Henderson Louisiana Travel


Hot Louisiana crawfish ... boiled to perfection!
Boiled Louisiana Crawfish from Henderson and the Atchafalaya Swamp ... can you taste them?

Acadiana Supreme! Henderson is well known for its Cajun culture, and its legendary Cajun cooking and crawfish, and is the location of a number of popular restaurants and swamp tours.

It's near Breaux Bridge, the Crawfish Capital of the World, and home of the world famous Crawfish Festival each May.

Henderson is located just east of Lafayette on I-10, in the heart of Cajun Country and Acadiana, and conveniently located in America's Wetland, the great Atchafalaya Basin Swamp!

Henderson, in St. Martin Parish, has a population of about 1,600 residents.

Nearby are the cities and towns of Abbeville, Breaux Bridge, Butte La Rose, Arnaudville, Cecilia and Broussard. Across the Atchafalaya Basin is the community of Pierre Part.

It is also a short drive to St. Martinville and New Iberia. See Henderson map below.

Attractions and things to do in Henderson, Louisiana, and the nearby Atchafalaya Basin Swamp

 

Pat's Fisherman's Wharf Restaurant in Henderson
Pat's Fisherman's Wharf Restaurant in Henderson (Staff Photo)

Great fishing and swamp tours are available in nearby Lake Bigeaux and Lake Pelba. Henderson Lake is located in the West Atchafalaya Basin Floodway between Ramah and Henderson. It is a shallow backwater lake with many streams and pools. The area is flooded each spring with waters from the Atchafalaya River.

A popular annual event in Henderson each year is the Atchafalaya Basin Festival held in the Henry Guidry Memorial Park in November.

We can't count the number of times we've had great crawfish dinners at Pat's Fisherman's Wharf Restaurant in Henderson at the edge of the Atchafalaya River Basin over the years! Pat's is always a treat!

Another favorite over the years has been Robin's Restaurant.

It hasn't been long since we spent a great, leisurely afternoon with McGee's Atchafalaya Basin Swamp Tours, leaving from McGee's Landing.

The Henderson Swamp is not to be missed!

 

Facts about the Atchafalaya Basin in south Louisiana

 

The Great Atchafalaya Basin and Swamp

The Atchafalaya Basin is the nation’s largest river swamp, containing almost one million acres of the nation’s most significant bottomland hardwoods, swamps, bayous and backwater lakes.

Atchafalaya Swamp, Henderson Louisiana Louisiana's Atchafalaya Swamp at Henderson
(Staff Photo)

Some interesting facts about the Atchafalya Basin:

  • It’s larger than the Florida Everglades.
  • It’s five times more productive than any other river basin in North America.
  • About 65 species of reptiles and amphibians inhabit the Basin.
  • Over 250 known species of birds fly in the Basin.
  • Other species of animals found in the area include the Florida panther, black bear, bobcat, nutria, mink, fox, muskrat, beaver, otter and raccoon.
  • The Basin is home to the largest nesting concentration of bald eagles in the south central United States.
  • There are more than 100 different species of fish and aquatic life in the Basin.
  • The Basin has an estimated average annual commercial harvest of nearly 22 million pounds of crawfish.
  • The Basin contains the largest contiguous bottomland hardwood forest in North America and is the largest overflow alluvial hardwood swamp in the United States.

An American-Indian word, "Atchafalaya" (ah-CHA-fa-LIE-ah) means long river. Established in 2006, the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area stretches across 14 parishes in south-central Louisiana.

It is among the most culturally rich and ecologically varied regions in the United States, home to the widely recognized Cajun culture as well as a diverse population of European, African, Caribbean and Native-American descent.

The Atchafalaya Visitors Center

The Atchafalaya Welcome Center is located on I-10 just east of Henderson, "smack dab in the middle” of the Atchafalaya Basin.It is located at the Butte La Rose Exit 121, between the Henderson exit (115) and the Whiskey Bay exit (127).

It’s part rest area, part information center and part Atchafalaya Basin classroom. Plus they serve complimentary Community Coffee! State-of-the-art video, audio and animatronic displays teach visitors about the Atchafalaya, its history and the culture it influences.

There are three main exhibit areas in the center that portray the Basin throughout the year: high water, low water and mid-water seasons. Each area is filled with pictures, stories, dioramas and sculptures depicting life in the Basin during that season. Oversized “frames” feature slideshows that offer visitors several glimpses of the Basin’s people, wildlife, waterways and flora.

Atchafalaya Visitor's Center at the Butte LaRose Exit from I-10, near Henderson, Louisiana
Atchafalaya Visitors Center in Butte LaRose, near Henderson on Interstate Highway I-10 (Staff Photo)

 

Doucet's Grocery, Butte LaRose, Louisiana
Doucet's Grocery Store in Butte La Rose (Staff Photo)

Butte La Rose

Just over the levee from Henderson and across the one-lane pontoon bridge is the community of Butte La Rose, the home to about 800 residents. Many camps, RV parks, and boat launches are in the area.

We remember the good times we had staying at HEG's camp in Butte La Rose! Doucet's Grocery is still in business, as it has been for over 46 years, serving the residents of Butte La Rose and visitors to the area.

Its owner Jack Doucet stood the test of the time during the Great Flood of 2011!

Swamp tours and boats in the Atchafalaya Basin in south Louisiana

 

Swamp Tours in the Henderson Area

Airboat used in a Louisiana swamp tour Airboat used in a Louisiana Atchafalaya Basin swamp tour (Staff Photo)

One of the most popular things that visitors to Louisiana love to do is touring the swamps!

The lush growth in a Louisiana swamp is indescribable. You have to see it to believe it.

The most impressive objects in the swamp are the cypress trees which are very graceful in their structure, with their reddish bark, exquisitely bent branches, and delicately fine leaves.

Besides the trees and abundant fauna, there are a variety of alligators, turtles, snakes, birds and other wildlife.

The area between Lafayette and Baton Rouge offers a number of Atchafalaya Basin swamp tours, operating from communities such as Breaux Bridge, Henderson, St. Martinvile and Plaquemine (see map below).

Take a boat tour of the many swamps near Henderson, Louisiana

Swamp tour operators provide a variety of options, boats, tour length and cost. Some use flat bottom boats, other airboats. Kayak and canoe tours are also available.

Some operators offer online reservations but others accept reservations only by phone. Some tours accept credit cards but others require cash, so make your plans accordingly.

Learn more about Swamp Tours in the Atchafalaya Basin.


Henderson Video ... from Louisiana Travel

Map of the Henderson, Louisiana area, courtesy of Google Maps


Photographs of Henderson, the Louisiana Atchafalaya Swamp, and Crawfish

Crawish sign in Henderson Louisiana

Staff Photo

Henderson Louisiana sign

McGee's Landing and McGee's Atchafalaya Basin Tours

Henderson Louisiana

Staff Photo

McGee's Landing and McGee's Atchafalaya Basin Tours

Pontoon Bridge connecting Henderson with Butte La Rose, Louisiana

Staff Photo

Pontoon Bridge connecting Henderson with Butte LaRose, Louisiana

Pat's Crawfish Plant, Henderson Louisiana

Staff Photo

Pat's Crawfish Plant, Henderson Louisiana

Pat's Fisherman's Wharf Restaurant and Atchafalaya Club, Henderson, Louisiana

Staff Photo

Pat's Fisherman's Wharf Restaurant and Atchafalaya Club, Henderson, Louisiana

Pat's Waterfront Restaurant in Henderson Louisiana

From the Louisiana Vintage Postcard Collection

Pat's Waterfront Restaurant in Henderson Louisiana

Pat's Waterfront Restaurant in Henderson Louisiana

From the Louisiana Vitage Postcard Collection

Pat's Waterfront Restaurant in Henderson Louisiana

Live Henderson crawfish from the Atchafalaya Spillway ... ready to be boiled!

Live Henderson crawfish from the Atchafalaya Spillway ... ready to be boiled!

The butane burner and pot are hot, and the purging is underway ... it won't be long now till the crawfish are dumped out on the newspaper on the table!

The butane burner and pot are hot, and the purging is underway ... it won't be long now till the crawfish are dumped out on the newspaper on the table!

Hot Louisiana crawfish ... boiled to perfection!

Hot Louisiana crawfish ... boiled to perfection!

Enjoying Atchafalaya Basin boiled crawfish ... complete with onions, corn-on-the-cob, new potatoes ... and beer!

Enjoying Atchafalaya Basin boiled crawfish ... complete with onions, corn-on-the-cob, new potatoes ... and beer!

Cypress trees in South Louisiana cypress swamp

Cypress swamp in Louisiana

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