Discover Louisiana’s Spring Festivals

Spring Festivals are some of the most highlighted times of the year in Louisiana.  There are hundreds of festivals across the state of all types. Some honor the local produce like the Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival or the Franklin Parish Catfish festival.  Some are odes to certain music genres like the Baton Rouge Blues Festival.  Others are nods to history and culture like Lafayette’s Festival International.  All of them are tons of fun for everyone and offer lots to do, great food to eat, and exciting activities.  Here are some of our favorites based on the festival guide published by

1.    French Quarter Festival

Spring Festivals

While most people know about the Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans, it seems that this festival is smaller, less well-known, and the locals like it that way.  They are able to see some of their favorite acts without all the hullabaloo. As stated on their website, their mission is to “promote the Vieux Carré and the City of New Orleans through high quality special events and activities that showcase the culture and heritage of this unique city, contribute to the economic well-being of the community, and instill increased pride in the people of New Orleans.”  2019 brings the 36th Anniversary of the festival and locals will tell you that it gets better with time.

2.    Louisiana Pirate Festival

The Louisiana Pirate Festival is a wonderful chance to experience Southwest Louisiana’s joie de vivre or “Joy of Life.”  Celebrating the legendary life of pirate Jean Lafitte, it is held on the grounds of the Lake Charles Civic Center and Seawall.  There will be great live entertainment showcasing Louisiana musicians and great Louisiana cuisine, a Pirate Ball and parade, Fireworks Display and much more. The story goes that pirate Jean Lafitte docked his boat right on the shore and buried his treasure somewhere along the bank. Witness the cannon fire as the citizens of Lake Charles defend the seawall against the pirates!

3.    Festival International de Louisiane

Lafayette hosts this festival all over its downtown area every April.  It’s one of the few free festivals of its size. It brings in over 300k people and acts from all over the world including many bands that don’t speak English and who carry hand-made instruments.  Festival International is known for exciting discoveries and culture sharing. There are plenty of food trucks offering local fare from all over Louisiana, arts and crafts, shopping, and activities.  The official lineup has been released and the festival also offers a free app to help you organize your favorite shows and create a schedule for yourself.  

4.    Natchitoches Jazz/R&B Festival

May brings this fun festival to one of the oldest settled towns in Louisiana.  It has hosted legendary artists such as .38 Special, Trombone Shorty, Edgar Winter, The Marshall Tucker Band, The Family Stone, Grand Funk Railroad and many, many more. The main stage is located on the banks of the Cane River in the historic downtown area. There will be music for all tastes; not just Jazz and R&B but also country, rock, zydeco, and much more. With food trucks and booths lining the riverbank, the gorgeous setting and festive music makes for an incredibly unique experience for all ages.

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Praxair Building a New Hydrogen Plant in Louisiana

The Daily Advertiser released this article stating that Praxair recently announced that they will be building a New Hydrogen Plant in Louisiana where it will be integrated with the firm’s “already extensive Louisiana production network via its Mississippi River Corridor hydrogen pipeline system.”

The exact location has not been decided yet but has plans to start up in 2021 and be among the largest hydrogen producing plants in America.  Praxair is a subsidiary of the Irish-based chemical giant Linde plc.  Once the state-of-the-art design is complete, this project will increase the U.S. Gulf Coast hydrogen capacity to more than 1.7 billion standard cubic feet per day.

Praxair, Inc. is a leading industrial gas company in North and South America and one of the largest worldwide. Praxair produces, sells and distributes gases and high-performance surface coatings. Their services are making our planet more clean and productive by bringing environmental benefits to a wide variety of industries.

Why do we need hydrogen plants?  What exactly will the plant be used to do?  

Hydrogen production has three basic industrial benefits that makes sense for companies to take advantage of.

1.    The use of hydrogen greatly reduces pollution.

When hydrogen is combined with oxygen in a fuel cell, energy in the form of electricity is produced and the only by-products are water and heat. No other pollution or greenhouse gases are produced.  This electricity can be used for anything, including powering vehicles or as a heat source.

2.    Hydrogen can be produced locally from various sources.

Companies don’t have to outsource for hydrogen.  Hydrogen gas can be produced locally from methane, gas, coal or water.

3.    If hydrogen is produced from water we have a sustainable production system.

Using renewable energy provides a sustainable system that is nonpolluting. Some of the renewable sources used are wind, hydro, and solar energy. The by products of the process are water and heat so the system can be set up as a co-generator, with the waste energy used for heating.

In order to comply with increasingly strict environmental regulations, the demand for clean fuels is growing astronomically.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a new rule to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from power plants across the country.  The proposal is called the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule.  It has established guidelines for states to use when developing plans to limit GHGs at their power plants.

“The ACE Rule would restore the rule of law and empower states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide modern, reliable and affordable energy for all Americans,” said Andrew Wheeler, EPA acting administrator.

“EPA has an important role when it comes to addressing the CO2 from our nation’s power plants,” said Bill Wehrum, assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation. “The ACE rule would fulfill this role in a manner consistent with the structure of the Clean Air Act while being equally respectful of its bounds.”

According to the EPA, the proposal will work to reduce GHG emissions through four main missions:

1.    ACE will define the “best system of emission reduction” for existing power plants

2.    ACE provides states with a list of “candidate technologies” to utilize

3.    ACE continues to research and provide updates to further encourage efficiency improvements

4.    ACE will give states adequate time and flexibility to develop their plans.

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Number One Affordable New Orleans Excursion

Whether you planned a trip to the Big Easy with your group of girlfriends, are heading down with your company for a work conference, or planning a weekend getaway with your family, you will want and need to know all the details about this number one Affordable New Orleans Excursion. Classic Louisiana delicacies such as oysters, po-boys, crawfish, and beignets are at the top of any New Orleans itinerary, but there’s much more to the city than eating and indulgence.

Whether you’re a first-timer or a born-and-raised local, there is always something new to do in New Orleans, from palm-readings in the French Quarter to one-of-a-kind museums and historical jazz joints (between meals at some of the world’s best restaurants, of course). One thing’s for sure: You’ll be ready to collapse into bed at one of the best hotels in New Orleans by the end of the day.

New Orleans is a city that never sleeps and is never dull, but paying for all of that activity can add up.  Luckily, there are tons of inexpensive (even FREE!) things to do in New Orleans to help lift the financial burden that excursions can add. Recently, published their Top 10 list of affordable New Orleans attractions. The following is our Top affordable NOLA excursion!

The French Quarter stretches along the Mississippi River from Canal Street to Esplanade Avenue and inland to North Rampart Street. It equals an area of 78 square blocks and has an elevation of 1 foot.  The French Quarter, also known as the Vieux Carré (“Old Square”), is the oldest section of the City of New Orleans. Founded in 1718 by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, New Orleans developed around the Vieux Carré, the city’s central square. Today, the district is referred to as “the Quarter.”

Affordable New Orleans Excursion - Here is a view of The New Orleans French Quarter at dusk

There are lots of attractions in the Quarter and you could spend an entire day there just adventuring around and taking in the sights that you happen upon.  You will see plenty of street performers. They may be extravagantly painted jokesters that at first glance look like a statue, or young boys with bottle caps nailed to the bottoms of their shoes.  New Orleans isn’t short on raw talent. You will see tons of artists using various mediums and propping their art up in various places, some even doing commissioned representations of Quarter visitors who have the time.  There will be palm readers, street preachers, and tons of tourists from all over the world. It’s a place bustling with color and life.

Several tours are available in the Quarter.  Some cheap, some free. One popular option is a Literary Self-Guided Walking Tour.  See where some of New Orleans’ most renowned authors lived such as Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner, Truman Capote, Thornton Wilder, Walker Percy and Anne Rice.  Click here for our favorite Literary Quarter Tour.

When your tummy starts rumbling, pop in any one of the iconic Quarter restaurants, not for a meal, but for an experience.  Have Oysters Rockefeller & Cafe Brulot at Antoine’s Restaurant, Shrimp remoulade and pompano with crab meat from Galatoire’s, Barbecue Shrimp at Mr. B’s, Killer Po-boys in Erin Rose, or a Late Night Burger at Clover Grill.

When you’ve seen all there is to see and you are ready to retire for the night, there are plenty of lodging options available, depending on what you prefer.  Whether you are looking for a quaint, tucked away inn or a hotel right in the middle of the bustling French Quarter, you’ll find the perfect accommodations in this quintessential New Orleans neighborhood.  If you want something right smack in the middle of things, book your room at Four Points by Sheraton.  It is located in the heart of the French Quarter on the corner of Bourbon and Toulouse; you can’t get much more central than that. Many rooms offer balconies overlooking the street below or the courtyard/pool and it is in walking distance to all French Quarter attractions.  If you want to remain within walking distance but don’t want to be too much in the mix, try the Astor Tower whose renovation was just completed in 2016.  This AAA Four Diamond hotel is located at the edge of the French Quarter at the intersection of Bourbon and Canal Street.  Wherever you stay, just know that you will sleep hard and well- New Orleans has a funny way of wearing you out!

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A Brief History of the New Orleans Saints

In honor of the bittersweet season the New Orleans Saints have had, we wanted to look back at some of their history. We found that Pro Football Hall of Fame site had information dating as far back as we could remember.

It hasn’t always been good for the Saints.  They had a long road before getting to where they are now.  The National Football League awarded its 16th franchise to New Orleans on November 1, 1966, ironically All Saints Day. Less than a month later, no one was surprised when the team was named the “Saints.”

The 1967 NFL season began and New Orleans new that creating as much pre-season fan enthusiasm as possible in a city not previously exposed to pro football would be key to boosting support and morale.  The Saints made each home game a special event, a “Mardi Gras in Autumn,” with cheerleaders, jazz bands, and high school and college marching bands. New Orleans was destined year-after-year to have poor success on the field but still, they managed to thrill their fans with some exciting victories and memorable moments first at Tulane Stadium and later at the Superdome.  Incredibly, the average home attendance was 75K per game!

Their first season they won five of their six preseason games and opened the regular season on against the Los Angeles Rams before a packed house of 80,879 in Tulane Stadium. New Orleans fans will always remember John Gilliam’s 94-yard touchdown return with the opening kickoff even though the Rams eventually won 27-13. A final game victory over the Washington Redskins allowed the Saints to match the 3-11 first-year record attained by Minnesota in 1961 and Atlanta in 1966.

Over the years, New Orleans has seen some major plays and even more major players such as quarterback Archie Manning, running back George Rogers, Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Rickey Jackson, wide receiver Eric Martin and placekicker Morten Andersen.

The Saints struggled to become a winning team until 1987 after New Orleans businessman Tom Benson acquired the franchise. Benson immediately hired Jim Finks, a future Hall of Fame administrator, as president and general manager, and Jim Mora as the head coach. The pair soon turned the Saints into one of the NFL’s most potent franchises.

The Saints’ 21st season saw things turn around under Coach Mora.  The Saints won 12 of 15 games for a second-place finish in the NFC West. The Saints reached the playoffs four times in six seasons from 1987 to 1992 and won their first NFC West championship in 1991.

Fast forward to 2005 when Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans on August 29 including extensive damage to the Louisiana Superdome. The Saints were unable to play any home games at the Superdome for the entire 2005 NFL regular season as a result. The stadium was also used to temporarily house victims of the storm.

After practicing for approximately a week in San Jose, California, where they had evacuated in conjunction with a pre-season game against the Oakland Raiders, the team set up temporary headquarters and arranged for practice facilities in San Antonio, Texas.  The league then announced that although the Saints’ first home game against the New York Giants would be played at Giants Stadium, other home games would be split between Tiger Stadium (the stadium of the LSU Tigers football) at LSU and the Alamodome in San Antonio.

In 2006 Sean Payton took over as head coach. The Saints returned to playing all of their regular home games of the season in New Orleans at the Superdome. Their first game back in New Orleans was marked by a dramatic blocked punt early in the first quarter, with Steve Gleason blocking the punt and Curtis Deloatch recovering the ball in the Falcons’ end zone for a touchdown. It was the first score in the Saints’ first game in New Orleans in nearly 21 months. The Saints won the game and, unexpectedly, went on to have the most successful season in their history up to that time, reaching the NFC Championship Game for the first time in franchise history.  Four years later Peyton guided the team to their first championship in franchise history when they won Super Bowl XLIV. In July 2012, “Rebirth”, a statue depicting Gleason blocking the punt, was erected outside the Superdome; a news report commented that the blocked punt “etched Steve Gleason into Saints lore and became symbolic of New Orleans’ resilience in the face of disaster”.

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Famous Louisiana Authors

The vibrant, rich culture and history of the Bayou State has inspired countless numbers of famous Louisiana authors and even more stories.  Some of America’s, even the world’s best work came from the South. Tennessee Williams. Mark Twain. Walt Whitman.  Ernest Gaines. Kate Chopin. Anne Rice. Literary lovers from all over can appreciate the folklore and storytelling that the bayous, foodways, and the motley crew of ethnicities, cultures, and belief systems inspire. recently published a compilation of all the most famous Louisiana literary legends and we took our favorites from that list to dive deeper into their works, inspiration, and backgrounds.  

1.    Tennessee Williams

Tennessee Williams is considered among the three foremost playwrights of 20th-century American drama.  Some of his most famous works include The Glass Menagerie (1944), A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955), and Sweet Bird of Youth (1959).  His works were greatly influenced by his struggle with depression and tumultuous personal life. Well into his 60s, Williams still struggled but as he slid deeper in depression, his work began to suffer as well.  Much of Williams’ most acclaimed work was written early in his career and has been adapted for the cinema. His mother once said of Williams’ writing: “Tom would go to his room with black coffee and cigarettes and I would hear the typewriter clicking away at night in the silent house. Some mornings when I walked in to wake him for work, I would find him sprawled fully dressed across the bed, too tired to remove his clothes.”  Williams also wrote short stories, poetry, essays and a volume of memoirs. In 1979, four years before his death, Williams was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame. Every year the French Quarter hosts the annual Tennessee Williams Literary Festival. Williams lived for a time in New Orleans and used it as the setting for “A Streetcar Named Desire” and other short stories. Fans can also check out Williams’ first Vieux Carre apartment at 722 Toulouse Street, now home of the Historic New Orleans Collection. Next hop a streetcar, you can temporarily name “Desire,” down Saint Charles and view the cemeteries and sights of fading Southern grandeur that inspired Williams’ work.

2.    Ann Rice

Anne Rice is one of the most well known contemporary Louisiana authors.  She was born and raised in New Orleans and holds a Master of Arts Degree in English and Creative Writing. Even though Anne has spent more of her life in California than in New Orleans, she has said numerous times that New Orleans is her true home and inspiration for her famous novels. Interview with the Vampire, her 1st novel, was set in The French Quarter. Interview with the Vampire was made into a motion picture in 1994, directed by Neil Jordan, and starring Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Kirsten Dunst and Antonio Banderas. Her antebellum house in the Garden District was the fictional home of her imaginary Mayfair Witches. Ann is the author of over 30 novels, including The Witching Hour, Servant of the Bones, Merrick, Blackwood Farm, Blood Canticle, Violin, and Cry to Heaven.

3.    Ernest Gaines

Ernest James Gaines (born January 15, 1933) is an African-American author whose works have been taught in college classrooms and translated into many languages, including French, Spanish, German, Russian and Chinese. Gaines was among the fifth generation of his sharecropper family to be born on a plantation in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana. This became the setting and premise for many of his later works. He was the eldest of 12 children, raised by his aunt, who was crippled and had to crawl to get around the house. Although born generations after the end of slavery, Gaines grew up impoverished, living in old slave quarters on a plantation.  When the children were not picking cotton in the fields, a visiting teacher came for five to six months of the year to provide basic education. Schooling for African-American children did not continue beyond the eighth grade during this time in Pointe Coupee Parish. His first novel was written at age 17, while babysitting his youngest brother, Michael. According to one account, he wrapped it in brown paper, tied it with string, and sent it to a New York publisher, who rejected it. Gaines burned the manuscript, but later rewrote it to become his first published novel, Catherine Carmier.  Four of his works have been made into television movies. His 1993 novel, A Lesson Before Dying (1993) was nominated for Pulitzer Prize, was rewarded the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction (1993), and was inducted into Oprah’s Book Club (1997). Gaines currently resides on the land where he grew up with his wife.

At the University of Louisiana at Lafayette resides The Ernest J. Gaines Center which is an international center for scholarship on Ernest Gaines and his work. The center honors the work of Gaines and provides a space for scholars to work with the his papers and manuscripts. Gaines’s generous donation of his early papers and manuscripts (through 1983) and some artifacts to Edith Garland Dupré Library provided the foundation for the center’s collection. The center also anticipates acquiring the remainder of Gaines’s papers.

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Top Louisiana Bed and Breakfasts

Louisiana is a place that knows no strangers so it’s no wonder that it’s home of the world’s best Bed and Breakfasts.  From quaint Cajun Cottages to exemplary 5 star inns, Louisiana boasts some of the most historic and architecturally complex places to bunk, a real treat for the traveler wishing to relive history, add the highest quality of customer service as well as an eclectic array of food, and you have yourself a relaxing vacay blending the perfect amount of relaxation and excursion. Depending on what you have in mind as far as experience, food, and geographical location, there is something for everyone.  Destination 360 has compiled a list of the best and we have narrowed it down to the top 4.  Click here for the full list.

1.    Melrose Mansion

The Melrose Mansion Bed and Breakfast in Louisiana has been voted one of the most romantic Louisiana bed and breakfast Inns in the country. A Victorian treasure, you can live in luxury and enjoy the history in one of the 21 rooms filled with period antiques. You will be sure to experience the comforts of home, and then some, with their southern hospitality. Enjoy breakfast in their quaint courtyard alongside the swimming pool, perfect for cooling off in the summer heat. This ideal location on the edge of the French Quarter provides convenient access to everything New Orleans! By day, stroll a few blocks down the avenue in the direction of the Mississippi River to check out the French Market, Café du Monde, and Jackson Square. Or pedicab your way through Royal Street’s endless unique shops and fabulous New Orleans dining offerings.

2.    Stockade Bed & Breakfast

The Stockade Bed and Breakfast has hosted guests from all over the world.  People come from all over to experience all they have to offer. It is named after the Civil War stockade that occupied the grounds and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The large, Hacienda-style house offers five main-house accommodation options: four spacious guest rooms and one two-bedroom suite, each with a private bath and original artwork adorning the walls. Included with your stay is a homemade gourmet breakfast which people rave about.
Nature lovers delight in walks along the backyard trail of The Stockade Bed and Breakfast to explore the wilderness of native foliage and wildlife.

3.    Nottoway Plantation

Nottoway Plantation & Resort is a 1850’s sugarcane estate, a AAA Four-Diamond property, and a member of Historic Hotels of America, and is the home of the South’s largest existing antebellum mansion, now stunningly restored to its original architectural design.  It is an architectural masterpiece, with the massive white columns and grand balconies standing guard over the Mississippi River. On the other side the spectacular three-story Rotunda overlooks majestic, towering oaks.  Various daily tours quench the history fanatic’s thirst for knowledge and the deluxe rooms, rich dining, and luxury amenities go hand in hand with their gracious southern hospitality and service.

4.    HH Whitney House

Even before you walk through the front door of this bed and breakfast, your hosts make you feel right at home. Whether you’re looking for a quiet weekend getaway or an action-packed visit to New Orleans, your hosts make it their business to pamper you.  Elegance is the hallmark of this beautiful Italianate-style home. The dining room features an 11-foot oak table which provides a casually elegant setting for breakfast. Eleven fireplaces grace the home, including two in the double-parlor, which features Italian marble mantelpieces. Most bathrooms feature vintage clawfoot tubs and showers.  The lush tropical garden of this B & B has been transformed since Hurricane Katrina to include a new in-ground swimming pool and hot tub. The area still provides a great setting for sipping your morning coffee, reading your favorite novel, or sharing a late-night talk with your sweetie after a long day in New Orleans.

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