I Am

I am...

Myths.

I am...

Legends.

I am...

Ancient.

Full of magic.

But I am so much more.

In me Life abounds.

I am...

Buffered by prairies, fields, and forests all around me.

I am...

Bog, sedge meadows, marsh, swamp, and wetlands of both salt and freshwater.

My freshwater marshes are dominated by soft-stemmed plants such as cattails, water lilies, arrowheads, rushes and sedges. Therefore when spring arrives and the earth gives birth, the abundant flora will not only tease you with their colorful beauty but seduce you with their fragrance.

Along the coastlines, where the tides rise and fall each day, my saltwater marshes loom, dominated by tough grasses and the fragrance of salt and crabs meet the air.

I am...

Home and refuge to creatures of every kind, whether stopping for a short stay or making my lands their permanent home. Insects swarm, fish jump, and mollusks and crabs lurk. Birds such as the Heron and Mallard, rest within me and make them their meals along their migratory path. I am where hawks and eagles take wing and otters and beavers play. Within my depths the black bear, bobcat, swamp rabbit, white tail deer and opossum dwell. They mingle with the armadillo, nutria, muskrat, raccoon and weasel. All tread lightly near the alligator, copperhead, and water moccasin and fall silent at the warning cry of the screech owl.

I am...

Respected by the Creoles, Cajun and Choctaw alike, who have for generations meandered their way through my byways on pirogues and mud bottom boats in search of crawfish and plants with healing powers. Hunters have scattered fishing huts and tree shacks throughout me, all partaking in the bounty that is found within me and respecting the dangers that the shadows and the wind whispers to all who enter.

I am...

Spanish moss, dangling from the branches of the bald cypress, swirling, almost taunting with agitation. There is folklore passed around about my grayish-green tinsel. There are those that believe the natural decoration has a life of its own with its eerie atmosphere and use in voodoo.

And for them...

I am...

Shrouded in mystery, the sky through the canopy of live oaks, willows, and cypress will suddenly, eerily cloud over to leave behind early foreboding shadows. The air weighted down by not only the heat and humidity, but the unknown.

Mouths go dry with fear, occasionally even terror. At what may be lurking near them, passing by them or waiting to reach out and possess them. Each snap of a branch or splash of the water, each leaf that the wind touches tells them some secret, fills them with dread or promise.

I am...

All these things. Tread on me with the respect due me or face my wrath. One false move and you can become victim of the gators that sleep on my banks or the water moccasin that hang from the cypress waiting to drop into my brackish waters. Respect me and enjoy your visit, walk among me with care and I'll allow you the treat of exploring the vegetation that grows in my marshes, and mingling with the wildlife that lives within me.

I am...

A magnificently impressive ecosystem.

I am...

The LOUISIANA BAYOU.

I am...

sadly

disappearing.


To learn more, visit LaCoast.gov.