October is Atchafalaya Month in Louisiana
Learn to speak Creole. See who wins the World Championship Gumbo Cook-off. Visit Vidalia for the Riverfront Blues Festival. These and lots more will be activities celebrating Atchafalaya Month during October.
Events indoors and outdoors will highlight the Atchafalaya Basin area’s heritage and natural resources. The Atchafalaya is known as America’s biggest river swamp.
Early on the schedule is Iberville’s Swamp Life Expo 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, at the Iberville Parish Visitor’s Center at Interstate 10 in Grosse Tete.
Visitors will see folk art, ecological and educational exhibits and demonstrations. There will be special guest appearances, free samplings of some favorite Cajun dishes and live music by Geno Delafose and French Rockin’ Boogie.
Also look for displays of vintage boats and motors, a book signing for Bayou Pigeon, Louisiana Spirit of the Atchafalaya, cypress woodcrafts, fish net weaving, crawfish trap making, and handmade quilts.
This event is sponsored by the Iberville Parish Council and Tourism Department.
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Myrtles makes magazine
The October issue of EveryDay With Rachael Ray features a story on “Seriously Spooky Houses” among the five listed is the Myrtles Plantation in St Francisville.
Included in the story is a brief look into the background of the mansion, the legend behind it and what makes it so scary. The Myrtles is located at 7747 U.S. 61. Tours are $8, adults; and $4, children.
For more information, call (225) 635-6277.
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New Saints store opens
The New Orleans Saints store has opened in Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.
The store is located pre-security in the east lobby near the entrance to concourse B. The store offers licensed Saints merchandise, apparel and collectibles.
The store is open from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
The Saints store is part of an ongoing revamp at the Kenner airport, which will include more new stores and concessions in the next several months.
Pet a penguin
The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, 1 Canal St., New Orleans has begun offering a Backstage Penguin Pass.
The pass will give visitors a hands-on experience with a penguin and a member of the aquarium’s husbandry team in Audubon’s newly designed private penguin encounter.
Visitors will also visit the aquarium’s prep kitchen where food is prepared for many of the aquarium’s animals.
They’ll also learn about penguins’ natural history and the special diets of penguins. They’ll also get a penguin painting created during the experience and a photo capturing their visit.
The penguin program is available at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Tickets are $115 for Audubon members and $125 for nonmembers.
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Tours of Oakland
Tourists have been visiting Oakland Plantation near Natchitoches long before the National Park Service acquired the property in 1994.
Since 1954, Oakland has been featured in the annual Fall Tour of Homes. This year’s fall tour will take place 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 13-14. On a typical day park rangers provide guided tours, but during the fall tour, the Prud’homme family returns to their ancestral home. Three generations of Prud’hommes will be on hand giving tours, and interacting with the public.
Visitors will also have the opportunity to visit with former Oakland resident Elvin Shields. Shields and his family were sharecroppers at Oakland in the 1950s. Shields is well-known folk artist, known for his “Plantation Toys.” He’ll talk about his childhood memories and show off examples of the toys he and his brother would have played with.
On Saturday only, visitors will get to visit with master herbalist Dawn Hendrix. Hendrix will discuss natural herbal remedies used by slaves and pioneers. She will be bringing examples of frequently used dried plants, roots, and a homemade pine tar salve. Sunday’s event will feature blacksmith demonstrator Marty Young from the LSUS Pioneer Heritage Center. Young will be demonstrating his skills while interpreting the importance of the community blacksmith.
There is no entrance fee to visit Oakland. To reach the plantation, take I-49 to Exit 127, Flora/Cypress. Head east on La. 120 toward Cypress. Once you reach the La. 1 intersection cross over La. 1 onto La. 494. The parking lot and entrance pavilion for Oakland are 4.5 miles east of La. 1 on the left.
The 9th Annual Voice of the Wetlands Festival takes place Friday-Sunday, Oct. 12-14, at Southdown Plantation House/Terrebonne Museum, 1209 Museum Drive, in Houma.
Musical acts, including Tab Benoit and the Voice of the Wetlands Band, will perform. A variety of Cajun food will be on sale.
The festival runs 5-10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday.
The 4th Annual Race for the Wetlands happens at the same location on Saturday. Registration starts at 2 p.m.; the 5K and 10K races begin at 4 p.m.
For festival information, call (985) 226-5726; for race information, (985) 688-5582.
The R.W. Norton Gallery, 4747 Creswell Ave., is showing the exhibit, The Shadow of Danger: Photographs of the Vietnam War, 1970-71, through Oct. 14. Last month, 25 veterans and their spouses who are either featured in the photos or served in the same units visited the gallery. Many had not seen each other since the war.
Louisiana Travels is a biweekly column about travel destinations and events in Louisiana. Email items for Louisiana Travels to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to (225) 388-0351.