Bayou Lafourche residents to greet paddlers

Staff Report
Bayou Lafourche in Donaldsonville.

The Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP) is gearing up for the 15thAnnual Paddle Bayou Lafourche trip to be held from March 31 to April 3. Residents of Bayou Lafourche are being asked to welcome these paddlers as they paddle down the bayou.

Paddlers from all over will be traveling along the muddy waters of Bayou Lafourche. The 52-mile, four-day paddling trip begins Thursday in Donaldsonville, and ends in Lockport on Sunday. Paddlers will participate anywhere from one day to all four days of the trip. They will be treated to scenic natural vistas, and a fascinating backyard view of the bayou from the water’s perspective while enjoying camaraderie, food and music. Along the way, paddlers will learn of the bayou’s history, its wealth, and about the wetlands as well as, the threat to this coastal treasure. Paddlers will also get a firsthand look at the restoration work being conducted along the bayou.

Local residents are asked to join in the experience by supporting and welcoming the paddlers from the banks of Bayou Lafourche. Residents 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.

Our paddlers enjoy seeing the locals and the hospitality our area has to offer,” said Kristy Monier, project manager and BTNEP media relations. “This year we have paddlers from over 12 different states across the country.”

On Thursday, paddlers will travel from the Donaldsonville Boat Launch to Madewood Plantation in Napoleonville. Friday’s trip will start at Madewood Plantation and end at Jean Lafitte Historic Park and Preserve in Thibodaux. On Saturday, paddlers will launch at the bayou side property of a local Thibodaux resident and end at the residence of Dr. Mike and Brenda Dardar Robichaux. The last leg of the paddle trip will take place on Sunday, and will begin at the Robichaux residence and finish at the Lockport Bayouside Park. Each day paddlers will receive local cuisine for lunch and dinner and entertainment in a campsite setting.

This year’s paddle trip is sponsored by AECOM, Bourgeois & Associates, Alumni Grill, Town of Lockport, Walters, Meyer, Trosclair & Associates, Bayou Lafourche Freshwater District, Entergy, Dow Chemical, Valentine Chemicals, Synergy Bank, Sea Level Construction, CH2MHill, American South Mortgage Lending, MOSAIC, Nicholls State University, Georgia Farms, James Matassa – State Farm, Thibodaux Glass, LLC, City of Donaldsonville, Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, Doug and Patricia Guillot, Mark and Dayne Dufrene, John and Denise Davis, The United Houma Nation Indians, and Dr. Mike and Brenda Dardar Robichaux.

Paddle Bayou Lafourche was started 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.