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News in Louisiana's Cajun Bayou

Tis' the Season in Louisiana's Cajun Bayou

‘Tis the season to be jolly in Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou! Here in Lafourche Parish, we’re known for our unique Cajun culture, and we amp it up just a little bit more at Christmastime. We have a few special traditions you won’t find in other spots around the planet.

Instead of Santa Claus arriving on Christmas Eve, children all along the bayou eagerly await the appearance of Papa Noel. Similar to Santa (but -- dare we say – better) Papa Noel leaves toys for the kids, but he ditches the flying sleigh and reindeer and instead travels via pirogue, which is basically a Cajun canoe, along the waters of the bayou. And – BIG bonus – that pirogue is pulled by alligators instead of reindeer!

Yeah. We know. How could it get better? Well … we light bonfires along the bayou to help Papa Noel find his way to each and every home to deliver his toys. On Christmas Eve, you see little bonfires along the bayou – best spotted if you travel by boat, but please be sure you don’t get in Papa Noel’s way and slow down his journey!

Fall into These Events this November

Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou is still deep in recovery mode after Hurricane Ida struck in late August. Residents, business owners, work crews, friends and family are all hard at work rebuilding our beloved Lafourche Parish. For those who find themselves wanting a well-deserved break and a reason to smile, the parish will be home to several events that welcome everyone to join the fun.

The Pelican State Goes to War

November 1 – December 15, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Tourism Helping Tourism

On August 29, Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou as a Category 4 hurricane, bringing devastation and destruction to our beloved bayou. Businesses, homes and treasured belongings were damaged … some temporarily and others permanently. However, thanks to lots of hard work, dedication and Louisianan resiliency, Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou is busy rebuilding.

One month out, we would not be where we are without the help of several tourism partners who selflessly stepped forward in our time of need and lent a helping hand.

The Weir is Gone - Time to Celebrate!

Some folks say that here in Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou, we’ll take any excuse to celebrate. They’re not wrong. But we think we have a great reason to throw a socially distanced party on Saturday, August 28, when a Boat Parade will be our way of celebrating the removal of the weir that’s been restricting access to parts of our beloved Bayou Lafourche.

First, a quick vocabulary lesson: Our word of the day is “weir,” a noun that describes a structure similar to a dam. A weir is used to regulate water flow, and ours was constructed in 1969 to create a water reservoir for water treatment facilities and sugar mills north of the weir. While it served its original purpose, it has not only impeded the flow of water in Bayou Lafourche, but also prevented boat access in Bayou Lafourche which is a major impediment to recreational boaters of the bayou region. With the recent completion of other projects that allow more water to be introduced into the bayou and new water control structures, the water elevations of Bayou Lafourche can be safely managed without needing the weir. Boats can now move both up and down Bayou Lafourche and freely access the town of Thibodaux, which had previously been cut off by the weir. And we think THAT is reason to celebrate!
Here in coastal Louisiana, we love a parade. And we love being out on the water. So … a boat parade is the beautiful mashup of two things we’re passionate about. The parade is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 28. The event is free and open to the public, and everyone is encouraged to participate by launching a paddleboard or kayak from the Jean Lafitte Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center or a motorized boat from Leighton Boat Launch in Thibodaux.

The parade route travels down the bayou, turning around at Nicholls State University, and returns to Jean Lafitte Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center with the total distance being a bit over 3 miles. The journey will be accompanied by a live soundtrack provided by local musicians set up at five locations on the shoreline along the way. The parade route also allows for a glimpse of the brand new Nicholls State Bayou-Side Park, opening across from the university campus for the event. Bayou-Side Park is a public space with areas for loading and unloading boats, a floating dock, bike racks, a pavilion, an outdoor classroom, and more.

Louisiana's Cajun Bayou ... From A to Z!

: Ours highlight our unique heritage, food, crafts, culture and natural history.

Bayou: Bayou Lafourche is where we live, work and play! Visit Jean Lafitte Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center every Friday in the Summer for their Boat Tours on Bayou Lafourche!

Cajun Culture: What you see – and hear and taste – in Lafourche Parish is real Cajun.

Drive: Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou is a short 45 minute drive from New Orleans, which means it’s also a terrific road trip from other points in Louisiana as well as Alabama, Mississippi and Texas.

E.D. White Home & Museum: This National Historic Landmark was home to a former governor and his son, a chief justice of the Supreme Court.

Food Trail: The Cajun Bayou Food Trail is a great way to experience all the tastes of the Bayou.

Gulf of Mexico: Bayou Lafourche will take you straight to the Gulf, where you can go out with one of our many fishing charters.

Heritage: Visit the Bayou Lafourche Folklife & Heritage Museum for some general background.

Industry: We’re home to seafood, sugar and petroleum.

Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Preserve: Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center is a phenomenal place to learn about Cajun life through exhibits, films and special activities.

King Cake: The Cajun Pecan House in Cut Off has a few great versions of this Mardi Gras cake and even ships nationwide.

Laurel Valley Village: The largest surviving 19th- and 20th-century sugar plantation complex in the United States, Laurel Valley is still a working sugarcane farm.

Mardi Gras: An important part of our culture.. and no you can never take home too many Mardi Gras beads!

Native Americans: You can visit the United Houma Nation Settlement School Museum to learn about the first people to live and work along the Bayou.

Outdoors: Our climate ensures that locals and visitors alike can have year-round fun outside.

People: Our greatest resource – and the element that will keep you coming back – our people.

Questions: Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Visitor Center is the best place to start a visit here.

Recreation: We have plenty of water - and land-based activities, from kayaking to hiking.

Swamp Tours: There’s no better way to spot an alligator than on one of our swamp tours!

Thibodaux: Located at the top of Lafourche Parish, it is a great spot to do some local shopping and delicious dining.

University: Nicholls State University in Thibodaux is home to the John Folse Culinary Institute dedicated to the preservation of our state’s culinary heritage.

Visitor: That’s YOU! Life isn’t complete until you come see Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou yourself.

Wildlife: Here you’ll find plenty of interesting critters, with everything from alligators to eagles.

X-tremely Good: Our response when people ask us how the food is in Louisiana's Cajun Bayou.

Youngsters: The Bayou Country Children’s Museum helps kids learn our special stories in an interactive way.

Zydeco: Its fast tempo beat is perfect for dancing to, and we encourage you to don a washboard and join the band.

Fun Stops for Every Pop this Father's Day

If you want to show dear old Dad just how much he means to you this Father’s Day, Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou offers a fun stop for every type of pop.

If the father figure in your life loves to fish, the Leeville Fishing Pier is a great spot to cast a line, enjoy each other’s company … and wait for the fish to bite. (In these parts, you usually don’t have to wait that long.) If you’re more adventurous and want to reel in something a little (or a lot) bigger, several charter fishing options accommodate every skill level, from novice to expert.

Is Dad a not-so-secret foodie? Lafourche Parish is home to the Cajun Bayou Food Trail, with 16 distinctive restaurants serving up Cajun cuisine that focuses on ingredients that come straight from the Bayou and blended with a whole lotta love. With options ranging from “alligator cheesecake” at Cinclare to Spahr’s famous “catfish fingers,” you’re sure to get plenty of authentic Cajun flavor AND a full belly at each stop you make. Visit 5 or more stops on the Food Trail, and you and Dad can work yourselves into free T-shirts!

To make sure your Father’s Day is on par, why not take Dad to one of the Bayou’s golf courses? LaTour Golf Club is just one of 18 courses that make up the Louisiana Audubon Golf Trail. Arranging a tee time at this 18-hole course designed by PGA tour champion David Toms is sure to make YOU a champ in Dad’s eyes!

Coming in June: The Smithsonian Water/Ways Exhibit

If you’re looking for new and exciting things to do in Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou, look no further than the Jean Lafitte Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center!

Throughout the month of June and open to the public Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, the Center will be home to the Smithsonian Water/Ways Traveling Exhibit, which demonstrates the necessity of water and how it influences the cultural, environmental, and historical landscape of Louisiana's Cajun Bayou.

The (educational) fun doesn’t just stop with the exhibit, as the Center will host special events all month long in tandem with the temporary display. A photography exhibit will feature images of the coast, a “Water in Flight” bird-watching boat ride will be led by a professional ornithologist, and a family-friendly “Water Discovery Day” with water activities and experiments cap off an exciting array of events.

Here’s the Water/Ways schedule of events:

Saturday, June 12: “Water in Art” Family Fun Day from 10 a.m. to 12 noon

Enjoy fun art activities for the whole family accompanied by a display of coastal photographs taken by Louisiana artist Lane Lefort.

Saturday, June 19: Bird Watching Boat Tour from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Led by a professional ornithologist, discover the variety of birds along Bayou Lafourche. Please note: Spots are limited. Call 985-448-1375 to reserve your place.

Saturday, June 26: Family Water Discover Day from 10 a.m. to 12 noon

Festivals and Events are Back!

Last year was the year of change, and not necessarily for the better. Thanks to COVID, favorite festivals up and down the Bayou were postponed or cancelled altogether. We came into 2021 with a renewed sense of hope, not for things to return to normal, but for things to continue with an increased awareness for safety, health and -- most importantly -- fun. If folks around here know how to do anything, it’s throw a festival!

When you’re ready to travel and experience all that Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou has to offer, we hope you’ll consider attending one of the many events that are back better than ever. Appropriate precautions will be in place to make sure everyone not only has a good time, but enjoys activities safely. Here’s a preview of what’s to come for the next six months…

A Taste of Mardi Gras!

COVID may have put a damper on the usual Mardi Gras celebrations this year by limiting the size of gatherings and forcing the cancellation of every parade the parish usually hosts, but that doesn’t mean that this year’s Carnival season has turned into one big  “Mardi Blah.”


Support local businesses while keeping the spirit of Mardi Gras alive. Complete 3 stops at any of the Taste of Mardi Gras locations, turn in your passport at the Louisiana's Cajun Bayou Visitor Center or Thibodaux Main Street office and receive a free Mardi Gras themed swag bag (with beads of course!). 

Discover Charming Downtown Thibodaux

With 14,500 people populating French Quarter-style streets, Thibodaux is sure to charm you with the feel of New Orleans but all the hospitality and personality of a small town. Shops and restaurants throughout downtown mimic the style of the Big Easy, located just 35 miles away, but business owners here instantly make visitors feel like family. And those visitors are especially lucky at this time of year because they’re treated to all sorts of holiday cheer, festive décor and special deals.


It’s easy to navigate downtown Thibodaux. The streets are numbered, there’s on-street parking near whatever shop or restaurant you’d like to visit, and everything is quite walkable once you decide where to leave your car. If the weather is cooperating, you should take a walking tour of the downtown area so you can explore the rich history and architecture of Thibodaux while supporting local shops and eateries each step of the way.

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