R. Reese Fuller

NY Times on Bayou Lafourche

by R. Reese Fuller

It's a story south Louisiana knows all too well, but The New York Times tells the story again of how Louisiana is losing its coast.

Coastal erosion is eating away at the culture, the livelihood and, quite tangibly, the land itself at the ravenous rate of 12 square miles to more than 20 square miles a year.

Whole communities have already washed away. Old timers speak wistfully about Sea Breeze and Manilla Village, settlements built on stilts in the marshes. These sorts of insular, out-of-the-way places were common in Cajun country even though they might not have appeared on Louisiana’s road maps. Now they never will. ...

But while some of the bayou struggles, one place is thriving.

Port Fourchon rises on the horizon south of Leeville, a cluster of sport fishing camps in a gated community and the huge docks that are the base for the oil and gas industry’s offshore drilling operations. Port Fourchon is mostly a recent creation of industry and sportsmen. ...

Now, close to 20 percent of the nation’s fuel — in excess of $63 billion by some estimates — passes through Port Fourchon from deep-water gulf wells. It is the bayou’s boom town.