Monday, May 17, 2010

Our Bayou Teche

Our niece and some of her friends from school were riding my brother’s four-wheeler a few weeks ago. The girls are way too young to know who Evel Knievel is, but they were riding that four-wheeler like they were possessed by his ghost, looking for something to jump.

Since we do not live near the Snake River Canyon, the Bayou Teche would have to do.

Scooting up and down the banks behind the brewery, they came a little closer to the bayou’s water each time – and eventually, like Mr. Knievel on his ill-fated canyon jump, they too did not make it across.

The budding daredevils swam back to shore. My brother’s four-wheeler flipped tire side up and bobbed with the current down the Teche.

At the brewery, we have just unveiled our LA-31 pirogue. Custom painted, we commissioned and are donating it to raise money for the first ever Tour du Teche canoe race. The Tour du Teche is a 130 mile adventure-canoe race set for September 17-19th of this year. The race’s organizers will raffle off the pirogue to help raise the grand prize money for the first team to make it from Port Barre to Berwick.

The floating, upside-down four-wheeler could make it there first.

The pirogue we are donating is the two-man Cottonmouth made by Ron Chapman Shipwright Inc. Their piroques are hand-crafted in Louisiana and at 13 foot, 6 inches, this one is designed to carry two men, their guns, decoys and dog.

And several six packs of LA-31 beer.

Our Grandfather hand-built many cypress pirogues for my brothers and me as we were growing up. We spent much of our youth fishing from one on the numerous waterways around his Bayou Portage home. We did not have a four wheeler growing up, so all of our daredevil stunts were performed from a very slow moving pirogue.

Till we got drivers licenses.

The drawing for the pirogue will be held at The Coffee Break, in Breaux Bridge on September 1st. Tickets are $1 each. They are available at a growing list of locations. Please buy some raffle tickets to help make the Tour du Teche a success. We have some at the brewery.

One of the benefits of the race is the renewed interest in cleaning up the Bayou Teche. Volunteers from Blake Couvillion’s clean-up organization, Cajuns for Bayou Teche, and workers from the Parish and City governments along the bayou are helping to return the Teche to a pristine condition and make it the recreational and cultural showplace of South Louisiana. You’ll find information on Blake Couvillion’s army of clean-up volunteers and information on the Tour du Teche canoe race at

Thankfully, the Bayou Teche looks a little better now that a budding daredevil’s errant four-wheeler has been fished out six miles down the bayou from the brewery.

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