Guy Harvey Magazine

SUM 2017

Guy Harvey Magazine is focused on fishing, boating, scuba diving, and marine conservation. Portfolios from the world's best fishing photographers, articles on gear, travel, tournaments, apparel, lifestyle, seafood recipes, sustainable fisheries.

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Page 33 of 83

34 | This little preamble is to explain why I was fired up to make the cut for an invitation-only event in the tiny community of Barataria, about an hour south of New Orleans and right next to the township of Jean Lafitte—yes, a place named after the legendary pirate. The destination was Bourgeois Fishing Charters, run by Captain Theophile Bourgeois and his beautiful and extraordinary partner, Ginger Jenne. If you're trying to figure out how to pronounce the good captain's name, he tells it like this. "It's like if your toe hurts and you can feel it," he told me, "it's pronounced toe-feel." The last name is French so it's "boorj-wah". Break out your high school French book if you need help with that. Like everything south of NOLA (New Orleans, LA), the land around Barataria is low and flat and interwoven with a spiderweb of waterways. Everybody seems to have at least one boat tied in their canal or on a trailer. If you don't have a boat, you're required to get one before you can live around there. I think it's a state law. This place is not what you'd call a beautiful landscape. It's oil country so there are well sites of all sizes scattered randomly in marshes, mudflats and wherever they can suck sweet, black goo from the earth. Many of the wells are ramshackle structures of wood and metal, rusting and rotting and succumbing to gravity. Old, dead, half-sunk boats are littered all over the place—ravaged by storms and time—and never to be resurrected. Busted up concrete rip rap and rocks have been laid along long stretches of river to slow the steady onslaught of erosion. Massive barges and oil ships chug along waterways. And, to top it off, the water is brown, sometimes as cloudy as chocolate milk. Pretty? No. Full of life. You betcha, Boudreaux! Man's imprint on South LA is only rivaled by nature's wrath. Hurricanes have mangled once healthy oak trees, now with fractured limbs jutting skyward and clinging to Spanish moss. Boathouses have been twisted into dysfunctional art. Marshland has been flooded and eroded over and over and over. I'm just saying, this is a land that has been scarred by man and God. But we need oil, and so far, we haven't figured out how to stop hurricanes. So, as they say, "It is what it is," and the resilient locals don't just survive...they thrive. Because, through all of the mish mash, it's an unbelievably amazing place. There's so much life, so many fish, infinite birds, tons of gators, scads of nutria, wild otters and on and on and on. And, the locals are the veritable experts at finding it, catching it, cooking it, eating it and washing it down with something cold, strong and good for the soul. Plus, once you get onto the boat and jet out into the endless marshland, away from civilization, the scene blossoms into true beauty. And heaven for fishermen. One thing is for sure, Theophile and Ginger have got it all figured out. Some years ago, they bought an abandoned school house and converted it into a fishing lodge. It's decorated in a hyper Cajun motif—rust-stained, corrugated Left: Eat dem bugs! Crawfish literally by the boatload. Right: Signs of Mother Nature's wrath are everywhere. Far Right: You don't have to go all the way to Venice to catch a lot of fish. Barataria is less than an hour from New Orleans.

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