The Bayou Teche is a 125 mile long bayou that snakes its way through south Louisiana. The origins of its name and formation come from two Indian legends. The first comes from when two local tribes, the Chitimacha and the Attakapas, were at war with each other. During the fighting, the chief of the Attakapas was killed, and his sweetheart from the opposing Chitimacha tribe was devastated. She found her dying lover in the green valley where the Teche now flows, and her tears, mixed with his flowing blood, formed the Teche stream.
The second and more widely known legend comes from the tale of a huge, venomous snake that once terrorized the Chitimacha Indians. The snake was so enormous that its length was measured not by feet, but in miles. Brave Chitimacha warriors battled and finally killed the animal, and as it struggled with its imminent death, it writhed, twisted and coiled, carving out the mud where it lay. Waters flowed into the deepened channel, and the Bayou Teche was formed.
Regardless of the legend you choose to believe, “Teche” translates to the Chitimacha word “tenche” which means “snake”. The bayou begins in Port Barre and flows southward to meet the lower Atchafalaya River at Patterson. The Bayou Teche winds through St. Mary Parish, running alongside highways, parallel to backyards, and even through the middle of cities. Most significantly, the Teche was the primary means of transportation for the Acadians on their migration to the current Cajun Country.
Directions to the Refuge: The refuge is located at the south edge of Franklin, LA. Franklin is approximately 55 miles from Lafayette, LA and 108 miles from New Orleans, LA. The refuge is accessible by vehicle, boat, and on foot. The refuge headquarters is located on the southwestern outskirts of Franklin, Louisiana at 1725 Willow Street. If traveling from New Orleans on Hwy 90 (Future I-49) exit at the North Franklin Exit (Northwest Blvd.), turn right (northeast), at a 4-way stop take a right (south) onto Chatsworth Road, travel 0.35 miles, at the stop sign continue straight for approximately 1 mile, after crossing a metal swing bridge, turn east (left) onto Willow Street toward Franklin. The Headquarters office trailer will be located on the right, approximately 1 block down. Bayou Teche NWR is managed cooperatively by staff shared with Mandalay NWR in Houma,