Friday, June 11, 2010

The Oil Is Not Here, But The Economic Tsunami Is

Lake Martin Landing is still beautiful,
but it is not the busy parking lot it normally is in the summertime.

Contrary to what the media may be leading you to believe, we in Lafayette, are not totally polluted, our seafood is not contaminated, and we are still in business, unless you guys stop coming to Louisiana for the food, music and swamp tours.

Although many of our visiting guests believe visiting Louisiana means New Orleans, one of the biggest benefits of the post-Katrina Louisiana is touristsand New orleans natives have discovered Lafayette as an improved alternative to the good times of "The Big Easy".

We have great restaurants, good music, and excellent swamp tours, just like the big city, but almost none of the negatives of the big city.

A few families are still coming out with the kids and experiencing our unsploiled natural beauty and anticipating some adventure as seen in this tour that went out yesterday.

The mouth of the Mississippi River and the oil spill, is about 200 miles away and that is a different story than here in Lafayette.

We are far enough away that our wildlife, seafood, and environment is not being directly impacted by the BP disaster.

Although it has been nice to see all the smiling faces and so few empty seats this spring, it is starting to look like the BP oil slick epicenter, is ceating an economic tsunami hundreds of miles away from the actual physical damage.

Although we are far from the polution and the dangers associated, we are experiencing an economic downturn as a result of people thinking we are polutted and in the hot zone.

Rather than a full boat and a couple of empty seats; it is starting to look like an empty boat for the most part and a couple of occupied seats.

And worse, I am getting cancellations on a regular basis.

It has been nice, to experience the sunsets and to see the birds return to the rookery, but it looks like I may be visiting Lake Martin in the near future, much less than I prefer, as people allow the negative media about the oil spill hundreds of miles away to keep them from the Lafayette area.

And just when we got a Lake Martin local resident at the lake to cook for us!

One of the locals and his wife, started coming out to the landing in the outdoor kitchen he built on a 16 foot utility trailer, and would feed us incredible Cajun dishes at the landing for free. I know if you are not from here it sounds wierd or suspicious, to be giving good food away for free. But it is southern hospitality, taken up a couple of notches, Cajun style.

Like when I went to Hawaii, before I got there, I had been warned to be careful of the locals. But when I got there, they took me into their home and fed me, and loved me, because I thankfully recieved their gracious hospitality. They took me in and treated me like family, because I was like them, and they knew I would have done the same for them if they came walking by one day.

Even the dogs were hanging around knowing that they would get some too!

Well it has been the best winter in decades, and a fine spring too...

But as great as it has been coming back after the hiatus of three years following Katrina and nobody coming for swamp tours, I assume I am already seeing the effect of the BP oil spill turning away tourists from Cajun Country just like Katrina did.

And just like Katrina did not affect Lafayette physically, the ecomomic tsunami of the oil spill reaches a lot farther than the physical damage does.

So if you were thinking of coming to Louisiana and were afraid that we are no longer a viable tourist destination, I understand. But we are presently too far from the spill to suffer chemical damage, so come get some of the good times in Cajun Country because who knows, maybe the oil will not be stopped and life in Louisiana as a whole will never be the same, but for now we are hanging on and hoping our government gets serious about our homeland security, because it looks like our real enemy is not in the Middle East, it is here and it's initials are BP.

Here is one proud bird who can still fly for now.