From the Bayou to Batavia, NY

New York?  Yep, that’s what I said.  Wetland Tours has given me the opportunity to meet some of the most giving people in the country.  Included in that group is a woman named Lori M.

She came down here to help with New Orleans recovery and fell in love with the people, their resilience, and their culture.  Our culture.  And even though the culture changes slightly from city to bayou, and from bayou to bayou, she found enough to love that she has returned a dozen times in about eighteen months.

Lori found me by way of Bayou Grace Community Services about a year ago.  She rode with me on my tour and returned with a bunch of her coeds in tow.  Lori and her classmates adopted a woman in the greater New Orleans area and helped her restore her home, which she is now back in, thanks to Lori and others like her.

I’m not sure if she’s done this single handedly, but she has put together an event that I’m attending this weekend.  It is a Bayou cross-cultural event which focuses on all things south Louisiana and is being held at Batavia Community College, where Lori is studying communications and media arts.

This event is part of Lori’s ongoing journey to raise awareness all around the Western New York area about the plight of what the fine folks in Louisiana have been dealing with and also to get people excited about coming down and helping with not only the rebuilding efforts but the wetlands restoration process.

Another project Lori and some of her fellow students have been working on during their visits is a documentary of the people down here.  I’m not sure of the time frame of the video, but I know it began before the oil spill and continued after that to include this new struggle we are facing on the bayous.  She plans to go beyond western New York and take the documentary everywhere she travels and continue to educate folks across the U.S.

Let me quote her:

“I have fallen in love with the people in Louisiana! They are the most resilient, friendly, and caring people that I have met. I think that the average citizen would have given up with one only one of these disasters but not the folks in Louisiana!! I will continue to come back to Louisiana until every person that wants to come back to their homes can come back…and now I have fallen in love with the wetlands so I will continue to come back for the rest of my life. That includes being there in Washington D.C. if needed to drive the point home about what NEEDS to be done in Louisiana!!!”

So, LilSis and I are leaving on a jet plane to the far reaches of frosty New York, where we will hear Zydeco music, eat some beignets, and otherwise pass a good time with some great folks who have cared enough to “come see” for themselves, share with others, and return for more.

To Lori and all the students who have come down and helped out, BW extends a big THANK YOU!  I look forward to seeing you again in a couple days, and I’m sure we’re gonna “pass a good time” on Saturday.

Bundling up,


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  1. Thanks Lori for all you’ve done, and for the things you plan to do!
    After 9/11 Hubby and I contributed to a fund to replace a fire truck for FDNY (which doesn’t even compare to your TIME and EFFORTS). Anyway, the point is…whether it be time or money, we all need to help each other in times of need.

    BW, y’all have a good time. We look forward to your next post. Don’t forget your camera!

    1. Thanks Steffi, That is amazing what you and your husband did for NDNY!!

      I love what I am doing and it is so rewarding for me to be involved with what I am passionate about…plus the great people of Louisiana make it to fall in love with the area. They have been the most giving, caring, and loving people that I have met!!

  2. Awesome. !!! the more ppl that come here and love us, our culture,and out wetland the better. You will do much to add to their knowledge of all that is loved and important here. Bon voyage, bon chance.

  3. This is what will make the difference. Long after the mainstream media have moved on to the “next big thing”, people will keep forging connections and moving forward.

    It’s about time for me to start thinking about doing my next part.

    Have a great time!

  4. We all know how passionate you are BW about Louisiana and the area in which you live. It sounds like you’ve met another person with just as much passion and she doesn’t even live in LA! You have a way of attracting some wonderful people into your life. Have a great time! I look forward to the post on your trip.

  5. That’s near my origins (northeast New Jersey).

    But I’ve lived in the Deep South for most of my adult life. I’ve birthed one and buried two while living in the South. That makes me an almost-native, I think.

  6. Thanks Wendy for all that you do to continue to educate people like me about the precious bayous, wetlands, and marshes. I have thoroughly enjoyed the time that I have spent in Louisiana. It is hard to explain the love that I feel for the people, the area, the plight of the people, the culture, and the endangered heritage that I see when I have the privilege to visit the great state of Louisiana!!
    I feel like I am coming “home” when I step off of the airplane and venture off to whatever there is in store for me on each trip!
    I am looking forward to this weekend’s events and if we reach out and touch even ONE person enough to make the trip to Louisiana to give of his/herself then I feel we will have a success on our hands!!
    I do know that whomever attends the Batavia-Bayou Cross Cultural Connection will leave with a better understanding of what is “really” going on in New Orleans and Southern Louisiana!!
    Safe travels my friend and see you tomorrow!!

  7. We raise tankards in salute to Lori and her mates for not only helping raise awareness of the need in Louisiana, but for actually getting down and helping out themselves! As simple a thing as educating others about the area and it’s culture is a tremendous help.

    Though we are at present a short journey from Batavia in our northern Port of Hamilton, ON (on the shores of the Great Lakes) we are sadly unable to join ye – though our hearts & spirits are there with ye in support!

    We look forward to joining Capt. Wendy in both New Orleans (New Orleans Book Festival, Mar. 19) and in her beautiful Bayou during NOLA Pyrate Week.

    Remember our WGL initiative – Wetlands, Gators, Louisiana…because if we lose the first two, it’s too late for the third!

    Thank ye Capt. Wendy, Lori and all those who believe in our motto: Take what ye can, GIVE something back!™

    1. Hello Captain! Made it back to the bayou, and I can tell you I fare much better on the water than in the air! It’s very unsettling to me when a plane begins to move in the air like a boat on water 🙂

  8. Hello all. The Bayou Cross Cultural Sharing was a great success. I learned new things about what some New Orleans folks encountered on their hurricane journeys. Am not back yet, but will be taking flight back to the bayou on Monday evening. And oh my goodness, it snowed all day Saturday, and the wind was blowing so hard the snow was blowing horizontally. It was my first big snow ever!!! More details and photos upon return. Miss you all! BW

  9. I attended the Bayou Cross-Cultural event, and I just want to thank you for taking the time to come all the way to Batavia NY to speak with us on such an important topic. I really enjoyed the event and your presentation; I only wish that more people had been there to take part in such a worthwhile experience. You have further inspired me in my desire to visit Louisiana, and aid its amazing people in any way that I can. Thanks again! -Kasey

    1. I Kasey! Did you come and introduce yourself to me? I met quite a few folks and I’m not remembering all their names. It was enlightening for me as well to hear some of the other stories presented. Thanks for caring enough to attend and I certainly hope you come this spring. Are you?

  10. Great job B.W. You are such an inspiration in all the good you do. If only we had more people like you the world could be a better place. I hope one day to meet you and maybe give me a tour of the wet lands. :))))