Skip to main content
  • Ferns in hanging baskets on a French Quarter balcony in New Orleans, Louisiana
    View more

    New Orleans, Louisiana: Crescent City History Tour

  • Former slave cabins at the Evergreen Plantation in Edgard, Louisiana
    View more

    See a Long-Ago Lifestyle in Louisiana's River Parishes

  • Cajun Mardi Gras parade revelry in Houma, Louisiana
    View more

    Swampy and Festive in Houma, Louisiana

  • Playing the traditional button accordion in Lafayette, Louisiana
    View more

    Lafayette, Louisiana: Cultural Mélange of Influences

  • Stained glass designs in the Old State Capitol building in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    View more

    In the Seat of Government in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

  • Historical charm at the circa 1856 Dunleith Plantation in Natchez, Mississippi, where you can even stay the night
    View more

    Natchez, Mississippi: Site of Significant Structures

  • Emerald Mound Site just northeast of Natchez, Mississippi
    View more

    Ancient History at Emerald Mound, Mississippi

  • Just a few kilometers north of Vicksburg, Mississippi, the USS Cairo, full of history at Vicksburg National Military Park
    View more

    Beyond the Battleground in Vicksburg, Mississippi

  • Festival Plaza in downtown Shreveport, Louisiana, home of special events year-round
    View more

    Commerce and Comfort in Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana

Destrehan Plantation in Louisiana's River Parishes
View more

A Historical Tour through Louisiana and Mississippi

  • Route distance:
    780 km
  • Suggested Time:
    6 days

A path through the past in the heritage-rich Southeast

People tend to follow their stomachs through Louisiana, but history also runs deep here, evidenced by the array of architectural styles, historic downtowns and sites where lands and lives were gained and lost. Follow the theme into Mississippi, where indigenous settlements, a legendary battlefield and a parade of storied homes await.

01
Ferns in hanging baskets on a French Quarter balcony in New Orleans, Louisiana
View more

New Orleans, Louisiana: Crescent City History Tour

Charming, historical and lively New Orleans is serviced by Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY). To see the history of the Crescent City, just amble about the walkable French Quarter, which comprised the city’s footprint at the time of its founding in 1718. The iconic statue of Andrew Jackson astride his horse at Jackson Square, with the St. Louis Cathedral as a backdrop, makes a photo-worthy entrée to the Louisiana State Museum, a statewide collection of nine historical museums, five of which are right here in New Orleans. Tour the circa 1799 Cabildo, site of the signing of the Louisiana Purchase, and The Presbytère, a matching 18th century structure that displays cultural exhibits. Stop for chicory coffee and beignets at the famous Café du Monde across Decatur Street, then walk to see the artifacts and artwork at Historic New Orleans Collection. From the Quarter, take a paddlewheeler cruise downriver to the Chalmette Battlefield, site of the final battle of the War of 1812.

63 km
1 hour by car
02
Former slave cabins at the Evergreen Plantation in Edgard, Louisiana
View more

See a Long-Ago Lifestyle in Louisiana's River Parishes

Follow the Mississippi River on the Great River Road National Scenic Byway, and take in views of the river as you pass plantation homes and remnants of the sugar cane fields that once sustained them. Beneath moss-draped oaks and Greek Revival-style columns, several estates in Louisiana's River Parishes are restored and open for tours. Some highlights include Oak Alley Plantation, billed as one of the most photographed plantations in the world, and Laura Plantation, known for its phenomenal history tour and the birthplace of the “Br’er Rabbit” stories. Some properties in the area offer accommodations, perfect for a night's rest before you head deep into the Louisiana bayou.

74 km
1 hour by car
03
Cajun Mardi Gras parade revelry in Houma, Louisiana
View more

Swampy and Festive in Houma, Louisiana

You'll find Houma in what Louisiana calls "Bayou Country" – a region deep in the state known for its Cajun culture, colorful locals and, of course, swamps. Estimates indicate that southern Louisiana stewards nearly half of the wetlands in the lower United States, creating a landscape of cypress trees and wetlands, plus the alligators, turtles and hundreds of bird species they shelter. Tour the Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge by airboat, canoe or even seaplane. The Bayou Terrebonne Waterlife Museum downtown complements the swamp tour with exhibits on the area's connection to the water. Nighttime beckons with tasty food and foot-stomping zydeco, Cajun and swamp pop music. Ask friendly locals for their recommendation of hot spots and dance the night away.

164 km
2 hours by car
04
Playing the traditional button accordion in Lafayette, Louisiana
View more

Lafayette, Louisiana: Cultural Mélange of Influences

En route to Lafayette, make a side trip to Avery Island, where you can tour a nature preserve, see a centuries-old Buddha statue at Jungle Gardens and go to the Tabasco factory, where the famous hot sauce is made. Once in Lafayette, you’re in the capital of Cajun Country. Explore southern Louisiana’s French, Spanish, American Indian and African influences in cultural repositories like Vermilionville, a living regional history village, and the adjacent Acadian Cultural Center, with exhibits on the origins and evolution of the Acadians. If your itinerary allows, catch a show at Acadiana Center for the Arts, known for attracting top-name musical acts.

89 km
1 hour by car
05
Stained glass designs in the Old State Capitol building in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
View more

In the Seat of Government in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

From the Cajun capital, you’ll head to the state’s capital of Baton Rouge. Tour the current State Capitol building for a 27th-floor view as stunning as the building’s history. Huey Long, Louisiana’s controversial governor and U.S. senator who helped build the Art-Deco gem, was assassinated here shortly after the building opened in 1935. The Old Capitol, a Gothic exemplar overlooking the Mississippi River, includes an exhibit on Long’s political career. You can also tour Long’s residence, the Old Governor’s Mansion. If historic home tours are your thing, Magnolia Mound Plantation is a must, with a main house dating to 1791 and several well-preserved outbuildings.

More information