I went to the crossroad, fell down on my knees

Robert Johnson was a musician/song writer from Mississippi who had a short but influential life. 29 tracks survive from his life, but  few details about the man survive. The mystery around his life helped many legends to pop up with his name attached. The most famous is that he sold …

Kudzu: The Plant That Ate The South

No photograph of kudzu full captures how overpowering it is. The plant was brought over to the US for expositions in the last 1800s and then used for erosion control in the early 1900s. It aggressively covers anything that doesn’t move and can grow over a foot a night. The …

Violet, LA, Mardi Gras Parade

Violet, a town of about about 9,000 people, holds their annual Mardi Gras Parade about a week after Mardi Gras. The floats and royalty are from area day cares and they have a family friendly theme each year.

Roadside Memorials of St. Bernard Parish

Descanos, or roadside memorials, are placed to mark the place where someone died suddenly and unexpectedly. We know it is inevitable but in some ways all death feels unexpected. Something about certain abrupt passings compels loved ones to mark the spot where someone left us. Often there is a cross …

National Hansen’s Disease Museum

Hansen’s Disease is commonly known as leprosy. In 1894, Act 80 of the LA State Legislature states that those diagnosed with leprosy, a disease without a cure at the time, were to be quarantined. Seven patients are moved from New Orleans to the area that is now known as the …

Angola Prison Rodeo

Started in 1964/1965. the Angola Prison Rodeo at the Louisiana State Penitentiary is the longest running rodeo in the US. 73% of the incarcerated men are serving life sentences and otherwise the average sentence is 90 years. The men live in poor conditions in sweltering cells and many are held …

Costumed Canines

People in the New Orleans area probably have the most costumes per capita in the country. Mardi Gras costumes are worked on for weeks and Halloween is a big deal. Canine companions get the same treatment. Events include Krewe of Barkus parades, Metairie PetFest, and Krewe de Paws of Old …

Islands in the Stream

Q: What do you call Dolly Parton doing the backstroke? A: Islands in the Stream When I was a kid there were many jokes about Dolly Parton’s Double DDs. I hope she doesn’t mind the jokes back in the early 80s. Mostly, I think we were all in awe of …

Some Long Hotels

When I first pulled onto the main strip of Pigeon Forge I saw a sign that said “Courtyard 22.77, Doubles 34.77”. Knowing hotels, my initial passing thoughts was that they charged a lot for internet around here. Then, I realized that you could get a whole room for a bit …

Hillbilly Boutique

In the tourist towns of the Great Smoky Mountains there are several icons on the Tennessee side: Dolly Parton, bears, and hillbillies. As for the hillbilly, while some people find it traumatizing, some of the people of the area have embraced the term.  There is Hillbilly Golf, Hillbilly Restaurant, Hillbilly …