The Bayou Has My Heart {And Needs Our Help After Hurricane Ida}

The Bayou Has My Heart {And Needs Our Help After Hurricane Ida}

I spent my childhood years “down the bayou.” There are many bayous in South Louisiana, but the one I called home was Bayou Dularge. Our home was about twenty to thirty minutes from “town” (i.e. Houma). That extra ten minutes depended on whether you caught the bridge, a delay that my brother and I often used as an excuse when we were late for curfew as teenagers.

Hurricane Ida fundraiser
St. Eloi, my childhood church, after Hurricane Ida. The altar was left untouched even after the brick wall was blown down.

I am now a mother raising four little city girls in New Orleans. To say that their childhoods are starkly different than mine would be an understatement. Dularge is only about an hour and a half from New Orleans, but it genuinely feels like a different world. I often feel totally clueless when faced with the unwritten rules inherently known by mothers born and raised here in the city. I’ve put my foot in my mouth more than once, but thankfully I’ve gained some dear friends over the years who translate the city for me.

My childhood was spent running through literal pastures and over haystacks, riding four wheelers and horses, following my brother and his friends around while they played in his tree house and enjoying sleepovers with my cousins across the street. My bayou childhood also included bike rides to the marina store for candy, blackberry picking, early morning cattle round ups, an actual crawfish pond, and peeling shrimp for the freezer. This is not just imagery from a romantic children’s book about Louisiana; it was life in the 80s down the bayou.

The majority of my extended family lived within walking distance to my family’s house. We grew corn and potatoes at home and always had fresh green beans. My grandpa raised cattle (that yes, fed our family), and we routinely enjoyed and devoured fresh crabs, shrimp and fish from the bayou and lakes. My mother fed us “farm to table” before that was ever an urban trend.

help Hurricane Ida victims
My grandpa telling an embellished fishing story.

My brother and I were expected at dinner every evening at six and Church every Sunday at ten. Skipping either event was a serious offense, and under no circumstances were you allowed to leave Church after communion but before the final blessing. Ever. 

On Sunday mornings my grandpa made homemade biscuits with blackberry jelly, and my extended family gathered around the table laughing, often at the outrageous fishing stories he shared about catching the biggest fish or the week’s largest fish haul.  

I wasn’t particularly excited to move to New Orleans after law school. I came here for a job and – as much as I hate to admit it – a boy. I’ve grown to love the city despite its bumpy streets, pot holes and overflowing trash cans. I have no regrets.  New Orleans is home. But the bayou is always there, just under the surface, guiding my heart. It shows its strength in my work ethic and beauty in my compassion for others.  

how to help Louisiana after Hurricane Ida
A childhood Christmas in the bayou {age 10}.

I feel the bayou when I see my girls, each with a beautiful French name. Make no mistake; I may be raising city girls, but my mothering is heavily influenced by my bayou childhood. My husband, a NOLA native, rolls his eyes while smiling gently every Christmas when I sing to the tune of Jingle Bells…

Toc toc balls, toc toc balls

A piece of red boudin

Santa Claus is coming

He just left Pointe Aux Chene

Oh, toc toc balls

Toc toc balls

Some gumbo and some rice

It’s Christmas on the bayou, so you better be real nice!

Support the Bayou After Hurricane Ida

{shop ONLINE for Louisiana}

While I was planning to share my bayou childhood story and encourage folks to donate anyway, the timing happened to coincide with a fundraiser that New Orleans Mom wasLouisiana Hurricane Ida fundraiser planning. Together we have chosen to raise much needed funds for iServe365, an organization that “is committed to meeting the urgent needs of our community with a special focus on crisis response by providing, equipping, and encouraging effective and timely intervention. This can include but is not limited to, focusing on provisions of food, clothing, shelter, and other pertinent supplies and/or services.”

All of the proceeds from these uniquely designed Louisiana items will go DIRECTLY to iServe365. Casey Hilty, a Louisiana mom herself, generously donated her time and talent to the design featured on this merchandise {please learn more about Casey Hilty and support her work}.

{shop ONLINE now}

Help Louisiana After Hurricane Ida

In addition to the above fundraising opportunity, Dularge and other bayous were hit hard by Hurricane Ida. My suggestions and personally vetted suggestions for donations:

Needed supplies include: laundry soap, cleaning supplies, spray bottles/cleaning scrubbers, 5 gallon buckets, bleach, vinegar, box fans, diaper cream, baby powder, diapers, over the counter meds like Tylenol and hydrocortisone, brooms and mops, snack foods, air mattresses, tarps and wood to faster them too, hammers/tools, generators, window units, first aid supplies, plastic storage totes, rubber gloves, large trash bags, etc…

Louisiana Loves You.


  1. Your story of your childhood was rich in detail and touching. I now work in the Bayou and have a heavy heart for those in Terrebonne and Lafourche, while my own home parish of St. Charles is suffering, too. Thank you for reminding folks of the beauty of that world and the necessity of helping them right now.


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