The allure of Louisiana's Cajun culture is everywhere in Lafourche Parish and Thibodaux. Located just slightly southwest from New Orleans and spanding down into the isles in the Gulf of Mexico, this area of Louisiana is full of adventure. Visit Cajun restaurants featuring bowls of gumbo that could only be heaven-sent, tour the miles of beautiful bayou, stop to learn about the area's untouched history, and don't forget about the epic fishing scene. Start planning your trip to Lafourche Parish.
Top 10 Things to Do in Thibodaux and Lafourche Parish
1. Swamp Tours
Taking a tour into Lafourche Parish’s swamplands is an otherworldly experience, akin to time-traveling into Louisiana’s prehistoric past. This is nature at its most exhilarating, and lucky for visitors, the area has some phenomenal guides to show you around. 2 Da Swamp Bayou Tours & Museum offers trips to Bayou Des Allemands accompanied by traditional Cajun music, and museum displays of artifacts recalling Des Allemands’ early years. Airboat Tours by Arthur Matherne, open seasonally, gives visitors high-octane thrill rides on its fleet of airboats. Torres Cajun Swamp Tours’ guides will fill you in on the history and ecology of Bayou Boeuf while you enjoy a slow ride through the wetlands. Zam’s Bayou Swamp Tours gets visitors up close and personal with swamp residents including alligators, turtles and birds.
The White family was at one time in the top ranks of Louisiana’s political elite. Patriarch Edward Douglas White was the state’s governor in the 1830s; his son and namesake became a U.S. Supreme Court Justice in the 1890s. The elder White’s home, a Louisiana State Museum site, is open to the public for tours. The building is a time capsule of the state’s history. Built from cypress in the Creole Plantation style in 1825, White purchased the home and reimagined it as a Greek Revival mansion. On your tour of the E.D. White Historic Site in Thibodaux, you’ll learn of the White family and the home’s history, as well as stories of the Chitimacha Indians and Cajun settlers, sugar plantation owners and the slaves that worked the fields in service of them. It’s a fascinating peek into the lives of those who made Lafourche Parish such a unique cultural destination. Learn about tour times and events at E.D. White Historic Site.
Donner-Peltier Distillers is all about Louisiana pride. The company’s history dates to the 1930s, when co-founder Henry Peltier’s grandfather bought an abandoned sugar mill. The tradition lives on today in every bottle of Donner-Peltier’s Rougaroux Full Moon Dark Rum, Sugarshine Rum and its 13 Pennies Praline Rum. You can tour the company’s headquarters in Thibodaux to learn more about the rum-making process and the history of the company.
4. Restaurants in Thibodaux
Thibodaux is pure Cajun Country, with restaurants and fresh markets that reflect the local culture and cuisine. Top-rated restaurant spots include Fremin’s Restaurant, where you can take in the architecture of Thibodaux's downtown area. The food is prepared with a view into the kitchen and the duck-and-andouille gumbo is like heaven in a bowl. Head to Off the Hook, a down-home spot with awesome po-boys, fried seafood and more gumbo! And try something different at the Cajun Potato Kitchen, a quirky and casual restaurant serving huge baked potatoes loaded with Cajun toppings. It's fun and different and popular with the university crowd. Get a full list of local's favorite restaurants.
There aren’t many places — perhaps nowhere else, actually — where you’ll find a Cajun-themed children’s museum. Bayou Country Children’s Museum in Thibodaux brings together Cajun history, education and fun, and it’s an awesome way to spend a day with the family. Kids can play on a full-size sugar harvester, toss beads from a Mardi Gras float, climb aboard a shrimp boat and more.
South Louisiana is synonymous with the wetlands that flow through it, and perhaps nowhere is that more on display than in Lafourche Parish where more than 100 miles of bayou weave throughout the parish. So it makes sense that the Center for Traditional Louisiana Boat Building is based here, in the town of Lockport. At the Center, you’ll learn how traditional Cajun boats were constructed, including the iconic pirogue boats and flat-bottomed vessels (called putt-putts) that long ago were found throughout the waters of Cajun Country bayous.
The Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center in Thibodaux is part of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Preserve. The Center’s goal is to preserve Cajun tradition, with programming that includes free Cajun music jam sessions every Monday afternoon, a Cajun-French meetup on Tuesdays, historical Thibodaux walking tours and boat tours of Bayou Lafourche (held in fall and spring). Check out the Center’s museum store, which has Cajun music recordings, crafts and books for sale.
Twenty-two parishes make up the America’s Wetland Birding Trail, and traveling through them is both an ecological and cultural experience. Lafourche Parish is part of the Grand Isle Loop, which includes portions of Louisiana’s best-known barrier island as well as inland birding destinations filled with shorebirds and seabirds. Download more information about the Grand Isle Loop on the Wetland Birding Trail.
9. Charter Fishing
Louisiana’s portion of the Gulf of Mexico offers some of the finest fishing in the world. The freshwater streams and saltwater wetlands of Lafourche Parish give both amateur and professional anglers innumerable opportunities to catch prize-worthy fish while making memories to last a lifetime. There way too many outfitters to list here, so get the full list of charter boat companies in the area. And read more about saltwater fishing in Louisiana.
The Bayou Lafourche region’s history is honored at this Lockport museum, located in a historical (and well-preserved) bank built in 1910. Its permanent exhibit, titled Bayou Lafourche: 1910, is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Catch the Carnival spirit, Cajun style, at parades taking place throughout Lafourche Parish from January 28, 2018 through Mardi Gras Day (otherwise known as Fat Tuesday), February 13, 2018. More than a dozen parades roll through the towns of Golden Meadow, Galliano, Larose, as well as the parish seat of Thibodaux. Learn more about the parade schedules.