For 8 years during the late 60s and early 70s, I lived in Homer. This was a special time since I learned while living there that my roots are firmly planted in that Claiborne Parish town.
I knew my great grandfather was a preacher long ago somewhere in north Louisiana; I just never knew where. You can imagine my surprise when after joining First Baptist Church there to learn that my granddad's father was once pastor of that church back around 1870.
People would ask me where I lived and when I mentioned "Homer", the inevitable question would be "the one in north Louisiana or the one down south?"
Although I've driven past Houma, "the one down south", a couple of times on my way to Cocodrie to fish, I spent last weekend in the city attending the annual conference of the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association. What a neat south Louisiana town this place is. Located in Terrebonne Parish on the Intercoastal Canal, Houma is directly connected to the Gulf of Mexico by the Houma Navigational Canal.
I didn't arrive in time to join other writers for a fishing trip, and I regret that, especially after hearing reports of the numbers of speckled trout and redfish my buddies caught and remembering the giant 41 lb. red I caught down there several years ago. I'm already planning a return visit to the area, and this time you can bet I'll go armed with my fishing rod.
While my friends were fishing, I did some research on the town with a name similar to the one where my great grandfather preached. The name "Houma" refers to one of several Native American tribes that settled in that area – Chitimacha, Tunica-Biloxi, Coushatta, Choctaw and Houma. Today, some 11,000 members of the United Houma Nation live in the area and is the largest Native American tribe in Louisiana. I was also surprised to learn that Houma is quite a bit larger than I'd thought. The 2010 census set the city's population as just over 125,000. Who knew.
Since I missed the fishing trip, I spent Saturday morning driving around the area where most of the topographic features involved water in just about every form imaginable. Bayous, streams, sloughs, canals, swamps – you name it. Houma has it all. In fact, Terrebonne Parish is known as the "Venice of America" because of its many waterways and bayous.
It wasn't hard to let my imagination do its thing and pretend I was hearing a certain alligator hunter, Troy Landry, yelling to his partner...."It's a tree shakah! Choot 'em....choot 'em, Elizabett!"
Although Troy has emerged as the star of the hit series on the History Channel, "Swamp People", another father and son team do their alligator hunting for the show in the Houma area. R.J. and his son John Paul Molinere are members of the Houma Nation of native Americans. You'll remember R.J. as the steely-eyed fellow with a single long braid reaching to his waist while the muscular and handsome John Paul handles the rifle and drives the air boat featured in the show.
Guest speaker at our awards banquet was Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne. His speech was witty, uplifting and inspiring. If I'm honest, though, in this setting and after I'd experienced much of what Houma's outdoors had to offer, I think I'd rather have had R.J. and John Paul as special guest speakers. These guys have become famous not only in the Houma area but across the country and it would have been sort of neat to meet these newly crowned folk heroes.
Homer....Houma. Two cities with similar sounding names but that's about where the similarities end.
Glynn Harris Outdoors is proudly sponsored by DSK, Ltd. of Minden.