I 'rode' with Cappy while he was driving the tugboat Monday. (we were on our cell-phones)He is still on his "all-expense-paid excursion of the beautiful, scenic bayous and back waters of South Louisiana". As 'we' slowly made our way north, he pointed out to me, several signs that life is starting to rebuild, after Katrina ripped her way through so many people's lives. There was devastation, yes. One boat, named Hurricane Express was sitting on the bottom of Bayou Lafourche, with just her bow (nose) sticking up out of the water. More shrimp boats than he could number were scattered like broken toys everywhere along the waterway. Big ol' fancy yachts washed into poor folks' yards. What hurt Cappy most, he said, was that, yes, it was sad, to see those very expensive yachts ruined, but to him, seeing a ruined shrimp boat was worse. Yachts seem to represent 'playthings'. Time off. Luxury. Shrimp boats (as aggravating to him as they are when the shrimping seasons are rife with them everywhere, but out of his way) are somebody's livelihood. They have to pay the bills to feed families. Many of them are where people live; these are their homes, where they raise their children. They are part of a thriving food-chain industry here in South Louisiana.
But, "letting the good times roll" must be gotten to, apparently, by letting the bad times roll off'n you. There was 'PawPaw' sitting on his pier,with his weather-bedraggled home behind him, fishin' for supper. Three crusty-lookin' ol' boys,with their white "shrampin" boots on, standing on the back of their shrimping boat, beers in hand, stirring supper in a big black pot, counting their blessings. Mama hanging clothes on the line, while the kids chased each other in the yard, climbing over or dodging fallen trees. Cappy was resigned to the fact that the crazy "weekend-warriors", as he calls them, being every danged where up and down the bayou for the holiday, were racing their...all KINDS of watercraft. As usual, some for the fun of it, would still play 'chicken' with him and his barge.
Even with all the tragedy and mayhem still fresh in our memories, it was still a holiday. And these are still Cajun People. Resiliant, capable, and above all else, joyful. No matter how hard a hurricane can sceam it's wind through these people, it will not blow the Love of Life from out of them. The Joie de Vivre.