1. Camanada

Camanada was a small settlement on the mainland side of Camanada Bay opposite from Grand Isle, which separated Camanada Bay from the Gulf of Mexico. It consisted of about 20 camps (houses on stilts), and a small store that bought shrimp.

There was an almost impassible road made out of clam shells that ran through a beautiful unbroken marsh that resembled Kansas wheat fields, from Golden Meadow through Camanada to Grand Isle.

Emile Toups' shrimp boat
Emile Toups' shrimp boat

My cousin Emile Toups had a camp in Comanada, right before the Grand Isle Bridge.

I spent most of the summer of 1948 with him and Emile Jr, when we deckhanded every day for him. The boat was a little 32 ft. round bottom cypress luger with a one cylinder Fairbanks Morse engine with a large heavy flywheel of only 9 horse power.

The boat shook so much that every month or so the boat had to be raised from the water and the planks renailed to keep it from leaking. The fishing net was only 30 ft. across the front compared to hundreds of feet used by the boats today, and the boat moved so slowly through the water that we would jump overboard and swim a while and then swim to the boat and climb on board.

Even with this small slow vessel and primitive net we would catch on average 1,000 lbs. of shrimp per day by 10 o’clock; at which time we would have to hurry back to the dock and sell the shrimp because we carried no ice to preserve them. There was also a shrimp drying platform at the store and if the shrimp were beginning to spoil they were boiled and dried. Every evening we swam in the bay until dark and had some type of seafood for supper.

That summer we subsisted on boiled shrimp and crabs, shrimp jambalaya, white beans cooked with salted pork over rice and fried fish that sometimes were caught in the shrimp trawl.