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Heart of Louisiana: Tchefuncte River

The Tchefuncte (Chuh-funk-tah) River near the City of Madisonville has been a popular spot for water enthusiasts for generations.
Published: May. 22, 2022 at 2:20 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The Tchefuncte (Chuh-funk-tah) River near the City of Madisonville has been a popular spot for water enthusiasts for generations. But if you don’t have your own boat, you can still get out on the water and enjoy the wildlife and history along this scenic waterway.

Captain Mike Jones, of Louisiana Tours and Adventures, eases his tour boat up to the launch and dock at Fairview Riverside State Park in Madisonville. The park sits on the Tchefuncte River, a scenic waterway that connects Lake Pontchartrain to the piney woods of St. Tammany Parish.

“I love the Tchefuncte River. I grew up on it. It’s a great place to come out and see some wildlife. And, you know, definitely learn a little bit about the history too,” said Jones.

The Tchefuncte (Chuh-funk-tah) River near the City of Madisonville has been a popular spot for...
The Tchefuncte (Chuh-funk-tah) River near the City of Madisonville has been a popular spot for water enthusiasts for generations.(WAFB)

Jones has been doing these river tours for seven years and recently partnered with the state park. So the people who come to take the tour are local or from out of town and just wanna see what a south Louisiana River Swamp looks like.

“It’s definitely half and half. I get people from all around the world to come out on these trips, but I also do a good job entertaining the local folks. And when local folks have people that are visiting from out of town, they call me and I get ‘em to see all the good stuff,” said Jones.

Be sure to bring your camera and the telephoto lens helps. Jones will help you spot the birds and wildlife.

“You can definitely expect to see ospreys, great blue herons, snowy egrets. We have owls that nest on the river. You never know what you’re gonna see, but, we have it all out here as far as bird life goes even pelicans,” said Jones.

And of course, there’s everybody’s Louisiana favorite—the alligator. Several were spotted, some swimming in the river and others relaxing on logs along the riverbank. A stop was also made at a Madisonville restaurant to pick up a few guests. Sherri Speyrer, a local from Covington, brings a few out-of-town friends.

“It gives us information and history about the area. And, I think it’s fun for people coming in from out of state, especially to find out about Louisiana and just different places that we have around here,” said Speyrer.

Part of the Tchefuncte’s history is shipbuilding where large wooden cargo ships were constructed a century ago during World War I.

“Oh, we passed, right in front of the side of the old Jahncke Shipyard. They would build big, giant wooden ships. We also saw where there were some wooden ships that are actually still sunken in the river,” said Jones.

And you can see the remains of old logging canals where large cypress trees were cut and taken to the mill. And there are a few popular spots for picnicking or enjoying the water.

“I also have people that want to get out in the water. Maybe wanna stop off at Brady Island, go swimming. We have rope swings, sandbars,” said Jones.

But if nothing else, you can enjoy the breeze. The moss-draped trees along the shoreline and the slow pace of a relaxing day on the Tchefuncte River.

For more on the Tchefuncte River, click HERE.

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