Friday, August 24, 2018

Dale Family Portrait

The Dale Family in Abita Springs was kind enough to sit for a family portrait for me one day many years ago. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Mackahatchee Map

Going through my map files the other day, I found this map of Mackahatchee, Florida. I don't remember ever doing a map in Florida, so this was kind of puzzling. Interstate 10 is shown on the map, with Hwy. 74 intersecting it north to south, so I went to Google Maps and looked along Interstate 10 from Florida's west boundary all the way east to the Atlantic Ocean. No Mackahatchee, no Millington. Doing a Google search brought up nothing. 

Here's the map. 

It was, for a few minutes, the Mackahatchee Mystery Map. Then I started reading some of the store names:  Bob's Motel, Jerry's PacNSac, Gary's Gas, Harry's Big Dome Arcade, and Howare'you Johnsons. It dawned on me that this was a "practice" map, an illustration I did to show what could be done for Interstate Exits.

Too bad Mackahatchee isn't real. It looks like a fun place, what with the beer joint, pizza palace and Zephyr Cafe, not to mention the Burger Barn.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Slidell Map 1985

Here's a copy of the Slidell map that I drew back in 1985, some thirty-three years ago.

Click on the image to make it larger. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Up In The Air in an Autogyro

Back in the 1960's, my dad and I would drive out Morrison Road in Gentilly east of New Orleans (on our way to Bay St. Louis, MS) and sometimes we would see several gyrocopters taking off and landing on the old highway that was parallel to the new road. The gyrocopters looked like large tricycles with propellers attached to them in the back and overhead, but when they took off, they gained altitude quickly and headed  into the sky. That was 52 years ago.

When the chance came to fly in a new streamlined autogyro, I grabbed my camera and headed for Hammond Airport. Stephen Rastanis has a couple of autogryos based over there at the Autogyro of Louisiana facility, and he teaches folks how to fly them.

Rather than describe what an autogyro looks like, here's a photo of Stephen and his two-seater flight instruction aircraft.


Click on the images to make them larger.

The basics are pretty simple. In a fixed wing aircraft, a propeller pushes the airplane forward and air rushes over the wing and lift is created. In a helicopter, a motor turns the rotors around, and lift is created and the copter can go straight up. In an autogyro, however, lift is created by the helicopter-like rotors going around, but the rotors are not powered. Instead there is a propeller that pushes the aircraft forward and lift is generated by the rotors being pushed forward through the air. There is no power applied to the rotors while the autogyro is in flight.

This creates a remarkably stable air flight. The autogyro cannot stall, and if the engine suddenly quits for some reason, the aircraft starts slowing down, and the rotors gradually lower the craft to the ground. A good autogyro pilot doesn't require much space to land in. Any amount of crosswind actually provides more lift to the rotors, so landing is even gentler. 

We took off on the runway, using less than half of it before being zoomed away far above the tree tops. The autogyro, when fully fueled, can run for four hours at speeds up to 100 mph. It is quite maneuverable, capable of sharp turns, steep dives, or, in a good wind, just sitting still in mid-air. 

Autogyro of Louisiana had a display of three or four autogyros a few months ago at the St. Tammany Regional Airport "Wings and Wheels" show east of Abita Springs. While autogyros  are very popular in Europe, they haven't caught on bigtime in the States yet, even though they have been featured in James Bond movies and (I am told) the Little Orphan Annie movie. 

Thirty minute introductory flights are available, with a lesson in the basic flying fundamentals for those who might be interested in learning how to fly one. They call them "the motorcycle of the sky" and that descriptive phrase fits well, since its an open-air cockpit and one gets to wear a helmet (with headphones and microphone.)

Once you are strapped into the seat and the engine revs up, it's not scary or breath-taking, just a unique way to get up high enough to see some distance, check out the landscape, rivers, houses, and stores, and fly in a way for which there is no comparison. 

Hammond High School and Hammond Elementary School

Reunion Lake RV Resort, I-12 at La. Hwy. 445

The Walmart Distribution Center in Robert

In the far distance is Madisonville, Lake Pontchartrain and the tip of Greene Point near Lacombe.

The Tangipahoa River at Robert

See also:

YouTube Videos of Autogyros

Video One

Video Two

Video Three

Monday, June 25, 2018

The Three-Story People Map

In 1988 I was working for the Cullman Times newspaper in Cullman, AL, and just for fun decided to do a map of the entire three story building complete with photographs of the faces of everyone who worked there, placed on top of cartoon bodies. Here is the map. Click on the image to make it larger. 

What made it interesting was that no one knew why I was walking around the building taking pictures of them.

The Weekly Bread Runs

Back in the early 1990's, my dad Lamar Barthet was attending weekly church services at Fairhaven Children's Home and learned that the person picking up day-old bread at Delchamps Supermarket in Covington would no longer be able to do so and bring it to the children's home each week.

So dad had a truck and was agreeable to going to Delchamps every Thursday morning, around 7:30 a.m., to pick up the expired bread and anything else they were giving out and take it to Fairhaven. 

As it turned out, there was so much of the bread and baked goods that he not only supplied Fairhaven, but since he had a sign painting shop in Slidell, he also took the extra items to the Slidell Christian Community Concern, where they were distributed to needy families. 

So I would meet him at Delchamps each Thursday morning and help him move the dozen or so large cardboard boxes of bread and baked goods (pies, cakes, pastries) from the big freezer at Delchamps back door to the truck. Then around 8 a.m. he would head out to Fairhaven for the first drop off and then on to Slidell for the second delivery.

After we finished loading, I would then go to work at the St. Tammany Farmer newspaper office, hoping he would make the trip okay. He was using a very old Isuzu pick up truck loaded to the top with boxes, and he himself was in his mid-70's. But he did this every week for years, that is until Delchamps decided it could no longer give away the expired bread, but had to throw it all away in the garbage each week. Something to do with liability and insurance, I think.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Demolition Pictures

Taking pictures of a house being demolished can be sad and yet exhilarating at the same time. Here are some photographs of a house in the Covington area being rapidly dismantled by a backhoe. Woods to woods. Click on the images to make them larger. 

Video segment, click on image above

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Green Thumb Program Participants 1978

This is a group photo of the participants of the "Green Thumb Program" conducted in Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana, around 1978. Click on the image to make it larger. 

The Green Thumb members took part in a variety of landscaping and maintenance activities for the parish government.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Masonic Temple Becomes Community Center

The Ancient Free & Accepted Masons built a new meeting hall in Salina, Kansas, back in the early 1920's. It was a pretty ambitious project, but since build buildings is what they do, it turned out to be quite a landmark. The Masons know how to construct impressive buildings.

 I was driving through Salina, KS, recently and came across the place. I had to stop and take a bunch of pictures, because, well, it is a very picture-worthy subject, plus it has a very interesting new mission.

Click on the images to make them larger. 

About a year ago I had read an internet article about this place, so it was quite a shock when I was driving along and suddenly saw it, recognizing it from pictures accompanying the article. What was the article about?  Well, the Masons had put it up for sale. They didn't need the entire seven-story 160,000 square foot building any longer (it was pretty big for their purposes), but they hoped someone would buy it and put it to good use.  They planned to get a smaller, more modern building for their meetings.

For sale: Would make good conference center, community center, or corporate office.

The Masons chartered their Lodge in Salina back in 1867, back in the days of the Old West.

The cornerstone for the building was laid in 1922, and the finished building was dedicated in 1927. That must have been quite an addition to the Salina skyline.

Here are several pictures of the interior, mainly the front lobby.

Old steam radiators for heat

Quite a lot of marble in the walls and flooring

The ceiling in the lobby is incredible.

So the building was for sale for quite a while, and the only stipulation the Masons put on the sale was that the new purchaser could use the bottom floors, but the top floor was reserved for the Masonic Lodge meeting room. Apparently, this provision did not go over too well, however. So, what finally happened to the building was quite remarkable.

According to radio station KSAL, "A newly formed organization had an “innovative idea. The mission of the  Salina Innovation Foundation is to  “to protect and endow the Masonic Center building, and infuse it with new spirit and life.”. 

"The historic building was donated to the recently formed local community foundation. The foundation has the use of the entire facility, with the exception of the top two floors which are still used by the local Masonic organization. Mary Landes, the Director of the Salina Innovation Foundation, told KSAL News that the building, with all of its history, is the perfect place of an organization like hers."

The Masonic Temple is now home to a wide variety of community activities, including art displays such as the collection of locally-produced pottery above.

 Some of the uses planned for the building are a local art gallery, artist loft spaces, a wedding venue, meetings, Cultural Art performances, lectures, and yoga and meditation classes. The first floor also offers a commercial kitchen which is being used for Culinary Classes & Internships,  Restaurant Incubation, a Kitchen for Hire and local Food Tastings and Events. 

The building was designed around its third floor Grand Theatre, which features a 36-foot high ceiling and has a seating capacity of over 1,200 people. The elevated stage contains 104-year old, hand-painted scenery drops. These backdrops were painted in 1895 at the Pennsylvania College of Art and Architecture, and were purchased by Salina in 1930 for $30,000. They were brought by specially made rail car, and were hung with rope rigging, which is still functioning today. Above info came from the Salina Innovation webpage.

The Theatre has a large ballroom dance floor, vintage mirrored light, and 3 balconies of seating. "The acoustics are incredible in this masterfully designed space," a foundation spokesman said. 

One of the ways the Foundation raises funds to help operate the facility is through an "Adopt a Gargoyle" project. Yes, that's right. There are 120 hand-hammered copper gargoyles lining the top edge of the building and people can help "save their home" by donating money to the cause. One hundred dollars gets them a nice certificate, and five hundred dollars gives them the opportunity to name their own gargoyle. These folks are really creative.

The masonry work above the main entrance doors.

CLICK HERE to view a video featuring the Foundation director explaining the "re-purposing" of the Masonic Temple building. The group also has a Facebook page at this link.

Gargoyles up for adoption: see any you like?

All in all, it's a very encouraging model for how communities can help save old landmark buildings that need a new lease on life and a new mission for the 21st century.