Report from Louisiana: Stubborn People, Spring Break, and Shreveport Violence

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Last week I was unable to post as I had to drive my son to have his wisdom teeth removed and I failed to get a post together ahead of time to schedule. I appreciate Pete’s patience with me when these things happen. But, let me tell you, my son is the epitome of hard-headed and by, oh….say…..noon last Monday I was complete over this wisdom teeth adventure.

The oral surgeon of course told him no eating solid food for three to five days in order to allow healing and so not to disturb the protective blood clots. Literally nothing I could name for a meal was satisfactory. He wouldn’t listen to any directions, and even wanted to go outside and shoot the basketball literally three hours after the procedure. After reminding him that his post-procedure directions said no exercise or strenuous activity (to control bleeding), he went out anyway.

I was so exasperated by then, I reminded myself that he’s an adult, I left the gauze out for him and told him if he starts to bleed out to call 911. Whatever. People have to make their own mistakes. I left and went to the grocery store and pharmacy.

When I came back, he wasn’t feeling so great but now that we are a week out, everything is back to normal.

Stubborn!

It’s been a big week for me on other fronts: I’ve put in retirement papers and will be leaving the classroom after twenty-five years. I received confirmation and “approval” of my papers this week. I’m already clearing things out of my classroom and emptying files. We are on Spring Break and I’m heading back down to south Louisiana for the week. I need to unplug and recharge for the last nine weeks of school.

I am anxious to get out of Shreveport, not just this week, but after retirement. I don’t know if it is the times in which we live, and perhaps it is this way everywhere, but there is not one single day that goes by in this town when there isn’t a murder or at least a shooting. Every.Single.Day. This past week, some poor guy from Texas was just driving through town on I20 when someone pulled up next to him and started shooting, killing him. To be fair, I don’t know if they knew each other, but good grief. I’m tired of the violence.

We don’t live in a bad neighborhood; we live in an older neighborhood, but it’s considered a good part of town, and I often hear gunshots when I take my dog out at night. They’re usually in the distance, not right near me, and sound travels at night, but it’s enough to make you want to get out of town. When we go to our place down south, we are in the country, basically. It’s a small town of about 1,000 people. You can hear some traffic noise, wildlife or fish splashing in the bayou, church bells on the hour, half hour, and quarter hour, but never gunshots.

Our police force tries, but they are woefully underpaid and outnumbered. It appears to be a losing battle, and our novice, young, Democrat mayor who has higher political ambitions, has no idea how to fix things. It’s time to move on.

At any rate, there you have my random musings for the week. Be safe, be kind, and take care.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.

The NBA’s Vanderbilt Moment

The public be damned! I am working for my stockholders!

attributed to William Henry Vanderbilt

There has been a copious silence from the NBA concerning slave labor camps in China, concerning a judge’s ruling that claiming homosexuality is a mental illness is a valid opinion and an ad by a Chinese laundry detergent company where a black man is given a tablet of the cleaner put in a washer and comes out “clean” (that is Chinese).

Now you can make the case that the ad is a joke and NBA players can take a joke and you can make the case that people have the right to an opinion particularly one that was the case the official opinion of the American mental health experts until the early 70’s and defend both of free speech grounds although the NBA would never do so if these took place in America, but rationalizing slave labor while at the same time your political allies are pushing reparations for slavery, that’s pure unadulterated capitalism.

China has recently announced that is will again broadcast NBA games and with few or no fans allowed in the arenas and US rating way down despite lockdowns where people would presumably be at home the NBA players who like the ability to make six to eight figures for playing a game rather than $7.50 to $15 an hour for manual labor jobs where being able to reach the top shelf is useful where most of said players would be without the game are not inclined to be all that particular about slavery in China if it hurts their bottom line.

In other words it’s capitalism totally divorced from morality. If the goal is to maximize profits for the league as long as laws are not broken (and none of those actions are in violation of Chinese law, they are at worst down with it or at best silent.

If that’s how they want to justify it, that’s fine, it’s on them, but I don’t want to hear a single word about “social justice” or how the NBA cares about right and wrong because the reality is these guys to a man care about their bottom line and making what they can while they can that’s it. That’s their prerogative but spare me the false moral high ground narrative.

Oh and a small note to Coke and all those folks campaigning against “whiteness” it’s worth noting that this position makes them morally inferior to the almost completely white textile workers of England during the Civil War who despite hardship due to cutoff of their cotton supply vital for their employment by the Union Blockade of Confederate ports stood united against slavery and either recognition or intervention in the Civil War.