Bayou Lafourche History

The history of Bayou Lafourche winds through time like its waters wind through varied landscapes, as forested banks in the upper bayou give way to rural towns, sugarcane farms, fishing boats and industry, to salt marshes at its mouth.  It was once the main channel of the Mississippi River until settlement along its banks necessitated the damming of the bayou to prevent annual floodwaters.  Before the 17th century, two Native American tribes inhabited its banks, the Muskogee (Houmas) and the Chitimacha.  Those groups were joined by French, German, Spanish, Isleňo, Croatian and other ethnic settlers who discovered a wealth of natural resources in the area.  The development of resources by these diverse groups has created a fascinating mixture of cultural practices.  Today the bayou is the source of drinking water for over 300,000 residents and oil field workers, as well as a hub of economic activity for the boat-building industry, the port, and fishermen alike.  Yet it still draws individuals and families from its banks and beyond to enjoy lazy sunsets, the activity of birds and other wild creatures, or simply quiet reflection.

© BTNEP: Barataria Terrebonne National Est all Rights Reserved