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Done 2 HH SPRR Rts. in S. Louisiana

This is one of those "company collections" I've warned you about. Here are a number of articles about my trips to investigate various branches of the Southern Pacific Railroad in Louisiana. Yes, this page goes on forever. My rides do not center exclusively on the tracks most of the time. I try to include the environment these trains traveled through as well. The end result is that you will see a lot of Louisiana scenery and history.

The SP in north Opelousas, La.

With Mark's and his father's help, I think I pretty well have a handle on the rail scene, at least of one era in Opelousas. So, when he asked to see the Opelousas pictures taken at the tail end of the Hub City search, I couldn't side step him. Opelousas was actually more of a rail center than Lafayette when you combine the outlying community of Port Barre whose rail presence was phenomenal with at least 4 companies represented at one time. But I'm straying.

I had had a hard hot ride up from Scott through the congested prairie west of Lafayette. Nevertheless, I wanted to start the re visit to a couple of places from the north and work south. The last time I'd gone looking for the "end of rails" {where the steel was allowed to stay when the rest were pulled up}, I'd found a hopper car sitting on a dirt road. I think it was Delprimo Lane. I went by there twice and saw nothing this time. There is a house trailer right next to where the tracks would be but I felt very uneasy at the time and let it go. I'm learning to follow my instincts.

But, I'm ahead of the story. I came in from I 49. I have no
idea how, oh, I used it to get from 190 up to La.10 and then
cut across to La.182 where the SP lies. I avoided grid lock
Opel traffic on that end of town.

At "B", I stopped and looked around. Right after it you can
see where the rails crossed La.182, what was once US 167.

Haha, thought that was the old rail bed, no, it's just the sign
you look for to find the old rail bed. The "B" on the map is
for "Barry".

Right after the cement place is this. That's the SP on the
west side of La.182 headed into Opelousas from Washington (La.).

From there I went down to Compress Rd. That's an interesting
name. A "compress" was a machine that compressed cotton
into bails. Opelousas was once cotton country. I think "bo
weevils" ended that. On Compress is a large industrial looking
place next to the tracks. It is still operating in some capacity.

I don't understand the need for a water tower at a warehouse.
There must be more going on down there.

Anyway, looking south from Comress the rails continue, this time
very alive to Opelousas. In the description of the Acadiana Railroad's
holdings, it mentions 5 miles of swithching track at Opelousas. I think
the SP's rails above Opelousas are what they are talking about.
That was why I was here, again.

This is Opelousas's Rail Museum. Down at the wye is
Lou Ana Foods. In the past, it appears that the SP yard
only existed from there to right below "R".

It now proceeds further north. This is looking south from
as far as I could progress on Progress Street.

This is taken from the end of Progress, north of Hwy. 749,
where you wouldn't think someone would go to get a picture
of anything. Going in. I saw this rig.

It's an "E-Z Throw", switch, I presume.
"by Chemetron"? Maybe you can read it better?

Well, Mark, that's about it. Not much new but a different
angle on the yard. Priceless. I won't go back for another one.
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Finding the SP in Washington

I spun around in my front yard trying to see where the crease in the heavy dark clouds might be. I flipped on the weather channel and it was as vague as usual. I figured I'd done all that a mortal could do to prepare for motorcycle riding in Louisiana weather, it being nearly 80F with a forecast of 30F sometime, soon.

In the meantime, Alphonso was loading a handful of little shinny packets into his bike's trunk, a sure sign he'd been to the Stop and Run to satisfy his candy jones. I irreverently revved the little DL 650 in hopes it would snap him out of his sugar intoxication. I wanted to get in a few miles before the weather dropped on us, which I was sure it would.

I picked "north". We would head straight into the menacing blackness singing songs from The Sound of Music. That practice has been known to cut straight through adversity. Weather adversity. Adversity of any kind. Try it the next time you get hassled.

It seemed to have worked as we found ourselves on the banks of Bayou Fusiler, west of Arnaudville, still dry. I had wanted to show Alphonso, who's been away for a while, some of the less known wonders of the area. Of course, being Al, direct descendant of the French explorer, LaSalle, he immediately claimed the Bayou, the dam structure, and all lands draining to this point for France. I've never had the nerve to tell him that some of this stuff is already claimed.

I can hear it now, straight from the peanut gallery, "What kind of history hunt is this"?

As it turned out, it was a damn good one.

Grand Coteau is on one of my routes north. We stopped at the historic Catholic girl's school there for a few shots. I have a whole web page on Grand Coteau I'll link later. Al, said that he saw some cool cows but they weren't there when I went back to look. He gravitates to cows. I haven't figured that one out. Nor the others.

Next, out on Highway 31, I saw this old girl sitting back off the road. She was lovely, though a bit worse for ware, but nothing which rehabilitation couldn't render up. Al just sent me an email and mentioned seeing severe damage to the chimney area.

Meandering a bit, we, more or less, headed to Washington, I called a halt as I was overcome by the aura of our route.

Page 2

I tell you how Al and I de-biked in Washington, explored a bunch of stuff and visited the spot where the Missouri Pacific Railroad had its section house. That was where Bidstrup St. crossed the rails on a historic overpass. To top it all, the home owner I interrupted from her yard'll have to wait.

Coming from the south on La.103, then crossing under I-49 going into Washington, there is a public park to the right. There in lies an old, what we were told could have been, cotton gin. The operation was steam driven. We explored all that was not locked up, hung jawed at the museum this place was. Al lamented, with great sadness, that this place had not been preserved as a jewel in the crown of Washington's history.

Since I have domestic duties to attend to this morning, I'm not going into much explanation or speculation below, but merely exhibit what we saw. I'll insert a few pictures from a previous visit I made when I first discovered what was then a total mystery to me. Reviewing my old pictures, I am saddened to say, the place is slipping away at an amazing rate. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of the overall area.

There are now 5 buildings/locations left. The weigh house, a homestead, the boiler area, a shed, and a locked warehouse. Missing is a work shed and an old honkytonk which was down by the bayou on the original road into Washington, which, I suspect, the cotton gin was on, also. First, here is what Al determined was the weigh house after he saw the hook for the counter weight inside the window. First the outside, then the inside.

Notice the wood shingled exterior walls and the hole in the wall for the pot belly stove, no doubt. We had seen a cow bell mounted on the front of the building. I don't see it in these pictures? Here's the drive on scales and the underground lever channel to the inside.

Inside, all I have is this old picture of the safe. The present scene is one of deterioration. That was 4 years ago.

There was a plumbing shed. On this visit, I felt something was gone. It was. I only have a few pictures of the contents.

Next is the boiler area. My pictures, again, are too close up for you to see the overall scene. I'll have to go back. This is a reoccurring tradition to be redundant in the light of these redundancies.

The gauge.

The door. Each part was stamped with its part number for easy reordering if it broke. You will not find that today. You can't fix anything anymore.

Combustion Engineering Company Inc.
Al said that they are still in business.

Below were the fire boxes.

With this inscription. Click to enlarge. I read it as "The Walsh & Weidner Boiler Co"

Below the boiler was this steam driven pump which delivered water to the boilers from Bayou Courtableau. Notice the cap is cracked, probably due to a hard freeze.

We could have spent the afternoon exploring just this facet of the mill. But, there was more. Here's the shed four years ago and yesterday when Al couldn't wait to go in. He's got to trim that "Afro" before he comes along again. After going into these places he complains of itching. I wonder why?

Next is the inside. Again, hours could have been spent investigating in here. There was a work area, the tool was steam driven.

Notice the Caterpillar tractor. The serial number began with "TT???". We can't remember the rest. Lucky we remembered that, our ages totaling over 120 years. See the large flywheel on that piece of machinery in the back. What was it? A lathe?

It reads, "A. Baldwin and Co. L... Agents, New Orleans, LA
There was a Baldwin Company that built steam locomotives. A connection? Possibly.

Next was the home. These are all early pictures. I failed miserably on this expedition to shoot much. The outside steps are gone. They were probably removed to keep people, like myself, and, especially Al, from killing ourselves going up to explore.

There was more I think I should not mention. No, nothing weird or bad.
The next picture was taken yesterday. Al really liked the curved corners of the porch roof line. They seemed unique to me, also. That's it, 3 hours is up and I have vacuuming to do. The railroad and section house, later.

Oops, almost forgot the honkytonk which is very sadly gone. Though not grand, it was a picture into the past that has been thrown away.

An old Falstaff sign remained as a reminder of good times here on the banks of the Courtableu, at the city limits. Rising above the location of the old bar is the I-49 overpass with its modern hustle and bustle traffic flying by. A poignant moment was had. I could have used a beer and a game of pool, good thing it's gone.


I think Chuch Berry had this place in mind when he wrote these lines:

Climb into my machine so we can groove on out
I know some swinging little joint where we can jump and shout
It's not too far back on the highway, not so long a ride
You park the car out in the open you can walk inside
A little cutie takes your hat and you can thank her ma'am
'Cause every time you make the scene you find the joint is jammed.

My Reframe, Oh Carol, how could you take my heart away? Yep.
Sometimes you bang into some history that's your history.
Sometimes it produces a big grin, sometimes, not.

Before leaving the "cotton gin", I looked Al square in the eyes and with a straight face, told him, "Al, I want to look around Washington for an old railroad right of way and the location of the depot". I saw him draw a deep breath as if his last. Then he gave me one of his silent nods. He understands that I'm his ticket home.

We continued on into Washington on La.103. I took the first street west and then looked for a street that went south, the believed location of the right of way. I've combed Washington before and was denied by this blocked bridge.

We came to the same blocked bridge.
We dismounted. Neighborhood houses were on either side of the street. I envisioned people peering from the curtains. The blocked bridge lay ahead. I've gotten a little tentative about trespassing lately. The clock runs down on good luck and Mike says that they only have collected 10 bucks in my bail money account.

Then I thought for a moment. This was a public bridge that was merely blocked, albeit with menacing signs. It did not belong to anyone but the town. I was still a little nervous about prowling around it as I know Washington has an aggressive police force, just try speeding near the Washington exit on I-49.

A woman was working in her yard, far off the street.
Al said to ask her. I waved my hands explaining that I was an old train nut and was this the location of the railroad that went through Washington. That approach has rarely had a positive conclusion. But, She smiled and said, "Yes, this is it".

I think I went, "huh?", not believing our good fortune. I asked her where the depot was. She said, "the section house depot was right here, let me show you the stairs the men would use to go down to the trains".

I was reeling, morphing into a happy puppy as we followed along.

Stop the presses, it is show and tell time.

Some explanation is in order.

"Section house" is the first. Scanning the web, I found one I could use from Texas that even had a little definition with it. Don't pay any attention to the "toll booth" mentioned.

Here's another version:

Here's my favorite, the section crew. I guess these guys kept the rails right.

And, this is the very rare picture of the Washington Depot. She said it had been down by the bayou near La.103. I had guessed that. It was near where the rock hauling business is today. Being close to the bayou, it could have been a transfer spot. Also, it would have been on flat land with no need of steps to descend to get to the platform. The picture was taken in the early 1900's. That is a Southern Pacific train. It would have come from Alexandria by way of Cheneyville or as far away as Avery Island and beyoud. Actually, you know it could have come from a number of places in southwest Louisiana. Could that be a Conductor standing on the platform getting ready to board?

The layout was this. I'm not showing the location of the overpass as our host and her husband, 5 Rottweiler dogs and male twins, age 2, do not invite visitors. The dogs were friendly, but well trained. The children were neither.

The rail bed overpass was needed because the Southern Pacific had to dig its way through Washington. The incline coming from the two bayous it crosses, Bayou Caron and Bayou Courtableau, is too great for those trains to scale, thus the sunken right of way.

The hurricane had dropped trees into the dig and I was unable to get down there. Actually I could have but feared the embarrassment of not being able to return to the surface with our host looking on. She made the point that she could get down there a couple of times which did no good to my manly pride. I told her I would, but not in my new jeans. I know, that was pretty lame. I settled for these unmanly pictures.

Here's the aforementioned steps from the section house to the rails.

Pictured is the surface of the bridge. I cannot believe this is all I have. Notice the heavy iron piece just outside the railing. What is that all about? Did it have a railroad function? I have to go back. Al, you coming? Yes, you can tell her that your Grandma was a Fontenot while I climb down into the trench. I'm so glad you saved that story.

Seen is only half of the bridge. It was quite a span. The iron might be a support pan for the unsupported stretch over the rails. I'm not satisfied with that guess. To keep the wooden bridge from igniting, an iron underbelly might have been required. Now there's a far out guess. I just talked to Everett, he verified that my guess was far out. But, to make me feel better, he did say that a mine had caught fire. I may have the story mixed up.

While talking, Everett sent this drawing of the LeCompte section house seeing I didn't have a local one.

This was the section car house, the "car" was used for railroad work. I'll get him to elaborate later, which he will, in lenght. You will know more about a section car than you though possible.

These were Red River and Gulf buildings in LeCompte. They were part of the railroad which was based at Longleaf where the Southern Forest Heritage Museum is now located. You might want to check out the Great Depot Adventure for a look at where this stuff was probably located.

That's it until I can return. This one is NOT OVER.

The S&P Abbeville to Eunice

First, I want to explain this recent presumed railroad craziness. I'm not really. I do have a fondness for the old and new beast which are tethered to strips of steel. I also have a fondness for exploring into places that few but the locals ever see. I also have a fondness for motorcycle riding, but not just riding, riding which demands a little more than... (I almost said "interstate ability", but then backed off knowing that is the most demanding riding of all). Reset....a little more than leisurely putting, though I enjoy the heck out of that, too, but it gets boring to ride the same roads at the same speed on rides that are all the same.

I've been fortunate to have been able to spend a lot of time here in my senior years exploring a bit of Louisiana and Mississippi. I ain't nothing but a hound dog (the mention of Mississippi spawned that). Sniffing around has served me for many years. New road after new road has been enough to get me out of the yard. Alas, there are few new roads left which I would think to, or notice to bark up. The old Garmin mapping software has come to my assistance. It has supplied this old hound with a tempting rabbit. The rabbit is the evidence of old rail lines displayed as dashes on its maps. They are called "trails". Trails are not straight, tracks are. I first discovered this when I again got interested in Longleaf's lumber mill and her railroad department.

Excuse me while I go into a spontaneous rant: I love riding old steam engined trains. If you've never done it, you are denying yourself an experience that's right up there with the big one, eating. By "done it" I mean getting up close to the engine when she's starting to pull and feel the "I think I can, I think I can, I know I can, I know I can, in each of her breaths. The steam engine is as close to human as metal can get. Forget robots, they are about as far from human as metal can get and scary. A steam engine is warm and romantic. It sings, it talks. It grunts, it shudders, it shakes, it has the power we would have and enjoy if we were born with a boiler.

I now want to return to my thesis. I follow those "trails" because they take me to interesting places, and if the place is not interesting, it can be now because of the historic cultural surroundings which can be seen or imagined because a railroad had been there. Suddenly I understand Indian mound enthusiast. An epiphany has occurred.

Now that I've given myself another shot of rationalization, I'll get on to my latest hunt of the sometimes invisible rabbit with the full understanding that I'm OK.

Pursuing Mr.Cushing's Child

Mr. Cushing was a railroad engineer. No, he didn't operate a locomotive, he built railroads for Southern Pacific down in south Louisiana. The main street in Kaplan bears his name as Kaplan was born of the railroad. That is about all I know about him. I know that when the rails were completed, finally, between New Iberia and Abbeville, Cushing was the man with the plan. He'd continue on to at least Kaplan, or his name would not be there. I suggest he continued building that line west and then north all the way to Eunice. Professor Lueck sent me this, a 1978 or so "schedule" of the towns along the way served by his employer, the Southern Pacific Railroad.

We won't start in Eunice, we'll return there, and there will be a tangible treat there waiting which should be on your "go to" list, no matter what your interest. It is true that you will have to endure some pictures and explanations which only trust can get you through, but your trust will not be in vain.

With all that I should hit you with a road hump first, just as a test, but I won't. We'll start at the very tangible Abbeville Depot.

All aboard, we'll be crossing the Vermillion River on the bridge which we should imagine as being in better shape and aligned with our rails. This picture is a prize of mine. By the way, if you have not visited historic Abbeville, you owe it to yourself to go, park and walk. Abbeville is one of our gems.

After crossing the Vermillion on the old La.14 draw bridge, I looked south to see if I could reach the "rails" on the west bank. I saw my first bump of the day. The adrenalin pumped.

Ok, how about this?

I've decided that I've asked too much of my reader's imagination, so put it away. I'll draw the imaginary parts in from now on. If you have a beef with my artistry, I can't help you.

A bi-product of this investigation was one of those hidden roads south that I've never ridden. I'll be back just for it. Now, the next picture is one of those which captured something I didn't see when I shot it. The opposite side of the train bridge is inaccessible. Shooting down the right of way I caught a glimpse of one end. Yes, Fred, it's the same bridge in the second picture.

Looking west on the GPS, I saw the rails would be hard to access. But wait, maybe not. I headed south down a narrow sometimes blacktopped road for Hump, Bump and ROW shots.

How's that working for you? I'm experimenting with rail colors. Al likes brown, I don't. I prefer a charcoal black. Black is too black. Look, I didn't put a lot of effort into perspective and such. I didn't want to make them too desirable, you know what I mean?

As on most local roads, the inevitable contact with the sugarcane harvest comes into play.

Please no emails, I know I derailed this one and it's coming across the road. I should have drawn in some rails, I wasn't thinking.

Back on La.14, a prize presented itself. I think these rails were ripped in the late 70's or early 80's. They missed these pilings.

The evidence was scarce so I had to take several shots of each to fill out this article.

No trestle?

Build one. These railroaders had attitude. All over this country stuff got in their way. Stuff didn't have a chance.

And, one more to get us to Kaplan.

The next shot is of some industry that was supplied by the railroad. It is probably a feed store. I think of Kaplan as the dividing line between sugarcane and rice farming.

About this time I was getting into a little funk as I did not have the interpretive drawings that you are enjoying. I headed on into Kaplan. Then I saw something that would revive my enthusiasm. I did a bat turn in the middle of La.14, straightened the bike and pulled it up into a twelve o'clock high wheelie leaving a spray of sparks as the rear fender drug as I headed to this. I thought I was just seeing stacked railroad ties probably meant for flower bed boarders. The business was long closed.

No, they were ties linked with rails. Mercy, was this the SPRR stacked up? How bizarre could this be?

What was the deal?

They were prefabricated cushioned road crossings probably never installed in Kaplan. I assume they were delivered and sat as the word came down that the rails were going to be removed. I'll guess they were made about 1978, 30 years ago. I had to climb that stack to figure this all out. Sometimes altitude helps with figuring. Please no comments about the figurative skills of us lowlanders. We get enough grief.

The picture of the bike and rice field behind was taken from that vantage spot, a spot few visit, but may now.

At this high point, I'm closing this one down for the day. The next page will contain maps and many more interpretive displays to help you along to points west and north. I count this ride as one of the most productive and satisfying I have ever taken. I have looked at the map of what I supposed this route to be and always had my doubts about it north of Iota. I can say, without perjury, that I have ridden within spitting distance of most of that rail bed all the way into Euncie. All that will be on then next page.
Before we leave Kaplan, you need to see the day the SP began service. May1,1902.
The first passenger train followed the next day. Thanks, Donella.

Donella LaBry, a life long Kaplan resident, just sent me some pictures and an excerpt from her new book on Kaplan. It deals with Mr. Cushing whose railroad we are riding. This is from her book:

"Cushing Avenue was named for Edward Benjamin ‘E.B.’ Cushing. E.B., was born 1862 in Houston. He married, in 1888, Florence Abbey Powers, born 1863. His family included: Mildred Granger, born 1889; Annette Eloise, born 1893; and Converse Salma, born 1891. Thirty-two years after his graduation from Texas A&M University, he became a member of their board of directors. The years in between were spent working for the railroad. He worked his way up from ax man to surveyor, then to General Superintendent of Houston, East and West Texas Railway Company. At the beginning of the century, he was appointed Southern Pacific’s Maintenance and Way Superintendent. E.B. died in 1924 employed in Granger, Texas by First National Bank".

"E.B. purchased lots in 1902 and 1903 in Kaplan".

Small world, I was in Granger,TX, this summer. It is a neat old town.

Donella just sent an e-mail in response to a question. In it she answered another question I had not asked but had wanted to. Here's her answer to how Kaplan got started. It is a railroad town, but why? Here is what she said:

"Early articles differ on who wanted the town named after Mr.Kaplan and who established the town. A 1902 news article gives SPRR credit for establishing and naming the town and other later articles claim it was Kaplan himself who established it and named it for himself. I also read that Kaplan sent a committee to Houston to convince Southern Pacific to run a line and he or his committee did the leg work for the line such as getting the landowners to give the right of way for tracks, etc."

Donella estimates the last car was removed from Kaplan in 1986. Here's its picture. It was hauled out by a trailer. Evidently the rails were gone or not fit for service at that time.

For those who are wondering where the maps to this ride are. Stop moaning. Here they are. The numbers in them refer to where pictures were taken. At this time I am not going to assign those numbers. The paying folks get that version.

All these maps look small but they are large. If one interest you, click it and it gets large. Choose to open in a separate window and they will be there for you to follow along as we really go up on some roads you probably haven't been on yet. Much to my surprise, most of the route can be travel. At times I thought I may have been on the rails. Probably not, but that's an interesting thing to say.

Here's my whole ride. Pictures 19 to 24 were taken before Kaplan (La.35 and La.14)

Here's the breakdown:

Leaving Abbeville I was pleasantly surprised to be able to follow along pretty well.

West of Kaplan, the rails were right there, just to the south of the road.

I stopped to walk back to this bridge to see if I could find a trestle. There was none. The bridge was still marked with the name of the water it crossed. This is getting to be a rare find since the names are being cemented over. Why, sure, it's a conspiracy. It was the Vincent Canal. Vincent is a prominent name in Kaplan. References to our history are being snuffed out. Geological references, like that of this canal are being erased. The result, people don't know where they've been, where they are going or where they at. I imagine you'll see an increase in cemented bridge abutments in the near future.

Below the abutment, I saw this. I tried ripping it off but couldn't. I'm kidding.

Wright, LA, was named for Wilbur Right. (W.Right), the period was dropped and it's been Wright ever since. You did believe that, didn't you? The road is pretty straight right here.

The sign on the rice dryer says this. "If you lived in WRIGHT, you'd be home now". That sign is always mentioned when the conversation turns to Wright. West of Wright the Prairie continues. In actuality, it was time for a picture with my bovine friends in it. Vermilion Parish is cattle country despite several recent hurricanes. Cattle are smarter than you think. I saw a whole herd sitting on a porch waiting for the water to recede.

Next was a bayou that needed spanning. Getterdone.

The rails were getting ready to turn north to Gueydan. I expected the moment to be awing. The east view was not. I went into south Gueydan and turned south on La.91 for these shots. No interpretive rails need to be shown. Maybe a choo choo?

Above is the ROW on its northerly swing preparing to enter Gueydan.

I've covered Guyedan in another write so I did not go into the business area. This strip of La.91 is the industrial area of Gueydan, or was. I just looked a little closer at my map program and it, to my surprise, shows the sidetrack seen on the road. Where you see "Moon Island Canal" is where the hump was shot. I hope I've answeredd all your questions.

It was getting late but I was headed north and making progress. I saw some small blacktop road entering the highway. For no reason at all I turned up it. Bingo. No drawing here.

Next was beautiful Bayou Queue de Tortue (Tortue is turtle, the queue I don't know)

Morse was next. I wish I knew the rest of the story on Morse. The rails ran right through town, now a park.

Great water tower.

Great house.

Great old store.

I rode north. Approaching Midland I followed the rails as La.91 had veered west. Chester Lee Drive (heavy gravel) had to have been the main road at one time. It hooks up with Old Spanish Trail. The SP connected to the east west main line here. But it continued north also. This is the approach to the western main line and the continuation north hump.

I heard a horn. Timing, I have timing.

I rode west on the somewhat paved OST (south side of tracks, US 90, north side of tracks, worlds apart.) Sure enough, there was the hump of the west and north bound rails.

I topped the hump and looked north along their route. Timing.

I went back to Chester Lee and checked on the old stores. Man, they take me back to another day.

Crossing 90 is entering another LA. I stopped on the tracks to shoot the stopped train.

Across the road was a warehouse. I shot it and then went behind it to see what it looked like.

It looked the same, more loading doors. I was sure there was a siding here.
I looked across the street toward the mill and sure nuff.

Above Midland, Bayou Plaquemine Brule is an obstacle. The rails crossed it but no road at this point. I'd have to go to Esterwood to cross there. Esterwood is a photo rich subject. The ride got more interesting and the hunt became more intense. The sun was sinking but I would not relent. I only gave up on one short stretch which I've been on before. There is so much more.

I am fighting the tendency to rush through this chapter. Possibly in writing this shadow of the actual ride, I am assuming the same need for speed. Being that this was the last weekend before the time change, I would have that precious afternoon hour of light to help me finish.

A big map is next. Open it in a new window to follow along.

At Midland I rode up into the neighborhood to see if any roads followed the tracks. None did. As you can see, Bayou Plaquemine Brule looms large to the north. The closest crossing would be Esterwood. I continued following 91 which now rode the back of US 90 to where 91 turns north. Just before the new one lane pontoon bridge, there is a virtual museum of interesting old buildings. Someone keeps the area manicured to perfection. This is a spot. Across the bayou is a boat landing and a great place to sit, eat, whatever. But first the buildings. Coming from 90, you follow 91 north. Along that stretch there is a large open space to your immediate left (west). Something was above the ground here or below it. More on that in a minute.

This one I have pegged as an old irrigation pump house. It is close to the water. I have never checked it for pipes running into the water, duh.

Another picture of it.

This one looks like a pipeline compressor station. The broad open space backs that theory. What was it compressing or pumping, gas, oil, water?

And, what is that thing?

C.Alphonso de LaSalle has just piped in with added information. There are few places that Al has not lived or that Al does not know about. There will be more of his additions to this ride report down the page. Here's what he had to say about this area:

"There was a very large irrigation canal running right alongside the road to the bridge at Esterwood (La.91) until 10 to 12 years ago. It ran right to the pumping station. I think that cement what-is-it structure is the pump outlet into the canal. I don't really know which building is the pump house but the one with the ventilators on top seems logical...maybe both. I'd like to look into them, might still be the old machinery in there".

I don't want to be with him if he gets to look at the machinery. He lingers until he has it all figured out and working. If he was let loose at Longleaf, all those engines would be tooting out the gate.

I crossed the bridge. Where you see the curve in the road above the bayou, there is a very pretty tree covered section of the road which is now climbing at an alarming rate. Any climb in this area is a surprise. I think Brule marks a geologic transition zone. But, that's me.

Next, I needed to commune with the rails as it had been a while and absence makes the heart grow fonder. I left 91 and went west on Primary to where you see no.28, the location of these pictures. Timing is everything.

I backtracked and went north toward Egan where I didn't find much, and I did look. Map time.

I made a mistake earlier which I want to correct now that it has become apparent that I was not that close to the tracks leaving Egan. They could only be visited by side roads which I did not have time to venture down. I'll save that for another trip. You cannot discount these opportunities. There is stuff down each which may or may not be rail related. Remember, the old rails are just a rabbit. What else you catch along the way may be more valuable. My apologies to the Rabbit family. I was getting into the area referred to as the Northern Plains or High Plains. Possibly picture 29 was taken where you see 29? See my shadow? The sun was at my back making it an east shot. East shots are good in the evening. West shots stink.

I saw the rails were accessible south of town down this small road. It went to the sewer plant. I've found a lot of sewer plants on my rides. I also found these shots which need no augmentation. (30)

That was the south shot, this is the north one, going into town.

I had been anticipating getting to Iota. Al's grandfather lived north of town. The lumber for his house had been delivered by this railroad, thus giving this stretch of the line a personal identification.

I have been in the Iota Depot. It is now in Lafayette on Hector Connoly Rd. It was moved there by Chester, last name unknown. I'll move it back and install a new culvert and driveway for today.

Al added this poignant comment, "My grandfather's footprints are probably all over that depot".

Here's a look inside what was once a depot, now a grocery. The craftsmanship of those days is evident. The design was cookie cutter. I've seen the same ornate curved support pieces in other SP depots.

Looking around the railroad district of Iota, these are a few scenes.

I searched Iota for a road that would take me a little further north on the rails. There was none and a detour from the tracks had to be made. I'd rejoin them on the Acadia Canal Road, a very dusty and featureless long stretch of deep gravel, and it was getting late. I really had the feeling I was pushing too hard and asking for trouble. I ignore such feelings. I get that from my Uncle Fred.

For all that trouble I was rewarded. The road returned to blacktop and CROSSED THE GRADE. Past Iota, it was all a guess. The stretch to Eunice was high adventure since on the map there were only the trail dashes. This stretch must be older than the southern part that still retained the rail markings (++++).

Much to my pleasant surprise, I popped out on La.368, a wonderful motorcycling road.
I first chose to go west, then decided east would be better. I would have to detour again as the rails crossed private property heading for Bayou Mallet.

The Bayou Mallet trestle must have been a big deal as the bayou drainage is wide here. Above Mallet, I shot down 3132 for a quick glance, took a few shots that don't rate this write (that bad) and returned to La.13

Map time: The purple line is the grade. 33 was the shot of the cut through the forest south of Mallet. La.13 follows the AKDN short line into Eunice. The two grades only converge in north Eunice where you see "Switches".

This shot was taken standing on the SP grade at E.Arcoin St. looking toward La.13 and the AKDN rails. See the crossing warning down the road? It is at the AKDN tracks. The next picture is looking toward the mill district of Eunice. I cannot believe I hadn't seen the rails at my feet. I wonder how much further south they exist? Road trip!

Next is the Eunice Museum. Notice the roof supports. I know this was a Southern Pacific station.

And the back side.

While I was in the back I shot the mill across the tracks.

The rails might be the AKDN but maybe not? The AKDN could be to the east. These are probably the SP rails seen further south. I just didn't think to check it out since it was so late and I wanted to make it to the junction and the grand finale.
Here's a picture of what my software shows.

There's also a little red caboose there. I wish it had been open but I understand why it wasn't.

Here are some shots inside. I have no idea what I'm looking at.

I left the depot and went north to see if I could find where the SP had merged with what is now the AKDN. On the way I took a picture of one of what I call my castles.

Al added more here. Personal additions add so much to these simple travelogues:

"One of those picture in Eunice of the dryer building with the white elevated tanks on the right side was Fuselier Oil Co. and was [my wife's] dad's business from the time he was a young man...... Her brother, the only boy, bought it from him and has now sold it to Pumpelly Oil.... I worked there with him for a couple years delivering fuel and oil all over the area....whatcha' know about that?"

I wrote him back exclaiming that "I knew" what I had said before about him living everywhere and knowing everything. I have often wanted to test him with a made up place and see what he has to offer.

Below it, on what I believe to be a remaining section of the old SP tracks was this very worn looking AKDN diesel. I always see it there. I think it's dead. Everett, maybe they'll let it go cheap? Somehow, I don't think it would meld with Longleaf.

My suspicions I feel are correct about the old diesel being planted on the SP. Moving north, here are the two lines before they converge. I don't know how far the SP goes into town, to the depot? Probably so. The rails seen in the mill district seem to confirm their existence. It was late then and I was too tired to even think of those questions.

Converging: Oh my goodness, what a moment. The sun was sinking and I was here for it all. Romance was in the air. I could hear chapel bells. No, steam engine bells.

Looking back toward town and the bike. If I'd brought Mz Guzzi, she would have been hollering to hurry up. The little DL is very quiet and happy to sit for a moment.

Maybe this explains it better than I can write it. I know that it is hard to imagine that this is the grand finale of the ride, but it is. I still had 60 plus miles to go in the dark. That worked out OK as I'm here writing about it. Winter hours stink and that will cut into my rides. I guess it's early to bed, early to rise time. Later.

One more thing: Al wanted to add this to make me crazy. There is yet another stretch I had surmised above Eunice. He knows I'll go looking for it.

"There was a track headed north alongside 13 and crossing Bayou DesCanne, but the track has long been ripped up and even the ballast salvaged. Then the land was sold to the adjacent property owners".

Then he goes on:

"The switch brings back memories of a Rubik's Cube", and then he laughs," he he, rather puzzling".

You see, you see! If he'd been along this time, we'd still be there figuring out how that switch worked. We stood in the heat and skeeters at Longleaf while he figured out how the switch worked there. He sees everything and has to know it all. I am satisfied with the casual tourist approach, a failing, I know, but it is the way I actually finish a ride. Nevertheless, a picture of Al standing there looking at that switch in the dark would be priceless.


The SP Above Opelousas (The Prodded Ride)
Days and days have passed. Rain, then cold, then rain and cold, but mostly rain. I really don't mind because I'm prone to being lazy and lethargic. I consider the bad weather an aid to my life style, an excuse to carry on. I can stare at the computer and stare at the tv even when they are off. No problem. Not many know this because I fairly regularly produce an epic tale covering some interesting super human achievement on the backsides of a motorcycle accompanied by glorious photographs which solicit oohs and ahs and an occasional guest book notation along the lines of, "man, you rock". Most don't realize my ride reports were stolen from tour documentaries shot around the world. I rent them, then copy each, edit, and send them on to you. I recently rented this one called "Long Way Round". I'm trying to whittle it down into a day ride. You'll get the report when I'm done.

While I was reviewing LWR, I got three emails in succession. One was from Al apologizing for not being able to go on a ride today. Then I got the email where he suggests a ride today. I didn't even ask. He continued prodding me to go anyway. He said I had no excuse with my Arctic ready riding gear which Mark, the previous owner, swore by. Speaking of, then Mark D. wrote. His note was postmarked at some obscene time of the morning and said that he was headed out the door. I knew I'd have to take a ride. If not, I'd have to put up with all of his glorified adjectives accompanied by exclamation marks and smilie faces with no ammunition to fire back. I can be prodded, but it takes time. I finally got away at 12:30 and headed north, being one of the 2 easy directions I can take. The other 2 require an investment in time and miles before the riding even gets interesting. With darkness falling so soon, they were out of the question. And, of course the earlier rain would limit any intense riding down gravel or dirt, them being way too chancy on a top heavy bike. I would have taken the DR but I worried about the constant wind attack. Sitting still, it would be coming at 17 mph from the north. It was probably in the low 60's. Geezus, where was I? If you remember Taxi, you remember Jim. I just had a Jim Moment.

The above really doesn't apply anyway. The truth will set you free.

That was probably way too much explanation for a few pictures. I'm not that use to taking them myself and they are not very good, but I have to when I actually do something so I can remember what happened on that certain day when I did it. I guess I could twitter myself?

Would that work?

I've been beating around the bush. This one is
going to be a little different.

For you all that don't know me...............

Naw, that's Everett. I traded my motorcycle for it

On this outing we don't go that far, but we'll see some
different stuff. Remind me to install a rear view mirror.

Page 2

I'll have to hurry. I have a rule stating that a previous
outing's report must be written before another ride can
be taken. I have few rules in my life. I was told I must
have at least one so that's one I chose. The others come
and go. Most are forgotten.

On with this quick one.

At the end of Delcombre Road I was sticken by the beauty.
We have so much green down here that brown is a rarity.
Winter lets the brown out. Notice the standing water in the
furrows. We are saturated. Far off in the distance you can
see a truck. While I was there it moved off. I'll bet it was the
last load of cane to go to the mill. I'm sure it was an exciting
moment for the farmer and his hands. Sure was for me and
I don't even know them.

Here's the story from another angle.

North of Cecelia there are roads that connect La.347 to
La.31. This is one of them. It has just received a new
layer. But, it lost something, the large hump that marked
the crossing of the Missouri Pacific Railroad tracks which
had come from New Iberia and were headed to Port Barre.
History has taken another hit. Parents are no longer required
to explain to their children why there is a a big hill on the road.
Motorcycle riders no longer have a great ramp from which to

Yes, they were perfect. The most perfect, and highest, was
the one near Parks next to "The Tracks" bar. You could
always depend on a good and approving audience there. My
BSA Victor 441 was the machine for that job. Landing was
always a crap shoot, but what the heck, if you crashed, someone
would buy you a medicinal beer.

This one in Pecanier is not as high, but for example sake, I shot it.
Upon landing, I didn't see 20 slow children playing.
Not even one.

From there I rode up to US 190 and then west to Port Barre.
At Port Barre, I purposely rode straight north through
town looking for the fire station, the previous location of
one of PB's many railroad stations. I think there were 4
at one time. Anyway, it is not on La.103, the main drag that
crosses the Courtableau.

For a change, I went west into Washington on 359. I might
mention to any motorcycle riders that still read this thing
that 359 from 103 to La.10 in Washington is a very good
ride if speed is not your thing. The scenery is gorgeous, but
the road does have its dangerous issues in spots in the form
of large lateral cracks.

Leaving Washington I headed east on La.10 until La182
broke off and headed north. I followed it for the 1000th
time. It's a farm road with a new surface and great riding.
As pointed out, the green is gone and the land had a new
face to enjoy. I found Cotton Patch Road. I thought
I could go south and explore the area next to the
old abandoned Southern Pacific right of way, but it dead
ended at a farm whose owner has taken over the old road.
Now, there's another case of history lost.

It was muddy anyway so I reversed. I hadn't taken
any pictures going in, but decided to going out.
Sitting atop the Bayou Boeuf bridge I saw these pilings
in the bayou. I think they are from a previous road
bridge, but you know me, I hold out the possibility
that they were from a railroad trestle. I know, I need
to face reality, they seem too wide. But, the bridge
might have served both rail and road travelers. I'll
pursue that argument in a minute. I know the tension
is mounting.

The water everywhere was high. The Boeuf is usually
constrained within a narrow bed. One question I do have
is why didn't this bridge, if a replacement for the other,
takes its place, or was at least closer to the old pilings?

Here's looking upstream. Big water.

Here's the road back to La.182. Notice how straight it is
and that it is elevated evenly.

Red is where I was.
Green is my imagined railroad route.
I also question why La.182 breaks away from the
railroad where the presumed branch would have left the
main line in a "Y" configuration. The road, by taking
a jag, would only have to cross the rails once and not
both legs of the "Y". I haven't had breakfast, so give
me a break.

I was at a place called Boretta. I'm thinking there was
a mill here as it seems to be a hub for farming on the west
bank of the Boeuf. From here the land tilts down to
the west, this land being elevated from the yearly flooding
of the bayou. The next bayou to the west is Cocodrie.
The next railroad to the west was the Texas Pacific
which went into Ville Platte. So, these farms and a
possible mill needed transportion. Bunkie and
Washingon were the only large towns in the vicinity
and roads were not that good. I'll have to check the
Federal Writers Project book on Louisiana, printed in the
early 40's for info on this road back then, if it's mentioned.

Leaving the bayou on my assumed railroad bed, I saw
this farm off in the distance. This was probably a
rare opportunity with the crops down.

Zooming in.


There's the quintessential family farm. Notice the large
water tank next to the house. It may have been roof fed
but, probably not, being supplied by a well pump.
Forget that. It's probably a tractor fuel tank placed there
for some reason, maybe even after the house was abandoned.

Next I moved on to Whiteville. Ok you PC guys and gals,
Whiteville was named after Mr. White, so back off, you
have no game here or there if you have the guts to start
something, which I don't believe you do. Oh, PC does not
refer to personal computer, just to be clear. Whoa, I almost
put my foot in it.

From there I went east on WPA Road.
There's a hump out there in the valley of the Wauksha
I like to visit. Sitting atop it I shot south. You can see the
bend the railroad took to the west. Next stop on the RR
would be Garland Station as it was coming from St.Louis (La.).
and further to the north, Barbreck Station, covered in an
earlier ride.

I guess it's map time.

Red arrow = Whiteville, I usually show the Whiteville Falls
but they were submerged.
Orange arrow = the abandoned Southern Pacific RR hump.
Purple arrow = what was St.Louis, where we will go.
Blue arrow = Bayou Wauksha (pronounced "walk shure"
by one narrow eyed cretin that tried to kill me driving a
Kawasaki Mule on the Barbreck Ride). I thought I saw
him again on this one, but then there were many trucks
pulling Mules which opens up another big question. I
won't pursue that here as it is a bit conspiratorial in nature.

Now you know where you are going you'll have to wait until
the next page. The dog has gas and I think the heater is blowing
cold air. Might be time for a ride regardless of "rules".

Page 3

Back on page 2 I was on the hump looking south along the
the old Southern Pacific Railroad right of way.

Then I shot north looking toward St.Louis., at the end of the
purple arrow.

I thought about going down there but I wanted to look
at the Wauksha first.

That is looking south. I'll add an interesting note here.
Notice that the water is reddish. One of Wauksha's
tributaries is Red Bayou which originates just north of
Bear Corner Road which is just south of Bunkie. You can
stand on the bridge across it on Bear Corner Rd. I'm
telling you, it's worth the trip. If you go a little further
west on Bear Corner, you cross Bayou St.Clair. It is
Wauksha's other tributary. It's origin is up near
La.115 at Tanner Lake, just east of US 71 and Bunkie.

That's all up this way.

WPA is great primer for a lot of Louisiana Geology. It crosses
a very low area which may have been the route of the Red
and Mississippi Rivers at one time. Of course I say that about
most bayous, but it's food for thought if you are interested.

WPA comes out at Morrow, not to be confused with Moreauville.
There was a train station here on the old Texas &Pacific which
came from Melville through Palmetto and then turned
north at Lebeau and headed up US 71 to Alexandria. Along the
way, the branch from Crowley to Rayne to Opelousas to
VillePlatte intercepted it at Bunkie. I know, this extra info
is priceless. Actually it is. I don't see anyone reaching for
their wallets or purses. Again, I was at Morrow.

That's where the station was. This picture was taken from
the corner of US 71 and La. 107. Here's some more priceless
info, Mark. La.107 from here to Marksville and across the
Red River is one hellava great ride. You can get raccoon
burgers in Plaucheville, you just don't know it when it happens.
I was kidding. No I wasn't.

After exploring a few roads in the Morrow area, I returned
to WPA.

I'll have to tell you, the palmetto is one of my favorite plants.
When the brown starts getting to you, the palmetto is
always green.

I turned down the gravel road to St. Louis.

I've been here before but forgot if there was a trestle or not.
There wasn't. But, that's where it had been over the Boeuf.

The approach is to the right of the bike. This picture
does little to illustrate the true height of the fill. But, it
does illustrate how tentative that road was. I never knew
if it would wash out or not. It sure felt soft.

Headed back to WMA, these shots do show it's height.
This is intense bayou land and I doubt if the relief canals
were in place back then.

Closer to WMA the farmer has leveled the fill. It begins
again at the hump. The color along the way was brilliant.

On the way in I shot a very old piece of machinery. It must
have been a small cane mill. The hoist for unloading the
cane was still there. Only the bare trees give a hint of what was.

If you want to get a better look at the tracks and
the countryside between Opelousas and Cheneyville,
Click Here.

Al will be glad to show you. Are you
stealing my bike?

The SP/Louisiana Western: Lake Arthur to Mallard Junction
Lt. Al Robicheaux arrived at headquarters exactly on time.

James Lee Burke has mysteriously changed the person I previously knew as C. Alfonso de LaSalle. For the sake of non discussion, we'll leave it at that. Whatever is working for Al is working for me.

After 30 minutes, for which I cannot fully account, we were off on the ride. I had issued printed maps marked with points of interest for the Lt. to review. His only remark was, in his new cop speak followed, "Whatever the course of this investigation would take, he and his men were up to the task".

What men? Did I have a posy in tow along with Lt. Al?

I disdain group rides, but I guessed that if they were invisible and kept to themselves, it would be OK.

WE ALL turned south out of the driveway, leaving an imagined voluminous cloud of dust and disturbance. I needed fuel so Al and I, joined by the deputies, stopped at the Exxon station in St.Martinville. After filling up, I showed Al and company the old bridge at St. John Plantation which is right down the road sitting in, not across, Bayou Teche, as it has been swung out of usefulness.

From there I did my time travel magic, learned at the knee of a Hoodoo Princess from Arnaudville, which landed us in Abbeville, the beautiful and historic gateway to the southwest plains. The sky was a Colorado blue, a light wind was blowing from the north. A perfect day in South Louisiana lay before us. I heard no complaints from the assembled as I took this well behaved group to where the Southern Pacific had crossed the Vermillion Bayou under the direction of Chief Building Engineer Cushing way back in the beginning of the last century. I felt, after crossing the downtown motor car bridge, that a crowd should be gathered and a band playing to celebrate this new adventure. I believed that somehow we should be riding in Model A's or Packards with Teddy Roosevelt at the wheel. Or possibly it is now I feel that way after the fact?

I know I need to get a grip. It's been less than 24 hours since that ride ended. I walk a very fine line between returning to sanity and remembering the course of a ride day, which sanity erases.

Speaking of remembering, I know where the 2 spikes came from, duh on us. That mystery was the subject of the post ride conference which lasted an hour, each of us circling the yard with forefingers under chin. You found them, Couyan. They were where we are going in this ride report, Mallard Junction. I guess I'm a couyan, too, as I was very excited to have a memento of that likewise historical and beautiful place, so put your pistol away, Lt.

I'll have to remember to pull his firing pin from time to time.

The pictures and and text will start on the next page. This ride will eventually meld with he Ride to the Border which is in progress, in Jennings where more pictures and info will be added as, yes, we got to ride US 90 home, a never ending source source of sore butt.

page 2

Back a while, I traced a ripped up railroad from Abbeville to Eunice. That afternoon's ride was a great lesson in the topography of Louisiana along that right of way. I also documented the many points of interest. None out shown the one in Bayou Vermilion at Abbeville.

I had to show the bridge to the Lt. and all of his deputies. As always,
a gesture of kindness resulted in a big payoff. Leaving the
viewing area I saw yet another Abbeville treasure I'd missed. If
you have not strolled the old section of Abbeville, first fortifying
yourself with a little history, you are missing a great attraction.

Panning south from the cemetery, the rice mill comes into
sight. Rice mills and rice driers are different. A rice drier
is much smaller and only dries the wet rice so it doesn't rot.
The mill does so much more.

Where we are going, rice driers are as common as sugarcane
mills once were. The old sugarcane mills are almost gone now with
only nine or so remaining in the state. I fear the same fate for
the historic rice driers. I was telling Al that I compare them
with the windmills of Holland, but they are far superior in their
majesty and beauty. They are the castles of southwest Louisiana.

Hey Al, what's this old mill's name again?

Al mentioned, using the vernacular of New Iberia's
chief spook, that this mill enjoyed not only rail transportation
(still in use), but access to the bayou in the past. I almost heard
a chorus of admiring deputies singing, "Yes sir, that's right, sir".
I knew he would have them tightly trained, but...gee Al.

We followed Cushing's route through Kaplan and Geydan.

Somewhere along there, south of the road was this unusual building.
It could have been an early mill with adjoining driers. Lt. Al envisioned
it as a great "Big House". It was off the ground which dealt with potential flooding
and it has obviously withstood resent storms successfully. Further,
the square footage seemed appropriate.

For the sake of comparison, a normal home sat beside it.

We left La.14 momentarily. We both wanted to pursue this
tiny road, but, Mallard Junction was calling, "Quack, Quack".

Returning to La.14, it was time to go over the Mermentau River.

We would descend into Lake Arthur, the town, not the lake.
There we spent close to an hour and a half. It would be the
find of this trip. There were other monumental places which
gave up great amounts of information, but LA would be out-

You'll have to wait until my aun vie returns for me to continue.
No not Aunt Vie, aun' vie, you don't speak French? Prepare
yourself for a lesson on the history of Lake Arthur. You have
to understand the significance of the rails that you are about to
follow to fully appreciate their being. I know, I'm asking a lot.

page 3.

I was just fooling around with my map program using this ride's tracks. I decided to take pictures of each town's segment like I was doing in the Ride to the Border piece. That's below. My map shows the Iberia and Vermillion track in Abbeville and the Southern Pacific in the towns west of there. I'll bring you up to Lake Arthur, where I am now in the ride report. And, mercy, I just discovered something very interesting that answers a question presented with each dead end branch line, "Where did they turn the engine around"?

First is Abbeville. The rails come in from New Iberia, once operated by the Iberia and Vermillion RR. The heavy yellow lines are our route.

The rail bridge, rice mill and cemetery were in the same general area.

Next, going west on La.14 is Kaplan. It's main street, Cushing, is named after
the chief building engineer of the line at that time. We took Mill Street through
town. It is a quiet road where you can check out the dryers and mills? that are left.
Fire has claimed some, the wrecking ball, others. Yes there is a dedicated ride
featuring Kaplan on the Back Road Riding blog, link on this page. Some of the
missing are shown there.

The next map shows how to get to the "Big House" featured on the
last page. Al and I conferenced last night concerning ideas for new rides.
We both decided that the railroad thing has run its route, soliciting little
interest. What we came up was this. Since we both appreciate the spendor
and eligance of Rice Dryers, we will draw up a Rice Dryer Tour. It will be
called "The Castles of the Cajun Prairie Tour" since we see them as far more than
their mundane use. We'll probably do it this winter when there is no greenery
to detract from their stark beauty. Stay tuned for that. Here's the first location.
It' right past Sonnier's Landing Field, now named something else.

Next, the tracks and we took the great turn north at Gueydan.
The Southern Pacific would continue north to Riceville, Morse,
Midland, where there are new pictures and a spike to show you,
Egan, Iota, Keystone, Frey, and Eunice.

We could have paralleled a siding coming in if I'd been sharp.

Above you can see where we went south as I wanted to show
Al the high fill of the turn north at the Coon Island Canal
where the rails cross La.91.

A lane can be seen in a tunnel of trees where the line turned east.
That has been all documented previously on this site.

The next 2 maps are of Lake Arthur (LA). Superior Oil had a
huge stake in LA. The couple we talked to said their holdings
reached from the waterfront to the depot. We investigated
the waterfront first. Lt. Al found, again, evidence which will
be gone or covered up, soon. I guess "gone" and "covered up"
are the same thing? The depot was where you'd assume it to be,
in the side track area, middle of the map.

The next picture is what I missed. I swear I remember Al
saying, "I think I saw something back there that looked like
a wye". I also think I dismissed his observation or maybe it
didn't happen. The Lt. has definitely gravitated to his new
position as chief sleuth for the New Iberia Sheriff's Dept. I need
to recognize his gift with more sensitivity in the future.

This is what he might have seen. We crossed it. I had the map,
I had the practice at seeing crossings and I missed it. I'll have
to go back. This is how the Louisiana and Western/SP turned their
engines around. Evidently there was no room in LA. You can
see it extended to the contour line (brown) where there was
evidently a drop off in elevation.

More later with the intense LA history.

Page 4

First of all this is a pure history page.
Here's my version of a site whose address I've lost. Sue me. Consider this a free ad for LA.

Then I found a different one which is a little contradictory. We report, you decide.

Early settlers were drawn the Lake Arthur area by the fertile ground and plentiful game. The lake was named for Arthur LeBlanc who settled there. The original French name for the lake was La Lac d'Arthur, no translation needed. The article quotes Calvin Smith and Allen Fitzgerald and I will too, "In 1811, Atanas Herbert......t