Atchafayla Basin-Atchafalya Swamp

Did you know Louisiana has the largest wetland in the United States?

Wikipedia states, "Located in south central Louisiana, It is a combination of wetlands and river delta area where the Atchafalaya River and the Gulf of Mexico converge." 

The Atchafayla Basin, "The Basin" as locals call it is a paradise for fishing, skiing, jet skiin, froggin, or just taking the boat out to enjoy the lovely scenery of different wildlife. 

My favorite thing to do, and unfortunately have not been able to is froggin.  I know rite now you are probably wondering what does one do when they frog....I shall explain.  First thing is first, you must have an aluminum boat so you can creep up on these massive frogs where than you have this pointing device which I call a, "gigger"!  So, yeah you go late at night and cruise the swamps trying to gig frogs which you than throw them in an ice-chest with ice so they fall into a slumber.  

I have a friend who has been my friend since I was fifteen.  We have had several challenges in our lives and still have stayed the way we were growing up. We never miss a beat.  Kathryn Thibodeaux, once the Kathryn McCormick daughter to Chris and Glenn McCormick.  Grew up on the northside of Lafayette. But, we attended high-school together.

Katy, that is what I call her.  She is almost 5'11 and has long gorgeous dark brown hair and these eyes that have you wondering,how did she get so lucky?! She and I share daughters that are the same age and are completely opposite and at the same time the two kindest young ladies you will ever meet.  My daughter and Katy share the same birthday also.  May 11 is their dob and spot on they are similar in so many ways. Katy and I also share boys and another girl that are the same age as my son.  Of course, she is catholic and is the god mother to my last but not least baby boy! Who we all love and adore.  Katy is my best friend and I would not trade her in for anyone.  Ironically, Mother's day passed and our husbands planned to take us to Basin on our boat. Well, let me correct that sentence, my boat that I am so clueless of operating.    They take us fishing on the basin.  We decided to take a ride down the levee looking at camps and enjoying the ride.  We road all the way down till we could not go anymore.  We dropped some lines and asked the guys if they could move the boat a midge.....the boat no longer was working.  While my husband and Katy's husband tried figuring out what was going on with the boat we fished and caught nothing.  It was fun but, could have been better.  The boat was definitely going no where.  Thank goodness Trent, Katy's husband was there cause my husband would have blown his fuse.  No paddle in the boat we use the nets to paddle us to shore to use someones dock to haul the broken boat home.  I did not get to see the sunset but laughed so hard I almost peed on myself. 

The basin did not surprise me.  The house we utilized allowed us to use their restroom and the wife was very pleasant.  We ended our interesting yet fairy-tale night at Pat's dining in at Katy's while all seven children reminded us why mothers day is not just one day its everyday. Since this adventure Katy and I traveled to my favorite spot in Grand Isle where she caught seven white trout. You will not find that in the basin.  Maybe an alligator or gar fish.  You will also be able to view the prettiest, oldest cypress tree and wildlife like you have never seen before.  

 

Destin, Florida

“Longing to be near the ocean is like longing to being in the presence of a loved one”, -anonymous

  The Emerald Coast attracts thousands of southern and northern tourist from all over to visit and make memories of the beautiful white sand and cast their rods out to the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village.” What exactly is the Emerald Coast?  Well, to me it’s a five and half hour drive of hell with kids and family members traveling east bound to find paradise.  I was excited to visit my little piece of heaven and cast my luck into this area known as the “Panhandle”.

Destin, is located in the western peninsula of Florida.  It is three hundred and thirty one miles…as the crow flies… away from Lafayette, Louisiana.  Every year my family celebrates the catholic tradition of preparation of Easter while we retreat to a house on the coast. 

This year’s trip could not come quick enough.  Since I was conceived by Robert and Frances Edwards I was destined to love the beach.  My family growing up would retreat to Shoreline townhome located in Destin Florida, to escape the city life of Opelousas, Louisiana.  My earliest memories of Destin, Florida are relived every year with my diverse family.  I knew this year would be difficult since my eldest invited three of her friends and my mother was expected to bring my brother, “Gaston”, her dog. This trip was “colorful”! An array of challenges, both bad and good.  We won’t focus on the negative ones because I am the author and I have to stay positive, simply because the south is a peaceful place!  

 Imagine 67 degrees, the sun soaring down on you and your closest ones, nestled for a great photo shoot of the mesmerizing colors of the water behind you.  Destin was founded in 1845 by Captain Leonard Destin who still has family living and working in this area.  Interesting fact as to why the beach sand is so white and squeaks while you walk on it. Sand particles that were deposited by the Appalachian river caused perfectly oval grains of soft sand.   How much better can it get than this? I retreat here so my children can experience the amazing sites the beach offers and try to cast their luck on the emerald water.  This year I caught a Sheephead and I cooked it with family.  Lemon, onions, seasoning, butter and a full Sheephead. C’est Bon, which means, that[G1]  is good in French.  Easter passes and we receive a call from the association that my moms dog could not be at the townhome so my husband had to leave that night to return my mother to Lafayette, Louisiana.  I tried to enjoy the remaining trip and I did.  My two youngest and I crabbed, fish and adventured to Fudpucker’s an eatery that does not have the best food but, the best entertainment a kid could ask for.  I took Matt my ten year old and my soon to be three year old before the storm touched Destin. They played games and were able to cast their luck to catch an alligator.  Which they did.  We ate and ran in the rain that was beating down on us to have an opportunity to hold a baby alligator.  It was fun and to be quite honest I enjoyed running in the rain and cherishing the small memories we were making. The following night Lonnie, my husband would come to my rescue.  Being married to someone you really love is different and unexplainable.  I am so thankful and grateful for him. Before his arrival I took the entire crew to a traditional eatery I love.  Its off Hwy 98 on the water.  You can catch an amazing view of the sun setting and their food is fresh and phenomenal. Marina Café is a great spot for family or a date.  The food is 5 stars and service even better.  You will not regret checking this spot out. 

Its 6:30 am and I am still awake because our two year old still sleeps with us and Lonnie my husband is the loudest riser in the morning.  I suffer with several herniation’s in my back and the pain was kicking that morning.  I will never be a morning person because I choose not to be one.  I love to sleep and my body appreciates me when I give it sleep.  I arise to begun the process of leaving my second home to return the long journey back home.  Once again, we didn’t find the right house for us but, I know the universe already knows what it is and it will take time to find the perfect home.  Maybe Destin, is not going to be the next location for us.  Three hours pass and the baby wakes up and its time to wake up the girls.  They didn’t clean the entire time and now was the time.  We pack everything up and hop into our vehicles.  We fill up and stop for breakfast before taking the toll back to the interstate. 

Destin is my second home and every year it surprises me with new sunsets and tranquil skylights.  Every time I have casted into the ocean it never disappoints me. This Easter taught me a lot and I am so glad I am able to understand and move on rather than ponder on the negative.  Lessons learned….never bring family and never allow your children to bring no more than one friend on a trip.  Oh, and make sure you make time to go fishing! I am still longing for my blue water and mesmerizing sunsets that await me in June and for the entire first part of July. How did I get so lucky?

 

 

Cypremort Point, Louisiana

February is always a difficult month for me.  2016 marks ten years since my father's death.  A decade has gone by and it seems like yesterday that I told him I loved him and hugged him.  He was an outstanding man, my father.  He was the one to teach me how to shoot my first duck and cast in my line.  Small memories that I cherish and hold on to so that I can try to replicate those memories with my own children. When you loose everything you gain so much. Boy, do I miss my crazy dad.  I realized the other day when I was working on a client, I began to laugh and start crying...those were tears of joy, the same tears my dad would bring to my eyes when we would joke around... cherish your parents if you still have them.  They will soon be gone and you will wish to have that unconditional love again.

"The Point", Cypremort Point, Louisiana, is the closest locality spot for Acadiana peeps.  A lot of anglers love fishing the gulf and this is the closest of locations for them.  I love the drive to Cypremort Point because it's close and you can shoot out rite to your spot and be home in time for dinner.  When spring time rolls around the Lafayette crowd will be nestled in their multi-million dollar camps with high-school friends enjoying their sportsman toys.  Every Friday, I recall hopping into a friend of mines jeep and jamming out to music while awaiting the weekend on jet-skis and drinking on the pier.  As I got older, I recall going to the Point during Mardi Gras and cutting up.  I did not do much fishing out here but, always heard of the guys talking about the reds and trout they were slamming back home.  

Again, February is a crazy month and this month even crazier with Mardi Gras.  On top of trying to cover up some sadness I still hold onto I am running the kids, prepping for balls and parades.  It was another day in the life of me...woke up, got kids to school, prayed, went to A.J.'s and was about to head to CoCo Ero's to check out their sale.  Erin Kyla Dolan, good friend of mine,from highschool, gave me the call that we could head out to the Point to cast our luck out on the water. I have been waiting to hang with my girl and to get on the water.

 Erin is a legit, "ANGLER", the type of girl you wanna take home to your mom.  She is super smart, beautiful, and all around sportsman girl.  I love hanging out with her and Katy Thibodeaux. If you see us three together you are sure to have a great time and laugh the entire time.   I rushed home and got my pole and headed to her house.  I got to Erin's house; we shot the shit and she loaded up her truck and we were out.  We stopped by her sisters who lives on the Vermilion. It was fun to see livestock in a home in Lafayette.  Her sister's home is super cool.. lots of land on the Vermilion River. Erin and I laughed and were checking out hoof marks on the ground to scout out any hog we may find.  We jetted out and headed toward the DMV where she swore there would be no one in this tiny town.  We jumped out the Tahoe and by quit some surprised the entire building was packed.   I walk in rite behind and she says, "Hey, lets sit outside", I am like ok.... and turn around,thinking there is no seating area outside...We head back to the truck laughing and head out to the Point.  We go the back way thru Abbeville and hop on 90 to jump rite off to Cypremort Point.  Once you exit its maybe a twenty minute ride of great scenery.    We catch up about our lives and what not and by surprise we didn't realize we both had lost our fathers one year apart from one another.  It is such a small world and I am so blessed with the best friends any girl could ask for.  She, Erin, just gets me.  It's difficult to understand a woman or a girl who has lost her father.  It is not the same.  A girl who still physically has her father is different from a girl whose father is dead.  

We arrive to the beach.  Not a single person is on the beach.  Erin and I are thrilled to have this entire area to our personal usage.  We paid 5 bucks a piece to enter and we had an entire front of brackish water.  Erin just purchased a new rod and she was excited to try it out.  Her pole is perfect and light weight for a woman.  I really liked it and want one really badly! I do not promote fishing apparel but, check out Shimano Metanium.  We tried our luck for several hours and nothing was biting. We went around toward the back where you actually can rent the cabins out for 110 a night and you have a personal area to fish.  We tried our luck but, nothing was biting.  It was around 4:20 pm when we shot out and took a spin down the Point.  You see, Cypremort Point has one grocery  and the other day when I went it was closed.  All the homes are owned by out of townees who spend their down time on the water casting their luck on the water on their time off. 

 If you to get away from reality this is where you go.  I am so fortunate to cast my luck with a true friend.  It was great to replace memories of the area with new ones.  What else is possible? If you are ever near the Lafayette area and can not think of an area to inshore or offshore fish try casting your luck at Cypremort Point. I love you Erin and I am truly blessed to have you in my life.  Keep smiling, fishing, and most importantly living like today was the last one.  

St. Francisville, Louisiana

I have waited several months for this trip to St. Francisville, Louisiana.  I have traveled here several occasion to check out the beautiful plantation homes that enchanted me with their cypress moss aged live oaks.  This trip not as expansive but, with nature.  Prior to this hunt, I had always shot on private land so I was ignorant to the fact you have to take a Hunter Safety Class before in order to hunt.  I keep wondering as to why my father never asked me if I wanted to take the class as a young girl.  I was that a young, curly haired girl, shooting a 22, chasing to find the next rodent to kill.  I have great memories of hunting that range from 10 years of age to present.  Needless to say ,the hunting class taught me some things I never knew about hunting and the animals I prey on.  This year I plan on educating my two oldest so they do not have to worry about being legal at an older age.  

I am not a morning person.  Never will be either.  I mediate and pray in the morning and it takes several hours to get going.  This trip was a mindful and gratifying moment for me because I actually did well for myself at such an early time in the morning.  The trip began at 2:30 am with a wake up call by my lovely husband.  Who, by nature is a morning person.  We traveled two and half hours north of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  We had to stop at several gas stations because, like always he forgotten to purchase his license to hunt.  Oh, did I mention  December 18th, 2015 was the coldest day in Louisiana?  Yes, I actually thought I was prepared for this hunt and I was not.  We arrive in the back roads near the Mississippi river where the camp is located.  We load our equipment  and weapons with the guide, named Jeremy.  Jeremy has a rock ass job for a dude, in my opinion.  I am a firm believer in doing a job that you love.  It will make your life a lot more easier if you could find that profession that doesn't cause the trauma and drama.  He basically, is a housewife who hunts and entertains oilfield customers.  He gets to cook, grocery shop, go shopping at the only store in St. Francisville, which is perfect for any sportsman guy., and hunt every single day of open season.  Mais las, that sounds like the life! No kids to bug you while you cook, shop, and hunt.  Sounds to me like the perfect job any True Southern gentleman would want as a life.

 Off in the dark we go......and in the dark, it sure was black and cold!  I had on hip boots and they made my feet colder.  Jeremy guides us to our blind and my husband and I head to the tree in the creepy pitch black.  I was a little nervous but confident with my ar15 in my hand.  We begin climbing the ladder and what looked like a bat attacked my hubby but, come to find out it was a bird.   The blind is extremely cold and tee-tiny.  After five minutes I begin complaining because I can not feel my toes.  My hubby had to hold me to keep me warm because I was not going to call the guy begging to be brought back to the camp.  The sun began to rise and I expected instant heat but, waited for a doe or hog to appear.  After much anticipation, the ugly old grunt hog appeared.  I am too cold to pick up the rifle and I tell my husband to shoot.  He shoots, shoots again, and one last time.  The hog got away.   The next two hours were nice.  No technology and just us one with nature.  I saw one doe but I did not have a scope on my gun to shoot as far as it was.  We saw a nice size buck but, did not pay for killing it and the fine for killing it was not worth it.  You see, down south everyone is tight with their money.  The oilfield has not seen this hit since 1980.  I do not think like everyone.  Think about the time during the Depression when everyone was affected by the economy there were several people who did not align and agree with everyone and stayed a float.  

We head back with the guide for lunch and I literally crash in a bunk bed.  I arise to head back to the property to try to accomplish what I attended and wanted so badly! Remember the first blind we were in was not insulated or large.  We head to a different location that overlooks a flat view of three acres of land.  This blind is insulated and a lot nicer than the first. We actually took off the layers we had because the sun had heated up the spot to perfection.  This part of the day was nice.  I was actually able to listen and focus into the wonderful fresh air that was provided to us by mother nature.  I saw several cardinals in trees and the sunset was fantastic as it set in the West.  

Did you know that St Francisville has been called, "the town two miles long and two yards wide." This developed a top a narrow ridge overlooking the Mississippi River which brought the town as the commercial center.  Did you know that St. Francisville served as the Capital of the Republic of West Florida?  Yes, this is true the local planters ousted the Spanish government and setup their own independent republic for 74 days. Another interesting fact is that several Jewish refugee established themselves and helped with the levees and banks when they failed and built impressive homes like the St. Francisville Inn Bed and Breakfast.  

All of these facts provide this small town located north of Baton Rouge, with rich heritage and breath-taking plantation homes  If you are looking for old antiques or a fun getaway to an old plantation home, St. Francisville welcomes you to their town.

The trip ended with me seeing only a cute bunny that I did not kill.  I may not have killed that doe or hog as I wanted but I had some great quality time with the hubby and with God's beautiful creations. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lake Travis, Texas

I arrive to Lafayette, Louisiana greeted by my sitter awaiting my arrival with my child at the airport.  She was excited to see me and the baby. I was smart this round and packed before my last trip.  The other kids were upset that I was leaving again but, this momma who has not taken a trip from her children in forever, was excited to be on Lake Travis for four days! Exhausted from flying, I hopped in my vehicle and headed east on I-10.

 I-10 is an interstate that runs east and west of several southern states.  In order for me to travel to Lake Travis I have to take this interstate.  It isn’t a bad drive and the landscape throughout the drive is fair.  I began to get frustrated and realized my plane should have dropped me to Houston so I didn’t need to drive an additional three hours. Lake Travis was created back in 1937.  Back before the Mansfield Dam was created the Colorado River ran through the Hill Country and Travis County.  Lake Travis was the result of the Mansfield Dam.  The lake spans at 63.5 miles, and is almost 19,000 acres in area.  The residential area has grown and continues to thrive for commercial and retail businesses.  Boaters, anglers, and water lovers alike will return just to take in the natural beauty of the perfect landscapes it provides. 

Arriving at 1:30 am I am greeted by mother nature’s beautiful animals.  There are rabbits and doe resting in the pastures and the lake seems to be at a great level.  Carissa Schoeling is a dear friend of mine.  I met her through my friend Lauren Naquin.  Carissa is fun and has an enormous heart.  We hit it off years ago and I enjoy every invite to the Lake House.  This is my retreat away from my domesticated life in Lafayette, La.  I am exhausted from traveling and wait up after showering with no screaming kids! How much better can it get than that?  Lauren arrives around 2am and they awaken me to talk outside.  The wind is blowing and the weather is fantastic.  The moon that night was showering over us as we stayed up till 4am chattering about our lives.  The small moments I cherish of my friendships.  This trip was quite different than others.  You see, Carissa is finally getting married! She invited twelve girls that would be arriving the next morning.  Trying to sleep in, Carissa wakes Lauren and I up to join her and her family upstairs for breakfast.  I don’t mind at all.  Mrs. Jill, Carissa’s mom is upstairs with a fabulous spread for us. Not only is our views flooded with passing boats and jet skiers the sun couldn’t have come at a better time.  After discussing the past Lauren and I head out into town to get some extra gifts for the party. 

On the way there we stop at a Tacos truck stop, Taqueria Rosita. It’s located on Texan Hill Country Trail 620.  This place has killer prices on tacos and their food is off the chain!  A tacos is only 1.75 and you can get yourself a Mexican coke.  Not only will you be stoked of the hilly, green scene the weather is on key.  My favorite part of Lake Travis is to drive up and down the hills enjoying the views of the lake and beautiful trees.  In Louisiana you do not see hills anywhere.

Lake Travis is always a fun place to retreat for vacation.  I am thrilled for this weekend to be back in Hill Country surrounded by the enchanting water. 

 

 

Uchee Creek Campground & Marina/ Columbus, Georgia

Every year my husband is called to leave us for an entire month and travel to Ft. Benning, Ga., for the military.  My husband has dedicated 25 years to the army and continues to never see the light at the tunnel.  Another topic I could rant for hours on.  Every year I travel with our youngest son for a week to visit my hubby to break up the month away from one another.  Every year I stay at Uchee Creek, located in Ft. Mitchell Al.  

Nestled along the banks of the Chattahoochee River is Uchee Creek Campground and Marina.  Three hundred and eighty five acres of the park which has 107 RV sites, 40 cabins, 15 chalets, tent sites, and an abundace of outdoor activity.  Trees grow tall and the water of the Chattahoochee River are deep and cool.  This campgroud is only warranted for active duty and retired military personeel; DOD civilians, their families and other personell can spend a weekend or an entire vacation.  

In the late 1830s the town located along side the river was used for industrial power.  This was the easiest way to the fall line mills from the Gulf of Mexico.  Now the river isn't relied on as it was back in the day.  It is currenlty viewed as important for its ecological beauty and economic assests. 

Uchee Creek is a magnificant setting but, do not rely on the internet or AT&T services to help you catch up on work or friends via social media.  That will not happen.  The entire time I visited I did not have service at our chalet.  Yes, the chalets are lovely and very big but, what is a city girl to do inside with no internet or phone service.  Be bored and explore.  

I traveled to Columbus, Ga., which is a thirty minute drive into town.  Columbus, Ga served as Christopher Columbus connection to the world.  Columbus was ranked second to Richmond after the Civil War broke out in 1861, in the manufacture of supplies for the Confederate army.  The city reminds me of a very small town.  There is an University located in the city,which is,Columbus State University.  If you travel downtown you will find local shops and coffee stops that are very afforadable.  My favorite boutique is, The Posh Peach Boutique! It is located at 1105 Broadway, Columbus, Ga 31901. Hours of operation are 10:00am-7:00pm.  Very affordale and they have amazing bath salts that are homemade.  Besides the afordable window shopping there are several spots to enjoy a lunch or dinner.  I questioned why things were so inexpensive...  After shopping off of Broadway you can literally go a street over and finish your day with bike riding, white water rafting, or zip lining across the river.  

Is Ucheee Creek a place for someone who is use to fine dinining, luxury, and internet? Absolutely, not.  If you are looking for a quiet getaway where you will be cooking nightly, than this is the place for you.  I really enjoy Georgia and Uchee Creek but, I would rather be at the condo listening to the Gulf of Mexico dreaming about the fish I could have caught that day.  

 

False River, La

False River was awaiting my arrival. My neighbor and good friend, Lynn Gabal Neustrom invited me and my two boys to her uncles camp in False Rive, located north of Lafayette, La.  Lynne and I go way back. We have been knowing each other since high school.  My first encounter with her was at Camp Windy Gap Young Life in Weaverville, NC.  A Christian base camp that is surrounded with mountains and beautiful surroundings.  I am empowered to know that we continue to practice our Christian beliefs together and ironically meet up again years later to know we are neighbors.  God always works in mysteries ways.

This trip to False River from Lafayette, La takes an hour and fifteen minutes from my house if we do not stop.  False River is shaped like an oxbow.  Wikipedia's definition of oxbow lake is a U- shaped body of water that forms when a wide meander from the main stream of a river is cut off, creating a free-standing body of waterThe body of water is shaped like an U.  Did you know that False River was once the main channel of the Mississippi?  I didn't know any of this information till I did a little research on the area.  During the American Civil War an expedition was sent from Morganza from the New York cavalry to scout False River for confederate recruiting officers.  The soldiers were successful at locating the five officers in closets and under homes on January 31, 1865.  False River is also known for its 10.5 mile long, "trophy lake", known for its stripped bass, boating, water skiing, and unbelievable views of antebellum homes I never knew existed. 

We begun our travels late one evening.  Like always, trying to successfully get Lynne and I out of our homes with all five children would be very challenging.  It sure was.  But, at our surprised we were not the ones with bumps in the road.  My husband went back to the house and successfully landed the trailer in our ditch.  To the rescue, Lynne's husband Tom and another neighbor created a pathway to get trailer out and we were on our way to her uncles camp, out of the ditch and safe and free. We took I-49 up to Port Barre and straight to New Rhodes, La where False River is located.  We arrived around 11 pm with the boys. I was surprised to have forgotten how far down the driveway sits down...I was not taking the chance of falling in the lake. 

Steve Gabal is Lynne's uncle.  He has three girls and currently is residing at his camp until he gets approval that he will be a tour guide for the National Museum of Vietaman War.  Mr. Gabal's camp is a camp.  It is not this nice two story house, not a condo, literally, a camp. This camp lies at the end of the lake.  The sunrises and sunsets are breathtaking and being away from the city life brought back the wonderful life I had growing up as a kid.  The boys swam, canoe, boated, slid into water,fished and so much more.  All at the camp!

The week I stayed here was such a relaxing getaway! The second night we arrived there we received a text from Lynne's husband that there had been a shooting five blocks from our houses at the movie theater.  My husband immediately phones me also to see where our daughter was and to make sure she is safe.  She was and she didn't even know this had occurred.  I can not express how blessed we are to have not been in Lafayette that night.  The kids did not have to experience all the media and trauma/drama of this horrific act that some stranger who was mentally ill and did this to our city and their families! What a sick person. 

We decided to turn off the news and pray and stay a couple more days to keep the kids from the trauma.  We did and it was the best idea we had.  We fished, boated, got away for dinner for adult night for dinner.  The sunsets and sunrises were breathtaking and I got to experience with a lifelong friend.  Our kids bonded as well as Lynne and I grew closer.  We all went to church at St. Mary Catholic church where Lynne was able to listen because they had a nursery. Everything that allowed joy and happiness in that week, occurred!

If anyone is looking to escape the busy city life and is looking for a relaxing fishing trip or water sports, False River is the place to go. 

Grand Isle, La

There is an island that sits at the edge of Louisiana’s coast known as Grand Isle.  To some Deep South Housewives this is just a short drive from their city. For me, this was close to a four hour drive.  I live in Cajun Country city, also known as Lafayette.  We are known for our great food, most beautiful women, and happiest people in the United States.  I consider Lafayette to be our little piece of deep southern paradise framed by the Vermilion River.

My trip began in the car late at night, hauling the boat with my baby and family. I started to feel my excitement intense as our destination became closer as miles passed.  Driving from Lafayette to Grand Isle, looking out the passenger window at all of the marsh land from Lafayette to Grand Isle definitely made the trip more aesthetically pleasing.  One wrong turn and you will land in some type of body of water.  Upon my arrival I did some research to find a place to stay and discovered I was not going to find any high-rise buildings with upscale service.  I chose the most affordable choice and it was a house.  This establishment, Wateredge Beach Resort, is run by an elderly couple who have owned their motel for many years. The house we stayed in was their home.  The wife of the elderly couple, June Brignac shared her story with me. She first started with telling me about her simple life.  Mrs. June and her girlfriend would spend their day sitting on the beach with a cold drink in one hand and a fishing pole in the other. She shared with me that the men from neighboring camps and offshore workers noticed that each day the women would reach their limit. If you’re not from the south, let me provide you with a formal definition of what a “limit” is--to ensure that you’re in compliance with federal regulations, you should contact the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council. (AKA they don’t play around.) The curious men would frequently ask the women their secret on how they were catching so many fish. Mrs. June and her girlfriend teased them to the point where the men would offer money for what they were using. Looking at me with a smile on her face, Mrs. June told me that she would never let her secret out. (clues to come on future blogs) Fast forward a few years, the light of conversation turned from pure joy to empathetic. A decade ago, hurricane Katrina devastated Grand Isle along with Mrs. June’s home that became submerged with 5 feet of water.  The flooding forced Mrs. June and her family to reside in Gonzales, LA for a month. She expressed that she longed to get back to her home and help Grand Isle thrive again. Her willingness to find opportunity through tragedy is something you will find in a reel southern golden woman. I felt the heavy energy walking up the squeaky stepsstairs to the second story upstairs with squeaky steps of our home for the weekend.  Despite packing lightly I nested the night away and was looking forward to our morning. After settling my family in, I nestled into bed looking forward to what the next day held for me. 

The next morning, I stepped out and went to find a coffee house. After some thought, I soon remembered I wasn’t in Lafayette anymore and settled with a coca-cola to satisfy my usual cup of morning caffeine, which they do not have and I resorted to a coke cola.  There is literally only one resteraunt in Grand Isle, Starfish Restaurant. It's open every day and they have great food, which came at no surprise! Other than that there is Sureway Supermarket which has plenty of fresh food that you can prepare at your camp or the guy who BBQ's outside has some killer deals.  But, he only accepts cash.  Grand Isle is literally an island and the people within this community are filled with rich culture and down-to-earth, simple people. 

Around noon, my family and I decided to go onto our boat and admire the waters up close. We soon realized our trip on the water would be cut short due to the boat’s battery troubles. Since our boat was not working and my determined husband worked on it the entire trip,  I resorted to our cottage’s porch to appreciate the beautiful scenary that was in front of my cabin .  My mother provided me with some relaxing “alone time” by taking my , nephew and my youngest child to the beach.  The sand was so hot, sandals were a necessity. The water was magnificent and the families’ energy around us made it even better.

I decided to get in touch with the first woman whom I was meeting to interview. I wanted to learn more and interview her love for the water and fishing.  We later met and it was a three mile walk with me, baby, and my camera. The rocks and the water coming in was so intense that my awareness to this beauty was not on freeze. My entire body was at ease and joyful to meet someone who so intensely enjoys the waterways of the South!

Caitlin Fontenot Morrison was , born and raised in Ville Platte, La.  Ville Platte, LA is another small town north of Lafayette., LA.  Mrs. Morrison Caitlin is married to Jacob Morrison, native of Dularge, La.  Meeting Caitlin and her family was such a southern treat.

I met Caitlin and her family at Drago’s in New Orleans, Louisiana one weekend and she agreed to meet later to be interviewed about why she considered herself to be a “reel housewife of the deep south”.

After I made the assumption that Caitlin’s camp was only .4 miles from our camp, I decided to take a little journey on foot… THREE actual miles and 45 minutes later, I arrived hot, tired, and wishing I had my golf cart. Jacob and Caitlin have three children, two boys and their youngest, a girl. I met with Caitlin and the kids on the beach in front of their camp. We talked about our obvious mutual love for fishing and how hers started when she was a little girl. Caitlin’s grandfather would take her fishing at his pond in Ville Platte, La. Her love for saltwater fishing began with her now husband, Jacob Morrison.

Caitlin and Jacob met in Grayton Beach, Fl., where they fell in love and he proposed shortly after. Jacob grew up saltwater fishing in Houma, La., and Dularge, La. Caitlin, also, grew up Bass fishing at Chickow Park, north of Lafayette. Her favorite spot is Dularge, LA where she really started salt water fishing.  She revealed that Jacob, her husband, brought the gratitude and excitement of salt water fishing. Caitlin expressed that although she loves to fish, her husband is the Reel reason she has so much love for Grand Isle.

I asked her, “What do you think of when I say ‘A Southern Woman who gets Down and Dirty?”

She Replied, “Someone from South Louisiana who hunts and fish and is not afraid to get her hands dirty.”

 I first met Maryochello Jackson via Facebook of Reel Housewives of the Deep South. I was super excited and I anticipated our meet because over the past two weeks, she enticed me to go to Grand Isle. She explains that although she has been named Queen of fishing in Grand Isle, she states, “It’s my husband that’s a true fisherman. His dad and Granddad were charter fisherman and he followed in their footsteps in Panama City, Florida. He started snapper fishing and followed his uncle to Grand Isle and that’s where I met him! He’s retired from charter fishing and we fish for fun now! We are going snapper fishing tomorrow and hoping to catch some grouper too!!”

   She is from the West Bank which is Marrerro, LA. She and her husband Robert have one kid together, Robert Jackson JR; and Mary is also the stepmother to Jody Jackson. Maryochello currently is a stay at home mom where she takes care of her three grandkids. Growing up, Mary states that her father was a bigshot in the oilfield and would take them deep sea fishing in Grand Isle. This is where her fishing adventures began. After high school, she decided to move to the island and become a bartender. She worked at the Offshore Lounge in the 60s, now the Oasis, and Sarah’s Bar and met her husband at Sarah’s bar. They got married in 1988.  

            When I asked her the same question as I asked Caitlin, what do you think of when I say ‘A Southern who gets down and dirty?’ she responded “fishing is getting down and dirty”

You can find Mrs. Jackson’s camp on Grand Isle very easily. Nestled on Highway one you will find a tall, white lighthouse. When I arrived at Mr. and Mrs. Jackson’s camp, I was warmly greeted and was offered beer and fresh tuna. How much better can it get than that? Mrs. Jackson was accompanied by Mark and Amanda Mayberry from LaRose Louisiana. We talked for several hours about life on the camp and their many fishing adventures. This was a great ending to a fantastic weekend in Grand Isle. 

Unfortunately I was not able to enjoy the beautiful butterflies that live at the butterfly dome in Grand Isle, but I was able to view two miles of the wonderful beaches and see the great local fishing in Grand Isle. If you are looking to enjoy fresh seafood, camping in a state park, fish from a nine hundred foot pier extending into the Gulf of Mexico, or charter a boat, come on! Grand Isle awaits you.

 I want to give a shout out to Bridge Side Cabin and Marina! Renee Pennison is the owner and was so kind to me when I went to her marina.  If you need anything while you are at Grand Isle, this is the place that will have everything you need, including our tanks! 

   Thank you to my daughter, Gabby Perez! Thank you to my two amazing babysitters that helped me write this blog!!!! Thank you for always inspiring to be the beautiful being I am....Until next time!