Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Summer Water Fun

Bayou Sara

The Waterway



Bayou Sara under the hill of St. Francisville

Present day use of Bayou Sara consist mainly of a few commercial and game fishermen, photographers, birdwatchers and boating enthusiasts. Unlike the days of past where Bayou Sara at one time supported the second busiest port on the lower Mississippi only to New Orleans; Bayou Sara today trickles along it banks past only a few homes, farms and a couple business establishments. No longer the stories this bayou has to tell of horsetraders, civil war adventurers, prostitution galore and flooding. As once used
as safe haven from the sometimes torrent and unpredictable Mississippi River, it may be days before a boat sighting on Bayou Sara today can be made. But this is good, no!


Bayou Sara in the Swamp

Yes, Bayou Sara is probably the least noticeable attraction St. Francisville exhibits but to the photographer, birdwatcher or naturist it is one of the most important. The quiet serenity of slowly paddling upon a lazy alligator taking the sun in kind, can not be matched. Bayou Sara is exactly the way it should be, untouched, untampered and until now, un-noted. With that thought in mind, I will leave with only a few
reflections on Bayou Sara the Waterway today.


St. Francisville's prettiest non-attraction.

Bayou Sara flows from the Mississippi State Line in the general area of Lake Rosemound. Fed by small creeks, field runoff and natural springs; Bayou Sara transverses through shallow pools gravel beds, rock and sand bottoms and shores. Once reaching the lower Bayou Sara the waterway widens into the Tunica Swamp with a deeper central channel.


Small crafts can navigate the bayou & creek following a small rain.  Going after large thunderstroms and prolong rains are extremely dangerous.

Unpretictablility is the main reason Bayou Sara is so underutilized as a major attraction. At times during the year there is barely water to thirst a cow, while during the spring runoff into May the Bayou and Mississippi River will flood the basin below the St. Francisville ridge. Best time to canoe the upper Bayou Creek is after a good rain, but caution must be alerted as this can be extremely dangerous. The numerous fallen trees make navigation impossible and deadly in a rapidly moving stream. This can not be
alerted enough, please beware to this danger.

Near the mouth of Bayou Sara at the Mississippi River.

The lower Bayou Sara is ideal for canoeing from the Mississippi River to as far up as water permitting. Side trips into the swamp or hidden creek feeds make exploring wildlife, birding and photography a real treat.
Hiking along the creek is possible along the upper portion of the creek, but remember to respect private property and watch for poisonous snakes and quick sands.


Green monster over Bayou Sara - lower section.

Fishing from the shoreline or boat is best along the lower Bayou Sara at creek inlets and the mouth along the River. Caution when entering the Mississippi River, be experienced this river can be dangerous.

Hidden lost canal off Bayou Sara.

Best bet; take a small craft; kayak, canoe, pirogue or flat boat up the mouth of Bayou Sara and enjoy the peacefulness of the entire wildlife bayou scene to yourself and friend.


 


1996-2006 Feliciana Guide Post.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

St. Francisville Transitory Theatre

Open auditions will be held on Saturday, May 27 at 6:00 p.m. at The Old Presbyterian Church for this summer's production of Agatha Christie's "Ten Little Indians." No experience is necessary and all ages are welcome. Come prepared with a 60-90 second contemporary monologue (or readings will be provided) and be prepared to show off any talents and to work with other actors.

St. Francisville Transitory Theatre will produce "Ten Little Indians" from June 23 - 27 at Old Market Hall. Curtain is at 7:30 p.m. An original composition will be produced on August 4 and 5 at The Glynn's.

For more information, visit www.sftheatre.net or email sftheatre@gmail.com.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Smith goes to Spain.


During a tour of Spain, Doug, Virginia and Teri Smith of St. Francisville, had lunch with Antonia Lara in her home in Salinas, Malaga Province. They gave her a St. Francisville back pack full of souvenirs from St. Francisville and Louisiana. The Smiths were on a trip planned by Grand Circle that included 2 meals in private homes. Anne and Max King from St. Francisville traveled with the Smiths, and also were at the meal with Sra. Lara.

Friday, May 19, 2006

New Bridge to Connect St. Francisville to New Roads

Groundbreaking ceremonies were held last week for the new John James Audubon Mississippi River Bridge. The future bridge will connect I-49 to I-55 by way of
the Zachary Taylor Parkway. Completion is expected in the year 2010.














Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Thompson Creek Unique Treasure





Beautiful bluff on Thompson Creek

Thompson Creek flows from the Mississippi State Line down through the Feliciana's into the Mississippi River. It is one of only two tributaries in Louisiana which actually flows into the Mississippi River from the east shore, the other being Bayou Sara. Although only a few feet wide and inches deep in places, Thompson Creek is the east-west dividing line between East & West Feliciana Parishes (parishes - are Louisiana's counties).




Taking a break on Upper Thompson Creek

The Creek has all the beauty of Tunica Falls area, although actual falls are not as prolific. Along the creek you will find an abundance of wildlife using the creek as their main water source and with the wide variety plant life, rock structure and light infusions makes Thompson Creek a favorite summit for photographers. Capturing
that one moment on film of a whitetail doe enticing her yearling to the creek's edge for water while the sun glistens off the ripples made by the shallow water rushing through the gravel bed. Add a 30 foot white bluff topped with beechwood or moss laden oaks as a back-drop and you have Thompson Creek - the nature photo studio.




Plenty of boulders along your path with calm waters on this day.

Boating on Thompson Creek is a bit tricky as during normal weather and with the inclined slope the creek bed there's not enough water to travel the creek without many short portages. This can be very tiring as areas of the creek bottom can sometimes be very soft sand and gravel, making walking without a boat difficult. DO NOT attempt to travel the creek unless there was a good bit of prior rain.

Then the other extreme,paddle the creek after a day or two of torrent rain. You will find standing waves and some extremely difficult maneuvers. But like Bayou Sara the creek can become extremely dangerous with fallen trees and all caution should be exercised. Trees and debris tend to buildup under bridges where deep washouts
also exist, so try avoiding these areas during these times. Be prepared,
equipped, and have some experience and your paddle adventure down Thompson Creek
can be most enjoyable.



Old rock bottom - this rippling caprock is polished smooth on Thompson Creek

Fishing along Thompson Creek is found more productive in the Lower Section and into the Mississippi River. Here the waters of the Mississippi River will actually backflow into the creek at times during the year. There is a lot of silt buildup from the river so be cautious for sand bars. Remember the remoteness of this area, so be prepared in case of any emergencies.

Hiking Thompson Creek can be a great time and strenuous to "boot". Not only will you enjoy this remote creek with all it's God given beauty but a workout you Will receive. The drop off and pick-ups are far apart, but you can opt to leave and return to the same spot - controlling your distances. Walking/climbing across boulders, wading shallows, crossing a tree bridge and walking the bright white sand beaches make traveling an adversity of wills. Oh, yes the quick sands. Walking comfortably along on firm sand only to step into the unnoticeable soft gravel and sand down to your knee, thigh or even hip. After some laughter and struggle you are once again on your way with a keener eye for your surroundings and an appreciation for life's twist.




As the sun goes down along the Thompson Creek

Birdwatching is extremely fruitful all along Thompson Creek. The Lower Sections support much wetlands but a shallow draft boat will probably be needed as the area is extremely remote. Highway and backroad bridges are the easiest locations for viewing. Short walks up and down the creeks will totally isolate you from road noise within minutes.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Habitat for Humanity Initiative in West Feliciana Parish

Several members of the West Feliciana community have met recently to organize a local initiative to build the first home in the parish in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Baton Rouge. The group will focus their efforts in the coming months on fundraising and site selection and hope to have the home built by June, 2007.

Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry dedicated to eliminating poverty housing by working in partnership with local communities and deserving low-income families to build homes. Habitat then sells the homes to deserving families with a 20-year interest-free mortgage. Habitat is often described as providing a “hand-up, not a hand-out” to working families in need. In addition to paying back the cost of the home, Habitat homeowners are also required to attend training classes and volunteer 350 hours of “sweat equity” building their own home and the homes of other Habitat families.

Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built more than 200,000 houses around the world, providing more than 1,000,000 people in more than 3,000 communities with safe, decent, affordable shelter.

The West Feliciana initiative was spurred by Rev. Danny Gleason, pastor of the United Methodist Church in St. Francisville. Rev. Gleason became familiar with the work of Habitat for Humanity during his previous assignments in Bossier City and Lake Charles, Louisiana. He was impressed with Habitat’s emphasis on the sweat equity concept as well as the extensive training which Habitat provides to their partner families supporting their transition into homeownership. Seeing the need to address poverty housing in West Feliciana parish, Rev. Gleason asked parishioner Tom Crouse, chairman of the church’s missions committee, to launch the local effort to build a Habitat home.

Crouse in turn has formed a steering committee composed of seven area ministers, three local elected officials, and the chairmen of several subcommittees. The steering committee members include: Rev. Danny Gleason, Rev. Olton Scott, Rev. Earnest James, Rev. Ron Hardy, Rev. Joe Ratcliffe, Rev. Stephen Holmgren, Rev. Charles Landry, Randy Stevens, Randy Ritchie, and John Cobb. Subcommittee chairmen include Conville Lemoine (Site Selection), Ervie Ellender and George Newton (Solicitations), Michael Clarke and Dick Imhoff (Golf Tournament), Randy Stevens (General Fundraising), Mike Clark (Homeowner Selection and Support), Bill Babineaux and Sue Catchings (Volunteer Committee), and Tracey Banowetz (Public Relations).

The local group, currently calling themselves the West Feliciana Habitat Builders, decided to work under the direction of the Greater Baton Rouge Habitat affiliate. According to Crouse and Lynn Clark, Development Director for the Baton Rouge affiliate, there are several benefits of this approach. Most important, says Crouse, it allows the West Feliciana volunteers to focus on learning the basic process of building a Habitat home while receiving the support of a local affiliate with an experienced staff familiar with the established guidelines of the Habitat for Humanity organization. In turn, says Clark, the Baton Rouge affiliate will provide assistance with professional construction supervision, volunteer coordination and insurance protection, and the family selection and support process.

Indeed, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Baton Rouge can claim a successful track record. Since their inception in 1989, the Baton Rouge affiliate has completed over 130 homes in five parishes: East Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge, Ascension, Iberville and Livingston.

The West Feliciana Habitat Builders are focusing their current efforts on site selection and fundraising. They hope to have the building site purchased or donated by July, 2006 and the fundraising effort completed by March, 2007. If those targets are met, then construction could be completed by June, 2007.

A fundraising goal of $75,000 has been established for the West Feliciana project. The fundraising effort will include a golf tournament at The Bluffs as well as solicitations and other fundraising activities. Already, over $11,000 in pledges has been secured and the golf tournament is being planned for later this year.

Although each Habitat homeowner repays the cost of their home with a 20 year mortgage, this mortgage covers only the direct cost of the home and carries no interest payments. As Clark explains, it is necessary to raise funds in advance of construction in because the Habitat organization must carry the 20 year mortgage while charging no interest and making no profit on the loan. The funds are also used to cover the cost of overhead items which are not included in the cost of the home, such as insurance coverage for volunteers, professional construction management, and tools and equipment for the volunteers. As each local affiliate grows and more and more homeowners are making mortgage payments into what is known as the “Fund for Humanity,” their payments are put towards building homes for future Habitat families so that less funding is needed up front.

In the meantime, volunteers and donors are needed to make the first Habitat home in West Feliciana parish a reality. People interested in volunteering or making a donation to the West Feliciana Habitat Builders should contact their minister or Habitat for Humanity of Greater Baton Rouge at 225-927-6651.

For Additional Information:
West Feliciana Habitat Builders
Tracey Banowetz or Tom Crouse
Public Relations Chairman Steering Committee Chairman
Tel.: 225-655-4028 Tel: 225-634-3319
Email: Banowetz@bellsouth.net Email: Crousehouse@bellsouth.net

For more information on Habitat for Humanity Internation visit www.habitat.org