Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Atchafalaya Whaaaaat??

This picture was taken from Interstate 10, while on the eighteen mile long bridge that crosses the Atchafalaya Basin located in Louisiana.

The Atchafalaya Basin is the largest swamp in the United States.
During the day, much of it looks like what you see in the picture; trees and grass poking through murky water. Snowy white egrets dot the landscape and occassionally, you can spy an abandoned boat, rickety dock or dilapidated shack.

Crossing it feels like you've been sucked into inbred heaven. At any moment, you expect to see someone in overalls, with no teeth and crazy eyes staring at you from one of the many swamp boats that snake through the inlets.

It's even creepier at night. The night I drove through, the moon was bright, illuminating the water, which seemed to be lapping right at the highway's edge. One unexpected creature in the road could cause me to swerve, jump the levee and be in the swamp. This is all I think about as I drive across the bridge.

I-10 in Louisiana is one of the worst roads in the country and driving across the corrugated asphalt feels as if the entire length of it had been, at one point, buckled into pieces by a shift in tectonic plates and then just shoved back together and stomped into place like you do with divots on a polo field.

Except you're not on a polo field, with pretty horses and colorful hats. You're in a swamp named Atchafalaya. The only thing fun about it is the way the name rolls off your tongue.

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