Recent Atchafalaya Basin Press

Film to focus on old-time south Louisiana boat-builder

When Charles Richard set out to make a documentary about the unique designs of south Louisiana’s wooden boats, he had no idea it would lead to new questions about the memory and visualization capabilities of the human brain…

He said the film will focus on Edward Couvillier, an 85-year-old boat builder who lives in St. Mary Parish on Bayou Teche, as he builds a classic Creole rowing skiff.

“Mr. Couvillier and all of these old-time boat builders are able to visualize to a degree of complexity that is pretty far beyond what most of us are accustomed to.”

read more here…


Louisiana forests being sacrificed to fuel Europe’s biomass boom

Environmentalists say swaths of Southeastern woodlands are being cut down for ‘green’ energy efforts across Atlantic

January 15, 2014     Al Jazeera America

The smell of freshly cut wood wafting from a dirt lot along an industrial stretch of road near the state capital might not conjure up an image of green energy, but some say this is the future of sustainability.

The smell comes from two white plastic domes rising high along the Mississippi River. Stored inside those domes are millions of wood pellets, which started as trees in the surrounding 50- to 75-mile area, and were converted to easily shippable and burnable material at mammoth factories where wood can stretch as far as the eye can see. The white domes aren’t the pellets’ final destination.

After being packed into containers the wood is shipped to Europe, where power companies will burn them in an effort to meet the European Union’s stringent renewable energy requirements. This is known as biomass energy. The problem is, not everyone thinks burning wood is green.

…read more here.


Freezing temps put chill on early crawfish season

January 13, 2014     Houma Courier

Last week’s frigid weather put a chill on a promising early crawfish season with retail prices jumping this week to highs of over $6 per pound.

The shortage was so sudden that Nancy’s Seafood Shack in east Houma has stopped accepting take-out orders for the time being. “We’re only getting a few sacks a day, and what we are getting is reserved for dine in only,” said hostess Rochelle Dupre. “Right now we’re selling it for about $6 a pound, in December it was going for around $4.50, $5.”

The colder water slows the maturity of emerging crawfish, according to Atchafalaya Basin fisherman Jodie Meche. The emerging crawfish shells do not harden during colder temperatures. “The colder temperatures we’re having are definitely going to slow supply,” said Meche. “Naturally the colder temperatures are going to affect how they move and what they eat.” An abundance of fresh water this fall helped jump start the season early this year. Meche said farmers got off to an early start to the season this year, with crawfish hitting the market as early as November.

…more at the Houma Courier