Louisiana, also known as “Bayou State”, “Child of the Mississippi”, “Creole State”, “Pelican State (official)”, “Sportsman’s Paradise”, “Sugar State” and “The Boot”, offers some of the most beautiful and spectacular sights and places to visit! Just browse through these awesome pictures and be amazed by it’s beauty.
1. Avery Island
Avery Island is one of Louisiana’s most famous sights, known around the world for being the birthplace of Tabasco sauce. Although the island is home to a small human population, it is actually a salt dome, which was initially covered by fauna before being discovered. Avery Island’s top attractions include the visitor center and the pepper sauce factory, but there is much more to the island than its association with Tabasco sauce.
2. Christmas in New Orleans
New Orleans is one of the most unique places in the whole world, let alone in Louisiana, with Christmas a particularly special time to spend in the city. New Orleans might not get the snow some parts of the United States receives at this time of year, but that does not affect the joyful atmosphere that spreads throughout New Orleans at Christmas time. The Krewe of Jingle holiday parade kicks off Christmas in New Orleans, while the St. Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square hold a series of events throughout December. Among the biggest Christmas traditions in New Orleans is enjoying Reveillon, a French-inspired meal meaning ‘awakening’. Modern New Orleans food mixes with Creole cuisine for this unforgettable culinary experience.
3. St. Louis Cathedral
St. Louis Cathedral is one of the most famous sights in New Orleans, and indeed in the whole of Louisiana. Located in the city’s thriving French Quarter in front of Jackson Square, the history of the cathedral dates back almost 300 years, although the building has been regularly renovated, rebuilt and upgraded. The cathedral – the mother church of the Archdiocese of New Orleans – is the United States’ oldest continuously active Roman Catholic Cathedral. The rear of the cathedral also houses St. Anthony Garden, which has a statue of Jesus that is spectacularly lit up at night.
Venice – sometimes known as The End of the World – is one of Louisiana’s many must-see sights. Often used as a starting point for offshore fishermen, Venice was particularly badly affected by Hurricane Katrina. In the years since the horrific natural disaster, a great deal of work has been done to rebuild the community, which is now beginning to thrive again. Nearby to Venice is also the must-visit site the Breton National Wildlife Refuge of the Chandeleur Islands, which was established by the order of the then-President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt.
5. Avery Island bird sanctuary
While Avery Island is understandably known as the home of Tabasco sauce, the island is also famous for its bird sanctuary, which is called Bird City. The wildlife refuge has been built up slowly over many decades and is now the migration site for an estimated 100,000 egrets. Nesting season begins around February and the birds remain on the island until the winter months arrive. President Roosevelt once described Bird City as “the most noteworthy reserve in the country.”
6. Chauvin Sculpture Garden
Perhaps the oddest but most beautiful place in Louisiana is the Chauvin Sculpture Garden. Developed over many years by the reclusive artist Kenny Hill before his abrupt departure from the site, the sculpture garden features a huge array of bizarre but wondrous creations, from winged angels to depictions of God himself. An art center and a small local museum are now based at the site, which provides one of the strangest and wonderful experiences in the whole of Louisiana.
7. Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge
The biggest urban wildlife refuge in the United States, Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge is located within the city limits of New Orleans and is a must-visit location for anyone who is interested in conservation. A massive wading bird rookery is one of the main attractions of the refuge, which also has alligators, bald eagles and brown pelicans that call the site home. Many people driving along I-10 in New Orleans East do not even realise they are in Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge, which covers a vast total area of 24,000 acres.
8. Horace Wilkinson Bridge
Of the many bridges that cross the epic Mississippi River, the Horace Wilkinson Bridge at Baton Rouge is perhaps the most impressive of the lot. The cantilever bridge, which is the highest to cross the Mississippi River, carries Interstate 10 from Baton Rouge to Port Allen. Six lanes of traffic cross the bridge, which is named after three separate men named Horace Wilkinson who served in the Louisiana legislature for a combined total of 54 years. Keen photographers will be keen to snap the Horace Wilkinson Bridge, which is a special backdrop for pictures.
9. Mississippi River
There is no doubt that the Mississippi River is one of the greatest rivers in the whole world. Dozens of bridges cross the river from its starting point at Itasca State Park in Minnesota to the mouth at the Gulf of Mexico. The Port of South Louisiana is based around the river, with some 500 million tons of shipped goods passing through the port every year. A journey along the Great River Road through Louisiana makes for a wonderful experience, with cities such as St. Francisville, Baton Rouge and Plaquemine among the places the river flows through, as well as Tallulah, Morganza and, of course, the city of New Orleans.
10. Atchafalaya Basin
Louisiana is known for its wetlands and the Atchafalaya Basin is the largest swamp in the whole of the United States. The Atchafalaya is a particularly unique ecosystem as a result of its unusual combination of stable wetlands and a growing delta system. Among the many attractions of the Atchafalaya Basin is the Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge, which houses alligators, waterfowl and a huge array of migratory birds. The basin stretches an amazing 140 miles southward and it is a massive source of crawfish, with 22 million pounds of the fish coming from the basin each year.
11. Melrose Plantation
Melrose is one of the most unique plantations in the South. Sometimes also called Yucca Plantation, Melrose was one of the biggest plantations that were built by and for free blacks. There are eight structures in total at the plantation, with the Association for Preservation of Historic Natchitoches providing guided tours of Melrose. The plantation features on the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail. Melrose was established by Louis Metoyer, a slave who became a free person of color when he was finally granted his freedom. Metoyer went on to build a uniquely African structure that is a must-visit experience for anyone spending time in Louisiana.
12. French Quarter, New Orleans
New Orleans is one of the world’s great cities, with the French Quarter by some distance the oldest neighborhood in the city. A National Historic Landmark, the French Quarter was damaged by Hurricane Katrina but after huge work to restore it, is now back to its bustling best. Among the many attractions people should see when visiting the French Quarter is Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral, the busy bars of Bourbon Street and the Audubon Cottages. The French Quarter is known around the world for its party atmosphere and it is one of the only places in the United States where consuming alcohol from open containers is permitted on the street. Bourbon Street also hosts the famous annual Mardi Gras celebration, which draws thousands of people to celebrate on the streets of New Orleans.
13. Louisiana swamp tour
Taking a swamp tour is one of the best ways to experience life in Louisiana. There are few places in the world as untouched as the swamps of Louisiana and a guided tour all-but guarantees seeing a huge variety of wildlife, all in their unspoiled natural habitat. Lafayette is one of the top starting points for a Louisiana swamp tour, but there are countless fantastic options all over the state. Alligators, herons and egrets are among the wildlife present in the state’s swamps.
14. Jungle Gardens
Many people heading to Avery Island miss the chance to explore the Jungle Gardens in favour of learning about its Tabasco-related history, but this is a huge mistake as the Jungle Gardens are one of Louisiana’s surprise gems. Azaleas, camellias and bamboo is all present in the gardens, while alligators, deer and raccoons are among the many animals living in the vicinity too. A centuries-old Buddha statue is one of the most unmissable sights on Avery Island, and indeed in the whole of Louisiana.
15. New Orleans Garden District
We’ve already covered the French Quarter, St. Louis Cathedral and Christmas in New Orleans, but the city has so much more to offer. The Garden District is a beautiful spot to while away a few hours. Superb 19th century mansions are to be found here, with the St. Charles line streetcar making access around the area simple. Landmarks to look out for in the New Orleans Garden District include the George Washington Cable House, while one of NOLA’s most famous restaurants, Commander’s Palace, is also based in this part of the city.
16. Oak Alley Plantation
Along with Melrose Plantation, Oak Alley Plantation is another of the most important historical sites in the state. Located in Vacherie, St. James Parish, Oak Alley Plantation is particularly notable for the row of trees that gave the plantation its name. The architecture and landscaping on show at the plantation have led to it being made a National Historic Landmark. Oak Alley Plantation is one of the South’s most spectacular settings. The trees at Oak Alley Plantation are over 300 years old and to this day it is a mystery who originally planted them at the site.
17. Jean Lafitte National Historic Park and Preserve
Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve consists of six separate sites around the New Orleans area. Among these is the Chalmette Battlefield and National Cemetery, where the Battle of New Orleans took place in 1815, as well as the French Quarter Visitor Center in the city of New Orleans itself. Much of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve is located just a short trip out of the city but it feels a world away, offering the chance to enjoy nature at close quarters.
18. Audubon Park
Located in the Uptown neighborhood of New Orleans, Audubon Park is one of the most beautiful places in the whole of Louisiana. The park is named after artist and naturalist John James Audubon and is built on land that was initially a plantation. Today, the park has sports fields and picnic facilities, as well as a golf course and a rookery attracting hundreds of wading birds. Part of Audubon Park is known locally as the Fly due to its butterfly-shaped river viewing shelter.