The Bayou is The Swamp
After a couple days of roaming up, down and all around the French Quarter and eating our way through restaurant after cafe after restaurant we were in the mood to get out of the area and see something different.
Quite a few of our family members had arrived and we decided to head out to the bayou for a swamp tour.
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Our captain was a hoot and provided all kinds of information while also sharing his own stories of living in the area. One such story that caught our attention was about how he takes his kids to go swimming in the swamp. This story had just followed some information on a natural gas that is produced in the swamp and if you were to breathe in this air you would die immediately. The story ended with an alligator swimming toward his kids and him yelling at them to hurry on out while he grabbed his shotgun. He said it scared the “bejeesus” out of the kids and I would have to say that it’d probably scare me too.
If you’re heading to New Orleans, check out Ace Hotel New Orleans for a rustic urban hotel in the heart of the French Quarter for a simple yet chic stay with all of the amenities. The Hotel Le Marais also offers very chic ambiance in a great location or if you want something with more old world charm and history, check out The Magnolia Mansion.
Another part of the tour found our captain naming off the shrimp that the fisherman in the area catch to sell and of course any list of different shrimp and different shrimp dishes just sends my family into a Forest Gump quote-a-thon. As Bubba would say, “Anyway, like I was sayin’, shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. There’s shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That- that’s about it.” Our captain added to this that people often ask him what the difference between red shrimp and white shrimp is and he says that red shrimp is red and white shrimp is white. There you have it.Throughout the tour whenever someone would spot a gator, the boat would slow down and our captain would grab his bag of marshmallows. It was explained that some time ago the boat captains figured out that the gators weren’t interested in pieces of bread to lure them over, guess they thought they’d be similar to ducks for some reason, and figured out the white color of the marshmallows was perfect. Some white sugary goodness would be tossed into the water and as soon as the gators saw the ripples where the marshmallows hit, they’d swim over to have their treat. Next thing we knew, our captain had pulled a baby gator out of a closet on the boat and everyone was taking pictures holding him.
We learned about some big differences between alligators and crocodiles like:
- Alligators have a wider upper jaw so the upper teeth go over the lower teeth and cover them whereas crocodiles have similarly sized upper and lower jaws, so the teeth interlock and the bottom teeth can be seen going up and the upper teeth can be seen going down around the mouth.
- Alligators have a wider U shaped jaw whereas crocodiles have a narrower V shaped jaw.
- An alligator’s eyes are on the top of the head and can look forward while the crocodile’s eyes are on the side.
And that’s just some of what our captain shared with us about alligators and crocodiles and how to tell the difference if one were coming toward us for an attack, because I would be more concerned about what it is and less about getting away I imagine.
The whole adventure into the bayou was great and the big personality that our captain had was even better. The alligators were swimming and my family was taking it all in. The trip out of the French Quarter was definitely a hit.
Address: 9706 Barataria Blvd. Marrero, Louisiana