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Excerpt from "A Good Place" the new novel by Curt

an early postcard showing Lake Charles.  I'm intrigued by the background. It looks like clouds. I know there are no mountains.
An early postcard showing Lake Charles. I'm intrigued by the background. It looks like clouds. I know there are no mountains.

Arriving at Lake Charles on a raft of logs.

In this excerpt from A Good Place, 12 year-old Mayo Moore, who has never been more than ten miles from home,  travels down the Calcasieu River on a raft of logs with his father and other local men.  On reaching the small town of Charleston (the 1862 name of present day Lake Charles) he is amazed at the sight of a huge raft of logs covering the end of the lake.

I’ll always associate my first visit to Lake Charles with the strong aroma of pine sap. We smelled it long before we saw the lake. When we came to the lake, I was astounded.

I’d never seen a large body of water and was equally astounded by the rafts of logs covering the west end of the lake. Dan shouted, “I believe you could walk to China on those logs!” From the nearby mill came the steady droning of loud saws. I’d never heard this much noise in my life. It kind of reminded me of the sound of the hurricane—a steady whining noise of destruction.

We tied our rafts along the lake, then Pistol and Dan walked to the sawmill. Daddy and I explored along the lake, amazed at the mass of logs.

The photo below shows Calcasieu River rafters circa 19th century. Photo courtesy of Harry Truman Methvin.

“The goal of every piney woods boy was to be part of the adventure of going on a log float to Lake Charles and then walking home with the men and their supplies.”

Log rafters on the Calcasieu

About Curt Iles

I write to have influence and impact through well-told stories of my Louisiana and African sojourn.

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