Acadiana

Acadiana is a region of Louisiana, in the south and south west of the state. It is sometimes called "Cajun Country", noted for its distinctive culture. This is the birthplace of Cajun cuisine, Cajun music, and Zydeco music.

Cities

Other destinations

Understand

Acadiana or "Cajun Country" spreads over the prairies and bayous of SW Louisiana.

Acadiana is a reference to the large population of Acadians, descendants of French speakers expelled from Nova Scotia by the British. These Louisiana Acadians are known as Cajuns an English corruption of Acadiens.

While the Cajuns are the dominant population of the region, since early in its history the region has also included Native Americans, Germans, Spanish, French Creoles, and Creoles of Color, all of whom made their contribution to creating Acadiana. Many more people have contributed more recently to the vibrant region with its unique culture, dialects, and food.

While locals were long proud of their traditions, in the early 20th century Cajuns were often looked down on. A fortunate change came about in the last third of the 20th century, when a new widespread appreciation of Cajun culture developed, especially for its music and food.

Talk

Acadiana is home to the majority of Louisiana's Francophones. The vast majority of people in Acadiana can speak English, though some older Cadiens in rural areas may only speak French. While most can speak English, many Cajuns are bilingual, and around 30% of Acadiana residents can speak French (as opposed to 7% in Louisiana). Visitors from other English or French speaking regions may struggle with stronger local accents.

The local English accent incorporates many basic French words and unique pronunciations.

The dialect of French spoken by the francophones of Acadiana is essentially the same as the one spoken in New Brunswick and other Acadian areas of Canada. Communication in French between Cajuns and residents of France or Quebec usually requires some effort.

Get in

Use a major airport in Baton Rouge or New Orleans to get to the area. Travel by personal vehicle or rental car. If you are in New Orleans, there are tour buses and limo services that can bring you to the area.

Get around

If you want to travel at your own pace, you should bring your own vehicle or rental car. Tour bus companies are great, but you sign up for a specific itinerary.

See

Along Louisiana's Mississippi River, between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, is a historic region known locally as the Louisiana River Region. Found along both banks of the Mississippi are a number of historic plantations, dating back to the 1800s. Some of these are open to the public, ranging from non-profit educational facilities to commercial tourist attractions with major amenities. Pre-Civil War, there were hundreds of wealthy plantations along this trail, growing mostly sugar cane. Most are gone today, but locals have worked diligently to keep the remaining plantations viable and open to the public for visitation.

Do

Listen -- and dance to -- some Cajun and Zydeco music. There are dance halls and clubs in cities and towns, and some scattered in more remote locations people drive for miles to get to. A few of the more noted ones are:

Acadiana hosts a number of festivals. Some major ones are:

Eat

Real Cajun food! Acadiana is the birthplace of Cajun food. Much of what is labeled "Cajun" elsewhere (including other parts of Louisiana!) has little to do with the delicious real thing.

Not to be confused with the Creole style of cooking native to New Orleans, Cajun food is more provincial and less glamorous that its counterpart to the east. Equally rich to Creole food, Cajun dishes are often spicier as well. Cajun food also does not rely on the Tomato to the same degree as Creole food, and in foods common in both cuisines, the Cajun version is often a brown color compared to the Crole's red version. Some of the more notable Cajun food that visitors should sample in Acadiana are:

In addition to these several true Cajun dishes, there are many other items which are unique to Acadiana and can be found, at least in an authentic form, no where else in the world, as well as beloved Southern dishes such as fried chicken and frog legs.

Drink

Many enjoy a cold beer with Cajun food or music. Lafayette's Parish Brewing Company concentrates on quality small batch brews, including the popular Canebrake wheat beer brewed with local sugarcane. The Bayou Teche Beer company in Arnaudville sells multiple varieties brewed at the Mississippi brewery Lazy Magnolia. Also popular in Acadiana is Abita Beer, from Abita Springs in Acadiana's neighbor to the east, the Florida Parishes. As in all of Louisiana, whiskey is also popular.

There are no "open container" laws in most areas. When you tour a plantation, depending on the plantation's own rules, visitors over age 21 may purchase an alcoholic beverage and drink it while taking a tour, walking the grounds, etc. This is also true for some swamp tours and golf outings.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, February 29, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.