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Frack Your Brain


Q
Between protests and pipelines, there's something underfoot in St. Tammany Parish. What is it, Dead Huey? Are we doomed? -Marooned in Mandeville

A

Mentally wander with me for a moment my living and unnoticeably decomposing friends. Let us leave the urban squalor of this city and set out due north. Marvel as we cross the second largest land bridge in the world. Second, Huey?! Yes my friends, in 2011 while we rested on our Ponchartrain laurels, the Chinese were busy constructing the Jiaozhou Bay Bridge surpassing our “Wonder of the World Causeway” in overall structural length; yet another failure of the current state executive. I detest leading with a metaphor, but the Chinese usurpation of our Guinness Record is not unlike the situation taking place in those magic pines across that great big pond.

 

“Magic you say?! Huey, I’ve been to Northshore many times I never saw no wizards, or dragons, or large wolves being mentally controlled by the crippled children nobility!”   

 

I do mean magic my friends; a subtle kind of spell that wraps through the woods and swamps in the parish of St. Tammany. Let us take a brief moment to observe just a few of the conspicuous miracles abounding in this wooded kingdom. An extremely high number of Louisiana State University cheerleaders, or, for the initiated, the Golden Girls, hail from this unassuming retreat where beautiful women grow like artichokes.  Why, in 2007 half of the Golden Girls Dance line hailed from this land of mystery, a fact I’ve become acquainted with due to my unchallenged place at the top of the Tiger Nation.

 

As a man who consumes his weight in red meat on the regular I have only been bested by one sandwich, and that delicacy is the Roast Beef Po-Boy found at Bears Po-Boys in downtown Covington. It rips your at your stomach from the inside, paralyzing you masochistic pleasure, and though your innards cry “Mercy!” your mouth calls you a coward for hesitating, and inexplicably, you eat on. And lastly of great intellectual and historical import, this is the place that gave us both noted writer and philosopher Walker Percy and noted assassin and patsy Lee Harvey Oswald. 

 

But how!? How can such a small and unassuming place produce such a varied and special roster of achievements? The answer is the water. WATER!!!! That element that was once of vital importance to the world which is slowly being replaced with water like substitutes. There is magical water underneath the ground in St. Tammany Parish. It heals the sick, comforts the weary, and sustains the undead so they may fulfill their civic duty despite rigor mortis. The source of this water is located in the political separatist colony of Abita Springs. A gentle people nursed on ancient Choctaw streams living an antiquated life, like the small towns of my youth minus the rampant poverty and tuberculosis. This water brings them together, makes their beer, and heals their ailments in a truly bipartisan fashion. Unfortunately, bipartisanship, like magical springs, cannot last forever. Darkness has come to the Northshore. And that darkness has come from under the ground.

 

I’m no water scientist, but this magical healing water derives its miraculous qualities from the most sacred substance god ever created and hid in the earth hoping that man would become advanced enough to take it. I am of course speaking of oil. As you read my undead ramblings the company Helis Oil is about to set up shop on a piece of land and drill a 13,000 foot deep well to begin the process called fracking. Now fracking to my understanding is when you take a large, dental water pick, drive it into the earth, and then shoot H20 at the sediment below. This lubricates the oil and tricks it into coming to the surface of its own volition. I always applaud diversity in business strategy, but to attack the magical water supply of the docile Elvin people of the Northshore is a continuous land bridge too far!

 

There deep within the woods I hear the angry cries of abused citizenry. The shaking of branches the smashing of mandolins, and the silent steady beat of mocchasined feet on the ground. Those magical beings of the woods will not retreat to their tree forts. They raise their voices and join together in electronic petitions to stop this petroleum-sucking giant from taking their water away. A monster waits to pillage the gentle streams and piney woods of the Northshore, but in an irony that surely is not lost on anyone involved, that monster is their own.

 

In 2011 when my blood enemy, Bobby Jindal, was handily winning a second term crushing what was left of political choice in this state, St. Tammany Parish gave him a whopping 75% of its votes. In the governors unholy marriage to corporate interests he must have offered the pure Choctaw springs as a dowry, and like all primitive courtships, the bride had no idea what was surrendered. The magical children of the Northshore are unhappy. The industry so vital to our state and the people inside of it is not such a vital industry when it knocks on your door and threatens to take a big ole country shit in your magical water supply. I suppose its one thing to have Chevron’s Regional Headquarters lodged comfortably in your parish, but quite another when a massive company built from scratch by a Greek immigrant wants to find out what lies beneath. The beast will eat his masters.

 

Yet my vigilant friends, all is not lost. In that place where conservative fire meets hippie water an example is being enacted. We see a clear and definitive version of what happens when you ally with the hydra known as the Petrochemical industry. It will turn on you. It will see something it wants and go about taking it from you. It does not matter that you drink from sacred Choctaw nectar. It does not matter that you have a golf course in your back yard. It does not matter if you are a faithful follower of Brother Bobby, or Brother Bush, or even inbred cousin Vitter. If you stand on ground where even the hint of oil can be sniffed you are not safe. I hope this magical and confused parish may somehow see that this fire will take them all and collectively stop the Helis Water Pick from tearing away the foundations of the earth. I hope this, but I do not know. But take heart St. Tammany, even when all else fails, when we lose our homes, families, friends, faith, and land there is one thing that keeps us going. Irony. May the twenty five percent of you who saw this coming share that irony with the other seventy five percent who opened the door to it. And may your I told you so be empathetic and consoling. And may a coalition of active citizens emerge from the wreckage of a political system to stem this invading tide. I want my Po-Boy, and I cannot survive without that water.




('DiggThis’)

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Contributors

Renard Boissiere, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Naimonu James, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Nina Luckman, Dead Huey Long, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via, Austin Yde

Photographers


Art Director

Michael Weber, B.A.

Editor

Alexis Manrodt

Listings Editor

Linzi Falk

Editor Emeritus

B. E. Mintz

Editor Emeritus

Stephen Babcock

Published Daily