Photo credit: Tony Broussard
Loreauville, LA —
The Village of Loreauville is the latest Trail Town community to receive a floating kayak and canoe launch to increase access to the Bayou Teche National Water Trail. The dock is part of the TECHE Project’s community-driven vision to enhance the quality of life for trail communities by turning to the bayou and lower Atchafalaya River to build a nature-based economy.
“Coming to Loreauville by boat seems natural. It’s how our ancestors arrived here 250-years ago,” says Loreauville Mayor Brad Clifton. “We look forward to welcoming paddlers, both locals and visitors, to experience our hospitality and culture.”
The new dock sits at 118 Bridge Street, next to the historic jailhouse, and is the first phase of the Al Broussard Commemorative Park. In honor of the late Mayor Al Broussard, the stunning park design by Architect and Loreauville native Joel Breaux celebrates the journey of the founding Acadians and honors those who perished along the way. “The Al Broussard Commemorative Park features a symbolic representation of the Acadians, their journey and resilience,” describes Breaux. “It simultaneously includes key elements such as the Acadian Odyssey, one of only four in the world.”
“As part of our EXPLORE It program, locals and visitors learn about the ecology of a region through the biography of its people, by boat,” says Conni Castille, Executive Director of TECHE Project, the Water Trail Managers. “We partner with Trail Town communities turning to the bayou to integrate the Trailheads that support the National Paddle Trail. Loreauville is a perfect example of that partnership.”
TECHE Project is a local 501c3 non-profit, volunteer organization dedicated to celebrating and continuing the river’s legacy through recreational, historical and ecological values of Bayou Teche and Lower Atchafalaya River communities. With parish and municipal governments, businesses, and community support, it successfully put Bayou Teche and the Lower Atchafalaya River on the list of National Water Trails from the National Park Service in 2015. It is one of only twenty-one nationally recognized trails in the country. Leveraging this designation with the fifteen Trail Towns along the trail’s corridor helps build a nature-based economy.
“The dock is an effort to enhance a paddler’s experience to support the national water trail,” says Brent Miller, TECHE Project Council Member. The dock was funded by a grant from the US department of Transportation through the State’s Recreational Trails Program with the Office of State Parks, and support of TECHE Project and University of Louisiana at Lafayette. “The plan is to put additional docks placed in each of the four parishes along the Water Trail,” adds Miller.
Each dock is accessible by an ADA assessable gangway to encourage people of all ability levels to enjoy paddling. With two overhead assist bars, the dock provides stability and security for canoes and kayaks
With the help of local, parish, state, and federal agencies, since its inception in 2008, the TECHE Project has removed over 50 tons of garbage and invasive species, earned recognition as a National Paddle Trail and National Water Trail, fostered a world renowned paddle race with the Tour du Teche, and offers workshops on bank line management and wood duck habitat, initiated a wood duck box mile marker program, and each October hosts the free Shake Your Trail Feather Festival with live music, folklife workshops, and bike/float to the festival event all to promote and raise money for the paddle trail. For more information, to donate, or to volunteer you can visit www.techeproject.org or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @techeproject.