ARNAUDVILLE – It’s been shown that people will come from all over the country and beyond to participate in a world-class canoe and kayak marathon like the one we’re hoping to have on Bayou Teche someday.
Question is, will they ever come back?
Or will they go home to communities outdoor-loving people from Alaska to Australia and proclaim that Tobacco Road does exist – except it ain’t a road, it’s a bayou. Bayou Teche.
At 124 miles long, a paddle race on Bayou Teche would be one of only three super marathons in the country. The 260-mile Texas Water Safari and the 120-mile AuSable River Canoe Marathon in Michigan draw hundreds of participants every year. And they come from all over the country and aboard.
Folks in everything from family aluminum canoes to super-light, needle-like six-person boats brave the wild and woolly Water Safari, with its rapids, logjams, wasp nests and snakes. And they do it for bragging rights and an embroidered patch.
The AuSable race is a contest for prize money among serious paddlers in near-identical United States Canoe Association C2 boats.
The Teche has the distinction of being one of few waterways that once served as a main street for so many communities. It reeks with history at every turn, and it abounds with a lush, mysterious beauty. And yet there are lots of civilized places for paddlers to stop and resupply, and for spectators to watch.
Unfortunately Bayou Teche hasn’t been Main Street for a long time. More like a back alley. And once you get out of town, it seems obvious that some people think of Bayou Teche as a great, winding, inexhaustible garbage dump.
If we want people to come and paddle here, whether to race or tour, we’ve got to clean it up and keep it clean. A revitalized waterfront would be just the kind of rising tide that would truly float all economic boats in the Teche Country.
Here in Arnaudville, volunteers in everything from canoes to crawfish skiffs to pontoon boats will attack the six-mile stretch from the parish line down to the Cecilia Bridge (La. 355) Saturday, March 28. The volunteers will gather at the boat ramp in Arnaudville at 9 a.m. And you’re welcome to join in.
Call Blake Couvillion, 230-8596, if you need more information.