225 Magazine [June 2024]

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JUNE 2024 • FREE 225BATONROUGE.COM Cool Inside Beer slushies! Spicy popsicles! Cotton candy snoballs! runnings A guide to ICE CREAM, GELATO and all things FROZEN in the Capital City PET REPTILES 12 OLYMPIC GAMES 17 LOCAL PODCASTS 69 A guide to ICE CREAM, GELATO and all things FROZEN in the Capital City




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225batonrouge.com | [225] June 2024 3 24 hrs from receipt of this proof. A shorter timeframe will apply for tight deadlines. • Additional revisions must be requested and may be subject to production fees. Carefully check this ad for: CORRECT ADDRESS • CORRECT PHONE NUMBER • ANY TYPOS This ad design © Melara Enterprises, LLC. 2024. All rights reserved. Phone 225-928-1700 NOW OPEN PERKINS ROWE SEE MENU

THE HEAT IS on in the Capital Region—so grab something frozen before you melt. La Divina Italian Cafe scooped up some of its most popular flavors—Cotton Candy, Cookies & Cream and Azteca—for our cover cone, speedily shot by 225 staff photographer Collin Richie. Turn to page 26 for this month's cover story, which chronicles the Capital Region's ever-evolving frozen dessert culture.

Features 12 How a local rescue is saving pet reptiles 17 What former Tigers are heading to the Olympics 43 What’s the story behind the colorful running shoe craze 69 Who is contributing to BR’s growing podcast scene And much more… Departments 12 What’s Up 17 Our City 22 I Am 225 26 Cover story 43 Style 63 Taste 69 Culture 76 Calendar ON THE COVER A scoop from the new LSU Dairy Store Cool runnings
CONTENTS // 6 [225] June 2024 | 225batonrouge.com 26 COLLIN RICHIE
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Sundae school

STICKY ORANGE SYRUP was dripping down my fingers. But I didn’t care, because I finally had my hands on the ice cream-stuffed dreamsicle snoball I’d been searching for.

It was a scorcher of a spring day outside Cool Delights’ yellow stand on Government Street.

I had just spent hours driving around Baton Rouge on a self-guided tour of its snoball stands. I’d blindly marked a bunch of spots on Google Maps, and set out with former 225 contributing photographer Allie Appel to see what each was serving.

My introduction to the Capital Region’s dessert culture came, per usual, in the name of research for this magazine. And those memories came swimming back to me while working on this month’s cover story.

Allie and I had sweated in line for up to 30 minutes at some of the stands that day. Kids ran wildly around us, shrieking with delight as they spooned up cherry-flavored shaved ice. Generators hummed loudly, drowning out the workers’ voices as they shouted names for orders. The ice seemed to melt the millisecond my fingers closed around a styrofoam cup—or, at Cool Tiger Ice Snoballs, around a spiny cored pineapple, loaded sundae-style with fruit and a pink flamingo-shaped straw poking out.

By the end of the day, my dress was stained with blue fruit juice, my Mustang’s low-fuel light was on, and I felt sick from all the sugar.

“OK, are you ready to swear off snoballs?” Allie asked me.


One of my flaws has always been my sweet tooth. Tell me there’s a new small-batch ice cream or popsicle shop, and I’m there. My husband and I love going out to dinner—and then making one more stop at places like La Divina and Sweet Society. My favorite thing to stow in my freezer is a to-go carton from Gail’s Fine Ice Cream.

But I think that snoball hunt will forever be my most cherished dessert memory—rivaling even my childhood spent in Florida’s beachside dessert shops, a dripping towel around my waist, the intoxicating scent of fresh waffle cones in the air.

Because that day, I’d unlocked the mystery of why hordes of people are willing to brave hot, loud lines in exchange for a messy cup of frozen fruit juice. I think it’s the same reason crowds at Disney World will exchange hours of their lives waiting to ride a 90-second attraction.

It’s all about what happens before you get to the front of the line—the easy conversations with friends or family. The unexpected companionship found while commiserating with strangers about the heat. And finally, the reward: a chance to try something new, to conquer a line item on your bucket list.

Allie and I became lifelong friends that afternoon—and snoballs, in turn, carved their mark on my heart.

Whenever I pass by a snoball stand, I think of that day and what it taught me about Louisiana culture. And the hotter the weather gets, the more it makes me want to get out of my car and join the line.

I’m certain the experience will be just as full of color and personality as the stand’s collection of syrups—there’s sno doubt about it.

How we got that shot

This month’s cover package shoots were just as homemade as the frozen desserts they centered around. For our cover, Digital Staff Writer Olivia Deffes lent her stylishly manicured hands to model a cone loaded with La Divina Italian Cafe's gelato. Staff photographer Collin Richie had to work quickly as we shot the melting desserts against different backdrops. And for a shoot on at-home sorbet sundaes made with City Gelato, we secured some spiffy sprinkles from CounterspaceBR to spread around the page. Can you spot the dinoshaped sprinkles?

EDITOR'S NOTE // 8 [225] June 2024 | 225batonrouge.com
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Publisher: Julio Melara


Chief Content Officer: Penny Font

Editor-In-Chief: Jennifer Tormo Alvarez

Managing Editor: Laura Furr Mericas

Features Writer: Maggie Heyn Richardson

Digital Staff Writer: Olivia Deffes

Multimedia Editor: Oscar Tickle

Staff Photographer: Collin Richie

Contributing Writers: Mark Clements, Cynthea Corfah, Madelon Davis, Tracey Koch, Benjamin Leger, Elle Marie, Kelsei Scott

Contributing Photographers: Ariana Allison, Amy Shutt


Director of Consumer Sales: Michelle Lanoix

Team Leader: André Hellickson Savoie

Assistant Sales Manager: Kynley Lemoine

Multimedia Consultants:

Savannah Bankston Estes, Jamie Hernandez, Meredith LaBorde, Brooklyn LeJeune

Digital Operations Manager: Devyn MacDonald

Partner Success Manager: Paul Huval

Content Creator: Ashleigh Ward

Digital Ops Assistant: Derrick Frazier


Director: Taylor Gast

Creative Director: Tim Coles

Corporate Media Editor: Lisa Tramontana

Content Strategist: Emily Hebert

Project Manager: Kendall Denney

Account Executive: Judith LaDousa


Marketing & Events Coordinator: Taylor Andrus

Marketing & Events Assistant: Mallory Romanowski


Business Manager: Tiffany Durocher

Business Associate: Kirsten Milano

Office Coordinator: Sara Hodge

Receptionist: Cathy Varnado Brown


Director of Creative Services: Amy Vandiver

Art Director: Hoa Vu

Senior Graphic Designers: Melinda Gonzalez Galjour, Emily Witt

Graphic Designers: Ellie Gray, Sidney Rosso


Audience Development Director and Digital Manager: James Hume

Audience Development Coordinator: Ivana Oubre

Audience Development Associate: Catherine Albano

Customer Experience Coordinator: Kathy Thomas

A publication of Melara Enterprises, LLC

Chairman: Julio Melara

Executive Assistant: Brooke Motto

Vice President-Sales: Elizabeth McCollister Hebert

Chief Content Officer: Penny Font

Chief Digital Marketing Officer: Erin Pou

Chief Operating Officer: Guy Barone


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©Copyright 2024 by Melara Enterprises, LLC. All rights reserved by LBI. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is strictly prohibited. Business address: 9029 Jefferson Highway, Ste. 300, Baton Rouge, LA 70809. Telephone (225) 214-5225. 225 Magazine cannot be responsible for the return of unsolicited material—manuscripts or photographs—with or without the inclusion of a stamped, self-addressed return envelope. Information in this publication is gathered from sources considered to be reliable, but the accuracy and completeness of the information cannot be guaranteed.


April 2024’s most-read articles at 225batonrouge.com


First Look: Hotel Toussaint opens in St. Francisville, with French design and Southern touches The 2024 Best of 225 Awards ballot Baton Rouge’s longest-running restaurant serves up a signature fried chicken recipe

Reader’s notes

Kudos for the trailer of our new video series, Between the Lines. Host Oscar Tickle focuses on the untold stories of Baton Rouge to answer questions like: Who is scuba diving in the Capital Region’s lakes and rivers, and what makes Louisiana’s heritage foods so popular? Follow us on YouTube at @225magazine for our latest video.

Re: Our Instagram Reel touring Tsunami Sushi‘s long-awaited @Highland location, with moody and modern decor designed by Tiek Byday:

“It’s good food and the atmosphere is just amazing! —@kimwampold

“Game changer right here!!!!!” —@tonjamyles, via Instagram

“Here for it. … Let’s go ” —@adrian_danylle, via Instagram

Comments and analytics are from April 1-30, 2024. They have been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.

Winner, winner …

Want to be the first to find out who readers voted as the city’s best people and businesses in 2024? We’ll reveal the Best of 225 Awards winners during a special event June 27, 6-8 p.m., at 1717 inside The Queen Baton Rouge. Enjoy live music, drinks and food—and, of course, our coveted July issue. Get your tickets at bestof225 QR code.


facebook.com/225magazine twitter.com/225batonrouge instagram.com/225batonrouge tiktok.com/@225magazine


Be the first to know who all of your favorite categories. royal celebration with drinks, by Pants Party and a variety from The Queen. Don’t miss opportunity to live like a



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Cold blood, warm hearts Cold blood, warm hearts

WHAT'S UP // 12 [225] June 2024 | 225batonrouge.com
need rescue, too


Meg Braud made a passing comment to her fiancé, Sean, about how cute leopard geckos were—a fun fact she’d discovered while studying to be a veterinary technician.

Things being shut down, Sean figured rescuing a leopard gecko he’d spotted on Craigslist would bring a smile to Meg’s face. It did. And so did the crested gecko he adopted shortly after from the same family.

“It just snowballed from there,” Meg recalls.

An irresistible bearded dragon was surrendered to the veterinary clinic where Meg was working a few months later. She adopted it too, naming it Toothless, like the character from How to Train Your Dragon.

Something felt right about the sudden influx of cold-blooded critters.


8–10 years

The average lifespan of a bearded dragon, according to PetMD


The year Scales and Tails’ oldest reptile, Ed, was born

“I think one day Sean said, ‘I’m really enjoying having reptiles around,’” Meg recalls, “And I said, ‘Why don’t you start a reptile rescue?’”

Over the last two years, the couple’s Scales and Tails Reptile Rescue has cared for about 40 unwanted pet reptiles and adopted out 20, housing them in tanks in the guest bedroom of their Bluebonnet Boulevard condo.

The Brauds, who got married along the way, have since added a reptile foster program with students at LSU Vet Med, where Meg now works. And in April, Scales and Tails became an official nonprofit, an accomplishment they hope will help expand capacity and educational programs.

Education is a main goal, Sean says, since the lifespans of common reptile pets often outlast the attention spans of the youngsters clamoring to own them. And while aquarium-bound critters might seem easy to care for, they’re not, says Sean, who juggles a job as a prep cook at Mid City Beer Garden with reptile husbandry. Each morning and evening, he adjusts lights to mimic the natural world,

and he’s created bioactive enclosures with leaf litter and live insects to help the animals thrive. These are strategies he teaches to potential adopters, as well.

Living with dozens of reptiles has reinforced the emotional satisfaction such pets can bring, the Brauds say. It’s also provided memorable moments, like when their stealthy ball python went missing (it was later recovered from a bookshelf), or when the

couple included Toothless in their engagement photos.

More than anything, the Brauds want to dispel myths that all reptiles are threatening.

“A lot of people are freaked out by reptiles,” Sean says. “One thing that’s been really fun is seeing kids interact with these guys and learning they’re not so scary.” Find it on Instagram at @scalesandtailsreptilerescue


A few species Scales and Tails has rescued and adopted out in recent years:

African sideneck turtle

Western hognose snake

African fat-tailed gecko

Veiled chameleon

American tree frog

Meg and Sean Braud founded Scales and Tails Reptile Rescue about two years ago.
WHAT'S UP // 225batonrouge.com | [225] June 2024 13

Buzz feed

Rolling in

Tsunami Sushi opened the doors to its long-awaited new location at @Highland on April 12. The 251-seat restaurant took over two years to complete. The sleek design courtesy of Tiek Byday features ocean- and Asian-inspired dark-blue hues, a wood wall modeled after Japanese joinery and a sweeping brass-pipe fixture overhead. The menu mirrors that of Tsunami’s Shaw Center location, focusing on fresh sushi, small plates and specialty dishes. highland.servingsushi.com

Going BIG

• After years as a beloved late-night Tigerland food truck, Big Cheezy unveiled its first brick-and-mortar on May 7 near the North Gates of LSU’s campus. With a cheesy-yellow design, the restaurant offers a few new menu items and its signature sandwiches. Find it on Instagram at @bigcheezybr

“When I told people that I was going to change Zippy’s, I almost started to get hate mail. But then I’d break out the plans and win them over almost every single time.”

-Neal Hendrick, founder and owner of Zippy’s, which revealed its expansion in late April. The $1.7 million project doubled the fast-casual establishment’s bar space and added trendy design touches throughout. Along with the reno, the Tex-Mex joint also rolled out a refreshed taco menu. zippysburritos.com

Top forecasters from Colorado State University issued their highest predicted number of hurricanes since the organization started releasing April predictions nearly 30 years ago. Here are the 2024 estimates.

• Big River Pizza Co. debuted in St. Francisville on April 27. This new pizza joint specializes in woodfired pizzas in the burgeoning North Commerce area. The eatery shares a space with companion concepts: the stylish speakeasy Proud Mary’s and ice cream parlor Away Down South’s new digs. bigriverpizzacompany.com

Chatter bot

In April, the Metro Council approved the development of a new AI-powered virtual assistant for residents and visitors that will roll out in two phases. Phase one is expected to launch this summer and will answer general questions for users related to city-parish services, like trash collection or animal control. Phase two will be integrated with the city-parish’s 311 system. The chatbot will be developed by South Carolina-based Citibot. brla.gov

Downtown dining

Okki Tokki, a build-yourown-bowl spot centered around Korean dishes, opened downtown April 1. The menu, inspired by owner Kimberly Szuszka’s mom’s cooking, also offers dishes like Sweet Hotteok pancakes and Fried Mandu dumplings. The interiors showcase varying shades of green (a lucky color in Korea) and luscious leafy wallpaper. Find it on Instagram at @eatokkitokki

11 Hurricanes predicted for 2024 5 Major hurricanes predicted for 2024 23 Named storms predicted for 2024 SAY WHAT?

This Month @ BREC [JUNE]


BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo

June 1-2 | 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.


Bayou Manchac

June 1 | 8:30 a.m.-noon


Highland Road Community Park Tennis Center

June 1 | 8:30 a.m.-noon


Gus Young Ave Park

June 14 + 28 | 7-11 p.m.


Liberty Lagoon

June 14 | 7:30-9:30 p.m.


Highland Road Park Observatory

June 22 | 2-10 p.m.


Memorial Sports Complex

June 22 | 9 a.m.-noon


Liberty Lagoon

June 28 | 8:30-9:30 a.m.

BREC.ORg/thismonth BREC does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, religion, veteran status or sexual orientation in its programs and activities.

for goldGoing

Meet four Baton Rouge athletes with their sights set on this summer’s biggest Olympic prize

Vernon Norwood



IT WAS Vernon Norwood’s senior year at Morgan City High School, and the fledgling sprinter had just posted one of his best times at a meet.

He was only in his second year training as a runner, but he was optimistic that the impressive showing could help propel his track career.

But after the race, Norwood found out he had been disqualified for stepping on a lane line, dealing what he thought would be a major blow to his college recruitment.

“People didn’t get to see that time because it got wiped away immediately after I got disqualified,” Norwood tells 225. “A lot of (schools) didn’t know how good I really was. … And I didn’t really

225batonrouge.com | [225] June 2024 17



have plans on going to the next level.”

A dozen years later, that slip-up was just a small speed bump in the lengthy and impressive road Norwood has since run.

This summer, the New Orleans native, 32, is looking to add to his accolades in his second Olympics.

Norwood wound up at South Plains College in Levelland, Texas, for two years before transferring to LSU. His list of collegiate accomplishments is too long to spell out here, but it’s highlighted by four NCAA titles in just two seasons in Baton Rouge.

He turned pro in 2015 and has since claimed eight medals at world championship events, six of them gold, while training at LSU.

Norwood also took home a gold medal for Team USA at the 2020 Tokyo Games in the 4x400 relay and a bronze medal in the 4x400 mixed relay—milestones he’d never dreamt of back in high school.

“A lot of kids

nowadays have these dreams of wanting to be Olympians, or being a pro and all that stuff,” Norwood says. “I just came into school doing every single thing I was told to do and being consistent with it. … It’s been a wonderful ride, and I don’t take it for granted.”

Something Norwood hopes to appreciate in Paris this summer is a true Olympic experience. The 2020 Olympic Games were postponed to 2021 due to the pandemic, uprooting training plans. And once there, athletes dealt with health safety measures. There was no big opening ceremony; they weren’t competing in front of fans and couldn’t interact with other athletes.

Today, he’s ready to compete at the highest level and get that authentic experience.

26Aug. 11, 2024

“This deep into my career, I continue to try to be consistent every day and take care of my body,” Norwood says. “I have to be ready to go out there and represent my country.”

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2024 Paris
LA Arborist 2407 | ISA Arborist SO-10969A | TRAQ Certified 2982 Varsity St. Baton Rouge, LA 70807 | 225.372.8585 Lee Rouse, M.S. | Arborist & Baton Rouge Branch Manager PLANTING | PRUNING | PRESERVING OUR CITY // 18 [225] June 2024 | 225batonrouge.com

Maggie Mac Neil


EVERY ATHLETE remembers their first Olympic gold. But what about their second?

Swimmer Maggie Mac Neil already has one of the Olympic Games’ top prizes under her belt. She won gold in the 100meter butterfly at the Tokyo Games in 2021, along with a silver and bronze in relay events.

If the Canadian and former LSU swimmer wins again at next month’s Paris Games, she’ll become the first-ever female swimmer to defend her title in the all-out sprint of what’s widely accepted as the sport’s most grueling stroke.

A challenge? Definitely. But making history is kind of what Mac Neil is known for.

The 24-year-old started her collegiate swimming career at University of Michigan. There, she took home multiple NCAA titles. She became the first woman swimmer since 1964 to win an individual Olympic gold while enrolled at the university.

After graduating in 2022, she followed longtime UM coach Rick Bishop to his new post as LSU Swimming’s head coach for her fifth year of eligibility.

At LSU, she helped rewrite the women’s record books.

Her 2023 NCAA title in the 50-yard freestyle was the first in LSU women’s swimming history, setting school, NCAA and U.S. Open records. And she helped lead the Lady Tigers to their first SEC relay championships since 1984.

“That rivals my Olympic gold, honestly,” she says of the two 2023 relay wins.

Her decision to stay at LSU and train for the Paris Games was a bit historic, too. While many professional swimmers head to hubs like Arizona or California after their NCAA eligibility expires, Mac Neil opted to stay in Baton Rouge.

Her longstanding relationship with Bishop made it an easy decision.

“We’ve always had a really great coaching partnership. It’s not so much him telling me what to do and me obeying, but more like a conversation,” Mac Neil says.

Her commitment to her education also played a role. She earned a master’s degree in sports management from LSU in May, and has her hopes set on law school in the future.

And after Paris she plans to hop back into training with Bishop in Baton Rouge. But not before a well-earned European vacation.

It’ll be the longest time she’s spent away from the training waters in years—yet another first to add to Mac Neil’s record book.

Scan the QR code to learn about more Olympic hopefuls with ties to Baton Rouge

OUR CITY // 225batonrouge.com | [225] June 2024 19
Maggie Mac Neil (pictured here) and Vernon Norwood (opposite) earned gold medals at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Taryn Kloth and Kristen Nuss



KRISTEN NUSS was sitting at home like the rest of the world during the COVID-19 lockdown when she saw her phone light up.

On the other end was her LSU Beach Volleyball teammate Taryn Kloth, hunkered down 1,200 miles away in her hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The No. 1-ranked Tigers’ dominant 2020 season had just been bitterly cut short by the pandemic.

Kloth was itching to start training again. She asked Nuss if she wanted to join.

“Heck yeah,” the New Orleans native recalls replying.

That summer marked the duo’s first time playing as a pair, entering a handful of tournaments in and around Louisiana. Fast forward four summers, and the 26-yearolds will team up to compete for Team USA in the 2024 Olympics. Their July matches will be set in the temporary Eiffel Tower Stadium, the iconic structure gleaming in the background.

“At the beginning, we were just having a blast on the court, and I don’t think at the time we necessarily thought it would be what it is today,” Nuss tells 225.

The journey feels especially wild for Kloth, a Creighton University transfer who formerly focused strictly on indoor volleyball, and nearly stopped playing beach


altogether before committing to a “super senior” season at LSU.

“I don’t know how to describe it, (but) I had this drive that I could not not keep playing beach volleyball,” Kloth recalls.

Still, it’s not exactly a surprise today that the duo is heading to Paris. Nuss and Kloth are ranked No. 2 in the world by the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball, and they’re known as one of the most dynamic teams to watch in the sport—their 10-inch height difference adding to the fun.

And while Nuss and Kloth have fully made their mark on the international stage, they still train in Baton Rouge at Mango’s Beach Volleyball with former LSU volunteer coach Drew Hamilton. They describe the community at the facility off South Sherwood Forest Boulevard as a “family.”

“I know that we have so much support. I truly feel like I am an adopted Louisianian,” Kloth says.

Still, the former Tigers are looking forward to proudly donning three new letters across their chests this summer: USA.

“(We) put on those three letters with a lot of pride,” Nuss says. “I’ve watched the Olympics ever since I could remember—especially the Summer Olympics. It is absolutely a dream come true.”


While some athletes, like Kloth and Nuss, have known they will represent Team USA for months, many of the Summer Olympics' biggest sports will decide on their 2024 teams at U.S. Olympic Trials events in June. Athletes are named to the team based on their performance at these competitions. Other countries, like Canada, follow a similar process. Here's what's happening in the coming weeks.

U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials

June 15-23, 2024 in Indianapolis

U.S. Olympic Diving Trials

June 17-23 in Knoxville, TN

U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials

June 21-30 in Eugene, OR

U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials

June 27-30 in Minneapolis

OUR CITY // 20 [225] June 2024 | 225batonrouge.com



Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy can be in a small group or 1:1 setting. So based on each child’s needs, they have a therapist working with them on their programs and receive individual attention. ABA is super powerful because unlike other interventions, many of the kids come 30-35 hours per week. Instead of going to daycare or preschool, we are often able to drill down and learn why they aren’t meeting milestones on time and then treat the root of the issue so that they can build on those skills.


Prior to the pandemic, we were looking at 1 in 44 kids in America with autism. However, new post-pandemic data shows that now it is 1 in 36. We are still seeing a lot of children who are just now getting diagnosed, so recognizing early signs of autism in children is crucial for early intervention, which can significantly improve their developmental outcomes. Common indicators of autism, usually noticeable before a child reaches three years old, include a range of social communication and interaction challenges such as limited eye contact, delayed speech development, challenges with waving, and a diminished response when their name is called. Children might also exhibit repetitive behaviors and restricted interests, such as rocking, spinning, or hand-flapping, alongside a strong resistance to changes in routine. Additionally, some children might prefer solitary play, show little interest in making friends, or display unusual communication patterns like repeating phrases (echolalia). Emotional regulation issues might also appear, evidenced by intense tantrums or aggressive behavior. While the presence of these behaviors doesn’t necessarily confirm autism, observing several can be a prompt for parents or caregivers to seek a professional evaluation. Early assessment and intervention are key to supporting the development of children on the autism spectrum.


Being consistent and contingent can completely change the way a child learns and how a parent parents. Consistency is often the small, daily decisions that parents make to show children that they can rely on the parent and trust what they say. These small moments are much more powerful than any grand ideas or tactics. Being contingent with tasks can also teach new skills at home that you would like to see increased. Find what’s important to your family and reinforce it. If time together is important, then spend time together by decreasing screen time and doing things that allow you to focus on your family.


ABA therapy is a scientific and evidence-based practice which means that every part of a child’s session is shown via data. All learning opportunities are graphed and measured specifically for each child. Various assessments are used to ensure that all goals are individualized and significant for the child and their family.


Parents should look for a safe, caring environment for their child as well as one that will aid their child in learning the skills they need to transition back into a less restrictive environment. Communication with the provider and family should be open and collaborative in nature. Many clinics and providers are at max capacity for clients and have waitlists but it is important to put your child on multiple lists so that they can get into therapy as soon as possible.

24 hrs from receipt of this proof. A shorter timeframe will apply for tight deadlines. • Additional revisions must be requested and may be subject to production fees. Carefully check this ad for: CORRECT ADDRESS • CORRECT PHONE NUMBER • ANY TYPOS This ad design © Melara Enterprises, LLC. 2024. All rights reserved. Phone 225-928-1700
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Jonathan Pixley

THERE WAS A point in Jonathan Pixley’s life when things felt bleak.

Lying in a hospital recovery room after knee surgery, Pixley listened as the orthopedic surgeon shared the grim news that his basketball career was over. The recent college graduate had sustained a major injury during the third game of the NBA Summer League, a casting call of sorts for prospects. Pixley had just finished playing college ball at Samford University, and his lifelong dream had been to go pro.

“It was devastating,” he recalls.

But in short order, a new perspective took over.

“It was the word, ‘next,’” says Pixley, now 50. “For me, it’s a God thing, but it’s a word I’ve just always had etched in my brain.”

He soon returned to basketball, beginning what would become a 21-year tenure as head coach at The Dunham School. Well-known in regional athletic circles, Pixley would also help open the popular Fidelity Bank Sportsplex on Perkins Road, the largest basketball facility in Baton Rouge and largest volleyball facility in Louisiana. He remains its director of operations. And in 2019, Pixley became a partner in MatchPoint Connection, an NIL marketplace that connects athletes to sponsors.

His “next” philosophy continues to unfold. One of his former Dunham players, now a local dentist, once asked him if he would ever consider providing executive coaching. Pixley hadn’t, but he started sketching the plans for a new company the next day.

Now Pixley’s four-year-old firm TLW—short for Train Lead Win—helps executives improve productivity through oneon-one, tailored coaching.

One of Pixley’s many standard directives is to “control both ends of the day,” meaning rising early and assessing the day’s success before shutting down. This makes the middle hours more efficient, he says.

He personally subscribes to it, waking at 4 a.m. to exercise before diving into a workday driven by an electronic to-do list.

“You want to be more productive before noon,” Pixley says, “than other people are with their whole day.” trainleadwin.com

“I’m doing everything from the perspective of coaching. To play a part in helping people reach levels they didn’t think were attainable is very satisfying.”
I AM 225 // 22 [225] June 2024 | 225batonrouge.com





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for these sidebars featuring 12 more frozen treats in the Capital Region
this ice ice COVER STORY // 26 [225] June 2024 | 225batonrouge.com
Look out

A guide to ice cream, gelato and all things frozen in the Capital City

• Cotton candy snoballs! • Spicy popsicles!

• Beer slushies! baby
COVER STORY // 225batonrouge.com | [225] June 2024 27
Sidebars by Cynthea Corfah

Sno storm

The Meltdown Snoballs, one of Baton Rouge’s newest snoball spots, is heating up

TEMPERATURES ARE INCHING closer to 100 degrees, and customers in line at The Meltdown Snoballs are dressed in flip-flops and shorts, their sweat beginning to pool under the beaming sun.

Lines have been lengthy since this new stand opened in February off of Highland Road, about a half-mile from LSU’s North Gates. Customers linger around the baby blue building, slurping snoballs through sour straws or munching on cheesecake or cotton candy toppings. These juicy, customizable snoballs are well worth the wait.

The brain behind this operation is 19-year-old Zein Clayton.

The Brusly native began The Meltdown Snoballs in his hometown about three years ago and branched out to Baton Rouge for his second location this year. He already has his eyes other markets, too.

“The atmosphere we try to create is something that sets us apart from other snoball stands,” Clayton says. “We go above and beyond to make sure our customer leaves with a smile on their face.”

After parking in a lot to the immediate right of the building—or in a handful of spaces on the building’s left—customers find a patio with picnic tables under bright blue umbrellas.

With bass thumping, speakers play the latest pop songs.

Behind the counter, the staff assembles its signature snoballs, like Strawberry Cheesecake or customer fave Meltdown Juice, a tropical blue variety.

It slings savory items, too, like Hot Sausage with Chili and Cheese.

While the snoball toppings are eye-popping, the flavors are just as inventive. Think: Cookie Dough, Fruitasia (a mango and peach mix), Silver Fox (which tastes like a marshmallow-forward almond cake) and the tropical red Wine Cooler.

“We’re taking that time to put out quality product,” Clayton says. “I train my employees not to rush.”

And by late spring, as those temps are firing up, many of the customers at this stand aren’t newcomers anymore—they are doubling back for a second helping.

The Meltdown Snoballs piles its frozen desserts with toppings like cotton candy or cheesecake. Zein Clayton, 19, is the owner of both locations of The Meltdown Snoballs.
COVER STORY // 28 [225] June 2024 | 225batonrouge.com

1808 Sneaux by Heidi

1808 Perkins Road | Find it on Instagram at @1808perkins

Cool Delights Snowballs

Multiple locations | Find it on Facebook

Cool Tiger Ice Snoballs

5355 Jones Creek Road

Find it on Facebook

Eloise Market and Cakery

320 Lee Drive | Find it on Instagram at @eloisemarketandcakery

The Original Ms. V’s Snowballs

13431 Hooper Road | Find it on Instagram at @msvssnowballs

Snoball stands

Rainbow Delites Snowballs

10770 N. Harrell’s Ferry Road

Find it on Facebook


720 E. Main St., Brusly

Find it on Instagram at @snoballs.plus

Snoman Snoballs

9534 Burbank Drive 14616 Tiger Bend Road

Find it on Instagram at @snomansnoballs

Waycool Snowballs

7020 Antioch Road

Find it on Facebook

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The Meltdown Snoballs 2625 Highland Road 6243 LA-1, Brusly themeltdownsnoballs.com

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Have a ball
Offered admission to 150 colleges and universities. $30.6 million in scholarship money was offered to 68.7 percent of the class (as of 5/10/2024). This does not include TOPS scholarship information, which is not yet available. The senior class completed 8,337 hours of service during the 2023-2024 school year. 3015 Broussard Street Baton Rouge, LA 70808 (225) 383-7207 www.sjabr.org Five-time U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon School 1991 1996 2002 2016 2023 SJA has a non-discriminatory admissions policy.
225batonrouge.com | [225] June 2024 29 COVER STORY //

Sweet Society’s bingsu, a Korean-inspired dessert made with shaved frozen milk

Ice spice

Exploring Asian frozen treats like bingsu and taiyaki at Sweet Society

COVER STORY // 30 [225] June 2024 | 225batonrouge.com

IN SOUTH LOUISIANA, there’s plenty of snobbery around shaved ice. It’s a snoball, thank you, not a snow cone, a regional flex signaling the fine texture of the former, versus the coarse pebbles in the latter.

But there’s another shaved ice treat whose snowy properties surpass even the finest regional snoball, and that’s Korean bingsu. The delicate confection is made with shaved frozen milk, not ice, ensuring an uncanny snow-like resemblance, says Sweet Society co-owner Patrick Wong.

“Whenever that snow hits your tongue, it melts immediately,” Wong says. “Bingsu has a very light texture.”

Bingsu is one of the specialties served at Sweet Society, an Asian-inspired dessert shop in Mid City’s Electric Depot. The menu also includes photogenic Japanese taiyaki, and cool drinks like boba, milk tea and fresh fruit green teas.

As diners seek out global eats, Wong and co-founder Karen Vong say Sweet Society’s popularity has only grown since its 2020 opening.

To make bingsu, Sweet Society adds milk to a machine imported from Korea. The milk freezes inside in cylinder form, and is then shaved to a fine consistency with spinning blades.

Combined with condensed milk, flavored syrups and other ingredients, it’s served like a sundae. Order it at Sweet Society in five flavors: Strawberry, Mango, Watermelon, Oreo and Fruity Pebbles, and select from toppings like whipped cream, mochi, Pocky sticks and sprinkles. Spoon up the cool, sweet goodness, and feel the snow melt.

Vong says Watermelon is a top seller in the summer.

“We use half a watermelon,” she says. “It’s so refreshing.”

Japanese taiyaki, a fish-shaped cookie pocket served with or without ice cream, is another of Sweet Society’s signature desserts.

“Taiyaki is a favorite,” Wong says. “People love to order it.”

Opt for a pastry filled with sweet red bean, Nutella, custard or cheese to enjoy solo or wedged into a dish of Japanese soft serve.

Or, use one as your cone. Sweet Society’s rotating ice cream flavors currently include Mango Dole, Honeydew, Cherry Milk and Hokkaido Milk, and they look awfully pretty swirled and stuffed in an upturned fish.

Topped with Oreo, toasted coconut, sprinkles, toasted almonds, Pocky sticks or Fruity Pebbles, few desserts are as eye-catching. Find it on Instagram at @sweetsocietybr

Try this

Bubble Waffle Cones at Bonjour

5727 Essen Lane

240 Range Blvd., #107, Denham Springs

Bubble waffle cones make crispy, cakey vessels for ice cream and toppings such as strawberries, Nutella, Fruity Pebbles or nuts. bonjournas.com

NOLA Floats at Rêve Coffee Lab BTR

8211 Village Plaza Court, Building 4, Suite 1A

This caffeinated riff on a root beer float is made with Rêve’s signature NOLA Iced Coffee poured over its house-made gelato and sweet cream, and drizzled with halfand-half. revecoffee.com

Italian Ices at Jeremiah’s Italian Ice

3260 Highland Road, Unit 9

Fold ribbons of ice cream in between layers of Italian ice in tangy flavors like Sour Green Apple or Passion Fruit or sweet varieties like Cake Batter, Cookie Butter or Oreo Mocha. jeremiahsice.com

COVER STORY // 225batonrouge.com | [225] June 2024 31
Try swirled soft serve flavors like Honeydew and Mango Dole served in a fish-shaped Japanese taiyaki cone.

The inside scoop

The LSU Dairy Store’s new campus location is introducing a fresh generation of students to this best-kept secret

Acall it “local,” “artisanal,” or “small-batch”—code for careful preparation and limited supply.

And while such goods have been all the rage nationwide over the last 20 years, one Baton Rouge institution has been making this sort of delicacy since 1957: the LSU Dairy Store.

Made with milk from a herd of 100 Holstein cows at the LSU AgCenter’s Southeast Research Station in Franklinton, the Dairy Store churns out premium ice cream sold by the scoop or the pint.

Buying a cone has been a rite of passage for generations of LSU students and faculty members, who represent about 90% of the store’s patrons during the school year. Not much had changed for the small ice cream shop over its 67-year tenure until this


Percent of patrons who request their ice cream in a waffle cone

Most popular flavor? Tiger Bite

What makes the Golden Vanilla golden? Annatto, a natural seed oil also used to add color to yellow cheeses

COVER STORY // 32 [225] June 2024 | 225batonrouge.com
Fierce, Coffee Chip and Cherry Chocolate Chip cones at LSU Dairy Store

spring, when its longtime digs on South Stadium Drive were razed to make way for the new $148 million Our Lady of the Lake Health Interdisciplinary Science Building. The Dairy Store was relocated to a large, freshly renovated space at

Dairy Store Manager Nicholas Uzee says it’s been a good move. The facility features top-of-the-line equipment and is situated on a corridor with lots of foot traffic.

“Our sales volume is triple what it was at our old location,” Uzee says. “We’ve been able to expand our product line and our flavor offerings. We can make 750 gallons in eight hours—more than double what we used to.”

Patrons drop by for tastes of Tiger Bite (Golden Vanilla and Blueberry, swirled), Coffee Chip, Chocolate, Vanilla, Oreo Cheesecake, Fierce (Golden Vanilla and Mixed Berry), Turtle and more. There’s always a featured flavor of the week, along with eight standard options and eight rotating ones.

Serious effort goes into composing each batch, beginning with twicemonthly trips to retrieve milk from the research station. The ice cream is made by students and faculty in the store’s adjacent production area, which is now visible through plate-glass windows. Uzee says it’s prepared with far less “overrun” than most commercial ice cream, the term used for the amount of air deliberately whipped in to increase volume.

“Our ice cream is extremely creamy and rich,” Uzee says.

The location was originally considered a temporary home as the Dairy Store’s planned permanent location in the new Interdisciplinary Science Building moves forward. But Uzee says the Campus Drive spot has been so successful, both locations could stay open after the science building debuts (likely in late 2025).

During the school year, the Dairy Store is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. In the summer, it’s open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Find it on Instagram at @lsudairystore

Try this

Milkshakes at Dearman’s Diner

7633 Jefferson Highway

Sip on nostalgia with rich, thick shakes in flavors like Dreamsicle, Nectar, Hot Fudge, Cherry, Strawberry, Banana, Chocolate and Vanilla. dearmansdiner.com

Root Beer Floats at Frostop

402 Government St.

Ice-cold floats are frothed with house-made root beer and classic vanilla ice cream. frostoprestaurant.com

Concretes at Cade’s Frozen Custard

709 E. Ascension St., Gonzales

Made with egg yolk and a higher ratio of milkfat, custard is denser and smoother than ice cream. And in customizable concretes at Cade’s, every bite is strewn with chunks of cake, apple cobbler, pistachios, vanilla wafers, coconut, cheesecake or candies. Find it on Facebook


For life’s moments, big and small. We’re here with the strength of the cross, the protection of the shield. The Right Card. The Right Care.

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225batonrouge.com | [225] June 2024 33 COVER STORY //

'What s your flavor?

Move over, Baskin-Robbins! Local sweet shops keep their cases stocked with small-batch ice creams and gelatos

AT LA DIVINA Italian Cafe, starting with dessert is encouraged.

Owner Lance LeBlanc recommends ordering a little gelato as an appetizer. It’s kind of hard to pass up when 24 frozen options glow from case, from the sophisticated Rum Raisin to the kid-cherished Cotton Candy.

“The flavors that we offer generally catch somebody,” he says. “Once they get to the case … they say ‘Well, how can I say no?’”

Lance and his wife, Mary, have been serving scoops of ice cream’s Italian, egg-free cousin since 2013. Gelato doesn’t require storage as cold as ice cream, and the slightly warmer serving temps allow palates a better taste of the flavor profiles, Mary says.

The small-batch flavors are inspired by seasonal ingredients or customer requests. Lance swears by the tart Amarena Cherry, but Mary has a hard time choosing a favorite.

“I love my gelato like I love my children—some a little more on certain days than others,” Mary says. “On a summer day, I might love a Strawberry sorbet. When I need a little comfort in my life, I might go for some Chocolate.”

Further down Perkins Road, Gail’s Fine Ice Cream also has a frosty selection, with up to 16 flavors dreamed up by its team.

Co-owner Nick Hufft claims the Lemon Berry Icebox Pie—a combo of tangy lemon curd, berry puree and graham cracker pieces—as his favorite.

“It’s fatty, rich and crunchy,” he notes. “It eats better in the summer, and it eats just as great Christmas Day.”

Of course, Gail’s slings seasonal-specific flavors, too. Think: Little Debbie cake-stuffed scoops for winter, and spiced Pumpkin Caramel Crunch in the fall.

Some are blink-and-you’ll miss-them micro-specials, made in batches as small as 6 or 9 gallons with limited ingredients or seasonal farmers market finds.

And La Divina and Gail’s each have their sights set on expansion, with second Baton Rouge locations as longterm goals. Their products may melt away, but these local spots are here to stay.

Guess we’re all screaming for ice cream. ladivinaitaliancafe.com and gailsfineicecream.com

COVER STORY // 34 [225] June 2024 | 225batonrouge.com
La Divina's mostscooped flavors are Cotton Candy, Cookies & Cream and Azteca, according to owner Lance LeBlanc.

Case study

A taste of what’s behind the counter at La Divina


Furry friends can also chow down on gelato, which La Divina makes with banana, peanut butter and yogurt. What lucky dogs!

“Someone stole my gelato cone!”

IT TOWERS 7 feet high on La Divina Italian Cafe’s quaint patio: a multi-scoop, 100-pound cone. But, did you know this dessert decoration, originally manufactured in Italy, was once swiped in broad daylight?

“I looked up and noticed it was missing,” Owner Lance LeBlanc remembers. “I’m like ‘Wait, where’s my cone?’ … Someone stole my gelato cone, which is kind of silly to say.”

Luckily, a few days later, it was anonymously returned with some damages. Today, it’s displayed proudly with a bright mountain of snow-white whipped cream and a red cherry on top. Its four scoops resemble popular La Divina flavors, which Lance rotates out. Sometimes, he even changes the cherry to a Santa hat—or an LSU helmet.

Strawberry Stracciatella Grasshopper Pie Rum Raisin Blueberry Coffee Cake Fig Mascarpone Cappuccino
COVER STORY // 225batonrouge.com | [225] June 2024 35

Fresh fiesta

Get a taste of Mexico with authentic paletas at Popaletas Michoacan BY

COVER STORY // 36 [225] June 2024 | 225batonrouge.com

WALKING THROUGH the door of Popaletas Michoacan feels like teleporting to a Mexican paleteria. Salsa music plays from the speakers. Lines of paletas (Mexican-style popsicles) and ice cream fill the freezer. Bags of Takis (rolled tortilla chips) poke out from the snack section, and Spanish words adorn every sign.

Miguel Barragan opened the first Popaletas Michoacan store in 2018 on Sherwood Forest Boulevard. The shop serves Mexican-style popsicles, ice cream, banana splits, smoothies, milkshakes, aguas frescas, nachos and chips.

Barragan was raised in Michoacan, Mexico. The Western state is known as the birthplace of paletas. A giant monument of a popsicle with a globe in the middle is displayed in the small town of Tocumbo, and there is an annual festival dedicated to its famous paletas.

Long before a construction job brought him to Baton Rouge, Barragan grew up just seven minutes from the paleta capital. He opened his first paleteria in Mexico at 18.

Decades later, locals can taste 27 flavors of Barragan’s signature Mexican popsicles and 16 flavors of ice cream at two Baton Rouge locations (including one on Burbank Drive).

“It’s rewarding to see how much people like them,” he says about paletas. “It’s just (one way to) get people to feel back at home—and bring it to people that have never been there.”

The popsicles and ice cream are made fresh every week with ingredients like real fruit, milk, cream and sugar. Popsicles come in fruity flavors, like Strawberry, Mango, Lemon Lime, Strawberry Kiwi, Spicy Mango, Pineapple and Watermelon, and creamy flavors like Coconut, Oreo, Strawberry Cream, Almond and Pine Nut.

Barragan pursues the sweetest and ripest fruit to make his paletas. The coconut popsicle has shreds of coconut embedded in every bite, bound together by a smooth, decadent coconut milk base with just the right amount of sweetness.

“The popsicles will only be as good as the fruit is,” Barragan says.

Growing up in Colorado Springs, which has a large Hispanic population, I can still taste the chili-covered mango lollipops my Mexican friends used to share with me as a child.

The tart, sweet and savory spicy mango popsicle brought me back to those memories. Made with chunks of mango, Tajín, lime juice and orange juice, it’s punchy and acidic with a little kick.

The popularity of the paleta has been seeping into mainstream U.S. culture, spotlighted in recent years by outlets like Thrillist and NBC News as varieties have made their way onto the shelves of large grocery chains. Barragan is here for the ride, with his own plans of selling his popsicles wholesale and eventually franchising beyond Baton Rouge.

And if the paleta monument in his home state is a glimpse of the future, Mexican popsicles will soon be enjoyed worldwide. popaletas.com

ice cream or sorbet flavors like Cap’n Crunch, Caramel, Frosted Animal Cookies, Key Lime and Taro sandwiched between brownies or cereal patties. order.creamistry.com

Humphrey Yogarts at Counter Culture

Frozen Yogurt 7711 Perkins Road

It’s a Counter Culture signature: A mound of frozen yogurt is piled with banana slices, grapes, strawberries, granola and honey. counterculturebr.com

Gansito Tamarind Strawberry Kiwi Strawberry Banana Guava
COVER STORY // 225batonrouge.com | [225] June 2024 37
Spicy Mango

Local spoonful

City Gelato’s dairy-free sorbets are crafted with Louisiana fruit

TEN YEARS AGO, Mario Lozanov turned a lemon into lemonade—actually, make that lemon sorbet.

The former Albemarle Corporation chemist was laid off, but instead of returning to a job in manufacturing, he rolled the dice on a passion project: making small-batch gelato and sorbet. Armed with recipes he’d developed at home through trial and error, Lozanov signed on as a tenant at the LSU AgCenter Food Innovation Institute (FOODii), where he refined his fledgling company and began producing artisan frozen treats.

Today, Lozanov makes more than 11 metric tons of gelato and sorbet annually, which he sells in local and specialty grocery stores and direct to consumers at regional events and gatherings like birthdays and weddings. Lines of customers queue at the Red Stick Farmers Market’s locations each week, eager to try his seasonal flavors.

His well-known gelato, also sold at a handful of area restaurants, comes in a long list of flavors including Strawberry, Chocolate, Cookie Dough, Coffee, Chocolate Chip, Italian Cream Cheese, Amaretto, Salted Caramel and others.

The small business concocts fresh fruit sorbets, too. Lozanov says the dairy-free alternative is formulated with local produce.

“Pretty much any fruit that grows in Louisiana,” he adds.

“There are a lot to choose from.”

Indeed, the state’s generous agricultural bounty gives Lozanov plenty of raw materials. Strawberries, blueberries,

peaches, figs, watermelon, cantaloupe, lemons and satsumas have all been deployed in Lozanov’s sorbets. In many cases, he buys directly from local farmers. One of the few regional fruits he hasn’t used are kumquats, simply because of their meager juice content, he says.

Smooth, packed with flavor and creamy-

without-the-cream, the sorbets make an excellent dessert served alone or blinged with toppings.

The jaw-jarring Meyer Lemon flavor jibes well with blueberries, and Strawberry sings with fresh basil and chocolate sauce. And while it’s not a local fruit, City Gelato’s Mango sorbet is delicious on its own or sprinkled with coconut and almonds.

sorbets are crafted almost exclusively with fresh fruit, water and sugar. Lozanov adjusts the sweetness depending on the acidity of the fruit.

Lozanov says he got into the frozen dessert business not to get rich (although that would be nice), but to make something extraordinary with all-natural ingredients.

“It’s a premium product,” he says. Find City Gelato on Facebook

Watermelon Satsuma Strawberry Meyer Lemon
COVER STORY // 38 [225] June 2024 | 225batonrouge.com

Make a sorbet sundae ...

• Decorated with fruits, herbs, edible flowers, cookies or toffee

• Dusted with Tajín, sea salt or coconut flakes

• Drizzled with artisanal fudge, caramel, olive oil or balsamic vinegar

• Dotted with specialty sprinkles, like River Road Sprinkle Co.'s pearly beads; Supernatural's dye-free, kidfriendly shapes; or Fancy Sprinkles' glittery varieties, all sourced from CounterspaceBR.

Top that!
fruits and
Roasted pistachio toffee Sprinkles from CounterspaceBR
SCAN TO VIEW OUR FULL MENU Dine In Delivery Take Out Catering 6555 SIEGEN LANE BATON ROUGE, LA 70809 225batonrouge.com | [225] June 2024 39 COVER STORY //
Cookies and coconut flakes

Iced out

On those balmy summer afternoons, spiked slushies are essentials on Capital City restaurant and bar menus



drinks at Tap 65, general manager Marcus

Mills is a bit of a scientist.

To create flavors that both taste good and freeze properly in the frozen drink machines behind the bar, he has to be.

“There’s a perfect ratio of your sweetness and sugar content to water and then your liquor content,” he explains.

The ideal recipe is not too icy, not too liquor-forward or too sweet.

Once those proportions are established, Mills says it’s possible to transform almost any drink into a frozen bev. In the past, he’s turned to cocktail trends and seasonal flavors for inspiration. Frozen Spiked Chai Latte for the fall? Check. An icy Gnarly Barley Haus Marg Gose in the spring? He’s done it.

With about four years of bartending under his belt, Mills can now pinpoint what patrons like to see from the bar.

“I love cocktails with all my heart,” he says. “(They’re) a fun little puzzle.”

With two frozen drink machines constantly churning, Mills likes to play around with the frosty options by scheming new ideas each month or after a frozen mix sells out. And even though they get ordered the most in blazing months, Mills keeps things chill year round.

“Even in the winter months,” he notes, “I don’t back down from doing cool frozens.”

Sorbet mimosa at La Divina Italian Cafe 3535 Perkins Road, Suite 360

Add a scoop of blood orange, strawberry or mango sorbet to a fizzy mimosa for bubbly brunch booze that doubles as dessert. ladivinaitaliancafe.com

660 Jefferson Highway

Think you can’t drink hot cocoa in the summer? Think again. This chocolatey slushy comprises frozen spiced cocoa, chocolate drizzle and whipped cream. sogotea.com

Multiple locations Icy bubble teas in flavors like Mango, Strawberry, Passion Fruit, Peach, Lychee, Pineapple and Watermelon can be bejeweled with beads of boba or frosted with ube foam. teaterybr.com

Beer slushy, anyone? Tap 65’s rotating frozen lineup sometimes includes a frozen gose from Gnarly Barley. Aztec Frozen Hot Cocoa at SoGo Tea Bar
COVER STORY // 40 [225] June 2024 | 225batonrouge.com
Boba slushies at Teatery

Frozens forever

Margs and daiquiris are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Capital Region’s collection of crafy, chilly cocktails. Here’s where to find them

Check Instagrams and websites for rotating specials.

Rocca Pizzeria

3897 Government St.

Steaming slices of pizza with an icy Espresso Martini or French 75? Name a better combo.

Bistro Byronz

515 Mouton St.

8200 Village Plaza Court

Grown-up Icees have long been signatures here, like the citrusy Vodka Freeze.


4205 Perkins Road

The spirit of tapas is trying new things, so why not match Pan con Tomate with a frosted Espresso Martini or Cold Fashioned?

Mid City Beer Garden

3808 Government St.

Summer afternoons can get heated at this open-air spot. Chill out with a Frose.

Overpass Merchant

2904 Perkins Road

Overpass Merchant’s frozen machines are always churning its signature frozen Merch Mule or seasonal blends.


7246 Perkins Road

A seat on the stylish patio is prime real estate here—and the Julep Freeze makes even the hottest nights more bearable.

Bin Q

3911 Perkins Road

Indulge in a drink from the rotating frozen lineup while shopping this liquor store’s extensive selection of beer, wine and spirits.

BRQ Seafood & Barbeque

10423 Jefferson Highway

BRQ’s Frose All Day and Blueberry Lemondrop make the case that sweet drinks complement brisket just as well as beer.

Barracuda Taco Stand

2504 Government St.

Tacos and all-outdoor seating call for a Mangonada Freezie, a tangy blend of mango, lime, chamoy, tequila, vodka and TajÍn.

Frozens from Bistro Byronz
COURTESY OVERPASS MERCHANT FILE PHOTO BY CHLOE ENOS Interested in research? Join a clinical trial at Pennington Biomedical! Clinical trials are part of scientific research and at the heart of all medical advances. Pennington Biomedical offers clinical trials that cover topics such as weight-loss, diabetes, cancer, nutrition, and healthy aging. Learn more: www.pbrc.edu/clinicaltrials 6400 Perkins Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70808 225-763-3000 www.pbrc.edu @pbrcnews @penningtonbiomed @PenningtonBiomedical 225batonrouge.com | [225] June 2024 41 COVER STORY //
Overpass Merchant's frozen Merch Mule and Margarita
HEALTH • BEAUTY • DESIGNER SHOPPING • HOME DECOR • GOURMET DINING • AND MORE Corporate Blvd at Jefferson • 225.925.2344 • townecenteratcedarlodge.com • • Additional revisions must be requested and may be subject to production fees. Carefully check this ad for: CORRECT ADDRESS • CORRECT PHONE NUMBER • ANY TYPOS This ad design © Melara Enterprises, LLC. 2024. All rights reserved. Phone 225-928-1700 42 [225] June 2024 | 225batonrouge.com

Steppin’ out

Not just for runners: Trendy kicks by brands like Hoka and On make a sartorial statement

the Flower Fest
225batonrouge.com | [225] June 2024 43

TWO BRANDS HAVE stomped to the top of the national running shoe market recently: Hoka and On.

Varsity Sports owner Jenni Peters has seen plenty of local non-runners fork over more than $100 to snatch the latest pair, too.

Known for years by marathoners and training athletes, the brands are now viral in the style world. Spot them on celebs like Harry Styles and Zendaya—or on athleisure-wearing students on campus at LSU and Southern University.

The clunky, colorful sneakers have been dubbed “ugly,” “clownish,” or “dad shoes” by critics. But in 2023, On’s net sales grew at a rate of 46.6% year-overyear. Meanwhile, Hoka also had a bigger jump in net sales compared to its parent company Deckers’ other brands, like UGG.

So, what’s making these styles so popular?

Peters credits Hoka’s popularity to unique colorways and thick, chunky bases that can add up to 2 inches of height. For On, it’s about firmer models, sleek styles and toothy soles. And both are suited for everyday wear—on and off the running trail.

Some of Peters’ customers are seeking doctor-recommended comfort, while others are looking to get a new pair for “Disney season,” her umbrella term for vacationing that involves a lot of walking.

“I’d say about seven out of 10 people in our store are not running in any of the shoes they buy from us these days,” Peters says.

The heightened interest in running shoes has brought great business. But keeping a full stock can be challenging for a smallspace retailer like Varsity Sports.

Peters does her best to maintain a range of vibrant colorways and sizes for popular models, though, knowing how much customers value a multihued inventory.

“The Hoka Bondi is one that if you said ‘I wear a size 8,’ I’ve probably got six different colors for you to choose from,” she says. “Storage

to try to accommodate people’s preference for colors is tough. If we don’t have that color in the store, they’re going to go sit out in their car and one-click it.”

If Varsity Sports doesn’t have what a buyer is looking for, the shop can order the color combo

and style, typically ready for store pickup in a week or less. Luckily, neutral colors like gray and white are having their moment, too.

Though On and Hoka are currently in-demand, Peters has seen the market cycle through plenty of popular styles since opening

in 2000. She recalls when minimalistic shoes were all the rage.

Remember Vibram’s FiveFinger toe shoes that gave consumers a barefoot look and feel?

“I’m surprised to see it swing back to be what we call the ‘maximalist industry,’ which is the

STYLE // 44 [225] June 2024 | 225batonrouge.com

big cushy shoes,” she says. “But that’s going to be more appealing to more people. I don’t see it going away anytime soon, because every one of our brands has got their max shoe. They’ll call it their ‘Hoka’ behind closed doors. … Most all of the brands these days are taking advantage of what they see as a whole new opportunity.”

But try as they might, it seems no one is knocking On and Hoka from their top spots. Peters says she’s even seen these brands gain on others that have led the market for years, like Brooks Running. But the demand for On and Hoka has in turn helped out the retailers that carry them—Varsity Sports’ four Louisiana locations included.

“Our last two years have been record years across all stores,” Peters says. “And it’s driven a lot by On and Hoka.”


say about seven out of 10 people in our store are not running in any of the shoes they buy from us these days.”

—Varsity Sports owner Jenni Peters, on the general public’s growing interest in running shoes

Issue Date: June 2024 Ad proof

• Please respond by e-mail or phone with your approval or minor revisions.

And she hopes the Hoka and On craze continues to keep pace. varsityrunning.com

• AD WILL RUN AS IS unless approval or final revisions are received within 24 hrs from receipt of this proof. A shorter timeframe will apply for tight deadlines.

• Additional revisions must be requested and may be subject to production fees.



Blackberry Margarita
225batonrouge.com | [225] June 2024 45 STYLE //

Fit to print

Spring style, as seen at the Flower Fest

FLORALS? FOR THE Flower Fest? Groundbreaking. Pretty petals were, naturally, featured on nearly every outfit we spotted at this year’s event. Held in April at Pointe-Marie in support of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the fest was overflowing with floral sculptures, live entertainment, crafting experiences, food trucks, a floral market —and scores of photo-ready attendees. Here’s who we spotted out on the grounds. theflowerfest.com

Marketing representative Her

Angelle Seeger, 32 Owner, Joy & Drew Embroidery Her

STYLE // 46 [225] June 2024 | 225batonrouge.com
Carrielle Barthelemy, 24 Early childhood education teacher “Based on emotions.” Kevin Guillermo, 43 Medical case manager His style: “Contemporary.” Riley Pate, 1 Her style: “Cute.” Naomi Keller, 27 style: “Eccentric classic.” style: “Trendy chic.” Shannon Coulon, 24 Owner, Honey Creative Group Her style: “Girly, but chic.” Ashley Butler, 32 Professional hair and makeup artist Her style: “Trendy chic.” Bella Odom, 9 months Her style: “Classic cutie.” Kelsey Thierry, 32 Interior stylist Her style: “Fun, creative, high-glam, relaxed luxury.”

Get back in the game

At Ochsner Andrews Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Institute, we understand the importance of getting you back in the game. Whether your injury is minor or something more complex, our multidisciplinary team of orthopedics and sports medicine providers will work with you to develop a customized care plan to fit your needs. Equipped with the latest technology and enriched by Dr. Andrews’ expert knowledge, we are innovating our approach to sports medicine care and recovery throughout the Gulf South. For more information visit ochsner.org/sportsmedicine.

What is Youth of the Year?

Since 1947, Youth of the Year has been Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s premier recognition program, celebrating the extraordinary achievements of Club teens. Club members who earn the Youth of the Year title embody the values of leadership service, academic excellence and healthy lifestyles. They exemplify the crucial impact that Boys & Girls Clubs have on the lives of young people.

Meet Our Youth of the Year

CaMyra has been a Club member for five years and currently attends our Expressway Teen Center location in Baton Rouge. She serves as president of the Teen Center’s Keystone Club, which provides leadership development opportunities for teen members. She is a senior at Southern Laboratory School where she is an honors student and captain of the volleyball team.

What Does Your Club Mean to You?

“My Club is a place for me to come after school and just relax. It’s a safe space where I can talk about anything with the staff without fear of judgement. My Club has also introduced me to many different career opportunities and has helped me discover my interests. My Club has been the reason I have gained so many new experiences and have become a more social person,” said CaMyra.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Louisiana serves those ages 6-18 who need us most in our nine Clubs located across Baton Rouge, Covington, Gretna, New Orleans and Slidell through after-school and summer programs. Visit bgcmetrolouisiana.org to learn more about how you can get involved.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Louisiana Administrative Office 8281 Goodwood Blvd., Suite C Baton Rouge, LA 70806 225.383.3928 | bgcmetrolouisiana.org 48 [225] June 2024 | 225batonrouge.com


This special section celebrates 11 young athletes from the Greater Baton Rouge area who are “Rising Stars” in their respective sports. Each one was selected by their school’s athletic leaders for demonstrating not just physical talent, but personal character as well. Scan the QR codes for stories about these outstanding young men and women. A public awareness campaign for the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Louisiana was made

possible due to the support of the local businesses featured in this section. Sponsors have no association with the students in this section except in a congratulatory role.



Student athletes who rise to the top of their sport are in a special category of their own. While talent is certainly important, student athletes exhibit unique personality traits that help them succeed.

These include a competitive spirit, self-discipline, focus, confidence, and a commitment to their goals. These qualities will serve them well as they transition to adulthood and become leaders in their chosen fields someday.

The Baton Rouge Clinic congratulates the 11 students featured in 225 Magazine’s 2024 RISING STARS section. These elite athletes dazzle us with their incredible “star power” and the bright futures that lay ahead of them.

Evelynn Artieta

Cooper Babin

Andrew Clapinski

Comora Davis

Tamia Downs

Chris Lindo

Ella Mancuso

David Marsh

Kennedi Owens

Anna Kate


Taylor Smith

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A leader on the court and in the classroom, all while running her own business

KENNEDI OWENS The Dunham School


Catholic High School


A leading hitter during CHS’s superb 2024 season, any school will be lucky to land this athlete




North Iberville High School


A four-sport athlete with a 4.0 GPA, this North Iberville standout is a leader anywhere she goes



This three-sport athlete seems destined for big things no matter where she lands

U-High (University Lab School)




Despite helping SJA take home three consecutive state titles, she continues to improve her game



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St. Amant High School


He’s following in his family’s footsteps at St. Amant with hopes of advancing to the next level SPONSORED



An honor student who led her team in points, assists and rebounds, she’s a leader both on and off the court

Denham Springs High School




Catholic High School


After helping lead CHS to an undefeated season, he continues to take his game to new heights



Madison Preparatory Academy


This versatile hoopster is on his way to being the next big name for Madison Prep basketball




Plaquemine High School

Whether she’s on the track or on the court, this star athlete is making waves at Plaquemine




She’s only a freshman, but she’s already making a name for herself on the course

EVELYNN ARTIETA Walker High School


JUNE 27 • 6 – 8 PM

1717 at The Queen

Baton Rouge


Be the first to know who won awards in all of your favorite categories. Enjoy a royal celebration with drinks, live music by Pants Party and a variety of bites from The Queen. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to live like a king … or queen!


variety Garden

The Plantry Cafe seeks to elevate Baton Rouge’s take on plant-based cuisine.

INSIDE Simple sandwich upgrades 225batonrouge.com | [225] June 2024 63

Lunch at The Plantry Cafe

About 225’s food critic: Benjamin Leger previously served as managing editor for 225 and was the editor of its Taste section from 2012 to 2021, editing, writing and steering the direction of its food coverage in print and online. He is passionate about all things food and food journalism, and has written about the greater Baton Rouge area’s cuisine and culture for nearly two decades.


5454 Bluebonnet Blvd., Suite B

Lunch, Wednesday-Friday, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Dinner, Fridays, 5:30-9 p.m.

THE PLANT-BASED food movement is one that I’ve often struggled to understand. I think that’s because plant-based food is often presented to look like a burger patty or chicken fingers, in what feels like an attempt to cater to people who also eat meat.

I don’t struggle to eat my vegetables, and I like them best when they look and taste like vegetables.

Thankfully, The Plantry Cafe owner Katie Crifasi seems to feel the same way.

“People generally seem to think that if you’re eating plant-based, you’re eating imitation chicken. You can actually do a lot with food without trying to pretend it’s something else,” she told 225 when the restaurant opened last year.

According to its website, The Plantry doesn’t use dairy, eggs or meat. The menu is all organic with many gluten-free options.

On a quiet Thursday lunch hour, I stepped into the restaurant off Bluebonnet Boulevard to sample Crifasi’s veggie-forward approach.

But rather than stepping into your standard strip mall eatery, I felt like I had just arrived early to an intimate secret garden party.

A courtyard entryway with potted topiaries leads to a cozy and well-decorated interior. Emerald green velvet tufted benches and dark wood chairs and tables surround the dining room’s centerpiece: a salvaged tree

healthy and elevated plantbased fare as well as space for monthly high teas and wine tasting events. The restaurant serves lunch, happy hour and dinner on Friday, with plans for a Saturday brunch in the works.

WHAT’S A MUST: The Tabasco Cauliflower Poppers are a crunchy, spicy hit with a vegan ranch on the side. Any of the seasonal flatbreads are worth a try, loaded with colorful ingredients. The Capri sandwich is a massive open-faced spread of artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, red pepper pesto and a cashew cheese spread.

bedecked with branches of faux leaves and white flowers spreading out across the ceiling.

Sitting down at a fanciful table, I launched into appetizers.

First up: the Tabasco Cauliflower Poppers. Six large cauliflower florets are breaded with a gluten-free garbanzo flour batter and air-fried, then doused in a buffalo sauce. The sauce was spicy, the batter crunchy

and a sprinkling of vegan sunflower Parmesan cheese alternative added a salty touch. Served with a house-made vegan ranch that had a consistency closer to custard than dressing, this was an easy intro to Plantry’s point of view.

Next, I tried a Seasonal Flatbread—this one with roasted beets, dried figs, walnuts and arugula. The flatbread consisted

of thick wedges of pita smeared with a cashew cream cheese that inherited the deep red color and flavor of the beets. The appetizer was incredibly colorful and the components were all tasty, with a light drizzle of balsamic glaze that pulled it all together.

For my lunch entree, I went with the Capri sandwich and a side salad. Two large, round slices

THE BASICS: Owner and physician Katie Crifasi opened The Plantry’s doors in October 2023 aiming to provide
TASTE // 64 [225] June 2024 | 225batonrouge.com

of toasted ciabatta bread were piled high with veggies—one with a cashew-based mozzarella alternative spread, sun-dried tomatoes and arugula; the other with layers and layers of marinated artichokes petals with a roasted red pepper pesto base.

This huge open-faced sandwich didn’t skimp on ingredients, and I couldn’t get enough of it. The artichokes were tender, the cashew spread was light, and the zesty red pepper pesto is something I would’ve bought in a container to take home. My only complaint— and it’s a small one—is that the artichokes were a little oily. Eating this sandwich required napkins at the ready.

The side salad was loaded with more colorful ingredients, including beets, slices of pear, pickled onion, a delightful sprinkling of pomegranate seeds and cubes of a cashew-based feta alternative. The cheese had a pungent aftertaste that made me think it was meant to mimic blue cheese rather than

feta, but the rest of the salad was delicious and lightly dressed.

To finish the meal, I asked about the dessert of the day, Chocolate Bark. Rich dark chocolate was studded with dried berries, nuts and shaved coconut. It was a simple dessert, but I’m a sucker for dark chocolate and tart berries.

Each dish I ordered was just as artistically executed as The Plantry’s decor. The high-quality ingredients and precise presentation might somewhat explain the price points. All the lunch sandwiches are priced $16 or higher, with the Buffalo Maitake sandwich entering $20 territory.

Likewise, each drink on the cocktail menu was $18, more expensive than I’m used to seeing

in Baton Rouge. But with ingredients like tea-infused liquors, house-made syrups and chickpea aquafaba, the cost is maybe a bit

more understandable. All of this brings home the point that The Plantry is aiming for an experience—and it’s hard to say anyone else in town is executing plant-based in such an elevated way. Whether you’re there for high tea, a dinner event or just a lunch break, you’re going to get really satisfying food that proves how inventive the movement can be. I’m interested to see if Plantry’s mission catches on in Baton Rouge.

I, for one, am ready to try more of its adventurous creations. The barbecue jackfruit, tofu banh mi and trumpet mushrooms caught my eye for next time. And maybe I’ll splurge on a cocktail, too.

What better way to enjoy

The Plantry’s garden party, after all?

Get Your Daily Dose of 225 SPONSORED BY Good news. Good vibes. Everyday! article pageviews per month 320k+ 225 Daily subscribers 35k+ 225 social media followers 121k+ Subscribe today at 225batonrouge.com SCAN TO GET STARTED TASTE // 225batonrouge.com | [225] June 2024 65
A fresh side salad at Plantry Cafe


Slice of life

Upgrading simple sandwiches for summertime

I HAD TO adjust my nightly cooking routine when my kids moved out of the house last year. Since I no longer have to prepare a big family meal every night, my husband and I have gotten into the habit of making “upgraded” sandwiches for dinner. And why not? A well-constructed sandwich has all the ingredients of a full meal tucked into a bready vessel. Plus, sandwiches are easy to throw together, can be customized to please

anyone’s taste and—depending on your ingredients—can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner for couples, singles or busy families.

I start by keeping a few interesting ingredients in the fridge and pantry. I can always turn an ordinary sandwich into something extraordinary by having a few special items in stock. Here are two of my favorite upgraded sandwich creations using tried-andtrue store-bought ingredients.

On the menu

• Grilled Turkey Bacon and Pepper Jack Sandwich with Caramelized Onions

• Greek Chicken Pita Pockets

Recipes by Tracey Koch

TASTE // 66 [225] June 2024 | 225batonrouge.com

Grilled Turkey Bacon and Pepper Jack Sandwich with Caramelized Onions

Yields 2 sandwiches

6 slices center-cut bacon

2 large sweet onions, sliced thin

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

½ pound smoked deli turkey

¼ cup pepper jelly

2 tablespoons softened butter

4 slices sourdough bread

4 slices pepper jack cheese

½ pound smoked deli-sliced turkey

1 large avocado, sliced

½ cup jarred roasted red pepper slices

1. In a heavy skillet, cook the bacon until it's crisp. Line a plate with paper towels. Remove the bacon from the skillet, place it on a plate and set it aside.

2. Place the sliced onions into the heavy skillet with the bacon drippings. Add the olive oil and turn the heat to medium-high. Sprinkle the onions with the kosher salt and black pepper. Saute until they become translucent.

3. Add in the pepper jelly and continue sauteing the onions for another 7 to 10 minutes, until they are soft and golden in color.

4. Preheat a griddle over medium heat. Add in the butter, and place 2 slices of the sourdough bread onto the griddle.

5. Set 1 slice of cheese on one side of the sandwiches. Place half of the deli-sliced turkey and 3 strips of bacon on top, followed by slices of the avocado, roasted red peppers and a couple of tablespoons of the caramelized onions.

6. Place the remaining cheese slices onto the sandwiches and top with the remaining bread slices. Spread the rest of the softened butter on the bread, and grill the sandwiches for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until they are golden and toasted and the cheese is melted.

7. Carefully remove the sandwiches, cut them in half and serve.

Greek Chicken Pita Pockets

Yields 2 sandwiches

2 pita pockets

1 medium tomato, sliced

½ cup thin-sliced cucumbers

1 3 cup thin-sliced red onion

1 3 cup of prepared Greek dressing

½ cup prepared hummus

8 ounces grilled chicken, cut into thin strips

1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves

½ cup marinated artichokes hearts, quartered

¼ cup sliced kalamata olives

2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese

1. Toast the pita pockets and slice them in half.

2. Place the tomato, cucumbers and red onion slices into a bowl, and toss them with your favorite Greek dressing.

3. Spread the hummus in the inside of each pita pocket and then fill each with the grilled chicken slices.

4. Divide the tomatoes, cucumbers and onions tossed with the dressing into the pita pockets. Add in the fresh spinach leaves.

5. Top each pita with the marinated artichokes, olives and a little crumbled feta. Serve.

TASTE // 225batonrouge.com | [225] June 2024 67
• Additional revisions must be requested and may be subject to production fees. Carefully check this ad for: CORRECT ADDRESS • CORRECT PHONE NUMBER • ANY TYPOS This ad design © Melara Enterprises, LLC. 2024. All rights reserved. Phone 225-928-1700 MAIN LIBRARY: 7711 Goodwood Blvd., Baton Rouge Children’s Department: 225-231-3760 225-231-3750 • www.ebrpl.com • Join the fun with East Baton Rouge Parish Library’s 2024 SUMMER READING PROGRAM STARTS JUNE 1 SCAN TO SIGN UP! 68 [225] June 2024 | 225batonrouge.com

On the pod

Interest in podcasts surged during the pandemic and has only strengthened since. Here’s why local hosts are invested in audio


INSIDE Arts and music events
COLLIN RICHIE 225batonrouge.com | [225] June 2024 69
The Forever a DreamHer podcast and multimedia content aim to help local women make their career dreams a reality.

PODCASTING HAD A renaissance during the pandemic. During quarantine, new shows were birthed, old shows were revived—and hosts found audiences eager to soak it all up.

Four years later, consumption of podcasts in the U.S. has hit an all-time high. Weekly and monthly listening broke records in 2023, with 42% of those ages 12 and older reporting listening to a podcast in the past month. The statistics are even higher for younger audiences, with 55% of those ages 12-34 tuning in.

For producers, the barrier to entry is relatively low. Beginner equipment is inexpensive and easy to find.

Locally, facilities like the River Center Branch Library offer recording studios available by reservation. The Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge records interviews with local artists for its AC23 podcast at its Cary Saurage Community Arts Center, which also boasts a recording studio for creators. And injury attorney Gordon McKernan, who helms a podcast called Grubbin’ with G, is starting construction this month on a new podcast studio at his Hilton Avenue office. Once complete, churches or community groups may be granted access to record content.

Building an audio platform—and finding a like-minded community in return—is right at the fingertips of aspiring hosts.

And many in our own backyard have seized the opportunity, tapping into the art form to voice their opinions on topics as varied as politics and religion to food and the arts.

Some are even taking their selfproduced content to YouTube, which recently became the top-ranked platform for podcast consumption.

So, what does it all mean for the hosts?

225 chatted with Capital Region voices who have launched new podcasts since the pandemic.

They shared their motivation for launching a podcast, why they continue to pour into multimedia outlets—and what they’re doing to make each episode a must-listen.

Go ahead. Queue these up for your next long drive.

Forever a DreamHer

@foreveradreamher | Stream it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts

CHISOLU ISIADINSO’S PASSION for providing women with business knowledge beams out of her like the fiery glow of a flame. From the conviction in her eyes and the dedication in her voice, it’s clear closing the void between women and business resources is her mission.

“I see all the time, even in corporate: Women are not developed,” the Baton Rouge native says. “That’s why we sit in the same positions for 10-plus years without promotions.”

Despite the systemic challenges women (especially women of color) have long faced in the workforce, the pandemic helped fuel an exponential rise in femaleowned businesses, which increased at nearly double the rate of those owned by men between 2019 and 2023, according to the 2024 Wells Fargo Impact of Women Owned Businesses report.

The 33-year-old was part of that trend: She launched Forever a DreamHer, a lifestyle brand for women in business, in 2021.

Her goal: to provide businesswomen with resources, accountability and community. The brand boasts a podcast, a Dreamology membership program, virtual courses, workshops, events, the StartHer accelerator program, private groups and even a virtual coworking space.

During the podcast episodes, Isiadinso interviews guests about topics like becoming a seven-figure entrepreneur, transitioning from college to work, switching careers and accessing business capital. She records from her home content studio.

It’s one of many ways Forever a DreamHer draws members to its program, which by this spring had grown to 75 participants from Louisiana, Texas and Georgia. Women of all backgrounds can subscribe to the free or paid levels and get access to its digital hub.

“A lot of women are hosting events, but the question is, when people leave, what happens after the event?” Isiadinso asks. “Do they have access to other resources and tools that can hold them accountable and keep them engaged with the people that they just finished working with?”

It’s a question Isiadinso knows will resonate not just regionally, but nationally and globally.

She plans to connect with investors to fund her vision, offer more networking events, record more podcasts and host a conference as early as 2025.

“My goal is to grow economic impact,” she says. “And that is going to be through community.”

Sources: The New York Times, Edison Research, Statista, Cumulus

and Signal Hill Insights

CULTURE // 70 [225] June 2024 | 225batonrouge.com
Host Chisolu Isiadinso

Podcast DO’S and DON’TS

Insight for running a successful podcast, gathered from conversations with Capital Region hosts

DO have a unique sound and style. Because social media platforms are so saturated with content, creators must figure out how to game the algorithm. Plot how your podcast will stand apart. DO have a clear message. Create a goal and mission statement— something that can resonate with listeners.

DON’T overthink it.

Just DO it.

We are our own biggest critics. Once you have an idea, seize it. Many podcasts start out with a cell phone and headphones. You don't need thousands of dollars of equipment to get your message out there—and you can always invest in more technology later.

DON’T take it too seriously.

Have fun. Podcasting is meant to be a cathartic outlet for hosts and listeners alike. It’s OK if your first episodes aren’t perfect.

The Punch Bowl Diaries


Stream it on Spotify and Apple Podcasts

THE PUNCH BOWL DIARIES offers a simultaneously lighthearted and vulnerable look at Southern motherhood. The podcast is rooted in faith, say co-hosts April Hill and Leigh Moss, who introduced it in 2023.

“We have covered topics from postpartum depression to domestic violence,” Moss says. “But the unifying theme between all of those has been hope: when you walk through those hard seasons, digging in and relying on Jesus to pull you through.”

While Hill and Moss spend many episodes just bouncing different topics off each other, the duo also invites guests on to “spike the punch bowl.” In a recent show, best-selling author Christy Wright joined the discussion.

Its episodes have logged over 12,000 downloads. Some shows have been recorded as videos, too.

Hill and Moss aim to empower listeners to realize they are not alone.

“While these topics are hard, they are very motivational,” Moss says.

“Every single podcast,” Hill adds, “our goal is to make people more hopeful than when they found us.”

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Hosts April Hill and Leigh Moss

Is VIDEO killing the RADIO star?

The Life Daytime Talk Show

@thelifedaytime | Stream it on YouTube

THE LIFE DAYTIME Talk Show was inspired by The Real, a former national daytime talk show hosted by women from diverse backgrounds.

Producer Reacee Wright dreamt up the local podcast concept in 2022.

“The Life Daytime covers entertainment, politics and everyday life,” says co-host Tanesha Craig. “The show is really for the everyday woman, but we also cater to men too.”

When it comes to national entertainment trends and how they impact the Baton Rouge community, co-hosts Craig and Lisa Cook aim to be your gals.

“Our 'Chick Chat' segment is more of the gossip with celebrities and what is trending online. That is what I love about it: We are chicks, and we are chatting,” Cook says.

Episodes are video-recorded and uploaded exclusively to YouTube. The podcast counts over 2,500 combined followers on its social media pages.

The team says the videos are currently recorded in a “starter studio,” a converted room inside Wright’s shop, Adore Her Beauty Makeup Studio & Spa. But they have big goals of taking the show to larger stages—all gas, no brakes until they get there.

Issue Date: June 2024 Ad proof #1

“We have a future goal of being a studio show with an audience. My dreams are so big. I see it as being a national, syndicated show,” Wright says. “I have spoken that since day one.”

• Please respond by e-mail or phone with your approval or minor revisions.

• AD WILL RUN AS IS unless approval or final revisions are received within 24 hrs from receipt of this proof. A shorter timeframe will apply for tight deadlines.

• Additional revisions must be requested and may be subject to production fees.

Carefully check this ad for: CORRECT ADDRESS • CORRECT PHONE NUMBER • ANY TYPOS This ad design © Melara Enterprises, LLC. 2024. All

Born in the early ’00s as an audio medium, modern podcasting is becoming increasingly visual. Studies show podcast creaters and listeners are increasingly turning to YouTube:


Percent of the 30 top-ranked podcasts that offered a video version in 2023


Percent of listeners who now consume podcasts on YouTube most frequently


Percent of consumers who listen to podcasts on Apple Podcasts or Spotify most frequently

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225-928-1700 225batonrouge.com | [225] June 2024 73 CULTURE //


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THE LEADERSHIP ACADEMY WAS A GREAT opportunity for me to learn not only about myself and how I can better myself as a leader, but also to learn from other talented young professionals that represented many different industries in the Baton Rouge area.The instructors were interactive, impactful, and relevant with case studies we discussed in class and thorough with their explanations.”

EACH CLASS HAD PRACTICAL INFORMATION that I could immediately take back to the office and apply. I also enjoyed being surrounded by incredible classmates that led to great discussions and sharing of perspectives. I have many pages of notes that I know I will reference for many years to come.

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APPLY TODAY FOR FALL 2024 BRLeadershipAcademy.com 24 hrs from receipt of this proof. A shorter timeframe will apply for tight deadlines. • Additional revisions must be requested and may be subject to production fees. Carefully check this ad for: CORRECT ADDRESS • CORRECT PHONE NUMBER • ANY TYPOS This ad design © Melara Enterprises, LLC. 2024. All rights reserved. Phone 225-928-1700 74 [225] June 2024 | 225batonrouge.com

JUNE 14-16, 20-23 + 27-30

See a modern take on Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic play when Theatre Baton Rouge actors perform Cinderella (Enchanted Version). The show includes nods to the original while being inspired by the 1997 movie starring Brandy and Whitney Houston. theatrebr.org


JUNE 14 + 15

The Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra celebrates queer music icons with four intimate performances of Pride: A Concert with Candles. A string quartet will play songs from modern musicians like Elton John and Frank Ocean along with works from composers like Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Frédéric Chopin. brso.org

Music and art collide at Vinyl & Vino, an art exhibit and wine tasting social presented by Ellemnop.Art and Blend Wine Bar. Illustrator Nathaniel Landry enhanced vintage vinyl record sleeves with paint in 10 original pieces. The art will be paired with wine tastings from certified sommelier Scott Higgins. ellemnop.art/vinylandvino



YouTube sensation Blippi is making his way to Baton Rouge for an adventure-filled live show at the Raising Cane’s River Center. Blippi: The Wonderful World Tour follows the child-favorite character as he sings, dances and learns with his friend and special guest Meekah. raisingcanesrivercenter.com

Hear the music of Motown greats when The Four Tops take the stage at L’Auberge Casino & Hotel. Though the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame-inducted group is composed of newer members, it is still led by original founding member Abdul “Duke” Fakir—so expect classic hits like “I Can’t Help Myself” and “Reach Out I’ll Be There.” lbatonrouge.com


This one’s for the creative kiddos. Local Pop-Up’s June market at Electric Depot will feature mini makers displaying their recent creations, products and artwork. localpopup.shop

• Please respond by e-mail or phone with your approval or minor revisions. • AD WILL RUN AS IS unless approval or final revisions are received within 24 hrs from receipt of this proof. A shorter timeframe will apply for tight deadlines. • Additional revisions must be requested and may be subject to production fees. Carefully check this ad for: CORRECT ADDRESS • CORRECT PHONE NUMBER • ANY TYPOS This ad design © Melara Enterprises, LLC. 2024. All rights reserved. Phone 225-928-1700 At Ducote’s Restaurant & Bar Equipment, we specialize in supplying the foodservice industry with a broad selection of the top-quality equipment and supplies you need to successfully run your operations and efficiently serve your customers. HIGHEST QUALITY WITH COMPETITIVE PRICING! #AM-50-BAJ 4433 Florida Blvd • 225-344-4240 ducotesrestaurantsupply.com OPEN TO THE PUBLIC Come See Our Showroom Over 50 years of servicing the hospitality industry! SCAN TO SEE MORE 225-925-8710 | www.rotobr.com LMP 5430 Emergency Drain Cleaning Emergency Plumbing Grease Trap Pumping Available 24-7 Issue Date: June 2024 Ad proof #1 • Please respond by e-mail or phone with your approval or minor revisions. • AD WILL RUN AS IS unless approval or final revisions are received within 24 hrs from receipt of this proof. A shorter timeframe will apply for tight deadlines. • Additional revisions must be requested and may be subject to production fees. Carefully check this ad for: CORRECT ADDRESS • CORRECT PHONE NUMBER • ANY TYPOS This ad design © Melara Enterprises, LLC. 2024. All rights reserved. Phone 225-928-1700 If water runs through it, WE FIX IT!
COURTESYBLIPPI:THEWONDERFUL WORLD TO U R 225batonrouge.com | [225] June 2024 75 CULTURE //
JUNE 5-9: New Orleans Wine & Food Experience, nowfe.com JUNE 7-9: New Orleans Pride, neworleanspride.org JUNE 8 + 9: French Market Creole Tomato Festival, frenchmarket.org Supported in part by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a Federal agency. FOR TICKETS: MANSHIPTHEATRE.ORG • 225-344-0334 FOR TICKETS AND MORE INFORMATION MANSHIPTHEATRE.ORG | 225-344-0334 LONG SUMMER NIGHTS AT MANSHIP THEATRE KAREN WALDRUP SEEN ON THE VOICE JUNE 15TH | 7:30PM ROBIN BARNES THE SONGBIRD OF NEW ORLEANS JUNE 22 | 7:30PM 76 [225] June 2024 | 225batonrouge.com CALENDAR //



Cinefiles and music lovers can unite for a free concert at The Civic Orchestra of Baton Rouge Goes to the Movies. The show at the Main Library at Goodwood will cycle through iconic scores from films like Jurassic Park, Star Wars, and The Lord of the Rings ebrpl.com/events



Grab your chairs, blankets and umbrellas, and set up at Louisiana Square for the City of Donaldsonville’s 29th Annual Juneteenth Festival. Enjoy live music, local eats, a health fair and more while learning about the history and importance of the holiday. Find it on Facebook


Come one, come all! Celebrate the Red Stick’s diversity and promote inclusivity at the annual Baton Rouge Pride Festival. The fest includes events for all ages with performances by Taylor Dayne and RuPaul’s Drag Race stars, the Queerative Market, free HIV testing, PrEP services and more. batonrougepride.org

Tire out the kiddos at KidFest in Scotlandville. All ages are welcome to enjoy entertainment, free food, giveaways and activities, like face painting, bounce houses and a presentation from NASA. Find it on Eventbrite


Calling all tiny paleontologists! Louisiana Art & Science Museum’s annual Dino Day promises a day of dinosaur-sized fun. Expect geologyforward activities and other hands-on adventures along with themed shows in the Irene W. Pennington Planetarium. lasm.org


Make a splash at Liberty Lagoon for BREC’s Largest Swim Lesson. Up to 300 participants, ages 1 to 14, are welcome to dive in and learn the lifesaving skill. libertylagoon.com


Subscribe to our newsletter 225 Daily for our twiceweekly roundups of events. 225batonrouge. com/225daily 15

Issue Date: June2024 Ad proof #1

JUNE 7-9: St. Landry BBQ Festival, stlandrybbqfestival.com

JUNE 12: Lauren Daigle at the Cajundome, cajundome.com

YOUR LOCAL VIDEO PRODUCTION COMPANY VIDEO PRODUCTION | POST PRODUCTION PROJECTION MAPPING | MOTION GRAPHICS CREATIVE SERVICES | AUGMENTED REALITY CONTACT US TODAY AT CONTACTUS@LAUNCHMEDIA.TV SCAN TO CHECK OUT OUR WORK Launch Media is an award-winning visual communication and video production company. We create dynamic visual experiences and content, helping our clients achieve success with moving images. We’re ready to work with you from concept to distribution to create impactful visuals for your business.
Please respond by e-mail or phone with your approval or minor revisions. • AD WILL RUN AS IS unless approval or final revisions are received within 24 hrs from receipt of this proof. A shorter timeframe will apply for tight deadlines. • Additional revisions must be requested and may be subject to production fees. Carefully check this ad for: CORRECT ADDRESS • CORRECT PHONE NUMBER • ANY TYPOS This ad design © Melara Enterprises, LLC. 2024. All rights reserved. Phone 225-928-1700 225batonrouge.com | [225] June 2024 77 CALENDAR //

In every issue of 225, you’ll find a free print on this page. FRAMED celebrates life and art in Baton Rouge, each one featuring a local photographer, place or graphic designer. Cut it out to hang in your cubicle, or frame it for your home gallery wall. Show us where you hang them by tagging them on social media with #225prints.

GET FEATURED We love spotlighting local photographers, artists and designers for this page! Shoot us an email at editor@225batonrouge.com to chat about being featured.

FRAMED // 78 [225] June 2024
PHOTO BY COLLIN RICHIE FOR ‘225’ / collinrichiephoto.com



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