Sunday, November 18, 2007

Shrimpboats, Oilrigs, and Yat-Speakin Coonasses; Our Visit to Grand Isle

As a recommended day-trip, we headed two and a half hours South of New Orleans (if you can believe that) to the small barrier of Grand Isle.

Grand Isle is known for being the site of fortification of the Mississippi's mouth, and thereby New Orleans, being historically pummeled by every hurricane and tropical storm to impinge on the area, and, more recently its oil reserves and resultant fisheries.

This is Dave and Mabel, the first folks we met on Grand Isle. What started as a question of whether or not he worked at the State Park there turned into a conversation hours long. Dave recounted in depth the ins and outs of various types of shrimping and oyster vessels, Cajun (or Coonass, as they refer to themselves) history and culture, and the intricate process going on in the multiple oil rigs offshore. He had us sold on his own personal ideas for 'fixing' the problems inherent in New Orleans and the wetlands and bayous of Louisiana at large. A man with truly bare-bones educational history, he was indicative of Louisianans at large: not a backwoods or yokel culture at all, but a people with their finger on the pulse, and more cognisant than any formally educated "Yankee" of the future that will result if the precedent remains unchanged. Great people.

Oh yeah, and the whole time there were dolphins kickin around the Gulf.

Grand Isle is also a major birding destination, being a major migratory stopping point before winged travelers attempt crossing the gulf.

We wound up spending the night. Can you blame us?"What's the difference between a Yankee and a Damn Yankee?...

... Damn Yankees never leave!"