Cajun French: Pirogue

I promised to talk about this word last week. The dreaded Pirogue. Oh, it isn’t that bad unless you’re me. The word pirogue is pronounced many ways. I’ve heard it pronounced “pee-row”, but I say “pee-rog” (rhymes with hog).

The pirogue has been around for what seems like forever. If you watch Swamp People, you may have heard Troy Landry (probably my favorite swamp person) say that Christopher Columbus probably had a pirogue on the Mayflower…yes, I know he didn’t come to the Americas on the Mayflower, but that’s what Troy said. yes, I almost died laughing, but hey, he made his point! Pirogues have been around for a hell of a long time. They’re especially useful in south Louisiana because they can go into 2″ of water with no problem. They can be rowed or pushed with a pole, depending on how deep the water is.

Pirogues are narrow, shallow boats. They’re kind of like our version of an all-terrain vehicle. They aren’t terribly heavy, so they can be carried if needed, used in deep water, or shallow water. In the old days, they were made of cypress, but modern pirogues are generally made of fiberglass.

That’s a typical pirogue. It looks pretty harmless, doesn’t it? I suppose if you grew up riding in them, there’s nothing to it. These boats are used mostly for hunting so imagine sitting in it with a gun and a dog while you’re out duck hunting. *shudders*

A few years ago, at the height of my fishing fetish, my godson decided we needed to try toΒ  fish further away from the bank. We packed up the pirogue and headed to the spot. I got in…this thing is shallow, remember? It’s also very wobbly.

I was fine climbing in and even paddling out. I was enjoying myself until my nephew found the spot he wanted to fish. He dropped the anchor and we started to get settled and that’s when the boat wobbled to the left. I grabbed the side and leaned to the right. It nearly flipped. I put a hand on either side and clutched tightly. I wasn’t going down. Oh sure, the water was only about 6″ deep, but it’s the lack of control I hated.

The conversation I had with my nephew kind of went like this:

Me: Bring me back.
Him: But we’re already here.
Me: I don’t care. I want to go back. Now.
Him: The water’s only 6″ deep, Nanny!
Me: I. Don’t. Care!

Meanwhile, my brother, who’d stayed on the bank, was laughing his fool head off because my nephew had to paddle by himself. I was too busy clutching the boat in the hopes it wouldn’t flip over. By the time we got to the bank, I was semi-hysterical and babbling that I was going to kill my brother.

It was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. Logically, I knew the pirogue was fine and we weren’t going to flip, but my instinct was to get to land. Yeah…pirogues are murder for your self-esteem.


Filed under humor

7 responses to “Cajun French: Pirogue

  1. Awww Danica 😦 That sounds traumatizing… funny as hell, but still traumatizing.


  2. KAK

    I’m with LaTessa — traumatizing yet hilarious. Though, I still wonder what possessed you develop a thing for fishing anyway.

    Being the mistress of orthography that I am, I still get pirogue and pierogi mixed up. Nothing quite like your protag chowing down on a…dinghy. ~doh!~

    • You know, I used to hate fishing. I really did. But for some reason, I went with my nephews one weekend a few years ago and fell in love with it. It’s so quiet and soothing and then you have to be crafty to get the little buggers on the hook and reel them in…it’s great! Me in the boat fishing isn’t as great, but I suffer through it so I can have grilled trout. Nom, nom.

  3. I was stuck in a canoe once with an alligator bumping the bottom of it. All I had to do was push off and cross the canal to get to my grandparents house but I wouldn’t let go of the neighbor’s dock. I sat out there for three hours until someone came to find me. πŸ™‚ Oh, I ended up with a nasty sunburn, too. πŸ™‚ Ah, those were the days. LOL

  4. Mini-Meatloaf

    The best way to explain it is that I nearly pissed my pants with laughter. What is even more funny is that Danica wanted me (her brother) to go out in the water and bring the boat back to shore. One of my best fishing trips to this day.

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