Path through the trees of Louisiana Purchase Historic State Park
Mardi Gras parade in the French Quarter of New Orleans
Bucket of boiled crawfish, a Louisiana delicacy
Oaks lining the path to Historic Oak Alley Plantation in Vacherie
Dramatic sky behind downtown Baton Rouge
A gator rests on a log
- The Pelican State, The Bayou State
Great music, food and nature, with a dash of eccentricity
To many, Louisiana is known as the place where jazz music was born, where over-stuffed po’ boys are bountiful, and where the greatest Mardi Gras celebration takes place. The list of lesser-knowns from this swampy Southern state is deliciously new to the outsider: a steaming hot bowl of seafood gumbo, freshly-made beignets and daiquiri drive-throughs. Then there’s the unmistakable beat of zydeco music, eerily-beautiful bayous and the masses visiting sacred temples of Voodoo priestesses (where you go to get your juju on track).
Here, the Cajun and Creole musicians (who created the tunes of swamp pop in a hybrid of rock, R&B and blues sounds) live on in a new generation of talent that moves the crowds at the intimate local music haunts. Louisiana is a place where artistic expression flourishes and where artists have an outlet for their creativity that remains unhampered by convention, which is reflected in the many galleries showing outsider art as a mainstay.
Only in Louisiana do folks strap on the rollerblades and helmets – with horns – to roll around chasing each other as “rollerbulls.” And only in Louisiana are there frog shows in place of dog shows and inmates performing as cowboys in prison rodeos. And the list goes on:
● The countdown has already started to Mardi Gras, which celebrates Fat Tuesday on February 28th. This Pre-Lenten/Easter festival about parties, parades, beads, costumes and eating traditional king cakes is one of the most popular events to attend in all of the U.S.
● The Louisiana State Fair takes place in early November in Shreveport.
● Plan your trip to Louisiana around peak crawfish season in March, April and May. Now you’ll have two good reasons to visit Rayne (Frog Capital of the World, see above) and also to eat at Hawks, which serves "the best crawfish in the world.