“We die containing a richness of lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we have plunged into and swum up as if rivers of wisdom, characters we have climbed into as if trees, fears we have hidden in as if caves.

I wish for all this to be marked on my body when I am dead. I believe in such cartography – to be marked by nature, not just to label ourselves on a map like the names of rich men and women on buildings. We are communal histories, communal books. We are not owned or monogamous in our taste or experience.”
― Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

Lafayette Cemetery #1, New Orleans, Louisiana


“The truth about the world, he said, is that anything is possible. Had you not seen it all from birth and thereby bled it of its strangeness it would appear to you for what it is, a hat trick in a medicine show, a fevered dream, a trance bepopulate with chimeras having neither analogue nor precedent, an itinerant carnival, a migratory tentshow whose ultimate destination after many a pitch in many a mudded field is unspeakable and calamitous beyond reckoning.

The universe is no narrow thing and the order within it is not constrained by any latitude in its conception to repeat what exists in one part in any other part. Even in this world more things exist without our knowledge than with it and the order in creation which you see is that which you have put there, like a string in a maze, so that you shall not lose your way. For existence has its own order and that no man’s mind can compass, that mind itself being but a fact among others.”
― Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West

Lizard of Death

I am the lizard king. I can do anything.
—- Jim Morrison

Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, New Orleans

Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, New Orleans

“At noon in the desert a panting lizard
waited for history, its elbows tense,
watching the curve of a particular road
as if something might happen.”
—-William Stafford


On our visit to Lafayette we could not help but notice the beauty of all the azaleas blooming across south Louisiana. No matter how humble your little cottage might be, you can have all the color you want exploding outside.

Azalea in Lafayette, Louisiana

I stepped out of a little restaurant and walked around back to take this picture. As I was raising the camera a couple of guys tumbled out of the business next door. They looked a little mixed between confused and upset and one said, “Is there anything I can do to help you?” – and not in a tone of voice that implied he really wanted to help me with anything.

“Nope, I’m just taking pictures of the flowers.”

“He’s just taking pictures of the flowers,” the guy said to his buddy, in a disgusted tone, and they went back inside without another glance at me.

Azaleas don’t do very well in Dallas, where I live. The soil is not acidic enough – right under the surface is a thick layer of limestone (caliche) that keeps the soil basic. A lot of people do plant them and fight the acidity. Some pour swimming pool acid (hydrochloric) into a trench before planting – the best thing is to dig a big hole and fill it with peat moss. Still, no matter what you do, eventually the caliche will infiltrate the soil and your flowering bushes are toast.

East Texas has beautiful azeleas. I remember, years ago, doing a bicycle ride along the Azalea Trail in Tyler. It was gorgeous. Maybe a road trip this spring would be an idea.

Dallas is right on the edge between two areas of vegetation. To the east, it’s all piney woods, dogwood, and azaleas. To the west – mequite and prickly pear.

None of it is like what I saw in South Louisiana, though. The things seemed to grow like weeds.

Old Barn (again)

Old Barn (click to enlarge)

Another picture of another old barn. This one is from pretty much the same spot as the one  I posted the other day, taken only a few seconds later in another direction. It was processed with the same software, but going for a different effect.

Old Barn

Old Barn (click to enlarge)

Messing around with a RAW image using HDR and the Luminance HDR (formerly Qtpfsgui) program. I know everybody is sick of these overprocessed, oversaturated, unrealistic digital photographs, but let me have a little fun.

It looks like this is an old, rustic, overgrown barn out in the middle of the swampy bayou, but it’s actually on the campus of the University of Louisiana Lafayette, in the middle of Lafayette, Louisiana.

Shoes on a Wire

Photograph taken on the University of Louisiana Lafayette campus near the Intramural Athletic Fields, Lafayette, Louisiana.

This is a relatively untouched photograph. After I put up this entry I brought it into Illustrator and traced it. Now I’m trying to think of an interesting background to put behind the shoes. Any ideas?

No French Fries

Judice Inn, Lafayette, Louisiana

Lee wanted to go eat at the Judice Inn before the Rugby game in Lafayette. A friend of his at Tulane is a member of the family that owns and runs the restaurant. It’s an unassuming place with a long history. The building was handbuilt on a road out of town by two brothers right after WWII. Now, the city has grown to surround the restaurant, and it seems popular with locals and UL Lafayette students. USA today listed it as one of the 51 great burger joints in the country.

The interesting thing is the menu. Hamburgers… with secret cajun sauce, a few other sandwiches… and nothing else. No fries. No sides. This is Louisiana, so they serve beer. Lee had a milkshake, which was spun up fresh (no humming extrusion of milkshake machine).

Everything was simple and good, like it should be.

Acadian Hamburger – Judice Inn

Burgers at the Judice Inn

The Green Wave and the Ragin’ Cajuns

Well, I’m standing on the corner of Lafayette state of Louisiana
Wondering where a city boy could go
To get a little conversation, drink a little red wine
Catch a little bit of those Cajun girls dancing to Zydeco

—-That Was Your Mother, Paul Simon

Sometimes I think I went all the way from Dallas to Lafayette just to use that bit of Paul Simon. It’s one of those songs that always sits only a hare’s breath beneath the surface of my conscious mind. But that’s not why we are here, we drove down from Dallas to watch Lee play Rugby. He’s on the Tulane Rugby team, a club team, and he’s here in Lafayette to play the University of Louisiana Lafayette Ragin’ Cajun Rugby Team.

I know very little about rugby – I watched some a handful of decades ago, but don’t remember much of anything. It didn’t take long to pick it up though. It was fun to watch the kids play. There seems to be three aspects to the game – the scrum, the weird out-of-bounds plays where players lift each other up for no apparent reason, and the running around.

I have spent so much of my life driving kids to practice or sporting events and sitting on the sideline watching the games. It felt totally natural to drive Lee from our hotel down to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette intramural fields and to stroll the sideline while he and his team played a spirited, but ultimately meaningless, game.

One thing about rugby, though. It is the only sport I know about that actually encourages unsportsmanlike behavior. The language used by both teams and the referee crew was amazingly obscene.

The people from long ago that played rugby said the best thing about the game is that both teams would party together after the game. Since this is South Louisiana, that means food, and the other team, the home team, provided bar-b-que. They had a big smoker trailer going on the other side pouring out blow smoke and delicious odors all day. The ribs were pretty damn good, but the local, artisanal sausage (three varieties – hot ‘n spicy, geen onion, and smoked) was absolutely amazing. I have to find out where to get some of this stuff.

Laissez les bons temps rouler

In the scrum - Tulane Green Wave versus the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns

The out-of-bounds throw in. I really don't understand exactly what is going on here.

The running around part of a rugby game.

That's Lee, running around on the right side of the picture.


Lee, jumping into the play

Lee, pulling the ball loose.

After the game, local food provided by the other team. It doesn't get any better than that.