Sep 24, 2014

What's the Haps Wednesday {Bootless}

When I was a little girl, I wanted to go to Pilottown, Louisiana.

from weatherunderground
The idea of this place fascinated me.  A place where riverboat pilots (who I pictured as scruffy, cussing, Mark Twain look-a-likes) lived, waiting to board ships coming in from the gulf so they could navigate the route upriver.  A place built on piers because there is little to no solid ground.

(In case you were wondering, pilots are no longer stationed there since Katrina.)

I always saw Pilottown as the end of the world.  Or, at least, the end of Louisiana.
I still kinda want to go there.

To the tip of the boot.

On paper my state is shaped like a boot.
But it turns out the tip of the boot is gone.  The bottom is worn away too.

This article, "Louisiana Loses its Boot" by Brett Anderson, while long, is an interesting read about the ever-changing shape of Louisiana and how my boot is no longer a boot.

In some ways, I like the ephemeral nature of South Louisiana.  Can't be pinned down or defined.  One day it's one way, the next another.  Subject to wind direction, seasons, rainfall, the pull of the moon.

"Louisiana has perhaps the most complex
coastline of any state in the union. 
It’s not just a coastline but a coastal zone
that has many inland lakes 
that are part of coastal change.
Any map you make of the Louisiana coast 
is obsolete the day you make it.
It’s an exercise in futility."
from "Louisiana Loses its Boot" by Brett Anderson

In some ways, I like this indefinable nature.  The ever-changing.  The elusiveness.

But the catch is that I want the ever-changing to change back from time to time.  I want the tide to come in and transform everything.  Wash over.  Cover up.  Then I want it to fall and expose what was there before.  Just the way it was.

Change that is fleeting.  Does such a thing exist?

When the tide falls and the boats pass and the storms quiet, things are not the way they were.  Shores are eaten away, replaced by water.


In his article Anderson also points out that

" phone screens are programmed to spit out the granular information we need to get from point A to B. We don’t look to them to give us the large-scale views of border, land, and water of accurate paper maps. And so it’s becoming harder and harder to communicate the most urgent crisis facing Louisiana."
from "Louisiana Loses its Boot" by Brett Anderson

Coastal erosion and wetland loss is something I pay attention to.  I know we lose a football field of coast every hour.   I can quote the numbers and research.  Yet I never stopped to consider--to picture--what this physically looks like.  I've been so focused on the dismaying numbers that I never considered what those numers look like in reality.  What the numbers translate to.  That my boot is not really a boot anymore.

More about coastal issues in Louisiana...
Disappearing | Ms. enPlace
Going | Ms. enPlace
Going | Ms. enPlace
Gone | Ms. enPlace


  1. I love how you love your home state. Now I want to go to the Boot...the way it was.

  2. This was an eye opener for me. Our son works offshore and the main office is Morgan City. When I looked at the map I thought it would be in the boot but it sort of inland. Did they ever get a total clean up from the oil spill? See you tonight at the party!~


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