A Taste of Louisiana

A Taste of Louisiana

Louisiana (The Birthplace of Jazz) is a treasure trove of Old South Plantation homes, eerily beautiful Bayous, Voodoo priestesses, great food and spectacular music.

The diversity of cultures here create a diverse mix of people, and this is reflected in the cuisine, music and art. There are two prominent ethnic groups: the Cajuns – descendants of a French-speaking group of Acadians from Canada, and Creoles – people with a mixed French, Spanish, Caribbean, African and/or Indian background.

In addition to Jazz, there is also the the unmistakable beat of zydeco music – a hybrid of rock, R & B and blues sounds. Louisiana is a place where artistic expression flourishes and where artists have an outlet for creativity.
The legendary cuisine is diverse with its Creole/Cajun flavours and includes over-stuffed “po’boys”, steaming hot bowls of seafood gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish/shrimp étouffée, alligator dishes, freshly-made beignets and more.

Our overnight stops are as follows:

Shreveport (1 night) – with a waterfront bountiful in cultural and entertainment venues.

Alexandria (1 night) – A historic city rich in plantation homes, where “12 Years a Slave” was filmed.

Lake Charles (1 night) – Part of Louisiana’s Outback, the Creole Nature Trail here meanders through marshes and along the Gulf of Mexico rich with wildlife and birds

Lafayette (2 nights) – The Heart of Cajun and Creole Country. Distinctive cuisine, music (Cajun and Zydeco), culture and history.

Baton Rouge (1 night) – Louisiana’s capital was affectionately called the “The Red Stick” by French Canadian explorers. Home of unique regional cuisine and Swamp Pop.

New Orleans (3 nights) – A city of diverse cultures, unforgettable cuisine, musical medley (Jazz, Zydeco, Rhythm & Blues, and Soul), legendary festivities (Mardi Gras) and intriguing neighborhoods like the French Quarter laced with architectural splendors of the French and Spanish colonial periods.

Tentative Itinerary

Day 1: Shreveport

We fly to Dallas and transfer to our hotel in Shreveport.

Day 2: Shreveport / Alexandria

We begin with a lovely southern home cooked breakfast at a 19th century former judge’s home (now a B&B, it is one of the oldest surviving homes in the city). Then our tour of Shreveport will include a backstage tour of the Municipal Auditorium where legends like Elvis and Johnny Cash recorded, as well as a “Us Up North Cooking Demo with Chef Hardette”. We continue to Natchitoches for a walking tour of this historic “Steel Magnolias” town before proceeding to Alexandria.

Day 3: Lake Charles

We head to the western edge of the “Outback”, once known as the “No Man’s Land” of the State, and we’ll venture along the Creole Trail - a scenic byway that takes us through the natural habitat of swamp animals and 400 bird species. We finish with a Tour and Tasting of Bayou Rum – a specialty of the area!

Day 4: Charpentier District / Lafayette

Our tour begins in the Charpentier District, boasting a 40-block National Historic Register collection of beautiful architectural homes built by French carpenters. Included will be a taste of specialty foods like Boudin (original Cajun finger food) as well as King Cake (a Mardi Gras delicacy) before we depart for Lafayette – the heart of Cajun and Creole country! Tonight it's off to dinner at the local dance hall to turn up the heat on the dance floor and enjoy the two-step of Cajun and Zydeco music!

Day 5: Lafayette

Our day centers around the distinctive blend of food, music, culture and history of Lafayette with an included visit to a family run business of hand-made accordions made for musicians around the world. The evening is at leisure, for you to enjoy Downtown Alive - featuring performances representing a variety of genres: Rock, Cajun, Zydeco, Funk, Soul and more. Time to “Laissez les bons temps rouler” (“Let the good times roll”).

Day 6: Baton Rouge

We first visit the Tabasco factory on Avery Island - a mysteriously beautiful place where the pepper fields grow, the factory hums and the McIlhenny family continue to live and work as they have for over 5 generations. Then it's off to Baton Rouge, nicknamed the “Red Stick” – the political and historical capital of the state. Our tour combines a mix of the present as well as the past when we step back in time at the open-air museum with more than 30 unique, historic buildings. Lunch today consists of a po’boy – a tasty traditional sandwich of Louisiana!

Day 7: Plantation Lunch / Swamp Tour / New Orleans

We begin with a visit to Houmas House Plantation and Gardens - a grand antebellum estate and the Crown Jewel of Louisiana's River Road! We glimpse into the life of the wealthy Sugar Barons that founded this manor home and expanded it into this grand estate of 38 acres. Our included lunch at the plantation home features the finest Louisiana cuisine. Next we’ll visit the Bayou on the famous Cajun Pride Swamp Tour. We’ll glide through gator territory on a small, flat-bottomed boat and learn all about the swamp and its natural inhabitants from our local, expert captain. Afterward we proceed to New Orleans for a 3-night stay.

Day 8: New Orleans

We begin with a lively Jazz Brunch at the landmark Court of Two Sisters, followed by our guided city tour. Learn how this melting pot of French, Spanish, African and Cajun peoples are reflected in the architecture, cuisine and culture. We will see the beautiful Garden District, the unique above-ground cemetery, and see the amazing Mardi Gras Floats and learn about Carnival history at Mardi Gras World. This evening you may enjoy one of the many local eateries, visit Preservation Hall or stop in at Pat O’Brian’s for a “Hurricane”!

Day 9: French Quarter / New Orleans

Of course, no tour would be complete without a stroll down Bourbon Street and through the historic French Quarter - the oldest section of the city. Our tour will include a visit to the French Market, the River Walk, Slave Market and more. The rest of the day is free until the evening when we hop aboard pedicabs that take us to our Grand Finale event – great Jazz, beautiful vistas and wonderful food “steamboat style” as we cruise along the lazy Mississippi aboard the grand Natchez Steamboat!

Day 10: Home

We bid adieu to New Orleans and return home!


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Cost per person: $5197
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