PORT FOURCHON — Ask Chris Moran about the last 36 months of his still-young life and he’ll tell you he learned full well the meaning of running the gamut of emotions.
His Baton Rougean-makes-good story starts with his move from what once was Belle Pass Marina to a marina complex at the corner of Fourchon Road and La. 1. The Belle Pass Marina used up his life’s savings and a lifetime’s worth of sweat equity only to come back to a marina destroyed in the double dose of 2005’s hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Not long after the move to the recently renamed Moran’s Marina, there came another double shot of hurricanes. Then, last year, the BP-Deepwater Horizon oil-spill disaster. Storms are one thing, but oil that shuts down most of the fishable water in, near and off the southeast and south-central coastal parishes isn’t something any south Louisiana fishing-related businessman needed to have happen.
Yet, Moran made hay while the oil sheened across state and federal waters. He leased space for oil clean-up work, rented every space in his motel, and turned reworked kitchens to feed a battalion of oil-recovery workers.
He readily admits it was good money: In his next breath, he said the months of clean-up work left him empty.
“There was something missing,” Moran said while overseeing the set-up for the Friday-Saturday Catholic High Alumni Fishing Rodeo.
The reason Moran made these investments was his love of fishing: Even when he was working at his Exxon plant job, he admitted he fell asleep at night dreaming about the next time he could get into the Gulf of Mexico.
Soon after his move on Belle Pass Marina, he found out if you like fishing so much that it hurts when you’re not doing it, buying a marina is near the top of things not to do. Instead of being on his favorite yellowfin tuna spot, he was painting yellow boundaries around the parking lot.
He was able to mix in a few trips every month, but was stymied by 2005’s damage, his new marina and by the fishing ban imposed by federal and state agencies during the months-long oil disaster.
“What was hard was seeing and hearing from long-time friends who couldn’t go fishing. That’s what I figured I missed,” Moran said. “And last year, it hurt to know that something we treasure so much could be lost for a long time, if not forever. We just didn’t know what the oil would do to our coast and our fish and what I’ve come to appreciate is a highly valued way of life along Bayou Lafourche and Grand Isle.
“Thank God that doesn’t look like what’s happened,” Moran said. “That’s why it’s so good to see the Catholic High guys here and the Golden Meadow-Fourchon (Tarpon) Rodeo coming next week. That’s a great way of getting back to normal.”