Watch How This Supermarket Got People To Buy Their Rubbish…

France’s ingenious answer to reducing fresh food waste.  Imagine the impact that this effort could make if it were implemented worldwide.




via Watch How This Supermarket Got People To Buy Their Rubbish….


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10 Louisiana Stereotypes That Are Completely Accurate

1. To Folks In Louisiana Everything And Anything Is Worth Celebrating

10 Louisiana Stereotypes That Are Completely Accurate

Source: Flickr user Derek Bridges

It’s no secret that Louisianans love to get down and party for just about every occasion.

Of course there’s your standard tailgating parties when the Saints or LSU Tigers are throwing down in the Dome or Tiger Stadium. Then there’s the hurricane parties because, let’s face it, it’s way more fun to ride out the storm in a house with no power, a suitcase of beer and your besties than it is to be stuck on I-10 in bumper to bumper traffic. And you may have heard of a little two-week-long parade called Mardi Gras?

But, let us not forget second lines for weddings, funerals, births, Carnival season, political rallies and just about any other excuse you can think of. Yeah, you get the picture.



2. Folks In Louisiana Take Great Pride In Being Good Samaritans

10 Louisiana Stereotypes That Are Completely Accurate

Source: Flickr user Jim Sorbie


Louisianans are some of the friendliest people on the planet. Strangers, meeting for the first time, often greet by hugging. If they don’t greet with a hug, then they are sure to part with one. It’s also not uncommon for us to meet a stranger in need and instantly help them out with whatever it is they are in need of. You need a ride? A bite to eat? A place to stay? Ask us for directions and we will sit down and draw you out a map that would shame Google.



3. But Make No Mistake, To Louisianians Blood Is Thicker Than Water

10 Louisiana Stereotypes That Are Completely Accurate

Source: Awkward Family Photos via Facebook


There are fierce familial bonds in Louisiana. You don’t mess with our kin. We sometimes have three or even four generations of family living on the same block or in the same neighborhood. Just be careful who you talk about here because it might be somebody’s brother, or mother, or cousin. We also like to hire our friends and family to work with us. Hey, you say nepotism—we say spreading the family love!



4. The Baton Rouge vs. New Orleans Rivalry Is The Real Deal…

10 Louisiana Stereotypes That Are Completely Accurate

Source: Flickr user Pascal


The rivalry between Baton Rouge and New Orleans is fierce. Baton Rougians claim superior status in their state capital, boasting of better schools, more business, and better infrastructure. Plus they do have the LSU Tigers. They see New Orleanians as too Bacchanalian and lazy.

But New Orleanians see Baton Rougians as dull and boring, sticks in the mud devoid of any culture. They will be quick to point out that they have the tourism industry, amazing culinary trends and the Tulane football team… Oh wait, no one really cares about Tulane except Tulane.



5. But Even So, Everyone Here Bleeds Black and Gold

10 Louisiana Stereotypes That Are Completely Accurate

Source: New Orleans Saints via Facebook


One thing is guaranteed in The Pelican State: We squash our beef when the Black and Gold play.


When it comes to the Saints in Louisiana, if you’re not with us, then you’re against us. Because there is just no other way you could not join your friends and family in rooting for the 2010 Super Bowl champs who put New Orleans back on the map following Hurricane Katrina and helped show the world that no, the city wasn’t still under water all these years later.



6. When Louisianans Are Getting Their Fais Do-Do On You Can Bet Crawfish Are In Hot Water

10 Louisiana Stereotypes That Are Completely Accurate

Source: Flickr user Laity Lodge Youth Camp


The only thing Louisianans might love more than a good party, is to eat.

We dedicate entire days just so we can talk about food, plan food,  prepare, and cook food. It’s one of our biggest passions. And come crawfish season, we have visions of little red crawdads dancing in our heads.  The season depends on many factors but make no mistake, big or small we will boil and eat our weight in crawfish. From about mid-March through the end of June, there is always a boil going on somewhere. It all boils down to one question: to suck the heads or not?



7. Louisianians Are Masters Of The Art Of Conversation

10 Louisiana Stereotypes That Are Completely Accurate

Source: Flickr user Seth Anderson


The South gets a bad rap for many things that aren’t true, but our  penchant for talking isn’t one of them. We will literally talk a stranger’s ear off (OK not literally but you get the idea). We take pride in our Southern charm.



8. Folks Here Get Plenty of Vitamin B—And By Vitamin B I Mean Booze

10 Louisiana Stereotypes That Are Completely Accurate

Source: Flickr user gregor_y


Drinking is a way of life here in Louisiana. Whether it’s a mimosa with brunch, a class of wine at a lunch with clients, a few happy hour drinks before heading home after a long day of work, or a nice cold one after Sunday church—every excuse to imbibe is a good one.

Don’t blame us. Blame the French. Or the Spanish. They started the trend and we are only honoring our old European roots. Mixed in with some Cajun and Creole…Oh and some Native American influences…Oh what the heck, let’s have some hooch and we can hash it out later.



9. Louisianans Are Ready, Rain Or Shine… On The Same Day

10 Louisiana Stereotypes That Are Completely Accurate



It could be a perfectly sunny day and poof! All of a sudden it’s pouring huge chunks of hail. And for that matter, we don’t really trust weather forecasts, even though our local meteorologists have a celebrity like status.

But if the weather forecast says 20 percent chance of rain, assume it means 100 percent. And every good Louisianian knows to keep a few umbrellas and some rain boots in the trunk of their car. You know, for just in case.



10. But Rain Or Shine Folks In Louisiana Don’t Let Anything Keep Them Down

10 Louisiana Stereotypes That Are Completely Accurate

Source: Flickr user Tulane Public Relations


The horrors and hardships endured during Katrina, among other things, have lead to the good people of Louisiana developing some pretty thick skin. Louisianans have learned to thrive in the face of challenges and maintain their positive, can-do mentality.

Sure sometimes life can be pretty hard in the Pelican State, but a true Louisianian would never even dream of living anywhere else. Who Dat!



Via: 10 Louisiana Stereotypes That Are Completely Accurate – Movoto by Lindsay Hilton




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Lucky Dog to launch first-ever line of retail hot dogs



Diners with a craving for a legendary Lucky Dog will no longer have to visit the French Quarter to get their fix.

Beginning next Friday, August 8, Lucky Dogs will be available in all Rouses across the city, marking the first time the hot dogs have been sold as a retail product.

The Lucky Dogs will come in a five-pack, and be the same version served from the iconic, hot dog-shaped cart.”We are very excited about the launch of Lucky Dogs into Rouses Supermarkets,” said Lucky Dog co-owner Mark Talbot in a statement.”Rouses has been very helpful in this endeavor, one local family business helping another local family business. When my brother and I approached our dad about going retail with Lucky Dogs, we all agreed that Rouses was where we wanted to be. They are local, like us. Now you don’t have to go to the Quarter to enjoy Lucky Dogs.”

via Arlen Benny Cenac, Jr.: Lucky Dog to launch first-ever line of retail hot dogs.


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“The Crawfish Boil Song”


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Original post:  “The Crawfish Boil Song” | Arlen Benny Cenac – In My Kitchen.

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Louisiana hot sauce demand on fire

Panola Pepper Corp. founders Grady 'Bubber' Brown and his wife Jennie Lou have been joined in the family business by daughter Katie Coullard and her husband Mike Coullard, president and chief executive of the Lake Providence company.


Louisiana, the U.S. capital of hot sauces, has exported its culinary obsession for the capsaicin-laden condiment to consumers throughout the country.

The U.S. hot sauce market has grown by 150 percent since 2000, according to a story by the Atlantic’s Quartz.

That’s more than mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup and barbecue sauce — combined.

“We’ve become a nation of chili heads,” said Mike Coullard, president and chief executive of Panola Pepper Corp. in Lake Providence. “And once you become a chili head, you never go back to bland.”

“Am I surprised?” said Grady “Bubber” Brown, who founded Panola in 1983 so his farmhands would have work throughout the winter when fields were fallow. “I’m surprised it took this long. I’m surprised people can eat without it.”

Coullard said business at Panola is up 25 percent this year.

Across the state

And other Louisiana companies like pepper sauce sales king McIlhenny Company, which produces Tabasco on Avery Island, Bruce Foods in New Iberia, which produces Original Louisiana Hot Sauce, and New Orleans icon Crystal are also benefiting from Americans’ growing appetite for heat.

“As a company we’ve seen growth from consumers’ desires for variety through flavoring,” said Virginia Brown Forestier, marketing manager for Bruce Foods, Original Louisiana Hot Sauce’s parent company. “Louisiana Hot Sauce provides good flavor without overpowering heat.”

Forestier and Coullard also agreed that a portion of the growth in hot sauce demand can be attributed to fast-food chains adding hot sauces for dipping items like chicken nuggets and the overall explosion of hot wings.

The market research firm IRI said US hot sauce sales have increased 6 percent annually for the past 10 years.

“We absolutely believe the trend will continue,” Forestier said.

A pantry staple

Louisiana celebrity chef Cory Bahr, a Food Network “Chopped” champion who operates two restaurants in Monroe, said hot sauces can enhance almost any dish as a condiment or as an ingredient.

“Hot sauce just gives you something extra,” said Bahr, who will be one of the chefs promoting Louisiana food in a 2015 state tourism campaign. “It’s an absolute essential for your kitchen pantry and table.”

Bahr said his favorite Louisiana pepper sauces are Panola, which he grew up eating while living near Lake Providence, and Crystal, both of which he makes available in Restaurant Cotton.

“I can’t think of anything better than putting a couple of drops of Crystal on a raw oyster in its half shell,” Bahr said.

For all to enjoy

And some of Louisiana’s most famous celebrities want a piece of the action.

“Duck Dynasty” star Willie Robertson said he is working on creating a hot sauce to be part of a Duck Commander company food line.

“(Original) Louisiana Hot Sauce is my favorite,” Robertson said. “I can’t eat red beans and rice without it, and I always put it on my eggs.”

The state’s signature condiment is so famous that Louisiana hot sauce has become a generic term. Louisiana’s most basic hot sauces include cayenne chile peppers, vinegar and salt, although the explosion in demand has driven development of more tricked-up versions.

Allison Gault of West Monroe has a collection of more than 100 different hot sauces displayed in her kitchen.

“I started collecting about 20 years ago,” Gault said. “They’re great conversation pieces.”

Gault said she splashes her favorite sauces on almost everything. “Ketchup is ketchup, but hot sauce adds flavor,” she said. “We even mix hot sauce in our ketchup.

“But each sauce has subtle differences. That’s what makes it fun to try.”

via Louisiana hot sauce demand on fire | Shreveporttimes |

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Top 5 Happiest Cities in America Are All in One State

NBC News reporting that gumbo, zydeco, and a good Cajun accent make people happy.


Happiest_cities Watch the report:   Top 5 Happiest Cities in America Are All in One State – NBC


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Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries News

New state hunting and fishing law goes into effect on August 1, 2014.

New residents in Louisiana will qualify for purchasing resident recreational hunting and fishing licenses after six months in state once Act 429 becomes effective on Aug. 1, 2014.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will offer resident licenses to qualifying new residents as authorized by Act 429, signed by Gov. Bobby Jindal following the 2014 Legislative Session.

“We hope more new residents will purchase their resident recreational hunting and fishing licenses sooner as the result of this legislation,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. “There will no longer be a need to wait a full year to enjoy the state’s fish and game opportunities as a resident license holder.”

Act 429 reduces the time required from one year to six months to qualify as a bona fide resident for hunting and fishing licensees.  “Bona fide resident” means any person who is a United States citizen or resident alien and has resided in the state continuously during the six months immediately prior to the date on which he applies for any such license.

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at, on Facebook at, or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For more information on Louisiana recreational hunting and fishing residency requirements, visit or contact Michelle Rayburn at 225-765-2881 or



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Southern Louisiana is adventure for food and nature lovers  

In case you missed it, there was a great article about exploring Louisiana culture and cuisine by Alex Palmer in the New York Daily News  this past Sunday.


You can gain an appreciation for both when you visit, sampling gumbo and boudin, and cruising restored marshes on an eco-tour

Grosse Savanne Eco-Tours offers guided boat tours through its 500 acres of restored marsh.

To really appreciate Louisiana’s amazing food, take in the state’s striking landscapes — and vice versa.

Viewing the sugar-cane fields or Gulf of Mexico shores helps you fully enjoy the food produced in the area, while shelling a crawfish or eating boudin will deepen your appreciation of the terrain from which it came.

During a weeklong road trip across the state’s southern coast, I immersed myself in Louisiana’s vistas and food, and the work many in the state are doing to sustain them both.

A Southern Louisiana road trip can go west to east — flying into Houston and out of New Orleans — but I opted for the more scenic route, looping through the state from New Orleans to Lake Charles, and back. This meant a little extra driving, but if you’re a fan of open water, cypress trees and the spookily stunning backdrops of HBO’s “True Detective,” you’ll savor the extra hours on the road.

Flamingo-pink roseate spoonbills are among the birds visitors will spot at the Rip Van Winkle Gardens B&B.

In Louisiana, food is like fingerprints: No two gumbos, bread puddings, or étouffées (a thick stew usually served with shellfish over rice) are alike. It’s this diversity that led the city of Lake Charles to formalize its Southwest Louisiana Boudin Trail (

Boudin (pronounced “boo-dan”) is the Cajun cousin of sausage links, made by blending pork, liver, rice, onions and seasonings, then stuffing them into a casing.

I got my first taste of the finger food at B&O Kitchen and Grocery, a meat market owned by the third generation of the Benoit family, which sells at least 150 to 200 pounds of boudin daily. While B&O’s smoked links were my favorite, visitors can sample around at any of the 27 stops on the Boudin Trail, which include restaurants, markets, and even a gas station, scattered along Interstate 10 and Highway 90.

No Louisiana culinary tour is complete without a pile of crawfish

For a full Cajun dinner in Lake Charles, schedule a trip to the Seafood Palace. Blue crabs fished from the Gulf, and crawfish farmed nearby are prepared by the half dozen and the pound, respectively, then boiled and piled high on trays the size of manhole covers. But be warned: Your fingers will sting after all that shell cracking.

The area also boasts the Creole Nature Trail through the parishes of Calcasieu and Cameron, which share a border with Texas. The drive takes you through more than 180 miles of Louisiana’s Outback — bayous, prairies and walking paths such as the beautiful Pintail Wildlife Boardwalk — and along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. While the state’s beaches are not the white sandy variety, they’re great for shelling and birding.

Here, Grosse Savanne Eco-Tours ( are worth a couple of hours. The outings were introduced last year by the Sweet Lake Land and Oil Company, as part of its efforts to restore and preserve some of its 50,000 acres of land. Visitors can join a guided boat tour through 500 acres of restored marsh, spotting alligators and vegetation on the way to an astounding bird rookery, where herons, ibises, and flamingo-pink roseate spoonbills have built their nests.

Whether you prefer your oysters raw or charbroiled, SHUCKS! The Louisiana Seafood House has you covered.

Grosse Savanne is just one of many eco-tourism outfits in the state. Speaking to Louisianans, one senses a renewed urgency around protecting and restoring the state’s natural resources. The trauma of the natural disasters of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Isaac, and the manmade 2010 BP oil spill has heightened awareness that while utilizing the land is vital to the agriculture and oil industries (and the many locals they employ), the land must be actively conserved if Louisiana’s food, lifestyle and culture are to continue thriving.

Efforts towards this goal can be seen an hour-and-a-half drive southeast from Lake Charles, in the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area. Though much of this 70,000-acre preserve along the western border of Vermilion parish requires special access, a newly opened birding and nature trail gives visitors a leisurely walk with likely sightings of gators or migratory fowl. You may even see a whooping crane — an endangered bird that had vanished from Louisiana decades ago and was reintroduced beginning in 2011.

For a more all-access experience, head to the Palmetto Island State Park, which opened in 2010 and offers fishing, boating and camping (whether in a tent, RV or one of the park’s comfy vacation cabins) along the Vermilion River.

In Louisiana, food is like fingerprints: No two gumbos, bread puddings, or étouffées (a thick stew usually served with shellfish over rice) are alike.

While in the area, have lunch at Suire’s Grocery and Restaurant. The roadside stop, with an ice machine out front and hand-painted menu on the wall, doesn’t look like much from the outside, but inside you’ll find a family-run operation famous for its turtle sauce picante (a mix of Cajun spices, onion, garlic and turtle meat over rice), and delicious shrimp or crab pistolettes (sort of a doughnut stuffed with seafood). If you prefer something a bit more upscale, but still wallet-friendly, Shucks! The Louisiana Seafood House ( offers delicious seafood, and as the name implies, its local oysters — raw or charbroiled — are a highlight.

The importance of farming and fishing to this state is made clear beyond the menus of locally sourced food. East of Vermilion, in Iberia parish, sits Avery Island, home of the famous Tabasco factory since 1868. Every drop of the pepper sauce is distilled here in whisky barrels for three years, blended, bottled and shipped all over the world. The factory produces about 750,000 bottles a day, thanks to a consistent product rooted in the Louisiana soil. You can stop in for a factory tour for the bargain price of $1, or just pick up limited-edition sauces and souvenirs in the Tabasco Country Store.

Just outside of Avery Island sits another landmark to Louisiana’s food production: the Conrad Rice Mill, the oldest operating rice mill in the country, which celebrated its centennial two years ago. This factory provides a lesson in how this food staple has shaped local cuisine since the arrival of the Acadians (French speakers exiled from what’s now Nova Scotia, who became today’s Cajuns). While the mill continues to produce rice on the belt-drive power transmission system that’s rarely seen in modern factories, it’s also keeping with the times, as the only certified gluten-free and verified non-GMO operation in Louisiana.

Another place where the region embraces both its culinary past and future, is an hour-and-a-half drive east in St. Tammany parish. The wealthiest parish in the state, it’s home to a rich culinary scene, including the Covington Farmer’s Market, which offers great products and local characters. Shoppers can buy fresh eggs from “The Egg Ladies,” kombucha and bitters from “Kombucha Girl,” and Gulf shrimp from a career shrimper selling the day’s catch from an ice chest in back of his truck.

I toured the market with Keith and Nealy Frentz. Named King and Queen of Louisiana Seafood in 2012, the couple met and began their culinary careers in New Orleans and now run Lola (, serving up contemporary Louisiana food and favorite family recipes — such as Nealy’s grandmother’s beloved hummingbird cake (banana pineapple spice cake). The restaurant is set in an old train depot, with a converted caboose housing the kitchen.

David and Torre Solazzo are another culinary power couple in St. Tammany. Nominated three times for the James Beard Award, they operate the hit contemporary Italian spot Del Porto Ristorante (, which offers an extensive wine list, in-house pasta and 10 varieties of house-cured salumi.

Del Porto Ristorante brings contemporary Italian (including house-cured salumi) to southern Louisiana.

Also in St. Tammany, La Provence offers a range of French cuisine, some sourced from a farm in back of the restaurant, as well as classic dishes that have been on the menu for decades — such as the addictive pate served with bread, and flavorful quail gumbo. It’s owned by celebrity chef John Besh, who also owns five restaurants in New Orleans, including the elegant Lüke (where the rum-tinged bread pudding was the best I had during my trip — and I had a lot of bread pudding).

To get a close-up experience of St. Tammany’s natural resources, and a true sense of the parish’s local flavor, stop by Bayou Adventure ( This unassuming bait shop rents kayaks, fishing gear and bicycles, and can design outings for all levels of interests. It’s run by Shannon Villemarette, who moonlights as the city’s justice of the peace, marrying local couples when she’s not loading up kayak gear or helping visiting groups cook up their catch.

Villemarette’s fearless attitude (she’s been known to swim in the gator-populated bayous while fishing) — combined with her vocal advocacy of protecting the parish’s natural resources — makes the justice a fitting spokesperson for today’s Louisiana.

It’s an exciting place with memorable scenery and great food, both of which are being preserved so they can be enjoyed for a long time.


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Rare gators got their start in a Terrebonne swamp

Rare gators got their start in a Terrebonne swamp
Did you know that a pair of unique reptiles on display at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans were pulled from a Terrebonne swamp?
Spots and Antoine Blanc are two of more than a dozen white alligators discovered in 1987 on land outside of Houma owned by the Louisiana Land & Exploration Co.
“The Cajun fisherman who initially found the nest only recovered eight or nine white hatchlings, which he distributed to various friends including a friend in St. Louis and the zoo,” said Rick Atkinson, the longtime curator of the Louisiana Swamp Exhibit and witnessed the alligators’ arrival.
“LL&E employees later recovered the remaining hatchlings in the wild, totaling 19. The St. Louis animal died, and all the others were recovered,” he said.
Ten of those alligators, estimated to be worth between $50,000 and $70,000 each, remain alive today. Each is about 10 feet long and weighs several hundred pounds.
In addition to the Audubon Zoo gators, there’s Spots, also known as Japan, at the Audubon Aquarium in New Orleans; four at the Gatorland theme park and wildlife preserve in Orlando, Florida, and one each at zoos in Houston, Omaha, Nebraska, and Palm Beach, Florida.
Why are they white?
While some assume the white alligators suffer from albinism, Atkinson said, they are actually leucistic. The rare genetic condition reduces the color pigmentation of their skin.
“Leucistic alligators have been described as having one enormous white spot covering the body with blue-gray eyes,” he said. “It looks like they’re painted white. Most of them have a few random black blotches somewhere.”
Albino alligators, on the other hand, look translucent and have pink eyes. They lack pigmentation.
The critters are American alligators, which can be found throughout Florida and in parts of Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Georgia. The population numbers about 5 million, but only 12 leucistic gators are known to exist.
The average American alligator lives for 70 or more years. But the lifespan of a leucistic one remains unknown. The Terrebonne gators will turn 27 in August.
As with all white animals, they are vulnerable to the sun and predators. Each is kept in a controlled environment.
He’s named what?
Atkinson said some of the alligators were named after archbishops from Louisiana — Blanc and Shulte were named for archbishops Antoine Blanc and Francis Shulte. There’s also Mr. Bingle, named after the Christmas-time mascot of the now defunct New Orleans-based Maison Blanche department store.
The gators have been known to travel, which is how Spots got his second nickname, Japan, following a stay in that country. Atkinson said many of the gators have been displayed at exhibits throughout the country and world.
In 1994, another leucistic alligator was found. That gator, named after Archbishop St. John Baptist LaSalle, was found about six miles south of Venice. He belonged to the state and died while touring the country in a promotional fur and hide show.
Two other white alligators were discovered about five years ago at the Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge, Atkinson said.
Chompitoulas and Canaligator — a nod to the New Orleans streets Tchoupitoulas and Canal — are, respectively, at a zoo outside Louisiana and the Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center outside of New Orleans.
Atkinson said this latest discovery proves wild alligators are continuing to produce offspring with the leucistic gene.
“It’s not common, but it’s obvious that there is more than one pair of alligators (carrying this gene),” he said.
Although the leucistic alligators have intrigued animal lovers from across the world, Atkinson said, their preservation is not considered a high priority.
“In actuality, there isn’t anything of great scientific interest about leucistic alligators; the genetics are pretty well known,” he said. “They’re not an endangered species; they are a genetic anomaly of the American alligator. They’re just impressive to see.”
However, Atkinson said the appearance of leucistic alligators appears to be a recent phenomenon, as no previous documentation has been uncovered.

“There are no old tales or history of white alligators,” he said. “Some wonder, ‘Is this a result of pollution or climate change or something else?’ And the answer is that we don’t have any idea.”


via Rare gators got their start in a Terrebonne swamp | New Orleans.


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Video: Reading Rainbow’s LeVar Burton on How to Teach Kids to Love Reading

Originally posted on Arlen Benny Cenac - Education:

For nearly 30 years, Reading Rainbow host LeVar Burton has shared his personal passion for the written word with children everywhere.

The best way to inspire kids to become lifelong book lovers, Burton says, is to teach them by example—which is what he did with his kids, and now does with his granddaughter, Sierra, 12.

“The connection between Sierra and I is super-natural,” says Burton. “I know that I have provided a model for her that she has embraced.”

Naturally, Parade‘s cover star this week has a house full of books—”I’ve got a bookcase in the bedroom, stacks on the nightstand, and books on the floor next to the bed!” he says—and a long summer reading list.

This year he’s starting with Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Goldfinch. “I like that it is excruciating,” he says with a laugh. “I’m three quarters of the way through.”

Surprise, surprise, the…

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Inside LeVar Burton’s Reading Revolution

7-6-14-LeVar-Burton-Parade Magazine Inside-ftr


This past spring, actor and activist LeVar Burton asked Reading Rainbow fans to help him relaunch the classic children’s show—and raised $1 million in less than 12 hours on Kickstarter. When the campaign ended on July 3, $5 million had been raised, and actor Seth MacFarlane donated an extra $1 million, which brought the total to more than $6 million. Visit to find out more. And read our cover story below to learn how Burton is inspiring a new generation of book lovers.

As the host of PBS’s Reading Rainbow for 26 years, LeVar Burton introduced millions of American kids to the magic of a good story. So when a group of young people spotted him tugging a wagon full of books down a New York City sidewalk for Parade’s photo shoot—and began shrieking as though he were, say, Bieber, or a Beatle—the pied piper of reading was tickled, but not exactly surprised. Reading Rainbow fans are a passionate bunch. “The show helped kids learn to love reading,” says Burton. “That’s a powerful thing!”

Today, Reading Rainbow is as beloved and popular as ever. Since copurchasing the rights to the franchise after the show’s cancellation in 2009, Burton, 57, has been on a mission to make it bigger and better in the digital space. Two years ago, he and his business partner Mark Wolfe rebooted the program as a tablet app, which has since been downloaded more than a million times. Now they’re creating a Web version. In May, to raise capital to build it and to get children and their families excited about books again, the pair turned to the crowd-funding platform Kickstarter. Burton knew fans’ nostalgia for the show ran deep, but the response was explosive: In a mere 11 hours they met their $1 million goal, and at press time were only about a million short of their new $5 million target. “Every day of the first three days of the Kickstarter,” marvels Burton, “we raised a million dollars.”

The actor, who made his name as Kunta Kinte in the 1977 miniseries Roots and, later, as Geordi La Forge in the long-running TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation, credits his 19-year-old daughter, Michaela, with the crowd-funding idea. “Michaela is of this generation, a digital native. She said, ‘Why don’t you guys just do a Kickstarter?’ As a 30-year-old brand, if we were to very publicly ask for money, then fail, it would’ve probably been game over.” Now Burton and his supporters are “hugging ourselves silly.”

At a time when 66 percent of American fourth graders aren’t proficient in reading (source: 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)), the need for literacy-building programs is undeniable. Burton’s Kickstarter funds will be used to develop two subscription-based versions of a Reading Rainbow website: a home edition for kids and families, and a classroom version for teachers with accompanying lesson plans. (Though Burton and Wolfe have yet to set a launch date or prices: “Until we build it, we won’t know.”) Using the money they’ve raised, they’ll also donate free subscriptions to at least 1,500 classrooms with students from disadvantaged backgrounds; if they hit the $5 million mark, they’ll give away 6,000 more. And that’s just the beginning. Says Burton: “We [eventually] want to have universal access.”

Photo: Ben Baker for Parade; Grooming: Elizabeth Yoon for MAC; Wardrobe: Monica Cotto; Props/Set Design: Bryan Hodge: Shirt: Tommy Bahama; Jeans: Levi's®

(Photo: Ben Baker for Parade; Grooming: Elizabeth Yoon for MAC; Wardrobe: Monica Cotto; Props/Set Design: Bryan Hodge: Shirt: Tommy Bahama; Jeans: Levi’s®)

Recently the actor and advocate sat down with Parade to talk about his Kickstarter’s smash success and his passion for the written word.

PARADE: You’ve devoted your life to promoting childhood literacy. What’s your first memory of reading as a kid?

LEVAR BURTON: I was 4 or 5, sitting next to my aunt, reading, and I got stuck on the word pretty. I wouldn’t say it; I didn’t want to be wrong. So I sat there. My aunt was very patient, but finally, she said, “The word is pretty.” I knew I was right in my mind and my heart. I just didn’t have the courage to say it.

What are your favorite children’s books?

One is Amazing Grace, by Mary Hoffman, which was featured on the original show. It’s the story of a girl who wants to play Peter Pan in her school play, but is told by her classmates that she can’t because she’s a girl and she’s black. It’s Grace’s story of believing in herself and learning that she can be anything she wants using the power of her imagination.

When teaching your own kids to read, was it easy to pass on your love of books?

Both Michaela and [her half-brother] Ward, 34, watched the show. To watch them crack the code was remarkable. There was a point in Michaela’s life where she called me “Daddy Rainbow.”

Do you think it’s harder, now, to get kids interested in books? There are so many distractions.

I would say yes. The evidence points to the fact that Americans read far less for pleasure than they did in 1983 [when the show began]. It’s a different world. Kids seem to be scheduled from sun up to bedtime.

Why did Reading Rainbow take off in the first place? 

It was a simple idea: use TV to introduce the wonders to be found in a book. The pace was slow by today’s standards. As the host, I tried to talk to my audience, not at them, and to share my enthusiasm for life and the written word. And we had a catchy theme song! “Take a look, it’s in a book”; “Go anywhere, be anything”—that’s a valuable message.

What do you make of the response to your Kickstarter?

It’s been phenomenal. Recently we went to their offices in Brooklyn. All the employees at Kickstarter seem like kids—they all grew up watching Reading Rainbow. I met one of them, the very first backer for our campaign, and just hugged him.

You’ve fielded criticism, though, for turning to crowd-funding when your company is for-profit. How do you -respond to that?

We pay to license books from authors and publishers. It’s not free. And we have to pay the people who make this possible. There’s a lot of coding, engineering, and product design involved in translating the app for the Web. The money will also allow us to donate free subscriptions to more classrooms. And, if we’re able to raise enough to create a permanent endowment to give the product away someday, I could live with that.

Kids are out of school. But studies show that if they don’t read during the break, they go back to class behind. What can parents do?

There’s a critical window where a child either becomes a reader or not—for life. Between the ages of 7 and 9 is when that decision is made. Parents ask me, “How can I get my kid to read?” I say, “How much time do you spend reading in front of your kid? How many books do you have in your house? How often do you have an evening where you don’t watch TV and it’s family reading night?” Insist by example so your child gets that reading is an important aspect of life.

You recently made a Funny or Die video in which you played a superhero who derived dark powers from books. Was the idea that reading gives you superpowers?

I was poking a little fun at myself, [but] yeah!

What’s your ultimate goal for Reading Rainbow? 

[Star Trek creator] Gene Roddenberry once said that the world of the future is a place where there’s no hunger or greed, and all the children will know how to read. That would be wonderful.

Want to see which books Burton recommends this summer for kids and their families? We partnered with Walmart to bring his picks to Parade readers. Visit to see the list and stock your shelves!

Inside LeVar Burton’s Reading Revolution.

via Inside LeVar Burton’s Reading Revolution.


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Inside LeVar Burton’s Reading Revolution | Arlen Benny Cenac – Education.

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BCF grants $110K to nonprofits



The Bayou Community Foundation announced it has awarded 11 grants totaling $110,000 to nonprofit organizations in Lafourche, Terrebonne and Grand Isle, with nearly half of the awards this year dedicated to mental-health or substance abuse programming.

The foundation received 27 grant applications cumulatively requesting more than $480,000, the foundation’s coordinator Jennifer Armand said. A volunteer panel selected the grantees based on needs the programs would address, population and communities served and long-term impact.

As was the case last year, when BCF launched its grant-making program, issues of mental health and substance abuse received the largest chunk of funding.

“We have a lot of young people in the two-parish area that are dealing with substance abuse issues,” said J.J. Buquet, the foundation’s chairman. “We also have a lot of people with mental health problems, and this dovetails with a lot of funding cuts that have been made to the system.”

The South Central Louisiana Human Services Authority will receive $15,000 to support an ongoing mobile outreach program that provides mental-health counseling and treatment for residents who lack transportation to attend clinics.

The authority was founded in 2006 to serve seven parishes – it has treatment centers in Houma, LaPlace, Morgan City and Raceland. Its 40-foot-long mobile unit has two evaluation rooms and carries psychiatrists and nurses. Last year the authority received $40,000 from BCF and used the funds on salaries, supplies, fuel and maintenance, according to its director.

Options for Independence, another nonprofit recipient of grant funds last year, gets another $15,000 in support of its telecommunication child psychiatry program seeded with BCF’s $20,000 contribution last year.

“Instead of kids having to drive all the way to New Orleans and they don’t always have a means for transportation, they’re able to access services,” Buquet said.

START Corporation received $15,000 to implement a functional family therapy program to provide counseling and intervention to people from 11 to 18 years old who have behavioral disorders or issues with substance abuse.

The Assisi Bridge House, of the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, will get $5,000 to purchase drug-screening supplies so that it can better monitor and counsel its residents and an automated external defibrillator for medical emergencies.

Other recipients are:

• Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program: $23,000 to purchase a shallow-water vessel to transport plants and planting volunteers to inner-tidal marsh areas as art of BTNEP’s restorative planting programs.

• St. Vincent de Paul Tri-Parish Pharmacy: $15,000 to support ongoing program that provides free medication to the poor and elderly who qualify.

• Gulf Coast Social Services: $5,000 to support ongoing mentoring, education and career counseling programs for at-risk youth ages 10-20, as referred by juvenile justice authorities.

• Terrebonne Council on Aging: $5,000 for the “Take a Bite Out of Winter,” which provides energy-efficient space heaters to low-income elderly.

• The Nature Conservancy: $5,000 to support the Grand Isle Community Outreach and Education Program, which incorporates environmental education in school curricula and makes Grand Isle residents, students and teachers more aware of local environmental issues.

• Lafourche Parish School Board: $4,000 to purchase a 4-wheel hydraulic brake trainer to provide automotive students job training.

• Hope Extreme: $3,000 to support ongoing after-school and summer reading programs for low-income students in kindergarten through sixth grade.

BCF, a donor-advised fund of the Greater New Orleans Foundation, was formed in 2012 with $70,000 in donations from Charlotte Bollinger, J.J. Buquet, Arlen “Benny” Cenac, Al Danos, Alexis and Berwick Duval and Phyllis Taylor.

The Louisville, Kentucky-based Gheens Foundation awarded BCF a five-year $500,000 grant to help build a permanent grant-making fund. This money is handed down annually, and BCF is required match it with $1 million in private contributions.

“We have a little work to do,” Buquet said. One of the ways the foundation has boosted its donation total is serving as a clearinghouse, of sorts, for grants from local family foundations that are designed for a specific purpose.

For example, Buquet’s family foundation has granted money to BCF provided it was used to support the Terrebonne Foundation for Academic Excellence, he said. This funnels more money through BCF and counts toward the ultimate match. To be clear, the Gheens Foundation has signed off on that arrangement, Buquet said.

In its community needs assessment, the foundation identified several causes to support, including early childhood programming, care of the elderly and at-risk youth, workforce development, coastal preservation, rural access to health care and animal welfare.

Generating treatment for mental health and substance abuse was identified as the region’s most critical need in the BCF survey. Last year the group granted $115,000 to seven organizations, with $60,000 going toward mental health counseling and treatment.

Also last year, the foundation granted the Lafourche public school district money for workforce-training equipment, an award to an education foundation to expand a literacy program for pre-kindergarten students and funding for coastal restoration activities.

Ultimately, BCF officials hope to grow their annual grant-making capabilities, with Buquet acknowledging it’s difficult to help all of those who need it with $15,000 morsels at a time.

“It’s a slow, steady evolution of having a community foundation that can support health and human services, among other issues,” Buquet said.

BCF grants $110K to nonprofits – Tri-Parish Times Newspaper: News.


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Gator Fight on a Golf Course


Two huge 11 foot gators fighting at The Eagles Golf Course in Tampa, FL. Footage of alligators in the wild fighting for territory and mating rights.

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Gator Fight on a Golf Course | Benny Cenac – Louisiana Sportsman.

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Alligator Watermelon Carving

Amazing food art!

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Louisiana Outdoors

As indicated on many of its license plates, Louisiana takes pride in its nickname as a “Sportsman’s Paradise.” The state offers top-notch hunting and fishing opportunities year-round, with endless waterways and hiking trails to explore as well. The state’s unique eco-system with hundreds of miles of coastal wetlands provide a perfect backdrop for being one with nature, whatever one’s interests.

Fishing: One of the country’s most popular fishing destinations, Louisiana is lined with an endless assortment of fish-filled waterways. Anglers of all stripes choose between lazy bayous, calm reservoirs, and inviting freshwater estuaries; adventurous types opt for a charter service on the Gulf of Mexico. Primary catches include bass, trout, redfish, and catfish. Experts agree that the state’s brackish waterways create an exceptionally fertile breeding ground for fish, while the Gulf’s numerous oil platforms provide man-made reefs that are constantly swarmed by a variety of saltwater fish. For a guaranteed chance at a serious haul, consider a fishing excursion to Lake Charles, Venice, or Grand Isle. Bass fishermen rave about the massive Toledo Bend Reservoir; with 1,200 miles of shoreline, it’s the largest man-made body of water in the South.

Hunting: Thanks to the success of reality TV shows like Duck Dynasty and Swamp People, Louisiana’s prominence as one of the country’s best places for hunting is greater than ever. Northern Louisiana, home to Duck Dynasty’s Robertson clan, offers a great abundance of waterfowl. Every fall, packs of hunters – from casual families to serious snipers – set out to find ducks, geese, deer, alligator, and more. Guides are available for those who aren’t familiar with the state’s rules and landscape.

Hiking/Camping: Compared to many of the larger states that surround it, Louisiana offers an exceptional array of camping options. From rustic, unmarked bayous and streams to well-stocked cabins and modern RV parks, visitors will find whatever they’re looking for. Most campgrounds offer easy access to the best of the state’s outdoor activities: hiking, boating, fishing, biking, canoeing, birding, swimming, and more. Lake Fausse Pointe offers a uniquely compelling option, as visitors sleep in cabins on piers, using paddleboards to explore the area. State parks in Bogue Chitto (tubing) and Hodges Gardens (flora and fauna) provide extras one doesn’t normally associate with camping.

Boating and Water Sports: Most Louisianans have an affinity for the water that’s rooted in childhood excursions. Visitors can charter a boat to explore the state’s larger bodies of water such as the Gulf of Mexico or Lake Charles. Those looking for a calmer, more intimate experience can rent canoes or kayaks – many state parks offer accessible boat ramps, canoe and kayak rentals, and dedicated swimming areas. A visit to the Atchafalaya Basin guarantees an up-close-and-personal visit with nature; simply find your way on to Bayou Pigeon or Grand Lake, then keep an eye out for a variety of fish and waterfowl (e.g. kingfishers, herons), plus the occasional alligator. Located just north of New Orleans, Lake Pontchartrain is a favorite destination for a day of fun on the water – jet skiing and water skiing are among the popular pastimes. Perhaps the fastest-growing water activity in the state is paddleboarding; stand-up paddlers can be found everywhere from Bayou St. John in New Orleans’s Mid-City neighborhood to rural creeks and bayous.

Bird Watching: Louisiana’s unique landscape provides rich ecosystems popular with a colorful kaleidoscope of birds, including both migratory species and those that are native to the region. The state is dotted with parks and national wildlife refuges offering unparalleled birding opportunities. Coastal marshlands offer direct access to rare songbirds, raptors, and waterfowl. Springtime visitors to the Atchafalaya Basin can witness millions of neotropical songbirds migrating northbound from their tropical winter base to their temperate northern nesting grounds.

Golf: Duffers of every kind will find something to suit their interests In Louisiana. Those looking for an offbeat backdrop can play within view of an old plantation home or an 1812 battlefield. Louisiana’s Audubon Golf Trail offers a collection of 12 courses throughout the state, all of which incorporate eco-friendly practices with an eye towards the conservation of natural resources. Some of the courses were designed by luminaries such as David Toms and Pete Dye.

via Louisiana Outdoors.

Eric Grossman, Special for USA TODAY

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Louisiana Outdoors | Benny Cenac – Louisiana Sportsman.

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Louisiana’s ACT numbers are up, more students achieving college-going scores

john white rotary.JPG

Louisiana State Superintendent John White announced Thursday that more Louisiana students are achieving college-going scores on the ACT. ( | The Times-Picayune archive)


Nearly 1,500 more Louisiana students graduated with ACT scores this year that designate them as college-ready and qualify them for TOPS scholarships, the Louisiana Department of Education announced Thursday.

That is likely good news for districts and schools as they await their school performance scores this fall. ACT scores make up 25 percent of the formula used to calculate high schools’ A-F rankings.

If preliminary numbers hold true, “the school performance scores will be very positively impacted by this much larger number of kids achieving higher scores on the ACT,” State Superintendent John White said.

A total of 23,560 students in the class of 2014 achieved a score of at least 18 on the ACT at some point during their high school career, up by 1,472 students from last year, the department of education said.

Some of that increase is likely due to the fact that more students took the test compared to seniors last year: The overall number of test-taking, graduating seniors increased from about 37,000 last year to 39,840 this year.

This is the second year that Louisiana has required high school students to take the ACT. White said the idea was controversial, but the results have proven that students who might not have taken the test otherwise can be successful.

“Now, two years later, after a lot of debate, thousands of students have benefited from this policy in ways that will impact their life forever,” White said.

The state did not release district-by-district numbers on Thursday. Officials will release those scores to the districts individually over the next couple of weeks.

The state doesn’t yet have a statewide average score, but White said he expects that also will be an increase over last year.

TOPS is divided into several levels, ranging from TOPS Tech, which is for an ACT score of 17 or more, to TOPS Honors, which is for a score of 27 and up. Students can get TOPS money with a score of 17, but scoring an 18 is considered “college-going” because it means they don’t have to take remedial classes.

The number of students achieving the required scores was up in each of those categories. More students also scored a “perfect score” this year: 15 Louisiana students scored a 36, compared to 10 last year.

The state pays for all Louisiana 11th graders to take the ACT in March. It costs the state about $1.8 million to test those 11th graders, as well as some 12th graders, such as those who hadn’t been tested before.

Of course, the big news for the department of education right now is the debate over Common Core and the PARCC test — and while White didn’t mention PARCC by name on a conference call with reporters, he used the ACT to expound a couple of times on the value of a national, standardized test.

“When we allow our kids to take a test that multiple states take, and has value across this country, our kids rise to those challenges,” White said. “They get something that no one can ever take away from them and that is the opportunity to go to college and live the American Dream.”

See the score breakdown below:

Score category 2011-2012 2012-2013 2013-2014 Increase from 2012 to 2014
TOPS Tech (17+) 20,466 25,073 26,805 6,339
TOPS Performance & Statewide University (23+) 14,129 16,027 16,935 2,806
TOPS Performance & Statewide University (23+) 7,429 8,433 8,834 1,405
Flagship University (25+) 4,296 5,006 5,301 1,005
TOPS Honors (27+) 2,435 2,938 3,116 681

via Louisiana’s ACT numbers are up, more students achieving college-going scores |

Original posting: Arlen Benny Cenac – Education | Louisiana Businessman, Philanthropist, and Nature Lover.

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Coffee-Flavored Wine in a Can Exists

Friends Fun Wine Coffee Wine

Doesn’t sound like a great flavor combination

Like coffee? Like wine? Well, now you can have both. In a single can.

 Friends Fun Wine has invented the world’s first  coffee-wine hybrid drinks, which sound pre-destined to taste bad. The drinks come in both red and white varieties: Cabernet Coffee Espresso and Chardonnay Coffee Cappuccino.

The company is marketing their product as “combining the world’s most popular Day Drink with the world’s most popular Night Drink,” according to PRNewswire.

No one is arguing with the appeal of using caffeine to combat the sleepy feeling you get when indulging in a glass of vino. But there maybe a reason that people usually keep these day and night drinks separate.




Coffee-Flavored Wine in a Can Exists – TIME


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Arlen Benny Cenac, Jr.

Original posting: Arlen Benny Cenac, Jr.: Coffee-Flavored Wine in a Can Exists.

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Healthy Greek Yogurt Creme Brulee

Greek Yogurt Crème Brûlée

Makes 4 servings


2 cups plain lowfat Greek yogurt

1/3 cup Swerve Sugar Replacer

3 large egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


4 tablespoons Swerve Sugar Replacer

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and place four ramekins into a baking dish. For the custard, place yogurt, Swerve, egg yolks, vanilla and cinnamon in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Divide mixture evenly among ramekins. Fill baking dish with hot water to within 1-inch of top of ramekins.

Bake 25 minutes. Custards should still be quite jiggly, and not at all puffed up. Remove and let cool in pan, then refrigerate for at least one hour.

Just before serving, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of Swerve over each custard. Use a kitchen torch to melt and caramelize Swerve. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 120 calories, 2.7 grams saturated fat, 38 mg sodium, 5 grams net carbohydrates, 4.2 grams sugar, 12 grams protein.


Recipe from: /15_sweet_and_savory_ways_to_us.html#incart_m-rpt-1


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Louisiana Festival Guide – July 2014

Festivals in and around Louisiana in July 2014



June 30-July 4

Erath Fourth of July Celebration Erath hosts the annual old-fashioned street fair, which features live music, food booths, a parade, fireworks, water fights, and much more. Admission: Free. Downtown Erath, Edwards and S. Broadway streets, Erath, 337.937.5585.

July 3

Stars and Stripes Celebration and Fireworks Live entertainment, children’s activities and water games, food, and a gigantic fireworks display at 9. Gates open at 4 Louisiana Oil and Gas Park, 100 Rue de l’Acadie, Jennings, 337.821.5532.

Uncle Sam Jam Celebrate the Fourth of July with food and drink, music by a DJ in the afternoon and live bands at night. Fireworks at 9. Chairs and blankets are welcome; no outside food or drink. Admission: Free. Lafreniere Park, 3000 Downs Blvd., Metairie, 504.838.4389.

July 3-5

Golden Meadow-Fourchon International Tarpon Rodeo The 66th annual fishing rodeo and fete features music, fireworks, door prizes, food, and more. Admission: $25 adult, $10 child. Port Fourchon Marina, 288 Floatation Canal Road, Golden Meadow, 985.860.3287.

July 3-6

2014 Essence Music Festival Essence Fest features empowerment seminars with nationally known speakers, entertainment, a marketplace, book fair with author signings, food, African-American art, cultural activities and discussions. The 2014 lineup for main stage concerts features Prince, Lionel Richie, Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott, Charlie Wilson, Erykah Badu and Ledisi. Admission: Free for daytime activities. 3-day festival pass including evening concerts, $312. Mercedes-Benz Superdome and the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Convention Center, New Orleans.

4th of July Celebration Costume contest, golf cart poker run, golf cart parade, hot dog eating contest, and more. Hidden Oaks Family Campground, 21544 Highway 190 East, Hammond.

July 4

Celebration on the Cane Live entertainment, fireworks. Admission: Free. Natchitoches.

Eunice Fourth of July Celebration One of the state’s largest fireworks displays. Eunice Recreation Complex, Eunice, 337.457.7389.

Red, White and Boom Musical performances, games, crafts, and children’s activities, with a fireworks show at 9:30. Admission: $5 per person. Parc International, downtown Lafayette, 337.232.4277.

July 4-6

Our Lady of the Gulf Crab Festival The annual festival offers crab races, food, live music, arts and crafts, rides, raffles, and more. Admission: Free. Our Lady of the Gulf Church, 228 South Beach Blvd., Bay St. Louis, 228.467.6509.

July 5

Houma Independence Day Celebration Road races, a parade, children’s activities, live music, and of course, fireworks. Houma-Terrebonne Civic Center, 346 Civic Center Drive, Houma.

Lebeau Zydeco Festival Enjoy live zydeco, pork backbone dinners, and games, at the 24th annual fete. Admission: Adults $12. Free for children 11 and younger. Immaculate Conception Church, 103 Lebeau Church Road, Washington, 337.351.3902, 337.945.4238, or 877.948.8004.

July 10-13

San Fermin in Nueva Orleans The main event of the four-day fete of food, music and entertainment is El Encierro, the New Orleanian homage to the bull running in Pamplona, Spain. Big Easy RollerGirls pursue runners with plastic bats and horned helmets through the streets of downtown New Orleans. Registration and packet pickup is at the Sugar Mill; other events take place in various venues. Refer to the website for full details. Admission: Varies by event. The Sugar Mill, 1021 Convention Center Blvd, New Orleans.

July 11-14

Bastille Day Fete The French Market celebrates Bastille Day with events throughout the French Quarter and New Orleans. French Market, 1 French Market Place, New Orleans.

July 16-20

Tales of the Cocktail The festival celebrating New Orleans cuisine and culture features seminars and demonstrations by award-winning mixologists, bartenders, chefs and designers; tours of historic bars; tastings; “Spirited” dinners and lunches; book signings, music and parties. Seminars held at the Monteleone Hotel; the dinners take place Thursday at participating local restaurants, each with a distinctive menu. Visit to view the daily schedule, participating restaurants or to purchase tickets. Dinner reservations must be made by calling the restaurants. Admission: Varies. Hotel Monteleone, 214 Royal St, New Orleans, 504.948.0511.

July 18-19

Natchitoches/NSU Folk Festival The 35th annual festival is “Celebrating Louisiana’s Folk Heritage” with Cajun music and dance lessons, a state fiddle championships, children’s activities, arts and crafts, plus three stages of music including bluegrass, gospel, rock and jazz. The Louisiana State Fiddle Championship will be held on Saturday (July 19). Admission: 2014 pricing TBA. Prather Coliseum, NSU.

Swamp Pop Music Festival The 17th annual festival includes live music, a jambalaya cook-off, pageant, car and truck show, children’s activities, and more. Admission: Friday, $10; Saturday, $15; weekend ticket, $25. Lamar-Dixon Expo Center, 9039 St. Landry Road, Gonzales, 225.769.9994, email

July 19

Art Melt Forum 35’s 11th annual Art Melt is the largest multimedia, juried art exhibit in the state, which also features an outdoor stage, food truck lineup and arts marketplace. A patron’s preview party takes place Friday (July 18). Admission: Free. Capital Park Museum, 660 N. 4th St., Baton Rouge, 337.654.4520, email

Cake and Ice Cream Festival The sixth annual fete boasts cake and ice cream contests, music, and family fun. Judging begins at 1. Admission: Free. AA Comeaux Park, 301 AA Comeaux Memorial Drive, Abbeville, 337.652.0646.

Summer Fun Kids Day The 15th annual indoor festival with live entertainment, games, children’s activities, vendors, pony rides and face painting. Houma-Terrebonne Civic Center, 346 Civic Center Drive, Houma, 985.850.4657.

July 20-27

New Orleans Piano Institute The 25th annual intensive solo performance program for pianists features performances in master class, an honors recital and a showcase recital. Auditions for the associated Piano Institute Competition for Solo Piano are free and open to the public Loyola College of Music Building, Corner Calhoun St. and St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans.

July 24-26

Grand Isle International Tarpon Rodeo The oldest fishing tournament in the United States with children’s activities and music. The pavilion opens each day at 11 a.m. with food, merchandise and educational exhibits, and music in the evening. Children’s crab races take place at 2. Tarpon Rodeo Pavilion, Grand Isle, 504.615.0099.

July 31-Aug. 3

Satchmo SummerFest The 13th annual festival dedicated to the life, legacy and music of Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong features live jazz, brass bands, and more, plus seminars, a children’s area, crafts, dance lessons,food vendors, a jazz Mass and second line parade. Admission: Free. Old U.S. Mint, 400 Esplanade Ave, New Orleans, 504.522.5730.

via Louisiana festival guide 2014: July |


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Benny Cenac – My Louisiana | Louisiana Festival Guide – July 2014.

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Dr. Oetker Edible Wafer Cupcake Cases

This changes everything!  Now you don’t have to remove the paper lining when eating cupcakes.  Check out these new edible wafer cases before you make cupcakes for the next bake sale.

via Dr. Oetker Edible Wafer Cases are pink and blue wafer baking cases which you can eat. There is no need to remove the case, you can now eat the whole cupcake with no waste or mess! Use instead of paper baking cases when baking cupcakes for an extra special addition to your baking..


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Originally posted: Dr. Oetker Edible Wafer Cases | Arlen Benny Cenac – In My Kitchen.

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