Bayou: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Big Cypress Bayou in Jefferson, Texas off U.S. Route 59.
A bayou at the Sabine River at the Louisiana rest stop.

A bayou (pronounced /ˈbaɪ.oʊ/ or /ˈbaɪjuː/) is a body of water typically found in flat, low-lying areas, and can either refer to an extremely slow-moving stream or river (often with a poorly defined shoreline), or to a marshy lake or wetland. Bayous are commonly found in the Gulf Coast region of the southern United States, particularly the Mississippi River region, with the state of Louisiana being famous for them. A bayou is frequently an anabranch or minor braid of a braided channel that is moving much more slowly than the mainstem, often becoming boggy and stagnant, though the vegetation varies by region. Many bayous are home to crawfish, certain species of shrimp, other shellfish, catfish, alligators, and a myriad of other species.

The word was first used by the English in Louisiana and is thought to originate from the Choctaw word bayuk, which means "small stream."[citation needed] Another theory on the word's origin is from the French words bas lieu (pronounced phonetically as ba-li-you) meaning "low place".[citation needed] The first settlements of Acadians in southern Louisiana were near Bayou Teche and other bayous[1], which led to a close association of the bayou with Cajun culture.

Bayou Country is most closely associated with Cajun and Creole cultural groups native to the Gulf Coast region generally stretching from Houston, Texas, to Mobile, Alabama, with its center in New Orleans, Louisiana.

An alternate spelling "buyou" has also been used, as in the "Pine Buyou" used in a description by Congress in 1833 of Arkansas Territory.


In fiction

Bayous are often the setting of horror stories as they are popularly perceived as eerie and mysterious.



Video games


Bayou Navigation in Dixie, 1863



See also

Notable bayous


  1. ^ Carl A. Brasseaux, The Founding of New Acadia: The Beginnings of Acadian Life in Louisiana (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1988), pp. 92-94.

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

BAYOU (pronounced bai-yoo, probably a corruption of Fr. boyau, gut), an "ox-bow" lake left behind by a river that has abandoned its old channel in the lower stages of its course. Good examples are found in Palmyra Lake, in the Mississippi valley below Vicksburg, and in Osage river, Missouri. As a river swings from side to side in a series of curves which widen laterally where the current is slow and the country more or less level, there is a tendency in flood times for the water to impinge more strongly upon the convex bank where the curve leaves the main channel. This bank will be eaten away, and the process will be repeated until the base of the "isthmus" is cut through, and the descending channel meets the returning curve, which is thus left stranded and filled with dead water, while the stream runs directly past it in the shorter course cut by the flood waters that deepen the new channel, and leave an isolated ox-bow lake in the old curve.

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