Recovers from Storms and Gears Up for Fall Hunting Seasons
As a business operating in the hospitality, tourism, and outdoor adventure segment, Grosse Savanne faced similar challenges as other businesses throughout 2020. “With the onset of COVID-19 in March 2020, we quickly adapted our policies, including sanitation, dining and food service, employee health screening, and social distancing,” says Bobby Jorden, Grosse Savanne Eco-Tour Manager. “We saw a fairly significant decrease in corporate groups that implemented their own travel restrictions and policies, however we continued to accommodate a limited number of guests while following the state regulations and mandates.”
On August 27th, 2020, Hurricane Laura forever changed not only Grosse Savanne (GS), but all of Southwest Louisiana. Jorden says the main lodge, considering the widespread devastation, came away with relatively minimal damage. “Our initial assessment led us to believe that a realistic reopening would be possible in early November for the start of the 2020 Louisiana waterfowl season. However, after receiving another direct hit from Hurricane Delta and sustaining significantly more damage in early October, we quickly adjusted our plan. A decision was made to not only start down the long road to recovery, but to take the opportunity to move forward with an extensive interior remodel of the lodge.
Like so many others, we’ve had to face the challenges of material and labor shortages, prolonging the timeframe to reopen the lodge.”
With the main lodge and another location at Hebert’s Landing being inoperable, Grosse Savanne was nonetheless able to salvage a portion of their business over the past year. “In 2019, we remodeled a small farmhouse on our property, thinking we might house overflow lodge guests, celebrity seasonal guides, and other small groups,” says Jorden. “Fortunately, this facility received little to no damage during either hurricane. We named facility “Grosse Savanne East” and with a determined team effort from our staff, had the facility operational by late fall of 2020. Over the last year we have successfully hosted smaller groups of four to six individuals during the 2020-21 waterfowl season and throughout the 2021 spring and summer fishing season. We received immense positive feedback about this new location and hope to continue to offer it as an extension of the Grosse Savanne experience.”
Jorden says that throughout last year, Grosse Savanne also continued to offer their popular eco-tours. “The spring colonial wading bird nesting season was somewhat impacted by the storms as it deteriorated a significate portion of the available woody and shrubby nesting vegetation. This should quickly bounce back over the next several years. The marshes have rebounded quickly, and our boat marsh tours are operating as usual. The business office for the eco-tour division was lost in Hurricane Laura, but we set up temporary facilities and are continuing to adjust to life post-storms.
That said, the GS team is excited to showcase the newly renovated and better-than-ever lodge, and announce that as of this month, they are back in full operation. This reopening came at a perfect time. September is one of the most action-packed months of the year for sportsmen. “Beginning early this month, we kick off alligator season – an adrenaline-fueled 10 days of hunting with our guests,” Jorden says. “We then roll right into early teal season on September 11. Our Cast and Blast package features an afternoon of fresh or saltwater fishing followed by a teal hunt the next morning – a favorite amongst our guests.”
Overall, 2020-21 has been challenging to say the least. Jorden says, “We are thankful to have a dedicated and resilient staff and are excited to be turning the page. We will continue to make the Grosse Savanne experience even better, see our loyal customers, and meet new faces in the future.”
For more information, go to grossesavanne.com, grossesavanne-ecotours.com or find them on Facebook.