Editor’s Picks

Ladybugs take flight

More than 100,000 ladybugs – 100,001 to be exact – and 201 butterflies return to nature April 18 at Southdown Plantation.

The cause for the invasion? The 16th Annual Ladybug Ball.

“It’s a friendly way to teach (attendees) how to use insects rather than chemicals in their gardens,” said festival creator Linda Faulk, a real estate agent with RE/MAX Good Earth Realty. “Kids have kind of lost touch with (the environment) in a lot of ways. They might learn some of that in school, but they haven’t had a lot of hands-on (experience). … I’m just trying to get them back to nature, having fun.”

Admission is free, but many activities require tickets. Offerings to children include face painting, picture taking, hula hooping, a fishing booth and various other games.

A mobile zoo, insectarium and wetlands express make the trek to Southdown Plantation, as does the Terrebonne Parish Library’s bookmobile, replete with a storytelling porch. The La-Terre Master Gardeners Association operates a doodlebug bin, where children dig in search of their own insects.

“It’s become one of the biggest festivals in the area for children,” Faulk said. “I used to be in education, so I wanted them to have a taste of art, music, dance, reading, math and science, so we have some of everything there.”

Ladybugs, procured from Oregon and donated by Ganier’s Southdown Gardens, are scheduled for release from 15 posts at noon. One hour later is the butterfly release, paid for by Terminix. Children are allowed to bring their own bug cages, which are also sold at the event.

Talent Explosion at 2015 NO Jazz Fest

Elton John, The Who, Jimmy Buffett, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga – the 2015 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival has something for everyone.

Opening day, Friday, April 24, headliners include Keith Urban, Wilco, Jimmy Cliff, Snarky Puppy and Jimmie Vaughan & the Tilt-a-Whirl Band. The next day, The Who, Ryan Adams, John Legend, Kenny Garrett and the Robert Cray Band are among the many festival performers. And the first weekend closes out Sunday with Jimmy Buffet and the Coral Reefer Band, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, Pitbull, Allen Toussaint and more.

Thursday, April 30, often hailed as local’s day, sees Widespread Panic, Allison Krauss & Union Station, Third World and The Iguanas performing. The fun continues Friday, May 1, with performances by No Doubt, Chicago and Voice of the Wetlands All-Stars, featuring Houma’s own Tab Benoit. Tab returns to the Blues stage closing day.

Saturday, Jerry Lee Lewis plays the Acura stage before Elton John. Ed Sheeran, T.I. and Aaron Neville are also slated to perform. And Sunday is a blend of New Orleans’ greats – Trombone Shorty, Dr. John and The Radiators – as well as Lenny Kravitz, Steve Winwood, the O’Jays, Buddy Guy and Kacey Musgraves. More than 10 musical stages, memorable food, Indian parades and crafts galore … this year’s Jazz Fest promises to go down in history.

Tickets are $58 in advance, $70 at the gate. Advance tickets are available through Ticketmaster.