Louisiana Trip

Hezakiah's Hands - Lake Charles Trip

I’m back at my parents’ home after having spent the week with my dad doing volunteer work in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Dad is a member of a local organization called Hezakiah’s Hands (it’s associated with his church).  He’s done several projects with the group, so I figured, it being important to Dad, I’d volunteer.  It was a great experience.  The group of people traveling down country (there were 18 of us) was a blast during the long ride.  We had a great time. I was amazed by Lake Charles.  It’s been a few years now since the devisitation of Hurricane Ike, but the ramifications persist.  Of course, living in the places where I’ve lived, where hurricanes don’t really exist, I felt kinda ignorant having been surprised that yes, it does take a long time to rebuild a community.  We would drive along the main thoroughfairs and all looked fine.  Once we ventured off the main drag, though, we’d see empty lots, boarded houses, and houses that shouldn’t be inhabited.

The first day’s shock was seeing the conditions of some of these places.  The habit, in Louisiana, is to raise houses from the ground, sometimes on pylons, but most of the stuff we saw was raised in a few blocks.  One house was perched precariously over a veritable pool of grey water that had gathered beneath it.  Its blocks were cockeyed in every direction from the force of wind and water.  Some room’s floors dropped half a foot or more over the length of 12 feet.  The shock the next day was when it sank in that a contractor had caused the pool.  The homeowners had sunk their lifesavings into saving their home, part of that project was building earth under their house to keep out water.  The contractor, instead, heaped earth around the perimeter of the house making it appear to have been filled in.  The perimeter just created walls for the collecting pool.  The underside of the house was rot and mold that had permeated all the way to the laminate flooring of their living room.

 

The people we met were wonderful.  We were treated to homecooked meals (smothered quail? – I’ll show you the photos later).  As I left one site, the lady of the house hugged me.

 

During the course of the trip, I took a few hours of footage on my D300s.  I will get it uploaded sometime soon.  I need to get to my equipment in my apartment first.  Too much footage to hack on my laptop:)  Meanwhile, I’m posting a photo of the group.  We were working in cooperation with the Presbyterian Disaster Assitance (hence, the shirts).  As always, I try to avoid religion in any of my discussions.  My beliefs are very personal, but universal in nature, and I’ll just leave it at that.

Tesla Motors

All right.  As long as I’m on the automotive kick, I’ll make one more quick entry.  I’m traveling right now and was on the road in Century City in Los Angeles.  I saw my first Tesla Motors dealership!  Ok. . .   I am not a gearhead by any means.  Yeah, my last entry was about BMW and believe me, since I read case studies on them in school, I have huge admiration for that company and their vehicles, however, if (big IF) I ever were to spend serious money on a vehicle (and I don’t see myself doing that any time soon as I have other priorities) I would invest in a Tesla machine…  Here’s a link to Tesla Motors’ website : http://www.teslamotors.com/.  Basically, they’re a Silcon Valley group taking on Detroit with an all electric car that out performs a Porsche.  Pricey, sure, but they have ambitions to market a 4 door family sedan.  Really really cool company.  As a geek (again, not a gearhead), I can’t help but be blown away.

 

Tesla Motors Roadster - - Image by Tesla Motors

 

IBC – Day 2 – Entry 1 – Cafe Alto

Last year, my friend Alex and I were introduced to the Cafe Alto by a friend of his living in Amsterdam.  This year, Alex wasn’t able to attend the show, so I went solo to the cafe.  If you go to Amsterdam, and you have a penchant for jazz, go to Alto.  Here’s the address:

Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 115
1017 PX Amsterdam

Routebeschrijving
020 6263249

This night, it was a quartet that started out as a trio (drummer was running late from a previous gig).  The group was tight.  That means just about everything in and of itself, the group has to be in tune with each other.  The energy was high, especially when the drummer / band leader finally made it to the show.  Mostly Miles with some Herbie Hancock.  Cool. Cool. Cool.  

As far as names, all I remember is the bass was named Brian and he sounded like a fellow American.  The trumpet’s name was Eduardo and he had just flown in from Barcelona.  

Unfortunately, I can’t remember either of the pianists names (switched off sets) or the drummer, but man: it was a constant duel for who’s solo would trump the other.  Me?  I’m all about piano.  A good pianist can just do anything.

 

Reach out and make a friend