Day 1: Cajun customs, food and music, quaint New Orleans, and the historic river cities of the deep south are our destination. After a pleasant drive through Oklahoma and northern Texas, we turn east towards Greenville where we spend the night.
2: This morning we drive through the piney woods of eastern Texas. In the afternoon we follow the Red River Valley through central Louisiana. We have a tour of Natchitoches with a knowledgeable guide, then travel on to Port Allen for the night.
3: Our way takes us south along the Mississippi River. Our first visit today is at Oak Alley Plantation appropriately named for the large oak trees that line the path leading to the large antebellum home. We have time to explore the grounds and enjoy an included lunch during our visit. Next we travel a few miles down the road to visit Laura Plantation. The centerpiece of the plantation is the brightly colored house which stands in contrast to most of the stately white plantation houses in the area. A mid-afternoon arrival in New Orleans allows time for a tour with a local guide. Next two nights in New Orleans.
4: Today a local guide gives us a walking tour of the French Quarter. During the tour we see Jackson Square, Pirates Alley and St. Louis Cathedral. Lunch today is included at the New Orleans School of Cooking. Next there is an option to EITHER take a Harbour cruise OR visit the National WWII Museum where the stories of soldiers are told through a vast collection of artifacts, film, photographs and personal effects.
5: Our drive this morning takes us to Houma in the heart of Cajun Country. We begin our visit at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service where they are studying sugarcane and ways to increase yield. Lunch is at Twelve Oaks Plantation, nestled among 12 magnificent live oak trees that are over 400 years old. Later we enjoy a tour on the bayou on a swamp boat. The boat captain will explain the history of the Cypress trees along with other vegetation. The bayou is home to reptiles, animals, waterfowl and other critters. Next two nights in Houma.
6: Our day begins at the Waterlife Museum where we learn about the history of the Bayou. Next we visit the Regional Military Museum, a living history with a massive collection that dates back to World War I. Following lunch at the Military Museum we visit Louisiana University Marine Consortium where research and education programs are directly relevant to Louisiana’s needs in marine science and coastal services. Next we visit a Bait Shop where we learn how to peel crawfish and shrimp and have an opportunity to sample seafood. We also hear an explanation of the different nets that are used in the shrimp business. Dinner this evening is at Twelve Oaks Plantation and will include a variety of Cajun music.
7: Today we head north from Houma. The offshore oil industry was born in Morgan City. Our local guide will give us a view of some of the oil rigs and explain how they work. Next we go to Avery Island home of the McIlhenny Company makers of Tabasco. We enjoy a tour of the Tabasco factory and learn how the hot sauce is made. This afternoon we visit the Konriko Rice Mill in New Iberia and learn about the process of milling rice. Arriving on the banks of the Bayou Teche we come to present day St. Martinville originally established by French settlers in 1765. This is the land of Evangeline, the story of two lovers written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Later we travel north to Jennings for the night.
8: This is the harvest season for crawfish and this morning we learn about Louisiana’s favorite food on a local crawfish farm. We experience the habitat, harvest, calculation, distribution, and consumption of Louisiana’s #1 crustacean. In the afternoon we drive north in Texas to arrive in Dallas for the night.
9: We have experienced Cajun Country and the Deep South and are on our way home. A pleasant drive through Oklahoma brings us to our departure places.
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