It all began at Big Al’s Seafood in Houma, Louisiana. It was a muggy hot Saturday afternoon, and with not a whole lot better to do, I decided to drive into town and check out the local casting call for the popular reality TV series Swamp People.
There were a couple of interviews going on when I arrived, with several others waiting in the wings for their turn.
As explained to me by Noelle, one of the casting agents, they were targeting a very specific type of character for next year’s series; more specifically, alligator hunters with at least 50 tags. When I asked her if they were interested in female alligator hunters, her answer was a resounding “YES! Do you know any?” At that moment, I almost wished I had known a few that I could call up right then and there. Alas, I knew none.
After I introduced myself to the head of the casting crew, Galoka, and after she agreed to let me interview folks and take photos, I made my way around the room checking out some of the prospective candidates. There were only a few there at the time, and they were all men. As time ticked by, more and more folks came out of the woodwork and into Big Al’s to take their chance at being the next new star of Swamp People.
As I glanced around the room, this interesting looking hat caught my eye.
As I got closer, I recognized him as being gator hunter Andee from down our bayou. Andee wants to team up with another hunter named Dan D. (who could not be here today). Andee, father to three sons, is an avid outdoorsman and has hunted gators for most of his adult life.
Andee and I got to talking, one thing led to another, and I told him how they were looking for female alligator hunters. He immediately thought of a woman from down the bayou and gave her a call. Within an hour, she was there, ready and signed up for the interview.
Right then and there, a new gator-hunting team was formed! Marie grew up on the bayou and hunts gators from her pirogue on her family land behind their farm house. The mother of five daughters, Marie raises cattle, and you might remember her pink pig that survived Tropical Storm Lee. Marie told me, “I can fit a rifle, an eleven-foot gator, and me in my pirogue!”
Here’s a photo of a big gator Andee caught last year. It’s hanging in Big Al’s dining area. (The pic, not the gator!)
This cousin duo looked pretty promising. And if cute smiles gets you the gig, then this guy had it hands down.
His name is Martin, and his cousin, Bradley is in the background. Martin has a regular day job to pay the bills, and he loves to hunt alligators, box, and cage fight for the rush and the fun of it. He shared a video of himself playing with an eleven-foot alligator before hauling it into the boat to shoot it. Yes, he hauled a live gator into his boat. Rush? Yeah, I should say so.
There were a couple other interesting characters there, many of which I did not get to talk to, but at least I got this guy’s photo before he left.
And then there was this young man who was definitely dressed for the part and seemed quite familiar to me. Do any of you remember seeing an episode of Wife Swap back in around 2005? The wife was from Zam’s swamp tours in Kramer, Louisiana? She had a son named ZZ, and he was known for saying, “Alligators don’t sweat!” Do you remember him?
Well, he’s sixteen now and ready to give Troy a run for his gators! He told me he doesn’t like to kill gators any more but would rather catch them, and they have three 14-footers in their pen now. Maybe he wants to wrestle gators on the show?
Next there was this father and son team from Raceland, LA.
George is a single dad raising two sons. He manages about a thousand acres of hunting land, guides deer and duck hunts, runs the crawfish ponds, and hunts all the alligator tags. Sometimes, Z helps him, so maybe that’s why Z was there.
This is another pair of hopefuls from the upper neck of my bayou. Brent and Ricky hunt gators for Gator Tail Lodge up around Lake Theriot. Brent runs the lodge and guides all their fishing and hunting trips. They were two really nice fellows.
By the time I had to leave, there were folks still coming through the door. I noticed several man and woman teams waiting for interviews, but I didn’t get to talk to any of them or take their photos.
Oh, and I have to make this disclaimer. At first, one casting crew member said I couldn’t post the names of these people. Then she said I couldn’t say too much about them, either. Then, the boss lady said it was okay. So, I’ve gone ahead with this post. If after they view it, they decide that it interferes with what they are trying to do, then I will remove it, but we will have a little fun for now!
(There was a poll right here where you could vote for the team you might like to see on the next season. However, due to public confusion that this poll somehow might have a bearing on who gets casted for the show, it was suggested that I remove it. I’m an easy-going bayou woman who aims to please. Poll removed, but I know who got the most votes, he he he!)
If you care to, in the comments section below, let us know who you think might be fun to watch on future episodes of the show.
Hanging with the Swamp Peeps,
BW (That’s Jay Paul right down there. His daddy, R.J., was down at the Tarpon Rodeo and couldn’t make it to Big Al’s. Maybe next time . . . .)