BayouLife Magazine March 2022

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From cherry red to blush pink, mint green to lime green, these nail colors are on trend for spring.

MARCH 2022




The BayouLife Attorney Directory is your source for obtaining current information for attorneys licensed to practice in Louisiana.



The Women’s Symposium annually highlights women from across Northeast Louisiana for their individual achievements, professional and personal.


Carter Carroll is a videographer and documentary film director who makes a living capturing stories through his camera lens.


Over the past couple of years, a new interest, growing orchids, has emerged, and this has given Janie Philips and anyone fortunate enough to visit her greenhouse an enormous amount of satisfaction.

APRIL 2018

Looking for a way to spruce up your home? Paint is one of the easiest ways to transform your space. Take your color cue from our vegetable Pantone inspiration below. Terry and Robin LaForge have provided a dining experience that is distinctly Louisiana in taste, feel and service for nearly thirty years.


Kristin Wolkart’s journey to becoming the president of St. Francis Medical Center began with a love for nursing.



Matt Branch, former Louisiana State Football player, used to see obstacles as a hindrance, but after experiencing a major amputation he has learned that obstacles are opportunities for growth and to strengthen character.


Doyle Jeter, founder and former owner of Enoch’s Irish Pub & Cafe, is endeavoring to uncover distinct artists of northern Louisiana in the form of the Northeast Louisiana Music Trail.


Feelin’ vintage vibes in fashions from area boutiques. See this year’s Fashion Fusion runway show on March 19th at the Monroe Civic Center.


pring is here, or is it? I know that I’m looking forward to warmer weather. Last weekend we froze under ten blankets and a tarp watching a travel softball game. I never thought I would be so happy to snuggle up with a Mr. Buddy heater and a camo tarp as a wind break. I’m lucky to work everyday with a team of talented women (and Taylor) who are incredibly talented and smart. I had two very strong grandmothers, and a mom who always pushed me to be my best. A few year’s ago I was asked to speak at the Women’s Symposium and it really opened my eyes to how many women leaders we have in this community. I was surrounded by intelligent, bold women that had a passion for their families, careers and life – it was inspiring. In this month’s issue, we highlight five of the 2022 panelists and why they were chosen as leaders in their respective fields. See this article on 110. Highlighting strong women is a theme in this month’s issue. Taking our BayouIcon spot is the Market President of St. Francis Medical Center, Kristin Wolkart. Our community is blessed to have her here with us now, charting a course for long-term success for our region’s largest acute care hospital. Read her story on page 26. An easy life doesn’t necessarily make for a good story. Matt Branch, former Louisiana State Football player, used to see obstacles as a hindrance, but after experiencing a major amputation he has learned that obstacles are opportunities for growth and to strengthen character. Branch has not had an easy life. But now he has a story, and one that after three years, he still finds surreal but definitely worth telling. Read Matt’s article on page 128. PAGE 136 ODE TO ORCHIDS

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PUBLISHER & OWNER Cassie Livingston COPY EDITOR Cindy Foust One of our favorite events of the year is back again! On March 19th DBK Dance and Performing Arts, along with The Cancer Foundation League presents Fashion Fusion: Where Dance Meets Design 2022. To capture this year’s theme, Feelin’ Vintage Vibes, we took over Skatetown in West Monroe with models Hailey Payne, Kennedy Cain and Camden Shivers. Fashion Fusion 2022 will mark 11 years of celebrating a community coming together for cancer patients right here in our area. All proceeds benefit the Cancer Foundation League of Northeast Louisiana which provides medical assistance and supplies to local patients and families suffering from this dreadful disease. This month we’ve published our third annual Attorney Directory, your source for obtaining current information for attorneys licensed to practice in Louisiana. From personal injury attorneys to those specializing in family law, this list is comprised of some of the best in the industry. We hope you enjoy reading this issue of BayouLife. As always, please remember to support locally-owned businesses!


GRAPHIC DESIGNER Meagan Russell ADVERTISING SALES EXECUTIVES Katelyn Tolbert Courtney Thomas Jenny Pankey ART DIRECTOR Taylor Bennett LEAD PHOTOGRAPHER Kelly Moore Clark

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Dan Chason Kenny Covington Shannon Dahlum Lou Davenport Rhyan Emery Cindy Gist Foust Starla Gatson Kerry Heafner Hill Hinkle, MD Paul Lipe

Erin Love Meredith McKinnie Andrew Patton, MD Georgiann Potts Delia Simpson Beatrice A. Tatem Vanelis Rivera Judy Wagoner Joseph Walters, MD Robert Wright

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Kelly Moore Clark Brad Arender Rhyan Emery Andrew Bailey ON THE COVER Fashion Fusion photo by Kelly Moore Clark BayouLife Magazine is published and distributed by Redbird Publishing, LLC. Postal subscriptions ($30) can be ordered online at BayouLife Magazine is not responsible for unsolicited photographs, manuscripts, or other materials. Opinion columns do not represent the views of the publisher. Reproduction of contents without express written permission is prohibited.


The Power of Listening in Healthcare


EEPLY LISTENING TO ANOTHER PERSON, WITH full attention but without judgment or agenda, is powerful. Listening is an important part of healing, and there’s power in being heard as a patient. Become your own advocate as you partner with your doctor to develop a healing relationship built on active, generous listening. Listening as a Best Practice. Research finds that patients aren’t always given the opportunity to speak up during a visit with their doctor or even asked the reason for their visit. More than 80% of clinicians think they are strong listeners, but a separate study found it took only 11 seconds on average before physicians interrupted their patients. Listening is the foundation of building relationships, which is important for providing healthcare you need and can count on. Providers and patients can form relationships even with short interactions when they are listening intently and intentionally to each other. Barriers to Feeling Heard. A few common barriers that could contribute to you not feeling heard include: • Fear of asking questions and the physician-patient power hierarchy • Limited time to talk • Semantics, jargon or doctor-speak • Feeling ill, injured, or medicated makes it difficult to fully process information or communicate feelings and needs Making Your Next Appointment More Meaningful. Whether it’s your first visit to a provider or you have a long-term, established relationship, there are things you can do to better prepare for your next appointment. Prepare for Your Visit. Bring along every medication you’re taking and have some understanding of your own medical history. Especially if you’re coming in with a specific problem it’s helpful to know if things like this have happened in the past, what has worked or helped, and what hasn’t. Your provider will always ask about your personal medical history, surgical history, current medications, and your amount of drinking and smoking, as those change your risk factors. Know the names and locations of previous providers you’ve seen and where you’ve had screenings done, such as mammograms or colonoscopies.


This information helps because providers can access those records if they know where to request them. One Issue at a Time. Think through, and perhaps write down, exactly what you want to share. Think about not only what you’re feeling but also what might be keeping you from doing well. An annual checkup may feel broad with so much to cover. Try to prioritize your list, which items are most pressing that should be addressed right away and others that your doctor can add to her notes to address in subsequent visits. Flexibility is key to making the most of each visit with your provider. Bringing Company? Consider having a loved one accompany you if they would add something to the appointment, such as filling in gaps in your history, helping you remember the questions you’d like to ask or if they will help you follow your provider’s recommendations. Know What Your Doctor is Listening For: The Power of Stories. Modern medicine provides everyday miracles, but the potential to heal can sometimes hinge on the traditional, old-school skill of communicating and truly being heard. Communicating what matters to you, not just what’s the matter with you is vital. Your provider wants to hear your stories. Judgment-Free Zone. Be honest and accurate. Providers have heard and seen it all, and they’re certainly not judging you. Everything about your life matters and impacts your health, and sharing those details, no matter how uncomfortable, will improve your relationship with your provider, leading to better health outcomes. Following Up. When you listen to your doctor, you may have follow-up questions. You can always ask for clarification, and MyChart is a great way to stay in touch between visits. Our providers want you to know the why behind their recommendations so you can be a full participant in your healthcare journey. We know that great healing is available when we listen. Listening moves us closer, helping us to become more whole and healthier. Listening is not easy to do well, but it’s worth it. Our providers are here to listen, and we want you to feel comfortable sharing your stories with us. We’re here to hear your words and to follow up on them.


Want to Sleep Better? Start Waking Up Better. B AYO U H E A LTH BY S HAN N O N DAH LU M


ne of the foundational elements for maintaining wellness is healthy, consistent sleep. Unfortunately, it’s not something that always comes easily for most, and can become a source of frustration. If you struggle to fall asleep at night, you’ve probably heard all the recommendations for ensuring your room is cool and dark, avoiding artificial light before bed (especially from phone, computer, and television screens), and to keep your bedroom reserved as a sacred space for sleep. All of those are important, but you may not hear enough about the impact your morning routine has on your ability to wind down and sleep at night. Your circadian rhythm governs the daily flow of hormones and chemicals in your body, including cortisol and melatonin. Both of these hormones serve many important purposes; one of which is to help regulate your sleep/ wake cycle. In a healthy circadian rhythm, cortisol

peaks in the morning to wake you up and get you moving, and dips to its lowest point at night. When cortisol drops, melatonin rises, which makes you feel tired and helps you sleep. These two hormones work directly in opposition of one another; cortisol wakes you up while melatonin helps you sleep. A tiny area inside the hypothalamus in your brain, called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, or SCN, is your body’s main time keeper. This is the conductor that directs the symphony of hormones released in your body, and as such, controls your circadian rhythms. The SCN is able to tell time through the light that enters your eyes. When the SCN detects light, it assumes it’s daytime, and in the absence of light, it assumes night. In addition to the SCN, you have secondary time keepers throughout your body. These detect what time it is based on activities you’re doing, like movement and eating, and report back to the SCN so they


can synchronize their clocks. By aligning your movement and eating patterns with the sun, you’re helping your secondary clocks and your main time keeper stay synchronized and your circadian rhythm in balance. When your circadian rhythm gets out of whack, with cortisol remaining elevated at night and melatonin too low, you’ll certainly have a hard time falling asleep. It’s important to be sure your SCN gets the signal that it’s daytime right as you get going in the morning. Within ten minutes of waking, get some sun exposure. Ideally, you’ll step outside and see the sunlight. Remember that sunlight entering your eyes is the single most important way your SCN knows what time it is. Looking out a window is the next best option if you can’t get outside. If you wake up before the sun, just get in that sun exposure once it’s up. Within the first hour of waking, get in some movement and some food. This lets all the secondary time keepers

know that it’s time to start the day. Aim for at least ten minutes of movement, which can be as simple as a walk or some stretching, or more intense exercise if you’d like. In addition to sunlight and movement, have something to eat, ideally a source of protein and healthy fats. Avoid sweets or processed carbohydrates, as they can spike your blood sugar and get you stuck on a crave and crash roller coaster all day, wreaking havoc on that cortisol cycle.

By starting your day with sunlight, movement, and a healthy meal, you’re resetting your internal clock, aligning your major and secondary time keepers, and rebooting your daily hormone cycle.

In the evening, you can help your internal clocks stay on track by avoiding late night eating. Aim to finish your last meal 2 to 3 hours before bed so your digestion doesn’t interfere with sleep quality. If you have to eat closer to bedtime because of a busy evening schedule, have something light that can be quickly digested. Avoid sweets, caffeine, processed carbohydrates and alcohol at night, because they can create a blood sugar spike, which will be followed by a blood sugar crash. That subsequent crash will elevate cortisol in an effort to level out your blood sugar again. That cortisol spike will likely wake you up, have you tossing and turning, unable to fall back asleep, and you may have a racing heart rate and/ or hot flashes or night sweats. A healthy night time pattern follows a healthy daytime routine. Prioritize eating and movement while the sun is up, and avoid both once it has set. As always, your body adapts to inputs it’s receiving consistently, so starting your day with sunshine and movement on occasion isn’t enough. Be sure you’re rebooting your internal clock every morning to start achieving better sleep at night.


Alumni Spotlight ULM Alumna: Sophie Barksdale


T 18 , S O P H I E B A R K S DA L E H A D D R E A M S O F spreading her wings after graduating from Neville High School. She decided to try a semester at ULM, with the intent of transferring. Within a month of being on campus, Sophie knew she was where she belonged. The smaller university environment meant professors knew her name. She developed lifelong connections and immersed herself in campus life. The familiarity of ULM was a comfort she didn’t anticipate, and it fostered a deep connection to the community she would continue to call home after law school. Sophie was an active student, pledging Kappa Delta and eventually serving as vice president of Member Education and later as President. Generally confined to the background, Sophie never considered herself a leader until Chapter Advisors Lisa Miller and Susie Lefebvre intervened. They encouraged Sophie to run for leadership, certain that she would excel in the role. It took someone Sophie looked up to believing in her for Sophie to believe in herself. The confidence boost was the foregrounding of Sophie’s willingness to step out of her comfort zone. Sophie served in the Student Government Association, first as Director of Campus Beautification and then Assistant to the President her senior year. She was involved in the Campus Activities Board (CAB) and a committee head on 31 Ambassadors. Taking the opportunity to make connections and establish friendships enriched Sophie’s confidence even more, and after graduating from ULM with a bachelor’s degree in history, she set her sights on law school. At six years old, Sophie’s stepfather Don Barksdale adopted her. Their relationship is incredibly close, despite not being biologically related. When she told her mother Susan Arender Barksdale and Don of her plans, they were supportive and encouraged Sophie to chase her dreams. When she first arrived at Mississippi College, Sophie had no idea what type of law to practice. After an internship with a family court in Baton Rouge, Sophie understood the value in helping people, particularly families like hers. Shortly before taking the bar, Sophie’s Gran called saying Judge Sharon Marchman needed a law clerk and that she should consider moving back to Monroe. Sophie realized how much she missed the familiarity of home and took the job. On her second day, Sophie sat in a final adoption hearing, wherein Judge Marchman questioned a little boy about why he wanted this man to be his father. Sophie cried in the back of the room, thinking of her own 12 MARCH 2022 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

experience. She rushed outside, called her father and said, “I know what I want to do with my life. I want to be an adoption attorney.” After an elongated silence, her father said he knew it was what Sophie was meant to do. In 2019, Daniel Cummins, also a ULM alum, and Jessica Fitts called Sophie and wanted to add adoption services to the firm. Relatively few adoption attorneys practiced in the area, and having worked with Judge Marchman, Sophie knew the field and its communal impact. Since joining Cummins & Fitts in February of 2020, Sophie has handled 75 adoption cases. The work is fulfilling. Sophie calls it the happy part of law. She is making a difference in people’s lives, the same way someone did for her and Don. Sophie continues to volunteer in the community. She serves on the Board of Directors for PAWS of Northeast Louisiana (inspired by her French bulldog Pickles), Vice President of Communication for the Junior League, and Campus Advisor for the Kappa Delta chapter at ULM, the same role held by Lisa Miller and Susie Lefebvre years prior. Sophie is able to encourage other female students to chase opportunity and believe that a purpose will eventually reveal itself. As an active ULM student, Sophie quickly realized the scope of ULM’s impact. Kappa Delta invested in the community through philanthropy, and the other organizations consistently partnered with local businesses to affect campus and regional growth. Now as a community member and campus advocate, Sophie’s awareness is compounded and she is able to invest in this region’s future, both as an advocate for families and a mentor for students. Sophie claims she wouldn’t be where she is today without the educational foundation and confidence-building experience from her initial tenure at ULM. 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





very person’s style is different. Maybe you love clean and modern AND warm and cozy, too. The good news is that there are ways to fuse all of the styles together while still making the space come together perfectly. Although I don’t mind breaking design rules, there are some that I consider true guidlelines for making sure a space looks its best:

This is a common question, and I can see why! First I need to address the reasons behind incorporating a rug into a space at all. First, rugs help define zones in open floor plans. For instance, I suggest zoning a dining room area and living room area of an open floor plan. Second, a rug adds dimension to the space, making it more inviting. Yet another reason to incorporate rugs into an area is to include your own unique style and color scheme. Now get your painter’s tape ready and start laying out a design to determine the proper size. Living Room – To make an area feel proportionaly appropriate, all of the furniture in this room should AT LEAST be touching the rug. In other words, at least the first one forth of your couch should be on the rug. If space provides, however, the entire couch and/or lounge chair should be on the rug. Dining Room – The rug should be big enough for both table and chairs to fit comfortably and for the chairs to be pulled back for sitting while still being on the rug.

Bedrooms – Ideally, you want the rug to touch your feet as you enter and exit the bed, so with that in mind, choose a rug large enough for that requirement. At the very least, the last half of the bed should be on the rug.


whites that they all start looking the same for some people. Depending on the tone that a client is looking for I have my “go-tos” to recommend. Paint can be a tricky thing because it can look one way in a room with a lot of light and totally different in a dim room. Knowing the undertones and thinking about how light the rooms are makes the choice easier. I always make swatches for clients who are unsure they want to commit to a certain color. That way a swatch can be moved to different locations in the home and at different times of the day to see how the color changes. Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore – This is as close to a true bright white as you can get! This color can pair with warm or cool toned paint colors, so it is perfect for trim, doors, and cabinets. Pure White by Sherwin Williams – If you still want a true white with a little less of the “brightness,” then pure white is for you. I love this color for trim, doors, cabinets, and walls. It, too, can pull both warm and cool tones from other colors in the room. Alabaster by Sherwin Williams – This is my choice when a client wants a warm white that isn’t too bright. It still reads

as white, but is a more subdued choice. Alabaster is great for cabinets and walls! Shoji White by Sherwin Williams – This is another warm white that is great for the exterior and interior of a home. Remember that the more sunlight in an area, the lighter the color will appear. That is why I love this color for painting the exterior of homes. It still white, but not blinding. For interiors, it is the perfect warmth for walls. If you love the idea of a bright white trim and a warmer white, Chantilly Lace and Shoji White pair well together. Greek Villa by Sherwin Williams – This one is a close rival to Shoji White. It is on the warm side as well, but looks great with cool grays and allows bright pops of color to make the statements. Greek Villa is also a great color for the exterior of a home. Crushed Ice by Sherwin Wlliams – Looking for something with a gray base? Look no further than Crushed Ice. It is the perfect barely there gray and looks great with both cool tones and warm tones for mixing and matching purposes.


consider the length of your curtains, but you should also consider the volume. You don’t want wimpy curtains! Extra width is your friend. Full curtains are luxurious and give the appearance of a bigger window. One of the biggest problems I see in homes is that the curtains are too short. They should be no more than a half inch off of the floor. Better yet, curtains should skim the floor. If you want a more glamorous feel, let the curtain puddle a bit. In addition, don’t forget to hang your curtain rod as high as possible above the window frame. WHAT SIZE LIGHT DO I NEED? Ah, this is a tough one! I love the look of an oversized light, so giving a finite answer is going to be hard. I typically eye the space and go a bit larger than the width and length of the area added together. So, for a 10x10 area I would go no smaller than a 20” width light. But you wouldn’t want something too big either, so find a happy medium. You should also consider the height of the ceiling when choosing a light fixture. The higher the ceiling the more forgiving you can be on the light size. Go bigger. The above questions are a few of the most common, but if you have a different question, or would like more specific answers based on your home, please don’t hesitate to contact me!


Your Monthly Spirits Guide Spring into Doe’s Eat Place and Washington Wine and Spirits


ARMER WEATHER IS UPON US AS SPRING approaches and flowers start to bloom. As we think about both St. Patrick’s day and the brighter days ahead we want to focus on some products that fit the bill. When we think about March here at the store we think about fresh flavors such as citrus, strawberries, and soft flowers like honeysuckle. Let’s get into it. For St. Patrick’s day our first choice this year is Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin. This fantastic gin gets the gunpowder portion of its name from its secret ingredient, green tea leaves. These tea leaves are rolled into small balls that resemble gunpowder. This gin is bright and citrus forward on the nose presenting lemon zest and a touch of green tea. The palate is highlighted by grapefruit and sweet jasmine tea, while the finish has a touch of honey and subtle cardamom. This makes for an incredible gin and tonic or just enjoy it on the rocks. We have a limited edition ceramic bottles that are absolutely gorgeous. Next up we have a liqueur from Lazzaroni, who is one of our favorite liqueur makers. Lazzaroni produces a variety of traditional Italian liqueurs such as amaretto, sambuca, and more. This time we are focusing on their incredible limoncello. This is made from fresh lemon peels and no colors are added. The nose explodes with lemon meringue and a touch of anise. The mouthfeel is borderline creamy and the explosion of sweet, zesty lemon is a delight. There is a wonderful kiss of mint on the backend that really makes this refreshing. We highly recommend trying this with Drumshanbo gin and a little soda water for a bright and easy cocktail. If you are looking for something with some sweetness that has a livelier profile than moscato, then you should try Selbach Oster’s Kabinett Riesling. This wine starts off with inviting aromas of lemon, lime, and grapefruit. The mouthfeel is full and juicy with a velvety texture. You’ll be greeted by flavors of apple, pear, and sweet lime. The bright acid leaves for a very harmonious and balanced finish. This a great wine for a variety of meals, but we really love this wine with spicy food. As we get into spring a lot of you will be looking for some great chardonnay as it warms up outside. The Landmark Vineyards Overlook Chardonnay from 2018 is drinking superbly and is perfect for spring. This is a well balanced chardonnay that brings you in with aromas of lemon, pineapple, peach, and soft flowers. The palate


is packed with all the flavors that you smelled with the perfect touch of toasted oak to balance everything out. This creates a long and refreshing finish with interesting texture. This is an amazing chardonnay to enjoy by itself or with a meal. We love a rosé this time of the year and one of our favorites is the Camino Rosé from Txakolina in Spain. This rosé explodes out of the glass with strawberries, raspberries, lime, and a touch of effervescence. The palate is an even greater explosion that lets you know you’re on your way to flavortown. An array of bright red fruit flavors hit the tongue highlighted by more strawberries, raspberries, cherries, and salty lime. The finish is long and mouth watering. You’ll love drinking this on the back porch. For the whiskey lovers out there we wanted to talk to you about the newest batch of Ammunition Rye Whiskey Pinot Noir Barrel Finish. This rye was distilled at MGP in Indiana and then finished off in Ammuntion’s own pinot noir barrels. On the nose you get classic MGP rye up front with cinnamon, butterscotch, and dill. It is right after those notes hit you that the subtle notes from the wine barrel begin to show with hints of cherry cola and a touch of chocolate. Flavors of brown sugar, cardamom, cinnamon, cherries, and honeyed vanilla highlight a soft rye that finishes quite gently. This newest batch is a real treat that shows the promise of what is to come from this young company. The last item we want to tell you about is the Recuerdo Abocado Con Gusano Mezcal from UFC fighter Jorge Masvidal. This is an easy going mezcal that has the agave worm in the bottle which gives a smoother, creamier texture. The nose opens with light pepper, lemon, and toasted agave. The palate has a gentle smoke flavor profile with white pepper, charred vegetables, and sweet citrus. A long, gentle finish makes this a great introduction to traditional mezcal. If the agave worm isn’t something that thrills you, they also make a fantastic joven or young mezcal that doesn’t include the worm. We think that one of these products could be your next spring favorite, and would be a great addition alongside one of the Doe’s Eat Place steaks sizzling on the grill. We hope to see you soon, and always, thank you for letting us be your spirits guides here at Washington Wine & Spirits.



arch Madness! And I don’t mean basketball. Rather, I’m talking about this month in our vegetable gardens. With March comes the spring equinox and, hopefully, our last frosts. While winter 2021-2022 should be in the history books, both caution and patience are key this month as premature new growth could be susceptible to damage by late frosts. Also, this month, your area horticulture agent hits the big 5-2. I don’t want to talk about that, so let’s get out in the vegetable garden! Because our last frosts, on average, occur anytime between mid and late March, all vegetable transplants should be set out this month with a close eye on the forecast. Cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and Swiss chard can all be transplanted this month. With spring’s arrival come endless possibilities for vegetables that can be seeded directly into the vegetable garden this month. These include snap beans, corn, radishes, carrots, greens, lettuce, and spinach among others. I’ve already decided that heirloom legumes will be the order of the day in the Louisiana Kitchen Garden Exhibit at the zoo this year. Half-runner Greasy beans, Dutch Case Knife beans, Black Valentine beans, Refugee beans, the Winn Parish English pea, more Red Ripper peas, and more of the Reverend Taylor butterbean are all on the priority list. I’m also looking forward to planting the Cincinnati Market radish for the first time. According to Dr. Gary Bachman of Mississippi State University Extension, this is synonymous with a Mississippi variety called Long Beach Red. It looks more like a carrot than a radish! Last year’s crop of Yellow Creole flint corn is going to be hard to beat but I’m going to try! This year, I’ll be growing out Mr. Arlie O’Bryant’s shoe peg corn from Washington Parish (see the August 2021 BayouLife). Corn is wind-pollinated, so plant yours in a block instead of in a single, long row. Sweet corn varieties are available based on sugar content: normal, sugar-enhanced, and super sweet. Seedlings of tomato, hot and sweet pepper, and eggplant 18 MARCH 2022 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

< With spring’s arrival come endless possibilities for vegetables that can be seeded directly into the vegetable garden this month.

> Louisiana Sugar Bowl Squash (1930s)

Reverend Taylor Butterbean

Below (left to right): Black Valentine Beans, Case Knife Pole Beans, Half Runner Greasy Beans

“Because our last frosts, on average, occur anytime between mid and late March, all vegetable transplants should be set out this month with a close eye on the forecast.”

that were started in February will need transplanting to either six packs or fourinch pots this month. Take advantage of mild, sunny days to harden off seedlings by bringing them outside in partial sun during the warmest part of the day. Take them back in for the evening. If using a hotbed, raise the lid during the day, then close it again in the evening. Gradually introducing transplants to full sun as they grow will ensure a stocky, healthy growth form. Prepare their places in the vegetable garden now by incorporating compost or well-rotted manure into the soil. Seeds of squash, cucumbers, and watermelons can be started indoors this month for transplanting out to the garden next month. Generally, these vegetables germinate within a week’s time and should be set out in the garden as soon as the first true leaf is produced. If weather is uncooperative and they must be moved up to larger pots before being moved to the garden, disturb the root system as little as possible; cucurbit roots are easily damaged. Make planting holes twice as wide as the root ball so roots remain undisturbed.

Just about all cucurbits are heavy feeders, so a handful of a balanced fertilizer covered with some finished compost in the planting hole will really make them jump. LSU was working on a squash back in the 1930s called ‘Louisiana Sugar Bowl.’ It was a cross between a patty-pan variety called ‘White Bush’ and an acorn squash called ‘Table Queen.’ It’s doubtful seeds of ‘Louisiana Sugar Bowl’ were ever distributed. But both parents are still widely available. I wonder how difficult generating this cross again would be. Hold my beer…

Tune in to Louisiana Living every Tuesday at 4:30 for In the Garden with Kerry Heafner of the LSU AgCenter.


Forward, Onward, Upward Women on the Move



HE MONTH OF MARCH IS KNOWN IN THIS COUNTRY as Women’s History Month. World-wide on March 8th many nations celebrate International Women’s Day. Each year the National Women’s History Alliance designates a yearly theme for the month. This year’s theme is “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope.” This timely theme pays homage to the undying efforts of frontline workers during the pandemic while paying tribute to the numerous ways women of all cultures have provided both healing and hope to humanity throughout history. During this month several noted holidays occur that ironically align with the theme. They are World Teen Mental Wellness Day, Employee Appreciation Day, National Day of Unplugging, National Be Heard Day, National Harriet Tubman Day, National Girl Scout Day, World Social Work Day, Saint Patrick’s Day, International Day of Happiness, International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Ash Wednesday and this year Mardi Gras. I look forward to the month of March and all the calendar of events highlighting Women’s History Month. The contributions of women are extensive and are intertwined in all areas of society and in my opinion should be recognized throughout the year. I eagerly join those celebrating the contributions of women, as I am compelled to acknowledge women and how they impact my being. Women have made an indelible impression on me without knowing it, some without knowing me. Some are personal acquaintances, family members and friends while others are admired from a distance through the work they do and the differences they make. I believe in the strength, prowess, courage and the emotional tenacity of women as these characteristics have been shown to me first by my mother who intentionally created a village of caring, positive, hopeful, determined and competent women for me to model after. It is these shoulders for which I stood and eventually got a bird’s eye view of women old and young, of various ethnic, political, cultural, racial and religious groups making strides towards the betterment of society. My respect for women has been shaped by elders who have exposed me to the experiences of outstanding women. I can recall a conversation with my “Big Mom,” (born in 1898) who at the time was in her 90’s, she was of sound mind, body and soul until her death six months short of being 102. She would often reflect on the past, mostly of her years living and working in segregated Mississippi prior to civil rights, her ascension into the 20 MARCH 2022 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

world of education, her time at Indiana University where she earned her Master’s degree and her family. I decided this time to ask her about what it was like to be a woman during the era of Woman’s Suffrage. It was an eye-opening, memorable and empowering conversation. Year’s later, I reflect on this treasure of a conversation as I would recognize my “Big Mom” was a woman on the move in her own right who shared with me a historical time in which women were on the move. Women have come a long way since the birth of my “Big Mom” and yet still have a long way to go. Women have always been multitasking contributors to society in the various roles we hold in life. In the words of Kamala Harris, the first woman to become United States Vice President, first Black person and first South Asian American person to be elected to the role. “If we do not lift up women and families, everyone will fall short.” Women have been pivotal at moving our nation forward, onward and upward. Many women have had to learn to avoid being plugged into the things, situations and people that serve as distractions that will prevent progress. Our nation continues to face a number of crisis in which women are at the helm: COVID-19 pandemic, sexism, racial indignities, economic turmoil, health care disparities, political and social injustice. Women are educators, social workers, psychologists, counselors, teachers, scholars, artist, athletes, home makers, care takers, religious leaders, doctors, scientist, healers, researchers, inventors, lawyers, nurses, politicians, engineers, entrepreneurs, actresses, civil right leaders, media personalities, administrator’s and writers. Long before the phrase “essential worker” became associated with frontline health care workers and fighters against the spread of COVID women had already proven to be essential to the development of society. The country may remain uncertain as to what March 2022 and beyond will bring, but the courageous women, of valor making the world a better place has many like myself feeling hopeful that brighter days are coming. The National Women’s History Alliance got it right women are providing healing and promoting hope. There is reason to hope as the nation experiences the capabilities of women moving forward with purpose, onward with determination and upward with pride For more information about counseling services and outreach programming contact Dr. Tatem at Wellness Initiatives, LLC, 2485 Tower Drive, Suite 10 Monroe La 71201, 318-410-1555 or at




“Eleanor” by David Michaelis

“She yearned for closeness, and yet her own responses prevented it. She would never be kittenishly playful with him; he would never confront hard truths with her. They could scarcely ever relax with each other.”


nna Eleanor Roosevelt, born in 1884, is known for being the most outspoken and longest-serving First Lady in American history. Orphaned as a child, Eleanor learned to function with heartbreak and loss. Marrying her 5th cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt cast Eleanor on the national stage, as she remolded the role of a politician’s wife from a mere background figure to a promoter and shaper of public policy. While their marriage was unconventional, the partnership of the First Lady and the 32nd President of the United States resulted in the most sweeping legislation the country had ever seen. David Michaelis’ book follows Eleanor’s life from birth to burial. Relying on personal correspondence, speeches, family testimonials, and interviews, Michaelis presents the woman behind the persona. Regardless of political ideology, Eleanor is remembered as strong and influential, well-respected by the country during her tenure as First lady and beyond. Some anecdotal examples include traffic stopped on the street to listen to Eleanor speak and a little boy assuming the Statue of Liberty was “Mrs. Roosevelt.” She is credited with introducing FDR to the lower classes, the people he’d never met and would eventually advocate for from the White House. Michaelis describes in detail the marriage of many, including FDR’s lovers and Eleanor’s

overbearing mother-in-law. After bearing their children, Eleanor resigned herself to a romanceless marriage with the power to shape public policy. Previously of the opinion that women should stay out of politics, Eleanor immersed herself in being the face of the presidency, meeting regularly with constituents while FDR ran operations from Washington. Her connection with the common man inspired millions and rocketed her husband to four terms as president. The biography is saturated with personal details and anecdotes. Michaelis does not shy away from the whole truth, exposing Mrs. Roosevelt’s flaws and insecurities alongside her strengths. Though she disagreed with her husband often, she never did so publicly, as she staunchly advocated for women to assert themselves within the accepted decorum of the era. She believed in rules enough to break them from time to time. She embraced change and possessed tremendous foresight, one FDR relied on extensively, often countering advisors in meetings with “But my Missus says…” Michaelis details Eleanor’s passionate romances, those in the shadows and those in plain sight. The massive amounts of information contained in this book present a complex figure, one enshrined in American history and in the hearts of Americans recovering from The Great Depression and nervous about World War II. This biography is ideal for lovers of history, especially the female history of leaders by proxy. “Better to stay self-controlled, subordinate her desires to fulfill the demands of others, make known her true feelings only indirectly. In case of fury, best to turn to the wall, face it alone.”





“We Need to Talk About Kevin” by Lionel Shriver

“Motherhood. Now that’s a foreign country.”


ionel Shriver’s novel about the complications of motherhood and the influence of parenting on a child’s development is gripping, frank, and forces readers to meditate on the unthinkable. Two years prior, Eva Khatchadourian’s son Kevin was solely responsible for a school massacre that killed 7 of his fellow classmates, a teacher, and a cafeteria worker in Nyack, New York. Now in a correctional facility, Kevin shows no remorse for his actions and revels in the media attention. In a series of letters to her husband Franklin, Eva recounts their whimsical courtship, the fraught decision to have a child, and the repercussions of that child being difficult to love. Shriver’s writing is intense, yet comical. I found myself laughing out loud even though it felt wrong to do so. Her exploration of themes such as American exceptionalism, the intense weight of motherhood, and parenting mishaps are compelling, as they resonate for anyone who has ever been responsible for rearing a child. Shriver refuses political correctness, instead diving into the obscene, the honest truths we think, but would never say out loud. In Eva’s voice, we sense a woman who has refused to conform to the grieving mother of a murderer. Instead of defending her child, she insists, in retrospect, that the signs were always there, but points out the absurdity of asking why someone


didn’t prevent a tragedy they couldn’t have previously imagined. In the letters to Franklin, Eva provides her side of the story, revisiting the complex matrix of parenting alongside someone with contrasting views of how it should be done. Shriver’s ability to braid the unfolding plot alongside social commentary lessens the harshness of the blow. The book is a difficult read, in that Shriver uses sometimes complex terminology and the story is quite long. For example, after dealing with the aftermath for quite some time, Eva writes: “I’m not sure what got into me, but I’m so tired of this. I’m exhausted with shame, slippery all over with its sticky albumen taint. It’s not an emotion that leads anywhere.” I would recommend this book to a specific type of reader - one who enjoys contemplating difficult subject matter, in this case, the epidemic of school violence by affluent white males. As a mother, I could relate to the questions about having children in the first place, the impact on an otherwise solid marriage, and the sacrifice expected of women once they give birth. As Eva explains the challenges of raising a son who seems to hate her, further complicated by a husband who refuses to see it, readers can sympathize with her plight. The book’s shocking ending still haunts me. We Need to Talk About Kevin was awarded the Orange Prize in 2005 and was adapted into a movie, by the same name, starring Tilda Swinton in 2011. “Trying to be a good mother may be as distant from being a good mother as trying to have a good time is from truly having one.”


Lucky You

Save Some Green on St. Patrick’s Day!


HIS ST. PATRICK’S DAY THE MEDICAL SPA WILL be celebrating with a Spring Open House. Join the staff on March 17, 2022, from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. to save on treatments and products. Purchase three treatments and get the fourth FREE! Also, back by popular demand, $100 gift cards can again be purchased for only $75. In addition to these spectacular savings, complimentary skin screenings will be available all day. The screenings will be by appointment only. These spots fill up quickly so make sure to schedule yours now! If your uncertain what skincare products to purchase or if you may be looking to make a change, this is the perfect opportunity to get customized recommendations based on your skincare type and needs. Finally, in the spirit of the holiday, we will be highlighting our favorite, green-toned skincare products! These products will be 25% off during the Open House, including the NEW Skinceuticals Phyto A+ brightening treatment. PRODUCT HIGHLIGHT NEW! Phyto A+ Brightening Treatment: This lightweight, corrective moisturizer soothes and corrects skin to improve brightness, texture, and clarity. Phyto A+ is oil and silicone-free and is even suitable for sensitive skin. The key ingredients, azelaic acid, arbutin, and phyto botanical, help to even out skin tone, reduce redness and minimize appearance of pores by increasing cell turnover. Pair this treatment with a Vitamin C serum and Daily Brightening SPF by Skinceuticals and you’ve got an easy brightening routine! Phyto Corrective Gel: This is a lightweight, green-toned serum that has hydrating and calming properties and contains cucumber, olive, thyme, and mulberry extracts. This serum helps to minimize the appearance of discoloration and promote an even-toned complexion. This product also contains a refreshing blend of eucalyptus and hyaluronic acid to moisturize without clogging pores which makes it ideal for sensitive and acne-prone skin. Phyto Corrective Masque: This lovely, green masque calms temporary skin reactivity caused by sun exposure, exercise, extreme temperatures, and other aggressors. The masque contains a blend


of cucumber, thyme, olive extracts, and hyaluronic acid to reduce visible redness, discomfort, and heat while restoring skin softness, smoothness, and radiance. You’ll feel like you’re getting a spa treatment at home with this calming and hydrating masque! All the Phyto family products by Skinceuticals will be 25% off during the Spring Open House event. Be sure to grab your greentoned skincare products. These products will have you feeling festive this St. Patrick’s Day and we are sure you’ll love them! TREATMENT HIGHLIGHT External factors from the environment such as pollution, blue light from digital screens, allergens, and UV rays can diminish our natural glow. The skin is our natural barrier to shield against irritants and external factors, but we need to strengthen that barrier. Prolonged exposure to external factors and environmental stressors can make your skin more susceptible to irritation, breakouts, acne, and premature aging. The ingredients found in the new OxyGeneo Detox Facial combat these skin issues and are suitable for every age, skin type, and season. Antioxidant ingredients such as copper gluconate, vanilla extract, and Vitamin E protect and inhibit skin damage from free radicals and environmental factors. Green tea extract, citric acid, and white-water lily extract help to repair UV damage, eliminate toxins, and promote a brighter, clearer complexion. The Geneo Detox facial was specifically developed with these amazing ingredients to protect, repair, and replenish your skin, leaving a strong shield against external factors and that beautiful glow we all love. When you purchase your Geneo Detox facial this month, you’ll receive 25% off. Be sure to come by The Medical Spa this month to take advantage of our specials, events, and to find out more about the medical grade skincare products, and treatments offered here! We are in the James R. Wolff Building (also known as the P&S Building) in downtown Monroe. Our address is 312 Grammont Street Suite 406, across from St. Francis Medical Center. Also, be certain to follow us on St. Francis Medical Center Facebook page and Instagram so you can be up to date on all the new and exciting things happening here at The Medical Spa.


Combine gin, lime juice, simple syrup and bitters in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a coupe and garnish with celery and a lime wedge.

styling by T A Y L O R B E N N E T T

photography by K E L L Y M O O R E C L A R K


This St. Patrick’s Day, skip the green beer and go for a gin gimlet. This easy-to-make cocktail is a refreshing combination of celery and lime, perfect for the changing season.

2 oz. gin 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice 1/2 oz. simple syrup 2 dashes of celery bitters Celery for garnish



Our wheel of colors represent some of our favorites: iridescent purple, eucalyptus green, tropical green, pearlescent blush, berry violet, cherry red and pretty in pink.


styling by T A Y L O R B E N N E T T

photography by K E L L Y M O O R E C L A R K


From cherry red to blush pink, mint green to lime green, these nail colors are on trend for spring. Let go of the dark side and bring the sunlight it, and more than anything – have fun with your manicure.


St. Frederick’s High School Warriorpalooza


The 9th annual St. Frederick’s High School Warriorpalooza, was a smashing success! Many guests arrived dressed as their favorite rockstar or hippy attire, while a host of others made their appearance in their favorite era. With live entertainment from The Chee Weez til midnight, the crowd was definitely entertained, with lighted tambourines and all! Bayou DeSiard Country Club was transformed. The amazing silent and live auction, festive food and spirits proved their worth as the packed crowd became their own rockstars for the evening. Funds raised by sponsors and donors benefit St. Frederick High School. A big thank you to all family, friends, alumni, and future Warrior families who came out to enjoy and support St. Fredericks High School!








On the BayouScene

1 Heath and Lauren Davis 2 Dr.Ekam and Ozi Anumele 3 Kindra and Eddie Knietz 4 Adrienne Bourgeois, Kristi Vinson and Susan Taylor 5 Tracy Frantom and Kasey Witherington 6 Todd and Debora Colvin 7 Tyler and Heather McConathy, Everette Stagg, Jessica Stark, Darren and Tracy Oglesby, Lori Bratton and Shane Bridges 8 Ashley Manning, Lori French and Rhonda Neal 9 Tiffney Rome and Jenny Pankey 10 Ryan and Erika McHenry 11 Ramses and Sam Oakley 12 Shanny Hart, Amy Crick, Alicia Ducote and Lana Russell 13 Mary Beth and Michael Dickerson 14 Kelly Newman and Catherine Spencer 15 Katie Dean, Emily McGee, Therese Nagem and Jaclyn Hall 16 Anthony Jacola, Carson Rutz and Lane Eddleman 17 Blair Ramey, Brandy Cascio, Jane Gunter and Katherine Gilbert 18 Dennis and Wendy Lasuzzo 19 Ronnie and Dr. Carynn Wiggins, Kelly and Maddie Wiggins 20 Joey Jacola and Leslie Trahan









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Start Smiling Early Tips for Early Childhood Dentistry


OW EARLY IS TOO EARLY TO SEE A DENTIST? There are different recommendations for parents regarding when children should visit the dentist for the first time. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a child should see a dentist by age one or six months after their first tooth appears. Typically, most children will visit the dentist for the first time by age three. It is important for parents to talk with their child’s pediatrician and/or dentist to determine the specific dental needs of each child. HOW CAN I EASE MY CHILD’S FEARS? Some experts believe that waiting to take a child to the dentist can escalate fears and anxiety. Let’s face it even adults can be scared of going to the dentist! No matter if a child is visiting a dentist for the first time or if they have frequent appointments, there is a good chance their nerves will get the best of them. One way to help calm the dentist jitters is to show them what a dentist visit is all about. Bring your child along to your next dentist appointment and let them see mom or dad get an exam. Another recommendation is to allow extra time for that first visit. This way, the visit is not rushed or chaotic. A stressed or rushed parent can rub off negative effect on a child. Also, make sure your child is well rested. A well rested child is more likely to feel relaxed and comfortable. DON’T THOSE TEETH JUST FALL OUT ANYWAY? Yes. Eventually a child will lose their “baby teeth.” However, it is very important that primary teeth are properly cared for throughout a child’s development. Having healthy primary teeth will help children maintain adequate nutrition due to proper chewing methods. Maintaining healthy teeth can also aid in speech development. It is also important to keep primary teeth as long as possible. These teeth help save space for permanent teeth which will develop as a child grows. HOW OFTEN SHOULD WE SEE THE DENTIST? Frequency of dental visits depend on the child. Those with little risk of cavities and gum disease should visit their dentist once or twice year. Higher risk patients should visit a dentist every three to four months. Higher risk patients include those with a personal or family history of oral issues and/or heart disease. those with heart disease.


Call NELA Dental to schedule your child’s check up or their very first visit. Our friendly team of dentists is ready to get your child started with good dental habits. In addition to offering flexible scheduling, NELA Dental wants to make dentist visits financially easier for all of our patients. That’s why they offer membership plans to help alleviate the cost of some procedures. Frequent visits keep your smile healthy, but these visits may also help catch potential problems early. This could make treatments simpler and more affordable. Catching problems early is not only good for oral health and your wallet, but it may also boost your medical health too. The benefits of routine oral maintenance are seemingly endless! NELA Dental accepts most major dental insurance plans, thirdparty payments, and offer flexible financing options. Call one of our convenient locations in Farmerville and Monroe, schedule your appointment. The NELA Dental team, is ready to help guide you and your family to a strong smile and healthy living. RYAN RACHAL, D.D.S.-NEW NELA DENTAL PARTNER Dr. Rachal graduated from LSU School of Dentistry with his Doctorate of Dental Surgery degree in 2017. That same year, he would join the NELA Dental team. Dr. Rachal is a member of the American Dental Association and the Louisiana Dental Association. Dr. Rachal grew up in Monroe, Louisiana where he graduated from high school at Neville High School. He obtained his bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisiana at Monroe with a major in biological sciences and a minor in chemistry. He is married to Dr. Mary Webster Rachal, who is also a dentist with a doctorate from LSU School of Dentistry. Together they have three children, Mary Carlyle, Marshall, and Mac. Dr. Rachal loves spending time with his family, fishing, reading, and watching football.

FL OWER POWER Red and yellow tulips - Tulip kaufmanniana, white tulips - Crispa tulips, purple tulips - Triumph tulips, pink tulips - Double tulips

styling by T A Y L O R B E N N E T T

photography by K E L L Y M O O R E C L A R K


Bring a little color into your life with the flower power of tulips. There are hundreds of tulips to choose from, and spring is the best time to use these beautiful bulbs for tablescapes and décor. Taylor Bennett chose four varieties to display in this gorgeous bud vase from Material Things.



styling by T A Y L O R B E N N E T T

photography by K E L L Y M O O R E C L A R K



Looking for a way to spruce up your home? Paint is one of the easiest ways to transform your space. Take your color cue from our vegetable Pantone inspiration below.




Junior League of Monroe Spring Market Details & Accepting Applications for Provisional Class


HE JUNIOR LEAGUE OF MONROE IS AN organization of women committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community through effective actions of leadership and trained volunteers. Since 1930, members of the Junior League of Monroe have devoted countless volunteer hours to meet the needs of people and organizations in our community, with efforts specifically focused on women and children at risk. Community leaders have often times looked to JLM to be a catalyst for action when it comes to turning ideas for new programs into reality. Some examples of past projects started by the Junior League of Monroe that you may be familiar with include CASA- Court Appointed Special Advocate, Teen Screen and Shots for Tots, just to name a few. Two of the most recent programs started by the league are Hygiene Care Closets at eight local schools and W.E.C.A.R.E. The closets supply students with basic hygiene and care products that they might not have access to otherwise. Women Empowerment Career and Resource Education program provides women with professional attire and career-enhancing resources. 2021-2022 has continued to be another year of obstacles, current JLM president, Mary Francis Siggers, has steered the league to continue growth. Even through trying times, the league has still been able to make a difference. In November, JLM’s Education and Task Force committee was able to support 41 of our community’s educators with mini grants totaling over $18,000 to help further their classroom initiatives. The Care Closet committee has continued efforts by implementing closets at an additional school, Rayville High School, with plans to add even more schools by the end of this year. The League’s Tools and Literacy committee has continued their Adopt a Student Program. JLM will also be hosting “The Cinderella Project” dress giveaway on March 5th at the Junior League office for local junior and seniors to select a prom dress free of charge. This year, shoppers are asked to pre-register for the event by visiting Though a lot has changed since its inception in 1999, one thing has remained constant - Spring Market. Formerly known as Spring Gifts and Garden Market, this event has remained the primary fundraiser for the Junior League of Monroe. Revenue from the event


not only allows JLM to sustain itself, but directly funds the leagues projects and initiatives that directly impact the community. Every year, JLM and vendors from across the nation take over the Monroe Civic Center showcasing apparel, interior decor, children’s items and more. This year, the 24th annual Spring Market is slated to take place March 11th – 13th at the Monroe Civic Center. In addition to the shopping experience, over the years, Spring Market has presented many fabulous raffles as an additional avenue for raising money. This year, we are excited to announce that the raffle prize will be a “Napa Valley Escape” or $5,000 cash. The trip includes a 4 day, 3 night stay at the Napa Valley Marriott Hotel and Spa, round trip airfare for two, car rental, and $1,000 spending cash. Raffle tickets are only $20 and can be purchased from any Junior League member, by calling the league house at 318-322-3236, at, or purchased at Spring Market. The drawing will be held at 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 13th, and the winner will not need to be present to win. The Junior League of Monroe is looking forward to continuing to support the community of Northeast Louisiana! The Junior League of Monroe is currently accepting applications for the 2022-2023 Provisional Class. In order to be considered to join the Junior League of Monroe, a candidate must: • Be 23 years of age by March 23, 2022. • Possess an interest in voluntarism. • Possess a commitment to community service. • Be sponsored by 2 current JLM members (Active or Sustainer Member who is in good standing). The deadline for applying for the 2022-2023 year is April 9th. To find out more information, visit or email


Ta s t e o f the South ART IC L E BY VA NE L I S R I VE R A P HOT O G R A PHY B Y K E L LY MO O R E C L ARK


Terry and Robin LaForge have provided a dining experience that is distinctly Louisiana in taste, feel and service for nearly thirty years. WHAT STARTED AS AN ACTUAL FOOD shack in 1993 is now a spacious seafood eatery boasting “tail whopping good” food. Terry and husband Robin LaForge purchased a timeworn building that had been a barbecue pitstop 20 years earlier. Along with adding a patio, they painted their new restaurant barnyard red and set up the five tables that would make way for an eager and consistent customer base. Thus far, Cheniere Shack has stood the test of time thanks to the careful and caring attention from Terry and Robin. Not only have they added and expanded over the years, but they have managed to create a space that celebrates the flavors and people of Louisiana. “We did corporate America for years,” reveals Terry, who used to work for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation while her husband worked for a tobacco company. “We just decided to move back home and open a restaurant,” she adds. From Shreveport, they traveled back to their hometown West Monroe with the hopes of settling into a slower-paced lifestyle. “It didn’t work that way,” laughs Terry, acknowledging that regardless of their small-scale operations at the time, the restaurant business is a hurried world. As she walked back to the main seating area, Terry pointed out the bones of their former establishment. “The original building was between those two poles,” she says. Lightcolored, hardwood booths line the perimeter of the rectangular floor. Light seeps through the windowed walls, stained from the outside with an impressive mural of a bayou scene, complete with a curving waterway, cypress trees, white herons, crawfish, and the occasional floating gator. Though they didn’t slow down, the LaForges appreciated no longer having to break their weekly routine with work-related travel and were glad to experience a workweek outside of the tedious 9-to-5 hustle. Back to familiar stomping grounds and with the added freedom of becoming their own bosses, the demanding attention to detail required of restaurant ownership felt more like community service than work. “We thought, if it doesn’t work, we’ll just go back to what we were doing. So you know, we started out small and just grew as we could,” says Terry.

M UC H L IKE THE I N TER I OR O F T HE R ESTAURANT, THE I R menu has also transformed. “We started out strictly mostly barbecue and burgers. And then we kind of evolved,” says Terry, referring to the inquiries their customers were making concerning their favorite Louisiana seafood staples. The couple happily obliged, and with a few family recipes, they began to add food items to their menu that more closely represent a taste of Louisiana. For Terry, that wasn’t a difficulty, as she grew up learning her way around the kitchen. “I’m just a different generation from you. We all had to cook at home, you know. I just grew up with my mom and grandmother’s cooking. So we just brought the recipes we use at home to the restaurant,” she explains, adding, “Everything here is homemade.” All of the sauces are made from scratch. Their cocktail sauce is from a recipe that belonged to Terry’s “older aunt.” Their 11-ingredient remoulade sauce has been refined by Terry herself, who asserts, “It’s just amazing.” Other popular sauces include their tartar sauce, coleslaw dressing, and cajun ketchup dip. The restaurant prides itself in cooking food to order. One of their specialties is on the appetizer menu, fried banana peppers! We have Robin to thank for this crispy, tangy, and satisfying rarity. “We’re gonna try something different,” has been the impetus for most dishes on the menu, such as their half pound hamburger steak. To give this mainstream dish a bit of a twist, Terry decided to add sautéed onions, bell peppers and mushrooms, then top the sizzling vegetables with cheese and gravy. “It’s a little bit surprising,” admits Terry, but the result is a richly flavored classic. On the seafood side, customers can choose platters and combo platters of shrimp (butterflied at the restaurant), oysters, catfish, and stuffed crab. “I like the fried catfish because I think I’d compare ours to anybody,” adds Terry. Seafood is prepared fried, blackened, or grilled. “I think we have some of the best seafood in town hands down…because it’s just freshly prepared and comes to your table.” Cheniere Shack po’boys are also a hit. The menu specifies they are served on “authentic” Gambino bread, dressed with mayonnaise, lettuce, and tomato, and come with fresh cut fries and gravy on the side. Currently serving shrimp, oyster, catfish, blackened chicken, fried chicken, and ham, and any of these traditional Louisiana sandwiches are sure to satisfy your lunch or dinner craving. It’s imperative to leave room for dessert at Cheniere Shack, though the feat seems almost impossible between their burgers, melts, and startling amount of entrees like their chicken fried steak, fried shrimp, fried catfish, red beans and rice with sausage or chicken strips. But no matter how full you find yourself at the end of the meal, don’t leave without purchasing a slice of Terry’s sour cream coconut cake, their number one best seller. Minimally decorated, this four-tiered slice of heaven is the kind of pick-me-up every dessert aspires to be. If you don’t have a taste for coconut, you’re missing out, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a sweet treat you can’t leave with.


Their bakery display also contains pecan, chocolate meringue, and chocolate coconut meringue pies. “During the holidays, we do a few more things,” says Terry, who notes that a new addition to the restaurant has been their frozen entree fridge, with single and for-two servings of chicken, sausage, and shrimp gumbo, sweet potato casserole, spaghetti and meatballs, hamburger steaks, red beans and rice with sausage, and chicken and dumplings. What began with one grill and a fryer is now a happy rejoinder for those craving Louisiana home cooking and an eating space that conveys a small town feel. Mounted on the walls are parts of Terry and Robin’s distinct personalities and interests. Most impressive are the music album covers. Fleetwood Mac (Robin’s favorite band), ZZ Top, The Beatles, and Terry’s favorite, The Supremes. “I have about all their original albums,” she says. The decorations have even become a talking point among customers who get ideas for albums they want to get and/or reminisce on albums they used to have. In fact, a customer browsing the musical decor noted that the restaurant was one Kiss album away from having the complete collection. “I have that album; I’m gonna bring it to you,” he told Terry. Another customer, hearing Robin bemoan not having Hotel California (1976) by the Eagles, offered a second copy he had. “People have also traded stuff, too. So it’s kind of neat.” Their

At Left: “We try to offer a lot more personal service. Most people who come in know me and know my husband,” says Terry LaForge, who is grateful for her regular customer-base, people who call her by name and whose to-go orders the servers have memorized.“We’ve been very fortunate in that we’ve had some good wait staff,” she adds. Between the two, they have put a lot of work into what the Cheniere Shack is now.


spacious banquet room, a busy room during Thanksgiving in particular, also features more album covers and music-themed photographs. In the back corner of the restaurant, Robin’s choice of wall furnishings is most prominent. Framing a flat-screen TV, two walls display signed boxing and football memorabilia. “My husband is a big football fan,” Terry emphasizes. Another far corner nods to their daughter’s alma mater Louisiana State University, by way of more football photography. here’s something about being one of the faces of local dining, especially when you’ve been in business for close to 30 years. “We try to offer a lot more personal service. Most people who come in know me and know my husband,” says Terry, who is grateful for her regular customer-base, people who call her by name and whose to-go orders the servers have memorized.“We’ve been very fortunate in that we’ve had some good wait staff,” she adds. Between the two, they have put a lot of work into what the Cheniere Shack is now. Robin took on all the remodeling and ended up getting licensed as a commercial contractor



based on the renovation work he endeavored to kickstart at the restaurant. “We laugh and say we’re a jack of all trades, master of none,” says Terry. Clearly, this formidable team’s versatility and adeptness have graced Cypress Street with a must-stop dine-in experience that is distinctly Louisiana in taste, feel, and service. Cheniere Shack is located at 7975 Cypress St, West Monroe, LA 71291. They are open Tuesday through Thursday between 11 AM to 8 PM and Friday through Saturday between 11 AM to 9 PM. Follow them on Facebook for weekly specials and any upcoming seasonal desserts.



n last month’ Bayou Life article I closed with a paragraph giving a plug to the Major League Fishing event that was held in early February on Lake Darbonne, Caney and Bussy Brake. As of the writing of this article, the tournament is at its halfway point, having completed the four-day first round on Lake Darbonne. An angler can learn a lot watching from watching from the sidelines, even when watching others fish a lake you know like the back of your hand. What are some of the things I learned watching the pros fish for a few days? While none of the competitors fished anywhere, I was not already familiar, I did learn some innovative ideas on how to fish things differently and to think freely when on the water. What separates the average angler from the good angler and the good from the great, is their mindset and their knowledge application. One thing that struck me while watching the MLF broadcast is how thoroughly and efficiently the anglers covered their areas. There were no wasted movements or casts, everything was done with a purpose. Their patience and observation skills were obvious but they also, like any other angler, struggled when things were slow. However, none of the competitors ever lost their confidence. The next thing I was impressed with was their use of their electronics and updated technology. On more than one occasion, an angler would say, “I saw that fish on my electronics” and then make a cast to the fish and catch it. For someone like me who has refused to embrace modern technology because I mistakenly thought it would only benefit someone fishing deeper water, the success of the anglers using it in shallow water applications was eye opening. While I am still holding fast on my belief that I do not need one to be competitive, I now realize just how important it can be to an angler who can learn and understand all its benefits. Fishing is an always evolving sport and I do not want my hard-headedness to keep me from evolving as an angler. Another thing I saw the pros excel at was boat control. They always made a conscious effort to have their boats in a position to make the correct cast. I can think of several examples over the years where if I had shown a little more patience and put myself in a better position, I would have caught fish that I lost due to my poor boat control. It is these trivial things that we overlook, at the end of the day can make all the difference in our success or failure on the water. Here are some other tidbits... On the water adjustments are key. Often, I would see them change their tactics before they would just totally give up on an area. But 48 MARCH 2022 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

even more impressive, they had the instinct to stay put when fishing got tough. If the area was producing fish, they put their heads down and kept fishing hard. This is especially important when fishing in a tough tournament or fishery. Arkansas fishing legend Larry Nixon has said for years, “Never leave fish to go find fish.” How prophetic that has proven to be. With the alternate day format, I found it interesting how many anglers found and fished the same areas. The one example that stuck out the most was the area Jonathon Van Dam fished was also being worked over by Mark Daniels, Jr., although neither angler knew about each other. Both anglers caught fish, however, Daniels caught more and bigger fish using a suspending jerkbait while Van Dam used primarily a small swimbait. Did the day matter? Had the conditions changed to give Daniels an advantage? There are no easy answers. While on my way to fish a tournament in Arkansas, MLF host Marty Stone called me and asked me my thoughts on the anglers and the lakes they would be fishing. I told him I believed the four days on Darbonne would be tough but if they could survive those days, Caney and Bussey would be more to their liking. But I also told him Darbonne would be dominated by the guys who preferred to power fish as compared to the light line specialist. During our conversation, Marty said something that really stuck with me. He said, “These guys do this for a living. They are the best in the world. They will leave no stone unturned. If these lakes have “secrets” they will find them. I know a lot of people will say, “well they aren’t fishing anywhere I haven’t fished before” and I get that but what the fans need to understand is that these guys have never been here before, so they are finding areas that may have taken the locals years to discover.” “It’s not just about fishing” he continued, “it’s about the whole package. Electronics, equipment, casting and tackle but most importantly their mental make-up. That is the one thing that separates them from everyone else. They believe they will catch them. Jacob Wheeler can catch them anywhere we go. So can Ott Defoe, as well as several others. Although the weights will be a lot lower than other places we have been, these lakes will be no different. They will figure them out.” Oh, how right he was. Well, it looks like we have run out of space and time for another month. I hope we have shared some information with you that will make your next trip to the water more productive. With spring right around the corner, I cannot think of a better time to be on the water! Be careful and make sure you catch one for me!

A Colonoscopy Could Save Your Life

Ochsner LSU Health - Monroe Talks About Colorectal Cancer Awareness BY JOSEPH WALTERS, MD


ARCH IS COLORECTAL CANCER Awareness Month. Currently, colorectal cancer is the third most common preventable cancer. In 2021, an estimated 150,000 people in the United States were diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer rates are unfortunately rising, especially in younger people. However, the news is not all doom and gloom. If caught early before it has the chance to spread, there is a 91% survival rate. Colorectal cancer begins as a polyp, which is a tissue growth found on the inner lining of the colon or rectum. Certain types of polyps can become cancerous, which is why it is important to have them removed as early as possible. There are modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors for colorectal cancer. Non-modifiable risks include your age, race, gender, genetic risk and family history of colorectal cancer. Modifiable risks include avoiding an unhealthy lifestyle, which involve your weight, diet, cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption. African-Americans have the highest rate of


colorectal cancer. Men are nearly twice as likely to develop colorectal cancer than women. Screening for colorectal cancer starts at age 45. There are many ways to screen for colorectal cancer. However, a colonoscopy is the gold standard. Individuals with family history of colorectal cancer should start their screening at age 40, or 10 years before the age that the immediate family member was diagnosed with cancer. You may not have any symptoms at the early stage of colorectal cancer. If you begin to have issues like constipation, change in stool caliber, blood in stool, fatigue or unintentional weight loss, you need to talk to your doctor to schedule a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy is a painless procedure. During the procedure, the patient is sedated while the doctor examines the rectum and colon with a scope. Air or carbon dioxide is used to inflate the colon and rectum, which allows visualization of polyps. If any polyps are discovered, they are removed during the procedure and sent to a lab for testing. The

testing will determine if they are cancerous, precancerous or noncancerous. One of the biggest concerns people have when scheduling a colonoscopy is the preparation for the exam. It traditionally involves two days of eating low-fiber foods and then a prescription laxative drink to clean out your colon for the exam. Some doctors will prescribe a prep mix, while others will have you use an over-the-counter laxative. You can now request pills (SUTAB®) from your doctor for your bowel preparation. The timeline for any subsequent colonoscopies after the first one depends on the number, size and type of polyps found. To lower your risk of colorectal cancer, it is recommended to limit your intake of processed and packaged foods, red meat, and alcohol. Eat a high-fiber diet, quit smoking, exercise regularly, and get at least seven hours of sleep nightly. Talk to your primary care physician about being screened for colorectal cancer today.




Nevertheless, despite these I REMEMBER how, as a “good” things, we still long for youngster, we looked forward to spring with its promise of much the end of winter and the coming hope. The weather is not too hot, of spring. Now that I am much not too cold; new life is blooming older, things have not changed. everywhere; there are tons of As I write this, the temperature outdoor activities and sufficient outside is in the 20 degree range! daylight to enjoy them; and So spring will be welcomed with a there are those special things like great deal of relief. baseball, golf, and going fishing You see, spring is a reprieve without needing to wear an from much unpleasantness that overcoat! winter brings to our lives. The Now, would you please indulge “cold season” causes a lot of me as I attempt to make analogy “indoor living” that can soon between winter and spring, and become a challenge relative to life for the follower of Christ here finding interesting things to do, UNLIKE SPRING, HEAVEN DOES NOT HAVE on earth and the life we anticipate especially when the wife/mother ANY NEGATIVES – ONLY THE GREATEST OF in heaven. Life here on planet puts a “no-no” on excessive use of earth has its share of blessings and the TV. ETERNAL PLEASURES AND JOY. I would encourage each of us to This problem is compounded contemplate those blessings and by the bone-chilling cold that then to express our thanks to the one responsible for all the good that dares us to venture outside. If this is an issue here in the south, one we experience. It was He who said, “I have come that you might have can only imagine the angst that must assail those who have to live in life and that you may have it to the full.” (John 10:10). Sadly, there is the frigid north. Aren’t you glad that we live in Dixie? also much about this life that causes us to long for the life to come in The snow and ice, which sometimes accompany the oppressive heaven. Among those things are illnesses and death, poverty, crime cold, are also things that cause one to choose spring over winter, and the like. Conditions can get so bad that one may even come to the especially when driving in such conditions makes travel so perilous. conclusion that he prefers going on to his “home” in glory instead of Making things even worse is that when we leave for work, it is still continuing his trying “winter” on earth. dark, and when we depart from work, we are greeted with even more Unlike spring, heaven does not have any negatives – only the darkness! greatest of eternal pleasures and joy. There will be no sin or sickness Winter also is usually accompanied by the annual flu attack, or death or tears for God has “made everything new.” (Rev. 21:5). and during the past two winters, we have had to contend with the Believers will be united with loved ones and will enjoy the perfect dreaded Covid virus. You may have other bothersome things that relationship with Jesus. Anticipating heaven can be a profitable have eluded my mind, but I hope I have made my case for welcoming exercise, especially on cold winter days! spring. In a few short weeks, spring will make its annual appearance. Having said that, I readily acknowledge that winter is not all As we look forward to its coming, let us also give some thought to bad – it does have some redeeming aspects. Watching snow fall can the eternal life Jesus has gained for His followers by His sacrifice on be pleasant for those of us who seldom see such. Then there is the Calvary; and may that hope lift our thoughts to the joy that awaits us hunting season which is enjoyed by many of us, and there are all the there, making whatever burdens we are called upon to bear seem less holidays during the season with all the good food that our southern of a weight. May the approach of spring lift your spirits and make ladies prepare, and for the majority of us, there is the exciting football you aware that, for the disciples of Christ, the best is yet to come! season. Winter is not all bad!

ar t i c le b y PAU L L I PE o p in io n e x p re s s e d is t h a t o f t h e w r it e r



Fashion Fusion Where Dance Meets Design


RE YOU AN 80’S BABY, A PRODUCT OF POP CULTURE, or do you just enjoy moovin & groovin to the sounds of soul? If this is you, then join us for an amazing evening of entertainment that will have you stepping back to a time when life was about “Feelin’ Those Vibes.” Fashion Fusion 2022 will mark 11 years of celebrating a community coming together for cancer patients right here in our area. All proceeds benefit the Cancer Foundation League of Northeast Louisiana which provides medical assistance and supplies to local patients and families suffering from this dreadful disease. The production is truly a musical extravaganza featuring 20 locally owned boutiques with over 175 models and dancers making this year our largest show to date. With an enormous stage and 65 foot runway you will feel as though you are experiencing a concert and fashion week all wrapped into one night of great entertainment. And this is not just for the ladies! We have several segments and activities for all you gentlemen as well. Fashion design, dance, and music have always fused together making an artistic statement that defines us with each generation. These are the areas of life that help us express ourselves and our feelings. The darkness of a worldwide pandemic has created an overwhelming desire to rewind to a more carefree time full of fun, laughter, and connecting with family and friends. This is what makes us happy human beings! The fashion world across the globe has exploded with a vintage vibe that makes a perfect theme for this year’s event. Bold bright colors, graphic tees, mini skirts, and bell bottom pants are definitely on trend. Menswear and even outerwear have made a huge statement with neon color schemes. And of course, a generation that made stonewashed denim a wardrobe staple should be celebrated! If you want the perfect look for any occasion, then our runway will be your guide. Each boutique is featured in a choreographed modeling segment fused with entertaining dance segments by DBK Dance & Performing Arts. Choreographer Mackenzie Salter Grassi assisted by Melissa Ring, Kelly Justice, and Heather Guillot will use their awesome talents to bring this show to a truly professional level. Special entertainment will feature Julia Claire Williams - Miss Louisiana 2021. 54 MARCH 2022 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

One of the highlights of this event is our Survivor Finale Walk. Watching these amazing warriors walk with courage and confidence because they feel the love and support of everyone involved is an experience of another level. Fashion Fusion not only promotes our local businesses but teaches everyone, especially our youth, the importance of giving back to those in need. Learning to be better human beings is what this world so desperately needs! We are so excited to share that this year we will host an amazing Pre-Party for Sponsors and VIP. The lobby will be transformed by the talented Clinton Downing, featuring a taste of delicious local cuisine and beverages including a special “Bourbon Tasting” for the gentlemen. Thank you to the following restaurants: 2 Dudes Brew & Que, The Bistro, Catahoulas, Chicken Salad Chick, The Corner Coffee House, Creative Catering and More, Iron Cactus, Marsala Beverage, Milano’s Italian Grille, Newk’s Eatery, Parish Restaurant, Planters Gastro Pub, The Platter, Restaurant Cotton, The Fat Pelican, Thurman’s Food Factory, Tonore’s Wine Cellar, Warehouse No. 1., and Waterfront Grille. Producer Debbie Bourg, Owner and Director of DBK Dance & Performing Arts with coordinator, Brittany Bourg, and the Cancer League of Northeast Louisiana invite you to join us as we bring our community together to support our families, our friends, and our neighbors. Cancer shows no discrimination. It effects all humanity! The Cancer League is comprised of all volunteers who work tirelessly to support patients and their families. Since its formation in 2002, the League has provided financial assistance to over 5,500 cancer patients in the Northeast Louisiana area. CFL has spent over TWO MILLION dollars for various services to help with the needs of area cancer patients. The league is solely funded by their fundraisers and donations. Last year we raised over $50,000 and want this year to even be greater! This will be a full evening of food and entertainment for such a worthy cause! If you or someone you know is a cancer survivor, reach out and join the Survivor Finale Walk by commenting on our Facebook Event Page. Tables and Tickets are on sale now through Event Brite or by contacting the League Office (318) 966-1953.

John Rea Realty Announces Winner’s Circle 2021 Awards


021 HAS BEEN NOTHING SHORT OF ASTOUNDING. NO one could have guessed that so much could happen over the past year. The world is a different place, and yet, we were able to witness some truly incredible things on so many fronts. 2021 has been one of high relief. There seems to have been no middle ground on any topic: political, medical, social, cultural, but at John Rea Realty, we saw an incredible amount of positivity. While we know there was definitely no one left untouched by the crisis we were in, we saw our community come together. We are still trying to find our way, the world is different, but the needs are the same. We have loved watching as people have shown true creativity in how to navigate these uncharted waters. From simple ideas, messages of positivity, major fundraising efforts for outreach programs and all things in between. Seeing how everyone came together on the things that mattered most bolstered our pride and encouraged us to continue believing that NELA is the best place to live and work! And speaking of positive news, Northeast Louisiana saw one of the strongest real estate markets we’ve ever seen. Due to historically low interest rates and people spending more time at home, there was a significant uptick in home sales. We crossed into a true seller’s market and have seen the average home price increase significantly. Our inventory is currently down by about 43% (have you thought about listing your home, because we NEED more listings)! Many homes are under contract in less than a week with multiple offers. All predictions point to this pattern holding through the end of 2022. It is definitely an exciting time to be part of the real estate market! At John Rea Realty, we believe that our job is about so much more than just real estate. Don’t let that confuse you- We love real estate, but we love our community even more! We view our positions in this community as important to helping NELA be the best it can be. We are here to love our community by helping everyone find the perfect home or work space to grow some deep roots. We love it here and we want everyone else to join us in appreciating all that NELA has to offer, from our active arts culture to our prize winning chefs and sportsman’s paradise! Home sales are important to us, but helping our fellow citizens see NELA in the best light is something our company holds most dear. We hope that you continue to see opportunities to share the positive messages that are coming from Northeast Louisiana and join in as we push that positivity forward. We pride ourselves on having some of the most professional and successful real estate agents in Northeast Louisiana. We had a record breaking year on all fronts and it was because our agents continued to offer top notch service and care to their clients. Our annual Winner’s


Circle Luncheon was held on February 22, 2022 so that John Rea Realty could take the time to celebrate these agent’s commitment to excellence and care. To be included in the Winner’s Circle, an agent must surpass an established production level. RESIDENTIAL BROKERAGE Eagle Award ($7,500,000+): Brian Bendily, Barbara Thomas and Lesli Thomas, Cara Sampognaro, Linda Edwards and Aleta Eley. Residential Delta Award ($6,000,000 - $7,500,000): Ileta Rutherford, Kathy VanVeckhoven, Rona Stapleton, Mark Phelps, Caroline Scott, Residential Champion Award ($4,000,000 - $6,000,000): Nancy Inabnett, Margery Benton, Paula Wilhite. Residential Winner’s Circle Award ($2,000,000 - $4,000,000): Elizabeth Freeman, Puddin Young, Audrey Harvey, Cindy Gordon. MVP Residential: Brain Bendily COMMERCIAL & LAND BROKERAGE: Eagle Award ($7,500,000+): Jennifer Causey Farm & Land Brokerage (7,500,000+): Jason Bruyninckx Commercial Champion Award (4,000,000 - 6,000,000): Al Peterson Commercial Winner Circle ($2,000,000 - $4,000,000): Jay Johnson New Life Members: Audrey Harvey, Linda Edwards MVP Commercial: Jennifer Causey MVP Land: Jason Bruyninckx Spirit Award: Rona Stapleton, Mark Phelps, Brian Bendily Overcomer Award: Barbara Thomas, Caroline Scott, Linda Edwards, Audrey Harvey Love Your Community Award: Patti Morris, Carmen McNew, Kathy VanVeckhoven Rookie Award: Elizabeth Newcomer Highest # Residential New Listings: Highest # Commercial New Listings: Brian Bendily (52.5) Jennifer Causey (26.5) Highest # Listings Closed: Highest # Listings Closed: Brian Bendily (66) Jennifer Causey (23.5) Highest # Sales Closed: Highest # Sales Closed: Brian agents Bendilyinclude: (38) Jennifer Causey (23) New Ashley Hubenthal, Hannah Williams, Lesli Thomas, Candace Mays. Congratulations to all the members of the John Rea Realty Winner’s Circle. These winners are second to none! Together, these winers are the Gems of the trade.


Combine these ingredients in a spray bottle and gently shake to combine. Use a citrus essential oil for a pleasant scent.

styling by T A Y L O R B E N N E T T

photography by K E L L Y M O O R E C L A R K


From the pantry to the windows, this simple glass cleaner costs next to nothing to make. Mix this DIY cleaner up to kick the grime and make your windows shine. Add your own twist with a few drops of your favorite essential oils.

What you’ll need: 2 cups of water 1/2 cup white or cider vinegar 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol 2 drops of essential oil




Meredith’s Musings FRESH FACES article by MEREDI T H MC K I NNI E


s we gathered our Bibles and purses and rushed toward the door, my friend’s mother yelled, “I hope you put on your face.” We were late for Sunday night services and my friend rolled her eyes in protest. “ We don’t have time. Let’s go,” I said. Every car ride felt like a rebellious adventure, as we had both only acquired our driver’s licenses in the last few months. We climbed into my friend’s navy Chevy Astro van, a minor embarrassment in the school parking lot, but the source of escape from the homes that felt limiting for teenage girls. “Why does your mom hate your face,” I asked. My friend chuckled, “Apparently me not wearing makeup is an inconvenience for everyone.” I grunted. “Well, that’s just stupid.” My final word faded into the wind as I manually rolled down the window to let the absurdity of the conversation dissipate with the highway noise. It’s been twenty years, and I’d mostly forgotten that exchange until the topic came up again. The antiquated ideas of a woman’s weighted responsibility of looking a certain way outside of the home continued for my friend. We see each other infrequently, but I’ve noticed she rarely wears makeup, regardless of how many strangers may encounter her naked face. She’s not opposed to makeup, but she doesn’t feel she owes the effort to anyone. Highlighting her face with color and accents is a personal choice and really has nothing to do with pleasing anyone else. My own makeup journey has ebbed and flowed over the years. I remember the entire application process taking all of five minutes in adolescence, and lipstick was reserved for special occasions. I think of lip satin as the bow on the present. I now rarely apply the dramatic red color unless I’m fairly certain my picture will be


taken. Anytime I emerge from the bedroom with red lips, my young daughter makes a comment of approval. She likes decoration. I’m intrigued by women’s relationship to makeup. Some friends dedicate entire vanities to storing their overpriced products and fancy little benches for accommodating the morning ritual. Others smear their faces over the bathroom sink with a small bag haphazardly spilling contents onto the counter. One girlfriend spent an hour on just her eyes. I once was mesmerized watching her separate her lashes with a clothespin. She was so dedicated to each strand’s independence. It felt ridiculous, but her eyes always look amazing. During Covid, the mask mandate reduced my fiveminute makeup ritual to nil. It started slowly, as the lipstick was impractical and often adorned more of the backside of the mask than my lips. Then the eyeliner and mascara felt pointless and eventually I ditched the foundation. My face was bare for months on end and seeing my bare face in the mirror at work felt less intimidating. I liked being able to get ready for work quickly and found myself skipping the makeup on weekends. I’d forget to put it on, and then started to not care. Now that the mask mandates have lifted, I have yet to introduce my meager makeup routine back into my schedule. While organizing my wicker basket, I noticed my mascara was old and I didn’t even bother to put it on the shopping list. I’m sure I’ll purchase more, but I’m not in any hurry. I’ve come to realize that some surface level habits are just that. And in the craziness of toddler motherhood, less to do feels liberating, even if I’m only reclaiming five minutes. Perhaps this inclination to care less about what other people think is just part of aging. We start to realize how quickly it all goes and only want to focus time on the efforts that bring fulfillment.

Topo Chico Hard Seltzer Inspired by a Legend



NTIL THE LAST FEW YEARS, TOPO CHICO MINERAL Water was hard to find in the United States, outside of Texas. Devoted fans of Topo Chico have been touting the exceptional effervescence of this mineral water from Monterrey, Mexico for years. Lately, Topo Chico is starting to get around. This extra-fizzy mineral water is delicious as is, although that same high carbonation and unique taste also make it a great mixer. It’s the star ingredient in Texas Ranch Water, a summer favorite cocktail, and some people start their day by using Topo to top off their cold brew coffee concentrate. Topo Chico Agua Mineral has been bottled at its source, an inactive volcano in Monterrey, since 1895. Bottlers add only enough carbonation to replace any of the natural bubbles lost during purification. The process doesn’t alter the natural minerals that give Topo Chico its bright, clean finish that some say has a trace of salinity and citrus. Many like to swig Topo Chico straight from its signature long, slender, glass bottle with a pale blue-green tint, retro vibe, and an old-fashioned metal cap that holds in all those bubbles, just right for chilling. Most people agree that Topo Chico is notably thirstquenching. Others go so far as to say it alleviates indigestion and can take the edge off a hangover. It’s long had a reputation as a beverage that makes people feel better. Legend holds that once there was an Aztec princess who fell so ill that no doctors could cure her, but she was saved by drinking special water from a miraculous hidden source that provided “vigor, joy, strength, and refreshment.” The princess pulled through, the good news spread throughout the land, and the story and reputation of Topo Chico were born. Topo Chico is now owned and distributed by Coca-Cola, which is making it easier to find on menus and on store shelves across the country. Original Topo remains its most popular non-alcoholic beverage, although there is now a line of hard seltzers inspired by the legend. Topo Chico Hard Seltzer is the only hard seltzer inspired by Topo Chico Mineral Water’s legendary taste. This new hard seltzer delivers all the refreshment consumers love, made in the spirit of Topo Chico


Mineral Water, with added minerals for taste. Topo Chico Hard Seltzer is gluten-free and contains only 100 calories, 2g of sugar, and 4.7% alcohol by volume per 12oz. It is available locally in a variety 12 pack as well as single 24oz cans. The Topo Chico Hard Seltzer Variety Pack includes four unique flavors. Tropical Mango bursts with ripe, floral notes and finishes clean and fresh. Strawberry Guava combines tangy guava with the juicy sweetness of fresh strawberries. Tangy Lemon Lime surprises your taste buds with the tart citrus flavor of lemons and limes and has a subtle sweetness. Exotic Pineapple will transport you to a remote tropical paradise with its sweet flavor of ripe pineapple. The variety pack launched nationally in January of this year and is already one of the top seltzers in the category. Molson Coors, who produces, distributes, and markets Topo Chico Hard Seltzer as part of an agreement with Coca-Cola, has expanded its Fort Worth brewing facility to keep up with demand for the hot new brand. And the fun doesn’t stop there! This spring, Topo Chico Margarita will hit the shelves. There are four tropical flavors in the Margarita pack: Signature Margarita, Tropical Pineapple, Strawberry Hibiscus and Prickly Pear. The drinks will come in 12-ounce slim cans and have 100 calories each and 4.5% alcohol by volume. “Most of the prepackaged margarita-flavored options out there right now taste artificial and nothing like the actual cocktail,” said Matt Escalante, senior director of hard seltzers at Molson Coors Beverage Co. “With Topo Chico Hard Seltzer, we’re capturing the complexity of a real margarita in hard seltzer form, infused with lime, salt and tequila flavors. We can’t wait for drinkers to try it.” Be sure to like Choice Brands on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram to keep up with new product releases. Feel free to message us for information on where to find your favorite brands. Find us at facebook. com/thechoicebrands,, and choicebrands.

Holistic Veterinary Services Corner Vet Practices Animal Chiropractics


R. PHOEBE AINSWORTH BAESSLER HAS ALWAYS enjoyed learning about alternative medicine and recently completed a boarded specialty in Animal Chiropractics from Parker University. She was inspired to pursue the niche field when witnessing the benefits of chiropractic care on horses. As an equestrian, she is far too familiar with the number of musculoskeletal injuries and maintenance the large animals require. Noticing the successful recovery rate of horses undergoing chiropractic care during her work experience as a lead racetrack veterinarian further attested to the benefits of maintaining body alignment for rapid healing. She began to consider delving into the practice for the smaller animal population she serves on a daily basis. “It’s similar to humans,” she says. “Keeping everything in line allows neurological flow.” In other words, when you establish alignment and remove restriction, the body can then start healing itself. In addition to chiropractic care, Dr. Ainsworth is also certified in acupuncture and laser therapy, hoping that pet owners begin to embrace noninvasive, alternate therapies for their furry friends. Originally from Wiggins, Mississippi, Dr. Ainsworth graduated from Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2015. Upon graduation, she was the recipient of the Large Animal Internal Medicine award. Then, in 2016 she married her “surgery partner and best friend,” Dr. Richard Baessler, and started their married life together in Monroe, LA, both working at Corner Vet in Sterlington. She is not only led by compassion, but also extensive gratitude for the practice of animal wellness and the dedicated professionals she works alongside. “To be honest, I was very skeptical at first,” Dr. Ainsworth confesses regarding mixing western medical practices with eastern methodologies, adding the importance of adding integrative medicine to make western therapeutic practices “work even better.” Having conducted her own extensive research, particularly about acupuncture on animals, she is confident that widening her services will ultimately be beneficial to her patients, particularly dogs and cats suffering from arthritis, joint inflammation, chronic back pain, allergies, and mood disorders. This centuries-old technique focuses on restoring an energy balance in the body that helps the body heal itself. “By stimulating blood flow, it’s releasing endogenous or internal opioids that we make 66 MARCH 2022 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

naturally. These innate chemicals aim to reduce the amount of oral medications you have to take,” she says, adding, “It has withstood the test of time.” These alternative practices are not one-size-fits-all. In fact, many of her senior patients who wouldn’t benefit from the joint adjustments of chiropractic care, are better suited for a combination of acupuncture and laser treatments, light therapy being the less invasive. “The light therapy is concentrated into one area where you are having pathology issues,” Dr. Ainsworth informs, explaining that it aids in increasing blood flow to the area which in turn decreases inflammation. This case-by-case approach is paramount to her patients, as she recognizes that each cuddly pet scuttling into her exam room is unique and deserves customized care. Patient-specific care not only takes the form of treatment but also its duration. For instance, pet owners with a 12-year-old dog that has trouble getting up and getting around could benefit from routine maintenance therapy via a combination of the alternative methods she offers. “I have some that come in once a week for three weeks then won’t see until a month later,” she says. Dr. Ainsworth and her team at Corner Vet strive to offer comprehensive veterinary care to its patients and clientele. Clinic owner Nicole B. West, DVM, and her additional associates, Dr. Richard Baessler and Dr. Kristi Laffitte, have established a patientcentered focus as the cornerstone of their practice. From cutting-edge technology and advanced medical procedures to routine vaccinations and boarding services, they will deliver the best there is to offer in veterinary medicine. Not only do they stand apart by the multifaceted services, but their dedication to the Northeast Louisiana community is one led by, “Caring for all of God’s creations with compassion and integrity.” Corner Vet is located at 101 Scott Drive Sterlington, LA 71280 and is open Monday through Friday between 7:30 AM and 5:30 PM. Corner Vet West is located at 3030 Hwy 80 West in Calhoun, LA 71225 and is open Monday – Friday between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM. Follow them on Facebook and/or call them at (318) 460-2970 for the Sterlington location and (318) 599-3055 for the Calhoun location to learn more about how Dr. Ainsworth can best service your cherished family pet using integrative therapies, or to make an appointment with any of the skilled veterinarians at either location.


Screenings Save Lives March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month BY HILL HINKLE, M.D.


HY SHOULD I BE CONCERNED ABOUT COLON cancer? For several decades, colon cancer has been the 2nd leading cause of death, only behind lung cancer in the U.S. While many lung cancers are preventable by avoiding smoked tobacco, colon cancer is primarily related to aging and genetics. There are other minor factors that influence it, including smoking, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and poor diet. Yet everyone will eventually be subjected to colon cancer screening regardless of risk factors. At the end of the day, a colon cancer screening program is the best prevention. WHEN SHOULD I BE SCREENED? Recently, the screening age has been reduced from 50 to 45. The number of colon cancers occurring in people less than 50 has doubled from 7 to 13% over the last 20 years. The cause for this is unknown but it may be related to our sedentary lifestyles, increasing weight, and changes in gut bacteria. ARE THERE DIFFERENT WAYS OF SCREENING FOR COLON CANCER? Currently in Louisiana, there are two methods of screening for colon cancer: direct visualization by colonoscopy and stool-based testing by Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) or stool DNA (Cologuard®). Note: Louisiana Medicaid does not cover stool DNA testing (Cologuard). ARE SOME PATIENTS AT INCREASED RISK FOR COLON CANCER? A patient is considered high risk when their first-degree relative (parent or sibling) has been diagnosed with colon cancer or polyps before age 60 or any two first-degree relatives at any age. There are other syndromes and medical conditions associated with a higher risk, and it is recommended that you consult with your physician or gastroenterologist to discuss. In some situations, screening colonoscopy will need to commence at age 40 or sooner. In addition, FIT and Cologuard are not appropriate for use in these high-risk situations. HOW ARE THESE SCREENING TESTS PERFORMED? FIT and Cologuard are tests that involve submitting and testing a stool sample. They are the easiest tests to complete but also the


least accurate. FIT is inexpensive (~$22) and recommended yearly. Cologuard can be expensive (~$600) if not covered by insurance and must be done every three years only for patients without family or personal history of polyps or cancer. Caveat: neither test offers prevention from developing colon cancer. A positive test results in a diagnostic (non-screening) colonoscopy. A diagnostic colonoscopy is not covered under the screening benefit and may result in out-ofpocket expenses. Colonoscopy is considered the gold standard test. It is most accurate and has the added benefit of providing cancer prevention by polyp removal. The caveat is that it requires a prep the night before to cleanse the colon and then a sedated exam that involves inspecting the colon and removing polyps if present. A colonoscopy only has to be completed once every ten years as long as no polyps and no high-risk family history are present. ARE THERE WARNING SIGNS FOR COLON CANCER? Many colon cancers are found incidentally at colonoscopy. However, some are fortunate enough to have symptoms. The most important symptoms to look for are blood in stool and a change in bowel habits. This can be worsened constipation or even loosening of stool. Abdominal pain and weight loss are also possible. It is most important to discuss further workup with your physician if you have any of these symptoms regardless of age. WHAT CAN I DO TO DECREASE MY RISK? First of all, make sure to enroll in a colon cancer screening program with your primary care provider or gastroenterologist when age-appropriate. This is the most effective prevention. Additionally, maintaining a healthy lifestyle has also shown some benefit. This includes maintaining physical fitness and weight, limiting processed foods and red meat, and avoiding smoking.



Historical Impressions

b y G u y M i l l e r, V i c e C h a i r E m e r i t u s , C h e n n a u l t Av i a t i o n a n d M i l i t a r y M u s e u m


he winter of 1779-1780 was even more brutal than the one the Continental Army had endured at Valley Forge two years prior. In their camp at Morristown, New Jersey, the Continentals suffered the coldest winter in recorded history with twenty-eight separate snowstorms which buried them under 6 feet of snow. The men slept on straw in primitive log huts and because the weather hindered the delivery of supplies they sometimes went days without food. George Washington knew his troops were spent mentally and physically so he did what a good boss should do: he gave them a day off. The general gave his army only one holiday off that year and it wasn’t Christmas, it was St. Patrick’s Day. March 17th was a day of special significance for Washington. On that day in 1776, the British evacuated Boston, and the general secured his first major strategic victory since assuming the command of the Continental Army. Legend has it that Washington made “Boston” the password for the troops to re-enter the town on March 17th and “St. Patrick” was the proper response. The largest immigrant group in the colonies by the time of the American Revolution were the Irish. Having fled Ireland to free themselves from British oppression, the Irish were already predisposed to support any rebellion against Britain. About one-quarter of the Continental Army was Irish by birth or ancestry; with some regiments from Maryland and Pennsylvania being up to 50% Irish. Seven of the eleven brigades with Washington at Morristown were commanded by generals born in Ireland or with Irish parents. Washington issued a general order on March 16, 1780, proclaiming St. Patrick’s Day a holiday for his army. “The General


directs that all fatigue and working parties cease for to-morrow the SEVENTEENTH instant,” read the orders, “a day held in particular regard by the people of [Ireland].” March 17th would be the first day of rest for the Continental Army in over a year. There were no mugs of green beer for this day but the Pennsylvania Division did enjoy a hogshead of rum that had been purchased by their commander. One of the units included in the Army of the Potomac was the Irish Brigade led by General Thomas Francis Meagher. On March 17, 1863, Lt. Josiah Marshall Favill of the 57th New York Infantry wrote in his diary of the celebrations he had witnessed that day: “This being St. Patrick’s day, or the 17th of Ireland, as the men call it, General Meagher and staff celebrated by giving a steeplechase on the parade ground of the division. A course was carefully laid out, ditches dug, hurdles erected, and valuable prizes offered to the contestants. The conditions were simply that none but commissioned officers of the division could ride, which was sufficiently liberal. A crowd of officers presented themselves aspirants for honors, as well as prizes. Meagher, glorious in fancy undress uniform liberally covered with gold braid, and followed by a jolly lot of staff officers, rode about the course, master of all he surveyed. He is a very good horseman. Most of the general officers of the army, with their many lady friends, were invited, resulting in a magnificent crowd. Amongst many notables riding in the train of the commander-in-chief, was the Princess Salm Salm, a beautiful and fearless horse woman. When she first came on the ground, she rode her horse up to a five foot hurdle and nonchalantly took a standing jump, clearing it handsomely. [Major General Joseph] Hooker looked

superb, followed by a great crowd of staff officers and retinue of mounted ladies. The race was a great success, there being many falls, many horses injured and a lot of riders. Wilson, of Hancock’s staff, rode, although getting one or two bad falls, managed to pull through, and win one of the prizes. Jack Garcon the O’Malley dragoon aide, won first prize and was fully entitled to it. The course was surrounded by thousands, kept in order by guards posted entirely around the field. In the evening General Meagher gave a reception, and of course, all the brigade and other commanders, with their staffs, were invited. Zook, Broom, and I attended, but the pace was too fast for Zook and so we retired early, leaving Broom, who is quite equal to every emergency of this sort, to do the honors. Within a large hospital tent, mounted upon a table in the center, stood an immense punch bowl filled to the brim with the strongest punch I ever tasted. All were invited to partake and such a gathering of jolly, handsomely dressed fellows, I never saw before. The Irish brigade was in its glory. It understood the situation, was master of it, and quite immortalized itself. There was the inevitable quarrel. How could it, otherwise, have been complete? The general and the brigade surgeon ended in challenging each other to mortal combat, and for a time matters assumed a threatening aspect. The following morning, however, when the effects of the nectar had subsided, the surgeon apologized in due form, and peace resumed her loving sway. Mitchell, of Hancock’s staff, was in high feather, and might easily have been mistaken for one of the festive brigade.” Favill’s account confirms what we know today- you don’t need to be Irish to celebrate and enjoy St. Paddy’s Day!





you ask any outdoor enthusiast what month is their favorite, you would probably get a number of different answers. Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love October fishing, deer hunting in November, duck hunting (not for a while) in December and of course small game (squirrel and rabbit) in January and early February. But if I had to pick my single favorite month, it would be the month of March. Fishing in March is unlike any other month. I certainly love the early summer months when crappie and bass will bunch up but for bass and crappie, there isn’t a better or more productive month for big fish than the month of March. Fish will position on shallow cover and become very protective of the area. They are in their spawning time and this can mean big fish and a lot of them. Some anglers struggle with catching pre-spawn and spawning fish because they either offer the wrong presentation, wrong boat position or the wrong set up. Let me see if I can offer some simple solutions to the age old problem. Let’s start with crappie. Depending on the area you are fishing, if I have a choice I would prefer a stained water versus clear. Granted, you can see the fish better armed with a good set of polarized sun glasses but remember this: If you can see them, they can see you. The first advice for any spawning fish is to make sure to wear light colored clothing. Think about the view of the fish. Do you stick out more with a silhouette of a blue sky behind you with dark or light clothes? The man who taught me this was my grandfather. I can attest that I have better luck when I wear light colored clothes when fishing spawning fish. The next thing to remember is noise. A reliable trolling motor is a must but most anglers make a fatal mistake which directly relates to the amount of fish caught, especially in aluminum hull boats. We all love to position our boat into the wind and ease into the tree, lay down or optimum cover to offer our lure of choice. If your aluminum boat has waves slapping it you may as well beat the water with a limb. I solve this issue with a simple fix. I tie an old window anchor (looks like a fat metal stick) to 3 feet of rope and tie it to the rear of my boat. It does not catch on anything and allows me to approach with the rear of my boat facing the wind with little spinning around. I can work the cover and have found if I can get my jig in front of a crappie before he sees or hears me, I have better results. Line size and line color is critical on spawning crappie. I used the Mr. Crappie high visibility green in 8 lb test for a reason. A lot of shallow crappie bites are subtle. I catch more fish by watching my


line than when waiting on the pull or bite. Be a line watcher and you will catch many more fish. Another tip is which jig you choose and how it is presented. I rarely use over a 1/16 ounce jig and I will not use a jig that does not have a sickle hook. The sickle hook accounts for a majority of catches when cheaper jigs with cheap hooks will allow many fish to get off and most times it is right at the boat. In this stained water, I like a road runner blade on my jig. In the dingier water, I have found that the bite is more aggressive and I lose very few. Remember that crappie rarely come in one’s. I will hit an area and return during the day and fish it all over again. Crappie are greedy and if one is caught off of a Cypress tree, it isn’t long before another crappie will take over for the one living in your livewell. Rod length is critical in shallow crappie fishing. I always use at least an 11 foot rod (B n M). The rod should have a quick tip and allow you to be creative when setting the hook. Every time I drop a jig (as crappie have a knack for getting in tight spots) I am looking for my exit. How am I going to get this fish on and how am I going to get this fish in the boat. Be ready for a quick reaction. When bass fishing during the spawn and post spawn for bass, fan casting is not the route to go. Remember that the first fish on the bed is the male and he is the last to leave. If you see two fish on the bed, you must catch the male (smaller one) and not release him immediately (only on lakes with no slot limit). He guards the bed and will go right back to the bed and not be catchable for a while. To catch big girl, you literally have to make her mad. One trick I use for this is to go light and use a 10lb test line with a tube jig. Inside the tube I put an Alka Seltzer. When you drop that tube into the bed watch the fish. When you see her gills flair, you have her attention. Something about that bubbling from the Alka Seltzer makes her think this creature is eating her fry she is guarding, this will put her in attack mode. When I stop seeing a lot of bass locked on beds, it is top water time. I love a Rogue or my favorite, orange and black Long A bomber. The reason I like the Bomber is it is heavy and I can make very accurate casts. One trick I use on my home lake is to put a small stick with a piece of trail marking flagging stuck in the bank or on a tree limb to mark where I found active beds. This assures I won’t spook the fish and can make longer casts for more action and bigger fish. I hope you enjoy this wonderful month of March. Catch a bunch but keep only what you need. Spawning fish are tomorrow’s fish. Save a few for the grandkids.


Layers of Love and Learning Cedar Creek Early Learning Center


CHILD’S EARLY SCHOOL EXPERIENCES MAKE ALL THE difference in future learning, and nowhere is this more apparent than Cedar Creek’s Early Learning Center (ELC), which houses the school’s full-day pre-K and kindergarten programs. Peek inside the ELC’s bright, busy classrooms, and you will find children hard at work and play. “Pre-K provides a safe and loving environment that makes learning fun,” said Meagan Stephenson (B.S. Human Development and Family Science, Louisiana Tech), who has taught pre-K at Cedar Creek for 12 years. “This is a year of hands-on exploration, gaining self-confidence, and learning important social skills—experiences that will help each child adjust to kindergarten.” Small class sizes, play-based instruction, and an innovative curriculum are the foundation for lifelong memories as children begin their formal education at Cedar Creek. Students explore STEM subjects and the arts, take field trips, celebrate special holidays, and participate in service projects at school like the St. Jude Trike-a-Thon. “Children at this age learn through play and experiences,” said Mallory Hall (B.S. Early Childhood Education, Louisiana Tech). “It is important to introduce them to new skills constantly because their minds are like sponges, soaking up everything!” Hall, who has taught pre-K at Cedar Creek for ten years, said the ELC’s programs are second to none. Each class has its own teaching assistant, and kindergarten offers auxiliary electives in Spanish, art, music, library, and STEM. “Our program receives incredible support from teaching assistants and parents,” Hall said. “We have so many manipulative and learning tools in our classrooms; Cedar Creek invests in us and provides everything we need.” Connie Eagles (B.S. Elementary Education, Louisiana Tech) has been a teaching assistant at Cedar Creek for ten years. She said the Early Learning Center provides a positive, welcoming space for children. “One of my favorite jobs at Cedar Creek is the morning car line,” Eagles said. “I love helping children out of the car, giving them a big smile and hug, and encouraging them as they start a new day! I still have kids that have moved to the elementary building who come up and hug me as we meet each other somewhere on campus. I want the students to know I love and care for them, even when they have moved on from pre-K.” 76 MARCH 2022 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

“We are a family,” said kindergarten teacher Rachael Cheatwood (B.S. Family and Consumer Science, Northwestern State University). “There is no other place I would want my children to get their education.” Many of Cedar Creek’s faculty and staff have enrolled their own children at the school. Some are also alumni who have returned with fond memories of their own childhood experiences on campus. “Cedar Creek prepared me for my college education,” pre-K instructor Lauren Warren (B.S. Early Childhood Education, Northwestern State University) said. “As an alumna, I know how great the education and the staff are here.” ELC teachers know that the work they do every day to develop language, literacy, and math skills is foundational for children. Warren said the collaborative environment among faculty is key to helping all children succeed. “Our pre-K program is rigorous,” she said. “We work throughout the year with our kindergarten teachers to make sure we are doing the best we can to prepare students for the next level of their education.” Cheatwood counts reading instruction as one of her favorite aspects of the kindergarten curriculum. “Teaching is one of the most fulfilling and rewarding occupations,” she said. “It is such an amazing feeling when a child learns how to read, and you know you have played a large role in that.” In addition to academics, parents enjoy many options the ELC provides to make memories with their little ones. Events like the Teddy Bear Picnic, Bubble Fest, Community Helper Week, and the annual Pre-K Mardi Gras Parade mark special milestones in the learning process. Kindergarten teacher Amanda Barham (B.S. Early Childhood Education, Louisiana Tech) said faculty and staff in the ELC are committed to bringing a sense of joy to every classroom. “I think of my students as family and love them as my own,” she said. “I will do everything I can to make sure they have the best year ever!” Now enrolling in grades pre-K through 12 for the 2022-23 school year! Apply online at or call (318) 255-7707 for a campus tour. Cedar Creek’s Class of 2021 earned nearly $4.5 million in scholarship offers, with the top quartile scoring a 31 average ACT. Cedar Creek practices an open, non-discriminatory admissions policy.


It’s Her Stage and Her Arena! Women are No Longer Waiting for Men to Give Them a Chance to Shine



HE RAPPER BELLY PRODUCED A SONG IN 2016 entitled “Ballerina.” In his lyrics, he describes a situation where he sits back and watches his exotic dancer (of whom he refers to as his ballerina) dance on the stage for him. He says that “it’s her stage but its his arena.” A woman, in his view, owns the stage and anything she makes on it. However, while it is her stage upon which to shine, she should never forget her place in his arena, of which he controls. The mentality behind these lyrics goes back throughout the ages even before James Brown sang “This is a man’s world, but it wouldn’t be nothing without a woman or a girl.” Over time, women have waited for a man to give them approval before they could work, vote, buy property, hold elected positions, or start a business. After the wave of the “me too” movement, a spark was lit and women across the country have said ‘enough is enough’. They’ve begun to take the power within their own hands and have begun to succeed in places where they were not traditionally allowed to. Women are also becoming so successful in their pursuits that it’s not them that are competing with men, but it’s the men who are competing with them. Scores of women in our local community embody this spirit of entrepreneurship and initiative to chart their own voyages to success. They’re not waiting around anymore for approval or acceptance to do anything. Men still attempt to control the narrative and take credit for the work, but in many areas, men are not successful in that regard. The Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo has become a magical place once again with new exhibits, upgrades in facilities and infrastructure enhancements. Tom Pearson may be the new director of the Zoo, but there are two women who really run the show at the Zoo. That’s City Councilwoman Kema Dawson and Zoological Society President Maggie Generoso. The two are often labeled as “zookeepers” but their partnership and continued work is making one of the biggest economic development sites in Monroe a reality again. It’s Tom’s stage, but it’s their arena. Dawson also serves on the City Council with Gretchen Ezernack. Ezernack is one of the longest serving members currently on the council. Their work can be seen regularly as they along with Councilwoman Juanita Woods outnumber men on the city’s legislative body. Nothing gets done in this city without their three votes. That’s a power that many probably don’t recognize. It may be Ellis’s stage, but it’s their arena. One of the most successful business operations in the city is a dance company operated by Carolyn Goodin. Goodin is a powerhouse dance


instructor who orchestrates some of the most exciting shows at the Monroe Civic Center. She teaches all forms of dance and dances herself. She takes youth around the country in competitions and makes sure they are seen on national stages including the floors of NBA basketball games and the fields of NFL football arenas. It’s her stage…and her arena too. Kenya Roberson is another powerhouse in the local area. She recently brought together a force of economic power with the Monroe Chamber of Commerce, the West Monroe Chamber of Commerce and the Monroe Regional Black Chamber of Commerce of which she is the president. She is persistent in her pursuit to highlight local businesses in the area and ensure that minority owned businesses get a fair opportunity when it comes to corporate and government contracts. Betty Cooper not only serves on the Monroe City School Board, but she also presides as the president of the Ouachita Parish Public Library Board of Control. I serve with her along with a few other men, but its her gavel that opens the meetings, guides the discussion, and sets the agenda as we oversee a $10 million annual budget. Through her leadership efforts, the main branch library is undergoing millions of dollars of renovations and the area is likely to see upgrades to the Carver-McDonald Library in the near future. Women like Toria Adams, who is a local realtor with Keller Williams, not only sell and close on million-dollar homes, but she is active in construction as well. Adams, who was once effectually known as “the woman with the blond Mohawk” gets down and dirty painting, laying tiles, nailing nails into 2x4s and creating masterpieces of worn structures. She created an industry for herself, not asking for a man’s approval. She can compete with the most skilled male carpenter on her stage. Others in our community who stand out are Kandice Hunter, a nurse practitioner, Patience Talley, who is the director of the City of Monroe’s Recreation department, Johnna Van, founding partner of Great Minds Communications, Mary Ann Tellis, the first woman Assistant Chief of Police for the City of Monroe, and Latasha Harris, who owns Pamper Palace Spa, one of the most productive massage therapy spas in the city. These women have succeeded against the odds and have not only performed well on their stages, but control the arena, too. Gone are the days where women are asking for permission to be great. They are taking the power within their own hands. This is the empowerment that other women need to see. The message is clear that “you can own the stage and the arena too!”


Most Neutral Vodka Marsala Beverage Introduces NÜTRL Vodka Seltzer


N LATE JANUARY, MARSALA BEVERAGE CONTINUED THEIR spree on innovation rollouts with the introduction of NÜTRL Vodka Seltzer to Northeast Louisiana. You’re probably thinking, “another seltzer?” But hear us out: NÜTRL is vodka-based and made with just three ingredients: vodka, seltzer and real fruit juice. NÜTRL Vodka Seltzer is a tasty, sessionable beverage that is unpretentious and uncomplicated. The gluten-free drink, which recently launched in the U.S., boasts a simple and straightforward recipe: real vodka, real juice and real seltzer, nothing else. NÜTRL is available in four flavors — mango, pineapple, raspberry, and watermelon — and contains 4.5% alcohol inside a 355mL can, with no added sugar. In total, each can contains only 100 calories and 2.4g of sugar. Pineapple: NÜTRL Vodka Seltzer Pineapple is a refreshing light, low calorie pineapple seltzer. For pineapple lovers, NÜTRL pineapple is gluten free, has no added sugars, uses natural flavors, all with just 100 calories. Raspberry: NÜTRL Vodka Seltzer Raspberry is a light and tasty drink with a zing of raspberry. Relax and sip away as you enjoy a gluten free seltzer with natural flavors and no added sugar. Oh, and it’s only 100 calories. Watermelon: NÜTRL Vodka Seltzer Watermelon is your new favorite simple and tasty watermelon seltzer. NÜTRL Watermelon is gluten free, with no added sugar, and all natural flavors with only 100 calories. Anheuser-Busch is one of the largest companies in the beer market. As ready-to-drink beverages have become the fastest-growing alcohol category in the U.S., the company is looking to expand its stake in the alcohol business with its newest addition to the category. In the last year alone, more than 181 seltzers were introduced in the increasingly saturated product category. However, with each new addition to the seltzer market, the category continues to adapt to consumer preferences. Now it’s getting into the hard liquor game by way of the rapidly expanding ready-to-drink segment. A bit more about that base spirit: Nütrl Vodka is corn-based and quadruple distilled in the Midwest—although it originally started out of an eponymous distillery in Delta, British Columbia. The initial formula involved purification through a 76-step process. And it’s this


elaborate methodology which results in an especially neutral liquor. Hence the name...get it? The people of Canada certainly did, where it is already the best-selling canned vodka cocktail in the country. Anheuser-Busch is among the biggest names in beer, worldwide and as previously mentioned, Ready-To-Drink beverages (RTDs) are the fastest growing alcohol category in the US. And yet they still account for less than 3% of domestic spirits volume. In other words: this is just the beginning. And with Nütrl, Anheuser-Busch sees space for separation through simplicity. One thing you shouldn’t question about NÜTRL, is that it provides an ideal blank canvas upon which fizzy water and fruit can shine. To wit, Nütrl Vodka Seltzer, canned at 4.5% ABV, is equally refreshing and sessionable. Available in variety 6-packs, it’s quite likely that you’d find yourself wanting to sample several flavors in one sitting. From a marketing perspective, Nütrl is more noteworthy for what it lacks than for what it lends. Namely: loudness. Missing are any sort of flashy packaging flourishes or high-profile endorsements, which we’ve come to expect from the hard seltzer space these days. Presumably, the play here is that the next wave of hard seltzer consumers are responsible adults that don’t necessarily want to go “hard” at all. On the contrary, they just want something easy to drink amongst friends, that also fades easily into the background; a beverage that facilitates conversation without being a part of that conversation. If indeed that is the working model, Nütrl is well-positioned to make a splash. A reactionary product for folks who ever feel overwhelmed or even intimidated by all the craft beer and whiskey talk of the day. Locally, Marsala Beverage employs about 100 full-time employees. Marsala Beverage, LP is the largest malt beverage, wine/spirits, and non-alcoholic distributor in Northeast Louisiana. Their success is based on the fact that they never lose sight of delivering what is really important – quality products, timely service and a genuine concern for our customers’ needs. Annually, they deliver over 2.4 million cases of beverages to over 700 retail accounts. Please find us at or follow us on social media: Facebook: Marsala Beverage Twitter: @marsalabeverage1

SHEE T PAN CHICK EN 2 medium red onions 3 cups red grapes 10 thyme sprigs 3 tablespoons EVOO Kosher salt Ground pepper 4 whole chicken legs 1 tablespoon chili powder 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange onions, grapes and thyme on pan and toss with 2 tablespoons EVOO. Roast for 10 minutes. Season chicken with chili powder, salt and pepper. Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in large skillet over medium heat and add half the chicken for 5 minutes. Then repeat with remaining chicken. Transfer chicken to baking sheet and roast for 25 to 30 minutes.

styling by T A Y L O R B E N N E T T

photography by K E L L Y M O O R E C L A R K


This beautiful dish is the perfect go-to for a stay-at-home date night or family gathering. It’s elegant for entertaining, yet easy enough for a beginner.



Through His Lens

Carter Carroll is a videographer and documentary film director who makes a living capturing stories through his camera lens. ARTICLE BY S TARL A GATSON PHOTOGR APHY BY K ELLY MOORE CL ARK





It wasn’t unusual to find a young Carter Carroll with a book in his hand. He, like many other elementary-aged children, spent his time flipping through the pages of whatever he could find, determined to read the most titles to get the most Accelerated Reader points. Having a novel in hand so frequently not only helped Carroll reach his AR goals and earn access to the pizza parties reserved for the most dedicated young readers, it also sparked the appreciation for storytelling that fuels him today. As a videographer and documentary film director, Carroll makes a living capturing stories through his camera lens. The first of these stories, he recalls, was recorded during his adolescent years. “My dad has always been a really avid hunter,” the lifelong Ruston resident explains, “and when I was young, probably in middle school, he started filming the hunts we would go on. And I was always telling him, ‘You’re doing this wrong. Shoot like this. You should be shooting from this other angle.’” Recording those father-son hunts was Carroll’s first step into the world of film and media. Step two came soon after, he says, when he joined his church’s media team to help with broadcasts and camera operation. That position made him think it would be fun to make videos of his own, so, during his junior year of high school, he began 84 MARCH 2022 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

doing just that. From there, Carroll says, things took off. After graduation in 2014, Carroll brought his high school hobby with him from Ruston High School to the Louisiana Tech campus. There, he was greeted with even more opportunities to practice his craft. “I was still doing video in college for fun and to make some pocket change,” he says. “I shot video for several of Ruston High’s sports teams. Then, at the end of my junior year, I started working for the College of Business doing marketing and recruitment videos. My senior year, I started working for Tech’s athletic video department.” Those two jobs planted the seed in Carroll’s mind: maybe videography was something he could pursue full-time. The way to make that happen, as he explains it, was fairly straightforward. After earning his computer information systems degree, he would pursue a Master of Business Administration degree and start his own video business. That plan was disrupted, however. The summer before he was set to begin the university’s MBA program, Carroll found himself in a new position within the athletic video department: Assistant Director of Creative and Video Services. This internship put more valuable experience under Carroll’s belt, of course, but it also loaded his plate. So much so that he decided that, to do the work the position required,

he would have to step away from his MBA. Carroll’s plan to work as a full-time videographer didn’t come to a screeching halt when he put his graduate degree on the back burner, though. It was only redirected, and unbeknownst to him at the time, his desire to work in media fulltime would come to fruition differently. The wheels were turning in the Louisiana Tech university communications department, and higher-ups were on the hunt for someone to fill the newly-created role of university videographer. It wasn’t long before Carroll’s name was tossed into the ring for the job. “I went in and had a really great conversation with Tonya OaksSmith, and a few weeks later, I started,” he recalls. That was nearly three years ago, and since then, Carroll’s full-time videography gig has allowed him to “explore video in ways [he] didn’t think [he’d] get a chance to at this age.” More importantly, though, it’s allowed him to do the thing he’s long been passionate about: tell stories. The majority of the content Carroll produces for Louisiana Tech is used for marketing purposes. However, these videos are about more than just getting prospective Bulldogs to commit to attending the university. They’re about shining a light on the people, events, and programs that may not have been highlighted otherwise. “A lot of what we do in [the communications office] is try to get students to come and visit,” he explains. “But I also do a lot of things promoting alumni work, our Giving Day campaigns, and promoting what students are doing on campus.” He has also been responsible for producing the university’s institutional spot — the advertisement that runs on large channels like ESPN, Fox Sports, or wherever else Louisiana Tech events are aired — for the last three years. The first one of these short videos Carroll produced, in fact, was an award-winner; it received bronze in the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Accolades competition that year. “That praise was really awesome for someone who was brand new to it,” Carroll recalls. “It told me I could do – CARTER CARROLL what I was doing.” Perhaps Carroll’s most noteworthy work, though, is the full-length documentary he directed called “Coach: The Leon Barmore Story.” The 84-minute film honoring the life and career of the legendary Lady Techsters basketball coach was released in October 2021 in conjunction with the unveiling of a Leon Barmore statue on campus. Carroll explains that stories like Barmore’s — ones that can impact the viewer in some way — are the ones he’s most interested in telling through his work. “I think that everyone has a story to tell,” he declares. “We’ve all experienced different things, and being able to share those experiences in a way that could help someone who’s viewing that story means a lot to me.” That desire to share more impactful stories is why Carroll is so selective of the projects he takes on, especially when he’s freelancing

and creating content outside of his role at Louisiana Tech. A variety of projects are on his résumé, from working on a few short films to filming and directing Louisiana Tech Kappa Delta’s recruitment videos to capturing content for Lola Magazine’s Dream Home. Though the subject matter for his videography gigs has varied, they all share one crucial common factor: they’re capturing stories and concepts Carroll is excited to tell. “If it’s not something I think is inspiring or is a good story, I’m probably not going to say yes to it, even if the money was right,” he admits. “It’s not about the money to me; it’s about telling a bigger story.” Meaningful stories can, of course, be found by anyone who seeks them out, but Carroll believes they also have a way of finding the storytellers. Call it fate, kismet, or just pure luck; either way, the stories that need to be told find their way to the person who needs to tell them. Take the Barmore story, for example. Carroll explains, “That story, it was all there. It was ready. Somebody just needed to take the time to tell it. Sometimes, finding those stories is work. You’ve got to know somebody who knows somebody sometimes. You’ve got to work with the people who have been around to hear and know these stories. But I think that the right stories will find you if you are looking and listening for them.”

“We’ve all experienced different things, and being able to share those experiences in a way that could help someone who’s viewing that story means a lot to me.”


That’s the advice Carroll offers aspiring videographers and filmmakers: look and listen for the stories they want to tell. And when they find them, he says, just grab a camera and start recording. “The only way to learn is to do it,” he says of storytelling through videography. “Video is an art, and just like any other art, you get worse before you get better.” Just start, Carroll says, and be ready to learn from your mistakes — both the ones you notice in your own work and those critics point out to you. “Video is one of those mediums where you get a lot of feedback,” he explains. “That’s how you learn what works and what doesn’t work. Get out there and mess up some videos. Then, one day, you’re going to make something and someone’s going to say, ‘Hey, that was really good. Keep doing that.’” Just keep telling good stories, aspiring videographers, and Carroll will do the same in both his freelance endeavors and in his newest full-time media gig (one he only will have held for about two weeks before this article’s print date) as Tech’s assistant athletic director of broadcasting. “I hope to bring a certain level of storytelling into that [position],” he says as he eagerly shares his expectations for his new job. “At any given time, there are about 300 student-athletes at Louisiana Tech. Each of them has a story to tell, a perspective on life and the sport they play. Then, think about all the former players, staff and coaches, and former staff and coaches; there are so many stories ready to be told over there. I hope to bring out the best in the people around me and tell student athletes’ stories in the way they deserve to be told.” 86 MARCH 2022 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM


The advice Carroll offers aspiring videographers and filmmakers is to look and listen for the stories they want to tell. And when they find them, he says, just grab a camera and start recording. “The only way to learn is to do i,” he says of storytelling through videography. “Video is an art, and just like any other art, you get worse before you get better.”

The BayouLife Attorney Directory is your source for obtaining current information for attorneys licensed to practice in Louisiana. From personal injury attorneys to those specializing in family law, this list is comprised of some of the best in the industry.

Cr eed & Cr eed

Paul Hur d L aw Office

1805 Tower Drive, Monroe 318.387.5800

1500 North 18th Street, Suite 701, Monroe 318.323.3838

Cummins and Fitts

K night L aw Fir m

401 Walnut Street, Monroe 318-600-4640

1896 Hudson Circle, Suite 1, Monroe 318.323.2213

Guer r iero & Guer r iero

M ather ne & Davis, APLC

2200 Forsythe Avenue, Monroe 318.325.4306

3006 Armand Street, Monroe 318.807.9030

Hudson, Potts & Ber nstein, LLP

Bayou DeSiar d Title Company

1800 Hudson Lane, Suite 300, Monroe 318.388.4400

417 North 3rd Street, Monroe 318.325.8800

Par ker Alex ander 2503 Ferrand Street, Monroe 318.322.7373




ince 1995, Christian and Catherine Creed have provided outstanding legal representation to their clients in northeast Louisiana. As members of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, which recognizes prestigious trial lawyers in the United States, Creed & Creed focuses on personal injury litigation, including automobile accidents, 18-wheeler accidents, offshore accidents, wrongful death, and social security disability claims. Also, as members of the American Academy of Trial Attorneys, representing the top one percent of trial attorneys, the firm believes those who have suffered personal injuries due to negligence, through no fault of their own, should be fairly and adequately compensated. They believe in dedicated and personal service. Christian and Catherine meet personally with their clients to better 1805 Tower Drive, Monroe understand the needs | 318 - 387- 580 0 of their clients and the details of their LOCAL case. They know how PERSONAL INJURY AT TOR NEYS insurance companies operate, and they fight to protect the rights of their clients. In fact, the firm was recently recognized as one of the nation’s top personal injury law firms by the National Association of Distinguished Counsel and is the proud recipient of The American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys’ Client Satisfaction Award. Christian Creed is an experienced trial attorney and persuasive negotiator. A graduate of LSU and Loyola University College of Law, Christian is also a

Creed & Creed


licensed investigator, making him uniquely qualified to fight on their clients’ behalf. Moreover, Christian previously worked as a claims adjuster for several national insurance companies, so he knows how insurance adjusters operate and the strategies they employ. He has been representing clients throughout northeast Louisiana for over 25 years, and his experience ensures their clients the favorable outcome they deserve. Catherine Creed is a lifelong resident of our community with over 25 years of legal experience. A graduate of LSU and Loyola University College of Law, she is a former real estate attorney, who now devotes her entire practice to personal injury law. Catherine is a member of the Louisiana Association of Justice and Louisiana Land and Title Association. She is also a sustaining member of the Monroe Junior League and is actively involved with the United Way of Northeast Louisiana. Christian and Catherine take pride in their Louisiana roots and are actively involved in their community. The Creeds are ardent supporters of our area’s schools, universities and non-profits. Creed & Creed is a past recipient of the Good Neighbor Award presented by the Better Business Bureau and the Bart Award, which recognizes contributions by local businesses to the arts in northeast Louisiana by the Downtown Arts Alliance. Also, Christian was previously recognized as the James M. Shipp Jr. Memorial Young Business Leader of the Year by the Monroe Chamber of Commerce and received the first Community Spirit Award presented by NELA United Way. The Creeds take pride in being our area’s local injury attorneys.


he law firm of Cummins and Fitts is pleased to announce the addition of Therese Nagem to its team of family law attorneys. Founded by Daniel Cummins and Jessi Fitts, Cummins and Fitts focuses on cases involving divorce, child custody, child and spousal support, community property division, adoptions and successions. The firm is committed to providing quality representation and sound legal advice. In the three years since its founding, Cummins and Fitts has grown quickly through referrals from satisfied clients. Now the area’s largest family law firm, Cummins and Fitts has renovated its office space in downtown Monroe and added attorneys and staff to provide clients with the best available legal talent. Attorney Therese Nagem joined the firm in 2021, bringing a wealth of experience in a variety of family law matters. Therese is a native of Winnsboro, Louisiana and a graduate of the Louisiana Tech and Tulane Law School. She began her practice in Baton Rouge as an Assistant District Attorney under Doug Moreau. After several years as a criminal prosecutor, Therese entered private practice in Baton Rouge to focus on family law matters, including child custody and community property division. She is also a Civil and Family Mediator with training in conflict resolution. Outside of work, Therese stays busy in her most important role as mother to teenagers, Ellie and Traylor. Both students at St. Frederick High School, Ellie and Traylor are active in a variety of sports and extracurricular activities.

Therese enjoys attending their events and volunteering at school and community events. She serves on the Board of Directors for Friends of Louisiana Public Broadcasting and has held office as its Treasurer and as Chairperson of the 2022 “Louisiana Legends” Gala fundraising event. She is past President of the Monroe Garden Club, a sustaining member of the Junior League of Monroe, a Master Gardener and a Certified Yoga Instructor. Therese’s most recent volunteer endeavor is as a newly appointed Board member for the St. Vincent de Paul Pharmacy. Therese is excited to be a part of the 401 Walnut Street, Monroe Cummins and Fitts cummins-f | 318 - 60 0 - 4640 legal team. As one of the firm’s five female attorneys, she offers FA MILY LAW a compassionate and empathetic approach to what can often be an extremely stressful and emotionally taxing experience. With six attorneys and a talented support staff, Cummins and Fitts is uniquely equipped to guide clients through the legal process of divorce and family law situations. The firm’s attorneys fight vigorously for the issues that matter most to their clients, while minimizing litigation when possible and encouraging amicable agreements that benefit the client and their families.

Cummins and Fitts


Guerriero & Guerriero 220 0 Forsythe Avenue, Monroe | 318. 325.4306 TOUGH, AGGRESSIVE, LOCAL LEGAL REPRESEN TATION 96 YEA RS STRONG


ounded 96 years ago, the law firm of Guerriero and Guerriero is one of the oldest and most prestigious firms in North Louisiana. With over three decades of litigation experience, Jeff Guerriero continues the legacy started by his grandfather, Joseph S. Guerriero, and his father, Joe D. Guerriero. Jeff, his wife Elizabeth, and son-in-law Bryan Creekmore are proud to be a part of the legal profession and to carry on a family tradition of providing tough and aggressive legal representation to Louisiana plaintiffs. Jeff, a respected trail attorney known for his compassionate and tenacious representation, has obtained some of the largest settlements and verdicts in Northeast Louisiana, collecting millions of dollars for his clients. He gives each case his personal attention and cares about his clients like family. The firm handles cases involving personal injury; 18-wheeler, motorcycle, and car accidents; wrongful death; nursing home neglect; medical malpractice; drug recalls/injuries; defective products; oil field/rig accidents; and mass tort/class action litigation.


Jeff is committed to our community. Each year Guerriero & Guerriero partners with Stephen’s Media Group to hold annual coat, toy and bike drives to provide local families in need with warm coats and help ensure every child has a reason to smile on Christmas Day. Jeff and the Ouachita Parish firefighters personally hand-deliver toys and bikes to local families every Christmas Eve. In 2017, Jeff started “Jungle Bells” at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo. This annual community event with free zoo admission, amusement rides, crafts, snow, and Santa is enjoyed by thousands of Louisiana residents. Jeff also devotes a considerable amount of time to Pro Bono work and helping veterans and the elderly who cannot afford effective legal representation. Over his accomplished legal career, Jeff has won numerous distinguished awards including Bayou Life’s Best of the Bayou Top Attorney; Shreveport Bossier Magazine’s Top Attorney; Super Lawyer distinction; Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year; and the Better Business Bureau’s Good Neighbor award. Additionally, the

American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys recently voted Guerriero Law firm one of the 10 Best Law Firms for Exceptional Client Services. Jeff and Elizabeth both attended ULM and received their Juris Doctorates from Tulane University School of Law. Jeff served on the House of Delegates, the Board of Governors, and the Legislative Committee for the Louisiana State Bar Association for several years. He also served as the chairman of the Ethics Committee for the Fourth Judicial District Bar Association for over 10 years. Elizabeth, an accomplished attorney in her own right, taught Business Law at ULM for 25 years and served on the House of Delegates for the Louisiana Bar Association. Specializing in contract law, she has negotiated multi-million dollar entertainment, television and sports contracts. The Guerriero law firm is available 24/7 to call for FREE consultations - 318325-4306


udson, Potts & Bernstein, LLP is proud to announce that its senior partner, Gordon L. James, is the 2022 recipient of the Louisiana Bar Foundation’s Distinguished Attorney award. Gordon is a native of northeast Louisiana, growing up in Bastrop and attending Bastrop High School. He attended what was known then as Northeast Louisiana University, graduating in 1976 summa cum laude. He was later accepted to Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center, serving on Law Review, and joining the Order of the Coif. He was admitted to the bar in 1979 and immediately joined Hudson Potts as a litigator that same year. He has continuously practiced at the firm since that date. He is an accomplished litigator, focusing his practice on medical malpractice and products liability. During his approximately 42 years of practicing at Hudson Potts, he has also served as the President of the Fourth Judicial District Bar Association, Director of the Louisiana Association of Defense Counsel, and member of the LSBA CLE Committee. He is also a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers. Most importantly to Gordon, he is oriented in family and church. He has been married to his wife, Susan James, for 46 years He has two daughters, Anna Zeigler and Jessica Griffin. He is the proud grandfather of Reagan, Henry, Maisie, and Michael. He is on the Board of Directors for Ouachita Christian School and is a deacon at the Jackson Street Church of Christ.

Hudson Potts is further proud to announce the addition of Morgan Livingston as its newest lawyer. Morgan was born and raised in Monroe. He attended Ouachita Christian School, having graduated in 2008. He then attended University of Louisiana at Monroe, graduating in 2014 in Kinesiology Pre-Physical Therapy. He was accepted to the Mississippi College School of Law, receiving his Juris Doctorate and Civil Law Certificate in 2017. While at Mississippi College, Morgan was the recipient of the American Jurisprudence Awards in both Louisiana Successions and Louisiana Matrimonial Regimes. He was admitted to the Louisiana Bar in 2017. He joins the firm with a focus in real estate, successions, general civil practice, and family law. Morgan is proudly active in his family, church, and 180 0 Hudson Lane, Suite 30 0, Monroe community. He is | 318. 388.4 40 0 married to Ashleigh Livingston, with whom he has one AT TOR NEYS AT LAW daughter, Josie Marie. He is a member of North Monroe Baptist Church, as well as the Monroe Chamber of Commerce, the NELA Young Professionals, the 4th Judicial Bar Association, and the ULM Alumni Association.

Hudson, Potts & Ber nstein LLP


Law Office of Paul Loy Hurd 1896 Hudson Circle, Suite 5, Monroe 318. 323. 3838 REAL ESTATE


aul Loy Hurd, Attorney at Law, has been an active member of the Northeast Louisiana legal community for over 42 years as the founder of the “Law Offices of Paul Loy Hurd.” The Hurd Firm provides insightful legal counsel to its clients on a wide range of legal matters, including evaluation of land title abstracts, and determination of merchantable title of land. Other legal matters handled by the Hurd Firm include negotiation of the terms of buying or selling of businesses or land, and the preparation of the resulting “Agreement To Buy and Sell” of those assets. The Hurd Firm is active in the initiation and defending of civil action involving claims of ownership of immovable property, and the litigation necessary to formally quiet title in our client’s name. The Hurd Firm has a national reputation and history of asserting public interest litigation in the state of Louisiana, such as stopping the illegally scheduled election called by then Governor Edwin Edward, to select an Associate Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court. Hurd v.


McKeithen, La. App. 28371, 663 So. 2d 537, 1995 La. App. LEXIS 2737 (La. App. 2 Cir. Oct. 31, 1995). Also, the Hurd Firm has multiple cases filed and affirmed at the Supreme Court of the United States. Mr. Hurd has over ten years experience as an In-House Counsel for one of Northeast Louisiana’s historic consumer banks (Central Bank) and continues to assist business clients in their closing of their business loans and business acquisitions. Assisting small businesses and entrepreneurs to establish their businesses, and to grow those businesses is a major part of the Hurd Firm’s commitment. Additionally, the Hurd Firm assists our clients with the establishment of trusts to hold and manage property for children and family members presently not able to handle the complexity of asset ownership or business management. The Hurd Firm does this both as inter vivos trusts, and as testamentary trusts included in our client’s personal testaments. Ultimately, the Hurd Firm counsels with many families who must deal with the loss of a family member, and assists them through the difficult

probate and succession proceedings, to recognize ownership of property passing from one generation to the next. Beyond the practice of law, Mr. Hurd is also a licensed title insurance underwriter and agent who operates a full service real estate title and closing company known as “Home Title Guaranty Company.” Home Title provides a broad range of real estate closing services to its clients whether our clients are involved as buyers or as sellers. Home Title is especially committed to assisting its clients in their first efforts to purchase a home, and to assist its clients as they seek to close on their loan refinancing as their home and family grows. Mr. Hurd is a past member of the “Board of Governors” for the Louisiana State Bar Association. Mr. Hurd personally knows our many realtors, lenders and insurance agents. These personal lending, and business contacts and established friendships assures the clients of the Hurd Firm of ongoing success in their businesses and in the protection of their families going forward with life in Northeast Louisiana.


he first two questions that I received when I talked about obtaining my LLM from Baylor Law School were “What’s an LL.M?” and “Why would you want to do that?” First, an LL.M is an abbreviation for Master of Laws, which is a graduate qualification a lawyer may pursue after obtaining a J.D. or Juris Doctorate. The LL.M. degree allows a lawyer to obtain specialized knowledge in a particular field of law. Although the exact number of LL.M. degree holders is currently unknown, a study several years ago put the estimate under twenty percent (20%) nationwide. Second as to why I chose to apply, become accepted, and go through an additional year and a half of school at Baylor, that’s a somewhat longer answer. The emergence of COVID affected all areas of legal practice. Personal injury attorneys worried there were not going to be injuries because very few vehicles during the shutdown were being driven and drivers were sheltering in their homes. Worker’s Compensation attorneys worried that due to essentially no one working, there would be no on the job accidents. Domestic lawyers were worried about no new divorces, custody cases or property matters, because regardless oof happiness, couples were quarantined together and going to have to make their marriages work. I spent much of my time reading articles and listening to various podcasts regarding other attorneys’ thoughts on the pandemic and how best to weather it. Several of those thoughts focused on leaning your practice and cutting out any unnecessary expenses. I took their words to heart and closed my Shreveport and Dallas offices figuring that I couldn’t get to them anyway. Zoom conferences became popular which meant educating myself and clients on handling cases with this new method. During this point, I also spent time expounding my knowledge in areas to improve myself personally and professionally. I obtained my SCUBA certification from a

local dive shop. I enrolled in flight school and on the first lesson started accumulating flight hours. To expand my professional skillset, I began looking at various law and business programs that I could attend remotely. The Baylor trained lawyers that I have worked with and against since entering practice have always impressed me. One of the main tasks over the last two trimesters is to author a research paper suitable for publishing. The litigation emphasis intrigued me because my practice is built around that area of the law and is the only one currently offered anywhere in the country. So the why to 1896 Hudson Circle, Suite 1, Monroe the second question knightlawf | 318. 323.2213 I frequently received is simply to continue FA MILY LAW A ND learning. My grandfather PERSONAL INJURY grew up on a farm and didn’t have the ability to go to college. He went to work for a company, bettered himself each and every day, and made it possible for his grandchildren to attend college. As I write this, I am appreciative of every person that has encouraged me along the way to the completion of this degree. Several were instrumental in helping me start the program. Others were key in encouragement along the way - including my secretaries and their families which were instrumental in assisting me with the day to day logistics. Even the staff at Parish aided me by keeping me fed at the end of long classes. But as my granddad used to say when I was growing up “Education is something that no one can take away from you. Its something you have for life.” Education is simply the gift you give yourself.

K night L aw Fir m


Matherne & Davis, aplc 30 06 Armand Street, Monroe | 318.807. 9030 ESTATE PLA NNING


atherne and Davis, Attorneys at Law, are based in Monroe and represent clients throughout Northeast Louisiana. Their firm provides a broad range of legal services to clients, specializing in estate planning. They bring extensive experience and professionalism in every case and customize their support with every client based upon specific needs, concerns and goals. Almost all individuals, regardless of age, marital status or net worth need to have an ongoing relationship and open conversation with a competent estate planning attorney. By creating a plan for the management of your assets in the event of disability and/or a plan for the disposition of your assets at death, the time and expense of the probate process and any potential estate tax liability, can be greatly reduced and the burden on loved ones can be minimized. They assist clients with comprehensive wealth management and estate planning strategies to best meet their needs and to help families with the transition of assets during lifetime and at death in the most efficient manner possible. Their services include the drafting and administration of wills, powers of attorney, trusts, and


successions. In addition, they are experienced and available to counsel and advise clients in the areas of donations, marriage contracts, tutorships, interdictions, Medicaid planning, business formation, taxation, and business contracts. The faces behind Matherne and Davis may be familiar to you as they were both born and raised in North Louisiana and are very involved in the community. Valerie Van Matherne has been practicing law in Monroe for 25 years. After graduating from Ouachita Parish High School, and ULM with a Bachelor of Business in Accounting, she attended Mississippi College School of Law. While attending law school, she passed the CPA exam and maintains her CPA status as “inactive.” She began her practice as a sole practitioner specializing in corporate law, successions, wills, trusts and tax planning. She also spent several years working in the banking industry as a trust officer. In 2005, Valerie received her Certified Financial Planner™ Certification and has been a BoardCertified Estate Planning and Administration Specialist with the Louisiana Board of Legal Specialization since 2007. In 2013, Valerie partnered with Lauren Davis to form

Matherne & Davis, APLC. Lauren Pickett Davis is a native of Delhi and high school graduate of Riverfield Academy. She graduated from ULM with a Bachelor of Arts in Government/History in 2001 and received her Juris Doctorate in Civil Law from Loyola University School of Law in New Orleans in 2007. After graduation, Lauren clerked for the Fourth Judicial District Court. Upon completion of her clerkship, Lauren practiced in Shreveport until 2012 when she and her family returned to Monroe. Lauren currently serves on the Board of Directors for Commercial Capital Bank. She is also an elected member of the School Council for Jesus the Good Shepherd School. Valerie and Lauren’s work history and knowledge are invaluable in assisting their clients in the estate planning field as they work closely with many of their client’s tax advisors and financial planners to ensure that their clients benefit from a comprehensive approach. Contact Matherne and Davis today to plan for your future. Whether you are planning a new business, in need of a pre or post marriage contract or estate planning, Matherne and Davis can help you today, so you don’t have to worry about tomorrow.

Bayou Desiard Title Company 417 North 3rd Street, Monroe | 318. 325.880 0 REAL ESTATE


or the last 20 years, Bayou Desiard Title Company has provided services for all types of real estate transactions. It handles transactions involving residential and commercial properties including sales, mortgages, refinances, donations, servitudes and lease/purchases. The company provides escrow services and writes title insurance for national title insurers. Bayou Desiard Title is approved to handle matters on behalf of almost every banker, mortgage broker and realtor office in Northeast Louisiana. Attorney Gene Hastings founded the company in 1997. His son Cooper Hastings joined the firm as a practicing attorney in 2018, followed

by Larry Mullens in 2019. The team prides itself on being experienced, professional, and friendly. Bayou Desiard Title Company’s slogan is “closing loans at the lowest possible cost to you.” They are determined to provide professional title services while maintaining a personal relationship with their clients. The company was awarded the Thomas H. Scott Award of Excellence by The Chamber of Commerce in 2019 for its noteworthy contribution to the economy of Ouachita Parish.

Parker Alexander 2503 Ferrand St, Monroe | 318. 322.7373 AT TOR NEYS AT LAW


arker Alexander, locally founded in Monroe, has over 80 years of experience fighting for the rights of injured victims. Kevin Alexander and Chad Carter’s area of practice is injury law, including car crashes, brain injuries, products liability, and wrongful death. Kevin Alexander hails from Jonesboro and is a graduate of the University of Louisiana Monroe and has practiced law in Monroe since 1997. He is passionate about standing up for those who are unable to stand up for themselves due to injury or misfortune. Kevin resides in Monroe with his wife, Maria. Their daughter, Allie, attends Neville High School.

Col. Chad Carter (retired) attended Texas Christian University. Chad served over 20 years in the U.S. Air Force JAG Corps and retired with the rank of colonel. He lives in Monroe with his wife, Holly. Their kids, Raegan and Carson, attend St. Frederick Catholic High School. Parker Alexander recently started The Parker Alexander Scholarship, an ongoing scholarship program offering university students and high school students in Northeast Louisiana an opportunity to be awarded up to $2,500 in scholarship funds by submitting an essay about how to improve traffic safety in Louisiana. To find out more, please visit WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | MARCH 2022 95

We Have Big News DermaMediQ has Expanded


E HAVE SOME EXCITING NEWS... DERMAMEDIQ has expanded! Dr. Sowma has officially opened a new building right next door to her original office on Lamy Lane. Dr. Sowma and her team were excited to host their ribbon cutting and showcase their new brand new office space. This day was filled with excitement and hors d’oeuvres as people toured and enjoyed the new space. The new office is beautifully designed with a clean sleek professional look, with a welcoming feel. Dr. Sowma and her highlytrained staff are excited for this new expansion as it gives them more room and opportunities to see additional clients and expand their service options. Dr. Sowma-Fakhre is board certified in aesthetic medicine and her talented staff is dedicated to providing a memorable client experience. Dr. Sowma-Fakhre is a perfectionist who provides attentive care to create noticeable results. Dr. Zachary Willis, a board-certified general surgeon and one of the leading experts in liposuction and skin tightening, performs the FaceTite and BodyTite procedures in-office. We are thrilled to have him on our team. He’ll be leading the team for these amazing procedures in our new office space. At DermaMediQ, we provide skincare services including skin rejuvenating treatments such as Forma, a collagen producing


procedure used to tighten and lift, chemical peels, Botox, fillers, Vampire Facials; Fractora which is a non-invasive fractional laser skin resurfacing procedure; Diolaze by Inmode which is an advanced laser hair removal procedure; Vasculaze by Inmode which is a procedure to reduce the appearance of veins and blemishes, as well as pellet treatments, micro-needling, and so much more. DermaMediQ also has procedures and options for body sculpting: BodyTite, Morpheus8 for the face and neck, Votiva for feminine rejuvination, and Emsculpt. All of our services are the latest in medical technology and performed inoffice. We take pride in all of our products, as we use only the highest quality skincare treatments, supplemented by careful application by our talented team of professionals. If you’ve been thinking about improving your body image, or just need a little tightening or smoothing, Dr.Sowma has the solution. Spring and summer are just around the corner and you know what that means ... shorts and swimsuits. DermaMediQ has everything you need to get you ready for warmer weather and help you step out with confidence. Swing by today or give them a call to schedule your appointment. The friendly staff would love to help you start your journey to feeling confident with your body image.

Are You Due For a Checkup? Schedule an Appointment Today


F OUR TEAM HERE AT BAYOU DENTAL GROUP HAD our way, we’d see every single patient of ours at least twice a year for routine dental cleanings and exams. But unfortunately, that’s not always the case. We understand that life gets pretty hectic. With work, school, and kids, it’s sometimes hard to find the time for regular dental visits when you have so many other responsibilities competing for your attention. There are all sorts of reasons people might not make it to the dentist regularly. Maybe it’s a busy schedule, maybe it’s fear, or maybe you’re embarrassed about the state of your oral health because you’ve stayed away too long. The fact is, professional dental care can make all the difference when it comes to achieving and maintaining your healthiest smile. That’s why Dr. Finley, Dr. Henderson and our highly-trained hygienists want to make sure you know just how important it is that you visit our Monroe, LA dental office for routine checkups! WHY PROFESSIONAL DENTAL CHECKUPS MATTER Gum disease creeps in slowly to destroy your oral health, often without you even realizing it’s happening. That’s why professional dental care matters more than anything. In our Monroe dental office, you’ll find highly-trained hygienists who have the experience and professional tools to give your teeth and gums the deep cleaning necessary to remove plaque and tartar buildup that you can’t reach with your toothbrush and dental floss at home. Dr. Finley and Dr. Henderson can then thoroughly examine your mouth and catch any signs of dental problems. With technology such as digital X-rays, they are able to catch the things that threaten your oral health that you can’t see on your own. We also offer dental sealants and fluoride treatments for added protection against tooth decay and cavities, even for adults. These are just some of the ways a dental professional can make the difference between a glowing, healthy smile and dull, damaged teeth and poor oral health. PREVENTION IS YOUR SMILE’S BEST DEFENSE! The best defense your mouth has against harmful bacteria is prevention. That may begin with your daily oral hygiene at home, but that’s only half of what it really takes for strong, healthy teeth and gums. You need help from professionals like you’ll find here at Bayou Dental Group. Our passion is helping patients get healthy and stay that way, but we can only help if you come to see us for regular cleanings and exams. Without vigilance and proper professional dental care, there is only so much you can do at home to maintain lasting oral health.


Wine Over Water Celebrating 15 Years


HE ULM ALUMNI ASSOCIATION INVITES YOU TO ATTEND the 15th annual Wine Over Water event on the beautiful ULM campus bridge. This is your opportunity to support scholarship funds which are instrumental in attracting our local scholars to ULM. Proceeds from the night benefit alumni scholarships, including the Spirit of the Warhawk Endowed Scholarship, and the ULM Alumni Association. The Spirit of the Warhawk Endowed Scholarship supports local students pursuing their undergraduate degree at ULM. Your ticket purchase ensures students of Northeast Louisiana can continue to strive for academic excellence and ease the financial burden. Ten scholarships were awarded in the 2021-2022 academic year. Our goal this year is to increase support for this scholarship and other alumni scholarships so that students throughout Northeast Louisiana have the opportunity to be the best in the world at whatever they choose to do. Wine Over Water is hosted by the ULM Alumni Association, and this event propels the association’s mission forward: To support ULM in “changing lives,” the Alumni Association connects, engages, and fosters relationships with current and future alumni to one another and the University through communications, events, and programs. This year’s event is sure to be an unforgettable night. The celebration will be held on Thursday, April 21st on the Northeast Drive Bridge that overlooks beautiful Bayou DeSiard. With food from many local restaurants, wine provided by Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits, and beer provided by Marsala Beverage, your taste buds will be delighted. This year we hope to create a new culinary experience for our guests featuring suggested wine/beer and food pairings. If that doesn’t perk your interest, the Alumni Association also added a photo booth with souvenir pictures from Southern Exposure. These additions are sure to make the evening special, informative and deliciously fun! You will receive a commemorative wine glass, sunset boat rides on the bayou with B&L Marine, and entertainment featuring a New Orleans favorite, Troy Marks and the No Idea Band. You do not want to miss this evening of fun! Tickets are only $60, and the evening’s attire is dressy casual. The Tonore’s Cork Pull is back by popular demand. With over 50 bottles of wine up for grabs, you can purchase a cork for $25 and take home a mystery bottle of wine to enjoy. No bottles are valued less than $25, but many are worth more. Not only do you have the chance to win spectacular wine, you are also supporting the ULM Alumni Association. In addition, a Patron Party will be held prior to Wine Over Water. This event will begin at 6:00 p.m. and last until 7:30 p.m. on the seventh floor of the ULM Library. This will give you the best view of campus and allow you to enjoy the celebration before the bridge opening! Patron Party tickets include complimentary hors d’oeuvres, event wine glasses, entertainment provided by ULM jazz group, Ace’s Jazz Ambassadors, and attendance to the Wine Over Water Bridge Party. These exclusive tickets are available through sponsorship packages or purchased for $125 each. Tickets are available online at, by calling 318-3425420, or at the Laird Weems Center located at 4400 Bon Aire Drive. Office hours are Monday – Thursday 7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., and Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Don’t wait! Get your ticket today! To learn more about the ULM Alumni Association, please visit


College of Pharmacy

Preparing Today’s Students for Tomorrow’s Careers


TUDENTS TODAY START THINKING ABOUT CAREER choices at a much earlier age than in the past. Dual enrollment and other opportunities give students the chance to cut time off the end goal of earning a college degree but can also burden those who aren’t quite sure what career path they want to choose. For students interested in healthcare, pharmacy is a good option. Many people do not realize that professionals with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree can be found working in hospitals, research facilities, government agencies, educational institutions, and the military, just to name a few. There are pharmacy jobs for those who enjoy direct contact and patient care, as well as those who prefer the research or business side of the pharmaceutical industry. The ULM College of Pharmacy offers many tools to help students navigate their career paths. Once accepted into the professional pharmacy (Pharm.D.) program, students can also simultaneously choose to pursue an M.B.A. or Ph.D., if desired. FUTURE PHARMACISTS CLUB Junior high school, high school, and college-aged students interested in any healthcare professions are welcome to join our Future Pharmacists Club. The club creates opportunities for its members to connect with ULM, the College of Pharmacy, and each other. Members are invited to join our private Facebook group to network with other like-minded students, current pharmacy students, and pharmacy faculty. There are no fees or requirements to join. To become a member email Sean Menefee, ULM Pharmacy Relations Coordinator, at APPLICANT DAY – MARCH 4, 2022 Community college and university students are encouraged to attend our Applicant Day to receive free guidance on navigating the pharmacy school application and interview processes, and get information on our pre-pharmacy and professional pharmacy curriculums. Upon request, participants can also receive a one-on-one transcript review with an admissions officer. PHARMFUTURE – APRIL 14, 2022 Spend a morning with the ULM College of Pharmacy and experience pharmacy student life. Work in our lab and classrooms and meet our professional pharmacy students and faculty. You will discover exciting and diverse job opportunities for pharmacists. Learn how to prepare for pharmacy school and get tips on acceptance and success! This event is open, at no cost, to all high school juniors and seniors, as well as college students. Parents are also welcome! Get more information or register for Applicant Day or PharmFUTURE at: Our Pharmacy Relations Coordinator is available to schedule activities or speak with school organizations, clubs, or classes. You can also schedule building tours or attend a virtual Q&A. Contact Sean Menefee at pharmacy@ or call 318.342.3800. The application period is now open, and interviews are underway, for Fall 2022!







ot many people who know Kristin Wolkart, RN, MHA, NEA-BC, FACHE would ever guess that her earliest career aspirations didn’t include medicine. Now the Market President of St. Francis Medical Center, Kristin once had dreams of becoming a writer or a fine artist. She loved reading and drawing, and thought that she would find a career through those. The daughter of educators, she also considered a career in teaching. Her secret passions, however, were sports cars and driving fast – so she even dreamed of becoming a professional race car driver. By the time she was a high school upperclassman, however, she knew that nursing was her destiny. During a summer spent with her Aunt Jane who was a nursing student at the time, Kristin was inspired by her aunt’s excitement over her studies. When she toured the LSU School of Nursing as a senior and saw the students, classes, and simulation labs, the dye was cast. That decision – to become a nurse – turned out to be one of the best decisions of her life. Our community is blessed to have her here with us now, charting a course for long-term success for our region’s largest acute care hospital. Because of the vital role she is playing in our healthcare community, Kristin Wolkart is our Bayou Icon for March.

ristin Gardiner Wolkart’s parents understood both the value of education and the importance of quality healthcare. Her father, James Gardiner, was born in Washington D.C. and earned his Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University. Afterward, he served as Professor and Dean at the Louisiana State University School of Dentistry. In 1959, Kristin’s father’s family moved to New Orleans when his father William Gardiner was named basketball coach and athletic director for Loyola. Kristin’s father graduated from Jesuit High School. Kristin’s parents met while in high school at the Country Club Homes swimming pool. They both lived in the same neighborhood where the club and pool were located. Her mother, Patricia Stagno, had been born in New Orleans and attended East Jefferson High School. She graduated with a Bachelor of Education from the University of New Orleans. They married in 1966 and had their first child, Scott Gardiner, in March of 1967. Two years later in February 1969 Kristin was born.


Childhood Adventures Kristin was born in New Orleans, but when she was 6 months old, the family moved to Laurel, Maryland while her father was in the Army and attended Johns Hopkins University. The family lived in Maryland until Kristin was four years old. They then moved to Gainesville, Florida, while her father worked at University of Florida where they lived until Kristin was 5 years old. At that point they returned to Metairie, Louisiana, when her father joined the faculty at the LSU School of Dentistry. When Kristin was 8, her mother began teaching 5th and 6th grade English at St. Philip Neri Catholic Church and School. Kristin’s childhood was a very happy one, partly because of the stable home her parents provided, partly because of her older brother, and partly because of a large extended family. Her mother’s family lived nearby, so Kristin and her brother, Scott, were able to be with them often. Her father’s family lived in a variety of locations across the United States, so an annual family vacation provided “together time” with that side. “My fondest memories as a child are the family vacations that we took. Every year we would meet up with my dad’s brothers and their children at some destination. Often times we would take road trips to theme parks, but my favorite was visiting the World’s Fair. Getting to spend time with my cousins, aunts, uncles and


grandparents were some of the most special times I can remember from my childhood,” Kristin says. Kristin and Scott enjoyed many adventures often centered around spending a lot of time with their Italian grandparents. Their mom came from a large Italian family which loved getting together. Almost every Sunday, the group would gather at their maternal grandparents’ home for a large Sunday dinner. “I was a typical young girl in a traditional southern American family, although I was a bit of an introvert and shy,” Kristin explains. By contrast, Kristin describes her brother as being very athletic and an extrovert. “Throughout our childhood, my brother was my best friend, my protector, and my confidant.” There were even larger gatherings during the holidays when multiple generations joined together to celebrate. “It was always a joy to have the Stagno and Dalio families joined together during the holidays,” Kristin remembers with a smile. “There was great food, loud talk and laughter, and the joy of family.” Of these, Kristin loved the Christmas holidays the best. She especially cherished those times when the extended family was together and reminiscing. “Listening to the stories that were only told when the extended family was together was always amazing to me,” she says. Neither Scott nor Kristin knew growing up that careers in medicine were in their futures. Scott graduated from the LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans and completed

BUNDLE OF JOY Kristin cherishes family time. With their first grandchild Addison (Addie) having just arrived, there is no doubt that she will find that family will mean even more.

training as an anesthesiologist at Ochsner Medical Center there. Like Kristin, Scott’s career path would lead him away from a purely practitioner’s role to a healthcare management and strategic planning one. Today, as Chief Medical Officer for Diversified Professionals, Inc., Scott plays a key role in leading the overall clinical vision for the group and provides medical oversight. Education for the Future Kristin graduated from Grace King High School in Metairie in 1987. While a student, she worked and learned some valuable lessons. Her first job was at Shoe Town in Metairie.

WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP Kristin pictured center with (left) Debbie Austin, Asst. Vice President, St. Francis P&S Surgery & Heart Center, and (right) Terri Hicks, St. Francis Chief Financial Officer, celebrating the Center of Excellence Designation for Minimally Invasive Gynecology by Surgical Review Corporation.


For a 15-year-old, dealing with Kristin, a registered nurse, the public in a retail sales role in worked early in her career as a a store that catered to inexpensive nurse at the bedside and grew shoes was very stressful. She then to take over the role of a charge tried working at a snowball stand nurse from 1991 – 1995 at during the summer. She loved Ochsner Medical Center in New that job, had great hours, and Orleans. Beginning in 1995, made good money in a very low Kristin started working within stress job. However, by the end of the Franciscan Missionaries the summer she never wanted to of Our Lady Health System eat another snowball again! (FMOLHS). The system has After her high school hospitals, nursing homes, graduation, Kristin enrolled at the and other medical service University of New Orleans to earn lines across Louisiana and pre-requisites for nursing school. Mississippi. Over the course She began working afternoons at of the past 27 years, Kristin a daycare center. “Working with held many different roles one- to three-year-old children across the ministry. The first 12 taught me great patience, and years within FMOLHS, Kristin helped me realize that I preferred worked at St. Elizabeth Hospital to work with adults,” Kristin in Gonzales, Louisiana, with admits. “Children are wonderful, roles as Administrator of the FAMILY MATTERS Kristin Wolkart with daughter-in-law Tiffany, her son Taylor, who is an but it is very hard to manage that home health agency, Director optometrist in Spanish Fort, Alabama, and husband Ross. many children running around at of Nursing for several inpatient the same time! I believe that every units of the hospital, and job teaches you something. Even the jobs that you don’t like very Chief Nursing Officer. While working at St. Elizabeth, Kristin much teach you how to be different or better when you move on.” went back to school to complete her Master’s in Healthcare After completing the required courses, Kristin was accepted Administration from Kennedy-Western University in Cheyenne, into the LSU School of Nursing in New Orleans and graduated Wyoming. In 2007, Kristin moved to the Health System Corporate with her B.S.N. in Nursing in 1991. “My favorite subjects in college office in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she became the Chief were microbiology and art,” Kristin says. “I loved the science of Nursing Information Officer and Director of Clinical Information discovering and identifying items under a microscope!” Services. In 2013, Kristin was given the opportunity to work in a career development and mentorship role with the former CEO of Love for a Lifetime FMOLHS, John J. Finan. This role exposed Kristin to the overall When Kristin was a high school junior, she met Ross Wolkart, operations of the health system, and gave her special projects and a senior who was to change her life. “We met on the night of assignments to complete to help determine the future direction of my future husband’s 17th birthday at a local hangout, Spaghetti her career. Then in the spring of 2014 Kristin relocated to Monroe Eddie’s,” Kristin says. “We dated through high school and college, to become the St. Francis Medical Center Chief Operating Officer, got engaged on my 19th birthday, and were married 6 months after and in January 2015 she became the President and CEO. In 2017 I graduated from nursing school.” her title changed to Market President in Northeast Louisiana with The match was “right” from the very beginning. Both Kristin responsibility of all healthcare operations for St. Francis Medical and Ross agree that when they first met, each thought the other Center. was “the one.” They were married in St. Ann’s Catholic Church While Kristin readily cites Ross and her classmates as her in Metairie and had a very large wedding reception afterward. best cheerleaders during college, there have been others who “Growing up in the 1980’s, I had a dream of having a huge wedding have been instrumental in helping her to achieve her successes gown just like Princess Diana,” Kristin says. “I didn’t quite have once she began working in the field. Michelle Neyrey, her best one that big, but I did have a huge train and veil.” This year the friend in nursing school, was Kristin’s study partner. Together couple will celebrate their 31st wedding anniversary. they challenged each other to do their very best. Edna Wolan was The Wolkarts have one child, a son named Taylor. Taylor also the first department director that Kristin worked for. Kristin says chose a career in medicine. He is an optometrist and lives with Wolan gave her opportunities to grow in leadership early in her his wife, Tiffany, and their first child Addison in Spanish Fort, career. Then later, Dee LeJeune, Chief Nursing Officer and later Alabama. “Our son works with Southern Eye Group, a group that CEO at St. Elizabeth Hospital taught Kristin “. . . the power of respects him and is helping him grow in his chosen career,” Kristin team member engagement and culture of an organization.” It was says. “He is able to grow that career while he is also providing the LeJeune who convinced Kristin to get the Master’s degree. John kind of care to patients that makes him feel like he is making a Finan, former FMOLHS CEO, provided invaluable guidance and difference. It’s all you can ask for children to have.” leadership that enabled her to grow and move to Monroe to work at St. Francis Medical Center. Charting a Career Fortunately for the Wolkarts, Kristin’s husband works mostly By her own admission, Kristin’s career path has been an from home and can work just about anywhere that has strong “interesting one.” The position she holds now was not one to internet and cell connections. He is National Sales Manager for which she had aspired early on. Still, every choice she has made Mechanical Advantage Corporation, a company that sells Sambo and every opportunity that she has been given have prepared her Gears through a national distribution program that Ross helped for this time in her career. to establish. While Kristin’s hours are often unpredictable and 104 MARCH 2022 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

During her tenure, Kristin has overseen the development of a strong strategic plan and tactics that have brought the organization to a much stronger position. The decision to remain in downtown Monroe at the main campus, and then developing a master facility plan that would help St. Francis to grow there, were critical moves. “Having a goal for the future allows you to create the roadmap of how to get there,” Kristin says. “Seeing all of the small and large successes over the past 8 years gets me excited about what the future holds. The leadership team at St. Francis is incredible, and I know that they are committed to seeing all of our plans come to fruition.” When Kristin moved to Monroe, she was immediately impressed with the love the community has for St. Francis. People were eager to share their personal experiences with the hospital with her. Many had been born there, had their children there, and some had worked there. “People love the organization and want to see it succeed. It is a part of the fabric of Monroe and Northeast Louisiana,” Kristin says. “It is amazing that we have team members with up to 50 years of service in our organization. That is unheard of. To have people that have committed their entire careers to St. Francis – again I am amazed.” Herself an active community volunteer (she serves on the VCOM School of Medicine and NOVA Workforce Solutions boards of directors), Kristin especially appreciates the essential role that St. Francis Auxiliary volunteers play. Their St. Francis Gift Shop (owned and operated by the auxiliary) raises money that is donated back to the hospital for key strategic initiatives including helping fund lobby renovations, purchasing new beds for Intensive Care, and buying bilirubin treatment systems for the NICU.

inflexible, his flexibility takes away some of the stress associated with those. “What makes Ross even more special is how he takes care of me,” Kristin explains. “He is a great cook, and most days I come home after a long day to find a wonderful home-cooked dinner and a nice glass of wine waiting.” Eight Years and Counting Battle-hardened by experiences including Hurricane Katrina and COVID, Kristin has the work experiences necessary to succeed. Although she is no longer a “hands on” nurse, she still works every day to find new and innovative models of care to help her staff succeed. “I am flexible and supportive of our team,” Kristin says. “I am open to new ideas or new ways of doing things – all with the idea of improving both patient care and team efficiencies.” Kristin has worked at St. Francis Medical Center for 8 years now, and during that time some of the most difficult challenges to face that institution during its 109 years have occurred. Significant financial difficulties, horrific weather (floods, tornados, and ice/snow), and then a pandemic --- but nothing stopped the St. Francis team. “With each crisis, the team at St. Francis used creativity, ingenuity, and a complete dedication to caring for those in need to ensure our staff, patients, and community were cared for,” Kristin says. “I continue to be amazed and proud of the entire organization for everything they do.”

Future Plans Kristin has worked very hard nearly all of her life, but retirement is not on her radar – yet. Both Wolkarts love the outdoors and travel. Recently they bought property in Cimarron, Colorado, on which they plan to build a cabin for winter and summer fun in the mountains. Ross loves to hunt big game, while Kristin’s passions are fishing and just enjoying the wonders of nature and wildlife. When there is finally time, Kristin would love to see a German castle, go to Australia and see kangaroos in their natural habitat, and go on an African safari to see the wild animals roaming free that are only seen in a zoo by most of us. Previous travels to Italy and Alaska have only served to make her want to travel more. The rich history and culture in the Italian cities helped her to understand just how young the U.S.A. is. Alaska was impressive in an entirely different way. “There are few places left that give you that sense of awe when you see them, but Alaska is one of the states that truly gives you that sense of pure nature.” Even though her travel dreams are real, nothing will ever replace Kristin’s love for her family. Both in the near-term and longterm, Kristin will continue to cherish family time. With their first grandchild Addison (Addie) having just arrived, there is no doubt that Ross and Kristin will find that family will mean even more! Many years have passed since Kristin worked as a “Candy Striper” youth volunteer at East Jefferson General Hospital in Metairie. Still, it was that earliest experience in healthcare that taught her how incredibly busy a hospital is, and how important the role nurses play in caring for patients. Both of those two lessons have served her well. WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | MARCH 2022 105

Your Hometown Urologist Dr. Robert Marx Specializes in Vasectomies


ARCH MADNESS IS THE PERFECT opportunity to schedule your vasectomy. With minimal downtime, you can be back at home the same day and simply resting for two days, while watching your favorite team play in this nationally televised tournament. A vasectomy is a medical procedure in which two tubes (the vas deferens) that carry sperm from the testicles to the urinary tract are tied and sealed. This prevents sperm from passing into the seminal stream and fertilizing a woman’s egg. Although it is permanent, it is surgically reversible in most cases. Reversibility is dependent upon time elapsed since the vasectomy. When it comes to forms of permanent male birth control, a vasectomy is the ideal permanent surgical procedure available to men. The procedure carries a very low risk of complications and is available to be performed as an outpatient procedure with localized anesthesia. Dr. Marx performs a nocut technique, which is the least invasive. The


patient is sedated and local anesthesia is used in order to achieve a painless procedure. THE VASECTOMY PROCEDURE IS NEARLY 100% EFFECTIVE Prior to a vasectomy, patients may be asked to prepare by: • Washing the scrotum to prevent infection • Not shaving the area • Bringing a pair of tight-fitting underwear or athletic support to the surgery to support the scrotum and minimize swelling • Arranging for transportation home to prevent extraneous movement • Avoiding anti-inflammatory drugs prior to and following the procedure, which thins the blood and can cause excessive bleeding AFTER THE VASECTOMY After the vasectomy is completed, patients are advised to rest for two days in order to reduce swelling and allow the vas deferens to heal. Discomfort may last for up to a week

after the procedure, with patients often being prescribed anti-inflammatory or painkillers for pain. Patients are encouraged to avoid heavy lifting, straining or squatting for 1 week. If you do any of these activities for work, you may need to take off work or arrange for light duty. Dr. Marx can give you an excuse. Also, keep the area dry for a week as well. If you are considering a vasectomy, call today to discuss your options with Dr. Marx. Robert D. Marx, M.D. is this community’s hometown urologist. He was born and raised right here in Monroe, Louisiana. He graduated from NLU, now ULM, and graduated from medical school and completed his residency at LSU Shreveport. Dr. Marx has traveled extensively working with the leaders of the field in order to keep up with the latest and most successful techniques in incontinence. He has been in practice for over thirty years and conveniently operates at Glenwood, Monroe Surgical and P&S.

Let Your Skin Shine This Spring LA Center For Women’s Health Offers Advanced Procedures


HEN YOU DON’T LOOK YOUR best, you’re not going to feel your best. Over a period of decades, our clinic has acquired the equipment and expertise to offer a palette of state-of-the-art procedures to maximize your appearance. We strive to offer our cosmetic services and procedures at affordable prices, which represent real value in today’s world. These various high-tech services can be obtained at our private clinic here in the Monroe area for a fraction of the charge for the same procedure in other cities. We are aware that our patients are interested in getting the best value, and we are structured to deliver this. HYDRAFACIAL Everyone can benefit from the Hydrafacial procedure. It is inexpensive, gives immediately noticeable results, only takes about 30 minutes, and has no social downtime. The procedure is

extremely pleasant and relaxing. We have the latest Hydrafacial equipment and a dedicated technician to perform it in a private setting. The procedure minimizes skin discoloration and brightens skin tone, instantly minimizing fine lines and wrinkles. Your skin is saturated with antioxidants and peptides to maximize skin glow. Uncover a new layer of skin with exfoliation and resurfacing. VASER LIPOSUCTION We are among the earliest adopters of Vaser Liposuction in the world. In fact, we have taught and demonstrated this unique procedure for doctors from as far away as Seoul, Korea. Vaser liposuction uses a very small incision of less than 1/4 inch to emulsify and remove fat. The procedure is performed in the office under local anesthesia, saving the expense of a hospital or surgery center. The

results are immediate, unlike various noninvasive treatments which may or may not work. HORMONE PELLETS Hormone pellets have helped thousands of men and women achieve hormonal balance for restoration of their health. We offer hormone pellets and hormone testing in our clinic. The pellets look much like a grain of rice and are placed under the skin where hormones are released as they dissolve over a period of months. For most people, this is the easiest way to replace missing hormones. If you have fatigue, depression, anxiety, decreased sexual performance, muscle wasting, insomnia, or weight gain, it might be appropriate to have your hormones checked. STATE-OF-THE-ART LASERS Our clinic has state-of-the-art lasers for the treatment of numerous medical and cosmetic problems. Unfortunately, this involves too much information to include in this space but will be detailed in future articles. BOTOX, FILLERS, COSMECEUTICALS We also offer Botox, Juvederm fillers, and various cosmeceutical beauty correcting formulas, all priced competitively.


ACL Tears – Getting Back in the Game

The North Louisiana Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Clinic


N ANTERIOR CRUCIATE LIGAMENT (ACL) INJURY is usually caused by a sudden twisting motion in the knee when an athlete lands or stops. Oftentimes, the athlete will hear a “pop” sound in addition to experiencing instantaneous pain once the injury is sustained. Common reasons athletes suffer ACL injuries include sudden deceleration, and landings with the leg in a vulnerable position. In fact, oftentimes athletes suffer this injury without any contact from another athlete, but instead by merely reacting to another player/athlete. Interestingly, female athletes sustain more ACL injuries than male athletes. Theories as to why this is the case include how the female knee is typically aligned (women have more of a “knock-knee alignment), and that women tend to be more “ligament dominant” than “muscle dominant.”Athletes can prevent ACL injuries by training themselves to land on the balls of their feet as opposed to landing flat-footed. Also, strengthening their quadriceps muscles and working on balance (proprioceptive exercise) can be helpful. Warming up thoroughly before participating in sports and strength training to make muscles firmer are two other means of preventing ACL injury. In addition to the “popping” sound that occurs with ACL injuries, other symptoms may include a buckling leg/knee, and swelling (within 24 hours). Once the swelling subsides, athletes may be able to return to daily life activities but oftentimes the injury recurs once the athlete returns to competition. Proper diagnosis


of an ACL injury always begins with a thorough examination by a competent physician. As part of the exam, the doctor may perform tests to determine whether the component parts of the knee stay in their proper position after applying pressure in all directions. While an MRI is often used to detect an ACL tear, the most reliable means to detect an ACL is via arthroscopy. The arthroscopy procedure (or knee scope) requires only a small surgical incision sufficient to allow a tiny camera to detect the ACL tear. Should the athlete’s ACL injury require surgical intervention, six to nine months is a good estimate of time before the athlete can return to their preoperative sport. Physical Therapy is highly recommended during this postoperative period. North Louisiana Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Clinic is uniquely qualified to diagnose and treat athlete ACL injuries. Dr. David M. Trettin is one of North Louisiana Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Clinic Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeons. He is Fellowship Trained in Sports Medicine and Subspecialty Certified in Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. Dr. Trettin is available to see patients in Monroe, West Monroe, and our new Ruston office. Please contact our office if you’ve been sidelined by an ACL injury and let us help you get back in the game.

Breast Augmentation

Frequently Asked Questions With Dr. Mickel


HE WINTER SEASON IS A GREAT time to consider breast augmentation. You can camouflage your new fullness with thick sweaters and jackets until warm weather arrives. Moreover, breast augmentation in the winter allows several months for swelling to subside and your breasts to soften, settle and look more natural in new tops and swim wear for spring and summer. I started my practice in Monroe in 1990 and over the past 30 years have done well over a thousand breast augmentations. How long does the operation take? The surgery takes about an hour. This doesn’t count going to sleep, waking up and recovery room time. In plastic surgery, it’s more important to be the best one finished, not the first one finished. Why do I have to be put to sleep? I prefer general anesthesia for your comfort. Most patients don’t want to remember anything about the operation. They simply want to wake up in the recovery room, look down at their chest and know that the operation is over. Can you do the surgery in your office? No. I prefer to do this type of surgery in a hospital or outpatient surgery center setting. Accredited surgical facilities have strict guidelines in place

to help insure sterility and patient safety. I would never compromise your safety just to shave a few dollars off of the package price for a surgical procedure. What’s the best kind of implant to use? In the vast majority of first time breast augmentation patients I use smooth silicone implants because they are softer and look more natural than implants filled with saline (salt water). However, in women under age 22, saline implants can be a reasonable choice. We will discuss these options at your initial consultation. Are silicone implants dangerous? No. Multiple studies have failed to show a definitive, cause-and-effect link between smooth silicone implants and any medical illness. I use only smooth implants. How long will I be off work? Most patients can return to light work in 3 to 5 days. I allow patients to get back to the gym – including intense cardio or even weight lifting – in 3 - 4 weeks. How do you know what size implants to use? Implants are sized according to width and volume, not cup size. I will listen carefully to what you hope to achieve with surgery and then try to align your expectations with what

my years of experience tells me I can realistically deliver. The goal is a fuller, more attractive breast that looks natural and fits your body – no matter what the ultimate cup size. Will large breasts make me look fat? No. Fat makes you look fat. Fuller breasts make you look proportional, attractive, sexy, feminine or a host of other adjectives, but not fat. Do my implants need to be changed every ten years? In my opinion, no. While it is true that a breast implant is a man-made device that won’t last forever, there is no reason to fix it if it isn’t broken. If your breasts are soft and natural, and there has been no evidence of implant rupture on routine mammograms or ultrasound exams of the breasts, then leave well enough alone. Can you enlarge my breasts with fat instead of a breast implant? Yes. Fat grafting is a relatively new option for breast enhancement that doesn’t involve an implant. Fat can be removed from one part of your body using liposuction, then re-injected into your breasts for augmentation. This is not for everyone, but it is a reasonable option for women who desire a modest enlargement (one cup size or less). Breast augmentation is one the most common procedures I perform, and certainly one of my favorites. If you are considering breast augmentation, there is no need to go elsewhere. I encourage you to visit to browse the before and after gallery and see for yourself, then call Mickel Plastic Surgery at (318) 388-2050 to set up a consultation. We will take the time to answer all of your questions and do our best to make the entire experience world class.


the women’s symposium The Women’s Symposium annually highlights women from across Northeast Louisiana for their individual achievements, professional and personal. The panelists share their stories with ULM students and fellow community members to showcase the importance of success and failure in one’s journey. Here we highlight five of the 2022 panelists and why they were chosen as leaders in their respective fields. ARTICLES BY MEREDITH MCKINNIE AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY KELLY MOORE CLARK

JO ELLEN GILLILAND As the co-owner of Tribe31 Training, Jo Ellen Gilliland seeks to improve women’s physical, mental, and spiritual health. She was raised in West Monroe, LA and has lived in this area all her life. After graduating from ULM with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, Jo Ellen taught 1st grade at Drew Elementary for eight years. Invested in physical fitness since running track and cross country in high school, Jo Ellen did personal training on the side. She enjoyed interacting with adults and advocating for physical wellness. Jo Ellen understood that the body included the mind, and that peak physical condition could only be achieved alongside mental and spiritual conditioning. After a random Facebook introduction with her business partner Taylor Jopling, the ladies decided to open Tribe31 Training. They could combine their training efforts and share the load of business ownership. The sisterhood that formed became the impetus of Tribe31 Training’s mission - to change lives by investing in women’s overall wellbeing while creating a community of support. In college, Jo Ellen learned the importance of strength training, a critical component of fitness, particularly as women age. At Tribe31, the trainers offer group workout classes to meet physical goals as well as offer challenges that build their mental capacity. For example, box jumps require mental strength. Jo Ellen focuses on building confidence with the understanding that mental toughness flows into other parts of our lives. Facing and overcoming fears results in mental growth and feelings of worthiness. Women particularly struggle with not feeling like they are enough, or being pulled in several different directions. Taking time to invest in ourselves means treating the whole body. For


the spiritual component, Jo Ellen offers Bible study groups for the primary goal of building relationships. Women are more likely to continue a practice wherein they have a sense of belonging. At the meetings, women talk and pray together, forming bonds that extend beyond each session and establish genuine, meaningful friendships. More than anything, training has changed Jo Ellen’s life; it’s become essential to who she is. She has learned that physical wellness cannot be achieved apart from mental and spiritual wellbeing. Jo Ellen is also a blue belt in jiu-jitsu and loves spending time with family, friends, and her rescue dogs Maggie and Zodie. Maintaining an active lifestyle means not just living, but living well. Jo Ellen is happy to have discovered that reality and feels blessed to share that knowledge with women just like her.

Mary Francis Siggers values family, faith, and purpose. After graduating from ULM, Mary Francis took a job with Vantage Health Plan as the Senior Account Executive. She loved the flexibility of the position and essentially being her own boss within the big corporation. Mary Francis handled health insurance sales for businesses that involved marketing, gathering employee information, inputting data, managing enrollment, and serving as a liaison between a client/ company and Vantage. The corporate world required 50 hours a week and frequent travel. Her superior Billy Justice insisted employees take care of themselves, offering self-development books and podcast recommendations. Mary Francis’ mentor encouraged her to advocate for herself in order to be the best employee and person outside the company. Mary Francis and her husband AJ now have three small children: Aubrey, Jordan, and Elise. When the couple bought Custom Design Center, Mary Francis had to make a difficult decision. Their family life needed structure, and the business needed her skills and attention. Mary Francis left Vantage, a job she loved, to pursue another passion, home design. She had taken some freelance design jobs with Blue Heron Homes in the past, and she felt confident in helping clients create dream living spaces. Coming home to a tranquil house sets the mind at ease, and she enjoys turning client mood boards into dream spaces that suit the client’s lifestyle. Mary Francis is also the current president of the Junior League of Monroe. She takes pride in giving back to her community and fostering the mission of the organization, while encouraging members to focus on self care. One Siggers family focus is 30 minutes of sunshine per day, or time spent outside. Mary Francis insists the practice has been life changing. Her mood is immediately lifted, and the kids crave the escape too. Too often we are cooped inside, and getting a bit of fresh air recharges us. Mary Francis insists self care is not selfish, that taking care of herself is essential to being the best version of all her titles. Hot baths and reading are quieting exercises that let the mind rest away from the madness that consumes a day. Guided meditation helps relieve anxiety and stress, something we are all battling over the last few years. Mary Francis has also learned to say no, that the timing of a request is not always right, even when we are happy to be considered. Success doesn’t mean doing the most, but rather making the most of time well spent. WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | MARCH 2022 111

the women’s symposium YUKI KC

Originally from Nepal, Yuki KC arrived in the United States in 2010, scared and on her own. From a nontraditional Nepalese family, Yuki experienced financial hardship and never met her biological father. Her mother Sudha Thapa Adhikary devoutly promoted education. She wanted her daughter to have every opportunity possible and knew that meant sending Yuki to America. Leaving behind her beloved dog and boyfriend, Yuki cried relentlessly at the airport, almost missing her flight. She had never stepped out of her mother’s shadow and feared what life would be like on her own. As a ULM student, Yuki immersed herself in the campus community, learning the foreign customs and adapting to academic life. She took a year off after receiving her associate’s degree and then chose to major in Computer Information Systems. While taking classes, Yuki worked at the ULM IT Help Desk. She loved working with people to solve technical issues. Upon graduation in 2016, Yuki took a job at the very institution that provided her a home away from home. Yuki’s upbringing taught her that change is inevitable, and learning to adapt is the best way to navigate a clear 112 MARCH 2022 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

path forward. Taking risks means letting go of the familiar and embracing uncertainty. The magic is often found on the other side of a tough decision. Yuki learned the value of patience, as it took her six months to feel comfortable in the new environment. That same boyfriend Baibhav KC that Yuki left behind in Nepal eventually enrolled at ULM, joining her in this new adventure. The couple married in 2016 and have made Monroe their home. Now serving as a System Analyst in the Admissions and Scholarships Office at ULM, Yuki is confident in her ability to shift course when necessary. Life will throw curve balls and hardships, but meeting the moment oftens results in newfound independence and the confidence to face whatever comes next. Yuki is a mentor and role model for international students coming to ULM. She served as Chapter Advisor for the Nepalese Student Organizations from 2016-2019. Yuki graduated with her MBA from ULM in 2020. She was awarded the ULM RSO Advisor of the Year Award in 2018. She has fulfilled her mother’s wishes of an education, and in the process, found the courage to forge her own path apart from the shadows.

AISHA JOHNSON As the Operations Supervisor at JP Morgan Chase, AIsha Johnson leads by example. She makes personal investments in people to help them achieve professional goals while growing as individuals. She began working at the company directly out of high school, learning and navigating the professional climb. She believes in bringing her whole self to work, and advises those working under her leadership to do the same. AIsha describes herself foremost as a go-getter, knowing that opportunities only become accomplishments when sought with passion and commitment, as well as staying open minded to change and maintaining a positive attitude. As a pastor’s wife, AIsha sees her primary role as a servant of God. Having been in church all her life, she carries her faith with her everywhere she goes. That consciousness of carrying faith inspired her clothing business in 2014. Kingdom Declaration Faithwear began with one t-shirt intended to remind people that the message of Christ still stands. AIsha was surprised by the shirt’s popularity and has since added hoodies, sweatshirts, socks, customized Dominoes, and bracelets all featuring verses and scriptures that promote faith in the community. The company’s motto is: Speak it! Live It! Wear It! In a rapidly evolving digital world, AIsha wanted to elevate personal interactions by acknowledging what she believes through clothing, a means of building connection and solidarity with others. The clothes are popular with young people who openly express themselves via style choices. Her husband A.B. Davis Johnson, Pastor at Rose of Sharon Baptist Church in Monroe, is heavily involved with the business, suggesting complementary designs for each item. The couple has been married for 18 years and have two sons: Kamari who attends LA Tech and Micah who attends Ouachita Parish High School. AIsha loves being a mother and is focused on keeping her young men grounded in their faith. AIsha fosters her creativity with playwriting. In 2002, AIsha wrote her first play for St.Joe Baptist Church in Alto entitled It’s in the Storm, based on the prodigal son theme. The play was such a hit that people kept asking for more. Incorporating biblical lessons into depictions of people’s current lives is a way of speaking directly to the community. AIsha writes on tissues and paper scraps, whenever she feels inspired. This creative outlet is a form of giving back to her community and again expressing her faith. Though raised in a small town, AIsha dared to dream big. Encouraging others to find and pursue their dreams is an honor and a privilege. WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | MARCH 2022 113

the women’s symposium WENDI TOSTENSON Wendi Tostenson forged her own path to leadership in higher education, one that included being a stay-at-home mom for 12 years. As a graduate of the University of Georgia, Wendi admits she wasn’t a traditional academic student. She struggled in classes and relied on her instincts. She met her husband Kyle on a trip abroad, organized between their respective high schools in Georgia and Minnesota. The relationship evolved long distance, back when hand-written letters were required for communication. The couple moved to Monroe for Kyle’s job at CenturyLink, though when his position went remote and the kids were in school, Wendi desired to return to the workforce. After acquiring her MBA in 2009, she took a position at a technical college in south Georgia, moving the family back home. Wendi started in Career Services, working with programs and employers, placing students in appropriate positions. Soon, her boss moved her to Director of Financial Aid, an odd position as Wendi had never even filled out a FAFSA form. After a colleague’s retirement, Wendi moved into the Registrar’s Office, again learning a new position with little experience. Embracing change via new roles prepared Wendi for the reality of higher education administration. The family moved back to Monroe for Wendi to serve as the institution’s Executive Director for Workforce and Economic Development at Louisiana Delta Community College. In the position, Wendi oversaw

non credit training programs and consulted with industry partners, offering short-term training programs to upskill current employees. Serving on workforce development boards, Wendi learned that education is an interstate, with frequent stops and starts, and that students often don’t know how to navigate. With that awareness, Wendi earned her Doctorate in Public Administration with a concentration in Public Policy in 2018. In 2021, Wendi was named the Vice Chancellor of Education and Student Services at LA Delta. She handles a bit of everything including: adult education, workforce demands, academics, student services, grant writing, and the registrar’s office. Her experience adjusting to career pivots prepared her to see all the moving parts of higher education and explore how best to knock down those silos taking separate houses and forming one house with multiple rooms. Wendi and Kyle have three adult children: Lyle, Mary Logan, and Lucas. The primary reason Wendi reentered the workforce was to show her daughter a woman’s strength, that one’s past does not dictate one’s future. At the time Wendi searched for jobs, many potential employers did not recognize raising children as a viable skillset. Anyone with children knows the intense training of motherhood. Wendi took the time to apply herself, relying on her instincts like in college, and climbed the ladder on her own time frame.


Don’t Let Leakage Slow You Down Do You Suffer From Urinary Leakage?


’VE ALWAYS HEARD WOMEN IN MY FAMILY TALK ABOUT bladder leakage like it was just a part of having kids and getting older. My mom and aunts would joke about having to wear pads while exercising, never being able to jump on a trampoline, or complain about just not being able to do the things they used to do. In fact, I had no idea that stress urinary incontinence is a common condition that affects over 13 million adults in the United States, 85% of which are women. After having children, I now know this condition can have a significant impact on daily life, affecting activities, relationships, and even emotional well-being. At first, I planned to just live with the symptoms, avoid trampolines at all costs, and pray that nothing happens when I squat down; but then I heard a friend talking about Bulkamid. She’d had the procedure done outpatient at The Woman’s Clinic. According to her it was quick, easy, & changed her life - but of course I was skeptical! I did a Google search about the procedure and then put in a call to my gynecologist at The Woman’s Clinic to find out more. After talking with my provider, I found out a few things: • Stress urinary incontinence is the unintentional passing of urine during activity or exertion, such as during coughing, laughing, or exercise; and is caused by a weakness of the pelvic floor muscles.


• Bulkamid is a urethral bulking agent, injected into the soft tissue of your urethra using a syringe. • Bulkamid is new to our area, but has proven long lasting results. The Woman’s Clinic was the first in the state to offer Bulkamid. • Bulkamid can be done in the office, as an outpatient procedure. There is no anesthesia and little to no down time! • Bulkamid may be covered by your insurance & cost as little as a copay! The next step for me was a test called Urodynamics, to see if I truly had stress incontinence. Once the diagnosis was confirmed, The Woman’s Clinic checked coverage with my insurance company and I scheduled my appointment. Truth be told I was a little anxious, but on the day of, the process was so simple. Prior to the procedure, my doctor gave me a local anesthetic and I only felt a slight scratch as the needle entered. The Bulkamid procedure was minimally invasive and took about 10-15 minutes from start to finish. I only missed one day of work, had no hospital costs, & had immediate improvement of my symptoms. If you are suffering from stress urinary incontinence, don’t think you just have to suffer through. Call The Woman’s Clinic and schedule an appointment to find out if you have stress urinary incontinence and if Bulkamid could make a drastic change on your life! After all, it’s not normal to pee on yourself!

Dr. Smith is “TopNotch,” Says Patient Regular Screenings are Essential in the Fight Against Colon Cancer


T E P H E N “ TA N K ” H I L L , A N active 71-year-old, intends to live a long life like his father before him. Stephen is quick to reveal the highlight of his day: picking up his 2-year-old granddaughter from daycare. “She’s an absolute joy,” he said. Stephen is a former triathlete; he enjoys biking, running, and swimming several miles each week. He’s vigilant about maintaining his routine medical exams, the latest of which revealed colon cancer. His younger sister was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1992. She survived, and her surgeon advised all six of her brothers to undergo regular colonoscopies. Stephen said, “If you’re proactive in all areas of your health, your disease can be caught early like in my case. You need to take it upon yourself to manage your health. Caring for your health does not have to be scary or embarrassing.”

He is also passionate about Dr. Patrick Smith, a surgeon at the Surgery Clinic of Northeast Louisiana, who performed Stephen’s surgery in December of 2021. Stephen’s family accompanied him during his first appointment with Dr. Smith. “Dr. Smith introduced himself, and I explained why my wife and son were with me: to make me behave and act right,” Stephen remembered with a smile. “Dr. Smith didn’t miss a beat. He would talk to me and then to them, making eye contact with each of us. His eyes were asking me, ‘Are you ok?’ That’s how at ease he made me feel. He explained everything in a way that was easy to comprehend.” Stephen mentioned some of his apprehensions to Dr. Smith. “When I told Dr. Smith about my concerns, he looked me in the eyes and said, ‘I am going to take good care of you.’ And he did. He visited me every morning and every night. He has a wonderful bedside manner,” Stephen said. “He is top-

notch. I know many people in the area, and everybody who knows him loves him. He’s that personable.” Dr. Smith performed Stephen’s surgery robotically, significantly improving Stephen’s outcome. Minimally invasive surgeries mean less recovery time and less pain. He used the da Vinci to perform the surgery with an advanced set of instruments and a 3D highdefinition view of the surgical area. Now, five weeks after his surgery, Stephen is walking three to five times per week and improving his stamina every day. Stephen and his wife also help care for their 9-year-old twin granddaughters and often travel to see their other two granddaughters in Golden, Colo. “It was really important to me that I spent Christmas morning with my granddaughters. Dr. Smith and his staff made that possible, ensuring the surgery didn’t conflict with my Christmas wish. I can’t recommend Dr. Smith and his staff enough.” In addition to Dr. Patrick Smith, the Surgery Clinic of Northeast Louisiana is home to surgeons Dr. Walter Sartor, Dr. Bart Liles, and Dr. Mohamed Bakeer. Contact the clinic today at 398-2984 with your questions about preventative health, general surgery, vein care procedures, and weight loss surgery. Learn more about our services at


Where One’s Heart is Found Within One’s Style HARTFORSTYLE Can Be Found at Mercantile Monroe in Downtown Monroe


F YO U ’ R E A V I N TAGE VIXEN TR APPED IN A M O D E RN world, you can play dress-up everyday in styles from your favorite eras by shopping with HARTFORSTYLE. We love vintage-style clothing and carry a vast assortment of unique items that will make you feel like a classy dame, a retro bombshell or a free spirited hippie chick. At HARTFORSTYLE, we love a good hunt! We are out looking for those special and unique pieces that you may not be able to find on your own or styling an outfit in a way that you may not have thought about before. We love giving that vintage piece you have in your closet a new and fresh perspective as a fabulous outfit. It’s not hard to see why HARTFORSTYLE has such following on social media - the stylish range of tasteful vintage wear would be a challenge not to become obsessed with. With our mission to inspire individual style with classic vintage wear, you are sure to find what you are looking for in the amazing collection we have on hand. Our retro pieces are perfect for mixing and matching. There are vintage inspired dresses with a modern twist, fun whimsical prints that anyone would love and skirts, blouses or graphic tees that you can get many different uses out of. Our pieces are timeless and are for any vintage loving guy or girl on any budget.


We are glad to be a part of Mercantile Monroe, located in the heart of Downtown Monroe. You can also follow us on all social media outlets for our news, updates and fashion thrifts and shop with us online at HARTFORSTYLE is a second-hand online thrift business that focuses on the importance of repurposing clothing and preserving vintage fashion. 19-year-old West Monroe native Hartley Waldrop is the owner and curator of this business. Recently launching her new website, Hartley’s goal is that everyone would find their “heart” for style and learn to love vintage and unique fashion just as much as she does. Since starting this business when she was just 16 years old, HARTFORSTYLE has gained a following and a name for itself. Get to know Hartley and all that her business is about! HARTFORSTYLE Facebook: @hartforstyle Instagram: @hartforstyle now located inside Mercantile Monroe

The Hope Unit Morehouse General Hospital


LDER A D U LT S MAKE important contributions to society as family members, volunteers and as active participants in the workplace. For many mature adults, aging can present life challenges that require assistance to overcome. While most are in good health, many are at risk of developing mental or neurological disorders, substance use as well as unhealthy life conditions. At Morehouse General Hospital, we have transformed a wing on the first floor into a state-of-the-art geriatric psychiatric unit - The Hope Unit (Helping Older People Emotionally). This Unit provides individual and group therapy based on the individual’s needs. Our program is designed for individuals 55 years and older who are experiencing emotional, cognitive, or behavioral changes. Symptoms may include loss of memory, mood irritations, anxiety, difficulty coping with losses and transitions, or behavioral conditions that interfere with

care at home or in a long-term care setting. We are here to help you cope with these challenges in a healthy manner. The HOPE unit can accommodate ten patients, all with private rooms that were created with safety in mind. Our staff is committed to providing our community with the highest quality of care available. We are here to ensure that you have the necessary tools and resources to promote your wellbeing and allow you to lead a healthy life. COMMON CONDITIONS TREATED • Anxiety and Depression • Grief and Loss • Isolation and Loneliness • Social Withdrawal • Coping Skills • Difficulty coping with changes in physical health • Dementia, Alzheimer’s, Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and suicidal ideation

ADVANTAGES OF THE HOPE UNIT • Combines individual and group therapies • Utilizes 24-hour nursing staff, Boardcertified Psychiatrists and Physicians to assure that all needs are met in a safe and supportive environment • Monitors mood changes and initiates appropriate strategies as directed by the care team • Provides structure and assistance to maintain a daily routine. • Helps to address issues that are faced daily The HOPE unit, located at 323 West Walnut Bastrop, LA is available to help you or your loved ones. Medicaid, Medicare and most private insurance is accepted. Call today for a free, confidential assessment. (318)2833900.


Need a Lift? PDO Thread Lift



N TODAY ’ S A E STHETIC WOR L D, there are many treatments for fine lines and wrinkles, such as Botox, Filler, and Laser treatments, but once our skin starts to sag and droop, seeking anti-aging treatments without surgery can seem challenging. If you’re looking for a safe, non-surgical way to lift and tighten sagging skin, anywhere on the face or body, look no further than PDO Thread Lifts at Professional Laser Center. PDO stands for polydioxanone, a synthetic, monofilament, flexible, raw material that is absorbed by the body. A PDO Thread Lift is a FDA cleared procedure that uses these dissolvable sutures to tighten and reposition sagging skin. The procedure is less invasive than facelift surgery and is usually performed in less than an hour. Tens of thousands of treatments have been performed for decades and, so far, there have been minimal reports of sensitivity to


the threads, allergic reactions, or severe side effects. A good candidate for a PDO thread lift is someone looking to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, improve skin laxity, and enhance overall appearance. PDO threads are very versatile and can treat virtually all areas of the face or body. You can achieve desired results such as smoother and tighter necklines, higher cheekbone contour, softer eyebrows and smile lines, and defined jawlines. They also work great on the body to lift and volumize sagging knees, arms, buttocks, stomach, and bat wings. Our Nurse Practitioner, Elizabeth Hoskins, will identify areas on your face or body that have loose skin. She’ll mark where the threads will be inserted and then inject local anesthesia into the treatment area, making it numb. Then, she’ll use a hollow needle to insert the threads underneath

the skin. As she pulls the needle out, the threads grab onto loose tissue to reposition and tighten the skin. Results are immediate and will continue to improve over the next few months, as the inflammatory response encourages new collagen production. The procedure can cause minimal swelling and bruising, but usually resolves in a week or a few days. Some patients also experience slight discomfort immediately after the treatment, but this usually resolves quickly. Overall, PDO threads have a significantly lower risk of complications compared to surgery. Even though PDO thread lifts are not permanent, the results last longer compared to other cosmetic treatments. Typically, results from PDO treatments last up to 18 months or longer before another procedure or touchup is needed. The cost of the procedure can run anywhere from $300 to $5000, depending on how many threads are used. So, what are you waiting for? Get started today and turn back the hands of time. For more information or to schedule a free consultation or appointment, call Professional Laser Center at 318-361-9066. Please visit our website, to view our list of other services and procedures.

Residents Moving Into Georgia Tucker Phase II Assisted Living & Memory Care Apartment Homes


HERE’S A LOT OF EXCITEMENT IN Monroe’s Garden District this month as The Gardens at Georgia Tucker welcomes many new residents into their move-in ready homes, and that includes in the original Phase I building as well as the newly completed Phase II buildings. The professional staff has also expanded and includes an LPN, a dietician, a new activities director, fitness instructors, and additional on-site managers – all for the purpose of enhancing the daily lives of their residents’ lifestyles. All assisted living residents in Phase I & Phase II will enjoy dining together in the bright, spacious community dining area where there is a chef-inspired gourmet kitchen providing three daily meals and snacks. Memory Care residents have an exclusive dining area that is conducive to their comfort and security adjacent to the beautifully landscaped inner courtyard. Daily living amenities abound, featuring

a beauty/barber shop, exercise classes led by local NextLevel Health & Fitness, garden & courtyard walkways, an art studio, and gracious gathering & activity areas. Each apartment provides a mounted TV, personal refrigerator & microwave oven, Wi-Fi connections, and cable TV with all utilities included. Popular shared endeavors such as musical entertainment, movies & games, birthday parties, themed events, church activities, and more are continuing in the gracious atrium gathering space in the original vintage building. There will also be shopping excursions, and complimentary transportation is provided for medical visits. A physician is on call 24/7, and pharmacy consultation/delivery is offered as well. There are one-bedroom & two-bedroom assisted living apartments in both Phase I and Phase II buildings, as well as one-bedroom apartments in the Phase II Memory Care building. The Memory Care services include all the expected amenities along with an

individualized plan of care to maximize quality of life for your loved one. Full accreditation and a certified staff ensure proper attention for residents in this building. The unparalleled comfort, convenience, location and amenities of The Gardens At Georgia Tucker assure residents of an environment that can truly be called home. You can hear for yourself from some of the residents expressing their contentment when you visit to view testimonial videos and comments. For the best in gracious assisted living, take a closer look at The Gardens at Georgia Tucker. Reservations and lease deposits are being accepted now for the remaining Phase II assisted living and memory care apartments. Please call 318-538-0040 to schedule a tour appointment. The administration staff will be pleased to show you around, answer any questions, and provide leasing & lifestyle information for you or for a loved one. Visit for more details.



Spring Cleaning Bask in the Blooming Season article by Cindy G. Foust


pring is in the air BayouLife nation and I hope this column finds our loyal readers basking in the blooming buds and warm temperatures of spring. Actually, spring seems to have kicked off in our region the past few days, with temperatures in the 70s… and then the next few nights, we will be back in the 20s. What in the world? But it is what it is in this bayou community that we live (that kind of sounds like a country music song,) and pretty soon we will be dying eggs and preparing for graduation. But not this month, no, this month we are just going to enjoy the sites and the sounds of spring. I mean, this time last year we were in the middle of the Snowcopolypse, so at least we aren’t snowed in, right? Right. But here we all are waiting on the warmer temperatures and looking forward to doing all the things we enjoy. For me, that’s working in my flower beds, grilling out with friends and spring cleaning. Well, that’s a lie… I don’t really like to spring clean, but I am married to Mr. Clean (the real one) and if I don’t get my garage cleaned out, I will have to move back in with my parents. Which might not be so bad, actually, because I know my clothes would be clean and my dinner would be on the table every night when I got home from work. Yeah. Admittedly that’s kind of how things are now, thanks to Mr. Clean. Anywho, I am making a concerted effort to do some spring cleaning, including cleaning out (I wish I could put that word in capital letters) and getting control of the disorganization that is currently plaguing my life. My co-worker walked in my office the other day and I was hiding under a pile of receipts that had been in my purse. And my briefcase. Anybody with me? Listen, I am taking this so serious, that I actually bought poster board and created “rooms” of my house so I would know what I needed to do when I got to each place. Do you have organizational envy yet?


Now, to be clear, I used to be a routine purger, because I do not like clutter, but things have been a little “hairy” at my house over the last months and an organized house kind of took a back seat. And since I was raised that if it wasn’t attached to the floor, throw it out, I decided to spark my motivation, and my family’s, and get the wheels moving. Speaking of how I was raised, and while we are on the subject of cleaning, let me just shock the nation by saying that when I was growing up we didn’t even have a dishwasher. As a matter of fact, when my sisters and I left home, my dad bought a dishwasher, a television with a remote control and a riding lawn mower. Man, were we mistreated. Oh, and how lucky was my brother? Yes, Angel and Shelley (my two sisters for those readers who have a hard time staying caught up with me) and I had our housework down to a science… we took turns washing, drying and putting up the dishes (except on Shelley’s night to wash, and suddenly she’d have a stomach ache and disappear to the bathroom for what seemed like hours, and me and Angel would just give up and wash on her night. Looking back on it, that was pretty strategic.); we knew exactly how many lines there were in our yard using a push mower, and divided it up accordingly; and we took turns vacuuming and raking the carpet. Yes readers, my mom had us rake the carpet after we vacuumed it, but sometimes we would let the vacuum cleaner run, like we were busy bees, but we didn’t actually vacuum the carpet, we would just rake it, so it still had that “just vacuumed” look. We were strategic, astrophysicists before our time. Oh, and speaking of science, my sister Shelley (whom I hope doesn’t read my column, although, that wouldn’t be very sisterly of her), was famous for the science experiments she conducted under her bed. Goodness sakes, she would aggravate the mess out of me and Angel, because when mom did make us “spring clean,” we would have to help

Shelley, because she was the youngest and she would cry that she needed help, so we would have to help her disinfect and identify her bowls that were formerly known as milk. But the good news is, for those readers out there with a Messy Marvin (or Martha), Shelley turned into an excellent and organized house keeper who likes clutter less than I do, so, there’s hope. But this column isn’t about creating little housekeepers, or teaching our kids to clean their rooms, because, well, I just think it’s too controversial of a subject, you know, like whether or not to breast feed your kids, and I really didn’t feel like biting that off this month. I’m not saying I’m not for starting our kids early, but perhaps not as early as some researchers suggest. In fact, I contemplated writing this column on the simple premise of “How To Make Your Child a Good Housekeeper,” but I just couldn’t side with those experts that say we should start our 2 year olds sorting laundry or helping load the dishwasher. So, instead I decided to stick with what I know, which is cleaning out and organizing, and getting your kids engaged in the process. If I can get my family involved…so can you! To get your project off the ground, start by pumping up the music. Music just puts you in a cheerful mood and if you have the right playlist going, it will be fun to take a few breaks while everybody belts out Y.M.CA. Next, make sure you have plenty of bins and containers, and if you are overzealous (I simply love that word), a label maker. You also want to make sure you have ample cleaning supplies ready for the big job. I would suggest starting with any closets you have in the room and start sorting into piles. Be sure to have a pile near or outside the door that will be headed to the Goodwill store or passed down to younger family members. To me, sorting into piles make the process go smoother and quicker. Most everything in your child’s room is a candidate for its own

storage container and it’s an inexpensive way to keep things organized and just see what you have. Next, be brave readers, and head under the bed (I’m going to make a rhyme every time.) Be prepared, however, for what you might find, including food (or what was once food), loose change, toys, and socks. Finally, and something that has through the years taken over my kid’s rooms, is their “art” projects. I figured out years ago that you just simply have to part with some of it or you will have to build a new house to store it all. A really helpful idea for me has been to buy a plastic storage container for each year they are in school. Keep it close to where you unload their backpacks, but if it does make it to their rooms, and it will, just let your children help you decide what’s a “keeper” and what’s a “thrower.” As they get older, you will be able to consolidate years into the same bins, but it’s a great way to also store things you want to keep for the year like school programs, pictures, etc. I do realize that some rooms might require you block off an entire weekend rather than a Saturday afternoon. Don’t beat yourselves up. We are all busy and the bowels of a kid’s room can get out of hand quick. Just try to turn the project into a fun filled time as you pry the 1st grade coat hanger pumpkin project out of your 4tIh graders hands! And who knows, the spring cleaning epidemic might just motivate your little helpers to reach outside their rooms and you might come home to your spice drawer being alphabetized! Happy spring cleaning readers, and I’ll see you next month when we might morph this spring cleaning action into a “family” affair and head to the garage which might morph into a garage sale and save my marriage. I’ll keep you posted.

Cindy G. Foust is a wife, mom, author and blogger. You can find her blog at the for weekly columns about home life, parenting, small business stories and insight with a smidgen of literacy. Give her a like or follow on Facebook and Instagram.


Hop Into Spring

The Children’s Shoppe Has Your Spring Essentials


PRING IS HOPPING AND POPPING AT THE CHILDREN’S Shoppe, literally. It’s time to suit up for the season! The madcap month of March has arrived - the last of winter and the first of spring. Blustery winds and soft spring breezes alternate as we venture out for brisk walks. Can’t March make up her mind which it shall be? Let us help her! Springtime is a busy time. Easter and St. Patrick’s Day are upon us, and there is much to do as frocks and bonnets await your sweet angels. Gather your baskets and hop our way, we have everything you need to prepare for Easter festivities. In the eighth century, the poetic name Easter, meaning “new beginning,’ was incorporated into Christianity’s observance of Christ’s resurrection, thereby blending nature’s renewal with man’s spiritual rebirth. The Easter season is not only a Christian story, but a promise of renewal for all. Our family’s spirit awakens, along with the natural world, from its long winter sleep. Green is good! Spring arrivals are plentiful but are being snapped up as quickly as a hot cross bun – so it would be wise not to dilly dally. Hop on in! The Children’s Shoppe offers a vast array of musthave gifts for babies, birthdays, special occasions, or just for play. There is an enticing selection of decorative treasures, diaper bags, and custom hair bows. We place particular emphasis on toys and books that are developmental and fun…all great options for Easter baskets. Regardless of season or reason, The Children’s Shoppe is the perfect place to find timeless and fashion-forward children’s clothing, gifts, and accessories for girls newborn to size 14 and for boys newborn to size 12. Swing by The Children’s Shoppe, we can get your little sprout geared up for St.Patrick’s day, too! We have green shoes, green shirts, green bows, green bags, green sippy cups, green blankets, and even an edition of the book, “Green Eggs and Ham.” Are you a mother-to-be? Not sure what you are having? Go green! Green is good! The Children’s Shoppe also has a whole new selection of spring clothing for both boys and girls. We have matching boy and girl sets that would be perfect for any family outing or family pictures. It’s time to stock up on spring clothes and The Children’s Shoppe has everything you need at one easy and convenient place. If you’re needing to stuff those Easter baskets, The Children’s Shoppe has just what you need. 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 mess-free markers. Help kids develop fine motor skills while making beautiful things with great beading and craft projects for kids of all ages.


Dr. Patrick McGee Changing Lives with Hybridge


HEN ONE THINKS OF DENTAL IMPLANTS AND FULL mouth restoration, you may think it is something you won’t have to worry about until you are older. However, we see patients of all ages suffering from dental decay and tooth loss. Until recently, the solution has been partials or dentures but Hybridge is changing that. We are proud to be a part of this cutting edge technology as the only Hybridge certified dentist in North Louisiana. Patients who have come to the realization that replacing their natural teeth with dental implants makes the most sense must begin the process of evaluating the dentists who offer implant services and the process itself. In a nutshell, Hybridge provides highly qualified dentists, a consistent process, and offers both quality dental implants and the final Hybridge restorations they support. Hybridge Full Arch is not an implant. It is a prosthetic restoration which is made using very specific clinical techniques. The “conventional” approach to dental implants can be completed in many different ways, usually resulting in porcelain crowns or bridgework. These treatments are still available, but usually for replacing one or several teeth at a time and treatment time may take up to 18 months. Hybridge Full Arch is a specific technique which has been perfected to result in a fast, cost effective, simplified treatment approach. The result is full dental function for less than half the cost of conventional implant bridgework and in a fraction of the time. Whether you’re considering a lower jaw or an upper jaw full arch dental implant bridge, or maybe even full arch full-mouth restoration, every Hybridge solution includes a finely crafted prosthetic restoration supported by permanent titanium dental implants. These implants provide the necessary stimulation for bone growth and health. By attaching permanently to the implants instead of the gums or natural teeth, Hybridge’s full arch dental implant solutions eliminate the many problems associated with conventional treatments. During the Hybridge dental implant treatment process, patients receive temporary, comfortable tooth replacements to ensure that they never go without teeth. Because everyone is different, we don’t just offer one dental implant option. Hybridge Dental Implant doctors believe the right treatment is the one that’s best for the patient, and so there is more than just one Hybridge solution available. Hybridge Implant Solutions look, feel and function like healthy, natural teeth. If you have compromised teeth, it’s easy to get caught in the endless cycle of time-intensive and expensive crowns, bridgework, and dentures that only provide a temporary fix to your dental problems. Choosing any of our Hybridge Dental Implant Full Arch treatments will end this cycle, permanently. You can enjoy lasting benefits with Hybridge Dental Implant Solutions. The newfound comfort, renewed confidence and ease of maintenance they enjoy with Hybridge, really does transform their quality of life for many years to come. We have patients that haven’t been able to chew a steak or bite into a piece of pizza for years but are now free to enjoy any food they want. We have had patients that have their relationships affected because they were becoming reclusive, embarrassed of their teeth. After Hybridge, they are proud to smile, knowing the investment in their health and happiness were worth it! If you are concerned about your dental health and think you may be a candidate for Hybridge Implant Solutions, contact our office today to set up a consultation. We can even discuss financing options that are available. Don’t go another day without a smile you are proud of! WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | MARCH 2022 125

Common Shoulder Injuries With Andrew Patton, MD


ILLIONS OF PEOPLE EACH YEAR ARE MAKING appointments with their doctors complaining of shoulder pain and upper arm and muscle strain. Over half of these visits, the shoulder pain was caused by injuries to the rotator cuff. Shoulder injuries are commonly seen in athletes that engage in repetitive overhead motions such as, swimming, pitching, and weightlifting. Injuries also occur during day-to-day activities like gardening, reaching for something on a shelf or household chores. As we age, wear and tear of the shoulder can often result in a decrease of range and motion and have a substantial impact on our day-today activities and routines. You don’t walk on your shoulders, but the shoulder joint is just as susceptible to wear and tear as your knees and/or hips. Arthritis (thinning/loss of cartilage lining of the joint) and tears in in the rotator cuff tendon (a group of muscles that help lift and rotate the shoulder) are the most common culprits of shoulder wear and tear, pain and decreased range of motion. Some of the early symptoms of shoulder arthritis and rotator cuff tears are: • Dull ache deep in the shoulder • Restless sleep, particularly if you lie on the affected shoulder • Difficulty combing your hair or reaching behind your back • Arm weakness There are several common risk factors associated with arthritis of the shoulder and rotator cuff tear: • Age - Individuals over 60 are more prone to osteoarthritis - Individuals over 40 become more susceptible to rotator cuff tears • Prior injuries - Shoulder dislocation- can accelerate the onset of arthritis due to loss and thinning of cartilage around the joint. • Repetitive overhead activities and professions - Certain sports such as, baseball, weightlifting and tennis - Certain professions, particularly construction jobs such as, painting, and carpentry Shoulder arthritis presents as gradually increasing pain and loss of motion making it difficult to complete basic tasks such as getting dressed, combing your hair and reaching for a book on a shelf. Rotator cuff tears may also be present with pain, but are often accompanied by weakness and atrophy, making it difficult to reach overhead or lift things away 126 MARCH 2022 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

from the body. Rotator cuff injuries can also result from a certain single injury and in these cases, you should seek medical care immediately. There are several surgical and nonsurgical treatment options for shoulder arthritis and rotator cuff tears. If shoulder pain is interfering with your daily activities or quality of life, it may be a good idea to consult an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine. When patients come to see me, I will complete a routine physical exam that will include pressing and moving the arm in different positions to test the strength and range of motion of the shoulder. I may also order some imaging tests to further determine the cause(s) of pain. Once I can diagnose the problem, we will talk about what options you have. If I can treat your shoulder pain without surgery, I think it is the best option. Some of the non-surgical options to consider, include: • Rest or change in activities • Physical therapy exercises to improve the range of motion in your shoulder • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), such as aspirin or ibuprofen, may reduce inflammation and pain • Corticosteroid injections in the shoulder can dramatically reduce the inflammation and pain, but the relief is often short lived • Moist heat may relax sore and tightened muscles • Icing the shoulder for 20-30 minutes 2-3 times daily can reduce inflammation and reduce pain If your shoulder pain persists after exploring conservative, nonsurgical options, you may want to consider surgery. Some surgical options may include: • arthroscopy • tendon repair • total shoulder replacement If shoulder pain is interfering with your day-to-day activities or is persistent, don’t wait to be evaluated. The sooner you address your shoulder pain, the greater the chance that we will have more treatment options available to you. I want my patients to know that we are a team and we’re in this together to devise the best treatment plan for YOU! If you are suffering from shoulder pain or your level of function is just not where you want it to be, give the clinic a call…together we will work to get you pain free and back to your desired level of function! Andrew Patton,MD is a fellowship trained orthopedic surgeon specializing in orthopedic sports medicine at Orthopedic Specialists of Louisiana in Shreveport/Bossier City. To schedule an evaluation, please call (866) 759.9679.

Automated Alarm

Our Family Committed to Keeping Your Family Safe


UTOMATED ALARM HAS BEEN committed to serving Northeast Louisiana for over 25 years with custom designed systems. These systems focus on security and life safety systems for residential and commercial applications. Our staff has industry led training in system design and installation standards. We provide free consultation to aid you in assessing and mitigating your security and life safety vulnerabilities. We understand that every customer has specific requirements and are committed to aligning the best practices, topshelf equipment, and professional installation to bring you the best value and coverage. We are a family owned and operated business, committed to keeping the residents of Northeast Louisiana safe and secure. Technology is opening the way for home and business owners to have more automation solutions available at affordable prices. Our security alarm systems can integrate cameras,

door access, and lighting and temperature controls through an app on your smart phone. Studies have shown that homes with a video doorbell can reduce burglaries up to 55% as a third of burglars use the front door. The Department of Energy indicates that programmable thermostats can reduce heating and cooling bills by 10%. Cameras systems are becoming more common at residential and commercial locations as affordability increases. They aid in deterrence, assist in monitoring activity at entry/exit points, blind spots, and avenues of approach on site. Camera systems have become invaluable to law enforcement in solving burglary cases that currently have a solve rate just over 13%. Most burglars live nearby and generally operate between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Check with us at Automated Alarm to see how you can remotely view live and playback footage. Over the past 25 years we have maintained

an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Automated Alarm is in compliance with all known state regulations for employee licensing and insurance through the State Fire Marshall’s Office. We are proud members of the Northeast Louisiana Homebuilders Association and Louisiana Life Safety and Security Association. Being a local company, we are involved in volunteering labor and parts for St. Jude, Chennault Air Museum, and local police and fire departments. Our primary mission is to provide low voltage technology solutions for residential and commercial applications with integrity through fair business practices, tip of the spear technology and equipment installed with professional practices. We strive to serve our customers through a shared passion of safety and security. Automated Alarm wants to remind you that security starts with a hard target mentality. Light up your location, lock your doors, remove objects that restrict visibility, and have a trusted agent check your mail and pick up your newspaper if you are out of town. If you have a security alarm system, use it! Activate your alarm system — Alarm systems are only useful when you remember to activate them. There is no better time to install a new security system than now. We look forward to the opportunity to serve as your security and life safety company.






Matt Branch, former Louisiana State Football player, used to see obstacles as a hindrance, but after experiencing a major amputation he has learned that obstacles are opportunities for growth and to strengthen character. Branch has not had an easy life. But now he has a story, and one that after three years, he still finds surreal but definitely worth telling. Born in Monroe, Louisiana, Branch was raised in Rayville. “Church was a big part of my life growing up. Dad always had us in church Wednesdays and Sundays,” he recalls. Like most southern boys, hunting, fishing, and sports were significant parts of his life. He excelled as a young athlete in baseball and football. He remembers sitting on his bed as a child and praying to God that he would not be as tall as his father because he wanted to be a running back like Emmitt Smith (5’ 9”). “I’m 6’ 6”, obviously, that prayer was not answered,” he laughs. Though baseball was his favorite sport growing up, he got notoriety for his performance on the football field. By the time he was finishing high school, he was getting scholarship offers and choosing LSU was a no-brainer. “That was my team,” he says, mentioning trips his family would take to Tiger Stadium and recalling the “electric energy” of the fans.


ollege football was a bit of a wake-up call for Branch, though. “In high school, you get a lot of attention, and you get a lot of recognition.” In college, he had to start at ground zero. Looking back, he knows he could have worked harder. “I definitely didn’t push myself to my limit like I should have. And so… after four and a half years, I came back with a broken heart, trying to figure out, you know, what to do, where to pick up the pieces from there.” Those pieces led the way back to his roots. “I basically grew up on a farm,” he relates. Knowing diverse jobs in agriculture were available, he applied with a product distributor and began working his way up the ladder. That led to his current employment at Corteva Agriscience. “You know, doing everything I thought would make me happy,” he says, referring to marrying his high school sweetheart and growing a family. “Then, one tragic day comes along, and life changes forever,” he says. On December 28, 2018, Branch was loading equipment into a Polaris Ranger after a morning duck hunt with friends when a black labrador retriever jumped into the cargo bed, stepping on a shotgun. “Dog shoots man,” read one headline. Branch was hit in the leg with the 12-gauge round, which severed his femoral artery. At one point his heart stopped beating. He recalls thinking, “This is it. This is all my life will ever be.” For the most part, he didn’t like what he saw. “I lived a very selfish life just trying to do what I wanted to do and you know, not really considering how others may feel.” He has yet to quiet his memory of those moments. Even after three years, the disbelief still sets in. From the moment of the accident to the arduous process of recovery, everything he has been through still floors him. “It’s a constant reminder of how fragile life is.” Branch’s stages of understanding and acceptance were staggered. At first, he didn’t know where he was because he had been in a coma for 12 days. Hospital personnel began to spoon-feed him bits of information, breaking the news of his coma, the gunshot, and finally the amputation. Still a bit out of it, he didn’t completely register the severity of the situation. Even when his dad towered into the room, sat down with tears in his eyes, and reiterated, “Son, they had to take your leg,” Branch’s response was clouded by the haze of exhaustion and meds. He sat there for a few seconds and responded with, “Okay, so could you go get me some mac and cheese now, PaPa?” He started coming to in the next couple of weeks, reality sinking in along with anger, and morbid thoughts beating him down. “I remember, I was in a bad place one day,” he says. “Mad at myself, at the world, mad at God.” And when the clinical therapist arrived for his check-up, he


S T R E N G T H I N L OV E He credits his wife Liana for her tenacity and steadfast spirit during those trying times. “There’s no way I could be where I am today if it wasn’t for her,” he asserts. Between never leaving his side while he was in the ICU to constantly having to make urgent medical decisions, he’s in awe of her strength. “I just can’t imagine what an emotional train ride that she went through. And for her to just constantly be by my side through all this, through the good times and the bad times, I’m just forever grateful to her for what she’s done,” he says. (Photos courtesy of Matt Branch.)

ached for the life his son was robbed of. “She just stopped and looked at me and she said, ‘Well, isn’t it better that your son have a father than not have a father?’” Though he understood anger was a natural response, he also allowed himself to embrace the fact that the worst had not come to pass. “I still have work to do. And it’s up to me now; I got to figure out how to do it.” He credits his wife Liana for her tenacity and steadfast spirit during those trying times. “There’s no way I could be where I am today if it wasn’t for her,” he asserts. Between never leaving his side while he was in the ICU to constantly having to make urgent medical decisions, he’s in awe of her strength. “I just can’t imagine what an emotional train ride that she went through. And for her to just constantly be by my side through all this, through the good times and the bad times, I’m just forever, forever grateful to her for what she’s done,” he says, bringing up statistics he heard about the low success rate of relationships that make it through a partner’s amputation. “She never even considered it, never even had an inkling of wanting to leave and get out,” he says. At the time, the couple had a son, now they have a daughter who is currently one and a half. They consider her “the miracle baby” because he was never supposed to make it. She represents his life coming full circle, back to a form of normalcy that, though altered, tastes a lot like victory.

“When I woke up, I couldn’t move,” he recalls. His body had lost so much of its muscle strength that he couldn’t grab a bottle of water. The recovery process taught him what starting at zero truly meant and the power of reaching a goal step-by-step. Focusing on the small things like sitting up in bed on his own, granted him further acceptance and kept him motivated for the next steps to come: standing, putting his remaining foot forward, and finally with a walker hopping his way down the hall. “That’s a way that anybody can approach life,” he says, believing goals should always be approached with small changes over time. Regardless of the light at the end of the tunnel, the experience was heartbreaking. But whenever he felt that jagged pain, he had to remind himself he wasn’t a stranger to heartwrenching blows. Though not the same, the hard lesson of a disappointing football career allowed him to recognize the value in that trial run. So he began to tell himself, “you’ve got a lot of – MATT BRANCH hard work ahead of you. And if you start taking shortcuts from the get-go, then you’re never going to get to where you could have been.” Another valuable lesson learned during his struggle was the immense generosity he received from his community. “It was overwhelming,” he says, recalling the moment he was told the GoFundMe account that had been set up for him raised over $100,000.00. “That just… brought me to tears. I didn’t know I had

“Life goes on, like life is worth living, no matter what you face. You know, death is so certain, where life is full of just infinite possibilities.”




this many friends. You know, I didn’t know this many people cared so much about me,” he says. The outpouring of love inspired him to care more strongly for others. He has had others struggling with a physical disability or hindrance ask him for advice, which he willingly provides. He’s proud to find solace in embodying a “servant, Christ-centered mindset,” considering it one of the things that was dramatically changed his life. He likes to remind others going through struggles that they are not alone. “There’s somebody else out there who is struggling with what you’re struggling with,” he stresses, adding, “Life goes on, like life is worth living, no matter what you face. You know, death is so certain, where life is full of just infinite possibilities.” Branch has now reached a place of becoming more independent. He is able to drive thanks to physical therapy and his 4-foot prosthesis, though his new normal is still quite new. He is constantly finding ways to adjust to the movements he once took for granted like playing with his kids, standing up, or cooking in the kitchen. “I have to figure out and be kind of creative to get through it. And, I guess, with my personality… it’s almost exciting to me,” he says, regarding 132 MARCH 2022 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM


He has had others struggling with a physical disability or hindrance ask him for advice, which he willingly provides. He’s proud to find solace in embodying a “servant, Christ-centered mindset,” considering it one of the things that was dramatically changed his life.

the discovery of what he can still do and what he still has to figure out. For instance, when he comes home, he can’t simply pick up his youngest and squeeze and hold her as he’d like. Instead, when she runs to him with a big smile on her face, she hugs his leg. Branch has shared his story dozens of times, speaking in churches and schools about faith in Christ and mental toughness, as well as gun safety, considering sharing his story part of what God had planned. “I’m just continuing doing that wherever I’m needed,” he says, understanding more and more that this life is not just about him, but about those around him and how he affects them. By spreading his unfathomable experience, Branch hopes to deliver the message that on the other side of doubt lies freedom. WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | MARCH 2022 133


Jessica Johnston, a dentist with Jan T. Bagwell, DDS and Jessica J. Johnston, DDS Family Dentistry, had the privilege of visiting Honduras with an incredible team of talented doctors. They got to hangout with the people, enjoy their culture, and give help where it was needed. Jessica Johnston said that she is “forever grateful for this opportunity and may we always be reminded of the things that are important in life and continue to leak the love of Jesus.” (pictured Jessica Johnston, DDS and Mary Ann Johnston)

photo from

Shoppes on the Alley hosted a Ladies Night on Thursday, February 10th. Located on Antique Alley in Downtown West Monroe where you can stroll down the sidewalk to so many wonderful boutiques and speciality shops. That evening friends and customers shopped inside the antique mall where some 14 booths are fully stocked with local items and the latest styles. Lola Jane, Annor’s Boutique, Rusty Nails & Pearls Boutique and Bourbon Boutique are just to name a few. Check them out at 215 Trenton Street in West Monroe or follow them on social media for the latest shopping and retail news.

Andrew Whitworth “Big Whit,” the 2021 Walter Payton Man of the Year, became the latest LSU football player to win both a national championship and a Super Bowl when the Los Angeles Rams beat the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 in the nationally televised victory. After 16 years in the NFL and team captain for super Bowl LVI, the West Monroe native was recently honored by the City of West Monroe by naming February 18, 2022 as Andrew “Big Whit” Whitworth Day. 134 MARCH 2022 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

Munchkin Market Spring Sale

Upscale Children’s Consignment Sale is Set for March 15-19


PRING IS ON ITS WAY AND THAT CAN ONLY MEAN ONE thing... The Monroe Munchkin Market Spring 2022 Event is just around the corner! From March 15th through March 19th, the spring/fall event will once again be held at Pine Grove Church Gym, located at 4300 Loop Road in Monroe. There will be new and gently used children’s clothing (girl’s: newborn to junior; boys: newborn to 18), toys, books, baby equipment, furniture and gear, shoes and much more. Monroe Munchkin Market is a small business started by long-time friends and moms, India Gregg and Amie Smith, both of Monroe. “We are moms and know the expense of trying to keep your children clothed. At Munchkin Market, you can buy your child’s seasonal wardrobe…it’s a one-stop-shop! We help a huge number of families in our community clothe their kids for less and also donate after the sale to help out even more families!” says India. The sale is open to the public Tuesday, March 15th, from 10:00 a.m.– 6:00 p.m., Wednesday, March 16th, from 10:00 a.m.– 4:00 p.m., Thursday, March 17th, from 12:00 p.m.– 6:00 p.m., Friday, March 18th, from 10:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m., and Saturday, March 19th, from 8:00 a.m.12:00p.m. Shopping days Thursday - Saturday, everything marked in RED will be ½ price. There is no charge to shop during the public sale! Don’t want to wait? An Early Bird presale is available for eager patrons

from 10:00 a.m.- 3:00p.m. on Monday, March 14th for $10. Are you a new mom or mom-to-be? Or a grandparent? Simply register online at and you can shop at 4 p.m. on Monday, March 14th. Ever wanted to consign? There are so many perks to consigning with Munchkin Market… now is your chance! With 400+ consignors, our consignors make on average $300-$350. Also, you will make more at Munchkin Market than selling at the local children’s resale store! And last but not least, if you consign and volunteer, you get to shop FIRST! What are you waiting for? Sign up to consign now at www. You don’t want to miss out on this event. Be sure to follow them on Facebook and Instagram to get in on their awesome contests and much more. Once you experience the Monroe Munchkin Market, you will keep it on your calendar for years to come. For more information about the sale visit, Follow Monroe Munchkin Market on Facebook and Instagram or send an email to




Janie Phillips knows passions well—beyond her work and her family, she has cultivated hobbies and interests as diverse as sewing, quilting, painting, cooking, photography, and traveling the world. Over the past couple of years, a new interest, growing orchids, has emerged, and this has given her and anyone fortunate enough to visit her greenhouse an enormous amount of satisfaction.



inpointing the inception of our life’s passions often proves quite difficult. Sometimes they may be traced back to childhood, the days of running around in the yard and diving into leaf piles or feeling the wind breeze past us as we swing on tires lashed to oak branches. If not there, we can sometimes remember the words of a dear friend pointing us down a path that turns out to be a blessing we would have otherwise never known. Perhaps our bliss comes as a complete surprise, a random occurrence that may be best chalked up to fate or destiny or even divine intervention. In any case, once we find that pleasure, giving ourselves over to it completely, investing our time and energies to it, and enjoying it to the utter maximum appears to be the best approach to ensure our absolute happiness. Janie Phillips knows passions well—beyond her work and her family, she has cultivated hobbies and interests as diverse as sewing, quilting, painting, cooking, photography, and traveling the world. Over the past couple of years, a new interest, growing orchids, has emerged, and this has given her and anyone fortunate enough to visit her greenhouse an enormous amount of satisfaction. With over 120 flowers from over 20 different species, the wide array of colors, shapes, and smells delight the senses and bring a smile to the face. Considering her love of flowers today, the memories Janie has of “procuring” flowers during her childhood comes as no surprise. As she recalls, being enamored with roses and camellias and any other beautiful flower she discovered resulted in an

insatiable desire to pick and pluck the lovely blooms. Though this brought her happiness, the neighbors and businesses from whom she appropriated the flowers may not have been so understanding. However, after creating bouquets as an apology, while always keeping a few for herself, she was always forgiven. Later in life, and while keeping busy with a multitude of interests, Janie was introduced to the idea of growing orchids. Looking into the practice and conversing with a few friends who shared a love of horticulture convinced her to give it a shot. However, considering the somewhat fragile nature of orchids, purchasing the highest quality greenhouse is incredibly important. After researching many options in the region and country, Janie did not really feel comfortable with the options presented. However, with a trip planned to the United Kingdom, and the knowledge that England is famed for the stunning gardens and topiaries, she got the idea to inquire about possibilities there. On her vacation, she visited multiple greenhouses and viewed various companies specializing in the buildings, and one emerged as her undeniable favorite. For over 80 years, Hartley Botanic has produced quite feasibly the best greenhouses in the world. Their buildings are custom made, and beyond their beauty, their utilitarian value is unsurpassed. Unfortunately, though, they are only manufactured overseas. While this could have been an issue, the company does ship to the United States where their American crew, based out of Boston, will deliver and install the building. Realizing the Hartley was the best choice, Janie made the decision to place an order, and her greenhouse is one of only two Hartleys in the entire state.


Without a doubt, Janie takes the work of developing her orchid “children” seriously. She constantly seeks out knowledge from varied sources in order to hone her craft. Janie has also become a member of three premier organizations: the American Horticultural Society, the American Orchid Society, and the Royal Horticultural Society.


nce established, a few important details were implemented to the building. Janie’s husband, Scott, a highly skilled engineer, installed electricity, and the couple made the prescient decision to use bayou water to deliver ideal and necessary nutrition to the plants. As their backyard slopes down to the bayou, they were able to install a pump and irrigation lines directly to the greenhouse in order to give the flowers a diet packed with nitrogen and phosphorus. With the greenhouse in place and bolstered by Scott, the next part, “the fun part” in her words, was to begin obtaining orchids. Local nurseries, both small regional businesses and largescale national chains, often sell orchids, though the choices of varied species is quite limited. With that in mind, Janie began seeking out potential sources of diverse plants. Over the following two years, she traveled around the country, making stops while on vacation or other trips at specialty growers across the western United States. Doing so provided her with the opportunity to collect plants normally unavailable in the South. In particular, Janie got the jasminescented Brassavola “Grace” in Montana, Miltassia from New Mexico, the exotic and vibrant Paphiopedilum (Lady Slipper) from Utah, and the multicolored and fragrant Zygopetalum from an outlet in Texas. Even with a large number of new flowers, she believed that she could still manage a few more, so after checking out reasonable options, she decided to visit nurseries in south Florida. She and Scott booked a flight, made the trip, rented a large SUV, and began hitting stops. In a short time, the couple had filled the back of the vehicle, and they began the long drive back to Louisiana with new orchids as well as staghorn ferns, an exceptionally interesting plant with leaves 138 MARCH 2022 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

that quite literally resemble the ends of deer antlers and that can grow to a weight of over 300 pounds. A close friend and fellow orchid enthusiast, Carrick Inabnett, had presented Janie with a fern prior to her trip. After recognizing the beauty of the species, as well as realizing how lovely the pairing of orchids and staghorns often is, she knew that given the chance, she would acquire a few for her growing collection. Without a doubt, Janie takes the work of developing her orchid “children” seriously. She constantly seeks out knowledge from varied sources in order to hone her craft. Luckily, her husband’s mother loved gardening as well, being an avid grower of roses and orchids, and she had a great collection of books that Scott kept and passed along. She pointed out that although the texts are old, the information has gone largely unchanged and remains unbelievably helpful. In conjunction with books, Janie has also become a member of three premier organizations: the American Horticultural Society, the American Orchid Society, and the Royal Horticultural Society. The groups provide a number of benefits such as highlighting optimum tools, materials, and methods in addition to offering shows and events and even virtual webinars for those who cannot attend

in person. Also, in order to further her methodological knowledge and experience with propagation, Janie next plans to visit experts in Hawaii very soon, a state renowned for the diverse species of flowers in general. Being able to visit with Janie in her greenhouse is certainly a treat. Her interactions with the flowers and plants are remarkable. She is devoted to them, cares for them, and even loves them. She spends her mornings and evenings with them, checking the greenhouse temperature and humidity levels, making sure they are being properly watered, and even rearranging them every few days to provide each of them with the most sun exposure. Soon, she will expand her orchids’ home with an additional greenhouse after purchasing another Hartley. Her excitement at the inevitability of more flowers and more diverse species can barely be contained. And why should it be? The relationship she has developed with her flower children has proven beneficial not only for the plants but for her. They bring her a certain meditative calmness, an added beautiful family to adore, and a daily reminder of the endless bounty given by the earth to cherish and enjoy.


SIMPLY LOU I DID IT article and illustration by LOU DAVE NPORT


arch of each year brings about the month of Multiple Sclerosis Awareness. As most of you know, my daughter, Paige, was diagnosed in 2010, and I have several friends that also share this diagnosis. You all probably know someone with it, too. So, this month’s column is my way of raising awareness, and spreading a little information about this strange, incurable disease, not only for my daughter, but also for the estimated 2.5 million others around the world that also suffer from Multiple Sclerosis. So, what exactly is MS? It is a chronic neurological disease that affects the central nervous system, which includes the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. There’s no known definitive cause, and there is also no cure. MS is an autoimmune disease, meaning that your own immune system attacks itself, particularly the protective substance called myelin that surrounds nerve cells. The damage caused by this forms scars (sclerosis), and makes the brain’s ability to control the body difficult. MS is also the most common neurological disease in young adults, with most being diagnosed between the ages of 20 to 40. Why or who gets it is a mystery, but it tends to target women more often than men, and the progression and severity tends to be worse for men. No definitive cause has ever been found. The majority of cases are found to be in colder climates, with the highest incident rate in Scotland.


While there are a wide variety and number of symptoms associated with MS, it affects each person differently. My daughter’s started with numbness in her legs and torso, followed by difficulty walking. My friend, Ronda, started with having vision problems, to the extent that her optometrist told her she was going blind. Thankfully, she did eventually regain her vision. The most common symptom is fatigue, but not the kind of fatigue that you can fix with a nap, either. This is serious, sometimes debilitating fatigue. Other symptoms can be numbness, tingling, pain, mood disorders, muscle spasms, weakness, and spasticity. It can also affect the memory, causing confusion, called brain fog. Heat and cold sensitivities can cause varying symptoms, as well. Unfortunately, because MS shares a multitude of symptoms with other diseases, diagnosis is often a long, stressful, and drawn out process. It feels weird to call this a “perk,” but my daughter had several lesions on her spine and neck, but an extremely large lesion (softball sized, y’all!) on her brain. She actually named it Big Bad Voodoo Daddy! That large lesion made her diagnosis much easier than it does for most. That large lesion is a keynote characteristic in what is called Tumefactive MS, a rare and aggressive form of the disease. In most cases, blood tests, neurological exams, MRIs, PET scans, and even spinal taps are used by doctors to make a comprehensive evaluation and diagnosis. For most, this process can take years. There are four different types of Multiple Sclerosis, with each type

designated to the progression of disease. Relapsing-remitting (RRMS) affects about 85 percent of those diagnosed. This is when symptoms cycle through relapses and remissions. Primary-progressive (PPMS) is a slow progression of worsening symptoms without any relapses or remissions. Secondary-progressive (SPMS) patients symptoms worsen over time, regardless of relapses or remissions. Most that are initially diagnosed with Relapsing-remitting will eventually develop Secondary-progressive. Progressive-relapsing (PRMS) is the least common type, affecting about five percent of those diagnosed, but is characterized by a continuos decline from the very start. Once diagnosed, various forms of treatment are available. There is no cure, but most patients begin taking disease modifying medication. These drugs aim to slow the damage and progression of the disease, minimize symptoms, and help with both physical and mental functions. These treatments will be taken for the duration of each patient’s life. Research has come a long way, and while most of these medications used to only be offered through injections, they have now developed them in both pill form, and infusions. Most with MS have to go through a kind of trial and error period of seeing which drugs work best for them. Some patients decide not to take any of these medications. What works for one doesn’t always mean it will work for someone else. Even while taking these medications, the disease will still progress, but at a slower rate. As I stated before, we all probably know someone with MS. Some people have symptoms that can be seen, while others don’t. It is sometimes referred to as an “invisible illness,” because of that. There are many celebrities that have been diagnosed as well, such as Selma Blair, Montel Williams, Christina Applegate, Clay Walker,

Teri Garr, Richard Pryor, Tamia Hill, Jack Osbourne, and Jamie-Lynn Sigler, to name a few. If you would like to get involved in helping those affected and spreading awareness, there are multiple foundations, charities, and volunteer opportunities you could get involved with. The National MS Society, and the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation are two great places to start. Walk MS is a nationwide campaign that allows people to get involved and show support, fundraise, and raise awareness. One of my personal favorites is Band Against MS (BAMS), a foundation created by Clay Walker, after his own diagnosis. Please, get involved, if you can. If you know someone with MS, ask them about ways you could help, and be supportive. Use humor, and help them find some positivity, because laughter really can do wonders! Be their cheerleader, help them with activities that are difficult for them to do by themselves. Let them know you see and acknowledge what they are going through, and how inspiring they are to others, and that you support whatever brings them joy. My friend, Ronda, loves to travel, and has always looked forward to walking across the New River Gorge Bridge. The bridge is 851 feet above the ground, an amazing (and scary) feat for anyone, and its motto is “The Walk of Your Life,” and she did it! She did not let her diagnosis, or limitations get in the way of pursuing the things she wants to do, even though she humorously says, “It may be the walk of your life, even if all you can do is make it the crawl of your life!” How amazing is that? It is also important to remember that no one signs up for this, and they need all the help we can give them. Let’s help find them a cure!




article by V A N E L I S R I V E R A / photography by A N D R E W B A I L E Y


IN LOUISIANA, MUSIC IS LIKE GUMBO— strongly flavored, a combination of several savory ingredients, and cooked slow and low. Yet, while every corner of the Bayou State can boast of musical greats, most eyes and ears tend to settle in South Louisiana when it comes to music culture, particularly New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz. So reputable is the city that many blues zealots, Americans and international visitors alike, find it a rite of passage to take the pilgrimage down what has been dubbed the Blues Highway (US Route 61). They make their way from Memphis, traverse through markers in the Mississippi Blues Trail, and finalize their journey in New Orleans. Though a rightful Mecca for jazz lovers, the music history of the state of Louisiana has its fusions of the southern coast as only one of a myriad of melodic and tonal treasures. Doyle Jeter, founder and former owner of Enoch’s Irish Pub & Cafe, has known this for years and is endeavoring to uncover distinct artists of northern Louisiana in the form of the Northeast Louisiana Music Trail. “Well, mainly, the gist of it is we’ve been presenting live music for 42 years. And we’ve always wanted to give back to the musicians because without the musicians, you know, it’s not that we wouldn’t be around. But it sure has made it a lot of fun,” enthuses Doyle who alongside his wife Yvette opened Enoch’s Pub & Cafe in 1980. Since then, a slew of local and regional talent has rolled through. “We’ve had the honor of having Grammy Award winners, Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, Country Music Hall of Famers, people that were heroes of ours that played for us, and a lot of those people

are from this area,” says Doyle referring to acts like Townes Van Zant, Jerry Jeff Walker, Marcia Ball, Leon Russell, Rick Danko, and Po’Henry and Tookie. Inspired by the immense talent stepping on the Enoch’s stage, Doyle began to have conversations aimed to somehow honor the standout musicians of the region. In the span of about 20 years, the concept of creating historical landmarks developed. His daughter Molly alongside friend Odis Jackson and Jackson’s son Dexter were instrumental in reinvigorating the idea of a music trail. The final product is the project now in motion, the Northeast Louisiana Music Trail, a series of historical markers spread around the 11 parish region. Signs honoring Po’Henry and Tookie, Webb Pierce, Mabel John, Tony Joe White, Ivory Joe Hunter, Hoss Logan, Odis Jackson, Bobby Bridger, and Sister Pearlee Mae Tolliver are already in motion. Meanwhile, a few others are still in the planning stages including greats like Gene Stewart, Al “Puddler” Harris, and Doug Duffey. “Somehow we get lost in the mix,” Doyle emphasizes, adding, “Sometimes Northeast Louisiana doesn’t get as much recognition.” His hope is that culture-centered projects like this remedy the neglected artists and creators of the area. Doyle has also partnered with the office of Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser in their pursuit of the Louisiana Music Experience, a program aimed to recognize performers and venues statewide. With a growing number of virtuosos, Doyle and the team got started on their inaugural artist Fred Carter, Jr., famed guitarist, songwriter, producer, recording artist, and “rock and roll pioneer” from

Winnsboro, Louisiana. Doyle credits his “dear old friend” singer/songwriter Bobby Bridger with introducing him to “the magic” of Fred close to 50 years ago. “Fred was Bobby’s best friend, mentor, ultimate collaborator, and yes, guru. Bobby is the reason it was ultimately important to me that we begin this music trail with Fred Carter Jr.,” says Doyle, adding that Bobby was also the reason Fred played at Enoch’s “so many years ago.” Carter was commemorated in his hometown of Winnsboro on January 29th of this year. On that day, the warmth of the sun offset a persistent crisp chill. An eager crowd had already formed in front of the Downtown gazebo where a sign draped in burgundy velvet awaited unveiling. Jeter kickstarted the ceremony by mentioning supporting partners which included Winnsboro Main Street, Princess Theatre, Enoch’s Irish Pub & Cafe, KEDM Public Radio, and Northeast Louisiana Arts Council, as well as providing the inspiration for the project and some of Carter’s most notable accomplishments. Then, the Carter family was welcomed to speak: wife Anna “Sweetie” Carter (also, a Winnsboro native) and children Ronnie, Deana, and Jeff. “He was a wonderful partner and God blessed me with a good marriage,” began Sweetie, finishing with “Thank all of you for coming and honoring Fred. He would be so humbled and thankful.” As the oldest, Ronnie was the first to step toward the mic. He touched on the depth to which Louisiana was embedded in his father’s life: “The community here, the values that dad learned here are family, faith, hard work, discipline. All of those things, they came through in his music.” Deana and Jeff

“Music is always a part of a community almost without fail,” asserts Doyle, speaking to the “proof in the pudding” as far as music and cultural identity are concerned. Deana agrees, “There’s something about the Delta here… it’s the cotton, the drip, it’s the sweat, it’s the heat in the food along with the sweet… that’s something that permeates the creative community here.”


followed both retelling stories of their visits to Winnsboro and thanking the crowd for their love and support. The cloth over the sign was then pulled away by the Carter family to reveal a black and white photograph of Fred with an acoustic guitar hoisted on his lap and 10 lines on his musical importance and significance. “We could put 1000 signs out here and fill every one of them up with his background,” says Doyle, adding, “And that sounds like an exaggeration, but it’s really not.” Carter began his career working as a guitarist on the “Louisiana Hayride,” a country music show based in Shreveport that aired on television from 1955 to 1960. When he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, he became a well-established session musician, appearing in hits like Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Boxer” and Waylon Jennings’ “Whistlers and Jugglers.” Touring with Roy Orbison and Conway Twitty led to working with other artists such as Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, and Muddy Waters. “He could metamorph himself creatively, to always be at the ready and to participate on such a superb level with those cats. It was a big deal because those records are still in the charts,” says Deana. Fred’s musical legacy not only takes the form of his songs but also extends to his daughter whose 1996 debut album Did I Shave My Legs for This (with its chart topping Song of the Year “Strawberry Wine”) was certified 5X Multi-Platinum by the year 2000. “I still pinch myself because I never dreamed that I would get to carry on any kind of music


legacy, and especially as an artist,” reveals Deana. “It’s so humbling. It’s still very shocking that that would happen in my life.” Alongside her brother Jeff and other musical guests, she headlined a tribute performance for her father the night of the unveiling. She played at the Princess Theatre to a packed house, which speaks to the impression the Carters have had by way of their music. The performance was intimate, akin to a family gathering where song playing and storytelling flow as freely as food and drink. “This community cares about one another. I just think all of that combined is the best recipe, you know, for the greatest meal in the whole wide world,” says Deana. “Music is always a part of a community almost without fail,” asserts Doyle, speaking to the “proof in the pudding” as far as music and cultural identity are concerned. Deana agrees, “There’s something about the Delta here…it’s the cotton, the drip, it’s the sweat, it’s the heat in the food along with the sweet…that’s something that permeates the creative community here.” Ultimately, the bond of the Ark-La-Miss region is cemented in the stories that distinguish the area. Stories of people who have left a mark. Stories of people meant to be celebrated. That’s the impetus behind the Northeast Louisiana Music Trail, honoring people through their stories. Keep up with and join the Northeast Louisiana music Trail Group on Facebook in order to keep up with future events, and the history of music in our area.

A Night of Cakes A Night of Cakes was held on Thursday, January 27th at the West Monroe Convention Center with entertainment by Kent Gonsoulin, Humorist and LA Jazz Musicians. The silent cake bidding began at 6 pm from many bakeries in the area, along with chef tasting stations and silent auction items. The Night of Cakes is an event held by Quota West Monroe that is a service organization empowering women, children and families with the community, specifically those who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, and those with speech difficulties. The Quota Club also awards a scholarship to a local student each year. You do not want to miss this event next year, so be on the look out for the 2023 event!

On the BayouScene

1 Corinne Pace, Kayla Ray, Sandy Henderson and Lyndsay Turner 2 Bridget Chunn and Brett Grigson 3 Caroline Carbrey and Caitlin Campbell 4 Sharon Shimmel, Carol Scriver and Karen Richardson 5 Holland, Tabitha and Montgomeri Hendon 6 Linda Norred, Lisa Folds and Tiffany Boudreaux 7 Krisan Bryant, Michie Douglas, Paige Kaufman, Lisa Cole, Penni Aulds, Stacy Gibson, Dusty Teer and Patti Rigal 8 Stephanie Sikes and Anna Katherine Oden 9 Kamy May and Wendi May 10 Melissa Kiper, Matt Baldwin and Nancy Dever 11 Mary Ann Haynes, Shirley Pilcher, Kathy Ray and Laura Muckleroy 12 Jessica Hale and Robert Smith








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NELA Master Gardeners: Fact vs. Fiction On Saturday, January 15th, the Northeast Louisiana Master Gardeners proudly presented the Fact Vs. Fiction in the Garden 11th annual seminar at the West Monroe Convention Center. This event was complete with amazing speakers such as Dr. Susan Pell, Deputy Executive Director of the United States Botanic Garden, Dr. Heather Kirk-Ballard, LSU AgCenter, Dr. Allen D. Owings, LSU AgCenter and a special appearance from P. Allen Smith. Covid has changed up the way we do things now and this event was also live streamed for those who could not make it in person.


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On the BayouScene

1 Susie Freeman, Susan Tompkins and Bobbi Hoag 2 Judi Kryer, Georgia Street and Jeanette Stevenson 3 Sally Temple and Joyce Marlette 4 Laura Fox and Glenda Guice 5 Dr. Heather Kirk-Ballard and Kerry Heafner 6 Joan Brown, Patricia Jordan, Sandy Curry and Angie Pickens 7 Judy Meyers, Lucia and Laura Grisbaum 8 Dora Nievzwievcki and Lennie Russell 9 Lisa Richardson and Staci Mitchell 10 Ellen Garacchi and Gail Wakefield 11 Jackie Beatty and Helen Hatard 12 Kerry Heafner, Dr. Melissa Cater, Dr. Heather KirkBallard and Dr. Allen P. Owings 13 Janie Harrison, Nelda Sampey and Jackie Faulkner 14 Dr. Allen P. Owings, P. Allen Smith and Dr. Heather Kirk-Ballard












Hair and Makeup: Meka Bennett Models: Hailey Payne, Kennedy Cain and Camden Shivers Photography by Kelly Moore Clark Special thanks to Skatetown West Monroe

ELE V EN 26 BOU TIQUE This one shoulder coral top is paired with white denim bell bottom jeans. Add a gold belt, gold fan earring and cuff bracelet to complete the look.

Fashion Fusion 2022 will mark 11 years of celebrating a community coming together for cancer patients right here in our area. All proceeds benefit the Cancer Foundation League of Northeast Louisiana which provides medical assistance and supplies to local patients and families suffering from this dreadful disease. Join us on March 19, 2022 at the Monroe Civic Center for this fashionable event.



RON ALE X AN DER CLOTHIER S Camden is rockin’ this mango sweater with multi-color handprint button down top. Paired with these dark wash slim straight jeans, this look is perfect for spring days.

THE NU DE NOM A D This glamorous green romper features a criss-cross bust with belt around the waist. Accessorize with floral beaded earrings and this super chic vinyl record purse.

HERRINGS TONE S This adorable set features beaded smiley faces. The bubble sleeve cropped top is paired with a soft, cotton-blend skort. Pair it with this sequined oversized blazer.


M A X P OR TER PROV ISIONS This blue chambray shirt features pearl snaps and an embroidered volt on both shoulders. Pair it with this stylish smiley Howler Bros. hat for a finished look.


DUS T Y & COMPAN Y Chase your blues away in this crushed velvet flares. Pair it with a white linen button down top and blue drop earrings. Add these stackable beaded bracelets and hit the rink.

HEMLINE MONROE Sunny days are calling in this rainbow floral crop top with adjustable drawstring and ruffled trim. Pair it with the matching swing skirt with elastic waist. Top it off with a rose-colored hat.

HAR TFOR S T Y LE Kennedy rocks this upcycled outfit featuring a white turtleneck, and purple swing skirt. Finish the look by layering this mirrored and tassel multi-colored sweater.

PALE T TE HOUSE AN D PLU ME This floral top features a v-neck and fitted cuffs in a polka dot and peony print. Pair it with these ice green high-waisted flare jeans with fray hem.

Calendar of Events For a full list of event happenings in Northeast Louisiana, see our website at March 3 – 5 Trey Altick Louisiana Prep Baseball Classic As of 2010, the tournament has been renamed the "Trey Altick Louisiana Prep Classic" and includes dozens of teams playing in eight different venues throughout the area. All the proceeds from the gate and concessions are put back into each of the local school’s baseball programs that host the tournament. Venue: Embanato Field, Ouachita Parish High School, Ouachita Christian School, Sterlington Sports Complex, West Monroe High School, and West Ouachita High School March 5 – 6 Monroe Symphony League Book Sale Great sale consists of gently used books, magazines, and more. Two buildings are full of hardbacks, magazines, paperbacks, fiction and non-fiction. Many books & magazines priced 25-50 cents. Also included are records, CDs DVDs, sheet music, art prints, puzzles and much more. Proceeds support the projects of the MSL. Hours: Sat 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Sun 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM Venue: Monroe Symphony League Book Fair, 320 North 4th St, Monroe Cost: $2 first day admission fee for adults; all other days are free Phone: (318) 537-5171 March 5 Cinderella Project 2022 - Prom Dress Giveaway Join The Junior League of Monroe for the 11th annual prom dress giveaway! High school juniors and seniors are invited to come out and participate in a dress giveaway and more. Hours: 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM Venue: Junior League of Monroe, 2811 Cameron St, Monroe Phone: (318) 322-3236 March 9, 23, 30 Interiors For Living Book Signing Jan Strickland will be signing her book, Interior For Living, at various

locations throughout Northeast Louisiana. Come meet the decorator and have your book signed. Hours: 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM Venue: March 9 - Parterre Home March 23 - Three Threads March 30 - Julie Mays Interiors March 11 – 13 Spring Market Hop into spring at the 24th Annual Spring Market! Hours: Fri 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM; Sat 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM; Sun 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM Venue: Monroe Civic Center 401 Lea Joyner Memorial Expressway, Monroe Phone: (318) 322-3236 March 11 Night of Champions ULM Athletic Foundation is ready to host Night of Champions, an event that supports 17 different sports at the NCAA Division 1 Level, ULM student athlete scholarships, and the ULM Athletic Foundation. Hours: 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM Venue: Fant-Ewing Coliseum 4099 Northeast Dr, Monroe Phone: (318) 342-5360 Andrea & Mud Live at Enoch's Surf western band Andrea & Mud are back at Enoch’s Pub March 11. Hours: 9:00 PM - 11:30 PM Venue: Enoch's Irish Pub, 507 Louisville Ave, Monroe Downtown Ruston Beer Crawl This walking beer tasting event will take you from business-tobusiness in Downtown Ruston, where you’ll find snacks, entertainment, special deals, and more. Hours: 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM Cost: $15 Venue: Downtown Ruston 101 W Park Ave. Ruston Phone: (318) 251-8647 March 11-13 Big Creek Trade Days Big Creek Trade Days are held monthly on the weekend before


the second Monday of the month with over 100 indoor and outdoor vendors, food trucks, and fun for all ages! Hours: Friday & Saturday 9:00 AM5:00 PM, Sunday 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM Cost: $5 per vehicle for the weekend Venue: 327 California Plant Rd, Dubach Phone: (318) 680-1304

March 12 10th Annual St. Paddy’s Bicycle Parade and Festival The 2022 St. Paddy's Day Bicycle Parade and Festival will include live music and entertainment presented by Music City Studios. Bring the whole family for St. Paddy's Day arts and crafts, games, and so much more! The parade lines up at 1 PM and will begin shortly afterwards. Prizes will be awarded to the bestdecorated adult, children, and pets. Hours: 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM Cost: Free Venue: Kiroli Park, 820 Kiroli Rd, West Monroe Phone: (318) 325-1961 March 16 Women’s Symposium The ULM Women's Symposium seeks to empower, motivate, and encourage girls and women from all backgrounds and all educational and professional levels to pursue their passions and seek leadership roles in their desired career paths. To embrace the support of both men and women for the betterment of all. Hours: 12:00 PM - 6:00 PM Cost: Free for Students; $20 - $40; sponsorship available Venue: Bayou Pointe Student Event Center, 1 Warhawk Way, Monroe Phone: (318) 342-1332 March 18 Friday Night Lights at Black Bayou Come out with the H2GO crew and enjoy the cool evening air for a fun group paddle around Black Bayou Lake! Hours: 5:30 PM - 9:30 PM

Venue: Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge, 480 Richland Pl Dr Phone: (318) 732-9533 March 18 – 19 Monster Truck Nitro Tour West Monroe will be motorsport entertainment’s epicenter with the nation’s most competitive MONSTER TRUCKS as they invade the Ike Hamilton Expo Center on March 18th and 19th for three Monster shows! See these incredible 10,000-pound, car crushing giants compete in racing, wheelie contests, and then rock the house with amazing freestyle action during the Monster Truck Nitro Tour! Hours: Fri 7:30 PM – 11:00 PM; Sat 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM; 7:30 PM – 11:00 PM Venue: Ike Hamilton Expo, 501 Mane St, West Monroe March 19 Landry Vineyards Concert - Flashback 5 Landry Vineyards Music Concert on Saturday, March 19th will feature Flashback 5! They play Top 40 Covers, classic rock and great dance music. Hours: 4:00 PM - 7:30 PM Cost: $10.00 adults, young adults 13-18 years $5.00, children 12 and under are free Venue: Landry Vineyards, 5699 New Natchitoches Rd, West Monroe Phone: (318) 557-9050 Fashion Fusion 2022 On Saturday, March 19, 2022, the Debbie Bourg Dancers will team up with local boutiques to host Fashion Fusion 2022, a runway show benefiting the Cancer Foundation League. See all of the latest styles from Blue Line Boutique, Blush by Elle, Breck & Vale, Cara's, Dusty and Company, Eleven 26, Gracie Layne, Hemline, Heritage & Grace, Herringstone's, Little Blue Line, Lola Jane, Max Porter Provisions, Nude Nomad, Patton's, Ron Alexander, Rustico, and TP Outdoors. Hours: 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM Venue: Monroe Civic Center, 401 Lea Joyner Memorial Expressway Phone: (318) 325-0120

March 20 Flying Heart Live with Clara McBroom Join Flying Heart Brewing & Pub in the Beer Garden for Flying Heart Live with Clara McBroom! Hours: 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM Venue: Flying Heart Brewing & Pub, 204 Commerce St, West Monroe March 24-27 Ruston Community Theatre Presents: Father of the Bride The Ruston Community Theatre brings the Broadway show "Father of the Bride" to Ruston. Come see the reenactment of the classic drama live at the Dixie Center of the Arts. Hours: Thurs, Fri, & Sat 7:00 – Until PM, Sun 2:00 PM Cost: Adults $14, Students $7 Venue: Dixie Center for the Arts, 212 N Vienna St. Ruston, LA Phone: (318) 595-0872 March 24 – 28 Region 9 - Arabian Horse Association The purposes of this corporation are charitable, educational, and the promotion and preservation of the Arabian Horse. The corporation will provide information to the public on matters regarding the Arabian horse. Venue: Ike Hamilton Expo, 501 Mane St, West Monroe March 25 Ouachita Live Join Downtown West Monroe at Ouachita Live! With great local food trucks and great music, it's sure to be a great time! Hours: 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM Cost: Free Venue: Alley Park, 250 Trenton St, West Monroe

our community. A tasting of signature dishes will be served from over a dozen local restaurants. Hours: 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM Cost: $40 Venue: Monroe Civic Center, 401 Lea Joyner Memorial Expressway, Monroe Phone: (318) 322-3567 March 28 – April 29 25th Annual ULM Juried Student Art Exhibition The University of Louisiana Monroe is hosting their annual Student Juried Student Art Exhibition! Venue: Bry Hall Room 700 University Ave, Monroe March 31 She Loves Me She Loves Me is a musical with a book by Joe Masteroff, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and music by Jerry Bock. Hours: 7:30 PM - 10:00 PM Venue: ULM Brown Theatre 4001 DeSiard St, Monroe Phone: (318) 342-3811 March 5, 12, 19, 26 Ruston Farmers Market Shop, eat, and support local at the Ruston Farmers Market. Choose from a wide selection of seasonal fruits and vegetables, meat, eggs, honey, jams, and other locally produced goods. Hours: 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM Cost: Free Venue: Ruston Farmers Market 220 E Mississippi Ave, Ruston Phone: (318) 957-1305 March 18, 19, 20 25, 26 The Odd Couple Female Version In Neil Simon's gender-swapped version of The Odd Couple, sparks fly when Olive and a group of girlfriends gather for a game night in her messy apartment. Hours: 7:00 PM - Until Venue: Strauss Theatre Center 1300 Lamy Ln, Monroe Phone: (318) 323-6681

March 26 6th Annual Empty Bowls - A Serving of Food, Art & Music Join the Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana for the 6th Annual Empty Bowls event! Guests can choose a beautiful bowl to take home as a reminder of all the empty bowls in WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | MARCH 2022 161