Destination: Louisiana Meeting & Event Planning City Guide

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Destination Articles

  • An Epicure's Delight

    By Mona L. Hayden

    January 28, 2014

    New Orleans was eating local before farm-to-table became a popular marketing term. “It’s all we’ve ever known,” says chef John Besh, author, television personality, restaurateur and passionate public ambassador for local food and sustainable agriculture. “We have the only indigenous urban cuisine in the United States. Our shrimp are not imported from China: They come from Lake Pontchartrain. Like our music, the food of our city doesn’t come from a can.”

    Besh, a James Beard Award-winning environmental chef and native son of New Orleans, has spent his career promoting organic, natural and locally produced food. As with most great chefs, this philosophy carries over to his restaurants. “It not only makes sense from the taste aspect in its freshness and quality, but also for the economic benefits for the region,” he says.

  • Celebrate!

    By Christine Loomis

    October 28, 2013

    Louisiana is about nothing if not festivals. In fact, the state is so festival-happy it has more than 400 of the annual celebrations during any given year, each one embracing some aspect of Louisiana’s rich, deliciously vibrant culture.

    Of course, there are those people who would argue that Louisiana is about food. Or music. They would be right, too. And the beauty of it is that Louisiana festivals are likely to combine all three—and then some.

    “The actual names of Louisiana festivals can be somewhat misleading, because our music festivals always have rich food components and vice versa,” says Jeff Richard, public information officer at the Louisiana Office of Tourism. “For example, the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival typically has one of the best three-day Cajun and zydeco music slates one could find, in addition to the variety of crawfish dishes and other indigenous Louisiana cuisine foodies would expect.

    “The food court at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is as fun to bounce around as the multiple music stages. Our festivals are great one-stop shops to delve into our music, food, culture and pretty much everything Louisiana visitors love and expect.”

    Everyone knows about the annual Mardi Gras celebration that takes place in New Orleans each year just before Lent. While that may be the best known of Louisiana’s festivals, it is by no means the only one worth attending. There are festivals celebrating jazz; R & B; blues; Satchmo (aka Louis Armstrong, a Louisiana native son); zydeco; Acadian, Creole and Cajun culture; art; the French Quarter; rice; jambalaya; gumbo; and meat pies, among other Louisiana foods. There are also festivals dedicated to mudbugs (crawfish), alligators, frogs and ducks, as well as the state’s historic connection to pirates, particularly the ever-colorful-if-dastardly Jean Lafitte.

    The best part is that you and your group will always be welcomed to join right in, wherever a festival is taking place in the state.

    In doing so, you not only give attendees context and an authentic sense of place, you also put energy-infused entertainment on the agenda that won’t bust your meeting budget. So go on—celebrate!

    Main image: Afternoon on Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras

  • Katrina Who?

    By Christine Loomis

    March 26, 2013

    New Orleans was down, but it was never out. And recovery hasn’t been only about repairing damaged infrastructure. What has risen from the rubble left by Hurricane Katrina is extraordinary: entire neighborhoods, highways, hotels and sports venues rebuilt or even fabricated from scratch, giving the city an impressive new look and energy. Its transformation has been so extraordinary that Stephen Perry, president and CEO of the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau, received a World Travel Market Globe Award for his role in restoring the city as a tourism destination following Katrina, in 2005.

  • Viva Louisiane!

    By Mona L. Hayden

    October 24, 2012

    Laissez les bons temps rouler! Let the good times roll! And roll they do, around every corner of this most distinctive and entertaining state. Louisiana celebrates its state bicentennial in 2012 and the outlook is very positive as the economy and development continue to thrive. Factor in the local culture and cuisine and you’ll understand the state’s excitement— and want to stay a bit longer.

  • Lagniappe in Lafayette

    By Christine Loomis

    February 28, 2012

    Few places in the United States offer a more compelling view into a foreign culture than this one. Except the foreign culture in south-central Louisiana, complete with its own language, food, music and history, isn’t actually foreign. Acadiana, the officially recognized region of 22 Louisiana parishes, is distinctly American, though its roots stretch back to Acadie, now known as Nova Scotia, and before that to France. When approximately 11,500 Acadians were forced out of Canada by the British in 1755, an inhumane act that came to be known as Le Grand Dérangement, many of them eventually made their way to Louisiana, where they were permitted to live in exile by the King of Spain, then in charge of the region. They held on to their language and music, though both were transformed by association with multiple new cultures and ultimately morphed into something wholly unique to this region. Visitors will hear a lot of French in Lafayette, including in traditional Cajun songs.

  • Escape to the South Bay

    By Jessie Fetterling

    October 28, 2011

    Silicon Valley has long vied with its popular neighbor to the north for a place in the spotlight, but while San Francisco offers a distinct cultural potpourri with ever-changing cuisine, arts and entertainment, so does the valley. “This area is like a satellite San Francisco but with a different personality,” says Barbara Gross, general manager at Palo Alto’s Garden Court Hotel.

Learn about Louisiana for Event Venues, Services & Meeting Destinations

Destination Description

From Cajun cooking to jazz music, Louisiana is known for having one of the most unique cultural experiences in America. This low country state, with the world’s busiest port system, is threaded by bayous and hemmed with celebrated restaurants. Maintaining its mystic, romantic ambiance, even in the face of a slew of natural disasters in the past few years, there is no disputing the state’s spirit. With a distinct flavor, Louisiana is a mixed bag of the unknown.