Before I do, I can't resist reflecting on the nearby metropolis at Poverty point that also died---ABOUT 2 THOUSAND YEARS AGO. (We don't know why)
This is the deserted carcass of Lake Providence--downtown area. I walk the streets--remembering.
Here's a surprise---someone with a bit of vision has declared that this alley will be a DOOR MUSEUM.
And by golly---it really is a door museum. Works of art painted on throwaway doors.
The Banner Democrat---newspaper of my childhood---apparently struggles on as the Delta News.
The only industry---besides farming---is private prisons. Lake Providence and Tallulah both have one.
I visit another relative who lives lakeside.
She has a lovely home on this storied lake. I learned to swim and ski here. Those are Cypress trees that have adapted to water living by growing hollow "knees" that trap necessary air for the roots below water.
RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: This town was once elegant, proud and beautiful---host to the annual Miss Louisiana beauty pageant. The glory days are gone now--The town is unsightly and effete. Time magazine said so in a cover story article entitled--THE POOREST PLACE IN AMERICA: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,981266,00.html
The cause of its rapid decline is an uneducated unmotivated underclass---A LEGACY OF SLAVERY and ADVANCING TECHNOLOGY. Slavery brought them here and Technology put them out of work.
The welfare system---well-meaning as it is---traps people in indolence---bores them into mischief.
I SAY TO MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY IN LAKE PROVIDENCE AND TALLULAH: We did not cause slavery BUT WE PROFITED FROM IT---and all its aftermath is a challenge that is ours to embrace. I think we are doing well---Really---we are doing well: Voting equality is a reality--and socially we get along respectfully. Now we need the kind of creative thinking John Rust did to crack the two remaining challenges: EDUCATION AND ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY.
LAKE PROVIDENCE AND TALLULAH ARE THE POINT OF THE SPEAR IN THIS WORLD-WIDE PROBLEM.
There are not enough jobs to go round---AND THAT SHOULD BE GOOD NEWS. It should mean SHORTER CAREERS.
We and the world are beginning to grasp that WE ARE ALL IN "IT"(LIFE) TOGETHER. We are weaving an inclusive social system that will give people the security and confidence to Quit Working earlier-with just a reasonable stash of money and open up a job for someone else. Early retirees (like myself) can learn to appreciate leisure---to generate personal meaning in our after years.
Breakthroughs in rapid-effective education are on their way. Bill Gates and others are on the case.
I SAY TO THE UNDERCLASS: GIVE UP ANY LINGERING VICTIM MENTALITY---Wake up to the opportunities that are available---take responsibility for yourself. Get a life and express your fascinations.