11 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Louisiana
1 New Orleans' French Quarter
The French Quarter, the old section of New Orleans, is known for its lovely old buildings, some dating back 300 years, with wrought iron balconies extending over the sidewalks below. Regarded as the tourist district, this area of the city also has a strong association with jazz music. Visitors will find restaurants, stores, cafes, and a variety of entertainment venues in the French Quarter.
2 Mardi Gras
The biggest event on Louisiana's annual calendar is the Mardi Gras celebration that takes place in New Orleans. This colorful event is a huge undertaking with a parade, balls, and street celebrations like none other. Mardis Gras is the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, but celebrations begin on the weekend leading up to Tuesday.
3 Melrose Plantation
The Melrose Plantation in Natchitoches was first known as Yucca Plantation when it belonged to Marie Thérèse and Claude Thomas Pierre Metoyer, freed slaves. Yucca House, found on the grounds was built in the 1790s. The Big House is a West Indies Creole plantation house with early Greek Revival details. At the turn of the century, Melrose became the home of John Hampton Henry and his wife Camie, a patron of the arts. Mrs Henry enlarged the garden and preserved the buildings. Many writers and artists were guests at Melrose over the years.
4 RW Norton Art Gallery
The RW Norton Art Gallery in Shreveport features collections of American and European art from the 17th century onwards. Pieces include paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts. Also of note is the gallery's rare book collection. Guests visiting in the spring will be treated to a colorful show on the grounds, as thousands of azaleas come into bloom.
5 Old State Capitol
The Gothic-Revival style Old State Capitol makes a dramatic impression on visitors passing by and is equally impressive on the inside. Two huge towers flank the main entrance and the roof is crenellated. The building, which resembles an old castle, is set on a hill and contains a political museum with exhibits related to Louisiana.
6 Laura Plantation
The Laura Plantation in Vacherie presents the Creole lifestyle of the antebellum era. The main house was built in 1805 and was a sugarcane plantation for 180 years. Family furnishings are featured inside the home with original outbuildings on the grounds. Memoirs of Laura, written by the planter's daughter, Laura Locoul, reveal a detailed account of 200 years of life on this farm.
Vermilionville, in Lafayette, features the traditions and heritage of the Acadian settlers of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Demonstrations of arts and skills that have been preserved and handed down from previous generations are presented by costumed craftspeople and historians. Vermilionville describes itself as a living history museum, and features exhibits, artisans, live performances, and more.
8 Sci-Port Discovery Center
Sci-Port Discovery Center is a science and entertainment center featuring science, math and space exhibits, an IMAX Dome Theatre, and the laser SPACE DOME Planetarium. Located in Shreveport, the center is targeted mainly towards youth, and is a popular family attraction with a strong educational component.
9 USS Kidd and Veterans Memorial
Visitors can climb aboard a decommissioned destroyer at the USS Kidd and Veterans Memorial, located in Baton Rouge. The ship was active during WWII and has since been used in films and TV productions. Information on the ship, as well as nautical items and memorabilia, are on display in the museum. The USS Kidd is named for Rear Admiral Isaac Campbell Kidd, Sr., who was killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
10 Rosedown Plantation and Gardens
The Rosedown Plantation is a State Historic Site known for being one of the most well preserved domestic southern plantations. It offers a look at the lifestyles, both of plantation owners and slaves, during the mid 19th century in the South. On the grounds are camellias, azaleas, and rare shrubs and trees. The Rosedown Gardens were created by the owners, Daniel and Martha Turnbull, in 1835.The Turnbull family occupied the mansion for more than 120 years.
11 St Martin de Tours Catholic Church
St Martin Catholic Church was established in 1765 in St Martinville. The present structure was built in 1836 and has an 1883 replica of the Grotto of Lourdes. In the left wing of the church is the grave of Emmeline Labiche, thought to be the heroine of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem "Evangeline." A statue of Evangeline stands in the churchyard.