In the Footsteps of Music: Louisiana’s Song Trail Explored

Embark on a musical journey through the heart and soul of Louisiana, where every note tells a tale of the state’s rich cultural tapestry through Louisiana’s song trail. These songs, like delightful ear-worms, weave narratives that resonate long after the music fades away. Join as we explore the musical trail of Louisiana, tracing the footsteps of iconic tunes that echo through time, as per this article from The Advocate.

Kicking off our expedition is “Louisiana Saturday Night” by Bob McDill, a foot-tapping anthem that found its home in LSU’s Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge. Let your feet dance to the rhythm as you follow this song trail, leading you to Cajun dance halls, where the spirit of the song comes alive in every lively step.

Next on the Louisiana song trail is “Hurricane” by Stewart Harris, Thom Schuyler, and Keith Stegall. Levon Helm’s rendition in 1980 narrates the tale of an old man in New Orleans’ French Quarter, unfazed by an approaching hurricane. The trail then takes a poignant turn to The Presbytere in New Orleans, where the “Living With Hurricanes: Katrina & Beyond”exhibit unfolds eyewitness accounts and explores the resilience of Louisiana in the face of adversity.

Tim McGraw’s “Louisiana,” born from the collaboration with Jim McCormick, beckons us to explore the northeastern corner of the state. Start, McGraw’s small hometown, welcomes you with open arms, proudly declaring itself as the birthplace of this country superstar. Venture a few miles down the road to Monroe, where McGraw’s roots intertwine with the Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo and the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

Delve into the poignant melodies of “Lake Charles” by Lucinda Williams, a native of the city. The song, part of her Grammy-nominated album “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road,” reflects on a late boyfriend who considered Louisiana his true home. Explore the charm of Lake Charles and the surrounding areas, where the lyrics come to life against the backdrop of the bayou.

John Fogerty’s “Born on the Bayou” propels us into the heart of Louisiana’s swamps and bayous. Despite being a Californian, Fogerty’s deep connection to the state’s music scene is evident in the raw, authentic sound of his songs. Follow this trail into the mystical landscapes that inspired Fogerty’s musical vision.

Feel the funk with “Fire on the Bayou” by The Meters, a New Orleans funk group. The song, adorned with Whitney Houston’s background vocals, sets the stage for a holiday-season adventure. Wait for Christmas Eve and witness the tradition of bonfires along the Mississippi River, a Louisiana spectacle that echoes the spirit of the bayou.

Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter’s “Goodnight Irene” leads us to the heart of Shreveport, where the bluesman’s statue stands tall. The song, with its paradoxical theme of homicide, invites contemplation as you explore the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium, home to the original Louisiana Hayride. Don’t forget to capture a selfie with the Elvis statue, a tribute to the King’s legendary debut.

In the symphony of Louisiana’s musical trail, each note resonates with the spirit of the state’s vibrant history and diverse culture. As our journey through Cajun dance halls, the poignant exhibits of New Orleans, and the bayous inspired by Fogerty’s vision comes to an end, the melodies linger, leaving an indelible mark on our hearts. Louisiana’s musical tapestry, woven with threads of resilience, joy, and reflection, stands as a testament to the profound connection between music and the soul of a place. So, let the echoes of the bayou guide your steps, and may thetunes of Louisiana linger in your memories. As our musical trail winds down, let the melodies linger, and relish the diversity of Louisiana’s soundscape. From Cajun beats to bluesy tales, each note tells a story deeply rooted in the state’s history and culture.

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Archaeologists Explore Kisatchie National Forest Ancient Past

Inside Kisatchie National Forest lies a treasure trove of ancient artifacts, revealing the rich history of Native Americans in Western Louisiana. The archaeological site, dating back to the end of the last Ice Age approximately 10-12,000 years ago, has recently been hailed as one of the oldest and largest prehistoric sites in the region, according to this article from the Shreveport Times. Led by archaeologists from the Kisatchie National Forest and the Public Archaeology Laboratory at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (ULL), the excavation has the potential to reshape our understanding of Native American cultures in the area.

The significance of this discovery cannot be overstated. Lisa Lewis, Forest Supervisor of Kisatchie National Forest,believes that these findings could rewrite the history books and provide invaluable insights into the lives of the Native Americans who once thrived in this region. Previously, the renowned Poverty Point World Heritage Site in Northeastern Louisiana, dating back to around 1500 B.C., held the distinction of being the oldest site in the area. However, this newly uncovered site predates Poverty Point by thousands of years, suggesting the existence of even larger, permanent Native American settlements in Western Louisiana.

To unravel the mysteries of the past, Kisatchie National Forest joined forces with ULL to conduct a comprehensive field school at the site. Approximately 10-15 students and a dedicated team of researchers from ULL and LSU were enlisted to assist in the excavation efforts. Among the passionate team was Gray Tarry, a ULL graduate and a technician for the Field School, who expressed his excitement about the project. Tarry described the thrill of uncovering artifacts that had not been touched by human hands for centuries, emphasizing the profound connection one can feel with the people of the past through their ancient tools and technologies.

While the discovery of artifacts is undoubtedly exhilarating, the researchers acknowledge the importance of understanding their context within the site. Mark Rees, Director of the Louisiana Public Archaeology Laboratory andProfessor of Anthropological Archaeology at ULL, explained that the goal extends beyond the mere collection of artifacts. He emphasized the significance of discovering artifacts within their precise locations and deciphering their associations with other items and cultural features. By piecing together this intricate puzzle, researchers can gain a more comprehensive understanding of the ancient Native American societies that once thrived on this land.

One of the primary research questions guiding the excavation is whether the site served as a short-term hunting camp or a permanent settlement. Helmer emphasized the need to analyze the collected material and determine its age to answer this question definitively. However, initial findings suggest that various groups of people inhabited the site over an extended period. While it may have initially functioned as a hunting camp, evidence points to the possibility of its transformation into a permanent hamlet or village—a significant revelation considering its distance from major river valley systems where Native American villages are typically found.

The true extent of this remarkable archaeological site has only recently come to light. While knowledge of its existence dates back to 2003, it was not until Hurricane Laura devastated the area in 2020 that funding was secured for large-scale excavation. With professional archaeologists at the helm, the salvage excavation has provided an unprecedented opportunity to unearth the secrets of the past.

As the excavation continues, archaeologists and researchers eagerly anticipate the revelations that lie hidden beneath the soil of Kisatchie National Forest. By carefully studying the artifacts, structures, and environmental remains, they hope to construct a vivid picture of the Native American civilizations that once called Western Louisiana home. The findings from this site may not only rewrite the history books but also deepen our understanding of the diverse cultures that shaped the ancient landscapes of Louisiana.

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New Expansion to Open at a Louisiana State Museum

The Louisiana State Exhibit Museum in Shreveport will soon unveil a long-anticipated expansion that will unearth portions of the state’s path that up until now have only been seen by very few, as reported by BRProud.

The awaited exhibit at this Louisiana State Museum will depict the state of Louisiana’s historical journey throughout several centuries, allowing observing visitors to tour the museum’s wing and take in magically-crafted murals that hang above diramas depicting the daily lives of Louisiana inhabitants from several eras.

The scope of Louisiana’s history is not in the least narrow, as the exhibit is set to display the many diverse periods in the state’s history from plantations and farming to the rise of oil productions. In addition to a visual retelling of past Louisiana events, many prehistoric discoveries found in Northern Louisiana will be on display in the exhibit, with the oldest item being a 21,000-year-old Mammoth tooth. Though technically discovered outside of the area, it’s positioned to represent the types of natural lifeforms that were once roaming around the backyards of Cajun and Creole country.

The Louisiana State Exhibit Museum opened in Shreveport in 1939 and has accumulated a treasured wealth of artifacts over the past eight decades, making the displaying of particular pieces troublesome. In many cases, museum curators have to decide which selections will be displayed on museum walls as opposed to being stored in the basement due to a general lack of space.

This Louisiana State Museum was established as one of the Public Works Projects resulting from President Roosevelt’s New Deal arts program, specifically the FEAPW, or Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works. Besides being known in the state for its architectural marvels (as it is styled in the ultra-modern late 1930’s fashion), it is also known as a reserve of 23 beautifully rendered scale dioramas, Native American artifacts, regional and natural history artifacts, local artists’ original worlds, and national history exhibits.

The Shreveport Museum’s archivist and curator, Nita Cole, told BRProud, “We have historical as well as prehistory so a large collection of basketry and beadwork. We have quite a collection of Native American artifacts and archaeological digs from around the state. It’s a lot of material because it’s small materials.”

Cole also detailed that the expansion had been decades in the making, as the museum had been waiting on a capital outlay project to begin once legislator funds were secured. Now that the project is unveiled, the museum was able to announce its long-awaited expansion via a ribbon-cutting ceremony that had Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin in attendance.

The ceremony was a successful unveiling of not just the building, exhibits, and overall expansion, but it was an opportunity for officials to detail just how useful the addition will be to the museum facility in future years. Nita Cole reported that this new archival building will allow for batter public viewings, research projects, and overall better record-keeping; all of which are absolutely vital to the legacy and success of a museum.

Cole was reported as stating, “the books tend to be spread all over the place so I know that they’re there but doing the research for a particular exhibit or tour that we’re doing is going to make it a lot easier and easier for students.”

The new building at this Louisiana State Museum is set to open to the public at the end of October, and Cole invites the citizens of Louisiana to come unveil the hidden treasures of the past, as the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum is open Monday through Friday on Greenwood Road.

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50-year-old Opelousas Time Capsule Opened

Opelousas city officials took a glance into their history this summer as they opened a not-forgotten time capsule buried 50 years ago in front of what is now the Police Department, reports an article by

On June 14, 1970 in front of what was once the Opelousas City Hall on Court Street, the time capsule was buried by the 250th anniversary committee, and 50 years later, it was opened by Opelousas Mayor Julius Alsandor, City Council Members, and relatives of members of the 250th committee.

According to a press release from the city, the 1970 time capsules’s contents included a letter from the chairman of the time capsule committee, a letter from former Opelousas Mayor Wilfred Cortez, a key to the city, a letter and badge from former Sheriff Adler Ledoux, letters from various civic organizations and a package from the Chamber of Commerce containing a tour guide.

Despite many of the contents appearing to have some sort of water damage, there were many letters and artifacts still salvageable. Former Mayor Wilfred Cortez placed a key to the city that sat alongside  a badge from former Sheriff Adler Ledoux.

The City of Opelousas plans to work with preservation-related agencies in hopes of restoring some of the damaged memorabilia so that the items can be placed at the Opelousas Public Library for the town’s viewing, as was the capsule’s original intention. In order to celebrate the city’s 300th anniversary, another time capsule is scheduled to be buried later this year.

At the same event, officials took time to unveil a community mural for the city’s anniversary, titled “Tree of Life.” The mural features icons and symbols representing the city’s culture and heritage intertwined with an oak tree’s branches and roots. The project’s artist, Jerome Ford is a local accomplished artist and an instructor for St. Landry Parish School Board Talented & Visual Arts Program.

The mural was composed by having the design printed on six individual canvases, creating one large piece of artwork. Through a series of pop-up community panting events, approximately 100 people from the city helped to paint the mural, which was supported by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council, administered by the Acadiana Center for the Arts.

In an interview conducted by KATC, Mayor Julius Alsandor said of the event, “History is our present. Our present will be our future.” Alsandor commented on the close-knit community at the unveiling by remarking that everyone “came together at a time when all of us need to be together.”

Also in attendance at this historic Opelousas event were residents Dr. Lucius Doucet, Gerald Emon, Sonny Ray and Becky Faul Diesi, who were part of the 250th time capsule burial fifty years ago.  Marceline Cortez Hrachovy, daughter of former Mayor of Opelousas Wilfred Cortez, shared a few remarks about the letter her father had placed in the time capsule.

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Visit These 8 Haunted Sites In Louisiana

October is finally here, which means it’s time to get your spook on!  Louisiana’s history is without a doubt one of the more haunted. In the early colonial days, the city was fought over between the French and Spanish, each leaving their fingerprint in the food and architecture. Later, African slaves were brought against their will and brought their culture with them. Now, visitors from all over the world come to visit the melting pot of culture and religion, drawn in by the city’s unique history.

This post from Getting Stamped clues in both locals and visitors to where they can get the ultimate Louisiana haunted experience.

St. Louis Cemetery #1

This landmark was built in 1789 behind the French Quarter and houses approximately 100,000 of the cities dead. Chances are, some restless souls may still be haunting their final resting place, left to wander for centuries to come.

Visit the most prominent resident of the cemetery, the powerful Voodoo Priestess, Marie Laveau. Hoards of followers flock to her grave, following the local lore of knocking on her tomb three times, drawing “XXX”, and knocking three more times in hopes of having their wishes granted.

Get a Physic Reading from Cari Roy

Wanting to make with loved ones on the other side? Cari Roy, a renowned psychic and medium, will help you cross that barrier. She can tell you things about yourself and your family that no one could possibly ever know.

Her site claims she is “a professional psychic (that tunes) deeply into your being to see the who, what, and where details of your life experience and work with you to enhance and enrich all aspects of your journey. As a medium, I open myself to the spirits that wish to speak and to aid in bringing solace from our loved ones who have passed.”

She also gave Getting Stamped a few tips to finding paranormal activity. “Skip the cemeteries and focus on the buildings and places that meant something to people,” she says. Make sure to schedule a session with her and find out what’s happening on the other side.

The Hanging Jail

Actually called the Gothic Jail of DeRidder, built in 1915, is believed to be haunted by two men who were hanged for the murder of their taxi driver, hence the “The Hanging Jail”.

Louisiana Travel explains the story: Two men, Joe Genna and Molton Brasseaux, hired a taxi driver, Joe Brevelle, and promptly murdered him, dumping Joe’s body into the old Pickering Mill pond. The body was found and both men were convicted and hanged from the third-floor gallows. They still walk the floors of the Jail of DeRidder to this very day.

Jackson Square

Once the sight of public executions, multiple people claim they can spot the spirits of those who departed from this sight. You may also spot the ghost of monk Pere Dagobert walking through the square carrying a lantern.

The LaLaurie Mansion

This three-story mansion housed the LaLaurie family and is considered one of the most haunted places in the city. The LaLaurie family was known for the fact that they carried out torturous experiments and violently abused their slaves.

The story is, the abuse was so bad that one young girl flung herself to her death from a third-floor window. Another slave, who had been chained to a stove and beaten, began a fire while chained inside. Once the firemen and police came, the woman was badly burned and told them of the stories happening behind the walls. It’s estimated that 300 souls were murdered in the building at the hands of Delphine LaLaurie and her doctor husband.

The Voodoo Museum Voodoo is a highly respected practice in Louisiana, with its roots with the Western and Central African slaves brought into America. This specific practice uses trinkets to protect you and your family, or alternatively uses trinkets to bring harm to your enemies.

Hotel Monteleone If you see a child playing in the halls of this hotel, it may be spookier than you think.

In the late 1800s, the Begere family lost their son, Maurice, who succumbed to a fever, while staying at the Monteleone. The next night, Maurice’s mother saw him in the hotel, saying “Mommy, don’t cry. I’m fine.”

Guests who stay on the same floor Maurice died on have reported seeing a friendly child playing in the hallway. Some have even reported he enters their room while they are on their bed.

The Pharmacy Museum

The Monteleone Museum isn’t the only spot haunted by children. The Pharmacy Museum was once home to the first licensed pharmacist in the country, Louis Dufilho. Louis lost two young children while living here, and some people have reported seeing those two children playing in the courtyard behind the museum.

Later, the building was sold to a man names Dr. Dupas who reportedly used the building to perform experiments on pregnant slaves. Now, a ghost fitting the description of Dupas has been seen standing in the old pharmacy and is known to throw books and cause other mischievous trouble.

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Things to Do in Alexandria, Louisiana

If you happen to travel down to the south bank of the Red River, the journey would end almost directly in the center of Louisiana. The ninth-largest city in the state, Alexandria, will welcome you with open arms. With a history that dates back to the traders and merchants in the mid- to late- 1700’s, Alexandria is one of the oldest settlements in Louisiana. Starting in the early 1800s, the city became a hub for transportation, trading, and agriculture.

Today, the city calls itself home to almost 50,000 people and the college campus of Louisiana State University at Alexandria. There are small bayous trickled throughout the city, surviving easily in the humid subtropical climate. With a unique history and dedication to preserving central Louisiana culture, Alexandria is a now a hub for education and learning.

Alexandria Zoological Park

Opened to the public in 1926, the Alexandria Zoological Park is owned by the city of Alexandria. The zoo, which originally started out as a row of cages in Brighurst Park, is currently made up of 33 acres of land. It is also presently home to approximately 500 animals.  The home to over 35 threatened and endangered species, the Alexandria Zoo supports both Louisiana-based and global conservation efforts. The Alexandria Zoological Park states that their mission is “to promote understanding and conservation of the natural world in which we live.”

Alexandria Museum of Art

The Alexandria Museum of Art boasts a collection spanning from ceramics to photography to watercolors. Founded in 1977, the museum has spent the last forty years using educational programs and interesting exhibits to not only promote art, but also further the understanding and appreciation of it. The museum holds over 800 works of art in its permanent collection and also calls itself a temporary home to travelling exhibits. The museum itself is located in the Rapides Band and Trust Company Building. The building was completed in 1898 and is in the National Register of Historic Places as of May 15, 1980.

Louisiana History Museum

The Louisiana History Museum collects items important to the history of both Alexandria and the state of Louisiana. The first pieces of the museum’s collection were gathered around the 1970s to preserve the history of the state, but also show the beginnings of central Louisiana. The collection began as display cases in th eAlexandria Genealogical Library to more than 50 displays and exhibits of the Alexandria Public Library. The museum is home to thousands of photographs taken in central Louisiana, some dating back as far as the 1860s. The museum states that they have over 700 photos from the 1860s to the 1960s.

The building the museum and genealogical are located in began as the Alexandria Public Library in 1907. S.S. Bryan matched a $10 thousand grant from Andrew Carnegie to build a library under the stipulation that the city provide a site and maintenance forever. In 1971, the Alexandria City Council declared the building the Alexandria Historical and Genealogical Library and Museum.

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