News & Articles

The End of the World

by Steppenwolf Artistic Apprentice Joshua Goode

Seventy miles south of New Orleans, the Mississippi River breaks apart and joins the Gulf of Mexico. This wetland is the Head of Passes—900,000 acres of southern Louisianan marsh and swamplands. A solitary highway takes you from the home of Mardi Gras, past suburban communities and strip mall towns to insulated covers that have earned the nickname “the end of the world”. Cypress trees and tall grasses paint lush greens over the shifting sand, silt and dark brown clays that make up this swampy ground. This marsh is unique. The combination of the Mississippi River, hundreds of ponds and lakes and the surrounding Atlantic, leave the Passes with roughly ten percent of its land dense enough for human use. Floods, hurricanes and shifting ground aside, people still choose to make their home on the Passes. Ship captains, fisherman and oil workers take gravel roads away from the highway to ports, barges and wooden docks. Oil tankers haul shipments from offshore rigs to refineries and storage centers along the coast of the river casting the scent of sulfur and gasoline across fields of citrus fruit. Most living in the Passes were born and raised in Louisiana. They go to school, church and work a stone’s throw away from their childhood homes.