The following transcription is from a series of recordings my father made in the early 1990s:
Bushes, Briars and Weeds...
Vegetation around the Island has always been thick and especially so during late May and early June. It looks like a scene from Central America.
You can look outside when it’s misting rain and imagine you’re in a rain forest. As the sun goes down late in the evenings, areas in the yards and along the fence rows are dark, dark with the thick vegetation.
In this particular part of Louisiana the vegetation couldn’t hardly be any thicker than it is in the late Spring. Maybe the soil itself is just right to grow this type of thick vegetation.
The thick vegetation causes problems keeping the highways and roads clear. Vacant lots have to be mowed regularly or within five years you’d have pretty good sized saplings growing. After ten years you’d never know it had been a vacant lot.
|Vacant lot in Sicily Island|
If you look at a map of Louisiana and the contours of the land you’ll see where the Atchafalaya River Basin extends on up from the gulf into this part of the state. Catahoula Parish is just north of the top end of the basin. It’s almost like there’s nothing to stop the ocean breezes from touching this part of the country.
There have been times when I have thought I could feel that atmosphere, smell the scent of the Gulf of Mexico. There are no barriers between the Gulf of Mexico and here on the Island.
There are some enchanting places around the Island; little nooks, hideaways, plots, fields and meadows. It is an island.
As I talked about before, we are surrounded by lakes and rivers. You can really see that we’re on an island when the water comes up high. The Mississippi River and other bodies of water back up in here and we’re completed surrounded by water.
Think about it this way…if you’re coming from Natchez, Mississippi and cross over into Vidalia, you drop down into the lowlands. From the Mississippi River until you get to the bluffs of Sicily Island, the area is very low. You then reach the plateau that comes up at least 20-25 feet higher.
The village is on the beginning of the plateau. The plateau goes on for about four miles until you reach the edge of the hills. The hills continue until you reach the Ouachita River. There are three different types of land within a four mile distance; lowlands, a plateau, and the hills.
|A view from the hills of Sicily Island|
For those listening to this tape on off in the future, I want you to stop and think about how many places you have ever seen where there is such a difference in the terrain as it is here on Sicily Island.
Note: Parts 1-43 of 'The Stories That Should Be Told' can be found in the Tags List on the right-hand side of the blog.