Alayna Yarwood staff
Going for a swim or spending the day at the lake was a classic summer activity for youth who grew up in the heat of South Louisiana.
Areas like Fourchon Beach, Lake Salvador, Elmer’s Island and Grand Isle were regular spots in South Louisiana for young adults and teens to visit during the summer months.
“We would take the boat to Lake Salvador – there was a place we called Shell Beach. We would anchor just off the beach where it was about three feet deep and swim,” says Wade Fanguy, a native of Larose, Louisiana. “After a while, we would go skiing and hydroslide in the lake. On the 4th of July, it was packed with boats.”
Melissa Fanguy, who grew up in Golden Meadow, says water skiing and hydrosliding were popular activities at lakes, beaches and on the bayou.
“My older brothers and their friends used to take my dad’s boat out on the bayou and water ski. I was afraid that there were alligators in the water, but I worked up the courage to get in.” says Fanguy.
Along with the thrill of bayous and beaches, many families had their own pools to enjoy.
“My grandparents had a pool,” Tony Leger says. “We swam all day into the late-night hours. We played Marco Polo and tag. We made whirlpools and did cannon balls. My father threw us in with the directions to drown or swim. That was our swimming lesson.”
Public pools were also common during the summer months. The Cut Off Youth Center, Golden Meadow Pool, and Lockport Pool were regular hangout spots. Holly Griffin recalls going to the Cut Off pool for swimming lessons.
“We spent many of our afternoons at the Cut Off Pool, it was kind of like a babysitting service,” Griffin says.
Although the Lockport Pool is permanently closed, the Golden Meadow Pool and Cut Off Youth Center are still open today.
Melissa Fanguy says, “Every now and then I see youth water skiing or hydrosliding in the bayou, but definitely not as often or as many in the past. Going to Fourchon and Grand Isle is still very popular.”