Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Neil House Update

I've added this to the Neil House blog, but since plenty of "Neil House" Google searches pull up this blog, I thought I'd post it over here as well.  It's good news.

This was broadcast on WBBJ News Monday evening.  The house is indeed on its way to Jackson to reside at the Casey Jones Village where it will join several other structures that have been saved by the Shaw family.

Video Broadcast: Moving History

Text version: Moving History

To read the plan for the Neil House, please read the "In The News" article on the Casey Jones website:  "Neil House Announcement"

Old Country Store

If you're ever in the Jackson, TN area, please take time to stop by the Casey Jones Village for a visit and to say thanks to the Shaw family for saving the many endangered structures that now reside at the village.  While you're there, check out the great menu at the Old Country Store as well as the Casey Jones home, Railroad Museum, the fascinating things that can be found at the Shoppes, and don't forget to stop at the authentically recreated 1890s Ice Cream Parlor & Fudge Shoppe!

The Shoppes

Please check out their website at for information about what the Village has to offer.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so check out their photo album for a preview of the many things the village has to offer.  Personally, I'm adding it to my list of places to go this weekend!

 Casey Jones Railroad Museum

The source for all photos is

COMMENTARY: America Is Still A Rose

This Letter to the Editor was also written by my brother and appeared in the Cannon Courier this week.  A nice reminder of the things that are important as the holiday approaches.

COMMENTARY: America Is Still A Rose

I have a rose bush next to my carport and often the thorns snag me when I’m getting in and out of my car. The bush was there when we moved in and from the looks of the height it must have been there for many years. Too often I notice how many thorns are on that bush and don’t notice the big, puffy, gorgeous roses it produces on the end of its thorny branches.

As the 4th of July approaches, I think it would do us some good to reflect on just what occurred on this date and what that meant in the history of our great nation. At times we appear to be a nation where thorns have overtaken that old rose bush planted by our Founding Fathers so many years ago.

Many thorns of our past are still so vividly visible today. It is true that America held slaves and continued for many long years the segregation of our fellow citizens. It is true that America forced Native Americans off their land and recklessly killed them to gain our “manifest destiny.” It is true that America did not allow women to vote and often treated them as second class citizens. It is true that during WWII America interned and confiscated the property of Japanese Americans and carpet bombed our enemies. It is true that Americans torched villages in Vietnam and took away the human dignity by humiliating Iraqi prisoners at Abu Grab. It is true that many such instances have occurred over those long years since our birth as a nation.

Yes, America has committed many indiscretions and even atrocities in its 234 year history which should be amended where possible, and at the least learn from our mistakes and vow to never let those mistakes happen again.

It is also true that these thorns in our past often cloud the big, puffy, gorgeous roses that many others have found in this great nation. Freedom of religion and from tyrannical kings was the first rose that attracted many seekers. Another rose was seen in the Emancipation Proclamation and the subsequent blood spilled to correct this shameful wrong. The Statue of Liberty has been a symbol of the rose that has brought countless millions of “huddled masses yearning to be free” to “the land of the free” for 124 years.

Roses were also seen in WWI and WWII as we took part in the liberation of millions of oppressed and exploited people. Another rose is political freedom found for those who fled repressive totalitarian and communist regimes. If we continue to peel off thorns, we may even see a rose in Iraq where people, even once subjugated women, are voting in free elections and holding public office; and where schools and hospitals have been built.

Here at home roses are seen in our attempt to amend the wrongs of the past with ended slavery and segregation, giving women the right to vote and equal status, and acknowledging the wrongs on interment and abuses. Yes, thorns still and will probably always will show up as political corruption, extremists’ fanatics on both the left and right, and just plain old regrettable mistakes, but they have not nor do they need to ever destroy the roses in our historical past.

The world loves to point out our thorns and say “see, they aren’t as good as they think they are. They need to become more like us.” I’m not here to argue over who has bigger roses or who has fewer thorns. What I am suggesting is that we, as Americans, acknowledge our thorns, but never forget to look at the roses; learn from the past and commit ourselves to making more roses - our own way.

Let’s continue to stand by those immortal words of our Founders: “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

No other nation has a rose like that. Let’s not let the thorns overtake and choke our roses. May God continue to bless America on this 4th of July. And may we continue to bless others with our roses.

Perry F. Louden, Jr.
Woodbury, TN

My Little Brother...

...and my little sister too!  They have a deep caring, giving goodness that makes them so much better people than I will ever be.  I doubt that they know how proud I am of them.

This is an article from the Cannon Courier, a weekly paper serving Cannon County.

CAB Driving Force Behind Baby Shower For Young Mothers

CAB Driving Force Behind Baby Shower For Young Mothers

Perry Louden of the Cannon County Community Advisory Board helped organize the baby shower.
The Cannon County Community Advisory Board (CAB) sponsored a baby shower for teen and young adult mothers at Sunday at the Woodbury Lions Club.

At the shower mothers received needed baby equipment, supplies, clothes, and information from public assistance agencies such as the Department of Human Services, Department of Children Services and SAVE.

Those in attendance heard stories of the issues faced by young mothers and the obstacles they have to overcome, along with information about how to find services that can assist them.

There were experienced sponsor/mentor mothers on hand to answer questions and give practical advice and information.

During one of the presentations, participants heard the story of one teen mother, Kelly Cosgrove, who said via a letter and YouTube video, "I look as things as a mom now, not as a teen ... the most beautiful things in our life can sometimes come from our most awful mistakes."

Perry Louden, who serves as the facilitator for CAB, said the event was one of the efforts the organization does to "give back to the community."

Jessica Tucker, who works for DCS, spoke about the Tennessee Early Intervention Services programs and other assistance offered by the agency. "We want to help you find resources in the community that can help you with those things that you and your child need," she said.

Lisa Baird, who is the director of SAVE, Cannon County's agency to assist victims of domestic violence, said, "Hopefully you will never need our services, but we are here if you do." Baird said SAVE could also help with diapers, clothing and educational materials.

Shirl Louden, who works with DHS and is station at Middle Tennessee Medical Center, talked about Tennessee's Families First program, which can help with signing families up for health insurance, transportation, clothing, food stamps and other necessities.

Perry Louden said CAB is still in need a car seat and two cribs for three of the girls.

Louden added, "We would like to thank these organizations for helping us make this possible: Woodbury Lions Club, Jenny Grady of River Park Hospital, Cannon Community Church, Adventist Community Services, Women’s Ministry of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Bags of Love, SAVE, Millennium Hair Salon, Hot-Spot Tanning and Briar Rose."

Any agency, organization, church or individual that would like to help people in our community is welcome to be members of the Cannon Co. CAB. Meetings are the first Tuesday of each month. Contact Perry Louden, CAB Facilitator, at 796-7020 or


Friday, June 18, 2010

The Park at International Place Towers

Recently, I had the opportunity to work a contract located in the International Place Towers in Memphis which had the most delightful park in the space between the three towers.  The first time I saw it, everything was in bloom and it was spectacular!  Once the onset of spring had passed the overall look became more wild like something you might see in the woods with tall trees and an undergrowth of smaller trees and bushes.  Upon further investigation, you could see that all of the undergrowth was actually comprised of flowering bushes and trees or trees with colorful foliage and that none of it was accidental undergrowth that comes with neglect or self-population.  Whoever the architect was, he (or she) did a fabulous job.  Not only is it beautiful, interesting, constantly changing with alluring views, it's also human friendly with walkways between the buildings, seating areas, and the constant sound of peaceful waterfalls that beckon you into it's shady delights.

So, with that, I'll share some pictures!

This is the view from the back door of the building where I was working. 

Beyond the front entrance is one of the busiest streets in east Memphis but from the serenity of the park, you never even know notice there's a road out there.

Here's an overhead view of the area.  It's not really that big but it seems to go on forever.  To put things in perspective, all that concrete behind the building is the parking lot.  It's amazing that such a treasure could be packed into such a small area and be in the middle of the busy city.  Needless to say, I enjoyed my breaks.