Paddle Bayou Lafourche is a 52 mile, 4 day long experience that captures the heart and culture of the bayou region. This year marks the 17th paddle trip hosted by Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program. The paddle will begin on April 5th in Donaldsonville and concludes in Lockport on April 8th. People can choose to join the trip at any point or choose to only paddle for a day or two. Paddlers make their way down the bayou in kayaks, canoes, and paddle boards. Each day paddlers are provided meals and entertainment as well as each night the BTNEP offers tent camping for paddlers. Meals are provided by local sponsors or restaurants and paddlers are welcome to spend each night as they please, either in a hotel or at home for locals.
“We want to educate,” said Kristy Monier of BTNEP. “We provide food, entertainment, education.” Entertainment for this year’s trip includes the Cajun Music Preservation on Friday night and Gillian and Philip swamp pop on Sunday.
“A lot of friendships are built on this trip too,” says Monier, noting that there is an uncle and nephew pair who has participated all 17 years. She also shared that there are two couples that met on the trip and are now married.
The trip has become increasingly more popular, even with people from out of state. Two years ago, paddlers attended from fifteen different states. Monier also explained that the trip “not only hit on the Cajun culture but Native American culture as well” stating that the United Houma will be providing a meal and a Pow-Wow for paddlers this year.
Monier said it is important to remember that this is a “strenuous paddle and very educational” but it is not a race. The whole goal is to learn about the amazing resources that the bayou provides and get to know the estuary in a very up close and personal way. Monier went on to say that paddlers “get to see the bayou from the inside out, a different perspective than if you’re driving on Highway 1 or 308”. The hope is that in the end people will “take home a sense of pride and knowledge about Lafourche”.
Registration is still open for those who wish to join. Each paddler must have a partner and wear a life vest due to the strenuous nature of the paddle. For more information on the trip people are welcome to contact Kristy Monier through email Kristy@BTNEP.org or phone (985) 447-0868. More information about the trip can be found on https://outreach.btnep.org/events/paddle-bayou-lafourche/. •