Heart of Louisiana

  Heart of Louisiana: Cajun Christmas

A Christmas display in downtown Morgan City got a major upgrade this year with help from Hollywood. An Emmy Award-winning special effects artist has turned the town’s landmark shrimp boat into Christmas on the bayou.

  Heart of Louisiana: H.J. Smith and Sons Hardware Store

Heart of Louisiana: Old Politics

Heart of Louisiana: Musician Benjamin Bruce, grandson of Cajun country music legend

Heart of Louisiana: Longleaf Pine

Heart of Louisiana: Driftwood Art

Heart of Louisiana: Tunica Language

Continued Coverage

  Heart of Louisiana: How the city of Sulphur got its name

Heart of Louisiana: Playing the Staircase

Heart of Louisiana: David Crockett Fire House

Heart of Louisiana: Land Speed Record

Heart of Louisiana: The Gardens of Chef John Folse

Heart of Louisiana: New Orleans Jazz Museum

  Heart of Louisiana: 1-room schoolhouse in Ponchatoula

Back in the 1800s, it was not unusual find one-room school houses, especially in rural communities. There's one that's been saved and turned into a museum in Ponchatoula.

Heart of Louisiana: Rice Mill

Louisiana is the nation's third-largest producer of rice, but the state makes a claim to having America's oldest operating rice mill.

  Heart of Louisiana: The Roots of Music

There's a group of school kids who are part of the musical tradition of marching brass bands in New Orleans.

Heart of Louisiana: John Moisant

Since it opened more than 70 years ago, Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans has kept a strong tie with one of America's early aviation pioneers.

  Heart of Louisiana: Paddling Lake Martin

Heart of Louisiana: Organic produce farm near Alexandria

Heart of Louisiana: Dance Halls

Heart of Louisiana: 1915 hurricane

Heart of Louisiana: Henriette Delille

Heart of Louisiana: Fruit Farm

  Heart of New Orleans: Part 6

It's a rich blend of cultures and the mix of the old and new that make is so special. And it's a place where you can ride on history.

Heart of New Orleans: Part 5

There have been times when New Orleans was under attack. Two hundred years ago the British army threatened the city and most recently it was a hurricane.

Heart of New Orleans: Part 4

New Orleans is a place that where you expect to hear music in the streets both day and night.

Heart of New Orleans: Part 3

New Orleans was founded 300 years ago, but there was an attempt at an earlier settlement. It was a fort on the river that was lost and then found two centuries later.

Heart of New Orleans: Part 2

A poor Irish immigrant saves the orphaned children of New Orleans and a free woman of color turns her back on Creole society and begins a journey that could take her to Sainthood.

Heart of New Orleans: Part 1

New Orleans throughout its 300-year history it is a city that moves to its own unique rhythm.

  Heart of Louisiana: St. Louis Cathedral

Since its earliest days, there has been a church in New Orleans' Jackson square. But St. Louis Cathedral has had its share of difficulties over the past three centuries.

Heart of Louisiana: Café du Monde

As the City of New Orleans celebrates its 300th anniversary, there is a French Quarter coffee shop that's been around for more than half of those three centuries. Café du Monde in the French Market has become a favorite of tourists and locals.

Heart of Louisiana: New Orleans cemeteries

In a city that's 300 years old, you find lots of cemeteries. And for New Orleans, its unique above-ground tombs are a top tourist attraction.

Heart of Louisiana: Fort Proctor

It looks something like an old castle, standing on a tiny spot of land in Lake Borgne in St. Bernard Parish.

Heart of Louisiana: New Orleans - The Founding Era

It may be hard to imagine what New Orleans was like in 1718, the year it was founded, three centuries ago. But an exhibit at the Historic New Orleans Collection is bringing that founding era to life with drawings, maps and artifacts from the earliest days of the city.

Heart of Louisiana: April Strawberry Harvest

In April, the strawberries are big and red, and they're ripe and sweet. It's the perfect time for picking berries at the Liuzza family farm near Amite.

Heart of Louisiana: Hiking the Grand Canyon

If you want to do some serious hiking, like trekking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, you're most likely going to need months of preparation to get in shape for that kind of hike. Dave McNamara shows us how he did it by hiking some of his favorite trails in the Bayou State.

Heart of Louisiana: Telephones

There was a time not-so-long ago when telephones really didn't change much. Instead of standing in line every year to buy the latest upgrade, families would go for decades with the same home phone.

Heart of Louisiana: Touchstone Wildlife & Art Museum

The tiny northwest Louisiana town of Haughton is an unlikely place to see a massive collection of wild animals from around the world. But years ago, a husband and wife team turned their taxidermy skills into the creation of a homemade natural history museum.

Heart of Louisiana: The story of Amede Ardoin

Before there was zydeco music, early French-speaking musicians in Southwest Louisiana were creating Creole music. And one of the earliest recording artists was accordion player Amede Ardoin, whose life on the Creole music trail went from stardom to tragedy.

Heart of Louisiana: Robert Dafford's Lafayette Murals

You have probably seen the paintings of this renowned Louisiana artist - from a giant clarinet on a New Orleans hotel, a blues harmonica on a Baton Rouge casino and murals of Cajun history scattered across South Louisiana.

Heart of Louisiana: Hungarian Settlement

Royanne kropog plays a Hungarian folk song, a tune that arrived in Southeast Louisiana more than a century ago. It's music that is played at the annual harvest dance in an area known as Hungarian Settlement near Albany, LA.

Heart of Louisiana: Tarzan films in Morgan City

It didn't take tax incentives to lure the very first Hollywood blockbuster to film in Louisiana. The very first Tarzan film was shot in Morgan City and released to enthusiastic audiences 100 years ago.

Heart of Louisiana: Air Force One

It's an unlikely place to find a piece of presidential history. In fact, it's a rather large piece - an aircraft that served as Air Force One 60 years ago.

Heart of Louisiana: Lighthouses

For more than 150 years, these old lighthouses have marked the entrances to rivers and ports across coastal Louisiana.  But most of the old structures have fallen victim to hurricanes, sinking land and newer technology.

Heart of Louisiana: John Lawson's Bead Art

This is that time of year when bags of Carnival beads will be dumped into trunks, closets, attics and even trash cans. But one artist has spent years turning discarded beads into colorful, three-dimensional works of art.

  Heart of Louisiana: The Ursuline Convent

If you like to see old, historic buildings, the oldest one in Louisiana is located in the French Quarter in New Orleans. It was built in the mid-1700s as a home for French Ursuline nuns.  As New Orleans celebrates its 300th anniversary this year, Dave McNamara takes us inside the Old Ursuline convent in the Heart of Louisiana. The wooden steps show the wear of nearly three centuries.  "These are the ones on this side that really have a nice dip in them and ...

Heart of Louisiana: Knock Knock Children's Museum

These young, first-time puppeteers have only one hour to learn how to handle their new colorful new friends. To teach them how to talk, to sing and move in rhythm with the song.

Heart of Louisiana: Cajun culture in the town of Eunice

When it comes to experiencing Cajun culture, you can do some one-stop shopping in the town of Eunice. And the music, the dancing and the cooking demonstrations are all free.

Heart of Louisiana: St. Joseph's Tiny Christmas Village

Sometimes a hobby that you start as a child can stick with you for a lifetime. That's what has happened to a Catholic priest in the town of French Settlement.

Heart of Louisiana: Camp Ruston

The design of these two overgrown, dilapidated wooden buildings has an old but familiar military look. Inside, the deteriorating walls give no clue of what was here when they were built more than 70 years ago.

Heart of Louisiana: Dugout Canoe

Two centuries before Christopher Columbus discovered a new world, Caddo Indians were paddling a dugout canoe along the Red River in northwest Louisiana.

Heart of Louisiana: Lost Lands

Most of the cypress giants are gone, but the huge stumps give you an idea of what this area was like before the largest trees were cut for timber.

Heart of Louisiana: Zydeco breakfast in Breaux Bridge

For couples who like dancing to live zydeco music, it's a breakfast worth getting up early for in the town of Breaux Bridge.

Heart of Louisiana: Wooden Sailboat

From the New Orleans Lakefront to communities on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, you find marinas chock full of sailboats. They can be floating escapes from the daily grind.

Heart of Louisiana: Allen's Acres

"I call it growing butterflies from scratch," Charles Allen said. "Go out and plant plants that would grow caterpillars and then the caterpillars turn into the chrysalis eventually into the butterflies." Dr. Charles Allen, a retired botanist and professor, has a yard full of flowers, butterflies and moths.

Heart of Louisiana: Locomotive 745

It's 130 tons of rolling steel - a classic 90-year-old oil-burning, steam-powered locomotive that has reclaimed its place on the rails of Louisiana.

Heart of Louisiana: Buggy capital

Buggies were common on the roads around the small Cajun town of Church Point, well into the 1950's.

Heart of Louisiana: El Nuevo Constante

250 years ago, the Spanish ship El Nuevo Constante was headed from Mexico to Havana.  As it passed the coast of Southwest Louisiana, the ship ran into rough seas.

Heart of Louisiana: South Louisiana instruments

The music of South Louisiana has a sound that is known around the world.

Heart of Louisiana: Tunica Treasure

It took the Tunica-Biloxi tribe in Marksville, La. decades to get federally recognized. And it might not have happened if a treasure hunter hadn't discovered a long-lost tribal burial ground.

Heart of Louisiana: Centenary Story

This town in East Feliciana Parish got its name from the hero of the Battle of New Orleans. Jackson, Louisiana, was founded in the early 1800s, and there are a surprising number of historic buildings that date from that time period.

Heart of Louisiana: Legacy Cypress

If you want to find the oldest cypress trees in Louisiana, you'll probably need to hike through woods or wade through a swamp. This is where the ancient trees have thrived for thousands of years, until a century of logging wiped out virgin cypress forests.

Heart of Louisiana: Mummy

It's a bit out of place in Louisiana, but an Egyptian mummy has been at home in Baton Rouge for the last half-century.

Heart of Louisiana: Arcadia Bluegrass

If you want to hear some authentic bluegrass music, you need to head to Louisiana's hill country.

Heart of Louisiana: Louis Armstrong

He's a world-renowned musician and entertainer, and he is New Orleans' favorite son.

Heart of Louisiana: In search of the Milky Way

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Heart of Louisiana: Zydeco Rubboards

In the early days of Zydeco music, a wooden washboard would keep the rhythm. But over the last half-century, stainless steel rub boards with over-the-shoulder straps give Zydeco its signature sound.

Heart of Louisiana: Scott, LA - Where Boudin is King!

The city of Scott grew up around the railroad. It's where the east line stopped and the west line began. It's also a place that celebrates its deep Cajun roots with weekly jam sessions on the porch of an old Acadian-style house, and where the Cajun sausage known as boudin is king.

Heart of Louisiana: Sunflowers

For a few weeks in June, you have the chance to see the roadside and dozens of acres of farmland in North Louisiana turn bright yellow. It's an annual spectacle along the state's sunflower trail.

Heart of Louisiana: Louisiana State Capitol

In the 1930's, a Louisiana skyscraper reflected the style of America's tallest buildings. The State Capitol opened in 1932, a year after the Empire State Building. It was the vision of Governor Huey Long, who's bronze figure stands squarely in font of the towering structure.

Heart of Louisiana: Bogue Chitto State Park

If you're interested in a relaxing day canoeing or floating down a scenic river, Louisiana's newest state park may be the perfect spot for you.

Heart of Louisiana: Seashells

This time of year, many families from Louisiana are headed to the beaches in Alabama and Florida for a little fun in the sun. But if you just want a relaxing day on the Gulf - and if you want to collect seashells - Louisiana may have a perfect alternative.

Heart of Louisiana: Catahoula Parish Waterfall

The state of Louisiana is loaded with places to hike and explore the outdoors, from short flatland hikes to longer, more challenging treks up and down hill country.

Heart of Louisiana: Frog Capital of the World

It seems that everywhere you look in the Cajun town of Rayne, you see frogs. They're on the sidewalks, in front of stores, the police station and fire house, and the court house. And about two dozen frog murals are painted on the sides of buildings.

Heart of Louisiana: Forest Cave

For a state that has more wetlands, farmland and pastures than hills, finding a cave in the woods of Louisiana is a rarity.  But not impossible.  Dave McNamara takes us to Wolf Rock cave in the Heart of Louisiana.

Heart of Louisiana: Historic New Orleans Collection explores Storyville

A hundred years ago, the City of New Orleans decided to put an end to a legal red light district that had provided two decades of musical and sexual entertainment.

Heart of Louisiana: Cajun Prairie

Imagine a vast expanse of tall grasses and wildflowers stretching as far as the eye can see. In the late 1800s, Louisiana's 2.5-million-acre Cajun prairie provided a feast for roaming bison and cattle. Today, this 10-acre patch of native plants, and an acre-and-a-half roadside garden are nearly all that's left.

Heart of Louisiana: Blue Moon Cajun jam sessions

A fun way to hear Cajun music, and even play along if you are so inclined, is to find a jam session. The participants usually range from the older, more experienced players, to talented younger musicians, to novices who are trying to learn the songs. Dave Mcnamara found one such jam session at Lafayette's Blue Moon Saloon.

Heart of Louisiana: Worthmore's Five and Dime

In the middle of the great depression, Worthmore's Five and Dime store opened in downtown Rayne, and 80 years later, it's still open for business with very little change.

Heart of Louisiana: Bayou Teche Brewery

Kicking back on a Saturday afternoon, having a couple of beers and listening to music is a tradition in Cajun country. "We have food every Saturday, just like a little mini festival every weekend," said Karlos Knott. Karlos and his two brothers own Bayou Teche brewing in the town of Arnaudville.

Heart of Louisiana: Mamou Mardi Gras

It's 7 a.m. in Mamou, and the party has already started. "We ain't stopped since last night. We ain't went to bed. We don't sleep in Mamou for Mardi Gras," Slade Doucet said.