St. Martin

Oct 2, 2011 1:39 PM by Chris Welty

Atchafalya Bridge has Second Name

Some call it the Long Bridge, the Basin Bridge, or the Almost Home Bridge. We're talking of course about the bridge over the Atchafalaya Basin, KATC'S Chris Welty found out what the bridges name really is.

Everyday, thousands of cars drive the 18 and a half miles over the Atchafalya Basin and a bridge that was dedicated 21 years ago.

"This is the Louisiana Airborne Memorial Bridge. It is because of the Legislature fact that it was named as such act 793 in 1989," said Randy Vidrine with the Acadiana Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Division.

The dedication was no easy task and the 82nd Airborne Division Association raised funds to build a monument at the Atchafalya River Welcome Center. The group could have asked for any bridge to be dedicated in their honor but Randy Vidrine says this chapter "thinks big".

"We didn't want a little bridge and we didn't get a little bridge.
We got a great bridge, and we appreciate it."

Just before you get on the basin bridge, there is a sign dedicated to the paratroopers, and there are several trees blocking the sign. These veterans are hoping the state will dedicate memorial signs at the foot of the basin bridge in both directions.

"The reason we named it the Louisiana Airborne Memorial Bridge is that the Paratroopers one of their missions was to capture bridges for military purposes."

"It's quit something to see that monument . 92 year olds there today driving themselves and they served with the 82nd. They've jumped on Normandy on D-Day and they've been around and they are still here."

These veterans hope others will think twice about their sacrifices next time they drive over the basin, and perhaps refer to the bridge by it's real, lesser known name.

Chris Welty
cwelty@katctv.com

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