A bald cypress in the Atchafalaya Basin, Louisiana
© Chris Moore/Tandem Stills + Motio
Autumn in the cypress swamp
Autumn still brings a splash of color to this hardwood forest of bald cypress in Louisiana. But make no mistake, a stroll through these wetlands is not a cozy New England leaf-peeping journey. The swamp forest floor is often covered by the waters of the Atchafalaya River delta as it drains into the Gulf of Mexico, so the autumn colors here are best viewed from the seat of a canoe or a pirogue, as the local Cajuns use. The water-resistant bald cypress trees thriving in the Atchafalaya Basin constitute the largest tract of contiguous cypress forest in the United States. The ecosystem here is so unlike any other in the US, the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area organization calls it 'America's foreign country.'