To be quite honest, Louisiana was never on my top priorities to visit. I once doubted myself years ago that it would be impossible for me to visit all 50 states, including Louisiana. Other than knowing about the famous Mardi Gras and bourbon street in New Orleans due to the media, I used to think “what’s else there?” Eventually, I came to learn to crease asking “what’s there?” to “why not see it for myself?”
Louisiana definitely had proven me wrong! When I was researching things to do in New Orleans, I knew that three days wouldn’t be enough. So, Lilo and I tried our best to cram many things we want to visit in mere 3 days. For our mini adventure, we wanted to explore the swamp.
I mean – it has history. Vast of trees. Alligators. Boars. Raccoons. We see beauty.
We found that a tour is required to explore the swamp. Damn,
What about the interpreter?
that came across our mind. We contacted different swamp tour companies, and…
“Due to rural area, we cannot provide an interpreter…”
“Unfortunately, we cannot provide interpreter, because…”
one after another.
We’re pretty much used to it. We’re not saying it’s their fault; however, we hoped and tried our best.
Eventually, a new notification in our email told us there’s a new response from Cajun Encounters, which was one of the tour companies we contacted:
Since we become accustomed to the same news, we weren’t expecting any great news.
Wait, what? Our eyes popped, jaws dropped. No way. I mean, is this for real? We were literally speechless, because
this is our FIRST time having our request accepted for entertainment purpose.
Despite how depressing it sounds, we couldn’t comprehend why they were willing to provide an interpreter, because the most common and ultimate reason why many doesn’t want to provide is because interpreters are expensive (and out of their budget).
I mean, why? Why would they? This isn’t a dream, right?
Raven (who we contacted via email) gave us her personal phone number to text her. Prior our visit on the same day, I texted her to ensure that we have the right address (since the one found on GPS was actually the wrong address, a close call!). Generally, employees are often not comfortable (and how unethical it is) giving out their personal text number. We felt thankful that she gave us her personal number, because we’re unable to make the call with our cell phones.
Upon arrival, we met Raven who worked hard to look for an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter, named Andrea. We gushed how awe we were in, asking “why is it that you [Cajun Encounters] decide to provide an interpreter, comparing to several other swamp tour companies who doesn’t provide?”
“There’s no reason why you should not come and enjoy touring the swamp.”
She said. BAM, our heart, seriously. We were completely touched with that answer, blushed even.
Throughout our trip, the interpreter joined us along for an adventure. The captain Tommy was very friendly, humorous, and full of knowledge – explaining about the history of the swamp, alligators, etc.
I wanted to see alligators launching itself out of the water; however, there weren’t much alligators around because they were hibernating due to cold season (summer is the best time to visit).
“I’ll look for alligators, so that you guys won’t kill me.” he said.
He seemed professional, passionate and knowledgeable in this field, we also thought it was pretty awesome that he knew where the animals would be at.
We only spotted about three of them. They aren’t big, but it was still exciting to see them in their natural habitat. According to captain, they were about three years old.
Sometimes it’s hard to spot the animals when it’s on the opposite side (and being short certainly doesn’t help, haha). Fortunately, Captain turned around the boat around to my side to see it up close! By the way, sometimes the boat will bumped into the trees!
I don’t recommend standing up and being close to the edge; otherwise, well, you’ll know what will happen. The Captain will explain the safety patrol, telling you to sit down throughout the tour.
The interpreter told us that Captain spotted about 4 wild boars nearby. Many of us became pretty excited and rose to our feet (while the boat stood still). There were about five of them, roaming and swimming with their little hooves with all their might.
To attract them closer, the captain lured them closer by giving them sweets: marshmallow (I know it’s not healthy to give them out…). As two short women (I’m the shortest comparing to Lieurene), I had to stand on the seats, perhaps looking like a meerkat, and looking for spaces to take the front to take film and photos.
Thankfully, we love that captain gave all of us a lot of time to take photos of the wild boars.
I also find the Spanish moss quite beautiful. I love how it hangs from the trees, swaying among with the wind.
Overall, we had a fantastic experience. Cajun Encounters is an Eco Friendly company. They genuinely cared about the swamp (although they fed wild boars and raccoons marshmallow). According to their site, the Honey Island Swamp is one of the last untouched wetlands in Louisiana. The whole scenery is very remarkable and the boat ride was comfortable (despite the cold), not too crowded!
If it wasn’t for Cajun Encounters providing an interpreter for us, we probably wouldn’t know these:
- how much the swamp changed over the years
- the Spanish moss
- why there weren’t enough alligators
- the life of local alligators, egrets, turtles, wild boars and raccoons
- and more!
The Captain talked a lot throughout 2 hours tour, and this is something that we definitely recommend requesting an interpreter, my Deaf and Hard of Hearing community!
Cajun Encounters is Deaf-Friendly*
The staff accommodate with us, exchanging email/text, providing an interpreter, and having a wide space to see the swamp. We recommend this! I mean, they believe that being Deaf shouldn’t be held back to have fun!
If you’re going to Louisiana (or even other eastern southern states), you can’t miss the swamp! especially if you love to explore nature and wildlife.
- Allow for two hours of your time for the tour
- Recommend bringing more than 55mm if you would like to wildlife photography
- Contact them for more information about transportation (which they provide)
- During cold season, do wear warm clothing!
- To see more alligators, go during the summer or during a very warm season
GPS Address: 55345 Hwy 90 E, Slidell, LA, 70461
Approximately 45 minutes away from New Orleans.
For more information, visit: http://www.cajunencounters.com/swamp_tour
Email through here: http://www.cajunencounters.com/contact_us
Disclaimer: Despite the exchange for an honest review and providing feedback how to service the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community, everything is based on our own opinions.
Special thank you to Cajun Encounters for providing an interpreter for us and for a fun tour!
*Deaf-friendly: providing accessibility through visual, communication or technology needs.