Mention Only Louisiana and images of Mardi Gras, jazz clubs and late-night revelry are most likely the first things that come to your mind. Without a doubt the association of New Orleans’ atmosphere to Louisiana is strong. But there is far more to Louisiana than the Crescent City. And likewise, New Orleans is much more than the French Quarter and Fat Tuesday.

Louisiana is a land of contrasts. Its different regions vary in physical appearance from gentle rolling hills and lakes in the north to bayou swamps and the Gulf of Mexico in the south. Perhaps there is no better example of contrasts than Louisiana’s culture. Here, the American south meets French heritage. The result—a genteel southern pace enveloped by a zest for life.

And, it’s that pursuit of enjoyment that threads throughout Louisiana. Dancing to Zydeco in a local music hall. Spicy boiled crawfish and the dare of “how hot?” Casting a reel and hooking a fat bass. Flying through a sea of grass on an airboat. The uneasy and mysterious thrill of touring a haunted antebellum home at night. The sound of Jazz, Blues and Soul drifting from back alleys and open doors. And yes, the craziest party in America—perhaps even the world.

Louisiana isn’t for spectators. It’s for participants—for those that want more than to live the moment, but to become the moment. Here, excitement is a constant pursuit, and one that’s easily found.