In addition to finding the plywood, driving to Raceland with Edward in the passenger seat provided another wonderful opportunity to hear stories from someone who was born, raised, and had his family, almost all on houseboats in the Basin. That’s another LONG story. But today I placed a tape recorder on the armrest between the seats in my pickup and asked him to talk about some of his life in the Basin. I just let the recorder run. He talked about how even the swampers got lost in the fog sometimes, and how they dealt with that by watching the wake of their boat to make sure they didn’t turn without knowing it. Looking towards the rear, sometimes you could run into things. He talked about hunting and flipping a boat over in the main channel before daylight with himself and three other men it, all with ankle-fit hipboots on, and how they all survived with the loss of only one shotgun. He talked about more successful hunts where the numbers of French ducks were unbelievable. He talked about how you “boom” a raft of logs, sometimes with 100 logs in it, and how you keep the “sinkers” from sinking by suspending them from “floaters” using chain dogs. And how sometimes, maybe, some of the logs didn’t really belong to you. And how a Mr. Law was hired to paddle a pirogue through the swamps and arrest anyone illegally felling trees, but that you could avoid him. And sometimes when you picked moss your parents would let you swim in the bayou, but never otherwise. He talked about how sometimes the spirits of people about to die would visit you in the swamp.
Oh yes, it was a very good day, today, with my friend Edward. And, thankfully, it’s all on tape.
The immature rufous hummer is still here. The picture was taken yesterday. And sometimes you just have to imagine what goes on at the river, things walk across your dock and leave muddy prints. Was this really a great blue heron, or something else…?
The river is at 4.6 on the Butte La Rose gauge today, going to 4.1 by Tuesday. There is still nothing showing on the Ohio and Mississippi but it is raining up there, so maybe….
Rise and Shine, Jim