Tag Archives: Amite

Amite, Louisiana – Tangipahoa Parish Fair

4 Oct
 

 

An Exposure of Several Seconds Helped Make the Ferris Wheel and Another Ride a Wondrous Pattern of Lights

It has been over 25 years since I had attended any portion of the Tangipahoa Parish Fair.  Every year I attended, all the way through high school.  Going back was somewhat of a surprise.  My original intention was to photograph the livestock – the back bone of fairs when I was younger.  The only livestock on exhibit happened to be poultry.

Good Things to Eat Everywhere!

Now there was plenty of food.  Funnel Cakes, Blooming Onions, Large Corn Dogs, Popcorn and of course the traditional Cotton Candy and Candied Apples.  A fair is not a fair without a good candy apple or cotton candy stuck in your hair one your hands and all over your face.

Cotton Candy Was Being Sold Faster Than She Could Make It!

.

Lots of lines at the food booths and not many people at the game booths.  It was just the opposite when I was younger.  We couldn’t afford to eat all the food and all they  had available were hamburgers and hot dogs.  Nachos had not even made the scene yet.  We would crowd the game booths even though we weren’t playing to see if anyone actually could win a large teddy bear.

Plenty of Temptation for Those Wanting to Win a Large Prize

It was fun though.  There was a cowboy shootout in the Pioneer Village and plenty of rides to make one sick.  Pans of squeezed sugarcane juice were being cooked and reduced to syrup too.

Top Gun Shoot Out at the Pioneer Village

There were a number of scary rides and that is where the lines were.  Not much of the tame stuff – one had to be scared to death or throw up in order to get their monies worth.

The Sizzler Runs So Fast One Can't See the Carts Full of Kids On a Timed Exposure. The Streaks of Light Were Made By Lights on the Side of the Carts As They Raced By

But I came for pictures and found plenty.  The press of the crowd was terrific but everyone was in a good mood and polite.  The weather was much cooler than in previous days – a good time for all at a good time of the year.

Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana – Klondyke Strawberries

8 Aug

Shipping Label from Amite

It seems that strawberries have always been central to life in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana.  One can still find locally grown strawberries for sale and see a few fields filled with ripe berries and pickers but the culture associated with the growing and shipping and selling of the berries is almost gone.  The strawberry industry in Tangipahoa is now just a shadow of its former self.

Shipping Label from Independence

Not too many years ago the towns up and down US Highway 51 in Tangipahoa Parish bustled with activity during strawberry season.  The towns were jammed with people and activity for weeks and there were berries just about everywhere.  Private stands sold the berries all along the route of Highway 51, the migrant worker school was full of kids, and it seemed that hundreds of gallon jugs with red colored water advertised strawberry wine.

Label from Natalbany

Even the strawberries were different back then.  They were Klonkdykes.  They had a distinctive aroma and they were tart and sweet.  Once you had eaten one another type of berry would not do.  However, the main market for the Klondyke was in Chicago and trainload after trainload carried the distinctly flavored berries there throughout strawberry season.  There was no such thing as plastic pints and cardboard carriers back a few years ago.  Everything was made from wood.  As the season edged on the wooden pints and hand carriers would get drenched in strawberry juice and the delicious smell permeated the wood.

"NIC" Brand from Amite

Not that long ago a disease hit the Klondyke plants and just about wiped them out.  The growers switched to the Chandler Berry which is the same berry grown in California and Florida.  Tangipahoa and Louisiana had lost its unique strawberry niche.  Without a special product to offer, the commercial  stores and outlets could get cheaper and more dependable supplies from other places.

Fluker Even Shipped Strawberries

In general I don’t eat genetically engineered food but if the Klondyke could be brought back through gene therapy I would eat as many as I could.  I suppose the old Klondykes are grown in places but they are no longer the center of life in Tangipahoa Parish.

I have attached some of the old shipping labels that were once in use in Tangipahoa.  The Louisiana State Library at least has images of many of the private labels.  The imagery too was a vital part of the strawberry culture in Tangipahoa.  All of it now has just about become a part history.

Amite, Louisiana – R.C. Davis Studio

2 Aug

RC Davis Adds Final Touches to His Latest Painting

I like to ride over to my visit with my friend Chris Davis in Hillsdale, which is near Amite, Louisiana.  It is nice to sit with him and discuss items of the day while he diligently paints at his easel.  In the meantime I stay busy petting his three terriers and a heeler.  The dogs like the large easy chair in his studio as much as I do.  The studio has changed some over the years but I notice that the smell of turpentine and linseed oil and other aromas no longer fill the air and that is something I miss very much.

Many of those that know the art scene in the Gulf South know Chris as RC Davis.  Heis one of the best known artist in the region and known for his paintings of the rural parts of South Louisiana.

Davis's Brush Works Quickly Highlighting Areas of His Painting

He also has a love of the Louisiana Coastal areas and when he is not painting he is often headed for the Louisiana Coast to fish for speckled trout and to enjoy the entire area of what we call the marshes and coast.  On occasion I accompany Chris to the Gulf Coast and I love to see the water and the marsh and the birds and to do my best photographing these things mostly from a moving boat.  In fact I spend most of my time doing that while Chris fishes or is figuring out how to get the boat out of shallow water. Ha, sometimes I wonder why he tolerates me because it is more work for him – maybe I should take the fishing more seriously and the photos less so since it is impossible to get a great picture while bobbing and weaving around in the water.  But a photographer has the delusion, or the hope, that somehow he will still capture a wonderful scene.  Well, I guess they all are amazing down in the Coastal part of Louisiana even if a little blurry.  Each image has a special memory to me regardless of what it looks like.

However, on the day of this visit Chris was finishing up what he calls his “Pelican Piece.”  He said that he loves the pelicans along the coast and that he thinks of them every time he thinks of that area.  They indeed are a beautiful bird and it seems that they dominate the skies and activities when we are out there.  Chris has done Pelicans before but the oil spill has been weighing heavy on his mind lately.  We do not know the fate of the birds and fish and dolphins that we so dearly cherish.  We do not know the fate of the marshes where we spend a great deal of time.

I think that Chris is missing the Gulf so much that he is painting part of his favorite memories.  When down there one learns to feel that the pelicans and dolphins are indeed friends and he is missing his old friends.

The Pallet For the Pelican Painting

During one visit to the coast we headed to the marshes to anchor and bed down for the night.  A trio of dolphins followed us into the marshes – they had followed us while in the Gulf.  All during the night they would surface and exhale the air from their air holes and at times the blasts that would awaken us.  It happened many times that night but it was a beautiful thing and was not bothersome at all.

Before daylight one of the dolphins pounded on the boat with his tail.  Now that woke us up!  We noticed a bad storm coming in from the Gulf and thought that it would probably arrive at about time the tide was out.  I think that dolphin was telling us that they were leaving as bad weather was on the way and that they were getting out of there.  We should have left when they did.  We got caught in the middle of the storm, out in the Gulf, and before long waves were going over the boat.  One hit me directly in the face.

All of these things were going through my mind as Chris added highlights to his pelican picture. One of the merchants, that carries his paintings, thought that the darkness along the shore was too reminiscent of the oil spill.  The sun was going down in the painting and of course the shore area had shadows, but no oil was in this image!

Chris decided that he could add highlights to the shore and to the water near the shore and his brush worked quickly with white and blue paint as we talked.

Rainbow Greets Us as We Hit the Road with Pelican Painting

He finished up pretty quickly and the painting was placed in the back of his truck and we headed down the road to show it to his brother.  As we pulled into the driveway we noticed a rainbow in the distance even though we had not seen any rain.  We thought we could get a better view in a open field just down the road and so we, along with the painting, headed to the field.  When we arrived there was a rainbow that stretched all across the sky and we could see both ends.  What a sight.  I wonder if it will one day show up in a future painting of RC Davis.

I plan to do a post, in the future, on his gallery.  It is a gallery that he created from an old chicken farm barn.  If you wish you can visit his gallery at this link: http://www.rcdavis.com/.  I just looked at his website and the new piece has been posted.  It is named Gulf Flight.

Let me say that my photographs are just snap shot images and in no way exhibit the wonderful color and superb artwork for which Chris is known.  My images are just here to help tell the story.