HOUMA, La. - His songs speak of love and loss, and since Tab Benoit started the Voice of Wetlands Festival in 2004, Louisiana lost more than 136 square miles of coastline.
"Every time I've flown an airplane around here south of Houma, it's just amazing how fast we lose land," he said. "And in turn, it's also amazing how the Atchafalaya side is building, so I see the road map, I see what we should be doing, and our goal has always been to try to promote that."
The Voice of the Wetlands festival returns to the Southdown Plantation this weekend. The show is somewhat of a homecoming for Benoit, who grew up in Houma but spends much of his time touring.
"We're on the road about two-thirds of the year, and usually when I'm home I'm at my camp or something like that," he said. "But I always thought this would be a great place to have a concert."
Benoit says the crowd grows every year and so does his message about saving the communities he loves. Along with three days of music, the festival offers information about how people can get involved restoring the wetlands.
That's a lifelong mission for Benoit.
"There's no leaving for me," he said. "I want to get it fixed. I want a high-five at the end of this when we got this thing fixed and the river is back doing its thing and rebuilding this area the way it was done in nature."
That nature inspires so much of the music.
"We live in the Mississippi River delta, a very rich resource for all kinds of things so we try to promote the good parts of that and show everybody what you're missing out on when we lose this," he said.
The free Voice of the Wetlands Festival runs Friday through Sunday in Houma.
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