Sunday, April 25, 2010

Watering Random Earth Week Thoughts

Before leaving New Orleans last week Pat and I went to the Earth Day Celebration at Bayou Bienvenue.   The Bayou Bienvenue Restoration  is an effort to restore the southernmost end of the Great Cypress Swamp. The most serious assault on this valuable natural coastal protection mechanism and resource has been the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) popularly referred to as Mr. Go by locals.  There is a plan for closing Mr. Go but like all things Louisiana it is not moving at a constructive (pun intended) pace.

Bayou Bienvenue is located in the Lower 9th Ward, the neighborhood most devastated by Hurricane Katrina, and arguably, with Holy Cross, the neighborhood that would have benefited most from an intact Cypress Swamp.
We managed to missed the actual event as I was late getting back from Baton Rouge but we went to see if anything was still going on, and indeed there was.  Damselflies were hovering around the local flora, fish were jumping, and of course, there were fishermen.  Well, in the tradition of mentoring, there was a young guy fishing and an older man sitting on the steps pontificating.  The young fella had baited a 3 hook line with shrimp but was having little success until a smallish, perhaps female, alligator showed up. We shouted encouragement and caution as the fisherman repeatedly cast and rebaited his hooks, the older man clambered precariously along the rocks, prepared to net the 'gator, and the knobby head reptile dined on shrimp and played with the aspirations of his erstwhile captors.

After four tries, and a broken fishing line, the alligator moved on, having given us a sense of what a restored bayou might bring -- protection to the city of New Orleans, abundant flora, and a bit of the thrill of the wild.

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