Food & Drink
Louisiana loves its food, and while it may seem slightly unusual to more traditional European tastes, dishes are lovingly cooked from the heart with recipes passed down through generations. As the biggest producer of seafood in the United States, with an impressive 98% of crawfish coming from Louisiana’s waters, shellfish is big business here, popping up on most dining menus and celebrated at food festivals. Onion, bell pepper and celery are the basis to many dishes, with smoked sausage or seafood thrown in – gumbo and po’boy sandwiches are the classic concoctions of Louisiana and must be sampled at least once! The state also lays claim to such ‘only-in-America’ records such as the world’s biggest fruit cobbler and the largest macaroni and cheese, plus it is the home of TABASCO sauce. Its official cocktail, the Sazerac, was created in the French Quarter, plus there are plenty of locally brewed craft beers to try, too.
Jazz is sometimes said to be ‘America’s only art form’ – whether you agree with this or not, Jazz is one of the most treasured musical exports of the United States. It traces back to Congo Square in New Orleans, one of the few places in the South where African Americans were free to play music and dance, and a new musical movement was born. Rock ‘n’ rollers, Jerry Lee Lewis and Fats Domino, were also born in Louisiana, and you can see the latter’s piano in the New Orleans Jazz Museum, along with Louis Armstrong’s first cornet. In addition, there are over 400 events across Louisiana every year, many of which bring together music and food. French Quarter Festival features a full house of headline acts and local musicians, plus fare from some of the finest restaurants at the ‘world’s largest jazz brunch’.
Like its gumbo, Louisiana culture is a hearty concoction of ingredients – French, Spanish, English, Irish, Cajun and Afro-Caribbean influences are all part of the unique Louisiana mix. Mardi Gras is one of the main cultural attractions of Louisiana, with celebrations taking place across the state – a tradition dating back to medieval Europe, America hosted its first Mardi Gras in the tiny fort settlement of Fort Louis de la Mobile in 1703 and has since grown in size to the lively affair we know today! If you aren’t visiting during the festival, Mardi Gras World in New Orleans offers a year-round behind-the-scenes peek. There are plenty of tours in New Orleans to help you be immersed in the city’s culture, too, such as voodoo tours and cemetery tours, which reveal the superstitious side of the state and the African religion that found a home there. There are also plenty of weird and wonderful museums and exhibitions, including a ‘wrecked UFO’ in the Abita Mystery House!
Louisiana has a deep and fascinating history of people. In Plantation Country, you will find the grand plantation houses and sugarcane fields of River Road which are integral to the heritage of the state. Behind the picturesque Antebellum architecture, it was here that many slaves were brought to work, and there are plenty of museums dedicated to telling their stories. Louisiana was also the site of many battles of the Civil War, and you may see re-enactments taking place as you travel through. However, the state also saw its fair share of the Civil Rights Movement, and the first African American millionaire – who also happened to be a woman! – was born here; Madam C.J Walker made her fortune developing beauty products for fellow African American women and you can visit the Hermione Museum in Tallulah to learn more about her. You can also find five brilliant museums in New Orleans’ Louisiana State Museum.
The scenery of Louisiana might not be the first thing that springs to mind. The bayou is part of the character and culture of Louisiana, and these pre-historic looking swamps are an extremely important eco-system – if you can brave the lurking alligators, guided tours are available for you to see them for yourself. For fans of the great outdoors, there is an array of state parks to enjoy, where you can go biking, hiking, birdwatching and fishing across the state, plus paddle trails along the watery passage ways to be immersed in the area’s unique natural world.
British Airways direct into Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.
From London to New Orleans approximately 10 hours.
Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk
Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/insect-tick-bite-avoidance/
In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.
Visit the FCO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Additional sources of information include: www.hpa.org.uk, http://nathnac.net,
www.fco.gov.uk, www.hpa.org.uk and www.nathnac.org, your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.