Cabin on Louisiana Bayou, 1975
Oil on Canvas
31″ x 36″ (32″ x 38″ framed)
If you have been lucky enough to drift through the swamplands in a pirogue, you will know this is not an uncommon scene. One of America’s most unique settings, for sure.
Here is a good Wikipedia entry on the Louisiana Bayou Country.
And the following information is from an article in USA Today:
Etymology: What’s in a Name?
“Bayou” originated from the Choctaw word “bayok”, which refers to a small stream. The current spelling of the word comes from the Louisiana French variation of the word “bayouque.”
Ecology of the Louisiana Bayous
Over thousands of years, outlets and inlets from the Mississippi River formed Louisiana’s bayous. These shallow bodies of water, often called swamps, appear stagnant, with opaque or clear water. Louisiana’s coastal bayous contain a mixture of saltwater and freshwater, also known as brackish water. Vast cypress forests encompass much of Louisiana’s bayous.
Due to constant inflow of water, frequent hurricanes, tropical storms and storm surges, along with the region’s flat geography, Louisiana’s bayous remain largely undeveloped. Louisiana’s coastal wetlands serve as a natural barrier that protects inland areas from massive destruction from tropical storms and hurricanes.
Louisiana’s Gulf Coast region accounts for nearly half of the U.S. mainland’s coastal wetlands. However, since the early 20th century, commercial ventures such as oil exploration and logging, along with hurricane damage, has led to the destruction of nearly 2,000 square miles of Louisiana’s coastal wetlands.
Louisiana’s bayous encompass nearly 3 million acres, and their warm ecosystems create a home for wiregrass, cyprus trees, bottomland hardwoods, mosses, water celery and a host of other varieties of vegetation.
Louisiana’s bayous are home to American alligators, blue herons, shrimp, white-tailed deer and fish. Bayou Bartholomew, a 375-mile-long wetland, supports the lives of more than 100 fish species. Numerous species of migratory nesting birds visit Louisiana bayous in fall and spring.
People of Bayou Country
Choctaw Indians have inhabited Louisiana’s bayous for centuries. The bayous not only provided the food and shelter they needed, but also offered protection from invaders. The native United Houma Nation also live in the bayous, along with Atakapa-Ishak Indians, earning their livings by shrimping and fishing.
In the 18th century, the French Canadian Acadian people migrated to Louisiana’s bayous. Over the centuries, the bayous have attracted a global population of immigrants, making it one of the most diverse melting pots in the United States.
Many Louisiana bayou residents, called Cajuns, speak a form of French unique to the region. The Cajun lifestyle encompasses a mixture of Creole and homespun culture, which has produced distinctive styles of music, dance and cooking. Cajun music, called zydeco, includes elements of the diverse origins and backgrounds of the people who have inhabited the bayous, encompassing African rhythms, American jazz and Canadian folk songs.