Though I'm a native of the area I never really got into a love affair with the swamps and bayous.  Don't mistake me, I love boating and fishing and all that can be done in the swamps but as far as getting into the water with the snakes and the inland versions of 'Jaws' lurking in the dark water, I'll pass.

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However I know a lot of people, most ev'body I know in fact that can look at the slowly flowing water, the edges populated by cypress knees and mossy trees and just see the Heart of the South in their eyes.  And there is no shortage of fauna and flora that is just absolutely colorful and beautiful to see.  And animals, other than the gators and snakes the swamps have lot's of furry creatures, feathered friends and you can find them in a setting that you don't see every day.

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Here are 5 Swamp Tours (listed in no particular order) across the state that you just might enjoy and breakaway from the tried and true Mothers Day outings:

1. Literally just across the river when you cross into Orange it's 'Swamp and River Tours" and they actually sometimes cross back into Louisiana as part of the tour.  The phone is: 409-883-0856 and the office is at 813 E Lutcher Dr., Orange, Texas.  If you've driven to Texas in the past 30 years or so, you've no doubt noticed the lineup of airboats to the right soon after you cross the bridge.

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2. Champagnes Cajun Swamp Tours will take a quick two hour tour through Lake Martin.  Their office is at: 1151 Rookery Road in Breaux Bridge - 337-230-4068

3. Just down the street in Breaux Bridge is Cajun Country Swamp Tours at 1209 Rookery Road, give them a shout at: 337-319-0010

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4.Jean Lafitte Swamp Tours is at 6601 Leo Kerner-Lafitte Pkwy, Marrero and will guide you through the Jean Lafitte National Park and Preserve.  Their phone is: 504-689-4186

5. If you're tired of simply driving over the Atchafalaya bridges and always wondered what lurked below, then it's Couret's Swamp Tours for you. About 20 miles east of Lafayette at exit 121 at Butte La Rose, call them at 337-296-1173.

Todd Ryburn

And there's no reason you can't combine the old 'take mama to lunch' routine, but follow it up with a short road trip and get her out in the wildlife for the afternoon.  Don't forget sunglasses, sunscreen and no matter what - keep your hands feet arms and legs INSIDE the boat!

Happy Mothers Day!