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!