2021 began with a whimper, and we were ready to leave 2020 in the rear view mirror for good. Unfortunately, 2021 was starting the same way 2020 was ending. The Pandemic, still surging, keeping us outside as much as possible. So we started at the crown jewel of Acadiana, the Atchafalaya Basin. Even in the dead of winter, there's a beauty there like no other.
As the weather turned even colder in January, faces are pressed against the window hoping that maybe, just maybe coastal Louisiana would get a rare snow. So we looked back at the biggest snowfalls here in Acadiana...not knowing a massive winter storm would cripple much of the deep south by February. But we still found some of the beauty of the winter wonderland.
We followed along some of the oldest routes in Acadiana, including LA 14, also know has the Cajun Corridor Scenic Byway. From New Iberia, through Abbeville to Lake Charles and all of the towns in between. It's known as the most Cajun Place on Earth.
As spring kicked in, we followed the blooms and the beauty of the season. And as there was more reopening. Tourism officials cautiously optimistic that the summer would be better. But they all added, that they were marketing to most of us who live here. Giving us locals a chance to experience our home as a tourist. And this way, when things would reopen, there's no one better to tell the story of how great Louisiana is, than those who call it home.
We learned about the man who lends his name to a road most of us drive every day. We traveled to space on the anniversary of the first shuttle mission, talking to Dave Hostetter, the man who ran the Lafayette Planetarium for decades. I visited with the Opelousas Mayor, who said it wasn't just about getting the tourists back, but also improving the way they get here, with better roads and beautification of what's along those routes.
We enjoyed the Louisiana Orphan Train museum, where members are preserving the heritage of thousands of kids getting a chance at a better life here in Louisiana.
And one of my favorite stories of the year, meeting Brady LeBlanc, the cemetery director of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist. Who says he feels that even though his job is to take care of those resting in the cemetery, he feels that the souls there are watching over him. And that's just half the year. Tune in next week for part 2 to see more of what made Acadiana special in 2021.