Jean Lafitte, who was he? He himself claimed he was simply a businessman, and sometime privateer. The government claimed he was a pirate and smuggler. We do know he was born in 1780’s and by the time 1810 rolled around he was in Louisiana. It is believed he used the Barataria waterways to smuggle material goods and slaves. During the war of 1812 Lafitte was a privateer, supplying weapons and enemy information to help win the battle of New Orleans. After the war President James Madison offered pardons for Lafitte’s pirating, but it wasn’t long before he returned to smuggling. Soon after he disappeared into the unknown. The legend of Jean Lafitte grew and in 1978 congress created the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. Now the park stands as a great way to discover the swamplands that Lafitte once used for smuggling.
Into the Swamp
The swamplands and bayous are amazing to walk through. It is so hard to imagine people so long ago being able to survive in such a dangerous land. It was so hard to differentiate between solid ground and swamp, and the threat of snakes and alligators is enough to have me running in fear.
On our walk it was quiet, nothing but birds chirping and the wind blowing in the breeze. It was early morning so there were not a lot of people on the trails yet. Spanish moss was hanging from all the trees. I can’t get enough of Spanish moss, I find it strangely beautiful. The trails are well-kept and stroller friendly, always a plus, but there are not a lot of trails to choose from. If you walk quietly and keep a good eye out there is an amazing amount of insects and birds to watch. Plenty of signage with a lot of history and interesting facts about the area. I would love to come back and do some more exploring in this area.
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What’s Next? The abandoned Sloss Factory