Editor’s Note: The Goat Locker is where the Navy and Coast Guard Chiefs hang out on naval ships or revenue cutters underway. It is an honor (or horror) to be invited there, depending on your rank. But we all know who runs this complex business. And they always have. This is from my retired Master Chief Bo’suns mate pal, “Boats.” Socotra LLC does not (necessarily) endorse the solutions aspoused in his/her potentially seditious comments, which remain the property of the Master Chief. I would not dare to contradict them. I would, if called, go to war with Boats anytime.
Here in the land of America’s largest real (vice figurative) swamps we went to the beach for the 4th. Actually with the typical summer temperatures in the 90s we did the air conditioned version and went to the PCYC where we could see the beach and reach the bar without difficulty. We pigged out on non Mediterranean fare (aka “rabbit food”, what “She who would be obeyed” usually feeds me) like hot dogs, hamburgers, baked beans, French fries, fried chicken, barbecued pork butt, potato salad, apple pie, and ice cream.
I had at least one of each.
We dashed downstairs briefly when the sun went down and the temperature dipped down into the upper 80s and listened to several bars of the live band and watched young people dancing. We thought briefly of dancing but we were sweating just standing there (uh…sorry boatswains mates sweat, “she who would be obeyed” just “glistened”) so we went back upstairs and had another rum and cola and watched the fireworks up and down the beach. I guess the big casino displays ran out of black powder about 10 PM. On the drive home which crosses the Pearl River Basin which some tree huggers suggested as a national park back in the 1930s, I thought about swamp drainage.
In the 1930s, the tree-huggers feared that the Pearl River Basin would be drained and turned into farm land and eventually ‘burbs.
But Congress turned down the concept announcing that the the place was too wet, hot, humid, and jungle covered to draw any visitors. The Interior Department already had a semi-tropical swamp in the Everglades which at least had some scenic vistas over the saw grass meadows, the so called “River of Grass”. The Pearl River Basin was covered in Bald cypress, Palmetto, Yucca, Water Gum, Water Oak, etc forming a dense jungle like wetland forest cut into only by the East and West Pearl Rivers and some canopied tributaries.
As congress noted the place was full of alligators and snakes. So visitors from New Orleans to the Mississippi beaches simply sped across the two roads crossing the southern half of the basin in about 15 minutes at 70 mph. No drainage, no farms, no burbs appeared between the 1930s and 1950s. Then we got the lunatic idea of going to the moon (really, I can see it from my back yard, go there? Why?) and NASA realized that they would need a place to test rocket engines.
They would need a big un-populated space that could absorb a lot of noise. This swamp, too wild to be a national park seemed perfect. We’ve been testing rocket engines in the northeast corner of the southeast section ever since. The East Pearl River gives the NASA Test Facility towboat and barge access for transport of the rocket engines. The noise from the engine tests spreads out over the vast wilderness and dissipates before reaching the ears of inhabited places.
We’ve been doing this for about 45 years now and so far the only effect on wild life is that the rocket motors sound like bull alligators in mating rut on steroids. Hunters and fishermen say you can hear the big gators trying to out boom the rocket motors for days after a test (the females are off searching for that legendary super alpha male) . Locals love the rocket test facility for the jobs it brings and the boost those jobs bring to the local economy. Since in fact, the occasional noise (tests aren’t even a monthly event) doesn’t seem to harm the wild life the greenies have long ago backed off. The NASA sonic easement has protected the swamp about as well as national park designation would have. Then during the Elder Bush administration came the Department of Interior “No Net Loss Wet Lands Regulation” further protecting the swamp.
But the swamp is limited in area cut off by the Gulf of Mexico to the South, the beach communities of Mississippi to the East South East, the urban development of New Orleans to the West South West, and high and dry pine barrens everywhere else (It is a swampy “basin” remember). I suppose in pre Colombian times the surplus gators wandered out into the pine barrens and discovered that they couldn’t climb trees or chase down deer and died on the long trek back. Now, they wander into back yards of Waveland, Slidell or New Orleans East. The big cats seem to wander out into the few cattle ranches of the surrounding pine barrens about every ten to twenty years and take livestock, probably during a cyclical decline in the swamp’s deer population.
The feds don’t like hunting near the rocket test facility (stray bullets could cause expensive damage) and hunting is regulated elsewhere even though few hunters visit much of the area. Seriously we have a problem. We have to find a new meat supply for the the region’s apex predators.
So maybe I’m over simplifying. We Cajuns are prone to do so; but Houston: here is a solution to our environmental containment, management problem and the swamp drainage up there in Disneyland on the Potomac. We have hungry apex swamp predators, the DC swamp is full of fat meaty Deep State bureaucrats working in constant opposition to the national good.
Why not drain your swamp into our swamp? Identify all those Deep State GS 14s.15s, and Senior Executive Corps types, et. al., and offer them big jobs at the NASA test facility down here. On arrival our special welcoming committee could lose them in the swamp. Your swamp is drained of the counter productive meat headed elements and our apex predators are fed. Drain your over flowing swamp into our over abundant swamp in need of meat species. Problem solved.
The world would run so much smoother minus all of the unrepentant miscreants out there. Really if we Cajuns ran the world it would go so much smoother. We know why God invented gators.
Copyright 2017 Boats