Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Lafayette and Acadiana a birder’s paradise

    Lafayette and South Louisiana is a birder’s paradise, offering some of the best bird watching opportunities in the nation.
    The terrain ranges from prairies and live oak cheniers to wetlands, bayous and lakes. Rice farms attract ducks and other waterfowl, while wetlands provide food and shelter for rookeries. There are resident species, such as wading birds and waterfowl, that visitors can spot year-round and migratory birds flying through on the Mississippi Flyway.
    The America’s Wetland Birding Trail consists of 115 bird watching sites in 12 trails within 22 Louisiana parishes. The Atchafalaya Loop, for instance, takes birders through the largest river swamp in North America, and includes bottomland hardwood ecosystems, wildlife management areas and the Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge. Be sure and visit Lake Martin-Cypress Island Preserve, one of the largest bird rookeries in North America with its approximate 20,000 nesting pairs of spring wading birds. Now and through late spring look for all kinds of egrets, great blue herons, little blue herons, roseate spoonbills, warblers, vireos, white ibis and anhingas, among others.
    At Lafayette and heading south is the Vermilion Loop, which takes visitors through marshlands toward the Gulf of Mexico. In the spring and fall birders may spot migratory neotropical songbirds. Waterfowl may be seen year-round within the rice farms and coastal prairie lands. 
    Local bird-related festivals include the winter Eagle Expo in Morgan City, the spring Bayou Teche Black Bear & Birding Festival in Franklin (April 29-21, 2013) and the Lafayette Hummingbird Day in the fall.
    This Saturday, March 30, 2013, at 9 a.m., Dr. Jay Huner of the University of Louisiana-Lafayette will speak on his challenge to see as many bird as possible in Louisiana in 2012, known as “The Big Year”at the Lafayette Wild Birds Unlimited. Other events happening this spring at Wild Birds Unlimited include a bird chat with field trip April 6 and May 4, shorebird identification with Clint Jeske of the National Wetlands Research Center on April 11, and a discussion of edible plants with Charles Allen on May 11.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Lafayette offers many smoke-free venues

    In Louisiana, it is unlawful to smoke within a restaurant. If the establishment uses more than 50 percent of its business as a bar, smoking is allowed.
    However, there are several smoke-free establishments in Lafayette, regardless of the bar-to-restaurant ratio.
    They are:
    Bisbano’s Pizza Parlor, 1540 Johnston St. by the University of Louisiana-Lafayette campus.
    Bolt, 116 E. Vermilion St. in downtown Lafayette.
    Brewski’s, 2815 Jefferson St.
    Corner Bar, 3103 Johnston St.
    Dix Almost Famous Daiquiris, 101 Liberty Ave.
    Fast Eddies, 2431 W. Congress St.
    Legends Annex, 110 Polk St. in downtown Lafayette.
    Legends, 4559 Johnston St.
    Lounge, 412 Jefferson St. in downtown Lafayette.
    Maximilian’s Lounge, 1521 Pinhook Road.
    Pour wine bar, 605 Silverstone, Suite 107, in River Ranch.
    Scandal’s, 1801 Pinhook Road.
    Taproom, 201 Settlers Trace, River Ranch.
    Tim & Tias, 211 Settlers Trace in River Ranch.
    Tonic, 2013 Pinhook Road.  
    Wild Salmon Bar & Grill, 813 Foreman Drive.
    For more information about Louisiana’s smoke-free venues, visit

Monday, March 11, 2013

March is Egg-Citing in Lafayette!

             Spring is a-hopping in Lafayette these days. In addition to the azaleas and other magnificently colorful flowers gracing our streets, there are egg-cellent things happening.
            And before we get too bogged down in spring puns, here’s what’s coming up:
             The Center for Cultural and Ecotourism at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette hosts “Natural Egg Dying” traditions of South Louisiana and a free egg-dyeing workshop with three local artisans beginning at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 12, at Vermilionville Performance Center, 300 Fisher Road. Connie Boustany will instruct how to wrap eggs and Vermilionville artisans Jocelyn Trahan and Brenda Lalonde will demonstrate how to create various natural dyes from kitchen produce and garden items. Eggs and supplies will be provided. After the dying of eggs there will be a pacqué contest, to see whose egg is the strongest. The Center’s “Backyard Series” is free and open to all ages. Food and drinks will be available for purchase. 
             The Tea Slippers present the classic comedy play for all ages, “Harvey” by Mary Chase, at 7:30 p.m. March 15, 16, 22 and 23 and at 2 p.m. March 17 and 24 at Cité des Arts, 109 Vine St. in downtown Lafayette.
             Festival Eggstrodinaire, a fundraiser for the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra, will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 23, at the ASO Conservatory Building, 412 Travis St. in the Oil Center of Lafayette. There will be an egg and spoon race, jelly bean count contest, coloring contest, Easter egg decorating contest, sack races and so much more! The festival grounds will include the ASO Conservatory Building and surrounding areas and streets will be blocked off to accommodate local vendors. The main event will be an Easter Egg hunt so bring your baskets!
        The Bayou Vermilion District’s Vermilionville will be getting in the Easter spirit beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 23, with an Easter celebration for the whole family. The day will include a natural egg dyeing demonstration, sweet dough tart cooking demo, prettiest egg contest, pâquer tournament and Cajun jam. In addition, Alex Caldwell, co-creator and president of Vivian Alexander, will be on hand to discuss eggs and the role they play in our Easter celebrations. The talk is open to all ages and will begin at 2:30 p.m. with audience Q&A to follow. For a schedule of events, visit