Living Around the Bayou

Down the street, rather along Highway 165, I turned off at Cross Keys Bank to open an account and deposit a check from West End Press in payment for my trip to the Albuquerque Cultural Conference. (Maybe my life is changing.) Cross Keys is a local community bank with origins in St. Joseph, Louisiana and was founded by a Mr. Watson, so said Rhonda who opened my account. CK advises in its newsletter, “…the huge out-of-state banks are also the out-of-touch-banks.” I like that stance since I wasted much time with Wells Fargo about refinancing my loan in Oakland, California. They only did so once the federal government made refi’s fashionable and forced the banking industry to put up or get smacked on the knuckles. Cross Keys is a sponsor of local National Public Radio affiliate, KEDM in Monroe, and up the street from where I live. I also like to save on gas.

I’m not sure there are actually streets here in the conventional sense of the term, which is a more citified way of describing distances between one address and another. For example, I live around Bayou Bartholomew and the operative word here is “around.” One street meanders into another, so that we all live in a big loop with extensive lawns separating one house from another, a ring-around-the rosy situation, surrounded by water and too many mosquitoes that local people tell me are worse than they can remember, worse than they’ve been in years, partly because Hurricane Isaac swept all the “scissor-bills” up from the Gulf to northern Louisiana.

I’d like to believe that mosquitoes are resilient to 100 mile per hour winds, but I’m not sure I can. I have this uncomfortable feeling that life in Louisiana will be filled with DEET or powerful swabs of geranium and eucalyptus oils. I’ve already been warned about not becoming a bug activist, speaking out against poisoning insects. But getting back to the “around” issue, I do think there is a difference in living around a place as opposed to living on a block that is intersected horizontally and vertically by other blocks, which does something to the psyche, the former promoting a more “peaceful easy feeling” that the Eagles liked to sing about. Of course, I have no scientific proof, but then again, this is the age of the Internet.

There is something about moving along a continuous path that is reassuring. Anyhow, I’m glad I have a GPS device to help me find my way in this new landscape. I almost gave up locating the Monroe Athletic Club, twisting and turning down streets that made me think Etheltoo, my GPS assistant, (Ethel being the name of my car), was having a bad hair day. Despite my misgivings, Etheltoo came through. She always teaches me to believe. Sure enough, we arrived at the Monroe Athletic Club and I was pleased to see a large outdoor pool from my parking spot, walked inside and was given the tour of the facilities and an explanation of classes, including yoga, by a young man with spiky hair who said that he has relocated from the Lake Charles area. Maybe Hurricane Isacc that hit New Orleans straight on, also helped to change his direction.

The club was beautiful. Equipment was organized into a weight room and a cardio area, a classroom with a wooden floor that even had a stage for the instructor, unlike other gyms that lacked a shower or boasted having both a men and women’s bathroom. My spiky friend didn’t know any direct way from the women’s locker room to the pool, but told me how I could easily get back on Highway 165. I only needed to decipher what to my ear sounded like “Deboreaux,” but was just the Louisianian’s way of saying “Deborah.” I drove back home to my new residence around the bayou, just in time for lunch.

About Lenore Weiss

Lenore's collections include "Tap Dancing on the Silverado Trail" (2011) from Finishing Line Press, “Sh’ma Yis’rael” (2007) from Pudding House Publications, and "Cutting Down the Last Tree on Easter Island" (West End Press, 2012). Her writing has won recognition from Poets&Writers (finalist in California Voices contest) and as a finalist for Pablo Neruda Prize, Nimrod International Journal. The Society for Technical Communication has recognized her work regarding Technical Literacy in the schools. All material is copyrighted on this site and cannot be used without the author's permission.
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