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Smoking Ban Amendments; Lower Garden District Boom

Plus, catch a crawfish eating contest.

Brace for the smoking ban.
Brace for the smoking ban.

SMOKING BAN WIRE—With just 12 days to go until the citywide smoking ban goes into effect, some minor amendments are being made to the new policy. Most notably, smokers won't have to keep any particular distance away from businesses, meaning they're free to light up or vape right outside. []

GARDEN DISTRICT—The Lower Garden District is transforming from "a once-blighted pocket into a food and drink destination." These days you can hit up pint-sized French Truck Coffee for an organic, free-trade espresso, sip draft beer and eat from food trucks at The Courtyard Brewery, sample a wide range of bourbons at Barrel Proof, and find some of the city's only Texas-style smoked brisket at Black Label Barbeque. [Advocate]

FRENCH QUARTER—Wanna watch people consume absurd quantities of crawfish? Look no further than the 2015 Rouses Crawfish Eating World Championship, which goes down Saturday at the Old U.S. Mint as part of French Quarter Fest. Hungry hopefuls include famed competitive eater Sonya Thomas and Times-Picayune staffer James Karst. The event starts at 1 p.m. []