- Only twenty-five minutes from downtown New Orleans is Jean Lafitte Swamp. There are plenty of swamp tours that explore the watery lands by airboat or ferry, including some that provide transportation to the swamp from the city. You can also go to the Barataria Preserve National Park and walk through the swamps for free, either on your own or with a ranger guide. Sometimes the rangers even do moonlight swamp tours by canoe! Jean Lafitte Swamp is beautiful and mysterious with it's cypress trees and winding bayous. It is also home to hundreds of animals, including alligators, egrets, frogs, snakes, and over 300 species of birds.