The Bayou Teche Scenic Byway

Length: 125.0 mi / 201.2 km
Time to Allow: A self-guided tour could take a half day to two days.

The Bayou Teche Scenic Byway follows a meandering, oak-tree-lined course through lush vegetation into Acadiana. This waterway is a cultural gem tucked in the heart of Southwest Louisiana. Bayou Teche was the setting for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Evangeline. The name "Teche" is a Chitimacha Indian word meaning "snake," resembling the bayou's curving turns and twists like a snake's movements. Following closely along the banks of the region's most popular waterway, this picturesque route begins in Port Barre, drawing water from Bayou Courtableau and then flows southward to the Atchafalaya River in Patterson. Thousands of years ago, the present course of the Bayou Teche was the main channel of the Mississippi River, so you'll get a unique geological perspective of how the rich agricultural lands on this route were formed.

Once described as the "most richly storied of the interior waters, and the most opulent," this body of water was the center of a booming cypress industry in the early 1900s. The traveler can get a firsthand glimpse of giant oaks with 150-foot reach and trailing moss sometimes a yard below the branches along the brown-watered stream. The opulent Greek Revival mansions scattered here and there along it appeared on the landscape as a result of the "sugar money" derived from the area's most abundant crop, sugarcane. If you stop in the small villages and towns that have built up along the bayou, you can hear the authentic and uncorrupted dialect of the Acadian people.

For more information on Louisiana Scenic Byways, click here. http://www.byways.org/explore/states/LA/