Photo Album

When I began writing The Narrow Journey I had a vague picture in my mind of how the people and the places in the story looked. But as Lucie began to tell me of her life's adventure, those images became clearer and clearer. I hope by viewing these photos, you might see things through Lucie's eyes.

I would like to thank Louisiana photographer Terry Broussard, owner of Terry D. Broussard Photography, who generously allowed me to use his beautiful photo of La Maison Saint-Jean so that you might see the kind of home Lucie would have grown up in, down in the swamps of Louisiana. I'd also like to thank the wonderful people of Colorado---especially Maureen and Gretchen Scanlon of Leadville, Colorado, who so graciously opened their home, the Leadville Country Inn, to my husband Jim and me.

Please keep in mind Lucie Trosclair Gaspard O'Neill was NOT a real person. These photos are NOT the actual places where she lived; they are merely representative of those images. That's why they call this fiction.

Lucie's House

La Maison Saint-Jean (The St. John House)

This structure is typical of what is commonly referred to as a "Cajun" style house. This particular house, La Maison Saint-Jean, dates back to circa 1840. It is located on St. John Street in Lafayette, Louisiana. Lucie would have felt quite at home here.

Amelie Plantation

Kensington Plantation, Eastover, South Carolina

Amelie was a place that took a long time for me to visualize. I knew it wouldn't have been the sterotypical Greek revival plantation with wide verandas and fat white columns. Philppe Gaspard would have wanted something newer, more modern looking. It wasn't until I saw Kensington Plantation that I knew I had found Amelie. Kensington was built shortly before the Civil War. Its owner wanted a house that reminded him of the chateaus he had visited in France. But what really sold me on Kensington was the entrance way. The central hallway is huge, and looking up, visitors can see straight up to the domed ceiling of the second floor. When I looked up I could see Lucie and Alyce sitting on the edge of that balcony, their skinny legs poking out between the bars of the wrought iron railing, watching the guests waltzing across the floor below.

Charles Gaspard's House in the Vieux Carre

The French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana

While this particular house is not on Rue St. Ann, it looks like the sort of place Charles would have lived while in New Orleans gambling away all of Philippe's dirty money---without the SUV parked outside, of course.

Philippe Gaspard's House in New Orleans

The Garden District, New Orleans, Louisiana

Like Lucie's mother always said, Philippe Gaspard was trash, a rich man who had made his fortune cheating and stealing from ordinary people. While Philippe was of Cajun French heritage, he would have wanted his New Orleans home among the rich "Americans."

The Road to Leadville, Colorado

A View of the Rockies from the LC & S Railroad

It's likely that Charles and Lucie and O'Neill would have viewed scenes just like this as they climbed the 11, 000 plus feet along the southern side of the Arkansas River Valley to the summit of Fremont Pass. The train tracks of the LC & S Railroad still wind through beautiful forests of aspen and fields of wildflowers. And of course, there's still the opportunity for a chance encounter with deer, elk, coyotes, marmots, rabbits, ground squirrels, pikas, and chipmunks. Old abadoned mine dumps and prospectors' holes left from the mining boom can still be seen, reminders of Leadville's rich mining heritage.

Leadville, Colorado

Downtown Leadville Today

Leadville, Colorado, is situated on the western slope of the Mosquito Range of the Rocky Mountains just below the headwaters of the Arkansas River. At an elevation of 10, 430 feet, it's the highest incorporated city in North America. West of town the snow-capped peaks of the Continental Divide can be seen, including Mt. Elbert, Colorado's tallest mountain (14, 433 feet).

Downtown Leadville, Colorado, looks remarkably a lot like it did a little over a 100 years ago during the gold and silver boom days of the late 1800s. Many of the old saloons, storefronts, hotels, and bank buildings still line the streets. At the height of the silver boom the population of Leadville was estimated at over 30,000. Today its residents number around 2,000.


Leadville, Colorado

At the peak of the gold and silver boom, Leadville was not that different from Las Vegas of today---there was something going on twenty-four hours a day. The streets were always full of people (mostly men). It was said that in Leadville it was just as easy to buy a pan for gold or a pack mule at 3 o'clock in the morning as it was at noon.

Saloons, gambling houses, dance halls, theaters, and houses of ill repute sprang up over night. By 1880 over 100 saloons were listed in the City Directory of Leadville. These businesses supported anything from snake charmers to brass bands. Charles Gaspard would have felt like one of the gang at either of the saloons shown in these photos.

Mrs. Van Ascher's Boarding House

The Leadville Country Inn

One of the things I worried about most when visiting Leadville was whether or not I'd be able to find a place I thought looked like the boarding house Lucie would have lived in while she was there with Charles. Little did I know that the very place I stayed would have been exactly the right spot for Lucie. The first morning Jim and I were there, I stood looking out the window of our room at the Rockies and realized this could have been the very window Lucie looked at when she finally made up her mind about what to do with her life and with Charles.

The Leadville Country Inn is a beautiful bed and breakfast located at 127 East Eighth Street just off Harrison Avenue (the main street of Leadville). It's run by two wonderful innkeepers---Maureen and Gretchen Scanlon. Not only do they have a beautiful home they've opened to the public as a bed and breakfast, but the delicious breakfasts they serve are guaranteed to make your day hiking in the thin mountain air a lot more pleasurable!

Charles's Hotel in Leadville

The Tabor Grand Hotel

In The Narrow Journey, Charles lived at the Clarendon Hotel while he was in Leadville. The Clarendon was one of Leadville's better hotels, but like many things in Leadville, there was scandal attached to the Clarendon. At the request of Horace Tabor---a silver millionaire and one of the richest men in the country---an elevated walkway was constructed from the 3rd floor of the Tabor Opera House to the upper floor of the Clarendon Hotel so that without his wife's knowledge, Horace could visit with Elizabeth "Baby Doe" who lived there. Just the sort of arrangement that would have made Charles grin his big "possumy" grin.

Unfortunately the Clarendon is no longer there. It was torn down years ago in the name of progress. So instead I've added a picture of Horace's hotel, the Tabor Grand, a four-story brick hotel with arched upper-story windows and a mansard roof. The Tabor was completed in 1885 and boasted of the lastest technology including electric lights, telephones, the only hydraulic elevator in the city, and steam heat. And you KNOW how much Charles loved hot baths!

The Continental Divide

Independence Pass---Top of the North American Continental Divide

Independence Pass has to be one of the most breathtakingly beautiful and at the same time breath-stopping frightening places in the world. It is an ascent of some 12,095 feet---nearly two miles. The road is winding and narrow. Often there's little or no shoulder to the road---and this is with the added advantages of paving and road crews to maintain its safety! When we crossed the Divide I couldn't help but wonder how difficult it must have been to make this same trip a hundred years ago with nothing but a crude, poorly drawn map and a few pack horses to get us over. Like Enos Parker told Lucie, no one in their right mind would try and cross those mountains so late in the year---not unless it was the devil himself after them.

Remains of the Yelverton Cabin---Charles's Last Stop

Independence Pass

Once I knew where Charles and Lucie had crossed the Divide, and I had a better idea of just how difficult it would have been, there was nothing to do but find the remains of where they finally stopped. When we stumbled across what was left of this cabin, I knew I had found the Yelverton place. It wasn't hard to imagine the snow piled up in high drifts around the broken-down walls and the struggle it would be for two people to try to keep from freezing to death inside those walls.

O'Neill's Cabin

Independence, Colorado

The place I probably looked for the hardest and the longest was the place I thought O'Neill's cabin might have been. It had to be a special place, a place completely isolated from the world yet beautiful enough to make the people living there not really care, a place that would allow a person time to fall in love. I found it in a small valley that was once known as the tiny community of Independence, Colorado.

As soon as I saw it, I knew it was where Lucie began to see the end of her narrow journey. There's not much that remains of Independence today---a few old cabins and mining shacks, but what it lacks in structural beauty, it more than makes up for in scenic beauty. There are meadows with streams that tumble through from the mountain sides. And the mountains in that one spot are so perfect they look as if someone painted them against the sky. It's the kind of place that makes you want to stay forever.

Aspens can be found throughout this area. All along the way forests of aspen trees dot the landscape, changing the colors of the mountainside in spring from dark green to light green, from stillness to a kind of shimmering motion that tricks the eye into believing that the mountains glitter with emeralds. It was just such a place that O'Neill took Lucie on a picnic for her 20th birthday.

But when it comes right down to it, it's the mountains that steal your heart.

Tabor Opera House

Leadville, Colorado

Going to a play at the Tabor Opera House in Leadville was one of the highlights of Lucie's honeymoon. The opera house was built to bring culture to the uncultured, so Lucie would have felt right at home. Original backdrops and scenery still exist at the opera house and are in surprisingly good shape. From the time it opened for its first performance, many famous performers graced the Tabor's stage: Oscar Wilde, Sarah Bernhardt, Lillian Russell, John Philip Sousa, Buffalo Bill Cody, Harry Houdini, and Eddie Foy, just to name a few.

The Way Home

Western Slope of the Rockies

This is the place where the sun sets over the mountains and everyone walks off happily ever after. Well, maybe not quite happily ever after but some of us are still willing to give it a try.

Lucie hunted a long time for that elusive sunset. She was one of the lucky ones though, she actually found it. I hope you have a good time helping in her search.

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