With only one week left in New Orleans, I’ve started working on my bucket list of stuff to do. It’s actually a pretty short list. I feel like I’ve taken advantage of so many things that New Orleans has to offer. I’m glad because it means I can leave here with very few regrets. But there was one thing that I wanted to do but have never gotten around to until now – visit a swamp. There are all sorts of swamp tours you can take where you go out in a boat and pet alligators. But we took a less formal (and much cheaper) route by driving out to Jean Lafitte National Historic Park and walking along one of the trails.
I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew what I wanted to see, and to be honest, at first it didn’t seem like Jean Lafitte would deliver. I was wondering if maybe we shouldn’t go up the road to the Bayou Barn and take a tour.
But as we walked along the trail to the swamp, I spotted something scurrying around under leaves that made our trip worth it, regardless of what else we saw.
Armadillos! There were tons of them, and they were so cute. I loved the way they jumped as they ran. They were like little tanks.
It didn’t take long till we got to the boardwalk for the swamp, though, and I realized that the park had more to offer than armadillos.
Basically, the whole thing looked like this:
I kept looking for alligators but never did spot any. I’m not sure if I was disappointed or relieved. I’m sure they wouldn’t let us wander around the trails if they were dangerous (and after all, there is an alligator at Audubon Park) but I kind of worried about one chomping at us from the side. Or, you know, one accidental foot twist and falling into the swamp and then suddenly the croc has your hand and you end up like Captain Hook. I know it’s far-fetched, but it could happen. And the slight possibly of it kept me a little on edge (especially with little kids running around).
I have been trying to think about how to express how it felt to be in the swamp, and I keep falling short. It felt so massive. And while everything looked kind of dead (it is January, after all, and the trees were bare and the leaves were brown), the swamp was somehow full of so much life. There were so many sounds and so many different colors and textures. I just felt so amazed that I was able to be there. And then toward the end of our walk, I felt sad because we realized that a lot of the water was full of oil.
(Way to end this blog on a sad note, right?)
So… just a few more things on my list. Oh yeah, and packing… lots and lots of packing.