At Baker Range, Inc. cups of freshly brewed coffee accompany rented firearms and shooting lessons. Former Airborne Infantry Lieutenant of the 82nd Airborne Division and longtime lawman Gordon Hutchinson leads private lessons, where he dispenses tips on technique and safety. Instructor Shael Stringer heads up the range's security-training department. Required by the Louisiana State Board of Private Security Examiners, his training classes have steadied the hands or prehensile feet of thousands of security guards.
New Venture Theatre throws abundant energy and breathless song-and-dance numbers into its production of Once on This Island, a Caribbean adaptation of The Little Mermaid that garnered eight Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical and Best Score, during its Broadway run. Fueled by soulful, rhythmic musicality, the kaleidoscopic performance spotlights long-distance lovers as they fight to overcome unequal social ranks, dissimilar backgrounds, and opposite views of the Sopranos finale. Vengeful island deities add fantastical flair to the story, which weaves universal themes such as prejudice, hatred, and death into its plot.
The hands-on, participatory Children’s Museum of Acadiana entertains children aged 2 to 12 while boosting a their understanding of art, human development, and cultural awareness. The Bubble Factory exhibit engulfs children in a life-sized bubble while they concoct massive bubbles of their own. Stuffee teaches future surgeons the proper placement and usage of internal organs without the use of tiny tweezers and an electric buzzer. Children stage their own TV newscast at the Le TV des Enfants exhibit, where they learn the ins and outs of being a camera operator, meteorologist, or a newscaster.
Shadows-on-the-Teche's curators share the legacy of the iconic structures and inhabitants of an antebellum 19th-century sugar cane plantation that helped shape the surrounding region. Trained guides draw upon more than 17,000 documents, photographs, and talking parrots to paint fascinating pictures of the enduring structure. A brilliantly recreated picket fence stands as a small-scale preview to the towering columns that brace a structure packed with a variety of artifacts, many of which are original to the home. The plantation is a National Trust Historic Site, and the tour contains extensive information on the Weeks family, the home's influential original owners.
The Gang of Outlaws tour stirs up a sizzling brew of platinum-selling superstars, mixing the full-steam-ahead blues of ZZ Top, the driving alt-rock of 3 Doors Down, and the brawny country music of Gretchen Wilson. Legendary Texas trio and Rock and Roll Hall of Famers ZZ Top have scratched the boogying itch of fans for more than 40 years with their slippery lyrics and blues-seared, buzzsawing riffs. Unlike estranged trios such as Charlie's Angels, the impenetrable force of ZZ Top is still composed of the same rigid core of rock ‘n’ roll mercenaries: Les Paul–wielding guitarist Billy Gibbons, bassist Dusty Hill, and drummer Frank Beard, the historically beardless one. ZZ Top's adroit musical powers and Santa-shaming facial hair have made them a household name. With a new album in the works and an Eliminator full of rocket fuel, ZZ Top's live show throbs thumping energy while classic-rock staples such as "Legs" and "Tush" rile up audiences. Fellow outlaws 3 Doors Down flood the outdoors with hits such as “Kryptonite,” and Grammy-winning chanteuse Gretchen Wilson gets rowdy with hits such as “Redneck Woman” and “All Jacked Up.”
The Louisiana Marathon’s inaugural race runners will traverse 26.2 miles of flat Baton Rouge terrain through an aural zephyr of live local music and the cheering of spectators during the press-praised fitness fest. When the gun goes off at 7 a.m., asphalt-slapping feet carry racers pattering past the lakes and river, sprinting through downtown, tunneling under the crayfish forest, and winding through historic neighborhoods in a race that's certified as a Boston Marathon qualifier. Each leg-lifter gets a sea of swag that includes a finisher's medal, access to the Finish Line Festival, and digital photo proof of the runner crossing the finish line. A UHF timing tag dutifully tracks dashers' times, and personalized, name-encrusted bibs protect participants eating buttered lobster as they run. The event has a multi-race format that also includes a half-marathon, 2- and 4-person relays, a 5K, and a kids' marathon in which grownups sitting in front threaten to turn this race around if runners don't settle down and stop antagonizing their younger siblings. Register online by August 31, 2011.