Archive for the ‘Louisiana’ Category

A Stop in New Orleans   1 comment

Cafe du Monde Awning
On our way back to Cincinnati from Lake Charles, we decided to stop in New Orleans. Over the last couple years, my wife and I have become huge Latin food fans, exploring the cuisine of regions south of Mexico. We heard about a place called Maïs Arepas, which was well reviewed. We decided to make a stop and try it out. It was definitely worth our time.
Arepa for lunch #food #foodcatspens

However, we couldn’t stop in New Orleans without a stop at Cafe du Monde for beignets (especially for my daughter, not nearly the Latin food fan her parents are, was patient for our feast).

They were definitely enjoyed.
Caits, Post-Beignet

We spent a few minutes walking through the French Quarter prior to heading north.
Charles and Rebecca at Jackson Square
Photo credit to my daughter. As she’s getting older, she’s becoming quite the photographer. She may need her own Nikon before too long.

Posted 2014-01-05 by Mr. Guilt in Family, food, Louisiana

Birds of Lake Charles   2 comments

My mom lives right on Lake Charles. The region seems to attract a wide variety of birds, and we often go feed them. Unlike last year, we saw no pelican. However, two Muscovy ducks were hanging around.
Muscovy Ducks

My daughter and her cousin named them Marvin and Lucy, but truly, I’m not even sure of their gender. We didn’t exchange names.
Muscovy Duck

They were pretty however.
Rocky Shores

They seemed to enjoy looking out on the water like we did.
Sitting by the Docks

Until they decided it was time to fly off.
Goodbye, Muscovy Ducks

The seagulls were all too happy to eat the bread my daughter and her cousin were offering.
All the Birds! 2


Special shout out to Laurie and @twitricia for helping to identify the Muscovy ducks. I honestly had no clue.

Posted 2014-01-05 by Mr. Guilt in animals, birds, Louisiana

Feeding the Birds (but not the Pelican)   2 comments

We went to Lake Charles, Louisiana, to see my mom and sisters for the holidays. We took my daughter down to feed the birds.
Caitlin Tosses Bread

There were seagulls and American coots, a species I’d never heard of. It was quite the feeding frenzy.
Feeding Frenzy 3

Feeding Frenzy 1

The American coots are seen in the wetlands in the southern United States. They are actually fascinating critters. They mate for life, and build nests that float. Sometimes, mothers will lay eggs in another’s nest, a behavior known as brood parasite.
Americna Coot

The seagulls seemed particularly aggressive. We thought they might take some of the bread from our hands.
Seagull in Flight

My mom said there are two pelicans, the state bird of Louisiana (and fountain pen mascot), who have been hanging around Lake Charles.
Pelican in the Grass

Pelicans are hypercarnivores, meaning they exclusively eat meat. Unfortunately, because we only had bread, they were unable to partake of our food.
Pelican Reflection

After watching the frenzied gulls and coots, he decided to fly away.

Pelican in Flight 1

Posted 2013-01-02 by Mr. Guilt in animals, birds, Louisiana

Old-School Hurricane Tracking   Leave a comment

Hand Tracking Isaac (close-up)Growing up in Louisiana, hurricane season was well known. One thing that was semi-symbolic of it to me was hurricane tracking charts. In short, this was a map of the north-western Atlantic, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico that could be written on, and longitude and latitude plainly marked. Popeye’s partnered with the local TV station to hand out maps at their restaurants. Office supply stores sold ones that were magnetic. Grocery stores printed them on their paper bags.

The first summer after we returned to Louisiana after my dad left the military, I tracked a storm on one of the paper-bag maps. I was nine years old. I remember calling my dad, who’s bachelor’s degree was actually in geography, to explain longitude and latitude to me (he told me later he then had to explain it to his coworkers). A crayon was a less-than-percise marker, but it was a way to spend a summer day.

There are still reasons why this is relevant. Paper and pencil don’t require batteries, and a radio can be powered by relatively simple (and easily replaceable) ones.

I decided to track Isaac “old school,” in part to show my daughter. It didn’t really hold her attention. I found a PDF of the chart from NOAA. I started with a pencil, but switched to a red mechanical pencil to make it clear on the chart. Doing this really give a sense of how the storm moves.
Hand Tracking Isaac

I’ll probably try again with my daughter–there is much to learn from this.

Posted 2012-08-30 by Mr. Guilt in Geeky, Interesting, Louisiana

The Cajun Outback   1 comment

Do not feed the alligatorsWhile in Louisiana, we decided to check out the Louisiana Outback, the Creole Nature Trail. I thought it would be a good thing for my daughter to be fed to see wild alligators. The Creole Nature Trail goes from I-10 in Calcasieu Parish*, through Cameron Parish, and down to the Gulf of Mexico. It is home to over 300 species of birds in a wetland area. This region is also home to home to a large portion of the shrimping industry.

This area was hit hard by 2005’s Hurricane Rita. One community, Holly Beach, was wiped out entirely–no structure was standing in the photos I saw at the time. I was very interested in seeing how it was rebuilt.

I should note that, in spite of being in a state where Audubon did much of his work, I’m not as familiar with all the different sorts of birds one sees in Southwest Louisiana. More of a cat guy, I guess. If you recognize any of these critters, please let me know. I really am fascinated by most animals, so knowing that is quite welcome.

One thing that really struck me is how calm these birds were around people. Our presence didn’t seem to bother this guy as he sunned his wings.
Spreading His Wings

A bird fact I wonder about is, if when they fly close to water, if the are in ground effect.
Bird Reflection

Bird Reflection 2

Did my daughter get to see an alligator?
Alligator Crossing

We saw a total of eight, mostly just looking in the ditches and wetlands by the side of the road. We did stop at one of the observation points, and got to see one.
Alligator Crescent

He seemed to be having a lazy afternoon.
Sleepy Alligator

Long Gator

There was also a tiny crab nearby.
Tiny Crab

We continued south, to Holly Beach. Many of the houses were reconstructed. Holly Beach is on the Gulf of Mexico.
Flying Gull

On the horizon were several oil rigs–it’s amazing how close they seem.
Gulf Oil Platform

And, of course, there were seagulls.
Lots of Seagulls

It was a great trip through a unique part of the country.
Jumpinmg Waves 8

*”County” to states that don’t use the Napoleonic Code.

Posted 2012-03-27 by Mr. Guilt in animals, Louisiana, Spring Break 2012

Sailing by the Bridge   Leave a comment

Sailing by I-10
Visiting my Mom’s, we watched a sailboat go by the I-10 Bridge.
Sailboat on Lake Charles

Posted 2012-03-25 by Mr. Guilt in Louisiana, Spring Break 2012

So Are They All, All Honorable Men   Leave a comment

So I looked up the eulogy from Julius Caesar, to see how I did compared to what I kinda remembered in my last post. I did…not too bad for the bit I remembered. It was Mark Antony who gave the speech. However, it went on for quite a bit more. I had forgotten all about Brutus, and his being an honorable man. At least I knew it when it counted, and was able to get a decent grade on the assignment.

Italics are the part I got.

ANTONY. Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears!
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them,
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar.
The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious;
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answer’d it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest-
For Brutus is an honorable man;
So are they all, all honorable men-
Come I to speak in Caesar’s funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me;
But Brutus says he was ambitious,
And Brutus is an honorable man.
He hath brought many captives home to Rome,
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill.
Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept;
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious,
And Brutus is an honorable man.
You all did see that on the Lupercal
I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
Which he did thrice refuse. Was this ambition?
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious,
And sure he is an honorable man.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love him once, not without cause;
What cause withholds you then to mourn for him?
O judgement, thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,
And I must pause till it come back to me.

Photo credit to Andrew Bossi.

Posted 2012-03-16 by Mr. Guilt in Gen Xer, Louisiana

Friends, Romans, Countrymen…   4 comments

My tenth grade English teacher numbers among my favorites. He had a very unique way of looking at the world, a quick wit, and did well to hold our attention. I remember the day, when diagramming a sentence, he ran out of room on the board, so he continued on the wall. The chalk marks where there when I stopped by his room two years later.

We studied Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar that year. Every student had to memorize Ceaser’s eulogy.* His standard was strict: once one person sat down, another was to stand up. He was very clear that this is what he expected. I remember I went towards the front of the line, and got through it. After about hearing half the class recite the speech, there was no “next person” standing up. After a few beats, he shrugged, and started on to the next thing. Those who hadn’t recited the lines were, as I understand it, given an F for the assignment.

Today is the Ides of March. I was reminded of this, in part, because this teacher posted about Julius Caesar, in the form of a picture of a performance of the play, on Facebook. Several former students, myself included, posted about the eulogy. He seemed delighted to have an impact twenty years later.

From memory:

Friends, Romans, Countrymen
Lend me your ears
I have come to bury Caesar,
not to praise him.

The evil that men do lives after them
The good is oft interred with their bones.
So let it be with Caesar”

I intend to look it up later, and will report. For now, I’m trying to work my way through it on memory. Still, I find it amazing what an impact has been had on me and my peers.

*I want to say it was Marc Anthony, but not 100% sure, and not looking it up, as I want work only off my memory, for the moment.

Posted 2012-03-15 by Mr. Guilt in Gen Xer, Louisiana

Louisiana Hodge-Podge   2 comments

I wanted to share a few more photos from our trip to Louisiana.

First, a few years ago, almost as a joke, my mom started a flamingo-themed Christmas tree. It took on a life of its own, until now it is her main tree.
Flamingo Tree

Christmas Flamingo

My wife and I took a walk along the lake. I took a picture of First Federal Bank. When I got out of college but before moving to Cincinnati, I spent about three years working there (not including the summers while in college). This was my first IT job.

Of the 184 people who perished at the Pentagon on 9/11, two were from the Lake Area. A memorial has been set up on the Lakefront, including pieces of the World Trade Center, as well as a piece of granite from the Pentagon.
September 11 Memorial

The I-10 bridge across the Lake is one of my favorite bridges. One decorative feature is that, on both sides, there are life-sized crossed pistols lining the bridge. They simply don’t do that sort of detail work anymore.
I-10 Bridge

My mom said a pair of pelicans has been hanging out in the lake. I was able to catch one of them flying about.
Pelican Over the Lake

One last shot is a happy accident. I was setting up a tripod with the remote for my camera, with the intent of taking a family shot. I wanted to do a test shot, to make sure it was set up. The camera didn’t seem to respond–it turns out the indicator light was blocked by the strap.

However, I kept hitting the remote as I walked back towards the camera. Once I realized what was going on, I was able to smile, and get a not-half-bad self-portrait.
Goofy Charles

Cropped down, this has become my new avatar picture.
Goofy Charles Profile Pic

Posted 2011-01-03 by Mr. Guilt in Louisiana

French Quarter   1 comment

In addition to going to the zoo, we walked around the French Quarter. That night, my mom watched my daughter, so my wife and I got to go out. We got some incredible pecan pie at the Camellia Grill–I didn’t know they had a location there.
Pecan Pie

We also walked through Jackson Square. In addition to the fortune tellers and street performers, we came across a telescope from Sidewalk Astronomy.
Sidewalk Astronomy

We were back at Cafe du Monde the next day, for my daughter to try out the beignets.
Cafe du Monde

Powdered Sugar Monster!

We had a great day!
Jackson Square

Posted 2011-01-01 by Mr. Guilt in Louisiana

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