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One facet of Louisiana that makes it such an appealing visitor destination is its deep and colorful history. European explorers found their way to the region and inhabited the area very early relative to settlement of much of the rest of the continent. As a result, some communities in Louisiana are among the oldest in the United States. Before those explorers arrived, of course, people we now know as Native Americans populated the region. Reaching still farther back in time, ancient peoples left their mark on the area thousands of years ago. The state of Louisiana offers many ways to explore the region’s rich history, in hundreds of museums, historic structures, landmarks, artifacts and works of art. The careful preservation and restoration of these sites and artifacts has created many rare opportunities for visitors to experience Louisiana’s history and gain insights into the diverse cultures that continue to influence the state today.
Architecture and the outdoors are the big draws to the small town of Bastrop. City founder Felipe Enrique Neri, Baron de Bastrop, was one of Louisiana's most colorful characters, who populated the town with 99 immigrants from northern states to run grain mills. Since then, Bastrop has become a hideout for Civil War soldiers, a refuge for refugees of the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, and, more recently, the home to some of northern Louisiana's more interesting architecture. While cruising past the town's Craftsman and plantation-style homes, be sure to check out the Snyder Museum and Creative Arts Center -- ask about the historical tours of the region at the Bastrop Visitor Center. Outdoor adventure seekers will find plenty of paddling opportunitites in the area. Check out paddle trails in the area.