Louisiana Discovery

The Pelican State beckons with top-notch museums and historical landmarks

When it comes to culture, Louisiana has it in spades. In addition to the obvious Mardi Gras and New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival celebrations, and the unparalleled food scene, the state is full of art and history. Here, we take a look at some of the top attractions that make this unique place a haven for residents and visitors alike.


Greater New Orleans


Where to Stay:

The Four Seasons

The much anticipated Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences opened this year on the Mississippi River waterfront. In addition to 341 beautifully appointed rooms and suites, the hotel features the Chandelier Bar with a jaw-dropping 15,000-piece light and glass installation; a new restaurant from local chef Alon Shaya, dubbed Miss River; another restaurant from local chef Donald Link, dubbed Chemin a la Mer; a crescent-shaped rooftop swimming pool; a fitness center designed by Harley Pasternak; The Spa; and 92 fully serviced Four Seasons Private Residences. 2 Canal St., 504-434-5100, fourseasons.com/neworleans


Where to Eat:

Peacock Room

Peacock Room, the gorgeous cocktail lounge located inside the new Kimpton Hotel Fontenot in the Central Business District, has quickly built a solid reputation for amazing cocktails and an inventive menu. The restaurant and bar recently started offering brunch on Sundays, dubbed Birds of a Feather, Brunch Together. Meanwhile, the new dinner menu features dishes like Yellowfin Tuna Maltignati and Chicken Katsu Grilled Cheese. 501 Tchoupitoulas St., 504-324-3073, peacockroomnola.com



New Orleans Museum of Art

The New Orleans Museum of Art is the city’s oldest fine arts museum (it opened in 1911 with only nine works of art) and today features a permanent collection of more than 40,000 objects. Of special importance is its French and American art, photography, glass, and African and Japanese works. Check out the major fall exhibition, Dawn DeDeaux: The Space Between Worlds, on view through Jan. 23. 1 Collins Diboll Circle, 504-658-4100, noma.org

The National WWII Museum

The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American experience in “the war that changed the world”—why it was fought, how it was won and what it means today. Exhibits include Road to Berlin, Road to Tokyo, The Arsenal of Democracy and more. 945 Magazine St., 504-528-1944, nationalww2museum.org

Ogden Museum of Southern Art

The Ogden Museum of Southern Art holds the largest and most comprehensive collection of Southern art. It is recognized for its original exhibitions, public events (such as lectures, film screenings and concerts) and educational programs. Check out Spell, Time, Practice, American, Body: The Work of RaMell Ross through March 27. 925 Camp St., 504-539-9650, ogdenmuseum.org


Louisiana Children’s Museum photo by Sara Essex Bradley

Louisiana Children’s Museum

The new Louisiana Children’s Museum features 30,000 square feet of interactive exhibits, include a climbing wall, art studio and mock cafe. Experiences include Dig Into nature, Follow That Food, Move With the River and more. 15 Henry Thomas Drive, 504-523-1357, lcm.org

The Sazerac House

The Sazerac House is a new three-story museum that pays homage to the Sazerac cocktail, and how it plays a part in the customs, traditions and culture of New Orleans. The museum offers complimentary tours, interactive cocktail exhibits and exclusive spirit tastings. 101 Magazine St., 504-910-0100, sazerachouse.com


More Museums to Explore
Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience, 818 Howard Ave., 504-384-2480, msje.org
The Historic New Orleans Collection, 520 Royal St., 504-523-4662, hnoc.org
The McKenna Museum of African-American Art, 2003 Carondelet St., 504-323-5074, facebook.com/mckennamuseum



Saint Louis Cathedral Across Jackson Square In New Orleans Louisiana Usa

St. Louis Cathedral

Located adjacent to Jackson Square in the heart of the French Quarter, St. Louis Cathedral is one of New Orleans’ most notable landmarks. It is the oldest cathedral in continuous use in the United States, founded as a Catholic Parish in 1720. The cathedral features triple steeples that tower above the Cabildo and the Presbytère (both part of the Louisiana State Museum). 615 Pere Antoine Alley, 504-525-9585, stlouiscathedral.org

Preservation Hall

Preservation Hall is an intimate and historic jazz music venue in the French Quarter, featuring wooden floors and rustic benches, and a beautiful courtyard. The band works to protect, preserve and perpetuate the spirit of traditional New Orleans jazz. Concerts take place on more than 350 nights per year with an ensembles from a current collective of 50-plus local master practitioners. 726 St Peter St., 504-522-2841, preservationhall.com

St. Louis Cemetery No. 1

Established in 1789, St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is the oldest extant cemetery in New Orleans. It is the burial site of voodoo queen Marie Laveau and other historical notables in 18th- and 19th-century vaults. Unlike most other New Orleans cemeteries, St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is accessible only via guided, licensed tours. 425 Basin St., 504-596-3050, nolacatholiccemeteries.org

Longue Vue House and Gardens

Edith Rosenwald Stern and Edgar Stern selected the Longue Vue site as newlyweds in 1921, and, today, this historic house museum and associated gardens furthers the couple’s example of hospitality and community engagement. 7 Bamboo Road, 504-488-5488, longuevue.com

Chalmette Battlefield–Jean Lafitte National Historical Park

Chalmette Battlefield is the site of the Battle of New Orleans, with took place on Jan. 8, 1815. Considered to be the last great battle of the War of 1812 between the United States and Britain, the American victory at Chalmette Battlefield became a symbol of a new idea: American democracy triumphing over the old European ideas of aristocracy and entitlement. The visitor center offers films, exhibits and more. 1 Battlefield Road, Chalmette, 504-281-0510, nps.gov/jela/chalmette-battlefield


Plantation Country


Where to Stay:

Oak Alley Plantation Cottages

This tranquil retreat in the heart of Plantation Country features century old cottages and newly constructed deluxe cottages situated near the historic grounds, gardens and exhibits. All rooms include Tempur-Pedic mattresses, game boards, wireless internet, luxury waffle monogram robes and more. 3645 Hwy. 18, Vacherie, 225-265-2151, oakalleyplantation.com


Where to Eat:

Nobile’s Restaurant & Bar

Established in 1895, Nobile’s Restaurant & Bar is an historic landmark in and of itself. Enjoy dishes such as gumbo, crab cakes, oysters, pork chops and more. 2082 W. Main St., Lutcher, 225-869-8900, nobilesrestaurant.com



Laura Plantation: Louisiana’s Creole Heritage Site

Exemplifying Creole Louisiana, Laura Plantation allows visitors to explore the rigors of 200 years of daily life, along with the sobering experience of slavery. 2247 Hwy. 18, Vacherie, 888-799-7690, lauraplantation.com

Destrehan Plantation

The oldest documented plantation home in the lower Mississippi Valley, Destrehan Plantation was established in 1787 and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Explore the French and Spanish Colonial periods, the ravages of the Civil War and the rebirth of reconstruction. 13034 River Road, Destrehan, 985-764-9315, destrehanplantation.org

Museums Whitney

Photos courtesy: Whitney Plantation

Whitney Plantation

This history museum is the only in Louisiana that focuses exclusively on the lives of enslaved people. 5099 Louisiana Hwy. 18, Edgard, 225-265-3300, whitneyplantation.org

Bayou Lacombe Museum

Built in 1912 as a two-room schoolhouse, the Bayou Lacombe Museum is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Exhibits include Choctaws in Lacombe and Early 20th Century Life. 61115 S. St. Mary St., Lacombe, 985-664-0256, bayoulacombemuseum.com

Lafitte’s Barataria Museum and Wetland Trace

Barataria Basin is home to Lafitte’s Barataria Museum and Wetland Trace with an historic fishing village, a museum, and trails and waterways from which to view the wildlife. 4917 City Park Drive, Jean Lafitte, 504-689-7888, townofjeanlafitte.com


Other Museums to Explore:
Westwego Historical Museum, 275 Sala Ave., Westwego, 504-341-3161, visitjeffersonparish.com
Southdown Plantation The Terrebonne Museum, 1208 Museum Drive, Houma, 985-851-0154, southdownmuseum.org
Houmas House and Gardens (and The Great River Road Museum), 40136 LA-942, Darrow, 225-473-9380, houmashouse.com



Saint the Alligator

The Louisiana’s River Parishes Tourist Commission recently launched Bonfire Country, a new initiative to celebrate the time-honored tradition of Bonfires on the Levee. The new mascot, Saint, is a 50-foot bonfire alligator, designed by Garyville’s bonfire builders, Blood, Sweat, and Bonfires. 671 Belle Terre Blvd., Laplace, 866-204-7782, lariverparishes.com/tourist-commission

St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church

St. Michael the Archangel Catholic church was built in 1809 in the Roman and Gothic style, known at the time as Anse de Panier, French for basket handle. The church’s famous Lourdes Grotto was constructed in 1876. 6484 LA-44, Convent, diobr.org



Cajun Country/Acadiana


Where to Stay:

Mouton Plantation Bed & Breakfast

Mouton Plantation Bed & Breakfast features seven guest rooms in downtown Lafayette. The restored creole house was originally built in 1820, and it’s surrounded by quaint cottages. Each room is decorated with Old World furnishings, a flat-screen TV and more. 338 N. Sterling Road, Lafayette, 337-233-7816, moutonplantation.com



Vestal Restaurant

Vestal Restaurant is a new concept in the heart of downtown Lafayette that focuses on excellent customer service. The menu includes items like oysters and ceviche from the raw bar, small plates, steaks, pasta and more. 555 Jefferson St., 337-534-0682, vestalrestaurant.com



Museums Hilliard

Photos courtesy:Hilliard Art Museum

Hilliard Art Museum

The Hilliard Art Museum at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is a destination for families, and a resource for academic research and observation. Be sure to catch Twenty Years of Marias Press:Imprinting a Campus and Collection, on view through Aug. 20. 710 E. St. Mary Blvd., Lafayette, 337-482-0811, hilliardmuseum.org

Imperial Calcasieu Museum

Founded in 1963, the Imperial Calcasieu Museum serves the five parish area of Calcasieu, Cameron, Beauregard, Allen and Jefferson Davis in Southwest Louisiana. The museum presents a minimum of 36 weeks of cultural and visual arts programming. 204 W. Sallier St., Lake Charles, 337-439-3797, imperialcalcasieumuseum.org

Acadiana Center for the Arts

The Acadiana Center for the Arts was founded in 1975 to foster art and culture in the area. The center now supports the creation of new works of art, exhibits, festivals, performances and public art. 101 W. Vermilion St., Lafayette, 337-233-7060, acadianacenterforthearts.org

Lafayette Science Museum

The Lafayette Science Museum houses exhibits, installations, archived materials and an all-digital planetarium. The regional museum also strives to promote and inspire careers in science, technology, engineering and math. 433 Jefferson St., Lafayette, 337-291-5544, lafayettesciencemuseum.org

The Children’s Museum of Southwest Louisiana

Scheduled to open next year, The Children’s Museum of Southwest Louisiana joined the City of Lake Charles and the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to officially break ground on a new location at Port Wonder. 337-433-9420, swlakids.org



Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist

While several church structures have existed on this site since the 1700s, the present church structure was built in 1916. It was elevated to the status of a Cathedral in 1918 when the Diocese of Lafayette was created. 515 Cathedral St., Lafayette, 337-232-1322, saintjohncathedral.org


Vermilionville Historic Village

The historic village of Vermilionville is a great place to to learn about the history, culture and natural resources of the Acadians, Creoles, Native Americans and people of African descent in the Attakapas region through the end of the 1800s. Explore the gardens, the Vermilionville Living History Museum & Folklife Park and more. 300 Fisher Road, Lafayette, 337-233-4077, bayouvermiliondistrict.org


Tabasco Factory Tour

Located on a salt dome also known as Avery Island, the Tabasco Factory Tour includes a self-guided tour of the Tabasco Museum, Pepper Greenhouse, Barrel Warehouse, Avery Island Conservation, Salt Mine diorama, Tabasco Country Store, Tabasco Restaurant 1868 and the 170-acre Jungle Gardens. 32 Wisteria Road, Avery Island, 337-373-6129, tabasco.com


Other Landmarks to Explore:
La Maison de Begnaud, 110 Benoit Patin Road, Scott, 337-269-5155, cityofscott.org
Acadian Village, 200 Greenleaf Drive, Lafayette, 337-981-2364, acadianvillage.org
Borden’s Ice Cream Shoppe, 1103 Jefferson St., Lafayette, 337-235-9291, bordensicecreamshoppe.com
Shadows-On-The-Teche, 317 E. Main St., New Iberia, 337-369-6446, shadowsontheteche.org





Where to Stay:

The Hotel Bentley of Alexandria

Built in 1908, The Hotel Bentley is a luxury hotel with 93 guest rooms and suites, opulent design, The Bentley Room restaurant, Mirror Room Tapas Lounge, Diamond Grill, a fitness center and more. 200 Desoto St., Alexandria, 318-442-2226, visithotelbentley.com


Where to Eat:

Swamp Daddy’s

Get a true taste of Central Louisiana at Swamp Daddy’s, which offers boiled and live crawfish, boiled and fried seafood, boudin, cracklin’s and speciality meats. 55 MacArthur Dr, Alexandria, 318-443-1787, facebook.com/swamp-daddys-crawfish



Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame & Northwest Louisiana History Museum

The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame celebrates accomplishments by Louisiana athletes, coaches and sports stars (such as Archie Manning, Willis Reed, Shaquille O’Neal and Chanda Rubin), while the Northwest Louisiana History Museum celebrates the region’s culture and history. 800 Front St., Natchitoches, 318-357-2492, louisianastatemuseum.org

Museums Alexandria

Photos courtesy: Alexandria Museum of Art

Alexandria Museum of Art

Be sure to check out Monumental: Colossal Works from the Collection, on view through Feb. 19. It focuses on a selection of large-scale works from the collection, including pieces by Bill Illes and Margaret Evangeline. 933 2nd St., Alexandria, 318-443-3458, themuseum.org

Arna Bontemps African American Museum and Cultural Arts Center

The Arna Bontemps African American Museum and Cultural Arts Center opened in 1992, and it has become a model institution that serves a cross-cultural community. 1327 3rd St., Alexandria, 318-704-6462, arnabontemps.org

Iberville Museum

Located in one of Louisiana’s oldest parishes, the Iberville Museum Association preserves and promotes Iberville Parish’s heritage and culture. Check out the permanent exhibition, Isleños: The Canary Islanders of Louisiana. 57735 Main St., Plaquemine, 225-687-7197, ibervillemuseum.org



The Epps House at LSUA Campus

An 18th Century plantation home, The Epps House was partially built by Solomon Northup (author of “Twelve Years a Slave”). It is currently used as a historical home and place of study. 8100 Hwy. 71 S., Alexandria, 318-445-3672


North/Sportsman’s Paradise


Where to Stay:

Remington Suite Hotel & Spa

This historic hotel dates back to around 1900 and features a number of different guest accommodations, including a VIP suite, a Grand Suite and lofts. Don’t forget to visit the full-service spa. 220 Travis St., Shreveport, 318-425-5000, remingtonsuite.com


Where to Eat:

Fat Calf Brasserie

Enjoy French-inspired Southern cuisine with a menu of seasonal and locally farmed foods by Chef Anthony Felan. Try the brown butter roasted whole trout. 3030 Creswell Ave., Shreveport, 318-351-2253, fatcalfbrasserie.com



Stephens African American Museum

Opened in 1994, the Stephens African-American Museum features historical documents, art and memorabilia. 2810 Lindholm St., Shreveport, 318-635-2147, facebook.com/stephens-african-american-museum

Delta Music Museum & Arcade Theatre

The Delta Music Museum collects, preserves and exhibits the musical heritage along the Mississippi River Delta Region from Memphis to New Orleans. Hall of Fame inductees include Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimmy Swaggart, Conway Twitty and Aaron Neville. 218 Louisiana Ave., Ferriday, 318-757-4297, deltamusicmuseum.com

Biedenharn Museum & Gardens

This museum complex and botanical garden features regularly scheduled exhibits and events, antiques and artifacts, formal English gardens, a Coca-Cola Museum, a Bible Museum and Museum Store. 2006 Riverside Drive, Monroe, 318-387-5281, bmuseum.org

Museums Laexhibit

Louisiana State Exhibit Museum courtesy Louisiana State Museum

Louisiana State Exhibit Museum

One of the most impressive buildings in the state, this art deco museum is filled with paintings, frescoes and dioramas, plus a gallery of Native American artifacts. 3015 Greenwood Road, Shreveport, 318-632-2020, laexhibitmuseum.org

Chennault Aviation & Military Museum

Honoring veterans and soldiers from WWI through Iraqi Freedom, the 10,000-square-foot Chennault Aviation & Military Museum features more than 11,000 artifacts. 701 Kansas Lane, Monroe, 318-362-5540, chennaultmuseum.org


Other Museums to Explore:
Masur Museum of Art, 1400 S Grand St., Monroe, 318-329-2237, masurmuseum.org
Precious Legacy Archives and Museum, 2400 Orell Place, Monroe, 318-387-0730, bayoujews.org
The Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum, 323 Walnut St., Monroe, 318-361-9611, nelcm.org



Shreveport Municipal Auditorium

Second only to the Grand Ole Opry, this historic performance venue is legendary for its “Louisiana Hayride” live radio show that debuted in 1948. Held within the auditorium, the show became syndicated on the CBS radio network and expanded its broadcast to 198 affiliates. 705 Grand Ave., Shreveport, 318-841-4000, shreveportmunicipalauditorium.com