Springtime in Lafayette brings with it the season of crawfish boiled with a side of region-wide revelry and multinational merriment. The usually tranquil town swells with visitors as Mardi Gras krewes prepare their glittery, goodie-filled floats to make the annual trip through the main streets. King Cakes from Meche’s Donut King and the recently-created Boudin King Cake from Twin’s Burgers and Sweets are must-tries at this time of year.
A few weeks after Mardi Gras, Festival International de Louisiane draws thousands to Downtown Lafayette to partake in a free, five day fusion of French, African, Caribbean and Hispanic culture. Music, art, performances and tasty treats are ready to grab the attention and delight the appetites of all who attend. Always a crowd-favorite in the festival food arena is Bon Creole Seafood’s creamy, bread-bowled Crawfish and Seafood Boat.
What complements Cajun food better than dancing? Music halls come alive as the young and old partner up on the dance floors of local establishments like Randol’s Cajun Restaurant. Patrons can enjoy steaming Southern dishes like Seafood Gumbo, Boudin Balls, and barbecued Crab, while a live band performs with accordions and washboards, and dancers two-step and jitterbug the night away to the bouncing Cajun and Zydeco rhythms.
Sweetness and simplicity can be enjoyed by anyone who takes a short walk from America’s last standing Borden’s Ice Cream Shoppe to the nation’s only managed wetland in the middle of a university campus. The University of Louisiana at Lafayette offers a peaceful and unique view of a scenic swamp, named Cypress Lake. Home to a congregation of alligators, a bale of turtles, the occasional egret, a variety of fish, and mossy cypress trees, the beautiful campus marsh is open to visitors year round, especially those with a heaping scoop of praline pecan ice cream in their hand.
Borden’s Ice Shoppe,1103 Jefferson St, Lafayette, LA, USA, +1 337-235-9291
Creole restaurant Laura’s II continues the legacy of Laura Broussard and serves scrumptious meals complete with okra, Andouille sausage and southern fried chicken. Pack a classic plate lunch from this third-generation owned establishment and enjoy it with a founding member and Second Vice President of the Oak Tree Society – The St. John Cathedral Oak. This five-century old sapling is marked alongside some of the oldest trees in America and provides the perfect spot to enjoy Lafayette’s weather, calm atmosphere and heritage on any mild autumn day.
Laura II, 1904 W University Ave, Lafayette, LA , USA, +1 337-593-8006
It can get hot and humid in the bayous and byways of Lafayette, so finding a way to beat the heat and assuage the spice is necessary. Luckily, the height of summer also means the height of snowball season. Bringing their own take to the world-wide phenomenon of finely shaved ice, snowball stands like Creole Flavor Sno will quench thirst and a sweet tooth with the hard-hitting combo of a Creole Cobbler sno cone and a pump of condensed milk, pairing perfectly with a bowl of jalapeño cheesy nachos.
Address: 2208 N University Ave, Lafayette, LA 70507, USA
Embedded in the culture of Lafayette and Louisiana is the concept of ‘Lagniappe’ which translates into English as ‘Extra’. Louisianans and Lafayettians could be said to like a little more fun, more joie-de-vivre, and definitely more food.
Thanksgiving in Lafayette is often celebrated with the fast-growing tradition of eating Turducken – a deboned turkey stuffed with a deboned duck, which is stuffed with a deboned chicken. Any curious gourmands can try one of these packed poultries in the dish’s birthplace. The recipe is said by some to have originated in an area just south of Lafayette at Hebert’s Specialty Meats. Any way you slice it, the triple-meat feast encapsulates the epitome of Lagniappe and Lafayette’s attitude towards food: more is better.