Crazy Fun Paddling in Louisiana


Want a little quirkiness with your boating? Head south to Louisiana, where every October paddlers head down the Bayou Teche National Paddle Trail led by a performing Cajun band on the lead raft. Oh, and people dress up like birds and paddle for some reason. Heck, it’s Louisiana!

The TECHE Project’s 6th annual “Shake Your TRAIL Feather” Festival was held on October 21 in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. The event occurs each year on the third weekend of October, and is a celebration of the Bayou Teche National Paddle Trail. Proceeds go toward building paddle trail amenities in the 13 towns along 130 miles of Bayou Teche, the only National Water Trail in Louisiana.

Designed to promote Cajun Country as a paddling destination, the festival includes a “Paddle to the Party” boat parade for all kinds of paddling craft. The two-hour parade is accompanied by a floating Cajun Band and wacky participants dressed in colorful feathers. It arrives at the festival grounds in time for the free live music, including Zydeco dancing on a bridge over Bayou Teche. Past musicians at the festival include such Grammy® nominated performers such as Bonsoir, Catin. To top it off, a nice kayak is raffled each year. This year the winner went home with a Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120.

Want another wacky paddling option to put on your calendar for next year? Try CONTRABAND DAYS held every May, a 10-day, crazy, pirate-themed celebration in Lake Charles (near Houston) and one hour from Lafayette, in the heart of Cajun Country. It all starts on the first Friday when pirates (yes, everyone dresses up as a pirate) storm the city, real canons are fired and Louisiana’s most famous pirate, Jean Lafitte, comes ashore, kidnaps the mayor of Lake Charles and makes him walk the plank. All other boats in the lake fire black powder guns, and the boat parade begins. The event also includes a pirogue race, letting people build their own pirogue from an available kit, then decorate it and race it.

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