225 Magazine [March 2023]

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Featuring Unique Seafood Menus at All Making Raving Fans Hospitality Group Restaurants RESERVE YOUR SPOT TODAY! Visit makingravingfans.com/our-restaurants-reservations or scan the code to make a reservation today! FRIDAY SEAFOOD CELEBRATIONS FRIDAY SEAFOOD CELEBRATIONS



No matter where or when, just one hit, one bump, or one pill could be laced with a deadly dose of fentanyl. More than 50x stronger than morphine, fentanyl has quadrupled overdose deaths in East Baton Rouge Parish. Just 2 mg (0.0004 tsp) of fentanyl will end your life. Do you know what’s in your drugs? The difference is life or death.


To learn more, volunteer, donate, or get help for someone struggling with addiction, visit whenyouarereadybr.com A MESSAGE BROUGHT TO YOU BY


CRAWFISH IS KING in Baton Rouge, especially this month. Spring weekends are all about soaking in the good weather and peeling crawfish at backyard boils or the patio of your favorite restaurant. For this month's cover story celebrating our local seafood industry, staff photographer Collin Richie captured the vibrant red bugs at Sammy's Grill. And there's more where that came from. Turn to page 30 for our complete Seafood Lover's Guide.

THE COVER Features 21 When (if ever) will Baton Rouge get a new hockey team 29 What a young country music star thinks of Louisiana 92 Where to find nostalgic hand pies in the Capital Region 99 Who created a growing card game business And much more … Departments 14 What’s Up 21 Our City 29 I am 225 30 Cover story 79 Style 87 Taste 99 Culture 108 Calendar CONTENTS // 6 [225] March 2023 | 225batonrouge.com 82 COURTESY FLOWER FEST
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Sink or swim

FOR THOSE OF US who grew up surrounded by water, venturing into the world of seafood can happen pretty early in life.

In Baton Rouge, a kid’s first taste of seafood might be at a crawfish boil, peeling a steaming, tomato-red bug, fingers covered in juice and spices. Or it could be over Sunday brunch, digging into a bite of crunchy, tender fried catfish. This is, after all, the only place I’ve seen fried fish on a kid’s menu.

Reactions to a first bite of fish may vary, of course—and I remember mine.

My uncle loves to fish, so I was still a tiny little picky eater when my grandma breaded and fried some of his fresh-caught Florida snook and plated it up for me. “Here,” she said, “have some chicken nuggets.”

Naturally, nuggets were my favorite food, so I eagerly stuffed one in my mouth. And then promptly spit it back out. I was suspicious of seafood for a while after that.

It was an unceremonial start for me, but luckily by my 20s, I shrugged off that memory and started dipping my toes in seafood. I pushed myself to explore briny oysters, crispy fried calamari and charred octopus. And at last, I came

to truly appreciate the beauty of Gulf seafood on a Sanibel Island vacation. Waking up with the waves crashing out my window, it seemed only right to eat fresh-from-the-ocean fish tacos at the seafood shack down the street.

It’s the same here in Louisiana, which produces 850 million pounds of seafood annually. Our state is the second largest seafood producer in the contiguous U.S.

Let that sink in. We’re giving the rest of the country its fill of shrimp, crawfish and blue crabs (and much more). It’s a statistic I don’t think is celebrated enough.

We’re blessed to live in a place that makes sea food simultaneously elegant, fun and delicious. In Baton Rouge, one could dine out daily and discover a new take on fish every single time.

But don’t take my word for it. 225 features writer Maggie Heyn Richardson can write about seafood more eloquently, thoughtfully and knowledgeably than I ever could, and her cover story this month about our world of seafood is one of my favorite cover packages ever.

Maggie dives into the state of the industry, increasingly threatened by price fluctuations and a deluge of natural and man-made catastrophes.

But it’s a business that thrives locally nonetheless. Especially this time of year, as restaurants reinvent their menus with Lenten specials and fold-out tables are covered with newspaper and crawfish in a season of backyard boils.

Here, chefs take as much care to beautifully plate fried clab claws as they do delicate, pink tuna tartare.

Because every single chef and restaurant Maggie interviewed was staunchly committed to the same thing: A great plate of seafood starts with fresh fish sourced straight from the Gulf. No exceptions.

There’s a concept I’ve heard over and over again on Top Chef that especially resonates: A fish gave its life to be cooked. The dish that fish becomes should show it the respect it deserves.

Whether you’re a seafood devotee or just dipping your toes in the water, next time you have the chance, do yourself a favor: Order the fish.


Number of photos staff photographer Collin Richie shot for this month’s cover story, which our editorial and production teams culled down to the final 20 images showcased in this issue.

Please vote!

We are all, of course, very opinionated about what restaurants, shops and businesses represent the best of Baton Rouge. Now’s a great time to voice those opinions by casting a ballot for this year’s Best of 225 Awards Through April 3, vote for the city’s top restaurants, bars, shops, people and businesses at 225batonrouge.com/ bestof225. Voting is quick and easy, and it is open to all residents of the Capital Region. The winners will be unveiled in the July 2023 issue of 225. And let’s face it—the only way to be proud while flipping through the results is to be part of the process.

EDITOR'S NOTE // 8 [225] March 2023 | 225batonrouge.com
COLLINRICHIE Solera’s Seafood Paella
Look after your home the way he pretends he does Easily keep an eye on everything with HD cameras and Panoramic Wifi from Cox. Call 844-347-2219 or visit cox.com/homelife Take care of the things you care about Cox Homelife smart home service plan requires Panoramic Wifi and compatible equipment purchase. Includes continuous video recording on up to four cameras. Homelife Automation and Homelife Security equipment not compatible. Includes EasyConnect self-install: https://www.cox.com/residential/learn/easy-connect.html; additional fee may apply for technician visit after failed self-installation. Advertised rate includes monthly recurring service charges but excludes professional installation, equipment, taxes, trip charges and other fees. May be subject to credit approval. Cox Homelife smart home service plan is not a monitored home security system and includes home automation services only; Cox Homelife Security service plan required for professional monitoring services for intrusion, smoke/fire and related system components. ©2023 Cox Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. MAG108474-0088

Publisher: Julio Melara


Chief Content Officer: Penny Font

Editor: Jennifer Tormo Alvarez

Managing Editor: Laura Furr Mericas

Features Writer: Maggie Heyn Richardson

Digital Staff Writer: Olivia Deffes

Digital Content Editor: Dillon Lowe

Staff Photographer: Collin Richie

Contributing Writers: Mark Clements, Katie Dixon, Tracey Koch, Benjamin Leger, Christina Leo, Zane Piontek, Domenic Purdy

Contributing Photographers: Ariana Allison, Sean Gasser, Hannah Leger, Amy Shutt


Chief Digital Officer and Sales Director: Erin Pou

Account Executives: Manny Fajardo, André Hellickson Savoie, Jamie Hernandez, Kaitlyn Maranto, Audrey Taunton, Cassidie Tingle

Digital Operations Manager: Devyn MacDonald

Advertising Coordinator: Brittany Nieto


Director: Taylor Gast

Multimedia Strategy Manager: Tim Coles

Corporate Media Editor: Lisa Tramontana

Content Strategist: Emily Hebert

Account Executive: Judith LaDousa


Marketing & Events Coordinator: Taylor Falgout

Marketing & Events Assistant: Hillary Melara

Events: Abby Hamilton


Business Manager: Tiffany Durocher

Business Associate: Kirsten Milano

Office Coordinator: Sara Hodge

Receptionist: Cathy Varnado Brown


Production Manager: Jo Glenny

Art Director: Hoa Vu

Senior Graphic Designers: Melinda Gonzalez Galjour, Emily Witt

Graphic Designer: Ashlee Digel


Audience Development Director and Digital Manager: James Hume

Audience Development Coordinator: Ivana Oubre

Audience Development Associate: Catherine Albano

A publication of Melara Enterprises, LLC

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Executive Assistant: Brooke Motto

Vice President-Sales: Elizabeth McCollister Hebert

Chief Content Officer: Penny Font

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Evening at Windrush

The Magic Returns

An Evening at Windrush

Friday, April 28, 2023

The magic returns with a progressive evening including cocktails and music set in the beautiful Windrush Gardens. Afterwards, enjoy an elegant southern supper provided by Chef John Folse. All proceeds benefit the Friends of LSU Rural Life Museum. Details and tickets available at lsu.edu/rurallife.

Old Fashioned Easter

Sunday, April 2, 2023

Children ages 2 through 8 enjoy an Old-Fashioned Easter in Louisiana while participating in many activities such as egg dying, egg pacquing, sack races and of course egg hunting. Admission is $6.00 per person.

L O C AT E D O N B U R D E N M U S E U M & G A R D E N S | 4 5 6 0 E S S E N L A N E AT 1 - 1 0 • R U R A L L I F E L S U E D U • 2 2 5 - 7 6 5 - 2 4 3 7
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The most-read articles at 225batonrouge.com

Hunting for Hubig’s: Where to find the iconic New Orleans hand pies in Baton Rouge

‘Tat’s a good deal:’ Local tattoo shop offers specials for Friday the 13th trend

First Look: Cou-yon’s BBQ founders’ new fast-casual seafood spot opens in Mid City

Reader’s notes

About our January cover story, “People to Watch in the Capital Region:”

“Dr. Juneja is just the best! What a blessing to have him in Baton Rouge!”

—@persacbarbara, via Instagram

“I read every issue of 225 front to back. The best way to keep up with our community .”

—@dennydayhome, via Instagram

Re: Our Try it Tuesdays video on Barracuda Taco Stand:

“This place is going to be so successful!!! We love it so much. The staff, atmosphere, food and drinks are all top notch.”

—@icroswell, via Instagram

On how a thwarted plan to revive Spanish Moon led Aaron Scruggs to Chelsea’s Live: “Gotta love this. Makes a huge difference to the whole music scene in Baton Rouge.”

—Adam Knapp, via Twitter

Analytics and comments are from Jan. 1-31, 2023.

Get out the vote!

Have you voted? If not, cast your ballot for this year’s Best of 225 Awards. Now through April 3, residents of the 225 area code can vote for their favorite restaurants, bars, shops, people and businesses at 225batonrouge.com/ bestof225. The winners will be revealed in the July issue of 225

Dream without boundaries

Knowing you’ve got the strength of the cross, the protection of the shield and thousands of top doctors to lift you when you need it. The Right Card. The Right Care.

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Together We Discover your path forward. We use the most advanced diagnostic imaging technology to detect cancers earlier and with greater precision.

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Fresh fun

5 new ways to enjoy the St. Patrick’s Day parade

NOW IN ITS 38th year, this month’s storied Wearin’ of the Green parade is one of Baton Rouge’s most beloved events. And for regulars, it’s full of familiar rituals. Families head to the same spots to vie for beads. Friends attend the same fêtes thrown by route dwellers. Others head to favorite watering holes along Perkins Road. But while the return to well-worn activities makes the St. Patrick’s Day parade special, there are still plenty of fresh ways to take it in. Keep things new with the following ideas. wearingofthegreen.com

1. Sneak a peek.

This year’s parade features 90 units, says organizer Michael Shingleton, including up to 15 bands, the Budweiser Clydesdales, the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, groups on foot and, of course, floats bedecked in garish green. See them line up down Hundred Oaks and Glenmore avenues at 7 a.m.

2. Get your steps in.

The 5K Shamrock Run, now in its fourth year, starts behind Moreau Physical Therapy at 8 a.m. and leads runners along Perkins Road and around City-Brooks Community Park. The benefit for Baton Rouge Green is a great way to earn your green beer.

3. Sample new eateries.

The parade’s romp through the Perkins Road Overpass District is a reminder to visit spots that have opened since this time last year, including Gail’s Fine Ice Cream, Unleaded BBQ and Zee Zee’s.

4. Keep the party going.

The parade’s terminus at Perkins and Acadian brings energetic fans to Uncle Earl’s, home to Earlapalooza, which has gotten bigger and better in recent years. Festivities include live outdoor music (rap star Nelly performed in 2022), dancing and plenty to eat and drink. The fun cranks up around noon.

5. Go green.

After a successful day catching beads, recycle your haul at the Salvation Army, which refurbishes and sells beads to support its anti-poverty programs. You’ll be doing good while also keeping beads out of landfills.

WHAT'S UP // 14 [225] March 2023 | 225batonrouge.com
The 38th annual WEARIN’ OF
PARADErollsSaturday, March 18, 10 a.m.

Celebrate women

5 ways to commemorate Women’s History Month all spring long through the arts

1. Theatre Baton Rouge will stage Run for the Exits, written by local playwright Terry Byars. The madcap comedy, running March 10-12, explores the lives of hatchetwielding temperance maven Carrie Nation, first lady Mary Todd Lincoln and Auntie Victoire from the French Revolution. theatrebr.org

2. A Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra quartet will perform an intimate candlelight concert featuring work by the likes of Stevie Nicks, Fanny Mendelssohn, Dolly Parton and others. Catch it April 4 at 6:30 p.m. and April 5 at 9:30 p.m at the Cary Saurage Community Arts Center. brso.org

3. Painters Shelli Brown and Jourdan Miley explore female power in a new exhibit at

Ellemnop.Art, entitled “Worth More Than Diamonds.” The exhibit at the Healthcare Gallery runs through April 7. ellemnop.art

4. The Cary Saurage Community Arts Center will display paintings by Associated Women in the Arts in its Shell Gallery March 3 to April 22. Artists featured have been recognized for their watercolor, acrylic and oil painting works. artsbr.org

5. The Louisiana Art and Science Museum continues “Diamonds of History: Mighty Women” by New Orleans pop artist Ashley Longshore through April 30. It’s a tour of 29 portraits of influential women, originally created in collaboration with fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg for her New York flagship store. lasm.org

Back to The Box

A deep bench of talent and a promising coach in his second season has LSU baseball fans with high hopes in 2023. March is a great time to get in on the action as the season swings into high gear. The Tigers, led by head coach Jay Johnson, will play 16 home games this month at Alex Box Stadium, facing down Arkansas, Tennessee, Grambling and other rivals as they put their talent on full display. Grab a ’dog, hear the crack of the bat and enjoy the spring weather at one of Baton Rouge’s most popular venues. lsusports.net/sports/bsb

THE DEATH OF 19-year-old LSU student Madison Brooks sparked an outcry earlier this winter. Brooks was struck and killed by a car just before 3 a.m. on Jan. 15 after leaving the Tigerland bar Reggie’s with three men and a 17-year-old male. An autopsy indicated she had a blood alcohol content of .319, nearly four times the legal limit, and showed signs that she had been raped. An attorney for the men accused of raping her later maintained the sex was consensual. Local leaders weighed in on the need for change.

–LSU President William F. Tate. In a op-ed in The Advocate Jan. 31, Tate doubled down on his commitment to crack down on the “purposefully cultivated environment at some bars” that “allow predators to take advantage of our young people while their guards are down.” Tate stated, “That’s not blaming victims. That’s enabling criminals. And I won’t stand for it.” Tate promised LSU will work with state and local government to boost off-campus safety.

–Morgan Lamandre, president and CEO of Baton Rouge-based Sexual Trauma Awareness & Response (STAR).

In a Feb. 1 op-ed in The Advocate, Lamandre wrote that following Brooks’ death, “community conversations almost entirely revolved around alcohol.” According to Lamandre, LSU is the symptom of a larger problem in Louisiana concerning sexual violence against women. She says STAR will be appealing to the Louisiana Legislature this year to greenlight school-based programs that teach young people about their bodies and healthy boundaries. It would be a form of “primary prevention,” rather than focusing on risk reduction—which she says places the responsibility for prevention largely on victims.

“I may be relatively new to Baton Rouge, but ‘Tigerlands’ exist across higher education communities. And we must intervene.”
“Alcohol is never the cause of rape; it is used by perpetrators to facilitate rape.”
RICHIE WHAT'S UP // 225batonrouge.com | [225] March 2023 15


Buzz feed

New look

Southern Cofé in Scotlandville is back after closing in early 2021 for renovations. Located near Southern University (owner Horatio Isadore’s alma mater), the spot welcomes students and neighbors with a cheery vibe, comfy sofas, study tables, coffee, fresh-pressed juice and food options. Patrons can also hold study sessions or record podcasts in Southern Cofe’s new, separated room. In fact, it has already become home to the broadcast of The Jaguar Football Show with Coach Eric Dooley Find it on Facebook


The total funding The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) is no longer receiving from the East Baton Rouge city-parish government in an effort to ensure the chamber is acting in the best interest of local business. BRAC voted in its January board meeting to make “a new partnership agreement” to continue providing its economic development services while shifting to private fundraising. brac.org

Pay back

LSU’s head football coach Brian Kelly’s pay will be adjusted to the tune of about $1 million this year, after it was discov ered that’s how much he was overpaid last year. The Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s office says the university began making supplemental payments to Kelly’s LLC in May but also continued to make supplemental payments to the coach directly. LSU management became aware of the error in November and has since enacted an adjusted pay schedule to recoup the funds by the end of 2023’s fiscal year.

Ace of base

The Baton Rouge water system was given an “A” preliminary rating by the state, despite longstanding concerns regarding the quality of the Capitol Region’s aquifer. Its final grade is scheduled to be posted in early May by the Louisiana Department of Health.

PHOTO SEANGASSER 16 [225] March 2023 | 225batonrouge.com WHAT'S UP //

Fred Taylor, owner of Poor Boy Lloyd’s downtown, who says he’s seen a dip in business as offices have implemented hybrid work schedules post-pandemic. Others involved in the downtown community are pushing for a state-level version of the federal SHOW UP Act, which proposes to reduce telework options for federal employees. poorboylloyds.com

What's the catch?

The Christmastime deep freeze set the crawfish season back by weeks, according to local sellers. This increased prices for mudbugs from $7 per pound to $10 per pound on average early in the season, but the prices leveled out by February. In recent years, yields have dropped from 1,000 pounds of crawfish per acre to roughly 600-700 pounds, which also drives up costs. Tony’s Seafood owner Bill Pizzolato says mudbug popularity outside of the state is also increasing prices.

Campus confidential

Fast-casual brand Cava, which specializes in Mediterranean cuisine, is expected to open its doors this summer at its first standalone restaurant in Baton Rouge, near LSU’s campus at the corner of Highland Road and Lee Drive. Cava purchased the Zoës Kitchen franchise in 2018 and closed Baton Rouge’s three existing Zoës locations in November to begin converting them into the new brand, as well. cava.com

Say What?

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A heavenly hybrid

Two sweets combine in mochi doughnuts, an internationally inspired dish now available in Baton Rouge

MOCHI DOUGHNUTS—the Hawaiianborn cross between the American doughnut and Japanese mochi—made their Baton Rouge debut late last year by way of California.

Ronnie Wong, managing partner of MoMo Tea, adapted the storefront of the Perkins Road bubble tea spot to bring popular items from California-brand Mochinut—like the chewy rice flour donuts and cheesy Korean corn dogs rolled in tasty coatings—to its patrons. Adding food to the menu was something Wong says he always envisioned. He figured it would complement the drinks and help with overall profit for the store. He says bringing a Mochinut franchise into MoMo Tea was two years in the making.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, business basically came to a halt,” Wong says. “We had to lay off everybody, and my wife was working by herself. To try to sustain the business, we needed to bring some kitchen items.”

At the time Wong first inquired about franchising with Mochinut, the brand (then known as Chung Chun) only offered Korean corn dogs. Wong liked the idea of adding these cheesy treats to the menu after he saw a shaved ice shop in Houston serving them up.

When he finally heard back, the company had rebranded into Mochinut and had added the mochi doughnuts to its menu. Wong loved the idea of adding both a sweet and savory food item into the mix, so he signed as one of Mochinut’s first franchisers.

Wong had to add a hood and fryers into the shop’s small kitchen space to make the Mochinut recipes. After a few supply chain issues, MoMo Tea officially rolled out its Mochinut products in November 2022.

Mochinut taught Wong how to make the new menu items and equipped him with recipes that he has tried and tweaked to create a weekly, rotating selection.

“I’ll try to rotate a fruit, a chocolate and whatever else,” Wong says. “I’m just trying to play with flavors. ... Pretty much if you can imagine it, you can make it.” momoteabr.com

Dough what?

Mochi doughnuts are made with rice flour, which makes them stretchy and chewy in texture. With a slightly crisp outer shell and airy interior, the hybrid desserts generally sit a little lighter than the traditional American doughnut.

Ronnie Wong, managing partner of MoMo Tea, rotates flavors weekly. Churro, funnel cake and glaze are the mainstays, and every Friday new flavors like Nutella, king cake, matcha, ube and many others are added to the mix. Wong estimates he’s already experimented with 30 flavors since opening. Check out the shop’s Instagram to see what new flavors are in the weekly rotation.

Eight is great Mochi doughnuts have a unique shape of eight poppable spheres, making them perfect for sharing. MoMo Tea serves them in boxes that include three, six or 12 Mochinuts.

Tea time

Wong recommends pairing the snacks with one of MoMo Tea’s milk teas. He says milk tea is less sweet, which balances the sweetness of the Mochinuts.

Flavor creator
WHAT'S UP // 225batonrouge.com | [225] March 2023 19
TOWNE Start The Spring By Taking Your Health Personally futurefitnessbr.com 1650 Lobdell Avenue Baton Rouge, LA 70806 Studio Park Across from Towne Center Take the first step in a healthier direction by scheduling your initial consultation. Call (225) 928-0486 FITNESS PERSONAL TRAINING GROUP TRAINING SPIN || YOGA || PILATES INTEGRATIVE HEALTH THERAPY PHYSICAL THERAPY MASSAGE THERAPY NUTRITION NUTRITION COUNSELING A goal and some serious commitment will do. NO MEMBERSHIP REQUIRED 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. 2023. All rights reserved. Phone 225-928-1700 20 [225] March 2023 | 225batonrouge.com

Bringing back the magic

Could Baton Rouge have a new ice hockey team by this fall? Supporters say the city is ‘ready’ for the sport’s return, 20 years after the Kingfish left

INSIDE: Manship Theatre’s mission to bring art to students

Port Huron Prowlers goaltender Wyatt Hoflin played in the last of three exhibition hockey games put on at the River Center this winter.
225batonrouge.com | [225] March 2023 21
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THERE’S NO DENYING Baton Rouge loves its sports.

Football games on a Saturday night are considered a rite of passage. The LSU baseball team led the nation in attendance for 25 straight years. And wedding plans are tediously organized around the sports calendar each year.

And if you lived in the Capital City around the turn of the millennium, you might also remember soaking in the unique sights and sounds of the city’s first professional ice hockey team, the

Baton Rouge Kingfish.

The franchise, originally born in Pennsylvania, called the Capital City its home from 1996 until 2003 before it relocated once again to British Columbia.

It’s now been two decades since Baton Rouge boasted a hockey team. But all that could change in the coming months as groups in the city work to bring a permanent hockey team back to town.

“We’re looking to really (show) hockey to a new generation of fans,” says Jon Kliment, the


OCT. 20, 1996

The Baton Rouge Kingfish hockey team plays its first game at the Riverside Centroplex (today known as the Raising Cane’s River Center). The team defeats the Birmingham Bulls 4-2.

MARCH 29, 1997

The Kingfish closes out its inaugural season, bringing in an average of 6,003 ticket holders per game. This was the highest average attendance the team saw during its Baton Rouge run.

APRIL 1999

The Kingfish advance to Round 2 of the East Coast Hockey League playoffs, its best post-season showing.

broadcaster/director of media relations for Baton Rouge Pro Hockey, an independent LLC helping to lead the charge of bringing a team to the city. “We’re looking for a team that’s going to be successful and that people are going to want to watch. I’m hoping that people will see the beauty in the chance of getting to start something brand-new here.”

The movement is still in its early stages, but the feedback so far shows that the city is fully embracing that beauty.

MARCH 30, 2003

The Kingfish plays its last game at the River Center, losing to the Arkansas RiverBlades 1-2. In its final season, the Kingfish’s season average attendance had dwindled to only 1,723 ticket holders per game. The team was transferred to Victoria, British Columbia, the following season.

JULY 18, 2022

Mayor Sharon Weston Broome announces a new push for hockey in the city, projecting exhibition games for the fall and winter.

A test drive

Earlier this winter, the Raising Cane’s River Center—which housed the Kingfish back when it was known as the Riverside Centroplex—hosted three professional hockey games as sort of “trial runs.” The games featured minor-league teams from the Federal Prospects Hockey League based in Mississippi, Michigan and the Carolinas.

“(Those three games) are why we’re forging ahead in terms of potentially getting a team of our

DEC. 8, 2022

The Raising Cane’s River Center hosts its first hockey game in nearly 20 years as part of a series of three exhibition games.

JAN. 2, 2023

A sold-out crowd turned up to the River Center for the final game in the exhibition game series.

1996 1998 2000 2002 2022 2024
Information compiled form Hockeydb.com, the East
archives and news reports
Coast Hockey League
OUR CITY // 225batonrouge.com | [225] March 2023 23
The final game in the series of three exhibition hockey games at the River Center this winter drew in a sold-out crowd.

own,” River Center general manager Wayne Hodes tells 225.

According to Hodes, the River Center aimed to attract about 5,000 fans per exhibition game. The three games ended up drawing more than 20,580 people combined, including a sellout crowd for the finale in January.

“Ultimately, it exceeded expectations,” Hodes says.

Hodes now works in conjunction with Kliment—a New York native with experience starting teams from scratch in both New York and Illinois—who says that even though south Louisiana isn’t a traditional hockey market, he came away impressed and encouraged by the crowd response.

“People came out and they were ravenous,” Kliment says. “Imagine putting a team in here and having people rabid about the team they have and the guys that are in their community that they’re ready to support. It’s aweinspiring, and I think it’s really

going to be something special once everything gets worked out.”

What’s next?

At the time of publication, negotiations were ongoing between the arena and Baton Rouge Pro Hockey to establish the River Center as the new team’s full-time home.

Unlike the Kingfish, the new hockey team would not be relocated from another city, but added to the Federal Prospects Hockey League as an entirely new team, known in the sports world as an expansion team.

This adds additional layers of both excitement and logistical challenges, like managing the team’s schedule, event staffing and ensuring the ice rink is ready and available throughout the season.

“We’re in the process of discussing the various business points, and once we finalize and agree on that … we can forge ahead,” says Hodes, who

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OUR CITY // 24 [225] March 2023 | 225batonrouge.com
Minor-league teams from Mississippi, Michigan and the Carolinas faced off in specialty BR Pro Hockey jerseys at the winter exhibition games.

added that an announcement could potentially come as early as March. “One of the things that was exciting to me as I was vetting this process … is this would be an expansion team, so it would have its own identity. So we could—and by ‘we’ I mean our community—do a lot of fun things with it.”

Those fun things include assembling the team, choosing a team name, logo and uniform, as well as deciding on its first head coach and signing some players, possibly before an anticipated season-opener in October.

A lot could change between now and the fall opener, but should everything go through successfully, Kliment says there will likely be a social media-style contest to choose the name of the new team.

The excitement is already brewing amongst hockey fans around the area, many of whom are watching the sport come fullcircle in Baton Rouge.

“The Kingfish is what sparked my interest (in hockey),” says

Daniel Hawkins, a board member for the Baton Rouge United Hockey Association, a recreational adult hockey league. “It was always just very entertaining. As I got older, I started watching (the NHL) on TV … and then once I got into it (I joined) an adult league. It’s almost like another family or a brotherhood.”

Hawkins, who attended all three games at the River Center this winter, is hoping that same bond will begin to form around the city’s new team, bringing together groups of fans who otherwise may have never truly been exposed to the wintry sport.

“You’re cheering for your team; you’re cheering against the other team. You end up bonding,” he says. “It’s just like when you go watch an LSU football game—it’s just electrifying in Tiger Stadium. I’d love to see that same kind of energy brought to hockey.”

But is Baton Rouge ready to bring that energy? Yes, Hawkins says—“without a doubt.”

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Behind the curtain

The Manship Theatre is more than an arts venue. Its educational outreach programs continue to be a class act

SINCE OPENING ITS doors inside the Shaw Center for the Arts in 2005, the Manship Theatre has crafted an identity as downtown Baton Rouge’s hub for all things entertainment, from foreign films to classic plays to award-winning musical acts. But what many locals may not realize is that the venue—from its multiple theaters to its ensconced gallery spaces—was founded as a nonprofit.

Launched by newspaper mogul and namesake Douglas Lewis Manship Sr., the theater also aims to provide Baton Rougeans with

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OUR CITY // 26 [225] March 2023 | 225batonrouge.com
Children will often follow up a special school day performance in the theater with an opportunity to view artwork hanging in the Gallery at Manship.

educational programming and community outreach.

“Just this year, we have contracted with 12 professional national touring companies that provide our community the opportunity to experience live theater,” says Joelle Castille, Manship’s education, outreach and gallery coordinator, who formerly worked for Baton Rouge General’s Arts in Medicine program. “These shows are tailored to our youth with educational themes such as children’s literature, science, social awareness and classic works such as Shakespeare. As a nonprofit, we rely on support to sustain our presence in the community. So it’s never too early to grab the enthusiasm of our children as future supporters.”

Many of those supporters take up the mantle of various outreach programs referred to as “Manship on the Move,” which include opportunities for visiting artists to bring their craft to senior living facilities, schools and hospitals to reach those who otherwise may

not have full access to Manship offerings.

Take, for example, Bluegrass group The Hillbenders, who performed for the Williamsburg Senior Living Community in January before their evening concert at Manship Theatre; or members from the band BeauSoleil, who performed a private concert for French students at FLAIM, answering questions en français.

Teaching artists from Manship have also gone into East Baton Rouge Parish schools for weeklong critical-thinking projects after arranging field trips to see films and plays about topics like The Diary of Anne Frank or the Civil Rights Movement at the theater.

By the close of the 2022-2023 season, Manship Theatre will have offered 15 performances for more than 11,000 children, and hopes to



Number of children the Manship Theatre plans to reach through educational performances and outreach programs by the close of the 2022-2023 season. And through visits to hospitals, senior living centers and other facilities, it will reach many who otherwise may not have full access to the theater’s offerings.

broaden its reach to more parishes. This spring, the nonprofit plans to host five different outreach events, with more always in development.

“One thing I know from my education background is that students learn and retain information more completely when connections are made,” says Jennifer Carwile, a painter, author and illustrator from Baton Rouge who serves as one of Manship’s teaching artists. “When students see a play, and we are able to come into the classroom to do activities that reinforce that message, I think it makes a deeper impact.” manshiptheatre.org

OUR CITY // 225batonrouge.com | [225] March 2023 27
Brothers Michael and David Doucet of the Cajun band BeauSoleil performed in French for students at FLAIM as part of Manship’s outreach program.



At Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Institute, treating cancer goes beyond just treating cancer. It also means treating everything that comes with cancer, including the complications and side effects. Cancer takes everything. We’ll stop at nothing to care for you. Which is why we’ve been the region’s leading cancer treatment destination for decades. And we won’t stop there.


Jordan Davis

JORDAN DAVIS’ MUSIC career takes him across the U.S. and the world, but he never forgets home. The LSU Alumni Association recently named Davis the 2022 Young Alumnus of the Year, an experience the 2007 graduate calls “humbling.”

Davis is now a singer-songwriter based in Nashville. In November, he received his first Country Music Award (CMA), winning Song of the Year for “Buy Dirt.” The song, featuring Luke Bryan, made it to No. 1 on the country music charts.

And Davis isn’t done. He recently released two new singles, “Part of It” and “Midnight Crisis,” featuring Danielle Bradbery. His new album Bluebird Days, released in February, is the follow-up to his 2018 debut release Home State. He’ll tour internationally with country musician Thomas Rhett this year, and has a few headlining shows of his own on the books. (“Hopefully I’ll be getting back to Louisiana,” Davis says.)

The Shreveport native pulls much of his musical inspiration from his Pelican State upbringing. He says the Sportsman’s Paradise is the best out of the 50 states.

“Louisiana just has a different energy, and I think the people from there are really, really proud of it,” he says. “It just kind of flows out of them.”

Davis’ love of songwriting began at home. His uncle, Stan Paul Davis, wrote music for country star Tracy Lawrence. And his father, also a songwriter, provided inspiration and motivation for Davis to try his hand at the craft.

“We always knew that there was a way to make a living writing songs,” he says. “So, there was always country music going on around the house.”

While Davis is categorized as a country musician, he’s taken inspiration from artists outside of the genre to create a sound all his own.

Artists like John Prine, who Davis calls “the best songwriter who ever lived,” inspire Davis’ work along with the works of rock 'n' rollers like Tom Petty, Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Black Crowes. He says hip-hop and R&B stars like Lil Wayne were also strong influences.

And on the heels of his chart-topping year, he’s on his way to making a legacy of his own.

“It’s really hard to kind of wrap my head around some of the things (I’ve gotten to do),” he says. “It’s truly a couple of pinch-me moments after another.” jordandavisofficial.com

COURTESY RED LIGHT MANAGEMENT I AM 225 // 225batonrouge.com | [225] March 2023 29
“I always say that it starts with songwriting. I think one of the best things about country music is the storytelling and the songwriting craft of it.”

Seafood Lover’s Guide

a shore thing: We live in one of the most vibrant places for seafood. Here how’s to savor it this season—whether you’re sticking to a Lenten practice, craving crawfish or planning date night
Sidebar sources: Hungry for Louisiana. An Omnivore’s Journey, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, LA Seafood Promo Board, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and welovecrawfish.com.
// 30 [225] March 2023 | 225batonrouge.com

OU COULD MAKE a strong argument that seafood is the backbone of south Louisiana’s unique culinary tableau.

To Baton Rougeans, life without a steady bounty of local fish, crab, crawfish, shrimp and oysters seems unimaginable, not to mention unpalatable. These raw materials, served humbly or gussied up, are the stuff of everyday life. And it’s easy to take them for granted until you travel somewhere less endowed. Few parts of the country celebrate fresh seafood so completely as we do in the Capital Region, where you find it everywhere from tailgates to fine dining and in a range of dishes from omelets to pizza.

Local restaurants, fish markets and home cooks have a long and enduring relationship with seafood from the Gulf of Mexico, a relationship that continues to evolve in new and complex ways as consumers and fishers navigate market disruption, including natural and manmade events that threaten supply. Seafood prices are higher than ever before, further amplifying Gulf seafood’s cachet.

What better time than Lent to take a deep dive, pun intended, into this versatile, elegant and everyman food group we can’t seem to live without.

DIGIT 850 million Pounds of seafood Louisiana produces annually, making it the second largest seafood producer in the contiguous United States.
COVER STORY // 225batonrouge.com | [225] March 2023 31
Boiled Crawfish at Sammy's Grill, which sells more than 200,000 pounds of the crustacean per year.



During Lent, restaurant kitchens reinvent their menus with artful new takes on the season’s seafood and produce

COVER STORY // 32 [225] March 2023 | 225batonrouge.com
Eliza's Tuna Carpaccio for Lent

What’s on Eliza's Lent menu?

The restaurant will serve its 2023 Lent specials until April 8. Guests can choose an app, entree and dessert for $50. Wine pairings are included for an extra $25. A la carte options are also available.


Tuna Carpaccio

Marinated Gulf Shrimp


Oyster Pasta

Catfish and LA Crawfish Etouffee


Crème Anglaise & Strawberries

THIS TIME OF year in Louisiana, it’s all about Lent.

The religious tradition usually involves two routines: giving up a luxury and abstaining from meat. While some avoid meat on Fridays, others skip it the entire Lenten season, which traditionally runs from Ash Wednesday through Maundy Thursday—though many keep things seafood-centric through Easter.

As a way to welcome and accommodate the large percent of Baton Rouge residents celebrating Lent, restaurants around town create their own special Lenten dishes each year.

Eliza Restaurant & Bar owners Russell and Sally Davis begin preparing for the Lent season over a month in advance.

“Everybody comes to the table with the ideas and inspirations they already have,” Russell Davis says. “Then, together as a team, we sort of hammer out the nuts and bolts.”

variety to the dishes that can highlight this bounty of seafood we have in south Louisiana.”

The Creole restaurant is known for preparing all of its dishes from scratch while using fresh, local ingredients. Davis shops twice a week at the Red Stick Farmers Market, and Eliza’s menu pays homage to the purveyors who provide its ingredients.

“We get very excited about this menu and this time of year,” he says. “It’s a chance for us to do a little something different and creative, and to showcase all of our great local seafood and farms. What’s exciting for myself, our chefs and cooks, is that specials like these allow us to stray a little outside the Creole boundary.”

Eliza’s sister restaurant, JED’s Local Po’boys, serves a seafoodfocused po-boy each month of Lent. February featured a fish-and-chips po-boy, while the March and April po-boys will showcase crawfish and shrimp, respectively.



The Eliza kitchen draws inspiration from a variety of cookbooks, including the house favorite, The Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg. Davis and his staff collaborate, starting out with about 20 dishes on the drawing board, eventually narrowing the list to no more than 10. From there, the stove burners are lit and pans are dirtied to test them out. The restaurant’s anticipated taste-testing day rallies everyone involved behind the scenes to determine the five finalists: two appetizers, two entrées and a dessert.

Two species are plentiful off the Louisiana coast: brown shrimp, bolder in flavor and harvested from May to July, and white shrimp, harvested from mid-August to mid-December.

“We try not to keep it too linear,” Davis says. “We try to give some

Over by LSU, the new Soulshine Kitchen & Bar also runs a special Lenten menu by owner Danny Wilson. Every Friday, the eatery hosts Lenten Fry-Days, offering a special $10 price on these dishes for dine-in only. The Lenten dishes will also be available every other day of the week for $13.

“We have the menu ready to go. We started it at (Brickyard South Bar + Patio) probably four years ago,” Wilson says. “We adapted it at Soulshine when we moved over.”

The menu offers a catfish or vegetarian sandwich for people sticking with the rules, or a meaty, smashed-beef Slamburger for slackers. All three come with a side of fries. As a comedic nod to the discipline required to follow the rules, the menu displays an angel or devil next to the choices.

And even if a local restaurant does not offer a menu uniquely developed for Lent this season, you can bet you’ll find seafoodcentric dishes there anyway—all year long.

Eliza's Catfish and LA Crawfish Etouffee
COVER STORY // 225batonrouge.com | [225] March 2023 33

Shelling out

The state of the industry: Restaurants battle price hikes and the threat of compromised fisheries


Kevin Ortego has been paying close attention to the Gulf of Mexico’s seafood supply since he first got into the restaurant business in Destin, Florida, in 1984. He says he spends hours each week discussing with longtime suppliers how much he’ll shell out for products for his Baton Rouge restaurant’s seafood-centric menu.

“It is embarrassing what I’m having to charge,” says Ortego, who relocated Louisiana Lagniappe to the Capital City from Destin in 1998. “If you don’t want to cut quantity or cut quality in this business, your only option is to increase your menu prices.”

Ortego rattles off a handful of examples of “stubbornly high” products and their direct impact on his menu. A wholesale gallon of fresh oysters is more than $90, up from about $60 in 2021. And crab fingers, a product whose weight is mostly shell, have climbed from around $5 per pound in the ’90s to $24 per pound today.

“If you see that prices of crab fingers are

around $20-plus on menus, honestly, they should be costing around $30,” Ortego says. Along with being hit by inflation, Gulf seafood supply has also long been sensitive to the vagaries of manmade and natural events. Regular hurricanes that batter the Louisiana coast and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 have caused long-lasting disruption in the seafood market, say restaurateurs. After the spill, for example, a major freshwater diversion project intended to flush the area of residue inadvertently killed more than 8 million oysters, creatures highly sensitive to changes in salinity.

Over history, some Gulf seafood market fluctuations have even resulted from frenzied food trends.

When Louisiana chef Paul Prudhomme introduced blackened redfish at his French Quarter restaurant K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen in the 1980s, it sparked a nationwide craze, famously triggering catch limits on redfish in the Gulf to stave off population decline. Challenges still befall the redfish population today. As recently as December 2022, state biologists suggested imposing additional limits due to declining

population numbers, and recommended a 35% overall reduction in catch.

Now, a new concern for Louisiana seafood is the $2.5 billion Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion project, which could begin this month. Managed by the Army Corps of Engineers, the project is expected to rebuild 21 square miles of wetlands by 2070. But the cascade of fresh water and its accompanying sediment is also expected to smother coastal oyster beds and drive shrimp into deeper waters, according to a Corps of Engineers environmental impact report. Diminished supply will, of course, result in higher prices.

High prices challenge the crawfish industry, too, as it continues to compete against cheaper foreign crawfish. Remarkably, crawfish tails processed in Louisiana are still peeled by hand by seasonal workers, and as the cost of labor has risen, so has the price of tails.

“It would be so easy to switch to something like Chinese crawfish or Spanish crawfish, because it’s cheaper. And if people don’t ask to see the bag the crawfish comes in, it’s hard to know,” says restaurateur Peter Sclafani, whose restaurant group Making Raving Fans Hospitality manages multiple local restaurant concepts. “It’s just not something we’re going to do. We’re going to stay committed to a good product.”

IN 2019, GOV. John Bel Edwards signed into law a new rule requiring any food establishment selling imported shrimp or crawfish in the state to post a notice on menus. Enforced by the Louisiana Department of Health, the law intends to inform consumers when they’re served seafood that is not subject to the same regulatory requirements as domestic seafood, and thus, can carry toxins and harmful residues, the Department of Health states.

Restaurants are required to post the country of origin of the seafood product in the same font as the rest of the menu, and directly next to the item that incorporates imported shrimp or crawfish. Notices may be paperclipped to the menu. In the case of restaurants that don’t have menus, signage must be posted at the main entrance, the law states.

The Louisiana Department of Health is responsible for enforcing the law, which has been in effect since 2019.

Oysters Lagniappe at Louisiana Lagniappe
COMING CLEAN Imported shrimp and crawfish? Restaurants must make it clear COVER STORY // 34 [225] March 2023 | 225batonrouge.com

Are Louisiana restaurants breaking the rules?

Yes, according to data from the Louisiana Department of Health. In fact, there have been 2,467 violations since the law was instituted. Here's a breakdown by year.

DIGIT 80%-90%

Proportion of the seafood Americans eat that is imported from abroad. Half of that is also farm-raised. Much of this escapes the regulatory requirements imposed on U.S. producers, which means the imported seafood may contain toxins banned in domestic seafood.

Year Count of Violations 2019 618 2020 757 2021 681 2022 411
Fresh Fish en Papillote at Louisiana Lagniappe
COVER STORY // 225batonrouge.com | [225] March 2023 35

Seafood Diablo Pasta

If you like seafood and spice, look no further. Shrimp, crawfish and oysters are covered in Sammy’s peppery Spicy Diablo Sauce and served over linguine.


Did you know that crawfish … … were once a staple in Old World European cooking? Called crayfish elsewhere, the ancient freshwater crustacean is found throughout the eastern United States and parts of the world.

Acadian Catfish

Fried catfish gets a whole lot tastier when it’s complemented with a serving of crawfish etouffee and rice.

Grilled Bayou Catfish

Grilled catfish is blanketed in a crawfish and shrimp sauce, plated with a healthy heaping of steamed veggies on the side.

’Tis the

SEA -son

The many faces of crawfish at Sammy’s Grill

Crawfish Etouffee

Expect to see tons of tails on your plate. They’re cooked down in a roux and served over rice for the ultimate Louisiana stew.

COVER STORY // 36 [225] March 2023 | 225batonrouge.com

Boiled Crawfish



A savory soup like no other, this gumbo combines shrimp, crawfish and more served in either a bowl or a cup.

Sammy’s also has a custom seasoning blend that Faciane says customers have “latched on to.” Each pound is cooked to order and served piping hot and ready for claw cracking and tail twisting. After permanently closing in January 2020 and quickly getting revived by new ownership, the restaurant’s grand re-emergence was met with a global pandemic. When the early days of COVID sent restaurants into a lurch, Sammy’s operated as a drive-thru serving only hot boiled crawfish—because that’s what customers were craving. The rest of the restaurant reopened at the end of that crawfish season with a revamped menu with new and classic dishes.



“We’re trying to take what was already out here and just kind of make it a little bit better than what it was,” Faciane says. “We just want to bring it back to that status that it should be at.”

Fearly July, you can count on two things at Sammy’s Grill on Highland Road: hot crawfish and a packed parking lot. Crawfish season after crawfish season, hungry patrons flock to the seafood spot to get their hands on the ruby red crustacean. Maybe it’s because the restaurant is always boiling hot crawfish, or perhaps it has to do with the care that goes into all the dishes. Operations Manager Joey Faciane says it all comes down to using fresh, local products and having a staff that makes plates patrons drool over.



You can count on these bright red crawdads to come to your table steaming hot and packed with flavor. Every tray is cooked to order and served with corn, potatoes and the restaurant’s signature crawfish sauce for dipping.


The restaurant has found a variety of tasty, tasty ways to serve up this versatile underwater protein. You can get your crawfish tails fried, served in gumbo, made into a cream sauce, and of course, boiled. So, if you’re not into the process of pinching and peeling, don’t worry. There are plenty of options on the menu that you can order to get your much-needed crawfish intake.

“The biggest thing is that we pride ourselves on serving Louisiana seafood,” he says. “We take care of our product, down to icing our seafood every single day on every single shift and all the little things that a lot of people take for granted and don’t realize.” And it has a lot of crawfish to care for, as the restaurant sells more than 200,000 pounds of the popular crustacean each year.

A lettuce blend tossed in honey mustard and grated Parmesan is topped off with tomatoes, onions and, of course, crispy, golden-fried crawfish tails in place of croutons.


“We constantly have fresh crawfish brought in daily,” Faciane says. “We have an actual crawfish washer. It’s a whole machine that takes 10 sacks at a time, washes them, cleans them and makes sure all gunk and filth is off, so you get a super clean flavor.” Besides having fresh, clean crawdads,

March 12

Sample a range of crafty and elevated takes on crawfish at The Baton Rouge Epicurean Society’s annual kick-off to crawfish season, Crawfête. The Sunday event takes place outdoors at Perkins Rowe from 2-5 p.m.

OLIVIA DEFFES COVER STORY // 225batonrouge.com | [225] March 2023 37

What’s on the Chilled Seafood Tower at Beausoleil?

The stunning, shareable offering from the restaurant’s Cold Bar menu is served with lobster tails, saffron-infused boiled shrimp, marinated blue crab claws, raw oysters, tequila and ceviche, smoked tuna dip, saffron crackers and house sauces. A full portion is $135, while a half portion goes for $75.



Percent of crawfish sold and eaten in Louisiana that is raised on farms rather than harvested in the wild. It’s what enables the season to span from around January to June.

COVER STORY // 38 [225] March 2023 | 225batonrouge.com

Fresh perspective

The art of cooking and creating with seafood, according to Beausoleil’s own Seafood King, Chef David Dickensauge

“I WAS RAISED around seafood my whole life,” says Beausoleil Coastal Cuisine Executive Chef David Dickensauge. “I love the fact that seafood is just so vibrant and fresh. And what’s so awesome about it is that you can prepare it very simply or elevate it in a way you can’t do with any other product. It’s all about using it at its freshest point.”

A native of the Mississippi Gulf Coast and the 2017 Mississippi Seafood King, Dickensauge brings a 30-year career working in Chicago, New Orleans and Baton Rouge to his post at Beausoleil, where diners find dishes like the fresh seafood tower, a “sea-cuterie” board and red miso bouillabaisse.

225 checked in with Dickensauge about the secret to cooking seafood, his culinary point of view and the dish at Beausoleil he thinks is the best in the city.

What are the tricks to cooking seafood correctly?

There’s really no trick to it. It’s all about education, and not just from books, but from learning from others and also using the freshest possible local seafood. Take something like shrimp and grits. To do it right, you’re going to start with three ingredients. Stone-ground grits, some type of butter sauce—and the key is the best shrimp you can possibly find. I’m never going to go buy some B.S. shrimp from some guy down in Kokomo. I’m going to go down the docks and get amazing shrimp from someone I know that are super fresh and have no bleach enzymes. What are the tricks? Know your product. Know your chef and what they stand for.

How has the price increase in local seafood impacted Beausoleil?

We are not allowed to buy frozen imported shrimp; that’s a mandate from City Group Hospitality, even if we have to swallow the cost a little bit. Louisiana people want seafood. Seafood trumps anything.

Beausoleil was rebranded as a seafood-forward restaurant in 2020. How would you describe what you’ve tried to do as executive chef?

The dishes have some star quality to them. They’re elevated, and we really

care what the plate looks like. You’re not going to see fingerprints or just a bunch of food thrown on there. Everything is balanced.

You’re able to change the menu at Beausoleil regularly, adding different dishes all the time. Where does that creative itch come from?

I’ve been working in restaurants since I was 14. From a very young age, I was bitten by the bug. Mentors early on taught me that self-expression was what it was all about. I struggle with overthe-top dyslexia and ADHD, but this is where I excel. Being able to be creative is the most important thing to me. If you offered me a million dollars a year, but told me I had to cook the same five dishes, I could not do it.

What ingredients do you particularly enjoy working with?

Gulf fish, like super great grouper or snapper, and redfish cooked correctly can be some of the best fish around. Oysters. I like the simple stuff when it comes to seafood. I think our crab claws are the best in the city. We make them with a Calabrian chili butter. It’s kind of a play on New Orleans barbecue shrimp. It’s a phenomenal dish.

This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

I love the fact that seafood is just so vibrant and fresh. … You can prepare it very simply or elevate it in a way you can’t do with any other product.
“ ” COVER STORY // 225batonrouge.com | [225] March 2023 39
—David Dickensauge, Beausoleil Coastal Cuisine’s executive chef
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In the PINK

Fresh tuna tartare is Baton Rouge’s latest ‘it’ dish

CHALK IT UP to the proliferation of sushi and poke restaurants across Baton Rouge, or simply to our collective expanding palates, but tuna served raw or rare is having a moment on local appetizer menus. Mild, buttery and tender, it pairs well with all sorts of different flavors.

For some diners, it’s an opportunity to start with something light and flavorful before moving on to heavier indulgences, says Stab’s Steak and Seafood General Manager Keven Kimball.

The Bocage restaurant’s tuna tartare, created by Stab’s executive chef Bernard Carmouche, combines fresh raw tuna with morsels of avocado. It’s formed with a ring mold and served on a bed of whipped cream cheese with balsamic drizzle and flecks of lemon zest.

Kimball says the restaurant sources the fish from the Gulf. “I prefer to use fresh yellowfin tuna,” he says, “but now and again we can get bluefin tuna.”

Raw or rare tuna starters to try around town

Tuna tartare


Fresh raw tuna and avocado served over whipped cream cheese with balsamic drizzle and flecks of lemon zest

Bluefin tuna poke


High-end cuts of tuna paired with pear, avocado and soy honey

Tuna crudo AT BIN 77

Raw tuna with veal and herb aioli, arugula, crisp fingerling potatoes and lemon vinaigrette

Pepper-crusted tuna


Seared and served with shaved Brussels sprouts slaw, pickled red onion, crispy wontons and miso emulsion

Ahi tuna salad


Sesame encrusted, seared and served with wakame seaweed salad and a garnish of wasabi and soy syrup

Tuna wrap


Fresh chunks of tuna and mango, rice noodles and butter lettuce cups

Asian black and blue


Rare tuna accessorized with blue cheese miso, blackberry soy sauce and ginger slaw

Atún crudo AT SOLERA

Raw tuna with adobo aioli, green romesco sauce and kombu (kelp) balsamic served with toasted baguette slices


Yellowfin tuna

It can be fished year-round in the Gulf, but its peak season is mid- to late-summer.

Seared ahi tuna


Seared rare and served with soy-ginger sauce and mirliton slaw

COVER STORY // 225batonrouge.com | [225] March 2023 41



The magic of the fry house: Trends change, but fried seafood is always in style

COVER STORY // 42 [225] March 2023 | 225batonrouge.com
Crab claws at Phil’s Oyster Bar



Number of derelict or abandoned crab traps no longer in use in Louisiana waterways, thanks to volunteer cleanup events called Derelict Crab Trap Rodeos. The devices create boating hazards and trap crabs and other species that will not be harvested.



IN Baton Rouge have evolved to include all sorts of sophisticated interpretations. But the most celebrated way to savor the Gulf’s sweet bounty remains deep-fried.

From shrimp, catfish and oyster po-boys to platters heaped with all manner of fruits of the sea, we can’t get enough of succulent seafood enrobed in a crisp, goldenbrown crust.

Chefs are quick to say there’s an art to frying seafood correctly. It takes the right batters, wet and dry, the correct fat heated to the perfect temperature and, most importantly, a keen sense of timing to yield crispness without being overcooked.

It also takes using a fresh, high-quality product from the Gulf, says Peter Sclafani, a partner in the iconic neighborhood restaurant Phil’s Oyster Bar.

“It starts with buying good seafood, because it really is ‘garbage in, garbage out,’” Sclafani says.

Sclafani says Phil’s also executes a few well-worn steps when frying its signature dishes. One is using cottonseed oil, a tradition Phil’s late, longtime owner Gus Piazza insisted upon, says Piazza’s son and co-owner Anthony Piazza.

“It’s something he felt very strongly about,” says Piazza, crediting the oil for having a lighter profile that doesn’t mask seafood’s natural, clean brininess.

Even while battling an extreme surge in the price of cottonseed oil, (part of a larger global price increase on all cooking fats), the restaurant continues to use it in order to maintain a consistent tasting product, Sclafani says. While Phil’s fans have responded well to the addition of several non-fried seafood items on the menu, including healthier salads and grilled and broiled seafood dishes, there are still plenty of fried seafood fans who clamor for the restaurant’s top-selling shrimp po-boy and fried crab fingers, says Chef Alfred Haimbach.

Those items, along with dishes like the fried seafood platter, use a road-tested wet and dry batter combination. Haimbach and team dip morsels of seafood in a buttermilk bath before dusting them in a type of cornmeal whose grind is between traditional cornmeal and corn flour. A custom spice mixture blended with the cornmeal gives it its flavor.

“The texture of the meal gives you the crunchiness of cornmeal but without the grit of regular cornmeal,” Sclafani says.

Haimbach says it’s all about doing as little as possible to the seafood to make it shine.

“Anytime we touch a great product, we risk the chance of subtracting from it,” Haimbach says. “So we pay close attention to those details.”


Did you know that Gulf oysters … … were consumed by indigenous people and generations of Louisiana immigrants? Croatian fishermen helped pioneer the state’s oyster industry, which was formalized by state government in 1902 with the first oyster leases.

Chef Alf working in the fry house at Phil’s Oyster Bar
COVER STORY // 225batonrouge.com | [225] March 2023 43

seafood For the LOVE of

10 fin-tastic dishes we can’t live without

REALLY, IT’S OVERWHELMING: the number of excellent seafood dishes we have in town. Local chefs know how to source top-notch products and let them shine with just the right dose of creativity. You’d spend weeks working your way through the standouts, but here are a few we keep returning to.

Seafood paella AT SOLERA

Starting with saffron-infused bomba rice, Chef Evan Theriot’s seafood paella builds layers of flavor using Gulf shrimp, seared fresh fish, Spanish chorizo, snow peas, piquillo peppers and slices of lemon.


Baton Rouge’s OG charbroiled oysters are found at Mansurs, served on the half-shell with spicy garlicParmesan butter.

Hallelujah Crab AT JUBANS

It's iconic: soft-shell crab stuffed with seafood dressing, deep-fried and topped with Creole hollandaise sauce. It’s now served with tartar mashed potatoes.

Yummy Yellowtail AT TSUNAMI

Slices of buttery yellowtail (Japanese amberjack) are plated with razor-thin discs of jalapeño, ponzu sauce and cilantro.

Red miso bouillabaisse AT BEAUSOLEIL


Chef David Dickensauge’s Far East red miso bouillabaisse combines Alaskan king crab, lobster tail, diver scallops, mussels, clams and shrimp with red miso broth.

Lombardia pasta AT NINO’S

Homemade pasta is married with sautéed Gulf shrimp, cherry tomatoes, capers and lemon-garlicbutter sauce and basil.

Crab cakes maison


Jumbo lump crabmeat and panko breadcrumbs are molded into cakes with aromatic veggies, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce and spices, then seared and accented with remoulade sauce.

Trout Chalmette AT PHIL’S


Pan-seared speckled trout is gilded with crawfish cream sauce and served over crawfish spoonbread.

Brie and bacon oysters AT JOLIE PEARL


Gulf oysters on the half shell are baked with crisp bacon and topped with creamy Brie sauce.

Crispy fish curry AT CHOW YUM PHAT

Fish fillets deep-fried to golden are served with a tangle of tender ramen noodles in a silky coconut broth.


1.1 million

Pounds of alligator sold in the state annually. Alligator is considered a seafood by the Louisiana Seafood and Marketing Board—and is another dish that’s become beloved locally.

COVER STORY // 44 [225] March 2023 | 225batonrouge.com


More than 160 women have joined forces to make a greater impact on cancer care in the Baton Rouge area. In its first year, The Echo Alliance raised $160,000 and collectively voted to purchase a device for patients at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center that is revolutionizing the treatment of cervical cancer.

The Echo Alliance, launched in January 2022, is a collaborative group of women who make up a “giving circle” dedicated to raising funds for the Cancer Center. Many of them share the experience of watching a loved one suffer through cancer.

The idea was that each woman would make a oncea-year, tax-deductible donation of $1,000, then meet to decide on a fundraising initiative for the Cancer Center. Initially, organizers hoped for a $100,000 donation – meaning 100 women would need to join the giving circle. Today, more than 160 women count themselves as members.

For the inaugural project, the women decided to donate to cervical cancer treatment, specifically toward a new state-ofthe-art treatment tool called the Geneva Universal Gynecologic Applicator. The tool resides at Mary Bird Perkins’ location on the Woman’s Hospital campus, giving doctors access to the most advanced version currently on the market and in Louisiana.

Each year, more than 600,000 women worldwide are diagnosed with cervical cancer. Although treatment for the disease is highly effective when detected early, Louisiana has one of the highest cervical cancer death rates in the country.

Dr. Kate Castle, a radiation oncologist with Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, who is also an Echo Alliance member, started using the specialized applicator purchased by the group several months ago. It is inserted inside the body, and a radioactive source moves through the applicator, delivering the radiation from the inside out. Placing the applicator immediately adjacent to the cancer allows the radiation oncologists to deliver a high dose of radiation to the tumor and provides the

patient with the best possible outcome. Castle says the applicator has allowed her the ability to treat more advanced disease, and her patients are more comfortable during the process.

The power and appeal of The Echo Alliance is that it’s tangible, Castle says. The women contribute, and in real time, see the difference their funds make in the community. The other aspect is the interconnection – The Echo Alliance offers events throughout the year with speakers on various topics. Members have heard from Castle about the impact the applicator is having on her patients, as well as from the patients themselves who are benefitting.

The Echo Alliance will gather again this spring, and the women will vote on how to spend this year’s funds – through either a oneyear project or by allocating funds to a multi-year goal.

“The reason that Mary Bird Perkins is what it is, and why we have leading-edge technology, is because of philanthropy,” Castle says. “If it weren’t for groups like this and other groups that support Mary Bird, we would not be the Cancer Center that we are.”

To learn more about The Echo Alliance and to become a member, visit marybird. org/echoalliancebr.

Kate Castle, MD, Mary Bird Perkins radiation oncologist and Echo Alliance member
SPONSORED CONTENT THE LOWDOWN 225batonrouge.com | [225] March 2023 45
Echo Alliance members gather at the first annual Echo Exclusive event, held at L’Auberge. Pictured left to right: Leslie Richard Chambers, Tiffany Dickerson, Diamond Sherrod, Erin Pou, Sarah Smith, Lisa Jain, Kynley Lemoine



CO2 lasers are the gold standard in treating wrinkles, age spots, acne scars and other blemishes as well as tighten skin and balance tone. Damaged skin tissue is removed, or ablated, stimulating new collagen production as heat energy is delivered to tighten the skin. Depending on the depth of treatment, CO2 treatments can be accompanied by considerable downtime while damaged skin heals. Many advances have been made to improve the side effects of CO2 treatments, but only the CoolPeel can deliver a fully ablative treatment without the downtime. There is minimal risk of hyperpigmentation, demarcation or induced infection.


A CoolPeel laser treatment can only be done using the Tetra CO2 laser. Only the Tetra has the precision and control to deliver energy at the right depth and speed for superficial skin resurfacing results without the lingering heat that would traditionally damage the surrounding skin. This lack of unnecessary heat is where it gets its name.

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Katie Badeaux, 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. 2023. All rights reserved. Phone 225-928-1700 Before After Before After CoolPeel™ is a brand new way to safely and comfortably deliver the benefits of a traditional CO2 resurfacing treatment. REDUCE FINE LINES REDUCE PORE SIZE IMPROVE SKIN TEXTURE MINIMIZE SUN DAMAGE NO REAL DOWNTIME MEET OUR INJECTORS Kristin Green, PA-C CoolPeel is a brand new way to safely and comfortably deliver the benefits of a traditional CO2 resurfacing treatment. By targeting just the superficial layer of skin tissue, damaged skin is removed revealing younger and healthier-looking skin.


There are many ways to make a difference, and these women are living proof. As role models, advocates, mentors, and successful professionals, they inspire the people around them every day.

A public awareness campaign for the Iris Domestic Violence Center was made possible in part by the support of the women featured in this special section. Caring for Generations SPONSORED BY
48 [225] March 2023 | 225batonrouge.com Women Who Make a Difference Female Authors Businesses Owned by Women Female CEOs Women in Philanthropy Female Scientists Female Entrepreneurs YOU SEARCH. WE FIND. New year, new opportunities at the library! Your library card is your all-access pass to these resources and more! You can search our Digital Library, call a librarian, or even text our team with your top challenges and questions. Visit ebrpl.com/DigitalLibrary • Available 24/7 Online • ebrpl.com • Reference Service: (225) 231-3750 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. 2023. All rights reserved. Phone 225-928-1700 • Fax 225-926-1329SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION


I would give her 100 stars if I could. She is kind, patient, and understanding. She listened to my concerns, asked all the right questions, and included me in MY treatment plan. She thoroughly went through my medical history, as well as my entire family history. I’ve never had a doctor like Dr. Talbot. She’s truly one of a kind! —BRANDI

Dr. Calandro is the best of the best! It is clear that she truly loves her job and she understands/values the huge role she plays in her patients’ lives. She has always made a point to remember personal details about our family/children, and she goes above and beyond to explain what she’s doing/make my oldest child feel safe and less afraid. She is so genuine, patient, and comforting for parents too. I always trust what she says and am confident in the care she provides for my children. Toya and Shannon are also fantastic. They are so quick to answer messages, and they never make you feel like you’re bothering them. They help make trips to the doctor more fun, and shot time as quick and painless as possible! I would recommend this team to anyone who is looking for a pediatrician. Our BR community is so lucky to have someone like Dr. C! —RACHAEL

Our sweet Dr. B was out of the office and Dr. Nuss so graciously offered to see us. We were a late afternoon appointment but based on Dr. Nuss demeanor, you’d never know it. She came in full of energy and with a big smile on her face. She first asked us about why we were there, listened to all my concerns and then proceeded to assess my daughter. She was so incredibly thorough and explained everything and educated us all along the way. I left there feeling encouraged that my daughter would be feeling well soon but also knew that if things didn’t get better, she wanted me to reach back out. I would give Dr. Nuss 10 stars if I could! Our experience was amazing and she was definitely a blessing to us that day.



Luz Danela Randolph



At nonprofit City Year, Luz Danela Randolph leads 11 staff members and approximately 40 AmeriCorps members serving in four partner schools for the 2022-2023 school year. She previously served as associate vice president for diversity at Louisiana State University and director of the Candidate Empowerment Center at Florida A&M University. She was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico, and lived in Florida for over 20 years before moving to Baton Rouge. She has two children and a guinea pig named Ginger.


“As a first-generation college student raised by a single mother, I experienced many obstacles, ranging from finances to realizing I was not academically prepared to enter college,” she says. “These challenges helped me make the decision to become an advocate for students with similar backgrounds.”


• Book: The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

• Song: “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana, “Titi Me Pregunto” by Bad Bunny, and “If I Ruled the World” by Nas featuring Lauryn Hill

• Way to spend a Sunday: If the kiddos and I are together, playing or watching a movie. If not, binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy or Abbot Elementary.


“ Difficult impossible! does not mean ”

Heike MünzbergGrüning



Heike Münzberg-Grüning came to the U.S. from Germany in 2001 to do her postdoctoral training at Harvard. She moved to Baton Rouge in 2008 and is currently a professor in neuroscience and metabolism at Pennington Biomedical Research Center. She and her husband Uwe are parents to their sons Maximilian, Johannes and Jonas, and pet parents to their dogs Gabe and Klaus.


Münzberg-Grüning is passionate to push research progress and apply tools to new contexts. As the director of the Central Leptin Signaling laboratory, she has discovered neurons in the brain that actively change metabolism and body weight. She is looking for new ways to tackle the obesity epidemic and is a passionate mentor for undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students.


• Hobby: Beekeeping

• Way to relax: Meditation

• Way to spend a Sunday: Taking a nature walk

same thing over “Insanity is doing the & expecting different results! & over again ”

Christina Melton



For 22 years, Christina Melton has lived in Baton Rouge and raised three sons with her husband. In that time, she has worked to improve the lives of local children and families, first as an Emmy Award-winning documentary producer and deputy director for Louisiana Public Broadcasting, and now in a dream job at the Knock Knock Children’s Museum.


“Our community has significant needs and disparities in education, health and wellness, and economic conditions,” she says. “But we also have so many resources and generous, passionate and determined people working to improve the quality of life. The Knock Knock Children’s Museum is a perfect example of this. The founding women of the museum were determined to build a place dedicated to educating young children through play and to open doors to spark lifelong learning.”


• Author: Eudora Welty

• Hobbies: Painting and writing

• Way to relax: Traveling and visiting museums


Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”
John Wesley

Ally Bayard




As founder of Refinery Counseling Center, Ally Bayard has a heart for people. A clinical mental health counselor serving all ages for the past 10 years, she could have never imagined the mental health crisis that would arise from the pandemic. “As a Baton Rouge native, I love this city, and I wanted better for our community,” she says. “Being a mother, wife and business owner has allowed me to connect with more people in more walks of life than I could have ever imagined.”


“My drive to remove stigmas and barriers is present in every area of my life,” she says. “Equipping my clients to be their best self allows me to influence people I may never even meet. Mental wellness in one individual can affect so many people in turn.”


• Book: Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

• Song: “Refiner” by Maverick City Music

• Way to spend a Sunday: Church, lunch at my parents’ house and golf cart rides with my babies.


“I am certain that I will see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living.”
— Psalms 27:13

Meredith Waguespack



Meredith Waguespack started Sweet Baton Rouge® in 2010 with the vision to create a T-shirt brand that focused on her passion for Louisiana State University game days. She landed on the name after listening to the song “Callin’ Baton Rouge” on repeat. While the company started with apparel focused on the Tigers, pride for Louisiana—whether it be in the form of crawfish, tailgating or Mardi Gras—soon took over. “This business is a way for me to support all things local,” says Waguespack.


A mother of three and a grandmother, Waguespack strives to be an example to other small business owners. “I aspire to do my best, support our community, and give back when I’m able,” she says.


• Book: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

• Song: “Callin’ Baton Rouge” by Garth Brooks

• Way to spend a Sunday: Going to church and spending time with family


“Pour myself a cup of ambition.”
Dolly Parton, 9 to 5

Caprice Cline



Caprice Cline went from 22 years in the makeup business to the roofing industry. Since forming Cypress Roofing in 2019, she has worked with her adult children in a faith-based business they all own together. “Being able to watch them grow into the successful people they have become is such a joy,” she says. “It’s been a wild and exhilarating ride.”  She also has a wonderful husband and grandkids that she adores.


God, family and career are priorities for Cline—in that order. “My parents taught me I could do or be anything I wanted if I put my mind to it,” she says. “Now, I feel my purpose is to encourage others to believe they can do anything they want and give them the tools to succeed. To know that you play a small part in someone’s success is immeasurable.”

Cline also serves as a board member of the Better Business Bureau, and is on the Foundations Committee of the EA Rotary Club.


• Hobby:  Fishing at our camp in Cocodrie or watching sports with the family

• Way to spend a Sunday: Church and football


99% of being successful is doing things when they need to be done.
The other 1% will put you in the stratosphere. ”

Lauren Temple



Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Lauren Temple, a graduate of Louisiana State University, is a single mother raising two daughters. After overcoming a terrible injury which required her to learn to walk again, she followed a dream to become owner and chief operator of two boutique fitness studios—Pilates Plus and Tread BR (soon to be under a single brand).


“I love making connections with likeminded people,” she says. “After my injury, I found inspiration and encouragement through our fitness community. Our staff and clients (not to mention my incredible family and friends) were there to support me along the way. The Baton Rouge fitness and wellness community is filled with individuals who support one another with the common goal to do better, feel better and get stronger—emotionally and physically. I am honored to be a part of this life-changing community, and nothing fulfills me more than helping others achieve their wellness goals.”


• Song: “Me and Bobby McGee” by Janis Joplin

• Food: Brussels sprouts

• Hobby: Crafting, from painting to building furniture to playing with resin


“ You don’t need to dim someone else’s light so yours can shine.”



Baton Rouge-based photographer Jordan Hefler has a love for all things colorful and kooky, and brings her unique visual style to everything she does. These days, that’s mostly editorial and commercial shoots for a wide range of clients, including branded campaigns for publications and music festivals. “My work has taken me all over, from the sidelines of football games to warehouse mosh pits, to million-dollar homes and oilfields in the middle of nowhere,” she says. “Wherever I’m working, I bring a sense of adventure and professionalism to every shoot.”


“I believe my purpose in life is to use my photography and creative eye to help people and brands translate their identities beautifully and colorfully,” she says. Her brand tagline and personal mantra in life is “Do What You Want,” and Hefler is passionate about encouraging fellow creatives to carve their own path by putting themselves out there and being authentically excited about what they do.


• Book: Content Inc: How Entrepreneurs Use Content to Build Massive Audiences and Create Radically Successful Businesses by Joe Pulizzi

• Hobby: Scouring estate sales and thrift shops

• Way to relax: Outdoors with a beer


“Living is easy with eyes closed.”
The Beatles

Brooke Barnett-Bernal



Brooke Barnett-Bernal joined Long Law Firm after graduating from LSU Law School and is currently a partner. With more than 15 years of litigation and professional liability defense experience, she also teaches a course in trial advocacy and evidence at LSU Law School. She and her husband Troy have two children, Shelby and Mason.


Brooke is co-founder and volunteer at the new Capital Renaissance International School (CRIS), a Louisiana nonprofit corporation and foreign language immersion school that opened its doors in August 2022. Brooke banded together with other parents, teachers and community leaders to start the new school in just three short months. “It’s a true reflection of what our community can and should be,” she says.


• Way to relax: I love the beach. The sun, sand and sounds of the ocean—all of it has a soothing effect on me.

• Hobbies: Jogging and softball

• Way to spend a Sunday: Spending time with my family ... they are my world.

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”
– Michael Jordan

Cassie Bradford Renee Cole &



Cassie Bradford and Renee Cole launched the Behavioral Intervention Group in 2007 after realizing how difficult and expensive it was for families in Louisiana to receive qualified behavior analysis services. They say the best part of their job is to see the growth and progress each child makes.


“Watching a child learn something for the first time or use a skill that you just taught them is an amazing experience,” says Cole. She enjoys mentoring her staff and teaching them to apply and use their classroom in the real world to teach children with autism.

Bradford loves spending time with parents of children recently diagnosed with autism to help put them at ease. “As a parent, I am passionate about showing my children that they have the power to make a positive impact on the life of anyone who you come into contact with in a moment,” she says.



• Book: Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud

• Way to spend a Sunday: Hanging out with my husband and children

• Author: Colleen Hoover

• Hobby: Thursday night with girlfriends


“Be the change to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi you wish
(From left) Renee Cole and Cassie Bradford

Samantha Rauber




Samantha “Sam” Rauber is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor and advocate, known as an expert in the field of reproductive psychotherapy. She has created a network of Certified Perinatal Mental Health Professionals to provide a safe place for women experiencing distress during pregnancy and postpartum, birth trauma, infertility, miscarriage and loss, and more ... to seek refuge and find healing.


“I want to extend grace and compassion to women during the most vulnerable milestone of their life—the reproductive years,” says Rauber. She offers them an unbiased, nonjudgmental space to release the emotions related to all that goes untalked about given the stigma of mental health.


• Book: The Art of Holding in Therapy by Karen Kleiman, and Untamed by Glennon Doyle

• Song: “The Story” by Brandi Carlisle

• Hobby: Reading, bike riding with her son Holden, dancing and baking with her daughter Wren, and doing good with her husband Nick


“We think that love might get hurt if we include all of the brokenness, when in fact it’s trying to keep our fractured, hurt parts out of the whole that we are that breaks us.”
Bethany Saltman




Juanisha Hart is married to her best friend, Calvin Hart and together, they have two sons, a godson and a soon-to-be daughter-in-law. Hart is the owner of Boutique Dopage, an online oasis for women of all ages, offering chic fashion and an exceptional concierge service for those who don’t have time to shop for themselves.


“It’s essential for me to advocate for women and uplift them by helping increase their love for themselves, their beauty and their confidence,” Hart says. That’s why she created Boutique Dopage—to make women feel better about themselves through fashion. She also donates to many charitable organizations and adopts a family every Christmas.


• Song: “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” by Whitney Houston

• Way to relax: Spa time

• Way to spend a Sunday: Attending church and spending time with family


“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the Proverbs 31:25 days to come.”

Danielle Kraft



Danielle Kraft, 29, is originally from Quebec, Canada. She started Brows in 2016 in Baton Rouge and has now expanded with locations in Virginia and New Hampshire. This year will be her seventh in the cosmetic tattoo industry.


“It has been such a great opportunity to give back to those who have lost their hair or have skin concerns that prohibit them from growing brow hair,” says Kraft. That’s how one of her favorite charitable programs (“Brows for a Cause”) began. She is excited about all of the fun things Brows has planned for the community in the upcoming year, including a training program for new artists to help them become permanent makeup artists.


• Book: The Law of Attraction by Michael J. Losier

• Band: Pantera

• Hobbies: Hiking & skiing

“ I don’t stop when I’m tired. I stop when I’m done. ”
David Goggins

Pamela Rafferty


Pamela Rafferty started her career at ExxonMobil and has spent time working in Singapore, the UK, Japan, China, Canada and Korea. She is happy to be back in Baton Rouge, leading the Polypropylene Growth venture, which will double capacity by 450,000 metric tons a year to meet the demand for highperformance, lightweight durable plastics. She and her husband Brian are addicted to traveling and love to explore different cultures and meet new people.


Rafferty is passionate about encouraging transparency and vulnerability, removing roadblocks, and improving employee engagement, recognition and retention. She is a champion of equity, inclusion and diversity efforts and loves to hear others’ ideas on how to grow in this space. At home, you can find her volunteering with organizations with a direct impact on an individual’s life … or baking a cake for a friend’s birthday.


The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

“Hopeful” by Josh Ritter

Muay Thai, cycling, cooking, reading and taking photos


You’re braver than you believe, and stronger Promise me you’ll always remember: than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
A.A. Milne

Barbara W. Auten



Barbara Auten and her late husband moved from New Orleans to Baton Rouge following Hurricane Katrina. She has worked at Alzheimer’s Services since 2006, but has always been involved in nonprofit work and developed her fundraising experience through “professional volunteering.” She has two adult children and two grandchildren.


“I was brought up in a home where volunteering was a given,” says Auten, whose first volunteer position was as Girl Scout Leader. “That grew into a profession,” she explains. “I have a passion for seeing my community improve through the many nonprofits that impact our daily lives.”


Book: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee Song: “Lady of Shalott” by Enya Hobbies: Sewing, scrapbooking and cardmaking


“ works, joys, sufferings, May all my failures & successes be offered up to you, God.”




As owner of the premier sugar hair removal and custom airbrush tanning salon in Baton Rouge, Jarratt Haviland is also a mother of five, including a newborn. In addition, she and her husband Mike own Ke Ko Botanicals—a botanical skincare company focused on providing the highest quality sugar hair removal products, aftercare and education to estheticians around the world.


“Serving others is my personal and professional passion,” she says. “You truly don’t know what people are going through at any moment and how your interaction with that person can change everything.” When customers enter Sugar and Bronze, they get the service they came for and are sure to walk out feeling lighter and happier. “Those little interactions create a ripple effect,” Haviland says, “and the world needs more of that.”


• Way to relax: Getting a killer massage from Adrian at The Woodhouse

• Way to spend a Sunday: Church at Church of the King, Mexican food for lunch and time to sit down with the family


Capitalize on what comes. Expect the best. Prepare for the worst.
Zig Ziglar

Laura Cedor



Laura Cedor graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi in Interior Design and was appointed lead designer for a commercial architecture firm. Before focusing on residential design, she designed naval bases, office buildings, dormitories and restaurants. The arrival of twin babies made her take a step back to focus on family and shift from commercial to residential design. In addition to the twins, she and her husband have three other children who keep them very busy.


“My passion is to create timeless spaces that will shape the way families experience life, happiness and love within their most cherished place—home,” says Cedor. She has also served on the steering and grants committees for the Women’s Giving Circle of the Diocese of Baton Rouge and the Baton Rouge Junior League Holiday’s committee.


• Hobby: Playing tennis with friends

• Way to relax: Taking a few weekends a year to spend time at my family lake house

• Way to spend a Sunday: Attending mass with my family, followed by outdoor play time, walks and family dinner


Just make it happen.”

Deidra Mwalimu



Deidra Mwalimu grew up in a small town in a community that took care of its own. Nonprofit Network of Women NOW’s mission is to support women and girls with basic human needs in vulnerable populations around the world. The organization’s end goal is to collect enough feminine hygiene products for at least 5,000 girls and women in Louisiana.


“It is through the nurturing of my parents and extended family that I knew my life’s work would always be of service to others,” Mwalimu says.

“The work that I do now is just an extension of the woman my mother raised me to be. It’s all about family, community, good food and great times.”


• Book: When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America by Paula J. Giddings

• Song: “Can I Live?” by Sampa the Great

• Way to spend a Sunday: Being a domestic goddess!



“ maximize your When people minimize your life, you must existence.”


Katy Touchstone Jessica Burris



Katy Touchstone works as Area Director for City Group Hospitality, while Jessica Burris serves as Catering Director. Both women say they are fortunate to work for a company committed to giving back to the Baton Rouge community.


All of City Group’s managers are encouraged to perform 20 hours of service per year, and the company contributes food and hospitality to more than 50 charitable organizations annually. Touchstone and Burris both enjoy working with Grizzly Hospitality Group, teaching high school students about service and hospitality, along with culinary skills. They say they are proud to know their service makes an impact on the community.



• Song: “Something More Than Free” by Jason Isbell

• Hobby: Tennis


• Song: “Into the Mystic” by Van Morrison

• Hobby: Traveling

“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
C.S. Lewis

Alisa Welsh



Alisa Welsh, the founding principal of Madison Preparatory Academy, has been an innovative educator for 22 years. After graduating from Southern University, she began her career as an English teacher at Glen Oaks High School in 1998. Madison Prep opened its doors in the fall of 2009 and has grown to become the highestperforming high school charter in Baton Rouge.


Welsh is passionate about encouraging young people to be the best version of themselves. Her mission is to serve the next generation and encourage them to become productive citizens. She is also the founder of a youth leadership organization called the Ladies of Tomorrow.


• Song: “That’s the Way Love Goes”

• Book: Cane River by Lalita Tademy

• Way to relax: Riding bikes with my grandchildren

” lies opportunity. In the middle of difficulty

Reshma M. Amin



Dr. Reshma Amin is a Baton Rouge native who has been serving the community’s optometry needs since 2003. She and her husband and general manager, Mitesh Amin, opened TRIO Eyecare in 2019, and are raising three sons together. Dr. Amin is fluent in Spanish and Gujarati, and conversational in Hindi.


Dr. Amin launched The Dry Eye Connection at TRIO Eyecare, a clear approach in connecting dry eye symptoms to healthy solutions. “My purpose is to provide an environment where patients are heard and concerns are addressed and tailored according to the individual’s needs,” she says. “My goal is to make the community aware that dry eye disease is not just a condition that requires using drops, but may be something that could become debilitating if left untreated.”


• Book: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

• Way to relax: Walking my sweet dog, Zoey

• Way to spend a Sunday: Enjoying a long breakfast with my family


And rent is due every day.”
“Success isn’t owned —it’s leased.
JJ Watt

Laura Welch Taylor



After graduating from LSU School of Art and Design in 2013, Taylor and her husband took the leap of faith to see if she could “make it” as an artist. Nine years later, she is still happily creating art for the Baton Rouge community and for collectors nationwide. You can find her kids covered in mud while she creates paintings and ceramics in her barn-turned-studio.


“In art or not, I have always wanted to leave the world a little brighter than when I arrived,” she says. “My passion is to make the world a little happier and more joyful through my work, and reflect to my audience the beauty God has already surrounded us with.” Taylor also uses her art to raise money for nonprofits and medical research through local charities.


• Song: “Your Song” by Elton John

• Hobby: Gardening

• Way to spend a Sunday: Church with family, Mexican food for lunch, a nap and family time in the back yard.


“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”
Pablo Picasso

Jerrydel Rio



A native of Baton Rouge, Jerry del Rio started her career in real estate in 1989 and opened her own agency in 2001. Del Rio Real Estate is a small boutique company with 12 agents that “will never go big.” Del Rio has been married to her high school sweetheart for 63 years and has four children and 13 grandchildren.


At 48, del Rio switched careers from nursing to real estate because she loved the flexibility and opportunity to spend more time with her family. Not until age 60 did she start her own business. Del Rio has concern for young people today. “They feel like they need to know exactly what they want to be at 18,” she says. “That is too much pressure.” She believes that young people need to take their time, experience life, and know that they have time to figure out what they want to be.


• Book: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

• Way to relax: Reading at night before bed.

• Restaurant: French Market Bistro


“ positive things will happen. If one looks at life in a positive way, ”





Dr. Kayla Sliman originally worked as a physical therapist but decided to go back to medical school for gastroenterology. She enjoys coaching patients, especially women, toward good gut health and educating them about how it can prevent disease and improve quality of life. She’s been in practice for four years and has two young children, along with a supportive husband.


“Nutrition really affects health,” she says. Her goal for 2023 is to get involved with her children’s school through plantbased cooking demos and classes. “It’s important that we start teaching children how to live healthy lives and make good choices about what they eat, what they do and how they play. All of that is important for overall health.”


• Book: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

• Song: “Your Song” by Elton John

• Recipe: Plant-Based Lentil Chili


As you set out for Ithaka, hope your road is a long one, C.P. Cavafy full of adventure, full of discovery.”

Rachel Eggie Gibbs



After seven years, Rachel Eggie Gibbs has decided to pivot her focus and will no longer be behind the chair as a full-time stylist. Through a new partnership with Mary Bird Perkins, she will instead prioritize working with cancer patients on post-chemo hair growth and teaching them to style their “new look.” The rest of her time will be spent on her team development, growing the business and spending quality time with family. 2023 will be exciting— her firstborn will turn 2, a second baby joins the family this spring, and she will open a second salon location!.


Her decision to shave her head last August has allowed her to relate a little more to her customers. Her salon’s partnership with Mary Bird Perkins offers services from wig fitting, wig cutting and styling, to a first postchemo haircut. “This has been an opportunity to give back to our amazing community and to the strong women battling cancer every single day,” she says.


Book: The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

Song: “No Longer Slaves” by Zach Williams  Hobby: Working out


“When your life is in alignment, He can release you into your assignment
There is a calling. There is a destiny. There is a plan. There is a purpose. But you won’t be released into it until there is alignment first.” Pastor Mike Haman

Amy E. Jones



With a master’s degree in networking, telecommunication and information science and an undergraduate degree in English literature with a focus in education, Amy E. Jones puts those divergent interests to effective use. As CTO of the East Baton Rouge Parish School System, she works to find the right balance to support one of the largest networks in the state. She is a firm believer in public school education and has supported nine children through the parish school system.


“It is a huge responsibility to be the gatekeeper of technology in a school system,” says Jones. “Students’ minds are so impressionable and great care must be taken to protect them from all that technology has to offer.” One of her department’s newest projects is creating an esports league and incorporating scholastic gaming into workforce development.


• Book: “The Martian” by Andy Weir

• Hobbies: Hiking and dancing

• Way to spend a Sunday: Watching football and reading a good book

for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”
“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers; Hebrews 13:2


For 40 years, Iris Domestic Violence Center, a non-profit domestic violence service organization, has provided support to victims of domestic and dating violence. The agency began in 1979 with the purpose of opening an emergency shelter for battered women and their dependent children in the Baton Rouge area. Iris now services eight parishes including East Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, West Feliciana, Iberville, Pointe Coupee, Ascension, and Livingston.


Domestic violence is a social issue that can impact anyone, regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, race, education, or income level. In an effort to assist victims of family and dating violence, Iris Domestic Violence Center offers the following services:

• 24-Hour Domestic Violence crisis response hotline

• Emergency safe house shelter

• Safety planning

• Legal advocacy

• Housing intervention services

• Job placement assistance

• Childcare assistance

• Acquisition of mainstream benefits

• Community education


The mission of Iris is to empower survivors, prevent relationship violence, and promote justice for victims of domestic and dating violence, their children, and our communities. For anyone looking to get involved in assisting our agency, we welcome volunteers, financial contributions and donations of needed items.

If you suspect a friend or family member is a victim of family or dating violence, take action!

76 [225] March 2023 | 225batonrouge.com
24 HR CRISIS LINE 225-389-3001 OR 800-541-9706 | INFO@STOPDV.ORG WWW.STOPDV.ORG SCAN TO GET INVOLVED 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. 2023. All rights reserved. Phone 225-928-1700 • Fax 225-926-1329SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION
CARESOUTH.ORG | 225-650-2000 | 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. 2023. All rights reserved. Phone 225-928-1700 DR. DIONNE BELL DNP, ARNP, FNP-BC Director of Ryan White Clinical Services NARKITA ROSCOE ARN-CNP, FNP-BC Pediatrics JALISA DYER APRN-CNP, FNP Women’s Health DONNA MATTHEWS LCSW Behavioral Health Director DR. PAMELA DANIEL DDS Dental Director If you are looking for a provider that understands the “care” in healthcare, we invite you to come and see these CareSouth providers. CARESOUTH MEDICAL AND DENTAL salutes and is inspired by these ladies that provide exemplary care to our patients.

INSIDE: The Flower Fest / Project Innovate fashion show

Disco’s not dead

Dani Brouillette’s disco-tiled home collection is casting a trail of glittery light specks in living spaces across town

225batonrouge.com | [225] March 2023 79

A GLITTERING, repurposed globe spotted online was the start of a new venture for Dani Brouillette. She, too, had an old globe lying around that she intended to get rid of. Instead, she decided to cover it in shiny tiles.

What started as a fun craft has turned into an Etsy shop that Brouillette calls her side hustle and hobby. Disco tiling gives her something to keep her hands busy while doing other things like binge-watching Netflix. Using stick-on sheets of mirrored tiles, she goes row-by-row, tiling everything from dress forms and mannequin heads to candles and Champagne bottles.

This past October, she started an Instagram page playfully titled Disco Dani. She posted her first projects: globes and plastic jacko-lanterns. She quickly grew a following of disco lovers and eager customers. Now, she says she’s sold over a dozen dazzling globes—and she’s just getting started.

“I’m trying to disco new objects all the time,” she says.

Though she’s experimented with different shapes, Brouillette says her customers seem to love globes, like the ones she first completed, the most. In the future, she hopes to get even more creative with her business by experimenting with different colored tiles, shapes and customer commissions.

“The weirdest thing I’ve done so far is the scales of justice,” she says. “I had a friend who just passed the bar exam, so she requested it. I was like ‘I don’t know how I’m going to pull this off!’ But, I found one that I thought would work and it turned out really cool.”

Since she gained most of her customers this fall by making pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns, Brouillette says she’s eager to add more holiday-themed pieces to her catalog. Earlier this year, she made masks for Mardi Gras season. Next up, she wants to tackle Easter eggs. And from there, maybe even a bull skull.

“I know that sounds crazy, but I saw a skull with disco tiles on it that had longhorns,” she says. “I’m just trying to find a wall-mounted one that I can disco.”

Though shapes like this can be tricky to tile, Brouillette says the key is to adhere the sticky, mirrored-square rows one by one.

“Of course, doing a ball like a globe shape is easiest, but I just try to go with the curves,” she says. “I try to get them as close as possible and make it look like something that I would want to buy.”

Brouillette says she’s not quite sure why disco-tiled decor is becoming a trend.

But she believes the shiny pieces bring something extra to any room.

She, of course, has some discothemed pieces in her own living space and enjoys the extra light they shed.

“For me, it instantly makes me smile every time I see all of the reflections all over my living room,” she says. “It’s just a cool, different thing that you normally don’t see. All these little spots of light just bring brightness to the room.”

Find her on Instagram at @disco.dani or on Etsy at @DiscoDanielle

“It instantly makes me smile every time I see all of the reflections all over my living room.”
—Disco Dani founder Dani Brouillette
STYLE // 80 [225] March 2023 | 225batonrouge.com
Disco Dani makes mirror-tiled globes, Champagne bottles, mushrooms and other decorative items.
10949 Airline Highway • Baton Rouge (225) 424-2277 • www.mbobr.com Facebook.com/MBBatonRouge Twitter.com/MBOBR YouTube.com/MBofBatonRouge Instagram.com/mb_BatonRouge Plug into Luxury from the comfort of home. Come see the exciting electric lineup from Mercedes-Benz. 2023 EQS SUV 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. 2023. All rights reserved. Phone 225-928-1700
225batonrouge.com | [225] March 2023 81
Hess Crockett General Sales Manager

Petal to the metal

APPROACHING ITS THIRD year, the Flower Fest is blooming into one of Baton Rouge’s most happening festivals. With art, food, fresh air and, of course, flowers, attendees get into the spirit of spring while supporting a good cause.

Though there are lots of things to see when this fest sets up at Pointe Marie Saturday, April 1, and Sunday, April 2, you can’t help but stare in awe at the tall, themed sculptures made from a variety of florals.

We sat down with last year’s Fan Favorite winner, Annmarie Meyers with Hummingbird Floral Studio based in Baton Rouge, to see what goes into creating a piece entirely out of blossoms.

Last year’s Flower Fest centered around the theme “Out of this World,” leading competing florists to create astronauts, planets and aliens out of in-season buds. Meyers chose to build a canopy with greenery and hanging globes to create a floral galaxy, which she titled “The Planetarium.” She says the piece was reminiscent of solar system class projects of her childhood—just on a bigger scale.

Meyers followed all the requirements of the competition and worked to ensure her structure was on theme. Floral artists only get two days to build their planned displays onsite. It’s all hands on deck when it comes to setting up and constructing everything so it’s ready to compete and be on display for the weekend.

As a wedding florist, Meyers found the fest challenging and fun.

“The structure is pretty familiar,” she says. “That’s what I was used to. As far as creating the planets and the interactive and light-up elements, that was definitely different. It was fun to go outside of my normal wedding box and play with a lot of colors and textures to create something dynamic.”

For this year’s bird-themed festival, here are the rules artists will have to follow when creating a beautiful, budding sculpture. theflowerfest.com



What it takes to create a competing sculpture for the Flower Fest


Each sculpture is required to be exactly 12 feet by 12 feet. The size ensures they’ll be big enough to be seen across the open lawn where the festival is held.

Floral creations at the festival are required to have a 360-degree view so attendees can admire them from all angles as they walk through Pointe Marie.


The Flower Fest’s gala is also held on the evening of the first day of the festival. Because it’s an nighttime event, the sculptures must be able to light up, glow or change in some way so they can still be viewed in the dark.


The florists use thousands of blooms, as each competing structure must be 80% floral. At the 2021 fest themed “Louisiana Promenade,” Michelle Pierce of The Sentimental Petal used around 8,000 mums. Her recreation of the Louisiana State Capitol was awarded “Most on Theme.“

“Flowers from Mars: We Have Eyes on You” (2022) by Eric Fredricks of Bee’s Wedding & Event Designs “Bayou Blast Off” (2022) by Lauren Landry of The Floral Hive Design Co. “Baton Rouge in Bloom” (2021) by Michelle Pierce of The Sentimental Petal
PHOTOS COURTESY FLOWER FEST STYLE // 82 [225] March 2023 | 225batonrouge.com
“The Planetarium” (2022) by Annmarie Meyers of Hummingbird Floral Studio

‘Flyest attire’

Project Innovate Studios' inaugural fashion show debuted last spring, and a new version will return this month.

WITH SMOOTH SKIN AND A BOOST OF CONFIDENCE. Download our app and book your next reservation 6 LOCATIONS TO SERVE YOU ACROSS BATON ROUGE, GONZALES & LAFAYETTE 225-800-3636 Sliding into Spring Carefully check this ad for: CORRECT ADDRESS • CORRECT PHONE NUMBER • ANY TYPOS This ad design © Melara Enterprises, LLC. 2023. All rights reserved. Phone 225-928-1700
Project Innovate Studios’ annual fashion show evolves into a new gala celebration
PHOTOS COURTESY PROJECT INNOVATE STUDIOS 84 [225] March 2023 | 225batonrouge.com STYLE //

LAST SPRING, Project Innovate Studios artist collective hosted its inaugural fashion show. There were musical performances, poetry readings and film previews. And the fashion in the crowd was just as eye-catching as the outfits on the runway.

The event marked the organization’s debut. It was an introduction to its team, mission and artistic ethos, which swirls together painting, music, fashion, modeling, photography and design.

This year, the group will once again open itself to the public with a new spin on the spring event: the Project Innovate Studios Fashion Gala.

“We want to develop and showcase our growth,” says Project Innovate founder Zahir Muhammad. “(That’s) what the gala’s going to do by exhibiting everything that we’ve learned and advanced thus far.”

in various media—paintings, photography, clothing, even some custom luggage—from Project Innovate’s committee members will be displayed throughout the space.

“That’s kind of the beauty of the committee,” Muhammad says. “Because there are so many different types of artists, there’s going to be a bunch of different types of art in the room for that evening.”

Pieces up for auction will be accompanied by cards on which attendees can anonymously place their bids.

Muhammad says the collective has designed the event somewhat along the example set by a similar— if vastly more expensive—event held this past October in New York’s SoHo neighborhood: the launch party for Pharrell Williams’ new auction platform Joopiter. The event showcased a museum-style array of art, music and fashion collectibles up for auction.


Project Innovate Studios Fashion

Gala will be held March 27 in the LSU Student Union Art Gallery. Come check out original paintings, photography and clothing. Follow @projectinnovatestudios on Instagram for information on tickets.

him doing it, it gave a perfect rubric and a perfect example.”

acrobatics, especially for a small team of mostly college students with limited resources and time. To recreate that every year would leave little space for the committee members’ other projects.

“It’s difficult to pull off something of that magnitude every year,” he says. So this year’s format is a little scaled down, but the object remains the same: an event that “showcases the art and brings everybody together.”

That, and an encouragement— verging on obligation—to show up in your flyest attire. (The 225 team even attended last year to photograph some street style.)

And while the physical artworks that populate the gallery space will be the centerpiece of the event, Muhammad says there is yet more in the works. He hints that some form or another of visual media screening will serve as the gala’s closing ceremony.

Issue Date: March 2023

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

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The event will be March 27, the same date as last year’s Fashion Experience, in the LSU Student Union Art Gallery. Original works

Carefully check this ad for:

“Funny enough, we came up with that idea to do that sort of thing before we knew that he was doing it,” Muhammad says. “But by

The departure from last year’s fashion show, Muhammad says, comes both in the interest of variety (innovation, you might say) and in an effort to avoid draining his and his team’s energies. Last year’s showcase of fashion, music and film required some serious hours of planning and logistical

It could be a music video, a film preview, or something else entirely. The only way to find out will be to show up and see.


COMPETITIVE PRICING! 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. #AM-50-BAJ 4433 Florida Blvd • 225-344-4240 ducotesrestaurantsupply.com OPEN TO THE PUBLIC Come See Our Showroom
CORRECT ADDRESS • CORRECT PHONE NUMBER • ANY TYPOS This ad design © Melara Enterprises, LLC. 2023. All rights reserved. Phone 225-928-1700 • Fax 225-926-1329
225batonrouge.com | [225] March 2023 85 STYLE //

This Month @ BREC [MARCH]


Independence Park Theatre

March 2 | 7 p.m.

ARTIST’S STUDIO: COLLAGE Baringer Art Center March 3 | 9:30 a.m.-noon


Baringer Art Center

March 3 | 6:30-8:30 p.m.

COMITE RIVER RUN Comite River Park

March 4 | 8 a.m.-1 p.m.


Anna T. Jordan Community Park

March 8 | noon-3 p.m.


Highland Road Park Observatory

March 10 | 5:30-7:30 p.m.


Antioch Boulevard Park

March 10 | 6-7:30 p.m.


Community Park March 10 | 6-7:30 p.m.


Perkins Road Community Park

March 11 | 10 a.m.-noon

ROCKIN’ AT THE SWAMP Bluebonnet Swamp

Nature Center March 11 | 9 a.m.-4 p.m.


Baringer Road Park March 11 | 5-8 p.m.


Baringer Art Center March 13 | 9:30-11:30 a.m.

ZOO + ME MORNINGS Baton Rouge Zoo

March 14 | 9:30-11:30 a.m.


Baton Rouge Zoo March 17 | 4-6:30 p.m.


Milton J. Womack Park March 17 | 6-9 p.m.


Jackson Community Park

March 18 | 1-3 p.m.

Forest Community Park

March 25 | 1-3 p.m.




Sports Academy March 19 | noon-6 p.m.

CAMP-IN’ Lovett Road Park

March 20 | 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.


Scotlandville Parkway March 25 | 1-5 p.m.


Observatory March 25 | 7-10 p.m.


Greenwood Community Park Tennis Center March 25 | 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

SENSORY BUNNY Zachary Community Park

March 31 | 6-8 p.m.

discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, religion, veteran status or sexual orientation in its programs and activities.
BREC does not
COLLIN RICHIE INSIDE: Hunting for Hubig’s Pies / Sunday supper recipes The Avocado Street Toast at Rock Paper Taco Bold move Rock Paper Taco goes from the food truck game to brickand-mortar business with big flavors and creativity 225batonrouge.com | [225] March 2023 87

litter will

Did you know, from January – June 2022, the Department of Maintenance collected:

• 900 tons of illegally dumped debris from our parish right-of-ways

• 26 tons of debris from the Spanish Town Parade cleanup

• 44 tons of debris from the St. Patrick’s Day Parade cleanup

44 tons of litter collected from roadways prior to mowing in the past 6 months

• 9,300 bags of trash collected every Saturday and Sunday morning from our high litter corridors, averaging about 350-500 bags every weekend

• 2,100 Tires

Join the Movement to Brighten Up Baton Rouge Join a clean-up crew. Commit to a litter-free future! Visit BrightenUpBatonRouge.com for more information.
in our community need our help. Become part of the movement. Visit BrightenUpBatonRouge.com to view a calendar of dates and
cleaning up litter and debris.
Neighborhoods, streets, sidewalks, and waterways
teams and organizations
Volunteering is a work of heart and compassion in action
Our city government cannot do it alone. The problem of
be solved when you get involved.
88 [225] March 2023 | 225batonrouge.com


Rock Paper Taco

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.


7242 Perkins Road, open daily 7 a.m.-11 p.m. 166 W. Chimes St., open daily 11 a.m.-11 p.m.


Paper Taco’s early days. Back in 2018, it was a food truck parked outside of Tin Roof Brewing Co., satisfying beer lovers with bigflavor tacos named after familiar local streets, like Staring, Airline and Perkins.

It was an idea probably too big to be contained in a food truck. By late 2021, the concept transitioned to a brick-and-mortar on Chimes Street catering to the LSU crowd, followed by a Perkins Road location in 2022.

Owner Joshua Duke insists that what he’s created isn’t a Mexican restaurant, but a “mixture of Americanized tacos with classic tacos and ingredients.”

Once inside the Perkins Road location, you can immediately tell the vibe is more LSU-themed sports bar than traditional taqueria. Crisscrossing wood panels on the walls include stripes of purple and gold; flatscreen TVs are visible from just about everywhere; and a bar runs nearly the length of the building.

That sports bar mindset carries into the menu, where diners can find chipotle-sauced wings and Mexican Queso Logs—the restaurant’s version of fried cheese sticks—as well as creative entrees, like fried chicken with chorizo country gravy or a Korean pork belly sandwich with Mexican slaw. To say the menu stretches the

THE BASICS: Olive or Twist’s Joshua Duke launched the food truck Rock Paper Taco in 2018, establishing its concept of tacos with unique ingredients and robust flavors. He opened a physical Chimes Street location in 2021, followed by another on Perkins Road near Essen Lane in 2022. The food truck continues to operate for events.

WHAT’S A MUST: There are 14 taco options, each as bold in flavor and ingredients as the next. If you’re in the mood for something else, there are several grain bowls with proteins like jerk chicken, salmon or shrimp. You can also get burritos and quesadillas, or stop in for breakfast at the Perkins location for a full menu flecked with traditional Mexican ingredients.

TASTE // 225batonrouge.com | [225] March 2023 89
In addition to 14 taco varieties, Rock Paper Taco also serves up dishes like the Fried Mahi Mahi Bowl.

meaning of Mexican fusion is an understatement.

And with that in mind, we launched into dinner at Rock Paper Taco one Monday night while the LSU women’s basketball team played on the big screens. It was a mostly quiet night, but with the restaurant’s spacious interior, concrete floors and high ceilings, it surely gets loud on weekends.

First up: an order of Chips and Fire-roasted Salsa, as well as Avocado Street Toast. Both arrived quickly.

The chips were on the thicker, crunchier side, and the salsa was acidic and just spicy enough.

The Avocado Street Toast used sourdough bread as its vessel, which looked like standard grocery store slices of bread at first glance. But loads of salty butter and a perfect toasting made up for any of the white bread’s blandness in presentation. It was topped with mashed avocado, peppery corn, pickled red onions and cotija cheese. The whole thing was substantial enough for one person to make into a meal.

But we had bigger goals for

dinner: tacos, tacos, tacos.

Tacos come individually or in two- or three-taco combos with sides. We went with three of 14 unique tacos available: the Pirate, the Snazz and the Scissors.

The Pirate featured Korean barbecue pork burnt ends with a Mexican-style Brussels slaw and plenty of cotija on top. The slaw had a nice crunch, though it was heavy on the dressing. The flavor and charred texture of the pork was spot on, but lukewarm by the time it got to our table.

The Snazz is one of only two vegetarian tacos on the menu, featuring harissa-slathered cauliflower, mango salsa and an agave lime crema. Our server told us we could get the cauliflower grilled or fried. I went with the fried version because something told me all those toppings would make the veggies soggy. I wasn’t wrong. This was the messiest taco we tried, but it was also the most flavorful. The batter was super crunchy; the harissa sauce spicy, but quelled by the mango and sweet crema. It was really tasty, though, again, over-sauced.

TASTE // 90 [225] March 2023 | 225batonrouge.com
American sports bar vibes meet taqueria flavors at the Perkins Road location, thanks to a massive bar and plenty of flatscreens.

Lastly, the Scissors included slow-cooked pulled pork, more mango salsa, a chipotle barbecue sauce, crumbles of queso fresco and fried onion strings on top. The pork was tender, the onions crunchy, and the sauce and queso fresco added a nice contrast of salty and sweet.

The tacos came in warm, thick tortillas that didn’t fall apart under the weight of so many ingredients. And our side order of The FireRoasted Sweet Corn and Peppers delivered a nice, smoky flavor.

We were exceptionally full after all that food, which was a bummer because we barely scratched the surface of Rock Paper Taco’s offerings. There’s a healthier section of the menu featuring grain bowls with grilled chicken or mahi mahi. There are plates of chimichurri steak or jerk-style salmon with roasted squash. And there are plenty of other sides that piqued my curiosity.

And that’s what impressed me most at this restaurant: big flavors and interesting ingredients in every presentation.

It’s not just rice and beans here; it’s coconut rice or quinoa and sauteed veggies. It’s not just shredded cheese; it’s cotija or queso fresco.

Going back to the concept’s true food truck origins, it’s all spicy, saucy, fried and overloaded— perfect for pairing with beer or a marg while watching the game with friends.

Now that I understand the concept at Rock Paper Taco’s brickand-mortar, and see its mix of both flavors and vibes, I’m totally game.

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The Snazz and The Pirate tacos
TASTE // 225batonrouge.com | [225] March 2023 91
The Scissors Taco

Shelf life

Where to hunt for Hubig’s Pies in the Capital City

HUBIG’S PIES HAVE made their long-awaited return to grocery stores, gas stations and produce stands across the state—and pie-crazed fans have been quick to snatch them up from shelves everywhere.

Production of the New Orleans-made handsized pies paused due to a factory fire in 2012. But last November brought hope to those with a 10-year-long craving when production picked back up. Before the end of the year, some New Orleans groceries had those iconic, white paper packages back in store.

As someone who grew up closer to New Orleans, I decided it was my duty to find the pies in Baton Rouge. But I was always met with empty shelves and boxes. After posting a poll to 225’s Instagram story, I was shocked to learn that out of 111 voters, three-quarters of them had not seen pies in store yet, too.

So one morning this winter, I woke up early, all pie eyed and bushy tailed, on a mission. I drove all around town to multiple stores, making phone calls to find out where these coveted confections were being sold. I even took to social media and joined a pie-tracking group on Facebook to get some ideas.

At times, I was lucky to find a well-stocked selection of both apple and lemon. (These were the only two flavors in production at the time, though we’ve heard rumors others will

be available soon.) Other times, I found pieless displays and walked out empty handed. After talking to sales associates and assistant managers, I found out you have to be quick if you want to get your hands on a Hubig’s.

“We get them in on a Tuesday and come Wednesday, most of them are sold,” Anne McIndoe at Southside Produce says. “We get 100 each time. Whenever people know they’re here, they fly out the door.”

I secured a hefty bounty of eight pies on my first day of searching, but finding them proved to be a challenge by the end of the week.

After researching and visiting stores in the area, plus welcoming feedback from 225 readers, I compiled a list of where to get Hubig’s Pies along with some days of delivery. Happy Hubig’s Hunting!



Of respondents to a 225 Instagram poll in January hadn't found Hubig’s Pies in stores

MONDAYS Rouses Market 600 Creek Centre Drive

Matherne’s Market

85 Gateway Center Lane 440 N. Third St.

Tony’s Seafood 5215 Plank Road


Rouses Market

3446 Drusilla Lane, 7580 Bluebonnet Blvd. and 14630 Village Market St.

Alexander’s Highland Market 18111 Highland Market Drive

Southside Produce 8240 Perkins Road

Calvin’s Bocage Market 7675 Jefferson Highway

Hi Nabor 5383 Jones Creek Road

Reeves Market 10770 N. Harrells Ferry Road


Calandro’s Supermarket 12732 Perkins Road 4142 Government St.

Calvin’s Bocage Market 7675 Jefferson Highway


Fresh Pickin’s Produce Market 10375 Coursey Blvd.


Hi Nabor 9620 Florida Blvd.


Maxwell’s Market

Multiple locations

Winn Dixie Multiple locations

Robért Fresh Market 7355 Highland Road

Bet-R Neighborhood Market 2812 Kalurah St.

Hubben’s Supermarket 560 N. Alexander Ave.

Oak Point Fresh Market 35045 LA Highway 16 14485 Greenwell Springs Road

Hi Nabor 7201 Winbourne Ave.

DeLaune’s Supermarket 12516 Highway 431

Please note that some delivery days may change and availability varies, so call ahead or get to the location early to ensure a successful shopping spree.

TASTE // 92 [225] March 2023 | 225batonrouge.com
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DINING IN Sunday supper

Start the week with a Southern cooking staple (and its leftovers)

I TEND TO DO a little extra cooking on Sundays to help set our house up for busier nights during the week. Beef pot roast is one of my go-to Sunday meals—and for many good, practical reasons.

The less expensive cuts of meat used for pot roast make it a more cost-effective way to feed my family. Pot roast is a meal that I can get into the oven without a lot of prep work. I can leave it alone while it slowly cooks and focus on other chores. This recipe is quite easy to master for any level of cook, and the end result is a delicious home-cooked meal the whole family will enjoy. Plus, we almost always have leftovers to use later in the week—served best, I think, in po-boy form.

I normally serve this pot roast with rice or mashed potatoes and plenty of savory rosemary scones to sop up the rich, brown gravy. But this month, I added a recipe that’s a spinoff of twice-baked potatoes that uses riced cauliflower in place of potatoes. It is a low-carb side that’s still creamy and delicious. Served all together, this meal is practically perfect.

On the menu

• Smothered Pot Roast

• Twice-baked Mashed Cauliflower

• Leftover Roast Beef Po-boys

Recipes by Tracey Koch

TASTE // 94 [225] March 2023 | 225batonrouge.com

Smothered Pot Roast

Smothered beef pot roast is one of my favorite easy meals to cook for my family. It is one of the first main course dishes I learned how to make, and this recipe is truly foolproof. It has a couple of great shortcuts using gravy packets. I like to use a chuck or shoulder roast for my pot roast. Both of these types of cuts are a leaner, tougher cut but have good marbling throughout, making this pot roast very flavorful. The slow braising of the roast helps to break down and tenderize the meat, and the rich gravy is delicious over potatoes, rice or mashed cauliflower.

Servings: 6 (with leftovers)

1 (5 ½- to 6-pound) beef chuck or shoulder roast

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil

½ cup chopped onions

4 cloves minced garlic

½ teaspoon dried thyme

1 cup dry red wine

2 packets low-sodium brown gravy mix

1 package brown gravy mix with mushrooms

1. Trim any excess fat off of the roast and pat it dry. Season all the sides with salt and pepper. Allow it to come to room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before browning.

2. Move the rack in the oven to the middle position and heat to 375 degrees.

3. Place a large Dutch oven on the stove top over medium to high heat. Add in the olive oil. Brown the roast for 4 to 5 minutes on all sides to sear the meat.

4. Remove the meat, reduce the heat, and add in the chopped onions. Sauté for 1 minute and then add in the minced garlic and dried thyme. Sauté for another 10 to 15 seconds, stirring constantly.

5. Turn off the heat and pour in the red wine. Turn the heat back on to medium. Scrape the bottom of the Dutch oven to remove any of the brown bits from the bottom.

6. Prepare the gravy packets according to the package directions and pour them into the Dutch oven. Continue stirring until mixture begins to simmer and thicken.

7. Add the roast back into the gravy. The roast should be mostly submerged in the gravy. Cover the pot with the lid. Place it into the heated oven and cook for 1 hour.

8. After an hour, carefully remove the lid, gently stirring the roast before putting the lid back on. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue cooking for an added 1½ to 2 hours. The pot roast is done when it is fork tender and easy to slice.

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Twice-baked Mashed Cauliflower

2 tablespoons butter

2 (12-ounce) bags riced cauliflower

3 cups chicken broth

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 3 cups milk

¼ cup sour cream

¼ cup chopped green onions

2 strips cooked bacon, crumbled

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

¼ teaspoon Creole seasoning

Savory Rosemary Scones

Pair the Smothered Pot Roast supper with fluffy, herby homemade bread. Find the recipe at 225batonrouge. com/recipes

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Use 1 tablespoon of the butter to grease a 9-by-9 casserole dish.

2. Place the riced cauliflower in a large sauce pot. Add in the chicken broth, salt and pepper. Bring the cauliflower to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 7 to 10 minutes, or until cauliflower is soft enough to mash and most of the broth is absorbed.

3. Turn off the heat. In a separate dish, stir the cornstarch and milk together until smooth. Pour this mixture into the cauliflower, and stir to combine.

4. Use a potato masher to mash the cauliflower mixture until smooth and creamy. Fold in the remaining butter, the sour cream, chopped green onions, crumbled bacon and ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese.

5. Season with the Creole seasoning, and spoon the mixture into the buttered casserole dish.

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Twice-baked potato casserole is one of my family’s favorites. It is easy to throw together, feeds a crowd and is the perfect complement to pot roast. However, now that so many of us shy away from excess carbs in our diet, potatoes may be a side dish to pass on. Recently I began substituting riced cauliflower in place of my starchy side dishes, like potatoes or rice. Cauliflower has about a quarter fewer net carbs per serving than mashed potatoes. The mild flavor in riced cauliflower lends itself to be the perfect substitute in place of potatoes. The addition of a little cornstarch and milk blended together binds the cauliflower, keeping the consistency smooth and creamy. I fold in a little sour cream along with the other ingredients found in a traditional twice-baked potato recipe to make this low-carb version taste very much like the original recipe.

Servings: 6

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6. Top the mashed cauliflower with the remaining shredded cheese and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and the sides are bubbling. Serve as a side or with the Smothered Pot Roast on top.

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Leftover Roast Beef Po-boys

While Smothered Pot Roast served on its own has a time and place, my favorite part is repurposing it into an encore meal later in the week: authentic New Orleans-style debris po-boys. They’re a treat my whole family loves—a fun way to repurpose an already delicious dish that requires minimal cooking on a busy weeknight.

Servings: 6

2 loaves crispy French bread

Mayonnaise and Dijon mustard (if desired)

3 cups shredded roast beef in gravy, heated

Shredded green leaf lettuce

Sliced ripe tomato

Sliced pickles

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the French bread into 6-inch pieces, and then slice each piece down the middle.

2. Place the French bread on a baking sheet. Toast in the heated oven for 3 to 4 minutes or until just crispy.

3. Spread a little mayonnaise and Dijon mustard inside the French bread. Divide the roast beef in gravy between the prepared French bread. Top with shredded lettuce, sliced tomato and pickles to serve.

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TASTE // 225batonrouge.com | [225] March 2023 97

INSIDE: Local albums / MidCity Makers Market / Celtic Studios’ new leadership

Game on!

How Baton Rouge native Danza Huey gave a new life and adult twist to old-fashioned card games

225batonrouge.com | [225] March 2023 99


These are card games Danza Huey played while growing up in Baton Rouge. During quarantine, he found himself returning to those childhood games while hanging with his adult friends.

His group formed what he calls a “social pod,” so they could all socialize and have fun while feeling safe. During these gatherings, they would play games of all kinds.

“We did play some drinking games at the time,” Huey recalls. “What’s in the market now is pretty aggressive. We realized while playing it was like, ‘Take a shot’ or ‘Finish a whole drink.’ So I was like ‘Hey, if I can find a way to marry all these, or in this case, mash up old games that we used to play so that they’re not ‘read and respond’ or focused on overconsumption, what would that look like?’”

The idea to make a “New Age drinking game” focused on sipping rather than chugging drinks bubbled inside his head for months. In August 2021, Huey decided to take Old Maid, modify it by adding some adult rules, and rename it Party Card Mash Up: The Game. Cards prompt players to follow the original rules while adding new ones that allow users to give cards away, take sips of their drink or make other participants sip. The facelift was made complete with sleek, colorful designs.

“I went down a rabbit hole and realized that Old Maid was actually a drinking game when it was created,” Huey says. “The person who had the Old Maid card or the card without a match would buy the next round of drinks before the group played again.”

After getting positive feedback from his peers, Huey decided to shoot his shot wherever he could to

get his new venture off the ground. Just five months after starting up, he was accepted into the second cohort of the Target Forward Founders program along with 30 others out of 1,300 applicants.

This program, started by the famous retailer Target, aims to help consumer-packaged-goods entrepreneurs gain knowledge about retail through coaching and curriculum.

Huey credits it as one of the tools that helped him grow Mash Up so quickly.

The Target and Baton Rouge connection

Last year, Target selected entrepreneurs from around the country for its Forward Founders program coaching and mentoring up-and-coming retail business owners. LSU grad Danza Huey, the founder of Party Card Mash Up: The Game, was one of two participants with Baton Rouge ties. The other is Southern University alum Ashley Yearby, behind the brand The Adventurous Bartender. Yearby’s game encourages players to roll three to six dice and try new cocktail recipes based on ingredients listed on the dice. Both were chosen out of a pool of thousands of applicants.

“They gave us all the ins and outs of how to be successful in mass retail and everything you really need to understand financing,” he says. “It was a phenomenal program. It came at a really good time because I was early (in my business), and they definitely saved me probably five to seven years of mistakes.”

Since then, Huey has continued to put himself out there.

Now, Party Card Mashup has games based on Old Maid (The Game), Go Fish (House Party), Presidents (Soiree) and Parade (Slap). The decks are available to purchase on the card game’s website. Huey has big plans in the works, including adding two more games this year and a mass retail launch with a national game distributor at the end of this year or early next.

He currently splits his time between Atlanta and Baton Rouge,

and he has plenty of travel plans this year, too. He will be at South by Southwest as a participant in the Creative Industries Expo and will participate in Visa’s Bridge for Billions online program for small business owners to grow his idea even further. You can bet no matter where he is, he always has a deck of Party Card Mash Up on hand.

In just a year and a few months, Huey has taken his bright idea and turned it into a budding brand that brings good times and nostalgia to any game night. Though it’s been fast, Huey says staying persistent and not being afraid to hear the word “no” helped him flourish. He says 2023 will be his year.

“It’s about staying true to your brand and your idea and shooting your shot,” he says. “Having a good community of supporters and entrepreneurs around you is a game changer, too.” partycardmashup.com

“It’s about staying true to your brand and your idea and shooting your shot.”
—Party Card Mash Up: The Game founder Danza Huey
CULTURE // 100 [225] March 2023 | 225batonrouge.com
Party Card Mashup decks reinvent old card games like Old Maid, Go Fish and Presidents.
6435 Siegen Lane # 103 | 225-441-0265 | Like us on Kitchen & Bathroom Remodeling Flooring Backsplashes Countertops Whether it’s your home or your business, we make sure it’s done right! Call us today or come check out our showroom! scan to learn more 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. 2023. All rights reserved. Phone 225-928-1700 225batonrouge.com | [225] March 2023 101


For the record

New album releases for a BR-themed 2023 playlist

I Rest My Case by Youngboy Never Broke Again

Jan. 6

Baton Rouge-bred rap luminary Youngboy Never Broke Again opened 2023 with his fifth official studio album album, which, in keeping with his typical machine-gun pace of music output, arrived just two weeks after his last long-form project, Lost Files. The 19-track project also features a beat by Baton Rouge producer Joseph Swiger on the track “Same Thang.”

[DEMO] by Josh Simmons

Jan. 25

Neo-Liberalism and the Damage Done by Self Checkout Renaissance

March 3

Baton Rouge punk band—or “punk outfit and separatist political unit,”as they prefer to be called—Self

Checkout Renaissance recently released its sophomore album. It’s packed withthe same smirking lyrical irony and political rancor that the group has made its signature.

More local music

Think we missed anything on this list? Let us know at editor@225batonrouge.com.

James McCann was written over the course of a walking voyage from Georgia to Maine. The album is poised to be a proper anthem of the rambling spirit.

Money Affirmations by Creamo$up

March 20

Creamo$up, the Baton Rouge rapper who founded and currently directs New Orleans record label Premium 504, will celebrate his birthday with a new drop of original music.

Godzilla’s Rocket Launcher by Flood

March 3

Flood, a modern emcee with an old-school bent that puts his sound somewhere between boom-bap and G-funk, will soon release his first longform project since 2014.

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After a steady trickle of loose singles over the past few years, rapper Josh Simmons of Col-Der-Sac has debuted his first long-form project. The young emcee calls the work a kind of introduction to his newly fledged artistic identity following a period of experimentation and sound-searching that encompassed his earlier works.

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Tales of a Northbound Drifter by James McCann

March 10

The lastest from country-folk singersongwriter and multi-instrumentalist

225-928-1700 Pennington Biomedical Research Center
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102 [225] March 2023 | 225batonrouge.com CULTURE //

Neosoul500 by Neosoul500


Neosoul500, the creative duo behind the Future Ex Youth micro-raves that have recently sprung up at Yes We Cannibal, will release their eponymous debut album next month.

A Guide to Recognizing

Your Saints by Jireh


Jireh, the young rapper known for his soft-murmur vocals and cozy beats, returns this spring with this newest project.

vINYL by V!lla

May or June

After a period of heavily punkinflected grunge rap, artist V!lla will take a creative turn this spring with his new project. He says the album will draw on many nostalgic influences and pay homage both to his collective, Col-Der-Sac, and to his idols of the old school like J Dilla, A Tribe Called Quest and Wu-Tang Clan.

program. The project marks her first new original music since 2020.

Southdown Souls by Southdown Souls


Bluesy roots-rock ensemble Southdown Souls will release their self-titled debut album this summer, featuring guest appearances from many stalwart players in the local scene, including prolific bluesman Jonathon “Boogie” Long. The album was recorded at Brignac Lane Studios in St. Amant, a favorite spot among local and visiting musicians alike.

The Supper by Dave Stokes

Aug. 19

Rapper Dave $tokes returns after a largely silent 2022 with his first release since Spring 2021.

It’s a Start EP by Chloe Marie

Early summer

Singer Chloe Marie is a bit of a vocal chameleon, having worked in everything from musical theater, to experimental chamber music to old-school New Orleans jazz. This summer, she will release an EP made in collaboration with the Material Institute Embassy Studio residency

The Way by JazzBandito

Aug. 7

Though these days Jazz Bandito tends to float behind the scenes as an organizer, facilitator and impresario of the Red Stick rap scene, this summer he will deliver new music. He says the new release will come as a follow-up to his 2020 album, The Truth

Ask a Magnolia by Quadry

September Baker rapper Quadry will follow up 2021’s They Think We Ghetto this fall with this new record.

225batonrouge.com | [225] March 2023 103 CULTURE //

YOU WON’T SEE the MidCity Makers Market around much anymore. The monthly arts market announced its permanent closure at the end of 2022.

But founders promise you haven’t seen the last of it, either. Expect to see it every now and then participating in festivals or hosting pop-ups.

When the market first launched in 2016, the Baton Rouge maker community was just burgeoning. “Before, there weren’t many markets or stores to sell at,” says market co-founder Madeline Ellis. “We were filling a void.”

But in recent years, vendor sign-up had depleted, waning ever since an all-time high in late 2018. That’s perhaps due in part to an increase of new artist-focused boutiques around town, from Local Leaf Gallery to Mid-City Artisans, as well as the continued growth of the original monthly Baton Rouge Arts Market.

“It had gotten the job done,” Ellis says. “The need was so great in the

No cash value. New customers only. Cannot be combined with other offers. Offer Code: AD50 Limited Time Offer. $50 OFF GOOD TOWARDS THE PURCHASE OF YOUR FIRST CLEAN Certain trademarks used under license from The Procter & Gamble Company or its affiliates. Locally owned & operated. 225-755-8383 | MAIDS.COM Text Quote to 800-843-6243 For a spring cleaning that meets your highest standards, you need a dedicated team of specialists. The Maids will handle all the hard work so you can enjoy your fresh, clean home. Relax, and let teamwork make the clean work. Call The Maids® to get your free, no-obligation estimate now. FOR A DEEP SPRING CLEAN OR ANYTHING IN BETWEEN. Book The Maids ® ARTS Maker movement The sun has set on the monthly MidCity Makers Market. But its longterm impact continues
The market’s last event was held in October.
104 [225] March 2023 | 225batonrouge.com CULTURE //

beginning, and then it dropped off. We didn’t want to force something that the community didn’t seem to need anymore.”

The market not only helped build a maker culture in

Baton Rouge, but it provided attendees and vendors alike with unforgettable memories and community support.

When one maker suffered a cardiac emergency, fellow makers donated funds, which the MidCity Makers Market also matched, recalls co-founder Justin Lemoine.

And in 2020, calamity struck Ashlyn Major, a children’s apparel maker. Just seven days before the COVID-19 shutdown, her home and studio burnt down. The market and its makers stepped up to auction creations of their own as a way to raise donations.

“The whole world was shutting down,” Major recalls, “but yet all these people were still really being selfless.”

Now, the market’s founders hope emerging arts markets, shops and businesses will carry the torch that MidCity Makers started.

“We’ll still be a part of the community," Ellis says, “but in a different capacity.”


Where to find MidCity Makers Market vendors’ work now: Head to brick-and-mortar shops such as Local Leaf Gallery, Mid-City Artisans, Local Supply, Circa 1857, Hey Penelope, Brass by Circa 1857, Frameworks Gallery and Mid City Mercantile, or the monthly Baton Rouge Arts Market, held on the first Saturday of the month alongside the Red Stick Farmers Market downtown.

DIGITS The market’s impact 6 Number of years the market operated since its 2016 launch 53 Number of events the market hosted 105 The record for the most vendors at a market, recorded at the December 2018 event 325 Estimated number of makers who have participated through the years
“We didn’t want to force something that the community didn’t seem to need anymore.”
—Co-founder Madeline Ellis, pictured here alongside founders Paul Claxton, Justin Lemoine and Dawson Ellis
225batonrouge.com | [225] March 2023 105 CULTURE //

Call time


veteran Kevin O’Neil was named the new executive director of marketing and operations at Celtic Studios. The hire looks to continue the center’s momentum following the industry’s tremendous growth over the past few years.

A California native and longtime Baton Rouge resident, O’Neil succeeds Aaron Bayham, who oversaw Celtic during a period where local spending on filmmaking tripled from 2021 to 2022. Bayham departed in the fall, after being named director of facility operations at Tobin Center for the Performing Arts in San Antonio.

After 20 years in the film industry, with over 45 credits as an assistant director and producer, O’Neil has spent the majority of his career working on Louisiana film sets. His arrival at Celtic serves as the first time a production

professional will serve as the head of the studio.

“There’s a whole science to being on productions, and there’s a lot of ins and outs that you learn by working on productions,” he says. “I’m hoping to bring a lot of that to the studio.”

O’Neil, who has worked in the state’s industry since the 2006 Lindsey Lohan film Just My Luck, says his local connections make the transition to the new position easier.

His work on 2011’s Battle: Los Angeles first brought him to Celtic. It was also on this production where he met his wife, Brooke, who now serves as Celtic’s sales and marketing manager. O’Neil moved to Baton Rouge shortly after, where he worked as a real estate agent between productions.

“I was quite impressed with Baton Rouge when I first got here,”

he says. “I think a lot of it is that it’s very similar to my hometown … a little agricultural town in central California on the coast called Arroyo Grande.”

O’Neil’s primary goal in his new role as director is to continue the growth of the past few years, explaining that he wants Celtic to serve as a hub for Baton Rouge production.

Currently, the 40-acre studio campus is capable of producing visual effects and providing industry training through offices for Crafty Apes and NOVAC, respectively. O’Neil wants to bring in local post-production professionals to make Celtic a fully functioning studio.

Cultivating an all-in-one studio environment is advantageous to both Celtic and Baton Rouge’s film industry renaissance, O’Neil says. He wants to reinforce a

three-legged stool approach, cultivating infrastructure, tax incentives and crew.

He explains that some of that infrastructure is already in place at entities like Celtic, while extensions and/or changes to the current tax incentives are being proposed and debated in the legislature. All that’s left is to nurture a diminished crew base to help return Baton Rouge to the status of Hollywood South.

Bringing more experienced crew into the industry starts with educating the next generation, something O’Neil does by speaking to an LSU production class taught by Katie Pryor, executive director of the Baton Rouge Film Commission.

“It gives me an opportunity to talk to the kids and give them a real, live look at what the film business is,” he says. celticmediacentre.com

As he takes over leadership at Celtic Studios, what’s Kevin O’Neil’s vision for Baton Rouge’s dedicated film studio?
“There’s a whole science to being on productions, and there’s a lot of ins and outs that you learn. ...
I’m hoping to bring a lot of that to the studio.”
FILM CULTURE // 106 [225] March 2023 | 225batonrouge.com
—Celtic Studios executive director of marketing and operations Kevin O’Neil. His appointment marks the first time a production professional will serve as the head of the studio.


MARCH 4 + 5

Baltimore comes to Baton Rouge when the Tony Award-winning musical Hairspray takes the stage at the Raising Cane’s River Center. Follow Tracy Turnblad as she dances and sings her way into stardom in the ’60s. raisingcanesrivercenter.com


Come support the Baton Rouge Symphony while sipping on wines and tasting cheeses at the Symphony of Flavors fundraising event. Guests will enjoy 20 wines and feast on delicious hors d’oeuvres provided by Martin Wine Cellar. The night will end with an intimate performance by classical guitarist Nicholas Ciraldo. brso.org


Mid-City Artisans hosts a Kids Makers Market showcasing the work of young makers ages 6 to 17. Register your children to participate and meet other artsy friends, or let them create in the Craft Room for $5. This market is a great introduction for children who want to showcase their creativity or sell their artistic or culinary works. mid-cityartisans.com

MARCH 17-26

Jam out to classic songs from the 1980s with Theatre Baton Rouge’s production of Rock of Ages. Come watch as a small town boy and a city girl find love while performing all of the best rock songs from decades past. theatrebr.org



Indie rock band Futurebirds brings their Georgia flair to Louisiana with a show at the Varsity Theatre. The band will share the stage with New Orleans band Killer Whale for a night of great music and good times. varsitytheatre.com


Take it back to the 1970s with Cheap Trick. The popular rock band is stopping in Baton Rouge for a show at L’Auberge Casino & Hotel, and you can bet they’ll play the hits like “I Want You to Want Me” and “Surrender.” lbatonrouge.com


Louisiana native Marc Broussard will bring his bayou soul-style songs to the stage at Manship Theatre. Come hear the singersongwriter belt out all his fan-favorite songs like “Cry to Me” and “Lonely Night in Georgia.” manshiptheatre.org


Here we go again! The traveling DJ show Gimme Gimme Disco is headed back to Chelsea’s Live for a third time. Grab your boogie shoes and get ready to dance the night away to Donna Summer, Queen, ABBA and more. chelseaslive.com

Get Your Daily Dose of 225 SPONSORED BY Good news. Good vibes. Everyday! article pageviews per month 185k 225 Daily subscribers 24k+ 225 social media followers 106k+ 225 app downloads 5k+ Subscribe today at 225batonrouge.com SCAN TO GET STARTED
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Corporate Blvd at Jefferson • 225.925.2344 townecenteratcedarlodge.com • Ad proof • Please respond by e-mail or fax with your approval or minor revisions. • AD WILL RUN AS IS unless approval or final revisions are received within 24 hours 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. 2023. All rights reserved. Phone 225-928-1700 • Fax 225-926-1329 HAS ALL YOUR ST. PATTY’S DAY NEEDS! March Where to play Batonaround Rouge this monthCompiled by Olivia Deffes 504 ON THE ROAD NEW ORLEANS MARCH 9-11: New Orleans Book Festival, bookfest.tulane.edu MARCH 11: Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Parade, irishchannelno.org MARCH 31: Hogs for the Cause, hogsfest.org HERE FOR THE BEERS Zapp’s International Beer Fest is back at the LSU Rural Life Museum for its 18th year. Drinkers 21 and older, get ready to sample from more than 200 foreign and domestic beers including ales, pilsners and homebrews. Cheers! lsu.edu/rurallife 4 1
BYE, BUDDY! Grammy Award-winning blues artist Buddy Guy is saying “goodbye” to touring. To go out with a bang, he is embarking on his Damn Right Farewell Tour. Guy will make a stop in Baton Rouge to play a show at the Raising Cane’s River Center. Come see this blues legend before he ends his time as a touring artist. raisingcanesrivercenter.com GABRIELLE FELD ROB GRABOWSKI/INVISION/AP 108 [225] March 2023 | 225batonrouge.com CALENDAR //


Kick off one of Louisiana’s tastiest seasons with Crawfête at Perkins Rowe. Try crawfish dishes and hot boiled crawfish served up by local chefs and restaurateurs. Come out and get your crawfish fix at this delicious festival. bresbr.org/crawfete



The Louisiana Carnival Horse Show trots to LSU for three days of horse showing, riding lessons and more. Spectators are encouraged to come cheer on American Saddlebred Horses. carnivalhorseshow.com


Pennington Biomedical Research Center hosts its 23rd annual Wellness Day for Women to promote wellness in the mind and body, with activities like kitchen demos and tai chi classes. pbrc.edu


At Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center’s Y2K Drag Brunch, themed performances will take you back to the early 2000s, courtesy queens Brittnee Alexander, Amanda Rose, Josalyn Royale, Sasha Black and Lady D Andrews. hilton.com

MARCH 24 + 25

Celebrate Polynesian pop culture at the Louisiana Tiki Fest. Over two days, the new event includes parties, mug making tutorials, rum tastings, home tiki bar tours and more. Grab your Hawaiian shirt. latikifest.bigcartel.com



Gather up all your green garments, and get ready for the annual Wearin’ of the Green Parade. Held on the Saturday after St. Patrick’s Day, this parade celebrates all things Irish. Find a spot along Perkins Road, and get there early, because you don’t want to miss this mean, green good time. wearinofthegreen.com

The LSU AgCenter Botanic Garden hosts The Master Gardener Plant Sale, with thousands of blooms hand-picked by the East Baton Rouge Master Gardeners. lsu.edu/ botanic-gardens


Subscribe to our newsletter 225 Daily for our twice-weekly roundups of events. 225batonrouge. com/225daily


MARCH 11 + 12: Louisiana Comic Con, louisianacomiccon.com

MARCH 18: Celtic Bayou Festival, celticbayoufestival.com

MARCH 25: Lafayette Holi Festival, lafayetteholi.org

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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.

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PHOTO by COLLIN RICHIE / collinrichiephoto.com
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