With this entry we wrap up a four-segment coverage of our visit to the Atchafalaya Swamp with Kim Voorhies of "The Atchafalaya Experience" tour. His descriptions and stories of life in the swamp went a long way to increasing our appreciation of this natural wonder.
We caught glimpses of the swamp in sunny moments, but for us the mood of the swamp would best be experienced through an early morning fog. But since there was no fog, we decided to photograph these scenes in black and white to approximate the air of mystery and feeling of uncertainty that I associate with a swamp.
To add to our information about the Atchafalaya Swamp we learned the following: "The Atchafalaya River lies at the southern end of Mississippi Valley and is the principle distributary of the Mississippi River. The Mississippi receives surface water runoff from 40 percent of the land area of the continental United States and it has the third largest river drainage area in the world, ap-proximately 1,250,000 square miles. The waters of the Mississippi funnel through the state of Louisiana on their way to the Gulf of Mexico.
"The Atchafalaya River is about 130 miles in length. This is an interesting piece of trivia since the name comes from the Choctaw language meaning
"Long River". For the volume of water it carries, it is one of the shortest rivers in the world. As the largest outlet of the Mississippi, from 30 to 50 per cent of the water flowing down the Mississippi is diverted into the Atchafalaya" (louisiana.sierraclub.org).
The river basin has been developed to serve as a diversion route for high water headed for Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
So it is not just central Louisiana, but over half the state that is dependent on the Atchafalaya River Basin for flood control.
Returning to the launch ramp, we passed this sight of the pillars supporting I-10. This section of the interstate runs for a little over 15 miles through the Atchafalaya River Basin.
The return to concrete was a jolt. The peace-fulness of the swamp was quite a contrast to the sounds of traffic.
"I must go down to the swamp again...."