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The Advocate wants your travel photography

The Advocate Eat, Play, Live section’s Way to Go feature spotlights photographs of Louisiana residents taken on their travels within the past two months in the United States and abroad. The photos must contain the travelers and a landmark that shows the travel destination or activity (such as climbing the Eiffel Tower or… Continue reading →

Carnival Triumph cruise makes New Orleans home

Photo provided by Carnival Cruise Line -- The Carnival Triumph docks in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. The vessel's new home port is New Orleans.

Fresh from an extensive renovation, the Carnival Triumph arrived in New Orleans on April 4. Being the Big Easy, a celebration went along with the cruise ship’s docking at its new home base. Carnival Cruise Line and the Port of New Orleans hosted a charity event with representatives from four local music organizations competing for $35,000… Continue reading →

Book review: Disney guide helps with latest adventures, technology

“The Unofficial Guide: Walt Disney World with Kids 2016” by Bob Sehlinger and Liliane J. Opsomer with Len Testa, Keen Communications, 480 pages, $17.99, paperback What’s the craziest thing I’ve done so far this spring? Agree to help chaperone 192 teenagers on a trip to Orlando, Florida. What’s the smartest thing I… Continue reading →

Kicking off carnival revelry, what's going on around Louisiana before and after the Twelfth Night?

Photo provided by Monsours Photography -- Elaborate costumes are the order of the evening for the Twelfth Night  Celebration in Lake Charles.

The Carnival revelry officially starts Wednesday in the celebration’s epicenter, New Orleans, and across the state. It all leads up to an early Mardi Gras — Feb. 9 this year. Lake Charles does it up big for Twelfth Night. The party starts at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Lake Charles Civic Center. The 2015 royal courts… Continue reading →

North Louisiana shines when it comes to Christmas activities

Photo provided by Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau -- The Davis Homeplace in Shreveport, built in 1916 and restored to its original charm, is also open for tours during the holidays.

Head north this yuletide season. That’s the word from promoters for the Holiday Trail of Lights. With eight cities in north/northwest Louisiana involved, travelers can spend a day, weekend or longer taking in the sights. “It’s more than lights,” says Sheila Snow, vice president of communications for the Monroe/West Monroe Convention & Visitors… Continue reading →

Shreveport doing up State Fair

Photo provided by the State Fair of Louisiana -- Always a favorite, the carnival midway is just one of the many attractions at the State Fair of Louisiana in Shreveport.

Planning a getaway to north Louisiana? Add the State Fair of Louisiana to your “to do” list. The fair opens Thursday for its 109th year, running through Nov. 8 at the Louisiana State Fairgrounds, 3701 Hudson Ave, Shreveport. The fair is closed Mondays and Tuesdays. There will be free concerts, street performers, a carnival midway,… Continue reading →

Lake Charles event celebrates Acadians’ arrival

Photo by DAVID SIMPSON -- Grammy winner Jo-El Sonnier will perform for the Great Acadian Awakening Music Festival next weekend in Lake Charles.

It’s a party with a purpose. The nine-day celebration of Le Grand Réveil Acadien (The Great Acadian Awakening), with its family-oriented activities, is designed to increase French awareness among younger generations. The events also mark the 250th anniversary of the arrival of the Acadians to south Louisiana. International visitors are expected to join locals at… Continue reading →

‘Work/Play’ day at Lacombe refuge seeks volunteers

Advocate file photo -- Majestic homes on St. Charles Avenue, such as the Inn Bed and Breakfast, will be seen on the West Baton Rouge Museum's bus trip to New Orleans Thursday, Oct. 15.

The Friends of Louisiana Wildlife Refuges are looking for group and individual volunteers for the “Work/Play Day” at the Refuge Headquarters in Lacombe. Volunteers of all skill levels are welcome at the Saturday event. Lunch will be provided by the Friends of Louisiana Wildlife Refuges. The goal of the day is to prepare the Refuge Headquarters… Continue reading →

Carnival Cruise Lines offering fun for the kids

Photo provided by Carnival Cruise Line -- New Orleans broadcasting legend Angela Hill reads the new Dr. Seuss book, 'What Pet Should I Get?', to local children during an event aboard the Carnival Dream at the Port of New Orleans.

Just because September is here and the kiddos are back in school doesn’t mean family vacation planning is on hiatus. With that week break at Thanksgiving and two weeks-plus at Christmas, not to mention the flexible schedule of home-schoolers, getting away is still on parents’ minds, and the kids are having input, too. Carnival Cruise Lines… Continue reading →

N.O. hotel offering supercar driving tour

The Roosevelt New Orleans, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel, is bringing the Waldorf Astoria Driving Experience to the streets of New Orleans. This driving program will come to The Roosevelt on two separate occasions and offer hotel guests the opportunity to get behind the wheel of three incredible supercars — a Ferrari 458 Italia Spider, a McLaren MP4-12C… Continue reading →

Old, New World links obvious in British Isles

Photo by MARIA EAST -- A statue of John Lennon can be found outside The Cavern Pub in Liverpool, where The Beatles played almost 300 times.

As a recent vacation to the British Isles wound down, it was less the well-known tourist attractions and more the search for a contemporary relevance between the Old World and the New World that mattered most. The trip began with a quick reminder of just how many facts had fled my memory immediately after my last World… Continue reading →

All aboard: Schneider will be host on cruise to Cozumel


John Schneider’s going on a sea cruise, and he wants you to tag along. The actor/producer/writer/singer recently announced “John Schneider Offshore,” a four-night trip in November aboard the Carnival Elation with a stop in Cozumel. The fun begins the night before in New Orleans. “We’re going to start it with a pub crawl and a ghost… Continue reading →

Audubon Butterfly Garden, Insectarium offers $2 bargain

Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium in New Orleans is extending its deal for Louisiana residents on Tuesdays and adding Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. Through March 31, general admission for adults and children will be $2 every Tuesday, a savings of up to $21.95 per person per visit. Visitors can take in… Continue reading →

Gulf towns offer a peaceful version of Carnival

Pensacola Beach

Go or stay? Lots of Southeastern Louisiana folks ask themselves this as Mardi Gras approaches. Lundi Gras can be a slow day at work between the weekend and Mardi Gras. So how about a five-day weekend at the beach? The question is how far do you want to go? And do you want to dip… Continue reading →

St. Mary Parish gets own travel app

Traveling the Cajun Coast? There’s an app for that. The Cajun Coast Visitors & Convention Bureau has developed a travel guide app for St. Mary Parish. Tourism officials hope it gets visitors to slow down when driving throughout the parish. Categories on the app include accommodations, to eat, events, social, shopping, lagniappe, other, nearby and to do.… Continue reading →

App allows tourists to experience ‘12 Years a Slave’

Photo provided by Frank EakinA smart phone app guiding visitors to the historic sites associated with 'Twelve Years a Slave' was released recently released.

A 21st-century technology is helping tourists experience a 19th-century tale. Visitors following the Solomon Northup Trail — 20 locations featured in the 1853 memoir “Twelve Years a Slave” — can download a smartphone app designed to supplement their trip with maps, historical photographs and readings from the book. Northup was kidnapped and sold into slavery to… Continue reading →

Just over the horizon, Ship Island a beach oasis close to home

Photo by Ian McNulty - Situated 12 miles off shore, West Ship Island puts pristine white sand and clear water closer to home.

Moving at the speed of flip-flops, we walked the third-of-a-mile from the ferry dock to the beach at West Ship Island in about 10 minutes. Before that, we cruised across a dozen calm miles of the Mississippi Sound in about an hour. The drive my wife and I made from our New Orleans home to the ferry’s… Continue reading →

Tourists, retirees love Natchez for its history, architecture and hospitality

Photo by Mary Rickard -- Stanton Hall, built in the 1850s, is considered to be one of the finest Natchez mansions. It is owned and preserved by the Pilgrimage Garden Club.

I was beckoned into the bosom of the Old South by former New Jerseyans Donald McGlynn and Douglas Mauro who renovated a federal-style Natchez, Mississippi, house for their retirement home, later deciding it should become an inn furnished with elegant period antiques, French wallpaper, a Waterford chandelier and their families’ heirlooms. The partners are part of… Continue reading →

Cool Zoo in N.O. opens for the season

Photo provided by Iberia Parish Convention & Visitors Bureau -- Go back in time and learn about the last 200 years of the sugarcane industry at the Jeanerette Museum.

Cool Zoo, the splash park at Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, is open for the season. Cool Zoo offers jumping water spouts, a huge alligator water slide, a spider monkey soaker, water-spitting snakes and more. Cool Zoo also features shaded seating, family restrooms, a Snack N’ Splash concession stand and The Cool Shop with… Continue reading →

Jeanerette museum extends hours

Photo provided by Iberia Parish Convention & Visitors Bureau -- Go back in time and learn about the last 200 years of the sugarcane industry at the Jeanerette Museum.

The Jeanerette Bicentennial Park and Museum has extended its days of operations to Fridays, and is now open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays to Fridays. The museum, 500 E. Main St., has displays depicting the past 200 years of the sugar cane industry, and also shows a 12-minute film on the actual making of sugar.… Continue reading →

Camellias bloom at Lacombe site for open house

Photo provided by DAVID STOUGHTONVisitors take a tour of the camellia gardens at the Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges Complex headquarters in Lacombe.

Visitors can see more than 400 cultivars of camellias at Saturday’s 5th Annual Camellia Gardens Open House at the Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges Complex headquarters in Lacombe. The free event runs 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is presented in partnership with the Northshore Camellia Society and the Camellia Club of New Orleans. The… Continue reading →

Train station spruced up

Photo by SHANE K. BERNARD -- New benches and planters are part of a recent improvement project at the train station in New Iberia.

New Iberia’s century-old train station got a little sprucing-up recently thanks to the efforts of local historian Shane K Bernard. Bernard helped secure a $1,250 grant from the BNSF Railway Foundation to buy new benches, potted plants and trash receptacles. Volunteers installed the benches and planters. Amtrak will erect a new station sign and Amtrak kiosk, Bernard… Continue reading →

Battle of N.O. anniversary events set

Photo provided by the National Park ServiceRe-enactors portraying American civilians talk to visitors at a past event marking the anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans at Chalmette Battlefield.

Lasting less than two hours, the Battle of New Orleans was nonetheless one of the most significant battles in American history. One hundred ninety-nine years later, the last important land battle of the War of 1812 will be marked with anniversary events Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at the site of the battle, Chalmette Battlefield, 8606 W. St.… Continue reading →

Tour pachyderms’ new home at Audubon Zoo home

Photo provided by Audubon Images -- Panya and Jean, the Audubon Zoo's two Asian elephants, have new living quarters and the zoo is offering special, up-close tours.

Meet a pair of pachyderms and see their new digs at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. Visitors can now tour Panya and Jean’s state-of-the-art living quarters, talk to the elephants’ keeper and meet the two female Asian elephants face-to-face. The Elephant Barn Tour lasts about a hour. Guests will learn about elephants and… Continue reading →

St. Augustine attraction zips over alligators

Associated Press photo by Brendan Farrington --  Ava Martin zip lines over an alligator lagoon at The St. Augustine Alligator Farm in St. Augustine, Fla.

— I was slowly crossing a swinging log bridge when I paused, sensing the alligator 12 feet below was staring at me. The water around the 8-foot gator’s enormous body began rippling rapidly. A second later, Big Al let out a deep bellow, as if to say, “If you fall, you’re my… Continue reading →

Even in peak ski season, Aspen has some freebies

Associated Press photo -- Cross country skiing and snowshoeing are popular activities in and around Aspen, Colo.. There are more than 60 miles  of groomed cross-country and snowshoe trails around Aspen and Snowmass, open to all comers.

— A trip to Aspen during peak ski season is going to set you back some cash. But even those who can afford the posh Colorado mountain town will enjoy checking out what’s free, from high-altitude adventures to creature comforts. The Aspen Art Museum hosts a steady rotation… Continue reading →

Museum tells blind visitors: Please touch!

Associated Press photo by JACQUELINE LARMA -- Angel Ayala, left, Tatyana Allen, center and Katie Maunder touch a page of reproduced hieroglyphics near a quartzite likeness of Ramesses II during a special tour at the Penn Museum in Philadelphia.

— Angel Ayala has never been a big fan of museums. Blind since birth, the high school student says the exhibits are so sight-dependent that he can’t enjoy them. But he’s making an exception for the Penn Museum, an archaeology and anthropology center that offers touch tours for the blind and visually impaired.… Continue reading →

Escape to Christmas Past with trip to Franklin

Photo by CARROLL S. GREVEMBERG/Grevy Photography --Guests gather at the recent fundraising dinner at the Grevemberg House.

If Christmas Present is stressing you out, think Christmas Past. Steeped in history, the Grevemberg House Museum in Franklin is one of many possible day-trip options to escape to over the holidays. Get a quick history lesson from tour guide Craig Landry, who’ll explain that the historic home, located in Franklin’s City Park, was once… Continue reading →


Associated Press photo by Bruce Schreiner -- A worker puts the finishing touches on the bottom of a five-story-high replica of a bourbon bottle thats the signature feature of the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, a tourism attraction in downtown Louisville, Ky.

The maker of Evan Williams bourbon has uncorked a new attraction, opening a craft distillery just steps from where the whiskey pioneer who inspired the brand fired up his own commercial stills two centuries ago. The distillery and “bourbon experience” — complete with tours and tasting rooms… Continue reading →

Walker’s Point neighborhood in Milwaukee home of delicious mainstays

This Nov. 12, 2013 photo shows a car passing outside of La Merenda in Milwaukee's Walkers Point neighborhood. La Merenda is a tapas bar where farmers and artisanal food producers vie to get on the menu. Most La Merenda small plates run $7 to $10 and are designed to be shared among four people. With a group of six to eight, its possible to order much of the menu and still walk away with a bill of $20 to $25 per person. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Drive south from downtown Milwaukee into the Walker’s Point neighborhood and the dimly lit streets and empty buildings will make you feel like you should keep going. Don’t. Park, get out and enjoy some of the best farm-to-table food in a city that prides itself on being the heart of America’s… Continue reading →

Legoland Florida to build new hotel by 2015

Legoland Florida general manager Adrian Jones gestures as he speaks during a news conference, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, in Winter Haven, Fla., announcing that a new hotel will be built at Legoland Florida. The hotel is scheduled to open in 2015. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (AP) — While shoveling a ceremonial scoop of Lego bricks, Legoland Florida executives announced Thursday that the theme park will build a 152-room hotel on its property by 2015. The news is significant for both the theme park and the area. Since opening in 2011, the park has drawn many guests from families… Continue reading →

San Diego more than surf, sand

Associated Press photo by Lenny Ignelzi --  Fallen Star, a small cottage by artist Do Hi Suh, sits atop Jacobs Hall, a seven story structure that houses the engineering school on the campus of the University of California-San Diego in San Diego. The piece of art is part of the Stuart Collection, which uses the the entire UCSD campus as a site for commissioned sculpture.

The home of SeaWorld and a world-famous zoo offers plenty of cash-burning attractions, but San Diego also has awe-inspiring sites that are as free as the sea breeze and go beyond just sunbathing at the beach. The nation’s eighth-largest city has matured from its “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” surf days.… Continue reading →

One last chance to see Chimp Haven for year

Associated Press file photoBrent is a chimpanzees at Chimp Haven in Keithville.

The public has one more chance this year to visit Chimp Haven, the chimpanzee retirement sanctuary in Keithville, near Shreveport. The final Chimpanzee Discovery Day for 2013 is 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. The family-friendly event allows visitors inside the facility to safely see the chimps up-close, including recently acquired animals from the New Iberia Research… Continue reading →

Take a dip in Arkansas

Associated Press photo by Jeannie Nuss -- The Big Orange in Little Rock, Ark., is one of a number of places in Arkansas that serve cheese dip.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Memphis and Texas have barbecue. Mississippi has fried chicken. Louisiana has, gosh, what doesn’t Louisiana have when it comes to food? But Arkansas, surrounded by these Southern foodie hot spots, has long been overshadowed by its neighbors. So, in an assertion of culinary pride, the state has tried… Continue reading →

Presidential home hosts light festival

Photo provided by Beauvoir -- Beauvoir, the Jefferson Davis Home & Presidential Library in Biloxi, Miss., will be open for the holidays beginning Nov. 7.

BILOXI, Miss. — Beauvoir, the Jefferson Davis Home & Presidential Library, will host the Festival of Light for the holiday season, beginning Nov. 7 and running through Jan. 5. Visitors can experience a true Victorian Christmas, including a tour of the decorated mansion, visits and photography with Father Klaus; a peek inside Father Klaus’ workshop and model… Continue reading →

Louisiana Travels

Bats! at Fairview-Riverside State Park Oct. 26 MADISONVILLE: The Audubon Institute’s Zoomobile will visit Fairview-Riverside State Park on October 26th at 1 pm, to share information about the navigation and habits of the only mammals with self-controlled flight capabilities. Children will make and take a bat craft perfect for Halloween. Fairview-Riverside State Park… Continue reading →

Plenty to do, see in Va.’s capital — for free

Associated Press photo by STEVE HELBER -- Richmond, Va.'s, Hollywood Cemetery, named for plentiful holly trees, opened in 1849 and has grown to more than 80,000 graves, including Presidents James Monroe and John Tyler, as well as Confederate President Jefferson Davis and numerous Virginia governors.

— With terrain varying from the mountains to the coast, Virginia offers an array of fall colors for leaf-peepers. But before or after your drive along one of the state’s many scenic byways, consider a fix of Southern city living with a visit to the state capital, Richmond. Located along Interstate… Continue reading →

Mount Fuji’s Heritage status worries some

Associated Press photo by DAVID GUTTENFELDER -- Hikers climb one of the trails on Mount Fuji. The recent recognition of the 12,388-foot peak as a UNESCO World Heritage Site has many worried that more people will tackle the mountain, adding to the wear and tear on the environment.

— They trudge up well-trod cinder paths by the thousands, headlamps glowing in the dark, and then settle in, shivering, to await and cheer the sun’s blazing ascent over the horizon. Climbing Mount Fuji, Japan’s most iconic landmark, is a group activity: Seldom is it climbed in solitude.… Continue reading →

Iceland’s wild scenery, tax breaks luring Hollywood

Photo provided by Truenorth Productions -- Clint Eastwood, center, and crew members film in the Reykjanes Peninsula, Iceland, for the 2006 film 'Flags of Our Fathers.'

— It has doubled as an alien planet, a Himalayan peak and even the snow-filled fantasy world of the “Game of Thrones.” Still recovering from financial collapse, Iceland can perhaps be forgiven for seeking alternate identities. And Hollywood is providing the remote North Atlantic island much needed revenue and jobs — as… Continue reading →

Rodeo Drive enjoys renaissance after recession

Los Angeles Times MCT photo by RICARDO DEARATANHA -- Shoppers  gather in front of Hermes on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, which is undergoing a renaissance.

Sitting at the intersection of Hollywood and high fashion, it’s no wonder Rodeo Drive is one of the most fabled shopping streets in the world. It’s been immortalized in movies, books, song lyrics and on reality TV. The thoroughfare played a supporting role in the 1990 film “Pretty… Continue reading →

Louisiana Travels

Photo provided by Webster Parish Convention and Visitors CommissionThe Great Lakes Timber Show features master lumberjacks entertaining audiences with chainsaw carving, axe throwing, antiques logging tools, modified chain sawing, and log rolling.

The Great Lakes Timber Show will be part of the 30th Lumberjack Festival Friday-Saturday in Springhill. Events at Frank-Anthony Park on Church Street will begin at noon on Friday and continue through Saturday. The master lumberjacks performing in the show have been seen on ABC’s “Wide World of Sports,” ESPN, ABC’s “Good Morning America,” and NBC’s… Continue reading →