Atchafalaya Basinkeeper holds benefit to protect wetlands

by Wynce Nolley

The Atchafalaya Basinkeeper is hosting its 2nd Annual Save the Basin fundraiser this Sunday at Artmosphere to benefit its ongoing protection of local wetlands and waterways in the Atchafalaya Basin.

The event will feature live music by Michael Doucet, Yvette Landry & Richard Comeaux, Farouche, Randy Vidrine, Blake Miller & Jimmy Breaux, Faren Serrette, Drew Landry, and Touche Pas. Guest speakers will include author/photographer Greg Guirard, St. Martin Parish President Guy Cormier and Atchafalaya Basinkeeper Director Dean Wilson.

There’s also an art auction featuring paintings, photographs, sinker cypress and more. All proceeds from the auction and the cover charge, as well as 10 percent of food and drink sales made during the event, will go to benefit Atchafalaya Basinkeeper.

“All of the money that we raise at the fundraiser is going to go toward our Monitoring and Enforcement Program, which is our biggest program, but it’s also the backbone of our efforts to protect and restore the environmental health of the wetlands and waterways including cypress swamps in the Atchafalaya Basin,” says Cara Leverett, staff scientist and executive assistant at Atchafalaya Basinkeeper.

"The Atchafalaya Swamp" by Amber Rhyanne Bayham is among the items available at the art auction

According to Leverett, the Atchafalaya Basinkeeper’s Monitoring and Enforcement Program is the backbone of its Swamp Shield Campaign that works to protect and restore thousands of acres of cypress forests throughout coastal Louisiana. Louisiana's coastal forests provide the most important habitat for migratory birds in the Western hemisphere. The Atchafalaya Basin is the jewel of it all and is the last bastion of the part of Cajun culture that relates to the swamps and waters of South Louisiana.

“It’s very heartwarming and inspiring to see how our community is coming together to make this event a success,” says Leverett. “Just to have so many people offering their volunteer time and helping to get artwork donated and so many artists donating and the musicians donating their time to play, and then also Beryl Kemp, the owner of Artmosphere, donating the venue. It’s just very special."

Atchafalaya Basinkeeper is dedicated to protecting and restoring the environmental health of the Atchafalaya Basin and Louisiana's forested coastal wetlands for generations to come. Atchafalaya Basinkeeper is totally non-profit, and its effectiveness can continue only if it receives the support of the local public.

The 2nd Annual Save the Basin benefit will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 31, at Artmosphere, located at 902 Johnston St. in Downtown Lafayette. Admission is $10. For more information call Cara 225-685-9439, go to, or find them on Facebook.