Where does the name Waxahatchee come from?

Katie Crutchfield strums a guitar beside Waxahatchee Creek in this still from the music video of “Coast to Coast.”
Waxahatchee is a Brooklyn-based music project headed by Katie Crutchfield.

The music press tell us that Waxahatchee is the name of a creek in Alabama. In January 2011 Crutchfield “was living at her parents’ house on Waxahatchee Creek, nursing the bruises of a few bad relationships and wondering what to do with her adulthood.” A severe snowstorm, unusual for Alabama, confined her to the house, and she started writing music: “song after song about loneliness, ambivalence and relationships failing to last or fulfill.” 1

Now there are two albums, American Weekend and Cerulean Salt. She’s playing tonight at Bottletree Café here in Birmingham. So this seems like a perfect time for me to geek out about exactly where the name Waxahatchee comes from, and what it meant.

The name contains a mystery.

Indian names

If you’re one of those people who’s satisfied to hear that Waxahatchee is “an Indian word,” you can stop reading. Go sit under your nylon-stringed dream catcher. If you care to know which Indians, what language they spoke, and so on, then read on. Continue reading “Where does the name Waxahatchee come from?”

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The oil spill

A few more vignettes from Alabama and the northern Gulf coast:

Tar balls from the Deepwater Horizon spill appeared on the Dauphin Island shore on Saturday. According to the Mobile Press-Register, “about 100 workers in white hazmat suits, yellow boots and black gloves were picking up samples of black-stained sand near the pier, as beachgoers nearby waded in the water, played football and made sandcastles.” Continue reading “The oil spill”

An Alabama insurance story

My guiding principle is, and always has been, that consumers do better when there is choice and competition. Unfortunately, in 34 states, 75% of the insurance market is controlled by five or fewer companies. In Alabama, almost 90% is controlled by just one company. Without competition, the price of insurance goes up and the quality goes down. — Barack Obama

My health insurance is with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, the company Obama referred to in his speech to Congress last night. It’s no accident that the company enjoys the passive goodwill of most Alabamians. With its constant image advertising, its near-ubiquity, and its faint patina of New Deal-era benevolence, the company feels a lot like a public utility.

A company rep tried to build on that perception at a local forum on health-care reform this month. He assured us that with its dominance of the Alabama health-care scene, Blue Cross of Alabama is not like those other companies. Denial of claims is really pretty rare, he said. Things may be bad elsewhere, but Alabama doesn’t need reform. We shouldn’t trouble our pretty little heads about such things. Continue reading “An Alabama insurance story”