Paddle Bayou Lafourche 2010: Back to the bayou

Staff reports

The Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program and its Foundation have teamed up to offer residents, and visitors from all over, the opportunity to travel along the muddy waters of Bayou Lafourche, April 08 – 11, by registering for Paddle Bayou Lafourche 2010: Back to the Bayou.

The 52-mile, four-day paddling trip down the bayou begins Thursday, April 8, in Donaldsonville, and ends in Lockport on Sunday, April 11. Paddlers can participate anywhere from one day to all four days of the paddling trip. They will be treated not only to scenic natural vistas, but also to a fascinating backyard view of the bayou from the water’s perspective and enjoy camaraderie, food, music, and fun. Registered paddlers will receive local cuisine and entertainment every night in a campsite setting. They will also receive a t-shirt, water and healthy snacks throughout the day, and a daily shuttle bus. Canoe rentals are available in a limited supply. Registration is required for the paddling trip

During this ninth annual trip, paddlers may choose to camp out at Madewood Plantation, on the Nicholls State University campus, and at Dr. Mike and Brenda Dardar Robichaux’s home with the United Houma Nation, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights respectively. The King Pa-Ka-Yea’ Band will provide entertainment Thursday night. Paddlers are given the option to visit the American Cancer Society Relay for Life event Friday night, and the United Houma Nation will hold an exhibition Saturday night.

A new addition to the event is a “Welcome Paddlers” event in Donaldsonville on Wednesday, April 07, 2010. The Donaldsonville Downtown Development District, along with many sponsors, has prepared a low-cost and exciting evening for the paddlers in Historic Downtown Donaldsonville. Each paddler will receive dinner, a historic walking tour at 4:30 p.m. with Richard Zeringue, music by 3 Leg Dog, and a camping spot in Crescent Park.

Local residents not registered for the trip are encouraged to visit the many shops and restaurants of Donaldsonville this evening to welcome the paddlers to Bayou Lafourche, and to pass a good time. Local residents can also join in the experience by supporting the paddlers from the banks of Bayou Lafourche. Locals are invited to decorate their bayou side and provide signs of encouragement to the bayou visitors. In the past, visitors have been greeted with local music and cheers as the paddlers coasted down the bayou. Residents are encouraged to make sure their bayou side is clean to help welcome the paddlers and associated media. Residents can also sign up to be a volunteer and help the BTNEP staff during the paddling trip.

Paddle Bayou Lafourche 2010 is dedicated to the memory of Mr. Cleveland A. Plaisance Sr., who participated in Paddle Bayou Lafourche since its inception.The paddlers have always stopped at the Plaisance Produce Stand in Raceland, LA, where Mr. Plaisance Sr. and his family welcomed them all with open arms and a food spread like none other.Stopping to eat and visit with the Plaisance family has always been a highlight on the trip for paddlers and BTNEP staff, not only because of the great atmosphere, but because the entire Plaisance family has always been a true gem of South Louisiana.Mr. Plaisance Sr. himself was the epitome of Cajun culture, always opening his home and heart to hundreds of paddlers throughout the years. BTNEP is proud to dedicate Paddle Bayou Lafourche 2010: Back to the Bayou to the memory of Mr. Cleveland A. Plaisance Sr.

BTNEP started Paddle Bayou Lafourche as an innovative approach to educate residents and visitors about the culture and ecology of Bayou Lafourche, as well as the coastal restoration needs of the area and potential solutions.

Paddlers must register by completing and mailing the registration from on the Paddle Bayou Lafourche website. A separate registration from must be completed to attend the “Welcome Paddlers” event in Donaldsonville, as an official paddler. Both registration forms can be found at http://paddling.btnep.org.

Any questions concerning the paddling trip can be sent to Shelley Sparks, Paddle Bayou Lafourche Project Manager and BTNEP Media Coordinator, at shelley@btnep.org.