9 Incredible Experiences To Have In Louisiana Before You Die!

Credit: NewOrleansOnline.com

I’ve sort of become a Louisiana travel writing pro.  I didn’t start out that way, but after writing a few articles for Matador Network, I discovered they were desperate for content on my home state.  Then those few articles turned into commissioned articles from Louisiana Travel and Tourism and I was Matador’s go-to guy.  So here is my latest and I have to admit I haven’t done a lot of the things on this list, but now I want to.  Well, maybe not spend the night in the haunted plantation home.  🙂  Enjoy my latest article… “9 Incredible Experiences To Have in Louisiana Before You Die!”

Visit “Jurassic World.” Yes, You Really Can!

Universal Pictures Jurassic World opened this weekend to massive box office success.  The film grossed the second highest US box office opening ever with $204.6 million.  The dino pic also earned the title of biggest global box office opening ever with a take of $511.8 million.  While “Jurassic World” is a not a real place and you can’t visit, you can travel to the beautiful sites where the movie was filmed, and best of all, you don’t have to leave the US.

The main location used is Kualoa Ranch on the island of Oahu.  Kualoa Ranch now offers its own movie studio tour taking you to all of the stunningly gorgeous locations used in the film.  The original “Jurassic Park” also shot here.  Check out Kualoa Ranch’s video tour above.

Some of the exhibit scenes from “Jurassic World” were shot at Honolulu Zoo, right across the street from beautiful Waikiki Beach on Oahu.  One of the majestic waterfalls featured is Manoa Falls, also on Oahu.

Photo: Jurassic Kahili Ranch

Photo: Jurassic Kahili Ranch

But not all of the tropical scenes were shot on Oahu.  The island of Kauai was also featured in “Jurassic World.”  Jurassic Kahili Ranch is home to some of the wide open vistas used in the film.  Manawaiopuna Falls in Hanapepe Valley was another waterfall featured in the film, as was Blue Hole. These locations were also featured in the original “Jurassic Park.”

jurassicworld

One of the coolest places in “Jurassic World” is the “Jurassic World” Theme Park.  The theme park does exist, but it’s not in Hawaii.  It’s in New Orleans.  Yes, you read that right.  The theme park locations were shot at Six Flags New Orleans which was severely damaged after Hurricane Katrina and never re-opened.  The former Six Flags was used in a few movies, but none quite as prominently as “Jurassic World.”  Check out this Wired.Com story on “Jurassic World” shooting in New Orleans.

And as a final note, if you haven’t yet seen “Jurassic World,” run, don’t walk to the theater.  The film is a great summer flick.

 

 

 

 

20 Signs Louisiana Is The Most Underrated State In The US

Originally published by MatadorNetwork.com on April 13, 2015.


Photo: Katie Harbath flickr/KatieHarbath

Photo: Katie Harbath
flickr/KatieHarbath

1. Two words: Open container.

2. We’re too cool for counties. We do parishes.

3. We gave you Mardi Gras.

4. And Reese Witherspoon, Jared Leto, Ellen DeGeneres, Jared Leto, Tyler Perry, Jared Leto, Harry Connick, Jr., and did we mention JARED LETO?

5. And jazz! And Satchmo! If you even have to ask…

6. We are the Festival Capital of America with 400 festivals every year. Happy Contraband Days Pirate Festival, ya’ll.

7. We also have the Crawfish Capital of the World in Breaux Bridge — that means we’re the best at sucking heads and pinching tails. Continue reading

It’s Crawfish Season in Louisiana, Ya’ll!

Yes, this is what crawfish look like before they hit the pot. And it’s CRAW-fish, not CRAY-fish. That’s my niece in the background, by the way.  She’s 8.

Each Spring, Louisianians eat these seasoned critters like there’s no tomorrow.  Crawfish are caught fresh from the Gulf of Mexico and for many, it’s a weekend tradition. I traveled home to Louisiana last weekend for the family crawfish boil.  It was our pre-Easter celebration since we all won’t be together.  We had so much fun last year that we did it again.

Having a crawfish boil is more than just eating these “tiny lobsters.” It’s about coming together with family and friends, cracking open a beer and waiting for the crawdads to come out of the pot. The crawfish are not alone though. Baby potatoes, onions, garlic, ears of corn and sausage boil in the pot with them, soaking up the special Zatarain’s seasonings (that’s a blend of New Orleans spices from the Zatarain’s company).

The crawfish only boil for about 15 minutes or so, but they soak about 20-25 minutes.  Soaking allows them to soak up the spices.  Then pull them from the pot, pinch the tails and suck the heads. Although I prefer to pop open the claws and suck them instead. That doesn’t seem as gross as sucking the head.  Whatever the case, crawfish boils are a Louisiana tradition and when you come to Bayou Country in springtime, this is one tradition that should not be missed.

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10 Signs You Grew Up Drinking In Louisiana

Originally published on MatadorNetwork.com, March 24, 2015.


1. Flashing your naughty bits in a bar is a completely normal thing to do for a free round.

This is probably one of those “Only in New Orleans” things. And while flashing the goods God gave you is not legal, it is tolerated and sometimes expected in the bars along Bourbon Street. The good news is you may get a free drink, some plastic beads, and one heck of a story to take home.

2. You drive around looking for a drive-thru daiquiri shop.

Only in Louisiana can you drive up to your favorite daiquiri shop, place your order, and drive off with the frozen alcoholic beverage of your choice. Keep the lid on though because Louisiana law states that as long as a straw does not penetrate the cup, your container is not considered “open.”

3. You ask the bartender for a “go cup.”

This only applies in New Orleans. At any bar, you can ask for a “go cup,” pour your alcoholic beverage in it, and “go” out onto the streets of the Big Easy. You don’t even have to ask in some bars. The plastic “go cups” are stacked up. Help yourself

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10 of the Funniest Expressions in Louisiana (and how to use them)

I am proud to share my first published piece, as published by Matador Network on March 20, 2015.  Be sure to check out Matador Network’s FACEBOOK page for more great travel stories.  Follow them on TWITTER too.


1. Louisianians don’t ask “How are you?”… they say “How’s ya’ momma an em?”

A true Louisianian will run it all together: Howsyamommaanem? The phrase sort of sounds like “homonym.”

What we’re asking is, “How is your mother and them?” The “them” is your family, but your momma’s the most important.

2. Louisianians don’t “take a nap”… they “go do-do.”

The “do” sounds like “doh” as in Play-Doh.

Mother to her cranky baby: “Go do-do.”

3. Louisianians don’t “cheer”… they yell “who dat?!”

Continue reading