Waves and Welcomes at Mae’s Beach, Louisiana
Posted by E.G.D. on September 7, 2012
Once upon a time, it had never occurred to me that Louisiana had beaches. Isn’t that silly? The entire southern border of Louisiana is the Gulf of Mexico, for Pete’s sake! Still, when I thought of Louisiana, what popped into my head was invariably the Mississippi, chicory coffee, beignes, creole music, Cajun food, river boats… really, the beach never even entered the equation in my head, unless it was some silty river landing.
Things have changed. I don’t think I will ever be able to think of Louisiana without thinking of beaches again, and this is a completely good thing. Earlier this summer, Jody (Mom) and I hopped in my car and road tripped from Houston to the Louisiana Gulf Coast, and I have rarely had a more entirely pleasant experience in all my days. The beaches were clean, the people on the beaches were courteous and friendly, and the shelling was some of the best I have seen anywhere in the world. I am a very well traveled sort of person, and I have visited a good many beaches, but the shells I picked up in Louisiana are really and truly some of the most unique of pattern and color of any in my collection.
The very first beach we found after crossing the border from Texas into Louisiana was Mae’s Beach, and we were not even sure it would be a real beach (as opposed to a community with a misleading name).
We held a car-to-car window conversation with a patrolling officer in a sheriff’s office vehicle just off to the side of the highway, and he confirmed that it was, in fact, a beach that was, in fact, just a short way down the road behind him. What a gem of a find! What a complete surprise! We had never heard of Mae’s Beach or seen it on a map prior to our stumbling upon it as the first in a quite long string of little beaches, and in my opinion, it was the best in the lot.
Now, this perfectly wonderful little beach is unaccountably a bit lost in internet obscurity. I did not manage to find an official website for it, but I did finally find it on a proper map when I was doing research for my article on the Creole Nature Trail. It was on the shelling guide brochure! We were there at a high-ish tide, and most of what we found were either pieces, eastern oyster shells, and ark shells (I identified those using the above-linked shelling guide). Even in less than ideal shelling conditions, though, the shells were abundant and delight-inspiringly lovely. Also, on Mae’s Beach we met a group of friendly Louisianans who knew the area and who were happy to share advice and show of their day’s shelling finds. Their fondness for their bit of coast was apparent and contagious, and I personally thought that Louisiana’s pride in and love of its beaches was equally apparent from Mae’s Beach’s singular lack of litter. The beach was clean in a very beachy sort of way, meaning that the clumps of seaweed and bits of dead plant-life were left alone to perpetuate the coastal eco-system, but we saw no signs of broken bottles, chip wrappers, or beer cans.
The only thing about Mae’s Beach that might be considered a down-side was that it lacked facilities (e.g. bathrooms, showers, lifeguards, etc.). Frankly, that’s also what made it the perfect beach. I doubt you will ever find it over-crowded. I would recommend Mae’s Beach to absolutely every beach lover in the world, and I guarantee it will not disappoint.