Since Rebel are fans headed south to Lafayette, La. for Super Regional play against the UL Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns this weekend, here is the perfect opportunity to tour a beautifully swampy part of our country! HottyToddy.com has compiled our Top 10 must-dos before we hit the road!
1. Take a Swamp Tour of Lake Martin. The state of Louisiana is known for it’s bayous and swamp lands. So, strap on some attractive ear protection, fire up the air boat, and go gator spottin’! Check out Champagne’s Cajun Swamp Tours for more information.
2. Eat at the Olde Tyme Grocery. You won’t want to miss these New Orleans-style poor-boys (we call them po-boys up “north”)! Much like Taylor Grocery near Oxford, Olde Tyme was converted from an actual grocery story to a restaurant in 1983 by NOLA native Glenn Murphree. He brought his love for the Big Easy west to Lafayette in the form of delicious sandwiches.
3. Visit Avery Island. The MacIlhenny family, the makers of Tabasco, own a beautiful island with scenic drives, walking trails, wildlife, a bird sanctuary and a botanical garden. Love Tabasco? Visit the factory on Avery Island too! Find more information at www.tabasco.com.
4. Chow Down at a Crawfish Farm. These small, lobster-like crustaceans grow in freshwater ponds all over south Louisiana. Considered a local delicacy, crawfish are harvested seasonally in the spring and early summer. Just about every restaurant will be selling crawfish this time of year, so don’t miss out on some delicious tails!
6. Visit the Zoo of Acadiana. Located on the outskirts of Lafayette, the Zoo of Acadiana has a variety of animals, including some local fauna like alligators, turtles, and fish. Learn more about the Zoo here.
7. Check Out Gator Cove. What’s a trip to Louisiana without more gator? At Gator Cove in Lafayette, patrons can enjoy a fresh plate of alligator before visiting the holding pens out back. What are the holding, you ask? More gators and white-tail deer, of course!
8. Tour Parish Brewing Company. Actually located in Broussard, La., which is just outside of Lafayette, Parish Brewing Company is the area’s only microbrewery. Tours are free and offered Saturdays between 12 and 2 p.m. If you can’t make it for a tour, the Tap Room is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the brewery. Have a pint of Canebrake for us!
9. Bet on the Belmont Stakes at Evangeline Downs. The country’s first “Racino” (a racetrack and casino in one) is located just outside of Lafayette. Post time at Evangeline is at 5:40 p.m., so pull up a seat at the bar and catch the Belmont Stakes at 5:52 p.m. before heading to the ballpark to watch the Rebels! Find more information here.
10. See History Come Alive at Vermilionville. Located in the heart of Lafayette, Vermilionville is a living history and folk life park that celebrates the Cajun culture of south Louisiana. The park is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily and admission is only $10. Don’t miss the weekly Cajun Jam this Saturday at Vermilionville!
BONUS: Try a World Famous Natchitoches Meat Pie. If you’re taking the I-20 route on your way to Lafayette, stop in Natchitoches for a meat pie (a.k.a. empanada). We couldn’t possibly begin to explain these deliciously wonderful creations, so check out their website here.
Be sure to wear your Red and Blue in Lafayette this weekend and send us your Super Regional trip photos to firstname.lastname@example.org! Hotty Toddy, Rebel Fans! Safe Travels!