Breaux Bridge, pronounced "Bro'' Bridge is a small town in Louisiana. It is also considered the "Crawfish Capital of the World.'' An Acadian pioneer named Firmin Breaux settled the town in 1771 when he purchased the land from Jean Francois Ledee, a New Orleans merchant. Breaux Bridge is close to Lafayette LA towards the lower section of the state. It is not on the coast though. The city got its name from the footbridge Breaux created so that neighbors and friends could reach his place from Bayou Teche. The bridge was a suspension footbridge, and residents would say "Go to Breaux's Bridge'' when giving directions. Breaux Bridge is near Lake Martin, a popular place for residents and tourists to visit.
Lake Martin is a shallow lake with Cypress and Tupelo trees. Aquatic life such as amphibians and reptiles fill the lake. There are also fish in the shallow waters. Lake Martin is across from St. Martin Parish on highway 94. It is in the Mississippi River flood plain. The lake has numerous walkways and trails for visitors to walk along. There are also areas for driving before ending at the Cypress and Buttonbush thicket. This is the end of the lake. Many species of wading birds hang out here. Birds like Blue Heron, Great, Snow, and Cattle Egrets, White Ibis, Roseate Spoonbills, and Night Herons nest at this area in the summer. Barred and Great Horned Owls, Pileated, Hairy, Downy, and Red Bellied Woodpeckers, and Parula are other species at the lake. In the winter Rusty Blackbirds can be found there.
The trails allow visitors to walk towards the end of the lake. However, visitors have to be on the lookout for alligator nests while they are walking. These nests are large mounds of dirt and leaves. The mothers tend to guard them very well. Some of the trails at the lake will be closed for alligator nesting season to avoid any injury. During the migration season buntings and songbirds will stop at Lake Martin. The area is a perfect place for birdwatchers to see many North American species.
At Lake Martin it is possible to take swamp tours. These tours are eco swamp tours set up for educational purposes. The tours are open all year round except for holidays. Airboats are used to skim the water since it is too shallow for a regular boat. The air boats use a large fan on the back to propel the boat through the water. Alligators can often be seen sunning themselves on logs, or in the shallow water. In some cases it is possible to see the alligators feed. Banyan trees grow very tall in the swamp presenting covering in some areas. Alligators also walk on land, so the tours will point out those that might be out of the water on the shores.
Lake Martin is not a place for swimming or lying on the beach. It is a place to see bird species and alligators in their natural habitat.