About a month ago, I enjoyed a visit with a recently-found cousin, Mr. Hewitt Theriot. Hewitt lives in New Iberia, and we met at the 1999 Theriot Reunion at Theriot, Louisiana, during the Congrès Mondial.
The day of his visit, as we were talking (a mile a minute, I might add) about our ancestors. He told me that our families were different in that his people were considered "low water" Theriots and mine were called "high water" Theriots. I asked him to explain, and he said those who had stayed in Terrebonne Parish or had moved to Cameron Parish earned their living fishing the waters of the Gulf of Mexico called themselves "low water" Theriots, and those who had moved inland and had other occupations, such as my father, who built boats and had a machine shop, were "high water" Theriots. The difference, I figure, being that those who fished the waters of the Vermilion Bay were "high water" and those who fished the waters of the Gulf were "low water." Fascinating!
It brought to mind two of my Theriot aunts who married two Chauvin brothers from Terrebonne Parish. I don't recall if it was Uncle Serge Chauvin or Uncle Seraphin Chauvin that we visited when I was a child. I do remember seeing what seemed to be acres and acres of pale pinkish-yellow shrimp laid out on white sheets of what looked like mosquito netting, drying in the sun. And I remember that we went home with pounds and pounds of dried shrimp that Mom used in the winter time to make shrimp stew and shrimp and egg gumbo. Sometime she even put some in jambalaya.
These two families later moved to Abbeville. I wonder if they became "high water" after they left Terrebonne Parish.
Copyright © 2001 Aline T. Meaux, Abbeville, LA
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