The history of Bayou Lafourche winds through time like its waters wind through varied landscapes, as forested banks in the upper bayou give way to rural towns, sugarcane farms, fishing boats and industry, to salt marshes at its mouth. It was once the main channel of the Mississippi River until settlement along its banks necessitated the damming of the bayou to prevent annual floodwaters. Before the 17th century, two Native American tribes inhabited its banks, the Muskogee (Houmas) and the Chitimacha. Those groups were joined by French, German, Spanish, Isleňo, Croatian and other ethnic settlers who discovered a wealth of natural resources in the area. The development of resources by these diverse groups has created a fascinating mixture of cultural practices. Today the bayou is the source of drinking water for over 300,000 residents and oil field workers, as well as a hub of economic activity for the boat-building industry, the port, and fishermen alike. Yet it still draws individuals and families from its banks and beyond to enjoy lazy sunsets, the activity of birds and other wild creatures, or simply quiet reflection.
Please feel free to join BTNEP for its annual Paddle Bayou Lafourche Event. From the wilder bayou origins at the Mississippi River, this 52-mile, 4-day adventure winds its way through a number of rural communities and several small cities. Paddlers will not only be treated to scenic natural vistas, but to a fascinating “backyard view” of this historic bayou. Paddlers may pick and choose which day(s) to participate (from one to four days) and enjoy the bonding, camaraderie and sense of accomplishment that comes from going the distance on Bayou Lafourche–Donaldsonville to Lockport! Visit the BTNEP website for more details.