Jim Noetzel

Here, Creole and Cajun cultures intersect.

July 10, 2014

This popular Louisiana pit stop is known for its casinos, but there’s a rich culture beyond the craps tables that shouldn’t be ignored. This is a crossroads of Cajun and Creole traditions, which plays out in seafood dives, po-boy restaurants, and music venues thumbing with live blues and jazz performances. Be sure to watch the town calendar for events ranging from Mardi Gras and citywide crawfish boils to the Red River Revel, an outdoor music festival. And for those who feel a lucky streak coming on, there are six riverboat casinos, as well as a “racino”—a casino with live horse racing.

Kim’s Seafood & Po-Boy

Owner Duc Duong is a former shrimp boat captain, so he’s passionate about only serving seafood that’s wild caught from Louisiana waters. The best dish to order depends on the month you’re chowing down: If you’re visiting during crawfish season, don’t miss the spicy boiled mudbugs, served with corn and potatoes. Otherwise, opt for the fried shrimp, served on chewy, crusty Leidenheimer Baking Company bread that’s trucked up from New Orleans.

Abby Singer’s Bistro

Snag a table here for the city’s best chicken and waffles. Start with a cocktail to dress up the dish; the restaurant is located on the second floor of the Robinson Film Center so drinks like From Russia With Love are named after movies.

Remington Suite Hotel

This downtown boutique hotel has 22 suites done up in soothing colors, each of which is equipped with Keurig coffee makers, plush robes, and Jacuzzi bathtubs. The newly renovated lobby—with handsome woodwork, leather furnishings and quartz floors—is a great spot to settle in and people watch.

R.W. Norton Art Gallery

Over 600 paintings and sculptures are counted among the permanent collection at this intimate museum, the most important of which are 16th-century tapestries hailing from France. Don’t overlook the impressive gardens: Of the 15,000 plant species, there are over 100 native varieties.

Great Raft Brewing

Head here on Saturdays for a brewery tour—Great Raft is the only local craft beer brewery in northern Louisiana—or just head to the tasting room to sample suds such as “Born in a Barn,” a Belgian Saison.

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