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Posts Tagged ‘Louisiana Gulf Coast beachcombing’

Travel Theme: Roads

Posted by Jody on March 3, 2013

Where the rubber meets the sand…

Long-Dun Beach, Cameron Parish, Louisiana

Long-Dun Beach, Cameron Parish, Louisiana

Seeing vehicles driving on the sandy beaches along the Gulf of Mexico is nothing out of the ordinary. Long-Dun Beach in Cameron Parish is a fine example of a rustic beach (no facilities) on Louisiana’s Gulf Coast where beach goers happily drive right onto the sandy shoreline and proceed to pick the perfect parking spot for a day brimming with sun and fun at the beach. These drivable coastlines are treated as byways and standard rules of the road apply.

Long-Dun Beach is a lovely stretch of sand located along the 180 mile long Creole Nature Trail in far southwestern Louisiana. With 26 miles of blissful beachcombing heaven to choose from, the natural beaches of the Creole Nature Trail are perfect for finding driftwood, whelks, oysters, angel wings, and moon snails. With a little luck, you may even find a sea bean or two!

Beach treasures collected along the shores of Louisiana's Creole Nature Trail

These colorful beach treasures collected along the shores of Louisiana’s Creole Nature Trail.

Enjoy the ride and have a great day at the beach!

This week’s Travel Theme topic is “Roads.”

More about the Creole Nature Trail and Louisiana’s Gulf Coast beaches:

A Wealth of Wildlife on Louisiana’s Gulf Coast: The Creole Nature Trail

Waves and Welcomes at Mae’s Beach, Louisiana

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Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

A Gem of a Shell! Louisiana’s State Gemstone

Posted by E.G.D. on November 15, 2012

The Beautiful Gulf Coast of Louisiana

I’m sure that many of you remember the series of enthusiastic articles that Jody and I wrote after our summer trip to the Louisiana Gulf Coast.  We had a brilliant time shelling, the beaches were so clean and the locals were so friendly!  We found some real beachcombing gems.  Little did I know at the time, but some of the shells we found can actually be cut to make Louisiana’s state gemstone, the “Cabochon cut gemstone.”

Louisiana Gulf Coast Oyster Shells

In the summer of 2011, the governor of Louisiana signed the bill officially changing the state gemstone, which used to be the agate.  The document reads “the official state gemstone shall be the cabochon cut gemstone, derived from the Crassostrea virginica mollusk predominantly found in the waters of coastal Louisiana.”  Isn’t that neat?  Jewelry made from shells is, of course, far from a new concept, but according to Mike Nixon of the Tri-Parish Times, Anne Dale, the creator of this new variety of gemstone, “gained immediate notoriety as the first person ever to successfully achieve a cabochon cut, a domed top with a flat bottom, from a mollusk shell.”  Even more worthy of note, according to the same article “a sampling of the finished gem was entered into permanent display among the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History’s U.S. National Gem Collection on May 23″ of 2011.  It’s official, folks!  Those Louisiana oysters (Crassostrea virginica mollusks, specifically) are one gem of a shelling find, and can be made into a serious, officially recognized gem.

Louisiana Gulf Coast Oyster Shells

Now, these gems, commercially called “LaPearlite®,” are lovely, lustrous domed gems that are likely to run a buyer “from $250 to $2,000 per completed piece of jewelry” according to Mike Nixon of the Tri-Parish Times.  If you’re in the market for gemstone jewelry, that’s considered about “mid-level range.”  I did not find any photos of these gems that were not under copyright, but if you would like to see some examples, the best I found were on Anne Dale (the inventor of the gem)’s website here.  Yup, at this point, all the good examples are on a commercial website.  Sorry about that~!  In any case, even before they are cut, the shells are beautiful, and I highly recommend you pick a couple up when next you’re on a Louisiana beach.  Trust me on this, it is unlikely that you’ll have trouble finding as many as you might like to take home with you, and unlike their cut and finished counterparts, those shells on the beach are absolutely free of charge, much like diamonds in the rough at Crater of Diamonds State Park.  Incidentally, they are huge and make great soap dishes or jewelry holders.  I even attempted to use one as a dish on which to store my sunglasses, but the shell was slightly too small for the task.  Hey, if your sunglasses are small, though, I can’t see why that wouldn’t work.

Regardless of your location or your beachcombing preferences, best of luck beachcombing, everyone!  I hope you find some real gems. -E.G.D.

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Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Seashells | Tagged: , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Waves and Welcomes at Mae’s Beach, Louisiana

Posted by E.G.D. on September 7, 2012

Mae’s Beach, Cameron Parish, Louisiana Gulf Coast

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.

Mae’s Beach Shells (Photo: E.G.D.)

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).

This way to the beach!

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.

Jody’s Beach Treasures from Mae’s Beach

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.

Mae’s Beach, Cameron Parish, Louisiana Gulf Coast

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.

Fun and interesting patterns on Mae’s Beach shells. Doesn’t that one on the right look like a crimped-edge dumpling? (Photo: E.G.D.)

Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Friday Finds, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Seashells | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

 
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