The great blue herons and white egrets seem to be watching us and keeping their distance as we glide along the tree-lined Tchefuncte River. Our tour of this historic southeast Louisiana waterway begins at Fairview-Riverside State Park in Madisonville, Louisiana.
The Tchefuncte River (pronounced chah-FUNK-tah) begins 70 mile north of Lake Pontchartrain, and flows through St. Tammany Parish and the cities of Covington and Madisonville before reaching Lake Pontchartrain. Louisiana’s Fairview-Riverside State Park is located along the river between the two cities. Boat captain and river guide Mike Jones makes a stop at the state park boat launch to begin our tour. Jones operates Louisiana Tours and Adventures, and has been providing tours of the river for the past seven years.
“I love the Tchefuncte River. I grew up on it,” explains Mike Jones. He guides his 24-foot long pontoon boat up the river, passing marinas full of sailboats and powerboats, past homes and a country club, and then along portions of the river that still seem wild and remote. If you enjoy wildlife, be sure to bring a camera with a zoom lens. You are likely to see many of the common swamp birds and animals that inhabit south Louisiana.
Tchefuncte river tour featured on tv
wildlife along the tchefuncte river
During our afternoon ride, we spotted several white egrets, great blue herons, an osprey on its nest in the top of a tall tree, lots of turtles and several alligators.
from lake pontchartrain to piney woods
Jones typically takes his tour boat from the mouth of the Tchefuncte River below Madisonville north to the city of Covington. At the lake entrance, you glide past a lighthouse built in 1837. The light still operates.
Along the river north of Madisonville, you see the remains of sunken wooden ships. The wooden timbers protrude above the waterline. You also see the equipment left over from a long-closed shipyard. During World War I, several wooden cargo ships were built at the Jahncke Shipyard near Madisonville.
sightseeing, picnic or water play
Jones says he tailors his tours to fit the desires of his customers. Sometimes, it’s a trip for photographers who want pictures of wildlife. Others want to see the river and learn about its history. Or it may be a trip to a sandbar for swimming, or a stop at Brady Island for a picnic and play on a rope swing. In addition to pickups at the state park, Jones also docks at Madisonville’s waterfront restaurants to board passengers.
getting to fairview-riverside state park
Fairview-Riverside State Park is located at 119 Fairview Drive in Madisonville, LA. You can contact Mike Jones at Louisiana Tours and Adventures, Phone 985-789-9602.