More Sources

My other active blogs:


History Hunts Blog http://historyhunts-blog.blogspot.com/

Following Louisiana's & Mississippi's Historic Railroads http://oldrrs-blog.blogspot.com/

Finding the Lumber Mill Railroads http://lumbermillrrs.blogspot.com/

Following the Historic Rails of Mississippi http://mississippirails.blogspot.com/


Southern Pacific RR:> Lake Arthur Branch 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 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.


This mill enjoyed not only rail transportation (Lousisana & Delta RR),
but access to the bayou in the past.


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 Lake A would be
outstanding.

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 Vermilion RR. The heavy yellow lines are our route. On this rewrite I just noticed the spur on the west side of the river.
Evidently there was a mill there of some sort. Do not discount cotton.


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 report
featuring Kaplan .

The next map shows how to get to the "Big House" structure 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.

Update: Don't look for that tour, it never happened.

Next, the tracks took a great turn north at Gueydan.
The Southern Pacific would continue northward 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.
It is west of where you see "Par" on the map below the picture
of the spur's visual evidence.




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.

Below is a picture of the east to north bend of the Southern Pacifics's right of way.
A lane can be seen in a tunnel of trees where the line turned east.
That has been all documented previously.



Below is Gueydan, 1895. The picture was taken from the railroad depot platform.


Going north the tracks passed to the rear of those dryer towers.


Moving on the next 2 maps are of Lake Arthur (LA).
Superior Oil had a huge stake in LA. The couple we talked
to said their holding streached 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......to settle". There's a firm date.

There was the little village of Lakeside and an area called Shell Beach on the south shore of the lake. Both areas were settled before the present town of Lake Arthur. Lakeside had a post office, hotel, newspaper and several stores. Lakeside might have become the largest resort in Southwest Louisiana. Many of the earlier settlers chose that side of the lake as it was a planned resort but failed and Lakeside was no more.

The railroad came in 1903 so gradually most of the commercial projects moved north of the lake to the village of Lake Arthur.

Many of the earliest settlers were Creoles from New Orleans who built south of the lake. A large residence was built in 1853, which still stands and is now known as the Macdonell plantation.
[A Creole is an American born Frenchman. The term "Creole" has since been adopted by others.]

Soldiers who had participated in the French Revolution came from New Orleans. Was the land payoffs for soldiering or were these escapees from Madame Guillotine? Viv la France!

One family remembers their father telling of living in a lean-to prior to building a home. Ducks were thick and sold in New Orleans to the high end restaurants.

The first sawmill within Lake Arthur corporate limits was built and operated by L. Fox. (no date)

Three events came together to turn Lake Arthur into rice-raising country. In 1876 the first rice mill was originally built where Andrus home stands. It was moved across the lake to Myer's Point. In 1887, the first rice thresher and portable steam boiler were bought. In 1890 the first rice irrigation pumping plant was built on Bayou Lacassine.

A carpenter came from the Basque country of southern France in about 1876 and settled on the Vermilion side of the lake. All of his sons were carpenters, also. They built many of the present homes in Lake Arthur.

Boat captains were very important to the settlers. The lake, which is about one mile wide and nine miles long, is part of the Mermentau River, a waterway to the Gulf of Mexico. There was an early captain who operated steam tugs and barges, hauling rice and other freight. He brought his tug ''Ida'' south in 1886 and then bought the ''Harry Bishop,'' followed by the stern wheeler ''Louisa Storm'' and the ''Olive'' which made trips to Grand Chenier for 17 years. That was the only means of travel between Lake Arthur and Cameron Parish.

Franklin D. Roosevelt visited before he was stricken with polio. Industrialist S.R. Kress was another well-known hunting visitor.

''The Live Oak Hotel was quite a spectacle in this comparative wilderness,'' wrote Smith and Fitzgerald. ''It was one of the most modern hotels in south Louisiana. It was maintained and operated as a hotel until 1922, and then turned into the Lake Arthur Hunting Club.''

In 1895 the Lake Arthur Camp Grounds was incorporated as the South Louisiana Holiness Camp Meeting Association. It was located on the lake front. The campground is still widely used.

In 1899 community leaders platted the town and in 1903 a petition was submitted to Gov. W. Heard for its incorporation. There were 250 landowners in the immediate area.

For the first time, the Southern Pacific Railroad came to Lake Arthur from Lake Charles in 1904, bring an excursion to the campgrounds.

Just north of the lake there is a little group of homes and farms in an area called Andrus Cove. It was settled before 1832 by Hiram Andrus. Hiram and his wife had eight children. According to his descendants, he had a Spanish land grant and also bought other acreage for 25 cents an acre. But when it came time to pay taxes, he gave away some of his land. His property reached from Lake Arthur to Jennings.

Today Lake Arthur citizens are a mixture of Acadians and French soldiers who came to the area in the early days in addition to Anglo-Americans, who arrived, mostly from the state of Iowa, during the 1890s. They have all come together as a community who work happily and with pride in their heritage.

Me: The Iowa connection again is mentioned.

Here's the second one FROM HERE.

Lake Arthur

The town of Lake Arthur is located in the southeastern region of Jeff Davis Parish south of Interstate 10 off of Highway 26. Lake Arthur has a population of approximately 2,942 people and a land area of 1.9 square miles.

The town derives its name from an early settler, Arthur LeBlanc. Over time, the region that developed along the lake became known as Lake Arthur. The lake itself is what attracted people to area and convinced them to settle there. Lake Arthur is over a mile wide and over nine miles long and is fed by the Mermentau River.

Lake Arthur has been home to a variety of people that were drawn to its water. It is believed to have been the site of a large Indian population, with burial mounds still in existence throughout the town. Later settlers included the Acadians, the French-speaking people who migrated down from Canada. The lake provided plenty of food and water for these early settlers, which deterred them from attempting to cultivate the land and establish communities.

Eventually, settlers moving into the area recognized the potential prosperity that could be obtained from the surrounding forests. The cypress trees were abundant and lumber mills were soon built all along the lake to process this flourishing resource. It is said that some of the most beautiful cypress lumber in the world came out of Lake Arthur. The rise in the lumber industry brought new settlers to the region looking for jobs or a chance to make their own fortune in a business enterprise.

Alongside the lumber industry, rice crops were being successfully grown in Lake Arthur. In 1876 the first rice mill was built in the village, and in 1890 the first rice irrigation pumping plant was built, which was the first one of its kind in the entire state. Being located on a major waterway, which provided access to an extended market, proved to be a key factor in the continuing success of Lake Arthur. In 1908, Lake Arthur was declared a town with a population of over 1000 people.

Because of its natural beauty and the fact that it provided opportunities for recreational hunting and fishing, Lake Arthur was also regarded as somewhat of a resort community. In 1885, the Live Oak Hotel was built on the lake to accommodate travelers in search of a temporary reprieve from the laborious life so many early settlers led. It is said that Franklin D. Roosevelt frequently stayed at this hotel and enjoyed many hunting adventures in the adjacent marshland.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, an abbreviated direct copy below:

This is about the Louisiana and Western Railroad which we'll be following. It is from Wikipedia which is an open source site.

The railroad of the Louisiana Western Railroad Company, hereinafter called the Louisiana Western, is a single-track, standard-gage, steam railroad, located in the southern part of Louisiana. The owned mileage extends eastwardly from the Texas-Louisiana State line at Sabine River to Lafayette, a distance of 105.888 miles, with branch lines from Mallard Junction to Lake Arthur, from Midland to Abbeville, and from Midland to Mamou, aggregating 102.219 miles, or a total main-line mileage of 208.107 miles. The Louisiana Western also owns and uses 75.084 miles of yard tracks and sidings. Its road thus embraces 283.191 miles of all tracks owned.
The Louisiana Western forms a part of the Atlantic System of the Southern Pacific Company and its main line is an important link in that carrier's through transcontinental route from New Orleans to San Francisco.
From the date the property was placed in operation, July 1, 1881, until February 28, 1885, the Louisiana Western was operated by its own organization. From March 1, 1885, until December 31, 1901, the property was exclusively operated by the Southern Pacific Company, under lease. From the latter date until December 31, 1917, it was operated by its own organization. On January 1, 1918, its common-carrier property was taken over and operated by the United States Railroad Administration and is so operated on date of valuation.
CORPORATE HISTORY
The Louisiana Western was incorporated March 30, 1878, for an unlimited period by special act of the legislature of Louisiana, approved March 30, 1878. The purpose of incorporation was to construct and operate a railroad extending from a point near Vermillionville, now Lafayette, to any point in the parish of Calcasieu on the Louisiana-Texas State line, all in the State of Louisiana, and such branches extending therefrom as may be deemed necessary. The date of organization was February 11, 1879.
DEVELOPMENT OF FIXED PHYSICAL PROPERTY

By purchase from, purchasing committee representing bondholders of the New Orleans, Mobile and Texas Railroad Company:

Lafayette, La. The Sabine River. Partly graded right of way.

The right of way for the greater portion of the main line of the Louisiana Western's road between Lafayette and the Sabine River was purchased from a purchasing committee representing the bondholders of the New Orleans, Mobile and Texas Railroad Company, and was partly graded at the time of acquisition.The construction of the main line was done under contract by the Pacific Construction Company. It can not be determined from the obtainable records, if the construction company was affiliated with the Louisiana Western. The construction work on the branches was performed principally by the forces of the Louisiana Western. Grading on some of these branches was done under contract.

The railroad extending from the Sabine River to Orange, Tex., was constructed for account of the Louisiana Western Extension Railroad Company, and was subsequently conveyed by that company to the Texas and New Orleans Railroad Company, by deed dated February 10, 1900.

A great table is below. Click to enlarge just like all the pictures on this blog.
That's it for the Info Pages. This really takes a lot of time, urg.

The time line is below.


page 5.

Lake Arthur



We rolled into Lake Arthur and pulled into a parking lot for me to get my bearings locating the rails. We were coming from the bottom right on the map above. We turned left at the light and passed over the railroad humps. I went around the block to return. That set up this shot (1) looking right into the lake. This is an example of the scenes there. Just gorgeous.

Along the street were probably some of the homes the carpenter brothers built.
Or, they sure look like lumber mill homes. Betcha. Sure are similar. (2)


Next, we returned to where we were to learn was the Superior Oil
property. Actually, I think Lt. Al saw the faded print on the building.


We believe this to also be a part of that yard.



The rails served both locations.

Al found the rail ties and is here seen pointing to how they ran.
His contributions have been priceless. Yes, he wears his pistol.
I never feel threatened by anyone else. Read that as you may.


He is standing close to where he found these rail ties.


Looking down the right of way away from the structures toward town.


The round concrete "walls" were a mystery. Each had a
central pipe. I'm thinking they were the axle base for some
type of drilling mud stirring apparatus. The rings were right
next to the tracks.



I should have looked in the little house

.

We zigged and zagged following the rails north.


The next shots are at ( 5) and continuing on out of town.

I know, "Here we go with pictures of grass".
Use your imagination.



Those were pretty easy.
Remember, this is south Louisiana. Here we are at about 6 feet
above sea level, if.

Old railroad beds are easy to see. Making them flat is a
pain, so often they remain until they sink into oblivion, like
everything else.

We were now on the northwest side of town at Notts Corner.
It's easily recognized. It's the tail end of a crawfish, Woodrow.
The tail is tucked in. If the tail ain't tucked, don't eat it.
I don't know what I'm talking about, so please, no email. I
think his tail, "his" because he's red, was blown off in Rita or
some real hungry resident, after a night at LA Bar, ate it.

I told Lt. that we're headed back in. We don't know where the
depot was and we're going to find out. Lake Arthur is not
in my backyard and getting here is a chore. I was not leaving
without the goods.


I saw the cement slab and knew it was there for railroad
business. Al and I both had helmets on plus we can't hear
anyway plus the bikes were running so every conversation
is a yelling match. The whole town probably heard me when
I said, "That's got to be the depot".

The Abshires heard me and came running out of the house.

"Did you say something about the depot?"
"Yes, mam."
"You are exactly correct."
I grinned sheepishly knowing that again my knack had showed up on time.

The couple were great. Of course Al knew the families and had one
connection after another. I knew he was going into the Fontenot
genealogy once again but he stirred clear, staying with his X's family
line which he knew to the "T". I sat in awe, once again, as a genetic quilt
was woven.

Kidding all aside, it was a great visit with some super friendly people.
He said that the clump of grass marked the depot. (4)



Then Mrs. Abshire went into the house and pulled
out a group of pictures and history that a Fitzgerald
had done. I remember a Fitzgerald from something
I read. I shall pursue that.

They were shots from the hay days of the early 1900's.
The place was a resort town. It's a high water slide.


Below was the Lake Arthur High School
and an excursion boat beneath that. She offered to
copy and mail the whole load to me. I couldn't put
her through that. It is findable.

 

I was going to link this page to my long ago visit here.
But, it seems that ride was on Geocities, and gone. But,
I have the pictures.

Under the La.14 Bridge, winter.


Looking out on the lake.


And the famous LA BAR.


Some Guzzi rider was in attendance.

Taken closer to the lake looking toward LA BAR.


Lake Arthur was well established in 1914.

Next are two versions of the same scene. I can't make up
my mind which is better. BTW, the shots were total accidents.


The power wire is troubling but I like the docks on both sides.
The swirl of the wave is pretty cool, too.


More later as we go up the line.

page 6

Lake Arthur to Thornwell


Having finished doing Lake Arthur, I felt the real adventure
ready to begin. We pulled out of town on La.14. I soon saw that
were leaving the tracks so we turned north on Lyon Road
and then west on 380 headed to Thornwell (017).


Where we crossed the tracks sat this one. The picture
appears painted. I like that. The power line and and mowed
area mark the right of way.


Here's looking back toward Lake Arthur.


When we reached the rails on La.380, I shot back down the line. 
The dryer can be seen in the distance.


These pictures begin to be boring if you see only the old
right of way. The fields, the sky, the farmsteads and the
dryers give an insight into a life not common to a majority.
People travel 4000 miles to see the Plains of the Midwest.
If you are from Louisiana or East Texas, just ride to Thornwell.


Al remarked that there is nothing to stop the wind. Some
places have large old trees for that purpose. The oak, below,
seems adequate.


We arrived at Thornwell

THORNWELL
Thornwell is in southern Jefferson Davis Parish, on Hwy. 380. This
farming community centers today around the vast Petitjean Farms, on
which are grown rice and soybeans. The St. Francis of Assisi Church
remains in the community, although the old Petitjean Grocery is
closed. The Thornwell Warehouse and Rice Dryer, built it the 1940s,
continues to operate there.

Me:
I have found the Thornwell name linked to the Southern Pacific before.
I'm not sure that this is the deepest connection, but Thornwell Fay was
the VP of the SP at one time and may have assumed the presidency later.

We'll also be going through Bell City.
Check this out, it's only a guess:
April 10, 1912, Lake Charles, Louisiana
BEL-FAY WEDDING TONIGHT
Miss Marie Bel and Charles S. Fay to become life partners

This evening at 8 o'clock Miss Marie Bel, and Charles S. Fay, of New Orleans, will be united in marriage at the home of the bride's parents, corner of Mill and Moss streets.
The Rev. Dr. Alexandria, New Orleans, will perform the ceremony, which will be witnessed only by those immediately connected with the families concerned, although as relatives from different points have been invited it is probable that 150 guests will be present.
Following the ceremony the bride and groom will leave in Mr. Fay's private car for California and other points in the west, to be gone a month, after which they will return to Louisiana and make their home in New Orleans.

Mr. Fay is freight manager of the Louisiana & Texas lines of the Southern Pacific, with headquarters at New Orleans, and brother of President Thornwell Fay, of the same lines.

There you go.

This old place was near the Thornwell dryer.


Those are crawfish nets. Rice fields and crawfish ponds
are very close to the same thing at times. Land developed
for one, can easily be converted to the other.




The mill had a siding.

Assuming the map to be correct, the rails would be to
the right of the road. I'm guessing the siding ran through the
openings in the building.


Here's a last look.


No, this one is.


Toyko is on one end of the scale, Thornwell sits comfortably on the other.

page 7

Next up was Niblett. It seemed in the middle of nowhere but I was determined to find it. I came to one road and told Lt. Al, along with all the deputies, as he insisted that I address them, that this was the road to Niblett. I swear I heard a chorus of moans or maybe it was the wind.


We took 380 to 99 south to Cherokee west to Watkins north.
The picture above was taken at (018), Watkins Road.


(019)


This was on Watkins Road, too. Al said that he'd read somewhere
about a Watkins that helped bring railroading here. He,
being into genealogy, don't we know, might be onto something.
I just spent an hour on Thornwell. Lt. Al, if you want to
pursue Watkins, be my guest. I think that's a water well derrick.
UPDATE: The mention of "Watkins" might be significant as he 
brought the railroad to Lake Charles.

(020)


I was struck by the old oak forest. We were near a place called Oak
Island. Maybe we were on it. Islands are high places down here.
They don't have to be surrounded by water.

(021)

We were approaching Niblett. The fact that something
was there was surprising.


Yes, that's the Niblett dryer. It looks like Rita might have had
her way with the structure. But that's OK since it gives an
idea of what is beneath the metal skin. Those are huge
vertical silos for drying the rice.

We came to the rail crossing.


Here again there was an "in and out" siding.
This is the main line shot.


Al said to zoom out. Look closely, you can see the Thornwell dryer.


Here is the siding side:


I was getting the idea of what the railroad carried.
Cypress and seafood and oilfield supplies, to and from LA,
and agriculture along the way.

There were even railroad ties in the road. Oh, the arrows?
We had been on Cherokee Road. That made me think of
Chief Broken Arrow.


We had de-biked and were mulling around. I'd gone off in the
woods to commune with nature and came eye to eye with this.


I ran from the woods with it stuck to my face thinking I was
having an Aliens moment.

Just kidding, it's a Banana Spider. Gorgeous creatures and they
get quite large. Look at that cute face, cher.

Al was calling in for a pizza.


After the pizza, it was off to the Lorraine Bridge. We really
lost the rails en route. Bayou Lacassine has a huge back
swamp which the rails were evidently able to cross. I saw no
road we could take. Our next depot hunt would be in Hayes.


We were en route to the Lorraine Bridge which goes over Bayou Lacassine.


We approached the Niblett Canal. There was a guy fishing from the bridge.


It was a moment. I saw 2 Fingers against the pump house.
Al pulled his gun and ordered the two Fingers to get away
from the pump house and stand in the ditch.


Obviously, Lt. Al had had experience with Finger People.
These were young ones and simply into mischief. He
scared them and then let them go, telling them that they
better get back in school and stop hanging around pump
houses where there was nothing but trouble waiting for them.

They scurried off the best that finger people can.
I next got a shot of the canal which is used for irrigation.


We continued west toward Lorraine. It got low. We were definitely in Finger People country.


Approaching the bridge, I heard an un-muffled 4-wheeler
approaching  It passed us in a blur. Sure enough it was
an old crazy Finger Guy.


We continued on constantly vigil.


Finally, we came to the Lorraine Bridge. It is a rebuild of
the first Lorraine Bridge, of which I have a picture, the one below.



You have to shoot from the bridge. History is thick here.
The early settlers quickly made friends with the Finger People.
They traded and all was well. Then the bridge was built
and the settlers started using Niblett Road to get to, where else,
Niblett. Bad feelings continued until the Settlers agreed to
not improve Niblett road and go to Hayes to get to Niblett.
All has been fine since. The Finger People live in the back
swamp and of course have a school provided for them.
They are thinking about opening a casino in the near future.


This is looking toward the village.

Next, we'll be looking for the depot at Hayes.

Page 8

Having just negotiated the La.DMV office in 15 minutes and
not being able to go anywhere on the new to me DR650
because it seems monsoon season is upon us again, I decided,
in lieu of a deserved nap, I'd fill in the blanks on the last trip
Al and I took in search of the Louisiana and Western between
Port Arthur and Mallard Junction, the namesake of this outing.

Last seen (Page 7) our heroes (yes, I count myself) were seen
emerging from the Bayou Lacassine swamp at Lorraine. From
there we dove straight south to Hayes on La.101 and 14, crossing a
bit more of that swamp. Remember, we were not far from
terminal Louisiana, a place where our webbed feet do indeed
come in handy.

Arriving in Hayes, the railroad right of way was clearly seen.


You let me get away with telling you stuff like that? Yes
it is, but a poor example.

I started to believe that evidence of the old rails would be
slim in Hayes. We circled a block and sure enough there it was.


Yes, yet another dryer and maybe a small mill. The outstanding
bit of architecture was the water tower. Al noticed the ladder
going up one leg. There were dares exchanged, me daring
him not to go up. He returned the dare not to go up
and I accepted. He said he did not accept dares and headed
for the the rungs. Feeling guilty, I told him I would not
take his picture anymore if he went up that ladder.
Vanity won over and he reversed course back to his bike.


On the opposite side of the mill was the siding. We talked
to a gent that was in his front yard. He verified the location
of the depot. It was near the mill. Below is looking down the
siding to the mill. I have exact coordinates of the depot.
For prices, check the site store.




Bell City

Continuing west, now on La.14, we neared Bell City. We
crossed the rails, the right of way was clearly seen, really.



We were in the groove in Bell City.


I would bet that the old store served as the depot.
We should have asked.



A picture of the Bell City Drainage Canal could not be missed.
We left 14 and followed Rossignol Road out of town going
west because it followed the rails.



Al said it went to the Intracoastal Canal, down there a
few miles, another reminder we were in lower Louisiana.

Next was the first rail hit on the railroad since Niblett and
the ties in the dirt road. There's the remainder of a small
trestle over the BCDC. It was a moment.


At Homewood I had to check out this dryer and warehouses
that were on the line. Homewood is at the corner of La.14
and La.27. The rail loading doors sealed the deal.




Al knew the guy that owned the store so we went in to visit.
While in there we met a gentleman who had helped pull up
the rails in the late 80's and build the new rails to the natural
gas dock later on. He knew it all. What a great character.
He described, for us, the dismantling of the Laccasine Bayou
railroad swing bridge. You don't run into those stories every day.
He said that you could get to the spot but you'd have to jump a
ditch and walk a mile or so. Reluctantly, we passed..... though
Al was urging me to give it a go.



Next we turned up La.27 heading to Lake Charles and the
hopes of find the illusive Mallard Junction. I also had a
yearning to be in Hippie, Louisiana. I think this Hippie
was there far before that San Francisco thing.
UPDATE:  The place is not really named "HIPPIE".
I was evidently very tired when I wrote this.

Wait, he demanded his picture.


OK....CLICK HERE to go to 9 But, wait, it must be music night.

Seeing Lt. Al sitting there made me think of the song below
Don't forget to come back up here and go to page 9.
Reading further might make you dizzy bringing on a
desperate need to drive to Burger King and eat 5 Whoppers.

One Toke Over The Line by Brewer & Shipley
(I only like it cuz it mentions a railroad station)

One toke over the line sweet Jesus
One toke over the line

Sittin' downtown in a railway station
One toke over the line

Awaitin' for the train that goes home, sweet Mary
Hopin' that the train is on time

Sittin' downtown in a railway station
One toke over the line

Whoooo do you love, I hope it's me
I've bin a changin', as you can plainly see

Now I'm one toke over the line sweet Jesus
One toke over the line

Sittin' downtown in a railway station
One toke over the line

I'm waitin' for the train that goes home sweet Mary
Hopin' that the train is on time

Sittin' downtown in a railway station
One toke over the line

I bin away a country mile,
Now I'm returnin' showin' off a smile

One toke over the line sweet Jesus
One toke over the line

Sittin' downtown in a railway station
Don't you just know I waitin' for the train that goes home sweet Mary
Hopin' that the train is on time

Sittin' downtown in a railway station
One toke over the line

Don't you just know I waitin' for the train that goes home sweet Mary
Hopin' that the train is on time

Sittin' downtown in a railway station
One toke over the line

I want to be
One toke over the line sweet Jesus

One toke over the line
Sittin' downtown in a railway station

One toke over the line
Don't you just know I waitin' for the train that goes home sweet Mary

Hopin' that the train is on time
Sittin' downtown in a railway station
One toke over the line

Sittin' downtown in a railway station
One toke over line
One toke, one toke over the line

Page 9
 

At Homewood (025 on the map) the old rails had crossed La.27, headed north.
We followed the best we could. I wanted to be in Hippie (028).
I just found it a funny name, reflectfully. We had a chance to venture
off to the gas dock but I didn't think we'd get too far because of
Al's securing issues, even with his new New Iberia Sheriff's Dept.
Lieutenant's badge and the 15 invisible deputies riding along in tandem.



Excitement grew as we all crossed each track.


There was another dryer on La.27 south near the old airport.





Map Explanation.
026 was the far away dryer shot.
o27 is the closeup dryer shot with the dead end siding to the west.
The rails going southwest go to the gas dock.
The rails going west go into downtown Lake Charles.
The rails gong almost east on Joe Spears circle
around north and meet up with the line going up
US 165 just east of Iowa, La.
The rails going northwest go to Hippie and Mallard Junction.
At this point, all the rails shown are in use. Maybe not the LC downtown branch?
Below is Hippie, no kidding. It's right at the airport.


It you goin to Hippie

     C        G       D
If you going to Hippie,
Em         C         G               D
be sure to wear some flower in your hair.
Em        G        C       G
If you're going to Hippie,
G         Bm       Em      D
you won't know when you get there.


Em            C       G       D
For those who come to Hippie
Em            C       G       D
summer time will be as hot as hell.
Em     G          C       G
In the streets of Hippie,
G         Bm       Em      D
You will sweat and you will smell.

Em           Am C       G         D
For those who come to Hippie,
Em          C        G               D
be sure to wear some flower in your hair.
Em      G       C       G
If you come to Hippie,
G         Bm       Em      D
Like that, they gonna stare.


Em     F#m     A     D     A
If you come to Hippie
A      C#m     F#m        A
 
 
Maybe a choo choo will be there!!!
UPDATE: Obviously I was delirious, the place name is really HIPPLE.
I had seen the "L" as an "i". 
From Hipple, it was a hop skip and jump to Mallard Junction.
I looked at the old house across the track and reflectedly
reflected on the reflections of history which its windows had reflected.

When I posted these picture, I guess I considered the vision
of Mallard Junction too ominous to share the spotlight with
any other shots, so I gave Mallard Junction its own page.

Page 10

Here we were. The Hippie Experience had left me a little dizzy and hungry.

I looked around in amazement, thinking that I had
taken a Magic Carpet ride into Electric Lady Land
where the Trains Kept a Rolling All Night Long.

Yes, delirium had set in.

Alas:

The place actually exists. No yellow bricks.

I'll settle down, back to academia:

Here is what all that means if my guess is right.
UPRR, that's easy, Union Pacific Railroad.
M.P. 215.25 is, guessing, Mile Post ....., the distance from
here to somewhere where they start measuring.
UPDATE, the counting starts on the West Bank, New Orleans.
.
DOT is the Department of Transportation number.
And a number to call if something needs to be reported.
Like us.


I guess it was all kinda anticlimactic.
Rails east to Iowa Junction:




The Mallard Junction Switch switches to points south and LakeArthur.

Below is looking toward Lake Charles. We saw a light we
thought was coming continuing our way. I've been on a roll
where trains just show up when I do. Mallard would break my streak.


Here's another look.  Why, there's really not much else to do at Mallard Junction..


Airplanes broke the eerie silence.


Leaving we passed RR AVE. It was a poignant moment.


I know, if we had just stayed longer something would have
happened. Wouldn't you know it, about at Mermentau, the
Sunset Special went roaring west. I figure if we had remained an
hour we could have waved at the crew and passengers at
Mallard Junction. Now that would have been something to write home about.

Next we will continue and then merge with the Ride to the
Border Ride which has been on a side track waiting for us
to catch up. I'll have to wait for signals to get that done.

Page 11


We crossed the overpass where you see 165. I got this
shot by accident. That's as good as it gets while holding a
camera in your mouth. The rails go south


Those rails plunge south and then turn north back to Mallard Junction.


I let Lieutenant Al (he was in his Robicheaux Era)
and the 15 deputies pass me up.

They wanted to practice their parade maneuvers "at speed". 
 I saw an occasional spark to remind me to stay at a distance.


That's it.

Oh, it's 2016 now.
That was pretty rough.