Courier December Courier - Page 48

GULF COAST Lafayette Museum/Alexandre Mouton House Festivals Acadiens et Créole Spicy and special in Louisiana Located close to the Gulf of Mexico (and a short drive from New Orleans), Lafayette, Louisiana, was spared from any hur- ricane damage this fall. “There has been no interruption in tourism, and it’s been business as usual for all of our attractions, restaurants and tours,” says Eugenie Mitchell of the Lafayette CVC. Visitors—and groups in particular—will find a variety of ways to explore Louisiana’s Cajun and Creole country, starting with a trip to Martin Accordions, a family-owned shop where hand-built instruments are made. A visit to the store can include a presentation on Cajun culture and music. “Lafayette’s historic and eclectic downtown is increasingly popular,” Mitchell says. “It’s a place where groups can discover Lafayette’s history, then enjoy its contemporary, artsy vibe with public art, unique shops, museums and galleries, plus a variety of restau- rants, music venues and events.” To add a little spice to a visit, groups can visit nearby Avery Island, the only place in the world where peppery Tabasco Sauce is made. The company has recently expanded its visitor experience. “You can view artifacts from Tabasco Sauce’s founding family, see pepper plants from seedlings to full-grown, visit the mash warehouse for a peek at the aging process and smell the aromas arising from the stirring vats,” Mitchell says, adding that Tabasco will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2018. The southern town has a wide win- dow for scheduling visits, and Mitchell advises tour operators to consult the events and festivals calendar on the CVC’s website, “There are many festivals in the spring and fall, as well as a free concert series that will add value—as well as fun—to any itinerary,” Mitchell says. “In fact, Lafayette’s Mardi Gras is the second-larg- Call 1-800-637-7223 today to book a group est Mardi Gras in Louisiana, and Lafayette for this unique STEM-based adventure. Travel offers a covered grandstand that groups can reserve for parade viewing.” SpaceCampUSA To get more information, email Mitchell • at The experience of a lifetime! 44 December 2017 COMPASS