BATON ROUGE, La.—Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser proclaimed October 2020 as Atchafalaya Month in Louisiana, welcoming everyone to safely visit and Feed Your Soul with the sites, flavors, and fun of the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area (ANHA). While some events may look a little different than years past, there are plenty of good times to be had in “America’s Foreign Country” all month long. To kick off the month, the ANHA today launched a redesign of the website, www.atchafalaya.org, offering a more visitor-friendly experience and information about all aspects of life in the basin.
“The Atchafalaya National Heritage Area is one of our state’s most popular tourist attractions,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “Outside of a Louisiana State Park, there may be no better place to safely visit and socially distance than the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area and the basin. And, there’s plenty going on while you are there this month. From scary swamp tours for Halloween, sweet and savory dishes sure to satisfy your appetite, to learning the history of the awe-inspiring swamp, everyone is invited to safely explore America’s Foreign Country.”
One of the largest events during Atchafalaya Month, Festivals Acadiens et Creoles, is going virtual this year with an energetic, fun-filled virtual experience showcasing three days of music, workshops, art and culture in South Louisiana. This popular festival will stream live at www.festivalsacadiens.com from October 9–11.
If you have a sweet tooth for South Louisiana’s most successful crop, sugar, you can head over to the West Baton Rouge Museum and immerse yourself in the history of the area’s agricultural and sugar industries. Can’t stick around the museum too long? It’s ok, you can now experience WBR’s Sugar Fest in virtual format this year from anywhere! You can watch this sweet celebration October 3 & 4 on the West Baton Rouge Museum Facebook page. Once you’ve satisfied your sweet cravings, head over to St. Martin Parish’s online version of the Breaux Bridge World Championship Gumbo Cook-off on October 9 & 10, then hop in the car and head out to sample the comforting fare at many local restaurants.
"Louisianans celebrate our life and unique culture like nobody else in the country. At Atchafalaya, we work to highlight our homegrown Atchafalaya events and unique places during the month of October. We strive to keep the heart and soul of the Atchafalaya strong by sponsoring, supporting, and passing a good time with our partners, friends, and family at the many joyful places and events throughout our region,” said Atchafalaya National Heritage Area Executive Director Justin Lemoine. “During Atchafalaya Month you hop in a kayak, dress up, shake your tail feathers, and find many other ways to preserve our heritage while learning about what makes our home so special.”
Atchafalaya Month isn’t just about celebrating the events that bring life to the area. It’s also about immersing yourself in the unique places that our people call home. One good way to do that is by exploring the Atchafalaya Water Heritage Trail which tells the story of how the water, land, and people of the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area are connected. This self-guided driving trail illustrates how water became and remains a distinctive influence on life and landscapes of the 14-parish Atchafalaya National Heritage Area. You can learn more at WaterHeritageTrail.org.
If communing with nature is up your alley, book a night in one of Lake Fausse Pointe State Park’s cabins over the water and see the native landscape through miles of trails and boardwalks. Further south and east sits Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge. There you can see protected freshwater marshes that attract thousands of migratory waterfowl, while other habitats provide critical spring and fall habitat for neotropical migratory birds.
If all this isn’t enough, to convince you, prepare to be thrilled in the heart of the Henderson Swamp! A first-ever haunted swamp experience, Atchafalaya Nightmares starts off with a boat ride followed by a half-mile scare trail showcasing the beauty of the Atchafalaya Basin at night! With nine trips into the swamp every Friday and Saturday night in October, you are sure to not want to miss this hair-raising excursion.
To find out more about what’s happening in the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area, check out the newly redesigned www.atchafalaya.org.