Explore Louisiana:

A wonderfully colourful state, full of splendid Plantation homes, delicious and spicy food and a true melting pot of cultures, which has an abundance of Cajun and Creole cuisine, music and habits. New Orleans is the best known city in the State and deservedly so. Its streets are full of joie de vivre, jazz bars, little restaurants emanating tempting smells of boudin and spice and, of course, its famous Mardi Gras Carnival.

Cajun is a derivative of the word Acadian so you can define Cajun as a Louisianan descended from French speaking Acadians.  Creoles derive from the early French and Spanish settlers- indeed the word creole comes from the Spanish “criollo” which means child born in a colony.

Segregation in Louisiana was not just between black and white. New Orleans was Creole and rich and Cajuns were not allowed to live in New Orleans, because they were poor farmers and fishermen; they were therefore forced to live in the swamp lands which has helped the culture and language survive to this day.

The swamp lands, known as bayous, and marsh  run along the coastline you will find marsh and are home to numerous alligators and a wonderful variety of birds.

Music is a vital part of Louisianan life going back to its earliest days. Cajun music is a melange of European mixed with Afro-Caribbean and American Indian using the accordion, the fiddle and a triangle. In its turn, Cajun music has spawned Zydeco which mixes Caribbean in with soul and blues.

Louisiana is well known for its spicy food and seafood. The Tabasco factory is in the state and spice shops abound; some with such hot pepper that you have to sign a paper saying you understand the risks when using it.  It is said that Louisianans like to travel with their own spice bottle as other food tastes too bland to their palate!

A variety of food is found on Louisiana’s menus; fish especially from November to July when the shrimp and crawfish are in season, jambalaya (like paella) and gumbo (a thick and delicious soup from West Africa). You will also find alligator, boudin (sausage) and andouille and, especially, shrimp and grits, a delicious dish you can eat 10 times and have 10 different recipes. Grits are dried and ground corn and generally have a creamy polenta like consistency.  It is served at any meal from breakfast to dinner with just about anything.

A Louisiana fly-drive holiday is full of surprises.  You can visit an alligator or crawfish farm, go around the Tabasco factory, watch boudin being made at a local butcher, visit a rum factory or take an airboat or leisurely kayak through the rushes of the bayou looking for wild ‘gators. Not only is the scenery beautiful, but you will see alligators galore and will be entertained by your excellent guides with tall tales of alligators and swamp life. You can also board a sternwheeler to take a trip down Ol’ Man River or take a tour down the Old River Road to see some of the beautiful antebellum plantation homes.

Fantastic!!! Left wanting more, and plan to return. Cannot fault any aspect of the holiday!!! Many thanks for all of your help - we had the best holiday ever!!

Mr Blyth - Travelled to New York