Swamp Tour, New Orleans
Meeting Captain Tom was great. He had lived in the swamps practically all his life and he was so knowledgeable about everything around here. We were also really lucky to see quite a few aligators concidering in was so cold out. Captain Tom has such a good eye at spotting animals in this area, it was incredible. At first I thought he was putting me on. He would say "oh look over there! There's an alligator I can see his eyes! and he would get so excited! The truth was that neither I nor anyone on the boat could see what he was looking at. To us everything looked like branches and leaves. But as we got closer and he would take his time so that we all got to see what he saw, I realized he was for real!
I couldnt imagine living out here in the swamps and catching my own food, everyday. Captain Tom seemed to really enjoy this life. He said the hard part was when he wanted to get married and he had to convince his wife that he wanted to live right here. He said there was ALOT of negotiating to do.
Fondest memory: Captain Tom took us by some of his homemade fishing traps that he had out. He was surprised to see a few fish in one and a couple of craps or something in the other. He said that people dont mess with his traps and the local people in the area jnow whose traps are whose.
The weather report forecasted freezing weather for Tuesday (we were there in mid December) and I knew that any boating experience would be terribly cold. Plus the alligators and other cold blooded animals in the swamp would burrow down into the mud to keep warm and we wouldn't see any of them.
So I booked a combination Swamp, Plantation Tour for Monday.
Fondest memory: We went out in a pontoon boat, and while it was cold, it wasn't so cold that there was no wildlife, which it was going to be on the next day. We saw nutria and several of the smaller alligators, and birds.
The swamp tours are kind of touristy and can run a bit on the expensive side, but if you're never been to the swamp or seen a bayou they really are unique and worth seeing. Usually you will take a bus from the French Quarter (the driver will talk the whole time, asking annoying trivia questions) which will drop you off at a bayou where there will a boat waiting. The boat takes you out into the bayou where you will see amazing trees covered with moss, alligators, beautiful birds, shrimp boats, and local people not just fishing but swimming in the water with the alligators!
Fondest memory: Schedules and prices are available at all hotels as well as at the kiosks by the river front in the French Quarter. Some hotels may even be able to sign you up for a swamp tour via their concierge service.
Visit Patout's on Bourbon Street for great live Zydeco music.
Fondest memory: My fondest memory is being picked up by our swamp boat tour guide (Cap'n Ron), driving a distance to the boat, and getting out of the van to see for the first time that he's missing a leg. He hobbles out of the van, around the dock, and then into the boat. He hops back and forth from ... to ... (insert proper boat terms for front and back) during his tour, teetering closely to the edge to point out gators. He spiced up the tour with some racy jokes, starting with fairly innocent ones to test us out. When he felt comfortable that we would be okay with dirtier ones, he told them in his great Cajun accent. (Of course, there were some good Boudreaux and Tibideaux ones in the mix.) On the way back to the hotel, he drives through a daiquiri shop and orders himself a daiquiri with three extra shots. The whole time we wanted to ask: Did a gator get your leg? I highly recommend his tour!!
while every one expounds on the french quarter, and i must say,the french quarter has its own kind of lure,my favorite memory of new orleans is the wild ride we had in an airboat.there is nothing like the adrenalin rush you get when you're stuck in the swamp at dusk with alligators swimming by.
Fondest memory: getting out of above mentioned swamp.