My adventures as a temporary reporter in Monroe, Louisiana.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


I finally got some wheels…a silver Chevy Malibu. It’s a little bigger than I’m use to so it makes me feel a little bit like a grandma, but a hotrod grandma. The car has some get up and go.

I loathe the necessity of having a car, but I love having one. Go figure.

So this weekend, I drove to Black Bayou Lake. It’s just a few miles north of Monroe and is a National Wildlife Refuge but lives a secret life as the city’s secondary source of drinking water. As I looked down at the stagnant algae filled water, I vowed I’d stick to bottled water for the next five weeks. I mean just look at this place…

More bayou

I went Sunday morning, so the environmental visitors’ center was closed, but they did have helpful signs telling me what animals I might see. Raccoons, ducks, and various little birdies all seemed too common place. I was hoping for an alligator. I’ve seen alligators in zoos and the only thing I remember was how boring they were. They just lied around and didn’t move, not even to flick their third eyelid closed, but I’m pretty sure wild gators wouldn’t be so fat and lazy. I mean no crazy Australian guy is just dangling raw chickens in front of a wild alligator. No these alligators would be hungry. I was sure of it.

So I trekked all the way out to the end of the handicap accessible wildlife viewing deck and waited to see my wild alligator. And waited….and waited. So after five long minutes of scanning the waters, I got bored and took a few pictures. Here they are…

Look at those cypress trees!
Cypress trees

Well so far, I was coming up short in the alligator department, but the place was thick with dragonflies, butterflies, and other unidentified bugs. It’s hard to convince an insect to sit still for snaps, but here’s one of a dragonfly.


Okay, so that was enough wildlife photography for now. I decided to set out in search again of my alligator. Alas, he wasn’t here at the observation tower.

More trees

Nor could I see him looking out from the duck blind.

Black Bayou Lake 002

Or was he?

I’m walking back to my car, looking up at the sunlight coming through the tree leaves, when I hear something in the bushes. What the hell was that? It sounds huge. I flash back to all those episodes of the Crocodile Hunter…

A big toothy jaw suddenly appears from nowhere, clamping down on my leg and the alligator starts spinning in a death roll. I battle back against the swamp beast, punching it in it’s ugly mud-colored nose. That doesn’t work, so I bit the gators thick leathery skin. Surprised by how I used the gator’s own maneuver, it let’s go of my leg and I crawl back to my car. I drive to the hospital, and pass out as soon I stumble into the emergency room. I make the “weird news” section of every paper from Germany to Florida with my girl bites alligator story. With appearances on morning talk shows and an ill-advised Springer episode, I launch a public campaign against the lurking menace of the alligator. In a year, some young starlet realizes her career in Hollywood isn’t turning out the way she thought it would as she stars in the TV movie version of my life.

Okay, so none of this happened. But dammit, I heard something! I look around. No gators. And then I see it. A white tail springs up in the air. It’s a deer! I fumbled for my camera, but by the time I turned it on, it had sprung out of sight.

Don’t ask me how I could confuse a deer with an alligator, but I swear I scared that deer more than it scared me.


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