Monday, June 2, 2008

La.Hwy 15 Added Pictures and Commentary

La. 15 will be the second road that I'm going to update with pictures on the blog instead of links to older, non existent writes. That's a novel idea, eh? That didn't work since Yahoo dismantled Geocities and erased years of work from public viewing. I'll keep this "in house" and hope Google does not do the same. On with the road: this time La.15.

I consider La.15 an under appreciated and under traveled gem. It is a 5 star road. It is jammed with accessible attractions while still functioning as an economical byway from Point A to Point B.

Some of the rides I have taken that included La.15 were these {referring to some of the old erased outings}:
Ride 1, The Loop, a ride up 15, over to Natchez and down to St.Francisville.
Ride 2, Louisiana's Mystery Land, a ride off of 15 into Black River Country.
Ride 3, Riding to the Duty Ferry, a ride to a one car ferry crossing the Quachita River at Enterprise, La.
Ride 4, Barry Sends Me to Columbia, this was one that sent me into Georgetown country, stopping at all of his childhood landmarks.

Like I said, most are gone. I plan on replicating those or riding them again. Possibly I'll do a picture comparison between "then" and "now".

La.15, combined with a few other roads, is my ticket to north central Louisiana. No other route is as satisfying. Forget I-49 through Alexandria. Use it for an escape hatch back south if you must. I have used 49, being afraid to be on the southern sections of 15 in the dark which are wild and even skirt the state prison.

Click the Map to Enlarge
The mauve line is 15.



This description was taken from Wikipedia:
Louisiana Highway 15 (LA 15) is a state highway in Louisiana. It spans north/south for 264.56 miles.

Route description {north to south}
My pictures will be from south to north.

LA 15 begins as an exit from U.S. Route 167 just south of Lillie and heads due east towards Spearsville. From Spearsville, LA 15 turns to the southeast and shortly merges with LA 2 and LA 33 in Farmerville. LA 15 then turns southeastward again, leaves Union Parish, and enters Ouachita Parish. LA 15 then heads due south and merges with U.S. Route 80. U.S. 80/LA 15 then turns east through Claiborne, West Monroe and turns southeast and intersects with Interstate 20, southwest of downtown Monroe. LA 15 continues east-southeast through Ouachita Parish and passes through rural Richland Parish, where LA 15 turns due south at Mangham. While in Franklin Parish, LA 15 passes through Baskin, Winnsboro, Gilbert, and Wisner.

LA 15 then enters Catahoula Parish, where it passes through the town of Sicily Island. The highway turns east and enters Concordia Parish through Clayton. LA 15 also merges with U.S. Route 65 just south of Clayton and splits from the highway in Ferriday. The road then runs parallel to the Mississippi River through Concordia Parish and Pointe Coupee Parish, where LA 15 ends at a three-way intersection with LA 1 and LA 970 in the town of Lettsworth.

Below are pictures from 15.
First, this is a large map of the first leg of the trip north.
La. 15 starts on what I call the Torras Peninsula. It is across the Atachafalaya Bridge from Simmesport.

The Torras Peninsula was an often used stage for Louisiana
historic railroading. I like railroad history and have spent
hours putting the story together, though I remember little. But
since you'll be on the road, you should know a little about what
ghosts surround you.

The blue line is the Louisiana Railway and Navigation Company's line
as it was after the Atchafalaya rail and vehicle bridge was
built at Simmesport about 1928.

The green line was the Texas and Pacific's line from Addis
to Ferriday. You will be with it all the way up and remnants
are fairly easy to see.

The brown line is what I believe to be the T&P original route
from Addis to Torras where it swung north on the green route.
The line had to be moved because The River ate the route along
with the town of Red River Landing, shown in the water.
Remember, you can click this map and see all that w/o squinting.



This is going well, I cut off Lettsworth, the southern terminal
of La. 15.



Lettsworth is on La.1. Just off the road, on what was La.1,
is this country church. Behind it is Lettsworth Bayou.



Next, are a few interesting cabins. None survive today.





I was interested in them because of this fellow.



Buddy M.F. Guy

He is mentioned here:

This from Wikipedia.
Lettsworth is a small village located in the extreme northern tip of Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana, in the United States. It lies on the east bank of the Atchafalaya River near its intersection with the Mississippi River and the Red River at the Old River Control Structure. As of 2005, the population is 202. The town's zip code is 70753.
Blues musician Buddy Guy was born in Lettsworth in 1936. The father of journalist Howard K. Smith was originally from Lettsworth.
On the northern end of Lettsworth, bordering the Atchafalaya River, is White Hall Plantation House, an 1840s antebellum structure designed by architect Henry Howard, and once the home of Louisiana State Senator Bennet Barton Simmes, founder of the river town of Simmesport on the opposite bank of the river.
These shots are from a nearby country road.






Back in Lettsworth, out on present day La. 1, and the old
Texas & Pacific tracks, is this old store. I wonder if Buddy
came here.









To the right of the rails was a siding where I suppose the
depot was.



The moved depot is no longer in the field and I have no idea
where it is. I once talked to a "nice" lady that knew but
wouldn't tell me.





The door was open so I went inside.















Next are shots of the rails north of "town".

I understood that a horrible wreck had occurred not far
north of Lettsworth in the early 50's. I was looking for the location.

This is looking north from the store towards Torras, to be
featured later in this one.



This is looking back at the store as I walked away noting that
I was not making much progress and I was worried about my bike.







Cement ties were discarded along the rail bed. They had
been an experiment that didn't work.





Notice the crossing X sign.





Stop and read all of the Torras articles. The best historical
one is the story of the Lejeunes. Click Here.

To the east of 15 was Torras. Check the map above.
Here's a little history.

Torras is the name of a former town in the extreme northeastern corner of Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana. The town was located along either side of the Texas & Pacific Railroad at its juncture with Lower Old River. The Mississippi River is located just to the east and the juncture of the Red and Atchafalaya Rivers just to the west.

Founded in 1902 and named for pioneer area planter Joseph Torras. Joseph Torras was born in Barcelona, Spain in 1820. He immigrated to the United States as a young man. Before settling in Pointe Coupee in 1845, he had lived in Natchez, Mississippi and Van Buren, Arkansas. He and his brother purchased the plantation of General Bennett Barton Simmes and opened the firm of M & J Torras.

The town of Torras was expected to develop into an important shipping and rail center, due to its excellent location. Disaster struck, however, on May 1, 1912, when the levee in front of the town gave way during the great Mississippi River flood of that year. The community was virtually destroyed as the flood waters poured south through Pointe Coupee Parish as well as into West Baton Rouge, Iberville and Assumption Parishes. Some 17,000 residents of Pointe Coupee were forced from their homes and at least 28 persons drowned, principally in the Lettsworth, Batchelor and Erwinwille communities to the south of Torras.

The community of Torras was moderately rebuilt and withstood the high water of the Great Flood of 1927, when a levee break occurred nearby at the McCrea community on the east bank of the Atchafalaya River. With the relocation of the railroad in later years, however, the community of Torras ceased to exist and there are no buildings left to mark its former location.

After crossing La. 418, 15 traverses the lock that handles shipping
between the Mississippi and the Red and Atchafalaya Rivers.





Soon afterwards, remnants of the old T&P RR bridge can
be seen, but not too well during flood season.



In dryer times, they are more visible.







The pictures below were taken from my write on the Lejeunes.



Click both to enlarge.



Here's a schedule.



Looking back at the lock from the campground road down the levee.



The campground.



Next up is a landing that Angola Prison uses during their rodeo event.



The event is not in the Spring.



It is in October when the river is low.



Driving from the lock to the control structures is a long uphill climb.



The Concordia Hills can be seen across the Mississippi in Mississippi.







The Auxiliary Control was built after the 1973 floods which was almost a disaster.





This is a wild area.





The main control structure is up ahead.



High water on the Mississippi side of the levee/ La.15.
For "a while" the road rides the levee.



It was much higher than the year before and a few months earlier.





Next up is Deer Park.



Deer Park seen from the levee/road during Spring flooding.







The old steamboat got up on the shore by way of one of those floods.









I've traced the history of the Mamie S. Barett. Google her.

Up the road more agriculture can be seen. The tanks, I have
guessed, were serviced by the railroad. Brown grass is always
a telltale sign of an old rail bed.









Remnants of the railroad right of way can be found with little effort.



The old store, near Black Hawk, was right on the line, the power line, anyway.
I have no problem being satisfied with that assumption.







Here La.15 goes northwest toward Ferriday. La.131 will
take you to Vidalia where you can cross over to Natchez.
The train did on a ferry at one time.





Below is the sign going south. It is in the left side of the
picture above.



The ground is high enough to support farming in a large way.



Below are shots taken in Ferriday where the T&P rails terminatied
and met the Louisiana and Arkansas, and Iron Mountain / Missouri Pacific
and priors (covering myself)





This is a warehouse on the old Iron Mountain route into town
from Clayton and Arkansas..





This one, also.



Beneath the covered platform.











Going south along the same rails. You come to this place.





Downtown the city officially links itself to the music.



More of Downtown.



The cousins are noted on the street signs. The others are
Jerry Lee Lewis and shamed evangelist, Jimmy Swaggart.







Walgreens



Below is snipped from HERE. Read the whole thing.
























West of the junction, the Louisiana Midland, served this lumber mill.





Here are a few nicknacks I collected.




The MP/Iron Mountain reached up into Arkansas.



Below was the beginning of a complicated legal settlement where
the T&P was made to connect with the Iron Mountain. I suppose
I may be wandering a bit too much into the area rail history.



Below is page from my one and only visit to Sicily Island,
a place which pulled me, I guess because of its name.

After a long ride on flat and boring 4 lane La.15 from Clayton, the
hill and American Flag seemed to signal an oasis.


There were a few old buildings that represented a past downtown.



I wrote at that time:



I think the high point in micro tourism was "downtown and La.8, a road
that I wasn't looking for but was a good idea, I thought, to
get myself home. It wasn't as it went way out of the way, but
I didn't get eaten by a swamp monster on 15. What I've showed
you of La.15 is great except for the section between Clayton
and Sicily Is. But, then La. 8 is the key to so much more.
La.15 delivers connections to other places and roads,
its purpose, and it does it pretty well.

You might want to read Packton to Ferriday, a romp
across the middle of northern Lousiana ending in Ferriday.
Another one I took was from Natchez to Ferriday to Trout.

The ride from Sicily Island over to Monroe looks like a great
road if you like straight and boring.
The End More roads "in depth", later.

Actually Ride the Roads

This is the link to Back Road Riding, my original mission.

Click a Highway Number. The article and map will appear. The list of roads will have moved beneath the article. Click another road when done or leave and go ride it.

Louisiana Highway Information and Critiques

The roads with stars have some updated information and good MAPS.

The ones without stars may have links that do not work due to Yahoo dropping Geocities, the location of my previous website.

LA 1*****
LA 1 OLd
LA 103 *****
LA 107 *****
LA 114 *****
LA 1172*****
LA 1178 ****
LA 1180
LA 121 *****
LA 123 *****
LA 124 *****
LA 126 *****
LA 129 *****
LA 2 *****
LA 3 *****
LA 376 ****
LA 4 *****
LA 457
LA 490 *****
LA 5 *****
LA 500 *****
LA 524
LA 565 *****
LA 6 *****
LA 7 *****
LA 8 *****
LA 9 *****
LA 908 *****
LA 910 *****
LA 10 *****
US 11 *****
LA 12 *****
LA 13 *****
LA 14 *****
LA 15 Added Pictures and Information
LA 15 More *****
LA115 *****
LA 16 *****
LA 17 *****
LA 18 *****
LA 182 *****
LA 19 *****
LA 20 *****
LA 21 *****
LA 22 *****
LA 23 *****
LA 24 *****
LA 25 *****
LA 26 *****
LA 27 *****
LA 28 *****
LA 29 *****
LA 30 *****
LA 31 *****
No 32 found
LA 33 *****
LA 34 *****
LA 35 *****
LA 358 *****
LA 36 *****
LA 37 *****
LA 38 *****
LA 39 *****
LA 46 & 300
LA 451 *****
LA 490 *****
LA 757 *****
LA 93 *****
US 71 *****
US 84
US 90 *****
US 165 *****
US 167 *****
US 190 Added Pictures and Information
Interstate 49 ****

I've started gathering the cold facts from Wikipedia. Each page will be devoted to a single highway. On it will be Wikipedia's Information derived from its page and links at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_numbered_highways_in_Louisiana

Then I'll add what I know, a map and some pictures which coordinate with a section of that road if I or others have them. La's DOTD no longer offers maps of its roads. That is where I will first better what is available.

It will be slow going as I am a domestic servant besides being a noted internet mogul.

It will be something different. This site will be focused on the ridden road, its condition, its scenery, its amenities, and my personal opinion. I know that's been done over and over, but not to the extent I plan to do it, having ridden LA, parts of MS and AR on roads ranging from Interstate to dirt two tract. Of course maps will be used to display where the heck I or the ride contributor is talking about. There will be a contact address to order Garmin or GPX route files, free.