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.
DeQuincy, north of Lake Charles, has a colorful history as a railroad town. In 1897, with a crossing of rails from two company lines, the town of DeQuincy was formed. Today, you can visit the DeQuincy Railroad Museum which houses a 1913 steam locomotive, passenger car, caboose and other railroad artifacts. People in DeQuincy take great pride in their history as a railroad town, and nearly every major festival celebrates railroad heritage. The major festival held in DeQuincy is the Louisiana Railroad Days Festival held each April with live music, model railroaders and other railroad themed events such as the canine caboose dog pageant or the dining car cook-off! During the holidays, the festive KCS Holiday Express Train with candy cane stripes on its engine arrives at the DeQuincy Railroad Museum with Santa and his elves greeting visitors, usually preceding the lighting ceremony and Taste of the Holidays home tour.