Sunday, March 29, 2015

history of catahoula, part four

FAMOUSLY PICTURESQUE, Catahoula Lake has long felt exotic. What is this snaking waterway agelessly gathering moss on the rim of a swampy wonderland, always out of time, ticking a few beats behind the forward march of civilization?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

atchafalaya wilderness center

PLANS FOR a wilderness center in Catahoula, a cross between a Cajun theme park and a wetland preserve, were drawn up in 1976.

the end

PUTTING THE FINISHING touches on Picture Catahoula, a hardcover collection of vintage photographs of Catahoula, three years in the making.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

feast day

     IT WAS A SPECIFIC DAY in a specific June. A specific statue of Mary was paraded through a specific little village, conveyed on a specific platform, under the direction of a specific priest, by four specific boys, from a specific little church, down a specific winding street, to a very specific cemetery on the shore of a specific lake, where one specific girl in a specific sky blue dress ascended a specific altar created for the occasion and placed a specific crown of flowers on the head of the specific Virgin. It was Charlotte.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

i love electric light

I WAS FILLING UP downtown three Februarys ago when he stepped out from under the streetlight. “Hey man,” he said. “Can you help me out with something to eat?” Good sense should have dictated doing the opposite of what I did, but it was cold and he seemed sincere, so I pulled out my wallet and opened it. I would have sworn it was full of singles, but there was only one twenty inside, and all four of our eyes were on it. Two people have never been so sure of the exact contents of a wallet. There was no point in pretending otherwise. I handed him the twenty. What else could I do? “No, man, no,” he said, pointing to the cashier. “I can go and make some change for you.” “Here, I said, I want you to have it.” He doubled over in disbelief and let out a sharp howl. “Thank you,” he said, sobbing. “Thank you.”
     I’m not telling you this story to let you know that I’m the kind of person who gives twenties to homeless people. Like I said, I don’t recommend it, especially at 5:30 in the morning in the middle of downtown Houston. It’s completely inappropriate. Indeed, the situation at the gas station escalated pretty quickly. We were standing at the pump, and the guy was asking me about Electric Light Orchestra — I was wearing an ELO t-shirt — and we were singing the chorus to Don’t Bring Me Down when this other guy steps out from under the streetlight, offers me a small glass pipe and says, “I think there’s something still in here if you want to hit it.” When a third guy steps out from under the streetlight I high-tail it out of there.