I don’t know anything about guns. I don’t particularly like guns. Guns make me nervous, and I generally stay as far away from them as possible. (Make love not war. Yes? Hello? Anyone?) But this was a special occasion. I was with my gun-toting relatives in Louisiana, and I’ll admit that I was curious to fire a few shots (at non-living targets).

Do you remember Armand from my previous entry? He cut open a 12-gauge shotgun shell to show me what was on the inside. Check it out:

One shell contains all those little pellets. You pull the trigger and — BOOM!!! — they all fly out at once. See those two orange things sitting on the table below the shells? Those are earplugs. Armand told me that I was gonna need them. Here he is showing me how to load shells into the gun:


FYI, the woman wearing the red shirt is Armand’s mother Yvonne. She married my half-brother Henry in 2008.

I took aim at a white rectangular target (a piece of Styrofoam, I think) more than 100 feet away:


Armand had warned me about the powerful jolt (aka “kick back”) that the gun would produce, but I was still stunned by the force. Look at my reaction after pulling the trigger:


I should probably be embarrassed, but whatever. I was the person laughing the loudest when we all saw these pics. Here’s one more:


Hell, I was even laughing at the time. Look at my reaction when Yvonne came to get the gun.


Armand showed me how to use an even more powerful “goose gun” after that. Let me skip all the aiming/shooting pics and redeem myself with this epic image instead:


Oh yeah.

(If only I’d actually hit the target. Maybe next time.)

Meanwhile, on the porch:


Back inside, there was a beautiful king cake waiting to be consumed:


See the teeny plastic baby in the crevice near the yellow sprinkles? That’s part of the fun of eating a king cake. Someone “hides” the baby inside the cake (by wedging it in from the bottom), and then whoever ends up getting it in their piece has to throw the next party, or at least provide the next cake. My mom ended up getting the baby, so I guess everyone has to come visit us in New York City.

While eating the cake, this was the view behind me:


Speaking of New York City, it felt like I was a million miles away. I’m telling you, it’s like I was on another planet. I mean, who has a horse roaming around in their backyard? Who even has a backyard?

We all headed out in the late afternoon…


…and wouldn’t you know it? The whole town was gearing up for another Mardi Gras parade:


But first, we all had dinner. Check out the following pic, and I’ll tell you down below who everyone is:


1) my mother Naomi

2) my half-sister (from my dad‘s first marriage) Martha

3) my half-brother Henry

4) Henry’s wife Yvonne

5) Yvonne’s mother Miss Julie

6) Yvonne’s father John (who was the mayor of Sunset, Louisiana for 42 years)

7) Yvonne’s sister Denise

8) Yvonne’s 13-year-old son Armand

Look at my lovely food:


(You knew it was coming.) I had a fried catfish sandwich with an order of cheddar grits, and it was outstanding.

It was time for the parade.

There were bands…


…and floats…


…and we all got an absurd amount of beads:


No one, however, got more beads than the “official Mardi Gras tree.” Take a close look at it by clicking the photo below:


After the parade, Henry took us to a place called La Poussiere, which sounds like it could have been somewhat debaucherous, but no, it was an “Authentic Cajon Dancehall.” See?


It was tough to take photos inside because it wasn’t well lit, but here you go anyway. First, here’s the bar:


Here’s the space itself:


As you can kind of see, there were picnic-like tables surrounding the dance floor.

Here’s a a shot (actually a screen shot from a video) of people dancing:


It was so damn sweet. Most of the couples were twice my age and looked like they’d been married forever. And once again, I felt like I was in another world. There was a popular Cajun/Creole band called the Pine Leaf Boys playing live music, and people were dancing up a storm. The whole scene was so far beyond my reality that I almost didn’t know what to do with myself except love it and soak it in.

I was wearing my beads the whole time, and they were really heavy. They were giving me a stiff neck, and my back was also starting to ache, and if you think I’m exaggerating and being wimpy, all I can say is look at the next photo. It shows the markings on my neck after I took off all the beads:



And that’s it, at least for Day 2. I’m already back home and working on my final (Day 3) entry from the trip. More soon…


  1. mhbaseball@mh.com

    Cool about getting to fire those guns. WOW! That’s a lot of beads. What are you going to do with ALL of those? Maybe you could use them to bribe players into giving you a baseball. :)

  2. zackhample

    I have no idea what to do with all the beads. Maybe I’ll wear them on the subway on the day of Mardi Gras (March 8th) and give them away to all the ladies.


    Leaning too far back? Well DAMN, now you tell me. Seriously, I could’ve used some more guidance at the time.

  3. zackhample

    Whoa! Awesome! And yes, I got the DVDs. Thanks so much. Gonna check ’em out later today after I finish up some work…

  4. Larry W

    I found your blog while looking for eexamples of shotgun shells. I am a adul volunteer in boy scouts and cub scouts. I noticed Yvonne was wearing a cub scout belt with “sports and academics” belt loops on it. Just kinda funny and strange. I hope your first experience with guns was an enjoyable one! Take care.

  5. Zack Hample

    Well, hey. That’s pretty random. Thanks for getting in touch. It was a very enjoyable experience, including the fact that I was humbled by my total inability to aim.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s