GETTING THERE: Several airlines fly from Washington to New Orleans, about two hours if you get a nonstop flight. Among them: Delta, Eastern, New York Air and United. From Dulles, New York Air is offering a $218 round-trip fare, based on a 14-day advance purchase.
WHERE TO STAY: There are plenty of good hotels and motels throughout Cajun Country, especially in Lafayette, which calls itself the "Capital of French Louisiana." Among the chains represented: Holiday Inn, La Quinta, Hilton, Travelodge, Howard Johnson.
Three special places to stay are:
Ti Frere's House, a two-guest room (private bath) bed and breakfast at 1905 Verot School Rd., Lafayette, La. 70508, (318) 984-9347. It is located about 10 minutes from Acadian Village. A double room for two, including full breakfast, is $55 a night.
Mintmere Plantation House, a small, graceful structure facing Bayou Teche at 1400 East Main, New Iberia, La. 70560, (318) 364-6210. It is very convenient to Jungle Gardens, the Tabasco plant, Live Oak Gardens and the "Land of Evangeline" at St. Martinville. A suite for two (bedroom, private sitting room and bath) is $100 a night and includes a full breakfast and a tour of the house. There are three such suites. The rate for the only two-bedroom suite is $150.
Nottoway Plantation, a large plantation on a parklike estate with an upper-balcony view over the levee to the busy Mississippi at P.O. Box 160, White Castle, La. 70788, (504) 545-2730. This is a convenient stop en route to Cajun Country from New Orleans. A double room for two begins at $115 a night, which includes a welcoming bottle of champagne, a planter's full breakfast and a wake-up delivery of coffee and sweet potato biscuits. Try for an upstairs room in the main house.
Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission, P.O. Box 52066, Lafayette, La. 70505, (318) 232-3737.
Louisiana Office of Tourism, P.O. Box 94291, Baton Rouge, La. 70804-9291, (800) 231-4730.
-- James T. Yenckel