Louisiana Travels for May 12

Advocate file photo by HEATHER MCCLELLANDCub Scout members Landon Lavergne, left, and Randall Mitchell help place flags adjacent to Port Hudson National Cemetery's 12,000 headstones in honor of Memorial Day in 2012. The state historic site recently changed its operating hours.
Advocate file photo by HEATHER MCCLELLANDCub Scout members Landon Lavergne, left, and Randall Mitchell help place flags adjacent to Port Hudson National Cemetery's 12,000 headstones in honor of Memorial Day in 2012. The state historic site recently changed its operating hours.

Classic cars to roll through Iberia Parish

The 5th annual Cruisin’ Cajun Country Cruise, featuring classic and muscle cars, will roll through Iberia Parish Thursday-Saturday, May 16-18.

Participants can take in New Iberia’s Main Street historic district, food and live music, while spectators can enjoy free car shows and entertainment.

Registration will open at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Super 8 Hotel in New Iberia (2714 La. 14). The drivers will leave at 1 p.m. for Oak Lawn Manor, Gov. Mike Foster’s antebellum home in Franklin. ($5 admission to the house). They will return to New Iberia at 4 p.m. to display their rides at Musson Patout Automotive Group (300 U.S. 90 W Frontage Road). The public can view the registered street rods, and classic and muscle cars for free.

On Friday, the group will cruise through St. Martin Parish, having lunch at Clambeaugh’s in St. Martinville, and visiting the Evangeline Oak, St. Martin Square, Duchamp Opera House, Acadian Memorial, Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site and Belle Ecorce Goat Farm. In and around Breaux Bridge, they will tour antique shops, the historic district and Bayou Teche Brewing. They will hold a car show open for viewing to the public 2 p.m.-4 p.m. at J.P. Thibodeaux Nissan-Honda in New Iberia (2417 U.S. 90 W). Trophies will be awarded. The public is also invited to listen to swamp pop musician T.K. Hulin at Bouligny Plaza from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (no admission for car show and entertainment). Dinner will be served to registered participants.

On Saturday, drivers will meet at Erath Park in Erath for lunch, music and drinks. An extensive private car and boat collection will also be open for viewing on La. 14 in Abbeville (just past the Abbeville airport). Cruisers will visit Jefferson Island, Avery Island, Shadows-On-The-Teche, Bayou Teche Museum and KONRIKO® Company Store/Conrad Rice Mill in Iberia Parish.

The public is invited to the closing ceremony at 5 p.m. at SugArena in New Iberia (713 NW Bypass), which will feature food, drinks and entertainment by the NaNaSha Band from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (no admission).

The cost to participate in the three-day event is $40, including food, entertainment and a T-shirt. Wrist bands will be given at time of registration and must be presented to enter all events.

Poker run stops will be set up in various locations during the cruise, on Friday in St. Martin Parish and on Saturday in Iberia and Vermilion Parish.

All proceeds will benefit Habitat for Humanity.

For more information, call (337) 316-0932.

äON THE INTERNET:

http://www.cruisincajuncountry.com

Port Hudson hours change

Port Hudson State Historic Site near Zachary is now open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Hourly tours and interpretive programs will continue to be offered during the site’s operating hours.

The site is the location of the longest siege in American military history. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1974, the site is host to Civil War re-enactments and living history events throughout the year.

Admission to the site and the events is $4 per person, free for children 12 and younger, and seniors 62 and older. Port Hudson is located on U.S. 61 near Zachary, about 15 minutes north of Baton Rouge.

For more information, call (888) 677-3400 or (225) 654-3775.

äON THE INTERNET:

http://www.LouisianaTravel.com

N.O. home tours

The “Treasures of Bourbon Street” House Tour and the Friends of the Cabildo’s French Quarter Courtyard and Home Tour both will take place Sunday, May 19.

The Bourbon Street homes tour will run from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and is held annual to highlight the fact that the French Quarter’s famed nightlife mecca is much more than just a row of honky-tonks.

The Bourbon Street corridor, with its historic and architecturally significant buildings, is also a place that many call “home”, organizers say.

The “Treasures of Bourbon Street” tour, sponsored by the non-profit Historic Bourbon Street Foundation, will show how contemporary residents live in 1800s townhouses, Creole and Victorian cottages, and relax in hidden courtyard gardens.

Tickets, sold only during tour hours, will be $20 at 839 Bourbon St. Ticket sales end at 3:30 p.m.

For more information, call (504) 524-3621.

Meanwhile, The Friends of the Cabildo tour, its spring fundraiser, runs from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Seven homes and courtyards within the lower section of the French Quarter will be featured. Visitors will also be able to sample wines at Madame John’s Legacy, 632 Dumaine St., take in one the the Legacy’s architectural tours, and view The Palm, the Pine and the Cypress: New Pottery of New Orleans, an exhibit at the Cabildo.

Tickets can be bought in advance online at http://www.friendsofthecabildo.org or the day of the event at 1850 House Museum Store, 523 St. Ann St. Tickets are $40; $30 for FOC members. Couples are $60; $45 for FOC members.

The Friends of the Cabildo is the support organization for the Louisiana State Museum.

Canoe tours at refuge

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is offering two guided canoe tours at Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge titled “Paddling Through the Marsh.”

Each trip will include a basic safety lesson and introduction to canoeing techniques. Participants will explore an interior, fresh water marsh unit. This experience will provide ideal conditions for viewing nesting waterfowl, alligators, exotic species, and various wading birds. The trips will include stops and short overviews of both the natural and cultural history of the area.

Registration is required in order to participate and will be accepted on a first come, first-served basis.

The trip is expected to last approximately three hours, beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 12; and Sunday, May 19. All equipment and canoes are provided. There is no current in the marsh and participants will be expected to paddle for the duration of the tour.

The trip will depart from Bayou Sauvage NWR at the Joe Madere Marsh Unit located off U.S. 90 in New Orleans East. The street address is 16990 Chef Menteur Highway, New Orleans. There is no street number sign so look for the brown, Bayou Sauvage Refuge, Joe Madere sign on the south side of U.S. 90.

The tour is geared towards adults, but children 5 and older may attend. Only children ages 10 and older will be allowed to paddle. The canoes have two seats for paddlers. Younger children will sit in the middle of the boats. Paddlers’ fees are $10 each and children 5 through 9 years old are $5. Friends of Louisiana Wildlife Refuges members are $5 per paddler. Checks should be made out to The Friends of Louisiana Wildlife Refuges, Inc. or FLWR.

Friends of Louisiana Wildlife Refuges, Inc. is a non-profit organization that supports the mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Fees from this program are used to maintain canoe equipment and the education intern program.

Register by mail an application and payment (check or money order) to: “Friends of Louisiana Wildlife Refuges, Inc.” or “FLWR”

Canoe Outings, 61389 La. 434, Lacombe, LA 70445; or stop by the Southeast Louisiana Refuges Visitor Center in person to drop off an application and payment (cash, credit card, check or money order).

Information and application can be found at: http://www.fws.gov/southeastlouisiana/calendar.html.

For more information, call (985) 882-2025.

Trace to mark 75 years

The Natchez Trace Parkway will celebrate 75 years as a national park 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, May 18.

The free, family-oriented event will have live music, exhibitors, dignitaries, children’s activities, classic cars and much more. Festivities will be held at the Parkway Visitor Center, located just north of Tupelo, Miss., on the Natchez Trace Parkway at milepost 266.

Local car enthusiasts will display more than 80 classic vehicles between 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Opening ceremonies will begin at 10 a.m. Dignitaries will begin speaking at 10:30 a.m. All other activities will begin at 11 a.m.

The celebration will include people dressed as historical characters important to the Trace, including a “Kaintuck,” Meriwether Lewis, a War of 1812 soldier, a Confederate soldier, and a Union soldier from the United States Colored Troops. The Tombigbee Pioneer Group, regular presenters at the Parkway Visitor Center, will also share their traditional crafts and skills.

Children will have the opportunity to participate in a mock archaeological dig, find “animals” while “driving” on the Beech Springs Trail, vote for their favorite classic car, and earn a special patch.

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians will share traditional dancing in between music sets and present displays of traditional clothing and beadwork.

Local musicians will take visitors on a musical history tour, starting with music played on the dulcimer, leading to bluegrass and gospel, and ending with a rock ’n’ roll tribute to Elvis Presley.

Many of the Natchez Trace Parkway’s partners will also present exhibits: The Federal Highway Administration (Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division), The Natchez Trace Compact, the Mary Stuart Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area and the Tupelo Convention & Visitors Bureau will all share their connection to the parkway.

Hot dogs and soda will be sold at 1938 prices.

The Iberia Parish Convention & Visitors Bureau, National Park Service, Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges, Office of State Parks, Friends of the Cabildo, Historic Bourbon Street Foundation and the Natchez Trace Parkway provided items for this column. Louisiana Travels is a biweekly column about travel destinations and events in Louisiana. Email items for Louisiana Travels to travel@theadvocate.com or jbergeron@theadvocate.com or mail to Judy Bergeron, News Features assistant editor, The Advocate, 7290 Bluebonnet Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70810.