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Sulphur, Louisiana

St. Martin Parish

Crawdads and Cajuns lure visitors to this slice of Acadiana

St. Martin Parish is a feast for travelers who want to savor Cajun hospitality with a side of outdoor adventure and a hearty helping of history. Known as the gateway to the Atchafalaya Basin, this fabled region is the “Crawfish Capital of the World,” the cradle of Cajun culture and the inspiration for an 1847 poem by author Henry Wadsworth Longfellow that recounts the tribulations endured by the Acadian people.

Living History in St. Martin


The seeds of St. Martin’s Cajun identity were sewn when the British drove the French-speaking Acadian people from Canada’s Maritime Provinces during the French and Indian War. Acadians dispersed across North America, many settling in Louisiana in 1765. The tragic tale of two lovers separated in the turbulent expulsion was told by poet Longfellow in his 1847 masterpiece, “Evangeline, a Tale of Acadie.” An ancient live oak in St. Martinville bears the poem’s name and is the centerpiece of Evangeline Oak Park, a popular spot in the city. The legacy of the French-speaking Acadians lives on in the area’s accents, cuisine and customs.

This vibrant mix of peoples and customs is celebrated at the Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site, an area said to be the meeting place of the poem’s two ill-fated lovers, Evangeline and Gabriel (we won’t spoil the poem’s ending here — go online or visit a library to find out).

The Beginnings of Cajun Culture

Arnaudville, on the northwest border of the parish, is one of the oldest towns in the state and a proud preserver of Cajun heritage. From food to fiddle music to fishing on the bayous, Arnaudville finds reasons to celebrate year-round. Join residents for the annual étouffée festival or rural arts celebration, Le Feu et l’Eau.

Crawfish Kingdom

Call them mudbugs, crayfish, crawfish or crawdaddies, the little crustaceans that subsist in the area’s waters feature prominently in the menus of the charming town of Breaux Bridge, 13 miles to the north of St. Martinsville. The Acadian-founded town’s eateries were the first to offer crawfish, and Breaux Bridge today is proud to be known as the crawfish capital. The city celebrates its annual crawfish festival in late spring, with music and family activities — as well as food.

Back to the Basin

The Atchafalaya Basin is a primordial mix of wetlands, bayous, marshes, estuaries and river delta. Sometimes called “America’s Wetland,” the basin stretches 150 miles north and south and 20 miles east and west. The area is a prized destination for fishing and alligator hunting. Recreation is on offer through boating, kayaking, canoeing and airboat tours. Learn more about the basin and its inhabitants on a trip to the Atchafalaya Welcome Center, just east of Henderson.

For More Information

St. Martin Parish Tourist Commission



Louisiana Office of Tourism