8 Non-'Duck Dynasty' Reasons to Visit Louisiana

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The Lt. Governor of Louisiana makes a pretty compelling case for America's favorite beleaguered reality series,  Duck Dynasty . According to Jay Dardenne, the A&E series, which stars recent social lightning rob Phil Robertson, is integral to Louisiana's tourism industry. If you ask us, Dardenne's not giving his home state enough credit. While it's incredibly essential to maintain the state's source of income, we'd argue that even without Duck Dynasty, folks would have plenty of reasons to visit the Southern state.

"Regardless of one's views on Phil Robertson's statements, Duck Dynasty has been an important representation of the state of Louisiana, inspiring prospective visitors and investors since its debut," said Dardenne in a statement released Saturday. But with the hateful comments Robertson made to GQ just last week in which he compared homosexuality to bestiality, we'd hope that tourists might find alternate travel inspiration in Louisiana's wealth of attractions, natural resources, and drive-thrus that serve up non-virgin strawberry daiquiris (yes, really). Even without counting the numerous attractions in New Orleans, the state is practical a travel mecca of culinary delights, music, and nature.

So, sure. If you must visit Louisiana on a mission for your very own duck-pattern bandanna or a whistle that mimics the ubiquitous creature's cry, then do your thing. Just know, there's so much more to be seen.

New Orleans-Style Praline Candies

If you'd like to know what it's like to eat candy that tastes like sex feels, you should probably head on down to New Orleans where these seemingly simple praline candies can be found in just about every shop in town. When you find the right one (Aunt Sally's and Southern Candy Makers are solid options), you'll know that heaven is indeed a place on Earth.

Gator Tours

If you'd like to live on the wild side, but don't plan on actually risking your life, companies throughout Louisiana offer boat tours that steer tourists through the lush nature that flourishes throughout the state. Some tour guides even have backgrounds in Zoology and Botany and can offer an educated look at the wondrous natural beauty. And while there are many tours that leave from the outskirts of New Orleans, these boat rides are available throughout the state.

Star-Gazing

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Louisiana serves as the filming location for plenty of films (thanks in great deal to the heavy tax breaks for film makers), so rather than trekking off to Los Angeles — which has its own merits but doesn't boast life-changing gumbo or po' boy sandwiches — visit Louisiana, where recent projects include Django Unchained, 22 Jump Street, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Dallas Buyers Club, and ABC's Family's series Ravenswood.

Sazeracs

Novice drinkers will tell you to go for New Orleans' famous hurricane rum cocktail, but I can tell you (from copious experimentation) that the hangover is not worth the sugary goodness and novelty cups in which most Bourbon Street haunts serve them. Instead, go for the Crecent City's other creation, the Sazerac. Supposedly the oldest American cocktail, the Sazerac is a delicious, yet potent whiskey cocktail made to perfection throughout New Orleans.

If you want to do it up right, visit the Roosevelt Hotel's Sazerac Bar. It's filled with art and dark accents, so you'll feel like one hell of a classy lady.

American Idol History

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Did you know that former judge Randy Jackson is from Louisiana? And did you also know that 2014 judge Harry Connick, Jr. is as well? Get on it, Idol fans. I promise your first real bowl of gumbo will be more rewarding than another trip to the Idols Live! tour.

Glorious Caloric Intake

There is no such thing as a diet when you're visiting Louisiana. Any trip to the Southern state doubles as an order to stuff your face with the most savory, delicious meals you can imagine. From shrimp and grits (above), to po' boy sandwiches, fried gator and catfish, to muffulettas, craw-fish ettoufee and jambalaya, there is literally only one way to go wrong and that's ordering a plain ol' salad.

And while New Orleans is famous for its breadth of culinary delights, you can find top-notch iterations of most classic Louisiana dishes throughout the state. Besides, when you're in doubt, gumbo is never a bad option.

Music Everywhere

Louisiana is responsible for troves of famous jazz musicians and singers, including the aforementioned Connick, Jr. Throughout the state, you'll find incredible musicians playing just for the love of music and in New Orleans, you can turn any corner in the French Quarter and happen upon some spontaneous jazz.

Beauty, In General

Whether you're exploring the bayou or walking the streets of the French Quarter or ogling the lavish homes in the Garden District, Louisiana is a beautiful state and whether you're a fan of Duck Dynasty or not, is beauty a far better reason than a fleeting reality show to visit any place?

Images: Flickr/rick; Flickr/Madeline_H; Flickr/Infrogmation; Flickr/vxla; Flickr/ Beadmobile