April 26 – 28, 2016: We couldn’t possibly visit Louisiana without getting out on a boat in the bayou. To that end, we booked a swamp tour with the real deal – Cajun Man out of Gibson, Louisiana down in Cajun country.
The tour was $25 per person for about two hours. Captain Billy G. was our boat operator and did a fantastic job describing life in the bayou in natural terms without unnecessary sensationalism.
In Louisiana, alligator hunting is part of the way of life and serves as a means to earn some extra income. A hunting permit is required and there is a limit to the number of alligators that may be caught and sold (I think it was eight). An average sized alligator, over eight feet, fetches about $380. We saw photos, as well as taxidermal evidence, of some of Billy’s catches whilst on the boat. We also learned how to catch crawfish and how they are prepared for family feasts.
While we were out in the swamp, we saw a bald eagle, blue and white herons, other birds, turtles, snakes, and, of course, many alligators. Billy does feed the alligators some chicken. I’m sure this keeps them interested in approaching his boat but we also saw other alligators lounging and swimming about.
Also part of life for many living in southern Louisiana is the oil and gas industry. Billy himself worked in the industry for 38 years as a welder. There was evidence of many pipelines, both active and abandoned, as well as abandoned oil wells. Apparently the oil and gas companies are supposed to remove inactive pipelines and oil wells but they never do. It all just becomes part of the scenery to the locals.
After bidding farewell to Billy, we headed to our campsite at Palmetto Island State Park in Abbeville. The park was beautiful and, as most Louisiana parks do, offers free laundry. The night got exciting when we saw an
I’ve never seen one before so this sent me off on a tangent researching armadillos. Quick summary: only one species exists in North America so we must have seen a nine-banded armadillo. No, we didn’t see it jump. Super cool.
The next day, and our last day in Louisiana and the bayou, we feasted on Cajun specialties. We ate alligator bites, duck and sausage gumbo, and crawfish étouffée at Shucks! in Abbeville for lunch. We had a beer at Parish Brewing Company in Broussard. And we had boudin stuffed bread, boudin balls, and crackle from Billy’s Boudin & Cracklins in Scott for dinner.
Our last night in Louisiana was spent in Sam Houston Jones State Park in Lake Charles. This was the only Louisiana State Park that I would NOT recommend as it was filthy and super buggy. But, we saw
right next to Camper Dan!