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.
The thunder of hooves heard in Ville Platte each October would presumably warm the heart of Marcellin Garand, a former cavalry officer in Napoleon's army who is credited with founding this city in the northern reaches of modern day Cajun country. Here, his equestrian legacy is remembered during the Louisiana Tournoi, a one-of-a-kind horseback tournament, where riders wearing capes and costume armor vie to lance the most gold rings while racing along a rustic track. The event is held in conjunction with the Louisiana Cotton Festival, which honors the area's agricultural bounty with a downtown parade, a ball and visits by festival queens. Throughout the year, visitors find Cajun food and swamp pop music galore, a historic district straddling El Camino Real, the Spanish colonial-era trail connecting New Orleans to Natchitoches and easy access to Chicot State Park with its many acres of wooded, rolling hills and meandering, cypress-studded waterways.