The houseboat, rented from Houseboat Adventures, is being nosed through the water by a tow piloted by the companyâs owner Mitch Mequet. Accordions, washboards, andÂ fiddles deliver a cultural mash-up of folk, swamp, and rhythm and blues music that could happen only in this steamy Louisiana outpost. For a list of companies and rates, visit the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area’s website, www.atchafalaya.org . is a documentary of Louisiana's Atchafayala Basin. I just know the beat is making everyone break into grins. Tucker, the owner of Basin Landing Airboat Swamp Tours, has been exploring this land since he was a child. I … By combining photographs with a soundscape composed from oral histories and ambient sounds, we hope to portray life in this region. Colbert is just beginning to rebuild from his devastating cabin fire. 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. (Photograph by Kris Davidson), Boots scoot to live zydeco music each Sunday afternoon at the waterside dance hall Whiskey River Landing. ". 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. He would know after spending decades living here and navigating the meandering waters. The bestâsome say onlyâway to explore the Atchafalaya is on a houseboat. Features Animals. Swamp Base offers overnight paddling trips that depart from houseboats docked in the middle of the Henderson Swamp. âLouisiana couldnât be anything but,â he declares as we share a bag ofÂ Zappâs Voodoo Potato Chips, a favorite Louisiana foodstuff. Low-lying Louisiana loses a football field an hour to, among other things, rising seas. Besides the giant cypress trees and abundant fauna, the swamp is home to a variety of alligators, turtles, snakes, birds and other wildlife. Atchafalaya Houseboat: My Years in the Louisiana Swamp eBook: Roland, Gwen, Lockwood, C. C.: Amazon.ca: Kindle Store On your way back to New Orleans, explore the Atchafalaya, Americaâs biggest swamp, by getting out on the water with the local Cajuns. But you better see it soon; who knows how long itâs going to last?â. Louisiana's Atchafalaya is North America's largest river swamp and ranks among the top 10 wilderness areas in the United States. The Atchafalaya Basin comprises an area of 860,000 acres of swamps, lakes and water prairies. So, get ready to live an unparalleled experience sailing through its waters and admiring the amazing nature. Pronounced “uh-CHA-fuh-LIE-uh,” the Atchafalaya gets its name from the Choctaw phrase for “Long River.” Paddling through the Atchafalaya with Andy Bugh. Iâd stopped by Delahoussayeâs because the water-pollution biologist, who traces his ancestry to the courtiers of Louis XVI on his fatherâs side and Cajun swampers on his motherâs, now studies this, the largest river swamp in the nation. 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. This feature first appeared in the magazineâs October 2014 issue. Atchafalaya Houseboat: My Years in the Louisiana Swamp: Roland, Gwen, Lockwood, C. C.: Amazon.sg: Books 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. Read more. 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. Literally. 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. He married here and is raising a … 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. All rights reserved. Atchafalaya Basin Airboat Swamp Tours; Search. âItâs amazing what you can find in these waters,â Hall adds that evening as we sit on our porch nursing bottles of local Abita beer. âHundred-year-old cisterns, timber from river camps. “I used to swim with the alligators until the … Among them is my fellow houseboat passenger, Hamilton Hall, a long-haired furniture maker who comes regularly to the Atchafalaya to harvest âsinkerâ cypress, old-growth timber felled a century ago that ended up sinking while being transported through the murky water. Henderson, LA, USA. 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. Mequet cuts the engine. Tourists wait for Mardi Gras, which is at the end; almost no one comes for the beginning, but thatâs when you see something really crazy. I rented mine in Henderson, from Houseboat Adventures. Thatâs where Creoles of color built their own world. The rippling water reflects the dark sky. 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. Fish jump and bubbles roil the floating vegetation. Their progeny kept the native language, and a version is spoken to this day. Also, hunting is allowed in the area, considering there are many bears and birds living around. The city is also a home base for photographer Kris Davidson. As I tuck into our lunch of cheese and boudin, Louisianaâs trademark sausage, I catch Hall staring at the vast swamp. âIf you want,â Mequet says, âIâll get my airboat and give yâall a tour in it. More. Coffee steamed in the kitchen. Atchafalaya is a difficult word to pronounce; a person has to make several attempts aloud but once you get it, it sticks with you. Voices of the Atchafalaya. The Atchafalaya, its people, and its music are actively defying his admonition. 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 is a difficult word to pronounce; a person has to make several attempts aloud but once you get it, it sticks with you. 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. Swamp tour services can be found all along the Henderson Levee Road. It’s all about the water in Atchafalaya Basin. 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. © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society, © 2015- When Mequet returns, we scramble onto the airboat, the engine roars, and soon weâre skimming the waterâs surface at 25 miles an hour. 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. Search the levee tops after a storm and you will spot something: Spanish doubloons, daggers, wine from Prohibition days.â. Hello Select your address Best Sellers Today's Deals New Releases Electronics Books Today's Deals New Releases Electronics Books “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. 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. The Atchafalaya Basin, a million acres of wetlands and mystery between New Orleans and Lafayette, is no place to be during a storm. By definition, a swamp is a seasonally flooded forest, but in this case, this swamp was in dire need of some flooding. This swamp tour is for photographers, birders and lovers of nature who appreciate seeing Louisiana's answer to the Grand Canyon, "The Atchafalaya." The basin begins near Simmesport, La., and stretches 140 miles southward to the Gulf of Mexico. The Atchafalaya River meanders from near Simmesport southward past … 222 reviews #1 of 6 things to do in Henderson. 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. Beyond, a dock led to the Atchafalaya River, the waterway from which Delahoussaye and like-minded others draw inspiration and a living. The very best feature, to me, is the view gliding past our front porch. Today, the Basin remains the largest river drainage swamp in America. The flood triggered a mass exodus from communities like Bayou Chene, Sherburne, Atchafalaya and Pelba where people once made their living from the swamp. The basin begins near Simmesport, La., and stretches 140 miles southward to the Gulf of Mexico. 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.