Louisiana has the most colorful history of any state and of many countries. Beginning long before the Louisiana Purchase, our state took shape in prehistoric times. We have had a past of many battles, on the battlefield and in the political arena. Louisiana's architecture is a lasting impression of French and Spanish rule. Today, there are many reminders of the past in our museums, plantations, historic sites and attractions.
Opelousas is a great place to use your feet, whether strolling over the 19th-century brick sidewalks lining its historic district or participating in the city's deep Zydeco music tradition by dancing at a local club or festival. Opelousas is Louisiana's third-oldest city and is part of the state's Main Street Program with its downtown cluster of antique shops, boutiques and restaurants serving Cajun cuisine. Visitors can see antebellum, Victorian and early 20th-century buildings on a walk through town, including the "Hidden Capital of Louisiana," which served as the governor's mansion during the Civil War. A trip to the historic Le Vieux Village, with its 19th-century cottages, Orphan Train exhibit and Jim Bowie display about the famous one-time Opelousas resident, adds historical context to the Cajun and Creole folkways still in such vibrant evidence around the city today, while the Evangeline Downs Racetrack & Casino is among the city's newest attractions.