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.
When most people think of Cajuns, they think of pirogues on the bayou. But Eunice – named for the town founder’s beloved wife – is the “prairie” Cajun capital of Louisiana. The week here starts on Saturday mornings, with hot boudin sausage, coffee and the open Cajun jam session at Savoy’s Music Center. This 40-year-old tradition, where old hands play alongside up-and-comers, was started by a local accordion-maker and is still going strong. On Saturday evenings, the historic Liberty Theater broadcasts a live Cajun radio show. It makes sense that Eunice would also house the Cajun Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Here, greats like “Doc” Guidry and “Happy Fats” LeBlanc are commemorated, and the story of Cajun music is told. For the rest of the story, visit the Prairie Cajun Cultural Center, which is one of the few places you’ll find National Park Service rangers alongside Cajun chefs dishing up jambalaya.