Blessed with rich land and abundant fresh water, the area around Cajun Corridor provides some of some of the best places in the state to enjoy fresh shrimp, crawfish and oysters, as well as delicious rice dishes and the spicy local sausage known as boudin. The short byway, along Highway 14 in southwestern Louisiana, covers gently sloping terrain highlighted with allées (alleys of shade trees) and cheniers (coastal ridges covered with stands of oak trees). The area’s drained marshes are ideal for growing rice and crawfish farming. Sugar cane fields dot the horizon, and cattle graze near the marshlands. Towns with lilting names such as Maurice, Abbeville and Delcambre, reflect the influences of French and Acadian settlers who founded them. Many residents here speak French, just as their ancestors did. Here’s a sample of what you’ll find:
Gueydan to Abbeville
This mostly rural stretch of the byway begins at Gueydan, a Mecca for duck hunters. The Gueydan Museum, located in a 1902 bank building, puts the town’s history on display, along with antiques once owned by its founder, Jean Pierre Gueydan. Your drive will lead you past “dual crop” farms, rice fields that are also home to thousands of “mudbugs,” as crawfish are nicknamed in Louisiana. Farther down the road is Suire’s Grocery and Restaurant, known for its gumbo, boudin and turtle sauce piquant. Finish up your meal with a slice of homemade pecan pie and a cup of rich coffee.
A good next stop would be Abbeville, home to giant oaks, a century-old church and several bed-and-breakfasts housed in historic homes. Take a walking tour, then relax and refresh at one of the town’s many oyster bars. Before you leave, pick up a few bottles of Steen’s pure cane syrup, made in Abbeville at the C.S. Steen Syrup Mill for almost 100 years. The sweet stuff is a favorite of many Louisiana cooks.
In the small town of Maurice, near Abbeville, visit Hebert’s Specialty Meats, home of the turducken – a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken. You can buy delicious gumbo and other Cajun specialties cooked and frozen, ready to take home for a taste of Acadiana.
Abbeville to Delcambre
This short jaunt takes you to the towns of Erath and Delcambre. At the Acadian Museum in Erath, you can see artifacts from more than 300 years of history, including the mid-18th-century deportation of the Acadian people from Canada and their odyssey to south Louisiana. The museum occasionally hosts Cajun musicians for jam sessions. In Delcambre, stroll along the wharf for a view of the shrimp boats and nets that help keep Louisiana and the country supplied with a favorite seafood. If you visit in August, don’t miss the annual Delcambre Shrimp Festival.
When you visit this part of Acadiana, be sure to bring your appetite. You will leave satisfied and maybe speaking a few French phrases as well.