Tag Archive for louisiana

New Orleans’ Adventures: Honey Island Swamp Touring

The Gourmez happy in the swamp.

The Gourmez happy in the swamp.

This is the fourth entry in a series on my December New Orleans vacation. Lest you think this many entries is a few too many, just know New Orleans has always been high on my list of cities to visit, so I was pretty excited to finally do so! Blog #1 was on the north side of Lake Pontchartrain, Blog #2 was on dining at night in New Orleans, and Blog #3 was on drinking at night in New Orleans—and no, drinking need not be limited to the dark hours in this town.

The dock at Cajun Encounters.

The dock at Cajun Encounters.

For our next New Orleans adventure, we went 40 minutes east of the city to Slidell. Honey Island Swamp is 20 miles long, and a good portion of it is protected for wildlife conservation. A large number of boat tour companies operate within the protected section of the swamp, and we chose Cajun Encounters on a recommendation. It’s $25 for a day tour of the swamp, and with a tour that takes about 90 minutes, it’s well worth it. I thought it a deal in all honesty. They offer transportation from New Orleans for an extra $20 if you don’t have a car.

First view of the river. Click twice for the largest picture.

First view of the river. Click twice for the largest picture.

Who doesn’t love Spanish moss?

Who doesn’t love Spanish moss?

Our tour guide was super nice and pretty entertaining for a man with only a few months under his belt. Questions were always welcome. We went through three distinct areas of swamp. The first was similar to a standard riverbank but with plenty of Spanish moss, reddish leaves, and cypress outcroppings called knees.

Knees in the water.

Knees in the water.

This was December, which means winter and the least active time for the swamp’s wildlife, so we were cautioned we wouldn’t see a lot of it. We didn’t, but there were some creatures to encounter!

Turtles on the left.

Turtles on the left.

Plenty of snapping turtles lined the banks, and they’d dive into the water when we got close.

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Travelogue: Abita Springs and Covington, LA

Art at the Abita Mystery House

Art at the Abita Mystery House

The hubby and I did a whirlwind tour of New Orleans and the surrounding areas in early December. The quintessence of the city—Cajun food, voodoo religion, laissez faire—has always placed it high on my list of places to see. I had considered moving there not long before Hurricane Katrina hit. Its pull on me is that strong, and yes, I’m the type of girl that will move without ever having seen the area where I’m relocating. I’ve done it a few times, actually.

So December was when I finally had the chance to indulge my Crescent City hankering. And it lived up to nearly all my expectations. Ultimately, it was a speedy, sanitized view of New Orleans for tourists, but it was wonderful. We drove there over two days, and luckily, the miles flew fast. It was the first time I’d been in Alabama or Mississippi as well, if driving over their highways and staying overnight counts. Midday on our second day of driving, we made it to our first destination: the Abita Brewery (21084 Louisiana 36, Abita Springs) in Abita Springs.

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The town of Abita Springs is tiny and centered around a cute roundabout of an intersection, just about a mile south of the brewery on Route 36. We were there on a Saturday, and tours start on the hour from 10 am to 3 pm. They’ll assign you to the next tour when you arrive at the courtyard. In the meantime, soak up that southern sun!

My husband in the courtyard.

My husband in the courtyard.

The tour begins right inside the french doors in a large, mahogany barroom.

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