You can thank the 19th-century yellow fever outbreaks in lower Louisiana for the modern-day popularity of the Florida Parishes. The Parishes’ abundance of fresh air and natural mineral springs were seen as a common-sense elixir for those needing to escape from the fever-plagued coastal cities, and these areas have remained a treasured point of escape for Louisiana locals ever since. Start in historic Baton Rouge and dive head first into a cityscape full of museums, art galleries and guided walking tours. Don’t miss the River Road African American Museum, Old State Capitol and LSU Campus. Then go exploring abroad.
A weekend in Greater New Orleans might be a lifetime anywhere else. The city whose unofficial motto is “Let the Good Times Roll!” certainly lives up to its reputation, offering a bottomless wellspring of fantastic food, incredible music, scintillating nightlife and a diffusion of rich worldly cultures that has to be seen (and tasted) to believe. Dance your way from Jackson Square to the French Quarter, stroll through the Audubon Zoological Gardens and be sure to tag along on a guided food tour or two. Outside the city limits, explore a treasure trail of historic, fully restored plantation homes.
Welcome to Cajun Country, where spicy Cajun cuisine and rollicking Cajun music keep bellies full and spirits high year-round. Specialties like gumbo, boudin and crawfish are the dishes du jour here, and a weekend nature tour might take you into gator-infested bayous by boat. The university town of Lafayette is the main anchor for the whole region, drawing visitors from far and wide for the annual Festivals Acadiens et Créoles. In Breaux Bridge, aim for the one-of-a-kind Crawfish Festival, held every May. Other can’t-miss highlights include Zoosiana, Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site and the Acadian Cultural Center.