Point of View: Boat Docking Facility in Louisana

The Honorable Eric Martin
Mayor, City of St. Martinsville
P. O. Box 379
St Martinsville, Louisiana 70582

Dear Mayor Martin:

Having been born in Louisiana, having spent most of the first twenty years of my life there, and having visited Louisiana and your city many times over the years, I feel comfortable communicating to you from California on an issue that is related to your city. Further, having had to read, memorize and recite by memory to the entire student body of my high school the saga of Evangeline, I feel duty bound to offer my comments to you regarding what I view as a serious flaw in your city's facilities.

First, I will provide a short explanation of my activities. As a boy growing up in Louisiana and along the Sabine River, I spent many days fishing and hunting along the rivers and bayous of southern Louisiana. Then adulthood obligations interfered with these activities. College, military service, a few years teaching, and thirty plus years in elected office (including a stint as an elected mayor) caused me to put off returning to the "swamplands." Then retirement arrived. I bought a very old and very run down houseboat, refurbished it, hauled it from California to the Intercoastal Waterway and began my journey through the Louisiana waterways. One of the waterways I have always wanted to cruise was Bayou Teche.

I had spent several weeks on the water by the time I started up Bayou Teche. I entered at the Baldwin Channel and as I entered the Bayou, I had a hard time not reciting "Evangeline." Learning how to get under the "Bridges of Bayou Teche" was no problem. I would say that the Bridge Tenders along the way were very helpful and pleasant. I can’t say the same thing about the Corp of Engineers, but that is the subject of another letter to my Congressman with which I won’t burden you.

Now we get to the point to which I direct this letter. I am sure words could not describe my amazement when I observed the Evangeline Oaks, saw the waterfront walk, heard the nice music provided and found that it is not possible to dock a boat at this site. I didn’t need a wharf; I didn’t need an elaborate facility; I simply needed a small dock to which a boat could tie up and a way to get ashore. It would have helped complete a beautiful journey up the Bayou. While I never had the occasion to meet the mayor to whom the Evangeline walkway is dedicated, it strikes me as an affront to him, if, in fact, he was as hospitable and gracious as the signs there indicate. Not only is there no way to get to land near the area from the water, but a security officer there made it very clear that I was not to try to come ashore.

Later, after going back down the Bayou and tying up at New Iberia, my wife and I took a drive around the countryside. By car, we visited the Evangeline site. This time the reception was fine --a place to park the car close by, a welcome by the security officer, and the beautiful music. The message I am forced from this to accept is that if Evangeline, her family and other displaced Acadians had arrived by automobile or tour bus, they would have been welcomed. Coming by boat, Evangeline would be forced to look for her love as well as a new homeland elsewhere!

I do want to assure you that this small glitch in my travels did not spoil my enjoyment of the trip. I continued on to Morgan City, where I spent several weeks on the Atchafalaya River and its tributaries; moved further east where I have harbored the boat at the Black Bayou Marina; and returned for a short time in California to take care of a few other things such as fishing for salmon on the Feather River in Northern California. I will return in a few weeks to resume my exploration of the waterways of Louisiana.

I do appreciate your taking the time to read this letter and hope to have the opportunity to meet you at some point.


Dan McCorquodale