Alison Miller, who heads up tourism in Vermilion Parish said the area is famous for its oysters. Some of the seafood restaurants in downtown Abbeville, along Bayou Vermilion, have been serving as tourist destinations for over a century.
“These oyster bars have been here forever it feels like. A lot of people do come here. They want fresh seafood. Most of the seafood that is served in our restaurants slept the night in The Gulf,” said Miller.
However, Miller said, the area took a hit following hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. “[A drop in tourism was] due to the fact that a lot of people thought that we were still underwater, because New Orleans was underwater. After Hurricane Katrina and after the two hurricanes we did see a decline in tourism,” Miller said.
But in the last few years, Miller said, it’s been business as usual. “We have seen an increase in tourism. Just our ads alone have garnered 40,000 requests for information in 2013,” said Miller.
Thousands of tourists have come from all over the world to the restaurants in Abbeville. “Germany, Switzerland…we even had visitors from Australia,” said Miller.
Tourist, of course, also come from around Vermilion Parish; eating tray, after tray of those famous salty, topless oysters.
“The first time I came here was with my husband and my friends and it was very good,” said Kaplan resident Cheryl Blake.