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Venice, Louisiana

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Morning mist envelops the restored big house at Woodland Plantation near West Pointe a la Hache, La. The home, which sits on the west bank of the Mississippi, is now a bed-and-breakfast that serves anglers returning to the mouth of the Mississippi to get in some sports fishing. The house may look familiar — a black-and-white drawing of it is featured on the labels of bottles of Southern Comfort. (Mark Boster / LAT)
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Lights are ablaze and the fish tales are flowing at the bar in Spirits Hall, a former Catholic church that’s been transformed into a restaurant at Woodland Plantation. According to the owner, the site once had been the location of several brick slave quarters, destroyed in a previous storm. (Mark Boster / LAT)
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After a day of fishing or sightseeing, the Grand Salon beckons on the first floor of Woodland. The home is a wonderful blend of Southern Gothic and Greek Revival, with worn wood floors, antique furniture, vintage glass chandeliers and a wide, sweeping veranda facing the Mississippi. (Mark Boster / LAT)
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Young Saydee carries a flag from Riverside Restaurant, which is owned by her grandfather. It’s one of two eateries that has reopened in tiny Venice, La., since Hurricane Katrina ravaged the area nearly two years ago. (Mark Boster / LAT)
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In Venice, La., where only two restaurants have reopened, necessity is the mother of invention. The parking lot of Cypress Cove Lodge serves as an impromptu kitchen for a crew of oil cleanup workers. Oar in hand to use for stirring, one worker keeps watch on a massive pot of crawfish, potatoes and corn. (Mark Boster / LAT)
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Get ready to dig in: A big pot of freshly boiled seafood and vegetables is dumped into a bin for serving at the Cypress Cove Lodge, a hotel about a mile from the Venice Marina in southern Louisiana. (Mark Boster / LAT)
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Fishing guide Brandon Carter shows off a redfish the size of a car muffler. A 12-pounder is not unusual for Venice, La., a place where boats outnumber cars and kids learn to cast a line before they learn to ride a bike. Carter grew up in these parts. At the ripe age of 24, he knows where to catch spotted trout and where the redfish thrive. (Mark Boster / LAT)
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Brandon Carter hooks up with a redfish where the Mississippi River meets up with the Gulf of Mexico, a place known as “the end of the world.” (Mark Boster / LAT)
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Guides Brandon Carter and Susan Gros, who’s a world-record angler, fish in the waters near Venice, the southernmost tip of Louisiana. Gros formerly was a corporate manager who gave up the 9-to-5 grind to become a full-time fishing guru and promoter of the small Louisiana town. (Mark Boster / LAT)
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Sports fishermen, bundled up against the early-morning chill, head out of Venice Marina to their favorite Mississippi delta fishing spot. Nearly two years after Katrina, the fishing is better than ever, and the anglers are starting to come back. (Mark Boster / LAT)
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Fishermen try their luck in the waters south of Venice. The small Louisiana town’s backyard, a spectacular confluence of fresh and salt water, is considered by some the nation’s finest fishing spot. (Mark Boster / LAT)
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Sorry, Charlie: The day’s catch — some impressive-looking tuna — awaits its owners on the dock at Venice Marina in Louisiana. (Mark Boster / LAT)
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Fishermen gather at the Venice Marina after a day of angling to admire their catch and swap tales. Their prized tuna are on display. Gentlemen, let the bragging begin. (Mark Boster / LAT)
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Sports fishing guide Brandon Carter carefully pilots his boat through the reeds south of Venice, La. Carter grew up fishing these parts, and he knows where many of the best spots are. (Mark Boster / LAT)
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Signs of Katrina are still in evidence nearly two years after the hurricane roared through southern Louisiana. Here, a wrecked boat and house await their fate near Venice. (Mark Boster / LAT)
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Foster Creppel mans the bar of Spirits Hall on the grounds of Woodland Plantation, near West Pointe a la Hache, La. Creppel and his parents bought the property 10 years ago in an auction and transformed it into a lovely bed-and-breakfast, says recent visitor and Times staff writer Hugo Martín (Mark Boster / LAT)
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The sun’s barely up, but Susan Gros is already out on the water, battling a redfish south of Venice, La. Gros is a world-record angler. When Times staff writer Hugo Martín visited Venice recently, travel agents and fishing guides warned him not to expect the niceties of a traditional vacation spot — the area is still in the process of recovering from Katrina. (Mark Boster / LAT)
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A full moon illuminates Venice Marina. Hurricane Katrina devastated the area, but the sports fishing industry is coming back strong. The marina, south of New Orleans, reopened less than a year after Katrina. (Mark Boster / LAT)
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A boat leaves the Venice Marina at sunrise for open waters. The early bird gets the worm. Or, in this case, the early-rising sports fisherman gets the best spot and may bring in an impressive haul. (Mark Boster / LAT)
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A smashed fishing vessel and other wreckage litter a swampy area near the marina. Katrina left a mess, and it’s still visible throughout southern Louisiana. (Mark Boster / LAT)
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A pelican is silhouetted against a full moon. The Louisiana wildlife is bouncing back in the wake of Katrina. (Mark Boster / LAT)
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The moon casts an eerie blue glow over a wrecked fishing boat and other debris left by Katrina in a southern Louisiana swamp. (Mark Boster / LAT)
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Dustin Mulé casts his net into the water near Venice in hopes of catching some small fish he can use for bait. For decades, through rain and sun, people have been coming here to participate in the pastime that has made this tiny town legendary among sports fishermen. (Mark Boster / LAT)
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A flock of seagulls? Try a flock of pelicans instead. Several representatives of the state bird roost on the wood piles at Venice Marina as another dawn breaks on southern Louisiana. (Mark Boster / LAT)
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