Going with the Flow: Tour du Teche
Imagine a four-day party that lasts three days and covers 133 miles. The celebration even includes prize money.
The party is Tour du Teche, a 135-mile stages race for pirogues (the traditional Cajun canoe), kayaks, and canoes that occurs the first weekend in October. The course is the entire length of the historic Bayou Teche, which flows from the town of Port Barre, through St. Martin Parish and south to Berwick.
Along the way, boaters get up-close and personal with south Louisiana's woods, swamps, sugar cane fields, and friendly communities.
Hundreds of canoe and kayak enthusiasts are expected for Tour du Teche, set for October 6 - 8. With the theme "C'est pas juste une course," French for "It's not just a race," the tour allows boaters to not only race but experience local culture and flavor with nightly festivals. Participants from across the country have competed.
Tour du Teche began in 2010 as a grass roots effort to bring attention to the historic Bayou Teche, which was once a main transportation route for the region's early settlers.
There are two classes of Tour du Teche 135: Pro Race, in which some of the fastest boats and paddlers from around the world vie for cash prizes; and Voyageur Race, or recreational, where the participants challenge themselves as well as each other for trophies, bragging rights and adventure. Voyageurs may opt for shorter races held in conjunction with Tour du Teche 135.
In Stage 1 of the tour, racers make the 48-mile trek from Port Barre to St. Martinville, where the legendary Evangline Oak tree serves as the finish line. Cajun and Creole food, live music and a festival atmosphere greet racers at each stop.
Stage 2 is a 60-mile trip from St. Martinville to Franklin. A 25-mile course from Franklin to Berwick makes up the final stage.
For more information, visit www.tourduteche.com.