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I am traveling to Louisiana for 6 days in April with my husband and 15 year daughter.  We will be in New Orleans for 3 days, but I'd like to explore some ante-bellum mansions and cajun country for the first 3 days. We land on Tues. and are thinking of heading out from there.  Can you recommend an itinerary that will get me back into New Orleans Thurs. evening?

Answer
Glad you're able to come to the Big Easy.

There are a number of routes that you could take.  I would suggest your considering a tour as well:  http://neworleanswebsites.com/cat/tr/to/pl/pl.html


If I were to plan my own trip over three days, here's what I'd go see.  It's hard to say what to see or do based on your preferences, so I'm not going to give you an itinerary, per se, but I will put them in order if you were to drive to all of them.

Leaving from the airport.

Destrehan Plantation - the oldest.
http://www.destrehanplantation.org/

San Francisco Plantation - very interesting - opulent, many antiques
http://www.sanfranciscoplantation.org/

Oak Alley - probably the most famous   (on the west side of the river - the others are on the east)
http://www.oakalleyplantation.com/

St. Michaels Catholic Church & Grotto, Convent, Louisiana.  Very interesting - not far from Oak Alley, but on opposite sides of river.  Bridges not too far out of the way in either direction.
http://www.neworleanschurches.com/rp_stmike/rpstmike.htm


Take LA 70 south to Morgan City, then US 90 west.


Shadows on the Teche, New Iberia, LA
http://www.preservationnation.org/travel-and-sites/sites/southern-region/shadows

Avery Island - See the Gardens - plants from around the world.  Also Tabasco factory is there, and that's quite interesting.  You could spend 4 hours there.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avery_Island,_Louisiana
http://www.tabasco.com/tabasco_history/avery_island.cfm#targ

St. Martinville, LA.  Home of the Evangeline Oak.  
http://www.frommers.com/destinations/stmartinville/0789010029.html
http://www.neworleanschurches.com/mdetours_laf/index.htm

Acadian Village - if you're interested in cajun life - do not miss this.  You can easily spend 4-6 hours here.
http://www.acadianvillage.org/home_page0.aspx

When you're done, head to I-10 and take it back to New Orleans.  About 2 1/2 hours.  Stop at exit 109, turn left, and eat at Crawfish Kitchen in Breaux Bridge..  Not much to look at, but the food is great, and the bread is to die for.


Pick what you think you'd like to do (I don't think you'd be able to do it all in 3 days, so prioritize - count on 2+ hours for the plantations, 4-5 hours for Avery Island, a couple hours in St. Martinville, and possibly a half day or more at Acadian Village.

After you pick, plug it into Mapquest, and you're good to go.  There's not many roads between Convent and New Iberia - Mapquest will probably suggest going back to the Interstate, but I suggest that you take LA 70 south to Morgan City, then US 90 to New Iberia and Avery Island.  You'll see some beautiful swampland that way.

Hope this helps.  Hope you have a great time in the city.  while in the city, be sure to take an hour and ride the ferry at the foot of Canal Street across the river and back - it's free and a great view of the city.  Try to eat at the Gumbo Shop, too, near the Cathedral.  The Aquarium and Zoo are great, too.

Have fun and Laissez le bon temps roulez!

Carl

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At time of construction it was the only bridge across the Mississippi between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, but for some time after its construction while awaiting funds to connect it to LA 70 and other roads, the south end of the bridge emptied into a swamp. During that time the term Sunshine Bridge entered satirical usage. The bridge had been "built under the administration of" Governor Davis, who had twice picked and sung his way into the Governor's Mansion with hits like "You Are My Sunshine" and whose horse, which he rode into the Governor's office at his second inaugural, was named Sunshine.  

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Carl Fuglein

Expertise

General questions about Louisiana - about history and travel within the state - things to see and do.

Experience

I've lived in Louisiana over 35 years and have traveled extensively within the state, as well as lived in 3 of 4 corners of the state.

Education/Credentials
Both my BS and MS are from Louisiana schools : Northeast Louisiana University (now the University of Louisiana at Monroe), and the University of New Orleans.

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