The Visitor’s Guide to Vernon Parish, Louisiana

Vernon Parish, Louisiana is a beautiful town filled with history and culture, beginning with being part of the “No Man’s Land” area, a strip of disputed territory where the border of Mexico once was. Many lives were fought for, lost, and won on the soil of Vernon Parish, adding to the celebrated rich history.

Read on to learn how you can celebrate with the locals and make the most out of your time in Vernon Parish, thanks to this list from Louisiana Travel.

See the Myths and Legends Byway

Known as Louisiana’s Wild West, Vernon parish was once home to the Coushatta and Atakapa Indians and to outlaws and gun-slingers with names like Leather Britches Smith. The Myths and Legends Byway is a section of the Louisiana Trails and Byways and follows different travelers’ journeys. To find out what life was like as a traveler on the frontier,  begin at Burr Ferry and follow the scenic backroads through Vernon and neighboring parishes.

Tour the Leesville Main Street Cultural District in Vernon Parish

One of six in Louisiana’s nationally accredited main streets, Leesville is brimming with history. Visitors can walk at their own pace throughout the well-preserved historical buildings, like the Wingate and Ferguson Houses on display. You can find local goods every Thursday and Saturday at the 3rd Market Street or head to Gallery One Eleven, a co-op of contemporary and traditional local artists that showcase west Louisiana culture.

Have fun at MayFest

This annual festival takes place the first full weekend of May and brings in food vendors, face painters, craftsmen, and artisans from Louisiana and Texas. You can find hand-blown glass, pottery, homemade candles, and many other types of crafts and trinkets. They also showcase local musicians and well-known Louisiana artists like Tab Benoit and the “Soul Queen of New Orleans”, Irma Thomas. Check out this guide to MayFest for more information.

Hike in the Kisatchie National Forest, Vernon Parish

Taking up a portion of Vernon Parish, Kisatchie National Forest actually stretches out through most of central and west Louisiana. Here you can find endangered bird species and natural areas that showoff Louisiana’s backcountry. Make sure to check out Little Cypress Recreation Area if you’re into horseback riding, off-road biking, or boating.

Dine in at the Vernon Parish Restaurants

Get your fill of quality Louisiana-style southern food like gumbo and jambalaya, along with other homestyle dinners. Check out restaurants like The Mustard Seed, BJ’s Diner, BubbaQue’s BBQ, and Wagon Master Steakhouse.

Wander the Talbert-Pierson Cemetery

Cemeteries are no stranger to Louisiana, inspiring many myths and scary stories of Louisiana’s eclectic culture and the Talbert-Pierson Cemetery is no exception. It’s filled with 13 grave houses with tombs as it’s occupants that date back decades.

Learn the history at the Museum of West Louisiana.

The Museum of West Louisiana is filled with artifacts that capture the region’s history, housing everything from railroad memorabilia to Native American artifacts made from stone and clay. This museum also features a series of paintings made by World War II German Prisoners of War during their time at Fort Polk.

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Nicholls Makes Strides In Coastal Restoration Efforts

Nicholls State University has once again made its place known as an official part of Louisiana’s efforts toward coastal restoration, preservation, and water management.

In a press conference held on the university’s campus in September, Nicholls President Dr. Jay Clune, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, and the President and CEO of the South Louisiana Economic Council (SLEC) Vic Lafont announced the new Louisiana Coastal Technical Assistance Center (CTAC). The CTAC will be located on the Nicholls campus and will assist local companies and organizations that are competing to work as contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers on various coastal restoration projects in the state.

Other organizations represented at the press conference wereLouisiana Economic Development (LED), the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA),  and The Water Institute of the Gulf. The organizations came together to sign a memorandum of understanding for the creation of the CTAC.

Governor John Bel Edwards stated that the Pelican State will be funding hundreds of millions of dollars into coastal restoration throughout the next fifty years. In addition to preserving the coast, coastal restoration also helps Louisiana businesses by creating a market for them to compete in for work along the coast. It is the state’s way of making sure Louisiana businesses are at the forefront of the coastal restoration process.

The center will be overseen by the South Louisiana Economic Council, which will also help companies gain the necessary qualifications needed for coastal recovery bidding processes. Similarly, Nicholls will provide vast technical support and research services as its role as the CTAC’s higher education partner. Nicholls will also provide a shared office and business space that will be specifically dedicated to coastal restoration.

This is not the first time Nicholls State University has taken a stand in the realm of coastal restoration and preservation. The university has previously partnered with the University of New Orleans, Water Institute of the Gulf, and the Coastal Preservation and Restoration Authority. Just this past spring, Nicholls and the CPRA announced a joint effort to build a Water Research Center for Coastal Restoration on the university’s campus.

LED and CPRA is providing a combined $750,000 initially to establish the new center. After that, each agency will give $125,000 every year for three years. The first year will be the 2020 fiscal year.

“CPRA’s investments will transform the coast,” said CPRA Chairman Chip Kline Jr. “By teaming up with LED, Nicholls, SLEC, and the Water Institute, we believe we have a real shot at transforming the economy of South Louisiana as well. CPRA is measuring success in restored land and reduced flood risk, but CTAC also gives us the opportunity to measure our impact in jobs and business development.”

The Water Institute of the Gulf will join the newly established Coastal Technical Assistance Center in boosting employment and business opportunities within the water management sector. The Institute, which is based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is a leading applied research center with a focus on coastal and deltaic solutions across the world.

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Louisiana Beaches Worth Visiting

Louisiana is located on the gulf coast but the beaches seem to often be glanced over. They might not have the prettiest water, but that isn’t the only thing that Louisiana beaches have to offer.  Louisiana Travel explores the multiple beaches Louisiana has hidden away. Here is a list of beaches located in our great state that are worth exploring with both family and friends alike.

Grand Isle

This tiny town is right on the coast and the barrier island. It overlooks Caminada Bay, only about two hours away from New Orleans. Want to get out of the city for a while? Take the short drive and pack up the fishing pole. The tarpon and redfish never stop biting in Grand Isle. This beach goes on for 10 miles and feel free to check out the birds that migrate and call the island their home for a little while.

Click here for more things to do in Grand Isle.

Click here for more information on Grand Isle State Park.

Holly Beach

Just about an hour away from Lake Charles, this coastline goes for over 20 miles. You can even camp on the beach! There are also plenty of rental properties and even RV areas. You can make it more than a day trip for sure. Famous for crabbing, this beach is known for many “Cajun getaways”. So why not check it out for yourself?

Rutherford Beach

Looking for a more rustic beach scene filled with shells to collect? Look no further than Rutherford Beach, located in Cameron Parish off of Highway 82. This beach also offers camping on the beach! When you take your Louisiana beach trip, try to stop by and check it out.

Cypremort Point Beach

Cypremort Point is actually a State Park. The official name is Cypremort Point State Park; this beach overlooks Vermilion bay. Many boats often fill the water with watersports such as windsurfing and tubing. Fishing is also a big hit at this beach. It has an amazing fishing pier, so great that you could actually stay the night. Cypremort Point offers six cabins at the park so why leave when you can spend the whole weekend fishing?

North Beach

Looking for an urban beach in Louisiana? Check out North Beach located in Lake Charles. It is the only beach located between Texas and Florida that is an inland, white sand beach. It is over 20 miles away from the ocean so it makes it pretty unique in this area. It is also referenced as I-10 Beach. A boardwalk can be found that actually connects three different parks in Lake Charles. These include the September 11th Memorial, Millennium Park, and Veteran’s Memorial Park.

Fontainebleau State Park

Located in Mandeville this white sand beach is the perfect getaway. The views of Lake Pontchartrain are bound to pull anyone in. However, laying on the beach isn’t the only option. Hike the 6 mile trail or bike the Tammany Trace. You can kayak along the shore. It is the perfect spot for a day trip. Watch the sun set and enjoy the view.

Click here for more information on all of these beaches!

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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!


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


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


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.


Experience Top Louisiana Festivals

Louisiana is well-known for its food, music, and the culture. But did you know that The Pelican State has numerous festivals throughout the year celebrating those very things? If you’re looking for a good time in Sportsman’s Paradise, try one of these Louisiana festivals!

Festival International de Louisiane

Festival International de Louisiane is one of the most popular festivals in the state of Louisiana. Hosted every year in Lafayette, Festival International in five days of culture and fun. Every April, downtown Lafayette becomes the home of international music. The festival boasts seven music stages in addition to street musicians, paintings, drawings, and boutiques. The festival is the largest international music and arts festival in the United States. The main purpose of the festival is to bring the gap between Acadiana and its roots in the French-speaking world. Over 20 countries are represented during the festival, which is about to mark its 34th year anniversary!

Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival

In 1959, the Louisiana Legislature named Breaux Bridge, Louisiana the Crawfish Capital of the World. In 1960, as a spin off of the Breaux Bridge Centennial Celebration, the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival was born. The festival is now known as one of the largest gatherings of Cajun musicians in the world. The Crawfish Festival takes place during the first weekend of May every year. Over 30 bands play each year! If you’re lucky, you may even win the zydeco dance contest. If you’ve never had crawfish etouffee, don’t fret. There’s a cook-off each year!

International Rice Festival

With its home in Crowley, Louisiana, the International Rice Festival is one of the oldest festivals in the state. The first festival was on October 5, 1937 and since then over seven million people have flocked to Crowley to attend. The festival is held in Downtown Crowley and highlights the importance of rice not only as a food, but also as a staple in the world’s economy. Each year the festival holds two parades: the Children’s Parade on Friday and the Grand Parade on Saturday. Other events include a Rice Cooking Contest and a Rice Eating Contest, a frog derby, and a queen’s pageant.

Christmas Festival of Lights

The Christmas Festival of Lights takes place in the oldest permanent settlement in Louisiana- Natchitoches. The Festival of Lights has been a Natchitoches tradition since 1927 and is one of the oldest community holiday celebrations in the United States. The Festival began as a one day event and have transformed into six-week long celebration. The Natchitoches Christmas Season begins the Saturday before Thanksgiving and ends on January 6th. Each year consists of over 300,000 lights and over one hundred set pieces that are on display every night.

Bogalusa Blues & Heritage Festival

Located in Bogalusa, Louisiana, this Louisiana Festival is one that should not be missed. The Bogalusa Blues & Heritage Festival is the youngest festival on the list. The Blues & Heritage Festival was born in 2011 and quickly became one of the largest and most popular festivals in Louisiana. The first festival was held in 2012 and was declared the New Event of the Year by the Louisiana Association of Fairs and Festivals. The festival is held every September with music, lodging, food, and crafts.

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The Best Places in Louisiana

Summer might be coming to an end but Louisiana is still full of places to explore. Due to Louisiana’s history the cities are often filled with places to discover; you just have to know where to look. Both tourists and locals can benefit from taking time to explore this beautiful state. Trips to Discovery gives us a list of 9 of the Best Places to Visit in Louisiana; we are sharing four of them!

Breaux Bridge

Known as the “Crawfish Capital of the World”, Breaux Bridge is located near Lafayette, Louisiana. Lying along the Bayou Teche, this city is filled with history. Even better though, downtown is filled with boutiques and antique stores. They even have their own festival dedicated to Crawfish, but it is the Crawfish Capital, right?

Check out Cafe des Amis for a zydeco breakfast that will make you come back for more. Want to enjoy the wildlife? Lake Martin gives visitors the option to kayak through the swamp and you could even get the chance to see some gators.

Grand Isle

Grand Isle is Louisiana’s only inhabited barrier island, but what makes it even better is the white beaches that go on for 7 miles. The Grand Isle Birding/Nature Trail offers five different bird watching locations; the birding trail itself is about 2 miles. Click here for more information.

Another unique thing about Grand Isle is that the island, Queen Bess, houses thousands of brown pelicans (Louisiana’s state bird). These birds were on the verge of extinction in the 1960s, so the state planned to bring them back on this very island. The island also houses roseate spoonbills. Visitors can see the island by private boats or by charters!

Grand Isle also offers the annual Grand Isle Migratory Bird Celebration during the month of April. Songbirds stop to rest on the island during their migration across the Gulf of Mexico.

St. Martinville

During the early 18th century, St. Martinville was founded by French explorers which is why the city is said to be the place where cajun culture was born. The settlers were not just French, many also came from Quebec. Even the trees show the history and age of the city; large oak trees lining the streets.

Picnics at the park are always an option when passing through. Or even check out the African-American Museum which displays the story of the journey Africans made through Southwest Louisiana.

St. Francisville

St. Francisville is not only beautiful but it has a tv and film career as well. Often used as a setting, this small town has more than enough to keep you busy. If the paranormal is your thing, this is the perfect place. Myrtles Plantation is known as one of the most haunted hotels in the country.

The plantation offers multiple opportunities for visitors. Private tours and guided day tours are offered every day that the plantation is open. Self-guided tours are even available! Friday and Saturday nights open up the opportunity of evening mystery tours. It truly is a sight to see.

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