It is certainly lovely country, especially in autumn, when the leaves change colors, but I ask myself when visiting the mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina, “Why do folks still flock to the corridor between Sevierville and Gatlinburg?”
I can recall, some 50 years back, when the banks of the Pigeon River were mostly open, tree-shaded land, suitable for picnicking or hiking, with a few landmarks like old water-driven mills.
When we arrived in the mountains on a recent Saturday, we had to calculate a schedule for the week, giving precedence to those events occurring only once during our stay. Our only chance at a favorite big flea market in Sevierville, for example, was Sunday. We would head homeward before it opened the following weekend. So we located a Gatlinburg church with a Saturday night Mass to free Sunday for flea-shopping.
It was only 10 miles from our lodging, so we left before 6 p.m., expecting to be in church well before the Mass began at 7.
We failed to account for the Saturday night crowds in downtown Gatlinburg. Four lanes of two-way bumper-to-bumper traffic attempted to move through town with parties of visitors packing sidewalks on both sides, attempting, at intervals to change sides.
Drivers know that “stop for pedestrians in crosswalks” is strictly enforced, so cars crept and stopped, making little progress overall. We arrived at a Mass already in progress for 10 minutes, accomplishing a half-hour trip in just under 90 minutes.
The leafy corridor of the 1960s is banked on both sides with hotels, condos, shops and eateries of all descriptions and attractions from a full size replica Titanic to dozens of music halls.
Even if travelers savor all of that, getting there and finding parking, any time of day or night, is overwhelming. The Great Smoky Mountain National Park nearby remains undeveloped, but driving into its Cades Cove can take all day for what should be a two-hour loop. So why bother? Knowing about the likelihood of crowd delays, we are among those who visit nearly every year, and add our small part to the people-pollution.
Jellofish/Geist art: The comedy playing at Le Petit Theatre de Terrebonne this week has additionally become the scene of another fundraiser. Attending patrons are given the opportunity to purchase drawing tickets $1 each or 6 for $5. Chances to win one of 11 framed prints by Hans Geist, who is the lobby artist for this play.
All 11 are on display in the lobby throughout the play, explains art chairman Donna Benda, and “it's strictly first winner, first choice, down to the final winner who will have minimum choice.” The prints are delivered to each of the winners after the final Sunday performance.
All this amid the production of the bittersweet comedy “Jellofish,” with its 50-year weekly card game played out by the rascally surviving members of the original card buddies. As they disparage and insult each other vociferously, the players, depicted by Steve Duplantis, Delvin Foret, George Beaudry and Liz Folse, and directed by Edwina Yakupzack, deliver situations and lines delightfully full of laughs. We enjoyed Jellofish at dress rehearsal before we set out on another fall leaf-peeping” excursion to the Smokys.
Election coming: October Louisiana balloting left a few matters unsettled. In the November runoffs, voters statewide will select a governor (John Bel Edwards or "Eddie" Rispone) and a secretary of state (Kyle Ardoin or "Gwen" Collins-Greenup). In Terrebonne, the sheriff's race has Blayne "Bubba" Bergeron, against "Tim" Soignet. Short ballots, but important offices. Vote.
Still Coming: Dance, Lockport Fire Station, Pete Pitre plays, 2 p.m. Sunday, $10, bring your own treats, ice furnished.
• Waterlife Museum, Tuesdays, noon to 3 p.m., Jag & the Good Ol' Boys. 7910 Park Ave., Houma, free.
• College/Career Fair: 2-5 p.m. Sunday, Terrebonne Main Library in Houma, free.
• College Night: 6 p.m. Nov. 13, East Houma Library, free.
• Round Table: 6 p.m. Nov. 19, 6 p.m., Terrebonne Main Library, Capt. A.W. Steed on helicopters in the Vietnam War, free, sponsored by Regional Military Museum.
• South Louisiana Community Orchestra Christmas Concert, Dec. 1.
• Houma Terrebonne Community Band, Christmas Concert, St. Francis Cathedral, 6:30 p.m. Dec. 14.
Still seeking: Information about Hank's, a dance hall in the Houma/Thibodaux area back some 25 years ago. Call or write if you can help.
• Recollections of area women working in World War II shipyards. Corine Paulk calls them “Rosie the Riveter.” Call or write.
• Information about any Terrebonne service person who died during WWII. Call or write.
• Recollections of concerts or wrestling events held in the '60s in the East Park Recreation Center. Call or write.
Responding? Contact Bill Ellzey at 381-6256, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or c/o The Courier, P.O. Box 2717, Houma, LA 70361.