225 Magazine [May 2024]

Page 1


The Capital Region’s upand-coming leaders, creators and difference-makers


THE FUTURE OF the Capital Region looks bright thanks to this month's cover story subjects who, in addition to their many accolades, will now go down in history as 225's first-ever cohort of Twenty in their 20s honorees. Staff Photographer Collin Richie captured the group in the studio at Creative Bloc in front of a handmade, colorful paper backdrop. Meet Therese Walker, Donald Ray Dunbar Jr., Fabian Edwards and

Features 18 What mothering looks like for three local women 43 How LSU NIL star Livvy Dunne is giving back 47 Where to find authentic Caribbean cuisine in BR 55 Who is behind Scotlandville’s free music series And much more… Departments 13 What’s Up 18 Our City 21 I Am 225 24 Cover story 43 Style 47 Taste 55 Culture 60 Calendar ON THE COVER
Twenty in their 20s
CONTENTS // 6 [225] May 2024 | 225batonrouge.com 55 COLLIN RICHIE Dexter “Lord Dex” Jackson
Stephanie Bartage— along with the other 16 honorees— starting on page 24.

Growing pains

THE FIRST YEAR of my first grown-up magazine job, I couldn’t escape it.

“I still feel like an intern,” I confessed to my editor one day over lunch.

She was visibly taken aback. Offended, even. After all, she’d given me a lot of responsibility— fact-checking and editing every page we printed, for one. Not to mention coordinating photo shoots and being assigned to write some of our biggest stories.

She asked me to explain myself.

“No one takes me seriously,” I lamented.

There were the little moments, like showing up to interview a source and being asked if I was a reporter from the high school newspaper (I know—how dare they?) or the way our art director reacted every time he asked me to remind him what year I was born. But there were the bigger things, too—feeling like I was constantly making mistakes, like my story pitches were never strong enough and like my writing was good-but-not-great.

I’m not sure if this is what Taylor Swift meant when she sang about “feeling 22.” But I can tell you when I was that age, feeling 22 was just not it

When I turned 25, the same editor told me she fondly remembered it as “the age where she felt like she finally stopped making mistakes”—and that she’d noticed how I was making a lot fewer, too.

I didn’t realize it then, but she was preparing to leave her job in a few months. And the day she

resigned, she recommended me for her role.

After I got the offer, I went home and sobbed. There was no possible way I could fill her shoes. I would have bet my life on it.

But when I started the position a few weeks later, a weird thing happened: I loved it.

I adored conceptualizing cover stories, collaborating with freelancers and working more closely with our art director. Even the parts of the job that felt scariest to me—like guarding the divide between advertising and editorial and giving our staff tough feedback—weren’t so bad.

One of the things I loved the most was hiring interns and entrusting them with big projects. I was on a mission to redefine that sentiment I’d had about “feeling like an intern”—and the connotation that it meant you weren’t up to the task.

Fast forward to today, our 225 Magazine interns are often the writers behind some of our mostread stories.

In fact, I think one of the best parts about working for 225’s parent company, Melara Enterprises, is the trust it puts in young people. Every day, I get to work with the most inspiring, smart, creative and capable group—and many of them are under 30. There are even several 20-somethings on the company’s management team, including inRegister Editor Riley Bienvenu Bourgeois; Digital Operations Manager Devyn MacDonald; and Studio E Creative Director Tim Coles.

And 225’s content has long been produced by Louisiana’s most talented rising journalists and photojournalists, thanks to our internship program—not to mention people like 225 Digital Staff Writer Olivia Deffes and 225 Contributing Photographer Ariana Allison, themselves both former magazine interns.

So if I had to give my 22-year-old self one piece of advice, it would be this: Don’t let your age define you.

The proof is in our cover story this month. 225’s first-ever Twenty in their 20s issue honors the Capital Region’s up-and-coming leaders, creators and difference-makers.

There is so much you can accomplish when you are young—but only if you trust yourself to.

The Livvy Fund and Sherman & Balhoff Orthodontics partnered to provide student athletes with orthodontic services. Pictured, from left: LSU Basketball’s Aalyah Del Rosario, Dr. Stephen Sherman Jr., LSU Track & Field’s Sydney Clemens, Dr. Kramer Sherman and LSU Gymnastics’ Kylie Coen.

Sticking a landing

Could there be a 20-something more successful than Olivia Dunne? We scored an exclusive interview with the famed LSU gymnast for a story in this month’s Style section. We could not think of a better journalist to manage the story than our own Olivia. 225 Digital Staff Writer Olivia Deffes chatted with Dunne about leveraging her NIL success for a new project, The Livvy Fund, and how she’s partnering with businesses like Sherman & Balhoff Orthodontics to provide NIL opportunities for other female student athletes. Read the interview starting on page 43.

Chain mail

The ombre backdrop for this month’s cover shoot was a true labor of love. The 225 editorial team made each paper garland by hand, assembly line style, with every staff member contributing at least one set of links. Shoutout to Art Director Hoa Vu, who I’m proclaiming the MVP of this project. He singlehandedly sliced hundreds of colored papers for us to build into garlands. We were inspired to make the chains thanks to an idea we found on—where else—TikTok. We arranged the colors to mimic the gradient in the original graphic we used to solicit nominations this spring. The links represent not only the unity and teamwork it takes to produce this magazine—but the connections we hope the Twenty in their 20s continue to cultivate in their careers.

EDITOR'S NOTE // 8 [225] May 2024 | 225batonrouge.com
225 Digital Staff Writer Olivia Deffes sits down for an interview with Olivia Dunne PHOTOS BY COLLIN RICHIE

Expert Cancer Care Close to Home

Ochsner Health and MD Anderson Cancer Center have clinically integrated to provide advanced cancer care, right here in Louisiana. That means access to life-saving clinical trials for innovative therapies, more specialists and more resources for our patients. Through this collaboration, Ochsner is the first and only provider in Louisiana with a fully integrated cancer program based on MD Anderson’s standards and treatment plans. Learn more at ochsner.org/EndCancer

Jennifer Baton Rouge Ochsner MD Anderson Cancer Center at Ochsner Cancer Center – Baton Rouge Ochsner MD Anderson Cancer Center at Ochsner Medical Complex – The Grove
• Additional revisions must be requested and may be subject to production fees. Carefully check this ad for: CORRECT ADDRESS • CORRECT PHONE NUMBER • ANY TYPOS This ad design © Melara Enterprises, LLC. 2024. All rights reserved. Phone 225-928-1700 MAIN LIBRARY: 7711 Goodwood Blvd., Baton Rouge Children’s Department: 225-231-3760 225-231-3750 • www.ebrpl.com • Join the fun with East Baton Rouge Parish Library’s 2024 SUMMER READING PROGRAM STARTS JUNE 1 SCAN TO SIGN UP! 14 [225] May 2024 | 225batonrouge.com




Buzz feed

Rolling into a new era

Rally Cap Brewing Co. is no longer a beer-only operation. The brewery has added Neapolitanstyle pizzas to the menu this spring, plus assorted calzones, Italian subs and appetizers. The pizza is made in the brewery’s new domeshaped pizza oven.

Founder Kevin Whalen is a self-taught brewer and now a self-taught pizza artist. He says he wanted to better serve hungry patrons who frequented the food trucks onsite. rallycapbrewing.com

New to the zoo

11am - 3pm | $49.99 per person*

Featuring plank-roasted Atlantic salmon, Gulf shrimp, a baked mac-n-cheese bar, stone-fired brunch pizzas and bottomless mimosas! Must be

BREC's Baton Rouge Zoo regained its accreditation through the Association of Zoos & Aquariums in March after losing it in 2018 due to problems found after an inspection. BREC began working to regain the accreditation in 2021 through its first phase of renovations, which included about $50 million worth of improvements, with expanded spaces for animals, a new entrance, giraffe and pygmy hippo zones and more. The zoo will reapply for accreditation again in five years. brzoo.org

10am - 2pm | $65 per person*

Featuring roasted garlic leg of lamb, prosciutto-encrusted pork loin, quiches, baked brie and so much more!

LSU Women’s Basketball might not have taken home an Elite Eight win at the NCAA championship tournament this season, but the team’s matchup against the University of Iowa on April 1 broke records, according to various reports.

12.3 million

People who watched the LSU vs. Iowa Elite Eight game

No. 1

Rank the matchup earned among FanDuel’s biggest betting events in history for women’s sports

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to enter Bon Temps Market. 16 [225] May 2024 | 225batonrouge.com WHAT'S UP //


“I was talking to my wife and I was like, ‘I just need to find somewhere. I need to find somewhere to put this bar … somewhere, somewhere, somewhere.’ She was like, ‘You say that all the time. Why don’t you just name the bar that?’”

Daniel Unda, owner of Somewhere Neighborhood Bar, which opened quietly on Third Street downtown in March. Unda, who also serves as general manager at Capital City Grill, says the bar is an homage to some of the younger staff members he met at previous jobs. Since the bar targets 20-somethings, Unda took the staff’s preferences into account and even named drinks like The Addison and The Aidan after his team. Find the bar on Instagram

Fresh look

After seven years at its Mid City location, Curbside Burgers has a new look with an aqua flair. The restaurant added a mural designed by local branding firm TILT and painted by artist Marc Fresh this spring. The joint also updated its patio with new landscaping, TVs and an upgraded sound system; plus it worked to improve the flow of service inside. But don’t fear, Curbside’s burgers and fries aren’t expected to change. curbside-burgers.com

A funky find

A former grocery store mixed with upcycled furniture plus a place to rest your head? This is exactly what Nancy Noonan has created in Garden House. Noonan, a thrifting fanatic, launched the eclectic space in Beauregard Town for mediumsized events late last year. It also includes a private bedroom, bathroom and kitchen for Airbnb tenants. The decor ranges from antique setees to birdcages for an authentic, collected feel inspired by Noonan’s adult life in the Caribbean and south Florida. Find it on Facebook

ARIANA ALLISON ARIANA ALLISON ARIANA ALLISON FOOD MUSIC art FUN Live After Five • S P GNIR 2 420 • S P RING 2 024 DOWN TOWN BATON ROUGE 4.12 Groovy 7 4.19 Kenny Neal BLUES FEST 4.26 Todd O’Neill 5.10 The Original Pinettes 5.17 Bucktown Allstars 5.24 Michael Foster Project BRONZE SPONSORS SILVER SPONSORS VIP TENT AFTER PARTY SPONSOR WHITTINGTON Family Fund PLATINUM SPONSORS GOLD SPONSORS OFFICIAL AFTER PARTY AT 225batonrouge.com | [225] May 2024 17 WHAT'S UP //


LOVE Motherly

Three Baton Rouge women share what being a mom looks like for them

KAY RIGGS IS a domestic violence survivor, founder of The Risen Queen Foundation and a single mom. But more importantly, she sees herself as a nurturer and life coach for her children Ka’Zlynn and Kamryn. Despite the hardships, Riggs says she ensures her kids, whom she calls her “little adults in training,” always have the support to make positive decisions for themselves.

“When life was hard, I chose to remain positive. I chose to remain soft. MY HEART DIDN’T GET HARD, and I didn’t get bitter about my single-mom journey. … Being able to shape their minds has been something that has really produced a lot of success in their adolescent lives.”
“It just makes me really happy that I’m able to not only accomplish my job but also engage my child and teach her the right thing. The work I do daily is a commendable fight. IT’S A FIGHT FOR JUSTICE. And, I think that the things that she’s learning with the experiences that she has through my advocacy work are going to be forever with her.”
Kay Riggs with daughter Ka’Zlynn, 17, and son Kamryn, 13
Quotes have been edited for clarity and brevity. OUR CITY // 18 [225] May 2024 | 225batonrouge.com

ACTIVE FOSTER MOM Barat Travis had taken in a few young children for a few weeks or days at a time when she got a call from the Department of Children & Family Services about a 2-month-old baby girl who needed an overnight stay. After speaking with a social worker about the baby’s situation, Travis and her husband decided to take care of the child indefinitely. Baby J (a nickname to protect the child's privacy) has now been with the Travis family for about 11 months. And, she’s not the only child Travis cares for. Travis is also the mother to five biological children, ranging in age from 12 to 20, whom she says have stepped up and shown love in this new family endeavor.

“Fostering has its unique issues in that it’s a bit more emotionally complex. … It’s been good, but it has not been easy. But, I would say, at some level, fostering or parenting your biological kids both come with a lot of the same challenges and needs. A WILLINGNESS TO GIVE UP WHAT YOU WANT FOR SOMEONE ELSE’S GOOD. You have to do that in regular parenting, and you definitely have to do that in foster parenting.”

MARCELA HERNANDEZ HAS a busy schedule as the program and organizing manager for the Louisiana Organization for Refugees and Immigrants. As an immigrant from Colombia herself and a single parent, Hernandez’s professional and personal lives often blend. And her daughter Valentina is usually in tow. When her mother Angela isn’t available to babysit, Hernandez helps keep Valentina busy at meetings and conferences with a bag of art supplies and coloring pages. Valentina has also been known to give her childlike perspective when asked.

Marcela Hernandez with her daughter Valentina, 5, and mother Angela Maria Palacio Barat Travis with her foster Baby J, 1
OUR CITY // 225batonrouge.com | [225] May 2024 19



Patients and physicians choose Cypress Pointe Surgical Hospital for a variety of surgical procedures because of positive clinical results, higher quality care and a more personalized patient experience.

Cypress Pointe’s nursing team and boardcertified surgeons are consistently recognized for excellence in patient safety and experiences, prevention of infections and excellent patient outcomes, all important to consider when choosing a hospital for surgery.

Our team of physicians are here for you! They work hard to develop an individualized care plan tailored to your needs to help you get back to doing the things you want to do.

Cypress Pointe Surgical Hospital is centrally located in Hammond, just off Interstate 12. For more information about the hospital and procedures offered, visit cypresspointesurgical.com or call 985.510.6200.




Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)


Heart catheterizations


Pacemaker insertions


Compression fractures of the spine

Degenerative Disc Disease

Herniated discs


Spinal Stenosis

Revision joint surgery


Renal surgery (Kidney)

Nephrectomy (Kidney Removal)

Surgery of the ureters

Bladder surgery

Prostate surgery

Urethra surgery


Lower extremity arthroscopy

Bone fusion

Soft tissue repair

Joint replacement

Revision joint surgery

Sports medicine


Arthritis and Bunions

Degeneration and arthrosis of foot and ankle joints

Fractures and Hammer Toe

Heel and arch pain

Neurological and circulatory diseases and Trauma



CT or CAT scan


Open MRI

Electrodiagnostic tests

/ Electromyography



Cataract surgery

Glaucoma surgery

MaculaDegeneration surgery

Anterior segment diseases

Refractive laser surgery



Snoring and sleep disorders

Thyroid disorders


Corrective breathing surgery

Ear infections


Lumbar decompression

Lumbar discectomy

Spinal cord stimulator

Radiofrequency ablation

Pain pump placement

Pain management injections

GYN Ablations


Tubal Ligation


20 [225] May 2024 | 225batonrouge.com

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Phone a friend

The juicier version of this story is on our website. Scan the QR codes to read each honoree’s full bio. Think: their community involvement, what they’re listening to and wearing at the office, their dreams (personal and profesh), what they’d tell their teenage selves, and where and what they love most about greater Baton Rouge. Scan me!

COVER STORY // 24 [225] May 2024 | 225batonrouge.com

The Capital Region’s up-and-coming leaders, creators and difference-makers



As told by a 20-something Watch for the sidebars in this story, which were written by 225 Digital Staff Writer Olivia Deffes. Deffes graduated from LSU in the summer of 2022 and has quickly learned a thing or two about navigating post-grad life. She’s sharing her pointers on entering the workforce—and how to make the most of your weekends in the Capital City.

ET’S LINK UP with the Red Stick’s rising leaders.

Introducing 225 Magazine’s first-ever Twenty in their 20s issue, a special edition celebrating young people doing amazing things.

Earlier this year, our editorial staff examined nearly 200 nominations submitted by readers on 225batonrouge.com. The honorees we selected not only have stacked resumes, they are trailblazers— committed to championing our city and changing it for the better.

They are entrepreneurs, executives and civic leaders. They are national champions, award winners and record breakers. They are mentors and mentees.

Some are students; some are new parents. No matter where they are in their careers or their lives, they have big goals before turning 30.

They hail from all corners of the Capital Region, and each has found something different to love about living here.

This is the future of Baton Rouge—and it couldn’t be more bright or colorful.

COVER STORY // 225batonrouge.com | [225] May 2024 25

Landing that big-kid job

If that post-grad job search is making you question everything you’ve learned over the last four years, relax. There are more opportunities than you think.

Review your resume.

Education and community involvement are important, but also account for the skills and experiences that set you apart. Clean up the babysitting jobs and high school GPA info, though.

Search high and low. You know to hunt for listings on LinkedIn and Indeed, but you might find them scrolling Instagram and Facebook, too. Apply for whatever feels right— even those positions that seem a bit out of your comfort zone.

Make connections.

Maybe the person sitting next to you at the coffee shop is a manager looking to fill a position. Go up to a businessperson you recognize in a grocery store, or stay after at a seminar to shake hands with the speaker.

Nail the interview.

How to find your post-grad pad

Establish a budget.

Come prepared. Study your resume and think about anecdotes to share with potential employers. Dress in an outfit that makes you feel confident.

Renting can be pricey these days, so secure a spot that’s within your means. Don’t forget to factor in monthly expenses like utilities and internet. Take a tour. Scheduling a walk-through is so much more telling than just clicking through photos online.


Average rent price in Baton Rouge, according to the January 2024 Waller, Weeks and Johnson Rental Index.

Location, location.

We all know about Baton Rouge traffic. Scope out spots close to work or within range of your favorite restaurants, bars and grocery stores.

It's all about amenities. Enticing features can give you more bang for your buck. Think: luxury pools, fitness studios, fancy clubhouses and even furnished units.

CAN YOU HANDLE THE Heat? FOR A LIMITED TIME ! New Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich, Tenders and Wings Visit us on Siegen Lane chicken
ADVICE FOR 20-SOMETHINGS 225batonrouge.com | [225] May 2024 27 COVER STORY //

Local Pop-Up

Head over to Electric Depot the last Saturday of the month to find a tent-filled space bursting with 50-70 creators. Browse everything from artisan soaps and handmade jewelry to homemade sourdough loaves and freeze-dried candy.

Baton Rouge Arts Market

Held on each month’s first Saturday in conjunction with the Red Stick Farmers Market, this market offers a chance to shop art vendors and listen to live music while stocking up on fresh groceries.

MidCity Makers Market

The neighborhood is known for hosting arts events all year, but you can also catch this Mid City block party on the first Thursday of the month. Nearby businesses like Barracuda Taco Stand, Rad Dad Alternative, Pelican to Mars, D’s Garden Center, The Pink Elephant Antiques and others also participate.

Monthly arts markets to shop IS BR ON ITS WAY TO BEING A TOUR STOP AGAIN?

Back in the day, The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Led Zeppelin, KISS and more played multiple shows at the PMAC. Now, new plans are in place for a $300 million arena somewhere on LSU’s campus. As soon as 2028, the venue could be ready to host touring musicians, comedians and other performing groups.

COVER STORY // 225batonrouge.com | [225] May 2024 29

Myra N.

Richardson, 25

Chief Development Officer, Louisiana Chamber of Commerce Foundation

• Founder of Red Torch Consulting

• Launched the annual 225Fest, which has drawn 40,000 attendees over two years

• Creator of Baton Rouge Updates, which reaches over 80,000 subscribers

Instagram: @themyrarichardson

Kade Johnston, 26

Acquisition and project manager, Dantin Bruce Development

• President of Baton Rouge Growth Coalition Young Leadership Council

• Young Leaders Group co-chair of Urban Land Institute Louisiana

• Creator of the Growth Coalition YLC Speaker Series

Instagram: @kade_johnston

Anthony B.

Kenney Jr., 27

Deputy director, 100 Black Men of Metro Baton Rouge

• 100 Black Men of Metro Baton Rouge Member of the Year (2024)

• Founder of Geaux Vote Festival

• Initiated Jaguar Eats food pantry, Southern University’s first oncampus food pantry for students

• Executive vice chairman of Baton Rouge North Economic Development District

Instagram: @AKenney

Caroline Merryman, 22

Owner, Caroline’s Cookies

• Opened first bakery in Lafayette at age 19

• Opened a second location in Baton Rouge at the age of 22

• Sells out of 1,500+ cookies per day in an average of two hours

• Best Dessert - Best of Acadiana Awards (2022 + 2023)

Instagram: @eat_carolinescookiesBR

Friday faves

Where the Twenty in their 20s kick off their weekends:

• Boru Ramen

• BLDG 5

• Bullfish Bistro

• Chelsea’s Live

• Churchill’s Wine & Cigars

• DiGiulio Brothers

• Downtown Live at The Gazebo

• Firehaus

• KOK Wings & Things

• Jubans

• Live After Five

• The Main Lobby

• Mid City Beer Garden

• Mother’s Lounge

• Rocca Pizzeria

• Pelican to Mars

• Soji: Modern Asian

• Superior Grill

• Tsunami

• Zee Zee’s



Percentage of the Twenty in their 20s who say their astrological sun sign suits them.


Going out adds up. Time your socializing for when restaurants and bars offer discounts on drinks or apps.

Scan to read more COVER STORY // 30 [225] May 2024 | 225batonrouge.com
COVER STORY // 225batonrouge.com | [225] May 2024 31

Abbey Kish, 26

CEO, Abbey Kish Consulting

• Three national champion speaking titles from the National Christian Forensics (2015 + 2016) and The Great Communicators Association (2017)

• Top 30 in The Great American Speak Off (2022)

• Completed three half-marathons

• Provides pro-bono pitch coaching through Pop Up Pitch, a local monthly meetup

• Volunteers as an assistant sales coach at LSU Professional Sales Institute

Instagram: @abbeykishconsulting

Fabian Edwards, 28

Senior associate - office sales and leasing, Elifin Realty

• The state's No. 1 commercial agent, ranked by The Louisiana Commercial Database based on total office sales and transactions (2023)

• Brokered over $11.5 million in transaction volume during first year in brokerage

• Board member of Suiting 101

• Foster coordinator for Capital Area Animal Welfare Society

Find him on LinkedIn

Maameefua Koomson, 26

Social media and brand strategist, Quirk-E Creative

• Creator of #BRTok, a TikTok hashtag that garnered 38 million views in its first year

• Has grown multiple client accounts to over 10,000 followers, with video views ranging from 100,000 to over 2 million

• Junior executive board member of Fork Cancer Baton Rouge

Instagram: @maameefua.koomson

Ashleigh McHugh, 29

Director of Economic Development, City of Zachary

• Working to revitalize downtown Zachary through City of Zachary Economic Development, the Louisiana Main Street program and community events

• Committee member for Downtown Live and plans community happenings through City of Zachary role

• Volunteer, foster and board member for Must Luv Dogs Rescue Facebook: @ashleigh.mchugh.31

BR’s favorite places to work out

The five Best Boutique Fitness Studios, according to voters in our 2023 Best of 225 Awards:

Body Sculpt Barre Studio, 23% ToneBR, 15.4%

Geaux CrossFit, 11.4%

Grace Yoga + Pilates, 10.8% Iron Tribe Fitness, 9.1%


Age at which health insurance coverage ends for adults who are listed as dependents on their parents’ plans.

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

01MK7923 R12/23
better with friends
225batonrouge.com | [225] May 2024 33 COVER STORY //
COVER STORY // 34 [225] May 2024 | 225batonrouge.com
KEY TERM Business casual A common workplace dress code combining traditional business attire with a relaxed style. Think: sweaters with skirts of an appropriate length and hole-free jeans paired with structured blazers.

Joe Carleton, 26

Producer and actor, film and television

• Partner at Unoriginal Films, which recently wrapped its first all-Louisiana feature-length film, Beware the Box Folk

• Resume includes credits for BBC, Prime Video and ITV

• IRS enrolled agent servicing film industry professionals

• Performed in 30 plays and musicals over two years at Barter Theatre in Virginia Instagram: @_JLCARL

Morgan Almeida, 29

Pictured: Seated Senior vice president of marketing, Baton Rouge Area Chamber

• Youngest senior team member at the Baton Rouge Area Chamber

• Co-organized the sold-out TEDxBatonRouge (2023)

• Leadership Baton Rouge graduate (2023)

• Former Forum 225 president (2021-2022)

Instagram: @morgan_dale

Mary Coles, 24

Clerk and future associate, Taylor Porter

• Student at LSU Law

• Founder of So Needley, an embroidered sweatshirt brand that grew a six-figure TikTok following

• Actress featured in national commercials, short films, professional regional theater productions and print campaigns

• Playwright of The Things We Forget

• Research assistant for published, peer-reviewed articles

Instagram: @marykathryncoles

Falon Brown, 26

News reporter/Traffic anchor, WBRZ Channel 2

• First-generation woman college graduate

• Emcee for March of Dimes’ annual March for Babies events (2023)

• SPJ Mark of Excellence Awards finalist for student journalism project about vaping-related illness (2019)

Instagram: @falon_tv

ADVICE FOR 20-SOMETHINGS Office fit check

How to build your professional wardrobe with pieces that are polished and personal

Look for versatile pieces. Shop for items that can be worn both in and out of the office. As your closet starts to fill up with professional outfits, seek pieces that can also be dressed down for the weekend.

Invest in wardrobe staples. Basics like neutral-colored pants or tops in multiple hues make it easier to mix and match outfits without constantly buying new clothing.

Refer to the dress code. Check your employee handbook—it will usually outline what clothing is welcome in the office.

Although, the “do’s” and “don’ts” can sometimes be outdated, so follow your coworkers’ leads to figure out what’s acceptable.

Keep it confident. Don’t be afraid to go for bold colors and patterns. Stay true to your personality—you’ll feel confident enough to lead meetings, complete tasks and strut to the coffee pot.

225batonrouge.com | [225] May 2024 35 COVER STORY //
Scan to read more


$ 18 Trio of Chicken or Steak Tacos with Choice of Margarita or Modelo Draft Beer

SUNDAY, MAY 12 • 11AM - 3PM

Order from our Chef’s Delightfully Curated Brunch Menu

Add a Bottomless Mimosa for $20

a Bottomless Fruit Mimosa for $24

Scan the QR Code to view menu and book your reservation.


TheQueenBR.com Must be 21+. Management reserves all rights. 1717 RIVER RD. N • BATON ROUGE, LA 70802 | FOLLOW US!



With the help of our partners, we’ve created the 225 Summer Insider’s Guide for the Greater Baton Rouge area and beyond. Take in what’s new and what’s tried and true in hot spots at home and across the region. Scan the QR Code to learn more online.


225batonrouge.com | [225] May 2024 37



Welcome to Baton Rouge’s first landside casino and entertainment destination. Dive into an unparalleled fusion of live gaming, vibrant music, and extraordinary dining experiences. Featuring over 700 slot machines, 18 table games, and versatile event spaces, it’s your one-stop-shop destination for an unforgettable evening, right in your own backyard. Get excited for the new brunch series at restaurant 1717 coming this summer!


Are you seeking a rush of adrenaline this summer? State Capitol Raceway is the premier destination for drag racing enthusiasts. Mark your calendars and get ready to rev your engines for Import Faceoff Street Legends and the Bracketmasters Father’s Day Classic. Join every weekend for an electrifying experience of drag racing excitement!


For 65 years, Dearman’s has been the go-to, local spot for burgers, shakes, and the heartwarming community vibe. Their secret? Only the freshest, daily-ground meat makes it into their burgers. Don’t leave without trying the legendary Nectar Soda—a creamy, dreamy, ice cream-topped delight! Stay tuned each month for a new shake of the season!

38 [225] May 2024 | 225batonrouge.com


Dive into the heat of summer at La Carreta, where the vibrant atmosphere of outdoor patio dining meets the zest of authentic Mexican cuisine. Revel in the refreshing taste of signature margaritas, perfectly paired with the special summer menu that showcases the best of local ingredients and seasonal flavors. Experience the extraordinary blend of dining, music, and community spirit that promises to make your summer unforgettable.


Children will embark on a journey of learning through play with activities like "Nature Play," "How Toys Work," and "Sounds of Summer." Dive into adventurous camps including outdoor exploration, artistic creations, and captivating stories read by Louisiana authors. Don’t miss the PlayFit series led by former LSU Spirit Dancer and Head Cheer Coach, Pauline Zernott, promoting family bonding and wellness through exciting movement activities


Looking to get out of your house this summer? Whether it’s a chic shopping spree in Paris, a family vacation in Yellowstone, or a magical night under the Northern Lights, Pearson’s Travel Word is ready to help make your vacation dreams come true! Sit back, relax, and make this summer full of unforgettable memories.


L’Auberge is the ideal spot for a Baton Rouge staycation. Soak up breathtaking views of the Mississippi River from the sparkling rooftop pool, featuring private cabanas and a full-service bar. Play your favorite games at the casino, watch your winning team at Sportsbook, or savor Louisiana Rabbit and Dumplings at 18 STEAK.


Beyond just a cozy bed, the Hilton hosts events all throughout the year promising memorable moments right in the heart of the city. Immerse yourself in the vibrant life at The 121 with Lazy Louisiana Brunches and Dueling Pianos or get swept away at Gin Joint Jams in The Tunnel every Thursday. Experience Sunday Funday at the Hilton poolside, where the iconic backdrop of the Mississippi River sets the scene.

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Discover the timeless allure of Houmas House, where the past seamlessly merges with the present. Embark on captivating tours that unveil the stories, history, and opulence of the iconic plantation. Immerse yourself in the charm of the Great River Road Museum, showcasing artifacts and narratives that bring the region’s rich heritage to life. Indulge in a culinary journey at the renowned dining establishments, where delectable flavors meet Southern hospitality. For an unforgettable experience, extend your stay in one of the luxurious overnight accommodations, where elegance and comfort await.


With its rich cultural legacy and powerful reckonings, Natchez sets the stage for diverse and fascinating local characters. While deeply rooted in history, the town radiates with modern southern hospitality, offering a little something for everyone. As the oldest continuous settlement on the Mississippi River, Natchez boasts over 1,000 structures on the historic preservation list, earning its titles as the Bed and Breakfast Capital of the World and the Biscuit Capital of the South. This summer, visit The Depot, a new visitor welcome center opening on the Bluff downtown, overlooking the Mississippi River.

40 [225] May 2024 | 225batonrouge.com PHOTO


Experience The Northshore for an easy weekend escape that’s both family and pet friendly. Dive into the waterfront with fishing charters and pontoon boat tours or indulge in the local flavors during Tammany Taste of Summer. Explore new attractions like Loft 18 and The Arcade on Carey, Kayaks To Geaux, and the Antique Umbrella Alley, hovering above First Street in Slidell. Before you go, you must try The Northshore’s signature coffee at all Abita Roasting Company locations.


St. Francisville is the quintessential small southern town known for its great dining options, locally owned boutiques, and history that stretches back over 10,000 years. Embark on an adventure along the hiking trails of Tunica Hills, or step back in time with a tour of The Myrtles. And there’s more on the horizon: this summer marks the debut of the Feliciana Backroads Trail. Whether you’re behind the wheel or pedaling through, you’re invited to explore the captivating journey of West Feliciana Parish.


Nestled in the heart of Covington, Louisiana, the Southern Hotel celebrates a decade since its reopening with lively festivities including “French Fridays,” art showcases, and history tours. Set amidst the charming downtown, guests can enjoy the hotel’s rich heritage, vibrant local culture, and convenient access to outdoor activities like biking and kayaking, making it an ideal getaway destination just an hour from Baton Rouge.


Kick off the summer with the inaugural Banana Festival and the LA Night Jam Waterski Festival, both on June 8th, celebrating Zachary's unique heritage and love for outdoor activities. Continue the festivities with the 2nd Annual Zachary Really Hot Air Balloon Festival on August 10th, and don't miss the Farmers & Artisans Market every Saturday. With its top-ranked schools, excellent sports facilities, and beautiful parks, Zachary invites you to join these unforgettable experiences.

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Balancing act

Olivia Dunne built her platform on sports and stylish NIL partnerships. Now, she’s finding new purpose through The Livvy Fund
225batonrouge.com | [225] May 2024 43
LSU gymnast Olivia Dunne inside the Baton Rouge location of Sherman & Balhoff Orthodontics. She partnered with the business to provide orthodontic services to LSU student athletes through The Livvy Fund.


Dunne steps into the lobby, a young girl whispers to her preoccupied big brother.

“Livvy Dunne is here,” she gasps, beaming.

It’s an ordinary Monday morning at Sherman & Balhoff Orthodontics. Phones ring. Patients scroll on their phones, biding their time ahead of their appointments.

But a surprise appearance of the famed LSU gymnast has just flipped this routine day upside down.

Patients’ heads turn. The staff gathers at the front. A quiet clamor quickly bubbles into a thrilled frenzy.

“I wanted to give back to the other student athletes and the university that’s given me so much.”

Livvy Dunne is here, indeed.


THAT LITTLE GIRL’S reaction is one morsel of the buzz that follows Dunne everywhere she goes. Whether she’s performing a gymnastics routine or posting an Instagram photo, all eyes are on her, all the time.

In Baton Rouge, she’s a household name, instantly recognizable for her near-perfect LSU Gymnastics scores. Nationally, she’s as much a style icon as a sports figure, as likely to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated as she is to model for its Swimsuit Issue. Campaigns for brands like Forever 21, Vuori and Nautica have lifted her to the top ranks of NIL earners.

But Dunne is here today for another reason: sharing her connections with female athletes.

you definitely have more eyes on you,” she says. “I mean, it is Name, Image and Likeness.”

Even today, cameras zoom in on her, courtesy The Money Game crew. The Prime Video docuseries about the role of NIL in LSU Athletics has been following Dunne for months, recording her life and career. When it releases this fall, today’s footage may be included.

And the crew’s lenses aren’t the only ones tracking her moves. Her older sister, Julz Dunne, captures candids on an iPhone, and Dunne strikes poses for 225 too.

Regardless of being surrounded by cameras, the only role Dunne is interested in playing is herself. She’s dressed in soft gray Vuori athleisure, her blond hair pulled back with a claw clip, a small Gucci handbag dangling off her shoulder.

It’s this unfiltered mixture of self-assurance and humility that makes her so likable.

And when I chat one-on-one with her, I can tell Dunne’s just your average 21-year-old when she’s not in an ad or tumbling on a mat.

LSU student athletes Aalyah Del Rosario, Kylie Coen and Sydney Clemens are in the orthodontists’ chairs as Dr. Stephen Sherman Jr. and his staff make the rounds, examining smiles. They are getting braces or clear aligners through the practice courtesy of Dunne’s new project, The Livvy Fund.

The organization was launched last summer to provide LSU female student athletes with NIL advice and opportunities. It works in partnership with Bayou Traditions, the LSU Athletics collective that raises funds to make NIL deals more

accessible to student athletes. Brands can coordinate partnerships or make donations to athletes through the Livvy Fund. Sherman & Balhoff Orthodontics, for example, has donated about $50,000 worth of services to student athletes through the fund.

“I wanted to give back to the other student athletes and the university that’s given me so much,” Dunne says. “Definitely to spread the love and give it to other female student athletes. I haven’t seen an NIL deal like this one, where you’re literally helping change someone’s smile.”

The Livvy Fund has also collaborated with Accelerator Active Energy, Purina and Nautica. Through her own partnerships with the brands, Dunne builds Livvy Fund contributions into

her contracts. Bayou Traditions selects LSU female athletes for NIL opportunities with the brands.

Tiger fans can make individual monetary donations, too.

While Dunne is today the nation’s No. 3 NIL earner, the rest of the top 10 are men, according to On3’s NIL 100 rankings.

The hope is to make NIL an equal playing field—with opportunities for both men and women.


DUNNE’S 15 MILLION-PLUS combined social media followers are used to seeing her bright smile. But she confesses she had “crooked teeth” growing up. She divulges this as she chats with the athletes, telling them she had braces as teen.

“With NIL, it’s so huge that you’re confident in the way you look and the way you feel, because

We talk manicures, graduation, and of course, NIL. I discover Dunne handles brand deals with her parents, sister and agents.

“It definitely was a process to learn balance and what different opportunities to say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to,” she tells me. “I say ‘no’ to most things, which is kind of crazy. But you have to be picky.”


THE DAY WE chat, Dunne is still weighing another big decision: whether or not she’ll take a fifth year to keep competing for LSU. She is taking things one day—and one meet—at a time.

“If I don't end up doing a fifth year, I’m probably going to just keep doing what I’m doing: working with brands, keep growing my personal brand and maybe do some sports broadcasting,” she muses.

As her LSU career winds down, Dunne has had to stand by difficult decisions about where to put her

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


Whether driving to her son’s golf tournaments across the state or a beach getaway in Florida or Alabama, Jill T. can count on her Mercedes-Benz GLS to get her there safely and in style. The spacious, 7-seat GLS comfortably holds her 15-year-old son’s golf clubs and friends in the back, while allowing a generous amount of seating room for everyone else in the car.

After previously owning a full-size SUV from another manufacturer, Jill says she’s currently driving her second GLS and plans to remain loyal to the Mercedes-Benz brand. Here’s more about the features that make the GLS the perfect choice for this family of four.

school and entering all the upcoming dates in her calendar. “I consider my Mercedes to be my rolling office,” she jokes.

And when Jill says, “Hey, Mercedes,” the digital assistant lets her operate many of the car’s features by simply speaking the commands.

Like many moms, Jill lives in her car most days. Although her older daughter, 17, is driving now, she estimates she’s still behind the wheel three or four hours a day. That’s when she appreciates the luxuriousness of the leather seats, which are heated, ventilated and offer three options for massage.

While waiting for her kids, she takes advantage of the in-car WiFi to catch up on life – responding to emails, filling out forms from

Some of the safety features she appreciates include the lane-keeping assist, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. “If you’re backing up and you come too close to something, the car will stop for you,” she says. “I feel so safe in the vehicle because I know that it’s so well made. If I was ever in an accident, I feel like my most prized possessions would be safe.”

The service Jill receives from Mercedes-Benz of Baton Rouge is something she says you won’t find elsewhere. Recently, she had two flat tires after hitting a sinkhole. Within 20 minutes, a tow truck had arrived, and the dealership was already arranging a loaner vehicle.

“I did not have to stress about how I was going to continue my routine and the things that I needed to do during the day,” Jill says. “I was going to have wheels because of Mercedes.”

When her previous lease was running out, Jill’s sales consultant, Lynn Whitty, whom she considers a dear friend, helped walk her through all the options so she could make an informed decision.

“I feel like the service really is unmatched in the industry,” she says. “People may leave and try another car, but they will always come back.”

For more information about the exceptional vehicles offered by Mercedes-Benz of Baton Rouge, visit online at mbobr.com, or stop by the showroom at 10949 Airline Highway.

2024 GLS 450 starting at $87,000 Base MSRP excludes transportation and handling charges, destination charges, taxes, title, registration, preparation and documentary fees, tags, labor and installation charges, insurance, and optional equipment, products, packages and accessories. Options, model availability and actual dealer price may vary. See dealer for details, costs and terms. SPONSORED CONTENT
46 [225] May 2024 | 225batonrouge.com


Diving into the warmth of the new Bullfish Bistro Make Baja beer-battered tacos
225batonrouge.com | [225] May 2024 47
Caribbean charmer


Bullfish Bistro

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.


14241 Airline Highway, Suite 105

Tuesday-Thursday, 11a.m.-2p.m. and 5-8 p.m. Friday, 11a.m.-3p.m. and 5-10 p.m. Saturday, 11a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday, noon-4 p.m.

IT’S AMAZING WHAT a warm welcome can do.

Jasmine Lombrage could probably solve diplomatic crises with her friendly demeanor and personality. If she’s greeting you at the entrance to Bullfish Bistro, you can bet your day will immediately be brighter.

And with the help of husband Angel Lombrage’s cooking, maybe they could tackle all of society’s ills with charm and good food.

I had the pleasure of seeing that firsthand one March evening with friends when we were looking for a respite from busy work days.

Jasmine practically danced her way over to welcome us into this colorful space on Airline Highway.

I had only visited Bullfish’s previous digs on Nicholson Drive once, so we played it off that this was our first time trying the restaurant’s Caribbean and Southern fusion, and Jasmine gladly talked us through its mission: Tasty dishes made fresh with quality ingredients and authentic, housemade herb and spice blends.

Even the tropical cocktails feature fresh juices and houseinfused liquors. We were ready to dig in once we ordered some colorful, rum-based concoctions.

First up were appetizers of Coconut Shrimp and Bahamian Conch Fritters.

The shrimp were butterflied and generously coated in a shredded

The Coconut Shrimp appetizer is served over an onion and pepper relish.

THE BASICS: Husband-and-wife duo Angel and Jasmine Lombrage opened Bullfish in 2019 just south of LSU and right before the pandemic wreaked havoc on the restaurant industry. Through determination and even national media coverage, they found a following, came out the other side and moved into a bright space in the same shopping center as The Little Village on Airline Highway in July 2023.


The Coconut Shrimp appetizer is an easy intro to Bullfish’s fusion cooking, with a peppery mignonette sauce for the crunchy shrimp. The Jerk Chicken and Curry Shrimp entrees showcase the best of Caribbean flavors. The Beef Oxtails dish is a highlight, with a deep, dark Creole red wine reduction coating the tender meat. You can’t go wrong with a side of plantains or spongy cornbread.

coconut batter and served on a bright onion and pepper relish. They were fried to a crunch with nutty and salty flavors, and the relish delivered a sweet and puckery contrast.

The Conch Fritters were crispy with a tender interior, but the star here was a zesty green dipping sauce. It was smoky and spicy and slightly vegetal–our server confirmed it was a vegan sauce made with pureed vegetables and lots of hot sauce. Better yet: He shared that Bullfish sells it by the jar.

Knowing that our entrees would be heavy on the meat, we opted

for the Avocado Beet Salad next. The plate was loaded with chunks of avocado and huge slices of red beets, as well as hot and crispy garbanzo beans and chopped lettuce. The strawberry dressing was a bit too sweet for my liking, but the rest of the components were just right, if not a little run-of-the-mill.

For our entrees, we didn’t hold back—ordering Jerk Chicken, Curry Shrimp, Catfish Étouffée and Beef Oxtails.

A sizable chicken thigh and leg came charred and coated in a layer of jerk spices and smothered in

a deeply flavored jerk sauce. We could tell the flavors came from an expert blend of herbs and spices–nothing premade.

The warm and spicy sauce on the Curry Shrimp practically painted the white plate a pale orange, and the sauteed onions, peppers and tail-on shrimp served with white rice made for a satisfying dish. My friend ordered a side of cornbread with the shrimp, and we all marveled at its spongy, almost jiggly texture.

The Catfish Étouffée was a great take on a Louisiana favorite, with a lightly battered catfish filet resting

TASTE // 48 [225] May 2024 | 225batonrouge.com

on a bed of white rice all smothered in spicy crawfish sauce.

Finally, the Beef Oxtails dish was a standout. Four hefty slices of oxtails were caramelized and glazed in a red wineinfused Creole sauce that was so dark brown it was practically black. Thick chunks of stewed carrots dotted the plate, but the tender and fatty morsels of meat were the focus here. If you’re unsure about oxtail, this is the way to try it.

By the end of the night, each entree had circled the table once, if not twice. We were all delighted with the distinct sauces that shined through in each.

And feeling completely safe and confident in Chef Angel’s hands, we were already plotting the other dishes we wanted to try, the sauces we wanted to revisit (and maybe even buy by the jar) and the tropical cocktails that looked so enticing for next time.

Bullfish Bistro has good, comforting food in spades. And coupled with what I’d venture to say are the loveliest restaurant owners in town, this is a place that deserves repeat visits.

Your taste buds and your heart will thank you.

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The Jerk Chicken showcases Chef Angel Lombrage’s authentic expertise.

Add life to your minutes.

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Fortunately, there are treatment options that can stop a stroke in its tracks and therapies that can help reverse many of the effects of a stroke. Noticing the signs of a stroke early can help with recovery and, ultimately, your quality of life. Time is brain.

Our Lady of the Lake Health is the leader in Louisiana for stroke care, offering 24/7 care for clot retrieval during a stroke. Our dedicated team is ready to respond at a moment’s notice. We have earned the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get with the Guidelines® - Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award with Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll Elite Plus.

Take our free online quiz to learn if you might have an elevated risk of stroke, as well as how we can help you: ololrmc.com/stroke

Local fare

A coastal take on Cinco de Mayo celebrations

THE ORIGINAL beer-battered fish tacos started in Baja, the Mexican state just south of the border, not too far from San Diego, California. This tempura-style batter for fried fish was thought to be influenced by tradesmen who taught the local fishermen how to fry using a batter.

From there, battering and frying fish became a popular cooking method with the locals. The Baja Fish Taco then grew in popularity out of the small fishing village of San Felipe, Mexico, during the 1960s as surfers headed down to the area for its great waves. Local food stands popped up along the beach to feed the hungry surfers. The beer-battered fish stuffed into a warm tortilla and topped with a little cabbage and crema proved to be a favorite, thanks to its simplicity, inexpensive ingredients and savory flavors. Hence the Baja Fish Taco was born.

I experimented with several recipes and came up with my own authentic version of a Baja Fish Taco (see page 52). The creamy, smoky crema and light, crispy fish offer a wonderful balance of flavors and textures. These tacos work well with many types of hearty white fish and make for a festive dish to serve for Cinco de Mayo—or on any night to accompany a zesty margarita.

On the menu

• Fresh Louisiana Strawberry Margaritas

• Baja Beer-battered Fish Tacos

• Chipotle Crema

Recipes by Tracey Koch

Fresh Louisiana Strawberry Margaritas

Yields 6 servings

2 cups fresh Louisiana strawberries, hulled and quartered

½ cup sugar or agave nectar

½ cup Cointreau or triple sec

12 ounces or 1 ¼ cups fresh lime juice

9 ounces tequila

1. Place the quartered strawberries into a sauce pot. Add in the sugar or agave, Cointreau or triple sec, and 3 ounces of fresh lime juice.

2. Bring the mixture up to a boil

Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes until the mixture cooks down and coats the back of a spoon.

3. Remove from the heat and strain the mixture through a strainer. Allow the strawberry syrup to cool completely.

4. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. For each drink, pour in 1 ½ ounces of tequila, 1 ½ ounces of lime juice and 1 ½ ounces of the fresh strawberry syrup. Cover the shaker.

5. Vigorously shake the cocktail shaker. Fill a margarita glass with ice and remove the lid of the shaker. Pour the Louisiana Strawberry Margarita into the glass, and enjoy.

TASTE // 225batonrouge.com | [225] May 2024 51

Baja Beer-battered Fish Tacos Serves 6

2 pounds of white fish filets (mahi mahi, grouper or red fish)

1 ¼ cup flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon pepper

12 ounces of beer (preferably Mexican beer)

4 cups vegetable oil

12 corn or flour taco-size tortillas

1. Cut the fish filets into 2-by-4-inch strips. Pat them dry.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, chili powder and pepper together until well blended.

3. Use a whisk to gently stir in the beer until the mixture turns into a batter.

4. Pour the vegetable oil into a heavy deep skillet or Dutch oven and heat the oil to 350 degrees. Use a thermometer to help monitor the temperature. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

5. Once the oil has reached 350 degrees, work in batches using a pair of tongs to dip each fish strip into the beer batter. Fry 4 to 5 strips at a time to prevent the temperature of the oil from dropping too low. Fry the fish strips 2 to 3 minutes per side. Place the fried fish strips onto the lined baking sheet to drain.

6. Place the beer-battered fried fish strips on a baking rack and place them into the 200-degree oven to keep warm while you fry the remaining fish strips.

7. To assemble the Baja Fish Tacos, place 1 to 2 strips of the beer battered fish into a warm tortilla. Drizzle on a little of the chipotle crema garnish (recipe follows) with fresh chopped cilantro and a lime wedge.

Chipotle Crema

½ cup mayonnaise

½ cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

1 clove minced garlic

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

1. In a mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise and sour cream until smooth.

2. Add in the remaining ingredients, and stir until well blended.

3. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Store remaining chipotle crema in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

For how to make the spicy, tangy curtido to top the tacos with, visit 225batonrouge. com/recipes

TASTE // 52 [225] May 2024 | 225batonrouge.com
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This month’s arts and music events

Listen up!

Supported by a national grant, a free concert series resumes this month in Scotlandville PHOTOS BY COLLIN RICHIE
225batonrouge.com | [225] May 2024 55
Musician and vocalist Dexter “Lord Dex” Jackson manages talent acquisitions for Scotland Saturdays.

ANYONE WHO HAS ever enjoyed live music knows there are two parts to the experience.

There’s the thrill of seeing an artist perform in real time. And there’s the venue. Where a show takes place becomes wedged in the consciousness, be it a dimly lit bar, a booming football stadium or a sunny outdoor stage. Like the songs on the set list, the location you heard them becomes positively enshrined in memory.

That’s the thinking behind a national grant underway in Scotlandville that transforms underserved public spaces with free, high-quality live music. In 2023, north Baton Rouge neighborhood nonprofit Scotland Saturdays received a three-year, $90,000 Levitt AMP grant to organize the family-friendly shows in Scotlandville Plaza.

The Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation program helps fund free concerts in communities across the country. Baton Rouge is one of 34 cities and small towns

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Scotland Saturdays’ Dexter “Lord Dex” Jackson, Janel Webber Washington and Byron Washington

in the U.S. to have received such a grant.

The Levitt AMP Baton Rouge Music Series debuted last summer and resumes this month.

“It’s been a way to do something good at Scotlandville Plaza,” says Byron Washington, a community organizer and founder of Scotland Saturdays. “The mission of Levitt AMP is to use live music as a tool for revitalization.”

Last summer’s free concerts spanned 10 consecutive weeks. To avoid the late summer heat, this year’s events will be held over two 5-week sessions. The first, starting May 25, will be hosted on Saturdays. In September and October, the series will move to Friday evenings.

Artists play all sorts of musical genres, Washington says, from hiphop and jazz to blues and R&B.

All performances are staged at Scotlandville Plaza, a community park known as The Triangle that sits at the intersection of Swan Avenue, Scotland Avenue and

Scenic Highway. The plaza is also used for Scotland Saturdays’ other events like its monthly markets, an annual Easter egg hunt and a Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

The Levitt AMP concerts attract attendees of all ages, Washington says. There’s plenty of room for dancing, relaxing in lawn chairs and for kids to play freely. The events include food vendors, artisans and community organizations.


Levitt AMP Baton Rouge Music Series

Presented by Scotland Saturdays at Scotlandville Plaza

By bringing accessible, free live music to small- to mid-sized towns and cities, Levitt AMP hopes to change how residents feel about their neighborhoods.

“The program uses live music as a vehicle to activate an underutilized public space, and to bring people out from the community who otherwise wouldn’t show up,” Levitt Foundation Program Officer Amber Withers says.

May 25: Jovin Webb June 1: Marcel P. Black

June 8: Kayenne Live June 15: Larry & Joe

June 22: The Michael Foster Project

Follow @ScotlandSaturdays on Instagram

Live music can be a powerful tool for healing distressed areas.

“Free community concerts are quintessential to bringing joy to communities,” she says. “And we feel that joy is a fundamental need

that needs to be met, especially in light of the loneliness epidemic we’re facing as a nation. We believe this series can bring joy to people. We’ve seen it happen in real time.”

Get Your Daily Dose of 225 SPONSORED BY Good news. Good vibes. Everyday! article pageviews per month 320k+ 225 Daily subscribers 35k+ 225 social media followers 121k+ Subscribe today at 225batonrouge.com SCAN TO GET STARTED
225batonrouge.com | [225] May 2024 57 CULTURE //


Zip up the go-go boots, and follow the call of the disco ball. Gimme Gimme Disco returns to Chelsea’s Live for a night of ABBA, Donna Summer, the Bee Gees and other artists from the days of disco. chelseaslive.com

MAY 10, 17 + 24

Compiled by Olivia Deffes

MAY 10

Contemporary Christian band Casting Crowns takes the stage at the Raising Cane’s River Center. The group is celebrating its 20year anniversary with an exclusive tour featuring a live symphony. raisingcanesrivercenter.com

End the work week and kick off the weekend with a free outdoor concert at Live After Five. This month’s lineup features all-female brass band The Original Pinettes Brass Band; New Orleans soul and funk group Bucktown All-Stars; and popular Baton Rouge brass band The Michael Foster Project. There will also be opportunities to shop and dine. downtownbr.org/ live-after-five

MAY 11

Fleetwood Mac tribute band Rumors ATL aims to replicate the glory days of the iconic band with a show at L’Auberge Casino & Hotel. Hear the songs that have cemented the band in music history like “The Chain” and “Dreams.” lbatonrouge.com

MAY 17-19 + 23-26

Theatre Baton Rouge actors take on Stephen Karam’s Tony Awardwinning play The Humans. The story follows the Blake family as they move their traditional Thanksgiving festivities to their daughter’s bare, creaky Manhattan apartment. During the stay, the Blakes open up, fight and come together. theatrebr.org

MAY 17 + 18

What does a German composer have in common with The Fab Four? According to the Baton Rouge Symphony, more than you think. In Bach to the Beatles: A Concert with Candles, a quartet of musicians transitions between pieces from the Baroque Era to hits from the British Invasion all in one show. brso.org

MAY 25

Shop, swap and roll your way through Electric Depot for Local Pop-Up’s May market. This monthly art market brings in anywhere from 50-70 local vendors, and this month’s event will also feature a book swap. Attendees who donate a book will receive a ticket to redeem for any book in the pile. localpopup.shop

STOCK PHOTO STOCKPHOTO 225batonrouge.com | [225] May 2024 59 CULTURE //
May Where to play Batonaround Rouge this monthCompiled by Olivia Deffes 504 ON THE ROAD NEW ORLEANS MAY 2-5: New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, nojazzfest.com MAY 17-19: The Bayou Boogaloo, thebayouboogaloo.com MAY 24-26: New Orleans Greek Festival, gfno.com OFF TO THE RACES Races, juleps and roses. Oh my! You don’t have to travel to Churchill Downs to celebrate the Kentucky Derby. At Live Oak Arabians, attendees can take in similar festivities for a good cause at St. Jude Day at the Derby. Don your big hats and seersucker suits, and enjoy derby-themed food and drinks, a live auction and a viewing of the famous horse race. stjude.org ART WALK Stroll
also stay
midcitymerchantsbr.org 4 10 COURTESY MID CITY MERCHANTS ASHLEE BERGERON / COURTESY ST. JUDE DAY AT THE DERBY • Please respond by e-mail or phone with your approval or minor revisions.
AD WILL RUN AS IS unless approval or final revisions are received within 24 hrs from receipt of this proof. A shorter timeframe will apply for tight deadlines.
Additional revisions must be requested and may be subject to production fees. Carefully check this ad for: CORRECT ADDRESS • CORRECT PHONE NUMBER • ANY TYPOS This ad design © Melara Enterprises, LLC. 2024. All rights reserved. Phone 225-928-1700 At Ducote’s Restaurant & Bar Equipment, we specialize in supplying the foodservice industry with a broad selection of the top-quality equipment and supplies you need to successfully run your operations and efficiently serve your customers. HIGHEST QUALITY WITH COMPETITIVE PRICING! #AM-50-BAJ 4433 Florida Blvd • 225-344-4240 ducotesrestaurantsupply.com OPEN TO THE PUBLIC Come See Our Showroom Over 50 years of servicing the hospitality industry! SCAN TO SEE MORE 24/7 Emergency Service Because plumbing issues never wait for a convenient time. EMERGENCY DRAIN CLEANING | EMERGENCY PLUMBING | GREASE TRAP PUMPING Available 24-7 LMP#5430 | www.rotobr.com | 225-925-8710 Issue Date: May 2024 Ad proof #1 • Please respond by e-mail or phone with your approval or minor revisions. • AD WILL RUN AS IS unless approval or final revisions are received within 24 hrs from receipt of this proof. A shorter timeframe will apply for tight deadlines. • Additional revisions must be requested and may be subject to production fees. Carefully check this ad for: CORRECT ADDRESS • CORRECT PHONE NUMBER • ANY TYPOS This ad design © Melara Enterprises, LLC. 2024. All rights reserved. Phone 225-928-1700 60 [225] May 2024 | 225batonrouge.com CALENDAR //
through the heart of Mid City for the annual Hot Art
Nights. This evening market, hosted by Mid City Merchants, allows local creatives to set up booths anywhere from Jefferson Highway at Goodwood Boulevard to
intersection of Government and 14th streets. Many businesses along the market route will
open late.



Pinch. Peel. Repeat. Indulge in rubycolored crustaceans at the Crawfish King Cook-off benefiting Big Buddy Program and Junior Achievement. Teams will battle it out and see who makes the best boiled crawfish. Ticket holders can feast on claws and tails while supplies last. The event will be held in conjunction with Live After Five, so attendees can jam to local bands while getting their crawfish fix. crawfishkingcookoff.com


MAY 11

Big wheels keep on turning at the Raising Cane’s River Center for the Monster Truck Nitro Tour. Watch as larger-than-life vehicles roll and tumble around the arena while crushing any obstacle in their way. raisingcanesrivercenter.com

MAY 19

Support the Baton Rouge Epicurean Society at its annual Spring Fête fundraiser. Held at Houmas House and Gardens, this event invites attendees to try dishes and samples from local chefs, caterers and restaurants. There will also be beer, wine and spirits to try. bresbr.org

MAY 24-26


Bring an appetite to the Main Library at Goodwood for the Baton Rouge Soul Food Festival. Sample dishes made by competing chefs to get a taste of what the Capital City has to offer in soul food cuisine. Along with culinary creations, there will also be entertainment for all ages. hitcitydigital.wixsite.com/ brsoulfoodfest


It’s time to stir the pot at the Gonzales Jambalaya Festival. This tasty weekend includes live music, a pageant, 5K and 1-mile races, a car show and much more. And, don’t worry, there will also be a jambalaya cookoff to fuel the whole family through the weekend jambalayafestival.net

MAY 24-26

Calling all country music fans! Dust off those boots, because the Cajun Country Jam is back for Memorial Day weekend. This festival boasts a packed musical lineup along with food, drinks and more entertainment. Enjoy performances by acts like Justin Moore, Clay Walker, Chase Matthew, Laine Hardy and others. thecajuncountryjam.com


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

MAY 3-5: Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival, bbcrawfest.com

MAY 17: Dusty Slay at Club 337, lafayettecomedy.com

MAY 23-JUNE 2: 36th Annual Cajun Heartland State Fair, cajundome.com

• Please respond by e-mail or phone with your approval or minor revisions. • AD WILL RUN AS IS unless approval or final revisions are received within 24 hrs from receipt of this proof. A shorter timeframe will apply for tight deadlines. • Additional revisions must be requested and may be subject to production fees. Carefully check this ad for: CORRECT ADDRESS • CORRECT PHONE NUMBER • ANY TYPOS This ad design © Melara Enterprises, LLC. 2024. All rights reserved. Phone 225-928-1700 MORE THAN JUST PIES ELSIESPIES.COM | 3145 GOVERNMENT ST | 225.636.5157 E Q MON: 11AM-9PM TUES-THURS: 11AM-10PM FRI: 11AM-11PM SAT: 10AM-11PM SUN: 10AM-9PM It’s called PICKLEBALL! HEARD OF IT? BREC.ORG/PICKLEBALL 225batonrouge.com | [225] May 2024 61 CALENDAR //

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

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

PHOTO BY COLLIN RICHIE FOR ‘225’ / collinrichiephoto.com
FRAMED // 62 [225] May 2024 | 225batonrouge.com


JUNE 27 • 6 – 8 PM

1717 at The Queen

Baton Rouge


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



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