St. Charles Parish
Just a short distance upriver from the Crescent City, next to the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, is St. Charles Parish. Here is where the big city and its suburban landscape give way to wetlands and riverside plantation houses. It is also the frontier of the Cote des Allemands, or “German Coast,” to which German immigrants flocked during the early French colonial dominion. Thus, surnames like Zweig (meaning “branch” in German) became LaBranche. St. Charles’ stretch of the fabled River Road offers calming scenery and fascinating stops. The ancient French Creole-style Destrehan, LaBranche and Ormond plantations provide a first hand point-of-contact with the parish’s past, spanning three centuries. In separate festivals, St. Charles celebrates not only its plantations, but also the alligator and the catfish. Its many bayous, as well as Lake Pontchartrain, are abundant waterfowl habitats and fisheries. As a result, the boating and angling opportunities are top-notch.