A Guide to the Louisiana Outdoors
by Kristin Mouk
©1999 Juxtapose Media
referred to as a Sportsman's Paradise, Louisiana is a state for
those who truly love the outdoors. Every year, thousands of tourists
are drawn to the state by such nature-inspired exhibits as Mud
Painting (don't laugh, mud prints have been known to sell for
$70 or more), Cajun festivals (the most recent having been Mardi
Gras, which introduces tourists to New Orleans' version of "wild
life") and, of course, the Louisiana Swamp Tours of the Atchafalaya
natural attractions of Louisiana are its beautiful bayou and swamp
regions. Although there are smaller wetland areas scattered throughout
the northern parts of the state, the cypress-inhabited Atchafalaya
Basin lies primarily in the southern region. It is the largest
hardwood forest river-swamp in North America.
or a swamp?
bayou originated from the term bayuk, the Louisiana French word
for "small stream" By definition, a bayou is a watercourse, usually
the offshoot of a river or lake in a lowland area. It is a sluggish
or stagnant creek, frequently flowing through swamp terrain. The
term is used mainly when referring to areas in the delta region
(the area near the mouth) of the Mississippi River. In comparison,
a swamp is low-lying, marshy wetland, and is usually forested
and seasonally flooded.
tours of the bayou areas are also offered throughout Louisiana,
the Atchafalaya Basin categorizes its expeditions as swamp tours.
types of wildlife can be seen on the Swamp Tours?
are a primary attraction on many of the tours. Some swamp guides
will actually feed the alligators so that tourists can get a closer
look at the creatures. Egrets, raccoons and nutria rats are also
commonly sighted on the tours.
(crayfish, crawdads, mudbugs) are a common ingredient in most
Cajun dishes and can be found in great abundance in the Atchafalaya
Basin. Farmers will often flood a portion of their land and set
wire traps in time for the crawfish season. Shrimp may also take
refuge in these man-made abysses, only to be caught and used as
an additional food source. Crabs are also abundant in the briny
marshes of southern Louisiana.
with Permission ©1999 Kristin