The Lower Mississippi River Water Trail

Rivergator Appendix 7
Baton Rouge to Gulf of Mexico
Paul Orr Story:
Myths and Misconceptions

Paul Orr Story — Myths and Misconceptions

“It’s illegal isn’t it?”
“Don’t you have to have a permit?”
“The snakes (or hogs, or coyote) will get you!”
“You can’t canoe on the Mississippi River!”
“Ya’ll are crazy!”

We heard questions and statements like these many times on the trip, especially that last one. “Ya’ll are crazy!” We even got one or two of, “Ya’ll are f#@&ing crazy!”

Even those who had less emotional reactions seemed perplexed that anyone would paddle down the Mississippi River in South Louisiana. That doing so was somehow impossible despite the evidence right in front of them. The physical evidence of us being there and clearly having been paddling for at least a while on the Mississippi River did not seem to register as evidence that you can, in fact, paddle down the Mississippi River in South Louisiana and survive.

But there was also something else. In their faces after saying these things there was almost always a glimmer of admiration; a twinkle of excitement; a pang of jealousy; the realization that what we are doing is grand adventure in the spirit of all great human adventuring and that deep down they want to experience what we are experiencing and if they were a little less bound by the fear that that they inherited about the Mighty Mississippi they might just try it.

And thus the importance of the Rivergator and Quapaw expeditions which are helping to counteract these fears of the Big River and normalize the presence of paddlers. The simple presence of paddlers on the Mississippi can be a strong message to people standing on the banks that this is place for all of us, a place for them, and a place we should care about.

For too long the Mississippi River has been the nearly exclusive domain of large commercial vessels. The citizen living and working along the river have felt excluded. The river is no longer their river but a scary and dangerous place that is only for industry. This has lead to an ever increasing lack of stewardship and care for the river which allows for the kinds of environmental problems that most of us have at least some awareness of.

I am excited that the Rivergator and all of Quapaw’s endeavors will continue to reconnect everyday people to the Lower Mississippi River. To give then the intimate personal connection to the River that we have and all Americans living in the Mississippi River Basin should have. The more people we have caring about the River, the better we will take care of her. If you may have thought some of the things at the beginning of this writing; call up Quapaw and schedule a trip. You know deep down you want to!

Oh, and to answer the questions:

No, it’s not illegal to paddle the Mississippi River. The Mississippi River is a Navigable Waterway of the United States of America and is available for the use of all citizens.

No, you don’t need a permit (see above).

People are canoeing (and kayaking) on the Mississippi River all the time!

Well, not for canoeing down the Mississippi River… I’ll just leave it at that. ;)

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Middle Mississippi & Bluegrass Hills / Bootheel 195-0, 954-850 ST. LOUIS TO CARUTHERSVILLE
Chickasaw Bluffs 850 – 737 CARUTHERSVILLE TO MEMPHIS
Upper Delta 737 – 663 MEMPHIS TO HELENA
Middle Delta 663 – 537 HELENA TO GREENVILLE
Loess Bluffs 437 – 225 VICKSBURG TO BATON ROUGE
Atchafalaya River 159 – 0 SIMMESPORT TO MORGAN CITY
Louisiana Delta 229 – 10 BATON ROUGE TO VENICE
Birdsfoot Delta 10 – 0 VENICE TO GULF OF MEXICO
Venice to the Gulf
Water Levels According To The Venice Gage (VG):  
Flood Stage Warning:  
11.5 LBD Sandbars At Mouth Of Baptiste Collette Bayou – North Side
11.4 LBD Shell Beaches At Mouth Of Baptiste Collette Bayou – South Side
11.5 LBD Baptiste Colette Bayou
-1.9 RBD Emeline Pass
-2.5 RBD Fimbel Pass
-6 To -8 Baptiste Collette Jetty
10.5 The Jump: Entrance to the Venice Harbor
Directions To The Marinas In Tiger Pass  
Cypress Cove Marina  
Venice Marina  
10.4 RBD Grand Pass
Grand Pass  
Tiger Pass  
The Wagon Wheel – Venice Salt Dome  
10.2 RBD Grand Pass Island
10.2 To 9.8 RBD WARNING: Iron Pilings In River
9.6 – 8 LBD Lower Venice Anchorage
4.9 LBD Mary Bower’s Pass
4.8 RBD New Pass
4.8 RBD New Pass Cypress Beach
3.5 – 2.9 LBD Cubit’s Gap
Cubit’s Gap/Main Pass Camp  
Octave Pass North  
Cubit’s Gap: Octave Pass  
Cubit’s Gap: Brant Bayou  
Cubit’s Gap: Raphael Pass  
Delta National Wildlife Refuge  
2.4 LBD Shell Pipeline Co., Pilottown Wharf
1.9 LBD Pilottown
0 RBD Mile Zero (SW Pass) Camp  
Head of Passes -0- Mile Zero
Southwest Pass  
River Levels Down SW Pass  
-4.5 LBD Burrwood Bayou (Top Entrance)
-8.9 LBD Pogo Producing Co., E-3 Boat Landing
-14.5 LBD Burrwood Bayou (Bottom Entrance)
-14.5 RBD Dredge Piles
-14.5 LBD Burrwood Bayou Closure
-18.0 LBD Associated Branch Pilots, Southwest Pass Station Wharf
-20.2 LBD End Of The Jetty/End Of The River
South Pass  
-3.4 LBD Picnic/Camping Spot
-4 To -10 RBD East Bay Bayou Openings
-10 RBD Picayune Bayou
-11 RBD Port Eads
-11 RBD High Adventure Marina, Port Eads
-11.8 LBD Bayou Opening (To Backside Of Upper South Pass Island)
-12.1 LBD Tiny Bayou Opening
-12.2 LBD Opening In Jetty Along Ocean Side Of Upper South Pass Island
Upper South Pass Island West Jetty End
-13.5 RBD  
Best End Place: Lower South Pass Island  
-14.2 LBD East Jetty End
Pass A Loutre  
-0.5 RBD Upper Shallow Island
-1.5 RBD Lower Shallow Island
-2 RBD Cheniere Pass
-2.5 RBD Willow Clump
-4 To -5 RBD Wetlands
-6 LBD Muddy Shallows
-11 LBD Disappearing Banks
-12.8 LBD North Pass Island
-15 North Pass Island Beaches
Southeast Pass  
-5.5 RBD Mouth Of Southeast Pass
-7 RBD Pass A Loutre State WMA Picnic Area
-12.5 Channel Splits
-12.5 Southeast Pass Island
Pass A Loutre State Wildlife Wildlife Management Area  
Balize, The Oldest City The Delta Ate  
Getting Back  
Upstream Paddling  
What Do You Do Now With Your Vessel?  
LiNKS = Leave No Kid On Shore