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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!
Two giant names of American business are deeply ingrained in the history of Monroe, and its neighbor across the Ouachita River, West Monroe: Delta Airlines got its start here in 1926 as a crop dusting service, and Coca-Cola opened its first bottling plant here. Today, those legacies provide unique attractions for visitors. Biedenharn Home and Gardens, the estate of that first Coke bottler, is open to the public as a museum and sculpture garden. The Chennault Aviation and Military Museum of Louisiana has exhibits on Delta Airlines, the local World War II flight school at Selman Field and the volunteer combat unit called the Flying Tigers commanded by one-time Monroe resident, General Chennault. The 1,800-acre, cypress-studded waters and trails of Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge puts sportsmen's paradise at Monroe's doorstep, while a trip to the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo offers up-close encounters with animals from around the world.