March 20, 2018 2 min read

The Bayou

Bayou is a French version of the word "Bayuk." Bayuk is a Choctaw word for "small stream." The term bayou is native to Louisiana. According to National Geographic, Louisiana has lost around 4,900 square kilometers (1,900 square miles) of coastal wetlands since the 1930s. A bayou is a slow-moving creek or a swampy section of a river or a lake.

The Louisiana bayou is diverse, sprawling, and full of challenges. 

Louisiana is the only state in the union that does not have counties. Its political subdivisions are called parishes.


Interesting facts

Longest Main Street in the world

The 106-mile-long bayou that flows in the Gulf of Mexico, the Bayou Lafourche (once called the Chitimacha River) makes its way through Ascension, Assumption, and Lafourche parishes. It is called "the longest Main Street in the world.”


The Biggest Bayou

The Bayou Bartholomew is the longest bayou in the world. It’s so large, it stretches across both Arkansas and Louisiana, is 375 miles long, and boasts more than 100 different types of fish.


Diverse Culture

Cajun culture is an American original, to be sure. But there’s also influence from African, Irish, German, and Spanish pioneers--in addition to Native American influences. There are many Cajuns who still speak French, many of which are a blending of these unique cultures.


Sleepy and Mysterious

Bayous are pockets of water that are located in low lying depressions. Here in Louisiana, bayous may be a wetland, marsh-like lake, or even a slow-moving river or stream. The super slow movement of these waters has resulted in the nickname "sleeping waters,” and is often the backdrop to voodoo legend. While visiting, be sure to take in the Spanish moss draping from the trees, as well as the marsh birds, animals, and other plant life.




Authentic Red Beans & Rice


  • 1 tablespoon shortening, or as needed
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 pound dried red beans
  • 1 smoked ham hock
  • 1 pound smoked sausage, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 dash hot pepper sauce, or to taste (optional)
  • 3 cups cooked white rice


  1. Melt shortening in a skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir onion, garlic, and bell pepper in hot shortening until tender, 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Combine water, red beans, and ham hock in a large pot; bring to a boil. Stir onion mixture into the water; add smoked sausage and celery to the boiling water; return to a boil. Stir bay leaves, Creole seasoning, thyme, and sage into the boiling water. Reduce heat to low, place a cover on the pot, and simmer until the beans are tender about 5 hours.
  3. Remove and discard ham hock and bay leaves; stir in hot pepper sauce and serve over white rice.


Printed From 6/17/2017




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