Louisiana is a southern and central state that serves as a gateway to the American South. There are only 50 states in the United States, and this one has the 20th-smallest land area and the 25th-highest population.
Baton Rouge is the state capital, but New Orleans, the state’s most populous city, is home to around 383,000 people.
Large deltas and extensive coastal marsh and swamp were developed when material washed down the Mississippi River and deposited in the state.
Louisiana is home to the largest number of Native American tribes in the South, with 14 total (four federally recognized, ten state recognized, and four unrecognized).
Famous Landmarks in Louisiana
1. The National WWII Museum
The National WWII Museum located in New Orleans became the official National WWII Museum in 2003. It first opened in the year 2000 operating as “The National D-Day Museum.” This famous Louisiana Landmark belongs to the Smithsonian Institution historical program.
The National WWII Museum refers to the Second World War as “the war that changed the world.” Each piece of artwork and memorabilia found on this historical grounds tells a story.
Through museum exhibits and multimedia presentations, people learn why WWII occurred. They also learn who one this war and how and the impact it has now, as recent as 2022 and beyond.
Museum guests have the chance to engage in an immersive learning experience. They can feel as if they’re right on the ground fighting along with the troops that defend their country.
2. Café Du Monde
Café Du Monde Mail Order, a well-known coffee shop located in the New Orleans French Quarter, brings with it a history that dates back to the 1700s. You’ll find it on Decatur Street, and two of its most popular drinks include the café au lait and coffee infused with the chicory herb.
Aside from the French, Café du Monde has some Spanish influence. This mix of ethnicity is commonly known as the Creoles. In other words, the people inhabited New Orleans during both French and Spanish rule sometime between the 1700s and the 1800s.
The Acadians, otherwise known as the “cajuns” also influenced Louisiana culture after the 1700s. These people from Nova Scotia, a province in Canada, brought the beignet to the Café du Monde.
In casé you’re wondering, the “beignet” is a squared pastry with a taste and texture like a donut. It doesn’t have a hole in the middle, but they’re often covered with powdered sugar like some donuts are. You probably can see the resemblance in today’s modern donut shops, and so can you with donuts served with fruit, jam or syrup.
This café has a relatively simple menu. You’ll find no “fancy” coffee drinks here other than the dark-roasted coffee with chicory root that you can also have either black or with milk.
The only other items on the menu include chocolate milk and hot chocolate and fresh-squeezed orange juice. Concerning this, Vice-President Burton E. Benrud Jr. says the beignets will remain the only food, and that the café is dedicated to keeping things the way they’ve always been.
3. Jackson Square
Jackson Square is in the historic French Square of New Orleans. It became a National Landmark in 1960, as it does play a significant part of American history.
In 1803, that’s when the Louisiana Purchase took place in Jackson Square. This transaction transferred the state of Louisiana from the French First Republic to the United States.
Jackson Square resembles the Place des Vosque in Paris, and it’s about the size of a city block. Louis H. Pilie designed it, and Sculptor Clark Mill contributed the statue of Andrew Jackson on a horse to it.
Jackson Square’s iron fences, walkways and benches all remain standing. Micaela Almonester, Baroness de Pontalba, designed them and the Pontalba Buildings in the Old Square.
Spanish influence also prevails in many buildings in New Orleans, in particular in Jackson Square. A flag pole that stands in the Square symbolizes a time when Spain had control of Louisiana. This location changed hands back and forth between the Spanish and French before the Louisiana Purchase.
4. Bourbon Street
When you hear the name of this street, you might think it’s named after a type of alcohol. This may make you think it’s a place to party, and celebrations do take place here.
In fact, Bourbon Street is often lined by neon lights, decorative beads, and crowds of people. Maybe some of them drink Bourbon. However, “Bourbon” is also the name of a French royal family.
Bourbon Street has existed since the founding of New Orleans by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville. French engineer Adrien de Pauger influenced its original design, and so named the street after Rue Bourbon.
Bourbon Street is found in the midst of the French Quarter. It extends from Canal Street to Esplanade Avenue and includes part of the Marigny neighborhood. 13 blocks total make up this district.
One point of interest in the Bourbon Street area is the Galatoire Restaurant. It first started in 1905 by Jean Galatoire, who brought French Creole cuisine to the neighborhood. The Royal Sonesta Hotel that opened in 1969 and the Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop are found here.
5. St. Louis Cathedral
The St. Louis Cathedral, which is dedicated to King Louis IX of France, is where the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans sits. It’s also the oldest cathedral still used in the United States.
This cathedral has actually been rebuilt on site at least three times. For the second time, the Great New Orleans Fire destroyed a majority of it with only a section from 1788 to remain.
The first building consisted of a basic wooden structure that stood on the premises when New Orleans first existed in 1718. The second one included brick materials along with timber, and builders completed it in 1727 (took about two years). The third church that stood took from 1789-1794 to be constructed from the time the cornerstone was first laid.
6. New Orleans City Park
1,300 acres of land make up the New Orleans City Park founded in 1854. Its land area takes up 50% more than Central Park in New York does.
City Park has some oak trees in it that are 600 years or older. It also has the largest collection of mature living trees in the world. New Orleans owns this park’s land, but it does have a large donation base. This park also generates its own revenue through user feeds.
7. Oak Alley Plantation
Oak Alley Plantation is a house that used to operate on the Mississippi River’s west bank. If you want to visit it, you’ll have to go to the Vacherie community in the State James Perish region.
Oak Valley is named after the double row of live oak trees that line the property. This 800-foot long grove of streets was first planted in the 18th Century.
8. New Orleans Museum of Art
The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) stands close to Carrollton Avenue and Esplanade Avenue. You’ll find it within City Park. The Canal Street streetcar line runs near it too.
When established in 1911, NOMA bore the name “Delgado Museum of Art.” It permanently houses about 40,000 works of art dated as early as 5,000 years ago (as of 2022).
NOMA pieces in the Rosemond E. and Emile Kuntz rooms set up by Felix H. Kuntz include decorative art and book exhibits. This museum’s galleries also house famous art by Monet, Renoir, Picasso and Dega and others, and it fashions furniture displays indicative of the times.
NOMA also displays 12,000 photographic works on its walls. What’s more, it holds collections of glass ceramics, miniature portraits, and Spanish, Native American and Central American or pre-Columbian art.
African, Indonesian and South Pacific folk arts, and Indian sculpture and Japanese paintings are a part of this museum’s collection too.
9. Audubon Zoo
The Audubon Zoo is located in uptown New Orleans. This zoo features endangered whooping cranes, orangutans, tigers and Amur leopards and white alligators.
Audubon earned a title of being one of the top 10 ranked zoos in the United States. It’s also regarded as one of the top “things to do” in New Orleans.
They run presentations about endangered species, including the Jaguar Jungle and Louisiana Swamp showcases.
10. Preservation Hall
The Preservation Hall hosts a New Orleans jazz band started by Allan Jaffe, a tuba player, in the 1960s. During Hurricane Katrina, the Hall did close for a time. During this period, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band toured the city and other locations.
At other times of the year, the Preservation Hall held jazz performances at least 350 nights per year. More than 50 local performers participated over the years, including George Lewis, Sweet Emma Barrett, The Humpfrey Brothers and Punch Miller.
The Hall just had its 60th Anniversary celebration scheduled in May 2022. The original 60th year celebration would have occurred in October of the previous year.
This performing arts venue also participates in personal tributes, such as the one that occurred in memory of Sandra Jaffe in 2021.