Venice Louisiana…………. Yeah, I know… until a few years ago I had never heard of it either. A friend of mine a told me stories of visiting there and seeing redfish schools as big as football fields, giant pelicans and people who didn’t much like “outsiders.” Ever since then it has been just out of reach. Until now.
Assignment: Pick up friend and film maker “Cavin Brothers” from the airport in New Orleans, get on Highway 23, and go till you can’t go any further. There you will meet up with Red and Brown Frenette.
On the drive down it was rainy and dismal. I love that shit and so does Cavin. I think we stopped every ten minutes the whole way. I was geeking out on all the old buildings, rough looking people, and flames shooting into the air from all the refineries. Did I mention the FLAMES?! If “Jurassic Park” and “Mad Max” had a love child it would be Venice. I have never seen so much wildlife. You feel like you are part of the food chain. You feel alive.
My first impression of the Frenette family is that they loved each other a lot and so did the community surrounding them. I think it is safe to say they are legendary in that area.
Over the next couple days we immersed ourselves into the lives of Red and Brown and the way of life for their family and the small group of people living this wild existence. I could write a book about my three day experience in this special place. There is a reason that there are not many people living there. It is rough around the edges to put it mildly, but paradise for some.
Words by: Sean Murphy
Directed and Filmed by: Cavin Brothers
Edited by: Reid Ogden
Special Thanks: The Frenette family, Redfish Lodge of Louisiana, Bear Holeman, and Venice Marina
On a clear morning in Portland, Oregon, fourteen youth with oversized backpacks await a long day of travel. Along with five veterans, a few volunteers and “Axe the Service Dog,” they are headed to Fairbanks, Alaska. From there they will pile into bush planes and fly into the Arctic Circle.
This is Soul River, a non-profit organization founded by decorated Navy veteran Chad Brown, and their three-week deployment to the CHANDALAR RIVER is the culmination of outdoor conservation education, collective strengthening, leadership development, healing, and a whole lot of fly fishing.
At first glance this group is an unlikely bunch to be rowing down an Arctic River in search of fish but as they pull on their waders and start casting, it’s clear they know a little something about why we all seek out closeness with the river. Many of the participants come from different worlds and while they know that their experience with trauma is what initially binds them together, it isn’t what defines them.
On the river, the tasks at hand require all of their focus, and these mission-driven experiences in wild spaces give them a sense of purpose and provide a new context to understand themselves and their capabilities. This is a story of how U.S Veterans can change lives and find purpose by volunteering their time. It is a story about the bonds formed between the veterans and youth on the river and about the importance of the natural world to mental health. More than anything, it is a story of resilience.
Presented by: Simms Fishing
In association with Soul River Inc
Production: Colorblind Media
Produced by: Cavin Brothers and Brian Dolen
Directed and filmed by: Cavin Brothers, Jay Johnson and Andy Anderson
Edited by: Reid Ogden