America is home to some of the world’s biggest and best tourist destinations: Disney World, the Grand Canyon, Times Square and the Rockefeller Center to name a few. However, there are some places in the US that might just offer something a little bit different.
Off the beaten track are some small towns outside New Orleans, which itself is quite a famous place for Mardi Gras, amongst other things. Lafayette, approximately a two-hour drive from New Orleans, offers somewhere a little quieter but a place that also comes with its own quirky places to visit. It’s often hailed as being one of the bastions of Cajun culture with festivals such as the Blackpot Festival dedicating itself to Cajun culture, featuring food and traditions, as well as the ability to camp onsite. In addition, April’s International Festival De Louisiane brings over a quarter of a million people to downtown Lafayette thanks to numerous music acts playing songs that are typical of the surrounding area from genres such as blues and zydeco. Renowned American singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett has been known to discuss the area with songs such as USS Zydecoldsmobile, from 2002’s Far Side Of The World album.
Louisiana as a state interestingly has a long history of gambling that extends all the way back to the colonial era. French Louisianans notably built a number of billiard halls before they even had built a church. Even after the St. Louis Church was finished in 1727, some goers continued to gamble rather than attending mass. There were attempts to curb gambling in the latter years of the eighteenth century, with measures ranging from banning the action during religious services and then outlawing it altogether. However, none of it proved successful, prompting then-Governor Billouart de Kerlérec to open a government-run casino in 1753.
This continued into the nineteenth century with the creation of the first Louisiana Lottery in 1886. Interestingly, it soon became a private company, who paid little state fees and so could reap massive profits. The Louisiana Lottery did so by paying stockholders dividends of over 100% between 1887 and 1890. It continued to grow, before being outlawed and replaced by horse racing as the only officially sanctioned gambling. The twentieth century saw a return to the lottery when it was put forward to the public as a vote in the early nineties, whilst gambling in general has since grown as we’ve moved into the present day, bringing slot machines to racetracks and video poker to truck stops. It’s also seen the rise of online casinos in a more general sense, which has later prompted the rise of comparison websites, such has been its popularity, with such sites offering welcome bonuses – for instance, you can click to get the newest offers here from Bonus.
Louisiana is one of those places that’s often overlooked by comparison to the main tourist hotspots and should be considered by newbies and experienced travelers alike. Its diverse and rich history, especially when it comes to gambling, makes for interesting reading, although it would certainly be better if you went to see it for yourself.