The folks in Louisiana love their food and they take tender care in preparing everything from a simply po’ boy sandwich to a hearty étouffée Cajun stew. It’s hard to pin down the state’s official cuisine thanks to the influences of Cajun, Creole, American and African American roots, but seafood certainly shines in many classic dishes like gumbo and jambalaya. You’ll find catfish, steamed crawfish and with red beans and rice (dirty rice) all over Cajun country, while the boudin (sausage) and beignets (donuts) are to die for. Louisiana is all about indulgence and the same goes for the nightlife in hot spots like New Orleans. Drinking and dancing can be found just about everywhere from inside to on the streets.
Bars and Pubbing in Louisiana
New Orleans is called the Big Easy for a reason - it’s a town that loves to kick back with a beverage, listen to insane live music after dark, and get up the next day and do it all over again. Bourbon Street is legendary for its music venues like Tipitina’s (501 Napoleon Ave, New Orleans) and the Maple Leaf (8316 Oak Street, New Orleans). Expect to discover superlative jazz, brass bands, blues, zydeco, funk and just about every other genre playing live every night of the week. With no mandated closing times in Louisiana, the party rumbles on as long as the guests can hang.
Not every drinking spot in New Orleans is focused on music. The French Quarter is loaded with cool little spots where music is more of background noise to the boisterous party-people. They can be rowdy at Pat O’Brien’s (718 St Peter Street, New Orleans) where the intoxicating hurricane was invented, Tropical Isle (727 Bourbon Steet, New Orleans), home of the melon-flavored hand grenade or more laid back at Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House (144 Bourbon Street, New Orleans). The greatest thing about New Orleans is you can take any alcoholic drink with you in a plastic to-go cup so the entire street becomes your playground to explore. You can also find great Cajun music and classy bars in Lafayette along The Strip and downtown district. Places like the Greenroom (229 Jefferson Street, Lafayette) are always reliable for a casual night out with the locals. Louisiana is one of the last states where you can still smoke in bars.
Dining and Cuisine in Louisiana
Eating is one of the absolute highlights of any trip to Louisiana, especially in its cultural hub New Orleans. The local cuisine is a wild fusion of French, Creole, African and Deep Southern styles with dishes that may appear simple, but never dull. Some of the tastiest treats are simple deep-fried beignets (donuts) from Cafe Du Monde (800 Decatur Street, New Orleans) or fresh steamed crawfish and butter. Cajun cooking can be found in every parish in the state, which is cheap, filling and always memorably delicious.
Some of the legendary restaurants of New Orleans include Arnaud’s (813 Bienville Street, New Orleans) and Liuzza’s by the Track (1518 N. Lopez, New Orleans) for gumbo and po’ boys. But there also some very creative chefs at work in the Big Easy making contemporary Cajun at Cochon (930 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans) and new-style Creole cuisine in Café Adelaide (300 Poydras Street, New Orleans). And don't worry if you're out late, it’s possible to find great food and snacks even in at the wee hours. To discover your own memory-making meal just look for crowds of locals.