With so many significant, colorful and fascinating events in Louisiana's history, it's hard to know where to begin. From the Louisiana Purchase to some of the first African slaves arriving at the port, to Hurricane Katrina. Louisiana has had it's share of historic events and trials. Truly a melting pot state with significant cultural heritage blending French, Spanish, British and African ancestry. Gators lurk in the bayous, Cajuns hunt for mudbugs, chefs serve Jambalaya and gumbo, Creoles yell out French phrases and Jazz music pours out onto the sweltering, humid streets of summer. Cities steeped in tradition, a hunting paradise, sprawling plantations and French architecture. The Mississippi River has been influential and significant in New Orleans history since the beginning. What once was an explorer landing point and a refugee haven, the port has now turned into a commercial center. A state that offers so much and all it asks in return is that you "Let the good times roll."
In 1841, Joseph Smith received a letter from a few saints in New Orleans that requested he send missionaries to the area. Even though a missionary was sent, proselyting was highly criticized in the Southern States and persecution and beatings were rampant at that time and missionary work was left to local members. In late 1895, the state was officially opened to missionaries. It was extremely hard work, traveling on foot for miles and hoping for hospitality from strangers for meals and lodging along the way. Despite the hardships, The Church and it's members persevered and baptized many strong members. This is the first and only temple to be built in Louisiana. New Orleans is under 1.5 hours away.
The numerous attractions are as diverse as the state. A great place to start to wrap your mind around the history is Louisiana State Museum. Study historic artifacts and view a Civil War submarine and a shrimp trawler. The USS Kidd & Veterans Memorial is a great lesson in Navy and war history. Visit Louisiana's Old State Capitol to see 1929 Gothic architecture. Spot wildlife as you walk the boardwalks at Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center. Dig into Science and a planetarium show at Louisiana Art & Science Museum. If you want a behind-the-scenes tour of the floats made for Mardi Gras, head into New Orleans to check out Mardi Gras World.
Louisiana is known for it's cuisine. Very distinct dishes are made here. You must experience at least one Cajun/Creole Restaurant to truly experience Louisiana. A great way to get your feet wet is at Louisiana Lagniappe Restaurant. Impeccable service and many southern favorites. Top-notch, quality food. Try alligator, fried pickles and the best crawfish at Sammy's Grill, which is only minutes from the temple. More authentic Louisiana Cooking can be found at Dempsey's. Famous for their gumbos and Poboys. If you need more of an American spin on a burger or brunch item, visit Mason's Grill. If you've been around the Cajun/Creole scene and need something different, La Carreta offers delicious Mexican food. Albasha is a great stop for quality Greek/Mediterranean favorites.