Competitors in the Southwest Division of the NBA’s Western Conference, the New Orleans Hornets have regaled the Big Easy’s hoops fans since migrating from Charlotte in 2002. Egged on by the vespine mascot Hugo, swarms of 17,000 fans swathed in light blue surround the court inside New Orleans Arena, where a center-hung LED board displays live-action video and instant replays of referees' most spectacular cross-court jogs.
Inside the iconic Louisiana Superdome, which has hosted six Super Bowls, the Tulane Green Wave footballers will take on the Army Black Knights for homecoming. From the sideline or the end zone, you will get inspiring views of the playing field as the Green Wave attempts to match last year's spectacular 17–16 win against the Army, which came late in the game and made the team's pelican mascot squawk with glee. The stadium features large video displays to give guests a second angle on the action and simulate the feeling of sitting in an enormous sports bar, and every level has concession stands to keep fans from running out of energy and withering into fan-raisins.
Big Easy Rollergirls is an all-girl, flat-track roller derby league, showcasing wheeled warrior-women competing in the intense full-contact and self-propelled sport of roller derby. The July 24 doubleheader sees hometown heroines the Crescent Wenches battle the Chattanooga Roller Girls at 6 p.m., followed by the Big Easy All Stars taking on the Oklahoma Victory Dolls at 7 p.m. Those unfamiliar with the rough-and-tough skating competition should be able to grasp the roller derby rules after a few minutes—keep an eye on the star-helmeted player for each five-player team as she muscles her way through a pack of other players to earn points. Other entertainment at the event includes the "Pussy Footers" cheerleaders, live music between the matches, and roller skaters dressed as the late philosopher Elvis Presley.
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.
Love Swimming's team of talented teachers turns landlubbers into merpersons with their 30-minute swimming lessons for students of all ages and skill levels. In Water Babies classes, designed for children between 6 months and 3 years of age, parents dive in along with their children to help them develop motor skills, confidence, and nascent sitcom plots. Beginners can sign up for the level 1 and 2 classes, which impart water-safety basics such as floating and introductory swim strokes, and experienced water treaders can opt for level 3 and 4 sessions, which introduce the butterfly, back, breast, and freestyle strokes. During the even more advanced Stroke School class, Love Swimming's water whisperers bridge the gap between casual and competitive swimming with drill-based instruction. All classes are held in one of the facilities' warm and inviting saltwater pools, and feature an intimate five-to-two student-teacher ratio, ensuring everyone gets plenty of advice, personal instruction, and turns to host underwater tea parties.
Sure, it might be simple to win a local HORSE tournament, but it takes a little more skill to make it to the big leagues. Fortunately, the team of coaches at Elevate NEXT usher aspiring b-ballers to new heights with summer camps and ? la carte training sessions. The crew includes Marcus White?who briefly claimed the rebounding record on the Lakers D-League team before getting sidelined by an injury?alongside Sky Hyacinthe and Ben Aronin.