When you make a list of all the unique things Louisiana has to offer visitors, you quickly see the long-lasting influences of our French, Spanish and African ancestry. Our past is well-preserved in our architecture, music, food and lifestyles—which include our amazing festivals—and of course in our museums of history and fine arts.
It is not an accident that Louisiana clings to the phrase "Laissez les bons temps rouler," meaning "Let the good times roll". Let yourself get lost in the traditions passed down through generations. Come visit us during Mardi Gras when costumed riders parade and magnificent balls are thrown from New Orleans and Baton Rouge to Houma, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Shreveport and beyond. Peek back across the centuries, as you walk under lavish ironwork and through the lush courtyard gardens of a meticulous French Quarter hotel. Touch history with a tour of a plantation where the daily activities of the past are recreated. Let nature's mysteries inspire and awe you via a boat tour through a cypress studded bayou.
Here, in Louisiana, history and lore don't merely live in books on a shelf; they're reflected in our everyday lives.
Founded in the 1890s, DeRidder boasts a large collection of historic buildings. Key sites include the stately Beauregard Parish Courthouse and the Beauregard Museum, which documents DeRidder’s history. But the town’s trademark is the renowned Gothic revival building known as the “Hanging Jail.” There, at the top of a spiral staircase, in view of the other prisoners’ jail cells, the condemned would meet their demise in spectacular fashion. But fear not, the people of DeRidder pride themselves on welcoming strangers. With the Fort Polk army base—and its thousands of soldiers in the neighborhood—DeRidder has gotten used to seeing unfamiliar faces. Beyond the town limits, a paddler’s paradise awaits, with lush waterways available for canoeing. From the Whiskey Chitto River east of the city to the Sabine River at the Texas border, the seat of a pirogue offers nature lovers a placid, leafy atmosphere punctuated with abundant Louisiana birdlife.