Sunday, December 17, 2023

Indian Casino and Levee Gate

 Location: Cypress Bayou Casino; Charenton, Louisiana

There was a strong cold front coming out of Texas and was due to hit the Bayou Segnette campground around noon. I was hoping it would speed up so I could wait for it to pass over me before I needed to hitch up. But, when I checked Accuweather, it looked like it had slowed down and wouldn't get to me until after check-out time. So, I start hitched up and pulled out around 9:00 am with only a couple hour tow ahead of us. I kept a close eye on the weather radar while driving (only when no cars were around and I was on a four lane highway). I planned a stop at Morgan City Walmart which was about 30 minutes from my next campground. I figured I could park and wait the storm out if it came to that. After stretching my legs in the store and buying a couple things, I again checked the radar and it was moving even slower. It looked as though I may be able to make it to my campground about the same time the storm hit so I hit the road. Light rain started about 10 minutes before I got to my current campground but it wasn't too bad. The casino hotel had an awning that I could pull Freedom and Liberty under while I went in to register. It was still only a light rain. After registering, I made the mistake of letting my stomach make a decision instead of my head. At least I haven't let my heart make one in a very long time. My stomach made the decision to park Freedom and Liberty and get something to eat in one of the restaurants inside of the casino, with the thought that the storm would blow through while I was eating. So, we parked. It was still only a light rain. The food was good and I ate slowly hoping the storm would pass. I tried to check the radar while eating but I didn't have a cell signal in the casino. I'm cynically guessing they blocked the signal. I was greeted with a clap of thunder as I got to the exit. Oh crap, it was really coming down now. I could get a cell signal at the door and the radar showed at least another 45 minutes of heavy weather. With a heavy belly, I found the slot machines. I'm not a big gambler and can take it or leave it, but playing the penny machines just didn't seem right. I found a more expensive set of machines and after 45 minutes, I had lost $5.00. I was satisfied since I always expect to lose at a casino. The rain had changed over to a slow steady drizzle. Too much drizzle to set up camp, but slow enough for me to make it to Freedom in the parking lot without getting too wet. I drove over to the campground and found my pull-thru site. I jumped out of Freedom and went inside Liberty to wait out the rest of the rain. After about a 45 minute nap with Liberty's heater keeping me warm, the rain stopped enough to set up camp.

Once the front passed through, the air was clean and crisp. It reminded me of a chilly day in the Rockies after a rain.

This campground is mainly made up of permanent people living here. Some work at the casino and others are just here. I feel as though I was very lucky to have found a spot for the two days I'm here. 

I only had one thing to see at this location so my stay is only 2 days. I came here to see a set of quarter turn levee gates. They were built in 1951 to connect the Bayou Teche with the Atchafalaya Swamp basin by way of the Charenton Canal. Those gates were welded shut several years ago and the Corps of Engineers is currently replacing them with something bigger and better. It will be a big economical boost for this area once the people have a direct route to the Atchafalaya Swamp and river again. The project should be completed in about a year and maybe, just maybe, I may come back to check out the completed project.

This is the best picture I could get of the gates. I was disappointed I couldn't explore more but everything was secure and posted since it was an active construction project.

This is on top of the Levee. You can drive it but it isn't recommended unless you have local knowledge about it. 

One of the things that can damage a levee is a Nutria. Think of a cross between a large rat and a beaver except with orange buck teeth. They will burrow deep within the levee and can actually undermine them if left alone. Louisiana has placed a bounty of $6.00 per tail in hopes that local, licensed trappers can help. The goal is to get rid of 400,000 Nutrias. Several years ago, the state had a contest to see if the people could come up with some good ways of cooking Nutria in hopes of finding another cash crop like crawfish. I didn't hear out it turned out but since I don't see Nutria rat on menus, I'm guessing it was a failure. 

I had also planned to drive the levee road to see what I could see, but it was so "washboarded", I couldn't go any faster than about 5 miles an hour. I gave up and turned around. Yeah, I know, if you drive fast enough you will only ride on the tops of the washboard and it is smoother. That's true, but when you slow down you have to pass through the phase where the washboard is beating the heck out of you and creates a condition that is hard to steer. Very dangerous, especially in a place where the gators outnumber the people. It was OK though, I just made a slow drive back to the campground.

Nothing but pictures left.

A public boat ramp into the Atchafalaya basin. It was prettier than this picture shows.

A lift bridge over the Bayou Teche. Louisiana has about 160 movable bridges. 

The view of Bayou Teche from the bridge. It's a nice looking bayou. Long history behind it but too long for this post. 

Tomorrow is moving day and I'll be headed to a state park in the western part of the state. No exploration planned since I intend to use their newly re-built concrete campsites to slid under Liberty to inspect her underbelly. I'll only be there 2 days before heading back to base camp at Mansfield.  

Ya'll take care of each other. Maybe I'll Cya down the road.



  1. "and others are just here" says so much!

    1. I agree Rob,,,, I met a guy that was retired and camped at the casino. He sure looked like he was "lost within himself". Really sad. The highlight of his day was taking his two little dogs out so they could do their business.