Northern Louisiana boasts expansive scenic views, fine dining and a hot bed of culture. Groups can explore a slice of what the region has to offer in this two-day journey, provided by Laine Garner, vice president of sales, membership and education at the Louisiana Travel Promotion Association.
“Louisiana has something to offer groups of every kind,” she said. “Our food is a spicy blend of indigenous ingredients prepared with influences from the different cultures that first called Louisiana home.”
Arrive in Shreveport and look forward to a great lunch at Fertitta’s Delicatessen, Shreveport’s oldest restaurant. It opened in 1927 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The 86-year-old Sicilian-run sandwich shop bills itself as “Home of the Muffy,” a tasty take on the Italian muffelletta sub sandwich made famous in New Orleans.
Visit the Louisiana Boardwalk and Bass Pro Shops. The Red River is the picturesque setting for Bossier City’s popular shopping and entertainment destination.
Time for a tasting and tour of the Great Raft Brewing, Shreveport’s first local brewery since the Prohibition era. The brewery offers tasting rooms serving up flagship beers with Louisiana-inspired names like “Reasonably Corrupt” (a black lager) and “Southern Drawl” (a pale ale).
Have dinner at Jack Binion’s Steak House. It offers a fine dining experience worthy of the man whose name is on the door.
In the evening, take a haunted tour of the Shreveport Municipal Memorial Auditorium. It was the site of Elvis Presley’s first broadcast appearance on Oct. 16, 1954, during the legendary Louisiana Hayride radio broadcast. The building is rumored to be haunted, and has been featured on the SyFy channel’s Ghost Hunters and the Discovery Channel’s Ghost Lab.
Have breakfast and cruise on the Red River. Travel up a lazy river with Captain Sandy Jackson, the man who piloted several of Shreveport-Bossier’s riverboat casinos up the Mississippi River from New Orleans.
Visit Louisiana’s only public museum to be listed as a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate, Louisiana State Exhibit Museum. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the museum houses a large collection of Native American artifacts. There also are exhibits of original paintings by Clementine Hunter, a series of 22 unusual dioramas called “Louisiana in Miniature.”
Next, arrive in Monroe-West Monroe. Tour the Bierdenharn Museum & Gardens. Visit the elegant home of Joseph Bierdenharn, the first bottler of Coca-Cola, and stroll through the ELsong Gardens.
Step up to the soda counter to hear the tale of Coca-Cola’s bottling beginnings from an entertaining soda jerk. Explore the extensive collection of historically significant Bibles, including a Gutenberg leaf, in the Bible Museum adjacent to the home.
Next, head to “Duck Commander: The Experience.” The must-see exhibit will walk groups through 15 galleries featuring artifacts and pictures from the Robertson family, stars of the hit show, Duck Dynasty. The exhibit also features set recreations and costumes, and can take guests on a sensorial experience on a duck hunt with the Robertson family.
Next, visit Landry Vineyards, a family-owned winery located in the rolling hills of West Monroe. Sample wines such as blueberry and blackberry merlot, while enjoying the picturesque views from the tasting room.
For dinner, go to Warehouse No. 1 Restaurant. Located in historic downtown Monroe, the restaurant overlooks the scenic Ouachita River, one of the 10 most beautiful rivers in America, according to National Geographic.
Louisiana Travel Promotion Association