“That country where it is always turning late in the year. That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and midnights stay. That country composed in the main of cellars, sub-cellars, coal-bins, closets, attics, and pantries faced away from the sun. That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts. Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain.” —Ray Bradbury, The October Country

As a child of October, it is my favorite time of year. I was born in October, in the wake of Hurricane Hilda.

More than that, though, is that October is usually the precipice of autumn. Spring is rebirth and renewal; autumn is the earth nodding off, dozing in fitful slumber. It is the foyer to winter, and the time of ghosts. Continue reading October

Mr. Bogart

I look at the dog I still call “puppy.” He’s grown white in his dignified face, though he was always very light-colored, a yellow Labrador retriever who received the name Bogie in honor of my favorite actor.

He’ll be nine in December, sometime between Christmas and New Year’s Day. It doesn’t seem possible. It seems only yesterday that we brought him home, a soft, pudgy pup then about the size his grown-up head is now. I can see him in my mind’s eye: Nibbling at Suze’s shoe laces, attacking the old throw pillows we gave him to sleep on, chasing leaves in the back yard. We accentuated his nickname to “Bogie-Butt” early on, since he had this uncanny knack for turning his behind to a camera the very instant the shutter snapped. I have more photos of Bogie’s butt than I do his face. Continue reading Mr. Bogart

The Soundtrack of Our Lives

Okay, so while celebrating my upcoming 36th anniversary in the news business and peppering said celebration with meaningful musical quotes, I attributed “What a long, strange trip it’s been” to the Beatles.

Of course, it was the Grateful Dead. Thank you, Eric Duplantis, for the keen eye!

Nevertheless, by next week it’ll be time for a celebration, which will consist of a loud “Whoopee!” and a toast of Blanton’s to whoever happens to be in the vicinity, followed by a binge of “Longmire” episodes. Continue reading The Soundtrack of Our Lives


It was October and just shy of my 16th birthday that I first stepped into these offices.

That’s coming up on 36 years ago.

I was a student at Franklin High School, and my then-Civics teacher Bob Wheeler found out I could string a coherent sentence together now and then. He put me in touch with then-publisher John Landry and made me an appointment. John hired me to write feature stories on Chitimacha.

To this day, I still kid Bob that he ruined my life!

But the truth is, it’s been a great ride. This job has more than its share—sometimes way more—of aggravations and frustrations, and there’s times when I wonder why I stay in this crummy business. But I have worked here, and at The Daily Review in Morgan City, the Slidell Daily Times, was a stringer for The Daily Iberian, news director at KFMV-KFRA and managing editor of the short-lived St. Mary Independent.

What a long, strange trip it’s been, as the Beatles said.

Sometimes, it’s just John Lennon’s way of putting it: Nobody told me there’d be days like these. I often like to paraphrase Three Dog Night, too: Mama told me I was dumb!

. . . → Read More: Anniversary

This Ruinous Obsession

I feel like a junkie who’s been deprived his junk.

During 2015, I fished exactly twice: One in the hills of Louisiana and once in North Carolina. For a guy who escapes to wild places as often as he possibly can, that’s pathetic. Continue reading This Ruinous Obsession

“Finding Lazarus” The first book of Askuwhetea: Days of the Watcher series

Finding LazarusLazarus Smith is the only name he ever knew, but it is not truly his. Whatever he was called before, whoever gave him the gift of a name, exists only in dreams of fire. For seventeen years he watched a world he could not comprehend or touch from high windows and behind the iron gates of an orphanage. Then he was set free, and he took to the road, with only vague recollections of people who loved him, and a name scribbled on paper: Lawson Mountain. Somewhere within the mountains west of Charlotte he believes there are people like him. People who know his true name, and perhaps what happened to his family. Though he runs afoul of sinister forces along the road, his quest also brings him true friendships and perhaps first love. A beloved, larger-than-life Native American from ‘The Lawson’s Peak Stories’, the boy who will become Lazarus Askuwhetea embarks upon his own life story in this new series by Roger Emile Stouff.

Elections, Rain and Addiction

Well, that was an interesting election. It’s been a long time. Despite the fact that nearly 62 percent of St. Mary Parish voters didn’t even bother, it was still interesting.

Congratulations to the winners, and commendations to those who didn’t place; offering yourself for public service is always commendable, and you’re to be applauded.

Continue reading Elections, Rain and Addiction

Green Stuff

One of the most pleasing occurrences over the last year was that I planted a garden last spring for the first time in nearly two decades.

Now, I’m not a row-gardener. In fact, I almost didn’t become a gardener at all because in about 1993, I got the urge to plant some veggies. I spoke with the wisest old timer I knew, my father, seeking to gather some of that old-time mojo on the subject.

Continue reading Green Stuff

Well, Hello There!

Well, hello there. Long time no see.

I take all the blame, so don’t chew me out too badly. It’s one of those things we go through in life, I guess. Changes, eventides. It happens. Sometimes we’re surprised by it, sometimes now.

Anyway, just wanted to drop in and say “Hey.” So, “Hey!” Hope everyone’s doing fine. Things are good with me, can’t complain; nobody’d listen anyway. Trust me. I’ve been complaining for decades, and so far, nobody’s listened. That’s fair enough. I seldom listen when anyone complains either.

Continue reading Well, Hello There!

“Those Who Carry Fire” The Second Lawson’s Peak Mystery

cover2Deep in the back country of the southern Appalachians, a small settlement of Native Americans has existed in self-imposed isolation for three centuries with little contact with the outside world. But when someone, or some thing, burns Madeline Day Star’s cabin, and her with it, Sheriff Gordon Bredenbury searches for a murderous arsonist while desperately trying to keep the secret of that hidden village he’s kept safe for more than fifty years. When the home of Carolina Proud Horse is also burned a few days later, Gordon reaches a horrid realization: there is an Indian killer in Yona County, and it appears to be the resurrection of an ancient indigenous spirit. Gordon pursues a killer, flesh or spirit, and soon learns there are also other fires: the fires carried in the hearts of those he holds dear.