Sustainable Downtown Alive!

Are you recovered from Festival yet? If not, you've got two more days to get ready for Downtown Alive!, Lafayette's weekly mini-Festival!

The action resumes Friday evening in Downtown Lafayette with Lil Nate and the Zydeco Big Timers.

And the best part is DTA's newest addition - recycling options!

Buying beer and drinks helps to support DTA and keep it free for all patrons (that's you!). Leave your own drinks at home. And now, you'll be able to recycle those beer and drink cups and soft drink and water bottles on-site!

In addition, you can purchase a Downtown Alive! reusable plastic cup (similar to the ubiquitous Festival cups) for $2. With the cup, you get two extra ounces of beer over a regular plastic cup, and you'll be able to reuse it all season long.

One cup for the rest of the season versus two or three cups every week? The answer is obvious! Support free events by buying your drinks, and support the environment by recycling your cups instead of throwing them away or littering them.

But if you get the plain drink cups or soft drink bottles, be sure to recycle them when you're done!

And the fun doesn't stop with the seasonal DTA! In addition to DTA!, recycling service will also be available for any downtown event, courtesy of Downtown Lafayette Unlimited.

Recycling service will begin downtown on May 1st for DTA!, Downtown Crawfish Boil on May 6, Movies in the Parc throughout the summer and other events held in the downtown parcs. Thanks to Downtown Lafayette Unlimited for their dedication and work to provide recycling services for everyone who visits.

As Downtown Marketing Director Kate Durio says,

“We are looking forward to reducing the amount of waste at all events Downtown and set an example for the rest of Acadiana."

Grab your reusable DTA cup and come on out for the rest of the season:
  • May 1 - DTA! Lil Nate & the Zydeco Big Timers (Zydeco, Parc Sans Souci)
  • May 6 - Downtown Crawfish Boil (Parc-Auto du Centreville)
  • May 8 - DTA! Bonsoir Catin & Magnolia Sisters (Cajun/Zydeco, Parc Sans Souci)
  • May 15 - DTA! Soul Creole (Cajun/Zydeco, Parc Sans Souci)
  • May 16 - Movies in the Parc – Jurassic Park (Parc International)
  • May 22 - DTA! Carol Fran, Major Handy & Louisiana Soul Revue (Soul, Parc Sans Souci) 
  • May 23 - Movies in the Parc – Tangled (Parc International)

Say No to Single-use Dinnerware

Disposable dinnerware is a huge source of unnecessary waste. "But, oh, aren't paper plates recyclable?"

Well, basically no. Once paper plates or bowls get dirty, they become trash. Wet paper cannot be recycled, because its fibers are shorter and the integrity of the paper is lost. Grease is a big reason pizza boxes can't be recycled, so it has the same effect on disposable dinnerware.

Paper cups, whether the kind that come in a pack of 50 or your drive-thru coffee cup, are coated in a thin layer of wax, which helps with the water, temperature control and stability. And unfortunately, that layer of wax prevents the cup from being recyclable.

It's not hard to rise above the single-use temptation!


Post-Festival International Blues

Welp, the five-day staycation is over and the real world has blown back in like a category 1 hurricane. My feet are slowly recovering, and my house needs some serious TLC.

Did you make it out to Festival International? Did you geaux green?

We recycled Festival cups and saved a bunch to reuse; I reused a plastic fork until it fell on the ground and then I recycled it; we used my clean cloth napkin as a sweat rag on the last day; I went for the refillable daiquiri cup so I could cut down on the amount of new cups to have to recycle; I found myself picking up litter and throwing it in the appropriate bin; we rode our bikes all five days; and I supported local vendors.

Project Front Yard conducted two trash mobs over the weekend, helping to pick up all the litter left around.

Be the Y in Lafayette. Y? Because you can make a difference!

All decked out in its Festival outfit.

The recycling volunteers and crews did a great job of emptying the bins once they got full. It was so great to see the bins being used, although I know there was a crazy amount of non-recyclable stuff in them...mostly styrofoam. If only we could work on the vendors to serve food in a styrofoam alternative!


The downtown parklet is still kicking, and it's been refreshed with some new plants and new sunny yellow umbrellas. It provided a great vantage point for the band on the first evening.


 The parking garage top level provided a unique vantage point to Scene Fais Do Do and the parklet.

The handy dandy backpack. Made from recycled cotton, this Baggu bag worked out perfectly. Added my own patches for some uniqueness, and it literally makes this the Eco Cajun backpack. Packed with my reusable water bottle and travel fork.

You know, the more you bike and walk, the more fried goodness you can eat!

Watching my frands Sean Bruce and Fawn Larson! I remember when Sean first played Festival five years ago...on the sidewalk in front of a bar. And now he's playing the big stages!

You can do more than just recycle Mardi Gras beads for reuse in future parades...they also make a great craft material. New Orleans' UP Unique Products makes lanterns, bowls and other home decor pieces by melting beads down.

At least there was really only one day of brutal Louisiana heat and sunshine...napkins work out great to keep the sweat out of your eyes.

Reusing the drink cartons as a makeshift bridge over the deep mud. It's repurposing, or coonass ingenuity! 

These guys walked around Festival all weekend, and they were made with recycled materials! Mrs.' hair on the left is made with soft drink cans. Her dress is made with rice bags. Mr.'s hat is made with Whole Foods paper bags. His jacket is newspaper.

By 5:30 on Saturday afternoon, you'd never have known it was pouring down rain just five hours earlier.

Heavy rain and cardboard trash bins may not be the best combination...

Until next Festival...


Earth Day | A Photo Essay

Happy Earth Day, y'all! While so many treehuggers joke that "every day is Earth Day", it's fun to have a day to just celebrate our planet and all it does for us.

Today, I'll share some photos from my Earth Month so far instead of babbling on for way too long.


Bugs and Chemicals Be Gone

Mosquitoes are a common and serious problem in warmer, humid areas. If you're in Louisiana, you're no stranger to the annoying things. They tend to breed in warm, standing water...and you can find that anywhere right after a big rain, just like the past week of rain we've had.

Getting bitten by a mosquito is more than just itchy and annoying - it can make you sick. West Nile virus is transmitted by mosquitoes and though it's rare, it can kill. 

It's easy to grab a can of bug spray to help protect yourself from getting mosquito or other bug bites. But even that isn't the best idea. DEET is a common chemical found in most insect repellents, and its function is to mask your own scent in order to repel insects. While the EPA says the amounts aren't enough to hurt you, it still has poisonous effects. The National Institute of Health notes that people who use very high concentrations of DEET on their skin over a long period of time, such as military personnel or game wardens, can face more severe skin reactions that include blisters, burning and permanent scars of. Other symptoms associated with long-term use of over 50% concentrations of DEET include insomnia and mood changes. If you swallow a large amount, you could experience low blood pressure and a low heart rate, but the most serious complication of DEET ingestion is neurological damage.

While common bug sprays don't have that high a concentration of DEET, it's still a toxic chemical that you're spraying onto your skin, where it's then absorbed into your body. And that's not healthy or green!

So, what are the alternatives?


geaux green! | eco cajun's guide to festival international

Festival International Week is upon us! And coincidentally, this year it kicks off on Earth Day! All the more reason to go green this weekend.

My fiance and I are Festival fanatics, and it'll be our fourth year spending the whole final weekend of April together in downtown Lafayette, checking out new bands, hanging out with friends, eating really good food, and just enjoying the spirit and the culture of our home. We're also as eco-friendly as we can be, from being prepared and packing right to choosing better transportation.

Two years ago, I created the Eco Cajun Guide to Festival, and this year it's back and better than before!

Festival International supports and encourages all efforts to keep the area clean both before, and most importantly, after Festival has ended with the goal of leaving the area as clean as possible.


live. love. local.

The push for supporting more local businesses has grown rapidly over the years. Eat Lafayette, Shop Lafayette, Small Business Saturday, etc. What's all the fuss about?

Supporting local businesses, both small and large, benefits the local economy and has a bigger impact on it than chain stores do. More of your money will stay local, especially if you support businesses that buy their goods and services from OTHER local companies. 


burn cleaner, burn brighter

I love candles. Like, LOVE them. I have an assortment for every season and rotate them out with a giddy look on my face.

In fact, I just cleaned the wax out of about 10 finished candles this past weekend so I can save the jars to use again. (And most likely, now that I've learned some tricks from Syrup Row, I'll be making a few of my own candles for my home.) (If you're my fiance...I promise I won't hoard the jars too long in the house!)

Did you know that not all candles are created equal? As Syrup Row demonstrates, there's a greener kind of candle, and a very big factor in a candle's sustainability is what type of wax you burn.


syrup row | local business spotlight

A lot of times, the people you know are the ones who help you meet other awesome people. Thanks to my fiance and a bunch of mutual friends, I met Shaylyn a couple years ago. During Mardi Gras this year, we got to talking and I learned she's the entrepreneur behind Syrup Row, a local candle venture. Shaylyn makes her candles as eco-friendly as possible, and I knew I had to feature her on Eco Cajun.

Plus, I really wanted to watch her make some candles!


conserving water around your home

Water conservation is an important thing to focus on, no matter where you live. Everyone needs water to survive, and only a small fraction of the water on our planet is fit for us to use. It's always important to conserve and not be careless, but it's especially important in places that are in a drought.

By reducing the amount of water you use and increasing the amount of rainwater you reuse, you'll save a LOT of water! And it's not hard to make changes in your day-to-day routine.


a better bed for your furry friend

If you have a pet that has their own bed, unlike my spoiled child Milo who sleeps in my arms or anywhere within six inches of me, you know that pet beds can get expensive fast.

Did you know that it's easy to make upcycled pet beds for cheap, with items you probably already have?

It's this week's installment of...


dyeing easter eggs without artificial color

A couple years back, I researched natural Easter egg dyes for a blog post, and did my first experiment with using spices and foods instead of those little colored tablets. The experiment took forever (but then again, so does much of my cooking), but I was pleasantly surprised by the results.

Conventional Easter egg dyes yield bright, colorful eggs, but they also seep through the shell onto the egg white itself. Studies are finding that food coloring, which is used in conventional egg dyes, can have negative effects on children's health, including hyperactivity, allergies and learning impairment. While there may not be a definitive answer on the effects from food coloring, do you want to chance it with your children, especially when you can achieve the same festive outcome with real food ingredients?


earth month events in louisiana

What's happening around south Louisiana to celebrate Earth Month? Get your list here!

Click on the event title to visit their Facebook event page, which features maps and full event details.

Did I miss anything? Email me and let me know!


We all know that roadside trash is ugly, and in many cases, smelly. Project Front Yard has been instrumental in bringing the focus to taking pride in our city and cleaning up areas all over town.

Next month, they're hosting the 2015 Trash Bash, going for a large-scale litter-collecting effort, and they're calling for volunteers! Any resident and group of volunteers are invited to participate in cleaning our roadsides and waterways. Do you belong to an organization or sports team? Gather up your group and volunteer together! Grab a few friends and make your own group! Round up your coworkers!

You'll pick a designated area in Lafayette Parish that you intend to liberate from litter. If you don't have a particular area, just call the Lafayette Consolidated Government Recycling Department at 337-291-5637, and they'll help you pick a site.

You can bring your own, but gloves, bags, safety vests and litter grabbers will be available for you to use. Call ahead and pick some up at the Recycling Office, located at 400 Dugas Road in Lafayette, from Monday, April 20 – Friday, May 1 between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. If you don't pick any up then, grab some at Bayou Vermilion District at 6:30 a.m. the morning of the event.

To get involved, you just need to register online, or by calling the Recycling Department. It's a free event; they just need a head count! Make sure to register before Thursday, April 30, 2015.

You'll get a free Trash Bash t-shirt just for participating! Plus, food and drinks will be provided once you return to Bayou Vermilion District around 11:30.

There's plenty of time for you to round up a group of volunteers and register for Project Front Yard's 2015 Trash Bash! Let's help make this one of Lafayette's biggest cleanups and let's get rid of all that litter!

time to celebrate earth month + a new look for eco cajun

No fooling kicks off the annual Earth Month, a celebration stemmed from Earth Day on April 22. As you know from past years, or can imagine, Earth Month is one of my favorite times of the year.

April in general is such a great time of the year, especially in South Louisiana. The weather is in that between phase of gray winter and balls-hot summer. Everyone’s yard is blooming. Local events are happening outside, just about every single day. I find reasons to do everything outside, like my writing and brainstorming afternoon this past weekend. Bike rides are common occurrences. And one of my favorite events of the year is coming up...Festival International!

Of course I love to celebrate Earth Month on top of all of that...April is a great time to simply appreciate this Earth.

As you’ve probably noticed, I’m kicking off this Earth Month with something very special...Eco Cajun got a facelift! I’m so excited to give the site a refreshed, updated look, and I love how everything turned out. When I sat down with my handy dandy notebook before 2015 started, and I started drafting a list of blog topic ideas and goals, a redesign was near the top of the list.

New colors, a new layout and a clean look...check, check and check! Thank you to Michelle over at Dixie Lust for helping me install and tweak everything, and for the thousands of Photoshop lessons.

And because I am working so furiously to make 2015 the most amazing year (which, hello, I’ve already achieved that goal only three months in), I’m also excited to announce my month-long ‘residency’ over at 106.3 Radio Lafayette! Side notes, I've been a loyal fan of 106.3 ever since they launched a couple years back, and if any radio station matches my musical tastes, it's this one. Radio station mix or my music library? I can't tell the difference anymore!

Huge thanks to Matt for having me in once a week to share eco-friendly tips with everyone in honor of Earth Month. Listen on your radio or streaming online on Wednesday mornings to hear my ridiculous voice talk about my favorite subject.

So, I’ll leave you with a few basic tips on what you can do to celebrate Earth Month and go green:

  • Use your reusable bags! This is one of my cardinal tips for going green. By investing in a few cloth shopping bags, you will eliminate so many plastic bags from the waste stream. Fewer bags being littered, fewer bags in’s just one of the most needless items. So, get some cloth bags and take them with you when you go shopping at the grocery store or anywhere. Bonus: some places will give you five cents off per bag! Cloth bags also make great lunch bags for work.
  • Recycle as much as you can. Of note: bottle caps and pizza boxes or frozen food boxes are not recyclable! Plastic bags are not recyclable in your curbside bin, but you CAN bring them to your local grocery store.
  • Conserve energy at home. Whether you change your lightbulbs to CFLs, you make sure to turn off the lights when you leave the room, or you turn your thermostat up a couple degrees, you’ll help lower your utility bill.
  • Keep a reusable coffee/tea mug at work. Avoid the disposable cups by reusing your mug every day. You’ll get to show off your style, and you’ll eliminate a lot of trash. Go even further by stirring your coffee or tea with a spoon instead of those stirrers. 
So, I wish you all a very happy and GREEN Earth Month! Follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or subscribe to RSS updates so you know every time I have a new post!

Back to Top