St. Martin Parish is genuinely known as the gateway to Acadiana.
Coming from the east on I-10, it's the first thing you see. And what a site, the Atchafalaya Basin. Laci Laperouse says, visitors are trickling back in.
"People are feeling a little bit more comfortable coming out and start enjoying what we have to offer." Over the past year, they've concentrated on getting folks from Acadiana to stop by. Laperouse adds,"Our main goal here is to get people to eat and shop local. It's important that our local people support our local businesses."
From the Basin to the Brewery, and the Teche to the Evangeline Oak. Upper and lower St. Martin has so much to see. They've seen the RV parks stay active, considering you can actually be at home, while bringing your home here. But it's not just the pandemic that brought the slowdown. Hurricanes and ice storms had an impact, but sometimes progress gets in the way, such as the massive construction on I-10. But that isn't stopping them either.
"There's one thing I know about people of St Martin Parish. we're very resilient. We're not just gonna cry about it, we're going to adapt and make things work." says St. Martin Parish President Chester Cedars. He adds, they have a few tricks up their sleeve. "We have evaluated what it is that appeals to people not only out of Louisiana, but within Louisiana." Cedars realizes that things will be different from now on. He says, "We hear the term "return to normal" I don't think we'll ever be back to the way we were before the pandemic. But that's okay, we can be better."
Cedars says each community in St. Martin Parish has it's own story to tell. When people come to visit, they want to get people away from the hotels and RV parks, and into each city and town. And there's no competition between parishes, it's all part of a bigger picture, and the welcome mat is out! "We welcome anybody!" "I can't wait to get this pandemic behind us so we can tighten out belts we can sit down and analyze, and adapt and bring people to enjoy the very diverse nature of this community."
To find out more about St. Martin Parish and what to see and do, visit their website, cajuncountry.org