Beauty in the Bayous – The Observer

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If you know me, you know where I most want to be.

The answer is Cocodrie.

The people who know me well roll their eyes when this subject comes into conversation. (I try to insert it as often as possible). The proof is in the sign two dear friends bought me: “Cocodrie is my Happy Place” the sign says.

It’s entirely true. We are travelers by nature, and love going places – all over the world. Everywhere in the United States. But over the past few years, we can be at the most amazing places – awesome beaches, beautiful mountains, countries across the world. And ask me where I would probably rather be and the answer is always: Cocodrie.

It’s a little crazy. And honestly, I can’t even explain it.

I know it’s brown water. And there’s mosquitoes and gnats.

But it’s bayou. And I adore it.

It wasn’t always that way. Growing up “down the bayou” in Bourg, I wasn’t proud of it. Rolled my eyes about fishing, shrimping, crabbing. Slept through almost every fishing trip and refused to even put my pole in the water sometimes.

But then the shift came – maybe it’s a mid-life crisis. I don’t even know. I check fishing reports, weather reports, signed up for an online South Louisiana fishing university. I downloaded the boat trader app to check out boats. I talk to people who fish about the best spots, the best bait, the best way to do it. I’ll hop out of bed at 4:30 a.m. in hopes of a good fishing day. Or crabbing. Because I love that too.

We recently met some new friends who live in California, and I tried to explain to them why I love it so much. “So we have a little camp in Cocodrie,” I told them. “What’s a camp?” they asked. Honestly at this point in the conversation, I realized the hopelessness of trying to explain to them the gloriousness of a weekend at “the camp in Cocodrie.” “Ya’ll just come visit us,” I said. “Then you’ll see.”

It’s our bayous. And I’m just a little in love with them all. I love that we live at the bottom of the boot. I love that we can catch our food and cook it with friends and family and an average day becomes the best of days with the most memories. Fish stories are embellished, exaggerated and told for months.

My kids bought me an Academy gift card for Mother’s Day last year. They know I love spending hours on the bait aisle, dreaming of how all the cute, sparkly bait will catch me redfish and trout. It’s a thing. Although if I’m honest, I’ve been made lots of fun of for calling baits cute. But they are – google a picture of Matrix Shrimp Creole shad – so cute! And it’s a proven winner in our boat. Win-win.

Ours is a true Sportsman’s Paradise and I don’t want to ever leave. Last year, we watched Fourth of July fireworks out of the end of Cocodrie where bayou meets gulf. It was red and orange skies and then fireworks. And family and friends. All my favorite things. It’s an appreciation for the things that have been here all along. There’s beauty in the same bayous that I found so boring all those years before.

When a storm comes and destroys what I love, my heart aches for the land and the people who love it and live on it. It’s a land unlike any other. The bayous have created a people unlike any other as well. When I’m acting a little independent and fierce, my family will say “the Bourg is coming out of me.” That’s true too. Don’t mess with bayou people or the people we love.

I want my children to know and love the land like we love it. Don’t miss the goodness of here because you’re trying to focus on over there. You don’t have to stay here forever, but this place should always hold a place in your heart. There’s bayou water running through all our veins. Don’t forget the beauty of this place we get to call home.