Cameron Prairie and Lacassine, Louisiana

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Cameron Prairie NWR, LA: Click to enlarge.

Louisiana is officially divided into 5 regions: Sportsman’s Paradise in the north, Crossroads in the central section, Cajun Country in the south, and Plantation Country and Greater New Orleans in the southeast. During a stop for gas in Crossroads, I met a taxidermist who was trying to research the prevailing prices for his services. He had just moved to the area from New Orleans, and could not locate any other taxidermists with which to compare. I observed this might be a good sign for his business, but he was preoccupied with finding a competitor. I told him where I had traveled and that I hadn’t seen any. He spoke articulately with an aristocratic tone and refined accent, and was a very friendly and polite man. His hair hung slightly past his shoulders and he was perhaps 5 feet 7 inches tall with a dark tan and lean physique. He wore jeans, cowboy boots, and a collared long sleeved shirt. This character, seemingly out of a movie, was my introduction to Louisiana.

Alligator, Cameron Prairie NWR, LA: Double-click to enlarge.

Alligator, Cameron Prairie NWR, LA: Click to enlarge.

Located in Cajun Country outside of Lake Charles, the Cameron Prairie and Lacassine National Wildlife refuges feature sprawling swamps containing exotic birds, reptiles, and fish. I met a nice lady at the visitor center who tipped me off on the best places to see alligators and cottonmouth snakes. I saw very few other people during my exploration, and most of them were fishing. I found no snakes of any kind, but observed over 30 alligators inside an afternoon. One 12-foot gator and I stared at each other from about 2 feet away, until I stepped too close and he turned into deeper water with a sudden lunge and loud splash. He didn’t flee, but rather just put several more feet between us. In another area along a canal, 3 slightly smaller alligators were swimming together. One kept an eye on me while the other two faced the opposite direction into a flowing drain pipe, apparently waiting for fish. Turtles, some the size of serving platters, roamed the banks and shallows and moved surprisingly fast when I approached them.

Cameron Prairie NWR, LA: Double-click to enlarge.

Cameron Prairie NWR, LA: Click to enlarge.

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Cameron Prairie NWR, LA: Click to enlarge.

Cameron Prairie was full of brilliantly colored birds. I watched a large crane-type bird through my binocular that was 3-4 feet tall. Its feathers were a bright purple color over its entire body, and I was amazed that such coloration existed in nature. I watched this bird for several minutes and finally saw it catch and eat something out of the water.

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Cameron Prairie NWR, LA: Click to enlarge.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Cameron Prairie NWR, LA: Click to enlarge.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Cameron Prairie NWR, LA: Click to enlarge.

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Alligator, Lacassine NWR, LA: Click to enlarge.

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About Jerry
Working in Corporate America for many years, I wanted to break free of the office walls for a bit and explore the world. Having put the pieces in place, I am first exploring the USA by road. Colleagues and friends expressed interest in my travels, giving rise to Office Escape. It is my honor to share my adventures.

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