Atchafalaya Culture & History Scavenger Hunt Answer Key

The Atchafalaya Basin’s cultural history goes back at least 2,500 years and perhaps more than 6,000 years when Native Americans were living in the Basin along natural levees and bayous. During the early 1700s, French settlers arrived in the Atchafalaya Basin to engage in fur trading with the Native Americans. In 1765, Acadians began moving to Louisiana and settling in New Orleans and along the Teche Ridge after being forcibly moved from Nova Scotia. Many other groups have moved into the area and together they make the Basin the rich cultural area that it is.

Use the History & Culture, Regions & Parishes Education Resource to complete the scavenger hunt below. Download the booklet here:

Can you find the answer to these questions?

1. The number one natural resource that has influenced life in the Atchafalaya Basin is water . It has changed landscapes, contributed to catastrophic natural events, and has been subjected to human manipulation.
2. The Indian tribe is the one identifiable group with the longest historical ties to the Atchafalaya Basin.
3. The Seven Years War is also known as the French & Indian War.
4. The new settlers learned from the Native Americans how to adapt boats they already knew, such as pirogues and ferries, to maneuver through the shallow waters.
5. Cajuns are descendants of the Acadian exiles and make up a significant percentage of south Louisiana’s population.
6. A product found commonly in Louisiana growing on Southern Live Oak or Bald Cypress, Spanish moss was used for building insulation, mulch and various other purposes.
8. The United States purchased the American territory of Orleans in 1803 from France.
9. Steamboats helped to open the Atchafalaya Basin to economic development. New Iberia became the center for steamboat operations.
10. The Red River, a major tributary of the Atchafalaya and Mississippi rivers, was unnavigable for several decades in the 19th century because of a collection of fallen trees that formed a logjam known as the “Great Raft.”
11. The military engagement at Port Hudson lasted 48 days, the longest lasting siege in American history.
12. The Civil War had several major impacts on the sugar plantation system in the Atchafalaya Basin including the elimination of slavery, destruction of farm buildings, and disruption of financing and marketing structures.
13. Lumbering became a secondary source of income by 1870 and float logging of cypress was a common practice.
14. By 1912, the educational level of the Basin’s population increased due to the invention of power boats, which were used to take children to and from school.
15. Water levels rose to seven feet above the tops of the Atchafalaya River’s natural levees during the flood of 1927.
16. The Old River Control Structure directs 30 percent of Mississippi River flow into the Atchafalaya River.
17. The ground level near major waterways in the Basin has risen as much as 12 feet due to the Atchafalaya River becoming a major floodway for the Mississippi River.
18. Louisiana harvests the most crawfish in the nation, employing approximately 800 commercial fishermen primarily in the Atchafalaya Basin.
19. Most of the food the early settlers ate came from their immediate surroundings because they were so isolated.

Name the Parish

Upper Region
3.Point Coupee
Between Two Rivers
1.East Baton Rouge
2.West Baton Rouge
Bayou Tech Corridor
1.St. Martin
4.St. Landry
Coastal Region
1.St. Mary

True or False

The Morganza Spillway flood protection system, designed to handle the Mississippi flooding emergencies, has opened three times since being built.
The Old River Control Structure in Concordia Parish maintains a 70% flow of water to the Mississippi River and a 30% flow of water to the Atchafalaya River.
The Between Two Rivers region has two main areas; metropolitan areas and areas that have been called a “sportsman’s paradise.”
The French phrase joie de vivre means joyful and vibrant.
The people living in the Bayou Teche Corridor have strong ties to the Roman Catholic faith.
Cajun-Creole culture, found in abundance in the Bayou Teche Corridor, is a blending of African, West Indian and European cultures.
The Chitimacha Indians were the earliest settlers in the Coastal Region; their name means “people of the land.”
The Coastal Region has natural waterways that connect the Mississippi Industrial Corridor, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Atchafalaya Basin.








Concordia Named for a Latin word meaning harmony, this parish is also home to the Bayou Cocodrie National Wildlife refuge.
Avoyelles First settled by Spanish and African traders, this parish was named after the Avoyel Indian tribe.
Pointe Coupee Bordered on three sides by inland waterways – Old River, the Atchafalaya River and the Mississippi River.
East Baton Rouge Home to Louisiana State University and Southern University.
West Baton Rouge The Port of Greater Baton Rouge, head of deep water navigation on the Mississippi River, can be found in this parish.
Ascension Currently one of the fastest growing parishes in Louisiana, this parish has been historically identified by the junction of the Mississippi River and Bayou Lafourche.
Iberville The Mississippi River flows through the heart of this parish, making water a central theme in the history and lifestyle of the people living there.
St. Martin Three geographic landscapes make up this parish; Prairie, Bayou Teche and Atchafalaya Basin.
Iberia Also called the “Queen City of the Teche,” this parish is home to Conrad Rice Mill, the oldest rice mill in the United States.
Lafayette One of the smallest parishes in Louisiana, this parish is home to the largest natural history museum in the Acadiana region, the Lafayette Natural History Museum & Planetarium.
St. Landry The largest parish in Louisiana, this parish has been inhabited since 10,500 B.C. and is home to three prehistoric dwelling sites.
St. Mary The petroleum industry’s first offshore oil well was drilled in this parish.
Assumption Named for the Festival of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Terrebonne In this parish 90% of the land is covered by open water, but its name means “good earth,” “good land,” or “good soil” in French.

Important Concepts

What are the four major cultural influences on the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area, excluding Cajun-Creole?
European, African, Caribbean, Native American
What three geographic land areas can south Louisiana be divided into?
East Gulf Coastal Plain, Mississippi Alluvial Plain, West Gulf Coastal Plain
What percentage of Louisiana does the Mississippi Delta cover?
The highest point in Louisiana is located about forty miles from the Arkansas state line. What is the name of this landmark?
Driskill Mountain
After learning about the regions and parishes in Louisiana, name 3 landmarks (museums, parks, memorials, etc.) that you would like to visit and what parish they are located in.
Answers will vary.