Preserve Louisiana is headed to Cajun country, and there's still space on the bus for you.

The second Cultural & Architectural Tour to Cajun Land runs Friday-Sunday, Feb. 16-18, with visits to attractions in New Iberia and a chance to sample its Cajun delicacies. Host for the trip is Peggy Sweeney-McDonald, creator and author of "Meanwhile, Back at Café Du Monde … Life Stories about Food," which also was turned into a traveling production. 

Visitors will learn about the culture, architecture and history of New Iberia, Avery Island, Jefferson Island and St. Martinville, a news release says.

“It will truly be a tasty journey as we will savor the different history and food in the part of Cajun Country where Spanish, French, Acadian, African-American and Native American roots mingle,” Sweeney-McDonald said.

The tour traveled to Natchez, Mississippi, in January 2017.

"This year, guests will walk the beautiful pepper fields of the Tabasco Factory and Jungle Gardens, visit the mystique and alluring Shadows On the Teche Plantation, view interactive exhibits at The Bayou Teche Museum, and discover historical sites like the Joseph Jefferson House and Rip Van Winkle Gardens, Evangeline Tree and Monument, and the Museum of the Acadian Memorial," the release also said.

Tour-goers will dine at the Little River Inn, the Jefferson Café, Landry’s Cajun Food and Steak House and at an elegant dinner featuring the "Meanwhile, Back at Café Du Monde" live show at the Antique Rose Ville. Sweeney-McDonald will emcee the show with area foodies who will share their life stories about food, including Bonnie Breaux, executive chef of Café Sydnie Mae and 2017 Seafood Queen; Tuesday Sunshine, pastry chef of Indulge Sweet Spot; Stanley Dry, Louisiana Life kitchen gourmet columnist, former senior editor of Food & Wine magazine and author of The Essential Louisiana Cookbook; and Linda Freyou, chef-owner of Antique Roseville.

The tour includes transportation, a two-night stay at the Hampton Inn & Suites, all meals, tours and the "Meanwhile" show.

For more information and booking, call Sweeney-McDonald at (310) 709-2851, email or register at Tickets are $675, single; and $575 each, double.

Open house at gardens

The ninth annual Bayou Gardens Open House will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, at the Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges’ Bayou Lacombe Center, 61389 La. 434, Lacombe.

Charles Allen, botanist, retired LSU professor and co-author of several books on the native plants of Louisiana, will lead a free workshop called “Butterflies from Scratch” from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Participants will learn what garden plants provide nectar and homes to native Louisiana butterflies and hummingbird moths. The workshop will cover plants and planting techniques that can provide both garden beauty and habitat for butterflies and other pollinators. The workshop will include a visit to a butterfly garden designed and maintained by St. Tammany Master Gardeners.

The St. Tammany Parish LSU AgCenter agent, Master Gardeners and camellia experts also will answer questions about camellia gardening, landscaping, and gardening to support pollinators.

At 1 p.m., Hunter Charbonnet, president of the Northshore Camellia Club, will offer a “Queen of Winter” talk exploring the various species of camellia that bring color to the winter landscape.

Walking tours of the center’s historic camellia gardens and structures depart at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Family friendly activities will include creating waxed camellias, solar prints or an up-cycled butterfly craft.

The grounds of the Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges Headquarters "were once a horticultural attraction known as 'Bayou Gardens.' During the garden’s heyday in the 1940s-1950s, more than 400 cultivars of camellias and a wide variety of azaleas bloomed along inviting pathways under oak and pine trees," a news release says.

Volunteers assist with maintenance of the gardens.

Visitors may grab a map and explore the gardens on their own or join the free guided tours.

The Bayou Gardens Open House is presented by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Friends of Louisiana Wildlife Refuges Inc., in collaboration with the St. Tammany Master Gardeners, Northshore Camellia Club and the Camellia Club of New Orleans.

For more information, call (985) 882-2015 or email

Follow Judy Bergeron on Twitter, @judybergeronbr.