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.
‘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.”
“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.”
I Class 1 Lines:
Huey Pierce Long Bridge to Iowa Junction=US Highway 90 160.29
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
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
Back Belt Line: Metairie 160.23
New Orleans to Birmingham via Slidell=US Highway 11 160.95
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 Lake Charles Area 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:
Louisiana and Delta:
Branchlines off the BNSF Lafayette Subdivision=161.445
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):
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:
New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal: 160.44
New Orleans Station Services: 160.215
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):
161.1 North End
161.13 South End
160.59 Car Department
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
160.74 Car Department Repeater
West Near US Highway 61 in Metairie: *NEED FREQUENCY*
New Orleans Public Belt:
France Yard *NEED FREQUENCY*
Tchoupitoulas *NEED FREQUENCY*
Jourdan Terminal *NEED FREQUENCY*
Oliver Yard New Orleans:
160.365 Car Department
160.53 Primary Channel
161.49 Secondary Channel
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
AKTRAK New Orleans: 160.335
Union Pacific: 161.205 (nationwide)
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…
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 if 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…