So often when we hear the word Louisiana, we think Cajun. In fact, they are at the core of much of the culture, yet they were actually Acadians who escaped from Nova Scotia in 1755 when the British, to which the Acadians refused to swear allegiance, took over. By the early 1800s, nearly 4,000 had arrived in Louisiana, with which they had a French affinity, became Cajuns, shortened the name and adapted to their new home. Their French changed as did their architecture, music, and food in the Mississippi delta. Yet, because New Orleans was considered the northernmost port of the Caribbean, the culture of Louisiana is much more complicated and multi-lingual than just one variety. The new arrivals shared what they brought with the Native Americans, free people of color, enslaved Africans, immigrants from several Caribbean islands (Creoles), and the French and Spanish who already lived there, creating perhaps the most varied culture in America. There has never been an official language in Louisiana, and the state constitution enumerates “the right of the people to preserve, foster, and promote their respective historic, linguistic, and cultural origins. Today, Louisiana is renowned for music, food, and the ability to hold on to tradition while making the most of the present. The highly prized cuisine in New Orleans is some tasty version of spicy French and West Indian, imported from the Caribbean, tempered by continental German. The 90 square blocks of the meticulously preserved French Quarter are considered the only “fully European town” in the United States.  Outside of town, you can meet the fun-loving people of the bayous, who live and let live. You can take a boat trip into the wild area of the state’s famous swamps and experience Cajun/Creole heritage and folklife. When you’re ready for fun, grab the hand of your favorite person, hop in your car and find the nearest festival. You’ll find yourself clapping your hands, tapping your feet and singing along with the band. Enjoy, there’s only one place like this in the world! 

Louisiana Scenic Byways