The Teche Ecology, Culture and History Education Project started in 2009 in St. Landry parish. Our organization is made up of individuals passionate about making Bayou Teche a healthier waterway for fishing, kayaking, canoeing, boating, tubing and even swimming! Along with aesthetics and recreation, we advocate for improved water quality in the Bayou Teche watershed and Teche-Vermilion basin through the reduction of non-point source pollution. Bayou Teche is on the federal list of impaired waterways because the water quality is so poor it can not support fish and wildlife propagation. By reducing pollution, mainly sewage and run-off, we can help restore habitat. We are are working to make Bayou Teche whole again through action and education about the ecology, culture and history.
What started with a small group of people in Arnaudville as an effort to pull debris from the bayou has become a movement championed by communities and volunteers. Private donations helped purchase a motor for our barge, the St. Michael. Volunteer crews led by Blake Couvillion work with the public and St. Landry and St. Martin Parish sheriffs offices to pull refrigerators, hot water heaters and other items littering the bayou and the banks. We plan to hold public cleanups regularly and encourage volunteers with motorboats, kayaks and canoes to join us.
We are very excited about our program Tour du Teche, a 135 mile long adventure canoe race scheduled for October 7-9, 2011. Racers from all around the world will race from Port Barre to Berwick in the world's longest adventure non-motorized boat race. With the support of Bayou Teche Brewery and boat builder, Ron Chapman, we are looking forward to growing a world-class race on Bayou Teche.
TECHE Project has relationships with the Kiwanis Club of Breaux Bridge, 4H of St. Martin Parish, Cafe des Amis, Coffee Break, Bayou Teche Brewery, Acadiana Resource Conservation and Development, Bayou Vermilion District, Arnaudville Area and Breaux Bridge Chambers of Commerce, St. Landry and St. Martin parish governments and sheriffs as well as many of the towns and cities along Bayou Teche. We also enjoy support from artists and musicians including Ron Chapman, David Greely and Friends, Drew Landry and Bon Soir, Catin.
We welcome new programing related to the ecology, culture or history of Bayou Teche. Drop us an email if you are interested in learning how you can create and direct a program about Bayou Teche. The Teche is one of the most historically and culturally significant bayous in Acadiana and we are working to ensure it is protected and celebrated for generations to come.
The History of Bayou Teche
As told by the Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana
Many, many years ago, there was a huge and venomous snake. It was so large and so long that its size was not measured in feet, but in miles. Its head was at what is now known as Morgan City and its body stretched beyond St. Martinville and Breaux Bridge to its tail, which rested in Port Barré. This enormous snake had been an enemy of the Chitimacha for many years, doing a lot of destruction to their ways of life. One day the Chitimacha Chief called together his warriors and had them prepare themselves for battle with their enemy, the snake. In those days, there were no guns that they could use to destroy the snake. All they had were their clubs and bows and arrows, the arrow heads being made not from flint, but from a large bone from the local garfish. Of course, a snake over 124 miles long could not be instantly killed. The warriors fought courageously to kill the enemy, but it fought just as hard to try to survive. As the snake turned, coiled and twisted in the last few days of a slow but sure death, it broadened, curved and deepened the place wherein his huge body lay. As his body decomposed, the place began to deepen more. The Bayou Teche (”Teche” meaning “snake”) is today proof of the exact position into which this enemy placed himself when overcome by the Chitimachas in the days of their strength.