Monday, July 19, 2010

Bayou Music.

Good Afternoon Folks:

I recently completed reading James Lee Burke's Latest Book "The Glass Harmonica", and as usual the book got me started thinking about Louisiana in general, and the natives of Louisiana in particular.

I guess many of us think that all Louisianians are what we call "cajuns".
Nothing could be further from the truth. I found New Orleans to be a giant melting pot, where one could hear accents and patois' basically from all over the world.

For instance, there is, or used to be, a section of the City of New Orleans that was known as the "Irish Channel". I was remiss in not inquiring as to why this area was so labeled, but presumed (I was young) that it was because a lot of the inhabitants of that particular area were of Irish Descent.

I later found out this this was the case, but the area was no longer an Irish enclave, but, in keeping with the rest of the city, had a broad racial mishmash.

One could go to certain areas of the city and hear people speaking whom you would swear had just gotten off the Plane from Brooklyn. You could also go to other areas of the city and surrounding areas and swear you were in Paris.
I guess this is just one of the things that makes New Orleans so interesting, and was one thing that made my wife and I to love it so.

But, on a personal note, the people of New Orleans and the area in general that I found most fascinating were the Cajun People. I have never in my life met a more self-deprecating people, who always ready to laugh, not only at other people and things, but themselves as well. I also found that when one was fortunate to count a Cajun as a friend, you were a lucky person indeed, for a cajun put no limits on his or her friendship, and would do absolutely anything for a friend, a trait I have found in very few people since. Anyway, before I started this diatribe, and the reason for it, is the horror of the Oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and the wreckage it is making of the Gulf and the lives of the people who depend on the Gulf for their livelihood.

I know British Petroleum says that they will clean up the area and reimburse every person affected, but just exactly how in the world can that possibly be accomplished?

Hundreds of miles of coastline and tens of thousands of people have been irreparably damaged, their livelihoods ruined and the wetlands impacted to such a degree that there is NO way to repair the damage.

I guess it would be fair to say that all the Gulf States will be "closed for Repair", for a length of time greater than my life expectancy, and I sorrow greatly when reflecting on this fact. I have heard it said that this accident was an act of God. I vehemently object to that statement, for why would a loving God inflict such damage on a people? The answer , of course, is that he wouldn't and didn't. This was purely and simply, an act of Man and his insatiable Greed for his Petrochemical "Fix", around which too many of us have staked out our lives!!

I find it restful and pleasant to daydream about fishing trips I have taken in the past on the Bayous and Lakes of Louisiana and Mississippi and find it sad that I will probably never again find the soul-restoring peace one can find on a lazy float down a Louisiana bayou, spending more time listening to the voice of the Bayou and the Swamps surrounding it. From the Sigh of the breeze through the Spanish Moss and across the water, to the calling of various birds in the surrounding trees, to the occasional Pig-like grunt of an Alligator, seldom seen, but always present, all combined to form a quiet music, which left a lot of time for introspection.

I found I did some of my deepest and best thinking about life in general, and my part in it in particular on these fishing trips;

Of Course one must not assign a minor role in this "nature Play" to fishing, itself the reason for the trip in the first place. for anyone who loved to fish, and in a somewhat spookily darkling atmosphere to boot, I can recommend nothing better than a Louisiana bayou, especially in the early spring.

On one particular trip my Brother and I took with our neighbor, we literally caught fish (largely Speckled Trout) until we were just plain tired of catching fish. My brother has a picture taken of us, with our catch taken just after that trip and it is amazing. This is one of those "Life's Memories" that I will never forget, and is just one of those things that makes my memories of New Orleans and the area around so very pleasant and precious.

I guess what I've been trying to say, in all this uncharted rambling, is that the next time you doubt the existance of God, and perhaps are disgusted with the intrinsic faults of the species homo sapiens sapiens, perhaps its time to go on a fishing trip. I recommend it unreservedly. And while you are about it, offer up a prayer to whichever God you worship, for the Health and Welfare of the people of the Gulf States and the Gulf itself. And God Bless Admiral Thad Allen (U.S.C.G. Ret) for the thankless job he has undertaken to trying to solve this horrible problem, and start to bring the Gulf, and all its inhabitants back to health.

Stay Well


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