When it comes to showing off the diversity of culture in America without judgment, there are few who do or did it better than Anthony Bourdain. While a born-and-bred New Yorker, Tony sought to discover the “parts unknown” in our world – and that included those closer to home than we might always care to admit. From the hills of Appalachia in West Virginia to the gun-shooting culture of West Texas to the mythologized bayous of the Mississippi Delta and Southern Louisiana, Bourdain sought out and showed us how we’re similar despite our differences, even under one national flag.
Louisiana was clearly a place that Anthony Bourdain found captivating, as he visited several times during his career. From Cajun Country to the Big Easy, he wandered through city streets and along backcountry roads to highlight cultures we might forget are all part of what makes this big beautiful patchwork in the U.S.A.
If you’re planning to visit Louisiana and want to eat at the same places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Louisiana, this guide can help. Below you’ll find the two main areas Tony visited in “The Pelican State” (did you know that’s the state nickname?), and links to the guides I’ve written about each. Let this inspire you to explore one of the most “foreign” parts of the United States and try some new dishes and ingredients – Louisiana certainly has plenty to offer!
In this post, I promote travel to a destination that is the traditional lands of the Natchez, Ishak (Atakapa), Koasati (Coushatta), Avoyel, and Adai peoples, among others. With respect, I make a formal land acknowledgment, extending my appreciation and respect to the past and present people of these lands. To learn more about the peoples who call these lands home, I invite you to explore Native Land.
While I don’t normally organize these guides into disparate regions, Bourdain spent enough time in what he called “Cajun Country” – and what some residents of the area call Acadiana. While it might not be an official designation, it is a unique cultural destination in Louisiana, and has a cuisine all its own. Here’s where he ate during each of the three trips he made:
- On his first visit in 2002, Tony tries ‘gater nuggets after a swamp tour, courtesy of Zam’s Swamp Tours.
- Returning for a dedicated “Cajun Country” episode in 2011, he visits Glenda’s Creole/Cajun Kitchen for Creole classics, has a crawfish boil with chef Patrick Mould, and attends a two-day boucherie that uses an entire pig snout-to-tail along with other amazing dishes like corn hash and turtle stew.
- During his final trip to celebrate “Cajun Mardi Gras” in 2017, he tries boudin balls and cracklins at Billy’s Boudin, digs into Creole culture (and its difference from Cajun culture) at Laura’s II, and enjoys a few final essential dishes (like crawfish etouffee, my favorite) at Suire’s Grocery before heading back to the big city.
Be sure to check out my detailed guide to places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Cajun Country if you want more details about these spots and what Tony ate.
Speaking of the big city, that’s the primary other place that Anthony Bourdain spends time in Louisiana…
Like many big and well-known American cities, Tony made several trips to NOLA, including for three of his four shows (A Cook’s Tour, No Reservations, and The Layover). In total, he visited almost 40 restaurants and bars across the Big Easy, making it the fourth-most-visited city in terms of number of places he ate and drank.
Rather than list all of those places here, I thought I’d pick a few essentials to entice you to check out my entire guide for where Bourdain ate in New Orleans:
- Checkpoint Charlie’s
- New Orleans Original Daiquiris
- Nor-Joe Import Company Market Place
- Sazerac Bar at the Roosevelt Hotel
- Willie Mae’s “Scotch House”
Many of these spots feature the kinds of dishes you’d expect for New Orleans, but others might surprise you. If you’re planning to visit New Orleans, the best way to ensure you try everything you want and eat very well is to check my full guide to the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in New Orleans.
I hope that inspires you to visit this very unique corner of the country. Have any other questions about the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Louisiana? Let me know in the comments below!