In Louisiana, lore and history aren’t only in books but woven into everyday life’s tapestry.
Find a thriving escape of rich culture in Eunice, Louisiana, a lively city that celebrates its past and calls itself the Prairie Cajun Capital.
Eunice lies amidst rice fields and crawfish ponds shining in the sun, adorned with the prairie’s vivid wildflowers.
It allows visitors and residents to learn the story of the area’s rich Cajun culture.
Meet legends at the Savoy Music Center and continue your tour at the downtown radio station, KBON 101.1.
The Liberty Center lets you step back in time, and the Prairie Acadian Cultural Center shares the history of the Acadian people.
Eunice is also famous for its spectacular Mardi Gras Celebration, the Courir de Mardi Gras, and the world championship Crawfish Etouffee Cook-off.
Eunice is home to the University of Louisiana at Eunice, which boasts championship national softball and baseball teams.
Here are the best things to do in Eunice, LA:
Join the Colorful Courir de Mardi Gras
People know Eunice for its spectacular Mardi Gras Celebration, unlike any other.
It’s called Courir de Mardi Gras.
See revelers who dress in colorful handmade costumes, dance through the countryside, knock on doors, chase chickens, and participate in merry mischief-making.
During the courir, riders go from house to house begging for donations to contribute to a community-wide gumbo.
This tradition dates back to medieval France, where the poor would put on masks and conical caps called capuchins and perform lively performances in exchange for gifts.
This event’s highlight is the chicken run, where the captaine or leader releases a chicken or guinea, and participants compete to catch the fowl.
After snacking on spicy sausage boudin, the revelers form a human pyramid, scaling a greased 25-foot pole with a chicken perched on a wooden plank.
Courir de Mardi Gras may be rowdy, but it’s a vital nod to Cajun culture and the surrounding community.
Relive History at the Eunice Depot Museum
The Eunice Depot Museum is the city’s birthplace.
In September 1894, developer CC Duson auctioned 150 lots that formed the town.
He named it Eunice after his wife, Eunice Pharr Duson.
They completed restoring and converting this old train depot into a museum in 1984.
Today, the museum is on the National Register of Historic Places, with extensive collections dedicated to the town’s founding and unique culture as the Prairie Cajun Capital.
The museum is a time capsule for clothing, home goods, toys, tools, and antique items depicting the life of early settlers.
Other collections include the local Cajun and Native American cultures, Railroad Items, Pioneer Farming, Country Zydeco Music, and more.
It has a Courir de Mardi Gras exhibit summarizing the history of the rituals and the revelers’ colorful clothing during carnival season.
Celebrate Cajun Culture at the Prairie Acadian Cultural Center
When the Acadian exiles from Nova Scotia, Canada, settled Louisiana’s prairies, they developed a singular cultural mix of Creole, cowboy, and Cajun.
The Prairie Acadian Cultural Center tells the story of these Acadian people who settled in the prairie region of southwest Louisiana.
The center tells its story through exhibits, ranger programs, and films, featuring craft and cooking demonstrations, dancing for everyone, and local musicians.
See meticulously assembled crafts and exhibits that interpret the Cajuns’ history, language, and music.
Visit their Mardi Gras exhibit to see photos and costumes, listen to audio recordings, and trace the history of rural celebrations.
Kids can explore the center and earn badges with the Junior Ranger program.
The park store also sells craft items, cookbooks, children’s stories, and CDs.
One of these CDs is “From One Generation to the Next,” telling the story of Creole and Cajun music in Louisiana.
Shop Local at the Eunice Farmers’ Market
Eunice has plenty of cute and comfortable shops where you can hunt down just about anything.
For instance, see pretty ladies’ clothing at the Deshotel’s Junior and Missy Shop and hunt for cool souvenirs at the Sacred Heart Gift Shop.
Eunice Farmer’s Market is a place for seasonal garden fruits and vegetables, pickles, jellies, jams, bread, honey, sweet dough pies, and other treats.
Beaucoup is a mini boutique mall featuring handmade items and gifts such as religious items, rosaries, holy water fonts, and original art.
Likewise, you’ll find Mardi Gras costumes and masks, handmade jewelry, gourmet snacks, and seasonal gifts.
Gossip Boutique specializes in clothing for contemporary young ladies and carries accessories, gifts, and purses for all ages.
City Auto Antiques houses a vast collection of vintage furniture where you can find wood furniture, vintage signage, antique glassware, cast iron cookware, and décor.
Meet Legends at the Cajun Music Hall of Fame Museum
When you visit the city of Eunice, you will find yourself surrounded by Cajun French music: radio stations, old vaudeville barns, and jam sessions.
To stock up on Cajun music knowledge, visit this brilliant spot to know its history and roots.
The Cajun Music Hall of Fame Museum offers visitors a fantastic look at bayou culture, featuring and preserving items from different periods to tell a story.
The museum has many artifacts, vintage musical instruments, and memorabilia on display relating to Cajun music and culture.
Cajun music fans will see the names of some greats, such as Denis Mcgee, Joe Falcon, Irv Lejeune, and the first female to record Cajun music, guitarist and singer Cleoma Falcon.
The museum’s walls hum with stories and biographical sketches of these musical legends.
The Hall of Fame adds more musicians every year.
See a Show at the Liberty Center for the Performing Arts
The Liberty Theatre opened in 1920 and moved in 1924.
Its former name was Southwest Louisiana’s Premier Temple of Amusement.
The theatre had 1,000 seats, an exterior sometimes described as Sullivanesque, and an interior resulting from a 1930s Art Deco style remodel.
Today, it’s called the Liberty Center for the Performing Arts.
It is home to a collection of live demonstrations, the Eunice Community Concert Band, and the Rendez-Vous de Cajuns television and radio show.
The Rendez-Vous de Cajuns is an internationally known radio show hosted in French with enough English to follow.
It hosts performances featuring zydeco and Cajun music and humorists.
Famous folks who have appeared live at the theatre through the years are the Bowery Boys, Fatty Arbuckle, Tex Ritter, and Lash LaRue.
The theatre’s dance floor is also perfect for practicing the Cajun waltz and the two-step.
Get a Workout at Cajun Fitness
Cajun Fitness aims to give members the absolute best chance to maintain and enjoy healthy living and robust lifestyles.
Their Bootcamp Training incorporates calisthenic exercises like pullups, pushups, and crunches, as well as strength building and aerobic sprints.
Their High-Intensity Interval Training has two 30-minute options.
The first is Grit, which focuses on building strength and increasing lean muscle through body weight.
Then, you have Sprint, which burns calories, toning, and improves cardiovascular fitness.
Their Les Mills Body Pump Class gathers the equipment you need, including a bar, a bench top, weight plates of various sizes, and hand weights.
Go Jamming at the Savoy Music Center
Famed accordion craftsman Mark Savoy opened this music center in 1965.
Since then, it has become a renowned spot for musicians and travelers.
It is the perfect spot for Louisiana music fans, with books, recordings, instruments, and supplies for all kinds of musicians.
You’ll also see Marc’s beautiful hand-crafted accordions.
Browse a collection of zydeco and Cajun CDs, books, gifts, and brightly colored postcards by Marc’s daughter, Gabrielle.
Meet Marc’s wife, Ann, who wrote Cajun Music: A Reflection of the People.
She’s also the singer/musician for bands like the Magnolia Sisters and Savoy Family Band.
Join the traditional Savoy Jam Session, led by accordionists and Cajun fiddlers, for a cultural exchange of tunes, tips, and stories.
This jam session has appeared on National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and Good Morning America.
Pitch a Tent at Cajun Campground
Cajun Campground spans 40 acres, providing camping fun for residents and tourists for over 30 years.
The campground comprises 135 camping sites, most of which have full hookups with lots of space between campers.
They can accommodate group camping with one of five pavilions available, and they also have seven cabins with kitchenettes and bathrooms.
The mature trees throughout the campground give a tremendous outdoor feeling while boiling crawfish, grilling steaks, barbecuing, and cooking fish.
Families and friends can relax indoors in the game room while playing arcade games and rounds at the pool.
There is also a large area for older children to go biking and a vast playground for younger children.
There is a nature trail for those who love taking strolls, and for avid anglers, there is a pond.
There are also mini-golf, paddleboats, and an in-ground pool for the entire family.
Visit the Louisiana State University at Eunice Campus
Louisiana State University at Eunice or LSUE originally belonged to the Arnold LeDoux family, who donated 50 acres to establish a campus.
The University then purchased an additional 50 acres and gained another 95.83 acres for more expansion.
In 1964, the Louisiana State Legislature founded the University to provide higher education to southwest Louisiana students.
The campus is in Arcadia Parish, in a fertile section of Southwest Louisiana called “the tri-parish area.”
The University enrolls 4000 part-time and full students, with the highest transfer rates among the two-year institutions in the state.
Unwind at Lakeview Park and Beach
Lakeview Park and Beach is an award-winning camping resort with outdoor and indoor cultural activities for the entire crew year-round.
The park is just three miles north of Eunice, a camper’s nirvana complete with a natural swimming pond, beach, playground, 13-acre fishing pond, and pavilions.
There is also a Cajun and zydeco music dance hall where you can celebrate seasonal barn dances and a Cajun New Year’s Dance.
Accommodations include 95 full hookup, big rig-friendly RV sites with water, electricity, and sewer, and eight renovated cottages with a kitchen and modern amenities.
Find laundry facilities on-site and an available stall with handmade crafts and camping items on sale.
Campers can chill at the freshwater pond in the summer.
From February through November, zydeco and honky-tonk bands play in the old barn-turned-dance hall for a Saturday night fais-do-do.
During Mardi Gras, Lakeview opens the bar throughout the week for dancing, music, and even a Lundi Gras Boucherie.
Enjoy Louisiana Delicacies at the Crawfish Etouffee Cookoff
Eunice is in the heart of the top crawfish-producing region in the United States.
In 1986, residents started the World Championship Etouffee Cookoff to showcase Eunice’s crawfish industry and local chefs.
This cookoff is one of the best ways to taste crawfish in Louisiana.
Teams compete to see who can cook the finest crawfish etouffee in 3 categories: Professional, Amateur, and Club/Organization.
Teams also vie for the awards of People’s Choice and Best Decorated Booth, with entries getting more and more creative each year.
Once the judges have tasted the samples from each booth, the community can buy crawfish directly from participants.
Attendees can also enjoy live Cajun and zydeco music, lots of dancing, and course, as much etouffee as they want.
Also available are a petting zoo, pony rides, arts and crafts, fun jumps, and activities for the whole family.
Toast to the Good Times at the Boot Brew Fest
The Boot Brew Fest is an event in Eunice on the Sunday after Easter, a vibrant gathering of homebrewers from across the region.
It features educational opportunities for novice brewers and celebrates the best amateur brewers in the Gulf South.
Early in the day, they host a brewing exhibition and question-and-answer session.
Learn about sparging, mashing, boiling, cooling wort, and transferring it to the fermenter.
The festival then opens for VIP access, providing beer from various Louisiana homebrewers and the surrounding areas.
During the Beer Festival, they request attendees to vote for their favorite beers.
The winner gets a People’s Choice Best Brewer medal, while the winning tent gets a People’s Choice Best Club medal.
The Awards Ceremony starts approximately 30 minutes after the festival is complete, after which you can listen to live bands in the Barn Awards.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Revisit the Past at the Opelousas Museum and Interpretive Center
The Opelousas Museum and Interpretive Center preserves, collects, and interprets objects about Opelousas’ history and culture, from prehistory to the present.
It’s 28 minutes from Eunice.
See a variety of exhibits and archives that celebrate Cajun and Creole cuisine and exquisite artifacts from the area’s indigenous people.
View photographs and tools of trade sketching out the legacies of Chef Paul Prudhomme, international musician Clifton Chenier, ambassador James Joseph, etc.
See the Rodney Milburn exhibit, presenting great memorabilia from this Olympic gold medal record-breaker.
Browse displays of textiles, typewriters, antique accordions, and many more treasures from the past of Opelousas.
Explore this vivid heritage and hear the stories at the Opelousas Museum and Interpretive Center.
Listen to Touching Stories at the Louisiana Orphan Train Museum
The Louisiana Orphan Train Museum is a must-see attraction in Opelousas, Louisiana, 26 minutes from Eunice.
It’s dedicated to preserving and collecting the story of the orphan train riders.
Between 1854 and 1929, the charity institutions of the Children’s Aid Society and the New York Foundling Hospital pooled resources.
They aimed to aid over 250,000 children abandoned on the streets of New York City.
They hatched a plan to take as many New York children off the streets as possible and bring them to rural homes all across the country.
The Sisters of Charity entreated Catholic priests nationwide to help identify good Catholic homes that could receive their charges.
This Orphan Train Movement has received recognition as the seed of the foster care system, bringing over 2,000 Orphan Train Riders to Louisiana.
Today, you can see an extensive collection of clothing, original documents, and images on display at the museum.
Many of its volunteers are the orphan train riders’ descendants.
On the grounds, you can also see many statues and the Orphan Train mural that depicts the riders’ arrival.
Louisiana’s past is well-preserved in its food, architecture, music, lifestyle, festivals, and fine arts, all of which you will find in Eunice.
The state is fond of the phrase “let the good times roll,” and you will embody this as you explore the city.
Explore traditions, touch history, and let them inspire you during your trip to Eunice.
Book your trip today!