Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Information Center
Welcome to the cajun prairie capital of Louisiana.
When most people think of Cajuns, they think of pirogues on the bayou. But Eunice – named for the town founder’s beloved wife – is the cajun prairie capital of Louisiana. The week here starts on Saturday mornings, with hot boudin sausage, coffee and the open Cajun jam session at Savoy’s Music Center. This 40-year-old tradition, where old hands play alongside up-and-comers, was started by a local accordion-maker and is still going strong. On Saturday evenings, the historic Liberty Theater broadcasts a live Cajun radio show. It makes sense that Eunice would also house the Cajun Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Here, greats like “Doc” Guidry and “Happy Fats” LeBlanc are commemorated, and the story of Cajun music is told. For the rest of the story, visit the Prairie Cajun Cultural Center, which is one of the few places you’ll find National Park Service rangers alongside Cajun chefs dishing up jambalaya.
The Liberty Theatre
Eunice, Louisiana is a hotbed of traditional Cajun and Creole culture and Cajun and Zydeco music, and the community pays enormous tribute to it. The Liberty Theatre constructed in 1924 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, hosts "Rendez-Vous des Cajuns", an internationally known performance that features Cajun and Zydeco music and humorists. The Liberty Theatre, provides the opportunity to step back in time at the Rendez-vous de Cajuns, a live radio show hosted in French with enough English spoken to follow along. The dance floor at the foot of the stage in this completely restored movie house is perfect for practicing the two-step or the Cajun Waltz, dances most favored by the locals.
Must-see sites in the Eunice downtown area include the Cajun Music Hall of Fame and Museum and the Eunice Depot Museum, which is the site of the city’s birthplace. It is from this spot in September 1894, that developer CC Duson auctioned off 150 lots, establishing the town of Eunice, named after his wife Eunice Pharr Duson. The history of the area’s Acadian people, who are called Cajun today, unfolds at the Prairie Acadian Cultural Center, part of the Jean Lafitte National Historic Park and Preserve, in downtown Eunice. The center not only contains exhibits and artifacts that have been meticulously assembled and documented, but it also hosts music sessions and native craft and cooking demonstrations.
Mardi Gras Celebration
Eunice is well-known for it’s spectacular Mardi Gras celebration, called the Courir de Mardi Gras. This event showcases some of the most unique cultural customs and the best sampling of live music and Cajun cuisine. The actual courir or “run” is a reenactment of the “feast of begging”, a tradition from medieval France. Every Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras Day), revelers ride on horseback in rural areas, “begging” for items to culminate a community-wide gumbo. The highlight of this event is the chicken run, where costumed participants chase a live guinea or chicken.
Crawfish Étouffée Cook-off
The City of Eunice, Louisiana’s Prairie Cajun Capital, is in the heart of the top crawfish-producing area in the United States. Blessed with this natural resource, the World Championship Crawfish Étouffée Cook-Off was started in 1986 to showcase our crawfish industry and local chefs. Held on the last Saturday in March (except when it conflicts with Easter) at the Northwest Pavilion, the World Championship Crawfish Étouffée Cook-Off attracts locals and visitors who appreciate good cookin’! Teams compete to see who can cook the best crawfish étouffée (smothered crawfish). Celebrity and professional judges proclaim winners in three categories; Amateur, Professional and Club/Organization. Teams also vie for People's Choice and the Best Decorated Booth --- the entries for this category get more creative every year. Once the judges have their samples from the booths, the public can buy the crawfish étouffée directly from the participants. Participants can also cook and sell one other food items in addition to their crawfish étouffée.
Louisiana State University at Eunice
Louisiana State University Eunice is located just southwest of Eunice along Louisiana Highway 755 on a 196-acre tract of land originally belonging to the Arnold LeDoux family, which donated fifty acres for the establishment of the University campus. The University originally purchased an additional fifty acres and later acquired another 95.83 acres for future expansion. The campus is located in Acadia Parish, near the boundaries of Evangeline and St. Landry Parishes, in a rich and fertile section of Southwest Louisiana referred to as "the tri-parish area."
The LSU Board of Supervisors was authorized by Revised Statute 17:1521 to establish Louisiana State University at Eunice. Acting under this authority, the Board set in motion the chain of events leading to the establishment of a two-year commuter college at Eunice, with ground-breaking ceremonies in May 1966.