The 16th annual Paddle Bayou Lafourche event departed Ascension on Thursday, March 23 for a four-day trip down to Raceland, and rain or shine, two guys have not missed a trip.
"I've done it every year," Bill Hill said. "We have paddled this bayou one time before it was organized. We just like to paddle, man! It's something I enjoy."
Hill said they do trips with other outfitters in other parts of the state, as well, and have been for many years. This trip may be a little more convenient for them than others, since it ends in Lockport, near their home town.
"We're going to camp in Raceland on Saturday night at Dr. Mike Robichaux's in Raceland, and I live maybe three miles from there," Hill said. "It's kind of the home town bayou."
When asked about the rain predicted over the weekend, perhaps unsurprisingly the duo was unfazed.
"Last year it rained on Saturday, but we go with it," Hill said. "We'll just have to see what happens. They have activities for us if it rains."
Hill's nephew, Dwayne Theriot, said his favorite thing about the Paddle Lafourche event is that it is local.
"It's a local event," Theriot said. "It's something we can do in the back yard."
They take seperate canoes. Often they bring along a guest. Theriot said he brought along his brother this time around.
"My dad was in the military," Theriot said. "I was born up in Tacoma, Washington, but we're from this area. My dad is from the Franklin area, and my mom's from Thibodaux."
Theriot works in cable television. Hill said he's a pimp for a prosthesis. What he means is that he is a lab technician who makes prosthetic limbs. He lifted up his khaki pant to reveal a prosthetic leg.
"This one is carbon fiber," Hill said. "In 1973 I was in an accident where I had my left foot turned around backwards, and they literally sewed it back on. In the Spring of '09 I had a bone infection. They told me fastest and quickest recovery was going to be amputation.
"Chop that dude off, I got [things] to do. Give me a leg, and let's go."
Hill said he has done horse saddle work for years. He said the man he does prosthetic work for recruited him on the basis of having "hand skills."
Moving on, the bayou has improved from the first trip drastically, according to Hill.
"The first few years it probably wasn't more than 50-to-60-feet wide," Hill said. "Mud flat up to the bank. It was only a little channel. With the water flow of the bayou, people are getting more and more interested in their bayou-sage. You see more and more people cleaning that up and taking more pride in the bayou."
Hill also praised the bridge that was opened this year in Donaldsonville, accounting for the flow of more water down Bayou Lafourche and bringing more sediment in.
"The whole trip has evolved," Theriot said. "It was kind of primitive the first few years. They didn't have the shuttle service set up. You brought your own eats. Now it's well-organized with the shuttles and all the meals, and places for the out-of-towners to camp--"
"--and a T-shirt," Hill interrupted.
"Well they've always had a T-shirt," Theriot said.