"I'm going to Gallywinter and there ain't no girls allowed,
I guess things are different now, times have changed.
A girl is nice to have with you while you're riding on the range,
She can make you breakfast and talk to you at night
You can argue about things you never thought
You'd argue about in your whole life," - Galleywinter, Pat Green

It turned cold again today and I love it. But there is something about it that makes me think of the same thing each time the winter approaches. Its not so much a dream as a hope or an idea I suppose.

I wake up, in a fine old ranch house built of rock, wood and tin. It sits high atop a hill and looks over the ranch land below. The smell of fresh cedar floats through the air, whipped up by the winds somewhere on the rolling plains of Texas. Beautiful orange sunlight pours into my bedroom through ancient windows in the east. I feel the cool crisp air from the open window across my nose, but the bed is warm and the blankets heavy. I roll over and there she is... warm soft skin, beautiful long hair, all dressed in white cotton and wrapped in rough wool blankets. No makeup, no high heeled shoes, no fancy dress and she is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.

She smiles and moves closer.

Later, coffee on the couch. Breakfast on the porch. Friends and dogs approach over the ridge. Quail fly. Carhartts cold to the touch. Melting snow drips from the corners of a tin roof. Warm gun barrels return in the afternoon.

When the birds are cleaned and dinner is done the house is quiet again. We sit and watch as the sun sets in the dust of a cold Texas night. The days come and go like that, things change, people move slower, hair turns gray. But she is there each morning for as long as I can imagine.

Who is she? I don't know, but each winter I think about her. I know she is out there and I hope one day to know her. Maybe I already do, maybe I never will.

So here is to the girl in white cotton... Maybe she will meet me at the rock house upon the hill.

Well, I am home again... fishing was great!! Just what I needed.

Now I have to get my stuff together and reedit my hurricane images for the web, update the website and start sending out applications. I really need to find a way to move on and get to a better place... things seem to be falling fast at work. Hope they level off and maybe pick back up soon, but somehow I doubt it.

Here's to red fish and beer my friends.... get you some of both!!

My right arm is sore. This time not from a tetanus shot, but from casting and reeling all night. This place is amazing. Its a cheap little house off the Intracoastal in a fishing village in Texas. There is nothing special about it. But each time I come here I feel completely relaxed.

Its amazing what just sitting on a porch and looking at the water can do for you. I am here with my friend Jeremy and my other buddy Greg and his fiance are joining us later tonight.

Two GREAT things happened yesterday, the first of which was coming here, the second of which was the lady at the sporting goods being too dumb to know that my Louisiana drivers license meant I was no longer a Texas resident... no matter what the computer said. The result? I can now fish and hunt in Texas for the rest of the year!!! Is her mistaking me for a Texas resident a sign of things to come?? Who knows. But for those of you who know me well... this is a HUGE deal.

Last night Jeremy and I fished until 5am.. 10 20+ inch speck was the result and joined with the blue crabs in the the traps now, they will become our dinner tonight.

Breakfast was bacon, biscuits, potatoes and eggs cooked in the fat of the bacon topped off with a cold beer.... yes I am going to die.... and if its here.... in Sargent, Tx..... I will die happy.

St. Louis Cathedral

Home..... I think.

Well, after mass at St. Louis Cathedral it was all downhill. Mass was awesome. It was a great experience to see people of faith rebuilding their community one step at a time. Never have I heard applause in a Cathedral, but it erupted when the Archbishop declared the Cathedral school would be open by the end of the month. I am not Catholic, but have gained a healthy respect for their sense of community in South Louisiana.

On a sour note, TV was awful. After a month of hurricane coverage even I was able to find a fairly clean pair of jeans and a dark colored collared shirt. But CNN among others showed up in clothing barely fit for the beach. I felt embarrassed at times to be a part of the media circus surrounding and sometimes invading the real life story that morning.

The next day was a bombed story in Baton Rouge followed by a press conference that yielded little in the way of photos, but released stunning information that at least I had not heard or comprehended.

St. Bernard Parish has the money to pay it's employees for two more pay periods and then they will be bankrupt. With no tax base the parish president declared that they will have no ability to pay the employees for a minimum of 2 years. In the parish there are 66,000 homes. 6,000 have flood insurance. 100% of the homes there recieved flood damage of some degree. FEMA always told them they didn't need it. Its impossible to predict what will happen with that parish.

After traveling to Vinton, La. to do a story on the horse racing industry I was told to pack my things and go home. One month to the day from when I left.

I arrived home last night to a bedroom I didn't recognize, to streets being rebuilt that were fine when I left, to a living room with new furniture and to a life I vaguely remember as my own. As the day has worn on I guess that it feels a bit more like home. But I feel so many of the same emotions coming back that ruled my life before I left. Anger, frustration, dismay and constant dissapointment. Add to that the fact I am dealing with having everything I need after being with so many who had nothing.

I have so much to be thankful about, but I find it so hard in this city.

I took some extra days this weekend (my paper gave me no days off) and I am planning on getting out of town. Going somewhere, doing something or nothing at all.

I need to make a change to my life. I need to find a way to use what I have experienced to further my life, professionally, personally, spiritually.

Somethings got to give.

The Rise and Fall of New Orleans

Well its been several days since I wrote. It seems like I become less and less interested in my own stories.

Last night we went to Bourbon Street for a little R&R. There were a large number of clubs open. So many in fact we are doing a story tonight on the return of bourbon street. I am sure that you can guess that a large number of the clubs are strip joints. Think what those girls are making! Noone in town but military and police who have been away from family and home and been working their asses off night and day for a month!

Earlier today we went to a neighborhood where the homes got 6-8 feet of water in them. Watching people pick up their lives day after day is beginning to wear on me. I will be happy to shoot people relaxing and enjoying themselves on Bourbon Street tonight. I will even be happier to shoot mass at St. Louis Cathedral in the morning. I have always wanted to go to a mass there. I can't think of a better time to do it.

The Rise and Fall of New Orleans. Could there be a story so uplifting and so depressing all in the same day?

Wednesday they will open all but the Lower Ninth Ward. I haven't decided if I want to be here or not. Most of the homeowners we have shot so far have been at least middle class.... with insurance or young people with not much to lose who were renting.

What will we do when the tens of thousands arrive home to to the worst of the city with nothing but the clothes on their backs... and no hope of a fat check to start over. What will we see when those people come back?