Some folks say that here in Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou, we’ll take any excuse to celebrate. They’re not wrong. But we think we have a great reason to throw a socially distanced party on Saturday, August 28, when a Boat Parade will be our way of celebrating the removal of the weir that’s been restricting access to parts of our beloved Bayou Lafourche.
First, a quick vocabulary lesson: Our word of the day is “weir,” a noun that describes a structure similar to a dam. A weir is used to regulate water flow, and ours was constructed in 1969 to create a water reservoir for water treatment facilities and sugar mills north of the weir. While it served its original purpose, it has not only impeded the flow of water in Bayou Lafourche, but also prevented boat access in Bayou Lafourche which is a major impediment to recreational boaters of the bayou region. With the recent completion of other projects that allow more water to be introduced into the bayou and new water control structures, the water elevations of Bayou Lafourche can be safely managed without needing the weir. Boats can now move both up and down Bayou Lafourche and freely access the town of Thibodaux, which had previously been cut off by the weir. And we think THAT is reason to celebrate!
Here in coastal Louisiana, we love a parade. And we love being out on the water. So … a boat parade is the beautiful mashup of two things we’re passionate about. The parade is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 28. The event is free and open to the public, and everyone is encouraged to participate by launching a paddleboard or kayak from the Jean Lafitte Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center or a motorized boat from Leighton Boat Launch in Thibodaux.
The parade route travels down the bayou, turning around at Nicholls State University, and returns to Jean Lafitte Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center with the total distance being a bit over 3 miles. The journey will be accompanied by a live soundtrack provided by local musicians set up at five locations on the shoreline along the way. The parade route also allows for a glimpse of the brand new Nicholls State Bayou-Side Park, opening across from the university campus for the event. Bayou-Side Park is a public space with areas for loading and unloading boats, a floating dock, bike racks, a pavilion, an outdoor classroom, and more.
So, start practicing your parade wave and join us at Jean Lafitte Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center on Saturday, August 28 to celebrate removing the weir and regaining access to Bayou Lafourche. We hope to see you there!