Louisiana Gulf Coast

Oil and Ownership: When State’s Rights Supersede Landowner’s Rights in the Quest for More Money

Tradition and family reign supreme in small-town Louisiana. Heirlooms, antiques and rituals are passed down from generation to generation, as are land, titles, deeds and property. Letting go of those things that symbolize family, faith and heritage can be painful and difficult. But what about when those things are taken away, with no real purpose other than to generate profit for someone else? What if that someone else is the government, that body of legislature created to protect individuals and work in their best interest?

Warren Perrin is a man with deep roots in Louisiana. His family has been in Louisiana not for decades, but for centuries. They have owned land on the quiet, breezy shores of Vermilion Bay for well over a hundred years. For several generations, Vermilion Bay was a gathering place to fish, hunt, camp and enjoy the beauty of Louisiana wildlife. Spanning stretches of both southwestern Iberia Parish and southeastern Vermilion Parish, this vast body of water, approximately 198 square miles, is home to numerous marine and waterfowl species. It’s a breeding ground and refuge for birds and home to some of the best recreational fishing in the state.

Despite such deep ties to this area, Perrin and his family members are now in a battle for their birthright. Erosion and government policies that allow for land to become property of the State have resulted in a number of acres becoming the subject of a lawsuit in Vermilion Parish.

With close to 300 collective acres on Vermilion Bay, the Perrin family are about to lose 40 oil-producing acres to the State because of a law that allows for mineral rights to be transferred in the case of a body of land becoming a body of water. Royalties for the oil-producing land are not going to the Perrin family and they are fighting to change that.
Perrin and his extensive family have been fishing, boating and vacationing on Vermilion Bay for as long as he can remember. He is proud of his Acadian heritage and of how his people have consistently kept their traditions alive in southeast Louisiana. For them, Vermilion Bay is more than just swampy tracts of land – it’s their cultural home [...]
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