In a month where so many have lost so much, what words are there to say?
We (our people, our parishes) were hit by the storm we always knew could happen. The storm that would drive up our bayous and blast wind and rain in ways we could never imagine.
Ida did just that. She stalled and hovered, leaving extended wind and water damage to thousands of homes that will never be the same. The phrase “it’s just a home” isn’t true. Yes, we are glad our people are safe. But our homes are just that. Our homes. Our bayous are just that. Our bayous.
They’re all hit. Nothing feels the same. Disrepair is all around us and will take months and even years to truly return to “normal.”
It’s a possibility that bayou water runs through my veins instead of blood. I love every bayou.
I love every bit and part of lower Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes. If you’re a faithful reader of my words, you’ll know we own a tiny piece of Cocodrie land that I refer to as “a little bit of heaven on earth.”
We’ve crabbed in the waters of Pointe Aux Chenes more times than I can count. We love the beach at Grand Isle. We’ve launched our boat out of Montegut to go “crabbing by the dam” my whole life. We talk about parts of the bayou as “that’s where we caught a bunch of speckled trout” or “that’s when so-and-so (not naming names) fell out of the boat.”
The bayous feel more like home than the building I live in.
I didn’t love it all when I was growing up in it. Being “down the bayou” was a little backward. Or so I thought. It was when I had my first child fall asleep cradled in my arms during a Fourth of July boat ride on a bayou that I knew “down the bayou” is where I always wanted to be. We get to live in a place that’s surrounded by natural beauty and majesty and a true paradise.
There’s mosquitos and gnats and hurricanes, too. But I’ll take it all to live where I love.
I bleed bayou.
“Take me to Cocodrie” is what I say when I’ve had a bad day. I’m not kidding. Bring me to the bayou, and my soul starts to sing.
These bayous hum with the rhythm of generations who have weathered the storms, worked the land and lived in a “sportsman’s paradise.”
I love our land. I love our people. My “Maw Maw” was the kind of Cajun who knew every “down the bayou” family and could somehow make everyone a relative. She spoke Cajun French and knew the bayous like the back of her hand.
Ida won’t destroy us.
It didn’t take anyone too long to figure that out. Our people work hard, pick themselves up and rebuild. And along the way, we help our neighbors, too.
We help and care and love. That’s bayou.
There’s always another storm that could come. But there’s also so much hope here. We will rebuild. We will preserve our coast. We will protect a way of life that’s precious. Is there anything better than a table covered with boiled shrimp or crabs or crawfish that came from the bayous surrounding our homes? The only thing better is the friends that sit around our table, who share our hearts and homes. Even when our homes are broken and our hearts feel shattered, we still know this is home.
These bayous breathe their life into us and give us hope that we are another generation who will tell the story of the storm that came and went, but didn’t destroy us.
We are bayou strong