After a few too many days (or far too few, depending on your point of view) of beer battering and deep frying ourselves, Sweetheart and I lit out of New Orleans headed for the swamp. Listening to WWOZ 90.7 (which just might actually be the “greatest radio station in the known world”, as they say. I recommend judging for yourself here). The great vast and secret network of swamp trails and lagoons that spreads over south Louisiana like a heavy green petticoat has been a place of utter romance and adventure for me since I was little. Daddy used to tell me tales of a one-eyed alligator who wore a beret and an eyepatch and cruised the bayous making merry and trying to stay out of trouble and the sights of hapless poachers named Bubba and Ernest (one time he caught a train to Galveston by rolling off an aqueduct onto a bed of coal-car sugarcane, but that’s another story), followed quickly by Nancy Drew’s bayou adventures, the smoke hazed tales of mooncussers and rum runners using the natural canals for piracy under dead moons, and, of course, the song “The Battle of New Orleans”, which, I believe, is an entirely factually accurate account of said battle (including the part where they use an alligator as a cannon when theirs melts). So. Let’s just say I have a bayou kinship. Our destination: The Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve on the very land where the Battle of New Orleans happened (! in 1814 !), and hiked the four mile bayou trail. We saw two gators (neither in beret or eyepatch, which is just because my gator is too smart to hang out by the trail), a scarlet ibis, and miles and miles of lacy mire, loud with cicadas, and (our luck) full of strange cool breezes. You’d better hope that the next time I see you, I’ll have outgrown the pretty bad cajun accent I acquired walking around these swamps, but it’s not looking good dere, cher.
And in case you forgot, some good gator advice.