Palm tree pandemics: even in the Big Easy, winter can be a little difficult.

Many years ago I wrote an article exploring how trees of the palm family are widespread throughout southern Louisiana (specifically the New Orleans region), though they are not indigenous. In other words, they grow there quite easily but it is not their native habitat. If anything, the presence of palms in the southern US—or at

A hydrant below sea level: raising the stakes for mitigating property loss.

A bizarre piece of infrastructure like this will inevitably captivate a few more curiosity seekers than yours truly. As a Google Images search would prove, I’m not the first to snap a pic of something like this. Still, a fire hydrant elevated about 18 inches off the ground is hardly a typical sight even in

The hood is well-paved with good intentions.

As I keep my blog on life support while I remain in the Afghan theater, I hope—more or less—to alternate posts with observations on life here behind the wire with more of my conventional posts, featuring photos taken from this past summer and earlier. Today’s post has been surprisingly difficult for which to gather information,

Vestigial Judaism, Part III: Urbanization Along the Cotton Belt.

The first two parts of this lengthy exploration of southern Judaica attempted to re-acquaint the readers with what in this day and age may defy typical expectations: Jewish enclaves in small towns throughout the rural Deep South. From approximately 1850 to 1950, in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama—as well as the other southern states—immigrants from Germany,

Brick roads don’t always lead to Oz.

While this blog post won’t win any awards for brevity (would my blog ever win such a prize?), it surely surpasses all others for the simplicity of the concept. The photo below details the sidewalk upgrade component of a traffic improvement initiative in the Southdowns neighborhood of Baton Rouge. The area represents a banner opportunity

aerial cables downtown New Orleans

Making it hot to be wired, Part I: Initial Observations.

Low density and vast distances of sparse population have fostered a North American landscape in which much of the infrastructure remains supra-structure. Unlike much of urban Western Europe, most American and Canadian cities are pierced with wires hoisted above the sidewalks by either wood poles or, in more exurban areas, by steel pylons. Though overhead

A view of the slump. . .from within.

It’s not just the domain of rambling old men in seersuckers on front porches. Everyone knows that New Orleans is sinking. The Tragically Hip even wrote a song about it. The idea of a post-apocalyptic New Orleans submerged in the Gulf of Mexico entered folk parlance long before Hurricane Katrina. But is it really doomed

Blurred vision.

My apologies for the rather arid posting period. I have been at a conference that has consumed much more time than I expected, and on top of that, I have come down with a mild illness. While I promise to post more profoundly in the near future, I interrupt the dry spell with another of

The hood is well-paved with good intentions.

As I keep my blog on life support while I remain in the Afghan theater, I hope—more or less—to alternate posts with observations on life here behind the wire with more of my

Brick roads don’t always lead to Oz.

While this blog post won’t win any awards for brevity (would my blog ever win such a prize?), it surely surpasses all others for the simplicity of the concept. The photo below details

aerial cables downtown New Orleans

Making it hot to be wired, Part I: Initial Observations.

Low density and vast distances of sparse population have fostered a North American landscape in which much of the infrastructure remains supra-structure. Unlike much of urban Western Europe, most American and Canadian cities

A view of the slump. . .from within.

It’s not just the domain of rambling old men in seersuckers on front porches. Everyone knows that New Orleans is sinking. The Tragically Hip even wrote a song about it. The idea of

Blurred vision.

My apologies for the rather arid posting period. I have been at a conference that has consumed much more time than I expected, and on top of that, I have come down with