BayouLife December 2018

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196 20 / BAYOU ARTIST: DON CINCONE Artist Don Cincone Talks About His Life Traveling the World and How He Developed and Refined His Personal Style Through God’s Inspiration 48 / ART OF A SIMPLE SEASON From Creative Packaging to Butterscotch Haystacks, the Art of Simple Christmas Traditions is Centered Around Family and Nostalgia 78 / MOHAWK TAVERN Eat Where the Locals Eat and Become Part of Monroe’s Family History 114 / HOLIDAY BRUNCH These Favorite Brunch Dishes from Local Restaurants Will Make Your Mornings Merry and Bright


156 / THE VOCATIONAL EDUCATION OF MELISSA SAYE The Northeast Louisiana Children's Museum Founder is December’ Bayou Icon

212 / SANTA’S WISH For More Than 30 Years, the Wish I Could Foundation Has Been Making Dreams Come True for Children with Life-Threatening Illnesses

A P R I L 2 0 1 8222 / SMOKED WITH LOVE

172 / HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS Local Designer Taylor Bennett Decorates with Love for the Holidays

182 / THE LESSONS IN THE MUSIC Dr. Mable John Shares Her Powerful Stories of Life, Music and Coming Home 196 / THE NUTCRACKER Inspired by the Classic Tale of Clara and The Nutcracker, This Fashion Feature Takes Us Through Four Realms of Christmas Magic

Kay Morgan’s Love of Entertaining and Unexpected Life Changes Were a Catalyst for Founding Her Company, Kaybaby's Smokin' Fine Foods 238 / THE LEGACY Louisiana Pecan Shelling Company is an Aged Treasure with Unparalleled Character 248 / COMFORT AND JOY This Holiday Season Snuggle Up in Winter’s Finest Looks from Local Boutiques



ABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE! WE always wish for snow and it really happened. When we are putting together our December issue, we do everything we can to make it feel festive around the office. To our surprise, we awoke to snow falling in Northeast Lousiana this week. Talk about a Christmas...errrr...Thanksgiving miracle. We’ve had some amazing accomplishments this year, especially with the number of changes that we’ve faced. Our team pulled together an awesome magazine this month – the biggest we’ve ever had – and we survived. Our staff, writers, photographers and advertisers are truly the best, and we couldn’t do it without each and every person involved. This holiday season, let’s let the peace of the season shine throughout the community and goodwill be done everywhere. Please support your local businesses this holiday season. The people who own stores locally are those whose children go to school with yours. We are those who support local non-profit organizations; who pay local taxes. We are those who give back to our community. We depend on your business during the holiday season. It’s easy to find everything you are looking for this holiday season on the pages of this magazine. Our local retailers are stocked with the greatest gifts for everyone on your list. In this issue, you will find our gorgeous models Jessica Granger and Ronnie Scott in comfortable, chic winter wear in our Comfort and Joy shoot taken by Kelly Moore Clark at Curry Farms in Start, LA. Meka Bennett worked her hair and makeup magic on both of our fashion sets this month. See it on page 248. On pages 196-204, Eva Edinger, along with Hadley Jones and Nelle Bauman,

1201 Royal Avenue Monroe, LA 71201 Phone 318.855.3185 Fax 318.855.4645


model this season’s most stylish holiday attire. There is a lot that goes in to each and every one of our fashion shoots and this month Abby Gifford and Libby Gifford knocked it out of the park. It took countless hours to make our Nutcracker-themed set. There are so many great editorial pieces in this magazine. Michael DeVault interviewed Melissa Saye as our BayouIcon. I met Melissa and Martha Ryan when I first moved back from Austin, and quickly fell in love with the duo. It wasn’t until I had children that I realized how much the Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum meant to our community. Read her story on page 156. Quick shout out to Henry McCoy, who was inadvertently left out of the photo credit in last month’s magazine for his image used in the Ruston Mainstreet’s advertisement. Looking for the best gifts this holiday season? Our comprehensive gift guide has something for even the most difficult person on your list. Find it on pages 268276. With all my love and thanks, we truly hope you enjoy reading this month’s issue of BayouLife Magazine. From our family to yours, Merry Christmas and happy holidays.

Cassie THE NUTCRAKER, PAGE 196 photo by Kelly Moore Clark

PUBLISHER Cassie Livingston EDITOR Maré Brennan ART DIRECTOR Melanie Moffett ADVERTISING MANAGER Ashley Hubenthal ADVERTISING SALES EXECUTIVE Amanda Singley ADVERTISING SALES EXECUTIVE Katelyn Tolbert CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Steven Atchison Jen Bays Avis Rebecka Barnes Maré Brennan Brandi Chambless Dan Chason Laura Clark Bill Cornelius Kenny Covington Shannon Dahlum Lou Davenport Michael DeVault John Dobbs Marcia Donald Thomas Estis, MD Cindy Gist Foust Lori French April Honaker

Heather Land Paul Lipe Erin Love Meredith McKinnie Dr. Timothy Mickel Guy Miller Melanie Moffett Evelyn O’Neal Dr. John Preston Parry Vanelis Rivera Cathi French-Roberts Delia Simpson P. Allen Smith Beatrice A. Tatem Phil Trahan Johnna Van Judy Wagoner

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Brad Arender Andrew Bailey Kelly Moore Clark Scarlett Garcia

Heather Land Sarah McElroy Emerald Mcintyre

ON THE COVER Comfort and Joy Fashion Shoot Models Jessica Granger and Ronnie Scott Photograph by Kelly Moore Clark BayouLife Magazine is published and distributed by Redbird Publishing, LLC. Circulation: 13,000 copies monthly. Postal subscriptions ($30) can be ordered online at www.bayoulifemag. com. BayouLife Magazine is not responsible for unsolicited photographs, manuscripts or other materials. Reproduction of contents without express written permission is prohibited. 6 DECEMBER 2018 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM


Alumni Spotlight ULM Alums: Kelsi Crain White and Mark White


ELSI CRAIN WHITE INITIALLY CHOSE ULM TO STAY close to home. A graduate of Ouachita Parish High School in 2008, she majored in kinesiology, and focused on pre-physical therapy. As a freshman, Kelsi represented ULM on the homecoming court and the Campus Activities Board. After being approached about entering the Miss ULM pageant, Kelsi declined. Just a freshman, she didn’t think she was ready for the responsibility. She competed her sophomore year and was crowned Miss ULM and went on to become Miss Louisiana in June of 2010 while representing her university. “I remember being so proud to be able to compete at Miss Louisiana as Miss ULM.” Joanie Golden, then leader of spirit groups, and Dr. Amy Weems were instrumental in Kelsi’s preparation for competition. She took the required year off to serve as the official hostess for the state of Louisiana and to compete at Miss America before returning to school at ULM. She finished her kinesiology degree in 2013, and graduated from the LSUS Health Sciences Center in 2016 with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. Mark White, a graduate of Ouachita Christian School, entered ULM on a baseball scholarship. Following an arm injury his freshman year, Mark remained on the baseball team for two more season until he ultimately decided to use his remaining eligibility as a member of the ULM football team. He graduated in business management in 2008. Mark spent one year as an environmental inspector for a company based out of Houston. The work required living away from his family and friends for extended periods of time, not something that he ultimately wanted to do throughout his career. While home, and during a discussion with his mother, both agreed Mark should continue with his original plan of going to law school. Mark came home to find his mother had signed him up for the LSAT. After passing, he immediately enrolled in law school at Southern University in Baton Rouge. Mark and Kelsi both recall people who were instrumental during their time at ULM. Dr. Bruce Walker was one of Mark’s business professors, with whom he remains in contact with today. Walker emphasized the importance of Mark’s studies, showing how it all translated to the workplace. Dr. Ulas Ograk was Mark’s advisor and helped him navigate his college career. Presidents James Cofer and Nick Bruno were serving during Kelsi’s ULM years, and she remembers both men calling students by name and being seen often around campus, seeming more approachable than their titles might suggest. Their roots in Monroe and ULM run deep. Kelsi’s grandmother, 8 DECEMBER 2018 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

Dorothy Crain, earned her degree in elementary education from the university and her grandfather, Willie Crain, served two terms as president of the booster club and was instrumental in acquiring the funding for the ULM library. Mark’s dad, Dean White, is a founding member of the ULM chapter of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. They also have many other family members, who are ULM alumni. Mark and Kelsi believe in roots and fostering hometown connections for the betterment of their community. ULM provided much more than just a great education for each of them. In November of 2012, ULM honored members of the football team that beat Alabama in 2007. Mark, a member of that team, returned to Monroe for the game at Warhawk stadium. Mark spotted Kelsi while at the game, and it wasn’t long after that football game that the two began a long-distance relationship. Kelsi in Shreveport at PT school and Mark in Baton Rouge working for the DA’s office. Often meeting in Monroe for the next few years, they called their distance “the triangle,” but it proved worth the travel. In July of 2015, Mark took Kelsi for a birthday dinner at Waterfront Grill. Don Weems took the couple on a boat ride up the bayou. That birthday dinner was actually a surprise engagement party as well, and Mark proposed right beside the water at the ULM Alumni Center in front of their family and friends. The location was fitting for the couple, who found each other on campus, even though their times there were staggered. The couple married in Monroe on July 16, 2016. After two more years in Baton Rouge, the two decided to move back to Monroe, close to family, to build one of their own. Kelsi now works as a PT at St. Francis Outpatient Rehab clinic, and Mark works for the Ouachita Parish DA’s office. They are happy to be back in their hometown of Monroe, and enjoy spending weekends with family and cheering on the Warhawks. They are excited to welcome their future Warhawk, Baby White, in March of 2019. The ULM Alumni Association reaches, connects and celebrates alumni and friends to build lifelong relationships, and commit to the university’s missions of academic freedom, scholarship, diversity, excellence, integrity and service. We represent alumni who honor the traditions of our university and who share a sense of achievement and pride. We create a network of professionals, establish scholarships and advocate for our University through community engagement. Members of the Alumni Association support countless initiatives, and annual memberships are just $35. To learn more or to become a member, please visit our new alumni network at

Coburn’s Kitchen & Bath Showroom Six Tips for a Happier, Less Stressful Holiday Season


T IS A UNIVERSAL TRUTH THAT the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas passes faster than any other time of the year. Our to-do lists get longer, while the days grow shorter as we work overtime to get ready for the holidays. But then, rather than relaxing and enjoying the festivities, many of us find ourselves working even harder. We worry about finding the perfect gift or dealing with the thornier branches of our family tree. We fret and clench our way through the holidays instead of really enjoying them. It doesn’t have to be that way. Here are a few tips to help you reclaim your Christmas spirit.

try to make the most of them. You can also create new traditions around the people and activities that bring you the most joy.

1. IT’S OKAY IF YOU’RE NOT MARTHA STEWART You can be a perfectionist during the holidays or you can actually enjoy them — but you can’t do both. Instead of trying to transform every inch of your home into a winter wonderland, pick one or two focal points, like your front door or a picture window. Go as crazy as you want, but only in those specific areas. You’ll get the oohing and aahing you’re after, without spending a small fortune at Hobby Lobby.

4. SERENITY NOW. As much as we love them, we all have family members that drive us crazy. This time every year we brace ourselves for the intrusive personal questions, unsolicited opinions and well-intentioned tactlessness of our nearest and dearest. The trick to managing this annual cringefest is to realize the only person you can control is you. Try to focus on the positive, and appreciate that the time you have together as a family is limited.

2. EVERYTHING IS OPTIONAL. Every family has its holiday traditions, but at some point you have to decide what really matters to you. It would be wonderful if you could attend every event, share in every meal and be present for every gathering, but you really can’t. Instead, decide which engagements are the most important and 10 DECEMBER 2018 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

3. PUT YOURSELF ON YOUR LIST. Don’t make the mistake of working so hard to create the perfect Christmas that you end up exhausted and under the weather when the big day comes. Yes, everyone is busy, but that’s no reason to neglect your health during the germiest time of the year. Make sure you’re getting enough rest, staying hydrated and sticking to your normal routine as much as possible. There’s nothing worse than being sick during the holidays.

5. DON’T LEAVE THEM GUESSING. Many hurt feelings during the holidays arise from misunderstandings. We expect our loved ones to be mind readers and to intuit our wishes and needs — which only sets everyone up for disappointment. This holiday season, have pity on your family and friends by telling them clearly what you want and need. If it means a lot to you to

have everyone together at a certain time, say so. If you’re worried about the questionable gift your sister wants to get your kids, speak up. Clearly articulating your expectations is the best way to avoid confusion and hurt feelings. 6.TAKE IT OUTSIDE. If you find your blood pressure rising and are tempted to do something that will land you on the naughty list, the quickest fix is to get away from the situation — preferably outside. The cooler air and open space should help you regain your composure and remember the reason for the season. Pushing each other’s buttons is what families do best, but you always have the option to take a few deep breaths and just let it go. If that doesn’t work, there’s always wine. COUNT ON COBURN’S If you have visions of a new kitchen or an updated bathroom dancing in your head, visit a Coburn’s Kitchen & Bath Showroom in West Monroe or Ruston for ideas, options and guidance. Our design consultants and staff will take the stress out of the shopping experience and help you create a space you’ll enjoy for many holidays to come. For outstanding customer service, including timely delivery, stop by a Coburn’s Kitchen & Bath Showroom today.

Seasonal Snacks and Sippers Beer Infused Recipes for the Holidays



HE HOLIDAYS ARE A TIME TO slow down, reconnect with family, and, of course, eat and drink! Beer is such a versatile ingredient, whether it is used in cooking or the creation of a delicious holiday cocktail. Below are a few treats to make your holidays sparkle and keep your house guests jolly. Warm Beer and Cheese Dip 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard Pinch of cayenne 1/2 cup Newcastle Brown Ale 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 1 1/2 cups coarsely grated aged cheddar cheese (about 5 ounces) Kosher salt Pepper Sliced salami, whole wheat crackers and pretzels, for serving In a medium heavy bottom sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour, mustard and cayenne. Cook for about 3 minutes, whisking constantly, until the mixture is frothy and beginning to bubble. Add the ale and Worcestershire sauce and whisk until smooth. Cook for about 2 ½ more minutes, whisking occasionally, until the mixture is bubbling and has thickened slightly. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the cheese. Cook until the cheese has melted and the consistency is smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Scrape the dip into a bowl and serve with salami, crackers and pretzels. 12 DECEMBER 2018 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

PBR Braised Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce 1 1/2 pounds extra-large shrimp 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced 1 head of garlic, cut in half crosswise 1 rosemary sprig 1 chile de árbol, crushed One 12-ounce can of Pabst Blue Ribbon 2 lemons, halved 2 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning 1/2 cup ketchup 1 tablespoon drained prepared horseradish 2 1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice 1 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha 3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce Using kitchen shears, cut along the back of each shrimp shell and remove the intestinal vein. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, rosemary and chile and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and just starting to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the beer and simmer until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the lemon halves, Old Bay, and 5 cups of water to the saucepan and bring just to a simmer. Add the shrimp and poach over low heat until just cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp, onion, garlic and lemon halves to a platter to cool slightly. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the ketchup with the horseradish, lemon juice, Sriracha and Worcestershire. Serve the shrimp at room temperature with the cocktail sauce.

Kimchi Micheladas 6 small Thai chile peppers 3/4 cup fresh lime juice 1/2 cup kimchi juice 6 12oz Bottles of Dos Equis Lager Ice Kimchi skewers, Cilantro sprigs, and Lime wedges, for garnish In a pitcher, muddle the chile peppers with the lime and kimchi juices, then gently stir in the beer. Pour into ice-filled glasses. Garnish with kimchi skewers, cilantro sprigs and lime wedges. Cranberry-Orange Sangria 2 cups orange juice, cold ½ cup cranberry juice ½ cup orange flavored liqeur ¼ cup tequila 2 oranges, thinly sliced Sprigs of fresh rosemary Sprigs of fresh thyme Handful of fresh cranberries 6 (12 ounce) bottles Blue Moon In a very large pitcher or bowl, combine the orange juice, orange liqueur, tequila, orange slices and herbs. Slowly pour in 3 bottles of the beer. Stir gently to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes. Then gently stir in the remaining 3 bottles of beer. Serve immediately. Be sure to like Choice Brands on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram to keep up with local happenings and new product releases.


Jesus the Good Shepherd Catholic School Blessed This Holiday Season


ESUS THE GOOD SHEPHERD CATHOLIC SCHOOL IS grateful this Advent and Christmas season for the countless number of volunteers, sponsors and donors who made our 4th JGS School Annual Fund Campaign and Fall Festival Celebration an outstanding success. Through the combined efforts of all involved, this annual event will continue as a school tradition. The success of our 2018 Annual Fund Campaign was due to our generous JGS families, grandparents, friends and parishioners. Their consistent support resulted in JGS School surpassing its $80,000 fundraising goal! Due to the consistent support of our annual fund campaign, JGS remains a leader in classroom technology and elementary STEM education in Northeast Louisiana. We were able to purchase an additional cart of 25 laptops, which brings our 4th-6th grade classes to a 1:1 device ratio. This enables teachers to use Google Classroom and Nearpod during classroom lessons with 1:1 student/device capability. We cannot put into words how thankful we are to our donors for their continued commitment to our school. Our families and friends, in true JGS style, arrived at the Fall Festival celebration ready to have a great evening full of fun and fellowship! There were many rides and games from Duvall’s Amusements, class carnival booths, a silent auction, fantastic food provided by the JGS Dad’s Club Grill, a country store full of homemade goodies and bingo in Moore Hall. Grandparents’ Day was the day before Fall Festival on Friday, October 26th with the children’s program in the JGS Church. It was a wonderful day, and we are very appreciative of our wonderful grandparents who came to share the day with us and their precious grandchildren. We would like to thank Mrs. Lori DiGuilian for the wonderful Grandparents’ Day program. The success of these events is due to the hard work and organization of some amazing volunteers! We would like to extend a big thank you to the following committee members and volunteers who worked tirelessly to make the biggest weekend of our school year a wonderful celebration: Christie and Michael Echols, Mallory Benedetto, Lillian Paxton, Sadye Richert, Susan Hopper, Jaclyn Hall, Miranda Hemrick, Andree Eddleman, Haley Pulliam, Julie Cain, Sandy Beasinger, Jada Banks, Missy McKenzie, Laura Bryant, Perry Estis, Felicia Hardwick, Lindsey Ingram, Tara McEnery, Marlo 14 DECEMBER 2018 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

Shepherd, Dana Tarver, Amy Taylor, Heather Haddad, Doneshia Gee, Kelly Rutz, Landyn Luffey, Emily McGee, Aimee Anthony, Audrey Malloy, Maddie Blackford, Amanda Bonney, Emily Casteel, Amanda Smith, Madelyn Mull, Alecia Traxler, Danielle Patrick, Gina Creel, Kristina Kight, Tam Middleton, Lauren Davis, Therese Nagem, Kristie Gammage, Caroline Brockman, Kasey Witherington, Tammy Sheridan, Ashley Tonore, Hope Myers, Valerie Daniel, Laurie Sylvestri, Kym Marsala, Misty McMullen, Anne Marie Sisk, Kaycee Garrett, Tommie Nolan, Shanny Hart, Courtney Holyfield, Jenny Pankey, Lori Gault, our amazing JGS Dad’s Club: Jason Wegener, Johnny Wade, Mark Holyfield, Justin O’Neal, Josh Myers, Sean Hammons, Jake Tan, Toby Guillory, Jott Delcambre, Gerald Tonore, James Gee, Chad Beasinger, Chris Ducote and Duvall’s Amusements, Kona Ice, Doe’s Eat Place, 88.7 The Cross, Herc Equipment Rental, Skent-N-Dent Appliance and JGS Friends and Family who cooked and supplied the amazing items to the country store. The Fall Festival Celebration, Annual Fund and Grandparents’ Day would not have been possible without the collective efforts of all involved and we are so grateful and humbled by the time, talent and hard work that went into making these events a successful family affair! We are truly blessed at Jesus the Good Shepherd with generous, selfless and dedicated family and friends who recognize the unique benefits of a Catholic education and Christ-centered school environment. By the grace of God, we are blessed with excellent certified and experienced teachers, whose focus is to provide a loving and secure atmosphere for all students. Just as Advent helps us to prepare our hearts and minds for the Christmas season and to remember the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ, we also remember those who have been so generous and giving throughout the year in support of our school. It only takes a glance around JGS school to see their generosity at work! Thank you for your continued support throughout the years, and we wish you all a very special Advent and Christmas season! Families interested in finding out more about Jesus the Good Shepherd Catholic School are encouraged to visit our website, www.jesusgoodshepherd. org, and Facebook page or contact the school office directly at 318-325-8569. Tours are given every Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. and by appointment with our principal, Mrs. Lisa Patrick.


In the Spirit of the Holiday Embracing the Goodness of the Season BY BEATRICE TATEM, PH.D., LPC-S, NCC, ACS


H, THE HOLIDAY SEASON! THIS TIME OF YEAR HAS become associated with giving, gratitude, grace, beauty, comfort, joy, peace, wonderment and magic. It is the time of the year when kindness and generosity become the norm and the social consciousness of society is awakened by bell ringers, volunteerism, and food, coat and toy drives. It is a season when the environment is alive with holiday music, the glow of bright lights and lit menorahs. It is a time when stockings are hung, wreaths are displayed, trees are erected and garland is everywhere. This time of the year traditions are revisited, memories are created and friends reconnect. It is the time of the year many, especially children, excitedly await. During this season, the meaning of the holiday is on our minds, expressed in our actions and felt in our hearts. Rich in meaning, the holiday season is a time for reflection, self-realization and enlightenment. The positive spirit of the holiday is what makes this time of the year special. Like most children, I looked forward to the holidays and creating a wish list of desired toys. I remember as a child sensing an energy in the air that felt magical. Like snowflakes, this magical feeling or holiday spirit wafted everywhere in the streets, among people, even in the stores. As depicted in the song “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” I interpreted the holiday spirit to mean if you were good you would magically receive presents. Over time, this childlike perspective would shift; I learned the true spirit of the holiday was more than receiving presents. My experience has been that people try their best to do good and to be a part of all that is good during the holiday season. It is this spirit that is needed more now than ever. And, yet, with so much going on in the world, getting in the holiday spirit for many seems to be slower and more difficult this year. I was reminded of the power of the holiday spirit when a young client said, “What I want for Christmas is for every child to get whatever they want and have what ever they need. I want every kid to have all the snacks they can eat and never get in trouble with their parents.” Like my young client, I, too, hope the day will come when every person will have peace, good health, plenty of food and the opportunity to feel the joy of the holidays. Get in the holiday spirit by giving and sharing; it has been found that giving and sharing are the best ways to feel the holiday spirit. Gift each other with experiences rather than stuff. Create memories, 16 DECEMBER 2018 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

mini traditions and spend time with loved ones. Take a time-out from materialism, choose thoughtful over buying, presence over presents, and do something spiritual, family oriented or non-materialistic. With a grateful heart, offer service whenever and where ever you can. Set aside time to do the things, with the people you have been wanting to spend time with and never do. When necessary, take a break from the frenzy of the holiday. Schedule breaks that are gratifying-put aside time to savor joy and joyous occasions as though they are finite. Make a big deal out of little moments. Make a mental picture of a good response or reaction and then reflect on it when needed. There is so much drama in the world that it is exhausting. Take a break from the day to day reality of the world. Turn off the news and turn on holiday music or a holiday movie. In this busy, highly charged, world of texts and emails, take time to connect with a distant friend with an afternoon visit by phone. Make a not to do list. Avoid overdoing your favorite things. Use the holiday season to spiritually expand. Forego traditions that are no longer meaningful or are more of a hassle than joy. Turn holiday stress into festive holiday excitement. In the holiday spirit give feverishly and share willingly. The spirit of the holiday demonstrates the collective goodness of humanity. Everyone deserves to feel the holiday spirit. My wish list for the holidays no longer consists of toys; instead, it consists of what I have learned to be in keeping with the spirit of the holiday. At the top of my holiday wish list, is for all to have mental and physical wellness and peace within their minds, hearts and spirit. My wish is for the spirit of the holiday toe continue throughout the year. On my wish list is for all to experience kindness, comfort and joy while keeping in mind those who cannot revel in the festivities of the holiday due to their circumstances. In our differences as to how we celebrate the holiday season may we recognize our commonalities shared by humanity. May the Spirit of the holiday be alive within us. For more information on counseling and outreach services contact Dr. Beatrice A. Tatem at Wellness Initiatives, LLC 1900 North 18th Street, Suite 414, Monroe, La 71201, 318-410-1555 or at


Washington Wine and Spirits Must-Have Items for Christmas and More


ERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY Holidays from all of us at Washington Wine and Spirits! This month, we want to talk to you about 12 items in our store that we have picked out as must have items for Christmas! Crauford Tattoo 2013 Napa Cab - This wine from the woods of Spring Mountain right above St. Helena will give you jammy, dark cherry and coffee notes on the palate and is extremely low production. Only 208 cases made, so get your bottles now! Vine Hill Ranch VHR 2014 Napa Cab - The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon has scored 97 points and is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. It offers up notes of cedar wood, forest floor, loamy earth, blackcurrants and a touch of background oak. It should drink well for the next 10-15+ years. Ken Wright Single Vineyard Pinot Noirs - Ken Wright is one of the most well-known names in Oregon Pinot Noir winemaking, and this year we were lucky enough to purchase 8 single vineyard offerings! From fruity to earthy, these wines are sure to please your palette. Quilt Cab and Chardonnay - The Quilt line of wines from the Wagner family have taken Monroe by storm! From their rich and buttery Chardonnay to their fruit forward, wine for every occasion Cabernet, Quilt is sure to make your holiday dinner a memorable one. 8 Years in the Desert 2017 Red Blend - Dave Phinney is at it again with his new Zinfandel heavy red blend. Zinfandel has always been one of Dave’s favorite varietals and it shows with this new offering from his Orin Swift line. 18 DECEMBER 2018 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

Redemption Wheated Bourbon - This has hands down been one of our shop’s favorite finds of the year. This whiskey is aged for four years in new oak barrels and bottled at 96 proof. Midleton Irish Whiskey - The 2017 edition of Midleton Very Rare is the 34th annual release from the Irish whiskey distillery and has been launched with new packaging and a new blend of 32-year-old grain whiskey and 26-year-old single pot still whiskey. Kavalan Whisky - These Taiwanese whiskies are beautifully packaged and hard to find and would make a great present for the rare whisky collector on your Christmas list! Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Bourbon Experience the bourbon that Whisky Advocate’s international reviewers consistently ranked #1 in a blind taste test against hundreds of whiskies from around the world. Barrell Whiskies - This amazing line of bourbons, whiskies and rye whiskies has been the darling of the internet whiskey community and has become some of the most sought after in the world! Come see our amazing lineup of these products. 1792 WWS Store Pick Barrels - Be sure to grab a bottle of the 1792 Single Barrel handpicked by the experts at WWS and a bottle of the 1792 Bottles In Bond handpicked by the master distiller at 1792! These one-of-akind bottles will make great stocking stuffers! Hennessy Master Blender’s No. 3 Master Blender’s No. 3 is a single batch, rare blend available for a limited time and will never be replicated. The third edition in the series is the very first creation of Renaud Fillioux de Gironde, the 8th generation Master Blender, who carefully selected each barrel for

its complementary personality and taste to define the blend’s character. Just a reminder that Washington Wine and Spirits and Doe’s Eat Place are teaming up to bring you our Family Feast for the Holidays! This is an incredible pairing of mouth-watering portions to please the whole family. Included in this amazing package are the following items: • 1 Pan of Salad with your choice of dressing • 1 Pan of Meatballs or Tamales with Chili • 1 Pan of our Potato Au Gratin • 1 Whole Ribeye or 2 Center Cut Tenderloins • 1 Pan of Bread Pudding or Cheesecake • 2 Bottles of Wine handpicked by the experts at Washington Wine and Spirits (minimum value of the wine is $250 combined) Our feast will feed a family of 8-10 people. Spend more time with friends and family and less time cooking as this is sure to be a holiday treat for everyone to enjoy for years to come! All of these items can also be purchased individually. Please call (318) 816-5067 for pricing inquiries. All items will be par cooked with heating instructions, so all you have to do is preheat the oven and set your timer! Orders will need to be placed by 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 19th for Christmas Day. We would love to cater your holiday parties and dinners this year here at Washington Wine and Spirits and Doe’s Eat Place! Don’t forget that Washington Wine and Spirits offers the Doe’s Eat Place uncooked steaks to take home and put on the grill or for your next trip to the hunting camp! So stop on by and get your steaks, wine and spirits all in one stop! We are open Monday-Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.




Artist Don Cincone talks about his life traveling the world and how he developed and refined his personal style through God’s inspiration. Article by April Clark Honaker | Photography by Kelly Moore Clark

ARTIST DON CINCONE is a man with such breadth of knowledge and experience it can’t be captured in a single conversation or a couple thousand words, which is why he’s working on a two-volume memoir about his life. Born in Alto, Louisiana, a small, unincorporated community in Richland Parish, Cincone has traveled the world, served in the U.S. Army, spent time on the east coast and the West Coast, and had his work featured in a major 1965 Technicolor film starring Dick Van Dyke, James Garner, Elke Sommer and Angie Dickinson. As a child, Cincone was always drawing. “There was never a time in my life that I didn’t want to be an artist,” he said. In the beginning, he drew mostly from imagination and recalls an instance when one of his creations inspired awe among his friends. They were convinced he’d drawn an elephant and wanted to know how he’d done it, since he’d never seen one. Driven by a desire to improve, Cincone found ways to challenge himself. One of the first big challenges he set for himself was to draw his grandfather’s Ford Model A in second grade. He was able to draw it but admits that he didn’t have the knowledge of perspective he needed at the time. “If I had understood at that point what I was not doing, I could have drawn it much earlier,” he said. When he got a little older, Cincone saw the Famous Artists School advertised in a magazine and decided to apply. The school was founded by team of artists led by Albert Dorne and Norman Rockwell. Its purpose was to make high-quality art instruction accessible to the general public. At the same time, the school had admission standards, and Cincone applied multiple times before being accepted in eighth grade. After his drawing was accepted, a traveling salesperson from the

school contacted Cincone’s family and came to interview them. Soon, Cincone was enrolled in a correspondence course taught by some of the country’s top illustrators. In the course, he was taught new skills, critiqued and graded. It was a period of great growth and development for him in the area of technical skill. Although he was born in Alto, Cincone spent most of his childhood and teenage years in Monroe, Louisiana, and graduated from Carroll High School. At the time, Carroll did not have a visual arts curriculum, but the principal was supportive of the arts, and there was an art club sponsored by supportive faculty. Naturally, Cincone became involved in this club, which developed a competitive spirit. During their first year competing in the district art contest, Cincone won first place in a category of oil painting and also in watercolor. That year, four students from their club earned the right to compete in the state competition at Southern University in Baton Rouge. Unfortunately, Cincone said they were accused of cheating and told that high school students could not create work of their caliber. Although he was disappointed, Cincone said, “It also inspired me.” Afterward, Cincone made a plan and studied what pieces had won. He also decided that knowing more about the competition itself and the judges would increase his chances of success. One particular judge from Tuskegee, Alabama, practiced a method known as the inside-out method of drawing and claimed it was Leonardo da Vinci’s method. Cincone took it upon himself to learn this method, and when he competed the following year, he earned first place in oil and watercolor, as well as second place in sculpture, at the state competition.


hile he was still in high school, Cincone also found a way to make money using the skills he’d been building. During his junior year, he started working for Central Sign Company in Monroe. At the time, they employed two sign painters, when Cincone described as excellent artists, but they had one particular job they found difficult to manage. The assignment was to create a cowboy sign for Saddle and Spur Restaurant, located at the corner of North 18th Street and Louisville Avenue. According to Cincone, the size and proportions for the sign were not ideal, but he was able to produce a successful design, so it was blown up and used. Together, his work at the sign company and his constant practice equipped Cincone to paint and draw when he graduated from high school. However, Cincone knew he still had room for improvement. Although he had wanted to pursue art in college, there were few options for him at the time. Cincone graduated from high school in 1955 and said segregation didn’t truly end in Louisiana until well into the 1970s. While Southern University, a historically black college, offered courses for those interested in teaching art, it did not have a fine arts track at the time. Cincone was more interested in making a career as an artist than in teaching art. Because Southern didn’t offer what he needed, Cincone decided to enlist in the Army. Then, while stationed in Germany, he said, “I was inspired to create a course of study in the art of painting, which took me from Copenhagen to Rome and to many points in between.” Cincone essentially charted his own course and studied the things he felt would benefit him most. He’d always been motivated to learn as much as he could, and Europe, with its rich artistic history, offered endless opportunities. According to Cincone, the path he followed through Europe was curated by the Holy Spirit. He recalls being in Copenhagen, where he didn’t know of many outstanding visual artists at the time, but he was inspired instead by other European artists and by the literature and music. He’d always been connected to literature and music—his mom wrote poetry, and he enjoyed being part of choral groups in high school and college. But Copenhagen truly broadened his horizons. He encountered Kierkegaard and Hans Christian Andersen, and he visited the castle that was featured in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” Overall, his time in Copenhagen had a profound effect and deepened his understanding of the scope of art. Afterward, he had a greater sense of the interconnectedness of all creative endeavors. “I began to understand how all of this comes together,” he said, “and it comes from the same place-inspired of God and centered in feeling.” One of the greatest lessons Cincone has learned in his life as an artist is to listen. “I listen to the feeling, but I listen first to the inspiration,” he said. “As I start, I listen to both of them, not in the physical sense but in the intuitive sense. And that happens in silence. Quietness is the incubator for all that is created.” This lesson came to him in Venice, while out one evening with a German professor of European history. As they walked, the professor would describe the details of each building’s past. But what Cincone noticed most in those moments, even amidst the ferries and the footsteps and voices of other tourists, was the fact that everything still seemed strangely quiet. After pondering the strange quietness, he realized the reason he could still make out so many sounds in the busy city, even quiet ones, was the absence of cars. There is no automobile traffic in Venice.




“I listen to the feeling,

for recognition and sales, but Cincone had gotten incone said his journey but I listen first to the his foot in the door through sheer painting ability. through Europe helped In the beginning, he achieved success with still him grow creatively and inspiration.” lifes of fruits done realistically, and eventually he spiritually in such a way added flowers and a few other things. Cincone that he could allow God’s said he was painting for the agency during the day from 7 a.m. to inspiration to flow through him. He could 5 or 6 p.m. But then, after spending some time with his wife and interpret that inspiration through the mediums he kids, he would get up again around 1 a.m. and paint for himself. chose—painting and drawing. At the same time, however, Cincone “What I was really doing,” he said, “was searching for my style.” had yet to develop his own personal style. He saw the signature During those private moments in the middle of the night, Cincone style of all the masters—Rembrandt, Ruben etc. According to found himself returning to that uninhibited place children inhabit Cincone, their work was distinctive—recognizable. “They didn’t so naturally, and an evolution happened. His style evolved into really have to sign if you knew their work,” he said, “and I knew that was one of the most significant achievements you could ever something resembling the work he continues to produce today. have as an artist.” Cincone strived for that, and he’d developed During that time of evolution and discovery, Cincone’s first wife Katherine said something to him that gave him a many technical skills that allowed him to imitate the style of the masters he’d studied, but at that point in time didn’t yet have a fresh perspective. She would often help him load work he was transporting to the agency, and she had a knack for recognizing distinctive, recognizable style of his own. the work that would be accepted, as well as the work that would Despite not having a personal style, Cincone was in search of it. He recalls the day before he left Alto to move to Monroe. One of be returned. On one particular day, she was convinced that so the family’s friends, a woman they called Miss Stell, hugged him many pieces would be coming back that Cincone felt compelled to respond. He’d always felt she was an artist even though she and kissed him, and her last words to him were “Be yourself.” “I was struck by that,” Cincone said. He didn’t truly understand didn’t think of herself that way, but in that moment, he said, “You don’t know anything about art.” Her response was perfect. the significance of the words back then and even found himself thinking, “How can I be anyone other than me?” But as he She said, “You’re right. I don’t know anything about art, but I struggled to define himself as an artist and to find his place in the know what I like.” Cincone said those words finally struck home world, those words took on new significance. for him. He realized that he could have the greatest idea in the world, but if no one liked it because of the way he presented it, Cincone didn’t develop a style all his own until he was that would be a problem. As a result, he started to think more working at an art agency in California that represented 350 other talented artists. They were essentially competing with each other about how people responded to his work, especially with regard


to color. Flowers and the way they express color were particularly inspirational. In his entire time in Los Angeles, Cincone said he only encountered one person who didn’t like flowers. “Flowers have color,” he said. “There’s not a limit to what flowers might express in color.” After considering his wife’s words, Cincone began to apply more of the principles of color that he’d learned during his studies in Europe. He also learned a great deal about color through collaborations with interior designers. “The way they group colors and how they make their presentations creates an exquisitely beautiful place,” he said. As he continued to refine his style, Cincone painted what his agency wanted, but he also started to bring in some of his own

work for consideration. At first, the agent didn’t think anyone would be interested in the new work, but one day, the agent’s wife caught a glimpse of it and felt differently. As a result, she asked if she could personally consign four of his more distinctive pieces. The next week, she’d sold all four. “The style took off,” Cincone said. People like Vincent Price and Godfrey Cambridge bought his work, and it was at that time that he took on the name Cincone. His last name at birth had actually been Wills, but the agent suggested he go with something that deliberately sounded European, because the European painters were in vogue at the time, and he felt Cincone’s work fit well with their style. Shortly after Cincone started seeing success, film producer Ross Hunter

approached the agency in search of an artist whose work would be a good fit for his film “The Art of Love,” which would star James Garner, Dick Van Dyke, Elke Sommer and Angie Dickinson. Hunter saw some of Cincone’s work and loved it. He ultimately commissioned 85 paintings for use in the film and even commissioned a piece for his own collection. “That movie did much to launch my career,” Cincone said. However, as an African American, he also experienced some discrimination in the midst of his success. He learned that some of the movie’s staff complained when they learned he was black. Fortunately, the head of the props department defended Cincone, but when the movie was finished, his name did not appear in the credits. According to Cincone, it was common practice to omit African Americans from credits at the time. Fortunately, much has been done since then to document their stories and restore their recognition. Cincone said that “The Art of Love” is now archived in a collection at the University of Southern California that was created for this purpose. “I have far better credits now,” he said, “and that has been meaningful.” Since achieving success in California, Cincone has continued to paint in a style all his own, and he credits God as the sole source of his inspiration. “Ideas come to me,” he said. “Inspiration is like a lone spark in a million midnights, and then it’s gone.” But Cincone said his memory of the image is not as important as how he felt in that moment. What draws him to painting also draws him closer to God. Over time, Cincone said he’s also learned how special it is to be connected with like-minded people. “I’ve learned I need people who need people,” he said, “People whose aspiration is to seek good for others and contribute to all of humanity, and that’s what drives me. If I have any semblance of an anchor as far as personality, that has to be a big part of it.” When Cincone paints, he does so largely for others. “One of my biggest awakenings,” he said, “has been to see that in what I receive from God, there is a message. It’s a communion, and in time, I’ve learned that the message that’s given to me doesn’t stop with me. It now inhabits the painting. Each person gathers to themselves something from the Creator that came through me, the conduit, and that, for me, is really the finishing of the painting, and in a sense, it’s never finished, because it becomes intergenerational.” For Cincone, knowing that such a message, captured in a moment of communion with God, continues to touch people’s hearts for the life of the painting is deeply rewarding.


Tattoo Blue

Save the Date for St. Frederick High School’s Annual Fundraiser


RE YOU READY FOR A ROCK ‘N ROLL NIGHT TO remember? How about the most brilliant Rolling Stones songs to dance the night away? Mark your calendars for a spectacular “Tattoo Blue” evening as St. Frederick High School hosts its annual fundraiser and auction at Bayou DeSiard Country Club on Saturday, February 2, 2019. To ”Start You Up,” you will fancy one-of-a-kind auction items. Featuring a wide array of exotic travel packages, decadent local dining choices, weekend getaways for girls or guys, relaxing beach trips, hunting trips, exciting sports packages and even a new furry companion to adopt, there is definitely something for everyone. The selection of original art pieces and bespoke collector’s items you won’t find anywhere else will keep you bidding until the final call. We want all our guests to enjoy the evening while supporting a great cause and have on the menu British inspired fare and an array of festive spirits. The amazing music of the internationally known band, Satisfaction, will make sure “Wild Horses” couldn’t keep you away. Saturday, February 2, 2019, will be brilliantly fantastic with Rolling Stones music to keep you more than a tad entertained! The St. Frederick Parents’ Association is proud to host this evening as funds raised will go toward many current and on-going project and improvements. Our Warrior family’s support has been a valuable link in maintaining and improving our school. Please consider becoming a “Tattoo Blue” sponsor to help in our efforts that include improving our students’ parking, providing teacher holiday bonuses, coordinating Fun Food Friday, hosting the new parents orientation, contributing funding for safety technology, and organizing teacher appreciation week for all our dedicated teachers, staff and administration. What a brilliant way to have a marvelous return on your tax deductable investment! Whether you are an alumni, parent, grandparent, future Warrior family, or just enjoy supporting our area schools, we are excited to share that your participation is the cornerstone for so many positive things! Just in the last year alone, St. Frederick’s has incorporated many state-of-theart technology advances with Chromebooks implemented for students, increasing the number of on-line courses and continuing technologydriven instruction for all our students. Security system upgrades are in place, as well as new monitoring cameras and secure campus entry protocols to continue the goal of student and teacher safety. Academic standings are at an all-time high with various leadership, cultural 26 DECEMBER 2018 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

and arts clubs being recognized at the state level. The building of the new softball and baseball enhancements, the success of our dedicated winning football team, and continued track and field state competitors, has helped to renew our school spirit while showcasing our amazing student body. Our mission is to nurture students to be living examples of the teachings of Jesus Christ in an atmosphere of academic excellence. We are proud of the legacy our school is leaving for the next generation! Choose from one of the sponsorship levels below: Emotional Rescue $2,500: A package for 8 including event tickets, designated table, T-shirts, custom LED party cups, wristbands for free premium drinks all night, British-themed party favors, personal wait staff and bartenders for your table, free transportation to and from the event, signage at the event and recognition in event publicity. Jumping Jack Flash $1,500: A package for 8 including event tickets, table for 8, T-shirts, custom LED party cups, wristbands for free premium drinks all night, British-themed party favors, signage at the event and recognition in event publicity. Start Me Up $1,000: A package for 6 including event tickets, T-shirts, custom LED party cups, wristbands for free premium drinks all night, British-themed party favors, signage at the event and recognition in event publicity. Wild Horses $500: A package for 4 including event tickets, T-shirts, custom LED party cups, wristbands for free premium drinks all night, British-themed party favors, signage at the event and recognition in event publicity. Can’t Always Get What You Want $250: A package for 2 including event tickets, T-shirts, custom LED party cups, wristbands for free premium drinks all night, British-themed party favors, signage at the event and recognition in event publicity. We invite everyone in the community to enjoy a memorable and fun night of entertainment shared with family and friends. Please save the date for February 2, 2019, for St. Fred’s featuring music by international band, Satisfaction. Your best Rolling Stones attire is optional and having a sensational night is guaranteed “Satisfaction!” Tickets are $50 per person. For sponsorship questions or more information please contact Jill Wier at or Michelle Moore at


The Secret Is Out

The Woman’s Clinic Is Now Offering Expanded Services For Woman’s Health and Beauty


O, THIS IS A NEW SPACE FOR YOU to see us? You know us; The Woman’s Clinic has been around for more than 50 years. One of us probably delivered your children or maybe you came to see us for a treatment that improved your quality of life. We’ve always been there for you when you needed us. So why are we here now? Well, it’s always been the mission of The Woman’s Clinic to provide total care for today’s woman. To live up to that, there are times we must expand the care we provide. In today’s world, confidence and lifestyle satisfaction are part of caring for today’s woman. With that in mind, we knew it was time to expand our services to provide that care. To decide the best way to help improve the confidence and lifestyle satisfaction for women in Northeast Louisiana, we wanted to offer a range of services that would be able to accommodate a variety of different patient needs. We settled on three treatment types that offer the range of services we were looking for. In a recent survey of American women, 70% worry about developing a tummy bulge. 81% are concerned about maintaining their body shape and 45% are afraid cellulite will remain a concern. To address this, we will be offering a non-invasive body contouring product called Velashape. VelaShape III™ technology combines infrared light and bipolar radio frequency. This type of system stimulates the growth of new and better collagen and elastin. Velashape has been clinically proven to work on a variety of different treatments including: • Cellulite Reduction • Body Contouring


• Shrinking of Fat Cells • Skin Tightening In clinical trials, the body contouring power of Velashape led to a reduction of one whole dress size after treatment. Each treatment lasts about fifteen minutes and most patients describe the treatment as feeling like a warm massage. For many women, skin imperfections can impact self-confidence. We also know women considering facial rejuvenation procedures are inhibited by high cost, pain, downtime and side effects. We found that Sublative and Sublime skin treatments are an ideal solution. Sublative treatments improve the superficial imperfections of skin’s tone and texture by precisely directing bi-polar radio frequency into the skin. Healthy skin around the treated area accelerates the healing process of the skin and new collagen and skin cells are produced. Sublime treatments improve facial contour and overall skin quality by heating dermal tissue with combined bi-polar radio frequency and light energy, stimulating collagen production. Both treatments have been clinically proven to treat the following: • Stretch marks • Acne scaring • Reduce fine lines and wrinkles • Eye rejuvenation These treatments provide the results you desire without the worry of more invasive procedures. They penetrate more deeply than creams and peels and address your skin’s overall tone and texture more effectively than injectables. And while results with more invasive procedures may be dramatic, few are

willing to incur the cost, risk or downtime. While we’ve always been your go to place for gynecology, we are always expanding treatment there as well. No woman wants to lack confidence with intimacy. It is an important part of everyone’s satisfaction with life. To help with this, we will offer an in-office non-surgical treatment that uses laser energy in gynecological applications called CO2RE Intima. CO2RE Intima is a medical laser that delivers controlled C02 energy to the tissue improving skin tone, texture and appearance. Among its many uses it has been proven to treat the following: • Mild to moderate urinary incontinence • Helps correct post child birth and menopausal changes • Non-hormonal treatment for dryness • Improved confidence with intimacy We know the thought of laser treatments in such a personal area may give some women pause. CO2RE Intima is FDA approved for a range of gynecological uses and patients experience mild to no discomfort with little downtime. If you would like to hear more about any of these options, please give us a call at (318)388-4030 to schedule a consultation. You can also visit us online at thewomansclinic. net and request a consultation. Be sure to like us on Facebook and Instagram for the latest updates and information from The Woman’s Clinic, too. Pictured Above – Bottom Row: Dr. Erin Gullatt, Dr. Sara Klug, Dr. Dawn Pennebaker, Dr. Adrienne Williams; Top Row: Dr. Amber Shemwell, Dr. Jason Wilson, Dr. David Bryan, Dr. Terry Tugwell, Dr. Won Lee, Dr. Laura Petty




Cypress The dwarf lemon cypress, Cypress macrocarpa, is a great choice for a houseplant. This small tree usually does not grow taller than 3 feet, making it perfect for indoor containers. The tree has many admirers, thanks to its green-yellow needle-like foliage, a conical growth pattern that can be easily trimmed into topiaried shapes and its bright, fresh citrus smell. If you are thinking of growing lemon cypress, you’ll need to understand basic rules of lemon cypress care. If you decide to start grow lemon cypress trees indoors as houseplants, remember that they do best with cool indoor temperatures, the lower the better in the winter. Place your potted lemon cypress in a sunny window that receives at least 6 to 8 hours of sun and turn your container regularly to maintain even growth. Deep watering at least once a week or whenever soil is dry is essential for plant health, but take care that your plant’s pot drains properly so that roots don’t sit in water. Trim with sharp pruners to maintain your desired shape. Photo by Kelly Moore Clark.



Westlakes Estates Subdivision One of West Monroe’s Premier Neighborhoods


TTRACTIVE WOODLANDS AND LANDSCAPED properties can be found in Westlakes’ newest addition to the established subdivision. With newly constructed homes and lots available, Westlakes Estates is offering an upscale neighborhood with easy access to The City of West Monroe and all it has to offer. Whether you have a family or are single, this subdivision is close to shopping, dining, hospitals, entertainment, parks and great schools. A perfect place to build a future. An amenity that make this neighborhood so appealing is the very progressive, underground utilities. This is a safer, more attractive way to install cables. Not only does this create a visually appealing street, but it provides for a lower percentage of transmission losses. Decorative streetlights will be in place by these underground power lines, helping to light the streets at night for safety, while enhancing the beauty of the neighborhood. One can never be too safe when looking for a home to raise your children. Located in one of West Monroe’s best school districts, Westlakes is zoned for Claiborne Elementary, Westridge Middle and West Monroe High School. This school zone is guaranteed to set your child or children up for a great education. This neighborhood is in a secluded area close to town and provides an amazing place to raise a family. Builders are welcome, as there are empty, affordable lots available. The average lot size is 70 x 138, giving just the right amount of lawn space. All lots and homes have natural gas available, as well. Four homes are now available for purchase with similar amenities! 119 Westlakes Drive, one of the homes featured, is approximately 1,938 HSQFT, 2,916 total, with an open floor plan -- this could be the home for you! The decorative fireplace in the living room is so beautiful. It acts as a focal point for the room and stands as a piece of art in itself. The living room is most likely the most popular room of the house and where you would spend most of your time. Warm and inviting, this living room and its amazing fireplace will be your favorite spot to spend time with family and friends. Gas heat, an instant hot water heater and a decorative gas fireplace pull the entire living room and kitchen area together and keep things cozy. This home has beautiful granite countertops in the kitchen, as well as in the bathrooms. The kitchen has ample amounts of counter 32 DECEMBER 2018 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

space, plenty of cabinets and a walk-in pantry making cooking dinner for the family a breeze. It also includes LG stainless steel appliances and refrigerator. Complete with recessed lights, this spacious kitchen is perfect for entertaining, helping with homework or simply making memories. Ceramic wood-look tile floors flow throughout the home in all public spaces of the home, making one harmonized look for the open floor plan. In every part of the home one can find closets and ample storage space, making it easy to hide clutter and keep your home looking amazing. The master bath has a custom detailed tile shower along with a garden tub, his and hers sinks and a large walk-in closet plenty of space to make this your own personal oasis. The garage has a 6x6 storage closet, adding to the amount of storage throughout the home. In the back yard, one will find a large covered back porch and professional landscaping that continues to the front of the house. Also, this house comes with one year paid garbage services as added value. This is truly a beautiful home and neighborhood for you and your loved ones. The other homes featured are 108 Westlakes Drive, which is approximately 2,259 HSQFT with four bedrooms and two bathrooms, and 120 Westlakes Drive with a HSQFT of 2,231 and has three bedrooms, two full and one half bath. There is also 117 Westlakes Drive. It has 2,118 HSQFT with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The home at 108 Westlakes Drive has a HSQFT of 2,259 and three bedrooms and two bathrooms. They all include most of the same features listed above. With great features like these, one can imagine being in your brand new home just in time for the holidays. With 25 lots available, one is able to build their dream home in the perfect, upcoming neighborhood. Find your place within this one-of-a-kind woodland neighborhood. To schedule a tour or if you have any questions, please call Agent and Owner Brad Smith at 318512-1903. Westlakes Estates Subdivision Brad Smith 318-512-1903


Must-have Fresh Herbs to Have On-Hand

This Holiday Season AR T ICL E BY P. AL L EN SMIT H


was sitting in my kitchen earlier today putting together menus for the upcoming holidays. I try to create meals that combine some of my family’s classic traditional recipes -think Reverend Smith’s Holy Duck Gumbo and Aunt Jamie’s Cookies -- along with a few new dishes that will hopefully dazzle the crowd. One thing most of my holiday menus have in common is the use of fresh herbs. You just can’t get around the enhanced flavor and improved presentation that you get if you have the opportunity to cook “fresh.” You can usually find fresh herbs at the grocery store, but if you’re really lucky, you’ll have your own herb garden on a windowsill or bright corner of the kitchen. There’s something special about being able to say, “Thanks, I grew it myself.” (This is reminding me of an occasion when I served fresh lemon squares to friends and was able to say that, in addition to baking the dessert, I also “...grew the lemons myself.” A boast I was thrilled to make!) There are several herbs I try to always keep on hand this time of year, because so many recipes call for them, and not just main dishes, either, but also appetizers, desserts and even cocktails. In addition, herbs like rosemary, thyme and sage look good on the kitchen counter or dinner table as part of a bouquet. Here are a few of my favorites, along with some ideas about how you might work them into your dinner (and dessert) repertoire. Rosemary -- This is an especially versatile herb that you can use to season fruit salad, lamb, chicken, pork, stews, soups and sauces. Because it has such a strong flavor, most cooks will add it to dishes sparingly, then build up the taste as needed. I have a favorite Rosemary Cookie recipe that uses a butter or sugar cookie recipe as its base, combined with two small-but-mighty teaspoons of chopped fresh rosemary. Serve them to guests with some hot tea or coffee and be a hero. Thyme -- As popular in the kitchen 34 DECEMBER 2018 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

as a microwave oven, fresh thyme can enhance nearly all meats and vegetables. It’s a true utility player. You can sauté some cubed butternut squash in a pan with some butter and chopped thyme -- the clean simplicity of this dish is elegant and filling, as well. Parsley -- I hardly need to say it, but parsley is the cornerstone of the herbal kitchen. Flat-leaf (or Italian) parsley is what you’ll find listed in most recipes as an ingredient, with its curly-leafed sibling most often playing the role of garnish. But this herb can be so much more than just a dash of color. Its light, fresh, peppery and anise flavor complements most dishes. I recommend chopping up a cup or two and adding it to any salad for a boost of vitamin A and folic acid. Sage -- This herb is the one most often associated with the holidays because its a matchmaker’s dream with turkey and dressing. In addition, it works well with roasts, stews and many meat and dairy dishes. It can also be a surprise ingredient in a before- or after-dinner cocktail, like the delightfully named Sage Bee’s Knees Cocktail, which includes honey, gin, fresh squeezed lemon juice and fresh sage leaves. Even though I like sage, I’d try that cocktail based on the name alone. Just thinking about some of these ingredients has inspired me to up my game in the kitchen this holiday season. Wouldn’t it be fun to have an herbinspired meal where every course, including cocktails, features dishes with fresh herbs? I’m going to add that idea to my entertaining list, and I hope you do, too.

Top to Bottom: Rosemary is an easy herb to grow. A native of the Mediterranean, it prefers a warm, sunny and dry environment (photo by Jane Colclasure). There are so many herbs that you can cultivate indoors, and also use in hearty winter recipes (photo by Mark Fonville). Purple sage is beautiful paired with purple basil and lavender (photo by Jane Colclasure). Is there anything that can’t be made better with a little thyme? There are so many uses for this herb (photo by Karen Segrave).

Rosemary Cannellini Soup From P. Allen Smith’s Seasonal Recipes from the Garden Cookbook 4 15-ounce cans of cannellini beans 4 green onions, white and green parts, chopped 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano leaves 1 fresh sage leaf, finely chopped 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling 2 cups vegetable broth or water Drain the beans. Combine half of the beans with the green onions, herbs, salt, pepper and olive oil in a food processor fitted with the metal blade and puree. Transfer the puree to a large, heavy saucepan, and pour in the vegetable broth. Mix well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Stir in the remaining whole beans and simmer for 10 minutes more. Drizzle with a little olive oil, and serve hot. Serves 8

Rosemary, curly parsley, and cilantro are herbs I think you’ll find growing to be very rewarding (photo by Hortus, Ltd.).

Thyme is easy to grow in the garden or a container (photo by Jane Colclasure).

P. Allen Smith is an author, television host and conservationist with a passion for American style. His show “Garden Home” airs on LPB, KLTM, KLPA and AETN. Check your local listings for “Garden Style.” Smith uses his Arkansas home, Moss Mountain Farm, as an epicenter for promoting the local food movement, organic gardening and the preservation of heritage poultry breeds. He created his farm to serve as a place of inspiration, education and conservation and provides visitors from around the country with tours of his property, which may be booked at




ho doesn’t love a countdown to that most special birthday of the year — the remembrance of the birth of Baby Jesus? An Advent calendar is a special calendar used to count the days in Advent, leading to Christmas. The first Advent calendars appeared in the Lutheran Christian communities in Germany during the 19th century.

Traditionally, Advent calendars feature nativity or Santa Clause motifs, but modern Advent calendars range in themes and come in a myriad of forms. Each day a window, door or box on the calendar is opened to reveal an image, a portion of the Nativity story, or small gift such as a toy or chocolate, making the advent calendar a way to celebrate the Season.

Photography by KELLY MOORE CLARK Here, designer and local Christmas tradition aficionado Taylor Bennett has created a modern, simplified version of an Advent calendar, wrapping small presents, labeled and numbered for each day of Advent, and hanging each from a cypress garland with skeins of yarn in warm holiday colors and accented with cinnamon sticks, dehydrated orange slices and cypress twigs.


Simmering memories It’s been said that our sense of smell is deeply tied to memory. If true nothing brings to mind the holidays more than a simmering pot of citrus, apples, cinnamon, cloves, rosemary and more. Could simmer pots have been our first collective foray into aromatherapy. Just a whiff conjures feelings of good cheer and gathering with family to celebrate the true joys of the Season. Bring this recipe to a simmer on your stove top and the smell will have you reminiscing about holidays past and slowing down to enjoy the present! Photography by KELLY MOORE CLARK Styled by TAYLOR BENNETT

I REMEMBER remembering the greatest gift of all this holiday season a r t i cl e by PAUL L I PE

I REMEMBER how, as a youngster, Christmas was that special time

It is to everyone’s benefit, then, that when another person shows of year when we received toys – and it was a much-anticipated holiday. us some kindness, we respond with some expression of thanks. When We could not wait for December 25 to come – it seemed like it took another does something nice for us, our appropriate response is to let forever, and whoever coined the phrase “As slow as Christmas” surely him know that we are pleased and grateful. That is the least we can do every time we are on the “receiving did have it right. However, for most end.” It is especially important that children today, “Christmas” comes we express our thanks to the One much more often as, throughout the Who is the Source of every good that whole year, grandparents and parents comes into our lives. shower gifts on those little ones whom As much pleasure as I have we love so much. Then, as December in receiving gifts, something has 25 approaches, we adults struggle to happened to me as I have grown older come up with something that the kids -- giving to others has become more do not already have! How times have fun than “getting” from them. Not changed! Do you think that is why much will warm my heart like seeing the malls start pushing Christmas one I love take delight in something I items a couple of months before the have given them or something I have big day – is it because we adults need done for them. (To my children for a lot more time to select the right gift? whom this article is required reading: Probably most of us are pleased despite what I have just written, it is that our nation and, as a result, our still O. K. for you to experience the joy families have been so blessed that of giving to your old Dad!) our giving of gifts is not restricted Since Christmas is a time for giving to just one day a year. At the same gifts, it is also a time for giving thanks. time, many may be bothered that our With this in mind, please allow me prosperity has also resulted in the loss to direct your thoughts toward that of grateful hearts; we have so much “ EXPRESS YOUR THANKS TO HIM greatest of all Christmas Gifts and to that one more gift does not make that WHO GAVE HIS BEST TO THOSE the One Who gave that gift to us. And, much difference. For instance, getting if you have accepted that Gift, let me a new bike may be nice, but the fact WHOM HE LOVED SO DEEPLY.” encourage you to express your thanks that we already have a pretty good bike can put a damper on our feeling of thanks. We are much poorer to Him Who gave His Best to those whom He loved so deeply. Join me in doing this during the Christmas season – every time when we lose the grace of being thankful. Trey, our oldest grandchild, sets a pretty high standard for our we give or receive a gift, let us take the time to stop and give thanks other Grands in the way he expresses gratitude. Every time the family is for God’s Gift of His Son. I am confident that the Lord will be pleased, gathered and we are about to dig into one of my wife’s delicious meals, and Christmas will start to take on its true meaning: that the true joy of he will say, “Thank you for the food, Nana!” Most of the time, this Christmas is found in Jesus, as we receive Him and as we give to others happens even before we ask the Lord’s blessings on our feast. I know in His name. May your Christmas be filled with rich blessings as you celebrate that this makes my wife feel appreciated, and it sets a good example for the rest of us. But what if no one said “Thank you” or, even worse, the birth of the Lord. suppose we all let it be clear that the food was not to our liking? Nana would NOT be happy, and you all know what that means: if Nana is not happy, no one is going to be happy! 42 DECEMBER 2018 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM


diy gold leaf

OR NA M EN TS Trim your tree this year with these beautiful gold leaf painted ornaments to add a touch of glam to your Christmas dĂŠcor. Tutorial by Melanie Mof fett

M AT E R I A L S - clear glass ornaments

- paint brushes

- assorted craft paints

- gold leaf + adhesive

- thin ribbon

- plastic cups

D I R E C TI O N S STEP 1 First, coat the inside of your ornaments with paint.


I chose several shades of mint and turquoise, but you can choose traditional Christmas colors, too.


STEP 2 Squirt a generous amount of paint into the ornament, then close your finger over the opening and shake/swirl vigorously to coat the inside completely. Add additional paint, if necessary to get a nice even coat inside the ornament.

3 4


STEP 3 Set your ornament in a plastic cup to allow the excess paint to drain out. Be sure to check it often and allow it to breathe.... If you don't, the paint will not dry. I learned the hard way after it wasn't dry four days later! STEP 4 Next, use a clean paint brush to apply the gold leaf adhesive to the exterior of your ornament. I decided to only add gold leaf to the bottom of my ornaments, but you could easily do the entire ornament. STEP 5 Once the adhesive is applied, allow it to slightly dry and get tacky. Carefully place a sheet of gold leaf onto the ornament, wrapping it around the ball and burnishing it


with another clean brush to remove any excess. Allow your entire ornament to dry overnight. STEP 6 Finish your project by stringing through a piece of thin, gold ribbon to create a hook. Tie it off with a knot or cute bow, whichever you desire.



mason jar



Spruce up your holday dĂŠcor this year with this adorable snow globe. This quick and easy project is great for kids! Tutorial by Melanie Mof fett

M AT E R I A L S - model car of your choice (hot wheels/matchbox toys)

- ball elite wide mouth pint mason jars

- 20mm red jingle bells - baker's twine - mini bottle brush trees - faux snow



STEP 1 Tie baker's twine around the rim of the lid of your


mason jar. Wrap 2-3 times and tie it off. STEP 2 Loop twine through the tops of two jingle bells. Secure with a knot and cut off excess. STEP 3 Cut off the base of your bottle brush trees using a pair of scissors or wire cutters.

3 4


STEP 4 Next, place the tree on top of your car and wrap baker's twine around few times. Secure with a knot or bow. STEP 5 Add faux snow to the bottom of your mason jar. Remember, a little bit goes a long way.... you don't want the car to be completely buried in the snow! Place the lid back on to your jar, and you're done!


a rt o f s i mp l e

Christmas Traditions

When our team was brainstorming for ideas this month, a common theme kept arising from conversation – Christmas traditions. Growing up, we all have experiences that stick with us, and when we smell a familiar scent or taste a delicious Christmas candy, memories of time spent with loved ones flood in. From Taylor’s creative packaging to my mom’s famous haystacks, the Art of Simple Christmas Traditions is centered around family and nostalgia. One thing about owning my business, is that I miss a lot of nights and weekends with my family. I felt extreme guilt for a very long time, but recently that guilt was lifted when I talked to my girls about their favorite memories – I was relieved that I was in every memory that they mentioned. It’s not always the quantity of time spent, but the quality of the time. Recently, my mom and I were talking and she started crying (it’s the holidays). But, she was apologizing to me for missing

seeing me cheer at football games and pep rallies. My mom was a teacher at a different school and was never able to make it to see me perform. The truth was, until she brought it up, I never expected it from her. My mom was always there at every swim meet, dance recital and holiday – so the missed pep rally was not something I recounted as an adult. I do remember spending time in the kitchen with her making haystacks and Martha Washington balls. I do remember hanging the bubble lights on the tree and handing my dad Christmas lights as he hung them around the eaves of our home. I do remember looking forward to time spent with my family during the holidays. And, those memories are the most magical. I’m planning on taking off two weeks after this magazine goes to press to focus on my family. Spiced tea will be made, presents will be wrapped and yummy Christmas treats will be cooked. My girls will be with me, my mom and sister, continuing these Christmas traditions and making magical memories of their own.

At left: Taylor Bennett creates simple and personalized packages. Pick up brown craft paper from a hardware store or purchase a decorative paper. Print your favorite images of friends and family in a black and white on photo paper and attach with washi tape. Tie a simple bow in yarn, string or jute. Decorate with a twig of fresh cypress and jingle bells for a festive touch. At right: Looking for a fun project to do with the kids over the holiday season? Stringing garland is an easy task that is guaranteed to bring smiles to your children or grandchildren’s faces and make memories that will last a lifetime. Taylor chose three garlands that are simple to make and smell delicious. For popcorn garland: After you pop your popcorn (make sure not to eat too much of your garland materials), you’ll need to ready the thread. Tie a knot at the end of the garland so the kernels don’t fall off when you begin to string them. Push the needle directly through the center of the popcorn and pull it through to the end of the string. Continue adding popcorn until the garland is full. For a fun touch, add a dust of glitter to the finished garland. Do the same for the cranberry garland. For orange slice garland: Add vibrant color and a warm and spicy scent to your home this holiday season with this garland made from orange slices. Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut your orange slices about a 1/4-inch thick. Bake for 2 to 3 hours, until the oranges are dehydrated. Make sure to flip the oranges halfway through the baking process. Poke two holes through the top of each slice and thread the string through. Tie off each end of the string and hang around your home or as a decoration for your tree. CO NTR IBUTIONS STYLED















G ive t he Gift of Sp i ce d Tea

One of my favorite things about the holiday season are the scents. I can’t wait until November rolls around, so I can light up my Frasier fir candle and sprinkle everything with cinnamon and spice. As a child, I remember my mom making spiced tea. She’d grab a big bowl and mix in the ingredients and divide it up in mason jars. It was a great gift idea for our neighbors and her fellow teachers. I looked forward to sneaking some for myself and could usually find a stash in our cabinets, perfect for chilly days or when I felt a cold coming on. We’ve shared our favorite family spiced tea recipe for you to gift with family and friends. Taylor Bennett used a simple mason jar and wrapped a cinnamon stick and orange slice (see instructions on the previous page) with jute. Make personalized tags and leave as a surprise at your neighbor’s door, or as a homemade teacher’s gift.

Spiced Tea Recipe special thanks to Jeanie Green and Rebecca Rawls

INGREDIENTS: 1 cup of instant Lipton tea (lemon flavored) 2 cups sugar 2 cups Tang 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp allspice 1/2 tsp ground cloves

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix thoroughly. If you want to make it with fresh ingredients, substitute Tang with 3/4 cups of orange juice, 1/4 cup of pineapple juice and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. If using dry ingredients, store in a air-tight container. When you’re ready to mix, pour 1 cup of boiling water into a mug, stir in 1 tablespoon of spiced tea mix until dissolved and enjoy!

Every Christmas Eve,

every person in Iceland cracks the spine on a new book. It’s Jolabokaflod, the annual “Yule Book Flood,” and it’s one of the West’s more unique expressions of Christmas cheer. Like many great traditions, giving books at Christmas is one borne of necessity during a time of scarcity. World War II was raging, and raw materials were hard to come by for the tiny, North-Atlantic island nation. Because getting materials was difficult, the Icelandic government had placed strict restrictions on the use of currency, especially for giving

giftwares. One loophole was on paper goods. Thus it was, in this isolated corner of the world, that Icelanders blended their deep, rich literary history with Christmas. Jolabokaflod was born. The tradition continues today In the months leading up to the holidays, Icelandic publishers release catalogs previewing their Jolabokaflod releases. Then, like clockwork every November, the floodgates open. The literature-loving Icelanders flock to bookstores and devour the selections, which number in the hundreds. This year, more than 800 titles were released

in the run up to the Christmas gift-giving season, with everything from children’s literature to complex historical texts making the cut. So this Christmas Eve, Icelanders everywhere will settle in by the fire after a bowl of hearty fish stew and pass out book after book. And there, by the light of the tree, an entire nation passes an evening reading. This year, start a new family tradition with inspiration from our Icelandic friends. Have your own very merry Jolbokaflod. Article by Michael Devault



This simple recipe is a holiday favorite. It’s a great way to spend time with your littles and let them help in the kitchen.There are many versions of this recipe, but this is my mom’s, so it’s my favorite to share.

Start by melting butterscotch chips in the microwave. Stir together the chow mein noodles and salted roasted peanuts (or whatever nuts you prefer). Pour the melted butterscotch over the noodle combo and gently combine until fully coated. On parchment or wax paper, drop the haystacks on the the paper in heaping tablespoons. Let cool and firm. Serve right away or store in an air-tight container.


Bayou Pages



t’s Christmas season, and what better way to get into the spirit of the holidays than by curling up in a warm blanket, a cup of hot cocoa in one hand and a great book in the other? Christmas is, after all, a time of great storytelling. There’s A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens—and the three ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future; Jean Shepard’s classic, A Christmas Story, and Ralphie’s Red Rider BB gun; and some tale about a Grinch who hates Christmas. Here are three new books to consider adding to your lighthearted, holiday reading. Hiddensee By Gregory Maguire We all know the story of the Nutcracker, the wooden soldier that lies at the centerpiece of the famous German folk-tale. But have you ever heard of Drosselmeier? Surely at some point you gave thought to the man who carved our titular hero, right? Well, thankfully, Gregory Maguire has. And that’s the subject of his latest work, Hiddensee. When Maguire sprung onto the literary scene with Wicked all those years ago, little did the literary world realize what a tour de force Maguire would become as he retold the story of Oz from the perspective of the Wicked Witch of the West, then her sister, then the Cowardly Lion, then, and then, and then.... Then he turned his attention to Alice and the characters of Wonderland. This year, Maguire is back, this time with a fresh glimpse into


the world of the Brothers Grimm of Bavaria, and of myriad mysterious people who call the Black Forest home.

it’s fiction, Silva still manages to give you a glimpse inside the challenging world of Mr. Dickens and His Carol.

Mr. Dickens and His Carol By Samantha Silva Of course you know the story of A Christmas Carol, the tale of Tiny Tim and the Cratchett family, of Mr. Scrooge and the three ghosts. But do you, really? Samantha Silva has you covered with her latest novel, Mr. Dickens and His Carol, a novel. This book about a book takes readers on a journey into the world of the world’s most famous author. It’s Christmastime in London, and Charles is on the brink. Once the literary darling of the world, these days he’s more of a hasbeen. His last book flopped, and his publisher is on the ropes to creditors. But Mrs. Dickens won’t be letting that get in the way of throwing a Christmas celebration for the entire—and ever growing—Dickens family that is so over-thetop that one might call it, well, Dickensian! With visions of debtors prison dancing in his head, Charles’s publisher has a great idea for his star writer. Charles should write a Christmas story. There’s only one problem. Charles doesn’t want to. Beset by writer’s block and a hearty dose of “bah, humbug,” Charles must overcome himself, his family, and all the people, who seem to want a piece of his success. At once a comedy, family drama and historical novel, this book is an energetic and enlightening look inside the Victorian age, and even though

Nowhere for Christmas By Heather Gray What is it about the holidays that seems to make everyone lose their mind, every system fall apart and all hell to break loose? These are questions facing Avery, a single mother and journalist who’s headed to Nowhere for Christmas. And getting to Nowhere, the tiny town that’s an eight-hour car-ride away, is going to be anything but easy. Author Heather Gray’s Nowhere for Christmas takes readers on a journey to Nowhere that’s anything but direct. At every step of the trip, Avery is beset with challenges. Whether it’s a sullen teenaged son who may be a little too attached to his iPod or their traveling companion, a photojournalist who’s been missing for five years, or any of the other characters who stray across her path, the people in Avery’s life seem to be having just as hard a time as she in coping with the holidays. All the while, nothing will cooperate – not even the weather, the rental car or the local diner. A comedic page-turner with a strong heart and an ever-optimistic view of Christmas in the face of the insurmountable, readers are left wondering just how Avery will handle getting to Nowhere for Christmas and pondering what she might find there if she does.


Orange Cranberry Bread 2 3/4 c All-Purpose Flour 2/3 c Sugar 2/3 c Packed Brown Sugar 3 1/2 tsp Baking Powder 1 tsp Salt 1/2 tsp Cinnamon 1/4 tsp Nutmeg 1 Large Egg 1 c Milk (2%) 1/2 c Orange Juice

3 Tbsp Canola Oil 2-3 tsp Grated Orange Zest 2cC oarsely Chopped Fresh or Frozen Cranberries 1 Large Apple, Peeled and Chopped Orange Glaze (optional) 1 c Confectioner’s Sugar 1-2 Tbsp Orange Juice Orange Zest, if desired

Combine dry ingredients and sift together. Whisk egg, milk, orange juice, oil and zest. Sir into dry ingredients, just unti blended. Fold in cranberries and apple. Pour into two greased 8x4” loaf pans. Bake at 350º for 50-55 minutes or until toothpick insterted in the center, comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Drizzle glaze over warm bread, if desired.


recipe by Evelyn O’Neal and photo by Kelly Moore Clark

There is something soothing about pulling down that Christmas box out of the attic and unwrapping the ornaments and stockings once again. The traditions of the holiday season remind us of our childhood and the unique ways that our families celebrated. Be it peaceful evenings by the fire, competitive board game nights, or singing the same Christmas songs over and over, it is always a joyful time. There are so many easy ways to enjoy making new memories while celebrating with the traditions of our younger years. Lou Jones has such wonderful stories about her husband and girls growing up on the bayou in the original Finks home. The property itself has had an interesting life and over the years has evolved into a casually elegant tucked away treasure.

Cathi French Roberts & Lori French

Holiday Traditions Christmas China


hristmas china is a way to mark the beginning of the season. Who doesn’t love Spode? It seems that every bridal registry for years had Christmas china included. More and more brides go for festive holiday salad plates or napkins to coordinate with their every day pieces rather than collect an entire collection. However, it is hard to forget those tables that are completely decked in all Christmas china. Lou always has used her collection and keeps her holiday table set throughout the season.




antles are the one of the first images (besides the tree) that really bring to mind a traditional Christmas. The stockings hung with care are ingrained in our childhood memories. A fresh or faux green garland with ribbon and twinkling lights might be all the decorations you have some years. No matter if two stockings or twelve, take a few moments to dress up your mantle. Lou’s family always had huge, tall fresh cut trees that touched the ceiling. She had to climb a ladder just to hang the ornaments!


Nativity Scene

estive pillows in the entry and family rooms are super easy to change anytime during the year. At Christmas, be sure to embrace the season and welcome your guests with a variety of personal and different sized pillows. A hand crafted Christmas pillow, holiday beaded or hand painted silk pillow are perfect choices. Sometimes the best pillow was made years ago by your then five year old in art class. It is tattered and faded, but too precious not to display.


nativity in any shape, form, material or size is always perfect. From extravagant to primitive, porcelain to wood carved, bronze to plastic, and no matter if new or vintage, it is a beautiful reminder of the birth of Christ. Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas.





oesn’t it seem as though Halloween was just yesterday? Nevermind, Halloween! It feels like summer was just yesterday to me! Alas, it was indeed not. It is the beginning of December and Christmas holiday season has officially begun! I know a lot of you have already decorated for Christmas, even before Thanksgiving, but I cannot wrap my brain around Christmas until after Thanksgiving! Who else is with me? Anyway, the weeks between each holiday seem to fly by in the blink of an eye, so it’s essential to get organized as quickly as possible to head off any last minute issues that may arise, as well as, to save your sanity! The first step to getting and staying organized for the holidays is preparation! Take the time to sit down and begin a “to-do” list!! I suggest that you never underestimate the value of writing things down, especially during such a hectic time of year. You may want to keep this list with you during the first part of December, as tasks will be sure to pop in your head while you are on the go. Don’t forget to utilize the “note” app on your phone, too! Once you have finished your to-do list, the fun stuff can really begin! Below you will find advice and tips to help you navigate through all of the parties you will be attending, gifts you will be buying, cards you will be mailing, menus you will be making, and all of the other fun holiday festivities. Holiday Cards - A do or don’t this year? If you plan on sending out cards and have not decided on the picture that will be used, that should be the very first thing on your to-do list


for December. Then you, should mark time off on your calendar to create, address and send the cards. If you can’t set aside enough time for taking care of the task in one sitting, it’s ok to do it in small increments, but I suggest beginning immediately, so your time doesn’t get away from you. Don’t forget to check your address list for anything that may be missing – Did you make a new friend? Did someone recently have a change of address? Organize your list now to avoid complications later. Events – Giving or attending? Begin organizing your calendar of events now, so you will be sure to know when and where you need to make an appearance this holiday season. Getting organized early ensures that you will not overbook yourself or miss an important event. As the invitations flow in, go ahead and RSVP immediately. Don’t wait or you could forget entirely. Another great tip is to go ahead and choose a party-ready outfit for each event. Try it on and take a picture, complete with accessories and shoes, so you will be completely prepared and stress-free before each event. And one last piece of advice – brush up on your dining etiquette! Gifts – Giving and receiving. Make a list and check it twice! (I couldn’t resist saying that!) Seriously though – Make a list of all of the people you need to purchase a gift(s) for and also note if you’ve already decided what you’d like to purchase for them. I always suggest shopping with a list, so you don’t overbuy or forget something. Also, search online to see who has the best deals before going shopping. You may find it cheaper to purchase some items from the comfort of your couch instead of having to face the crowds. Finally, designate

an out-of-the-way, away from prying eyes, spot in your home for storing the gifts until you are able to wrap them. Noshing – Plan the menu. Grocery shopping gets a bit amped up during the holidays when you are hosting and attending numerous parties, so creating a game plan helps take the stress out of it. Create a shopping list and stick to it as much as possible to avoid wasting money or purchasing duplicates. Be sure to include items on the list for the occasional last minute visitor. I always have nuts, wine and cheese on hand for such occasions. If you frequently have last minute visitors, you may want to buy (or make) a few casseroles to have on hand, too. Travel – Near or Far? Hopefully, you have already purchased any plane tickets that may be needed, otherwise you may face sold out flights and/or high prices. In the meantime, I suggest you create a list of travel items you will need, complete with outfits and important documents. Keep in mind the many changes that airlines make to their rules and regulations – you may want to check online to make sure you aren’t forgetting something that could cause a hold up at the gate. If you are traveling by car, it may be a good idea to get a little tune up before leaving on a long road trip. Finally, if you are unfamiliar with the place you are going, don’t leave it completely up to your GPS to guide you. Map out your trip ahead of time. Don’t worry, I have a few more small tips and reminders for you! Take stock of what you already have CONTINUED ON PAGE 191






M AT E R I A L S : Wreath Form, either Wire or Grapevine 18-gauge Florist Wire or Tape Pruners and Wire Cutters Evergreen Foliage Add-Ins: Like Berries, Ribbon, Pinecones, Cinnamon Sticks, Apples, Oranges, Pomegranates, Feathers, etc. A freshly-made Christmas wreath hung with care on a front or back door is a harbinger of what you will find on the other side. Easy to make and even easier to personalize, here’s BayouLife’s recipe for creating a never-ending circle of nature’s love in one glorious little, uplifting arrangement. Wreaths are not just for external doors either. Wreaths look great on a kitchen wall, hung on an entry mirror with garland or to add a fresh touch to your bathroom walls. Before beginning your wreath project, measure the space where your wreath will hang. Keep in mind that the finished wreath will be several inches larger than the wreath form, expanding outward. Choose evergreen foliage that will constitute the base of the wreath. We selected boughs of Frasier fir, juniper and Leland cypress. If you are making a wreath out of foraged greenery from your yard, make sure to choose evergreens that hold up better in a wreath, like fir, pine, holly, spruce, boxwood, magnolia and eucalyptus. Look for foliage that has various textures, colors and forms that add interest. Boxwood and magnolia create a more tailored look; while pines and cypress lend a more rustic feel. Tip: When you select your fresh Christmas tree, the seller will usually have to cut off a few bottom branches to make the trunk fit into your tree stand. It’s always ok to ask for those extra, unwanted branches for use in arrangements and wreaths at Christmas.

A S S E M B LY : Prep your greenery by soaking it in a bucket or a sink after clipping. Cut branches at a 45-degree angle at lengths that range from 6” to 10”. To start, twist one end of your 18-gauge wire to the wreath form and secure the first bundle of greenery. Work from there and continue to overlap various branches as you continue around the form. Insert add-ins and wire them to the form as you go. For smaller branches or add-ins, wrap foliage bundles with wire before tying them into the wreath. Here’s where the fun and creativity really starts! With wreaths, you are limited only by your imagination. For our add-ins, we chose a traditional mix of bright holly berries and textural pinecones. Wired ribbons add just the right amount of color. Sparkle is easy to achieve with the addition of a little metallic, or glittered accent spray that you can buy inexpensively at craft stores. Or keep it au naturale by using elements like succulents, fresh or dried fruit, hypericum berries or cinnamon sticks. The addition of fresh fruits to wreaths and garlands in America reaches back to Colonial times and adds a very traditional twist to any Christmas celebration. To wire whole fresh fruits like apples, lemons or oranges onto your wreath, insert 18-gauge wire through the center of the fruit, bend wires downward, and go through the double wires on the wreath form or through the grapevine. Twist wire and attach to the stems and wire wrapped around the greenery, so the fruit doesn’t move. Always remember to cut excess wire off and insert wire into the greenery of the wreath, so the rough wire ends don’t stick out and scratch your door or wall.


FLING THE TINSEL article by Laura W. Clark


inding the perfect Christmas tree was a significant event throughout my childhood. My parents would load me and my little brother and sister into the car, and we would venture to what I then referred to as the “Christmas Tree Park.” The park smelled of crisp pine, a scent that I still associate with hope and excitement. My parents would let us choose the tree, unless my Dad noticed our selection resembled the one in Charlie Brown’s Christmas. Dad would then strap our tree to the top of our Toyota station wagon. During those tree excursions, I didn’t feel the 10-degree weather of South Dakota Decembers; my excitement fueled me for the entire day and kept me warm. Once home, we would have to wait an excruciating amount of time for the tree to “fall out.” While waiting, we would haul the Christmas tree ornaments from our basement, and Mom would prepare hot apple cider and cookies. One year, after carefully removing the tinsel from its package, I began placing each piece precisely on the tree. My brother, three years younger, had a different approach. To my horror, he began to hurl chunks of sparkly tinsel with abandon. “Ryan, that’s so messy! You have to put the tinsel on one at a time!” He looked at me, laughed, and continued throwing the shiny strings. The tinsel flew through the air, landed haphazardly on the tree, and created a significant amount of stress in my 9-year-old brain. My tree was no longer perfect. Perfect. I have used that word a lot throughout my life. My perfectionist tendencies have often benefited me, helping me to detect copyediting errors, verify facts and discover missing content. However, perfectionism has also deterred me. When I inevitably do make a mistake, the effect is much more distressing than it should be. I ruminate, trying to determine exactly how I could have made the error. I am not alone. Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, author of The Confidence Code, discovered that an astounding number of women pursue perfection, which ultimately suppresses achievement. The authors describe a Hewlett-Packard study which determined that female employees only applied for promotions, when they were sure they met 100 percent of the job requirements. Conversely,


men applied for promotions, when they felt confident their skills aligned with 60 percent of the job requirements. Learning this, I thought of August 2005, when I had moved to Monroe, Louisiana from Rapid City, South Dakota and accepted the assistant publications director position at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. This job appealed to me, because I possessed significant editorial experience. A few months later, however, the university administration offered me the media relations director position, which was both a promotion in salary and responsibility. What did I tell the Vice President offering the job to me? I said, “I’m not qualified. I do not have public relations experience. I only have journalism experience.” My immediate response was to remove myself from consideration, because my skill set did not perfectly align with the job description. When explaining to my mother why I was not an ideal candidate, she gave me a succinct response: “You’re smart. You will create your path. Go for it.” I followed her advice. Today, I still consider that job to be one of my most fulfilling professional experiences, although I almost talked my boss out of giving it to me. What is the anecdote to perfectionism? Action. We must start by accepting small, brave tasks outside of our comfort zones, tasks which will build our confidence until we are bold enough to run half-marathons without worrying about not being professional athletes. When we make mistakes, we must show ourselves the same compassion we would show a friend. Once we let go of perfection and fear of failure, we can achieve what psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmilhalyi describes as the “almost euphoric state” when our skills align with our tasks and our selfdoubt dissipates. So, let go of “perfect” and seize adventures, both large and small. Mirror my little brother’s approach: fling the tinsel and see where it lands. Laura W. Clark, owner of Vivian’s Voice, LLC, a communications consulting company, can be reached at

Affinity Audiology Your Hearing and Balance Health


ID YOU KNOW THAT YOUR HEARING AND BALANCE health is vital to your overall well-being, including mental health? Both hearing and balance disorders can be affected by disease, hereditary factors and environment. Changes in the body that occur with the aging process are the most common causes of permanent hearing loss and can affect mental functions. Exposure to loud noise in your environment is another common cause, but one that is preventable. When a problem with your hearing and/or balance occurs, seek help from an audiologist to ensure you receive appropriate and professional care. One of the most common management approaches to hearing loss, including hearing loss with tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in the ear), is through the provision of hearing aids. “Patients should understand that not everyone who dispenses hearing aids is an audiologist,” explains Dr. Lorra Pettit, Affinity Audiologist. She further states that those seeking assistance through use of hearing aids should ensure they know the difference in training and education between audiologists and nonaudiologists or hearing aid specialists. An audiologist is a healthcare professional who specializes in the diagnosis and non-medical management of disorders of hearing and balance. “Audiologists are independent allied health professionals with graduate and doctorate level training in the diagnosis and treatment of hearing and balance disorders,” states Dr. Melissa De La O, Affinity Audiologist. Hearing aid specialists, on the other hand, typically have minimal training and are unprepared to assist patients with a comprehensive treatment of hearing and balance disorders. Hearing aids help individuals with permanent hearing loss communicate more effectively by improving their ability to hear speech and sounds around them. Hearing aids today are smaller and smarter than in previous years, offering an inconspicuous appearance while providing an optimal listening experience. Current hearing aids use artificial intelligence to provide a more organic listening experience for the hearing aid user. They can even stream phone calls and music wirelessly straight to your ears! This is helpful for those with visual impairments. Most hearing aids also now offer rechargeable options for increased convenience (no more frustrating battery replacement!). In addition, hearing aids are often successful in managing the effects of tinnitus, a common “side effect” of hearing loss and ever-increasing


concern reported among patients with hearing loss or with normal hearing. At Affinity, our Audiologists currently dispense hearing aids from the four top manufacturers: Oticon, GN ReSound, Starkey and Phonak. Not all hearing aids are the same. Dr. Pettit and Dr. De La O encourage people, who wish to explore using hearing aids, to understand that hearing aids are labeled by the FDA as “durable medical equipment.” It is a device for improving your hearing health! Treat your hearing health as well as you would with any other health concern or condition. It is especially important to know that hearing loss is not only a problem with the functioning of the ear, but also a factor in increased risk of cognitive impairments such as dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. Hearing loss also affects your overall health and is associated with additional problems such as: mental fatigue, stress, memory, focus, mental health, social wellbeing and depression. Do not ignore hearing problems! Give the gift of hearing this holiday season and make appointments for you and your family to visit the Audiologists at Affinity Health Group! Our audiologists, Dr. Melissa De La O and Dr. Lorra M. Pettit, will be happy to assist you in improving your hearing health. Affinity providers and their staff serve over 20 clinics in north Louisiana. Affinity employs a total of over 500 medical and administrative professionals. Affinity is committed to service, patient satisfaction, healthy solutions and overall wellness of patients. For more information about Affinity Health Group, visit www.myaffinityhealth. com or call 318-807-7875. Affinity complies with applicable Federal and State civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex or any other legally protected characteristic. ATTENTION: If you have limited English proficiency, language assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-860-7510 (TTY: 1-866-524-5144). ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-866-860-7510 (TTY: 1-866-524-5144). ATTENTION: Si vous parlez français, des services d’aide linguistique vous sont proposés gratuitement. Appelez le 1-866-860-7510 (ATS: 1-866-524-5144).


Holidays in CedarTown

Holidays in CedarTown provided guests with three days of unique holiday shopping along with an opportunity to enjoy several special events. In its 29th year, the market opened with Take a Bunch to Lunch. The sold-out private shopping event featured lunch treats provided by area caterers and restaurants and exclusive early shopping. On Thursday evening Holidays After Hours offered guests festive afterhours shopping with live music, door prizes, complimentary appetizers and beverages. Jingles and Jammies on Saturday morning treated the little ones to a visit and breakfast with Santa along with story time with Mrs. Claus. Kelly Smith and Wendy Merchant served as cochairs for the three-day market. Smith states, “We are grateful for the ongoing support of our sponsors and area businesses. Their generosity along with our merchants, volunteers and of course our shoppers contributed to the overwhelming success of Holidays in CedarTown.” Merchant added, “CedarTown is truly a community event, and we are delighted that we can continue to offer this opportunity to our friends and neighbors in North Louisiana!”

On the BayouScene 1 J ennifer Nixon and Lauren Roebuck 2 Kristen Delancy, Kelly Ewing and Jana Davis 3 June Solomon and Lissy Compton 4K atie Hall and Shannon Roberts 5N icole Harris, Heather Bowling and Lana Bullock 6 Jana Gulledge and Robyn Brown 7 Janet Gleason and Nadia Maxwell 8 Chick-fil-A Cow and Kristin Hardeman 9 Jodie Morphew and Olivia Stinson 10 Chad and Karissa Geis 11 Meghan Davis and Noelle Lee 12 Shannon Inman, Reagan Woodard and Dakota Dupont 13 B arbara Tims, Jean Sanders and Jessica McClelland 14 Jane Grafton, Lynda Steed, Annette Maxwell and Carolyn Clark 15 Katie Bonnette and Mackenzee Davis





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Edible Architecture

It is widely held that Gingerbread houses originated in Germany during the 16th century and experienced a spike in sugary popularity when the master story tellers, the Brothers Grimm, wrote the wickedly twisted story of siblings Hansel and Gretel, who stumble upon a Gingerbread house made entirely of sweets deep in a forest. Lucky for us, the gingerbread baking traditions jumped the pond, are alive and well in North Louisiana. BayouLife has assembled three master bakers this year for a sweet Gingerbread House Competition. Check out our Social Media and cast your vote for your favorite. This year’s entrants are Miss Kay’s Sweets and Eats of West Monroe, Thurman’s Food Factory of Monroe and Uptown Downtown of Ruston. Each baker has put their own unique spin on the art and craft of Gingerbread Houses. P H O TO BY K ELLY MOORE CLARK




Frosted Bakery This little frosted bakery is the concept of Morgan Garrison of Uptown Downtown in Ruston. Delicate piping adorns a classic gingerbread house with chocolate shingles and a pebbled fondant walkway. Towering frosted trees and a stone fireplace add a touch of nature to this simply adorable gingerbread bakery. PHO TO BY KELLY MOORE CLARK

Sweet Blind

Who wouldn’t want to take a bite out of this masterfully decorated duck blind from Miss Kay’s Sweets & Eats. Constructed of pirouettes and gingerbread, this edible creation is adorned with gumdrops and peppermints. A snowman and gingerbread man hold peppermint guns directed at the duck pond, which is nestled in confetti trimmed trees. P H O TO BY KELLY MOORE CLARK

Haven - Interiors and Fine Gifts Haven’s Favorite Gifts


AVEN IS A GREAT DESTINATION for gift giving or for finding just the right accessory for your home. Customers always appreciate the personal service they receive at Haven. Many of their gift lines have been hand-selected and are exclusive to their store, so the staff has provided a list of great gift ideas to inspire your shopping this Holiday Season. 1. MCCLENDON DESIGNS – McClendon has simple, elegant and classic jewelry as well as interesting leather earrings and stunning cuffs. Designed in St. Francisville, this line is exclusive to Haven in our area. 2. PAJAMAS – Haven has expanded their excellent selection of lounge wear to include new cotton pajamas in stylish patterns. Add a soft robe or slippers, and you have given the ultimate gift of relaxation. 3. NEST FRAGRANCES – Nest is everyone’s favorite candle line! Birchwood Pine, Holiday and this season’s newest scent Sparkling Cassis, are flying off the shelves. Perfect for gift giving and receiving. 4. GIGI NEW YORK – GIGI leather bags have been a hit since arriving at Haven. Classic and timeless, these totes, purses, wallets, and stadium bags are showcased in different leathers. The GIGI All-In-One Bag needs to be on everyone’s gift list! 5. AWESOME BOOKS – Haven is known for their amazing book selection, whether you are looking for the latest Design books, cook books, or inspirational reads. And don’t forget they always have a nice variety of books for men.


6. BAREFOOT DREAMS – Barefoot Dreams wraps, ponchos and pants are a dream come true for anyone who receives them. Be sure to come see the new styles of the softest bamboo apparel that’s machine washable. And if you don’t already own a pair of their socks, you’re missing out! 7. HAZEN & CO – This Haven exclusive is a Dallas-based company that creates beautiful combinations of handcrafted jewelry using stones, such as marble, quartz, and baroque pearls accented with gold vermeil. 8. BAR WARE – Make sure your bar is ready for the holidays. Customer favorites include hand-painted wine glasses by Sallie Bynum Anzelmo, hand-blown martini glasses and gold leaf champagne flutes. Don’t forget, serving utensils, cocktail pitchers and marble coasters are great for gift giving. 9. FRAMES – Haven is offering even more frame choices in different finishes, such as mixed metals and acrylics, which are always a welcomed gift. What grandparent wouldn’t love to have a framed picture as a gift? 10. FOR THE KIDS – Fun and educational gifts abound at Haven. Matching games, puzzles, stuffed animals and a great collection of books makes shopping for kids and grandkids easy! 11. S’WELL – Lots of new introductions with S’well! A huge variety of patterns and shapes have just arrived including thermoses, tumblers and sports bottles. These fantastic bottles keep drinks hot up to 12 hours or cold up to 24 hours. 12. CHRISTIAN GIFTS – Share the reason

for the season this holiday. New devotionals, Bible studies and books of encouragement can be found in Haven’s expanded Christian area. What better way to bless a friend than through a hand painted wooden cross or canvas, a cross medallion made in NOLA, or a collection of verses to get your day started in the right direction. 13. PLANNERS – 2019 is almost here, so it’s time to get organized. Haven has a nice selection of planners, making it easy to get that process started. These popular planners will sell out fast! 14. GIFTS FOR HIM – What a well thought out collection of men’s items! Travel bags, change caddies, skin care products and utility knives. Be sure to check out their new Louisiana-inspired socks that make a great stocking stuffer. 15.TRAVEL – Get ready to travel, because the holidays are here. The new Stephanie Johnson tote is a must-have or choose from accessories that make traveling much easier. Haven is making shopping for those out of town friends and family even easier. Not only do they offer beautiful complimentary gift wrapping but will now ship those packages for a minimal fee. Haven has extended holiday hours each day to provide extra shopping time! They will also be open on Sundays in December from 1-4pm leading up to Christmas. Be sure to follow Haven on Instagram and Facebook, as they are posting gift ideas each day. The gift you give from Haven will be the best one under the tree, so stop by today.







oan Norman may have retired from her mother’s old stomping grounds, but on occasion, you’ll find her behind the bar attending to patrons of Mohawk Tavern Seafood Restaurant. Founders Alline and Tom Fontana originally opened the business as a place for friends to converse and find refuge with a little booze. Upon requests from friends, the business quickly began to serve boiled shrimp and oysters on the half shell. As the years kept rolling, Mohawk Tavern has grown into a full service restaurant. A full sixty-six years later, the restaurant is imperishable, maintaining its heyday vigor and unwavering notable dishes. The restaurant, passed down through family, is now owned and managed by Ms. Joan and children (Ms. Alline’s grandchildren), Richard Jr. and Ann Norman. Their grandfather, Tom Fontana, was a full-blooded Italian, whose mother didn’t speak English. It was from her that Ms. Alline learned what would be Mohawk’s third original menu dish—also a request from friends—spaghetti and meatballs. Born from Mr. Tom’s mother’s rich and tasty culture, it was brought into a new life with Ms. Alline’s unique touches. “She had the hotplate in the storeroom. She stayed back there in the kitchen and trained all the cooks later,” says Ms. Joan, only fourteen-years-old when her parents opened the place. She watched her mom, Ms. Alline, work hard and share her passion of the food with the cooks. Ms. Joan not only saw, but also felt, the love her mom held for both the tavern and cooking itself. Ms. Alline’s side of the family (surname Henry) was from Buckhorn Bend, an expanse of mostly cotton fields during her upbringing. Ms. Joan says the sisters would pick cotton. It was there where the joy of cooking was fully shared with them: “Mother had two sisters and they grew up knowing the country with the regular fried chicken and peas and rice and gravy.” One of those sisters ended up opening Hendrick’s Cafe in West Monroe, where they served traditional home-cooked, Southern meals like barbeque. “But my mother didn’t cook that for


some reason,” says Ms. Joan. Instead, she cooked quiche, fish coubion, stuffed bell peppers and dirty rice. Ms. Alline preferred the homestyle, Southern, and Cajun flavors that brought her extraordinary dishes to life. Though Ms. Joan didn’t venture into cooking like her mother did, her son followed in their grandmother’s footsteps, voluntarily and happily cooking meals for his family five nights a week, experimenting and carrying on his grandmother’s passion. “The place is just about the same since I was a kid,” says Richard. When the establishment opened, it took up only half of the present building; the far-reaching bar area got extended to the rest of the building, formerly a barbershop and radio repair shop. The extension allows the place to breathe and enables the patrons to fully relax: It feels like a tavern should. Dimmed lighting creates an ambient setting anyone can effortlessly melt into. Wood-panelled walls and scattered frames backdrop black leather booths. The benchmark of the restaurant, the bar, is back lined by stacked liquor shelves and decorated with deer heads and antlers. Relics from the late 1950s stand out, like the vintage cigarette vending machine, “Clydesdale Team” rotating illuminated bar sign and Jack Dempsey’s boxing gloves. The place holds a certain “mystique,” says Kirk “Bubba” Marshall, who began working as a waiter in 1986. Alongside Bubba, the restaurant At left: Lee Carter has also has longtime staff Marie, Lee and been working at Mohawk Latricia, who have also been a part Tavern for over twentyof the Mohawk for twenty-five plus five years. He and other years. Bubba also echoes the sentiment long-tenured staff of sturdiness when adding, “The only members are part of the thing that’s changed are those neon restaurant’s charm. lights.” He nods in the direction of the bar, referring to three bright beer signs. “We still wear the white jackets and take orders on the pads.” Don’t misunderstand, this pause in time is not stagnant, it’s a breath of fresh air to the ever noisy construction of the world. At the end of the day, you can go to Mohawk Tavern, have a delicious meal and a cold beer and leave knowing everything’s alright. The character and history of the place is unmistakable and undeniable, but the soul of it resides in longtime restaurant residents, customers and staff alike. Cooking for over thirty years, Marie, Mohawk’s main cook, is the talent behind mostly all the dishes that patrons keep returning for. “It’s family at this point. Feels like home,” says Bubba, speaking to the kindness he’s received from the Fontanas and Normans. He remembers when he applied for the job that he was handed a ticket order pad almost immediately. He was so nervous he couldn’t even spell gumbo in the moment. Nervousness quickly turned into love for Bubba, though. He greets the older customers fondly, with a hug and a kiss, and he has received memorabilia from visitors from all parts of the country. “It’s not a fancy place, but it has all kinds of history,” he says. He mentions a couple of famous visitors like Pat Summit, former women’s college basketball head coach, and Terry Bradshaw, former LA Tech and Steelers football quarterback. A local landmark in its own right, this “treasure” (as a reviewer calls it) has been a coveted destination for those all over the country. Some travel from up to six hours away, praising their dining experience as a “down home place for some fresh seafood.” The experience simply cannot be replicated, because the skeleton of the restaurant which emboldens its honest and comfortable atmosphere is the family and the history. Regardless of the reason though, Bubba has found the customer-food-server relationship to be the most gratifying experience. The wait-staff are an essential part of the restaurant’s rapport. Life-long relationships fostered with patrons function as an important overall experience of Mohawk. “I wouldn’t change this for the world,” Bubba says. It seems that Ms. Alline absolutely achieved her goal of a relaxed tavern where camaraderie can flourish.

As one of the best choices for seafood in the area, the simple food preparation is what distinguishes the restaurant’s dishes from typical to special. “We don’t have chefs here. We have cooks here. We put a lot of love in our food,” testifies Bubba. Dinner specials are frequent and written on a medium-sized chalkboard-easel. You should expect enticing listings, such as grilled halibut, shrimp or crawfish alfredo, and fried quail—usually served with salad and toast. One of their most popular dishes is the shrimp platter: “Hand battered and fried to perfection,” says Ann. If you ask for the Shrimp Delight salad, a customer favorite, ask for the Delight Sauce, a top secret recipe handed down from Ms. Alline. And make sure to break pieces of Lance crackers over the salad. “If you don’t have Lance crackers that salad won’t taste right,” jokes Bubba. Hand-cut Angus ribeye steaks, seafood platters, fried catfish and soft shell crab are among other popular menu items. Mohawk Tavern sources its seafood from a few companies, but their main supplier is Bayou State Wholesale Seafood, based in Ball, Louisiana. Aside from the fresh shrimp, a seafood dish you won’t want to skip is their awardwinning gumbo, an original Ms. Alline recipe. “It’s second to none in the area,” enthuses Ann. Even guests from New Orleans have attested 82 DECEMBER 2018 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

that the seafood brings them “back home.” “Never change!” Writes an online reviewer, reminiscing about the many memories gathered while eating there since she could “stand up under the table,” adding a description of the food as “delicious uncomplicated perfection.” Clearly, Mohawk Tavern Seafood Restaurant has rocked their ambiance and goal since their opening in 1952. A combination of steadfast fellowship, four generations of dedication and love harnessed by their staff has created a warm intimacy reflective of what some consider simpler, warmer times. For younger patrons, Mohawk Tavern promises a sweet reprieve from their ever stressful and changing lives with a cheerful, down-to-earth space. Eat where the locals eat and become a part of a Monroe family’s history and camaraderie. Mohawk is located on 704 Louisville Ave, Monroe, LA. Contact them at 318-322-9275. You can view their menus ahead on their website: https://www. “To go” orders are always welcome. They are open Tuesday through Thursday from 11a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Their lunch specials are served Tuesday through Friday between 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.


Bon Temps Classical Pilates A Place for Healing



INCE OPENING BON TEMPS CLASSICAL PILATES studio a year ago, we have seen more and more people suffering from plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the large tendon on the bottom of the foot called the aponeurosis. It connects the heel with each of the toes and helps stabilize the foot and create the arch. Plantar fasciitis usually presents as burning, stabbing or aching pain in the bottom of the foot. It can be confused with a stone bruise of the heel. Often a very tight Achilles tendon can place additional stress on the plantar fascia causing an increase in pain. This condition can linger for a long time and in some cases, even years. It can be extremely difficult to alleviate, which may be the reason for the increased number of people suffering with this type of foot pain. A number of things can contribute to plantar fasciitis. It is more common in women and can be more prevalent in older adults. Oddly, both inactivity, such as sitting for long periods of time, and overuse, like excessive running and jumping, may cause plantar fasciitis and prevent its healing. Symptoms of plantar fasciitis include pain in the bottom of the foot, at the front or at the center of the calcaneous or heel bone. Some people notice the pain more in the morning or when they stand up after sitting for a long period of time. Other factors that can increase the risk of plantar fasciitis include: • Wearing worn-out shoes with thin soles and poor support • Excessive weight • Standing several hours during the day • Having flat feet with collapsed arches • Having a very high arch • Wearing high heels • An unusual walk or foot position Bon Temps Classical Pilates is a great place to let the healing begin after you are cleared by your physical therapist. The research states that the best way to relieve this condition is by both stretching and strengthening the ankle and foot muscles (Lim et al, 2016). Classical Pilates is designed to do just that, not only with your feet, 84 DECEMBER 2018 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

but by lengthening and strengthening the muscles of your whole body. We incorporate Pilates Footwork with every person we teach at Bon Temps. Because Pilates is low impact by nature, and every exercise integrates the foot into perfect alignment with the knee and hip, it is ideal for working with plantar fasciitis. Our teachers are trained to offer appropriate and specific modifications for any type of injury. Pilates inherently incorporates the understanding of body mechanics for staying strong and mindful despite those inevitable, pesky injuries, aches and pains. The truth is that we all encounter some type of injury, soreness or pain, while exercising at some point in our lives. We just have to learn to listen to our bodies, so that we can continue to exercise safely. To stay strong and injury free, a focus on stretching, strengthening and stability is required, and Pilates is all that and so much more! When pain is encountered, first and foremost, we ask that you find out if it is okay to start or continue a Pilates practice by getting checked out by your physical therapist or doctor. Our instructors will inquire about your injuries, so that we can suggest modifications to keep you safe and protected as you advance in your recovery. A structured Pilates regimen will not only increase flexibility of the plantar fascia and calf muscles, but also strengthen them to relieve pain, so that daily activities will become pain free. So whether you are suffering from plantar fasciitis or just looking to improve flexibility, muscle strength and tone, stabilize your spine, improve your posture, increase lung capacity and circulation and improve your physical coordination and balance, Bon Temps Pilates may be the perfect solution! We are located on Trenton Street in the heart of downtown West Monroe. We do offer gift certificates, so you can give the gift of health this holiday season! Stop by our studio and find out if Pilates can help you! Lim AT, et al. (2016) “Management of plantar fasciitis in the outpatient setting.” Singapore Med J 57(4): 168-170.


Aron’s Pharmacy and Gifts A Great Gift Selection and So Much More


OCATED AT THE CORNER OF NORTH 18TH AND Roselawn street in Monroe, Arons pharmacy has something for everyone on your holiday list this season. You are sure to find just what you have been looking for at Aron’s. Aron’s has been the hometown pharmacy for many years, but we have so much more to offer than just medications and prescriptions. Grab a friend and stop in at Aron’s today for friendly, fast service! Aron’s has gifts for everyone, young and old, for this holiday season. Aron’s Pharmacy Gift Department and Grill provides a personal experience to every customer, new and regular. Looking for holiday gifts for a little girl or baby boy? Aron’s has you covered. Whether it be big or small they have it all! Aron’s has all things ballerina this season! From pillows, stuffed animal dancers and ornaments, they are too cute to pass up! If you didn’t already know, the sparkly unicorns are a very hot commodity this year as well. Aron’s has unicorn pillows, suitcases for your little traveler, ring holder dishes, piggy banks and ornaments. Also, another hot item this Christmas is the llama. Aron’s has all kinds of llama gifts that are so fun and precious. They have baby’s first Christmas, baby bibs and picture frames, as well. Aron’s also has great gifts for teens and women. They have cute makeup mirrors, brushes, and blending sponges to help get that perfect holiday look. Aron’s also has décor galore! Whether you need décor for yourself or a beautiful gift, Aron’s has it all! Aron’s has all different types and colors of ornaments for you to choose from. Perfect for a small gift. Aron’s has beautiful Christmas garland that would look amazing on your mantel, stair railing, or around your front door. Aron’s also has many different themed trees, both fun and beautiful. Perfect to get you into the holiday spirit. Another great gift would be the different nativity scenes they have to chose from! Perfect for everyone’s style of décor. Aron’s doesn’t only carry items for women, they also carry some great gift items for men. Aron’s has the best fishing and hunting ornaments, that would be great for the outdoorsmen in your life. Aron’s also has great grooming products for men’s beards, lips and so much more. They also have the perfect items for the grill-masters, too. “King of the Grill” towels would be a fun gift item to give this season. Torched candles are a popular items this year as well. Craft beer candles are the perfect gift for beer and candle lovers alike. Finally, manly candles that women love, also. Made with the finest fragrance oils inspired by beers and ciders, your entire house will smell amazing.


Aron’s also has great gifts for teachers. Aron’s has super cute “Teacher, you rule!” ornaments, “World’s Best Teacher” sticky notes, cute pens and fun decorative décor, perfect for all of those awesome teachers! If you have a football fan on your list, Aron’s has select merchandise of Louisiana State University, Louisiana Tech University, University of Alabama, Ole Miss and University of Louisiana at Monroe gifts all year. We can’t forget about the Saints, too! Look no further. Aron’s has it! You are sure to find just what you have been looking for at Aron’s. Aron’s has been the hometown pharmacy for many years, but they have so much more to offer. Aron’s also has a grill. If you haven’t tried the grill, you should step back in time and plan a visit. Open to serve a delicious breakfast and lunch from 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. Call in your order for pick-up. Aron’s Grill has hand-made milkshakes, malts and old fashioned hamburgers. Grab a friend and stop in today for friendly, fast service! Aron’s Pharmacy Gift Departent and Grill provides a personal experience to every customer, new and regular. They also have free gift wrapping and free deliveries within the Twin Cities. Come in today and check it out, and you can grab a bite to eat at the grill while you’re at it! While Aron’s is your one stop shop for everything Christmas, they are still doing what they’ve done best for over 53 years, providing pharmacy service with care and compassion. They have a full-service pharmacy with free deliveries of your prescriptions and other purchases you may need. Aron’s honors all third party insurances. Here are what a few of our customers have to say: Always and always awesome! Everyone is very welcoming and service is the best! My cheeseburger special is the best in Monroe and West Monroe! Love Aron’s for a very long time! Also the very nice Man who always delivers my medicine for me is a blessing! – Penny G Love this home town pharmacy. They know your name..they are always the nicest folks, you aren’t just a prescription. You’re a friend. You can tell by the service they provide. – Ellen LOVE all of the gifts you find at Aron’s! They always have the cutest merchandise for each holiday. – Ali



Camp Etiquette for Holiday Hunters


ost hunters have had at least one experience or more in what we refer to as “The Camp.” In the old days, that camp may have been a tent pitched on public land or a camper with a wood burning stove or barrel ablaze outside to take away the late night nip. Either way any camp has some components that are pretty similar. Take for example the camp cook. Every camp has one and some are better than others. Probably my favorite camp cook of all time was Allen Butler. Allen was a exceptional cook and jokester, but with that he was also a very gifted hunter. Back in the 80s, Allen came up with a video series called “From the Hoof to the Skillet.” This video took the nimrod from the field to the kitchen and showed the secrets of the harvest, processing and cooking of venison. I still use some of Allen’s tips to this day, as the man knew his stuff when it came to critters. But not all camp cooks are of the Allen Butler variety. We lost Allen last year and is his cooking is one thing of many that I will miss. I remember as a kid, this “camp” was an old school bus. After a long morning of rabbit hunting, this old Cajun woman had cooked up some rabbit jambalaya. I don’t know if it was because I was starving at the time, but it was one of the most memorable meals I have ever eaten in the field. Then there is the not so gifted camp cook. I’ve eaten my share of burnt 88 DECEMBER 2018 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

biscuits and gravy that tasted like pure flour, but most camp cooks I have met have shared some recipes that I still use to this day. Camp food is generally pretty simple. We don’t do low carb, keto or low fat at the camp. The more butter the better, and portions are whatever makes you full. This of course, is complimented by football on the tv or at the least a hunting show. No girlie shows or news is of interest, unless, of course it is election time. But the one constant in a camp cook that is paramount is “can you cook a good breakfast?” Breakfast is usually a brunch. We tote honey buns and sweets with a thermos of coffee first thing and then come back after a morning hunt to the full meal deal, followed by a welcomed nap. Pretty simple life. That is until you get that one wrong member in the camp. This member does not understand the routine. He will come into the camp, slamming doors, talking loud or turning up the tv. This is usually the same one who thinks it is ok to get in your box stand that you have corned for a month. This member wants to ride his four wheeler to the stand instead of walk and is usually the one who gripes the most about what other members do. If you are this guy in the camp, your tenure will be short. Hunters hunt to escape drama and controversy. And if you don’t know what common courtesy in the woods/camp is, you need to hunt alone. Then there is the member who can fix

anything. Whether it’s plumbing, electrical or a wheeler that has quit, this is the VIP of the hunting camp. I have seen more major repairs done in the camp yard than at the local ATV location. The VIP will never worry about his tenure and will almost always be the first served by the camp cook and the last one asked to wash dishes. My favorite type of member is the one who isn’t afraid to do his homework. He does his own scouting, his own stand placement and is always there for work day with his own tools. This is the same guy who will not only fix his stand but be just as willing to fix anyone’s stand or equipment for a smoother season. Probably the most overlooked member is the clean freak. He is a little OCD and is constantly sweeping, using a blower or power washer and gets a little upset when guests don’t remove their boots at the door of the camp. But you won’t find trash in your stand if he asks to hunt it and you never worry about a mess being left, even if he didn’t make it. This member is lovingly referred to as the “camp wife,” because if you leave your stuff laying around, he will move it. Kind of like being at home with the wife. But without him, the camp would be a mess. Whether your camp is a camper, tent, shack or mansion there are some basic rules. Let me disclose them, in case you don’t know them: • If you mess it up, clean it up • Hunt your own stuff and spot. Don’t use another member’s stand/stuff without asking. • Always bring more groceries than you will eat. • You are the member. You are responsible for you and your guests, even if they are family. • Abide by and don’t gripe about the rules. The rules were made from experiences before you got here. • Think of other members’ rights and honor them. Stay off of ATVs near and around their hunting areas, even if they are not present. Would you sleep in their bed because they are absent? • Pay your way. That means groceries, beer, gas or any expense. Dues pay the rent and there are other expenses. • You are a member but you are a guest of whoever owns/manages the land. Act like one. The camp is a great place to get away and can be a nice refuge from the hustle and bustle of our busy lives. It is our responsibility to manage and maintain leased or owned lands for the future camps of our kids and grandkids. The beauty of any camp is in the eye of the beholder. Just remember, the camp is what you make it. Happy Holidays, and enjoy your camp time this year.



Meredith’s Musings Blue Christmas Magic |

By Meredith McKinnie


hristmas gives me a warm feeling, a cozy familiarity that reinforces my appreciation of family, giving and seeing magic reflected in children’s eyes. It’s hard not love the holiday, even though the hustle and bustle can morph into stress. Expectations are high. Luckily, I grew up in a home where Christmas was on display, Santa’s Christmas Eve path was closely tailed on the evening news, and 5 a.m. Christmas morning was never too early to begin opening presents. I noticed before I understood why, that my mother was more happy to see us open our presents than to receive any of her own. One stocking remained empty as my sister, my dad, and I rumbled through ours. Dad’s camo stocking always had boxes of junior mints and cordial cherries. Santa didn’t get her stocking filled. What I remember most are the subtle routines, the traditions that made my family Christmas personal. Holiday decorating began on Thanksgiving night. Navigating the 10 foot tree’s box from the upstairs attic to the living room is an Olympic event, Mom pulling from the front, one of the three others of us pushing from the back and Mom’s constant warnings against scuffing


her barn red wall coming down the stairs. I chuckle just thinking about it. We spent Black Friday protesting the crowds in the comfort of our home. It was my unofficial job to help Mom decorate. The exterior eight poles would be quickly wrapped with whitelighted garland. The alternating windows would feature a similarly wrapped wreath in the center and wide red ribbon in the shape of a cross. A silhouetted manger scene would adorn the right corner of the porch, an acknowledgement of the reason for the season. The boombox would bellow the voices of Brenda Lee, Bing Crosby and Elvis. The Blue Christmas album is still one of my favorites. Many of those traditions I’ve carried into my own home. I want my daughter to remember the consistent themes, the Christmas staples. I also put up the tree after Thanksgiving dinner, no matter how full our bellies might be. My husband takes over the outdoor decorating and will randomly call on me to rave about his work. We had a debate last year over warm versus cool-colored lights, me preferring the former and winning. Cool blue looks trendy, not traditional. Husband would go ape on decorations if I let him, but my father’s financial sermons keep me from

giving in to Husband’s impulses to compete on The Great Christmas Light Fight. But still, the house is lined with enlarged bulbs, the light post in the yard is wrapped to look like a Christmas tree with the conveniently-shaped foliage, and the wrought-iron fence my dad crafted solely on his own, is now wrapped with the same white-lighted garland Mom once used on her exterior poles. I brought my holiday childhood home decor home with me. We’ve also developed some habits of our own. Christmas movies are indulged during the holiday season. A Harry Potter marathon is Addy, my nine-year-old stepdaughter’s favorite. We cozy up together on the couch with Husband’s homemade popcorn and watch all eight movies within a matter of days. Elf is Husband’s pick, and it often gets a few showings throughout the month. Home Alone means the season has arrived for me, and my family indulges my craving for Kevin McAllister’s adventures. Love Actually and The Family Stone are saved for after the girls go to bed. Watching love with my love is the perfect nightcap. We both love Bruce Willis in Die Hard and believe firmly it IS a Christmas movie, though Walmart didn’t have it in the holiday movie section. A 15-minute dig through the $5 DVD bin produced Bruce’s bloodied face on the cover, and we both yelled with glee, that triumphant feeling of finding exactly what we wanted when we wanted it. We just associate holidays with happiness. My family taught me that. It’s the perfect culmination to whatever year we’ve had, the bringing together of everyone with the comforts of familiar food, friendly festivities and family focus. We teach children to believe, to imagine the impossible, and adults can too. When we look across the table and see the only person in the world who would get a chuckle out of the Christmas box on the stairs, we remember we started together. We’re bonded together for life through shared experiences. It’s the beauty of tradition and holiday cheer. And this season, I’m thankful to have been shown that beauty and continue those traditions with my own family. I hope one day when my daughter hears Elvis’s sultry voice, she’ll think of us, and she’ll smile.


FIRST GLIMPSE ULTRASOUND First Glimpse Ultrasound & Boutique has moved to its new location on Antique Alley and held their official Ribbon Cutting. The West Monroe Chamber of Commerce and Mayor Staci Albritton came out to Downtown West Monroe to help celebrate the occasion. Owner Sonya Batten hosted the party that was open to public with her family in attendance. Food and drinks were provided for guests as they browsed the store. Batten gave a small speech thanking family, friends and the community for their support and introduced her staff. First Glimpse provides expecting mothers in our community 2D, 3D, 4D and HD Live ultrasounds and, in this new location, they had the ability to expand their clothing and gift boutique.

OSCHNER HEALTH SYSTEM On Monday September 24th, University Health Conway hosted Governor John Bel Edwards and his staff, leadership from and LSU Health Shreveport, and Ochsner Health System. The reason for the visit was to announce the new agreement for Ochsner to assume the day to day management of the hospitals in Shreveport and Monroe. This agreement is meant to transform health care and medical education in Northern Louisiana. On Tuesday September 25th, they held an Unveiling Ceremony of the new Hybrid LabCath Lab for complex endovascular procedures and open surgeries. They are excited to continue moving toward the future and providing patients the care they deserve.

DAWG HOUSE SPORTS GRILL The Dawg House Sports Grill is celebrating 20 years of business! That is an accomplishment that anyone should be proud of. This accomplishment is not solely because of the owners and employees, but more so the community’s support. So they decided to give back! In honor of 20 years in business, they decided for the month of September to give 20% of their profits to a different North Louisiana charity for 20 days. They would like to thank the community for their continued support and look forward to their future serving Ruston and surrounding areas!

MASON CAME HOME! On Saturday October 6th, Mason Andrews made it back to Monroe after his record-setting solo flight around the world. He was greeted by family, friends and community members to celebrate his return and his success on raising funds and awareness for MedCamps of Louisiana. The Louisiana Tech student broke records, one of them being that he is now youngest person to circumnavigate the globe by aircraft, solo. Crowds came out to the Pilots for Patients hanger in Monroe, La to support him in his return.

BREAKFAST WITH SANTA On Saturday, November 17, The Radio People hosted breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus at Copeland’s Restaurant in Monroe. Kids enjoyed a free pancake breakfast and a visit with Santa and his elves. Elsa, Belle and the Grinch even made an appearance, along with Ace the Warhawk and members of ULM’s cheer and dance teams. While guests waited in line, they sipped on hot choclate from Copeland’s, treats from Johnny’s Pizza and Creed and Creed Law Firm passed out balloons for each child. The event was hosted by Peggy Sullivan State Farm and Bayou Dental and Primary Health Services Center.

FOOD FIGHT ON THE FRONT The Alpha Gamma Chapter hosted a great fundraiser on Saturday, October 27 at the Downtown Monroe Rivermarket! “Food Fight on the ‘Front” was a lot of fun and we were able to raise over $500 for the Chennault Military and Aviation Museum. Attendees were invited to enjoy the nice fall weather while watching local food trucks battle it out for the best in the biz title. Big Boys took home “People’s Choice” while local celebrity judges, Tara Ambrose, Adrienne LaFrance, John Runyan and Griffin Scott, choose Delta Roux and Que as their favorite. A special thanks goes out to our judges for spending their Saturday with ESA. Save the date for next year! Saturday, September 28, 2019!



Local Teams Take State, Prep for Southern Championships As the USTA season winds down, NELA teams are racking up State Championships and earning trips to Auburn, AL for the Southern Sectional Championships. Two Mens and one Womens team will aim for Southern Championships February 15-17 at Yarborough Tennis Center in Auburn. Captains Debbie Garner, Bill Meche and Richard Ainsworth all led their teams to wins at the 55+ State competition hosted by the NELA Community Tennis Association November 9-11. And narrowly missing a ticket to Auburn in the 40+ division were Carleen Dumas and her ladies. As always, NELA hospitality was on display and appreciated by the 225 players who competed at ULM and Forsythe Tennis Center. A successful campaign for additional courts at Forsythe will allow for bigger and better tournaments on the future.

6.5 State Champions are Captain Bill Meche, Robert Ransom, Paul Vingiello, Tab Sanderlin, Jeff Davis, Toby Truex, Jack Ramey and Bill Prescott

State Runners-up at 6.5 are Tracie Ellerman, Cindy Phillips, Captain Carleen Dumas, Belinda Hays, Debbie Cramer, Bitty Butler and Dorothy Reece

7.5 State Champions are Cindy Strickler, Valerie Matejowsky, Karen Oliver, Captain Debbie Garner, Lilia Boies, Becky McCain, Cheryl Metzger and Judy Edmondson

Louisiana Champions at 7.5 are Ronnie Hunt, Bob Coons, Mike Whitworth, Tab Sanderlin, Keith Schwab, Captain Richard Ainsworth, Bob Holladay and RB Green

Tournament Director Kathryn Waters at the desk

What What They’re They’re Saying... Saying... “A common misconception is that good players hit down on the ball when serving. However, using the continental grip allows the server to actually hit up and through the serve, creating lift to get the ball over the net and also putting a lid on the ball to bring it down inside the service box. So if you’re not serving with a continental grip, start moving on that direction and your consistency will improve. “

– Phil Trahan


Ensuring a smooth operation are Nell Richey, Betty Petersen, Freddy Bailey, Nancy Adams and Barbara Grandon


Everything Nice

Arrangement by Master Gardener Heather Ganey, of The Flower Tree in Bastrop, LA Nothing warms the soul on a holiday eve like a warm tureen of piping hot stew. Many families share bowls of soup as traditional Christmas Eve fare, choosing to unwrap a present or two like a snuggly pair of pajamas in anticipation of Jesus’ birthday. Here, Master Gardener and florist Heather Ganey of Bastrop’s The Flower Tree adds some whimsey to cream-hued, lidded tureen overflowing with sculptural canna leaves, crimson tulips, alstroemeria and forsythia added to a base of cedar and nandina foliage. For extra measure, Heather adds a gathering of cinnamon sticks, along with fresh apples and pears for an arrangement that thinks out of the box this holiday season.





Uncork It

Wreath created by Tori Krutzer Fisher, Ryan Lockett, Ainsley Wiggins and Chrissy Justus, Junior Garden Club of Monroe If you’re an oenophile at heart, this is the wreath for you! And getting enough corks for the project is just the start of the fun. If time is of the essence, enlist your friends to save their corks, too! Using a wire wreath form, begin by hot gluing recycled corks in a vertical row on the inside and outside edges of the form. Then add more corks in concentric circles on top of the wreath. Attach an Oasis cage that’s been soaked for a water source, then add fresh red roses and feathery fern. A wide satin ribbon in a Christmas-y red provides a finishing touch like that last sip of Cabernet.




Gather 'Round The Yulelog Centerpiece

Arrangement by Master Gardener Heather Ganey, of The Flower Tree in Bastrop, LA Florist and Master Gardener Heather Ganey has created a Christmas table centerpiece inspired by Europe’s ancient Yule Log tradition of cutting a tree to be burned a little bit each evening beginning on Christmas Eve. If any of the tree remained by Twelfth Night, that bit would be saved in the hope of bringing luck throughout the New Year. Lucky would be those who gather around this naturally beautiful centerpiece. Ganey began by creating a Yule Log using a sheet of cork to cover two whole bricks of drenched Oasis to ensure a water source for longer lasting flowers and greenery. Evergreens of cedar, pine, acacia and rosemary were then layered atop the “log”, with tendrils of ivy and slender bare, curving branches of curly willow adding movement to the arrangement. Heather combined rustic pine cones with elegant red spray roses, burgundy carnations, hypericum berries and scabiosa. In a nod to the bounty of the natural harvest, Heather added white button and baby Portabella mushrooms, apples and pears to the mix.


A SPLENDID TABLE Lessons Learned When a Southpaw Unexpectedly Crashes Christmas Dinner a r t i c l e b y M ic h a e l D eVa ul t


e weren’t expecting the doorbell. So when the two-toned chime echoed through the house as we were just sliding the last of the sides into the oven to reheat, we glanced at one another with a bit of a start. “Are you expecting anyone?” I asked Robin. She shook her head. “No. You?” It was shortly before noon on Christmas morning, and while my Thanksgivings had by then become the stuff of legend—a thirtyplus pound turkey, two trays of dressing— one with sausage, the other with oysters, and fifty pounds of sides like Spinach Madeleine and Green Bean Casserole, a case of wine, and seats at the table for as many as 40— Christmas was a decidedly more personal affair. Just me, Robin, her kids and Kya gathered around the table for a quiet meal and a relaxing afternoon. We were shocked and somewhat bemused when Jeffrey stepped into the foyer with a bottle of Yellow Tail Shiraz tucked under one arm and a wrapped package under the other. “I hope I’m not late!” he said, only the lightest hints of a Yorkshire accent underpinning his words. “I remembered this was your favorite.” He handed me the Shiraz and then passed the box to Robin. “That’s for under the tree,” he said, though he didn’t specify to whom it was to be given. In spite of Jeffrey catching us unaware, and showing up, we thought, uninvited to family Christmas dinner, we were all too pleased to see him and hurried him into the 102 DECEMBER 2018 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

living room, where he warmed himself by the remnants of a morning fire. Robin and I made our exit to the kitchen to finish up lunch, leaving Jeffrey to the care of Brad and the girls. “Did you know he was coming?” I asked “No! But I’m glad he’s here,” Robin replied. I was as well, I assured her. But I was just a little surprised. While he had come two years running to the stragglers' Thanksgiving at the house on the bayou, we knew from previous years he always went home for Christmas. Then, I remembered. “His mother passed this year,” I said. “And I said last year ‘if ever you find yourself without some place to go for the holidays….’” But that was just the kind of thing you said. It’s not like you actually mean it, and you certainly never expect someone to take you up on it. Yet here I was trying to find a way to smuggle an extra chair through the living room and into the dining room without him noticing while Robin portioned out the roasted chicken to make sure there was enough to go around. One of Robin’s girls came into the kitchen. “Who is this guy?” She wasn’t there for Thanksgiving, and so she had never experienced a Jeffrey-steered game night after Thanksgiving dinner. She hadn’t played the old Monopoly game or Pictionary. And she had missed watching us try to teach him how to play Texas Hold ‘em, which resulted in Jeffrey having “all the chips” four times over the course of the night, a fluke he insisted was beginner’s luck, though we had our suspicions. “You’ll love him,” Robin said. “Maybe we’ll play a game after lunch.”

As Robin called everyone to lunch, I surveyed the table one last time. It was splendid, set with the china I had borrowed from my grandmother for the occasion. Or at least it was as splendid as it could be back then. We were all still coming out of various economic and personal distresses, so Christmas this year had been a bit lean. And then I saw Jeffrey’s place, sandwiched next to mine at the end of the table. It certainly wasn’t a place that said, “We thought about you and are happy you made it.” Then I remembered. Jeffrey was lefthanded. Very quickly, I rearranged the place setting in a manner that would have given my grandmother an aneurism. I put the knife on the left, blade to plate, with the soup spoon to its left. On the right, the dinner fork was followed by the salad fork. I tried to keep the order of the glasses in my head, in reverse, as I moved the water goblet and wine glass to the other side. I even thought to reverse the dessert spoon and tea spoon over the plate. When Jeffrey sat down, he beamed. “You remembered!” “Of course we did,” I said. Robin winked. After dinner, he insisted we open the present he had brought. Even before we had fully unwrapped “Balderdash,” Jeffrey was explaining the rules gleefully. That evening, a little after seven and after dozens of rounds of the game, he put on his coat and scarf. He thanked us for having him again. “Of course! It wouldn’t be the same without you!” Robin said. “See you next year.”



sto r y b y Brandi C ham bless

n a sweltering July afternoon, Ruby took one final check of all the drawers in the empty walnut chest that her husband Everett had given her as a wedding gift. This was the day she had dreaded. Now facing a last resort, she knew they would be here any minute. They, being the couple who would take away her coveted chest for cash from a place where it had rested for forty years. Her private desperation now made manifest, the atmosphere seemed devoid of hope. Everett Cross had worked rigorously throughout his entire life, but to no avail. Though God provided for his family through his efforts, not one of his business ventures had ever really taken off as he had planned. Rather, Ruby was left penniless at the time of his death. She had managed to maintain the family home, still decorated as beautifully as ever with family photos, antiques, heirlooms, and her baby grand piano, but now even the home itself was on the market. When Ruby checked the final drawer, her spirit embittered from having to let go of such a prized possession, a tear drop rolled from her cheekbone into the drawer 104 DECEMBER 2018 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

and landed on the book inside. Funny. She thought she had emptied the chest and double-checked it several times before. With trembling hands, she reached into the bottom drawer and pulled out a book, Confessions of a Grieving Christian, which her daughter Mary had been reading after losing a close friend exactly six years ago to the day. There was something sticking out of the book that resembled a white bookmark. As Ruby unfolded the paper, she couldn’t believe that she was reading an email typed to her daughter Mary from Everett, within the very hour he died. July 28, 2004 5:27 a.m. Dear Mary, Just wanted to give you a quick update on your old Dad. The doc gave me a Z-pack and a Tylenol #3. For some reason, my skin has begun to itch. Imagine that! I hope this letter finds you well. Don’t worry. I’ll be comin’ back this way. Love, Dad

Less than one hour later, Everett Cross died of a massive heart attack. So here it was, six years later, when Ruby knew that God was speaking to her at this very moment while she read the familiar expression of her late husband. "Comin’ back this way" was an old family saying adopted from the family housekeeper years before, meaning, “I’m almost as good as new,” or “I’m back to my old self again.” Mary had obviously printed the email and tucked it in the book on the morning of her father’s death. After reading those words, Ruby was able to gather enough strength to release the chest. Reassured of God’s presence in her life, it wasn’t only Everett’s wedding gift that provided for her needs when she needed it most, but also the provision of a Heavenly husband who placed an old email print out in what was thought to be an empty drawer for such a time as this. When her tears were interrupted by the knock at the door, she gathered herself and proudly escorted the new owners of the walnut chest to the bedroom where they wheeled it away for the last time. She was thankful for Everett’s wedding gift. She was thankful for Everett”s words. With the book still in her hand, she made her way to the kitchen, put on a pot of tea and began to hum softly. God’s timing and provision in our lives is always sufficient. His ways are higher than our ways. Our trusting during the painful seasons is a sign of surrender to His will. If the God of the universe holds time itself in His hands, why then should you ever be anxious for anything? Whenever you find yourself downtrodden as Ruby did, remember the Words of the lover of your soul hidden within an ancient heirloom that never suffers decay. A day is coming when there will be no more tears, for we can rest in the assurance of a Savior who is comin’ back this way. Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines, the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat, the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls — yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength; and He will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and He will make me to walk upon mine high places. – Book of Habakkuk 3:17-19


ar t i cle b y K en ny C o vin g to n


With Kenny

Fishing the December Warming Trends


ne of the interesting things about living in Louisiana is we rarely have a true winter season. We may have periods of cooler weather with a few days of actually cold weather thrown in, but we rarely have a true day after day winter season. That being said, if we take advantage of the breaks in our colder weather, I call them warming trends, bass fishing can be a successful year round pursuit. First of all let’s understand what I mean when I speak of a warming trend. If we have two or three days where the daytime temps reach into the 50s or low 60s after a week or so of 40 degree weather, that can be all that is needed to put bass into an aggressive feeding mode. This is especially common in the month of December. These temperature changes, while subtle, are important. The longer the number of consecutive warmer days you have, generally, the better the fish will bite. On lakes like Caney or Claiborne that are clear water fisheries, it is important to remember that clearer water warms up slower than a stained water lake like D’Arbonne or the Mississippi River oxbows, like Lake Bruin. A water temperature increase of a few degrees can make all the difference in the world, and the key is to look for areas that will warm up quickest or areas that hold baitfish. Both scenarios are good, but a combination of both are definitely fish magnets. Now that we have given a basic idea to what we mean by “warming trends,” the question becomes what areas do you look for and how do you fish them? The first thing you want to consider is what type of lake is it and what types of cover are available. Here are a few examples: Lakes with an abundance of grass make


your choice of areas to fish much easier. Start by fishing the edges, where the grass meets deeper water and then work shallower. If your favorite lake has a lot of boat docks, these can be awesome fish attractors. Begin on the deeper sides and fish towards the shallower walk ways. Fish in lakes with an abundance of cypress trees can be caught in water less than five feet year round, the key is are the fish on the outer trees or are they on the ones closer to the banks. All these things play a key role, so make sure to keep that mind when fishing this time of year. The idea is to find the areas, where fish can easily move from deep to shallow, but don’t let the movement of deep to shallow water be confusing. To a bass that is in ten foot of water, five foot is their idea of shallow. If a bass stays in a five foot zone year round a move to three foot would be the same thing. Remember, the fish you will be targeting during these warming trends are fish that will spend the colder months in water shallower than fifteen feet deep. Even a subtle depth change can make all the difference in their world. So now that we have an idea of where we are going to fish, what are we going to fish with? My five basic lures are a ½ Red Eyed shad (Rat L Trap style lure), a shad colored double willow leaf spinnerbait, a squarebill crankbait, a Spook and a small flipping jig. This list of lures is pretty basic, but at some point they will help you, not just to find active fish, but to catch them as well. Each lure plays an important part of the fish finding and fish catching equation. It is important to note that I rarely deviate from this selection of lures, because my experience has always been that at some point in time these lures will produce. Start out using a lure that will allow you to cover water. My first choice would be a shad colored spinnerbait or Red Eyed shad to cover the flatter areas of a lake, especially if I am focusing on areas with grass. I would choose a squarebill, if I was fishing docks or cypress trees. These lures will effectively allow me to cover a lot of water in a short period of time, bettering my chances of locating active fish. Once a productive area is located, then you may want to experiment with other lures and techniques. The choice of the Spook is the wildcard of the bunch. Regardless of how cool the water, during or after a warming trend, this lure will catch big bass this time of year, but it is a situational deal. It covers water, and it draws fish from a distance but it is best suited in bodies of water with good water clarity. Iit is especially effective when fishing seawalls. The idea with the Spook is to play with the speed of the cadence to get the most out of this technique. The small flipping jig is simply a good clean up lure. After you have beat up a hundred docks and fished a thousand cypress trees, you can still go back through an area and catch fish on this lure. As far as colors go black/blue is about as good a choice as you can get. As you can see, fishing these warming trends in December and the other winter months is not a complicated deal. Tie on your favorite lures for covering water, put the trolling motor down and get after it! Often times, the fish will be stacked up in smaller areas, and you can have some awesome days on the water, if you can just locate them. Well, it looks like we have run out of space for another month. Please be careful out in the woods or on the water this month. If you are fishing, please catch one for me! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to each and every one of you! See you next month!

signature cocktail at Seattle’s Nue Restaurant. Should you prefer something a bit less sweet, simply adjust - adding more fresh ginger and less brown sugar.


WHAT YO U WILL NEED 1 batch of Ginger Molasses Syrup Whiskey or Bourbon of choice Orange Bitters Large CUBE ice Possibly - Cinnamon, cream and sea salt GINGER MOLASSES SYRUP 1 cup water 1 1/4 cup brown sugar 4 TBSP molasses 50 g ginger Roughly chop ginger and place all ingredients in blender. Add the the slurry to a heavy bottomed pan and bring to a full boil. Immediately lower to medium heat and stir constantly, until reduced a bit. Let cool, pass through a mesh strainer and store in a glass bottle or jar for around 3 weeks. Should your syrup set too much, simply simmer bottle in a pan of water. Make it NI CE: 2 oz whiskey 1/2 oz ginger molasses syrup Orange bitters (just a few shakes) Stir and then slowly POUR OVER your CUBE. This is what I call the “iceberg effect.” Pouring it over encourages the ice to begin slowly melting which mellows your cocktail perfectly.

‘Tis the season for merry-making with this craft cocktail article and photo by Heather Land

Once the Thanksgiving feast has been had, the guests have gone, the mass of dishes put away, the work over and the house is once more still, I sit quietly for a bit. My hubby has traditionally packed up for the hunt. The girls have retired to their own accord for a spell. The house is, again still, until soon it will wake once more, this time to the sounds of Christmas with the Rat Pack, the smell of mulled spices simmering in one pot and a batch of ginger molasses syrup in another. I have waited purposefully. While the rest of the world seemingly begins preparing for Christmas at the brink of Fall, I wait, savoring at best, each season leading up to the Turkey. This way, our little world is filled 108 DECEMBER 2018 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

with Christmas long enough to enjoy it and and just short enough that is bittersweet to take it all down. ’Tis the season for Merry-making. For us on the Land Farm, this means a constant crackling fire next to a real tree adorned with old jewels, gingerbread making and long spells of sitting, sipping and soaking it all in. December’s cocktail is inspired by the spark of all five of my senses lit like a slow burning candle for the Merry Season. Beginning with my all-time favorite, the Old Fashioned - married with a fresh molasses crinkle cookie. Its incredibly rich with warmth, depth and spice ...oh, and it can be made two ways Naughty or Nice. Make a batch of the syrup to keep you sipping throughout the month, give it as a gift, or make a round and share it with your favorite people. Cheers to slowing down and very merry spirits all around! Who needs eggnog? The NICE version is a recipe for a

Make it NAU GH TY: Simply start with the NICE version... Warm some cream, cinnamon and a pinch of sea salt. This will gives the cream a bit more body. Add this to your cocktail. Here, you may keep it warm or add a large cube. Serve with a cinnamon stick for stirring. My gift {ideas} for you: For a stress-free perfect Old Fashioned, keep a bottle of Bittermilk No. 1 Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Fashioned (can be found online) in one large bottle or in convenient travel size bottles to take anywhere you go. You may substitute 1/4-1/2 oz. of this for the orange bitters in the recipes above. Have a whiskey drinker in your life? Here’s an early Christmas gift to keep them warm in December... 1 batch of Ginger Molasses Syrup bottle Bottle of Bittermilk No. 1 a silicone large cube ice mold Bottle of Good Whiskey

Find me @heathersuez on Instagram - Tag me in your Old Fashioned Christmas Merry Making! I would love to hear from you.

Guerriero and Guerriero A Family Legacy


S THE HOLIDAY SEASON RETURNS TO THE TWIN Cities, Jeff Guerriero wants to ensure that everyone in Monroe, West Monroe and the surrounding areas has a safe and enjoyable Christmas. As a way of ensuring that the citizens of Ouachita Parish have the best Christmas possible, the Law Offices of Guerriero and Guerriero have several events throughout November and December that everyone can participate in! First, Guerriero and Guerriero will be hosting the second annual “Jungle Bells” event at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo! Jungle Bells will take place on Saturday, December 15 from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Admission will be free, but Guerriero and Guerriero asks those who can to bring a new unwrapped toy for children in need in our area. Santa Claus will be arriving by train at 10:30 a.m. and will be available to take pictures with the children throughout the day! The first 500 children through the gate will receive a free toy! There will be food trucks, face painting, letters to Santa, bounce house, Christmas carols, snow machines, animals, a stocking creating station and more! There will be a live radio remote playing music and broadcasting the events as they happen. We will also hold drawings at the event where the winner will receive a free bicycle! Attendees who bring a new unwrapped toy to the Jungle Bells event will also receive a pass for free admission to the zoo for a later date. Also, the train and boat rides will be running at additional cost for those who wish to enjoy them. Also at Jungle Bells, attendees will have the opportunity to participate in the third annual Great Bicycle Giveaway. Jeff Guerriero and the Law Office of Guerriero and Guerriero is excited to partner with local businesses to give away bicycles to lucky boys and girls in our region again this year. Registration for the bike giveaway will be located on site and those who wish to enter will do so at the event. Make sure to stop by the registration table for a chance to win a bicycle for your child! Please keep in mind that you must be present at the event in order to win a bicycle! Jeff Guerriero has once again partnered with Rock 106/ Lagniappe Media to sponsor the 16th annual “Christmas for Kids” toy drive. Jeff believes that each child should have something under the tree for Christmas and, with your help, this event will help see that each one does. New toys can be dropped off at any Ouachita 110 DECEMBER 2018 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

Parish Fire station, Any Go Auto Insurance location, Monroe Telco, or Guerriero and Guerriero Law Offices beginning November 18 and running through December 19. These toys will be distributed to families in need throughout the Christmas season to ensure that the children of Ouachita Parish have the best Christmas possible! All toys will be delivered by Ouachita Parish Firefighters. We ask that all donations be new, unwrapped toys. As the weather gets colder, the men, women and children of our area often find themselves in desperate need of warm winter coats. In order to help fulfill these needs, Jeff Guerriero is sponsoring the annual 103.1 NOW FM/Lagniappe Media Coat Drive in which people may drop off gently used coats. These coats will be dry cleaned and given to those in need, free of charge, as well as donated to local homeless shelters and the Salvation Army. The coat drive begins on November 18 and will run through December 25, 2018. Coats can be dropped off beginning November 18 at the Guerriero and Guerriero Law Office located at 2200 Forsythe Avenue in Monroe. For more information about any of these events or to find out how you can help, there are several ways to contact the Law Offices of Guerriero and Guerriero. We can be reached by telephone at 318325-4306 or feel free to come to the office located at 2200 Forsythe Avenue in Monroe. Also, you may contact us via our website at We hope that everyone has a safe and joyful holiday season and we look forward to seeing you at all Guerriero and Guerriero sponsored events! Guerriero and Guerriero is one of the oldest Plaintiff law firms in Louisiana. The firm, which was established over 85 years ago, handles medical malpractice, personal injury, 18-wheeler and car accidents, wrongful death, nursing home neglect, drug injuries, oil field/rig accidents and mass tort class action litigation. For the past 29 years, Jeff Guerriero has continued his family’s legacy of providing exceptional legal representation to Louisiana plaintiffs.


Holiday Gift Guide

Rain Beauty and Body Offers Something for Everyone on Your List


HIS HOLIDAY SEASON, RAIN HAS something for everyone on your list. From products to hair accessories to makeup, check out our handy holiday gift guide to find the perfect gift for every type of person on your list! THE STYLISH LOUNGER: Some accessories are smarter than others, and sexier too, without all the effort...just like this lady. The stylist lounger will love Rain’s newest collection of hair accessories to make her look and feel fabulous without the fuss! These make great stocking stuffers and holiday happies since they start at $15! THE FOOTLOOSE AND FANCY-FREE: The dreamer that seems to float with her freespirit needs Ultimate Face Cosmetic’s Pro Makeup Brushes to paint those dreams into reality. The brushes are made with only the finest of materials, unbelievably soft on the skin, and of course Vegan and Cruelty free, two values Ultimate Face lives by. Get one starting at $10, get the whole set and save 45%! THE FAIREST OF THEM ALL: This lady is serious about her routine and her incredible skin shows it! Indulge her in Oribe’s Body Care line for a decadent bath, body and scrub experience. Plus, save 30% on Oribe Body Gift Sets! THE VROOMING GROOMER: Help this lady on your list style her hair like a pro and in record time. The Exit Pro Blow Dryer will tame her mane with ease every time she dries!


THE HOST: Never showing up empty handed is one thing, but showing up with a decadent Oribe candle for your favorite host means a return invitation is guaranteed. THE STOCKING STUFFER: Secret Santas? White elephant gifts? Teacher gifts? The best things come in small packages and start at just $10! THE TRAVELER: The adventurer on your list will be over the moon for Oribe Travel Gift Sets showcasing Beautiful Color Shampoo and Conditioner or Cote d’Azur Body Wash and Body Creme. Travel Gift Sets $25. THE MAKEUP GURU: This fashionista’s face is always on point and looking for the next makeup trend. Ultimate Face Cosmetic’s Pro Pallets are the ultimate gift for creating looks like a pro. And you can save over 40%! THE FASHION LOVER: She has an eye for only the most beautiful things. Adorn her bathroom display with beautiful Oribe hair care, making her everyday styling a luxury experience THE ENVIRONMENTALIST: If there’s a lady in your life who is conscious about what she uses, as we all should be, Rain offers many options to choose from. We’ve got you covered from head to toe with products containing only the best ingredients and sporting labels like Vegan, Cruelty-free, Gluten-free, Sulfate free and more!

THE PRO ON THE GO: The career lady in your life needs accessories that project that executive vibe. Oribe’s hair pin is the perfect fix for easy style that always looks perfectly professional. This ‘jewelry for your hair’ is gold plated and sure to step up any look. (Collection also includes a beautiful ponytail and sleek barrette). THE PARTY GIRL: This chick is making all the New Years party rounds and needs a little sparkle in her life. Marula Oil Lip Velvet will be her favorite go to for the perfect pucker to last well past midnight. THE, WELL, ANYONE!: Rain gift cards are the foolproof gift! Everyone on your list can use it and who doesn’t get excited about pampering themselves! FOR THE MEN ON YOUR LIST: We don’t leave the guys out! The MVRCK men’s line by Paul Mitchell is the key to every guy’s grooming need. From beards to smooth skin and shaved heads to long hair and everything in between. Rain finds it to be such a privilege to have the honor of serving this community for over 14 years! To show appreciation to BayouLife readers, Rain is offering a free gift during the month of December, limit one per customer. All you have to do is mention the gift guide in BayouLife Magazine when you are checking out! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from our family to yours!

Decorating Tip:

For a warm and inviting feel, mix tapered candles in brass candlesticks with fresh greenery.


Perfect for holiday gatherings, this homemade pimiento cheese is rolled with toasted pecans and served with toasted crostini.


This mouth-watering Monte Cristo features a croissant donut layered with smoked ham, turkey and cheese. Battered crispy and served with fresh fruit or jam.


There's not a day more magical than Christmas morning. After the kids have opened their presents and mom and dad have had their cup of coffee, it's time to settle down to a late-morning meal. These favorite brunch dishes from local restaurants will make your mornings merry and bright. styling by TAYLOR BENNETT photography by KELLY MOORE CLARK


A scrumptious classic macaroni and cheese is topped with fried crawfish tails.


This soft, sweet, sticky Monkey Bread is gluten free! Pieces of soft baked bread dough are sprinkled with cinnamon and topped with pecans.


This Holiday Berry Croissant Bake has a buttery, flaky croissant soaked in sweet cream mixed with fresh cut berries and baked to perfection.


A Whole Wheat Triple Berry Muffin is a healthy and delicious treat, perfect for Christmas morning.


These savory crab cakes are served on top of crispy fried green tomatoes and bayou remoulade sauce, then topped with corn maque choux.


Wake up Christmas morning to seared scallops placed over a savory roasted corn coulis and topped with a sweet purple shallot marmalade.


This breakfast casserole dish takes the shape of a Christmas wreath, and is filled with eggs, cheese, breakfast sausage and bacon.


The Cranberry Kelli chicken salad is a perfect mix of dried, sweetened cranberries and slivered almonds.


Classic bread pudding is topped with a warm, amaretto and butter glaze.



Perfectly fried crispy chicken strips are served on top of a fluffy waffle and topped with fresh cut strawberries.

Traditional cinnamon roll are with filled with brown sugar, butter and cinnamon and covered in sweet white icing.

Northeast Louisiana Celtic Festival On Saturday, October 6, the West MonroeWest Ouachita Chamber of Commerce hosted the Northeast Louisiana Celtic Festival, presented by the City of West Monroe at Kiroli Park. This year marked the 15th anniversary and featured a great lineup of Celtic artists along with traditional Irish and Scottish music. Irish dancers entertained the crowd during the afternoon. Chef Pat Nolan served up Shepherd’s Pie, Scotch eggs and sticky toffee pudding, all traditional Scottish fare. Other sponsors include Dr. Jeffery R. Counts, Atty. E. Orum Young, Johnny’s Pizza, Matt’s Music, P3 Promotional Products and Home2Suites.



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On the BayouScene 1 Lauren Saison and Meka Floyd 2 L illy, Kensley and Kelsey Lang and Kelly Gwin 3G ary and Sharon Ratcliff 4C aleb and Brandy Bostick 5 Barbara and Kevin Finley 6 David and Amber Howard 7 Kyle and Katy Temple 8 E li, Shannon, Chevy, Blake and Boone Gaston 9 Landon and Aremis Prine 10 John, Paris, Kristina, Joshua and Peyton Mizell 11 Reva Yates and Jayme Watson 12 Curtis Sims and Jaron Sistrunk 13 Leela Devi and John Huneycutt 14 L ane Thompson, Jon Morris, Becky and Jo Thompson 15 T alor McIntosh, Harley Whitlock and Cyera Jacobs 16 Lily and Jacob Davis 17 T he Muffin Puffin, Arely Castillo and Cosmos 18 Mandi and Oliver Hutto


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North Delta Food and Wine Festival




On October 12th, food lovers and arts supporters alike gathered at the Bayou Pointe Event Center for the North Delta Food and Wine Festival. Bites of sensory indulgence were carefully paired with complementary wines to bring out the flavor, spice and personality of the region’s best chefs. The North Delta Food and Wine Festival raises money for the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council, which strives to make arts education more accessible, improve the small business skills of local artists and support of Arts Council programs like the free Brown Bag Concert Series. The weekend also included Brew on the Bridge and brunch and dinner specials at local supporting restaurants.



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On the BayouScene 1 L eah and Mac Reitzell 2 Trish O’Quinn and Amy Chapman 3 Macey Philley and Austin McKinley 4 Crystal Carey and Andrienne LaFrance-Wells 5R ebecca and Jason McDonald 6 Katie McCormick and Ashley Genusa 7D eacon James, Amy James, Bethany Wilkins and Katherine Spires 8 Maranda Bolayon and Dan Ragsdale 9K urt McEnery and Delia Simpson 10 Wes Singley and Chris McElroy 11 Serena Tenison, Tiffany Huffer and Kelly Scott 12 Denise Scott and Dr. Sarah Klug 13 Todd Colvin, Eron Bethard, Debora Colvin and Clay Colvin 14 Thurman Dickey and Clay McLaughlin 15 Erin Williams and Kaila Boire 16 D enise Breard, Brooke Breard and Pam Luke 17 Chad Carter and Barry Stevens 18 Mike Wilson and Ki Allen 19 Leah Parker and Angela Harrell

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Downtown Gallery Crawl Ten terrific art exhibitions were on-hand during the Downtown Gallery Crawl on October 4th. Golf carts whizzed from gallery to gallery as patrons found unique and original art from local vendors. The Upstairs Gallery featured conservationist Kelby Ouchley, while next door eight resident and guests artist filled the space in The Big Room Gallery. The Arender Studio + Gallery displayed works by artist and fine art professor Cliff Tresner and Rick Sikes hosted artist Dustin Cody Greer. The Garrett House hosted the 3rd Annual Go Local! Fundraiser which benefitted the River Cities Humane Society. Local artists auctioned animal-themed artwork. And, our friends, Lindsey Clark Lowe and Taylor Bennett of Fine Folks created a floral masterpiece in one of Art Alley’s trash cans - a project sponsored by Echo Designs.








On the BayouScene 1 Courtney Wetzel and Simran Emaus 2 Kailey Richard and Blake Spears 3 Jacob, Jeanette and Zoe Robinson 4 Cory Crowe, Michelle Miller and Jay Curtis 5 S tacy Medaries, Melaine Douthit, Douglas Breckinridge, Scott Stone and Lisa Harp 6 T aylor Bennett, Christie Echols and Lindsey Lowe 7 Ken, Victoria, and Diane Tabulog 8 Tim and Charlotte Eich 9A mit Kulkarni and Emily Moore 10 Martha Zabel and Millicent McFarland 11 William, Angela and Astrid Bailey 12 Leah and Mac Reitzell 13 Audie Maxey 14 Nancy Miller and Kim Sherrill 15 Jansen Nowell and Chelsea Jones 16 Calli Sinclair and Victoria Anderson 17 Tea Tvrtkovic and Desmund Lighten



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Pilots for Patients Annual Awards Luncheon On October 13th, Pilots for Patients held their Annual Awards Luncheon to honor 10 years of those that have gone above and beyond. Philip Thomas spoke about the organization’s past, and its amazing growth and all of their accomplishments. Lunch was served as guest speakers shared stories of how this nonprofit organization has saved and changed lives. Over 3,000 flights missions have been completed by Pilots for Patients over the years. Pilots for Patients would also like to thank everyone that attended and supports the organization. They look forward to continuing to help our community in the upcoming years.



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On the BayouScene 1 Julie and Tracy Breithaupt 2 Reba Evans and Ellen Henry 3 Cindy and Walter McElduff 4R yan Chapell, Dianne and Congressman Ralph Abraham and Bruce Walter 5 J immy McDonald, Terie Johnson, Helen and Terrell Johnson 6 D’Eric and Cedric Harrell 7 Philip Thomas and Alex Matherne 8 Machaela Mason and Dylan McElduff 9 Shelby and Jo Funderburk 10 A nnette Epps and Jane McGough Brown 11 Phil Henry, Mindy Jones and Maribeth Holzer 12 B rian and Katie Eskew, Alex Matherne and Heidi Higginbotham 13 G lenn, Austin and Maggie Northcott and Pablo Castro 14 Jimmy McDonald, Stephanie and Mark Blair 15 Sam and Molly Bruscato, Teddy and Bear Fletcher 16 B arney and Lauretta Tucker 17 Leigh Fletcher and Pierce Stevens

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Think Pink Tea


In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Glenwood Regional Medical Center’s 10th Annual Think Pink Tea was held on Friday, October 19th at the West Monroe Convention Center. Men and women from all over came together to celebrate life with the healing power of laughter at the fun-filled and empowering event for women. They enjoyed hot tea and refreshments, compliments of The Spice & Tea Exchange, as they shopped from several vendors from around the area. After visiting and shopping guests took their seats and the luncheon began. A few survivors were recognized and a light lunch was provided. Glenwood would like to thank the community for their continued support and hopes that they will see you next year.

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On the BayouScene 1 Roberta Levac and Rose Osbon 2C heryl Kalopping, Maurice Goforth and Dianne Guillot 3P enni Aulds and Selah Storm 4 Lisa Tarver and April Lingenfelder 5 Laverne Sharp and Agnes Wickham 6 S loan Salinas, Jo Ellen Cranford, Corey Carter, Sharon McClain and Jackie Neal 7D ot Schaefer, Glenda Burnley, Sandra Ratchliff and Lynn Schrock 8B randy Meredith, Diwana Austin and Haley Arron 9 Crystal and Shaundra Ward 10 Julie Roberts, Hannah Rose Roberts and Kim Roberts 11 Kathey Orane and Dora Heath 12 LaShelia Jordan and Jacqueline Caesar-Powell 13 Cindy Brantly and Beverly Pitson 14 Kay Bishop and Diane Stewart









Aimwell Addiction Recovery Center, LLC Was the Grinch an Alcoholic in Need of Recovery? BY THOMAS ESTIS, PH.D.


NE CAN BE REMINDED OF THE CHILDHOOD STORY of the Grinch each year at Christmas time. The story begins as Mr. Grinch is hiding in seclusion while filled with resentment and denying his need for connectedness. This picture parallels the experience the alcoholic/addict finds himself/herself. Mr. Grinch had reached this place in his life as a response to an early childhood disappointment. The progression of alcoholism or addiction has a similar journey. A person encounters a disappointing event or repetition of disappointing events which results in obvious suffering. Rather than the person processing through the suffering he/she demands that something or someone is going to provide relief. The mind is designed for truth and the heart is designed to love truth. Unfortunately, the person abandons truth and, in the process, begins the journey of abandoning and rejecting true self. The person begins consuming alcohol and/or other drugs to self-medicate. Abandoning oneself results in a false self-protecting modality requiring an array of defense mechanism: denial, rationalization, explaining, justifying, minimizing, blaming, attacking, alibis, silence and bargaining. Finally, just like Mr. Grinch, the defenses become the person. Similarly, as Mr. Grinch reduced his choices and created years of unnecessary suffering, the person’s choices are lost to alcohol. He becomes an alcoholic and/ or addict and his life and years are given to unnecessary suffering. This unnecessary suffering supersedes the original disappointment. Shame and/or the perception of shame contributed to Mr. Grinch’s journey into seclusion and isolation. Shame is the sense of being inferior or incompetent. Unfortunately, the experience of shame blinded Mr. Grinch of his creativity and numerous talents. The same occurs and transpires for the person who becomes dependent on alcohol and/or other drugs. As the disease progresses the shame only increases, as well as, self-hate, sadness, self-rejection, fear, loneliness, anger, resentment, discouragement, depression and ultimately despair. The person desires to live but becomes more afraid of living than dying. Mr. Grinch looks from his cave and creates the evil plan to rob Whoville of Christmas. Their misery will then match his and he will no longer be burdened by their contradictory messages of joy and love and life and laughter. The underlying root word for evil is empty or useless. The person suffering from any form of dependence personally knows 130 DECEMBER 2018 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

feelings of emptiness and uselessness and the overwhelming void in the soul. Mr. Grinch’s only remaining company is his poor dog who also appears lacking in love and attention. The animal is commandeered into being an unwilling accomplice. Sadly, family members of those with a substance dependence problem are also held hostage in the ongoing departure from sanity and love. Together through seemingly impossible odds they completed Mr. Grinch’s wicked objective of robbing Whoville of the external accessories of Christmas. If only, the poor soul suffering from chemical or process dependence(s) could utilize their energies into positive undertakings! However, the Spirit of Christmas could not be robbed! Guilt became Mr. Grinch’s initial catalyst for transformation. Seeing the potentially horrible catastrophe he was moved to actions of selflessness. In restoring the gifts and the food for the Whoville feast, Mr. Grinch also opened the door for his life to be restored. The restoration would afford discoveries in mutually rewarding intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships. The person suffering from chemical or process addictions (e.g. gambling) is extended the same offer of hope. Guilt is defined as breaking or going against one’s own inner moral code. In the alcoholism or addiction, one is only a fragmented self, living a disjointed contradictory existence. When the alcoholic or addict begins to own the guilt and take action, he or she begins the journey in no longer being in contradiction to self. The person begins progress toward discovering one’s individuality. An underlying root word for individual is undivided. The implication is when one is connected to self, to God, and to others in meaningful and purposeful ways one truly has one’s individuality. Is that not the underlying theme of Christmas? Jesus Christ, the Son of God came that we could truly be connected to God, to ourselves, and others in meaningful and purposeful ways. If you or a loved one is suffering a fragmented existence due to alcoholism, addiction, process addiction(s), anxiety, depression and/or family discord, we would like to assist you in your journey of recovery, restoration and discovery. Wishing you a Christ filled Christmas with glorious life discoveries!


Caples and Robinson Orthodontics Watch Your Smile Transform


NVISALIGN … CLEAR ALIGNERS TO STRAIGHTEN YOUR teeth, have become a great alternative to conventional braces. Let us explain how it works: During treatment, patients are asked to wear aligners 20-22 hours per day. Each aligner is typically worn for two weeks. After two weeks, patients are asked to move forward into the next upper and lower aligner in the sequence. Usually at a point very early in treatment, we bond tooth-colored attachments to selected teeth that facilitate certain tooth movements. The attachments are hardly noticeable and are removed when treatment is completed. As patients progress through their aligner sequence, we check them at regular intervals to make sure that the desired tooth movements are being achieved and to alter the treatment course as needed. Wearing aligners is typically a very simple task for patients, and any inconvenience perceived is most definitely outweighed by the excitement that patients have, as they watch their smiles transform! Just like all orthodontic cases, every Invisalign case requires a unique treatment plan, so treatment time can range from a six months in cases of minor malalignment to more than 24 months in cases that require more extensive treatment. Remember, teeth respond to the forces that are placed on them. They don’t know whether they are being pushed or pulled by braces and wires or by Invisalign’s plastic. The limiting factor in the speed of orthodontic treatment is the cellular biology that occurs during tooth movement, so treatment with traditional braces and Invisalign typically takes a similar duration of time. To alter treatment time, we would have to alter the biology of the bone, a task that until recently was very invasive. If patients are interested in “accelerated orthodontics” without invasive intervention, we finally have a solution. It’s called “Acceledent.” Accelerated orthodontics is the hottest topic in today’s orthodontic field. Schedule a consultation with us to ask how we can reduce your treatment time by up to 50%. As you might imagine, a large portion of our patients in Invisalign treatment are adults. We have mentioned this statistic in more than one of our previous articles, but 20-25% of new patients


entering our practice are adults. In many instances, Invisalign has opened the door for patients, who desire orthodontic treatment but are reluctant to wear traditional braces to achieve the smile that they have always desired. In addition to correcting aesthetic issues in many adults, we treat an ever-increasing number of cases in conjunction with other dentists and dental specialists in a multi-disciplinary manner to enable the dentists and specialists to deliver optimal care that could not be achieved in the absence of orthodontic tooth movement. If Invisalign is the treatment you desire, our ITero Element intraoral scanner allows you to get treatment more accurately and efficiently, without impressions. It’s the latest cutting-edge technology in dentistry and orthodontics. Drs. Caples and Robinson are constantly attending continuing education seminars. They’ve attended multiple seminars in the past year, including one that focused on treating tough orthodontic cases that once required braces and wires, but can now be done in clear aligners. In 2016, Drs. Caples and Robinson became Northeast Louisiana’s ONLY orthodontists to complete the Invisalign Master’s Course offered in Houston, TX. They are the only Platinum Preferred Providers for Invisalign. The path to a straighter smile has never been easier with Invisalign treatment and our state of the art iTero scanner. Start your journey to a straight smile with Dr. Caples and Dr. Robinson, the ONLY Board Certified Orthodontists in Northeast Louisiana and Diplomates of the American Board of Orthodontics a distinction held by only 1/3 of all orthodontists. Dr. George is the only female orthodontist that is board certified and a diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics in Northeast Louisiana. Caples and Robinson Orthodontics has five convenient locations to serve you. Contact your area location today in Monroe, West Monroe, Ruston, Bastrop or Mangham.


Marsala Beverage Local Company Supports Local Community


INCE 1952, MARSALA BEVERAGE has grown to be the largest malt beverage, wine and non-alcoholic beverage distributor in the area. With two warehouses in Monroe and Ferriday, Louisiana, Marsala services all 15 parishes in Northeast Louisiana, making sure over 700 retailers get the service they deserve. With over 100 full-time employees working to build relationships with retailers and consumers, the company is consistently exceeding customer expectations. The team dynamic is vital to the company’s ongoing success, and Marsala Beverage reinvests that commitment back into the communities it serves. Marsala Beverage is a business bettering other businesses. Customers are made through business partnerships with convenience stores, drug stores, grocery stores, supermarkets, restaurants and bars. The company is thankful for the opportunity to serve them every day. A dedicated mindset and motivation to succeed is inherent in the various partnerships. They rely on each other. Marsala helps other local businesses grow. VP of Marketing Tyler Flemister insists, “We help build their business and they allow us to build the brands we sell.” The Marsala team is composed of four integral parts. The warehouse team receives products, rotates stock, handles inventory flow and builds loads by account. The delivery team makes sure the correct orders make it to the correct accounts, stocks coolers, keeps products fresh, collects payment and keeps displays rotated for retailers. The sales team make sure the right products make into the right markets. They must know the demographics of their area and convince retailers to stock their products. In a dynamic market, every account


is different. Maintaining those relationships and expanding their markets requires a united front from the entire Marsala team. The management team oversees all aspects of the company, balancing all the moving parts, including sales reps, merchandisers, and delivery drivers. And they’re all reliant on each other. Sales reps rely on delivery drivers, who rely on warehouse workers, who rely on operations, etc. The big turning wheel must remain in sync, and a friendly atmosphere ensures communication remains constant, providing long term personal and financial growth for both employees and customers. Determined and dedicated workers are the base of Marsala’s success. Before a Marsala Beverage employee enters the marketplace, everyone goes through an intense company training and employee development program. This program allows them to keep a constant line of communication with retailers and business partners, remain aware of shifts in the market and enhances the employee’s career. Marsala Beverage employees believe in enjoying the workday, all while maintaining a high level of professionalism. While it is hard work, with often long hours, the laughs and light-hearted atmosphere make it a pleasurable work environment. Experience is another passion point for Marsala Beverage, as 35% of its workforce have been employed with the company for over ten years. As the market continues to change, Marsala Beverage continues to diversify its portfolio to ensure the consumers get the best quality products in the beverage industry. Whether it is a craft brewery, import brand, wine/spirit or a nonalcoholic brand, Marsala thrives on bringing the best products from all over the

world to Northeast Louisiana. Marsala Beverage would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to its retailers, customers, employees and the residents of Northeast Louisiana. Without loyal retailers and firm partnerships, Marsala would not have been able to serve NELA for 60 plus years. Loyal customers to the brands and business allow Marsala to achieve its goals. Every product bought from Marsala is reinvested in the community. The public has faith in Marsala, that business will be done right, that products are good quality, that their money is being put to good use. That’s why philanthropy is so important to Marsala Beverage. The company is reliant on the people and businesses of this community, and the best way to cement longevity is to give back. So, every time someone purchases a product of Marsala Beverage, a portion of those proceeds are reinvested into Northeast Louisiana through non-profit organizations, universities and local sponsorships. Marsala Beverage is a locally-based company that employs about 100 full-time employees, which all live and support the community of Northeast Louisiana. Each employee bases his or her success on never losing sight of delivering what is really important – quality products, timely service and a genuine concern for our customers’ needs. Please find us at www.marsalabeverage. com or follow us on social media: Facebook: Marsala Beverage Twitter: @marsalabeverage1 Instagram: @marsalabeverage

Experience Counts…

5 Orthopedic Surgeons, 3,000 Robotic Knees and Hips...and Counting! BY STEVEN ATCHISON, MD


N 2010, MY PARTNERS AND I AT SPECIALISTS Hospital Shreveport invested in a new robotic technology: MAKOplasty- a robotic, arm assisted system for partial knee replacement, and I would be the first surgeon in Louisiana to perform a MAKOplasty, partial knee replacement in July 2010. In 2013, Stryker Orthopedics acquired MAKOplasty and combined Stryker’s market-leading implants (US) with Mako’s proprietary robotic arm technology and began a partnership with orthopedic surgeons from around the world (including myself) to create the surgical application of Mako Total knee replacement. Having performed hundreds of Mako robotic partial knee replacements, I was excited and intrigued by the MAKO Total Robotic Knee application and worked closely with Stryker Orthopedics to grow the application. In December of 2016, I was again, Louisiana’s first surgeon to perform the Mako Robotic Total Knee at Specialists Hospital Shreveport. One of the greatest achievements in total joint replacement is the Mako robotic total knee replacement. Robotic technology has been utilized for years in orthopedics, primarily focusing on partial knee replacement and hip replacement and we now have the technology to perform robotic -arm assisted knee replacement. As an orthopedic surgeon, precision and accuracy are key factors in a successful surgical outcome. Using the Mako Robotic arm assisted technology, the surgeon can better execute getting the implant in the pre-surgical plan position determined through an individualized CT (computed tomography) scan. Ideally, the more exact the implant is positioned, the better the function of the knee and the greater potential for the longevity of the implant… meaning the implant has the potential to last over a longer period of time. We have used numerous tools and instruments to insure implant placement before, but none are as precise and clear as the technology offered with the Mako robotic arm assisted robot. Mako robotic total knee replacement offers my patients a customized approach to their total knee replacement and provides the technology to insure proper implant alignment and placement intra-operatively with real-time feedback. Do keep in mind… the robot does not perform the surgery, rather it is a trained surgeon’s tool to insure accuracy and precision.


Any patient with osteoarthritis of the knee, that is significant enough to affect their daily activity level and function to warrant a knee replacement would be a candidate for Mako robotic total knee replacement. When a patient does come to see me and we’ve determined through x-ray and an evaluation that they are a candidate for knee replacement, and they assure me that they are ready for total knee replacement surgery, the next step is getting them scheduled. We will order labs and some preadmissions testing that need to be completed about three weeks prior to their surgery. One of those tests will be a CT (computed tomography) scan that allows us to make an individualized surgical plan that is customized to each patient. Once we obtain the CT scan, we can feed information through the robot, as to indicate the size and location of the patient’s bone, determine the size of the implant to be utilized and exactly where on the patient’s bone we will place the implant. For the most part, patients will spend one to two nights in the hospital following their Mako Robotic total knee replacement and be up walking just a couple of hours after surgery. While in the hospital, the patient will work with a physical therapist to learn exercises that promote a strong recovery at home. Patients go home with a walker and generally progress to a cane and then walking on their own with full regain of function within six to eight weeks following their surgery. Keep in mind, every patient’s recovery is their own… you get out what you put in to this surgery! Mako Robotic total knee allows for surgical excellence… you’ve got a great new knee, but you have to stay focused and dedicate time to your recovery to have your very best outcome. Steven Atchison, MD is one of the nation’s leaders in Stryker Mako Robotic Partial and Total Knee Replacement and has performed over 1,500 Mako robotic knee procedures since 2010. Dr. Atchison practices at Orthopedic Specialists of Louisiana in Shreveport and Bossier City. To schedule an evaluation with Dr. Atchison, please visit: or call: 866.759.9679.


Trick or Treat Bash

Trinity Lutheran Church or Monroe hosted their annual not so scary but frightfully fun, Trick or Treat Bash on Sunday, October 21st from 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. All ages were welcome for this free event. Games were set up for the kids to win prizes and candy as hotdogs and popcorn were served by the church members. A photo booth was on stage along with spooky props for guests to snap a pic. Family and friends dressed up in their best costumes and came out to have a fun and festive good time. Trinity Lutheran Church would like to thank the community for their continued support and hopes to see everyone next year. Blessings to all!

On the BayouScene 1 John Hull, Sarah Coble, Pastor Bill Cornelius 2A laejah Martin, Alexis Young and Deshanae McMillian 3D ebra Cornelius and Niki Patterson 4 Wendi Alexander and Toni Coble 5 Katie Pipes and Autumn Bass 6 T odd Coble and Mary Jean Cheek 7 Roslyn and Bryce Downs 8 Hannah and Rachel Cheek 9A bigail, Philip, Amelia and Debra Isaac 10 B utch Goergen, Peggy Casamento and Mendy Johnson 11 Lori Goergen and Brooklynne Phillips 12 Raeleigh Hunter and Jena Plauche 13 Chicquila, Aubrey and Destiny Wilheight 14 Cindy and Melodi Waldrup 15 Jamiyah Sellers and Tamesha Phifer 16 W aylon Singley and Joanna Lewis 17 T ravis and Andre Fredricks









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United Way Celebration

A celebration honoring the Steamboat Society and Alexis de Tocqueville Society was held on Tuesday, November 13 at the home of Arabella and James Moore. The Steamboat Society was created in 1987 by United Way of Northeast Louisiana to recognize individuals and families who provide leadership through their generous contributions. Today, individual community leaders serve as the moving force that helps to build a thriving, interdependent community. The Steamboat Society has been a major factor in the overall success of United Way of Northeast Louisiana’s fund raising efforts and reflects the commitment of an individual’s or couple’s dedication to improving the quality of life in our community.








On the BayouScene 1 Bill and Marion Willson, Stephanie and Nat Smith 2R ob and Karen Shott, Linda Holyfield, Andi and Chris Holyfield 3C harles and Brenda Marsala and Ginny and Rey Yatco 4A shley West, Beverly Lewis and Michelle Tolar 5 James and Arabella Moore 6 Karen and Dean Mailhes 7 Steve and Sheryl Gillikin 8D oug and Amanda Hinton 9 Tom Nicholson and Bill Krutzer 10 Paula Burgess and Charlotte Barron 11 Mary Dawson and Janet Durden 12 Mike and Erica Ryan 13 T raci Canterbury, Paulen Luttgeharm and John Landrum 14 Billy and Judy Haddad and Ricky and Lynna Caples 15 Jeff and Rebekah Anzalone










Forever Loyal

The Campaign for Louisiana Tech University


N NOVEMBER 10, LOUISIANA TECH UNIVERSITY launched its boldest fundraising initiative in history, a $125 million dollar goal to help celebrate Louisiana Tech’s 125

years. “For 125 years, Louisiana Tech has created an unparalleled educational experience for students from near and far,” said Louisiana Tech President Les Guice. “We drive economic prosperity and educational attainment, and our University improves the quality of life for the people of Louisiana.” Aimed at increasing opportunities for innovation, collaboration, and service to others, the campaign is practical and value driven. Philanthropic investments made during the campaign will support Louisiana Tech in providing students with unparalleled education and building research programs focused on tackling the grand challenges of our time, as well as developing the 21st Century Campus vital to these educational and research goals. “With these strategic investments, Louisiana Tech can reach a potential recognized not just in Louisiana or the United States, but worldwide,” Guice said. “The Times Higher Education and World University Rankings identified Louisiana Tech University as one of 20 global universities and just one of nine universities in the U.S. that could ‘challenge the elite universities’ to become globally renowned by 2030. With the campaign we seek to make these visions a reality for our current students and many more future Bulldogs.” Called Forever Loyal, the campaign also pays homage to its alumni. Students from 60 years ago and those who just graduated speak positively of their time at Tech, encouraging others to share the experience. That experience includes collaboration, practical application and respect and caring for the members of the Tech Family. In their drive to solve problems and improve learning, Tech faculty members embrace partnerships and seek opportunities to work together. The Louisiana Tech campus culture encourages and supports these collaborations, and the University’s relatively small size allows us to be nimble in assembling partnerships to address emerging issues and opportunities.


Tech prioritizes opportunities for real-world, hands-on learning through programs like the College of Engineering and Science’s “Living with the Lab,” the Student Investment Fund for business students and the Early Childhood Education Center for human ecology students. Research priorities focus on National Science Foundation Grand Challenges where Tech has strength across multiple colleges: cyber security, health and wellness, and energy. The University’s success with corporate partnerships demonstrates the value seen in how Tech prepares students for the 21st Century workforce and conducts research that addresses needs of the business community. In addition to focus on collaboration and practical application of research, Louisiana Tech faculty and staff focus on student success. The University takes exceptional care to help our students excel academically, find friends, adjust to college life and balance academic and social schedules. Professors actively mentor their students, and upperclassmen work to ensure younger students are prepared to succeed as Bulldogs. Alumni and friends are revered members of this special family, providing extraordinary examples of loyalty, success, service and generosity. Forever Loyal: The Campaign for Louisiana Tech University will focus on investments in scholarships, fellowships and graduate assistantships. Donors will have the opportunity to provide faculty awards and fund research that will make an impact on our region’s future. Finally, as the University grows, capital investments are needed to help create the 21st Century Campus that will allow these dreams to flourish. “There are hundreds of stories of how contributions from Louisiana Tech donors make a difference,” Guice said. “The extraordinary is possible when the Louisiana Tech family – alumni, friends, faculty, students and staff – comes together with a common purpose.” To learn more about the Forever Loyal Campaign for Louisiana Tech University, visit ForeverLoyal.Tech.


8th Annual Grin and Bear It 5K Delhi Hospital partnered with Cajun Timing of Lafayette in order to bring our community the 8th annual Grin & Bear It 5K and 10K Run and Kids Fun Run on Saturday, October 20th, 2018 in Delhi, Louisiana. They had a fantastic race day, complete with amazing views of Poverty Point Lake. It was a cool morning as Runners enjoyed a scenic run on a flat course around Poverty Point Lake. Afterwards, they were invited to cool-down at the post-race party and awards ceremony. All pre-registered runners received a Grin and Bear It t-shirt, race day packet and entry for door prizes. Family, friends and students came out to support and cheer on the runners as they came across the finish line.









On the BayouScene 1 2 3 4

Becky Sloan and Lonnie Smith Candace Westbrook and Bettina Collins A manda Burton and Allan Curry R enee Fletcher, Monica Odem, Linda Simms and Savanna Simms 5M iranda Carbonell, Arianna Cleveland, Carolyn Mullins and Jessica Tullos 6 Nicki Butler and Teresa Gunter Shree and Keith Hunt 7 Lisa and Joseph Green 8 Shree and Keith Hunt 9 Phillip, Jessica and Avery Mulkey 10 B rick Humphreys, Kolton Kelley, Tyler Blake, Logan LaBorde and Mason Hunt 11 G razi and Regan Fancher 12 Hannah Hernandez and Gwyn Ogden 13 D eena Holley and Tiffany Cavaliere 14 T odd Spinks and Mickey Carroll 15 J ennifer Bartlon and Shasta Sullivan











Third Annual PumpkinFest



On Saturday, October 20th DBK Dance and Performing Arts and the City of West Monroe held the Third Annual Pumpkin Fest at the Ike Hamilton Arena. There were vendors with various booths including food, apparel, makeup and more. Dancers for DBK performed routines, and there was even a costume contest for kids with Miss Louisiana Holli’ Conway judging. Festival goers also enjoyed bounce houses and carnival games.

On the BayouScene




1 Tara and Deborah Creech 2 Lauren Williams and Shannon Overocker 3 C oleman Towns and Alysa Blackburn 4 Torie McManus and Brantley, Julie Grenella and Malee 5 Jennifer Leoty, Chanda Yee and Jody Stratton 6 Madison McDowell and Laura Lamberg 7 Heather Armstrong and Robbye Black 8 Jordan Garrison and Emily Spradlin 9B rooks, Claire and Lexy Jane Bower 10 John McClendon and Denise Kindrix 11 Kristian Putman and McKinzie Putman 12 Miss Louisiana Holli’ Conway and Kate Elias 13 C ourtney Carpenter, Nancy Creekmore, Addison Creekmore and Blake Stuckey 14 Tatum Norris and Annie Norris 15 Shannon Dumas and John Garrison 16 Teresa Mayeaux and Frida Voergaard 17 Calie Cambre and Taylor Lamkin







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Mid Century Modern Tour

The Cooley House Foundation recently held a weekend celebration of Monroe’s iconic Mid Century Modern Architecture. On Friday, October 26, the weekend kicked off with a fun happy hour at Cory Bahr’s Parish Restaurant, a newly renovated modern building located in downtown Monroe. The following day started with a home tour of four Monroe MCM iconic homes. The homes included the homes of Jane and Gus Campbell, Dr. and Mrs. Buddy Bodron, Nathan Ryan and Mr. and Mrs. Bill Lockhart, as well as the GB Cooley House. Guests enjoyed lunch and a talk from interior designer Mil Bodron held at the Temple B’nai Israel. Funds from the event will go towards renovations at The Cooley House, including restoration of the cork flooring, improvements to the wiring and restoration of lighting throughout the home, in addition to the general upkeep of the historic structure.


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On the BayouScene 1 Nichole Amman and Frank Elkins 2P eggy Lockhart and Nichole Amman 3 T ammy Pitts and Nancy Johnston 4 Debbie Davis and Katie Jacola 5 Becky Keahey and Marie Keahey 6 S teve Mintz and Fred Bennett 7 Mil Bodron and LaVerne Bodron 8 Fran Winter and Kathryn Hutchison 9M ary Lynn Wilkerson and Katie Smith 10 K K Willson, Rena Cole, Ann Cole and Catherine Mabray 11 Cecilia and Claire Gordon 12 Brad Campbell and Steven Galbraith 13 M ike Masur and Sylvia Masur 14 Dessie Hubenthal and Joelle Fabian 15 Sylvia Masur and Charles Masur 16 Karen Breckenridge, Johnette Sellar and Guy Carwile 17 Karen and Doug Breckenridge, Brian Davis 18 P aige Ensminger, Denise Smith, Lisa Nelson and Dan O’Neal 19 C hristie Echols and Caroline Youngblood 20 Miriam Hinchcliffe, Maré Brennan and Hal Hinchliffe 21 Gretchen Dean and Pat Bailey 22 H al and Miriam Hinchcliffe 23 Jorenda Stone, Kathy Biedenharn and Kris Kelley 24 Aleta Eley and Jan Strickland





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La. Cancer Foundation Supports ULM Breast Cancer Research with $10K Donation




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For 13 years, the Louisiana Cancer Foundation has financially supported breast cancer research at the University of Louisiana Monroe with donations totaling $117,500. Tuesday, Dr. Paul Sylvester, Associate Dean of Research in the ULM College of Pharmacy, accepted a $10,000 donation from LCF Executive Director James Adams. “Including the present donation, the Louisiana Cancer Foundation has given a total of $117,500 to our program to support our cancer research activities over the past 13 years at the ULM College of Pharmacy,” said Sylvester, who holds the Pfizer, Inc., B.J. Robison Endowed Professor of Pharmacology. Adams, who is also executive director of the Northeast Louisiana Cancer Institute, was joined by LCF Assistant Director Donna Nolan, Cancer Foundation League President and board member Carla Costello and board member Annie Staten. “On behalf of the Louisiana Cancer Foundation and its board of directors, I’m pleased to present a $10,000 donation to the ULM Foundation in support of Dr. Sylvester’s continued cancer research,” Adams said. “One of the mission goals of our organization is to support cancer research. Since we are a local organization, we wanted to support local research if possible. Approximately 13 years ago we discovered that a very well-known and published scientist, Dr. Sylvester, was conducting breast cancer research right here at ULM. Since that time we have tried to partner with Dr. Sylvester by donating to his impressive research involving tocotrienols and breast cancer.” Sylvester explained the focus of his research is nutrition-based, specifically a form of vitamin E. “Our laboratory has been involved in breast cancer research for many years and our current interests include examining the relationship between nutrition and cancer, with particular emphasis on understanding the intracellular mechanisms mediating the anticancer effects of tocotrienols, a rare form of vitamin E,” he said. “The ultimate goal of this research is the development of tocotrienol-based therapies that can be used in the prevention and treatment of breast cancer in women.” The Louisiana Cancer Foundation is a local 501(c)3 organization that was formed in 1999. The LCF has no administrative costs and all funds received through fundraising, donations and grants are used to benefit the communities and cancer patients of Northeast Louisiana. The LCF offers several free cancer screenings each year which benefit hundreds of people in local communities. The foundation also oversees a patient financial assistance program which has helped approximately 5,000 cancer patients in the amount of over $1.8 million since the program’s inception in 2002. WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | DECEMBER 2018 151

Simmons Sporting Goods Underneath That Rugged Exterior


HAD NO IDEA THEY HAD ALL OF THIS in here.” That’s a comment often heard by the sales staff at Simmons Sporting Goods, but not often by men. For more than 35 years Simmons has been a staple for outdoorsmen, sportsmen and just good ole boys to come find all they needed to pursue their favorite game. Like all things over time, Simmons has evolved. They now have over 50,000 product offerings, of course many in those same expected categories, but in recent years, they’ve developed a softer side. Right from the moment they enter the store, shoppers are greeted with an array of casual offerings for women. The décor has been updated, and although walls and displays are still true to its roots with the more rustic appeal, there is no doubt ladies are the focus. Although the entire location at 918 N. Washington St. in Bastrop touts a massive 70,000 square feet of retail space, many of their female patrons only need to see the front end. The full lady’s boutique offers brands like Patagonia, The North Face, Normal Brand, Dylan, Columbia, Drake, Banded, Duxbak and more. Patrons are amazed at the elegant dresses, tops, spring wear and of course the trendy warmer duds that we all love to don in the fall. They even have the cutest hats, jewelry and definitely boots and shoes for the best look in a casual setting. Holiday shopping has changed so much. Gifts are no longer thrown into multiple bags while walking 10 miles and eating marginal food and spending a few days doing it at the mall. Websites are the new mall with something for everyone, they claim. People


choose not to fight the traffic in the city and sometimes put themselves at risk by shopping after dark and walking through poorly patrolled parking lots. Simmons is kind of like that website you like so much, only if shoppers actually want to go there and put their hands on what they’re looking for, they can. Simmons’s evolvement includes an extremely robust offering to shop online on their website at simmonssportinggoods. com. Just like in the store, they have amazing sales and clearance deals for the sportsmen in our lives, and with Christmas around the corner, who doesn’t need some help saving a few bucks? Online shoppers are more frequent these days with our busy lives and always being on the go, so ladies can find many of the things already mentioned from the comfort of wherever they are. And score huge with free shipping on purchases over $99. Hello! “Customers often tell us how much time they could spend in our store,” says COO, Lindsey Simmons. “After more than three decades in business, that’s great to hear, because it means we’re offering a variety for everyone and they want to come back.” And come back they do. Simmons’ is frequented by droves of repeat customers for the unique product offerings, competitive pricing and one caveat that no retailer of their kind offers throughout the season, 24 months no interest financing. It’s as easy as filling out an application. Get approved on the spot, pick out what you want and take two years to pay for it with no interest. Simmons says, “same as cash.”

What else do they have? For the kiddos, there are toys and apparel ideas. For hunters, obviously everything. Camouflage clothing, check. Game calls, check. Feeders, cutlery, boots, waders, archery, firearms, cameras, stands, blinds, all that and then some, check! There is an amazing restaurant upstairs named appropriately, The Blind, and its hearty portions and original specials are incredible. If for any reason someone can’t decide on what to buy for that special someone, give them a gift card and let them have the pleasure of getting what they want and enjoying the Simmons experience. Simmons is a great solution for things on anyone’s shopping list. Fall has finally arrived and there’s no better place to discover good looking, quality clothing and more at a great price. Ladies, men, even kids, can find something they like every time they shop. For the holidays, they even offer free gift wrapping, giving shoppers one less thing to worry about. We’ve all heard the old saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” That theme certainly holds true for a place like Simmons Sporting Goods. While it’s rugged exterior looks like something you may see in mountain states like Colorado or Wyoming, you are guaranteed to be pleasantly surprised when you walk through those massive elk horn handle doors.

Pennington Financial, LLC Asset Protection Planning for Seniors Needing Long Term Care


ARAH AND JIM HAVE ALWAYS THOUGHT OF themselves as average, hard working Americans. They were high school sweethearts, married and had three children. Jim had a long career in sales, and Sarah was a stay at home wife and mom, who volunteered in her spare time. They expected to enjoy a quiet, but well-deserved, well-planned retirement. Things went well until five years ago when a specific incident changed everything. Sarah tripped in her garden and fractured her hip. She underwent surgery; it seemed she was on her way to recovery after receiving inpatient rehabilitation and physical therapy sessions during the Medicare allotted 100 days. Just when they both thought everything was on track, Sarah had another major setback. She suffered a massive stroke. Through everything Jim was at her side, but Sarah’s health continued to deteriorate. Eventually, it was necessary for Sarah to be admitted to a nursing home for residential care. The funds in Jim’s retirement plan didn’t include the cost of both their home and a nursing home residence of an additional $60,000.00 per year. Now, three years later, Jim is sick with worry that he will outlive his savings and is uncertain where to turn for help. For most retired Americans, the possibility that they may have to someday live in a nursing home is a very difficult thought. The reality that they may have to give up all of their hard-earned life savings and their home makes it even worse. Today, the cost of nursing home care is high; the average cost for nursing home care in Louisiana is approximately $5,000 per month, or $60,000 per year. At this rate, it is very easy to spend-down a family’s life savings in a short amount of time leaving little for the “at-home” spouse to live on. New government rules make it even tougher for nursing home residents in need of financial assistance to qualify for Medicaid benefits. The new rules changed the “look back” period from three to five years. This means, when one applies for Medicaid, he/she will need to disclose all gifts made during the five years prior to the date one applies for Medicaid. The penalty period was also changed. Under the new rules, the penalty period does not begin until the applicant spends-down all their assets and then applies for Medicaid. Because of these changes, it is even more important than ever to plan early. Three years might go by quickly, but five years, not so fast.


To qualify for Medicaid, one must complete and submit a detailed, multiple page application and provide proof of all financial transactions. These transactions include, but are not limited to, banking, CDs, stocks, bonds, income, expenses, annuities, etc., for the previous sixty months or five years. Mistakes and/or inadequate completion of the application can result in approval delays costing the family thousands of dollars or, worse case, non-approval of the application altogether. The laws around Medicaid qualification are extensive and confusing. However, there are numerous exceptions that can be applied to help protect one’s assets if used properly. Often, hospitals and nursing homes will offer to help with a Medicaid application for you at no cost. This may work well for an applicant with no assets. Unfortunately, it may be devastating for the applicant, spouse and family if there are assets that the family wishes to preserve and protect. Even with the best intentions, hospital and nursing home staff do not have the knowledge necessary to determine whether you can truly qualify for Medicaid benefits. This is the time when working with a knowledgeable professional can help clients/residents receive fair consideration of deserved benefits much sooner. This article was written and submitted by Chuck Barber of Pennington Financial, LLC. He has over 10 years’ experience as a highly qualified Financial Estate planner with a specialty in asset protection. Other services include Pre-Retirement planning, Post Retirement planning, Long-term Care insurance, Life insurance and annuities, Registered Investment Advisor services, and Notary Public. Visit our website for additional information: www. Pennington Financial, LLC is located at 1900 N. 18th St. #211 Monroe, LA 71201 (318) 855-4690 Investment advisory services offered through Brookstone Capital Management, LLC (BCM), a registered investment advisor. BCM and Pennington Financial, LLC are independent of each other. Insurance products and services are not offered through BCM but are offered and sold through individually licensed and appointed agents.


THE NORTHEAST LOUISIANA CHILDREN'S MUSEUM FOUNDER IS DECEMBER's bayou icon article by Michael DeVault photography by Brad Arender


hen Melissa Saye first developed the notion that she wanted to open the museum, she never expected it would one day be a place where kids who grew up there would bring their children. But two decades on, that’s exactly what’s starting to happen at the Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum, the educational entertainment complex Melissa founded with her best friend, Martha Ryan. Since opening its doors in 1998, the Children’s Museum has become something of a fixture in the lives of families across the region. BayouLife caught up with Melissa while she was preparing the 10th Annual Santa’s Christmas Village, one of the centerpieces of the region’s holiday activities. It’s one of the museum’s most popular annual attractions, and this year Melissa expects it’ll draw a record crowd. “We had maybe 4,000 people our first year,” Melissa recalls. “We were close to 13,000 last year--just in the month of December. Each year, it grows and grows.” The Christmas Village is just one of the hundreds of ways the Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum has entwined itself into the community. Each year, thousands of kids come on school busses or piled in the back of parents’ SUVs for educational programming that brings kids face-to-face with hands-on learning. For Melissa, working in an educational, enriching environment is a continuation of the career she went to college to pursue. It’s been a long, winding road for this educator, after all. Melissa was born in Chicago, but she’s quick to note she spent very little of her life there. At just six months old, her family relocated south to pursue career opportunities for her father. “He was a graphic designer and ad man for a catalog company, the artistic director,” she says. They settled in Mississippi for a time, but his work soon took them on the road again. By the time she was eight, she’d lived in Illinois, Louisiana and Florida. Shortly before the fourth grade, one final relocation brought the family to Baton Rouge. There the family settled in for the long haul, and Melissa completed school, graduating from the all-girls St. Joseph’s Academy in 1983 and LSU in 1986. Majoring in elementary education, Melissa expected to spend her career in the classroom. She loved children, and was, after all, from a “very large” family. There are 50 first cousins on her father’s side. But as she was finishing up her degree, she took a job at Fairchild’s, a popular French restaurant in Baton Rouge. The restaurant would have a profound impact on her life, she would soon see, with the arrival of a relative of the owners. John Saye’s sister and brother-in-law owned the restaurant, and on summers and during the holidays, John would pick up shifts to earn money. Melissa remembers meeting him and getting to know him at Fairchild’s. “I asked him out,” she says with a laugh. “He was a bit on the shy side.”

John soon graduated Millsaps and entered law school at LSU. They continued to date, and during his second year at LSU, they married. When he graduated, John wanted to get some experience in the courts system. He accepted an offer to clerk for the judges of the 4th Judicial District Court and the young Saye family temporarily relocated to Monroe. John’s temporary post quickly turned into a permanent settlement. “We thought we were only going to be here for a year, but we truly fell in love with the community,” Melissa says. With roots firmly planted in northeastern Louisiana soil, the Saye family settled in for the long-haul. While John clerked, Melissa took a job at Grace Episcopal School. Children followed and, over the next 14 years, the Saye family would expand by four. John’s career would also take a slightly different direction when he was offered a permanent position at the law firm of Hayes Harkey. One day, while teaching at Grace, Melissa met Martha, and the trajectory of her life shifted. Almost immediately, they became the best of friends. “Together, we were one person,” Melissa says of Martha. “She truly was my best friend in the whole world. If you got one, you got the other, as they used to say on Fraiser.” Able to finish one another’s sentences before words were even thought, Martha and Melissa were on the same page. From having lunch to getting their families together for playdates, they were nearly in perfect synch, and Martha was always the encourager. “That’s just the way she was,” Melissa says. “I’d throw out a ‘Hey, let’s do this.’ And she would say, ‘Yeah! Let’s do it!’” That’s how the idea for the museum became a reality. One day, Melissa expressed an interest and, before she knew it, Martha was on board with an infectious enthusiasm that propelled the project forward. Together, they laid out a plan. They needed community support. They also knew they’d need money. Luckily, the late-1990s were a heyday for nonprofits in the Monroe-West Monroe area. First things first, they put a survey out in the community. “We sent out surveys to educators, local philanthropists and companies to see if we would be filling a need,” Melissa says. One by one, they started receiving hand-written responses. Each person who answered expressed resounding support. “We knew if we had community support, then it would be something that would do so well here.” Overwhelmingly, the community was on board. Up next, they enlisted the help of a diverse board from all corners of the community to start planning and raising funds. Finally, Melissa and Martha knew they’d need space--and lots of it. Not just any old building would do. 158 DECEMBER 2018 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

The building they wanted had to check off all the boxes on their list. It needed to be large enough to house the museum. Also, they wanted to locate the museum centrally, so that it was truly a community-wide destination. The Children’s Museum they were building didn’t need to belong to any “one” community. Most importantly, it needed to be affordable to operate. As word spread of the project, they learned of the Walnut Building, a sprawling old industrial facility in the heart of Monroe’s warehouse district. Originally the site of a produce company, the building was constructed in the 1920s as a stop along train tracks where much of the region’s fresh vegetables would be offloaded for distribution to stores throughout the area. Just roughly half-way between Louisville Avenue and DeSiard, the building they found was close to both the north and south ends of Monroe, and the stretch of Walnut Street, upon which it sat, was bookended by the Lea Joyner and Endom Bridges. The building was within a ten-minute drive of more than a dozen elementary schools and, more importantly, right in the middle of all of the many neighborhoods they needed to serve. By the end of 1996, a board in place and their eye on the prize of opening a children’s museum on Walnut Street in Monroe, Melissa and Martha moved onto the next stage of evolution of their endeavor: they started raising money. Melissa recalls the creation of the museum as a family endeavor. “Our families were definitely on board,” Melissa says. “They were all in.” The Saye and Ryan families were all-in in more ways than one. Whenever there was work to be done, the kids pitched in. At pitch meetings for funding or community support, the Saye-Ryan clan was in toe. “They were there, playing with their Hotwheels under the table,” Melissa says.” Taking the kids to the meetings helped illustrate the target demographic. In dozens of meetings, the two best friends pitched their dream of a museum and, quickly, the dream went viral. Soon, they were moving forward with renovations of half the Walnut building. The Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana took the other half. “We were founded at the same time, actually,” Melissa says. Remember, the late 1990s and early 2000s were a period of tremendous community building and non-profits in the region. In addition to the Children’s Museum and Food Bank, other organizations founded or expanded during the time spanned the full spectrum, from homeless shelters to the Family Justice Center,

“It worked because the community wanted it,” Melissa says. “And it was something that, being in this town, where the focus is on family, it seemed like it was the right thing to do.”

which opened in 2005. Melissa believes the community was in a phase, where it was seeking to answer needs as they arose—including the Children’s Museum. “It worked, because the community wanted it,” Melissa says. “And it was something that, being in this town, where the focus is on family, it seemed like it was the right thing to do.” The Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum opened its doors in 1998, with Melissa and Martha sharing management duties. Melissa reflects on those early days with joy and excitement. “It’s always been a job that one person could have done, to lead it,” Melissa says. “But it was just so much more fun with the two of us.” Melissa is quick to credit her best friend with bringing excitement, joy and a positive, can-do attitude to the Children’s Museum. And, it’s clear, Melissa still feels her best friend’s loss today. Martha passed away in 2014, and since then, Melissa has shepherded the museum on her own. That’s not to say Martha still isn’t around. “We knew each other so well that I know, when I think through things, this is how she would think about it,” Melissa says. “I have her perspective without her physically being here.” She’s also had a lot of help, too. Her kids are still involved— whenever they’re in town and free from this practice or that study group. With ages ranging from 28 down to 14, their schedules are full, and they’re not always available. Martha’s children, too, are involved. “It’s definitely been a family business, of sorts,” Melissa says. Melissa also notes that the museum manager, Sarah Sehon, “has a bit of Martha in her.” Sarah joined the staff a couple of years before Martha’s passing, and since that time, Melissa says Sarah has filled part of the void Martha left behind. “There’s this great balance and this great connection to Martha,” Melissa says. “Sarah’s amazing, and I’m thankful to have her.” These days, Melissa is getting ready for Santa’s Christmas Village and the holidays. She’ll have all her kids together for Thanksgiving and Christmas—Martha’s kids, too, she notes. (“Every time there’s an opportunity for family and celebration, we’re together,” she says.) But she’s also keeping a constant, enthusiastic eye on the future. The Children’s Museum is currently working to add activities for the “middle” ages—kids over the age of seven but younger than teens—so that they, too, can have the enthusiastic fun the younger children enjoy when they visit the museum. In addition, they’re adding more permanent exhibits every year, continuing to grow, and continuing to inspire a new generation of children and parents to devote time to learning. It’s a far cry from where Melissa thought she would be at this point in her life. “I just thought I would be teaching,” Melissa says. “And the thing about the museum is that I get an opportunity to have my hands in that.” 160 DECEMBER 2018 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

Your Holiday Diet Eating an Anti-Inflammatory Diet During the Holidays BY JEN BAYS AVIS MED, LDN, RDN, CDE


ATING AN ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET, WHICH emphasizes fruits, vegetables, lean protein, nuts, seeds and healthy fats, is difficult to follow during the holidays. We are all eager to indulge in this time of year, while we are enjoying family and friends. You can remain in control with a little pre-planning and indulge without feeling guilty. My advice is enjoy every bite you decide to indulge in. Make it a special occasion to relish and not a non-stop eating frenzy that lasts for two months. Try to fill your plate with good wholesome antiinflammatory foods, which offer a balance. For overall inspiration on how to eat well over the holidays, I am listing some healthier food ideas for you to consider, which are antiinflammatory: • Enjoy a glass of red wine or a spritzer to keep liquid calories in check. Red wine contains resveratrol, which is a powerful antioxidant. • Avoid eggnog and substitute with Almond Milk Nog found at local stores (I checked). Add fresh grated nutmeg to spice it up. • Substitute baked sweet potatoes for rich casseroles. Top with a small amount of brown sugar and some ground cinnamon. Organic coconut sugar is a good substitute for brown sugar. • Choose humus over fatty cheese and cream-based dips. Use petite mini sweet peppers for dipping instead of crackers or chips. • Instead of white or milk chocolate choose dark chocolate, which is anti-inflammatory. • Instead of fried appetizers opt for a Louisiana shrimp cocktail. • Make a large antipasto platter and fill with healthy choices such as: olives, asparagus, French cut green beans, roasted okra, grilled chicken and wild-caught smoked salmon with capers. • Wash fresh asparagus or French cut green beans: Snip off the ends, wrap in paper towels and microwave the asparagus one and a half to two minutes and the green beans approximately three minutes. Place onto the antipasto tray, drizzle with a balsamic glaze or good quality balsamic vinegar, and sprinkle with a small amount of coarse sea salt. • Preheat oven to 375 degrees, wash okra, toss with olive oil and a small amount of sea salt and black pepper. Roast approximately 2025 minutes. • Substitute mashed cauliflower for mashed potatoes. This switch lowers the glycemic load for diabetics, contains fiber and is antiinflammatory. • Eat a roasted turkey instead of a deep-fried turkey. • Avoid the rolls. Inflammation is a key risk factor in a host of health problems and several major diseases. Eating anti-inflammatory foods can lower cancer risk, prevent or improve heart disease and help lower pain. If you are interested in learning more about eating an anti-inflammatory diet, please join me on December 13 at St. Francis Community Health Center for Talks on Tower.


Fiesta Nutrition Center Great Gift Ideas and Much More


N ADDITION TO BEING A RETAILER of natural foods and supplements, Fiesta Nutrition Center always has a fun, busy Holiday Season for shoppers planned! HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE On Thursday, December 6th from 9 a.m. - 7 p.m. Fiesta, and several other merchants on and near the 18th Street corridor in midtown Monroe are hosting a special day to showcase their stores’ Holiday offerings. It’s amazing what Mid-town Monroe has to offer in the way of local unique shops. Fiesta will be offering free samples, giftcard giveaways and door prizes all day. A special lunch menu will be offered by the Good Earth Juice and Salad Bar and Dreaux Coffee within the store. From 5-7 p.m., enjoy live jazz by saxophonist Sean O’Pry, enjoy wine and nibbles while viewing the art show of original paintings by local artists Tom


Byrd, Pattie Guerriero and Anita Wilson. GIFT IDEAS Shop and take in the lovely atmosphere of Fiesta and see many gift ideas. Clever gift baskets are available for coffee lovers, tea drinkers, foodies, and fitness buffs on your list. A gift card from Fiesta Nutrition, Good Earth Juice and Salad Bar and Dreaux Coffee are always a hit. Fiesta offers free giftwrapping and mail order service. LOYALTY CARD Be sure to sign up for Fiesta’s loyalty card. It’s called the ‘Belly” card and is a great way to receive ‘points” for visits to the store that can be redeemed for discounts and free products. Fiesta’s monthly “Specials Flyer’ is a way to keep up with line drive discounts, flash sales and store news. Fiesta Nutrition, The Good Earth Juice and Salad Bar and

Dreaux coffee are all active on Facebook and Instagram. The social media pages provide interesting information and prizes and drawings to win! The staff and management of Fiesta would like to thank our customers and “cheerleaders” who shop our store, trust our selection of quality products and understand the value of supporting a small local business. By shopping or dining at small businesses throughout the year, you’re showing your support for the small businesses in your neighborhood that provide valuable personal service and add to the quality of life in our community. 2019 will be a great year… we have plans in place for exciting things to come and look forward to meeting new customers and continuing to serve our fourth generation of customers!

Introducing miraDry No More FOMO from B.O.



HEN YOU WERE IN HIGH school, were you afraid to raise your hand in class because of the giant sweat ring? Were you embarrassed on dates because, nervousness and anxiety gave you B.O. that no deodorant could hide? Do you throw away shirts (or blouses) because of the armpit stains? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you’re not alone. Hyperhidrosis – excessive sweating – affects about 5% of the population, although another 20 - 30% sweat enough to cause any of the problems mentioned above. But sweat that soaks through clothes and complaints about persistent odor are only part of the problem. Excessive sweating can disrupt normal daily activities, cause social anxiety, withdrawal and embarrassment and have a significant impact on overall quality of life. Over the course of a lifetime, you could

spend a fortune on high priced deodorants and antiperspirants, or armpit Botox – not to mention the clothes you replace. Or, you could just be Bohemian and embrace it. But now you don’t have to do any of these, because you can eliminate the cause – with miraDry. miraDry is a revolutionary new treatment that uses thermal energy to heat the armpit, where bothersome sweat and odor glands reside, and safely eliminate them. miraDry is a non-invasive treatment that takes about an hour, is done under local anesthesia, has little or no downtime, and results in an 80-85% reduction in perspiration and odor in just one treatment. As a side benefit, there is also a 4050% reduction in armpit hair – regardless of the color. While your body does need sweat glands to cool itself, you have 2 – 4 million of them, so eliminating the troublemaking 2% that reside

in your armpit won’t affect your ability to stay cool. miraDry has a strong safety record with over 100,000 treatments performed worldwide with predictably good results Most patients can return to their normal activities immediately after treatment, although there may be some localized soreness, swelling or numbness that can last a week or two. The results are immediate and lasting – the sweat and odor glands eliminated by miraDry are gone for good. A single treatment is sufficient for the majority of patients, although an occasional heavy sweater may need a second treatment in four to six months. So say goodbye to armpit stains and odor. Call Mickel Plastic Surgery at 388-2050 today and set up a free consultation to see if miraDry is right for you.


You Dream It Dansby’s Taylor Rental Delivers


HE HOLIDAYS ARE TIMES OF family gatherings, and for some, the upcoming holidays may turn into even more cause for celebration. Maybe there is pretty, little wrapped box under the tree or a proposal of marriage as the clock strikes midnight beneath a sky lit by fireworks? Excited brides-to-be, their moms and wedding planners pour over magazines and the Internet in search of the perfect ideas to express themselves through the kind of wedding and reception they plan. Some dream big; some prefer a more intimate setting. But no matter what kind of event you choose to express your love, Dansby’s Taylor Rental is your source for creating weddings, receptions and parties that dreams are made of. Comfort is fundamental for any wedding or event. Leave it to Dansby’s Taylor Rental to help you design and deliver the foundations for the perfect ambiance, from tents with walls lined with luxurious draping and hung with crystal chandeliers, portable heaters and air conditioning units for keeping the temperature perfect to the staging for bands and the dance floors to enjoy them. Tables skirted with linens


of any color imaginable and a myriad of chair designs to choose from, including gold and white Chiavari chairs, allow for endless creativity. Food and beverage set ups are a breeze with Dansby’s Taylor Rental. From the bar itself to the glasses and stemware, keep your guests happy and refreshed with goblets, highballs or flutes. The rental company can also order plastic drinkware and napkins custom printed with monograms in a huge array of colors and styles. Virtually every serving option under the sun is available for rental at Dansby’s Taylor Rental. Bride’s and groom’s cake silver or mirrored plateaus, chafing dishes, cupcake stands, fountains for champagne or chocolate, silver coffee services, chargers and dinnerware, silver flatware and crystal – from martini glasses and highballs to champagne flutes and water goblets – keep the party flowing. In addition, Dansby’s Taylor Rental has decorative pieces, like columns, arches, standing candelabra, vases, lanterns and more, that add finishing touches that create a gorgeous backdrop for anyone’s wedding day.

Sandy Dansby says of the Dansby Taylor Rental team, “We are here and ready for whatever your rental needs are. We are committed to bring you new and innovative products that are sure to please the most discriminating of brides and party givers.” Sandy has just returned from Dallas market where she hand-selected lots of beautiful items for rental. Brides will love the new selection of items to make wedding dreams come true. From decorative lanterns and candelabra in styles that range from rustic to elegant to tents, chandeliers and draping fabrics that create a fairy-tale setting for modern-day receptions, Dansby’s Taylor Rental is a one-stop shop for organizing and designing the perfect wedding to be remembered for years to come. Founded by Lynda and Tom Dansby, Sr., Dansby’s Taylor Rental has been in the business of helping brides since the mid-1960s. With 43 years serving northeast Louisiana, the company offers rentals on everything from D-I-Y equipment for home improvement, landscaping and contracting to delicate china, crystal draping and tents for elaborate parties and weddings. Come in to check out the exciting, new changes taking place at Dansby’s Taylor Rental and design your wedding of the century! When your big day is on the horizon, let the Dansby team deliver!

Holidays With Trio’s

Holiday Parties Start With Deliciousness from Monroe’s Classic Eatery


ENIFER JOHNSON KNOWS A THING OR TWO ABOUT great dining and entertaining. She’s shared her family’s food traditions at Trio’s, the intimate restaurant that’s been a fixture of the Monroe dining scene for 24 years. Whether you’re grabbing a gallon of their popular Bourbon Milk Punch to share with co-workers at the office Christmas party or you want to wow your friends and family with a fully catered holiday extravaganza, Trio’s is the ideal choice this Christmas season. And what better way to celebrate the holidays than by introducing one of Trio’s latest culinary creations to your guests? Jenifer and her team of resident foodies have added a slew of new menu items that are sure to please just about any palate. For starters, there’s lobster. “We wanted to take our menu to the next level, so we added lobster tail dishes,” Jenifer says. “It’s such a versatile ingredient that we’ve added several items featuring lobster to our regular menu, and we also offer frequent specials, too.” Warm up on a cold, Louisiana winter night with Lobster bisque, a rich, creamy take on the traditional seafood soup. There’s also a homemade Penne and Cheese Lobster for entrée, lobster quesadillas, and Jalapeño Lobster--lobster tail is cut into pieces, fried and served with a jalapeño sauce, ready to enjoy dip-style with Trio’s signature,

house-made flatbreads. Trio’s has also added another Louisiana favorite: Redfish, made virtually any way you’d like. For the perfect game night, consider bringing home a pan of gourmet sliders. Trio’s offers a Muffaletta Slider that brings a traditional New Orleans flair to the Sunday night Saints game. Or try the Steak Sliders, featuring thin strips of Trio’s famous filet mignon, grilled to perfection and served with horseradish sauce and purple onion. Once your holiday festivities are over and the dishes are all put away, don’t forget Trio’s Famous Brunch, featuring delectable foods, top notch service, amazing Mimosas and the easy, relaxed atmosphere that comes with knowing you don’t have to wash the dishes. If you haven’t been for brunch in a while, Jenifer recommends dropping in one Saturday or Sunday to try their breakfast tacos, club sandwich, fried chicken or Blueberry Flapjack Cake, which she describes as “the perfect blend of pancakes and a layered crème-cake.” For diehard Southern brunch fans, Trio’s popular Shrimp and Grits is back, too! Brunch is served on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and patrons can enjoy the regular menu the rest of the day from 3 p.m. til 7 p.m. This Christmas, let Trio’s make your celebrations easier. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from your Trio’s family!


Tonore’s Wine Cellar

Let Tonore’s Bring the Party to You This Holiday Season


USSELL KICEY AND HIS WIFE, JULIE,TAKE TRADITION seriously. They understand the important role tradition plays in northeast Louisiana, and when it comes to entertaining, Tonore’s Wine Cellar has set the standard for find wines, liquors and beers for more than 80 years. When they purchased the store from the Tonore family in 2014, Russell knew they had big shoes to fill. Since taking ownership, the Kiceys have dedicated themselves to continuing to provide excellent service and an expertly curated collection of spirits and beverages. This holiday season, Tonore’s is pleased to bring the party to you and help you ensure your guests are always happy. After all, the holidays are about abundance of food and drinks—especially the latter when the drinks come from Tonore’s Wine Cellar. Monroe’s favorite liquor and wine spot has become so much more than just a spot for the perfect bottle to share. They also have an extensive selection of fine glassware to set the right mood. With premium mixers, your guests will love all of your signature concoctions. And unique, delicious snacks from some of the best gourmet brands make Tonore’s your one-stop-shop for that perfect holiday gathering.

The staff at Tonore’s are experts at putting together the ideal combination for any party, whether it’s time to put on the Ritz or wow your friends on a budget. Serving up delicious libations and lush snacks doesn’t have to break the bank. It also doesn’t mean you can’t have that something special under the tree, either. For example, consider Tonore’s hand-selected Woodford Reserve Double Oak Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. On December 6th, Tonore’s will “roll out the barrel” from 5-8 p.m., when they will sample this one-of-a-kind bourbon. These special 750 ml bottles can be engraved with your personal holiday message, making them an ideal gift for your friend. Bottles are available by pre-order, though, so you’ll need to go by Tonore’s quickly, because the bottles are set to be engraved starting December 6th. You’ll want to hurry, too, because the supply is limited. Last year they sold out in 10 days! If you want to make a big impression with a gift, let Tonore’s build custom gift baskets. Tonore’s makes it easy and simple to find that perfect gift for your boss, co-worker, friend or family member. Baskets range in size depending on budget and what you want. Let Tonore’s Wine Cellar help you give the perfect gift.

‘Tis the Season at Tonore’s D E C E M B E R 6 T H • 5 T O 8 P. M . Join Us as we "roll out the barrel ” on hand-selected Woodford Reser ve Double Oaked Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey G e t y o u r b o ttl e e n g ra v e d t o d a y ! Gift Baskets | Wine Club Memberships Gift Certificates

Tonore’s Wine Cellar 801 Louisville Ave | Monroe, LA | 318.325.4100 Monday - Thursday 9:30 - 6 • Friday - Saturday 9:30 - 7


Unwrap Your Natural Beauty

for hair growth. We’ve had huge success with this procedure with men and women over the last year. It’s a total home run for our patients. AnteAGE MD also offers a complete skin care line. Extracorporeal Shockwave or Soundwave Therapy was added to our practice this year and results have been overwhelming. Let Professional Laser Center Rejuvenate You for the Holidays Soundwave can be used to improve the appearance of cellulite and to tighten and BY JUDY WAGONER tone the skin. It’s also used in the treatment of HRISTMAS IS THE ONE DAY OF instant results with no downtime. Another Erectile Dysfunction, with an 85% success rate. the year when you really need to pull popular procedure is the Vampire FaceLift. Intense Pulsed Light is hugely popular out all of the stops and get it right. No It’s a non-surgical, no downtime form of facial with our clients. Beautiful skin is the hallmark one wants to be in the dog house for the festive rejuvenation using the patient’s own blood, or of youth, and IPL can take years off the season, and with so many amazing gifts to Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), as well as fillers, to appearance of the skin. This non-invasive offer, there’s no excuse not to get it right. You lift and restore a healthy glow to the skin. Dr. light system treats a variety of skin conditions, may be surprised to learn that a new survey Zuckerman is the only certified provider of the including brown spots, sun damage, facial shows 84% of women and 75% of men want Vampire procedures in North Louisiana. spider veins and Rosacea. either gift certificates or gift cards. So, let us Dermapen Microneedling is another Other services include Laser Hair Removal, make it easy for you. highly requested service. Microneedling PinPointe Foot Laser, Microdermabrasion, Why not give a gift certificate that keeps induces the production of new collagen through Endermologie, Aluma RF Skin Tightening, on giving? Non-surgical aesthetic treatments the delivery of tiny needles into the skin. This Dermapen TattOff Tattoo Removal System should be at the top of your Christmas wish past year, we incorporated new technology that and Hormone Replacement. list. Professional Laser Center has an array of optimizes the procedure. AnteAGE MD, sold Gift Certificates can be purchased for any services and procedures to help with your gift- only by physicians, is microneedled into the of these services. If your Christmas wish is to giving. skin. This product contains cells from the bone restore your “Natural Beauty,” Professional Botox is one of our most requested marrow of 20 year old Scandanavian women. Laser Center is here to help. services. Dr. Victor Zuckerman offers these Actives include only human derived growth For more information, visit our injections, along with a variety of Hyaluronic factors and cytokines and hyaluronic acid, website, or call Acid Fillers, such as Restylane, Perlane and substances found naturally in human skin. It 318-361-9066. Juvéderm. This procedure gives our clients can also be microneedled into the hair follicles Merry Christmas to all!



The Cancer Foundation League Save the Date for An Evening of Southern Elegance


T IS ALMOST TIME FOR THE CANCER Foundation League’s annual gala, one of the area’s most popular and important events. We sat down with the Cancer Foundation League to find out more about this year’s event, where the proceeds go and what the organization does throughout the year. What is Cancer Foundation League? The Cancer Foundation League’s mission is to provide services to area cancer patients and also to support the Louisiana Cancer Foundation. How did the CFL get started? It was founded in 1999 by the Northeast Louisiana Cancer Institute and obtained a 501(c)3 status in 2000. We received a donation of $25,000 from local philanthropist Kitty DeGree. What is the purpose of CFL? Our purpose is to increase



awareness, early detection, treatment and research for cancer throughout Northeast Louisiana through the use of health screenings, seminars and educational programs. Local volunteers raise money through events like our annual gala. When is the annual gala? This year’s gala is Saturday, January 26, 2019 at 7 p.m. What are the details of this year’s gala? For this year, we are doing an Evening of Southern Elegance. It will be held at the Bayou DeSiard Country Club. There will be drinks and delicious hors d’oeuvres, as well as entertainment, and guests can dance the night away. Where does raised money from the gala go? These funds will help area cancer patients with non-medical bills, such as transportation to treatment, nutritional supplements,

medications, lodging during treatment and some household bills. Since our inception, we have spent over $1,845,000.00 assisting over 4.920 cancer patients in Northeast Louisiana. Do you have any other events planned for this year? We are currently delivering Christmas baskets to cancer patients throughout Northeast Louisiana. In 2019, we have several events planned. We do screenings throughout the year – breast and cervical in January, colorectal in March, skin in May and prostate in September. We will be working with DBK School of Dance at Fashion Fusion again next year on April 13. We will also host our annual Theresa Marsala Memorial Golf Tournament in May and our Cancer Survivors Celebration in June of 2019. Where can someone find more information on the Cancer Foundation League? If someone has someone that needs assistance from the CFL, they can complete a referral form on our website – – and the patient services committee will evaluate it. If you would like to volunteer or would like more information, you can call (318)966-1953.

Feed Your Soul This Season

Choose Chicken Salad Chick For Holiday Happenings


HICKEN SALAD CHICK, THE nation’s only Southern-inspired, fast casual chicken salad restaurant concept, opened its doors in Monroe, Louisiana this spring and has not slowed down since. Located at 1191 Lamy Lane, this location is owned and operated by Monroe natives Ashley Keever, Krista Rhymes and Matthew Miller. Chicken Salad Chick serves full-flavored, Southern-style chicken salad made from scratch and served from the heart. With more than a dozen original chicken salad flavors as well as fresh side salads, gourmet soups, signature sandwiches and delicious desserts, Chicken Salad Chick’s robust menu is a perfect fit for any guest. This holiday season, turn to Chicken Salad Chick for all your catering needs. From our class all-stars like Olivia’s Old South,

a Southern tradition with pickles and egg, to holiday favorites like Cranberry Kelli, a mixture of dried sweetened cranberries and slivered almonds, we’ve got a Chick for you. Also, for a limited time only (ends December 31st) try the Rockin’ Rita, made with Wickles Pickles. The mini-croissant platters and assorted sandwich platters are easy go-to’s for holiday office parties. Please everyone by mixing it up between the twelve chicken salad flavors, egg salad, pimento cheese or turkey sandwiches. Pimento cheeseballs are the newest holiday addition to the menu and are always a huge hit this time of year. Choose from our regular or spicy pimento. These delicious pimento cheese balls are covered in bacon and pecans. Serve with crackers as an appetizer, or kick it up a notch with pepper jelly for a sweet and savory bite!

Need something sweet for your holiday guests? Chicken Salad Chick’s buttercream frosted cookies are available by the dozen. Fruit trays are also a great way to add color to your table. The Chick’s fruit tray includes red and white seedless grapes and strawberries, served with delicious sweet cream cheese mixture for dipping. Our delectable Pumpkin Cheesecakes are also a popular addition to your holiday menu. Available in slices or whole pies, our cheesecakes are great for friend gatherings or Christmas day dinner. We are also selling Giving Cards now through December 31st. The Giving Card is the perfect gift for teachers, friends, stocking stuffers or a treat for yourself! Purchase for $5 and receive a monthly reward each month worth a total value of $60. All proceeds benefit the Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana.



bayou health



h, the holidays. This season brings with it a spirit of joy and giving, delicious food, and unfortunately, it can also bring added stress. Not only do the red velvet cake and Christmas cookies lead to some extra pounds, but the stress itself also triggers fat storage. Sure, you can just skip all the delicious holiday treats to prevent any weight gain, but what fun is that? I’m a big believer in the importance of vitamin joy, and if a slice of red velvet cake makes you happy, then my gosh, you should indulge and enjoy it! But I do have some tips to help you minimize the stress response that can exacerbate fat storage from those holiday meals. First, let’s look at how stress leads to fat storage. When your brain receives the signal from your body that you’re stressed, it assumes your life is in danger. It’s being told you’re in a situation that you need to escape from. In order to escape, you need an easily accessible, quick burst of fuel, which is sugar. For the most part, your body will either burn fat or sugar for fuel. But when you’re under stress, fat burning halts and your body favors burning sugar, because it can be converted to fuel much faster than fat can. Remember, your brain assumes your life is in danger, so you need fuel FAST. Even if you don’t have sugar available in your bloodstream from a recent meal, your body will create it. Your liver keeps

a stash of sugar stored away, so it can release some of it into the bloodstream when needed. Imagine you’re walking in the woods and come across a bear. You’ll probably gasp, which tells your brain there’s danger. Then, sugar from the liver is released into the bloodstream so you’ll have a quick burst of fuel to either run away or fight for your life. During this process, your fat stores are locked up, so fat can’t be used as fuel. Fat is a slow burning fuel, and since you need to run from a bear, you need a quick burst of energy! Once you’ve run away, using that sugar to fuel your sprint, your body calms down and your breathing slows and returns to normal. This tells your brain that you’re safe again, and you can go back to burning fat for fuel. Problems arise, though, when you’re chronically stressed out but your life isn’t actually in danger. In this case, your fat stores are locked up and you’re releasing sugar into your bloodstream, but aren’t burning that sugar off to run away. Your blood sugar is elevated, and now insulin has to come pick it up and put it back into storage again. This is how chronic stress leads to elevated blood sugar levels and chronically elevated insulin. And all of this leads to excess fat storage. You may not be able to eliminate the holiday expenses, shopping, traveling and family drama that come with the season, but you can definitely minimize the stress signals your body sends to your brain. Remember, it’s your body that

communicates to your brain that it’s either safe or in danger. The trick to minimizing stress (and the fat storage it leads to) is to ensure that your body is sending the right signals.


Regardless of what you’re eating, they way you eat can trigger a stress response and cause you to store more of that food as fat, rather than burn it as fuel. Eating on its own should be a trigger to turn off the stress response and switch your body into rest and digest mode. Think about your Thanksgiving meal; after finishing your feast, you were probably pretty tired, right? You just wanted to lay down and take a nap! That’s because your big meal triggered the rest and digest response; energy was diverted toward digestion, making you feel sleepy. But if you eat fast, you’ll trigger the opposite response. When you eat on the run, shove breakfast down your throat on your way out the door, or eat a quick lunch in your car, you’re triggering the stress response. Your body’s telling your brain that you can’t slow down, so your brain thinks you must be running from something! Energy is diverted away from digestion and other non-essential processes, so you’ll have energy left to keep on moving fast. This leads to indigestion and excess fat storage. Instead, make it a rule to only eat at the table. No standing up and eating at the kitchen counter and no eating in the car. Take a moment to set your place at the

table, say a prayer of thanks or just smell your food. Having a regular pre-meal ritual will send your brain the signal that food is coming and will get the digestion process started. Eat slowly, setting your fork down between bites. Be present with your food and actually notice how it smells and tastes. Not only will these practices shut off the stress response, but will diminish overeating and post-meal cravings. Giving your food the time and attention it deserves will allow your brain to get the signal you’ve eaten and you’ll feel much more satisfied and relaxed after your meal.


Your breath is like a bridge that connects your body to your mind. Every single breath you take either tells your brain that you’re in an emergency situation or are safe and relaxed. Remember when you ran into that bear in the woods and you gasped? That short, shallow breath was a signal to your brain that you were in danger. If you’re like most of the American population, you’re probably taking short, shallow breaths all day long! Stand in front of a mirror and take a deep breath. Don’t change the way you’re breathing, just take a larger breath. Did you see your shoulders rise? If so, you’re not breathing correctly. This is called vertical

breathing. Rather than breathing from your diaphragm, you’re using your chest, shoulder and neck muscles to breathe, which not only signals a stress response, but means those muscles will be tight and tense. To breathe properly, you have to sit or stand with good posture: your ribcage should be stacked over your pelvis, your shoulders rolled back, and your ears should be sitting right above your shoulders. Place your hands around the base of your ribcage, as if you had your hands resting on your hips, but higher. Now inhale through your nose and practice initiating each breath from the base of your ribcage. With your hands, you should feel your ribcage expand with each inhale, and contract with every exhale. With a big breath, your chest will rise after the base of your

ribcage expands, but your shoulders should stay down and relaxed. This is horizontal breathing, and it means you’re using your diaphragm properly. If you’re been a vertical breather for a long time, breathing this way may feel awkward and uncomfortable, but will become more natural with practice. And practicing it regularly is so important for decreasing the stress signals you’re sending your brain! Practice horizontal breathing while you’re eating (remember to sit with good posture), sitting at a red light, washing dishes or trying to fall asleep. Anytime you’re doing something mindless and are tempted to pick up your phone for stimulation, stop and focus on your breathing. Eating and breathing are two things you do every day, and the way you do them can either increase or decrease stress and fat storage. You came into this world instinctively doing them correctly. Over time, though, you grew busy and started eating on the run. You started holding your belly in and adopted poor posture, both of which led to shallow breathing. Work on improving these habits over the holiday season, and enter the new year feeling more relaxed and content than you have since you were a kid!


HOME for the H O L I D A Y S



ocal floral designer and stylist Taylor Bennett’s life lately reads like a coming of age novel. Boy moves to a big city and finds his passion for design; Boy moves back to his beloved country roots; Boy gets restless and super successful with his design business and moves to the heart of the action; Boy finds ways to bring his nostalgia for Christmas and pervasive love of family, friends and Jesus into every nook and cranny of his pied-à-terre. To say that 2018 has been a banner year for Taylor Bennett, who is half of the design team, Fine Folks, is an understatement. In addition to countless weddings and events, Bennett has lent BayouLife his considerable talents for styling, as evidenced in our award winning fashion, food and home photoshoots and covers. Before moving to downtown Monroe mid-year, Taylor was frequently burning up the roads between his farmhouse in Rayville and clients’ events. The designer was offered an opportunity to style one of Christie and Michael Echol’s Baker Building apartments for an Open House that would introduce truly loft-like living to downtown Monroe. That was all it took for Taylor to realize he was ready for a change, cue the music from Greenacres. While the pull of country living is still there, Taylor yearned for something new, exciting, that he could put his stamp on and surround

article by MARÉ BRENNAN

himself with objects that remind him of the people, places and events that have shaped his world. The designer’s philosophy on Christmas decorations is bold. “I like to keep as much of my house the same as possible, but my goal is to add a little holiday in every place your eye might come to rest or fill a bowl with clove-dotted oranges to impart a scent of the season as you pass by.” As you enter the apartment, the open concept living room and kitchen are alight with vignettes that carry the ghosts of Christmases past yet feel utterly modern in design. An antique elm, open-shelved cabinet, which Taylor sourced from Woodstock, is artfully arranged with a host of vintage books, found objects, a tortoise shell, and a quilt handmade by his grandmother. On an upper shelf rests a modernist Japanese bowl, a gift from a friend stationed in Japan, which is filled with the aforementioned oranges. Vases, often called into duty during a Fine Folks designed event, are on a lower shelf in a wire basket, ready for their next assignment. Above, a ceramic deer head with winged elm branches for antlers gets its jingle on with a touch of garland interspersed with “magical” twinkle lights. A grouping of intermixed, vintage brass candlesticks light up the vignette. “If you can’t tell,” says the designer, “I’m huge into nostalgia and everything having a story.”

p h o t o g r a p h y b y K E L LY M O O R E C L A R K


“ THE C REAT I V E A D ULT IS TH E CHI L D WH O SU RVIV E D.” – Bennett’s inspirational quote

At left: An antique elm, open-shelved cabinet is artfully arranged with a host of vintage books, found objects, a tortoise shell, and a quilt handmade by his grandmother.

On the living room wall, a diptych of cows, painted by artist Lissy Sanders Compton, was something Taylor couldn’t live without after seeing them displayed in the St. Jude Dream Home that he helped stage this year. “Christmas is my favorite time of the year. As a little kid, I wanted to live at The North Pole. So much so, that my parents let me keep a small Christmas tree in my room year round,” says Taylor with a grin. “I love this quote, ‘The creative adult is the child who survived.’ I really feel that way during the holidays and get my inspiration from my childhood,” explains Taylor, as he picks up a favored children’s book, Donald Duck’s Christmas Tree, which is displayed prominently on his coffee table, a find from Paul Michael Company. “This book inspired my love of Christmas as a child. It’s such a great story.” A large glass apothecary-style jar becomes a snowy wonderland scene that is sure to inspire the imagination of little ones. To the jar, Taylor adds a layer of “snow” along with a tiny snow-dusted tree and a little whimsical house surrounded by battery-operated fairy lights. A stack of Old School board games is at the ready for when Taylor’s frequent guests drop by. Underfoot, a Moroccan-inspired rug from Sleepy Hollow provides the right about of coziness. Holiday-inspired pillows are added for color to the neutral sofa, also from Sleepy Hollow. “I get a little bit cheesy and over-the-top when it comes to the holidays,” laughs the designer. Taylor’s Christmas tree is a study in nostalgic opulence. “My grandmother and mom would take me to the Christmas store in

the mall and let me pick out an ornament each year,” reminisces Taylor as he points out special ornaments like the swimming orca, a nod to his favorite movie at the time, Free Willy. Each bough is loaded with vintage, Shiny Brite ornaments collected by Taylor. Treasured vintage bubble lights were the original ones owned by his grandmother, who gave them to Taylor. Taylor bends down to pick up a cypress knee Santa, he made in 3rd grade. “My friend’s dad cut these cypress knees out of their back yard, and his mom helped each of us in the class paint them that Christmas,” remember Taylor. Beneath the tree, packages are wrapped with care. Taylor loves to use brown craft paper every year and embellish each with a special ribbon, yarn and decoration like a dried orange slice. New to Taylor’s Christmas décor this year is “The Christmas Story,” hand-lettered on a canvas by artist Kayla Thomas, which is placed prominently above a modern credenza. A stocking is hung with care from wire baskets. Vases from West Elm are livened with simple curving branches of Cypress greenery. Vintage Christmas ball boxes are gathered together in open wire baskets as a design element that adds to the aura of Christmas during a simpler time. An enormous skylight illuminates three simple evergreen wreaths hung with care above the upper cabinet in the kitchen. An oversized bowl of fresh citrus and pomegranates with sprigs of cedar greenery adds holiday color to the marble topped island. In his bedroom, Taylor places the emphasis on what the Scandinavians would call “hygge.” Hygge is the Danish quality of coziness combined with a comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being. Yep. That, right there. In WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | DECEMBER 2018 175

This page: Taylor chooses to craft his own ornaments using glass balls filled with fresh cranberries and oven dried orange slices hung with twine to decorate his bedroom-sized Christmas tree.


the corner beneath a gloriously large-paned window which overlooks DeSiard Street, Taylor has positioned a substantial Cisco upholstered chair, one of a pair sourced from Paul Michael Company. Layered with a chunky, hand knit cabled throw and a punchy holiday pillow, the chair is positioned for capturing the best sunlight for reading, with books stacked at the ready. A ceramic wildebeest head is draped with oversized ivory beading. Here, too, is Taylor’s bedroom-sized Christmas tree, just like from his childhood. This time he chooses to craft his own ornaments using glass balls filled with fresh cranberries and oven dried orange slices hung with twine. Forget the tree skirt; Taylor uses an oversized basket for hiding the bottom of his tree. A collector at heart, the designer loves paintings of farmhouses. His growing collection includes a painting executed by his childhood friend, Heather, and one with chickens painted by his grandmother. At bedside are stacks of required reading, devotionals and design tomes alike, along with a stylish lamp, potted plant and another of the large apothecary jars filled with a snowy scene. Layered with linen and tactile woven throws and pillows, the bed provides an oasis for the designer to recharge, especially after an incredible Fall wedding season, in addition to designing spaces for Two Dudes Brew & Que and devising a renovation for Christ Church’s lobby. Above the bed is one of Taylor’s prized pieces of art, a canvas handlettered by artist and close-friend Libby Gifford. A usual cotton boll wreath which hangs atop the painting is replaced for the holidays with a simple wreath of evergreen greenery tied with a loop of twine. Taylor’s wish for Christmas this year is like most of us to savor time spent with beloved friends and family, relishing in the joy of the simplest pleasures of the season – board games with friends, watching from his bedroom window as Christmas lights turn Downtown Monroe into a wonderland, spiced tea to warm hands and hearts, or making Christmas candy and treats with this grandmother. Merry Christmas!


Frank’s in Monroe

Northeast Louisiana’s First True Pizza Napoletana


RANK’S IN MONROE IS EXCITED TO OPEN ITS DOORS and offer Northeast Louisiana’s first true Pizza Napoletana experience! This type of pizza is made in the Old World style of Naples, Italy, the birthplace of pizza. When you step foot in the cozy location on Tower Drive, the first thing you notice is the Stefano Ferrara wood fired oven with flames ready to cook pizza in just over a minute. And the options are extensive! Frank’s offers a variety of pizzas with traditional Neapolitan red sauce that include margherita, pepperoni, Italian sausage, wood roasted portobello and white mushrooms. They also have Pizze Bianche, white pizzas that are sauced with panna, extra virgin olive oil or something other than red sauce. Seasonal favorites include “Too Duckin’ Good” which has duck confit, sliced pear, caramelized onion, panna, mozzarella, parmigiana and gorgonzola and is finished with a drizzle of honey. And that is just the tip of the unique pizza iceberg. Frank’s offers a menu that is unlike any other the Twin Cities has ever seen. The “Fig & Pig” has port-glazed mission figs covered in three types of cheese and topped with shaved prosciutto and white truffle oil. The Yukon Cornelius has roasted Yukon Gold potatoes, crispy pancetta, red onion, cheese and rosemary and topped with a soft cooked egg that is fried in the wood oven. But creative and inventive pizzas aren’t the only thing Frank’s does well. Frank’s has a variety of appetizers, perfect for sharing or savoring all on your own. There’s warm marinated olives, fried oysters, onion rings and wood fired focaccia to choose from. Frank’s salads are more than just your average Cesar. The salad options include salmon, mushroom, duck confit, fried oysters and more to choose from. There are also grilled paninis, calzones and house specialties include linguine, meatballs and polenta, risotto and burgers. There are even gluten free and Keto options! As if the flavor combination and extensive menu isn’t enough, the best part is the authenticity. Everything is made from scratch. From the mozzarella cheese to the sauce to the dough. Frank’s even grinds the Italian sausage and cures and smokes the salmon. There is nothing processed and Frank prides himself on that. That’s right, there is actually a guy named Frank that came up with this whole menu! Frank Harris is the owner and Executive Chef. He, along with Brian Flournoy, created this whole concept in Shreveport. It has been a success and after seeing so many people in Monroe travel over to other side of the state to eat at the restaurant, he saw the need and opportunity in Monroe. The Monroe location opened in October and has been the talk of the town ever since. Michelle Cascio serves as the General Manager and Van Murff as the Chef de Cuisine. There is room for private parties, perfect for those office holiday lunches! And if you want to give a gift that won’t disappoint, Frank’s offers gift cards! Stop by to visit Monroe’s newest pizza place that is more than just pepperoni!


Smart Home Systems That Redefine the Way We Live Mr. Electric of Monroe


R. ELECTRIC IS SELLING AND INSTALLING RETROFIT and new construction Smart Home Packages that meet consumer’s needs and specifications. What if a thermostat could do more than control temperature? What if a smoke and CO2 alarm could regulate air handlers? What if lighting control can be done without switches? What if leak detectors can prevent water damage? When products work together as such, you have peace of mind due to asset protection, lower insurance costs, lower utility costs, etc. Mr. Electric offers Loxone, Nest, Ring, Leviton and Lutron smart home components for all applications. More importantly, Mr. Electric is the only Loxone Smart Home dealer and integrator in the state of Louisiana. Loxone requires technical knowledge and skills to integrate into your home. When you install this system, your home comes to life without having to touch anything. The system can react to any motion and react with desired programmed parameters. This is a great way to increase home values and options to enable contractors/sellers to beat the competitor selling homes. Here is a list of automation equipment that is offered, configured, and installed by Mr. Electric. • Thermostats • Motion Detection • Leak Detection • CO2/Smoke Detection • Video Doorbells • Door Locks • Whole Home Audio • Infrared controlled Home Entertainment Whether you are looking for better home security or to save on energy, Mr. Electric is providing different Smart Home Packages. Their helpful staff will listen to your needs and help establish which package is perfect for you and your home. Mr. Electric possesses the technical expertise to upgrade your traditional electrical system to smart home automation, as well as new construction. Our licensed electricians handle electrical repairs, replacements, upgrades and installations in Monroe, West Monroe, Ruston and surrounding areas. We possess expert workmanship alongside world-class customer service through our local electricians. We want you to have trust and confidence in us and that is why our professional electricians will arrive on-time. Before our electricians complete your job, you will receive a detailed estimate of the cost. You can trust our professionals, because we conduct routine background checks and update licenses and registrations. In addition to traditional electrical needs, our electricians are available for seasonal needs. As we enter the holiday season don’t hesitate to call Mr. Electric for Christmas Light installation! The options are endless, and Mr. Electric can tailor any package to meet your needs or desires. If you are interested in installing a Smart Home system or are in need of any of their other services, call (318) 233-3310 and let Erik Redd and his team help you along the way.


Mother Daughter Dental Team Dr. Jan T. Bagwell Welcomes Daughter, Dr. Jessica J. Johnston to the Team


R. JAN T. BAGWELL IS EXCITEDTO ANNOUNCE A NEW addition to her dental practice in Sterlington. Her daughter, Jessica J. Johnston, DDS returned to her hometown and joined the team alongside her mom earlier this year. Jessica was born and raised in Monroe and is a 2007 Neville High School graduate. She attended Southern Methodist University and graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Marketing. Upon graduation, she headed to Nashville, where she worked in the country music business. And while she enjoyed it, she knew she wanted more. “I will never forget, I was talking one day to my mom and she told me, ‘You have to go to bed at night knowing you made the world a better place,’ and that is exactly what I wanted to do,” said Jessica. “I want to help people.” And with that, she headed to LSU Dental School in New Orleans to follow in her mother’s footsteps, who graduated from the same school in 1975 with a degree in Dental Hygiene and 1985 with a degree in Dentistry. Jessica completed a one year Advanced Education in General Dentistry residency at the V.A. Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama. Jessica has always appreciated being raised in a small town with strong community values and wanted to return to that. “What brought me back was the opportunity to learn from my mom, work along side her and be a part of a community where we have known our patients forever,” said Jessica. And Dr. Bagwell is excited for the same opportunity. “I am happy to have her home, and I have even learned some things from her,” said Jan. “It is important to me to leave this legacy to her when that time comes.” That’s a legacy that has been in the making since 1985 when Dr. Bagwell started practicing in the area. In 1988, she started the Sterlington Family Dental Clinic in downtown Sterlington. In 2005, she moved to the current location on Keystone Road, next to Sterlington High School. “It has been awesome to watch the community grow and be a part of that growth,” said Jan. Jessica is looking forward to being a part of the community as well and is already involved in Christ Church West Monroe, Neville Alumni Association, YoungLife and more. She recently traveled to remote villages in Honduras on a mission trip to provide dental care to people with limited access while sharing the love of Jesus. “My goal is to live a life that is kingdom minded, to love people, to choose excellence and make a difference,” said Jessica. “And I am excited to be able to do that here in this community, along side my mother.”


Lewis’ Gifts of Shreveport Unique Blend of Personal Service and Luxury Products


HE LEWIS FAMILY OF LEWIS’ GIFTS HAS BEEN A part of Shreveport, Louisiana’s retail community for over 90 years. The small shop that began as a pharmacy back in the 1920s and was transformed into a gift shop in 1985 grew so much that the family ultimately found a new home and a new 12,000 foot showroom at 5807 Youree Drive in 2008. Today, Catherine Lewis Hobbs is the fourth generation to own Lewis’ Gifts along with her brother Mike Lewis who runs the adjoining café, Biscotti’s. The staff has a combined 259 years of retail experience, and most of them have been with the company for many years. That family atmosphere coupled with impeccable personal service is one of the hallmarks of Lewis’ Gifts. Another signature hallmark is the breathtaking selection. Walking into Lewis’ Gifts transports guests into a world of new options, from the perfect gift that pampers to graceful home décor. Lewis’ Gifts carries the brands you love such as Jon Hart, Niven Morgan, Vietri, Juliska, Skyros, Tyler Boe and Bella Notte Bedding in the latest trends as well as classics you’ll love forever. The bustling store showcases everything from artisan bath products to baby gifts and clothing. They also carry fabulous women’s clothing, accessories and jewelry. Lewis’ Gifts is the perfect place to take your home into every season. The staff can show you some simple additions in china, flatware and linens for an easy update to your tabletop design. They can help you coordinate throw pillows and matching lamps, as well as home accents for inside or outdoor entertaining. Their candles, scented soaps and gourmet packaged foods will add a welcoming note to your guestroom. Lewis’ Gifts is known throughout the South as a wedding registry destination with full service and attention to detail. Each wedding party receives personal service customized just for them. Lewis’ offers almost everything the newlyweds need to start a new home together. The wedding consultants and staff make it their priority to ensure a timely follow-through and personal experience. Registering your wish list is easy and convenient, whether it is in the store or online! As you enjoy your shopping, plan to stay for lunch! Biscotti’s is located inside Lewis’ Gifts and offers a delectable menu with something to delight every taste. Catering and Meals-to-Go is also available offering sandwich trays, casseroles, sides, salads, dessert trays, soups, pies and cakes. Biscotti’s can handle catering for small families and larger parties. So whether you’re looking for something to spruce up your home for the winter or for the perfect gift to delight and pamper, the staff at Lewis’ Gifts is ready to help. Their convenient location and unique blend of personal service and luxury products will enhance your style and your life.



The Lessons

in the Music

During the evening of November 3rd, a crowd buzzed between food, drink and conversation waiting for the screening of filmmaker Morgan Neville’s 20 Feet from Stardom – a film starring Dr. Mable John. The historic Rose Theatre in downtown Bastrop welcomed the singer’s homecoming. ar ticl e b y VAN E LIS R I VE R A a n d pho to graphy b y AN DR E W B AI LE Y

“I didn’t know I was a senior citizen until a month ago,” John chimes matter-offactly to a crowd at the Rose Theatre at her homecoming in Bastrop, Louisiana. For the first time, John celebrates her birthday at her birthplace. To the elderly thinking they have to find a place to die, she asserts proudly: “Life begins at eighty-eight.” The sheer gumption of her words and their sharp wisdom tower over her almost five-foot frame. I learned quickly that you don’t just write Dr. Mable John’s story; that’s in her charge, she says. Instead, you listen, learn and strive to also become an example. Stories pour out of her like songs, sharing lessons from a past that we can all learn from. John’s musical upbringing began at the family kitchen, where her siblings sang together, pots and pans served as instruments, her father strummed guitar, and her mother sang along. One point of her progressing career involved touring with her brother, Little Willie John, a blues singer who is considered by most to be one of the most overlooked soul artists of his time. Although her family didn’t pay as much attention to her music, John wasn’t bothered. She wasn’t chasing big lights.


Sometimes only known as Willie’s sister, as he would introduce her on stage, her talent and poise still caught the eye of some of the most prolific artists of our time, namely, Ray Charles. In many ways, her forty years with Charles further shaped her already astute musical sense in art and enterprise. “My contract with him never ran out,” she shares. Charles knew what he wanted when he asked her to lead his girls, telling her during the job interview: “America don’t know what their artists are, because they don’t have the right music appreciation.” He wasn’t looking for another background singer, because he knew she wasn’t that. He needed a leader. Charles sought out John shortly after coming out of rehab. Knowing this, John made clear the kind of environment she expected, telling Charles, “I only get high on prayer.” Charles didn’t want anything around him that would identify him with that past, and John became a steady hand.

John is a woman of faith, not one to ascribe coincidence to mere probability, and she’s not afraid to share it. Years after famed American singer Otis Redding’s plane went down in Madison, Wisconsin, the only survivor, trumpet player Ben Cauley, opened up to John about the crash. With tears in his eyes he said to her, “I thought I was gonna’ drown, because I don’t know how to swim. But all I got to thinking, if I survived that crash then I can hold on to this branch.” John replied, “You got to live, because I’m not through recording, and I need you to play the trumpet.” She told this story to Ray Charles while explaining to him

why she wouldn’t get on his private plane: “People that own private planes and with money don’t follow the rules. That’s why Otis Redding’s plane went down. Someone didn’t follow the rules.” Telling this story with piercing eyes and a cautionary brow raised. John often repeats herself for emphasis. It works. Each repetition has a distinct flavor and an aftertaste that lingers. “People that own stuff don’t feel like they have to obey anybody’s rules. But your disobedience can cause you your life. I don’t smoke or drink. I don’t condemn people that do. It’s their mouth and their belly. But I got a lot to do, and I want to be alive to do it.” She takes a pause. “That’s why I don’t fly private planes.” Lessons like these abound in her captivating storytelling, a characteristic she undoubtedly inherited from her father, who would narrate his experiences working in Bastrop, painting a picture in her mind that would draw her to the small town. She grew

proud of those stories. Knowing that her father wanted her to identify with Bastrop, she considers her homecoming as “making good” on her father’s memory. He would tell her: “Don’t ever allow anyone to take your name from you. Give them all of your name. You don’t own anything but your name.” Bastrop is part of that name, and she wants her history to become their history; in the end, Bastrop’s history weaved its way into hers as well. Enter, the historic Rose Theatre in downtown Bastrop. During the evening of November 3rd, a crowd buzzed between food, drink and conversation waiting for the screening of filmmaker Morgan Neville’s 20 Feet from Stardom—a film starring John. Meanwhile, Mayor Cotton intently took in the wine velvet curtains and teal cushioned seats. It’s the first time he has stood on the ground floor. The last seat he occupied was a screechy wood seat located at the balcony of the Rose, the colored-only section. It’s a

surreal scene, but one that John and many of her musical contemporaries were all too familiar with. When John played at Jackson College in Mississippi, they put a rope down the aisle dividing whites and blacks. John has never been oblivious of the state of affairs and is keenly aware of the underprivileged, especially children. When she toured with her brother Willie, they would gather the children that couldn’t afford to see them. Willie would greet them then buy their tickets; sometimes nearly thirty kids would enthusiastically flood the front seats. “I want them to get what they came for,” Willie would remark. Such experiences solidified John’s interest in working with kids. “My mother had so many children. I’m not happy unless I’m in a crowd,” says John. She wants future generations to stand on her shoulders. “What do you want to be? What do you want to identify with?” She’ll ask curiously. “I want the ear of every child in this town



and every senior in this town.” Her pointed reasons for gravitating toward those groups are simple: “People don’t have time for the youth, so we lose them. They have counted seniors out because they don’t think they are fruitful.” Guided by ministry and service, she never shies away from giving and embodying love. In one of the nine schools she visited during the three days of her visit, a young girl approached John and complimented her vintage stud earrings. John replied, “Oh you like them? Here, have them.” John’s unreal drive for service is like a song—honest, spirit-filled and impactful. “I’m here to take the music back,” John claims, describing music’s divine and pervasive quality. Quoting James Brown’s lyrics, “I don’t want nobody to give me nothing. Open the door. I’ll get it myself,” she ties a sense of independence to the freedom of creating music and its boundless nature: ”It has no color, it has no age, it has no territory, and it has no boundaries.” Songs should be written to last one hundred years, she asserts, warning contemporary songwriters against only seeing where they are right now. Only happy songs that are uncategorizable by genre and hold a message, a story, of what’s in our hearts,

survive throughout generations. “Country and classical music are the longest lasting musics until Mable John got here,” she humours. Storytelling is the duty, the moral, of universal songs. John declares, “When you write a song, you must write an everlasting story.” She wrote her song “Your Good Thing (Is About to End)” as a story about marital grievances that she was unable to share with her husband directly, which starts: “I don’t have to beg you to hold me. ‘Cause somebody else will.” “I love people. I love music,” she tells a group of ULM students, faculty, and staff. Stressing the importance of learning the business of the show, she shares how her parents didn’t have money, but they had knowledge. When her brother got signed, the whole family of Johns sat around their kitchen table and thoroughly analyzed Willie’s contract. She laughs while recounting her love for “running money down” at Willie’s gigs. “You only have a hit when the check comes,” her father would say. Songs need birth certificates just like we do, John says, emphasizing the importance of reading the fine print. Too often, early great talents died penniless, and John did not intend to die broke. Advice from

greats like Billie Holiday, who John opened for, is relentlessly shared with aspiring musicians: 1. Learn your craft well. 2. Work on yourself—“You will find your own self in what you do.” 3. Do what you do well and without seeking approval. 4. Know when you have done enough. She stresses that it’s a mistake to put weight on fame. Instead, become prolific by not allowing anyone to tell you what you can’t do—advice John embodies pristinely. “Music isn’t yours until you make it yours. I learned that part from Ray Charles. Now when I sing, it has to pay me.” John ends most of her talks with the same two words: “Call me.” She repeats her number twice, encouraging the crowd to leave a detailed message, if she doesn’t answer. “Do good work and let the work speak for you,” her father would tell her. Taking his words to heart, John embedded her music with the emotions in her soul to provide lessons in the music. Mayor Henry Cotton of Bastrop, Louisiana calls the return of Dr. Mable John a “royal homecoming” and declared November 3rd Dr. Mable John Day.


Should Your Portfolio Have International Exposure? Argent Advisors in Monroe Explains


S MOST PEOPLE REALIZE THE US economy has improved since the “Great Recession” of 2008; with tax cuts and deregulation this improvement has accelerated over the last two years. This has been reflected in higher US stock prices. So, considering the strong US stock market performance; should you start looking at other areas to reduce risk and provide growth potential over the next five years? We feel that international markets, both developed and emerging, give good opportunities for investors. International markets are undervalued compared to historical averages and compared to our US markets. We look at a ratio called forward P/E to help with our evaluation process. The P/E (price to earnings) ratio is the valuing of a company’s current share price relative to its per-share earnings. The trailing twelve-month P/E for the S&P 500 (domestic index) is 18.85x (times) earnings where MSCI EAFE (international developed) is 14.27x


earnings and MSCI EM (International emerging markets) is 12.32x earnings. We also look at the forward P/E which is 15.58x, 12.55x, and 10.2x earnings respectively. So, by comparing P/E ratios the international equity is cheaper than the US markets. Of course, there are other factors that you should consider when investing internationally. The global middle class is growing and so is their spending. In 2009, the global middle class was 1.8 billion and is projected to rise to 4.9 billion in 2030. Middle class spending in 2009 was $21.3 Trillion, and the US accounted for 26%. In 2030, spending is estimated to be $55.7 Trillion with the US only accounting for 10%. Diversification is also a major reason for holding international exposure in your portfolio. Non-US GDP makes up 75% of the world’s GDP but many US investors’ portfolios contain 10% or less international stocks. Since international economies and markets don’t directly correlate to the US, international

exposure can reduce year to year volatility in a portfolio. For stock investors international equity exposure could make sense. Valuations look attractive today and long-term growth potential may allow international markets to outperform US markets over the next five years. Why choose Argent Advisors in Monroe? Our mission is to help establish, manage and protect our clients’ financial plans. Argent Advisors in Monroe is a fee-based Registered Investment Advisor firm. We agree on an annual management fee, and then we work for YOU. We do not make money on account activity or have proprietary products. Our independent process assures you that we are acting in your best interest, not in ours! If you have any questions about your financial planning needs, please contact our office.

Fleet Feet Monroe

We’ve Got You Covered for All Your Gift Giving Needs


ERE AT FLEET FEET MONROE, WE’VE GOT YOU covered on all your gift giving needs for this upcoming holiday season. From your favorite brands like: Brooks, Nike, On, Aftershokz, Goodr, New Balance and many more, we are sure you’ll find the perfect gift here. Ranging from shoes to socks to winter apparel, and we’ve even got the little things like headphones, sunglasses, lights/reflectors, and so much more. Of course, we are known for having a great selection of shoes from brands like Brooks, New Balance, Nike, Saucony, Asics, Hoka, ON, Adidas, Mizuno and Altra. We take great pride in going the extra mile in making sure that the shoes we put you in are the best possible fit, and starting in December we are going to go even a little bit farther in guaranteeing that. Until December 24th, we will also have an incredible deal with Garmin. ALL Forerunner, Fenix and Vivoactive products. Not only do we love Garmin as a company, but we love their amazing products. So, if you have someone you know that is looking for a great fitness watch come check out our Garmin watches and don’t pass up on this great deal. As always, we’d love for y’all to stop by and see what we carry or to just come get a cup of coffee and ask us any questions you

may have! Our hours for the Holiday season are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Also, don’t forget to join us for our Monthly Fun Runs, which are usually held on the third Tuesday of every month. It’s always a great event with people from all over the community coming together to get a good workout in, enjoy some good food and win some great raffle prizes. To stay up to date on all things happening at Fleet Feet Monroe, like us on Facebook at Fleet Feet Monroe or follow us on Instagram and Twitter @fleetfeetmonroe. Our website is For over 40 years, Fleet Feet has provided our customers with inspiration, information, and know-how when it comes to running and fitness. Those four decades of experience and expertise have led to an exciting moment for us, and how we’re able to arrive at solutions for you. Introducing fit id—a 3D scanning experience that only happens at Fleet Feet. Fleet Feet Monroe is proudly locally owned and operated by Mike and Sonya Fronsoe, and we encourage you to shop local this holiday season. Whether it is running shoes, gear or accessories, Fleet Feet has it all!


Art, Décor and All Things Home

Palette House in Monroe Offers Gift Options for Anyone with Style


ALETTE HOUSE IN MONROE IS the brainchild of local artist and interior designer, Margaret Moses. She opened the space in April of 2017, and it has become the place to find art, décor and all things home. Margaret also utilizes the space to work with clients building and renovating their home. Everyone always has a home project in mind, and that is why Palette House offers gift certificates. This is a great gift to give to someone on your list, who is getting ready to redo an area of their current home or getting ready to build their dream home. Palette House has furniture, lighting and bedding unlike anyone else in town. Plus, there are plenty of gift options for anyone with style. There are small art pieces from local artist Robin Hamaker and prints from local artist Caroline Youngblood. Palette House carries the Laboratory Perfume


line, gender-free fragrances, scientifically formulated to react to the wearer and evolve over the day. Another exclusive line they carry is Tatine, with fragrance compositions rooted in nature. The line includes candles and hand soaps. K. Hall Designs is another favorite, known for their beautiful true-toname fragrances and use of high quality ingredients. There is a cute gift set that contains eau de parfum, travel candle and bath bomb, perfect for teachers, girlfriends and stocking stuffers. For the girl on the go, there are several Uashmama bags, made from washable paper and made using a virgin fiber through cultivation and not deforestation. They look and feel like leather, but wash with ease. There are several options for pillows that will add a statement to anyone’s sofa this season. Plus, lush throws and blankets make

the perfect gift during the winter season. Christmas ornaments make a great hostess gift and Palette House has plenty to choose from, including several styles from Fig & Dove. You can decorate your home in style with these unique ornaments individually crafted by Louisiana artists. On a more local level, Palette House has jewelry from local favorites, ELA VANILA by Nikki Loflin Sampognaro and CBBR from Cynthia Ryan. These handmade pieces are the perfect gift for someone that appreciates unique style. Palette House is located in the heart of the Garden District in Monroe. Stop by today to see everything they have to offer for great gifts…for someone on your list or yourself!

Give Your Smile a Gift This Season From NELA Dental


IS THE SEASON FOR GIVING! THIS year, consider giving your smile a little something. At NELA Dental, we strive to make smiles stronger and healthier, as well as boost our patient’s confidence. We have many options for cosmetic dentistry, such as dental implants and a variety of convenient orthodontics options. STRENGTH AND STABILITY-DENTAL IMPLANTS A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is placed into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or a bridge. A proper dental implant coupled with a replacement tooth or bridge will look, feel and function like a natural tooth. For those with missing or decaying teeth, dental implants can improve your smile not only cosmetically but structurally as well. Implants provide a stable and durable base for restoration, so you can start to enjoy all of your favorite foods again. Even denture wearers

find that their dentures can be held in place with dental implants for added comfort and stability. STRAIGHT UP CONFIDENCE -ADULT BRACES Modern treatments like Six Month Smiles braces and Clear Correct® systems offered at NELA Dental have completely changed the way we address the problem of misaligned teeth. Both are efficient and safe solutions for transforming your smile and boosting your self-confidence. Clear Correct® aligners can alleviate problems with crowding, spacing and uneven teeth. Treatment with Clear Correct® involves a series of clear, custom-made aligners that are virtually invisible. You will receive a series of aligner trays that you will change at two-week intervals to gently reposition your teeth into correct alignment. Treatment times vary by individual, but results are typically achieved

in about 12 months for adults. Treatment with Six Month Smiles braces is similar to that of conventional adult orthodontics, but they have one major difference. Six Month Smiles braces have significantly shorter treatment times because the goal is not to alter the patient’s bite, only straighten the visible teeth. Six Month Smiles treatment focuses only on the teeth that show when you smile. The braces do not interfere with your appearance or day-to-day life. The clear brackets and tooth colored wires will gently reposition your teeth without affecting appearance. Six Month Smiles braces are generally more affordable than traditional braces or veneers. Desired results are usually achieved in about four to nine months, with an average treatment time of six months. FINANCING OPTIONS AND MEMBERSHIP PLANS Our dentists have helped many patients achieve their goal of a strong, perfectly aligned, dream smile. We provide personalized care and make it easy to obtain the treatment you need with stress-free financing options, as well as membership plans. Head over to neladental. com for more information. Contact one of our three locations in Farmerville, Monroe or Oak Grove for your FREE consultation and Start Smiling Today!




ccording to the National Sleep Foundation, teens require 8-10 hours of sleep a night to stay healthy. Biological sleep patterns shift toward later times for both sleeping and waking during adolescence. This means that it is natural for teens to not be able to fall asleep before 11:00 p.m. Teens also tend to have irregular sleep patterns across the week — they typically stay up late and sleep in late on the weekends, but this can affect their biological clocks and hurt the quality of their sleep. Research shows that lack of sleep affects mood, and a depressed mood can lead to lack of sleep. To combat this vicious cycle, sleep experts recommend that teens prioritize sleep and focus on healthy sleep habits.

Dr. Barry Ricks has practiced pediatrics in Monroe La for over 20 years. He regularly sees patients from birth to 21 years of age. His office, Pediatric Associates, is located at 2600 Tower Dr. in Monroe.


What is the most important thing parents and youth need to know about sleep? Teens and their parents need to recognize that sleeping the recommended amount of hours is linked with positive outcomes such as improved attention, behavior, learning, memory, emotional regulation, quality of life and overall mental and physical health. Regularly not getting enough sleep leads to chronic sleep deprivation. This can have dramatic effects on a teenager’s life, impacting their mental wellbeing, increasing their risk of depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. It can also affect academic performance at school. Why is important for parents to talk to their children about getting enough sleep? Most teens do not get enough sleep — one study found that only 15% reported sleeping 8 1/2 hours or more on school nights. Parents play a vital role in helping teens get the sleep that they need. You should pay close attention to how your son or daughter sleeps, acts and feels. They will give you signs that show they are not getting enough sleep. If you child has trouble waking up most mornings, acts irritable in early afternoon, falls asleep during the day or sleeps for very long periods on the weekends, they may need their sleep cycle adjusted.

What are some of the short and long-term outcomes of irregular sleep or lack of sleep? Teens who do not sleep for a sufficient amount of time may be at greater risk for attention, behavior and learning problems. A sleep deficit is also linked with increased risk of accidents and injuries, as well as with self-harm and suicide attempts. When a you are sleep deprived, you are as impaired as driving with a blood alcohol content of .08%, which is illegal for drivers in many states. Drowsy driving causes over 100,000 crashes each year. Sleeping too much can also be a problem. Studies show that routinely sleeping longer than the recommended times can lead to adverse outcomes such as hypertension, obesity and mental health problems.

Teens need 8-10 hours of sleep a night—less than 15% of teens get more than 8 ½ hours of sleep on a school night. If my child has poor sleep habits, what is the best way to reset? Parents should make sure children have a comfortable sleep environment, that is quiet and free of distractions. Children should not try to sleep watching TV, looking at a computer or phone or anything else that produces ambient light that disrupts the natural sleep cycle. They should not have anything with caffeine (including soda and chocolate) after 4:00 p.m. They may need to wake up later on weekends.

But they should not wake up more than two hours later than the time when they normally rise on a weekday. Sleeping in longer than that will severely disrupt a teen’s body clock. How do I know if my child has a serious sleep problem? Where can I get help? Many teens suffer from treatable sleep disorders, such as narcolepsy, insomnia, restless legs syndrome or sleep apnea. If parents feel their child has a true sleep disturbance, they should talk to their pediatrician. If your child is diagnosed with a sleep disorder, it is important to educate them and those around them that sleep disorders are medical conditions and not the result of bad sleep habits, lack of motivation or the need for more sleep.

RESOURCES Calm is a leading app for meditation and sleep. Recommended for teens, it can lower stress, lessen anxiety, and create a more restful sleep environment with the guided meditations, Sleep Stories, breathing programs, masterclasses, and relaxing music are also included in this free app. Recommended by top psychologists, therapists, and mental health experts.

Jan Daniels, Youth Development Director at the Children’s Coalition, works with middle schools in northeast Louisiana to provide the suicide prevention program Signs of Suicide (SOS) and Child Sex Trafficking prevention (#NotaNumber). Call Jan at (318) 323-8775 or go to to learn more about how you can get these prevention programs at your child’s school.

CONTINUED F R O M PA G E 6 0 Avoid wasting money on duplicate purchases by taking stock of what you already have. For instance, are you good on tape? Wrapping paper? Decorations? Mushroom soup? That ongoing to-do list will help you keep track of what you already have and what needs to be purchased. Sort through your child’s toys and clothing - Mark off thirty minutes in your schedule to sort through toys and clothing that your child may have outgrown. The holiday is a perfect time to donate them to another child in need, and it will help you to make more room for this year’s gifts, as well. Sort through your old decorations - As you unpack your decorations this year, go ahead and get rid of and/or donate any items that you don’t like or want anymore. Your home should be filled with items you love and use. As I stated before, the key to creating a stress-free and organized holiday is by being prepared! Prepare now and save your sanity later. Happy Holidays! WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | DECEMBER 2018 191

Holiday Gifts Galore

Make Petals and Pearls One of Your Stops This Holiday Season


ETALS AND PEARLS IS A LOCAL florist proudly serving Monroe, Louisiana and surrounding areas. Our friendly staff is ready to assist you when you need flowers delivered locally or anywhere in the world. For your convenience, we also offer daily delivery service to local hospitals and funeral homes. Whatever the occasion, let one of Petals and Pearls talented designers create a beautiful, eye-catching fresh or silk floral arrangement that is customized just for you! Petals and Pearls offers traditional and contemporary floral design styles that are appropriate for birthdays, anniversaries, get well, new baby, sympathy, holidays or just because. WEDDING FLOWERS AND SPECIAL EVENTS Whether your wedding or party is formal or casual… a small gathering or the social event of the year… we can help you plan an


event that’s a “blooming” success! Call us in advance at 318-348-7606 to schedule your consultation. SYMPATHY AND FUNERAL FLOWERS Remember, you can always depend on our staff to help you choose funeral flowers for a friend or loved one. We will design and deliver an arrangement that beautifully conveys your feelings of sympathy and serves as a lovely tribute to the deceased. ASSORTED PLANTS AND GIFT IDEAS Browse our wonderful green plants, blooming plants and dish gardens for a gift that adds life to any room or office. One of our gift baskets of fruit and goodies would make a thoughtful and tasty choice anytime of year. We also offer gifts for any age or occasion, including plush stuffed animals, balloon bouquets, candy and chocolates, silk

arrangements, baby items, home décor and scented candles. Petals and Pearls has gifts, décor and so much more to offer as well. Petals and Pearls has such cute holiday ornaments this season, that would be perfect for a gift, or for yourself! They also carry Olivina, mens’ grooming products. Olivina for men is a regimen of grooming products that save time without cutting corners. Simple and organic ingredients ensure that you are giving your body what it deserves. Olivina gift sets are available at the store! Petals and Pearls also has Belle Vie Belle Maison spa products! The largest selection of handmade organic bath, body and home products in Louisiana. Some of the products are luxury bath salts, hand-poured goat milk lotion, goat milk soap in bars. Make Petals and Pearls one of your holiday stops this year!

Miss Kay’s Sweets and Eats Perfect for Holiday Parties and More


ISS KAY’S SWEETS & EATS on Antique Alley in West Monroe has got it going on for any occasion with coffee, handcrafted espresso drinks, homemade sweet treats and great food made with Miss Kay Robertson’s famous recipes! CHRISTMAS DINNER Do you have nostalgia about Christmas dinner when you were a kid? The smells of your mom’s turkey baking in the oven, the aunt who always brings the green bean casserole, the warm scent of freshly baked pies wafting through the cozy house, along with the sounds of laughter or Christmas songs. What you probably don’t remember is the sink full of dishes your family members had to wash after the meal. We’ll help you avoid all that mess! We’re offering spiral cut hams, whole smoked turkeys, delicious sides and fresh, handmade pies for your Christmas meal. Our selection of classic holiday dishes includes ready-to-go

hams and turkeys, sides of cornbread dressing, macaroni and cheese, brown sugar green beans with bacon, and sweet potato casserole. All sides serve about 20 guests. Don’t forget the dessert! Our pies serve 8-10, and are available in flavors of pecan, sweet potato or derby. Also available are red velvet cake, coconut cake and chocolate cake that serves 10-12. We’re here to help keep your Christmas from ending up like a National Lampoon’s movie! Give us a call to pre-order for Christmas Eve pick-up. HOLIDAY FLAVORS Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you have to give up frozen desserts! Warm flavors like Eggnog, Christmas Tree and Pumpkin Spice Latté gelato will warm you up and get you in the holiday spirit. The holidays also mean that we’ll be serving up favorites like homemade gingerbread cookies, sweet potato pies and divinity.

LET’S PARTY! We are able to host or cater any number of events like Christmas parties, birthday celebrations, Heart to Home groups, baby and bridal showers, retirement parties, corporate meetings, wedding rehearsals or any event you have coming up. We also have a large patio with a beautiful view of historic downtown West Monroe that’s perfect for open-air Jambalaya cook outs or beignets to-order. We offer off-site catering at your home, church or business. Our staff is able to accommodate a variety of dining options, from a casual buffet style dinner by the pool to a VIP seated dinner for your top clients. Call Jon at our store to talk about your upcoming event. COFFEE AND SWEETS We proudly serve Community Coffee and Plantation Gourmet Coffee Espresso beans. Warm up with a dirty chai or cool down with an iced pumpkin spice latté. Cappuccino, mocha, London Fog, hot tea – whatever you’re in the mood for, we have it! We offer a variety of sweets from cupcakes and cookies to pies, cakes, pralines and brownies. December’s cake of the month will be Toasted Coconut Cake and the pie of the month will be Miss Kay’s Sweet Potato Pie! Give us a call to reserve yours. We can also do simple custom cakes for any type of event! Call Alex at our shop for more information!


Take Time to Charge and Relax

Let Spa Nouvelle Get You Ready for the Hustle and Bustle of the Holidays


LTHOUGH WE’RE IN THE SEASON OF JOY, THE holidays can be busy and stressful. From Christmas parties to holiday shopping, charitable events to family guests, the holidays are taxing on most people. If this seems familiar, take time to relax and recharge at Spa Nouvelle. Partners Mary Beth Dickerson, Ana Lopez Hale, Drew Farr and Wendy Newsom all have a passion for health and beauty. With an attentive approach to relaxation and skincare health, it’s no surprise that the staff of Spa Nouvelle has won top prizes in the BayouBuzz Awards since it’s inception. Ward off the stress of the holiday season with one of the many spa services offered at Spa Nouvelle: massages, facials, waxing, microdermabrasion, hydrafacials, body treatments, airbrush tanning, chemical peels, lash and brow tinting, SkinCeuticals products, Dermablend products, DoTerra and essential oils and diffusers. A spa favorite is the Spa Day Escape. Have your spa experience tailored to your specific needs. Lockers, luxurious bathrobes, towels, showers and sandals are provided for your use during your day. Three and a half hours of uninterrupted relaxation is designed to help you escape from stress. The experience includes a light lunch, spa


day customized luxury massage and spa day red carpet treatment facial that includes product consultation. Spa Nouvelle also will host a spa party. Whether it’s a day of pampering with your bridesmaids, a mom’s day out or a gift for your entire staff, they can accommodate the whole gang or just a few special ladies… or men. From beginning to end, the dedicated spa team at Spa Nouvelle will ensure that your visit enhances your well-being. Looking for the perfect gift for any occasion? Spa Nouvelle offers gift certificates to use with any of their services. Mom, dad, brother and sister alike will thank you for a gift certificate after the busy holiday season has ended. The distinct Spa Nouvelle box and decorative bow are always a favorite for Santa to leave under the tree. So, Santa baby, hurry down to Spa Nouvelle tonight and pick your loved one up the gift of relaxation and rejuvenation. You can purchase gift certificates online at, stop by 1705 Lamy Lane in Monroe or call 318.816.4949. The ladies at Spa Nouvelle will make sure you and your loved ones have a very Merry Christmas and a gorgeous and pampered New Year.

Introducing BodyTite

Derma MediQ Teams Up with Dr. Daryl Marx


OR THE PAST THIRTEEN YEARS, Dr. Saidi Sowma-Fakhre has been providing state-of-the-art medically supervised beauty regimens at Derma MediQ. Dr. Sowma-Fakhre is Board Certified in Aesthetic Medicine and Pediatrics. Starting in January, she is pleased to be partnering with Dr. Daryl Marx to bring a new procedure to Northeast Louisiana. BodyTite by InMode is a minimally invasive body contouring system that uses Radio-Frequency Assisted Lipolysis technology. In combination with traditional tumescent liposuction, Dr. Marx will be performing these two fat reducing procedures at Derma MediQ. Daryl Marx, M.D. is a general surgeon specializing in General, Bariatric and RoboticAssisted surgery using advanced minimally invasive techniques. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Surgery and board certified by the American College of Surgeons. He received his Doctor of Medicine degree

from Louisiana State University of Medicine in New Orleans, LA and continued his surgical internship and residency there, graduating in 2003. Dr. Marx’s surgical expertise, combined with the aesthetic background of Dr. SowmaFakhre, guarantees and exciting partnership for those looking for a procedure that offers significant, long-lasting fat reducing results. WHAT IS BODYTITE? BodyTite is a great solution for individuals who are looking to reduce fat without the saggy, wrinkly skin. It also helps to improve skin laxity after weight loss or due to aging. BodyTite is a minimally invade procedure that shapes, contracts and lifts with the scalpel or large scarring. You are left without surgicallike results without prolonged downtime. WHAT AREAS CAN BE TREATED? If you can imagine it: stomach, arms, chest, knees and inner/outer thighs are some

of the most common treatment zones. Multiple areas can be treated in one visit. Each zone will take approximately 15 minutes of treatment. Results can be seen immediately, with best results noticeable after 6 weeks, and continuing up to 12 months. And, depending on the treatment area, downtime can be from 1-2 days up to 10 days. If you are looking for a treatment that will treat fat in stubborn areas while tightening skin, the combination of BodyTite and liposuction will sculpt your body into its ultimate shape. The staff at Derma MediQ in partnership with Dr. Daryl Marx not only has an eye for aesthetics, but the medical knowledge necessary to safely provide patients with the relaxed, rejuvenated and sculpted look they want. Schedule your consultation today for this breakthrough fat reducing and skin tightening procedure.


Inspired by the classic tale of Clara and The Nutcracker, our story takes us through four realms of Christmas magic. Models Nelle Bauman, Hadley Jones and Eva Edinger were holiday’s finest apparel from area boutiques. Set by Abby Gifford and Libby Gifford. Hair and Makeup by Meka Reliford. Twin City Ballet dancers Alex Jungina and Kaylee Willman. Photography by Kelly Moore Clark.

The Children’s Shoppe Nelle is precious in this Nutcrackerthemed dress with matching sash. The classic leather Mary Janes feature perforated detailing and a hook and loop fastener strap for an easy fit.

HerringStone’s Flaunt your fun and flirty style in this mini dress that features fringe detailing and an elastic back panel. Pair this dress with snake-print booties, a red-velvet clutch and delicate drop earrings from Kendra Scott.

Eleven 26 Eva sparkles in the fitted pink bodycon dress with sculpted sleeves. These sparkling strappy sandals bring extra refinement to this breathtaking cocktail dress.

RodĂŠo Boutique Sweet as a gum drop, this multi-striped crop sweater is perfectly paired with a fashion-forward metallic moto silver coated mini skirt.

The Fancy Fox This storybook dress is enchanting on little Nelle. Featuring a soft t-shirt top and ruffle tiered skirt, this dress is perfectly precious. It’s paired with a smooth leather boot with decorative stitched background and appliquÊ bird.

K-Sera Boutique Suited for the holidays, this big button jacket features a 3/4 sleeve with front pockets and is paired with matching rustcolored high waisted pants. Layer over a lace-trimmed leopard print cami and black studded belt bag.

The Fashion of Ruston Worn alone or under a jacket, this pleated velour mock neck swing top looks flawless paired with the coordinating wide leg pants. These alluring strappy patent sandals complete the look.

Hemline Monroe Sparkle and shine in this timeless beaded cocktail dress. Bundle up in this luxurious knit and rabbit fur coat and complete the look with these dazzling sandals that bring major bling.

Uptown Girl Hadley is totes adorbs in this festive quilted navy and gold brocade dress with a flirty flounce hem.

Trinity Lutheran Church Searching This Christmas Season Dress Yourself with Gentleness BY BILL CORNELIUS, PASTOR


HAT DO WASHING MACHINES, DISH SOAP, A grizzly bear named “Ben,” and you have in common? You, the bear, and those other items all can be gentle. St. Paul encouraged the members of one of his churches, “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near” (Philippians 4:5). Too often we associate gentleness with being a wimp. That is not true. Washing machines can rip clothes to shreds. Soaps can irritate skin. Bears can maul people. And just turn on the news to see what destruction human beings can do. Nevertheless, we can be gentle. We can learn to be unselfish and considerate in all we do. Think what the world would be like if everyone showed unselfish consideration for others! There would be no road rage. Children wouldn’t fight over a particular toy. Customers and cashiers wouldn’t stall checkout lines by bickering over sale prices. Family conflict might even come to a halt. Paul gives us the why and the how of being gentle. “The Lord is near,” he says. Christmas may be a month away, but the joy and the attitude don’t have to wait. The Lord is right here with us now. With a word, Jesus could calm a raging sea or cause a tree to wither. Yet he never failed to heal the sick, preach good news to the poor and offer forgiveness to the worst of sinners. Jesus offers us that same gentle, unselfish consideration when he says in both words and actions: “I love you. That is why I came to earth. That is why I lived and died for you. And I want you to love others in return.” There was a Christian man whose very presence was a visual definition of words like strong tough, and thoroughly masculine. Yet for twenty-five years he spent nearly every Sunday afternoon leading a worship service for a hundred developmentally disabled women at the state mental hospital. That man let his gentleness be evident to all. How can we be gentle when everyone and everything around us is chaos and corruption? Remember why the Christ Child came. He came to bring real peace. The peace of forgiveness now and life eternal. The peace of knowing that no matter happens in this world I know who I am; a forgiven, redeemed, dearly loved child. All because of who Jesus is, and what he has done for me and all people. My gentleness comes not from me but from what God has done for me through Jesus. And He did the same for you. My wife Debra’s favorite Bible verse is the key to being gentle to everyone around, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32) May God’s kind and gentle heart for you dress you with gentleness for everyone around you. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28


Taking Your Christmas Uptown Uptown Downtown Cakery, Bakery and Eatery


HE HOLIDAYS ARE HERE! NO MORE waiting. No more procrastinating. It is time! Time for giving. Time for loving. Time for sharing. There’s nothing better than giving back to the ones who we love so dearly. We could not be happier to be Downtown Ruston with goodies and treats that will make your gift giving a breeze. All season long, you will find anything from cookies and candies, to spiced pecans and Christmas trash. You have choices of on the go gift trays or buildyourself gift boxes, where you choose just the right gift for that special person and can add in your own touches. There’s nothing better than receiving goodies that you can share with your family or just enjoy while curled up on your couch watching Christmas movies. DON’T FRET THE HOLIDAY PARTIES Make your holiday party going as fun and effortless as possible. With all the hustle

and bustle and many holiday events that come along with the Christmas season, don’t get caught up in the kitchen spending precious time baking and cooking. Let us do all the hard work. All season long, you will be able to come by and grab party dips, sandwiches and much more for all your party going. Pick your treat, put it in your dish and be on your way! UPTOWN HOLIDAY FAVORITES Crock Pot White Hot Chocolate 7 ½ cups Whole Milk 11 ounces White Baking Morsels 1/8 tsp. Salt 1 ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract 14 ounces Sweetened Condensed Milk

Fire Crackers 1 pound Saltine Crackers 1 cup Canola Oil 1 packet Ranch Dressing Mix 2 Tbsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes ½ tsp. Garlic Powder Place crackers in air tight container. Combine seasonings and oil. Pour over Crackers. Place lid on container and shake. Let sit for at least 8 hours, shaking occasionally. Spicy Pecan Snack 6 cups of pecan halves 6 tbsp of melted butter ¼ cup of Worcestershire sauce 2 tbsp of Tabasco or your favorite hot sauce 1 tbsp soy sauce 1 tbsp hot curry powder 1 tbsp chili powder Preheat oven to 225ºF. In a mixing bowl combine all ingredients and toss well to coat thoroughly. Spead mixture evenly on baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes and then stir to turn toast evenly. Return to oven for 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Combine baking chips and salt together in crock pot. Pour in milk. Add sweetened condensed milk and stir well. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours.


Two Beautiful Homes Monroe and West Monroe Locations


F YOU AND YOUR FAMILY ARE LOOKING FOR A HOME IN the Monroe and West Monroe areas, Lily Mann may have the perfect home for you. These two homes are on the market and are priced to sell. Both with access to the Twin Cities, take a look for yourself at why these homes will not be on the market for long. 105 BAYSIDE DRIVE A beautiful home for a large family in the Hidden Lakes subdivision in West Monroe. This home has five bedrooms with three and a half bathrooms (and still more capacity for growth). As you enter the front door you will be greeted with a grand foyer that leads into the open living area with high ceilings. The kitchen is equipped with new appliances, granite counter tops and large enough to host a large family or gathering of friends. The master bedroom and bathroom have been recently painted, new lights and faucets have been installed and contains his and her walk-in closets. Plenty of storage can be found throughout the home. The fenced yard is large enough to fit a pool and even has a large workshop with ample space for tools and equipment. The fifth bedroom could be a mother-in-law suite with private stairs in the back yard. This home has so much to offer! 2100 OAKMONT STREET Looking for a home with a great floor plan? Look no further. This home located in North Monroe has four bedrooms and three bathrooms. With approximately 2,350 HSQFT, it has a new central heat and air system, a new roof, new flooring and a remodeled kitchen. Open the front door to the dining room and living room area that wraps around to the kitchen. In the spacious living room you can find a beautiful stone fireplace. The kitchen comes fully equipped and leads into a beautiful little breakfast nook. The spacious master bedroom comes with wood-like flooring and a recently painted bathroom. There is plenty of storage space throughout the home, including a large wash/laundry room equipped with lots of cabinet space. Outside in the backyard, you will find your own private oasis. It is fenced in with beautiful landscaping and a sprinkler system. It is perfect for hosting friends and family. The home also has a 16x24 workshop, and the carport can accommodate three cars. If you can see yourself and your family in one of these homes, please call Lily Mann at Century 21 for a tour. She would love to walk you through all of the charming details these homes in the Twin Cities have to offer. Lily is also fluent in Spanish. Hablo espaĂąol! Lily Mann, Realtor - GRI Century 21 United 3300 Forsythe Ave., Ste. A Monroe, LA 71201 Cell - (318) 366-6377 Office - (318) 324-1444 Email - Licensed in Louisiana, USA Each office is owned and operated individually


The Children’s Shoppe What a Specialty Store Should Be


OR NEARLY TWO DECADES,THE CHILDREN’S SHOPPE has served as North Louisiana’s premier boutique for infant and children’s clothing, gifts and toys. The Children’s Shoppe provides timeless children’s fashions for girls – premie to size 16, and boys – premie to size 12. The Children’s Shoppe also carries a vast selection of must-have gifts for newborns, special events, birthdays or just for play. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and The Children’s Shoppe is your number one stop for holiday gift giving. Santa’s elves have been hard at work stocking the shelves with this season’s best selection of Melissa & Doug toys. From inspiring role play costumes to Let’s Play House! Dust! Sweep! Mop! sets, grocery store essentials to sound puzzles, The Children’s Shoppe has a vast collection to choose from. Help inspire kids to get creative with arts and crafts toys that will spark imagination at any skill level. Choose from deluxe watercolor sets to starter finger paints, sidewalk chalks and messfree markers. Help kids develop fine motor skills while making beautiful things with great beading and craft projects for kids of all ages. Have a tiny tyke who loves dinosaurs? The Children’s Shoppe has realistic dinosaurs in every size and color, as well as party play set with nine collectible miniature dinosaurs in a case. From dinos to tractors, The Children’s Shoppe also stocks John Deere tractors, construction site vehicles, train sets, Thomas & Friends toys, everything little boys dream of. Boys and girls will jump with joy over a PlasmaCar – no batteries, gears or pedals…kid powered and kid approved for hours of endless fun. The Children’s Shoppe also carries a huge selection of unicorn headbands and accessories, mermaid jewelry and stuffed animals, llama, sloth and narwhal toys and gifts. If you have a little one that loves to look beautiful, The Children’s Shoppe has a spa-tacular assortment of scented nail polishes, beauty masks and makeup. They also have available mermaid sequin accessories, from cute reversible pillows to purses, hair accessories and clothing. Not sure what to get the kids on your list? Choose from a selection of children’s books from Fancy Nancy to Llama Llama, or develop of lifelong love of reading with coveted Little Golden Books. The Children’s Shoppe’s library is expansive and offers something for everyone. Want to give a gift that will last a lifetime? The Children’s Shoppe offers silver rattles and grooming sets, heirloom bracelets and crosses, birthstone rings and necklaces, gorgeous Christening gowns and more. These timeless gifts are just part of the reason why The Children’s Shoppe is the largest standing children’s specialty store in Northeast Louisiana. Make sure to visit us at our new location at 1826 Forsythe Avenue in Monroe, or at 109 North Trenton Street in Ruston.


Simply Lou Shiny-Brite

article and illustration by Lou Davenport


original drawing

astrop, Louisiana, December 1956. I had just turned four years old and to me, December was the most wonderful month of the year! Right off, I had a birthday around the first of the month that my Mama made sure I got to celebrate. She insisted that just because I had a December birthday didn’t mean I had to get cheated out of “for real” birthday presents and a party! Her motto was “No Double Gifting” which simply meant don’t be over here trying to disguise a birthday present as a Christmas present. My Mama knew how to throw a kid’s birthday party, too. She’d just make her “famous” chocolate cake, put some candles on, lead the singing and give out presents! On most all my birthdays, my Aunt Lucy gave me a pair of red panties! She loved doing that, because she knew I’d burn with embarrassment. I think she was really doing the “double gifting,” so I’d have red panties for Christmas! I didn’t want anybody to know what color panties I had on! (I wouldn’t care


now that I’m “of that certain age.”) I did laugh it off cause well, “that’s stuff my family does!” It became a tradition! Next was an edition of “Kids Gone Wild” and all of “sugared up” children running around actin’ a fool outside, if it was warm enough! After the “party dust” had settled, I started in wanting to know when we were going to the Kiwanis Club Christmas tree lot. Back then, there were no fancy trees that I ever saw. The only trees they had were some kind of skinny spruce trees. They looked a few steps better than Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree. But, it didn’t matter! It was THE CHRISTMAS TREE! It was one of MY year’s most exciting events! When we hauled it home, it was my Dad’s job to get it situated in the three legged stand. It had a nail in the bottom that held the tree upright and then three big screws to bore into the tree trunk until you got it level. I do remember a few “choice” words from “the old man” as he did his only Christmas chore. Then, you had to put water in the stand and

not let it dry up! Your tree might catch fire and that was a nagging worry in my little head. I made sure I checked that water level every day! Back then, I had a phobia about the house burning down! I’d ask my Mom 20 times if the stove was off? Once it was up, we all had to walk outside and gaze at it. Our house had a big picture window in front and the best thing about that thing was “Christmas Tree Gazing.” Next, we had to get those decorations out and the real fun could begin! My Dad may have helped put the lights on. They weren’t tiny white ones like today’s, they were big and brightly colored. Then once the lights were deemed “worthy,” we could start putting on the balls. That’s about all we had. And I LOVED them. We had all colors and some were decorated and others, not. Mama got to put the star on top and I remember it was a gold one from Morgan and Lindsay. But the ornaments. They were the true stars. They might have been cheap, but they were priceless to me. And, we made countless trips out the front door, down the steps and into the front yard just to gaze. Every year, without fail, we proclaimed it was the “prettiest tree yet!” All through the years even when I was grown with kids of my own, we always finished by saying “It is the prettiest tree yet!” Nowadays I have a tiny 3 ft. tall aluminum tree that stays decorated year round! I just put it in a closet in January and after my birthday, out it comes! I still say, “The prettiest tree yet!” Once I was grown and had children of my own, we, too, made a big deal out of our Christmas trees! I did get a fake one, but it was just easier with three little ones running everywhere! We didn’t have a big window to gaze upon it, but, we still said, “It was the prettiest tree yet!” It dawned on me that back home, the box of my precious childhood ornaments were still there. And, I wanted them badly. I was in for a heartbreak. My Dad had gone on some wild “cleaning and purging” tirade after my Mom died and threw the Christmas decorations away! I don’t think I was ever as angry at him as I was that day. He even threw away all my old toys. I have no idea what possessed him and he never offered a reason, let alone an apology. It still hurts to think of him doing that. He threw away my childhood! Well, my kids heard this “sad tale of woe” every year as we’d be decorating for Christmas. When my oldest daughter, Carolyn, was in college, she went to a garage sale and in a corner, she found an old “Pet Milk” cardboard box full of old Christmas ornaments. I think she paid five dollars for the entire thing. She proudly presented them to me, and I think I sat down and cried. That was one of the best

presents anybody ever gave me! And, for it to come from one of my children made it even sweeter! Life had come full circle. I intend on giving all these “dear to my heart” ornaments to her this Christmas. There’s another small side story to this column that I have really enjoyed learning more about. I worked in a nice gift shop in Vicksburg years ago, and the owner came back from market all excited about a new line of collectible Christmas ornaments by a designer named Christopher Radko. Mr. Radko had a similar story to mine as to why he started his company. He grew up with a huge tree full of hand blown glass ornaments. One night there was a huge crash and when the family all ran to see what had happened, they found their tree on the ground, all the glass ornaments shattered. Most of them were irreplaceable and this loss stayed with him. In early 1980, Radko partnered with a Polish glassblower and began planning designs. By 1985, there were 60 unique designs unveiled and a successful company was launched. When I worked at the shop, I was lucky enough to buy a few “Radko’s” with my employee discount. They are exceptionally beautiful. They’ve became collectibles and each year, several designs retire. My special ornaments were definitely not

“Christopher Radko’s” but were by a company named “Shiny Brite.” This little company was the “American Dream” of two German brothers, Ernst and Max Ernhardt. They saw the need in America for the beautiful hand blown glass ornaments they loved. In 1926, they moved their offices to New York and began their business. The “Shiny Brites” were at their most popular in the 1940s, 50s and part of the 60s. The history of these little ornaments is almost epic. The Eckhardts feared there would be a shortage of glass and silver nitrate. To keep the company afloat, they smartly partnered with Corning Glass to make the ornaments. Woolworth’s ordered 235,000 ornaments. The first “Shiny Brites” were silver, then other colors and then, hand painted ornaments. World War II came along. The little company struggled to stay afloat and many of the ornaments made during this time came in clear colors. If there was any decoration, it was thin stripes to stretch the paint supply. They ranged in price from 2 cents to 10! The height of their production of “Shiny Brites” were about 75% of all Christmas decoration sales worldwide! The brothers passed away and sales fell. The company was bought by, of all people, Christopher Radko in 1999 and he began production of his collections of “Shiny Brites” so that they will

live on! Another life comes full circle! You can still buy “Shiny Brites” at estate, garage sales as well at auctions, and although not quite the same, through “Christopher Radko.” I usually break at least one every year I get them out and I mourn its loss. They are very thin and do break easily. Most came in sets in sectioned cardboard boxes with cellophane fronts. The boxes are pretty cool themselves and are definitely “mid century.” If you do own some of these little baubles, treasure them. Take special care of them. Love them! And one more thing. If you were lucky enough to grow up as a kid in Bastrop, it was a “wonderland.” Everything was decorated back then, and all the neighborhoods were so much fun to go out riding at night to see! There was so many great light displays, it took more than one or two nights to ride and see them all. That’s the Bastrop in my mind every Christmas, and I wouldn’t have wanted to grow up anywhere else. Merry Christmas, Y,all! “May you never forget what is worth remembering or remember what is best forgotten” Old Irish Blessing


Santa’s Wish The Wish I Could Foundation For more than 30 years, the Wish I Could Foundation has been making dreams come true for children with life-threatening illnesses. Long-term volunteers Don O’Toole and Mike Roberts (Santa) talk to BayouLife about this life-changing organization.


"I have one wish. Just one Christmas, I want to go to the party and find out we haven’t lost a single one of our kids."


hen Don O’Toole first arrived in Monroe as the food and beverage manager for the Holiday Inn Holidome, his boss tasked him with two chores: represent the company at the Northeast Louisiana Restaurant Association and handle the logistics for an annual Christmas party for a young non-profit organization. At the time, Don had no clue that hosting a Christmas party would become one of his life’s missions, but that’s exactly what happened in 1987, when Don helped organize and emcee the third annual Christmas dinner for Wish I Could, an organization that grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses. “At that point in time, there were only four or five kids in the organization,” Don says. “So, from 1987 until today—this will be the 32nd year for the Christmas party—I’ve emceed the party every year.” Wish I Could was founded in 1984 by a Delhi family, who wanted to bring joy to children, with life-threatening illnesses. The Delhi grandparents had experienced first-hand the importance of enjoyment and wish-granting to children who were facing crisis. Their grandchild had received a wish from a similar organization based out of south Louisiana. “After the child passed away, they decided they wanted to start an organization to grant wishes to children with lifethreatening illnesses in northeast Louisiana,” Don says. To receive a wish, children and their families provide a letter from the child’s physician confirming the diagnosis and fill out a simple form. The organization then “grants” the wish. Wishes range from new bedroom furniture or a computer to trips to Disney World or meeting their favorite celebrity. Whenever the organization can grant the wish, they do so. Wish I Could also becomes an on-going part of their lives through the Christmas party, which has become one of the highlights of the year for hundreds of children and their families across northeast Louisiana. Held each year on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, children in the organization bring their families to the event, where they enjoy food, fellowship and more than a little fun. And what kind of Christmas party would it be if Santa Claus didn’t show up to pass out Christmas presents to the kids? Don isn’t the only long-term volunteer at Wish I Could. Local home inspector Mike Roberts has also been involved in the group for more than 30 years. And, like O’Toole, he’s involved because of his work at the Holidome. 214 DECEMBER 2018 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

When the party first kicked off in 1984, Mike was the manager of BobbySox, a popular Monroe nightclub housed at the hotel. Mike enlisted as the organization’s Santa, a duty he’s carried out every year with the exception of two--the first year and a year he lived in in Alabama. For the first nine years, the Christmas party found its home at the Holidome, a natural fit given Don and Mike’s involvement. By 1996, the organization’s children had grown to between 25 and 30 kids every year. Combined with their families and the various volunteers, the Christmas party routinely exceeded 300 people. When a new manager took over the Holidome, though, he had different ideas for the organization’s charitable activities, and the party was suddenly homeless. That’s when the ladies of the Moose Lodge stepped in. For years, the ladies had volunteered as clowns for the party. They handled registration at the door, volunteering with the kids and helping with other activities during the event. When they discovered Wish I Could needed a new location, they volunteered the lodge, a sprawling, open space on Highway 594. “It was ideal for doing the party,” Don says. While Wish I Could’s beneficiaries were growing each year, so too was the size of the organization’s impact on the community at large. They began hosting a swamp ride at the Beouf River Wildlife Refuge— the Marengo Swamp Ride—which drew thousands of participants for off-road fun. A few years later, Yamaha Corp. began donating a fourwheeler to the organization for them to auction off. Over the years, Wish I Could became something of a clearinghouse for charitable donations. In addition to granting wishes to kids in the program, they donated heavily to other area organizations. Don points out they’ve given to the Shriner’s Hospital in Shreveport, to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and to the local Barak Shrine’s transportation fund. For many years, the organization raised and donated some $55,000 to the groups. They also made an ally of the Shriners, who began hosting the Christmas party at the Barak Shrine Temple when the Moose Lodge lost its charter. “The first year we did the party at the shrine, they charged me $500 for the building for the party,” Don says. “But after that first year, it’s been free ever since, because we donate to both their hospital and their transportation fund.” This year is the first year the organization hasn’t had it’s signature Marengo Swamp Ride. Their trail was paved over recently, depriving the organization of its chief fund raiser. They’re exploring options for new events to replace the $50,000-70,000 a year the swamp ride raised. But luckily, the Christmas party goes on. For those early years, paying for an annual party was challenging. Both Don and Mike remember times when Mike’s servers would pass a pitcher around the dance floor at BobbySox to raise money for the party. But that changed with the introduction of Yamaha’s participation. Other years found volunteers on street corners, soliciting donations from car windows in traffic. “The Wish I Could organization agreed that, instead of worrying every year about how we would pay for the Christmas party, we would use the money from the Yamaha four-wheeler raffle instead,” Don says. “The party has now grown to where we invite 60 or 70 kids and their families to the party every year.” Even with a free building, the annual Christmas party is an expensive affair. First, there’s the food for more than 300 people. Then, there are presents. With a limit of around $100 per kid each year, presents can cost up to $7,000. Add food and other expenses, and it’s easy to see how quickly the costs escalate to more than $10,000. In addition to financial resources, other help has come along, too. Gary Miers and Kim Walker have been annual participants, bringing animals from the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo to the event. The Monroe Fire Department sends a truck to the parking lot, as well

as one of the Fire Marshal’s SUVs, too. “The kids like the fire engines, so we always try to have one for them to look at,” Don says. Others involved are the Miss Louisiana Organization, which normally sends the reigning Miss Louisiana. This year, Miss Louisiana is committed to holiday football games, so they’re sending Miss Louisiana Outstanding Teen, instead. World-record-holding youth aviator Mason Andrews will be on hand to spend time with the kids, as will Ashley Cuthbert, of A Work of Heart. As has become tradition, too, Gene Shaw will provide entertainment. Long-term volunteers seem to be the order of the day for the Wish I Could Christmas party. “I call them every year, and they all say the same thing,” Don says. “They tell me, ‘You don’t have to call, because as long as I’m alive, I’ll be there.” Mike concurs. He’ll forego Sunday football to don his Santa suit and pass out gifts. In fact, Mike can’t think of anywhere he’d rather be. After all, he’s become a fixture in the world of the kids. They’ve become more than just people who come to a party. After 30 years, some of them have become family. He remembers the time he met a young teen, named Terry. She had been diagnosed with leukemia, which was in remission. Each year, she would return and was excited to see him. When she turned 18, they asked her what her wish would be and she said she wanted to go to a nightclub.

“They brought her to BobbySox and put her in the D.J. booth with me,” Mike says. “When I announced the next song, she grabbed me and said, ‘You’re Santa!’ For all those years, she had been coming to the Christmas party and never knew who Santa was.” Mike gets choked up talking about Terry. He notes that the last moment of the Christmas party each year features the Oak Ridge Boys hit, “Thank God for Kids.” After many years of remission, Terry’s cancer returned, and she learned it was terminal. She had one last wish. “She asked to see Santa,” Mike says. In the middle of the year, he donned his Santa suit and reported to the hospital. “I played ‘Thank God for Kids’ for her on my cell phone until she died.” When she passed, Wish I Could had been a fixture in Terry’s life for more than 30 years. She’s also the root of the wish both Mike and Don expressed. “I have one wish,” Mike says. “Just one Christmas, I want to go the party and find out we haven’t lost a single one of our kids. That’s not happened—yet.” The Wish I Could Chrismas Party is held each year on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. If you know of a child facing a life-threatening or terminal illness, they can have their wish granted through Wish I Could. For more information, or if you’d like to get involved in their mission, visit WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | DECEMBER 2018 215

Butter Bakery in Downtown Monroe Local Bakery Offers Gluten Free Goodness


UTTER BAKERY IS ALL THE BUZZ in downtown Monroe and beyond! This bakery is tucked in the Vantage building on DeSiard Street and serves sweet treats like cookies, cakes, eclairs, muffins and brownies. They have recently expanded their breakfast menu and breads and have added more to their lunch offerings as well. What you won’t find on the menu - gluten! Every single item they serve is gluten free, meaning it is free from all forms of wheat, barley and rye. However, it isn’t free of flavor! “Often people try items before they even realize it is gluten free and can’t believe it!,” said Charity Jones. She opened the bakery along side her husband, Adam Jones, to fill a need. Adam’s family is gluten free, and Charity started baking gluten free birthday cakes for family celebrations. She expanded her skills and mastered elusive gluten free items like puff


pastry and bread. The opportunity came to open the bakery, since then Charity has been testing and trying out new products. You can grab breakfast or lunch Monday through Friday at Butter, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Some of the breakfast options include homemade poptarts, grits bowls, blueberry, chocolate chip and banana nut muffins and more. Options for lunch have included BLTs, Asian nachos, Frito Pies, Italian meatballs with French fries, cheeseburgers, waffle cone tacos and more. Butter proudly serves locally roasted RoeLA coffee. Everyone loves something sweet during the holiday season, and Butter has plenty to choose from! You can pick something out of the case that is made fresh daily or make a special order. Seasonal favorites include cobbler bars with a lemon glaze drizzle, personal pies like pumpkin, pecan and apple and homemade marshmallows.

Butter also features classic holiday favorites, like gingerbread men, red velvet cakes, peppermint concoctions and more. Charity has even created a little village made of cake and dusted with powdered sugar, the perfect edible decor for your Christmas table! Be sure to stop by Butter Bakery any day of the week and see what is available in their case for you try. You can also place your order for Christmas parties and get togethers, or just in case you need to put out some tasty ( and gluten free) treats for Santa on Christmas Eve night!

Louisiana Purchases

Your Headquarters for Holiday Shopping


IFT GIVING IS AN IMPORTANT part of life and helps deepen relationships, because we are devoting time to better understanding a person, thinking about what is most important to them or what would make them happy. At Louisiana Purchases, we’ve taken careful consideration into choosing the perfect gift items for the holiday season. Whether you’re looking for a humorous gift, a meaningful gift, an heirloom gift or the gift that’s just right, we have something for everyone. Looking for a gift for the hunter, chef or history buff? Louisiana Purchases has a extensive selection of items catered toward the men on your list. From renowned chef John Folse’s cookbooks (a 4-book collection) to The Great Scrape grilling tools and durable aprons, we are stocked with items that will delight every man around you this year. Louisiana Purchases is the only place you can find Mike Benton’s Challenger duck calls, and our

personalized game straps have always been a fan favorite. We can help you prepare your home for the holidays with small measures that make a big impact. Add an organic cotton throw by Zestt and new pillows for an easy update to any space. Create ambiance and feelings of warmth by replacing a dated fixture or lamp that you have always disliked. Our Visual Comfort showroom is filled with amazing light fixtures that will have your home glowing with warmth this holiday season. Stock up on your favorite botanical diffusers and candles by LAFCO and Rosy Rings in intoxicating fall and winter aromas. Spread the Christmas cheer with handpainted nativities carefully crafted by Debra Hewitt. A perfect accessory for your home or special gift for someone you love, each nativity is unique and one-of-a-kind. Louisiana Purchases also has a variety of Old World Christmas ornaments. Each figurative glass

ornament produced by Old World Christmas is hand-crafted in the age-old tradition, using the same techniques that originated in the 1800s. From box sets to individual Santas, Baby’s first Christmas, ballet shoes, pets, gingerbread houses, and more, these glittered and handpainted ornaments are beautiful creations for anyone on your list. Louisiana Purchases is your exclusive Kendra Scott retailer. Pre-order the newest collection of earring ladders with acrylic bases, t-bar jewelry holders for necklaces and bracelets and gorgeous white lacquer jewelry boxes with felt lining. They also have a selection of Mignon Faget glasses and other Louisiana-themed gifts, like Cajun Night Before Christmas children’s books. From the practical, to the playful and truly unique, Louisiana Purchases is your headquarters for holiday shopping. Find them on Facebook and Instagram.


A Holiday Tradition at Pearce Pharmacy


HERE IS A FEELING IN THE AIR THAT COMES ONLY once a year. A feeling of joy and happiness that brings loved ones together. Beautiful decorations, lights, music and the smell of a feast cooking in the kitchen. Christmas time warms the heart. Watching the parade in the morning, cinnamon rolls baking in the oven for breakfast, presents under the tree and stockings hung over the fire place are some of the traditions most American families value. My grandmother would take my sister and I each year to buy a new Christmas ornament to place on our tree. Start your own family traditions at Pearce Pharmacy. Family-owned for 33 years, this conveniently located shop has everything you are looking for this Christmas. Decorations flood the pharmacy with Christmas cheer from wall to wall. From door hangings to ornaments and place-sets to gifts, Pearce Pharmacy is the best place to get that one of a kind piece for your home. Greenleaf candles and fragrances, home décor and Trapp candles and sprays make the perfect gift for the women in your life. Framing your favorite picture is a great gift for your husband, dad or grandfather. Pearce Pharmacy has picture frames of all sizes. Mississippi Cheese Straws, Peppered Jelly (mild and hot), and a wide variety of dips make great appetizers for loved ones who just can’t wait until dinner is ready. An assortment of baby items like blankets, LSU and Maison Chic brand clothes are all available for the expecting mother or newborn. When you just don’t know what to get, Pearce Pharmacy has tee shirts for all ages and are an easy, fun gift that anyone would enjoy receiving. Wedding gifts are also accessible! Pearce Pharmacy’s FREE GIFT WRAPPING is just one of the ways they strive to meet your needs and make shopping as easy as possible. Also, their NEW PHONE APP provides features like; ordering and managing refills for the pharmacy straight from your phone. Just simply search “Pearce Pharmacy” on your mobile device. We wish you have the happiest of holidays and hope that the Pearce Pharmacy family can become apart of your family traditions. Merry Christmas.


Matt’s Music

North Louisiana’s Largest Independent Music Store


HETHER YOU’RE AN ASPIRING PROFESSIONAL musician, a hobbyist or school band player, Matt’s Music is the go-to place for the best selection of music equipment and has been for 27 years. Owner Matt Shepard and the staff proudly offer sought-after name brands including Fender, Yamaha, Taylor, Gretsch, Jackson, Ibanez, Paul Reed Smith, TAMA, Conn-Selmer and many others throughout the store. Even better, Matt’s not only has the brands, but has the knowledgeable staff on-hand who are happy to assist gift shoppers. The people at Matt’s Music can help you determine the best choices for beginners, intermediate expertise level players, as well as recommendations for the more skilled musicians on your gift-giving list. With such a variety, everyone can find a fit. In addition to selling all kinds of musical instruments, Matt’s is your source for pro audio and video equipment. They also rent instruments for schools bands and orchestras, and offer music lessons to boost your natural abilities to the next level. It’s the hands-on experience and technical expertise that separates the service at Matt’s from ordering something untouched and sight unseen online. The prices at Matt’s Music are competitive with online sources, but without extra shipping costs. If you don’t see what you’re seeking in the store, ask about Matt’s quick-order service. Finding just what you need is what Matt’s is all about, and no one should hesitate to ask questions. You’ll also see Matt’s Music supporting community and school events throughout the year, and they are proud to be a dependable source of students’ band instruments and accessories. Matt Shepard is pleased to be a stage sponsor at popular events such as Northeast Louisiana Celtic Festival, Louisiana Food and Music Festival at Downtown RiverMarket and other community gatherings. As north Louisiana’s largest independent music store, Matt’s continues to be your versatile place for all things musical from guitars, drums, keyboards, pro audio, amps, to band and orchestra instruments. With professional help in selecting the right instrument at the right price, it’s no wonder that so many customers make Matt’s a Christmas gift-giving tradition! Matt’s Music is centrally located off Highway 165 North at 3235 Breard Street in Monroe, open Monday through Saturday all year long, or you can visit online at As always, Merry Christmas from Matt’s! WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | DECEMBER 2018 219

Your Go-To Place for the Holidays

Portico Restaurant in Monroe is Perfect for Holiday Parties and More


ORTICO RESTAURANT IS THE place to go in Monroe for before or after a football game, happy hour, family celebrations, get togethers and more, and the holidays are no different. If you have family in town and want to get together and visit over delicious food, you can grab a table and catch up. The patio is the perfect place for those holiday office parties, groups of friends and more. Plus, it is heated, so you can be comfortable and cozy. Everyone loves Portico so be sure to get gift cards for the people on your list that have everything. They can enjoy their famous hamburgers, bountiful brunch and pizzas long after the holidays have gone. Don’t forget about the nightly specials that run each week. On Sundays, it is $10 two for one burgers and chicken sandwiches, Monday is $10 single topping large pizza and


$2 Buds, Tuesday is $2 off all tacos and $5 margaritas, Wednesday is a $10 fried chicken plate and Thursday is ladies night with $5 wine and drink specials. Portico has expanded their burger options, adding a jalapeño breakfast burger, BBQ bacon and a jalapeño cream cheese option. All of the burgers are still served with a double patty on an aloha bun. Po-boys have been added to the menu with roast beef, catfish, shrimp, fried oyster and philly to choose from. Patrons can even get muffalettas piled high with provolone, salami, ham and olive mix. There are also a variety of pizzas to choose from. Depending on if you want to share, you can choose from a 7-inch or 14inch brick oven pizza. Varieties include all meat, deluxe, garden, sierra chicken alfredo and margherita. Portico continues to offer daily lunch

specials Monday through Friday, as well as their ever-popular Sunday brunch with bottomless mimosas. Brunch is every Sunday from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. and features crab cakes, steak and eggs, southern chicken and biscuits, French toast, pancakes and more. Just recently, they added bigger and better TVs. With eight 65” televisions, it is the perfect place to watch any game. They also installed new windows next to the bar, opening the feel of the bar space up and allowing patrons to see the patio. Owners Joey Trappey, Roy Arthur and Lindsay Leavitt are excited to see old and new friends during the holiday season and invite you to stop by!

St. Francis Medical Center

St. Francis Receives an ‘A’ for Patient Safety in Fall 2018 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade


T. FRANCIS MEDICAL CENTER was awarded an ‘A’ from The Leapfrog Group’s Fall 2018 Hospital Safety Grade. The designation recognizes St. Francis Medical Center’s efforts in protecting patients from harm and meeting the highest safety standards in the United States. The Leapfrog Group is a national organization committed to improving health care quality and safety for consumers and purchasers. The Safety Grade assigns an A, B, C, D or F grade to hospitals across the country based on their performance in preventing medical errors, infections and other harms among patients in their care. “We are extremely proud to be recognized as one of the safest hospitals in the nation by The Leapfrog Group,” said Kristin Wolkart, President and CEO of St. Francis Medical Center. “Our outstanding physicians and dedicated team members work hard each and

every day to provide high quality, safe care, and this recognition affirms we are doing the right things for our patients and our community.” “Leapfrog’s Hospital Safety Grades recognize hospitals like St. Francis that focus on advancing patient safety. This ranking provides an important resource for patients, and a benchmark for hospitals, to determine how care at one hospital compares to others in a region,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “Hospitals that earn an A Hospital Safety Grade deserve to be recognized for their efforts in preventing medical harm and errors.” The team as St. Francis is dedicated to providing the safest care for patients. This honor from The Leapfrog Group, this “A” rating, is based on important steps taken to protect patients from harm, such as:

• A solid commitment to reducing errors, infections and accidents • Communicating with patients about their medications and discharge instructions • Commitment to identifying and mitigating risks or hazards, such as barcode scanning at bedside • Computerized physician order entry which eliminates handwritten orders and provides alerts if a medication is ordered that could cause harm • Robust hand hygiene program Developed under the guidance of a National Expert Panel, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses 28 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign grades to more than 2,600 U.S. hospitals twice per year. The Hospital Safety Grade’s methodology is peer-reviewed and fully transparent, and the results are free to the public. St. Francis Medical Center was one of 855 across the United States awarded an A in the Fall 2018 update of grades. To see St. Francis Medical Center’s full grade details, and to access patient tips for staying safe in the hospital, visit


SMOKED WITH LOVE Kay Morgan never dreamed of cooking for a living, but her love of entertaining and unexpected life changes were a catalyst for founding her company, Kaybaby's Smokin' Fine Foods. s to r y by M E R E D I T H M C K I N N I E p h o to s by E M E R A L D M C I N T Y R E

Kaybaby's Smokin' Fine Foods includes packaged spices and smoked foods: smoked quinoa, smoked grits, smoked spicy chocolates, smoked spices, smoked cheeses, spicy smoked crackers, smoked rice and Kay's famous Bloody Mary's. Kay's passion is turning into a business legacy for her family, and a delicious enterprise for her supporting


t 60 years old, Kay Morgan didn’t plan on being divorced and thrust into the business world. A homemaker for most of her life, Kay had accepted her role as “somebody’s mother and grandmother,” never dreaming God had more for her. Stepping out of her comfort zone became essential. Kay thought, “I can sit down and die or figure out how to put on my big-girl panties and get something done.” Cooking brought joy into her home; it’s what she knew how to do. Her Bloody Mary recipe had always been popular at parties, and Kay slowly started bottling and selling the product out of her home. With smoked cheese being a personal favorite, she created her own recipe, and eventually began smoking rice, crackers, quinoa and even chocolate. New recipe ideas often come in the middle of the night. The last year has been an eyeopening experience, and Kay is committed to following God’s plan for her life. Growing up, Kay’s parents Thomas and Pat Godfrey loved entertaining, and the family made memories in the kitchen. Pat was president of the Junior League and constantly hosted bridge clubs and social gatherings. Kay remembers her gumbo, étouffée, and turtle soup, “a labor of love.” Kay followed her parents’ example with her own family, making some of the same dishes for her children: Curry, Jennifer and Christopher, and then for her grandchildren: Christian, Addie, Lily, Emme, and Ellie. The kids often ask, “What’s for dinner?” even after they’d moved away from home. Kay enjoys “catering to

family,” and is now turning that passion into a business legacy for them. Her recipes evolved from her own preferences, and she found out other people loved her taste, too. People kept asking for the Bloody Mary’s. Kay’s recipe is spicy, but lighter, like the difference between V8 and water. She’s currently putting a smoke spin on the recipe. A man in Little Rock told Kay, “There’s no man in America who doesn’t like smoked something.” Kay responded, “Good, because I want to sell my food to all those men in America.” The rice, crackers and cheese were born from Kay’s love of smoky flavors. Kay’s cousin Mimi Godfrey Hockman in West Palm Beach, Florida, suggested quinoa, a local favorite for residents there. Kay smokes the quinoa, ships it over and Mimi promotes Kay’s products in her area. Not a very “sound sleeper,” Kay’s marketing plan is to get into all 50 states with the help of social media and people sharing her story and products. Kay randomly smoked the chocolate one day and sold the entire batch within 24 hours. The public response cemented Kay as a smoking enthusiast. She learned where she fit in the market, and she’s capitalizing on it. Becky Hoychick, creator of Becky’s cookies, believed in Kay’s vision. When she heard the idea, she called Kay right over and walked her friend through the process, serving as a mentor. She recommended books, showed Kay how to get started, who to contact, how to handle graphics, etc. She believed in Kay, knowing if she could do it, other women could, too. Kay has learned age is no limitation. Stepping into

the unknown is essential to growth. Always a shy, reserved person, Kay didn’t want to be the face of her product, but God needed her voice out there. Kay realized no one could sell her product like she could. She put herself out there, learning failure is okay and often necessary to keep her motivated. She’s become independent, more determined. Her entire personality and life have changed for the better. Kay now has confidence in herself and her product. The difference between personal criticism and constructive criticism often blurs, especially for a woman new to the harsh business world. After making contacts through a Cajun food blog, Kay sent samples of her food to people throughout the country. She received her first negative. Someone insisted the smoky flavor was lost in the rice. Stunned, Kay got mad. It felt like a personal attack. But after some thought and selfreflection, Kay used the feedback to improve her recipe. Out of all the kind words she’s received, the honesty stands out, and Kay has learned to use the good and the bad. One Monday morning, with cheese to smoke and little time, she had a flat tire. Admittedly, someone was always around before to handle it for her. She considered calling her son, but that would mean inconveniencing someone else. After a mini panic attack, Kay decided she should handle this, googled a name, and


got it done herself. This small step brought a sense of pride. The tough moments, the setbacks jumpstart growth, and Kay needed to grow. She relies on her faith. A Sunday school teacher at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church for the last 11 years, God was always part of her life. Her grandparents were charter members of St. Paul’s. But in the last decade, when life became uncomfortable for the first time, she’s learned how vital God’s presence is. He stood beside her. She believes this was all his idea; she’s just his vessel. God’s plan is bigger than Kay dreamed, and she is learning to trust his vision for her life. Divorce is hard. Unlike business, it is personal: it does affect people outside the partnership. With shared children, parents must learn to work together for the betterment of their families. An unlikely partnership emerged from the ashes. Kay’s ex-husband’s fiancé, Cindy Asher, moved to Monroe from Dallas. Kay decided to get to know her because she would be part of their family. At a women’s retreat, the two bonded and began to see each other as part of the same team. The began to spend more time together, and Kay wanted all of her family together, harmoniously. She told her kids, “If something happens to me, she will be your mother. Embrace her.” The children love the family dynamic reated by the two women put on a united front. They

all spend Thanksgiving together, and the two women are the spearheads of the family. Kay says, “Divorce is terrible, but out of the ashes comes good things.” Kaybaby’s has thrived from the twosome working together outside the home as well. Kay calls Cindy her “right hand.” She helps Kay with packaging, goes everywhere with her and thinks visually, an addition Kay needed. Pricing and packaging are all Cindy, and Kay admits she would be lost without her. Addison Fogel, Kay’s son Chris’ girlfriend, is an artist, and came in from Dallas to create the Kaybaby logo. Kay was hesitant to even call the company after herself. Her grandparents and even her grandkids have always called her Kaybaby, and they all insisted the name fit the company too. Her family loves the new Kaybaby foods. They’ve always enjoyed her food, and they’re proud of their mom and grandmother for making a livelihood with her passion. Over the holidays, Kaybaby’s will be offering gift baskets, promotions and giveaways. Kay is willing to customize baskets. Just give her a price point and product preference, and she will create a basket to your liking. You can reach Kay through her personal Facebook page or the company page, or by email at

The Shipment Is In Traditions Antiques


WNING ONE OF THE REGION’S premier sources for high-quality heirloom pieces, Melanie Liles and Pam Wood understand how important it is to find the perfect additions for their customers’ homes and offices. When shopping with Traditions on Antique Alley, you’re actually shopping through history—which is how the owners think of their frequent shopping excursions in England, France, Italy and beyond. Each piece Melanie and Pam bring back to the U.S. has a story, a history, memories. They bring those stories and histories back with them, which is why you should always ask the ladies there where the piece came from when you buy. Your new piece will not only anchor your room, but it’ll also serve as a great conversation piece, as well. The beautiful iron work console

(pictured) was actually once a French balcony. Designers took the antique iron piece and resurrected it as a beautiful console. Bring this story home and begin to make your own memories, which you can hand down to your children, their children and their grand children for generations to come. Atop the console you will see a decorative pond yacht. These yachts actually floated and raced in England on the English ponds and is a tradition that dates back to the late 1800s-early 1900s and can now be a part of your home. Also, the Antique wooden angel wings mounted on stands can be seen on top of the console. They can be styled separately but will look wonderful in groups. For the walls of your home, Tradtions has a large selection of crystal and glass sconces. In varying shapes and sizes the perfect one for your bedroom, living room or even guest

room is waiting for you. Horn mounts make a wonderful accent in a large grouping or a few horns. For the dinning room, Traditions has tables of all styles and sizes. Round tables, farm tables with extending ends, trestle tables, traditional mahogany tables even a large chunky convent table. Each item in the store is hand-selected for quality and beauty. Christmas Gifts are at Traditions. • French and English copper in various forms. • Large selection of Holy Water Fonts for a special friend or family member. • English rose bowls which make flower arranging so easy. • A horn handled cigar cutter or wine opener. • Hand carved cigar box would make a great gift for husband, boyfriend or even dad. Find all you need for your home decor at Traditions on Antique Alley. Their newest shipment of antiques has come in, just in time for the holidays. For any questions, please visit the store at 313 Trenton St. in West Monroe or call 318.322.7728.


Southern Roots Dental

Dr. Julie Simpson and Dr. Sarah Gregory Provide Individualized Dental Care


HE END OF THE YEAR IS UPON US AND NOW IS THE time to use your dental benefits before they expire. Most dental insurances allow for one to two cleanings per year as well as offer benefits when it comes to exams, x-rays, fillings and more. Make an appointment today to use your benefits before you lose them! Southern Roots Dental is excited to announce a special just in time for Christmas - a perfect gift for yourself or someone special on your list. During the month of December, they are offering Botox and in office whitening for just $699. This is normally $850, so it is a great deal to get you holiday ready for those parties and pictures! Teeth whitening is one of the most asked about dental procedures. So when it came to choosing a system that was the most fitting for their office, Southern Roots Dental did not take the task lightly. They wanted to be able to offer a system that would not only give amazing results but would also make for a pleasant experience without the sensitivity that most whitening systems can inevitably trigger. After much research, the doctors discovered the GLO® whitening system and were intrigued by how it works. There are no impressions or trays involved. The Patented GLO® mouthpiece combines LED light and heat resistors in a closed system, which prevents oxygens from escaping the teeth. With each application the mouthpiece warms up to the optimal temperature to accelerate and activate the process for quicker, more efficient results. For optimal whitening results, they recommend the in-office treatment (which takes about 45 min) followed by 5-7 days of at home whitening with the universal mouthpiece that is yours to keep. You can expect to see your teeth up to eight shades whiter! The team at Southern Roots is pleased to be able to offer a highly effective whitening system to their patients with the peace of mind knowing there’s little to no sensitivity involved. Southern Roots is excited to announce their Plan for Health, a smart, affordable alternative to dental insurance. “We know that not everyone has access to dental insurance or the plan they do have doesn’t make sense for them, so we wanted to offer this opportunity,” said Sarah Gregory, dental partner at Southern Roots. This Plan for Health is a membership program that rewards patients for being proactive with their dental health. There are different plan options available and some of the benefits include several hygiene cleanings, exams and x-rays, as well as a percentage off dental products and procedures. There are no deductibles or yearly maximum on benefits and no exclusions for elective or cosmetic procedures. Southern Roots Dental is located on North 18th Street in the heart of Monroe. Southern Roots is led and owned by Dr. Julie Simpson and Dr. Sarah Gregory, who strive to provide comfortable and individualized dental care. Southern Roots offers a variety of preventive, restorative and cosmetic procedures. The preventive services include comprehensive exams, dental emergencies, oral cancer screenings, digital imaging, children’s dental care, sports guards, TMJ therapy and cleanings. Restorative dentistry can help to care for patients who suffer from common oral health problems and includes dental crowns, bridgework, fillings, tooth extractions, dentures and implants. Cosmetic dentistry can help achieve a dazzling smile and make positive changes to your teeth for an aesthetically pleasing smile. In addition to in-office whitening, they offer Juvéderm and Botox, as well.


How to Address Infertility Over the Holidays Merry Christmas from Positive Steps Fertility BY DR. JOHN PRESTON PARRY


F HOLIDAYS AREN’T STRESSFUL enough, infertility makes them worse. Imagine avoiding people or parties just so no one asks, “When are you having a baby?” If a woman is over 25, she has probably answered that question for herself, whether she wants to say it or not. Even well-intentioned advice can come across wrong, particularly from fertile friends who often got pregnant accidentally. To those trying to conceive, failing to master contraception doesn’t make someone an expert on conception. If you have a friend or family member wanting a baby, but struggling to succeed, there are a few things to know: • C asual advice is often misguided if infertility hasn’t been tested for a cause. (Telling a woman to lose weight won’t

change her husband having no sperm. Telling a woman to relax or take a vacation won’t change blocked tubes.) • Your loved one wants your support more than your advice. It’s less about caring how much you know and more about knowing how much you care. • Leave the hard discussions to experts. If your friend or family member needs good advice, we’re happy to help. (We even have gift cards…) • Though Christmas is known for miracles, some miracle babies involve a bit of technology. (We know many of these children, since they were only one cell in size.) If you are personally facing fertility issues:

• K now that it is normal to have emotions surrounding others having babies when you don’t. Get support from friends trying to conceive. • Go to later evening Christmas parties, as there will be fewer children present. • Help someone suffering (with anything)—knowing we all face unique challenges and are not alone can be healing. • Make a plan for the New Year, so wherever you are now, you are going to get better results soon. The true focus should be that there is always hope, and 2019 may be the best year yet! If you need us, we’re always here to treat you like family as you try to build your own.


RCH Company, Inc. Celebrates 15 Years Engineering and Land Surveying


CH COMPANY, INC. PROUDLY celebrates 15 years of providing Civil Engineering and Land Surveying services for its clients in the Bayou State, as well as multiple states across the nation. Ron Haisty Jr., P.E., P.L.S., C.B.O., launched RCH in 2003 with an intent to build a company on relationships formed from individualized and personal attention given to each project. Ron is intricately involved in each project applying his 30+ years of experience in the engineering industry to produce results that have the highest value for his clients while ensuring compliance to industry standards. “It was my goal to assemble a strong client base through paying attention to detail, finding economical solutions to problems and to assist others in navigating the approval processes as set by local, state, and federal agencies.” “Our clients are more


than business associates….our working relationships have grown into friendships, appreciation and trust that go beyond a written contract for services.” Ron is a native of Monroe and earned degrees from both ULM in Construction, and Louisiana Tech in Civil Engineering, followed by obtaining a Land Surveyor’s License and Certification as a Building Official through advanced studies. Ron has a broad understanding and appreciation of the Engineering, Construction and Land Surveying industries. RCH Company provides a comprehensive list of Engineering and Land Surveying services that include land development and infrastructure design, commercial site development, building design and state fire marshal review process, drainage studies and evaluation, sanitary sewer systems, structural evaluation, land

surveying, land subdividing, elevation certificates, geotechnical services, utility services, highway transportation and municipal projects. As the new year approaches, RCH Company would like to thank the citizens of this community, our valued clientele, and our local municipalities for their continued support. RCH Company supports many charities through giving, corporate sponsorships, and participation in special community events. May God bless you and your families in this wonderful holiday season.

Woodstock Furniture Revival For All Your Baby, Home and Furniture Needs


HRISTMAS IS HERE! WOODSTOCK IS A GREAT ONEstop shop for all your gifting holiday needs! We are packed full of little items that would make great gifts for teachers, close friends, ornament exchanges and dirty Santa! We have an entire table full of Christmas marked down before it even begins! Also, be sure to visit where you can see everything Woodstock has to offer. One of the most convenient features of our website is our “Store Pickup” option!! Whether you are shopping for yourself or looking for a gift you can chose “Store Pickup” at checkout and go ahead and pay for your order. You can then leave a note for us if you would like it gift wrapped, and then we will get it ready for you to stop by and pick it up! We hope to use this feature for Baby Registries, as well, so that family and friends who cannot make it to your shower can still send their love! Our goal is to utilize this feature to make shopping easier for our customers that are too busy to come in and shop, because we know how busy life can be! Also, we want our customers who are not local to be able to use our website, so that everybody has access to all the great stuff Woodstock has to offer.

This year has already brought us so many great opportunities and adventures. The store is full of so many great items for your home! With spring right around the corner, we hope to see you soon to find some pieces to bring new life to your space. Also, our baby room is freshly stocked with Little Unicorn swaddles, bibs, washcloths and quilts in your favorite prints along with some other great everyday baby lines. We now carry KICKEE PANTS! Everyone’s favorite bamboo baby line! Milkbarn is sure one to please your baby for an everyday relaxing look and feel. We offer L’oved Baby organic cotton outfits and bamboo outfits by Kyte Baby. Everyone loved our children’s Mr. P’s Tees so much that we now have adult tees! We are so excited to see what the next few months will bring, and don’t forget to check out our website at www.woodstockfurniturerevival. com! Be sure to stop by WOODSTOCK at 1806 N. 3rd Street Monroe, LA, 71201 in the Garden District to get a head start on all your Christmas shopping.



SAVORING THE SEASON Making Lasting Memories with Your Family article by Cindy G. Foust


h the weather outside is frightful…no readers, it really is. It’s snowing. This is like April Fool’s, except the joke is on us, because there is snow everywhere and it’s early November. I think the real miracle here is they didn’t cancel school, because typically when we have sawdust level snow, the kids get out of school for a few weeks. I’m fairly confident, however, that we will be back in flip flops and shorts by the end of the week. But hey, we are enjoying some winter precipitation that makes it feel somewhat like the holidays at least. Speaking of the holidays, readers, did you know that there are only five shopping Fridays until Christmas? I guess I need to take note as well, get myself a shopping list made and get to it. Don’t judge, but I’ve already started dragging out the Christmas decorations. At the time I write this column, we haven’t even had Thanksgiving yet, but this early start has been triggered by my love for sitting by the fire with the house all lit up from the Christmas tree. Incidentally, that doesn’t have one thing to do with overcommercialization, friends, it has to do with wanting to savor every moment of the season, even if it’s a little early. Savoring these moments also means reflecting on holidays past. I’ve written in many columns how charmed I feel my childhood was. I do think I failed to tell you about the time I thought I caught Santa leaving our gifts, and boy is that a story to tell. So, here’s what happened. In my younger years, my sisters and I liked to get up really early, like at 2:00 a.m. and see what had Santa left. Don’t you know my parents loved when we did that, as they had probably just gone to bed, but hey, that’s part of a parent’s job, as I 230 DECEMBER 2018 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

know now. Anyway, this one particular Christmas me and my two sisters decided we would sleep together and get up as soon as the first one of us woke up. I would suggest on the night in question, this was somewhere around 2:00 a.m., but the details are still a little cloudy, because when you think you might have actually caught Santa Claus, redhanded, in your living room, you black out for a few minutes. Also keep in mind, my sisters still believed in Santa and as for me, well, this was along about the time when I was still on the fence.

So, rewind to that cold Christmas night, (it was probably 84 degrees and the ceiling fans were probably going, but it makes a better story to think that Santa might not have been able to use the chimney because the fire kept him out, right?). It’s about two in the morning, and three little girls are singlefile sneaking down the hallway. As we round the corner, in the pitch black of the night, I spot, what I think is Santa, all hunched over, with his back to us. I freak out, like totally freak out and grab my sister’s hands and drag them back to bed, running down that hall like a bottle rocket was chasing us. Whew…that was close. I know I must have laid there a few hours processing this startling turn of events, and the revelation that Santa really was real. I’m not sure what

time we ended up getting up that morning, but I can tell you that in the light of day, when the smoke had cleared and I rounded that same corner and saw the super gigantic, yellow Huffy standing in the same place as the alleged Santa Claus sighting, well, I kind of felt a little foolish. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I was thrilled to have the “yellow banana” that I hadn’t even asked for, but I also remember how sad I felt at not being able to report to the newspaper that I had actually, after all these years, been the one to catch Santa, and become rich and famous. I did do a good job of convincing my sisters that we had, in fact, caught Santa and we must never ever get up before daylight again. Yes, that’s a great memory, even if I didn’t make the news. Speaking of the news, readers, do you ever read or hear about something really tragic in the news and you can’t get it off your mind for days, like get totally polarized by it? Why am I asking this, of course you do? How could you not? Because it seems like horrible tragic things happen way too frequently these days. One such time for me was a few weeks ago when a young, beautiful couple from Texas left their wedding reception in a helicopter, and were

subsequently killed that same night when it crashed. The horror, the sheer horror of it kept me awake for a few nights. Perhaps it’s because I have a son in that age window, or maybe it’s just because I am a parent…a human. Whatever the case, I have spent the last few weeks hugging my children just a little bit tighter; telling them as often as they will allow me that I love them; trying to savor every moment of their daily activities as I possibly can. Why? Because that helicopter crash again served as a reminder that memories are what sustain us through our lives, during good times, during sad times, during happy times. Our memories wrap themselves around us like a great, furry blanket. That silly Santa story probably doesn’t mean much to you, readers, but to me, it’s priceless, especially since one of my sisters is already in heaven. And even though I write a lot in the column about working to keep things in perspective in our lives, this tragic accident also AGAIN (yes, I know all caps means I am screaming, but that’s what I want it to come across as) reminded me that sweating the small stuff with our kids, our family, our friends, our co-workers, should be less and less of a habit. My kids are happy; they are healthy;

they are safe…there are so many of us who are suffering, who are sick, who are broken. I, myself, have lost a child, so the ache in my heart for the families and friends of that young beautiful couple continues to nag at me daily. It makes me put my “memories” in a treasure chest that are truly treasures. It’s the holidays readers, so take these next few weeks and make some memories. Catch you a Santa Claus. Spend as much time with your family and friends as you can. Let go of the small stuff. But most importantly, cherish every day you have. This column may seem a little random in places, but my heart is heavy and sometimes that happens when my fingers start doing the typing. I have to get it all out, like a good colon cleansing (can I say that in this column? I guess my editor will take it out if I can’t.) Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you readers, may your holidays be filled with relishing and treasuring your memories and making new ones that will last a life time.


To Do Something With Love Meraki Studio, Downtown West Monroe


ERAKI STUDIO IN WEST MONROE IS OWNED BY Ashley Ales and Lauren Kinman Milstead, who believe in the idea of providing a labor of love to each individual who comes to their salon. The definition of Meraki means to do something with love, soul and creativity, thereby leaving pieces of yourself in your work. The artists include Ashley and Lauren, Shena Dedmon, Victoria Webb, Jeanne Elise Fontaine, and Emily Long. This group shares strives to make each client look and feel their best. Ashley Ales has been licensed for 11 years. During the last six years, she has been nominated as best colorist for local awards and has won twice. Her passion as a colorist shows through her clients, and her greatest joy comes from their smile after visiting the salon. Lauren Kinman Milstead is a striking inspiration to everyone she meets. A free spirit, sense of adventure, love of everything creative and amazing talent make her an unbelievable artist. She creates aweinspiring looks through makeup and hair, making each individual feel as if they are part of her special family. Victoria Webb is a licensed barber/stylist certified in tape in extensions, is a permanent make-up specialist and a body waxing specialist. She’s been at Meraki Studio for little over a year. She loves


her job and loves working with the lady’s at Meraki Studio. Shena Dedmon is a cosmetologist who has been employed at Meraki studio since 2016. She is a hairdresser and a lash technician. She is certified in lash and hair extensions and currently specializes in lash services. She loves spending her time volunteering at charity events as well. Jeanne Elise LaFontaine is a Mississippi native, who has also lived in South Alabama before moving to North Louisiana. She has been a licensed cosmetologist for seven years. Jeanne Elise is certified in Keratin treatments, microdermabrasion treatments, curly hair cutting, as well as extensions. She also enjoys doing perms and children’s cuts and updos. She truly enjoys the atmosphere at Meraki Studio and appreciates every member of her growing clientele. Emily Long has been a barber apprentice at Meraki Studio for the past year. She loves having the opportunity to learn what she is passionate about in such a fun and welcoming environment. She aspires to one day be just as successful as her mentor, Ashley Ales.

Make Magical Moments Vintage & Vogue


T’S THE TIME OF THE YEAR WHERE the everyday feels a little more special as the ordinary is transformed into extraordinary. At Vintage & Vogue, we thrive on creating memorable gift moments. In fact, you could consider it our specialty! We offer truly unique gifts at every price point to ensure that you find something special to give to those you love most. As our name indicates, you can find both vintage and brand new gifts here. We have antique books, silver, crystal and china for a classic, sophisticated gift. There are also antique rings, bangles and pocket watches. And if you enjoy mechanical watches and clocks, you’ve found the right place to find a time piece. Something unique to this little shop is the variety of curated hand-­crafted items for sale. PRAYERSONTHESIDE offers extraordinary religious art with Bible verses painted on

the side. The copper and sterling jewelry by Richard Hart is a fabulous gift for both men and women. Swamp Things and Mississippi Millie are two potters, whose art fills our shelves. For the hunter in your life, we have custom duck calls made from both acrylic and specialty woods. Andrew McGehee from Bayou Bowties designs custom alligator bow ties and pocket squares. Using genuine alligator and silk, each item is carefully crafted with details in mind. Long-­ sleeved t-­ shirts and sweat tops are accented with alligator leather and make these items both stylish and comfortable. Timeless Treasures Originals makes custom jewelry from vintage pocket watch pieces. Earrings, cuff links, tie clips, key rings, bracelets, rings, necklaces and pins are just a few of the items that she makes. But, what if the person you are buying for doesn’t wear jewelry? Many other items await

you at this little boutique. Paddywax Candles are a terrific teacher’s gift, and we carry a variety of scents and sizes. Holiday Pecans from Alexandria, LA are flash-fried pecans with a pinch of sugar and touch of salt. Be sure to stop in and sample these while you’re trying handmade truffles from Sweet Shop USA… one of our most popular treats. Hot Ruby is a delicious cranberry cider, highlighted with cinnamon and clove spices. Tea Drops are organic pressed teas in various shapes and make a fun stocking stuffer. Shopping for your favorite guy? Check out our Opinel Knives, with wooden handles in birch, walnut and olive wood. History runs deep for this French-based company founded in 1890, and no matter what size you’re looking for, you’ll find a work of art in these remarkable knives. This Christmas, give a gift that will be treasured from Vintage & Vogue in downtown Ruston. As always, gift wrapping is free and our service is friendly. We’ll see you soon! SPECIAL HOURS IN DECEMBER 10:30 - 6:00 Monday-Saturday OPEN LATE ‘TIL 8:00 Thursday Dec. 6th, 13th and 20th


The Century Village Athletic Club is Open for Business! State-of-the-Art Facilty Now Open in Monroe


HEN DESIGNING THE Century Village Athletic Club our team had one goal in mind, member satisfaction. We assembled an experienced and certified team of fitness professionals and combined that with a state-of–the art facility to bring something new, inviting and FUN to the Monroe and Sterlington areas. Hudson Biedenharn brings his business degree and top-of-the-line Cooper Institute Certification to own and operate this club. His vision is that of an easy-going and inviting environment with user friendly, industry leading equipment. At 6,000 square feet, the club is outfitted with the most biomechanically correct equipment on the market, which not only work great, but also reduce your risk for injury. Century Village Athletic Club operates


with no franchise constraints. Being independently owned and operated, we have the flexibility to bring unique and exciting class formats to our group exercise schedule. Our certified instructors are enthusiastic and ultra-friendly, and they have the know-how to administer safe, fun and welcoming classes. Group classes are open to members and non-members alike. The direction of this club is based on member feedback…100%! We have the freedom to change our schedules and offerings to accommodate our members’ wants and needs, and we value that opportunity. WE CATER TO YOU, and we couldn’t be more excited about it! With conveniences like key card access, the cleanest showers and locker room facilities in the area, and conveniently located across from CenturyLink HQ in

the new Century Tower, Century Village Athletic Club has everything you need to accomplish your Health and Fitness goals. A comprehensive nutrition and dietetics program, a wide range of exciting class options from ZUMBA to YOGA, and the cleanest, friendliest environment you’ll find will keep you motivated and excited to get back to the club! And the most amazing thing about this club just may be the price! With the flexibility to waive initiation fees and longterm contracts, offer corporate discounts and keep our rates much below what you would expect to pay, this facility will fill up quick. SO, GET HERE TODAY, and start your new and energized life with us at the Century Village Athletic Club!

Your Brain and Spinal Specialist

Jorge Alvernia, MD. FAANS Board Certified Neurosurgeon, Brain and Spine Associates


RIDGET HAMPTON, AN operating room nurse, was faced with a personal medical decision after her then 17-year-old son, Riley, survived a harrowing vehicle accident in November of 2017. Riley, a Neville High School senior, totaled his Jeep on I-20. Riley was evaluated at the hospital, where he and his family would learn that he would require neck surgery. Bridget recalled, “I have worked alongside Dr. Jorge Alvernia in the operating room, and I knew first-hand that he was an excellent surgeon. There was no need to take on the additional stress of traveling out of town for treatment, because I was confident there would be none better than what we could receive right here at home.” She calls Riley’s surgery a “complete success.” Ten months later, Riley is now a freshman at ULM. He is doing great with

no pain or deficits. Bridget states, “I cannot thank Dr. Alvernia enough for the wonderful care that he received.” According to Riley, Dr. Alvernia is “a great doctor, but even a better guy.” He also adds, “He was always nice and polite, checked on me everyday in the hospital and explained everything clearly, allowing me to relax.” “I am just like any other 18 year old, even with screws and rods in my neck,” says Riley. Dr. Jorge Alvernia practiced Neurosurgery in his home country of Colombia, South America. He then pursued and completed a three-year fellowship in Lyon, France. He completed a five-year Neurosurgery residency at Tulane Medical

Center in New Orleans. Dr. Alvernia is proud to call Monroe home where his wife, Courtney, was born and raised. Together, they have four children ages nine, seven, three and one. Often times patients live with chronic pain related to a spinal issue and delay evaluation by a neurosurgeon. There are numerous factors that can create or exacerbate a spinal issue. A typical office visit consists of Dr. Alvernia looking at the patient’s MRI in his conveniently located office in Monroe, and performing an evaluation of the patient. He will discuss alternatives to surgery with the patient, as well as his opinions regarding surgical intervention. His third language is English, therefore he has a “special” way of ensuring that his patients have a full understanding of what is happening with their brain or spine. Brain and Spine Associates encourages calls to their office to discuss if you or a loved one may be a candidate for Dr. Alvernia to evaluate. Dr. Alvernia performs his surgeries at St. Francis P&S Surgery and Heart Center, Monroe Surgical Hospital and Glenwood Regional Medical Center. Dr. Alvernia and his staff wish you a safe holiday season and a happy new year!


The Most Wonderful Time of Your Life The First Glimpse Ultrasound & Boutique


OTHERHOOD BEGINS THE INSTANT ONE FINDS OUT that they are expecting. Pregnancy is the beginning of a new life and is filled with the excitement and joy of becoming a new parent. First Glimpse Ultrasound & Boutique is here to help you and your loved ones during this amazing time in your life. For four and a half years they have been providing Northeast Louisiana with all of their ultrasound needs and more. 2D, 3D, 4D and HD live are all available in house. The ladies at First Glimpse are more than helpful in assisting you. They have two ultrasound rooms that are fully equipped with a bed for the mom-to-be, plenty of space for your loved ones and a large mounted flat screen monitor. The clarity of the images will amazing you! First Glimpse tries to accommodate everyone. They have packages from the first 6 to 13 weeks of pregnancy, to gender determination at 14 weeks, to the very last week when you can see facial features best. They have packages starting at $50. Some of the extra services include printed images, a heart beat stuffed animal, digital photo albums and your baby’s measurements. The helpful staff at First Glimpse can help you choose which package would be best for you and your family. Baby registries are also available. They have baby clothes, toys, diaper bags, swaddles, pacifiers, frames, crib sheets, all of your nursery needs. Here are a few of the brands they supply: Mud Pie Baby, KicKee


Pants, Angel Dear, Kyte Baby, Bestaroo, Copper Pearl, Little Unicorn, Pello Pillow and Magnetic Me. Christmas is here! Stop by and grab the expecting mom in your life a little something for her and something for the baby. Give the mom-tobe the gift of seeing her new baby. First Glimpse has gift cards available that any expecting family would love. A chance to glimpse at their bundle of love. Recently, First Glimpse has moved to Antique Alley. Remodeled and renewed, their space on the alley has two rooms for ultrasounds, a wait room and a store up front. The ladies at First Glimpse Ultrasound & Boutique are continuously moving forward to bring expecting mothers the best – just a small glimpse of the happiness that is growing inside. Please feel free to stop by anytime Monday-Friday 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. or Saturday from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. and see for yourself the magic and joy can bring to an expecting family. For any questions please visit their website at or call (318) 807-4618. Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart. - Jeremiah 1:5

For That Someone Special on Your List R&R Gems Offers Beautiful Fine Jewelry for Every Occasion


&R GEMS IS A FAMILY-OWNED and operated jewelry store that prides itself on outstanding service to every person that enters their door, whether they are looking for “the” ring, a special piece of jewelry to commemorate an anniversary or a little something sparkly to put under the tree. Led by Danny, Trish and Amy Ryals, R&R Gems opened in October 2014. From all things bridal, including engagement rings, wedding bands for both men and women and bridesmaids gifts to necklaces, rings and bracelets featuring unique gems and diamonds, the R&R has the perfect piece for your needs.. This holiday season, R&R has a convenient way to ensure that everyone is happy on Christmas morning! They offer a wish box where you can store your information, such as ring size and important dates like birthday, anniversary, childrens’ birthstones and more. Then, you can select pieces you like for your

wish list. Your significant other can come in and shop and get exactly what you want! They carry a wide variety of lines from different designers and can accommodate any price range. R&R Gems has over 150 wedding sets in stock to choose from. JC Blackburn specializes in fine antique style jewelry, crafted using Old World jewelry-making techniques and offer a line of fine platinum, modern and vintage style wedding and engagement rings. Gabriel & Co. has an extensive line of timeless pieces that encompass classic and fashion forward design, perfect for mother of the bride, graduation, anniversary and communion celebrations. There is a wide selection of yellow and pink diamonds from Gregg Ruth, as well as bright and highly saturated gemstones like emeralds, rubies and sapphires. R&R Gems is the only local store that offers Lafonn Jewelry, expertly crafted in platinum, yellow or rose gold bonded sterling

silver with the finest simulated diamonds, labgrown gemstones and genuine gemstones. This line is at an affordable price point and must be seen to appreciate! And there is more than just jewels for the ladies. R&R Gems carries ArmourLite watches, the first company to combine shatterproof glass construction with tritium illumination, making it perfect for first responders, hunters and outdoorsmen. There are over 400 watches to choose from including Seiko, Pulsar, Charles Hubert and more. R&R Gems is conveniently located on Forsythe Avenue in Monroe and are open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. The Ryals are thankful for their customers over the last several years and look forward to meeting new customers that will be friends for years to come as they return to R&R Gems for all of their special celebrations.


the legacy NESTLED IN OUACHITA PARISH on Highway 80 East, the Louisiana LOUISIANA PECAN Pecan Shelling Company calls our community home. The business also houses SHELLING COMPANY antiques and is part-recycling company. While general manager Abraham Lincoln Fowler doesn’t sell his antiques, and is very serious about recycling, IS AN AGED TREASURE he’s best known for his family’s pecan legacy. For generations, the Fowler WITH UNPARALLELED family has fostered their passion for all things pecan. CHARACTER. THIS In the 1840’s, Abraham’s ancestors started a confectionery business in Vicksburg, Mississippi. The business was closed due to the outbreak of the Civil FAMILY-BUILT COMPANY War. The new occupants first bottled Coca-Cola in the same location. The family BOASTS A RICH continued to produce candy by special order until a distant cousin opened a shop in Edwards, Mississippi, on Old Highway 80 known as “Lou’s Candy HISTORY, INTIMATE Kitchen.” This shop operated until Lou died. ATMOSPHERE AND Abraham’s father, Abraham Lincoln Fowler, Sr., opened the Louisiana Pecan Shelling Company in 1939 in Vicksburg, Mississippi, formerly named FRIENDLY EMPLOYEES. Abe Fowler and Sons (or more locally known as Fowler Pecans). Being the IT IS A GEM LOCATED IN eldest son, Abraham learned a lot about pecans from his dad, becoming heavily involved in the company after Fowler, Sr. passed away. The company had fortyOUACHITA PARISH. five locations. Abraham worked with his father as a child and he fondly recalls him answering the phone at the original location in Vicksburg: “Dad would answer and say, ‘Nuthouse, Head Nut speaking.” Abraham notes with fondness one of Fowler’s original, hand-painted signs that hangs on the wall designating the original name, even though this newest location has only been open for fifteen years. This sign was used by Fowler about eighty years ago as advertising and would hang on the side of his truck as he drove door-to-door in rural areas and bought pecans. The company still sends trucks out to orchards to purchase pecans. Back then, Fowler’s truck also served as the weigh station: a cotton slide scale rested in the bed of the truck and Fowler would weigh and buy pecans on the spot. The sign isn’t the only aged remnant in the store; the company houses Abraham’s antique collection and stepping inside is like a step back in time. Antiques cover every surface of the small, quaint store and customers buy pecans and pecan candies while perusing old farm tools and various symbols of the past, such as the hand-forged shingle froe, old butter churns and cast iron skillets that adorn the walls. The general store feel inside must be akin to the original Vicksburg home of Louisiana Pecan, as if frozen in the early twentieth century. The feeling it brings is a sense of nostalgia for an simpler time. The antiques in Abraham’s possession add to the atmosphere surrounding the Louisiana Pecan Shelling Company: one of family and home. This family feeling is even more pronounced by the company’s regular customers, who greet Abraham and Lavon as old friends, and by the homey recipes found in the company’s Recipe Book and online Recipe’s page: Banana Pecan Pancakes, Cherry Pecan Brie, Smoked Trout Pecan Spread and a tried and true Pecan Pie. The pecan candies also add a bit of that close-knit atmosphere. The confectionery portion of the business focuses on a wide variety of pecan candies. While the company consistently makes eighteen different pecan candies, such as amaretto chocolate, honey roasted, bourbon flavored or coconut butter rum, they are continually making new and innovative flavors, like their sweet and spicy roast, which is savory with a little kick at the end. It is public knowledge that Louisiana Pecan Shelling Company has the BEST pecans. The Louisiana pecan is the namesake of the business, because the company specializes in the small, oil-filled Louisiana nut that is full of flavor and ideal for candy-making or cooking. However, Louisiana Pecan Company does offer an assortment of different varieties of pecans.

article by Rebecka Barnes photography by Emerald McIntyre 238 DECEMBER 2018 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM



he busiest time of year for the company is around the holidays, but they are open year ‘round. Abraham’s knowledge of pecans is extensive and detailed in his narration of the year revolving around pecans: “Depending on the weather, trees usually begin to bloom in March and picking begins in April and lasts until around September or October.” Louisiana Pecan purchases most of its pecans from orchards, but often gladly buys from the public. Customers will bring pecans to the business to sell, or for shelling or cracking. Louisiana Pecan is the most competitive with its prices for these services, as it offers custom cracking of small pecans for 35 cents/lb or 25 cents/lb for the large ones. It also semishells for an additional 30 cents. Currently, Louisiana Pecan is offering to pay 80 cents/ lb for small pecans and up to $1.50/lb for the large ones. While its rates are competitive and its popularity is unparalleled, both online and in-store, the amount of love and work that goes into processing the pecans is what makes this company unique. When Abraham was eight years old, his first job was to operate the pecan sorting machine: he was to fill the machine with pecans, which then sorted them by size, from smallest to largest. After the pecans are


sorted, they are then cracked or shelled. The cracking machine cracks pecans at a rate of 90 pecans per minute! All of the half-cracked pecans are then sorted again: they are poured into a funnel shaped, screen-lined sorter where small pieces and bad pecans are handpicked out, and then the favorable pecans are bagged for customers and sold by the pound at the front counter (prices vary by orchard). Each pecan is inspected for quality by the company’s dedicated employees. Besides in-store services, like cracking and shelling, Louisiana Pecan Company also offers on-site pecan sorting and purchase; however, unlike with Fowler, Sr., the old sign stays in the store. The pecan business is labor intensive, but rewarding, as Louisiana Pecan processes up to 2-3 MILLION pounds of pecans per season. That’s nuts! Adjacent to Louisiana Pecan is the recycling portion of the store. Abraham pays the most for aluminum in Ouachita Parish because he is an avid recycler and wants other people to recycle, too. Abraham makes his living off the fruit of the environment and recycling is his way of giving back. And while the store is open year ‘round, recycling takes up their time during the off months when the holidays have slowed and the pecans aren’t ripe for picking. This familybuilt company on Highway 80 East is an aged

treasure with unparalleled character. Its rich history, intimate atmosphere and friendly employees truly make Louisiana Pecan a gem of Ouachita Parish. Louisiana Pecan offers gift baskets as well as shelled and/or cracked pecans in 5lb or 3lb boxes. Or fill custom tins with pecans or pecan candies for a truly special gift! Louisiana Pecan will also ship upon request. For more consumer and nutritional info, please visit

Convenience is Key Daily Press Opens New Location in West Monroe


AILY PRESS KNOWS THAT CONVENIENCE IS KEY IN your busy schedule, so they make it as easy as possible to grab a cup of joe or a meal on the go. Not only do they have healthy options, an expedited ordering process and friendly service, they now have more locations to serve you! Monroe’s favorite sandwich and snack stop is coming to West Monroe! The new location is opening soon at the corner of 7th Street and Arkansas Road. This is the fourth location for the locally-owned café/convenience store combo. Other locations include Louisville Avenue, Garrett Road and Forsythe Extension in Monroe. Daily Press boasts a redesigned coffee shop atmosphere that’s perfect for studying, a casual catch-up with a friend or a lunch break escape from the office. Even though you’ll want to stick around and relax, sometimes you only have a few minutes to grab a meal on the go. That’s why everything Daily Press makes comes out fast and fresh, and their multiple order kiosks mean you never have to wait in line. If you are in a real pinch, they offer even easier, quicker ways to order. Customers can place their order online or via their app, making getting your Daily Press fix super convenient. By texting PRESS to 33733, you can download the app, log in and order for yourself, a group of friends or co-workers. If you need that extra pick-me-up on the way to work in the morning, stop by for a cup of coffee that’s ground, pressed and brewed to order. The new touchscreen coffee bar makes ordering a snap! The fountain drinks, fresh brewed teas and hand-squeezed lemonades ensure everyone will leave happy! Caffeine not your craving? Bite into one of their hot pastries. They’re baked fresh every day and are the perfect way to start your morning off right! Favorites include muffin tops, kolaches and cinnamon rolls. You can also custom build a breakfast burrito, bowl, sandwich or platter with options like biscuits, English muffins, breakfast potatoes, sausage and bacon. The sandwiches from Daily Press have gained quite the following in the past few years. Their famous poboys and sandwiches include Cajun turkey, smoked ham, Italian, pot roast and sliced roast chicken, all served on your choice of delicious bread. You can also build a spud, soup or salad, exactly how you want from an ordering kiosk! This holiday season, Daily Press is the perfect place to grab a catering tray for parties, family get-togethers and more! And as always, gift cards make the perfect stocking stuffers for anyone on your list!


The Images of Christmas Forsythe Church of Christ BY JOHN DOBBS, PREACHING MINISTER


HAT IMAGES COME TO MIND when you think about Christmas? Perhaps you think of fragrant trees sparkling with lights and ornaments? Or maybe the first image is of a jolly fellow in a red suit? Other memories may include family gatherings with holiday food and singing carols together. Some may have unhappy images of difficult times of struggle or pain. Whatever image comes to mind when you think about Christmas, one image should always be present. There are many artistic depictions of the nativity scene in paintings, movies and even plastic yard art with lightbulbs inside! Even though most have some factual inaccuracies, the reminder is so important to our times. The Bible says that angels appeared to the shepherds in the fields near Bethlehem. “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will


cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11). This news was brought so much joy that the night sky filled with angels saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14). The birth of Christ still brings joy to the hearts of those who believe in Him. It reminds us that God sees the ordinary and regards them highly. Mary and Joseph were ordinary people who became part of an extraordinary gift to the world. The birth of Jesus reminds us that God keeps his promises, for the coming of Jesus was foretold by the prophets of long ago. Matthew 1:22 says, “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ (which

means ‘God with us’).” The birth of Jesus reminds us that God knows what it’s like to be one of us, a human being. God knows what it is like to experience joy, pain, hunger, weariness, tears and smiles. He knows what it is like to experience family and friendship. And He knows what it’s like to have enemies and false friends. The birth of Jesus reminds us that God loves us deeply. He went to great lengths to express that love, not only in the birth of Jesus but also in His life and teachings. God’s love was demonstrated in the way that Jesus experienced the pain and suffering of the cross. Following His death, Jesus was raised from the dead and is now alive. All of this was to save lost humanity from their sins, because He loves us. Christian churches around the world will spend time contemplating the birth of Christ during this season. They will welcome your presence, as they remember the most powerful image of Christmas … the baby in the manger who was the Savior of the world. We certainly welcome your presence at Forsythe Church of Christ in Monroe in the Christmas season and in every season.

Dermatologist Approved! Hopkins Dermatology Exclusive Medical Grade Products


T HOPKINS DERMATOLOGY, WE have exclusive skin care products that have been curated by Dr. Janine Hopkins, Board Certified Dermatologist. Our products are medical grade and developed by scientists in New York with cutting edge technology and the most stable high grade ingredients. We have a wide range of products for all skin types and ages. We have products for sensitive skin, melasma, acne and anti-aging. The Hopkins Dermatology RX products are forever growing and we are continuously adding to our selection. Dr. Janine Hopkins provides anti-aging rejuvenation products and procedures for overall prime wellness and vitality for men and women. Dr. Hopkins offers products for face, body and hair that complement her procedures, such as the HydraFacial, Fotona

Skin Rejuvenation and Tightening, and Levulan Blue Light treatment for pre-cancers and acne. She also specializes in treating hair loss in men and women by offering plateletrich plasma injections and a unique laser procedure to stimulate hair growth. ACNE PRODUCTS Rx: Acne Foaming Wash – Contains the acne fighting ingredient Salicylic Acid and removes surface oils, unplugs and refines pores. Acne Correction Pads – Grapefruit, Lactic Acid, Glycolic and Salicylic acid combine to create a micro-peel and promote exfoliation of dead surface cells. Rx: Acne Spray – Witch Hazel smooths and tones the skin while Glycolic and Salicylic Acid accelerates the removal of dead skin cells.

ANTI-AGING Rx: Repair – All-Trans-Retinol supports the skin barrier and increases the cell turnover resulting in smoother skin and a reduction of fine lines. Rx: Essentials Step 1 and Step 2 – Visibly diminishes the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines by supporting the underlying skin matrix with collagen-rich skin. Rx: Replenish – Helps to repair the skin barrier, improving elasticity and texture. Complements the skin’s nightly renewal and metabolic functions, supports the skin matrix to target wrinkles. SUN DAMAGE REPAIR Rx: Correct – Designed for all skin types to brighten and even skin tone, and to calm and soothe skin and guard against free radicals. Rx: C-Brightening Serum – Supports healthy collagen production, helps guard against free-radicals and moisturizes. Works well with Retinol products. Rx: Protect – Provides the highest broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection that is sensitive skin friendly and the broadest antioxidant benefits while calming the skin.



For A Touch of New Orleans During the Holiday Season! BY JOHNNA VAN, GREAT MINDS COMMUNICATION


ITH A CASUALLY ELEGANT atmosphere combining New Orleans flavor and comfort with an upscale sensibility, Copeland’s of New Orleans in Monroe offers something for everyone. During the busy holiday season, Copeland’s has so much to offer. Don’t let the stress of the holidays get you down! Let Copeland’s do the cooking for you. Cajun Fried Turkeys paired with a delicious selection of sides from Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Pecan Amaretto Cream Sauce to traditional favorites like Cornbread Dressing are sure to please your family. You can really be the hit of the party with one of Copeland’s signature desserts. I would highly recommend the White Chocolate Bread Pudding cooked to perfection. Call to place your holiday order today, 318.324.1212 and ask for a manager! Looking for a great place to celebrate a special occasion? Plan to dine on Copeland’s


heated outdoor Courtyard overlooking the fire and water feature. Nothing says New Orleans like great food and music. Make plans to dine at Copeland’s on Thursday or Saturday evenings and enjoy live entertainment by local favorite- Robert Wright, featuring classics from Frank Sinatra to Harry Connick, Jr. Saturday and Sunday Brunch features live guitarist, John Farmer. Copeland’s now offers a Saturday Brunch from 11:00 - 2:00 with many of the staples you’ve grown to love on Sunday’s Jazz Brunch from 10:00 - 3:00. Is your business looking for a place to host your next meeting? Call ahead and reserve Copeland’s Mardi Gras room or the heated courtyard. Reserve a Thursday or Saturday night and enjoy the sounds of live entertainment for your party. Copeland’s can help you with all of your catering needs offering possibilities far beyond the menu. The Copeland’s team strives to provide

a dining experience like no other. In addition to the extensive renovations of the restaurant, everything on the menu is made from scratch with only the freshest, premium ingredients. Copeland’s chefs take pride in blending mouth-watering sauces and seasonings to bring out the robust signature flavors that they are famous for. “I am very proud of the entire team involved in the restaurant transformation,” said Rose Byrd, Copeland’s General Manager. “Come see us at Copeland’s, and let us treat you like family.” For more information, visit www. or our Facebook page. We look forward to seeing you at the all new Copeland’s where you can get a little slice of New Orleans right here in Monroe!

A Focus on Family Law Cummins and Fitts


TTORNEYS DANIEL CUMMINS and Jessi Fitts are setting up shop as Cummins and Fitts in Downtown Monroe, Louisiana. Cummins and Fitts will focus their practice on family law, including: divorces, child custody, child support, spousal support, and community property division. Daniel, Jessi and their staff are committed to serving the people of Northeast Louisiana with focused and personal representation during their family’s most difficult times. Jessi grew up in Sulphur, Louisiana with her parents, Rick Fitts and Wanda Madden Fitts, of West Monroe, and her sister Casey. After graduating from Sulphur High School in 2011, Jessi attended Louisiana Tech University where she was a member of Sigma Kappa Sorority, the Honors Program, Student Recruiters, Tech Leadership Council, and Student Government. In 2013, Jessi was a member of Tech’s Homecoming Court and was an Orientation Student Leader. Jessi was

named Who’s Who of Louisiana Tech in 2015. She graduated magna cum laude in March of 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Upon graduation from college, Jessi attended The University of Alabama School of Law where she was a member of Bench and Bar Association, the National Trial Advocacy Team, Public Interest Student Board, and was Vice President of Raise the Bar student mentoring board. She earned the Dean’s Community Service Award for all three years of law school. In May of 2018, Jessi received both her Juris Doctor and Alabama Law’s Certificate in Public Interest. Jessi currently resides in West Monroe, Louisiana with her husband, Greg Hawkins. Daniel is a native of Monroe, Louisiana. He graduated from the University of Louisiana at Monroe in 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies. Daniel earned his Juris Doctor from Mississippi College School of Law in 2008. During law school, Daniel was

elected by his peers to serve as student body president. During law school, Daniel received the American Jurisprudence Award for both Trial Advocacy and Negotiations. After law school, Daniel served in the U.S. Army JAG Corps for eight years. Daniel’s first assignment was with the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas, where he was deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan. Daniel was also stationed in Hawaii as a military prosecutor and Okinawa, Japan as the legal advisor to a Special Forces Battalion. Upon leaving the service, Daniel and his wife, Sarah, relocated to Monroe with their two daughters, where he has practiced exclusively Family Law. Daniel, Jessi and their staff look forward to addressing the family law needs that you, your family members and your friends may have. They are committed to handling their clients’ cases with compassion and care.


The Goose is Cooked

Stage a Dickensian Christmas Dinner Around a Traditional Dish with one of These Fresh, Modern Twists on the Holiday Classic


hristmas dinner is as much a part of the holiday as giving gifts, and in America, the “traditional” meal can vary from family to family. While some serve a pot roast, others opt for lasagna or lamb. More than a few simply repeat the Thanksgiving table, complete with a turkey. This Christmas, consider adding a goose to your table for a touch of Old World charm and a delectable treat your family and friends will be talking about until next Christmas—when they’ll demand it again. For those of you who’ve never cooked a goose before, it’ll take a bit of planning and forethought. And for those of you who have, we’ve come up with a couple of fresh takes on the dish to bring a new level of “wow” to your table. The Basics Goose is, essentially, a game bird. As such, it has a much higher fat content than you find in a chicken or a turkey. Roasting a goose—that’s the traditional method of preparation—is a lot like roasting a duck. You have to contend with fat, and lot’s of it. Whether you’re cooking a fresh goose hunted this year or one of the frozen-andthawed varieties from the grocery store, the process is going to be the same. You’ll want to make your life easier with a good roasting pan with a pull-out rack. That’s because you’ll probably need to drain the fat from the pan at least once during cooking, which is okay, because all of that

article by Michael DeVault delicious liquid is going to make for a few amazing sides. Set the oven to 325 degrees—resist the urge to set it higher. Take your time, because time is your friend. While the oven is preheating, rinse your goose with cold water and then pat dry. Place the goose into the roasting rack and, using a sharp, small knife—a paring knife works well—prick a dozen holes or so in the skin all over the bird. This will allow the fat to escape evenly, producing a wonderful, flavorful, crispy skin. Flavoring the Bird – For beginners Goose is a naturally flavorful meat. A quick Google search reveals that, to cook a delicious goose, all you need do is rub it with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper on the skin, and put it in the oven for 25 minutes per pound. A large, frozen goose will weigh in at about 10 pounds, so you’re looking at around 4.5 hours. There’s a trick, though, to not overcooking the goose. You’ll want to reduce the heat from 325 down to 275 after the first two hours. Also, this is a good point to remove some of the excess liquid from the bottom of the pan. Once your goose reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees, it’s ready to remove from the oven. Don’t wing it, though. Use a meat thermometer to check. As soon as it hits temperature, pull it from the oven and set it aside to let the meat rest for a half-hour before carving.

Goose – An Advanced Course So you’ve cooked the perfect roasted goose before. Easy peasy, simple and yummy. Now, you want to up your game a little. The fun part about cooking a goose is that it’s versatile and forgiving. All that fat means the meat is high in umami to begin with, so you can ease up on the salt and be very gentle with added oil. Instead, focus on herbs, spices and seasonings that avoid the salt and accentuate the natural flavors. For a savory goose, focus on herbs like thyme, rosemary and sage. Make a dry rub and add it to the goose before roasting. Make sure to use fresh rosemary, which will release much more essence into the oven than the dry stuff. Add extra Merry Christmas with a dash of ground clove and nutmeg. The combination isn’t overpowering on the taste buds, but the aroma will make your guests inhale deeply, opening up the nose and bringing out the flavor of the other herbs. If you’re looking for a more modern take, make a baste consisting of a cup of Sauvignon Blanc, half a cup of pineapple juice and combine that with basil, oregano and a dash of red pepper. Reduce in a saucepan and then drizzle over the bird before baking. Garnish with fresh pineapple when you reduce the temperature, so that the pineapple roasts, as well.

Annual Candle Lighting and Wreath Laying Ceremonies You and Your Family Are Cordially Invited by the Mulhearn Family and Staff to Attend


N SUNDAY, DECEMBER 9, the Annual Candle Lighting Remembrance Ceremony will be held in West Monroe at 3:00 p.m. and in Monroe at 4:30 p.m. The Mulhearn Family feels there is a need for those who have experienced loss to gather, remember and honor loved ones. Dr. John Canine, ED.D, Ph.D. will speak to lend support and guidance in facing the holiday season. Our grief after-care representative, Tyler Stacy, PLPC, and family service representative, Dianne Guillot, will join us as well. On Saturday, December 15, Mulhearn Memorial Park Cemetery will host its 7th Annual Wreaths Across America Ceremony at 11:00 a.m., while this event is held simultaneously across the nation. Everyone is invited to attend this patriotic ceremony to pay tribute and express gratitude to those whose sacrifices we can never repay.

The idea for Wreaths Across America began with a 12-year-old-boy’s trip to Arlington National Cemetery that turned into a life-changing experience for Morrill Worcester. The images representing our nation’s values and sacrifices spread up and down each row of marked heroes was something he never forgot. Later in life as owner of Worcester Wreath Company, he remembered that trip, and put his surplus wreaths to good use. In 1992, he began placing wreaths on soldiers’ graves at Arlington, a practice later to be known as Wreaths Across America. Now through donations and volunteers, the graves of over 1.5 million fallen heroes are decorated. The Mulhearn Family is honored to be a part of his dream to place a wreath for every U.S. Veteran laid to rest worldwide. This December, Wreaths Across America will advance its mission to Normandy, France,

to place 9,387 Maine-made balsam veterans’ wreaths on the headstones of all U.S. service members laid to rest at Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-surMer. The cemetery, dedicated in 1956, is one of 14 American World War II military cemeteries abroad. “The goal of Wreaths Across America is to honor and remember all those who served and sacrificed for the freedom Americans enjoy every day,” said Wayne Hanson, Chairman of Wreaths Across America. “To be given the opportunity to advance our mission is truly a gift, and we intend to continue moving forward until all U.S. veterans laid to rest are honored.” “May God’s love light your way throughout this holiday season, and lead you into a new year filled with peace” – The Mulhearn Family and Staff


Cara’s Boutique For a luxe look this holiday season, grab this gorgeous burgundy velvet jumpsuit with silk tie. Complete the look with black pointed toe heels, leather quatrefoil earrings, beaded bracelets and a gold necklace with teardrop charm.


The Nude Nomad Jessica is holiday ready in this ivory-colored cropped wrap sweater. Throw on this beautiful velvet draped cardigan with embroidered detail and handkerchief hem for a layered look. Pair with these black, fitted five pocketed jeans with distressed detail and cropped hem and finish the look with a black brim hat, chic slingback mules and a medallion necklace.


This holiday season snuggle up in winter’s finest looks. Find luxurious layers and cozy comforts from local boutiques. Special thanks to Curry Farms and Calvin McKenzie. Models: Jessica Granger and Ronnie Scott. Hair and Makeup by Meka Bennett. Photography by Kelly Moore Clark. Styling by Taylor Bennett.


Ron Alexander Clothiers Ronnie looks ready to tackle the holidays in this multichecked button up shirt with a layered red sweater vest with zip closure. Add a Michael Kors sport coat and black leather gloves to complete the look.


Patton’s Downtown Celebrate the season in style in this cream-colored tunic sweater dress. Wear it as a cowl neck or off-theshoulder, this dress features long sleeves, a relaxed fit and pullover style. Finish the look with brown engraved, ankle boots with side lace detailing.


Mr. P’s Tees Trek out to the Christmas tree farm in Mr. P’s Tees’ original Jersey Dog design. Featured on a premium ultra soft sweatshirt, this design is available in red and white or blue and white. Find this super cute shirt at


Simmons Sporting Goods Thrive in winter’s coldest spells with this plaid flannel shirt. Layer with a lofty goose down jacket with water-resistant fabric and a stylish faux fur hood. Finish the look with these rugged Maritime combat boots that combine fashion-forward style with waterproof versatility.


The Fleurty Ginger Boutique This forest green vegan leather midi skirt is ready to party. Stretchy leather starts at a high waist, then hugs your curves all the way to a midi hem. Pair it with a black fold over ribbed sweater that can be worn off-the-shoulder or as a cowl neck. Accessorize with a faux suede leopard print bootie and earrings.


Chanticleers This luxurious fur jacket features a knit sleeve starting at the elbow, perfect for adding accessories to your holiday ensemble. Layer it over a collar bi-material blouse with a transparent bottom, and pair with these flattering high-rise jeans. Accessorize with a zebra pony-hair belt, a necklace with hand-curated beads and a crystal Swarovski Canal bezel and L’Ange medallion, silver hoop earrings, sleek snakeskin booties and an oversized leather satchel. WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | DECEMBER 2018 255

Dot Dot’s Boutique For a chic casual look, this dusty rose knit sweater with rolled sleeves is worn underneath a fun and flirty navy plaid overall dress. Accessorize with stone drop earrings and a gold chain with crescent moon charm. Add a modern western edginess with these open toe booties with whip stitch details.



Historical Impressions



he destruction was overwhelming. Whole mature trees had been blown out of the ground. In many places complete forests had been leveled or had their remains left strewn about as shards of kindling. Piles of bricks were all that marked where a once sturdy building had been hit by missiles. Other structures were holed, partially collapsed, or otherwise damaged by greater or lesser blasts or missile hits. Fields and yards were littered with the detritus of structures, equipment and possessions that had once been part of farmsteads, businesses and residences. Steel posts and sheets of metal were bent, twisted or ripped, as if they had been made out of cardboard. Getting the roadways open for emergency aid and supplies had been the first order of business for whoever in the local government had taken charge; debris had been pushed to the side where possible, or cut away where too big or heavy to move as is. The road clearing had not been a neat and orderly effort. There were no shoulders on the roads; a vehicle needed to thread the path between the debris piles and cut trees. There was death here as well; more than I’d ever been exposed to in many decades of life. Some bodies lay in rigor,


where they fell after being struck. Others were so mangled, it was best not to dwell on the fact that they had once been alive. Draped tarps and canvas made it obvious that any kind of temporary shelter was a priority for the living. I could have been viewing any European rural area, where the armies of World War I or World Wat II had recently raged at each other. But this was not France or Germany in the early- to mid20th century. I was traveling through the central panhandle of Florida not long after Hurricane Michael had hit. As bad as the destruction seemed along Interstate 10, I knew from pictures it was worse, much worse, further south in the cities and towns on the coast. As mentioned above, to the uninitiated the aftermath of a hurricane or tornado might look a little like what could be seen in an area impacted by war. Perhaps only a hint in my opinion. Here the bodies were only animals that had wandered onto the road when the fences built to keep wildlife off of the highway were knocked down. The missiles had “only” been flying trees and other debris. There was no powerful and lingering smell of explosives, fire and death. There had been and continued to be an inflow of aid and supplies, because the emergency

and relief crews did not have to travel through combat areas to reach those in need or ration what was available across a more widespread part of the country. Still, this destruction is the closest thing to the aftermath of war that most civilian Americans could ever experience. And that is a fortunate thing indeed. The continental United States has known massive land warfare, but it has been over 150 years since such war has been thrust upon civilians in their homes and businesses. Even the Japanese December 7 attack on Pearl Harbor and other later Japanese attacks on limited locations in California, Oregon and Alaska did not have any significant impact on civilians apart from the family tragedies associated with the very small number of civilian casualties. Witnessing some of the destruction caused by Michael has obviously put me in a reflective mood. It is easy for me to ponder how much worse it would be for American lives and livelihood, if our nation was not strong enough to prevent organized military attacks upon our home soil or if another civil war with both sides having the access and will to use weaponry of great destruction against each other was still imaginable. I am grateful to live in a nation where my family, friends and fellow citizens are spared tragedies that would be worse than those wrought by nature and a limited number of assorted evil people. This is the time of year when Americans celebrate any of a number of religious and secular holidays. For those readers who are not of the Christian faith, please understand my viewpoint when I say I believe some of the best wishes for our nation, its citizens and all peoples everywhere in the world can be found in the Christmas sentiments that call for peace on Earth and goodwill towards all. May the comfort of your home, the love of family and the closeness of friends make this festive season a happy and peaceful time for you. God bless us each any every one.

BY GUY MILLER Vice Chair-Chennault Aviation and Military Museum


JGS Fall Festival


On the evening of Saturday, October 27th, Jesus the Good Shepherd Catholic School celebrated their 4th Annual Fall Festival. The Fall Festival was a celebration of a very fruitful annual fund campaign thanks to our loyal JGS supporters. Many JGS families, friends, grandparents and parishioners came out to take part in the Fall Festival celebration. There were amusement rides, class booths, an old-time country store, silent auction, food provided by the always awesome JGS Dad’s Club, music provided by 92.7/88.7 FM and a hopping bingo hall! We are so humbled and blessed to be a part of such a wonderful community who has embraced our school with open arms for almost 60 years!



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On the BayouScene 1 Dr. Justin and Dana Tarver 2 Dr. Szu-Wei and Dr. Chris Domingue 3 Michael Ann and Jott Delcambre 4 Mark Holyfield 5K elly Rutz and Laura Maclin 6 Steven Carr and Johnny Wade 7R ebecca Leaumont, Shanna Marlowe, Sherri Mowad, Emily Nunnelee and Laura Maciaszek 8 Heather Haddad and Julie Cain 9 Ellery Hemrick and May Richert 10 Emily McGee and Sadye Richert 11 Jill Woods and Sarah Bishop 12 C ora and Know Medlin 13 J eff Leaumont and Billy Forbis 14 Marty Verhagen, Mickey Wilkinson, Don McEnery and David Anthony 15 K evin Hopper, Chris Platt, B. J. Bryan and Joey Brodtman 16 D r. Mary Kathryn Crigler, Dana Tarver and Kelly Hill 17 Lisa Patrick and Michael Echols 18 Daryl Gregory and Joey Swaggart 19 Zeina and Amy Fakhre



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Holiday Mix and Mingle On November 1, 2018 Dr. Mickel and his staff kicked off the holiday season with their Mix and Mingle event at Genusa’s in Monroe. Guests enjoyed drinks and appetizers while they met with representatives from several different companies. This event is a way to thank Dr. Mickel’s loyal customers and patients and get together to celebrate the holiday season.


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On the BayouScene 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Kelly Frankowicz, Kasey Burks and Gerri Ellis Arabella Moore, Natalie Todd and Vada Montgomery D r. Timothy Mickel and Andree Eddleman P atricia Dillingham and April Dillingham R achel Spires and Amy Grassi Ashley Haynes, Amy Wood And Mary Boyer Hope McLemore, Lara Hartford and Robin Riemer T eresa Scurria, Amy Porter and Amy Grassi Suzanne Burkhalter, Dr. Timothy Mickel and Cindy Strickler


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Delhi’s 5th Annual Christmas Open House The Merchants of Delhi hosted their 5th Annual Christmas Open House Sunday, November 11th. It was a fun-filled day of shopping and sampling delicious sweets and savory treats. Door prizes and special incentives were also given to those who attended. Vendors that participated included: New Attitude and Boutique LaCour, The Mad Hatter’s Flower Shop, E.W. Thomson Drug, Philips Family Pharmacy and The Lil’ Boutique, Delhi HealthMart, Champions Bistro and Black Bear Lodge, Tripp’s Workwear Outlet, The Brick and Brass and Glamour Cuts and Adeline’s Boutique. The merchants would like to thank everyone for coming out and hope to you next year!








On the BayouScene 1 2 3 4

Lisa Herrington and Opal Harvey Kristie Penick and Ellie Carlson Peggy Gonzales and Dixie Bishop K ay Hutchinson, Carla Weatherly, Adeline Berryhill and Jessie Hales 5 Sandra Interiano, Jamie Cook and Eloise Harrell 6B rittany Craig, Debbie Dulaney and Dawn Hall 7 Amy Green, Glenda Cash, Lauren Blakey and Ema Gloor 8 Mickey and Shelia Carroll 9 E lsie Walley and Sharlotte Green 10 Betty Pierce and Susan Pierce 11 Glenda Cash and Mary Gresham 12 Ann and Jonathan Young 13 Lou Dean Stroud and Rita Watson 14 A my and Vivian Gayle 15 M elissa McKinley and Sandra Townson 16 S hari McEacharn and Susanne Bembenick 17 Stella Gibson and Audra Thomas



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Holidays on the Alley



In Downtown West Monroe on Sunday November 4th, the certified merchants of Antique Alley held their annual Holiday Open House. Over 30 businesses partipated in this one-of-a-kind shopping event. Boutiques, treats, antiques, furniture, dĂŠcor and more can all be found on the alley. There really is something for everyone! Guests were invited to stroll the streets while Christmas music played, lights and Christmas dĂŠcor were displayed in the shop windows and refreshments and treats were provided in each shop. It was a great way to kick off the holiday season and get started on that local holiday shopping.

On the BayouScene 1 Kay Pearce and Betty Causey 2 Logan and Kristy Mangrum 3 Madison Guerriero and Rhea Reed 4 Audrey and Cherry Lett 5A imee Kane, Maureen Crooks and Cathy Whatley 6 Sydney Eaton, Joie Hubenthal and Staci Eaton 7K enny and Melody Lovelady 8 Donna Walters and Pam Walters 9 Megan Current and Valerie Gardner 10 M arty Grassi and Mark Bennett 11 Macie Prudhomme, Jessica Pollard and Betsy Flowers 12 Pam McKay and Jennifer Routon 13 K aren Bradley and Dana Neal 14 Jessica Guidry and Peggy Duchesne 15 Kerri Sue McBeth and Susan Shields 16 Sue Rainer and Suzie Cooper 17 Sonya and Annabel Bagwell 18 Erin Croft and Karen Laban


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Bastrop’s Holiday Open House


On Sunday, November 11th, holiday shoppers strolled the streets of Bastrop, Louisiana for their Holiday Open House event. Pearce Pharmacy, Downs & Daughters Events, The Market, The Flower Tree, Steve’s Jewelry, Bayou Boutique, Arnett’s, Antiques & Accents, Whit’s Pharmacy, Bethel Market and Roma’s Italian Bistro all opened their doors to the public to kick-off Christmas shopping. Each vendor showcased their latest merchandise and provided food and drinks to all that attended. The City of Bastrop would like to thank everyone who participated and wishes everyone Happy Holidays!




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On the BayouScene 1 S andi Talley, Vicki Bonsall, Holly Green and Tamara Green 2 Shannon Cook and Sandy Lord 3 T im and Meredith Comans 4 Sharon and Diane Patrick 5 S andy and Steve Perry 6 L isa Cerar and Tina Wolfe 7 Shelly Mobley and Jamie Nichols 8D exter and Mary Brian 9B arbara Smith, Jo Daugherty, Teresa Pearce, Lyla Costello and Lindsey Costello 10 Pat Evans, Paulette Griffith and Kim Griffith 11 Donna Stevenson and Brittney Patrick 12 Summer Auttonberry and Caron Walker 13 T raci Stephens, Belinda Oden and Linda Davis 14 Andrea Hayes, Jasmine Wallace and Heather Ganey 15 Jeri Cooper, Mary Jayne White and Judy Zametto 16 Pauline Kinnaird and Jennifer Stephenson



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Flying Tiger Hosts Camp



On Thursday, November 8, Flying Tiger hosted an art show by local artist, Jason Byron Nelson, entitled “CAMP.” This was Jason’s first solo show in five years, and he released some new work with a new direction. Jason is the owner of Trick Button, a design lab combining the reach of commercial art with the personality of fine art. He specializes in illustration, logos, branding and conceptual services.

On the BayouScene 1 Will Copeland and Brad McGilton 2 Daven Spires, Jason Byron Nelson and Carson Rutz 3K elly Rutz and Katharine Spires 4 Christine and Phil Michener 5 Jesse Grinter, Delia Simpson and Asa Stone 6B ill Whatley, Gerald McCloskey and Sean Nichols 7 J ohn Hemphill, Karari and Anne Hanks



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Holiday Open Houses



On Saturday, November 10, several local businesses kicked off the shopping season with a Holiday Open House. Third Street in Garden District of Monroe was a buzz with shoppers visiting Woodstock, and checking out their wide selection of candles, holiday decor and more. Just across the street at Palette House, customers enjoyed a variety of dips and snacks while they shopped for home decor, art and more. Just around the corner on Forsythe Avenue, Haven was busy with people picking out gifts for women, men and babies alike. Next door, Legacy had their holiday serving pieces on display. And just down the road, The Muffin Tin was open as guests enjoyed refreshments and picked up items from Niven Morgan, Old World Christmas and more! The ladies at Spa Nouvelle and DermaMediQ started their holiday season with a mix and mingle at their offices on November 13th. Guests enjoyed delicious offerings from Thurman’s Food Factory, Smallcakes and Trio’s. Fantastic door prizes, discounted services and specials were available to patrons attending.




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On the BayouScene 1 S herri Morrison and Margaret Moses 2M ary Beth Dickerson, Ana Lopez Hale and Wendy Newsom 3 Chelsie and Anniston Summerville and Kierston Parks 4A shley Keever, Meredith Branch, Abbie Barefield and Marilyn Elliott Hobson 5 S tephanie Powell and Kisha Davis 6 Kerri and Ellie James 7K im Cernigliaro and Dr. Saidi Sowma-Fakhre 8 Andree Eddleman, Claire Gordon and Kelly Rutz 9D ana Tarver and Mary Kathryn Crigler 10 Laura Kilpatrick Marchelos and Zak Marchelos 11 Maggie Frazier, Kristin Lensing, Faye Ciraulo and Taylor Morgan 12 Sarah Perry 13 Jessica Byram, Analise Kelly, Jennalee Byram, Amanda Ditta, Sandy McMillian, Taylor Paul, Caitlyn Berry and Kellyn Foster 14 Lyndsay and Summer Turner and Sandy Henderson 15 M endy Sylvester and Lori Bernard 16 F elicia Hardwick, Margaret Moses and Andree Eddleman 17 Angie O’Pry and Chelsie Summerville




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Cotton Country Shoot Out In October, The Junior League of Monroe held their second annual Cotton Country Shoot Out at the Cottonland Gun Club owned by Glynn and Mendy Kiper. Teams competed for bragging rights in a sporting clay tournament and enjoyed lunch catered by Portico all while giving back to Women and Children at risk in the community. The event was made possible by Title Sponsor: Citizens Progressive Bank, Pay to Play Sponsors: Bear’s Towing and Kiper Farms Cottonland Gun Club, and Station Sponsors; Portico, Rocky Burks Realty, Eddie Nietz State Farm, Mid Louisiana, Shaw Oxygen and Cross Keys Bank.





On the BayouScene 1K andice Hunter, Ashley Simms, Joyce Priest and Samantha Combs 2 Jenni Hastings, Railey Garrett and Gary Hodnett 3D r. Jeff Counts, Chad Traxler, Danny Rogers and Glynn Kiper 4 Brad Jones, Matt Wood, Adam Hansen, and Reggie Sharp 5 Melissa Kiper, Cydni Hanks, and Hannah Salsbury 6 Reggie and Meghan Sharp




Coffee Table Talk. Material Things in Monroe has the some of the best books that make the best gifts! Like this coffee table book that she will love to display and browse through!

Cozy on Up. Cozy and casual are what we LOVE about sweater season at K-Sera Boutique! This color block sweater is as soft as it looks! Style it with booties and denim for a chic fall look!

Snuggle Bunny. This Barefoot Dreams blanket from Haven is literally what dreams are made of! Anyone who likes to snuggle up will appreciate incredibly soft knit throw to wrap themselves up in!

Making Spirits Bright. Find great gifts and make your holiday season popping with Washington Wine and Spirits. Grab a bottle of Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque today. This French Champagne is bound to make your holidays fun and festive.

Grillin’ and Chillin’. This Napoleon Prestige PRO 500 grill proves that cars aren’t the only things that have style and performance in one package. This slick grill looks and performs like its name. Find this at Coburn’s Kitchen & Bath Showroom.

Can You Hear Me Now? These bluetooth wireless ear buds have a convenient strap to keep them hanging on when walking, running or jogging. Find these and all your running gear needs at Fleet Feet in Monroe.

Beauty in a Box. Kendra Scott has some beautiful pieces of jewelry and HerringStone’s in Monroe has the cutest box sets, featuring three different styles of earrings. Hot Holiday. Warm up this season with a hot tub from Azure in Monroe. They have a wide selection of tubs from Hot Spring that will let you have a spa day in your own backyard!

The Winter Glow. Treat yourself or a loved one this season at Derma MediQ. They provide a variety of different services at the same level of considerate care consistently demonstrated by Dr. Sowma-Fakhre and her staff. Look your best at any age with Derma MediQ!


The Gift of Glove. He will love these lambskin gloves that are lined with cashmere. They are so soft on the inside and outside and available at Ron Alexander’s.

Shine So Bright. These Capri Blue candles are amazing and these holiday editions add some extra sparkle to the season. See (and sniff) the entire line at Woodstock in Monroe!

It’s a Chanel Christmas. Hemline Monroe has added some luxury vintage handbags to their shop and this Chanel is just one of the beauties they have. If you have a die-hard fashionista on your list, check them out!

Bird is the Word. This Chuckin TurDuckEn design from Mr. P’s soft and cozy, while make a statement to support local! Check out the entire line of tees and sweatshirts for adults, youth and baby at

Tea Tree under the Christmas Tree. Rain has so many gift sets available for the holidays that are great for gift giving! This set from Paul Mitchell has five products, all with that signature tea tree scent!

Unicorn Obsessed. If you have a girl who loves all things unicorns, rainbows and fashion, you can grab some stocking stuffers at Uptown Girl like this unicorn keychain.

Sunnies from Santa. HerringStone’s has a great selection of DIFF sunglasses. These sunglasses are always all over Insta. If you have an influencer on your list, she will love these!

Fa-la-la-la Feet. This gift is great for your girlfriends - a digital exfoliant foot peel that is lavender scented. Grab a box at Mickel Plastic Surgery in Monroe!

Rest is Best. Sleep is on everyone’s wish list! Check out the beds and mattresses from Sleepy Hollow Furniture in Monroe to give the best gift of all this Christmas - rest!

Buff Beau. This face buff from the Jack Black line is just one of the great guy products available at The Muffin Tin! WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | DECEMBER 2018 269

Wax On. This Kendra Scott candle from The Fashion of Ruston features woodsy green ivy balanced with notes of exotic frankincense and warm amber. This sultry, captivating aroma is perfect for holiday nights spent with loved ones.

Joyful Jewels. This Vahan bangle bracelet features 14 carat yellow gold and silver with 1.14 diamonds ct. It is available at Flair Jewelers of Monroe and any lady would love to add this to her collection! Versatility at its Finest. A Duxbak® Cold Front Vest is Designed as a stand-alone garment for those cool November days or a layering piece to warm your core when that stubborn January cold front has its sights set on North Louisiana. You can find one at Simmons Sporting Goods.

Steppin’ in Style. These shoes from Cara’s are great for the girl that has fashion on her mind…and her feet. She will love these on trend snake skin sneaks!

Jammin’ in Jammies. Get your friend, mom or daughter the coziest set of pajamas for those cold winter nights. All girls love to snuggle and this way they can be stylish while they do it. Find this set at Eleven 26 Boutique on Antique Alley.

Silver Bells. The Nude Nomad’s show-stopping necklace has a unique combination of a gunmetal chain paired with a silver baroque pearl to create an eye-catching element of texture that will immediately elevate any outfit.

Grooming for the Guy. Gift for guys are hard, but this shaving gift set from Petals and Pearls makes it easy. 270 DECEMBER 2018 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

Heaven in a Jar. Looking for a good white elephant gift? Or a gift for a coworker? This Pecan Pie In-A-Jar is easy and fun. You can even make them into bite sized pies, all you have to do is make the crust. Find this and more in Bastrop at Pearce Pharmacy!

Sippin’ with Santa. This insulated bottle from CC’s Coffee House is perfect for a secret Santa gift. Anyone will love this to keep their drink hot or cold!

Dress It Up. Custom silks from England complement these Louisiana alligator ties and pocket squares. These high quality products challenge norms while remaining uncannily classy and can be found at Vintage and Vogue!

Pillow Pièce de Résistance. This pillow by Ardmore is available at Material Things and is the best way to make a statement on a sofa or side chair. It is perfect for someone whose sense of fashion extends to their home!

No Gift is Too Small. For the littlest people on your Christmas list, these WubbaNub pacifiers are a fan favorite. A pacifier that comes attached to various stuffed animals. First Glimpse Ultrasound and Boutique now on Antique Alley is stocked full for all baby gifts.

For My Main Man. Whether it’s football on Friday night or relaxing by a fire at duck camp, this handsome fleece pullover by Banded® is the perfect gift for the outdoorsman in your life. At Simmons Sporting Goods in Bastrop.

Watch it! Every good man needs a good watch and this Charles Hubert one from R&R Gems is just that! With a bright blue face, he will look stylish while keeping track of time. .

Get Roasted. Grab a pack of freshly ground coffee from CC’s Coffee House in Monroe for the the coffee lover on your list. They will love the fresh flavor and unique blends!

Tis the Season for Scarves. Ron Alexander’s in Monroe has everything for every guy on your list including these classic buffalo plaid scarves, perfect for bundling up!

Hair Happy. Rain has these fun hair accessories that are budget friendly, so you can get some for all of your girlfriends. They are the perfect way to tame your hair while adding some flair. Hand-y Holidays. The Muffin Tin has a variety of Niven Morgan products, and anyone who loves his line will love this Jean Baptiste hand lotion!

On the Prowl. A leopard print pouch by David Jeffery Handbags goes great with any outfit. Perfect for a night out, shopping trip, or even your day-to-day. Chanticleers Boutique in Rayville can help you pick the perfect gift for Christmas.

Rich in History. Hollis and Company carries a beautiful selection of estate pieces and antiques. This is an antique bangle bracelet in 14k gold with 5.00 carats in European Cut diamonds. Circa 1880.


Crushing It. Looking for the perfect pajamas this holiday season or anytime of year? These crushed velvet jammies are comfortable and cute. Find this and other great gift ideas at Rodéo Boutique in Ruston.

Statement Girl. Designed and handmade, these one-of-a-kind bags are created from vintage Louis Vuitton’s and quality leather. Eleven 26 Boutique carries them in various sizes so you are sure to find the perfect one for that special someone.

Fuzzy Fashion. This fun beanie will keep your head warm, while keeping you fashionable. Any girl will love this furry pop of fun, available at Hemline Monroe.

Tea for Two. Ready for a picnic? This precious tea set is perfect for the little princesses on your Christmas list. Aron’s Pharmacy has this and many other cute sets for your little ones this holiday season.

Smoke ‘Em if You Got ‘Em. La Aurora Barrel Aged by Karl Malone cigar is available at Legends Cigar & Vape in Ruston. Malone’s signature cigar utilizes tobacco that has undergone barrel aging and has bold notes of wood, cinnamon, dried fruit and cream.

Nice list = Necklace. If she has been very good this year, swing by Flair Jewelers of Monroe and pick up this two-toned diamond necklace with paves set in gold and white gold. It will add some sparkle to the season!

Light the Night. Everyone loves a candle and Dot Dot’s carries this festive and great scented line! Pick one up for someone on your list, and they will love you! Grab a Gift. Everyone loves a dip, especially during the holidays. Thurman’s has a wide selection of boxed dip and cheeseball mixes that make the perfect hostess gift!

Quilted Comfort. This diamond-quilted, heritage-inspired Snap-T pullover from Patagonia features a warm organic cotton/polyester jersey blend. Find this and other great pieces at Patton’s Downtown in Ruston.


Beam Me Up. If your looking for a gift idea, try the Jim Beam Distillers Masterpiece. Available at Washington Wine and Spirits, this is one of the brand’s rarest expressions. It’s finished in ex-PedroXimenez-sherry casks from Bodegas Terry for extra richness.

Rack Pack. Mr. P’s Tees are a local favorite and feature hand drawn designs by local artist, Lissy Compton. There so many cute options like this ode to North Louisiana meets Vegas scene.

Coffee First. For the coffee lovers in your life, swing by Fiesta Nutrition today and get a customizable coffee gift basket! Awaken your senses with organic coffee and darling mugs.

Sucker for Matching PJs. This matching pajama set features lightweight seersucker fabric with white piping. In these luxurious pajamas from The Children’s Shoppe, your little ones will be tucked in and off to dreamland in no time.

Luscious Lips. Dr. Hopkins carries her own line of exclusive MD Minerals products. There’s a shade of lip gloss for everyone on your list, perfect for kissing under the mistletoe!

Slip into Snake Skin. Snake print is trending this season, and K-Sera Boutique in West Monroe has got it stocked for you. This wallet cross body bag is the perfect companion on all your holiday shopping trips.

Hair Goddess. Want to give the gift of gorgeous hair? Stop by Meraki Studio in downtown West Monroe and pick up one of these Rusk flatirons. Easy to use and the perfect gift for any girl at any age.

Sweet Tooth. This emblematic gift box is available at Material Things and is composed of a house selection of exquisite Louis Sherry truffles renown for their creamy texture and exceptional silkiness. A truly delightful gift for anyone to indulge in the pleasure of fine chocolate.

Sock it to Him. West Monroe’s newest men’s clothing store, Bayou Gents, is carrying a great selections of men’s apparel and accessories. These socks are a great gift for boyfriend, husband, dad or grandpa!

Present for the Patio. Sleepy Hollow Outdoor has everything you need for your patio, back porch, poolside and more! These reclining outdoor sofas are the perfect gift for someone who loves to relax in their own backyard!


Rockin’ Everywhere. These amazing BuDhaGirl bangles are weightless, soundless, waterproof and TSA proof. Perfect for the traveling fashionista, these bangles are available at The Fashion of Ruston. Go from the pool to the office and through the airport without taking them off.

Little Treasures. The Nude Nomad’s dainty Andrea Barnett cross necklace is on everyone’s wishlist this Christmas! Available in a variety of sophisticated chain styles, this handmade necklace is something the lucky lady in your life will treasure forever.

Craft Candles. Crafted from amber beer bottles, bombers or growlers, this soy wax candle is inspired by tasting notes of craft beer and ciders. This unique gift from Aron’s Pharmacy is perfect for any beer lover or someone looking for unique home décor.

It’s in the Bag. Any fashionista on your list will love this chic black backpack style bag from Cara’s in West Monroe, perfect for the girl on the go.

Pure Bliss. Acadian Pride Detergent is a must for everyone’s laundry shelf this holiday season. These Home fragrance products that capture the Joie De Vivre of Acadian Culture. Swing by Louisiana Purchases and grab your bottle today!

Chill Out. Keep your wine the perfect temperature with the JennAir 24 Inch Wide, 46 Bottle Capacity Wine Cooler with UltraGlide Soft-Close Racks in stainless steel. Find this and other great items at Coburn’s Kitchen & Bath Showroom!


’Tis the Season to Relax. This year, give a gift os sanity and relaxation with a. Gift certificate from Spa Nouvelle for a Spa Day Escape. Four hours of uninterrupted relaxation designed to help him or her escape from all stress. It includes a light lunch, Nouvelle facial, Nouvelle Relaxation Massage and a Spa Pedicure.

Wrap it Up. This velvet poncho from Haven is not only cozy and comfortable, but the green velvet adds a rich touch. The lady on your list will love to add this to her wardrobe!

Tie it Up. Scrunchies are making a comeback at Rodéo Boutique. Gentle on your hair, these scrunchies will take you from working out to Sunday brunch or Christmas morning. These are perfect stocking stuffers.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside. Stay warm this season with this sherpa pullover from Patton’s Downtown. This Southern Shirt fleece features pockets for all of your essentials and the classic cotton logo on the chest. Find this and more great clothing items.

Signature Scent. Kenneth Turner candles are divine and are the perfect gift for anyone on your list that loves fresh fragrances! This candle will envelop their home in a light floral scent and they will thank you for it. See the entire collection at Material Things.

Calendar Girl. A great gift to last the entire first year of a new baby’s life. If you have a friend that is expecting The Fancy Fox in West Monroe has a great selection of calendar blankets to mark the baby’s growth their first year.

Wrapped Up Tight. Stay warm and stylist with these giant wrap scarfs at The Fleurty Ginger Boutique. Easy to throw on with any outfit and will add an extra layer of warmth. Great gift for all ages!

Perfect Patina. This decorative European antique copper piece at Traditions on Antique Alley in West Monroe has a warm luster and is a favorite of designers. It would be a wonderful gift and addition to any home.

Puffy and Pink. This trendy puffer vest is perfect for the little fashionista on your list. She will love this and all the clothes at Uptown Girl in Monroe.

King of the Grill. If you have a man who loves to grill on your list, he will love this Primo grill, available at Azure Pools and Spas. These grills are ceramic, made in America and will be enjoyed for years to come! Shine Bright. This vintage inspired ring is set in 14k yellow gold, it contains a center 1.86 carat European Cut diamond, as well as, .55 carats in small diamonds and can be found at Hollis and Company in Monroe.

Fashion is Key. These bracelet key rings add a touch of flair and fashion while being functional. Pick one up for your gal pal at Palette House.


French Twist. French Kande makes these one-of-a-kind necklaces and are found at Chanticleers Boutique in Rayville. Each piece is hand selected one by one in Paris and then crafted in LA, making it a truly special gift.

Puff Daddy. La Aurora ADN Dominicano is available at Legends Cigar & Vape. This cigar incorporates andullo tobacco with an earthy aroma. Find this and other great cigar and vaping products.

Rockin’ Out. Do you have a music enthusiast on your list this year? This GS mini-e Koa, with it’s clean, symmetrical look of a traditional acoustic guitar is available at Matt’s Music! This Koa top’s visual beauty is instantly inspiring, while its sonic rewards unfold over time, as warm, sweet overtones.

Flower Child. Polka dots, stripes and flowers are all a girl needs to feel fabulous! At The Fancy Fox Boutique you can find two piece sets like this one and more. The perfect gift for the girl in your life.

Scents of the Season. Nest Candles are wonderful gifts for anyone! Lewis’ Gifts carries the Holiday Scent, as well as others. Fill your home with the joys and smells of Christmas cheer this holiday season. Basket of Bottles. Not sure what you get your friends who have everything? Look no further than Tonore’s Wine Cellar for your out-of-the-box gifts! Custom gift baskets are available for any budget.

Furry and Fashionable. Dot Dot’s in Monroe has a unique line of fur and hide bags that are great for all ages! Perfect for adding a pop of something extra to an outfit!

Cross Her Path. The Nude Nomad’s stunning Andrea Barnett crystal cross necklace is the perfect gift for that someone special in your life! This timeless style is so gorgeous, she won’t want to take it off, and it pairs perfectly with everything from casual wear to cocktail attire. 276 DECEMBER 2018 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM


Calendar of Events For a full list of event happenings in Northeast Louisiana, see our website at Through December 23 Santa’s Christmas Village A holiday wonderland with snow, make and take ornaments, cookie decoration, rides down Mount Sneaux, the Coca Cola Christmas Village train exhibit, a festive outdoor light show and special visits with Santa. Don’t miss the new photo booth fun every Thursday evening from 5-8 p.m. Venue: Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum, 323 Walnut Street, Monroe Cost: $7 Phone: 318-361-9611 Through December 31 Freedom Trees Freedom Trees honoring veterans and active military with a patch, ribbon, medal or photo from their military service will be on display. Venue: Chennault Aviation and Military Museum, 701 Kansas Lane, Monroe Phone: 318-362-5540 Candy Cane Lane Candy Cane Lane is a mile-long wooded drive decorated with over One Million Christmas lights, located in Calhoun, LA. Candy Cane Lane will be open nightly through Dec 31. No trailers and vehicles over 25ft must have prior approval. Venue: Candy Cane Lane, 170 Highway 151 North, Calhoun Hours: 6:00 - 10:00 p.m. Cost: Family Vehicle: $20 ;Commercial passenger van: $40 Phone: 318-81-2935 December 1, 7-8, 14-15, 21-22 and 28-29 Open Air Wagon Rides Through the Lights Landry Vineyards is once again providing its wonderful wagon so everyone can take a ride through the festive lights in Monroe and West Monroe. The 30-minute rides begin at 5 p.m. every Friday and Saturday nights. The ride begins at Commerce Street and ends at Woods Street. Venue: Antique Alley, 100-400 blocks

of Trenton Street, West Monroe Hours: 5:00 - 9:00 p.m. Cost: $3

Grand, Monroe Hours: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Phone: 318-807-1735

December 1-29 Christmas at The Biedenharn Enjoy the beautiful Christmas decorations throughout the Biedenharn Home and Elsong Gardens thanks to the Monroe Garden Study League. Be sure to come by during regular museum hours to take your family Christmas snapshots. Venue: Biedenharn Museum and Gardens, 2006 Riverside Drive, Monroe Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Phone: 318-387-5281

Annual Bawcomville Redneck Parade This is a parade like no other! You’ll enjoy floats with fun-loving redneck themes and throws that range from beads to toys and other surprises! Venue: Downtown Bawcomville, Smith Street, West Monroe Hours: 10:00 a.m.

December 1 Holly Jolly Breakfast Enjoy breakfast with characters from Twin City Ballet Company’s origial ballet, The Guardians of Christmas, make reindeer food, crafts and more. Professional pictures with Santa to be taken by Sam Bourland Photography. The Twin City Ballet Company will offer a matinée performance of The Guardians of Christmas at 11:00 a.m.. Venue: Monroe Civic Center Theatre Lobby Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Cost: $15 per person, 2 and under free Tickets are available online at, as well as both locations of Linda Lavender School of Dance Phone: 318-388-3011 Christmas in DoMo with Pet Pageant and Miss Christmas in DoMo Pageant Christmas in DoMo is a classic event to celebrate the holidays with the whole family! The entire community flocks downtown to enjoy live music, pictures with Santa Claus, a Pet Pageant, Miss Christmas in DoMo Pageant and a little lastminute shopping. Vendors from across the area sell their wares all day leading up to the Christmas fireworks display during the evening! Venue: Rivermarket, 316 South


Awesome Carolers West Monroe High School Choral students will provide professionallevel caroling on Antique Alley. Let the holiday music put you in the moo d. Venue: Antique Alley, 100-400 blocks of Trenton Street, West Monroe Hours: 12:00 - 2:00 p.m. The Kiwanis Club of West Monroe Christmas Parade Come enjoy the holiday floats and Christmas Parade! Venue: Downtown Monroe and West Monroe Hours: 3:30 p.m. Amdocs Presents Downtown River Jam with Louisiana Soul Revival featuring Doug Duffey Downtown River Jam will finish the year off with a bang as Louisiana Soul Revival Featuring Doug Duffey plays before and after the fireworks show provided by the Monroe Renaissance in the heart of downtown Monroe. Choice Brands will have free beer samples available, and Doe’s Eat Place will have beverages for purchase. Food vendors will also be on-site. This family friendly event hosted by the Downtown Monroe Alliance. Venue: Riverwalk, 316 S Grand St, Monroe Hours: 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. Phone: 318-548-4562 Battle of the Badges Monroe City Battle of the Badges is a non-profit amateur boxing show that features policemen

versus firemen from all over the south. The purpose of the Monroe City Battle of the Badges is to raise money for selected charities. Venue: Monroe Civic Center, 401 Lea Joyner Memorial Expressway, Monroe Hours: 6:00 p.m. Cost: $10-$30 Phone: 318-329-2225 The Monroe Renaissance Fireworks Extravaganza Enjoy the beautiful fireworks display along the banks of the Ouachita River. Fireworks will be shot from the Endom bridge. Venue: RiverMarket area and Downtown West Monroe Hours: 6:30 p.m. Phone: 318-807-9985 Festival of Trees You don’t want to miss the annual Festival of Trees, featuring beautifully decorated trees of all sizes and more! Enjoy refreshments while you stroll through the North Pole, browsing silent auction packages, designer Christmas trees and special mystery boxes. Purchase raffle tickets for your chance to win one of our gorgeous full-size trees. Venue: Monroe Civic Center Theatre Lobby Hours: 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. Phone: 318-388-3011 Twin City Ballet Christmas Gala: The Guardians of Christmas Children all over the world become more and more involved with video games, sports and tweets... they believe less and less in things they can’t see. Santa’s Magical Hope Chest holds the beliefs for all the children in the world, and it’s almost empty! Watch, as Jack Frost, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and other protectors aid Santa in the search for one special child, who can once again fill his Magical Hope Chest with enough belief for the whole world. Children and adults alike will love this beaufitful ballet choreographed by Joe Istre. CONTINUED ON PAGE 280


Venue: Monroe Civic Center, 401 Lea Joyner Memorial Expressway, Monroe Hours: 7:30 p.m. Phone: 318-388-3011 December 1-2 Journey to Bethlehem Experience the sights and sounds of the world of that First Christmas! There will be 100+ characters in costumes, live animals, fresh food and 1st century shops! Enjoy this 20-minute ‘Walk Thru’ Christmas drama at Pecanland Mall! Venue: Pecanland Mall, 4700 Millhaven Road, Suite 2000, Monroe Hours: 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. Cost: FREE Phone: 318-322-4635 December 6 LA Jazz Quartet live at Roma Chris Moravek, Larry Anderson, David Oliver and Ann Fenn of LA Jazz Quartet Live at Roma Italian Bistro on Antique Alley. Venue: Roma Italian Bistro, 400 Trenton St, West Monroe Hours: 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. Cost: Free Phone: 318-953-2124 Holiday Open House at Levee Gallery Holiday Open House featuring Small Works for the Young Collector: a stunning array of original, handmade artworks perfect for gift giving. Venue: LEVEE GALLERY, 1617 N 18th St, Monroe Hours: 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. Phone: 318-537-9006 December 6-8 Christmas Evenings at The Biedenharn Enjoy the beautiful Christmas decorations throughout the Biedenharn Home and Elsong Gardens thanks to the Monroe Garden Study League, entertainment by local musicians, refreshments and photos with Santa Claus. Venue: Biedenharn Museum and Gardens, 2006 Riverside Drive, Monroe Hours: 5:00 - 10: 00 p.m. Phone: 318-387-5281 December 6-9 “Miracle on 34th Street” Ruston Community Theatre will present the beloved Christmas story “Miracle on 34th Street” at the

historic Dixie Theatre! Don’t miss this holiday classic! Venue: Dixie Center for the Arts Hours:Thursday-Saturday 7:00 p.m., Sunday 2:00 p.m. Cost: $12/$6 for students Phone: 318-255-1450 December 6-10 CottonLand Christmas Returning to a tradition started years ago by Strauss, celebrate the Christmas season in “Cottonland Christmas,” featuring area soloists, ensembles, and dance groups, all sharing the joys of the season. Come get in the spirit of Christmas! Venue: Strauss Theatre Center, 1300 Lamy Lane, Monroe Hours: 7:00 p.m. Thursday-Saturday 2:00 p.m. on Sunday Cost: $30 for Adults $10 for Students Phone: 318-323-6681 December 7-9 Big Creek Trade Days Come out and enjoy this flea market-type experience with something to offer everyone! Browse hundreds of vendors with clothing and accessories, home décor, homemade furniture, antique and vintage items and much more! Venue: California Plant Road in Dubach Hours: Friday-Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Sunday 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Cost: $5 for parking Phone: 318-680-1304 December 7-30 Ice Skating in Downtown Ruston Ice skating is back for each weekend in December! What better way to enjoy the season and Downtown Ruston than skating in Ruston’s own artificial ice rink! The rink will be in the parking lot of the Historic Fire Station. Venue: Historic Fire Station Parking Lot Hours: Times vary each day Cost: $10 per person for one-hour session Phone: 318-251-8621 December 8 Candy Cane Hunt Thousands of candy canes will be scattered around the park and hidden for children from walkers to 8 years of age. Several of the canes will be specially marked and can be redeemed for a new holiday surprise.


The event will be filled lots of candy, toys, face painting, Christmas card crafts, music and fun with friends. Santa will make a special appearance and pictures will be available. There will be a new family candy cane scavenger hunt along with a new special needs candy cane scavenger hunt! Venue: Kiroli Park, 820 Kiroli Road, West Monroe Hours: 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Cost: $1 Admission Phone: 318-396-4016 “Battle for the Paddle” Chili Cook-Off This chili cook-off will feature teams mixing spices and seasonings to concoct their very own secret recipe, as they prepare to contend for bragging rights of the best chili and the coveted prize paddle. Sampling will begin in Railroad Park directly following the Christmas Parade. Venue: Railroad Park in Downtown Ruston Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Cost: $1 tasting tickets (includes a token for voting) Phone: 318-255-2031 Awesome Carolers West Monroe High School Choral students will provide professional-level caroling in Antique Alley. Let the holiday music put you in the mood. Venue: Antique Alley, 100-400 blocks of Trenton Street, West Monroe Hours: 12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Ruston Christmas Parade Bring the entire family out to celebrate in Downtown Ruston! Themed “A Tacky Christmas,” the Annual Christmas Parade will roll through promptly at 2:00 p.m. with tacky yet festive floats tossing out candy and fun prizes! Venue: Downtown Ruston Hours: 2:00 p.m. Phone: 318-255-2031 Holiday Outdoor Movie sponsored by CenturyLink Come enjoy the second holiday movie night under the stars and massive Christmas lighting in Antique Alley. Snacks will be available for purchase. (*Rain Date: December 15, same time) Venue: Downtown West Monroe Trenton St., West Monroe Hours: 5:30 p.m.

December 9 Kids Alley Don’t miss visits with Santa and Mrs. Clause, crafts from Black Bayou Lake NWR & Masur Museum, animals from the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo, Jump House, Games, Prizes and more! Venue: Antique Alley, 100-400 blocks of Trenton Street, West Monroe Hours: 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. Cost: Free December 11 Flag Retirement Ceremony The Chennault Aviation and Military Museum will present a flag retirement ceremony to help ensure that tattered, faded flags are retired in a dignified and respectful manner. Unserviceable flags can be dropped off at the Hemline Monroe or the museum from now until December 10th during business hours. Worn flags can also be brought to the ceremony. Military etiquette dictates that worn flags be burned in a retirement ceremony and that the ashes be gathered and buried. The burning is to symbolize purification and rebirth when performed. The ceremony will be performed by representatives from veterans’ organizations and first responders. New, quality flags can be purchased from the Chennault Museum and Hemline with proceeds benefitting the museum. The ashes from the retired flags will be buried at a later date near the Fallen Soldier Memorial at the Chennault Museum. This event is contingent on the weather. The public can check the museum Facebook page for updates: Venue: Chennault Aviation and Military Museum, 701 Kansas Lane, Monroe Hours: 6:00 p.m. Phone: 318-362-5540 December 13 Director’s Talk - Plants of Christmas Biedenharn Museum Executive Director, Ralph Calhoun, will discuss 12 interesting Christmas Plants, their history and how to grow and care for them. Included on the list are holiday favorites like Poinsettias, Christmas cactus and the Christmas pickle. Venue: Biedenharn Museum and Gardens, 2006 Riverside Drive, Monroe Hours: 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Phone: 318-387-5281 Brush Up, Wine Down Come out for a relaxing paint night with step-by-step instructions. Grab your favorite beverage, a few friends and unwind at Brush Up, Wine Down. Reservations prior to class are requested. Venue: Ruston Artisan, 203 W Alabama Avenue in Ruston Hours: 6:30 p.m. Cost: $35 Phone: 318-255-3322 December 14 Louisiana Delta Ballet: A Christmas Carol Gala Join the Louisiana Delta Ballet on a comedic journey that leads to Ebeneezer Scrooge realizing that friends and family are more valuable than material possessions. A Christmas Carol, the Charles Dickens holiday classic, is sure to impress! This is the perfect outing during the holiday season. Tickets available at, the Monroe Civic Center Box Office or at the door. Venue: Jack Howard Theater, 401 Lea Joyner Expy, Monroe Cost: $25 Phone: 318-329-2225 Russ-Town Band Don’t miss this annual Christmas concert from Lawrence Gibbs and the Russ-Town Band! The concert features all the Christmas classic performed on the historic Dixie stage. Venue: Dixie Center for the Arts Hours: 7:00 p.m.

Cost: Free to attend; donations accepted Phone: 3185-255-1450 December 15 Monroe Jingle Bell Run 10K and 5K The Monroe Jingle Bell Run will take place on December 15th at Forsythe Park! This run will consist of a 10K and 5K. There will be a costume contest, so come in your best Christmas gear! The Monroe Jingle Bell Run will raise funds to benefit more than 5,000 Local Scouting in Northeast and Central Louisiana through their At-Risk program, scholarships to Camp T.L. James and Camp Attakapas, direct and indirect support. Venue: Forsythe Park, Riverside Drive and Forsythe Avenue, Monroe Hours: 8:00 - 11:00 a.m. Phone: 318-329-2439 Christmas in the Park Live Nativity, ornament making, cookie decorating, s’mores, food trucks and more! Venue: Anna Gray Noe, Park 251 Oak Street, Monroe Hours: 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. Phone: 318-812-0450 Josh Walker featuring Eric Little Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season to enjoy a combination of rhythm and blues, country and Christmas tunes at the Music in Color Concert! Venue: Ruston Artisans, 203 W Alabama Avenue in Ruston Hours: 7:00 p.m. Cost: $20 in advance/$25 at the door

Phone: 318-255-3322 December 15-16 Northeast Louisiana Christmas Celebration Begin a new family tradition at the Northeast Louisiana Christmas Celebration. You’ll experience the sights of sounds of all that Christmas brings, as well as experience the Christmas story in a new, fresh way. Hundreds of singers, musicians and dancers will get you completely ready for Christmas! The NELA Christmas Celebration is free and open to the community as a gift from First West. Learn more at for more information, directions, and parking information. Venue: First West Baptist Church, 311 Mill Street, West Monroe Phone: 318-322-5104 December 19 Coca-Cola Truck Night The Lighted Coke Truck will be parked on the 2000 block of Riverside Drive right in front of the Coke Museum. There will be entertainment, and all museum buildings will be open. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be in attendance to hear last-minute Christmas list requests in the Welcome Room. Bring your camera to take photos with Santa! Venue: Biedenharn Museum and Gardens, 2006 Riverside Drive, Monroe Hours: 3:00 - 8:00 p.m. Phone: 318-387-5281

The 3rd Annual Wellness Resolution Run takes place right off of Thomas Rd. in West Monroe! To change up their race/marathon routines they are doing a 4-mile and 8-mile run. It’s going to be another great finish for the year! Venue: The Wellness Center, 3215 Cypress St, West Monroe Hours: 8:30 a.m. Cost: $10: 1 Mile Kid’s Run (ages 0-14 $30: 4 Mile Walk/Run (all ages) $30: 8 Mile Run (all ages) Phone: 318-398-088 Enjoy your stay in MonroeWest Monroe! We at the Monroe-West Monroe Convention and Visitor’s Bureau hope you have a great stay here! Please feel free to call us at 800-843-1872 if you have any questions. You may also stop by our offices at 601 Constitution Drive, West Monroe for brochures, coupons and additional information. Visit www.monroe-westmonroe. org for information about events in Ouachita Parish and visit for events in Lincoln Parish.

December 29 Wellness Resolution Run