New Orleans is synonymous with good food, jazz and Mardi Gras and it was here that history was created, founded by France, conquered by Spain, bought by President Jefferson and occupied by the Yankees! New Orleans also possesses the second largest harbor in the U.S.A. and even today, they shout, "Full speed ahead!“ as paddle steamers negotiate ‘Ol Man River’, the grand waters of the Mississippi River that flow to the Mississippi Swamps.
The Swamps are extensive and only experienced boatmen can find their way around the mass of main and side tributaries as it’s easy to become disorientated, sight of the sky often being lost due to the density of the trees.
In the past 5,000 years, the Mississippi had seven different deltas prior to it being reinforced by embankments. When dykes strengthened the river, some side channels remained and these are the famous small rivers known as the Bayous, a labyrinth of small tributaries and waterways.
Cowens’ is the name of the oldest life form in the swamp, a turtle that grows to about 10 to 25 centimeters long and feeds mainly on small fish and aquatic animals.
Almost 30,000 hectares of swampland have been declared a nature reserve in which the complex balance between salt and freshwater reigns supreme and, when viewed from above, has the appearance of a strange network of city streets.
The Delta area provides ideal conditions for many feathered species, including around 4 million ducks and the national symbol of the U.S.A., the white-headed sea eagle. The variety of animals living in this region, most notably the alligator, is also vast and includes beaver and raccoon.
The wonderful world of the Swamps with their legends and myths, draw the traveler under their spell, a bewitching labyrinth of infinite waterways each one holding a special fascination. The allure of nature is surely as puzzling as the innermost secrets of the Mississippi Swamps!