|Here's where to wash off the summer doldrums|
Though the sandy Gulf Coast beaches are just a few hours away, we can all feel a little landlocked in Baton Rouge. But there are a few options to keep cool in the Louisiana heat.
Paddle on City Park Lake
Chris Murray of Ocean Water Beach Rentals set up his rental business on the edge of the lake along May Street over St. Patrick's Day weekend. Since then, he's been operating noon to sunset, Friday-Sunday, every weekend. He charges by the half-hour ($10 for two-person pedal boats, boards and kayaks, $20 for four-person pedal boats). They are pet-friendly and encourage people to bring snacks or a lunch onboard.
Splash at Liberty Lagoon
BREC's water park, next to the Independence Park fields, finishes its regular season Aug. 5. After that, the water park is open weekends until Sept. 3. Bring the kids and enjoy the lazy river, slides and a water playground. Adult tickets are $10, children are $8, and those 2 or younger get in for free. libertylagoon.com
Jump in a fountain
Attending a spring or summer event downtown these days requires bringing a change of clothes for the kids. The fountains in front of the Shaw Center downtown have been a favorite of children (and sometimes their parents) for quite a while. Now that the North Boulevard Town Square is open, you've got another reason to “accidentally” get wet. Best of all, it's free.
Grab a fishing pole and head to University Lake, where you can fish off the pier or the sandy beach. Blackwater Conservation Area in Central also offers two fishing lakes and a one-mile walking trail. The fishing pond at Perkins Road Community Park was stocked with rainbow trout in December 2010. For a full list of parks where fishing is allowed, go to brec.org.
Featuring more than a dozen massive water slides, racer slides, theme park rides and a popular wave pool, Blue Bayou Water Park at Dixie Landin' offers water fun and food for children of all ages. Prices on day passes vary from free admission for those under 35 inches in height, to $36.99 for those taller than 48 inches. bluebayou.com
The Amite River in Denham Springs or the Bogue Chitto River in Franklinton or Bogalusa are your nearest options for tubing. Get a crew of friends together, pack sunscreen and an ice chest (some tours rent tubes specifically to hold ice chests) and pass a few hours floating down the river. If you're bringing the family and want to avoid the throngs of drunken college students, a two-hour drive to McComb, Miss., links you up with Ryals Canoe and Tube Rental and a section of the Bogue Chitto that flows through a dry county.
Navigate the swamps
If you've got your own kayak or canoe, the Sherburne Wildlife Management Area in the Atchafalaya Basin has several access points and is home to some of the oldest cypress trees in the swamp. Cross the Basin bridge and head south from Henderson to Lake Fausse Pointe, a gem of a state park that rents out kayaks and canoes for its miles of well-marked paddling trails. You can stay overnight in waterfront cabins or rough it at campsites only accessible by water. Bring mosquito repellent. fws.gov/atchafalaya
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Bad Guys, Good Eats! Pop-Up Dinner at Restaurant IPO
Chef and 225 contributor Jay D. Ducote and Chef Chris Wadsworth hosted the Bad Guys, Good Eats! dinner at Restaurant IPO Wednesday night. The dinner was themed around famous movie villains, pairing cocktails and ales with plates of food resembling famous baddies like The Joker, Lord Voldemort, Hannibal Lector, and many others. The highlights of the night were the three middle courses—a black bean soup laced with blood sausage to signify Lord Voldemort, a brace of coneys on black eyed peas resembling Sauron, and lamb medallions atop a fava bean puree to pay homage to the famous favorite of Hannibal Lector.
Elizabeth Arkley Hammett, a local nursing student and Fur Ball co-coordinator, and her husband Grey Hammett III, who works in commercial real estate, will take you through our summer guide. And they'll look good while doing it, too. Where noted, their clothes and accessories are available from local retailers.
These swimsuits will keep you stylish all summer long
Better Block BR
On Saturday the two blocks between Bedford and Beverly drives on April 13, 2013, residents will get to see a model of what Government Street could look like if we push local and state officials to update the roadway to a safer, more "complete street" model.