The finish line along Parc sur la Teche will be filled with volunteers, staff and later in the day, music, food and fun.
Though the race was a straight-through marathon last year, organizers have broken it up into three legs: Port Barre to St. Martinville, then to Franklin and finally to the finish line in Berwick. Paddlers and their road crews will stay in each city overnight Friday and Saturday.
The community is invited to welcome paddlers from all over the United States and world to the city.
Here in Franklin at 3 p.m. the party begins with Flashback, a local band specializing in classic rock and roll.
They’ll relinquish the stage at 6 p.m. while welcomes are presented by St. Mary Parish Paul Naquin, Franklin Mayor Raymond Harris and other distinguished officials.
Supper for paddlers and their crews will be provided by Franklin’s own Main Street Café, and they’ll be energized by breakfast from Joe’s on the Bayou, just off of Par sur la Teche, for the start of the race Sunday morning.
At 7 p.m., John Chauvin’s Mojo band will bring a taste of Zydeco and swamp pop music until 10 p.m. It’ll be dancing in the streets time cher!
The natural beauty and commercial importance of Bayou Teche spans many centuries. From the far reaches of Chitimacha tribal memory comes an intriguing rendition of how the waterway was formed, and how it was named.
The story goes that ages ago, long before Columbus stepped foot on the islands off the south east of the North American continent, a monstrous snake attacked the Chitimacha people.
This creature was so huge, its tail was at what would later be called Port Barre, and its head at the Atchafalaya River at Morgan City.
Many warriors fought the beast, and most died. Over time unaccounted for, they eventually were victorious and the mighty serpent was killed.
Where the great body writhed in its death throes and its enormous weight compacted the land, water filled in after the body had decomposed, and the Chitimacha called it teche, for snake.
While this story has been told and retold for centuries, it must be noted that the word “teche” does not truly mean “snake” in Chitimacha. Rather, it is a derivation of an original Chitimacha word altered and morphed over the centuries by various European tongues.
Still, the power in that old legend moves each soul that hears it, and imagines the gargantuan serpent and the brave indigenous people fighting it to protect their homelands and their way of life.