Mardi Gras Leads The Parade! The biggest and perhaps best-known Louisiana festival is Mardi Gras! While New Orleans’ French Quarter revelry attracts millions of adults each year, you’ll find Mardi Gras parades and celebrations all over the state, in big cities and smaller towns. Cajun towns celebrate with a horseback parade of sorts — “Courir de Mardi Gras” — the traditional running of the Mardi Gras. Several places have boat parades. Shreveport, Lake Charles and Lafayette even have animal parades. Wherever you go in Louisiana, Mardi Gras means celebration!

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Mardi Gras is February: Pirates and priests, gamblers and trappers, plantation ladies and voodoo queens: Louisiana has the most colorful history of any state and of many countries. Our prehistoric Native-American history changed archaeology’s perception of how Indian cultures lived. Our architecture is a lasting impression of French and Spanish rule. Battles fought and bargains forged on Louisiana soil helped America grow and shaped its present. The influence of African Americans is present throughout the state. And our Creole and Cajun cultures are two of the few indigenous cultures in the U.S.

Have you ever been served too many boiled shrimp to count? Have you ever leaned against the rail of a steamboat and felt the spray of the paddlewheel on your face? Have you ever had a buggy driver look you straight in the eye and burst into Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable”? Or had a voodoo queen tell you something big is in your future? If not, it’s time you called on New Orleans.

Practically everything in the Crescent City is different, special. A typical day might include taking the streetcar to the French Quarter, eating beignets and cafe au lait for breakfast, strolling the French Market for bargains, sucking down a dozen raw oysters for lunch, checking out the exhibit at the Cabildo, and then meeting friends for dinner at Arnaud’s. After dinner, a show at Tipitina’s or the House of Blues is always a possibility, or maybe you could go for a Mardi Gras parade at the new Harrah’s New Orleans casino.

Greater New Orleans is banana trees and bananas foster. Streetcars and oyster bars. Jazzland and Storyland. Winding traces and historic places. There’s so much to experience. Better get started.

Plantation homes are to Louisiana what the crown jewels are to England-each is a sparkling gem in an equally spellbinding setting with a unique story attached.

Some folks believe that if you’ve seen one old house, you’ve seen them all. To them, we ask, “Have you ever been to Louisiana?” It’s true that in most homes here you’ll find an ornate dining room with lovely china laid out exactly as it would have been for a party before the war; austere portraits of the original owners of the house hung above the fireplace or the piano; and a nursery complete with a yellowing christening gown draped at the end of the mini sleigh bed; but, while fascinating, there’s much more than meets the eye. Perhaps more interesting are the tales your tour guides will weave of star-crossed lovers, Confederate spies, yellow fever victims, mad spinsters, and the occasional playful ghost. We invite you to pull up a rocking chair on the gallery of time and listen up.

If anything positive comes from tragedy, it’s the clarity it brings. It gives one the ability to see what’s really important in life-and to celebrate it. Family. Friends. A beautiful day. This is what it’s all about. Perhaps the unique “joie de vivre” attitude of Louisiana’s Cajun people is a result of years of suffering.

Persecuted for their Catholic religion, the Cajuns were first driven out of France and then from Canada before settling in Louisiana. Perhaps it was this struggle that allowed them to turn soup into gumbo, the washboard into a musical instrument, and the swamps of Louisiana into a paradise.

Charming. Humble. Funny. Loving. These are adjectives often used to describe Cajuns. Whether they are Ivy League-educated lawyers or bayou-schooled swamp tour operators, they tend to eat more, dance more and laugh more than the rest of the world. Come discover their secrets this year in Cajun Country. And while it’s true that you can get a taste of the Cajun lifestyle in New Orleans, why not venture an hour or so farther and experience the real thing in a big way? The big old bullfrogs in the swamps of Acadiana are calling your name, cher. It would be rude not to answer.

Ancient Indian mounds. Rugged frontier towns. Haunting Civil War battlefields. Quaint Victorian bed and breakfasts with white picket fences. You. In a lake. With fish jumping up all around. This is the Crossroads region of Louisiana. Come explore.

Hear ghost stories at a white-columned plantation. Step carefully around the weathered tombstones of the men and women who tread this way before you.

Make room for adventure in your life. All the ingredients for a truly memorable family vacation can be found in Crossroads.

Sportsman’s Paradise is perfect for hunting duck, deer and fortunes. Whether your goal is to land a big trophy bass or to win big at our casinos, you’ll have a great time here.

Northern Louisiana continues to experience record growth. Grand hotels and award-winning restaurants are popping up all over the place. Not since Henry Shreve broke up the log jam has there been such excitement on the Red River! Not since the archaeologists uncovered the first arrowhead at Poverty Point has there been so much ado! Not since Bonnie and Clyde met their end here has there been such a commotion!

Sportsman’s Paradise is filled with museums, parks, sporting and cultural events…so why are you waiting? Bring your family, your fishing pole, your good luck charm, and your sense of adventure. Good times are guaranteed to happen here.

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