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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.


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

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].


Participating Teams:

Chef Brent Daigle of Grady V’s Named One of Seventeen Participating Chefs at 2023 Louisiana Goes Lone Star Culinary Event

Chef Brent Daigle of Grady V’s Named One of Seventeen Participating Chefs at 2023 Louisiana Goes Lone Star Culinary Event

Raceland, Louisiana (October 16, 2023) – Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism, the destination marketing organization for Lafourche Parish, announced Monday that Chef Brent Daigle of Grady V’s in Thibodaux has been selected to represent Lafourche Parish at the “Louisiana Goes Lone Star” culinary event in Dallas, Texas. Chef Brent Daigle, a graduate of the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University, will join 16 other top chefs from around Louisiana to feature the state’s unique flavors.

This annual out-of-state culinary event will be presented by the Louisiana Travel Association, the Louisiana Office of Tourism and the Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board, with Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou a first-time participant. Taking place in Dallas this year, “Louisiana Goes Lone Star” is a two-day culinary showcase consisting of a Media/Influencer Preview Night on Tuesday, October 24 and a Restaurant Takeover Night on Wednesday, October 25.

For Restaurant Takeover Night, Chef Brent Daigle will be paired with Chef Arturo Cruz of Dodie’s Reef, a popular Cajun restaurant located in the Lower Greenville neighborhood of Dallas. The two chefs will combine efforts on a Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou-themed menu featuring Grady V’s favorites like the blue crab beignets, bayou red fish, and a banana’s foster tres leches cake. Visitors, locals and anyone interested in attending this special one-night-only dinner, should call Dodie’s Reef at 214-823-7333 and make their reservation for the night of Wednesday, October 25.

Boasting an exciting food and beverage scene, Dallas is an important regional market to Louisiana and this event offers a savory opportunity to showcase the diverse and delicious delights of the State. The events over the course of the showcase will allow the culinary scene of Lafourche Parish to be told in a targeted market and inspire both travelers and the media to get a taste for what awaits across the Texas-Louisiana border.

“Food is a way of life in Louisiana. We plan our festivals and events around the culinary seasons and we are excited to bring a taste to Dallas next month,” says Louisiana Travel Association president and CEO, Chris Landry. “As a neighboring state, destinations around Louisiana are a short drive or direct flight from Dallas. We are excited to have 17 Louisiana chefs in restaurants around the city to whet locals’ appetites and inspire them to make Louisiana their next travel destination.” 

Other participating chefs include:

Angel Lombrage, The Bullfish Bistro, Baton Rouge
Ross Dover, Palmettos on the Bayou, The Northshore
Owen Hohl, Hot Tails Restaurants, Louisiana
Holly Goetting, Charley G’s, Lafayette
Anthony Felan, Fat Calf Brasserie, Shreveport-Bossier
Frederic Terluin, Rouj Creole, Baton Rouge
Richard & Lori Hurst, Poor Boy’s Riverside Inn, Lafayette
Keith & Nealy Frentz, LOLA, The Northshore
Damien “Chapeaux” Chapman, Orlandeaux’s Café, Shreveport-Bossier
Ana Castro, Lengua Madre, New Orleans
Lyle Broussard, L’Auberge Casino Resort, Lake Charles
Cory Bahr, Parish Restaurant, Monroe-West Monroe
Jeremy Langlois, Latil’s Landing at Houmas House, Ascension Parish
Jason Derouen, Bayou Country Crawfish Trail, Houma
Desi Bourgeois, Grown and Grazed, Ruston
Grayling Thibodeaux, St. John Restaurant, St. Martin Parish

For more information on the event, visit: https://www.louisianagoeslonestar.com/

Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism Wins Shining Example Award from Southeast Tourism Society

Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism Wins Shining Example Award from Southeast Tourism Society

Raceland, Louisiana (September 29, 2023) – Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou, the destination marketing organization for Lafourche Parish, announced Friday they were a recipient of a Shining Example Award for Best Marketing from the Southeast Tourism Society (STS). Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou was selected among nominations from several destinations across the Southeast, and were on hand to receive the award at the STS Connections Conference in Jackson, MS on Wednesday night.

The award recognizes the “You Gotta Try This!” campaign which was launched by Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou in April 2022. The campaign aimed to promote the unique and flavorful culinary scene in Lafourche Parish, and was supported through targeted digital and print media, social media, and public relations outreach.

“We are very thankful to be recognized on a regional level for our marketing efforts over the last year for the “You Gotta Try This” campaign” said President/CEO Cody A. Gray. “We are always encouraging people to wander off the eatin’ path while visiting Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou, and are appreciative of all of our tourism partners who helped us achieve this award.”

The tourism office worked with several restaurants and tourism partners up and down the bayou to collect new photo and video assets, and this year relaunched their Cajun Bayou Food Trail with the addition of three new Food Trail restaurants and a new Food Trail T-shirt.

For more information about Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou, visit their website at lacajunbayou.com. For more information about the Southeast Tourism Society, visit their website at southeasttourism.org.

Louisiana's Cajun Bayou Tourism Welcomes New Office/Finance Manager

Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism Welcomes New Office/Finance Manager

Raceland, Louisiana (September 26, 2023) – Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism, the destination marketing organization for Lafourche Parish, welcomed its new Office/Finance Manager this month in the hiring of Brandi Hebert.

Hebert fills a position that had been vacated since late August and will play a crucial part of the Cajun Bayou Tourism team moving forward. Tasked with managing all office and finance matters, Brandi will also take on the handling of the Lafourche Pavilion and will work with the local organizations who hold their events there.

“We are very excited to have Brandi join our close-knit family here at Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism” says President/CEO Cody A. Gray. “Her experience made her a stand-out candidate for the position and I am confident she will grow into a leader for our organization.”

Brandi is a local of Lafourche Parish and is a proud resident of Bayou Blue. She brings 12 years of finance and office management experience making her a perfect fit for the position. Outside of her professional ambitions, Brandi is also a loving mother and spends her free time camping, cooking up Cajun food, and watching her favorite football team.

“I am looking forward to working with our local businesses and learning more about the hidden gems within Lafourche Parish” says Hebert. “I am excited for the new relationships with my team and welcome all the exciting experiences to come.”

Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Announces Return of Y’Allstars Southern Skate Showdown in 2024

Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Announces Return of Y’Allstars Southern Skate Showdown in 2024

Raceland, Louisiana (August, 22, 2023) – Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou, the destination management organization for Lafourche Parish, announced they have once again been selected as the host of the Y’Allstars Southern Skate Showdown, a premier roller derby tournament composed of teams from across the United States. Following its inaugural success in 2023, the competition will make its return to Warren J. Harang Auditorium in Thibodaux the weekend of February 22-25, 2024.

The event will be hosted as part of a joint effort from Team Louisiana Roller Derby, the state’s collective all-star roller derby team, and Red Stick Roller Derby Juniors, the Baton Rouge-based youth roller derby team. In early 2023, the City of Thibodaux welcomed nearly 500 participating athletes, coaches, and officials, making it one of the largest events to take place in Lafourche Parish.

The economic impact for the City of Thibodaux from the 2023 tournament resulted in 400 room nights at local hotels and Airbnb’s. It is also estimated over 900 meals were consumed at local restaurants, and additional visitor spending was made at local attractions and shops in the community.

“After a successful first year, we are excited to see the return of the Y’Allstars Southern Skate Showdown to Thibodaux” said President & CEO of Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou, Cody A. Gray. “Events like these bring in visitors from across the country and provide significant economic activity in our parish. We sincerely appreciate the tournament organizers for choosing Lafourche Parish to host their exciting event for the second year in a row.”

Details about the 2024 tournament including the announcement of the teams competing, the competition format, ticket information and more will be coming soon! For further information about the Y’Allstars Southern Skate Showdown, visit their website linked below. For vendor/sponsorship opportunities, contact Kaitlyn Estes, Tournament Organizer at [email protected].


Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism Celebrates Acadian Heritage Day Following Cultural Immersion Trip to Nova Scotia

Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism Celebrates Acadian Heritage Day Following Cultural Immersion Trip to Nova Scotia

Raceland, Louisiana (August 15, 2023) – In July 2022, tourism officials representing Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou, the Municipality of Clare in Nova Scotia, Yarmouth & Acadian Shores in Nova Scotia, and the Congrès Mondial Acadien 2024 announced a historic partnership with the intent to bring two regions with close ties to the Acadian culture closer together, in a campaign titled “From Acadian to Cajun: Two Countries, One Culture.” In a continued effort to strengthen the partnership and to recognize and embrace Lafourche Parish’s deep Acadian roots, members of the staff of Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism returned from a cultural immersion and media trip to Nova Scotia the first week of August 2023. They were accompanied by a travel journalist who had recently visited Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou.

The Acadian culture, deeply rooted in both Louisiana and Nova Scotia, is a celebration of resilience, language, music, cuisine and traditions that have been passed down for generations. Louisiana's Cajun Bayou Tourism believes that cultural tourism plays a vital role in preserving the legacy of the Acadian and Cajun people. Engaging visitors in the traditions, language and customs of the culture creates a deeper appreciation and understanding, encouraging future generations to continue passing down these treasured traditions.The tourism office’s goal with this trip was to experience the Acadian lifestyle so its staff can better understand the origins of the Cajun culture and the connections between the two countries, as well as demonstrate the ongoing partnership to an influential travel journalist.

Upon arrival in Nova Scotia, Cody Gray and Ian Wallis of Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism met with the Executive Director of the Congrès Mondial Acadien 2024, Vaughne Madden, and members of the Municipality of Clare. At this meeting, the officials exchanged gifts, acknowledging and celebrating their partnership and officially welcoming the Louisianans to Canada.
Throughout their time in the area, Gray and Wallis visited many important Acadian historic sites, including the Grand Pre National Historic Site (the site of the Acadian Deportation), Le Village Historique Acadien de la Nouvelle-Ecosse (the Acadian Village) Le Musee des Acadiens des Pubnico (the Acadian Museum & Archives), and the University of St. Anne. They toured Tusket Island, accompanied by Colton LeBlanc, the Minister of Acadian Affairs, and Sally Kenney, the Family Reunions Coordinator for CMA 2024. To experience Louisiana from the Canadian point of view, the pair was invited by Daniel LeBlanc, the Director of the Festival Acadien de Clare, to attend a “Louisiana Night”-themed event, where they were recognized and introduced to the community.

After the team returned to Louisiana on August 8, Lafourche Parish President Archie Chaisson III signed a proclamation recognizing August 15 as Acadian Heritage Day in Lafourche Parish. This proclamation acknowledges the work being done to promote the Acadian and Cajun culture in the parish.
To learn more about the Acadian to Cajun partnership and all of the ways visitors can experience Cajun culture on a visit to Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou, please visit https://www.lacajunbayou.com/from-acadian-to-cajun

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