Traveling Around Louisiana

Well into another winter with Mardi Gras arriving, Louisiana is a festive place to be during this time of year. And while the parades are getting rolling, plenty of the state’s cities and parishes are already prepping for spring and the numerous festivals, events, and activities that come with the warming weather. Several museums and arts centers are announcing new exhibitions that explore unique aspects of Louisiana’s history while others are bringing world class artwork to the region. Springtime festivals highlight everything from blues music and craft beers to egg knocking and songwriting. Meanwhile, consider experiencing Mardi Gras away from home this year and see how other communities celebrate the Carnival Season, from family-friendly parade zones to Mardi Gras festivals, boat parades, and costume contests. Check out the latest from the following Louisiana cities, town, and parishes, and you’ll know exactly what to recommend when your family asks, “What’s going on this weekend?”

 

Louisiana Cities

 

Alexandria/Pineville is bustling this season with a variety of ways to experience Central Louisiana’s charm, culture, history, and entertainment. Mardi Gras arrives in February and brings nine parades that run between February 15 and Fat Tuesday (February 25) along with additional events such as Taste of Mardi Gras at the Randolph Riverfront Center and Mardi Gras Party at the Zoo. When and if you prefer a quiet escape, the nearby Kisatchie National Forest is available to paddle, hike, bike, and relax.

Meanwhile, on view through February at the Alexandria Museum of Art is The Pelican State Goes to War: Louisiana in World War II, an exhibition celebrating the numerous ways that residents of Louisiana impacted the war efforts. On January 31, The Arts Council of Central Louisiana is proud to present The Chipper Experience at the Coughlin-Saunders Performing Arts Center. For over 20 years Chipper Lowell has been bringing his odd brand of amusing mayhem to audiences around the world.

Visit AlexandriaPinevilleLA.com or call 1-800-551-9546 for details on these events and more.

 

Begin planning your romantic spring getaway now to Louisiana’s oldest city, Natchitoches. Start your getaway with a little shopping or take a tour of one of the many historic attractions located throughout the town. Discover the replica of the original fort that established Natchitoches in 1714 or explore the grounds of Oakland Plantation, one of the units of the Cane River Creole National Historical Park. Learn the history and lore during a walking tour with the Cane River National Heritage Area or a carriage ride through the 33-block historic district.

From sunset views over Sibley Lake to local favorite foods like the Natchitoches Meat Pie, a variety of options exist for an intimate lunch or dinner. Make reservations at one of the area’s 20+ bed and breakfasts or boutique hotels in the historic district or choose from the convenient hotels located near Interstate 49 or Highway 1.

Visit Natchitoches.com to learn more about activities, events and accommodations within Natchitoches, a treasure trove of Louisiana history.

 

There are plenty of reasons this winter and spring to visit Baton Rouge, Louisiana’s multi-dimensional capital city located just a short drive from anywhere in the state.

This winter, Mardi Gras rules February—three weeks of festive fun include parades, parties, and the tantalizing scent of king cakes in the air. Spring brings a number of festivals and events to the area, including the Ebb & Flow arts and culture festival, Zapps International Beer Festival, the family-friendly Baton Rouge Blues Festival, and the 3rd Street Songwriter’s Festival.

From April 1-30, Rome comes to Baton Rouge and the Raising Cane’s River Center in the form of Michelangelo and the ceiling paintings of the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo: A Different View uses state-of-the-art technology to replicate the elaborate paintings on the ground so that visitors can walk around the gigantic masterpieces and experience a “different view” of Michelangelo’s work. Tickets are available now through Ticketmaster.

For more to do in Baton Rouge, go to visitbatonrouge.com.

 

Lafayette is at the heart of Louisiana’s Cajun Country, an area known for letting the good times roll, or, as they say it, “Laissez les bons temps rouler!” That’s in large part because no matter what time of year you visit Lafayette, they will have something for you to celebrate.

One celebration that has visitors from all over the world heading down south with a smile on their face is Mardi Gras. Worldwide, Mardi Gras is known as a time to let loose and celebrate. In Lafayette, you can experience all of the excitement and revelry of the carnival season in a family-friendly atmosphere.

The festivities, which span two weekends (Feb. 14-15 and Feb. 21-25), feature nine parades, a festival with live music, balls, and a costume contest. So come on down and shout, “Throw me something, mister!”

Visit LafayetteTravel.com/MardiGras for the 2020 schedule of events.

 

Parish Happenings

 

St. Martin Parish draws visitors year round with its welcoming hospitality, world-class music and famous local cuisine. Accommodations offerings include beautiful B&B’s, top quality campgrounds and cabins, houseboats, and hotels.

Breaux Bridge offers an array of shopping, antiquing and world-renowned hot spots like the famous Zydeco Breakfast at Buck & Johnny’s and nighttime entertainment at Tante Marie’s, Pont Breaux’s Cajun Restaurant, and Cafe Sydnie Mae. The Henderson area, at the edge of the Atchafalaya Basin, offers airboat and swamp tours and great family-owned restaurants such as Chicken on the Bayou and Crawfish Town USA. St. Martinville plays host to countless festivals and quaint cafes in the beautiful downtown district. Take heritage tours at Acadian Memorial and Museum, African American Museum, and Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site.

Located just two hours west of New Orleans and a short drive from anywhere in the state, St Martin Parish holds the true essence of Cajun and Creole. Discover “where Cajun began” by visiting CajunCountry.org.

 

Allons aux Avoyelles, to pass a good time! The Rotary Club of Avoyelles will host the Krewe of Cyllenius Parade in Marksville on February 16, 2020, at 2 p.m. The parade begins at the Avoyelles Parish Courthouse square, takes a left on Hwy 1 South and another left on Acton to Preston Street before ending downtown.

Continue the Mardi Gras festivities with Lundi Gras at Bailey’s on the Square in Marksville on February 24 at 7 p.m., where you can participate in the costume contest and the Sweet Potato Dance. For more details, call 318-240-3495.

Avoyelles Parish, the “Easter Egg Knocking Capitol of Louisiana,” invites you to pacque on Easter Weekend. Cottonport hosts Knockin’ on the Bayou, and Effie welcomes you to Easter on the Red River, both family-friendly events scheduled for Easter Saturday. On Easter Sunday morning, Marksville celebrates its longtime tradition of the egg knocking competition at the Avoyelles Parish Courthouse Atrium with registration beginning at 9 a.m.

Come for the joie de vivre! Ici on est fier de parler Français!

 

Whether it is a festival you crave, high-speed drag racing, historic plantation homes, scenic views of the Mighty Mississippi, West Baton Rouge Parish has it all. Visit the West Baton Rouge Museum and one of their many great exhibits. In February, West Baton Rouge Parish welcomes visitors for its two Mardi Gras parades: February 16 in Addis and February 23 in Port Allen. This spring, visit West Baton Rouge for Kite Fest Louisiane, April 4 and 5. Celebrate the stars and stripes on July 4 in the downtown Port Allen riverfront with fireworks, live music, and activities for children from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.

This September, have a blast at the Oldies But Goodies Fest & BBQ Cook-off. Saturday and Sunday, September 12-13, the West Baton Rouge Tourist Information & Conference Center will be taken over with live music, delicious barbecue, a huge antique car show and more.

Visit WestBatonRouge.net for details and more events. Stop in at Exit #151 and enjoy a cup of Community Coffee locally roasted in West Baton Rouge, LA.

 

Every year, Mardi Gras brings excitement and joy to Louisiana, as families gather to delight in the regalia, marching bands, throws and merriment. As a family-oriented festival set amidst the parades of Jefferson Parish, Family Gras is a highlight of Carnival season featuring music and entertainment for all ages, your favorite Louisiana seafood and cuisine, and an art market all now conveniently placed at Clearview Center, where storied krewes such as Excalibur, Madhatters, Centurion, Atlas, and Kings parade through. High-caliber entertainment has included national and regional favorites such as Zac Brown Band, Taylor Swift, Allen Toussaint, Beach Boys, The Drifters, and The Imagination Movers. Admission is free, though a Royal Pass VIP experience is available at Ticketmaster and offers premium viewing, backstage access, food and beverage, and restroom facilities. This year’s festival takes place February 14-16. For information, including the 2020 lineup, visit FamilyGras.com or call 1-877-572-7474.

Located ten minutes from New Orleans, Jefferson Parish offers family fun year-round—from the decadent Oyster Trail to the magnificent trails of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Preserve. Plan your itinerary at VisitJeffersonParish.com.

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