Louisiana’s Secret Spots
It’s time to ease our way into Louisiana for the last leg of the ‘Cowboys, Indians, and All That Jazz’ tour of the south-central U.S. We uncover Louisiana’s secret spots and fascinating history in the charming cities of Shreveport, Alexandria, and New Orleans. Three hundred years of French Creole tradition, food, and music is waiting to welcome you!
Down on the Bayou
Caddo Lake is a stunning wetland on the border of Texas and Louisiana and a great place to begin your Cajun explorations. Spend a lazy day paddling beneath its ancient cypress trees draped with Spanish moss. Navigate the mysterious maze of bayous while keeping an eye out for alligators.
The bayous and swampy waterways are part of the region’s lure. You can’t help but feel enchanted by their murky beauty!
The unusual history of Creole culture and tradition is rooted in plantation life. Before Louisiana became U.S. property in 1803, the Creole functioned in an elitist structure, based on family ties. It was an isolated society that rejected many European customs and “modern” thinking like rules of law. Class, not race, determined social status, and plantations provided both wealth and family name recognition.
Kent House (ca. 1796) in Alexandria is an authentic Creole plantation house built by the Baillio family. It sits on an original land grant by the King of Spain and highlights the influence of the French, Spanish and American cultures. It also gives us a glimpse into Louisiana plantation life between 1795 and 1855.
Loyd Hall Plantation (ca. 1820) is another pristine example of old southern living and comes with intrigues of its own. In 1864, the home’s owner, William Loyd, was executed here. He was suspected of being a double spy for both the Union and the Confederate States of America.
Legend has it that Loyd is reluctant to leave the home he built and roams its halls regularly. He keeps company with a former slave whose presence is accompanied by smells of cooking, and a piano-playing niece who fell out of a third-floor window. Harry, a Union deserter shot while hiding in Loyd Hall’s attic, is also heard playing the violin late at night.
Past and Present Unite
Your introduction to Louisiana is a fascinating peek at days gone by, but nothing unites the past and present quite like the mystique of the French Quarter in New Orleans. Here the history, mystery, music, and mouthwatering Cajun cuisine blend in a way that you won’t find anywhere else in the world!
Start the day with a melt-in-your-mouth beignet dusted with sweet sugar from one of the French Quarter’s famous bakeries. Then sign up for a guided walking tour of the sights, sounds, or secrets of New Orleans.
Choose from tours that highlight the city’s history, charming architecture, or love affair with jazz. Perhaps you want to explore its otherworldly connection with voodoo and above-the-ground cemeteries, or even spirits of a bottled variety!
Following your adventures on foot (or carriage), enjoy a delectable dinner with a side of history at one of New Orlean’s fine dining establishments.
Your trip wouldn’t be complete, of course, without a night out on Bourbon Street. The city really comes to life when the lights come on and vibrant sounds of live jazz music fill the air! The street becomes your dance floor and music the universal language until the sun comes up. There’s never a last call here – if that sort of thing appeals to you! ?
Destinations Beyond Expectations
If the allure of the Acadians calls to you, listen in to the most recent episode of Destinations Beyond Expectations podcast. Host Stevie G. chats with Erica Telsee from the Shreveport-Bossier CTB, Cathy Carter from the Alexandria – Pineville Area CVB, and Thu Tran from New Orleans & Company about the incredible attractions, history, and culture of the region. Louisiana’s secret spots – revealed!
The good people of Louisiana bid you “au revoir” as you wrap up your south-central U.S. explorations. The ‘Cowboys, Indians, and All That Jazz’ tour pays homage to our unique American history and the often-overlooked places where it flourished. Now it’s time for you to inspire your travel tribe and plan this epic adventure of the south-central United States!