Monday, August 17, 2020

St. Tammany skies

Elsewhere the sky is the roof of the world; but here the earth was the floor of the sky.

—Willa Cather, Death Comes for the Archbishop

Montana claims the moniker Big Sky Country, and Nebraska's sky has long inspired its writers, but Louisiana yields nothing to either. Scenes from one day in St. Tammany Parish: 

By mid-morning, the sky was full of cumulus fractus clouds, what I call a "kite sky". Can you guess why?

The pond at Fontainebleu was like a mirror, if alligators lived in mirrors.

Afternoon skies over Lake Pontchartrain. Jessa's photos look like travel posters for Paradise. (Actually, I think I might have taken one of these...)

More clouds over Pontchartrain, framed by cypress trees hung in Spanish moss.

Sunset (and moonrise) found us in one of the marshes, and we couldn't have wanted a better vantage point. Farewell from Louisiana...

Sunday, August 16, 2020


Summertime...and if the catfish are jumping, it's likely because the alligators are more active. Jessa and I saw quite a few in our short time in Louisiana, beginning with several in the hyacinth-choked, tannic waters of Irish Bayou.

Later in the day, we found several more gators in a pond at Fontainebleu State Park, where they are supposed to be strictly protected. Honestly, could ILLEGAL TO FEED OR HARASS ALLIGATORS be any clearer, even to a drone-flying cretin? And yet...

Otherwise, though, the spot was peaceful, and the alligators plenty photogenic.

The one above may be vaguely puppyish, but they don't stay puppies forever. We saw this big fella patrolling Bayou Lacombe: ten feet if he was an inch, maybe twelve, big enough and dark enough and knobby enough that Jessa and I both mistook him for a mudbank covered with clams until the mudbank started to move. Our last gator of the trip, and magnificent in a hair-raising way.

Photos by Jessa & Mark Farrell-Churchill.