Twelve Things You Can Only Find in Lafayette, Louisiana

Lafayette, Louisiana, also known as the Happiest City in America, is at the heart of Lousiana’s Cajun and Creole Country. It’s the perfect city to add to your bucket list if you want to find fields of rice and sugarcane, bayous and cypress swamps, discover authentic music, and delicious cuisine.

Lafayette is a town immersed in Cajun culture, which is what sets it apart from many of the other towns and cities in Louisiana. As a matter of fact, Lafayette has many unique experiences you can only find in this unique part of the world.

Here are 12 things you’ll only find in Lafayette, Louisiana!

1.  Cajun French Culture

This area of Louisiana was settled by Acadians who were kicked out of Canada in the late 1700s when they refused to give up key aspects of their culture. They found refuge in southern Louisiana, and to this day keep their culture alive. Around town, it’s easy to pick up on the Cajun-French dialect that saturates the town –phrases like cher bébé, meaning darling, and names like Boudreaux and Thibodeaux.

2.  Festival International de Louisiane

Hosted annually in April, the Festival International de Louisiane is the largest international outdoor Francophone music and arts festival in the country. More than 300,000 festival-goers come to celebrate their French heritage through music, food, and art.

3.  Cajun Music in Lafayette

Home to artists like Lost Bayou Ramblers, Pine Leaf Boys, Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie, The Magnolia Sisters, and Chubby Carrier and The Bayou Swamp BandArcadiana is fertile ground for local and internationally recognized musicians.

4.  America’s Largest Swamp

America’s largest swamp, theAtchafalaya Basin, is bigger than the Florida Everglades. You’ll find this swamp features in the History Channel show Swamp People and Discovery Channel’s Naked and Afraid.

5.  Cajun Food

Not to be confused with Creole, Cajun food is true southern soul food. Most recipes start with the holy trinity – green bell pepper, onion, and celery. A few Cajun dishes you must try are crawfish étouffée, jambalaya, rice dressing and chicken and sausage gumbo.

6. The Best Boudin and Cracklins  in Lafayette

Boudin and cracklins were invented from resourcefulness on the Acadian’s behalf. They made it a point to utilize every aspect of the pig when cooking, which led to the invention of boudins and cracklins. This is a roughly half-pound, half-foot length of sausage available for purchase in most every local meat market and grocery store. Cracklins are fried morsels of pork fat with the pork skins.

7.  Avery Island

Avery Island is where Tabasco sauce originates from, created by Edmund McIlhenny in 1868. You can tour the factory and museum and make sure to get a unique souvenir at the gift shop!

8.  Popeyes Only Buffet in Lafayette

With over 2,600 franchises in the world, you can find the only buffet version of the fried chicken joint in Lafayette, Louisiana. Fill up your plate with buttery biscuits, red beans and rice, mac n’ cheese, mashed potatoes and gravy, spicy chicken, and coleslaw.

9.  Evangeline Maid Bread

Evangeline, a famous Acadian refugee, has her memory in everything. Now 100 years old, Evangeline Bread is still produced specifically in Acadiana, where half a million loaves are made weekly.

10.  A One-of-a-Kind George Rodrigue

Painted by George Rodrigue, this painting depicts the poet Longfellow about the reunion of Evangeline and her lost love, Gabriel. Fans can see his artwork at galleries in Lafayette, New Orleans, and California, but this hidden gem can be seen in Asma Boulevard off of Kaliste Saloom Road.

11.  Courir De Mardi Gras

Courir de Mardi Gras, meaning Fat Tuesday Run, is a unique tradition to Acadiana. This is where partakers where masks, pointed hats, and homemade costumes, then go door-to-door begging for ingredients to make a communal pot of gumbo.

12. Borden’s Last Ice Cream Shoppe in Lafayette

Borden’s dates back to the 1800s as a highly recognized dairy brand and mascot, Elsie the Cow. Visitors can visit the last standing ice cream shoppe for a blast to the past and ice cream malts, shakes, sodas, and scoops.

For more Louisiana related articles, click here.

 

 

Louisiana’s Most Famous Food

Louisiana is known for many things, but the food usually makes the top of the list. Louisiana Travel has a list of Louisiana’s most famous food and where to find them. We are sharing some of those with you!

Po’boy

What are they:

A Po’boy is a sandwich Louisiana has made their own. It’s definitely at the top of the Louisiana’s famous food list.  Usually always made up with meat like, fried seafood, roast beef, or even just regular deli meat. But the thing that makes Po’boys extra special is the bread they are served on. Traditional French Bread, which often has a fluffy center and a crispy crust. If you enjoy mayonnaise, pickles, tomatoes, and lettuce then ask for your Po’boy to be “dressed”.

Where to find them:

New Orleans holds theOak Street Po-Boy Festival, which goes on in November. A New Orleans restaurant, Mother’s Restaurant serves one of the best roast beef po’boys. Maybe New Orleans is too far, check out Chris’ Po’boys that is located in Lafayette, Louisiana. They are known to be the best in Cajun Country!

King Cake

What are they:

Round braided dough filled with cinnamon that is covered in icing. Colored sugar covers the top of the King Cake and there is even a little plastic baby that is stuffed inside. There are three colors that are presented on the top. Purple represents justice, green represents faith, and gold represents power. These cakes can also be filled! If you get the piece with the baby, that means you have to buy the next King Cake!

Where to find them:

Metairie is known to have the best at Manny Randazzo’s King Cakes. However, this amazing desert can be found anywhere from Shreveport to the cities that line the Gulf Coast. They can also be found in these pretty amazing places:

Haydel’s Bakery in New Orleans

Atwood’s Bakery in Alexandria

Daily Harvest Bakery & Deli in Monroe

Boudin

What are they:

A smoked sausage casing is filled with pork, rice and spices. It can be served in balls or links. Usually boudin balls are deep fried and served with dipping sauce. The links can also be grilled and served like that. It can be an easy snack or even a whole meal!

Where to find them:

Scott, Louisiana is the Boudin Capital of the World is one of the best places to find boudin. Or not that far down the road, Earl’s Cajun Market is known for their plate lunches and their amazing boudin. They are located in Lafayette, Louisiana. Check out these places for even more boudin options:

Billy’s Boudin and Cracklins

Don’s Specialty Meats

Gumbo

What is it:

The base of gumbo is known as a roux, which is made up of butter/oil mixed with flour. Gumbo is one of the most versatile Louisiana recipes. Everyone cooks it differently. However, there is always a protein and plenty of seasoning. The Creole style gumbo usually incorporates tomatoes while the Cajun style sticks to the “regular” roux. Gumbo is actually the official Louisiana dish.

Where to find it:

Almost every where in Louisiana offers gumbo. If you want to experience the full southern Louisiana experience, try trying some different bowls of gumbo from New Orleans. The Gumbo Shop and Restaurant R’evolution are both located in New Orleans. Want something a little more north? Check out Monroe, Louisiana and visit Warehouse No. 1 for a seafood gumbo.

For more Louisiana related articles, click here, and to read the entire article on Louisiana’s Famous Foods click here.

 

Foods Only Louisiana Natives Know and Love

Louisiana is known for its revelry and its food for good reason- it’s the best in the world.  The unique combinations of spices, meats and other ingredients make Louisiana dishes some of the most flavorful and opulent ones you’ll ever taste.  Some dishes have become favorites for the locals and can be expected at any Louisiana get together or dinner party. We have compiled a list of some Louisiana favorites but click here for a full list.  Grab a napkin and get ready to explore Louisiana culture through your stomach.

1.    Beignets

This delicious deep fried French doughnut made New Orleans’ Café du Monde famous.  Did you even really go to New Orleans if you didn’t check in to Cafe Du Monde?  They are sprinkled with enough powdered sugar to satisfy anyone’s sugar craving. You can also find these delectable desserts stuffed with a variety of sweet or savory ingredients like caramel or fruits.  New Orleans even has a Beignet Festival (powdered sugar heaven!), held in December, that you won’t want to miss.

2.    Pralines

The gooey caramel cookie sprinkled with caramelized pecans can be found in most corner markets in New Orleans and as the years have passed, more and more flavors have been added to the classic recipe. This sugary, buttery candy is made from butter, brown sugar and pecans, cooked in a kettle and dried on wax paper. French nuns brought these treats to New Orleans in the 1700s.They are the perfect compliment to any gift basket or Christmas gift.  The dentist may cringe at this sweet treat but your taste buds certainly won’t!

3.    Boudin

Vegetarians beware! This spicy sausage is filled with seasoned pork and rice and many locals slurp the stuffing out of the casing with one hand, while driving with the other. Boudin is served in links or in boudin balls, which are deep-fried cousins of the iconic Cajun delicacy.  Boudin comes in many flavors and varieties depending on the meats and spices that are included. Earl’s Cajun Market in Lafayette serves up excellent boudin and plate lunches. Head to Scott, Louisiana which is the Boudin Capital of the World. Stop at Billy’s Boudin and Cracklins or Don’s Specialty Meats.  Boudin can also be found on many menus throughout Louisiana.

4.    King Cake

The sweet Danish pastry is a Mardi Gras tradition and usually decorated in colored sugar of purple, green, and gold. Cakes can be plan sugar and cinnamon flavored or have a variety of stuffings like cream cheese, blueberry or other fruit filling, even chocolate or pecan.  The tradition is that whoever finds the baby, which is a tiny plastic replica of a baby, has to buy the next King Cake. The only way to find the baby is to dig in! Bon appetit!

5.    PoBoys

This is a submarine-type sandwich made with French bread. Order it “dressed” if you like your po’boy with mayonnaise, lettuce, pickles and tomato.  A Louisiana favorite comes with fried shrimp or fried oysters but you can get whatever meat you prefer inside. Try one at the Oak Street Po-Boy Festival in New Orleans, held in November. Mother’s Restaurant, also in New Orleans, serves roast beef po’boys with a type of gravy known as debris (pronounced day’-bree). Chris’ Po’boys in Lafayette is among the best restaurants in Cajun Country to satisfy your po’boy cravings.

6. Crawfish Etouffee

This is a Creole dish of rice smothered in a stew of roux, crawfish, herbs and vegetables. The roux (called a “blonde roux” for its lighter color than the kind typically used in gumbo) is a mixture of butter and flour, mixed with celery, bell peppers and onion.  In New Orleans, find crawfish étouffée at Bon Ton Café and Jacque-Imo’s. Outside the Crescent City you’ll find mouthwatering étouffée at The Chimes in Baton Rouge and at Boudreaux & Thibodaux’s in Houma.

For more news and info on Louisiana culture, click here.