Recreation

Much of Louisiana remains an unspoiled wilderness--great cypress swamplands and rolling hills covered with dense pines and hardwoods that teem with deer and smaller game. The state's lakes and marshes form the southern terminus of the Mississippi River Flyway which are alive with waterfowl for many months each year.

Fishing

Freshwater fish include striped bass, white perch, largemouth and smallmouth bass, bream and catfish. Fishing is a year 'round activity and limits are liberal. There is freshwater fishing virtually everywhere in the state. Major saltwater gamefish include tarpon, Spanish and king mackerel, red snapper, cobia, bluefish and pompano. Grand Isle is Louisiana's best known area for offshore and surf fishing, but charter boats are also available at Empire near the mouth of the Mississippi River and at several other communities on the Gulf.

Hunting

Louisiana offers hunters three types of hunting ground: coastal marshes for duck, geese, snipe and rabbit; interior wooded swamps and ridgelands for deer, squirrel and woodcock, and piney upland areas for rabbit, squirrel, quail and dove.

Camping and Parks

Louisiana has 33 state parks and Historic Sites, including 10 with camping facilities. There are also hiking trails in national forest areas.

Yachting and Boating

Yachting is a favorite sport almost year around, especially on Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Charles in south Louisiana and Cross Lake near Shreveport as well as in the Gulf of Mexico. Power boat races are held at Buhlow Lake near Alexandria. Water skiing can be conducted almost anywhere in the state on hundreds of lakes and rivers.

Carnivals and Festivals

Louisiana's most famous event is the Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday, the last day before Lent). Actually, the festive events leading up to Mardi Gras begin on Twelfth Night, the sixth day of January. Parades and balls are held throughout the period, culminating in the parades of Rex and Comus on Mardi Gras day. Hundreds of thousands of carnival-goers turn out for the parades, many in costumes. While Mardi Gras is the largest carnival celebration, over 100 other festivals are held in the state each year to commemorate crops such as sugar cane and sweet potatoes, seafood and forestry.

Gardens

Louisiana offers a wide variety of beautiful public and private botanical gardens. Among them are the famous Avery Island gardens featuring thousands of camellias, Longvue, Rip Van Winkle and Hodges gardens. The American Rose Society garden in Shreveport is the largest rose garden in the world.

Music and Theater

Louisiana has had a long association with the performing arts, having hosted in 1796 the first opera performance ever held in America. The first professional theatrical performance in Louisiana was given in New Orleans in 1791, and in 1859 the French Opera House was erected in the French Quarter. Today, most of the major cities and larger towns in the state have playhouses and facilities for concerts. Thespian groups are found throughout the state. Louisiana is the birthplace of a style of music uniquely American: Jazz. More recently, there has been a growing popularity of Zydeco and Cajun music. The Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport has for many years showcased Country music and it was at the Hayride that Elvis Presley made his professional debut.

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