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Fodor's New Orleans 2014
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Bayou St. John
Bayou St. John Review
A bayou is a natural inlet, usually a slow moving, narrow waterway that emerges from the swamp at one end and joins a larger body of water at the other. This bayou—the only one remaining in New Orleans—borders City Park on the east and extends about 7 miles from Lake Pontchartrain to just past Orleans Avenue. It is named for John the Baptist, whose nativity (St. John's Eve, June 23), the most important day in the year for voodoo practitioners, was notoriously celebrated on the bayou's banks in the 1800s. The first European settlers in the area, believed to have been trappers, coexisted with Native Americans here beginning in 1704. Today, the Bayou is still a popular destination among New Orleanians, whether for tradition's sake, such as the famed Mardi Gras Indians who gather for their annual celebrations, a festival such as the Bayou Boogaloo in May, or simply for a relaxing afternoon of fishing, canoeing, or picnicking along the grassy banks. Scenic biking and walking trails run alongside the waterway all the way to the lakefront, where you can watch the graceful old homes of picturesque Moss Street morph into the dazzling waterfront mansions of Bancroft Drive.
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