On Mother’s Day weekend the Hebert clan gathered on Grand Isle, Louisiana for a little family reunion. My family has been coming to this funky beach town on the Gulf of Mexico for over a hundred years. We have photos of our maternal great-grandparents there before 1920. Our paternal grandfather built a camp on the island in the forties and we went there every summer to play on the beach, fish, boil crabs and get eaten up by mosquitoes. One of my very favorite memories is sleeping underneath the big window fan on the porch, to the sound of the waves. This is the island Kate Chopin wrote about in The Awakening, first point of landfall for many hurricanes. Since the ’60’s it’s been inundated by the oil industry; Grand Isle was one of the areas most affected by the BP oil spill. Happy to say it’s rebounded– beautiful, clean and thriving with migrating birds, wildlife and sea creatures once again. We watched porpoises frolicking in the breakers every morning.
My two brothers and my sister came with their extended families and we were able to introduce our own little 16-month old Mari to her many cousins. When we were leaving she shocked us all by saying “Bye, ya’ll.” Her first Southernism! Turns out she loved the warm Gulf waters as much as we do.
We ate like Cajun royalty– a shrimp boil, a crawfish boil, a fish fry, charbroiled oysters and a homemade chicken enchilada dinner (courtesy of island fishing guide and hostess extraordinaire Anne Smith, who also brought kayaks and lots of beach toys.) We also devoured shrimp and oyster po-boys from the Starfish Diner. And we drank, yes, you bet (including a pitcher of the notorious Red Knot concocted by good-timer Lecta Bourgeois). A flaming great time was had by all– oh did I mention the bonfire on the beach and the non-stop dancing? A beautiful long weekend. We have all vowed to continue to get together now that Mom, Dad and Mitch are gone, and times like this one on Grand Isle make it easy to keep that promise. One of the best parts is seeing all the young cousins playing and getting to know each other. Love those kids.