Only In Louisiana
Visitors to Louisiana may think they know what to expect from our state – fresh seafood, poboys, jazz, Mardi Gras – but Louisiana is nothing if not unique. Alongside all the traditional must-sees are quirky and weird sights and experiences like you’ll only find Louisiana.
Napoleon’s Death Mask
Louisiana is well known for its masks, especially during Mardi Gras season. However, the state is also the holder of a rare bronze death mask of Napoleon Bonaparte, casted by his physician Dr. Francois Carlo Antommarchi. It is one of only four bronze death masks are known to exist.
Legend has it, after Napoleon’s exile, New Orleans was willing to offer asylum. The self-declared emperor of France never made it to Louisiana, but the mask did. It has a well-traveled life, including the time it was nearly tossed out in the trash during renovations to Gallier Hall in 1866. If you want to come face-to-face with Napoleon, you can now see it at the historic Cabildo Building located in Jackson Square.
Bonnie & Clyde Ambush Museum
The Museum occupies the exact historical location in Gibsland, Louisiana, of Ma Canfield’s Café where Bonnie & Clyde dined for the last time.
Learn more about the real Bonnie and Clyde, view real artifacts, the death car replica, and eat the last meal of Bonnie and Clyde at the Bonnie and Clyde Last Stop Cafe located inside the museum.
After the museum tour and food, head over to the ambush site located 2.5 miles away on Highway 154. Be sure to go with the Louisiana Ghostin Generations paranormal team for a true paranormal experience.
DeRidder's Haunted Gothic Jail
The lighthouse at Chauvin Sculpture Garden.
The 900-year-old Buddha at Jungle Gardens.
Art, the Dalmatian's spots light up at night.
Art the Dalmatian
The 19-feet tall statue of “Art the Dalmatian” stands guard in front of the Shreveport Regional Arts Council ARTSTATION headquarters. Art is larger than life and is the brainchild of Academy Award winning filmmakers Bill Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg of Moonbot Studios. Art is covered with 254 spots that perform light shows after dark and change colors for holidays. Art the Dalmatian guards the renovated and repurposed fire station outside of the Engine Room doors of Central ARTSTATION.
The Haunted Gothic Jail
Completed in 1915 and added to the National Historic Register in 1981. The imposing three story stone structure is celebrated in the song “The Hangman’s Jail” and was the location of a double execution of convicted killers Joe Genna and Molton Brasseaux in 1928.
The story goes - Genna and Brasseaux hired taxi driver Joe Brevelle, killed him, and dumped his body in the old Pickering Mill pond. The body was found, and the men were convicted and hanged from the third-floor gallows.
The jail features a spiral staircase circling around a noose that hangs ominously, and underground tunnel that allowed prisoners to get to the courthouse next door. The Travel Channel has featured the Gothic Hanging Jail because of its peculiar reputation. Visitors have flocked to the location, and some have sworn they’ve captured photos of ghostly beings.
The Singing River
Visitors to the Mississippi River levee in downtown Baton Rouge can see the new “Sing the River” sculpture and hear the music it creates by the river currents. The sculpture is reflective (think “The Bean” in Chicago) and lights up at night. Designed by California-based artist Po Shu Wang, the sculpture is connected to sensors in the mighty Mississippi River and plays music that corresponds with the rise and fall of the water.
Smallest Church in the World
The Madonna Chapel is an 8 ft. x 8 ft. structure built in 1902 and was once featured in Ripley’s Believe It or Not! as the smallest church in the world. The Madonna Chapel was built by a poor farmer after he prayed for a sick son. When the son recovered, the farmer built this Chapel. A Catholic mass is held here once a year on August 15 for the annual Feast of the Assumption mass, which is a Catholic Holy Day.
900-Year-Old Buddha on the Bayou
There is a beautiful Buddha Shrine on the Bayou at in Avery Island, Louisiana. Why?
The story began nearly 90 years ago on the McIlhenny Family property has produced Tabasco Hot Pepper Sauce for more than 150 years. Avery Island includes not only is the Tabasco Factory, but also Jungle Gardens, a beautiful 170-acre botanical garden and bird sanctuary.
In 1936, Jungle Garden founder E.A. McIlhenny (affectionately known as “Mr. Ned”) received a magnificent Buddha statue as a surprise gift from two of his friends in New York City. After discovering the statue in a Manhattan warehouse (where it had sat unclaimed for years), they shipped it to Mr. Ned by rail – hoping that it would find a suitable home among the Asian flora of his gardens.
The Buddha quickly became a focal point for visitors and still serves as a centerpiece at the Gardens. In recent years, the shrine has become an active place of worship for local Buddhists, who conduct a number of ceremonies there throughout the year – most notably on Buddha’s birthday (April 8).
Chauvin Sculpture Garden & Art – Chauvin
Along the banks of Bayou Petit Caillou in Terrebonne Parish, a 45-foot tall brick lighthouse guides visitors to a treasure of modern American folk art by outside artist Kenny Hill as well as a mystery. Hill’s religious and personal struggle gave birth to this eclectic collection of concrete angels. And then, one day in 2000, Hill left this artistic work place, never to be seen again. The artwork has been carefully restored and is now home to an art studio and small museum run by Nicholls State University. This sculpture garden offers weird, wonderful, and beautiful things to see and savor in a fairly small space.