Speeding along Interstate 10, we're often focused on other traffic, and our final destination. But many of us who travel east, forget to acknowledge something spectacular, the Atchafalaya Basin.
One of the best places to start your journey to the Basin is get off the interstate at the Butte La Rose exit.
The interactive center is closed because of COVID, but you can enjoy some of the outdoor exhibits. A quick drive toward the boat launch can get you a good look at the water, but there's so much more. The gravel road going northward goes by several parking areas. There are hiking trails there, but this time of year, those areas are mainly used for hunters and four wheelers.
The entire region is larger than the Florida Everglades. There are alligators and dozens of other reptiles found in the Atchafalaya Basin. Over 200 species of birds call it home, and it's the largest nesting area of bald eagles in the south.
You'll find the Louisiana Black Bear, nutria, and other creatures populating the lowlands. Hunters have enjoyed this for generations. And if you like to fish, you'll find over 100 types of aquatic life there.
The Atchafalaya is the most productive river basin in North America, and fortunately for us, on average nearly 22 million pounds of crawfish are harvested here. Quite a few from Acadiana enjoy their getaway as camps line the river and canals through Butte La Rose.
One of the things I like is driving up and down the levee between Henderson and over toward Butte LaRose. Including driving over the old pontoon bridge that's near Butte LaRose. Or if you feel like it, you can continue down the levee highway all the way down to Lake Fausse Point.
So get off the interstate, hit the back roads, even if they're not paved. Take a swamp tour. It's all right in our own back yard.