When people think of things to do in Louisiana, a few things come to mind: college football, Mardi Gras, jazz music, the French Quarter, and crawfish gumbo. But the list of things to do in Louisiana doesn’t end with gumbo. Check out some off the beaten path places to get a feel for what this state is made of! Fasten your seatbelt!
Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum
These two were two of the most famous outlaws of the 1930s. During the Great Depression, Bonnie and Clyde led a gang across central states robbing corner stores and gas stations as a way to survive. They even robbed nearly a dozen banks, getting away with murder and mayhem until one unfortunate day in Bienville Parish, Louisiana. The two stopped for a sandwich and were ambushed in their car by police. 130 rounds of ammunition sprayed the vehicle, killing Bonnie with a half-eaten sandwich in her hand. The Bonnie & Clyde Ambush Museum tells the tale of how the two became so infamous. Special items in the museum include Clyde’s shotgun, Bonnie’s red hat, and glass from the windshield of the actual car they were driving. A tragic history but a fascinating one nonetheless, the artifacts from this famous and dangerous couple are all on display in Gibsland, Louisiana. Make sure you bring your getaway car.
Mardi Gras World
If you can actually make it to the actual festival, then by all means do so. But if you’re driving through out of season, check out Mardi Gras World! Go for a tour to see just how Mardi Gras is made. You can walk through and view what it takes to make the festival what it is with its beautiful, creative, and intricate floats that parade the streets. Knowledgeable tour guides will give you the scoop on the history and traditions of the festival. Hour-long tours are offered seven days a week by the float masters at Blaine Kern Studios, which produces 80% of the festival’s floats. The year-round tour gives you a peek into costume design, how floats get made, and you even get to eat the famous King Cake (a New Orleans pre-Lent delight)! Mardi Gras world even offers team building for corporate events with float building or masking making exercises. Go team Go!
With a long reputation for the eclectically weird, New Orleans is the ideal place for the Voodoo Museum. Louisiana Voodoo originally began in 1700s during the slave trade and has involved many different traditions and backgrounds. With different divisions and followers of voodoo, this museum concentrates soul-ly (get it?) on Louisiana and New Orleans voodoo. Once there, you can experience psychic readings and fortune telling, a gift shop where you can purchase chicken feet and love potion, and see the tomb of Marie Laveau, who some say still continues to work her magic! The museum promises to give you a real account of New Orleans history including the odd, the occult, and the unusual!
Nottoway Plantation House
Every great road trip needs some down time where you find a place to lay your head. In Louisiana, you can make a stop at the historic sugarcane estate of the 1850s. The majestic “White Castle” (not the burger spot) is a member of the Historic Hotels of America for its rich history and grandeur. Daily, guided tours introduce you to the South’s largest antebellum mansion. Nottoway Plantation has deluxe southern-style décor rooms for overnight stays, luxury dining and amenities, and elegant ballrooms for weddings. The grounds also have an outdoor pool, tennis courts, and a fitness center with nearby golf courses for all your road trip vacation needs. Once you’re done getting a taste of old plantation life, get on the road again!
National World War II Museum
New Orleans seems like an odd place for the National World War II Museum. But there’s a valid reason it calls New Orleans home. The museum was originally supposed to focus on D-Day and the boat that held the Allied forces that landed on the beaches of Normandy. The Higgins Boat was designed and built by Higgins Industries, a small company in New Orleans. As a side note, Higgins Industries was the first racially integrated and diverse workforce in New Orleans, shattering production records with hardworking women, seniors, men, and people with disabilities. The Museum itself has multiple galleries and an aviation exhibit with an observation deck. Plan your visit and learn about WWII while you’re down in the bayou!
Louisiana Flood Information
Unfortunately, Louisiana has experienced some catastrophic weather that left many people affected by historic flooding. The prolonged rainfall was so great that it submerged houses and businesses, making it the worst natural disaster in the US since Hurricane Sandy. Many efforts have been made to accommodate those displaced and even pets have been found and sent to other areas of the US to be properly cared for. If you would like to continue research on the Louisiana flood and make a donation, please click here. You will find a list of places to make online donations or find in-person drop-off sites.
Be sure to check what other states where we’ve put our tires to the road and the pedal to the metal. Just search “Road Trip Destinations Series” in the search bar at the top of the blog. Let us know where we should go next!