The Cajun Prairie is the name of the inland area between the marshes to the southwest around Lake Charles, the pine forests of central Louisiana, and the bayous and swamps to the southeast. It covers the majority of three parishes in Acadiana, a region covering the majority of southern Louisiana. This area is unique in South Louisiana and known for its windswept prairies, crawfish farms, and rice paddies. Renowned for its Cajun and Zydeco music, this area also is home to the Cajun Music Hall of Fame and many musicians of this unique genre.
This area lies northeast of Lake Charles and north and northwest of Lafayette. Three of Louisiana's parishes (the Louisiana equivalent of a county) form this region: Acadia Parish, Evangeline Parish, and St. Landry Parish.
- 1 Basile
- 2 Church Point
- 3 Crowley
- 4 Eunice
- 5 Krotz Springs
- 6 Mamou
- 7 Opelousas
- 8 Rayne
- 9 Ville Platte
Three major highways pass through this region:
- Interstate 10 goes west to east through Acadia Parish and passes through the towns of Crowley and Rayne. Driving through on this highway in the spring, the sight of farmers at work on crawfish farms is very common.
- Interstate 49 moved north to south through St. Landry Parish. While it doesn't exemplify the prairie landscape of the region to its west, it does have gentle rolling hills and pine trees, making for a smooth drive through the area.
- US Highway 190 goes west to east and is the perfect place to get a feel for the Cajun Prairie. Driving west from Opelousas to Eunice, one notices that the trees become less numerous and the few hills start to fade into flat prairie ground. This landscape remains consistent until past the small town of Kinder in Allen Parish.