Monday, May 26, 2014

100 words on Mad Men and oak trees


Last night’s Mad Men with Burt watching the moon landing under a big Jackson Pollock with his maid,


the same moon landing that my father held me up to the TV to at only a few months old, a holding I swore until I knew better that I remembered being held,


got me thinking about the big paintings,


squinting through the oak trees that limb/limn their way across my whole life, sometimes even falling through my roof like a loosened astronaut


 or Don Draper falling off that office building already, what with all the balcony shots all the time.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Rakers!

louisiana party

Hey! My band, The Rakers, is playing at the Old Ferry Landing in glorious Port Allen this evening at around 7! Come rock with us!

Here is where the Old Ferry Landing is.

Also, I've neglected to put our EP up on the old blog landing, so here that is as well!


We are also on the Facebook, if you roll that way.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"They lay a whole lot stiller than live customers," said Whitey the barber to an unknown person trying to get a haircut in Ring Lardner's story, "Haircut." He was talking about how he doesn't mind shaving a person's face in preparation for a funeral. It's one of a thousand things this barber says about the town, the people in it, and the world that formed it.

Ring Lardner was a favorite of my old friend Terry Kennedy who left us a few years back, and I read this story on or about the anniversary of its passing. I suspect this one stuck out with Terry because his home town of Cartersville, Ga. is mentioned in the first sentence, but ultimately, it resonated because of the basic qualities of resonance. This breathless, 10-page explosion of detail from the barber is the life Terry sought and found in people, and was such an explosion himself. I miss that guy and am glad that he exploded enough things into the world like reading suggestions so that tremors of his having passed through are forever around.

View all my reviews

Here is Terry with a haircut. I never knew him when he looked like this. He was always a wooly old cuss when I knew him.  I wrote this about him for the paper when he passed. Salut!


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Books written, not-yet-written, read

First, check out this hot link sandwich I got from a rib shack in St. Martinville called "Mr. Francis."


Look at the tie-off on that thing! It was eaten in the service of books-not-yet-written, particularly Gas Station Boudin, the book about south Louisiana informal cuisine that I am writing for the fine people at LSU Press.

Second, and speaking of the fine people at LSU Press and books written, I have a chapter in this book, available this fall!

The Louisiana Field Guide
Understanding Life in the Pelican State

edited by Ryan Orgera edited by Wayne Parent
280 pages / 5.50 x 8.50 inches / 48 halftones, 9 maps
ebook available
Louisiana Studies | Cultural Studies
ADD TO CART | $35.00
Hardcover / 9780807157763 / October 2014

- See more at:

So, that is pretty cool. HARDCOVER, yo. You can whack someone with this one. Plus, It is chock-filled with a bunch of really great people and you should add it to your cart!

Third, here is what I've been reading but (mostly) haven't finished.

Far TortugaFar Tortuga by Peter Matthiessen

This one is slow-going because of the depth of the writing, style, and sea on which the story takes place. In that bend of time while actually reading it, it's like getting telegrams from God relayed by Caribbean turtle fishermen. I guess it is worth the work.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar WaoThe Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz

This is idle bedtime reading on my phone as I fall asleep, but then it blurts onto my own adolescent mirror a D&D playing, girl-obsessed outcast cast among the living in a nowhere place. It's as beautiful as those who say it is, is.

Preacher, Volume 1: Gone to TexasPreacher, Volume 1: Gone to Texas by Garth Ennis

This isn't the volume of this celebrated graphic novel series that I picked up - but I need to start from the beginning, I think. PREACHER is also as good as people make it out to be.

Sweet Tooth, Vol. 1: Out of the Deep WoodsSweet Tooth, Vol. 1: Out of the Deep Woods by Jeff Lemire
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This one I did finish. I'm tempted to say this did everything I wanted a graphic novel to do, but that is disingenuous toward the medium. But it did! I took me briefly and deeply into a place with an efficacy that only big budget movies can do. It's got that eschatological graphic novel sheen to it, the naked fragility and thick human crust that comics portrays so well, and it moves like a fallow wind. Totally will be eating up the rest of this sordid tale. It's gonna be me in the corner with the freaks in the graphic novel section of the library this summer.

View all my reviews. It is what Mr. Francis would want you to do.

Fourth, this little neglected blog passed the 300K-view mark. I love you people! Keep doing what you are doing!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Mulatto Bend Cemetery, resting place of Slim Harpo and Ophelia Jackson

mulatto bend 1

Mulatto Bend Cemetery possesses such a profound sense of place. The prairie parishes are basically like this in every way.

Here is where it is.

The official name is the Benevolent Society Cemetery, which differs from the name given in the Find a Grave listing. There is supposed to be a blues legends marker as well, or one in the works, but if so, I didn't see it.
  mulatto bend 2

The cemetery is most famous for being the resting place of blues legend Slim Harpo. Here a train of harmonicas ring his headstone.

Slim Harpo, "I'm Gonna Miss You (Like the Devil)"

Here is a better view of the inscription from an Instagram I posted.

 mulatto bend 3

Graveyard pictures are easy because they have entire lifetimes holding still for you.
  mulatto bend 4

I love the message here, but I also love the handwriting. Look at the handwork in each capital letter.
  mulatto bend 9

Here is straw boss John Allen's handsome family plot.
  mulatto bend 5

Crawfish mound.
  mulatto bend 6

The eternal reward of honoring a simple request.

 mulatto bend 7

 I love this fat, little, baby angel.
  mulatto bend 8

I don't know who you were, Ophelia Jackson, but I will be thinking of your name written on that stone for a long time and, right or wrong, singing that song by the Band with you in it.

The Band, "Ophelia" from The Last Waltz

mulatto bend 10

Mulatto Bend Road crosses Hwy 190 and we went down the wrong stretch at first, down toward the levee. As I was taking the picture, I was startled by an old man I'd failed to notice sitting under that tree talking on his phone. I started to ask when this bar was last open but I heard him mention, "...then he pulled a gun on him..." on his call, so I figured I'd leave him to it.