All men and women find themselves at a point in life where their path in life seems clear and they are given the opportunity to make peace with destiny. Cajun Shrimpers are undeniably at peace with the world they have been born into.They use the ship and seas as an inexhaustible resource from the modern, the material - vacations to their own personal heaven. The phrase “family first” seems to be written in their blood - and “everyone is family” carved atop their veins. They dismiss the common, material, and everyday realities most of us so easily absorb ourselves into, and seem to be - as a default - unconcerned. They are packed into a small neighborhood where almost everyone is family. And those that aren’t are treated as such. I rant about family because the very word spills out of their pores and infects the air you breathe. You feel it.
The land the shrimpers were used to seeing on their way out to sea is no longer there. Miles upon miles of marshes and even large islands have disappeared throughout the years. If that weren’t enough - the shrimpers are disappearing as well. While shrimp populations decline at a slow but very apparent rate decade to decade - Captain Jesse Jr. only keeps business going because there aren’t nearly as many shrimpers as there used to be. He remembers being surrounded by hundreds of shrimp trawlers in the late 80’s. Now, he mostly sees the same handful of friends and his son Jetty - a 5th generation shrimper - is always close by.
And yet while struggle surmounts from all angles, the Cajuns seems blissfully and distinctly separate from any problems. They transmute what would make anyone suffer into a quiet spirituality. Their nonchalant and friendly cajun nature is almost unbelievable - I’ve never felt so welcome. Their way of life must be protected, preserved, and appreciated. I don’t know if they will successfully continue shrimping or be run off by behemoth commercial fishery fleets. But I pray the former, as should we all.
Thanks for looking,