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.
Though first settled by French and Spanish Creoles from New Orleans, Thibodaux rapidly became a refuge for the Acadian exiles of the mid-1700s. The city’s history still echoes today, through its historic architecture. There’s the 1830s era E.D. White Historic Site, a plantation on Bayou Lafourche that was home to a Louisiana governor and his son, who served on the U.S. Supreme Court. There’s the Rienzi plantation, built during the Spanish colonial days— according to legend— for the Queen of Spain. There’s also the Laurel Valley Village. Once a massive sugar plantation, its dozens of remaining structures give visitors, a window into the past, as it was lived by field hands. As home to Nicholls State University, Thibodaux benefits greatly from the vibrancy and cultural activities that come from being a college town. Stop in at the Jean Lafitte Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center to learn more about the area.The Center is a great way to experience the culture. It offers canoe treks in the spring and fall, plus daily walking tours and Monday night Cajun jam sessions.