Author Archives: John Shepard

Horn Island and the Islander: artist Walter Anderson

Nat and I began our eight-mile crossing of Mississippi Sound by kayak in late afternoon sunlight. Our destination—Horn Island, a 12-mile-long barrier island parallel to the Mississippi coast—was somewhere out of sight just beyond the horizon. I paused a short … Continue reading

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Mulch mania: Dean Wilson’s battle for the Atchafalaya cypress

On Saturday, Dean Wilson was frying a small mountain of fish in the kitchen of his tiny bayou-side house with its wood-burning stove and rusting tin roof. A few chickens and a rooster were pecking around outside beside his johnboat and … Continue reading

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‘Alligator mississippiensis’ and my reptilian brain

When I encountered our fiftieth alligator (give or take) my own reptilian brain woke up with a start. It was three days ago, when Nat and I were kayaking Bayou LaBranch in golden late-afternoon sunshine.  The surrounding cypress trees had … Continue reading

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Louche New Orleans

After a couple of weeks staying here in the Crescent City, I stumbled on a word this morning that fits the place in several ways: louche. This, according to my dictionary, means “disreputable or sordid in a rakish or appealing … Continue reading

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An oil-spill warrior and a flight along the coast

For the past year Steve Jenkins has been thinking a lot about beaches. As slicks of BP oil began making their way across the Gulf toward the Alabama shore last April, the staff of his Field Operations Division of Alabama’s … Continue reading

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The Whooping Cranes of Aransas: a Survival Story

To watch whooping cranes methodically pluck blue crabs from a salt marsh along the Texas Gulf coast with their long beaks is to stand close enough to the precipice of extinction that you could almost throw a rock into the void. … Continue reading

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The Apalachicola Water War

As they say out West, “whiskey’s for drinkin’ and water’s for fightin’.” Well, the same folk wisdom has applied in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) river system since the 1980s, when the upstream neighbor, Georgia, wanted to start taking even more water … Continue reading

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