In his State of the City Address last week, Mayor Mitch Landrieu praised the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission for the growth of this year’s summer youth programs, which include 33 youth camps, seven teen camps and an expanded summer jobs program. For parents and guardians seeking something a bit more rural, it’s also possible — and right within New Orleans city limits.
Located in the northernmost reaches of City Park, Equest Farm is straight out of a Laura Ingalls Wilder novel.
These days when fishing guide Ryan Lambert motors away from the boat launch in Buras, he’s fishing in the what locals call “the land of used-to-bes.”
As in, that used to be Yellow Cotton Bay, or Drake Bay, or English Bay… and dozens more. It’s all one big open body of water now because the marshes, cypress swamps and ridges that separated these water bodies for most of his life are gone.
Anyone flying into New Orleans on a clear day now looks down on a panorama of delicate marsh floating like green lace on the brown waters of the Mississippi delta. Those wetlands seem endless — stretching to the horizons.
But scientists tell us we’re really looking at the skeletal remains of a vast wetland ecosystem that presented huge challenges to European explorers back in the 16th century.