The Bayou Teche Scenic Byway
125.0 mi / 201.2 km
Time to Allow: A self-guided tour could take a
half day to two days.
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
For more information on Louisiana Scenic
Byways, click here.