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Eunice and Ville Platte

To learn a little about the Cajun prairie, head for friendly EUNICE, about twenty miles west of Opelousas. The Prairie Acadian Cultural Center at the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park, 250 W Park Ave (Tues–Fri 8am–5pm, Sat 8am–6pm; free;, holds far-reaching displays on local life, with live Cajun music, storytelling and cookery demonstrations. There’s more music at the Cajun Music Hall of Fame, 240 S C.C. Duson Drive (Tues–Sat: summer 9am–5pm, winter 8.30am–4.30pm; free), which features accordions, steel guitars, fiddles and triangles among its memorabilia. If time is short, choose these two over the Eunice Museum, next to the Hall of Fame at 220 S C.C. Duson Drive (Tues–Sat 8am–noon & 1–5pm; free) – though this too has its charms; it’s an old train depot crammed with a ragbag of local memorabilia. Allison’s Hickory Pit, 501 W Laurel Ave (Fri–Sun 11am–2pm; 337/457-9218), does wonderful home-smoked barbecue, while Ruby’s, downtown at 221 W Walnut St (closed Sun; 337/550-7665), dishes up home-cooked soul food in a vintage setting. Eunice is also central to the region’s music sceneL’Acadie Inn, a couple of miles east of downtown on Hwy-90 (337/457-5211,; $61–80), is a good-value, friendly place to stay.

From here it’s twenty miles north to VILLE PLATTE, and the fabulous Floyd’s Music Store, 434 E Main St (Mon–Sat 8.30am–4.30pm;, owned by Floyd Soileau, the world’s chief distributor of South Louisiana music, and stocking everything from zydeco reissues to swamp pop. A couple of doors down at the Pig Stand, 318 E Main St (337/363-2883), giant plates of fried chicken, smothered sausage and ribs come heaped with delicious Southern side dishes.

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