With its roots in both French and Spanish heritage, and a strong influence from the Acadians, known today as Cajuns, the state has a colorful history and a flair all its own. The language, the food, the music and the varying backgrounds of its people create a fascinating melting pot of cultures that cannot be experienced elsewhere. LSU is located in the heart of Louisiana’s capital, and New Orleans and Cajun Country are just an hour’s drive from campus.
One of the things Louisiana is best known for is Mardi Gras, which is French for “Fat Tuesday.” Mardi Gras is celebrated in a variety of ways around the state, but most include eating king cake, participating in parades, and costuming. The holiday represents an integral part of Louisiana’s culture and heritage.
Dining in Louisiana is a sumptuous culinary adventure like no other in the world. Whether you try Lafayette’s pork boudin, Natchitoches’ savory meat pies, or New Orleans’ Oysters Rockefeller, you will be sampling the mouth-watering blend of Louisiana’s epicurean heritage. Red beans and rice, gumbo, jambalaya, and crawfish---no meal in Louisiana is ordinary and we have food and flavors to satisfy everyone’s palate!
Louisiana is known for the beauty of its distinctive architecture and historic buildings. In fact, you’ll find more sites in Louisiana on the National Register of Historic Places than in any other state. New Orleans’ French Quarter is decorated with lovely wrought-iron balconies and tropical courtyards, as well as the iconic architecture of one of the oldest Catholic Cathedrals in the U.S. On the historic River Road, you can drive alongside the Mississippi River and view antebellum mansions, elegant French Caribbean-style homes and colorful Créole cottages that date back to the 1700-1800s.
Baton Rouge has a semi-tropical climate, perfect for outdoor activities year-round. The weather is consistently warm from May to October, and winter is typically mild and short. A large number of outdoor festivals, concerts and events, including LSU football and baseball games, are held throughout the year and often involve cooking, eating and socializing outdoors in the temperate weather.
Louisiana has long been known as the “Sportsman’s Paradise.” Its many bayous, swamps and coastal marshes provide excellent fishing, wildlife viewing, boating, canoeing and photography opportunities. Lush forests throughout the state appeal to hunters; numerous state and national parks provide recreational opportunities for those who love the outdoors; and the bluffs, creeks and waterfalls of the Tunica Hills area about an hour northwest of LSU are favorite spots of hikers and cyclists.
Music is one of Louisiana’s crown jewels. From Cajun and zydeco music to jazz, blues and gospel, the sounds of Louisiana will put rhythm in your step. A long line of Louisiana musicians, including Louis Armstrong, Harry Connick Jr., Wynton Marsalis, Fats Domino and Jerry lee Lewis, have not only created original musical styles, but have also influenced music throughout the nation and around the world. No matter your preference or your mood, Louisiana will be singing your song.
Louisiana is home to more than 400 free festivals that take place year-round, all across the state. Showcasing the best and most interesting aspects of the local culture, festivals celebrate the food, music, crafts and even the bounty of the state’s agriculture. The Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival in Breaux Bridge; the Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival in Ponchatoula; the Amite Oyster Festival in Amite; the French Quarter Festival in New Orleans; and the International Rice Festival in Crowley are just a few of the events that are loved by locals and tourists alike.