- Kelly’s Landing Agricultural Museum and Farm Tours: Take a nostalgic walk through the past and learn about the farming tools used by our forefathers. The ingenuity incorporated into these basic tools is recognizably still used today.
- Learn more about the agriculture of Acadia Parish and take a crawfish and rice tour. For more information, visit AcadiaTourism.org.
- Self-guided driving tours of Solomon Northup’s journey from 12 Years a Slave are now being offered. These tours will also run through Avoyelles Parish. For more details, visit AlexandriaPinevilleLA.com.
- Hayes E Daze Ranch near Alexandria now offers horseback trail riding in the Claiborne district of Kisatchie National Forest. One-, two- and three-hour guided rides are now offered and overnight camping adventures are in the works. For details, visit hayesedaze.com.
- The historic Hotel Bentley has completed renovations and is now reopened. The Hotel Bentley played a significant part in World War II because of the Louisiana Maneuvers conducted nearby. During that time, the hotel served as headquarters for many notable military leaders including General George S. Patton, Omar Bradley, Joseph Stillwell, and Dwight Eisenhower.
- The Holiday Inn downtown is open in the downtown cultural district.
- TownePlace Suites, Home2 Suites and Fairfield Inn are now open near areas of the Alexandria Mall.
- Allen Parish’s newly renovated Kinder Welcome Center is now open. This $40,000 expansion now includes music and American Indian exhibits. For more information, please refer to AllenParish.com.
- The inaugural Flambeau Fest will be held October 7-8, 2017, at Ascension Fields at Lamar Dixon from Noon to 11pm each day. Enjoy live music from dozens of artists featuring Sam Hunt, Hank Williams Jr., Lynyrd Skynyd, Dustin Lynch, Chase Rice, Blackberry Smoke, Jacob Davis. General admission two day tickets are $149; VIP tickets start at $319; for more information go to flambeaufest.com.
- Several new restaurants are open and ready for business with several more on the way. New restaurants include Lit Pizza in Prairieville; Fratelli’s Italian Grille in Prairieville; and, a second location of the popular Baton Rouge restaurant TJ Ribs in Prairieville. In the works include, Walk-Ons in Prairieville, Bernadette’s Table, Izzo’s Illegal Burrito, and Ichiban’s.
- Drive down the Northup Trail, which starts in Alexandria and ends in Avoyelles Parish. Learn about the Twelve Years a Slave story of Solomon Northup, which was recently made into a movie. The newly designated Northup Trail is now the most recent addition to the LA Trails and Byways collection. For more information on LA trails and byways, refer to TravelAvoyelles.com and LouisianaByways.com.
- Children can get a hands-on, interactive learning experience at the Knock Knock Children’s Museum now open in Baton Rouge. The goal of the exhibits are to increase childhood development of literacy and STEAM skills. The Knock Knock Children’s Museum is located 1900 Dalrymple Drive in Baton Rouge. Visit knockknockmuseum.org for more information.
- Located on the outskirts of downtown Louisiana, Caneland Distilling specializes in the production of sugar and transforming it into rum. Be sure to stop in a taste “one of the country’s only estate bottled producers of spirits and rhum agricole in the continental U.S.” For more details on how to book a tour and tasting, check out Caneland Distilling.
- The Ruby Slipper Café is a family-owned and operated business that just recently opened a new location in Baton Rouge on Perkins Road. Praised for being an ode to rebirth after Hurricane Katrina, this restaurant strives to provide good and comforting food while being in the presence of even better company.
- BRQ Seafood and Barbeque specializes in classic Southern Louisiana cooking, specifically competition style barbeque and seafood. Located on Jefferson Hwy, be sure to stop in and experience a relaxing environment and enjoy great food.
- Magpie Café has just recently opened up a second location in downtown Baton Rouge on the corner of Third and Laurel Street. In addition, they have added a new seasonal breakfast menu. Be sure to check them out at Magpie Café.
- DeRidder Gothic Jail: For a second year, the DeRidder Gothic Jail will host “Gothic Jail After Dark.” This is your chance to go inside the “Hanging Jail” and experience a haunted house inside a jail many believe to be haunted. Dates for the event are October 13-14, 20-21, 27-28 & 31. For more information call 337-463-5534.
- Head on down to Beauregard Parish for some of the finest Cajun cuisine in the state: Steamboat Bill’s, Cecil’s Cajun Kitchen, Two Sisters Pecan House. For more information on good eats, visit BeauregardTourism.com.
Cajun Coast (St. Mary Parish)
- Located on the Chitimacha Indian Reservation in Charenton, the Cypress Bayou Casino and Hotel is an upscale casino connected to a 102-room hotel. Enjoy the nightlife club ROX, slot machines, table games, a poker room and seven restaurants. For details, visit CajunCoast.com or CypressBayou.com.
- The Cajun Coast Visitors and Convention Bureau has a St. Mary Parish travel guide app. It includes information on accommodations, dining, attractions and events; guides for birding and history enthusiasts; walking tours in Morgan City and Franklin; recommendations on stops along the Bayou Teche Scenic Byway; and social media tabs to connect to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. The Cajun Coast Travel Guide app is free and available for iOS and Android.
- DeSoto Arts Council Art Gallery is now selling original artwork tax-free in Grand Cane. For more information, check out DiscoverDeSoto.com.
- Mansfield Female College Museum is now offering resources through the extensive genealogical library about DeSoto’s cemeteries. Learn more about our nation’s history and rediscover your lineage. For more information, visit DiscoverDeSoto.com.
- Formerly known as the Epworth Hall of Mansfield Female College, the Clista A. Calhoun Center is now open for private and public gatherings. This new facility can accommodate up to 320 people. For details, please visit DiscoverDeSoto.com.
City of Gretna
- Heritage House Information and Welcome Center is the restored former home of John Linden, a German immigrant who came to Gretna around 1840. For more information, check out GretnaLA.com.
- The Historic Post Office has been transformed into the Gretna Cultural Arts Center and Black Box Theatre. This space is also available for public events and private rentals. For details, check out GretnaLA.com.
Houma (Terrebonne Parish)
- The new Houma Area Visitors Center has revamped their facility and now includes interactive exhibits on local cultures, industries, histories and environments. Begin your Bayou Country adventure and visit HoumaTravel.com.
- RJ & Jay Paul Molinere Air Boat Tours: join two of History Channel’s Swamp People on a high energy adventure in Bayou Country’s swamps.
- Down the Bayou Shrimp Tours: take a look at the shrimp industry with Kim and David Chauvin; here you will see everything from shrimp boats to shrimp processing facilities as well as tasty shrimp recipes. For more information visit their Facebook page.
- Spigots Brew Pub: the newest restaurant in the Houma area features a delicious spin on pub food along with a menu of in-house brewed beer. For more information, visit spigotsbrewpub.com.
- Finding our roots African American Museum: explore the story of African American history in Bayou Country with exhibits and stories ranging from slavery to the Civil Rights movement. The museum is located at 918 Roussell Street in Houma. Call 985-262-0407 for more information.
- Pelagic Dive Charters: for a unique perspective on Louisiana fishing, take a dive with Pelagic Dive Charters; scuba dive among the Gulf of Mexico’s oil rigs to view the beautiful marine environment and bring home delicious fresh seafood. For more information, visit pelagicdivecharter.com.
- TABASCO is celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2018. Founded on Avery Island in 1868, TABASCO now offers cooking classes for groups and individuals, as well as guided tours throughout the factory and lunch at Restaurant 1868. For more information, visit Tabasco.com/Visit-Avery-Island or IberiaTravel.com.
- The Bayou Teche Museum is incorporating the George Rodrigue mixed media exhibit “Rodrigue Comes Home: Shinny Happy Blue Dog” and a permanent replica of his studio. For details, check out IberiaTravel.com.
- Jungle Gardenson Avery Island offers free touring information by smartphone in English and French. Guests can access recorded commentary, maps, photos and videos, depending on the visitor’s type of handheld device. The mobile tour can be accessed at junglegardens.toursphere.com. The site has also added guided birding tours that can be reserved in advance. Visit www.junglegardens.org for details.
- A new self-guided tour is the latest addition to the annual Dave Robicheaux’s Hometown Literary Festival in New Iberia in late March/early April. Check out IberiaTravel.com for more information.
- George Rodrigue Saga of the Acadians (Sept. 1 – Dec. 31): George Rodrigue painted the Saga of the Acadians between 1985 and 1989. It is a series of 15 paintings chronicling the Acadian journey from France to Nova Scotia in the 17th century. Bayou Teche Museum, 131 W. Main St., New Iberia, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., (337) 606-5977, Website, Facebook.
- Iberville Museum: Located in the original City Hall of historic Plaquemine, it was built by New Orleans architect, James Gallier, in 1848. This museum features artifacts from parish residents of the 19th and 20th centuries. Visit to learn more about the history, culture and connection of the Model-T Ford to Iberville Parish. For more information, check out Visit Iberville.
Jefferson Davis Parish
- Crawfish Farm Tours: Learn everything about Louisiana’s favorite food. Crawfish field tours in Jeff Davis Parish will run from March to May, the crawfish harvest season. Spectators will experience the habitat, harvest, calculation, distribution and consumption of Louisiana’s no. 1 crustacean. Tours are $7 per person with groups of 10 or more. For more information, visit Jeff Davis Parish Tourist Commission.
- L’Blanca Albergo or The Bank Hotel is the area’s newest boutique-style hotel in downtown Lake Arthur. The hotel features 8 luxury suites, wine vault, scenic balcony, and all the amenities. The building is a former bank transformed into a two-story boutique hotel. For more information, visit labankhotel.com.
- The Grouse Room and Warehouse 535 are among Lafayette’s newest nightlife and entertainment options. The Grouse Room is a cocktail bar in Parc Lafayette, and Warehouse 535 offers the Rhum Room bar, a 600-person event venue, and an upcoming restaurant.For details, visit thegrouseroom.com and warehousefivethreefive.com.
- Lafayette has new properties operated by Doubletree by Hilton and Wyndham. The 327-room Doubletree property—formerly the Lafayette Hilton—underwent $12 million in transformations to all public areas, its restaurant and guest rooms.
- The Wyndham Garden Lafayette—formerly the Hotel Acadiana—is a pet-friendly hotel also seeing recent major upgrades. For details, visit LafayetteTravel.com.
Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana
- The Velvet Pig: Known for French inspired cuisine, this newly opened eatery offers a new kind of restaurant experience. A hands-on cooking class will be followed with a family-style meal. For more information, check out Visit Lake Charles.
- The Golden Nugget Lake Charles has opened the new Rush Tower, adding 350 additional luxury hotel rooms and three private villas. The Rush Tower also includes 24 additional corner suites, floor-to-ceiling windows and an in-house laundry facility. This brings the total number of rooms on site to 1,100. For more information, visit goldennuggetlc.com.
- The Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitors Bureauoffers a free events app available in the App Store or Google Play allowing users to access the area’s calendar of events. Users can filter by category and subscribe for alerts based on personal interests. For details visit VisitLakeCharles.org/apps.
- Lake Charles’ Charpentier Historic Districthas an app offering three self-guided tours in English, French, Spanish and German. The 40-block area is on the National Register of Historic Places. Choose from a 30-minute, one-hour or ghost-themed tour. For details visit visitlakecharles.org/historic.
Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou (Lafourche Parish)
- Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou has unveiled its new Live Oak Driving Tour, a self-guided tour sampling some of the more than 400 live oaks in Lafourche Parish. The tour includes 40 locations offering visitors and locals alike to experience the historic background of each. Visitors can navigate the Live Oak Tour online or pick up a printed brochure at the visitor center in Raceland. For more information, visit liveoaktour.com.
- A new 120-foot-long fishing pier is now ready for use in Leeville, LA. The new pier is a welcomed addition to the Leeville Boat Launch which hosted the Hobe Kayak Fishing World Championship in December 2016. The new pier stretches out to the deeper waters which attract fish year-round.
- Bayou Country Children’s Museum: At the Bayou Country Children’s Museum, children will learn as they play on a full-size sugarcane harvester, spot waterfowl from a duck blind, toss beads from a Mardi Gras float, climb aboard a shrimp boat and a 2-story oil platform and even experience a severe weather simulation and fire simulation in Safety-ville. Admission is $8 per person and free for BCCM members. For details, visit Bayou Country Children’s Museum.
- The Southern Heritage and Air Foundation: Tour the museum, which offers a public portal into the world of aviation through the preservation and exhibition of aircraft; schedule a plane ride or attend an air show event. For more information, check out Southern Heritage Air.
- Poverty Point World Heritage Site: Become a Junior Park Ranger Participate in a number of programs at the site, and earn your Junior Ranger badge and certificate! Contact the site for your booklet to get started. For more information call 318-926-5492 or visit http://www.povertypoint.us.
- Willie’s Duck Diner: Willie, from hit reality TV show Duck Dynasty, opened a new restaurant in West Monroe. Come to this one of a kind diner and feast on some of the best home cooking and Louisiana favorites. To view the menu, check out Willie’s Duck Diner.
- Miss Kay’s Sweets and Eats: Operating as a small, family-owned bakery in West Monroe, northeast Louisiana, Miss Kay's Sweets and Eats is renowned for her homemade treats, such as handcrafted pralines, cookies, dessert bars and mini pies. Desserts can also be sent directly to your doorstep for you, your family and friends to enjoy. For more information, visit Miss Kay’s Sweets and Eats.
- Mansion at Red Hillis the newest bed and breakfast property near Poverty Point World Heritage Site and Poverty Point Reservoir State Park. It offers four executive suites. For details, call 318-878-5155 or visit http://www.mansionatredhill.com.
- Rue Beauport Riverfront: A new riverfront park is changing the dynamics of the way visitors and local alike can enjoy the beautiful Cane River Lake. In addition to staggered staircases leading to the riverbank, the new park features a stage area with canopy for festival performances, an amphitheater with seating for up to 1,500 people, a 12-foot wide promenade with lighting, benches and hanging baskets, and more.
- BonAmi is the newest restaurant in Natchitoches’ downtown Historic Landmark District. The venue, atop The Landing Restaurant on Front Street, is a casual yet chic environment and the only tapas bar in the city. For details, visit natchitoches.com.
- New Orleans’ historic Orpheum Theaterhas reopened in the city’s Central Business District after $13 million in renovations. The circa-1918 1,500-seat theater is the home of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, and hosts other music and theatrical performances throughout the year. For details, visit orpheumnola.com.
- The New Orleans Steamboat Company, which operates the popular daily Steamboat Natchez cruises on the Mississippi River, will begin sailing a second riverboat in late 2017. The recently purchased Rock Island Casino sternwheeler is larger than the Natchez and the new vessel is undergoing a complete renovation in preparation for dinner harbor cruises that will accommodate up to 1,000 passengers. For details, visit neworleanssteamboatcompany.com.
- Construction has begun on a new terminal at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, expected to debut in 2018. This $826 million project will feature 30 gates, a 2,000-car parking garage, a central utility plant and a ground transportation staging area. The new terminal is projected to have a $3.2 billion annual economic impact on tourism in New Orleans.
- New Orleans recently added three new international non-stop flights. British Airways, which began travel four times weekly between London Heathrow and New Orleans in March 2017, is set to add a fifth day of service each week. Seasonal non-stop flights between New Orleans and Frankfurt, Germany, are offered twice weekly by Condor Airlinesfrom May through September. The 250-seat flights depart on Wednesdays and Sundays. And Choice Air is offering non-stop between New Orleans and San Pedro Sula, Honduras, twice weekly. Domestically, Allegiant Air has announced non-stop flights from Concord, NC, to New Orleans beginning November 18, 2017.
- Renowned Brazilian steakhouse Fogo de Chão opened its first Louisiana location in the J.W. Marriott Hotel in New Orleans, offering a variety of fire-roasted meats prepared by authentic gaucho chefs. Fogo de Chão utilizes the gaucho traditions of “churrasco,” the art of roasting meats over an open fire, and “espeto corrido,” continuous service allowingguests to control the variety and pacing of their meal. The New Orleans culinary team is led by Head Gaucho Chef Carlos Girotto, who learned the gaucho style of cooking on his family farm in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.
- The NOPSI Hotel is the newest luxury hotel in New Orleans. The renovated former headquarters of New Orleans Public Service, Inc., the hotel features 217-rooms, including 76 suites, just a short walk from the French Quarter. Additionally, there is a rooftop pool and bar along with 14,000 square feet of meeting space. For more information call 844-439-1463 or visit NOPSIHotel.com.
- The Royal Sonesta New Orleansrecently completed a major renovation, which included a new fitness center, a doubling of the hotel's R Club Level capacity and redesign in its guest rooms and suites. For details, visit Sonesta.com.
Pointe Coupee Parish
- False River Historic Trail re-established: This 10-mile bike tour along False River in Pointe Coupee Parish offers an abundance of history dating back to 1750. Start at Gaines Oak Tree and the route will take you along Louisiana Highway 1, through Oscar, Mix, and the City of New Roads. This trail was completed as an Eagle Scout Service Project by Kevin N. Cicero of Troop 66, (sponsored by the New Roads Lions Club) Istrouma Area Council. Click here for more information about the trail or to download a map of the route.
- A new bakery located in downtown Ruston called Uptown Downtown is now open for business. Enjoy breakfast or lunch, while sampling sweet treats. For more information, Visit Uptown Downtown.
- Utility Brewing is a new craft brewery that will be opening in the fall. This is Ruston’s first brewery and will also double as a brick-oven pizzeria. Check out their Facebook page for continuous updates and special events.
- The Courtyard Marriott and Best Western Plus are now open for business. With high-end amenities, such as fitness centers, pools, meeting spaces, etc., these new hotels offer a one-of-a-kind lodging experience. To make reservations, contact the Courtyard Marriott and the Best Western Plus.
- Shreveport is set to welcome its newest riverfront attraction, the Shreveport Aquarium. Located in the historic Barnwell Center, the aquarium will feature brightly colored coral reefs, creaking shipwrecks, dark ocean caves, and tropical lagoons. Designers claim the Shreveport Aquarium will be one of the greenest building in the state incorporating renewable energy, high efficiency equipment, water recycling and innovative design that supports their conservation message. Also on site, the restaurant SALT, offering modern-creative cuisine coupled with southern-style and hand-crafted libations. Admission prices for the aquarium will be $12 for adults, $8 for children. For more information, visit shreveportaquarium.com.
- Two specialty culinary toursare now available for groups visiting Shreveport-Bossier City. A wine and chocolate pairing class is conducted by a professional sommelier, and Chef Hardette Harris’ “Us Up North” offers a demonstration and multi-course meal on regional and Southern culinary fare. The twin cities now also offer an “Eat Here: A Food Lover’s Guide to Shreveport-Bossier” brochure for groups and individuals. For details, contact the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau at shreveport-bossier.org.
- Fairfield Manor is Shreveport’s newest bed and breakfast inn. It offers five suites, an Art Deco pool, a large sitting deck and a hidden garden. For details, visit fairfieldmanorbedandbreakfast.com.
St. Bernard Parish
- Beginning just east of New Orleans and ending in the coastal fishing area of Shell Beach, the San Bernardo Byway illustrates the French and Spanish pasts of the Islenos people from the Spanish Canary Islands. Take a drive through historic St. Bernard Parish and check out Louisiana Byways for more information.
St. Landry Parish
- Grand Coteau Bistrois open in its namesake town in St. Landry Parish. The menu by chef Christopher Thames, a Food Network Chopped! champion, offers both Cajun and Southern regional cuisine and a Saturday morning zydeco brunch. For details, visit grandcouteaubistro.com.
St. Martin Parish
- Visit Louisiana’s only attraction dedicated to the preservation of our past creatures, Prehistoric Park. Located in Henderson, this park includes 23 dinosaur exhibits, an outdoor exploration area and even a birthday party space. For more details, visit Prehistoric Park.
St. Tammany Parish (Louisiana’s Northshore)
- The Tammany Tourist and Convention Commission recently launched two new apps for local adventure seekers. The Play Northshore app focuses on outdoor activities, and the Eat Drink Enjoy app focuses on local eateries, craft breweries and wineries. For details visit www.louisiananorthshore.com.
- Blue Heron Bed and Breakfast is now open in Mandeville. It is within walking distance of Lake Pontchartrain, the Tammany Trace, the Dew Drop Inn jazz hall and several restaurants and shops. For details, visit blueheronmandevillela.com.
- Rise Haunted House: Adjacent to the Rise Escape Rooms, is their super cool Haunted House. This new addition, called The Asylum, offers a “soft touch” experience along with Zombie paintball.
- Salty Joe’s BBQ: Hammond’s newest restaurant is scheduled to open in the fall of 2017. This eclectic restaurant will feature scrumptious BBQ in a relaxed atmosphere. Where else can you dine inside a school bus, alongside a street car, or beside a silo?
- PawPaw’s Country Buffet: Opened in September 2017, Paw Paw’s will feature home-style cooking, buffet style. Located on Pine Street in Downtown Ponchatoula, this new eatery overlooks the walking district and sits adjacent to many shops, salons, and antique stores.
- Robert Dafford Murals: Famous muralist, Robert Dafford was hired to paint several murals in historic downtown Abbeville. These enormous works of art can be viewed on the side of Abbeville City Hall, the Sam Guarino Blacksmith Shop Museum Annex and on the Kaplan Museum.
- Midway On The Square Italian Steak House: Abbeville’s newest and only Italian restaurant, Midway On The Square Italian Steak House, is located in the historic Midway building in downtown Abbeville. The restaurant serves amazing Italian cuisine in a restaurant decked out in old-school gangster decor. Sip on a craft cocktail, take a bite of their chef’s veal specialty of the night and take in the vibe of Midway On The Square Italian Steak House for lunch, dinner or Sunday brunch.
- Days Inn now in Abbeville: The Executive Inn has changed to Days Inn and joins the Best Western Inn and Motel 6 as Abbeville’s franchise hotels. Days Inn is located on Veterans Memorial Dr. and offers very economical rates to the business and leisure traveler. wyndhamhotels.com
- The Booker-Lewis Restaurant is the newest casual fine dining stop in Leesville. The venue has three dining rooms, a porch and a private dining room upstairs. For details, visit bookerlewisrestaurant.com.
- Laura’s Cottage is the newest bed-and-breakfast inn in Washington. It offers a two-bedroom private cottage with a kitchen, screened porches and modern amenities one block from the town’s antiques district and local attractions. For details, call 337-351-1309.
- “Gone with the Wind” historic tour; More than two dozen sites featured in movies compose the Northwest Louisiana Film Trailin Webster Parish. Movies represented include Premonition, Blond Ambition, Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins, Longshots and Olympus Has Fallen. A free brochure and site map is available at the Webster Parish Convention & Visitors Bureau in Minden. For details, visit visitwebster.net.
- The Germantown Colony Museumnear Minden has a new welcome center and gift shop. The site commemorates one of three Harmony Society colonies founded in the U.S. in the early 19th century. Admission is free. For details, call 318-377-6061.