A Flood of Water, Taxes and Stupidity

OK, then, the Mississippi River seems to be under control, so far. And the opening of the Morganza spillway is having some effect on lowering the level of water. It’s interesting to see reports that “Cajun Country” is being flooded to “save” Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Well, no, that’s not true at all, and that’s bad reporting and misunderstanding of our little mush pit we call home. Cajun Country, or Acadiana, is a 22 parish (Louisiana counties are called parishes, just to be different,) area that spreads over a third of the state. And it’s not being flooded whatsoever. In fact, most of Cajun Country isn’t even in the Mississippi Delta per se. It’s adjacent to it, for sure, but the Sabine, Calcasieu, Mermentau and a few other little rivers and bayous that course through Cajun Country aren’t in the Mississippi River system whatsoever. They’re in their own little niche, their own watershed, that drain the high ground, such as we have it, that sits south of the Red River valley. The Red does flow into the Mississippi, eventually, starting way out there in Texas and forming the border with Oklahoma before cutting diagonally across the state to the southeast. But anything south of that is a separate watershed.

What is being “flooded” is a swamp. And well, swamps get flooded, that’s the nature of the thing. The Atchafalaya Basin is being flooded. There’s always talk of high or low water in the basin, every year. This year it’s higher for sure. And the Atchafalaya River flows due south from where the Red meets the Muddy, and anything to the west of that – Cajun Country – is high and dry. But the basin is the nation’s largest swamp. And not many people “Live” in it. There’s lot of people who work in it, definitely, because of the oil production, fishing, trapping, alligators, crawfish and the like, even some timber I’m sure. But few live in the basin. There’s two towns inside the basin – Krotz Springs and Butte la Rose. Krotz is actually right on the Atchafalaya River, at the foot of a bridge that crosses it, just like Melville is, but Melville doesn’t have a bridge. And Krotz will almost certainly say high and dry, or, rather, low and dry, because the water will be in the Atchafalaya and to the east of that, in the empty quarters, and a in a channel to the west of it. I’ll know soon enough, I’m crossing over those parts this afternoon.

Butte la Rose is going under, but it’s not a “town” to speak of, it’s a collection of houses and camps, perhaps a 100 in all, at the end of a dead end road. And anyone who ever lived there knew quite well that they were in an area where water levels go up and down. So those people know what to do. And of the 3,000,000 acres flooded, only some 18,000 acres are farmland. And there’s supposedly 2,500 to 11,000 structures in flood’s way, depends on who counts what and how high the water goes where. Except, well, most of those are farm buildings, of course, and “camps.” And camps are the weekend homes of city dwellers. And the camps are often raised up on stilts precisely because everyone out there knows there’s flooding to contend with, even in a dry year. And so all the hand wringing over “Cajun Country” being flooded is just poor reporting. Go get a map for heaven’s sake, could it be that hard?

Meanwhile, the mayor of Baton Rouge, is trying for a third time to get some silly bond issue passed – it’s gone down to big defeats twice already. This time he’s going to break it up into smaller packages so that we vote on things separately instead of all together. Well, to me, if the whole is no good and not liked, will the parts be any better merely because we vote for, say, four “different” packages instead of just one? Doubtful. And what does the mayor want with the money? Well, for “infrastructure” of course. Sewer project always, and “traffic light synchronization” which always baffles me – why not just set the traffic lights to green when I get there? Give me the remote!

No, but seriously, why does this need millions of dollars? Aren’t there already thingamagigies in those boxes to set the times already? And how can lights be “synchronized” when traffic is never the same at any given time? And does the mayor really think that the lights are what ails the traffic in this town? What ails it, Mr. Mayor, is that alas, the city was built for 300,000 people and now has 500,000. But the street system here is just a hodgepodge of lines drawn as if by a drunk on a cocktail napkin – it’s just the nature of what was here when the people first started traipsing around – they followed the high ground, that’s where the main roads are, mostly.

Meanwhile, the mayor seems to have dropped the idea of a park in the river. No, he really thought a $250,000,000 park called “Alive!” would be just fine in the batture land downtown. Batture is the word for land that’s not on the dry side of the levee but is between the levee and the water. As such, it’s prone to flooding. And I’d go down to look at where “Alive!” was supposed to go, but it’s under 20 feet of flood stage liquid mud. What a fine idea! Put a park on land that goes under every spring! No, he says he’s dropped it. Good, I trust him, but I’ll be verifying it too, in case he sneaks it in under some other guise or name.

Meanwhile, the idea is to put another half cent sales tax on everything that moves, which is not a good idea. And if the mayor wants oh, say, $300,000,000 for infrastructure than he and the governor ought to ask Obama for the money taken from Louisiana and given to some other state for the boondoggle of high speed rail lines. It is certainly not “high speed” to take an hour and a half to get from BR to New Orleans when it already takes an hour and a half to drive it. The two cities are just 80 miles apart. It’s not like crossing Germany for sure. Why, not even the Germans or French use high speed rail to go 80 miles. So, there’s the money Mr. Mayor, in Obama’s hands. Go ask him for it, but stop asking for more taxes. Because all you’re going to get is the 40% of the city supposedly living on the edge of poverty losing just a few more bucks for necessities so you can put up signs around town (and hey, there’s a few $10,000s – all those signs with the mayor’s name on it to tell us what a wonderful job he’s doing,) as campaign ads. After you tax ’em a little more, you’ll have to give them more in food stamps and housing assistance, for they’ll have less money than ever. Nah, forget the taxes Mr. Mayor, use what you got, and Obama’s cash.

Then there’s the stupidity. Oh, we got a slogan here – “It’s not the heat, it’s the stupidity.” And I got a good dose of the latter just this morning when I read in the Advocate that “Legislation designed to define what constitutes bullying among school students died in the Louisiana House on Thursday amid complaints that it would promote gay lifestyles.” Well, at least we got more than one now. We only used to have “the gay lifestyle.” Now we’ve graduated to “gay lifestyles.” I suppose that’s progress. Though I wonder how many there might be now; 2, 3, a cool dozen? The report doesn’t say. What it or they are, these “gay lifestyles,” I still don’t know. It’s a redundant term. For if one is “gay” it automatically presupposes that one has a “gay lifestyle.” The words are nearly inseparable. After all, surely there could not be a gay guy leading a “heterosexual lifestyle” could there? Nor a gay guy leading a rich or poor or middle class lifestyle, either, apparently. For so different is this “lifestyle” that it must be given a special name, to denote the horrors of it, I suppose. Though oddly, a section of the newspaper is called “Lifestyles” and they never mention anything gay there.

Now, why we need a law to “define bullying” is rather odd too. The Louisiana Family Forum is quite sure though that whatever it is, this bullying, it certainly doesn’t need a law to define it. And you know, maybe they’re right. I would think that one student belting another in the mouth would be sufficient to draw a teacher’s attention, no? In fact, I know a teacher, and she came over the other day after a very trying day at Broadmoor High School, just blocks from my house, and told me about the decay of her classroom into a barroom brawl sort of melee of Hollywood Westerns proportion, complete with thrown chairs and people tossed out windows. And I’d bet, and I’m not a betting man, that that was a bit of bullying by some in the heterosexual lifestyle against some others in the heterosexual lifestyle. I doubt a gay guy was in the mix, and the gay lifestyle was not at all promoted by banning or not banning the melee or even breaking it up.

But I wonder too, why would a man, a Mr. Gene Mills, of the “Louisiana Family Forum” think it OK to bully gay people? He must, to a degree, though it’s said “Mills does not support the bullying of homosexuals.” Well, of course he does, he’s bearing false witness right there, the lying hussy. Why, his mission in life, which he’s failing at given the unwed mothers, abandoning fathers, and the aforesaid melee, is to bully homosexuals to change their ways and join the violence filled heterosexual lifestyle and perhaps even have a kid out of wedlock or get married and divorced real quick. The man says he’s “a voice for traditional families by pushing Biblical principles.” Why, good for him! What that has to do with gay people I don’t know. After all, we’re not the ones mucking up the heterosexual lifestyle whatsoever. We live peacefully in our “gay lifestyle,” even if we do get there after being pummeled once or twice to see if we can’t be prevented from being gay through bullying. Obviously Mills is quite sure that sissy stomping is a societal good, and not bullying gay folks is of course “promoting” it indeed, by his logic, as he’s made clear.

I don’t think we need a bullying law so much as need a societal attitude change that says we shouldn’t be pulverizing kids on the playgrounds just because they don’t play sports well. And we need Mr. Mills to recognize that there’s no such thing as a “gay lifestyle” but rather gay people who live a variety of lifestyles just like heterosexuals do, though without the violence or the children. And I’d bet he’d be up in arms if a gay kid beat the snot out of a bully, for the promotion of the heterosexual lifestyle is prominent in the man’s thinking.

Yes, why do we need a law that “would spell out to educators need to intervene when schoolchildren are bullied by their classmates because of race, color (isn’t that redundant?) sexual orientation or a litany of other characteristics,” as the article says. It would seem to me reasonable that any educator – don’t we have teachers anymore? – should indeed intervene when the pummeling starts. I would think it would fall under the assault and battery laws. Or is pummeling sissies something else, like a “special right” for gay folks just because, well, we’re icky and should be convinced not to be gay at all.

And why do you need a special law to prevent one student pulverizing another? Are “educators” so stupid that they can’t spot the sissy and see the harm done by the high school jock who certainly can spot the sissy – and you know, get all parenting or guardian of peace or even oh, teacher, on the situation and stop the assault? What sort of “educators” do we have that they need a law defining whom is to be beat up or not? Or are educators now supposed to do nothing when they see the sissy bullied because there’s no law “defining” what that is? Though I’d bet if Mr. Mills was a teacher he’d let the sissy get beat up, for to not to so would be “promoting gay lifestyles” without a doubt.

And is Mr. Mills saying it’s OK to beat up gay or perceived gay kids? Of course he is – for he doesn’t even offer a countervailing law that says something like “It shall be illegal for one student to harass or beat up another student.” Sounds simple enough, and everyone is covered without a “litany” (which is always a word with a negative or pejorative connotation – you know, a litany of complaints but not a litany of accomplishments, eh? – of “characteristics” – I would think one’s humanity is sufficient, but I’m weird. But Mr. Mills is weirder – for he’s quite sure that if he’s not allowed, by proxy of course, having kids do his dirty work, to beat up some gay kid, why, that kid will wind up gay! In fact, Mr. Mills is quite sure that beating up sissies is the way to promote the heterosexual lifestyle to the beaten boy and discourage “gay lifestyles” indeed – alas, Mr. Mills, we still survive, and probably come out tougher for it.



  1. All very interesting and educational…lots of things I didn’t know about that area.
    About synchronizing traffic lights…I was a friend of Hialeah’s mayor and asked about that issue, he told me that it is the merchants on 49th Street that insist the traffic lights not be in sync because that way the cars passing by would have to stop and most people will look, be tempted by some store and stop by.
    Never mind the gas and time lost, the businesses don’t care if you spend $2.00 just to drive one mile.
    great post.


  1. Shreveport » Blog Archive » And So it Goes in Shreveport: Friday Flooding in Louisiana Update

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