The drought has been relentless, and in ways large and miniscule, devastating.

Though a bit of rain has fallen here and there since Tropical Storm Lee dropped in for tea, the ground soaked it up and barely noticed. North and west of here, it’s even worse. The damage in crops and such is staggering.

For myself, it’s been more spiritually oppressive. It’s been four months since I stood knee-deep in a caressing flow of wild, clear water. I haven’t gone that long in years. I’m drying out, and can’t seem to drink enough liquids to replenish myself.

I haven’t even renewed my fishing license since it expired at the end of June. That’s abnormal, even unheard of, for me. Just a barometer of the hopelessness the summer has sown.

My best friend was going camping in the hills this week. I debated going with him, but decided to hold out for the promise – if futile – of better weather and days. I haven’t heard back from him yet. I am envious. I need the escape in the worst kind of way.

I have a great many joys in my life, underscored by people and places and things. Where . . . → Read More: Drought

The Right Thing

Government is always eager to help business to the tune of hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. And rightly so, in most cases. Government is right to encourage business and help when it can.

What government in some cases does not seem to understand is that tourism also generates income. It puts money in the pockets of businesses that pay sales taxes and property taxes. Investing in tourism is no different than investing in business. The rewards might not be as great or as immediate, but they have the potential to grow quickly and substantially.

You know, neither Harvest Moon nor Bear Festival nor St. Mary Landmarks nor even Techeland Arts Council, the Bayou Teche Wooden Boat Show nor Tour du Teche are doing what we do for pure entertainment value. It’s not all about the fais-do-do. In fact, the entertainment is really sideline to the economics.

Government sometimes doesn’t understand this. They think, it seems, it’s all a street party and does nothing for the community.

They – we – are doing this to build this community, and to provide an economic impetus based on the tried-and-true model of tourism and tourism dollars. All of these . . . → Read More: The Right Thing

Cusp of Autumn

Fall is in the air. October is right around the corner.

I so love this time of year, or rather, the advent of this time of year. It’s almost here; I can feel it in the air, in the night.

“First of all, it was October, a rare month for boys,” Ray Bradbury wrote so perfectly. Though I dread winter, fall is somber and reflective, deepens in spirit and spirituality. I hope to immerse myself in it completely.

There is a brown carpet of leaves beneath my fig tree, they are curling and withering. Sycamore leaves, a few of them, are scattering southward in the wind. The dogs know it: They lift their noses into the north breeze, eyes squinting, relishing and studying the first hints of autumn.

“All things on earth point home in old October: sailors to sea, travelers to walls and fences, hunters to field and hollow and the long voice of the hounds, the lover to the love he has forsaken,” Thomas Wolfe wrote. In October, I think often of the sea, and old longings pushed aside by practicality and responsibility revive. In October I can almost hear the flap of canvas sails, cooling salt . . . → Read More: Cusp of Autumn


As promised in last Friday’s column, I resolved to clean up the yard of tropical storm debris and mow the grass.

I was doing this, you recall, under protest because I found out late Thursday that a creek fishing trip was out of the question due to low, low water. A creek trip is, in almost every regard, a perfect excuse to get out of anything unpleasant.

The same does not apply to many other excuses which can be called “hobbies” or “pastimes” or “sports.” You cannot, for example, get out of a cousin-in-law’s wedding to go play golf, excuse yourself from a beloved aunt’s funeral to deal a hand of poker, or skip an important social-climbing function to knit a sock.

But creek fishing somehow makes it all permissible. You tell someone you’re going to drive three, four hours with gas at $3.54 a gallon, forego the expense of a hotel because you’re actually very frugal after all, and then drive back with the chances of actually a) having enough water to float a fly and b) catching anything but a pumpkinseed perch, and folks go, “Oh, well, that just sounds terribly important if you’re going to go . . . → Read More: Stingers

Almost Made It

Well, I missed it by thiiiiiiiis much!

Last weekend, as we were being hammered by rain during Tropical Storm Lee, besides the leak that developed in my roof at the stove vent which needs fixing, I kept thinking about how much rain the creeks were getting up in the hills of Louisiana.

There has been no significant precipitation up there since early June. In fact, summer came so early and so abruptly this year that I had scant opportunity to enjoy myself in the clear-water streams running between those ancient red-dirt hills.

Compared to last year, the bite was completely off, too. We returned home skunked more often than not, whereas last year it was the other way around. No matter, I always came home with my mandatory inoculation of wildness.

Watching the radar last weekend, it looked like a terrific amount of rain fell on the hills. Reports were coming in of seven, eight inches in most places, more in others. I just knew it would help.

See, many of those creeks are partially spring fed, but they do rely on rain for good health. The drought has been tormenting them, and as early as the first week . . . → Read More: Almost Made It

Balance of Power

There will be three forums for candidates in the Oct. 22 election in St. Mary Parish.

Sheriff’s candidates will gather Sept. 20 at the golf course in Patterson; senatorial candidates will group Sept. 27 at the Petroleum Club in Morgan City, and parish council and president candidates will sound off Oct. 4 at the golf course again.

All three are sponsored by the St. Mary Chamber of Commerce and the Franklin Republican Women club.

Since these are breakfast forums, they are charging $10 a head, rather than the previously held non-meal forums, which by the way were also held in the evening when the average Joe could attend, rather than during working hours. So the target audience are people who are able to take off from work and hand over a ten spot to hear the candidates.

Two in Patterson and one in Morgan City. Not a single forum slated for this end of our parish.

Proof positive?


At this point in my grumpy old age and well-nurtured cynicism, I just don’t give a jolly rip who gets their toes stepped on anymore.

One in Morgan City, one in Patterson and one in Franklin might have been slightly . . . → Read More: Balance of Power