International Tour Company Selects Cafe for Group Visit
The words “bonjour” “merci” and of course “beignets” could be heard in abundance as the Fee-Fo-Lay Cafe hosted approximately 40 French speaking Canadians from Montreal and Quebec on November 7th. International Tour company, Tours Amerique, chose Fee-Fo-Lay as their final stop in the River Parishes after a tour at Oak Alley Plantation. The cafe, housed in a cozy cottage, served the group beignets, coffee, and an afternoon of authentic Creole culture and history.
“We see numerous International visitors every day,” says cafe owner Jo Banner, “But this is the largest group we’ve hosted at once.” While Banner isn’t surprised the Fee-Fo-Lay Cafe would eventually host large groups, she is surprised it occurred in such a short period. “I knew we would get to this point, but not within 3 months of opening," she continues. “To know that we were selected over other attractions/restaurants that have been in operation for years, is humbling." Tour Amerique will join four other tour companies consistently visiting the establishment.
Although the experience may be humbling for Banner, the Fee-Fo-Lay’s Cafe as a tourist attraction was by design. While customers such as the French-Canadian tour group, partake in beignets, coffee and other goodies, they can also experience local history through area descendants. From the walls featuring 4 generations of Banner’s family to the Legends and Lore Trail featured on the property, Banner ensures her unique heritage is on display. “This is our story” states Banner. “It’s told best by us, particularly those of us who descend from the enslaved.” Banner calls this “descendant engaged tourism”, which according to her actively engages those whose families descend directly from the local plantations. Banner states, “For years the marketing of the River parishes has been dictated to us and around us. It should come through us and our experiences.” She believes having groups like the French-Canadian group, choose her cafe is proof that descendant engaged attractions represent the future of tourism.
The Fee-Fo-Lay is opened 7:00 PM - 3:00 PM every day excluding Tuesday; however the cafe will open at special times by request for groups of 10 or more. For additional information about booking groups, the Fee-Fo-Lay Cafe, and its Local Legend and Lore trail, contact Jo Banner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 225-206-1993.