Travel Treasures
May/Jun 2009 Issue

New Orleans Jazz Fest marks 40 years of music

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival celebrates its 40th anniversary this spring, and some of the biggest names in the music business will be in the city to mark the occasion in style. Headlining the festival is rock legend Neil Young, who will make his first-ever appearance at the Jazz Fest on May 3.

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, presented by Shell, is scheduled for April 24–26 and April 30–May 3 at the Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans. Joining Neil Young and his band over the course of the festival will be the likes of Wynton Marsalis, Bon Jovi, Dave Matthews Band, James Taylor, Tony Bennett, the Neville Brothers, Bonnie Raitt, Allen Toussaint, Dr. John and hundreds of others.

Also appearing is New Orleans’ own Imagination Movers on Saturday, April 25. The Imagination Movers have their own show on Disney and are a favorite among kids. For an updated festival lineup, visit

In addition to music, the diverse works of more than 300 acclaimed artisans will be on display in several distinct venues, including Congo Square where the art and music of Africa will be featured. In the Louisiana Marketplace, the state’s finest traditional and contemporary artists will exhibit and sell an array of handmade creations.

Culture also takes center stage. In the Louisiana Folklife Village, woodcarvers will create lifelike waterfowl and craftsmen will meticulously make musical instruments by hand. And the Native American Village will feature traditional drumming, singing, dancing and indigenous crafts.

Tickets are available at and, at all Ticketmaster outlets or by calling (800) 745-3000. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Jazz Fest ticket office located at the Louisiana Superdome Box Office (Gate A, Ground Level) or the New Orleans Arena Box Office. All Jazz Fest tickets are subject to additional service fees and handling charges. •

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation, Inc. is the nonprofit organization that owns the festival and uses the proceeds from it for year-round activities in the areas of education, economic development and cultural programming. The foundation helps fund radio station WWOZ 90.7-FM, the Don “Moose” Jamison Heritage School of Music, the Tom Dent Congo Square Lecture Series, the Jazz Journey concert series and more. The foundation also produces community events such as the Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival and the Congo Square Rhythms Festival. For more information, call the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation at (504) 558-6100 or visit

Thousands of music fans will attend the festival over two weekends in New Orleans. Douglas Mason photo


Visitors can again tour the bowels of Bull Shoals Dam

Bull Shoals Dam in northern Arkansas holds back the 45,440-acre Bull Shoals Lake, and visitors can once again get inside the mammoth structure to see how it performs such a monumental task.

The tours, which were halted following the terrorist attacks of 9/11, are being offered again through Bull Shoals-White River State Park in Lakeview. The tours give an up-close look at the inner workings of the structure, which is the fifth-largest concrete dam in the nation at 2,256 feet in length.

In fact, it took more than 2.1 million cubic yards of concrete to construct the dam, which is the amount that it would take to make a road six inches thick and 20 feet wide from northern Arkansas to Orlando, Fla.

Completed in 1951, the dam helps control flood risk in the region. However, hydroelectric power generation is an added benefit as is the cold-water habitat it created below the dam. The White River is one of the premiere trout fishing streams in the United States.

On the tours, visitors see the powerhouse with its eight massive generators that can produce 390 million watts of electricity, which is enough to supply the needs of a city the size of Orlando.

Located above and below the dam, the state park stretches along the riverside and lakeshore. It features 103 campsites along or near the river, as well as picnic areas, pavilions, playgrounds and trails. A marina offers boat rentals, and the James A. Gaston Visitor Center features a theater, an array of artifacts and sweeping views of the dam and the entire region.

Tours of the dam are offered at 2 p.m. Tuesday–Thursday and at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Friday–Sunday. The fee is $4 per person. Tours begin at the visitor center and guests are transported to the dam by van. No cell phones, cameras or purses are allowed in the dam, and visitors must present a photo ID. Call (870) 445-3629 for details.

Bull Shoals Dam is the fifth-largest concrete dam in the nation. Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism photo


Dragon boats will flood the reservoir in Ridgeland, Miss.

The sound of beating drums and splashing water will fill the air at the Dragon Boat Regatta on April 25 in Ridgeland, Miss.

Dragon boat racing, which is the world’s fastest growing water sport, is more than 2,000 years old with its origins steeped deep in Asian traditions. The Madison County Chamber of Commerce seized on the sport as a way to encourage esprit de corps among the organization’s members, and area businesses and corporations have responded enthusiastically.

In its second year, the competition will feature 28 teams, each comprised of 20 paddlers moving synchronously through the water at the beat of their drummer in colorful crafts. The site of the regatta is the Old Trace Park on the Ross Barnett Reservoir, and the first in a series of preliminary races gets underway at 8:30 a.m.

There is no admission cost to this family-friendly event and there will be plenty of food and beverage vendors on site, as well as a children’s village featuring arts and crafts, space jumps and other activities. Spectators are encouraged to bring seating or blankets, and it’s not unusual to see families with kites, flying disks and other outdoor games.

The competition is expected to conclude at 3 p.m.

For details about the contest and to watch a video highlighting last year’s race, visit online at Obtain additional information by calling the chamber at (601) 605-2554.

Paddlers furiously racing during the exciting competition. Ricky McCraw photo

Art and nature meet in Hot Springs, Ark.

The Art in the Park Festival offers plenty of art, but the name of the celebration doesn’t do justice to all the events that will take place in Hot Springs, Ark., over Mother’s Day weekend.

More than just an art fair, the festival combines recycling, music, food and four-legged friends with artisans from across the region to create a singular celebration of spring. This year’s festival will take place May 9–10 in picturesque Hollywood Park adjacent to the Hot Springs Creek Greenway.

More than 50 artists will converge on the park from Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas for the outdoor show. Categories will include paintings, pottery, glass blowing, photography and more. There will also be a children’s area where they can make their own art creations, as well as concessions and live music.

A favorite part of the festival for artists and the public is “Discarde D’Arte,” a recycled sculpture contest. This exciting event showcases the artistic talent and creativity of area individuals and groups who use recycled items to create fanciful sculptures.

Held in conjunction with the festival is Bark in the Park, during which animals from four area adoption agencies will be there to give visitors the chance to find that perfect new pet, including dogs and cats. There will also be information on animal care and rescued rabbit adoption.

Hollywood Park is at 411 Hollywood Ave. Festival admission is free. For details, call (501) 321-6871, or visit

art in the park
More than 50 artists will display their work at the festival. Susie Harris photo

Photo exhibit celebrates Welty’s centennial

The Mississippi Museum of Art has unveiled a new exhibit celebrating the rich photographic heritage of one of Mississippi’s most cherished writers, Eudora Welty, in conjunction with her 100th birthday this spring.

The museum, located in Jackson, will present a selection of her photographs in an exhibition entitled “Eudora Welty in New York” through July 5. The exhibition reprises a near complete re-creation of Welty’s first solo exhibition held in 1936 in New York.

Despite severe hardships and deprivations during the Great Depression, the spirit of the times was genuinely heroic, and some artists captured it with true grandeur. One of these was a young Southern writer, Eudora Welty.

Welty’s photographs, which she referred to as “snapshots,” captured what she so eloquently revealed in her prose: the complexity and dignity of the human condition. Among the works are poignant images of her fellow Mississippians in scenes from everyday life.

The museum, located at 380 South Lamar St., is open 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Tuesday–Saturday (with extended hours to 8 p.m. on Thursday) and from noon–6 p.m. on Sunday. Admission to the exhibition is free. For more details, call (601) 960-1515, or visit

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