"We strive to keep the heart and heritage of the Atchafalaya burning by supporting, sponsoring, and passing a bon temps with our partners, friends, and family at the many fine events throughout our region."

Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser welcomes in October with the annual decree declaring it Atchafalaya Month. So come on and visit “America’s Foreign Country” where you can Feed Your Soul by experiencing the sites, flavors, and fun of the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area. You just can’t beat Louisiana’s festival seasons, and October is the month for food, fun, heritage, and family.

“The Atchafalaya National Heritage Area is one of our state’s most popular tourist attractions,” said Lieutenant. Governor Billy Nungesser. “There’s so much to see and do from the swamps of the Atchafalaya Basin to the zydeco music and Cajun culture down the bayou in Lafayette to the blues and soul music in Baton Rouge and everywhere in between, there is something for everyone.”

Atchafalaya National Heritage Area Executive Director Steven Fullen says, "Sometimes you can't get your head around all of the festivals in Louisiana. That is why we work to highlight our own home grown Atchafalaya events during October. We strive to keep the heart and heritage of the Atchafalaya burning by supporting, sponsoring, and passing a bon temps with our partners, friends, and family at the many fine events throughout our region. During Atchafalaya Month you can dress up, shake your tail feathers, and preserve our heritage while learning about what was, is, and will be forever our home.”

One of the major events during Atchafalaya Month is the Tour du Teche 135, the annual paddle race sponsored by the TECHE Project. In Iberville Parish, you can learn about native plants, see and buy local handicrafts and art, watch flint-knapping demonstrations, listen to live Cajun Zydeco music and taste samples of home-cooked dishes and desserts by local residents at Iberville’s Swamp Life Expo. If you’re a history buff, you can head over to West Baton Rouge Parish and immerse yourself in the history of the sugar plantation at West Baton Rouge Museum’s Sugar Fest, and, once you finish that, head back to St. Martin Parish and taste some of the best gumbo ever made in Breaux Bridge at the World Championship Gumbo Cook-off.

That gumbo’s guaranteed to keep you dancing all the way down to Houma’s 15th annual “Hearing the Voice of the Wetlands” festival at the Ponderosa, where Tab Benoit will lead the crowd in learning about our shrinking coast while ushering in a great time of music, food and art. Let’s not forget Lafayette’s “Festivals Acadiens et Creoles,” where you can dance, eat and sing the day away while learning about your roots. Finally, round out your month back in Breaux Bridge at the Teche Project’s 7th annual “Shake Your Trail Feather Festival” where you can hear all about the Teche-Vermilion Freshwater District, dance to beat of Cedryl Ballou and the Zydeco Trendsetters all while learning about the paddling opportunities on and importance of Bayou Teche and Bayou Vermilion.

If all this isn’t enough, dust off your scariest Halloween costume and head to the Rougarou Fest in Houma to celebrate our very own mysterious swamp legend. To add even more Halloween fun, Arnaudville invites you to the Atelier De La Nature “Halloween & Art Festival.” You and your family can hit the art booth and make some very buggy art, paint your faces and have a spooktacular time. There is so much more in store for you, your kids and friends during Atchafalaya Month in the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area.

If you would like more information, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area staff at http://atchafalaya.org or 225-342-1211. We'll get you all the details of our partners' fantastic festivals, balls and events in October.

Contributed by the Office of the Lt. Gov.