History and culture that’s been flavored by France, Spain and the Caribbean are honored here. Learn more at the Acadian Memorial in nearby St. Martinville. Two events in July and August remember the tragic 18th-century exile of Acadians from Nova Scotia.
Speaking of flavors, some of the best food in Louisiana can be found in and around Lafayette. Through Aug. 15, EatLafayette is a dining event that offers discounts and special menus at select restaurants so guests can understand what makes Acadiana culture so appetizing. Get your fill of shrimp Aug. 19–22 at the annual Delcambre Shrimp Festival. Information: Lafayette Convention and Visitors Center, (800) 346-1958, www.lafayettetravel.com
Best B&B: Aaah! T’freres
Since 1993, this bed and breakfast in Lafayette, La., has offered guests its brand of Cajun hospitality and amazing “ooh la la” breakfasts. Owners Pat and Maugie Pastor bring 35 of years restaurant business experience to the table, so guests can expect to be wowed. There are eight themed breakfasts, each with an international flair, but every one starts with a salad and finishes with a divine dessert. In between, guests may enjoy cheese-stuffed crepes topped with homemade strawberry and blueberry syrup or Bananas Foster, eggs, homemade biscuits, ham and grilled tomatoes. “We call it the ‘skip a lunch’ breakfast,” Maugie Pastor says. In the evening, guests enjoy her T’Julep (spiked tea) and crab canapés.
There are eight rooms available for overnight stays, including two in the garconniere in back of the main home. Built for the young men of the house, this was the place for all-night dances and card games. The main house dates to the 1880s and has a splendid front porch that’s a popular gathering spot. The house reportedly also has a spirit, that of a young woman named Amelie, who will turn lights on and off or rattle kitchen pots. The ghost story was featured on the Travel Channel, and the Pastors were given a video clip, which is made available to curious guests. “It saves me a lot of words,” Pastor says. T’Freres, which is French for little brother, is located at 1905 Verot School Road in Lafayette. Information: (337) 984-9347
Best small hotel: The Juliet
With 20 rooms, an outdoor pool and hot tub, free wireless and fitness center, The Juliet Hotel in Lafayette is an elegant property for business or leisure travelers. Guests also enjoy a free continental breakfast and a location close to popular attractions, such as Vermilionville, a Cajun/Creole heritage and folk life park.
The Juliet is an Ascend Collection hotel, the Choice Hotel boutique brand. The hotel is at 800 Jefferson St. Information: (337) 261-2225
Best state park: Lake Fausse Pointe
Whether visitors enjoy Lake Fausse Pointe State Park in St. Martinville, La., for a day or a week, almost everything is here to make that stay enjoyable. Accommodations include cabins and 55 campsites. Rent boats, canoes or kayaks to get out on the lake. There’s a seven-mile canoe trail and three nature trails within the park to put you close to the outdoors. Information: www.crt.state.la.us/parks, (337) 229-4764
Best local musicians: The Mamou Playboys
More than 20 years ago, Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys came on the scene with their brand of Cajun French music. Today, the band performs around the world and frequently appears in their home state of Louisiana. The current CD, “Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys Live” garnered their third Grammy nomination.
Catch them Aug. 14 in Breaux Bridge, La., at La Poussière, a traditional Cajun dance hall. Later in the month, the band heads for Europe. Information: www.mamouplayboys.com
Best local shopkeeper: Jennifer Casanova
Jennifer Casanova, manager of Lagniappe Antiques in Breaux Bridge, La., says visitors to the 17,000-square-foot marketplace must have a sense of humor to get the most out of the experience. “If you don’t, we’ll give you one,” she says, laughing. Her ability to please customers and the vision to make Lagniappe Antiques a tourist destination in this small southern Louisiana town eight miles east of Lafayette have made Casanova the clear favorite in the best shopkeeper category.
The store has 50 dealers who offer a variety of antiques (books, furniture, home décor) and art created by Louisiana artists from the state’s Craft Guild. In addition, there are Zydeco dance lessons offered on Saturdays, summer programs for children, and starting this fall, cooking demonstrations will be available at the new Buck & Johnny’s Pizzeria, the on-site restaurant serving gourmet sandwiches, soups and more. Once a Chevrolet dealership that had been vacant for 30 years, the property at 124 W. Bridge St., was bought and renovated by David Buck. Casanova was hired to design the space and manage the shop, which truly has become a destination in Louisiana’s Cajun country since its opening in October 2009. Information: (337) 507-2036, www.breauxbridgeantiques.com
Best Southern steakhouse: Ruth’s Chris
When you think of classic Southern fare, steak isn’t necessarily the first food that comes to mind. But one of the most beloved steakhouses in the country, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, had its humble beginnings in the heart of Louisiana before spreading across the country and around the world.
Ruth Fertel mortgaged her house to buy Chris Steak House in 1965 at Broad and Ursuline streets in New Orleans. When a kitchen fire destroyed the restaurant and she moved a few blocks away on Broad Street, she called the restaurant Ruth’s Chris because her original contract precluded her from using the name Chris Steak House in a different location.
Now celebrating its 45th anniversary, the restaurant chain has more than 100 locations around the country that are known for fine dining, upscale atmosphere and superior service. Information: www.ruthschris.com
Best ethnic restaurant: Prejean’s
Seeing trees with spanish moss and a 14-foot alligator in the middle of the dining room might be the first sign that Prejean’s Restaurant isn’t your average everyday restaurant. And then when you taste the food, average would probably be the last word you’d use to describe it.
Located in Lafayette, La., in the heart of Acadiana, the restaurant holds dozens of medals from culinary competitions. This is Cajun food at its best with such dishes as crawfish and alligator sausage cheesecake, crispy Cajun duckling, blackened catfish étouffée and a selection of hearty gumbos. Traditional Cajun bands entertain nightly, and the region’s rich Cajun French heritage is on display in the antiques that grace the walls and rafters. The restaurant is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner and recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. Prejean’s is located just off Interstate 49 on Gloria Switch Road in Lafayette. Information: (337) 896-3247, www.prejeans.com
Best craft gallery: Sans Souci
Sans Souci means “no worries,” and shoppers can have a carefree experience in this Lafayette, La., treasure trove. You’re sure to find a memorable gift or piece for your home here as the gallery is home to the Louisiana Crafts Guild and features the work of the state’s finest artisans.
The intimate gallery is adjacent to Parc Sans Souci and is housed in one of Lafayette’s oldest buildings that has seen uses as a pecan buyer’s store, an overnight inn, a post office and a bookstore. The space was restored in 2001 to house the works of guild members. A great time to visit the gallery is the second Saturday of each month during Lafayette’s Art Walk. The gallery is located at 219 E. Vermilion St. Information: (337) 266-7999, www.louisianacrafts.org
Hopefully he’ll be better prepared today than he was in that Feb. 20 deposition.
They came by the hundreds, arriving from all regions of the state to gather on the steps of our capitol in protest of the Legislature’s long tradition of giving industry the go-ahead to abuse our air, our water and our coastline, all in the name of good economics.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recent rhetoric against President Barack Obama has failed to boost his standing among the conservative base.
Louisiana's annual legislative session begins.
The state has hired marksmen to shoot feral hogs from helicopters at two wildlife management areas in south Louisiana.
St. Patty's Day crafts
The former star of Saturday Night Live throws in his 2 cents on the Big Oil lawsuit.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Monday, March 10, 2014:
New menu items ready for the Lenten season
The Cane Fire Film Series screens “MaidenTrip” on Monday, March 10, at the AcA.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The vibe of the tribe done modern
The Louisiana Workforce Commission said Friday that initial claims rose to 2,125 from the previous week's total of 1,964. There were 2,887 initial claims during the comparable week in 2013.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
She’s the daughter of the legendary Johnny Cash, but she’s been a gifted artist in her own right for three decades, and she’s coming to Lafayette.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Prepare yourselves for sun
Acadiana's nightlife guide.