Cajun Country offers visitors a unique experience
Adventures in culture, food and music await in south Louisiana, where life is on the spicy side.
When the French-speaking, Catholic Acadians of Eastern Canada refused to swear allegiance to the British crown in the mid-1700s, their penalty was deportation. The king of Spain offered them land grants in the Louisiana Territory – in alligator-filled swamps and barren prairies. Cajun Country folks have thrived along these swamps, marshes and prairies for two-and-a-half centuries. They don’t live in floating boathouses much anymore, but down in Golden Meadow, visitors can watch the shrimp boats chugging up the bayou, then scarf down some of those yummies in a bowl of gumbo in Houma that night.
Sample both Cajun and Creole food in the many classic places around Acadiana for the ultimate in gumbo, étouffée and po-boys (save room for bread pudding). Try Prejean’s Restaurant in Lafayette; Café des Amis or the legendary Mulate's® in Breaux Bridge. Along the road in Lafourche Parish, look for stands selling fresh Creole tomatoes, boudin and andouille sausage, or cracklins.
Up in Eunice, there's the Liberty Theatre/Rendez-Vous Des Cajuns Music Show and the Cajun Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
Modern-day Cajuns’ great-great-(and on back)-grandparents refused to drop their Catholic beliefs and certainly didn’t want to bow to the English crown, so they were forced to leave their Canadian home in Acadie, finally making their way to Catholic, Spanish Louisiana. The British government belatedly offered written acknowledgement of their suffering and displacement in 2003.
Well, they would be called “Acadians” but for the way the English language down here gets boiled down with a French accent and a pinch of Southern drawl, with the word ending up “Cajuns.” The Acadian Memorial in St. Martinville remembers the 3,000 people who fled Canada and settled in Louisiana with a wall of names and a museum that tells their story.