Yes, that’s right, China. Louisiana. I have no idea how I first came to know of its existence last summer, but the last time I tried to go to China, I ended up in (the) Vatican. This time, I was determined to make it. Like many of these little hamlets I frequent, China can be hard to find on the map, and even after going there twice – yes, twice – I only recently discovered what it is/was. But that was after the fact. After two – yes, two – trips to China. Louisiana. The only way to find it on Google Maps is to type in China, Jefferson Davis Parish, Louisiana, and it gives a location on Tupper Road. Prior to my journey, I had seen some photographs taken from China, and they were mostly marshy images. Come to think of it, maybe stumbling across those photographs is how I came to learn of China.
I was initially surprised when I dutifully reached Tupper Road and found it was a dirt road. None of the roads in China were paved and it all felt very primitive (sans the big houses I passed but I didn’t photograph ...). Of course, it’s not primitive, it’s industrious - I was just enjoying imagining my own ancient dynasty - Truth be told, the agricultural industry abounds..
If you think the crawfish you are eating is from China, well, it probably is – China, Louisana, or parts near by at least. LOTS of rice fields and crawfish ponds in this part of the world…not unlike…..well, China.
Still, what intrigued me the most, and as usual, was the landscape..
China Ponds, Fields, & Wildlife
The main objective of the World Tour, as I’ve written before, is to make it to the town and if possible, photograph anything with the town name on it. I was so skeptical as to the existence of China, that I was unsure of what I would find, much less a sign. So there I was among the fields, ponds, and wildlife of China, Louisiana, not seeing a sign with the town name, but feeling as if I was on the right path..
Path to the Pond
And then I saw this sign:
Yield to the Tour
At first, I thought it was funny. It looked as if nature was complying with what the sign said. Then I thought the same sentiment, but from a philosophical perspective. Hasn’t “yielding” been what this World Tour is all about? Relinquishing any power over the tour and letting it happen naturally. My only requirement is making it to the towns. Okay, I also have to plan it, fund it, and produce it, but as to the creative content, I gave way to the Tour itself. I thought about searching for a tree to sit under and wait for enlightenment, but I decided to just photograph them instead.
I left China the same way I came in, and delighted in finding the Yangtze River! Okay, so it was a creek, but still, it was purty..
Creek in China
I had a GREAT time in China, I left feeling quite content and satisfied with what I experienced. I suppose it was only natural that I started thinking about…Hoda Kotb, the TV news personality, natch. I feel I should explain. In her autobiography, Hoda, she has a great story of being asked “What Is You?” A common thread through most of her life, as people question her name, her nationality. Well, as I drove back to New Orleans, I couldn’t help but think “What Is You?” in regards to China. What was that place that intrigued me so much that I wanted to sit under a tree and wait for enlightenment? Was it really just a series of fields and dirt roads, with traffic signs and nice houses? Was it ever a town? Why is it “sorta” on a map? When I got to Baton Rouge, I pulled up a map just to once again confirm its existence. I discovered that about two blocks from where I was photographing dirt roads & trees was….China Cemetary Road. Surely. There. Was. A. Sign. I yielded to the World Tour –and drove back.
China Cemetary Road
Now surely if there is a “China Cemetery Road”, there must be a China Cemetary…and there was.
And it happened to be Memorial Day.
This large mausoleum stands out, and I couldn’t help but notice the name on it was “Tupper”, the name of the road that brought me in to China.
I’ve since looked up a little of the history and found that China is an unincorporated area of Jefferson Davis Parish.
It once had a post office & a general store - the W.H. Tupper General Merchandise Store - but it closed in 1949 and now the contents can be seen in Jennings, Louisiana at the W.H. Tupper General Merchandise Museum. I didn't make it there, having discovered it after the second trip, but who knows - maybe another road trip to SW La is in my future. Third times' the charm worked for me in Venice...
Off to more foreign lands!
(c) Natasha Sanchez 2012
China Info came from this site: