Sunday, September 11, 2011

Cane Harvest

Hurricane Lee's winds weren't very strong in St. Martin parish. We were lucky this time. The cane harvest is just starting and I am looking forward to the Sugar Cane Festival at the end of September.

The deep soil has been turned and the plant cane has been cut and planted in the rich fertile soil of southwest Lousiana. In the coastal south known as plant zone 9 it's time for the sugar cane farmers to begin the harvest. Nothing ushers in fall like sweet sugar pralines and brown sugar bundt cakes. As I drive the back roads of St. Martin Parish I see that work has begun on next year's crop of sugar cane.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Storm Warning

As I finished the last chapter of Bayou Farewell I heard the slow steady drops of rain hitting my tin roof. It seems that Tropical storm Lee is knocking on my back door and also headed straight towards the Louisiana marshes. I’ve been lucky enough to spend some time at a camp near Leesville on Bayou Lafourche where the golden sunlight on the marsh grass is something to see. We caught red fish and blue point crabs for our supper and watched as the sunset gave the marsh it’s honey colored glow. We watched as shrimp boats sailed up and down the bayou with their butterfly nets gracefully scooping up brown shrimp. This Southern Louisiana marsh is such a gift to her people. Listen to the experts, read Bayou Farwell and tell everyone you know that the Louisiana marsh is worth saving.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Front Porch Sitting

Just the thought of the first autumn winds coming into the swamp makes it so easy to say goodbye to BeBe’s sweet snow balls. It’s funny how the seasons are forever linked to certain rituals we all remember as children. Like the first summer snow ball or Autumn’s sugary pecan candy.
It’s been a long hot summer to say the least down here in the Atchafalaya River Basin. Even the old oaks seem to be drooping, but soon the fall winds will blow over the swamp and I hope to be sitting on the front porch of this camp. I'll be enjoying a bowl of spicy chicken and andouille gumbo and waiting on a beautiful sunset. Maybe even invite a few cousins to laugh with as the conversation turns to whose mama made the best pralines.

It's gonna be a good start to the fall season. I guess I'd better stock up on chow-chow and file. You can't ever have enough.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Evangeline's Oak

On the banks of the Teche, are the towns of St. Maur and St. Martin.There the long-wandering bride shall be given again to her bridegroom,There the long-absent pastor regain his flock and his sheepfold.Beautiful is the land, with its prairies and forests of fruit-trees;Under the feet a garden of flowers, and the bluest of heavensBending above, and resting its dome on the walls of the forest.They who dwell there have named it the Eden of Louisiana." ..... Longfellow.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Gold and Silver Canopy

Two women walked down this impressive pine and oak avenue in the 1800’s. One was called Amilie, the other Alida. Both were married to Charles Durand during his life time and both bore him 12 children. The avenue was made famous by an elegant wedding held underneath the silver and gold dust sprayed cobweb canopy. They say it glittered in the sunlight like something from a fairy tale. It always gives me a melancholy feeling when I visit.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sunrise on the Lake

This cypress swamp is often referred to as a peaceful place by the locals. I often drive this winding road to work on mornings when I am not in such a hurry to start my day. It’s just so beautiful to see the Ibis and Great Heron perched near the cypress knees waiting on breakfast.

This year I planned to celebrate my birthday with a sunrise show. Just me and the Great Heron there to welcome in the start of my new year. I was born at 6:30 a.m. so sunrise just seems to work for me.

Then I heard the news. A body pulled from Lake Martin The murder of a young man. Such a sad thing to have happen in this peaceful swamp. I was shocked. Then fear took over and I wondered if I would ever be able to travel out there for my sunrise mornings again.

I thought about it and I just couldn’t let this horrible event change me. I just couldn’t let this moment in time change my view of the lake. So I headed out to Lake Martin to welcome in a peaceful sunrise and with a quiet prayer for healing, I celebrated my 60th year in this beautiful place.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Navarre Beach Vacation

My recent trip to Navarre Beach was just what I needed. Beautiful water, a peaceful breeze, and a much needed rest for a few days. Every morning I would wake up early to sit and drink coffee on the balcony and welcome in the sunrise. As I sat and waited on the sun I noticed fishermen walking down the pier to find their special spot and later as the evening sun began to set I watched as quite a few of them pulled their wagons back to unload their catch of the day. Through my camera lens I noticed many of the fish were too big to fit in the wagons. The extended tails looked almost like shark fins. I wasn't really sure but they looked kind of large for those fishing poles. I bet the stories told around the pier bar were good ones. As the sun set we went down to the pier and listened to the live band playing a mix of blues and southern rock. It was a good day.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Faussey Point State Park

The Lake Dautrieve area will not be impacted by the rising water in the Atchafalaya River Basin unless the levee is breached. With each passing day the reports on the rivers crest gives all the families of the Atchafalaya hope. This photo reminds me of the calm before the storm.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bald Cypress Swamp

Everyday I drive down to the edge of the bald cypress swamp in the Atchafalaya basin and watch the water inch its way up to the edge of the levee. The beauty of this area is so breath taking. You can understand why these resilient families will always return. Give these Cajuns just half a chance and they will resume their way of life in the Atchafalaya River Basin.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Swamper Boats

Artisian boat builders from around Acadiana have re-crafted these beautiful swamper boats from the 1920's. Today the aluminum skiff has taken over as the main form of travel for fishermen making their living in the Atchafalaya basin but these boat were truly a work of art.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


This is the local gathering place for Butte La Rose. After the Atchafalaya gets back to normal I hope to visit there and listen to the stories of how this close knit community made it through the 2011 Flood of the Atchafalaya River Basin.

Rising Water

Soon the Atchafalaya river will come raging through this small community. This is one of the many camps in Butte La Rose that will be effected by the water. As I drive up and down the main road to provide for the workers filling sand bags I noticed this camp. I can just imagine all of the wonderful stories told by the families on this front porch swing. Stories of the last deer hunt or the fishing trips into the basin.

My hope is that the owners of this camp can join together once again and tell the stories about the Flood of 2011 right here on this front porch swing. Only time will tell.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Polka Dot Camp at Butte La Rose

As I drove down the levee road towards my mission for today I couldn't' t help but smile at the sight of this camp. I could just imagine boiled crawfish being spread out on tables underneath the trees for the families to enjoy. But with the next turn of the road the reality of the Atchafalaya flood brought me back to the scene of a swirling river only a short distance from this camp. The young men from the sheriff's office are busy filling sand bags for the families of Butte La Rose as they give it their best shot to try and hold back the Atchafalaya as she get closer to the top of the levee.

As I drove back down the levee road and headed towards I-10 my thought were of all the animals that won't be able to make it to higher ground. NPR radio kept playing old blues songs from the 20's and 30's. Songs by Gatemouth Brown and Jimmy Reed. So broken hearted and sad. As I passed several trucks with trailers attached hauling all of a families belongings I wondered if they were also listening to those sad songs.

These Cajun families are a tough people. They take the good with the bad and they survive. Their love of the Atchafalaya will always bring them back to this river basin.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Festival International and Cocktail Cove

The beauty of the Atchaflaya Basin never fails to heal my soul. This past weekend the Mountain Magnolia and a good friend came in to spend a little time enjoying the music of Festival International. After they had their fill of cajun music we headed out to the cabins at Lake Faussey Point. We brought along all the good stuff the Atchafalaya has to offer. Actually, way to much stuff but isn't that always the case when you think you just can't forget anything . We fried catfish and cooked up a pot of crawfish etoufee. We had wonderful goat cheese from Tre' Belle and a few cocktails. The following morning we headed out to Bayou Benoit Landing to unloaded Calpernia and then paddled out to cocktail cove. Now you won't find this name listed on any map of the Atchafalaya River Basin but as good friends will often do when they find a place that feels like paradise we gave it a nickname. Slowly we floated around the cove and sipped champagne while enjoying the sights and sound of the basin. The high water influx from the spring rains has the beauty of the basin coming alive. We met up with a couple that were docking their skiff to head out for a day of fishing. They found it interesting that weren't doing the same. Not today we answered, just a quick paddle to enjoy the scenery.
This time of year something magical always happen to the waters in the cove. The coffee colored water is replaced by a beautiful clear mossy green color. It clear enough to see the drift wood lurking below the surface. Its just a beautiful place to be in the spring.
As we headed out my husband remained at the landing to talk with some of his old friends coming to reset their crawfish traps now that the water has risen. It's all the fisherman can talk about at Lou's bait shop where they stop for their morning cup of coffee before heading out into the basin.The rising Mississippi River has everyone wondering about the effects on the Atchafalaya. It's just a part of our life that we deal with every spring.

Friday, April 22, 2011


You just never know where this life will lead. Just can't worry or change the outcome.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Lost in the 60's

I'm in the planning stages of my 60th birthday celebration in the Colorado Rockies this summer. The Mountain Magnolia is planning to take me up to a cabin near a town called Marble. It's location is in the valley of the upper Crystal River along the Elk Mountains. Silly me, my plans consisted of me sitting along a babbling brook and maybe throwing in a line or two to attempting to watch the river trout tease me. But as I was informed from the many conversations we have had concerning this big celebration day I will be floating down the Roaring Fork river in a dingy with my godchild while holding on for dear life I'm sure. If you can't take some risk at 60 when can you. Although, I might have to join a gym just to be able to get in the boat. Or another option might be to get a little encouragement from the magazine Living the active life OUTDOORS. Great read. It's one of those magazines I read when you've always been the fat kid/fat grown up. Especially if you're contemplating the next chapter of your life.

The opening page advertised Flat Tire beer and a 1950 retro bike. Something about it just didn't seem right. Not being a beer drinker, more of a bourbon sipper my self, I just turned the page. Next I found something I could relate to, a story of the Old Women of the Sea. A group of grandmothers who as the article stated, for them diving is life. They harvest their food from the sea. I do love the sea, but it's only been from the comfort of a beach chair.
Next they advertised an adventure watch. I liked the sound of that and the big selling point for me was the large digital numbers on it. Heaven forbid if I lose my glasses at least I can see how long it takes them to get to me. If I've loaded the satellite app right. And can you just imagine having all your guide book on your smart phone. Amazing.

So here and now I start my adventure. I commit to a dream of one kick ass celebration. I purchase an I phone 4 and I can tell you that was a learning curve for me. Now I just need to figure out how to load and use the Spot app in case someone needs to be able to locate me when I'm off the grid floating down the Crystal River.. That satellite thing sounds fool proof to me but you never know.. Footwear is another big issue I wondered about. Style really never entered my mind. Comfort yes, and with a name like Swamp Monsters they should do perfectly. An article described a foot care system of petroleum jelly in the morning and medicated talc at nite. It sounds like a good system although sitting around the campfire in Crocs should do little damage to my feet. But if we decide to do a little stroll I'll be ready.

So lets see what the essential list will include Apple IPod, sport watch, cell phone, swamp monster boots, camera, a face book connection,and a good bit of laughter.

Should be a cake walk......right?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Cemetery Highway

It was pitch black as I drove down Cemetery highway towards the situation. As I came around the curve I spotted the emergency lights bouncing off of the sugar cane. Its always an eire feeling to drive up on a area that's been roped off. Let me explain, I take care of a group of deputies that work for the sheriff's office. I provide food and water at the site when these men and women are called on to assist the public with whatever their needs are at the time. Tonite it was a man barricaded in a home.
I parked along the road and set up the sandwiches on the bed of my unit and just as I finished setting up I received a call from the Captain. Mrs. Roxie, We got him. It's over.
As I watched the men and women walk past me towards the meeting place for the hot wash (discussion) I could tell everyone was happy with the end of this situation. No one hurt and the problem taken care of. Slowly they came to me and thankfully took a cold sandwich and a bag of chips. I quietly listened to their conversations as they spoke about heading out on vacation trips or getting home to their families tonite. As I passed out more sandwiches one young deputy asked, Mrs. Roxie can I have two sandwiches cause my wife's not cooking tonite. I laughed to myself and handed out all he could hold.
I love my work and I'm proud of these men and women who have this great need to help people. As the cool night air settled in around me I wished I could have served a hot gumbo to these deputies. They so deserved it.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Fresh Eggs and Goat's Milk

Today rain and wind are blowing through the swamp. Humidity around a 100 percent. A good day for all basin critters. Frogs singing, crickets drumming, bass feeding, and coon's wrapped up in a tight ball waiting on the sun to come out again.

The sounds of an early morning rain on a tin roof is like my own personal gift. As I reach for the bed covers I try to visualize the basin coming alive with every drop of water. Don't get me wrong, I realize that I do this from the comfort of my warm bed and I'm sure a few fisherman, who are making their living out on the Atchafalaya, are not so happy about this wet morning. But this liquid stuff nourishes the swamp and my soul and I'm taking full advantage it.

The freedom animals have in nature often makes me wonder how well farm animals adjust to barbed wire fences and forced habitat in bad weather.

About Me

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St. Martinville, Louisiana, United States
A tiny piece of land.