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Love Letter to the Swamp

Honey Island Kayak Swamp Tour

Love Letter to the Swamp

by Nick Napoda

They said they would burn me out. It was the heat of summer in Louisiana and I was guiding kayak tours
seven days a week. The swamp was my office until I started graduate school and I couldn’t remember
my last day off. Burnout is not what happened, though – far from it. This is a love letter to Manahac
Swamp, the opportunity to be in it every day, and the people who come out to see it during their brief
time in New Orleans.

There are so many aspects of guiding that I fell in love with, from observing the subtle changes in the
environment from day to day, to the health of less screen time. Actually, it never felt like work at all. I
cherished the experience more and more every day, as I learned the secrets of the swamp’s plants,
animals and history. In forming these deeper connections, I was also becoming a more true version of
myself.

Most of all though, it was the serendipitous encounters with all the people I met. They came on tours
because they possessed the curiosity to escape the confines of the city, and I was grateful for the
opportunity to introduce them to nature. Some folks were there just for the thrill of a gator, but all left with
a new sense of wonder for land often portrayed as gross and inhospitable.

Hidden behind the veil of Spanish moss-draped cypress trees, there exists unfathomable beauty, but
also conflict. Louisiana’s wetlands are in peril. We risk losing the biodiversity of an ecosystem and
along with it, a part of our culture. So, when people say to me, the swamp is better than Bourbon Street,
it means something.

This passion is shared by everyone at NOLA Kayak Swamp Tours, who embody a true love for the
swamp and its conservation. The swamp sustains us in many senses, both physically and spiritually, for
when I am there, I am home. If you enjoy your tour with NOLA Kayak Swamp Tours just one iota as
much as I have enjoyed giving them, then you will have a fantastic trip!

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