Sunday, December 26, 2010

How Did This Happen?

A pair of Great Egrets in courtship and building the nest in the rookery
at Lake Martin.(This begins in mid January)


In my younger days

photo by Marc Garanger copyrighted 1986

and wildest imaginations,




I never aspired to become or imagined myself as a Louisiana swamp tour guide.


photo by Martin Blake


But, I have always been a wild man, so...


An archive photo circa 1991


I feel privileged to be the guide and bridge that allows so many people from all around the world to enter into the forbidden, and often hard to reach world where water and land are so interwoven it is hard to tell where one starts and the other finishes.




So I try to glide gently through the trees,



so that the sounds I make, blend into the rustle of the cypress and tupelo.




My father taught me how to swim on land,




careful as a turtle.




When I am guiding a Louisiana swamp tour, I am on land that is flooded.




The fact the trees are growing in the water is proof that this was once dry land in the past,



because seeds will not sprout and grow under water.




He taught me to love the shape of boats,

An archival photo by Tanya Landtmeters circa 2000







and the smell of pure air in the morning.




"You'll see more if you're quiet", he told me.




"Things don't hide





or wait for you to pass.





And, it is more polite,




so they don't leave when you get too close".





When I first started doing swamp tours 25 years ago,

An archive photo by Henri Cancienne






I was a crawfisherman,





and I took people to the places that I knew as a fisherman.





Gradually so many people came to my Louisiana swamp tours,




I phased out the fishing and became a full time tour guide,




but I am still traveling the swamp the same way I did when I fished.




I have learned to develop close personal relations of mutual respect with the wildlife.




that allows me to get very close without disturbing their natural behavior.



As I approach a bird for instance,



I can tell by the birds body language when it is about to fly.



If I stop and respect the birds personal space before it flies,




the bird learns to eventually tolerate a boat full of tourists pointing cameras and binoculars in very close proximity.






Gradually over the course of time,



the bird allows me to get even closer and closer without flying away.



Such is the art of guiding an ecotour



and putting my guests in very close positions to wildlife
and making comments such as: "Look there is an alligator eating a snake!


Oh, I feel like I am in a National Geographic program!"

All photos are courtesy of Claude Nall,

(except for 5 from my archives, as noted)

are copyrighted, and all were shot at Lake Martin

where I do my Louisiana swamp tours.

If you would like to join me as I explore the wilderness of the Cypress Island Swamp, you can make reservations and get directions by calling my cell phone at 337 298 2630. Tours are by reservation only, so please do not go looking for me without calling first.

BTW ~

if you try to find my address on the Internet without calling for directions,
910 Wilderness Trail is my personal residence, and it is the mailing address of the office for de la Houssaye's Swamp Tours, 12 miles from the the boat landing where the tours depart!

And I thought computers were supposed to make life simpler for us?

The actual physical address for the tour is:

Lake Martin Landing
1321 Rookery Rd.
Breaux Bridge, La. 70517

And hey, I know you snow birds are flocking to the Gulf coast. Can't say I blame you, but it is deer and duck hunting season here now so guess where I am most of the time! I am tracking lost and wounded deer with my Louisiana Catahoulas.

Please call to make reservation, because I am not at the boat landing much this time of year.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Food, Music And Swamp Tours

A few years ago, the Louisiana Office of Tourism conducted a survey at the welcome centers and asked people entering Louisiana what were the top three things that they came to Louisiana to do, and the answers are in this posts title.


Sushi at Tsunami


Smoked Salmon and trimmings at The First Annual Alaska/Louisiana
After Black Pot Festival Party and Feast


The Figs performing on the back porch


Cedric Watson at Festivals Acadiens et Creole


Sunset at Lake Martin



A rainbow over de la Houssaye's Swamp Tours.





The Food.

With over 300 restarants in the city of Lafayette alone, finding a good restaurant is not a problem. Deciding which one, is! Undoubtedly some of the best restaurants are often the hard to find, little mom and pop version, like T-Coon's, Chicken on the Bayou, and The Creole Lunch House. Further complicating the issue is scheduling.




Creole Lunch House is open 5 days a week, lunch only from 11AM-2:30PM


~ LIKE EATING AT GRANDMA'S HOUSE!
337 232 9929,@12th and St. Charles in Lafayette.


Planning on a early morning and want a home-cooked breakfast?


T-Coons is open for breakfast at 6AM



and lunch 7 days a week, 6AM-2PM ~ SMOUTHERED RABBIT IS MONDAY FOR LUNCH Ohhhh! @1900-A Pinhook at the intersection of Kaliste Saloom Rd in Lafayette!




About 10 miles east of Lafayette on I-10, Chicken on the Bayou is open for breakfast, lunch, and supper, 7 days a week,



but like most restaurants in the Lafayette area, it closes early.





So get your order in before 8:30PM, because they are closed at 9PM. And be forewarned: if you try to stay after 9PM, you will be politely asked to leave. Chicken on the Bayou is on I-10 at exit 115 Henderson. Get there early and order the #10 on the menu; Crawfish ettoufee with fried shrimp, you will be glad you did. Not that hungry, but the shrimp sounds good, try the poboy.




The Music


Aside from special occasions like festivals,




most of your dance and music options are primarily on the weekends,

but...

If you want live Cajun music with your food, 7 nights a week, at Prejeans, you can hear traditional Cajun music performed while you eat from 7-9PM. Award winning cuisine, great atmosphere decorated with wild life mounts of local fish and birds, and the centerpiece of the restarant is this 14 foot alligator, as seen below.



Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week,
Prejeans is always open,
but the music is only at night from 7-9PM.

A great family restaurant.

My personal vote for #1 Cajun restaurant in Lafayette.

On I-49, three miles north of I-10 @ 3480 N.E. Evangeline Thruway, 896-3247.



Being labeled as the best music offered between Austin, TX and New Orleans,



The Blue Moon Saloon, is my favorite dancehall.




The Blue Moon Saloon is on the back porch of the Blue Moon Guesthouse, so you can spend the night in the guesthouse and not have to drive home after the show, and..




best part about the back porch is it is well ventilated;

I hate second hand smoke!

worst part is it is always hot in the summer and sometimes cold in winter, although the patio heaters work real well, if you stand close enough.



With great jam sessions on Wednesday night, often led by living legends like Mr. Goldman Thibodeaux as seen above,





and live music every Thur-Sat, with great bands like The Lil Band Of Gold, as seen above,




and quite often late Sunday afternoon shows, like last night as seen above, with The Radiators, out of New Orleans, The Blue Moon, is the most reliable good dance music after the local restaurants in Lafayette and Breaux Bridge.




Swamp Tours

According to my daughter Christina, and she should know,

having been on thousands of my swamp tours,




I am the worlds greatest swamp tour guide,

now if you think I am all puffed up on myself, relax it is a joke!
And an inside joke because there is someone who wants to be like me and that is what he is telling everyone. ~:-)





and should you want to join me,




for a Louisiana swamp tour,




please call for reservations @ 337 298 2630.