No place in America is better known for incredible indigenous food and music. Our cuisine is legendary no matter which part of the state you visit. Cajun and Creole delicacies – dishes with curious names like gumbo, jambalaya and étouffée and the best in Gulf of Mexico seafood – are at every turn, found alongside unique Louisiana spins on more traditional Southern fare.
Louisiana is separated into five regions, Greater New Orleans, Plantation Country, Cajun Country, Crossroads and Sportsman’s Paradise. The five regions reveal how Louisiana’s culture is so diverse, but with similarities among them all, and each region adds a unique note to Louisiana’s musical heritage.
Enjoy many of Louisana’s top attractions:
Louisiana is the birthplace of jazz, the home of Cajun and zydeco music and a key player in the history of American blues, country and rock ‘n’ roll. Jazz, like its birthplace New Orleans, is an eclectic mix of European, African and Caribbean cultures and influences which spills into the streets of popular tourist districts such as the French Quarter and Faubourg Marigny. To the west of the city are the swamps and prairies of “Acadiana,” where Cajun and zydeco still dot the landscape in venues ranging from dance halls and hole-in-the-wall clubs to festivals the porches of rural farmhouses. Other regional pockets, particularly in north and central Louisiana, were pivotal in the birth and evolution of country, blues, rockabilly and rock and roll.
Like the food and music, interesting history and memorable outdoor adventures are numerous statewide. Ornate antebellum plantation mansions dot the Mississippi River, showing and telling the story of the pre-Civil War south. Louisiana’s Cajun and Creole cultures remain prevalent generations later, and the range of experiences is as thorough as history exhibits at numerous museums, yet as simple as street signs in both English and French in many cities. And only in Louisiana can you find one of the oldest historical sites in America – the Native American earthworks and artifacts of Poverty Point, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, predates The Pyramids.
Adventure seekers find opportunities for fishing, hunting, biking, paddling, hiking, camping and bird- and wildlife-watching in thousands of acres of scenic swamps, coastal marshes and lowland pine and hardwood forests. And for adventure fused with Louisiana food and music, try a Louisiana festival – there are hundreds statewide each year, the biggest being Mardi Gras in New Orleans and several major Louisiana cities.
Nicknamed the “Festival Capital of America,” Louisiana hosts more than 400 festivals each year, including its famous Mardi Gras. Tap your feet in New Orleans dance halls to the sounds of live jazz. Indulge in Louisiana’s famous Cajun and Creole cuisine, as well as its libations (the state is home to the Sazerac, the U.S.’s first cocktail, after all). From boutiques to antiques, the shopping is also top-notch in Louisiana – and it’s tax-free for international travelers.