On This Date in History: Do you remember the end of Animal House? They showed each of the characters and put a caption saying what happened to them. John Belushi and the woman he grabbed and threw into the car became Senator and Mrs. John Blutarsky. For Douglas C. Neidermeyer, it said he was killed in Vietnam by his own troops. That was just a movie but history does have a Neidermeyer.
Most people have heard of the French explorer La Salle. Most do not know that his full name was Rene-Robert Cavelier, sieur de La Salle. At age 23, La Salle landed in Canada in 1666. In 1682, he floated down the Mississippi River and claimed the Louisiana Territory for France. Rene-Robert returned to France and King Louis XIV was so happy with the news of the Louisiana Territory, he allowed La Salle to establish a trading colony at the mouth of the mighty river. But, there was a catch. If La Salle wanted his town, he had to do his part in the war between France and Spain by leading an attack on Spanish colonies in Mexico. La Salle accepted the conditions and set sail from France with 300 colonists and soldiers. But, instead of stopping at the mouth of the river, he continued on and ended up in Matagorda Bay, which is west of present day Galveston. I’ve been to Matagorda Bay…there are alligators all over the place and its swampy with lots of mosquitos. In those days, the mosquitos carried diseases. Today, there is a nuclear power plant in the area and the alligators now populate the river (the name escapes me) which makes water skiing extra adventerous.
Anyway, La Salle had developed a reputation for being able to win over Indians that he came upon. But, he also developed a reputation for creating a rift with his men. He was considered to be rigid, haughty, aristocratic and erratic. In short, anyone under his command generally hated him and his dumping the colonists and soldiers at Matagorda Bay didn’t make him too popular. Even to this day, it is a point of contention as to why La Salle went to Texas. Maybe he was lost. Perhaps it was so that he could carry out his orders to attack the Spanish in Mexico because he spent about 20 months making a couple of expeditions. One was to go after Spanish silver mines in Mexico. The second was an excursion east to find the Mississippi River. Meanwhile, the settlers were floundering at Matagorda Bay, dying from disease. There was trouble afoot.
So, in early January 1687, La Salle decided to go back to Canada to get help. He rounded up 16 men to go with him and he must have thought that his folks were unhappy because he took his nephew Moranget, his priest brother and second priest, a surgeon, a loyal Indian, a trusted aide and his footman. About two months into the trip, the party came to a place where La Salle had previously stashed some wheat and beans. He detached a group of several men to retrieve the foodstuffs, but, naturally, the stash was spoiled. Good thing he brought the Indian along because he was able to kill a couple of Bison. The proceeded to dress the animals and sent a guy back to get a couple of horses. La Salle sent them in the care of his nephew. Nephew Moranget found that the men had set aside the marrow bones for themselves. That was the usual practice but Moranget got all bent out of shape and took the meat and the bones and left the men with nothing.
Good move. The angry men plotted against La Salles closest allies who were with them and killed the nephew, the Indian and La Salles footman, who had accompanied the group. La Salle wondered what happened to everyone so he set out to find them himself. He spied a couple of eagle circling overhead and figured they were close, so he fired a shot. That alerted the scalawags to his position. While one approached him, another shot La Salle to death. The surgeon was no help because, as it turns out, he was one of the murderers. He joined the other conspirators in stripping and kicking La Salles lifeless body as they “vented their Malice in vile and opprobrious Language.” When they were tired of abusing the body, they dragged it into the bushes to feed the beasts of the wild.
What goes around comes around. Two months after one of the killers took command of the remaining party, both he and the surgeon were killed by those who were left. By the time the expedition reached Canada, only 7 were left. Meanwhile, the rest had been flailing on the Texas coast. A few years later, the Spanish came along and found the few that remained on Matagorda Bay and rescued them.
It sounds like to me that this is another case in which history has elevated a man to a level that his character could never support….and certainly not his own men!
Weather Bottom Line: Weather is on track. There will be a few post frontal showers early Thursday. Temperatures will back off to seasonal levels for the last couple of days of the week with highs in the 50’s and lows to near freezing. Clouds with upper 50’s and low 60’s for the weekend. Slight chance of a light shower or two late Saturday. We start out the week warming up and there will be a series of impulses coming through the flow from the southwest that will help elevate the severe risk in the plains. By midweek, it is not out of the question that the risk area will migrate our way as we move back into the 70’s. It’s a long way out, but its not out of the question that the middle of next week might be interesting.
ZCZC SPCSWOD48 ALL
ACUS48 KWNS 180859
SPC AC 180859
DAY 4-8 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
0359 AM CDT WED MAR 18 2009
VALID 211200Z – 261200Z
MODEL DIFFERENCES CONTINUE THIS PERIOD…PARTICULARLY BEYOND DAY 6
/MON. 3-23/…WITH THE GFS REMAINING MORE PROGRESSIVE WITH THE
EJECTION OF THE WRN U.S. TROUGH.
THE GFS EJECTS THE UPPER TROUGH INTO THE PLAINS DAY 6…AND THEN
INTO THE N CENTRAL CONUS DAY 7. WHILE THE ECMWF ALSO EJECTS A PIECE
OF THE TROUGH INTO THE PLAINS DAY 6…THE LARGER-SCALE TROUGH LAGS
WWD…AS A SECOND/SMALLER-SCALE TROUGH DIGS SEWD ACROSS THE DESERT
SW AS THE INITIAL FEATURE SHIFTS INTO THE PLAINS. THUS — DUE TO
THESE MODEL DIFFERENCES…CONFIDENCE IN EVOLUTION OF THE SEVERE
THREAT DIMINISHES AFTER DAY 6.
FOR DAY 6 HOWEVER…IT APPEARS THAT A LOW/COLD FRONT WILL CROSS THE
PLAINS AHEAD OF A SUBSTANTIAL/EJECTING UPPER FEATURE. WITH SEVERAL
PRIOR DAYS OF SLY LOW-LEVEL FLOW OFF AN OPEN GULF…THERMODYNAMIC
ENVIRONMENT SHOULD BE SUFFICIENT — GIVEN ANTICIPATED STRENGTH OF
FLOW ALOFT — TO SUPPORT THE POTENTIAL FOR A WIDESPREAD SEVERE
WEATHER EPISODE. THUS…WILL INTRODUCE A THREAT AREA DAY 6.