Clouds of fog roll through darkened halls, concealing mercenaries tracking their target’s movement. Before their trap can be sprung, the unthinkable happens: their vests begin to vibrate as a giggling child yells, "Got you!"Laser Tag of Baton Rouge's family-friendly laser-tag sessions thrust players aged 7 and older into similar faux combat, peppered with flashing lights and thumping music. Players race through a 7,500-square-foot multilevel arena brandishing Gen 6 laser-tag weapons that dole out precise shots and automated score updates. Special scenarios challenge players to work cooperatively toward a shared goal; for instance, in the Fugitive mission, one or two targets must escape a group intent on their capture.
Between bouts inside the arena, players can test their gaming skills at the center's arcade, which is filled with contemporary and classic machines. Each game is outfitted with the Power Play system, a swipe-card-and-sensor combo that tracks remaining game credits, relieving players from the hassle of endlessly fishing for quarters. The arcade also leads to an observation deck that looks onto the laser-tag arena, giving spectators a giant's-eye view of the combat below.
The volunteers at Deutsches Haus have worked since 1928 to celebrate German culture and introduce locals to the country’s music, food, language, and history. The chirp of accordions and the crackle of bratwurst on a grill hint at events, including Oktoberfest and Volksfest festivals. Beers from German breweries such as Paulaner and Warsteiner run in straw-hued rivulets from mugs, and vendors dressed in dirndls and lederhosen sell traditional steins. During weekly meetings of the Schlaraffia, a jovial, international fraternity, guests belt out literary and humorous compositions to entertain one another or try to teach robots to laughs.
Situated amid the willows, stone bridges, and mirror-calm waters of Louis Armstrong Park stands the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts. Named after a history-making gospel singer and civil-rights activist, the three-tiered auditorium was built in 1973 and hosted concerts, comedians, and other entertainment straight through 2005, when it was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina, a known enemy of the arts. In 2009, the theater reopened thanks to the dedicated work of Mayor Ray Nagin, the New Orleans City Council, and hundreds of workers and artists.
Every week, New Orleans's longest-running improv comedy troupe, Brown Improv Comedy, crafts one-of-a-kind hilarity based on the suggestions of theatergoers and bar patrons. The group runs with the suggested topic, creating skits and interactive games to tickle guffaws out of the audience. Having just celebrated their 18th year of performing, the team is well versed in turning out the funny and has outgrown the angst-ridden eye rolls of their 16th and 17th years of performing.
• For $30, you get an upper rear seat in sections 319, 329, or 314 (a $47.50 value before fees, or up to a $59.30 value online, including all Ticketmaster fees). • For $51, you get an upper sideline seat in sections 313–316, 303, or 332 (an $87.50 value before fees, or up to a $101.70 value online, including all Ticketmaster fees). • For $84, you get a far lower end zone seat in section 104 or 109 (a $147.50 value before fees, or up to a $168.20 value online, including all Ticketmaster fees).
At Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, home to horse racing since 1872, visitors wager on an extensive calendar of live races, or year-round simulcasts of other Louisiana tracks. Guidance from the program and tip sheet steer bets toward horses with impressive histories or names such as "Guaranteed Winner." Grandstand entry is free to all comers, letting customers sit outdoors beneath the warm sun and measure equine speed in relation to sips of beer ($3–$5) and bites of hot dogs ($4) from track concession stands. Alternatively, visitors can retire to the upscale clubhouse for more gourmet fare (most meals are around $9.95) while minding the strictly enforced dress code, which prohibits shorts, T-shirts, sandals, and evening gowns made out of Seabiscuit movie posters. Though not included with today’s Groupon, more than 600 new slot machines, ranging from penny slots to $1-per-game machines, entertain visitors while the thoroughbreds gear up for their next gallop.