Discover the Heart of Southeast Louisiana: Explore the SELA Gumbo Group’s Rich History, Culture, and Cuisine on a Road Trip from New Orleans to Baton Rouge

by Chris Phillips & Tracy Gonzales on June 17, 2024 in Travels,

New Orleans, a city known for its vibrant culture, rich history, and delectable cuisine, is home to the Southeast Louisiana Gumbo Group (SELA Gumbo). This dynamic community celebrates the diverse heritage and unique flavors of the different regions. Here’s a glimpse into the key highlights of SELA Gumbo and the distinctive charm of Southeast Louisiana.



Mardi Gras masks. Photo Chris Phillips & Tracy Gonzales.

A quick flight from Austin to Louisiana followed by a road trip to Baton Rouge and its surrounding parishes offers an unparalleled journey through the heart of Southeast Louisiana. With each stop, you’ll uncover a unique blend of history, culture, and cuisine, making it a memorable adventure that’s as convenient as it is enriching. Whether you’re exploring haunted mansions, indulging in local culinary delights, or soaking in the scenic beauty of the Mississippi River, this trip promises a rich tapestry of experiences. So pack your bags and get ready to immerse yourself in the vibrant world of SELA Gumbo.

The SELA Gumbo Group is not just about the culinary delight of gumbo but also about highlighting the uniqueness of parishes and their own distinctive charms.

Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge, the state capital, is known for its rich history and lively college town atmosphere. Start your journey by exploring key landmarks like the towering State Capitol, the tallest in the United States.

Origin Hotel in Baton Rouge. Photo Chris Phillips & Tracy Gonzales.

The city is a hub for politics, artisans, and the lively LSU college scene. Whether a LSU fan or not, you must stay at the Origin Hotel, adorned in LSU Tigers’ purple and gold, where you can enjoy the boutique charm and the historical significance of a property that once was a Hilton.

East Baton Rouge Parish

The second-largest city in Louisiana and the political epicenter, East Baton Rouge is also home to LSU and features a bustling airport.

Drago’s charbroiled oysters. Photo Chris Phillips & Tracy Gonzales.

No trip through Louisiana is complete without indulging in its famed cuisine. SELA Gumbo also celebrates culinary institutions like Drago’s, renowned for its charbroiled oysters. The family-run restaurant has expanded to four franchises, with the matriarch still working at the New Orleans location. The salty coast oysters, a family specialty, are a must-try.

Drago’s raw oyster special. Photo Chris Phillips & Tracy Gonzales.

Want to learn how to make some of the delicious food Louisiana has to offer, take a class at the Louisiana Culinary Institute. Then burn off all those amazing flavors by heading to Third Street to dance the night away.

West Baton Rouge Parish

West Baton Rouge Museum. Photo Chris Phillips & Tracy Gonzales.

Don’t overlook the smallest parish in the state. Experience an award-winning West Baton Rouge Museum, on the State African American Heritage Trail. They also host many festivals throughout the year, including the only kite festival in the state. Relax and enjoy skyline views, or watch as ships and barges maneuver the giant waterways at the Old Ferry Landing Overlook in downtown Port Allen.

Ascension Parish

Known as Louisiana’s “sweet spot,” this area is famous for its sugar cane production and historic districts. This parish is the midpoint between from Baton Rouge and New Orleans – about 45 mins from each.

Houmas House. Photo Chris Phillips & Tracy Gonzales.

A must see is the Houmas House, with picturesque 38 acres of gardens, historic mansion tours, museum and ancient oak trees. It is a testament to the region’s natural beauty and historical significance. It’s also a popular docking spot for cruise ships, adding to its allure.

Gardens at Houmas House. Photo Chris Phillips & Tracy Gonzales.

Livingston Parish

Known for its largest Hungarian settlement in the United States, an award-winning antique district and destination for one of the top three Bass Pro Shops. Having 400 miles of waterways, it is perfect for scenic drives. It is in the middle of the parishes and they have many RV parks, making it a nice town to do a road trip through with an RV.

River Parishes

New Orleans Plantation Country is just 15 minutes from New Orleans airport. Louisiana River Parishes have nine historical plantations creating a rich history of past plantation cultures. Amongst the many plantations is the 1811 Slave Revolt Trail.

Other unique and fun things to do are the festivals (especially the Festival of Bonfire), Andouille Trail (a group of local restaurants offering tasty andouille sausage meals), golfing and unique attractions like swamp tours and ziplining over swamps.

Pointe Coupee Parish

Morel’s Restaurant. Photo Chris Phillips & Tracy Gonzales.

Taking a detour northward, you’ll encounter Pointe Coupee Parish, “Home of the False River” and one of the oldest settlements in Louisiana. It’s the area’s top sugar cane production and lush farmlands make it a picturesque stop. Looking for more, if you love history or fishing you don’t want to miss visiting this parish! You can view the accent earthen American Indian mounds or sign up for fishing tournaments. Not for you? Then enjoy the rich agricultural landscape, get some exercise with three annual triathlons and Mardi Gras celebrations.

Boudin balls at Morel’s Restaurant. Photo Chris Phillips & Tracy Gonzales.

If you’re looking for somewhere to stay and eat, go to Morel’s Restaurant which has recently added an Inn to their property! This inviting river restaurant hovers above the water and offers 180-degree river views. Divulge in mouth watering cuisine, with farm to table fresh ingredients and flavors. The Morel’s Courtyard Inn has 12 unique rooms right next door to the restaurant including a courtyard with an antique water fountain.

West Feliciana Parish

The Myrtles. Photo Chris Phillips & Tracy Gonzales.

Continue your journey to St. Francesville in West Feliciana Parish, exploring its small-town charm, haunted homes, rolling hills, waterfalls, and unique inmate-run festivals where inmates make and sell crafts and put on a rodeo, offering a truly unique cultural experience.

Restaurant 1796. Photo Chris Phillips & Tracy Gonzales.

For those with a taste for the supernatural, the Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville is a prime destination known as “One of America’s Most Haunted Houses”. Established in 1796 this plantation features complimentary self guided hotel tours, Elta coffee shop, a restaurant called “1796” with a 10-ft wood-fired hearth and bar. This unique property offers multiple rooms and accommodations including historical rooms in the main home, hotel-like garden rooms, and cottages that are pet-friendly. It’s a perfect blend of hauntings and Serenity.

St. Francisville Inn. Photo Chris Phillips & Tracy Gonzales.

St. Francisville Inn is a wanderlust place to slow down the road trip! The Inn includes 11 luxurious rooms, “The Spa At The Inn” where you can rejuvenate your mind, body and soul, farm-fed gourmet dining at The Saint Restaurant, a bar and relaxing pool. St. Francisville Inn, formerly a Victorian house built in 1880, has an intimate and cozy vibe that is elegantly decorated and features some art from “The Blue Dog” series by George Rodrigue. If the Inn isn’t enough, just across the street is a courtyard with a few restaurants and a speakeasy!

The Saint Restaurant. Photo Chris Phillips & Tracy Gonzales.

Saint Helena Parish

If you’re looking for a rural, quaint and quiet place to get away from the city hustle and bustle, this is the parish for you! The beauty of the pasture land and rolling hills with NO red lights and only four caution lights offers a peaceful retreat. Wanting some history and activity? Saint Helena has historical locations to visit and sportsmen activities that include hunting, fishing, canoeing and cycling.

Washington Parish

A rural scenic area with farms, waterways, and piney woods, its location is described as the “southeast toe” of Louisiana. Washington Parish hosts the nation’s largest FREE fair in the month of October!

Immerse yourself in history at one of the several museums with permanent and changing exhibits. Other adventures worth checking out are tubing, various types of farms and the Bogue Chitto State Park which will soon include extensive mountain bike trails.

Tangipahoa Parish

The Global Wildlife Center. Photo Chris Phillips & Tracy Gonzales.

Known for its strawberries and Italian culture, this parish is home to the oldest fair in the state and Louisiana’s only tea farm. It’s a vibrant college town with festivals and a lively downtown filled with all family-owned bars and restaurants. The area is a hotspot for weddings, Italian festivals, and notable events like the Greenbook movie filming and the six-week-long renaissance festival in Albright.

If you and your family like animals, don’t miss the Global Wildlife Center. You can ride through hundreds of acres at this wildlife preserve and hand feed the animals as they roam together.

Book Your Road Trip Today!

Enjoy a road trip through Southeast Louisiana. Photo Chris Phillips & Tracy Gonzales.

The Southeast Louisiana Gumbo Group (SELA Gumbo) is more than a culinary celebration; it’s a vibrant mosaic of history, culture, and community. From the bustling streets of Baton Rouge to the serene landscapes of the northern parishes, SELA Gumbo encapsulates the spirit of Louisiana in every bite and every story. Whether you’re a foodie, history buff, or simply a lover of unique experiences, SELA Gumbo invites you to explore and savor the rich flavors and traditions of Southeast Louisiana. #Selagumbo 



Cover photo credit Chris Phillips & Tracy Gonzales

Chris Phillips is a seasoned professional with over two decades of expertise in strategically elevating businesses through social media. With a passion for exploration, Chris thrives on traveling to new destinations while concurrently empowering others to achieve their maximum potential. His journey blends the art of business growth with a zest for adventure and mentorship.