The road you and I have traveled comes somewhat full circle with today's post. We began with the Atchafalaya River and will briefly stop there again today. Rivers, streams, and bayous lace much of Louisiana. For a long time, too many Louisianians took these treasures for granted. Indeed, back in the 1980s, the State provided tax incentives for industry to come on down.
They did, a good thing in many respects. Unfortunately, the State didn't slap a few restrictions on industry. So, like a kid in a candy shop, industry enjoyed the caloric feast and burped along.
The strip between New Orleans and Baton Rouge has acquired the name Cancer Alley because industry dumped waste into the waters that seeped into everyday life. My youngest sister is a breast cancer survivor. She lives near that strip. Actually, it's a pretty area. You wouldn't know a problem existed. But, genetically and as far as we know, there's no cancer in our family. The doctors said her cancer was 'environmentally caused.'
To the State's credit, attempts have been made to undo this environmental mess -- with some success -- but obstacles remain. There are times when I wonder what Louisiana's Ancients would think of today's society. Julien de Lannande Poydras (1746-1824) is one of those Ancients.
He left France with a pack on his back and died a wealthy man in 1824. His fortune disbursed among schools he'd established and provided a dowery for poor girls to obtain an education. He is buried in front of the former Poydras High School (now a museum and art center) in New Roads, a town of about 5,000 people slightly north of Baton Rouge in Pointe Coupee Parish.
Julien Poydras wrote the first poetry published in Louisiana in 1779.
It was in front of an oak tree, near his school in Pointe Coupee Parish (pronounced Point-Coo-Pea by locals), that James Randall (1839-1908) wrote "Maryland, My Maryland" in 1861. When the school burned, the legacy Julian Poydras left provided for a new school in the town of New Roads.
Established in the 1720s by the French, Le Poste de Pointe Coupee, New Roads, is one of the oldest communities in the Mississippi River Valley. In 1776, a chemin neuf or new road led to the name change.
New Roads hugs False River, a 10.5 mile/16.9km) lake left when the Mississippi River cut a shorter channel to the east. False River's lake activities and the boutique shops in New Roads are attractive to those who live in Baton Rouge, including students at LSU (Louisiana State University). Oh, yes, I've skied many times on False River.
A t the northern end of the parish is the Morganza Spillway. You probably saw the Spillway on TV last year when authorities opened the locks to control overflowing from the Atchafalaya and Mississippi Rivers. An interesting clip about the Morganza Spillway and how it deals with water flow from several states is HERE.
The Spillway was built after flooding in 1927 covered most of Pointe Coupee Parish and displaced 17,000 of the 26,000 residents.
This past Christmas, my husband and I drove across the Spillway and along one of the levees that wraps the area. No one should make this drive at night as the levee road is narrow and unlit. However, during the day the trip is like driving through the pages of National Geographic. Julien Poydras, now Julian Poydras, would have smiled. Everything isn't bad. We can live in harmony with Nature . . . and with each other.
(Remy update: Stats say three angels bought 'Remy Broussard's Christmas' yesterday. Thank you, thank you. To condense: Hub and I attended a Wounded Warrior Amputee soft ball game that stirred a passion to help a program in need of funds. (Please scroll to 'Opportunity' HERE for more info.) For a limited time, I'm offering Remy's journey for 99 cents, with every penny's commission going to the Wounded Warrior Foundation. When Remy was born, my husband and I added to the revenues he generated and donated $500.00 to the Foundation. We'd like to do that again.
Money's needed to keep amputee sport programs operational. Many are helping. Five Star chips donates 11% of profits to the program, for example.
I'll keep you updated on how my campaign's going. If you'd like to help, you can purchase Remy Broussard's Christmas HERE. When the price is raised (as it's a seasonal book), profits will continue to go to the Wounded Warrior Foundation.
I can't thank you enough for your support!
|Aerial view of the Morganza Spillway (Floodway) between the Mississippi River (right) and the Atchafalaya River (left). (All photos from Wikipedia)|
|Aerial view of False River. (Wikipedia)|
|Sun setting on False River. Note pier and boat to the right. Yep, we'd hang out on a like pier after skiing all day. (Wikipedia)|
|Randall Oak, where "Maryland, My Maryland" was written. (Wikipedia) The old Poydras College stood nearby before it burned and was rebuilt in New Roads.|
|Tomb of Julian Poydras in front of historic Poydras High School in New Raods. Building is now a museum and art center. Note the classic French Colonial architecture.|
|Julian de Lallande Poydras (1746-1824)|
Please go HERE (Thank you!)