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Cajun Culture for Everyone

Though the area’s rich Cajun heritage is felt nearly everywhere you go here, several attractions dedicate themselves to exploring its roots. Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center in Thibodaux interprets the lives of the French Acadians, or Cajuns, who settled here from Canada. Exhibits feature everything from home décor and clothing to cuisine and religion, and a weekly free Cajun music jam brings the culture to vibrant life. Nearby, the Center for Traditional Boat Building Museum displays nine wooden vessels as well as related artifacts that explore the area’s fishing and boat-crafting history. The bayou’s role in shaping the lives of the community is so crucial that even the Bayou Country Children’s Museum devotes an interactive gallery to it, complete with a child-sized shrimp boat. There’s even an offshore supply vessel outside that young captains can pretend to steer through the Gulf of Mexico.

 

Swamp and House Tours

With 160 kilometers running through the area, a drive along Bayou Lafourche is definitely in order. Catch up with the Wetlands Cultural Scenic Byway at Louisiana Highway 1 or LA 308, which will take you past swamps and shrimpers. Several swamp tours – some by airboat, others by slower crafts and kayaks – pop up on the route. Take one to see bayou wildlife like alligators and bald eagles. After exploring the bayou, discover how people lived alongside it or, in the case of the E.D. White Historic Site, right on its banks. A National Historic Landmark, this stately 1825 plantation home is worth a tour for the story its architecture tells about 19th century life here. For more insight, visit Laurel Valley Village Sugar Plantation, the largest of its kind left in the USA. With over 60 structures, including a mill, schoolhouse and church, the village showcases the scope of such an operation.

 

Festive Food and Drink

Chef John Folse, who leads the Culinary Institute at Nichols State University, helps preserve and spread the influence of Cajun cuisine. While you’re sampling fare at one of many restaurants specializing in everything from po’ boys to jambalaya, don’t forget the drink scene. At Donner-Peltier Distillers in Thibodaux, grab a bottle of LA1 Whiskey, said to be the state’s first aged whiskey since Prohibition. Stop by the tasting room to sample six spirits or tour the site to see how they are made. Just a few kilometers away, Mudbug Brewery serves up Cajun brews, including a pilsner, stout, blonde ale and an IPA. It’s always a good time at Mudbug, host to concerts and food events.

Fun Fact

Getting schooled at Donner-Peltier Distillery
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All in the family: Cajun Bayou-area distillery Donner-Peltier uses locally grown sugarcane to make its rums and Louisiana rice to make its vodka and gin.

Getting schooled at Donner-Peltier Distillery
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Sweet cheesecake gets savory in the Cajun Bayou. Order a serving of Crawfish Cheesecake with its blend of cream cheese, local crawfish and zesty spices topped with a red pepper sauce.

A live Cajun jam in Louisiana's Cajun Bayou
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Visitors can experience the sounds of Cajun music, including songs sung in French (a language still prevalent locally), each week at Cajun Music Jams throughout the area.

Views of the bayou from a swamp tour
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Official Louisiana's Cajun Bayou Travel Site

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