Early last month, the St. Tammany Parish Tourist Commission, River Parishes Tourist Commission and Jefferson CVB debuted a new joint group itinerary highlighting the Native, Creole and African American people; heritage; culture; and way of life in the tri-parish region — called The Soul of South Louisiana.

“This tour was created for people of all ages to learn about the untold history, stories and traditions that help to make up our rich South Louisiana culture,” said Tanya Leaders, vice president of sales at St. Tammany Parish Tourist Commission.

Dew Drop Jazz and Benevolent Hall, Mandeville, LA. Credit: LouisianaNorthshore.com

Researched and developed collaboratively by each DMO, the itinerary experience can be booked through each respective DMO and is perfect for groups of 10 to 25, although more can be accommodated as well. Five days in length, this customizable tour honors the histories of Native, Creole and African Americans. In addition, Certified Tour Guide Martha Martinez of YAYA Louisiana Tours and Travel is available as a step-on guide to accompany and lead the groups.

Louisiana Northshore, including St. Tammany Parish, features stops like the Bayou Lacombe Museum where groups will learn history of Native people. Experience Madisonville Historic Museum, Jean Baptiste Lang Creole House, the Dew Drop Jazz and Benevolent Hall, and Native and African American markers on the Historic Mandeville Marker Tours.

Tour Whitney Plantation in the Louisiana River Parishes region. With an exclusive focus on the lives of the enslaved people, groups will see exhibits illustrating the severe labor the enslaved endured on sugarcane plantations. Walk through a memorial dedicated to the 1811 Slave Revolt and stop by the Visitor Center.

Whitney Plantation, Wallace, LA. Credit: Whitney Plantation

Also in the Louisiana River Parishes region, discover famous Creole Trombonist Edward “Kid” Ory at the 1811 Kid Ory History House. Other sites include the Historic Riverlands Soul River Musical Journey and Destrehan Plantation.

While in Jefferson Parish, visit the Marsalis Mansion Motel Marker, gospel artist Mahalia Jackson’s Gravesite and Camp Parapet — a haven for escaped slaves during the Union’s occupation during the remaining years of the Civil War. Take a pleasant walk down the trails of the Barataria Preserve of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, once part of the pirate Jean Lafitte’s smuggling route for the illegal slave trade.

To find more information or to book a tour, contact one of the three DMOs. Meal suggestions are available, as well.