by Jenna Orgeron

Locals have not only formed careers and communities based on the numerous waterways of South Louisiana, but they have crafted entire festivals to celebrate the environment that supports their way of life.

Festivals and celebrations like Paddle Bayou Lafourche, Tarpon Rodeo, Alligator Festival, Voice of the Wetlands and Thibodeauxville celebrate the southern waterways of Louisiana and help raise money to preserve and maintain the flowing foundation of the community.

According to Mayor David Camardelle, an event like the International Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo brings around 12,000 tourists to the small town with a usual population of about 3,000. Camardelle says people travel from different states and countries to go out on the water, fish, relax, and enjoy “Sportsman’s Paradise.”

Other festivals, like Voice of the Wetlands, encourage attendees to camp out in Louisiana’s wetlands to enjoy performances by local musicians while eating famous Cajun cuisine. Jana Anselmi, a yearly VOW attendee, says that the festival is one of her favorite events of the year.

“It’s a free festival with great music and phenomenal food! The only catch is paying to eat, but I don’t mind giving my money to help my hometown,” she says.

Another celebration, the Thibodeauxville Fall Festival, is held in the downtown streets of Thibodaux, a small city located along Bayou Lafourche. The day-long festival includes live music, a car show, and the beloved duck race in the bayou.

“Thibodeauxville is a chance for local businesses and the community to join together and celebrate all of the things that make the city what it is, and that includes the bayou that runs through it,” says Derek Landry, owner of Last Call, one of the bars in Downtown Thibodaux.