Baton Rouge is a finalist in multiple categories in AAA Southern Traveler Magazine’s Best of the South survey.

The magazine’s May/June issue includes the ballot for voting for the Best of the South. The Baton Rouge area is listed as a finalist under the following questions:

  • 1. What is the best place for a Southern weekend getaway in a large city?
  • 6c. What is the best day tour from New Orleans, La.?
  • 9. What is the best SEC stadium?
  • 11. What is the best casino?

To vote, go online to Voting will end Friday, May 17. The final results will be featured in July/August issue.

May day in N.O.

May Day The Nola Way, a special presentation of the Creative Alliance of New Orleans’s Art Home New Orleans, will start at 3 p.m. Wednesday, May 1.

The event will feature galleries of the St. Claude Arts District, private artist studios of the Lower 9th Ward, and the Art House on the Levee. It will begin with special openings of Good Children, Antenna Gallery, May Gallery and The Front 3 p.m.-6 p.m. Following the gallery experience, the open tour will take place in the Holy Cross neighborhood. Locations open to attendees will include the studios of Rashida Ferdinand and Bruce Davenport Jr., and L9 Center for the Arts 4 p.m.-7 p.m. The evening will close with a party at the Art House on the Levee beginning at 6 p.m., and will include cocktails, music, and the traditional raising of the Maypole.

Tickets in advance are $20 and can be ordered at

Tickets sold the day of the event can be purchased for $25 online, or at one of two on-site locations, Good Children, 4037 St. Claude Ave., and Art House on the Levee, 4725 Dauphine St.

Those attendees who purchase their tickets online are asked to bring a receipt of purchase to one of these two locations so that they might receive their Art Home wristband. Only those with wristbands will be admitted. Transportation will not be provided by Art Home. All galleries are located along St. Claude Avenue. All Holy Cross locations are within walking distance of one another and will be clearly marked. Additionally, with wristbands attendees will receive tour map outlining the tour locations. There will be ample street parking for attendees.

For more information, call (504) 218-4807 or email

Audubon cuts hours

Audubon State Historic Site near St. Francisville is now open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Hourly tours and interpretive programs will continue to be offered during the site’s operating hours.

Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, Audubon State Historic Site features Oakley House, a more than 200-year-old house which served as home and inspiration to John James Audubon in the 1800s. The site includes a museum, picnic areas, historic buildings, a pavilion and a nature trail.

Adult admission is $4 and includes a video history presentation, plantation house tour and special programs. Admission is free for children (12 and younger) and senior citizens (62 and older). The site is 30 minutes north of Baton Rouge near St. Francisville on La. 965.

For more information, visit or call (888) 677-2838 or (225) 635-3739.

Roses and painting

Otis House Museum near Madisonville will host a day of rose gardening and porcelain painting 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, May 4.

These activities, which were very popular in the Victorian Era, and are still enjoyed today by many. At 10 a.m., Peggy Martin, vice-president of the New Orleans Old Garden Rose Society, will present a slide show and lecture on old garden roses with a focus on a special “found rose” amid the Hurricane Katrina devastation. Following the talk, there will be porcelain painting demonstrations by the St. Tammany Porcelain Art Club. Hand-painted porcelain items and old garden roses will be available for purchase.

Otis House Museum is located inside Fairview-Riverside State Park, one mile east of Madisonville on La. 22. The program is free with park admission of $1 per person ages 4-61; seniors ages 62-plus or children younger than 3 are admitted free of charge. The site includes camping, a day-use picnic area on the banks of the Tchefuncte River, and Otis House Museum. For more information, call (985) 792-4652 or (888) 677-3247.

Bayou Segnette upgrades

Crews at Bayou Segnette State Park in Westwego are constructing an entrance station, renovating a campground comfort station and day-use restrooms and adding restrooms at the boat launch and wave pool. A new group camp with a dorm-style sleeping facility and meeting room is also under construction and is anticipated to be complete by fall 2014. The improvement projects total nearly $3 million.

A plan for two-bedroom floating cabins at the park is awaiting a contract amendment on the construction drawings and new Army Corps of Engineer permits. These cabins will be on polystyrene platforms and will sleep up to eight people.

The park is located on U.S. 90 Business (Westbank Expressway) next to the Alario Center in Westwego, about 20 minutes from downtown New Orleans. Admission to the park for day use is $1 per person; free for guests 62 and older or children 3 and younger. The park features camping, fishing, canoeing, picnicking, a boat launch and a wave pool. For more information, visit or call (888) 677-2296 or (504) 736-7140.

ConventionSouth, AAA Southern Traveler, Visit Baton Rouge, and the Office of State Parks provided items for this column. Louisiana Travels is a biweekly 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.