I got involved in a conversation with a couple of old friends the other day about the weirdest well we each had drilled. I skipped the one with 5 sidetracks, the one in which we cemented up the rig floor, the one where we fished for five days and finally recovered collars and the BHA only to catch hell from my boss who had written off the equipment and filed a claim with the insurance company, and several more. The one I settled on was a well I drilled on the grounds of the Golden Meadow Power Plant south of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It was memorable for two reasons. First was a formation we drilled in the top hole section. Second was the Sergeant of the Levee Board who made my life miserable. About the well. The location was on the banks of the Mississippi River. The land around the river, for hundreds of mile on either side is protected from flooding by a series of levees at the river's banks. The integrity of the levees is crucial to life and property around the river. Thus, the Levee Board has almost dictatorial power. The well we drilled was within the jurisdiction of the Levee Board. About the Mississippi River. Before the levees fenced it in, the mighty Mississippi's path wandered considerably and shifted course continually. Thus, what might have been forest a few hundred years ago, might today be river bottom, and vice versa. We spudded the well on a fine spring day and drilled the first 150 feet easily. At 151 feet, we lost circulation as we drilled into a layer of gravel from the river's previously wanderings. Regaining circulation in that 20 foot section was no easy feat. The mud was so thick you could walk a 90 pound dog across it but it got the job done. However, after drilling another 20 or so feet through Louisiana gumbo (a particularly sticky clay), we began to lose circulation again. I was standing at the shakers when the first returns came over from this second, troubling formation. What I saw was chunks of wood, perfectly preserved. We had drilled into the remains of a cypress forest. For those of you unfamiliar with cypress, it grows in wetland areas and is largely impervious to rot and decay. All told, we drilled nearly 100 feet of wood. The Sergeant of the Levee Board made the well more curious. He let me know immediately that the Levee Board would appreciate the donation of any casing we had left over, ostensibly to use for drainage. He also let me know he could shut down our operation with a citation that we were damaging the levee. He got the casing. There were a number of other things the Levee Board could use, things like hand tools, propane tanks and such. He got them. The day we laid down the derrick, he came round again to thank us for being such good citizens. In fact, he said, he had won several local contests for his jambalaya recipe and he wanted to back later and cook a batch for us as thanks. He did. It was good. The bill he handed me was for $165. Apparently the Levy Board was low on funds also.