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Louisiana - Birthplace of Jazz

Louisiana - Birthplace of Jazz
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Well-known Icons and Pleasant Surprises

To many, Louisiana is known as the birthplace of jazz, where over-stuffed po’ boys are bountiful, and where the greatest Mardi Gras celebrations take place. The list of lesser-knowns from this swampy Southern state is deliciously new to the outsider: a steaming hot bowl of seafood gumbo, freshly-made beignets and drive-through daiquiri shops. Thankfully, the uninitiated can head down one of Louisiana’s Culinary Trails to acquaint themselves with the distinctive Creole/Cajun flavors, and the history behind them.

Then there’s the unmistakable beat of zydeco music, eerily-beautiful bayous and the sacred temples of Voodoo priestesses (where you go to get your juju on track). Here, the Cajun and Creole musicians (who created the tunes of swamp pop in a hybrid of rock, R&B and blues sounds) live on in a new generation of talent that moves the crowds at the intimate local music haunts. Another cure for the unaccustomed: one evening at the Blue Moon Saloon and Guesthouse, a historic honky tonk that hosts roots music every night. Louisiana is a place where artistic expression flourishes and where artists have an outlet for their creativity that remains unhampered by convention, which is reflected in the many galleries showing outsider art as a mainstay.


Nowhere Else Like It

Only in Louisiana has Spain’s running of the bulls been transformed into folks strapping on rollerblades and helmets – with horns – to roll around chasing each other as “rollerbulls.” And only in Louisiana are there frog shows in place of dog shows and inmates performing as cowboys in prison rodeos. This is a state that knows how to throw a good party – and to tease its arrival all year long: The 365-day countdown to Mardi Gras, which commemorates Fat Tuesday, is the most-anticipated event of the year across the state. This Pre-Lenten/Easter festival about parties, parades, beads, costumes and eating traditional king cakes is one of the most popular events to attend in all of the U.S.

Louisiana - Birthplace of Jazz