But even detractors – and of course there are some – will admit the little place has got charm. It looks just like the little Cajun-ey, backwoods place where you might buy a carton of crickets, or bend an elbow with a lore-soaked local, or, well, report a murder.
(The discovery late last month is under investigation.)
It’s got a broad open deck where Champagne’s tour-takers can gather and launch away from the ebb and flow of the often busy boat ramp.
Just about the whole east shoreline of the lake is privately owned, although development has been curtailed in favor of the wildnerness that attracts both nesting birds and tourists. The western shoreline, including the famous rookery, is owned by the Nature Conservancy, which has added a board walk and interpretive center.
In addition to the tour boats, converted heavy aluminum crawfish skiffs, the lake often swarms with fishermen, or duck hunters, and recreational paddlers.