For visitor information about the heritage area call 337.228.1094.
The Atchafalaya National Heritage Area often referred to as the “Other Glades” or “the South’s last wilderness,” is one of the most culturally rich and ecologically varied regions in the United States. At the center is the Atchafalaya Basin, the largest swamp in the country. The 170 mile Atchafalaya River begins in the land of Jerry Lee Lewis and Mickey Gilley rock and roll, flows past the fiddles and accordians of Cajun and Zydeco, and empties into the Gulf of Mexico.
The complex system of bottomland hardwood forests, cypress swamps, bayous, rivers, backwater lakes and marshes provide for unrivalled outdoor adventure. In the land home to 60 species of reptiles and amphibians and 270 species of birds, it is not unusual to spot alligators, Swainson’s Warbler, Swallow-tailed Kite or great numbers of American Woodcock. Rent a swamp houseboat for the weekend after an exciting canoe or kayak trip. A guided swamp tour, airboat tour, or a Gulf charter fishing trip might be more your style.
The architecture of plantations and cottages and the folkways of the people reflect the heritage of the French, Spanish, Acadians, African and Native Americans and others who settled this region. But the most memorable glimpse of the heritage is through the cuisine. Ethnic groups trading culinary secrets yielded such delicacies as shrimp creole, crawfish etouffee, boudin, gumbo, jambalaya, boiled crabs, turtle soup and gateau sirop, made from variations or combinations of roux, fricassee, picante, the trinity, file, andouille, tasso. You’ll leave speaking our language!