Many people think of New Orleans when they think of Louisiana, and that certainly is reasonable when one considers the impact NOLA has on our economy, history, culture and lives. But there is much, much more to our state. Let's travel from city to city for a glimpse of the culture and traditions of the magnolia state.
Louisiana has a predominately Catholic community in the southern parishes, myself included. I can't imagine going to New Orleans without visiting or attending mass at St. Louis Cathedral. Within walking distance of the cathedral are the French Market, Cafe du Monde, and the Riverfront. Plan to spend most of the morning in the downtown area for beignets and shopping and strolling.
Of course, there's the French Quarters with its party atmosphere, music, and delicious alcoholic concoctions. Be warned! A hurricane (and every other drink) is potent. Every sip has consequences.
Have children in your party? Take them on a street car ride to the Audubon Zoo, but don't forget the Aquarium, IMAX, Insecterium, New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) and WWII Museum. All are filled with interesting, fun activities and history. Like the weird? Voodoo and cemeteries are a big draw. I could go on, but we need to move on. To represent NOLA, I included the Mercedes Benz Superdome because so many people visit.
Baton Rouge is next on our route. The Louisiana State Capitol is a definite stop. On my license plate it's the tall, pointed building. I have memories of searching the tree line for the first glimpse of the Capitol as we drove into BR when I was a child. It is the tallest state capitol in the union, a point of pride for Louisianans. Visit Baton Rouge is a good place to do some searching if you're planning a trip. The zoo is awesome and there's lots of shopping at the Mall of Louisiana. Do yourself a favor and visit River Road plantations and the LSU Rural Life Museum.
Lafayette is city of cajun French culture. Visit Acadian Village...like the Rural Life Museum in BR, it has a collection of historical buildings. Architecture is important to Louisiana's history and culture. Mardi Gras is a huge festival in Lafayette but with a family friendly atmosphere. Swamp tours, food, history, festivals, and friendly people are all attractions that draw people to Lafayette. You definitely want to go to a Zydeco concert.
I would not do my state justice if I left out our swamps. Louisiana has swamps in every section of the state, including the northernmost parishes. Of course, swamps are far apart in the north, but it's interesting to travel along the interstate in pine woods and hills and suddenly there's a small swamp of cypress trees, moss, and lily pads.
And speaking of the northern parishes, there are two cities that I must mention: Shreveport in the west and Monroe in the east. In Shreveport there's the Boardwalk for shopping; riverboat casinos; golfing, fishing and outdoor activities; and beautiful public gardens. Monroe has parks, gardens, a zoo, and outdoor attractions. Of course, Duck Commander is located here, but you know that from Duck Dynasty.
Between these Louisiana cities are lakes, woods, small towns and interesting historical places, such as Poverty Point. Louisiana has too many things to do it justice; I can only hope that my license plate gives one a sense of the beauty, culture and people of Louisiana.
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