Louisiana oozes romance. Sultry summer nights seduce visitors into skinny-dipping under the stars. Exhilarating airboat rides reveal the mysteries of the state’s swamps and bayous. And the Big Easy gives Paris a run for the money when it comes to amour. Throw a cottage in the thick of things or a secluded cabin into the mix, and you have the makings for a romantic getaway.
Kate Chopin’s novel “The Awakening” is set on Grand Isle, a spit of land south of New Orleans in the Gulf of Mexico. The story of passion and adultery gone wrong sets the scene for a romantic getaway, especially if you awake in the morning to dense fog rolling in from the Gulf. The waters stay warm almost year-round, and inlets and coves provide private spots for paddlers. Cabins on the island, many set on tall pilings to avoid hurricane flooding, are homey and rustic. The Sun & Sand Cabins have patios with picnic tables where you can enjoy fresh-caught shrimp and crawfish. Bridge Side Marina has fully equipped cabins, a private beach and fishing piers.
The Big Easy
Order a Sazerac, have your fortunes told or catch an outdoor performance by a jazz band in New Orleans. If you want to spend your weekend getaway like a native, book one of the Audubon Cottages in the French Quarter. The luxury cottages, arranged around a heated saltwater swimming pool, have private or semi-private courtyards. An on-call butler will unpack your bags and make reservations for you. If you want to be close to the Quarter, but don’t want the hustle and bustle, consider A Night on the Bayou in Barataria, about 20 miles south of the city. Surrounded by swamps and wildlife, the fully equipped cabin has direct water access.
New Orleans-style ironwork balconies overlook the streets of Natchitoches, a small city in the heart of Louisiana. Dolly Parton and Julia Roberts walked the brick sidewalks filming the movie "Steel Magnolias" there. Nearby, Oakland, Melrose and Magnolia plantations re-create the romantic, and not-so-romantic, lives of wealthy landowners. The Cabin on Cane River, part of the artists’ colony in the city’s historic district, overlooks Cane River Lake. The private Bird Nest on the Cane has a wraparound deck that overhangs the river. Surrounded by 123 acres of woods and fields, Thorny Hill Cabin has a wood-burning stove and a bathroom with a soaking tub.
Kick up your heels at a fais-do-do, or dance party, in south Louisiana’s Cajun country, or tap your toes to zydeco music at a local bar. Dig into corn maque choux, dirty rice and boudin while you listen carefully for the distinctive accent chef Justin Wilson made famous. Breakfast is delivered to your door at Maison D’Memoire in Rayne. The cottages, some with two-person Jacuzzi baths or claw-foot tubs, have rocking chair porches and sunset views. A covered porch overlooking the Vermillion River is the highlight of Bayou Rose in Abbeville. The one-bedroom cottage has a fire pit and barbecue grill, floor-to-ceiling windows and central air conditioning -- a must in Louisiana.