Adventure awaits next door with history, culture and fun! Neighboring New Orleans, Jefferson Parish is the place to explore. Stretching 60 miles from the shores of Lake Pontchartrain to the beaches of Grand Isle Jefferson Parish, established in 1835 is named after Thomas Jefferson and his role in purchasing the Louisiana Territory from France in 1803. Jefferson is a diverse community with some of the nation’s best historic districts, cuisine, nature trails and unique wetland adventures.
Explore Jefferson’s historic district of Kenner, which includes Rivertown, a 16-block district recognized in 2014 as a Main Street USA district. The area features Heritage Park’s display of turn-of-the-century replicas, such as the hardware store and gas station. Visit Veterans Park Century of Sentries exhibit; which includes an A-4 Skyhawk and F-14 Tomcat, a tank, bronze bust promenade honoring the military and war memorial. The Kenner Planetarium and MegaDome Cinema is “out of this world” with a 50 foot domed screen featuring galactic shows and laser-light displays set to musical themes. Visit LaSalle’s Landing, the site of the first World Heavy Weight Championship Boxing match in 1870.
Jefferson’s Gretna is one of the nation’s largest historic districts. Known as the governmental seat of the parish and considered to be one of the oldest neighborhoods, Gretna has an exceptional amount of history to offer. With the Louisiana State Fire Museum, Gretna Green Blacksmith Shop, Southern Pacific Freight Depot and Illinois Central Caboose, learn the history behind the railway system and see memorabilia inside “the red caboose.” Visit the German American Cultural Museum to learn the history of our immigrants and get a taste of culture.
The City of Westwego was once a passageway for pioneers headed for the western frontier, named from folks shouting, “west-we-go”! Sala Avenue is the heart of the historic district featuring the Westwego Historical Museum with authentic trapping, fishing and hunting displays. The Old Hardware Store, Art Guild and Farmers and Fisheries Market round out an area steeped in tradition.
Wildlife and the outdoors are a big part of Jefferson Parish’s history and remain a part of our culture today. The Barataria Basin, considered by Thomas Jefferson as the crown jewel of the Louisiana Purchase is steeped in history and offers a plethora of wildlife. See alligators, turtles, egrets, Louisiana’s bayou rat, the nutria, and even get to hold a baby alligator as native Cajuns navigate you through Louisiana’s wetlands aboard a serene swamp tour. Learn the importance of this fragile ecosystem and tour the Lafitte Barataria Museum, which tells the story of this 200-year-old fishing community and its most famous resident Pirate Jean Lafitte, then stroll the nature boardwalk.