SWLA Weekend Guide

Iry Lejeune. (Source: Ron Yule)
Iry Lejeune. (Source: Ron Yule)

There's a lot going on in and around Southwest Louisiana this weekend.

Events will include the return of Movies Under the Stars in Lake Charles, a Tribute to Iry LeJeune in Eunice, the Louisiana Swine Festival in Basile, the 38th Annual Retiree Appreciation Day at Fort Polk, the 5th Annual Yellow Rails & Rice Festival in Jennings, the Louisiana State Soap Box Derby Championship in Leesville and a host of Halloween haunts.

Here are your highlights:

Lake Charles:

Movies Under the Stars: "Brave": Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. at Prien Lake Park, located at 3700 W. Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. This event is free and open to the public. Seating is first come, first served. Attendees are invited to bring blankets, lawn chairs and snacks, although concessions will be available for purchase. In the event of inclement weather, the event will be canceled. For more information, call 721-3515.

3rd Annual Culture Fest Louisiana: Oct. 26 at the Lake Charles Civic Center, located at 900 Lakeshore Dr. in Lake Charles. The event will celebrate Louisiana and global culture with food, music, fashion, art and performances, including dancers from India, international choirs, Chinese dragon dancers, bagpipes musicians and more. The event is free and open to the public. For more information or to donate, visit www.CultureFestLouisiana.com or email info@culturefestlouisiana.com or call 337-409-9636.

Handle Bars for Battle Scars Bike-a-thon: Oct. 26 at the Burton Coliseum, located at 7001 Gulf Hwy in Lake Charles. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Fisher House Foundation, which supports disabled veterans. Registration packets may be picked up from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. on Oct. 26 at the Kappa Sigma Fraternity House, located at 4220 Auburn St. in Lake Charles. Online registration is available at http://www.usacycling.org/register/2013-3297. There are three available courses, ranging from 11-45 miles. All courses will begin at Burton Coliseum. The Theta Rho Chapter of Kappa Sigma Fraternity at McNeese State University is teaming up with Lake Charles Racing to host the event. For more information, click HERE.

Arts Fest: "Fairytales, Myths and Legends:" Oct. 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Exhibition Hall in the Lake Charles Civic Center, located at 900 Lakeshore Dr. in Lake Charles. The event will explore local legends and myths and famous fairytales. The event will feature demonstrations, interactive exhibits, crafts, face painting, an art contest, food and music. There will be a costume contest at 11:30 a.m. The event is free and open to the public.

"Showdown at Sundown" High School Marching Band Festival: Oct. 26 at Cowboy Stadium in Lake Charles. Gates will open at 5:15 p.m. and the event begins at 6 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for children under 12. Twelve local high school marching bands will participate in the event. Bands will be rated by a panel of music educators. Winners will be announced at an award ceremony at the end of the event. Participating Louisiana high schools are Barbe in Lake Charles, Iowa, Kaplan, Lake Arthur, Westlake and Woodlawn in Baton Rouge, while Texas high schools include Bridge City, Orangefield, Hudson in Lufkin, Robert E. Lee in Baytown and Sam Rayburn and Pasadena Memorial in Pasadena. The Pride of McNeese Cowboy Marching Band will conclude the evening with exhibition performances of its pre game and halftime shows.

Presentation by author: Oct. 27 at 3 p.m. at Central Library, located at 301 W. Claude St. in Lake Charles. Christine Smith and her husband, Captain Jeffery Smith, will present a multi-media presentation on Alaskan travel and wooden boat restoration, based on their numerous travels to Alaska and Christine's book, More Faster Backwards: Rebuilding David B. Refreshments will be provided after the lecture concludes, and the Smiths will be available to answer questions. The program is free and open to the public. For more information, call Central Library at 337-721-7118 or visit www.calcasieulibrary.org.

Harp recital: Oct. 27 at 3 p.m. in the Shearman Fine Arts Performing Arts Theatre at McNeese State University. The recital is free and open to the public. Barbara Belew and Patricia Horvath perform works by Georges Bizet, Henry Carey, Arcangello Corelli, Benedetto Marcello, Michael Praetorius, Louise Trotter, Marcel Tournier and Samuel A. Ward, while the arrangers are David Burton, Annie Challan, Deborah Friou, Mary Radspinner and Trotter.

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Support Group meeting: Oct. 28 from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Allen P. August Multi-Purpose Annex, located at 2000 Moeling St. in Lake Charles. Any grandparents who are raising their grandchildren or actively helping to raise their grandchildren are invited to attend a free support group sponsored by the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury. The Grandparents Raising Grandchildren support group meetings are an opportunity for grandparents to discuss issues, share ideas, hear guest speakers, and spend time with other grandparents who are in similar situations. Registration is required. For more information or to reserve your spot at this free event, call 337-721-4020.

Zombie Prom: Oct. 28 at 4 p.m. at Central Library, located at 301 W. Claude St. in Lake Charles. Teens can come in costume or get made-up at the event, which will include dancing, games and photos.  Registration is required. For more information or to register, call 721-7116 or visit http://calcasieulibrary.org.

Faculty/guest recital: Oct. 28 at 7:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, located at 812 Kirkman St. in Lake Charles. The free concert, offered by the McNeese State University Department of Performing Arts will feature soprano Dr. Carol Lines and mezzo-soprano Sarah Callahan. They will be assisted by Dr. Judy Hand, on flute, and Dr. Lina Morita, on piano.  For more information, call the McNeese Department of Performing at 475-5028.

"Understanding Your Credit Report" seminar: Oct. 29 from 11 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. in Room 228 of Farrar Hall on the McNeese State University Campus. Claire Loup, an economic and financial education specialist at the New Orleans branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Ga., will serve as guest speaker at this free event. For more information, call 337-475-5432 or email dwhatley@mcneese.edu.

Twitter 101: Oct. 31 at 10 a.m. at Central Library, located at 301 W. Claude St. in Lake Charles. Adults will learn the basics of Twitter. Participants are asked to have a Twitter account set up before the class. Registration is required. For more information or to register, call 721-7116 or visit http://calcasieulibrary.org.

Meals prepared by the McNeese Meal Club: Thursdays from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in the Gayle Annex Food Services Lab behind Gayle Hall. Meals will be prepared by students in the Quantity Food Production course. Dates and menus include: Chicken biryani on Oct. 31, Fish fillet with etouffee sauce on Nov. 7, Meatloaf with a chipotle glaze on Nov. 14 and Roasted turkey on Nov. 21. Tickets are $8.50 per person and must be purchased in advance. Seating is limited and will be on a first come, first served basis. For tickets or more information, contact Eljeana Quebedeaux at equebedeaux@mcneese.edu or call 475-5690 or 475-5700.

5th Annual Preventing Family Violence Workshop: Nov. 1 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the SEED Center, located at 4310 Ryan Street, across from the McNeese campus. The event aims to bring domestic violence workers together to work on collaborative and effective ways to move forward. Topics discussed will include domestic abuse, sexual abuse, child abuse and neglect, and animal cruelty. The People's Advocate, OASIS, Calcasieu Animal Services, PETCO Foundation, the ASPCA, the McNeese State University Department of Social Services and local experts are scheduled to participate in the event. For more information, contact The People's Advocate at 337-436-3475 or http://www.thepeoplesadvocateswla.com/.

1st Annual Fish-O-Rama: Nov. 2 at Calcasieu Point Landing. Fishing will begin at 7:30 a.m., with weigh-in set for 11 a.m. at Calcasieu Point Landing. Cormie's will provide lunch and live music at 11 a.m. There is a $20 entrance fee for adults and a $10 entrance fee for children to register for the tournament through Nov. 1 at 5 p.m. On the day of the tournament, entrance fees will be $30 for adults and $15 for children. Fees include a t-shirt and a meal ticket. Registration forms are being accepted at Calcasieu Point Landing, Cormie's, Cajun Tackle, Spicer Bait and Tackle and Cajun Fast Mart. Big Lake Fuels will host the event, which will benefit Family & Youth Counseling Agency. Contact Roxanne Camara at roxanne@fyca.org, or 337-436-9533 for more information.

Gardening classes: Saturdays in November and December from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the Tuten Park Education Building, located at 3801 Nelson Rd. Classes are for beginning gardeners and the topics and dates are: Organic Gardening: 101 on Nov. 2, The Perfect Compost Recipe on Nov. 9, Planning Irrigation for Your Garden on Nov. 23, The "Dirt" on Dirt on Dec. 7, and Growing More in the Space You Have (Container Gardening) on Dec. 14. Seating is limited. For more information or to register, e-mail: golden.tradewell@cityoflc.us. Friends of Tuten Park is hosting the classes.


Louisiana Swine Festival: Nov. 1-3 at the fairgrounds in Basile, La., with a parade set for Nov. 3 at 1 p.m. Admission to the festival is $5 for adults and free for children ages 5 and under. The event will feature a beauty pageant, a pork cook-off, a greasy pig chase and live music. Performers will include Johnny Guinn & Rue Louisiane, and Keith Frank & the Soileau Zydeco Band. A complete schedule can be found HERE. For more information, call 337-432-6807, email laswinefestival@yahoo.com or click HERE


5th Annual Halloween Hustle 5K Zombie Gleaux Run/Walk: Oct. 26 beginning at 6:45 p.m. at BeauCARE, Inc., located at 628 High School Drive in DeRidder. Registration will be held from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Pre registration is also available. Forms may be picked up at BeauCARE or requested via email at info@beaucares.org or www.beaucares.org. Paper forms may be mailed to P.O. Box 1779, DeRidder, LA, 70634. For more information, call 337-462-2273.


Tribute to Iry LeJeune: October 26 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Liberty Theatre, located at 200 West Park Ave. in Eunice. Emcee will be Larry Miller. Performers will include: Eddie James LeJeune, Ervin LeJeune, Emerson LeJeune, Eddie LeJeune Jr., Monica LeJeune Matte, Robert Richard, Toby Richard, Kegan Navarre, Dello "Bubba" Hebert, and special guests Milton, Ellis and Orsey Vanicor from the Original Lacassine Playboys.

The performance is being presented as part of the "Rendez-vous des Cajuns" Cajun Music Radio & TV Show. Tickets go on sale Saturday at 4 p.m. at the ticket window of the Liberty Theater. Tickets are $5 and general admission seating. For more information, call the Eunice Mayor's Office at 337-457-7389 or visit www.eunice-la.com. For more on Iry LeJeune, click HERE.

Trick or Treat: Oct. 31 from 5 to 8 p.m. from S. Second St. to Park Ave. in downtown Eunice. The event will feature trick-or-treating, games, a costume contest, a coloring contest, face painting and more. The City of Eunice is hosting the event.


Halloween events at Hodges Gardens: Oct. 26 at the facility, located at 1000 Hodges Loop in Florien, La. Activities will include trick-or-treating at the main gardens from 5 to 6 p.m. for children ages 12 and under. The film "Hotel Transylvania" will be shown by the lake at 6 p.m., with concessions available on-site. Participants should bring lawn chairs or other seating. A Haunted Garden Tour will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. for ages 9 and up. Regular entrance fees apply. For more information, call 318-586-3523.

"Rocky Horror Picture Show": Oct. 31 at 7 p.m. at Hodges Gardens State Park, located at 1000 Hodges Loop in Florien, La. Because the film is rated "R," it is not recommended for guests ages 17 and under. Participants are invited to bring blankets and lawn chairs. Regular entrance fees apply.

Fort Polk:

38th Annual Retiree Appreciation Day: Oct. 26 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Fort Polk. The event is open to military retirees of all armed services, their families and survivors who live in Louisiana and southeast Texas. The day's events include a Retiree Service Fair at the Soldier and Family Assistance Center, Building 220, with legal assistance and information on veterans services and organizations; a Retiree Health Fair from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the hospital; free dental exams by Fort Polk Dental Activity; health and wellness screenings and various information booths. For more information call Scott Ellis at 531-0363/0402.

7th Annual Heritage Day: Oct. 25-27 at Fort Polk. The event will honor families who were forced to move from the Fort Polk and Peason Ridge areas during World War II in order to establish the Fort Polk military post and its training areas. The Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk are hosting the event, which will feature family booths with pictures and heirlooms, cemetery tours, demonstrations, seminars, children's activities and more. All Heritage Day activities are open to the public. For more information, call 337-531-6011 or click HERE.


The Life and Legacy of Jean Lafitte: Nov. 5-12 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Iowa Library, located at 107 E 1st St, Iowa. Three sessions will be held discussing the book "LaFitte the Pirate" by Lyle Saxon. Sessions are: "Lafitte: The Myth and the Reality" on Nov. 5, "Lafitte on Screen: Yul Brynner" and "The Buccaneer" on Nov. 12, and "Lafitte in Louisiana" on Nov. 19. Dr. Cheryl Ware, retired Professor of English at McNeese State University, will conduct the program. The program is free and open to the public. Pre-registration is encouraged, due to limited space. Those interested can sign up by visiting the Iowa Library or by calling the branch at 337-721-7101.


5th Annual Yellow Rails & Rice Festival: through Oct. 27 in Jennings. The festival aims to provide a unique view of the bird in its habitat and to provide birders and farmers with a better understanding of the bird's role in the ecosystem. The festival will include several field days with assistance from local agencies who study and manage the birds. Also included are sessions of live music and Cajun cooking at venues on Jennings, Crowley and Thornwell.

Festival attendees are invited to attend other exploratory ventures, including kayak tours and trips to museums and wildlife conservation areas not on the festival itinerary. Groups will tour the Louisiana State University Museum of Natural Science, the White Lake Wetland Conservation Area, Sweet Lake, Kisatchie National Forest and Lake Martin. The full schedule is available HERE.

For those who wish to view Yellow Rails in rice fields, a caravan will meet at the Thornwell Warehouse Association each morning of the festival and drive out to rice fields to view harvesting activities, weather permitting. To register for festival activities, click HERE.

"Psycho" by Alfred Hitchcock: Oct. 31 at the Strand Theatre, located at 432 N Main St. in Jennings. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the movie begins at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for seniors or children ages 12 and under. For more information, call 337-821-5509.

Main Street Trick or Treat: Oct. 31 on downtown Main St. in Jennings. Children ages 12 and under are invited to trick-or-treat while area businesses and residents hand out goodies. For more information, call 337-821-5532 or visit www.cityofjennings.com. The City of Jennings is hosting the event.


Louisiana Crossroads concert series: All performances will be held at the Acadiana Center for the Arts, located at 101 W. Vermilion St. in Lafayette. Dates and times are as follows: Marc Broussard with Roddie Romero & special guests on Oct. 25 at 7:30 p.m.; Trombone Shorty & New Orleans Avenue on Dec. 3-4 at 7:30 p.m.; The Good & Young with the Savioe Family Bands on Nov. 21-22 at 7:30 p.m.; Gal Holiday & the Honky Tonk Revue on March 27-28 at 7:30 p.m.; James Hunter Six & special guests on April 10-11 at 7:30 p.m.; and Los Lobos with Roddie Romero and the Hub City All-Stars on May 21-22 at 7:30 p.m. For more information, including ticket pricing, visit http://www.acadianacenterforthearts.org/ and click on the "LA Crossroads" tab.

Science Meets Art Festival: Oct. 25-26 at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Lawrence Krauss, a theoretical physicist and cosmologist, will serve as the keynote speaker. The festival is free and open to the public and will be held at two locations. It begins Friday evening at the Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise, in the University's Research Park, at 537 Cajundome Blvd. On Saturday, events will be held simultaneously at LITE and at the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum, 710 E. St. Mary Blvd. For more information about the festival, visit smart.louisiana.edu or www.facebook.com/ULSMART2013.

Boo Bayou Fall Carnival: Oct. 26 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Vermilionville in Lafayette. Activities will include trick-or-treating, games, cooking demonstrations and picture stations. Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for students and free for children ages 3 and under. For more information, call 337-233-4077.

2nd Annual ZombieWalk: Oct. 26 in downtown Lafayette. The event is free to participants, who may dress in costume, and spectators are encouraged to join in. The rules of the event will be announced on the lawn of Parc Sans Souci at 4:30 p.m., with the walk beginning at 6 p.m. An after party will be held at the park following the walk. The event will feature live music from Yakk and Bearfighter and a costume contest. Food vendors will be present. All proceeds benefit the Lafayette Science Museum. For more information, call 337-291-5544.

40th Anniversary of the Center for Louisiana Studies at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette: Nov. 6 on the 3rd floor of Edith Garland Dupré Library. Events are free and open to the public. Events will include an open house of the center's offices (Rooms 313 and 321) from 9 -11:30 a.m. After lunch, the center will host a symposium in the Jefferson Caffery Reading Room (Room 314) Panels will discuss the history of the Center for Louisiana Studies, the UL Press and the publishing industry, and plans for the Center. A roundtable discussion on the Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore will cover the Center's mission and accomplishments, as well as how to utilize its resources and support its activities.

Parking is available at a pay lot on campus, at the corner of East St. Mary Boulevard and Girard Park Circle. That parking lot does not accept cash. For more information about this event or the Center for Louisiana Studies, call 337-482-6027, email clspresents@louisiana.edu or visit cls.louisiana.edu.

Lake Arthur:

Boo on the Avenue: Oct. 27 in downtown Lake Arthur. A chili cook-off will be held beginning at 2 with serving at 5 p.m. There will also be a pumpkin carving contest, games, a pet costume contest, a bake-off, pictures and trick-or-treating. For more information, click HERE.


Louisiana State Soap Box Derby Championship: Oct. 26 on 3rd St. in downtown Leesville. Check-in and inspections begin at 8 a.m. with practice time trials lasting from 8 to 10 a.m. The races begin at 10 a.m., and spectators are welcome.

Participants will be broken into categories based on age. Categories are ages 6-8, 9-11, 12-14 and 15-17. National approved racers and Lulu street racers will be used. There is a $10 entry fee to participate in the race. Printable entry forms are available HERE.

An awards ceremony will be held at 2:30 p.m. Awards will be given for sportsmanship, workmanship, original body design, paint and decals, the top racer in each age category and a grand champion.

For more information, including race rules and regulations, call 337-208-6580 or click HERE.

Witch Way to Main: Oct. 31 from 5 to 8 p.m. on Third and East Texas streets in Historic Downtown Leesville. The event is free and open to the public and will be hosted by Friends of Leesville Main Street. For more information, call 337-239-2444, Ext 9.


A tribute to 'The Louisiana Hayride:' Nov. 2 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Rebel State Historic Site, located approximately 25 miles west of Natchitoches, LA on LA Hwy. 1221 North. Presentations begin at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. will highlight the long run of The Hayride. Each presentation will be followed by the documentary, The Louisiana Hayride – The Story, narrated by Hank Williams, Jr. with excerpts from original Louisiana Hayride programs, originally broadcast on KWKH radio. Admission is $4 for adults (ages 13 to 61). Schools Groups, children (12 and under), seniors (62 and over) and State Parks annual pass holders are admitted free. For more information, call 888-677-3600 toll free or 472-6255 locally.


Haunted History Tour: Oct. 26 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the American Cemetery in Natchitoches. The tour will continue in the Samuel Guy House. Local actors will portray historical figures at the event. Admission is $10 for adults and $6 for students and children. The Natchitoches Historic Foundation will host the event. For more information, call the Natchitoches Area CVB at 800-259-1714 or email inquiry@ natchitoches.com.

Orange, Texas: 

"Exploration and Discovery" Lecture Series: October and November at the Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, located at 2111 West Park Avenue in Orange, Texas. Lectures include "Charles Darwin and His Revolutionary Idea" on Nov. 4 at 6:30 p.m., and "Exploring for Native Plants: Lessons from Nature for the Garden" on Nov. 18 at 6:30 p.m. All lectures will be held in the Discovery Theater on the grounds of Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center. Space is limited, and an RSVP with advance payment is required. Pre-payment will serve as the RSVP for these lectures and can be made at the Shangri La admission window during regular business hours or pay by phone with a credit card by calling 409-670-9113. Call 409-670-9799 for more details.

Scarecrow Festival: through Nov. 9 at Shangri La Botanical Garden and Nature Center, located at 2111 West Park Avenue in Orange, Texas. Local businesses, schools, churches, families, groups and individuals have provided the unique scarecrow designs and exhibits. Throughout the festival, visitors are invited to vote for their favorite scarecrow as well as guess the weight of a giant pumpkin on display in the garden. Prizes for the most popular scarecrows will be awarded at Shangri La's Autumn Fair, the conclusion of the Scarecrow Festival, on Nov. 9. For more information, visit www.shangrilagardens.org.


Rayne In Pink: Oct. 26 at 9 a.m. at Depot Square on the Rayne Frog Festival Fairgrounds. The event will support breast cancer awareness. The event will include a silent auction, a raffle for a bicycle, free food, live music and door prizes. The Sisters of A&O 21st Century Club are hosting the event, which is open to the public. All proceeds of the day will be donated to Komen of Acadiana, and Miles Peret Center of Lafayette.


Jenn's Journey: Oct. 26 at the Victory Worship Center, located at 1410 W. Napoleon St. in Sulphur. The event will include a silent auction, a cake walk, a head shaving event, bounce houses, food and music. Proceeds will benefit breast cancer patient Jenn Broussard. For more information or to donate, call 337-353-3473 or 337-263-4959.

"Rob Nicholls Ride for Research":  Rob Nicholls is making his way across the United States via a bicycle tour in order to raise awareness of Prader-Willi Syndrome. His journey includes a stop in Sulphur, La. on Oct. 26. Nicholls is also working to raise funds for research on Prader-Willi Syndrome. The trip began Oct. 10 in San Diego, Calif. and is set to end on Nov. 6 at the 2013 PWSA National Conference in Orlando, Fla. For information, call 1-800-926-4797 or visit http://www.pwsausa.org/.

 "Community Trunk or Treat": Oct. 31 at 5:30 p.m. at the Henning Cultural Center, located at 923 Ruth Street in Sulphur. The art exhibit, "Chaos Theory" will also open to the public at 6 p.m. at the center. For more information, Veronica Allison at 337-274-0905 or Thom Trahan at 337-527-0357.

Movies in the Square: "Ghostbusters": Oct. 31 at sundown in Heritage Square in Sulphur. The event is free and open to the public, and participants are invited to bring lawn chairs and blankets. The City of Sulphur is hosting the event.

For more information on these and other local Halloween programs, click HERE.