The Swamp Tour people picked us up at our resort, a nice little extra – even though we had a bit of a wait while the driver negotiated construction in the city while making several pick-ups. Once all the passengers had been collected, we had a very interesting 45-minute ride out to Slidell. Our driver gave a wonderful commentary as we drove, explaining many aspects of New Orleans history, plans for the future, and reconstruction efforts. He also explained in detail, but very concisely, exactly what happened during Katrina that caused the devastation.
Once we arrived at the swamp, we were loaded into two small boats, each holding about 22 people, and went out onto the West Pearl River, and down into the swamp.
We didn’t see much wildlife – with the onset of winter the alligators are beginning to hibernate,
and they won’t be back until March.
But the river and swamp are beautiful, and very peaceful.
The cypress roots are protected from the water by growing upwards,
creating a secondary forest of knobby protrusions along the edge of the river.
This old tree, a live oak with Spanish moss hanging from it,
was filmed by Disney, and used as the model
for the Witch’s Tree in The Frog and the Princess.
We did see a few wild pigs, who came to the shore for a treat of marshmallows.
There were several raccoons as well – also fond of marshmallows. They followed us down the river, hoping for more treats.
And this little fellow came right up to the boat to get a snack on a stick.
One very interesting stop was down the river at a fishing village. It stretched for quite a distance, with all the houses on the shore. These are only accessible by boat. Our guide informed us that they are not occupied all year, and only one person was actually in his house as we motored by.
The ride back was fast – and cold. Winter is a cummin in.
We did finally see some alligators, though – in an aquarium in the gift shop.
We got back into town in time to have a dinner in the French Quarter, then back to the resort for a well-deserved rest.