Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Festival International de Louisiane 101

    When Festival International rolls around, Lafayette residents greet each other with smiles, saying, “Happy Festival.” There’s a lot of be happy about.
 The five-day, community-based, non-profit arts-driven festival celebrates the French culture of South Louisiana by honoring our own and those of many other countries, such as Africa, France, Canada and the Caribbean, to name only a few. Best of all, the more than 100 musical performances on five stages and throughout the festival grounds is free!
     You must see our world-renowned festival to believe it. In addition to the world music, there’s arts and crafts, a world market, special events from theater to parades and fabulous food. It’s why Festival International won Best World Music Festival in’s World Music Readers’ Choice Awards for two years running!
    Here’s a primer on how to best enjoy Festival International de Louisiane April 23-27, 2014. Happy Festival!
1.    Festival always happens the last weekend in April which means it’s highly likely to be warm and sunny. Don’t leave home without sunscreen, sunglasses and/or a hat. An umbrella tote comes in handy as well. And if you don’t have any of the above items, all can be found at Festival stalls.
2.    Speaking of hats, Festival celebrates creativity so if you’ve been waiting for a good time to wear your favorite — albeit outrageous hat — go for it! The same applies to clothes. You’re here to have fun!
3.    Festival takes place throughout downtown Lafayette and parking can be an issue. Many people bike to Festival and there are plenty of secure places to park your bike. Also, a handy shuttle is available from nearby Cajun Field, allowing participants to park in a lighted, secure area. Both parking and the shuttle are free.
 4.    Things allowed include collapsible chairs, blankets and fun items such as hulla hoops (these were so popular last year!) Things not allowed include pets, ice chests, tents, carts and the like.
5.    This is a family friendly event so bring everyone. Daytime activities are more relaxed with nighttime concerts more crowded; something to consider.
    For more information, visit

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Shot in Lafayette

    Lafayette with its diverse terrain and film talent has attracted filmmakers for decades. The city offers two outstanding film festivals — the Southern Screen Film Festival held in the fall and Cinema on the Bayou in January — and is home to Pixel Magic, a production company that produces visual effects for many blockbuster films, including “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows,” “Beautiful Creatures,” “Secretariat” and “The Chronicles of Narnia.”
    On Saturday, April 20, 2013, as part of INNOV8, the Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise (LITE Center) will hold an open house that includes a look inside Pixel Magic. Titled “Behind the Scenes of Hollywood Movies,” there will be a demonstration from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for all audiences and a demonstration in the more technical side of the VFX process from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.    
    Also this year, Festival International de Louisiane presents Soirées du Cinema, a free film series taking place Tuesday, April 23, at Cité des Arts, 109 Vine St. in downtown Lafayette. Films to be shown are “Rise Up” (Jamaica, 2012), Best Music Documentary winner at Silverdocs AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Festival, and “Brushy, the King of One String” (Jamaica, 2012).
    Here are a few movies made in the Lafayette area:
    Secretariat (2010) with Diane Lane, John Malkovich and Scott Glenn
    The Apostle (1997) with Robert Duvall and Farrah Fawcett
    Southern Comfort (1981) with Keith Carradine, Powers Boothe, Alan Autry and Peter Coyote. (The Bayou Vermilion District’s free monthly cultural film series Les Vues presents “Southern Comfort” at 6:30 p.m. April 29, 2013, in their Performance Center with local filmmaker Zack Godshall curating.)
    Belizaire the Cajun (1986) with Armand Assante, Will Patton and Gail Youngs
    Casey’s Shadow (1978) with Walter Matthau
    The Drowning Pool (1975) starring Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward and a young Melanie Griffith
    Nevada Smith (1966) with Steve McQueen 
    Easy Rider (1969) with Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda
    And that’s just a small selection of the many films shot in and around Lafayette. For a more extensive list, visit

Monday, April 8, 2013

INNOV8: 8 days spotlighting Lafayette innovation

    Lafayette is known for its vibrant arts scene and its innovative technology, as a hub for healthcare and a strong entrepreneurial spirit. INNOV8, a project of the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, celebrates this spirit with an eight-day festival of innovation Friday, April 19, to Friday, April 26, 2013. Events focus on Lafayette’s creative economy, entrepreneurship, education, healthcare, technology and innovative endeavors from business start-ups to success stories, from digital interactive technology to art and music.
LITE (Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise) Center
    Here are a few spotlights. For a complete list of events, visit
    Beginning at 2:30 p.m. Friday, April 19, Peruvian artist Grimanesa Amoros presents a lecture on how she uses sculpture, video and lighting techniques to create amazing works of art at the LITE (Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise) Center. Registration is requested for this free event, visit
    The LITE Center is a 3-D immersive visualization resource center located at the Research Park of the University of Louisiana Lafayette. LITE is the only facility of its kind in North America open to both industry and academia.
    Some of the clients at LITE will be giving demonstrations at the iOpener from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 20. There will be Pixel Magic’s “Behind the Scenes of Hollywood Movies” (did you know the 3-D of Harry Potter was created here?), demonstrations on underwater robots and a view inside the 3-D computer known as the “Egg.” Visitors may also play interactive video games against music and lift more than 5,000 pounds in a human-powered crane.
    More iOpener events include the neighboring Picard Center and the UL main campus. For more information on iOpener and a schedule of events, visit
    INNOV8 includes the Louisiana Soundtrack Experience, starting a music career, business workshops and the Cajun Code Fest coding competition, among many others.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Cycle Zydeco beings Bicycle Month!

            Lafayette Parish celebrates Bicycle Month in April with Cycle Zydeco as the kickoff event.
            Cycle Zydeco, scheduled for April 4-7, 2013, is a bike tour through Acadiana complemented by live Louisiana music and zydeco lessons, local cuisine and special events such as swamp tours, among much more. The four-day, 200-mile bike tour will be ridden at a moderate or leisurely pace in order to absorb the unique Cajun and Creole cultures and food. Bikers will travel from Lafayette, through St. Martinville, Breaux Bridge, Henderson, Arnaudville, Opelousas, Mamou and Eunice.
            Sponsored by TRAIL (Transportation Recreation Alternatives In Louisiana), this year’s riders will visit from 47 states and Canada. 
             The Cycle Zydeco bike tour will end on Sunday, April 7, 2013, at FestiVÉLO at Parc Sans Souci in downtown Lafayette. There will be food and drink, live music, a customized and restored bike show, group bike rides, springs and cycling skill classes from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.  
            For more information on Cycle Zydeco, visit For more information on FestiVÉLO, visit   
            Lafayette is a biking city! Beginning at the heart of downtown at Parc San Souci and traveling throughout Lafayette to Beaver Park is the Atakapa-Ishak (AI) Trail, a multi-phased, shared-use recreational trail named for the Atakapa-Ishak Native American Tribe who inhabited Southwest Louisiana coastal regions and prairies. Phase 2 of the Al Trail will continue through Beaver Park, underneath the US Hwy. 90 bridge at the Vermilion River and continue past Vermilionville to the Jean Lafitte Acadiana Cultural Center. More bike trails are also in the works.
            At the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, there is a University Commons multi-use path with plans for expansion, one of which is to link up with the Al Trail.
            For information on biking events, trails, bike safety and more, visit