Special to Louisiana Trekker
Louisiana must truly be the festivities and celebrations capital of the United States. We do love to party don't we. Festivals, concerts, art exhibits, museums, historial places, community events, food extravaganzas, musical concerts, sports and the list goes on and on. You can always find information about some event in Louisiana in speciality magazines, newspapers, on the radio and TV and on the web.
There are a number of internet sites created especially to share information about Louisiana happenings. There is a nice listing of events in our state government's travel and tourism web site which lists many festivals and events for the whole year. We have several well known Louisiana travel sites that contain events calendars. Major newspaper sites usually carry a listing of events local to their coverage area. Some personal sites also post upcoming events for our state.
I have canvassed a number of travel and tourism web sites specifically for the state of Louisiana. In my research, I googled for every site I could find that offered an events calendar for Louisiana. There is no shortage of things to do in our state. Louisiana is called the Sportsman's Paradise for good reason, for there are plenty of fishing and hunting opportunities here. To augment the outdoor sportsman's love for the outdoors, there is the added thrill of fishing tournaments, hunters courses, conventions, festivals, boat shows, gun and knives shows, wild game cooking classes just to name a few. In addition, sports of almost every description, from Little League Ball to the Saints, and from roller skating to boat and car races can be found here.
There is a festival or celebration for nearly every type of food and concoction native to Louisiana. There are many sites that report on cook-offs, food fests and the like for the state of Louisiana.
For a softer side of things to do, there are always beauty pageants, music or dance recitals, and talent competitions. Perhaps you lean toward literary diversions, the theater, or concert performances. If it's music you like, you can find a potpourri of styles in an assortment of venues. There is no shortage of events to announce.
There is no shortage of opportunity to learn about our friends and neighbors with the gumbo of cultures we have in Louisiana. There are cultural exhibits, handcrafted artistry, folklife displays and museums that share our cultural diversity.
Unfortunately, my research has shown that in spite of an abundance of events that need to be publicized, north central Louisiana gets the short end of the stick. In my internet searches and some hard copy publication investigations, I have discovered that the number of listed events for north central Louisiana are not proportional as compared with our neighbors to the south.
Since I have created an events list for north/central Louisiana at
http://www.facebook.com/pages/AsTheCrowFlies/147636581936823 , I have contiually searched for and posted hundreds of events in the north/central Louisiana coverage area of As The Crow Flies. My purpose is to draw attention to this lack of publicity for north/central Louisiana and to perhaps find a workable solution.
I want to know that we are getting our fair share of promotion which ultimately includes
recognition, resources and not least of all, tourism dollars. Most non-government sites that share a calendar usually claim to be representing the whole state, though I have found this is not the case. But you would think that our state government listings would have a more balanced representation.
From our very own state of Louisiana website here: http://www.crt.state.la.us/search/default.asp under lafestivals.xls a list of Louisiana festivals and events, out of a total of 510 events, less than 17% are listed for north/central Louisiana with the majority of those being in big city venues such as Monroe, Shreveport or cultural hot spots such as Natchitoches. Even Alexandria came in with only 3 events.
When doing a search of a well known official travel site for Louisiana, (louisianatravel.com), I found in a search of the 13 areas listed, 5 of those were in central or north Louisiana. Of those areas, there were a total of 35 events listed for a 4 week span between April 30 and May 28. Sounds OK until you look at the totals. In the same time period there were a total of 265 events listed for areas south of Alexandria. Of those listings in Alexandria area, 6 of the events were in conjunction with the Civil War Sesquicentennial. Events that were special this year only and will not appear in the same context again. There were many other events in north/central Louisiana that were disregarded completely. When the numbers are crunched, Central and North Louisiana gets 16 1/2 % of the total listings from this travel site though the actual number of events are many more than published.
The state government of Louisiana has a program called: Louisiana Main to Main: A Cultural Roadshow. From the site they say: Louisiana Main to Main is a program to collectively showcase our culture, commerce, history, and our abundance of creative and natural assets, and encourages road trips from one Main Street community to the next. This program list a total of 30 towns in the program but only 7 are in the northern/central region of Louisiana. This gives the whole region north of Alexandria only 23% of the promotion and monies allotted. Some personal sites claiming to be promoting Louisiana statewide include little to no north/central Louisiana events. After researching several such sites these were some of the results.
Here are the numbers:
17 % http://www.crt.state.la.us/search/default.asp
16 1/2 % http://cdn.louisianatravel.com/sites/louisianatravel.com/files/Louisiana-Fairs-and-Festivals.pdf
Some sites have NO listings for North Louisiana festivals despite claiming to be a listing site for the whole United States such as
0 % http://festivalsandevents.com/festival.php?state=LA
0 % http://southfest.com/louisiana.shtml The southfest site has listings from 9 southern states. In it's Louisiana listings of festivals, not one event is listed for north/central Louisiana.
6 1/2 % http://www.cajunradio.org/louisianafestivals.html
12 % Even Wikipedia with it's list of over 139 festivals managed to share only 12% of festivals in our area of the state.
From our state sites and other travel/tourism sites and publications we get only 9.7 % of the total publicity for events in the entire state of Louisiana.
You can check out these sites for yourself, see if you can find a fair share of publicity for north/central Louisiana.
Not to limit my search to festivals and fairs I went searching for other types of events.
Here are the results:
I looked up Summer Camps in Louisiana. Out of a total of 11 from this site
http://www.americantowns.com/la/batonrouge-summer-camps, two were actually above
Alexandria, yet they were claiming to be giving information about summer camps in Louisiana.
Here on http://www.mysummercamps.com/camps/louisiana-summer-camps.html I found 52 camps but only 6 of the total were from Alexandria or north of Alexandria Louisiana. There are many more summer camps & children's camps in north/central Louisiana than just over 1 %.
And just for fun I checked out this site http://www.foodreference.com/html/louisiana-
festivals.html to find that only 1 out of 37 Louisiana food events were listed as being in the
north/central Louisiana area.
Check out As The Crow Flies and see for yourself that we here in north/central Louisiana have many, many opportunities for tourism.
If you are as unhappy with these numbers as I am, how about let's do something about it.
I will continue to post the events that I find on my page but it would be a great help if chambers of commerce, town site, newspapers and other publications as well as museums and art commissions would band together to request equal opportunity and publicity from the state of Louisiana and web site that promote the southern part of our state so heavily.
Email me at: angelacouch (at) yahoo (dot) com or contact me on Facebook with your suggestions. Put north/central Louisiana in the subject line please.