Posted by: Sahasi | September 19, 2009

Louisiana Swamp Tour – first view

New Orleans, Louisiana thrives on tourism related industries. Swamp and Plantation tours, night clubs, restaurants, coffee shops, trinket stores, Native American and Cajun burial ground tours, etc are frequented by visitors, thanks to entrepreneurs offering these locations as attractive tours. I have always been an outdoors and adventure person so we decided to go on a swamp tour across the Barataria Swamps on a covered boat.
As we waited at the boat pier for the tour to start, I was surprised by the number of alligator products that were being sold at the souvenir store. Slaughtered gator heads for $15-35, Gator claws as back scratchers for a few dollars, gator skin, etc. It gave me an uneasy feeling in my stomach to see that these regal reptiles were being farm-bred for human consumption not only as meat but as these souvenir samples. We human beings often refer to wild animals as wild, cruel and savage etc, but I am convinced that it is the other way round. It is human beings that are cruel and not the animals. For wild animals it is a question of survival when they attack humans, but for us it is often pride, an urge to show off, etc that drives to attack animals.

Gator head for sale!!! Can humans get any more barbaric???

After a few minutes our tour-guide came and hollered for all of us to get into the boat. The guide was a tough-looking bearded man with a great sense of humor. He started the tour by saying that “Alligators are cold blooded like most women,” and introduced us to the waterways on which we would be traveling and also the surrounding habitations where Cajuns of the Bayou continue to live amidst swamps. I was amazed to know that the waterway we were on was actually man-made, it certainly didn’t appear so. I am pretty certain lots of slaves labored on this project and many perished too.

Man made water channel; amazing human endeavor!!!

As the tour progressed the guide pointed out a 2000 year old Native American Burial Mound adjacent to a Cajun cemetery and a small Fishing village!

Cajun cemetery and the Native American burial mound

The fishing village was particularly interesting because there was a large building on the wharf into which a drunk had plowed his speed boat. The wrecked boat and the broken building had been boarded up awaiting renovation. As we slowly ambled on, I saw several species of wildlife such as birds, turtles, furry animals, and of course a number of small to large Alligators or simply Gators.

The fishing village where a drunk boat driver had rammed the building!!!

Here are some pictures, but wait there is more to the tour… will blog in the next post.. including how we handled a 1-year old baby gator and fed large adult gators with marshmallows and more.

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