TRAVEL: Destination Southwest Louisiana Festivals

Music, Food & Celebrations Galore Throughout The Year In The Lake Charles Area


Folks from Southwest Louisiana, around the Lake Charles area of the state, love to brag about their music and food. They have unique offerings in both categories, and many fabulous festivals in which to enjoy them.

In the region, you can hear the sweet sounds of Cajun folk tunes, the music known as Zydeco, and even a marvelous mix called Swamp Pop that will start your foot stomping.

The food is renowned too, with tasty treats ranging from crawfish etouffee, to alligator sauce piquant, and don't forget the gumbo.

Plus Lake Charles is becoming famous for being “the Festival Capital of Louisiana.” The best way to enjoy both the local sounds and delicacies is to visit the area during one of the many celebrations during the year. There are more than 75 festivals and special events each year, including a family friendly Mardi Gras parade.

One of the most interesting events is the Contraband Days Pirate Festival, which is a salute to all the Buccaneers that used to find safe harbor in Cajun country. It’s a bit of history that plays out like a scene from the Pirates of the Caribbean movie, creating fun for everyone.

The Cajun French Music and Food Festival, the Black Heritage Festival and the Calcasieu-Cameron Fair are also listed among the annual events.

In addition to celebrating Southwest Louisiana’s unique culture with all the parties, the area has natural and historical treasures to be enjoyed. For exciting night life, there are casinos and first-rate entertainment for visitors to enjoy.

Lake Charles is the hub of the region, and overlooks a picturesque lake with a pristine white sand beach inland along the Gulf Coast. In town you’ll find the impressive Charpentier Historic District, featuring restored Victorian homes listed on the National Historic Register.

There are great museums nearby, including one with detailed exhibits on railroads, one for regional history, a museum on mining, and a hands-on children’s museum. But the big “Wow!” for tourists is usually the Mardi Gras Museum, with the largest costume display in the world.

For those who like the outdoors life, Louisiana is known for being a “sportsman’s paradise,” and the southwest corner features its share of natural wonders. The Creole Nature Trail All-American Road is also known as “Louisiana’s Outback.” Wildlife refuges provide an opportunity to see exotic birds and alligators. And the fishing has a legendary reputation among sportsmen.

More urban pleasures can be found at the popular resort-casinos. The L’Auberge du Lac Hotel and Casino is known for its lazy river, golf course, spa facilities, entertainment, restaurants and more. The Isle of Capri Casino and Hotel has restaurants, entertainment and a sweeping view of the lake. Delta Downs Racetrack, Casino and Hotel, puts the spotlight on quarter horses and thoroughbred racing. In addition the Lake Charles Civic Center hosts theatre and musical shows, as well as a professional arena football team.

The Lake Charles area seem to have everything for a memorable vacation, as a great destination for music, food and celebrations throughout the year. Go to for more details and festival dates.

Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to have been half of the husband & wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who had written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 38 years.