This past Saturday down in the distant boggy bottoms of Point aux Chenes, LA, 150 eager volunteers and media folks braved the cold temps and 15 mph north winds for a chance to make a difference in coastal Louisiana. Point aux Chenes (Point of the Oaks) Wildlife Management Area (WMA) consists of 33,000 acres of…
Idling slowly among the cypress knees in a shallow-draft boat, one can only imagine what the Maurepas Swamp would have looked like 100 years ago—before the Great Flood of 1927, before the leveeing of the Mississippi River, and before the virgin cypress were cut down and hauled out to be milled for house and boat…
But if you try sometime, you just might find you get what you need. Oh that these lyrics from a popular Rolling Stones song could become the mantra behind the commercial and recreational fishermen who share the inland and coastal waters of south Louisiana, the fate of which will soon be decided in the House vote for the 2012 State Master Plan for Coastal Restoration and Protection.
Floating Islands? Really? Yes, really, but not the kind of islands you might be thinking of. These are man made and hopefully not the kind humans will ever be deserted on. They serve a much greater purpose, and the concept just blew me away.
In the spring of 2010, my email box was inundated with writers looking for the softer side of the story of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and following oil spill disaster. These seekers of a different angle flocked to my bayou to interview my shrimping neighbors. As a wetland advocate, I wondered how I could use this man-made disaster as a platform to further the cause of education and awareness.
It became clear to me early on that most of the journalists who arrived at my door really had no clue about our culture and way of life. So, if they wanted a story about how the oil spill had impacted us, then they must humor me and allow me to educate them about this vanishing ecosystem and its people.
What these well-meaning journalists needed first was a foundational perspective from the standpoint of a population of coastal communities who were suffering yet one more blow to their way of life. As a woman who lives, works, and fishes here, I could give them that perspective, which was simply this:
This oil spill was not an isolated disaster for the people of coastal Louisiana. It was like being kicked when we were already down. And here’s why.
BW shook hands with Secretary Ray Mabus and put the pressure on him.