Paddle Tale

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

St. Martin Parish will soon be home to a unique resort for adventure-minded eco-tourists.

Kayak enthusiasts wanting to paddle their way along Acadiana’s many waterways will soon be able to do just that with a kayak community being established at the Bayou Teche Experience Kayak Adventure Resort, which will hold its grand opening Oct. 1 right off Louisiana Highway 31 near Breaux Bridge.

“Basically, what we want to do is we want to build a kayak-enthusiast community in our resort,” says Ingo Werk, proprietor of the Bayou Teche Experience. “Our aspiration is that we can turn Breaux Bridge into a hub for kayak and canoe enthusiasts.”

Currently, Werk is manning the kayak company Pouch America in Los Angeles and Bayou Teche Experience will exclusively use its unique Pouch Foldaway kayaks and canoes, which are handcrafted in Germany. The resort will also provide lodging, a shuttle service, guided tours and a rental service.

“In California, the market is just over-saturated,” says Werk, “while in Louisiana there is a lot of potential to develop eco-friendly tourism like kayaking. We’re going to focus on the cultural experience and on the geographic experience because Acadiana Cajun country is very unique. We want to combine the kayak experience with the cultural experience as well. What I feel is that you [Louisiana] have a lot of water and a lot of unique geographic assets. You have the Atchafalaya Basin and Lake Martin right next to it. You have a beautiful countryside. You have wonderful food, very special food. You have great music like Cajun and zydeco.”

Bayou Teche Experience will provide shuttle service to local museums in St. Martinville and even to Fred’s Lounge in Mamou, adds Werk. “I’m originally from Germany, so what we want to focus on bringing in is a lot of tourists from Europe — from Germany, France and the United Kingdom. For them, Acadiana is a very, very special and unique experience.”

— Wynce Nolley

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