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News in Louisiana's Cajun Bayou

4 Cajun Festivals You Need to Visit

It’s one of our favorite times of the year! Fall is on the way and that means some of our most famous and delicious festivals are too.

Four of the six events on our Cajun Bayou Food Trail are just a few weeks away. This series of family-friendly festival pay homage to the important roles that both people and food play in our flavorful culture.

La Fete des Vieux Temps is French for “the festival of old times.” It’s a cultural throwback event, rejuvenating old Cajun cultures and traditions from generations past. Live music and authentic Cajun recipes – like the opportunity for people to make fresh cane syrup on site – headline this three-day festival. Held next door to Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Visitor’s Center at the pavilion in Raceland the weekend of October 5-7, the festival is free to the public.

It’s not every day that you find yourself in the company of 600 gallons of gumbo, which is how much will be cooked and served up at the annual Louisiana Gumbo Festival, held October 12-14. In the 1970s then-governor Edwin Edwards signed a proclamation naming the small town of Chackbay the “Gumbo Capital of Louisiana.” For the last 47 years, the Louisiana Gumbo Festival has ensured that those bragging rights continue. Attendees enjoy every variety of Cajun gumbo including chicken to sausage or seafood – plus live music and carnival rides. Admission to the festival is free.

Cajun culture is the centerpiece of the 45th French Food Festival, which will take place on October 27-29 in the town of Larose. One of Lafourche Parish’s oldest festivals, this one is all about Cajun food, live music, dancing, folklife demonstrations and passing a good time. Under the giant food tent, event-goers have their choice of more than 20 local specialty dishes, including poboys and gumbo.

Big Boy’s Main Street Cook-Off is a culinary showcase of Cajun cuisine prepared with the variety of fresh ingredients that are found all along the bayou. Taking place in a two-block area of historic downtown Thibodaux, Big Boy’s features both professional and home cooks whipping up local delicacies like shrimp and grits, jambalaya and charbroiled oysters. This year’s event is set for November 9; the $10 admission benefits Downtown Thibodaux and includes servings from all 40+ cook-off participants.

Whether you’re heading up or down the Bayou to attend one of these festivals, the Cajun Bayou Food Trail in Lafourche Parish proves that it’s not just the food that matters here, but also the stories of the people along the way who are eager to treat guests like family.

Plan your trip with a free visitor guide! Book your stay here


4 Tours to Take in Cajun Bayou This Summer

In Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou there are some great ways to beat the summer heat. Here are four must-see tours to take this summer! 

Lafourche Live Oak Tour

Spend a day taking a leisurely scenic drive up and down the Bayou to view majestic, centuries old live oak trees on the self-guided Lafourche Live Oak Tour. These towering giants have stood through decades of history draped with Spanish moss and brilliant green leaves. It’s not just the trees you will see, as you read a part of their history, you’ll begin to understand the Cajun way of life that helped shape the communities today. Stop in the visitor’s center in Raceland or check out the website for the official guide and map.

Bayou Country Children’s Museum

Kids can get hands-on with our authentic Cajun lifestyle at the Bayou Country Children’s Museum. From driving a real sugarcane harvester to fishing off a shrimp boat, the museum offers interactive play that also teaches how we have been making a living since the beginning. You can even “make groceries” in the market and pretend like you are riding a Mardi Gras float throwing beads to the crowd. You can even climb aboard a firetruck and police cruiser at the new outdoor playground exhibit set to open in July.

Swamp Tours

If there’s any place locals like to be in the summertime it’s on the water! The wildlife is abundant and a breeze is just a boat ride away. There are lots of options to view the swamp and yes… alligators! Take a flat bottom boat that meanders through the cypress trees and wetlands or a thrilling airboat tour gliding over the water. Alligators are at their best in the summer, so if your goal is to catch a glimpse of one, summer is the perfect opportunity.   

Cajun Bayou Food Trail

With all these adventures, you’ll certainly work up and appetite. That’s where the Cajun Bayou Food Trail comes in! There are 15 restaurants up and down the Bayou all serving up authentic Cajun dishes made from local, delicious ingredients. Tasting the food is only part the experience. You’ll discover generations of unique traditions and culture living within the people and places you visit. From homemade plate lunches to gourmet specials and boiled seafood, there’s something different at every stop. Getting on the Trail is easy! Just download your map and passport and once you’ve received seven stamps, you’ll earn your free t-shirt (and bragging rights!) 

Make it a weekend in Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou! Plan your trip today!


5 Reasons to Explore the Cajun Bayou Food Trail

In Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou food is a big deal and has been for generations. Local chefs and cooks are known for serving up some of the best Cajun food in Louisiana. But unlike most places, Lafourche Parish, just 45 minutes south of New Orleans, isn’t on the main road. To satisfy your craving for Cajun food, you’ve got to wander of the beaten path, or as we prefer to say, “off the EATIN’ path!”  Take the journey and discover 15 restaurants and six festivals and events that are all about one thing—food!  Here are five great reasons to experience the Cajun Bayou Food Trail.

Did we mention the food?

A tip for enjoying the trail: Come prepared to eat. No matter where you go, you’ll find gumbos, etouffees, jambalayas, softshell crab, shrimp and oyster po-boys (did you know you can actually get those together in a po-boy?) and maybe a few things you haven’t tried. Our advice… let your palate be adventurous!

Food and culture Intertwined

In our kitchens there’s a mix of cooking traditions. Yes, we have trained chefs, but we also have many locals who learned how to cook the old school way – from family. The food of the area is made up of different cultures including Native American, French, Spanish, German, English, African, and Italian. Each have their own culinary traditions and techniques that miraculously blend together to create tastes that are authentic to the area. Traditions have been continued by handing down of recipes and cooking wisdoms from generation to generation. Thankfully for us, many of those traditions have found a way to our menus.

The journey up and down the Bayou

Lafourche Parish is 110 miles long, so that’s a lot of ground to cover as you go up and down the Bayou. Along the way, you’ll learn what makes this area such a worthwhile experience. You’ll see live oak trees that have stood for centuries and historic homes, platoon bridges, sugarcane, and shrimp boats, who provide the very seafood you will be eating on our menu. The farther south you go, the bigger the Bayou is, gradually opening up into the vast space of wetlands and into the Gulf of Mexico.

A reason to come back

Festivals in Lafourche Parish are all about celebrating food and culture. All year long you can experience competition style events and festivals that do nothing but offer fantastic Cajun food and cultural demonstrations. During the spring and fall, there are plenty of reasons to plan a second visit to do some saltwater fishing or explore on a swamp tour through our famous bayous and wetlands.

There’s the South and there’s Lafourche Parish

We own who we are. We aren’t the most polished of places, but the one thing that is unique is our style of unapologetic Cajun hospitality. The lagniappe of the Trail is the people you will meet along the way. Most of those people are homegrown Cajun food enthusiasts who aren’t shy about telling you why their food is the best and what dishes are a must try along the Trail.  

So, what are you waiting for? Get your map and passport and get on the Trail today! 


Bayou Lafourche by Boat

Tours at the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center

All up and down the Bayou, there is a distinctly unique culture that has thrived for generations. It’s a culture whose stories are rooted deeply in the unspoiled beauty that you can only see when you travel Bayou Lafourche by boat.

The boat tours at the Jean Lafitte Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center cruise you right into the past as you learn about why Cajuns chose to settle in Lafourche Parish and how they made their living using the bounty of the Bayou. You’ll be navigating along just like those first settlers while hearing their stories from your tour guide. Along the way you’ll stop to see birds and wildlife that thrive because of the unspoiled landscape.

Just a short ride up the Bayou is the E.D. White Historic Site. Located right on the bayou, it brings to life the story of how access to Bayou Lafourche allowed for trade, transportation, and easy access to the Gulf. The museum grounds are beaming with centuries old live oak trees towering over the original home of Louisiana’s first Supreme Court justice, Edward Douglass White. Inside the house you'll see how the sugarcane industry played a vital part in the way of life generations ago and still does today. Original furniture and heirloom items are also on display. 

 
Photo by: William Guion

At the end of your museum tour, you’ll enjoy some homemade cornbread and coffee made in the outdoor kitchen. The open-flame style cooking was once the only way to cook and after you’ve tasted the warm cornbread it’s obvious why locals still use the cast iron pots today. Delicious!

As you board the boat for your return and head back down the Bayou, the rich history of Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou’s authentic culture surrounds you. And once you’ve heard our stories, you’ll feel like part of our story, too.

For boat tour times and information, explore here


March in Louisiana's Cajun Bayou

 

After a cold winter, spring has arrived in Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou. And up and down the bayou there are plenty of activities and events to enjoy. Here’s a look at what’s happening around town in March.

 

Choctaw Fireman's Fair

CHOCTAW FIREMAN'S FAIR - March 2-4

This year markets the 35th annual Choctaw Volunteer Firemen’s Fair. Throughout the weekend visitors and residents alike can enjoy rides, food and plenty of music. Friday night you can pull up a chair and listen to music from 6 p.m. to midnight with Will Cooper & Southern Groove, followed by Junior Lacrosse.  Both will be playing a variety of music from swamp pop, old school rock and roll and everything in between.

 

Arts Walk 2017

ARTS WALK DOWNTOWN THIBODAUX - March 16

The annual Downtown Arts Walk is a perfect girlfriend’s night out or couples looking to have a romantic evening on the town.  There’s something about strolling through downtown and visiting the shops, boutiques and restaurants housing some of the area’s most remarkable and celebrated artist.  Throughout the historic district, you’ll find a mix of art styles ranging from watercolors, tapestry, jewelry and prints of local scenic wetlands. And while you enjoy the arts at a several local restaurants, you can order a drink, share an appetizers or a dinner before heading back out to enjoy few more stops tour spots. Finish off the evening by stopping by another of the downtown restaurants or bars for a nightcap, once you picked up a few pieces of art along the way.

 

St. Patrick's Day on the Bayou

ST. PATRICK'S DAY ON THE BAYOU - March 17

Experience a twist on our St. Patrick’s Day celebration with the first ever St. Patrick’s Day on the Bayou. Here, you can combine the holiday and while taking your paddle board, kayak, canoe or pirogue for journey down beautiful Bayou Lafourche. Compete by yourself, with a team and there’s even a place for kids to get in on the action too. For those really adventurous folks, ditch the kayak or canoe for a cardboard boat, created out of only cardboard and tape! After some fun on the water, enjoy the social area with food, drinks and live music. Live music will begin at 5 p.m. with Russ Cheramie Acoustic and The Soul Survivors at 7 p.m.

Best Sunrises and Sunsets of 2017

There's something so beautiful about the natural, unpolished beauty of the Bayou in Lafourche Parish. The sunrises and sunsets are truly unbeatable. We've gathered up some of the best ones in 2017 so you can enjoy them all over again! 

 

1. Sunrise on Bayou Lafourche 

2. Sunset up the Bayou

3. Sunset Among the Bayou Trees

4. Gulf of Mexico Sunset in Lafourche 

5. Pretty in Pink Bayou Sunset

 

 


Living Local at the French Food Festival

Let’s face it; whenever we come together down the bayou, it’s all about having a good time. There is no truer statement associated with our festival culture in Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou. The French Food Festival exemplifies this Cajun truism and any festival with the word “food” in the name won’t disappoint! Here is a local perspective on how to “do” the French Food Festival. Ready, let's GEAUX!
 
START PLANNING YOUR SECOND FOOD SELECTION WHILE IN LINE FOR THE FIRST

We live to eat! Another Cajun truth! Fifty percent (a very safe estimate) of your time will be spent eating at the French Food Festival; the other fifty will be visiting with family and friends (with food in your hand). This festival celebrates a variety of Cajun cuisine, alligator sauce piquant, shrimp boulettes, etouffee, jambalaya, grillades, crawfish pasta, gumbo, did I say shrimp boulettes! Once you have decided which tasty offering to start with, get in line. It’s perfectly normal and very wise to start planning your next selection while waiting in line for the first. It’s what locals do! If you are visiting our Cajun Bayou for the first time then don’t be shy cher’ (sha!) We “make friends” easily, love to talk and share our wonderful cuisine!

COME MAKE THE VEILLER (VAY-YAY)

Spending the evening talking with friends or making new ones for the first time, it’s the Cajun equivalent of shooting the breeze! With a comfortable chair in hand you’re going to want to claim a spot somewhere under the giant pavilion near the dance floor, but still a safe distance away for conversation. Locals, “make the veiller” to reconnect, eat and drink together and catch up. It’s a Cajun thing! We will gladly take you under our wing and before you know it you’ll be “making the veiller” too! You will also be in position to enjoy some of the best local musicians on the bayou!

PRESERVING OUR CAJUN CULTURE

We tell our story through our food and music, it’s part of our cultural heritage and legacy. The French Food Festival is a celebration of our way of life. From the Les Artistes du Bayou art contest and exhibit, to the multiple generations of families that have dedicated themselves to cook and serve the Cajun delicacies, the festival preserves our legacy. And as the locals say, “C’est Tout”: That is all…


Fall Obsessions: Boo's, Roux's & Da Rougaroux

Temperatures are beginning to drop, festival season is upon us and ghostly spirits lurk around every corner – it’s officially fall in Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou! There are wonderful happenings this season that make fall up and down the Bayou truly incredible. Keep reading to learn why this season is one of our favorites.

IT’S GUMBO WEATHER Y’ALL

Say goodbye to the relentless humidity! Fall weather means temperatures are cooler and every Cajun cook in Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou is feelin’ that first pot of gumbo in the air. It’s time to make a roux! Just like a Cajun alarm clock, fall means huge pots of gumbo! Our restaurants up and down the Bayou have you covered. Gumbo is always on the menu!

FESTIVALS EVERYWHERE

There are seriously so many festivals to choose from this fall in Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou. What better way to experience our unapologetic culture. Cajun cuisine, music, art, history and traditions all come together during this season on the Bayou. The Louisiana Gumbo Festival, French Food Festival, Acadia Music Festival, Thibodeauxville Fall Festival, just to name a few! Up and down the Bayou, they provide you with everything you need to eat and dance your way through fall!

OYSTERS

Months that end in an “R” marks the glorious period that is oyster season. Oysters are at their peak during the cooler months, they are big, briny, sweet, and full of flavor. Char-grilled, fried, stewed, roasted, Rockefellered, Bienvilled or eaten raw on the half shell (is your mouth watering yet); our restaurants up and down the Bayou are ready to serve up some type of oyster specialty. Traditionally, some of us have been waiting all year for this season to arrive! It’s that serious!

HALLOWEEN & HAUNTINGS

We are pretty big on Halloween, so much so that we have our own spooky Bayou mascot named the ROUGAROUX. It’s the perfect time to experience our haunted, ghostly, winding Bayou roads, or our spooky, moss covered oak trees by taking our Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Boo on the Bayou Halloween Tour. Kids can also get in on the action and celebrate with the Bayou Country Children’s Museum for the 9th Annual Night at the Boo-seum!

SEASONAL BREWS & SPIRITS

Dat Rougaroux y’all! We love our brews and spirits! Fall is the perfect time to visit Mudbug Brewery for some Oktoberfest, and Donner-Peltier Distillers will be happy to take you on a tour to explain that mysterious creature and pour you some rum! It’s the perfect fall adventure!


Experience the Cajun Lifestyle at Fall Festivals

All up and down the Bayou you’ll find the best in Cajun food, music, and traditions at our fall festivals. There’s really something special about each one you visit and we want you to our authentic Cajun celebrations for yourself. Whether it’s the dozens of local food vendors serving up samples of our famous cuisine or swinging your dance partner around on the floor to the sounds of a Cajun beat, you won’t soon forget your festival experience in Cajun Bayou.

Here is a full list of the fun happening this fall! Check out our Calendar of Events page for detailed info!

TaWaSi Collectable and Antiques Show
September 8-10

Cajun Hawg Bassmasters
September 10

Cut Off Youth Center Hurricane Festival
September 22-24

La Fete Des Vieux Temps
October 6-8

Bayou Music Festival
October 7

Louisiana Gumbo Festival
October 13-15

Laurel Valley Plantation Festival
October 15

French Food Festival
October 26-29

 Acadia Music Festival
October 28

Louisiana Swamp Stomp
November 4

Big Boy’s Main Street Cook-Off
November 10

Thibodeauxville Fall Festival
November 11


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