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tailgates of the city

This weekend marks the inaugural Louisiana Tailgate & BBQ Festiva, a three-day expo of barbecue competitions, live music and sports-themed programs from Aug. 21-23. The action takes place on newly designed, 26-acre festival grounds adjacent to the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Don't head down with ideas of showing off your own tailgating prowess, however. Al fresco cooking contests, including a barbecue challenge, will feature pre-selected contestants and organizers say no "personal tailgating" will be allowed. Tickets are required. For schedules and details, see

Hi, Bachi!

A large new Japanese hibachi restaurant is open in the Carrollton area. Okinawa (1340 S. Carrollton Ave., 961-9688) has a sushi bar and an array of the communal-style hibachi grill tables. It's located in the building previously occupied by Saltwater Grill (710 S. Carrollton Ave., 324-6640; before it moved down the street. For many years prior to Saltwater Grill, the building was home to Cucos Mexican Cafe.

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