Looking for top-notch, inexpensive family entertainment, great food, a beautiful outdoor experience and some of the best music in the world? Two words: Louisiana festivals.
More than 400 Louisiana festivals occur each year – which makes it easy to see why Louisiana is often called the Festival Capital of America. We celebrate just about every crop harvested, every indigenous dish, every type of music that's played here – ranging from Cajun and zydeco to Delta blues, New Orleans jazz, Louisiana's own swamp pop, country, salsa and more. Excellent Louisiana food is a given at any festival. And as always, Louisiana festivals offer abundant opportunities for meeting new friends.
Themed festivals range from a Strawberry Festival in Ponchatoula and Tomato Festival in Chalmette to the great Festival International in Lafayette; from the big Contraband Days Pirate Festival in Lake Charles to the Holiday Festival of Lights in Natchitoches. From the Red River Revel in Shreveport to the Catfish Festival in Washington. Of course, you'll want to visit the annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, or the big family-fun French Quarter Festival.
And for the biggest of them all? That's right, Louisiana is home to Mardi Gras! But that's another story – and a very large one across the state!
Iberia Parish became a haven for exiled Acadians from Nova Scotia beginning in 1788, but not until after the Battle of New Orleans would a substantial number of Americans begin settling on its rich soil. Eventually, some of them came together in what is now Loreauville.
In its early life, Loreauville was known as Picouville, named for a family called Picou. In 1871, the town changed its name to honor Ozaire Loreau, a community supporter who had contributed property for a Catholic church and cemetery. Industrial growth took off with the completion in 1899 of a bridge across Bayou Teche. A few years later, the first locally owned automobile is said to have arrived. Loreauville was incorporated in 1910, when its population stood at 291. Early town fathers included Adrien Gonsoulin and his son-in-law, John Walet. Gonsoulin built the area's first railroad to provide transportation for his sugar cane from the plantation to the mill. Walet owned a store, a cotton gin and considerable property.
Once called "Prairie au Large" for its gentle hills nurtured by Bayou Teche, the area around Loreauville remains a fertile growing place for sugar cane. People here have lived off the rich earth but at times have had to be wary of Mother Nature. In 1927, as Loreauville stood in the path of a heavy ice- and snow-melt from the north, the town had to be evacuated. Water found its way into the Old Red River channel, overflowed the lakes and completely inundated Iberia Parish, later becoming known as the Great Flood of 1927. When the waters receded, people cleaned up and returned to their way of life. Gradually, new industries such as oil, lumber and boat-building buoyed the economy. Today, Loreauville is home to three large boat-builders.