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The Atchafalaya Swamp

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The Atchafalaya Swamp/River Basin

atcha_map.jpg

Atchafalaya_River.png

The Atchafalaya Swamp, as well as the entire Atchafalaya River Basin, is one of the most unique areas in the U.S. IMO. It is located in south-central Louisiana, and seperates Baton Rouge from Lafayette. It's complicated to describe to someone not from the area, and hopefully someone can do a better job than me, but I'll try my best not to be too confusing. The entire Atchafalaya Swamp is just a giant swamp, with hundreds of individual rivers and bayou's crossing through parts of it. The middle of the massive area is the thing most people visualize when they think of a swamp, soggy muddy water with Cypress Trees and Cypress stumps sticking out, while the edges are covered in think forest, and this is where you see most of the indiviual rivers and bayou's. These rivers and bayou's all feed off of the Atchafalaya River for the most part, which feeds off of the Mississippi and Red Rivers. These are large rivers we're talking about too, Whisky Bay for instance, is just as wide, if not wider than the Mississippi River at Baton Rouge. The Mississippi River traveled through what is now the Atchafalaya River Basin millions of years ago, before going past the current location of Morgan City and emptying into the Gulf of Mexico. This is the main reason why this area is a gaint swamp, why the Atchafalaya River takes the path that it does, as well as all of the other rivers forming over millions of years. It's interesting, because 2 or 3 miles east or west from the swamp, you on completely solid ground.

Wikipedia Page on the Atchafalaya River

Here are some pictures of the Swamp I took off of I-10(or the Atchafalaya Swamp Freeway as the 18+ mile bridge is called through the swmp) yesterday on my trip over to Lafayette. :D

The beginning of the Atchafalaya Swamp Freeway(I-10 through the swamp)

IMG_2119.jpg

One of the very many individual bayou's and river's running through the swamp

IMG_2124.jpg

Another shot of the bridge through the swamp

IMG_2126.jpg

The very large "Whiskey Bay"

IMG_2127.jpg

As you can see from this shot, the east and west sides of the swamp are covered in thick forest, and the further you get towards the middle, the more swampy it gets, and more and more trees start disappearing

IMG_2128.jpg

The Atchafalaya River, which is actually narrower than Whiskey Bay, and for which the entire area is named

IMG_2133.jpg

Getting closer to the middle, and much more swampy area of the Atchafalaya Swamp

IMG_2137.jpg

IMG_2142.jpg

IMG_2144.jpg

I missed alot of the rivers traveling through the swamp, as well as a great deal of the swampy areas themselves on the trip there because I had to change batteries for my camera, which took longer than expected. But I managed to get quite a few shots on the trip back, the problem is that it was raining, so I had to take the pictures with the window's up, and as a result there may be reflection or water droplets in the pictures. If you look closely at some of the later pictures, you'll be able to see my beloved iPod! ;)

From the trip back..

Looking through the fick forest on the west edge of the swamp

IMG_2169.jpg

Looking up the bridge as the rain falls

IMG_2170.jpg

The Baldcypress Swamps in the center of the entire swamp, this is what most people visualize when they think of a swamp. Once you pass this, you get more and more back into think forest and the groud becomes much more solid.

IMG_2173.jpg

IMG_2174.jpg

IMG_2175.jpg

All of these are some of the larger rivers crossing through the forest covered areas of the swamp. All of these are different individual rivers, and as you can see, they are quite large. Remember, these are just a few of the possibly hundreds of individual rivers crossing through the swamp. There are rivers this size, larger, and smaller everywhere throughought the swamp, they may just end further north, curve east or west, or the the rivers may branch off of each other south of I-10.

IMG_2176.jpg

IMG_2178.jpg

IMG_2179.jpg

Atchafalaya River

IMG_2180.jpg

Whiskey Bay

IMG_2185.jpg

Well thats it! :D

I just wanted to make a special thread for this piece of Louisiana because IMO it's history(once you get to fully understand most of it) is very interesting, and there are not many places in the U.S. where you will find something like it. If anyone has any questions about the area, its history, or anything like that, please ask! :thumbsup:

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Those are some pretty good pictures and interesting info. Did you just take those pictures?

Also, I absolutely hate that stretch of I-10 through the Atchafalaya Basin. I much prefer Hwy. 90.

edit: I asked if you just took those, even though you said you took them yesterday. Ignore that... I'm a dork.

Edited by SBCmetroguy

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Those are some pretty good pictures and interesting info. Did you just take those pictures?

Also, I absolutely hate that stretch of I-10 through the Atchafalaya Basin. I much prefer Hwy. 90.

Thanks!

And yea that stretch of I-10 gets really boring after about a mile, but I got some good pictures out of it! :D

edit: I asked if you just took those, even though you said you took them yesterday. Ignore that... I'm a dork.

Haha, dont worry about it. ;)

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Great post with pics Nate !

The Atchafalaya Basin is truly one of the most unique feature in the U.S.

Such a big-part of Louisiana.

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^Thanks, Richy!

It's a very important part of Louisiana not only historically and culturally, but economically as well. The Atchafalaya River Basin is very important to central Louisiana in that regard.

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You know that for a century the Mississippi's been trying to change course and run through the Atchafalaya River basin leaving Baton Rouge and New Orleans high and dry. Every few centuries the river changes its flow and the delta moves to a different site in Louisiana. Right now, 1/4 of the water is diverted through the Atchafalaya and the rest continues down the old Mississippi channel through New Orleans. The Old Man River project controls the river through a series of levees and steers it into its current channel.

I always found this very interesting.

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Thanks for bringing that up Aporkalypse.

Yes this very interesting.

This has been beneficial in some ways, but really bad too. The silt deposits that used to come from the Mississippi River to build the marsh and lowlands have been cut-off by those levees. Now south Louisiana has eroded/seeped into the Gulf; In the 50's or 60's Louisiana used to rank 31st in size for land area in ther U.S., but has dropped to 33rd . Mississippi and Pennsylvania are now larger. Louisiana has lost the enough coastal wetlands to cover the entire State of Deleware. Also some swamps have become dead-zones between BR and N.O. Some have said to take-out some of the levees along the Miss. River in lower Plaquemines Parish to bring back some of those deposits. Port Sulphur had sunk 1 inch per year. Land is sinking in places as far north as Ascension Parish. But, there is one place not sinking, but actually building LAND. Recent satellite pics show a NEW small Delta has formed on the lower Atchafayala . That's amazing, diverting 1/4 of the Miss. River has caused the super flow down the Atchafayala, causing it to be the deepest River in North America also !

Edited by richyb83

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You know that for a century the Mississippi's been trying to change course and run through the Atchafalaya River basin leaving Baton Rouge and New Orleans high and dry. Every few centuries the river changes its flow and the delta moves to a different site in Louisiana. Right now, 1/4 of the water is diverted through the Atchafalaya and the rest continues down the old Mississippi channel through New Orleans. The Old Man River project controls the river through a series of levees and steers it into its current channel.

I always found this very interesting.

Wow, I didn't realize that! Very interesting information, though... and something to keep in mind.

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I know this might be a little late, but I just saw the photos. Great shots, NCB! Those pictures remind me of the show Invasion. Pretty interesting episode last night, along with Lost. Anywho, cool pictures :thumbsup:

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You know that for a century the Mississippi's been trying to change course and run through the Atchafalaya River basin leaving Baton Rouge and New Orleans high and dry. Every few centuries the river changes its flow and the delta moves to a different site in Louisiana. Right now, 1/4 of the water is diverted through the Atchafalaya and the rest continues down the old Mississippi channel through New Orleans. The Old Man River project controls the river through a series of levees and steers it into its current channel.

I always found this very interesting.

Yea, I've always thought that was very interesting as well. And one day, the River will be flowing wherever it want's again. It doesn't matter how it happens, we're not going to beat nature forever.

I know this might be a little late, but I just saw the photos. Great shots, NCB! Those pictures remind me of the show Invasion. Pretty interesting episode last night, along with Lost. Anywho, cool pictures :thumbsup:

Thanks! :D

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To me the beautiful Atchafalaya scenery is a welcome break as one drives along what has to be one of the country's heaviest traveled interstates.

It is easy to see how many semis use this stretch that links four of the nations busiest port cities; New Orleans, Houston, Baton Rouge and Lake Charles. Just look at the photos!

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Thanks for bringing this thread back after a-layoff of over 5 1/2 months.

The Atchafalaya Swamp/Basin is a National Treasure just as the Everglades is IMO.

Some people on UP are curious to know why just west of Baton Rouge nothing is there(no development). One "Big" reason is bec. the Atchafaylaya Basin has a nice buffer-zone along it's eastern edge...this buffer extends well into WBR. That's why there is not more development over there. That land hopefully will always stay unblemished. Look at aerial satelitte's and you will see the deep, dark canopy. :thumbsup: Not to mention it acts as an air-filter for all the industrial corridor going down the Miss. River.

Edited by richyb83

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Wow. I just rode on that thing last August, and it was real nice. The trees were thick, but I-10 is too crowded and semis are everywhere its crazy. This is really an important part of the U.S.

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Yeah...I-10 is too congested, but that's a super-cool stretch of road. There's nothing like it outside of Louisiana. People give the blankest looks when you tell them there's several 20-mile-long bridges in Louisiana. They just can't imagine it.

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Yeah...I-10 is too congested, but that's a super-cool stretch of road. There's nothing like it outside of Louisiana. People give the blankest looks when you tell them there's several 20-mile-long bridges in Louisiana. They just can't imagine it.

I typically take I-49 south and then 190 from Opelousas to Baton Rouge, JUST to avoid I-10.

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The Atchafalaya Swamp/Basin is a National Treasure just as the Everglades is IMO.

Thanks for mentioning The Everglades! :D

And thank you to the OP for the tour of a very different looking swamp! (to ME!) Really looks nothing like The 'Glades!

That IS a strange stretch of highway! It's SO scenic, yet SO crammed at the same time... :huh:

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I typically take I-49 south and then 190 from Opelousas to Baton Rouge, JUST to avoid I-10.

If you want a different, scenic, and historic/interesting ride, I recommend taking HW 71 just south of Alexandria, and taking it all the way until it runs into 190 about 45 miles west of Baton Rouge. HW 71 will take you through a bunch of small towns: LeCompte, Cheneyville, and Bunkie to name a few. These are towns that were all formed by the railroad, and it's just an interesting ride going through the "downtown" areas under live oaks, and then crossing now tiny "rivers" that back in the were used heavily by steamboats during and after the Cival War. Really, you just get a look at central Louisiana, and alot of what it offers and its history. There is no traffic, and you can go through most of the highway doing 60, so you really don't lose much time. :thumbsup:

And if you do take that route one day, Brian, you have to stop in at Lea's(pronounced Lee's) Lunchroom in LeCompte.(pronounced Lecount) The best pie and ham sandwiches in the world, at least for me so far. Even Emeril Lagasse has said that at times he's gone 200 miles out of his way to stop in LeCompte and pick up a pie and a sandwich at Lea's. :lol:

IMG_0280.jpg

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If you want a different, scenic, and historic/interesting ride, I recommend taking HW 71 just south of Alexandria, and taking it all the way until it runs into 190 about 45 miles west of Baton Rouge. HW 71 will take you through a bunch of small towns: LeCompte, Cheneyville, and Bunkie to name a few. These are towns that were all formed by the railroad, and it's just an interesting ride going through the "downtown" areas under live oaks, and then crossing now tiny "rivers" that back in the were used heavily by steamboats during and after the Cival War. Really, you just get a look at central Louisiana, and alot of what it offers and its history. There is no traffic, and you can go through most of the highway doing 60, so you really don't lose much time. :thumbsup:

And if you do take that route one day, Brian, you have to stop in at Lea's(pronounced Lee's) Lunchroom in LeCompte.(pronounced Lecount) The best pie and ham sandwiches in the world, at least for me so far. Even Emeril Lagasse has said that at times he's gone 200 miles out of his way to stop in LeCompte and pick up a pie and a sandwich at Lea's. :lol:

IMG_0280.jpg

ooooo yeah...great memories at Lea's. Gotta get a ham sandwich and a Coke in a real glass bottle.

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Thanks for mentioning The Everglades! :D

And thank you to the OP for the tour of a very different looking swamp! (to ME!) Really looks nothing like The 'Glades!

That IS a strange stretch of highway! It's SO scenic, yet SO crammed at the same time... :huh:

You are so right. The Atchafalaya is different from the Everglades. The Atchafalaya differs with its moss laden cypress trees and numerous boggy lagoons. The Everglades has its many palms amd endless expanses of sawgrass. Both are beautiful in their own way.

I avoid driving I-75 between Naples and Fort Lauderdale, instead find it much more interesting to take the old US 41 (Alligator Alley) down over to Miami. A Beautiful drive although because most of it is only 2 lanes, a longer one.

Edited by fla_tiger

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The Atchafalaya Swamp/River Basin

atcha_map.jpg

Atchafalaya_River.png

The Atchafalaya Swamp, as well as the entire Atchafalaya River Basin, is one of the most unique areas in the U.S. IMO. It is located in south-central Louisiana, and seperates Baton Rouge from Lafayette. It's complicated to describe to someone not from the area, and hopefully someone can do a better job than me, but I'll try my best not to be too confusing. The entire Atchafalaya Swamp is just a giant swamp, with hundreds of individual rivers and bayou's crossing through parts of it. The middle of the massive area is the thing most people visualize when they think of a swamp, soggy muddy water with Cypress Trees and Cypress stumps sticking out, while the edges are covered in think forest, and this is where you see most of the indiviual rivers and bayou's. These rivers and bayou's all feed off of the Atchafalaya River for the most part, which feeds off of the Mississippi and Red Rivers. These are large rivers we're talking about too, Whisky Bay for instance, is just as wide, if not wider than the Mississippi River at Baton Rouge. The Mississippi River traveled through what is now the Atchafalaya River Basin millions of years ago, before going past the current location of Morgan City and emptying into the Gulf of Mexico. This is the main reason why this area is a gaint swamp, why the Atchafalaya River takes the path that it does, as well as all of the other rivers forming over millions of years. It's interesting, because 2 or 3 miles east or west from the swamp, you on completely solid ground.

Wikipedia Page on the Atchafalaya River

Here are some pictures of the Swamp I took off of I-10(or the Atchafalaya Swamp Freeway as the 18+ mile bridge is called through the swmp) yesterday on my trip over to Lafayette. :D

The beginning of the Atchafalaya Swamp Freeway(I-10 through the swamp)

IMG_2119.jpg

One of the very many individual bayou's and river's running through the swamp

IMG_2124.jpg

Another shot of the bridge through the swamp

IMG_2126.jpg

The very large "Whiskey Bay"

IMG_2127.jpg

As you can see from this shot, the east and west sides of the swamp are covered in thick forest, and the further you get towards the middle, the more swampy it gets, and more and more trees start disappearing

IMG_2128.jpg

The Atchafalaya River, which is actually narrower than Whiskey Bay, and for which the entire area is named

IMG_2133.jpg

Getting closer to the middle, and much more swampy area of the Atchafalaya Swamp

IMG_2137.jpg

IMG_2142.jpg

IMG_2144.jpg

I missed alot of the rivers traveling through the swamp, as well as a great deal of the swampy areas themselves on the trip there because I had to change batteries for my camera, which took longer than expected. But I managed to get quite a few shots on the trip back, the problem is that it was raining, so I had to take the pictures with the window's up, and as a result there may be reflection or water droplets in the pictures. If you look closely at some of the later pictures, you'll be able to see my beloved iPod! ;)

From the trip back..

Looking through the fick forest on the west edge of the swamp

IMG_2169.jpg

Looking up the bridge as the rain falls

IMG_2170.jpg

The Baldcypress Swamps in the center of the entire swamp, this is what most people visualize when they think of a swamp. Once you pass this, you get more and more back into think forest and the groud becomes much more solid.

IMG_2173.jpg

IMG_2174.jpg

IMG_2175.jpg

All of these are some of the larger rivers crossing through the forest covered areas of the swamp. All of these are different individual rivers, and as you can see, they are quite large. Remember, these are just a few of the possibly hundreds of individual rivers crossing through the swamp. There are rivers this size, larger, and smaller everywhere throughought the swamp, they may just end further north, curve east or west, or the the rivers may branch off of each other south of I-10.

IMG_2176.jpg

IMG_2178.jpg

IMG_2179.jpg

Atchafalaya River

IMG_2180.jpg

Whiskey Bay

IMG_2185.jpg

Well thats it! :D

I just wanted to make a special thread for this piece of Louisiana because IMO it's history(once you get to fully understand most of it) is very interesting, and there are not many places in the U.S. where you will find something like it. If anyone has any questions about the area, its history, or anything like that, please ask! :thumbsup:

Yes, those are the pictures I was asking about. I'd like to have written permission to use pictures numbering 5, 7, 8, and 13 starting with #1 of the pictures not including the map. I am almost done with the text part of my book. Now I have to go through a couple thousand pictures to locate the ones I want in my book. Thankfully I downloaded several hundred pictures onto my laptop but still would like to find the rest.This book is about my experiences as a long haul driver for 15 years on the highways and byways of this great country. As I said I'm pretty sure I took pictures of the bridge and swamp on this trip because I saw it as one of a kind. If I do use your pictures you will get a byline and credit for whichever ones I use. We had a load to deliver in New Orleans and my boyfriend was driving, it's just finding them. My hard drive is inaccessible and my hard copy pictures are in storage making a mind boggling job even more difficult. And yes this book will be offered to the public and will hopefully become a best seller. Of course there is never any guarantee that more than my friends and family will buy my book, still I believe I have a very saleable story. I'm still as much as six months from publication but I need the pictures for formatting into the final product once the editing is done. Thank you for getting back to me so quickly. gearjammer45

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Hey gearjammer45, I'm sorry I couldn't respond sooner. You have my permission to use any of the photos, and I'm glad you liked some of them enough to think about including in your book. :thumbsup:

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Down to one-lane for a 9.28 mile stretch; possible hour delays during peak traffic hours

Repair work begins on Atchafalaya Basin Bridge

Sections of a highly-traveled bridge on Interstate 10 will be closed for up to three weeks. At 7:00 Monday morning, resurfacing and repairs to the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge will begin.

The work is being done on both the eastbound and westbound lanes of the bridge at the same time. DOTD officials say the work will be done in sections over the next three weeks.

Drivers are reminded that they can use Highway 190 as an alternate route

http://www.wafb.com/Global/story.asp?S=9731026

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