Taking Advantage of Dual Enrollment In High School

By Kimberly Wallis

With the rising cost of secondary education, anything that helps students complete college faster and at a lower cost, has appeal. Dual Enrollment (DE) can do just that, while also helping smooth the transition to college.

For those who plan on using the GI Bill, it’s important to know dependent children must be 18 or younger when the GI Bill benefits are transferred to them, but must also be over 18 or a high school graduate to use them. However, DE can still be useful as many majors take more than the standard four years of college. Having extra benefits available for tutors if your kids are having trouble with a class is an option as well. If you decide you want to transfer your benefits, get started by logging in here.

Cassie McKenzie smiles while showing off the Associate of General Studies degree earned through the Vernon Parish dual enrollment program.
Photo credits: Vernon Parish School Board

DE allows students to receive credit for the same course on both their high school and local technical, community, or four-year college transcripts. Students qualify based upon the academic requirements/guidelines set forth by the post-secondary institution. Their high school counselor helps them complete registration and select appropriate classes that meet Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) graduation requirements.

All schools in the Beauregard Parish School District offer dual enrollment through McNeese State University, Upper Iowa University, Pelican Chapter ABC, and Sowela Technical Community College. DE students here pay a reduced price for courses they take, with free and reduced lunch students paying even less. The Beauregard Parish School Board (BPSB) assumes the additional cost for this tuition reduction. Beauregard Parish School District Test Coordinator and Acting Curriculum Director Larry Hollie said courses typically provide entry level math, ELA, and supplementary courses that allow a graduating senior to enter university as a sophomore. He reported his district had 387 dual enrollments throughout the 2021-2022 academic school year. 

Two of Vernon Parish’s dual enrollment participants strike a smiling graduation pose.
photo credits: Vernon Parish School Board

All schools in the Vernon Parish School District offer dual enrollment through Northwestern State University (NSU), Sowela Technical Community College, and Central Louisiana Technical Community College (CLTCC). Lisa Lohman, dual enrollment coordinator for the Vernon Parish School District, says tuition fees are currently offset by the district through the use of Supplemental Course Academy (SCA) funding so the only financial obligations are the cost of textbooks and/or lab fees. DE enrollment here is open to all “qualifying” juniors and seniors and only to sophomores who make a full commitment to pursue the Associate Degree program. She also reported that Vernon Parish School District currently has 260 students participating in the DE program, with 91 students pursuing the Associate Degree. The graduating class of 2022 has 14 seniors who will graduate having already earned an Associates Degree from NSU!
If you’d like more information about the dual enrollment program, start with your local school district website. You may also want to check out the dual enrollment online portal recently launched by LDOE and the Board of Regents or the LDOE Fast Forward initiative.

A dual enrollment graduate smiles onstage while receiving his degree in Vernon Parish. Photo credits: Vernon Parish School Board

Head Start and LA4 – Early Education at Fort Polk

By Kimberly Wallis

Often, our transitioning military families aren’t even aware that everyone is encouraged to apply
for early childhood education programs (ECE) at Fort Polk. Although local public programs are
specifically geared toward lower income families, there may be additional spaces available for
children from families with higher earnings, potentially making the time spent on the application
process well worth it!

Photo Credits: VPSB HS & B5
A child, participating in a Vernon Parish early childhood educational program, plays outside.

While we may hate the thought of our babies growing up too fast, early childhood education
(ECE) allows parents to provide financially while still being part of a team working to put their
child on the path to success during their entire educational journey. Many dual earner and single
parent families alike take advantage of the affordable, high quality daycare programs offered
locally to get help with providing the basic skills their children need before entering
Studies show long-term benefits of ECE include being more likely to graduate high school,
attend college, less likely to be incarcerated, less likely to require public assistance, and earning
higher wages. Recognizing the importance of early education as a long term solution towards
combating low education rankings and high poverty levels, Louisiana legislators recently
advanced a bill making the Early Childhood Care and Education Commission permanent and
Governor John Bel Edwards’ agenda called for more funding at every level of education,
including ECE.

Photo credits: VPSB HS & B5 Josiah enjoys his treats during snack time at the early childhood education program he attends in Vernon Parish.

Socialization is another benefit to enrolling, especially if you’re new to an area! It’s always nice
to get to know others in the area with kids the same age as yours.
Just as children are presented with socialization opportunities they might not otherwise have,
parents gain access to information about other beneficial community services through
interaction with both school staff and other parents. For instance, children are monitored to
ensure they are meeting developmental milestones in order to help parents seek early
intervention when necessary. Special needs children are also served in these programs.
There are two programs offered at the two school districts that service Fort Polk. Louisiana’s

Photo credits: VPSB HS & B5
Layla smiles about the books on display at her Vernon Parish School District early childhood education program.

primary preschool program, Cecil J. Picard LA4, provides full day pre-K in public schools to four-
year-olds from disadvantaged families. Head Start is a federal program that promotes the

school readiness of children aged birth through five from low-income families.
Vernon Parish Head Start and Beauregard Parish Head Start both offer child development
programs for children from age 3 to 4 years old and Early Head Start for children from birth to 3
years old. Please note that transportation is not available in Beauregard Parish School District
and Vernon Parish School District only provides school buses for 4 year olds.
Filling out the application does not guarantee your child will be able to attend. However, an
incomplete application or lack of required documentation may lengthen the process or even
disqualify your child. Be sure to check with each program for which you are applying about what
you’ll need! The links to each district have been provided in the preceding paragraph to make it
easier to check out what you’ll need and where it’s offered.

Photo credits: VPSB HS & B5
A child enjoys a Hatch tablet utilized as part of the early childhood educational program in the Vernon Parish School District.

In the Vernon Parish School District, applications are conveniently located outside the office at
1409 South 4th Street in Leesville. You can fill it out at your convenience but must turn it in
between 8:30-11:30 AM, Monday through Thursday. For more information, call the VPSB HS &
B5 office at 337-239-6899.

 Photo credits: VPSB HS & B5
Myles partners with a friend to create a colorful garden scene at their Vernon Parish early childhood education program.

In the Beauregard Parish School District, rated highly proficient for overall measures of
classroom quality by the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE), you complete this online application. For more information, call (337) 463-5905.

photo credits: VPSB HS & B5
Charlie sports a huge smile on the swings during outside play time at his Vernon Parish early childhood education program.

Sending your child off to school can be hard on some parents (especially first timers!) but
parental involvement is actually encouraged and helps with fostering a lifelong love of learning
in your child. So when you apply, be sure to check out the volunteer opportunities available for
parents as well!

photo credits: VPSB HS & B5
A child plays with different toys as a fun way to work on building his gross motor skills at an early childhood education program in the Vernon Parish School District.

How Are The School Districts Serving Fort Polk? Better than you think…

By Kimberly Wallis

So you found out your family will be headed to Fort Polk and you’re wondering how this will impact your child because Louisiana ranks among the last in the nation on education. Let’s put those fears to rest real quick; Louisiana as a whole may rank low on education, but you’re actually headed to a great area for public school systems!

Unlike many of you reading this who are assigned to this area, I had a choice and made a conscious decision to move back here mainly because I liked the public school system so much. At the time, I worked in San Antonio, Texas and while the schools there weren’t exactly bad, I was still concerned about the quality of education my children were receiving. I felt strongly enough about it that I was willing to take a massive pay cut to move back and can honestly say I never looked back on that decision with any degree of regret. Not only was the education better but communication with the staff was much easier and more personalized here than in a larger city.

I’ve created a bar chart to better illustrate how good the public school system is here, and I must admit that I was even pleasantly surprised by the results! For comparison purposes, we’ll use the two school districts that service Fort Polk (Vernon Parish School District and Beauregard Parish School District) with some that service posts most people hope for: Fort Bragg (Fort Bragg Unified School District), Fort Carson (Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8) and Fort Belvoir (Fairfax County Public Schools). On Niche’s website, Fort Belvoir is highly rated and the other four public school districts are all rated above average. 

A bar chart compares three school districts serving other Army posts with the two that serve Fort Polk.

You may notice that ACT scores were slightly lower here (only one point from the other two above average schools we compared). Many colleges require a 17, so this isn’t a bad average. However, what the chart doesn’t show is that all Louisiana students are required to take the ACT test, whether they are college bound or not. This requirement impacts district scores significantly! Consider this: would you, as a high school junior or senior, do your best on a time-consuming, challenging test when you knew the results didn’t matter in your life? An acquaintance’s son in the Vernon district took the ACT twice during his junior and sophomore year when he was considering going to college. Both times he scored a 17, everything he needed to receive the Taylor Opportunity Scholarship (TOPS) for technical school, but not quite what he needed to receive TOPS for a four year college. He took the ACT again his senior year, after he’d already determined he wasn’t going to college but instead technical school. He told his mom before he left the house he was not even going to try. He scored a 10. So when comparing Vernon and Beauregard ACT scores to the district scores in states where only those who are college bound take the ACT, remember the comparison is skewed. Fort Bragg and Fort Belvoir have no such requirement, although Fort Carson does require all students to take the SAT. 

The Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) reports graduation rates in Beauregard Parish maintaining a rate above 90 percent for eight consecutive years. Vernon Parish graduation rates increased 10 points over a five year period. Both of these districts now have a 95 percent graduation rate.

In all fairness, let’s talk about where Fort Polk’s two school districts could stand for some improvement. Dual enrollment is available for students in both districts, and many students here do take advantage of the program, but, much like the rest of Louisiana, we are still low on the total number of highschoolers utilizing dual-enrollment to gain college credits while in high school. Dual enrollment can actually help save money on a college education in most places, yet only about a quarter of eligible students are currently participating across the state! If you’d like more information on this program you can visit your particular school district’s website. Alternatively, the Louisiana Department of Education and the Board of Regents recently launched a new dual enrollment online portal.

Hopefully, this information helps to assuage any fears you may have about Louisiana being ranked so low on education. Simply put, the state average does not do justice to the quality of education offered here.

Now Is The Time: Get Prepped Before Hurricane Season

By Kimberly Wallis

So NOAA’S National Hurricane Center just predicted your family’s new home is right smack dab in the middle of a hurricane path? First things first, don’t panic. I know this sounds crazy but here in Louisiana we have plenty of experience with this! Being prepared and able to mobilize quickly without a lot of undue stress comes second nature, so just follow our lead.

A night time image of 2021’s Hurricane Ida shows the rain bands stretching out. Photo by NASA

Hurricane season is June through November, with most activity occurring mid-August through mid-October. With that being said, please keep in mind that Mother Nature doesn’t always actually abide by the official hurricane season dates, so it’s possible they may be a little earlier or later in the season.

This cannot be stressed enough: do not wait until a hurricane is coming to get stocked up. By then, it’s much too late because store shelves will already be wiped smooth out of anything you might find even remotely useful! 

In fact, Memorial Day weekend is the perfect time to get prepped. The state of Louisiana has had an annual “Disaster Preparedness” sales tax holiday since 2008. This tax holiday is meant to encourage people to purchase disaster preparedness supplies in preparation for potential emergencies.

Many online retailers carry prepackaged emergency preparedness kits, which is basically a starter kit because everyone has different needs that have to be accommodated once the basics have been met. There are differences between the checklists of an evacuation kit and a stay at home kit. There are checklists for elderly family members, the disabled, children, even pets. Researching your family’s specific needs can better help you when it comes to personalizing your kit. 

Some things are not on the checklist that you will find you need in these emergency situations. If you have children, what do they like to do if television and gaming is out? Maybe investing in an alternative charging method (such as solar powered) sounds like a better option now that you know this is something you even need to consider! When the kids have been bored and cranky all day, how will you unwind? I like to read so a good book or two would be a prep kit essential for me!  

Often, our anxieties are picked up on by our children. So, if you are a parent, I highly recommend searching out age appropriate activities for kids beforehand! It will keep them occupied and help with everyone’s stress levels if they are included in your family’s disaster preparation.

There are so many excellent resources available. The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness developed the Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Guide. You can find some great information on what to do before, during, and after a hurricane at the American Red Cross, which is also helpful for those who will be seeking shelter. You can apply for disaster assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) here

Hurricanes can be unpredictable with their devastation, no doubt. It may be that your home gets out unscathed and your neighbor loses theirs, or vice versa. Just try to remember that when disaster strikes down here, Louisiana pulls together to get through it and you’re one of us now!

Shop Local at Nearby Farmers Markets

By Kimberly Wallis

Whether you are new to an area or you’ve lived there your whole life, shopping local is a great way to both support your community and connect with other people in it. Checking out the local farmers market is fun and can be a great way to meet people with interests similar to yours. 

Types of sellers may vary each time you visit a farmers market but offerings usually include organic food, local honey, flowers, plants, seasonal fruits and veggies, homemade jellies, jams, or preserves, arts and crafts, and gift baskets.

Many of these sellers have poured their hearts into their goods by lavishing their time and attention on them, so they are more than willing to go the extra mile for those who appreciate that. You might get sent home with new recipes or a sample of something to try out. Maybe you’ll pick up some pointers at the arts and crafts booth. Could be that you find the perfect gift nestled amongst the woodworking display. It’s even possible you’ll get to try out a totally new ethnic dish from one of the food vendors. You never know what you’ll find tucked away in one!

You can also find some fantastic offerings, usually pretty reasonably priced, that aren’t already in everyone else’s homes (thanks to the magic of big box stores). This is a huge draw for me because I want my personal space to reflect my personal style.

Purchasing locally sourced food helps your family eat healthier by switching some of the processed food out of your diet in favor of fresher options; at the same time, this helps your neighbor and their family out financially. Added bonus, it’s better for the environment because it cuts down on shipping and helps with maintaining a natural habitat for native wildlife.

Find out what’s coming up locally at Leesville Main Street; their Third Street Market is open every Saturday from 8 AM- 1PM (no seller fees except for special events!).

Downtown Deridder’s McConathy Market is also a good local option. Also, check out Bountiful Baskets, not a market but in the same realm, a food co-op where you can feed your family much cheaper! 

There are also a few farmers markets around the state you should probably consider visiting at least once. For instance, plan for an entire day to visit the French Market. It spans six blocks of the French Quarter in New Orleans and is the oldest market of its kind in the United States. Another one you can make an entire day out of is a trip to the Flea Market of Louisiana and nearby Tanger Outlet Mall. Heads up though, you may need a U-Haul to get back home from these! 

You can make short day trips out of visiting the farmers markets in Lake Charles, Lafayette, Natchitoches, or Alexandria. Louisiana Travel made a list of popular ones around the state that you can find here.

Since farmers’ markets can affect such a positive impact on our communities, wouldn’t it be almost wrong not to take advantage of the many benefits you personally get out of it?

Louisiana National Guard Youth Challenge Program

By Kimberly Wallis

Does your child want to finish high school but also feel the need to leave a traditional school setting? Are you interested in an optional education program that has a little military structure thrown in? Then maybe YCP is for you!

The Louisiana National Guard Youth Challenge Program (YCP)  completely supported by federal and state funds, provides education, meals, housing, and uniforms in a tuition-free alternative school setting. Other expenses, such as high school memorabilia (think senior ring) and supplemental food and comfort items are the responsibility of the cadet’s family.  For instance, you might  want to plan something fun for visiting days, such as bringing your cadet a favorite takeout or a barbecue grill to cook out on!

Cadets at the Gillis W. Long Center in Carville, Louisiana stand at ease shortly before they are released for a visiting day with family and friends. Photo by Kimberly Wallis

YCP is a highly structured military style program, with 24 hour a day supervision, where students will learn about self-discipline, leadership, and responsibility. The program encourages teamwork, personal growth, and development through eight core components: academic excellence, life coping skills, job skills, responsible citizenship, leadership, community service, physical fitness, and health/hygiene. 

For five months, students live on-site at one of the three campuses: Camp Minden, Camp Beauregard, or the Gillis W. Long Center. They work at their own pace academically under the supervision of certified instructors and receive individual counseling. Both male and female students are given the opportunity to obtain a High School Equivalency Diploma and take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). 

Qualified students may simultaneously earn up to 15 college credit hours through a collaboration with Bossier Parish Community College. Additionally, those who are eligible to earn a basic skills certification through the workforce development program may choose from courses in welding, industrial manufacturing, drafting and design technology, or patient care technician.

When students return home, after completion of the program, the post-residential phase begins. For one year, they will have both a case manager and community mentors conduct follow-ups to assist them in continuing on a positive path. Mentors will help former students explore their options so they can make informed decisions on whether they want to enter the workforce, continue their education, begin job training, or enlist in the military. Although YCP is administered through the Louisiana National Guard, those who meet eligibility requirements may join any branch of the service they prefer.

Each camp offers two sessions per year and accepts students from all over the state and all walks of life. To become a cadet you must be a legal citizen, a Louisiana resident determined by current address, and between the ages of 16 and 18 on the first day of the program. However, start dates vary between camps. Closest to Fort Polk is Camp Beauregard in Pineville, which has classes beginning in January and July. Camp Minden, near Shreveport, has classes beginning in February and August. The Gillis W. Long Center, near Baton Rouge, begins classes in April and October. 

Students will need to fill out an application to bring with them when they schedule an interview. To print an application, go here or call the recruiting office at 1-800-CAMP-KID (1-800-226-7543) to request that one be sent to you.

Gardening in Louisiana

By Kimberly Wallis

Whether you prefer fresh cut flowers displayed on the windowsill or cooking with vegetables you grew yourself, Louisiana’s long growing season will be perfect for you! Either way, there is something truly satisfying about growing your own versus store bought. 

But maybe you don’t garden at all? Well your stay in Louisiana, with it’s subtropical climate, might be the perfect time to pick up a new hobby! For more info on the climate, click here.

The absolute best resource out there for beginning your gardening journey in Louisiana is the LSU Agricultural Center. They offer courses in Master Gardening and if you are already a Master Gardener in another state, you may be able to transfer that to Louisiana. There are also free certificate courses offered on home composting and home gardening.

LSU Ag Center’s program Get It Growing has both a YouTube channel and seasonal archives so you can get timely updates and see how the Louisiana growing schedule may be different from other areas. They also sell the Get It Growing Lawn and Garden growing calendar which will help you while providing some funding for these free programs at the same time. What a great way to pay it forward for future gardeners!

Doug Young Nursery displays its products at the 2019 Nursery Festival in Forest Hill, Louisiana.

Former Get It Growing host, Dan Gill, is a gardening columnist for the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Check out this article he wrote on what to plant each month. 

Greater New Orleans Gardening newsletters, also through the LSU Ag Center can be read here and you can sign up for their monthly emails as well. GNO Gardening Newsletters also include listings for garden centers in south Louisiana.

Seeds to Success is Louisiana’s farm to school program. An extremely helpful tool for teachers or those who homeschool, this site contains tips and guides which are useful at home as well.

Another great resource for gardening that works well no matter which hardiness zone you live in is the Farmer’s Almanac. No matter whether you are just starting out or a life long grower, you can find helpful tips, tricks, and growing advice they have been gathering since 1818!

The Good Food Project, in nearby Alexandria, allows you to receive offers, tips, resources, and schedules specific to Central Louisiana gardeners by signing up for the Sprout E-Newsletter.

Less than an hour from here is a quaint little village in Rapides Parish, Forest Hill, known as the nursery capitol of Louisiana because it offers a couple hundred from which to choose. This claim to fame has even gotten it featured in an article for Country Roads magazine. Another article in the Alexandria Town Talk you may find interesting talks about the local nursery that patented the crimson azalea, also one of the few licensed to grow the Southern Living magazine plant collection.

Flowers, plants, arts and crafts, food, and fun for the whole family, even including a carnival, can be found the third weekend of March at the Louisiana Nursery Festival.

If you find that you’ve really got a green thumb and have more vegetables and/or cut flowers than you know what to do with, well take them to a nearby Farmer’s Market!

Any way you grow, growing in Louisiana is tons of fun.

Deridder’s Gothic “Hanging” Jail

By Kimberly Wallis

Deridder’s Gothic Hanging Jail boasts an unusual combination of fascinating history, stunning architecture, and paranormal activity. What more could you possibly need to entice you to schedule some time to go and explore it, right? 

Well, how about an event where you go to this aforementioned beautiful, haunted, historic jail and are allowed to accompany a paranormal investigation team as they work? February 25th and 26th, Gothic Jail After Dark and the Georgia based Searchers will be co-hosting just this very event! So if this sounds like an adventure you wouldn’t want to miss out on, they have four different ticket options available for you to choose your own adventure. Find out what they are and purchase your choice of them here. Better hurry though, because the event is almost sold out!

The event flier for the Searchers Return to the Gothic Jail, includes a picture of Josh Purvis and Shane Pittman standing back to back at the front right side of the Gothic Revival style jail in Deridder, La.

If just the very thought of ghost hunting makes you feel a little faint at heart, never fear! You can still go and explore the jail without intentionally trying to awaken any of the spirits purported to reside there. Day tours are offered Monday through Friday with no reservations required at 10, 11, 1:30 and 3. On select weekends, they also do a night Lantern Tour which does require reservations. Once the Lantern tour date has been set, they will post the event on Gothic Jail After Dark’s Facebook page and then open up reservations. 

The Gothic Hanging Jail is a haunted attraction hosted by the Beauregard Tourist Commission Office. It was originally built in 1914 and was added to the National Historic Register in 1981. It has beautiful architecture designed in the Gothic Revival style (also known as Gothic Collegiate) and was considered very extravagant for the time period. It resembles a mansion more than a prison; no wonder the jailer lived in it!

A front a front facing view of the historic Gothic Revival style jail in Deridder.
credit: Bearegard Tourist Commission

There are some very interesting tidbits of history behind both the construction of the building and the building itself. Speaking of history, you can learn all about how the jail had “hanging” added to its name through the story of the two prisoners who were hanged in the spiral staircase back in 1928 (and whose spirits are said to remain to this day). 

With hanging, murder, and suicide stories in its past, is it any wonder that it’s a hotspot for paranormal activity? It’s been both featured on and written about by the Travel Channel. It’s aired on Discovery+. It appears in Haunted Nation’s blog. It was the setting used in the 2019 horror movie Eli. Country artist and  Deridder native Clay Alston has a song about it called The Hanging Jail. With all of the hype about it, that should be more than enough to make even those who are timid curious enough to schedule a trip to check out everything they have to offer at Deridder’s Gothic Hanging Jail.

What Will We Do for Fun?

By Kimberly Wallis

The front cover of the Louisiana Inspiration Guide features canoers on Lake Martin in Louisiana.

Vernon Parish was once part of a lawless neutral strip separating Spanish Texas from the United States after the Louisiana Purchase. This “No Man’s Land” boasts a proud history that runs the gamut with tales regaling the exploits of pirates, outlaws, bandits, heroes, and soldiers. Find stories, adventures, events, and games (such as geocaching) here.

Not to be outdone by mere mortals, our natural environment includes just as vast an array. Not including the myriad waterways, we have 5 notable bodies of water to satisfy any angler: Anacoco and Vernon lakes, the Sabine River, Toro Bayou, and the Toledo Bend Reservoir (the largest man-made lake in the Southern United States). We are also home to portions of the Kisatchie National Forest, which serves as a globally important bird area for an endangered species, the red-cockaded woodpecker. It offers fishing, hunting, both tent and RV camping, and trails for off highway vehicles, hiking, and horseback riding to the public.  

For the history buff, there is Leesville’s Museum of West LA or the Museum of the New Llano Colony.

Those with small children will definitely want to visit Leesville’s Splash Waterpark or Deridder’s Veteran’s Park Splash Pad  and West Park pool (the DeRidder website is under construction). Those of all ages can appreciate a combination of art, music, and nature surrounded by a walking path in Leesville’s Art Park. This park was adopted by a local non-profit, Gallery One Ellleven, which sponsors both contemporary and traditional art exhibits in historic downtown Leesville.

The Angola Arts and Craft Shows feature absolutely amazing handmade goods and the Angola Prison Rodeo is a show you won’t want to miss! Get tickets to these events here

Louisiana has 5 different recognized tribes of indigenous people. The pow wows can be fun and educational, not to mention that they are wonderful places to find jewelry or arts and crafts.Plan a trip using the powwow schedule

Up for a drive? There is no shortage of activities to enjoy as a family. By no means a complete list, here are some ideas to get you started on your journey in Louisiana! Alexandria has the YMCA, the TREE House Children’s Museum, and you can ride a train at the Alexandria Zoo. It’s twin city, Pineville, offers a Splash Pad and 18 hole disc golf at Kees Park. Feed the alligators at the 5-acre Natchitoches Alligator Park. Shreveport has the Sci-Port Discovery Center and an aquarium. Baton Rouge has two-in-one Dixie Landin’ Amusement Park and Blue Bayou Waterpark and the BREC Zoo has both a playground inside and train rides. Lafayette Science Museum has dinosaur exhibits and a planetarium. Lake Charles and it’s twin city, Sulphur, offers the safari style Creole Nature Trail All American RoadAdventure Point and SPAR waterpark. New Orleans has the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas and  the Audubon Zoo.  While you’re there, be sure to check out Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World, not to mention all the other fabulous things to do in New Orleans

Not surprising for a state whose largest tourism draw is celebrating a Tuesday, Louisiana has festivals for everything! You can find listings for these, as well as information on state parks and museums, or order your free travel and inspiration guide here

Even those who are from this area will be able to learn new things and find interesting places for road trips or weekend getaways that they had no idea existed with this website. Get off the beaten path and find those hidden gems or just broaden your knowledge about what Louisiana has to offer by reading articles or joining their email list.

Life is really what you make of it, and Louisiana has all the ingredients you need!