It seems ridiculous this is even possible, but it's very real and spreading across Louisiana's marsh.
You only need a visit to know Louisiana is a special place.
Our home stands out from the rest, and in more ways than one: she's bestowed upon the world a food, music and culture unlike anything else.
But it doesn't stop at Bourbon Street!
People from all over the world visit our great state to partake not just in spirited revelry, but also her great outdoors.
Honestly, Louisiana is one of the few places people can escape a cell phone signal to become lost in her majestic wetlands.
Yet we find her French heritage and sprawling marshes do not always go hand-in-hand.
Louisiana Has a Dirty Secret
See, Louisiana was a working French/Spanish colony long before it was bought by the Americans in the early 19th century.
It's my guess that, when the deal was done, it was decided "don't fix something that ain't broke" and let her be with her Napoleonic Code, which is mostly French and not based on Common Law, like every other state in the Union.
Very Important Disclaimer
I'm not inferring Louisiana people aren't patriotic or un-American. That's crazy talk.
Consider that one of the Marine Corps' greatest generals came not from Virginia, or even Texas, but Point Coupee, Louisiana.
He must have been some kind of all-American badass, since the Marine Corps saw fit to name an important base after him.
A Quick and Easy Explanation of Water Access
What I call "water access" is the issue concerning who's allowed, and not allowed, to access Louisiana's waters.
In short, there are loopholes in Napoleonic-based law allowing those with deep pockets and connections to claim navigable waterways as their own.
Not surprisingly, land owners (and leasees) take advantage of this to keep Louisiana's bayous for themselves.
Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore!
This is not about landlocked ponds on someone's farm, I am referring to bodies of water that flow and ebb with the tide.
Water like this is totally free to navigate and fish anywhere else in the nation.
But here in Louisiana it's debatable, and land owners have taken measures to block access to water folks have fished since there were folks to fish them.
Why would they do this?
Because if they can control access to the water, then they can control who comes and goes.
Guess who gets to come and go? People who pay.
That is exactly what Delacroix Corporation has done, driving pilings in key locations to block access to a large portion of the marsh.
It's Not American
Land owners thieving water access from the public claim it's their right, and of course they'd say so because it's 100% in their interest.
All very much in the same way King George thought it his right to tax the American colonies without representation, or for southern plantation owners to hold their fellow man in bondage.
We all know how those things worked out!
Besides, just because you can, doesn't mean you should.
Ask an American soldier in Valley Forge, or Omaha Beach, or Fallujah, what they were fighting for, I doubt they'd mention this "property right".
What You Can Do About It
We are not powerless in this dilemma. Here's what you can do:
Louisiana Sportsman's Coalition is a grassroots organization, and the only one, fighting for your right to access navigable water.
You can become a member here.
CCA ain't it
In case this is all new to you, it's important you know that CCA Louisiana will not take up this fight.
They have done nothing but provide lip service and aren't going to fight this issue, probably because it's inconvenient for their well being.
Connect with Mike Benge
Mike Benge is the president of Delacroix Corporation, and it's my guess blocking off water is his idea.
So, if you'd like to express your concern in a civil manner you can contact Mike here:
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: Click Here
Telephone: (504) 523-2245
Final Food For Thought
It's sad Louisiana is one of the poorest states despite having so many natural resources.
We will become poorer if our $1 billion recreational fishing industry takes anymore hits than it has.
Not sure? Consider these questions:
- Why buy tackle if you have nowhere to use it?
- Why launch at a marina where you can't enter the marsh?
- Why buy gas you won't burn?
- Why hold a tournament no one will come to?
- Why buy a boat you can't run?
- Why get a fishing license you can't use?
- Why buy a camp you can't access?
Businesses will lose, charities will lose, the inshore economy will become crippled. All to benefit a few, at the expense of the many.
What do you think? Chime in below!
Folks have asked where these pilings are, so here is the map I've been provided with.
Everywhere you see orange dashes is where water has been blocked off.
How You Can Help
You aren't powerless to prevent the loss of water access, join myself and other concerned citizens at the Louisiana Sportsmen's Coalition.
They are the only grassroots organization fighting for your fishing freedom!