Opelousas, the third-oldest city in Louisiana, is the seat (and heart) of St. Landry Parish, but for the average tourist, there isn't that much to see. It's such a pretty town, though -- particularly the main drag, Landry Street -- that passers-through often find themselves pulling over to have a look around.
The Tourist Center, 828 E. Landry St. (tel. 800/424-5442 or 337/948-6263), is open Monday through Friday from 8am to 4:30pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am to 4pm. Famed frontiersman Jim Bowie lived in the building for a (really) short time as a child, and there is a small collection of ephemera devoted to him. Don't go out of your way for that, but do drop in for other tourist and lodging advice. You can also call the St. Landry Parish Tourist Commission (tel. 877/948-8004; www.cajuntravel.com). Spring and fall bring frequent live music events so check the website. Notably, the last weekend in October, Opelousas features its delightful Yambilee Festival, a salute to everyone's favorite Thanksgiving side dish.
If you need a proper tourist experience, drop by the Opelousas Museum and Interpretive Center, 329 N. Main St. (tel. 337/948-2589; www.cityofopelousas.com; Mon-Fri 8am-4:30pm, Sat 10am-3pm). In passing, admire the 300-year-old oak across the street from City Hall; its branches have gotten so heavy that in spots they not only touch the ground but are buried beneath the sod. The ultimate spot for zydeco, Slim's Y Ki-Ki (tel. 337/942-6242) at 8393 Hwy. 182, fills up to hot and sweaty capacity most weekends. Just down the highway in Lawtell, the Zydeco Hall of Fame (formerly Richard's) is doing its best to keep the dance-hall traditions of its legendary predecessor going, while mixing in DJs spinning hip-hop (11154 Hwy. 190, Lawtell; tel. 337/349-8827; open only sporadically; search "zydeco hall of fame" in www.facebook.com for upcoming shows there and elsewhere in the region).