I was super stoked to finally get to Jean LaFitte National Historic Park's Barataria Preserve, a scant 30 minute ride from the heart of New Orleans. Named for the local pirate, the area preserves a piece of Louisiana's wild bayous, home to alligators, turtles, anoles, and loads of other swampy goodies.
Here we are in Bayou Coquille, which was once an ancient Native American village, then crisscrossed by waterways and canals vital to the historic logging industry, but now mighty with towering baldcypress trees, live oaks, and dripping with Spanish moss.
|Baldcypress and Spanish moss.|
|Old Growth Cypress.|
|Lower Kenta Canal.|
|Spiny Softshell Turtle.|
|Spiny Orb Weaver!|
|The "trembling prairie".|
The journey ends as we gaze out on the flotant marsh, which is essentially a mat of marsh plants not anchored to the soil beneath. It is an entangled, dense expanse of plants and roots and peat moss with wetland waters flowing underneath, causing the mat to undulate or tremble. During Hurricane Katrina, this marsh had been pushed like an accordion from all the wind and water that inundated the bayou, but today, it has returned to normal in it's capacity as the kidneys of our ecosystem.
Up next: Let's go back to Vermont...