Known for its Cajun-inspired dishes; fascinating history; the sights, sounds, and smells of vibrant festivals; and an impressive art scene, Ascension Parish is a must-see stop near Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
More than 500 years of history have shaped the area now known as Ascension Parish. Officially established in 1807, the region has experienced many diverse cultures that help define its personality today. Located just 25 minutes from Baton Rouge and 45 minutes from New Orleans, Ascension Parish is situated right on the junction of the Mississippi River and the Bayou Lafourche.
Whether you stop in Donaldsonville, Gonzales, Sorrento, or the many other inviting small towns throughout the parish, you’ll discover an abundance of history and fun.
Experience each city’s past, and take in Louisiana’s breathtaking landscapes, when you visit any of the River Road Plantations. One of the star plantations is none other than the Houmas House, located on 35 acres along the Mississippi River. Houmas House is a spectacular example of the Greek-Revival architecture popular during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Embark on a guided tour of the grounds to learn about each home’s past, farming, formal gardens, and even the movies that were filmed here. History buffs can also indulge their curiosity at the towns’ major museums and historical sites, such as the River Road African American Museum or the Historic Fort Butler Commemorative Site.
Of course, you can’t visit Ascension Parish without experiencing one of its annual festivals. One can’t-miss event is the famous Jambalaya Festival, held each Memorial Day weekend in Gonzales, the “Jambalaya Capital of the World.” Enjoy the sounds of live music as you taste test some World Champion Jambalaya. If you’re an art aficionado, check out the annual Awesome Art Extravaganza each October, when more than 140 artists sell their wares.
Alvin Batiste, calls Donaldsonville home. Among his other works, Batiste created the art for actor Billy Bob Thornton’s first album cover. Marvel at Alvin’s work in his own studio and you might even catch of glimpse of him creating a new masterpiece. You should also stop by the River Region Art Gallery, which showcases the works of local artists ranging from acrylic and watercolor paintings to jewelry and photography.Speaking of art, you’ll find a true sense of “Bayou State” cultural art in Ascension Parish. In fact, one of the state’s most renowned artists,
With its historic plantations, enticing events, and thriving arts community, it’s easy to see why Ascension Parish is an ideal stop in Louisiana. Plan your visit today.