Jeff Davis Parish
Jeff Davis Parish has been hiding in plain sight for years. Lying along I-10 at the midpoint between Houston and New Orleans and the Lake Charles and Lafayette, it has been a waypoint for these popular destinations. What's changed is the discovery by travelers that this quiet corner of the state holds a number of wonderful treasures.
Settled by sturdy farmers from the Midwest, the neighborhoods of JDP hold many beautiful examples of fine old Victorian cottages. Though agriculture built the local economy and the state's oil and gas industry supercharged it when the discovery well was brought in here on September 21, 1901.
The rural setting of Jeff Davis Parish means that it is teeming with all kinds of wildlife. It is a paradise for the birding enthusiast at any time of the year. The first week of November is the Yellow Rails and Rice Festival that features the shy and reclusive Yellow Rail that can be found in the area's rice fields this time of year. Birders come from all over the nation to add this elusive bird to their life lists.
And don't miss seeing one of our beautiful roseate spoonbills… the inspiration of Rosie, our parish tourism mascot.
Hunters flock to the prairies of SW Louisiana to take advantage of the great numbers of ducks and geese that make Louisiana their winter home. There are a number of hunting lodges in the area that offer complete guided hunts. Many out of state hunters use the airport in Jennings where they can fly in and park their plane beside one of our hotels located on airport property.
Great food can be found all over Louisiana and Jeff Davis Parish is no exception. Restaurants feature great Gulf seafood and our locally grown specialty… crawfish. Jeff Davis Parish is one of the largest suppliers of this tasty delicacy in the state producing over 12 million pounds on an average year.
We also boast one of the best agro-tours in the state with our Crawfish Farm Tour where groups of visitors are hosted at a pond-side dock where they are led by a local crawfish farmer who can teach them all about this unique industry.
Festival season in Louisiana lasts all year. We always have something to celebrate. Our rural Mardi Gras tour gives a visitor a view of the traditional Mardi Gras run as it has been practiced for centuries. It is a very different experience from the parades and balls that dominate the "city" Mardi Gras. These costumed riders go from one rural homestead to another to beg for the ingredients for a community gumbo that night.
The parish is also the host of the Cajun Squeezebox Shootout each year in Jennings at high noon on the Saturday before Mardi Gras. This one of a kind accordion competition packs the Historic Strand Theater and attracts competitors from all age groups. It is an important part of handing down the musical traditions of South Louisiana to a younger generation.
The Jennings Airport has been the home of the annual Stearman End of the Season Fly-in for over 25 years. This World War II bi-wing trainer has devotees from all over the country who enjoy the beautiful Fall skies.
No visitor to this region should miss a trip to the Zigler Art Museum. It houses a stunning collection of American and European art spanning six centuries. Wildlife dioramas and the complete collection of Audubon's Birds of North America by the Abbeville Press make this a fascinating place to study the bird life of Louisiana. This is truly one of the great hidden gems in this corner of the state.
This is the corner of Louisiana where the music is sweeter, the colors are brighter, the birds are more numerous, the food is more savory, the shopping is more unusual, the festivals are more fun, the tours are more varied and the people are more friendly.