Louisiana State Park Road Trip Planning

Louisiana State Parks: 21 reasons to love the Bayou State

Louisiana State Park RoadtripI was scrolling through emails one hot and steamy June 2018 afternoon. You know how it is, thumbing through endless email subject lines that you have no idea came to be in your inbox. (Side note: When did I sign up for so many food and animal rescue email subscriptions?) I landed on an email that I actually open and enjoy each time that I receive it. The LouisianaTravel.com Ambassadors: Bayou Krewe Newsletter is fun to read about what’s going on in Louisiana from other people who love the state as much as I do. In this particular email, there was a “June Challenge” which suggested making a quick road trip or an entire weekend camping with friends at any one of the 21 State Parks. “21 State Parks? Hmmm . . . I want to see them all!” was the thought that went through my head that Friday evening. Louisiana State Park Road Trip PlanningSo, I went to my desk and started plotting out my “21 State Park, One-weekend Road-trip” that I thought I was planning to take in a few weeks. 29 hours and 32 minutes were all I needed to cover the 1456 miles. I went to bed thinking that I may wake up in the morning to start my adventure. That’s exactly what I did.

Starting out Saturday morning, my plan was to hit every State Park in Louisiana by Sunday evening. It was mid-afternoon on Saturday when I realized that wasn’t going to happen. Oh well, I decided to see what I could and start again the next weekend. Here¬† are the 21 reasons to love the Bayou State of Louisiana, in the order for which I visited:

Reason #1: North Toledo Bend State Park

Reason #2: South Toledo Bend State Park

Reason #3: Sam Houston Jones State Park

Reason #4: Palmetto Island State Park

Reason #5: Cypermore Point State Park

Reason #6: Lake Fausse Pointe State Park

Reason #7: Grand Isle State Park

Reason #8: Bayou Segnette State Park

Reason #9: St. Bernard State Park

Reason #10: Fountainebleau State Park

Reason #11: Fairview-Riverside State Park

Reason #12: Bogue Chitto State Park

Reason #13: Tickfaw State Park

Tickfaw State Park

Reason #14: Chicot State Park

Reason #15: Lake Bistineau State Park

Reason #16: Jimmie Davis State Park

Reason #17: Lake Bruin State Park

Reason #18: Poverty Point Reservoir State Park

Reason #19: Chemin-A-Haut State Park

Reason #20:¬†Lake D’arbonne State Park

Reason #21: Lake Claiborne State Park

I’ve had many people ask me which was my favorite, and honestly, I can not pick a favorite. I was so stunned by the beauty of each and every park. The care that has been taken to keep our State Parks in good shape was surprising to me. The other reason that I can’t pick a favorite is that two-weekend road trips are not near enough time to find the real gems in the pack. I’m making it a priority to go back and spend more time at each park.

Robin Williams - member of the Bayou KreweIf you are looking for a quick road trip, visiting a Louisiana State Park is an inexpensive way to go. Entry fee is only $3 per person. Camping fees vary in ranges, so make sure you check out the website for each park.¬†When you go, here’s what to remember:

  • Bring fishing gear
  • Pack a Lunch
  • Wear appropriate shoes
  • Sunblock!
  • Create a travel journal to make notes & add photos (paper or electronic)
  • Tag your visits on social media using #OnlyLouisiana and #BayouKrewe (sign up to be a Bayou Krewe Ambassador)

Thank you for visiting Louisiana State Parks

That Just Happened!!
Robin Williams

All Y’all Social Glue

11073554_10204945908980605_1294152985240062350_nI recently ran across the words “social glue”. What I understood social glue to be is a way of bonding or connecting people through various actions and/or sharing commonalities. The first thing that I thought about was storytelling, and, in particular, the All Y’all Live Storytelling Events and Podcasts, that my friends Chris Jay and Sara Hebert produce. Chris and Sara are providing a safe space for people in the Shreveport-Bossier community to share experiences and situations through very personal storytelling. No scripts or notes . . . just get on stage in front of, oh, say a couple hundred people, and speak from the heart.

It never occurred to me that being a storytelling could be such a powerful glue that binds a community until I experienced myself.¬†It was the night before the “Under the Influence” All Y’all event when I was contacted by Chris asking if I’d be willing to step in as a¬†substitute for one of the storytellers. I had previously mentioned that I might be interested, and I had been thinking about the possibility¬†but was by no means prepared to step in less than 24 hours before the scheduled event. What the heck? I said “yes”. I didn’t really know what I would say, nor if I would be able to say it. Chris said he’d call me back in a few hours to discuss the details. When he called me later, he apologized and basically said, “nevermind, it’s not fair to ask you on such short notice”. I knew in the moment that I had to do it. I agreed under the condition that I may chicken out at the last minute. That’s the great thing about Chris, whether he was fine with that, or not, he said something like, “don’t you worry, just give me a signal and we’ll keep on rolling with the show”.

10995707_10204945854619246_6626746765654232419_nThe day of the event, I only told four people (two of which were my kids) that I would be speaking that night. I didn’t want the pressure of people giving me encouragement and then bailing on them. I have struggled my entire life with shyness and social anxiety and this was going to be a¬†huge step for me, although, at the time, I had no idea how HUGE. I practiced all day, recording on my iPhone and realized that there was no way that I’d be able to go through with it. My voice was just not there. I worried that no one would even be able to hear me. I was making myself sick with anxiety. As I sat in the audience waiting for my turn, I wasn’t sure until that last second if I could do it, and then I stood up. I walked to the stage and I started telling my story. My voice was there. And soon, there were people nodding, and smiling, and laughing, and . . . ¬†bonding with me. The social glue began to flow.

11751413_10205857145360945_6455528596976410319_nBut that was just the beginning. After the event, as I entered the lobby, the connections started to set in as each person who came up to me said things like “your story is my story”, “I have struggled with the same issue for years”, ¬†“You are so brave”. I then met Karen, who had been sitting in a middle seat near the front row, and had become my anchor for getting through the tough parts of my story. She helped me by giving me something to affix to in the audience. For the next few weeks, I’d be attending an event or walking through the grocery store and someone would stop me to say they had been at the All Y’all event and how much it meant to them. In addition, my life has been enhanced by the friendships I’ve built with other storytellers. Jennifer and Esther were the first two storytellers that I met and I can’t begin to tell you how they have influenced my life. (Jennifer was one of the four people I told that I was speaking that night, so there ya go.)

Below the surface, we are all struggling with something. By sharing (and listening to) stories, we can recognize ourselves in others and become connected through sameness. I have come to realize that Chris and Sara are not just providing social glue for our community, they are pouring social cement. Shreveport-Bossier is most definitely strengthened by All Y’all and the bonds being built are amazing.

To learn more about All Y’all:

That Just Happened!!
Robin Williams
Marketing Maven, Holiday Lanes

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This weekend, is the first ever, multi-night event¬†at East Bank Theatre in Bossier City. ‚ÄúMomma,‚ÄĚ an evening of stories about moms, motherhood and more, will be held on Friday, March 11, 2016. ‚ÄúDaddy,‚ÄĚ featuring stories from, to and about fathers and fatherhood, will be held on Saturday, March 12, 2016. Unfortunately, Friday is sold out and Saturday only has a few more tickets. BUT WAIT!! I have a ticket for both nights to give away.

And, how do you WIN THE GIVEAWAY?

One lucky That Just Happened¬†blog reader will receive a ticket from season sponsor¬†Holiday Lanes¬†to both Friday 3/11/16 and Saturday 3/12/16 events. Simply¬†go to ALL Y’ALL BLOG, listen to a few of the podcasts, paste your favorite storyteller title in the comments section of this blog below. (It doesn’t have to be my podcast, but here is the link in case your want it:¬†UNDER THE INFLUENCE: ROBIN WILLIAMS, ‚ÄúMR. BOURQUE‚ÄĚ) .¬†Winner will be announced¬†on Friday, March 11, 2016 at around noon.

UPDATE 3/11/16: Congrats Pat Gill – you are the winner!

 

Happy Blogday to Jada

Congrats to Jada Durden on the first anniversary of her “Loving This Life” blog. I was so excited to share in her celebration at Ernest’s Orleans Restaurant. I aspire to be in the same blogosphere realm as Jada one day.   

    Follow Jada:

Jada Durden:   Facebook   |   Website   | Twitter

That just happened,

Robin Williams,

Marketing Maven at Holiday Lanes

Get ALL Y’ALL BLOG the NPR attention it deserves

recommend allyallblog.com to NPR

Chris Jay and Sara Hebert are changing the makeup of storytelling in the South with allyallblog.com – What started as a podcast has become a live storytelling event that crosses crucial boundaries in the community.

Chris & Sara are such a compliment to their community

Chris and Sara’s wide circle of friends is a deep well of diverse people who are submerging themselves into the sometimes unknown world of storytelling. If there is a glimmer of a story, Chris and Sara will shine more light on the subject. ¬†Floating on hope that they just might have something to share, the storytellers rise up at each event, leaving us wanting more. It’s about getting everyday people to tell everyday stories. What’s amazing is the clarity that I’ve gained from listening to other storytellers. I’ve finally come to understand that we need to look outside of ourselves and see that there are folks just like us with trials, struggles, happiness, fears and accomplishments. ¬†Many stories mirror similar experiences in my own life and I’ve been able to step out of my self-centered world where I think things only happen to me.

All Y’all Blog

I think it’s time for the big time NPR geniuses to scoop up All Y’all Blog and share it with the world. Could you take a few moments to answer NPR’s¬†short and easy survey about you favorite blog of all time, assuming it’s All Y’all?

  • NPR Survey:¬†Take NPR Survey
  • Enter the All Y’all blog link:¬†http://www.allyallblog.com/
  • Select your favorite episode and enter that link as well.
  • Share the survey with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, your blog, etc.

Let’s try to get Chris & Sara the recognition the deserve.

This IS happening!

Robin Williams,
Marketing Maven at Holiday Lanes

April 6, 2015 РUPDATE! I was a storyteller in September 2014 and that podcast episode has been released: LISTEN HERE

I’m changing the title of this blog

Travel South USA Opening Reception with Meg Davenport and Jada Durden

Travel South USA Opening Reception with Meg Davenport and Jada Durden

Do you ever start something and never finish it? That’s how I feel about my blogs.¬†I have been neglecting both¬†lately. I’ve¬†realized that the neglect of this blog is because I do so much more than just volunteer¬†with the awesome Bossier Chamber of Commerce¬†and the title was pigeon-holing me.¬†I’ve decided to change the name of my blog from “My Time as a Bossier Chamber Diplomat” to “That Just Happened“. I’m hoping this will allow me to share more about¬†all of the activities for which I participate. This blog will now celebrate and promote good stuff going on in the Northwest Louisiana community¬†while¬†I¬†represent as Holiday Lanes‘ Marketing Maven.

If you subscribe to my blog, please be patient with me. I am going to try to back-post several events that I want included on my blog and that means you may get more emails than normal.

Sharing the Holiday Lanes message with the Bossier Chamber Board of Directors

Sharing the Holiday Lanes message with the Bossier Chamber Board of Directors

Working for Holiday Lanes is such a fun job. Melanie Coleman (managing member/proprietor) understands the importance of being in and supporting the community. She told me just today, “we are about to have the funnest year EVER”. This is exciting to me because as a “creative” it isn’t always easy to conform to a normal 9-5 position. Thank goodness she gives me lots of opportunities to work around that.

Showing my two posters displayed at the

Showing my two posters displayed at the “See America” Exhibit at the Meadows Museum in Shreveport, LA

The reason that I feel the need to share a blog about events going on in our area is¬†because I have this really goofy pet peeve. When I hear someone say (in a whiny voice) “There’s nothing to do around here”, I want to prove them wrong! So with that, I’m going to share, share, share.

I hope to see you around NW Louisiana,

Robin Williams,
Marketing Maven at Holiday Lanes