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One facet of Louisiana that makes it such an appealing visitor destination is its deep and colorful history. European explorers found their way to the region and inhabited the area very early relative to settlement of much of the rest of the continent. As a result, some communities in Louisiana are among the oldest in the United States. Before those explorers arrived, of course, people we now know as Native Americans populated the region. Reaching still farther back in time, ancient peoples left their mark on the area thousands of years ago. The state of Louisiana offers many ways to explore the region’s rich history, in hundreds of museums, historic structures, landmarks, artifacts and works of art. The careful preservation and restoration of these sites and artifacts has created many rare opportunities for visitors to experience Louisiana’s history and gain insights into the diverse cultures that continue to influence the state today.
Port Allen sits across the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge, but the mighty waterway does more to unite the two neighbors than separate them. As home to the Port of Greater Baton Rouge, the city is the northernmost deepwater terminal on the Mississippi and a busy crossroads with cargo moving from barges and trains to ocean-going vessels. Port Allen's Mississippi Riverfront Development park offers panoramic views of the Capital City's skyline along a pedestrian promenade lined with architectural features and ornamental lighting. The city's important location has fueled its rich industrial and cultural history, which are showcased at the West Baton Rouge Museum complex with its 1830s-era Aillet House and collection of slave cabins. Tour the Railroad Depot Museum with restored caboose and exhibits on 1940s railroad life; come to Sugarfest in October or the Lagniappe Dulcimer Fete Festival, a celebration of handmade musical instruments each March, draws travelers nationwide.