“Dump” and “Moochie” Metz have lived for more than seven decades on the edge of the Cat Island swamp, a peninsula bordered on three sides by the Mississippi River in Louisiana’s West Feliciana Parish. And though the 71-year-old Dump (whose given name is Carl) is fond of joking that he’s going to quit farming, raising cattle and cutting timber on their property and get a factory job, don’t expect them to head for higher ground anytime soon.
The Metzes were born on the property where their father, Jesse, raised cattle and logged cypress trees to make roof shingles.
“We were the … onliest ones on the creek road,” says 76-year-old “Moochie,” who is on rare occasions addressed by his Christian name, Julius.
Dump and Moochie, and three other Metz brothers who still live nearby, were given their nicknames at an early age by an uncle, though they no longer recall the source of his inspiration.
Though they worked hard helping their dad, they say they led an idyllic childhood on the edge of what was then their own private swamp -- hunting, fishing, trapping or having weekend campouts with their school chums. Though Moochie has been slowed down a bit since suffering a mild stroke in 2003, Dump still tends to the cattle, cuts hay and carves cypress paddles and other objects for his young kinfolk.
Both brothers love a good yarn, like the time Moochie decided to try his hand as a commercial crawfisherman. “I bought boats and motors and traps … (but) the first day I fell back in the slicker box” – a container for the rotting fish used as crawfish bait,” he says, eliciting howls of laughter from Dump.
“I came out smelling so bad, I said, ‘I’m through.’ … If you ever fool with slickers and you fall backwards in the box and the slickers did done thawed out, you never want to fool with another one.”