by Angie Kay Dilmore
Jeff Davis Parish is often thought of as a rural community, noteworthy for its many crawfish ponds and sugarcane fields. And while the backroads of Southwest Louisiana’s countryside make for a delightful Sunday drive, there are a surprisingly large number of things to see and do between Jennings and Lake Arthur on any day of the week!
Have you ever wanted to hold a baby alligator? Located conveniently along I-10 and inside the Jeff Davis Parish Visitor Center, Gator Chateau is a hands-on alligator educational facility that works closely with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF). LDWF delivers four new hatchlings to the facility from the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge every October. The older alligators stay in their Gator Chateau habitat until they reach a length of approximately seven feet, then they are released back to Rockefeller. Gator Chateau currently has four hatchlings, nine alligators in the big pond, and an 86-year-old alligator snapping turtle named Pierre.
Gator Chateau is free to the public. Open Monday-Saturday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Closed on major holidays. Take Exit 64 in Jennings, LA. The Visitor Center offers info on all state attractions as well as a gift shop stocked with gator merchandise. Groups welcome, but please call 337-821-5521 to book.
Crawfish Farm Tours
Hosted by the Jeff Davis Parish Tourist Commission, Crawfish Farm field tours in Jeff Davis Parish operate from March to May (the crawfish harvest season) on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Friday mornings. Tour cost is $8.00 per person (ages 3 and up). Teachers, bus drivers and home school organizers are free with group.
Visitors will experience the habitat, harvest, calculation, distribution, and consumption of Louisiana’s #1 crustacean. The tour is held pondside with a local crawfish farmer enthusiastically explaining the process of crawfish farming. The tour then goes to a local processing plant to learn about the distribution side of crawfish. The tour ends at Gator Chateau at the Jeff Davis Parish Visitor Center. Perfect for schools or any group!
Tour must be booked in advance and is for groups of 10 or more. If you do not have a group, please contact the tourist commission, and ask if you can join an existing tour.
W.H. Tupper Museum
If you’ve ever wondered what life was like 100 years ago, take a step back in time at the W.H. Tupper General Merchandise Museum in Jennings, LA. You can visit this authentic country store which operated in rural Jeff Davis Parish from 1910-1949. The original store, located about 12 miles north of Jennings, was opened during the Great Depression to serve the large number of farm workers in the area. It sold everything – groceries, medicines, meat, hardware, dry goods, and clothing. A realistic capsule of early 20th century lifestyle, the museum features antique toys, newspapers, games, hats, fashions, sewing notions, fabric, patent medicine, school supplies, and hardware.
The Tupper Store also served as the area’s post office. Inside the Tupper, you will also find the Louisiana Telephone Pioneer Museum, which features displays depicting the history of the telephone. In the Children’s Telephone Museum, children can participate in interactive exhibits. Open year-round Tues.-Wed. 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., Thu. – Fri. 10:00 a.m. – 400 p.m., Sat. 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Closed Sunday and Monday. Tours after hours available by appointment.
311 North Main Street, Jennings
For more information, call 337-821-5532
Admission is $3 for adults, $1 for students
One wouldn’t expect to find a museum of this caliber in a small rural community. Located in the recently renovated City Hall building at the end of Main Street, the new location affords visitors easy access to Jennings’s other art attractions. The modern design of the new space better showcases the Zigler’s permanent collection. The museum’s collection surveys and celebrates the development of visual art in Louisiana. Its objects span several hundred years and range from early folk paintings to native craft, to contemporary painting and sculpture. Highlights from the collection include several works by John James Audubon, a large collection of work by William Tolliver, and Helen Turner’s Impressionist painting, Morning. The museum exhibits selections from the permanent collection and visiting exhibitions emphasize the museum’s focus on emerging Louisiana artists. The Zigler’s upcoming exhibit is called Art to Art: From Camera to Canvas. This installation highlights the creative relationship between two local artists – Dorothy Hughes and Gayle Godeaux – by allowing viewers to see how their work inspires one another – even between two different forms of media.
Open year-round Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Closed on major holidays. Admission free for active members, $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and $2 for children.
154 North Main St., Jennings
offers trendy clothes for teens and missy, men’s sportswear, accessories, and shoes. They also carry school uniforms year around and tux rentals. Mon. – Fri. 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Sat. 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
918 N. Lake Arthur Ave., Jennings
Find them on Facebook
C’est La Vie
sells apparel, accessories and gifts for women and children. Boutique hours 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Mon. – Fri., 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Sat.
1230 Elton Rd., Jennings
sells contemporary women’s fashion. 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Mon. – Fri., 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Sat.
1613 Elton Road, Jennings
Mike’s Seafood Restaurant:
Seafood and steaks, buffet, daily lunch specials, award winning gumbo, specialty Cajun dishes, and a variety of dinner selections. Open Tue – Fri 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. /Sat 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m., Sun 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Drive through only. Closed Mondays
I-10 at Exit 64, 919 N. Lake Arthur Ave., Jennings
Darrell’s Poboys of Jennings & The Crawfish House:
Specialty sandwiches, including the famous ‘Darrell’s Special’ and boiled crawfish (in season). Dine in or drive thru. Open Monday –
Saturday 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
1020 N. Lake Arthur Ave., Jennings,
Attractions & Lodging
Lake Arthur Park
The Centerpiece of the Town of Lake Arthur is its downtown park and waterfront area. This 11-acre facility is situated on the north shore of the freshwater lake (also Lake Arthur) and features a beach area perfect for sunning and swimming and a playground area. The park boasts a concrete boardwalk that stretches out over the lake making it a beautiful setting for walkers and sightseers. Ten large picnic pavilions are situated within the park, each with a barbecue grill. There are huge, century-old live oak trees throughout the park that offer shade to visitors. On beautiful Lake Arthur, visitors can boat, water ski, swim, fish, and observe the abundant wildlife in the region. The bald cypress trees and majestic live oak trees that surround the entire lake add to the scenic beauty of the area. Be sure to take a pic in the ‘Big Blue Chair’ located at the entrance to the park. Perfect photo op!
I-10 Exit 64 in Jennings and follow Hwy 26 south 10 miles to Lake Arthur. Follow signs to Main Street. 337-774-2211
The Bank Hotel
What was once a Jeff Davis bank is now a boutique hotel that offers eight luxury suites, scenic balconies and all the amenities.
233 Arthur Ave., Lake Arthur
www.labankhotel.com. You can also find them on booking.com and Airbnb.
Regatta LA Seafood & Steakhouse
Located on the edge of beautiful Lake Arthur, Regatta offers a mouth-watering experience like no other. Just a 20-minute drive from I-10, it’s accessible by car, seaplane, or boat. Dine inside or outside on the deck over the water. On the menu, find fresh seafood, steak, pasta, traditional Cajun fare. Seasonal live entertainment 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., Fri. – Sat. and some holidays. Call for schedule. Open Wed. – Thurs. 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., Fri. 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., Saturday 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., Sun. 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Closed Monday and Tuesday.
508 Hawkeye Avenue, Lake Arthur
Main Street Deli
Sandwiches, soup of the day, pizza, burgers, salads, desserts & ice cream, iced coffee, frappes. Open 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
112 Arthur Ave, Lake Arthur
Nott’s Cajun Restaurant is no longer on Nott’s Corner and the giant red crawfish that once greeted guests is temporarily gone, but the food is still as homemade and delicious as it’s always been. Specializing in seafood and Cajun cuisine. Open Tues. – Sat. 10:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. and Sun. 10:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
639 Arthur Ave. Lake Arthur