Whether you’re looking for a small town with a big personality or a place to get away and relax, Louisiana is full of options. Each offers its own unique blend of history, culture, and hospitality. From the oldest settlement in the Louisiana Purchase to the birthplace of Cajun culture, here are the most charming small towns in Louisiana.
As the oldest community in the Louisiana Purchase area, Natchitoches was founded by French colonists in 1714 and named after the Natchitoches Native American tribe. It was originally established along the Red River, but after the river changed its course, the city saw an economic decline. However, Natchitoches is now a popular destination, known for its Natchitoches meat pie and the oldest general store in the state.
Situated in the heart of Cajun Country, Breaux Bridge has been a haven for the descendants of French settlers who arrived in Louisiana from Canada. With nearly one third of the population speaking French, the city prides itself in its Acadian heritage. Renowned as the ‘Crawfish Capital of the World’, Breaux Bridge hosts the annual Crawfish Festival, celebrating the region’s succulent crustacean delicacy.
Situated within the Baton Rouge metropolitan area, St. Francisville is a small town that has retained its original architecture since it was founded in the early 1800s. Visitors to the town can explore seven historic plantations, all of which are open to the public.
As the birthplace of Cajun culture, St. Martinville was founded by French explorers in the early 1700s. Over the years, it has been further populated by settlers both from France and Quebec, and today more than 18 percent of the population speaks French or Louisiana Creole French. This small city is known for its sugar cane and crawfish crops.
Hammond is a small city located in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana. Founded in 1854, a prominent landowner in the area. Today, the city is known for its rich cultural heritage and the many things to do in Hammond, including the annual renaissance festival and farmer’s market.
As Louisiana’s third oldest city, Opelousas is home to a strong Cajun tradition and is named after the Appalousa Native American tribe. It also calls itself the ‘spice capital of the world’, as famous Creole and Cajun seasonings such as Tony’s Chacheres are produced here. Over 10 percent of the locals in this small city speak French.
At the confluence of the Tchefuncte and Bogue Falaya Rivers, Covington is a city renowned for preserving its historic downtown streets. Here, one can find a variety of boutiques, galleries and restaurants. Every December, the city celebrates its culture with the Three Rivers Art Festival, an event that brings locals and visitors alike to its charming downtown area.
Thibodaux is a small city located along Bayou Lafourche in southern Louisiana. It was established by French settlers in the 1700s, and today it is known for its Cajun culture and food specialties such as jambalaya and boudin. The city is home to the stunning St. Joseph Co-Cathedral, a landmark for the area.
Close to Lafayette, Henderson is a small town known for its large Cajun population, with nearly 40 percent of residents speaking French, including Cajun French. Additionally, more than 10 percent of the population is of Vietnamese descent. This town is a great destination for fishing and seafood enthusiasts, with some of Louisiana’s best fishing opportunities and delicious seafood.
Grand Isle is a fishing town situated on a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico. Despite the town’s repeated exposure to hurricanes, it has remained resilient. Grand Isle was the setting for the novel The Awakening by Kate Chopin, who spent her summers there for many years. The island is home to protected beaches that make up Grand Isle State Park, and it is known for its annual Tarpon Rodeo, the oldest fishing rodeo in the country.
Named after a French pioneer, Labadieville is a small town in southern Louisiana with a multicultural history. The area was originally settled by French, Spanish, and some German explorers and is the site of the historic St. Philomena Catholic Church.
With an abundance of picturesque small towns worthy of your next social media post, Louisiana is an amazing place to explore. With its unique culture and rich history, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this diverse state. Whether you’re looking for a place to explore or a place to relax, Louisiana has a charming town that is perfect for you.