Earth Poem: Cajun Prairie Summer Sunset Tuesday, Jul 30 2019 

Prairie Sunset

When words are inadequate, superfluous, and impotent: The Creator and Author of Mother Nature has no mortal poet as peer!  This photo was shared on Facebook by my friend Dwight. 

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Happy OysterDay 2019 Friday, Jul 26 2019 

The list of birthday oyster venues grows one year longer:

2012 Fezzo’s Restaurant in Scott, La.
2013 D.C.’s in Eunice, La.
2014 New Orleans Food and Spirits, Covington, La.
2015 Acme Oyster House, Baton Rouge, La.
2016 Frog City Travel Plaza, Rayne, La.
2017 Acme Oyster House (the original Acme) in New Orleans, La.
2018 Drago’s Seafood Restaurant and Oyster Bar in Lafayette, La
2019 Soileau’s Dinner Club in Opelousas, La.

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Soileau’s Supper Club oysters were as good as any I’ve tasted in 67 years!

I can express the review on Soileau’s fried oysters for this year in one word: superb!  The farther away from New Orleans, I’ve found over the years—-especially in small towns like Opelousas—-the more possible the outcome of getting some disappointing oysters. But Soileaus’ oysters were perfect:  Crispy-crispy and light on the outside, soft and succulent inside, served piping hot straight out of the grease.  That restaurant’s quality proves how it has continued to flourish for  an incredible 80+ years, run by the same family, in spite of a location that’s not as desirable as it was a generation or two ago since the surrounding neighborhood began declining.

But the restaurant hasn’t declined.  They were on top of their culinary game on this birthday afternoon!

 

 

 

 

Point of View Saturday, Jul 20 2019 

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A memoir from writing with eighth graders in 1991 in the school year following the Summer Institute of the Acadiana Writing Project.  Some may consider this piece clever, maybe silly, or maybe brilliant: that all depends on the reader’s POINT OF VIEW!

Ode to a Fallen Red Bud Tree Monday, Jul 15 2019 

What happens when a really active outdoor person (like me) sits around, cooped up for two and a half days inside while tropical weather spoils the out-of-doors?  IMG_0423Maybe he writes.   This morning as Barry was emitting his final gasps, our diseased and dying Red Bud tree in the front yard gave up the ghost and sagged over from the two-days’ weight of wind and  rain.  I had predicted as much before the storm arrived, because the poor old tree’s been living on borrowed time for the past year.  Here’s an old-fashioned ode to the fallen tree:

“Ode to a Fallen Red Bud Tree”
(In the aftermath of Hurricane Barry)

Alas, noble Red Bud, lain low this day
By wretched Barry’s malevolent breeze.
O’er thirty years, fiery blooms’ did display
Portents of spring on wings of honey bees.

Since last year we perceived thy dread decline,
Ridden by insects and ravaged by age.
So this fate be thy mercy; may nature shine
At death’s release from thy pained mortal stage.

May red-bloomed branches, in eternal spring,
Our ‘membrance grace with tones that song birds sing.

More Tropical Drama: Barry the Dysfunctional Sunday, Jul 14 2019 

Earlier in the week, I noted our wariness over the approach of what eventually became Hurricane Barry, which crawled ashore through Vermilion Bay on yesterday, July 13.  The local weather man noted that Barry is the first hurricane to strike the Louisiana coast during the month of July in well over a hundred years.  May that fact be the first noted in the weird, dysfunctional saga that Barry has turned out to be.  I don’t recall a storm puzzling forecasters, right up until and even after landfall, as Barry, the Dysfunctional hurricane.

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Local TV covered the storm live, hour after ad nauseum hour, night and day.  The drama was addictive–After the storm event ends, I may have weather-news withdrawal issues!

The cone graphic I posted Thursday showed the forecast path to be just a little east of our location.  The forecast models were all over the coast from Texas to Mississippi.  Up until the afternoon before, they were still spread from one end of the state to the other.  We were so fortunate that at the last minute, after Barry convinced the NHC that he would arrive at least 20 or 30 minutes to the east of our location, Barry came on shore exactly 20 or 30 miles to the west and, as he trekked his way inland, passed right over our house!

So that must have been bad, right?  The leading edge of an approaching hurricane is always bad news!  But not so much so with Barry the Dysfunctional.  As he oozed inland at a snail’s pace, the leading edge of the storm sort of fizzled out.  We spent most of the day on the patio, watching TV and enjoying the cool breeze as the front half of the storm made its way through.  We felt silly that we had stacked and stored the patio furniture in preparation for a major blow.

But Barry was not through.  The second half, the wrap-around backside of the storm that’s hardly ever as tempestuous as the more violent leading edge, began roaring through after dark.  We awoke this morning to our rain-soaked patio, unfit for leisurely dwelling as 40-50 knot gale-force winds swept through the back yard.

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This morning after the storm had passed out of the area, conditions were remarkably worse!

So here we are a day after landfall, Barry’s moved up into north Louisiana, and we’re done, right?  Wrong.   Barry is stalled out up north and sucking in plumes of rich tropical rain that promise worse flooding for the rest of today and tonight than we experienced for the supposed main event.

Thank God we never lost power and we’ve experienced no damage to property of person, so  I’ll never complain about the outcome.  But may the record reflect that in my 60+ years of dealing with hurricanes, Barry was the weirdest.  May he die a painful and agonizing death somewhere way up north in the upper Mississippi Valley!

A Little Tropical Drama: Barry Knocking Thursday, Jul 11 2019 

On this quiet Thursday evening, we await a visitor from the Gulf of Mexico, Tropical Storm-perhaps-to-be-Hurricane Barry by Saturday morning.  A tropical storm warning for our inland locale was issued this afternoon with the 4:00 NHC advisory.

66295203_10157144472587367_340133131778523136_nThe situation  hardly appears desperate.  The storm is not forecast to be severe, and we appear favored to live on the west side of the predicted track.  No big concern, thank God.

Nonetheless, may the record show that in this season of 2019, we watched and waited for a tropical system.  God willing, three days from now, we will affirm that Barry was no big deal.

And may the balance of hurricane season 2019, of which the August/September best-is-yet-to-come,  pass oh-so-uneventfully.

Ketcheauxpt? No, a Bridge Too Far Sunday, Jul 7 2019 

We Louisianians are proud of our French language heritage.  We make signs that translate the English long vowel O into the French phonetic equivalent rendered “eaux.”  As a result, we write spirited signs that say “Geaux, Tigers” to cheer on our beloved LSU.

IMG_0416But this ketchup label at P.J.’s Grill in Crowley goes a little extreme.  Phonetically, it makes no sense, because the vowel sound in the second syllable of ketchup is the short u sound, not the long o sound.  So if we buy ketcheauxp, it would sound phonetically like this: ketch-oap.

No, P.J.’s.  Clever idea, but the linguistics don’t work.

Sorry!

Iconic Covington: The Hometown Tourist Wednesday, Jul 3 2019 

How odd to view one’s home town through the eyes of a tourist!  I’ve felt that way since our Trace cycling adventure in 2014 when we stayed at the quaint Southern Hotel and rode from Covington to the lakefront in Mandeville.

I renewed that sensation of hometown boy-turned tourist this week.  The early July evening was unusually pleasant for sightseeing on foot and later hanging out on the Southern Hotel patio until well-past dark.

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The park was a favored family picnic and swimming spot.  We splashed for hours in the chilly, spring-fed waters of the Bogue Falaya, whetting our appetites for the grilled hamburgers that Mama served.

 

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It’s incredible to me that these inviting waters are no longer open to public swimming, which is forbidden now in the park.  In my childhood, not swimming was unimaginable! 

Southern Courtyard

The Southern Hotel, snazzier than ever since its renovation, features a comfortable courtyard that’s perfect for hanging out-of-doors on balmy summer eves.