Columns

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Jim Bradshaw

Earning the right to gripe

I cast my first presidential vote in 1952. It may have been illegal since I was only seven years old at the time, but the statute of limitations has probably run out by now. Besides, I didn’t actually mark the X on the paper ballot; I just dropped the folded slip through the slot in the collection box.

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Jim Bradshaw

What in the world were we thinking?

I am becoming increasingly convinced that if I dig just two feet down at any place in my yard, I will dig into a huge underground sea of fire ants. It may spread for miles and miles.
Why else would it be that I can dump granules “guaranteed to kill the queen, destroy the colony, and wreak general mayhem on antdom,” and within hours find a new hill just two feet away from the old one?
The ants just scoff at my efforts and move a few doors down. I swear that I’ve heard a chorus of subterranean laughter as I patrolled my yard for ant hills.

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Jim Bradshaw

Straight shooters from the bayous

Louisiana’s French speakers were in serious demand during World War II, especially when interpreters were needed as GIs fought their way across France after D-Day. But south Louisiana’s French speakers were also wanted for their fighting ability and even their typing skills.
Men from south Louisiana caught the eye of the Marine Corps early in the war. At the beginning of 1942, the brass sent Capt. Bob Mouton, a former congressman and a member of the Marine Reserves, into the byways to “get the best men from the bayou country.”

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Jim Bradshaw

COVID and the culture

As we struggle through the changes brought on by the coronavirus outbreak, I am reminded of the 1980s, when a disastrous downturn in the oil industry turned south Louisiana topsy-turvy.
We’d boasted back then that our oil and gas made Louisiana recession-proof, that we had something everyone else needed, and nothing could change that. When others complained about oil prices, we put stickers on our bumpers: “Let the [blankety-blanks] freeze in the dark.”

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Jim Bradshaw

Prohibition and the good Bordeaux

When Prohibition became the law of the land, it was not very popular in south Louisiana. I’m told that some of the best illegal whiskey made anywhere during those supposedly dry days came from communities along Bayou Teche, and that smuggling in factory-made stuff was a substantial enterprise along parts of the Louisiana coast and in the Atchafalaya Basin.

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