Posts Tagged With: national geographic


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We decided to find the Mardi Gras Parade route in Lake Charles, and see what ever the town had to offer. First stop?  The Visitors Center. Tables filled with entries in the local contest for float designs. School kids, various clubs, and adults as well get involved.

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They are limited in size, not much bigger than the typical shoe box. Anyone can vote on their favorite and prizes are awarded in each division. Clever and in sync with the city’s biggest event of the year.

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Very helpful people waited on us and explained the area, the Mardi Gras Balls, Parades and so on. This handsome alligator is a fixture there. It all started with the Chicago Cows. In Murphys our artists decorate frogs. We see it all over the country when we travel. Lake Charles it is alligators. How neat is that?

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As we were headed downtown, we spotted a historical cemetery and decided to have a look. Boggy ground forces burial above ground in cement crypts. DSC02188 (Copy)

Three beautiful sculptures attracted my attention. The recent rain made what appeared to be tears running down the child’s face. DSC02183 (Copy)

From an Indian village to  a Civil War Military Post and then a cemetery.  The spot is historic  and remembered.

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We went to the local historical museum for Calcasieu Parish. (Pronounced cal-ca-shu.)  We often see museums in old houses where each room is furnished according to the times. Here, instead,  mock-ups, like dioramas, of rooms. You could see everything in it.  I liked that approach better than rooms where you can’t get a picture of everything in it.

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There is always something different in a museum that represents the area and I wasn’t disappointed.

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These are old Mardi Gras masks.

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Crossed pistols are used as part of the rail decoration on a bridge we crossed. They are small and when crossing the bridge I wasn’t sure I was seeing right. The museum had the answer. The bridge IS decorated with crossed pistols, the significance of which I did not ask of the docent. I did a poor job of covering the museum because they had a special exhibit of seven Matisse’s , an equal number of Joan Mirro’s and three pieces of decorated pottery from Picasso. I got very excited about the ceramics because I had never seen his ceramic work before.  I’m not a fan of Mirro’s work. But Matisse I like and I couldn’t get very interested in the rest of the museum with this stellar exhibit going on. (No pictures, of course.) I entered Picasso Ceramics in a web url and found a lot of it for sale. Some of it in the $60,000 range, and some in the $3,000 range. I found it interesting anyway.

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From there we went to the beautiful Old City Hall building where they were featuring an exhibit of fifty of the best photos from National Geographic.  A riveting exhibit  showed the pictures with the story of how the photographer got a particular shot. Underwater Titanic, a lion fight, a Kabul group of women in traditional chadri, with a small child, endearingly clear faced and happy, innocent of her black covered future. A white wolf jumping icebergs, a charging elephnt, a polar bear swimming underwater, nappiing children covered with dust from Sub-Saharan Mali. A lonesome cowboy, branding and castrating cattle,a bustling city scape in New York. No pictures of course. I’m determined to find out if National Geographic has published them in one feature of their magazine and buy that copy.

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We couldn’t take pictures of the exhibit, but we got good advice about where to have lunch from Latin DeClouet…

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…and Harold Raney.  We got to talking about French heritage, and like us, both Latin and Harold are predominantly French.

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My salad, and Jim’s French onion soup were delicious.

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The service was great, the menu terrific, about sixty different choices of tea and a bit of gossip. DSC02252 (Copy)

The Noblesse Oblige is located across a side street from the City Hall.

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Lake Charles has train tracks running down the middle of one of their major streets. We drove to the Arts and Humanity Center to see the Mardi Gras Museum.

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Earlier “fancy” costumes were relatively simple. That is, if you can consider the above costumes of retired Queens simple.

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Now a queen is more likely to dress in elaborate costume.

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Feathers and sequins are de riguer.

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This costume is heavily laden with rhinestones to make the Statue of liberty and New York skyline. Heavily laden, heavy to wear.DSC02270 (Copy)

But, how heavy can you go? Check this costume out below.

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Here is a picture of its maker and wearer. The head-dress is half again as tall as he is. DSC02271 (Copy)

In the right hand corner you can zoom in and see how huge this man’s costume is. The museum is so stuffed full, in some areas you cannot get back far enough to shoot a full picture. Each retired King and Queen  has a picture of  themselves in costume.

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In this costume, the king’s head sits between the opened jaws of lions. All of them are amazing and the price to get in is $2. It is the largest Mardi Gras Costume museum in the world.

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There is another part of Mardi Gras costuming called during the Chase The Chicken, which is the real basis for Mardi Gras. Those costumes look like this. We will be chasing the chicken on Fat Tuesday.DSC02288 (Copy)

Elaborate costuming  is one thing. Size is another. Capes or trains from the museum hang from ceiling to floor. This old building has high ceilings. During Mardi Gras 2010, we learned that people spend thousands of dollars for their costumes. They begin working on the next year’s the day after Mardi Gras is over.


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Always dramatic, cost is no object.

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I hope you can get some perspective of this place. Difficult to photograph because most of the costumes are tightly packed together and over lappiing each other. You must go for yourself.

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Lake Charles, Louisiana – Day 2

The motorhome is parked at the 1,086 acre Sam Houston Jones State Park about 12 miles north of the city. We are here to enjoy Mardi Gras and will depart on February 13th.

Yesterday we began exploring the local area.

You can read about Lake Charles by clicking this Wikipedia link…,_Louisiana

You can read all about the history of Mardi Gras in Southwest Louisiana by clicking this link…

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…

First stop was at the Lake Charles Visitors Center…







In Louisiana, Counties are called Parishes. We are currently in Calcasieu Parish. So for our second stop we went to the Imperial Calcasieu Museum…


Next stop was at the 1911 Historical City Hall…


where an exhibit of the 50 Greatest Photographs of National Geographic was on display. There were NO PHOTOGRAPHY ALLOWED signs posted everywhere. Sorry I cannot show you any photos, but you can read about the exhibit by clicking this link…

Latin DeClouet works in that building. I thought he has an interesting face…


At our lunch stop I had a bowl of genuine delicious French Onion Soup. Mary had a Fala Shrimp Salad…


We did not partake in these desserts, but thought they would make a nice photo…


Final stop of the day was at the Central School Arts and Heritage Center where there are some nice paintings…



Also at that location is the World’s largest collection of Mardi Gras costumes. Being located in an older school building made photography somewhat difficult…





You can read about this museum by clicking this link…

All in all, a most enjoyable day!

Enjoying beautiful historic areas 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…


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


If you have not checked out my Ramblin Man’s Photos Blog, you can do so by clicking this link…

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2013
For more information about my three books, click this link:

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Thousand Trails Medina Lake RV Resort, Lakehills, Texas – Day 2

Mary remains at home in California tending to medical issues. She had successful carotid artery surgery on Wednesday, November 14th,  returned home Thursday and is in the process of recuperation.

The motorhome is parked at Thousand Trails. the largest RV resort company with 80 locations nationwide, of which Mary and I are members. I’ll begin my “Winter hibernation” by hiding out from colder weather with a three-week stay, departing not later than December 10th. After my stay here, I’ll head even further south until I reach the Rio Grande River and the border of Mexico to hide out from the colder Winter weather.

Yesterday I took a walk along a bit of the shoreline of Medina Lake…to see the lake. There was no lake…at least from what I could see. The first photo below is a Google Earth image of Medina Lake. It is not a real-time image. Looking in the lower left corner you can see it was taken March 31, 2008…

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…

The pin marks the location of the motorhome. The curved yellow line is where I walked along the shore. From where I walked, I could see no water. I suspect there is still some water in the lake further south beyond my vision range. Here’s a current view of the boat launch ramp…

As you can see, there’s been no water here for a while as the Southwest has been in drought conditions for some time now. Here’s a photo from a National Geographic article about the drought…

To read the National Geographic article, click this link…

Here’s a recent article from the San Antonio newspaper about Medina Lake and the drought…

It is not a pretty story or situation.

Here’s another photo of my camping spot…

Weather forecast for today is partly sunny and 78 degrees…pretty nice!

I haven’t been in San Antonio since 1979, so I may take a day-trip or two there while I’m here. Other than that I’ll just be hanging around reading and doing area photography. I’ll be supplementing my daily Blog with RV related topics that I’ve accumulated over the past year.

Enjoying beautiful scenery is another joy in the life of the full-time RVing lifestyle!

If you have not checked out my Ramblin Man’s Photos Blog, you can do so by clicking this link…

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2012
For more information about my three books, click this link:

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