I took off on my first adventure, a road trip, through Louisiana 15 or so years ago. I’d only heard the standard stories about New Orleans: tales of sugary sweet beverages, Mardi Gras madness, and beads on Bourbon Street. Often visitors only experience that one little taste, the full glory of Louisiana overshadowed by one of the biggest party streets on Earth. So, I set out on a mission to find more.
Arriving into New Orleans, I was struck by the two usual suspects. First, the music. At any given hour of the day, music is wafting into the streets. This isn’t just a Bourbon Street phenomenon. In fact, the best music is typically tucked away in a side street venue, a mélange of sounds and languages. Then, there was the heat, the kind found on a tropical island in the dead of summer with no relief other than the occasional faint breeze off the river.
Last and certainly not least, it’s the people who leave a lasting impression. There are budding bohemian artists, Cajun swamp musicians in their 70s and 80s, and longtime high society residents all of whom were committed to upholding local traditions and living that laissez les bons temps rouler lifestyle. Despite epic natural disasters and an eroding coastline, Louisianians have always known their state holds the deepest and utmost authentic magic.
Want to experience Louisiana and learn more about its culture while sampling some of the best food, music, outdoor activities, and historic landmarks? Read on for eight weekend getaways, three set in the heart of New Orleans, one in the capital city of Baton Rouge, and four spirited treks deep into a state filled with 300 years of blended French, Spanish, African and Caribbean influence.