This & That
Oct
10, 2008
By Roger Emile Stouff

Well, there’s a buncha stuff going on here and there. Hither and yon, as my dear friend and mentor Ella Mae Mensman used to pen.

First, an announcement of sorts. Techeland Arts Council, the non-profit, fledgling organization I am part of, has obviously cancelled the community meeting and story-gathering session we planned in late September.

Hurricanes Gustav and Ike bruised and battered this community, and we decided that it would be better to postpone our event until we get along with picking up the pieces around here, and return to some semblance of a normal existence.

As it happens, with scheduling difficulties between ourselves, the Colquitt Arts Council and venue, it’s likely the event will be held in the spring.

But it will happen.

We have, in case you missed this, a mission to collect the history, oral and otherwise, of this city and surrounding area, and turn it into a script which will be presented on stage in spring and fall each year, changing annually to some degree, as a cultural attraction for our community and an economic engine. The people in Colquitt, Georgia did this and were very, very successful with it. Now they teach others how to do the same thing in their communities, and that’s what the event we postponed is all about.

We will be back.

Also, if you had heard that there was a farmer’s market in the making locally, you heard right. However, what was supposed to be a fall debut has also been pushed back to spring due to the hurricanes. But those associated with this great idea have assured me it’s going to happen.

You’ll note that I haven’t said much about these things in awhile. It needed a rest, in light of the hurricanes and other toils facing our people. I am still committed to cheerleading, inspiring and, if necessary, pushing and screaming, to get us on our feet here. We will make it.

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I’ve spent a few evenings with Sunday Mornings, Crowning Glories, the newest volume of photos and text by Mariana Titus of Franklin. You should too. The book, Titus reveals, "brings you inside some of the churches around the Franklin area where you will meet their inspiring pastors, see the beautifully dressed women of the congregation and listen to gospel music sung in a church or on a country porch."

And so it is.

I’ve enjoyed Mariana’s work for years now, and this one is no exception.

Mariana says she’s having a book signing. Basically, catch her on the front porch of the family house on Main Street. Otherwise, she says, hoof it on over to the Fad Newsstand for a copy.

We are blessed in this area to have such a fine collection of writers and artists.

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Meanwhile, rumor around town has it the good ol’ B-T is shutting down. Yup, heard it three times just this week. The notion apparently rises from the fact that our press operator is retiring, and press operators, as you can well imagine, are few and far between or worse these days. So some bright bulbs decided it meant we were going to lock the doors.

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Listen, I know we got a lot of problems in the area right now, hurricanes and water and flooding and all. Don’t get me wrong, I am painfully aware of that.

But when the devil are we going to replace the light globes on Main Street?

It seems sometimes the simplest, easiest things are the ones that slip by us.

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Jessie Morton has kicked off a campaign she’s calling Locks and Levees: Protect Our Community.

She’s handing out bumper stickers with that mantra on it, and she’s adamant that she’s not going to stop until something is done to protect this area from storm surges in the future. No matter what it takes, she says.

And you know, I just wanted to say, "You go, girl." It’s refreshing to see such empowerment by a member of the community, It gives me hope that maybe we’ll all get out of this mess alive.

Let’s just hope and pray those who are planning the fortification of our community are as dedicated and persistent.

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We had a great opening of the new Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge office at the lower end of Willow Street last weekend. U.S. Fish and Wildlife agent Barrett Fortier gave us a tour of a big part of the refuge by van after the ceremonies.

Along the way, I was talking with my bud Donovan Garcia, who organizes the paddle tours every year for the Bayou Teche Bear Festival, and that conversation just reinforced for me how badly we need some amenities for paddlers in this area.

As such, I’ve decided that besides Techeland Arts Council, this will be my new mission.

It’s incredibly cheap to set up such accommodations for paddlers who have come to our waterways and been completely blown away by their beauty. It amounts to little more than a campground with some basic equipment. I think we can do better than that. We need a little land and a little money – nothing compared to what golf courses and the like cost – and we’ll be good to go.

Remember when I kept talking about clusters? We keep looking for the Big Idea That’s Going To Bring Fortune To Our Community. It doesn’t exist.

What does exist is a lot of little ideas, the cumulative sum of those being the reward. Techeland Arts Council’s No Hitchin’ performance of our history; the farmer’s market; amenities for paddlers; the great work the Cajun Coast people are doing…clusters.

We’re going to make it happen. Trust me on this one.