Archival pot-pourri


This is the Arkansas Champion Gingko tree. It is alive and well on West Sixth Avenue in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, my home town. It is a male Gingko.

A wide swing

field of buttercups in front of old barn

Click on the posies to see more pictures

We’re making a swing through our archives this week – taking a look in the Arkansas Ozarks, the Arkansas Delta and the French Quarter in New Orleans – the message being that regardless of notoriety or lack thereof, if you look enough, wherever you are, you’ll find something neat, cool, and/or worthwhile. Speaking of which, this story started on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com where you’ll see a another view of the waterfall below, an old store, and a field of buttercups.


This is Haw Creek Falls in the Arkansas Ozarks, one of the easiest falls in the state to access. The falls are less than a hundred feet from the access road via well marked trails. It is one of the most photographed falls in Arkansas and is part of a national campground.

People in Woldenberg Park in New Orleans

I shot this during the 2005 French Quarter Fest in New Orleans in Woldenberg Park which sits on the banks of the Mississippi River adjacent to the French Quarter. Thought we are seeing a group of people at a fun pubic event, they seem not be aware of each other.

Take a look at your surroundings and see if you can spot what is lurking to be seen.

Thanks for looking,

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind


Chasing a storm the easy way


A favorable storm for photographers is illuminated by a low-on-the-horizon sun. This one was close to perfect.


Click the picture to see more storm pix

On July 21, 2009 early in the evening, a building mid-summer thunderstorm presented itself to me as Nikon fodder. I was at Lake Dick, Arkansas (east of Altheimer, Arkansas) grabbing a few shots of my favorite water tower. As the storm began to build, I rejoiced. The storm was in the east, the setting sun in the west, a photographer’s candy store. Speaking of which, you can see four more pictures of this storm on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com.



The storm takes on a different look as the cloud cover changes – and you keep on the move. It would darken again quickly from this lighter mode.


The uncivilized beast crawls over civilization. Since the storm had the courtesy of making its appearance in late July, the moisture it delivered was welcome. Some would have preferred the moisture without the dramatic effects. I was not one of those.

This is the easy way of chasing a storm, staying well away and grabbing the drama while maintaining a state of dryness and eschewing bodily and property harm. I’m looking forward to the next one.

Thanks for looking,

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind




Delta derelicts


This old sharecropper and/or farm hand residence was once an important part of the Delta agricultural system. It made sense for farm workers to live on the farm since travel was not nearly as convenient as it is today. This one had ‘tar-paper’ siding which meant that someone cared about ‘keeping it up.’ Mechanization and certain crops moving off-shore put these old residences into disuse.


Click the barn to see more pictures

Down here in the Delta, we are not opposed to new ideas and concepts and despite some who may think differently, we are about as quick as anyone to grab “aholt” of  the “new and improved” ways and means conducting our daily lives.

And while we enjoy the benefits of the “new and improved,” some of us may be a tad slow in jettisoning the accouterments of the former “new and improved” ideas. This week we take a glance at a few of those. Also see more on this subject on the photo of the week page at Corndancer dot-com.


Not terribly far from the old house above you’ll see this old International tractor and trailer. In their heyday, they were as common on the road as pigeons on park statues. The power came from a big six-cylinder engine which was high on torque. This one, once it was retired, appears to have become a source of parts for similar vehicles. When a neighbor or relative needed a thingamajig, doo-dad, whatcahmacallit, or perhaps even a fremkin assembly they knew where to come.


This old two-row cotton picker was once someone’s pride and joy. The salesman was happy, the loan officer who financed it was happy and the new owner had a better way of harvesting his crop. Time has marched on and so has cotton for the most part, and the demand for two-row cotton pickers went in the tank a long time ago. I suspect someone was proud of the old ‘fridge as well. It appears that the Mother Nature disposal company will handle the final disposition of these.


Not everything in the neighborhood was old. This Angus calf and I shared a moment on the close by levee. They are accustomed to pickup trucks and if you drive slow and carefully, they like to take a look. She scampered off after our photo session.


There are endless benefits to living in LA and the Delta, not the least of which is the opportunity for a leisurely afternoon of fishing in the middle of January, an opportunity not available a lot of other locales.

Thanks for struggling through a look at the underbelly of LA. Consider it a part of your overall enlightenment and an addition to your body of knowledge.

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind


Meandering through the Delta yet again


Since we are in the dead of winter, we can see some details of this abandoned farmhouse. This side, to the south, is hanging in there well. The north side of the house is progressing well to the final lost battle with gravity. It’s not good. It’s not bad. It is the result of prevailing economics that were not in its favor.


Click the pic for more winter pictures

Most folks who want to observe nature, take drives in the country, or just meander around, take a vacation from those activities in winter months. They are missing one act of the play. While greenery is beautiful in its verdant presentation, it serves to block out some nice natural details available only in its absence. Today we are looking at those details. Speaking of which, be sure and see the other pictures we took on this trip on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com


It’s like a giant, lacy dry flower arrangement, but with the benefit of reflections. Prevailing earthy winter colors are accented with the details and specks of sky that Mother Nature presents here. Not available in about four three months or so.


Take and up close and personal look at some naked cypress trees in the watery environment they love. You can see the waterline from our last local deluge. Get a good look now because this view is not available during the “green” months.


Here’s another look at the cypress in this little bayou. Since there is no greenery, the reflections are dramatic.


Down here in LA, boys will be boys. Since this sign faces the long part of a “T,” the temptation is simply too great. Oh, and by the way, to the last shooter, probably two clicks down and two left clicks  should do the trick.

Thanks for looking and do yourself a favor, bundle up, get out and see the stuff that ain’t gon’ be there in a cuppla months.

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind




The waters are receding. Again.


The Arkansas River is flowing past the north pier of the US Highway 79 bridge near Pine Bluff, Arkansas at 46.09 feet, early in the afternoon on January 2, 2016. Twenty-four hours later, the flood crested at 46.24 feet. Flood stage is 42 feet. The numbers on the pier are not depth numbers. They tell river pilots the distance from the water level to the bottom of the bridge structure.

Just about seven months to the day, in 2015, the Arkansas River wrathfully overflowed its banks. The effect here in Pine Bluff, Arkansas and Jefferson County was bad for all and catastrophic for many.


Click the pic to see more flood pictures and an “under-the-bridge” flood video

The first watery overabundance in 2015, came the last of May and first of June. The  river peaked out at 45.46 feet.

The last time, a day or so ago, the last of December and the first of January, the waters flew by the bridge at 46.09 feet. It was as if the river was telling us it learned a new and nastier trick or two since last June. See more pictures and a video of the river at the bridge on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com.

Hundreds of families in our neck of the woods are now taking shelter elsewhere from their residences again. When they return to their domiciles, they will be greeted with a second onslaught of mud-covered floors and scattered goods and detritus, jetsam and flotsam, none of which will approach pleasantry by a long stretch.

A few flood pictures


A river navigation marker west of the bridge barely escapes submersion


The same navigation marker from a view downstream than the one above.


This shop took in some water, but the family home across the road was fortunately high and dry.


The hangar and headquarters for the local radio-controlled model airplane club was inundated. The location, other than being at a low place, is ideal for its use. Club members removed anything that might be damaged by water well in advance of the flood. They’ll do the same thing next time.

That’s how we are starting our year here in LA (lower Arkansas). Hopefully, we are getting our ration of disasters out of the way on the front end. We hope. Fingers crossed.

Happy New Year!

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

The Cross Tree redux

This is our annual Christmas post. It was our first, and we’ve never found one better. To get the whole story be sure and follow the link to the Corndancer dot-com story which is “the meat of the coconut.”



This lone tree stands as a memorial to Frank Cross who was murdered in the mid-eighties. Click on the picture to see our original December 2008 post for more details and information.

This story started on the Photo of the Week Page at Click on the link to see the first part of the story, a very cool thing to do.

Frank Cross, an invalid confined to his bed,  was murdered in the mid-eighties at his home which formerly stood behind the tree. The family had the house demolished, but left the fine cedar tree standing as a memorial to Frank, who was an admired member of his community in southeast Arkansas.

Close inspection of the tree base reveals some artifacts which were probably part and parcel of the old home.


Apparently, some items and materials which were not removed during the house demolition were left under the tree.This also included a wire wreath holder.

Thanks for dropping by and Happy New Year,
Joe Dempsey


Santa Paws in Pine Bluff

Dog and santa looking at each other

This dog wants to check Santa out completely before proceeding with the portrait.

Santa and dogs

Click the picture to see more Santa and dog pix

The first weekend in December for the has for the last few years has found me at Margland Bed and Breakfast photographing Santa with dogs, families, kids, and other dogs. The event is a fundraiser benefiting The Humane Society of Jefferson County.

Funds raised by the event support the society’s care and adoption activities which are 100% dependent on donations. It is a worthy cause of the first order.

Be sure and see more of our Santa and dogs pictures on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com.

Santa and husky

All went well during the introductory sniffing and Santa analysis which paved the way for this canine at Christmas picture. Everything is cool.

Santa with Great Dane

This gentle giant was cool with the entire process. And aren’t we grateful. As in really Grateful Daneful.

Santa with puppies

Size does not matter. Bring ’em on.

MIck Mack with Santa

Say hello to Mick Mack, a friendly dog who has provided organic fertilizer to my yard. I must admit, our dogs have returned the favor.

Santa, mother, daughter, and Maxie the dog

My friends Amanda Cook, her daughter Hannah and their furry friend, Maxie came to the event for a picture. The first thing Maxie did was to get to know me better. After a brief get-together, the we proceeded with the pictures.

Merry Christmas to you and yours, including your fur-babies, feathered friend, slinky buddies, fish, bugs and whatsoever your non-human compatriots may be, should I have missed a category in the previous litany of critters.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind




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