The Bayou Teche Paddling Trail begins in Jeanerette and ends near Calumet. Six boat docks are located along the trail.
The Bayou Teche is a flat, slow moving body of water that is great for paddling. Oak trees draped with moss, cypress trees, magnolia trees and redbud trees are all seen along the Bayou Teche. If you look closely, you may see animals native to the Louisiana swamps, such as bald eagles, turtles, snakes, alligators, egrets and nutria.
The Bayou Teche, meaning “snake,” was named by the Chitimacha based on a legend. Throughout the years, the Bayou Teche has been used for transportation, moving people and products between the cities. All products that were imported or exported floated through this waterway, including the fine furnishings found in the historic homes that are still in place along the Bayou. Franklin was once a thriving interior sugar port, as evidenced by the grand homes that align the banks of the Bayou Teche. Franklin boasts over 400 noteworthy properties, many of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Homes. The homes themselves were built on foundations and bricks forged from the clay found on the banks of the Bayou Teche.
History is rich along the Bayou Teche. It winds through the site of the Chitimacha people, the earliest of residents along its waterways. Plantation homes built before and after the Civil War still remain a part of the beauty of the area. Remnants of the Civil War Battle of Irish Bend and the Battle of Bisland include sites where gunboats were sunk. Today, much of the history of the area is preserved in local museums such as the Chitimacha Museum, the Charenton Heritage Museum, the Young-Sanders Center and the Grevemberg House Museum.
Visit www.chitimacha.gov for the history of the Bayou Teche.
While paddling along the Bayou Teche from Jeanerette to Calumet, there are several noteworthy properties that can be seen, such as: the Jeanerette Museum, Albania Plantation, St. Mary Sugar Co-Op, The Chitimacha Indian Reservation, Oaklawn Manor, Sterling Sugar Mill, Grevemberg House Museum, Young-Sanders Center, Downtown Historic Franklin, Franklin City Courthouse and the beautiful homes along the water. From Jeanerette to Calumet, there are two working sugar mills. During the last quarter of the year, sugar cane is harvested and the sugar is shipped down the Bayou Teche by barge. You are welcome to stop at any of the boat landings for a picnic lunch, although there is no place to camp overnight.