By Abby Meaux Conques
Historical, Welcoming Washington
Founded in 1720, near Bayou Courtableau, the Town of Washington became the third-oldest settlement in Louisiana. For much of the nineteenth century, it served as the busiest inland steamboat port between St. Louis and New Orleans because of its proximity to bayous and rivers. The port brought cattle, sugar, cotton and other crops from the area to New Orleans markets. Many of the structures from the port era still stand today, putting 80 percent of the town on the National Historic Registry. Spend the day in Washington amongst the live oaks and 19th. Spend the day in Washington amongst the live oaks and 19th-century structures antiquing, eating great food and meeting wonderful people.
First Stop: Info and Ideas
Washington Museum and Tourist Center can be your first stop after the drive into the quaint town. It’s a hub for any information needed on historical sites, antique shops, tours, and bed-and-breakfast listings.
Next: Antiquing in an Old Schoolhouse
The Old Schoolhouse Antique Mall should be a definite destination on your “Discovering Washington” list. The two-story schoolhouse, built in 1934, boasts 40,000 square feet of antique shopping space. Take a leisurely stroll through the old school halls where vendors have furniture, Victorian ware, china, porcelain, sterling silver, antique lovers to peruse. Be sure to clear your calendar for the second weekends of April and October to check out their well-known Antique Fair and Yard Sale.
Enjoy Lunch on Historical Main Street
Old Courtableu Cafe in the heart of Main Street Washington, serves Louisiana culinary favorites and features a dance hall with live music that is well-attended on the weekends. David Allemond, the former owner of McGee’s Landing in Henderson, LA, saw an opportunity to pump life back into the Washington Main Street scene with locals and tourists alike. The historical building, which served as a meat market and hardware store in the past, is the perfect spot for a leisurely lunch before antiquing. Restaurant manager Tanya Doucet makes sure everything runs smoothly for the lunch rush and also serves on Washington’s town council.
Check Out Local Art
Huguet Studio is a historic building turned professional artist’s working area and artist showing space. Stefanie Diez Huguet pours her heart and soul into each piece, whether commissioned or from personal inspiration and will happily greet you when you stop by her gallery.