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Authentic Louisiana. The real thing. The Louisiana you don’t know. An incredible land in so many ways. The people, the culture, the beauty, the food, the parishes, the variety, and the adventure. Also, the vocabulary! Cajun. Creole. Crawfish. Acadia. Teche. Poboys. Meat pie. Gumbo. Etouffee. Jambalaya. Boudin. Beignets. Now you can discover it for yourself as we journey the backroads and bayous!

 

Day 1 – Home to Blue Springs, MO 

We travel straight south today on the first leg of our journey. We overnight in a familiar and favorite spot, the Drury Inn in Blue Springs, Missouri. 

Included Meal: Manager’s Reception 

Hotel: Drury Inn 

 

Day 2 – Blue Springs to West Little Rock, AR 

Great hot breakfast at Drury sends us on our way. Enjoy spring in full bloom as we motor through the delightful Ozark Mountains and valleys. Our first reward for being good travelers comes this evening. Murry’s Dinner Playhouse is a long-time personal choice of ours. We know you’ll enjoy the meal and the show! 

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner 

Hotel: Hampton Inn 

 

Day 3 – West Little Rock to Ruston, LA 

Grab breakfast at the hotel before we board the coach. This is a special day because we reach our ultimate destination just before lunch. Our exploration of the Backroads & Bayous of Louisiana officially begins in Ruston. First stop…Mitchum Farms. The peaches aren’t ready but the blossoms are. Ruston is home to Louisiana Tech University and we will drive through their campus. Football is king down here, so we’ll stop at the football stadium, famous for many football greats including Terry Bradshaw. Jimmy Davis is a name we’ll hear often while we are touring through The Bayou State. He is a former Governor, but maybe even more well-known as a gospel music star, composer of the song “You Are My Sunshine,” and a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. We have made special arrangements to tour the Jimmy Davis Tabernacle, a church-style structure, no longer in use, which encapsulates the memory of Governor Davis. Our included dinner this evening is a real treat! The Log Cabin Grill is a local favorite for great food! 

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner 

Hotel: Hampton Inn 

 

Day 4 – Ruston to South Shreveport, LA 

Breakfast is provided at our hotel. On our way out of town we catch a quick glimpse of another iconic college, Grambling University. We venture back to exciting and dramatic times this morning as we visit Ma Canfield’s Café, the last stop on Bonnie & Clyde’s violent journey. See much actual memorabilia of these infamous outlaws in the Ambush Museum, including the bullet ridden car on that fateful day. Driving into Minden, we immediately step back in time as we glide along Main Street paved with perfectly preserved bricks laid in 1917. Germantown Colony is next on our agenda, an intriguing rural village established in 1835. We are sure you’ve heard of Shreveport, but there is a good chance you may have never been there. Now you can mark that off your bucket list. Cultures in Louisiana are quite varied and Shreveport sets itself apart from much of the state. We tour the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium. Why, you ask? This Art Deco, 3200 seat auditorium is listed as a National Historic Landmark. It hosted the Louisiana Hayride Radio & Television Program and is significant for spawning the careers of some of the greatest names in American Country and Rock Music such as Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Jim Reeves, Johnny Horton, Elvis Presley, Floyd Cramer, and Jimmy Davis. The American Rose Center, just outside of Shreveport, is home to 20,000 rose bushes of 100 varieties in 65 separate gardens. And we get to go there!! Prepare for a wonderful evening. Following a relaxed included dinner we are privileged to attend a live Broadway performance of “South Pacific” at the historic Strand Theatre, named the “greatest theatre of the South.” Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it has been meticulously renovated and its architecture, including its stunning crystal chandeliers, is breathtaking! What a treat! 

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner 

Hotel: Holiday Inn Express Plaza 

 

Day 5 – South Shreveport to Natchitoches, LA 

Breakfast energizes us for the day as we motor straight to Natchitoches. Don’t worry – you’ll learn how to pronounce it when we get there! But you don’t need to say it right to absolutely adore one of the most charming villages you will have ever experienced. Maybe that’s why it was selected as the filming location for the iconic southern-styled movie Steel Magnolias, starring Sally Fields, Dolly Parton and Shirley MacLaine. This morning we are privileged to a fully guided, behind-the-scenes tour of all the famous filming locations and the inside story behind each. You will love this! Then it’s lunch time and we find ourselves at Lasyone’s Meat Pie Restaurant, a casual place famous for traditional Southern dishes & signature meat-filled hand pies! Right on brick paved main street is Kaffie- Frederick Mercantile, Louisiana’s oldest general store established in 1863. The store has done its best to maintain the original appearance while offering the latest in products. Mystery Surprise – a very special treat is in store for this afternoon! A memorable dinner experience is offered this evening at Maglieaux’s, located on main street and right on the Cane River! Ambience & Ambrosia!! 

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner 

Hotel: Holiday Inn Express 

 

Day 6 – Natchitoches to Lake Charles, LA 

Following breakfast at the hotel, we follow the meandering Cane River Valley to Pineville, home of Camp Beauregard and the Louisiana Military Museum. Learn the fascinating story of how Louisiana contributed to our ultimate success in World War II. Lunch is served at Lea’s Lunchroom. Never heard of this place? Well, you’ll wonder why once you’ve been there. Actually, it’s a world famous family restaurant featured on many TV shows & magazines, and is known for its dough baked hams, homemade pies, and Southern country cooking! We continue our trek along the backroads to historic Leesville and the fascinating Museum of West Louisiana, a storehouse of memories. Our next stop you’ll long remember. The Gothic Jail, celebrated in the song “The Hangman’s Jail,” is located in DeRidder. Built in 1914, it has the unique distinction of being the only penal institution in the country using Collegiate Gothic design. We are treated to a full tour. Next up, the DeQuincy Railroad Museum, a REAL Railroad Station. Heavily damaged by recent hurricanes, it has been meticulously restored to its original “era of the rails” glory. We will feel like we have stepped back into the 50’s as we sit on the benches in the waiting room and feel the thunder of the trains passing only yards away. 

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch 

Hotel: Spring Hill Suites (2 Nights) 

 

Day 7 – Lake Charles 

Breakfast awaits you at the hotel when you arise; eat heartily. A wonderful experience is ahead. A fully guided tour of the Creole Nature Trail. One of only 57 All American Roads in the US, the Nature Trail is a journey into an untamed wilderness known as Louisiana’s Outback. Right from the motorcoach we will see alligators, up to 400 species of birds and waterfowl, and other wildlife in their natural habitat. The trail includes 26 miles of Gulf of Mexico beaches and marshes, and several overwater boardwalks allowing us to get up close and personal with nature. Lunch is included at Steamboat Bill’s, widely famous as a genuine seafood eatery and well known for Cajun/creole dishes, crawfish, gulf shrimp, gumbo, and etouffee. We’ll spend some time in the Charpentier Historic District featuring blocks of turn-of-the-century buildings with turrets, towers, gables, and gingerbread accents. These unique designs became known as “The Lake Charles Style.” Later this afternoon, a fun and refreshing tour of Crying Eagle Brewery is on tap! 

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

 

Day 8 – Lake Charles to Lafayette, LA 

We stay off the freeway and take the backroads to Jennings, claiming to be the Boudin Capital of the World, so you may want to consider this specialty sausage an option for lunch. It also claims to be the “Cleanest City in Louisiana.” (You can judge that when we get there). Our first stop is the Tupper General Store. Opened in 1910, not much has changed since then. Taking a tour of the store, we will find merchandise, display, prices and atmosphere much like it was ‘back in the day!’ Combined with that is a fascinating phone museum. Lunch is of authentic selection at a local favorite eatery. Crawfish is king down here and we learn all about that on our Expert Guided Crawfish Tour and Gator Chateau. Then we continue on the backroads to Crowley, considered the Rice Capital of America. Be alert for the rice fields outside the coach windows. Crowley is a historic city boasting over 8 blocks of Victorian homes and buildings. Crowley’s official byline is: “Where Life is Rice & Easy.” Our memory banks are inspired and refreshed at the Crowley Motor Company, four centers under one roof: 1. Rice Interpretive Center, 2. Birth of Crowley, 3. Miller Music Recording Studio, & 4. Ford Auto Museum. Now on to Rayne, dubbed “Frog City” because we have another Capital of the World – Frogs! Rayne is actually the world’s largest shipper of frogs! Watch for little frog statues at businesses and street corners. One more note: Observe that all the cemeteries are above ground! 

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Manager’s Reception 

Hotel: Drury Inn (2 Nights)

 

Day 9 – Lafayette 

Eat a hearty hot breakfast this morning at the Drury. Adventure is coming! We are in the heart of Cajun Country on the Atchafalaya Swamp, the largest and most mysterious swamp in the United States. McGee’s Swamp Tours & Airboat Adventures are our hosts this morning. McGee’s is the premier guide for genuine swamp experiences. Get ready for a tour of a lifetime through moss-draped cypress trees, where graceful egrets perch just out of the reach of lingering alligators. Native Cajun tour guides will explain from personal experience what it is like to live on a houseboat or survive off the swamp. Then we head to Vermilionville, a living history village of the Acadian, Native American, and Creole cultures. We arrive just in time for a great lunch at the village where we have ample time for a guided (or self guided) tour of homes, gardens, and watching artisans in action. The village is sandwiched between Bayou Vermilion and Petit Bayou, so bayou boat tours are an option as well. Relax and enjoy this welcoming environment. Lafayette is famous for its proliferation of azaleas. Mother nature has her own timing, but it’s possible we may catch part of this season. Anyhow, we’ll travel part of the Azalea Trail on our way to the Alexandre Mouton House. This mansion is THE landmark in town and was the home of Jean Mouton, founder of Lafayette. Take a step back in time as we relive the grandeur of the Antebellum and Victorian eras. 

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Manager’s Reception 

 

Day 10 – Lafayette to Houma, LA 

What a charming and lovely backroads trek is in store today. It all starts in Breaux Bridges, “The Crawfish Capital of the World” (of course). We will be following the Bayou Teche as it makes its way to the Gulf. Inviting main streets will be the theme of the day. St. Martinville is magical! It is famous for the Evangeline Oak Tree that inspired Longfellow’s poem. You’ll have the opportunity to sit there and be inspired as well. We will be making stops for desired photo ops as we travel. This is rice country as well, and we will be touring the Conrad Rice Mill, the oldest operating rice mill in the country. TABASCO!! We have made arrangements for a guided factory tour and see for ourselves where Tabasco brand pepper sauce is made. Just before this amazing experience, lunch is served in Tabasco’s own 1868 Restaurant. Talking about main streets, the Village of Franklin may well be the mother of them all! Franklin, founded in 1808, is named for Benjamin Franklin. Historic lampposts line the street, creating block after block of charm, class, and patriotism. Have your cameras (or phones) ready! We settle in Houma on the Delta this evening. 

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch 

Hotel: Candlewood Suites 

 

Day 11 – Houma to Baton Rouge, LA 

Today is Plantation Parade Day. Three historic, picturesque, and iconic southern plantations are on the agenda, all within minutes of each other. Laura: Explore the rigors of 200 years of daily life along with the sobering experience of slavery as it happened on this sugarcane Creole plantation. Features 12 buildings on the Historic Register. Oak Alley: Possibly the most picturesque, famous, and recognized plantation scene. 28 massive oaks frame the “Big House,” inviting us to tour this historic sugarcane and rice plantation. Multiple buildings, craftsman, groomed landscaping and several gardens create an unforgettable experience of life on the plantation. We are pampered with a Cajun lunch buffet right at Oak Alley. Nottoway: Considered the south’s largest antebellum mansion. Discover the grace and grandeur of Nottoway. Completed in 1859 this 53,000 ft palatial mansion sits majestically on the banks of the Mississippi. We have arranged for an expert guided tour and a very special dinner surrounded by exquisite southern hospitality. Then we journey on to Baton Rouge and our comfortable accommodations for the next two evenings. 

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner 

Hotel: Drury Inn & Suites (2 Nights) 

 

Day 12 – Baton Rouge 

Enjoy another great breakfast. A marvelous experience is on tap this morning. The Louisiana State University’s Rural Life Museum is a working farming village of over 32 buildings spread over 25 acres. Our visit will be fully interpreted for our enjoyment. We will be guests for lunch right there as well. Afterwards we meet Huey Long, at least the recreation of him. Nicknamed “Kingfish,” this colorful politician was the outspoken 40th governor of the state of Louisiana. Listen closely as you will be hearing more about him later this afternoon. This afternoon we indulge in a highly entertaining and informative exploration of Baton Rouge. This capital city is home to the tallest state capitol building in the US. We are privy to fascinating stories as we walk the halls and are treated to a panoramic view of the city from the observation deck. We also visit the old historic Capitol. It has stories to tell too! We’ll get to know the city well, but wait – one more treat is in store. The campus of Louisiana State University – Pride of the South! Sports fans will be enthralled as we visit Tiger Stadium (Home of the National Champions & the Vikings star receiver Justin Jefferson), The Pete Maravich Center, and Mike the Tiger’s private habitat! None like it in the country! 

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Manager’s Reception 

 

Day 13 – Baton Rouge to Monroe, LA 

Drury breakfasts are the best! It’s our last full day in the Bayou State. We stop in the very charming village of St. Francisville. This is the second oldest town in Louisiana and we will give you some time here to just walk the streets and soak in the atmosphere of the “movie set charm” of this hamlet. Arriving in Monroe, we find ourselves at Biedenharn. A unique collection of 4 venues: Biedenharn Mansion, The Gardens, a Coca Cola Museum, and The Bible Museum. All fascinating in their own right! We top this Authentic Louisiana adventure off with what you’ve all been waiting for: The Duck Commander. West Monroe is the hometown of the Robertson family, stars of the A&E TV hit show Duck Dynasty. We “duck in” to a tour of their Duck Commander Factory, museum, and store. Our final Louisiana dinner is on the picturesque banks of the Ouachita River in a historic cotton warehouse known as Warehouse #1. A superb dining experience is in store! 

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner 

Hotel: Comfort Suites

 

Day 14 – Monroe to Memphis, TN 

Breakfast is available at the hotel before our departure. Travel is our job this morning as we cross over into Mississippi on our way to Memphis. Exciting adventure still awaits. Just in time for an included lunch, we arrive at Graceland! The cherished home of Elvis from 1957 til his death in 1977. It is the most visited private home in America and is 2nd only to the White House. History of our era comes alive like no other in this almost sacred place. Maybe you’ve been here before. It’s worth experiencing again! Wonderful accommodations have been arranged right at The Guesthouse at Graceland. Dinner is on your own this evening. A variety of excellent choices are right here. 

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch 

Hotel: The Guesthouse at Graceland

 

Day 15 – Memphis to Hannibal, MO 

You don’t want to miss breakfast this morning! The Guesthouse Buffet is legendary! A day of travel along the Great River Road and skirting St. Louis finds us in Hannibal, Missouri later this afternoon. Hannibal, as you may well know, is the hometown to Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain. So we can’t pass up the opportunity for a dinner cruise on the Mark Twain Riverboat. Enjoy fantastic food, beautiful river scenery, and great music for a wonderful final evening together. 

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner 

Hotel: Comfort Inn

 

Day 16 – Hannibal to Home 

Our final leg of the journey brings us through the heart of Iowa and into the Twin Cities later this afternoon. Backroads & Bayous – Authentic Louisiana is now an amazing memory long to be cherished! 

Included Meals: Breakfast 

Motorcoach Per Person Pricing Information

Double: $3,949
Single: $4,929
Triple: $3,689
Quad: $3,519

Motorcoach Travel Protection Per Person

Double: $254
Single: $324

Travel Bucks

$50 Travel Bucks per person earned with this tour

Deposit Due

$100 deposit per person due at time of reservation. Full payment due 30 days prior to depart.

Passport Needed

No

Tour Pace

Moderate Walking

Price Includes

31 Meals & 4 Manager’s Receptions, Hotels & Activities as stated in brochure, Luxury Motorcoach



The average temperature while R&J is visiting is 82°
Travel with R & J Tours to a warm destination where it is...
47°
Minneapolis, Mn
48°
Backroads & Bayous – Authentic Louisiana
Motorcoach Departure Date:
04/18/2022
Motorcoach Return Date:
05/03/2022

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Tour Map


Tour Highlights

Murry’s Dinner Playhouse
Jimmy Davis Tabernacle
Bonnie & Clyde Ambush
Germantown Colony
Legendary Shreveport Auditorium
American Rose Center
“South Pacific” Musical at the Historic Strand Theater
Charming Natchitoches, LA
Steel Magnolia Movie Sites
Camp Beauregard
Louisiana Maneuvers & Military Site
Lea’s Lunchroom
Gothic Hangman’s Jail
DeQuincy Train Station
Creole Nature Trail
Louisiana’s Outback
Steamboat Bill’s
Tupper General Store
Crawfish Tour
McGee’s Swamp Tour
Vermilionville
Alexandre Mouton House
Bayou Teche
St. Martinville
Longfellow’s Evangeline Oak
Conrad Rice Mill
Tabasco Factory Tour
Franklin Main Street
Laura Plantation
Oak Alley Plantation
Nottoway Plantation
Rural Life Experience
Louisiana Capital
Old State Capital
LSU
St. Francisville
Biedenharn
Duck Dynasty’s Duck Commander
Elvis’s Graceland & Guesthouse Stay
Mark Twain Riverboat Cruise



Travel with R & J Tours to a warm destination where it is...
47°
Minneapolis, Mn
48°
Backroads & Bayous – Authentic Louisiana
The average temperature while R&J is visiting is 82°
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