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 holidays 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. Smoky grills and relaxed pizzerias offer different dining experiences, and if you’re looking for something a little more highbrow you will be able to find plenty of fine dining restaurants.
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. The performing arts are also an important feature, and you will find theatrical productions across the state as well as dance and visual arts. If you’re a sports fan, a trip to New Orleans may give you the chance to watch the New Orleans Pelicans basketball team play an NBA match at the Smoothie King Centre. College football is big in the state as well, and a ticket to watch the Louisiana State University Tigers play will let you immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere of a game day.
An introduction to Louisiana history and culture can be enjoyed at Louisiana State Museum, where a wide collection of exhibits and artefacts paint a picture of the area’s birth and growth. The museum comprises nine separate sites across the state which frequently present something new to discover. Louisiana Military Museum is a must for those interested in the region’s past conflicts, while the Louisiana Art & Science Museum encourages learning and discovery for all visitors.
There should be time for shopping during your time in the Deep South, and with so many dedicated outlets you surely won’t be disappointed. The Mall of Louisiana at Baton Rouge couples big-name brands with smaller stores where you can pick up clothing, shoes, homewares, and so much more. The Flea Market of Louisiana is the largest in the state with over 400 booths, while the farmers’ markets in Covington, Eunice, Hammond and Lake Charles are held year-round.