Read more in this article I wrote for Trip101.com.
My Silver Fox and I recently spent a glorious week between New Orleans and Baton Rouge touring antebellum plantations, eating cajun and creole food, and staying in beautiful inns. We were celebrating our 45th wedding anniversary. It seemed to me that we needed to do at least one thing JUST FOR HIM. He’s an outdoor guy who loves nature and the water. Why not a Swamp Tour? We decided on the Cajun Pride Swamp Tours company and had a great time. Check out this video from the Travel Channel — it’s precisely where we were!
Captain Thomas Adam Billiot — known in the swamp as Captain T Tom — is Houma and Cajun. He knows the swamp. He has even been featured on National Geographic and “Swamp People.” Andrew Zimmern of “Bizarre Foods” has been to his house! Captain Tom takes groups of people on tours a couple of days a week, and then has swamp duty for maintenance of this 5000 acres he refers to as a real “Man Shack.” He even guides tours at night where they build fires by the graveyard in the swamp, but Captain Tom warns that “the mosquitoes will tear you up — maybe 40-50 times!” No, thank you. In the month of September — Official Gator-Hunting Season — his main focus is on catchin’ gators, and he has had much success through the years. In other seasons, he catches turtles for soup, nutria rats and lots and lots of crawfish.
Our visit was right as the recent flood waters were receding. Tom said that meant that gators and snakes were everywhere, and they’d even found water moccasins in the parking lot!! The maintenance crews had been working overtime to keep the areas well swept to try to minimize the possibility of a snakebite. Gulp. Believe me, I watched my steps.
After much trial and error with popcorn, Cheetos and the like, Captain Tom finally discovered that marshmallows are the preferred treat of swamp critters.
We saw a large raccoon, lots of turtles, plenty of alligators, and white egrets during our tour, but mostly we were entertained by Captain Tom’s lively tales of life in and around the swamp.
There were a dozen or so noisy children on our tour who were only interested when we spotted a gator and when T Tom took a small one out of a bag he had on the boat (with its snout taped shut, thank goodness). The wiggly kids didn’t deter him one bit. He just kept on talking and guiding our boat without missing a beat.
I imagine it’s just like every fishing trip Steve goes on. Sometimes you “load the boat” and other times you “don’t get a bite.” I thought we saw plenty, but on other days you might see a lot more. I’d recommend you spend a few hours on the swamp, and hopefully, you’ll be lucky enough to get on one of T Tom’s boats.