Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"Google Always Takes You to Johnson Bayou"

My daughter and I have had a good time writing for The Times of Southwest Louisiana. I think what we like best of all is getting out of the house and meeting people. Of course, when we schedule interviews, we never know what might transpire: a faulty tape recorder, a wrong address, a quirky misunderstanding, a no-show. I seem to be more 'accident prone' than she is--it's probably an age thing.

Yesterday, daughter and I took off to Cameron Parish for another interview. We needed to be at the courthouse by 9:00 A.M. Everyone knows there isn't much left of Cameron Parish after the hurricane so I thought nothing of it when I printed out google-maps and the driving instructions pointed us down Highway 82 in the direction of Texas. I figured we were going to make-shift offices while the real courthouse was being re-built. We traveled a desolate area. No cell phone reception. An hour later, we were still driving, still looking for Smith Circle.

Cell phone reception had been sketchy. "Try to call Mr. Hebert and tell him we're almost there--fifteen minutes, twenty at the most." Sometimes I actually sound like I know what I'm talking about. :)

Finally, she connected with our interviewee. "No problem," he said. "I'll be here."

Twenty, thirty minutes later, we were still on the lone stretch of vacant highway. We spotted a Cameron Parish Sheriff's vehicle. We stopped. Daughter bounced across the highway to get directions. I saw the officer laugh and knew we were in deep trouble. We called Mr. Hebert again to tell him the bad news. His response: "Awwwwww, sheee-itt, Google always takes you to Johnson Bayou."

An hour, one port 'O pottie, and a ferry ride later, we arrived in downtown Cameron. Whew! What an adventure.
Now according to Wikepedia, and for those of you who don't know, on October 12, 1886, Johnson Bayou was completely destroyed by the "great storm of 1886;" a storm surge of between seven and twelve feet that swept inland at Johnson Bayou, killing between 50 and 100 people. Between Sabine Pass and Beaumont, thirty miles of track of the Sabine and East Texas Railway, were damaged badly and partly washed away. It was hit again by Hurricane Audrey in 1957, and yet again by Hurricane Rita on September 24, 2005. On September 13, 2007, Hurricane Humberto made landfall west of Johnson Bayou at High Island, Texas, bringing heavy rains to the community. On September 13 in 2008, Hurricane Ike, a very large and nearly category 3 storm with massive storm surge made landfall on the upper Texas coast, causing extensive damage to the region (NOAA).

Why does Google insist on sending unsuspecting travelers in the direction of Johnson Bayou? It does. It really does. And there's nothing there.

Today, daughter scheduled a photography shoot in the same area. Thankfully, the woman warned her: "Now if you have a GPS in your car, it's going to send you to Johnson Bayou. You don't want to go there." She's right. Been there, done that!

WARNING: Google always takes you to Johnson Bayou. Always. If you're looking for a port 'O pottie, I can recommend the one nearest Jesus. It's saved us a couple of times.


Erica Vetsch said...

Too funny! It sounds like you are making some fabulous memories. It's a good thing you're holding on to your sense of humor. :)

LKHarris-Kolp said...

Gotta love it!

Lynnette Bonner said...

This post made me chuckle. So neat that you get to do some writing with your daughter. Both my mom and I are writers too.