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By Faith Ford
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Red River in Alexandria
The Red River in Alexandria is in Faith Ford's stomping grounds.

Like most people, one of my favorite things about Louisiana is food.  In Louisiana, you could stop about every other place to eat, and you'd eat well.  The best food ever is the homecooked stuff at the truck stops.

We love our crawfish in Pineville.  It's not good for the manicure, but I can't help it.  When it comes to crawfish, I'm possessed.  I can get on a roll and I don't know what happened; I look down and I don't know how many pounds I've eaten.

My favorite place for crawfish is Jungle Dinner Club in Ville Platte.  Did I mention we've got some great food in Louisiana?  Try a roast beef po-boy at Ray's PeGe in Monroe.  K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen in New Orleans is run by Paul Prudhomme, and they have the best étouffée around.

In Pineville, my hometown, the lunch buffet at Lee J's on the Levee tastes just like home.  I go crazy for pie, and there's no better place to get it than at Lea's Lunchroom in Lecompte, the pie capital of Louisiana.

I'm an antiquer from way back.  You can walk down Magazine Street in New Orleans and run into a great, eclectic bunch of shops selling furniture, clothing, pottery, local artwork and just about anything you can imagine.

But you can also find great things in the smaller towns, too.  I like to go through Bunkie on the old highway. You pass by plantations and colorful old homes.  I go to shops like Beaten Path Antiques and the Red Barn Mall.

If you're into history, I'd suggest checking out the seven plantation homes in St. Francisville, as well as the Kent Plantation House in Alexandria.  Those are some of my favorite places to visit.  If you're into fishing like me, there's no better place to do it than in La Salle and Catahoula parishes.

One of my favorite ways to have a good time in Louisiana is our great festivals.  People come from all over to attend the Louisiana Pecan Festival.  There's a big parade, live music, games, fireworks and a queen's ball.  It's a great time.  I like to collect antique Pecan Festival posters.  Another good one is the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival in May with its Cajun and zydeco dance contests, a crawfish étouffée cook-off and, the best part, Louisiana crawfish served in more delicious ways than you can imagine.