Just Talkin’

81
Last week JT had to go to Mansfield. He took the usual route, an easy drive up I-49 to where the DeSoto Parish sheriff deputies trap all the speeders, turned off the interstate and headed West on US Hwy 84.
The 10-mile trip across on US 84 was not too bad. Several log trucks, a couple of oil field related vehicles…no one ran him down. The speed was any where from 40-65 mph….which averages  out a little more than the 55 mph speed limit.
Looking around Mansfield, JT saw that the Hainesville shale gas activity has sure spruced the town up from what it used to be. He was going to the courthouse square, once the center of town. Now, with all the new routes, he drove right past the turn to get there. Everything seems to be more spread out.
His business finished, rather than return to Natchitoches the way he came. JT decided to come back through Many. So, he stumbled around Mansfield, and finally found the US 171 route south to Many.
Boy was he surprised.  He had heard US 171 was four-laned from Lake Charles to Shreveport, but had not had a chance to travel it.
That 40-mile stretch to Many is a great road, new pavement, no bumps… 65-70 mph all the way there. JT probably saw about 30-50 cars going his way. About the same going the other way.
He got to Many and turned onto La Hwy 6 and it all changed!
As everyone knows, the winding, two-lane road was bumper-to-bumper.
There was no reason to take the chance to pass a line of cars because if you did there was no place to go. You would just be the last in line behind some big truck a short distance down the road.
It seemed to JT that a hundreds of cars were traveling in both directions.
Something needs to be done. What?
Many years ago …. before I-49 was built … Natchitoches Industries tried to get Natchitoches into the federal highway system. US Hwy 84 stopped in Clearance and turned North, leaving the city with just state roads. The effort failed, but did result in in the creation of the “El Camino Real” system.
This effort to get La. Hay 6 from Clearance through Natchitoches, Many and on West should be resurrected. Think what it would mean to the area economy.
Maybe the effort would cause less of a political row north of us, if La Hwy 6 was just named an Alternate US 84 route, rather than US Hwy 84. It would still be in the federal system and maybe… some how… the road could be four-lane route!
The traffic demand between Natchitoches and Many,,,  and on into Toledo Town for that  matter…  is so great and still growing that if the two cities work together something get be done.
It is a wonder there are not more wrecks  on the present highway!
JT hears that four legendary entertainers and one “legend in their own mind” will be appearing in Natchitoches next Thursday night, Dec. 21.
The Natchitoches Jazz R&B Festival is hosting  “A Rockin Louisiana Christmas” at the Events Center with a 7 p.m. start time.
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer James Burton, Grammy winners Wayne Toups and Jo-El Sonnier and Estelle Brown of the Sweet Inspirations and the Elvis TCB Band will all be on stage for the event.
All these entertainers have gained international praise and respect. To have them all on stage at one time is truly a once in a lifetime experience. Fortunately for us, it’s a repeat performance since they all were here last year thanks to the efforts of Rodney Harrington
No Natchitoches based musical event would be really complete without the appearance of Johnny Earthquake and the Moondogs, who will be hosts for the event.
It’s one of those events you don’t want to miss.