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Louisiana's Cajun Bayou Honors Tourism Partners at 2024 Bayou Ambassador Awards Luncheon

Louisiana's Cajun Bayou Honors Tourism Partners at 2024 Bayou Ambassador Awards Luncheon

Raceland, Louisiana (May 23, 2024) – In honor of National Travel and Tourism Week, Louisiana's Cajun Bayou Tourism (LCBT) celebrated its valued tourism partners at the 2024 Bayou Ambassador Awards Luncheon, held at Rendezvous in Thibodaux.

From local businesses and organizations to hospitality establishments and attractions, the partners have continuously demonstrated their commitment to fostering the growth and development of tourism in Louisiana's Cajun Bayou. “National Travel and Tourism Week is a time for us to celebrate the strides we have made together as a destination and how we are collectively working toward continued growth for our local tourism economy. The power of tourism all begins with a visit, and that visit would not be possible without our many tourism partners who deliver personal and flavorful experiences all year long,” says Cody Gray, President and CEO of LCBT.

The following partners were recognized for their outstanding accomplishments in 2023:


Louisiana's Cajun Bayou Breaks Ground on New Visitor's Center

Louisiana's Cajun Bayou Breaks Ground on New Visitor's Center

Raceland, Louisiana (May 17, 2024) – In 2021, Category 4 Hurricane Ida hit southeast Louisiana, ravaging much of Lafourche Parish. One of the architectural casualties was the parish’s visitor center, which was so damaged that it had to be torn down and removed after the storm. For the past two and a half years, the tourism office has been operating out of a modular unit in the former center’s parking lot.

Now – nearly three years later – Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism is thrilled to announce that ground has been broken for an all-new and permanent Visitor’s Center constructed in partnership with Lafourche Parish Government.

Located along Bayou Lafourche on the same lot as the former center (4484 LA-1 in Raceland), the new visitor center aims to enhance the overall tourism experience in Louisiana's Cajun Bayou. This state-of-the-art facility will provide travelers with a wealth of information about local restaurants and attractions, Cajun culture, and special events. The 4,874-square foot building will offer new interactive exhibits and displays, traveler information, restrooms, and space for staff offices.

As a significant investment in the region's tourism promotion program, the new center will play a key role in attracting more visitors to Louisiana's Cajun Bayou and driving business to the area’s tourism partners. With its unique blend of Cajun heritage, rich history and breathtaking landscapes, the area attracts travelers from near and far. The center will provide a central hub where those visitors can access information, plan their trips with the assistance of knowledgeable staff, and begin their journey up and down the bayou.

Funding for the new building was provided by FEMA, insurance payouts, and Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism with the support of Lafourche Parish Government. This project also wouldn’t be possible without architect Gros Flores Positerry, contractor Onshore Construction, and exhibit designer Cote Blanche Productions. Construction is estimated to be completed in one year.

Louisiana's Cajun Bayou Tourism invites everyone to stay tuned for updates on the progress of the visitor center via their social media.

FUTURE LOUISIANA'S CAJUN BAYOU VISITOR'S CENTER:


Sales & Marketing Manager for Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism, Ian Wallis, Named by Destinations International as a 30 Under 30 Recipient

Sales & Marketing Manager for Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism, Ian Wallis, Named by Destinations International as a 30 Under 30 Recipient

Raceland, LA (April 3, 2024)Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism, the destination marketing organization for Lafourche Parish, is thrilled to announce that Sales & Marketing Manager, Ian Wallis, has been named a 30 Under 30 recipient from Destinations International.

Each year Destinations International, a global organization representing over 6,500 convention and visitors bureaus (CVB’s) across the world, selects 30 tourism professionals under the age of 30 to gain valuable industry networking opportunities and increased thought leadership throughout the year. This year’s honorees hail from 30 unique destinations across four countries and were selected from a competitive pool of 96 applicants. To learn more about each honoree, visit the link HERE.

A graduate from Johnson & Wales University with his B.S. in Travel, Tourism, and Hospitality Management and his M.B.A. with a Hospitality concentration, Ian Wallis moved from the Northeast to Lafourche Parish in April 2021 to assume his current role as Sales & Marketing Manager for Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism. He quickly immersed himself in the unique culture of the bayou region and can often be found supporting local events, restaurants, and visitor attractions.

“It is an honor to be selected as a recipient of the prestigious 30 Under 30 Program from Destinations International,” said Wallis. “I am very appreciative of the recognition and look forward to the networking and professional development opportunities this program offers.”

Destinations International is committed to investing and preparing the leaders of tomorrow and developing future industry leaders that represent a diverse set of backgrounds and perspectives.

“The 30 Under 30 program remains critical to our organization’s vision and mission,” said Don Welsh, president and CEO of Destinations International. “As our industry moves toward recovery, we are especially excited to announce these young professionals as they are the future of the travel and tourism industry.”

“The Destinations International Foundation believes it is important to empower future leaders,” said Ellie Westman Chin, CDME, president and CEO of Destination Madison and chair of the Destinations International Foundation. “We are thrilled to see the 30 Under 30 Program enter its 14th year, and we are thankful for the foundation investors who make programs like these possible for our industry through their contributions. We look forward to engaging with this group of emerging leaders through professional development, educational opportunities and networking with industry peers and leaders throughout the year and in the years to come.”

“We are pleased to honor this year’s 30 Under 30 class of bright and talented young leaders,” said Mike Gamble, President and CEO of SearchWide Global. “Year after year, I am consistently impressed by the caliber of individuals we welcome into this program, representing destinations worldwide. We remain committed to helping our young leaders shape the future of our industry.”

The 2024 30 Under 30 Class Includes:

Alexandria Eady, Content Manager, Richmond Region Tourism
America Segura, Public Relations Manager, Visit Corpus Christi
Andrew Lawrence, Assistant Director, Arlington Sports Commission, Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau
Brittany Jones, Marketing Project Manager, Discover Durham
Caitlin Neal, Marketing Director, Gilmer Chamber/Pick Ellijay
Catherine Streater, Senior Coordinator, Brand USA
Cristina Fernandes, Leisure Sales Coordinator, Discover Puerto Rico
Fallon Tullier, Research and Technology Manager, Visit Baton Rouge
Hailey Post, Destination Data Manager, Visit Raleigh
Ian Wallis, Sales & Marketing Manager, Louisiana's Cajun Bayou Tourism
Jessica VanDeMar, Marketing Manager, Visit Finger Lakes
Kasmara Freiderich, National Sales Manager, Experience Rochester, MN
Katie Clarke, People and Culture Coordinator, Destination Vancouver
Lee Prutsman, Senior Marketing Manager, Visit KC
Luke Alexopoulos, Senior Public Relations Manager, Visit Eau Claire
Macy Dolton, Content Marketing Specialist, Destination DC
Maggie Carter, Creative Marketing Manager, Visit Baltimore
Martin Garneau, Senior Manager, Systems Architecture and Application Development, Banff & Lake Louise Tourism
Mary Coryell, Manager, Partner Relations, Discover Lehigh Valley
Megan Myers, Digital Media Director, Hocking Hills Tourism Association
Megane Simone, Bid & Communication Manager, Geneva Tourism & Conventions Foundation
Millie Stewart, Director of Sales, Visit Ogden
Nathaniel Sweetman, Sports Marketing Coordinator, Visit Sarasota County
Orla Moule, Business Events Assistants, Fáilte Ireland
Samantha Green Ewald, Destination Services Manager, Visit Charlotte/Charlotte Regional Visitor's Authority
Sheridan Powell, Communications Specialist, Visit Colorado Springs
Sydney Macapagal, Digital Content Strategist, Visit Galveston
Sydney O'Connell, Marketing Manager, Visit Fort Worth
Wayne Stewart, Director of Marketing & Communications, Visit Casper
Wesley Sosa, Graphic Designer and Brand Manager, Visit Stockton

Now in its 14th year, the 30 Under 30 program is supported by founding program partner, SearchWide Global and sponsored by Fired Up! Culture and IMEX. For more information on the 30 Under 30 Program and the 2024 30 Under 30 class, please visit destinationsinternational.org/general-information/30-under-30.


Cajun Bayou Culture Day Tour Launches in Thibodaux

Cajun Bayou Culture Day Tour Launches in Thibodaux

Thibodaux, LA (March 14, 2024) – A tour combining Thibodaux’s three biggest historical attractions has launched this Spring offering tourists, travelers, and locals the chance to learn more about the unique culture and history of Lafourche Parish. Organized by the Friends of E.D. White Historic Site with help from Laurel Valley Village and the Jean Lafitte Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center, the Cajun Bayou Culture Day tour will be held every Tuesday from March - June and September - November.

"Our goal is to share and promote the history, heritage, and culture of Bayou Lafourche and its people,” says Pam Folse, Vice President of the Friends of E.D. White Historic Site Board. “Whether you’re a local tourist in your own community or visiting from far away, come pass a good time with us in Thibodaux and learn how to cast a fishing line, walk in the footsteps of history, speak Cajun French and enjoy some local food and music."

Beginning at the E.D. White Historic Site, guests receive a free tour of the historic house, kitchen, and grounds as well as a fishing demo on the bayou side park and grounds. Lunch is then recommended at a local restaurant where the tour offers discounts at a few locations, before heading to Laurel Valley Village for a tour of the largest surviving 19th and 20th-century sugar plantation. While the rest of the tour is free, the tour of Laurel Valley Village is $17 per person.

To end the experience, visitors stop at the Jean Lafitte Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center for a self-guided museum tour. One will learn more about the history of the Acadians and take part in Cercle Francophone (French Roundtable) to learn Cajun French with a group of locals working to preserve the traditional language of our region. Following the French Roundtable, Jean Lafitte offers a taste of local live music to end your day. Local hotels also offer discounts to accommodate your overnight lodging while in the Thibodaux area.

In order to book this full-day tour in Thibodaux, it is recommended to call the E.D. White Historic Site at 985-447-0915.

In addition, more information can be found at: https://www.lacajunbayou.com/calendar-of-events/weekly-events/cajunculturedaytour


Fresh Air & Fresh Events: Your Spring Social Calendar in Louisiana's Cajun Bayou

Fresh Air & Fresh Events: Your Spring Social Calendar in Louisiana's Cajun Bayou

Louisiana's Cajun Bayou is ready to welcome visitors from near and far this spring with a lineup of exciting events that showcase the vibrant and unique culture of the region. Mark your calendars and spring into a fun festival season down on the bayou!

Play it Forward
Friday, March 8

The Bayou Country Children’s Museum may be for kids during the day, but for this one night a year, it’s all about the adults! A cocktail trail, gaming tables, silent and live auctions, and live music and entertainment will make this night fun for those age 21 and over. All proceeds from this event will benefit the museum.
Choctaw Fireman’s Fair
March 8-10

We’re turning up the heat for the Choctaw Fireman’s Fair, with rides, games, music, a parade, and, of course, delicious Cajun food.
Bayou Lafourche Cleanup
Saturday, March 16

In partnership with the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program and the Bayou Lafourche Freshwater District, Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou will be working with volunteers to pick up trash and help keep the bayou beautiful. For a list of clean up locations and registration information, head HERE.
Krewe des Lutins Irish Italian Parade
Saturday, March 16

Celebrate St. Patty’s a day early with the return of the Krewe Des Lutins Irish-Italian parade. Heads up and hands out … because veggies will be the popular throws for this parade!
Spring Arts Walk
Friday, March 22

Visit with local artists on the sidewalks of downtown Thibodaux. Support both small businesses and local artisans by popping into the boutiques and restaurants along the way.
Annual Blessing of the Fleet
Saturday, April 6

For the 108th time, the people of South Lafourche will gather to bless this year’s fishermen and their fleet. Event goers will also enjoy live music, a boiled shrimp lunch and boat parade open to all!
La Fete Du Monde
April 19-21

This festival is known as the swamp pop extravaganza of Louisiana's Cajun Bayou. It features live music, dancing, Cajun food, games and carnival rides for all ages.
Thibodaux Firemen’s Fair
May 2-5

Attendees will enjoy the famous Thibodaux Fireman's Fair Burger, live music, rides and games, a 5k run/walk a parade, and a live auction benefitting one of the largest volunteer firemen fairs in the country.
Mud Bug Boil Off
Saturday, May 11

You’d better come hungry, because this all-you-can-eat crawfish cook-off event will leave you stuffed to the brim. If you’re not a competitor busy cooking up a good time, there will be live music, an auction and other fun for the whole family to enjoy.
Don't miss the chance to join in the festivities and soak up spring in Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou!


Immerse Yourself in the Game of Petanque in Louisiana's Cajun Bayou!

Immerse Yourself in the Game of Pétanque in Louisiana's Cajun Bayou!

While other destinations pride themselves on offering a full range of traditional winter activities, here in Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou, we’re proud to be the home to an unexpected winter activity that’s deeply rooted in a different type of tradition. We’re known for our vibrant culture, and visitors expect to be fully immersed in the Cajun way of life during their time here. Because of the mild weather we experience in the winter months, now is a great time to play or watch a game of pétanque. This traditional French lawn game is popular here on the Bayou. It’s similar to the Italian sport of bocce, but we think it’s even better.

Pétanque, pronounced "pay-tonk," is a leisurely game that can be enjoyed by players of all ages. It involves standing in a small circle (cercle) and throwing metal balls as close as possible to a small wooden target ball that’s called the cochonnet (fun fact: that’s French for “little pig”!). Similar to bocce, this game requires strategy, precision and a bit of luck. Oh … and good balance. The sport’s name is derived from words that mean “foot planted.” Your feet must remain in the cercle while you toss … and that can be more challenging than it sounds.
Whether you are a seasoned pétanque player or a curious beginner, the pétanque courts in Louisiana's Cajun Bayou offer a friendly and inclusive environment. Gather your friends, challenge your family, or meet fellow enthusiasts at the courts at Peltier Park in Thibodaux. The Thibodaux Pétanque Club meets every Saturday at 8:30 AM and anyone is welcome to join to learn how to play. The game can be enjoyed casually during a weekend getaway or organized into a competitive tournament, adding a touch of friendly rivalry to your Bayou adventures. 

Pétanque perfectly complements our laid-back lifestyle and invites everyone to slow down, relax and enjoy the company of others. So, if you’re seeking a unique and entertaining experience that also forges new athletic skills, be sure to add a game of pétanque to your itinerary when you’re exploring Louisiana's Cajun Bayou!


2024 Y’Allstars Southern Skate Showdown to Welcome National and International Roller Derby Teams to Thibodaux

2024 Y’Allstars Southern Skate Showdown to Welcome National and International Roller Derby Teams to Thibodaux

Raceland, Louisiana (January 25, 2024)Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism, the destination management organization for Lafourche Parish, is set to welcome 20 national and international teams at this year’s Y’Allstars Southern Skate Showdown, an elite roller derby competition coming to Thibodaux. The premier tournament makes its return the weekend of February 22-25, 2024 following its success in 2023.

Hosted at the Warren J. Harang Municipal Auditorium on N. Canal Blvd. in Thibodaux, this year’s tournament features an expanded lineup of new and returning roller derby teams, an additional day of competition, and three divisions of play: Women’s, Open, and Junior. The event itself is hosted as part of a joint effort by Big Easy Roller Derby out of New Orleans and Red Stick Roller Derby Juniors, the youth roller derby team based in Baton Rouge.

“We are thrilled to welcome the return of the Y’Allstars Southern Skate Showdown to Lafourche Parish for its second year” said President/CEO of Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism, Cody A. Gray. “Events like this bring in significant economic impact to our parish, while directly supporting local businesses and jobs. We look forward to extending a warm welcome to the visiting teams and sharing our unapologetically Cajun culture with them.”

With its increased number of teams and competitors, the Y’Allstars Southern Skate Showdown is growing to become one of the largest sporting events in Lafourche Parish. It is expected to have a notable economic impact with over 400 hotel room nights anticipated, an estimated 1,200 - 1,700 meals consumed at local restaurants, and additional visitor spend at local attractions and shops in Lafourche Parish.

Tickets are available for purchase and can be bought as a Single Day Pass or a Weekend Pass. More information about tickets and the tournament weekend can be found at the link below. For vendor/sponsorship opportunities, contact Kaitlyn Estes, Tournament Organizer at [email protected].

YAllstars.com

Participating Teams:


Sip Your Way Through Mardi Gras with these Cocktails and Drinks!

Sip Your Way Through Mardi Gras with these Cocktails and Drinks!

Let the good times roll! It is Mardi Gras season down in Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou and the party is already in full swing. Through February 13, there will be plenty to celebrate, between the numerous parades, King Cake Festival and tasty Carnival-themed treats found around town.

This year, Mardi Gras enthusiasts will also be able to enjoy a “Second Line” beverage trail through the parish. With nearly ten stops, there are plenty of opportunities to get your Carnival drink on! As an added bonus, a percentage of each themed drink purchased will go toward the Lafourche Education Foundation, the organizers of the now-legendary Bayou King Cake Festival.

Here are some of the cocktails being offered for the Second Line, along with a description of the featured beverage:

Beck’s: Mardi Pardi Punch 
4293 LA-1, Raceland
This colorful cocktail blends vodka, Blue Curacao, grenadine and sweetener, all under a sugared rim. It’s best enjoyed with a side of live music.

Big Mikes BBQ: King Cake Shot
120 Laura Drive, Thibodaux
Need to order something that keeps your trail time down? Stop into Big Mikes for a quick King Cake Shot. Fifolet rum, RumChata, whipped cream and a Mardi Gras-colored sugar rim come together for the perfect shot. If you prefer to take your time at each stop, stay for a while and enjoy their king cake bread pudding.

Cinclare: Too many to name!
601 W 3rd Street, Thibodaux
This bistro is going all out for the Second Line, with four different cocktail options named after local krewes. The Shaka Mama (rum, Ancho Reyes Chili Liquer, Orgeat, pineapple, lime), Chronos Carre (Rittenhouse Rye, cognac, cacao-infused vermouth, Benedictine, Ristretto), Cleophas Courir (ginger spice-infused vodka, blackberry preserves, lime) and Ambrosia Maid (cranberry-infused vodka, Ruby Port, Noilly Rouge, pomegranate, ginger ale) – we’ll take one of each, please!

Cuvee: King Cake Colada
116 Rue Angelique, Thibodaux
This drink is comprised of 504 King Cake spiced rum, pineapple juice and orgeat syrup. It pairs well with Cuvee’s mini sweet potato king cakes.

Fremin’s Restaurant: King Cake Martini - (Pictured Above)
402 W. 3rd Street, Thibodaux

This restaurant specializes in Cajun-inspired Italian and American dishes, all of which are best enjoyed with their seasonal King Cake Martini. Caramel vodka, RumChata, butterscotch schnapps, house-made cream cheese syrup and a tiny baby floating on top of a whipped cream topping complete this glass of sweetness!

Grady V’s: Les Bons Temps Tini
900 Country Club Boulevard, Thibodaux

Stop in for a king cake burger or king cake bread pudding and top off your festive meal with the Les Bon Temps Tini. Made with Skyy Espresso vodka, Baileys, RumChata, Frangelico and a sugar rim, this tasty take on an espresso martini is the perfect complement to the restaurant’s other Mardi Gras offerings.

Spahr’s Seafood: The King Cake Russian
All three locations – in Thibodaux, Des Allemands and Galliano
While most people head to Spahr’s during Carnival season to enjoy their legendary king cake beignets, the restaurants’ King Cake Russian cocktail is this season’s drink of choice!

Come on down and enjoy all the flavors of Mardi Gras with the Lafourche Education Foundation's Second Line trail this Carnival season. Cheers!


How to be King of King Cake this Mardi Gras Season!

How to be King of King Cake this Mardi Gras Season!

It’s January, so … ‘tis the season in Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou. Carnival season, that is! This year, Mardi Gras is on Tuesday, February 13th. Though the big day is still a few weeks away, festivities are already in full swing. One of the best ways to get into the spirit is by indulging in a seasonal treat.

To everyone up and down the Bayou, king cakes are an integral part of Mardi Gras. This colorful confection is the iconic culinary symbol of the Carnival season … with good reason!

Named for the three kings (or wise men) who brought gifts to baby Jesus, the king cake tradition is thought to be brought to Louisiana from France in the 19th century. The cinnamon pastry ring is commonly topped with white icing and decked out in three different colored sugars: purple, which symbolizes justice; gold, which represents power; and green for faith. Watch that dental work, because the cakes come with a plastic baby tucked somewhere in them. The “winner” – whoever gets the baby in their piece – is responsible for providing the next king cake!

Though some bakers sell the beloved cakes year-round (adjusting flavors and colors for the various holidays), consumption skyrockets during Carnival season. Here are some places up and down Bayou Lafourche where you can find a tasty king cake:

Ninette’s Cake Shop
1050 S. Acadia Road, Thibodaux, LA 70301
985-447-1714

The Willow Café
713 West Third Street, Thibodaux, LA 70301
985-448-0444

Mudbug Brewery
1878 LA-3185, Thibodaux, LA, 70301
985-492-1610
Note: Not your typical King Cake - Enjoy their King Cake Ale!

Duet’s Bakery
18134 W Main St, Cut Off, LA, 70354
985-6326954

Cajun Pecan House
14808 W. Main Street, Cut Off, LA 70345
985-632-2337
Note: They ship nationwide!

If you’ve worked your way through all the bakeries and still can’t get enough of this sugary Mardi Gras dessert, you’ll want to mark your calendar for the Bayou King Cake Festival, which will be held in downtown Thibodaux on Saturday, January 27th. Attendees can sample king cakes baked by local bakeries, restaurants and even home cooks and vote for their favorite. The event will give you plenty of opportunities to scout out who makes the best on the Bayou … and map your route to their store, or figure out how to get invited to their home for a great party! It’s never too early to plan ahead when king cake is involved.

King cakes are an important part of the culture in Louisiana, especially along Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou, because they represent how the traditions of the Acadian French – or Cajun – people have become indelibly linked to life in the state of Louisiana. The cake’s name and back story is deeply rooted in the Cajuns’ Catholic faith, but the simple act of enjoying a piece of cake is something everyone can do. The fact that cakes can be shipped to friends and family all around the country ensures that Mardi Gras joy isn’t limited to Louisiana … though the cake sure does seem to taste better when you eat it here!

We hope your Mardi Gras is as amazing as a slab of king cake!


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