Fans of the History reality series Swamp People were sad to hear about the death of one of its stars, Mitchell Guist, whodied while aboard his boat Monday
(the cause of his death is still unclear). The show that follows the alligator hunters of Louisiana's Atchafalaya River Basin swamp has been wildly popular for the network, mostly because of the charm of its stars like Guist. I talked to Troy Landry (known for his battle cry "shoot 'em!"), who appears on the show with his son Jacob, for my Gambit cover on Louisiana reality TV (read it
, or pick up a copy). Read the result of me successfully deciphering Landry's thick accent below.
How has life been since Swamp People started airing?
It’s been very different.
It’s hard to get work done. There’s always visitors looking, tourists coming through the town looking for us from all over the country, and now all over the world. We got people from other countries now showing up looking for us. It’s hard to get work done now.
Do you like to watch the show?
Oh yeah, I enjoy watching it.
Does it make you uncomfortable seeing yourself?
No, I guess not, I enjoy it.
Did you ever think you’d be on TV?
No (laughs). Not at all.
What convinced you to do the show?
Well the year [History approached them] the price of alligators had dropped to nothing, and I don’t think I’d had paid my expenses that year if it wasn’t for the History Channel ... alligators that went for $48 a foot the year before went for $12 a foot that year. So if it wasn’t for them paying my expenses, I’d don’t think I’d have made a dollar that whole month.
How is the celebrity aspect? I’m sure you have to do a lot of appearances. Is that something you’re comfortable with?
Oh yeah, I mean you don’t have to do appearances. You don’t have to do anything at all if you don’t want to. But we enjoy them. We’re traveling a lot, we’re getting to see a lot of the country that we wouldn’t have been able to see otherwise. So it’s been very, very, very good for my family.
Have you had to do any strange events or appearances?
No, not really. We do a lot of private parties, people hire us to go to their Christmas parties or crawfish boils. Then we do appearances that are open to the public where thousands of people come out. It’s been very nice.
Do you watch any of the other shows set in Louisiana, Duck Dynasty or anything?
Yeah, oh yeah, I watch them.
It seems Swamp People was the show that started the Louisiana reality TV trend. What do you think about this big trend?
Yeah. I think you’re right, I think they’re all trying to tap into the popularity of Swamp People. It’s doing so well, people love it so much and all those other shows, they’re just trying to tap into those views and try to pull some of that audience, and hoping they can have a little bit of our success. I wish them luck.
Because you never know what people are gonna like, just like Swamp People. People love it, but it could have went the other way, maybe no one would have liked it. Maybe we we’re just very fortunate.
Do you see yourself doing the show for a long time?
I hope. It’s been so good for my family. I wasn’t too excited about doing it at first, but I thank God I did because it’s been very good for us.
What weren’t you excited about at first?
Well, I mean we have so much work to do in that month’s time of the season that I didn’t think I’d have time to be bringing camera people with me and all that in the boat. I decided try it and I’m glad I did.