With year-round hunting, fishing, golf and countless other opportunities for outdoor recreation, it is easy to see why Louisiana's nickname is "Sportsman's Paradise.” Sure, that’s a lot to live up to. But with thousands of hiking and biking trails, beautiful State Parks, and one of the largest game preserves in the United States, Louisiana is the ultimate playground for all outdoorsmen. Our vast expanse of coastal wetlands and countless birding trails make our state a habitat for many rare and endangered species and a natural paradise for bird watchers as well. Come step into the wild outdoors of Louisiana.
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.