And The Blind River Bar Shall Rise Again—Tales From The Tickfaw 200 Poker Run

And The Blind River Bar Shall Rise Again—Tales From The Tickfaw 200 Poker Run

There are two expressions that you, as a Yankee visiting the South, never want to hear. The first is “Bless your heart,” which can mean anything from “How clueless are you?” to “Go stuff yourself, Yankee.”

You will invariably hear this from a female Southerner. She may even gently pat you on the head or cup one of your hands in both of hers when she says it.

Nothing says Tickfaw 200 Poker Run better than a Skater catamaran tearing through the Louisiana bayou. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix

The second is “I’m fixin’ to,” which loosely translates to, “I’ll get to it when I’m good and damn ready, but not anytime soon so don’t rush me.”

That one is distinctly Southern male, though Southern women have been known to use it.

I’m pleased to say I didn’t hear either expression directed my way last weekend during the Tickfaw 200 Poker Run based out of Blood River Landing in Springfield, La. That either means I fit in—a neat trick for a Yankee from California—or Craig and Patti Mears, the couple who hosted me at their home and on their Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats 390 Sport center console, are just kind and patient and tolerant.

Best guess? It was a bit of both.

Or it could be that good manners remain a big deal in the South.

Take my chat during Saturday’s party at opening party for Blind River Bar in Maurepas. La., with 50-percent investors Jimbo and Veronica Burns and their daughter, London. Jimbo and London had been working outside the venue, the busiest card stop of the poker run and a sweaty madhouse on Saturday, wherever they were needed since mid-morning. Veronica was planted in the kitchen all day.

All I did was ask a bartender for the wireless internet password. Next thing I knew I had connectivity—and the entire Burns family trio standing in front of me asking if I needed anything else.

Blind River Bar’s Veronica, London and Jimbo Burns were as gracious as they come.

Owned and operated by Dustin Clouatre, who whose primary business is TR Waste Solutions, a commercial and industrial waste-management business based in Gonzales, La., Blind River Bar was a popular hangout for years until it burned to the ground in 2017. (Read the full story here.) Clouatre and company resurrected the place, which opened a few days before the poker run.

And long before he rebuilt it, Clouatre was a loyal patron.

“Bro, it was a hole in the wall before it burned down, but I loved that hole in the wall,” he told me via phone yesterday with his joyful high-pitched cackle. “Our kitchen got overwhelmed, but I don’t know of any kitchens that wouldn’t have gotten overwhelmed. We did great, but I also have to say everybody was extremely understanding. All of my partners like my wife, Blair, and father-in-law, Steve, were working. I worked at the docks and emptied garbage cans. I said, ‘Damn, I’m back to emptying trash,’ bro.

“We feel like we can take on the world now,” Clouatre added, the cackled again. “This place will always be part of the Tickfaw. And bro, the stop at Blind River Bar will be an annual sponsorship thing for”









































No one knows exactly how many boats participated in the Tickfaw 200 Poker Run, but the fleet was exceptionally eclectic

In addition to the Tickfaw 200 Poker Run participants, droves of thirsty locals who had nothing to do with the run descended on the place, which is only accessible by boat, on Saturday. For that reason, and because the event sells card-hands hands rather than offering formal registration for the two-day poker-run, total boat-counts for the event are nothing more than speculation. will return to the Blind River Bar card stop during the 2025 Tickfaw Poker Run.

Plus, rainfall from the morning the early afternoon kept most of the would-be poker-runners off the water on Friday.

So best guess? There were somewhere between 150 to 300 boats in the poker run. A laughably broad estimate, for sure, but it’s the best one I’ve got.

“The most boats we had docked at our place was 220 on Saturday,” Clouatre said.

Regardless, the range of those boats as good you’ll find at any poker run. Name a brand and it was in the Tickfaw 200 mix.

Every inch of Blind River Bar dock space was occupied Saturday thanks mostly to the Tickfaw 200 Poker Run crowd.

Likewise, it’s impossible to say how many people attended the Saturday night bash at The Fun House at Blood River Landing.

Best guess again? Somewhere between 700 and 2,000. Equally broad, equally laughable.

But any way you count it, the bio-mass that night in Springfield was so intense that most of our group opted out of attending. The few who went played their hands for them as well as their own and returned shortly to inhale andouille, boudin and venison sausage grilled by Mears at the home he and his wife share on the shores of a narrow back-water channel that leads to the Tickfaw River.









The Tickfaw 200 fleet included a healthy contingent of high-end Skater catamarans.

Because I had a 3:30 a.m. wake-up call for a 6 a.m. flight Sunday out of New Orleans and a rental car to return—and what a special bit of hell that is at Louis Armstrong International Airport—I said my goodbyes Saturday night and was asleep by 9 p.m. The long, hot day took its toll on everyone who rode on the 39-foot Nor-Tech to and from Blind River Bar including our hosts, their son Steven and his fiancé, Emily Banks, and neighbors Ben and DeAun Jude. (Lest you think that’s a quaint Southern name, fellow Yankees, DeAun is originally from Chicago.)  Equally ready to be off the water were our fellow travelers Jonathan and Tracey Saucier, who ran their Nor-Tech 437 V-bottom.

Now I count all of them as new and dear Southern friends.

Which is why—bless my Yankee heart—I’m fixin’ to come back next year.

Craig and Patti Mears invited a fun-loving motley crew aboard their 39-foot Nor-Tech center consoleand a good time was had by all.

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A View From The Fun House At The Tickfaw 200 Poker Run
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Schillace Debuting Six-Seat MTI 390X Cat Ahead Of Tickfaw 200 Poker Run
Speedonthewater.Com Excited To Welcome Back Blind River Bar With Saturday Party During Tickfaw 200 Poker Run
Blind River Bar Reopening In Time For Tickfaw 200 Poker Run



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