Southwest Louisiana is a part of the state that exemplifies the motto “Sportsman’s Paradise.” But it’s more than just a haven for hunting and fishing. Cities like Lake Charles offer world-class hotels, casinos, and fine dining. And just beyond the city lights, tourists can enjoy beaches, wildlife, and an array of cultural delights.
Experience Music You Won’t Hear Anywhere Else
Sure, you can hear amazing music all over Louisiana, but if you want to hear Cajun and zydeco bubbling forth from the waters where these musical traditions were born, you have to come to Southwest Louisiana. From festivals like Black Pot to small roadhouse venues featuring local singers and songwriters, there’s no end to the musical delights on offer.
Iowa Chicken Run
In Cajun country, they throw more than just beads. The Iowa Chicken Run is one of the truly unique Mardi Gras celebrations in all of Louisiana. Things kick off just east of Lake Charles in Iowa (pronounced I-way) with the sound of zydeco early in the morning on Fat Tuesday. ATVs, truck floats, and horses lead the parade of revelers who go door to door to local businesses and homes to collect ingredients for a community gumbo that’s cooked later in the evening.
If families approve of the music and dancing from the parade, they then donate their ingredients! Plus, every half-mile or so, the parade captain stops and tosses a live chicken up into the air for kids to try their hand at catching it. Don’t worry, though—the chickens for the gumbo have already been chosen. Once all the ingredients have been gathered, everyone dances around the pot with more music while the smells of seafood, chicken, sausage, and roux fill the air. It’s as authentic as it gets.
Start your exploration of Southwest Louisiana in beautiful Lake Charles, and let your heart be your guide. There’s no end to the excitement that awaits in this verdant paradise for sportsmen and everyone else.
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Photo Credits: Lindsey Janies & Monsour Photography