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Louisiana in Pictures: 15 Beautiful Places to Photograph

Written by Brad Lane
Feb 6, 2020

Oak alleys, scenic bayous, and the French Quarter of New Orleans define many of the best pictures of Louisiana. In a state filled with wetlands and history, culture and landscape come together in Louisiana to make for beautiful photographs. Wildlife photography opportunities in Louisiana includes alligators, turtles, egrets, and other birds. Some of the scenic surroundings include swamps, marshes, jungly forests, and the Gardens at the American Rose Center.

Note: Some businesses may be temporarily closed due to recent global health and safety issues.

1. French Quarter, New Orleans

Jackson Square and the St. Louis Cathedral
Jackson Square and the St. Louis Cathedral

The French Quarter of New Orleans captures the culture and history of Louisiana. From the French Creole architecture to lively street performances, the French Quarter attracts the camera's eye. Jackson Square and the St. Louis Cathedral are central attractions of the French Quarter. Creative photographers try and find the best angle of these two iconic city emblems. While in the area, be sure to treat yourself to a beignet from Cafe Du Monde.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in New Orleans: Best Areas & Hotels

2. Lake Martin, Breaux Bridge

American alligator at Lake Martin
American alligator at Lake Martin

Wildlife and nature photographers gather at Lake Martin just outside Lafayette. Part of the Cypress Island Nature Preserve, this watershed protects a diverse cypress-tupelo swamp landscape. At the center of this wild environment is Lake Martin. Thousands of water birds use the rookery at the preserve, including several species of herons and egrets. The swampland is also home to American alligators.

3. Chicot State Park, Ville Platte

Cypress tree at Chicot State Park
Cypress tree at Chicot State Park

In the Prairie Cajun Country of the south-central part of the state, this 6,400-acre state park is the largest in Louisiana. The multi-use trail that circles Lake Chicot offers several scenic photo opportunities. The giant cypress trees growing from the water create a quintessential Louisiana landscape shot. For more photo adventures at Lake Chicot, the state park is also home to the Louisiana State Arboretum.

4. Oak Alley Plantation, Vacherie

Oak Alley Plantation
Oak Alley Plantation

Photographers capture a quintessential southern shot at Oak Alley Plantation. Constructed in the 1830s, the 800-foot-long row of oak trees leading to the plantation gives the historic property its name. The other distinguishable feature of the estate is the doric columns gracing the front entrance. Less than 40 miles from New Orleans, Oak Alley Plantation is open to the public for self-guided tours.

5. Grand Isle

Brown pelican flying over Grand Isle
Brown pelican flying over Grand Isle

A barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico, Grand Isle is a charming town and a relaxing place to get away. Filled with visitor attractions like shops and restaurants, this beach community is less than two hours from New Orleans. Grand Isle State Park is the place to go for the best photographs and activities like hiking, fishing, and bird-watching.

6. Barataria Preserve, Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve

Barataria Preserve
Barataria Preserve

Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve operates six separate sites. With headquarters in the French Quarter of New Orleans, much of this park's wildlands are located south of the city. The Barataria Preserve is perhaps the best place to visit for photographs. Within the 26,000 acres of wetlands at Barataria are alligators, swampland, and a growing collection of colorful plants.

7. Avery Island

Oak trees adorned with Spanish moss on Avery Island
Oak trees adorned with Spanish moss on Avery Island

The real claim to fame for Avery Island is that it is the birthplace of the TABASCO® brand pepper sauce. This world-famous hot sauce is still made at the factory on-site, less than an hour's drive south of Lafayette. The surrounding geological salt dome of Avery Island is open for the public to explore.

Of particular photographic interest are the Avery Island Jungle Gardens. Adorned with Spanish moss and colorful azaleas, Jungle Gardens offer an adventurous path to photograph.

8. Creole Nature Trail, Lake Charles

Boardwalk path in the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge along the Creole Nature Trail
Boardwalk path in the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge along the Creole Nature Trail

The Creole Nature Trail is a 180-mile All-American Road located south of Lake Charles. The Nature Trail has many routes to choose from and doesn't follow a straight line. The "Louisiana Outback" is on display no matter which way you go. From prairies to marshes and beaches on the Gulf of Mexico, the Creole Nature Trail offers authentic pictures of Louisiana nature.

9. Toledo Bend Reservoir, Louisiana/Texas

Sunset at Toledo Bend State Park
Sunset at Toledo Bend State Park

Sharing a border with Texas in central-west Louisiana, this massive body of water is a recreation playground. Public access lines the shoreline of this well-visited lake. Places like the south and north units of Toledo Bend State Park tend to draw the biggest crowds. Sunsets at either state park area bubble with color under an expansive evening sky.

10. The Gardens at the American Rose Center, Shreveport

The Gardens at the American Rose Center
The Gardens at the American Rose Center

In the northwest corner of the state, this colorful rose garden encompasses 118 acres near Shreveport. The nation's largest rose park, the Gardens at the American Rose Center also serve as national headquarters for the American Rose Society. Peak blooming times for the best pictures are from April to June and September to October. The gardens sponsor a photography contest every year.

11. Fontainebleau State Park, Mandeville

Beach on Lake Pontchartrain at Fontainebleau State Park
Beach on Lake Pontchartrain at Fontainebleau State Park

On the shores of Lake Pontchartrain in eastern Louisiana, this 2,800-acre state park is an hour drive from New Orleans. Once the site of an 1852 sugar plantation, this vast expanse of marshlands is a welcome retreat from the busyness of the nearby city. Alongside relics of the original sugar mill, the state park provides the opportunity to photograph the different species of birds that fly through the area.

12. Kisatchie National Forest

Longleaf pines in Kisatchie National Forest
Longleaf pines in Kisatchie National Forest | Justin Meissen / photo modified

Encompassing over 600,000 acres near Alexandria, Kisatchie is the only national forest in Louisiana. Recreation abounds in the piney hills of the forest, including landscape and wildlife photography. Trails like the Longleaf Vista Interpretive Trail highlight the rugged nature of the area. For those traveling by car, the Longleaf Trail Scenic Byway has several scenic side trips.

13. Louisiana State Capitol, Baton Rouge

Louisiana State Capitol
Louisiana State Capitol

Thirty-four stories high, the State Capitol building in Baton Rouge is the tallest capitol in the country. Among the well-manicured grounds of the State Capitol, the Capitol Gardens tend to grab the camera's attention. The remains of the man behind the building, Senator Huey P. Long, are buried here. An observation tower on the top floor of the capitol overlooks the city.

14. Nottoway Plantation

Nottoway Plantation
Nottoway Plantation

Scenic grounds for a picture surround this largest remaining antebellum mansion in the south. This historic home near the Mississippi River survived the Civil War and today operates as an authentic resort property. A popular wedding venue, Nottoway Plantation also offers guided and self-guided tours of the property.

15. Louisiana State University

Azaleas in bloom at LSU
Azaleas in bloom at LSU

The campus of Louisiana State University is brimming with academic appeal. From raucous sporting events to several public museums and galleries, it all adds up to a deep sense of LSU pride throughout the state. Particularly beautiful places to photograph on campus include the Hilltop Arboretum and the nearby University Lake.

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