Author of Bayou Farewell returns to Louisiana coast, describes how much has changed in a decade

Author of Bayou Farewell returns to Louisiana coast, describes how much has changed in a decade

LAFOURCHE PARISH, LA (WVUE) - A man hailed as one of the first to show the rest of the country that the Louisiana cost was disappearing returned to see how quickly things have changed.

This week, Mike Tidwell, author of Bayou Farewell, returned to Lafourche Parish after more than ten years.

Monday, Tidwell walked up to a smaller version of the same Galliano levee he did in 2002. Back then, he had plans to share Louisiana's bountiful waterscape with the world, but he found out it was sinking beneath him.

"It's amazing how much more marsh there was than there is today," Tidwell said on Monday.

The message that shocked the country in 2003 has grown in acceptance, but the land continues to fade away.

Some say it has faded to the point of no return.

"Can we restore? Right now, my philosophy - I've been doing this a long long time. I've been living here all my life - is to hang on to what we have. I don't think we have a chance of what some people call restoring the coast. What we need to do is the best job we can to hang on to what we can," said Windell Curole of the South Lafourche Levee District.

What's left of the Louisiana coast is just a sliver of what was there just a decade ago.

"These things who make us who we are, we're not living here anymore," Curole said as he and Tidwell stood on a dock in Leeville.

With reports of football field sized chunks disappearing beneath the intruding water every hour, even the cultural treasures that Tidwell highlighted to illustrate Cajun families drown.

"You can see what used to be solid land and a cemetery is now just a few stones left in the water there," said Tidwell.

Tidwell, and members of the Gulf Restoration Network revisited the United Houma Nation leaders, whose history of retreating from European settlers forced their families to the coastline. Now generations later, it's the coastline they're battling.

"Now, we're not going. We're fighting and keeping what we have right here and we're going to fight until the day we die, to make sure that my grandchildren - and their children- have a place to call home," said Principal Chief Thomas Dardar Jr,

However, Tidwell stressed it's not all downhill from here.

Walking among the grass that grew on its own after an area was pumped, Tidwell said it's clear the political will is one thing on the rise.

Windell Curole of the South Lafourche Levee District demonstrated what he hopes will happen now to storm surges by running up the Galliano levee.

"Hopefully when it gets here, there's not enough wind energy to fight against gravity," said Curole.

Addressing projects that gave Tidwell hope that it's not Bayou Farewell - it's more: see you later.

Click here to learn about the Gulf Restoration Network information about ongoing projects