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Jean Lafitte National Historical Park: Barataria Preserve

SUPER BONUS – Brought to you by the National Parks. Call (504) 799-0802 and learn about the Barataria Preserve.

We wanted to take a nice walk, so we headed to the Barataria Preserve (part of the Jean Lafitte National Historic Park and Preserve).

Our first stop was at the Visitor Center at the Barataria Preserve (the Jean Lafitte Visitor Center in the French Quarter is currently closed due to COVID). Unfortunately, we went after work/school, so we didn’t get there until 4:30 and they closed the gates at 5:00pm. We took the shorter Visitor Center Trail, which took about 20 minutes. We really liked the park and decided to come back on the weekend when we had more time. There are several trails that were closed because of damage, so I would recommend stopping at the Visitor Center to see which ones are currently open.

Our second time there, Nick got his Junior Ranger Badge. We took the Bayou Coquille Trail and Marsh Overlook. The trail began as a dirt/gravel path and once you got to the marshy bayou, it switched to a wooden plank trail.

It was gorgeous. We didn’t see any alligators, although we did see lots of caution signs for them. It was probably too cold, as it was in the 60’s. We did see a turtle sunning on a rock, several great egrets, a nutria eating and swimming in the bayou, and a deer.

Part of the bayou was covered in a flotant, which is a floating mass of plants. It looks solid, but is not always strong enough to hold a human’s weight. It certainly looked like you could walk on it, it would be a huge surprise to find out it wasn’t solid and end up in the water!

Although I was disappointed we didn’t see any alligators, going in the cooler weather probably saved us from a few mosquito bites. And as a friend pointed out when they saw the pictures, probably from seeing a few snakes too. (I am glad we missed the snakes, especially since they have cottonmouths and copperheads down here.)

I could spend several days there. I loved seeing the Spanish Moss on the trees and hearing the different bird calls.

The park did a nice job with the informational signs around the trail as well. Several stops had an audio tour that was a great touch. You called a number from your phone and entered your stop number to hear the information. It was really neat (see beginning of this post to experience it for yourself).

There are a few other trails on the other side of the road by the Educational Center. We were told those trails are mostly dirt, so if it had rained recently they would be muddy. We didn’t have the shoes for mud, so we may go back another day.

VIDEO: Clips From Our Walk In Barataria Preserve in Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve

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