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Mar/Apr 2013 Issue

New World War II center honors American war effort

The National World War II Museum in New Orleans recently unveiled a spectacular new addition featuring the nation’s efforts on and off the battlefield to free the world of Axis dominance and aggression during World War II.

The new US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center includes exhibits and interactive experiences that paint the picture of a nation mobilized for war, including those who answered the call of service and those who supported our fighting forces by producing planes, ships, tanks, and other vital machinery. The glass-and-steel exhibit space holds a tribute to WWII Medal of Honor recipients and displays huge macro artifacts, including a B-17E Flying Fortress–a massive bomber in America’s “Arsenal of Democracy.”

The $35 million building, part of a $325 million multi-year expansion, conveys the story of America at war–on land, in the air, and at sea–in a way that fully engages the senses, mind, and heart. Exhibits include vehicles of war, warbirds, and Boeing’s contributions to the war effort.

Among the “big guns” of American military might on display are tanks, Jeeps, and restored aircraft, including a B-25J Mitchell, TBM Avenger, and a P-51D Mustang.

There is also an interactive experience that places visitors aboard the USS Tang, the most successful submarine in World War II. Visitors perform the battle actions of actual crewmembers in a re-creation of the sub’s final patrol that includes loud noises, flashing lights, smoke effects, and more.

Located at 945 Magazine St., the museum is open 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily. Admission is $22 for adults, $19 for seniors, and $13 for active military and students. “Final Mission: The USS Tang Experience” carries a separate $5 fee.

For more details, call (877) 813-3329, or visit

The US Freedom Pavilion includes warbirds, vehicles, and other exhibits. National World War II Museum photo


Exhibit celebrates Norman Rockwell’s familiar, fascinating art

With brush strokes rather than words, Norman Rockwell was a gifted storyteller, capturing scenes of American life that were as richly detailed, subtly nuanced, and thoroughly engaging as any prose.

Now a traveling exhibition is telling the story of Rockwell.

The exhibit, “American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell,” is being presented from March 7–May 27 at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark. Organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass., the collection features 50 original paintings and a complete set of all 323 of Rockwell’s Saturday Evening Post covers.

One of the most popular American artists of the past century, Rockwell (1894–1978) was a keen observer of human nature whose art appealed to a broad segment of the public. Several of his beloved images in the exhibit include “Triple Self-Portrait” (1960), “Girl at Mirror” (1954), and “Art Critic” (1955).

The exhibition features materials from the Rockwell Museum that show how he worked: proceeding from preliminary sketches, color studies, and detailed drawings to finished paintings. Visitors will see several photographs he staged as references for his paintings, often using himself and family members as models.

A variety of programs also will be held, including lectures, a film, and gallery talks. The exhibit offers a great chance to experience the year-old Crystal Bridges, which is composed of a series of pavilions nestled around two spring-fed ponds.

Timed, reserved tickets to the exhibit are $12 and free for children 18 and under. Located at 600 Museum Way, the museum is open 11 a.m.–6 p.m. on Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday; and from 11 a.m.–9 pm. on Wednesday and Friday.

Call (479) 418-5700 or visit for more information.

Rockwell’s “Triple Self-Portrait” was a Saturday Evening Post cover in 1960. ©SEPS/Norman Rockwell Museum photo


Mr. Crawfish goes to Biloxi

Mr. Crawfish, the crustacean that got Elvis Presley singing his praises, is the star attraction again at this year’s 21st Annual Crawfish Music Festival at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi, Miss.

The eight-day event stretches over two weekends, April 18–21 and 25–28, featuring live music, vendors, rides, and, of course, plenty of crawfish. It was named one of the Top 20 Events this spring by the Southeast Tourism Society.

Events on Thursdays will feature live music, including the Battle of the Bands Big Play Music Search on April 25 to determine the crowd favorite in alternative rock. And the midway will keep families occupied every day with exciting amusement rides.

The festival culminates with the crawfish cook-off on April 28. Cooks will vie for cash, trophies, and bragging rights. For $12, festival-goers can purchase a ticket that allows access to samples from all the cook-off participants.

General admission is $12 for adults and $5 for children 6–12; fees are waived on Thursdays. Tickets for amusement rides and reserved seating in the music venues are extra. Festival hours are 5–11 p.m. Thursday and Friday, noon–11 p.m. on Saturday, and noon–8 p.m. on Sunday

Call (228) 594-3700 or (800) 726-2781 for details, or visit

Delicious crawfish dishes are a highlight of the festival. Mississippi Coast Coliseum photo


Dragons to race in Louisiana Cajun Country

Ancient drum beats fill the dense air as the mist lifts from Bayou Teche, revealing the terrifying spectacle of dragons gliding across the water amid the roaring cheer of adoring fans.

Volunteer organizers of the inaugural Acadiana Dragon Boat Festival are bringing the 2,300-year-old Chinese tradition of dragon boat racing to New Iberia, La. The single-day event, featuring an anticipated 20 teams, will be held on March 23 at the Bouligny Plaza where visitors will be treated to a day filled with thrilling boat races, music, food, and other family-friendly activities.

Each dragon boat requires a large team consisting of 20 paddlers and one drummer who keeps the rowing rhythm for the team. On the day of the race, hundreds of participants will compete in team races in authentic Hong Kong-style dragon boats on Bayou Teche. Cheering, shouting, and the pounding of drums will fill the air along with a palpable vibe and excitement.

The festival is a fund-raiser for the New Iberia City Park Playground Enhancement Project, a volunteer-driven group with a goal of purchasing new, state-of-the-art playground equipment for City Park.

For more details, call (337) 352-2180 or visit

dragon boats
The dragon boats will compete in Bayou Teche in New Iberia. Acadiana Dragon Boat Committee photo

Discover high-flying fun on the Gulf Coast

The seagulls soaring over Long Beach Harbor on the Mississippi Gulf Coast will have some beautiful company this spring.

The Long Beach Chamber of Commerce is hosting its 14th Annual Kite Fest on Saturday, April 27, along the harbor and the adjoining wide sandy beach. This family-oriented celebration of spring will take place from 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Among the highlights will be kite demonstrations, free kite-making workshops, exciting kite surfing demonstrations, and children’s activities, including waterslides and sand castle making. Because of its array of activities and broad appeal, the festival was named a Southeast Tourism Society Top 20 Spring Event for 2013.

“It’s a fun event for the entire family, and we invite everyone to fly kites and enjoy the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” said Angela Bowell, chair of the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce Kite Fest Committee.

Admission to the festival is free, and there will also be a variety of booths from which guests can purchase food and beverages.

For more information, call (228) 604-0014, or visit

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