So I've lived in Louisiana for over 9 months now and the most stereotypical question people from out-of-town ask me is, "Have you eaten or seen an alligator???"
1) Alligators live in swamps.
2) New Orleans is not a swamp.
Therefore, I had not seen any alligators....until now. In my last few months in Louisiana, I wanted to experience the most that LA has to offer. A group of college friends came on down to the Big Easy to visit me and my new (temporary) home and we went on a swamp tour!
We took the 45 minute drive out of NOLA to La Place, LA for the Cajun Encounters swamp tour. We set out for the 2 hour boat ride on the bayou with a ice bucket full of beers (yep...sold at the ticket office). It was a different type of beauty. I wouldn't relate the beauty of the bayou swamp to beach sunsets, but its more of an unadulterated, historically-rich type of beauty.
Our tour guide/captain had the perfect Louisiana Bayou accent! I only wish I could have recorded it for you. It was so charming! The captain told us the history of the swamp and showed us some preserved historical landmarks on the tour, including a graveyard and an old boat house with a functioning outhouse, which was later used by one of my friends in a dire bathroom situation (hilarious...the image of her walking in and out of a 100+ year old outhouse...pure comedy).
We saw over 15 different alligators while taking us through the swamp, HUGE and small. We also saw how the alligators interacted amongst one another. The captain would lure the gators closer to the boat with raw chicken and marshmallows (appetizing, right?). They would raise themselves out of the water to catch the bait, smacking other gators in the process. It was not a game...one of the male gators jumped over his said-to-be "girlfriend" [by the captain] to get the rare treat. There's no chivalry in the animal kingdom either, apparently! (just kidding to all you "good guys" out there).
The tour was highly informative and entertaining. On the ride back towards where we started, the captain pulled out a baby gator from a tank on deck and passed him around for guests to hold and take pictures with. Being the dareangel that I am, I was eager to get my picture. I loved the tour and my friends did, too.
If you are ever in the New Orleans area and are interested in a swamp tour, check the tour schedule at www.cajunencounters.com.
See ya on da bayou!