Top Destinations for 2016: Louisiana
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Louisiana is made up of a blend of cultures that have come together to create a youthful and lively state. Its largest city and most popular tourist destination, New Orleans, has rebuilt itself in the past ten years post-Hurricane Katrina as a city that is both modern and rich in historical roots. Louisiana is a hip vacation spot for anyone interested in music, food, or history. The state’s mix of cultures and languages come from the influences of French and Spanish settlers who colonised it, as well as Native American tribes in the area and African slave labourers who came with the settlers. Today, that blend is reflected in the food, architecture and languages; some long-standing Louisiana families speak Creole French, a blend of French and African terms. Louisiana is also noteworthy for its natural attractions. Settled on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico, southern Louisiana is made up of swamplands and marshes. The French-English term bayou is used to describe many of the swampy areas of the state that are home to alligators, crawfish, and herons. Where to go Louisiana’s biggest attraction is the city of New Orleans, which is an absolute must-see for anyone who wants a taste of what the state has to offer. While New Orleans would stand on its own as a hub for music and food, it is truly an incredible city especially considering around 80% of it was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. New Orleans has come back stronger than ever – today, it has 600 more restaurants than it did in 2005, three more non-stop flights out of Louis Armstrong International Airport than it did in 2005, and 25% more festivals attended in 2014 than in 2010. New Orleans is not only back on-track since Katrina; it’s actually arguably better now than it was pre-tragedy. With this progress, Louisiana has also seen a rebirth in the spirit of volunteerism and a focus on family and friendship.
New Orleans’ French Quarter will take you back to 19th-century living, as most of its historical buildings were built in or before the early 1800s. The area received relatively mild damage during Hurricane Katrina, meaning its history was thankfully preserved. Bourbon Street, the French Quarter’s most popular attraction, offers bars, clubs, and taverns for travellers looking for a fun night out. Baton Rouge, Louisiana’s capital, is home to the Old Louisiana State Capitol, a castle-like structure that is now known as the Museum of Political History. The Louisiana State Capitol – the new version of this building – is located downtown and is the tallest capitol building in the United States. In addition to being known for its rich history and politics, Baton Rouge is a state-wide hotspot for young people as it is home to Louisiana State University. Between it and several other universities in the area, college students make up 20% of the city’s population. What to do Eat a beignet
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