[Houma, LA] — Louisiana’s wetlands are one of the state’s most precious natural resources. In addition to providing protection from storm surges during hurricanes, wetlands replenish aquifers and nurture a variety of wildlife. But the actions of man are slowly — perhaps not so slowly — destroying this giver of life.

“We’re losing an acre of land an hour out here,” Tab Benoit tells me. Benoit is a well-known Blues guitarist and environmental activist. He is founder and president of Voice of the Wetlands, an organization dedicated to raising awareness of Louisiana wetlands and the need for its preservation and restoration.

Benoit started the Voice of the Wetlands Festival eight years ago in his hometown of Houma, enlisting support from friends in the musical community. “We let the music do the talking,” he explains. Held on the grounds of Southdown Plantation House, a historic nineteenth-century sugar plantation, the festival offers three days of food, music, and art. This year’s edition took place over the weekend of October 7th through 9th.

Saturday was a perfect fall day in South Louisiana — i.e: sunny and 80 degrees — so I fired up the scooter and headed to Houma, about an hour southwest of New Orleans. Arriving at Southdown Plantation, I made a beeline for the food tent and picked up some shrimp & sausage jambalaya — just to help set the proper mood — then strolled over to the main stage, where Jenna-Nicole Guidry was performing. The band sounded great; Jenna-Nicole has an amazing voice and I was amazed to find out later that she’s only 13 years old — no doubt she has a promising musical career ahead of her. After that, Christian Serpas and Ghost Town took the stage, opening with a lively tribute to Johnny Cash.

The day was picture-perfect: families in lawn chairs enjoying the music, kids tossing frisbees, the scent of cajun cooking wafting through the warm air. There was also a petting zoo and pony rides for the kids, arts and crafts for sale and a strong community vibe, all helping raise awareness for a vital cause.

“When you start looking at all the things about this place, and you realize the riches of this place and how much the country relies on it, you look at it and you go, us as America, we can’t afford to lose this,” Tab Benoit says. “It’s our lifeblood, you know?  It’s dying, and if it dies, we die with it.”

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Voice of the Wetlands: http://www.voiceofthewetlands.org

Houma, Louisiana tourism info: http://www.houmatourism.com

 

Tab Benoit, Musician and founder of Voice of the Wetlands

Southdown Plantation


About Glen Abbott
Glen Abbott is a Florida-based travel writer & photographer specializing in motorcycle touring and travel. He is regular contributor to Harley-Davidson's HOG Magazine, and his travel features appear regularly in motorcycle magazines and other publications.

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10 Comments
  1. jambalaya recipe emeril

    November 18, 2011

    I loved your blog.Really thank you! Will read on…

  2. SnobBooth

    October 22, 2011

    Hello im new to the forum and wanted to introduce myself, im a bike builder in florida and love it, lots of fun and lots of cool ass people to hang out with . Anyways thanks for allowing me to join the forum.

  3. Jason

    October 14, 2011

    I hope these communities are able to make changes before it gets too late. The environmental damage being caused around the world is so heart-breaking.
    Jason recently posted..Forex

  4. Grace

    October 14, 2011

    I didn’t realize that the wetlands were in danger. It’s actually one of the places I wanted to check out when I was there but didn’t have a chance to. That and the plantations…Oh Rhett! =)
    Grace recently posted..Travel Photo Thursday: Turkish-Egyptian Belly Dancer

  5. Levinz

    October 13, 2011

    I really love festival.. Great shots! It looks like you really had a great time! Thanks for the post! I really enjoyed stopping by here.. Keep posting some more!
    Levinz recently posted..Accommodation Chamonix France

  6. Jeremy Branham

    October 11, 2011

    Looks like a great festival! I know the wetlands are a vital part of Louisiana.
    Jeremy Branham recently posted..Hollywood, war, romance, and a German Old World Village

  7. Technosyncratic Travel

    October 10, 2011

    I’m always happy to read about these sorts of events – the environmental damage being caused around the world is so heart-breaking. I hope these communities are able to make changes before it gets too late!
    Technosyncratic Travel recently posted..Monthly Travel Budget: Sept. 2011 (England, Malta, Germany)

    • Travelin' Gringo

      October 10, 2011

      Having a festival like this one is a great way to raise awareness of the problem.

  8. inka

    October 10, 2011

    Another worthy cause to support abnd another glimpse of one of my first US destinatons as soon as I’m home in Miami in December. Getting more and more excited about visiting and might call on you, if I may.
    inka recently posted..Nagile anyone? Exploring Tophane/Istanbul

    • Travelin' Gringo

      October 10, 2011

      Absolutely Inka, I’d love to meet you when you’re in New Orleans!

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