I’m not a river person. I grew up in Huntington Beach, California, Surf City, for much of my young life. I love the ocean, crashing waves, and rolling surf. It’s nothing like the Pearl River of Mississippi. The surf is less murky, although seaweed entangled my ankles quite often. There are fewer lurking creatures in rippling tide waters, but I have encountered sting rays and jellyfish, but not recently. Still, I’d choose those over river monsters and alligators any day.
Now my best friend would take the river over the ocean. She’s a mountain kind of girl. But I’m not sure she’d enjoy the alligator-infested rivers in the south. Let’s go see what we can find there.
Pearl River Tours
I discovered and corresponded with a tour company that navigates the Pearl River. When my husband and I take that long-awaited trip to Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, we will definitely take a Cajun Encounter tour. It’s a touristy boating excursion company servicing the Pearl River, New Orleans and other haunts. Please take a look at their website. It’s so much fun!
It even has a live feed, and I occasionally check in, hoping to see an alligator or two. I’d feel pretty safe on one of their boats. But there are people who paddle the river in kayaks. That’s not for me! But if that floats your boat, check out this link. They kayaked the Pearl River. Yikes!
Paddling up the Pearl River, they photographed movie-worthy sites, and I imagine some of those places you’ll only see by kayak. The written blog transports you to the Bayous, and I’m sure I heard the sound of the croaking frogs and clicking cicadas when I read it. I encourage you to take a look. You’ll get a natural feel for the Mississippi and Louisiana waterways. The photographs are amazing and, in my opinion, of award-winning quality.
Pearl River and Shadowed Doubt
The Pearl River of Mississippi intrigues me because it played a minor role in Shadowed Doubt. Minor, but climactic. No spoilers here, but a little background. If you’ve read Shattered Guilt, you know the highway that connects Bay Town to New Orleans crosses the Pearl River going East. Melanie’s ex-husband Chris traveled it, and Carol in Restored Grace, Book Two does as well. Wade in Shadowed Doubt lives in New Orleans, but being smitten by Lacey Thompson, he finds his way back to Bay Town repeatedly. So this is a road well-traveled. But more about the Pearl River.
The dark-green waters of the Pearl River begin about halfway up the state and split into what’s called the Old Pearl River and runs into Louisiana. This helped in my research for a future Bay Town book, where the mid-state bayous play a crucial role. My antagonist Dwayne Landry almost…well, he’s in Book Four, due in 2024. So more about him next year. I get chills thinking about him!
So the main tributary of the Pearl River meanders down about 444 miles emptying into the Mississippi Sound. I love that it’s a dividing line between Mississippi and Louisiana, making it the exciting location of a showdown in a nail-biting climax in Shadowed Doubt.
Pearl River Life
Researching the photos along the Pearl River reminded me of the bayou river shack (photo above) in the Disneyland ride, Pirates of the Caribbean. Anything Disney does seems to romanticize locations, and I’m okay with that. Dreamer that I am, the Pearl River accommodated my fantasies. If I actually picture myself living these dreams, I’m not sure I’d be that amiable to the Bayous. Disney takes romantic license! The photograph below is an actual fishing river shack on the bayou. Not so inviting, is it?
Still, one thing that intrigued me about the river was the shrimping industry. Apparently, the dying business claimed losses. Among them, abandoned boats nestled along the shores of the Pearl River. They deem them derelict vessels or aquatic debris. It sounds so sad. Especially when you attached it to people’s livelihood. Shrimping had been a thriving life source for families living on the river. With industrial shrimping, and the global market, families gave up and moved out. One 70-year-old shrimper told his grandkids to get out. “It’s too hard,” he said. If you’ve seen Forest Gump, shrimping was the catalyst to his fortune. Remember Bubba Gump Shrimp?
Meghan Holmes writes about Mississippi Folklore. She has a lovely website with sharp photos, and she blogs about the people on the Pearl River. Take a look:
I found researching the waterways of river life so fascinating that I had to quell my research, or I’d spend all day on it. But I had to keep enough for a week of blog posts, so I hope you’ll enjoy. It’s much like I did for the release of Restored Grace. My posts were all about the islands off the coast of Mississippi and Alabama. Here’s the link to those posts. It’s like another world out there, and I loved discovering it.
Pearl River Bridges Tomorrow!
Come with me tomorrow, and I’ll take you to some old truss bridges along Highway 90. You’ll travel that road again in Shadowed Doubt. I have a bit of sad news regarding that highway. Stay tuned. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it!
Please let me know about your favorite river in the comments below. One thing I love about writing is visiting places I’ve never been. So do tell!
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God bless you, and thanks so much for reading. Please join me tomorrow.