Most tourists visiting Louisiana don’t venture outside of the New Orleans area but there is so much to see and do in Northern Louisiana that we can barely put its uniqueness into words. There are music museums and other landmarks plus some down home eats along the way—and you’re never short of a neighborhood hang with original music in it.
My recent trip was sponsored by Explore Louisiana North (www.explorelouisiananorth.org) and our PR “host with the most” Johnny Wessler had us visiting at least six landmarks per day. We don’t have enough room here to talk about everything, but if you wanted to add a trip to Northern Louisiana based out of Shreveport, the drive is 5 ½ hours and a distance of about 450 miles. We promise you will have enough to do and see without going to New Orleans, but the bad news is not too many cities have direct flights to Shreveport (we only know of Dallas and Atlanta and our route was from LaGuardia to Dallas and then took a quick hour-long flight to Shreveport).
|Muffaletta at Noble Savage Tavern|
|James Burton and Anne Raso|
Directly across the street at 714 Elvis Presley Boulevards is the James Burton’s Foundation and Studios (www.jamesburtonfoundation.org)—going here is like going like visiting a music history landmine. Burton has at least 250 of the 360-plus albums he played on as a session musician hanging up on the walls, and visitors get to see his memorabilia-lined offices and if they’re lucky, get to meet the man himself. His stories of being in both Ricky Nelson’s and Elvis’ bands are endless and amusing, and we’re happy to say that Burton seems like a “regular guy” who just happens to be a musician’s musician. All proceeds from items sold at the Foundation go to putting guitars in the hands of kids who want to play but can’t afford an axed; hundreds of kids have already gotten (with a little bit of help from Fender, who make Burton’s signature flame-detailed signature Telecaster). In the future, Burton will be opening a Cars And Guitars Museum.
|Tex Ritter Statue|
While in Shreveport, you might also want to visit the Centenary College Choir, Radio and Music departments (www.centenarycollege.edu) at 2911 Centenary or visit the funky Cotton Boll Grill (see their Facebook fan page since they do not have an official site) at 1964 Airline Drive where you can catch local original music artists and to catch up on classic Creole food as well as BBQ. Techie fans that want to check out the latest in music and animation studio technology can check out the Blade Studios (www.bladestudios.com) and Moonbot Studios (www.moonbootstudios.com, both located at 2031 Kings Highway. Blade Studios is owned by Dave Matthews Band drummer Brady Blade and the Moonbot Studios are famous as being the creators of the Emmy-winning Roly Poly Oly animated series. Not far from there is the Leadbelly gravesite in the yard of the Shiloh Baptist Church (at 10395 Blanchard-Latex Road); famed rocker Robert Plant was a recent visitor.
|Bonnie and Clyde Museum|
|Lewis House and Museum|
|Jim Bowie Relay Station|
While in the Ferriday area, a great place to stay in the Comfort Suites at 100 Front Street in Vidalia because all the rear rooms have a close-up view of the Mississippi Bridge and rooms are about 700 square feet (standard rooms range from $150 to $200 per night and include breakfast, book at www.comfortsuites.com).
|Steel Magnolia House|
[Photos: Anne M. Raso]