Saint Landry Parish
With the founding of Opelousas in 1720, just after Natchitoches and New Orleans, St. Landry Parish is among Louisiana’s oldest settlement areas. While Landry is a common surname in Cajun country, the parish was named for Landry of Paris, a 7th-century bishop. The parish stands just north of Lafayette, and it combines the French Creole culture of its founders with the Afro-Creole, as well as the French Cajun culture of later settlers. In practical terms, that means the gumbo is as good as the jambalaya, and the Cajun music is as good as the Zydeco. But make no mistake: Here Zydeco rules. St. Landry brings Zydeco onto the calendar with the Original Southwest Louisiana Zydeco Music Festival at the end of each summer. And alongside Zydeco, the yam is a big deal around here. The two are combined in the annual Yambilee Festival, where the sweet potatoes somehow taste sweeter.