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Outdoors Louisiana Style

The Outdoors as a Way of Life
Louisiana Sportsman

By: Guy Ralph McDonald

It is a widely known fact that our marshes produce more shrimp, oysters, blue crabs and finfish than anywhere in the United States.

There are many ethnic groups represented in southeastern Louisiana, including Italian, French, Spanish, Vietnamese, African, Irish and German, among others.  Many call themselves, or at least think of themselves, as Cajuns – though Cajuns are technically descendants of French colonists who were exiled by the English from what is now Canadian Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

But calling oneself a Cajun can be thought of more as a way of life or a state of mind.  The average family came from somewhere ‘down the bayou” or “from the country.” That would include Raceland, Thibodaux, Lockport, Galliano, Houma or any of the marsh towns and cities south of New Orleans.

Whole families enjoy the outdoors and carry on the tradition of cooking a “mean” pot of gumbo or red beans served along with freshly killed rabbit, deer or duck.  Children are taught at a tender age to eat crawfish, hunt, fish and trawl.

Most households have at least one boat in the back yard and a variety of shrimp trawls, crab nets, crawfish nets, fishing tackle, hunting equipment – and most important – a strong desire to be out on the water  each weekend.  Spending a weekend at “the camp” either repairing last year’s storm damage or just relaxing away from the pressure of society are commonplace.

When shrimp trawling season begins in mid-May, the marshes come alive with commercial and recreational fishers trying to harvest the succulent Brazilian or brown shrimp that are so plentiful in our waters.  In the fall, it’s the annual run of white shrimp, redfish, flounder and speckled trout culminating in the waterfowl and other hunting seasons beginning in September and lasting through February.

Yes, those of us who live in south Louisiana are in our natural element, enjoying a way of life that is unique and richly satisfying.  We enjoy nature to its fullest, outdoors in the marsh.

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