A Chat With Swamp People's Troy Landry
Troy Landry, a favorite personality from the History Channel hit show "Swamp People," chats with us about what to expect during the second season and how life has changed since the cameras started rolling.
(Editor's Note: This article first appeared in March 2011. The third season of "Swamp People" begins airing February 9, 2012.)
For fans of the History Channel's hit show "Swamp People"--and I know there are a lot of you out there!--the wait is over. The new season premieres Thursday, March 31, at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT, and Troy Landry, "King of the Swamp" and my personal favorite gator hunter, promises fans will like this season even better than the first.
Earlier this week, I had the chance to talk with Troy about the new season and how his life has changed since the cameras started rolling. Here's a little of what he had to say. Check back next week to read more from the interview (and find out where to spy Troy hanging out in Pierre Part when he's not out in the swamp).
(photo courtesy of the History Channel)
On how his life has changed since the show:
"It's changed a lot but all in a positive way. There's 5,000 other alligator hunters out there, and we were fortunate enough to be the ones on this show. Everywhere we go, people recognize us and they get excited. It's like they're meeting some real movie stars or something."
On the attention the gator industry has received:
"Since the show came out and showed us fishing alligators, it's been very positive for the sale of alligator meat. The demand for alligator meat has almost doubled since the show came out. It don't look like it affected the hide or skin sales as much but it has affected it a little bit to the positive. I really think it's going to eventually affect hide sales too."
His favorite way to eat gator:
"I love grilled alligator. Grilled gator is very good. We pan fry it, and we make a sauce piquante, a stew, that's very good. The leg is red meat and we make a stew with that. The white meat, we like to grill it or fry it up or put it on the pit. It's very good."
What's his family think of his newfound celebrity:
"Everybody in my family is so excited, even my momma. My momma went to the doctor last week in Baton Rouge, and when she told somebody she was from Pierre Part, they asked, 'Do you know the Swamp People?' She said, 'Yeah, one of them is my son.' My momma told me she had to take pictures with these people and sign autographs for them. It's unbelievable, yeah, it's unbelievable."
On concerns of how the show might portray his way of life:
"Mostly I was worried about—I didn't want them to show too much of the killing part of the alligator. It's real nasty in the boat; at the end of the day, it gets ugly. I was really worried they were going to make it a blood battle on TV. I find History Channel did an awesome job. They show us harvesting the gator but didn't focus a whole lot on the killing part. They showed a lot of our families. We live simple down here because that's the way we choose to live, you know. ... I grew up in the bayous and the swamps, and I'm happy where I'm at and doing what I'm doing, and the History Channel did an awesome job of showing the way we live. It's all positive."
On working with a new team member, Liz:
"Liz is a local girl. Her daddy and I were real good friends for years and years. He was one of the old-timers around here. When he passed away, Liz inherited his lease. ... She fished her tags and Clint had to drop out in season two to take care of his own business for a couple of weeks. I needed extra help, and Liz was already tagged out so I brought her in with us. ... She helped me out a lot and I think the people are going to really enjoy seeing her on the show."
On his signature striped polo shirt:
"It is my lucky shirt, and I had about seven or eight of 'em and I'm down to about three now. I'm trying to find me some new ones, and the wife can't find none that's exactly the same. So, ah, I don't know what I'm gonna do in the future. ... I need to find me some new ones and we've been looking, and they are hard to find exactly like that. But it is my lucky shirt. That's why I catch all those big ones—I always wear that shirt."
(Editor's Note: Troy's wife bought the shirts in bulk from Kohl's. They are Ralph Lauren brand.)
On hunting with a camera crew tagging along:
"Of course, the more people you've got in harm's way, the more dangerous it is and the more careful you have to be. But, you know, it's all worked out good. We take our time more now that we've got the camera people with us. We slow down a little bit and take our time more than we used to. I love my camera man and I treat him like he's part of my family. When I do something in the boat that he don't like, he threatens to tell my wife or tell my momma on me. When they came down this year to film season two, I told them the only way I'd do it is if I had my same camera man with me."
On whether or not we'll see more large catches this year:
"Oh yeah! We got one that for years right here in town in Pierre Part Bay, he'd come at night and catch people's pets and stuff like that. We could never catch that alligator, and an old fisherman was crawfishing in the woods one day in the swamp far from the bayou and he spotted him. He saw exactly where he was living. He came and told me, and we went to catch him."
How he spends his time outside of alligator-hunting season:
"Right now, when we're not busy with alligators, looking for alligators, and looking where we're going to fish next year, we are trying to supply the rest of the world with crawfish. We're catching crawfish, selling crawfish. That's what I do in the off-season. We start in late November, after Thanksgiving, we start trying to catch farm-raised around the Lafayette area, and then in February and early March, we'll also go in the Atchafalaya Basin in the swamp and catch wild crawfish. That's what we do--we're trying to feed 'em. If not with crawfish, we feed 'em with alligators."
On what he hopes people learn about the Cajun way of life:
"I hope they just see us for who we are: good-hearted, hard-working people. We never meet a stranger. We try to make everybody welcome. Most of the people in south Louisiana and also in north Louisiana feel the same way. Just for a perfect example: The History Channel, when they send the crew down here to film us, we cook for these people four or five times a week. My home is their home while they're here, you know what I'm saying? We live simple; we don't have a lot and we don't want a lot. We just have what we need. ... I'm not worried about the Joneses down the street. I don't worry at all about what other people have. I just make sure we have what we need, and we've always been blessed. We've always made our living off the land."
On where we can find him hanging out when he's not on the swamp:
"My daddy owns a little bait shop; he sells bait and all to the crawfishermen and the crabbers and all that. I'm usually hanging around there drinking coffee in the mornings or drinking beer in the afternoons and shooting the bull. Duffy's Shell station."
We appreciate Troy taking the time to talk with us, and we'll be tuning in on Thursday nights at 9/8 CT to see what happens next.
You can learn more about "Swamp People" at www.history.com/shows/swamp-people. And though you can't tag along with Troy for a personal swamp tour, there are plenty of swamp tour opportunities around Louisiana. Examples include Dr. Wagner's Honey Island Swamp Tours and Cajun Pride Swamp Tours. Click here and narrow your search for Swamp Tours for a complete list.