State Of Louisiana
Best known for its lively cities of New Orleans and Baton Rouge, visitors can experience French, Creole and Cajun culture, food, and music. New Orleans’ famous Mardi Gras festival features masquerade balls and parades.
A mix of swampland and farm country and a melting pot of French, African, and American culture, Louisiana boasts over 300 years of unique history. From the scenic byways running through the bayou to the lively cities of New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Shreveport, the “Pelican State” is known for its vibrant Creole and Cajun culture, people, food, music, festivals, and more. On your visit, be sure to try Louisiana’s culinary delicacies: crawfish, gumbo, jambalaya, po’ boys, and king cake.
Best Places to Visit in Louisiana
Enjoy the history, nightlife, French and Creole culture, and unique food that abounds in the most populous city in Louisiana.
French Quarter: In New Orleans’ most famous neighborhood, you will find history mixed with the lively nightlife of Bourbon Street. Visit a fortune teller on Jackson Square or dine at century old restaurants like Galatoire’s or Brennan’s. A visit to the French Quarter isn’t complete without beignets— pieces of deep fried dough covered in powdered sugar.
St. Louis Cathedral: Visit the oldest cathedral in North America, an iconic triple steepled building overlooking Jackson Square.
Louisiana State Museum: This statewide system of National Historic Landmarks and historic sites showcases the state’s rich history. In New Orleans, visit the Cabildo, Presbytère, New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint, 1850 House, and Madame John’s Legacy.
Cities in Louisiana
Baton Rouge: Tour the Old State Capitol, a 19th century gothic style building which first served as Louisiana’s state house from 1850 to 1862, when the government fled the capitol during the Civil War. Or, visit Louisiana State University (LSU), known as one of the top party schools in the country.
Lafayette: In the heart of Cajun country, you can experience culture, food, and live music. Tour the TABASCO Sauce Factory to learn the secret behind the beloved American hot sauce.
Shreveport: Formerly a national hub of the oil industry, Shreveport is now home to casinos, horse racing, and numerous art galleries. It is the educational, commercial, and cultural center of the Ark-La-Tex region, where Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas meet.
Natchitoches: For a perfect weekend getaway, take a trip to the original French colony in Louisiana, established in 1714 as the oldest settlement in the Louisiana Purchase. Visit plantations, take a Steel Magnolias tour, or bike the Natchitoches to Alexandria Bike Trail.
Breaux Bridge: In St. Martin Parish, just outside of Lafayette—the crawfish capital of the world—this charming town is known as the Gateway to Cajun Culture.
Louisiana State and National Parks
Fontainebleau State Park: This 2,800-acre park is on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain and is popular with bikers, fishermen, hikers, and campers.
Lake Claiborne State Park: A state-maintained camping and recreation area with two world class disc golf courses.
Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge: 15,000 acres of bottomland hardwood swamp habitat in the floodplain of the Atchafalaya River, a tributary of the Mississippi River that flows into the Gulf of Mexico.
Jean Lafitte National Historic Park and Preserve: This vast preserve within the Mississippi Delta region includes six different parks.
Cane River Creole National Historic Park: A 63 acre park preserving the Creole culture and the cultural landscape and natural resources of the Cane River, including the country’s most intact French Creole cotton plantations in Magnolia and Oakland.
New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park: This park celebrates and preserves the evolution and history of jazz music in the region, which is a huge part of the culture and history of Louisiana, particularly New Orleans.
Popular Activities in Louisiana
Mardi Gras Celebration: This annual celebration takes place for about two weeks before Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday— the beginning of Lent in the Christian tradition. Mardi Gras is celebrated in all of Louisiana, but the most elaborate celebrations occur in New Orleans, including masquerade balls and parades organized by social clubs known as krewes.
Swamp Boat Ride: The ultimate Louisiana outdoor adventure! Bayou and swamp tours by airboat, kayak, or boat are a great way to see alligators, wild hogs, birds, and other wildlife.
Live Music: Visit the annual New Orleans Jazz Fest or listen to zydeco, a blend of French accordion music and Afro-Caribbean beats from southwest Louisiana.
Festivals: Louisiana hosts more than 400 festivals every year to celebrate music, food, culture and fun. Among the most famous are the French Quarter Festival in New Orleans; Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival in Breaux Bridge; French Food Festival in Larose; Christmas Festival of Lights in Natchitoches; and the Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival in Ponchatoula.