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I-90 from lafayette to NOLA mid-october

hello all...i need to get some recs for the abovementioned bayou route. i have no idea how everything is down there since '05 and hope everything is slowly getting back to somewhat normalcy. i'm really interested in checking out houma, morgan city and places like that, especially since i love seafood and will have about 6 days to cruise around the lafayette then bayou environs until i sojourn over to NOLA. is it worth overnighting somewhere in between lafayette and NOLA, or should i just push on to the city, making a few stops on the way? i really really really want to do creole bfast at cafe des amis, so i'm wondering if i should stick around that area to not miss that (that place rocks!) i think a little bit of of prairie and swamp cajun will be a nice mix tho. btw, ill most likely be staying at the blue moon hostel as my base in lafayette. thanks so much!

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  1. I am from Houston and have recently been going to Lafayette for work (so I don't know it as well as locals). I really think that New Iberia is a cute town. I have not been to these restaurants, but they were highly recommended: Bon Creole and Little River. Also, I went to Avery Island--where Tabasco is made and I really enjoyed the trek around the Jungle Island.

    I have heard that Abbeville is cute...and they have some sort of omelet festival in September? I am not sure what that in tales, but I would love to check it out!

    I have found the people in the Lafayette area are very PASSIONATE about food. ask anyone, and they will be happy to give you their recommendations!

    In Lafayette, I like the Don's downtown and Prejean's, but I am sure that the locals have more hole-in-the-wall recommendations.

    1. I like Blue Dog Cafe in Lafayette. It's decorated with original George Rodrigue paintings so the ambiance and the food are good. Try it for lunch and will be less pricey! Glad you like Cafe Des Amis. I like it, too!

      1. Just to be clear, the route is US 90, not I-90 (which runs from Boston to Seattle).

        In any event, I drove US 90 from New Orleans to Lafayette a couple of weeks ago. I really enjoy that route. I highly recommend an oyster or shrimp po boy from the Old Tyme Grocery in Lafayette. In Houma, I've always liked the Bayou Delight for my fill of fried seafood, although I haven't been there in a long time.

        Here is another recent discussion of Lafayette restaurants: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/423292

        1 Reply
        1. re: Blumie

          hmmm blumie i did not know that there was a route that went from beantown to seattle...that actually sounds like a cool roadtrip...anyway, ive been to lafayette and its environs about 2 years ago and did indeed have a shrimp po boy @ the old thyme. i wanted oyster, but all the oyster beds were destroyed since it was not even 2 months after katrina. nonetheless, it was delicious and it was a perfect last meal in that part of the country before heading back on the road. that area though is pretty killer for food, almost like it's hard getting a bad meal. i can't wait to go back and just eat, eat eat!

        2. In Houma, both the French Loaf (poor boys) and Cristiano's (finer dining) come highly recommended by my wife, who travels there on business several times a year.

          In addition to Avery Island, you might also consider checking out the Steen's Cane Syrup mill in Abbeville. But both of these might be better accessed as day trips from Lafayette.

          On the whole, I'm not sure there's enough to overnight between Lafayette and New Orleans

          8 Replies
          1. re: jamy

            I agree you can do it all in a day. On Avery Island, the tour of the Tabasco Factory takes all of 10 minutes (8 minutes to watch the movie; 2 minutes to walk through the plant). But do budget time -- at least an hour or two -- for the jungle gardens, which is a beautiful nature preserve on the property.

            1. re: jamy

              I beg to differ...a huge swath of Louisiana lies between Lafayette & NOLA. Certainly enough food & cultural tourism to fill an overnight, unless you're extremely jaded or extremely picky. I'm not gonna post on Lafayette, except to say that you should make the oh-so-short detour to Scott, LA, to visit the BestStop Supermarket & get some cracklins, tasso, headcheese, etc.

              Heading east from Lafayette, you can take a side trip off of US 90 into New Iberia, which has a lovely downtown (go tour Shadows on the Teche plantation). Keep going east and stop off in Jeanerette at LeJeune's Bakery (go before noon) for some of the most traditional french bread still being baked, and get a ginger plank for the road. A little east of that is the Yellow Bowl, an institution that was one of the first places in LA to feature crawfish etouffee on the menu. Stay on "old" US 90 for a drive thru Franklin, where you can see a nice old downtown & tour a couple of antebellum homes, if you'd like. All along the highway you'll see sugarcane--in October it is being cut in the fields & hauled to the sugar refinery, so drive carefully. You might even smell the scent of autumn in south Louisiana--a sugarcane field aflame to burn off the leaves/chaff. The practice is fading away due to changes in cutting/harvesting technology, but burning still takes place from time to time. It's a smell that's one part roasted sugary marshmallow, one part green woodsmoke, one part damp earth.

              In Patterson, visit the Cypress Industry Museum (part of the LA state museums system) and keep on going east & exit south to Houma. Houma has a plethora of restaurants, from high-end to low--Christianos (italian, nice place), Melvin's (LA cooking, with a view of the Intracoastal canal & a nice porch/patio), Franko's (wood-fired oven place), Big Al's (boiled & fried seafood, char-grilled oysters), and a whole bunch of other places. Houma also has the Bayou Terrebonne Waterlife Museum.

              After Houma comes Bayou Lafourche; you can head north along the bayou to visit Thibodaux (collection of traditional wooden boats at the Nicholls state library or see the Wetlands Acadian cultural center at the Jean Lafitte National Park site), and dine (higher-end) at Fremin's or (more casually) at Spahr's (more on Spahr's later).

              Go south on Bayou Lafourche to see more sugarcane and shrimp boats. You can go all the way to the gulf on LA 1, if you'd like to see LA's only inhabited barrier island. Great fishing, some interesting food, distinctive scenery.

              As you approach NOLA on US 90, you can drop in at the original Spahr's location. It's a fried catfish house, unlike those plaguing the upland south & lower midwest....our catfish is WILD, not that pond-raised stuff fed on Con-Agra's food pellets. Drink a bloody mary, eat some fried crab claws, look out the back windows at an alligator sunning himself on a log, and stuff yourself with catfish chips & fried onions.

              Still closer to the city on US 90 is Mosca's, a renowned roadhouse serving creole-italian food (other posts on this board provide details).

              -----
              Best Stop Supermarket
              615 Hwy 93 N, Scott, LA 70583

              Lejeune's Bakery
              1510 Main St, Jeanerette, LA 70544

              Yellow Bowl Restaurant
              19466 Hwy 182 W, Jeanerette, LA 70544

              Melvin's Restaurant
              1023 Saadi St, Houma, LA 70363

              Big Al's Seafood Restaurant
              1377 E Tunnel Blvd, Houma, LA 70363

              Fremin's Catering Services
              402 W 3rd St, Thibodaux, LA 70301

              Spahr's Sea Food Restaurant
              3682 Hwy 90 E, Des Allemands, LA 70030

              Mosca's Restaurant
              Hwy-90 W, Westwego, LA 70094

              1. re: Hungry Celeste

                wow, thanks for all those great recs celeste...no one was responding on the southern board, so i figured it was best to move it to here. anywho, sounds like there are lots of great chow destinations on/off the 90, as i would hope there would be. say, have you tried brenda's diner in new iberia? last time i was over that way i remember trying to find it, but didn't have the address w/ me, and a couple people i asked didn't know about it. it's like a soul food joint from what i've read, and sounds delish. also, that spahr's place sounds dymanite, right up my alley. i loves me some good catfish, esp wild not farm raised. i always try to avoid eating farm raised fish and usually buy the frozen stuff at trader joe's. it's always very good. well ill report more as it gets closer to october, thanks again!

                1. re: unocal

                  Brenda's Diner is on Pershing, not far off Hwy 182.

                  -----
                  Brenda's Dine in & Take Out Diner
                  411 W Pershing St, New Iberia, LA 70560

                2. re: Hungry Celeste

                  Great post, Celeste. When I posted that it could be done in a day, I should have made clear -- as you did -- that it also could easily be made into a multi-day journey, as I have done on several occasions.

                  BTW, among the "etc" that should be tried at the Best Stop is the boudin.

                  1. re: Blumie

                    And don't forget the oldest rice factory in New Iberia.

                  2. re: Hungry Celeste

                    Celeste,
                    You do our part of the state proud! The Yellow Bowl's fried crawfish is terrific, and so it the fried catfish. As the map shows, it's on Hwy 182, which is the Old Spanish Trail (also known as old Hwy 90). It will be a bit early for fresh crawfish but for fried, I don't find it matters. I definitely would want fresh for etouffee however. For Jeanerette, New Iberia, and Franklin, Hwy 182 is also Main Street. You can't go wrong, unocal, with Celeste's recs.
                    Definitely stop for the French bread at LeJeune's.
                    Also a great hole in the wall type is Bon Creole in New Iberia. They make a seafood platter po-boy with everything on it. Wild. When they have soft shelled crab, they throw one on for good measure.
                    I also second the Spahr's rec. Excellent!

                  3. re: jamy

                    If you are going to be in Abbeville, you must add Shucks to your list - quite possibly the best oysters I have had

                  4. This has become one of the most useful threads on this board. For those who think a trip to New Orleans means day after day of hanging out on Bourbon Street until you can't see straight, I highly encourage you to consider taking a couple of days to drive US 90 to Lafayette and back or, alternatively, to drive US 90 to Lafayette, then cut over to Baton Rouge on I-10 (making sure to stop in Henderson for lunch at McGee's Landing -- for the views if not for the food -- and to hang out on the Atchafalaya), and then following the River Road back to New Orleans. Great sightseeing and eating all along this route. (Is Lafitte's Landing, in Donaldsonville, still operating a restaurant, or are they just doing catering at this point?)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Blumie

                      Lafitte's Landing is long gone...the building suffered a bad fire, and Folse operated a restaurant at Bittersweet plantation in Donaldsonville for a while. That's closed now too, and he still runs a catering operation in BR, plus his myriad package food, dairy/cheese/yogurt, and TV/publishing endeavors.

                    2. Lagniappe Too is a small cafe in downtown New Iberia. Ask for the Gumbo Z'herbes (pronounced zab)' it's not usually on the menu, but it's in the kitchen. Wonderful!

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: pattisue

                        Lagniappe's corn and crab bisque is the best in town!

                        1. re: cajungirl

                          How many corn and crab bisques are available in New Iberia?

                          1. re: Blumie

                            Probably a bunch...corn & crab bisque or corn & shrimp bisque are very, very popular all over Acadiana these days. Every roadhouse, supper club, and diner seems to offer a version. Reminds me of the broccoli/cheese soup trend & baked potato soup fad of the 90s.

                      2. Festivals Acadiens is happening the weekend of Oct 13-14 and is an absolute must if you'll be there at that time. It's free and all of Acadiana comes out for it...Food, crafts, all the good Cajun music you could ever want ~ It's heaven!
                        As for restaurants, Shucks in Abbeville is a must every time I go back there to visit family for oysters, seafood gumbo, and stuffed crawfish. It's my favorite! Avoid weekend nights if possible. They're open for lunch and have the same great menu.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: mayormel

                          wow sounds like a plan and 1/2 mayormel! perfect timing too on my part...btw, speaking of abbeville, i was gonna go to black's if my memory serves me right. how does it compare w/ shuck's, or are they both pretty comparable?

                          1. re: unocal

                            This is certainly not an opinion based on massive research but my last Black's visit, over a year ago, was ho-hum. I've not been to Shuck's in ages but everything I hear is giving it the nod over the Nouveau Black's. I'll probably check it out when they have the Omlette Fest.

                            1. re: hazelhurst

                              Black's recently has come under new ownership in the last couple of months and I have heard good things. Shuck's recently came under new ownership just this month, but from an article I read today (http://www.theind.com/news2.asp?CID=-...) they haven't made too many changes so it should still be good as well.