- The Washington Times - Friday, July 18, 2003

New Orleans’ Louis Armstrong International Airport has regular connections to and from Washington with American, Continental, Delta and Southwest Airlines. The airport is about 25 minutes from the city center.

Car rentals from most major agencies are available at the airport and downtown. Mileage for a trip down the Cajun Highway and back to New Orleans with a few diversions should be about 600 miles.

U.S. 90 begins just south of the city, heading across the Greater New Orleans bridge to the West Bank. From there, follow the signs and turn south on U.S. 90. It is about 150 miles to Lafayette and 200 miles to Mamou.

Where to stay

Outside of New Orleans, Houma and Lafayette offer the largest range of rooms, from the large hotel chains to small, charming bed-and-breakfasts. Both are great bases and stopping points for exploring nearby areas. In between are a variety of options and bed-and-breakfasts in small towns and villages just off the highway.

In Lafayette, the Best Western-run Hotel Acadiana, 1801 W. Pinhook Road, 800/826-8386, offers great amenities and location at a reasonable price. On the other end of the spectrum, the Maison Mouton Bed and Breakfast, 402 Garfield St., 337/234-4661, www.maisonmouton.com, offers 12 rooms in a Colonial home near downtown. Regular rooms begin at $59.

Near Houma, Wildlife Gardens, 5306 N. Bayou Black Drive in Gibson, 985/575-3676, www.wildlifegardens.com, offers four cabin bed-and-breakfasts in a quiet swamp where you can feed alligators from your porch. Cabins start at $80 per night.

For the adventurous, Lake Fausse Point State Park, 5400 Levee Road, St. Martinville, 337/229-4764, offers 50 modern campsites, 18 cabins and boat-in and hike-in primitive camping. Set deep in the Atchafalaya Basin, it is far from nowhere and teeming with wildlife.

Cajun Houseboats and Rentals Inc., 800 David Drive, Suite 102, Morgan City, 888/508-5031, www.cajunhouseboats.com, offers the unique option of staying in a houseboat in the swamps of the Atchafalaya Basin.

The small and charming Bienvenue House, 421 N. Main St., St. Martinville, 888/394-9100, www.bienvenuehouse.com, offers four themed rooms starting at $95 per night.

In Broussard, La Grande Maison, 302 E. Main St., 800/829-5633, www.lagrandemaison.com, offers five rooms in a Victorian home from $85 to $195.

The Hotel Cazan on Sixth Street in Mamou, 318/468-7187, is a great place for the adventurous to spend a Friday night. Right across the street from the famous Fred’s Lounge, this bank-turned-hotel hasn’t changed much since 1946. A double room with one bed starts at $20.

Where to eat

While great food is easily found anywhere in Cajun country, there are many, many roadside establishments, each serving its own style of po’ boys, boudin (sausage) and cracklins (pork rinds).

In Houma, A-Bear’s Restaurant, 809 Bayou Black Drive (Louisiana 311 at U.S. 90), 504/872-6306, serves all-you-can-eat fried catfish and Cajun music on Friday nights.

Just north of Lafayette on U.S. 90/Interstate 49, Prejean’s, 3480 I-49 North, 337/896-3247, www.prejeans.com, serves some of the best Cajun fare in the region.

Further off the highway in Lafayette, Randol’s, 2320 Kaliste Saloom Road, 337/981-7080, www.randols.com, offers Cajun fried and boiled seafood as well as nightly live Cajun bands with dancing. There’s a great ambience, and it’s really popular with visitors.

Chef Roy’s Frog City Cafe, 1131 Church Point Highway in Rayne, 800/288-4630, www.chefroy.com, is a great place to try local variations on frog dishes.

For more information

• St. Mary Parish: www.cajuncoast.com

• Houma official visitor information: www.houmatourism.com

• Official Lafayette tourism site: www.lafayettetravel.com

• Le Guide Acadiana: www.leguideacadiana.com

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