Over the last several months, I have spent time in various towns and areas of St. Tammany Parish. It was time to visit Lacombe, which is basically in the backyard of Tamanend.

Big Branch wildlife refuge center in Lacombe

The Southeast Louisiana Refuge Visitor Center clued me in on the importance of wildlife refuges.

While Lacombe is considered a small town, I soon discovered it is big on recreation. I wanted to work up an appetite for a delicious meal that lay ahead, so it was time for exercise. Tammany Trace has a Lacombe trailhead, however I wanted to venture into new territory. I headed to Big Branch Marsh, as I read it boasted a two-mile walkway through gardens. Much to my surprise, this national wildlife refuge comprises 18,000 acres of amazing flora and fawna dedicated to wildlife preservation. The Southeast Refuge Visitor Center provides extensive information for you to become an “expert.” It is well worth the stop, and it’s free!

It was time for lunch, and while Lacombe has a choice of restaurants, including the local favorite, Sal and Judy’s, I wanted to try a place a friend recommended. Janie Brown’s Restaurant on U.S. 190 appears to be a basic diner on the outside, however the food inside is fantastic. If you’re looking for strictly healthy food, you might be disappointed. I ordered the catfish filet, and it was absolutely delicious.

my kayak at Bayou Adventure

I’m getting into that small thing? My vessel for the tour. 

Before I left Lacombe, the number-one item on the must-do list was to enjoy the Louisiana experience of kayaking. The locals say the best place to rent a kayak and all the supplies is Bayou Adventure. They offer everything you need, including a sunset tour from Cane Bayou. I must admit I was a bit apprehensive at first, but the guide put me at ease by encouraging me to be present in the moment to fully experience the views and surroundings. Being so caught up in the moment, I forgot to take a picture! I highly recommend you check out all that Bayou Adventure has, from swamp tours to bike rentals. It really is a Northshore gem.

As with all my other St. Tammany Parish excursions, Lacombe exceeded my expectations. The Louisiana Northshore truly is a cool place, whether for the day or for life.