Gators & Liberty: Air Boat Tour on the Louisiana Bayou!

Air boat passengers look at the trees overhanging the narrow waterways of the back channels on the bayou.

CFACT believes that the environment benefits most when human progress and liberty are allowed to thrive. There is no other place that this concept is better illustrated than the bayous of Southern Louisiana.
CFACT students from the University of Louisiana, Lafayette toured the bayous near Lafitte, Louisiana, located about 30 minutes south of New Orleans. What they expected to see were swamps and beautiful scenery – what they didn’t necessarily expect to see were the forces of the free market in action.

CFACT’s air boat captain and tour guide holds the baby alligator he is helping to raise until it is ready to be released back into the wild.

“Alligators were almost an extinct animal in the United States,” explained the air boat captain and tour guide. “Then they allowed individuals to start owning alligator farms, and people would buy gator meat, shoes, everything – now there are more gators than we know what to do with. There’s so many they’re invading everything from golf courses to backyards.”
“It was awesome to go on the bayou tour and see how liberty and free markets saved the gator,” said Clayton Smith, a senior at ULL. “It’s a great first hand, practical example of how private property incentivizes people to breed more of these animals.”
In addition to taking in the incredible foliage and views, CFACT students got the opportunity to hold a baby alligator!

Students Maggie, Clayton and Austin hold the baby alligator that is being raised in captivity until it is old enough to be released back into nature.

“I loved holding the baby alligator,” said Maggie Anders, a sophomore. “It was the highlight of a really fun time experiencing Louisiana’s beautiful nature.”
CFACT’s tour guide explained that he rescued the baby alligator several months ago. “A baby alligator has a very slim chance of surviving in the wild. Hawks, armadillos, you name it are out here eating the babies and eggs. I’ll take a gator in, raise it until it’s a little bigger, then release it back into the wild. They have a much better chance at surviving when they’re more grown.”

CFACT’s air boat passes by a facility used in the oil refining process as they proceed on the bayou tour.

The air boat also passed by structures necessary in the oil refining process. This was in a back corner of the bayou, and CFACT interacted with alligators only a few hundred feet away from the facility. It was another great example of how nature can be protected without neglecting the progress of human society.
Through alligator farms and non-intrusive oil refining, the bayous of Southern Louisiana displayed that nature is best served when both liberty and prosperity are protected and encouraged. Thanks to free markets and private property rights, the American gator is very alive and well.

CFACT students and staff pose while the air boat pauses in the swamps of the bayou.

The tour was part of CFACT’s Save Our Species campaign, which shows students how free markets and private property rights, not government, are the best means to save endangered species.