We’ve been watching old re-runs of Swamp People, following the exploits of mainly Louisiana alligator fishermen during the the annual month long alligator hunting season. In particular we like to see Troy Landry and his sons Jacob and Chase from Pierre Part, where my husband was born and raised and where my in-laws still live. It’s a long way from the humidity of the Louisiana swamps to the hustle and bustle of London life, but for my husband it’s a reminder of where he came from, and we love seeing the beautiful bayou vistas and hearing the typical clipped Cajun accents.
I remember on my first ever visit to Pierre Part, being out on the bayou in a flat-bottomed aluminium boat and seeing a long pole sticking out of the water at an angle, with a string tied to it and a chicken leg hanging just above the water line. It’s for catching alligators, they told me, and I though they were making fun of me. But no, apparently that’s exactly how it’s done. It was uncomfortably strange to think of alligators swimming all around us, under us, so I focused on the views above the swamp rather than imagining what lay beneath, lurking in the murky depths – or the shallows, for that matter.
It never ceases to amaze me that anyone can even stand upright balancing in such a relatively small boat only inches above the water, not only to wrangle an angry alligator up close and personal until it tires itself out enough for you to put a shot in the tiny kill spot between its eyes, but also to haul its heavy ass into the slick-surfaced boat afterwards, time after time, day after day. It certainly took me some time to feel comfortably secure sitting cross-legged right up front on the boat, close enough to the swamp to drag my fingers through it – not that I ever did, I kept all body parts firmly in plain view at all times.
The views and the wildlife make the Louisiana swamp such a wonderful place to visit, as out on the bayou it’s a truly immersive experience – well, certainly from on top of the water rather than physically in it. I’ve seen a couple of small alligators and plenty of tell-tale bubbles, one or two cotton-mouth snakes a bit too close for comfort, and more than a few turtles sunning themselves. And out on the wide expanse of Lake Verret we even saw a bald eagle soaring above us, what an amazing wing-span.
So we sit here on our sofa and watch Swamp People, and we each smile at the memories it invokes, and look forward to catching up on the next series when it comes our way… 🙂