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A compendium of what's hot and what's not in Louisiana


Bounce for the Gold
Lafayette is jumping these days with trampolinists. Savannah Vinsant, 18, of Lafayette, is ranked No. 1 in trampoline competition in the United States. She and 17-year-old Hunter Brewster both have hopes of making the U.S. Olympic Team for the summer games in London. Chris Estrada was a competitor in the sport in the 2008 Olympics and now teaches gymnastics at the same gym where Brewster and Vinsant train under their coach, Dmitri Poliaroush of Russia, another former Olympian. Lafayette has a history of trampoline champions, back to 1970s-era University of Louisiana-Lafayette coach, Jeff Hennessy, also former coach of the U.S. Trampoline Team, the Lafayette Advertiser reported.


Wake-Up Call
An increase in breakfast participation for the month of March compared with 25 other districts has earned the Washington Parish School System a win in the Southeast Dairy Association and NFL Play 60’s Fuel Up for Breakfast program.  The school system’s prizes include $5,000 worth of “dairy makeover” equipment for schools, including dairy coolers and smoothie-makers. Eight Saints game tickets and team souvenirs will be prizes for drawings by participating students, according to the Bogalusa Daily News.


Kees to Summer Fun
Kees Park in Pineville has added a new rock-climbing wall for children. In addition, new padding and drainage has been placed under the existing playground equipment, and PVC piping borders the areas where the rock wall and swing sets are located. Over the past few months, the city of Pineville has been doing work around the park to improve buildings and drainage, reported the Alexandria Town Talk.


How’s Bayou?
Visit www.explorelouisiananorth.org to download newly published brochures in the “Northeast Louisiana: Outdoor Series” of the LSU AgCenter. The Bastrop Daily Enterprise noted that the Bayou Bartholomew Paddling Trail brochure and guides for the Tensas River and Bayou Macon were funded with a grant from the Walton Family Foundation. There is also a new Facebook page, “Wanna Go Paddle – Northeast Louisiana.”


True Blue(s)
Houma’s Tab Benoit won three awards at the Blues Foundation Blues Music Awards held in Memphis, Tenn. Benoit swept the awards for the blues music genre and was named The BB King Entertainer of the Year, the Houma Daily Courier reported. Since the release of his award-winning Medicine album, Benoit has taken home a total of seven awards.


The Zachary Plainsman News reported that Rhett Pipsair of Pierre Part was pulling a work barge across Grassy Lake when the barge hit an underwater obstruction. It turned out to be a “sinker” cypress log, lost generations ago during the heyday of cypress lumbering. A 100-ton crane was used to lift it from the river and onto a lowboy trailer. The 22-foot-long piece of a giant cypress tree was 54 inches in diameter at one end and more than 4 feet at the other.


Slithering Home
Steer clear of some new residents of Kisatchie National Forest in Central Louisiana. Biologists hope that several re-introduced rare (non-venomous) pine snakes will find comfy gopher holes and help re-establish a dwindling species of constrictors, according to the Alexandria Town Talk. Three male Louisiana pine snakes, with implanted microchips, are siblings of seven released last summer. Another 20 were released earlier.


“Summers were magical times for children … I don’t think we were aware of the temperature as people are now … It didn’t matter how hot it was, outside was the place to be. We could find a place in the shade and build a playhouse, or just sit and talk and giggle.”
 –“Between Friends,” Bob Ann Breland, Bogalusa Daily News

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