Coastal Louisiana song book: Reflections on reviewing the 2012 Master Plan

Bill Dennison ·
31 October 2013
Science Communication | 

Over a period of a couple of years, I co-chaired the Science and Engineering Board of the 2012 Master Plan for Coastal Louisiana. The other members of the SEB were the following: Charles “Chip” Groat (co-chair), Greg Baecher, Ed Barbier, Philip Berke, Mark Brinson, Virginia Burkett, Robert “Tony” Dalrymple, Jos Dijkman, Katherine Ewel and Ed Houde, with Robert Twilley serving as the SEB facilitator. Sadly, Mark Brinson passed away following our first meeting. We met in a variety of locations; Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Lafayette, Louisiana. We also conducted a series of webinars prior to our face-to-face meetings. At each of the face-to-face meetings, I generated a song to commemorate the event, which I presented as part of the final summary session. In order to preserve these songs, I present them here in chronological order.

Our initial face-to-face meeting was in December 2010 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Robert Twilley, Louisiana State University, served as the SEB organizer and the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority lead was Steve Mathies, hence the song was titled “Steve and Bobby Twilley”, set to the tune of “Me and Bobby McGee” by Kris Kristofferson:

Steve and Bobby Twilley

Busted flat in Baton Rouge

And Headin’ for the Plan

Feeling pretty talked out in a few days

Bobby put our panel together

To help his Delivery Team

Took us all away to New Orleans

 

We made our panel comments

To the Delivery Team

And talked it through

While Bobby sang the blues

With those many deadlines keeping time

And Bobby clappin’ hands

We finally covered all the points that we all knew

 

chorus

Planning’s just another word for nothing else to do

Planning ain’t worth nothing but it’s free

Feeling good was easy Lord

When Bobby sang the blues

Feeling good was good enough for me

Good enough for Steve and Bobby Twilley

 

From the delta of the Mississippi

To the coastlines of the Chenier

Bobby shared the secrets of the Plan

His team standing beside him, Lord

With everything he done

Every night he kept us from sleeping

Then somewhere near the end, Lord

We let him know what we thought

Looking for the wisdom we hope to find

And we’ll trade all our tomorrows

For a single yesterday

Holding Bobby’s team next to ours.

Science and Engineering Board
Science and Engineering Board members for Louisiana's 2012 Coastal Master Plan. Credit: CPRA.

Our next meeting was held in March 2011 in Lafayette, Louisiana, but I was in Brisbane, Australia for my sabbatical at the International WaterCentre. I stayed up all night due to the time zone differences connected to the meeting via skype and because of this Australian base, my song commemorating the March 2011 meeting was set to the tune of “Waltzing Matilda” by Andrew “Banjo” Patterson and was called “Prioritizin’ Diversions”:

Prioritizin’ Diversions

Once a jolly SEB met in Lafayette

Under the shade of Twilley’s cypress tree,

And they sang as they watched till a vision was set

“You’ll come a-Prioritizin’ Diversions, with me”

 

chorus

Prioritizin’ Diversions, Prioritizin’ Diversions

“You’ll come a-Prioritizin’ Diversions, with me”

And they sang as they watched where the river runs,

“You’ll come a-Prioritizin’ Diversions, with me”

 

Bill was ‘Down Under’, half asleep, it certainly did seem

The rest were ‘Up Over’, viewing the Atchafalaya with glee

And they sang as they made suggestions to the Delivery Team

“You’ll come a-Prioritizin’ Diversions, with me”

 

Up came the water, that Katrina and Rita sent,

Down came four objectives, actually, five, you see

“When’s that jolly river going to give us some sediment?”

“You’ll come a-Prioritizin’ Diversions, with me”

 

Up jumped the Delivery Team straight into the fray,

“We’ll find the sediment we need, you wait and see”

And a Cajun may be heard if you pass by that way,

“You’ll come a-Prioritizin’ Diversions, with me”

 

Prioritizin’ Diversions, Prioritizin’ Diversions

“You’ll come a-Prioritizin’ Diversions, with me”

And a Cajun may be heard our where the river runs

“You’ll come a-Prioritizin’ Diversions, with me”

Waltzing Matilda
Waltzing Matilda. Credit: National Library of Australia.

Upon my return from Australia, I contracted whooping cough and as a result, missed the SEB meeting held in Baton Rouge in July 2011. Instead, I made a trip to Baton Rouge in October 2011 to focus on the communication aspects of the 2012 Master Plan. To commemorate this meeting, influenced by whooping cough, I generated “Makin’ Whoopin’” to the tune of “Makin’ Whoopee” by Gus Kahn and Walter Donaldson. The names in the song refer to the following people: Kirk = William “Kirk” Rhinehardt, CPRA; David = David Groves, RAND Corp.; Karim = Karim Belhadjali, CPRA; Natalie = Natalie Peyronnin, CPRA; Kyle = Kyle Graham, CPRA.

Makin’ Whoopin’

Another visit, another time

Another trip is no crime

Another season, another reason

For makin’ whoopin’

 

A lot of data, some not so nice

Kirk is nervous, he knows the price

Its so killin’ that he’s so willin’

To make whoopin’

 

Picture a little salt marsh

Down where the Cajuns cling

Picture the same sweet salt marsh

Think what a flood can bring

 

David’s crunchin’ numbers and doin’ runs

He’s so ambitious he does even more

But don’t forget folks that’s what you get folks

For makin’ whoopin’

 

Another month or maybe less

What’s this I hear? Well you can’t guess

Karim feels neglected and he’s suspected

Of makin’ whoopin’

 

Natalie sits waitin’ for data most every night

David doesn’t phone her he doesn't write

He says he’s busy but she says “Is he?”

He’s makin’ whoopin’

 

The data shows we doesn’t have the money

Only some tens of billions

Some folks are gonna get wet and it’s not funny

Says the feds need to cough up more billions

 

David says “Now, Kirk, suppose I fail?”

Kyle says Brown and Caldwell will go to jail

You better keep goin’ I think it’s cheaper

Than makin’ whoopin’

You better keep goin’

I know it’s cheaper than makin’ whoopin’.

Baton Rouge Louisiana waterfront
Aerial view of Louisiana waterfront in Baton Rouge. Credit: Wikipedia.

The next SEB meeting was held in New Orleans in December 2011. The Christmas season provided the impetus for a Christmas carol “O Master Plan” set to the tune of “O Tannenbaum”, German folk song (= “O Christmas Tree”).

O Master Plan

O Master Plan, O Master Plan

How lovely are your modules!

SEB has looked at you closely

You got it right mostly

O Master Plan, O Master Plan

How lovely are your modules!

 

O Master Plan, O Master Plan

You created the Water Institute

To deal with uncertainties and scenarios

And Kirk’s set of the pants highs and lows

O Master Plan, O Master Plan

Hooray for the Water Institute

 

O Master Plan, O Master Plan

You gave us no brainers and stinkers

Diversions and wetlands for restoration

With levees and barriers for protection

O Master Plan, O Master Plan

More no brainers and less stinkers

 

O Master Plan, O Master Plan

We are committed to the coast

With marshes and shrimp trawlers

Allowing Kyle to waste less dollars

O Master Plan, O Master Plan

We are committed to the coast

 

O Master Plan, O Master Plan

You are Louisiana’s grand idea

That coastal wetlands can be restored

With findings that cannot be ignored

O Master Plan, O Master Plan

You are Louisiana’s grand idea.

New Orleans
French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana.

The final SEB meeting was held in February 2012 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and to commemorate this final session, I adapted the Green Day song “Good Riddance (Time of your life)” written by Billie Joe Armstrong. I prefaced this song with the following, “As bad as this song may be, remember it could be worse (e.g., Mickey Mouse Club tune: And now it’s time to say goodbye, to all our friends and family. Em Ay Es, Te Ee Are, Pea El Ay En Twelve. Master Plan. Bobby Jindal! Master Plan. Bobby Jindal! Forever let us build our marshes high, high, high.)”.

Time of Your Life

Another Master Plan

A milestone in the road.

Life grabs you by the wrist;

Directs you where to go.

 

So make the best of the Plan and don’t turn back.

It’s not perfect but an important step ahead.

 

chorus

Nature is unpredictable

But in the end it’s right.

We hope you had the time of your life.

But in the end it’s right.

We hope you had the time of your life.

 

So take the SEB comments

And incorporate them in the Plan

Then take if off the shelf

In good faith and good time.

 

Tattoos of memories

The Master Plan 2012.

 

For what it’s worth,

It was worth all the while.

Swamp
Manchac Swamp in Louisiana.

After the 2012 Master Plan passed the Louisiana Legislature in May 2012, I sent through this version of James Brown’s “I got you (I feel good)” to help Kirk Rhinehardt and his Master Plan Delivery Team celebrate:

I Feel Good

Whoa-oa-oa! I feel good, I knew that I would, now

I feel good, I knew that I would, now

So good, so good, I got a Plan

 

Whoa! I feel nice, like sugar and spice

I feel nice, like sugar and spice

So nice, so nice, I got a Plan

 

When I hold the Master Plan

I know that I can’t do no wrong

And when I hold the Master Plan

My hard work paid off

 

And I feel nice, like sugar and spice

I feel nice, like sugar and spice

So nice, so nice, I got a Plan

Whoa! I feel good, I knew that I would, now

I feel good, I knew that I would

So good, so good, I got a Plan

So good, so good, I got a Plan.

Master Plan 2012 Objectives
Louisiana's 2012 Coastal Master Plan objectives. Credit: CPRA.

About the author

Bill Dennison

Dr. Bill Dennison is a Professor of Marine Science and Vice President for Science Application at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES). Dr. Dennison’s primary mission within UMCES is to coordinate the Integration and Application Network.



Next Post > Science Communication vs. Science Writing: Different audiences and different styles

Post a comment