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.
As the flat bayous and prairies of south Louisiana give way to the hilly northern part of the state, the historic cultural sway changes too—from French to the Anglo-Saxon tradition. Homer, named for the Greek poet, epitomizes this influence. Located in a late 19th-century hotel, the history and culture of North Louisiana hill country is preserved and celebrated at the city's H.S. Ford Memorial Museum. Homer's Greek Revival-style brick courthouse, completed in 1860, is a rare example of an antebellum courthouse still in use. It is also the showpiece of the city's collection of sites on the National Register of Historic Places. With flowering plants in spring and summer and colorful foliage come autumn, Homer's country roads promise beautiful vistas. A drive through these scenes leads to Lake Claiborne State Park where hiking, camping and water sports abound, while the surrounding area also offers golf courses and hunting lodges.