My cousin sent me some pictures from back in the day when I was much MUCH younger. Sometimes I wonder how I got to where I am and if this is what I wished all along... I think about what I loved the most as a child, as a teen, as a 20 something year old -and if you inspect closely you can see that you are probably doing tons of the very thing you always did (maybe generations before you too)... I know I sure as hell am.This first picture made me laugh and so excited. That is me (age 19) on the far right looking like I am about to go to a gothic garden party, maybe even a jazz funeral- I am holding thistle in my hand (my cousin Vanessa Russel is next to me, and my at the time skater boyfriend Reed Elliott is at the other end looking all Nirvana.) Vanessa wrote under the picture "Down on the farm - 1997, I think we looked a little out of our element. Leslie, remember... Paw Paw said to 'get out of them pickens!' You were going to make a thistle salad! LOL Some things never change." We are at my grandfather's crawfish farm in Raceland Louisiana, all big smacking 200 something acres of it. As a child I had two places I loved to go and that was his ginormous farm and the woods in Mandeville Louisiana where my extended family lived.
This old pic above is of my totally 100% cajun crawfish farming grandpaw (paw paw ted) and to the left of him was my ozzy & ac/dc loving bookworm sister Melissa. Once Paw Paw got into his 80's he actually started telling us all about his life & how he ran his farm - even though the man went with the flow of modern society and bought shitty Bunny Bread and lemon pies from the store, he was a unreal good cajun cook who raised his crawfish in a totally ecological environment, before there was "organic farming" or "eco farmed" terms to speak of. While all the other crawfish farmers in Louisiana were throwing their crawfish nasty man made pellets into their ponds for feed, Ted Grabert learned how to make his pond a natural environment by speaking to a man in the LSU agricultural department, then spending a year planting the correct grasses for crawfish to eat and making the swampy eco system a place where they would thrive naturally and not over populate. That's why people all over the world sought out his crawfish & why crawfish boils at his house rocked - he had the biggest, reddest, healthiest tasting crawfish of anyone around!
This is the Pontchartrain Lake. Remember how the big hurricane came & busted the levee that destroyed New Orleans... this is the lake water that poured into the city, and this is the lake where the contaminated (lead, chemicals, gasoline, dead animals, bodies etc...) water was poured back in when they pumped it off the houses. When my mom was growing up they could actually swim in this lake & called it a "beach", by the time I was a born and 12 years old in this picture swimming was not recommended since city sewage and other chems had been dumped into the lake to the point of total destruction. At that age I was told they would clean the lake up and in 10 years they promised we'd be able to swim in it again. ha! In the front of the pic is me in a neon colored Ocean Pacific bikini, my sister Melissa behind me, and my cousin Jessica Quinn behind her. We were fishing in that polluted lake, catching catfish and then throwing them back- while watching the filth, garbage, bottles, cans, litter float all around the dock. The water was dark with a un-natural looking green tint to it and smelled like hell sauce on rotten fish head. It didn't help that it was 98 degrees with 100% humidity - we were sweating our asses off at that fishing camp, at night I slipped in sweat on the pleather sleep sofa like I was on a soapy bathroom floor. Other kids were actually jumping in the lake with inner tubes, but my evolving eco mind was thinking WTF!?! I just said there was no way I was jumping in a lake full of visible garbage and felt sad at what I was seeing, but believed they would really clean it up like they said. Instead people just drove around with bumper stickers on the backs of their cars that said "save the lake", while chucking litter out their car window.