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When you make a list of all the unique things Louisiana has to offer visitors, you quickly see the long-lasting influences of our French, Spanish and African ancestry. Our past is well-preserved in our architecture, music, food and lifestyles—which include our amazing festivals—and of course in our museums of history and fine arts.
It is not an accident that Louisiana clings to the phrase "Laissez les bons temps rouler," meaning "Let the good times roll". Let yourself get lost in the traditions passed down through generations. Come visit us during Mardi Gras when costumed riders parade and magnificent balls are thrown from New Orleans and Baton Rouge to Houma, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Shreveport and beyond. Peek back across the centuries, as you walk under lavish ironwork and through the lush courtyard gardens of a meticulous French Quarter hotel. Touch history with a tour of a plantation where the daily activities of the past are recreated. Let nature's mysteries inspire and awe you via a boat tour through a cypress studded bayou.
Here, in Louisiana, history and lore don't merely live in books on a shelf; they're reflected in our everyday lives.
New Roads is located in one of the oldest settlement areas in Louisiana. The town is named after a “new road” the Spanish built in 1776 between the Mississippi and the False River, northwest from Baton Rouge. But it was not founded until 1822, when a free woman of color, Catherine Depau subdivided a portion of her plantation there. Known as the “Little Carnival Capital” of Louisiana, New Roads followed New Orleans’ example by staging Mardi Gras celebrations as early as 1881. The event continues to this day, drawing thousands of visitors. A Louisiana Main Street community, New Roads is also home to several plantation estates, particularly along the False River. The river itself is actually a 15-mile oxbow lake. It was once part of the Mississippi River before it changed course and is now the scene of breathtaking natural beauty and a great spot for fishing, boating and water-skiing.