Monday, October 15, 2007

Voice of the Wetlands

Under sunny skies and dry, cool weather we ventured south to Houma to
attend the Voice of the Wetlands Festival.

Held at Southdown Plantation, this somewhat small festival was chock full of information,
displays and handouts discussing the dangerous situation that our wetlands are facing, particularly in Louisiana..

This was the fourth VOW festival and I'm hoping that in the near future that it becomes more well-known around the world.

During Katrina and Rita Louisiana lost over 215 miles of wetlands due to the erosion caused by the storms. This affects not just the people who live near the wetlands,
"but the whole country. From the VOW website The wetlands of Louisiana fade daily due to erosion - at the rate of one football field an hour. When the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dammed the Mississippi with levees, it cut the river's ability to hold back the power of the Gulf. The Gulf has been winning for nearly 100 years - and its spoils are lost land. In the early 1700s, 215 million acres of wetlands existed in the United States. Now in the beginning of this century, 90 million acres are left. That number is decreasing at a staggering rate.


Besides the wealth of information provided at the festival, there were opportunities to buy the poster, hat and T-shirts. Additionally, for $35, you can
take a Voice of the Wetlands discovery flight over the wetlands just outside Houma to witness the deterioration first-hand. I believe that the opportunity to take these flights extends past the festival. Call Hammonds Air Service at (985) 876-0584 to schedule a flight. It's eye opening.

The music was entertaining. Early in the evening was a band from Lafouche/Terrebone called Southern Cross. They were very good.

l-r Johnny Sansone, George Porter, Tab Benoit, Johnny Vidacovitch, Anders Osborne
Can someone help me with the sax player?

At 8 the VOW Allstars took the stage. Comprised of Tab Benoit, Anders Osborne, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, George Porter, Jumpin' Johnny Sansone, Waylon Thibodeaux and Johnny Vidacovitch the VOW Allstars kick ass.
NO matter what your taste in music, if you can't appreciate the beauty of Waylon Thibodeaux's playing, you're missing something.

I'm hoping that more aggressive marketing is done for next years fest to get the word out about the dire straights that our wetlands are in.
Right now our useless president is promising to veto the Water Resources Bill
that would put us in just a little more of a precarious situation.

H.R. 1495: Water Resources Development Act of 2007 needs your help. Please send your comments to

The Wetlands affect everyone. There are many grass roots efforts taking place to restore our wetlands
Helping restore our wetlands is not a pipe dream. It's a necessary job.

Further reading on the importance of our Wetlands
" Nature's Revenge: Louisiana's Vanishing Wetlands
- September 2002

- From Joshua Clark via the Boston Globe - "Disaster is only One Marsh Away"

From the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank
We are the Student Hurricane Network, one thousand law students from over 70 of the nation's finest law schools who traveled to New Orleans and other affected areas of the Gulf Coast to provide legal services between semesters and springs breaks. We have been to the source. We have born witness to the incredible effects of the greatest "failure of state" in American history, and we are deeply concerned. Now, we are calling on the legal resources of the nation to build a single, complete case to prove responsibility, force accountability and demand a comprehensive and sustainable solution.

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