State of Louisiana: Pelican Briefs

Noteworthy news and happenings around the state

Gator Therapy

Work is nearing completion for a new $664,000 Gator Chateau at the Louisiana Oil and Gas Park just of I-10 (100 Rue de l’ Acadie, Jennings), set to open for visitors this spring. Crews hope to have the 500,000 square-foot structure fully enclosed by July. Visitors can hold and pet 12 rescued baby gators (with a handler). Free. Reservations required: 337-821-5521. Holding a gator can be therapeutic, according to a 65-year-old man who says that he uses his registered emotional support animal, a five-foot alligator, to battle depression, after receiving a doctor’s approval. Rescued as a baby, the gator likes to snuggle and play in his plastic pool.


Tiny Town Rabbits

Rabbit breeders and bunny lovers alike enjoy amazing rabbit shows staged by the Tiny Town Rabbit Club (usually more than 400 entries) during the annual Iowa Rabbit Festival, held March 14-16 at Burton Coliseum Complex. To encourage youth participation, a 4-H show has been added. The one-of-a-kind festival has also added a bandstand, and offers abundant rabbit dishes including gumbo, the crowning of Miss Bunny, live music and marching bands (


Discounted Jazz Fest Tickets

New in 2019, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of New Orleans Jazz Fest, producers have added Thursday, April 25 to the first weekend, dubbed “Locals Thursday,” allowing anyone with a valid Louisiana ID to purchase up to two discounted tickets at the gate on Thursday for just $50 each ( Earth, Wind & Fire, Alanis Morissette, Taj Mahal and The Doobie Brothers are among the Thursday headliners.


Higher Profits

The Lafayette-based IberiaBank Corp., the largest bank headquartered in Louisiana, announced that it has exceeded analyst expectations after posting a higher profit ($129.1 million or $2.32 per share) in the 4th quarter, up from the same period last year. Core earnings saw an increase of 40 percent from a year ago. The earnings met the company’s 2020 financial metrics for the 3rd straight quarter.


Get a Business Degree Online

UL Lafayette is launching an online business management bachelor’s degree this fall. Students will complete 120-122 credit hours on either a part-time or full-time basis and will follow the same curriculum as students enrolled in the traditional program. Online students may interact with faculty members via telephone, email, discussion forums or audio and video conferences. To apply:


New Food Fest

Taunt Na Na’s Flea Market (125 W. Main) is holding its spring trade days and a new Bayou Teche Food Festival featuring a variety of iconic dishes from local food vendors in New Iberia’s Bouligny Plaza March 30. Artisan demonstrations, antiques, garage sale items and hand-crafted treasures await discovery (;

Record Jobs Predicted

According to Loren C. Scott, Professor Emeritus in Economics, and other economists, Louisiana has recovered from its 28-month recession and is expected to surpass 2,000,000 jobs on an annual basis for the first time in its history in 2019.


New Art Event

The Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge and Forum 35 are partnering to create a new interactive art event, Art Flow, which is serving as the anchor event for an expanded annual Ebb & Flow Festival season that promotes various films, music festivals, art, interactive media and conferences in March and April in downtown Baton Rouge. Vote for your favorite art installations March 15-April 5 during Art Flow’s juried art exhibition of temporary 2-D and 3-D art at participating venues downtown. Winners of the public and juried prizes will be announced at the free outdoor Ebb & Flow Festival held April 6-7; art displays continue through the Baton Rouge Blues Festival April 13-14 (;