The tiny village of Grand Coteau ("Big Hill") may be the most serene place in south Louisiana. Nestled against a sweeping ridge that formed a natural levee of the Mississippi River centuries ago, the town is oriented around a core of grand and beautiful religious institutions. Covering the hill itself is a peaceful cemetery, behind the stately St. Charles College, a Jesuit seminary. When the Mississippi overflowed its banks during the cataclysmic flood of 1927, the water stopped at the base of Grand Coteau's ridge, and the town was preserved. Today the entire town center is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, with dozens of historical structures including Creole cottages, early Acadian-style homes, and the grand Academy and Convent of the Sacred Heart. Antiques stores line Martin Luther King Drive (Route 93), the main thoroughfare.
Fodor's Editorial Photo Intern Leonard Vargas snapped photos of this spring's wildflower explosion in Southern California.More