Louisiana is a state full of historic sites, and monuments that tell the story of its rich cultural heritage. From the beautiful French Quarter in New Orleans to antebellum plantations along the Mississippi River, the landmarks in Louisiana offer a unique glimpse into the state’s past and present.
Whether it’s admiring ancient artifacts at an archaeological dig or visiting one of many national landmarks like Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, there are plenty of historical sites in Louisiana that will leave you with an appreciation for all things special about the state.
Most Popular Landmark In Louisiana
Travelers and locals alike enjoy spending time in Jackson Square, this is a hub of hustle and bustle. Jackson Square is one of the most visited areas in the French Quarter due to its abundance of attractions, such as artists, restaurants, museums, merchants, and the square itself.
The Upper Pontalba Apartments, the oldest apartment structures in the United States, the St. Louis Cathedral, and the Presbytere and Cabildo are some of the landmarks in Louisiana that surround Jackson Square.
The main floor of the Pontalba Apartments is home to stores, museums, galleries, and restaurants, while the upper levels are still home to a curated collection of luxurious flats.
Jackson Square has been home to an outdoor artist community for almost fifty years. Artwork by local artists, including paintings, drawings, portraits, and caricatures, is often displayed on the iron fence around the square.
New Orleans, Louisiana Landmarks
The Garden District is a fantastic neighborhood in Orleans Parish to check out. It is the home of over 1,500 residents in New Orleans, Louisiana. Most of the Garden District residents own their homes, adding to the area’s urban-suburban vibe
Luxurious houses and charming oak tree-lined walkways characterize the Garden District. The neighborhood also houses the historic Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, the famous Commander’s Palace restaurant, and the shops and restaurants of Magazine Street.
Although Garden District is a rather local area and home to many liberal professionals and retirees, it is still one of the famous Louisiana landmarks to explore with all the beauty, cafes, and parks around.
Although the Steamboat NATCHEZ is out of commission, her sister ship, the NATCHEZ II, continues to ply the waterways today. The elegant paddle-wheeler will give you the same genuine New Orleans riverboat experience as you sail the mighty Mississippi for two hours.
You can now take dinner or daytime jazz cruises in the traditional historic steamboats that have plied the Mississippi River in New Orleans for decades. A trip aboard the cruise allows you to enjoy traditional live jazz, and handcrafted cocktails, along with the stunning sights of New Orleans. it also features optional visits to the ship’s Steam Engine Room.
Gallier Hall, New Orleans
Gallier Hall is a prime illustration of New Orleans’s Greek Revival style.
A historic site in Louisiana dating back to 1845, the State just recently completed a restoration of the building. This landmark structure on St. Charles Avenue is still being used for public purposes today.
Here, you can peek into the past while enjoying modern conveniences and lavish furnishings. From Thursday through Sunday, you can join a guided tour. The best part of the excursions is the guides, who make history come alive through their words.
Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop
Now out of all the historic sites in Louisiana, this place is known to be the nation’s oldest bar, which also happens to be the oldest building in operation.
Jean Lafitte, a notorious pirate, supposedly ran his Barataria smuggling operations out of this building. But he was also known to be a war hero for his role in defending New Orleans in the War of 1812.
Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop is considered one of the most haunted places in New Orleans; it’s also historically significant and a whole ton of fun considering it is a bar today!
The ghost of Jean Lafitte is said to stand in the corner, a woman’s spirit in the upper bedroom, and eerie red eyes glow from the fireplace. Look out for the friendly ghosts as you grab a drink in this iconic bar.
This is another famous landmark in Louisiana you don’t want to miss out on if you are into this theme of past tales.
New Orleans Streetcars
Of all the common day-to-day things, the New Orleans streetcar has more history than any other kind of public transportation in the city.
The streetcar is an inexpensive way to get around New Orleans, and it runs down the middle of main thoroughfares like St. Charles, Canal, and Carrollton, along Rampart Street.
You can hop on the streetcar at a minimal cost of $1.25. If you’re lucky, the driver might even double as a tour guide and point out interesting sights along the route.
As an artifact, the streetcar has significant meaning for the local community. Since the late 19th century, it has been transporting city dwellers about the metropolis, making it the world’s oldest continuously functioning street railway system.
This is very different from all the stationary historic sites in Louisiana and makes for a relaxing yet meaningful trip in exploring the city.
Saint Louis Cathedral
One of the fun facts about Louisiana is that the state is home to the oldest functioning Cathedral in North America. And few buildings are recognizable as the St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans.
There aren’t many cities with a district as distinctive as New Orleans’s French Quarter. Located high above Jackson Square, St Louis Cathedral is an instantly obvious landmark.
This historical site in Louisiana sits in the center of historic New Orleans. It overlooks the main Square, the statue of General Andrew Jackson on his bronze horse, and the block-long Pontalba Buildings with their iconic red brick galleries.
Bourbon Street is among the most famous historical places in Louisiana. This is the epicenter of New Orleans nightlife and you can find it in the historic French Quarter. It stretches for 13 blocks and is lined with neon-lit nightclubs and eateries.
Despite its reputation as a trendy hangout spot, the history of this street goes back to the very beginning of the city.
Despite common belief, the street’s name, Bourbon Street, does not refer to the popular amber-colored American whiskey. And you will be forgiven to think so seeing that the area is known for its nightlife.
However, the name actually comes in honor of the House of Bourbon, which is one of the French royal houses and ruling families in the past.
As one of the infamous landmarks in Louisiana, the Lalaurie Mansion is a big plus for anybody fascinated by the macabre. Many people believe this building, constructed in the 1800s, is haunted because of its supposedly bloody history.
Marie Delphine Macarty, a 19th-century New Orleans socialite and serial killer, once owned the property. She was known to be cruel to her slaves, and now their souls haunt the place.
This mansion is one of the monuments in Louisiana that maintained its place in the cultural consciousness. Although visitors can only view outside the home, many New Orleans walking tours stop here to milk the juicy tales of past horrors. We all love a good story on tours, don’t we?
Shreveport, Louisiana Landmarks
You can find the massive Shreveport Aquarium next to the Red River, not far from the Texas Street Bridge. The seven exhibit halls house the zoo’s 3,000 creatures, including sharks, stingrays, eels, seahorses, crocodiles, paddlefish, snapping turtles, and more.
One of the best things is that the aquarium is almost always open, you can visit seven days a week, 365 days a year. This makes it a great place to visit even during holidays.
Interactive highlight activities here include the chance to feed stingrays, and touch tanks where you can feel starfishes, sea cucumbers, shrimps, and more. Maybe try your luck in the only indoor mining sluice in the region. It’s no wonder kids love this place.
This is also one of the famous landmarks in Louisiana where you can even hold events like weddings, private parties, and special holiday celebrations.
Huddie William “Lead Belly” Ledbetter Statue
This is one of the most remarkable monuments in Louisiana, honoring one of the greatest musicians ever – Huddie William Ledbetter. You will find this Lead Belly statue right next to the ancient post office in downtown Shreveport.
Lead Belly, whose real name was Huddie William Ledbetter, was a famous American blues and folk performer. Some of his most famous works are actually interpretations of classics, such as “Goodnight, Irene,” “In the Pines,” “Goodnight, Irene,” and “Cotton Fields,” amongst others.
Showcasing his twelve-string guitar prowess, the talented musician is often considered an established standard for folk music. Musicians from the blues, folk, and country scenes all owe a debt to Lead Belly.
Shreveport Municipal Auditorium
To many Shreveport residents, the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium is the city’s most cherished building among all the Louisiana monuments. This Art Deco building was designed by Samuel Weiner and completed in 1929.
It is not just a functional venue but also serves a memorial purpose. On Veterans Day, later recognized as Armistice Day, the edifice was dedicated to the soldiers who fought in World War I. As such, this is one of the most respected landmarks in Louisiana.
Sports events, concerts, graduation ceremonies, family shows, celebrations, and even debutante balls, the theater plays host to various events throughout the year. You can take a backstage tour of the auditorium or catch a show there!
The Logan Mansion
The ornate Victorian Logan House is one of the beautiful Louisiana landmarks for fans of interior design. Don’t worry, even if you don’t have a keen eye for architecture, you will still be able to appreciate its historic beauty.
The mansion was designed by Nathaniel Sykes Allen in 1897 and this historic site in Louisiana is open for tours and private events. You will be able to admire all the intricate features such as the beveled glass, stunning woodwork, the original hand-laid parquet flooring, and the obvious huge mahogany grand staircase.
Hirsch Memorial Coliseum
Although it has seen better days since it opened in 1954, Hirsch Coliseum is for sporting and entertainment events in the Shreveport-Bossier area. This is one of the popular landmarks in Louisiana for sports lovers.
Before moving to the CenturyTel Center in Bossier City in 2000, the Hirsch was home to the Shreveport Mudbugs ice hockey team. It hosted the Southland Conference tournament on six separate occasions and the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament in 1981.
Coliseum has served as the site of many wrestling events, including those held by the NWA, WCW, and WWE.
Natural Landmarks In Louisiana
The Mississippi River
As one of the prominent natural landmarks in Louisiana, Mississippi played a crucial role in the development of the United States. It is also North America’s second-longest River.
Before European migrants arrived in the 16th century, Native Indians lived along the Mississippi River. Afterward, it served as a physical barrier to the expansion of Spanish, French, and early American claims. The River complicates things for invadors eyeing Louisiana’s land.
Since it’s the final port before the Gulf of Mexico, it has been and continues to be a significant transit hub for commerce and the economy. The river comes to an end Aabout 100 miles downstream from New Orleans.
In the French Quarter, you will find the deepest point of the entire River at 191 feet. However, you can’t swim there since the current is too strong and the water is too murky.
Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve
The natural and cultural elements of the Louisiana Delta are safeguarded by Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. This park, given its name in honor of the French pirate Jean Lafitte, features six locations plus a central administration building.
It is one of the most interesting landmarks in Louisiana featuring both nature and history. A key highlight here is the swamp boat tour that explores the lush forestry. This place is as fascinating as other spots like Acadian Cultural Center, Barataria Preserve where you can have a jolly good time.
Other Famous Historic Sites In Louisiana
Marksville Prehistoric Indigenous Peoples Site
One of the best outdoor landmarks in Louisiana is the Marksville Prehistoric Indigenous Peoples Site. It is located on 42 acres and features displays of Marksville’s ancient history and culture.
Several earthworks have contributed to the site’s current status as a National Historic Landmark. This type of earthwork is commonly attributed to the ancient peoples of southeast North America. Nowadays, you can join private excursions to learn more about these discoveries and gain a deeper insight into the indigenous population.
Poverty Point was a large 72-foot-tall mound that humans constructed between 1650 and 1100 B.C. This is one of the more peculiar historic sites in Louisiana.
There are no surviving written accounts of the lives of the area’s first occupants, but archeologists always uncover fresh information that helps them reconstruct those lives.
This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and National Historic Landmark that is still in constant exploration. You can visit it to embark on a discovery journey into this ancient city, and enjoy the surrounding natural scenery.
There are plenty of fun things to do in the city of New Orleans itself, but don’t miss out on the day trips you can take to learn more about the region’s history and culture.
Just seven miles from the French Quarter, the Chalmette Battlefield provides a dramatic insight into the legendary fight.
Out of all the landmarks in Louisiana, this place is great for individuals who are curious about the military history of the region. You can even take a guided tour for a deeper insight into the past.
The Chalmette National Cemetery is also nearby where brave soldiers are laid to rest. If you just want to get out of the city and enjoy some fresh air and a new perspective, this free historic site in Louisiana is a great option.
The Whitney Plantation
The Whitney Plantation, established in 1803, is one of many famous Louisiana monuments with a dark past as a sugar-cane plantation owned and maintained by slaves.
The plantation has changed hands several times over its nearly 200-year existence, but it has been a museum since 2014.
This museum was the very first of its sort ever built. Its focus is not on the plantation’s aesthetic value but on slavery. It provides visitors with a comprehensive and, at times, uncomfortable historical education. Nonetheless, this is a very important site to visit, learn and reflect.
Oak Alley Plantation
Oak Alley Plantation is one of the famous historic sites in Louisiana. An avenue of southern live oak trees greets visitors as they stroll in. This beautiful 800 feet (240 meters) lane was initially planted in the early 18th century giving Oak Alley its distinctive appearance and consequently its name.
The architectural and landscape features and the 1846–47 grafting of pecan trees by a gardener all contribute to the property’s designation as one of the National Historic sites in Louisiana. As you can imagine, many guided tours visit this site and provide really in-depth stories of the history.
Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site
The Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Park is where you can go to uncover the cultural significance and history of the Bayou Techi region. Historically, the area has been home to various peoples, from the indigenous Creole and Acadians to the Spanish and French colonists who later arrived.
This location has drawn tourists across the United States since its recognition in the 1930s as one of the major landmarks in Louisiana. You can explore the cross-cultural influence brought in by the different groups of settlers throughout history.
Beyond the history, this natural area is also great for outdoor activities such as boating, fishing hiking and even playing disc golf.
LANDMARKS IN USA
Other Famous Landmarks In Louisiana
Old Louisiana State Capitol
Located in Louisiana’s capital city of Baton Rouge, the Old Louisiana State Capitol is a government structure with historical significance now a museum. After being built in the mid-19th century, it served as the home of the Louisiana State Legislature until the new capitol tower was built in 1929–1932.
Some locals call it the Louisiana Castle or the Castle of Baton Rouge due to its fortress-like appearance and layout. Others refer to it as the Museum of Political History with its current function.
Still, it is most commonly known as the old capitol building. In Louisiana, the “Old State Capitol” refers to the actual edifice rather than either of the two cities that have held the title of the capital city in the state’s history (New Orleans and Donaldsonville).
Mardi Gras World
One of the things Louisiana is known for is the Madi Gras festival and carnival. However, not everyone gets to visit during that time of the year.
Nonetheless, you can always expect Mardi Gras World to be open in New Orleans. It is one of the city’s most popular year-round attractions showing this carnival.
Each trip to New Orleans should include a stop at this museum. See the creation of the parade floats firsthand by taking a tour of Mardi Gras World, away from the madding crowd. It is a must-visit site in Louisiana if you are keen to dive into a big part of the state’s culture.
The Louisiana State Museum
There is no other museum quite like the Louisiana State Museum. This museum takes you on an exciting journey rather than cramming all its exhibits into a single building.
For one thing, the State Museum is throughout the state! It is a collection of 9 museums scattered across the region. There are so many Louisiana historical sites and museums to see. A trip to Louisiana means you are ready to enjoy yourself fully.
The ones in New Orleans are recommended as a starting point because most exhibits relate to Louisiana history. These include the Cabildo, the Presbytere, New Orleans Jazz Museum, 11850 House, and Madame John’s Legacy. And honestly, even just visiting these will already give you an immense amount of insights into the state.
Discovering The Famous Landmarks In Louisiana
The historic sites in Louisiana across the state offer a glimpse into its rich history, as well as its cultural and natural diversity. Whether it’s visiting one of the many museums or taking a tour of the plantations, they offer an interesting and educational experience that is not just fun but meaningful for all visitors.
Be sure to plan a trip down yourself and dive deep into the various landmarks of Louisiana. You will come away with a deeper appreciation for all that this great state has to offer!