A wonderfully colourful state full of splendid Plantation homes, delicious and spicy food and a true melting pot of cultures. People originating from France, Africa, and Acadia (was in Eastern Canada) as well as the West Indies, South America and the neighbouring Gulf States have created Cajun and Creole cuisine, music and habits. New Orleans is the best known city in the State and deservedly so. Its streets are full of joie de vivre, jazz bars, little restaurants emanating tempting smells of boudin and spice and, of course, its famous Mardi Gras Carnival.
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Why should I visit Louisiana?
Along the coastline you will find marsh and swamp lands known as bayous where you can see numerous alligators and a wonderful variety of birds.
Cajun is a derivative of the word Acadian so you can define Cajun as a Louisianan descended from French speaking Acadians. Creoles derive from the early French and Spanish settlers- indeed the word creole comes from the Spanish “criollo” which means child born in a colony. Creoles also embraced incomers from Central and South America, the West Indies and the Gulf States using a kind of pidginised French as a common language; even today the State constitution is in English and French.
Segregation was not just between black and white. Cajuns were not allowed to live in New Orleans, because they were poor farmers and fishermen from Nova Scotia and New Orleans was Creole and rich and did not want the riff raff. Cajuns were therefore forced to live in the swamp lands which was a blessing in disguise it helped the culture and language survive.
Music is a vital part of Louisianan life going back to its earliest days. Cajun music is a melange of European mixed with Afro-Caribbean and American Indian using the accordion, the fiddle and a triangle. In its turn, Cajun music has spawned Zydeco which mixes Caribbean in with soul and blues.
Louisiana is well known for its spicy food and seafood. The Tabasco factory is in the state and spice shops abound; some with such hot pepper that you have to sign a paper saying you understand the risks when using it. Apparently Louisianans like to travel with their own spice bottle as other food tastes too bland to their palate.
Food is a vital part of Louisiana’s charms. Fish especially from November to July when the shrimp and crawfish are in season, jambalaya (like paella) and gumbo (a thick and delicious soup from West Africa) are on most menus: so is alligator, boudin (sausage) and andouille. Shrimp and grits is an essential dish - you can eat it 10 times and have 10 different recipes - all delicious. Grits are dried and ground corn and generally have a creamy polenta like consistency. It is served at any meal from breakfast to dinner with just about anything.
Following the 100 mile diet is pretty easy in Louisiana which provides all its fish and most of its meat. They grow lots of vegetables, rice and sugar providing the mollasses put into Louisiana Rum.
New Orleans is no doubt the foodie capital with a splendid mixture of fine dining at a renowned restaurant such as Brennans to alligator sausages sticks at a street vendor. However, delicious dishes are available throughout the state.
A Louisiana fly-drive holiday is full of surprises. You can visit an alligator or crawfish farm, go around the Tabasco factory, watch boudin being made at a local butcher, visit a rum factory or take an airboat through the rushes of the bayou looking for wild ‘gators.
Holiday Itineraries for Louisiana
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