It should be no surprise that as I drove into a town called Breaux Bridge, the first thing I looked for was a bridge. And I found one: this drawbridge over Bayou Teche has been allowing cars and boats to pass since 1950. It’s not the bridge that earned the city its name, though. That bridge was a footbridge, built in 1799 by, you guessed it, a guy named Breaux. Firmin Breaux purchased land and moved to the area in 1771. His first bridge became a landmark, and eventually, “Walk across Breaux’s bridge” evolved into the town’s name.
[tmt_info =””]There have been many more bridges since the first one in 1799. In 1817, Firmin’s son built the first vehicular bridge. It was modified into a drawbridge in 1845. Another version served from 1855 until 1891 (despite being burned by Confederate troops — this bridge still exists, serving as a stage for outdoor events along Bayou Teche). A steel bridge built in 1899 served for 50 years, until it collapsed. Then, the current structure was built.†[/tmt_info]
Breaux Bridge’s downtown district is a walkable distance down the street from the bridge.
[tmt_info =””]Breaux Bridge is officially the “Crawfish Capitol of the World”. The Louisiana legislature (which, one would think, doesn’t have the authority to make worldwide proclamations) declared it as such in 1959, for the city’s 100th anniversary. Crawfish Etouffe was created here, and Breaux Bridge’s restaurants were the first to openly list crawfish on the menu. There’s an annual crawfish festival which further celebrates the lowly crustacean.[/tmt_info]
After exploring Breaux Bridge, hop onto I-10 for the drive east towards the state capitol of Baton Rouge.
[tmt_info =””]Route 31 doesn’t connect directly with I-10. You’ll need to cross over the bridge, then turn onto Route 328 north. [/tmt_info]
Between Breaux Bridge and Baton Rouge, there’s a whole lot of swampland. It’s the Atchafalaya Basin–the largest swamp in the United States. Interstate 10 passes over these wetlands, on a pair of very long bridges, that go on for miles and miles without a curve or, sadly, a scenic viewpoint parking area. I had to make due with a few pictures shot out the window as I sped along.
The time-lapse dash-cam video shows more of the drive: