The motorhome is parked at the 1,086 acre Sam Houston Jones State Park about 12 miles north of the city. We are here been here enjoying Mardi Gras which ended yesterday.. We plan to depart here tomorrow.

You can read about Lake Charles by clicking this Wikipedia link…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Charles,_Louisiana

You can read all about the history of Mardi Gras in Southwest Louisiana by clicking this link…
http://www.swlamardigras.com/about/history.cfm

Yesterday we rode on the Krewe de Cajun float in the final Mardi Gras Parade. You’ll get to see those photos tomorrow.

Today’s photos are from Monday. Heading out at 4:00 PM, the first stop was to respond to an invitation from Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach to visit him at his office. He has been Mayor since 2000. He is a very pleasant and knowledgeable man and we enjoyed a 45 minute visit with him.

As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view…

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He has a beautiful abstract painting of Lake Charles in his office…

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Everyone we talked to spoke very highly of him….

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Both the Mayor and ourselves had to move on to attend the Royal Gala at the nearby Civic Center. The Royal Gala is the Cinderella moment of the season which features the 2013 courts of more than 50 Krewes with kings, queens, royal dukes and duchesses, captains, courtesans and jesters, It’s where they get to strut their stuff in their fabulous finery. Depending on the size of the Krewe…the strutting runs anywhere from one to five minutes.

This is where the Royal Gala took place. We sat on the left side about 1/2 way up with our new friends from the Krewe de Cajun…which had it been a football field would have been the 50 yard line…

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Before the program began, a member of the 12th Night Revelers posed with a child…

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Before I show you the photos, you need to know the conditions were most difficult. All photos were taken hand-held. A purist would have used a tripod. In addition to being far away, the subjects were, because of the moving spotlights, in the light one second and in the dark the next second…and they were constantly moving. Here;s a short video which will help you understand the circumstances of the event. Just click the link…
http://youtu.be/yiCH42t37o4

Now that you understand the photo difficulties involved…here are some of the photos that I took…

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As the revelers left the runway, they stopped and bowed to the assembled royalty…

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The colorful program ran an enjoyable 2+ hours.

Tomorrow you get to see the photos from the final day of Mardi Gras where we got to ride on the float of the Krewe de Cajun.

Enjoying Louisiana Mardi Gras is another joy in the life of a full-time RVer!

The red dot on the below map shows our approximate location in the State of Louisiana. You may double left-click the map to make it larger…

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Enjoying 65-75 degree temperatures most of the year is a primary joy in the RVing lifestyle!

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving”…Albert Einstein

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If you have not checked out my Ramblin Man’s Photos Blog, you can do so by clicking this link…
http://ramblinmanphotos.wordpress.com/

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2013
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/panamaorbust

OLD TUSCON BARRIO

February 20, 2012

Tuscon’s early residents were Mexican. The Barrio was where they lived, near a wonderful spot with natural springs. Travelers could water their horses,  and like Old Mexico, women brought their clay jugs to the well for household water. The Elysian Gardens formed around the spring became the Barrio center, where people met their neighbors and established social contacts.  We started at the edge of the Barrio where some crumbling old adobes await restoration in the Barrio.

It is easy to see how the adobes were built, with their over the door stiles, the hand-made bricks covered over with  adobe mud. The adobe,  in a hot climate,  is a practical,  cool building even now.

Some buildings retain the flavor of those times. Especially old businesses like this theatre. Remnants of painted signs on the side of buildings provides a glimpse of the past.

What’s left of the Barrio is mostly restored and beautiful.  The bright colors remind me of the Painted Ladies of San Francisco and  Methodist homes of Marthas Vineyard.

The area supports a predominantly Mexican community, still.

Restored and beautiful, they  retain their distinct shape and purpose.

As you walk the neighborhood, you are as likely to see a section of great charm, as you are a make-shift fence.

Adobes are flat roofed and the water drains through pipes, wood  or clay troughs.

If you must use a pipe to drain your roof, why not make it a thing of artistic beauty?

Like this decorative feature for the window bars.

A brightly painted doorway and steps.

Gates can make a statement.

I think this one says KEEP OUT!  The entire gate is knives.

I preferred this happy little bird.

Many of the adobes still had courtyards. In some of the smallest places, a cool, and inviting retreat could be seen.

Painted murals and colorful decoration are common to Mexican culture.

This resident may not be rich, but he certainly retains his sense of humor. A collection of 13 doorknobs. We thoroughly walked, photographed and enjoyed the neighborhood and returned to what was once the center of the Barrio, what is left of the Elysian Gardens and the Little Eye Springs.

Taken from the history of the Barrio is the designation Barrio Libre:

“This designation was given by the Mexican residents to that quarter of the city lying among Meyer and adjacent streets, southward of the business portion of the city occupied by the Americans. It means Free Zone, and in earlier times was allowed to remain without legal restraints or the presence of a policeman. Here, the Mescalian could imbibe his fill, and either male or female could, in peaceful intoxication, sleep on the sidewalk or in the middle of the streets, with all their ancient rights respected. Fandangoes, monte, chicken fights, broils, and all the amusements of the lower class of Mexicans were, in this quarter, indulged in without restraint; and to this day much of the old-time regime prevails, although the encroachments of the American element indicate the ultimate doom of the customs in the Barrio Libre. It must be understood that these remarks apply only to the lower class of Mexicans and not to the cultured Mexican residents of the city, who, for intelligence and enterprise, are foremost among our people.”

This shrine near the gardens is called El Tiradito, the wishing shrine and is an historical monument.  It is the only shrine dedicated to the sinner buried in unconsecrated ground and is fondly referred to as The Castaway.

We then repaired to the nearby El Minuto Cafe and had fabulous Mexican food.

 

Maybe it was the weather. Sunny and fair, walking around Fort Bragg on Friday, what a happy circumstance.  Then a most perfect house caught my eye. There was just something…perfect about it.  Perhaps the manicured bushes and lawn.Or the perfect stained glass windows. I snapped a picture and the sign revealed it as The Guest House Museum.


 I couldn’t put my finger on it, but inside it was as comfortable as an old shoe. The 1892 Victorian was built for C.R.Johnson of the Union Lumber Company. A well crafted beauty built of 67,000 board feet of old growth redwood and Douglas fir. One room is devoted to a history of the family and the lumbering business. From old timers like these:To a modern Paul Bunyan.

Kind-to-the-feet hardwood floors, carved moldings, high ceilings, some antique furnishings and rugs. No matter your rank and wealth, nothing  wasted. Rag rugs made from saved fabric pieces; old clothes torn in lengths. Rugs on the floor hand braided or made on a solid redwood, 100 year-old loom.  Rag rugs are made the same way today on a factory scale.

This house was comfortable, I think, because of great windows,  rooms flooded with light and rich, warm wood. Well worth a visit if you go, for a small donation. Staffed by volunteers.

Most of the morning we spent at Noyo Harbor, a fetching place to take pictures on a gorgeous day.

A gull kind of posed for me.

Most of the fishing boats were out for the day leaving us an uncrowded view of those left.

Boat owners like clever, catchy names.


It is a working dock with more pleasure boating and fishing excursions than in former days.

A row of unused big ship tie-downs bring to mind the port did a big  freight business in the past.

A derelict; somebody’s dream just waiting.

We walked to the jetty and the inlet where part of the movie, The Russians Are Coming was filmed. Jim likes to follow movie locations and then re-watch the movie. I’m not much of a  fan.

I  came to this area in the late 1950’s as a competitive skin diver. I remember swimming through a forest of this  type of kelp. It  grows on long “tree trunks”  rooted 25 to 30 feet down to the bottom and blooming at the top.  Big, thick,  red colored abalone were plentiful in these waters;  a wolf eel  in every hole in the rocks.  Abalone shells that come up now are practically flat.  The red abs have been over fished and signs at the beach give warning about their endangered status.

Piles of kelp lay rotting on the sand. Happily, scientists are finding use for it as a biofuel. Chances are they’ll decimate the kelp and then find out what purpose it really served as a form of beach garbage.

We poked around town; nice shops and services; restaurants; an independent book store. I happened on this beautiful sculpture  in a charming square. Whale watching during migration is a popular activity out of Noyo Harbor.

The old water tender stands among the weeds, but the popular Skunk Train makes use of practically abandoned train tracks. A huge nearby mural engaged my interest because the people in it were obviously painted from real people.

You can click on these photos to enlarge them. Before the day ended, we walked out on the famous Glass Beach. I say famous because I think every 5th grade science class from California schools visits Glass beach. Someday, I expect all the glass will be gone. The glass is from years of throwing garbage in the ocean. The glass bottles would wash up and break against the rocks and become beautifully smoothed and polished by the waves and rocks.

The river meets the ocean at this spot;  glass chips small, but plentiful glimmered in the sun. A fun day. I took 70 photos if you’d like to see more of them:

https://picasaweb.google.com/106530979158681190260/2011107FortBragg

One of my favorite places to visit this year was the Marigny District of New Orleans. Its a colorful, heavily gay/lesbian community with great art, friendly people and wonderful food. We spent part of Mardi Gras there, touted as the best part of Mardi Gras by some locals we talked to. Here are some interesting pictures of the area. Where else would you see a bunny eared woman riding her bike around town?
 


If you have old shovels and pitch forks, they make great wall sized outdoor art.

This guy was in a hurry and wouldn’t turn around for me.  His back was to the sun.

Graffiti here is like a sport. The windows of this building are painted over, but its open for business. We never did figure out WHAT business but we are guessing children were not allowed.

Quite a few restaurants have musicians. This guy was quite entertaining and funny, too.

Even the birds seemed unthreatened and friendly.

Phone booths are fair game now that they are unused.

The local bulletin board had literally thousands of staples stuck in the wood.

The owner of this shop occasionally sits out front and chats with passersby. I loved the chair, of course.

A dog lovers door.

An inviting door knocker turned art. I’d love to return to The Marigny.

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