FEB 2014

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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Page 35 of 51

⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 4 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 36 Just as Louisiana-styled gumbo consists of many ingredients—and no two gumbos are exactly alike—the Southwest Louisiana region is made up of a cities and towns with their own special flavor. Lafayette, New Iberia and Lake Charles are the principal meetings destinations here, and each has its own claim to fame, its own attendee-drawing appeal. Taken together, they form a rich gumbo of history, mystery and flavor—and they offer meeting planners ample opportunity to choose out-of-the-ordinary settings that offer state-of-the-art meeting facilities and lodging, and support services to make any event run smoothly. ■ ALABAMA ARKANSAS FLORIDA GEORGIA KENTUCKY LOUISIANA MARYLAND MISSISSIPPI MISSOURI NORTH CAROLINA OKLAHOMA SOUTH CAROLINA TENNESSEE TEXAS VIRGINIA WEST VIRGINIA Southwest Louisiana I N S I D E R ' S G U I D E By Sabe Fink L a y f a y e t t e C V B V i a F a c e b o o k Lafayette offers unique ways to soak up the region's Cajun culture—all while being socially responsible. Here are three ways to be a socially responsible Cajun for a day: Host an outdoor lunch at Acadian Village's pavilion. Lafayette's oldest authen- tic depiction of life in 19 th century Louisiana, Acadian Village showcases authen- tic homes, a general store, chapel and other build- ings alongside a winding bayou, depicting the architecture of the time. Among the meeting spaces, the outdoor pavilion accommodates 250 guests for a seated function, or 1,000 people for a reception style function. Have a banquet at Vermilionville. This living history museum and folklife park has a mission of preserving the cultural resources of the Acadian, Native American and Creole cultures from as early as 1765. The park sits on 23 acres on Bayou Vermilion and has unique attractions such as local artisans demonstrating essential crafts performed by the early residents. Meet At The Performance Center. The Performance Center is styled after an old agricultural building. The center is well suited for banquets of up to 350 and exterior walls slide open to utilize the adjacent courtyard for additional space. ■ Find Your Group's Saucy Side With Lafayette's Cajun-Inspired Sites Lafayette is rich in tradition and full of the energy and spirit that has made Southwest Louisiana famous. From authentic Cajun and Creole cuisine to bustling dancehalls and historic attractions, Lafayette can provide a cultural experience meeting attendees will never forget. Kelly Strenge of the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission notes, "There are at least four reasons to hold a meeting or convention in Lafayette: world- famous cuisine, legendary Cajun and zydeco music, unique French culture, and modern, well-equipped facilities." These facilities include the Cajundome with arena seating for 13,000 as well as the adjacent Lafayette Convention Center, which offers over 72,000 square feet on two lev- els, including over 37,300 square feet of exhibition area, nearly 20,000 square feet of meeting and banquet facilities, a 5,000-square-foot mall area plus spacious prefunction and reception areas. The Heymann Performing Arts Center offers auditorium seating for 2,230 and banquet capacity for up to 1,800. And for large congregations, the Blackham Coliseum offers seating for 9,800, including 3,000 bleacher seats. Matching this meeting space are Lafayette's full-service hotels, totaling over 4,000 citywide guest rooms. Recommended for meeting groups and set on the banks of the Vermilion River, the Hilton Lafayette hotel is located near the Lafayette Convention Center, the Acadiana Center for the Arts and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. The 327-room hotel is equipped for groups of up to 1,200 guests and offers 22,000 square feet of meeting space. Maximilians's Lounge and the award-winning Alexan- der's offer a taste of traditional Cajun cuisine in a relaxed, lively setting. ■ Arcadian Village Via Facebook 27-52 CS FEB 2014_Layout 1 1/31/14 5:10 PM Page 36

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