It depends what the purpose of your trip is. If you're a conventioneer, bring a carry-on for business suits. If you're headed to the bayou, you won't need such formal gear. RUBBER BOOTS!! Central Louisiana is a muddy place, to put it mildly! Hunting and fishing abound, so pack for whatever you like to do. Louisiana is called the 'Sportsman's Paradise'! If you have a rental car, you can get whatever you need at the huge Wal-Mart in Pineville or at the Alexandria Mall which is a typical shopping mall that has most of the nation's major chain stores. Alexandria may be seem to be located in a remote area compared to New Orleans, but it is definitely connected to the rest of the world via cable TV, internet access and cellular telephones.
For some reason, Alexandria-Pineville is a big center for hospitals and medical centers. My cousin is an emergency room nursing supervisor and she's doing just fine there. I wasn't able to determine the reason why that came to be, possibly to serve the former military base? It was a big mystery to me, one that my cousin couldn't explain, either. If you get out of Alexandria, you will definitely want to take photos of the bayou and countryside. Again, there are enough chain stores that supplies shouldn't be a problem here. Are you ready for the country? If that's where you're headed, plan to bring hunting and fishing gear! The last item I want to mention is the CHEAP real estate in this part of the country. You might want to keep a notepad in your luggage, which is handy to jot down prices for future reference. Homes in Alexandria start in the $45,000 range, which is major culture shock to someone like me from the Northeast. This would be of definite interest to people on fixed incomes!