Shrimping on the Bayou


Captain Dwight “Coco” Reyes Sr, commercial fisherman and a man fond of cliches, invited me to Grand Bayou Fishing

Capt. Dwight “Coco” Reyes, Sr. at the helm.

Village in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana to join him for a night of shrimping.  I learned quickly that my job as a deck hand was to stay the hell out of the way.  So I did.  But, on a shrimping boat there’s lots of time to talk and to think.  And the two of us did plenty of both.  Capt. Reyes lives in Grand Bayou Fishing Village and has since he was 4 years old.  He’s been working on the water since he was 11.  There’s no place he’d rather be fishing or living.  The village has about 12 families, down from 25 since Hurricane Katrina, and most work on the water.  They’re a self-sustaining bunch–  eat what they kill and grow the rest.   They live like kings, he says, and want for nothing.  His son, Dennis, joined us for part of the night and I marveled at their grace on the boat— a commercial fisherman’s ballet.  Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of shrimp coming in right now.  We, by “we” I mean “they”,  pulled in less than ten pounds.  Not because of the oil spill, but because of the weather— too warm.  Here’s a little taste of the evening….

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