09 October 2009

Drunk Eddie Resigns

Sometimes you get some good news when waking from a nap.

Mandeville Mayor Eddie Price resigns

I've only been calling for this since last year, but seeing as how no one in Mandeville actually reads this blog, I can't take credit. Ah, well. The end result is the same, no matter how the pressure is applied. Either way, the criminal is out of power.

His statement is as follows:

"I have had the privilege of serving the people of Mandeville for 29 years -- 16 years as a councilman and the past 13 years as mayor.

"During this time, I've worked with a dedicated City Council who has contributed greatly to a collective vision for our city. This vision was further realized by the hard work of the Planning and Zoning Commissions and all the other committees that serve our city.

"The city of Mandeville would not function without the commitment of the city employees who work diligently and who have given me support when I needed it, not only in the day-to-day operations of the city but especially during the tough times when we had catastrophic storms.

"Through the years, we have had achievements in which we can all be proud -- achievements accomplished through the shared efforts of everyone. We have, together, been able to make Mandeville one of the finest cities in the country.

"It has been my great pleasure and honor to serve you as mayor. But over the past year, the distractions have become a burden to the city. It is important to me that the City of Mandeville continue in a forward, positive direction and be able to have the full representation that it well deserves.

"So, it is with great sadness that I've made the decision to step down as mayor of Mandeville effective immediately.''

I hope he remembers not to get too comfortable being out of office... he's still got charges hanging over his head, and is looking at a good bit of time.

This is a great day after all.

05 September 2009

Yet another minor upd*te

I made it back to New Orleans again, and as usual, the camera hitched a ride, falling apart as it is.

I-10: 19 new shots of eastbound between the 610 split and the North Claiborne Avenue exit.

14 August 2009

Drunk Eddie indicted!

NOLA.com: Mandeville Mayor Eddie Price indicted on perjury charge

Today must be the day of "about damn time," I swear. First, the news on the I-12 interchange, now this! Drunk Eddie's been indicted for something, in this case perjury, stemming from (alleged!!!) false testimony given in a 2008 criminal trial of one of his buddies. A sergeant in the Mandeville Police Department was also indicted.

Now, I used to give Drunk Eddie nearly daily grief in this blog because he seemed to be in the news every day over his near-criminal screw-ups. I also haven't talked about him in forever because he seemed to be in the news every day over his near-criminal screw-ups. Beating up on a dead horse gets boring after a while... but this is real news.

This has been a long time in coming. We here in Mandeville have known better than to bitch about the corrupt government across the Lake because Price was just as bad, punctuated by him obliterating a Causeway toll booth barrier in his city-owned SUV while loaded. Supposedly, there are even more charges being considered when another grand jury convenes later in the year over Mandeville's finances, of which there were improprieties found in a Legislative Auditor's report.

Again, the staff here (consisting of myself and a hyperactive cat) resume our calls for Drunk Eddie to resign so Mandeville doesn't have to wait to have its next corrupt ruler take office. Except now, it may not be necessary. He could end up having to leave office due to a change of address to one of Louisiana's wonderful state prisons. Thank $deity that Mandeville's city charter forces the mayor to go bye-bye if convicted of a felony.

13 August 2009

LA 1088/I-12 interchange contract to be awarded this month

NOLA.com - Contract to be awarded this month for new I-12 interchange near Mandeville

It's about damn time, coming from someone who lives within walking distance of the area where roadwork will commence. We've been waiting for this interchange to be built for my entire life, it seems. It's always been pushed back. Just to keep waiting, and waiting, and waiting...

Now is the time. I ranted against a school being built on 1088 between I-12 and LA 36 back in February because of the lack of an interchange and the potential for a traffic jam right in front of my house. Of course, who listens to me? They opened it anyway. At least traffic's not so bad... yet.

Once they begin work on the interchange, it will become a nightmare. Why? Because they'll be improving LA 1088 to a divided highway in the process. This is still a good thing, as the added capacity for LA 1088 will be needed. It's not just for the locals - traffic in Mandeville proper will be able to shave about six miles from an eastbound trip on the Interstate over the current interchange at LA 59. It'll relieve that interchange of some traffic from the south and from the north (connecting to I-12 from LA 1088 shaves even more mileage over LA 36 West and LA 59 south to I-12 - though far fewer people live on parts of LA 36 that would benefit, and no one lives on that part of 1088 yet.) Problem is, traffic at that interchange is insane, and even 1/4 of that traffic would choke a two-lane highway.

But the process of widening 1088 would choke things up for a while even if they left the existing two-lane carriageway alone while they built one parallel.

Still, gripes aside, this is something that has been needed in the worst way for years and will relieve traffic all over the extended Mandeville area. Plus, it's an interchange I could photograph by walking... can't wait for that opportunity.

Minor UPD*TE

I haven't been taking that many pics or updating lately, but I have some very good reasons. One, I'm poor, two, gas costs too much, and three, I'm now living alone, and having to cover all associated bills. Still, I had to take a trip down to New Orleans last Tuesday, so I have a few pics from the trip.


I-610 (Louisiana): Eastbound coverage between the split from I-10 and Exit 3.
LA 3021: A.K.A. Elysian Fields Avenue. Southbound coverage between I-610 and LA 39/46 (North Claiborne Avenue.)


I-10: Added six pictures between Exit 228 (Causeway Boulevard) and Exit 230 (the I-10/I-610 split).


I-110 (Mississippi): Revised album to reflect the truncation of Mississippi 15. Picture descriptions will be edited later.

13 July 2009

Workaround for the Ralink 2500 1Mbps on Jaunty bug

I've suffered this on altaria (my Thinkpad) ever since upgrading it from Intrepid to Jaunty. It would only have a throughput of 1Mbps when it's more than capable of 54.

There's now a workaround, posted here by a user going by RavanH. If you're a Jaunty user having rt2500 problems, check this guide out.

10 June 2009

Interstate UPD*TE

...Wow, it rhymes.

Highways: I-910, US 90-Z, LA 3046 (Clinched new flyover ramp), Spur LA 41


I-910: 27 snaps of the westbound unsigned Interstate in New Orleans and on the Westbank.
Spur LA 41: Ten snaps, mostly covering westbound. Includes a lazy oddity for the AARoads Shield Gallery, should they want it.


I-10: Added two pictures of eastbound at the I-12/I-59 split in Slidell.
I-12: Added ten pictures of eastbound from Airport Road to the I-10/I-59 split in Slidell. Finally got the other pictures in order. Geotagged those and fixed descriptions of some older pics.
I-59: Added twelve pictures of northbound from the southern terminus at I-10/I-12 in Slidell to Exit 5A in Pearl River.
US 11: Added a snap of the old bridge in Slidell and four snaps of the northbound concurrency with I-59 in Pearl River.
LA 59: Added two pictures at the reconfigured southern terminus.


US 90: Need to add coverage of eastbound between Business US 90 near Westwego and I-10/I-910/Business US 90 in New Orleans, including snaps of the Huey P. Long Bridge. Also need to add those snaps between LA 1 and I-310.
US 90-Z: Need to add snaps of non-freeway portion westbound between I-910 end and US 90.
US 190: Need to add some assorted snaps.
Lake Ponchartrain Causeway: Need to completely replace northbound coverage.
LA 3046: Need to add a northbound snap or two.
North Causeway Approach: Need to add northbound coverage.

26 May 2009

Suicide on the CCC

Times-Picayune - Man kills himself by jumping from Crescent City Connection

At approximately 7 a.m. CDT, a young man pulled his car up onto the eastbound Crescent City Connection bridge. He soon shut his car off, exited it and went over to the side of the bridge. Showing absolutely no hesitation, he jumped, ending his life near the corner of Lawrence and Teche streets when he landed.

Things are going very wrong in the area as of late, with all the political scandal and incompetence, but this event is a stark reminder that real people are suffering, too. Many are being injured or killed on the streets at the hands of others, many of those offenders being the ones we forget, the ones we fail.

So, too, this man could have been another of those, another that we as a society have failed. No one is sure as of yet. No identification was found on the body, and even if they did find ID in the car, no info has been released yet.

It is not the manner of death which causes me to raise my voice today. Suicide is, sadly, common in this world. Usually, it is a very heart-wrenching decision for the person attempting it, this I can say from experience, having attempted suicide myself in the past. Thoughts run rampantly through one's head at that ultimate point as one wonders what is left to live for. Some, like me, pull back and decide not to die. Some choose to live. (There's a difference, trust me.) Then there are the ones for whom the only choice is death, so they go through with it.

Everyone deliberates the decision at the critical moment. Most of the time, it's at the point where the very next choice - to jump or not to jump - to fire or not to fire - takes place. It's on the bridge. It's standing there with the gun in one's hand.

Whatever deliberation was made in this case, it was made long before reaching the point to jump. There was nothing that could have been done... it is what makes this case all the more disheartening.

The future of the state is leading to more circumstances like these. There will be more times in the future where nothing can be done, even if the person can be talked down from the critical moment. There's a reason. The quality and frequency of mental health care in the state of Louisiana has been in shambles since even before Katrina, and now it threatens to only get worse.

The state is cutting mental health care. They're closing a major center in New Orleans, and consolidating care in the area to the Northshore. This simply won't work. True, the center they're consolidating to is in better condition than the one being abandoned in New Orleans, but this won't help matters. A vital component to mental health care is engaging the loved ones of the patient, somehow. Most of the time, visitation helps.

So how is it helping them to send them somewhere out of reach of the loved ones? Those with means have no need for centers like this, for they're most likely to secure and afford private care long before institutionalization becomes necessary. No, most of the people ending up in a state-run inpatient center will be the indigent and poor. How many of these people's loved ones will even be able to make it to the Northshore? These are the same people who had to hop on a bus provided by government money to evacuate from Gustav because they simply didn't have the means to run when their own lives were at stake.

Consolidation isn't the answer. If the center in New Orleans was in as bad a shape as they were saying, they need to improve it, or open a new center in town... not close the only lifeline some have and move it across the Lake.

We need more money for this, not less. I'm sure if we cut all government salaries some and wiped out the waste that exists all over the state, we could pour some into improvements in New Orleans, and elsewhere in the state.

It won't happen, of course. More people will have less options when the critical moment arrives, and more will die. As someone mired in poverty in Louisiana and not getting any care for mental illness, I could very well be one of them one day. (Note: Not a suicide threat - T.)

And the state will be responsible for every life lost in this way.

13 May 2009

So, how will they fund I-49 South?

The Advocate (Acadiana Bureau) - I-49 task force debates funding

It's about time people started to try to figure out how to fund the thing, you know. So far, it's looking like tolls could be on the table. (Gack.) Obviously, there's also a need to obtain more support from the Legislature and Congress, to push the corridor as more of a priority.

First things first - tolls won't work. Ever. Not in Acadiana. The traffic volumes might be worth an Interstate, but they'll never support a toll road, especially in a part of the state that has none currently. The locals and the sugarcane farmers hate the idea of tolls. Tolling would be a non-starter. They could exempt some traffic from the tolls, but then that defeats the purpose of tolling the thing in the first place... especially if they exempt agricultural vehicles.

Still, they're considering multiple options. Good for them - you can't count on anything as a sole way to fund a project as huge as the I-49 southern extension.

Another option floated by the task force would be special tax districts along the corridor and an extra tax on gasoline along the route. I see many potholes in that approach. The most significant is that the "special tax district" would have to be statewide, otherwise people would start to dodge it by fueling in jurisdictions outside the tax district. I know I would. I don't know about you, but I can make it from Lafayette to New Orleans via the current US 90 corridor on about half a tank, and that's in an early 90's midsize Buick. My Civic could make the trip on less. That means I can gas up in Lake Charles, Alexandria, Baton Rouge or Slidell and dodge fueling on the corridor entirely. (Either that, or I could take I-10.)

Oops, I said that out loud. That's another problem with any usage- or consumption-based tax along the corridor, that being that I-10 is shorter, and in conjunction with I-12 is shorter still. With many tollways, you can get traffic that is simply aiming to go through the tolled route as well as the traffic that has to actually go somewhere along the toll road, and the other options suck as far as traffic or expediency goes. (See: Pennsylvania Turnpike.) The fact that Future I-49 is already bypassed by a superior routing for traffic bound for points east and west means that you don't get that traffic that would be going to/from, say, Houston or Biloxi (unless they originate/end locally), and therefore you can't get toll money from them.

And even then, there's a (State) Constitutional ban that stops local entities from levying a gasoline tax. It'd take legislative action to override that problem, and the Legislature's never liked local-option gas taxes. That sure as hell ain't changing with Guv'nuh Bobby "No Taxes EVAR!!1" Jindal pulling the strings.

These are all inventive options, mind you, but the old standby is still out there: state and federal funding. It's how we normally make Interstates around here. The only problem with that option currently is that the state is damn near broke, considering all the cuts the Governor is saying we need to make to state programs. The Feds ain't in much better shape, multiple stimuli and bailouts on demand aside.

All that said, work is still proceeding slowly along the corridor. Several overpasses built in St. Mary and Iberia Parishes over the past decade are bringing the corridor closer to Interstate standards. An overpass is currently being built at LA 675 in Iberia Parish, and stim funding is paying for an interchange to be built elsewhere in Iberia. The governor's proposed putting about $10 million in the budget for another overpass in St. Mary. These areas aren't the real hangup - the real hangup that I've seen so far from traveling the highway would be the area from Raceland east to about Marrero, covering Des Allemands, Paradis, Boutte and other places along that routing. Some of it is so cramped, bypassing part of the route may be inevitable - which will definitely make the state coffers bleed as a lot of it would need to be elevated.

In all, progress is slow on the Future Interstate. It's going to take time. Middle ground must be found - not only a source of funding, but a good source of funding that will fit the circumstances of the routing itself.

05 May 2009

End Of The Earth UPD*TE, Part 3

Another day, more photos uploaded...


LA 1 (Southbound): 36 pictures between Mathews and Grand Isle.


I-55: Added six pictures of northbound at various points near Ponchatoula and Hammond
US 51: Added three pictures of southbound in Hammond, from LA 1040 to the merge with I-55
Business US 51: Added northbound coverage between I-55 and US 190. Added southbound coverage of the concurrency with US 190. Geotagged the album.
LA 22: Added three pictures of westbound from the concurrency with Business US 51 in Ponchatoula

The rest of the To-Do list will have to wait yet another day.

04 May 2009

End Of The Earth UPD*TE, Part 2

Follow-up to last post.


US 190: Added 27 pictures of eastbound between I-55 in Hammond and LA 25 in Covington. Added two post-construction pics of eastbound at the LA 59/LA 1087 intersection in Mandeville. Added one pic of westbound of a sign recently added at the LA 3228 intersection in Mandeville.

The rest of the To-Do List will have to wait for another day. I'm totally knackered right now.

03 May 2009

End Of The Earth UPD*TE, Part 1

I finally took that trip to Grand Isle that I've been threatening to do ever since I got the Buick. Out of it, I took over 290 pictures. Some are unusable, though, so I'm going through what I do have, and updating piecemeal-stylee.

Parishes: Lafourche Parish
Highways: US 51-X

Here's what I do have done.


I-310: 38 pictures. Covers both southbound and northbound all the way between I-10 and US 90. Photographically clinched, both directions.
US 51-X: AKA Business US 51 in Ponchatoula and Hammond, LA. Six pictures of southbound between LA 22 and I-55/US 51 to start - however, I also went and photographically clinched it northbound, so expect more within the next couple of days.
LA 1 (Northbound): 17 pictures. Covers LA 1 North from Grand Isle to LA 308 in Golden Meadow.

(I've decided right now to split the album into northbound and southbound from the start, as I'm predicting both albums combined may have as many as 300-500 pictures apiece by this time next year. LA 1 is longer than Longcat, after all.)


I-10: Added nine pictures of eastbound between I-55 and I-310.
I-12: Added seven pictures of the new Exit 60 signage from Friday. They're not geotagged or sorted yet.
I-55/US 51: Added 17 pictures of I-55 South and 15 pictures of US 51 South, of the concurrency between Exit 22 and LaPlace.
LA 22: Added eight pictures of westbound between LA 21 and Business US 51 South.


I-55: Got a couple of shots from northbound of the Exit 29 (I-12) complex and of the Exit 31 advance signage. Also got the brief bit of northbound between Old US 51 and Business US 51. Done!
US 51: There's a couple of stray shots in Hammond between US 51-X/190 and I-55 to add. Done!
US 51-X: Got to upload northbound, meaning a couple need cleaning. Damned fire orb in the sky. Someone please blow it up already. :P Done as it's getting for now.
Old US 51: The old road between LaPlace and Ponchatoula. I traveled it northbound. Wasn't much to see. Did take a few snaps, they'll get upped... probably last.
US 90: Need to add shots of westbound between I-310/LA 3127 and LA 1, and eastbound between LA 308 and I-310/LA 3127.
US 190: Took shots of eastbound between I-55 and LA 25. Need to sort the buggers. Also need to see if a shot in Mandeville or two needs updating. Done!
LA 1 (Southbound): Plenty of shots between US 90 and Grand Isle. Got to upload, sort and tag. (That'll be the Major Pain.) Done!
LA 22: Still got a couple more to add of the concurrency in Ponchatoula with US 51-X... and they got sunbleached. Usual BS. Done for now
LA 308: Took a few pics of that northbound, just need to clean them up.
World's Longest Continuous Viaduct: Yes, I actually do plan to make this album... call it a project, like the "Former LA 25" project that I still plan to do soon.


One More Thing: I've thought about something that could be confusing, and I want to clear it up. Notice that some of my albums of old highways are named "Old (highway)," while others are called "Former (highway)." There's actually a rationale for that.

"Old" highways: These are highways whose former designation has been rerouted, most likely to a nearby new alignment such as a bypass, or to the Interstate or something. (Examples: Old US 11 (moved to nearby I-59), Old US 190 (moved to a different alignment nearby))

"Former" highways: These are truncated or decommissioned highways, either in whole or in the part near the section labeled "Former." (Examples: Former US 65 (truncated and replaced by US 425), Former LA 1093-2 (decommissioned entirely))

Now that we've cleared that up...

01 May 2009

Alternate St. Tammany Parish Hurricane Evacuation Routes

Public services, for those who are actually planning to evacuate if a storm comes our way during hurricane season. What I'm aiming to do here is to bring attention to some local arterials that can, in a pinch, also be used for hurricane evacuation. Since my knowledge base is mostly about Northshore routes, that's where I'll be concentrating. Not trying to slight any of you near the coast or anything, but there are others who could cover that region better than me.

I don't have maps handy just yet, so I'll have to describe them in an all-text format.

West St. Tammany Alt Evacuation Route 1: LA 25

(This route can be accessed by those funneled onto US 190 West through Covington. Recommended if going west or north.)

Destination: Tylertown, MS
Connections: US 98 West TO McComb, MS (I-55, US 51), Natchez, MS (via US 84, you can then use US 61)
US 98 East TO Hattiesburg, MS (I-59, US 11), Mobile, AL (I-65, I-10 East)
MS 27, TO Vicksburg, MS (I-20, US 61, US 80)

Route: From US 190 West (Bypass) in Covington, you will be able to continue on US 190 by taking a left at a stoplight. Instead, remain on the through route. This is LA 25. This route will pass through a few small towns such as Folsom and Franklinton. Follow LA 25 through those towns. Eventually, you will reach the state line. LA 25 becomes MS 27. Follow MS 27 into Tylertown. You can either use US 98 to head east or west, or continue on MS 27 North to head toward Vicksburg.

West St. Tammany Alt Evacuation Route 2: LA 21

(This route can also be accessed via US 190 West in Covington. Recommended if going east.)

Destination: Foxworth, MS
Connections: US 98 West TO McComb, MS (I-55, US 51), Natchez, MS (via US 84, you can then use US 61)
US 98 East TO Hattiesburg, MS (I-59, US 11), Mobile, AL (I-65, I-10 East)
MS 35, TO Batesville, MS (you can then use MS 315 Scenic to reach Oxford)

Route: From US 190 West, south of Covington (three-lane section), there will be a fork, each way taking two lanes with it. You will want the right fork, which is Business US 190 West. Follow Business 190 until you reach the intersection with LA 21. Take LA 21 North (a right). Follow LA 21 North to the state line. At the state line, LA 21 becomes MS 35. Continue to follow MS 35 until it widens to four lanes; you will have reached Foxworth at that point. From there, you can use US 98 to reach McComb or Hattiesburg, or remain on MS 35 North to head to Batesville or Oxford.

East St. Tammany Alt Evacuation Route: LA 41

(This route can be accessed from US 11 in Pearl River. You may not be able to reach it from the Interstate.)

Destination: Foxworth, MS
Connections: US 98 West TO McComb, MS (I-55, US 51), Natchez, MS (via US 84, you can then use US 61)
US 98 East TO Hattiesburg, MS (I-59, US 11), Mobile, AL (I-65, I-10 East)
MS 35, TO Batesville, MS (you can then use MS 315 Scenic to reach Oxford)

Route: From US 11 North, drive north through Slidell. Continue north until you reach Pearl River. At Pearl River, take a left from US 11 North onto LA 41 North. Follow LA 41 North for its entire distance, it will end in Bush and default to LA 21 North. From there, you can use the West St. Tammany Alt Evacuation Route 2 guide for directions/instructions. The destinations are the same.


For the sake of everyone being able to get out, using US 90 East from Slidell to connect to I-10 East along the Mississippi Coast is not recommended by me. Mississippi needs their coastal routes to evacuate, too. Using the alternates to reach US 98 East can get you to Mobile, Alabama, though.


St. Tammany Alt Evacuation Route: LA 10 West

(All three of the previously mentioned alternatives junction LA 10. Just turn onto LA 10 West when you see it instead of continuing north.)

Destination: St. Francisville, LA
Connections: US 61 North TO Natchez, MS (US 84, US 425), Vicksburg, MS (I-20, US 80)
LA 10 West TO New Roads, LA (LA 1), LeBeau, LA (US 71), Washington, LA (I-49), Pickering, LA (US 171) (ferry connection required, some sections unsealed)

Route: Get onto LA 10 West from either LA 25 North in Franklinton, or LA 21 North in Bogalusa. Remain on LA 10 West until reaching US 61. From there, you should go on US 61 North to continue west. If you choose to remain on LA 10 West, there is a ferry crossing after the intersection with US 61. After the intersection with LA 1 in New Roads, some parts are unsealed. (That means gravel, folks.) Proceeding westbound past St. Francisville is not recommended by me.


There will be more of these as my research continues.

Some miles down, about seventy to go

The Advocate - I-12 work to begin

...And so it begins. The end is near for the daily gridlock at LA 3245 (O'Neal Lane) and Interstate 12. Work will begin to widen I-12 to three lanes from O'Neal Lane to just east of Pete's Highway eastbound, and from 4-H Club Road to O'Neal westbound. The hardest bit will most likely be widening the bridges crossing the Amite River - as they stand right now, they are only two lanes wide with absolutely no shoulders to speak of. I'm hoping they add some shoulders with those new travel lanes.

The project is slated to be complete by Thanksgiving 2011, meaning traffic will exceed the work done by the day after Thanksgiving 2011. Going only that far will do nothing but move the daily gridlock from O'Neal over to Denham Springs. The rest of I-12 to the east will continue to be perpetually overloaded with truckers who think they're driving Ferraris, career women weaving from the acceleration lane to the #1 lane at 90mph while fixing their makeup and sipping coffee, and unsafe vehicles carrying their nonsecure loads at ten miles under the speed limit.

In other words, this is where I again advocate for the entirety of I-12 to be widened to no less than three travel lanes in either direction. Don't get me wrong, this is a good start. I'm just saying that while this work is going on, we as a state should be putting together what's needed to widen another segment afterward.

30 April 2009

It's almost that time of year again.

NOLA.com - Contraflow changes will keep hurricane evacuees on I-59, I-55 longer

Yeah, this will improve things. Right. Sure. Keep people on the Interstate even longer when they're running for their lives.

OK, so people evacuating from storms will have a bit farther to go before being able to disperse off the Interstate. I-59 traffic won't be able to exit until Purvis, while I-55 traffic will be on there until at least Brookhaven. Either way, Contraflow will END! at that point.

Now, while this means Contraflow will go longer than it used to (just shy of McComb on I-55 and just shy of Poplarville on I-59), it will only delay the inevitable backup that will occur when they try to squeeze four lanes into two. Some of that could be averted by forcing one or two of the lanes to exit at that point, sure, but we all know that won't happen. It's also still not fixing the overall I-59 problem - the contraction of the mainline into a single lane near Meridian. Honestly. Do you think all those evacuees are looking to get off in Purvis?! Hell no. They're heading for Birmingham, Chattanooga, Atlanta and points beyond if they're on I-59. You know us, Mississippi - we're not simly looking to get out of the immediate area of the storm, we may as well head for the next large city. You got none on I-59.

The I-55 plan isn't so bad - you can get off at Brookhaven and head west to Natchez on a nearly empty four-lane highway (or even to someplace like Vicksburg or Alexandria after Natchez). Also, as far as I'm aware, I-55 doesn't shed a lane in Jackson. (Someone who's been on I-55 North, feel free to correct me if needed.)

What we really need is more defined and better-capacity evacuation routes other than the Interstate (LA 25 would be a logical one, connecting straight on to the Causeway via US 190), possibly even implementing Contraflow on these local arteries. We also need to educate our locals better on these routes.

I'll at least try to educate you in a later post. Better pack it full of fuel in the meantime.

28 April 2009

Cenla UPD*TE

I've been a bit overwhelmed this month with staph infections, depressive swings, Pokemon and LOTS of pictures from a trip earlier this month to Winnfield, Louisiana. I also ran out of batteries.

Nevertheless, they're all uploaded and geotagged. rejoice.

US 61: 18 shots - northbound between MS 24 in Woodville and US 84 East north of Natchez
US 84: 159 shots - eastbound from Winnfield to US 98; westbound from Natchez to Winnfield - largest single album creation to date
Former US 65: 32 shots - northbound and southbound between Natchez and Ferriday, along the US 84 concurrency

20 March 2009

More UPD*TES, plus two proposals.

Upd*tes first.


LA 40: 38 photos covering westbound between Bush and LA 445.
LA 435: 15 photos covering eastbound between Abita Springs and Talisheek. (Photographically clinched eastbound)
LA 445: 16 photos covering southbound between LA 40 and Bedico. Expect prompt additions - there's a part of it I plan to investigate today.
LA 1078: Nine photos covering westbound between LA 25 and the western terminus. (Photographically clinched westbound)
LA 1081: Seven photos covering northbound between LA 437 and LA 437. (Not a typo. LA 1081 is a half-loop intersecting LA 437 at both its north and south ends.) (Photographically clinched northbound)
LA 1082: Four photos of northbound, two at each end.
North Causeway Approach: Seven pictures of southbound between US 190/LA 22 and the LA 1087 exit.


LA 21: Added five pictures of southbound - three from the LA 40 concurrency and two from between LA 59 and LA 1082.
LA 22: Added ten pictures of eastbound between Bedico and Madisonville.
LA 41: Added seven pictures of northbound between Talisheek and Bush.
LA 59: Added four pictures of northbound between LA 36 and LA 59. (Photographically clinched northbound)
LA 437: Added 15 pictures of southbound between Barker's Corner and Covington.
LA 1077: Added seven photos of northbound between LA 1078 and LA 25.

As always, all upd*tes are geotagged. Here at this blog, we flat-out pwn "Operation Coordinates" without even trying.

Don't forget to bookmark the RSS feed to get the latest upd*tes as they happen!


Now for the proposals.

Proposal One - LA 59 Northern Extension

This one is fairly simple, something noticed the other day when I was taking the recent LA 59 and LA 1082 pictures. The two are so close together and so closely aligned, I believe that LA 59 should overtake the routing of LA 1082. What this would do is create a better Mandeville-to-Folsom route that bypasses Covington completely.

As such:

1) LA 21 between the current LA 59 northern end should be additionally designated as LA 59 until the current intersection of LA 21 and LA 1082. This will create a very brief wrong-way concurrency.
2) LA 1082 should be redesignated as LA 59 in its entirety, between LA 21 and LA 40.

...Speaking of LA 59...

Proposal Two - Twinning of LA 59 in Mandeville

This proposal is a little more complex, but it would dramatically ease traffic flow north out of Mandeville. Right now, LA 59 carries three lanes from Abita Springs all the way south to US 190. Most of the way, it's sufficient. Between LA 1088 and US 190, however, that's a completely different story.

The section of LA 59 in question is frequently congested (especially northbound), and there is no more room to widen it because of an extremely limited right-of-way.

My idea doesn't involve acquiring any more right of way along current LA 59, yet manages to twin LA 59 from one three-lane highway to two two-lane carriageways with frequent turn lanes OR modest (but not quite Interstate-standard) shoulders, whichever are deemed more necessary.

To make it easier to understand, LA 59 is also designated in Mandeville as Girod Street. Just to the east of Girod Street is Marigny Avenue, which is currently two one-lane carriageways with a spacious median. My idea is this: rebuild Marigny Avenue between US 190 and LA 1088 as a northbound carriageway for LA 59, effectively turning Girod Street and Marigny Avenue into a one-way couplet, each carrying one direction of LA 59.

Here's where being creative comes in - Marigny Avenue doesn't currently connect to LA 1088. At a local road, Marigny turns from a divided two-lane street to an undivided one - however, Marigny Street past the local road has a lot of undeveloped space. A connection to LA 1088 and Girod Street is feasible and would not require acquiring too much right of way.

In contrast, if Girod Street were to be widened any further, about 40-50 homes and businesses would either be displaced or subdivided to the point of uselessness.

I've taken the liberty of putting to visual the proposed routing:

Pink denotes the already-existing portion of Marigny that would need to be reconfigured, while green denotes new roadway that would have to be built, as none currently exists.

Many places already have one-way couplets that each carry different directions of highway, and I think it's the only way to make traveling on 59 easier for all.

24 February 2009

Miscellaneous St. Tammany UPD*TE

I recently added some pics from a couple of brief trips - one to roadgeek in Lacombe, the other taking me through Folsom and Madisonville.


Old US 190 (Lacombe, LA): Eight pictures from a very old segment of US 190 in Lacombe.
LA 1077: 52 pictures of LA 1077. Coverage includes end to end southbound, and some pictures of northbound from Lake Ponchartrain to the LA 21/LA 1077 split north of Madisonville (some copied from the LA 21 album). Also contains a shot of my car.


US 190: Added a picture of the intersection with LA 1089 from westbound
LA 21: Added three pictures of southbound in Madisonville of the LA 21/LA 1077 concurrency (also in the LA 1077 album)
LA 22: Added 11 pictures of eastbound from Madisonville to the eastern terminus in Mandeville
LA 25: Added nine pictures of northbound between the southern terminus in Covington and Folsom
LA 434: Added 23 pictures of northbound and southbound south of US 190, including coverage of Lake Road after the END! of LA 434, as well as one picture of northbound between US 190 and Old US 190
LA 1093-1 Added three pictures of northbound - both termini are now covered northbound
Other: Geotagged LA 1093-1 album - this was an oversight on my part, so my bad. All albums that are supposed to be geotagged should now be geotagged. Also, due to another corrected oversight, all pictures in my Picasa albums are now Creative Commons licensed. Share, but share alike, credit me, and don't try to sell my pictures. Other than that, use them if you want.

Sidebar links will be updated with the new albums later on.

19 February 2009

Warning: Very Profane Rant.

Times-Picayune - State vows I-12 link in St. Tammany will be built

You vow, huh? Ain't you been vowing to get the damn interchange built for years now? I seem to remember that it was supposed to be built in the '90s as part of the LA 3241 project. As a standalone, it's been pushed back several times in the last few years alone. I'd still be willing to wait even now if waiting for that highway was an option. But at a time like this, it's not optional anymore. There's a school going up soon, a high school that will choke a "minor secondary highway" to the point of being absolutely useless. Ten miles of peaceful driving will soon become ten miles of brain-numbing gridlock.

There's plenty of problems with that scenario. First off, LA 1088 isn't "minor" or "secondary" to the people who live on it. It's our lifeline to the rest of the world. As it is, I have to go way out of my way to get anywhere now without having to pass through a damn school zone. I'm sure others here feel the same way, they're just too scared of getting lynched by the pro-family morons to make a peep. There's also the fact that any traffic coming in from the west or south have to go through a residential neighborhood to get to that school, until the interchange is built.

Seriously, what the hell are you idiots at DoTD smoking? Do you bastards remember how badly LA 59 was choked in the 90's having to support a high school, and how much it worsened when the junior high opened up next door? Those kind of schools, a two-lane highway simply can not do the job. Even a two-lane highway with a turning lane of some kind can't handle it. High schools in this area require four lanes at minimum to ease any impact on traffic.

Remember, you not only have to deal with bus traffic, car traffic from parents dropping their kids off and more car traffic from faculty going to work daily, you also have to deal with hundreds of stupid teenagers trying to get in there at the last possible minute because they overslept. You hope they were cramming for exams, but they were probably either getting high or getting laid. Most likely, both. The teenagers around here are far from being angels, after all. (I speak from personal experience.)

In case you've forgotten about all this, feel free to drop by any time. The gridlock's still there, all those years later.

At the least, though, LA 59 has an interchange at I-12 that helps relieve some of the traffic. LA 59 North past the Interstate is a breeze even during school zone hours. Ah, but LA 1088 doesn't. It needs it before anyone even thinks of opening a damn high school. Yes, I'm also talking to you, St. Tammany Parish School Board.

What makes you think some of us want a gridlock and beaten sheep factory on our highway anyway? (Calm, calm... I will not be a NIMBY, I will not be a NIMBY...)

Fact remains, at the moment, the roads in the area of that new school can't possibly support it. Aside from being a lonely two-lane highway, there are no lights... in fact, there's nothing nearby. The nearest Sheriff's substation is about 12 minutes away. 12 minutes is a lot of time for mischief and mayhem. It's a ton of time if someone gets hurt or worse. There's no services nearby - if you run out of gas or overheat your car, you're mega-screwed. In fact, that school's almost begging to become an unofficial annex of Lacombe (which is the crackhead and crime capital of the parish).

They may as well call it Lacombe North already.

At the least, can't they hold off opening the thing until there's an interchange, so a residential neighborhood can be spared a lot of headaches, unnecessary emissions and noise? More importantly, so my sanity can be spared? Some of us like being able to start the day with a few miles at max speed before hitting Congestion City, after all.

They can't and they won't, naturally. Delays are only tolerable so long as a school isn't affected. "Think of the children," after all. I say to hell with the damned children already. "Why" is a matter for a different post entirely, probably on the Livejournal.


So I'm putting any of the politicians who have any chance of getting either the school delayed or the interchange sped up on notice here - if you open that school sooner than an interchange is built and we suffer here due to it, you're not only getting a no vote from me, but from others. There are more than just me who think as I do, and I will rally them. Me personally, if it's you versus Charles Manson in the next election, I'll vote for Manson just to spite you. If it's you versus Satan himself, then I'm wearing my "Satan (next election year for your seat)" button proudly. I don't care if your next opponent's a thief, a serial killer, or if they eat babies. You will become the greatest of all evils in my eyes. I'll do everything in my power to put them over and shut you down.

Build the interchange first before you even think of overloading our highway system, or you will find out how bleak your careers are in the face of an angry voter with no life. I don't care if you in Baton Rouge have to use some of the one-time surplus this year... I don't care if you have to use it all, every last dime. Get this thing done, pronto!

P.S. - You should have never re-paved the section of 1088 north of I-12, DoTD. It would have been nice to make all those "elite" idiots lose their suspension for a year or two on that road. :P

14 February 2009

Stimulus Wishlist

Times-Picayune - Louisiana's share of stimulus pegged at $3.8 billion

Of that, $455 million is slated to go to bridge and road work and repairs. Here's some of the things I'd do with that if I was in charge of DoTD and wasn't hampered by pre-work things like environmental impact studies. (They're important, but not for hypothetical thinking.)

* Widening of Interstate 12 between Juban Road and I-10/I-59 to six lanes
* Putting gates and lights at all non-private rail crossings in the state
* Reconfiguration of the I-10/I-110 split in Baton Rouge
* Construction of an interchange between LA 1088 (Future LA 3241) and I-12 northeast of Mandeville
* Build a relief route for I-59 (designated as US 11) in eastern St. Tammany Parish (looking forward to hurricane season), utilizing the old US 11 routing if possible (it was good enough before) - US 11 can still cross the West Pearl co-signed with I-59 to save money

Now, obviously that kind of money might not be enough, especially with that I-10/110 split reconfiguration in there, but those are projects that I believe would drastically help traffic flow, especially in the Florida Parishes. That includes the relief route. I blogged last year about how hellish I-59 was, and I believe a relief route could at least make it a little easier to get the first important thing out of the way - getting the hell out of Louisiana when there's a hurricane coming. Designating it as US 11 just makes sense - it'd make that highway important here again.

As for the gates and lights suggestion, that's just my little pet crusade.

13 February 2009

One step closer to a wider LA 21.

Wider Louisiana 21, bridge getting closer

About time we got back to roads around here, eh? The scope of the project is as follows: Two two-lane carriageways (four lanes total) with a 24-foot wide median, six-foot wide sidewalks along two new two-lane bridges across the Tchefuncte, a six-foot wide sidewalk along the northbound side, and full shoulders on both carriageways. This will be between LA 1085 (Bootlegger Road) and 11th Street in Covington.

Now, it's nice and all. That part of LA 21 has suffered over the years from overdevelopment and the traffic that follows. The shoulders are a definite plus - that stretch used to have them, except for the bridge, but the three-laning last decade eliminated those. The sad fact is that four lanes won't be enough, by a longshot. Six will be needed for traffic to even resemble decent flow.

This is another example of development exceeding the fixes. Someone around here seriously needs to rethink this thing.

06 February 2009

One girl's rant against the legally sanctioned monopoly known as cable.

Long title, even longer ranting session. During my nightly aimless browsing where I often start at the Ubuntu forums and somehow end up looking at a Wikipedia article about a low-power radio station in Idaho by the end of the night, I stumbled upon some bullshit that my ISP's looking to get going soon.

DSLReports - Charter Confirms New Caps

Slashdot - Charter Cable Capping Usage Nationwide This Month

(Remind me, I need to kick a certain infernal package's ass for moving his IRC feedbot.)

Sadly, I'm in an area served by Charter, and only by Charter when it comes to cable TV and Internet. The only other options are the satellite companies for TV, and AT&T for DSL. The weather here is too unpredictable for satellite and AT&T's in bed with the **AA. (As we all know, I am most certainly against the illegal cartels known as the RIAA and MPAA. Any company supporting their aims is one to be buried.) Assuming there was realistic competition, I could do like a good capitalist consumer is supposed to do when they get pissed off over someone's services or goods - vote with my wallet by going elsewhere and doing without the offerings of the offending company. However, I'll note now that my parish has something known as a franchising agreement. In a nutshell, the only way to get cable here is through a single company.

Now that one company is screwing us.

One company, for a service that multiple provide. What's that called? Oh, that's right. It's a blasted monopoly, and last I checked, those are supposed to be illegal... not that it matters anymore. The pro-big-business laws enacted by the last few regimes have managed to destroy anything in business that would actually aid the people (sorry... consumers) when mega-companies screw them.

Now, I don't actually use the TV component that much anymore... I think the only things I watch on television anymore are wrestling and Olbermann. (He makes me laugh. So does Rush.) Truthfully, I could do without cable TV nowadays, even with the (now-delayed) digital transition, and no digital equipment. (My 15-year-old Trinitron delivers crisp enough picture for my tastes... screw HDTV.)

What I do use is the Internet aspect, and I use a good bit of it. Ever seen Serial Experiments Lain? I'm a real-life her, but cuter and bitchier. :P I enjoy exploring the work of various open-source movements and organizations... so I end up downloading a LOT of Linux .iso files. I listen to music on last.fm, Jamendo, OC Remix and Digital Gunfire. I watch some YouTube videos, specifically Freewayjim's stuff. I also watch some TV episodes online where ever I can. Don't forget all the images and flash shit that everybody and their mother seems to be putting on their sites now.

On the upload side, I sometimes grab files from my home machine to listen to on my laptop when I'm out and about. Sometimes I'll grab a video from a DVD I ripped onto my hard drives. Sometimes I'll even grab a whole season of said videos if I'm going to be away for a while. (NCIS never gets boring.) Other times, I'm uploading hundreds of highway pictures at a time to Picasa, Flickr or Imageshack. (Or all three.) Let's not forget seeding my Linux isos so others can have them... sharing is caring after all. The point is, I use a ton more bandwidth than the average user.

Right now, I have 5 meg service. That's it for downstream. Even then, I can roll through the proposed cap in a few days of light usage. Of course, they're saying they'll have an uncapped tier, but that tier isn't available here. The 5 meg I'm on right now is the top one there is. That means no matter what, I can't move past the cap. I'm not allowed the option to be uncapped by agreeing to be extorted for more. Never mind that I'm not exactly willing to pay the extra $100 to stop them from screwing me.

Some of us can't work, after all. Ever heard of a fixed income? Specifically, disability? I can't just make more money when prices go up. Can't look for better pay and all that. Don't have much of anything I can sell to make ends meet every single month to come up with another $100. Chump change to you? Huge f'n deal to me. This month, I'm already doing without groceries simply because having a working vehicle does more for my mental health than having food does. I'm also having to do without medicine that I need that Medicaid doesn't pay for. Needless to say that when bills go up, sacrifices are often made. This month, "sacrifice" was food and medicine. Next month, it may well be Internet.

(And please, do not ask me why I can't just give up Internet so easily instead of resorting to starvation. Of all the skills that I have that could help me land a job whenever I can get my mental state sorted and become un-disabled, computers are the only ones, specifically network-related stuff. It's all I have. It's like asking a carpenter or mechanic to sell his tools.)

As it is, I have no choice, none at all... except to call bullshit on the whole thing. All of it. I heard Charter's circling the drain as it is... let's hope they get sucked in and go away. No bailout for these bastards.

Now, I must go get my 15 hours of sleep and pray tomorrow's not so depressing.

03 February 2009

Mississippi UPD*TE Part Deux

Ok, so technically, this upd*te isn't all Mississippi, and the sun ruined some of it. Bleh, I posted it all anyway. I can always replace the sunbleached pics come spring.


US 98: 11 pics of westbound between Foxworth and Tylertown - some sunbleached
LA 437: Four pics of southbound in Covington - part of the ongoing Old LA 25 project
Spur La 437: Four pics of southbound in Covington, photographically Clinched southbound - part of the ongoing Old LA 25 project
MS 27: Seven pictures of southbound from Tylertown to the state line - some sunbleached
MS 35: Five pictures of northbound from the state line to US 98 in Foxworth


I-12: Added seven pictures of eastbound between US 190 and LA 59, including pics of the replaced I-59 trailblazers at the LA 59 exit
Business US 190 (Covington): Added two pictures of westbound at the eastern end
LA 21: Added 37 pictures from Covington to the state line, photographically Clinched northbound
LA 25: Added 22 pictures from the state line to Covington, photographically Clinched southbound - some sunbleached

...As usual, all pics are geotagged for her pleasure, and snarky comments come free of charge!

02 February 2009

Mississippi UPD*TE

We've invaded the state next door, and came away with about 100 or so new pictures.


MS 604: Pics of the entire distance northbound. Or was that eastbound? It's hard to tell when there's no directional banners.
MS 607: Only 2 pics for now, but this will quickly expand.
I-110 (MS)/MS 15 (Southern Segment): It's a mouthful, isn't it? Nine pictures from I-10's only child in Mississippi. Clinched it again, by the way. Also marked for MS 15 since I-110 is co-signed with it the whole way.


US 90: Added a whopping 62 pictures spanning from US 190 east to I-110/MS 15, including pics from along the New Bay St. Louis Bridge.
I-10: Added 20 pics from I-110 west to Exit 31 (Canal Road).

24 January 2009

The epidemic spreads...

2 killed after train hits car in Edgard

So, another one. Another car trying to cross the tracks while a train is coming. Another two people killed, another child needlessly traumatized solely because they survived. Another report that no seat belts were being worn by the dead. Like a deer in headlights, the SUV seemingly froze as it hit the tracks... then boom. The SUV ended up being thrown nearly 150 feet, and all three passengers were ejected. The crossing had nothing to warn of the approach of the train, solely having a pair of crossbucks letting passing traffic know that train tracks were indeed present. There were no gates, no lights, no bells. Even as the engineer blew his horn, the SUV just sat there...

Louisiana is one of the worst states in the nation when it comes to train/car collisions. Most of our crossings have only a pair of crossbucks, no safety measures. No gates, no lights, no sound. You just have to hope that you can hear the horn in time. Our all-knowing Legislature has done all of jack shit about this situation. Our local officials don't seem to know what they're doing about anything, and go with the cheapest solutions as a rule. Not the most inexpensive... the cheapest. There's a huge difference.

Seriously, is there anything more "shovel-ready" than "Mount gates and lights on all rail crossings in the state"? I'm sure that would be a nice shot in the arm for a depressive economy.

Until then, more lives will end and even more will be ruined as collateral damage.

15 January 2009

Roadtrip Report: January 14-15

This time, I remembered to pack the camera along with me in the Buick, henceforth referred here to as "Dreamweaver." Two days, one taking me to New Orleans East, another to Abita Springs.

Among the upd*tes:


I-510/LA 47: Covers almost the entire distance of Interstate 510's existence in New Orleans East, both northbound and southbound. The album is also marked for LA 47 due to I-510 multiplexing with it for 510's entire distance. 17 pictures, enjoy.


I-10: Added pictures of eastbound from just past Michoud Boulevard in New Orleans East to US 190 in Slidell.
US 190: Added a new shot of the very old BGS in Covington.
LA 36: Album updated, info in LA 59 entry.
LA 59: Added pictures from Interstate 12 north to the end of the LA 36/59 multiplex in Abita Springs, LA 36 album also updated with multiplex shots.

...Finally, junkyard kitties.

10 January 2009

Roadtrip Report: January 10

No pictures this time, this was strictly a test run for the Buick.


Taking my sister and brother-in-law to the DMV near Picayune, Mississippi, as well as a shakedown for my new Buick.


US 190 east from Lacombe to US 11
US 11 north from US 190 to LA 41/LA 3081
LA 3081 north from US 11/LA 41 to Spur LA 41
Spur LA 41 east from LA 3081 to I-59
I-59/US 11 north from Louisiana Exit 5A (Spur LA 41) to Mississippi Exit 1 (US 11 North/MS 607 South)
US 11 north from I-59 to the Picayune-area DMV
US 11 south from the DMV to MS 43
MS 43 south from US 11 to I-59
I-59 south from Mississippi Exit 6 (MS 43 North) to Louisiana Exit 1A (I-12)
I-12 west from Exit 85 (I-10/I-59) to Exit 74 (LA 434)
LA 434 south from I-12 to US 190

Among the things I saw:

I-59: New signage in Pearl River (Town limits are now marked on the interstate, both entering and leaving, along both northbound and southbound). Also, there appears to be new signage at Exit 11 (Pearl River Turnaround) - then again, it might just be new to me. Going into Mississippi, the first sign for Exit 1 is in Louisiana - it used to be at the end of the bridge over the Pearl. Similarly, the first sign for Louisiana Exit 11 southbound is now in Mississippi. The new gore point signage for Mississippi's exits is interesting, to say the least. I'll get pictures next time. I-59 from Exit 1 at least to Exit 6 (likely further than that) has been resurfaced recently - the new asphalt is nice.

US 11: There's a sweet railroad bridge over US 11 just to the north of Picayune, near the DMV. I will definitely be returning there with a camera.

Old MS 43: Between US 11 and I-59, going towards I-59, it is still signed as MS 43. From I-59, it is not signed as a highway. The road's condition has gotten a lot worse since the last time I was in Picayune.

MS 43: Brand new surface between US 11 and I-59. The new road has a lot more curves than the old, but it's still a sweet drive. Beware going southbound - I-59 sneaks up on you.

New highway mileage:

US 11: From Old MS 43 to the Picayune-area DMV
MS 43: "New" section between US 11 and I-59

05 January 2009

Across the Lake UPD*TE

Yours Truly is now the proud owner of a 1995 Buick Regal. Also, since I had to go all the way to New Orleans, I got some pics.

US 90 - Added three snaps along Jefferson Highway westbound
US 190 - Added two shots of westbound in Mandeville, where construction is nearly complete

Lake Ponchartrain Causeway - 26 snaps of the 23.8 mile toll bridge across Lake Ponchartrain - pics are NOT geotagged
Causeway Boulevard - 22 snaps of one of Metairie's most important north-south arteries; primarily connects US 61 and I-10 to the Causeway Bridge
New Orleans: Misc - Seven miscellaneous snaps within New Orleans; this may grow if I can salvage any other pics - pics are NOT geotagged
LA 611-1 - Nine snaps of the River Road along Jefferson Parish's east bank of the Mississippi River
LA 3046 - Seven snaps of South Causeway Boulevard between US 61 and US 90, which is also designated LA 3046

04 January 2009

Impending Baton Rouge chokepoint...

The Advocate - Project on I-10 to begin

Vague title, but the section in question is the one immediately east of the I-10/I-12 split in Baton Rouge, from said split to Siegen Lane, an underutilized stretch of highway (compared to I-12, itself seeing frequent congestion) that can still prove to be a headache. At only two lanes but servicing a growing commercial area, it's hitting on "underpowered" at times.

The construction should ease things through the area as each direction of I-10 will be widened by one lane. The overall project begins Monday and is slated to take about three years, costing $86.2 million.

Last month, a $100 million contract was signed for widening of part of Interstate 12. That work should begin in February, to widen eastbound I-12 from O'Neal Lane in Baton Rouge to just east of Pete's Highway in Denham Springs, and westbound from just west of 4-H Club Road to the aforementioned O'Neal. That project will last until around Thanksgiving in 2011...

As a result, Baton Rouge's eastern end will be a little trickier to get through for the next couple of years. Two alternative routes, US 61 (Airline Highway) and US 190 (Florida Blvd.) will see a lot more traffic as a result of both I-10 and I-12 seeing work. Seeing as few alternatives exist... good luck.

03 January 2009

From grief, an expression of beauty

Although this isn't road- or computer-related, one of the wonderful things about having your own blog is that you get to bend the rules from time to time.

Case in point:

Times-Picayune - Mother's colorful memorial to her son has both fans and critics

Everyone will lose a loved one in their lifetime. It's the most human act of all... people die. Some of them, though, are taken from us in a violent manner, and the people left behind react differently. Some swear revenge, only adding to the cycle of violence. Some withdraw until they become casualties themselves, lost to the grief.

Then there are those who choose to do something about it, in a positive way. They choose to fight the cycle of violence their own way, by not falling into it themselves.

On July 19, 2001, a man named David Ayo was murdered just steps from his door. His mother, Susan "Willow" Schroeder heard the gunshot, then went outside and held David in her arms as his life slipped away. The murderer was never caught. It's a tragic, yet sadly common story in New Orleans as long as I've been alive.

So Willow started to paint. The morning after the murder, she painted an angel over the bloodstain near his door. Even then, for a while, it seemed Willow would become another casualty herself. She became a recluse. Even then, she continued to paint. She turned her yard into a beautiful memorial, a positive expression of art over such a negative event. Eventually Hurricane Katrina hit the area, forcing her to venture out.

While many of her neighbors are understanding of this, some are not, most notably JoAnn Taylor. She's called the city over one part of the artistic expression, a painted sidewalk in front of the house in question. She's also been researching ways to get rid of the memorial entirely, looking to see if some city code prohibits the artwork covering Willow's house. She calls it graffiti.

Myself, I call it a refreshing change of pace, something befitting the very culture of New Orleans. Lest we forget, some of the more notable figures in the city include voodoo queen Marie Laveau, as well as music greats Louis Armstrong and Mahalia Jackson. New Orleans is a city of eccentricity and unbridled artistic expression... not some soulless cookie-cutter suburb, showcasing little more than 1,000 drab shades of grey. It's the city of jazz and Mardi Gras, for crying out loud. There's more soul in a square block of New Orleans than in the entirety of some suburbian areas.

While there are tragedies in the city, there are also celebrations. Some say that New Orleanians can and do party at the drop of a hat, and this is what I see when I see photos of "David's House" - from tragedy, an explosive celebration of artwork and life.

Celebration. Life. Culture. Art. These are the things that New Orleans is.

Conformity. Bigotry. Corruption. Violence. These are the things that New Orleans should not be.

Finally, the last thing that amazes me in all this is that the city can't fix the damned sidewalks, but they can complain about a splash of paint over one of the few stretches not in disrepair.

People, let's get our priorities straight already.

(More on this can be found here: http://davidshouse.wordpress.com/2008/09/16/letter-from-robert-mendozza/)