World Facts

What Is A Bayou?

Bayous are very common in southern United States’ Gulf Coast region.

Bayou is a term that has two meanings. First, it could refer to a creek that contains brackish water (water with more saline than fresh) hence a conducive habitat for fish and plankton. Usually, this can be attributed to the daily reversal of the creek’s current because of tides. Secondly, bayou can be used as a term to mean a wetland or marshy lake. Bayou is coined from the word “Bayuk” which in Choctaw means “Small stream.”

Examples Of Bayous

These are very common in southern United States’ Gulf Coast region, especially the Mississippi River Delta. Usually, a bayou is a slow-moving distributary of a braided river. A bayou is, in most cases, shallow and heavily wooded. The vegetation in these areas can be anything from mosses to large cypress trees. Besides trees. Bayous also are home to many animals including wading birds, alligators, and shrimps.

The world’s longest Bayou is called Bartholomew, found in the United States, covering the states of Louisiana and Arkansas. It is approximately 603 kilometers (which is 375 miles) long and holds more than 100 diverse kinds of fish. Bayou Bartholomew used to be an important transportation waterway before railway lines began being constructed in the late 19th century.

One of the biggest cities in the United States, Houston in Texas, was established near Buffalo Bayou. Still, the bayou serves as a drainage basin for any extra water in case heavy rains are experienced in the area. This spells the bayou’s importance to Houston, now that it protects it from flooding.

Bayou Country

This is a nickname given to American Gulf Coast’s bayous. It is believed that Bayou Country has been home to Native American’s for over a thousand years. The Choctaw people, for example, are Bayou Country natives. They relied on the bayous and rivers for food like birds, fish, and shrimp, as well as shelter. To navigate through, they had to develop sophisticated watercraft that helped them between their seasonal settlements. The wooded bayous also acted as security and protected these people when conflicts erupted.

Despite the change of times, a larger population of Native Americans still hold close ties to Bayou Country. For instance, a crawfish is the official emblem of the United Houma Nation which is a native to southern Louisiana. There are other people, especially the Atakapa-Ishak who reside in Grand Bayou’s “Water Village.” In this village, the community has to shrimp and fishing as their utmost significant economic interests. Most homes are only accessible by boats.

Bayou Country plays host to Creole and Cajun cultures. Waterways of the Bayoun Country are credited for the Cajun and Creole’s rich cultures since they allowed the two groups interact with each other, strengthen and preserve the cultures. Bayou Country stretches from Mobile, Alabama to Houston, Texas, and covers South Florida with its capital in New Orleans, Louisiana around the Everglades.

Some of the fauna that you can find in bayous include crawfish, shellfish, some species of shrimp, frogs, toads, catfish, American alligators, herons, spoonbills, turtles, American crocodiles, leeches, snakes among others.

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