January 21, 2021 Morgan City, La.
The Louisiana Iris Conservation Initiative (LICI) organized an iris planting on Wednesday, January 20th at the Cajun Coast Visitors & Convention Bureau's visitors center in Morgan City, Louisiana. Volunteers from Common Ground Relief and LICI planted I. giganticaerulea species irises from the LICI iris rescue program.
The purpose of the Cajun Coast visitors center is to introduce to the public all things that the Acadian region of south Louisiana has to offer to visitors. The raised building is actually located within a cypress swamp and has an outdoor deck that circles the building. It allows visitors to safely see and experience a typical Louisiana cypress swamp.
The Cajun Coast Visitor's Center Last year the LICI learned that the swamp next to the visitors center had no Louisiana irises growing in it. Although there are some healthy clumps of irises growing out in the swamp on either side of the building in the distance, they were too far away to be seen from the deck. Since the Louisiana iris is an important part of Cajun culture, it was thought something had to be done about this problem of no blooming irises being in view to visitors at the center.
Kim Walden, member of the Cajun Coast Visitors & Convention Bureau, and Christal L. Carter, manager of the Cajun Coast Visitors Center, in December wholeheartedly agreed to LICI's proposal to plant native irises in the swamp around the building.
The iris planting was scheduled for January since the water level is down
during winter's typical north winds and low tides.
It is always difficult to estimate how many iris are brought out to these plantings. Since many of the irises, as shown in the photo on left, were single irises that take up less space in the trailer as compared to clumps, it's possible there were as many as 500-600 irises planted that day.
The volunteers planted the irises in the soft, semi-liquid, rich muck that passes as soil in Louisiana's swamps. Photo on right: A long pole with a small digging tool attached to the end was used to plant irises out from the narrow area of firm ground on the rights side and rear of the building. The other volunteers used rakes to break through the surface to the soft ground or muck below.
Photo on left: Two of the Common Ground Relief volunteers at work behind the building. Wearing masks and social distancing was practice by the volunteers.
Photo on right: Some of the irises that were planted. The area of the photo will likely have 4" to 6" of standing water when the tide returns to its typical spring and summer height.
Seven of the eight volunteers pose for the "last goodby and job well done!" photo.
The Cajun Coast Visitors Center location and contact info:
Morgan City Visitor Center
900 Dr Martin Luther King Blvd
Morgan City, LA 70380
985-380-8224 or 800-256-2931
Open Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm
Saturday & Sunday, 9 am to 3 pm
Their website can be found here: https://www.cajuncoast.com/