Tag Archives: Louisiana

“Travel America” and Me

20 Feb

The other day, we were flying to Arizona, and I picked up a magazine to read on the plane. Travel America lists over 250 places to visit in the United States. As I skimmed through the pages, I began to count all of the ones that I have visited. I have been lucky enough to travel to all 50 states and have seen some great stuff. This is a list of places that Travel America and I have in common.

Wait, here is a picture that I took on the trip to get you in the mood. It is in the Superstition Mountains.img_2279

Massachusetts

Paul Revere House

Old North Church

USS Constitution

New York

Central Park

Madison Avenue

Statue of Liberty

Empire State Building

Broadway

Niagara Falls

Pennsylvania

Independence Hall

Liberty Bell

National Constitution Center

Rhode Island

The Breakers

Florida

Walt Disney World

Kennedy Space Center

Everglades National Park

Miami Beach

South Beach

Georgia

River Street

Buckhead

Georgia Aquarium

World of Coca-Cola Museum

Kentucky

University of Kentucky

Louisiana

Garden District

Lafayette Cemetery

French Quarter

Louisiana State University

Mississippi

Ground Zero Blues Club

Delta Blues Museum

Natchez Trace

North Carolina

Blue Ridge Parkway

The Biltmore

South Carolina

Harbour Town Golf Links

Tennessee

Beale Street

B.B. King’s Blues Club

Graceland

Ryman Auditorium

Country Music Hall of Fame

The Hermitage

Union Station Hotel

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Alum Cave Trail

Cade’s Cove

Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Washington Monument

Lincoln Memorial

Arlington National Cemetery

Old Town Alexandria

Mount Vernon

Illinois

Michigan Avenue

Indiana

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Michigan

University of Michigan

Missouri

Gateway Arch

North Dakota

Badlands

Fort Mandan

Ohio

Progressive Field

Warehouse District

Oklahoma

National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum

Cattleman’s Steakhouse

South Dakota

Badlands National Park

Wall Drug

Mount Rushmore

Crazy Horse Memorial

Custer State Park

Saloon #10

Mt. Moriah Cemetery

Arizona

Tombstone

Mission San Xavier del Bac

Grand Canyon

Canyon de Chelly

Goulding’s Lodge and Trading Post

Sedona

Colorado

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Mesa Verde National Park

Montana

Billings

Pompeys Pillar National Monument

Little Bighorn Battlefield Indian Memorial

Beartooth Highway

Glacier National Park

Going-to-the-Sun Road

Nevada

Death Valley National Park

Luxor

Excalibur

Venetian

New Mexico 

Carlsbad Cavern

Palace of the Governors

Inn of the Anasazi

White Sands National Monument

Texas

Sixth Floor Museum

South Congress Avenue

Sixth Street

River Walk

The Alamo

Utah

Bryce Canyon

Temple Square

Wyoming

Snake River

Grand Tetons National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Old Faithful Inn

Yellowstone Lake

Old Faithful

Lower Falls

Yellowstone River

Buffalo Bill Center of the West

Alaska

Glacier Bay National Park

Denali National Park

California

Universal Studios

HOLLYWOOD sign

Grauman’s Chinese Theater

Walk of Fame

Rodeo Drive

Golden Gate Bridge

Chinatown

Redwood National Park

General Sherman Tree

Sequoia National Park

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite Falls

Pacific Coast Highway

Hawaii

USS Arizona Memorial

Lanikai Beach

Volcanoes National Park

Waimea Canyon

Oregon

Haystack Rock

Columbia River Gorge

Mt. Hood

Historic Columbia River Highway

Crater Lake

Washington

Mount Rainier National Park

Movie Wisdom – Levon Helm Edition

7 Apr

Last night, I was flipping through the channels and stopped on a movie called In the Electric Mist. Tommy Lee Jones plays a Louisiana detective who is trying to catch a serial killer. Along the way, he runs into some great actors.

John Goodman

Mary Steenburgen

Ned Beatty

It was surprising to see such performers in what I would consider a B Movie. I kept thinking that it was an excuse for a bunch of friends to get together and have fun in New Orleans.

It was also surprising to see a couple of famous musicians in the movie. Namely, Buddy Guy and Levon Helm, who played a ghostly character.

As I watched the movie, I thought about a post that I wrote about Levon Helm. It would be great if you read it. That post is about his music, but it is also about his movies. In the Electric Mist was the last one in which he appeared.

It has been a long time since I wrote a Movie Wisdom post. Now, it is a good time to discover the words of wisdom that can be found in the movies of Levon Helm.Levon Helm

From Coal Miner’s Daughter

I thought “horny” meant cuttin’ up and acting silly!

What we got to do next is figure out what to do next.

From The Right Stuff

No bucks, no Buck Rodgers.

From Shooter

Sometimes to catch a wolf you need to tie the bait to a tree.

From In the Electric Mist

Venal and evil men are destroying the world you were born in.

Don’t compromise your principles or abandon your cause.

There’s two ways of looking at the idea of understanding. One is if you don’t look you never will see. And the other is, if you look a little less you’ll understand a hell of a lot more.

A Blue Jay don’t sit on a Mocking Bird’s nest. The Mocking Bird will whoop the Blue Jay’s ass every time.

Get Away From Magazines

14 Jul

I have to stop going to the grocery store because I always buy some “Special Edition” magazine. “Special Edition” is the code for something that costs more than a regular magazine. Yesterday, I got one called Great American Getaways that was put out by LIFE.Getaway

I read it and decided that the money spent meant that I should do more than that. Therefore, we have a post.

This is going to be simple. List the getaways. Write if I have ever been to them. Yes or no answers will suffice.

Mount Desert, Maine – No

The Freedom Trail, Boston, Massachusetts – Yes

Franconia, New Hampshire – No

Block Island, Rhode Island – No

Mystic, Connecticut – No

Sag Harbor, New York – No

Tanglewood and Williamstown, Massachusetts – No

Stowe, Vermont- No

New York City, New York – Yes

Cape May, New Jersey – No

Cooperstown, New York – No

Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, No

The Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. – Yes

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania – Yes

Niagara Falls, New York – Yes

Sea Island, Georgia – No

Walt Disney World, Florida – Yes

The Florida Keys – No

Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia and North Carolina – Yes

Horse Country, Kentucky – Yes

Columbus, Indiana – No

Mackinac Island, Michigan – No

Nashville, Tennessee – Yes

Chicago, Illinois – Yes

New Orleans, Louisiana – Yes

Ozarks, Arkansas – Yes

Sand Hills, Nebraska – No

Mount Rushmore, South Dakota – Yes

Santa Fe, New Mexico – Yes

Land of the Anasazi, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico – Yes

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming – Yes

Jackson Hole, Wyoming – Yes

Horseshoe Bend, Arizona – No

Alta, Utah – No

Glacier National Park, Montana – Yes

Las Vegas, Nevada – Yes

Death Valley, California – Yes

San Diego, California – Yes

Yosemite National Park, California – Yes

Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada – Yes

Oregon Wine Country – No

Mount Rainier, Washington – Yes

Big Sur, California – Yes

San Francisco, California – Yes

San Juan Islands, Washington – No

Redwood National Park, California – Yes

Volcano National Park, Hawaii – Yes

Lanai, Hawaii – No

Glacier Cruise, Alaska – Yes

The Brooks Range, Alaska – No

That is 29 visits out of 50 places.

Now, I promise myself that I will not buy more “Special Edition” magazines…until I go back to the grocery store.

 

National Parks and Me

27 May

On our recent trip to New Mexico, we visited several places under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service, and those visits made me wonder how many I have visited.Park

This post is simple. It is a list of the ones I have visited with a short comment about each. Oh yeah, they will also be listed by state.

Alaska

Denali National Park – a beautiful view of Mt. McKinley

Glacier Bay National Park – eagles, bears, whales and calving icebergs.

Arizona

Canyon de Chelly National Monument – an interesting ride into another culture

Grand Canyon National Park – a big hole in the ground

Montezuma Castle National Monument – cliff dwellings by the river

Petrified Forest National Park – trees of stone

Saguaro National Park – the insects make a weird sound, but the cacti are awesome

California

Death Valley National Park – hot does not describe it

Golden Gate National Recreation Area – the bridge is not golden

Redwood National Park – a bunch of big trees

Sequoia National Park – another bunch of big trees

Yosemite National Park – one of the most beautiful places on earth

Colorado

Great Sand Dunes National Monument – it is a heck of a climb to the top

Mesa Verde National Park – unfortunately, I had to correct the park ranger

Georgia

Jimmy Carter National Historic Site – Plains never had it so good

Hawaii

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – we visited before they started erupting

Louisiana

New Orleans Jazz National Historic Site – it is a room behind Cafe Du Monde

Mississippi

Natchez Trace Parkway – it is a cool drive but do not speed

Vicksburg National Military Park – this is what a siege looks like

Missouri

Harry S Truman National Historic Site – my favorite president to visit

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial – otherwise known as the Arch

Montana

Glacier National Park – it is my heading on Twitter

Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site – a real ranch is better

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument – my favorite battlefield to visit

Nevada

Lake Mead National Recreation Area – made famous by Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson

New Mexico

Bandelier National Monument – climb the ladders

Carlsbad Caverns National Park – walk in and take the elevator out

Chaco Culture National Historic Park – kivas are everywhere

El Morro National Monument – the most awesome collection of autographs ever

Fort Union National Monument – not much left of the fort

Pecos National Historical Park – exists due to the generosity of Greer Garson

Petroglyph National Monument – a victim of urban sprawl

White Sands National Monument – it is like visiting another planet

New York

Statue of Liberty National Monument – she has big feet

Oregon

Crater Lake National Park – bluest water I have ever seen

Lewis and Clark National Historic Park – this is where they stopped before turning around

Pennsylvania

Independence National Historic Park – they signed some sort of document around here

South Dakota

Badlands National Park – it took some bad people to survive here

Mount Rushmore National Memorial – where are the rest of their bodies

Tennessee

Andrew Johnson National Historic Site – it does not matter that he was impeached

Great Smoky Mountains National Park – it has some great hiking trails

Shiloh National Military Park – the tragedy can be felt in the air

Stones River National Battlefield – it is right down the road

Texas

San Antonio Missions National Historic Park – remember the Alamo

Utah

Bryce Canyon National Park – walk among the hoodoos

Virginia

Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial – it looks down on the eternal flame

George Washington Memorial Parkway – we had a nice lunch along this road

Washington

Mount Rainier National Park – you do not want to be around when it erupts

Washington, D.C.

Korean War Veterans Memorial – truly haunting at night

Lincoln Memorial – covered with people

National Mall – it is bigger than you might think

Vietnam Veterans Memorial – touch the wall and feel the loss

Washington Monument – they play softball all around it

White House – it does not look as big as I thought it would

World War II Memorial – try to find Kilroy

Wyoming

Devil’s Tower National Monument – did not see any alien spacecraft

Fort Laramie National Historic Site – several broken treaties signed here

Grand Teton National Park – what does that name mean in French

Yellowstone National Park – the jewel of all national parks

 

The Sixth of April

6 Apr

That is what the date stamp at the left of this post says. What it does not say is that it is also my dad’s birthday. To celebrate, my brother, my nephew, our friend Larry and I spent yesterday with him at the University of Tennessee. We watched football practice and got a  behind-the-scenes tour of the football facilities. That may not seem like fun to a lot of people, but, for crazy fans like us, it was a great day.

To celebrate on this blog, I thought it would be interesting to see what historic events have happened on April 6.April

In 1862, the Battle of Shiloh began.

In 1970, Sam Sheppard passed away. For those who do not know, his story became the fictional story of The Fugitive.

In 1917, the United States officially entered World War I.

In 1841, John Tyler was sworn in as president. It is hard to believe that he has grandchildren who are still living.

In 1808, John Jacob Astor created the American Fur Company. Eventually, he would become America’s first millionaire.

In 1896, the first modern Olympic Games began in Athens, Greece.

In 1929, the Louisiana House of Representatives impeached Governor Huey P. Long.

In 1973, the designated hitter was introduced into the American League.

In 1938, my dad was born.

 

 

The State of Music – Part 2

15 Apr

Before continuing on the search for the best (my favorite, anyway) songs with the names of states in their titles, I should say that some of these are already on my iPod. I figure if they are on my iPod, then I must like them somewhat. With that in mind, here we go with the next ten states.

Hawaii – I think Hawaiian music is pretty cool, and I am a big fan of Elvis. So, I thought about going with something from those two groups. Instead, I choose a classic television theme as my favorite Hawaii song. For people growing up in the 1970s, nothing epitomized Hawaii like the “Theme from Hawaii Five-0”.

Idaho – This state did not provide many options. I could have gone with the B-52’s, but they are not to my liking. It turns out that there is something on my iPod that was almost forgotten. From the soundtrack of Robert Altman’s Nashville (I mean, what better topic could there be for a movie.), I picked “My Idaho Home” by Ronee Blakley. Interestingly, Altman had his cast write and perform their own songs. This did not make the music insiders of Nashville happy.

Illinois – There are some cool Blues songs about Illinois due to the Great Migration of African-Americans from the south. With this move, people sought a better life. As a by-product, the Blues moved with them. Despite that history, I found a song by Frank Zappa, “The Illinois Enema Bandit”, that I couldn’t pass up. After all, I feel like there is a guy from Illinois sticking something in my rectum every day.

Indiana – I wonder why there are so many “I” state’s in the midwest. For this “I” state, I went with the criminal-on-the-run story “Indiana Wants Me” by R. Dean Taylor.

Iowa – You learn something new every day. It’s an old saying, but it is true. During this project, I learned that Slipknot is from Iowa, and they honored their state with a 15 minute epic called “Iowa”. It’s a happy story of love and what someone off their rocker might do if he can’t have that love.

Kansas – In Part 1 of this project, I received a comment from the corner of Trask Avenue about my Arizona pick. He suggested “By the Time I Get to Phoenix”, which is an all-time great song. However, it did not have the state name. I replied that I would not use a city name until I had to. Although, there are a bunch of Kansas songs, I am going with “Kansas City Shuffle” by J. Ralph. Reasons? The state name is right there in the city name (not my fault that they weren’t original). Second, I first heard it in a super cool movie, Lucky Number Slevin.

Kentucky – I skipped a chance to go with Elvis once in this post, and I am not doing it again. No list of music is complete without the King. With that in mind, I am moving past Bill Monroe and other Bluegrass greats to choose “Kentucky Rain”.

Louisiana – Man, there are a lot of Louisiana songs, too. From Cajun to Jazz to Country, this states shows up everywhere. However, in the 1960s something strange happened. The British invaders, like Eric Clapton, brought Blues back to popularity in America. They appreciated our music history more than we did. No one loved the Blues more than Eric Burdon and the Animals. One of their best is “Louisiana Blues”, a remake of a Muddy Waters tune.

Maine – This state is famous for lobster, L.L. Bean, and Stephen King. It is not famous for music recorded in its name. The pickings were slim, but I found a good song by Ivory called “Coast of Maine”.

Maryland – Likewise, I had some trouble with Maryland. There is that state song that they always play at the Preakness, but I vowed to stay away from state songs and try to stay with music from at least the past hundred years. After a search for something I would listen to on a regular basis, I found “Maryland Again” by Gerry Goffin.

That’s it for the second ten. If you want to see what happened with the first ten states, then check out Part 1 of the series. Part 3 will be coming soon.

A Totally Not Funny Account of My Trip to New Orleans

26 Mar

Last night, the group returned from the field trip to New Orleans after a lot of driving, walking and eating. Everyone was tired and haggard, a motley bunch indeed. Although I wanted sleep desperately, I took time to login into WordPress to check up on what I had missed over the weekend. There, I found my first negative comment.

Without going into details, the commenter took exception to one of the posts and wrote that there was nothing funny about it. In fact, I was being cruel. God forbid that someone look at the idiosyncratic aspects of life and write about them. I suppose that finding humor in the mundane is considered cruel in the eyes of some. I really don’t want to step on the toes of the sensitive, so here is a totally not funny account of my trip to New Orleans. Although, a lot of funny things happened.

Friday

Left campus at 6:45 AM in three white passenger vans.

Drove to Laurel, Mississippi and had crepes for lunch.

Drove to the La Quinta Inn on the outskirts of New Orleans.

Had hash browns covered with ham, bacon, sausage and gravy at a local diner.

Went to sleep.

Saturday

Left at 8 AM for the drive to the French Quarter

Took the students on a historical tour of the French Quarter. (A lot of cool and funny stuff happened here, but some people may not want to read about it.)

Went to lunch at a food festival and had gumbo.

Watched parts of a basketball game at Margaritaville.

Had a very enlightening conversation at Pat O’Brien’s.

Marched in a wedding parade.

Met with the students to make sure they were still alive still present. (Saying “still alive” may be funny to some, but who can take the chance?)

Looked at the art being sold around Jackson Square.

Had dinner at The Court of Two Sisters and dined on shrimp wrapped in bacon; salad; duck breast; dirty rice; and bread pudding.

Strolled down Bourbon Street

Loaded onto the bus and returned to the hotel.

Went to sleep.

Sunday

Got on the bus at 7:30 AM

Drove through the Garden District and the Lower 9th Ward. (There should be a social commentary here about the effects of Hurricane Katrina, but someone might take it wrong.)

Visited the site of the Battle of New Orleans.

Had lunch at McDonald’s in Laurel, Mississippi

Arrived back home.

It was a fun and informative trip for the students and teachers. It’s too bad that I don’t feel comfortable relating some of that fun. With the next post, I will return without the stick in my ass.