It was a crucial puzzle during World War II -- how to detect German military movements in time to outmaneuver or stop them.
Hitler's headquarters were able to coordinate the movements of far-flung warships by communicating in sophisticated codes generated by devices called Enigma machines, translated by matching machines aboard ships or U-boats.
After Allied cryptologists broke the code, U.S. warships could more easily find and attack German subs.
Round Table: Remains of Enigma machines, including coding rotors, have been recovered by longtime recreational diver Roy Parker, who is the guest speaker at the Regional Military Museum's September round table at 6 p.m. Sept. 17 at the Terrebonne Main Library.
Parker will discuss dives to the wreckage of German submarine U-85, sunk off North Carolina in 1942. He will donate to the museum a set of Enigma rotors he salvaged from U-85.
The Houma museum will also serve as a transfer point for a second set of rotors. A representative from the German Naval Museum, Wilhelmshaven, will be in Houma next month as speaker for the October round table and to pick up a rotor set donated by Parker.
Vegetation control? A Montegut rancher, troubled too often by seasonal pasture flooding, is talking of expanding his herd. Responding to my joking reference to getting a manatee (sea cow) to control the vegetation in my yard, Herdis Neil said he'd be interested in buying or renting a herd of sea cows for the same purpose.
Protected! It's not completely unreasonable. As recently as year ago, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries was cautioning boaters in south Louisiana to be aware of West Indian manatees and posting signs in affected waterways.
“Manatees have been reported throughout coastal Louisiana as these plant-eating marine mammals migrate from Florida to Louisiana during summer months,” LDWF says.
Neil is also aware that the “West Indian manatee is a federally threatened species. It is illegal to touch, harass, or harm them. Manatees were down-listed from endangered to threatened in 2017 because of an increase in manatee populations and the success of conservation and habitat restoration efforts.”
The danger is to manatees, not humans. The slow-moving giants can be injured or killed by encounters with boat propellers.
“If a boater spots a manatee, he should idle and disengage propellers until the animal is out of harm's way. Sighting information, with pictures and video footage, should be reported to LDWF's 24-hour hotline 1-800-442-2511 or to Keri Lejeune, Endangered Species Biologist, firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Today! South Louisiana Community Orchestra, patriotic concert, 3 p.m., Regional Military Museum, 1154 Barrow St. Adults $10, children 12 and under, $5, free for military and first-responders in uniform.
Trivia: You're welcome to compete or just observe, 2 p.m. today, Friends of the Library trivia contest, Terrebonne Main Library. Small admission waived for Friends members.
Tuesday band! Fans of Cajun, county, swamp pop music gather most Tuesday afternoons at Houma's Waterlife Museum to hear Jag and the Good Ol' Boys play live dance music. Next session is from 1-4 p.m., Tuesday. There will be no October play dates. Details later.
Reserve now! Le Petit's next production, “Don't Talk to the Actors,” opens Sept. 15. Reservations can be made at https://houmalittletheatre.com or by calling the box office at 876-4278.
Traffic complaints? Public comment on regional highway safety welcome at meeting of Houma-Thibodaux Metropolitan Planning Organization committees at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at the South Central Planning and Development Commission, 5058 W. Main St., Houma. Information: 851-2900.
Duckin' Out for the Arts: It's from 6-9 p.m. Thursday at the Terrebonne Waterlife Museum. It's a fundraiser for Bayou Regional Arts. There will be displays of duck decoys remarkably modified by local artists, entertainment by Frank Ball, food and drinks, and a silent auction.
"Ugly Ducklin" cocktails and entrees by Chef Erin Rau are part of the event that costs $40 per person or $60 a pair at the door.
Information: www.bayouarts.org or 580-7201.
Birder alert! Hear experts on bird migration at 6 p.m. Sept., 16 at the Terrebonne Main Library. See the club’s Facebook page at Terrebonne Bird Club.
Hanging around? If the clutter in your closets includes wooden hangers suitable for uniforms and jackets, here's a tip from a regular reader: “I donated some things to the military museum in Houma. While I was there a neighbor came in with wooden hangers. She said they need more because they have 500 uniforms to hang.”
The reader donated a few hangers from her home, but more are needed. “Would you please let your readers know that they need wooden hangers?” the reader asked.
The museum, 1154 Barrow St., is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. Information: 873-8200 or email@example.com.
Responding? Contact Bill Ellzey at 381-6256, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or c/o The Courier, P.O. Box 2717, Houma, LA 70361.