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.
With less than 1,000 residents, Columbia is truly a small town. But since the 1950s, it has gotten a lot bigger each fall when it becomes home to the Louisiana Art and Folk Festival. Held in downtown Columbia, the festival showcases one of Louisiana’s Main Street communities. Visitors discover a beautifully preserved and aggressively maintained old town. A focal point is the Schepis Museum. With its trademark statues of Christopher Columbus and George Washington, the circa 1916 Schepis building highlights the town’s heritage as a settlement for entrepreneurial Italian immigrants. Situated on the Ouachita River in Louisiana’s cotton country, Columbia developed as a bustling riverboat town. Today, there are spectacular views from the Riverwalk. Nearby, the Boeuf Wildlife Management Area offers a wide array of game for hunters to pursue, including deer, rabbit, quail and turkey. Those who prefer wild hog, will find ample hunting opportunities in the area’s vicinity.