By Louisiana Travel Staff

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The Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch released the results of data collected from a survey to determine which cities and states are the happiest in the U.S. The study’s findings revealed that of all the states, Louisiana is the happiest and features the top five happiest cities, with Lafayette as the happiest city in the country. Altogether, seven Louisiana cities are in the top 10. It’s official—Louisiana is happy!

Come experience Louisiana’s happiness …


Houma


http://www.houmatravel.com

Located less than an hour drive southwest of New Orleans, Houma is Louisiana’s Bayou Country. Houma is featured on the popular TV Show, Swamp People and has more than 2,500 square miles of bayous, marshes and wetlands to explore. When you step out of the bayou waters, even more cultural and entertaining experiences await you including an alligator farm, 19th century sugar cane plantations, and the Chauvin Sculpture Garden. Top that off with fantastic Cajun food, music and dancing, and you will know why we’re Happy in Houma. 

Contact: Hal Moser

985.868.2732

[email protected]

8 a.m. – 9 a.m.  Chauvin Sculpture Garden 

Created by Kenny Hill, the Chauvin Sculpture Garden was recently voted as the 12th-best sculpture garden in the world by bestvalueschools.com. It is located about 25 minutes south of Houma in Chauvin on Bayou Petit Caillou

5337 Bayouside Drive, Chauvin|985.594.2546|http://www.nicholls.edu/folkart center     

10:30 a.m. – noon  Annie Miller’s Sons Marsh and Swamp Tour

Take an adventure into Louisiana’s swamps on Annie Miller’s Sons Marsh and Swamp Tour and meet the king of the reptiles—the alligator.

4038 Bayou Black Drive, Houma|985.868.4758|http://www.annie-miller.com

Noon – 1 p.m.  A-Bear’s Café

Enjoy home-style Cajun cuisine prepared with fresh Louisiana Seafood.

809 Bayou Black Drive, Houma|985.872.6306

1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m.  Greenwood Gator Farm  

The Greenwood Gator Farm is a working farm that maintains more than 10,000 alligators.  

125 Gator Court, Gibson|985.804.0744|greenwoodgatorfarm.com

3:30 p.m. – 5 p.m.  Southdown Plantation and the Terrebonne Museum 

Step into history at Southdown Plantation and the Terrebonne Museum. Your guide will lead you through the 19th century sugar plantation while explaining the intricacies of its history. The Terrebonne Museum will offer you a look into local culture with Cajun, Mardi Gras and Houmas Indian tribe exhibits.

1208 Museum Drive, Houma|985.851.0154|http://www.southdownmuseum.org

5 p.m. – 6 p.m.  Check into Hotel

6 p.m.  The Jolly Inn

Enjoy live Cajun music on weekends. Don’t be shy; learn how to cut a rug with your happy new friends from Houma.

1507 Barrow St., Houma|985.872.6114|http://www.thejollyinn.com

Lafayette

http://www.lafayettetravel.com

Lafayette is Cajun Country with a flavorful combination of rich history, unique culture, spirited festivals, outdoor activities and breathtaking scenery. You will love experiencing Cajun Country’s world-famous Cajun and zydeco music along with award-winning cuisine. Discover why Lafayette was recently named the happiest city in the USA!  

Contact: Eugenie Mitchell 

337.232.3737

[email protected] 

9 a.m. – 10 a.m.  TABASCO® Tour

The TABASCO® Factory and Country Store located on beautiful Avery Island is one of the most visited attractions in Cajun Country.

La. Hwy. 329, Factory Road, Avery Island|337.365.8173|http://www.tabasco.com 

10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  Vermilionville

Visit a Cajun, Creole and Native American Heritage and Folklife Park representing life from 1765 to 1890 with tours, costumed artisans, live music, cooking school, dance lessons, boat tours and a gift shop.

300 Fisher Road, Lafayette|337.233.4077|http://www.vermilionville.org

12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.  Blue Dog Café 

Sit. Stay. Eat. Enjoy award-winning food with a unique atmosphere created by hundreds of Blue Dog pieces by George Rodrigue

1211 W. Pinhook Road, Lafayette|337.237.0005|http://www.bluedogcafe.com 

2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.  Downtown Lafayette

Experience downtown Lafayette—museums, shopping, unique dining stops and the Joie de Vivre of Acadiana.

http://www.downtownlafayette.org 

3:45pm – 4:45pm  Check into Hotel

5 p.m. – 7 p.m.  Martin’s Accordions 

Groups will delight in hearing firsthand how the Martin Family began making Cajun accordions and seeing what the process actually involves while enjoying Cajun and zydeco music and storytelling by the Martin Family. 

2143 W. Willow St., Scott|337.230.6169|http://www.martinaccordions.com 

7:15 p.m. – 9:15 p.m.  Acadiana Bayous and Byways at Fezzo’s Restaurant

Feel right at home as Mama Redell cooks traditional Cajun dishes and listen to local musicians tell the story of the Acadians as they play music. Participation is encouraged. 

720 S. Frontage Road, Scott| 337.258.5303|http://www.bayousandbyways.com| http://www.fezzos.com 

9:30 p.m. – Until  Blue Moon Saloon & Artmosphere

Return to the hotel or for a late night option, visit Blue Moon Saloon & Artmosphere for live music and mixing with the locals.


215 E. Convent St., Lafayette|337.234.2422|http://www.bluemoonpresents.com

Lake Charles 


http://www.VisitLakeCharles.org

A hold out from the original Louisiana Purchase, Lake Charles is still known for its wild side. Home to the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road, a completely natural outdoor wonderland, gaming at four first-class casino resorts, tasty Louisiana cuisine, a 40-block National Register of Historic Places District and so much more. 

Contact: Anne Klenke

800.456.7952

[email protected]

9 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.  Louisiana Spirits

Visit the home of Bayou Rum, the largest private distillery in the U.S., for a tour and tasting. Bayou Rum is handcrafted on site the Louisiana way—in a traditional copper pot.

20909 S. Frontage Road, Lacassine|337.588.5800|http://www.bayourum.com

9:45 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.  Mini-Tour with CVB Step-on Guide of the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road

Known as Louisiana’s Outback, experience world-famous wildlife habitats brimming with alligators, birds and other marsh creatures.

Lake Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau|337.436.9588|http://www.VisitLakeCharles.org|http://www.creolenaturetrail.org  

10:15 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.  Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center              

View state-of-the-art exhibits and stroll the boardwalks over the marsh to learn about southwest Louisiana’s wildlife and culture.

1428 La. Hwy. 27, Bell City | 337.598.2216

10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.  Driving Tour with CVB Step-on Guide of Pintail Wildlife Drive on Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge

Drive this 3-mile loop that highlights a variety of birds and wildlife found along the Creole Nature Trail

Lake Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau|337.436.9588|http://www.VisitLakeCharles.org|http://www.creolenaturetrail.org  

12:15 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.  Pat’s of Henderson

For more than 50 years, Pat's of Henderson has served authentic Cajun cuisine inspired by its Cajun heritage and love for great food. 

1500 Siebarth Drive, Lake Charles | 337.439.6618

1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.  City Tour with CVB Step-on Guide of Shell Beach Drive and the Historic Charpentier District 

Enjoy a step back in time with 40 blocks of the finest collections of Victorian architecture in the state, dating from the late 1800s. 

Lake Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau|337.436.9588|http://www.VisitLakeCharles.org

2:45 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.  Central School Arts and Humanities Center for a stage performance by the Diamond Dancers 

The Diamond Dancers formed in 2002 and have competed in every District and State Senior Olympic Games since. This seniors dance team is often described as trendy, energetic and with-attitude. Reservations are booked through the Lake Charles CVB.

809 Kirby St. Suite 229, Lake Charles|337.436.9588|http://www.VisitLakeCharles.org

3:15 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.  Mardi Gras Museum at Central School 

Enjoy one of the largest Mardi Gras costume displays in the world. Climb aboard a parade float and learn the history of Mardi Gras pageantry including costumes, king cakes and Twelfth Night.

809 Kirby St., Suite 229, Lake Charles|337.430.0043

3:45 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.  King Cake Decorating and Tasting at Central School

Learn the history and tradition of the Mardi Gras king cake.

Lake Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau|337.436.9588|http://www.VisitLakeCharles.org 

4:30 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.  Cottage Shop District 

Take time to shop for Louisiana products in the Cottage Shop District.

2801 Ryan St., Lake Charles, 2710 Hodges St., Lake Charles

5:15 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.  Check into hotel 

6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.  Seafood Palace

Dine on seafood with a twist.

2218 Enterprise Blvd., Lake Charles|337.433.9293

8 p.m. – Until  L’Auberge Casino Resort

Late night gaming is always an option.

777 Avenue L’Auberge, Lake Charles|337.395.777

Shreveport


http://www.shreveport-bossier.org   

Shreveport-Bossier, located in beautiful northwest Louisiana is a mixture of Louisiana and wide-open Texas spirit. This unique combination of people and cultures is just one of the reasons why Shreveport-Bossier is one of the happiest cities in America. We have a lot to smile about … experience 24-hour gaming, riverfront entertainment, family-friendly festivals and mouth-watering cuisine. 

Contact:  Erica Howard

318.429.0652

[email protected]

11 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.  Barksdale Global Power Museum 

Take a historic journey from World War I to present. The museum features uniforms, dioramas, a barracks exhibit dating from World War II and 25 aircraft and vehicles.  

88 Barksdale, AFB|318.456.4171|http://www.barksdaleglobalpowermuseum.com 

Noon – 1:30 p.m.  Lunch and Shopping at The Outlets at the Louisiana Boardwalk

The Red River is the picturesque setting for Bossier City's unique shopping and entertainment destination, The Outlets at Louisiana Boardwalk. Visitors can experience shopping, dining, sightseeing and fun with a scavenger hunt.

540 Boardwalk Blvd., Bossier|318.752.1455|http://www.louisianaboardwalk.com  

1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.  Great Raft Brewing Company 

Shreveport’s first local brewery since Prohibition, Great Raft Brewing has a tasting room serving up its flagship beers.

1251 Dalzell St., Shreveport|318.734.9881|http://www.greatraftbrewing.com 

2:45 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.  Historic Drive and Tour Shreveport Bossier with Step-On Guide, Jan Pettiet   

Tour historic Shreveport and learn about downtown attractions—casinos, Red River District, Sci-Port: Louisiana’s Science Center and the Once in a Millennium Moon Mega Mural.

318.949.9831|http://www.shrevetales.com 

Holy Trinity 

The oldest church in Shreveport. Holy Trinity boasts Romanesque-revival design with its main altar featuring Italian marble and more than 60 stained glass windows with a European cathedral feel. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

315 Marshall St., Shreveport |318.221.5990|http://www.holytrinity-shreveport.com 

R.W. Norton Art Gallery  

The museum of American and European art spans four centuries and spotlights the southwest’s largest permanent collection of American Western art by Frederic Remington and Charles Russell.  

4747 Creswell Ave., Shreveport|318.865.4201|http://www.rwnaf.org  

5 p.m. – 6 p.m.  Check into Hotel

6:15 p.m. – 8:15 p.m.  Ralph and Kacoos

Enjoy a variety of Cajun cuisine—shrimp, crab and crawfish platters; charbroiled fish; and steaks.  

1700 Old Minden Road, Shreveport|318.747.6660|http://www.ralphandkacoos.com 

Monroe

http://www.monroe-westmonroe.org


Discover the hometown of the Robertson family, stars of A&E’s Duck Dynasty, with the Duck Commander Hometown Tour. Eat at more than 100 locally owned and locally flavored restaurants. Shop classic antique shops and trendy boutiques. Discover, eat and shop in Monroe. 

Contact:  Harolyn Falgoust

318-387-5691

[email protected]

10 a.m. – noon  Biedenharn Museum & Gardens

The elegant home of the first bottler of Coca-Cola with its incredible gardens, adjacent Bible Museum and remarkable Coca-Cola Museum (where there’s still a 5-cent Coca-Cola).

2006 Riverside Drive, Monroe|318.807.3207 or 318.387.5281|http://www.bmuseum.org

12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.  Willie’s Duck Diner

Enjoy Southern country foods alongside Cajun seafood dishes. The menu is as diverse as the Robertson clan. For a happy ending to the meal try Miss Kay’s Banana Pudding or Pecan Pie.

125 Constitution Drive, West Monroe|318-807-3825|http://www.williesduckdiner.com

1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m.  Duck Commander Store and Hometown Tour

West Monroe is the proud home of the Robertson family, stars of A&E's hit show Duck Dynasty. Visit the Duck Commander Warehouse store for gift items, cookbooks and spices, then enjoy visiting locations featured on the show.

Monroe-West Monroe CVB|800.843.1872/318.387.5691|http://www.monroe-westmonroe.org

3:30 p.m. – 5 p.m.  Landry Vineyards

A family-owned-and-operated winery located in the rolling hills of West Monroe. Wines produced here include Blackberry Merlot, Blanc Du Bois (Dry and Semi-Sweet), Cabernet Sauvignon, Cotton Rouge, Redneck Red and more.  

5699 New Natchitoches Road, West Monroe|318.557.9050|http://www.landryvineyards.com

5:15 p.m.  Check into Hotel

6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.  The Warehouse No. 1 Restaurant

Relax along the Ouachita River while you dine in this unique building that was once a cotton warehouse.  

1 Olive St., Monroe|318.322.1340|http://www.warehouseno1.com

Alexandria


http://www.AlexandriaPinevilleLA.com

Alexandria/Pineville is the perfect place to see the best Louisiana has to offer. Historic plantations, agricultural tours, Civil War re-enactments, WWII History, outdoor adventures and more. See why Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch lists Alexandria/Pineville in the top five happiest cities and National Geographic lists us in America’s Top 100 Adventure Towns. 

Contact:  Shirley Ingram

337.442.9546

[email protected]

10 a.m. – noon  Visit Gone Wild Safari

Experience a wild animal safari in central Louisiana. Hop on the safari wagon and see more than 150 wild animals roaming free. Animal favorites include a zorse, zebras and a giraffe.

805 Hooper Road, Pineville|337.787.6902

Noon – 1 p.m.  Southern Creations

Enjoy Southern homestyle cooking with a classic bread pudding.

208 Main St., Pineville|337.308.2290

1 p.m. – 2 p.m.  River Oaks Square Arts Center

This visual arts and crafts center features two facilities: the Bolton House (1899) and the new studio annex building. It is home to more than 30 resident artists, giving visitors the opportunity to visit with the artists as they work. 

1330 Second St., Alexandria|337.473.2670

2 p.m. – 3 p.m.  Mardi Gras Mask Making Workshop

Join the fun as Magnolia Masks owner and artist Vicki Allen leads visitors through the process of creating a Mardi Gras mask to take home.   

Shirley Ingram|337.442.9546|[email protected]

3 p.m. – 4 p.m.  Alexandria Museum of Art

The centerpiece of Alexandria's river front, the museum includes the state's largest collection of north Louisiana folk art.

933 Second St., Alexandria|337.443.3458

4 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.  Downtown Alexandria

Tour the Hotel Bentley, Alexandria’s historic hotel; Sentry Grill, the area’s oldest drug store and souvenir shop; and Tamp & Grind, quaint locally owned coffee shop.

Shirley Ingram|337.442.9546|[email protected]

4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.  Check into Hotel

6 p.m. – 8 p.m.  Tunk’s Cypress Inn

Dine overlooking scenic Kincaid Lake where even the turtles come for a bite to eat. Tunk’s is known for fish and seafood dishes such as Miss Mayme’s Seafood Gumbo, though other dishes are also available. Live music is available in the Oyster Bar Tuesdays – Saturdays.

9507 W. La. Hwy. 28, Boyce|318.487.4014

Baton Rouge


http://www.visitbatonrouge.com

Louisiana’s capital city is a place where the weather is nearly always warm, the food has a special little kick and the people are ready to entertain. You’ll find an eclectic mix of museums, political landmarks, unique shopping and antebellum homes. What’s not to be happy about?  

Contact:  Tracy Francis

225.382.3573

[email protected]  

10 a.m. – noon  Nottoway Plantation tour and lunch

Take a tour of the largest plantation home in the South and top off your visit with a delicious meal at Nottoway’s Mansion Restaurant.

31025 La. Hwy. 1, White Castle|225.545.2730|http://www.nottoway.com

12:30 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.  Old State Capitol

Travel through the state’s storied political history at the Old State Capitol. Don’t forget to look up at the beautiful gothic staircase and stained glass ceiling!

100 North Blvd., Baton Rouge|225.342.0500|http://www.louisianaoldstatecapitol.org

1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.  Louisiana State Capitol

See this magnificent art deco style structure standing proud as the nation’s tallest capitol building. Get a bird’s eye view of the city and Mississippi River from the 27th floor observation deck.

900 N. Third St., Baton Rouge|225.342.7317|http://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/Louisiana/cap.htm

2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.  Capitol Park Museum

Step onto a Mardi Gras float, discover the difference between Cajun and Creole, feast your eyes upon a massive shrimp boat and lose yourself in historical multimedia presentations and a musical second line.

660 N. Fourth St., Baton Rouge|225.342.5428|http://louisianastatemuseum.org/museums/capitol-park-museum/

*Take the scenic route across town and get a glimpse of Louisiana State University*

4 p.m. – 5 p.m.  Rural Life Museum

At LSU’s Rural Life Museum, one of the top outdoor museums in the world, you’ll find traces of 18th and 19th century Louisiana life in buildings and artifacts of the era.

4560 Essen Lane, Baton Rouge, LA|225.765.2437|http://www.discoverburden.com

5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.  Check into hotel

6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.Boutin’s Restaurant

Wrap up your day at Boutin’s Restaurant as you enjoy delicious Cajun cuisine, listen to live music and dance the night away!

8322 Bluebonnet Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA|225.819.9862

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