It's the birthplace of America's only indigenous art form—jazz—but Louisiana also is home to a host of musical styles ranging from country, gospel and blues to hip hop, rockabilly and rock 'n' roll. We enjoy an embarrassment of riches in musical talent. From the days of Louis Armstrong and Sidney Bechet to names like Pete Fountain and Al Hirt, to Kermit Ruffins and Trombone Shorty; from piano innovators Jelly Roll Morton and Professor Longhair to contemporary treasure Allen Toussaint; from Zachary Richard and zydeco "king" Clifton Chenier to Beau Soleil and Rockin' Dopsie; from legendary bands like the Neville Brothers to some of the world's biggest musical names, including Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis and Harry Connick Jr.; Louisiana has produced an incredible wealth of musical talent. The fruits of their influence—and many of the artists—appear on stages large and small throughout the state. When you come to Louisiana, don't miss the music!
As the largest city in Lafayette Parish, Lafayette, Louisiana mixes all the amenities of urban life, including universities and medical centers, with the unmistakable influence of the region's venerable Cajun and Creole cultures. Visitors can learn about the area's roots by touring either the Acadian Cultural Center or Vermilionville. Built as 19th century bayou villages, each folk life center operates as an interactive museum. This heritage is still prominent in the city's lifestyle cultural traditions.
Lafayette is said to have more restaurants per capita than any other American city, and many of them specialize in the distinctive, seafood-laden regional cuisine. Numerous music clubs feature homegrown talent, including both traditional and contemporary Cajun and Zydeco performers. Two popular festivals, Festival International de Louisiane in April and Festivals Acadiens in October, draw many thousands of visitors to town and anchor a calendar year full of celebrations of the area's vibrant culture.