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Nov/Dec 2010 Issue

From rescue to recovery, exhibit examines hurricanes

It has been five years since hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated New Orleans and the Mississippi and Louisiana coasts, and while some wounds have yet to heal, a new exhibit has opened to document the tragedy and ongoing rebirth of the region.

The Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans has unveiled “Living with Hurricanes: Katrina and Beyond,” a $7.5 million exhibit in the Presbytere in the French Quarter’s Jackson Square. The permanent installation tells the stories of people who endured the storms’ wrath. It examines their rescue, recovery, rebuilding and renewal in a way certain to move those who survived the storms and those who watched the events unfold on television.

Combining eyewitness accounts, historical context, immersive environments and in-depth scientific exploration, the exhibit enables visitors to understand the 2005 storms’ impact on Louisiana, the Gulf Coast and the nation. Within a powerful and moving series of galleries are artifacts and rich media, including sound, video and computer graphics.

For instance, one gallery takes visitors past a leaking floodwall and into an attic and onto a roof where they can view the flooded city surrounding them. They’ll also hear a firsthand account of a St. Bernard Parish family’s rescue.

The museum is open from 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m.Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is $6 for adults, and $5 for students, senior citizens and active military. Children 12 and under are admitted free. AAA members receive a 10-percent discount with a valid membership card.

For more information, visit or call (800) 568-6968.


Above: A basket, like the one this U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew used to rescue survivors, is on display. U.S. Coast Guard photo

Below: Fats Domino’s baby grand piano, found in the musician’s Ninth Ward home, is a prominent feature in the exhibit. Mark Sindler photo



Past, present and future collide at Ohr-O’Keefe Museum

The Mad Potter of Biloxi, George E. Ohr, and his legacy will be honored on Nov. 6 with the opening of the new Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art in this Mississippi coastal community.

Designed by famed architect Frank Gehry, the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art was under construction when Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, and it was nearly destroyed. Now the new museum is opening on a four-acre campus at the edge of the beautiful Mississippi Sound. Its mission is to preserve the history of The Mad Potter and the diverse cultural heritage of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

With the completion of Phase I of its stunning facilities, the campus boasts a remarkable blend of architectural styles spanning a century. Already open was the Pleasant Reed Interpretive Center, a reconstructed example of 19th- century regional architecture that honors the life and work of Pleasant Reed, a former slave who moved to Biloxi.

But the new innovative buildings that are clad in brick, stainless steel and glass have the distinctively modern and sometimes whimsical fingerprint of Gehry.

Among four new buildings opening is the Mississippi Sound Welcome Center, which features a café, museum store and exhibitions by Mississippi ceramic artists.

In addition, the IP Casino Resort Spa Exhibitions Gallery will focus on contemporary artists who personify the independent spirit of Ohr, and the Gallery of African-American Art will feature work by or about African-Americans and the ethnic diversity of the Gulf Coast.

Located at 386 Beach Blvd. in Biloxi, the museum is open daily 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students 6–17. For more details, click on or call (228) 374-5547.

welcome center

Stairs twisting into the Mississippi Sound Welcome Center. Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art photo


Every day is Veterans Day at NW Arkansas’s Wall of Honor

From the northwest corner of Arkansas, visitors will find a tangible link to the patriotic history of America’s soldiers who have fought on nearly every corner of the globe to preserve our freedom.

The Veterans Wall of Honor in Bella Vista pays tribute to America’s veterans who have served in the U.S. military or are presently serving, from the Revolutionary War to today.

Unveiled in 2004, the monument has been growing ever since.

The sweeping memorial consists of three concentric circular walls, one of which features a timeline that chronicles significant military events. More than 60 bronze plaques feature maps, images and text that tell the story of America’s armed forces.

Individual soldiers–more than 4,500 in all–are honored on granite tablets on the walls. More walls have been added to accommodate all the names, and a special section has been built to honor 27 U.S. presidents who have served in the military.

There will be a Veterans Day Celebration this year at the wall on Nov. 6 at 11 a.m. Visitors are encouraged to bring chairs.

The monument, located at 103 Veterans Way, is open from 7 a.m.–10 p.m. daily. Free tours are offered at 10 a.m. on the third Saturday of each month. For details, visit


The poignant memorial lists the names of 4,508 veterans. Veterans Wall of Honor photo

Arkansas’s Confederate Capital brings Civil War to life

On the eve of the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, nearly every state that was touched by the conflict is looking back with fascination, including the site that served as the Confederate Capital of Arkansas.

Historic Washington State Park will host its annual Civil War Weekend Nov. 6–7 to offer a glimpse of life during that momentous period that divided a country and created a nation. Re-enactors will present living history demonstrations, including combat scenes, and historians will interpret the social and political issues that led to the war and the state’s role in it.

After the Union Army captured Little Rock in the fall of 1863, the Confederate government of Arkansas fled to Washington in southwest Arkansas, and the Hempstead County Courthouse became the capitol for Arkansas’s Rebels.

During the Civil War Weekend, visitors can tour the courthouse along with many other historical homes in town. There also will be surrey rides.

Activities will be held from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily. Admission is $8 for adults and $4 for children. Call (870) 983-2684 for details, or visit


Sounds of the war will echo at the event. Arkansas Depart-ment of Parks and Tourism photo

Red Stick Animation Festival offers more than cartoons

The arts and sciences will come together this fall at the annual Red Stick International Animation Festival in Baton Rouge, La., one of the largest digital arts festivals in the country.

The festival, sponsored in part by Louisiana State University, began in 2005 as a way to highlight the emerging digital media sector in Baton Rouge and to showcase the links between technology, science, art and digital media. There will be film screenings, lectures and workshops with industry professionals.

This year’s festival will be held from Nov. 10–13 at several venues in downtown Baton Rouge’s Arts District. Some of the events will include a film competition; Cartoon-a-Palooza, where children get to enjoy their Saturday morning cartoons downtown; Video Games Live, a thrilling presentation of video game theme music performed by the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra; laser light shows; and Fandemonium, which will feature a merchant room, speakers, roundtable discussions, movies and more.

The Sunday preceding the festival is the Princess Ball, a fairy tale-themed event where princesses (or princes) are invited to dance with their parents, grandparents or friends at the Old State Capitol. The ball is on Nov. 7 from 3–5 p.m. Guests are invited to attend dressed as princes and princesses.

Festival passes range from $5 to $250 depending on how many events you’d like to attend. For more details, visit

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