Bayou, Swamp, Wetland – What's the Difference?
Did you know the name bayou is actually native to Louisiana? The word is believed to have originated from bayuk, a term meaning small stream in a local Native American tongue. Bayou has come to mean the braided streams that are fed by the Mississippi River in the low-lying areas of Southern Louisiana. These marshes or wetland areas move very slowly and make ideal homes for creatures like alligators, crawfish and catfish — all of which are popular bayou foods.
A swamp is fed by bayous. Water moves through the bayous and culminates in a swamp. As you might imagine, water in a swamp seems to be standing still, though the water does rise and fall with the freshwater tide. In Louisiana, the bayous are fed by the Mississippi River.
Wetland is a more generic term meaning an area of land saturated with water. Bayous and swamps are examples of wetlands.