Joseph Laurant probably took the advice of the local Choctaw when he built his trading post high on the bluff overlooking Bayou Liberty in 1807. The building still stands and though Hurricane Issac’s waters climbed the hill it could not mange to slip under the fence. However, there were plenty of other indications that this was some of the most water ever in the park. Our connection to Lake Pontchartrain covered the main road, leaving it strewn with debris and mud. The relentless rains left the woods bleeding water for days.
The Swampwalk near the bayou had the most remarkable sights – a half-inch mud deposit and a gang of huge logs left over from Katrina that floated OVER the walk and scattered to new locations. Fortunately, the boardwalk was built well and no boards were loosened from either these hazards or the time it spent underwater. Next door where the lower part of the Nature Garden was flooded the mulch was rolled up and the plants muddied but no other special problems.
On the opposite, north end of the park several pines were down, indicating especially heavy wind gusts were at play. Elsewhere in the park several “hangers” and “leaners” (damaged trees) were found over public areas necessitating the park’s closure for a week so they could be removed. Our storm preparations kept equipment and property out of harm’s way. Otherwise, a little chainsaw work, a lot of limb pick-up and a pass with the mower put the park back in shape.
The sight this week of a mother doe and her white-tailed fawn, plenty of birds, squirrels and raccoons indicate the park’s wildlife endured and survived the storm by simply hunkering down and patiently waiting for better weather.