Wednesday, September 28, 2005

My Trip to Cameron

Cameron, Louisiana, now under water, was an interesting coastal town. My first real visit to the community was in 1985, as the oil drilling industry was slowing beginning to recover from the devastion it experienced in the early 1980's.

I married my husband in 1983 and we were living in Indiana, in his hometown. For several years, my husband had been employed in the oil drilling industry working both off the coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico and in waters overseas. We were living in Indiana so that he could find a decent job and we were dreaming of returning to the Gulf coast one day.

In the autumn of 1985, a friend of my husband's still living in New Orleans sent him an advertisement from the Times-Picayune for drilling rig personnel for a company drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. My husband sent off his resume in short order and was pleased to be called for an interview. His appointment of the interview was set and we were off to Lafayette, Louisiana with our fingers crossed. The interview went well and he accepted the offer of employment.

This position was of immediate need of being filled, as is often the case in the oil drilling industry, everything is needed yesterday. So we drove to Cameron, about one and a half hours to the west of Lafayette where my husband was meet the helicopter the next morning at daybreak.

Cameron, Louisiana is a small, rural community right on the water's edge at the coast of western Louisiana. The area relies on hunters, fishermen, and the oil drilling industry. Agriculture is also important there as many head of cattle are raised in the area. Lots of signs lined the road into town advertising for local people willing to take care of whatever it was you caught there - whether you wanted to clean it and eat it, or stuff it and hang it!

A few small motels offering vacancies were available to travelers moving through the area. We spent the night at a small, rather rundown motel. The room was clean but bare bones simple. Nothing fancy here. We went to dinner at a wonderful restaurant on a pier taking us right over the Gulf of Mexico. Even in this modest community, we experienced an incredible, intimate, candlelit dinner feasting on fresh seafood and taking in a breathtaking sunset so vivid it looked like the sun was setting right next to our table. After all these years, the memory of that night is still as if it were yesterday.

Bright and early the next morning, my husband left to begin a renewed career in the oil drilling industry. I drove back to Indiana to begin putting our affairs in order to move back to our beloved Gulf coast. We decided to move to Lafayette instead of New Orleans as Lafayette seemed to be a more family-friendly kind of city to begin our family.

With the devastation of Hurricane Rita wrecking havoc on the coast of southwestern Louisiana, I pray for the community of Cameron and wish them a speedy recovery.