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Culturally Immersive Group Experiences in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Shreveport-Bossier

Baton Rouge Second Line Celebration. Credit: Sarah Barton

There’s no other state quite like Louisiana.

With roots stretching deep into both French and Spanish heritage and tangling with those of the Acadians (more commonly known today as Cajuns), Louisiana’s culture paints a colorful picture of its history, elaborate celebrations, community traditions and local flair that belongs to Louisiana alone.

That colorful culture of Louisiana reaches from New Orleans over to Baton Rouge and up to Shreveport-Bossier, and groups visiting Louisiana can experience it in local and authentic ways, from walking tours to museum visits and more.

Here are a few opportunities for culturally immersive group experiences in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Shreveport-Bossier.

[Related: How Baton Rouge Can Give Your Meeting an Authentic Louisiana Experience]

Celebrations in Baton Rouge's Garden District. Credit: Jordan Hefler 4
Celebrations in Baton Rouge's Garden District. Credit: Jordan Hefler

Baton Rouge

“Baton Rouge’s culture is a unique blend, boasting a mix of Cajun and Creole influences. With historical attractions boasting our rich 300-year history, the city is characterized by warm Southern hospitality,” said Geraldine Bordelon, senior vice president of destination sales, Visit Baton Rouge. “Special events like Mardi Gras season, cheering on the [LSU] Tigers in Death Valley and the soulful performances of the Southern University Human Jukebox contribute to our city’s distinctive and vibrant cultural identity.”

Immersing groups in Baton Rouge’s cultural scene practically guarantees there will be something for everyone in the capital city’s distinct blend of history, music, cuisine and hospitality, Bordelon said, and “that creates unforgettable memories for visitors.”

Huey P. Long Impersonator. Credit: Tamaria Williams
Huey P. Long Impersonator. Credit: Tamaria Williams

“Whether it’s exploring our diverse culinary scene, participating in engaging teambuilding activities inspired by local traditions or attending vibrant festivals and events, there’s a wide range of experiences to suit everyone’s interests,” Bordelon added.

One example of a uniquely Baton Rouge experience the Visit Baton Rouge team has helped organize for past conferences and events is “A Tribute to Huey P. Long: Every Man a King.” Teaching participants about the legacy of Huey P. Long, the infamous 40th governor of Louisiana, this guided museum tour at Louisiana’s Old State Capitol delves into Long’s impactful political career. Following the tour, groups head to Louisiana’s State Capitol Building to see for themselves the tallest state capitol in the country.

“Lastly, enhance your event with a unique twist by arranging for a Huey P. Long impersonator to provide additional insights and entertainment, concluding the experience with a visit to the historical Tunnel associated with his legacy,” Bordelon said, alluding to the new event space at the 291-room historic Hilton Baton Rouge Capital Center.

The infamous tunnel once ran beneath Lafayette Street, connecting Hilton Baton Rouge Capital Center to Hotel Indigo across the street. Allegedly, Long used it to go back and forth between hotels to visit his mistress and avoid getting caught.

Groups can also immerse themselves in Baton Rouge’s spirited sports culture by organizing a tailored Southern University and Louisiana State University tailgate experience. Visit Baton Rouge can help groups collaborate with local contacts to create an authentic atmosphere complete with mascots, cheerleaders and the roars of the Tigers and Jaguars. 

“This can serve as a vibrant opening party or reception, infusing your event with the enthusiasm of a true Louisiana tailgate,” Bordelon said.

Downtown Baton Rouge Second Line Celebration. Credit: Frank McMains
Downtown Baton Rouge Second Line Celebration. Credit: Frank McMains

An authentically Southern scene, a Second Line celebration adds a lively local touch to Louisiana tours and events. Originally associated with jazz funerals, the Second Line has become a festive tradition during parades, weddings, events and other celebrations. 

“Your group can parade behind a lively band, enjoying music and dance, creating a memorable and energetic experience moving from one place to another,” Bordelon said. 

Finally, groups can get creative by exploring the local art scene in Baton Rouge and engaging with local business owners. 

Starting with a visit to Mimosa Handcrafted, a unique jewelry brand inspired by Louisiana’s landscape and culture, the artistic endeavor continues at Red Stick Reads, a vibrant community bookstore inviting groups to meet the owner and sip on a refreshing beverage. Then, attendees can dispense their own art piece from Art-O-Mat—the art vending machine at Baton Rouge Gallery—before wrapping the day with a tasting at Tap 65 and shopping from local artists at Mid-City Artisans in Square 45. 

“These activities offer a diverse and immersive experience, allowing groups to engage with Baton Rouge’s rich history through our many museums, sports culture at LSU and Southern University, music traditions and vibrant arts scene,” Bordelon said.

[Related: Unique Offsite Venues Showcase Baton Rouge and Shreveport Culture]

French Quarter. Credit: Paul Broussard
French Quarter. Credit: Paul Broussard

New Orleans

“You have to experience New Orleans’ culture to really understand what’s being described to you,” said Stephanie Turner, senior vice president, convention sales and strategies at New Orleans & Company. “It is truly a melting pot of cultures and backgrounds. We are European and African in terms of our heritage, but really over the centuries—we’re over 300 years old—exists a part of all of those cultures, so you take a little of this and a little of that, and you see it in our food, our accents and dialects, our architecture.

Seafood Gumbo. Credit: Joyce Bracey
Seafood Gumbo. Credit: Joyce Bracey

“You just get a sense of history, and you feel this sense of, ‘There’s a lot that’s happened here over these 300 years,’ and I think that’s what makes it special,” Turner added. 

There are two main ways to experience the culture of New Orleans, Turner said. The first, of course, is through food. While there are seemingly endless options for culturally immersive eats at restaurants throughout the city, one fun way groups can dive into New Orleans’ culture is by taking a cooking class.

“Those are super fun,” Turner said. “We’ve got the New Orleans School of Cooking and also Chef Dee Lavigne of Deelightful Roux School of Cooking, which is pretty cool because it’s located within the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, which is also home of the Museum of the American Cocktail, with the cocktail being invented there.”  

Restaurants across the city range from “a po’boy to fine dining,” Turner added, with fusions from Vietnamese, French, African, Italian, German, Spanish and other cultures creating unique flavor combinations offered only in New Orleans. 

Pirates Alley. Credit: Paul Broussard
Pirates Alley. Credit: Paul Broussard

The second way groups can immerse themselves in New Orleans’ culture is through art, architecture, music and history. Island of Algiers Tours is a local African American-owned company with a mission to “provide guided tours filled with ’4’ F’s—fact, fiction, folklore and fun!” Guided and managed by partners Nate Scott and Benita W. Scott, two lifelong New Orleans residents with ties to the tourism industry, Island of Algiers Tours shares the rich multicultural history of New Orleans in creative and memorable ways.

“They do really interesting things like Voodoo Museum tours, African History tours, a gumbo tour—all offering unique information,” Turner said. “They do the history of New Orleans’ music, and a really interesting thing they do, in my opinion, is the Spanish History tour. People always think about the French Quarter being French, but so much of the architecture relating to the wrought iron and the balconies is of Spanish influence.” 

New Orleans is also home to the National World War II Museum, which is designated by Congress thanks to the landing ship vessels being built in New Orleans by Andrew Higgins’ company, Higgins Industries, during the war. The museum was built in New Orleans through the direction of Dr. Stephen Ambrose, the former American historian and New Orleans native.  

“Then there’s The Sazerac House, which tells you all about cocktails,” Turner said. “Cocktails were born here, and our culture of cocktails is celebrated right next to the Sheraton New Orleans at The Sazerac House. There’s also the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum in the French Quarter that focuses on the history of the pharmacy and medicine in the 19th and 20th centuries. 

“There are just so many unexpected things to explore in New Orleans,” Turner added. “These are just examples of some of those nuggets where you can go a little bit deeper.”

[Related: Delectable Group Dining Options in Louisiana]

Shreveport-Bossier Mural
Shreveport-Bossier Mural


“Shreveport-Bossier is a place with enough flavor, style and soul for two cities,” said Emma Boone, PR and social media manager, Visit Shreveport-Bossier. “Offering each visitor a cultural experience that is both diverse and authentic, the Shreveport-Bossier community is full of creative and resilient individuals who share a passion for celebrating what makes the city special. Groups who are in town for meetings or events can truly find their place and their people in Shreveport-Bossier.”

Bayou Axe Throwing Co., Shreveport-Bossier
Bayou Axe Throwing Co., Shreveport-Bossier

One growing cultural excursion for groups is exploring downtown Bossier in the East Bank Arts District, one of three open-container districts in Louisiana. On the walkable strip of historic downtown Bossier City, food enthusiasts and fun-seekers alike can indulge in the city’s unique dining scene and explore craft breweries surrounded by local culture and entertainment, adult beverage in hand. 

“Foodies can discover restaurants such as El Patio to satisfy that authentic Tex-Mex craving,” Boone said. “Of course, there are also the Cajun-inspired flavors of BeauxJax Crafthouse.”

Entertainment is plentiful in the area with offerings that include Bayou Axe Throwing Co. and Hurricane Alley, a bustling outdoor nightlife area with live music almost every weekend. 

“In Shreveport-Bossier, every street corner and every stage whisper tales of musical legends,” Boone said. “Known as The Cradle of the Stars, our cities are a living legacy of sounds that have shaped genres and inspired generations.”

Groups can dive into Shreveport-Bossier’s rich musical history by embarking on a backstage experience and tour at the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium, home to the Louisiana Hayride, the renowned radio broadcast from the ‘40s and ‘50s that started the career of many rock and country musicians.

Elvis statue at the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium
Elvis statue at the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium

“Built in the 1920s, the building is noted for its Art Deco interior, considered one of the best in the state,” Boone said. “During the backstage tour, attendees can stand on the stage where Elvis and other big-name stars performed.”

Another tour showcasing Shreveport-Bossier culture is the Wicked Shreveport tour, which tells the tawdry tales of Shreveport’s infamous madam, dueling mayors and the Yellow Fever that killed 25% of Shreveport’s population “and then came back for more,” Boone said. 

“Visitors to Shreveport-Bossier can embark on a thrilling exploration of the city’s haunted history by stepping inside the Logan Mansion, an exquisite 1897 Victorian-style home riddled with mystery and legend. As they wander through its corridors, they may encounter the lingering shadows of Shreveport’s most haunted tales,” Boone said. “For those with an itch for the eerie and the chilling, a walking tour of Oakland Cemetery across from the Municipal offers a captivating glimpse into the city’s past, where every tombstone and monument holds a story waiting to be unearthed.”

For the faint of heart, Shreveport-Bossier’s art scene provides a less frightening glimpse into the two cities and their unique culture. Groups can take a guided tour at the Southern University Museum of Art, showcasing the rich narratives of African American life in the region. Tours are also available at the R.W. Norton Art Gallery, Shreveport-Bossier’s largest museum that is home to thousands of American and European sculptures, paintings, artifacts and more.

[Related: The Most Quintessential Louisiana Teambuilding Activities for Groups]

Latest & Greatest

Baton Rouge

  • The Origin Hotel, downtown Baton Rouge’s latest boutique hotel addition, opened its doors for business in January. Boasting 87 stylish Louisiana State University-themed rooms, the hotel offers a unique experience, Creole-inspired dining at its restaurant, Passe’, and luxurious amenities. The new property provides an exciting accommodation option for visitors seeking a blend of comfort and local charm.
  • Hotel Indigo is undergoing a comprehensive transformation, promising a fresh look and enhanced amenities that will include newly remodeled rooms, a revitalized restaurant and bar area and an updated lobby. The project is set to be completed by late 2024 or early 2025.
  • Scheduled for an early 2025 debut after its extensive renovations, the Belle of Baton Rouge promises a range of dining options, luxurious accommodations, a new sportsbook and lively entertainment choices. As the casino transitions to land, guests can anticipate an expanded gaming experience with a plethora of new slot machines.

New Orleans

  • Caesars Entertainment is investing $435 million into the expansion, renovation and rebranding of the 450-room Harrah’s Hotel and Casino into Caesars New Orleans, which will house the new Nobu Hotel New Orleans. The building’s 340-room tower is currently under construction and expected to be completed sometime this year. 
  • American rapper and performer Big Freedia announced last year plans to open a boutique nightclub/hotel in New Orleans. The groundbreaking of Hotel Freedia took place last spring on Decatur and Frenchman streets in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood. The space will only have five rooms and operate more as a nightclub with food, drinks, music and an outdoor pool space.
  • Copper Vine is nearing the completion of an expansion that will evolve the brand into Copper Vine Winepub & Inn, a “restaurant-first” take on a traditional bed and breakfast. The expansion will bring 11 guest rooms and increase the restaurant floor plan for expanded dining and private events. 


Live! Casino & Hotel has made its mark in the Shreveport-Bossier area by breaking ground in December 2023. The property will be the first land-based casino in the market, redefining entertainment for the Shreveport-Bossier area. Scheduled to debut in 2025, Live! Casino & Hotel will offer a world-class gaming and dining experience.


New Orleans & Company

Visit Baton Rouge

Visit Shreveport-Bossier

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About the author
Taylor Smith | Content Developer, Destinations and Features

Taylor Smith joined Stamats in May 2022 as a content developer, destinations and features for Meetings Today. Smith has experience covering everything from travel to breaking news and graduated from Ball State University with a bachelor’s degree in news and magazine journalism. Previously, she’s written for St. Louis Magazine and worked as an editorial assistant and apprentice for Aubree Nichols, who has been published in premier publications such as The New York TimesELLE and The Los Angeles Times.