Accordions, washboards, and fiddles deliver a cultural mash-up of folk, swamp, and rhythm and blues music that could happen only in this steamy Louisiana outpost. The nation’s largest swamp, it encompasses almost one million acres of swamps, bayous, and backwater lakes. (Photograph by Kris Davidson), Boots scoot to live zydeco music each Sunday afternoon at the waterside dance hall Whiskey River Landing. Stretching for over 140 miles from Simmesport to the Gulf of Mexico, the Atchafalaya Basin is the nation’s largest river swamp, and we are lucky enough to have it right in our back yard. By the time Thomas Jefferson bought the land from Napoleon in that 1803 geopolitical fire sale, he explains, this French colony was well populated with French and Spanish immigrants, refugees from Haiti, and Congolese slaves, all of whom had seeded the land with their cultures, foods, and traditions. That’s where Creoles of color built their own world. We have hot water, a toilet, a generator, but no motor. The Atchafalaya is as diverse as it is large. 2020 Louisiana Swamp Base, “A fun experience that will change your life. The flood triggered a mass exodus from communities like Bayou Chene, Sherburne, Atchafalaya and Pelba where people once made their living from the swamp. You’ll be glad you did.”, As we emerge from Killer Poboys, blinking, into the French Quarter’s afternoon light, Chamberlain adds, “Louisiana is another country. The Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association kicked off their annual conference in Lafayette, Louisiana this past Friday morning with a boat tour into the Henderson Swamp near Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, part of the Atchafalaya Basin. “If you want,” Mequet says, “I’ll get my airboat and give y’all a tour in it. In an effort to control Mother Nature's plans of shortening the route of the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico via the Atchafalaya River, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers erected huge flood gates at the intersection of the two rivers. The Atchafalaya Basin is the nation’s largest river swamp, containing almost one million acres of the nation’s most significant bottomland hardwoods, swamps, bayous and backwater lakes. © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society, © 2015- Sunday afternoons bring live music and livelier dancing to Whiskey River Landing, a venue in Breaux Bridge. I’m in Killer Poboys to meet with Charles Chamberlain, a Ph.D. in American history and local History Man. I can almost hear snakes slithering across the tree limbs and alligators sluicing through the mocha-colored water. The Atchafalaya Basin, a million acres of wetlands and mystery between New Orleans and Lafayette, is no place to be during a storm. Prohibition shackled whiskey-loving New Orleans but had little real effect on those living here on the Atchafalaya; its watery reaches kept much of the world at bay, encouraging the flowering of a very local culture—and the swamp music known as zydeco, which is playing full tilt when we pull up to the Whiskey River Landing dance hall the following day. The Atchafalaya Basin The Atchafalaya Basin is the nation's largest river swamp, containing almost one million acres of America's most significant bottomland hardwoods, swamps, bayous and backwater lakes. Atchafalaya Swamp From its majestic cypress and tupelo covered swamps to the egrets and alligators that fill its skies and endless waterways, the Atchafalaya Swamp has come to symbolize life in Louisiana. Read more. Cutting a 15-mile-wide path across South Louisiana, it is the largest and last great river-basin swamp. It’s all about the water in Atchafalaya Basin. Andy embarked on an epic journey from Montana to the Gulf of Mexico in a kayak. It can get way back in the cypress forests. 2020 National Geographic Partners, LLC. Atchafalaya Houseboat: My Years in the Louisiana Swamp: Roland, Gwen, Lockwood, C. C.: Amazon.sg: Books The Atchafalaya Swamp Was Named The Most Beautiful Place In Louisiana And We Have To Agree. The music is joyous, transforming a gloomy day into a burst of spirited warmth. Opens in 19 min. “It’s amazing what you can find in these waters,” Hall adds that evening as we sit on our porch nursing bottles of local Abita beer. Spend a night (or more) literally living on the water! Voices of the Atchafalaya. His photographs of the couple going about their daily routine were published in National Geographic magazine, bringing them unexpected fame. Boots scrape floorboards as partners pirouette to the fast-tempo beat of Jeffery Broussard & the Creole Cowboys. From its majestic cypress and tupelo covered swamps to the egrets and alligators that fill its skies and endless waterways, the Atchafalaya Swamp has come to symbolize life in Louisiana. Located in south central Louisiana, it is a combination of wetlands and river delta area where the Atchafalaya River and the Gulf of … This diversity includes large populations of wetland wildlife. Atchafalaya is a difficult word to pronounce; a person has to make several attempts aloud but once you get it, it sticks with you. The flood triggered a mass exodus from communities like Bayou Chene, Sherburne, Atchafalaya and Pelba where people once made their living from the swamp. Atchafalaya is a difficult word to pronounce; a person has to make several attempts aloud but once you get it, it sticks with you. Cypress trees surround Hamilton Hall as he searches Atchafalaya waters for his kind of buried treasure: sunken cypress logs, felled decades ago and now used to fashion furniture. In the early 1970s, two idealistic young people—Gwen Carpenter Roland and Calvin Voisin—decided to leave civilization and re-create the vanished simple life of their great-grandparents in the heart of Louisiana’s million-acre Atchafalaya River Basin Swamp. Pronounced “uh-CHA-fuh-LIE-uh,” the Atchafalaya gets its name from the Choctaw phrase for “Long River.” An unmatched American wilderness, the Atchafalaya Swamp encompasses 1.4 million acres—an area bigger than the state of Rhode Island—between Lafayette and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Hello Select your address Best Sellers Today's Deals New Releases Electronics Books Today's Deals New Releases Electronics Books Their progeny kept the native language, and a version is spoken to this day. I rented mine in Henderson, from Houseboat Adventures. Colbert is just beginning to rebuild from his devastating cabin fire. You can consider it a little lagniappe.” Lagniappe is the Cajun French word for a little something extra. Sightseeing Tours, Boat Tours. You have to paddle its waters, spot its wildlife, and sleep amongst its ancient trees in order to truly understand its opportunities for adventure. “In the early 1970s, two idealistic young people -- Gwen Carpenter Roland and Calvin Voisin -- decided to leave civilization and re-create the vanished simple life of their great-grandparents in the heart of Louisiana 's million-acre Atchafalaya River Basin Swamp. National Geographic Traveler contributing editor Andrew Nelson (on Twitter @andrewnelson) teaches at Loyola University in New Orleans. Mequet cuts the engine. They tend gardens and chickens, collect rain water to drink, bathe in the river, nap in the sun, swim naked in the intense Southern heat. Swamp tour services can be found all along the Henderson Levee Road. The landscape is both familiar and alien, Monet’s “Water Lilies” meets Jurassic Park. Hours Today: 7:00 AM - 5:00 PM. Louisiana's Atchafalaya is North America's largest river swamp and ranks among the top 10 wilderness areas in the United States. “The Atchafalaya system is a gigantic thing,” naturalist Jim Delahoussaye had warned me earlier that day at his house, a replica of a Cajun cottage on the levee southeast of Lafayette. A sense of timelessness, of deep serenity is settling around us. Herons and egrets flutter and take flight through stands of tapering cypresses rising from the mist like Javanese dancers, branches akimbo and draped with Spanish moss. Then follow the French settlements up to the Cane River. Besides the giant cypress trees and abundant fauna, the swamp is home to a variety of alligators, turtles, snakes, birds and other wildlife. Atchafalaya Basin Swamp Tours. Perhaps it’s their relative isolation that makes Atchafalayans so eager to share their world. Cajun cooks transform the morning’s catch into evening meals at Pat’s Fisherman’s Wharf Restaurant in Henderson, which has plated seafood gumbo, oysters, and crawfish étouffée since 1952. Features Animals. Atchafalaya Houseboat: My Years in the Louisiana Swamp eBook: Roland, Gwen, Lockwood, C. C.: Amazon.com.au: Kindle Store I just know the beat is making everyone break into grins. As I tuck into our lunch of cheese and boudin, Louisiana’s trademark sausage, I catch Hall staring at the vast swamp. “Not long after they took up swamp living, Gwen and Calvin met a young photographer named C. C. Lockwood, who shared their "back to the earth" values. When Mequet returns, we scramble onto the airboat, the engine roars, and soon we’re skimming the water’s surface at 25 miles an hour. I’m in a floating cabin—a wooden houseboat—sliding between cypress trees under a brooding afternoon sky that is darkening by the second, and I’m spooked. He’s just the guy, I figure, to explain why Louisiana is so different, even a little cray cray—and I don’t mean the fish. Part of every young commercial fisherman's, trapper and hunters heritage in the Atchafalaya Basin is learning the … The Atchafalaya supports half of America’s migratory fowl—more than 270 bird species, including wood storks, spoonbills, osprey, and the highest nesting concentration of bald eagles in the south central United States. The reality is that Creoles and Cajuns, cowboys and costumers, shrimpers and planters—really, all who make life and art out of this watery land—are threatened as their world is digitized, outsourced … and submerged. This small book about a priviledged time spent living in a Southern Louisianan Swamp tells an enjoyable story of what day-to-day life on an old barge-like houseboat was like. The very best feature, to me, is the view gliding past our front porch. See all hours. Coffee steamed in the kitchen. Paddling through the Atchafalaya with Andy Bugh. We are sitting on an airboat in the Atchafalaya Basin, located near Simmesport, Louisiana. Fish jump and bubbles roil the floating vegetation. “I used to swim with the alligators until the … We enter a murky grove carpeted with duckweed. The Atchafalaya Basin, or Atchafalaya Swamp (/ əˌtʃæfəˈlaɪə /; Louisiana French: L'Atchafalaya, [latʃafalaˈja]), is the largest wetland and swamp in the United States. If not looking for a look at the animals, enjoy a nice boat ride down through the waters while enjoying the view! Tucker, the owner of Basin Landing Airboat Swamp Tours, has been exploring this land since he was a child. “Louisiana couldn’t be anything but,” he declares as we share a bag of Zapp’s Voodoo Potato Chips, a favorite Louisiana foodstuff. It is at this moment that I begin to grasp what living on the Atchafalaya must feel like. Being a History lover, I was recently drawn to an interview with Gwen Roland I saw on television, telling about her life, living in a houseboat in the Atchafalaya swamp. In the early 1970s, two idealistic young people—Gwen Carpenter Roland and Calvin Voisin—decided to leave civilization and re-create the vanished simple life of their great-grandparents in the heart of Louisiana’s million-acre Atchafalaya River Basin Swamp. The Atchafalaya’s size and diversity make it the most dynamic swamp environment in the United States. Today, the Basin remains the largest river drainage swamp in America. The vistas have the appearance of pristine cypress and mixed wood swamp. The river stretches from near Simmesport in the north through parts of eight parishes to the Morgan City southern area. He married here and is raising a … Watching the musicians beam as they play on, I know that here on the water, Louisiana—quirky and continuously surprising—is still hitting the right notes. Scouting magazine visits the BSA's Atchafalaya Swamp Base to see why it's attracting Scouts from across the country to spend a week kayaking in the swamps. Ten years a historian at the Louisiana State Museum before setting up his own company, Historia, to provide outsiders with insights into the Pelican State, Chamberlain knows Louisiana. This 14-parish region in the south-central portion of Louisiana offers unparalleled natural beauty. The basin begins near Simmesport, La., and stretches 140 miles southward to the Gulf of Mexico. Once here, Cajuns thrived on the abundant wildlife, from catfish, crawfish, and alligators to otters, beavers, turkeys, and Louisiana black bears. The Atchafalaya Basin comprises an area of 860,000 acres of swamps, lakes and water prairies. There are plenty of waters and fish to spend some time catching one. The Atchafalaya River meanders from near Simmesport southward past … Its waterways are home to nearly 100 species of fish and 65 species of reptiles and amphibians, including thousands of American alligators. ". Henderson, LA, USA. I … Located in south central Louisiana, it is a combination of wetlands and river delta area where the Atchafalaya River and the Gulf of Mexico converge. Atchafalaya Basin: Swamp Romp I’m in a floating cabin—a wooden houseboat—sliding between cypress trees under a brooding afternoon sky that is darkening by the second, and I’m spooked. The area has long been home to the Cajuns, descendants of French Canadians (Acadians) expelled from Canada by British forces in the 1750s, who made their way south to the more welcoming French territory of Louisiane. Wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, eastern gray and fox squirrels, eastern cottontail, swamp rabbit, gray and red fox, coyote, striped skunk, and Virginia opossum inhabit the refuge, as do a small remnant population of Louisiana black bears. The northern Atchafalaya is comprised of bottomland hardwood forests with a multitude of plant and animal species, the central area of the Atchafalaya features Louisiana’s iconic cypress-tupelo swamps, and the southern area blends fresh water with the brackish and salt marshes of the Gulf of Mexico. The Atchafalaya Basin serves as the drainage wetlands of the Mississippi, reined in by the Old River Control Structure near Lettsworth and numerous levees throughout South Louisiana. For a list of companies and rates, visit the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area’s website, www.atchafalaya.org . “All new growth,” Hall tells us. Search the levee tops after a storm and you will spot something: Spanish doubloons, daggers, wine from Prohibition days.”. The Atchafalaya Basin is the nation's largest river swamp, containing almost one million acres of America's most significant bottomland hardwoods, swamps, bayous and backwater lakes. Atchafalaya Basin Airboat Swamp Tours. The city is also a home base for photographer Kris Davidson. This swamp tour is for photographers, birders and lovers of nature who appreciate seeing Louisiana's answer to the Grand Canyon, "The Atchafalaya." The flood triggered a mass exodus from communities like Bayou Chene, Sherburne, Atchafalaya and Pelba where people once made their living from the swamp. Among towering trees and dark but bright waters, it is the largest river swamp in North America. Out a window hung a bird feeder; at least 12 of the basin’s 270 bird species pecked at seeds. The Atchafalaya Basin. Living in the Swamp November 2020 Gwen Roland's book Atchafalaya Houseboat: My Years in the Louisiana Swamp details Roland’s eight-year long adventure in her hand-crafted houseboat in … This small book about a priviledged time spent living in a Southern Louisianan Swamp tells an enjoyable story of what day-to-day … Literally. Swamp Base offers overnight paddling trips that depart from houseboats docked in the middle of the Henderson Swamp. Before I know it, I am on the floor dancing with everyone else. The Henderson Swamp is approximately 7,000 acres in size, and is the most well known portion of the Atchafalaya Swamp. crayfish). 222 reviews #1 of 6 things to do in Henderson. Atchafalaya Heritage , Swamp Lingo of the Commercial Fisherman, Hunters and Trappers Know Atchafalaya Heritage Understand the Lingo of the Commercial Fisherman, Hunters, and Trappers The Bayous, streams/waterways, canals, and sloughs are the Veins of the Atchafalaya. The ramshackle roadhouse perched at the edge of the basin in Henderson draws locals and visitors alike with its romping live music and crowded dance floor. The Atchafalaya, its people, and its music are actively defying his admonition. But you better see it soon; who knows how long it’s going to last?”. The basin begins near Simmesport, La., and stretches 140 miles southward to the Gulf of Mexico. You can see how we turn our quirkiness into art by visiting one of the recently formed New Orleans krewes that parade at the start of Carnival’s two-week celebration. © Fast and free shipping free returns cash on delivery available on eligible purchase. The swamps and marshes offered refuge to exiled Acadians when the Spanish lured them south and promised a permanent home, according to Captain Tucker of Basin Landing Swamp Tours. The Atchafalaya Basin, or Atchafalaya Swamp (/ ə ˌ tʃ æ f ə ˈ l aɪ ə /; Louisiana French: L'Atchafalaya, [latʃafalaˈja]), is the largest wetland and swamp in the United States.Located in south central Louisiana, it is a combination of wetlands and river delta area where the Atchafalaya River and the Gulf of Mexico converge. “If you’re looking for different,” he tells me, laying out an itinerary, “start here in New Orleans. I cast back to Chamberlain’s warning that Louisiana is endangered, being diluted by the 21st century, becoming like everywhere else. On your way back to New Orleans, explore the Atchafalaya, America’s biggest swamp, by getting out on the water with the local Cajuns. The Atchafalaya Basin in Louisiana. Atchafalaya Houseboat: My Years in the Louisiana Swamp eBook: Roland, Gwen, Lockwood, C. C.: Amazon.ca: Kindle Store By combining photographs with a soundscape composed from oral histories and ambient sounds, we hope to portray life in this region. I’d stopped by Delahoussaye’s because the water-pollution biologist, who traces his ancestry to the courtiers of Louis XVI on his father’s side and Cajun swampers on his mother’s, now studies this, the largest river swamp in the nation. More. Tourists wait for Mardi Gras, which is at the end; almost no one comes for the beginning, but that’s when you see something really crazy. Land-lubbers in search of lodging (with a tuneful twist) should tool west to Lafayette and the Blue Moon Saloon and Guesthouse, a Cajun-inspired hostel where the music is first-rate and the beers ice cold. The Atchafalaya is growing the deltas in Atchafalaya Bay and Wax Lake by depositing sediment, representing the only instance of coastal land building in Louisiana. The Atchafalaya Basin, or Atchafalaya Swamp, is the largest wetland and swamp in the United States. All rights reserved.
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