The Q

Plans were hatched to visit the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans one June morning with a new friend, Theresa. Well, as with most plans these days, the rain had other ideas. Refusing to let a little water stand in our way, we decided to forge ahead!

The rain continued, relentlessly, so we had no choice but to ditch the zoo plans and head to the Q, better known as The French Quarter. It was the weirdest day ever. Let’s see, I was first approached by a very inebriated man who got right in front of my face gesturing the peace sign. Every turn of my head to avoid him was met with him doing the same. That was pretty unnerving. I finally got away from him which took a few exhausting minutes. Several times throughout the day he turned up doing the same thing to other people. More unsettling things happened, but I’ll just leave it there.

A break in the rain. A lovely woman is focused on a book or her phone.

Here is Mr. Peace Sign harassing another passerby.

And here he is again, flashing the peace sign to another girl.
I loved the faces of the onlookers. I see anger, amusement, fear & caution
on all four faces.

Lots of colorful umbrellas. 

This precious little girl watching all the shenanigans
in Jackson Square.

Meet Dorothy Smith. She approached me in St. Louis Cathedral with a very sad story.
She got my last $10. I’m pretty sure I was snookered, but I did
promise to pray for her whenever I look at her photo.
After I gave her the money, I remembered a pack of almonds in my purse.
Offering her the almonds, she politely refused, showing me her toothless gums.
Talk about embarrassing!!!!!!!!
Lord, please help this woman find housing and 3 meals a day.
And if she is scamming people, let karma have its way.
Posted in children, french quarter, music, new orleans, people | 34 Comments


March 25, 2015 is a kayaking day I will not soon forget. It was a perfect day weather-wise, so I was pumped.

After getting settled in my kayak, the first thing I spied were three juvenile alligators sunning on two different logs as I paddled toward my friend. No biggie. After that I didn’t see too many more gators, but did hear and see Prothonotary Warblers, Yellow-throated Warblers, Northern Parulas, Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, Osprey (a new lifer!), Pileateds, Little Blue Herons, Great Herons, Roseate Spoonbills, and Great Blue Herons. There were more, but those were the highlights.

So we kayaked for three hours and decided we’d had enough. Cathy went down to the bank to get out and I went to the deck at the rental place to drop off the kayak. Several times I tried to hoist my big patootie up and over the deck. Sitting inside the kayak you’re pretty level with the water, and the deck is a good foot higher. No one was there to hold the kayak against the deck for stability so it was going to be a huge challenge. Finally, I said to myself, “Don’t think about it. Just do it!” Splash! The kayak flew away from me and I went down.

I blame Nike.

So there I was flapping in the water, fully clothed, still unable to pull myself onto the deck. Meanwhile the kayak was floating away. But who cares about that when there are gators in the water??? Anyway, I finally pulled my sopping wet self onto the deck by the grace of God. It was more like clawing, then flopping over like a beached whale. Ay yi yi! Was I a sight. The boat rental lady felt so bad when I told her what happened. She asked why I didn’t call for help. I have no idea why I didn’t holler. Maybe I was afraid of calling attention to fresh meat in the water. Anyway, I did have the foresight to put my camera and phone on the deck before all the drama!

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

Osprey carrying twigs to the nest.

Linking up with…
Thanks, Anni!
Posted in birds, black-bellied whistling ducks, kayaking, lake martin, osprey | 41 Comments

Myles Road

B and I had big plans EARLY Saturday morning in June to bird with a group on Myles Road in Donaldsonville, LA. We were pumped since the area is known as Bunting City. Buntings! As in Painteds and Indigos! Lots of them!!

We met at 6:30AM(!) in order to get to the destination by 8AM (!). After a few wrong turns, due to faulty GPS coordinates, we finally made it to the long and winding gravel road. By hour two I had sweated through my clothing, including my capris. I was praying people would understand that it was perspiration in the crotch/thigh area. I was completely potty trained over 50 years ago. 🙂

We saw the Painted and Indigo Buntings all right, but not how we’d imagined. They were few and far between, high up in the canopies or perched high on electrical wires. Out of a couple hundred photos I managed to salvage these seven.

Curly Clematis

The orange color of these poles stood out to me.

Yellow-crowned Night Heron

An Indigo Bunting flying away.

A Painted Bunting up high and far, far away. Typical of the day.

Our fearless leader noted over 41 species that day, including a Meadowlark, White-eyed Vireo, and Belted Kingfisher. I must’ve missed those during my heat stroke. For a birder it was a great day; for a photographer, not so much.

Posted in bayou, curly clematis, fence, fence post, indigo bunting, painted bunting, yellow-crowned night heron | 46 Comments


DCI stands for Dixon Correctional Institute, a medium-security prison facility located in Jackson, LA. You might recall from an earlier post that Jackson is where my friend and I opened up a flea market booth called Bayou Belles. Anyway, since Dixon is my last name, I wanted to get some photos of the place. For a prison, it’s really pretty!

Along the road are signs that say DO NOT PICK UP HITCHHIKERS. PRISON AREA. Nowhere are signs saying NO PHOTOGRAPHS.

So one beautiful day on my way to Bayou Belles’ booth, I tried to take pictures with my iPhone through my windshield. It is a pretty drive and I wanted to share that with you all. (Sorry for the crack in my windshield and bug guts, but if you live in Louisiana, you’re going to have that. It’s a given).

The road is curvy and I was having trouble driving straight and getting a decent pic, so I pulled off on the side of the road to photograph a huge pasture of cows across from DCI. There was also a nice gate and I was thinking that I could finally link up with TexWisGirl’s Good Fences meme. Yay me!

I was in perfect bliss with my phone when suddenly I was startled by a man yelling. “YOU CAIN’T BE TAKIN’ NO PICTURES ‘ROUND HERE!!! THIS BE A PRISON AREA.”

Ooops. 🙂 Photography is always getting me in trouble. At least I haven’t been thrown in jail. YET! I made my apologies and skedaddled, praying he wouldn’t follow me.

Click the icon to see
fences around the world!
Posted in cows, fence, pastures, skies | 44 Comments

Tiptoe Through the Tulips

These are the last of the images from Afton Villa Gardens around the end of March. I debated heavily whether to post the little girls, so I made a compromise that only the ones where they are not facing the camera directly would be allowed on this post.

A little plug here:
My Etsy store is open for business! I am helping my dad sell his enormous collection of Indian artifacts. These are relics he has found and also purchased over the last 25 years. All are authentic to the best of his knowledge. Some of the arrowheads he fashioned into necklaces. As my dad goes through his collection I am photographing and adding them to the store.

If you’re on Etsy I’d love it if you’d follow me and favorite at least one item in my store. I’ll be happy to reciprocate. Not sure if there is a market for this kind of stuff, but I guess I’ll find out! Thank y’all so much for all your support!


Posted in afton villa gardens, azaleas, children, flowers, indian artifacts, tulips, wisteria | 43 Comments

Birthday Paddle

The month of May is crazy for the Dixon household. Double D’s birthday falls during the first week of May; mine is the next week; and Mother’s Day comes somewhere before, after, or ON my birthday. While Double D wanted to kick up his heels in The Quarter for his big day, I was perfectly content to paddle on Lake Martin for my birthday. The highlights for me were the Black-crowned Night Heron and Barn Swallows.

Before kayaking, however, I had to have some nutrition! My grandparents’ used to love Pat’s Fisherman’s Wharf in Henderson, LA. Thankfully, it was on the way to the lake. I had not been there since I was a child, and I’m happy to report that it hasn’t changed a bit. The food was as wonderful as I remembered. We got there way past lunch time, so that’s why there aren’t a lot of people. Just the way I like it.

You can see from my expanding mid-section that I ate every single bite of my shrimp platter.
I was then presented with this delicious, SINFUL slice of doberge cake and serenaded by our waitress.
We pronounce the cake DOUGH-bahj. Some say DOUGH-bearj.
Here is a more thorough history and a recipe of the famous cake.

I made fast friends with Emilean, our waitress. We Facebooked each other right then and there!
She made my day extra special. Not only did she give me extra shrimp AND a piece of cake,
she shared a personal experience that helped me tremendously concerning panic attacks.
It was one of those God-things, y’all.

Now, on to the show!

Water Hyacinth

Double D paving the way.

I learned that when gators are resting with their mouths open, they are cooling off since they
don’t have sweat glands. Whew, good to know!

Black-crowned Night Heron

DD was after the Prothonotary Warbler and the Northern Parula

Prothonotary Warbler

So, that was my big day!

Thank you, Anni for hosting
Click the link for more birds around the world!
Posted in birthday, black-crowned night herons, flowers, food, kayaking, prothonotary warbler, swamp, water hyacinth | 42 Comments

The State of Louisiana…Belle

Warm greetings from Cajun Country! I’m as happy as a tick on a fat dog. 🙂 Seriously though, I am incredibly thankful for the prayers God has answered after spending 2 years wandering around in the desert. My daughter and I both agree that this is our year, and we are going to enjoy and savor every moment. Here’s the “State of Me” bullet points.

  • Helping plan my daughter’s wedding, though she’s so organized, she doesn’t need any help. Still, it’s fun talking about it with her.
  • Making new friends and reconnecting with old ones. (Many, MANY prayers sent up about this issue, as I tend to close myself off when depressed.)
  • Displaying my photography in different venues.
  • Participating in workshops and photography classes.
  • Starting a small vegetable garden.
And the big one………..drum roll…………………………
  • Opening a booth at a flea market with my friend, B! 

B came up with our name: Bayou Belles. B has been a godsend. She’s full of GREAT ideas and we work extremely well together. We have a logo, a Facebook page and a blog!

My cup runneth over. I am so energized every day with all the things I want to do, and there are not enough hours to get it done.

Okay, enough of this chit-chat.

Glimpse into Bayou Belles’ space.
A new shrub for my garden: Indigofera
Indigofera with St. Francis statue in background.
Another new shrub: Angel’s Earrings.
Planted next to my angel statue. 🙂
The heart-shaped leaves behind the bird ornament is called Moonflower.
It is vining quickly around my palm tree. I hope to attract hummingbird moths with it.
Bell peppers! Well, a single bell pepper, but the blooms promise many more!

Cherry tomatoes!!

Female House Finch visiting the new feeder.
Linking with
Thanks, Anni!
Posted in angels, Bayou Belles, flowers, house finch, plants, statues, vegetables | 42 Comments