Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Hot Tamale Sales

One of the jobs I had while working my way through college was selling Manuel's Hot Tamales on the weekends on the corner of Veterans Blvd. and Causeway Blvd. in New Orleans. 

My dad Lamar Barthet started selling the Crescent City's most favorite hot tamales in the early 1960's after talking Manuel into letting someone else sell the hot tamales he had been making for years at his home on Carrollton Avenue, half a block west of Canal Street.

Each night Manuel would roll his vending cart over to the corner of Carrollton Avenue and Canal Street where he gradually became a legend selling the great-tasting tamales, still wrapped in corn shucks as all hot tamales originally were wrapped. 

My dad was the first person to start selling them elsewhere, first at the corner of St. Bernard Avenue and North Broad Street, then at the corner of Canal Blvd. and Robert E. Lee Blvd., next to the famous Rockery Inn restaurant. My stepmother got her own vehicle and vending cart and set up shop selling them nights at the corner of St. Charles Avenue and Napoleon Avenue. 

They first used Willis Jeeps to sell out of, but later my dad bought a Ford Falcon van (pictured above) and that was used for several years. From the Rockery Inn site, he moved to the intersection of Causeway and Veterans next to Lakeside shopping center. We supplied many a thousand dozen of hot tamales to folks holding football watching parties at home. 

When the construction on the intersection forced him away from that corner, he moved a couple of blocks west to the area in front of the General Tire outlet, near Barnes and Noble. 

In later years he opened up a satellite tamale vending cart on Williams Blvd., near the airport, in front of the Dorignac's Food Center. I would sell tamales out of that cart on the weekends sometimes when the guy he had hired couldn't make it or wanted to take some time off. Most of the time, however, I would sit with my dad at Causeway and Veterans, dishing out and wrapping up dozens of tamales. My dad was the first to use aluminum foil to wrap the tamales, and put on extra gravy that made them, well, pretty juicy and flavorful (more than they already were.)

Dad in back of van waiting for the next hot tamale customer

In between sales, we would listen to the radio or talk about the events of the week. The late 1960's were a busy time, so we had a lot to talk about. 

I ate a good many hot tamales in my younger days, as a result, and I can't help but think that eating Manuel's Hot Tamales helped make me the fine upstanding person I am today. At least selling them on the weekend helped pay for college expenses that weren't otherwise covered by my other jobs. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Inside The Submarine

Over at Battleship Park east of Mobile, AL, is a submarine slowly being restored by volunteers. It is the USS Drum, a World War II diesel electric submarine that has been raised out of the water and placed in a cradle. Visitors can walk its decks and go through its interior. And what an interior it is. Here are a few photographs of the switches and dials and cranks and levers that made a submarine do what it does. Click on the images to make them larger. 

The USS DRUM (SS-228) Submarine was launched May 12, 1941, by Portsmouth Navy Yard, New Hampshire, and commissioned November 1, 1941.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Blue Ridge Mountains

This is a video panorama of the Blue Ridge Mountains northeast of Asheville, NC, taken from the top  of Mt. Mitchell. Click on the image below, then on the full screen symbol [ ] in the bottom right corner next to YouTube. 

Thursday, November 24, 2016


Cemeteries in New Orleans are interesting places, not only for the above ground architecture of the tombs, but also for the streets and alleyways layout inside the cemetery grounds. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Pass Manchac Bridge

Here are some photographs I took of the bridges over Pass Manchac earlier this year. Click on the images to make them larger.  

Monday, November 21, 2016

Sunset with Overhanging Limb

Another photo in the vacation photo series, just click on the image for a larger view. 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

River Cave

For a couple of years I owned six acres in Waynesboro, TN, right on the scenic Buffalo River. It was a nice piece of property, even had a big cave opening overlooking the river. Here are some photographs. 

The Biltmore Estate

Visiting the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, can be a great experience, if you don't spend too much time in the house. It's big, ornate, and a little too elaborate for my tastes. The gardens and the grounds are interesting, however. Here are some pictures. Click on them to make them larger. 

The house

The dormer windows

The gardens

The property grounds
(We saw a bear and cubs on the drive around)

The grand staircase, a work of art in itself

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Brickwork on Storefront

This picture shows the variety of brickwork on the front of a storefront (S.H. Kress & Co.) in downtown Asheville, NC. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Here are some additional examples of brick and tile work in downtown Asheville

Friday, November 18, 2016

Leaf Colors

Here, in one photograph, is about every color a leaf could be...

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Everything Apples

Every so often, while driving through towns on vacation, you see a sign that provokes your curiosity and causes you to turn in a driveway and park. Such was the case in Waynesville, North Carolina, and the sign pointing the way to the Barber Orchard Fruitstand, where locally-grown apples were in the spotlight. 

This place had barrels and barrels of apples, plus a large supply of everything you could possibly do with apples: apple butter, apple pie, apple pastry, etc. Here are a couple of photographs. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Outflow at Blanchard Springs Caverns

Near the town of Mountain View, Arkansas, are the Blanchard Springs Caverns, a huge underground cave that goes on and on. Fortunately the walk through the cave is all down hill, and when you get to the end of the walk, there is a surprise.

Anyway, here is a photo of the outflow from the cave, that is, the water that formed the cave pours out of the rock a little ways down the mountain. It's worth a hike to see, if you like wet broken rocks with the constant roar of gushing water. 

Click on the images to see a larger size. 

The town of Mountain View is worth stopping by, as well, since it is a showplace of Ozarks arts and crafts, especially at the Ozark Folk Center, a village featuring a variety of old buildings and cabins staffed with tour guides giving demonstrations of old fashioned skills and lifestyles. CLICK HERE for more information about that facility. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Mark Twain Tonight

In 1971 I wrote an article about an appearance on the Southeastern La. University campus of Mark Twain impersonator John Chappel. It was one of my first reviews. Click on the article below to read about one of the most memorable Mark Twain shows I've ever attended (and it seems there are a lot of Mark Twain character shows out there making the rounds.)

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Mysterious Blue Hole

Here's a picture I took on vacation, in Santa Rosa, New Mexico. First look at the picture and try to figure out what it is showing. Click on the image to make it larger. 

Okay, times up. What you are looking at is an 82 foot deep hole filled with water, that regional scuba diving enthusiasts use as a training facility for going underwater with air tanks. Local residents also use it for a good old fashioned swimming hole. The light blue square is the training area at the bottom of the hole. The top of the opening is 80 foot in diameter, with the red balloons offering ropes to help new divers navigate downward (and upward). 

The swirl of light blue smudges between the balloons are air bubbles coming up from divers below. The white sparkles at the bottom right are, well, sunlight reflecting off the water's surface. 

The city of Santa Rosa has adopted the Blue Hole and built a number of other recreational facilities in its vicinity, including a scuba diving resource and training center. HERE IS A LINK to their website telling about the remarkable geological feature and the associated attractions. 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Middendorf's at Manchac

During a visit to Middendorf's Restaurant in Manchac I took a number of photographs of the place and its surroundings. Here they are. Click on the images to make them larger. 

The Chicken Coop

To view more photos of Middendorf's CLICK HERE.

Manchac, that small community between Lake Maurapas and Lake Pontchartrain, lies at the eastern end of Lake Maurapas. The Amite River flows into western part of Lake Maurapas, and Iberville River (also known as Bayou Manchac) stretches 45 miles from the Amite River all the way over to the Mississippi River, just north of St. Gabriel.

Manchac Post was a fort built at the Mississippi River end of the bayou in 1763 and was a key military and trading post in British West Florida. The Manchac community, where Middendorf's is located, is also known as "Akers," named after the railroad telegraph operator (and post office manager in 1857) Willie Akers. 

His father William was the founder and first mayor of Ponchatoula. Manchac is now known for it seafood restaurants, swamp tours, fishing and hunting. It's a small place, but its history and current activities are remarkable.