About two months ago, a buddy and I embarked on what can best be described as the ultimate mancation, four days in the marshes of Louisiana hunting alligators and hanging out with some of the nicest, most genuine people I have ever met.
On our first night, we were greeted at the airport by a friend of a friend, who I had never met prior to this trip. Thirty minutes after getting picked up, we were sitting in his house eating home cooked gumbo. (If there is one thing I loved about Louisiana, it was the hospitality shown by everyone I met). Little did I know that this was just one of many unbelievable meals we would be treated to in the days to come.
In the two days to follow, we tagged a total of 12 alligators, two measuring over 10 feet. (I know this may sound cruel to some of you who are reading this, but it is absolutely necessary in order to thin out the growing population). That being said, I can honestly say that this was by far the most heart pumping experience of my entire life, a great thing to add to your bucket list if you ask me.
In addition to the gator hunting and great food, it was also amazing to see the complete devastation left behind from Hurricane Katrina. Houses swept off their foundations, coming to rest a half mile from their original location. People fixing up flood damaged homes and starting over from scratch. And finally, homes being lifted onto stilts in anticipation of future storms. It is this last one that really threw me for a loop. You see, in talking to our hosts, they told me that as part of a government paid program, they were able to repair the damage caused by Katrina and then their house was lifted onto stilts. Sounds like a great program right? Well, I thought so too until it was explained to me. Here's the problem. Our friends house would have cost somewhere around $150,000 dollars to tear down and rebuild, brand new, on stilts. The government paid $229,000 to a company that did the repairs and then lifted the house. You heard me right...our government could have saved roughly $80,000 by building the house brand new, but that's not how the program works! These folks were not given the option to build a new house. They had to keep the same house and had to spend all $229,000! UNREAL! I only wish you could have seen how many houses were being lifted in the one area we were staying at!
It's always good to know that in a horrific economy, our great leaders continue to throw away money on programs like this one. Heaven forbid that the extra money spent on this great program would go toward building even more homes, feeding the homeless, healthcare, or any other number of things that are truly necessary...