Lafourche Parish is home to a small-town food scene enviable of some of the best culinary destinations in the world.
The drive down Highway 1 to the coastal communities that lay just 45 minutes south of New Orleans is dotted with scenic views of bayous and shrimp boats that bring ultra-fresh seafood to local restaurants. With the ecologically rich bayous and the Gulf of Mexico at its doorstep, Lafourche Parish is a can’t-be-beat spot to catch fish and sample some of the Bayou State’s best seafood.
Thibodaux, the seat of Lafourche Parish, is the most natural place to begin your Cajun food odyssey. The town of just over 14,000 people is the largest in the parish, home to some of the area’s best Cajun eateries, and the gateway to the rest of the Bayou. In both 2020 and 2021, Thibodaux was selected by USA Today as having one of the top two small-town food scenes in the country.
In Cajun Country, a meal isn’t just something you eat; it’s a journey, and for many Cajuns, it’s important to understand (and witness) where that journey begins. The region itself is known as a cultural “gumbo.” In Lafourche Parish, you’ll taste the culinary influences of several cultures, including Native American, French, Spanish, German, English, African American, and Italian. Plus, you’ll get to taste all the food you already know from Louisiana: gumbo, étouffée, jambalaya, crawfish, red beans and rice, pralines, and so much more.
Offering an authentic tour of South Louisiana, the Cajun Bayou Food Trail will take you “off the eatin’ path” as you explore local dishes up and down the bayou from Thibodaux to Port Fourchon. Anchored by 15 local restaurants, the trail map guides visitors to discover not only the renowned food of the region but also the vibrant cultural experiences intertwined with it.
Lafourche Parish is also home to the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux. Named in honor of Louisiana’s Culinary Ambassador to the World, the culinary school is the only post-secondary institution offering a four-year culinary degree in Louisiana. Students have the opportunity to learn from world-renowned chefs and gain hands-on experience in the institute’s state-of-the-art culinary facilities, which feature 33,000 square feet complete with six kitchens, an on-site bakery, and a full-size fine-dining restaurant—Bistro Ruth.
With authentic Cajun food, up-and-coming chefs, and a premiere culinary institute, there is no doubting Lafourche Parish is home to a small-town food scene enviable of some of the best culinary destinations in the world.