Should the Baton Rouge Zoo move?

Helen Wale Turner Publisher & Managing Editor

Helen Wale Turner
Publisher & Managing Editor

And, beware of bogus product claims flooding the internet
The Baton Rouge Zoo needs some upgrades – that’s not in dispute. What IS disputed is whether improvements should be made to the existing zoo near Baker or build a new zoo at a new location yet to be determined.
When the idea was first floated of moving the zoo to a site closer to the interstate to attract more tourists as well as locals, I saw the merit in that idea. I also understood the people of the Baker area not wanting to lose the zoo. However now that BREC has sweetened the pot by putting on the table an offer to move the zoo and then turn the current zoo space into a water park, I think that is more than a fair trade; it might benefit the area more to have the water park, and it may well sway public opinion.
If the public is weighing the options based on having an attraction for them and their families, it seems likely that local people would go to a waterpark several times a year while those same families might go to the zoo only once or twice a year, even though a waterpark season is commonly only Memorial Day through Labor Day and the zoo is open year round. The reason is simple: heat and humidity. On a hot, humid summer day, people might be reluctant to walk around at the zoo for an hour or more, but splashing in a waterpark all day is very appealing.
At the same time, more tourists would likely go to a zoo which is located convenient to the interstate than currently go to the zoo at its current location which is a bit of a detour for the majority of the traffic going through Baton Rouge.
Opinions have been offered that the zoo would be better served to stay where it is, enlarge it and change the entrance to Hwy. 19 for better visibility and access, and there would still be space to add a waterpark. They also suggest the zoo must overcome the negative reactions to the deaths of several zoo animals in recent month. These opinions have merit.
It was recently announced that attendance at the zoo in 2016 was at it’s lowest point in over a decade, although some of the drop is certainly due to the flood and frequent rains throughout 2016. But that doesn’t alter the fact that some things need to be fixed, and maybe that fix is a better location, maybe it’s a total overhaul and upgrade.
BREC has been holding community meetings to allow the public to ask questions, get answers and voice their opinions. Meetings have been held in Zachary and Central, and Baton Rouge, and the last remaining meeting will be aat Greenwood Waterfront Theater in Greenwood Park, Hwy. 19 on August 14. If you have a preference of one solution over the another, this is your final chance to be heard.
To take it one step further, I suggest that BREC look at the feasibility of a local survey that would let the area folks “vote” on whether they make more visits per year to the zoo or to a waterpark in their backyard. I’d guess that a waterpark would win by a “waterslide.”
Consumer Alert:
A quick note to Joanna Gaines’ fans
Joanna Gaines, star of the wildly popular “Fixer Upper” HGTV show, is attempting to shut down false rumors about her plans to leave the show to pursue a new career in skin care. She has been trying to stop the rumors for some time, but it has not worked, so she is asking her followers for help.
Gaines said in a prepared statement, “There have been rumors floating around for months about me leaving the show to start a skincare/makeup line. I want y’all know that it’s simply not true. Please spread the word by sharing, re-posting, and/or re-tweeting this post about the scam using my name to your friends and advise them not to give any money to the scammers. If you receive a post about a facial product bearing my name or come across the fake news websites or sponsored ads, please email the suspect URL (website address) to reporting@magnoliamarket.com,” Gaines said.
These fraudulent claims are being presented in false magazine and news “articles” made to look like they have been published on CNN, in People magazine and other well-known publications – complete with false testimonials from “customers” and other celebrities as well.
And worse, many of the bogus websites offer “free trials” which turn out to be scams, and consumers are being bilked out of hundreds of dollars when they are billed for numerous additional shipments.
Gaines said, “If you have already purchased an item you believe to be part of the skincare line scam, please contact your bank immediately to dispute the fraudulent charges. If you ever question the legitimacy of a site that seems to be affiliated with our Magnolia enterprises or the Gaines family or the TV show, please contact our customer service support team at shop@magnoliamarket.com to make sure it is legitimate before giving anyone your credit card information.”
Bottomline: Beware of ALL celebrity website come-ons, as Joanna Gaines is not the name being used in such a scam. There are numerous almost identical websites that differ only in the use of different celebrity names and changing the name of the facial product in each scam- and the same thing is happening with fake celebrity endorsements of weight loss products and fake government “representatives” using threats to extort money for false tax debts.
If you are a victim of any false representation, you can also file a claim with the FTC online at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov.
Helen Wale Turner