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About Jennings, Louisiana

Here at Nissan of Lake Charles, we are proud of our Cajun roots, and proud of our Cajun community. One of the many culturally diverse communities we serve is Jennings, Louisiana. In Jennings, many of our Louisiana values are prevalent, and it is the perfect blend of Creoles and Acadians, otherwise known as “Cajuns.” See why we are proud to serve this city here at Nissan of Lake Charles.​ 
Jennings

History
 

The city of Jennings was founded in 1888 and named for the local railroad contractor Jennings McComb. During its early days, settlers of the area were wheat farmers from Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska. Natives of the area were receptive to the settlers, and both the newcomers and the inhabitants of the area lived peacefully together. Despite the names of “Yankee’s” and “Cajun’s” being used to describe one another, the people in the area were very accepting of everyone.
 

Jennings was quickly a prosperous town due to the settlers bringing their improved technology that aided in the development of rice, cotton, sweet potatoes and corn in the area. In addition to this, Jennings is home to the first discovery of oil in Louisiana. Jennings quickly began to prosper even more after this discover, hence the town’s nickname, the “Cradle of Louisiana Oil.” Between the crops and the oil, Jennings has always been a successful town with good people.
 

The resilience of the people in Jennings is evident in the Fire in 1901 that destroyed nearly the entire town. Despite the fire, this led to Jennings discovering oil and it changed the city’s entire future. In addition to this, instead of allowing the fire to bring the city down, the people of Jennings used this opportunity to renovate the buildings destroyed to withstand fire, and this led to the development of stronger reconstructed buildings. Because of the resilience of the people in this town are, they were able to take a bad situation, and make it better! 

Culture
 

As mentioned before, the people in Jennings are a combination of settlers from Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska, and native Cajuns from the area. The native Cajuns are descendants of the French and Native American who’ve always been home to the area. In addition, there are also plenty of African American descendants who reside in the city of Jennings. Because of all these influences, it is clear that Jennings is home to many cultural traditions and the blend of many diverse backgrounds.
 

Good Food
 

In the city, it would not be surprising to find many homes with fine Cajun cooking, and many places that serve good old fashioned Cajun Cuisine. Some of these great places include the Crawfish corner, Bourban Street Café, and Boudin King Restaurants. In addition to these great Cajun restaurants, Jennings also has Café’s and bakeries that will satisfy your sweet tooth! Be sure to check out Ace Donut, Evangeline’s Café & Bakery, and Green’s Café. Home to many great restaurants, it is clear that Jennings appetite is one that matches its culture. 

Festivals
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In addition to the restaurants in town, the culture of the town can be found in the many festivals that are held every year that celebrate the town’s history, culture, and show how courteous the citizens of Jennings are.
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Being in Louisiana, it comes a no surprise that Mardi Gras is a big deal. In Jennings, there are many events that help celebrate this holiday. Perhaps the most famous is the Jennings Mardi Gras Festival & Parade, which is the final event for the Mardi Gras season. It is held in Founder’s Park and has been running since 1994. One unique event that takes place in the town a week before Mardi Gras is the Cajun Squeezebox Shootout. This is an unusual event because it is a battle of Accordion players; it is the ultimate Accordion Championship competition. And it is always a treat to see every year!
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Other Notable festivals to see include the Stars and Stripes Festival for our nationals Independence celebration, Jennings Christmas Festival Gumbo Cook-Off, and the Jennings Alive Arts and Crafts Festival. If there’s anything the people from Louisiana know how to do, its Arts and Crafts. With our Creole heritage, it is clear that our culture is infused with everything we create. The Jennings Alive Arts and Craft festival further reflects this by bringing together over 60 vendors from Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi. And for the kids, there’s also an Art World that provide free arts and crafts at Founder’s Park!​ 

Mardi-Gras

Attractions
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In addition to the seasonal festivals you can visit, Jennings is home to many other places to see year-round. Be sure to stop by the W.H. Tupper General Merchandise Museum. This museum was actually a General Merchandise store during the early 1900’s. Although it closed in 1949, it was fashioned into a Museum for people to see the leftover merchandise; this includes old toys, soap for 5 cents and Bayer Aspirin for 3 cents! The best part is admission is only $3!
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Another museum to check out is the Zigler Art Museum. The Zigler Art Museum is a World-Renowned Museum that focuses its exhibits on the fine arts. This place has European, American, and Louisiana Art, and wildlife art as well. Its purpose is to help develop art education in the area and promote local artists.
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If you’re interested in more modern day entertainment, Jennings is also home to the Gator Chateau, and if you know French, you know this means Gator Castle! Here, rescued and orphaned baby alligators are brought to be taken care of them until they are able to return to the wild. When coming to visit, you are actually allowed to interact with the alligators, and there are public feeding times in which you can feed them yourselves!
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Other places to see are the Louisiana Oil and Gas Park which is where the Gator Chateau is located and Founder’s Park, which many local events take place. Also, you’ll find a 40ft X 138ft Mural created by John Zant in the Founder’s Park to help pay tribute to the town’s history and founding.​ 

Jennings_Museum

The People of Jennings
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Jennings is a place where people are friendly and hospitable, but also proud of their upbringing and heritage. From the Mardi Gras Festivals, to the Museums that reflect the area’s history, to the many places to visit that showcase the cultural feel of the town, Jennings is a great place to be a part of. According to the Jefferson Davis Parish, Jennings has a “pride and hospitality uniquely ours.” We at Nissan of Lake Charles agree that Jennings is a place of kind people with strong beliefs in their traditions.​ 

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