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Letter from the Editor By Abby Meaux Conques


ith the cooler breeze of Fall (or around here, simply not so scorching hot!) comes the anticipation of the holiday seasons along with everything that whirlwinds around with them; holidays, parties, gatherings, plans, Christmas breaks, etc. The consensus from the wonderful people I’ve been speaking with lately to gather content for this issue seems to be that often among all of the planning and going here and needing to go there, parties and expectations can feel daunting before these months even get here. Modern society seems to revel in the busyness and the bustle, when what I’m hearing is a lot of people simply wanting to slow things down, myself included. Before this issue was being planned, our team had the overwhelming feeling to shift gears a bit with 337 Magazine’s content. We wanted more stories about real people, real life happenstances and advice to go along with it. We sought out more industry professionals like licensed counselors, professionals in their own rights, and people with years of experience in their fields to write pieces for this issue. I’m proud to say that we found a pocket of people willing to put their voices out there and share their expertise with our readers so that you can have more genuine content. We feel like it’s high time to bring back storytelling and really being able to connect with each other. We think it’s important to gather more information about important community events which make real impacts that anyone can be a part of and to point out interesting things about our area that may prompt you to explore the familiar a bit more. We wanted a magazine that you could pick up for free, and really take the time to sit with and read, even if you need to keep coming back to it; especially for the personal stories and advice. On a raw personal note, during the time between this issue and last issue, my sweet and amazing hero of a Father passed away suddenly and very unexpectedly...and it forced me to look at the world through different lenses. What I notice now are people in line at the grocery store, or driving, or at school drop off who seem like they just may not be able to smile in that moment. I notice now that every single person around us is grieving something or holding onto heavy things. It may be because of marital problems, losing a job, or they had to put their pet to sleep, or their child is getting bullied at school, or they received medical news, or they’re caring for their parents, or they’re experiencing depression, or the world just feels really heavy right now. The bottom line is that everyone, everywhere is experiencing some type of emotional weight which comes with the package of being just plain human. With that in mind, I began to think about exploring content that could give tips on how to handle grief during the holidays, no matter how long ago you’ve experienced loss. I sought out licensed counselors to write about setting healthy boundaries during the holidays when a lot of families are expected to make every holiday event. We all know that sometimes people really


just want to be home snuggled up with their families and enjoying some down time. I wanted an outlet for professionals to be able to write about how self-care is more than a buzz phrase and that it’s necessary. I wanted readers to absorb stories about how it’s absolutely okay to say “no” to things with no excuse needed or guilt about it, simply because you want to spend cherished time with loved ones. I wanted people to see that it's okay to follow that nudge of wanting your child to participate in more charitable activities this holiday season rather than being involved in material gift exchanges, and that new family holiday traditions are okay to want and to make happen. My hope is that you enjoy all of the pieces that came together to make this issue amazing...that at least one story resonates and sticks with you, and that you gain something from taking the time to read this publication. I know I put my heart and soul into helping piece it together, and I sincerely hope that you can feel that through the imagery, words and subject matter. The intended theme for this issue is to gather. Gather with your immediate core circle, or your outer bands of friends and family, or gather with like-minded people for the first time in your life. Gather with those that enrich your life and give you love. Gather and spend time together and have belly laughs and eat good food and cherish the moments. I hope you make more time for people and less time stressing out about buying material things for people who really just want to spend time with their own people, too. Every page is meant to shed some light on gathering and togetherness...and that we are all concurrently experiencing this big, grand thing called life. I sincerely hope you enjoy the read, Abby Meaux Conques


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OWNERS/PUBLISHERS 337 Media Editor / Creative Director: Abby Meaux Conques Graphic Designer: Abby Meaux Conques Ad Design: Abby Meaux Conques Digital Media: Abby Meaux Conques, April Guillote, Heidi Roy

337 CORRESPONDENTS Brandon Alleman, Adam Chauvin, Cheré Coen, Brandon Comeaux, Hannah Comeaux, Abby Meaux Conques, Jared Conques, Heather Courville, Amanda Elliott, Monica Grizzaffi, Lisa Hanchey, Amelie Harding, C.F. Jolivette, Jennifer Kern Leblanc, Renee Ory, Nicholas Pepper, Leah Richard, Allison Saltzman, Liz Smith, Yvette Quartz, Lucas Vella

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS / ARTISTS Adam Chauvin, Abby Meaux Conques, Denny Culbert, Kelly Guidry, Mandy Osgood, Chelsea Poynot, Liz Smith, Burning Stick Creative, Developing Lafayette

CONTACT US Editorial: Advertising:



4 Cajun Nation: Breaux Bridge 7 A Day in Downtown: Broussard 8 Women in Politics 11 Adopt A Bus Stop

34 Healthy Skin for Sweater Weather 35 Winter Weather Hair Advice

HOME + STYLE 12 Spruce Up Your Space 13 Cozy Home Decor for the Holiday Season 14 Floor Decor

FOOD + DRINK 16 Gather & Graze 18 DIY BBQ Nacho At-Home Tailgate 19 Adam Eats 20 Eat Fit

HEALTH + FITNESS 21 Starting Fresh: Local Food Shopping 22 Local Farm Spotlight: Bien Aime 23 The Skinny on Weight Loss Difficulties

WELLBEING 24 Worth Its Weight in Salt 25 Enjoying the Holidays 26 Navigating Grief During the Holidays

DATING + MARRIAGE 36 Setting Healthy Boudaries for Newlyweds

KIDS 36 How Practicing Self Care Improves Parenting Skills 37 From Everyday Life to the Pages of Children's Books 38 Making the Holidays more Mindful

SPORTS + ADVENTURE 41 Getting Your Fill of Limits and Memories 42 McNeese State University 42 Louisiana State University 43 University of Louisiana at Lafayette 44 The Lasting Lessons of Friday Night Football

LEISURE + EVENTS 45 Fall Playgrounds 46 47 Years in the Back of the House

ART + CULTURE 47 From the Swamp to the Studio 48 Featured Artist: Kelly Guidry

REAL LIFE STORIES 28 Acadiana's Own Storytellers: Preserving Lives & Legacies 30 Lafayette's Own Boutique Facility for Breast Reconstruction 31 A Personal Struggle with PCOS 32 My Cancer Story: When Faith is All You Have Left

All pages within 337 magazine are the property of 337 magazine. No portion of the materials on the pages may be reprinted or republished in any form without the express written permission of 337 magazine ©2019. The content of 337 magazine has been checked for accuracy, but the publishers cannot be held liable for any update or change made by advertisers and/or contributors to the magazine. 337 Media, LLC is not responsible for injuries sustained by the reader while pursuing activities described or illustrated herein, nor failure of equipment depicted or illustrated herein. No liability is, or will be, assumed by 337 magazine, 337 Media or any of its owners, administration, writers or photographers for the magazine or for any of the information contained within the magazine. All rights reserved.









There's no lack of places to experience amazing food in Breaux Bridge. I'm talking places that Anthony Bourdain visited when he came to Louisiana. I'm talking best bites you've ever had. I'm talking atmoshpere. I'm talking eating in buildings on the historical registry and Mom and Pop shops that fry the best catfish...there's something for everyone and reasons to return to Cajun country over and over again. Let's talk Creole and Cajun cooking...let's talk Glenda's Creole Kitchen Restaurant. For fabulous food and friendly service, you definitely want to put this spot on your list; in fact, it was on Anthony Bourdain's - he deemed her gravy "the Gravy of the Gods." Think about that for a second...Bourdain...held her gravy in such high regard. The restaurant was established in 2000 after Glenda's vision came to fruition when co-workers paid her to bring them her home-cooked meals for their lunches. Eventually, she found her spot and opened a drive-thru restaurant, expanding to a dine-in kitchen a few years later. She's appeared on the Travel Channel and the Cooking Channel, along with winning a host of awards including holding the first place spot in the Okra Cookoff for three years in a row. She offers lunch specials, soulfeeding plates and catering. You'll probably want to try her place on a day when they have the stuffed turkey wings on the menu. Check the Glenda's Creole Kitchen Facebook page for weekly menu schedules and head over to 3232 Main Highway in Breaux Bridge for a genuine taste of Southern Creole cooking. Thinking burgers? Here's two spots to tantalize your burger buds: Jeaux Biff's Burgers and Beer and Angelle's Old Fashioned Burgers. Jeaux Biffs boasts about "the Blaise" burger which is a bacon cheeseburger with Swiss and American cheeses, grilled onions and jalepenos; a tasty burger that brings you heat. They also have an array of po-boys and sandwiches. It's located at 625 Grand Point Hwy and always has cold beer in the bar.




By Abby Meaux Conques

The roots of this city can be traced back to 1771 when Acadian trailblazer, Firmin Breaux, bought land where Breaux Bridge would emerge. In 1799 he constructed a footbridge for easier travel for family and friends across Bayou Teche. This initial bridge was a suspension footbridge. Firmin’s son, Agricole, built the first vehicular bridge in 1817, allowing wagons to cross and expanded commerce to the area. The bridge marked Breaux Bridge as the only spot along the Bayou Teche to expand from both sides simultaneously. The town was officially founded in 1829 when Agricole’s young widow, Scholastique Picou Breaux, drew up plans for the city and began developing the property she owned by selling lots to other Acadian settlers. Today, the city is a famous little hot spot day getaway for easy Saturday morning strolls, swamp tours, dancing, and amazing food. Breaux Bridge experiences are like no other, with the friendly people being one of the most enjoyable parts.

Angelle's Old Fashioned Burgers is a must-stop spot when you're out and about perusing antiques downtown on a Saturday. Serving burgers, sandwiches and onion rings that are enough to make your mouth water, they also periodically offer an impromptu pop up Cajun jam. Be sure to like their Facebook page for specials and jam info. Thinking steak dinner? Sunday brunch? Think Cafe' Sydnie Mae. The historical spot advertises their penchant for steaks, seafood, and spirits; let me tell you, myself and many others can vouche for all three. The service and soul put into the experience and dishes are like none other. The award-winning executive chef of the restaurant, Bonnie Breaux, is actually a direct descendant of Fermin Breaux; the unofficial founder of the city. It seems only fitting that she conjures up delectable dishes on a historical street downtown that her ancestors had such a crucial part in constructing. The restaurant space has been completely revamped since its new ownership. It even offers live jazz music on many Wednesday evenings and actively participates in charitable guest chef nights for various causes that benefit area non-profits. Even if youre not hungry, drop by the bar where experienced bartenders serve up your favorite cocktail while you watch downtowngoers traverse the St. Martin Parish streets.


Population statistics according to 2017 census. Images courtesy of each establishment's Facebook pages. 337M A GA ZIN E.C O M

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Head into Downtown Breaux Bridge and stop into a variety of antique shops, flea markets, jewelry shops, clothing stores and galleries. Peruse downtown Breaux Bridge and pop into any one of these amazing spaces while walking. Notable stops are the The Breaux Bridge Antique Mall at 124 W. Bridge St. It boasts 17,000+ square feet of marketplace packed with ever-changing selections of antiques, collectibles, and art. Another notable flea market spot is Something Old, Something New at 801 Berard St.


Walk on further downtown and run into Janell's Gifts at 200 E Bridge St. and find unqiue pieces curated for antique enthusiasts and amateur flea market finders alike.

Let me tell you something; if you've never experienced a Zydeco Breakfast or a Cajun Music Jam session, run, don't walk, to downtown Breaux Bridge. These days, Buck and Johnny's hosts a myriad of up-and-coming and veteran musicians that play Cajun, Zydeco and Creole music until you need some ibuprofen for your little legs from dancing. Cajun jams are a tradition...a birth right. You have the last name Huval? Cajun jam. You're from any parish in a 15 mile radius from St. Martin? Cajun jam. If your grandparents listened to KBON or KRVS, you need a Cajun jam for your bloodline to continue. Even men with two left feet should drag their wives and kids to a Zydeco breakfast or a cajun jam to make everyone's hearts happy. Buck and Johnny's is a self-proclaimed eclectic Italian restaurant that now serves as the go-to Zydeco breakfast spot for downtown Breaux Bridge. Sure, you can get some dancing in, but where else can you get "Troubled Water" (i.e. grits topped with crawfish etouffee) or biscuits topped with crab portabella brie? All this food fare serves as the perfect fuel for crazy dancing legs on a beautiful weekend morning. Looking for a nighttime spot where you can shake a little leg? Look no further than La Poussiere. The notorious place has hosted many an important figure to Cajun and Zydeco music throughout the years since its inception in 1955 by the Patin family. It's reported that the original signage for the dancehall read "PATIN’S BAR." The dance every Saturday night was referred to as “LA POUSSIERE’” (the French word for “The Dust”.) The patrons who frequented the dancehall reportedly named it so after nights of foot stomping fun, which extended well into the early morning hours. The constant vibration of the hardwood resting on a dirt floor caused a noticeable accumulation of dust (POUSSIERE). In 1975, a major road construction project forced the demolition of the original dancehall and facilitated its move to the location where it still operates today at 1215 Grand Pointe Ave. They have a bang-up schedule on Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons that can be checked out on their site Bring your people; this is an experience to be had.

Shops and Galleries If you're looking for one-of-a-kind finds, check out Breaux Bridge's own Rustic Relic and Pink Alligator Gallery. The Rustic Relic is run by "two sisters and a sweet momma." They describe themselves as "boho chic and filigree antique styles." From custom orders for heirloom baptismal gowns, recycled Victorian brooches and one-of-a-kind worn buttery leather cuffs. Rustic Relic showcases their custom wares on Facebook, so be sure to follow them and stop in when you're downtown at 113 N. Main Street.

Scenic By-Ways What's known as Bayou Teche Scenic Byway Country is a scenic route that traipses alongside the Bayou Teche, a body of water that meanders for 125 miles through the land and vegetation of Southern Louisiana, and is a journey into the ancestral markings of the surroundings. The body of water was the center of a booming cypress industry in the early 1900s. Visitors can get a firsthand glimpse of magnificent oaks with 100+ foot reaches, and glorious, trailing moss.

The Pink Alligator Gallery at 112 E Bridge St. recently opened in downtown Breaux Bridge and is the brainchild of artists Robin & Kelly Guidry. Robin envisioned a gallery that would become a destination for impeccably curated art and handcrafted jewelry by emerging as well as established artists. Robin also showcases her jewelry pieces which use antique coins and military metals, mixed with modern elements, to become distinctive statement pieces perfect for everyday wear or as a beautful individual creation for that final touch for formal wear needed for holiday parties, Mardi Gras balls, and the like.

The trail was designated by the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. Amongst the byway’s banks are numerous significant places, notably French towns along the upper Teche, such as Breaux Bridge. You can obtain cycling, walking or driving maps from STOCK IMAGERY AND IMAGES FROM EACH ENTITIES' SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES 5



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DAY IN DOWNTOWN First Stop: Ton's Drive In


Spend Better Days in Broussard By Abby Meaux Conques

Open since 1963, this spot is a staple in the Broussard area to say the least. A family owned business since its incepetion, it boasts the title of having the very first drive-thru window in Lafayette Parish. The soul-feeding breakfast and lunch menu will hit you right in the nostalgic feels. Each plate is made to order and served with a friendly smile.

Next, Lunch: BJ's Poor Boys and Plate Lunches

Built in the early 1900's, Lucien Ducrest ran this spot as a drug store before its use as a post office, grocery store, dancing school and shared space with Roy Billeaud while Billeaud's was being built. In the 1970's it became Jo's Sandwich Shop. Eventually the name became BJ's and in 1995 was under new ownership to be made in "the Olde Tyme tradition" just as Lafayette's Olde Tyme Grocery Poor Boy Shop. Stop in for the famous poor boys and plate won't be disappointed.

Then Shop: House of Broussard

A walk across the street from Ton's in Downtown Broussard, you can find this little gem to peruse beautiful wares. This gorgeous structure was restored in 2016 back to the original state it was in from 1905 when it was the Lucien Ducrest building. It served as a thrift store and pharmacy for decades before becoming a Federal Government library and Post Office. The building was restored by well-known interior designer M. Clare Broussard who has a penchant for renovation and restoration. With textiles and fabrics being her passion, items in her store are carefully and artfully chosen for display and available for purchase. The building has that classic charm to shop amongst when looking for exceptional decorating finds and unique gifts. You can find beautiful pieces for home, local art to dress your walls, and one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry that you'll love to wear and are sure to wow.

Makin' Groceries: Billeaud's Meat & Grocery

This 4th generation-owned staple of Broussard started out in the 1880's as a supplier of dry goods for townspeople and farmers. Keeping the ownership in the family, each generation expanded the business. Current owner, Billy, added large kitchens in order to manufacture Cajun specialties like boudin, cracklin, gumbo, and the like in house. Pick up a couple of links of boudin to snack on in the afternoon and a stuffed chicken to prepare for dinner, and you'll be all set! 7


Women in Politics: Race for Lafayette Mayor-President

By Leah Richard


n October voters will head to the polls to cast their vote for the next Mayor-President of Lafayette Parish. For the first time in the history of the position, a woman could be at the helm come election day. Three of the five candidates to qualify are women, a reflection of the changing times in the country as well as right here in Acadiana. More women are running for office now than ever before. While each of the female candidates are pleased to inspire future generations, they have their campaigns laser-focused on the issues, not gender. The main issue for each of them? Flooding.

“I spent my whole career working on local issues and just really felt called to serve." Carlee Alm-LaBar

“The problem is very complex,” explains candidate Carlee Alm-LaBar. “One step won’t solve it. We actually need to attack our drainage problem with a multi-pronged approach. We need to continually evaluate the projects we’re doing. We have access to data,

we need to select the projects that most clearly lower our flood risk.” Carlee Alm-LaBar is a former Lafayette Consolidated Government director, she feels her track record in getting things done within the confines of the government speaks volumes of her leadership ability. “I spent my whole career working on local issues and just really felt called to serve,” she explains. Alm-LaBar, 42, of Lafayette, is registered as 'no party' and describes herself as fiscally conservative, both personally and with government money. She joined Lafayette Consolidated Government in March 2010 as assistant to then City-Parish President Joey Durel. After more than four years, Alm-LaBar became LCG's chief development officer. She is adamant that the flooding issues in the parish and the economy are tied together.

She was the first female candidate to ever throw her hat in the ring for Mayor-President, but it wasn’t a factor in her decision to run. “It wasn’t something I considered when I decided to run, but it hits home know when I talk to girls, especially teenagers and they tell me things like I want to be the Mayor-President. That part has been really inspirational.”

“I knew this was the right time for me to run, we need that leadership in the office right now..." Nancy Marcotte

“The flood issue is something that has economic impacts on our health and vitality as a community. They go hand in hand.”

Lafayette realtor Nancy Marcotte threw her hat in the ring as the second female joining the race for Lafayette Mayor-President. Marcotte was licensed as a realtor in Louisiana in 2001. Two years later, she opened one of the first Keller Williams franchises in the state and now is the broker of three Keller Williams franchises and an investor in three others across the South. “I knew this was the right time for me to run, we need that leadership in the office right now, we need someone who’s going build jobs in Lafayette and Lafayette Parish. I have that experience of building jobs,” Marcotte says.

Like her opponents, she believes the number one issue on everyone’s minds has to do with drainage. “I have been told there has been no formal request for the Vermilion River to be dredged,

Pictured at top left to right: Carlee Alm-Labar, Simone Champagne, Nancy Marcotte 8


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that’s the first thing that needs to be done. I would set up as task force who’s only job it is to clean ditches and maintain the drainage system.” She also sees flooding as a major contributor to the issue of job creation, but says there are other factors at play as well. “The flooding issue makes it hard for people to open up businesses here, but also we need to improve our tax system to attract businesses.” Marcotte describes herself as a a pro-life, pro-Second Amendment businesswoman, she sees her gender as a way to encourage more female participation in leadership, but thinks she brings more to the table. “I think I have the most experience to get things done as Mayor-President. But it’s nice that I could open the door for future women to get things done as well.” Former state Rep. Simone Champagne was the fourth candidate in the race for Lafayette Mayor-President and the third woman. “I feel like I can offer my experience and knowledge along with my conservative values.”

She is a registered Republican and served in the state House of Representatives for District 49, which includes parts of Iberia and Vermilion parishes, from 2008 until Dec. 31, 2014, resigning a year early to serve as Youngsville's chief administrative officer under first-term Mayor, Ken Ritter. “The top issue for me is drainage. I was in Youngsville for the 2016 flood and I’ve represented a coastal parish that has had many flooding issues. I’m going to attack this issue with a regional vision. I have those alliances; it takes more than just Lafayette Parish.”

getting involved, but hopes people see more than her gender when they go to vote. “I mentor women when they call and ask me what it’s like to be in a political realm, I think more women should be involved, I encourage that. But here’s what I tell people, don’t vote for me because I’m a woman, vote for me because I’m the best person for the job.”

“I feel like I can offer my experience and knowledge along with my conservative values.”

Like the other candidates in the race, she knows the Simone Champagne flooding issue hurts the parish on several fronts, including public safety and economic stability. “It’s also an economic issue, if people and businesses don’t feel safe here, they won’t stay. We don’t want people leaving our parish” Champagne raised five children before entering politics. She is pleased more women are

All three women are relying on their experience and message to attract voters, not their gender, but all of them realize the historical significance of the race for women across Acadiana. Also, in the race are Josh Guillory and Carlos Harvin. The election is October 12.


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Call to Action, Y'all: Adopt a Bus Stop Small Projects That Can Yield Big Results By Abby Meaux Conques District 8 City-Parish Councilwoman Liz Webb Hebert is a self-proclaimed project enthusiast. “I’ve always been good at putting projects together. I love to start them and see them through,” she said recently. When she first ran for office four years ago, she didn’t want to make any big promises that she knew were impossible to tackle. She knew that small projects would snowball off of each other and yield big results. Hebert prides herself on being very accessible to the community. Monthly, she sends an emailed newsletter updating subscribers on current issues. She currently maintains a 24-hour email and phone call return policy and performs weekly drives through her district so she can immediately address any issues like litter and reporting potholes. During Hebert’s first term in office, she worked closely with LCG Public Works and District 8 community members to address road projects and critical flooding concerns. In addition, she worked with Republic to get all plastics recycled, as opposed to just two. She also established Lafayette’s first Safe Exchange location for online purchases and custody exchange for shared custody families. Just the Safe Exchange spots alone have garnered a 30% decrease in police calls for incidents involving exchanges of goods for online purchases. The best part: it didn’t cost taxpayers a dime. That small project, which was suggested by a community member, only required some phone calls to the police station, a donation of two parking spots from the police station, and two signs marking the safe exchange location. “That project showed me how small steps taken can make big differences and that I could utilize my resources in my position to help the people in my community, “ she said. Hebert’s latest sights are set on an Adopt a Bus Stop program to cover more of Lafayette’s 600 plus unsheltered bus stops. The Adopt a Bus Stop campaign got started just as the Safe Exchange did: by community members calling and messaging her with ideas. Hebert would get calls from upset citizens

reporting seeing people laying down and sitting on the concrete in the heat of summer, in the cold of winter, and in the pouring rain waiting for their bus. Elderly people, working moms with small children, men trying to get to work, people leaving the Emergency Room, sick people leaving the hospital after surgeries...all waiting for the bus with no place to rest and no shelter. Hebert immediately contacted Lafayette Parking and Transit who told her that their budget currently allows them to build 11 stops a year, with 650 bus stops left to cover costing roughly $6000 to build each stop.

“I knew that with those numbers, those stops would never come close to being built in our lifetime,” she said. “We have to do better.” Hebert began speaking to friends and family about how frustrating that community problem was. They wondered if local people and businesses would come together to jumpstart new covered stops. Hebert brought a call to action to locals informing them that each bus stop can be built for upwards of about $6000 and would include construction, three windowed walls, cement, solar panel lighting, a USB charging station, a seat and a trash can. State Representative Stuart Bishop’s wife saw Hebert’s plea and suggested her husband pledge to donate the cement for each project to keep the cost per stop down since they had access to a cement company. That generous move secured the cost per stop right at $6000 per stop. Hebert began approaching corporate businesses in hopes that they would see the need for covered bus stops and help out the community. She thought of the stops that would have the most people traveling and needing covered


shelter, notably in front of businesses where employees or corporate businesses would use the stop often, such as fast food restaurants. “I was surprised to get a lot of no's from big businesses. But in true Cajun kindness fashion, local people stepped up and the project gained traction,” said Hebert. One of those locals eager to donate was McLaff Inc. CEO, E.J. Krampe, a local McDonald’s franchisee owner, who pledged to adopt 3 stops with his employees in mind. 15 of the restaurant's employees use the shelter each day at the first McDonald’s Adopt A Stop that was constructed on the corner of Willow Street and the Evangeline Thruway. So far, 9 stops have been built in one year under Hebert’s project. She has also secured pledges for 30 new bus stops with the help of other Lafayette businesses such as Lafayette General Medical Center, University of Louisiana, Lafayette Parish School System, UNITECH Training Academy, the Islamic Center of Lafayette, Pinhook Foundation, The Spark Foundation, and CGI. “The only thing holding up the process now is the actual shoveling out of the area where the cement pad for the new stops would be put in. That portion needs to be done by licensed, insured contractors and we’re currently waiting on those to begin construction of the other 30 stops pledged,” Hebert says. She put out a call to action: “If there’s any licensed and insured contractors out there that would like to help us get these other stops into the construction process, please contact me.” One of the great aspects of this project is that any single person can donate any amount to help, families can pull together and donate, or businesses can donate by joining forces or can donate funding for a completed stop. If you’d like to help, you can donate through the Community Foundation of Acadiana, and do so easily online. All Contributions to the Adopt A Stop Fund through the community foundation are tax deductible. For more information on how to contribute, go to 11





ore and more, I’ve noticed people unable to locate their favorite things due to mounds of items on the floor. Clothing, shoes, books, paper, etc. With the fast pace of life it just becomes too much trouble to dig through the clutter to find that single item being looked for. Buying more items will only add to the clutter. When the floor becomes the place you regularly store things, it’s time to address some basic organizing issues. Piles on the floor are created for several reasons. People either have too much of something and there’s not enough room to store it, or they have adequate storage space but it is not being properly utilized.


Achieving an organized space that functions for your lifestyle begins with deciding what to keep and what to let go of. The process of purging can sometimes be difficult and confusing. Be honest with yourself while deciding which items you need to keep and will use. If it doesn’t fit, you didn’t know you still had it, or haven’t worn it in over a year, it’s probably time to let it go. Keep only items frequently worn, and donate or discard whatever you can. Only then will you be able to decide the best way to store what remains. Once purging is completed, it’s time to create a vision for the space. This is where an organizing expert can help. What is needed to make the space functional? It may be fewer shelves and more hanging space, or more drawers for folding things. Bins may be needed to alleviate the overflow on the floors. The goal is to design a space that works easily and will accommodate everything you are keeping. Once you have created an organized space, the new rule must be never to store anything on the floor again.



Often vertical storage solutions go overlooked. When you think you have run out of space, look around. It’s likely there are big and small spaces underutilized around your home.

If your home office is littered with stacks of paper on the floor and on the tops of furniture then you are probably keeping too much unnecessary paper or lack adequate filing space.

In open living areas, floor-to-ceiling bookcases and shelf units go a long way in providing space for housing books, photos and treasured keepsakes. If space allows, an open shelf unit can also be placed as a room divider to free up wall space.

Begin by checking dates. Many times paper files are kept much longer than necessary.

In a closet, it may be beneficial to add a second shelf to the top of the closet for storing luggage or overnight bags. A vertical shelf unit can be added to the center of the closet to store shoes or handbags. Don’t forget double hung bars for hanging clothes, which add twice as much space. Living with clutter in your home can be quite stressful and destructive. It can become hazardous for getting around easily and disrupt your feelings of home being a peaceful space. For a calmer, more relaxed life it is better to have a place for everything and everything in its place. Ideas for creative and efficient use of space are limitless. All it takes is thinking out of the box! 12

Sort and purge existing files from the filing cabinet to create more room. Label files that need to be kept for long term and store them in the lower drawers. Current papers can be filed in the top drawers or in wall bins for easy access. Annually revisit this process and purge as needed. Once you have a system in place, keeping it organized should be a breeze.

AMAZING SPACES is an Acadiana-based Professional Organizing Company transforming homes and offices since 2003. Offering a full line of closet and storage systems. Call Renée Ory (337) 296-5506 for appointments and visit the website at 337M A GA ZIN E.C O M

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Cozy Home Decor for the Holiday Season A Little Decorating Makes a Big Difference By Nicholas Pepper


umpkin spice season is right around the corner, y'all. You know what that means: fall home decor! If you're looking for a few tips, here are a couple of easy go-to's that can easily be accomplished on a slow Saturday morning at home before holiday guests start arriving. CREATE A WARM AND INVITING HOME THAT MAKES YOU FEEL COZY Focus on the foyer. Creating a cozy welcoming is absolutely essential. Your entry space is the first thing that will greet your guests for all holiday gatherings. To be festive, dress it up with classic fall colors. Grab a table runner to throw on side and main tables. Spread fall accents on the tops along with small LED lights. Think fall leaves, ornate iron lanterns, seasonal gourds or pumpkins. If it's closer to December, adjust your foliage and pieces by color to give an appropriate feel to the season. LIGHT IT UP Liven up the living area with the warmth of amber-colored string lights. (Note: the newest tiny string LED lights are a fall must-have!) Those little nuances give off a large emotional effect of a soft glow and help accentuate your mantle or sofa table. Mix them in with your favorite fall or winter garland to create a beautiful tract for the eyes while relaxing in the evening entertaining friends and family. Throw pillows in your favorite autumn or winter scheme can brighten up your space and lend a soft element texturally. Don’t forget to drape a rich-colored throw blanket; it'll come in handy to wrap up with on the colder nights - multi-function is key! FOR THE OFTEN FORGOTTEN-ABOUT OUTDOOR SPACE Create a scene! Grab a bale of hay and some assorted pumpkins for fall. Warm LED candles create less of a fire hazard and more of a pleasant feel. Pine wreaths and wood elements with cozy plaid throw pillows or blankets work well in winter. Craft stores usually have an assortment of colorful pumpkins you could use year after year for fall and winter. For a more rustic look, grocery stores will carry an array of gourds that you can mix-andmatch to create a natural display that everyone will love. Use fall colors for November and winter colors for winter months (think white gourds and accentuate with red, green or navy blue elements to change things up.)

Nicholas Pepper is an Interior Design Consultant for contractor, Hays Homes. He has an eye for good design and a passion for decorating. He lends his expertise to new build subdivisions in the Acadiana area.

The most important thing to remember is to ALWAYS make your home feel like your own. Fill your home and cozy outdoor space with things that make you happy and that you love to see you when you walk in. You can't go wrong when your own heart is happy.



FLOOR DECOR Carpeting Alternatives for Winter Decor By Lucas Vella



an you guess what the leading flooring product category is nationwide? I know at our local retail location in Lafayette, the popularity list reads: 1. waterproof vinyl plank 2. tile 3. hardwood. The same is not true's carpet! Carpet and area rugs are the leaders, to be exact; by a wide margin too. The numbers from 2018 show that carpet and area rugs represent 43.1% ($11.72 Billion) of floor covering sold in the US. The next closest category was ceramic and porcelain at 14.4% ($3.90 Billion). With that being said, carpet as a wall-to-wall option is still losing market share to hard surface flooring. That leaves the spotlight for soft surface flooring on area rugs. Carpet manufacturers recognize the trend and now offer broadloom carpet in many styles and colors, including oriental rug-like patterns, geometric patterns and other non-traditional styles. There's never been a better time to personalize your space with area rugs. Area Rugs are the way to go in terms of adding a soft, inviting texture to a room that has complete flooring or concrete. Like carpet, they offer warmth for frosty feet in the cold weather months and add a soft, inviting feel to a room with any hard surface flooring...especially one with stained concrete. With state-of-the-art machinery and yarn technology far more superior than years past, the finished product is notably softer, even more stain resistant and will last far longer than ever before. Prefabbed area rugs sales are still going strong and offer a great value to the consumer. Rug manufacturers like Oriental Weavers and United Weavers offer a huge selection of rugs in many styles and colors at an affordable price. You now have the luxury of choosing anything from fun children’s décor to more formal, traditional looks. Most rugs choices can be narrowed down by size initally. The problem with mass manufactured rugs and online buying is that all living spaces differ. Only having standard 8’x11’ or 5’x7’ rug sizes available to you to purchase isn't all that feasible; then there's the hassle of returning if you're not satisfied. There is a more affordable solution to to make your home decor vision come to fruition: you can have custom carpet bound to make any space work. It's a unique option called rug binding. With rug binding services you can have any carpet cut and bound to fit perfectly in your space. Arrange your room and furniture however you like and then have the rug made to your exact specifications. Custom options include differing shapes like round and oval among others. As an example, the Tailored Collection by Lexmark Carpets offers broadloom carpet in popular colors and patterns that can be turned into the perfect custom-size rug for any space. Simply choose your style and color and it can be turned into the perfect rug for your room. Carpet will always have a place in the floor covering industry. In your home, maybe it’s in the form of an area rug. Stop by The Floor Trader - Lafayette & Acadiana Carpet Binding, and let’s "cut a rug!" We offer full service flooring solutions, including rug binding!

Lucas Vella serves as General Manager for his family's flooring businesses The Floor Trader - Lafayette and Acadiana Rug Binding. He's positioned as an industry professional after being in the business for decades. His vast knowledge of all things flooring makes his store the place to stop when looking for flooring essentials. He's the proud husband of his high school sweetheart, Lindsay, and father of children Adley (11) and Mason (8). 14

Pro-Tip: If you find an area rug style and look on a corporate website that you love, bring the information to The Floor Trader - Lafayette. In most cases, they can get it for you at a better price than listed and you circulate your dollars right here in Acadiana, helping the local economy. 337M A GA ZIN E.C O M

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5 Ways Your Indoor Air Quality is Impacting Your Life On these hot Acadiana days, is there anything quite like coming home to a perfectly cooled living room? But your home’s heating and cooling unit can and should do more than just relax your body at the end of a long day, it should be giving you a better quality of life. Aire Serv Heating and Air Conditioning of Lafayette wants you to take the air quality in your home seriously. Aire Serv of Lafayette is the only A/C company in Acadiana that conducts a Home Performance Test. This test is to detect any and all leaks that come from the attic into the living areas. This air can leak down walls or come from ducts. It’s crucial that attic air stay out of circulation. It’s poor air quality because of insulation in the attic which has pesticides…and provides a home for mice, rats and other pests. Consider this: every time a furry little critter excretes particles, those particles can combine with the attic air and circulate throughout a home. This attic air can cause serious health issues if not resolved. Aire Serv wants to help you avoid any health issues that could be brought on due to attic air leaking into your home. Here’s a look at just a few ways that improperly ventelated air is impacting your life.

Indoor Air Quality and Your Health According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air quality refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures as it relates to the health and comfort of its occupants. Indoor air quality is affected by temperature, humidity, ventilation, and chemical or biological contaminants found within the building. Pollutants building up in your home can result in not only unpleasant odors but also serious health issues, like headaches, fatigue, respiratory issues, allergies, and even flu-like symptoms.

We Live and Play Indoors People spend 90% of their life indoors. Indoor air quality testing is very important to the health of you and your family. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes the importance of maintaining the indoor air quality (IAQ) of your home or business. From asthma irritants to exposure to dangerous fumes like VOCs or radon, it’s important to test, remediate and retest to ensure the safety of your home. Aire Serv Heating and Air Conditioning of Lafayette works to test and prevent unfiltered attic air from entering the living areas of a home by providing solutions to eradicate the problem. The technitinsThey offer solutions such as attic renovation (seal attic from home), Aeroseal (sealing ducts), foaming with and follow up testing to ensure attic is properly sealed, and Indoor Air Quality accessories that tie into the HVAC unit.

The Small Things Play a Big Role If you regularly light incense and candles, you are impacting the air quality in your home. The same goes for cleaning fumes, cooking fumes, and even aerosols from your morning hair routine. Every product we use in our homes ends up in the air around us and it could impact your allergies, asthma, and overall health. Proper HVAC filtration will be able to reduce and may potentally eliminate some of these contaminates within your home for a better overall healthy liftestyle.

Your Headache May be a Warning Suffering from chronic headaches may be a symptom of a larger problem. One of the most common side effects of poor quality in your home is frequent headaches. If you find yourself having a headache before bed, then waking up to a headache on most mornings, you might want to schedule a complete Home Performance Test today. The particulates in your home can and should be filtered out by your HVAC system and not leaking through your ducts or from the attic.

Allergies, Allergies, Allergies The dreaded dust mites and pollen causing your sinus pain are likely floating in the air around you at this very moment. If your HVAC unit isn’t properly equipped or maintained, your allergies could end up being worse inside your home than out in your garden. When you hire AireServ of Lafayette to complete a Home Performance Test at your home or business, you can trust that the technicians will complete thorough testing and provide actionable next steps to meet indoor air quality standards. Based on the initial results and remediations of your Home Performance Test, AireServ technicians will recommend retesting 90 days to three years after the initial test. Get rid of unfiltered attic air entering your home and allergy causing particulates for good! The air quality in your home is paramount to your health and well-being. Being comfortable inside is about more than air temperature, it’s about moisture control and proper air filtration. If you want to check how your current system is impacting your health, and all other HVAC inquiries services call Aire Serv of Lafayette today at (337) 937-0310. Not only is Aire Serv of Lafayette making sure you are breathing clean and healthy air, they are saying “thank you” to the community by giving away a new HVAC system. A new HVAC system was given away earlier in the year and people the community were was thankful and appreciative for doing it, so the owner, Brian Spiker, wanted to do the giveaway again. Be sure to check out KTDY’s website or app for the details on the Aire Serv of Lafayette giveaway.

(337) 937-0310

418 Mecca St, Lafayette, LA 70508 15


Gather Graze

Passion Turned Purpose for Local Mother-Daughter Cheese & Charcuterie Startup By Abby Meaux Conques



rom small DIY trays to elaborate wedding displays, the “grazing” trend has officially made its way to the U.S. The roots of the communal come-together, partnered with delightful snacking for events and family functions, recently became a movement stateside after gaining ground in Australia. “Couples love the elaborate luxurious display and the sophisticated, yet relaxed ambiance it brings to the event. Guests help themselves while they mingle; or as we like to put it ‘gather and graze’,” says Tracy Lindberg, co-owner of Lafayette’s own Graze Acadiana

Tracy and her daughter, Mandy Osgood, knew they had something special when they were asked to provide one of their signature graze trays at almost every function they would attend. With Mandy’s creative side and Tracy’s business sense, they knew a dynamite team could come from their backgrounds. “When we realized how something as simple as a beautifully curated platter of hand picked goodness brought people together, we knew we had to share our contribution with people from our area,” Mandy explained. “Graze Acadiana grew out of our love for being creative while serving loving people in our community, “ said Lindberg. Serving is what 16

they do, indeed...and they serve with heart and mindfulness. In 2018, the Mother-Daughter team decided to embark on the journey of small business entrepreneurship. Upon their decision to open up shop, Tracy, (Gigi to seven beautiful grandkids, Breaux Bridge resident, tapas, travel and fishing lover) and Mandy (mother of 3, beach goer,church, craft, & family time lover) held days upon days of research, testing, and planning before they opened their doors at 1507 Kaliste Saloom Road in Lafayette. Things were tough on them as business owners since they were the first of their kind to do what they do with complete compliance. “We were put through the ringer when it came to codes and licensing. We knew in order to serve this community to the best of our ability we needed to obtain the proper food certifications, health code certifications, etc. Countless time, tears and money paved the way to where we are today. And as a result, we now have an amazing and compliant commercial kitchen that we get to serve our beautiful food from,” Tracy said. She continued, “After going through all we did to get this business started, it was a stark reminder of how important it is for us to support local businesses.” 337M A GA ZIN E.C O M

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The duo sources a majority of their products from local vendors, while also offering choice items from famous international regions. “Our jams, chocolate, produce, hummus, pecans, plus more are all sourced from other local, small businesses. We are also proud to offer imported European cheeses and charcuterie from Spain as well,” Tracy mentioned. Along with sourcing items from reputable distributors, Tracy and Mandy are conscious of the impacts their pieces have on the environment. Tracy explains, “We do our best to be as eco-friendly as we can. Our boards, boxes, utensils and plates are served with palm leaves and bamboo products, which are completely biodegradable. In addition, all of our produce is all washed in an organic, 100% chemical-free wash.” With more people being conscious of “green” businesses, these days, this practice alone acts as a selling point for the local company. All of Graze Acadiana’s delicious spreads are uniquely made each and every day. They strive to ensure that you receive the freshest, finest quality grazing experience. With that in mind, they do request at least one day notice for platters and boxes and 14 days notice for large grazing tables. Orders can be placed online 24 hours in advance for boxes and platters. You will be prompted to choose your pickup date and time at checkout, but keep in mind to directly contact them for a large Graze event to ensure ample time for importing and planning when expecting large groups. The beauty of a Graze box, platter or table lies in the versatility of the experience. Any Graze order can be made for small, intimate date nights or for larger occasions like baby showers, home entertaining, business meetings, birthdays, engagement parties, bachelor parties, and beyond. If you get different boxes for the same event, they can have a completely different feel by choosing alternative items from the previous box. Tracy and Mandy love to do this “Because all of life’s moments should be celebrated.” We agree. You can normally catch them in store Wednesdays through Fridays 9:30am - 3:00pm or Saturdays 9:30am - Noon. If you go by their shop and miss them, they’re most likely out sourcing local goods, setting up for an event, or fulfilling orders for the day. Just message or call them and you can get in on some Graze Acadiana goodness, too.


DIY BBQ Nacho At-Home Tailgate



Are you ready for some football? No matter your team, all people in South Louisiana love one thingTAILGATING! The history of tailgating is said to go back to the early 1900s when people would grill sausages on the “tail end” of their horses. If you have walked around Cajun field or the LSU parade grounds on game day, you know that tailgates are a little more than a sausage poboy these days. Even the location of tailgating has evolved. Many arrive to their spots insanely early to pop up the tent and get the pit rolling. Others, have taken a liking to restaurant “tailgating” and some even prefer to do it all in the confines of their homes with close friends and family. If you are part of the latter group or have ever wondered how you would go about hosting a tailgate at home, I have got you covered!

1. Make the Guest List This comes in handy when trying to decide how much food to prepare. I recommend making a themed invitation online that you are able to send out via text. I’ve made invites this way with apps such as EVITE and Canva. It is easy and a great way to be festive! 2. Make a Menu Once you have an idea of how many people are

attending, you can decide on what and how much to serve. If someone offers to bring something, let them! I always like to provide the main course and will offer for my guest to bring either an appetizer, side dish, or dessert.

3. The Drink Situation You will want your guests to know what you will and won't have on hand. I always provide water and soft drinks. It is really hard and expensive to buy alcohol for a crowd. You can offer a signature drink, though. For example, if guests are arriving earlier in the day you can set up a fun Mimosa or Bloody Mary Bar. If it is a nighttime kickoff and guests will be arriving in the heat of the afternoon, make a big batch of margaritas or pick up a couple of gallons from a nearby bar!

4. Party Set Up and Decor You want your guests to feel the vibe

of the tailgate and the best way to do this is to set the mood with team colors. Head to your grocery store and pick up a bouquet or two of dyed daisies. Set these up throughout the house, even in the bathroom. Pick up team themed Styrofoam party cups. There are local boutiques and gift shops that offer these during football season. If you are really on top of your game, make a photo booth and buy accessories ahead of time such as foam fingers and team-colored pompoms on Amazon.

5. Loose Ends You will want to make sure that TVs are synched. If you have two TVs playing the same game in hearing distance of each other and one is a second or two faster than the other, you will have a slight problem. Trust me! If you want easy clean up, use disposable or recyclable products. There is nothing worse than having 20 people over all day and having a kitchen full of dishes at the end of the night. Do as much prep work the night before!

By Liz Smith Follow @thevintagefork on Instagram or follow her blog at SUBMITTED PHOTO BY LIZ SMITH 18

If kids are coming make sure you have food for them. Also, print out some color pages of the team mascot for the kids to color. This is a great game day activity! If things do not go according to plan, just go with it & ENJOY YOURSELF! 337M A GA ZIN E.C O M

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BBQ Chicken Nachos Recipe Ingredients 1 Rotisserie Chicken, deboned and skin removed 1 bag of Blue Corn Tortilla Chips 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese 1 cup Mexican Style Shredded Taco Cheese ¼ cup plus more, BBQ Sauce 1 can Black Beans, drained and rinsed ½ Purple Onion, chopped 2-3 Roma Tomatoes, deseeded and chopped 2 Jalapeno, deseeded and sliced 1 Avocado, diced ¼ cup Cilantro, roughly chopped

Liz Smith is a board certified Physician Assistant with a passion for food & travel. She loves putting her own healthy-ish spin on new and old recipes. She also enjoys exploring the world with her husband, Petey. You can find them in and out of their kitchen on Instagram @thevintagefork or on her blog


rich brew of cuisines are popping up all around the 337 and Korean BBQ happens to be one of them. Here is the idea, several raw or marinated proteins are presented to diners along with some raw veggies. The server opens a panel in the center of the table revealing a gas grill or brings a portable grill to BBQ the selections.

Directions Preheat oven to 375F Roughly chop your chicken and add it to a medium size bowl. Add ¼ cup BBQ sauce to the bowl and combine. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and begin to assemble your nachos by first adding the chips then topping with beans, chicken, onions, ½ of the tomato and jalapeno, and all of the cheese. Place nachos in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is nice a melted. Remove the Nachos and top with the avocado, cilantro, and the remaining jalapeno & tomato. Drizzle with a little more BBQ Sauce & Enjoy!


OH, HELLO KOREAN BBQ By Adam Chauvin, follow @adamceats on Instagram and Facebook

A variety of sides (banchan) are typically available and sometimes served gratis. They include things like kimchi, soy marinated bean sprouts, fish cake and other flavorful dishes. Leaves of lettuce can be used to make wraps with everything. Conversation and fun ensue for the whole party.

pae samgyupsal) scallops, spicy chicken, spicy pork and marinated sliced ribeye (bulgogi). If that sounds like a mouthful, it certainly is and the menu at Hana Japanese and Korean Grill on West Pinhook Road in Lafayette, Louisiana suggests that it is a minimum of 4-5 servings. Each protein, along with others can be ordered a la carte or with a few other combinations. Pro Tip: Ask for butter and garlic along with sliced jalapeños to toss on the grill to kick it up another notch.

Pictured here are shrimp on a stick, sliced brisket (chadol bagi), sirloin steak (deungsim), veggies, pork belly (dae-


If cooking your own food at a restaurant seems odd or intimidating, just ask for help. Still not comfortable? A hibachi grill and a full menu of sushi, sashimi and other Japanese and Korean fair cooked to order is available as well.

One step closer to the perfect gumbo! 19

EAT FIT ACADIANA Featuring: Buck and Johnny's

Baked Fish with Steamed Vegetables By Yvette Quantz, RDN, CSSD, LDN Eat Fit Acadiana / Eat Fit SWLA Registered Dietitian & Eat Fit Operations

One of the newest and most popular additions to Buck and Johnny's menu is the Eat Fit Baked Fish dish. These simple ingredients are combined to bring a flavor packed, nutritious meal that fuels and satisfies. To try this delicious menu item and many others. Please visit Buck and Johnny’s: Eclectic Italian with a Cajun Flair. Learn more at Eat Fit Baked Fish 1 pound catfish filets 1 Tablespoon olive oil 1 tsp low sodium Cajun seasoning Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 °F. Wash and dry fish fillet. Place in baking dish. In a small bowl mix together, oil and seasoning and drizzle over fish. Mix oil and seasoning and drizzle over fish. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes or until fish flakes with fork. Baked Sweet Potato Fries 4 medium sweet potatoes 2 Tablespoons olive oil 1 dash black pepper Instructions: Preheat oven 400°F. Coat baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray or line with foil. Cut sweet potatoes into 1/2-inch thick lengthwise strips, toss with oil. Arrange in single layer on baking sheet, bake 15–20 minutes. Turn potatoes over, bake 15–20 minutes or until golden brown all over. Season to taste. Steamed Mixed Vegetables 2 cups cut-up fresh vegetables, such as broccoli florets, cauliflower florets and/or sliced carrots 1 Tablespoon olive oil 1 pinch salt Instructions: In 4-quart saucepan, place steamer basket. Add 1 cup water; heat to boiling. Add cut-up vegetables to basket; cover and cook 4 to 5 minutes or until soft. Place vegetables in serving bowl and toss with olive oil.



Yields 4 Servings Nutrition Per Serving: 420 calories, 28g fat, 5g saturated fat, 80mg cholesterol, 570 mg sodium, 16g carbohydrates, 5g fiber, 7g total sugar, 2g added sugar, 27g protein

Eat Fit Acadiana items meet the nutritional criteria designated by Ochsner Health System, supported by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation and Lafayette General Health. Download the Eat Fit app to find participating Eat Fit restaurants throughout Louisiana and visit our website to learn more.

Yvette Perrier Quantz is a registered dietitian with a passion for inspiring and empowering people to nourish themselves with foods, words, thoughts, and actions that fuel them for better living. As Ochsner's Eat Fit Acadiana Operations and Marketing Dietitian, Yvette works with local restaurants to bring healthy menu items into the community. 337M A GA ZIN E.C O M

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Starting Fresh: Local Food Shopping By Monica Grizzaffi


he convenience of two-day shipping, curbside pickup, and a five-minute drive to the nearest grocery store in today’s modern lifestyle makes it easy to forget that most of our food comes from somewhere that is usually very far away; sometimes even from another country. When it comes to produce, we are often purchasing food that has been harvested days, or maybe even a week before it makes it into our homes. This means that many of the beneficial nutrients are lost. In addition, food producers often try to prolong the shelf life of these products with chemical methods, either in the growing phase of the food, or by an added coating on the food before it ships off. But with so many chemicals already bombarding our bodies on a daily basis such as in the air and in our skin products, food should be the one thing that we try to keep as pure as possible. Consuming as many higher quality, clean, fresh foods as we can, gives our bodies the maximum amount of nutrients it needs to heal from the onslaught. One way to do this is to purchase foods grown or raised by local farmers. Luckily, Louisiana is rich in it’s offerings and has a diverse group of farmers with goods ranging from produce, meats, eggs, and dairy products. An easy place to begin is your local Farmer’s Market, typically held on Saturday mornings. There you can discover which products work best with your lifestyle and budget. Get to know the farmer selling the food. They are happy to answer your questions! Ask about their farm location, farming methods, harvest times, current and upcoming offerings; most have websites or social media sites that you can visit as well. If every Saturday morning isn’t always a convenient shopping time, or if you want more fresh food throughout the week, many farmers offer mid-week pickup days and locations. My family and I have even visited several local farms over the years to pick up food and spend a few moments playing with the animals. If this kind of lifestyle is new to you, it can be an adjustment. It takes some planning and isn’t as convenient as going to the grocery store at 8:00pm on a Thursday. But it can be a very rewarding way to be a part of our community, while nurturing our bodies in the best possible way. As an added bonus, it stimulates our local economy and decreases our carbon footprint, making us more conscious citizens of the world. So take a break from food sitting under fluorescent light bulbs and discover the fresh, delicious foods our farmers are growing in the Louisiana sunshine!

Acadiana Farmer's Markets

Lafayette Farmers And Artisan Market at Moncus Park 2913 Johnston St., Lafayette / Open Saturdays from 8:00am - 12:00pm Hub City Farmers Market 427 Heymann St., Lafayette / Open Saturdays from 8:00am - 12:00pm Abbeville Farmers Market (seasonal) 200 Magdalen Square St., Abbeville Open Saturdays from 8:00am to 12:00pm Delcambre Seafood and Farmers Market (seasonal) 605 S. S. Railroad St., Delcambre Open the first Saturday of each month from 9:00am - 1:00pm Eunice Farmers Market 119 N. Irving Ave., Kaplan Wednesdays from 3:00pm to 6:00pm, Saturdays at 10:00am Kaplan Farmers Market 2nd Street and Park Avenue, Eunice second Saturday of each month, 8:00am Sunrise Saturdays in Sunset- The Farmers Market 832 Napoleon Ave., Sunset Saturdays 8:00am - 12:00pm Opelousas Farmer Market Farmers Market Pavilion, 828 East Landry St., Opelousas Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, from 6:30am - 11am Bayou Teche Farmers Market 203 New Market St., St. Martinville Saturdays 9am - 1:00pm Teche Area Farmers Market (seasonal) 200 W. Main St, New Iberia Tuesdays 2:30pm - 6pm, Saturdays 7:00am - 11:00am Monica Grizzaffi is a registered nurse also educated in psychology and fine arts. She is a twenty-two year cancer survivor of stage IV Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and is passionate about educating others on healthy living and disease prevention, especially through diet. Monica was born and raised in Ossun, Louisiana and now lives in Lafayette with her husband Jeff and their three daughters. 21

Local Farm Spotlight: Bien-Aime` By Monica Grizzaffi


ocated in Arnaudville, Katie and David Baird, owners of Bien Aime’ Farm, begin and end their workday with the sun. Their days are filled with taking care of animals, reviewing and updating seed inventory, creating, building, and refining machinery to help make farming easier, making compost for their produce beds and cornmeal for their animals, and tending to their thirty-one, fifty-foot produce beds. All weeding and pruning is done by hand. In fact, listening to David talk about their farming methods is an eye-opening realization that this isn’t a couple who simply put seeds in the ground. David and Katie are first and foremost, cultivators of healthy, fertile soil.

"...farming goes much deeper than just the plant. It’s about what is under our feet."

Their journey began four years ago with one 3x6 raised bed. As they began learning more about farming, their passion for clean, healthy food quickly grew. It didn’t take them long to discover that soil quality is the true essence of farming, and they have been patiently taking on the challenge ever since.

Their seed sources, listed on their Facebook page, are privately owned seed companies that have taken the Safe Seed Pledge under The Safe Seed Initiative, a program committed to providing farmers with high-quality seeds that are free from genetic modification. At Bien-Aime’ Farm you can trust that the land has been treated as a vital living system and painstakingly cultivated using the safest methods and ingredients. The Bien-Aime’ Facebook page offers complete transparency as well as Katie and David’s personal journey on the farm. They share their struggles, successes, and surprises. Katie shares pictures and stories about their plants, the harvest, their animals and any resident insects they discover, both friend and foe. David is continually working on repurposing projects to help make farming more efficient and posts videos of his creations.

“Many people often miss the big picture,” says David, “farming goes much deeper than just the plant. It’s about what is under our feet. It’s about the relationship between the microbial life in the soil and the sugars from the roots of the plant feeding one another; you can’t just mix it in a jar if you want it done right. You’ve got to tend to the good stewardship of the land.” Katie and David take their role as farmers as a responsibility entrusted in them by their community. Last year, they attended the Seeds to Success Farmer Training Program which is put on by the Central Louisiana Economic Development Association (CLEDA) and Fresh Central through USDA grants. They only use fertilizers that are certified by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI), a private, nonprofit organization that reviews products for qualification in the USDA’s National Organic Program.


This year, they are adding fifteen more fifty-foot produce beds to their continually growing farm and they dream of one day purchasing more land to develop an orchard. You can find Katie and David every Saturday morning, weather permitting, from 8:00am to 12:00pm at the Lafayette Farmer’s and Artisan’s Market held at Moncus Park on 2913 Johnston Street. They also have a pop-up location on Wednesdays from 10:00am to 1:00pm at The Road Less Traveled on 312 Guilbeau Road. They are big supporters of local living and enjoy sharing all that they are learning. Stop by and have a visit!


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The Skinny on Weight Loss Difficulties By Brandon J. Alleman, OMP, CEK, HHP, D.PSC



o many people have told me, “I have tried so many different nutrition approaches, and none of them have ever worked.” My response is usually the following question – “Why do you feel that is?” Consider a few facts: People think weight loss equates to better health. It doesn’t. People think “superfoods” and supplements alone are going to fix the problem. They won’t. People think food / nutrition is the ONLY way to improve your health. It isn’t. If you want to improve your health and as a result, normalize your weight here is what is required of you independent of what you are eating: CONSISTENCY You will not achieve a desired result based on what you do some of the time. You must create consistency in your DAILY routine and establish a rhythm that supports your physiology (food, thoughts, movement, sleep, play, etc.). This will improve Metabolic Pliability long-term. AWARENESS Most people are not very aware of their own bodies. We tend to rely on gadgets and technology to tell us what our heart rate is, how many times we wake up at night, and how we feel. It is not only about the food you eat, but also your behavior, your mental environment/beliefs, and overall Life stressors that you must be aware of and modify / manage. PATIENCE The creation of health and healing has a timeline of its own – and it’s not your timeline. Change occurs slowly, even if you are not able to “see” the changes, they are occurring. There will be many peaks and valleys along the health journey. TRUST The focus tends to be on what is wrong with/in our bodies, but the body has an Innate Wisdom that resides within. Once you are aware of this, you can begin the process of trusting your body and the process once again. The creation of health goes far beyond just the food you eat – though that is a huge puzzle piece for everyone. Proper nutrition along with the above items will lead to the success you seek.

Brandon J. Alleman is a skilled Osteopathuc Manual Practitioner, Holistic Health Practitioner, and Level 3 CHEK Practitioner with extensive concentration in human biomechanics and physiology. He owns Innate Movement and Wellness in Lafayette's Oil Center




hen it comes to nationwide growing personal wellness trends, Lafayette recently got on board with its very own dry salt therapy spot, the Lafayette Salt Cave. It sounds modern and feels like it would be something of science fiction, but aligning with many recent wellbeing notions, the concept is actually hundreds of years old. In the 1800’s, workers that were mining salt in Europe and Russia were drawing the attention of their peers when they weren’t getting sick or rapidly appearing to age like other types of miners. Local well-known doctors began looking closer into why these particular miners appeared to be in such good health. When studying their working environment, specialists found that the key to their health and appearance lay in micro-sized salt particles being dispersed into the air when the miners chiseled, ground and hammered the salt. Today, the dispersing of micro-sized salt particles is called dry salt therapy or halotherapy. Doctors figured out that salt has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties which can efficiently fight germs. They also pieced together that sodium chloride as a main part of the body’s physiology, promoted homeostasis and health.

Worth its Weight in Salt

European Salt Cave Wellness Trend Finds its Way to Lafayette

Jargon aside, these days, there’s a machine which grinds dry pink himalayan salt and pumps micro particles of it into the air while you sit amongst the warm colors of salt lamps and panels and bask in the glory of ambient music; a far cry from European mines. The setting is much like a yoga or meditation class, without any strenuous movement on your part. You simply sit quietly and breathe in refined, salt-ladened air, as you relax in a zero-gravity chair and clear your mind. How did the Lafayette Salt Cave come to be? Marta Wallace, Lafayette Salt Cave owner and Special Education teacher at Prairie Elementary, visited a salt cave on the east coast while on vacation earlier this year. Wallace said, “My first thought was, ‘Lafayette needs one of these!’” When she couldn’t find any type of salt therapy that was as large as a room, she decided to be the person to bring it here. “Locally, there were closet-sized spaces, or salt floats, but no large room that felt like a cave,” she said. She tirelessly spent all of her summer 24

Story and Photos By Abby Meaux Conques

break getting her space ready to be as relaxing and inviting as possible, along with the help of family and friends. The Lafayette Salt Cave is now open to patrons who want to take a much needed break from the busyness of modern life. “Busyness shouldn’t be a badge of honor. We should take pride in slowing life down and being able to enjoy our people, moments and things that make us feel good,” Wallace said. We couldn’t agree more. What are the benefits of salt therapy? They range from relief from respiratory ailments such as asthma, allergies, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, colds, cystic fibrosis, ear infections and sinusitis, as well as skin conditions like acne, eczema, psoriasis, rashes and rosacea, (according to the Salt Therapy Association.) On Wednesdays through Saturdays, you can find salt cave appointment times on the MindBody app for the Lafayette Salt Cave on any smart device or computer. They book by the hour, allowing 7 minutes time to check in and put up

personables, and 7 minutes after the class to collect belongings, giving you 45 minutes of breathing in dispersed micro-sized pink himalayan salt particles via the halotherapy machine while amongst the pink glow of salt lamps and panels. Classes are priced between $22 and $25, with package options available. As an added bonus, the Lafayette Salt Cave offers an additional mainstream trend: Soundbath Meditation classes led by trained practitioners. The added bonus is that these classes are amongst the salt. “The difference between the Soundbath Meditation classes and the Salt Cave sessions is that the halotherapy machine doesn’t run during the live music Soundbaths due to possible deterioration to the instruments,” Wallace said. In salt sessions you get the benefit of the halotherapy machine while listening to ambient music, and in Soundbath sessions, you get the benefits of Sound therapy but no halotherapy machine,” Wallace explained.

During a Soundbath Meditation class in the salt cave, you can expect to benefit from the vibrations and frequencies of instruments such as Tibetan Singing Bowls, drums, percussion instruments and gongs. Benefits of Soundbath Meditation classes have their own ancient origins and scientific backing. In short, they include reduction of stress and anxiety, nervous system impacts and reduction of blood pressure, decreased mood swings, pain management, sleep improvement, increased creativity and more. Soundbath Meditation sessions are Thursday nights at 6:30pm and every other Saturday morning at 10am. Interested parties can check the schedule and Facebook page for updates and specials. To put it briefly, if signing up for a Salt Session or Soundbath Mediation in the salt can help a person psychologically and physiologically, allowing them to take less medication or simply get out of their heads for an hour and promote relaxation and wellbeing, then to me, it’s worth a try! The Lafayette Salt Cave is located at 2504 Johnston Street in the Midtown Shopping Center You can make appoinments for sessions on the MindBody App or by messaging the Lafayette Salt Cave on Facebook . 337M A GA ZIN E.C O M

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Enjoying the Holidays Consciously Making Time for Ourselves and Loved Ones During the Holiday Season By Allison Saltzman, LPC


or many, the holiday season is about slowing down and enjoying what really matters in life.What matters most in life differs from person to person, because each of us is unique. Many of us in Acadiana participate in long-time family traditions of getting together with loved ones and sharing a meal while exchanging gifts, listening to music, or playing games. Many deepen their experiences with religious or spiritual traditions. And many focus on giving and sharing with others. During a time filled with enriching experiences, why are the holidays so stressful? So overwhelming? It can be different. It just takes some adjusting. FOLLOW THE SEASON Naturally, winter is about rest and rejuvenation. With shorter days and longer nights (and hopefully cooler weather), life encourages us to rest more during this time of year. More time is spent indoors, allowing for restful activities like reading, watching a movie, making a fire, or sleeping. During Christmas, many people reflect on the life of Jesus for guidance. Jesus often took time to recharge, pray, and reflect. He also enjoyed companionship with others. Christmas is a good time for both. It is a good season to reflect on what works and what does not work in life, so that changes and adjustments can be made for better results. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY If you have to drink caffeine to push through your day, then you are depleted and you are pushing beyond your natural

boundaries. There is still work to be done during winter; but it can take on a different tone, with a slower pace. Some holiday preparations (meal planning, online shopping, etc.) can be done by candlelight while you put your feet up, sipping on tea or hot chocolate. It does the soul good to live according to the natural way of the season. Enjoying time with others is more vibrant and easier when we are well-rested. CHOOSE CONSCIOUSLY Although fall and winter offer more time for restful activities, we still have to be intentional about our time. Our phones, computers, and TVs are always available. However, we often do not feel truly rested and energized after using these devices. There is also the risk for comparison if too much time is spent on social media. Take some time, if you wish, to consider what you really want to experience this holiday season. Peace, joy, rejuvenation, adventure, generosity, reflection, spiritual growth, or quality time with loved ones. Ask yourself these questions without being too quick to answer; really sit with them and see what comes to you: “What helps me to feel good within myself?” “What works for me this holiday season?” “What really works for my family’s needs this holiday season?” Most people don’t need a lot to feel good. We just need what we need. Choose consciously so that you can create what means the most to you.

MAKE ROOM IN YOUR LIFE A frequent complaint is how busy the holidays can be. Time is quickly filled with shopping, decorating, hosting, cooking, projects, and attending events. How can we enjoy anything if we are not fully present? How can we be present if we are overwhelmed? Give yourself a chance to be joyful, loving, and generous by making room for it. There's many ways to "make room"Clear your mind Lighten your schedule Simplify Reduce high expectations of yourself and others Making room allows for new, more relevant solutions to appear. We do not have to fill every nook and cranny of our life. Just like our closets need to be de-cluttered periodically, what we pay attention to and devote ourselves to needs de-cluttering as well. Really cool things can happen during unstructured, unplanned time. GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION Give yourself permission to do something differently. Give yourself permission to do what works for you instead of what others think works for you…or what you think should work for you. Give yourself permission to say “no”. Give yourself permission to say “yes”. What worked last year may not work this year. What worked before having kids probably won’t work after having kids. What works well for your neighbor may not work for you at all. Fun traditions may not be fun any-

more after a loved one dies. Life changes, we change. Adjusting to those changes is both natural and healthy. Perhaps the extended family traditions are great, but you also want to start a tradition within your immediate family or circle of friends. Perhaps you have never enjoyed some aspect of your typical holiday routine. What can you do differently that would be more enjoyable this year? Create your inner state. Some things are within our control, but many things are not. Regardless of the external situation, we have the power to change our inner state (which often positively influences the external situation). Victor Frankl, a psychologist and Holocaust survivor, wrote about the meaning of life. One of his wellknown quotes offers wisdom to us on choosing our own inner state: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” This holiday season know that you have all the power regarding your attitude (thoughts, feelings, and perceptions) and your own way (your choices and actions). That’s a lot! When we are filled with joy, joy flows out of us effortlessly. Allison Saltzman is a Licensed Professional Counselor. "I teach people how to connect inward and move beyond thoughts, emotions, and events that happen in life. Moving beyond our conditioning allows us to experience freedom and peace, choosing what we really want in life." 25


Navigating Grief During the Holidays Tips for Handling the Holiday Season Without Loved Ones By Abby Meaux Conques with tips provided by Hospice of Acadiana


hen I think of the first holiday season without him, I get an immediate feeling to retreat. On a very personal note as editor, we lost my Dad, my hero, suddenly and unexpectedly, late this summer. Now, Thanksgiving decor is out at Hobby Lobby and Target, and I couldn't imagine holiday festivites at all right now...much less without him. I've learned that when I just don't know which way is up, or where to turn, I look for people who do. In this case, I turned to Hospice of Acadiana for things we can incoporate this year to get through the holiday season in the best way possible, with such a drastic change to our core family dynamic, and as tender humans who are grieving. In speaking with my husband about what a different animal it is to grieve and still do the things that need to be done in daily life (i.e. grocery shopping, laundry, errands, speaking with people professionally, etc.) he said something that stopped me in my tracks; "Boo, every single person is grieving something. We're all grieving." He unveiled a much-needed perspective to was true. Death, loss and grief (in a myriad of ways) touches all of us.

That person in the grocery store could be buying flowers for their sick spouse...that woman buying a holiday gift could still be grieving the loss of her child from twenty years ago...that guy working at the post office could have just received lab results that he didn't want to hear. For me, the bottom line is that we're all human, and in this together, and are here to cheer each other on through the amazing things and help each other through the tough things. Even though I don't want people to suffer, I know that it is part of the human condition, and I do feel solace in the notion that there are always other people in this world who have had similar feelings to yours, and that you are never alone in that. In speaking with licensed counselors at Hospice of Acadiana, they offered these insights to me, that I share with you in hopes of helping someone through their holiday grief, or for you to be able to recognize to help a loved one through theirs.

Some Tips for Coping with Grief During the Holidays Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah, Ramadan, Kwanza and New Year’s Day are annual holidays that can be a very difficult time for people who have experienced the death of someone loved, no matter how much time has passed. Memories of good times and togetherness during the holiday season serve to remind us of our loss. Watching others who are feeling thankful and are celebrating when we feel overwhelmed, lonely or sad can be very painful. Holidays force us to realize how much our lives have been changed by the loss of our loved one. Particularly in the first year, many bereaved are left with having to develop new holiday rituals and traditions. The first step in coping with grief at the holidays is to acknowledge that the holiday season is a difficult one for many, and then to prepare for it in advance by making specific plans and obtaining the support that you need. Remember too, that sometimes anticipation of a holiday can be more difficult than the day itself. 26


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What Can I Actively Do or Help a Grieving Loved One to Do During This Time? 1. Set realistic expectations for yourself. Remind yourself that the holidays are different. Decide if you can handle the responsibilities you’ve had in the past. Examine the tasks and events of celebrating and ask yourself if you want to continue them. Take others up on offers to cook, shop, decorate, etc. if you feel the need to. Consider shopping by phone, Internet or catalogs this year if you still feel up to gift-giving. 2. Surround yourself with people who love and support you. Share your plans with family and friends and let them know of any intended changes in holiday routine. Memories can sometimes be a source of comfort to the bereaved. Share your memories with others of holidays spent with your loved one by telling stories and looking at photo albums. 3. Try to avoid “canceling” the holiday despite the temptation. It is OK to avoid some circumstances that you don’t feel ready to handle, but don't completely isolate yourself. Allow yourself some time for solitude, remembering and grieving, but balance it with planned activities with others. 4. Allow yourself to feel joy, sadness, anger – allow yourself to grieve. It is important to recognize that every family member has his/her own unique grief experience and may have different needs related to celebrating the holidays. No one way is right or wrong. Experiencing joy and laughter does not mean you have forgotten your loved one. 5. Draw comfort from doing for others. Consider giving a donation or gift in memory of you loved one. Invite a guest who might otherwise be alone for the holidays. Adopt a needy family during the holiday season. 6. Take care of yourself. Avoid using alcohol to self-medicate your mood. Try to avoid the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Physical exercise is often an antidote for depression. Writing in a journal can be a good outlet for your grief. Buy yourself something frivolous that you always wanted but never allowed yourself to indulge in.

7. Create a new tradition or ritual that accommodates your current situation. Some people find comfort in the old traditions. Others find them unbearably painful. Discuss with your family the activities you want to include or exclude this year. Some examples of new rituals and traditions include: • Create a memory box You could fill it with photos of your loved one or written memory notes from family members and friends. Young children could include their drawings in the memory box. • Make a decorative quilt using favorite colors, symbols or images that remind you of the person who passed away. • Light a candle in honor of your absent loved one at the beginning of the holiday season and allow it to burn throughout; you can use an LED candle if you're not comfortable with a real one burning. • Put a bouquet of flowers on your holiday table in memory of your loved one. • Visit the cemetery and decorate the memorial site with holiday decorations. • Have a moment of silence during a holiday toast to honor your loved one. • Place a commemorative ornament on the Christmas tree. • Dedicate one of the Chanukah candles in memory of your loved one. • Write a poem about your loved one and read it during a holiday ritual. • Play your loved one’s favorite music or favorite game. • Plan a meal with your loved ones’ favorite foods. • Memory Tablecloth Every year, lay a special tablecloth and fabric markers or sharpies. Ask holiday guests to write down their favorite holidays memories, especially those that involve family members who are no longer present. • Secret Signal Create a secret signal for your family members to give one another when something reminds them of the person who has died. This could be a signal used at any moment, happy or sad, throughout the year. • Give to charity Every year chose a charity to give a gift to in your loved one’s name. Keep the same process for choosing the charity each year – maybe you decide over Thanksgiving or you gather on the first Sunday of December, for example. • Go somewhere where you feel close to your loved one Start a tradition of visiting your loved one’s grave or another place where you feel close to them on the holiday. Choosing a designated time, like first thing in the morning, may make it easier to plan and uphold this tradition.

The most important thing to remember is there is no right or wrong way to celebrate the holiday season after the death of a loved one, and that the best way to cope with that first holiday season is to plan ahead, get support from others and take it easy. Although no one's grief is the same, you are not alone in it.

Hospice of Acadiana, Inc. is proud to serve this community and offer the finest medical care to our patients and a complete array of services to their families. Father Louis Richard remains an active member of our Board of Directors, a constant reminder of our original goal—to bring a deep commitment to care for the dying. Following the death of his grandmother while he was a seminarian studying in Belgium, Lafayette-native Father Louis Richard spent a summer working at St. Christopher's House near London with British physician, Dr. Cicely Saunders. Dr. Saunders is considered the founder of the modern-day Hospice movement, and it was there that Father Louie developed a deep commitment to care for the dying.

2600 Johnston, Ste 200, Lafayette, La 70503 (337) 232-1234

Returning home to Lafayette following his ordination, Father Louis met with other community leaders and, in 1983, helped establish Hospice of Acadiana, Inc.—a nonprofit hospice committed to providing quality care at the end of life for all, regardless of their ability to pay for these services. Hospice of Acadiana, Inc. remains the ONLY nonprofit hospice in our area. We have the longest record of continuous service of any hospice in Louisiana, and, since our inception, we have served over 20,000 patients and their families. 27



Acadiana’s Own Storytellers: Preserving Lives and Legacies By Lisa Hanchey


94-year-old man proudly holds up a beautiful book that contains the story of his life. An Acadiana-native 70 years his junior helped him to document his memories just as she has done for many other beloved grandparents.

keepsakes,” she explains. “So that, even a hundred years from now, my clients’ great-grandchildren will know all about their great-grandparents. The kids get the books, then the grandkids get the books, and then the great-grandkids get the books.”

Olivia Savoie always knew that she wanted to be a writer. Her aspirations began in middle school, when at age 13, she began her first novel, finishing it at age 16. After the book was published, she traveled around the state talking with middle school students about the book and following their dreams.

One storyteller has shared the story of storming the beaches of Anzio during World War II. Another has recounted memories of overcoming a gang of armed robbers. Most all recount stories of young love and raising children. They share about saving their pennies from their paper route in mason jars and one day starting businesses that are now community fixtures. All of the storytellers have one thing in common: interspersed with their biographical data, they tell the tales that made their lives worth living. Olivia says, “We really get our storytellers to open up.”

Upon high school graduation, Savoie studied at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, completing a degree in English and a minor in history. While at UL, she was the Outstanding English Graduate and led the Creative Writing Club. During her early years, Savoie played the harp at retirement communities and nursing homes. There, she discovered a passion for life story writing. “I’d be performing and making older friends, and I always wanted to hear their stories,” she reveals. For fun, she would write stories about these residents, as well as those of her elderly neighbors, grandparents and their friends. When she graduated from UL, she immediately founded Raconteur Story Writing Services, with her husband, fellow UL graduate Joshua Savoie, in the fall of 2016. “I walked out of my last final and into my first client’s house to do an interview,” she shares. “I’ve been writing a new life story about every four to six weeks since then.” Raconteur derives from the French word for storyteller. Since starting Raconteur, the couple has found clients mostly through word-of-mouth. “People hear that a friend’s mom got this book done,” she explains, “and families usually share the books.” Savoie emphasizes that these books are primarily for families – not for bookstore shelves or the New York Times best seller list. “They are 28

As for her own life story, Olivia Spallino met New Iberia native Joshua Savoie at a church event in 2013, marrying him two years later. After graduating from UL, Josh worked in banking and hospitality for a while. But, that all changed when he joined his wife full-time in the life writing business. At Raconteur, Josh does community outreach and project management. Olivia handles the creative side, tackling the writing and editing. “We actually have a great time together,” she reveals with a giggle. Since starting Raconteur, the couple has added two writers in Lafayette and one in Baton Rouge, as well as an editor and designer. “Josh manages the workflow of all of that, and I get to write, edit and interview, which is what I really enjoy doing,” Olivia shares. Olivia’s favorite part is interviewing, which she does at clients’ homes, where they are the most comfortable. She steps into their shoes and writes their life stories. “It’s not like a biography that’s bland,” Olivia explains. “We use their own language; it’s from their perspective. And the way we do that is by asking the right questions.” 337M A GA ZIN E.C O M

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How does the life story writing process work? Raconteur developed 200 to 300 questions, which are customized to each individual. Writers meet with their subjects in their homes for three to four three-hour sessions. The interviewers start at the beginning, asking questions like, “What’s your earliest memory? Where did you grow up? What did your house look like? What did your dad do for a living?” Then, the Raconteur writer takes the storyteller through the teen years and high school, college, military and early married life, until the present moment. “We keep it very organized so that it’s not overwhelming for them,” Olivia explains. Once obtaining that information, the writer spends several weeks organizing and crafting a cohesive narrative. Later, the team scans the client’s special photographs – the pictures never leave the home – and put them into the book. “Each book is one-of-a-kind for the families,” Olivia confirms. “Most clients ask for anywhere from five to 50 copies of the book to give to family members and close friends.”

So far, Raconteur has published over 30 books. Through the storytelling process, the Savoies have become close friends with many clients. “It’s so special,” Olivia gushes. “Every time I meet a new client, I think, ‘I love this one so much; this one is my favorite.’ And then, I meet the next person, and I love that one so much, too.” Olivia has now gained many surrogate grandparents through Raconteur. “It’s such an intimate exchange to get to know them and ask them these questions that they haven’t thought of in years,” Olivia reports. “It’s so special to help them unearth these things that they didn’t even realize they remembered. The interview questions help remind them of things they don’t think about anymore.”

The Raconteur process involves six steps: Step One: The Raconteur writer talks with the client over the phone or in person to explain how Raconteur works Step Two: At-home interview process Step Three: Photo scanning Step Four: Writing phase Step Five: Review by the storyteller and their family Step Six: Design and publication

Typically, the interviewing stage lasts between 10 to 15 hours over the course of a few days. Within about two and a half months, the client has their heirloom book in hand. “The clients’ direct time involved is less than 24 hours,” Olivia explains. “It’s very easy for them, and that’s how we want it to be.” Raconteur offers several types of books – life story books for individuals narrating their own memoir; couples’ life story books that intertwine the narratives of long-married couples while only separating their narratives in their earliest years (before they met); and tribute books, where family members tell the story of a loved one who has passed away or has dementia so that their legacy is still captured.

Currently, Olivia is working on a tribute book where she has interviewed a few dozen people. This is unusual, as she typically interviews several people for these books—the subjects’ closest relations such as a spouse, child, and sibling. “Tribute books often are for people who passed away in their forties, fifties or sixties, so that their grandchildren can still know them—or for those of any age,” she explains. “They are very emotional, very special.” Olivia loves listening to raconteurs and plans to continue life writing for the long run. “I love what I do, and don’t planning on giving it up,” she confides. “I love it too much, and I love my people too much.” To learn more about Olivia and read excerpts from local stories, visit SUBMITTED PHOTOS 29


Lafayette's Own Boutique Facility for Breast Reconstruction Where Innovative Techniques Meet Compassionate Care By Abby Meaux Conques Walking into Dr. Stephen Delatte’s new plastic surgery facility located at 100 Drury Lane in Lafayette is like walking into a beautiful, high-end spa. You feel welcomed, and you’re greeted by warm and genuinely friendly staff members and doctors who are ready to answer any questions and concerns with years of expertise behind them. Dr. Delatte is board certified in plastic and reconstructive surgery after many years of study, residencies, and countless awards and accolades. Since starting his practice in 2005, Dr. Delatte has been performing the full spectrum of cosmetic and reconstructive procedures dealing with clinical problems ranging from comprehensive aesthetic rejuvenation to complex reconstruction for congenital, traumatic, and cancer related deformities. Around here he is known for his community involvement with breast cancer awareness and his amazing work aiding survivors with a breast reconstruction surgery that actually doesn’t require implants. Dr. Delatte and his team of doctors and staff pride themselves on being able to offer patients an innovative reconstructive option called a DIEP flap surgery. It’s a type of breast reconstruction in which blood vessels called deep inferior epigastric perforators (DIEP), as well as the skin and fat connected to them, are removed from the lower abdomen and transferred to the chest to reconstruct a breast after mastectomy without the sacrifice of any of the abdominal muscles.


Breast Reconstruction Education Center, only 23% of women know the wide range of breast reconstruction options available, only 22% of women are familiar with the quality of outcomes that can be expected, and only 19% of women understand that the timing of their treatment for breast cancer and the timing of their decision to undergo reconstruction greatly impacts their options and results. Locally, Acadiana Bra Day is a charitable fundraising event that will be held Friday, October 18, from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. at Rock N’ Bowl Lafayette. It’s a 1970’s themed event and event-goers are urged to don their best 1970’s attire with awards for best dressed male/female on the line. You can donate individually to the cause, register as a bowling team of 6 for $500, or enjoy the open bar and food with admission of $40 per person. Breast cancer survivors get in free to the charitable event and must RSVP. 20% of all proceeds go to the plastic surgery foundation for research and 80% will stay local and go to Miles Perret Cancer Services and to provide free mammograms for patients who can’t afford scans.


The facility’s management team feels as though what sets them apart from other plastic surgery facilities is the group of amazing people they get to call their staff. The doctors and staff collaborate as an entire team who genuinely just wants to help people. The facility, partnered with Park Place Surgical Hospital where the surgeries take place, is proud to offer the DIEP; it’s very innovative and takes two doctors to perform. Dr. Delatte works directly with Dr. Hugo St. Hilaire on the reconstructive surgeries. So far, Drs. Delatte and St. Hilaire have performed over 700 DIEP surgeries together. Dr. Delatte, along with many other area doctors of the same field of expertise, proudly supports the Breast Cancer Specialists of Louisiana and Miles Perret Cancer Services as instrumental entities who participate locally in what’s known as BRA Day, (Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day). The day is a national day that’s observed the third Wednesday in October and aims to let people know that there are choices out there beyond breast cancer. According to the National


Another service of considerable importance offered at the new location is the CO2RE Intima Treatment. It’s a non-surgical, quick, comfortable, in-office procedure that aids intimate wellness. Loss of vaginal tone can happen as a side effect of chemo, natural childbirth, and aging. Intercourse can become painful and itching or burning can occur, making intimacy very unpleasant. Dr. Delatte’s office considers the treatment “one of the other sides of self-care.” According to their staff, it’s something people may not know much about after dealing with hormonal changes, but it is very important to healthy intimacy wellness and relationships, and a problem that they can help patients effectively with.

The combination of experience, a genuine care for wellbeing, collaboration with local charities and a beautiful new facility appears to be just the right combo for Dr. Delatte and his staff to continue their work in helping area patients with any plastic surgery and skin care needs. For more information on charitable events they collaborate with such as BRA Day, follow the Delatte Plastic Surgery & Skin Care Specialists Facebook page or visit their website at


Delatte’s facility offers both surgical and non-surgical procedures for patients and clients including body contouring, breast enhancement, facial rejuvenation, men’s services, injectables and skin treatments. The group has been voted Top Skincare and Medical Spa for 8 years and Top Plastic Surgeons for 12 years.


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A Personal Struggle with PCOS

Warning Signs That Can Lead To Issues With Infertility By Heather Courville


am not a medical expert, doctor or nurse. I am just a wife and mom sharing my personal experiences in hopes of helping someone else. Originally, this was a post that I shared on my blog. Several readers reached out to me since the post, saying that by reading it, has helped them in their journey. Two close friends have told me they presented the symptoms shared of Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) to their doctors and have since gotten on the right medication and have been able to get pregnant! We started “trying again” as soon as we were medically cleared to do so after the loss of our twin boys, Nyle & Griffin. What trying again looked like for us: charting every month, keeping a detailed journal of what my cycles were like, using ovulation predictors, (rarely did I have a peak ovulation according to the OPK), taking supplements, using PreSeed, getting adjusted by my chiropractor the day before and after I believed to have ovulated. Some months we didn’t do any of these things and just “relaxed.” You know what they say, “You just need to relax and it will happen.” (Insert ALL the eye rolls) Anyone struggling with infertility knows how ridiculous this truly is. Having happy thoughts and relaxing will not cure infertility. Then there is science. Heathe and I were both going to different doctors for several months. My doctor ran labs and everything looked great, except for my progesterone. Here lies the problem, I literally had NO progesterone. This means I was not ovulating. I started taking 500 mg a day of Metformin for PCOS. Let’s talk about Metformin. My OB wanted me to go easy with the Metformin, because it can cause some pretty terrible stomach issues. I was told to slowly increase my dose. I was able to get to 1,500 mg in 7 short days! So ladies, limit your sugar/carb intake and the Metformin will be easier on your tummy. Apparently getting pregnant at all was a miracle, due to the fact that I had PCOS and low progesterone for years and never knew the symptoms. If you are struggling, reach out to your OB/GYN. There are medications and things you can do to help yourself! Symptoms of PCOS: Weight Gain About half of women with PCOS will have weight gain and obesity that is difficult to manage. Fatigue Many women with PCOS report increased fatigue and low energy. Hair Growth. Unwanted hair growth (also known as hirsutism). Hair Loss Thinning hair on the head. Hair loss related to PCOS may increase in middle age. Infertility PCOS is a leading cause of female infertility. Acne Hormonal changes related to androgens (a group of hormones that play a role in male traits and reproductive activity; present in both males and females) can lead to acne problems. Other skin changes such as the development of skin tags and darkened patches of skin are also related to PCOS. Mood changes Having PCOS can increase the likelihood of mood swings, depression, and anxiety. Pelvic Pain Pelvic pain may occur with periods, along with heavy bleeding. It may also occur when a woman isn’t bleeding. Headaches Hormonal changes can prompt headaches. Sleep Problems Women with PCOS often report problems with insomnia or poor sleep. There are so many things that have to be aligned just right in order to conceive a child. If the above information and what I learned from my experience helps others to piece together what's going on with their infertility journey, I'd share my experience again and again. 31



My Cancer Story: When Faith Is All You Have Left Momma, Wife, Believer, Ductal Carcinoma Survivor By Amanda Elliott

I wanted it to be true. At 28 weeks pregnant, I wanted it to be true. Holding his hand through lymphoma treatment, nowhere close to done, I wanted it to be true.

Verses I long knew began to breathe and grow. Like a seed planted deep in this Momma’s heart years before, God watered it and fed it and with every step of faith over the years something had begun to bloom deep within me. Something that when the storm came, it could not be washed away or rooted out.

Days later I would learn I had aggressive breast cancer. And when I did, I had just one phrase:

God performed two miracles for me — one, my body and the other, my mind.

“There’s not a world in which it’s possible you have cancer,” my husband said.

“All things work together. All things work together. All things work together. All. Things. Work. Together.” Just the one little portion of my beloved verse - Romans 8:28 - the only thing I could speak. I didn’t search for words. I had been pressed; like an olive crushed to make oil. Broken. And what poured out of me in that moment was the one phrase. The throaty whisper of just one truth.

"All things work together."

All things work together. It would become my anthem. The cry of my heart. In the chemo chair, during the ultrasounds, when I felt the contractions too early, lying in the MRI machine, when I couldn’t hold the baby because of the radiation. I would remember His words. His truth. His promises. His words became food for my spirit. The words I spoke, the prayers we prayed, the verses we stood on became like a sword slicing through the dark and pouring light and hope into the depths of my weary spirit.

After I felt the lump, the Lord impressed this promise on me, “No matter what you see or hear or feel or taste or smell, no matter the report - when it’s all said and done, you and your girl will be okay.” I stood with arms raised over my growing belly, worshipping at our home church. My husband, his beard lost to chemo and his body fighting, playing his guitar and singing with what energy the Lord miraculously gave. I wept and I worshipped and I knew then if it didn’t look like victory, it wasn’t finished.

The cancer was aggressive; I felt it grow larger as we prepared for treatment. Yet, I know we serve a God of miracles. I knew without a doubt He could take that lump away in the flash of an eye. We prayed in faith. Many did. But, the tumor grew. I believed our baby would be healthy.



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And He did. Evlyn was born healthy and strong and weighing more than 8 pounds. The labor was far easier than it had been with my son 7 years earlier.

But, I was getting chemo. I believed I would be able to deliver her safely. But, I could barely walk or stand or sit in a normal chair.

The day she was born she held up her strong little head and looked me straight in the eyes as if to say, “I’m here, look out.”

It was in these days we faced the paradox of God’s goodness and what we see with our own eyes. The space between the promise and the finished work. Where we must decide if we move forward in victory when the battle is still at hand.

It would be a nine week break in total before I could resume chemo, and yet the tumor shrunk to a few disorganized cells only a few millimeters in size.

The key to victory for us rested in more than wanting it. We had to believe it. Speak the Word. Praise Him. No matter what. That didn’t come without tears. Days I could barely lift my head and nights when my heart was heavy. But, He gave us peace. No matter what. For a woman who was medicated for years in my 20s for anxiety, this is a God-sized feat. “He keeps in perfect peace those whose minds are fixed on Him,” I would say this again and again. As we walked through this narrow way we never expected, I heard Him, “The breakthrough comes at the crossroads of your greatest refinement and my greatest glory.” Two treatments in and I could no longer feel the tumor. The doctors began a delicate balance of pausing treatment to prepare my body for labor.

It was Good Friday when we got the news. Just days after my husband got a clear PET Scan. We took our sweet Evie, at less than a month old, to church; we had an impromptu dedication.

"...we do live in a world where a pregnant, Jesus-loving Momma, whose husband is fighting cancer, CAN, in fact, be diagnosed with cancer. The rain falls on us all on this earth."

A picture of victory. A picture of His faithfulness. I learned in those months and the ones that have followed that we do live in a world where a pregnant, Jesus-loving Momma, whose husband is fighting cancer, CAN, in fact, be diagnosed with cancer. The rain falls on us all on this earth. And I never had to ask why. I know the why. We live in a fallen world with an active enemy. God healed me. Rescued me. And He sustained us in every moment before we saw the victory. What the enemy meant for our harm, God is using for His glory. One friend put it this way — the devil will regret the day he ever gave you cancer.

“A tumor of this kind usually wakes up between week 3 and 4 when you stop chemo,” the doctors said.

If I was loud before about the goodness of God, it’s like someone gave me a megaphone.

And so we stopped in expectation of Evlyn arriving early and me beginning chemo quickly again. And then we waited.

And that’s where the breakthrough comes for all of us. Where our faith goes from a philosophy to our very lives.

Each week it became more difficult to walk. Basic tasks impossible.

The results are miraculous. I once thought God would either give me peace or heal me. I learned in truth that He does both. Completely.

If I couldn’t even do a load of laundry, how could I birth a baby? Then one night, it was just me and the good Lord in the wee hours of the morning, and He gave me this — I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. I will carry you through this.

We may live in a world where the rain falls on us all, but, for the children of God, we have a refuge that protects us through it all.



Healthy Skin for Sweater Weather By Amelie Harding

It’s my favorite time of year! Goodbye humid Louisiana heat, hello cooler and crisper temperatures! While we’re playing in the leaves and sipping on our pumpkin spice lattes, there are a few things we can do to have our skin in its best shape as we transition into sweater weather. Use a good full body exfoliant twice a week In drier weather, our skin tends to hold on to dead cells and that can cause dullness and itchiness. A good oil-based body scrub will remove those dead cells while also replenishing moisture and providing extra nourishment. When picking out a body scrub, try to look for natural ingredients like bamboo, sugar, and oils. Avoid synthetic fragrances and harsh exfoliants like nut shells, as those can actually cause even more dryness and possible damage to the surface of your skin. Use a humidifier One of the reasons we tend to have better looking skin in the summer time is because it’s so humid outside. That humidity provides us with moisture, resulting in a healthy glow and more supple skin. As the air dries in the Fall and Winter seasons we lose a lot of that moisture, which leaves our skin feeling parched and appearing dull and congested. Putting a humidifier in your room while you sleep will combat these things and do a world of good for your body. It seems silly, considering we already live in such a naturally humid client, but we really lose a lot of moisture as the temperatures drop.

Toss out the facial scrub and replace it with a chemical exfoliant Scrubs can be harsh on dry skin and we tend to be more congested this time of year so I always recommend exfoliating with a alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) such as glycolic acid. This will remove surface build up and soften the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Lactic and kojic acids are also effective, and salicylic acid is great for acne prone skin. Invest in liquid exfoliants or face pads with these ingredients in them and you’ll see a drastic improvement in your skin’s appearance. And remember: you get what you pay for when it comes to skin care. Quality counts when you’re dealing with stronger ingredients, so discuss recommendations with your dermatologist or esthetician. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize After your skin is properly prepped for product absorption with a good exfoliant, applying a good night cream will work wonders. Save the lighter lotions for summer and step up your hydration game with a thicker, richer cream at night. Be sure to also continue using a daytime moisturizer with SPF to protect and nourish your skin during the Fall. Keep a good body moisturizer and hand lotion on your night stand as a constant reminder to remain vigilant in keeping hydrated from head to toe.

Taking a little extra time between Fall festivities to take extra care of your face and body will be well worth the effort. Your skin will thank you. Happy Fall, y'all!

Amelie Harding is a medical aesthetician, owning and operating Amelie Aesthetics Studio in Youngsville, LA where she offers a wide variety of customized facial treatments, along with threading, waxing, and eyelash services. Amelie was born and raised in Lafayette and is a proud single mother to two children, Zoe (16) and Henry (8). 34


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Tips and Product Advice for Healthy Hair During Cooler Winter Weather By Jennifer Kern Leblanc


give your hair an extra dose of moisture, which is pertinent during this time of year.

We change up our regimen for our skin, and we change up lotions for our kids as Moms, so why not protect our hair and scalp from the dry and cold air? In the cooler winter months we to turn up the heat indoors which makes the air extremely dry and actually may cause our hair and skin to become very dry as well.

In the same sense of changing to a winter-friendly hair shampoo and conditioner when the temps drop, we also recommend switching up styling products that will help hair escape those extra-dry spells.

s the winter months quickly approach us we always have a tendency to winterize our wardrobes, homes, and even vehicles.

As stylists, we're always sure to suggest switching up shampoos and conditioners during the winter months. We often recommend deep moisturizing and nourishing shampoos and conditioners. We do recommend Aveda products for the purity and environmental consciousness as well as the mindfulness of the company on the topic of abrasive chemicals when being used on the body daily. Recommending a shampoo and conditioner that will help with static and frizz is a MUST in colder weather temps. Using a hair masque up to several times a week is not a bad idea either for very dry hair; in fact, we think it's essential. A masque will

Oils can act as a nourishing agent for the hair and can act two-fold by being used on the skin to combat cold-weather dryness. They can also act as protectants for hair from the intensive heat of blow dryers and curling or straightening irons. In addition, using a serum or styling product specially formulated for dry hair damage will help with the prevention of the hair getting extra dry from the blow dryer and curling or straightening iron. Always remember to talk to your stylist when finishing up your service to ask what they have used in your hair and what they would recommend you take home with you to keep your hair healthy and shiny all winter long.

Meagan Andrepont Photography

Jennifer Kern Leblanc has been a stylist in Breaux Bridge for over 21 years, owning her own salon for 13 of those years. She's currently at Salon 328 on Rees Street. Her pride in her work is evident in the relaxing salon experiences her clients rave about. She's a proud wife and mother of two.





Setting Healthy Boundaries for Newlyweds

How Practicing Self-Care Improves Parenting Skills

By Hannah Comeaux, M.A, LPC, LMFT

By Hannah Comeaux, M.A, LPC, LMFT



Set healthy boundaries with your time and reduce outside distractions Your time with your partner should be protected. Spending time with friends is great, but being intentional to carve out time for each other allows an important part of marital growth. Although you may have been with your partner a long time before marriage, the dynamic of your relationship changes when you enter into the commitment of marriage.

When you take care of your needs, its easier to take care of theirs It’s hard to enjoy time with your child when you are sleep-deprived and burnt out. Let’s be honest, we live a fastpaced life and most of us are running on fumes. It’s hard to give from an empty cup. Remember to refill your cup before trying to pour into your children.

he first few years of marriage is a critical time for newlyweds. There are a lot of changes and adjustment to each other. Here are some important tips to remember in the beginning stage of marriage.

Protect your relationship and the opinions of others In the social media world we live in today, it’s hard to keep your relationship private. But when you share personal information with others you open it up to options and criticism. Confide in and share with those who have earned the right to listen. Set boundaries with family Adjusting to a new marriage can be difficult enough but adjusting to your spouse’s family can be even more challenging. Go slow and try to be understanding. Family dynamics are deep rooted and often hard to change. Allow your spouse time to feel comfortable with the boundaries they set with their family. Remember every season of your marriage is important for growth but setting healthy boundaries from the beginning can help establish the foundation needed for a long-lasting partnership.

arenting is one of the most rewarding but also, most challenging jobs. It’s easy to buy into the lie that the only way to put your child first is to put yourself last. Here’s the truth about why practicing self-care can help you become a better parent.

Practicing self-care helps you be more present with your child Life is busy and it’s easy to focus on their physical needs and forget to be emotionally present. Take time to slow down and engage with your child. Time flies; don’t miss those precious moments. Self-care shouldn’t be a last resort but a continuous practice Don’t wait to take care of yourself when you’re in survival mode but instead, let it be a routine. Think of small daily activities you can incorporate in your life to encourage, strengthen and rejuvenate yourself. As a parent, it’s easy to compare and criticize ourselves, which often leaves us feeling defeated and inadequate. Remember, we teach by example. We must take care and love ourselves because we are also modeling a balanced lifestyle for our kids.

Hannah Comeaux is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Marriage and Family Therapist. Her passion is working with couples and families to restore and cultivate more meaningful relationships. 36


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From Everyday Life to the Pages of Children's Books Local Children's Book Author Launches Third Book By Abby Meaux Conques


rom a professional career in the medical field to writing and publishing her own children’s books, Rebecca Ventre has immersed herself completely into both worlds. The registered nurse who cared for patients for 10 years traded in her scrubs for writing materials, and just recently published her third children’s book. “I definitely think having 4 kids gives me way more material than I could ever work with,” she said with a smile on her face. She left her job as a nurse to be a stay-athome-mom for her four children, 4-year-old twins, a 7-year-old and a 9-year-old. The Lafayette native will always have a place in her heart for patient care, but feels like her attention needs to be on her family at home right now. “They keep me walking the line between crazy and fun,” she said while chuckling.

such a mutual respect for each other’s work and have worked together so well that we really feel like we know each other, even though we haven’t formally met in person...yet,” Ventre said. “I tell her about the landscape, weather and culture here and I send her pictures so that she can get every detail in her illustrations to resonate with my readers. She even adds my childrens' own artwork and likenesses into portions of the books which makes them feel that much more special.” Ventre says Shchegoleva mentioned she’d like to visit Lafayette one day during one of our famous festivals. “I’d love for her to really make it down here and see what the Lafayette I love is like,” she said. Ventre’s second book, My Sneaky Parents was born from the idea that when kids go to sleep, they worry about their parents staying up and enjoying all of their toys and snacks. It’s an entertaining read for the whole family and fun for big imaginations. “That story came after one of my children made me promise I wasn’t going to eat her favorite snack after she went to sleep. I couldn't help but laugh when I thought about what they really think it is that we do after we finally get them to sleep,” Ventre said.

Ventre had an appreciation for poems and stories since she was a young child, noting Shel Silverstine as her favorite childhood author. “I have always loved writing poems and stories, and I am thankful for my amazing parents that encouraged me in countless ways,“ she explained. She can’t remember a time when she didn’t love to write, and one day decided to follow her to nudge to write and publish her own children’s book. Inspiration struck her after a long, hard day at home. “I sincerely thought I had done a good job that day! I had a tough day with the kids but I really kept my cool, consciously trying to remember daily little hiccups as memorable moments that I will miss when they grow up,” she said. “I guess I wasn’t so bubbly at bedtime that night...and after reading several bedtime stories requested by my second daughter, she giggled and told me, ‘There should be a book called the grouchy mom!’” Later that night after all the kids were asleep, Ventre set up her laptop in bed and wrote her first children’s book, The Grouchy Mom. It’s about a little girl that has a very grouchy day, even though that's not exactly how she sees it. From not willing to try a bite of her homemade breakfast, to complaining about getting dressed and putting on shoes, this story is almost too relatable for parents. “There were a few things I knew I wanted the story to have: fun illustrations and to be entertaining for parents since we’re the ones that have to read the books to the kids,” Ventre explained. After months of picking through freelance illustrator profiles, Ventre finally found the perfect match for her stories in Russian children’s book illustrator, Darya Shchegoleva. “We have

Both of Ventre’s above-mentioned books received the gold Mom’s Choice Award, a globally recognized organization that establishes the benchmark of excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. Photo of Rebecca Ventre by Chelsea Poynot, 3 Petals Photography

Recently, Ventre added another published piece to her collection, Mom University, which was just released in September. Ventre says, “This story playfully captures some of the challenges of motherhood and gives a glimpse of the ‘rigorous’ training it takes to become a mom! In the end, the reader will see why all the training was so worth it. It has the same fun rhymes and colorful illustrations that it seems people have come to love.” In a world that can sometimes be rough tangled in with equally tough days of parenting, meaningful times like story time before bed are proven to have huge impacts on children and adults alike. “My goal is to give families a moment away from reality, where they can sit together sharing a laugh or making their imaginations run wild,” said Ventre. All of Ventre’s books are available for purchase on Amazon, and in our opinion, would make great holiday gifts for loved ones while supporting one of our area’s own children’s authors. 37


Making the Holidays More Mindful Small Traditions to Implement for a Mindful Family During the Holidays

By Abby Meaux Conques


he holiday season can be a downright stressful time, particularly for Moms. Moms tend to end up being the ones to choose all the gifts for the family and children, to get outfits ready for all the different holiday gatherings, and to make sure the hostess of the event gets a gift when you walk in. The holidays can be a stressful time, making some gatherings borderline unpleasant, not because of the company, but because of the expectations.

Who wants to spend their time on things that are unpleasant to them? No one. But we can change that. We can change the unpleasants feeling of having to do all the things and the pressure to get the best and most amazing *insert new well-marketed toy here* for our children for the holidays, that will end up at goodwill in six months anyway. So how do we start? First, we begin with perspective. Once we know...really know...that material things don't indeed make the world go round, it's easier to not feel as though we need to get the best *insert material thing here* for anyone on our list, period. The list in itself is stressful. Let me tell you this, when you're buying things by default for people (i.e. your godchild's sibling), that's a choice you are consciously making in order to make yourself feel better. Often times, the parents of your godchild feel guilty that you feel the need to purchase things for their other children when it comes to holiday buying. In fact, most parents likely have the same view as you do when it comes to buying things around the holidays: please don't give me more stuff. The bottom line is, we don't need more stuff. But, the fact of the matter is that no matter how many times you tell Aunt Helen not to buy little Johnny a new train set, she buys him a new train train set. You know what Johnny would really like? A ride on the train at the local zoo. So what should we do? Articulate that. Tell Aunt Helen something very straightforward like, "I know you really enjoy getting Johnny train sets, but in our home, there's no room for more material items. This year, if you choose to buy something for Johnny, please consider getting him something like a pass to the local zoo where he can ride a train and think of you every time he boards it." Easy as that. There's all sorts of other ideas, too. We need to be the example for children to understand that the holidays are not a material time, but a loving time, a helpful time, a meaningful time laced with gratitiude and the beautiful feeling of aiding someone in need. So how do we do that? I don't have all the answers...but I have a few ideas for you. 38


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Mindful Holiday Traditions and Gift-Giving PRESENCE OVER PRESENTS Years from now, children won't remember what gifts you gave them, but will remember special times spent together. Drive out to the country to collect pinecones to make your own holiday décor or items for loved ones. Make a memory of the day. Go to the kids' favorite lunch spot before heading out or grab a milkshake on the way home and make it a small tradition. Or make it a point on the Saturday before Christmas to be family game night with a certain game, or a family movie night with a particular movie at home. You can enrich the experience by everyone wearing holiday pajamas and making hot chocolate. Use what you have around your home to become memory makers.

TREAT CARDS AS TREASURED ITEMS Encourage children to create homemade cards for loved ones, incuding photos or drawings and a short love note describing the reasons that person means so much to them. Hand deliver cards to neighbors, accompanied by a plate of homemade treats. Children can also send cards to military personnel overseas or to area nursing homes.

GIVE CREATIVELY Adopt a less fortunate family, child, or charity for the holidays (local churches, social service agencies or charitable groups on facebook can be a good start). Ask children to be “Santa’s helpers” by choosing and thoughtfully wrapping books, toys and other gifts for the less fortunate or for shelter families. Help children research good causes and earmark a small amount of money for them to gift to the cause of their choice, such as an animal shelter or other local nonprofit. Honor the gift of time, as well: Youngsters that spend a few hours helping out at a food pantry, caroling at a nursing home, reading Christmas stories to shelter animals or wrapping gifts for Toys for Tots will experience and remember the true joy of giving. NURTURE THEIR SPIRITUAL SENSE Organized religions aren’t the one and only venue for sharing family beliefs. Be open-minded and explore the realm around you. On the night of the Winter Solstice, December 21—the shortest day and longest night of the year—enjoy dinner by candlelight. Follow dinner by a family stargazing in the backyard and make holiday wishes. On other holiday evenings, under only the Christmas tree lights, menorah or other special candles, and speak quietly about your blessings. Listen to carols on YouTube from other parts of the world to reinforce a spirit of unity and invite intriguing discussions about how other cultures observe their holidays.

SIBLING GIFTS Speak with your children about giving their siblings certificates for each other rather than buying something for them. The gift certificates can cover act of service like, " “I will clean your room on your behalf, clear your dinner plate for you, unload the dishwasher for you, read you a book, make your bed for you, eat your vegetables one night at dinner so that you don’t have to, but you still get a snack (kids love this choice!), let you pick the movie for family movie night or which game is picked for family game night, do your chore for you," etc. The possibilites are endless, the single gift certificates give each of the selections merit, and it helps kids learn to help one another as a family unit. EXPERIENCE GIFTS Family members love lists. They may ask you what children specifically want for the holidays this year. This is the perfect time to suggest experience gifts over material gifts. Good suggestions can be: Museum entrance fee coverage or memberships (think science and art museums) Orchestra or theatre season tickets ot tickets to shows you know they'd love (make a night out of it and suggest dinner gift cards from other family to make evenings extra special) A tent for camping Sports season tickets (even if it's supporting your local college team; start new tailgating traditions where the whole family can enjoy each other's company) Local art or music class tuition Batting cage memberships Bowling and skating passes Movie tickets Lunch date certificates New skill or hobby class tuitions Magazine subscriptions Musical instruments and lessons

Once you shift your perspective that the holidays don't have to be about material gift-giving, different kinds of doors will open up to you for ideas. You can truly change everything this season, have a wonderful time of year and never have to exchange one material item. Think what this perspective shift will do for your kids, too. Entire movements have been constructed by one change of choice. 39

Purchasing or leasing a brand-new Genesis is as simple as scheduling a demonstration and 24-hour test drive delivered right to you, completing the purchase process over the phone, and coming to our dealership to fill out a minimal amount of paperwork.




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Gear Bag Musts and Ample Preparation By Jared Conques




ith the summer months coming to a close and Fall right around the corner, the two best seasons of the year are about to get kicked and hunting season! While many people know what to pack for that tailgate or watch party when it’s game time, I still see and hunt with many people who are puzzled as to what to bring into the field with them when it’s time to hunt. While my bag of choice and its contents are by no means the end all, be all when it comes to what to pack, I will go ahead and give you a peek into what my field essentials are. The first thing is choosing the right bag for you. I am not a fan of the bulky backpacks or insulated cooler type bags. I find them to be a bit bulky and take up too much needed room in the duck blind. I prefer a shoulder sling, pouch type bag that can hold a maximum of two boxes of shells. Need more than two boxes of shells for you six bird limit...well, I can’t help you there. Within my bag, I carry the aforementioned two boxes of shells. If I am hunting teal, I will be shooting #5 shot. When the Big Show opens up in November for big duck season, you can usually find anything from #4 to #2 shot shells, depending on the conditions in the field. The higher the wind speeds, the lower the shot size for a more consistent shot. I also like to my shells to be 1500 feet per second, regardless of the shot size. Once my shells are taken care of, I make sure I pack a ziplock bag. The ziplock bag will be your best friend in the field as it will keep your phone, hunting license and/or cash dry and easily accessible, should you need them. It also takes up minimum space, leaving room for other items such as a morning snack or small canned or bottled drink in your bag. Once these items are packed, I usually have room for my call lanyard, which holds 3-4 calls, and my Randall’s Adventure survival knife should I need it in the field. I wrap the handle of my hunting knife with flight string for a quick duck lanyard or emergency, should I need it. While there are numerous ways to prepare your bag for a hunt, you should take into consideration the conditions that will be in effect during your day in the field. My bag is easily adaptable should I need to exchange a few items for more necessary supplies. And even though I didn’t mention it for my bag, our group always designates a hunter in the group to carry a bag of first aid and medical supplies should things go awry in the field. May this hunting see you fill your limits and make memories for a lifetime!




McNeese Tiger Cowboys Happenings


The 2018 football season was going great for the Cowboys. They had won 6 of their first 8 games, including two big victories over two rivals – Nicholls State and Central Arkansas. McNeese was in sole possession of first place in the Southland Conference heading into the final three games of the regular season. But the Cowboys went on to lose those games and miss the playoffs, two of them by a combined seven points. 2019 features another challenging schedule. In non-conference play, McNeese will travel to Stillwater, Oklahoma to face the Cowboys of Oklahoma State, who will be expected to be an overwhelming favorite. McNeese will also host a couple of SWAC powers in Alcorn State and Southern University. In SLC play, the Cowboys will host two of the Conference’s tougher teams – Sam Houston State and Southeastern Louisiana, who started the 3-game losing streak that ended McNeese’s 2018 season. But the road conference schedule will be tough as the Cowboys will face Central Arkansas, Nicholls, and Lamar away from the friendly confines of Cowboy Stadium.



QB Cody Orgeron (son of LSU Head Coach Ed Orgeron) is expected to lead the Cowboys this season after coming on in the middle of 2018 and impressing fans with his ability to pass and run the football. A big target for Orgeron looks to be former St. Thomas More standout WR Trevor Begue, who struck up a good rapport with Orgeron in the second half of last season.

DE Chris Livings looks to continue to cause havoc for opposing offenses as a player who can get to the quarterback and slow down opposing runners. He’s helped by fellow senior DB Colby Burton, who makes it tough on opposing quarterbacks to complete passes.

Head Coach Sterlin Gilbert The 1st year head coach takes over the McNeese program after two successful years as Offensive Coordinator at the University of South Florida, and in 2016 at the University of Texas. He has coached some of the top offenses in the country, something that is expected to provide excitement for the Cowboys.

(Information and images from 42

By Brandon Comeaux

LOFTY EXPECTATIONS Beat Bama. Win the SEC. Contend for a National Championship. These are the lofty expectations LSU fans have for their Tigers season in and season out and yes, beating Alabama is listed first for a reason. The Tigers have not defeated the Crimson Tide on the gridiron since November 5, 2011, at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. It was a game billed as the “Game of the Century” and pitted the top 2 teams in the country against one another. But a rematch in the BCS National Title Game in New Orleans was dominated by Alabama, who owns an 8-game winning streak over LSU. Will this be the year that LSU breaks the losing streak? If so, they’ll have to go back to Tuscaloosa to do it. LSU fans sometimes get criticized for their intense concentration on beating the Crimson Tide, especially since Alabama’s coach Nick Saban used to wear purple and gold himself. But, losing to Bama is like a domino effect. Being in the same division, it’s hard to make it to the SEC Championship Game without beating the hated rival. Not competing in the SEC Championship Game makes it that much more difficult to play in the National Championship Playoff. This is an LSU team that has the talent and coaching to achieve these goals. Experienced quarterback Joe Burrow returns to lead what’s expected to be an explosive offense that brings back 7 starters from last year’s team. On defense, a mix of returning talent and highly touted newcomers lead a stable defense that returns 8 starters. This LSU team will have some tough opponents this year. They will travel to a storied Texas Longhorn program early in the season and visit Starksville to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs. They will host rival Auburn and get the opportunity to avenge last season’s losses to Florida and Texas A&M. But chances are everything will likely come down to that second Saturday in November. To quote the great wrestler Ric Flair, “to be the Man, you have to beat the Man.” And, Alabama has been the Man. It’s time for LSU to be the Man again and conquer those lofty expectations.

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Ragin Cajuns



he Fourth of July holiday is usually a time of celebrating. Fun, fireworks, and grilling. But the 2019 Fourth of July holiday will always be remembered as a somber time, a time of grieving the loss of Tony Robichaux, an amazing man and leader who impacted so many lives and became the winningest coach in Ragin’ Cajuns baseball history along the way. He died on July 3rd at the age of 57 following a heart attack on June 23rd. There are so many positive words that come to mind when I think of Coach Robe – approachable, loyal, humble, classy, confident, godly, and servant leadership.


In my broadcasting profession, I get to meet some great, influential people. Tony Robichaux is at the top of the list...and I don’t say that lightly. I mentioned the word “approachable” first because he left great first impressions. He addressed everyone with respect and kindness. Tony Robichaux truly had a heart after God. He wanted to please his Maker and he made it his mission to share his faith in God to impact those around him. Because of his devotion to training good men, I believe Coach Robe saw his position as an opportunity to provide leadership, whether they were his young and impressionable players or others that crossed his path.

Matt Deggs, the man who is succeeding him as the Cajuns baseball coach, expressed that Coach Robe’s leadership style and influence has helped him to achieve his own successes. Coach Robe often spoke about not letting your failures define you. That mantra is something that continues to stick with Coach Deggs today. Tony Robichaux believed that society is better and the family unit is stronger when good, moral men step up and rise to the occasion. Tony Robichaux was a pillar and a man among men. And, while the community lost him, his legacy lives on in the lives of those he impacted.


agin’ Cajun Head Football Coach Billy Napier’s first season with the program turned into a success. After navigating through a brutal first half of the season, Coach Napier’s Cajuns began a winning streak. Ultimately, they won the Sun Belt West Division Title, played in the first ever Sun Belt Conference Football Championship Game, and made an appearance in the Cure Bowl. Many people are wondering how 2019 will fare. Was last season a flash in the pan, just a momentary success that caught people by surprise? Or is Coach Napier building something that will last? Well, if the season opener against SEC power Mississippi State is any indication, the Cajuns are on their way to accomplishing the latter. Although the Cajuns lost a close contest against the Bulldogs 38-28, their performance was much better than the 56-10 drubbing they took in 2018 to the same program. The Cajuns also entered the 2019 season with a highly regarded recruiting class over the summer. These ingredients have the Cajuns set up to continue being a team to be reckoned with in the Sun

Belt Conference. Coach Napier has learned from the best, including the biggest name in college football coaching – Nick Saban. For the Cajuns to be successful, they’ll need to figure out their quarterback situation. Will it be junior Levi Lewis or will they need to go deeper into their bench? In the opener against Mississippi State, Lewis both threw for a touchdown and ran for one. But he also threw 2 interceptions. The rest of the Cajuns offense looks solid. Returning running backs Raymond Calais, Trey Ragas and Elijah Mitchell have an experienced offensive line to run behind. The trio played well against the Bulldogs. The defense looks to improve this season as the Cajuns return playmakers Bennie Higgins, Jacques Boudreaux, Chauncey Manac and Joe

Dillon in the defensive line and linebacking corps. The 2019 schedule gives the Cajuns a better chance of having a great start. Winnable home games against Liberty and Texas Southern follow the loss to Mississippi State before they have true road contests against Ohio and SBC member Georgia Southern. The Cajuns get the opportunity to avenge last season’s SBC Title Game loss to Appalachian State by hosting the Mountaineers in front of a nationally televised audience on ESPN2. The second half of the 2019 schedule will feature conference road trips to Arkansas State and South Alabama- which have never been easy places to win for the Cajuns – and conference home games against Troy and ULM. There is much more excitement as Coach Napier begins his second year in the program. We excitedly await to see how the season unfolds and if the foundation of his hard work pays off.

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riday night, under the local stadium’s lights. You can hear the band’s drumline start their cadence as the crisp fall air tickles your nostrils with each breath. Fall has arrived and with it, high school football season. The boys of fall take the field, but for those of us who have strapped on the shoulder pads and buckled our helmets, it is anything but a game. Boys become men over the course of a 10 week season and the lessons learned last for a lifetime. One of the biggest lessons I took away from my years on the football field, and continue to implement today, is the lesson of always being ready to step up, even if you aren’t a starter.

I faced this lesson my sophomore year as a starter was injured and I was thrust into the starting role for an upcoming game. My preparation had met its opportunity and I was able to do my part to help my team during that week. Little did I understand that this lesson would prove fruitful later in my life.


Fast forward to this year...I lost my father-in-law unexpectedly this summer. As you can imagine, this was a tremendous and difficult blow to our family. When things were in disarray with my family, someone needed to step up. I was prepared and took leadership of some of the things that needed to be taken care of to make the grieving process as easy as it could be during this tumultuous time. While I may have not been expecting to be ushered into this position, I was prepared to do what I needed to do to move the team, or family in this case, forward. It’s crazy, looking back on it though. All that time when I was younger, I thought they were preparing us for the upcoming week’s game. In reality, we were being prepared to take on life and the challenges that lay ahead in our adults lives. When viewed through this lens, it’s much easier to see how football is much more than a game for those young men on the fields across Acadiana every Friday night.


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FALL PLAYGROUNDS Southern Stays and Getaways

By Cheré Coen



ids are back in school, which means two things — the noisy crowds have left the beaches and temperatures are on their way down. Time to head to the Gulf Coast for some quiet relaxation. east to Florida, west to Texas or any points throughout the Deep South, there’s so much to visit this time of year. Here are a few ideas to get you started.


THE INN AT OCEAN SPRINGS Boutiques and art at The Inn at Ocean Springs. The boutique hotel offers only two rooms, both spacious and recently restored, so quiet is the name of the game here. There’s a porch and back patio for reading and enjoying company and at the front of the property is Bright Eyed Brew Co. serving up nitro coffee and house-made waffles.


EAGLE COTTAGES New to Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores are the Eagle Cottages,


SUNSET SAILS Captain Ron Reiter shares his love of the water with visitors,


PADDLES UP, DOWNWARD DOG If you’d rather get closer to the water, Amanda Mavar-Schmidt offers kayak and paddle board rentals with guided trips to Deer Island off the coast of Biloxi or the back marshes near Ocean Springs. This fall, Mavar-Schmidt will lead weekend yoga retreats in Destin in what she calls a Down Dog Adventure.


which becomes the seventh addition to National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World Program (there are only 55 lodges in the program worldwide). While you’re there, hike the park’s miles of boardwalks and trails to spot migratory birds, alligators and other wildlife.

helming a replica of a wooden Biloxi oyster schooner for sunset sails out of the Biloxi harbor. The evening sails are funded through Biloxi’s Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum (definitely worth a visit!) and skirt the coast amidst dolphins and other sea life while the sun sets in the west.




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47 YEARS IN THE BACK OF THE HOUSE Well-Known Lafayette Native Chef Pays Respect to the Unnamed Deep South Curators of Cuisine By C.F. Jolivette


afayette native and chef, Carolyn Shelton, has charmed kitchens and television studios alike over her near 50-year career. She’s been in the company of Phil Donahue, Dick Gregory, Sylvia Chase, and late New Orleans food icon and personal friend, Leah Chase. She is known as a chef, television/radio personality, author, speaker, and a manner and etiquette coach for youth in the South. Her reputation in these facets have brought her to the sides of some of the world's giants in food, culture, and entertainment. Shelton claims she got most of her culinary knowledge from her mother, Angelina Zeno, and her grandmothers. In her early professional days she worked as a flight attendant and left that career to pursue a working life as a Chef, Restaurateur, Chef Consultant and Cookbook Author. Her writings are distributed from Southern kitchens to worldwide bookstores. Her works include Angelina's Zydeco Okra Cookbook, Zydeco Blues and Gumbo, and Carolyn’s Creole Cajun Celebrity Cookbook among others. Her book Coffee, Tea or Watermelon: Life as a Flight Attendant speaks of her days working for an airline. "I might be on the beach in Maui or Honolulu having Mai Tai's, but I knew that if I really wanted to eat good, I had to come home,” she says. Well-known corporations have teamed up with Shelton to appear on her cooking shows, videos, and CDs. Hamilton Beach, Kitchen Aid, Le Creuset, Lodge Logic, Louisiana Fish Fry, Louisiana Seafood Board, Reco, Snake River Farms, Staub, Starbucks Coffee, Swissmar, Tabasco, are just a few. Her latest work is 47 Years in the Back of the House. It’s a special tribute to the unsung African-American heroes who worked tirelessly in home kitchens, plantations and in cafeterias


throughout the deep South for hundreds of years with little to no compensation or acknowledgement. 47 Years in the Back of the House is a collection of twentyfive stories which highlight the contributions of the lesser or unknown names in history that Shelton describes as,"The unacknowledged black folks working in the back of the house." She adds excitingly, "We don't even know all their names or all their contributions but this book is dedicated to them."

family, which owns and controls the Jack Daniels brand within its expansive portfolio, boasts a $12 billion dollar net worth. The Jack Daniels company then set up the Nearest Greane Foundation in honor of Nathan Greane and to ensure his name is never forgotten. Stories just like the above mentioned along with Chef Shelton's desire to see light shed upon these hardworking, forgotten characters and undervalued work serve as the inspiration for 47 Years in the Back of the House. She aims to pay homage to those who she says, "Died poor, faced unbelievable racism, but stirred those pots, browned those rouxs and created those hidden treasures from the back of the house in places like Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana." She adds, "I want to be clear that this is not an angry book, though, and I am not an angry person. My mother didn't raise the kids like that...and another thing: you can’t make an angry Gumbo! This book is about the love for those SUBMITTED PHOTOS people." Aside from the book, Shelton’s overall The book will be available for purchase mission is to teach, educate, and remind the in November at and also next generation of African-Americans that has story features on various chefs like the they made major contributions to the culinary aforementioned Leah Chase and the lesser world. Some of the lost names have been acknowledged Mrs. Narcisse, who worked in recovered in recent history and depicted in film the cafeteria of the University of Louisiana and literature, even fictitiously, including the at Lafayette well into her 80's. "That's called 2009 book The Help, followed by a film by the work ethic and I want the next generation to same name in 2011. Nathan "Uncle Nearest" understand what it takes and that it can be Greane, for example, was a slave in Tennessee, done." who was recently posthumously credited with teaching the trade of whiskey distillery to Jack Daniels nearly 300 years ago. The Brown 337M A GA ZIN E.C O M

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ocal mixed media sculptor and artist, Kelly Guidry, takes everyday items and brilliantly fabricates them with chunks of cedar and cypress into pieces of coveted art. You may know him as the chainsaw guy, or recognize his series of pieces that don his booth at Festivals Acadiens and Creole such as his chainsaw-carved hearts, fishing tackles that have brilliant imaginative flair, zozo bebes, or his bugs that you can't help but see as little friends rather than vermin. Other notable works are his angel figures, turnkey toy mixups, chunky crosses and local flag and accordian blocks. Originally from Lafayette, Guidry moved to the downtown area of Breaux Bridge 20 years ago into the home his grandparents used to live in. “I was only supposed to be here for a couple of years. I was a bit worried at the beginning, thinking it was too out of the way for clients to come and see the studio or order and pick up pieces. It turned out that a lot of my clientele travelled on I-10, and it was a convenient stop for them, riding through the charm of Breaux Bridge and getting a real Cajun bite to eat while passing through; it all ended up working out and I’ve been here 20 years now,” Guidry said. He lives in the colorful home with his wife Robin and toddler, Zoe. Guidry started his professional career postcollege in the realm of advertising. In college he took sculpture classes and discovered his love for making things with his hands in an artful and imaginative way. He always gravitated towards mixing metal and wood to build objects cohesively, as if each element joined together to act as a new concerted piece, instead of separate parts that simply work together. Guidry’s first display of his work was showing initial pieces at Deano’s Pizza restaurant. People responded to his work well and he decided to check out booth entry for Festival International back in 2001. “That’s when I realized that maybe I would be able to do this as my full time job and really be able to make a living doing what I love,” he said.

Guidry refers to his work as a visual language, and we couldn’t agree more. There’s so much information to gather from one piece of art by him that a native from this area feels immediately: the locally sourced wood from our own soil, old gun metal or copper parts manipulated to work with the wood, the bold and bright coloring; you can feel the love that he holds for the people and this area through his compelling pieces.

Guidry’s art categorically began to be recognized by signature touches. “I started off making fish because it was an easy shape to do honestly,” Guidry explained. “I had all of my pieces ready to be displayed freestanding or on blocks for a show at Cafe Des Amis when the owner mentioned they would need to be able to be hung. That’s when I had to come up with a creative to have these things hang from walls or ceilings; that’s when my signature hanging S curl came from,” he said. Guidry mentioned that when talking with a friend once, they pointed out how he always incorporated a tiny copper heart in his pieces. “I always said that I wanted to create things with heart and always follow my heart

when it came to anything in life. Since then I made it a point to utilize hearts in many of my pieces, staying true to my soul’s passion of doing all things with heart.” It’s only fitting that Guidry find a significant other who is a creative in her own right. Robin suggested a new way to finish certain figure pieces with an iridescent finish notable of precious stones, paying homage to her love of jewelry making. Guidry sculpts the figures in his signature way and the piece is handed off to Robin for finishing where she utilizes a multi-layer technique where the piece ends up with a whole new personality than that of a Kelly Guidry piece alone. The jewel finish figure pieces are referred to as “The Pearlescents.” Guidry explains, “She has an amazing eye for design and that’s where her passion lies whether it be art, marketing or jewelry,” he continued. Together they recently opened The Pink Alligator Gallery of Fancy Goods, a renovated boutique in the heart of downtown Breaux Bridge located at 112 Bridge Street. Robin handles the marketing and promotional side of the business and spends her time designing and developing unique and exquisite jewelry pieces. The gallery is an inviting space where Guidry’s artwork is showcased among other creatives’ handmade goods and procured wares. It’s reminiscent of New Orleans-style design complete with French doors opening up to a bricked garden patio through the back doors that will eventually serve as an outdoor entertaining space for downtown events. Be sure to follow the Pink Alligator Gallery and Kelly Guidry’s facebook pages for gallery pop-ups and exhibitions along with open house studio tour news. Guidry’s sculptures will be on display for purchase at the upcoming Festivals Acadiens and Creole Festival in October. The Guidrys offer open house studio tours three times a year, with the next event happening in November. (Editor’s note: It’s definitely one of those “do not miss” type of things in our book.)


Weber Angel by Kelly Guidry Cedar, metal and copper 24" x 24" x 5"



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