Welcome to St. Landry Parish
The St. Landry Parish Visitor Information Center located at I-49 Exit 23, was opened in 2011 as one of the first visitor centers in the state designed to be an attraction in itself. The Center is an award winning example of how sustainable practices can and should be incorporated in the design and function of a building as well as a state certified welcome center.
From its orientation on the property to the materials used for construction, much attention was given as to how both old and new practices could be used to tell the story of St. Landry Parish. As one of the largest and oldest parishes in Louisiana, St. Landry’s rich history has been well preserved for visitors to see today. The building is used to start that conversation about who we are and where we came from. We tell about unique Louisiana practices like bousillage and how that relates to our use of processed cardboard and newspaper for insulation. We’ve incorporated reclaimed materials such as the long leaf pine used as flooring in our lobby and the hand made bricks reused on our exterior wall.
Tours are available to learn more about the building and the landscape design that plays an integral part in this project utilizing indigenous plantings and trees from St. Landry Parish, reflecting several of Louisiana’s ecosystems.
“This project is an affirmation of how far the travel and tourism industry in St. Landry Parish has come,” reflected Celeste Gomez, Director of the St. Landry Parish Tourist Commission. “We have identified that visitors come to St. Landry Parish to experience our traditional way of life – the ways that come naturally to us – our friendliness, our food, our music, our culture. This venue allows us to better serve our visitors in telling our story and to ensure that they explore and experience all that St. Landry Parish has to offer.”
As a Gateway to the Atchafalaya Basin, St. Landry Parish provides adventures where culture and nature blend through enduring traditions. Many visit the area to engage in the rich traditions of the Cajun and Creole cultures, from the cuisine to Cajun and zydeco music. Paddlers can explore our historic bayous, the Teche and Courtableau, and cyclists pedal our scenic back roads year around.
The newest addition to the St. Landry Parish Visitor Center is the Amédé Ardoin Commemorative, a 1,500 lb. carved steel statue of the iconic Louisiana musician, Amédé Ardoin. This public sculpture was designed by award-winning artist, Russell Whiting, and was made possible by members of the Amédé Ardoin Project Committee. The project honors one of the earliest French-speaking Creole musicians to commercially record his songs and the first to build a library of over 30 recordings with national labels. According to music expert Herman Fuselier, “Amédé crafted tunes that poured the foundation for Cajun music and zydeco. Today, every Cajun and Creole band plays the ‘Eunice Two Step.’ It was first recorded by Amédé Ardoin and fiddler Dennis McGee in 1929.” Unfortunately, Ardoin’s career quickly took a tragic turn when a racial assault left him with a brain stem injury, resulting in institutionalization and death. Today he is buried in an unmarked grave on the grounds of the Central Louisiana Hospital in Pineville, LA. The Amédé Ardoin Project Committee formed with the purpose of symbolically bringing him home through this public memorial.
Architects: Ashe, Broussard, Weinzettle and Edward Cazayoux, FAIA of EnvironMental Designs
2012 Gold Winner, Architecture-Commercial by The Independent, INDesign Awards
2012 Honor Award by the American Institute of Architects, Louisiana Affiliate
2012 Member’s Choice Award by the American Institute of Architects, Louisiana Affiliate
2013 Favorite Place to be Inspired by Country Roads Magazine Annual Readers- Choice Favorite Things Survey
2016 Honor Award in General Design by American Society of Landscape Architects
Visitor Center Hours: Monday-Saturday 9am-5pm
Monday – Saturday
9am to 5pm
978 Kennerson Road
(I-49 exit 23)
P.O. Box 1415
Opelousas, LA 70570