If you ask yourself what Louisiana means to you, New Orleans and the Mardi Gras might come to mind. Or maybe creole food. But would you think boudin?
I confess I had never heard of it before. So what is it? Think of a Cumberland sausage and you have the shape but they are fatter. They can be about the size of your wrist. But inside there will be rice and a number of different meat or fish flavours. You can have pork or beef or chicken but how about alligator? Or catfish? They can be spicy or mild. Down there, they are the local take-away or snacking food. Shelley Johnson who heads the local Lake Charles tourist office prefers the smoked variety. So popular are they amongst the locals that Shelley has set up a boudin trail which guides you through 29 stops in her area where you can try different varieties.
Lake Charles is to be found east of New Orleans and is a region where water and the outdoors played significant roles in attracting us visitors. The lake attracts birdlife, so many that there are at least 400 different species that can be seen there so birdwatchers come in their thousands. Another guide for visitors is the Creole Nature Trail that highlights not only the birds but the other animals like deer that can be seen. And remember this is alligator country and this is their habitat so take care when you’re in the wild.
Like the rest of Louisiana, Lake Charles had French origins and in the Charpentier district of the city you can see one of the finest collections of Victorian architecture anywhere in the US. There is a railway museum as well as devoted to children and, at the other end of the scale, three casinos, one even has horse racing there as well. And in this home of Mardi Gras, the area is fond of festivals. There are 75 scattered throughout the year.
So when you think of Louisiana, widen your thoughts – and your eating habits.
For more on Lake Charles click here.