Sometimes described as the “longest Main Street in the world,” Bayou Lafourche stretches some 65 miles connecting communities between Donaldsonville and Leeville. Paddling any section of the waterway is something of a trip through history. The bayou once was a main tributary of the Mississippi River leading to the Gulf of Mexico. In the 1700s, French explorers may have traveled on this waterway as they staked claims in the coastal areas. Original inhabitants of the area include the Chawasha, Washa and Chitimacha tribes. Acadians began arriving from Canada in the mid-18th century and established the fishing and trapping legacy that remains in this heavily Cajun-influenced area today. Bayou Lafourche continues to play a major role in area commerce, so paddlers will find themselves sharing the waters with many other users.
In addition to an annual 50-mile paddling trip arranged by the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program, paddlers can enjoy the bayou at any time and are sure to see much wildlife. If you launch in Donaldsonville, you’ll have the ease of a paved driveway into the bayou. Donaldsonville is located along Highway 1, at Highway 308.
Continue paddling south to explore authentic Cajun culture in the heart of Louisiana's Cajun Bayou. Paddlers will pass through rural communities with authentic Cajun restaurants, bakeries and shops just off the water. Multiple entries and exit points can take a leisurely paddle to a more significant challenge.
Stop at the Jean Lafitte Acadian Cultural Center in Thibodaux for a Cajun education. The museum's interactive exhibits cover the history of the Acadian migration as well as the foundation of a new, unique culture in south Louisiana. You may even get to sit in on a Cajun music jam session. You will find Port Fourchon Coastal Wetlands Park at the end of the paddle trail. Here you can explore a man-made tidal creek to see the coastal wetland environment of south Louisiana.