Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Louisiana Road Trip 2011, Part 2: Gators and Greenville

Alligator Lake, Leroy Percy State Park, Mississippi

Leroy Percy State Park

I awakened this morning to a beautiful lake and wood view from my cabin at Leroy Percy State Park. (Remember the Percy name for later.) The lake is Alligator Lake, and gators do live here, though this time of year, they're likely snuggled under mud for a long winter nap. Still, the park staff told me that on especially warm and sunny winter days, some gators emerge to enjoy the sunshine.

Cabin 2, Leroy Percy State Park, Mississippi

Cabin 2, Leroy Percy State Park, Mississippi

Cabin 2 porch, Leroy Percy State Park, Mississippi

View of Alligator Lake from Cabin 2 screened porch, Leroy Percy State Park, Mississippi

Cabin 2 backyard, Leroy Percy State Park, Mississippi

Beautiful, yes?

Alas, the two park trails were too sodden for walking, so off to Greenville I went.


Greenville is on the Mississippi Blue Trail ...and the Hot Tamale Trail.

Remember, a week or so ago, Carol and I made an abortive attempt to get us some Delta-style tamales. Today, mission accomplished at Greenville's Hot Tamale Heaven.

Yes, they tasted good. Pretty much like tamales in the Southwest, I think. But I'm not a tamale connoisseur.  

I ate them in the parking lot of the Winterville Mounds, a mildly interesting Indian site from the 1300s-ish.

I climbed atop one of the mounds. Reminded me of the ruins near Tlaxcala that I visited with Kate and Pam. What a walk that was from one set of ruins to the other! The Xochitécatl ruins looked so close!

View of Xochitécatl ruins from the Cacaxtl ruins, near Tlaxcala, Mexico

The endless walk.

The long walk from the Cacaxtl ruins to the Xochitecatl pyramids, near Tlaxcala, Mexico

And finally. The view from one of the Xochitécatl pyramids:

View from Xochitecatl pyramid, near Tlaxcala, Mexico

The view from the Winterville Mound isn't as dramatic as that from the Xochitécatl pyramid. But it was fun remembering that day in Mexico while I looked out over the green Mississippi flood plain.

Despite my recent epiphany about museums, the 1927 Greenville Flood Museum looked intriguing. The museum is in the carriage house of a former plantation. In fact, this carriage house is believed to be the oldest structure in Greenville (the oldest still surviving, that is). Mike Bostic, the museum docent, screened a PBS documentary about the 1927 Greenville flood, called Fatal Flood, which told a disturbing story about how economics, man's inhumanity against man, and family betrayal factored into the town's flood response. Remember Leroy Percy? He and his son, Will Percy, played a prominent role in the story of the flood. One of the people interviewed in the documentary was John Barry, who wrote Rising Tide: The Great
Mississippi Flood of 1927 and how it Changed America
. Apparently, the surviving Percys were livid about Barry's portrayal of them in the book.

Mike and I had a short but interesting conversation about "Southern writers." I didn't know this, but there is evidently so much cachet attached to being a "Southern writer" that there are authors who perhaps exaggerate their Southern ties so they can self-identify as such.  (When will the stalwart Midwesterners get their deserved glory?)

Next I went to the Cypress Preserve, a pretty park with a trail through a virgin stand of cypress. As I walked, I breathed in the pungent fragrance of fallen cypress needles.


Getting rid of stuff. It was almost dark when I returned to my cabin. I spent an enjoyable evening decluttering the music list on my laptop and mp3 player, culling songs and musicians I no longer wanted to hear.
For example, I could not abide the no-nuance voice of blueswoman Susan Tedeschi one more day.

And though I love Carolina Chocolate Drops, I have come to despise Trampled Rose, one of the songs on their Genuine Negro Jig album. (I loathe the song so much that I had a story in my head that went like this: One of the Drops guys didn't feel as if he'd gotten his share in the group's limelight, so he complained and complained to the other two about how he'd written this song, and they owed it to him to record the awful thing, and they gave in. I didn't know til today that the damn song is actually an old standby and multiple artists have covered it. For God's sake, why?)

Now gone, all gone. Very satisfying.

Talking about Carolina Chocolate Drops gives me the excuse to play a favorite, Snowden's Jig:


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