Louisiana and Its Hidden Surprises

Louisiana is full of adventure. It is, after all, Sportsman’s Paradise. We have everything from fishing and hunting to festivals and great food. There is never a dull moment in this beautiful state. You just have to know where to look. Movoto Blog recently posted 27 Crazy Things You Never Knew Existed In Louisiana. Here are three of those 27 with more information to plan you next trip around Louisiana.

The Abita Mystery House, it is also known as the UCM Museum. This museum is less than an hour away from New Orleans, in Abita Springs, Louisiana. It is a roadside attraction, created by the Louisiana artist John Preble, consisting of different exhibits he put together himself. Click here for an entire list.

The Museum is made up of over 50,000 objects that were found and recycled. The worlds Preble created are what any visitor visiting Louisiana wants to see, a haunted Southern plantation, a jazz funeral, and even a rhythm and blues dance hall. There is a general store and even a comb collection. The Museum is located in the historic district of Abita Springs.  The best part is that admission is only $3.

Avery Island, Louisiana not only offers the amazing opportunity to explore the factory that makes the famous McIlhenny Family Tabasco, but it also offers the beautiful Jungle Gardens. This outside attraction has a little something for everyone. The garden offers a variety of different attractions.  A large Buddha statue, is one of the main areas that visitors visit. The statue itself was found in a Manhattan warehouse and was sent by railroad in 1936 to the founder of Jungle Gardens, Mr. Ned. A shrine was created for the statue and is visited by local Buddhists who often use the area for a place of worship.

Another attraction within the Jungle Gardens is an area known as “Bird City”.  In the 1890s the egret population was beginning to fall due to plume hunters killing them to sell for their feathers. Mr. Ned raised and released 8 birds and 6 returned with their mates. Creating their nest, this was the beginning of Bird City. It was estimated that one hundred thousand birds were nesting in 1911. Imagine the amount now.

Jungle Gardens does not only host an array of birds; several different species of wildlife also wander the grounds. This area is perfect for bird watching, and Avery Island Jungle Gardens offers its own Bird Tour. You might even get a glimpse of a deer or alligator. The grounds alone are an eye full, but who wouldn’t love to see a deer grazing the grass. Over sixty-four different types of bamboo are also planted around and in Jungle Gardens.

Have you ever heard of a MudFest? Well Louisiana has exactly that. Located in Colfax, Louisiana with over three hundred acres .  The fest is open for three days, and visitors can enjoy an entire weekend dedicated to mud riding.  You do not even need something to ride, just pull up a chair and watch. Click here for admission prices. If you aren’t a fan of big crowds, you can check it out for non-event weekends and pay a much smaller admission.

For more Louisiana related articles, click here.











The Louisiana Oyster Trail

The Louisiana Bed and Breakfast Association posted an article talking about theLouisiana Oyster Trail. Oysters offer a lot more than most of us originally think. Not only do they offer health benefits for the environment but they also offer health benefits for humans. Oysters are high in omega 3 fatty acids, iron, protein, and other minerals and vitamins. They are low in cholesterol, fat and calories. They can even help improve energy levels and immune function. Plus, increase bone strength, tissue repair, and even help reduce blood pressure. All of this power in a little shell; and let’s not forget about the pearl making part. Oysters are one of the most versatile dishes out there and Louisiana is ready to show it’s visitors the options.

The valves alone in the oysters could cleanse the entire ecosystem; over 50 gallons of water can be filtered by them. And the place to find the best oysters around? Right here in Louisiana, named the number one producer to be exact. It is said that the Gulf of Mexico produces some of the best oysters in the world. Due to the Mississippi River flowing into the Gulf of Mexico, it lowers the salt content in the water. This actually changes the texture and taste of the oyster. This low salt content also makes the oysters have a creamy like taste and even their size is larger.

In 2012, the Louisiana Oyster Trail was created so everyone, even the locals, could experience the Louisiana oyster. Starting in Jefferson Parish and the surrounding areas, going as far as the Gulf of Mexico, this trail offers an unlimited amount of oysters cooked different ways. As of right now there are 22 restaurants who are involved with the trail. The oysters are served in multiple different ways. The classic half shell raw oysters, or try them grilled. You can also get them in a chowder, pickled, fried, deviled, creamed, and even pan roasted. This Trail gives it’s guest the most diverse oyster experience.

What about half fried shrimp and half fried oysters? Try the  Acme Oyster House’s Peace Maker. They offer raw and chargrilled oysters, meaning there is something for everyone. Or what about an oyster sandwich? Cafe 615 Home of Da Wabbit not only has an oyster sandwich but they also have a dish called Brochette Oysters. This consists of fried oysters that are wrapped in bacon and they are served with their remoulade sauce, that is house made.

The Boulevard American Bistro serves what is known as their Boulevard Oysters. Crystal aioli and creamed spinach on top of crispy oysters. Looking for larger portions? Check out Deanie’s Seafood Restaurant, also famous for their Creole dressing. Deanie’s has even won the Certificate of Excellence six years in a year on Tripadvisor. Want something a little more classy? The Restaurant des Families is a creole cottage. Try one of their Louisiana oyster platters.

The oyster trail is the ultimate way to fully experience the oysters Louisiana has to offer, while also exploring Louisiana’s culinary history.

Click here to download the Oyster Trail brochure. Click here to follow the Trail’s Facebook.

For more Louisiana related articles, click here.


Louisiana Non-Profits To Get Involved With

Louisiana is thankfully not falling in the nonprofit area. If you’ve been thinking about getting involved with a non-profit or foundation in our great state, but haven’t figured out which one is for you?  Our list of just a few worthy non-profits is broken down below.  Here are a few of the nonprofit organizations Louisiana has to offer, and here is the list of foundations. There’s a little something for all interests.

Arts Council of New Orleans

Located at 818 Howard Ave., Ste. 300, New Orleans, LA 70113. The Arts Council of New Orleans prides itself on being a nonprofit (private) organization that helps its’ community use art to transform it for the better. They also use their space and resources to support the culture and art within the community. Investing in local art/local artist and providing resources, the Arts Council of New Orleans gives its community a place to display the richness of the culture and arts that reside in New Orleans.

Biomedical Research Foundation of Northwest Louisiana

The Biomedical Research Foundation of Northwest Louisiana was founded in 1986 after the price of oil dropped so low that many people lost their jobs. The foundation was founded to help “diversify the economy into other industry sectors”. The Virginia K. Shehee Biomedical Research Institute was opened in 1994. Connecting to the LSU School of Medicine in Shreveport, this state of the art building offers 56 research labs. In 1997, the InterTech Science Park plans were announced.The Biomedical Research Foundation of Northwest Louisiana has now become a “stronghold for economic development”. Click here to read the full history.

Community Coffee Company LLC Corporate Giving Program

Community Coffee Company LLC Corporate Giving Program, is a program that Community Coffee has developed to support: schools, military, growers, communities and relief efforts. The Giving Program expresses the desire to give back to the community that helped the Community Coffee Company get on its’ feet.  The full 2018 Giving Report can be view here.

The Food Bank of Central Louisiana, Inc.

The Food Bank of Central Louisiana, Inc. feeds over 22,000 people each month within the community. Five meals can be provided to a family for just one dollar donated. The best part about the Food Bank is that there are multiple ways someone can help out. The Food Bank accepts donations and they also need volunteers.

If someone is in need of food assistance, the Food Bank has a list of requirements in order to receive the assistance.

McNeese State University Foundation

The McNeese State University Foundation, founded in 1965, is a non-profit organization. Originally the foundation was established for student scholarships that would be given through endowments. However, since then the foundation has moved to also include endowments for faculty and chairs. They “seek outside resources” that are there to serve those who are eligible for the endowments.

Click here to read more about the foundation.

Harvey L. Foster Foundation for Science Education

The Harvey L. Foster Foundation for Science Education was founded in 2007, and is located in Mandeville, Louisiana.  However, that does not make it any less impactful. The foundation is rooted in the idea of getting students involved in science education. Funding under-funded science programs, the foundation serves St. Tammany, Washington, Tangipahoa, and Livingston Parishes located in Louisiana. The ultimate goal is to have more students pursue engineering and science degrees.

For more Louisiana related articles, click here.



The Top Threes of Houma You Won’t Want To Miss

Regional Military Museum

The Regional Military Museum is the perfect day spot to visit in Houma. Experience the history of the brave women and men who have fought to defend our country. The museum strives to remember the sacrifices all those women and men endured; past present and future.   

The Regional Military Museum is still expanding so if you have already gone, there is probably something new waiting for you. The best part is the tours; there are many hands on exhibits. You can even schedule a LCVP ride (Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel) just like the ones that were used to storm the beaches of Normandy on D-Day.

The museum also offers a Memorial Brick Program, giving people the option to engrave a brick that will be put in front of the museum’s new building. This is a great gift to remember a family member or friend who helped defend our country.

Southdown Plantation

The Southdown Plantation also known as The Terrebonne Museum is not only a museum but it can also be used as a venue. The museum offers guided and unguided tours. Established in 1828, the plantation has a rich history of a sugar plantation; over 10 different exhibits inhabit the museuming. So that means there is something for everyone.

The Southdown Plantation also offers it’s guest the availability of booking venues as well. Who wouldn’t want to host a dinner or a wedding on a plantation that beautiful.

Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge   

Maybe Museums aren’t your thing; Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge  gives the adventure a perfect escape. This refuge, established in 1996, is over 4,000 acres of leves, man-made canals, and freshwater marsh which is all divided by the Intercoastal Waterway. Louisiana is famous for its marshland so why not experience it in full force.

The best part about the refuge is the amount of activities you can enjoy. This is the perfect place to take that old boat out. Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge is the perfect place to enjoy a boat ride. Or what about those old fishing poles? Pack up the tackle box and head out there.

Don’t own a boat? Don’t worry, the refuge offers an amazing nature trail that is only accessible during the day. The trail passes thru the many different habitats that make up this beautiful state. The refuge also offers its guest the option of hunting.

Make sure you check out the rules and regulations and the permits before visiting the refuge. You don’t want to get there and then have to turn back because you forgot something!

3 Places to stay

A Chateau on the Bayou Bed & Breakfast

Need a place to stay but you don’t want the traditional hotel? Look no further than A Chateau on the Bayou Bed & Breakfast, just 15 minutes away from Houma. This Bed and Breakfast is in a central location making activities endless. Enjoy the relaxing stay on the bayou.

The best part about this Bed and Breakfast is that they have so many options and packages for you to choose from. You can even plan a girls trip! Check out their website for more awesome options.

Waterproof Plantation

Traveling with an RV and need a place to park it? Hideaway Ponds is a RV resort that is located in Gibson, Louisiana, just 20 minutes from central Houma. Hideaway Ponds has their own map which can be printed out and used by their guest to find the activities on the sight.

Some of the amenities include: a dog park, a fishing pond, a catfish pond, a pool, a club house, a laundry station and paddle boats. The resort is a vacation in itself!

Courtyard by Marriott

Want to go for the more traditional route? Courtyard by Marriott offers many amenities for those who are seeking. The Bistro at the hotel has many food and drink options for its guest. There is wifi throughout the hotel, free of course. There is even an outdoor and indoor pool.

Need to host a business event? Courtyard offers more than 4,000 square feet of meeting space. Completely equipped with “state of the art audio visual equipment with multimedia capability”.

3 Places to Eat

Cristiano Ristorante

Cristiano Ristorante offers northern Italian cuisine; using only local and fresh ingredients. Located in Houma, this restaurant gives you some italian heritage while still experiencing southern hospitality. Their menu offers endless options, they even offer brunch and a brunch menu.  

Big Al’s Seafood Restaurant

Wanting a more cajun casual restaurant? Big Al’s Seafood Restaurant has exactly what you’re looking for. Offering boiled and fried seafood dishes. Even alligator is a huge hit on their menu. Recently they added Charbroiled Oysters and guest can’t stop asking for them. They even cater!

Bilello’s Cafe

Craving a Poboy? Bilello’s Cafe has almost anything you could think of. Not a fan of Poboys? Their menu also offers pasta.  All you have to do is check out their Gallery page to see some of their delicious meals. But make sure you have eaten before you look because you might end up driving to Houma to get a taste.

For more Louisiana related articles, click here.

The Top Threes of Shreveport, Louisiana

If you ever find yourself with some extra time in Shreveport, Louisiana, here are some of the top experiences there you wont want to miss out on.

1. R. W. Norton Art Gallery

Named after Richard W. Norton, a discoverer of the Rodessa Oil Field in northern Louisiana, the art gallery began as a fine art collection by his wife and son. In 1946, Mr. Norton’s mother and son created the R.W. Norton Art Foundation, which later became the R.W. Norton Art Gallery.

Surrounding the art gallery is 40 acres of beautiful botanical gardens, described as “one of the South’s favorite spots” by Southern Living Magazine. Indoors, the gallery has an extensive fine art collection including over 400 paintings from over 100 artists. The collection spans at least four millennia. The gallery also takes part in an oral history project. Created in 2003, the project has grown to include stories of World War II, the Civil Rights Movement, Louisiana Musical Pioneers, and more.

2. Louisiana Exhibit Museum

The Louisiana Exhibit Museum was one of the Public Works projects during the New Deal and was completed in 1939. The building holds 23 scale dioramas showing life in 1940s Louisiana. There are regional art collections, Native American Artifacts, and natural history exhibits.

3. Beef Jerky Outlet

Recently ranked by Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500®, Beef Jerky Outlet is a top beef jerky retailer. Being in Louisiana, this is a prime place to go for some alligator jerky. With other jerkies ranging from the traditional beef to kangaroo and even ostrich, Beef Jerky Outlet is a place to visit for an eccentric and out of the ordinary experience.

3 Places to Stay

1. Fairfield Place Bed & Breakfast Inn

Built by a Louisiana Supreme Court Judge, Thomas Thompson, and his wife Mary Eliza, this bed and breakfast was built in the early 1870s and is possibly one of the oldest houses on its street. With beautiful New Orleans style patios and an old-timey feel, Fairfield Place is almost a blast from the past featuring modern amenities such as WiFi, Cable TV, private bedrooms, and more.  Begin each morning with a feeling of Louisiana and a full breakfast.

2. Clarion Inn

With over 200 rooms and suites, the Clarion Inn is the perfect place to stay. With a free continental breakfast, marketplace, fitness center, high-speed internet, and more, it’s the place to stay for a nice and classic getaway. The Clarion is also pet friendly for those traveling with their four-legged friends. It is a perfect stay for group travel and even includes business spaces.

3. Remington Suite Hotel and Spa

The Remington Suite Hotel and Spa may be small, but it’s mighty. It has 22 rooms and one penthouse. The beds and mattresses are custom made. Rooms come equipped with a kitchenette, a jacuzzi, flat screen televisions, iPod docking stations, and more. Hotel amenities include complimentary WiFi, a full service spa, a media room, and an indoor pool.

3 Places to Eat

1. Food Shack

A self-described Southern Experience, Food Shack serves Southern Style food. A locally owned and operated business, Food Shack serves Louisiana classics gumbo, po-boys, and jambalaya.

2. Frank’s Louisiana Kitchen (Cajun/Creole Food)

Frank’s Louisiana Kitchen is on a mission to bring southern Louisiana style cooking to the northern part of the state. Everything here is made from scratch and served in a more upscaled and relaxed, casual setting. There are chef’s specials Thursday through Saturday with live jazz on Sundays. He has recently partnered with Artemis Gourmet Mushrooms to offer gourmet Louisiana-grown and harvested mushrooms in his dishes.

3. Cold Stone Creamery (Sweets)

In case of a sweet tooth, Cold Stone Creamery is the ultimate destination. They offer what they call a “10-Minute Vacation®.. that 10-minute getaway you deserve from the world outside our doors.” They’ve been in business for 25 years and show no signs of slowing down. Each dessert is prepared individually for each customer, providing a truly encompassing experience.

For more Louisiana related articles, click here.


Discover Louisiana’s Spring Festivals

Spring Festivals are some of the most highlighted times of the year in Louisiana.  There are hundreds of festivals across the state of all types. Some honor the local produce like the Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival or the Franklin Parish Catfish festival.  Some are odes to certain music genres like the Baton Rouge Blues Festival.  Others are nods to history and culture like Lafayette’s Festival International.  All of them are tons of fun for everyone and offer lots to do, great food to eat, and exciting activities.  Here are some of our favorites based on the festival guide published by Louisianatravel.com.

1.    French Quarter Festival

Spring Festivals

While most people know about the Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans, it seems that this festival is smaller, less well-known, and the locals like it that way.  They are able to see some of their favorite acts without all the hullabaloo. As stated on their website, their mission is to “promote the Vieux Carré and the City of New Orleans through high quality special events and activities that showcase the culture and heritage of this unique city, contribute to the economic well-being of the community, and instill increased pride in the people of New Orleans.”  2019 brings the 36th Anniversary of the festival and locals will tell you that it gets better with time.

2.    Louisiana Pirate Festival

The Louisiana Pirate Festival is a wonderful chance to experience Southwest Louisiana’s joie de vivre or “Joy of Life.”  Celebrating the legendary life of pirate Jean Lafitte, it is held on the grounds of the Lake Charles Civic Center and Seawall.  There will be great live entertainment showcasing Louisiana musicians and great Louisiana cuisine, a Pirate Ball and parade, Fireworks Display and much more. The story goes that pirate Jean Lafitte docked his boat right on the shore and buried his treasure somewhere along the bank. Witness the cannon fire as the citizens of Lake Charles defend the seawall against the pirates!

3.    Festival International de Louisiane

Lafayette hosts this festival all over its downtown area every April.  It’s one of the few free festivals of its size. It brings in over 300k people and acts from all over the world including many bands that don’t speak English and who carry hand-made instruments.  Festival International is known for exciting discoveries and culture sharing. There are plenty of food trucks offering local fare from all over Louisiana, arts and crafts, shopping, and activities.  The official lineup has been released and the festival also offers a free app to help you organize your favorite shows and create a schedule for yourself.  

4.    Natchitoches Jazz/R&B Festival

May brings this fun festival to one of the oldest settled towns in Louisiana.  It has hosted legendary artists such as .38 Special, Trombone Shorty, Edgar Winter, The Marshall Tucker Band, The Family Stone, Grand Funk Railroad and many, many more. The main stage is located on the banks of the Cane River in the historic downtown area. There will be music for all tastes; not just Jazz and R&B but also country, rock, zydeco, and much more. With food trucks and booths lining the riverbank, the gorgeous setting and festive music makes for an incredibly unique experience for all ages.

For more Louisiana news and information, click here.