’t blame our Houstonians for feeling badly about all that. I can imagine I would feel the same way were the shoe on the other foot. So given the situation, gosh, I just don’t know what to say. Seems like things are pretty bad on either end of the deal. So what can I offer, except this modest proposal . . .

First, that frazzled Houston mayor could give a call to New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin for advice aray_nagin_portrait.jpgnd consolation—Ray will share insight to help the Houston mayor deal with the situation. Ray knows these New Orleans cats holed up over there in Houston, and Ray is cool. No doubt, dependably/politically correct Ray always has the just right word for every situation, especially situations calling for diplomacy and understanding. Ray also knows how to get re-elected under the most adverse, seemingly-impossible political circumstances. So let the Houston mayor begin by consulting Ray, a sage expert on municipal administration.

As for the evacuee housing and crime situation, Houston needs to get rid of those New Orleans problems. It’s not fair! So here’s one solution: How about a Category 5 storm to come roaring up Galveston Bay and the Houston Ship Channel? That will necessitate a mandatory evacuation of Houston.  So load up the New Orleans evacuaees on buses and trains and evacuate them off to . . . hmmmmm, where’s a good place with a strong moral climate to positively influence the criminal element?–Salt Lake City? Walla Walla? Sioux Falls? Yeah, those are good places where strong community morality can influence the inner city criminal element and possibly turn them into productive citizens.

As an additional consolation for the Texans, the Cat 5 storm will demolish all the public housing in Houston, so the mayor will have a justification for getting rid of some of his own hometown criminal element, also. Shucks, send ’em off on the same buses and trains with the New Orleans criminals!

As the coup de grace, FEMA will rebuild whatever Houston sports stadiums that might get trashed by the the storm.  Everybody along the Gulf Coast wins!
How’s that for a modest proposal?

Go, Saints: Just what Louisiana needed! Monday, Sep 25 2006 

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Ready for some football?  Just what the doctor ordered!

New Orleans Saints 23   Atlanta Falcons 3

Sorry, Falcons!  Y’all come back, now, but this Monday night was ours!

Rita Remembered A Year Ago: Landfall Saturday, Sep 23 2006 

cameron_church.jpgFriday night and Saturday were nerve-wracking as Rita came ashore.  We made it through at our house, amazingly without losing power.   (The neighbors across the alley and all across town were out of electricity for two days!  We were blessed.).

I  found this photo on the Internet the Sunday after Rita came calling.  It’s a church  down in coastal Cameron Parish.   I sent it to family and friends in email a year ago with a sad notation, “I don’t guess they’re having services today.”

God, speaking to Job out of the whirlwind:

 “Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said:
8 “Who shut up the sea behind doors
when it burst forth from the womb,
9 when I made the clouds its garment
and wrapped it in thick darkness,
10 when I fixed limits for it
and set its doors and bars in place,
11 when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
here is where your proud waves halt’?”

 

Rita Remembered a Year Ago Today: Day 2 Friday, Sep 22 2006 

150px-hurr-rita-irloop.gifA year ago today–We fretted some more–I fretted A LOT more.  The great question: To leave, or not to leave.   From all accounts, the highways north and east were clogged to a standstill, no place to stay for miles and miles and miles and miles–I mean, Houston and SE Texas had aready evacuated (unnecessarily in hindsight, it turns out for Houston/Galveston areas, but who was taking chances?  Or should have?), so I think we just sort of settled into the idea of toughing it out.  We had done that for Lili a couple of years earlier (after which I swore we would never do it again! Ha!!) and survived, four days of enduring without electricity, the tropical heat notwithstanding.  I really wasn’t crazy about that idea, but I kept reassuring myself: It’s going in around the upper Texas coast–We can deal with it this far east and this far inalnd.”  At least that’s what I kept telling myself.

In the Quicken register from that day last year, two memories: (1) a cash withdrawal of $300 (electronic card readers are useless in post-hurricane environments), and (2) a big ticket from WalMart–water, batteries, canned goods–the stuff of “roughing it,” in other words.  I spent some of that cash to top off the tanks of the vehicles–The card readers were still out of order at the Racesay , in fact, from Hurricane Katrina a month earlier!  And then, finding gas–Boy, was that a challenge!  It really was scarce.  That was another reason we decided to stay put.

Anyway, we continued the vigil–watching and waiting, no place to run, committed to stay the home course, nervous as cats.  (Or at least speaking for myself!)

Rita Remembered: A Year Ago, Day 1 Thursday, Sep 21 2006 

rita-cat-5.jpgThe image to the left is a snapshot of Hurricane Rita a year ago on September 21, 2005–a Category 5 storm at the time and a horryfing image to us in South Louisiana as we watched forecast after forecast over a period of several days move the storm’s projected path nearer and nearer to our cozy corner of the world. 

The early forecasts had addressed Rita with an upper-Texas coast zip code, but by this date it was apparent that God was arranging for a final destination farther north, up the coast.  A smaller, weaker storm would not have been so unsettling, because where we lived seemed far enough removed from the projected path.  But Rita was netiher small nor weak.

We were still reeling from the horror and the tragedy of Katrina less than a month before for our neighbors to the east.  Our church shelter, in fact, still housed well over 100 New Orleans-area evacuees on this day a year ago–Those people had no other place to go and now faced the prospect of becoming evacuees “twice removed.”

I remember feeling almost numb from tropical update to tropical update on the Weather Channel, a little incredulous that this was really happening.  I had never seen a Category 5 hurricane storm due south of my house in the entirety of 53+ years of life along the Gulf Coast.  The emotion, I call, was unearthly, even surreal.

Of all the odd places to look for recollections of Rita, I checked last night in last year’s Quicken checkbook records to see where we shopped those days.  On 9/21/05, a year ago, I entered a check to our air conditioner repairman who came to unstop the a/c drain.  I remember distinctly as he waited in the kitchen while I finished writing his check–We were watching and listening to the latest storm update on TV.  We made small talk about Rita–I can’t remember the exact words, but the conversation went something like this:

“Think we might get it?” 

“Yeah, sure enough.  A little too close for comfort if you ask me.  Sure doesn’t look good.”

And we laughed, because that’s what people do when they don’t want to show that they’re nervous . . . or even scared. 

We waited and we watched, nervous as cats.

Image acknowledgement: Thanks to Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopeda, “Hurricane Rita”–http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:HurricaneRita21Sept05a.jpg

A Poetic Sentiment on Love Bugs Tuesday, Sep 19 2006 

lovebugs1.jpgI was going to abandon the Love Bug theme today, but my sister posted a comment to the last post that I believe deserves its own place in the sun (as opposed to being buried in the comments of an entry that’s fixing to go out of date).  So here, from the pen of Bob Adams of Bogalusa, LA, whose bug-besmeared vehicle appears above, is the season’s poetic sentiment on the current subject . . .

A Lamentation on Lovebugs

If on the very first plague’s day
Lovebugs had flown Pharaoh’s way,
He would have said, “Israel, You can’t stay!
Pack your bags! Leave right away!”

“All things have their place,” you say;
But I can’t figure out a lovebug’s way.

Flying around end to end,
What kind of lesson do they send?
It is as if they don’t really care
That the whole wide world sees their rears
in the air.

“All things have their place,” you say;
But I can’t figure out a lovebug’s way.

They come in clouds and splat like rain,
On my car’s freshly cleaned window pane;
Impale themselves on its shiny grill,
And some will be there next year still.

“All things have their place,” you say;
But I can’t figure out a lovebug’s way.

And so I wait for fall’s cool air,
When I step outside and they aren’t there.
I’ll whoop and holler and shout with glee,
On the day my world is lovebug free.
Bob Adams
September, 2004 

This post also serves to indicate the editorial policy of this blogger, e.g. to occasionally publsih the works of guest artists.  Submissions on timely subjects are always welcome! 

Love Bugs? Hate Bugs? The Bugs Southerners Love to Hate Wednesday, Sep 13 2006 

love2.jpgIt’s that time of year along the Gulf Coast: the love bugs are swarming. I do my best not to travel during this season simply because the carnage splattered on the windshields, bumpers, mirrors, and radiator fins is so revolting. “Splat, splat, splat, tick, tick”–That’s the sound of the greasy little bugs getting disemboweled, crushed, decapitated, and mutilated on my windshield. Ugh! Utterly revolting, and even moreso when I have to clean up the mess.

Click here to a pretty good discussion of the subject: a balanced blend of science and humor.

The pic below shows my brother-in-law’s car in Washington Parish, Louisiana., from the last week or so since the nasty little varmints emerged for their early fall fling. PUKE! GAG! VOMIT! UGH.
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Sunlight Dances on Blue Ripples . . . 9/11 Remembered Monday, Sep 11 2006 

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Sunlight Dances On Blue Ripples

Reflections Along the Levee at Baton Rouge

In the Days After 9/11

September/November 2001

By David Pulling

Along the levee

I poise a pen

To write–

But what?

My pen is

Lifeless.

Wordless.

Voiceless.

On the River

Only

Sunlight dances on blue ripples

Stirred by a late September breeze.

 

Does this old River know

The meaning of it all?

Waters spread away

And sunlight dances on blue ripples

Stirred by a late September breeze.

Seems this old River knows

The grief of it all,

The joy of it all,

Borne on the timeless current

That glistens in the sun.

Blessed River,

Blessed sunlight,

Dancing on blue ripples

Stirred by a late September breeze.

Thank you, Lord,

For that River.

For sunlight.

For blue ripples.

For a late September breeze.

For no matter what,

Your peace.

DOGMA: A practical definition Friday, Sep 8 2006 

sadie-lynn.jpgNo, of course, the word dogma has nothing to do with puppy dogs. But that pic of Sadie the Dog when she was a baby puppy was just too cute to resist. Besides, when I was a kid and ran into the word dogma, I always wondered what it had to do with the canine species.

But lately as an adult, I was prompted to consider what that word means because a famous reader of my blogs, Professor Emeritus of Rhetoric at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette and my former grad. school advisor and still-mentor, Dr. Ann Dobie, read some of my recent postings on religious and denominational dogma. (Read Ann’s comment # 2 on my August 31 posting to this blog on the word backslide.) Ann was obviously interested in my observations, to the point that she privately asked me in email what I meant when I used dogma in the context of my blogs about religiosity and denominationalism.

Wow, what a practical exercise! We should all spend more time thinking about words we write and what those words mean! (SHe’s ever the teacher–That’s why I say she’s still my mentor.) I felt challenged, but I didn’t cheat and run to the dictionary–I thought through a definition of the term in the context I used it. Here’s the result of this exercise in practical definition, excerpted from the email that I returned in reply to her question:

Dogma . . . hmmmm, how can I define dogma better than the dictionary does? Obviously, in my recent writing, I apply it in a pejorative sense to name rigid doctrinal beliefs associated with tradition and culture rather than truth. I typically use it to clarify a distinction between naked truth and “dressed up” truth represented by special interest groups with doctrinal axes to grind (in other words, dogma begets religious denominationalism [and a host of other uglinesses stemming from historical assumptions, cultural preconceptions, and misinformed opinions!]).

Hey, that was a fun little exercise in self-definition. How did I know what I meant until you [Ann] asked me to clarify what I wrote, which required me to explain it to myself?

The end of all this is that–obviously– I don’t like dogma the thing, but I do like dogma the word!

puppy-dogs.jpgBut for as much as I like the word dogma, dogs are still the best.

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