South (Destination)

February 2013

Louisiana spices up meetings with its cultural variety

by Beth Bartlett

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If variety is the spice of life, Louisiana racks up enough flavors to keep any palate satisfied for a long time. Everything is bolder, sweeter and sharper in Louisiana: voodoo, Mardi Gras, gracious antebellum homes and the Cajun fire of food and zydeco.

African-American Culture
New Orleans is experiencing a surge of interest in its heritage, and the city has an HBO television series to thank for it.

“Treme caused a huge interest recently in architecture,” says Bonnie Boyd, president and CEO of BBC Destination Management. “The buildings in that neighborhood are older than those in the French Quarter.”

Tours of the Treme section of New Orleans, one of the oldest African-American communities in the U.S., are very hot with groups right now. Boyd says the New Orleans African-American Museum, which highlights Treme, is enjoying a boost as well. The museum’s Creole Villa architecture plus the thought-provoking exhibits make it a great off-site venue.

A secretive and historic African-American Mardi Gras krewe, the Mardi Gras Indians, are celebrated at the Backstreet Museum, which is filled with costumes and masks from African-American celebrations and events.

To top off a tour of Treme, planners can stop at the event-ready Golden Feather Mardi Gras restaurant and gallery on Rampart Street, which offers the comfort of soul food along with a gallery of Mardi Gras Indian costumes, artifacts and art.

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