Fish Stories: After the Storm

Capt. Scott Avanzino of Paradise Outfitters reports that life is returning to normal along coastal Louisiana.

Capt. Scott Avanzino of Paradise Outfitters "Life is coming back in Venice, Louisiana, particularly at the Venice Marina. In fact you wouldn't even know there was a hurricane here a year ago by the look of things today. The Butler brother's, Mike and Bill, who co-own the marina, have gone to great lengths to bring sport fishing back to the area.

Venice, Louisiana suffered a huge blow along with countless coastal communities whose residents lost life and property when Hurricane Katrina struck on Aug 29th 2005. The tidal surge was estimated at 18 feet ,which along with winds gusts to 140 miles an hour ripped the tiny fishing community. In fact, in the days following the storm areas like the marina, which lie outside the protective hurricane levees, looked much better than the areas inside the levee that remained waterlogged for weeks following the storm. Recovery efforts centered on the removal of debris from the roadways and restoration of power and water services to homes and businesses along State Highway 23, the only road in and out of the lower parish. A police roadblock remained for a year on Highway 23, guarding Venice and the 3 other communities that lie nestled between the ever flowing Mississippi River and surrounding Gulf waters.

By winter of last year the marina harbor and nearby navigable waters had been completely cleared of obstructions and the marina's grounds were swept of the remaining debris and stranded vessels. Still, it has been a work in progress thatcontinues even today. New pilings had to be driven and much of the docks rebuilt in the months that followed. Electric power and water returned to "A" pier in May, and shortly thereafter, the marina returned to full service providing customers with ice, bait and fuel. The marina store and restaurant were rebuilt from the ground up, and reopened in June. By mid summer all the work had paid off, as the marina's 32 rental cabins boasted repeated sell outs, all 50 slips were occupied, and thousands of fisherman and spectators were on hand for the 20 plus tournaments held between Memorial day and Labor day

If you build it they will come, and come they have .Today it's business as usual. The charter fleet sees off at least a dozen parties each day with as many as 50 guide services running on the weekends. Venice is open for business, better than ever and here to stay." -Capt. Scott