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Saturday, 25 June 2011 00:15
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If Cajun food, festivals, history, and music are part of your desired itinerary, then the community of Lake Charles, in Southwest Louisiana, should be near the top of your list. A great place to begin your experience would be...

the downtown Charpentier Historic District. Here you can explore over 20 blocks of shops and places of interest including some of the finest examples of Victorian architecture dating from 1885-1915. Be sure to visit the Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau on No. Lakeshore Drive and pick-up a brochure.

Dining in Lake Charles is as unique and tasty an experience as most Cajun Country visits. You can check out the restaurant selections for yourself; although we’re always happy to recommend some of the more popular.

If you desire a truly authentic Cajun dining experience, make plans to stop at Pat’s of Henderson. They’re open for lunch Tuesday through Saturday from 11am until 2pm, remaining open until 9pm; Friday and Saturday hours are 11am until 10pm, and Sunday 11am till 9pm.

The Blue Duck Cafe features New Orleans style Creole cuisine and live music nightly. Check out their hours and menu for details and be sure to try one of their delicious po-boys.

Another local favorite is the Pujo Street Cafe’ where you can sample Cajun/Creole menus in a New Orleans atmosphere. They are open Monday through Friday from 11am until 9:30pm and Saturday, 12pm until 9:30pm.

If you desire an impressive view of the South Louisiana coastal marshes and wildlife, make a point to journey along the Creole Nature Trail; where you’ll travel along 180 miles across bayous, marshes, and ancient geological locations of prior meanderings of the Mississippi River’s channels (cheniers). This family outing will provide a wonderful example of some of nature’s gifts to the people of South Louisiana. Here you’ll witness the abundant bird and alligator population; so get your cameras ready. Hunting, fishing and boating opportunities are also available.

During the first two weekends in May each year, Lake Charles hosts one of its oldest festivals—Contraband Days. In 2009 they will celebrate their 52nd year. This is a pirate-themed festival with over 100 events over a 12-day schedule. It’s held at the Lake Charles Civic Center grounds and there is entertainment for all ages including concerts in a variety of genre, food, a beauty pageant, rides, and parades. Over 100,000 attend this exciting event each year. Don’t miss it!

Another old festival founded in 1955 is the Louisiana Fur and Wildlife Festival in Cameron, LA; just a short ride over from Lake Charles. The event takes place each January and provides a really unique departure from typical fairs. Many of the interesting activities such as muskrat and nutria skinning, oyster shucking, duck and goose calling competition, and skeet shooting promise an entertaining experience. All of the festival activities take place at the old Cameron Elementary School grounds.

Lastly, let us not forget that, typical of so many South Louisiana communities, Lake Charles is not without it’s Mardi Gras celebrations. Click on Mardi Gras for details and photos of the various carnival organizations and schedules for 2009 in and around Lake Charles.

Have a wonderful time in Southwest Louisiana!


Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 July 2011 16:27