This year we were fortunate to have more than one visit with our mates down de Bayou – sharing in their warmth & hospitality as well as their struggles and concerns. The Bayous o’ South Louisiana are the lifeblood o’ the state and their history, ecosystem and culture have an impact across North America.
People o’ many mixed backgrounds have called this their home for generations, though the Indigenous Nations of Choctaw, Chitimacha & Houma were the first to live here, followed closely by Les Acadiens (now commonly referred to as Cajuns). It was also the centre o’ Jean Laffite’s operation – bringing fresh goods from the Bayou, The Gulf Of Mexico and beyond, upriver to trade. Despite the ongoing damage & destruction caused by “big business” and their disregard for indigenous life, both people and nature still manage to hunt, fish and farm a living as our ancestors did…though in many ways it’s become a struggle for survival – and one we hope to help with in any way we can.
We have the honour o’ being mates to some o’ these folk – and nicer folk ye’ll never meet. Our good mate, Capt. Wendy Wilson-Billiot (aka Bayou Woman) shares her knowledge, experience and hospitality with everyone she can – and graciously shared the lovely Camp Dularge for our home base while we visited! We finally had the opportunity to meet the slightly elusive, yet now famous, “Bayou Fabio” (aka Ricky Verrett) – a French speaking member o’ the Houma Nation who lives on his boat, fishes Alligator Gar and manages an Oyster Bed! Houma Today wrote a good article about Ricky here…and ye’ll soon see him on Animal Planet and possibly National Geographic!
After our adventures in Tibodeaux (BTNEP Bayou Cleanup) we returned to Bayou Dularge for a sunset Wetlands Tour and First Mate Termite took the helm! This young lad (Capt. Wendy’s son) has just turned 16 and grown into quite the young, handsome, baseball playing lad – as well as taking the boats out on his own. The following day, Termite and one o’ his mates went out early in the morning…and returned in the early afternoon with a fine mess o’ Bayou Crabs – shortly after Bayou Fabio had dropped off an equally impressive mess o’ fresh Oysters…Lunch was fantastic!
Is it any wonder people love this region? We certainly didn’t want to leave…