Water Swallows All, Eventually

Part 1Part 2Part 3 – Part 4

This is a bit of a “prequel” of sorts.  These photos come from my Brother-in-law, Lance Jones, who went in with my dad the Thursday (I think, these dates are getting fuzzy) after the rains that filled Toledo Bend came through.  As you look at these photos I want to try to put you into the right mind or mood, and I want you to empathize with the person, my father, as he bore witness to his house taking on more water than it has ever taken in a flood.  You are not doing it for my dad, though.  You are doing it for the now thousands of people from Burr Ferry, Louisiana to Merryville, Louisiana, and Deweyville, Texas and all the other little towns between.  Even I10, a major avenue of commerce, has been shut down because of the flooding.  Maybe with this wide array of damage and interruption of day-to-day living and business operations, the Sabine River Authority may have to look into their policies and consider some changes.

Imagine, if you will, that you are sitting in a boat, and you are floating up to your house, and you see all you have worked for slowly being swallowed by water…

And click images to make them larger and more detailed.

This is the latest family portrait that will be hanging in this old house. That's my parents, their children, their grandchildren, and my dog (Everyone's dog). This photo was actually taken yesterday as of this writing, but I really want to use this as an opportunity to, again, set the tone.
This is the latest family portrait that will be hanging in this old house. That’s my parents, their children, their grandchildren, and my dog (Everyone’s dog). This photo was actually taken yesterday as of this writing, but I really want to use this as an opportunity to, again, set the tone.  The flood line is marked where the debris suddenly stops. 

Continue reading Water Swallows All, Eventually

As The Flood Recedes

Part 1Part 2Part 3 – Part 4

It’s been about a week since we had a near record setting amount of rain fall on our region.  The rain came from the west and it was predicted a good bit ahead of time.  It was predicted that the amount of rain would be great below Toledo Bend (Not a great effect on flooding in my community), over Toledo Bend proper (A threat on my community), and north/west of Toledo Bend, where streams receiving this water would feed the lake, making that part of the storm the largest threat).  As The Sabine River Authority stood back and waited until it was too late, we were totally unaware of what was coming.  I have shared with you a couple of articles already that explore this event, and this new article is more of the same.

Before I delve into the photoblog that caused a small surge in traffic for Just Chill Here, which my sister so nicely said “I sure hope they don’t click on your other stuff with that potty mouth!” in a very judgmental way, I want to share a set of rumors I have picked up that compliment the answer to a question that we may never know:

Why did the Sabine River Authority wait until the water was upon us to lower the lake?

These rumors are just things I have heard or read, but interesting to ponder regardless:

  • They have to keep the lake levels high so the bald eagle population has a pristine habitat.
  • They had to keep the levels high to ensure that several species of rare trees on the lake would stay healthy.
  • They had to keep the waters high for a big bass tournament that was either going on, or coming up, or one that had just passed.  (I am not sure!)
  • They can’t activate the flood gates unless the lake is a certain height, and it didn’t reach that height until it was too late.
  • The Sabine River Authority is trying to force people out of their homes and land so they can continue to flood the region as they please.

I can’t substantiate any of these rumors, but I figured I would share with you some of the things I overheard while running into folks in recovery mode.

For all of you getting back into your homes, take plenty of water and try to be safe.  It’s hot, it’s muggy, and it’s ideal conditions for bad things to happen.

Let’s get back to our story…

Remember, you can click the images to get the big, prettier versions.

This little guy is a Timber/Branded/Canebreak Rattlesnake. As a kid I would walk these woods and I would catch snakes and play with them. Yeah, I was that kid. I had no general fear of animals except for maybe my grandfather's old bulls that liked to chase us around all the time. Anyhow, in all of my days I've never ran into one of these, at least, I can't remember having done so. My wife, Brandi, was with me and she spotted him. She kind of freaked out and wanted me to kill him. I went with my own choice to get out and get up close and personal. I have a full frame shot of him, but I like this close up shot because it really shows how pretty he is. Or she. We don't have to be sexist or something.
This little guy is a Timber/Branded/Canebreak Rattlesnake. As a kid I would walk these woods and catch snakes and play with them. Yeah, I was that kid. I had no general fear of animals except for maybe my grandfather’s old bulls that liked to chase us around. In all of my days I’ve never ran into one of these, at least, I can’t remember having done so. My wife, Brandi, was with me and she spotted him. She kind of freaked out and wanted me to kill him. I went with my own choice to get out and get up close and personal. I have a full frame shot of him, but I like this close up shot because it really shows how pretty he is. Or she. We don’t have to be sexist or something.  Oh, and one other thing – if you are returning to your flooded property, keep an eye out for these.

Continue reading As The Flood Recedes

A Community In Turmoil?

Part 1Part 2Part 3 – Part 4

The waters are still high and now Evans, Louisiana is dealing with it’s record flooding.  Merryville, Louisiana is getting it as well and towns south of here, such as Deweyville are also going to experience them.  The governor is taking flight over the affected area and many people are trying to figure out their next steps.  I spoke with some of my uncles, aunts, cousins and friends and they are lost, but they are not stopping.  People are helping out at what I believe to be a record rate of participation.  In fact, the help has seemingly outpaced the need in some aspects as the hubs of assistance in Evans and Burr Ferry are practically begging for people to come get clothes and food.  They need some things like underwear and other necessities, but I visited the Evans Youth Center yesterday and they looked rather flush with supplies.  It was a good sight to see.

This article’s title is “A Community In Turmoil?” because the interrogative meaning really lends to the idea – is the community truly in turmoil, or have we come together so tightly, that we have already begun to bounce back?

The hard work is not here yet, but at this rate, we should be able to transition strongly into revival.

As always, click images to get the bigger, more pretty versions.

Me and my nephew, Bowen, went back into the neighborhood to see how far the water had receded. This is the view of Lynn Nash Road. Muddy and completely submerged. The water is swift and dangerous and falling as the Sabine River Authority steadily lowers the flood gates. The water in this photo is still at a record height.
Me and my nephew, Bowen, went back into the neighborhood to see how far the water had receded. This is the view of Lynn Nash Road. Muddy and completely submerged. The water is swift and dangerous and falling as the Sabine River Authority steadily lowers the flood gates. The water in this photo is still at a record height.

Continue reading A Community In Turmoil?

Washing Away My Childhood

Part 1Part 2Part 3 – Part 4

These last few days have been mired in disappointment and anger as my hometown has experienced the worst flooding it has ever received.  Part of this event involved driving a boat up to my parent’s house, the home that my father built himself and completed when I was born.  This house is 34 years old and my family and friends have built many memories running around the land my parents essentially transformed from a swamp to a high patch of dry land that was the envy of many people.

Today I saw that die.  Today I saw a piece of my dad go.  I saw my mother shattered.  My sister stayed strong and it was all I could do to console my father as he reassured me that “everything is gone, it’s all gone.”  The emotion from seeing this was only strengthened when my mother echoed the very same sentiment.  My parents got their clothes and managed to save a few of their vehicles, two boats, and some ATVs.  They got a few suits of clothes and my dad’s guns.  All of the pictures and sentimental objects were tossed on the bed because that worked in the flood of 1999, where the water was into my childhood home up to around 10-12 inches.

Today we learned that this trick was ineffective.  My parents made it out with more than many of those friends and families through Burr Ferry and Evans.  Some people were left with the clothes on their back and a bank account.  Some of them don’t have a place to stay, so they are getting “discounts” at hotels for the night.  This flood has been exponentially more shattering for my hometown than any previous event.  Previous floods, hurricanes, tornadoes – everything.

Below is a photo album that I have created to share with Facebook.  I chose to use my own web page because I am more comfortable sharing my thoughts with each image, and it gives me a chance to really talk about each photo my way.

The photos you are about to see are more than just photographs.  They are a marker of my life.  I am approaching middle age and my parents, who are in the dawn of their (forced) retirement, have essentially been dealt a terrible blow.  One that has essentially shaken their foundation.

These photos are the evidence of my history coming to a shuddering close.  There are no photos anymore.  There are no birthday cards my mom saved and no scrapbooks.  There are no old baby clothes and baby shoes.  There are no wall photos and no more mounted deer heads celebrating my father’s accomplishments as a hunter, nor is there an 11 lbs bass mounted on the wall.

What do we have now?

Click the images for high res versions that look better.

flood march 2016 157
This little guy, or should I say, big guy, was about 15 feet up in a tree and he looked miserable. We wanted to get him down, but if you know anything about wild raccoon, they are a little ornery. By a little ornery, I mean they will try to murder you, starting with your face. My cousin, Harvey, said “Yeah, we could get him, but he would probably be ungrateful.” I hope he makes it. He was asleep. This was taken while we were returning to the boat trailer on what we river rats called the Wing Road.

 

Continue reading Washing Away My Childhood

The Cannabis Files

This past couple of weeks has been a trying time for my little state of Louisiana.  We’re out of money and politicians are fighting over tired ideas of cutting taxes and increasing taxes, cutting programs and getting rid of programs, cutting social programs and cutting expenses on improving state infrastructure with no honest view of a real plan in sight.

Therefore, I have taken it upon myself to do a little homework in an effort to predict the economic and industrial boosts the legalization of cannabis would bring to our state, while promoting the path to legalization before any other state in the south.  It is a lofty goal, but not my primary goal.  I’ve learned that the best plans come from just wanting to learn more about a topic.  I have a few things I want to answer as I work on this project.  I have no deadline for when I want to finish, but I will update as I feel I make progress.

My first step was to get a geographical image of Louisiana and surrounding districts (congressional districts) of other states.  The map is this:

texas
Image stitched together by John Nash, taken from https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/map, which was from Google Maps.  If you click this image, be warned, it is every bit of 15 mb.

This map is not finished, but the stitching of an image like this is a task worth bragging about.  Next step is to wash out districts over 200-300 miles away from the borders of Louisiana, but I will keep whole districts, so AR-4 is going to stick out like a sore thumb, though I could just put more work into cutting it out in some manner.

Next step:  Identify districts that stay, and remove the unneeded sections.  This will then be followed by a spreadsheet used to record population numbers of our neighboring states.

 

Swag On Saturday: Visit /r/beermoney

SWAG SATURDAYS LOGO

Welcome back to another bright moment in hoarding history as we leave Swagbucks for a day and we focus instead, on an entire community that revolves around these small transactions.  It is here that I learned about this little side hobby and I bestow unto you the great knowledge base that is /r/beermoney.

Definitely thinking about a totally different Beer Money.
Definitely thinking about a totally different Beer Money.

Continue reading Swag On Saturday: Visit /r/beermoney

Suppose You Were To Die Tonight. What Would You Say?

There will be no images in this post.  This post will not even be that long.  I won’t even swear about ridiculous things and I won’t root out minority groups in badly designed jokes.  I won’t go on a political tirade or even try to type out a lecture in some elaborate effort to change the way people think or live.  No.  Tonight I write a letter to you, the reader of this article, because sometimes we have to cut ourselves away from the silly day-to-day shenanigans and force some perspective into our weary minds.

This is some inspired fiction, based on something that happened a few days ago to a good friend of mine.  Tonight, I visited him in the hospital.  He’s okay, everything’s fine.  But it’s 10:30.  I have a ton of work to do and I can’t be bothered to be writing something five people may read.

Continue reading Suppose You Were To Die Tonight. What Would You Say?

Will Connor McGregor Be Humbled?

Like so many other things that I write about and make great strides to sound like an expert, but am not an expert in, I cannot say that I know a great deal about the Ultimate Fighting Championship.  I have had an on and off relationship with the company and it started when I was relatively young.  Recently, however, my best friend has brought me to enjoy the events that they hold each month, with banners held high by a few famous fighters.  Currently my favorite fighter is a filthy looking, trash talking, cocky Irishman that everyone has a few nicknames for.  I call him Pig Pen, mainly because no matter what, he looks like he always needs a bath.  Dude looks filthy.  This article is about today’s “Presser” which is a ridiculous word that has replaced the superior “press conference.”  Apparently, Mystic Mac (Nickname for McGregor) had some choice words to say to his next opponent, Rafael Dos Anjos, the whateverweight (155 lbs) champion.

Continue reading Will Connor McGregor Be Humbled?

Hateful Eight: Reasons You Should Make Tarantino Richer (Favorite Things)

Reasons You Should Make Tarantino Richer - 1

So last week I introduced you to the Hateful Eight’s primary cast. the actual eight characters in the title.  I may have even been a little overzealous about the schmoozing I was doing on every character except Madsen’s Joe Gage (The more I think about Joe Gage, the more preposterous his presence feels).  I may have even sounded a bit like Tarantino’s directing abilities exceed all of the greatest directors.  If I did, well, guess what?  I’M NOT DONE!  BAD WORDS AHEAD.

Continue reading Hateful Eight: Reasons You Should Make Tarantino Richer (Favorite Things)

Apparently I Missed the Greatest Football Game Ever

Last night, according to Reddit, the NFL and a gaggle of Facebook friends, the greatest game in NFL history was played between the Green Bay Packer and the Arizona Cardinals.   The game had some controversies to it, as all barn burning events tend to.  Hell, it started with one:

Would you look at that?  The coin didn’t flip at all!  They did reflip it, and the same team won the flip anyway.  However, referring to the actual NFL rule book (Oh this is hilarious):

ARTICLE 2. TOSS OF COIN

Not more than three minutes before the kickoff of the first half, the Referee, in the presence of both team’s captains (limit of six per team, active, inactive or honorary) shall toss a coin at the center of the field. Prior to the Referee’s toss, the call of “heads” or “tails” must be made by the captain of the visiting team, or by the captain designated by the Referee if there is no home team. Unless the winner of the toss defers his choice to the second half, he must choose one of two privileges, and the loser is given the other. The two privileges are:

      1. The opportunity to receive the kickoff, or to kick off

      2. The choice of goal his team will defend.

Penalty: For failure to comply: Loss of coin-toss option for both halves and overtime, and loss of 15 yards from the spot of the kickoff for the first half only.

For the second half, the captain who lost the pregame toss is to have the first choice of the two privileges listed in (a) or (b), unless one of the teams lost its first and second half options, or unless the winner of the pregame toss deferred his choice to the second half, in which case he must choose (a) or (b) above. Immediately prior to the start of the second half, the captains of both teams must inform the Referee of their respective choices.

A captain’s first choice from any alternative privileges listed above is final and not subject to change.

ARTICLE 3. CHANGE OF GOALS

At the end of the first and third periods, the teams must change goals. Team possession, the number of the succeeding down, the relative position of the ball on the field of play, and the line to gain remain the same.

Guess what isn’t in there?  Not a DAMN thing about that coin having to flip.  For a game with so many vague rules, who would have expected that the gridiron’s ambiguous rules would haunt even the most simple of processes?

This game gets better.

Continue reading Apparently I Missed the Greatest Football Game Ever