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36/ FOR THE LOVE OF A CHILD Local Families Share Stories of Adoption and Foster Parenting 90 / DREAMING AND BUILDING FOR A CURE A Tour of the 2017 St. Jude’s Dream Home 108 / SUMMER CAMP A List of Summer Camps in Our Area for Children and Young Adults 112 / EAT FRESH, EAT LOCAL Braiz’n Delivers Culinary Excellence and Unbeatable Service


124 / RETURN ENGAGEMENT Christie and Michael Echols’ Home Gets New Life After a Major Renovation 140 / BAYOU ARTIST Emma Case Melville’s Pottery is Functional, Art in Pristine Palettes 158/ ESQUIRE ON THE BAYOU Local Attorney Robert Knight’s Home in Egret Landing is a Rustic Retreat Nestled on the Bayou 172 / GOLFING FOR A GREAT CAUSE Presented by What You Will Grow Foundation and Thomas Morstead


188 / GARDEN PARTY Spring is in Full Bloom in This Month’s Fashion Shoot




I remember my mom coming into my bedroom and singing “Wake up sleepy head, it’s time to get up and out of bed.” It would drive me insane. I’d pull the covers over my head and fall asleep. Five minutes later, she’d come back and turn on the lights. I remember thinking that I would never wake my kids up that way. I also remember saying to myself that my kids wouldn’t eat sugar, or ketchup or chicken nuggets. My kids would never talk back to me or fall out in the middle of the store … I would never let that happen. Funny how all that changes once you become a mom. I have no idea how my mother had a full-time job, yet managed to get me to dancing, swim practice, art lessons, piano lessons, tennis practice, cheerleading and managed to stay sane. I’m pretty sure she’s an alien, or superhero. But, I lucked out and am incredibly thankful for my mom, Jeanie Green. In this issue, we celebrate five incredible mothers – and families. Each of their journeys to motherhood is unique and inspiring, but at the root is a child or children that needed a home through adoption. It’s easy to say how lucky the children are who came to find homes with these families, but each family we interviewed talked about how much the children have blessed and enriched their lives. Read their stories on page 36. Along with celebrating Mother’s Day, May is also our Spring Home Issue. There was definitely some “May madness” going on when we decided to feature three homes in the magazine this month. But, Maré Brennan and Martin G. Meyers pulled it off and brought three distinct homes to the pages of BayouLife. From Christie and Michael Echols’ beautifully

restored Riverside home, Rob Knight’s sophisticated Egret Landing haven, to the recently donated St. Jude’s Dream Home, these houses all offer great curb appeal, impeccable design and that North Louisiana je ne sais quoi. Our fashion shoot this month features Mallory Lynn in the gorgeous gardens at Parterre. Our “Garden Beauty” wears stylish rompers and dresses from five area boutiques: Dot Dot’s Boutique, The Fleurty Ginger, Hemline, HerringStone’s and K-Sera Boutique. The resident MUAH guru, Meka Bennett, created flawless looks and Martin G Meyers captured them … even in the rain. A big thanks to Joey Haddad for letting us stomp around his gardens for this Spring shoot. See it on page 188. I absolutely adore Emma Melville and her chic ceramics. Her pottery has clean lines, neutral palettes, a seamless finish and is incredibly functional. Emma’s love of pottery is in the connection that it has with the people that purchase it. She is this month’s BayouArtist. See page 140. It’s hard to believe that the school year is almost over. Soon, seniors will be turning their tassels and heading off to college. We want to wish all of our graduates good luck, all of our moms a Happy Mother’s Day and hope that everyone enjoys their summer vacations. A special shout out goes to the BayouLife moms. The women that work at BayouLife often spend nights away from their kiddos to make sure that our magazine is a great representation of who we are, both personally and in our community. Happy Mother’s Day, Maré Brennan, Ashley Hubenthal, Melanie Moffett, Toni Navarro and Amanda Singley.


BayouLife 1201 Royal Avenue Monroe, LA 71201 Phone 318.855.3185 Fax 318.855.4645



Tara Ambrose Nills Borquist Maré Brennan Dan Chason Elizabeth Clack Kenny Covington Lou Davenport Dr. David Finley Cindy Gist Foust Lori French April Honaker Paul Lipe

Erin Love Meredith McKinnie Dr. Timothy Mickel Margaret Moses Kay Rector Cathi French Roberts Delia Simpson P. Allen Smith Beatrice A. Tatem Analeise Thomas Kristen Wilson

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Scarlett Garcia Martin G. Meyers ON THE COVER Master bedroom designed by Danielle Gilmore at the 2017 St. Jude’s Dream Home. Photography by Martin G Meyers. BayouLife Magazine is published and distributed by Redbird Publishing, LLC. Circulation: 13,000 copies monthly. Postal subscriptions ($20) can be ordered online at www.bayoulifemag. com. BayouLife Magazine is not responsible for unsolicited photographs, manuscripts or other materials. Reproduction of contents without express written permission is prohibited.

We might have been buzzed by the competition at this year’s Peachy Keen Caper, but we had a lot of fun! #georgehamilton 6 MAY 2017 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM




Audibel The Hearing Center Now Offering the Most Advanced Hearing Aids Ever


UR NEWEST WIRELESS hearing aids — A4 and Invisibel [Synergy] — are our most advanced hearing aids ever. Thanks to an all-new operating system and updated technology, they’re designed to make music sound more natural than ever, and speech sound crisp and clear – no matter how crowded or how loud the environment that you’re in is. But to really enjoy all the benefits of our wireless hearing aids, be sure to pair them to one, or all, of our SurfLink accessories. SurfLink accessories are small and compact. Designed to fit in your pocket or plug into your TV, they provide everything you need to enjoy TV, music, media and more when paired to your A4 or Invisibel [Synergy] hearing aids. Here are some of the cool things you can do with our SurfLink accessories: • Enjoy ear-to-ear phone streaming: Your hearing aids become the phone microphone and receiver when used with SurfLink Mobile 2. So once you answer the call, go ahead and talk to your spouse while lifting weights — you don’t need your hands after all. • Watch your favorite show in surround sound: Missed out on the epic season six of Game of Thrones? No worries. Watch new episodes and old with SurfLink Media 2. It plugs into your TV or stereo and streams the audio directly to both your hearing aids, so you can hear every sword fight, sound effect and line of dialogue as if you 10 MAY 2017 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

are wearing headphones. • Listen to the football game, while your wife naps on the couch next to you: Because SurfLink Media 2 streams TV audio directly to your hearing aids, you can decide the volume you want to listen to whatever you’re watching — while actually muting the sound for the rest of the room, or at least playing it at a volume they find comfortable. • Let everyone choose their own settings: Have more than one person with wireless hearing aids? No problem! Multiple people can connect to a single SurfLink Media 2 device at the same time and choose the volume they each prefer! • Quickly, easily change volume and hearing aid memories without touching your ears: The SurfLink Remote fits in the palm of your hand and lets you change memories, adjust volume and more without lifting a finger to your devices. • Nail that dream job interview: You can use SurfLink Mobile 2 as a lightweight, discreet microphone that can be worn by your conversation partner to help one-onone conversations be the best they can be. MAKING A DIFFERENCE Our mission is to bring understanding among people through hearing care by focusing on awareness, education,

protection and treatment, So the World May Hear! At Audibel The Hearing Center, we care about your well-being and the lives of the less fortunate around the world. As a proud supporter of The Starkey Hearing Foundation’s “So The World May Hear” program, we are changing lives through the gift of hearing. Your support through the purchase of Audibel Instruments and your donation and trade in of any model hearing aids goes to the foundation’s programs to provide hearing instruments to children in the most remote and poverty stricken regions of the world. ABOUT US Audibel The Hearing Center is Northeast Louisiana’s Audibel dispenser. Cherry Phillips “The Hearing Lady” has been serving this area for over 29 years. We offer free hearing screenings, free second opinions, extended warranties and repairs on all makes and brands of hearing aids. You can find out more by visiting our website and you can see more and like us on Facebook. com/AudibelMonroe.


Washington Wine & Spirits Welcoming A Tasty New Addition


AY IS HERE AND IT’S TIME for outdoor parties and breaking out the backyard grill. This month we celebrate mothers, graduates, and the beginning of summer. To gear up for the new season, Washington Wine & Spirits has decided to partner with Doe’s Eat Place and add an incredible addition to its roster. Not only can you grab a great bottle of wine or whiskey to go with this month’s celebrations, now you can bring home the Doe’s steak experience! That’s right- the shop is now offering Doe’s hand cut steaks to take home and throw on the grill. The menu includes Filet, Ribeye, Sirloin, T-Bone, and Porterhouse with specialty bone-in options for Filet, Ribeye, and New York Strip. The steaks are offered at the standard Doe’s sizes or you may call ahead for a specific cut or whole loin. The various types of steaks and wines each have a unique set of qualities. The engaging process of pairing wine and food lies between all these characteristics. To help with this daunting task, the crew at Washington Wine and Spirits have collected a list of suggested wines to pair with the specific cuts offered at the shop. Enjoy! CVNE Vina Real Crianza 2012 – Light and fruit-forward Rioja Tempranillos are known for being great food wines. The CVNE Real Crianza is a great example of the beautifully balanced combination of Tempranillo and Garnacha. Camille picked this as her favorite combination with the delicate but enunciated flavors associated with a Filet, the leanest cut of steak.

White Rose Pinot Noir 2014 – White Rose


has created an earthy Pinot Noir with flavors of cranberries and currants that have all the qualities necessary to stand up to the Sirloin and the bone-in Filet. Shane picked this solid Pinot Noir and richer style cuts as his favorite. Luca Beso de Dante 2013 – Robert Parker describes Luca’s texture as “medium body with sweet tannins, but a serious, dry finish.” With those characteristics behind it, this red blend wine is an excellent choice to pair with the full-flavored New York Strip or Ribeye. Morgan says a two pound bone-in Ribeye and a bottle of Luca is his favorite. McClelland Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 – With a heavily flavored cut of steak like the Porterhouse or T-Bone, you will want to pair it with a bolder wine. The McClelland Cabernet Sauvignon, combined with a touch of Merlot and Petit Verdot, is an excellent choice with its graphite and oaky clove flavors. The textured tannins are exactly what you need to bring the Porterhouse and T-Bone experience to its full potential. The crew agrees you can’t go wrong with this traditional pairing. Motor City Kitty Syrah 2013 – The spicy, bold flavors of Syrahs are an excellent combination with big, juicy steaks. The bonein Ribeye is the juiciest on the menu, and the Motor City Kitty Syrah is a great pair with its black fruit character and firm tannins. Carter nominated this pleasantly surprising Washington state wine and Ribeye as his favorite steak and wine combination. For a more potent drinking experience, try out some of these great whisk(e)y options

next time you fire up the grill: Balcones Brimstone – The Balcones Brimstone Texas scrub oak smoked whisky is as big as Texas itself. With a mash bill of 100% corn and the bold, smoky flavors imparted through their “secret process,” this incredibly balanced whisky is a great match for the grill. Slaughterhouse American Whiskey – What makes this whiskey so special is after being aged for nine years in American oak, the whiskey is then additionally matured in exwine barrels, specifically Orin Swift Papillion Cabernet Sauvignon from Dave Phinney. The whiskey is an easy-going sipper boasting notes of caramel and wood with a long finish. 90+ points under $25 In this section, we would like to highlight a few items with excellent value that you can find at the shop. These wines have been awarded at least 90 points from wine critics and are also budget-friendly. Elk Cove Pinot Noir 2013 – This lighter style Pinot Noir has great notes of cherry and spice with prominent but soft tannins. After your first sip, there’s no question why it was rated 93 and 91 points from James Suckling and Wine & Spirits, respectively. Conundrum White Blend 2014 – From the Wagner family (creators of the renowned Caymus), this delicious white blend definitely earned its 90 point rating from Wine Spectator. This full-flavored and fruit-forward white wine is a great addition to a bright and sunny day in May.


The Therapist Chair

Perspectives from the Other Chair in the Room BY BEATRICE TATEM, PH.D., LPC-S, NCC, ACS


AY IS NATIONAL MENTAL Health Awareness Month. This designation increases public awareness, encourages support, provides advocacy and promotes education while eliminating the stigma associated with mental illness. In recognition of individuals who have sought therapy to address their mental health, I thought it fitting to highlight a client’s inquiry about therapy.  At the heart of my clinical practice are my clients…their thoughts, feelings, ideas, beliefs and values. Consideration is given to their actions and reactions, their stories and their history. Therapy is about them, for them as it should be. I am always inspired by clients’ desire for change, their hope for solutions, their quest for knowledge.  Therefore, I was moved when a long standing client declared, “You always want to know how I feel. Today, I want to start with how do you feel? I have often wondered what is like to be you, to sit in that chair – the other chair in the room.. the therapist chair?“ Many have asked me this question, especially those considering a career in mental health; however, never have I been asked as candidly as I was that day. It was a poignant question reflecting the clients’ genuine curiosity, interest and appreciation. I explained to the client I could not speak for other therapists however, I would share my perspective on the “therapist chair.” In my experience, it is a chair that faces another chair of equal importance, where the power of human contact and exchange radiates. The “therapist chair” in my office changes session to session, day to day, client


to client. Theoretically, I do not have a designated “therapist chair.” In actuality, it is the chair opposite of the chair the client selects. Returning clients typically sit in the same chair, and I sit in the chair they leave open. I explained to the client that the “chair” differs based on the environment, the age of the client and the circumstances. For example, when working with children it may be a mat on the floor, or when working with teens in a shelter, it might have been a stoop on the back porch. Regardless of the “chair” it is always positioned on the same level as the chair of the client.  It is a chair I cherish and would not trade for the world; it is a seat of honor in which I have been invited by special people (clients) trusting me enough to share their lives. The “therapist chair” has afforded me the chance to meet people of diverse backgrounds, possessing different perspectives, facing an array of issues.  I have sat cross-culturally in far away places taking in the person of a different land talking with a different accent and yet seeking the same basic needs of love, acceptance, security and connectedness. I have experienced “the therapist chair” in clients homes, in schools, in shelters and community agencies.   The “therapist chair” has provided me with the opportunity to observe, witness and vicariously experience lifestyles outside of my own while increasing my awareness of the world around me. It is a chair I humbly sit in, as I have taken in stories of triumph after struggle, success after failure; where client disclosures remind me life could be

worse, and yet it can be better. In this chair I have learned the difference between hearing and listening and the importance of looking beyond what is said. Being in the “therapist chair” has exposed me daily to the needs of others and the importance of good mental health. I am of the opinion clients often fail to realize what they bring to the therapy room and ultimately their chair. The power of the therapeutic process is not only with the “therapist chair”  but also with the person in the chair across from the therapist… the client. I am appreciative of the individuals, who allow me to sit across from them daily.  I am particularly grateful to the individual, who cared enough to inquire what it means to me as a therapist to serve clients. It is my hope my clients regard the “therapist chair” as symbolic of my listening, caring, advocating, relating, guiding and comforting. Whether the chair has arms that can be gripped when necessary or a chair without arms free of boundaries, it is my hope that everyone feels embraced and supported. There is the saying you can not understand someone, until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes; I believe you can’t empathize with someone, until you have sat in their chair.   For more information about counseling services and outreach programming, contact Dr. Tatem at Wellness Initiatives, 1900 North 18th Street, Suite 414, Monroe, LA 71201, 318-4101555 or at


Egret Landing

Now Taking Lot Reservations for Phase Two


ESTLED BETWEEN BAYOU DeSiard and Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Egret Landing is an attractive residential development, which exemplifies the perfect blend of luxury and leisure. Egret Landing is surrounded by nature trails, lakes and bayous; just minutes away from The City of Monroe and within easy reach of restaurants, shopping, work and schools. Egret Landing’s newest phase of development sits high and dry on the natural ridge that runs along the banks of idyllic Bayou DeSiard and backs up to Black Bayou National Wildlife Refuge, an extremely biodiverse wildlife preserve that will always remain unspoiled. No lots throughout Egret Landing flooded during the recent high water disaster of March 2016. Offering a wide array of options for families is key to understanding the concept of living at Egret Landing. While Phase I has been zoned as part of The City of Monroe, including utilities and schools, Phase II of Egret Landing has been zoned for The Town of Sterlington. Families with students living in Phase II would be able to attend Sterlington’s Elementary, Middle School and High School and take advantage of Sterlington’s utilities as well. Phase II includes 19 bayou frontage lots, 10 townhouses that overlook the large greenspace filled with amenities, 5 large refuge lots, 9 lots that are accessed from the front and 48 smaller lots that are accessed through a rear loading alleyway. All of Phase II backs up to the wildlife refuge offering glimpses of large deer, playful red foxes and extraordinary opportunities for bird lovers to see a huge array of species. Lots throughout 16 MAY 2017 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

Egret Landing range from $65,000 and up. “No other community in all of Northeast Louisiana has an amenities package like Egret Landing,” says David Sorrell, Development Director of Egret Landing. With trails that meander the wilds of Black Bayou NWR, an amphitheatre complete with a stage, a playground designed specifically for little ones, a Little League ball park, basketball court and a pavilion designed for gathering, Phase II of Egret Landing is building on the strong reasons to consider life amid the live oak lined streets of the development. Other amenities include a public boat ramp to Bayou DeSiard, underground utilities, AT&T Internet connectivity, Atmos Energy, security cameras and streetlights throughout, sidewalks that run throughout the development and multiple roundabouts to slow traffic. In addition, thoughtful architecture plays a large part in ensuring a cohesive feel throughout Egret Landing. For example, all architecture must meet certain requirements, like a minimum of nine-foot ceilings, specific roof pitches, clay roof tiles and gas lights, for example. Since Phase I has been developed, there have been several residents move in, get settled and fallen in love with their home and the area. When asked why they chose Egret Landing over other developments, here is what some of the residents had to say: • We desired a neighborhood that was ideal for our growing family life. Egret Landing stands unparalleled in fulfilling and exceeding our desires due to its beautiful scenery and great amenities. •  We wanted to be in a really nice neighborhood, something fairly new with access to good builders building custom

homes. The fact that Egret Landing is off the highway, a bit hidden, and close to work all worked out as great benefits.  We also like the development plans for the next phases as well as other local developments in the area. We wanted to be in a good economic growth area where development was being well managed. •  We liked the new construction, and compared to other new housing in Monroe, the quality, craftsmanship and the smart design of the house stood out to us. These are some of the best houses not only in Louisiana, but the whole country. Some of the residents favorite things about Egret Landing include: • Our favorite thing about Egret Landing is the quiet, family friendly atmosphere.  We love our neighbors and are excited to raise our daughter in a community full of kind and caring people. • We really like being close to work, having great access to suburban shopping and services.  We also like the layout of the neighborhood, the style of the houses, and the people we have met.  • The undisturbed peace, the birds chirping in the morning, our deer neighbors and our dear neighbors. For your own private tour of Egret Landing, call David Sorrell at 318.547.7084 or email at Be sure to sign up at contact to learn more about finding your family’s place within this unique development at one with the beauty of nature and the necessities of modern living.


Drink-O de Mayo The Best Brews to Celebrate Your Cinco



INCO DE MAYO—OR THE FIFTH of May—commemorates the Mexican Army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the FrancoMexican War (1861-1867). A relatively minor holiday in Mexico, in the United States Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with large MexicanAmerican populations. Today, revelers mark the occasion with parades, parties, mariachi music, Mexican folk dancing and traditional foods, such as tacos and mole poblano. While margaritas often take the spotlight, there are also some outstanding traditional brews to quench the thirst of party goers. Here is some information on some of the best beers available from Mexico, as well as beer cocktail recipes to make your fiesta more authentic! DOS EQUIS In the 1500’s, Moctezuma, the last leader of the Aztecs, ruled the land that is currently known as Mexico. He would come to be the inspiration of the Dos Equis label design. Founded in 1890 and brought to America in the 1970’s, Dos Equis is now the fastest growing import brand in the US. Dos Equis Ambar, the brewery’s original beer, is a full bodied, Vienna-style amber lager that blends German brewing techniques with the finest Mexican flavors. Subtly spicy, it has a delicious caramel taste that is well structured, with a long finish. Its quality ingredients, along with low levels of bitterness, make it a smooth, refreshing beer. Dos Equis Lager is brewed with pure malt, hops, and water 18 MAY 2017 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

to deliver a unique taste with a dramatic, bracing quality. Its superior ingredients make it the perfect refreshing beer to pair with spicy dishes such as Carnitas Tacos or Molcajete. TECATE Around since 1944, Tecate has recently become America’s fastest growing light beer brand. Tecate Original is an authentic full bodied lager with a grainy, crisp malt flavor and pleasant aftertaste, the way a Mexican cerveza should be. Tecate Light is a beer with a surprising and distinct zesty flavor, defined malt character and smooth aftertaste that is light by design and bold by nature. Both pair beautifully with traditional Mexican fare, as well as light, citrus marinated grilled dishes. Dos Equis Michelada A drink so legendary, it requires three sauces. 12 oz Dos Equis Ambar ¼ cup lime juice ½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce ½ tsp. hot sauce ¼ tsp. soy sauce 2 oz. tomato juice Red pepper flakes or chili powder Ice Rim a 16 oz. beer mug with lime juice and red pepper flakes. Add ice and pour in a bottle of Dos Equis Ambar. Add in the remaining ingredients. Stir and enjoy. Dos-A-Rita Some moments in life call for beer. Some call for a margarita. Special ones call for both.

12 oz. Dos Equis Lager Especial ½ oz. tequila ¼ oz. triple sec 2 oz. sour mix Coarse salt Lime wedge for garnish Ice Combine tequila, triple sec, sour mix and ice in a mixing glass and shake. Strain over fresh ice into a 16-oz. glass with a salted rim. For a frozen drink, blend with ice. Top off with Dos Equis Lager Especial. Garnish with lime wedge and enjoy. Be sure to like Choice Brands on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram to keep up with local happenings and new product releases. Follow the hashtag #spiceupyourcinconela to stay up to date on local Cinco celebrations and specials. In addition, you’ll find links to beer related articles, fun recipes, and much more! As a bonus, we will be posting a trivia question each month for a chance to win cool, beer related prizes. This month’s question is: What Aztec leader was the inspiration for the Dos Equis label design? Go to our Facebook page, post your answer in the comments section (the trivia post will be pinned to the top) and you’ll be entered to win (must be at least 21 years of age)! Find us at, twitter. com/choicebrandsinc and choicebrands. Good luck!


Breast Augmentation

Dr. Mickel Discusses Options and Consultation Process


The place most men prefer depth in a woman, is in her decolletage... – Zsa Zsa Gabor


VER 200,000 BREAST augmentations are performed annually by American plastic surgeons. Since I opened my practice in Monroe in 1990, I have personally done well over a thousand. It is by far the most common procedure that I perform, and it is certainly one of the most gratifying. There are very few surgical procedures that in the course of an hour can have such a profound and lasting impact on the way a woman feels about herself. Breast augmentation is an outpatient procedure that takes about an hour. Most are done through a small incision in the fold beneath the breast or around the edge of the nipple. Either approach results in a small scar that is well hidden. Since the FDA moratorium on silicone implants was lifted in November of 2006, roughly 95% of the breast augmentations I perform are with silicone implants. They have either a smooth or a textured surface, either a round or a teardrop shape, and can be placed either above or below the chest wall muscle. Each of these options has its pros and cons. I use all of them when appropriate, as I try to tailor the operation to the patient’s desires and her anatomy. At the initial consultation, considerable time is spent discussing the patient’s motivation for surgery and the result she 20 MAY 2017 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

hopes to obtain. A series of breast and chest wall measurements are taken and the breast tissue and overlying skin are evaluated so that I have a thorough understanding of the patient’s starting point. Rib and chest wall asymmetries, differences in breast width, height, projection and shape, and differences in nipple level are all noted and discussed with the patient. The surgical significance of pre-existing breast or chest wall asymmetry is that it often leads to some degree of asymmetry (usually minor) post-operatively and the patient needs to understand this beforehand. Much of the initial consultation is spent discussing desired breast size. While every woman knows that breasts basically come in two sizes – too large or too small - my job is to align the patient’s wishes with a result I can realistically deliver. Patients generally describe their breasts in terms of cup size. Unfortunately, while France maintains an International Bureau of Weights and Measures to ensure uniformity in meters, grams and minutes, there is no committee of jaunty and erudite Frenchmen who carry out research to ensure uniformity of cup-size. So a “C” cup at Sears-Roebuck may be a “D” cup at Victoria’s Secret. Moreover, breast implants don’t even come in cup sizes; they come in volume sizes and base widths. So, a 300cc implant may make one woman a “B” cup and another a “D” depending on her chest wall width, the pliability of her skin, the amount of breast tissue she starts out with and where she buys her bra!

So choosing the appropriate implant size is more complicated than simply looking at pictures on the Internet and picking a number. It requires thoughtful discussion and assessment of many variables. I try to listen carefully and provide guidance and advice on implant size so the patient can be realistic about the surgical result. In the end, I rely mostly on the patient’s measurements and my clinical judgment. It pays off. In over twenty-seven years of breast implant surgery, re-operation simply to change implant size has occurred in only 1-2% of my patients. Overall, complications from breast augmentation are few. Most patients can return to work within a week and can return to full unrestricted activity in three weeks. I do all of my breast augmentations at P & S Surgical Hospital where the same excellent surgical crew has helped me for years. This allows compulsive consistency in every aspect of the operation, reducing risks and increasing the predictability of results. If you have been considering breast augmentation, call Mickel Plastic Surgery at 388-2050 for an initial evaluation and a thorough discussion of the procedure, the recovery and the risks. I also encourage you to visit and browse the before and after gallery. Then decide for yourself. Just one hour of surgery can have a positive impact for years to come.


Bayou Pages



t’s funny about love,” Sophia said. “The more you love someone, the less he likes you back.” ‘That’s very true,’ Grandmother observed. “And so what do you do?” ‘‘You go on loving,” said Sophia threateningly. “You love harder and harder.” After experiencing the death of her own mother, Finnish author Tove Jansson wrote The Summer Book. The translated text is simple, beautifully simple, allowing the reader’s senses to be subtly overwhelmed. However, the subjects encountered and discussed by the book’s characters are anything but simple—death, love, relationships, and emotional well-being enter and ingrain themselves into the lives and conversations that sprawl across the span of this wonderful volume. The novel focuses on the relationship between a child, Sophia, and her grandmother, as they pass the summer on a tiny island. While they engage in normal summer activities, such as wandering around a beach, picking flowers and swimming, the two also have numerous talks about varied topics. The loss of Sophia’s mother, though only briefly mentioned, resonates throughout as the overarching event that ties the topics together. The little girl, only six years old, has had to endure a tragedy.


Although her father is still alive and is also a minor character in the book, we find that she needs her grandmother in order to truly vent her frustration of the realization that she will grow up without the most valuable person in a girl’s life. Jansson expertly permits the dialogue to meander, to resemble the thoughtful discourse that ebbs and flows between people searching to find answers to the unanswerable. The grandmother, wise with a stoicism that often seems a bit cynical, lets the girl figure out how to navigate the difficulty of her situation through talking. They talk about Sophia’s pet cat, an animal that disgusts her as a killer of mice but still garners her love, the power of wishes, and how self-centeredness can sometimes result in personal joy for the wisher, while bringing about pain and suffering for others. These are life lessons that can and will take decades for Sophia, and us, to decipher, if they can be. What we can understand, though, is that we must start the discussion at some point, if we want to even have a chance to fathom not only the difficulties of life but also the joys. Readers cannot help but recognize how much the characters need each other, one only beginning to grow into a critical human and the other fading into the folds of an ending life. Nevertheless,

we should also recognize that we must continue to live, to breathe, to watch, to experience, to share and to love. The quiet of the environment in Jansson’s world seeps into the words she writes. Even though loud punctuations occur, a thunderstorm and crashing waves, the notion that a perpetual calm is an underlying force that should be grasped as safe and warm and peaceful cannot and should not be missed. Certainly, there is and should be anger and confusion concerning life’s inevitable troubles, but our abilities to lean on others as well as our own rationality keeps us afloat. On the surface, Jansson seems to have composed a work to allow herself to deal with the grief of a daughter, who has lost a mother. There is no question that this has happened, but there is also an undoubtable universality to her situation. We all lose loved ones, oftentimes with no warning or in a cruel fashion; what is nice in those times is being able to deal with overflowing sadness with someone we love. Loss is rarely felt by one person, though it may feel that way. We need to remember to keep experiencing the joys, too. We need to build replicas of Venice, or collect waterlogged wood pushed ashore, or laugh until we feel dizzy. We need to hug, talk to, and even argue with loved ones. We, simply, need to relate.





Meredith’s Musings I Thank Mom For That |


By Meredith McKinnie

remember feeling my mother’s palm snap in front of my face, when the inappropriate scene suddenly appeared on the movie screen about ten minutes into the blockbuster Jerry Maguire. I was fourteen, and my sister was ten, and as always, Mom took us to the movies she wanted to see. We were a trio, with our freshly baked popcorn in Ziploc bags seasoned with Molly McButter and canned colas; we went to the theater often. Mom just waited out the scene, and eventually we cried and laughed together as we always did in the adult movies. She didn’t shelter us from reality. She thought the parts worth seeing outweighed the ones that challenged our maturity level. I started absorbing the complexities of human relationships early. We sat in front of the TV countless hours watching Dirty Dancing and Gone with the Wind, long before we understood the underlying issues of


abortion or Reconstruction in the South. I still have an affinity for movies, though now I buy my popcorn and carry floss in my purse. But the core of human connection still attracts me on Friday afternoons. I thank Mom for that. Back in November, Mom and I had an argument in front of Dad and my husband. As our voices escalated, theirs disappeared. Dad refuses to involve himself in “women’s business.” And my husband knows the octave at which to disengage. I left in a huff and continued the argument with my husband in the car all the way home, with no feedback. He won’t even say, “I agree,” because I would challenge that, too, best to say nothing. A few days later I got a card in the mail, on her monogrammed stationery, that simply said, “I love you. - Mom.” The subtext was, “I still stand by what I said, but you knowing I love you is more important than saying I’m right again.” Mom is always

the first to say, “I’m sorry,” even in her own way. It’s a sentiment I still struggle with, instead leaning toward a grudge, but her example is sinking in. I see it emerge in my advice to friends; perhaps one day I’ll beat her to the punch with an apology. I’ll thank Mom for that. Many afternoons were spent playing double solitaire at the kitchen table. Mamaw would join in. She was eighty-plus years old, and Mom never hesitated to beat her. She would slam her hand over the deck, insisting she was there first, no acknowledgement of her quicker reflexes. She was there to win, even if her victory was predetermined. And even with me, she insists on a set of three games, if she loses the first. If she’s not winning, the game begins to bore her, the same with her beloved basketball on TV. She shouts at the TV, throws her hands in the air, passionately in pursuit of a win at all cost. I, too, prefer to win, to do things to the best of my ability, never engaging unless I can fully commit. And I admit, I adore recognition of my accomplishments. I got the initial passion honestly from my mother. I thank Mom for that. She doesn’t ever lose herself in the chaos of life. If Dad and I are going to my husband’s game on Saturday, and it’s her only day off, she’ll simply say, “I’m not in the mood for that.” And while we might be disappointed, I love that she doesn’t deny herself. She bakes us all brownies, but doesn’t serve them until she’s eaten out the runny middle. We all get an edge piece; Mom delves in first. She’s taught me that I can respect others, be giving without resenting my efforts, always remembering to take care of me. She’s independent without totally isolating herself. She trusts her gut. And as a result, I’m not afraid to be alone, often reveling in my solitude, my indulgence of self. It gives me balance in a society, where women are so often expected to only give outward. Mom takes care of Mom, too. It’s the kind of mother I want to be. I thank Mom for that.


Material Things

Join Us for Our New New Bi-Monthly Sip and See


OW, I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT IT has been a year since my business partner, Peggy, decided to retire. As the saying goes, time flies when you’re having fun…or busy! I appreciate all of my customers that have made this past year fly by! There are lots of exciting things going on here at Material Things. I will be hosting a Sip and See bi-monthly starting this month, just in time for Mother’s Day. Along with that, I will have different local artisans and small pop up shops participating to keep things fun and interesting. Some of the other new things happening around here are the numerous new companies that I am bringing into the shop. Taylor Burke Home is a fabulous custom upholstered furniture line that is unbelievable. Their luxury home décor brand offers bold, trend-setting designs that are made in the US. Julianne Taylor, the founder and creative director, offers premium craftsmanship and high design for a truly show-stopping piece in any space. Also, I have just gotten in all of the fabric selections for The MT Company, this is a custom upholstered furniture line as well. They offer a broader line than Taylor Burke Home and are also designed and manufactured in the US. All of their construction is eight way hand tied and of the utmost quality. They work with several different designers in the industry and even offer a Washable Wonders Slipcovered furniture line, as well as many indoor/ outdoor fabric choices. Another practical and beautiful fabric option is their Crypton line, you can literally spill liquids on it and it


beads up and rolls off. As most of you probably already know, I have several workrooms that make everything from drapes to bedding for me, as well as a readymade bedding line that I can order. In respect to the workroom, they can do just about anything in any size or fabric. My readymade bedding line is Lili Alessandra, it is luxury designer bedding at the highest quality. The absolute best of both worlds: high end details and craftsmanship mixed with the practicality of washer and dryer safe. This company is based in San Antonio, TX and ships quickly. The options are endless either avenue you pursue. I work with many fabric companies to be able to offer my customer countless options. Just a sampling of them range from Fabricut, Stroheim, Vervain, Kasmir and Duralee to Scalamandré, Brunschwig and Fils, and Kravet. I can get just about anything for you that you have in mind. Wallpaper is another item that I have access to, I have quite a few books to look at along with the numerous choices from all of the companies that I mentioned. I really think wallpaper is coming back, or did it ever leave? I also have many drapery hardware companies to choose from: just a few are The Finial Co., Antique Drapery Rod, and Paris Texas Hardware. In respect to all of these options, I personally come to your home, measure, consult and do the final installations of these products. Except for the wallpaper installation, but I do have someone that I can refer you to for that. I definitely still carry a lot of my tried and true lines including Uttermost, Aidan Gray, Regina Andrew, Gabby and many

more. These companies offer a wide range of items from traditional, transitional to modern and contemporary. Spanning the entire room from lighting down to rugs, the choices are limitless! And, if you are looking for that special gift for someone, I can help you with that as well. My gift line ranges from Caldrea room sprays to the cork lined Sovaro Cooler line and everything in between. You never know when I may have a one of a kind item in the shop as well. When I can find vintage and antique pieces to put in here, I grab those up, too. A well rounded mix is the epitome of perfection, in my shop, as well as at your home! Another exciting thing that I have added to my gift line is Kenneth Turner’s Floral Couture London home fragrance. Specifically his Signature Scent collection, spicy and intense with a blend of orange blossom and honeysuckle incorporating citrus oils, woods and spices. An absolute true winner! So, as you can see, I try to cover a lot of bases at my shop. But, this would not have been accomplished without the business base that I learned from not only my family, but from Peggy as well. I am eternally grateful to them for all that I have learned and observed. So, come by and let me, Lauren or Cathi help you!

Kindest Regards,



Let’s Unite

2017 Northeast LA Go Red for Women Luncheon


HE AMERICAN HEART Association’s Go Red for Women® movement is the world’s largest female network that stands together to save women’s lives from heart disease. Millions of women have united to raise their voices about their No. 1 killer. Each year in Northeast Louisiana, many of our mothers, sisters, daughters and friends are impacted by heart disease and stroke. For women, the best line of defense is to stay informed about the risks, to know the red flags and their family heart health history. Despite the statistics, there is hope. Inside every woman is the power to live a longer, stronger life. The American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women movement seeks to provide women with the tools and resources they need to reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke. Go Red for Women luncheons and special events are hosted annually around the country, including here in Northeast Louisiana, to help raise awareness and show unified support for the cause. Mark your calendar and make plans to attend the 2017 “Let’s Unite” Go Red for Women Event Luncheon, Runway Show, and Silent Auction on Thursday, May 25th at the West Monroe Convention Center. Proud 2017 Cause Sponsor is the Glenwood Heart and Vascular Institute. This annual event is always a fun-filled and highly anticipated social occasion. Attendees, distinguished guests and area


sponsors will enjoy mingling, photo ops, a delicious lunch and an exciting Survivor Runway Show. The event will also feature the popular “Red Purse” Raffle and Silent Auction that will be full of fabulous finds and trip opportunities. Showcasing the event will be “Open Your Heart” spokeswoman and congenital heart disease survivor, Tiffany Olmstead, local publisher and owner of Macaroni Kid. Born with a heart defect, Tiffany’s journey with heart disease has been a long one filled with unexpected setbacks. But it’s also been filled with indescribable blessings. She looks forward to sharing her inspiring story about life saving treatments funded by the American Heart Association. Tickets are $50.00 and may be purchased at the West Monroe-West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce located at 112 Professional Drive in West Monroe. Tables of 8 are available to reserve on a first come/first serve basis. For more information, sponsorship opportunities and to purchase tickets by phone, call (318) 325-1961. Go Red for Women Declaration We believe in the power of a woman’s heart – the power to love, the strength to fight and the will to overcome. But there is a force that threatens our hearts and is killing our mothers, sisters, daughters and friends. We Go Red for Women who are rocked

by a diagnosis and struggling through treatment, so they may emerge victorious to embrace life. We Go Red for Women who touched so many lives, before they lost their own. We Go Red for Women, because it’s time to put our health first. We Go Red for Women, because no one should fight alone. For each other, we are a hand to hold, a shoulder to cry on, a backbone that’s always strong. When we Go Red for Women, we step up whenever and wherever so that every woman may live. And we will never stop, until this fight is won. Because the power of a woman’s heart is the difference between life and death. Together, we Go Red for Women. As 2017 cause sponsor, Glenwood is proud to support Go Red for Women in Northeast Louisiana to better educate women about the risks of heart disease and to promote wellness throughout our region. To learn more about Glenwood’s comprehensive heart and vascular services, call 877-726-9355 or visit For more information about the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Movement, visit


Jesus the Good Shepherd Catholic School Offering Child Care Options for Every Season


HE SCHOOL YEAR IS WINDING down, and summer is right around the corner. When one season ends and another begins, it is an inevitable time of transition for the students and, more importantly, the parents. Summer is always a tough time for parents with young children. The task of looking for summertime child care, vetting sitters, establishing new routines and praying that all goes as planned can be quite draining! At Jesus the Good Shepherd School, we understand that these times of transition are trying for our parents and we try our best to organize our summer camp and extendedday child care accordingly. Extended-day child care is offered throughout the school year, every day after school from 3:00 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. This is a wonderfully convenient program we offer to our students and parents. Whether the parent is working late that day or if they need extra time after school to run errands, they know their children are being looked after in a safe and familiar environment, staffed by JGS teachers and faculty. Students are organized by age, provided a snack and given opportunity to complete school work, before having free play time. JGS Summer Camp is available only to JGS student’s PK-6th grades enrolled for the upcoming 2017/18 school year. Summer camp starts May 30th and will continue through July 28th from 7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. JGS summer camp is staffed daily by JGS teachers and faculty, and consist of weekly field trip activities to the zoo, movies, Children’s Museum and Uncle Robert’s Orchard. Each week, summer camp will have a different theme and the activities are organized accordingly. Vacation Bible 32 MAY 2017 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

School will also be offered the week of June 19June 23. Whether your child is a new or current student of JGS, they will enjoy all the activities planned for this summer in a safe, nurturing, Christian environment. Another wonderful aspect of a JGS education is our enhancement classes. At Jesus the Good Shepherd School, we realize the vitality of enhancement classes in a wellrounded education. Our visual art class curriculum, Meet the Masters®, introduces students in grades PK4-6th grade to artists, who have made significant impacts on the world around us. From Degas to Warhol and everyone in between, artists’ personal lives, techniques, and inspirations are explored within age appropriate lessons. Students complete each section of Meet the Masters® with not only a better understanding of the art and artist, but of the world as it was during the artist’s life and what made that particular artist important in history. Music classes are also offered at JGS for Kindergarten–6th grade with Mrs. Lori DiGiulian, a professionally trained voice coach and instrumental musician who guides the students through various styles and genres of music. In addition, students in the fourth, fifth, and sixth grades participate in the JGS Hand Bell Choir which performs at the school as well as occasional Masses. Research shows that music improves student’s skills in math and reading, and also promotes creativity along with social and personal development. In addition to the arts, the physical education curriculum at Jesus the Good Shepherd is organized and based on sound research. Studies prove that the more physically active school children are, the better they

perform academically. Participation in P.E., sports and physical activity is shown to decrease cardiovascular risk in youth, provide beneficial effects on mental health, and enhance brain function and cognition. The Mighty Miler Program and Presidential Physical Fitness Program at JGS teach children how to be successful in activities, sports, goal setting and how to take personal responsibility for their health and wellness. We strive at JGS to make sure our students get the proper combination of physical and academic exercise. The Accelerated Reader program, an organic school garden, as well as Computer Literacy classes which incorporate the Keyboarding Without Tears program, and an up-to-date, well equipped library round-out the enhancement aspects of a Jesus the Good Shepherd education. Registration for the 2017/18 school year is well under way and classes are filling up fast. For more information regarding registration, summer camp or any of our other programs, we invite you to take a guided tour of Jesus the Good Shepherd Catholic School with our principal, Mrs. Lisa Patrick, every Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. or by appointment. Call the school office at (318) 325-8569 with any questions or to schedule a tour. You may also visit our newly revamped, mobile friendly website at or visit us on Facebook to learn more about Jesus the Good Shepherd Catholic School.


Fitzco Marine Group Serving the Waterfront of the U.S. Since 1979


IKE FITZPATRICK, OWNER/FOUNDER OF FITZCO has spent all his life on and around the water. He started in business in 1979 at the age of 19. Having been instilled with values and principles from the beginning, he truly operates his business by the Golden Rule. Fitzpatrick has a passion for educating folks on marine construction to help them get the best “bang for their buck.” Fitzco has recently partnered with Joe Terracina of River Marine Works on the Ouachita and Red Rivers, as well as local lakes, in Northern Louisiana to provide a level of quality unlike any other in the area. They offer unsurpassed customer service and quality for your marine construction needs. Mike’s message is that floating docks shouldn’t be unkempt looking structures with vegetation growing out of the “exposed foam” flotation. They shouldn’t have poorly painted steel framework and columns. The problem is usually with the original design of the docks, most of which are not repairable, as the concrete decking has been poured on top of the foam flotation with a steel frame around it. “At Fitzco, we do many things differently… for a reason,” says Fitzpatrick. “We believe that your dock should secure your boat, not the other way around. Over the years, we have developed equipment and processes specific to improving our finished product while increasing efficiency. This has led to unmatched ability and quality in the maritime construction industry in the areas of pile driving (we can even drill and install piles in bed rock), bulk heading, floating and fixed structures and underwater recovery of sunken vessels.” “With us, it’s about designing it and building it correctly…. once,” says Mike. “If it’s already been built and is not performing, we will redesign and rebuild it correctly…. once. If you choose us for your next project on the water, whether it’s replacing pilings, installing a bulk head, building a new floating or fixed pier or an elaborate custom boat house, prepare to be impressed.”


Their system features: • Encapsulated float modules that are replaceable should one become compromised (which will not allow vegetation to exist) • Galvanized steel frames with the floats attached thereto, so as to prevent any direct exposure of steel to the water • Precast, steel reinforced concrete deck panels which can be removed to access utilities or to replace in the event one becomes compromised. • All galvanized steel components alleviate the need to paint anything, resulting in a truly “maintenance free” design. “I’ve been designing and building floating dock structures, from small private docks to massive commercial marinas, as well as consulting for other marine contractors, for over 30 years,” states Fitzpatrick. “It’s simple,” he says, “Fitzco and River Marine Works want you to enjoy more time on the water! Contact Fitzco Marine today by calling Mike Fitzpatrick (318584-7003) or Joe Terracina (318-665-0190 or 318-614-2406). 323 Moon Lake Road, Monroe, LA 71203 P.O. Box 466, Shell Knob, MO 65747 • 417-858-BOAT (2628) 212 Flat River Road, Bossier City, LA 71112 • 318-584-7003 Fitzco Marine Construction • AirHoist Boatlift Systems Century Maritime • MariTow U.S. “Serving the waterfront of the U.S. since 1979”


FOR THE LOVE OF A CHILD Local Families Share Stories of Adoption and Foster Parenting | Article by Kay Rector Photography by Martin G Meyers


sk any parent, and they will likely agree that children are one of life’s greatest joys. For those that struggle with infertility or suffer miscarriage, being able to have a child through adoption or foster care is an immeasurable gift to both parent and child. According to the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services, there are currently more than 4,500 children in the state foster care system, and over 650 of those children are waiting and hoping to be adopted. Hundreds of other children are available for private adoption in Louisiana, in need of loving permanent homes. Five local families share with BayouLife their journey to parenthood through fostering and adoption.



LESLIE AND CODY BAUMAN will celebrate their daughter Nelle Averie’s 2nd birthday this month with a party that Leslie admits is a bit “over the top.” She is already working on plans for son Henry Todd’s birthday bash, even though his 6th birthday is still three months away. Birthday celebrations are extremely important in the

Bauman household. Leslie says that is because they almost did not happen, and they believe in celebrating miracles. Leslie and Cody met at First Baptist Church of West Monroe, when they were both students in college. Cody grew up in the tiny community of Blond, Louisiana in St. Tammany Parish and was recruited by the University of Louisiana Monroe to play football for the Warhawks. Leslie, a native of West Monroe, studied accounting at Louisiana Tech where she was a cheerleader and dancer. They married soon after their graduations, then later went back to school, switching alma maters. Leslie went to graduate school at ULM to earn a master’s degree in education, while Cody pursued a graduate degree in chemical engineering at Louisiana Tech. This month marks their tenth year as a married couple. After two years of marriage, the Baumans were eager to start a family. Leslie became pregnant with their first child, but the pregnancy ended in miscarriage. They were heartbroken, but Leslie soon became pregnant again and this time they were blessed with a healthy, full-term baby boy. Henry Todd, born in August of 2011, is considered a “rainbow baby,” the term used to describe babies born after the storm of a

miscarriage. Even though her last trimester coincided with the hottest summer on record in Northeast Louisiana, Leslie says her pregnancy with Henry Todd was exceptionally easy and trouble free. Unfortunately, that was not the case with her next three pregnancies. She miscarried again the week before Henry Todd’s first birthday, and suffered two more miscarriages in the months that followed. After several rounds of doctor visits, a specialist finally diagnosed Leslie with a rare blood disorder that was preventing her from carrying the babies to term. The doctor who made the diagnosis was astounded to learn that she had delivered Henry Todd, a perfectly healthy son, after a full term pregnancy free of complications. He told them that a full term pregnancy would not be possible with her medical condition. Although treatment is available for her disorder, known as Antiphospholipid Syndrome, initial efforts failed to resolve the issue. Rather than continue medical treatments with an uncertain outcome, Leslie wanted instead to adopt a child. Cody was initially hesitant about adopting. As an only child, he was not as emphatic as Leslie about Henry Todd having a sibling. He says that he prayed about it and soon began to feel comfortable with the idea of adopting a second child. The Baumans started on their adoption journey in December of 2013. After hiring a private adoption attorney and waiting for about six months to be matched with a birth mother, they learned through friends about an adoption consultant service known as Christian Adoption Consultants. CAC acts as a liaison between adopting couples and adoption agencies around the country, vetting the agencies and providing hopeful parents with reliable information and support through the adoption process. The Baumans worked with a personal adoption consultant at CAC for almost a year. Through CAC, the Baumans registered with several agencies, had a home study completed and filled out what seemed like an endless number of forms. “We did more paperwork than I have ever done in my entire life,” Leslie says of the private adoption process. “You feel like you are constantly filling out forms and proving that you are good parents. The home study alone is months of work.” The Baumans also put together a profile book of photographs and information to help birth mothers learn more about them. “We found that every agency

has different requirements,” Leslie says. Typically, the agency will contact the adoptive parents before sharing their information with a potential birth mother. Once the adoptive parents consent, it may take days or weeks before they receive a response. “That was very stressful emotionally,” recalls Leslie. With a few agencies, adoptive parents are unaware that the birth mother is considering them until they are chosen, a practice the Baumans prefer. “That way, you are not constantly feeling rejected every time you are not chosen,” Leslie explains. In November of 2014, an agency in Utah contacted them about a birth mother, who was due to deliver within two weeks

“We have room in our home, and we have love to give. It is our job to care for those who can’t care for themselves, and we want to teach our children that.” and had chosen them as adoptive parents. They were elated. They notified the agency representative that they wanted the baby and immediately made the necessary financial and travel arrangements. As soon as the baby was born, they boarded a plane for Utah, ready to meet their child and bring her home. When they arrived, however, the agency representative broke the news that the birth mother had changed her mind about giving the baby up for adoption. “We understood the birth mom’s decision and we respected it, but we were really upset with the way we were treated by that agency,” Cody says. The issues with the agency, including a full refund of the fees the Baumans had paid, were handled immediately and effectively by their CAC consultants. “That is where the consultants really helped,” Cody says. Even with the support of the CAC consultant, it was, they recall, a terribly frustrating and heartbreaking experience. Carrying the empty infant seat through the airport coming home, they wondered if they could keep moving forward with their plans to adopt. As the Christmas holidays approached, Leslie and Cody paused to regroup and spend time with Henry Todd and their families. With the new year came another oppor-

tunity, this time through ABBA Adoption Agency in Benton, Arkansas. The Baumans were cautiously optimistic, as they got to know a birth mother they met through ABBA. They stayed in touch with her throughout her pregnancy and made plans to adopt her baby. When the time came for her to deliver several days past her due date by induced labor, the Baumans were ready. They traveled to Arkansas and were present for the birth of their daughter, Nelle Averie Bauman. They stayed with baby Nelle in the hospital until she was discharged. “It was a really, really great experience,” Cody says. Arkansas law required that they remain in the state for a period of five days following Nelle’s birth, and then for three additional weeks until the final adoption hearing. The Baumans were fortunate to have family who lived in Arkansas to stay with during the waiting period. Nelle Averie’s adoption was finalized, and by June of 2015, the Baumans were back home in West Monroe, a family of four with two beautiful, healthy children. Now that they have been blessed with the family they always wanted, the Baumans are determined to bless others in as many ways as they can. Through friends at Portico Church in Monroe, they learned about the need for foster parents to provide homes for children in our area. “It opened our eyes to a lot of things,” says Cody. As he points out, there are so many ways that people can help children in the foster care system. Not everyone can or is willing to foster, but anyone can support a foster family by doing things like offering to babysit, so the foster parents can enjoy a night out or helping with school supplies or a meal. “Before we adopted Nelle, I could not have done foster care. I could not imagine taking in a child we would have to give back. Especially when I was drowning in my own want for a child,” Leslie says. But once Nelle’s adoption was final, she said she felt differently. “We have room in our home, and we have love to give. It is our job to care for those who can’t care for themselves, and we want to teach our children that,” she says. Leslie and Cody recently became certified as foster parents and began caring for their first foster child last month. “It is a different experience, too,” Leslie notes, but one that is so rewarding. Since Nelle Averie’s adoption, the Baumans have also made themselves available to help and encourage other couples trying WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | MAY 2017 37


to maneuver through the maze of the adoption process. One of the things they share with couples considering private adoption is the fact that there are resources available to help offset the expense. When they were adopting Nelle Averie, they received a grant from the BigWhit 77 Foundation to help defray the costs of the adoption. Steven Curtis Chapman’s Nashville-based organization, Show Hope, also offers adoption grants, offering couples who qualify varying amounts for adoption expenses. “Anything we can do to help other couples trying to adopt, we want to do,” says Leslie. Toward that end, the Baumans attended a conference in California, where Leslie gave a presentation about adoption. The theme of the conference was “Choose Joy,” with topics ranging from infertility and miscarriage to adoption. “Talking to other couples also helped us heal from the miscarriages and other things that we had been through,” says Cody, “If you haven’t been through something like that, it’s hard to relate.” Leslie agrees. “We heard stories of miracles, and we heard stories of heartbreak. But overall, it was really encouraging.” Leslie and Cody often say that they have two “miracles” in their home and are so grateful to have Henry Todd and Nelle Averie. “Each of their stories is extremely special to us,” says Leslie. “They both have sad beginnings but such happy endings.” The Baumans feel that every day is a chance to celebrate. “We’re not missing a moment in this house,” Leslie insists. “I want them to always know how thankful we are for them.”



yle Bruyninckx and his wife, Jodee, have known each other since high school. Kyle is a physician specializing in internal medicine and pediatrics with a medical practice in Richland Parish. Jodee is an attorney, and before marrying Kyle she worked on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Not long after moving back to Louisiana to be with Kyle, Jodee put her career on hold to focus on becoming his wife and, eventually, a mother to their children. The Bruyninckxs admit that, until a few years ago, their lives had essentially worked out just as they planned. “As a doctor and a lawyer, throughout school and beginning our careers, we checked boxes,” Jodee says. “We finished school and we got married and we waited a couple of years and then it was time for us to have children.” She says they both assumed that she would get pregnant right away, in accordance with their timetable. “But God had a completely different plan for us,” she says. The couple says they struggled for about three years with infertility and suffered several miscarriages. Trying to have a child and being repeatedly disappointed was very difficult emotionally, Jodee recalls. “It was so hard at the time, and there was so much that we didn’t understand,” she says tearfully. Looking back, she sees that it strengthened them. “We grew so much in our faith and in our marriage during that time. If everything had just been easy, we may not have had that opportunity.” When they decided to try and adopt, the Bruyninckxs consulted friends in Shreveport, another physician and his wife, who had already adopted. At their suggestion, they contacted an agency in San

Antonio that specialized in open adoptions. “At the beginning, that sounded terrifying,” recalls Jodee. In order to learn more about the process, they traveled to San Antonio and attended an informational weekend event hosted by the agency. Feeling hopeful, they registered with the agency, completed the necessary paperwork and made arrangements for a home study through a social worker in Shreveport. With all of that done, they waited to be connected with a birth mother. On the day after Mother’s Day in 2013, Jodee says that she was “having a pity party,” feeling sad after passing yet another Mother’s Day without being a Mom, when she received a call from the social worker who had done their home study. She explained to Jodee that a child had just been born in Shreveport that day, and after reviewing information that the social worker provided about them, the birth mother chose Jodee and Kyle to adopt the baby. Early the next morning, they arrived at the hospital to meet their son, Joe. They spent two days in the hospital, getting to know the birth mother and taking care of the baby. On the way home from the hospital, they called their extended family members to tell them the wonderful news that they had a beautiful baby boy. “It was a whirlwind,” Jodee recalls. “But in a good way. We were so nervous and so excited at the same time.” Three years later, on the day before Father’s Day in 2016, the Bruyninckxs were blessed with their second child, Mary Rose. Like Joe, Mary Rose came to them through what Jodee describes as “the miracle of adoption.” Before she was born, they were connected with her birth mother through Open Arms Adoption Agency in Shreveport. Jodee and Kyle were able to meet and get to know the birth mother during her pregnancy. “We were there through ultrasounds, doctor appointments, and I was in the delivery room with her when Mary Rose was born,” says Jodee. With both of their children’s birth mothers, Jodee and Kyle have an open relationship, allowing the birth mother to interact with the children and remain a part of their lives. The concept of “open adoption” is something that the Bruyninckxs were introduced to early in their adoption journey, and it is, they believe, a very positive and beneficial arrangement. While they realize not all adoptive parents may be comfortable with the concept of open adoption, the Bruyninckxs say that it has been the best choice for their family. “The beautiful part about open adoption, is that there is just more love for the kids,” Jodee insists. “They will get to ask questions and know more about their birth families this way.” They say that their relationships with the children’s birth mothers are fluid like any relationship. “There are no laws or rules governing open adoption,” Jodee explains. “A contract for open adoption is not valid and binding in the State of Louisiana. It is just an understanding between us and the birth mother.” Jodee says they allow the birth mothers to know what is going on in the children’s lives at whatever level both parties feel comfortable. “That ebbs and flows, and that is how it is supposed to be.” says Jodee. “As the kids get older, those relationships will become more about their wishes and comfort level.” “Because we’ve gotten to know their birth mothers, I am able to see the other side of adoption. These are women who love these babies very much.” says Jodee. “It is joyous for us, because we have these children, but at the same time there is some sadness, because with our joy comes loss.” Born to different birth mothers, Joe and Mary Rose look very much like biological siblings. “Joe is so full of joy and so full of life. He is truly incredible,” says Jodee. “Mary Rose is very loving, and she wants to do everything that her brother does.” Jodee and Kyle say they will always be open with their children about how they came into their family. They will know their birth mothers, and will know the stories of how God connected them with their parents. They are so grateful for Joe and Mary Rose and the way that they became a family. “We’ve always felt that we wanted to be led, and we wanted God to build our family as He saw fit,” Jodee says. The difficulties they experienced in their initial efforts to have children is just another part of that building process. “What we know now, on this side of it, is that if any of our pregnancies before had worked out, then we would not have Joe, just as he is, and Mary Rose, just as she is.”




hree years ago, the Ellises were a happy family of four. Ashley and Friday Ellis had been married thirteen years, and had recently returned to Northeast Louisiana after living in multiple cities throughout the United States during Friday’s tenure with the Marine Corps. Upon settling in West Monroe, where they bought and refurbished Ashley’s childhood home, Friday opened his business, Governor’s Cigar and Pipe, and Ashley, an educator, went to work teaching. Their two young children, brothers Friday and Asher, were thriving. The couple had begun to discuss the possibility of having a third child, but had no definitive plans. Both of Ashley’s pregnancies had been free of complications,and they assumed that would again be the case as they


considered growing their family. At lunch with her fellow teachers one day, Ashley shared the fact that she and Friday were considering a third child. When she mentioned that she wanted a daughter but dreaded being pregnant, someone jokingly suggested they adopt. Another teacher, overhearing this, told Ashley that she actually knew of a female child that was available for adoption and needed a home. She related what few details she had of the child’s situation. “I instantly felt very emotional and was really drawn to this child’s story,” Ashley remembers. In the days and weeks that followed, thoughts of this little girl, who was in foster care, stayed with Ashley, and she found herself thinking about adoption. She shared the

story with Friday, and, while he was interested, he did not react as strongly as she expected. “He is usually so enthusiastic about everything, whereas I am more cautious. I wanted him to say, ‘Let’s do this’ and make the decision for me, I think,” she says. “I could not stop thinking about it,” Ashley recalls. “I cried whenever I thought about her, and continued to be very emotional.” Adopting a child was not something Ashley had seriously considered before. “It’s not that I was not open to the idea of adoption. It just wasn’t on my radar until that point,” she remembers. What vague knowledge she had about adoption came through her affiliation with Noonday, a company that sells jewelry handmade by artisans in Uganda and other impoverished countries. Noonday’s founder, Jessica Honneger, held the first jewelry trunk show as a means of raising funds for her adoption of a child from Rwanda. Now a thriving direct sales business, Noonday continues to promote international adoptions by donating 10% of sales at Adoption Trunk Shows to help adoptive families bring their children home. As a Noonday representative, Ashley always found this practice admirable and often recounted the story of the company’s founding to customers. However, she had never before thought about its relevance to her own life. Friday, on the other hand, always thought about adopting, a desire he says is probably related to his childhood experiences. He grew up in Rayville, Louisiana, where he was raised by his father. His mother lived in Illinois, where she ran the Christian Family Care Center, a group home for children. Although he was very young at the time, he remembers visiting the Center and understanding that the children there did not have homes or parents to care for them. While these memories may have made him more amenable to adoption than his wife, when the opportunity actually presented itself, he was hesitant. “I think it was one of those moments, where I wrestled with God, wondering, ‘Am I really the parent that this child needs?’” Friday recalls. Any doubts he had dissipated as soon as he met Aurie. At an afternoon meeting arranged with her foster parents, Ashley and Friday met the little curly-haired girl who would become their daughter. Friday says that it took less than five minutes with Aurie for him to know that she was his child. “We knew,” Ashley agrees. To her foster parents’ great surprise, despite her difficulties with social interaction and sensory processing, Aurie engaged with Friday and Ashley right away and allowed Ashley to hold her at their very first meeting. Aurie’s foster parents were careful to fully disclose Aurie’s medical history and is-

sues that could impact her mental and physical development. “It didn’t scare us,” Ashley says. In fact, Friday recalls that as they discussed Aurie’s health and developmental challenges, he told the foster father, “You’re just giving me more reasons why this young lady needs a home.” The Ellises left their “play date” with Aurie determined to take the steps necessary to adopt her. They immediately signed up for and attended the classes required to become certified foster and adoptive parents through the state Department of Children and Family Services. After the necessary paperwork and home studies were completed, Aurie was allowed to visit in the Ellis home, first for weekends and then eventually on a full-time basis as their foster child. Friday recalls that the day Aurie was placed in their home was emotional and exciting for their family. “That was the moment that it really hit me,” he says. “I cried and cried. The foster parents cried. We were all just so happy.” The boys, Friday and Ash-

er, were thrilled to have a baby sister, even though it meant sharing a room and their parents’ attention. At school, the boys wanted to show off their new sister and introduced her to their teachers and classmates. Of the brothers’ reaction to Aurie, Friday says “It just demonstrates what a huge capacity for love that children naturally have. We made a decision that affected not just Ashley and I, but the entire family.” Ashley’s father, whom Aurie calls “Pop Pop,” lives with them and was therefore affected more than most grandparents by the introduction of a new child into their home. From the beginning, he considered her a blessing, happy to have “another curly-headed girl running around the house.” Through legal proceedings initiated by DCFS, the legal rights of Aurie’s biological parents had already been terminated. After six months as her foster parents, the adoption process was finalized ,and Friday and Ashley officially became the parents of Aurie Grace Ellis. At the adoption hearing, Friday and

“Everyone talks about how lucky Aurie is, and that is true. God definitely sent the right people at the right time to fight for her. But the other part of this is how very blessed we are because of her.”

Ashley struggled to contain their emotions and put into words what it means for Aurie to forever be their child. Friday, the oldest Ellis child, addressed the court, eloquently explaining why Aurie should become a permanent part of their family. Asher, the family’s self-proclaimed “middle child,” admitted to the judge that Aurie did occasionally invade the boys’ room and get into their things, but concluded that “She’s a real sister, and we love her.” Quoting her father, Ashley added, “It feels like Aurie has always been a part of us.” While her earliest childhood circumstances were not good and she may always have difficulties arising out of those circumstances, Aurie Grace Ellis is a lucky girl. After being removed from her biological parents, she was placed with a foster family who loved and nurtured her and helped her reach many developmental milestones. “Aurie’s foster family was amazing,” says Ashley. “They were definitely the right people to do that job,” noting how well-equipped the foster mother and father were—intellectually, spiritually and emotionally--for what was a very challenging role. The Ellises are also grateful for the Court Appointed Special Advocate who represented Aurie’s interest throughout the legal process. “Our CASA worker was the greatest,” says Friday. “She was exceptional. She made sure everything happened that needed to happen, and in a timely manner.” “Everyone talks about how lucky Aurie is, and that is true,” Friday says. “God definitely sent the right people at the right time to fight for her. But the other part of this is how very blessed we are because of her.” Ashley agrees, and she notes, “If we can do this, anybody can do it.” She stresses that anyone who feels pulled to consider adoption should at least look into it. Although the process was not easy, looking back now they are convinced that God always had this plan for their family. “When God puts something on your heart, the worst thing you can do is say no,” says Friday. Because he was raised by a single parent and did not having a lot of contact with his mother during childhood, Friday says he is especially appreciative of what a great mother Ashley is to their children. It is the little things, he says, that confirm for him every day how blessed the five of them are. He recalls being at a restaurant with Ashley and the kids not long after the adoption was final. A lady walked by and spoke to them, commenting on Aurie’s beautiful curls. “Yep,” Aurie beamed up at her, touching Ashley’s curly hair. “Just like my Mama.”




olly and James McCready met, when they were just out of high school and were best friends for eight years, before they began dating. By the time they married in 2008, they had already opened a business together, founding Rain The Salon and Day Spa, which they still co-own and operate in downtown Monroe. They purchased their first home shortly after marrying and had dreams of filling it with children one day. Being from a large family, Holly always assumed that she would be a mother to lots of kids. “We both wanted children, but it just never worked out that way,” says James. The couple consulted a fertility specialist in Baton Rouge, but after a year of frustration and disappointment were still waiting to conceive their first child. They contemplated in vitro fertilization, but were deterred by the expense and risks involved in that process. They decided instead to look into adoption. Holly says they had no idea where to begin. “You can ‘google’ almost anything in this world now,” she notes, “but with adoption, 42 MAY 2017 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

that is not really the case.” She made some phone calls and was eventually directed to the Department of Children and Family Services, where she educated herself about the state’s adoption process. It was through inquiries at DCFS that they became aware of the tremendous need for loving foster parents. Realizing that the adoption process would take time, and feeling compelled to fill the needs of children in the state foster care system, Holly and James became certified as foster and adoptive parents. For a period of over two years, the McCreadys provided a safe and loving home for foster children ranging in age from five weeks to eleven years old. With each child they fostered, they had hopes of adopting. At one point during their time as foster parents, it appeared that they might instantly become the big family that Holly dreamed about. Along with the infant they were caring for, they took steps to adopt two little girls they fostered--sisters, aged 5 and 11—as well as their two brothers. When that did not work out as planned, the McCreadys, though devastated, continued

to keep their hearts and their home open, still hoping for a child of their own. “Being foster parents for two years was God’s gift to us, allowing us to be thrown into parenting children of all ages,” says Holly. It was an experience that gave them joy, but also brought them heartache. They grew to love all of the children they fostered, and it was difficult to let them go. One child was especially hard to give up. They were his foster parents for almost two years, and were working through the state agency to adopt. Because his parents’ legal rights had not been terminated, the McCreadys knew there was a chance that he could not be adopted. That did not stop them from falling in love with him. Ultimately, the child was reunited with his biological parents, and eventually Holly and James became unable to visit or see him. “He is still my heart,” Holly says tearfully. “He will always be a part of us.” Despite the pain of losing him, they have no regrets and are thankful for the time they spent loving and nurturing him. “No matter what, he will always be our child,” says James. Still reeling from their loss, the McCreadys thought about giving up their dream of having a child. Trusting that God had a plan for them, they decided to try one more thing. Early in their adoption research, they had been referred to private adoption attorney Teri Hoover Odom of West Monroe, widely known for her ability to connect birth mothers with adoptive couples. James and Holly initially shied away from private adoption, believing it to be not only cost prohibitive but also somewhat less benevolent than the state agency route. “Instead of just making good things happen between parents and children, it seemed more like a business. That’s how we perceived it at first,” recalls James. The application for private adoption sat on Holly’s dresser for weeks, before she finally had the emotional energy to complete it. Once they took that next step in their adoption journey, though, things happened very quickly. They retained Odom’s services, and within a couple of weeks they were candidates for private adoption. On the evening of October 25, 2016, James and Holly were having a quiet dinner at home when they received a phone call that they will never forget. Odom called with the news that a child had just been born to a birth mother who could not care for him, and she was working with the birth mother to choose a family to adopt the baby. As part of their private adoption application, Holly and James had compiled a family album of photographs and information about themselves, their extended families and their desire to adopt a child. Odom asked if she could share this with the birth mother to consider in making her choice. Odom also asked if they could be ready to have a baby in less than twenty-four hours.

The McCreadys did not hesitate. They agreed and immediately started preparing to bring the baby home from the hospital. Ironically, says Holly, in the eight years that they had been trying to have a child, not once had they decided on a name. In forty-five minutes, they chose the name Ellis Grey McCready. An hour later, Odom called to tell them to be at the hospital the next morning. Although the birth mother had chosen them from among the other couples whose information she reviewed, she wanted to meet them before making a final decision. “We were so nervous,” recalls Holly. “We wanted this so badly. What if she met us and said no? That would be the ultimate rejection.” Odom reassured them that they were the right couple for this child, pointing out that Holly and the birth mother even look alike. When they arrived, they met a woman who looked very much like Holly and who was, after talking with them for only a few minutes, willing to give them the greatest gift of their lives. “We were all crying,” James recalls. “She told us, that it was so important to her that the child be adopted by a couple who could not have children of their own.” They were also able to meet the biological father who, amazingly, resembles James. “It is a true miracle,” James says. “I don’t think it would be possible for us to have a child that looks more like us.” The McCreadys have so much respect and love for Grey’s birth mother and are so grateful for the sacrifice that she made. “She made an incredibly hard decision and in doing that, gave us a gift that can never be repaid,” says James. “Everything about her and what she did was so selfless,” Holly adds. “She even waited and let us name the baby.” Looking back on their journey to parenthood, James says they started out with some misconceptions. Initially, he was not as open-minded as Holly about adopting a child. “As a man, you have this need or desire to have a child with your own DNA. Because men are more shallow by nature than women, really,” James says. “That part of me worried that I couldn’t love someone else’s child as much as I loved my own.” Holly always knew that he could, and of course, James sees now how unfounded those worries were. “You can’t fully understand unconditional love, I don’t think, until you have a child,” says James. “I didn’t realize I was capable of loving another human being this much, and it doesn’t matter at all whether we are related by blood.” In Ellis Grey McCready, Holly and James finally have their dream fulfilled. WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | MAY 2017 43



he Washington family was, once upon a time, a typical American family. Tammy and Roderick Washington met in college, dated and were married. Within the first few years of their marriage, they were blessed with two beautiful children—son Christian, who is now completing his first year of college at Southern University, and daughter Tamia, now a student at Ouachita Parish High School. Rod serves as the Public Relations and Media Coordinator for the City of Monroe. Tammy works for the Children’s Coalition of Northeast Louisiana, a local non-profit agency, as a Life Skills Coordinator. This month, they will celebrate their twentieth wedding anniversary. Luckily for Washingtons, Tammy and Rod made a not-so-typical decision that changed all of their lives for the better. In 2008, when Christian and Tamia were 12 and 9 years old, Tammy and Rod decided to become foster parents. “When we married, we knew that one of the things we wanted to do one day was to adopt,” says Tammy. “It was not something that was spontaneous for us.” Through Rod’s job with the City of Monroe, hosting events each year during Adoption Awareness Month, and through Tammy’s connections with the Children’s Coalition, they were aware of the needs of children in the community, and felt that the time was right to explore adoption. “We were perfectly happy with two kids of our own, enjoying them and watching them grow and develop into gifted individuals,” Rod says. “But we knew that we had an opportunity to bless someone else. We have a lot of love, and could be blessed even more.” Becoming certified as foster parents through the Louisiana Depart-


ment of Children and Family Services was the first step in a process that they hoped would ultimately lead to adopting a child. “Our intentions were actually to adopt an infant,” says Tammy. As they went through the certification process, they decided not to limit themselves to infants, but to also consider parenting older children. “The classes that we took opened our eyes to the opportunities and the need for foster and adoptive parents,” explains Rod. “We realized we wanted to take in children who had been in need of a home for a while, someone that we could help even more in that way,” Tammy adds. “And helping them would be rewarding to us, too.” “I think most people go into it thinking about babies,” Rod notes. “But then you realize there are children of all ages, who need a forever home, and your heart opens. You don’t limit your heart. You just try to be the best you can for whomever God chooses to send your way.” In April of 2009, God sent them Brigget and Deeyon, siblings 9 and 3 years old. The Washingtons were the fourth family that Brigget and her little brother Deeyon had lived with in a span of a few years. At one point, they had been separated from each other, which Brigget says was “horrible.” She says that it took a while for her and Deeyon to become comfortable in their new home and to open up to everyone. Tammy and Brigget tearfully recall an incident during a family dinner, not long after Brigget and Deeyon were placed with the Washingtons. Brigget started crying at the dinner table, and asked her then-foster mom, Tammy, when they were going to pass them on to another family. “That was what had always happened to them,” Tammy says. She says that made them even more determined to adopt and make sure that did not happen. Eventually, Brigget and Deeyon began to feel more secure and to understand that they were part of the Washington family. While they were living with the Washingtons as foster children, Brigget and Deeyon learned that their biological mother had passed away. They grieved for her in the weeks and months that followed, and still miss her. Brigget says that she has a lot of pleasant memories of her mother and her childhood with their biological parents. She also remembers some very difficult times, too. Her prior foster care experiences involved some traumatic events that she would rather not remember.

Throughout their time in the foster care system, Brigget never stopped hoping that they would find the right family one day. “It just takes that one family to change your whole life,” she says. Brigget and Deeyon are thankful to finally be a part of a caring family, with parents who love them unconditionally. They are all thankful, as Tammy points out. “They are such gifts to us. They have given us so much just by being part of our family. They are ours forever now, a part of us,” says Tammy. Tammy also recalls that making the adoption happen was not easy. Before the adoption was finalized, while Brigget and Deeyon were still being fostered by the Washingtons, Tammy was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. She had to undergo two surgeries and multiple treatments. During that time, she and Rod did a lot of praying and a lot of talking, worrying about whether they would be able to continue the adoption process. Tammy remembers that as she prayed, she asked God to heal her, knowing that if she was able to recover from her illness, then it must be God’s plan for them to have Brigget and Deeyon as their

“We realized we wanted to take in children, who had been in need of a home for a while, someone that we could help even more in that way,”

children permanently. In June, her cancer went into remission. Recalling her battle with cancer, Tammy says: “We went through that storm together, as a family. We prayed together and worked through it together. It made us all stronger.” In that crisis, the four Washington children saw firsthand how a family can support one another through difficult situations. “It taught them how to cope and be resilient through any circumstances. So, when something else challenging comes along, they can handle it,” she says. There will always be challenges in life, they know, and their family is no exception. Tammy and Rod insist that they are still very much a typical American family. They just have more children to love now than they did before, and they grew their family in a non-traditional way. As Tammy points out, when you bring new children into your home, it impacts everyone. She notes that there is usually a “honeymoon” period in the beginning, when everyone is excited and hopeful, but eventually reality and day-to-day life set in. “It was an adjustment and a process,” Tammy says. “A lot of talking and learning and accepting one another’s personality differences.” Tamia agrees. “It was different at first because I wasn’t used to sharing a room or having another girl my age in the house,” she remembers. “We do have two very different personalities,” she says of her sister, Brigget. “We aren’t always perfect. We argue like regular siblings, but we love each other a whole lot.” Christian, the oldest Washington child, says that having Deeyon and Brigett as siblings just seems normal now. Deeyon agrees. Tammy and Rod urge anyone considering adoption to search their heart, pray about it and give it a chance. “All children deserve to have a healthy family and to have the same quality of life that other children have,” Tammy says, emphasizing how important it is for people step up and take responsibility for the children in need in our community. The Washingtons credit their extended families in Minden and Shreveport and their church family at Parkview Drive Church of Christ as being instrumental in making their adoption experience the success story that it is. “We have had lots of help and support,” Rod says, stressing that one does not have to be a perfect parent or have a perfect family to fulfill the need that is out there. ”As long as you have love and an open heart and a solid support system, you can do this for a child.”







Spring is in full bloom and florals are the highlight of the season. Find these great items at our local businesses. Photos by Martin G Meyers










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Pillow TALK





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Botanicals and greenery are a great way to add life to a room. Find these great pieces at local businesses. Photos by Martin G Meyers






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Affinity Health Group New Method of Hip Replacement Surgery Now Available


CCORDING TO THE US NATIONAL LIBRARY OF Medicine, over 7 million Americans have suffered some sort of discomfort in the hips. George Flennoy, Affinity Orthopedic Clinic patient, was one of those sufferers. He recounts, “I was having difficulty going up and down stairs and even getting out of the bathtub.” He made several appointments to learn about options to relieve his pain. “I was diagnosed with bad arthritis. I visited with many doctors who told me I needed a hip replacement. I heard about a local guy, Dr. Soeller, who was able to perform anterior hip surgery. He explained the many benefits to anterior hip surgery and convinced me I would be able to live a normal life again.” Dr. Clemens Soeller, Orthopedic Surgeon, explains that the anterior method of hip replacement surgery is more convenient for the patient, because the less-invasive approach means the incision is smaller – damaging less of the surrounding muscles. This can also allow for fewer complications, less pain and shorter hospital stays and recovery time. He believes this advancement to be a remarkable improvement over traditional hip replacement procedures. The procedure involves the surgeon making an incision measuring 6-8 inches through the front of the leg, rather than the back (technique used during traditional hip replacement surgery). Frontal entry makes it possible to reach the joint by separating rather than cutting and reattaching muscles. The affected joint is then replaced with a prosthetic implant. Dr. Soeller also adds that physicians at the Affinity Orthopedic Clinic are currently the only medical professionals in the region performing anterior hip replacement surgery. Michael Echols, Director of Business Development for Vantage Health Plan and Affinity Health Group, celebrates that fact with saying, “Offering this procedure locally eliminates the added stress that travel and being away from family and friends for a surgical procedure might create. By remaining in the area, patients are able to concentrate fully on their recovery.” The Affinity Orthopedic Clinic’s weekly hours of operation are Monday – Friday, 8:00 - 5:00 p.m. To schedule an appointment, please call 318- 998-4460. The Affinity Orthopedic Clinic is a specialty clinic within Affinity Health Group, LLC (Affinity). In addition to anterior hip replacement 56 MAY 2017 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

surgery, Affinity’s Orthopedic Physicians can treat and manage such conditions as: • Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) & Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) Problems • Arthritis • Bursitis • Fractures • Hip, Knee, and Shoulder Conditions • Joint Dislocations • Joint Replacements • Rotator Cuff Problems • Sports Injuries • Sprains • Strains Affinity providers and their staff serve 22 clinics in north Louisiana. Affinity employs a total of over 500 medical and administrative professionals. At Affinity Health Group, our mission is to proactively seek opportunities to improve the quality of healthcare while balancing the cost of that care. Affinity is committed to service, patient satisfaction, healthy solutions and overall wellness of patients. For more information about Affinity Health Group, visit www. or call 318-807-7875. Affinity complies with applicable Federal and State civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex or any other legally protected characteristic. ATTENTION: If you have limited English proficiency, language assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-8607510 (TTY: 1-866-524-5144). ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-866860-7510 (TTY: 1-866-524-5144). ATTENTION: Si vous parlez français, des services d’aide linguistique vous sont proposés gratuitement. Appelez le 1-866-860-7510 (ATS: 1-866-524-5144). Please Note: Surgery outcomes may vary by patient. As with any surgery, these benefits cannot be guaranteed since surgery is specific to each patient, condition and procedure.


Louisiana Purchases Creating a Comfort Zone in My Home COM-FORT ZONE: noun 1. a place or situation where one feels safe or at ease and without stress.


N A QUEST TO FIND A STORE to help me outfit my new home that had bare walls and no furniture, I happened upon a little ole boutique store on 18th Street in Monroe. Louisiana Purchases strives to carry lines that vary in price and style, but the quality is undoubtedly exceptional. With research and good taste, it is clear that the staff at Louisiana Purchases makes it a priority to provide its customers with the essentials for achieving that “homey feel.” Over the last year of being in a new location Emily (owner) and her employees have expanded beyond their norm and have attracted new faces, local artists, and participated with local charities to ensure community involvement. I love that! In speaking with the girls at Louisiana Purchases, it is clear that helping people feel comfortable in their own home is at the forefront of their minds, but helping people give meaningful gifts is a close second. Because I was in there to make my home feel like my safe haven, I focused on everything HOME. In walking through the store and smelling the fresh fragrances of the different candle lines, in particular LAFCO, I couldn’t help but want to sit down and stay awhile. The upholstered 58 MAY 2017 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

glider chairs were calling my name and the coffee table books about Louisiana and the South made for the perfect little “lunch break.” As I looked around the store, I couldn’t help but notice the array of pillows that seemed to want to take me to cloud nine. Thinking about them on my bed at home or on my couch made my heart skip a beat. Can I have them all please?! Let me continue with me experience for a moment more… Seeing the spiritual elements that were delicately placed from one end to the other, as well as seeing the support of our local artists, whether it was pillows, art on canvas, leather goods, or pottery, it made me proud to be from Northeast Louisiana. Because I am writing anonymously today, I want to let you know that I am not the greatest at interior design, so it was a must that I asked for help when it came to certain things I wanted to do in my house. At this point in my shopping experience is when I found out about one of Louisiana Purchases newest endeavors: a Visual Comfort Lighting Gallery. The sales associate took me through a book full of lighting in every style and helped me vizualize what the light would look like in my new home. They are installing a whole wall of lighting and will be the exclusive Visual Comfort Gallery. Hello, can I be a professional shopper?! Ok, ok back on track to my “lunch break”… I can’t get over the uniqueness of the

store. From antiques to contemporary and everything in between, you are sure to find something. Although I found tons for my home, there one thing in particular that I needed two of and Emily assured me that custom ordering was no problem. Seriously? I can’t say enough about not only the store but the customer service. From learning about future events, to seeing Kendra Scott’s Home Line in person, to visiting with friends who happened to stop in at the same time, and getting birthday gifts wrapped and ready for the months to come, I could not have had a better first experience. I am most definitely on the right track to create a comfortable home for me and my family. Reflecting back on the definition of comfort zone above, I now realize that Emily created an at easy, stress free environment in the store. It is with a deep desire that I advise you to step through the doors of the local small business- Louisiana Purchases. You are sure to enjoy it! Happy Home! – The newest Louisiana Purchases Loyal Customer


A. ALDEN’S MEMO Atlanta and Dallas based fashion sales representative for Reeves & Company, Analeise Thomas, suggests her top destinations to travel in the U.S. for your summer vacation.




FREDERICKSBURG, TX The first time I went to this historic German town, I FREDRICKSBURG, TX


A gorgeous, thin stretch of coastline from Pensacola to Panama City, The Emerald Coast is one of Florida’s most popular destinations, second only to Orlando. Most travelers are familiar with Destin and Panama City as the coasts most frequented areas but hidden gems like Shell Island (where bottlenose dolphin tours abound) and Grayton Beach (home to my family’s favorite restaurant to visit when I was a kid, Red Bar) are becoming quick hot-spots. This area of the Florida coast has been dubbed the Wreck Capital of the South with nine shipwrecks just a few miles from shore- great for divers. One of the best home decor shops I’ve ever been to, duh in Pensacola, is worth checking out. This summer, venture away from your typical Florida destinations and discover the quiet and beautiful beaches off 30A.

was in elementary school. I remember loving it but after visiting with some of my Texan friends, Fredericksburg has grown and is now a must-visit destination for travelers. With a quaint main street and locally owned antique shops and restaurants at every turn, Fredericksburg takes you back to a simpler time. There are amazing hill-country wineries surrounding the area and the oldest pub in Texas, Fredericksburg Brewing Company, which has an awesome biergarten and its own blonde ales and porters all on tap. You can also stay in one of their 11 rooms above the restaurant. If you’re not a bed-and-breakfast fan, than this town is not for you. Make sure you check out Farm Haus Bistro and order the chicken pot pie- it’s by far the best I’ve ever had.


The Capital of the South, Hollywood of the South, A-Town, Hotlanta- whatever you choose to call this city, Atlanta is busier and more lively than ever and definitely a city to visit. I spend a great deal of my work travels in this hot southern metropolis and have grown to love it so much. It is home to the country’s busiest airport but it is so much more than a layover town. Some of my all-time favorite restaurants are in Atlanta- Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit, Bar Taco, Le Fat, Fred’s Meat and Brezza just to name a few. Krog Street Market and Ponce City Market are Atlanta’s take on Chelsea Market in NYC. The Aquarium is ranked #1 in the U.S. year after year and if you’re not into sea life you can walk across the street to the Coca-Cola museum to sip on cokes from other lands. And for those of you who love TV, The Walking Dead, Divergent, Family Feud and The Hunger Games were and are filmed here so you might be able to spot a movie-star or two!





For our summer vacation this year, my family will be heading to Carmel and Big Sur. Dubbed one of the most beautiful places in the world, yes the world, Carmel is sure not to disappoint. We’ll be staying at Doris Day’s inn, Cypress Inn which CNN has called a “legendary overnight oasis.” Pebble Beach golf course, the 17mile drive along the coast, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Redwood Forest are on our list of attractions. I’ll report back in BayouLife’s August issue!



SAVORING THE MOMENTS The Importance of Family Bonding and Making Special Memories article by Cindy G. Foust


’ve been preparing my readers for nearly a year now, so be warned: this column is going to be a little sappy as it coincides with my son’s high school graduation. You knew it was coming, I’ve tried to warn you, and lo and behold, here we are. The question is…how am I going to make it through? I cried when I picked out his senior pictures today; I cried on senior night for his baseball team; I cried when I was cleaning out my daughter’s bookcases (see, I do practice what I preach and have been “spring” cleaning and cleaning out my entire house for the last month) when I came across Little Rabbit Foo-Foo because that was his favorite book we used to read, or one of them; and the other day, I just pulled over in the parking lot at the new ice cream parlor (can I use that word or does it sound a little too Little House on the Prairie?) and just cried my eyes out thinking about what the next few months will involve for me as a mother and a parent. I did, however, decide to comfort myself with banana pudding ice cream served up in a waffle cone, just to make myself feel better, since I was, coincidentally, in the parking lot of an ice cream parlor. But I digress. I’ve been doing a lot of that lately, friends, thinking that is. Just a warning to my readers, that never bodes well for you, because, well, most of the time I translate a lot of that “thinking” into the words of this column. As you may know, or if you are just catching up with me for the first time, I share a lot of my life, (or other people’s lives, if you have a particularly useful experience we can learn from) with my readers. Some months it can be a good thing, and some it can be bad…it just depends on what “crisis” I’m dealing with. In that somewhat ice cream-induced state of mind I recently experienced, I sat in the parking lot (luckily, no one reported me for loitering or worse, called the appropriate authorities to haul an obviously hysterical woman away…far far away) and began to think about how my son’s high school graduation would be yet another moment that would change my life forever. Not in the sense that he’s going anywhere, well, except to college four hours away, when, for the last 19 years, he’s merely been four feet away from my bedroom every night. No, what I mean is how our entire family’s life will be changed, the family dynamic so to speak. It will, in a few words, also change me. But there was another moment, not so many years ago, 19 to be exact,


that also changed me, and that’s when I was handed this same little baby boy, to be mine (and Scott’s, when I would let him hold him), forever. The world truly seemed to stop spinning on its axis and I felt like the air had been sucked from the room. What in the cat hair was I going to do with this beautiful little golden yellow (he was jaundiced…a condition I fretted over and cried over and thought it was the worst thing ever for him to have to sleep under a Bilirubin blanket, but as it turns out, his liver was fine, and so was he) baby? There’s no instruction manual; there’s no crystal ball to peer into; and most importantly, my mom wasn’t going to be able to move in with us and help care for this little bundle of joy. No, it suddenly felt like someone dropped me at the mall and forgot to come pick me back up. But as you know, time doesn’t slow down and wait on you to catch up, so out of the starting gate we went, down the proverbial “yellow brick road” of parenthood. And what a journey it has been. In that single moment, that changed my life forever, that gave my life sudden perspective, sudden clarity, I became, in a few words, a better person. Scott and I moved from the mindset of “me” to the mindset of “him.” The parenting paths we’ve faced have been full of many experiences, and it has been a journey (gosh, I sound like I’m starring on an episode of The Bachelor) full of heartbreak, heartache (there is a marked difference), joy, happiness, sadness, mistakes (primarily by his parents), and most of all…love. For you see, as I type the words to this column, with tears splattering the keys of my computer, I can’t imagine anything in the world I could love the same way that I love my children… or more fiercely. It is a gift that I treasure, this role of “mother,” and there is not a word I love more or that I would rather hear, than when one of my children call me that. So, I’m searching fervently, at this point readers, to find a mask online, that I can plaster on my face, to hold it in place, and prevent the “ugly” cry, in public, over the next few weeks. And perhaps I will also be able to find a mask to put over my heart, as I send my son out into this flawed world that we live, to prevent the break that I know is coming when he leaves our home to begin this new chapter of his life. CONTINUED ON PAGE 177


Marsala Beverage

Let Us Help You Plan Your Cinco de Mayo Celebration CORONA Good friends. Good times. Good cerveza. When you bring the three together, unforgettable moments and unbeatable experiences are bound to happen. Corona embodies that carefree state of mind you find when you’re living truly in the moment. With ice-cold Corona in your cooler and good company by your side, your beach is never far away. Since it first hit the United States in 1981, Corona Extra has become the fastest-growing imported beer in the country’s history. Brewed and bottled in Mexico since 1925, Corona Extra is now the #1-selling imported beer and #5-selling beer overall in the U.S. In 1989, Corona Light made its U.S. debut, quickly making a name for itself and growing to become the #1-selling imported light beer in the country. Today, Corona Light is the Light Cerveza—a full-flavored imported lager with only 99 calories. Corona embraces the expression of “saber vivir”—knowing how to live. That means embodying an aspirational lifestyle that’s lively, social and infectiously fun, without trying too hard to impress or taking things too seriously. Defined by the laid-back image created by Corona consumers in its first few years in the U.S., this cerveza remains dedicated to a positive, carefree state of mind. CORONA EXTRA With a refreshing, smooth taste balanced between heavier European imports and lighter domestic beer, Corona is an even-keeled cerveza with fruity-honey aromas and a touch of malt. The flavor is crisp, clean and well 64 MAY 2017 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

balanced between hops and malt, a superior taste profile from superior ingredients—the finest-quality blend of filtered water, malted barley, hops, corn and yeast. CORONA LIGHT Corona Light is a pilsner-style lager with a uniquely refreshing taste—brewed for outstanding light flavor with a crisp, clean finish. Its pleasant, fruity-honey aroma and distinctive hop flavor make it a favorite of those seeking a light beer that’s full of flavor. Corona Light’s naturally easy-drinking style makes it perfect for pairing with spicy and citrus-infused dishes. NEGRA MODELO When it comes to all the different ways we celebrate Latino culture through food and drink, Modelo Negra’s rich, smooth taste is the perfect way to enhance the flavors. MODELO ESPECIAL Well-balanced taste and light hop character with a crisp, clean finish. Modelo Especial is characterized by an orange blossom honey aroma with a hint of herb. Modelo Especial is a beer born with the Fighting Spirit. It’s brewed with time, effort and determination to create the model Mexican lager. Everyone knows that hard work deserves a fitting reward – a Pilsner-style Lager with a clean, crisp taste VICTORIA Victoria, a pilsner-vienna type beer, is the most traditional out of Modelo´s brand portfolio. Unique for its bitterness and strong flavor which instantly pleases even the most demanding consumer. With more than 135

years of excellence, Victoria is one of the oldest beers produced in Mexico. PACIFICO In 1900, three German brewers established Cervecería del Pacifico in the small Mexican port town of Mazatlán. Word of the exceptionally drinkable pilsner-style lager traveled fast. Soon, thirst for Pacifico spread from Sinaloa and up the rugged Baja coastline. Fast forward to the early 1970s. A group of California surfers ventured south in their van to explore the breaks along the coast. Eventually they found themselves in Baja, where they also discovered hidden surf spots, friendly cantinas and a beloved local beer called Pacifico. Excited by their find, the story goes, the wandering surfers loaded up a few cases of the rich golden lager into their van and returned north, becoming the first importers of Pacifico. Back in Southern California, the Baja-born cerveza gained a passionate following among surfers, who journeyed south for the breaks and returned with a beer well worth the trip. Today, our journey from tiny cantinas in Baja to SoCal in the back of surf vans to places off the beaten path has made Pacifico a symbol of discovery and the perfect way to celebrate it. Now, it’s your turn. Go explore, because where the map ends is where adventure begins.




Inspiration for unusual arrangements need not get their start at a wholesale florist. In this bouquet, designer Gregory Hudgins, known for his innovative use of unexpected materials, has gathered gorgeous soft pink roses and mini tea roses with hot pink edges with freshly picked turnips, soft and fuzzy lamb’s ear and a ”blossom” of an echeveria succulent. 66 MAY 2017 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM





Designer Gregory Hudgins uses a playful mix of Spring’s bounty by using fresh asparagus spears and leaves of red-veined Swiss chard combined with cool grey green tones of lamb’s ear foliage. Petite mums in fuchsia tones are combined with soft pink roses, a large spider mum and tiny white daisies with bright yellow centers. The arrangement is proof that the makings of a great arrangement can definitely be found at your neighborhood grocery store!



American Cancer Society

Relay for Life Set for May 6th at the Ike Hamilton Expo Center


HROUGHOUT THE MONTH OF APRIL, SEVERAL members of the community committed to wearing purple to raise money and awareness for the fight against cancer, with the Power in Purple movement, in conjunction with the American Cancer Society. This year’s participants in Power in Purple were: • Chelsea Higginbotham, Richland State Bank, Executive Assistant • Dorothy Boyd, Angioscreen Coordinator, Marketing/Public Relations, Glenwood Regional Medical Center • Billy Justice, Director of Marketing/Sales, Vantage Health Plan • Beverly Joiner, Senior Vice President Mortgage Lending, Cross Keys Bank • Hannah Livingston, Regional Representative, US Senator John Kennedy • Patricia Ardis, AVP/Collections Officer, Cross Keys Bank • Dr. Harrington Watson, Principal, Robbinson Elementary • Sherrif Jay Russell, Ouachita Parish Sheriff Department • Melony Darden, Resident Director’s Assistant, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management • Ashley Doughty, Business Development Officer, First National Bank These members of the community raised money in the month of April as a build up to the annual Relay for Life event. WHAT IS THE RELAY FOR LIFE OF OUACHITA PARISH MOVEMENT? The American Cancer Society Relay for Life movement is the world’s largest fundraising event to fight cancer in every community. Each year, more than 4 million Relay for Life participants around the world rally communities to celebrate those who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost and take action to fight back. Relay For Life is the signature fundraising event for the American Cancer Society. At the event, you will have the opportunity to celebrate cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost to this disease during the Luminaria ceremony and learn more about how to fight back against cancer. While you’re raising much needed funds, you’ll also be raising awareness of the importance of cancer prevention, early


detection, treatment and patient support. Each American Cancer Society Relay For Life event gives everyone an opportunity to fight cancer and help save more lives. Teams made up of family members, friends, and/or coworkers set up their site and take turns participating in the family fun activities provided as well as continue to raise funds that night by having on site fundraisers. This year’s event is on Saturday, May 6 at the Ike Hamilton Expo Center in West Monroe. There will be an official opening ceremony at 2 p.m., a survivors lap at 2:30 pm, followed by a caregivers lap and a luminary ceremony at dusk. There will be food, fun and live entertainment with events and games scheduled throughout the day! There are several ways you can get involved, if you are a cancer survivor, know someone who has had cancer or just want to raise money and awareness for cancer in Northeast Louisiana. BE PART OF A RELAY FOR LIFE TEAM Gather up your group and register as a team through WWW. Each team has a Team Captain and plan fundraisers before and during relay. Each participant that raises a minimum of $100 can receive their complementary 2017 Relay for Life Shirt. VOLUNTEER Volunteers play a crucial role in the success of the Relay For Life event in your community. Whether you have a few extra hours or a month, the ACS needs your talent and appreciates your time. BECOME A CORPORATE SPONSOR Businesses that choose to sponsor Relay are making the decision to partner with the American Cancer Society. There are many opportunities offered at varying levels. Benefits may include your company’s logo printed on event T-shirts, banners, etc. For more information on how you can help or for questions, please contact: Jessica Siddon- Event Lead- or 318.372.3173. Join Now-




n a Friday evening in late March, friends gathered at the Garden District home of Monroe artist Caroline Youngblood for a fun and unique collaboration of culinary and artistic talent. Cheerful yellow irises lining the front porch greeted guests as they arrived for a “Pop Up” dinner prepared by Hope Anderson, former Miss Louisiana and founder of “Health With Hope.” A Registered Dietitian, Anderson recently returned to Northeast Louisiana from Nashville, Tennessee after completing a residency in Nutrition at Vanderbilt University. During her time in Nashville, Anderson also worked for Edible Nashville, a culinary magazine with a focus on the farm-to-table movement, and honed her cooking skills. Through her new business, “Health With Hope,” Anderson provides nutrition counseling as well as event catering and cooking classes. The seven-course dinner served by Anderson and her staff featured a French-inspired menu that began with mini croquet monsieur, French onion soup and bistro greens with roasted beets, goat cheese and sherry vinaigrette. Following a delicious main course of crispy salmon with lentils du puy, diners enjoyed hazelnut dacquoise with blackberries and cream, complemented by freshly-brewed concoctions created by Union Mill Coffee. Union Mill Coffee owner and barista Daniel Luther was also on hand before dinner, offering samples of his gourmet coffee, espresso, lattes, cappuccinos, café breve and other specialty drinks from the mobile espresso and brew bar set up in the airy front room of Youngblood’s home. Started by Luther and his wife Lindsay in 2015, Union Mill Coffee has become a favorite at private parties, weddings, community and corporate events throughout Louisiana. Before and after dinner, guests were invited to tour the beautifully restored 1928 Craftsman-style bungalow which serves as Youngblood’s art gallery as well as her home. Located just around the corner from her painting studio, the home-turned-gallery allows collectors to see her finished work in a residential setting.


“This beautiful home found me,” insists Youngblood. Bright with lots of windows, open and spacious yet cozy, Youngblood’s home, like her artwork, is a feast for the eyes. Throughout the restoration process, Youngblood and prior owners were careful to preserve the home’s original architectural style and unique features. Still inscribed over the transom of a door leading from the kitchen is a Latin phrase that, translated, means “Live righteously; God is present.” Throughout the home, walls were adorned with Youngblood’s signature paintings, featuring layers of paint superimposed on top of found objects, many from her grandparents’ home near Columbia, Louisiana. Images of cotton bolls and oyster shells prominent in her more recent paintings were on display alongside earlier works in different styles and mediums. As Youngblood explained, many of the paintings in her home are part of her private collection, not available for purchase. Those in attendance at the event had the chance to view and discuss these rarely seen and varied works with the artist. A series of paintings that Youngblood did for the North Delta Food and Wine Festival hangs on the wall of the dining room, depicting scenes of a family gathering in Riverton, Louisiana in 1937. Youngblood discovered the images on film she found among her late grandparents’ belongings. She translated the scenes from the eight millimeter film into watercolor paintings exhibited during the Food and Wine Festival. Guests had a view of these paintings from the long, farm-style table in the center of the dining room. The dining table, constructed from a door salvaged from Youngblood’s grandfather’s jewelry store in Shreveport, was hand-crafted by a friend

and former classmate in his New Orleans workshop. In the adjoining sunroom overlooking the backyard, lights were strung near the ceiling, and a second table was set for the meal. Event stylist Elizabeth Prine used her considerable talent to enhance the dining areas with casually elegant floral arrangements and table settings for the occasion. A North Louisiana native with a background in visual and floral design, Prine co-owns the event styling and floral design company known as “We Are Gathered.” With “We Are Gathered,” she and her business partner, Kayla Jobe, provide concept styling that includes everything from floral design to custom signage, calligraphy and art installations for weddings and other special events. For the Pop Up dinner, Prine used spring flowers and greenery, vintage linens and vessels and hand-lettered place cards and menus to create the perfect atmosphere for dining and socializing.

Elizabeth’s husband Cole, videographer and owner of “Cole Prine Productions,” was there to memorialize the event with a professional video. Photographer Mary Day captured the evening with still photographs highlighting the guests, the dinner and its setting among Youngblood’s beautifully decorated home and art. With the success of this first event, Anderson is hopeful she can continue to bring people to the table to celebrate healthy food in a festive atmosphere. “It is so important to encourage people to ‘get back to the kitchen,’” Anderson says, “because that is really where health and nutrition begins.” The Pop Up dinner affords a forum for presenting that message, as well as an opportunity to collaborate with other local entrepreneurs and artisans. Satisfied guests look forward to the next experience, a chance to connect over a cocktail or coffee, feast on delicious food and enjoy a close-up view of unique and interesting artwork.


Think. Act. Move. Cathi French Roberts and Lori French are intrigued with home, fashion, music, far flung travels and artisan moments. Cathi and Lori have been involved in the international fashion and design industry for the past 25 years. A myriad of projects have given them vast opportunities to travel throughout North America and Europe. Join them for a colloquium of inspiration and ideas for your life and home. Casual can be elegant and fun rises to all occasions.

Cathi French Roberts & Lori French


“Home ... where we all come at the end of the day ... it should rise up to greet us, just like an old friend.”

Natural materials play against the natural patina of aged antiques with shades based on neutrals and Mother Nature’s subtle hues.

AS THE SEASONS CHANGE, our style and lives change as well. Re-defining ourselves through our home and gardens is worth the effort. NEW is not necessarily BETTER! REUSE - rearranging things differently can bring a breath of fresh air. REINTERPRET- who says that gray is so last year? Try pairing it with lime green, turquoise or fucshia for a different take. RESPECT - sometimes an object or piece of furniture has lived a good life, and it is time to say good-bye. Literally, ANYTHING GOES in decorating your personal space. There is so much energy, innovation and rule breaking now in design. The upside is there are lots of looks to choose from. The downside is that there is often rank confusion. The boundaries can be blurred from one style to another, but here are some of our definitions:

MUST HAVES: Bleached/Limed Floors An Aged Metal Table Ralph Lauren Paint Slipcovers Linen Covers Buttery Leather on Anything Found Objects Cleaning Supplies by Caldrea Intelligentsia Coffee from Chicago (Ask Julian Jones his opinion about the coffee) Distressed Shelving or An Open Armoire

GLAM LOOK A reflective mix of everything from gilt to statuary that is often set off by bold, brave color. MUST HAVES: Mirrors Gilt Jewel Tones Animal Print Fringe Pattern Crystals Lacquer Fur Statuary A Friend Named Gavin

ACCESSORATOR Original blend of intricate pattern, vivid color, and very personal collections. MUST HAVES: Mirrored Sconces Sunburst Mirror Oversized Trays Black. White. Turquoise Bamboo Shades Flowers or Greenery 3x5 Antique Floor Cloths 74 MAY 2017 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

TRADITIONAL WITH A TWIST Old world silhouettes, patterns and colors rooted in tradition but reinvented in a fresh way. MUST HAVES: Slipper Chairs Tufted Ottoman Blue and White Pottery Benjamin Moore Paint Pattern on Pattern - A great way to add warmth Matelassé fabrics that offer quilted texture and comfort

Books, Books and More Books. (Buy a bookstand and begin to collect art books. Rotate them and turn to a new page every day.) Mixed Pattern On Dining Room Chairs A Statement Chandelier Eclectic Collection of Framed and Canvas Art Roman Shades in Print

MODERNIST Clean lines, tailored detail and luminous color with an eye for balance and serenity. Asian Wood Figures Airy Spaces Solid Fabrics Neutral Walls

Last Note:

Lime Green Linen Sculptural Chairs Retro Bar Stools One L-Shaped Banquette

Need more inspiration? One of our favorite books for the insightful text and stunning images is Glamorous Rooms by Jan Showers. A great addition to your coffee table book collection!


Ohler Construction

Specializing in Both Residential and Commercial Construction and Remodels


HILE JASON OHLER ISN’T originally from Northeast Louisiana, he has certainly made a name for himself and his construction company in the area since 2007. Jason made his way to Monroe from south Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. While working in the construction business in the Crescent City during the 1990’s, Jason gained experience working on a variety of projects from high-end renovations on historic St. Charles Avenue to complete commercial remodels in the heart of the Central Buisness District. At the heart of Ohler Construction is more than Jason’s knowledge and experience in the construction industry. It is the attention to detail, customer service and integrity that his company strives to uphold. “For most people, their home or business is their greatest investment, so it is important that we treat their property with respect and provide them with quality work and professional treatment,” said Jason Ohler. Jason has surrounded himself with people that share the same passion. Cole Sullivan serves as Project Manager on the Ohler Construction team and has been there since the beginning. Originally from Ruston, Cole has 10 years of experience in the construction industry and shares Ohler’s vision for customer service and professionalism. “It takes a team to be able to create something great, and Cole and I have worked day in and day out to make that happen, said Jason.” Also on the team is Martin Litwin, who serves as project manager as well, while


he is enrolled in Business Management at ULM. Ohler Construction works with a variety of sub-contractors that are just as equally hard working and share the same high standard that Ohler Construction is known for. They use quality materials, adhere to timelines and communicate openly with their customers. The entire team shares a passion for customer service and exemplary craftsmanship. Since Ohler Construction’s humble beginnings as a small construction company, they have continued to grow. Specializing in both residential and commercial construction projects, they have completed projects here in Northeast Louisiana as well as southern Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas. “When we started out, we began working and doing whatever we could but have grown to building custom homes, commercial buildings, complete residential renovations, kitchen and bath renovations and much more,” said Jason. Ohler Construction recognizes that craftsmanship lasts for years to come and likes to highlight some of that work throughout their projects. They have reclaimed lumber to create dimensional walls, cypress beams on high ceilings, sourced antique and reclaimed doors from southern Louisiana, repurposed unique items as light fixtures and created shelves from galvanized pipes. Jason has even been known to create custom furniture to go inside of his projects. “I have made beds, dressers and shelves with some specialty wood-working techniques to go into some

of the homes that we have worked on,” said Jason. “We know our customers want quality work, and the craftsmanship features are things that will last for years to come.” Ohler Construction has been blessed to work with several local designers and decorators, which helps the customer in the end. “By being able to work with people like Tish Miller and Gregory Hudgins, it has allowed us to connect to the community even more, and, at the end of the day, make our customer happy with the final result,” said Jason. It’s those relationships that have helped Ohler Construction become so successful in their decade of business in northeast Louisiana. They continue to invest in the community, as they have recently purchased and renovated some homes around their office in the Garden District of Monroe. “I’m excited about those projects because we are able to show off some of our work and make this area an even better place to live!” said Jason. Whatever the project, whether its residential or commercial, renovation, or start from scratch construction, Ohler Construction’s mission remains the same – to provide their clients with a professional experience that surpasses their expectations. They pride themselves on keeping their clients informed, updated and involved throughout the process because they feel that customer satisfaction is paramount at all levels of any project. Home owner: Crissy Evans| Interior design by Tish Miller


Restaurant Sage

Celebrating Ten Years in Business


S RESTAURANT SAGE APPROACHES ITS TENTH anniversary, the King family is more grateful than ever for their establishment. Since 2007, the Monroe institution has provided quality service and culinary delights to the community. The north Louisiana landmark has thrown hundreds of parties and shucked thousands of oysters, bringing smiles to faces for a decade. The truth is, they love making people happy. The family and staff are eagerly looking forward to the next ten years! Dr. Terry and Nancy King had a vision for a fine dining experience in the area. They partnered with Brady King, Dr. King’s son and a Monroe attorney, to open Restaurant Sage in 2007. Hundreds of recipes have been created at Restaurant Sage over the years by some of the most talented chefs out of north Louisiana. Through the years, the establishment has remained consistent and timeless. Fads have come and gone over the last ten years, but Restaurant Sage has stood the test of time, offering true southern cuisine at its finest. A crucial element of staying power in any restaurant is a reliable and efficient staff. Restaurant Sage has always recruited some of the area’s finest in culinary talent. One member has recently stepped up to take the position of executive kitchen manager after working for the King Family for over twelve years. Andrew Whitaker held every position in the kitchen before taking the position of General Manager two years ago at Sage. Andrew has helped tweak the newly updated lunch and dinner menus, keeping old favorites and adding new items such as Herb Crusted Salmon, Bacon Wrapped Duck Breast and Creole Redfish with Lemon Garlic Burre Blanc. The front of the house service is one reason that folks come back to visit Sage over and over again. Perhaps the most wellknown server in town, Henry Manning has recently come out of retirement to work a few days a week at Sage. When asked how he feels about the upcoming celebration, he simply replied, “It’s been a great nine years!” With almost fifty years in the industry under his belt, Henry knows a thing or two about service. Sage is proud


to have him on their staff as well as the rest of the crew. The service isn’t the only thing that brings them back. Restaurant Sage has plenty to offer that you can’t find anywhere else. The outdoor oyster grill is the only one of its kind in town, serving up delectable wood-grilled oysters. They offer only the freshest fish and seafood and serve as much local beef as possible from Kingsland Ranch, which is owned by the Kings. The salad bar is a longtime favorite for the local lunch crowd, offering a selection like none other with famous chicken salad, shrimp salad and much more. For happy hour, Sage’s bar is a Monroe hot spot. Whether you want to relax and enjoy yourself on the breezy patio or in a more intimate setting by the cozy fireplace, they offer an fine selection of wine, beer and cocktails year-round. From the best martini in town to a classic Manhattan, they never disappoint in the drink department. Perhaps the most intriguing thing about Restaurant Sage is the establishment’s ability to bring groups of people together. For a decade, patrons have enjoyed countless holiday parties, birthday celebrations, wedding gatherings and family meals. They offer generous accommodations for any type of get-together from the party room, to specialty dinners, to allowing guests to reserve the entire restaurant. The King Family would like to thank the community for the overwhelming support over the last ten years. Without it, reaching this milestone would have never been possible. The Monroe landmark has celebrated plenty of accomplishments from its inception to present day. Stop by and join them in celebration with a toast to the past, present and future!


Tempco Tips for Energy Savings You Can Learn a lot in 40 Years!


T’S WELL KNOWN THAT ONE OF the most effective and efficient ways homeowners can control energy bills is to insulate their homes from top to bottom. Insulation is one of the least expensive investments you can make in home improvement, while reducing your energy bills at the same time. Get to Know your Insulation What works for one home, business or budget may not work for another. From sprayed or blown, to new construction or existing structures, there are numerous types of insulation and methods of installation. For example, fiberglass glass batt insulation is fitted between attic joists, while blown-in fiberglass is blown throughout the attic and fills cavities with a seamless and thermal blanket. Blown-in fiberglass can often be more cost effective than traditional fiberglass batting. In newly constructed homes, blownin fiberglass can also be used in the walls, and is held in place by netting. Icynene spray foam is a non-toxic and odorless option when building your new home or business. It can be the more expensive option initially, but may offer more savings in the long run. Cellulose insulation is made from recycled paper and is also fire retardant. This type of insulation is often used for existing buildings and homes. Humidity is Serious Business At Tempco Insulation, we use a dry system instead of a wet system when installing insulation. Using a wet system can cause major problems down the road.


Because our climate is so humid, wet insulation has a tough time drying. This can cause mold behind walls, months and years after insulation has been installed, costing you money and causing a big inconvenience. Does your Insulation Measure Up? Whether it’s blown-in or sprayed, the material of your insulation may not vary from installer to installer, but how much is installed could vary, costing more money in the long run. Your attic’s insulation may be coming up short, if joists are visible or there are open places and voids in your existing insulation, and you may even be able to see portions of ceiling. Our experts can perform a simple test to make sure your attic’s insulation measures up. Sealing Saves Money Tempco’s Air Infiltration Treatment, or T.A.I.T., is a procedure by which your home is sealed against air infiltration. Energy experts tell us, enough outside air filters into an average house to completely replace all the heated or cooled air inside. Each “air exchange” increases your utility bills by making your heating or cooling unit work longer to maintain the desired air temperature. Plate penetrations by electrical wires and plumbing exhausts are sealed, as well as any spaces in windows and doors, between finish jambs, sills and headers, cracks in the exterior sheathing, and corner and tee joints. At Tempco Insulation, we cut air infiltration in half with a combination of high-grade caulking and foam sealant

applied to the exterior envelope of your home. Studies show this air infiltration barrier cuts the rate of air exchange by an average of 52%, saving you money and keeping your home more comfortable yearround. Get an Accurate Estimate Making sure you are getting the most out of your insulation investment is important, and it all starts with your first call to an insulation vendor. At Tempco Insulation, we strive to make sure you get what you need and stay on budget. Our estimator, Ashton, grew up around insulation and even played in Tempco’s warehouse as a child. Not only is she owner Chuck Adams’ daughter, but she is also highly quailed and trained in the world of construction. Ashton is a graduate of ULM’s Construction Management program and worked as a project manager for a company in Shreveport before working for Tempco Insulation. When you call Tempco Insulation, make sure to “Ask for Ashton!” Locally Owned. Locally Operated. Tempco Insulation has served northeast Louisiana and surrounding areas since 1977, and is dedicated to providing the highest quality insulation products and services to our customers. Our team is a fully-licensed and insured insulation dealer and service provider. Call Tempco to see how our experts can help you save on your energy bills.


Above: Blush Noisette roses, introduced in 1817, At Left: Russell’s Cottage Rose, introduced in 1826, photos by Kelly Quinn



’m a rose fanatic and have planted them extensively in my garden. My love of roses began when I lived in England doing my graduate work. I became fast friends with Lady Elizabeth Ashbrook, who was crazy about roses and had them all around her estate in Cheshire. So when I came home, I started planting roses at my house in downtown Little Rock. I now have a two-acre rose garden at Moss Mountain Farm dedicated to my friend who taught me so much about these charming flowers. The peak of rose bloom in my garden occurs around the first week of May. I consider this an unofficial farewell to spring and the beginning of summer. I say goodbye to dogwoods and tulips and hello to daylilies, hydrangeas and of course, more roses.  With the exception of one or two, the roses in my garden are repeat bloomers and will continue to throw out flowers until the first hard freeze in fall. 82 MAY 2017 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

While most of the varieties are fairly carefree, I do have a summer regimen that I follow to keep them in tiptop shape.


I give my roses a healthy dose of fertilizer in the early spring to fortify them for their first flush of bloom. I simply use a fertilizer high in phosphorous, which is the middle number on the package. After the first wave of flowers fade I hit them with a second application of fertilizer formulated especially for roses. This will re-energize the plants and promote more roses for those that are repeat bloomers. Through the summer, I continue to feed my repeat blooming roses after each bloom cycle.


The biggest headache when growing roses is blackspot and powdery mildew. As the name implies, blackspot starts with a black spot on the leaf. It’s a fungus that certainly diminishes the look of the plant. Now I’ve never had a rose bush actually die

Above: ‘Rosarium Uetersen,’ a climbing rose named after the oldest rose garden in Northern Germany, photo by Bill Ridlehoover from blackspot, but it can certainly cut down on their performance and make the shrubs look pretty shabby. Blackspot is usually brought on by weather conditions. Sporadic rain followed by humid to hot conditions is the ideal breeding ground for this fungus. The rain soaks the plant, and then the weather heats up and causes the fungus to form on the damp leaves and petals. If the problem becomes severe, use a commercial fungicide for blackspot and always try to get the plant completely saturated from top to bottom with the spray. Some serious cases of blackspot require several treatments before the fungus is completely annihilated. You should also spray the ground around your roses and put any diseased leaves in your trash, not in your compost. Powdery mildew is another fungus that reveals itself as a powder-like coating over the leaves. Rarely will it kill a plant, but some perennials like phlox and shrubs such as lilacs, crape myrtles and roses can be damaged. A

heavy infestation of powdery mildew can cause a plant to lose its leaves diminishing its vigor and causing it to not flower quite as much. If you’re having this problem in your garden, there are two approaches you should try in bringing the problem under control. The first is prevention. Remove and dispose of infected plants and leaves by burning them or put them in the garbage to help cut down on the spread. Don’t put infected leaves in your compost, because you will just harbor spores for another round next season. The second line of defense is to take action by spraying. But before using a conventional fungicide, try some of the new safer alternatives. I use a sulfur-based product. Since it’s not a synthetic fungicide, I don’t have to worry about it damaging the environment. Spray your roses about every 7 to 10 days, when mildew is a problem.

BLACKSPOT-RESISTANT ROSES IN MY GARDEN ‘Marie Pavie’ ‘The Fairy’ ‘Lamarque’ ‘Caldwell Pink’ ‘New Dawn’

‘Pinkie’ ‘White Dawn’ ‘Marchesa Boccella’ ‘Russell’s Cottage’ ‘Katharina Zeimet’


The time to do any hard pruning of roses is the late winter or early spring, before the leaf buds open. But don’t panic, if you didn’t get to cutting back your plants this year. Your plants will not suffer, and once the blooms have faded at the end of spring you will have the opportunity to do some light pruning. Not only will this be a chance to reshape and clean up your plants, but with many of the repeat blooming varieties, it will encourage a second round of flower production. It’s important to realize that not all roses rebloom. Some old-fashioned shrub types only bloom once in the spring. Cutting the old flowers away on these types will just help the plant look a little better. But for those that rebloom like my favorite ‘New Dawn’ as well as any of the floribundas, polyanthas and popular hybrid tea roses, removing what is left of dead flowers will definitely encourage the next wave of bloom.  When you do this it’s important to remove them with sharp pruners, making the cut just above a leaf with five leaflets. By cutting here, when the new bud forms, the stem will be large and strong enough to support it. Another thing I do after I’ve pruned my roses is feed them with a high phosphorus liquid fertilizer. By devoting a little time to care for these beauties, your flower garden will be “coming up roses” all season long.

HOME REMEDY FOR POWDERY MILDEW One home remedy that some people have found useful as a preventative to powdery mildew is using this formula: 1 heaping teaspoon of baking soda 1 Tablespoon of summer oil 1/2 teaspoon of insecticidal soap or dishwashing soap 1 gallon of water It’s important that a plant is well hydrated before applying this solution. Water deeply a couple of days before spraying, and don’t spray during the heat of the day.

P. Allen Smith is an author, television host and conservationist. His show “Garden Home” airs on public television. Check your local listings for “Garden Style.” Smith uses his Arkansas home, Moss Mountain Farm, to promote the local food movement, organic gardening and the preservation of heritage poultry breeds. Tours of the farm may be booked at

The Rose Garden at Moss Mountain Farm photo by Mark Fonville




What is The River Oaks Experience? Come Experience It for Yourself



LOCAL FAMILY WHO KNOWS my position with River Oaks School recently approached me. They were curious about the buzz they have heard. “What is the River Oaks Experience we keep hearing about?,” they wanted to know. My answer was easy! “Please come to River Oaks School and allow me to show you personally.” So the family decided to come by and check it out for themselves. I was happy to greet them and give them a thorough tour of the grounds. When they stepped onto the River Oaks campus for the first time, they shared that they immediately experienced feelings of warmth, excitement and intrigue. As the Director of Marketing and Admissions for River Oaks School, I greeted the family with enthusiasm and Mustang Pride. As the campus tour began, the family immediately noticed the personable staff as well as the encouraging interaction they had with their students. The small class sizes were also an instant attraction for the family. At this point in the tour, one of the parents noted that River Oaks School feels like “home.” To them, everyone appeared as though they were a family. As they walked through the cozy, cheerful hallway, they realized that there were no locks on the lockers and wondered why. I explained to them that there has never really been a true need for a lock


here on campus. We continued down the hall and passed by our “Brag Board”, and boy did their eyes light up! This board was filled with numerous achievements by the River Oaks students made inside and outside the classroom. There was an impressive list of students with ACT scores at 25 or higher, an accomplishment that the school is extremely proud of. Next they saw an article about the graduating class of 2015. The class received $3,291,000 in scholarships that year. They saw a picture of Naysa Modi winning her third consecutive All-Parish Spelling Bee. They read about the various Science Fair winners, FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) winners, MathCounts winners and several other accomplishments. It was apparent to them how much the school values academics, as well as the individual students themselves. As we walked to the gymnasium, the family also noticed that the River Oaks Varsity Cheerleaders were State Champions for 4 years in a row. They brought home the award in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016! As we approached River Oaks Elementary, the family was able to see the brand new softball field nearing completion. They also were able to view the rendering of the new playground structure, “The Big Kahuna,” coming in July. Their eyes said it all!

The family was able to see first-hand how our elementary program works handin-hand with our upper school program. The fact that grades Pk-12 are located on the same campus is a huge bonus, especially when families have multiple children in different grades. Further, this reinforces the family atmosphere River Oaks promotes by engaging all students in all grades in many school-wide events. As the tour ended, I could tell they were ecstatic! They boldly stated that they would LOVE to have their child become a part of the River Oaks Experience. If you would like to know more about the school, tours of the River Oaks campus are available at any time. Come let us show you why we consider our school a big, happy family. Please contact Elizabeth Clack, Director of Marketing and Admissions, to schedule your tour today! 318-343-4185 ext 35. Come and see what all the buss is about. Visit our website for more information at Follow us on Facebook to see the latest pictures, news and events.


article by Kenny Covington Think Slow and Small The next thing when it comes to the bass fishing the post spawn is to slow down your presentations. Lures like spinnerbaits and crankbaits can still catch fish, but you need to be very conscious of your retrieve speeds. The reason for using a spinning rod to win tournaments on Cheniere Lake, in my earlier example, was for throwing really small topwater lures. The light line and rod were required to work the lures more effectively and slowwwwly, making the presentations more lifelike. Be very conscious of your lure presentations. Too much is overkill and can work against you.


Think Early and Late Often times the best fishing is first thing in the morning or late in the evening. The low light conditions allow bass to have more security in their feeding habits, making them more active and at times easier to catch. The window of opportunity can be just a few hours but once you are dialed in to the correct areas, those few hours can be action packed.

With Kenny

Post Spawn Blues and How to Cure Them “

hat are you going to do with that?” The question came from a friend of my father’s, as I arranged my boat before the tournament began that morning. “Nobody fishes those spinning outfits, you must be going to try to catch some perch, while we real men chase the green fish,” he surmised with a laugh. My eighteen years on earth and living in the same house as my military/police trained father taught me to be respectful even to those I secretly wanted to choke. What my competitor didn’t know was that I used that very same “ultra-light” spinning outfit to win that day’s club tournament. I had heard all the stories from the more experienced anglers and the magazines I read that bass that were finished spawning were almost impossible to catch. “They don’t bite and become dormant, just like in the winter.” I can still hear those words in my ears. The problem was that those fish were catchable, and I was able to catch them. For a few years, if there was an event held on Cheniere Lake from late April thru May, I was hard to beat. I had figured out how and where to catch the fish that many believed couldn’t be caught. As I grew older, I expanded my knowledge to fit all of our local waters, and while it isn’t as set in stone as it once was, it still produces good results, when applied correctly. Think Shallow The first thing to remember is that bass that are finished spawning are hungry. After the bigger females have laid their eggs, they want to feed up in order to get their metabolism back to full strength. There is no reason for them to leave the areas in which they spawn in order to look for food. The food chain will be coming to them, and they know this. After the bass spawn, shad and bream will begin their spring rituals as well. It’s like bringing the canary to the cat.


Think Horizontal vs. Vertical Presentations Regardless of the body of water you are fishing during the post spawn, there is usually a way to catch them on a horizontal type of presentation such as a topwater as well as a vertical presentation such as a Texas rigged soft plastic. Some days one is more effective than the other, but if both presentations can be identified, the bite can last all day. Some key things to look for regarding each presentation is the availability of grass, the water color and the amount of shallow water cover in the particular body of water you are fishing. Grass lakes, tend to hold a larger number of fish in shallow water, unless the water is extremely clear, such as lakes like Caney or Claiborne. Oxbow lakes, like Bruin and Lake Providence, hold shallow bass year round, because of their abundance of off colored water and shallow cypress trees. Remember, your lure selection needs to address the amount and type of cover you will be fishing. Got Lures? Here is a list of five lures that will work in just about any body of water that can be fished. In no particular order they are: Pop R, Zoom Fluke, ¼ oz.Buzzbait, 1.5 Squarebilled crankbait and a Senko. The Pop R and buzzbait are an excellent one-two punch, when searching for active early or late evening fish. The Buzzer requires continual movement, but a slow steady retrieve that keeps the lure just on the surface is usually the ticket. When fishing for post spawn fish with a Pop R, a slow methodical “Plop Plop Plop” cadence or a continuous twitching pattern to make the lure appear to be a fleeing bait fish are usually the best choices. The squarebilled crankbait would be used to cover water from depths of two to five feet. It’s an excellent way to catch fish with a reaction strike. Anything you can run the lure into during a retrieve that can alter its course can trigger aggressive strikes from fish that really have no intentions of hitting a lure. This technique is especially effective on cypress tree dominated lakes. The Fluke and Senko are deadly on finicky post spawn fish and require patience to work them effectively. The Fluke works best when being retrieved with a twitch of the rod in and around isolated grass patches keeping the lure a couple of feet from the lakes surface. The Senko would be a better choice when the lure needs to fall beside vertical structure such as trees or an isolated stumps. Well, it looks like we have run out of space again! We covered a lot this month, and, hopefully, you were able to pick up some things you can use to make your next fishing trip a good one! Catch one for me; see you next month!



DREAMING AND BUILDING FOR A CURE Danielle Gilmore takes the reigns as this year’s lead designer for the St. Jude’s Dream Home. Together, with Brian Allen of BRACO Construction, and a team of talented designers, they’ve kept the dream of a cure for pediatric cancer at the forefront of the design behind the home.





ith several days to go before the drawing for a winner of the 2017 St. Jude Dream Home, tickets for the 4 bedroom, 3 bath home in the newly developed Bayou Trace subdivision in north Monroe were sold out. Brian Allen of BRACO Construction has for the seventh time donated his time and talented crew to ensure the winner of this St. Jude Dream Home will turn the key to well-built home to honor the children and families who are the reason for this incredible fundraiser. New to the Dream Home this year is lead designer Danielle Lewing Gilmore of DLG Designs LLC, who brought a zeal for raising funds for St. Jude’s, a cause near and dear to her heart. After seeing her sister’s child battle spinal and brain cancer, Danielle was more than willing to dive in to donate her expertise to the Dream Home as the fundraiser directly benefits the patients and families of children with all forms of pediatric cancers and helps fund research to find promising therapies and cures. To keep the dream of a cure for pediatric cancer at the forefront of the design behind the home, 92 MAY 2017 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

Danielle wanted the focus of the home to be on six local kids and their families who have made the trek to St. Jude. Gilmore was asked by Brian Allen to join the project in June 2016 and donated her time coordinating the design of the home and securing fellow designers to help staging rooms throughout the home. She picked the home’s plan then worked with Steven Madden of Madden Home Designs to fine tune the layout. Danielle, who moved to Monroe a little over two years ago, (just in time to have her house flood last Spring) was born in Brooklyn, NY and has lived in major Southern cities where she has designed interiors for GLO Interiors and I.O. Metro. Danielle is no stranger to volunteering her designing time for the benefit of others. “I once did ‘Extreme Makeover’ with Ty when I lived in Jackson, MS,” she says. Designers involved in this 2017 Dream Home include Sherri Mowad, Jo Tiffany Faulk and her brother Ronnie Scott from Sleepy Hollow Furniture, Shawn Brazzell, Lisa Dixon, Stuart Scalia and Clint Downing. Each designer was tasked to create a space for either a specific child or to develop a space that would be a relaxing retreat for any family that

might suffer through a child’s cancer diagnosis and treatment. National sponsors for the home included Brizo, Shaw and Trane. Local major sponsors included BRACO Construction, DLG Designs LLC, Sleepy Hollow Furniture, KTVE-TV and KARD-TV, K104 Radio, Lee Edwards Mazda and Tru Blu Concepts, LLC. This year Sleepy Hollow Furniture gave away a custom design makeover, valued at $10,000. Registration was complimentary when you toured the house. The staging of the Dream Home enlisted furnishings from local shops including Sleepy Hollow Furniture, Coco’s, Walsworth, Fabulous Fabrics, Coburn’s Lighting, Hemphill’s Nursery, Smith Blind and Awning, Woodstock, Traditions, Decorative Concrete Coatings, James Machine Works and incorporated art by Ronnie Scott, Sue Sartor, Margaret Moses, Polly Spence, Joshua Mitchell, Catherine Cookston Leake, Lou Davenport, Andrea May Hinton and Connor Lewing. Like Christian faith in the Unseen and the All-Powerful, each stud behind painted sheetrock is signed with a Bible verse, sent in from children receiving treatment from St.

Jude. The ladies of Frenchman’s Bend Bible Study Group were enlisted to hand scribe the verses on the 2 x 4s as a way to bless each part of the Dream Home. As coordinator for the home’s finishes, Danielle was able to choose flooring, backsplashes and fixtures from national sponsors Shaw and Brizo. According to Danielle the majority of the labor and material was either completely donated or provided at cost, which helps with the goal of keeping costs to a minimum to maximize funds raised for St. Jude’s. Danielle is quick to thank Michael Durham and his Custom Carpet crew for installing all the tile and flooring through the home. ACME Brick donated all of the brick including the “Old Colonial” accent brick. Seven thousand tickets for the Dream Home were sold this year. “Despite the recent flood, everyone has been willing to donate. This is an incredibly generous community,” says Danielle, “Sleepy Hollow has agreed to give 17% of the sale of all furniture in the Dream Home to St. Jude’s. To make an impactful statement above the living room fireplace, Danielle commissioned James Machine Works to create a metal representation of the St. Jude logo. Another dramatic element throughout the home is the use of photographic portraits of the St. Jude’s kids by Annie LaCombe. O’Neal Gas gave the glass rock gas insert for the living room fireplace. Danielle was invited to pick out 3 or 4 colors of glass rock to be used. Jo Tiffany Faulk of Sleepy Hollow Furniture was instrumental in bringing the gorgeous furnishings throughout the home and had just finished installing the kitchen and breakfast nook furniture before delivering her sixth baby! The kitchen features a large farmhouse sink in the corner. Acrylic counter stools read visually light and irrepressibly WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | MAY 2017 93



modern at the kitchen island. “Jo Tiffany wanted to bring in some more creative furnishings for the rooms she worked on to convey how a teal sofa can transition in homes, tying together traditional styles with more modern ones and with pops of strong hues,” says her brother Ronnie Scott, who also works with his sister at Sleepy Hollow. “Jo Tiffany wanted the Dream Home to be absolutely perfect and ordered multiple set ups. With a huge open floor plan, basically four rooms in one, all the rooms had to flow together. It’s great to see how designers embraced this challenge,” says Ronnie, who adds that many pieces of furniture provided by Sleepy Hollow were by Bassett or the HGTV line. At the breakfast nook, Jo Tiffany pairs industrial lighting with a more rustic wooden table. A long banquette with storage is placed beneath a big picture window which looks out onto the back yard. Adjacent to the home’s front door, the incomparable Sherri Mowad designed the dining room featuring a dining room set from Sleepy Hollow. Jo Tiffany’s brother, Ronnie worked tirelessly on the Big Boys’ room and the master suite and created a one-of-a-kind piece of mixed media art that he calls “Held Together.” “My artwork is held together a lot like this house, and with sick kids it takes a community and so much just to hold it together,” he says. Ronnie cut and planed the wood from repurposed palettes and used salvaged nails to create the St. Jude’s logo design. “In Dylan and Luke’s room, we tried to bring in a lot of their personal touches like Dylan’s trophy baseball and Luke’s favorite LEGO truck. The boys’ favorite Bible verse is emblazoned on a decorative pillow on the room’s bed,” says Ronnie. The piece of art above the boys’ bed was painted by Connor Lewing, who is Danielle’s son. The live edge, solid red leaf maple bed from Sleepy Hollow is truly one-of-a-kind, says Ronnie who picked the custom finishes and suede buffed leather upholstery. The French linen duvet and custom Bassett pillows are from Sleepy Hollow as well.



Artist Lou Davenport’s graphite horses lend an air of rustic masculinity throughout the space designed by Clinton Downing for little St. Jude’s patients Sam and Cason. Clint chose a loft bed in a smaller scale from Sleepy Hollow so that there would be ample room for play in the little boys’ bedroom. Danielle designed the master bedroom to be a respite from the struggles of being a parent to a child with cancer. An abstract paining by Polly Spence sets an ethereal tone in the hallway leading to the master suite. “I prayed about this room, imagining my sister and her husband and what they were going through and what might be peaceful to them.This was my therapy,” explains Danielle.  The tall glamorous bed is outfitted in bedding from Fabulous Fabric and Coco’s. Smith Blind and Awning designed the shades over the tub which are operated by remote control. Wood from the front room was carried over into the bedroom through the use of the breakfront credenza which features antiqued mirror doors. A large canvas 96 MAY 2017 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

by Margaret Moses, which is reminiscent of a Helen Frankenthaler painting, hangs above the credenza. Lamps and mirrors at bedside are sourced from Sleepy Hollow. Danielle used agate accessories in the living room, kitchen and master bed and bathrooms to establish a sense of continuity. Danielle chose Chateau Lantern tile by Shaw for the master bathroom, installing tile around the soaking tub by Jetta and creating a decorative band wishing the oversized walk in shower. Joy at LCR helped Danielle select sinks and tub faucets by Brizo used throughout the home which were installed by Wiggins Plumbing. Brizo sconces and crystal embellished faucet handles are accessories that Danielle knew she had to use when she first saw them. Sue Sartor’s “Atmospheric” canvas is a focal point in the master bathroom, adding subtle and soft color. Entry to the master closet is through double doors. Ample and clever storage is illuminated by a chrome and crystal prism chandelier from Coburn’s.


S *



haw carpet throughout the bedrooms was installed with a very soft to the foot padding by Michael Durham at Custom Carpet. For the bathrooms, Danielle designed very meticulous tile installations. “I would see a photo, and I would sit with the tile installer and help them lay it out on the floor,” she laughs. Designer Shawn Brazzell was tasked with creating a bedroom and bathroom inspired by Caroline and Hannah. In addition, she designed a small computer nook in the hallway that leads to Hannah Grace Jones and Caroline Grigson’s bedroom. Shawn is a graduate of Louisiana Tech’s architecture and interior design program and specializes in remodeling and renovations. “We are all perfectionists,” she says of her designing friends who worked on the Dream Home. “We did this on donated time, because we really believe in St. Jude.” Her inspiration for the girls’ bedroom was “to just keep it light and peaceful, focusing on muted colors.” A large canvas by Catherine Cookson Leake of St. Francisville, LA was the impetus for Shawn’s color scheme in the room. “I basically built this room around the painting,” she adds, “The main thing I wanted to convey was the same feeling of peacefulness that St. Jude conveys. It needed to be a happy space. I didn’t want the bedroom and bath to feel babyish, because both of these girls are teens.” Fun but not fussy, the soft, comfortable linen ruffled bedding is from Coco’s, along with a warm cable knit throw. The pouf is from Fabulous Fabric. The computer nook is hidden with

a sliding barn door. A reclaimed wood art piece by Joshua Mitchell hangs in the computer nook. Shawn achieved a very organic feel for this cozy space. Bubbles from the seagrass light fixture create a great effect on the walls of the nook which are painted “Passive” by Sherwin Williams. Built-ins are painted Sherwin Williams’ “Dorian Gray.” Mirrors are from Walsworth & Co. The girls’ bathroom features Brizo faucets and an LCR since with a decorative grate in the bottom. White subway tiles and Carrara marble keep the look classic and timeless. Danielle inset Carrara tiles for an embellishment in the shower. The shower curtain is from Fabulous Fabric. Accents in the bath are from Woodstock and Coco’s. Across from the computer nook, the home’s laundry room was designed by Danielle using Shaw’s dimensional porcelain accent tile as the backsplash and a white Brizo faucet. Danielle says that the majority of her time working on the St. Jude house was spent on the bathrooms’ tile selections. The outdoor living area was staged to perfection by local designer Lisa Dixon, who is no stranger to giving of her time and talents to benefit the St. Jude Dream Home. Lisa’s love of  natural elements and the incredible living space created by BRACO made decorating a delight. “I love wood and rocks and the outdoors, so doing the outdoor living space was a delight,” says Lisa. Always a creative, the designer created a vertical garden, using tin pails and metal lattice, where she’s planted geraniums. “You can water, and it doesn’t drip or mess anything up,” says Lisa. Those familiar with Lisa Dixon’s work know that her signature is the use of a statement piece of wood. Laughs Lisa, “Tish [Miller] and I have chopped down plenty of trees in our day!” Above WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | MAY 2017 99




the Dream Home’s outdoor fireplace cypress beam mantle, Lisa uses pieces of wood salvaged from the Monroe Garden District in the aftermath of the tornado. An iron cross by John Rutledge provides a focal point above the fireplace as well. She has assembled pots of beautiful organic herbs - ready for cooking - beside the stainless grill. Explains Lisa, “I’m an ‘Everyman’s Designer.’ I enjoy using what people have and try to bring in a few fresh pieces. A remote controlled screen from Smith Blind and Awning adds a soft mesh layer between the backyard and the outdoor living area. The patio was stamped and stained to look like large bluestone pavers by Chad Sanders of Decorative Concrete Coatings. Comfortable outdoor furniture is sourced from Sleepy Hollow Furniture. Brian Beck from Lincoln Outdoor Living in Ruston donated the stainless grill and helped provide brick and mortar for the outdoor kitchen. Trey’s Landscaping installed the home’s landscaping, and Flora and Fauna provided flowers for the Grand Opening of the home to the public. To celebrate the opening of the Dream Home, all six children were at the ribbon cutting. Says Danielle, “The ‘Dream’ in the Dream Home is to cure cancer. I don’t want any family to have to go through this with their children.”


ULM Continuing Education Register Now for Summer Camps


LM CONTINUING EDUCATION INVITES CAMPERS ages five and up to join us for a summer of learning and fun. We offer various camps this summer that will appeal to the young scientist, artist, mathematician and/or engineer in your life. Beginning June 19th, campers are inspired to explore, discover, learn and create. Young Scholars STEAM Discovery (June 19th-June 23rd, grades 3rd through 8th) covers a different STEAM concept each day! Campers will learn about forensic science, life science, technology and more! They will also grow crystals, make their own slime, extract DNA and more in this fun and educational discovery camp. Young Scholars Art in Nature (June 19th-June 23rd, grades 3rd through 8th) merges art and science. Campers will explore the rainforest and other ecosystems while learning to draw and sketch animals, plants, reptiles and other amazing creatures. Exploring Art (June 26th-June 30th, ages 7 and up) will introduce campers to a variety of art styles and media: oil pastels, glue, water-color, paper-mache, acrylic and more. Campers will learn about a variety of artists, including Magritte, Kandinsky and Terrance Osborne, a Louisiana native. Bricks 4 Kidz (July 10th-August 4th, four weekly sessions; ages 5 and up) offers fun, hands-on programs where kids can learn, build and play with LEGO® bricks. Campers will be engaged in problem-solving and critical thinking while expressing their creativity. Fun with Math (August 7th-August 11th, morning session: grades 1st and 2nd, afternoon session: grades 3rd through 5th) gives campers the chance to explore the exciting concepts of mathematics while challenging them and teaching them new skills. As an added benefit, campers will meet other children and work cooperatively to discover the beauty of mathematics and its applications through fun, hands-on projects. Visit the Continuing Education website at to learn more about each camp or call us at 342-1030. Camps are offered as half day events, scheduled either from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. or 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Our wide-ranging camps allow you to pick and choose the camp that best suits your child’s interests. Campers can elect to participate in one or two camps or they can stay the whole summer! Enrollment has already begun, so act fast and don’t miss out! Also, check out the Continuing Education website for our upcoming course offerings. Our fall lineup is a source of fun, enrichment and professional development.


The Artist’s Approach Smile Design at Its Best BY DAVID FINLEY, D.D.S




N ARTIST MUST BE ABLE TO IMAGINE AND visualize his finished work of art in his mind as it will appear on its canvas. A dentist must also be able to do the same thing to design and create as beautiful a smile as possible for his patient. The dentist’s ultimate cosmetic objective is to create a beautiful smile, not just beautiful teeth. However, creating a beautiful smile requires the evaluation and analysis of the smile, lips and gingival tissues, in addition to the teeth. Successful creation of a beautiful smile requires artistic skills, as well as technical skills. Artistic skills involve training the eye to see the smile’s unseen or overlooked aspects and improving them to make the smile appear even better. Cosmetic dentists artistically analyze the relationships of the teeth, gums, lips and facial tones of the patient. From this analysis, they are able to create balance and symmetry between the structures that make up the smile. TREATMENT OPTIONS People with stained or dull teeth will benefit from professional whitening. In-office and supervised at home whitening systems are available. People with chipped, cracked or worn teeth can consider either veneers or bonding. Long-lasting veneers are ultra-thin, specially-made laminates that are bonded to the teeth. Bonding is a process in which enamel-like material is applied to a tooth’s surface, sculpted to an ideal shape, hardened and then polished for an improved smile. Veneers are stronger and have a longer life than bonding. Crowns and bridges are best for correcting major functional or structural problems with individual teeth, missing teeth or general bite dysfunction. Implants are being used to successfully replace teeth for people in all age groups - with esthetic and predictable results. The latest porcelain technology allows us to replace missing teeth or crown teeth in a way, so that no one can tell the replacements are not real. Whatever your individual problem, a qualified experienced dentist can select the right cosmetic treatment to enhance your smile.


Flanigen Builders

Let Us Help You Make Your Dream A Reality


F A NEW HOME, REMODELING PROJECT OR COMMERCIAL property is in your future, chances are you’re searching for a competent contractor. With over 20 years of experience in all aspects of the building process, Eddie Flanigen with Flanigen Builders can make your dreams a reality. He’s a licensed and insured general contractor specializing in custom design and construction. With Flanigen Builders, you’ll get quality work from someone who truly cares about your wants and needs. Eddie Flanigen is very knowledgeable in the up-to-date trends of custom homes and offices and strives to make your new construction perfect. Building or remodeling can be a frustrating experience. On the other hand, it can be a wonderful, fulfilling achievement. It all depends on your contractor and the relationship you have with that person. With Flanigen Builders, the client is just as important as the project itself, and every step is taken to insure complete satisfaction. Quality, custom design and construction is the ultimate goal for Flanigen Builders. While you may have an idea in your mind of a specific design or several particular amenities you want in your new home or office, it is sometimes difficult to put it to paper. Customizing your home, yard or office is just one of the parts of the building process that Eddie Flanigen guides you through to create the environment you desire. Building a home or remodeling is a tedious process. Every step has a reason or a step that precedes it, and Eddie Flanigen answers any questions and guides the way for a smooth and enjoyable experience. Any construction project is a special partnership between you and your contractor, so put your next construction project in the hands of a noted and well-respected contractor like Eddie Flanigen. He will lead the way and create a wonderful experience with a beautiful end result. Ease your worries and make your life simpler. Call Eddie Flanigen with Flanigen Builders to make your dreams a reality and enjoy yourself along the way. It’s a logical choice with great benefits. You can also check out completed custom homes and other projects at, as well as Flanigen Builders Facebook page. 318-355-0045 Email: Check out Eddie Flanigen Builders, Inc.’s Facebook page for updated photos and information.


Getting Enough Sleep? Sleep is an Important Part of Good Health


HIRTY-FIVE PERCENT OF U.S. ADULTS DO NOT GET enough sleep. Not getting enough sleep continues to be a problem in the U.S. Sleep is an important part of good health. Sleeping less than 7 hours per night is linked to increased risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, poor mental health, as well as early death. Not getting the recommended amount of sleep can affect your ability to make good decisions and increases the chances of motor vehicle crashes. According to professional sleep societies, adults aged 18 to 60 years should sleep at least 7 hours each night for the best health and wellness. If you are not getting enough sleep, make sleep a priority and practice good sleep hygiene. You should talk to your healthcare provider about how much sleep you get and other sleep problems you might have. Everyone is at risk of not getting enough sleep, but the risk is higher for shift workers. Shift work— any shift outside normal daylight hours, such as night shift, evening shift, or rotating shift — is more common for some occupations: • Medical professionals (doctors and nurses) • Emergency response workers • Transportation industry workers (truck drivers) • Workers in the manufacturing, hospitality or retail industries Improve sleep hygiene during the daytime: • Maintain a regular rising time and decrease or eliminate naps, unless necessary • Exercise daily, but not within 2 hours before bedtime • Get adequate exposure to bright light during the day • Limit or eliminate alcohol, caffeine, nicotine especially within 4 hours of bedtime   Improve sleep hygiene at night: • Maintain a regular bedtime, unless not sleepy • If hungry, have a light snack (except with symptoms of GERD or medical contraindications) • Relax mentally, wind down before bedtime and maintain a routine period of preparation for bed • Control the nighttime environment with comfortable cool temperature, quiet and darkness • Try a fan or other “white noise” machine • Wear comfortable bed clothing • If not asleep within 30 minutes, get out of bed and perform soothing activity (avoid bright light) If you have symptoms of a sleep disorder, such as snoring or being sleepy during the day after a full night’s sleep, make sure to tell your doctor. Source:


Ouachita Valley Federal Credit Union Dedicated to Serving Its Members and the Community



UACHITA VALLEY FEDERAL CREDIT UNION IS A FULL service financial institution dedicated to serving its members and the community. The credit union offers a wide variety of financial services, most any type of loan from small personal loans to mortgage loans, plus so much more. Kristen Wilson has been employed with Ouachita Valley Federal Credit Union for nine years and currently serves as our Mortgage Loan Officer. Often times, people have several questions when it comes to mortgages and real estate, so Kristen addresses those below. For more information on mortgage loans, call Kristen today!


What type of real estate loan options does Ouachita Valley FCU offer? We offer real estate purchases and refinances through Conventional, FHA, Rural Development and VA financing. Can the credit union finance mobile homes or land loans? We offer financing for land, new and used mobile homes and mobile home and land combinations at OVFCU. The loans stay with the credit union and are not sold or transferred. Are home equity loans an option with OVFCU? Ouachita Valley FCU offers home equity loans in the form of fixed rate first or second mortgages along with Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOC). With fixed rate mortgages, your principal and interest payment stays the same for the life of the loan. HELOCs allow the member to make draws against the available equity when needed; therefore, the balance and monthly payment can fluctuate during the life of the loan. What is the difference in going through Ouachita Valley FCU and other financial institutions? As a credit union, we focus on member service. Our goal is not to simply close a loan, but to partner with the member through the process. We want to provide excellent service from start to finish to be certain all of our members’ needs have been met. OVFCU offers multiple types of accounts and financing options to better serve all of our members. What is the difference between being pre-qualified and preapproved? When a borrower is pre-qualified, he or she has provided the lender with the basic information, such as an application, to help the lender determine which loan programs the borrower may qualify for. When a borrower is pre-approved, the lender has collected and verified the information presented and compared those to the preapproval guidelines for the loan type(s) being offered. What are closing costs and pre-paid charges? Closing costs normally consist of the different settlement charges paid at closing for the loan, such as the appraisal fee, title company/closing attorney charges, mortgage recording costs, processing fees and DMV fees, if applicable. At closing, the member also may pay towards their homeowner’s insurance, property taxes and flood insurance along with any down payment required.

Weight Loss Surgery Darlene Sykes Makes a Life Change




ARLENE SYKES LOST 245 POUNDS FIVE YEARS AGO after undergoing the gastric sleeve procedure at P&S Surgical Hospital. She was bound by a wheelchair and was not living the life she wanted for herself or for her family. “I did not realize the impact this surgery would have on my life, and on my family. This surgery was life changing in so many ways. In all honesty, this surgery gave me a second chance to live my life to the fullest,” she said. “I knew if I didn’t have this surgery, I was going to die, and I was not going to be around for my kids or my granddaughter.” Prior to the surgery, she struggled with obesity for most of her life, and she often felt very isolated. “I had a mild stroke 11 years ago due to my obesity. I was also a borderline diabetic and constantly suffered from gout issues.” Darlene views the gastric sleeve surgery as “one of the best decisions” she has ever made. “I wish I had made this decision years ago because it has completely transformed my life. I spent a lot of time in the wheelchair because I could hardly walk anywhere,” she said. “I look back at the years I have missed, and I wish I had done this surgery many years ago.” No longer isolated, Darlene now feels fortunate. “I feel very blessed, and I know I’m living life with a purpose, and that yes, I do matter!” Darlene experienced an immense amount of pride when she began shedding the excess weight. “When my 5x clothes started to fall off of me, that’s when I realized this surgery was a success!”   She also noticed a big change regarding her activity level.   “I could hardly do anything before the surgery, and I was always exhausted,” she said. “Now I enjoy walking, riding a bike, and shopping! I also attend my granddaughter’s softball games and a lot of events with her.” Darlene recommends the surgery to anyone wanting to transform his or her life. “I’m so thankful for the support team and how the surgeon, Dr. Walter Sartor, showed compassion. He treated me with total respect,” she said. “This surgery made me feel like I couldn’t wait to get up in the morning and start working. I look back at my life, and I realize I was very depressed due to my obesity.” Louisiana Center for Weight Loss Surgery, an accredited bariatric program, is a partnership between Dr. Walter Sartor, P&S Surgical Hospital, and St. Francis Medical Center. Like us at, and call us today at 1-866-821-LIVE. Check out our YouTube channel! WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | MAY 2017 107



AND SO WITH THE SUNSHINE AND THE great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” So wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald early in The Great Gatsby, wonderfully capturing the feeling that the summer months deliver the opportunity to reinvigorate life. While perhaps wishful remembrance of missed childhood for adults caught in the drudgery of work, for children, this sensation is renewed during those short years of life free from the constraints of money, time and responsibility. Unfortunately, for many youth the hours of summer are whiled away playing video games, texting or uneventfully staring at a television screen, lonesome activities that deprive them of sun, interaction and the chance to make new friends; however, there are oases in sight. In our region, 2017 summer camps abound for children and young adults that promote learning, attempting new experiences and community building through art, enhancing critical thinking skills, athletics and outdoor activities.


urturing artistic and creative expression may be one of the most important yet underestimated and underdeveloped aspects of children’s growth. Three camps in particular seek to invest in such development. First, with a focus on dramatic arts, the Strauss Youth Academy for the Arts (SYAA) (, located at 1300 Lamy Lane in Monroe, will be offering several summer workshops, such as the Charlie’s Sweet Chocolate Experiment, Moana’s Island Adventure and The Mad Scientist’s Timey Wimey Adventure, for children aged 5-12. Each workshop has a special focus: song and dance, set design, acting and even science and theatre. For youth aged 13-18, Walter Allen will oversee a workshop, Auditioning for a Musical, meant to instruct aspiring actors and students to better understand the auditioning process. Continuing in the realm of art, The Masur Museum of Art (, located at 1400 South Grand in Monroe, provides the opportunity for children to enhance and develop skills, such as drawing and painting, while also offering lessons in sculpture, printmaking and designing. The classes are available over several weeks for children aged 5-12. In West Monroe, at 106 Summer Lane, MoJoy Studio ( also offers children the chance to bolster their creative abilities. Offering art camps for various age groups, MoJoy summer workshops are built to give children the chance to paint, create collages and even study leadership skills.

The development of critical thinking skills must be considered of the utmost importance for growing minds. Children who are afforded the opportunities to heighten and hone such abilities certainly will have greater chances of success as they move forward in life. With that in mind, Bricks 4 Kidz (www. was inaugurated for the purpose of giving children aged 5 and up the opportunity to be challenged and stimulated intellectually. With camps being held at both Louisiana Tech and ULM this summer, campers will be occupied by projects involving building with Legos with the goal of interacting with mathematical, engineering and technological concepts. ULM Continuing Education is hosting a variety of other camps including Young Scholars STEAM Discovery, Art in Nature, Exploring Art and Fun with Math. These camps are offered as half day events and more information can be found at or by calling 342-1030. Physical well-being is an intrinsic component of life that is all too often being swept away by the myriad of indoor activities that eat the minutes of children’s lives. Fortunately, there are camps that promote physical exertion as a means for better health, skill enhancement and more overall life happiness. CC Gymnastics (www.ccgymnasticscamps. com) at 1906 Ruffin Drive in Monroe has a summer-long camp packed with activities ranging from learning about and performing gymnastics skills, nutrition and food preparation and acrobatics, all with exciting themes such as Disney, Hunger Games and Superhero weeks. Arts and Crafts, relationship building games and field trips are also WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | MAY 2017 109

There are many camps that give kids the opportunity to have fun, meet new people, and learn diverse skills. This guide lists some of those available in Northeast Louisiana. incorporated, which all add up to an amazing amount of fun activities for children that lasts the duration of summer. Multiple sports related camps abound throughout the summer as well. From the OCS Believe & Achieve Football Camp to the Calvert Crossing Golf Camp, the Monroe Baseball Youth Camp and the numerous camps offered by ULM and Louisiana Tech Athletic Departments, kids can find sport specific tutorials that with undoubtedly provide them with the opportunities to develop budding skills as taught by highly regarded and successful coaches and athletes. Camps that provide summer-long activities are also available for parents. First, for children aged 3-13, Kidcam Camps ( will continue their relationship with Kiroli Park offering a Summer day camp from June to August. With multiple activities involving sports, science, art, nature and physical wellness, Kidcam wishes to give children a great deal of fun while also integrating learning and community awareness. The YMCA also delivers a multitude of summer activities. With the theme of Best Summer Ever and lasting from the end of May to early August, the YMCA (www.ynela. org) gives children aged 4-12 the chance to participate in water games, field trips, academic workshops and fitness classes for overall body betterment. Offering multiple locations in West Monroe and Monroe also affords parents flexibility regarding transportation demands. An extremely interesting and unique summer camp exists at 100 Brimberry Road in Calhoun. The Traveler’s Rest Farm Horsemanship Camp is offering six weeklong sessions for campers who wish to better understand how to properly care for horses. Children aged 6 and up are taught to bathe, feed, lead, and ride the horses, learning about respect and care for animals while also bolstering self-esteem. Campers will also get to experience the fun of swimming and even campfire activities, thus enjoying the company of others who are experiencing equestrian interactions for the first time. Finally, there are a few overnight camps in the region. Camp ChYo-Ca (, located at 2044 Brownlee Road in Calhoun, offers camps for both day campers, those from 5-11 years old, to overnight camps for students from 3rd grade through high school, though those camps are separated by ages. Ch-Yo-Ca has swimming, boating, archery, arts and crafts, and bible classes. The activities are unending, and children are sure to enjoy their experiences at this camp that has continued to thrive for several years. Additionally, Seeker Springs ( in Eros at 1280 Okaloosa Road provides day and overnight camps. Students in 1st through 5th grades may participate in the day camp where they will swim, play games, create various crafts and enjoy tasty snacks. Students from 6th through 12th grades may register for overnight camps with separate boys and girls camps, which both involve swimming, playing games and having Bible classes, or, for older students, the SLAM camp wherein students learn leadership and community involvement skills that may lead to mission work. In all, there are many camps that give kids the opportunity to have fun, meet new people, and learn diverse skills. Although summer is often a time used to be lazy and avoid anything resembling school, those months could instead be utilized for children to grow athletically, academically, culturally and even spiritually. The investment in community and personal growth can do nothing but help our kids become better individuals and citizens. Fortunately, we live in an area where the possibilities for positive development during the summer months are readily available. 110 MAY 2017 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

ULM Wine Over Water A Taste of the University


HAT AN INCREDIBLE YEAR IT WAS FOR WINE OVER Water, hosted by the ULM Alumni Association Ouachita Parish Chapter. The event was held outside on the Northeast Drive Bridge over Bayou DeSiard. Proceeds from the night benefit The Spirit of The Warhawk endowed scholarship, which is instrumental in attracting our local scholars to ULM. Sponsors of the event ensure the success of Wine Over Water. The Radio People served as our Chardonnay sponsor. Merlot sponsors were Architecture +, Johnny’s Pizza House and Traxler Construction Co., Inc. Wine was provided by Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits, and beer was provided by Marsala Beverage. Each attendee was given a commemorative wine glass. The Patron Party, sponsored by TBA Studio Architecture, gave attendees an early start to the beautiful evening. Guests then made their way to the main event and entertainment featured Dr. Zarr’s Amazing Funk Monster, sponsored by Land 3 Architect. The band played for a full crowd and attendees enjoyed dancing the night away. A new addition to this year’s event was the Tonore’s Wine Cellar Cork Pull. Corks were sold for $25, and guests could choose a mystery bottle of wine. Our Pinot Noir sponsors included Automated Imaging Systems, Inc., Centric Federal Credit Union, Cross Keys Bank, Debbie & John Luffey, Delta Disposals, Entergy, Homeland Bank, KEDM Public Radio, Kimpa Hayes Boyd, CPA, LLC, Little & Associates, LLC, P & S Surgical Hospital, Progressive Bank, Regions Bank, Richland State Bank, Strauss Interest and Tempco Insulation, Inc. Food was served from over 30 restaurants that included Aramark, Bakery Boutique, BRAIZ’N BAR & GRILL, Brookshire’s, Catfish Cabin, Catfish Charlie’s, CC’s Coffee House, Chauvin Grocery – River Grille, Chili’s Bar and Grill, Coca Cola United – Monroe, Copeland’s, Cotton – creative southern cuisine, Danken Trail Bar-B-Que, El Jarrito Mexican Grill, Enoch’s Irish Pub, Fieldhouse, Jo-el’s Café, Longhorn Steakhouse, Newk’s Eatery, Olive Garden, Pie Works Pizza, Podnuh’s BBQ, Red Lobster, Sam’s Southern Eatery, SQ’s On The Ouachita, The Kitchen Restaurant, The Pickle Barrel, Thurman’s Food Factory, Waterfront Grill and Wingstop. The ULM Alumni Association provides and supports alumni programs and services, facilitates communication with alumni and seeks to strengthen alumni bonds of fellowship, professional association and university affiliation. We encourage alumni to stay connected and serve as advocates for the University of Louisiana Monroe. The Spirit of the Warhawk endowed scholarship supports local students pursing their first undergraduate degree. WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | MAY 2017 111





everal components must be combined for a business owner to have even a chance at longterm success. In the restaurant world, a high traffic location, considerate staff, delicious food and thoughtful ambience are certainly important elements for longevity and praise. One visit to BRAIZ’N delivers all four qualities to a patron, but there are other parts that heighten the experience that may not be immediately recognized. However, after meeting and conversing with owner Vinny Martinez a single time, one quickly realizes what else is there, what resonates throughout the newly opened yet thriving restaurant: a passion for the art of culinary service and the appreciation and implementation of the details necessary to achieve an enjoyable dining experience. Vinny and Jen Martinez, co-owners of BRAIZ’N, initially sought to open a restaurant to fill what they felt was missing for many eateries—fresh, simply prepared food using high quality ingredients, a lighthearted atmosphere and a truly family-welcoming appeal. Or, in Vinny’s own words, “We wanted a cool place to bring our kids.” As simple a notion as that sounds, locating a restaurant where nearly every morsel eaten is created wholly in-house, David Bowie or Wilco are likely emanating from the rafters, and kids are sincerely encouraged to join their parents for dinner is difficult to find. Such places are nearly non-existent. But, for Monroe, this is no more. BRAIZ’N delivers succulent, unique flavors in a setting exceedingly easy to pass the hours talking with friends, family or the proprietor himself. Originally from Dallas, Vinny Martinez is a highly-decorated veteran of the culinary world. Beginning as a day bartender in his native Texas 23 years ago, Martinez rapidly rose to management, assisting many restaurant owners to great success. During his prosperous career, one in which he managed and opened a series of some of most prominent restaurants in the Dallas metro region, Martinez met his wife Jennifer, who is from Monroe. After they married, the couple lived in Dallas, but they often made the trip to Monroe to visit Jen’s family. While in Monroe on those trips, Vinny began to take note of what he could potentially bring into the area. By 2016, determined to live in closer proximity to Jen’s parents while also wishing to open his own restaurant, the family, now with



two children accompanying the parents, made the move to Louisiana. Initially, Vinny worked at the River and Rail, greatly aiding in its prompt success. Nonetheless, he still knew that his ultimate goal was to open his own place, so after a year, he left to pursue that ambition. After searching for an ideal setting and looking at several possible locations, one spot kept emerging in Vinny’s mind as ideal. Going with his gut, Martinez leased the corner lot in Murray Place, specifically 1611 North 18th Street, and set out to create what he felt and continues to feel is a near perfect establishment. The first sight one notices when approaching BRAIZ’N is the expansive open seating that allows natural light and tranquil breezes to flow freely. The seating conveys a vibe of being in one’s own home, a comfortable and charming accessibility to everyone inside. Once in the main room, laughter abounds from wall to wall, and one notices the enjoyment on every customer’s face. This joy certainly comes from togetherness, from spending time with great company, but even more likely, customers are enamored with the food, with the enchanting smells that engulf the senses, making anyone within a close proximity desirous of tasting the entirety of items on the menu. Although BRAIZ’N’s overall environment definitely summons people to visit, the food will absolutely result in numerous outings. Martinez carefully constructed the menu with the notion that people want delectable, freshly prepared choices made in-house, so he considered the comfort food of his youth: half-pound juicy burgers, tacos bursting with brightly colored veggies, and “gather around the table” bowls of queso, guacamole and salsa. The starter portion of the menu offers patrons multiple options, from salsa trio, made with pineapple habañero and roasted verde, crunchy empañadas overflowing with pork and chipotle cream, or elotes, roasted corn immersed in cheese, lime, and cilantro. Customers could go into taste overload and get them all for a flavorful fix; however, doing so might cost them the opportunity to savor one of BRAIZ’N’s salad, taco or burger options. BRAIZ’N offers two salads, the Yucatan or the Caesar, both with the option of adding shrimp or chicken. The Caesar comes with grilled romaine lightly tossed with Caesar dressing and parmesan. The Yucatan, on the other hand, blends organic greens with sweet plantains, jicama, pumpkin seeds, black beans, and a tequila-lime dressing. Healthful eating so rarely entails such a delightful mix of essences.


Selecting from the taco options may be the difficult test for a hungry customer. Each choice delivers three tacos with traditional rice and slow-cooked beans. With eight different possibilities, no one can go wrong by choosing the camarones, Gulf shrimp and sweet mangoes, creamy avocados and spicy pineapple-habañero; the lechon, pork melded with sweet peppers, chili mole and pickled onions (which, incidentally are pickled by BRAIZ’N cooks); or the el borracho, an astonishing fusion of short ribs braised in local beer with avocadoes, pickled onions, toasted corn, grated cheese and homemade salso verde. The burgers from BraiZ’n may possibly be quickly gaining supreme notoriety in the local community. With enormous patties created by blended ground chuck, roasted brisket and short ribs dripping with sweet satisfaction, Martinez and staff have introduced flavors long-missing from Monroe. In particular, one may select the Lone Star with smoky bacon, tingling jalapeños, American cheese, avocados and tangy barbecue sauce to get a spicy and sweet injection. Or, if needing piles of grilled onions, glazed and caramelized to perfection, along with roasted jalapeños and distinctive taste of beer soaked ribs, the Drunk’n burger can be had, and it will be a wise choice. Finally, there is the Delta Blues. This burger packs several unrelated yet highly desired flavors into one amazing burger. Velvety blue cheese mixes with crispy fried onions, roasted garlic mayo and a dizzying bacon jam to form one of the most delightful concoctions one could ever eat. It’s difficult to choose one, indeed, but every choice is the right choice. Vinny Martinez and his staff recognize that the menu at BRAIZ’N is essentially simple. Starters, tacos and burgers. Simple. Fortunately for foodies in Monroe, though, they have also realized that such simplicity allows for endless creativity. This crew has unquestionably taken staples of the restaurant world and through discipline, attention to excelling in the seemingly smallest details, and the desire to provide quick yet accurate service with unending smiles have crafted a dining experience that leaves all others lacking. Without a doubt, the owners and staff of BRAIZ’N have delivered now, and will likely continue to do so for years to come, a cool place for everyone to come and enjoy. 116 MAY 2017 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

Faulk & Foster Real Estate, Inc. NAI Faulk & Foster Welcomes Louis Luffey


AULK & FOSTER REAL ESTATE IS incredibly pleased to announce John “Louis” Luffey III has joined their team of outstanding Realtors. A Monroe native, Luffey moved back to his hometown after ten years in Baton Rouge as a commercial pilot. He and his fiancé, Landyn Young, both were eager to return to Northeast Louisiana to be close to family and invest in the community they grew up in. While real estate was not an obvious profession for Luffey, he eventually found his way to this career as a pilot for a large real estate broker in South Louisiana. “I found myself really interested in learning about the industry. Knowing that I can help a client find the perfect property, negotiating the deal and managing the process really provides a sincere satisfaction.” The appeal of working for a global team like NAI Faulk & Foster brought Luffey to the doorsteps of the Perry family, who has

owned the local business for over 40 years. “Louis jumped in head-first, after receiving his real estate license, he is already hard at work showing homes and pursuing his CCIM Designation. It’s this enthusiasm and drive to succeed in anything he does that we knew he would be a great fit in our real estate family” says J.W. Perry III. While Faulk & Foster Real Estate has long been a market leader in commercial real estate, they have been active in all aspects of real estate since 1945. With the addition of Luffey to their team, they see an investment in the expansion of not only their commercial real estate division, but their residential real estate division as well. As a resident of North Louisiana for most of his life, Luffey has a strong connection to the area and a thorough knowledge of the community, which is a huge benefit to those seeking a professional Realtor. “We are impressed by the new energy that has been brought to our organization

as a result of bringing Luffey on board. He is extremely outgoing, can strike up a conversation with anyone, sees the potential in our community, whether it’s residential, commercial, or land, but at the same time is extremely discreet with client information. We are excited to have him as member of our real estate family.” says Perry. Luffey is not only passionate about his real estate career, he is market savvy, creative, a great-team player and is well-respected in Northeast Louisiana. When he is not hard at work listing and selling real estate, he enjoys living in Sportsman’s Paradise and spending time in the woods. He’s a member of CCA and attends Jesus Good Shepherd Church. If you are interested in buying or selling real estate, contact Louis Luffey at 318-600-5575 or emailing


The Perfect Gift for Your Loved One

Debbie’s Hallmark Has Something for Mom, the Graduate, Your Ballerina and More!


AY IS A MONTH TO remember…our Moms, dancers and graduates! Debbie’s Hallmark has perfect gift ideas and can assist you in selecting that special gift to fit all of these occasions. The second Sunday in May was proclaimed to be Mother’s Day by Woodrow Wilson in 1914. The tradition has carried forward for 103 years. This year, show your appreciation for the amazing mother(s) in your life on May 14. For the fashion lover, you can choose from an array of colorful tunics and tops that can be paired with ponte straight pants, cropped snap pants or leggings to complete that special outfit. A Birthstone Eternity Charm Necklace can be customized by adding the birthstone charm of the children or grandchildren of that special Mom in your life. She will


always remember how much everyone loves and cares for her. Gingersnaps are an interchangeable jewelry that features button-like charms you snap in and out of fashion bracelets and necklaces. There are many styles of jewelry to choose from and snaps are available in a rainbow of colors and designs. Your Mom will enjoy customizing her jewelry for every occasion. Melt Mom’s heart with a “Mom” bracelet. This matte silver stretch bracelet features an engraved heart charm with a repeating heart scroll design and engraved messages making it stunning from all sides. A blooming flower accent pillow by artist Geninne Zlatkis will add a beautiful touch to Mom’s home décor. There are two styles to select from, each featuring bright, cheerful colors in yellow, red, blue, green and pink embroidery accents.

The dancer who will be performing at the spring dance recital will have memories that will last a lifetime. To remember that special occasion, we have jewelry, music boxes, ballerina bears, figurines and other items but one of our favorites is the cute ballerina pillow. They have either a pink or purple background and feature a dancer complete with tutu. May is also the time to honor and congratulate graduates from kindergarten thru college and beyond. You can select from many mementos including frames, tassel holders, books and a musical emoji decked out in a graduation cap. You may consider an autograph dog for friends and family to write their congratulations on. With a store full of gift selections for any occasion, free gift wrap and the perfect greeting card, you have convenient one stop shopping all year long!

Chick Chick Coop

Your Own Backyard Chicken Coop


S MORE PEOPLE BECOME FURTHER HEALTH conscious and aware of where their food comes from and how it is processed, raising one’s own chickens has become the modern trend. Many are looking back to nature for a more simplistic approach to daily living. According to numerous studies, this contemporary chicken craze is here to stay! Whether you live in a rural community or you hang your hat in the city or suburbs, chicken mania is making its way to your neck of the woods. It may come as a surprise to some, but the chicks are headed back to town! The urban chicken is fast becoming your newest neighbor. It is presently considered urban swank for many millennials of the twenty-first century to have a brood of chickens homesteading less than twenty-five feet from their backdoor. My husband also became enthused with the farm fowl fetish and was of the opinion that raising chickens would be a pleasurable pastime. This notion could also help set him on his way to becoming more self-sufficient and developing a more healthy way of living. He dreamt of having a flock of these flightless birds running around the backyard and of gathering farm fresh eggs every morning. This desire took him back to the

days of his youth: a nostalgia for his childhood. So, I waited in a frenzied line at a retail store on Black Friday, at the extremely early hour of 4:30 a.m. to purchase what I was sure to be one of only three chicken coops! This is what marriage is about, right? On Christmas morning, I presented him with what I thought to be the best Christmas present ever! However, what I had purchased and what my husband had imagined were two separate things. Six months later, after the coop fell apart, my husband confessed to me that while he appreciated the thought behind the gift, he had realized immediately that it was not very durable and wouldn’t be a permanent home for his chicks. He decided to build his own chicken coop that was functional, attractive and most importantly, sturdy and strong. Thus, the aspiration for Chick Chick Coop emerged. Chick Chick Coop provides a quality chicken coop essential to your backyard chicken congregation. Our coops are attractive, child friendly, easy to clean, designed for mobility and built to last!      Let us help you begin your journey of a lifetime....raising your very own backyard chickens!  To order your new chicken home, contact us at 318-789-9450. 


Art in the Form of Furniture Burney’s Furniture Introduces 11-11 Imports


URNEY’S FURNITURE, located at 3111 Louisville Avenue in Monroe is a well known establishment, offering the finest in furniture, home décor and mattresses in the area. They carry a diverse selection of home goods, ranging from traditional to trendy. Always looking for something new and fresh, Burney’s searches for interesting new lines to offer. Burney’s is proud to introduce 1111 Imports. The company specializes in designing and producing all wood handcrafted home furnishings that are made across the globe. Why are they global? Because they want art, not just furniture, and they search for artisans who put their heart and hands into the individual pieces of furnishings you select. The pieces are unique and truly one of a kind… every single one. So if you’d like to


search the world over, but you don’t have that kind of time, let Burney’s do it for you. 11-11 Imports features solid teaks and mahogany in styles that are both ancient and refined, simultaneously. Their designs are rich in hues in every color of the rainbow, using paints and stains that reflect exotic cultures and architecture from around the globe. At 11-11, affordability is a priority. When you see an 11-11 piece for the first time, you’ll almost certainly notice how cool and well crafted it is. Chances are that you won’t be able to remember ever having come across another one just like it. You will think of the perfect space in your home for it. And finally you’ll decide that you are going to have to have it. And then you will pause and wonder about the cost. You’ll think that something that cool and wellcrafted must be out of your reach. After

all aren’t they always? Well guess what? You’re going to love what’s written on the tag. And you’re going to marvel at the fact that it’s really hand made. From quality select woods. At 11-11 that’s what they do every day… bring you masterfully designed home furnishings of which there are no two just alike. Each is made by hand by small batch furniture builders… no assembly lines there. 11-11… Art in the form of furniture. Stop by and see what Burney’s Furniture has in store for your home today. Burney’s Furniture 3111 Louisville Ave 322-4959

Home Improvement Outlet

Keeps You Building for Less



is so much more than just an outlet. We offer the best products at the best possible price in our market. We are locally owned and operatedby the Norris family who have been in business in Ouachita Parish since 1923, starting with Norris Brothers syrup company and expanding into the lumber business. We opened our current facility on 1422 Natchitoches Street in West Monroe in 2001 starting with flooring and appliances. Today we offer everything from flooring to roofing and everything in between. We stock GE and Frigidaire appliances at prices that are the best in town, we can also put together appliance packages for your entire home. We have a wide range of appliances that include refrigerators, freezers, ranges, range hoods, cooktops, ovens, microwaves, dishwashers and disposals. There is a

plethora of flooring options including laminate, hardwood, ceramic, carpeting, vinyl tiles and linoleum. No matter your project, we have all sorts of building products to meet your needs. Lumber, plywood, millwork, cabinets, fencing, landscaping, decking, paneling, bathboard, drywall, siding, roofing, windows and doors are the items we have to help you whether you are working on a small project, doing a remodel or building from scratch. We have a great team of folks eager to help you with all your home improvement needs. We have a design team that can take your house plans or remodel ideas and turn them into reality using our computer program to give you a virtual tour of your new kitchen or bathroom. We can help you in choosing your paint color, flooring, cabinets and counter tops all under one

roof and coordinate it to deliver right to your home or jobsite. We offer factory custom cabinets that can be created to make your dreams come true. We also stock basic cabinets that you can take home the same day to start your remodel right away. We are the local distributor for Pittsburg Paint and can color match or help you pick out a paint type and color that will make your walls pop. We also offer several types of financing, including a 12-month same as cash option, so it makes it even easier to get those projects under way as soon as possible. We invite you to come by and shop with our friendly customer service team and get great ideas for your next home improvement project, big or small!


Simply Lou The Golden Age of Television article and illustration by Lou Davenport


oing through a box of old photographs, I found one of myself standing in front of a television set, dated 1955. I wondered when my parents bought that particular TV. That photograph brought back a lot of memories of the great shows I watched growing up in Bastrop. For as long as I can remember, there’s been a television set in my life. The years between 1949 – 1960 have been called “The Golden Age of Television.” Shows were live! Pre-recording would come several years later. In those early days, the plots of shows were thin, and the sets were flimsy, but it didn’t matter! Nobody had any idea how television would impact our lives. Black and white televisions were all that existed then. There were two channels, KNOE and KTVE, and they weren’t on 24 hours a day either. At midnight, the “Star Spangled Banner” played, and then they “signed off,” saying “this concludes today’s broadcast.” The “test pattern” came on and stayed on til early morning. The news, weather and sports came on at 6 p.m. daily. My family gathered around to listen. I didn’t 122 MAY 2017 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

really listen, but I knew who Jack Hill, “Big Dave” Woodman and Harry Arthur were! And, of course, Mildred Swift! I read that “Captain Kangaroo” first aired in 1955. That was probably the first television show I really remember watching on that old television set. How I loved that show! My grandmother would plop me down in front of it, when my mom left for work. The Captain was my baby sitter. I loved Bunny Rabbit, Mister Moose, Grandfather Clock, Dancing Bear and Mr. Green Jeans. A friend from Bastrop remarked that since we only had black and white, we never knew if Mr. Green Jeans really wore “green jeans!” I most remember the Captain making “crafts” using shoe boxes. He’d glue things on and say “Like So!” My little artistic soul would get so frustrated, I’d throw my box and have a “hissy fit,” because I couldn’t get mine “like so!” I guess Captain “invented” interactive television!’ On KNOE, Jack Hill hosted a Saturday morning kid’s show called, “Happiness Exchange.” Local talent would perform. Kids having birthdays could come on and be interviewed briefly by Jack Hill himself!

Oh, how I wanted to be on there even though it would have meant getting all dressed up! I never did, get that wish though. I knew kids who did of course, and I was jealous! However, it was exciting to see someone you knew right there on TV! It was rare that I missed my Saturday morning cartoons. That was one of the few times that the TV was “my domain!” Of course, I think those cartoons are still the “only good ones.” We had “Mighty Mouse,” “Heckle and Jekyll,” “Woody Woodpecker” and “Tom Terrific.” After the cartoons ended, “Fury,” “Sky King” and “The Lone Ranger” entertained us Bastrop kids for hours! During the day, my grandmother had her own TV schedule. She didn’t miss “Mildred Swift.” Ever. (And, Ms. Mildred could “run circles around” Martha Stewart!) Next, came her “stories,” that is, her soap operas. I endured “As the World Turns” and “The Guiding Light.” At some point was her nap time and I, too, was supposed to take one. I would usually sneak outside to dig in the dirt or “slip off” to go play at the neighbors. nine times out of ten, I got caught, and well, she was a “no-nonsense” kind of woman and sent me to “get her a switch.” She had no sense of adventure. Since my dad and grandmother were in “charge of programming” at my house, here were the choices. If it was a western, it was on! “Gunsmoke,” “Wagon Train,” “Have Gun Will Travel,” “Bonanza” and “Rawhide!” I remember Mr. Dillion, Miss Kitty, Doc and Chester. There was Palladin, Mr. Favor and Rowdy Yates! Rowdy Yates, a young Clint Eastwood, had a “certain something” even back then! I sensed that if I had been a pioneer, I would not have survived two days. I could have cared less about watching “westerns,” but I really didn’t have much choice. I won’t watch the old re-reruns for once was enough! I forced myself to watch the HBO series, “Deadwood” not long ago. Well, truthfully, I wanted to see Timothy Olyphant. It was worth watching but didn’t make me a fan of westerns. There were a few shows that I remember my whole family would watch. “I Love Lucy,” “Honeymooners” and “Father Knows Best.” I adored Lucy and Ethel no matter what they got themselves into. I thought “Norton” (Art Carney) was a lot funnier than Jackie Gleason. I really wanted Alice to ”send Ralph straight to the moon!” I vividly remember being scared too death by Broderick Crawford in “Highway Patrol.” I’d hide my eyes when the sirens started. The first time I ever saw “The Wizard of Oz” was on TV. It came on each year around my birthday. I loved the “Wicked Witch” and

the flying monkeys! But I was “scarred for life” by that tornado! When Dorothy had to say goodbye to the Scarecrow, Tin Man and the Lion, I cried and cried! Even though “the Wizard” was “emotional torture,” I would not have missed it! Why, it was a major event in my little world! Some of my favorite memories with my Mom were when we would get to watch “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” and “The Twilight Zone!” They came on after my dad and grandmother went to bed. Mama would have me all “scared silly” and then, laugh! We’d both get the “loud giggles” and wake my dad. He’d appear at the door in his boxer shorts and undershirt, hair all messed up, scowling! Then, he’d ask us “did we know what time it was?” I like to think Mama did that to aggravate him. She could be a bit of a trickster! After I started to school, I couldn’t wait to get back home. There was “Popeye” and “The Three Stooges” to watch! I still love the “Stooges,” especially Curly. My mom and the teachers at Westside Elementary didn’t think too highly of them though. The boys knew all the “stooge moves!” Some of us girls did, too, but, we were sneakier! “Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!” The one show that I had a “love-hate

relationship” with was “Lassie.” I wasn’t about to miss it, but I would always get upset and cry. The plot of every show had Lassie lost, maybe dead or Timmy lost and maybe dead. It was torture! I watched a “Lassie” movie many years ago with my own kids and what did I do? I started crying. “Same story, different year!” My kids laughed at me. As I got older, the shows changed. I saw my first “beatnik” on “Dobie Gillis” and “Maynard G. Krebbs” stole the whole show! Maynard would go on to change his name to “Gilligan” and take off on a “three hour tour!” “Mr. Ed” came along and made me want a “talking horse, of course!” I loved Ed. He was a horse with a personality, and he gave his owner, Wilbur, a hard time! Lloyd Bridges had an entire dramatic show about diving! His sons, Jeff and Beau appeared a few times. Who knew we’d see those two again? Along came more dramas, all starring attractive men! “Dr. Kildare” with a frizzy haired Dr. Gillespie, a smoldering “Ben Casey” saving the day every week. “Buzz” and “Todd” took us down Route 66 in a 1961 Corvette. Cousin Margaret and I would argue who was the “cutest” guy. I liked “Todd,” and she liked “Buzz.” Most of

all, I loved that car! I would later find out that they didn’t even film on Route 66! For shame! Most every TV show had a theme song. Many are still embedded in my brain like “Route 66!” There was “Peter Gunn,” “Dragnet,” “Alfred Hitchcock,” “Mr. Ed,” and my all time favorite, “Twilight Zone.” The first show I ever got to go watch in color was “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color” at my cousin, Brenda’s. Later on, we would get a color TV in a big wooden console. There were only 3 networks, ABC, NBC and CBS, and there were no remotes! We had to get up and change a channel! Times sure have changed. I now have a flat screen TV with a remote. I can choose from “umpteen” channels or go watch Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu or Acorn TV, all playing 24 hours a day. If I miss a show, I can watch it the next day “on demand.” Which reminds me, what am I going to watch tonight? Many thanks to my “Bastrop Buddies” for sharing the shows they remember best. According to my “informal” poll, “I Love Lucy” was our all time favorite. I only “covered” shows from 1950 – 1960, so there’s more to come!






The love story that is Christie and Michael Echols’ home renovation began years before when the beautiful Tech architecture graduate met the energetic young professional and they realized they shared a passion for historic architecture and, in turn, each other. Says Christie of her husband, “He impressed me. He had redone a house in Monroe’s Garden District, and it oozed perfection.” Together, this modern-day power couple find themselves as parents to adorable girls, Amelia Rose and Everly Iris, while shouldering the load of three companies which focus on architecture, contracting and historic restoration. In addition to his duties as Director of Business Development at Vantage Health Plan, Michael is District 1’s Representative on the Monroe City Council, working from the inside to improve the city. Together this dynamic duo is making their devotion to the preservation of downtown Monroe and the historic Garden District a cornerstone of their professional careers and it’s no wonder that their love of preservation and restoration should manifest itself at the heart of their family home. First, a little history of this grand home on Riverside: Built in 1927 by the Herrington family, the home served as a boarding house, where many a young person learned to play bridge and the latest dance steps. Subsequent owners included Sophia and Edel Blanks, then fine art photographer Deb Luster and her then-husband, Mike, who had developed the Folklife Festival. Deb Luster hired noted architect Lestar Martin in 1995 to design a workspace studio and dark room, a soaring space which is filled with natural light. Michael bought the home in 2008. Says Michael, “Christie and I were dating, and my house on Erin sold in under a week. We closed really fast, and I rented a storage unit. On my way to the storage unit with my furniture, I made the corner and saw this house. It had been on the market for five years. I called my realtor and learned that a closing had just fallen through, so it was back on the market. Christie, her mom and my mom came over to look. Within 37 minutes I had made an offer that was accepted. I was able to just move my furniture in and skip the storage facility.” Six months later, Michael proposed to Christie in the home’s library. Says Christie, “Michael bought this house for us to have a life together.” Unusual features on the home include the original floating front porch which is held up not with columns but with an elaborate hidden tension support system in the attic space and original twin arching bay windows on the front of the home. During her tenure as the home’s owner, Deb Luster added lovely antique doors throughout the home. 126 MAY 2017 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM


hen the tornado of 2015 ripped its way through the Garden District, the winds left a swath of destruction that included upended trees and shattered roofs. When one of those century old trees found its way through the sunroom of the Echols’ pristine Garden District gem, the couple found themselves with a tragedy that begat one of those opportunities that the Echols are known for. Says Christie of the renovation and additions, “This was a great challenge. Michael was the client in a way. We both had different design ideas, so it was a ‘give and take.’ I was desperate to get it right and Michael was desperate to get it put back together,” Christie laughs in recollection. The couple negotiated a more formal downstairs with a more casual upstairs, devoted to the couple’s children and their spaces. Adds Michael, “Through a lot of destruction came a lot of rebirth.” The resulting renovations to the Echols home included attaching the studio to the main home, the addition of an outdoor living area, defining the property with new fencing and rebuilding the former sunroom as a master bedroom and en suite bathroom. During the renovations, the young family retreated to the studio which they converted to their temporary living quarters; the photographer’s dark room became their bedroom. The Echols added a closet and replaced raw concrete throughout with warm wood floors instantly adding life to the very industrial space. Laughs Michael, “I lived in the studio with my three women and a kitchenette. Now that was entertaining!” Now, both professionals love to work out of the light-filled studio space, where a large conference table beneath a vaulted ceiling offers ample room to roll out blueprints for projects. Michael reconditioned and hand-painted the three chandelier which hang in the grand central space. “I love working in the studio,” says Christie. “The large metal windows make it easy to see the girls playing in the back yard.” The metal windows were repurposed from a decommissioned school house when the studio was originally built by the Lusters. Christie added new light fixtures to the studio bathroom, which she already adored with its unusual tile flooring and swoon-worthy minimalist shower, which inspired Christie’s master bath choices. A painting that depicts the Ruston coffee shop where Christie was a barista is a reminder of fun LA Tech college days. The studio kitchen is a study in Christie’s carefully-crafted space planning. Tiny in size, measuring only 7’ x 11’, the kitchen packs in a wallop of storage and efficiency. Adds Christie of the light filled space, “This kitchen reminds me of one you’d find in a Paris flat with its small appliances. This is where I do all my flower arranging.” The counters and backsplash are of Carrara marble, but with a twist. “Michael turned the chevron pattern on its end and it created a clean, stair stepped edge with the resulting design. I love how Michael finds a way to expand my experience,” says Christie. WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | MAY 2017 127


he new connecting breezeway from the main house to the studio seamlessly bridges the space and uses many of the windows from the sunroom, which were damaged in the tornado. Copper-clad school house doors lead from the hall into the studio. The hallway features a unique tray ceiling that is illuminated with hidden LED lights which can change from bright white light to different festive colors, like purple or green, depending on the mood or the celebration. The walls are filled with a collection of art that spans work by regional artists to paintings done by the homeowner when she was in high school, and more recent work she did to honor the camellias that were lost during the home’s renovations. A formal home office space for Christie and Michael is located here with easy access from the front gardens, which are paved and lined with brick reclaimed from an old warehouse. The office ceiling is reminiscent of the ceiling Christie designed for the couple’s master bedroom, with elegant moldings that graduate to a central rectangle, punctuated by a graceful wrought iron chandelier. Built in cabinets and his and hers desks maintain order in the duo’s workspace. From the breezeway, one passes through a large mudroom complete with built-in lockers on the way to the home’s kitchen. Renovations to the small original kitchen included the addition of upper cabinetry, an elegant marble subway tile backsplash that coordinates with new countertops and a newly designed inset bar area that replaced a previous open space. A raw wood china cabinet, original to the home, was stained a rich color. A large arched opening was added to expand the entrance to the kitchen. A convenient undercounter microwave adds functionality and keeps equipment off of countertops. The chef’s kitchen is complete with a Viking range and hood, where Michael takes full advantage of showing off his culinary prowess. A petite half bath with a Parisian toilet in the hallway leading to the library is a jewel of a space. A pair of Joli Livaudais fine art photographs of lilies were a wedding present. The vanity was a find on West Monroe’s Antique Alley and was retrofitted to hold a sink.




bright sun porch just beyond the kitchen was enclosed. The couple added new marble hex tile flooring. A pair of natural linen wingback chairs and a drop-leaf table provide a breakfast nook for two beneath an antique Empire chandelier. A chandelier dripping with crystals is reflected in mirrored cabinet doors and shelving, which were added to original built-in cabinetry in the formal dining room. The dining room table and chairs had been part of noted interior designer Greg Jordan’s estate. Large windows throughout the space are dressed in voluminous silk curtains. Nooks are filled with items the Echols have found attending area estate sales and a treasured ceramic vessel made by Christie’s mom. The central staircase gracefully climbs to the second floor, where the girls’ bedrooms and play area are located. Amelia’s room is “unapologetically feminine” with a “pink on pink on pink” theme, says Christie. Adorable school projects and crafts are featured prominently on the walls. Painted shiplap on the walls creates a more informal feel. The ceiling in Amelia’s room is a stained wood which adds to a very authentic materiality of the space. The upstairs office, which had been the master bedroom before


the renovation, is located off of the girls’ playroom. Originally the space had been the home’s open-air sleeping porch and feels like a modern day treehouse. Back downstairs, the formal living room features the home’s original chocolate marble fireplace surround. A cozy conversational area is created in front of the large arched bay window. A roomsized sisal rug adds softness to the light-filled room, which opens into the library through double doors. The library is a study in tradition with ostrich covered lounge chairs with a matching ottoman providing the perfect spot for afternoons curled up with a book. Built-in arched bookcases are filled with every genre of book imaginable. A hallway leads from the living room to the couple’s new master suite. The master bedroom’s ceiling features a series of stepped moldings, designed by Christie to add dimension and detail to the tall ceilings and a porcelain tile floor that appears, even on close inspection, to be natural slate. An estate sale mirror creates a focal point above the upholstered, button-tufted linen bed. The fireplace surround was salvaged from a Garden District home. The mirrored cabinet above the mantle disguises audio and visual equipment. Double French doors that lead to bathroom and the master closet



were repurposed French doors from the demolished sunroom. An enormous wet room double shower in the master bath incorporates floor to ceiling marble hexagon tile. Christie found ample room to include a resin oval soaking tub. His and hers vanities are topped with Carrara marble counters and undermount sinks. Large beveled mirrors reflect light back into the space. Michael, known for his love on antique lighting, had Mr. H.L. Brown refurbish the chandelier that illuminates the bathroom. “What can I say?” laughs Michael, “I have a thing for light fixtures.” A stacking washer and dryer are a handy addition to the spacious and well-planned master closet. With a strip of LED lights around the top of the closet shelving, Christie says she and their girls love to have “disco dance parties” in the closet. An outdoor living room just beyond the master bedroom is accessed through French doors. Michael repurposed concrete pavers, laying them on a large grid and filled in-between with crushed gray granite to create a patio space where the couple can relax and enjoy a morning cup of coffee or time spent watching the girls play outside. The existing wall that runs along K Street was increased in height to 6 feet to ensure privacy for the homeowners. Outdoor living is something the entire family loves. The girls enjoy the pond, spending lazy days catching minnows and watching goldfish flit below the murky surface. A pair of cypress trees provides shade. The outdoor kitchen and patio is one of the family’s favorite gathering places. Decorative, antique wrought iron columns which had been part of a porte-cochere define the corners of the space where Amelia and Everly love to draw with chalk while their dad grills. Says Christie of her own home and of working on historic preservation projects, “I like being submissive to historic buildings and respond to what it is telling me – what it wants to be. This home was already beautiful.” Each succession of good owners left their own mark on the property. The Blanks had noted interior decorator Speed Lamkin install mirrors surrounding the formal living room’s fireplace. Deb Luster’s minimalism created gallery-like whitewalled spaces with track lighting. The Echols, with their boundless supply of energy, ideas and enthusiasm for historic properties, are creating their own legacy. The couple listened and responded to the home’s needs and to the needs of their family. “I think one of our greatest accomplishments so far is that we are still married after living through the renovation of our own home,” says Christie. “Having to design my own home pushed me creatively and I was determined to get it right.” With an attitude of “anything is possible,” Michael and Christie have turned their shared passion for historic preservation and architecture into a solid foundation for future success. With their sights firmly set on preserving the history of Monroe, this can-do duo is sure to realize their dreams. WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | MAY 2017 133

Excellent Service Quality Products Bob Moss Carpet One Offers Affordable Pricing and Unbeatable Customer Service


SINCE 1946,YOU’VE COME TO BOB MOSS FOR ALL your flooring, bath and countertop needs. And today you can still go to Bob Moss Carpet One and find that same great service. Locally owned and operated by Rayville native, Lew Hubbard, Bob Moss is your number one source for hardwood flooring, natural stone, ceramic tile, carpet and much more. “I’m fortunate to have a great crew that is fantastic to work with. Our staff cares about the customer and takes pride in the finished product. Our general manager, Forrest Tree” Erwin, has over 30 years of flooring and tiling expertise himself.” Your experience at Bob Moss Carpet One starts with one of our knowledgeable interior decorators. “Our decorators work with homebuyers/homebuilders to choose the features and finishes of their new home,” says Hubbard. “They can help turn your living areas into a showplace, and at no additional charge.” Tree and Lew will also work with you on your commercial and residential needs. Measuring and bringing samples to you is no problem at all. We want to help you in any way we can. In addition, we offer the Beautiful Guarantee on specific merchandise. If we install your flooring and you don’t like the color or style, we will replace it at no cost. This takes the guess work out of your buying decision. Our crew of friendly, courteous and competent installers will make sure the job is done right. We’ll even more furniture! We also offer installations with Carpet One’s exclusive Healthier Living treatments, which provide protection against mold and mildew. With over 85 years of combined experience in the flooring industry, you are sure to get a quality product and service that far surpasses your expectations. Bob Moss Carpet One is also your place to go for custom area rugs. We can order any rug you can dream of or have any carpet bound into any pattern you like. We are Monroe’s Karastan rug source. And, Bob Moss also has tremendous buying power through the national co-op, Carpet One. This allows us to offer 12 months no interest financing! So stop by Bob Moss Carpet One, and visit Lew and his courteous staff at 610 Louisville Avenue next to the Mohawk in Monroe. Or call 318-387-6929 or 1-800-256-0746.


Bob Moss Carpet One – Beautiful Made Affordable!

Monat Miracle Discover Your Best Hair


ELLO BAYOULIFE! MY NAME IS DENA FRANCIS PRUITT, and yes, all I can say is “WOW, OH WOW!” I am so excited about my new business endeavor-- seriously! It’s only been four months, and I get more excited every day! You may or may not know me- which is not important, but a little of my background I will share. I grew up in Jena, LA and met my Husband Darin “Moosie” Pruitt at Northeast Louisiana University in 1989. We live in Bastrop and farm in Jones, LA. We have two wonderful children. Chamberlyn Pruitt, who is a graduate of OCS and a pre-med student at Ole Miss, and Beau-Cannon Pruitt who is a sophomore at OCS. When they were babies, I owned Jack and Jill Children’s Shop in Bastrop and loved every minute of it, making new friends and loving the interaction. I sold it to become a full-time mom and bookkeeper for our farm. I was also a volunteer nurse at the local doctor’s office when needed. I loved being a cheer sponsor at my daughter’s school and upon her graduating and moving away, I had an empty spot to say the least. I wasn’t getting to interact with people and help them like I had always done. At just the right time this amazing hair treatment company was dropped in my lap--- MONAT! My calling in life has always been to help people in need. It is a gift that I am grateful for and makes my heart full. My new business has given me the opportunity to take helping people a step further! I am now calling all skeptics, all medical personnel dealing with patients with hair loss from weight loss surgeries, cancer, alopecia, thyroid and autoimmune diseases! All hair dressers that need non-toxic choices for their clients, and to any of you with thinning hair, damaged hair, coarse hair, unmanageable hair, or that just want that sleek shine... ALL without the harmful toxins! This is for YOU! Monat is the first and ONLY direct sales hair treatments that are non toxic and have the hair regrowth ingredient Capixyl that will have you in awe. This is why I offer samples of the products. Because it truly is unbelievable if you have the correct system for your hair type. The company is awesome to work with, and you get a 30-day money back guarantee. I want you to love it, and I can almost guarantee that you will. Let me help you have your best hair ever! You can contact me to buy retail, or to be a VIP customer for $19.99 which qualifies you for free shipping and a 15% discount and only order products when your ready, not monthly if you don’t need them. The other option to having healthy hair is to become a market partner with me and my team and enjoy the 30-40% off and offer these non-toxic products to your friends and family to get them on the road to healthy hair. I can provide clinical studies, testimonials and before and after photos at your request. Call me for a gathering with your friends, and we can “wash and unwind” and let you see for yourself the amazing transformation. Happy Monating!


Dot Dot’s Boutique Now in Monroe Dot Dot’s Has Something for Women of All Ages


OT DOT’S BOUTIQUE JUST celebrated a grand opening on Friday, April 14 at their new location, 4075 Sterlington Rd, in North Monroe, near Finks Hideaway Road. There is something for everyone at Dot Dot’s Boutique, as they cater to women of all sizes, from small to 3XL. In addition to a wide variety of clothes, Dot Dot’s Boutique carries shoes, accessories and gift items. Not only is there something for women of all sizes, there is something for women of all ages, making it a great place for moms and daughters to shop. After graduating college with a B.S. in Toxicology, Dakota Smith, owner, felt led to open a boutique inside of her motherin-law’s hair salon, Lori’s Shear Perfection. So Dot Dot’s was born in June of 2015. It was a perfect duo of boutique and beauty’


however, Dot Dot’s quickly grew and needed more space. With a lot of prayers and support, Dakota decided to move to the new location October of 2016. With so much growth occurring in North Monroe and so many loyal customers in the area, she knew she didn’t want to go far but wanted to go bigger! The new location is perfect, because it is bigger and still conveniently located in North Monroe. With this new space, Dot Dot’s has created a new look. They have a modernrustic-boho vibe going on and are excited about the way the boutique is looking already. Dot Dot’s has several plans in the making and can’t wait to grow even more! Dot Dot’s Boutique strives to create a fun and inviting space for everyone to come shop and hang out. They are big on

fashion and fellowship, so expect to leave with new friends. For 2017, their theme is living fearlessly through fashion. By stepping out in faith, Dot Dot’s was created. “This journey to where we are now took a lot of overcoming fears,” said Dakota Smith. “So, we would like to encourage you live fearless and have courage. So, come out and visit our new store, embrace your style, embrace your beauty, and create the look you love!” Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. Proverbs 31:25-26

Fiesta Nutrition Center The Good Earth Juice and Salad Bar


HE TIMING OF THE OPENING of the GOOD EARTH JUICE AND SALAD BAR could not have been better! With warmer weather, the search is on for cool, light and fresh lunch and snack options. SALAD BAR The options on the bar are chosen and prepared with care of the the finest details. Where else can you find organic greens (baby kale, spinach, local organic hydoponic butter lettuce) served ? The rotation of raw vegetables and fruits includes heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and peppers, and seasonal fresh fruit. Combination salads available are artichoke heart medley, Queen Vida’s kale salad, basil pasta salad, house-made chicken salad, quinoa salad and fruit medley. Protein options are herb-roasted

chicken breast, local eggs, cheeses, nuts, tofu and tempeh. Dressings are housemade from organic oils, dairy and fresh herbs.

(frozen acai, almond butter, blueberries, banana, chopped nuts, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds). This makes a great snack or light meal.

BUILD YOUR OWN SMOOTHIE 1. Choose your milk base (dairy or non-dairy) 2. Choose your base (nut butters or yogurt). 3. Choose your protein (whey, plant-based or bone broth). 4. Choose your sweetener (honey, agave or frozen banana). 5. Choose add-ins (fruit, nuts, chia, flax, granola, greens powder, maca, matcha). All ingredients used are certified organic and are free of ANYTHING ARTIFICIAL.

FRESH JUICES Each morning organic vegetables and fruits are juiced. Top of the list : ‘Seven Mary 3” (beet, carrot , celery, apple, orange, lemon, ginger). Don’t miss out on “Kale Yeah” (kale, celery, cucumber, apple, ginger, lemon).

ACAI BOWLS This amazing super-fruit from the Amazon is made into a sorbet and served in a bowl topped with all sorts of healthy good stuff. Top seller is the ‘Power Bowl”

The GOOD EARTH JUICE AND SALAD BAR is open from 9 -4, Monday thru Friday. The salad bar is served from 10:45 -2. Grab and go salads, wraps, snack boxes and sweets are available until 6 p.m.


Fleet Feet Sports Monroe

Unparalleled Service for Runners, Walkers and Fitness Enthusiasts


HAT BEGAN AS AN RV ADVENTURE ACROSS THE United States for Mike and Sonya Fronsoe, turned into an early retirement and a permanent relocation. Their adventure and new chapter started in late February, and Mike and Sonya have hit the ground running…literally. They have recently taken over the former FitRight Active store and renamed it Fleet Feet Sports Monroe, making them one of 170 owners nationwide. One of the driving forces for their relocation from Florida was Sonya’s mother and uncles, who are generational to the area. Mike has 25 years of pharmaceutical sales experience and Sonya has been a practicing nurse practitioner with a cardiology practice for the past 15 years, with hopes of doing the same in Monroe. The couple has two children – Ashton, 23 and Kristyn, 21. Both Mike and Sonya hope to bring their passion for running and a healthy lifestyle to their new home in Northeast Louisiana. At Fleet Feet Sports, you will find a welcoming environment where runners, walkers and fitness enthusiasts of all abilities receive unparalleled service and support. Fleet Feet Sports’ “Fitlosophy” is to help you find the right ‘’FIT’’ in every facet of your active lifestyle. Whether you walk, run or simply need a good fitting pair of shoes, the educators at Fleet Feet Sports will work with you to evaluate your foot’s gait and natural biomechanics to help you select a shoe that offers the best fit and function for you.


Fleet Feet Monroe is committed to enhancing and growing the local running and walking communities and offering educational resources and training opportunities to assist you in achieving your fitness goals. In the upcoming months the store will hold fun runs, educational seminars and training programs for those who want to do their first 5k or half marathon or those who want to just become active and start walking with the goal of becoming more fit conscience. In fact, Fleet Feet has already gotten involved with local races – sponsoring the Run for Mercy, benefiting Mercy Multiplied and the inagural Draggin’ Tail 1 Mile run, in conjunction with the annual Dragon Boat races, benefitting the NELA Children’s Coalition. In April, the crew at Fleet Feet hosted their first social fun run, where runners from all levels met at the store, ran together and enjoyed smoothie refreshments and a raffle afterwards. Mike and Sonya are excited about this opportunity and are looking forward to becoming a staple in the running community in Northeast Louisiana. Stop by and check out their wide selection of shoes, apparel, supplies and equipment for all of your running needs.

Copeland Electrical Contractors Join the Smart Home Movement


ECHNOLOGY IS GROWING AT AN UNBELIEVABLE rate. With the advancement of smart phones, tablets and apps, the last ten years have changed tremendously. This is true even in the home industry. Copeland Electric is dedicated to staying on top of the latest and newest developments in the tech world. In the coming issues, Copeland Electric will discuss options in making your home a “Smart Home.” Home automation is all the rage. Everything from your yard to the inside of your home can be controlled through an app these days. From safety and security to features that can make you and your guests more comfortable, the Copeland Electric team can install these features and help you maintain a tech savvy home. Some of the features that will be discussed in the upcoming issues are: • Smart Carbon Dioxide Monitors • Smart Landscape Lighting • Smart Thermostats • Smart Doorbells • Smart Dimmers

Take a look around at all of the gadgets you use that get plugged in. Aside from your computer and probably your electric razor if you use one, have you noticed that all of those chargers are just USB cables plugged into a power brick? It’s time to cut out the middle-man and swap out your old school outlets for modern outlets with built-in USB ports. Just imagine…. when you have Copeland Electric install Smart Outlets, there will be no more arguments over who has the “cube.” You will never have to worry about a lost “cube.” All your guests will be able to charge their electronics. With one simple installation, life will suddenly seem at ease. Home Automation offers the opportunity for you to control your destiny. The industry is growing by leaps and bounds, and imagine getting in right on the cusp of it. So many things can be controlled with smart phones and tablets; therefore, these devices and apps are changing the market at mind-boggling rate. With the help from Copeland Electric, you could be the envy of the neighborhood. Who wouldn’t want to have the most tech savvy home on the block? Get smart and call Copeland today.








FOR EMMA CASE MELVILLE, making pottery is a hobby, not a job, but she would argue that making pottery for fun doesn’t make her any less of an artist. In fact, she believes it’s wrong to assume every artist’s dream is to do art full time. “We all need different things to be fulfilled,” she said. Emma came to this realization after making art full time and finding the things she loved most about the process were lost. Add the stress of having to make ends meet through art alone, and Emma found the thing she’d once loved lost its luster. Now Emma has a day job, and her love of making pottery has been restored. She also has a stronger sense of what drives her art, which is the human connection. Emma describes herself as a social person and said, “Pottery is another way to have a social connection with people.” In fact, she said the worst thing for her is sending a piece away to someone she doesn’t know. When she was making art full time, Emma was serving a faceless customer, a retail customer. Now Emma creates pieces for clients, which is far more gratifying for her. “I don’t want to make things that match for people I don’t know,” she said. “In everything I do, there has to be some form of human connection behind it.” She especially enjoys making custom pieces for people because she gets to know them in the process. In addition to getting to know the client, Emma wants to drive the design, which requires mutual trust. In the process, Emma gets to share part of herself, and the client gets to know her

through the design. According to Emma, this process feels more selfless than creating for a retail customer. In the end, she believes the majority of the value is in her, not in the piece. At this point in her development as an artist, Emma said, “It’s important to go back to making pieces creatively driven and exciting. It’s not about production. I just want to make things that are fun to make— that are special.” Emma understands that everyone will not appreciate the same things in art, but she said, “The interaction with something handmade is different than something mass produced. There’s something special about it.” She believes art is about communicating with others. It’s about establishing a sense of commonality—a connection without words. “A piece speaks to you,” she said. “If it doesn’t light up some part of your soul and make you smile, don’t buy it. But if it makes you want to pick it up and use it, I think you should.” Emma believes art is a language whose power comes from the ability to convey a meaning or message without words. “That’s the magic of art in general,” she said. “There’s something about the aesthetic or form that strikes a chord.” If the work strikes a chord in you, she believes you should buy it. According to Emma, we should buy art when we see something and understand its language. Although she doesn’t expect everyone to speak her language, she hopes that people who speak it will buy her art. WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | MAY 2017 141


nother way art communicates is through demonstrations, which Emma loves, because the human connection is intensified. Kids especially are mesmerized by the process of throwing clay. “Their eyes light up, and you’re basically magic at that point,” she said. Over time, Emma has grown to appreciate these moments of human connection more and more, especially the magic these connections create. In the same way that objects must touch and exchange electrons to form static electricity, people must come together during Emma’s creative process for the “magic” to happen. For Emma, human connection and the arts have always been intertwined. She grew up playing the piano and clarinet, but her favorite part was playing music in a group. These were her passions. Although she considered pursuing music in college, she didn’t want to turn her passions into her job. At the same time, she didn’t know she wanted to make art when she started college. Instead, she opted to pursue architecture, because she felt it would allow her to make a difference in people’s lives, which has always been important to her. While studying architecture at Louisiana Tech University, Emma supplemented the curriculum with courses in interior design, a choice that led her to a color theory class taught by Professor Emeritus Peter Jones. Painting in Jones’ class reminded Emma how much she loved the tactile side of being creative, and soon after, she changed her major to studio art, where she found ceramics and fell in love. Now she fondly refers to ceramics as “architecture of the hands,” because, like architecture, ceramics marry form and function. For Emma, ceramics and music also share a connection. “There’s something about the tactile that appeals to me,” she said. “There’s something about letting creativity flow through my hands that feels natural to me—whether it’s music or clay.” Although Emma is appreciative of the years she spent studying architecture and the perspective it’s given her, she’s found more fulfillment in clay and finished her Bachelor of Fine Arts in studio art in 2012. While architecture would have allowed her to solve problems and make a difference in people’s lives, she said, pottery allows her to solve problems and make a difference on a more intimate level. Most of Emma’s work is functional, and for her, “Functional pottery is a puzzle.” It’s bringing together the perfect vessel with the perfect handle to create the perfect mug to hold the perfect cup of coffee. Of course, that’s just one example. Emma often looks for ways to create things that allow people to enjoy a certain food or beverage better. Her work tends to be simple, minimalistic and multifunctional. “I feel like my work is an invitation of


life and use,” she said. “By keeping it simple, I feel I’ve created a canvas for people to bring their own story.” Emma also uses mostly neutral glazes, creating pieces that are white, black, gray or other solid colors. For Emma, the form is the most important and the primary source of beauty in each piece. In fact, she loves the bare clay and said, “Once I glaze, I feel like it’s lost something.” As a result, part of the challenge for her as an artist is finding glazes that don’t detract from the form. She believes a pristine plate awaiting food is more inviting than one with a decorative glaze, and said, “Life is so colorful. The contrast is more appealing.” While at Tech, Emma was trained primarily by ceramic artist Mary Louise Carter, who makes traditional, functional pottery, and Carter’s influence on Emma’s work is evident. “I very much value having such an experienced and skilled mentor,” Emma said. Like Carter and other traditional potters, such as Eva Zeisel, Emma values functionality and usefulness, because without these the connection and interaction would be lost. One of the things that makes Emma happiest is to have her clients send pictures or tell her stories related to how they’re using a piece. Because each piece is handmade, each is planned and thrown individually. In the planning process, Emma sketches what she envisions and also considers how the pieces will interact in a tablescape, as well as how they’ll be stored, cleaned and displayed. “These are a huge part of the life of any piece,” she said. Having it look just as beautiful on the table as on the shelf is important to her. This process of planning and making traditional, functional wheel-thrown pottery is one of the key things that separates Emma from production potters. A lot of production potters use slip casting to mass produce their work. In slip casting the handson step of shaping the clay on the wheel is lost. “A production potter has to love the product,” Emma said. Although she loves the product, she loves the hand-throwing process as well and simply hasn’t been willing to sacrifice it. The tactile aspect of wheel throwing is what drew her to pottery in the first place. “The actual throwing of the piece is the moment where the clay is being moved in your hands. That’s the most thrilling part,” she said. “Every movement you make, the clay responds.” According to Emma, so many things can happen in this moment, and the slightest movement can change everything about a piece. Although she starts with a plan and sketches every piece, sometimes the realization is slightly different or, in some cases, a lot different. As a result, the process requires a certain level of flexibility and a willingness to go with the flow. Although perfection is never guaranteed and the hand-throwing process takes more time and effort, Emma appreciates the challenge. Every piece she makes starts from a lump of clay that she’s processed. Then it must be put on the wheel, shaped, glazed and fired. As a result, every piece is slightly different, which makes each one special. “They’re formed from my hands,” Emma


said. “If they match, it’s because a lot of time and energy was spent.” Those who haven’t experienced the process of hand throwing pottery may not realize the amount of work and time that goes into it. Emma compared processing the clay to gardening, because getting the moisture content just right is important. Getting all the bubbles out of the clay is important, as well. Then, once the clay has been thrown and the shape is complete, the piece needs to dry. In Louisiana, the high humidity means Emma’s work takes more time to dry, and it must be bisque fired at a low temperature for several hours, before it can be glaze fired. Even then, if there is too much moisture in the piece, it could crack or explode in the final firing. “It’s a science in many ways,” she said, “but you’re leaving a lot to chance—to the kiln gods.” Given the number of steps and variables involved, it typically takes Emma at least a week to create new work. Because some of the variables can’t be fully controlled, the outcome can be exciting. “It’s like a chemistry experiment,” she said, and sometimes pieces don’t turn out as planned or break in the firing. For this reason, Emma makes multiples, learns from her mistakes and calls on her patience when necessary. She said, “When it breaks, you say, ‘That’s life.’” Then you do it again. Emma has learned a lot of lessons the hard way, but she believes making pottery is a good metaphor for life: you make a lot of messes, but it’s worth it. Because Emma’s pottery is generally very refined and thin, she feels it represents the opposite of life. Creating work with precision and consistency is difficult. Although many things have to be overcome to achieve a crisp look, Emma welcomes the challenge. The organization and discipline evident in her work are features she’s proud of, but in the end, it’s always the human connection that makes everything worthwhile. 144 MAY 2017 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

Your Summer Body Tummy Tucks an Option for Smoother, Firmer Abdomen


F IT’S A SMOOTHER, FIRMER TUMMY YOU WANT,YOU MAY consider abdominoplasty. After all, of the 1.7 million cosmetic surgical procedures done in 2015, 127,976 of those were tummy tucks. That’s a 9 percent increase over 2014 numbers, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. “There is a misconception sometimes that loose abdominal skin will be taken up by exercise or diet,” said Stephan Maguire, M.D., a plastic surgeon in Alexandria, LA, at Rapides Women’s and Children’s Hospital. “There’s no salve or lotion that will address loose skin or stretch marks. You don’t want to waste time and money on those. But with an abdominoplasty, you always see results.” Patients who choose abdominoplasty often have loose skin across the lower abdomen occurring after pregnancy or weight loss. The outpatient surgery usually takes about two hours and requires 3-4 weeks for recovery. “The recovery, that’s the big thing with this surgery,” Dr. Maguire said. “With other cosmetic procedures, you can be back at work after a long weekend. With this one, recovery does take weeks, but the results are worth it.” Since the surgery requires removal of access fat and skin across the lower abdomen – and occasionally, the surgical restoration of weakened or separated abdominal muscles - there is an incision from hip to hip. There is also a scar. But Dr. Maguire is able to position the incision scar in a way that still allows patients to wear swimsuits and hip-hugging fashions. In some cases, patients schedule an abdominoplasty along with other cosmetic procedures such as a breast augmentation or liposuction. And if your plastic surgeon and OB/GYN work in the same facility, abdominoplasty could also be done in conjunction with a hysterectomy – so the patient only has to plan for one “recovery” instead of two. “There are immediate results,” Dr. Maguire said. “There will be some swelling. But at three months, patients will be able to enjoy a beach vacation.” When planning a visit to the plastic surgeon for your abdominoplasty consultation, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, know that surgery costs can vary widely. The total cost will include surgeon fees, hospital fees, anesthesia fees, medical tests, medications and post-surgery garments. The office staff will be able to give you an accurate estimate of the final cost, and can help set up an affordable payment schedule. Also, know that not everyone will be a good candidate for the surgery. Abdominoplasty patients must be physically healthy, at a stable weight, be a non-smoker and have realistic expectations. And finally, ask questions. Find out how long YOUR recovery will be and what you can do to make sure you get the best possible results. “There is a high rate of patient satisfaction with abdominoplasty,” Dr. Maguire said. “This is one of those issues where surgery is the only solution.” For more information about abdominoplasty with Dr. Maguire, call (318) 442-5800 or visit WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | MAY 2017 145

Acadian Iron Works

Let Us Help You Make Your Home Unique


T ACADIAN IRON WORKS, WE are looking to help make your home unique with our beautiful iron or steel doors. Along with our iron doors we also make railings, gates, and steel windows. We have over 600 in-stock doors in a range of styles and sizes. We will also work with you if you chose to customize your door for your home or business. One of our newest lines of doors, Milano Series, is a durable high quality custom hot and cold-rolled steel product. These doors give you a modern, sleek, open and airy look that can be used as entry doors or within the home or office. With this series, we offer 3 different finishes and multiple shapes and sizes. Another new line of doors that we carry is the Tuscan Series. These doors are made of iron but have a modern look of steel. These doors give your home a look


of the 1920’s architectural style while using modern methods. With this series, we offer 4 different finishes and multiple shapes and sizes. Our most popular style of doors is our iron line. We offer a wide selection of doors from stock to custom. We carry 30 distinctive styles to choose from in our stock doors. And if you choose to customize your door, we can help with that as well. When you customize a door, you determine the size, the iron work and the glass type. With most of our doors, the glass on the panels is operable, meaning that it can be opened to clean. So, you can go from a more traditional look, no scroll work, to as much scroll work as you would like to have for people to see. Also with custom doors you can add sidelights and transoms to make them even more unique. With all of our doors, there is a limited

ten-year warranty, which covers the following: all iron components including doors, windows, railings, grills and gates. Along with the warranty on the iron components, there is also a ten-year warranty on the finish as well. We also have a five-year limited warranty on the glass panels that covers the following: seal failure on the insulated glass. At Acadian Iron Works, we strive to provide you with quality iron and steel products. Regardless of the size of the project, whether remodel or new construction, let us help you design your perfect door or chose one of our many stock doors, to best suit your needs. Come visit us at our showroom at 2805 St. Charles Avenue in Monroe. You can also visit our website: or give us a call - 318-338-3070.

Custom Carpet and Interiors

Providing Northeast Louisiana with Quality Products


OR YEARS, CUSTOM CARPETS and Interiors has been providing Northeast Louisiana homes and businesses with quality carpet, hardwood, laminate, vinyl and tile. And each year, they make sure they are up-to-date on the latest trends and direction that people are wanting for their projects. They understand that flooring is the foundation of decorating and it sets the tone and reflects taste and lifestyle. One of the newest items that Michael Durham and the crew at Custom Carpets and Interiors are excited about are large porcelain slabs. “These are large pieces, 4’ x 8’ and 5’ x 10’, with 40 different colors and patterns,” said Michael. “They are great for countertops, shower walls and you don’t have to worry about seeing and cleaning grout lines or damaging natural stone.” Another popular tile trend is patterned title on backsplashes, bathroom walls and floors. This is a fun way to add a bold pop of color in a small space and really make your

home fun. A patterned floor is an excellent complement to plain white or neutral tiles. Even in delicate colors themselves, pattern tiles can still pack a big interior punch that transforms a room. Subway tile is still very popular but is getting bigger…literally. Using 3” x 12” or 4” x 16” subway tiles still give the room a clean look, with the larger tiles making it stand out. Subway tiles are offered in a variety of colors, sizes and a-typical design patterns with a possibility of contrasting grout colors that can be more interesting than the traditional white. Other tiles trends are herringbone and arabesque patterns on wall tiles, backsplashes and floors. These patterns give dimension and can interest throughout the home. When it comes to flooring, cork has gained popularity because of its durability, beauty, “green” aspects and other unique characteristics. It resists cracking and abrasions and bounces back, so indentations caused by

furniture aren’t permanent. Cork is naturally resistant to mold, mildew and termites, plus gives a comfortable cushion underfoot. In wood floors, there is a shift towards more low-luster and matte wood floors, which provide easier maintenance, hiding small scratches and dents better than highergloss flooring. Low-gloss flooring also does a better job at masking dust and buildup from footprints, making it much easier to maintain clean…and a popular choice for pet owners and those with small children. It offers a rawer wood look, often highlighting the color and texture of the wood more effectively. No matter your style or budget or if you are working on a remodel or building a new house, Custom Carpets and Interiors can help you choose materials that will make your house feel like a home and be stylish for years to come!


Key Millwork Introduces Artistic Tile New Product Line Now Available in Northeast Louisiana


EY MILLWORK IS EXCITED TO INTRODUCE THIS new product line to northeast Louisiana and surrounding areas. The innovative tile and stone company sets itself apart from other brands with award-winning original patterns and unique imports of the highest quality. If you are looking for stone, porcelain, glass or ceramic tile for your home, Artistic Tile should be your decorative tile of choice. In addition to a huge selection of stock items, this company offers extensive in-house customization options, powered by a working shop of advanced waterjet cutting, stone sawing, and surface finishing machines, which together provide a comprehensive domestic design hub meeting the needs of architects, designers and homeowners, with short lead times. Key Millwork has hundreds of samples on display! From swatches to slabs, our showroom is lined with marble and stone, in colors and patterns almost too numerous to imagine. Collections include Jazz Glass, Kyoto Metallic finishes, Michael Aram, Carved and Dimensional Stone. Their patterns are as beautiful as their name suggests, Gatsby, Genie, Samsura and Celestial. And the hue of colors are endless. Imagine a Tiger Eye Blue in the glass collection, Bijoux! Select from a mirrored glass


collection, like the Charleston. Graceful and charming. Metallurgy meets chemistry in the Charleston Collection. Hand made using traditional techniques by skilled artists, this exquisite mirrored glass is painstakingly created piece by piece using a classic silvering process that enriches the distressed movement. Mother of Pearl Collections‌ Doesn’t that inspire! Rivershell Mosaic is fresh water mother of pearl iridescent creamy white Hexagon. Artistic Tile applications include wall, countertops, floors, showers and more. Many of our local interior designers are welcoming the Key Millwork display! Now instead of traveling hundreds of miles to visit other Artistic Tile showrooms, their customers can see this fabulous tile within minutes of their home. Visit their website at to browse their product line. Then visit the showroom at Key Millwork, 4200 Jackson St, Monroe, to really experience what an impact this decorative tile could have on your design project.

Monroe’s Premier Shopping Destination Haven: Interiors, Fine Paper and Gifts


AVEN IS A GREAT DESIGN SHOP THAT OFFERS luxurious bedding, design accessories to complete your home, and a wonderful selection of distinctive gifts. A shopping destination you won’t want to miss! With Mother’s Day and Graduation around the corner, Haven has a vast selection of hand-picked gifts for your loved ones. Robes, throws, pajamas and candles from vendors like Barefoot Dreams and Nest Fragrances make cherished gifts for Mother’s Day. Make graduation day special with limited edition campus prints from regional artist Linda Theobald. S’well bottles are also a customer favorite that keeps your drink hot for 12 hours or cold for 24 hours. With the largest selection of bedding and bath vendors in Northeast Louisiana, Haven offers a variety of coverlets and duvets that make for a well-appointed bed. Stunning bath accessories, Peacock Alley towels with optional monogram, and custom shower curtains can be the finishing touch for any bathroom. No home is complete without outstanding design accessories for your coffee table or bookcase. Beautiful trays, vases and decorative bowls make completing your space effortless. Haven

always has a nice selection of lamps and occasional tables. Haven is owned by licensed interior designer Sandy McMillan and is a valuable design resource for our area. The owner’s interior design background reflects the variety of merchandise offered at Haven. Hours of research and market visits helps make Haven a distinctive design shop with an ever-changing gift selection. Designer wallpaper books and exclusive lines of fabrics and trims that grace the pages of Veranda can be ordered at their shop as well. Something special can always be found at Haven. Shoppers know that Haven provides wonderful customer service and merchandise for all ages. The store offers beautiful complimentary gift wrapping to complete your shopping experience. Treat yourself and your home with a visit to Haven.


Compassion. Community. Comprehensive Care. Corner Vet in Sterlington Now Open


ITH NEARLY 15 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE, NICOLE West is no stranger to veterinary practice. Originally from North Louisiana, she earned her Bachelor’s and Vet Degree from LSU in Baton Rouge and began working in South Louisiana. Shortly afterwards, she returned to her roots and began working in Monroe and has now opened a clinic of her own – Corner Vet of Sterlington. “From the beginning of my career, I have wanted to own a piece of what I do,” said Dr Nicole. “I have always felt called to be a veterinarian. It is a privilege I do not take for granted and feel honored to serve my clients and their pets.” The new clinic is located just north of Sterlington High School on Hwy. 165, and even the building is welcoming. “We designed the clinic to feel and look more like a home so it is inviting and comfortable,” said Dr. Nicole. Dr. Nicole has surrounded herself with a staff that is equally as caring, compassionate and committed. Reagan Wages serves as the clinic coordinator and lead technician, Christina Rodriguez is the client services manager as well as a lead technician and Sarah Marchbank is the kennel supervisor and technician. The group has worked together for many years, so they have an established family feel already, even though Corner Vet just recently officially opened their doors midApril. Corner Vet offers routine wellness exams, vaccinations, surgery, advanced dentistry, dermatology and allergy consultations, ultrasound


and digital radiology services, as well as clean and spacious boarding facilities for both canines and felines. The team has a mission statement of compassion, community and comprehensive care, and that doesn’t stop at just pets and animals. Corner Vet is excited to be a part of the community and give back to those that they serve. Once a month, they close for a day and the entire staff works together on a service project. “We truly want to be a part of this community and give back and make an impact in with the community we serve,” said Dr. Nicole. The team at Corner Vet has already started fulfilling that mission. Recently, they participated in the Krewe of Mutts Parade, sponsored a local youth softball team and soccer team, and partnered with the White as Snow Gala benefitting Project 41. They have even visited local area elementary schools and shared their knowledge and passion for veterinarian care. Down the road, Nicole envisions working with local special needs students and women involved with Project 41, by providing a job and helping transform lives in a positive and supportive work environment. So while Corner Vet does offer routine vet exams and visits, they are much more than that. They truly are full of compassion, committed to their community and dedicated to providing comprehensive care. Stop by and say hello, or give them a call and set up an appointment! We welcome you to the Corner Vet family.

Irby Lighting Company

Providing Service in North Louisiana Since 1926


N THE EARLIEST DAYS OF THE electrical age, a young company set out with the vision of helping build the infrastructure that would bring electricity to the rural South. That company was Stuart Irby. Today, Irby is setting out with a new vision: to change the role of the electrical distributor from that of a bidbased provider of electrical products to that of a high-value partner, providing total electrical solutions. Since 1926 Irby has provided excellent customer service and quality. They opened the doors of their current location in West Monroe, in 2006. The renowned business has been helping customers with their lighting needs for many years. They employ five experienced staff members that are able to assist clients with everything they need from start to finish. Their team will work with your team to help you solve

problems and achieve your goals. They are proud to offer these services free of charge. In addition to design and technical assistance, they provide delivery free of charge. At Irby, their showroom selections are always fresh and updated. The team goes to market twice each year to make sure they have the latest styles to offer. From traditional to modern, they have a broad range of designs to fit any style. Ceiling fans, indoor and outdoor lighting, lamps and even accent furniture can be found in the showroom. They keep in stock a large selection of energy-saving LED bulbs for many applications. The benefits of LED bulbs are numerous. They consume less electricity, are much cooler than incandescent lights, and they reduce the risk of combustion or burnt fingers. Another benefit is that

they are sturdier than the bulbs of the past. LEDs are made with epoxy lenses, not glass, and are much more resistant to breakage. Landscape lighting is all the rage, and Irby has landscaping fixtures to help you achieve your goals. Whether you are considering landscape lighting for aesthetics, added security or both, their knowledgeable staff will help you select the best options for lighting around your home. Why shop anywhere else when you can go directly to the experts themselves and have them assist you with your lighting needs? From the design aspect to the technical details, Irby can help you see the job through from beginning to end.



Teaching a Skill That Will Last a Lifetime article and photos by Dan Chason


don’t think a person exists who cannot appreciate the excitement of bass fishing. A bass is a very aggressive creature and is not as hard to catch as most think. One of the biggest issues in bass fishing is fishing equipment not suited for the hard pull and violent strikes of a largemouth bass. I started bass fishing early in life. There was a family in our church who had a private lake stocked with bass, and I was invited to fish it “anytime I wanted.” Most afternoons after chores were completed, you could find this 8-year-old kid on my bicycle with a Zebco 33 strapped to the handlebars, headed to the bass lake with my 11-yearold brother. The bug had bitten me hard to bass fish, after spending a week in southern Georgia with my “Pop” who was a formidable angler. One lure that my Pop had taught me to fish was a pre-rigged Crème worm with two hooks already inserted. You have to remember, I was born the son of a professional perch jerker. I didn’t understand that bass fishing and bream/crappie fishing were very different. But it was a stocked pond, and it didn’t take Roland Martin ability to catch a bass. My brother and I spent a lot of days on that pond and ponds to come. We were competitive, but my brother just didn’t have the knack or patience to stay with it. I would fish until the Alabama sun was well close to the horizon, while my brother would be chunking rocks or whittling sticks with his always-present pocket knife. I fished with that Zebco 33 well into my teens, when we moved to Louisiana. We graduated to fishing from a boat, when my brother got his driver’s license and spent a lot of time exploring the waters of Spring Bayou or any other lake that had a ramp. Those were some great times, as our Dad knew he had trained us to be safety minded and always let us operate the boat when he was with us. I made lots of friends, when the land owner owned a pond and carried that well into adulthood. I would offer to do some maintenance or offer a mess of fish for the rights to chase my prey. That all changed in 1977, when I met Jon Miller. Jon


was my best buddy and loved to fish. We would spend hours after school and work in the waters of Bayou DeSiard and Bussey Brake. Jon fished a bait casting reel, and I hung with my faithful Zebco. That was until I met my first 8 pound bass who stripped my reel clean and got away. It was time to graduate. I went down to Gene’s Sporting Goods and bought the exact reel that Jon had: An Ambassador 5000C. It was getting dark, as we launched into Bayou DeSiard for our nightly jaunt. After 199 back lashes and having to re-spool with fresh line twice, I finally mastered the bait caster. Those old bait casters were not a lot of fun. They were as strong as a winch, but compared to today’s models left a lot to be desired. I have taught many anglers how to overcome the dreaded back lash, but honestly never really enjoyed it until this week. That is when I was approached by two of my grandsons, John Thomas and Cade, who asked me to teach them to bass fish. I have to admit, it made my chest poke out a little. Using a bait casting reel comes down to the basics of physics. First, assure that the rod and reel are matched to the size lure or practice plug used. 3/8 is about the right size, as a heavier lure causes the spool to release faster, causing back lashes. Understanding a back lash or over-spooling means that the spool, is spinning faster than the line can unwind, causing tangles. Here is how to fix it, first time: On the right side of the bait casting reel is the magnetic spool control. This function works by tightening the spool where the magnets inside slow the rate of spin. Take the rod and hold it at the 12 o’clock position. Tighten the spool control down until the lure cannot fall. Mash the release button and hold your thumb on the spool. Slowly loosen the spool control, until the bait/lure/plug SLOWLY falls. Do it a second time, and on the left side of the reel, put the anti-reverse gear on 5 (the middle number). If you change lures, do this procedure again. This is very important. Do not try to cast the lure. Put the lure in your hand, and pitch the lure by swinging the lure as you release the button and POINT your rod at the target. With my grandsons, we put an object out at a distance of 10, 15 then 20 feet. The trick to making this all work is to understand that the force is in the wrist, not the hand or arm. This method works on all bait casting equipment. Spinning gear is different, but the concept is the same. The pitching method, especially when teaching kids, is a sure way to build confidence and accuracy. The main reason to utilize bait casting gear is the fact that you can have much better accuracy, stay away from getting hung in branches, trees or bushes and most importantly has the gears and ratio to battle a big bass. Never try to fish a bait casting rig with heavy line, if you are beginner. The heaviest line you should use is 14lb. test. Heavier line is easy to back lash and does not come off of the spool as fast as light line. For the best results, spend a little more money and spool up with fluorocarbon line. It is coated and does not have the tendency to “gum up” or degrade due to use or heat. By all means ,do not use cheap line. It is cheap for a reason. I will long remember the first day practicing with the boys. The competitive nature of brothers and the mere fact of sharing knowledge and skills to them is something they will carry forever. It goes back to the desire to teach the ones to follow us a skill that will follow them for a lifetime. Feed a boy fish and he eats for today, but teach him to fish and he eats for a lifetime. WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | MAY 2017 153

Not Just Your Average Dirt Guy

Kepper Trucking and Dirt Contracting Offers Equipment Rentals, Inflatables and More


EPPER TRUCKING AND DIRT Contracting , LLC has been in business for the past 17 years and is licensed, insured and bonded. They have over 100 years combined experience. But they are not just your average dirt guy. They also rent equipment, inflatable jumpers and waterslides. Whether you are a contractor that needs specialized equipment for a job, weekend warrior trying to save a little money or getting the deer camp ready for hunting season, Kepper has the dirt and equipment you need. This locally owned and operated company offers a variety of dirt work that includes sandy fill dirt, sand, mulch, topsoil, topsoil mulch mix, gravel, crushed concrete, milled asphalt, crushed brick and culverts. These are all sold by backhoe or tractor scoop and they will load it directly


on to your trailer. Kepper has multiple dirt pits so they are able to offer competitive prices. They also offer services for anyone renovating their home to a person starting the home building from scratch. Some of the services they offer are land clearing, sitework, driveways, drainage, house pads, demolitions, subdivisions and excavation. In addition to dirt, Kepper has a fleet of equipment available for rent including • mini- excavators • Skid Steers • Trenchers • Tractors • Forklifts • Dozers • Logsplitters • Front End Loaders • Generators • Trailers • Backhoes

• Stump Grinders • Scissor Lifts Recently, Kepper has expanded their options when it comes to rentals to include inflatables jumpers and slides. They have a variety of regular bounce house jumpers, wet slides and jumper slide combos. They offer free delivery, setup and pick up inside the Monroe and West Monroe city limits. Kepper has two convenient locationson Hwy 139 in Monroe and 5720 Cypress St in West Monroe. Kepper Dirt has been the name to call for any dirt work needs and they are excited to be able to offer equipment rental and inflatables. Give them a call today at 318-381-5000 to see how Kepper can help you!

Southern Escape Room

Monroe’s Live Escape Room a Huge Hit with Locals


OUTHERN ESCAPE ROOM IS PART of a growing trend of the newest form of entertainment sweeping the country. Many groups, organizations and parties have participated in the escape room, but some people still don’t know what it is exactly. WHAT IS IT? An escape room is a form of a real life, team based puzzle. A team, or group of people, is locked in room and have to work together to solve puzzles to get out. There is nothing scary, creepy or claustrophic about it and there is a fun and exciting feel to the entire thing. When a group arrives at Southern Escape Room, they get checked in and are greeted by their “gamemaster.” This person goes over the rules and gives a briefing on the storyline of the particular room you are playing. Once the group enters the room, the timer starts and the game is on! The group has to search for clues, look for

keys, unlock locks and solve puzzles, which will eventually allow them to escape the room! HOW TO BOOK It is $25 per person, and you can book online at You can read the descriptions of the rooms, check times and availability online. If you are booking for a group, you can all pay separately. PLAYERS The ideal age to participate in an escape room is teen to adult. Southern Escape is perfect for: • Date Night • Birthdays • Graduation Parties • Friends • Teens/Youth Groups • Team Building

Basically any group of people that want to have a good time while working together would enjoy this activity! The escape rooms are even available during the week by appointment for corporate team building. GIFT VOUCHERS With Mother’s Day and graduation season fast approaching, Southern Escape is the perfect place to buy a gift for your mom or favorite grad. They offer vouchers that recipients can redeem and enjoy a fun night out! They can be purchased online or picked up in person. Southern Escape Room has become quite the hit with locals for something new and exciting to do on the weekend. They have even added a new room – The Mystery Mansion, where players are tasked with solving a murder and escaping before police arrive. Be sure to like their Facebook and Instagram page to stay up to date with the latest news and look for pictures of your friends to see if they ESCAPED!


Landscaping and Lawn Experts

NorthPro Landscaping and Lawn Care North Louisiana’s Property Preservation Professionals


INCE 2001, NORHTPRO Landscaping and Lawn Care has been serving the northeast Louisiana area and striving to keep their customers happy. Owner Tommy Neck has expanded his business to include multiple crews, full-time office staff and currently serves customers all over northeast Louisiana. No job is too big or too small for NorthPro, whether you are looking for help with design or maintenance. North Louisiana residents agree, as NorthPro has been voted Best Landscaping and Lawn Care service of the Delta over the past few years. NorthPro Landscaping and Lawn Care North Louisiana’s property preservation professionals. NorthPro Landscaping and Lawncare is one of the leading full-service landscaping companies in the Monroe/West Monroe area. Our services include landscape design,


landscape maintenance, lawn care, hardscapes, water features, outdoor lighting and debris removal. We have experienced landscapers and guarantee clean, prompt and reliable service. At the age of sixteen Tommy began mowing lawns for extra money. By the time he was out of high school, he had employees to help him maintain his large customer base. Tommy has a landscape horticulture license (#3747) and an irrigator contractor license (#0442). Now a family man with a wife and three boys, he balances his work life, with his family life working hard to promote his business and spend time with his kids. Tommy’s creativity and business sense are assets in his thriving business. He manages NorthPro Landscaping and Lawn Care while keeping the same core values that the business was founded upon – clean, prompt,

reliable service the first time and every time after that. “We started with a large empty yard and not much else. Tommy Neck and the crew at NorthPro helped us develop a plan to turn our blank yard into a beautiful outdoor retreat full of inviting places to relax, play and even birdwatch! Our yard now has several interesting shady spaces we use every day. His creative mix of flowers, trees, shrubs and hardscapes transformed the way we spend our time outdoors. His crew was always professional, on time and kept us up to date with the project. Tommy called several times to inform me of the progress and ask my preferences on plants and colors. The hardscape he designed turned out better than I imagined, and the budget was exactly what he estimated. Now that the project is complete, we spend more time outside than we ever have before. I get compliments on my yard at least once a week! It’s like we added on to our home, because we have so much more useful space outside. Thank you, Tommy Neck and your crew, for making our yard nicer than we dreamed it could be!” – Rebecca Frye

The Parlor House Be a Part of the Buzz!


HE PARLOR HOUSE HAS BEEN the talk of the town since their inception in 2015, and this is just a taste of what their clients had to say: “The Parlor House is my ultimate place to relax and escape. The atmosphere is bubbly and busy. You feel that everyone loves what they do and it’s reflected in their work. Whether I want a manicure and pedicure, or a fresh new color and cut, the girls always keep me current, and the conversation never lacks! The women at The Parlor House are not only artists; they’re strong businessminded women who foster a warm comradery between everyone who walks through their doors. I’ve lived everywhere from Miami to New York City, and I can tell you that this salon feels like it could be nestled in the most chic and funky neighborhood of a big city. My time spent at The Parlor House is truly a oneof-a-kind experience every time I go.” — Kathy Marhsall

“Take it from me, a gal who appreciates the value of someone taking good care of your hair and feeling completely comfortable at the salon where you are doing business. The Parlor House sets the bar high and provides both to anyone who walks through the doors! Katie Anzalone and her team are experts at innovative, modern or simple (whatever works for you – yes, they do that too, work WITH you on what works BEST for you), noteworthy, step out of your box, creative, make you feel beautiful hair design. Besides all that, you walk into a no judgment, relaxed, fun, caring environment where you never feel like another customer but like family! Go check them out, I promise they do not disappoint! Mad love for these WOMEN!” — Megan Jefcoat “I LOVE The Parlor House! Between the atmosphere and the amazing staff, they are sure to have you taken care of. This place is

truly one-of-a-kind, where everyone makes you feel right at home and like you’ve known them your whole life. Their style is so modern with the perfect mix of classic, and you can feel it as soon as you walk in. Whatever I think up, they are sure to please, and I can always count on feeling like perfection - regardless of what I have done! Who doesn’t want that? I’ve come to the conclusion that The Parlor House is literally changing the hair in our area one head at a time. You should definitely go see what you’re missing, if you have yet to stop by!” — Stephanie Lasuzzo “As a musician who travels and performs a lot, it is important my hair always looks great. I love being able to schedule my appointments in advance online. Katie and her team at Parlor House have always done an incredible job. They take the time and pay attention to detail. I must also mention the Parlor House has a great atmosphere and vibe that is fun.” — Dr. Aaron Witek (Professional musician and professor) “Katie Anzalone has transformed my hair. It looks healthier and shinier than it has ever looked. She is a master at color and styling. Parlor House is a full-service salon, and everyone there is friendly and highly skilled. They are simply the best!” — Joni Noble







hen looking for a place to call home, local attorney Robert Knight had searched for the right combination of a get away that was close enough to his essential pieces of the world. Work in Monroe and church in Sterlington were his starting points, and he had contemplated building versus buying while working with realtor Dustin James. A fortuitous foray into Egret Landing near CenturyLink to check out the subdivisions’s first completed house sealed the deal. “When I first saw the home, the area and its location immediately drew me in,” says Knight. “You feel like you are out in the middle of the country in a sanctuary. I lived in Egret Landing for eight or nine months before anyone else moved in. Deer, ducks and geese were my first neighbors.” WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | MAY 2017 159


he Acadian French-style home, designed and built by Nicky Kellick, captivated the attorney with its interesting features such as large reclaimed beams and columns sourced from south Louisiana and a kitchen that reminded the homeowner of large family gatherings spent cooking and sharing fellowship with loved ones. Known for his impeccable style, the homeowner looked to designers Sherri Mowad and Taylor Bennett to help create and style interiors that reflect his personality. “I have a different style. I like stone and metal with a touch of masculine Old Hollywood glamour,” says Knight. Bennett adds that Knight’s style is sophisticated and modern. With incredible flair, the designers were able to blend those concepts with a more traditional style home. The open floor plan home opens into a welcoming foyer framed by large


cypress beams. A large abstract canvas painted by Lissy Compton rests atop a painted console. To the right of the front door, the dining area is defined by a geometric rug in shades of grey and cream. An industrial chic vibe is created by the wooden topped dining table with rustic iron pipe as a base. Armless dining chairs upholstered in a whiskey-hued leather contribute to the men’s lounge feel of the space. A curvy iron and carved wood chandelier illuminates the space. In the living room, a distressed grey leather sofa with masculine nailhead trim, sourced from Walsworth & Company, anchors a comfortable conversational area. Two arm chairs upholstered in a graphic print with small Mongolian lamb throws and gold metal stools upholstered in a smoky gray tufted leather, found at Paul Michael, provide additional seating. A brick fireplace wall provides a focal point for the room and features a substantial, distressed white-washed mantle.




large pass thru opening bordered with reclaimed beams reveals the home’s kitchen and keeping room. Floors are a Versailles patterned stone. The vaulted ceiling in the kitchen is covered in a rich stained wood. A large central island features an undermount prep sink and ample storage. A stacked stone backsplash adds warmth and depth to the airy kitchen. The breakfast area is delineated by a large cowhide. A round iron tulip table and dark brown leather chairs were sourced from Paul Michael Company. A marble bowl is filled with fresh artichokes. A brick fireplace wall at the far end of the keeping room features a cypress mantle and large screen television. Beneath two mixed media paintings by Lissy Compton, Bennett stationed a long iron and wood console to act as a bar. Knight’s passion for fine whiskeys and cigars is reflected in his offerings. Knight, a cigar enthusiast and regular at Governors, has his own personal humidor, a Parisian find, stocked with his favorites. The walls of the master bedroom are painted the color of a fine wool suit. The tall upholstered bed with nailhead trim, side tables and bench were found at Sleepy Hollow Furniture. Says Bennett, “I love using two different tables on each side of the bed. I always try to use things that speak of the individual on the nightstand. I try not to style them out too much, just make them usable with pretty objects.” The vintage Trumeau mirror was a Paul Michael find. The en suite master bathroom features an oval jetted tub with a granite surround and a glass walled shower tiled in travertine in a Versailles pattern. Double vanities are topped in granite. Substantial mirrors and oil rubbed bronze sconces add to the luxe feel. Said Bennett of his time working with Knight on the project, “My favorite part is getting to know my client. I love getting to know what his needs were, what his dreams for the space were and how I could make them a reality. It’s more than creating a pretty space. It’s creating a place that he wants to come home to after a hectic day at the office.” WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | MAY 2017 163

Miss Louisiana Pageant 2017 Pageant to be Held June 22-24


HE 2017 MISS LOUISIANA Pageant and 54th Crowning in Monroe will be held June 22-24. This year, the Miss Louisiana Organization will make available over $350,000 in cash and in-kind scholarships and will award over $63,000 in cash scholarships at the pageant. “We are very excited to provide each contestant at this year’s pageant with a minimum of $500 in scholarships, and many will walk away with several thousand dollars to go toward their education,” stated Dewana Little, Executive Director. “Miss Louisiana 2017 will win a $10,000 scholarship, as well as an award package worth much more.” The Miss Louisiana Organization exists to provide scholarship assistance for young women, enabling them to further their education while encouraging and empowering them to promote their


personal and professional platforms through community service. The Miss Louisiana Organization is part of the Miss America Organization which is the largest provider of scholarships for women in the world, making available millions of dollars in scholarships annually. “The scholarships I’ve earned through the Miss Louisiana Organization have not only allowed me to graduate from Vanderbilt University without debt, but they have paid for my medical school applications and will continue to fund my studies as I pursue a medical degree at the Tulane School of Medicine. I cannot speak more highly of the Miss Louisiana Organization and the incredible opportunities they provide to young women across the state! I am beyond grateful to be a part of this program!” – Justine Ker, Miss Louisiana 2016

“We always remember the young ladies who were fortunate enough to win the title of Miss Louisiana and the scholarships that they were awarded, but what is even more impressive are the thousands of young ladies who have participated in the Miss Louisiana Organization over the years and the scholarships they were blessed to win. Many of them finished college debt free because of the scholarships earned through the Miss Louisiana Organization. Many are now doctors, lawyers, teachers, philanthropists, lobbyists, politicians, nurses and the list goes on. We are grateful for the sponsors and donors who continue to help us help young ladies have the opportunity to attend college and be successful in life.” – Dewana Little, Executive Director.

For the Home and Garden

Parterre Has the Perfect Mother’s Day Gift and More


OU KNOW WHEN IT’S SPRING at Parterre, not by the beautiful plants, but by the stack of boxes on the street! Arriving every day is something new and exciting. For Mother’s Day, Parterre is having a one day trunk show of the luxurious Julie Vos jewelry. Megan Riddle, Julie Vos sales representative, will be on-site to preview the new 2017 Spring collection. The pieces are made of semi-precious stone, pearl and imported glass, hand set in 24 karat gold plate over nickel-free brass. New York based designer, Julie Vos is the woman behind her namesake…a jewelry brand classically inspired and richly luxurious, earning her a devoted following. In addition to this fabulous jewelry line, Parterre is the “go -to” place for huge, white Phalaenopsis orchids. These orchids

are shipped on refrigerated trucks from south Florida and transported with the care and handling that orchids require. Plus, our fiddle leaf fig trees and Bird of Paradise plants as seen in Veranda, House Beautiful and Traditional Home are perfect for completing your interior design project. Ferns, English ivy and succulents can also be custom planted in a unique containers. If you’d like, bring in one of your containers from home and we will plant it for a special “one-of-a-kind” gift. Our concrete collection of fountains, tables and consoles are perfect for outdoor cook areas or patios. Stone dining tables are very attractive and durable in the weather and will last for years. The tables and consoles come in several shapes, sizes and colors. They can be custom ordered to your specific request. Many fountains recycle the

water so all that’s required is an electrical outlet for the pump. Our reproduction oil jars and biot jars complement any porch or patio area. Searching for that special gift for Mom? Come in and take a look at the huge selection of coffee table gardening and design books. Lafco and Aquiesse candles are a great gift for the mom who has it all. Many of our customers burn them all the time for a “signature” household scent. Stop by soon to see what’s new at Parterre. We never stop changing and are always surprising our customers. TuesdaySaturday. 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.


Railroad Makers and Music Festival Ruston’s Inaugural Railroad Makers and Music Festival kicked off on the morning of Saturday, April 8, downtown. Previously known as the Maker’s Fair, the added music lineup transformed the event into a whole day affair, giving patrons the opportunity to listen to great local artists while shopping for works made by great local artists! Joshua Mitchell, founder of the Maker’s Fair and Railroad Fest wanted to create a celebration of culture and arts of the region. Everything from alternative to indie and rock and roll music was performed, as over 100 artists showcased handmade jewelry, woodwork, apparel, art and more.





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On the BayouScene 1 Makaylin Lewis and Sydney Post 2 Lauren Blackwell and Anna Fuller 3 Hillary Husband and John Pickering 4 Michelle Long, Haidyn Long and David Long 5 Zaccai Ruffin, Zavier Jones and Nina Felton 6 Taylor Skapura and Anna Lowery 7 Megan and Jay Reitzell 8 Kara Lowery and Chris Johnson 9 Amanda Thurmon and Heather Evans 10 Rebecca Lewis and Mollie 11 G  eorgia, Andrew, Melanie and Sydney Moffett 12 Andrew, Cully and Ashley Hubenthal 13 DJ McKinney and Jasmine White



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You’ve Found the Perfect Home! What’s Next? North Delta Title Company Can Help With Closing Services and More


ONGRATULATIONS! YOU HAVE found your dream home! What’s next? The closing! At North Delta Title Company, we have been helping clients purchase their new homes for over 23 years and have closed over 25,000 transactions. Our goal is to make this process run smoothly and be as stress free as possible. The closing is the time when the sellers and buyers sign the paperwork necessary to complete the sale and takes place at our office at 1100 North 19th Street in Monroe.

What will you need to bring with you? In order to close on your new home, you will need to bring a current driver’s license or other form of government ID and your down payment in certified funds. Either your lender or someone with our office will tell you the exact amount to bring to closing and you should have plenty of advance notice. Who will be present at the closing and what

if you cannot attend the closing? The sellers, buyers, realtors, one of our three attorneys and possibly the lender will attend the closing. If you are unable to attend closing, there are several options. Our office can prepare a Power of Attorney which will allow you to appoint someone to sign on your behalf and make sure the Power of Attorney is approved by your lender. Another option is a “mail away” closing. In this instance, one of our title processors will email you the documents to be signed. You can then print the documents, sign, and send the documents back to our office. You will need to sign the documents in the presence of a notary public and two witnesses, so keep this in mind if choosing this option. What will happen at the closing? Each closing will begin with a thorough review of the closing documents to be sure that all parties are in agreement and clear with the financial end of the transaction.

When the dollars are approved, we will sign the documents that require both the buyer’s and seller’s signatures. The attorney will then disburse the funds to the seller and the seller will leave the closing. If you are borrowing money from a lender, the attorney will then walk you through signing your loan documents and explain any questions you may have. Buying a new home is one of the most important transactions of your life, so this is the time to ask questions. You should leave the closing fully understanding your obligations to the lender. We hope you select North Delta Title Company for all of your closing needs. We are happy to answer any questions you may have about this process, and can be reached at 318.387.1100 or by email at asawyer@ We look forward to helping make your dream of home ownership a reality!


Linda Lavender School of Dance Summer Dance Program and More!


T’S RECITAL TIME AND OUR dancers are busy preparing our version of the “Greatest Show on Earth!” Join us Friday, May 19 and Saturday, May 20 as we present “Welcome To Our Dancing Circus” at the Monroe Civic Center Theatre. Great music, beautiful costumes, fun circus acts and incredible dancers will make an unforgettable Recital 2017. Next on our agenda will be our annual six-­week Summer Dance Program with something for everyone, age three and up! This year’s summer program will begin on June 6th. New, former and returning students are sure to find a class that fits their style. New this summer by popular demand is our Hip Hop ‘N Roll class for ages 5-­7. We’re also adding Hip Hop for adults with Melissa Harkness Holton, former LLSD dancer and LSU Tiger Girl, teaching the class!


These new classes are in addition to Hip Hop for ages 8-­10, as well as ballet, tap, tumbling, pre-­jazz and jazz classes suitable for all ages. We strongly recommend summer classes as a very important part of your child’s dance training. These classes allow a dancer to continue to develop the solid technique required as they advance in their levels of dance. For a complete list of summer classes and registration information, visit For over fifty years, the staff at LLSD has nurtured this passion and worked tirelessly to instill the love of dance in the lives of each of our students. Dance provides a life enhancing experience and is a wonderful outlet that not only utilizes creativity and talent, but also teaches discipline. At Linda Lavender School of Dance, we are committed to providing

a positive and productive learning environment, and most importantly, creating an atmosphere that provides a joyful experience. Congratulations to our competition dancers who competed at Louisiana Dance Magic in Baton Rouge in March. It was a super weekend with some of the finest teachers and choreographers sharing their talents and teaching skills. Our LLSD dancers were AMAZING and we are so very proud of the many accolades they received. For more information on our studio and classes we offer, visit us online at We’ll be happy to help with recommendations for the right class for your child. Give us a call at 325-­7179 or 361-­0391. We would love to have you join our dance family.

Palette House Home • Art • Design


T IS WITH PLEASURE AND PRIDE that I officially introduce Palette House to Monroe, Louisiana. Having grown up around a family filled with artists and creative people, I was intrigued by colors and design at an early age. Watching my grandfather mix colors and bring blank canvases to life fascinated and instilled in me a love of color and art. It would become a natural progression for me to major and graduate in interior design. For the past twenty years, I have worked in various areas of the field. My apprenticeship began under the guidance of local interior designer Terri Kyser Trichel, who taught me many things about interior design. My career then moved me to Austin, Texas, where I was hired to manage Central Homegoods, which was a new business in downtown Austin owned by Richard and Heidi Adams. He worked at ABC Carpet and Home of New York, and Heidi was a former editor for Victoria magazine. It was a new and exciting

world of working with customers such as the Dixie Chicks, Sandra Bullock, and the former first lady, Laura Bush. At this point in my life, it became clear to me that this was more than a job, it was a dream in its infancy, but one that I would work hard to make become a reality. It became clear that I wanted to share my passion and vision in helping others create a home of their dreams.      After Austin, I moved back home to Monroe to manage Inside Indigo. This is one of my most treasured times in my career, not only because it spanned thirteen years, but because I had the opportunity to use my design skills as well as learn so much about the retail world, from my mentor and friend, Tish Miller. Working alongside Tish helped me to develop a true understanding of meeting the customer’s design needs, while developing true and lasting relationships with my customers that still exist today.      After leaving Inside Indigo, I changed

directions and took ownership of my career, as a designer and an artist. For the past ten years, I have been working in interior design where I have enjoyed the pleasure of meeting and working with clients, business owners, architects and contractors. Each individual client is unique, and the challenge lies in creating and bringing the client’s vision to fulfillment. The diversity of decorating a client’s home or business offers me the opportunity to create a design palette that is tailored to an individual client’s tastes and ideas. I am excited to introduce to Monroe an outstanding upholstery line, Lee Industries. It is one of the top upholstery lines in the country that provides sophistication and comfort while offering a wide range of fabrics and frames. Palette House will also offer lighting, rugs, mirrors, home décor and original art. Design services will be offered to those customers building a home, renovating, or just freshening your existing décor. Palette House welcomes the opportunity to fulfill your design needs or simply consult with you to create your vision for your dream home. Stop by today and see what Palette House offers you and your home.

Margaret Moses


BAYOU BUZZWORTHY KENDRA SCOTT On Thursday, April 13, HerringStone’s and Louisiana Purchases hosted a joint Kendra Scott Trunk Show. Debbie Herrington, owner of HerringStone’s, had the latest earrings, necklaces and bracelets from the popular designer while Emily Lane, owner of Louisiana Purchases, debuted the new Kendra Scott Home Line. This included beautiful picture frames, jewelry boxes and trays. The ladies welcomed shoppers with light snacks and refreshments as they browsed the collections.


PALETTE HOUSE Margaret Moses had a soft opening of her newest venture – The Palette House, on Thursday, April 6. The home, art and design studio is located on North Third Street in Monroe. The shop offers lighting, upholstery, rugs, mirrors, home décor and original art. Margaret also offers her design services to customers building, renovating or just freshening up a space. Friends and family enjoyed drinks and hors d’oeuvres celebrated this new venture!

Five Sallie Humble fourth graders wanted to put their talents to work for a good cause. That’s when Mallorie Jones, Ivy Stephenson, Georgia Harvey, Emma Moses and Sarah Jane Deal founded the “Friendly Friends Club.” Known as the “FFC” for short, the club’s goal became raising money for St Jude’s.  They designed, produced, promoted and sold their own line of products, including Christmas ornaments called “tree charmers,” bookmarks called “page placers,” pony tail holders called  “ties of love,” and scarves called “snug bugs.”  There were also handmade necklaces and other specialty items like headbands and pencils.  Although the girls only charged pocket change for their creations, the FFC managed to raise $50.00 for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. It became clear to their parents that they had some future designers, marketers, and maybe even some CEOs on their hands!. Look out for these go-getters with big hearts to make a difference in our community in the future.

BONE MARROW DRIVE A community-wide bone marrow drive in honor of James Christopher and Elizabeth Allums will be held on Monday, May 1st at multiple locations throughout the Twin Cities, as well as Ruston. Both James Christopher and Elizabeth suffer from Fanconi Anemia, a rare condition that causes bone marrow failure. Swab kits will be available at each testing site, along with refreshments. For a complelte list of testing sites, visit


THE NEXT FOOD NETWORK STAR Tune in to The Next Food Network Star premiering on June 4 to see Monroe’s own Cory Bahr compete in the cookoff competition. Will he have what it takes? Set your DVR now so you don’t miss what mentor-judge duo Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis dish out for Cory and the other eleven finalists!

Europe’s Finest is Our Passion

Traditions Antiques Has Many Treasures Arriving Soon


OR OVER 25 YEARS, PAM WOOD and Melanie Liles have been making twice-yearly trips overseas in search of Europe’s finest antique furniture, lighting, paintings, mirrors and decorative accessories to fill their iconic store, Traditions Antiques. Located on West Monroe’s Antique Alley, Traditions is stocked with the trappings of European luxury. The intrepid antique hunting duo’s most recent trip took them all over Belgium, Holland, England and Wales where they explored Thornbury Castle, dined at Sally Lunn, sipped afternoon tea at Kensington Palace and found hidden gems as they traveled the countryside’s remote pig trails. After traveling together for so many years, Pam and Melanie know exactly where to go, and their itinerary is proof of their expertise. “When they see us coming, they usually say ‘Here come the Americans!’” says Melanie. “Most of our vendors and contacts will pull

things in advance specifically for us, because they know after all these year what we like.” This familiarity is what helps them navigate their way through private homes, back roads, stables and fairs that most travelers would not be able to find. One such stop on their trip led them to the Belgium backgrounds, where they found themselves at a “little jewel box” of a home chock-full of gorgeous Earthenware and beautiful crested silver mirrors.  Along with these superior finds, Melanie and Pam also purchased benches for farm tables, as well as an exquisite Chesterfield sofa and two leather club chairs. This upcoming shipment will also see a variety of wooden teak trunks or Colonial trunks.  Unusual finds like a whey table, originally fabricated for use in cheesemaking with a spout at the end, find modern-day use as the perfect buffet or sofa table as it is long and narrow. Sought-after vintage Louis Vuitton luggage, at the hands of Traditions, undergoes

metamorphosis with the addition of a wooden base to become an eclectic coffee table or end table. Statement pieces abound throughout Traditions’ collection, such as a special hand-painted child’s chest with tin soldiers and dolls that would be an heirloom for generations to come or a painted wedding cabinet, which was originally given to bride when she married in Europe, circa 1854. Decorative objects and artwork are among the most coveted pieces to be found at Traditions. On this past visit to Europe, the store owners did not disappoint in their selection of exquisite offerings to add the icing on the cake to your home. Melanie recounts that religious architectural pieces and an old French cross are must-see objects when the European container arrives. In addition, the duo sources gorgeous blue and white platters, as well as oyster plates and English writing boxes. For the walls, you’ll find European CONTINUED ON PAGE177






Article By Maré Brennan & Photography by Martin G Meyers

f golfing for a great cause sounds like a winner, then get your team together for next year’s event because this year’s tournament on Friday, April 28th at Bayou Desiard Country Club is sold out. For the third year in a row, the St. Francis Foundation Annual Golf Classic is once again presented by What You Give Will Grow, the foundation started by New Orleans Saints punter Thomas Morstead and his wife, Lauren. The night prior to the tournament, a reception for sponsors, teams and donors is held at the home of Dr. and Mrs. Rolf Morstead which includes cocktails, hors d’oeuvres,



~ Thomas Morstead

live music and a silent auction. Proceeds from the reception and Golf Classic will go toward the St. Francis Foundation’s mission to care for those most in a need with a focus on strengthening the overall health and wellness of those throughout our region. This year St. Francis Foundation donations will benefit the women and children the hospital serves. According to Thomas Morstead, the mission of the foundation he and his wife founded dovetails completely with that of the St. Francis Foundation, making the foundations’ pairing a win-win for the community and the women and children who will benefit from the technology and services that will be funded by this and future fundraisers. “We are proud to continue the tradition of raising funds for the St. Francis Foundation,” says the pro player with the big heart to serve. “It’s a privilege to be able to give back.” Morstead’s involvement with St. Francis Foundation through his own What You Give Will Grow foundation has given an even bigger presence to the annual tournament. The mission of Morstead’s foundation is to improve the lives of those in need through support of local causes and organizations in the New Orleans and Gulf South communities, with a strong focus on children’s charities and cancer initiatives. The Morsteads hope to inspire others to join them in spreading a spirit of giving, because giving back at any level makes a difference! While Morstead is in town, he plans to speak to area junior high and high school students, emphasizing the need to make academics, not extra-curricular commitments a priority. His own story began as a scholar, winning an academic scholarship to Southern Methodist University, where he walked on as a kicker for their football team. Drafted to the NFL by the New Orleans Saints, Mor-

stead has continued to pursue excellence on and off the field through his charitable works for women and children. Generous sponsorships and donations to St. Francis Foundation will allow students in areas of need to access quality healthcare options at a school-based health clinic, which is located at Carroll Junior High School. Funds raised will also go toward purchasing a 3-D Tomography mammogram machine made by Hologic for the Kitty DeGree Breast Health Center and to maintaining the highest level of care given at St. Francis’ Level III OB/Labor and Delivery and Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), along with supporting the pediatric partnership with Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital (OLOLCH). Every week, specialists in neonatology and pediatrics from OLOLCH take up residency at St. Francis in Monroe to care for our area’s patients in need. In addition, a dedicated transport team for pediatric patients and their parents allows for the kind of care you’d expect when the tiniest patients need to travel to Baton Rouge for even more intensive treatment at OLOLCH. President of the St. Francis Foundation, Aimee Kane, says, “Our goal is to ensure that the mission of the hospital is carried out, whether it’s the latest diagnostic and advanced technology, maintaining our designation as a Level III NICU and Level III OB/L&D, or assisting children through services at our school-based clinic at Carroll Junior High. Decreased reimbursements continue to be an uphill battle for us. That’s where the Foundation steps in to help St. Francis Medical Center continue to prove a higher level of care to our community. It’s not about making money. It’s about caring for people.”

DR. AMBER SHEMWELL, a practicing obstetrician and gynecologist, has been at The Woman’s Clinic since July 2008 and proudly serves on the St. Francis Foundation Board of Directors. “The Foundation is important because we’ve made services for women and children our main fundraising priority. I’m passionate about the 3-D mammography because it directly impacts my job and my patients as it enables patients to be diagnosed on imaging very early, before cancer is palpable. In addition, this new technology will reduce the need for unnecessary biopsies and decrease the scare factor that comes from having to do additional tests.” Shemwell adds that her work with the Foundation is deeply connected with her job and is a way to help and give back to the community.



Radiologist Dr. John Davis describes the new technology of digital breast tomosynthesis as a game changer. “We have digital mammography now, but this technology allows us to evaluate dense breasts better by taking multiple digital ‘slices’ or pictures then synthesizing them to give us better cancer detection rates.” Because dense breasts have a slightly higher rate of breast cancer, improving detection with a better visual will result in fewer call backs, less anxiety for patients and a decrease in costs. This new innovation in digital mammography will give radiologist a new tool in the fight against breast cancer, allowing them to see micro-calcifications and giving patients very early detection. In his 19 years as a radiologist at St. Francis, Davis says technology has changed rapidly and credits the St. Francis Foundation for helping to keep state of the art diagnostic technology a priority for our area’s healthcare. The new 3-D Tomography will be located at the St. Francis Community Health Center on Tower Drive in Monroe. WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | MAY 2017 173

Pam Bratton, APRN, BSN - manager of the Kitty Degree Breast Health Center. The addition of 3-D Tomography mammograms at the Kitty Degree Breast Health Center should help relieve fears when a patient’s breast tissue is dense, especially. “We try to reach out to the community through our walk-in services for mammograms, bringing the barriers down so that we get earlier detection,” says Bratton. Both Bratton and Davis stress the importance of the St. Francis Foundation and thank people in our community for supporting the hospital and its vital services. “Technology that is great is very expensive,” explains Davis. “We take care of a lot of people in our region, many who can’t pay and we need to stay at the forefront of technology. The St. Francis Foundation steps in and bridges the gap.”



tour of the St. Francis Level III NICU on any given day is like a nail-biting, gut-wrenching, fourth quarter goal line stand. The team of dedicated NICU skilled nurses, five neonatal nurse practitioners, respiratory therapists, case managers, lactation consultants along with physical and occupational therapists and an inhouse pediatric pharmacy, are led by formidable captains, neonatologists Dr. Marc de Soler and Dr. Carmen Payne, who are well trained in the art of keeping babies the size of your hand alive and helping them get on their feet after a difficult entry into the world. The NICU opened in 1978 under the leadership of Dr. Terry King, Pediatric Cardiologist. Dr. de Soler has been with St. Francis NICU since 1989, building it’s capacity from only 4 beds to its present size of 35 beds. As a Level III NICU, St. Francis Medical Center is designated to do everything for these tiny patients, including neurosurgery in house. The NICU can accommodate up to 35 very sick babies, and the average number of babies tends to stay around 25 babies. As the only Level III NICU in northeast Louisiana, patients are transported in from University Health, Glenwood, Ruston, Bastrop and as far as Minden, Natchez, MS and Arkansas. Transportation of critically ill newborns is expensive and dangerous as the slightest bump or disruption can result in undue stress on such a delicate and sensitive patient. The isolets used to transport these babies can cost upwards of $100,000. Luckily, St. Francis is affiliated with Baton Rouge’s Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital who maintains a Level IV transport team to transfer extremely sick babies to their facility.




he St. Francis NICU underwent a renovation around seven years ago, but the desire to improve the level of care never wavers. Babies are separated on the NICU hall according to their level of needs with the sickest of the babies on the left side of the unit. Dr. Marc de Soler explains in a perfect world he would build a big NICU with private rooms for the sickest of babies. “When a baby this tiny is really sick, anything can rattle them as they are extremely sensitive to stimulation. A tiny baby needs lots of space and anything that can trigger a change in their blood pressure can potentially cause a brain bleed,” he explains. Pointing to what he calls the “Cadillac of isolets,” de Soler says the technology is essential to keeping very sick babies in optimum surroundings. These $40-50,000 machines are literally lifesavers, providing humidified air, open from the top for ease of access to the patient and help minimize over stimulation from noise. The golf tournament and fundraiser for St. Francis Foundation will help fund new technology and imDR. JOHN DAVIS provements for the St. Francis NICU, including new bilirubin lights and transcutaneous CO2 monitoring. Dr. de Soler explains that unchecked high levels of bilirubin can go to a newborn’s brain and create irreversible damage, such as learning and hearing defects. With even the tiniest of babies, the treatment can be as simple as time spent under bililights or atop biliblankets, which cost around $5,000 each. “Lights are the medicine,” says de Soler, “and the new LED lights are the best.” What NICU doctors do not want to do is to have to replace a preemie’s blood completely, which is an aggressive treatment to prevent brain damage from occurring from severe jaundice. Premature, sick babies often have multiple kinds of monitoring systems, as their caregivers need to have a way to monitor oxygenation of their blood. Transcutaneous CO2 monitoring eliminates the need for arterial lines into these tiny babies, which can lead to an increased chance for infection. This innovative and ultimately life and cost saving technology initially costs around $12-13,000 for each device. Says Dr. de Soler, “You can only put arterial lines in so many places on these babies. We welcome any technology that is less invasive and creates less chance for infection. We need at least five transcutaneous CO2 monitors for the NICU, which will be on our wish-list for the St. Francis Foundation next year.” “The Foundation supports the work we do here in the NICU 100 percent,” says de Soler. “Having a Level III NICU in our community is critical. Sick babies need to be treated on the spot, right away.


Having to transfer a very sick baby from another facility puts the baby at an increased risk with a negative impact on mortality rates. The movement and noise during transfer can put a baby at risk for bleeds and complications. If we didn’t have the NICU here we would have to transport babies over 100 miles away, resulting in delay of care with the further result of less positive outcomes.” The doctor adds that premature, sick babies create social, economic and emotional hardships on families and in turn our communities. When babies are transported out of the community, the toll on the family is immeasurable, as families are unable to bond with their baby, especially if the family is economically disadvantaged and cannot travel or afford to leave work to be with their baby. Giving to the St. Francis Foundation has a direct impact for parents, babies and our community, says de Soler. The average cost per day in the NICU is $5,000, and medicine for babies is so expensive, he adds. “It is important for these very sick babies to be with their families and having a Level III NICU in our community makes that possible.” Jodi Phillips, RN - NICU Manager, reiterates that “the smaller the baby, the bigger the equipment.” And with that comes more expensive equipment. Each Giraffe incubator costs around $40,000. During the tour she points to incubators which have served the NICU for over 20 years, some of which were donated by grateful parents whose babies made their journey through the NICU. “Most last a really long time. We repair what we can, but some get to the point that we can’t find parts for them anymore,” she adds. “We get a lot of help from the community with donations from great partners like Threads of Love, which supply us with things like handmade WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | MAY 2017 175


baby positioners and gel BROOKE pillow covers or from inBROWN-GIX dividuals like Cathy Cameron, who has made and donated over 21 baby blankets.” With a tiny pink bunny-eared knit cap warming her little head, Nora Greene, the tiny daughter of Angel and Adam Greene, is set to make the journey home the day we visited the NICU. Weighing only 1 pound 7 ounces at birth, Nora made her entrance at 27 weeks and has spent the last two months with the team at St. Francis NICU. A minuscule but mighty fighter, de Soler says that although she could fit in the palm of his hand, she was one of the lucky ones who arrived very mature. “She was a peanut,” he exclaims with wonder and acknowledgement of the miracles that happen every day in the St. Francis NICU. The Shirley triplets, daughters of Megan and John Shirley of Ruston, are celebrating six months since their birth at St. Francis. Born at 28 weeks, the triplets, Evie Rose, Olivia Diane and Henley Marie, spent two months at the Level III NICU. Because of the higher risk for triplets, says Megan, “We knew our babies had to be born at St. Francis, and that we were in the right place. Overall it is such an excellent facility. The NICU team saved my Emmy Rose’s life twice.” Adds John, “I don’t think a parent ever wants to be in the NICU, but they take you in like you’re a part of their family. You can see how much they care about all the babies. It’s a tight knit group in the NICU. I just think we are blessed to have this facility and such good doctors and nurses so close to home.” Adds the triplets’ mom, “I can’t wait to go back and visit with the nurses. We are very thankful for St. Francis, their NICU team and the power of prayer.”


Brooke Brown-Gix is a fierce advocate for children at economic risk through her role as the manager for the St. Francis Clinic located at Carroll Junior High School. “The Foundation is a lifesaver, providing help with staffing the clinic with a collaborating physician, a nurse practitioner, a licensed clinical social worker and two Registered Nurses. Oftentimes, the St. Francis Clinic is the only healthcare option these children have. We provide just about everything from stitches to medications so they don’t have to leave school. Teachers love us because we’ve proven to be able to decrease in absenteeism and truancy because of our healthier student body,” says Brown-Gix. Barriers to healthcare for children served can include transportation issues, unconventional family dynamics and economics. The Carroll school-based clinic provides immunizations, physicals which are complete, comprehensive and screen for hearing and vision issues, heart murmurs, a mental assessment and will include referrals if the nurse practitioners wants to follow up on something discovered in the physical. Brown-Gix adds, “Thomas Morstead’s Foundation is like us, focused on helping children. He believes and understands in the importance of building up our communities. Through our schoolbased clinic we have discovered instances of diabetes, sickle cell trait, heart murmurs and undiagnosed asthma in our student population over the past ten years.” The St. Francis Clinic within Carroll Junior High serves all of Monroe City Schools’ children. The goal of the clinic is not to take the place of one’s primary care physician, but to serve as an adjunct. One of the goals of the St. Francis Foundation is to bring the “The Spirit of Healing,” a Mobile Health Unit into service as an outreach of the school-based clinic to offer physicals, health screenings and immunizations throughout the Monroe City School system. “One of the most rewarding aspects of the school-based clinic,” says Brown-Gix, “is when students come back and tell us how much we’ve helped them achieve their goals.” The clinic is a safe place for kids to learn about how to take care of themselves as well. “Our hands are full, but we want to share the gift of health and well-being with these children.” The mental health piece of the school-based health center becomes a part of their education. Through the “Student Champions” program, the clinic is able to feed proper information to students, emphasizing the need to take personal responsibility for your body and your health. Says Brown-Gix, “The impact stays with these children for the rest of their lives. Our ultimate goal is to keep kids in school.” She adds that a secondary goal is to teach educators and coaches to look for cues like sleepiness or disruptive behaviors and have the student be seen at the clinic to help ward off any potential long range problems that could impede a student’s progress. She adds that whenever Thomas Morstead is in town, his visits to schools are invaluable. “The kids really listen to what Thomas has to say about staying in school, getting your education and staying on track for success. Staying healthy is a big part of that.”


Foundation president Aimee Kane notes that those who wish to give to the St. Francis Foundation can do so online at and click through to Foundation/Support. Through the ‘Honor Your Caregiver’ program, you can pay tribute with a donation in honor of those who have cared for you or your loved one. Says Kane, “No donation is too small, and there are many ways to help St. Francis carry out its mission, including buying bricks at the new Community Health Center’s Franciscan Path of Peace. The foundation is in its sixth year and was formulated to fulfill the mission of St. Francis Medical Center — caring for those most in need by providing a higher level of care and filling any gaps in services within our community.

SAVORING THE MOMENTS Continued From Page 62 As I work hard to remember every little nuance about the last 19 years, every little joke he told, every little mistake he made, every little hug he gave, I know these moments will sustain our family on those days when we want him to breeze through the kitchen and ask, “what’s for supper” or, “can I have some money to go eat with my friends?” I warned you readers, it’s the mood I’ve been dealt; hence, it’s the column you’ve been dealt, and as I bring it to a close, I would encourage those of you out there with small children (hey, I still have a 5th grader at home, so that includes me, too), to savor every moment, even the difficult parenting moments. It goes by way too fast, and you go from putting your little kindergartener on the bus to snotting all over yourself picking out their senior pictures. I work hard, using the words of this column, to advocate for family bonding, and making special memories when the occasion arises or presents itself. But the truth is,

every day has the opportunity to be a special memory, we have the chance to make every day be memorable, we just have to make the effort, and slow down long enough to make it happen. So, when you see me again next month, I will be the mother of a high school graduate (I know not the first, for those of you who might be inclined to be rolling your eyes just a bit), forging ahead with the next chapter of his life and our lives. But more importantly, I will still be a mother, still looking for that instruction manual to help my son navigate these early adult years (quite frankly, I’m still looking for the “how to” book to navigate middle age, so if anyone has a copy, please loan it out.) Happy May readers, for those of you celebrating “motherhood,” “graduation,” or the fact that this sappy column has come to an end. Next month: herb gardening for dummies. I know you can’t wait!

TRADITIONS ANTIQUES Continued From Page 171 framed botanicals and intricate needlework. The Traditions ladies are quick studies during their stay in Europe, picking up on the latest design trends which will be making their way across the pond. According to the owners, darker woods like mahogany and walnut are making a big come-back, and it won’t be long before we see this trend in the States. Their selections from this trip will have you ahead of the curve. In fact, you won’t want to miss the two, very long mahogany tables which seat ten to twelve people easily. Known for one-of-a-kind lighting options like opulent chandeliers and sconces from bygone eras, Traditions has also found incredible industrial lighting that can bring cool, retro-chic vibes to any space.  The antique hunters have returned, and when their ship comes in, the very best of Europe will have arrived in West Monroe. Don’t miss it! Traditions Antiques is located on Antique Alley at 313 Trenton Street in West Monroe.




aybe you have heard of Marie Kondo and her bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, but in case you have not, let me give you a bit more background. Marie Kondo is a Japanese author who has inspired thousands of people to live a more organized and “tidy” life. Her innovations have even been dubbed the “KonMari Method” and are being followed by those who seek a more organized and joyful life. As a professional organizer, I was drawn to learn more about this method to see if I could use some of Kondo’s ideas to help my clients. After studying her top seven “rules,” I have realized that I agree with her in some ways and disagree with her in others. Below I use over ten years of experience to give my thoughts on the KonMari Method. If you have previously been interested in learning more about how you can get in on the “life-changing magic of tidying up,” I hope this information inspires you to find your own method of getting organized. Rule #1 – Tidy all at once. Kondo believes that once you begin tidying (organizing), momentum takes hold and your mindset begins to change. She believes that staying on the path of organization until the project is complete will prevent you from reverting to previous unorganized habits. The KonMari method states that you should not stop the process of organizing until the job is complete. My Take – I SOMEWHAT agree with this rule of thumb. Sometimes, I find that once you get the organizing process started, a natural momentum begins as you start to see the changes that your effort is making. However, 178 MAY 2017 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

I believe that if you get overwhelmed, tired or uninspired, you definitely need a break. If you want to complete an important task CORRECTLY you must work at your own pace. Listen to your mind, body and spirit and follow what it is asking you to do!

purchased for you bring up good memories or bad? Does that stack of depressing books make you happy? My guess is the answer is “no”, so toss them!! You will be happier and feel lighter if you commit to this organizing rule of thumb!

Rule #2- Visualize the end result. To follow the KonMari method, you must begin by identifying your goal. For instance, what motivated you to begin the organizing process? Kondo believes that you will derail your progress if you do not think in concrete terms about how you want the tidying process to end. You must be able to visualize the end result. My Take – YES! YES! YES! I am 100% on board with this rule! In fact, this is how I begin each and every organizing process that I am involved in. First I assess the situation and then return to my office and begin to visualize how I want the project to end. I search for pictures that inspire me, and then I can create the steps that it will take to get to my end result. If you don’t know where you are going how will you ever get there?

Rule #4 – Tidy by category, not location. Kondo believes that organizing room by room is a fatal mistake because most people store similar items in different places. Instead, she suggests that you tidy by category instead of location. For example, if you start by organizing your bedroom closet. You complete the task and move onto another room where you find more clothing that should have been in your closet. So to prevent such a duplication of effort, the KonMari method states that you should tidy by category (clothing), instead of the location (closet). My Take – Although this sounds good, I have found that organizing by location is much more efficient. After all, if you find an item in another room that already has a home in another organized location, you will know right where to put it! And, if there is no more room for the found item, you can use the “Does it spark joy” question to make your final decision on whether to toss it or keep it.

Rule #3 – Determine if each item sparks joy. Kondo states that an item must spark joy for it to be a keeper during the sorting and discarding process. In other words, don’t focus on what you are getting rid of; instead, focus on what you want to keep! Hold each item in your hand and ask “Does this spark joy?” If it does, keep it; If not, discard it. To follow the full intent of this rule, you must hold the item in your hand so that it is close to you and connects with your soul. My Take – I am completely on board with this rule, too! I believe that you should surround yourself with items that make you happy and “spark joy”; otherwise, why would you want to hang on to them? For instance, does that old t-shirt that your ex-boyfriend

Rule #5 – Tidy in the correct order. The KonMari method states that you should begin tidying (organizing) in the correct order so you won’t derail yourself. According to Kondo, “the degree of difficulty involved in selecting what to keep and what to discard differs greatly depending on the category. People who get stuck halfway usually do so because they start with the things that are hardest to make decisions about.” Of course, items that hold memories or attachment should be saved for last, when you are stronger.

P&S Surgical Offers Mako Total Knee Replacement

P My Take – I definitely agree that starting with mementos, such as photographs, would be to your detriment as it may cause you to derail before you even get started. Instead, begin the progression with something easier to discard such as expired food or medication. Another point to consider is that it may be easier to ask a friend, or professional, to step in during the keepsake -sorting process and save the easier stuff for when you are alone. A second opinion, or push, may be all you need to propel yourself through the hard parts. If you choose to go this route, the order you decide to go in shouldn’t matter. Rule #6 – Discard before placing things back. Kondo suggests that one should complete the discarding process before putting anything back into a permanent place. She even goes so far as to say that you should take everything from its current home and place it in the middle of the floor before you begin sorting. The sorting process should not end until you have held everything in your hands and completed Rule #3 – Determine if each item sparks joy. “To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose.” My Take – I agree with this concept, but I don’t go so far as to say that a huge stack on the floor is the best policy. A few small stacks, maybe, but one huge one can be daunting and overwhelming. I don’t mind my clients sorting through a closet, for instance, without removing much first. However, I do agree that one of the most important steps in the organizing process is to discard and then find a permanent, forever home for each item you keep. Rule #7 – Give everything a home. According to Kondo, “the existence of an item without a home multiplies the chances that your space will become cluttered again. “ Once a place for everything is chosen, it will be easy to maintain order in your home. But, you must follow this very important rule – put an item back where it goes immediately after using it. My Take – I have used this rule throughout my entire organizing career and couldn’t agree with Kondo more! In addition, the simpler the storage process, the better. For instance, if you have to climb a ladder, open a door, pull out and unzip a bin every time you use a certain item, you probably want that item to be something that is rarely used. All in all, your home is your sanctuary. Getting and staying organized will make it that much more enjoyable for you and your family. Kondo and I both agree with that!

&S Surgical Hospital, located in downtown Monroe, is northeast Louisiana’s first hospital to offer the Mako total knee replacement. Two years ago, P&S implemented Mako’s partial knee and total hip technology. Today, CEO and President Linda S. Holyfield announced the hospital’s newest innovation: the Mako robotic-arm total knee. “We are passionate about providing the best technological advances to our community. Accuracy is vital in planning and performing both knee and total hip procedures,” she said. “Our Mako robot enables surgeons to personalize total hip, partial knee and now total knee arthroplasties with incredible precision.” The surgeon-controlled robotic-arm system ensures accurate alignment and placement of implants. This precise and minimally invasive approach means patients will experience less pain, quicker recovery and a more natural fitting knee and hip. Mako is changing the way joint replacement surgeries are performed by providing each patient with a personalized surgical experience based on their specific diagnosis and anatomy. Using a virtual 3D model, the Mako System allows surgeons to create each patient’s surgical plan pre-operatively before entering the operating room. During surgery, the surgeon can validate that plan and make any necessary adjustments while guiding the robotic-arm to execute that plan. The Mako total knee application is a knee replacement treatment option designed to relieve the pain caused by joint degeneration due to osteoarthritis. Through CT-based 3D modeling of bone anatomy, surgeons can use the Mako System to create a personalized surgical plan and identify the implant size, orientation and alignment based on each patient’s unique anatomy. The Mako System also enables surgeons to virtually modify the surgical plan intra-operatively and assists the surgeon in executing bone resections. Total knee replacements in the United States are expected to increase 673 percent by 2030, according to the National Center for Biotechnical Information. The robotic-arm total knee replacement technology will fulfill a community need, said Holyfield. “This technology, which provides precise surgery that is accurate within one millimeter, or the thickness of a dime, will greatly benefit our region.” These orthopaedic surgeons are certified to operate Mako: Douglas C. Brown, R. Brian Bulloch, Stephen Houseworth, Kristopher C. Sirmon, Clemens Soeller, Timothy D. Spires J.R. and Timothy Spires, Sr. Mako is the latest innovation in the Total Joint Program at P&S. Hospital leaders built a strong total joint program in 2003, and since that time, the hospital has achieved outstanding clinical outcomes with extremely low complication rates and low infection rates. A Healthgrades Five-Star recipient for Total Knee Replacement for several consecutive years, P&S welcomes additional Mako technology to the total joint program. P&S Surgical Hospital is a joint venture among physician specialists & St. Francis Medical Center. WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | MAY 2017 179

Swan Send Off Azure’s Pools and Spas has the perfect gift for your favorite grad to relax this summer, before they hit the books in college. This swan is just one of the popular large pool floats they carry!

Louisiana Love Let her show her state pride in a stylish way with this flexible 24k Gold Alligator Bangle by New York designer, Julie Vos. Also available in mixed metal, this bracelet is perfect for the Louisiana lady on your list. Find this and more great pieces at Serendipity Designer Jewelry in Monroe.

Life’s a Beach! Whether the graduate is headed to the beach or relaxing by the beach this summer, they will want this round beach towel with fringe. This must have summer item is available at HerringStone’s in Monroe.

Gift of Gourmet This Wolf blender is just one of the many countertop appliances available at Key Millwork & Supply Co. The line also includes a toaster, toaster oven, knife set and pots and pans. Any mom would love to get any of these gourmet high performance appliances!

Dog-gone Graduate This gift from Debbie’s Hallmark makes the perfect gift for this year’s graduate. They can have friends and family sign the dog with well wishes and memories to cherish for years to come! 180 MAY 2017 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

Get the Graduate Steppin’ These trendy Adidas shoes are great for the grad who is stepping into college in the fall. Not only are they colorful and comfortable, these shoes from Fleet Feet in Monroe will help keep any student active and fit.

That’s a Wrap Celebrate your graduate wrapping up their high school career with this chic throw with crisp white fringe from Material Things. It is perfect to add a pop of pizzazz to a dorm room!

Light It Up Brighten Mom’s big day with a beautiful light fixture from Irby Lighting Company. They have a large selection from which to choose and a knowledgeable staff that can help you find the perfect style.

The Perfect Purse Everyone knows that moms are always searching for the perfect purse and The Fleurty Ginger has just that. This stylish cinch bag will be sure to hold all of mom’s belongings, while helping her look chic.

Get Your Fill A gift certificate from Derma MediQ in Monroe can be used for any service, including fillers. Dr. Saidi Sowma Fahkre performs Botox, Restylane, Bellafill and Juvéderm to give you a natural youthful look.

Shine Bright Like a Diamond Make mom shine this Mother’s Day with a TAG Heuer Lady Link Timepiece from Hollis & Company Jewelers. She will love the sparkle and the style of the mother of pearl dial and diamond bezel will last for a lifetime!

Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray The perfect go to for busy moms and college grads!  Bigger, better, full-on glamorous hair.  This invisible dry hair spray builds in incredible volume and sexy texture, leaving you with just-styled hair for days (and nights). Stop by Rain Beauty + Body for all Oribe products.


Chic Coop Chickens are all the rage, whether you live in the country or the burbs, and Chick Chick Coop has the perfect gift for the Mother looking to hatch a new hobby. These coups are durable and functional.

Carpets for the Cure Mom will love these welcome mats from Bob Moss Carpet One. 25% of the purchase price of each Pink Ribbon welcome mat sold through is donated to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Each mat has a design marked by a pink ribbon as a reminder of the cause. Constructed with a durable rubber backing and stain-and-water resistant materials, the mats are fit for both indoor and outdoor use and are machine-washable.

It’s in the Bag Your mom is everything so get her a bag that is everything too! This oversized tote is created from soft hide with leather contrasts and is available at Louisiana Purchases.

Beauty Bag Dot Dot’s Boutique has plenty of cute gift items for this year’s graduate, including this bag, that both inspires and holds make up must-haves.

Prayerfully Perfect This beautiful bracelet by Ronaldo has seven beads, one for each day of the week. When she wakes up wearing it, it will remind her to say a prayer for that day, and then again, by looking at it before going to bed at night, and all seven days of the week. Find this and more beautiful jewelry at Serendipity Designer Jewelry in Monroe.

Chic Chair For years, your mom has put food on the table. This year, make sure she has the nicest chairs to go around that table. Sleepy Hollow Furniture and Mattress has hundreds of fabrics to choose from to create the perfect dining room chair!


Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch Shiraz 2010 This Australian Shiraz pays homage to all the hard working mamas out there. The wine is characterized by deep flavors and is perfect for pairing with food. Grab a bottle from Washington Wine and Spirits to show Mom how much you appreciate her.

Monat Global Nourish and energize your scalp with an invigorating blend of 11+ unique molecular ingredients –including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, beta-carotene and omega-3 fatty acids – that replace the body’s own natural oils! Contact Dena Pruitt for a product that makes a great Mother’s Day or Graduation gift.

Tribute to Mom She’s the heartbeat of your family, and this sweet, delicate Tribute to Mom Bracelet by Pandora is a fitting celebration of her love. Inside the rosy pink leatherette gift box she’ll find a Sparkling Heart snake chain bracelet showcasing two sterling silver and 14K gold Family and Love Clips surrounding one eyecatching Tribute to Mom charm. She’ll be touched by the beautifully intricate cutout hearts, gleaming stones and “Mom” softly engraved in the center. Find this and other pieces by Pandora at at Serendipity Designer Jewelry.

Escape the Summer Southern Escape Room vouchers are a creative graduation gift! Recipients can redeem the vouchers to play in one of their escape rooms, and solve a mystery or crime before the time runs out!

Get Your Goat Fabulous Fabrics has the most unique fabric choices you will find anywhere. They also carry a large selection of finds like this pillow made from authentic goat hair... perfect for a quirky element to your grad’s dorm room!

Make a statement This truly awe-inspiring statement piece is from Kendra Scott’s newest collection and is available at HerringStone’s. Your mom will love the genuine turquoise beads that create a playful yet timeless accessory!


Time Honored Tradition Celebrate your grad’s success and hard work with a Swiss timepiece from Hollis & Company Jewelers. This TAG Heuer watch is the perfect gift to help prepare grads for the professional, working world!

Salt of the Earth Salt lamps provide many health benefits such as air purification and even the promotion of better blood flow and sleep! These beautiful lights make a great gift for the dorm room. Find several varieties at Fiesta Nutrition Center.

Beach Bum Bag Hemline Monroe has plenty of accessories perfect for graduation gifts, including this festive fun bag. It is perfect for the beach, pool or any upcoming festivals!

Sweet Dreams This robe from Haven is lush and luxurious, making it the perfect gift for Mom. She will love the super soft bamboo feel and can wear it year round!

Perfect Patio Present Mom will enjoy the upcoming summer days in this set of chairs with a tete-atete from Breezesta at The Patio Place. She can sit by the pool or on the patio and look good while relaxing!


Nailed It Delivering both flawlessly smooth coverage and brilliant shine, this 8-free formula comes in over 30 incredible shades and is the perfect beauty accessory for all moms and college grads. Stop by Rain Beauty + Body to check out all their fabulous hues.

Wrap It Up This inspirational wrap bracelet from The Fleurty Ginger is a great gift for any grad headed out on a new adventure. They will look down and be inspired, while remembering the special person that gave it to them.

Word from your mother Make sure the graduate stays true to themselves when they embark on their new adventure. This wooden block quote from Louisiana Purchases would look great in their new dorm or apartment and is a reminder of wise words!

Splash of Color This bright pillow from The Patio Place is the perfect pop of color for summer. Mom can throw it on a bench on the porch or in a poolside chair and it will brighten her day for sure!

Sparkle and Shine Mom will shine like the jewel she is with this Mariana necklace from Walsworth & Company This unique piece has a variety of colors and jewels to make her stand out in a crowd! Serenity Now Every graduate is about to start a new adventure so this is the perfect time to remind them to “be still” with this notebook from K-Sera Boutique. They can use it to gather their thoughts to just take notes and get ready for what lies ahead!

A Day at the Spa Is there a better gift for Mom than a spa day? A gift certificate from Spa Nouvelle in Monroe will surely make her smile. The service includes a massage, a facial, a spa pedicure and a light lunch in between.


Sassy Shoes Every lady needs a new pair of shoes and your mom is no different. This fun and stylish pair from K-Sera Boutique will make her smile…and go great with her summer wardrobe!

Lovely Lavender This set of vintage indigo lavender sachets from Palette House is perfect for this Mother’s Day. She will love the pops of blue and the subtle smell of lavender will relax her at the same time!

Coffee Talk Surprise mom this year with a gorgeous wooden coffee table from Burney’s Furniture. The sleek style will go with any décor and is sure to make her happy this year.

Fresh Frangrance No matter where the graduate is headed, they can be transported under the sea with this fragrant blend of Jasmine, salted grapefruit, honeysuckle and sandalwood from Tokyomilk from Walsworth & Company.


Guardian Angel Mariana designed the Guardian Angel Collection in the spirit of belief in angels. With this belief, Mariana’s Guardian Angel pendants allow you to give the woman you love the protection, guidance, and hope of an angel to watch over her every day. Find this beautiful necklace and more by Mariana at Serendipity Designer Jewelry.

Crack Open the Bubbly Cara Mia is quite possibly the most delicious wine you will drink all year! This blend of Prosecco and Pinot Blanc is super rich, round and delicious... perfect for all celebrations. Stop by Vieux Carré Market for a great selection of wines while they last!

Hats off to Mom If your mom likes to work in the yard or garden, or just enjoy fun in the sun, these Tula hats from Material Things will make the perfect Mother’s Day gift. They are stylish, provide SPF protection and made from quality palm products.

Tres Chic Julie Vos designs are smart, elegant and stylish. Inspired by elements of NYC, they are absolutely timeless. Stop by Parterre and view their large selection of bracelets, necklaces and earrings for Mom. Etoile Brut Founded by Moet & Chandon, the Etoile Brut is a beautiful California sparkling wine. Just as its name suggest, this wine is a star with its petite bubbles and an elegantly effervescent mouth feel, a perfect gift for your star student. Stop by and pick up a celebratory bottle at Washington Wine and Spirits.

Flower Power Put your love for your mom on display with this beautiful silver plate epergne with four individual flutes. Made in the early 1900’s in England, this piece is a lovely way to arrange flowers. Find this and more at Traditions Antiques.

Rest and Relaxation Mom is queen of the castle so make sure she sleeps like one in a bed from Sleepy Hollow Furniture and Mattress. They have a wide selection of HGTV bed with plenty of different fabrics and finishes, plus plush Tempur-Pedic mattresses.

Make Mom Shine All of Kevin.Murphy’s products are unique and this shine treatment with color enhancers is no exception. Pick up a bottle from The Parlor House and make mom shine like the star that she is!



This 70s-inspired jumpsuit is a versatile statement piece that is perfect for spring and summer. It features a multi-color stripe with ruffle overlay around the arms and shoulders. Treat your feet this season with this posh woven leather sandal.

GARDEN PARTY Spring is in full bloom and these looks from area boutiques will have you stepping into the season in style. Photography by Martin G Meyers. Model: Mallory Lynn Hair and Makeup: Meka Bennett. Location: Parterre


This chic navy floral print sleeveless dress features a high collar crochet neckline. Accessorize with a long gold necklace and modern peep toe, olive booties with a mid-block heel and suede finish.



The beauty is in the details. This gorgeous romper features a plunging neckline that’s matched with a sweet tie front and a relaxed fit. Pair with a lace-up chunky heel that ties at the ankle, leather necklace and snakeskin clutch.



A beauty in blush, this cold shoulder romper features ruffle detailing and a high waisted short. Turn heads with beautiful Kendra Scott jewelry and a open toe sandal with a modern silhouette.



This light blue floral dress from Dot Dot’s Boutique is perfect for changing seasons. It features cold shoulders and a flirty neckline. It’s paired with a romantic, fashion-forward sandal in a dreamy hue.



FNB Breakfast with the Governor On Wednesday, March 22, First National Bank and The Ensure Agency hosted a breakfast at Squire Creek Country Club in Ruston. The featured speaker was Governor John Bel Edwards. First National Bank originated in 1905, in Arcadia, Bienville Parish, Louisiana. Starting in 2000, First National Bank has expanded its offices to include locations in Farmerville, West Monroe, three offices in Ruston and its newest location in Monroe.




On the BayouScene 1 Brian Smith, John Wilson and Jenifer Gray 2 Trotter Hunt, Hannah Livingston and Senator Mike Walsworth 3 Brian Woodard and Governor John Bel Edwards 4 Robert Walley, Audrey Peterson, Mike McGee and Ashley Doughty Able 5 Suzanne Mayo, Sandra Dupree, Thelma Williams and Alicia Williams 6 Mark Cooper, Kristen Brown and Wayne Brown 7 Margarita and Larry Popp 8 Danny Ford and Charles “Bubba” Chaney 9 Senator Francis Thompson, Erin Monroe Wesley and Representative Patrick Jefferson 10 William Lewis and Scott Simmons



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Downtown River Jam Choice Brands had a variety of beers to sample at Downtown River Jam on Thursday, April 6 at Bry Park in the heart of downtown Monroe. Patrons could choose from Yuengling, Abita and downtown Monroe’s own Flying Tiger Brewery, all while enjoying the sounds of Astro Motel, Jig the Alien featuring Jerk and Tito and the Fabulous Freeloaders. Guests were able to enjoy all the happenings downtown within a few blocks of each other on this particular night as the Downtown Gallery Crawl was happening at the same time. Both events, as well as the local downtown restaurants and bars, made for a truly “hopping” night in Monroe!




On the BayouScene 1K  atie Anzalone, Lesley Boyd, Asa Stone, Thomas Goodwin and Josh Grant 2 Kyla Kalinski, Branna Castadi and Saige Erwin 3M  ikayla Brubaker, Rachel George and Drew Alston 4 Samuel Moss and Elizabeth Ewing 5 Hayley Hays and Kathy Amis 6K  risten Kundler, Mason Thornton, Blythe Muse, Katy Kelly and Megan Joffrion 7 Kurt McEnery and Michelle Pearce 8 Leslie Lofton and Tyler Kimbell 9 Cherie and Mark Anyan, Stephanie and Nat Smith 10 Jacob Hunt and Daniel McHenry 11 Stephen Backus and Hannah Grant 12 B  randon Must, Hannah Ridings, Amy Campbell and Kyle Dugas 13 K  erri Hammond, Kelly Murphy, Bradley Myers and Leslie Lofton 14 Tish Brown and Joshua Coleman 15 B  ryan Creekmore, Katie and Michael Hubbard, Aja and Justin Hallmark 16 Bradley Bridges, Holly and Patrick Savage






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National Guard Open House



The 528th Engineer Battalion hosted its inaugural open house on Saturday, April 1. They invited the community out to their armory in Monroe. Choice Brands was onhand with samples of Flying Tiger beer, as well as coffee and hot dogs from RoeLa Roaster. Chennault Aviation and Military Museum had the P-40 flown by General Chennault on display and live music was provided by the Louisiana National Guard’s 8-member rock band. Guests enjoyed food from Cory Bahr with Heritage Catering, Mark Smith with Wayne vs the Wayneabago and sandwiches from Jimmy John’s. The National Guard plans to continue this event each year so the public can interact with them, visit with soldiers assigned to the local National Guard unit and see equipment that the unit uses.




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On the BayouScene 1 2 3 4

Natalie Sutor, Josh, Jack and Leslie Culp Terrel Goodwin and Charlie Morris SFC Paul and April Ragusa M  AJ Josh Culp, LTC Michael DeSelle and CSM Rufus Jones 5C  ongressman Ralph Abraham and Marc Mashaw 6 Julie and Tommy Catlow 7D  J Fortenberry, 1SG Jeff Wheelis, CPT Robert Bratton 8 Rebecca Diech and Carrie Porter 9 SPC Tristan Fincher and SSG Christopher Darnell 10 A  sher, Friday, Aurie and Ashley Ellis 11 S FC Tracy Doss and SSG Bobby Edmiston 12 SGT Brad Davis and SPC Keaton Cole 13 S SG Brian Blake, SGT Bryant Johnson, SGT Kenny Hearn and SGT Lawrence Lovell 14 N  ick Rankin, Byron and Jill Bailey, Cory Bahr and Emily Walter 15 David Johnson and Michelle Pearce 16 S PC Antoine Stewart, SGT Brad Davis and SPC Dylan Terry 17 Heather, Wayne and Mark Smith 18 S FC James and Jennifer Dearman


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Masur’s Off the Wall Fundraiser





The 8th Annual Off the Wall fundraiser for the Masur Museum of Art was held on April 7. Off the Wall is the area’s premier art auction featuring an excellent selection of affordable art by artists in the community. Live Music by Arthur Stewart and Jessie Grinter set the tone for the evening as guests bid on their favorite pieces. Ricky Sikes created an onsite painting that was raffled along with the popular Bon Voyage Raffle. Proceeds from the event support exhibitions and educational programs for the museum. The largest visual arts museum in northeast Louisiana, the Masur is vital to providing arts to the community.

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1 Frederick and Ashley West 2 Austin Bantel with Byron and Jill Bailey 3 Jason and Maggie Nelson 4 Ana Hale, Kristen Stapleton and Wendy Newsom 5 Adi Drabhu, Caroline Youngblood and Jeff Pumphrey 6 Scarlett and Matthew Garcia 7 Sharon Brown and Noreen Smith 8 Amanda Wimberly and Ashley Doughty 9 Mickey Bennett with Sharon and Jerry Thomas 10 C  arol Anne Barnes and Grisham Lenard 11 B  rittany Reeves and Ian Blaylock 12 John Landrum and Paulen Luttgeharm 13 Hal and Miriam Hinchliffe 14 Evie Stewart and Gregory Hudgins 15 A  ndrew Brown and Heidi Korrodi 16 Jerry and Angie Blades











Ouachita Council on Aging Shindig




Guests came from near and far to kick up their heels at the eighth annual Shindig. The event that benefits the Ouachita Council on Aging was held at MBH Farms in Calhoun on March 24. Partygoers enjoyed a silent and live auction as well as music featuring Lisa Spann and Company and a spread prepared by Catfish Charlie’s. The MBH horses were a hit as always with the patrons who danced the night away at one of the biggest events of the year.

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On the BayouScene 1 2 3 4 5

Wanda Waldrop and Dee Farr Leah Stewart and Lisa Dixon R  honda and Brad Morace D  aryl and Kandace Stroo, Theresa Taylor P  aul and Nona Ledford, Bev Gaushell and Beto Elizondo 6 Carla Hardy and Susan Hoffman 7 Lee and Kim Sherrill 8 Toby Liner and Kim Duke 9 Ashley Doughty and Jennifer Bass 10 Tim Kane and Billy Justice 11 B  eto Elizondo and Annie Papas with Whitney and Trey Tull 12 C  orey Lyon and Amy Albritton 13 T im and Janice Sigur 14 Lori and Don Marion 15 Debbie Rappold and Larry Langois



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JLM Spring Market


The Junior League of Monroe hosted its annual Spring Market event, March 24-26 at the Monroe Civic Center. Nearly 100 vendors were set up selling jewelry, clothing, home decor and gourmet foods, all as an effort to raise money for the Junior League of Monroe. Presented by Origin Bank, this year’s Spring Market featured several special shopping events including a champagne brunch, sponsored by The Mulhearn Corporation, an evening of girls’ shopping sponsored by Progressive Bank and Breakfast with Bunnies, sponsored by The Paper Market. Spring Market is the Junior League’s largest fundraiser and raises money for the group’s community projects and services.


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On the BayouScene 1 Jessica Kepper and Nita Woods 2 Kerri Sue Shields and Macy Nicholson 3 Pam Laird and Jennifer Stephenson 4 Rene Jackson and Nita Gandy 5 Caitlyn Bamburg and Mary Beth Kosik 6 Courtney Holyfield and Jessica O’Quinn 7 L isa Guice, Holly McCready, Rami Gaubert-Verucchi and Cindy Gaubert 8B  rent and Lissy Compton, Kourtney Lewis, Beth Newsom and Robby Compton 9 S hannon Street, Jeananne McGregor and Christy Flanigen 10 Sarah Katherine Ewing and Leslie Hughes 11 Rachel Niblett and Laura Salguero 12 Shawn Thomas and Colandra Smith 13 Hannah Mayes and Jennifer Routon 14 Lindsey Dartlon, Ashlyn Neal and Susie Dartlon 15 Connie Smallwood and Anne Dumas 16 Tara Ambrose and Julie Morris 17 S andy Henderson, Brenda Anderson and Dessie Hubenthal 18 Karen Knoeck, Simran Emaus and Rhonda Emaus 16


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I REMEMBER small things can have major effects on our lives a r t i cl e by PAUL L I PE

I REMEMBER that the pain was almost unbearable – never before me in, started an IV and gave me a shot of something that drove that had I experienced such agony. It happened over 40 years ago, when my pain demon away. Immediately, I forgave him for every chuckle he had children were very young. Some members of our congregation owned emitted at my expense earlier that afternoon. a swimming pool, and due to their kind and generous spirit, my wife, After a couple of days in the hospital, the compassionate doctor’s Linda, and our two children and I were enjoying that pool on a lazy, treatment resulted in that demon stone reaching my bladder, and I was Saturday summer afternoon. Then it happened! I felt a pain in my assured that the rest of the monster’s journey would be far less painful. lower back, a pain that persisted and intensified so much that I decided That turned out to be a true assessment, but when that little devil exited that our enjoyment of the pool was over. my body, I could not believe that it was so small; it was scarcely larger We hurried home, but to my dismay, the pain made the trip with us -- than a grain of rice! It had felt more like it was the size of a football! and it was getting worse. In desperate It was as prickly as a porcupine, but I need of some relief, I called my friend could not imagine that something so and physician, Dr. Hugh Watson. A tiny could produce such agony. But short time later, he was there, trying believe me, it did. to figure out what was causing me This prompts me to think about to engage in such weird contortions. how small sins, or small good acts, can I surely must have been putting on have major effects on our lives. The quite a show, because neither he nor truth is, little things frequently turn out Linda could refrain from laughing to be very important. Paul, the Apostle, at my antics. The humor that was so said it like this: “A little leaven leavens obvious to them completely escaped the whole lump.” It doesn’t take much my powers of comprehension! But baking powder to make the biscuits what was clear was that they were rise. enjoying this little episode much more Nor does it require a BIG sin to than I. do a lot of damage. Just think how I do not mean to suggest much ruin a little lie can do to one’s that my wife and my doctor were reputation, his family, or his livelihood. “...LET US BE AWARE THAT A unsympathetic. The fact is, I never Solomon put it like this: “little foxes … knew anyone more caring, anyone spoil the vineyards.” (Song of Solomon SMALL ACT OF KINDNESS CAN who had more empathy than Dr. 2:15) I’m sure that none of our readers Watson. There is no doubt that he was would ever be guilty of murder, rape or PRODUCE A TON OF GOOD.” so deeply loved by people because he bank robbery, but let us be on guard lest loved people so deeply. Nevertheless, a “little sin” committed by us results in on that occasion, he did appear to find something laugh-producing in serious pain to another. my ordeal. But let me assure you, one of us was not amused. In a similar vein, let us be aware that a small act of kindness can After observing me for a little while (it seemed like an eternity produce a ton of good. Just think how much comfort a hug can be to to me!), he came to this astute conclusion, saying, “I think you have someone facing surgery, or consider the benefit a word of encouragement a kidney stone.” Understand, now, that I had never had such a stone, can afford one who has just experienced a failure. A small expression of but I had heard some folks say that there was nothing worse that could love can be an awesome blessing. befall a person. With those testimonies in mind, I was not about to That little kidney stone made a lasting impact on me, and I challenge the good doctor’s medical judgment, ‘cause I could not told the Lord, “I got it” – I did not need a repeat of that experience. imagine anything worse than what I was experiencing. Nevertheless, He sent another stone my way about a year ago – I guess Dr. Watson took a urine sample and left for the hospital. Shortly it was to remind me of the importance of little things. This time, I surely after that, he called, confirming his diagnosis and inviting me to join do hope I have learned that lesson! him at his place of work. We hurried to the hospital where he checked 200 MAY 2017 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

Vantage Ribbon Cutting



On Tuesday, April 4, Vantage hosted a ribbon cutting for the formal opening of the Vantage State Building. The building, located at 122 St. John Street, was home to the former Virginia Hotel and more recently, a state office building. Vantage has worked to renovate and restore the building to its former grandeur. Currently, approximately 200 Vantage employees are working on the third through fifth floors, with 450 total employees planning to occupy the building.




On the BayouScene 1 2 3 4

Sissy Jones, Everly and Christie Echols Rick Guillot and Jordan Guillot A  lana Cooper and Ellen Caldwell S ue Nicholson, Ann Hayward and Senator Mike Walsworth 5A  my Trichel, Jessica Self and Lisa Evans 6 Chelle Cupid and John Tidwell 7 Billy Justice and Scott McDonald 8 Sarah Cummins and Carol-Anne Barnes 9 Michael Echols, Walt and Ellen Caldwell 10 Amanda Hardy, Jessica LeDoux and Candice Skeen 11 Chris Windham and Sam Hanna 12 M  ike Breard and Dr. Gary Jones 13 Janet Durden and Ramona Martin 14 Mary Francis Siggers and Sheila Snow 15 B  illy Haddad and JoAnn Causey 16 Charity, Adam and Penelope Jones





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Calendar of Events For a full list of event happenings in Northeast Louisiana, see our website at

May 4 Downtown River Jam Time: 5:30-9:00 PM The Downtown River Jam, presented by the Jim Taylor Auto Group, is a free concert series backed by the Downtown Monroe Alliance featuring two bands: Josh Love Band and Jonathon “Boogie” Long on the Skent-N-Dent stage. Jonathon was crowned Guitar Center’s 2011 “King of the Blues” in a national competition of over 4,000 contestants. He is making a special stop for the Downtown River Jam on his way to play at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival! Choice Brands will be offering free beer samples and the Main Street Eats on the Geaux food truck will be serving a special menu of delicious eats. Venue: Bry Park Admission Cost: Free Phone: 318-537-1771 May 5 West Monroe Rotary Club Annual Golf Tournament Time: Lunch at 12:00 p.m.; Tee off at 1:00 p.m. Rotarians and friends are invited to join the West Monroe Rotary Club for their annual Golf Tournament benefiting Families Helping Families. The Captain’s Choice format will begin with registration and lunch at 12:00 pm and tee off is at 1:00 pm and will conclude with prizes and snacks afterwards. Prizes are given for 1st place team, longest drive, and closest to the hole. Venue: Calvert Crossing Golf Course Admission Cost: Single Golfer $137.50; Foursome $550 Phone: 318-651-5025 May 5-7 Kingdom Collectives Film Festival Time: Friday 5:30 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m., Sunday at 10:45 a.m. Experience the Kingdom Collectives Film Festival in

Downtown Ruston! This film series will feature Christian themed short films that have been submitted from all over the globe and will include worship, voting for films, speakers, learning about local ministries, and networking opportunities. Location: The Depot - 211 Railroad Ave. Ruston, LA Admission: $5/$3 for students Phone: 318-255-1008 May 6-7 Louisiana State Games: Beach Volleyball Time: Competition starts at 7:30 a.m. daily Join the sandy fun at the 2017 Louisiana State Games Beach Volleyball. The warm sun and exciting volleyball games are the perfect excuse to get outside! Divisions include; Junior- 18 and under, women’s, men’s, and coed divisions. . Venue: ULM Sand Volleyball Courts Email: james.fortenberry@ Phone: (318) 237-1258 Web: “Charlotte’s Web” at Strauss Youth Academy for the Arts Time: Saturday 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.; Sunday 3:00 p.m. In this dramatic telling, all of the enchanting characters are here: Wilbur, the irresistible young pig who desperately wants to avoid the butcher; Fern, a girl who understands what animals say to each other; Templeton, the gluttonous rat who can occasionally be talked into a good deed; the Zuckerman family; the Arables; and, most of all, the extraordinary spider, Charlotte, who proves to be “a true friend and a good writer.” Exploring the true meaning of the word “friend,” this evening of enchantment will leave you with a little lump in your throat and a smile on your face. Venue: Strauss Youth Academy for


the Arts Admission Cost: $12 Adult, $8 Student Phone: 318-812-7922 Web: straussyouthacademy May 6 Painting in the Park Time: 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. All ages are welcome! We have a variety of step-by-step paintings available to choose from, along with canvases, ceramics, and large wood cut-outs! (You can look through our photos to see some of the step-by-step paintings available.) Everything you need to create a masterpiece is provided. Venue: Kiroli Park Admission Cost: $10-20 Phone: 318-355-4720 Web: Discover Monroe-West Monroe Bus Tour Time: 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. There’s always something to do in Monroe-West Monroe! Join us on a tour of things to do in the area including museums and other fun attractions. Ticket includes entry into attractions, lunch and transportation. There will be two tours: one for families and one for adults only. We will meet at First West in West Monroe. Venue: First West Baptist Church Admission Cost: $12 per person Phone: 318-387-5691 Web: What Women Want Time: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Trinity Diamonds Direct presents What Women Want! Attendees will enjoy shopping while also learning about products and services, ranging from health and beauty to financial management, under one roof at the Monroe Civic Center Arena Venue: Monroe Civic Center Admission Cost: $5 Phone: 318-329-3254

Web: month Annual Home Tour and Luncheon Time: 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Home tour only- 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum will host their 21st Annual Home Tour and Luncheon featuring speaker and architect Mil Bodron. Homes featured on the tour are a variety of new construction, recently renovated and historic homes. Venue: Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum Admission Cost: $50 luncheon and tour ticket; $20 tour only ticket Phone: 318-361-9611 Web: FREE Children’s Drop-In Activity Time: 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. Offered the first Saturday of every month, these free activities are for children of all ages. Drop by the museum any time between 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. on the scheduled day. Children will work on an art project that relates either through subject matter, medium, or technique, to the exhibition currently on display. Please note if the first of the month falls on a holiday or museum installation day the event will be rescheduled. Current schedules can be found in the Current and Upcoming Classes section of our website. These events are free and open to the public. *NO REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED!* Venue: Masur Museum of Art Admission Cost: FREE Phone: 318-329-2237 Web: Louisiana State Games: Powerlifting Join in on the fun at the Louisiana State Games Powerlifting meet. Venue: West Monroe High School CONTINUED ON PAGE 204


Email: Phone: 281-782-6230 Web: http://www. cfm?p=27 Frank Foster Live Time: 8:30 p.m. The Revelry of Ruston is bringing back local country sensation, Frank Foster! Come to Ruston for a “Louisiana Saturday Night” with live country music with this Louisiana native Location: The Revelry of Ruston Admission: $20 in advance and $25 at the door Phone: 318-255-1450 May 7 Antique Alley Spring Open House Time: 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. Stroll the Alley and shop till you drop with music, food and fun. Venue: Antique Alley Admission Cost: Free Web: Blend of the Bayou: Men Who Cook, Mix, and Brew Time: 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. Get ready for Blend of the Bayou, the premier springtime event and fundraiser for the arts. Enjoy a perfect spring afternoon with great food, jazzy music, a beautiful bayou-side outdoor setting, and a lot of fun. This annual fundraiser is held by the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council. Venue: Blend of the Bayou Admission Cost: $55 per person; $500 for reserved tables Phone: 318-396-9520 Web: blendofthebayou May 9 Bayou Bootcamp Presents Blood, Sweat and Beer Time: Workout from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.; Drinks from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Boot camp for beer? Grab your drinking buddy and sneakers for a fun-filled evening of sips and sweats. Jared Desadier (Dez) and Phil Fanning will lead campers on an hour-long, circuit-style workout. The reward for your hard work? A nice, refreshing brewski...or four. The cost of admission includes a

flight of beer from our friends at Flying Tiger Brewery. Venue: Flying Tiger Brewery Phone: 318-547-1738 Web: bayoubootcampnela May 12-14 and 18-20 “Nice Work if You Can Get It” at Strauss Theatre Time: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 7:00 p.m.; Sunday 2:00 p.m. In this new George and Ira Gershwin musical, wealthy playboy Jimmy Winter meets female bootlegger Billie Bendix the weekend of his wedding. Thinking Jimmy and his bride will be out of town, Billie and her gang hide cases of alcohol in his basement. But when Jimmy, his wife-to-be, and her prohibitionist family show up for the wedding, hijinks ensue. Venue: Strauss Theatre Center Phone: 318-323-6681 Web: May 13 2nd Annual “Nothing Runs Like a Deere” Charity 5k Time: Family Fun Run at 8:00 a.m.; 5k at 8:30 am Goldman Equipment’s 2nd “Nothing Runs Like A Deere 5K” is being hosted to help Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home. Come out to support the runners, shop John Deere toys and Merchandise, and stick around for the Drive Green event going on until 2 p.m. Venue: Goldman Equipment Admission Cost: Fun Run- $20; 5k- $25 Email: 318-387-5534 Web: http://www.trinitysportsusa. com/nothing-runs-like-a-deer-5k Louisiana State Games: Track and Field Time: Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Don’t miss the action at the 2017 Louisiana State Games Track and Field events. Venue: University of Louisiana at Monroe Email: ultimateperformance@ Phone: 318-342-1000


Bayou DeSiard Dragon Boat Festival Time: 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. The dragons have invaded Northeast Louisiana and will make their annual appearance the second weekend in May at the Bayou Desiard Dragon Boat Festival. Gather your friends, join a team, or just come out to watch the races-there will be fun for everyone! Venue: Bayou DeSiard at Loop Road Web: A Night of Laughter at The Flying Tiger Brewery Time: 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Don’t miss this comedy show featuring acts that will have you rolling off your seats with laughter. Proceeds will benefit the Chennault Aviation and Military Museum and Our H.O.M.E. Venue: Flying Tiger Brewery Admission Cost: $15 Phone: 318-547-1738 Web: Mother’s Day Blues Festival Time: Doors open at 6:00 p.m.; Show starts at 7:00 p.m. A special Mother’s Day featuring Donnie Ray, Avail Hollywood, J Wonn, Ghetto Cowboy, Stephanie Pickett and Ricky White. Venue: Monroe Civic Center Admission Cost: $15 tickets; $220 for a table of 10 Phone: 318-307-0635 Web: month May 18-21 Original Crawfish GatorFest 2017 Don’t miss live music, arts and crafts, a petting zoo, car and truck show, carnival rides, a fireworks show and, of course, alligators and crawfish. Musical acts include Jo-el Sonnier, T. Graham Brown, Wayne Toups, Rockin’ Dopsie, Charley Rivers and more! Venue: ULM The Grove Admission Cost: Adults $6; Children 12 and Under and ULM Students (with ID) $3 Phone: 318-342-1000 Web: originalcrawfishgatorfest. com

May 19 7th Annual Bob Dylan Birthday Jam Time: 6:00 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Head over to Enoch’s for one of the biggest parties of the year and celebrate all things Dylan! Musical performances by Josh Madden, Blues Heals, The Vidrines, Downtown Wigs, Toby Traylor, Brian Sivils, Josh Love, Jesse Grinter, Paul Amy, Steve Cagle, Amanda McDowell, Jordan Sheppard, Mattie Henry, Astro Motel, Arthur Stewart and more! Venue: Enoch’s Irish Pub Phone: 318-388-3662 Web: May 20 Louisiana State Games: Disc Golf Time: Competition starts at 7:30 a.m. Join in on the fun at the Louisiana State Games Disc Golf event! Venue: Lazarre Park Email: Phone: 318-805-6289 Web: ‘Ritas on the River Time: 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Origin Bank’s RiverMarket presents the 2nd annual ‘Ritas on the River! The day will feature tastings from 12 different restaurants and bars from the area as they compete for bragging rights. Like us on Facebook at Downtown RiverMarket and Downtown Monroe for our event page to see who is participating and updates. You can vote your favorite to elect a People’s Choice Winner! Venue: RiverMarket Admission Cost: $25 if preordered through and $30 at the door Phone: 318-807-1735 Web: Landry Vineyards presents: Code Blue Time: 4:30pm-8:00pm Landry Vineyards winery outdoor concert featuring Code Blue! A mix of 60’s,70’s,80’s, and country music will have you, family and friends dancing all night. Make sure you pack your lawn chair,

blanket and picnic dinner and enjoy the outdoor show. Venue: Landry Vineyards Admission Cost: Adults: $10; Ages 13-18: $5; Children 12 and under: Free Phone: 318-557-9051 Web: Louisiana State Games: Archery Event The action kicks off for the 2017 Louisiana State Games with the Archery competition. Venue: Ouachita Parish Rifle Range Email: Phone: 318-548-5190 May 20-21 Louisiana State Games: Baseball Time: Competition starts at 8:00 a.m. Enjoy a warm summer day out at the ballpark for the 2017 Louisiana State Games featuring baseball! Venue: Biedenharn Sports Complex Email: Phone: 318 -791-9381 Web: Louisiana State Games: Boxing Time: Saturday at 6:00 p.m.; Sunday at 2:00 p.m. Lace up your gloves and don’t miss the 2017 Louisiana State Games Boxing event! Venue: West Monroe Community Center

Email: Phone: 318-235-3953 Web: Louisiana State Games: BMX Racing Join in on the fun at the Louisiana State Games BMX Racing Venue: Monroe Civic Center Email: Phone: 318-329-2225 Web: May 22-25 Beginning Stained Glass Workshop for Adults Time: 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. each night This workshop will teach the student how to build a small stained glass panel using the Louis Comfort Tiffany method. Students will learn a brief history of stained glass, pick out a pattern, learn to cut glass, put together a panel using copper foil, and solder their panel. Registration includes stained glass and basic supplies. Space is limited and reservations are required. No prior experience is necessary. Venue: Masur Museum of Art Admission Cost: $160 for members; $180 for non-members Phone: 318-329-2237 Web: May 25 Northeast Louisiana Go Red For Women Time: 11:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Join the Northeast Louisiana

American Heart Association at the 2017 Go Red for Women Luncheon and learn how you can use your voice to help save women’s lives from heart disease May 25th. Venue: West Monroe Convention Center Admission Cost: $50 Email: Phone: (770) 612-6102 Web: “The Goonies” at Celebrity Theater Time: 10:00 p.m. Come out to Celebrity Theaters as Reel Retro presents “The Goonies.” Event is for “20-30 somethings” to come and enjoy a fun night with this classic film, plus free popcorn! Call to reserve your seat! Location: Celebrity Theater Admission: Free Phone: 318-513-5510 May 27 3rd Annual Memorial Day with Our H.O.M.E. Time: 4:30 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. Join Our H.O.M.E. in honoring the fallen and lifting up the Gold Star families at Kiroli Park with live music, food, activities for kids, door prizes, raffles and more! Venue: Kiroli Park Phone: 318-396-4016 Web: departments/parks/kiroli.php

Downtown Cinema Time: 7:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Join Downtown Cinema for a movie under the stars. There will be free popcorn and water, just bring your own seating and enjoy the show. Venue: Palace Park Admission Cost: Free Enjoy your stay in Monroe-West Monroe! We at the Monroe-West Monroe Convention and Visitor’s Bureau hope you have a great stay here! Please feel free to call us at 800-843-1872 if you have any questions. You may also stop by our offices at 601 Constitution Drive, West Monroe for brochures, coupons, and additional information. Visit www.monroe-westmonroe. org for information about events in Ouachita Parish and visit for events in Lincoln Parish.





BayouLife Magazine May 2017  
BayouLife Magazine May 2017