I’ve long established that I really appreciate the work of Serene Footman as he brings us places from around the globe we’d otherwise likely never get to visit outside of photos and television images. With his own eye for interpretation, Serene brings these places to life within Second Life to allow us to appreciate them directly. In all the years I’ve had the pleasure of following Serene’s work and writing about his region builds, I’ve never failed to be impressed with his skill and execution in bringing these places to life.
However, there has tended to be one of his builds that has always held a special place in my recollections of his work. In October 2018, Serene brought us his vision of Black Bayou Lake, Ouachita Parish, Louisiana. So you can imagine my delight when Shawn Shakespeare nudged me about Serene having re-opened Black Bayou on April 22nd, 2022. What’s more, and as with the original design, this is once again collaboration with Jade Koltai, with whom he worked on a fair number of regions designs.
Established in 1997, Black Bayou Lake is a US national Reserve covering 2,000 acres of lake and a further 2,000+ acres of shoreline and watershed. The primary am of the park is to provide a place for people to connect with the natural world, and it forms one of four refuges managed in the North Louisiana Refuges Complex.
The lake and its surroundings is a haven for wildlife and waterfowl, and its most ionic landmark for the park is a wooden walkway that extends out over the waters of the lakes and its wetlands. This was a central feature with the original 2018 build and makes a return with this new iteration, complete with its angled raised section intended for the passage of small boats. Also to be found are some of the dry lowlands with their long grass and sprawling trees and much of the wildlife that can be found throughout the actual Black Bayou and also brought Serene’s original build.
However, this iteration of the region design adds some new aspects, as Serene notes in his own bog post on the 2022 iteration of his region.
We’ve added a railway bridge – the Cross Bayou Railroad Bridge, aka the Kansas City Southern Railroad Bridge – which we believe adds to the coherence of the region, making it easier to walk around.
In reality this bridge is located around 100 miles from Black Bayou Lake. It straddles the Twelve Mile Bayou (spelled ‘Twelvemile Bayou’ by locals), which is part of the Cross Bayou, a tributary of the Red River of the South. The bridge was built in 1926 and abandoned during the 1980s.
– Serene Footman, Return to Bayou
To accommodate the bridge, a river has been added to the region, seemingly carrying water down to the bridge on the west side of the region, from the wetlands to the east.
Elsewhere, other little touches in keeping with legends of the bayou have been included – such as the rickety cabin that appears to be home to voodoo / black magic rituals.
Rich in scenery and wildlife and caught under s setting Sun (I’ve used my own EEP settings here), this iteration of Black Bayou Lake retains the spirit and sense of the original for those who remember it, whilst offering enough that is new to engage and entreat those who do to explore onwards and discover what is new. For those who never got to visit the original, the return of Black Bayou Lake presents the opportunity to enjoy a build celebrating one of the southern United States great areas of natural beauty. As such, I’ll say no more here other than – go visit and see for yourself!
- Black Bayou Lake (Aride Isle, rated Moderate)