Certain parts of Houma, Louisiana, remind me of “Blast Corps”

Yes, I had been fascinated by radio electronics since toddlerhood, but around the age of eleven, I had begun to cultivate an interest in video gaming. And it would be that way from the ages of eleven to about fourteen. From the ages of eleven to fourteen, most of my free time and a good bit of my spending money was allocated to video games. My two favorite gaming systems were the Nintendo 64 and the Game Boy Pocket/Game Boy Color. I also would download lots of free computer games and save them on floppy disks. In the Summer of 2001, I had discovered console emulators and ROM files for more vintage games. During this time of my life, video games had priority over all my other interests, dare I say, including flashlights.

I lived with my nuclear family in Raceland, Louisiana, but we spent a lot of time in Houma, Louisiana, especially going swimming at the Bayouland YMCA.

In the process of the commute between Raceland and the part of Houma in which the Y is located, one would have to travel through the Northeastern Outskirts of Houma, through suburbs such as Bayou Blue and the neighborhood of Coteau. Traveling through these areas, reminded me of my second favorite Nintendo 64 game, Blast Corps. I had posted maybe once before on how I thought that the Northeastern outskirts of Houma, Louisiana, had always reminded me of that said game but in this piece, I intend to do a detailed and in-depth reporting of that.

Blast Corps was released by Rare Ware in 1997 for the Nintendo 64.

Other games that I enjoyed were 007 Goldeneye (my all-time favorite video game) and Jet Force Gemini was also created by Rare Ware.

I first played a rented copy of Blast Corps in the Summer of 1998 and loved every aspect of the game, especially the parts with trains and canal boats.

On the rented copy, most of the levels had been beaten and I would simply play the levels with trains and canal boats so I could operate them for fun.

I was not into playing [most] video games for their main objectives, but rather for either shooting/fighting enemies or operating cool machines. For the record, I did not “foam” in Mario Kart as the MEME suggests, but I would watch either my friend, Joshua Vinet, or my brother Devin Monier, play all the games for the objectives, and then I would do the other stuff that which I considered fun. This is probably why I outgrew video games at the age of fifteen and went back to my radio electronics hobby and later discovered writing. Finally, at the age of eighteen, I got fully back into flashlights.

Now there are no longer any railroads in Houma. There haven’t been since 1991.

However, there are several busy navigable waterways and there is also some heavy machinery in use either for oilfield support operations, highway maintenance, shipbuilding, or agriculture.

Sadly there are no giant robot suits (Thunderfist, Cyclone Suit, and J-Bomb), dune buggies (Skyfall or rocket cars that fire missiles (Ballista) as of yet. Maybe if America became more dystopian I can see heavily militarized SWAT units deploying such machinery.

Also, the Sideswipe seems like a pointless vehicle, but I digress.

And given the current situation at the time of writing this piece (March 2022), I don’t think the nuclear deterrent warfare arsenal will be reduced anytime soon, much unlike the entire theme of Blast Corps. And if the nuclear arsenal is to be reduced, I highly doubt that the nuclear weapons will not be carried to a safe detonation site on automatic vehicles that cannot be stopped or have any obstacle or obstruction lest they detonate upon any impact. Again that is the main theme of Blast Corps.

From the ages of 31 (when I left my now ex-wife) until 34 (when my apartment was destroyed by a wicked woman named Ida), I lived in an apartment on the northeastern outskirts of Houma, Louisiana in a community known as Bayou Blue. I did well there aside from having one or two Karens as neighbors.

As one leaves the City of Houma on New Orleans Boulevard then it transitions into a two-lane highway there are some tank farms situated on the right side of Highway 182 FKA Highway 90. These tank farms are in between that Highway and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway which at this point is also taking a northeasterly course. I do remember in certain levels of Blast Corps some similar tanks filled with flammable fluids that were situated along the canals in Blast Corps. I also, in the latter parts of 2018, wrote a very short story about a terrorist blowing up these tank farms. There are also some shipyards nearby, though some are currently vacant as of now. I don’t recall any shipyards in Blast Corps (that would have been cool if there were) but some of the equipment used in shipyards (such as cranes) was there.

There was a glitch in the game where a car bearing the American flag had a Dixie horn. That could be potentially offensive to some players. Another car was a hot rod inspired by Starsky and Hutch. There was also an A-Team van whose horn would say, “outta my way” in Mister T’s voice. My brother affectionately called this vehicle the “Mister T Van.” There was also a police car that was modeled after the Crown Victoria from the 1960s, such as on Adam 12.

As a very young child, I played a lot with Matchbox cars and now I have a modest collection.

Moving on. There used to be a traffic signal that the intersection of Highway 182 and Williams Avenue Extension/Hollywood Road, but now it has been converted to a traffic circle or roundabout. I believe this was a foolish idea on the part of all involved. On a slightly related note, there is a gentleman who is faithfully dedicated to the cause of Christ and he is working with churches in my area across all denominational lines he requested that certain churches pray for certain gates around the City of Houma. He considers this roundabout to be the “Restoration Gate” and has assigned my church to pray for the restoration of Christians to the joy of their Salvation and restoration to everyone else of all that was lost due to Hurricane Ida, especially when we travel through this junction. I respect this gentleman tremendously for his Kingdom work and am totally on board with praying for this. While passing through this intersection the shipyards and tank farms give way to wilderness, then one comes to a junction with Coteau Road AKA Highway 660. For those of you who are wondering, Coteau is French for “Ridge” and yes, this area of land is on a ridge. It is quite high and therefore flood resistant. And because of that, even modes properties in this area come at a premium price. Making a left on Coteau Road, one will come to a business known as “FrogCo.” This company rents out heavy amphibious equipment, mainly for use in marshes. These machines are so obtuse that when transported, they require “Wide Load” clearance and also an escort from a state trooper. These state troopers love doing this job because it is easy, safe, and pays much better than their normal wages. These machines remind me of some of the machines featured in Blast Corps, like the “Backlash”, but bigger and bulkier. Continuing west on Coteau Road would eventually bring the driver back to civilization, so I’ll instead talk about going back to Highway 182 and instead of going East on Coteau Road. The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway also makes a turn to the East in this area, so Coteau Road runs a course parallel to that said canal. If facing east, there are some houses, actually some nice quaint houses, and a fire station on the left-hand side of the road. I don’t recall any fire apparatus in Blast Corps, but the game would have been even cooler had it included these. On the right-hand side of the road, if facing eastbound, there are more tank farms with even bigger dome-shaped tanks filled with oil and gas, and there are also heavy industries including more shipyards situated on the GICW. This is mostly the case until Coteau Road terminates with Bayou Blue Road AKA Highway 316.

So let’s go back to our junction between Coteau Road and Highway 182 and continue northeast on Highway 182.

For a few blocks, it is mostly wilderness, when one crosses the Saint Louis Bayou, which used to be navigable and quite busy in bygone times. I’m talking before there were railroads and highways and it is from canals such as these that people from the rest of The States assumed children in South Louisiana commuted to school on a boat. This Bayou can still be traveled on a very small boat but nothing else. I remember one time in that Summer of 2020, I a friend and former neighbor of mine was hanging out by this bayou fishing. I was testing out my then-new tactical flashlight, a NiteCore i4000R, and shining it at that bayou on high-powered mode. There suddenly was a reflection from the water and it was moving a quite swiftly-the eye of an alligator! And that eye had a very much intimidating appearance that all I could do was stand, frozen in time, and stare at it until it swam away. In 2010 some teenagers met their demise in that bayou when the driver of their truck fell asleep at the wheel and veered off the highway and plunged into the water and they drowned. This was a tremendously heartbreaking moment for the City of Houma and surrounding communities. Immediately after Saint Louis Bayou, there is a huge scrapyard where the automobiles and other items containing considerable amounts of metal from days gone by are broken apart and sold for scrap. And at this point, we come upon the community of Bayou Blue, which is named after a body of water that traveled from Bayou Lafourche to the GICW and possibly even to the Gulf of Mexico at one point. Now though, it is more like a really big ditch and doesn’t cover as much mileage as it once did. For most of its current course, Bayou Blue runs parallel to Highway 316 AKA Bayou Blue Road. I remember being thirteen and for the past four prior years memorizing road maps. I also happened to be a fan of the World Wrestling Federation. So, while traveling to the YMCA with my dad and brother, I remember crossing this highway many times. There was a certain reference to the wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin and, while I now know this is potential blasphemy, there used to be a slogan tied to that wrestler called Austin 3:16. So, jokingly I would call Bayou Blue Road, “The Stone Cold Highway.” This went on during the Summer of 2000. I think my dad attempted to explain the real meaning of 3:16 as in John 3:16 a time or two but my heart wasn’t ready for it yet. Four years later, though, it was ready and I did indeed surrender to Jesus Christ! Bayou Blue, Louisiana is also on a ridge and comparable to Coteau at that, but somehow, land and house prices in Bayou Blue are much more reasonable. I would only go east on Bayou Blue Road, not west because it is only in the eastbound direction and far down there at that where I see some similarities with Blast Corps. So turning east onto Bayou Blue Road from Highway 182 are many residences (including my former apartment) a few shops and several churches including the one I currently attend and love it there! There are also at least two fire stations and in Bayou Blue, the fire trucks are painted blue! Some also have blue lights in addition to their red lights. Bayou Blue Road then intersects with Prospect Boulevard Extension AKA Highway 3087. There used to be some pipeline compressor stations in this area and while I don’t recall pipelines or pipeline compressors in Blast Corps, they would have maybe been a neat addition. Most of these compressor stations were removed after the oilfield downturn of 2016. Bayou Blue road continues traveling a southeasterly course, then crosses the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. There is a cool pontoon swing bridge that carries Bayou Blue Road over the GICW and there are many heavy industries in this area. To me, I wish there was a place to hang out with a scanner and listen to marine traffic and all the supporting operations and not be mistook for a terrorist. These dockyards have cranes for loading and unloading barges. Other heavy equipment is here as well, some of which is loaded onto barges from here. There were machines loaded onto barges that were similar in appearance to the “Ramdozer”. There are yet some more shipyards in the area. Highway 316 then runs a course parallel to the Barataria and Lafourche Company Canal (another waterway that predates the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway by over 100 years) and terminates with Highway 24 in Bourg Louisiana. My childhood friend Joshua Vinet was employed in these shipyards sometimes providing security and sometimes wiring the electronic equipment on the ships until he became stricken with seizures. I plan on buying a vehicle very soon, so I plan to visit him. I haven’t seen him in approximately two years and that is due to this wretched virus that has plagued humanity. If you, the reader, are wondering about my brother (the other one of whom I watched play video games) he is doing very well and recently had a son with his wife.

Let’s go back to our junction between Bayou Blue Road and Highway 182. From there let’s continue Northeast on Highway 182 for about a half-mile Highway 182 continues through the community of Bayou Blue. It is mostly commercialized here, though these businesses have been hit very hard by Hurricane Ida. Then we cross The Hollywood Canal, which, as Saint Louis Bayou, used to be heavily traveled before the advent of railroads and highways. Timber from the forests near Schriever and Thibodaux was loaded onto barges and shipped down to the Houma area via this waterway. How it now only sees small personal boats. I’ve heard on my scanner that there is a slip for this canal in its convergence with the GICW known as Hollywood Slip. The Hollywood Canal is no longer navigable. Shortly after this crossing Highway 182 becomes a four-lane highway and travels northeast towards Raceland. Just before its junction with the new Highway 90, there is a shooting range owned by the Lafourche Parish Sherriff’s Office but open to the public, so there are several police cars (either Crown Victorias or Explorers, both made by Ford) there and there is also a garbage dump nearby in which some garbage trucks travel in and out of. It would have been cool to have garbage trucks in Blast Corps.

This is all of the geographic areas that I wish to cover because it would take you into Raceland, Louisiana, and it does not remind me of Blast Corps save the extreme northern parts of the community where the BNSF Railway Lafayette Subdivision mainline traverses and most of that area is off-limits to the public.

I get it that some levels in Blast Corps had trains but most of the levels with trains were located in mountainous terrain and South Louisiana is as flat as the summer day is long.

Had I not outgrown video games at age 15, I probably could have come up with more examples of actual places that remind me of Blast Corps levels.

But I don’t necessarily regret outgrowing video games and graduating to radio electronics, especially scanners. With scanners, I can tune in many times what the operators of such heavy equipment are saying to each other, although I have yet to hear someone say, “Time to get moving!”

A favorite past time of mine is to bring a scanner or two and take up a position either by a railroad mainline or navigable waterway and tune in the communications of either trains or boats, respectively. I also would like to take a receiver that is capable of tuning in CB Radio transmissions and tuning in the truckers, especially if I am near a main highway. Due to the disabilities that I and stricken with, I cannot qualify for any job in the transportation of people or freight and operating of heavy equipment sectors and that breaks my heart. But I have tremendous respect for those employed in such jobs and I like to tune them in on my scanners. I have a little cousin who is highly fascinated by all sorts of machinery and I cannot wait to teach him about scanners and tuning in truck drivers, boat, and train crews, that is if they are still usable or legal by the time he comes of age.

I hope this piece has been amusing because I have desired to write it since some point in 2020, but it was from some comments in a Facebook group I belong to about the Nintendo 64 gaming console that was the catalyst for me writing this.

Those of you who are familiar the area I described will appreciate this post more than most and those of you who are familiar with the said area and appreciate the game Blast Corps will appreciate this post even more.

I guess this concludes the piece, so may God richly bless you.

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An Awesome Junk Food Combination

I do indeed enjoy junk food, which is to be exact almost any food that is highly palatable and energy-dense.

I like it so much, that it may be a contributing factor to my weight problem.

There is specifically one junk food combination that I like though I cannot have it anymore, due to developing a peanut allergy.

If I didn’t have this wretched peanut allergy, I would still be enjoying this combination of junk food.

It is a Mister Goodbar paired with a 13 fluid ounce bottle of Starbucks Vanilla Frappuccino. All I can say is that the taste is amazing! It also results in a very pleasant and mood-boosting sugar rush. The mixture of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, peanuts, and milk all at once will make your taste buds dance and sing!

I first discovered this awesome combination in late May of 2014. I was buying some fuel, snacks, and drinks at the Prospect Truck Plaza which is located on the Northeastern outskirts of Houma, Louisiana.

This truck stop serves somewhat of a logistics hub, not only for trucking freight operations in the area but also for aviation and marine operations working in conjunction with trucking freight. It is in very close proximity to the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway as well as the Houma-Terrebonne Airport. There are also some very busy oil and gas pipeline operations in this area. Finally, there is a casino housed at this truck stop, which attracts people from all over.

The whole amazingly reminds me of one of my favorite video games from childhood, namely Blast Corps, because of all the heavy equipment. I do currently reside just slightly to the North of here and rent but would be thrilled to own a house in on Coteau Road between Highway 182 and Prospect Boulevard Extension. I have even had dreams of a railroad being built in this area, which in my humble but honest opinion would do a world of good, economics wise. By the way, the railroad in my dream connected from the BNSF mainline at Raceland to a currently-nonexistent transload facility on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway in Village East via Eagle Island. I’ve also had a couple of dreams about another railroad that ties in with it but also goes to Schriever running between Bayou Blue Ridge and Coteau Ridge

I moved to this area in May of 2018 and until this peanut allergy got bad enough, I was a frequent customer in this truck stop. I would usually purchase the Starbucks Vanilla Frappuccino along with a Mister Goodbar of varying sizes, depending on how much money or credit I had. Then I would sit in the dining section of that truck stop eating and drinking my purchases whilst listening to truck and barge traffic on my scanner. I had good food, good drink, and good entertainment. I also got to interact with workers and customers. I miss doing this, so if anyone could think of another decent snack to go with the bottle of Starbucks Vanilla Frappuccino (preferably something chocolate), I’m open to ideas. Of course, I won’t attempt to do this until the Coronavirus lockdown is over.

I had always enjoyed peanuts and peanut products growing up but I had developed an allergy to them over time. It started in my late teens or early twenties with a pick in my throat, every time I ate any peanut product but by my early thirties I would break out in rashes. My peanut allergy is not fatal, at least not yet, but one day potentially could be.

Yes, I am disabled, but I wish I could have a job, any sort of job in the transportation industry. I like everything about it, the cool machinery, the traveling all kinds of places, and the communications aspect, of course. I like it to the point where working those crazy hours would bother me one bit.

If you work in the transportation sector and are reading this, let me say thank you for keeping the country and the world going, but also might I suggest that you try this combination. I think it is perfect for anyone working in the transportation sector.

Why?

Well, I can give at least three reasons:

It tastes delicious, which means it will make you feel better and possibly be a source of comfort and might mitigate some of the loneliness your job entails.

It is a great source of energy, which will help your job performance.

It is a rich source of caffeine, and this means it will make your job safer in addition to making everyone around you safe by keeping you awake and alert.

Do try this combination out, even if you don’t work in the transportation sector, I don’t as much as I would want to.

Likely it could be a hit amongst those in the public safety and medical sectors as well, but I don’t work in these either.

I’m just a blogger on a pension, but I know what I like.

I would want to write some more about this, but my back is starting to hurt. However, I think I have gotten my point across.

So, this, therefore, concludes my piece and I hope you, the reader, have been informed and maybe entertained!

Thank you for reading…

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My Own Zombie Apocalypse

I stand on the carport of what used to be the house of my paternal grandparents in Louisiana. Suddenly, I am surrounded by a swarm of living dead human beings, all of who are demanding my brain. They are advancing on me. I reach into my pockets for any object to fight them off with. Thankfully, I still have my Streamlight Pro Tac Flashlight. They advance on me, but as each one comes, I activate the strobe feature. They shield their eyes and I strike their temples or their windpipes with the scalloped bezel of my flashlight. Five zombies engage me. Five zombies fall to their deaths. I am still outnumbered though and realize I can’t keep on fighting them. My Dr. Scholls walking shoes and Swiss Gear backpack which contains my LG smartphone, my glasses, my house key and, my medication are all inside my grandparents’ house which is surrounded by a whole army of zombies. More and more are also walking out of their graves. They wish to rule this otherwise peaceful neighborhood for whatever reason. Reluctantly, I leave these items behind and decide to evacuate on foot, even barefoot. I walk to the house I am renting from an elderly lady. She lets me in, but I tell her how I have to leave. She demands my key. It’s in my backpack. She then falls asleep, so I grab as many tee shirts and undergarments as I can stuff in my pants pockets, then continue running out of the neighborhood and onto the main highway. I walk along the main highway and hold my thumb out. I hear Florida is a safe haven from the zombies, so I try to flag down a truck driver that’s headed there or at least in that direction. Suddenly an old fisherman drives by on a golf cart and holds a pistol to my head. I keep calm then remember an old Israeli martial arts technique then take the pistol from him. I then aim for his back and fire several shots. However, only BBs come out of the gun’s muzzle and they bounce off his back. He then pulls out a crossbow and shoots me in my left thigh. The extra shirts and drawers in my pocket keep the arrow from going in too deep, so I pull it out and bleed only slightly in my leg. I take the arrow and prepare to plunge it in that old man’s jugular vein, but then he offers me a fish hook, some line, bait and some cleaned Redfish flesh, claiming that it was all a test and that I passed. I still don’t trust him in the least. I have an overwhelming suspicion that the fish he gave me is laced with poison. I depart from him and start walking towards the Interstate when I wake up…I look at my G-Shock wristwatch. It’s 3:50 in the morning. I realize I have church in a few hours, so I soon fall back asleep.

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Undying Faith-Written in December 2006

‘Twas a cold December night. Blaine Clancey and Isabelle Ames were talking on the telephone. They had been in a casual relationship for three months. Blaise had fallen for her, but she wasn’t so sure just yet. As they were talking on the phone Isabelle was telling him how there was someone else in her life and that she didn’t want to be with him anymore. It was if a red-hot dagger was driven into his heart as she broke those words to him and then hung up the phone. That night he overdosed on pills and alcohol and went to sleep. The next day he woke up around two in the afternoon and was very depressed. The rain was pouring down hard and lightning was crashing. Whenever he would feel a wave of depression, he would turn to his police scanner to remind him that there are people who have it worse than he does. At the same time, Isabelle was talking to her new boyfriend Kyle Ford on the phone. He was asking her to come over in hopes that he would get lucky with her. He told her how he wanted to “make love to her so bad”. In all reality, there was no love just lust. She knew she wasn’t ready to give herself to anyone just yet, and realized how Blaine never treated her like this, but also realized how she broke his heart and was now overcome with loneliness. He kept urging her to come over to his place and finally told her that if she meant anything to him she would come over. She finally decided to drive over anyhow it was raining horribly. While driving on the Melody Expressway, she lost control of her car and slid into oncoming traffic and her car was smashed. She lay there unable to feel her legs and was scratched up in the face from the broken glass.

Blaine sat there listening to his scanner when he heard the paging signal go off, “Melody 911 to EMS respond to an accident with injury on the Melody Expressway.”

He realized that he could have been worse off when he heard that page.

He tuned in the police frequency when he heard “Jack can you tend to that accident with injury on the Melody Expressway?”

Jack replied, “Yes ma’am.” He kept listening until he heard the policeman say once again “I’ve arrived on the scene.”

And called out the license plate number. Blaine recognized that number and his heart sunk The ambulance took Isabelle to the hospital where she was conscious but paralyzed from the waist down and her face was cut up. Kyle kept trying her cell phone again and again and was now growing impatient and angry.

That afternoon the news came on at six o’clock that afternoon reporting of Isabelle’s accident and reported how she was resting at Melody General hospital. While she was there she had the hospital contact Kyle.

He came to visit her, but saw her cuts and saw her paralysis and said, “You’re so ugly now, we’re through.”

Her heart sunk and she was now feeling the red-hot dagger through her heart realizing how much she meant to Blaine and that he would have never left her. She knew now that they would never be together because of the way she broke up with him, or at least she thought she knew. The nurse said, “There is someone here to see you, Isabelle.” She looked at the doorway, and there was Blaine.

He looked at her and she started sobbing as she spoke, “I am so sorry I hurt you like that.”

“It’s all right.”

She continued, “Kyle dumped me when he was my scars and paralysis. I never realized how good you were to me, and now you won’t want me either.”

“Wrong, I do want you and I always have wanted you.”

“But look at me.”

“That doesn’t matter.”

“But I’m an invalid now.”

“Doesn’t matter, you still mean the world to me.”

“I will need someone to take care of me for the rest of my life.”

“I would be willing to do that.”

“But we will never be able to have sex.”

“Doesn’t matter.”

“But what will everyone think of you.”

“Doesn’t matter, I love you damn it, and that’s not something that just goes away.”

“I realize how much you do now. I realize that I was so confused, but now I know that I love you and I am so sorry for breaking up with you.”

He came up to her and kissed her gently on her forehead, and asked, “Will you give me another chance?”

“I think the question is will YOU give ME another chance?”

“Yes of course. And I promise my undying faith to you.”

This may seem like a very good example of a love between a man and a woman.  However a much Greater Love is available to any who wishes to receive it.  I do admit that this could somewhat be a reflection of that Greater Love, at least to some degree…

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Comprehensive Louisiana Railroad Frequencies

I Class 1 Lines:
BNSF:
Huey Pierce Long Bridge to Iowa Junction=US Highway 90 160.29

Canadian National:
Hammond to Baton Rouge via Livingston=US Highway 190 160.92

New Orleans to Baton Rouge: Baton Rouge Subdivision=LA Highway 30, 73, 44, 48 (East Bank River Road) 160.92

New Orleans to McComb MS: Hammond Subdivision=LA Highway 3139 (Earhart Expressway) and US Highway 51 161.19

CSXT:
New Orleans to Gulfport MS via Rigolets=US Highway 90 Dispatch 161.52 Road 161.37

Kansas City Southern:
Alexandria to Shreveport=US Highway 71 160.26

Baton Rouge Area to Alexandria=LA Highway 1 160.26

Lake Charles to Shreveport=US Highway 171 160.305

New Orleans to Baton Rouge: New Orleans Subdivision=US Highway 61 (Airline Highway) 160.26

Shreveport to Meridian MS: Meridian Speedway=US Highway 80 161.01

Norfolk Southern:
Back Belt Line: Metairie 160.23

New Orleans to Birmingham via Slidell=US Highway 11 160.95

Chalmette 160.62

Union Pacific:
Avondale to Livonia: Livonia Subdivision=LA Highway 18 then LA Highway 1 (West Bank River Road) 160.515

Addis, LA to Port Allen, LA: Avoyelles Subdivision=LA Highway 1 160.41

Iowa Junction to Houston via Lake Charles and Beaumount: Lafayette Subdivision=US Highway 90 160.365

Livonia to Alexandria: Alexandria Subdivision=US Highway 71 160.41

Alexandria to Monroe: Monroe Subdivision=US Highway 165 160.41

Alexandria to Shreveport: Reisor Subdivision=LA Highway 1 160.47

Lake Charles (Iowa Junction) to Alexandria: Lake Charles Subdivision=US Highway 165 160.515

Livonia to DeQuincy via Opelousas: Beaumount Subdivision=US Highway 190 160.47

Houston to Shreveport: Lufkin Subdivision=Texas/Louisiana State Line 160.32

Livonia to Port Allen, LA: Anchorage Subdivision=US Highway 190 160.515

Avondale, LA to Gouldsboro Yard, LA: Gouldsboro Subdivision=LA Highway 18 160.41

II Common Carriers:
Acadiana Railway:
161.28

Louisiana and Delta:
Branchlines off the BNSF Lafayette Subdivision=161.445

Louisiana Southern:
160.785 Road Channel Gibsland, LA to Pineville, LA

160.845 Dispatch Channel Gibsland, LA to Pineville, LA

New Orleans Public Belt:
160.32 Road Channel

New Orleans and Gulf Coast=LA Highway 23 (West Bank River Road):
160.47
160.635
160.995

Ouchita Railroad:
161.295 Channel 1 from El Dorado, AR to Lillie, LA
161.175 Channel 2 from El Dorado, AR to Lillie, LA

Timber Rock Railroad:
160.785 Road Channel from Kirbyville, TX to DeRidder, LA

160.845 Switching and Operations

III Stations and Yards:
AMTRAK:
New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal: 160.44

New Orleans Station Services: 160.215

BNSF:
Avondale Yard: 160.71 MHz and 161.43

Lafayette North Yard: 160.65

Lafayette South Yard: 160.71

Canadian National Yards:
Baton Rouge Yard Near Mississippi River *NEED FREQUENCY*

Destrahan Yard Near Interstate Highway 310 and LA Highway 48 160.92

Geismar Yard Between New Orleans and Baton Rouge on LA Highway 44 *NEED FREQUENCY*

Mays Yard Near LA Highway 3139 (Earhart Expressway):
161.28
161.46
161.1 North End
161.13 South End
160.59 Car Department

CSX:
Gentilly Yard 160.38 and 160.875
PBX New Orleans Output 161.265 Input 160.39

Kansas City Southern Yards:
Baton Rouge Near Interstate Highway 110 *NEED FREQUENCY*
Shreveport Terminal 161.25
Shreveport Deramus Yard:
161.565 Diesel Shop and Maintenance of Way
161.055 Switching Repeater
160.44 Switching
160.74 Car Department Repeater
160.86
West Near US Highway 61 in Metairie: *NEED FREQUENCY*

New Orleans Public Belt:
France Yard *NEED FREQUENCY*
Tchoupitoulas *NEED FREQUENCY*
Jourdan Terminal *NEED FREQUENCY*

Norfolk Southern:
Oliver Yard New Orleans:
160.365 Car Department
160.53 Primary Channel
161.49 Secondary Channel

Union Pacific:
Addis Yard Across Mississippi River from Baton Rouge 160.47
Alexandria Yard: 161.07
Avondale Yard: Between US Highway 90 and LA Highway 18 160.47
Edgerly Plastic Yard: Near US Highway 90 Between Vinton and Lake Charles 160.845
Lake Charles Yard: US Highway 90 and US Highway 171 160.71
Livonia Yard: Near Near US Highway 190 and LA Highway 77:
161.265 MHz Trimmer
161.115 MHz Crest
160.41 MHz Car Department
Shreveport Reisor Yard: 160.47

IV Police:
AKTRAK New Orleans: 160.335
Union Pacific: 161.205 (nationwide)

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I am a Human G.P.S.

Ever since I’ve known myself, I have always been interested as to which highways (and later waterways and railroads) go where. Even in my very early childhood, I would pay close attention to where my parents would drive and memorize the routes. Also, I remember asking from a very early age what were the names of certain roads we traveled on. The only explanation as to why navigation interests me is because I inherited this interest genetically from my dad. In the first half of the year 1991, he would drive me to a nursery/preschool at a church in Schriever, Louisiana. As he drove, he would teach me about the roads we traveled on to get there. I was only four years old, but I was paying close attention. It’s in my genes, I guess, but unfortunately, my brother and sister didn’t inherit this interest, as they take after my mom. In fact, as early as age six, in the summer of 1993, I was giving driving directions to my mom! Other family members recognized my skills with memorizing and figuring out routes. Many were impressed, but I’m sure others questioned why would a young child who cannot legally drive yet (not even reach the pedals) be interested in highway navigation.

The current route of US 90 in my area didn’t have its alignment until the late Summer of 1999. Between Raceland and Morgan City, US 90 was routed through Houma on what is now LA 182. When I was a young child, the highway that would be the new four-laned US 90 ended at its interchange with LA 311. Traffic wanting to continue west went North on LA 311 until Schriever then went West on LA 24 and finally West on LA 20 towards Gibson where it was connected to US 90 once again. Very slowly, and I mean at a snail’s pace, the new US 90, temporarily known as LA 3052, was being built and by 1998 it had reached LA 20 out in the Atchafalaya Swamps in Western Terrebonne Parish. In the defense of the government and the construction contractors, the swamp bridge that carries this highway is indeed one of the longest bridges in the world. However, when the railroad coming through this area back in the 1850s, it didn’t take anywhere near as long as long to build though. In fact, there was a railroad between Algiers (New Orleans on the Westbank) and what is now Morgan City completed between 1852 and 1857. Most of it still exists to this day. It took over 20 years to upgrade US 90 in my area. I remember reading a newspaper article in the Summer of 1998, that the New US 90 would be complete in 1999 and that its former routes would be known as “LA 182.” A year later, we rode to New Iberia and all of the westbound portions of the New US 90 were complete, but some of the eastbound portions still needed a little work. A few weeks later my dad was bringing me and my brother to the YMCA in Houma, LA, and some of the LA 182 signs were up. It wasn’t until December of 1999 that the route numbers of LA 3198 and LA 3199 (also part of US 90’s former route) in Raceland were changed to LA 182. I remember seeing those signs on a bus ride home one day. The change happened while I was in class. I was sure happy to see those new signs.

In my preteen years, I began to collect, study and memorize roadmaps. I would also go to the library, just to get on the computer to use the program Microsoft Streets and Trips 2000. If the library staff would have allowed me to, I could have looked at those maps for hours on end. That was also one of the programs my parents purchased when they acquired a computer in the Summer of 2000. Because of this computer program, I also began to memorize which waterways went where, though I wouldn’t get heavily interested in that until fifteen years later. I don’t remember if the said map program labeled the railroads, therefore I couldn’t figure out which ones went where. However, I do remember thinking about how most of the railroads were there before the highways and looking at them while passing by the Raceland Junction one day in the Summer of 2000 while coming back from my maternal grandmother’s house. It would be eleven years later from that point when I started memorizing the railroad lines and routes.

At age fourteen a fellow classmate referred to me as a “human GPS” while on a field trip to Baton Rouge. This was in January of 2001, though, and while I indeed knew what a GPS was, not everyone else did. Some people were annoyed at this hobby of mine, yet still impressed at least to a very slight degree. At the age of fourteen, I wanted so badly to be a truck driver, for the simple fact that I would get paid to travel the roads and collect road miles. My family wouldn’t hear of it though because they wanted me to go to college instead. Also, in the summer of 2001, however, things started to change. I had discovered radio communications while doing research online and began to forget about studying maps. This would go on for the next five to six years.

At age sixteen, I discovered writing and every now and then, my navigation hobby would inspire my writing. Certain highways in my area are the inspiration for certain highways in my works of fiction.

On December 30, 2003, just a few days shy of turning seventeen, I finally got my driver’s license.

In the Summer of 2006, at the age of nineteen, I got a hand me down 1998 Ford Taurus, but it wouldn’t be until 2007 that I began to start exploring on my own.

In late January of 2007, I drove myself and my girlfriend (now soon to be ex wife) to Kenner and we spent the day at the Esplanade Mall.

Another time in February 2007, I drove over the Huey Pierce Long Bridge (prior to the widening or traffic lights at the West Traffic Circle) and took her to the Clearview Mall in Metairie, LA.

Around Mardi Gras of 2007, I drove her to Morgan City, LA and Bayou Vista, LA but took the Old US 90 (LA 182) back home, all the way through Houma, LA, much to her dismay.

Around Easter of 2007, I drove her to Metairie, LA to show her the house maternal grandmother lived in and later the Riverwalk in Downtown New Orleans. We crossed the River back home on the Canal Street Ferry.

In 2008, I drove all the way to just north of Alexandria, LA to evacuate from Hurricane Gustav.

All of these trips (except the last one mentioned) had an ulterior motive and that was to hone my navigational skills. I pretty much knew how to get to these places by studying the map, but actually doing it was a whole new accomplishment for me. Many times my girlfriend got nervous because she doesn’t like riding in unfamiliar territory. This, of course, is where we butt heads frequently, especially now as husband and wife. UPDATE: My wife and I are in the process of getting a divorce. My heart is broken, but will heal eventually.

Believe it or not, despite being a human GPS, I have never driven outside of Louisiana and I am thirty going on thirty-one at the time of writing this.

However, I have indeed helped others, friends, family, and in-laws navigate through unfamiliar areas many times.

UPDATE: On December 30, 2017, the fourteenth anniversary of me getting my driver’s license, I drove across a state line for the first time.

For both waterways and railroads, my interest in learning their routes started at age thirteen, but they were forgotten about until my mid to late twenties.

I had been interested in trains from a very young age, probably because my parents read me children’s books about them, but also I had a few toy trains as a young child. As an older child, the interest went away, not to come back except slightly as a teen when I discovered that I could hear trains on a scanner. It wasn’t until age twenty-four that I became fully engulfed in my railroad hobby.

As for waterways it was seeing their routes on a computer that interested me, but it wasn’t until age twenty-eight that I became interested in them when I realized that railroads might upgrade their communications systems to where scanners cannot hear them, but VHF Marine will still be in the clear for years to come. To me watching barge traffic is almost as fun as watching railroad traffic.

In 2011 at the age of twenty-four, I began memorizing the railroad lines in my state and a few other states. Railroads are a bit tricky because they are mostly privately owned in the USA. Therefore getting too close to some of them is considered trespassing. Also, most railroads in the USA are used more for transporting freight and not necessarily passengers, though this wasn’t always the case.

In 2015 at the age of twenty-eight, I started to learn the [navigable] waterway routes of my area. Like railroads, [inland] waterways don’t really carry passengers anymore, rather they too carry mostly freight. Also like railroads this wasn’t always the case.

Being a human GPS comes in handy many times, I must say, though I think it is under-appreciated by most around me. This is especially true in the age of smartphones with built-in navigation apps.

I still like showing off my navigational skills when I can, but now I don’t give a damn whether others like it or not. If anyone is going to give me grief about it, I don’t need them in my life anyway.

Hopefully, I have been informative and maybe entertaining.

God bless you!

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Necessary Highway Numbering Changes in Louisiana

There are several Highway numbers in Louisiana that I personally believe need to be changed or corrected. This is mostly because the current numberings will confuse motorists from out of state or even those locals with a challenged sense of direction.

They are as follows:

I think U.S. 61 AKA Airline Highway between Scenic Highway in Baton Rouge and its junction with U.S. 90 in Downtown New Orleans should be renumbered U.S. 490. So in essence the “61” numbering should end where Scenic Highway meets Airline Highway. The number “490” I feel is more appropriate is because it is simply an axillary route between U.S. 90 and U.S. 190. Also “290” and “390” are already used in Texas. The other main reason is because this said stretch of highway goes in an “east-west” not a “north-south” direction. For those of you who didn’t know, odd numbered highways are supposed to go “north-south” and even numbered highways are supposed to go “east-west.” Hence 61 being an odd number is inappropriate and confusing designation.

Another change I would like to see is for LA 182 numbering only go to from Lafayette to Raceland, since most of it is an “east-west” highway there and 182 being an even number. From Lafayette to Opelousas, it should be renumbered something like “281” because it is going “north-south”, therefore needs an odd number. The change between the numbering should be with the junction with Interstate 10, whereas north of I-10 would be 281 and south of I-10 would be 182.

The third and final change and correction I would like to see will take place in the future. U.S. 90 from Lafayette to New Orleans via the West Bank Expressway should NOT be numbered I-49. The reason is very simple: When one is would be driving in places like Des Allemands and Paradis the highway would be signed 49 North, but in actuality one would be traveling southwest. This can and will cause confusion. What I suggest is naming the stretch of Highway “Interstate 6.” This is because 6 is an even number and the highway mostly takes an “east-west” direction. Also it is located by latitude between Interstate 4 in Florida and Interstate 8 in Arizona and California. I know the Interstate numbers typically increase from south to north and west to east. Anyway, when completed it would still create a seamless link between New Orleans and Kansas City, but with the numbering 49 between Kansas City and Lafayette and 6 between Lafayette and New Orleans.

All it takes is a little common sense and an open mind in high places to get this sensible change done.

Thank you for taking the time to read this…