Two Harborites meet Swamp PeopleWhen Pennie Burton and her grandson Bret Olson went to visit friends in Louisiana, they had no idea that their adventure would include rubbing elbows with television stars.
By: Chaviely Dellinger, Lake County News Chronicle
When Pennie Burton and her grandson Bret Olson went to visit friends in Louisiana, they had no idea that their adventure would include rubbing elbows with television stars.
It all started when Bret made improvements in his schoolwork. Through efforts to earn better grades, he also earned a reward — a trip to the Gulf State to the home of Mike and Shari Camp. While there, the Camps arranged for Burton and Olson to meet Troy Landry, star of the History Channel’s television series, Swamp People.
Swamp People first aired in August 2010 and features folks who make their living alligator hunting in Louisiana’s untamed Atchafalaya Basin swamplands. The state’s 30- day alligator hunting season is a perilous time, yet it’s essential to the way of life of many, and the History Channel follows several swamp residents in their quest for the deadly reptiles. Burton was surprised that her visit to friends turned into such an adventure.
“We didn’t know we were going to see Troy and his family,” she said Monday when she, Olson, and Camp came to the News-Chronicle office to recount their story. Both Burton and Olson say they enjoy the show and were thrilled to meet not only Landry, one of the biggest stars of the show, but many members of his family. Three generations of the Landry family were present - “Miss Myrtle” and her husband, Duffy Landry, their son, Troy, and Troy’s son, Chase.
“She called him twice, right in front of us, like ‘you need to get down here, there’s people waiting for you!’” Burton recalled of Miss Myrtle.
“She was quite a lady when it came to trying to coordinate a time for Bret to meet [Troy]. Miss Myrtle is the one who really made it for us,” he said. Burton and Olson said they enjoyed their time down south and brought home some fond memories of their visit.
“We did as much as we could in six days,” Burton said, “it was very casual and laid back.”
The trip included swamp tours, a visit to Louisiana State University and a tour of the Tobasco plant on Avery Island where they walked through the factory and its gardens. They also sampled the regions cuisine, introducing Olson to a local delicacy.
“We took Bret to a seafood place” said Camp with a grin, “he ate more fried alligator than any one boy I’ve ever seen in my life!”
Burton and Camp said that the trip was a good experience for Bret and a chance to spend time together.
“The Swamp People was a bonding thing,” Pennie said, adding that she was impressed by Landry.
“This guy’s so down to earth! They’ve made millions off of this show, but they’re just like us.”