Poverty Point World Heritage Site in northeast Louisiana is one of the most recent U.S. additions to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Other domestic sites include the Statue of Liberty and the Grand Canyon, while international sites include Stonehenge, the Great Pyramids and the Roman Colosseum. Poverty Point, a Louisiana Office of State Parks property named for a plantation that occupied the site in the antebellum period, is an ancient American Indian earthworks site created about 3,400 years ago. The network of six mounds, six concentric semi-elliptical ridges, and a central plaza were used for residential and ceremonial purposes, making the landscape the largest and most elaborate of its time in North America.

In addition, recovered artifacts displayed at the on-site museum, such as projectile points and other stone tools made from raw materials originating as far east as the Appalachian foothills of what is now Alabama and Georgia and as far north as the Tennessee and Ohio river valleys, indicate Poverty Point’s hunter-gatherer inhabitants were part of an extensive American Indian trading network. Already designated a Smithsonian Affiliate and a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Poverty Point is located near Epps about 50 miles east of Monroe. Visit and for more information.

The Louisiana Craft Brewery Trail has grown to 22 breweries statewide. New trail sites include:
•  Southern Craft Brewing Company, Baton Rouge (East Baton Rouge Parish)
•  Crying Eagle Brewing Company, Lake Charles (Calcasieu Parish)
•  Second Line Brewing, New Orleans (Orleans Parish)
•  Urban South Brewery, New Orleans (Orleans Parish)
•  CottonPort Brewing, Stelington (Ouachita Parish)

They join Abita Brewing Company, Abita Springs, 40 Arpent Brewing Company in Arabi, Bayou Teche Brewing in Arnaudville, Chafunkta Brewing Company in Mandeville, Covington Brewhouse in Covington, Gnarly Barley in Hammond, Great Raft Brewing and Red River Brewing Company in Shreveport, Old Rail Brewing Company in Mandeville, Crescent City Brewhouse, The Courtyard Brewery and NOLA Brewing Company in New Orleans, Parish Brewing Company in Broussard, Mudbug Brewery in Thibodaux, Flying Heart Brewing in Bossier City, Broken Wheel Brewery in Marksville, and Tin Roof Brewing Company in Baton Rouge. Visit for details.

Abita Brewing Company in Abita Springs, the state’s first and largest craft brewery, has opened a new visitor center and brewhouse offering free product samples and tours including guided and self-guided itineraries. The additions are part of a $15 million expansion. For details visit, the state’s primary consumer tourism website, features a blog offering visitors information on popular travel interests, itinerary suggestions and insider tips. Contributors to the Only in Louisiana blog include staff from the Louisiana Office of Tourism as well as representatives from the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism and convention and visitors bureaus statewide. Visit the blog at

The Louisiana Office of State Parks continues to see improvements at sites statewide. New and soon-to-open offerings include:

  • Sixteen new two-bedroom cabins at Bayou Segnette State Park near New Orleans are set to open by mid-September. The cabins sit on pilings over the bayou and sleep up to eight people each.
  • Fort Jesup, Fort Pike, Marksville and Rebel State Historic Sites are now open on Fridays and admission is free.

Visit for details on all sites and improvements.

The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum opened in a state-of-the-art facility in downtown Natchitoches. More than 300 legendary Louisiana athletes, coaches and other sports figures are enshrined in the hall, with their stories told via exhibits, artifacts, photos and interactive media. The museum also explores regional history from early American Indian civilizations to the present. Visit the museum website for details.

Louisiana Tax Free Shopping, which refunds state sales tax on traditional retail purchases, has an iPhone and Android app to aid international tourists by helping users locate participating shops and tax refund centers. Redemption centers are located at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk in New Orleans, Lakeside Shopping Center in Metairie, The Mall of Louisiana in Baton Rouge, Acadiana Mall in Lafayette and The Louisiana Boardwalk Outlets in Bossier City. The downtown Historic Landmark District in Natchitoches and approximately two dozen merchants compose LTFS’s newest tax free shopping zone. In all, more than 1,400 merchants participate statewide. Visit for details.

The Zydeco Cajun Prairie and Bayou Teche Scenic Byways now have interpretive signs to mark their routes through south Louisiana. The Zydeco Cajun Prairie byway runs through St. Landry, Acadia and Evangeline parishes, and the Bayou Teche Byway through St. Martin, Iberia and St. Mary parishes. Other Louisiana Scenic Byways with themed route signage include: Myths and Legends Byway through Allen, Beauregard and Vernon parishes; the Boom or Bust Byway through Caddo, Bossier, Webster and Claiborne parishes; the Flyway Byway in Jefferson Davis Parish; the Wetlands Cultural Byway in Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes; the San Bernardo Byway in St. Bernard Parish; the Southern Swamps Byway in Tangipahoa, Livingston and Ascension parishes; the Cane River National Heritage Trail in Natchitoches Parish; the Longleaf Trail Byway in the Kisatchie National Forest; the Cajun Corridor in Vermilion Parish; and the Creole Nature Trail in Calcasieu and Cameron parishes. More details are at

The Bayou Teche Paddle Trail now has trailheads at two locations. The site at Parc du Ponts in downtown Breaux Bridge offers a launch site, restrooms, water fountains and places to lock up boats. It is also within walking distance of overnight providers, restaurants and shopping. The second site is an ADA-accessible floating dock in Loreauville. For details, visit

The Alexandria/Pineville Area CVB now has a 36-page, self-guided walking tour brochure of downtown Alexandria and downtown Pineville. The CVB also recently designated a Solomon Northrup Trail through Rapides and Avoyelles parishes. For details, visit

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

The TABASCO factory on Avery Island has a new visitor’s interpretive center and now offers tastes of Cajun cuisine and culture with its on-site restaurant. The visitor center covers the history and evolution of the sauce’s invention through modern distribution worldwide. The restaurant, named 1868 after the pepper sauce’s founding date, offers TABASCO-spiced Cajun dishes in a casual setting. Tours are also expanding to include a pepper plant greenhouse visit and behind-the-scenes action within the factory. The factory has also added VIP guided tours conducted by curator and area historian Shane Bernard. Visit for more information.

Jungle Gardens on 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  The site has also added guided birding tours that can be reserved in advance. Visit for details.

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.

Whitney Plantation in Edgard recently opened to the public. Visitors can tour the elaborate mansion and period outbuildings on the site, and learn about the lives of the slaves who worked at the plantation. For details visit

Prehistoric Park in Henderson is south Louisiana’s first dinosaur-themed attraction. It features two dozen life-size fiberglass and steel dinosaurs in 12 acres of simulated environments accessed by a half-mile sidewalk. For details visit

The Houma Area Geotour is the only official geocaching tour in Louisiana. It is a free outdoor exploration using GPS technology to bring you to multiple scenic and cultural locations in and near Houma. For details, visit

A Cajun Man’s Swamp Tours and Adventures has a new Cajun man. Captain Billy Gaston has taken the helm of this classic Houma-area attraction from local legend “Black” Guidry. Gaston—an experienced alligator hunter—continues the attraction’s tradition of Cajun storytelling and wildlife watching in scenic swamps. For details, visit

Southdown Plantation and Museum has completed extensive restoration efforts. The 19th-century mansion features original Tiffany stained glass windows; period furniture and family heirlooms; a restored plantation worker’s cabin; and exhibits on the history and evolution of the region’s sugar cane industry. For details, visit

Allons a Lafayette now offers tours for groups of six or more in the Lafayette area. Tours run from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and include sites in Lafayette, New Iberia and Avery Island, with substitute sites available. For details, visit

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 and

Delta Downs Racetrack Casino & Hotel in Vinton is undergoing a $45 million expansion project, slated for completion by the end of 2016. The first phase was recently complete by opening Rosewater Grill and Tavern. The centerpiece of the project is a new hotel tower, featuring 167 additional guest rooms and suites. Additionally, all 200 existing rooms, as well as food and beverage outlets, will be redesigned. The property is also expanding its special events center to better accommodate meeting and banquet functions. Visit for more details.

The Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino, located adjacent to L’Auberge Casino Resort in Lake Charles, is currently adding an additional 300-room hotel tower this year, bringing the resort’s room count to 1,040 rooms. Each of the additional rooms will be more than 500 square feet and will contain a five-fixture bathroom with two sinks, walk-in shower, oversized tub and a separate toilet. The $700+ million property currently features 740 rooms and suites, 30,000 square feet of meeting space, an 18-hole golf course, 12 renowned restaurants and eight boutiques and gift shops. Visit for details.

The Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitors Bureau offers 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

Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point in Sulphur is a new, free attraction immersing you in nature and Louisiana’s unique culture. Five-sense displays teach the best places to spot alligators and migrating songbirds, share the aromas of Cajun and Creole cooking and provide instruments to play along with a Cajun and Zydeco band. For more information, visit

Lake Charles’ Charpentier Historic District has 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

Acadian Coffee Roasters is a new micro-roaster offering blends with organic, Rain Forest Alliance and Fair Trade Arabica beans. Products are available for purchase at the roaster’s warehouse in Lake Charles and at local outlets. For details, visit

Iberia Parish visitors can access electronic and printed tools for assistance before and during their travels. The Iberia Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau recently launched a blog at and added an app with attraction listings and maps to the website. The agency’s printed pocket guide is available in French, as is a section of the main website.

Fans of author James Lee Burke can now experience the hometown of literary character Dave Robicheaux via a self-guided tour in and around New Iberia. Brochures are available via

A “Bunk” Johnson interpretive kiosk honoring the legacy of jazz musician William G. “Bunk” Johnson is now available for visitors to downtown New Iberia. Johnson, who lived in and is buried in New Iberia, is credited with teaching Louis Armstrong and other jazz legends.

Teche Area Farmers Market holds a new Food Truck Festival on select Saturdays at Bouligny Plaza in downtown New Iberia. The market offers homegrown produce and goods created by area artists and craftsmen. For details, visit

Gonsoulin Land and Cattle is now offering farm tours at their ranch near New Iberia. Tours explain the farming of grass-fed cattle and include cooking demonstrations and workshops. For details, visit

The Museum of the New Llano Colony explores the history and legacy of the Llano Del Rio Cooperative that resided in the region. Exhibits in the museum near Leesville interpret the two-decade colony where progressive ideals mirrored those valued by Americans today. For details, visit

Crescent Park is a 1.4-mile, 20-acre urban linear park connecting New Orleans to the Mississippi River. It provides stunning views of the river and the city and amenities including bike paths, dog runs and multi-use pavilions. For details, visit

New Orleans’ historic Orpheum Theater has 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

A new berthing agreement between the Port of New Orleans and Norwegian Cruise Lines means at least one ship will sail regularly out of New Orleans through 2018. The Carnival Triumph recently replaced the Carnival Elation sailing out of New Orleans, increasing local cruise capacity by 34 percent. American Cruise Lines will add a third riverboat, America, to its 2016 fleet. For details on excursions visit

The French America Line’s Louisiane will begin offering inland Mississippi River cruising from its New Orleans port in Gretna northward this fall. Excursions stop at major U.S. cities along the Mississippi, Red, Ohio, Tennessee and Cumberland river corridors. Visit for details.

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

Construction has begun on a new terminal at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, set 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 will begin travel four times weekly between London Heathrow and New Orleans on Boeing 787-800 Dreamliner aircraft in March 2017. Seasonal non-stop flights between New Orleans-MSY and Frankfurt, Germany, will be offered twice weekly by Condor Airlines beginning in May 2017. The 250-seat flights will depart on Wednesdays and Sundays. And Choice Air will fly non-stop between MSY and San Pedro Sula, Honduras, twice weekly beginning in December. Domestically, Allegiant Air has announced non-stop flights from Concord, NC, to MSY beginning Nov. 18, and GLO Airlines has announced additional flights between Huntsville, AL, and MSY beginning Sept. 30.

The North Rampart Street/St. Claude Avenue streetcar line is now open. The 1.6-mile stretch connects the French Quarter to Faubourg Marigny and Elysian Fields Avenue and popular tourist stops on the route include Armstrong Park, the Voodoo Spiritual Temple and locally-owned galleries and eateries. For city streetcar network maps and rates, visit

The National World War II Museum in New Orleans opened the U.S. Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center. This $35 million structure showcases the military weaponry and industrial requirements undertaken during World War II and was designed to accommodate six airplanes used in the war. In addition to the machinery on display, many personal war stories are highlighted through interactive exhibits within the pavilion. The museum also opened Campaigns of Courage, a 31,000-square foot interactive pavilion interpreting the experience of the average American fighting the war. Visit for details.

The French Market in the New Orleans French Quarter hosts two weekly farmers markets year-round, on Wednesdays 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Both markets feature cooking demonstrations and live music. The French Market has also added complementary guided walking tours offered Mondays through Saturdays. For details, visit

The City of Opelousas has a free walking/driving tour brochure for its historic downtown area. The guide offers a foldout map identifying nearly 100 significant homes, businesses and historic structures. You can pick up your copy at the Opelousas Tourist Information Center in Le Vieux Village, the St. Landry Parish Welcome Center on Interstate 49, the Opelousas Museum and Interpretive Center or the Opelousas Public Library.

The St. Landry Tourist Commission recently updated its primary consumer website,, to include a trip planner and more interactive features and landing pages including En Français.

The St. 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

Serendipity, Louisiana’s newest winery, recently opened its tasting room near Covington. The room is open on Sunday afternoons, and the winery is located in Bush near the noted Pontchartrain Vineyards winery. For details, visit

Covington Brewhouse opened a new tasting room with expanded hours. The brew room is open, and tours of the downtown Covington site are available, Fridays – Sundays. For details, visit

Two specialty culinary tours are 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

Thunder Road Raceway Park is now in operation 20 miles north of Shreveport. The 180-acre entertainment facility is built around a quarter-mile National Hot Rod Association-sanctioned dragstrip. The site is managed by two-time NHRA Champion and Turbo Driver of the Year Nelson Hoyos. Racers get the green light every weekend from March through November. For details, visit

More than two dozen sites featured in movies compose the Northwest Louisiana Film Trail in Webster Parish. Movies represented include PremonitionBlond AmbitionHarold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo BayWelcome Home Roscoe JenkinsLongshots and Olympus Has Fallen. A free brochure and site map is available at the Webster Parish Convention & Visitors Bureeau in Minden. For details, visit

The Germantown Colony Museum near 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.


Two Southern Brothers Restaurant is the newest eatery in DeRidder. The menu is a mix of Louisiana classics and Southern fare. For details, call 337-226-7995.

Grand Coteau Bistro is 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

Jolie Pearl is downtown Baton Rouge’s newest oyster bar, offering baked, grilled, seasoned and raw oysters accented with signature sauces. The restaurant is open daily, and oyster varieties featured are from the Gulf of Mexico and the east and west coasts. For details, visit

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

Bon Ami 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

B.B. King’s Blues Club has opened on Decatur Street in New Orleans’ French Quarter, featuring Memphis barbecue, classic New Orleans cuisine and music by local musicians seven days a week. This is the second club to open since the music legend’s death in 2015.Tony Coleman, B.B. King’s drummer for more than 30 years, serves as music director of the club. The club has partnered with New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) to showcase local music students on stage, giving them the chance to work with other talented artists to hone their skills.

Renowned Brazilian steakhouse Fogo de Chão has 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 allowing guests 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.

Fast & Lucy’s Pub is the newest eatery and bar at Evangeline Downs Racetrack & Casino near Opelousas. It is in the middle of the gaming floor and features over 30 big screens showing sports. For details, visit

St. Tammany Parish’s culinary scene continues to expand with several new restaurants. Smoke BBQ, from the chef team at Covington’s popular Oxlot 9, opened in August to barbecue enthusiasts seeking to sample the restaurant’s tender pulled pork, brisket and ribs, along with all house-made sides, sauces and desserts. A few miles away, in Mandeville, longtime favorite chef Pat Gallagher opened his second northshore outpost, 527 Restaurant and Bar. Showcasing steaks and seafood such as sautéed ruby red trout and fried oysters with pepper jelly and andouille sausage, 527 is serving up Louisiana flavor in a relaxed northshore setting. For details, visit

Overnight Providers

Five overnight providers have opened in and near downtown Alexandria in recent months, adding over 500 available rooms to local inventory. In addition to the reopening of the historic Hotel Bentley, available properties now include the Holiday Inn Downtown Convention Center, TownePlace Suites, Home2 Suites by Hilton and Fairfield Inn and Suites. For details, visit

Les Deux Mondes (Two Worlds) is seven cottages on Bayou Teche in Arnaudville. The Acadian-style guest homes are a mix of historic preservation and modern restoration. Kayak rentals are nearby. For details, visit

Watermark Baton Rouge is the capital city’s newest upscale downtown provider. The Marriott Autograph Collection property offers 144 rooms with contemporary amenities, one being an authentic New York City-style Jewish deli. For details, visit

Downtown Baton Rouge has a new Holiday Inn Express in the North Boulevard Town Square area. Rooms offer modern amenities and are within walking distance of notable dining and entertainment options. For details, visit

Gator Grounds RV Resort is now open in Bunkie. In addition to RV sites, the park offers golf, a waterpark, zip lines, a playground and fishing ponds. Visit for details.

Southern Hotel reopened in downtown Covington after a multimillion-dollar restoration. The hotel originally opened in 1907 but closed in the 1960s to house several other businesses. After three years of extensive renovations, it offers 42 luxury guest rooms, a 2,400 square-foot ballroom, a meeting space, a fine dining restaurant, an upscale bar, a courtyard, a pool and a fitness center. Lobby and room décor include paintings, sculptures and historic photographs of Covington. Visit for details.

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

Bayou Chateau B&B is now open on Bayou Teche in downtown New Iberia. It offers a fully-furnished private suite on the bayou with a huge deck overlooking it. For details, visit

Mansion at Red Hill is 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.

No Bad Days Cabin Rentals are a new overnight offering for Myths and Legends Byway visitors. The rentals sit on Bundick Lake in DeRidder. For details, call 337-309-4097.

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

The Ace Hotel New Orleans debuted in March in a historic 1928 Art Deco building with 234 rooms, and Marriott Hotels’ 108-room Moxy New Orleans opened in April as one of the first U.S. locations of the hip European hotel line. The Henry Howard Hotel has debuted in New Orleans’ Garden District, featuring 18 rooms housed in a historic mansion constructed in 1867, and Hotel 504 has opened in the heart of New Orleans’ Medical District. Historic French Quarter hotel Chateau LeMoyne has completed an eight-month renovation, with updates to the hotel’s 171 guest rooms, lobby, event spaces, courtyard and pool. The Hyatt House New Orleans/Downtown debuted in New Orleans’ Central Business District in November, bringing 194 extended-stay hotel rooms to the downtown area. The Pontchartrain Hotel recently reopened with 106 rooms and a remodeled Caribbean Room restaurant. For information on all new and improved New Orleans overnight providers, visit

The Royal Sonesta New Orleans recently 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

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

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.