Monthly Archives: August 2010

Up to my elbows

Here are some photos I took while working out in the marshes around Barataria Bay, Louisiana. I had no idea we were actually going to get IN the water, as one of the volunteer coordinators demonstrates below. Read more about this experience on the Matador Change blog here.

An old fishing boat at the dock we left from.

These “terraces” were dredged to make levees on which to plant tufts of marsh grass.

The small clumps of grass will grow quickly into large bunches and replace the marsh that has eroded and died off.

Shrimp boats siting idle–not sure if that’s due to the spill or not.


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Filed under Environment and Nature

Rebuilding the marshes five years after Katrina

The boat sped through the marshes, past a BP staging area of trailers and mobile homes set up on the water’s edge near a busy dock. Fishing boats with outstretched arms of nets sit idle, though I can’t tell if this is due to the spill. In the distance, column of thunderheads gathers, dark as crude.

Up until today, most of my hurricane-related volunteer work in Louisiana has centered on houses. I’ve gutted, restored, and rebuilt, but what good is that if those rebuilt neighborhoods are left exposed to future storms?

Louisiana loses a football field of wetland every 38 minutes, thanks in part to channels cut for oil drilling. These natural barriers have historically helped slow down the wave action churned by big storms that move through in late summer, but they’re disappearing fast.

Read the rest of this story online at Matador Network’s Change blog

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Filed under New Orleans

Wildlife Surprises

It’s hard to believe anyone could mistake a chubby, gray, bewhiskered manatee for a mermaid, but it’s thought the so-called sea cows may have been the source of the mermaid myth.

These large mammals are sometimes spotted in Lake Pontchartrain and the freshwater rivers of the Northshore, although they stay close to the rivers’ mouths. They migrate to this area from Florida in the spring and leave before winter. If you spot one of these gentle herbivores, consider yourself lucky.

“There are maybe a dozen animals total in Lake Pontchartrain,” but probably fewer, says Gary Lester, biologist manager with the Wildlife and Fisheries’ Natural Heritage Program. “It’s hard to judge, because we’ll get 25 calls coming in for the same animal.”

Read the rest of the story online at Inside Northside magazine.

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Filed under Writing

Sunken treasure: Keith Dufour’s furniture

CONTACT KEITH: 504-908-6867

Keith Dufour is no stranger to media attention. The Covington furniture maker has appeared on three episodes of the History Channel’s Ax Men series, which feature his logger and four other logging companies around the country.

Dufour’s creations include tables, benches and mirrors made from either reclaimed wood he’s retrieved from old homes slated for demolition or ancient sinker logs pulled out of the Bedico swamp west of Madisonville.

Dufour makes his furniture in his free time from his day job as a territory manager for Cephalon, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company. About ten years ago he hired an acquaintance to teach him woodworking and began making mirrors from wood salvaged from old homes. “I was always fascinated with architectural salvage,” he says.

Read the rest of the story online at Inside Northside magazine.

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Whatever happens, happens: Artist Stephanie Schoen

It’s been a good year for Stephanie Schoen. The Covington artist has seen her son graduate from high school and the Saints win the Super Bowl. And she’s been awarded the opportunity to design the official poster for the Junior League of Greater Covington’s 2010 Harvest Cup Polo Classic.

Schoen traces her interest in art to the days when her mother worked for the Saints as an executive assistant. “I grew up with the Saints. They’re more than just a team–more like family,” she says. Schoen remembers seeing then-owner John Mecom’s art collection at his office in the Superdome when she was ten years old.

“He had the most extensive art collection. I think that’s where I got the inspiration to paint. Everywhere you turned, it was there. That was my first real exposure to art,” Schoen says. “His office was like a museum of sports art. How often do you get to see art like that up close?”

Read the rest of the story online at Inside Northside magazine.

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Cascade Pass time lapse

Sam and I backpacked the Sahale Arm above Cascade Pass in the North Cascades a few weeks ago. On our way down the mountain on day 2, we made coffee and had breakfast at the pass while some impressive fog rolled in. I took this video over a 35 minute period. You can see the wind rattling the camera–the whole scene was pretty epic to behold. Watch as we get eaten by fog as Andrew Bird serenades, from his fantastic (and appropriately named) album, Weather Systems.

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Filed under Travel