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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

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Swamp Monsters: A new series focusing on Lafourche natives to premier Thursday

Swamp Monsters: A new series focusing on Lafourche natives to premier Thursday

A local group of guys identified as B.E.A.S.T., the Bayou Enforcement Agency for Supernatural Threats, are out to find and explain why hundreds of people go missing in the swamps and bayous of South Louisiana. Their journey takes them from their hometown of Cut Off, Louisiana and sends them criss-crossing the state from Pearl River near Slidell, to the Honey Island Swamp and even to our own backyard here in Lafourche Parish.

Their mission is simple – to find the threats and bring these mythical Cajun creatures into the light of day!

Their series Swamp Monsters, which premiers Thursday, August 28th at 9 p.m. on the Discovery Channel, found on Vision Communication’s channel 3, aims to bring to light the stuff of Cajun nightmares and legends. The four-man team headed by its fearless leader Elliot Guidry ventures into the marshes and bayous aiming to bring evidence of these monsters, ‘bay-ties’ and creatures of oral stories passed down for generations.

The premier episode finds Guidry accompanied by his B.E.A.S.T. teammates venturing into the swamps near Slidell, Louisiana looking for the Grunch – a three foot tall, dog-like creature with patchy hair, scaly skin, horned ears and piercing red eyes. It’s our version of Mexico’s infamous chupacabra.

The legend of the Grunch dates back to the early 1800’s when famed voodoo priestess Marie Laveau took parts from the devil’s baby and created the Grunch in a mystical ritual. Laveau created one male and one female version of the horrific devil dog which ultimately attacked Laveau and escaped into the swamps near New Orleans.

Guidry aims to capture proof of these swamp creatures either through direct capture and study or through video evidence.

“There is no real tangible evidence or physical proof that these creatures exists,” says Guidry. “We want to capture one or get video footage of one alive to show the World that they do exist.”

The dangers encountered on the show are real. The swamp can be a dangerous place, day or night, even for a group of experts such as Guidry and his team.

“Swarms of mosquitoes carrying West Nile, flesh-eating bacteria, alligators, snakes … the swamps contain many threats,” he says. “The threats aren’t always supernatural. We cook on the show. We talk French and mostly, we have some fun!”

It’s truly real. South Louisiana men pride themselves on their ingenuity and cooking abilities, and the men of B.E.A.S.T. display these traits proudly!

Guidry’s team includes Jeremy ‘Nacho’ Naccio (the wild man), Nick ‘Yak’ Lasseigne (responsible for weapons and tactical), and Adam ‘Boudic’ Morgan (expert tracker and researcher), all reared in the Tenth Ward and graduates of South Lafourche High School.

“My whole cast is from the bayou,” says Guidry. “We are all friends, and have been for years. We grew up as friends,” he added. “If anyone can find these creatures it’s us,” says Guidry. “We know the marshes and swamps well. We grew up playing behind the back road near and behind the 40-acre canal as kids – all of us together as kids.”

It’s more than an expedition show aimed at finding and proving that these mythical creatures exist – it’s a conservation program as well.

“That’s a great element of our show. The swamp is beautiful and is really the fifth character,” states Guidry.

“We’re wetlands advocates. We want people to know our wetlands are disappearing.”

Guidry is right! Nearly 48% of all wetlands our country loses come from the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary.

“I want kids to watch this show and be excited … not just about the monsters but about the wetlands,” he says.

“The reason we hear more stories about these strange sightings is because the monsters are losing their habitats and venturing closer to populated areas,” he added.
Guidry advocates for the protection of our vanishing wetlands.

“If we don’t protect the wetlands, these creatures won’t have a place to live,” he said. “This is our only chance to do this. No one before us has brought to light the disappearing wetlands to a national audience. This isn’t just a Louisiana wetland’s problem, it’s an American wetland’s problem and it’s getting critical,” he added.
The following two episodes finds Guidry and his team tracking and looking for the Honey Island Swamp Monster, our version of Bigfoot, and the loup-garoup, or ‘rougarou’ as it’s called down here in Cajun French, our version of the Cajun werewolf.

“A unique trait to our cryptids is that talking openly about them is sort of a faux-pas,” said Guidry. “Parents tell their children these stories to scare them into behaving or going to bed, but the fact that these stories persisted for multi-generations … there has to be some truth in them.”

“No one really speaks openly about these creatures in our area for fear of being ridiculed. It’s sometimes a challenge getting information out of the eye witnesses,” Guidry added. “We find people willing to talk and take what they say seriously. We want to take it to a point where people can discuss these threats, supernatural or not,” Guidry says. “We hope by finding evidence, we can bring these conversations into the mainstream.”

Guidry has never been on television before and didn’t really know what it took to make a television show. But, he is excited about the chance to tell the story of these creatures that many older generations often speak of but few have seen.

It truly has been a labor of love for Guidry and his friends bringing this series to the airwaves.

“We have all worked very hard to make this happen,” he says. “Finally we get to see the fruits of our labor.”

Elliot Guidry and Jeremy ‘Nacho’ Naccio interview Nolan, Ciaus, and Claude about their run-in with the Honey Island Swamp Monster.

Photos courtesy of Discovery Channel