Arrive at the Louisiana Northshore and begin your tour in St. Tammany Parish to learn about African American and Native people, their contributions, and their heritage.

Day One

Take the Cajun Encounters Swamp Tour, which interprets the history, culture, and way of life of the Indigenous people who lived on the Northshore. Groups with a flexible schedule may add 90 minutes for an authentic seafood boil or cochon de lait at the on-site Cajun Pavilion.

Bayou Lacombe Museum
Bayou Lacombe Museum

Tour Bayou Lacombe Museum, St. Tammany Parish’s oldest wooden schoolhouse, and learn about Choctaw history. At the museum, don’t miss a visit to the Three Sisters and Medicine Wheel Gardens. For groups visiting on Nov. 1, tourgoers can observe the tradition of La Toussaint (All Saints’ Day), an annual Lacombe celebration combining French Catholic, Celtic, and Choctaw traditions honoring their ancestors.

At Madisonville Historic Museum, groups can visit one of the most diverse towns in Louisiana during the early 20th century. Tour the former 1911 courthouse and jail with displays featuring Native American artifacts and shipbuilding history. Then, take a walk to the nearby cemetery for intriguing stories of those who once lived in town. The cemetery tour is only available for groups.

Historic Walking Tour of Old Mandeville
Historic Walking Tour of Old Mandeville

Day Two

Tour the visitor center at Fontainebleau State Park. See the remains of a former sugar plantation and historical markers for the 153 enslaved people who comprised the skilled workforce of the plantation and the area’s Indigenous people.

Drive, stroll, or cycle as you absorb the rich history of Mandeville through a QR code tour that includes 41 marker sites, including nine Native and African American markers.

Explore the Jean Baptiste Lang Creole House and learn about the architectural significance of this Anglo-Creole summer cottage built for Lang, an affluent tobacco merchant, as well as the history of Mandeville as a getaway destination for wealthy New Orleanians.

Visit the Dew Drop Jazz and Benevolent Hall. Established in 1895, it’s the oldest unaltered jazz hall in the world. Noted musicians that have graced the stage include Bunk Johnson, Buddy Petit, and Papa Celestin.

Performance at Dew Drop Jazz & Social Hall. Mandeville
Performance at Dew Drop Jazz & Social Hall
Photo courtesy

An add-on activity can be Tangipahoa African American Heritage Museum and its comprehensive collection of African American murals, artifacts, photographs, and artwork.

Meal Suggestions: Annadele’s Plantation, Middendorf’s Restaurant, or Big Mama’s Country Kitchen.

Big Mama’s Country Kitchen
Big Mama’s Country Kitchen

Depart for Louisiana’s River Parishes. Follow the shoreline of the mighty Mississippi River to learn about the enslaved, their revolt, and the homes they helped construct.

Day Three

Experience Whitney Plantation by audio tour. Exhibits throughout the plantation depict the harsh labor the enslaved endured on sugarcane plantations, and there is a memorial dedicated to the 1811 Slave Revolt.

The 1811 Kid Ory Historic House features the music collection of and exhibits on Edward “Kid” Ory, the famous Creole trombonist.

Life after slavery is presented at Historic Riverlands, where you will take a journey through music genres and themes associated with African Americans during segregation, integration, the civil rights movement, and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Day Four

Learn the truth and legend about Julia Brown, a prominent African American landowner, local healer (traiteur), midwife, and Voodoo priestess, on a relaxing Cajun Pride Swamp Tour.

Destrehan Plantation offers an abundance of African Creole history throughout the entire plantation.

An add-on activity can be Finding Our Roots African American Museum.

Depart for Jefferson Parish and see many historic points of interest along the way.

Day Five

Continue exploring Jefferson Parish. Check out the Seven Oaks Plantation Marker and True Vine Baptist Church, the oldest African American church on the west bank of Jefferson Parish.

Around 1807 when importing slaves became illegal, the pirate Jean Lafitte began smuggling goods and slaves through Barataria Preserve’s hidden bayous and waterways. Today, the Barataria Preserve of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve features beautiful walking and birding trails, a kids activity center, and more. Jean Lafitte Harbor, located on the pirate’s smuggling route, is where you can take a ride to the past on one of the private tour boats, book a private fishing charter with a local guide, or rent a kayak to experience nature at your own pace.

For more information, visit

Lead image:
Honey Island Swamp Tour by Cajun Encounters