May 30, 2007 12:00
I concur with Cindi Baxter's "Girard Park's Example" ("IndBox," May 23), an idea regarding an arboretum on the horse farm property. Let's add a botanic garden while we're at it. Such a facility could be run by either local government or UL Lafayette; and it could be at least partially staffed by UL horticulture students, Master Gardeners, and other volunteers.

A mid-city arboretum/botanic garden is precisely what Lafayette needs. Can you think of any well-known tourist-destination-class cities that don't possess at least one? Tourists could saunter through in between bouts of food and music.

By the way, great tourist destinations are comprised of numerous and diverse venues, not just a smattering of sites dedicated to food and/or music. Think! I'm no tourism official, but I do travel a lot. When I hit a town, whether it be for business or pleasure, I am much more apt to bring additional family and/or friends along if that town (and its surrounding region) possess a high enough diversity of attractions to cater to our individual and collective leisure interests. Moreover, we would probably stay longer ' and be much more apt to return ' if that town possessed a diversity of quality attractions to keep us there. Also, locals would have another much-needed quality site to take their out-of-town guests. And believe it or not, many Acadiana's own residents are gardening and/or outdoor freaks.

Attention "smart growth" aficionados who might be scratching your heads over "this green space thing" ' 1 ) Tourists are growing just as "green" ' if not more so ' as any other American market segment. 2) Tourists have plenty of tinsel and trinkets and asphalt and sodium-halide lights back in their respective hometowns. More often than not, it's that sort of stuff from which they're trying to escape. 3) Tourists breeze into town, avail themselves temporarily to our hard-bought infrastructure, and then kindly drop wads of cash on their way out. 4) To quote John Muir, "Everybody needs beauty as well as bread; places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike."

Should Democrats dump Dixie? DEC 17 Blogger Bob Mann gives his two cents on the question being discussed among tight-pants-bushy-beard-hat-on-in-the-house northern liberals who were disgusted by Mary's defeat. In a round-about way, he's seeking to remind them that the pendulum always swings back. Must-read story about Janzen Jackson DEC 17 This post on Vice Sports is an in-depth look at the life of Janzen Jack

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