Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bella the "Killa"

One more point of personal privilege if you will. I want to take the opportunity to introduce you to the newest member of our household. -- Bella. She is a 9-week old Sheltie -- my wife's Christmas present. She is great with kids. She should grow to about 17 pounds. Right now she's barely more than a handful -- boy, what a handful, too.

It's been a long time since we had a baby around the house -- takes some getting use to. Wait, hold on.

Sorry -- I have to run -- Bella stole my sock.

--steve buser

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Strike up the party, band.

Meekly, I ask your indulgence.

I held out for as long as I could.

I promise you that it built character to resist the constant temptation.

But alas, you can only keep a horse away from water for so long and you can only keep a N'Awlins guy away from Mardi Gras pics for so long. It has been quite a while since I posted and out-of-the-season Mardi Gras post. But with the New Year peeking around the corner, the new Mardi Gras season is just a few weeks away.

Indulge me, please.

After all, I didn't put a float picture or a picture of beads or any of that. Instead, today, I salute the bands, and dance groups and a myriad of other players that make it all happen. It's all part of the biggest party on earth. Mardi Gras Day is February 24 in 2009, but the parades start the last week in January.


I got it out of my system.

I should be able to go another week or so without another post of a Mardi Gras picture.

--steve buser

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Monday, December 29, 2008

Peering on the pier

This is a shot of Linda and our niece Rebeka that I found while I was cleaning up my photos in the new computer. This was actually shot in April of 2005 -- well before Hurricane Katrina made a visit. The pavilion and pier are at Sunset Point in Mandevile -- the "north of the lake" suburb of New Orleans. The pier looks out over the 23-mile Causeway that crosses the lake. The lakefront park has needed a lot of repairs since the storm, but is still a favorite.

--steve buser

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Four Ibis enjoying the warm of the sun on a pile of dead limbs at Audubon Park, near the Oschner Island rookery.

--steve buser

Saturday, December 27, 2008

You've got the Nerf

Once Santa Claus has come and gone. It is up to the young-at-heart to defend the universe against vicious enemies and aliens of all types. My grandson, Sullivan, and his uncle Shawn teamed up to put the new Christmas presents to a test. Sure enough, Santa came through this time -- no aliens or evil enemy were spotted anywhere near our place this Christmas.

--steve buser

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Multi-layer fun

As the crowds hustle by below window shopping New Orleans French Quarter for Christmas gifts, diners enjoy the cool night air above on Decatur Street at the French Market Restaurant.  Their view includes a look at the quarter and a gaze out over the Mississippi River.

--steve buser

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A poorly-picked perch

This Egret wants to show off its plumage as it grabs hold of a branch in the bayou at Audubon Park in New Orleans. Understand, I am a perfect stranger to him. But somehow, I feel guilty I didn't tell him he could have picked a better place to land. Nonetheless, this tail, er... I mean tale, had a happy ending. The gator finished baking his belly full of food in the sun and the egret joined some of his friend for an aerial view of the park.

--steve buser

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

Monday, December 22, 2008

Feel your inner coaster

Our granddaughter Sophie's birthday is right before Christmas. So, we held her birthday party a couple a couple weeks early -- so as not to blend it in with all the other Christmas stuff. But, I believe that when the dust settles and all the toys are played with, and all the cousins are met, the hit of the season will be the roller coast she got for her birthday.

We, humans, apparently like motion and the sense of defining gravity. It took her a couple rides to get the feel of this contraption, but, as you can see, with big brother Sullivan egging her on, soon, she was flying like a circus star.

Ride on, Sophie.

--steve buser

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Showing the colors

There is no requirement that ships sailing up the Mississippi river in New Orleans have to have bright colors, but then when in New Orleans do as New Orleanians do.

--steve buser

Friday, December 19, 2008


As the light fades and the sun kisses the just the high spots, the revelers wander through the New Orleans French Quarter on rain-dabbed coblestones. They seem unaware of the street musican under the trees, trying to rake in some bread.

--steve buser

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Fiery spirit

Walking along Decatur Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans, we came upon this beastly fellow. For a tame dragon, he sure seemed to have a lot of fire in his belly. Sure to make you coffee table come to life.

--steve buser

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bad hair, bad air.

My computer passed away this week, so now you know why I haven't been posting. Fortunately, with the help of my son-in-law Aaron, we got the hard drive out and installed it in one of those external enclosures -- surprisingly it was in good shape. I am not trying to move all the photos and software over to a backup machine. So be patient with me.

I thought this picture might express my mood. This tri-colored heron seems to be having a bad hair day. How can you fly when you are having a bad hair day?

--steve buser

Friday, December 12, 2008

Oh, the weather outside was beautiful

Oh. The weather outside is getting better today. But yesterday it was a winter wonderland. The kind of day for cranking up a fire. A low pressure system formed over in Texas and slid along the I-10 to New Orleans and beyond dropping a boat load of snow. (On second thought it was probably more like a super tanker load of snow -- maybe even a fleet of them)

New Orleans, which has only had 7 measurable days of snow in the past 60 years got the next closest thing to a blizzard with 1/8 mile visibility. This shot is actually from Beaumont where we are, but SaraBeth, who stops in here quite a bit has some great shots on her blog. Be sure to hop over there and look. One of her pix ("sneaux" on Prytania)

Oh, and check out my daughter's blog up in College Station, TX -- she described it as a real blizzard. One of here pix:

You may want to hop over to to for a dozens of snow pix.
--steve buser

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Crawfish Boil -- behind the scenes.

This is a picture from last Mardi Gras (You knew I would find a way to slip one in didn't you? Well consider: I have gone about 6 months without a Mardi Gras picture on this site -- that is quite a feat I would say.)

I digress -- to the picture at hand, our freind Sam is putting the finishing touches on a batch of crawfish at my sister, Sue's house. The ice, I think, is to allow the crawfish to seep in all the spices they were just boiled in without overcooking.

Notice how big these pots are -- they had more than fifty people at the party -- you've got to cook a lot of crawfish fast to keep up with this.

Notice , also, the two propane tanks. Let's call that the Boy Scout rule of Crawfish Boiling -- be prepared.

I can report that Sam has a magical touch in the crawfish department -- the mudbugs were perfect --made my tongue singe, my nose run and my eyes water -- that's what you call good crawfish. Non?

-- steve buser

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Balloon business is really popping

What kid doesn't want to take home a balloon shaped as a sword, a heart, or whatever. Go ahead -- admit it. This is one of the things you really loved to do in the New Orleans French Quarter as a kid. Don't lie -- all these people are watching you.

Does that feel better? Admit your feeling, Let them well back up in you. It's been too long since you giggle over a balloon toy.

This is the balloon man that stopped us on Decatur street each kid got a special balloon (he must know how to make about 1000 shapes) and with just a little tip to him for each balloon, we left with lighter pockets and bigger smiles.
From the left are my great nieces Page, Rebekah ( you can just see the yellow of her shirt and Sarah in the stroller. My niece's husban Jason (let's see does that make him a nephew in law?) is pushing the stroller . In the background are what I presume are his next two customers.

--steve buser

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The strange life of ... me

You've had weird days, too. Don't pretend you haven't. I know you better than that.

This one just came along -- I wasn't looking for it. I promise.

I pull into this parking lot and grab my camera to put it in the trunk. I noticed a bird a 200 feet away beating as hard as it can against a stiff wind. The bird was just staying in one place -- it was making no headway. After about 3 minutes of this, it stops flapping and goes stiff in the wind. The bird put its head down for a fast dive. The dive kept him in about the same place, but closer to the ground -- he just used his kinetic energy up.

Then he rotates up into the wind and lets it lift him and move about 100 feet closer to me. He starts flapping hard again; I reach for my camera and start to try to focus. Before I get the camera ready, he gives up again and does the dive-and-rise thing again, going about 100 feet away. He continues this flapping-and-diving routine for about 10 minutes moving farther and farther from me and loosing ground to the wind all the time.

I decide I can't get the shot and head in to do my business.

When I get home, nature calls me for a quick bathroom break. At first, I didn't notice the fly. When I took strong notice of him, I realized that he had been flying into the mirror -- bumping his nose (or whatever he has). Then, it occurs to me. The fly can't understand mirrors. He sees an escape from me and keeps trying to take it. He must have tried this 10 times before he gave up. (I think flies like to refer to it as "Beating your eyes against a mirror.")

Later I realize I forgot to stop at Walmart -- off I went. As I pulled ito the parking spot, a flock of sparrows descended around and were scavenging for food. One big old black bird took up residence in the tree in those little bitty islands they have. He was brushing back any attempt at other birds coming into his kingdom. I thought I would get a shot. I pluck my camera but before I got him in focus, this red bellied woodpecker (yeah, I know, "why do they call him read-bellied?" Hey I didn't name him. But there is a red blush on his belly -- usually too faint to see.) lands on the trunk of the tree and starts making his way up. Sorry the shot is not too clear, but I had it on manual focus and this guy was in a hurry to find lunch.

Imagine, birding in a Wal-mart parking lot.

Just a strange day. Real strange. Must be the weather.

Oh, the big black bird -- he didn't mess with the woodpecker. Guess it was a strange day for him, too.

--steve buser

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Spoonbill takes flight -- SkyWatch Friday

A Roseate Spoonbill takes flight for the wild blue to join his neighbor off in the background.

Today is SkyWatch Friday. Be sure to check that link and look through all the other creative and diverse Skywatch postings today (there are usually a little more than 300).

--steve buser

Pedestrian Friendly without the pedestrians.

The New Orleans sun has quit trying to peek under the live oaks on St. Peter St. along side Jackson Square.

The French Quarter street has been turned into a walkway along here, making the Quarter more pedestrian friendly.

This night, passing showers had shined up the stone walkway and left a breezy evening, perfect for browsing the shops along the walk. Unfortunately, the showers scared away the crowds for awhile, leaving this deserted looking view for the New Orleans Landmark.

--steve buser

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Waiting to serve

Even a passing shower at sunset can slow down tourism traffic and leave a carriage driver waiting for a fare on a pleasant fall night in front of Jackson Square in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Notice the JAX sign in the background -- the converted old brewery is mostly empty -- a few of signs lights are missing -- probably caused from Hurricane Gustav's nearby passage earlier this year.

--steve buser

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Have a laugh

One fun thing to do, down in Jackson Square in New Orleans, is to get a caricature made. Why not? Laugh at yourself and the whole world becomes joyful -- even on rain doused streets.

Wait, that's Elvis behind the guy. Who's that behind the girl?

--steve buser

Monday, December 1, 2008

Strike up the band. Draw near the crowd.

The rain has passed, it is time to strike up the band and draw in a crowd.

This scene was this past Black Friday in front of St. Louis Cathredal in the French Quarter of New Orleans. The Quarter was holding its own on competing with the malls, until a shower passed. However, as the evening dimmed, only rain-soaked stones were left as a reminder. The day crowd was giving way to the night time revelers.

A pair of street musicians were playing jazz tunes to passers-by.

Strike up the band.  Draw near the crowd.

--steve buser