January, 2012. On Life in a Trailer Park in Louisiana

Posted on January 24, 2012


Where do they come from and why are they here?

The license plates answer part of that question.

The truck with the generator/welder in the bed is from Oklahoma.  The guy that leaves every morning carrying his laptop – he’s from Utah.  Missouri is parked next to Oklahoma.  South Dakota, Mississippi, Texas, Florida and of course Louisiana – lots of Louisiana.

With the exception of the in-and-outers and the occasional short-timer, they’re all workers who’ve come here for the many jobs offered by petroleum and maritime industries in southern Louisiana.

They live in big trailers, small trailers, 5th wheels.  They live in a toy box with the toy part obviously converted into bedrooms – there’s at least three kids living there with their mom.   Mom shows through the kitchen window during the 5 p.m. dog walk, doing what mom’s do everywhere after work – cooking, cleaning up.

They even live in Class A’s – motor homes that may not even have a motor anymore – they certainly haven’t touched asphalt in a long, long time.

Some have license plates on the back, many don’t.  They’ve been hauled in here, and here they’ll stay.

Some are neat – there’s a young lady outside her park model this evening raking “her” yard, which she’s decorated with an interesting collection of planters and yard art. She always says “hi” when Daisy and I walk by.

Many units, however, feature dining table chairs sitting outside, grills and mops and extension cords, toys and dead plants.

Many haven’t been washed in years; many have shredded awnings and the tell-tale streak of black soot above the water heater panel that speaks to little maintenance.

It’s not a bad place to be – during the week it’s a quiet place.  By 8 a.m. it’s a ghost park, except for a few young women with babies in strollers wandering down the road leading to the laundry.

Quiet except for the dogs.

At 7 a.m. the place is alive with dogs, all determined to do their duty before being left behind inside for the day.

Except for the three that get left tied outside. Their duty, I guess, is to raise a ruckus whenever anyone opens a trailer door. Not that the shut-ins are quiet, either.

During the weekend the place erupts with human activity.  Cars pull in with mother and the kids to visit dad. People gather outside to talk and drink a couple beers and toss a ball around.  Multi-hued children – toddlers, teenage, grade school – sit around, walk around, and play. They play peacefully, and for the most part, quietly.

And by the Sunday 5 p.m. dog walk, the visitors are all gone.

By 9 p.m. all is quiet.  Monday morning  – and work or school – comes all too soon here, just like everywhere else.