Americans are fatter than ever. Mississippi topped a newly released list with the highest rate of adult obesity in the country for the third year in a row and Colorado was the leanest state again (thank the Goddess Louisiana wasn't number 1). The top three states for obesity? After the Magnolia State comes West Virginia and Alabama. Louisiana is number 4. Texas tied with Missouri for number twelve.
Where are the heaviest kids? D.C. is at the top of the list. Texas is number 6, Mississippi number 8 and Louisiana is number 10. (Yeah! Lone Star State kids are fatter than our kids! It's such a hollow win...)
How does Arkansas stack up? The Natural State kids tie with Georgia for the number twelve spot. Adults are at number 8.
Ten of the fifteen states with the highest rates of adult obesity are located in the South. Please somebody and hep a region out and invent us some healthier cuisine.
Click for your own copy of the fourth annual report F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies are Failing in America. Click for tips on getting healthier in Louisiana.
I’ve been gone from Shreveport for almost thirty years [at the time of the writing], but, as you can see, Shreveport has never left me. It remains the subject and matrix of my work, and it always will. Not because my recollections of it are without pain, or because I lived a golden untroubled childhood here. It wasn’t that way. But the experiences I had here, the places I remember, the people I loved–and even the ones I despised–have been as useful to me, as evocative, as Paris of the 1880’s and 90’s was to Marcel Proust. Not in a direct sense, certainly. I have never written an roman a clef about Shreveport, using real people with fake names. Yet at the same time all my characters live here. They fitted smoothly and anonymously into the interstices of time and space in the period between 1863 and 1960.
* * * *
Even today, with thirty years . . . between me and Shreveport, when someone asks where I’m from, I invariably answer without thinking, “Shreveport.” When I start to put together a new story, I think of its setting here, or in New Orleans, or somewhere in between. Even when I write of New York or London or Los Angeles, the people are from Louisiana–simply because those are the people I know in the same way I know myself.
Alix B. took this picture while traveling through Shreveport. It even ended up on her blog. She's on a 9,000 mile trip, via scooter, for Peace. Learn more at Peacescooter.com.
Thank you to fluidattitude for letting us use the photo Love Will Save Us.
In a funny little twist the art becomes art. The photo is a picture of a piece of public art by Shreveport artist Noma Fowler-Sandlin who many folks know as jam queen and owner of Pan's Pantry.
Noma sends this word out: The Shreveport Farmers' Market is closing until October 13, so be sure and come do your shopping and see me, of course, on Saturday, 25 August, from 7 to 11:30. It's at Festival Plaza in downtown Shreveport, where Commerce intersects Crockett. I'll miss it. Boo hoo. But since I'm getting ready for the Red River Revel, I'll need that day to cook jam. Love and thanks to all my customers, patrons and pals, Noma.
Councilwoman Joyce Bowman wants you to know this law is for the gentle ladies as well as the gentlemen. Would we really need to fine people if we just drove Councilwoman Bowman around and had her look at droopy-drawered folks with her head tilted down through those glasses at the tip of her nose? She's wearing them in the second picture on this page (we'd also like to point out her slacks are belted into their proper position).
The Abolish-Your-Briefs proposal goes before the Shreveport City Council August 28. In case you're wondering, RRBJ doesn't wear saggers. We're very attached to our high-waisted mom pants.
Thank you to lillista for the use of her picture Under.
RRBJ had to fight our way through hordes of elementary and middle school boys (well, there were 3) to get a seat at Southfield Barbershop at 293 Southfield Rd but we made it and got a new haircut from owner/operator Kay. You gotta love a place that doesn't make its employees wear a uniform or a funky polyester smock.
Oscar is the man to see if you need your shoes shined. Where else can you get spiffed up at a "World Famous Shoe Shine Station?" While we were there one Barksdale Air Force pilot floated across the river to let Oscar work on his boots.
In a our continuing effort to keep corporate America from taking over the universe RRBJ says hurrah! every time you spend you money with a local operation. They can Keep Austin Weird we'll Keep Shreveport Wild!
It's the fifth shooting star I've seen in half an hour. There are so many of them tonight; I assume it has something to do with the meteor shower that's coming up in a few days. We're lying on the hood of his car, fingers intertwined, whispering secrets and watching the twinkling sky. He brought me here the first time we ever really hung out, when it was midnight and neither of us wanted sleep.
"I know this place," he said, "It has these towers with these red lights that kind of pulse."
I'd never seen anything like them. There are at least six huge towers, all with dozens of pulsing ruby red lights. The towers are almost invisible in the darkness, making it seem like enormous glowing gemstones are floating in the air.
This is our place, this highway bridge in the middle of nowhere. It's 1:30 in the morning and cars fly by every now and then. Frogs croak from trees in the woods on either side of us and mosquitoes bite at us every 30 seconds. It's noisy and slightly uncomfortable, but it's all that we've got. Generally we can stay there for a few hours until a police officer tells us to move along.
"Owwww, bright lights!" he says, shielding my eyes from the blinding headlights of an oncoming truck.
"Is it a cop?" I ask, squinting through his fingers.
The truck slows down and comes to a stop next to us.
"Now, I know it's a purty night an' all, but this is hardly the place to be watchin' the stars, innit it? Y'all need any help, ma'am?" asks the driver in an accent straight out of O Brother, Where Art Thou. He's got a trucker's cap on over his mullet and he seems friendly, but I'm a little wary nonetheless.
"No, sir, we're just lookin' up at the stars. We don't get to see many of them. We're from Shreveport," I add.
"Well, bless y'all's hearts. I tell ya, y'all should go up to the dam over yonder. It's a purtier sight, and ya ain't got to worry about cops er nothin' over there," he advises us. I didn't even know we could drive up on to the dam. He tells us to go up two stop lights and turn left, and we thank him and wish him a good night.
"That guy is my new favorite person ever," I announce. Auguste agrees with me. We find our way to the dam, but there's a fork in the road. One road that seems to lead to where we want to go says that it dead ends and Auguste doesn't know if he'll be able to turn around. Whilst we mull it over, a white truck speeds by and honks at us. It looks as though our new friend is trying to show us where to go. Admittedly, I'm getting a little creeped out.
We follow and find a whole big parking lot and an incredible view of the lake and the stars.
"Thank you so much!" I say to our guide.
"Yer welcome, ma'am. I just figgered I'd tell you, since it's a more gooder view and all."
"Yes, sir, it is. Like I said, we're from Shreveport, we don't see many stars."
"Well, this place ain't got a goddern thing in it, prolly never will, but we got these here stars. It's a good place to get lost in."
We all look up at the sky.
After saying goodbye, Auguste and I lay there for another half hour or so, excited about our new discovery. It's silent out here, but the mosquitoes have gotten worse, thanks to our close proximity to water. We decide to call it a night and make a mental note to bring bug spray next time. I don't mind the bugs so much, really. I can put up with almost anything if it means getting lost in the night sky.
"I found bliss early. It was reading or thinking in the spread out trunk of a pink flowered mimosa tree in our front yard.
I made my freest art back then. When I was a little kid alone in my room, I danced to music from a tiny record player. I had a built up platform in the bottom of my closet, so I would push the clothes back on either side and dance away in funky costumes I found around the house. Now when I create art, I am seeking to go back to my bliss." Usher May 24, 2010