Monday, November 20, 2017

The Alabama Years

In 1986 I went on the road to Alabama, near Birmingham, to ply my trade as a cartoon cartographer. I did several city maps, Bessemer, Homewood, Wylam, and Columbiana. In Columbiana, the newspaper there found out I could set type on the new-fangled Apple Macintosh and so I got a job as a typesetter.

That led to a job with the Western-Star newspaper in Bessemer, in which I worked free-lance as a court reporter on a two-week grisly murder trial that was the talk of the town. Not my favorite career move, but it paid the bills. 

I put in for a job at the Cullman Times up in Cullman, AL, and became a reporter once again, this time on a daily newspaper. I enjoyed the daily deadlines and the out and about taking pictures. 

For a couple of months, I lived at the Hurricane Creek Park, a nature trail featuring rocky ledges and a swinging bridge over a rushing creek. 

But after several months, the publisher offered me the editor's job for a weekly newspaper he owned in Pell City, AL.  It was called the St. Clair (County) News-Aegis.

So I made the move to Pell City,  a nice place on the interstate just east of Birmingham. The work was back to a weekly schedule and that was fine. There I wrote many interesting stores of wrecks, fires, a couple of tornadoes, and feature articles about a variety of fascinating folks. 

After two years, I became homesick for Covington, LA, so I moved back to southeast Louisiana and started re-drawing updated maps  that I had already done of local cities. Then the editor's position at the St. Tammany Farmer opened up and I once again joined the staff there.

Friday, November 17, 2017

City Park Train Layout

Among many other attractions, City Park in New Orleans offers a large toy train layout, located within the botanical gardens. It is staffed and run by train set hobbyists and features several endless train track loops, complete with miniature New Orleans style buildings and landmarks. 

It is fun to walk around the huge landscaped layout and watch the several kinds of trains make the rounds, over the bridges, through the tunnels, and across the varied terrain. There is even a St. Charles Ave streetcar and moves back and forth on a special route. Here are some photographs. Click on them to make them larger.