A COVID Silver Lining

2020 has been a hell of a year for everyone. No matter who you are, or where you live, your life has undoubtedly been altered in some meaningful way this year. Thanksgiving is always a time to reflect on what we are grateful for, but this year is a little different. When times are really tough, that’s when gratitude truly begins to work to reshape our attitudes and perspectives. 

This has been an unprecedented year for Louisiana businesses, and our small, family-owned airboat tour business is no exception. From complete closure of our tours and facilities for a period of time to the loss of tour buses and international travelers, we have had to reinvent ourselves and our outlook…the same exact way our friends, families and neighbors have had to adjust. The thing that makes 2020 so important is that our struggles have largely been universal. It’s easy to fall into doubt, especially during trying times, but our quiet down time was one of serious, sober reflection on our greatest gifts.

We have been especially blessed with the gift of friendship. The COVID silver lining, for us, was that the loss of business allowed us to take a family trip that would have not happened otherwise. Our good friend B.J. Robert treated us to a family trip to Illinois where we spent an incredible week connecting with nature. He was a most excellent host who opened his restaurant and home to us this past week so that we could have a family vacation with all of the kids present. Between the home cooked meals provided by his mom, the infinite hospitality of his family and staff, we felt like royalty. Both Nick’s son (Lil’ Tucker) and Christine’s daughter (Aubrey) bagged their first deer, and memories were made that will last our family a lifetime. We are especially thankful to our leader and father, Captain (“OG Tucker”) Friedman and Kellie for holding down the fort back home in the swamp this year so that the rest of us could be together. If you ever find yourself in Clinton County, Illinois, please take a moment to stop by B.J.’s restaurant Swamp Tales for a taste of Louisiana on the road.

No matter what the rest of the year brings, we know that we are grateful for our loyal customers, our friends and family, and our health. In a world where it is increasingly easy to take things for granted or complain, we must choose to count our blessings even more carefully and more often.

Atchafalaya Basin Landing Airboat Swamp Tours is open 7 days a week, year round. Call us today at 337.228.7880 to book your individual or group tour, or visit us at basinlanding.com for more information.   

Fun Things to Do in Louisiana

Louisiana is known globally as a fun, accessible, affordable travel destination with a variety of activities for tourists of all ages. According to the Louisiana Travel Association, 53 million visitors pumped $18.9 billion dollars into our economy in 2019, making tourism one of the largest contributors to our state’s well being. Our wildlife, nature, fishing, parks, tours, and resorts draw people in from around the world. Our music, food and culture keep them coming back for seconds. We have put together a list of fun things to do when you are in the Pelican state, starting with the Crescent City.

Things to do in New Orleans

New Orleans is the #1 travel destination in Louisiana. With it’s brand spanking new, world-class Louis Armstrong International airport, the port city serves as the travel hub for our state. Famous worldwide for Mardi Gras and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the “city that care forgot” is also the birthplace of creole food, jazz music, and the second line, a Mardi Gras bred tradition where a jazz band plays joyful music after the floats (the first line) passes by. New Orleans isn’t just gumbo and parades anymore. Thanks to a revitalization period since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the city is also home to the nation’s largest WWII museum, exceptional fine dining, beautiful cathedrals of all faiths, and an active theatre scene.

Things to do in Cajun Country

120 miles west of New Orleans lies the Atchafalaya Basin, the largest tract of swamp land in the United States, nestled in the heart of Cajun country. The Cajun people brought their unique culture to south Louisiana after being exiled from Canada in the late 17th century. Cajuns still make up a large portion of the population in South Louisiana, and with their tradition comes food, dancing, and music of a distinctly different flavor. For a little Cajun dancing, you can visit one of the region’s many restaurants and dancehalls, like Pont Breaux in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. Vermilionville in Lafayette typically has weekly Cajun jams and a walking tour of old Acadian homes, and the recently opened Hideaway on Lee has live music and food several nights a week.

Visit Atchafalaya Basin Landing Airboat Swamp Tours in Henderson, and spend an afternoon with the Friedman family. Proprietors of “Basin Landing” for over 20 years, Captain Tucker Friedman and his family are helpful hosts with a wealth of knowledge about the wildlife, plants, and history of the Atchafalaya Swamp and surrounding bayous. They offer 1.5 hour guided airboat tours that take you deep into the swamp 7 days a week. Call 337.228.7880 to book your tour today!

Casinos and Resorts in Louisiana

If you want to make a wager, Louisiana has some of the South’s finest casinos and resorts. Lake Charles, the westernmost metropolitan city in Louisiana, boasts an MGM Resort property in it’s Beau Rivage Hotel and Casino. Houston Rockets and Landry’s Restaurant Group owner Tillman Fertitta has the luxurious Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino on the same block. Both hotels offer live music, resort quality swimming pools, small sand beaches along the lake, and 24 hour gaming.

Bossier City, Louisiana, is located near Shreveport, Louisiana’s third largest city behind Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Bossier also offers world class gaming and entertainment at Caesar’s Palace Horseshoe Casino, Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville Hotel & Casino, and Boomtown Casino. Their casinos feature 4 star dining, views of the river, and high end shopping for jet setters from all over the world.

Visit the Capitol City

Baton Rouge, home of the state’s flagship Louisiana State University, is an always-bustling tourist destination with Class A golf courses, reigning NCAA Football National Champion LSU Tiger Stadium, the state’s only Top Golf franchise, and beautiful art deco buildings across its downtown. A city steeped in history, Baton Rouge is also a great spot for museum lovers, including the U.S.S. Kidd, the LSU Museum of Arts, the Knock Knock Children’s Museum, the Capitol Park museum, and the Louisiana Art & Science Museum.

What are you waiting for, cher? Come on down to Louisiana and laissez le bon temps rouler with us!   

How Storms and Floods Affect the Atchafalaya Basin

aerial view atmosphere clouds cold front

Hurricanes, tornadoes and flooding are not uncommon in South Louisiana, and the Atchafalaya Basin is an amazing ecosystem that corrects and heals itself after these events. Severe weather is a part of who we are and a cornerstone of our Cajun culture. People from all over the country know about our “hurricane parties,” but vigilance and storm preparation are as much a part of our fabric as boiled crawfish and zydeco.

If you have ever wondered how severe weather affects the Atchafalaya Basin, we recently interviewed Basin Landing owner and lifelong resident of the region, Captain Tucker Friedman. “It’s all about what happens before and after the storm,” he says. Friedman explained that when the water is low before a storm, this is particularly helpful for several reasons. Interestingly, the lower the level of the water, the more likely that severe winds will knock leaves off the trees and onto the ground instead of into the water.

When water levels are higher before a major weather event, vegetation falls from the trees and lands in the water, where it begins to decay. The rotting vegetation takes all the oxygen out of the water. Since sunlight creates photosynthesis, which in turn raises the oxygen levels in the water, the lack of sunlight when it is overcast after a major storm can prolong the amount of time that the oxygen levels are low, which affects the fish in the area.

When storms are less severe, the fish are able to retreat back into the river where fresh, oxygenated water is always self replenishing. More severe storms that produce literal tons of rotten, oxygen consuming vegetation can cause the fish to die, an ecological event referred to as a “fish kill.” Fish kills can happen in different degrees of severity. If there is no sunlight after the storm passes, the water takes even longer to return to normal oxygen levels, so having sunshine after a big storm is the most helpful thing for marine life.

Gulf storms, which typically form south of Louisiana, push all of the mosquitoes from the marsh areas south of the Atchafalaya Basin into the basin and wooded areas as well. This is very difficult for mammals, especially cattle and deer. Friedman says that the deer get eaten up by mosquitoes and can lose weight or even famish to death.

As far as plant life and trees, the Atchafalaya Basin is home to some of the hardiest trees in the world. Bald Cypress trees have very strong root systems that provide cover for animals and people alike. “The older generations would tell stories about how our ancestors who lived in houseboats would actually move into the cypress forests for cover during hurricanes,” says Friedman. He also noted that the roots of the Cypress trees are very strong and unlikely to break during a hurricane, but that willow trees are more at risk because their root systems are very shallow.

“The Basin has a way of healing itself after a major storm,” says Friedman. While an event like a fish kill can take up to 2-3 years to completely recover from, the swamp itself is nearly as resilient as it is old and beautiful. To book a tour of the majestic Atchafalaya Basin, call 337.228.7880 or visit us online at basinlanding.com

Flora & Fauna You May See On An Airboat Tour

South Louisiana’s close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico combined with our mild winters create a subtropical climate that is extremely conducive to specific wildlife and plants, and an airboat tour is the perfect way to get close to our beautiful wetlands. The Atchafalaya Basin is considered to be one of the most ecologically diverse places on Earth, and is the largest contiguous wetland swamp in the United States. Our one and a half hour airboat swamp tours are specifically mapped out to show you the most that the swamp has to offer.

Plants of the Atchafalaya Basin (Flora)

Only 30% of the Atchafalaya Basin is the open water you see while driving on the overpass down I-10. The rest of the approximately 850,000 acres of wetland is a forest composed of a variety of hardwood trees and plants, including the famous Bald Cypress. The Basin itself is the single largest tract of coastal cypress trees in the U.S., at 260,000 acres.

The surface of the swamp itself also has a plant ecosystem unlike any other. Over the years, it is thought that commercial barges have brought in some invasive species like the Giant Savinia that have led to the lush green “carpet” you see in certain areas of the swamp. Other plant life commonly spotted on airboat tours are Water Hyacinth, Brazilian Elodia, and alligator weed. Some of the older trees can be seen draped from crown to trunk with Spanish Moss.

Wildlife of the Atchafalaya Basin (Fauna)

Anyone who takes a tour of the Atchafalaya Basin will tell you that the real rock stars of the swamp are the birds, fish, reptiles and mammals that make up the diverse wildlife the region is known globally for. While catching a glimpse at an alligator is the highlight of many a tour, there are so many more animals you might spot if you bring along some binoculars on an airboat tour and look carefully!

The protected wetlands of the basin has given a home to endangered speaies which have allowed many of them to be removed from endangered lists over the years, including the American Alligator (1987) and the Louisiana Black Bear (2016).

Conversely, according to the Southeast Wildlife and Fisheries Division, the North American River Otter is the most common mammal in the region, and shockingly, not the nutria rat. The Atchafalaya Basin is home to several cute mammals like the Cottontail Rabbit, the White Tail Deer, Easter Gray and Fox Squirrels, possums, coyotes, muskrat, foxes and more!

The oddly colored Roseate Spoonbill gets it’s pink hued feathers from the keratin pigmentation in the shrimp they eat, just like a flamingo. Other common birds that can be seen during various times of year are owls, osprey, cranes, the Great Blue Heron, wild turkeys, egrets and more, making the Basin a recognized Internationally Important Bird Area. The wooded swamp is also boasts ideal conditions for the wood duck, and the swamp has the largest concentration of woodcock in the nation.

The Atchafalaya Swamp is internationally recognized as a fisherman’s paradise with nearly 100 different species of fish, including sac-a-lait (crappie), largemouth bass, channel catfish, bluegill and crawfish.

The American Alligator is native to the basin region, and can grow to over 12 feet when mature. According to National Geographic, the American Alligator is over 150 million years old, making it the oldest reptile in North America, and one of the oldest species still thriving on Earth. There are several Water Moccasins in the Basin, but locals call them “Cottonmouth Snakes” after the white color of the interior of their mouths, which they show when they are about to strike. Other reptiles include, bullfrogs, toads, tree frogs, skinks, anole lizards, newts, turtles, and several different species of non-venomous snakes.

Take An Airboat Tour Today

There is literally something for everyone on a swamp airboat tour. Our fleet of airboats will get you closer to the action than any other tours of the swamp. Even though we ask that you wear hearing protection for the longer parts of the boat ride, our tour guides make frequent stops where they turn off the engine so that you can hear the guide speak about the history, traditions, and wild animal and plant life that makes the Atchafalaya Basin so important to our planet. Mother Nature is, of course, always unpredictable. We cannot guarantee that you will see all of the things mentioned on this list, but we feel it is one of the most comprehensive ways to see the natural phenomenon of the Atchafalaya Basin. To book your airboat tour, call 337.228.7880 today. 

Cajun Summer Recipes

The stretch of summer from mid July into September in Louisiana’s humid climates make it one of the hottest places in the country. As bayou and prairie Cajuns alike, our eating habits tend to reflect a switch from less hearty and heavy roux-based meals to lighter seafood dishes that keep our bellies full during the warmer months. We have put together some of our favorite go-to summer Cajun recipes for you and your family to share and enjoy. These recipes highlight locally sourced Louisiana ingredients, but you can adapt them regionally to ingredients you have on hand! 

Creole Tomato and Cucumber Salad 

This cool, Cajun classic is a staple of late summer cuisine. Found on just about every table next to the rice and gravy, this is a light, healthy and low-carb recipe with a tang and a bite! 

Ingredients: 

5 large, ripe creole tomatoes, sliced
3 large, ripe garden cucumbers, peeled and sliced in 1/4 inch rounds
1 thin sliced red onion
1 cup of mayonnaise
Juice and Zest of One Lemon
5 tablespoons of white vinegar
1 packet of dry Good Seasons Italian dressing mix
black pepper
salt
extra virgin olive oil for garnish

Instructions:
1) With a whisk, rapidly mix the white vinegar, lemon, mayo and Italian dressing mix.
2) Toss tomatoes, onions and cucumbers in the mixture lightly so that the tomatoes don’t fall apart. Place alternating slices of cucumber, tomato and red onion on a platter, stacking them lyin down (like you would lay out Ritz crackers on a platter). 
3) Blend a little salt, black pepper and olive oil in a bowl and drizzle over the cucumber tomato and onion platter. Refrigerate for one hour before serving. 

Scotty’s Red White and Blue Cheese Potato Salad

This summer classic gets a patriotic twist with some red/purple potatoes, blue cheese bacon dressing, and a touch of tangy and sweet Cane’s vinegar for a kick! Pack your bags for flavortown, and be prepared to never serve a plain potato salad again. 

Ingredients:


8 small red potatoes, scrubbed and boiled (leave on peels)
8 small purple potatoes, scrubbed and boiled (leave on peels)
1 pound of Wright Bacon, cooked crispy, and with bacon fat reserved
1 tablespoon of Dijon Mustard
3 Tablespoons of Steen’s Cane Vinegar
6 ounces of Blue Cheese crumbles
Thin Sliced Green Onion to Garnish

Instructions:

1) While potatoes are still hot from being boiled, cut them in thirds and set aside. 
2) While bacon grease is still hot, add blue cheese crumbles to hot grease and stir until mostly dissolved. 
3) Whisk in Dijon mustard and Steen’s Cane Syrup Vinegar
4) Pour mixture onto still hot potatoes, garnish with green onions and toss. Top with bacon crumbles and serve warm! 

Deep Fried, Crispy Southern Catfish

Catfish and South Louisiana go hand in hand during the long, humid summers. This is a great dish to cook outdoors at the camp, but it can be done with proper ventilation inside of an air conditioned kitchen as well! Proper care to follow instructions like patting the fish filets dry before hand and using a three step process to coat the fish before frying should produce super crispy catfish even upon reheating! Bon Appetit! 

6 to 8 large catish filets, patted dry with paper towels and sliced into strips
1/2 half gallon of peanut or vegetable oil, preheated to 365 degrees
4 tablespoons of yellow mustard
6 eggs, beaten
3 cups of Zatarain’s Fish Fri
2 cups of plain white all purpose flour
6 tablespoons of All Purpose Seafood Seasoning, like Tony Chachere or Old Bay
2 Sliced lemons and 2 sliced Sweet Onions for Garnish 

Instructions:

1) Lay out three medium sized baking dishes. The first should have the plain, white flour, the second should have the egg mixture combined with the mustard and seafood seasoning, and the third should have the Fish-Fri Cornmeal mixture. Using a three step process will ensure that your batter doesn’t fall off in the hot grease. 

2) Heat your oil to 365 degrees in a cast iron frying pan with high sides. Do not fill pan more than halfway deep with oil. 

3) Working in three separate batches of two filets worth of fish strips at a time, dip strips into the flour first, the egg second and the cornmeal last, covering completely and pressing in the batter, then immediately drop into the hot grease. 

3) Cook the fish for approximately 8-9 minutes, watching for a nice, deep golden brown color. Do not overcrowd your frying pan for best results. Results can vary, so watch for color to be your guide. Flip the fish with tongs a few times to ensure even cooking. 

4) Lay a paper towel lined pan out with slices of onion and lemon, and put fresh, hot fish on top of the onions and lemons. 

Louisiana Travel’s Ponchatoula Strawberry Pie

This easy dessert evokes memories of the Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival, which annually celebrates the sweet, tangy, juicy berries with various savory and sweet dishes. A fan favorite, the Ponchatoula Strawberry Pie is a gorgeous, simple and elegant way to capture the singular flavor of a fat, ripe strawberry. This recipe calls for a prebaked pie shell, but you are also welcome to use your own family favorite pie crust if you prefer!

Ingredients: 

1 baked 9-inch pie shell
1 quart fresh Ponchatoula strawberries
1 cup white sugar + 1/2 tablespoon reserved for whipped cream
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:
Arrange half of strawberries in baked pie shell.
Mash remaining berries and combine with sugar in a medium saucepan. Place saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water. Gradually stir cornstarch mixture into boiling strawberry mixture. 
Reduce heat and simmer until thick, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Pour mixture over berries in the pie shell. 
Chill for at least 2 hours. Take whipping cream and beat in a small bowl with 1/2 tablespoon of sugar and vanilla until peaks form. Spread over top of chilled pie. Cut and serve!

Louisiana Travel During Covid-19

airboat swamp tours

While Covid-19 travel regulations are still in place, international and domestic flights are still mostly being utilized for necessary travel only. While that has driven the number of people traveling to Louisiana from other states and countries down, it has driven the number of travelers within our state up. Many Lousianians have used this time to travel around our great state to all of the outposts of timeless natural beauty that our own backyard has to offer. This month, we have put together a list of some of the most fun travel spots in Louisiana for you and your family to explore this summer.

Floating on the Whiskey Chitto Creek

Deep in the pine forests of Vernon Parish, the spring fed Whiskey Chitto Creek offers an entire day’s worth of fun. This lazy and shallow tributary that empties into the Calcasieu river traverses more than 70 miles of natural backdrop with small beaches and campsites scattered throughout. Known throughout Louisiana for its wild turkeys, largemouth bass, striped and spotted bass, deer and wildlife galore, it is a great spot for photographers and sportsmen/women to spot the creatures of the wild. Grab a canoe or an innertube from one of the region’s rental shops, and take an easy drift in the sun with a cold beverage. Guided tours are available by appointment from several different vendors. 

Off to the Races

If you prefer a faster paced activity, Louisiana has plenty of races you can watch and some you can even bet on! A short travel to North Louisiana might find you spending your day watching old fashioned, gritty car racing at it’s finest. The Boothill Speedway in Greenwood, LA is open to the public and practicing new guidelines since Covid-19. 

In South Central Louisiana, you can watch and bet on live horse races at Evangeline Downs in Opelousas, LA. Evangeline Downs is the first and only race track, casino and hotel “Racino” in the entire state. They have recently issued a revised calendar of race dates in light of Covid-19 that can be found here.

Gators and Airboats and Cypress, Oh My!

In the heart of the Atchafalaya Basin lies a gem of a building offering travelers over 20 years of local history, folklore, and adventure. Since 1999, Tucker Friedman and his family at Atchafalaya Basin Landing Airboat & Swamp Tours have been regaling guests with tales of the bayou. Told from the point of view of the locals, their expert tour guides take you on a one and one half hour guided tour of America’s largest and most diverse wetland. They provide you with everything you need for the tour. Airboat Tours are family-friendly for everyone aged 3 to 103. 

Depending on the time of year, you may see live alligators, a brand new family of osprey chicks, a few bream fish hopping up out of the water, garfish, raccoons, egrets, and possums. The tours take you deep into the centuries old forests and give you a chance to get in touch with nature. When you return to dry land, pop a top at the world famous Turtle’s Bar, just steps away from the Basin Landing General Store. To book your tour, call 337.228.7880 today.

Basin Landing Airboat Swamp Tours is Now Open!

We have received so many phone calls asking when we would be re-opening our airboat swamp tours, so we wanted to make it official with this update. Basin Landing is back up and running our world famous Atchafalaya Basin tours seven days a week! We have taken the time that we were temporarily closed to change a few small things to make our tours as safe and comfortable as possible for our guests. In April, Captain Nick took viewers on the first ever virtual tour of the Atchafalaya Basin we have ever conducted. He visited with a few of our gator friends and took our Facebook followers on a live journey through the deep woods and canals for a half hour mini tour. If you want to see a preview of some of the sights you will see on a real tour, check out our virtual tour in the video section of our facebook page here: 


Covid-19 and Airboat Tours


One of the greatest things about being an outdoor entertainment company is that we are a natural fit for an exciting and safe way to enjoy nature after Covid-19 quarantine during Louisiana’s Phase One. We have implemented new seating policies that allow extra room between guests, and we will continue to sanitize life jackets and hearing protection equipment between each use, as we have always done. We have plenty of hand sanitizer and cleaning products in the General Store for our customers, and we clean and maintain our facilities daily. 


Book an Airboat Swamp Tour Today

After a period of quarantine, it may be a while before airplane travel returns to normal. We anticipate that many curious locals will be checking out an airboat swamp tour, possibly for the first time ever. In addition to being family friendly for guests of all ages, airboat tours make a very creative alternative to a graduation party or date night. Our family-owned business has been providing swamp adventures for over 20 years, and nothing makes us happier than meeting a new person in the Acadiana area who has never been on a tour before. 

Henderson, LA has a great deal to offer anyone who wants to make a weekend trip to South Louisiana. In addition to wonderful curbside food options like Crawfishtown U.S.A. and Pat’s Fisherman’s Wharf, we have lodging options such as hotels,cabins, and houseboats to keep you close to the action. Basin Landing has a general store with tackle, bait, and a $5 public boat launch that is available 24/7. Our fishing is world class, and the expansive views of the cypress knees are some of the most beautiful and relaxing in the world. 

Let our family take you and your family on a swamp excursion you will never forget. The #1 Rated Tour of the Atchafalaya Basin on Google, Trip Advisor, and Yelp, Basin Landing Airboat Swamp Tours truly is “The Adventure You Came For.” 

Tours run several times per day, are approximately one and a half hours, and cost $49 per person. We offer military and child discounts. Call 337.228.7880 or visit basinlanding.com for more information. 

Inquire About a Tour Today

4 Fun Ways to Enjoy the Louisiana Outdoors

airboat swamp tours atchafalaya

With warmer weather on the rise, everyone can agree that it’s time to get outside and bask in the sun. Spring blossoms earlier in the south, so we decided to put together a short list of our favorite things to do outdoors in Louisiana. Known as “The Sportsman’s Paradise,” our great state is home to a wide range of activities for all ages and interests. 


Open a Can of Worms
Fishing is a passion and pastime of many Louisianians. We have some of the best deep sea and freshwater fishing in the nation, and there’s a honey hole in driving range of every city in the state. Whether you prefer to kayak fish alone in the Atchafalaya Basin, or you hop on a 6 person charter to deep sea fish in the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana offers some of the best angling you can get. 

Our favorite spots to fish from the banks are Toledo Bend State Park and Cypremore Point. If you are visiting early summer, don’t miss the Tarpon Rodeo in Grand Isle, LA. Got a craving for some blue point crabs? Catch your limit at Rockefeller Refuge in Grand Chenier. Got your own boat? Caney Lake in North Louisiana boasts the 15+ pound state record for a largemouth bass. With the falling water levels, the bream and sac-a-lait will be hopping in the Henderson Swamp! What are you waiting for? Grab your tackle and get outdoors!

Float on a Lazy River
Canoeing, kayaking and inner tube floating are great ways to cool down in our warm climate, and Louisiana is famous for our numerous navigable waterways. If you are looking for a relaxing way to spend the day with your spouse or kids, paddle your canoe or kayak into the Atchafalaya Basin and enjoy some of the most beautiful sunsets that Cajun country has to offer. The Bayou Teche Paddle Trail covers 135 miles of swamp land with access points for kayakers of all ambition.  Whiskey Chitto Creek is famous among young spring breakers for their lazy, winding, shallow riverbed, making it a perfect spot to float your day away in an innertube. Grab an extra tube for your ice chest, and you are set for a half day adventure. 

Feel The Wind In Your Hair 
Airboat swamp tours are an affordable, safe way to experience thrilling adventures for any age group. Get up close and personal with the gators and other wildlife with a 1.5 hour guided trip around the Atchafalaya Basin by the #1 tour company in Henderson, LA. Captains Nick, Tucker and Craig will teach you about the world’s most ecologically diverse wetlands and chances are, you will spot a gator or two if you plan your trip at the right time. Ages 3 and older are welcome, and we can accommodate tours of any size. 

Take a Hike 
Springtime in Louisiana is the perfect time to get some fresh air on a hiking trail in one of our numerous forests. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, there’s something for everyone on our trails. Louisiana has 24 official state parks where you can pack a bag lunch and spend the day exploring our natural beauty. If you crave something a little more urban, you can plan to spend several days walking around the manicured grounds of our older antebellum homes and bed and breakfast spots. 


Let’s face it, being indoors is fine during the winter and late summer. Springtime in Louisiana, however, is for adventure. Get rid of your cabin fever by booking a trip to experience all that our great state has to offer. 

A Brief History of Louisiana Mardi Gras

Of all the things Louisiana is famous for around the world, Mardi Gras is probably the number one association people make when they think of the boot-shaped state located at the mouth of the Mississippi River. While several different accounts continue to circulate about who celebrated this holiday first, many historians  and historical websites generally agree that it was born from a different Commonwealth holiday called “Pancake Day” or Shrove Tuesday. 
 
Explorer Pierre La Moyne discovered the mouth of the Mississippi River on such a Shrove Tuesday and named it Bayou De Mardi Gras. He named the actual place where he made landfall “Pointe De Mardi Gras.” His brother Jean Babtiste would later form a settlement in the crescent of the river, a hundred miles north of the mouth. He would name this settlement “Nouvelle Orleans.” In 1702, he also founded Mobile, Alabama as the first capital of French Louisiana.

Some records show that the first record of an organized Mardi Gras occurred the following year in Mobile, which was part of Louisiana’s territory at the time. This is why you find such French sounding destinations like “Dauphin Island” in or near  Mobile to this day. Back in New Orleans, slaves were escaping with the assistance of American Indians, who would collaborate together to become the first Mardi Gras Indians and start the ages old New Orleans tradition of “Les Flambeaux.” The New York Times would eventually write an incredible history of these “keepers of the light,” which can be found in their archives here. 

Cajun Courir de Mardi Gras Origins

Further west in South Louisiana, Cajun settlers celebrated their own version of Mardi Gras. It was less glamorous than its New Orleans counterpart, and mostly held in rural areas.

According to CODOFIL president and Louisiana folklorist Barry Ancelet, the traditional Cajun Mardi Gras, also known as the “courir de mardi gras” borrowed much of it’s origins from Catholic Medieval Europe, specifically the act of begging for food, which was at the time, an acceptable behavior. This act of going house to house and asking the head of the household for ingredients to prepare a later meal for the participants eventually led to the tradition of chasing chickens by the courir participants as a form of entertainment for the land owners. 
 
Though Mardi Gras season in Cajun Country became notably more quiet during the Great Depression and WWI/WWII, a revival began to surface in the 1960’s with a much needed boost from the increasing cultural significance of Cajun/French music, also in the midst of its own renaissance. Cajun artists like Floyd Sonnier, Herb Roe and Frances Pavy have dedicated a lot of their time to preserving the look of the original revelers in their substantive bodies of work. 

Visit South Louisiana
During Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras in Cajun Country will begin February 14th with events and parades throughout Acadiana popping up until Fat Tuesday, February 25th. If you are looking for a more family friendly, slower paced Mardi Gras, Acadiana has what you are looking for. Book an airboat swamp tour today by calling 337.228.7880.