Plaquemines Parish Orange Festival honors cattleman active in coastal issues _lowres

Photo provided by Plaquemines Parish Orange Festival - Earl Armstrong Jr. has been chosen as king of the 2015 Plaquemines Parish Orange Festival. In the front row, from left, are Luke Armstrong, Hollie DÕAmico Armstrong, Mason McGuire, Sydney Ragas, King Earl Armstrong, Lynn Loga Armstrong, Karen Armstrong Cook, Lauren Voiron Dandry, Nora Vicknair and Ellen Voiron. In the second row are Matthew Armstrong, Laura Armstrong Ragas, Kate Armstrong McGuire, Joshua Cook, Lane Voiron and Rene Dandry.

Earl Armstrong Jr., of Boothville, has been chosen as king of the 2015 Plaquemines Parish Orange Festival, which will be held Dec. 4-6 at Historic Fort Jackson on La. 23 in Buras.

Armstrong is a cattleman who grew up in the coastal wetlands of Plaquemines Parish. He became sole proprietor of his family’s cattle operation after his uncle’s retirement and built it to more than 1,000 head spread over 14 islands along Southwest Pass. This operation required many innovations, including learning to herd cattle with airboats and four-wheelers, as well as construction of a self-propelled cattle barge to take the cattle to market. He has served the Southeast Louisiana Cattlemen’s Association as a board member and president.

Armstrong has worked as a commercial fisherman, trawling from spring to fall and gill netting for redfish in the winter. He has trapped nutria, muskrat, otter, raccoon and alligator. He began a crewboat business in 1975 and diversified into chartering airboats to the inshore oil companies and dredging operations in the lower delta. He often mans the airboat himself.

Armstrong was justice of the peace for more than 30 years in Pilottown. He has been a strong advocate for coastal protection and restoration, advancing effective, proactive solutions to Plaquemines Parish government and to federal agencies. He is on the board of the Coastal Zone Commission and has been a commissioner of the Plaquemines Soil and Water Conservation District for more than 25 years.

He and his wife, the former Lynn Loga, have five children: Karen, Laura, James, Kate and Matthew; 11 grandchildren; and 3 great-grandchildren.

When asked whether he would ever leave the delta, he replied enthusiastically, “Oh, no! Not as long as they got mud in Plaquemines Parish. This is home.”