By Glynn Harris
Wendy Wilson grew up in Bossier City, graduated from Louisiana Tech and more than three decades ago, pointed her compass south, married and became Wendy Billiot, settled down and reared five children in Cajun country. Making her home in lower Terrebonne Parish in the village of Theriot, she set up camp on the banks of Bayou DuLarge where she spawned a project that involves offering women the opportunity to have a hands-on experience with the coastal outdoors.
Hers is not the first to offer outdoors projects geared for women — the Women in the Outdoors and Becoming an Outdoors Woman programs have been in existence for years. Billiot’s program, however, takes a different slant.
“My program, Bayou Woman Adventures, is multi-faceted in that I design a program for whatever a particular group of ladies wants. I have a U.S. Coast Guard license that allows me to take people out on the water for charter. We not only do fishing excursions; I put together activities that a particular group may be interested in,” Billiot said.
“Bayou Woman Adventures has involved women in a variety of activities from teaching them how to catch, cook and eat blue crabs to taking them fishing in salt, brackish and fresh water to birding tours and dolphin-watch tours.
“The women have the chance to see creatures they may not get to otherwise experience. While boating to whichever activity the day calls for, they’ll likely see alligators, wading birds, migratory birds in season along with deer, raccoon, nutria and an occasional otter.
“I’ve taken some groups on boating tours to some of the off-shore islands. In addition, we’ve done several educational eco-tours where the ladies can see for themselves and learn about why we’re losing the equivalent of a football field of our coastal wetlands every half hour. The women are able to actually see some of the major causes of wetland loss along with some of the things that are working toward restoration. It’s actually a one-of-a-kind eco-tour that is both educational and impressive,” she added.
One interesting fact about Billiot is that she is the outdoors-person of the family. Her husband, a native American who grew up in south Louisiana, seldom fishes or hunts.
I have known Wendy Billiot for several years, visiting with her each year at the annual conference of the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association. An accomplished writer, she is author of a children’s book, “Before The Saltwater Came”; she contributes regularly to area newspapers and magazines and is part of the popular “Hunt – Fish – Talk” radio program.
She has won a number of writing/broadcasting awards from the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association, giving credence to the fact that this lady knows what she’s talking about when it comes to the outdoors.
Her web site has a statement of purpose that encapsulates what Bayou Women Adventures is all about. “Reaching out to women of all ages who love adventure, love the outdoors, love fishing who want to learn more about being in the outdoors with other women in a safe relaxing atmosphere.” Housing for participants is in a large modern and fully equipped bayou bungalow along Bayou DuLarge.
Ladies, does this whet your appetite to experience more of what coastal outdoors Louisiana has to offer? A visit to www.bayouwoman.com will give you a virtual tour of what Bayou Woman Adventures is all about.
Having known Wendy Billiot for several years, I can assure you that booking an activity with her will be an adventure you’ll want to repeat again and again.