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Video: Duck Festival

Dog trials, skeet shoot, a beauty pageant and parade were the main events at the 38th Annual Duck Festival in Gueydon on Saturday. The festival will feature several duck calling competitions today. Admission today at Duck Festival Park is free.… Continue reading →

Video: Ringmaster of 'The Greatest Show on Earth'

Ringmaster David Shipman

The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus is back in Baton Rouge with its “Super Circus Heroes” show. In this video, David Shipman, the show's ringmaster, tells fans about being in the spotlight of the “The Greatest Show on Earth.” The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus will take place at… Continue reading →

Video: New traffic signal installed at southeast entrance to LSU campus

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Traffic travels through the intersection of West Lakeshore Drive and East Parker Boulevard, Thursday, August 21. In an effort to improve safety at the intersection, the City of Baton Rouge Traffic Engineering Division, in conjunction with LSU, has installed a temporary signal to service the intersection. The temporary signals will remain while the intersection is being studied and a permanent solution can be designed and constructed. The new configuration will be monitored by both the city and LSU, and changes will be made as necessary.

Traffic travels through the intersection of West Lakeshore Drive and East Parker Boulevard at the southeast entrance to LSU’s campus on Thursday. In an effort to improve safety at the intersection, the city-parish Traffic Engineering Division, in conjunction with LSU, has installed a temporary traffic signal at the intersection. The temporary signal will remain while the… Continue reading →

True BR: An 'udderly fantastic' dairy (Video)

Advocate Staff Photo by Karin Devendorf      shot 06/20/09  pint of Kleinpeter's new Pralines and Cream ice cream to go with story on Aunt Sally's Pralines.                     00017635a

The Kleinpeter Dairy has been in business for well over 100 years. During this time, the company's milk, juice and ice cream products have become a tradition in both homes and businesses throughout the Baton Rouge area. True BR is a weekly video series that will examine the sights, sounds and tastes of Baton… Continue reading →

EBR schools hold job fairs to find teachers for vacancies

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Shelley Olsen, a recently-hired fourth grade English and Language Arts teacher at Shenandoah Elementary School gives instructions to her students during class Thursday.

Just a week into the 2014-15 school year, the East Baton Rouge Parish school district is holding not one but two teacher fairs in an attempt to fill 60-plus vacancies, with one fair in Baton Rouge and another in Pittsburgh on Saturday. “We are really reaching out and trying to find certified teachers,” said Millie Williams,… Continue reading →

Quilting a stand against sexual violence

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Raina Wirta, with Elevator Projects, helps Shameeka Dream, right, install her message on one of the quilts in the Monument Quilt display in downtown Town Square Tuesday. The Monument Quilt is traveling across the country to bring awareness to victims of sexual violence and help end the problem.

The Monument Quilt, which is traveling across the country to bring awareness to victims of sexual violence, was on display in Baton Rouge’s downtown Town Square on Tuesday. The quilt is a crowd-sourced collection of thousands of stories from survivors of rape and abuse.… Continue reading →

Video: Southern road fixed

Gov. Bobby Jindal ordered the Department of Transportation and Development to begin emergency repairs on a damaged road July 17, 2014, at the intersection of E.C. Harrison Drive and Roosevelt Steptoe Avenue on Southern University’s campus. The road was opened today for travel.… Continue reading →

Down the Road: Just off urban doorsteps, Lafitte is a dive into wild Louisiana

Photo by Ian McNulty - Sweeping vistas of marsh and wetland reward visitors who make it to the end of the trail at the Barataria Preserve, part of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park.

If it’s true that nature abhors a vacuum, then it doesn’t seem to have much use for straight lines either, at least not in the alluvial sprawl of southeast Louisiana. This became increasingly clear the more I explored the area centered on the town of Jean Lafitte, where the natural patterns all seem entangled and entwined, sinuous and… Continue reading →

Video: Indian Rhino on exhibit at the Baton Rouge Zoo

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING --     The BREC Baton Rouge Zoo's new Indian rhinoceros  munches on hay and grain Friday morning, during a cooling sprinkle of rain. A two-year-old female that weighed in earlier this year at a healthy 2,570 pounds, it's on exhibit now, but is still shy about making appearances, spending a good deal of its time behind a wall, where it can go to feel more secure.     The Indian rhino represents the second species of rhinoceros living at the Baton Rouge Zoo, and the only Indian rhino in Louisiana. As the young female gets more accustomed to its surroundings, it will likely be easier to spot in its area, formerly occupied by the Asian elephant exhibit.    The new Indian rhino exhibit was made possible by a $150,000 donation from Friends of the Baton Rouge Zoo, to help make the exhibit suitable for the new species. The construction, completed in June, included renovations to the barn and exhibit area and new landscaping and walkway. The walkway includes temporary placement of the commemorative bricks purchased by donors for the Elephant Oasis.     Indian rhinoceros, which are native to the grasslands of India and Nepal, can be identified by their grey, armor-like skin and single horn. They are generally solitary mammals that spend their evenings grazing on tall grasses and other vegetation. Despite their poor eye sight, they possess a strong sense of smell and hearing.   It grasps tall grasses with its prehensile (gripping) lip and may also eat eat fruit, leaves, and sometimes farm crops. They are often around water and sometimes consume aquatic plants. Rhinos forage in the cooler temperatures s of morning and afternoon to avoid exerting themselves in the debilitating midday heat. When the sun is high, they often wallow or submerge themselves in water.    Currently identified as 'Vulnerable' on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List, the biggest identified threats to the Indian rhino population in the wild include competition for food sources, as grasslands are converted into cultivated fields, and by poaching  of the rhinos for their horns and other body parts.    Indian rhino population dropped to fewer than 100 animals in the early 1900's, but strict protection in India and Nepal, as well as zoo breeding programs, have been able to rehabilitate populations to more than 2,800 individuals.     The rhino's 'horn' is not a real horn, but thickly matted hair, consisting of Keratin, the same chemical substance that our finger nails and hair are made of. If a rhino's horn is broken off, it will grow back again. A rhino's horn grows all through its lifetime, at a rate of 1 - 3 inches per year.     The word rhinoceros, from Latin, and earlier, Greek, means 'horned nose.'    'We couldnÕt be more thankful to our Friends of the Baton Rouge Zoo for helping us bring this magnificent species to Baton Rouge,' said Phil Frost, Director of the Baton Rouge Zoo. 'The Indian rhino has a very distinct appearance I think everyone will enjoy.'     'Eventually we hope to add a male Indian rhinoceros to the exhibit,' said Sam Winslow, Assistant Director and General Curator. 'However, it will still be a few more years until sheÕs ready for a mate. In the rhino world, sheÕs still considered pretty young.'

The BREC Baton Rouge Zoo's new Indian rhinoceros munched on hay and grain Friday morning, during a cooling sprinkle of rain. The 2-year-old female that weighed in earlier this year at a healthy 2,570 pounds is on exhibit now, but is still shy about making appearances, spending a good deal of time behind a wall, where she… Continue reading →

Accident dumps load of hay on I-10 median

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Regional Steward, left, with Road Runner Towing, and LSP Trooper Chad Chrisentery, right, look over the trailer to see how tangled it is in the cables. According to Chrisentery, a pickup truck pulling a trailer load of hay had a blowout, lost control and the trailer with hay got caught in the cables in the median of I-10 eastbound just east of Highland Road.

A pickup truck pulling a trailerload of hay in Interstate 10 had a blowout Monday afternoon and lost control, causing the trailer full of hay to get caught in the cables in the median and spill its load, according to LSP Trooper Chad Chrisentery. The accident, which occurred on I-10 eastbound just east of Highland Road, snarled traffic… Continue reading →

Video: Keeping the Vermilion River clean

Tom Melancon heads the river crew for the Bayou Vermilion District. The seven-member team’s main responsibility is to maintain the water quality of the river and its tributaries in Lafayette Parish. Each day, they travel the river removing floating debris such as water bottles, soda cans and fast food wrappers, as well as large debris, from the river.… Continue reading →

Driving Grand Isle

The Advocate’s outdoors sportswriter Joe Macaluso and photo editor John Ballance were in Grand Isle for the annual Tarpon Rodeo. While there, they took a driving tour of the island.… Continue reading →

Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo continues

The Advocate’s Joe Macaluso reports from Grand Isle where the Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo is underway. Today saw beautiful weather for the fishermen participating in the event, a sharp contrast to the rain and squalls on the first day.… Continue reading →

Girls Rock!

Girls Rock Camp uses music as its medium to encourage creativity, collaboration and individuality among girls ages 10-16. The musicians learn instruments, form bands, and then perform original songs.… Continue reading →

Lil Boosie gets good review from Baton Rouge judge Friday

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING --  Rapper Torence 'Lil Boosie' Hatch, left, walks to the doors of  the 19th Judicial District Courthouse Friday morning with a member of his security team, for a scheduled review of his four-year probation stemming from a 2009 guilty plea to third-offense marijuana possession. Hatch appeared before state District Judge Chip Moore.

The latest review is in for Torence “Lil Boosie” Hatch — not on his music, but on the recently paroled rapper’s progress while on probation for a 2009 drug conviction — and the news is good for the 32-year-old New Orleans resident. Hatch, formerly of Baton Rouge, told state District Judge Chip Moore during a Friday… Continue reading →

Cop tops at Dancing for a Cause

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Derek LeBlanc and Alyssa Kling dance the Lindy Hop to 'A Little Party' during the annual Dancing for a Cause fundraiser for Community Opportunities - The Arc of East Ascension, Saturday. The pair won the Bobby and Sue Giles Judges' Award.

Derek LeBlanc’s high-voltage moves, megawatt smile and precision steps helped him win the sixth annual Dancing for a Cause fundraiser. The music pulsed and the crowd roared Saturday night as the show, fashioned after TV’s “Dancing with the Stars,” took over the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales. Twirling, jumping and rocking on stage… Continue reading →

True BR: Coffee cupping at Community Coffee (Video)

Carl R. Leonard and Matt Saurage of Community Coffee at a coffee cupping. Advocate video by Kevin McQuarn

Ever wonder about that great coffee aroma that sometimes permeates the Mississippi River bridge in Baton Rouge? That would be Community Coffee, a company that has literally served Baton Rouge and surrounding areas for over 90 years. Matt Saurage, president and CEO of the company, gives the inside scoop on Community Coffee's success and its relentless coffee… Continue reading →

Louisiana Mermaid made surprise visit at North Park’s AQUA PARDS

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Juban Park Elementary School student Jenny Lara, 9, gets her picture taken with Denham Springs resident and The Louisiana Mermaid  Venessa Lewis July 9 as she interacts with children at the AQUA PARDs Water Park, in Denham Springs' North Park. Lewis splashed onto the local scene this summer with her custom-designed, silicon neoprene mermaid tail, which is fully functional in the water. She's been swimming at local pools and water parks, often unannounced, thrilling children who get to interact with a 'live' mermaid. Her Louisiana Mermaid Facebook page led to a large following of people anticipating where she will be swimming next.  Children at the park were able to visit, take pictures, get autographs, seashell tokens and even swim with her Wednesday. She's been featured on television news reports, and The Weather Channel.

Fantasy became reality for many children as Venessa Lewis, “The Louisiana Mermaid,” propelled herself through North Park’s AQUA PARDS facility on June 9 using a mermaid tail. “She’s real,” said Gemma Bertone, 7, who gripped an autographed photo of Lewis, a small starfish and a shell tightly in her hands after meeting… Continue reading →

Gayosa Park gets Walls Project makeover

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- First-time volunteer Meagan Simone, flanked by The Walls Project/Elevator Projects artist Melisa Rad, background, works on one of two walls in BREC's Gayosa Street Park that were painted with murals Saturday. The Walls Project's event was held in partnership with BREC, Elevator Projects and PPG Paints, to enhance the park and the community around Gayosa Street near North 22nd Street.

Somehow between laughter, conversation and paint fights in Gayosa Park near midcity Saturday morning, a new, colorful, revitalized park took shape. The Walls Project, in conjunction with BREC, recruited more than 100 volunteers for Saturday’s fourth community paint day beautification project that painted over a mural originally painted in 1993 and transformed a separate… Continue reading →