The greater New Orleans area is made up of acres upon acres of swamps and bayous, of marshy landscapes that create an ecosystem for the many species of plants and animals that call it home.
Swamp tours are a popular day trip for those visiting the Crescent City and they offer a completely different landscape. A number of companies visit the swamps, but I went with Cajun Pride Swamp Tours in LaPlace, which is around 40 minutes from the French Quarter.
The group piled into a shallow bottomed pontoon boat and cut through the murky waters in search of alligators. Along the way, Captain T Tom told us about what else lived in the area, including birds and raccoons with a sweet tooth for marshmallows.
The true Cajun even has names for each of the alligators that live on the Manchac Swamp. The area is protected, so you won’t find hunting or fishing of wildlife here.
The first sighting of alligators were some young ones, less than three years old, venturing out on their own, but it wasn’t long until we saw some of the bigger ones. The Captain pointed out spots on the bank where they slide into the river. The older alligators were found further down the way, laying out on logs and absorbing sunlight.
On the way back to the dock, the captain brought out a baby alligator that the company was temporarily caring for until it could be released back into the wild. The Department of Natural Resources allowed them to use it for educational purposes.
He also cleared up the many misconceptions about alligator hunting in Louisiana, which is highly regulated by time periods and permits. It’s also never allowed on their property.
Cajun Pride Swamp Tours
Cajun Pride Swamp Tours are around 1.5 hours long and run four times per day most of the year. They offer hotel pickup for an additional fee. Tickets start at $13 for children 4-12 and $19 for adults and are cheaper when purchased online. You can also book plantation tours with them, to Oak Alley and Laura plantations, or choose a combination swamp and plantation tour.
My tour was hosted by Louisiana Travel as a part of a press trip but all words, photos, and opinions are mine.