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Get On The Bus April 30, 2009

Posted by dianehuhn in Bayou Life, Louisiana Wildlife, Photography.

OK, record short post. Got to get up way too early to be on a bus at 5:30 AM with some really great folks to go to Baton Rouge to do a little talking about the critical need for coastal restoration and hurricane protection while Courtney Howell, the Executive Director of Bayou Grace, is in DC doing the same thing. Plus Lost is on and I’m actually getting a TV signal and an interweb signal all at the same time. Woo hoo!

Seriously, I was driving down the road and this gator was just sitting there just like this posing for me. It was like a postcard moment. Then I scared him and he slipped in to the water. Todays’ photo was taken along Bayou Point-aux-Chenes and I can’t think of a title right now. We’ll make it a contest. Any thoughts?



What the What? April 29, 2009

Posted by dianehuhn in Paddling, Photography, Ramblings, Relief Work.
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So I occasionally enjoy checking in to see if some poor unsuspecting soul surfing the interwebs has stumbled upon my blog by innocently typing in a few search terms that I happened to use in a post. I got a chuckle this morning when I saw that yesterday some one clicked on this site hoping to find out the answer to the question “Can an alligator bite through a kayak?” And well, I had to chuckle even more because I’m fairly certain that I did that same search when I decided to move to southern Terrebonne Parish.

I tend to get a lot of hits from people looking for information about alligators and kayaking. Things like “alligators and kayaks,” “paddling with alligators,” and a recent favorite of “alligator tip over kayk.” I’m sure it’s because I often write about alligators, occasionally about kayaking, and one of the first posts I ever put up on this blog was indeed about kayaking with alligators and my search for tips to avoid being eaten by one while doing so.

But sometimes people end up on my blog through a strange variety of search strings. It’s kind of odd because I almost never use tags, which I know I should, but I just don’t. A couple of days ago someone ended up here by typing in “blue creature four leg” which I found somewhat amusing. I mean the name of my blog is Blue Dog Nights so maybe that’s where the blue comes in. And I’m sure I’ve used the words creature, four and leg at least once and well, possibly numerous times. But I’m fairly certain I’ve not used the phrase “blue creature four leg” in any of my posts. And I guess it just makes me wonder what search engine was this person using or how many pages of results they had to go through to get here.

I gave it a shot on Google and came up with 308,000 results for “blue creature four leg”. Now my guess would be that my blog would be like the 262,473rd result, but who knows? I gave up at the fifth page. I did find it amusing, however, when one of the results was “Good tags to use for your creatures”.

But, I guess one of the funniest (and possibly most disturbing) search strings I’ve come across in the 10 or so months that I’ve had this site has got to be “x“. Seriously, what the what? But now I am totally having second thoughts about posting this. I mean am I going to start getting all kinds of hits from God knows who searching for “x”? While I’d like to have more than my regular four followers, do I really want to risk having a bunch of perverts happening upon my site while searching for “x”? Ummmmm…I guess not. So I guess you’l just never know what that search string really was.

And now for something completely different. Thanks to the team from PA working out at Miss Margaret’s. Todays’ photo was taken in Point-aux-Chenes and is entitled Git-r-Done! I came close to posting the pic I took of the dead alligator I almost ran over with my truck today. But, well, that’s pretty gross and my Mom wants to see more photos of our work teams. So, Mom, if you’re tuning in, here ya go and thanks.


Change the Tide April 28, 2009

Posted by dianehuhn in Bayou Life, Coastal Restoration, Hurricanes.
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So I went to Jazz Fest yesterday and it was amazing, but didn’t post anything last night since it was fairly late when I got home and I needed to get up early to meet a team up at the PDA camp to begin a gutting project down in Point-aux-Chenes. On my way home today, I was getting kind of excited to take a look at the shots I took and was thinking that I would cheat again and do a “photo of yesterday.” But first I decided to check and see what was happening in Facebook land and at the top of my updates was this post by the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program:

Terrebonne Closing Floodgates Because of Strong Winds

Our coastal wetlands, ridges, and barrier islands protect against more than hurricanes. Our coastal wetlands once served as a buffer from the Gulf of Mexico. Today, with the loss of much of our coastal wetland complex, sustained southerly winds can push Gulf of Mexico waters far inland. These surges aren’t limited to hurricanes. A sustained wind can flood roads, businesses, and homes. Today, with our wetlands disappearing, we’re forced to close flood gates and rely on hurricane protection systems to shield us from common winds. Restored wetlands will act as a sponge and barrier, blocking our coastal communities from these high tides as they once did. See the press release below form Terrebonne Parish as they prepare to close many flood gates (unfortunately, a common occurrence). Wetlands alone cannot protect us from the largest of hurricanes and we’ll always need levee protection for many of our vulnerable communities, but restored wetlands will protect us from occurrences like this and they will stand as the only line of defense for communities outside the levee system who don’t have the luxury of closing flood gates when waters rise.

TIME: 9:00 AM
DATE: 04/27/2009


TERREBONNE PARISH, LA: The Terrebonne Levee & Conservation District (TLCD) has closed the Humble Canal Auxiliary Structure due to strong southeast winds and rising tides. The TLCD anticipates closing the Bayou Terrebonne and Little Floodgates some time later this morning.

Water levels are being continuously monitored and these structures will reopen once conditions are favorable.

Now I typically try to keep my blog pretty upbeat, but I got to say that when I first read this, it kind of felt like being told that someone I really care about has terminal cancer. Then I thought about it and realized that it’s not really like that at all. It’s like being told that someone I really care about has a very serious illness and while it’s completely curable they don’t have the money to pay for the treatment. See that’s the really frustrating part about what’s happening to the environment where I live. It’s not about not having a solution to unnatural coastal land loss and erosion, it’s about not having the money to implement the solution that’s been studied and studied and studied and is ready to be executed.

I mean the fact that a high tide on a windy day is requiring us to close our floodgates…well, that’s just crazy. But when you consider the numbers it’s just no surprise I guess. Since the 1930s, Louisiana has lost over 1900 square miles of land. That’s like the whole state of Delaware folks. Between 1990 and 2000, Louisiana lost approximately 24 square miles per year. If you want to make that a little easier to comprehend (although it seems incomprehensible), that’s basically a football field every 38 minutes. And that land/time ratio has almost certainly sped up since the turn of our new century and will just keep speeding up without intervention.

It’s not like there aren’t any restoration projects in progress, but the numbers are few, the dollars laughable in light of what’s needed, and right now it’s like trying to cure cancer by taking an asprin. But the key is that it doesn’t have to be like that. And so I guess I’m going to get up tomorrow and keep doing my best to be part of the solution and hope that more people will take action tomorrow than did today and more on Wednesday than tomorrow and so on and so on.

So I guess there will be a photo of today after all. It was taken this afternoon along Bayou Petit Caillou about a mile from where I live and is entitled Change the Tide.


It’s Madness I Tell You April 26, 2009

Posted by dianehuhn in Big Fun on the Bayou, Photography.
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So I am totally cheating on the photo of the day. I am so excited to be heading to the 40th New Orleans Jazz Fest tomorrow! But I seriously need to figure out how to clone myself quick. I mean who schedules Dave Matthews, Etta James and Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings all at the same time. Come on people. You’re killing me!!!

First I had to agonize over which one of the seven days to attend since I am now a very poor volunteer on the bayou. I might have been able to swing two of the seven, but as much as I love them, I do tire of Ramen Noodles now and again. Plus the other day that I really, really, really wanted to attend is the day that I need to go to Baton Rouge for this big statewide Summit. For a half a second I thought about blowing the summit thing off, but I realized it’s important to act like a grown up for at least a few hours a week. But my heart is going to ache the next time I listen to Emmylou Harris or Ben Harper and know that I could have been there if whoever planned this summit had just had the common sense to not schedule it during Jazz Fest. So after all of that, now three of my favorite acts will be playing on three different stages at the exact same time. It’s torture.

My first thought was Dave, but then I started thinking Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I love Dave, but I was trying to count the number of times I’ve seen him and I kept losing track. But then again, I’ve never seen Dave at Jazz Fest. But front row in Dublin was beyond cool and there’s not a chance in hell I’d be able to swing that at Jazz Fest. OK, so I love Sharon Jones and I haven’t had the chance to see her live before. But, oh man, Etta James. She’s a legend! And let’s face it, she’s not getting any younger. I mean chances are she’s going to do At Last. It’s like one of the greatest songs in the history of the world! And Stormy Weather, Tell Mama, Baby What You Want Me To Do, Next Door to the Blues, not to mention A Sunday Kind of Love. But then again, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings just gets me all pumped up and I start doing that weird little dance thing I do. I mean I’m not as bad as Elaine on Seinfeld or anything, but I freely admit that I am challenged in the dancing department. Rest assured, however, that it won’t stop me from getting my funky kind of groove on.

OK, I now have a headache. It’s too much. Does anyone have a three-sided coin I can borrow? At least there’s no doubt about Papa Grows Funk and Mavis Staples. Yeah, baby!

Todays’ photo was actually taken last week on Canal Street in New Orleans and is entitled Blue Dog Jazz. And if any generous person out there has an extra ticket for Friday that they’re itching to give away…I mean Patty Griffin, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Tony Bennett, Walter “Wolfman” Washington. Come on.


Friday Night Gators April 25, 2009

Posted by dianehuhn in Big Fun on the Bayou, Friends, Photography.

It’s definitely bed time, but not before sharing todays’ photo which was taken at the Jolly Inn where I enjoyed some great music, good company, a little Cajun dancing, and a few gators of the Friday night variety. Good night and good luck.


Git-R-Done April 24, 2009

Posted by dianehuhn in Bayou Life, Photography.
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So folks on the bayou are definitely a git r’ done kind of people. And since a picture is worth a thousand words, well, there’s not much else to say about that my friends…


Gator Bait April 23, 2009

Posted by dianehuhn in Louisiana Wildlife, Photography.

We regret to inform you that there will be no pic of the day this evening. Tragically, Diane was eaten by an alligator this afternoon and crews were unable to retrieve her camera. Her replacement will be on the job tomorrow. In the meantime, we have pulled a photo from the archives. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. Thank you and good night.


Another Gator In Paradise April 22, 2009

Posted by dianehuhn in Louisiana Wildlife, Photography.

So it is certainly safe to say that I am fascinated by alligators. It might even be appropriate to use the term “obsessed.” So I thoroughly enjoyed a few gator encounters during my travels today.

My morning started out by meeting some lovely folks from LaPlace and taking them on a tour of the area. As we headed out to Isle de Jean Charles we passed by a fairly large gator sunning himself right next to the highway, but we just caught a quick glimpse as we passed and since I had forgotten to bring my camera, I didn’t want to torture myself by making our driver turn around for a better look.

After our tour, we had an excellent lunch at Boo’s and as I bid farewell to our visitors I decided it would be a good opportunity to take care of an errand for one of our families out in Dularge. But as I was heading for the truck, I got a call from someone who wanted to drop by the office to buy some T-shirts and informed me that she would be arriving in an hour or so. Now it is impossible to make it to Dularge and back in an hour by land, but it’s only a twelve minute drive out to where we saw that gator. So you know I had to go take a look.

Off I went. One eye on the road, one eye on the small channel that eventually feeds in to the bayou. Then I spotted him and he was a big guy. I safely pulled the car over and decided to take my photos from the safety of my steel cage since the distance between us was maybe a whole 60 feet or so. Now I know I’m supposed to choose “a” photo of the day, but I’m bending the rules this evening. Here’s what I saw when I arrived.


Then he began to slip in to the water.


Then he popped his head up and I was like, “whoa, those are some big, sharp , pointy teeth.”


Then he arched his tail.


Then he lifted his body even more and came crashing down in the water and I took this picture. I think some pee came out.


I’d love to tell you about the “gator shot that got away” a couple of hours later, but the hour is getting late. Maybe tomorrow. Good night and good luck.

Gators Are Cool April 21, 2009

Posted by dianehuhn in Louisiana Wildlife, Photography.
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So…did you ever notice that I almost always start a blog posting with the word “so”? I’m not exactly sure why, but I think that’s just how I talk, so I guess it makes sense that I write that way too.

Anyway, my day was relatively laid back and I just didn’t take a whole lot of photos during my travels. Had a few errands to run, one of which put me on the path to pass by my favorite gator spotting spot. So I pulled over to see if any of my friends were out and about, and quickly spotted seven or eight big guys. As I grabbed the camera and headed for the safety of the bed of my truck, I noticed one of my not-so-little friends start to swim in my direction and opted for taking my perch on top of the ladder rack and started snapping away. But even though that curious, or more likely hungry, guy had come closer, he was still far enough away that I just wasn’t going to get too many close ups on this particular morning. So I decided I had more important things I needed to accomplish, climbed down from my perch and headed on down the road.

After arriving home from a delicious dinner at the Pellegrins’, knowing that my brief gator photo shoot hadn’t really yielded much, I thought maybe I could head out back for a few good sunset shots. But as I rounded the corner, I quickly realized that I was five minutes late and a nickle short.

So after a little experimenting, I’ve tried to do the best I could with what I had. Todays’ photo was taken on Falgout Canal Road between Bayou Grand Caillou and Bayou Dularge and is entitled Descend My Little Friend.


Let Our Sea Prosper April 20, 2009

Posted by dianehuhn in Bayou Life, Big Fun on the Bayou, Photography.
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So I went to my first boat blessing today and it was a very cool experience. The offshore shrimp season opened last week. The inshore season typically opens around the middle of May. And every year, dating back to the late 1920s or early 1930s, the fleet of Chauvin gets blessed, holy water and all, and parades down Bayou Petit Caillou to Boudreaux Canal and then out to Lake Boudreaux where the participants let the good times roll, or, as we say on the bayou, laissez les bon temps roulez!

In conjunction with the blessing of the fleet, the Chauvin Sculpture Garden also holds it’s annual Folk Art Festival where I enjoyed some interesting art, good music, a ride down the bayou, and way too much food.

I think my favorite boat of the day would have to be the Tracy and Macie. I pass her just about every day during my travels, and while she’s a nice trawler, well, on a regular day she looks a lot like most of the other shrimp boats on the bayou. But today she was in her full glory. I particularly enjoyed the rather large portrait of The Last Supper perched port-side.

Todays’ photo was taken along Bayou Petit Caillou in Chauvin, LA and entitled Let Our Sea Prosper.