Louisiana, it’s all about the people

by Steph Trott

Hello hello! S’11 has once again returned to Mystic after yet another amazing experience away. As I wrote in my last entry, last week we visited the beautiful state of Louisiana for our final Field Seminar of the semester. It was such a treat to leave the early-Spring chill of New England for the sunshine, humidity, and warmth of the South.

We spent our first full day in New Orleans, which I had never before been to. After a walking tour around the famed French Quarter, we were given a few hours in which we explored the neighborhood, munched on beignets and chicory coffee (which you absolutely have to try if you’re ever in NOLA), and found some one-of-a-kind antique shops. After a cruise down the Mississippi on the steamboat Natchez, we drove through Thibodaux and stopped at Zam’s Swamp Tours for a guided expedition into the Bayou. We held some baby alligators, a yellow boa constrictor, and played with two adorable goats (who weren’t food for the gators, as some classmates led me to believe!).

We were very graciously hosted by the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON), which served as home base for the majority of our trip. I can’t say enough nice things about the facilities, the food, and the people who accommodated us. While the last two seminars have focused on finding a sense of place through the environment, this trip placed a heavy emphasis on the unique communities and people who inhabit the region. We met a man who caught his first gator when he was younger than we are, had an amazing and truly Southern lunch at the home of an influential Grand Isle resident, and were shown what we believe may be a 2,000 year old core sample by a Williams-Mystic alum. Seeing this tightly-knit community that so openly embraced a group of twenty-something college students made me think of my own community at home, and reminded me that it’s the people we choose to surround ourselves with the truly make our experiences unique.

Now, however, we’re back in Mystic and are putting our noses to the grindstone. This week our class is preparing for the tried and true W-M tradition known as Moot Court. In the simplest of terms, we’re going to be arguing a court case pertinent to Marine Policy in front of two judges. It involves a lot of reading and preparation, and ultimately counts toward our final class grade.  It’s certainly a lot of work, but I’m confident that my classmates and I will rise to the occasion and come through with great success.

In other news, this Saturday is Family and Friends Day! My parents will be making the drive up I-95 this Friday, and I’m really excited to show them everything I’ve been up to here. There’s going to be a lot going on, including talks by our faculty and staff, demonstrations in skill areas like shipsmithing and chantey singing, and a river tour on board the W-M vessel J&D.

Fair winds!

Author: williamsmystic

A one semester interdisciplinary ocean and coastal studies program integrating marine science, maritime history, environmental policy, and literature of the sea.

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