Bayou Teche Experience opening in downtown Breaux Bridge
By: Ken Grissom
Breaux Bridge – The Werk family of Los Angeles, Ingo, Mary and son Cory, will open their kayak livery and retail shop next to Parc des Ponts and across Bridge Street from the Bayou Teche Visitors Center.
Ingo Werk said he has inked a deal with Gary Teplitsky, the Baby’s Coffee man, to buy the home and two shuttered commercial buildings where Lloyd Tauzin operated Teche Liquor Store years ago.
Werk, a native of Germany, said he intends to introduce locals to the Pouch brand of German-made folding kayaks and introduce Bayou Teche to German and other European tourists looking to mix the natural beauty of the bayou with the refined hospitality of the Teche Country’s bistros and bed-and-breakfasts.
Bayou Teche Experience will also offer guided kayak tours of Lake Martin and other local waterways, operated chiefly by son Cory Werk.
The Pouch kayaks, so named for their carrying and storage bags, are handcrafted in a mountain village of Germany where folding kayaks have been a traditional form of recreation for generations.
With a hull of tough PVC and a rubberized canvas deck stretched over a frame of ash and birch, the boats have the feel of an original skin-on-frame Inuit hunting vessel.
They are a higher quality of boat than you ordinarily find in a rental operation but Ingo Werk said he feels their European clientele will expect it.
Werk said the shift to a downtown location from property the family had acquired on the outskirts of town will delay the opening of the business, which he had hoped to coincide with Tour du Teche II Oct. 7-9.
The business plan has also shifted from providing lodging to coordinating with local bed-and-breakfasts, Werk said.
“Everything will be within walking distance, which Europeans like,” he said.
Meanwhile, Cory Werk is busy orienting himself to Bayou Teche and other local waterways. A former international fencing champion, the younger Werk has turned his natural athleticism toward paddling and will be racers in Tour du Teche II.
Mary Werk, née Guidry, is the family’s Cajun connection. Her mother was Jackie Thevenet from Breaux Bridge.