Baton Rouge was voted one of the top 10 cities in Gulfscapes Magazine’s “2011 Readers Choice Best Gulf Coast Towns” contest.

Gulfscapes’ readers voted for the Best Gulf Coast Town in an online contest. The magazine has released the overall winner and the Top Ten vote-getters. Of the Top Ten vote-getters, Baton Rouge is the only non-beach destination to make the list.

The 2011 voters’ choice best Gulf Coast towns are:

1. Pensacola, Fla.

2. Surfside, Texas

3. Orange Beach/Gulf Shores, Ala.

4. Rockport, Texas

5. Port Aransas, Texas

6. Destin, Fla.

7. Mexico Beach, Fla.

8. Naples, Fla.

9. Galveston, Texas

10. Baton Rouge

All 10 towns will be covered in Gulfscapes’ 10th anniversary issue, along with regional “hot spots” from each state.

Pirates at the IMAX

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is now playing at the Entergy IMAX? Theatre in New Orleans.

The new film has been digitally re-mastered into the image and sound quality of The IMAX 3D Experience?. With crystal-clear images, laser-aligned digital sound and maximized field of view, IMAX provides the world’s most immersive movie experience, a news release said.

The IMAX’s July schedule is:

10 a.m., Under the Sea 3D

11 a.m., Deep Sea 3D

Noon, Under the Sea 3D

1 p.m., Hurricane on the Bayou

2 p.m., Under the Sea 3D

3 p.m., Deep Sea 3D

4 p.m., Under the Sea 3D

5:15 p.m., Pirates of the Caribbean 4 in 3D

Entergy IMAX Theatre prices are $9.95, adults; $8.95, seniors; $6.95, children; and $5, Audubon Nature Institute members. Combination tickets are available to the next-door Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. Advanced tickets are recommended and can be purchased by visiting or at any Audubon Nature Institute attractions. Entergy IMAX Theatre is located at 1 Canal Street.

Fireworks on the road

In addition to area fireworks displays, there are other shows throughout the state that are just a road trip away, including:

•Fireworks on the Prairie, 9 p.m. Monday, July 4, Eunice Recreation Complex, 461 Sittig St., Eunice. Free. (337) 457-7389.

•Fireworks on the River, 6:30 p.m. Monday, July 4, Nall Park, 562 Front St., Krotz Springs. With the J.C. Melancon Band. Fireworks show, with patriotic music, starts at 9 p.m. Free. (3376) 566-2322.

•Celebration on the Cane, Monday, July 4, Natchitoches. The Glenn Rainey Band precedes the fireworks show. Free. (318) 357-3822.

•Red, White, Blue and You Festival, Monday, July 4, downtown Lake Charles. Parade, pie contest and music by the Lake Charles Community Band is followed by the fireworks. Free.

Trip to New Orleans

There are still spots available for the Foundation for Historical Louisiana and Lagniappe Tours trip to New Orleans July 13.

The group will visit the National World War II Museum, where they’ll see a live performance by the Victory Belles in the Stage Door Canteen, have a lunch buffet in the American Sector, view the exhibits, and watch Beyond All Boundaries.

The bus leaves from the Mall of Louisiana (Macy’s parking lot) at 9 a.m. and returns at 5 p.m.

Cost is $120 for FHL members and $130 for non-members.

Call (225) 387-2464.

Atchafalaya on Today

The Atchafalaya National Heritage Area was featured on the Today show June 29.

The segment, part of the series “America the Beautiful” and hosted by correspondent Jenna Bush Hagar, highlighted the 14-parish region in south-central Louisiana and home to the Atchafalaya Basin.

“The segment shows the extreme beauty of the heritage area and will attract people throughout the country to come experience the gorgeous landscape and kind people of the region,” Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne said. “This is great exposure for Louisiana and we look forward to folks coming down to pick their passion in Cajun Country.”

The segment showed everything from giant cypress and crawfishing to Cajun music and airboating. It also featured a few of the locals who showed Bush Hagar around and taught her about the Atchafalaya culture and people.

Roy Blanchard, a lifelong crawfisherman featured in the video, said, “Most of the Cajun people are happy and jolly, real friendly.”


Tourism summit in Aug.

Ways to enhance tourism resources and create new ones in rural areas in Louisiana and Mississippi will be featured at the 2011 Miss-Lou Regional Tourism Summit Aug. 9-11 at the Jason Lingo Center in Oak Grove.

The summit will feature ways to enhance current tourism resources and create new ones, said Dora Ann Hatch, agritourism coordinator for the LSU AgCenter and one of the summit coordinators.

The targeted region consists of 16 Louisiana parishes and 17 Mississippi counties located along the Mississippi River or near the states’ border.

The summit will focus on regionalism, Hatch said. Speakers will address how to cluster and brand a region using culinary, agricultural and nature-based assets. Tours will include visits to Poverty Point in Epps, the Cotton Museum in Lake Providence and the Lamb Weston sweet potato processing plant in Delhi.

The speaker who will set the tone for the entire summit, “Clustering and Branding as a Region,” is Holly Young Beaumier, director of the Florence Convention and Visitors Bureau in Florence, S.C.

Ben Erwin, CEO and co-founder of Macon Ridge Foods in Bastrop, will emphasize taking advantage of regional agriculture to develop a value-added product.

Susan Roach, coordinator of technical writing at Louisiana Tech University, and Judith Bingham, director of the Delta Music Museum in Ferriday, will serve on a panel on historical and cultural tourism as a regional strategy.

The conference begins at 4 p.m.

Registration forms are available at Registration is $110 before July 15. Checks may be sent to the Miss-Lou Tourism Association, P.O. Box 2180, Natchez, MS 39121.

For more information, call Dora Ann Hatch at (318) 927-9654, ext. 229, or email

The LSU Ag Center, the Baton Rouge Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Foundation for Historical Louisiana and the Louisiana Office of Tourism provided information for this column. Louisiana Travels is a weekly column about travel destinations and events in Louisiana. Email items for Louisiana Travels to or or mail to Judy Bergeron, News Features assistant editor, The Advocate, 7290 Bluebonnet Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70810.