National Geographic : 1975 Oct
the South possesses a "genuine tradition of civility" as well as "skepticism of the... prophets of a technological paradise" and a "feeling for the tragic side of history which the North has not experienced...." Wind in the south puts the bait in his mouth, Wind in the west, fish bite the best. -SO UTHERN PROVERB TO A VISITOR, the most exotic region of Alabama is the vast delta bordering Mo bile Bay. Here is a half-lost world of marsh and water, of ducks on the wing and the lonely cries of gulls and terns. From ports like Bayou La Batre great fleets of trawlers sail into the Gulf of Mexico, ranging as far as the Yucatan Peninsula to catch tons of succulent shrimp. But it is a risky livelihood, for hurri canes often rake the gulf and shore. "I call this coast 'God's blackboard,'" said Mr. Crum Schambeau of Bayou La Batre, "because every 14 or 15 years He erases it." People here live close to the land. Men hunt and fish for the table; women tend kitchen gardens. Many draw their living from the sea. Although bacteria-bearing silt flowing down the Mobile and Tombigbee Rivers from the farms of central Alabama sometimes closes the gulf's famous oyster reefs, catches of oysters and shrimp have actually increased in the past ten years. Near the town of Coden Mr. Llewellyn Rabby-a retired carpenter with thick white hair-has 500 acres on the coast, marshland latticed by bayous, and a comfortable house Tree-chomping harvester of the MacMillan Bloedel company shears southern pines like so much celery (below). The Canadian-based firm has made a multimillion-dollar investment at Pine Hill, helping to make the forest-products industry Alabama's biggest in revenue produced.