Monday, August 7, 2017

Rich Hours


Presented at the 2017 Abbeville Institute Summer School.

False River

—For Olivia Pass,
and for Patric

It’s wide, impressive, but it’s false—really an oxbow lake,
formed when the Mississippi, on its own, changed
its course, three hundred years ago or so, chopping off a loop,
leaving to the west a “Pointe Coupée”— an “island”
and a flowing C.  Farther north a bit, there’s “Old River”
too, another oxbow, designed by Cap’n Shreve, a shortcut,
practical, for shipping; then, at its other end, “Three Rivers,”
a third detour and a canal linking the great Meschacébé

to the Red and Atchafalaya.   A pirogue could get lost here,
drifting, ghostly, trapped by river fogs, trees, brambles,
old shacks, derelicts.  In contrast, we arrive sanely by way
of St. Francisville, crossing the river on the Audubon Bridge
to New Roads, “Le Chemin Neuf.”  Listed buildings draw
the eye: a former bank, restored, an old store, the courthouse
(Romanesque revival), and LeJeune Plantation.  Oh,
and there’s St. Mary’s Church, a red-brick neo-Gothic beauty!

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