When you live near the coast in a subtropical region, dealing with hurricanes is just part of life. Mostly the storms are just an inconvenience, but when a wicked one turns its evil eye toward you, it’s your occupation, your property and sometimes even your life that’s at risk.
That’s why every resident of the Gulf Coast emits a relieved sigh when the first cold front of the fall pushes through the region. It’s unofficial, but the passage of the first front means the season’s over and you can finally eat your hurricane rations.
But this, of course, is 2020.
Prior to a couple of weeks ago, South Louisiana had been in the National Hurricane Center’s cone of uncertainty a record six times, and that was more than enough for Bayou State residents. We were done with the hurricanes, but they unfortunately weren’t done with us.
Last week, Hurricane Zeta formed in the Caribbean, slammed into the Yucatan and made a beeline for the Southeast Louisiana coast, building to almost category 3 status along the way. The storm wrecked homes, downed power lines and left residents shaking their heads, wondering what else 2020 could send their way.
But what did the storm do the marsh? Other than the loss of human life, it’s what I worry about the most. Possessions can be replaced, new shingles can be tacked down and sheds can be repaired, but for most areas, the marsh loss is permanent, and with it goes the quality of life of this region.
To survey the wetlands for myself, I hitched up my boat and made a foray into the marsh with my son, Joel. We brought the rods as well to see what impact the surge might have had on stocks of redfish, speckled trout and largemouth bass.
Our plan was to run and gun, never staying in one spot too long, and that’s what we did. Much to our delight, we found fish almost everywhere we went.
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