living in the atchafalaya swamp

Voices of the Atchafalaya. 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 feature first appeared in the magazine’s October 2014 issue. Perhaps it’s their relative isolation that makes Atchafalayans so eager to share their world. (Photograph by Kris Davidson), But to fully comprehend and appreciate the magnificence of the Atchafalaya, you must journey back to when the Atchafalaya was as nomadic as its people. Coffee steamed in the kitchen. The Atchafalaya Basin, a million acres of wetlands and mystery between New Orleans and Lafayette, is no place to be during a storm. Read more. See all hours. 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 … 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. (Photograph by Kris Davidson), Boots scoot to live zydeco music each Sunday afternoon at the waterside dance hall Whiskey River Landing. Henderson, LA, USA. He would know after spending decades living here and navigating the meandering waters. is a documentary of Louisiana's Atchafayala Basin. This diversity includes large populations of wetland wildlife. “If you want,” Mequet says, “I’ll get my airboat and give y’all a tour in it. Buy Atchafalaya Houseboat: My Years in the Louisiana Swamp by Roland, Gwen, Lockwood, C. C. online on at best prices. ". It can get way back in the cypress forests. We enter a murky grove carpeted with duckweed. The Atchafalaya Basin. People who live by choice in near complete isolation in a swamp where they live and make their living on the water and the land. Opens in 19 min. Part of every young commercial fisherman's, trapper and hunters heritage in the Atchafalaya Basin is learning the … Andy embarked on an epic journey from Montana to the Gulf of Mexico in a kayak. 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. 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. The Atchafalaya Basin, or Atchafalaya Swamp (/ əˌtʃæfəˈlaɪə /; Louisiana French: L'Atchafalaya, [latʃafalaˈja]), is the largest wetland and swamp in the United States. Among them is my fellow houseboat passenger, Hamilton Hall, a long-haired furniture maker who comes regularly to the Atchafalaya to harvest “sinker” cypress, old-growth timber felled a century ago that ended up sinking while being transported through the murky water. During the interview, her book, "Atchafalaya Houseboat - My Years in the Louisiana Swamp" was introduced and I knew I had to get a copy and read it. 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. Atchafalaya Houseboat: My Years in the Louisiana Swamp: Roland, Gwen, Lockwood, C. C.: Books Russell Melancon, 55, grew up pulling catfish, bass and crawfish from the Atchafalaya River and the swamp that surrounds it. 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. 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. 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. There are plenty of waters and fish to spend some time catching one. He married here and is raising a … “Louisiana couldn’t be anything but,” he declares as we share a bag of Zapp’s Voodoo Potato Chips, a favorite Louisiana foodstuff. Their progeny kept the native language, and a version is spoken to this day. “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. The Atchafalaya contains an especially high variety of plants and wildlife that is not only important for nature's sake, but also to the people who make their living from the Atchafalaya's lands and waters. 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. 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. Paddling through the Atchafalaya with Andy Bugh. Features Animals. (Photograph by Kris Davidson), A typical houseboat in Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Basin (Photograph by Kris Davidson), Atchafalaya swamp provides ideal breeding ground for crawfish (a.k.a. Around us, cypresses soar in air the color of pewter. “And there’s no easy access to or exit from it.”. You have to paddle its waters, spot its wildlife, and sleep amongst its ancient trees in order to truly understand its opportunities for adventure. Spend a night (or more) literally living on the water! Colbert is just beginning to rebuild from his devastating cabin fire. The landscape is both familiar and alien, Monet’s “Water Lilies” meets Jurassic Park. 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. The basin begins near Simmesport, La., and stretches 140 miles southward to the Gulf of Mexico. 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. 2020 National Geographic Partners, LLC. 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. 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 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 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. His photographs of the couple going about their daily routine were published in National Geographic magazine, bringing them unexpected fame. Beyond, a dock led to the Atchafalaya River, the waterway from which Delahoussaye and like-minded others draw inspiration and a living. You can consider it a little lagniappe.” Lagniappe is the Cajun French word for a little something extra. 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. I can almost hear snakes slithering across the tree limbs and alligators sluicing through the mocha-colored water. Also, hunting is allowed in the area, considering there are many bears and birds living around. By definition, a swamp is a seasonally flooded forest, but in this case, this swamp was in dire need of some flooding. Then follow the French settlements up to the Cane River. For a list of companies and rates, visit the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area’s website, . The river stretches from near Simmesport in the north through parts of eight parishes to the Morgan City southern area. 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. This 14-parish region in the south-central portion of Louisiana offers unparalleled natural beauty. Inside, loud doesn’t even begin to describe the whoops and stomps as feet puzzle through the distinctive side-stepping and twirling of zydeco dancing, which has roots in Acadian folk tradition. A sense of timelessness, of deep serenity is settling around us. The Atchafalaya Swamp Was Named The Most Beautiful Place In Louisiana And We Have To Agree 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. We are sitting on an airboat in the Atchafalaya Basin, located near Simmesport, Louisiana. Search the levee tops after a storm and you will spot something: Spanish doubloons, daggers, wine from Prohibition days.”. Louisiana's Atchafalaya is North America's largest river swamp and ranks among the top 10 wilderness areas in the United States. 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. 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.

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