I woke up nervous to get around and find Bayou Barn, the canoe rental place by 9:00. Then meet with the ranger at the Jean Lafitte Historical Park and Reserve for a Canoe Trek at 9:30. I learned the pace is a bit slower down south and everyone was fine with starting whenever. We’re liking that pace.
Ranger Stacy and Ranger Amber lead our group. We learned the Reserve was founded in 1976 with 18,000 acres. It is one of the most biological diverse areas in the world. We learned the swamps around New Orleans are constantly changing, both because of the River and human intervention. As a matter of fact, much of the swamp did not even exist 700 years ago.
There was a dark side to the swamps and its passageways. After the United States made it illegal to bring in prisoners to sell as slaves, the trade continued through these backwater channels. Jean Lafitte, a pirate and scoundrel was one of these traders. However, since he helped Andrew Jackson win the Battle of New Orleans because of his knowledge of the bayou, he was pardoned. This picture shows how the waterways connect.
After the float, we walked the nature trail in the preserve. This is where we finally saw the alligators. The rangers told us the big ones are still hunkering down in the cool water, but the little ones were out and about.
Anyone know what this is? It is a Nutria—a BIG rat that even the alligators don’t like. However the Ranger said in a pinch, they aren’t too bad to eat.
At 2:00 we decided it was PoBoy time. Here is our first taste of the New Orleans sandwich—definitely living up to its hype. Here are our BBQ shirmp and fried oyster. You know the fish is fresh when the price of the sandwich depends on the market value of the fish.