Located on the USA’s southern coast, Louisiana is a vibrant and diverse state that thrives on its love of two great things; food and music. Locals here have an unfailing love of life and take great pleasure in sharing that with all who visit. Take to the streets in a sea of colour at Mardi Gras in New Orleans, indulge in French culture and delicious cuisine in Cajun Country or experience world-class fishing adventures in Sportsman’s Paradise.
Louisiana’s fragmented past has fused together to create a modern-day holiday destination that few others can replicate. A one-time French colony and Spanish protectorate, the south-eastern US state is now a sprawling mass of prairieland and welcoming cities inhabited by those who know how to enjoy life.
Louisiana will give you a true taste of the American Deep South, so you will do well to make eating out a focal point of your stay. Louisiana Creole and Cajun cuisine draws from the colonial influences that pre-dated the formation of the US, meaning European and West African flavours are prominent. Gumbo is a traditional seafood stew, while the rice dish, jambalaya, combines chicken, sausage and fresh shrimp.
Louisiana residents have an undeniable zest for life that helps to add another spark to your stay. Neighbourhood bars let you immerse yourself in the culture of each region and swap stories with locals. Many destinations play live music and, just like the food, the influence of the state’s past is obvious. Jazz and rhythm & blues evolved greatly in New Orleans, while famous names from rockabilly, rap and hip-hop also shaped their sound here.
As you travel from north to south in the state, the many and varied influences from city to city will be plain to see, from Shreveport in the north and close to the Texan border, down through Natchitoches and its beautiful quaint cobbled streets and famous meat pies, into Cajun Country with Lake Charles boasting the Creole Nature Trail amongst its many adventures. We then find Lafayette, the Cajun Capital of Louisiana, with an abundance of wonderful fresh seafood cooked with that certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ and Baton Rouge, the state capital, offering up the first taste of big city life with the tall State Capitol Building and governmental buildings and amazing nightlife you would expect of any city. Louisiana is famed for its beautiful and opulent Plantation Homes that trace the banks of the Mississippi, each one telling its own story and piece of history, when finally we find a city like no other, ‘The Big Easy’. First and foremost we strongly suggest you end any tour of Louisiana here as the city will embrace and fully immerse the senses.
Must See Places in Louisiana
New Orleans French Quarter
The French Quarter is New Orleans’ oldest and most famous neighborhood. Its beautiful buildings date back as far as 300 years, many with wrought iron balconies that extend over the tourist-filled sidewalks below. Visitors flock to the French Quarter for sightseeing, shopping, dining, and entertainment, and the area is packed during the annual Mardis Gras celebrations. The best-known area is Bourbon Street, which is alive year-round with throngs of tourists and live music.
National WWII Museum
The National WWII Museum in New Orleans gives visitors an in-depth look at every aspect of the conflict, from the ground war in Europe to the challenges of battle at sea and in the air. One of the most impactful exhibits is “Road to Berlin,” where visitors have the opportunity to be immersed in the past while seeing fully recreated battle zones complete with the sights and sounds.
The biggest event on Louisiana’s annual calendar is the Mardi Gras celebration that takes place in New Orleans. This colorful event is a huge undertaking with a parade, balls, and street celebrations like none other. Mardis Gras is the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, but celebrations begin on the weekend leading up to Tuesday. The event draws huge crowds who come to join in the celebrations and watch more than 1,000 floats go by on dozens of parade routes.
Oak Alley Plantation
The very picture of a historic antebellum home, a tour of Oak Valley takes you through the Big House, a Civil War Encampment exhibit and Slave Quarter Exhibit.
The Laura Plantation in Vacherie has been open to the public since 1994, allowing visitors to tour the 1805 building and property that was a sugarcane plantation for 180 years. The home contains original period furniture, as well as exhibits highlighting the memoirs of Laura Locoul. The most remarkable feature of the plantation, however, is its large exhibit dedicated to the lives and personal stories of those who were enslaved on the farm.
Rosedown Plantation and Gardens
The Rosedown Plantation is a State Historic Site known for being one of the most well preserved domestic Southern plantations. It offers a look at the lifestyles, both of plantation owners and slaves, during the mid 19th century in the South.
Creole Nature Trail
Consider this path through the marshlands and coastline of Louisiana a drive right into the heart of Cajun culture. You’ll encounter gators, beaches, crabbing, fishermen, wildflowers and plenty of chances to sample the seafood along this scenic path.
Video Credit: Louisiana Travel