There’s a place in Louisiana where old southern charm of plantation and eclectic city life meets the allure of the coast and all its bounty – providing a unique experience unlike any other.
That place is St. Bernard Parish, New Orleans’ most historic neighbor.
Settled just five miles outside of the Big Easy, St. Bernard offers a wide variety of attractions that are almost all situated along the San Bernardo Scenic Byway (La. 46). There’s a certain calm and tranquility to St. Bernard, flanked by breathtaking views of waterways and natural scenes, which lends itself to an easy trip for anyone interested in rich cultural history and just some good, ole’ fashioned Louisiana fun.
Indeed, the Bernardo Scenic Byway draws its name from the rich Spanish heritage which goes all the way back to 1778, and where the story for St. Bernard begins. Visitors who are interested in that history can go back in time and get a glimpse of the lifestyle embraced by the original Spanish colonists. How did St. Bernard change hands? Visitors can learn all about that at the Chalmette Battlefield, where the War of 1812 ended.
As you continue to travel down the byway – lined by stately oak trees creating a beautiful, natural tunnel effect as you cruise south through the parish – travelers are greeted by a mixture of plantation-style museums and courthouses, whose broad white columns rush out of the ground to form that familiar front façade.
Eventually, visitors will catch sight of Old Arabi. The tourist destination has been labeled the ‘prettiest painted place in the world’ and backs up that claim by blasting visitors with an amazing array of blues, pinks, yellows, and reds which adorn every building in the area.
Maybe history isn’t your thing? Or perhaps you want to extend your stay? There’s plenty of recreational options for everyone – including amazing places to eat. All along the byway are restaurants which offer some of the freshest, well prepared seafood outside of New Orleans.
St. Bernard is surrounded by water, which is a great opportunity for visitors to take full use of the natural resource. Fishing in abundance, as well as great places to hunt line every waterway which dots and bisects the parish. Those who enjoy recreational bird watching can find avian species of all kinds, beautiful blue jays and red cardinals dot the sky – as well as the familiar state bird, the pelican, canvases the deltas in the areas for food.
Whether you’re interested in recreation, tourism, or both, St. Bernard has you covered. The coastal paradise is the perfect mix of southern charm, Spanish heritage, and coastal recreation that makes it a unique experience and New Orleans’ most historic neighbor.