How to Navigate New Orleans and Louisiana without Outdoor Gear

By Dennis Clutter

Among the many facilities closed down at Tulane following the first outbreak of COVID-19, the Reily Student Recreation Center remains shuttered. While trips led by Outdoor Adventures were cancelled months ago, another service of Outdoor Adventures has yet to reopen: our gear rental desk. Items like canoes and tents allowed students access to the outdoors, and the closure has potentially hampered the ability for some of y’all to get outside.

Not having access to these resources can be frustrating, but fortunately, there are several activities you can still do without need of all the fancy gear that we offer. Use this as an excuse to force yourself to explore and escape the Tulane bubble. Look at a map, pick a direction, and go! Louisiana is incredibly diverse both in nature and culture, so get out of your comfort zone and see what the state can offer you.

Did you know that New Orleans is surrounded by several diverse ecosystems? Take the causeway across Lake Pontchartrain, and you’ll find yourself in longleaf pine savannas. Head south across the Crescent City Connection to the West Bank, where you can traverse miles of boardwalk trails throughout bottomland hardwood swamps (just make sure to do your research to see which particular trails are open). Head east to places like the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge for even more boardwalk trails that will take you through and over marshes (tip: bring your bug spray). If you want to make a day out of it, head west and take I-310 across the river to explore Louisiana’s southern coast and beaches.

Catch a sunset like this over the Gulf of Mexico in southern Louisiana.

Adjust your trip to fit what you want to get out of it. Plan for a nature trip or aim to capture a cultural snapshot of Louisiana. Drive past fields of sugarcane and old plantation homes, and be sure to read up on the history of those places. Try a take-out food tour of Louisiana by grabbing food from roadside seafood shacks to eat at nearby beaches or park areas. Better yet, opt for a culinary scavenger hunt by searching the state for ingredients to make the most authentic version of red beans and rice imaginable!

As long as you keep your distance from others and bring the necessary day trip supplies like food, water, sunscreen, and bug spray, escaping your part of New Orleans can bring about a rewarding sense of adventure.


About the author

Name: Dennis Clutter

Year in School: Masters student

Major: Environmental Biology

Hometown: Houston, Texas

Favorite Outdoor Activity: Backpacking, Fly Fishing

Favorite Camp Food: Mac and Cheese

Ideal Outdoor Adventure Trip Destination: Wind River Wilderness, Wyoming

If you were stranded on a desert island, what/who would you bring with you: Fishing gear, binoculars, and Sibley Birds East