BayouLife Magazine February 23

Page 1


14 / RISE & DINE

Surprise your sweetheart with breakfast in bed this Valentine’s Day. Taylor Bennett created a curated tray to inspire those looking for a thoughtful surprise for their special someone.


The Calathea is a great houseplant and is known for its beautiful patterned foliage and unique leaf movements. Calatheas are part of the ‘prayer plant’ family.


Looking for a signature drink this Valentine’s Day? This berry bourbon cocktail is the perfect way to start out date night.


Taylor Bennett’s mantle décor was inspired by Mardi Gras bead trees in New Orleans. Break tradition with this whimsical design.


From flirty dresses to sassy dusters, these looks are perfect for Valentine’s Day and beyond. Hats off to our local boutiques for providing these red haute looks.



The physical practice of yoga has long been known to supply practitioners with many health benefits from improving flexibility to helping stress relief, and increasing strength.

APRIL 2018

Looking for a fun activity to do with the kids for Valentine’s Day? These cute crown crafts are a great project for your little princess.


This magnificent, costumed, beaded and feathered carnival is rich with tradition and is all about having a good time. These fun events can be found right here in the Twin Cities.



For most, the idea of creating a world of their own is just a dream. But for Inique Harris, it’s reality and has been since she was young.



Because of their loving example as a couple and of their devotion to this region, Jeff and Elizabeth Guerriero are our February BayouIcons.


Nick Carlson zigzagged his way into becoming the owner of Seventh Square Coffee, currently the only coffee roaster in Northeast Louisiana.

68 52 14 FEBRUARY 2023 108

February is a time to honor those we love, recognize the central role of African-Americans in U.S. history and gather together to celebrate Mardi Gras and prepare for the Lenten season. It’s a month that the Livingstons celebrate in a big way –my oldest daughter turns eleven and my baby will be nine, and my mom will be the big 7-0! It’s a party all month long for our family.

This month’s issue has timely articles on gardening, Valentine’s Day projects, people who have shaped our community, recipes, outdoors columns and more. Our artist this month is Inique Harris. For most, the idea of creating a world of their own is just a dream. But for her, it’s reality and has been since she was young. She doesn’t use a hammer and nails to build her worlds, though, and she doesn’t say things like, “Let there be light.” Instead, she grabs a sketchbook and pencil, paintbrush and canvas, needle and thread, or crochet hook and yarn. Read her article on page 68. Some scoff at the idea of love at first sight, but not Jeff Guerriero. He remembers clearly the first time he saw Elizabeth Johnston when they attended River Oaks Academy. He went home and told his mother that he had met the girl he was going to marry. It took a few years, but Jeff finally won Elizabeth over and they started dating when she was a high school junior. The two had been great friends for several years, and that friendship grew quickly into a love that has lasted a lifetime. Today they are partners in every way – in marriage, parenting, business, and volunteerism. In spite of incredibly busy lives, they have always found time to give back to their community. Because of their loving example as a couple and of their devotion to this region, Jeff and Elizabeth Guerriero are our February BayouIcons. Read their story on page 96.


1201 Royal Avenue Monroe, LA 71201 Phone 318.855.3185


PUBLISHER & OWNER Cassie Livingston


I have long enjoyed Seventh Square Coffee Co. when they were housed in For His Temple Family Foods, but now Nick Carlson has opened up his own brick and mortar in downtown West Monroe. In December 2022, at 414 Wood St. West Monroe, the Seventh Square team established what has become a hub abuzz with conversation, casual hangs, and of course, premium coffee. Read about them on page 108.

The physical practice of yoga has long been known to supply practitioners with many health benefits from improving flexibility to helping stress relief, and increasing strength. While some poses can be intimidating, there are many simple poses that, when done consistently, can go a long way for mind, body, and spirit. Vanelis Rivera demonstrates some poses that have helped her maintain flexibility and improve body strength, consider incorporating any of these as part of a pre or post-workout, and/or combined into a peaceful morning or evening flow. Find this on page 76.

We hope that you have a great Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras and that you enjoy reading this issue of BayouLife Magazine




Sarah McElroy

Katelyn Tolbert

Courtney Thomas

ART DIRECTOR Taylor Bennett



Darian Atkins

Dan Chason

Laura W. Clark

Kenny Covington Shannon Dahlum

Cindy Gist Foust Dr. Mohamed Bakeer Starla Gatson Heather Land

Paul Lipe Erin Love Meredith McKinnie Georgiann Potts Delia Simpson Beatrice A. Tatem Vanelis Rivera Danelle Ware


Kelly Moore Clark D. Jones Visuals


photography by KELLY MOORE CLARK

BayouLife Magazine is published and distributed by Redbird Publishing, LLC. Postal subscriptions ($30) can be ordered online at BayouLife Magazine is not responsible for unsolicited photographs, manuscripts, or other materials. Opinion columns do not represent the views of the publisher. Reproduction of contents without express written permission is prohibited.


Living Life Lovingly

Fall in Love with Life

THESE DAYS I HAVE LOVE ON MY MIND. IN PART IT IS because February, the month society gives special attention to love, is quickly approaching. Without question love is on my mind as it reflects my thoughts of what I feel is greatly needed in the world. This is not to overlook the other things we need like social justice, advocacy, positive action, understanding and genuine respect for others. We live in a world at a time when social unrest, political violence, fiscal uncertainties, educational matters, and healthcare disparities have disrupted our joy and compromised our sense of peace. Now more than ever we need to consider the many reasons and ways to love and be intentional about our expressions of love. This time of the year we see and hear a lot about love. The presence of love is seen and felt through commercialized promotions. I am of the mindset to love and be loved is one of the greatest emotions we can possess and needs to be celebrated every day. My idea is to fall in love with life and live it lovingly.

In my opinion living life lovingly encompasses all forms of love whether it is universal love or love of mankind; love of friends or equals; committed, long, lasting love; self-love; unconditional love; love of parents for children; playful, flirtatious love; and perhaps the most discussed this time of the year, romantic or passionate love. We show love through our verbalizations, behaviors, time, interest, physical affection, and gift giving (I believe love is a priceless gift more precious than anything one can buy). Living Life Lovingly means to know that you are loved and to consciously internalize and put into action what you are. Love, although complex and at times complicated, is empowering, energizing, and exciting. Experiencing love can provide one with feelings of hope, motivation, inspiration, and liberation. Giving and receiving love positively impacts our attitude, our relationships, our perspective on life and enhances our overall wellbeing. To live lovingly does not mean a life without problems. It means you are able to let go of resentment, seek reconciliation when appropriate, forgive when possible, accept when able and work towards a solution. When you live life in a loving manner, you experience joy and strength inside of you allowing you to spring into action to overcome challenge, imperfections, disappointment, setbacks, physical hurt, and emotional despair. Ideally love transcends socioeconomics, race, ethnicity, nationality, politics, and religion. Living lovingly means honoring the worth and dignity of each person. February is a good time for all of us to look to love.

Dr. Maya Angelou once wrote, “Success is loving life and daring to live it. Live life as though life was created for you.” Suggested ways to successfully live life lovingly – develop a mindset of living to love and loving to live. Create a life you love and be happy. February is the second

month of the year, so ease into the new year with love. Beautiful things happen in life when you distance yourself from negative things. In 2023 make a commitment to love your life, ensure the positive takes over the negative, allow compassion to override criticism and take steps daily to improve your physical and mental wellness. Savor experiences shaped by love. Be mindful, love knows no boundaries, broaden your definition of love, and embrace those unlike yourself with authenticity. Many of us have been taught to love our neighbors as we love ourselves and to love others as brothers and sisters. We need to ask ourselves if we really put this into practice. Be a demonstrator of love. Invest your love in those you love and those in need of love. Select times in your life outside of February for caring and sharing.

February, the shortest month of the year, is a month packed with so much life. According to Mahatma Gandhi, where there is love there is life. During the month of February, the nation commemorates Black History Month, observes National Freedom Day, Random Act of Kindness Day, Presidents Day, Children’s Mental Health Week and acknowledges the religious holidays of Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday. Mid-way through the month on February 14th the nation celebrates Valentine’s Day. When February rolls around we must take measures to feel the pulse of the month after all it is heart health month or National Wear Red Day. It has been said love is when one’s heart can feel the soul of another. Living life lovingly encourages us to create the life we love while opening ourselves to the lives of others. In this vein it allows our heart to feel the soul of another. Living life lovingly may seem idyllic to some and a lofty undertaking to others. Most regardless of who they are, where they are from, how they vote, what language they speak, how old they are will agree that they have a desire to love and to be loved. Living life lovingly is a tall order. For most (present company included) there is a lot of work to do. It requires planning, self-evaluation, reflection, values clarification, advocacy, stepping outside of one’s comfort zone and love. Living life lovingly breaks down the barriers blocking racial healing, religious reconciliation, and political resolutions. It affords us the energy to build bridges figuratively and literally between communities, especially to those whom society excludes. Through love we can conquer and achieve many things. I feel like falling in love with life, how about you? May we all feel love because we love and are loved.

For more information on counseling and outreach services contact Dr. Beatrice Tatem at Wellness Initiatives, LLC, 2485 Tower Drive, Suite 10 Monroe, La 71201, 318-410-1555 or at


NELA’s Utilities Training Hub

Get Equipped with In-demand Skills at Louisiana Delta Community College


itself on market relevancy. Staying abreast of in-demand skills is woven into the institution’s fabric and is undeniably crucial to its strong roots. Whether the path is academics driven, with students obtaining degrees and moving on to further their education, or the track is workforce driven, where students want to expeditiously acquire a skill to enter the job market right away, the institution consistently reviews programs and content to ensure there’s a future awaiting its students.

Many career paths have grown and evolved, like auto mechanics technicians don’t look at all how we’ve known them to be. The salaries have also evolved, and some career options that pay decent living wages are pathways we aren’t aware of at all, like trenchless utility installation technicians.

There is a great need for this skill set, and employers are desperately seeking qualified, trained workers. Brothers, Josh and Caleb Etheridge of Etheridge Pipeline & Conduit (EPC) can attest to that. Not only are they in need of workers, but many others are as well, and they’d really prefer to hire locals.

EPC is a dedicated and active partner in delivering training to students. Their technicians work in crews. “LDCC trains students to work every crew function within six weeks,” explains John Garrison, director of advanced manufacturing training at LDCC. LDCC is the only training provider that teaches all crew functions to a single class, and new classes begin once the previous students have completed the course.

“With the number of broadband projects in the region, there is ample opportunity for employment now and in the future,” shares Wendi Tostenson, Vice Chancellor of Academics and Student Services. The training program lasts six weeks, and is now enrolling for the February 6th class.

“The requirements for admission to the program are to be over the age of 18, have a positive attitude, and be willing to learn,” says instructor John Garrison. “Now, there may be additional requirements by a hiring company, but these are LDCC’s requirements to enter the program.”

This program covers a six-week training focused on utility installation for fiber and broadband cable. Students who successfully complete this course will have the ability to plan and execute proper horizontal directional drills to install utilities, including broadband fiber and also gas distribution piping. This course includes all aspects of safety, damage prevention, drilling, excavation, and product placement. A Competent Person for Excavation Certificate is embedded in the curriculum.

Classes are taught at LDCC’s West Monroe Campus, located at 609 Vocational Parkway. This program meets the qualifications for the MJ Foster Promise Program. Named after former Louisiana Governor Mike J. Foster, the MJ Foster Promise Program is a $10.5 million annual state fund that will provide financial support for students to earn credentials that align with high-demand jobs in growing industry sectors like Construction, Healthcare, Information Technology, Transportation & Logistics, and Manufacturing. This includes students pursuing associate degrees, technical certificates, or HiSET/high school equivalency (WorkreadyU).

The upcoming schedule for Trenchless Utility Installation Technician is as follows:

February 6th - March 17th April 17th - May 26th June 26th - August 4th

More Info Sign Up

For more information regarding this program, other workforce programs, or becoming a Louisiana Delta Community College partner, call 318-345-9384.


Alumni Spotlight

ULM Alums: Dr. Matt Sanderson & Merion Spence Sanderson

MATT AND MERION SANDERSON BELIEVE IN ULM and investing in one’s community. Born and raised in Ouachita Parish, Matt Sanderson attended West Monroe High School before graduating from Calhoun High School. Matt chose ULM because of its proximity to home, only 14 short miles. He planned on becoming a dentist and was impressed with ULM’s School of Health Sciences. After one year as a commuter student, Matt moved on campus and immersed himself in campus life which included serving as vice president and then president of Student Government Association, pledging Kappa Sigma, and being a ULM Cheerleader. Matt relished the diverse campus culture and developed strong relationships with his peers and ULM mentors like Dr. Charlie McDonald. At the end of Matt’s junior year, right before Christmas break, he attended a campus party and met a fun and “sassy” girl named Merion, then a ULM freshman. The couple met up again at spring registration and arranged to take an Etymology class together and began dating soon after.

After graduating from River Oaks High School, Merion chose ULM for the health sciences as well. Since her father was a physician, Merion knew she wanted to pursue the medical field and was intrigued by the ULM nursing program. Her mentors Dr. Beryl Franklin, Professor Emeritus of Biology; Dr. Nancy Albright Lowery who taught neurology; and Bernadine Adams who taught obstetrics and reproductive health - they all impressed upon Merion the nuances of healthcare and the importance of the patient. Merion pledged Kappa Delta and was a ULM Cheerleader. Merion was a member of the Student Nursing Association and NLU 31 (now called 31 Ambassadors). When Merion graduated from ULM’s School of Nursing three years later, she took a job in labor and delivery at Charity Hospital in New Orleans, the same city where Matt was in dental school. Since Charity was a teaching hospital for indigent populations, the nurses worked closely with residents and medical students. When Matt graduated from the LSU School of Dentistry the following year and moved back home, Merion stayed behind in New Orleans, anxious to continue her work at Charity thanks to a new promotion.

Matt and Merion married, settled in Monroe, and had 4 children in a span of 7 years. Dr. Sanderson opened Apple Dental in 1991.

As owner, Dr. Sanderson is committed to promoting dental health and improving smiles in our community. Dr. Sanderson relished fatherhood, coaching soccer and baseball during Ladd, Ty, McKenna, and Sophee’s developing years. Meanwhile, Merion devoted herself full time to motherhood, substitute teaching at the children’s schools and across Monroe City. Six years ago, Merion began volunteering at the Children’s Coalition and eventually was hired as an Adolescent Health Instructor. She visits Monroe City junior high schools to educate students about anatomy, physiology, and other health topics pertaining to teenagers.. Her time at ULM has come full circle, as ULM nursing students attend her school presentations as part of their public health rotations. Merion insists this work with young people is the most fulfilling of her career and that Monroe City parents and students are lucky to have this program through the Children’s Coalition.

Now, Dr. Matt Sanderson serves on the ULM Athletic Foundation and the ULM Foundation Board. He loves learning the business side of running his alma mater. Always having a passion for architecture, Matt has worked on developing two subdivisions and the riverfront, along with restoring the Gardens at Georgia Tucker. While Merion works on equipping our young people with the health knowledge to thrive, Matt invests in the beautification efforts of this community. The couple enjoys traveling and spending time on the bayou. Matt and Merion’s adult children live and work close to home. Their oldest son Ladd is a Private Client Banker at Chase Bank in Jackson, Mississippi. Ty is an attorney at Durrett Law & Title in Monroe. McKenna is in PA school in New Orleans and Sophee is in Baton Rouge pursuing a masters in Public Relations.

The Sandersons are a prime example of ULM’s potential and promise to educate and grow this community one student at a time. Aside from the university’s economic impact on Monroe and surrounding communities, the institution’s continual investments in this region, particularly in the field of health sciences, showcase the bright future of Monroe and its residents. The Sanderson’s mantra is “Bloom where you’re planted,” and their commitment to ULM and this community is its testament.



Surprise your sweetheart with breakfast in bed this Valentine’s Day. Taylor Bennett created a curated tray to inspire those looking for a thoughtful surprise for their special someone.

What you need:



Granola bites



Kisses (Hershey’s or real)

Candy hearts


Group and layer your choice of goodies in a tray. We’ve used an assortment of berries, Kisses and Sweethearts candy. Make homemade waffles or cut pre-made waffles in a heart shape, add syrup and serve.



LIGHT: Calathea thrive in medium to bright indirect light, but can tolerate low indirect light.

WATER: Make sure not to overwater the plant. The calethea only needs water every 1-2 weeks and the soil needs to dry out halfway between waterings.

PET FRIENDLY: Calatheas are considered non-toxic, making them safe to keep around cats and dogs.


The Calathea is a great houseplant and is known for its beautiful patterned foliage and unique leaf movements. Calatheas are part of the ‘prayer plant’ family.

styling by TAYLOR BENNETT photography by KELLY MOORE CLARK

Gifts for Your Valentine

What More Can Your Valentine Ask For?

VALENTINE’S DAY IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER and we want to help you find the perfect gift for that special someone. For this month’s article we’ll highlight some of our favorite products for that special day. The first product we want to talk about is one of our favorites this time of year. The Slo Down Wines Sexual Chocolate is a perfect wine for pizza, chocolate, and a movie. It’s a perfect blend of Syrah and Zinfandel. The Zinfandel presents a rich, warm feel that could easily be confused with biting into a dark chocolate covered cherry, while the Syrah adds a smooth, deep and refined finish. The luscious chocolate and cherry aromas will leave you feeling highly satisfied as flavors of sweet raisin, milk chocolate, tobacco and freshly cracked pepper wash over your palate and hug you with its velvety mouthfeel. Grab your favorite brand of chocolate, a pizza and that special someone. This relationship is one for the books.

This next product is another of our favorites this time of year, as it pairs perfectly with a juicy steak from Doe’s Eat Place. Molly Dooker Carnival of Love Shiraz is just as life should be. A place where everyone wants to be and no one wants to leave. This Australian Shiraz beautifully captures the essence of Molly Dooker. It has elegance, a complete, intense, seamless flavor spectrum; a marvelous mouthfeel and perfect balance. Carnival of Love is fragrant, structured and loaded with finesse and complexity. This stunning, perfumed wine opens with alluring scents evoking roses and potpourri intermingled with toasted black cherries, chocolate, accents of cinnamon, and cloves. The palate is smooth and viscous. Black cherries, blueberries, sweet red peppers, and liquorice dance across your taste buds. This is a dense and flamboyant effort that you can’t seem to put down. It’s begging you to enjoy with your favorite person over a nice steak at your favorite steakhouse or home. Enjoy lovebirds!

We’ve already mentioned one product from Slo Down Wines, but we can’t help ourselves in suggesting another. Brandon Allen’s wines are just too good for Valentine’s Day both in name and structure, and if you and your loved one enjoy cabernet sauvignon then look no further than the Love Hammer Cabernet Sauvignon. A dark and inky cabernet with intense aromatics of black cherry,

dark chocolate, mocha, baking spices and clove. This wine delights the palate with an array of cranberry, leather and rum raisin, all wrapped up with powerful fruit tannins that are softened by an explosion of brambly blackberry and dark cherry. It finishes with a long, seductive elegance awaiting your next sip. Enjoy this wine at its best after decanting for a patient moment. While you wait for your wine to peak, prepare a couple of juicy Doe’s Eat Place ribeyes that will enhance all flavors of the magnificent Love Hammer.

For fans of chocolate on Valentine’s we have a few incredible suggestions. If you have milk chocolate or chocolate with nuts, we suggest a tawny port. Two of our favorites are the Warre’s Otima 10 and 20 year old Tawny Ports. The 10 year old has a rich tawny color, with an excellent nose of nuts and hints of mature fruit. The palate is light and delicate, beautifully rounded, with hints of dried fruits, and a long elegant finish. The translucent copper colored tone of the 20 year old is matched by the beautiful soft nutty aromas gained by a full twenty years aging in seasoned oak casks. Otima 20 Years is rich and delicate, but never cloying; the tannins and acidity ensure balance and perfect length. If white chocolate is your vice, then we would pair it with the beautiful Willamette Valley Vineyards Riesling. This semi-sweet wine opens with luscious aromas of citrus and tropical fruits. The mouthfeel is juicy with bright acidity that activates the palate and displays flavors of peach, pineapple and honeysuckle. The finish is wonderfully persistent with a balance of sweetness and refreshing crispness. Serve well-chilled and allow to warm in your glass for optimal enjoyment of aroma and flavor! Let us be your one-stop-shop! Get that special bottle of wine (or several) and the perfect meal to go with the Doe’s Eat Place steaks for your own grill. We always look forward to helping you all find the perfect product for any occasion. We hope you have a magical Valentine’s Day with your special person. We are open 11am-8pm Monday through Saturday and as always thank you for letting us be your Spirits Guides here at Washington Wine & Spirits.




I REMEMBER, how my perception of love has evolved over the course of my lifetime. I expect that many of you, like me, have an understanding of this emotion, this feeling, this disposition that is an improvement over what it was some years ago. Since this is the month in which Valentine is a prominent day, this might be an appropriate time for us to examine just where we are relative to this most important matter. So let’s look at some different “types” of love and at how a person might respond to one who holds to that particular expression of love.

Let’s begin with what we might call “selfish” love. This is the kind of love that one looks for because of how it might please or benefit him. “What can I get out of this” is prominent in the thinking of such a person. These individuals are concerned only with getting, and give almost no thought to giving. Unfortunately, some, perhaps many, never advance beyond this adolescent concept of what love really is. Although this approach to love may be permissible for young children at Christmas, it is unattractive most other times. Eventually, this approach to love will almost certainly result in a feeling of being used, which would likely give rise to resentment. James & John wanting Jesus’ favor for high positions in the Kingdom is an example of this “selfish” love; their concern was only for what was beneficial to them.


A more benevolent love is that which is shown by doing things to enhance the well-being of another; we might label this “charitable” love. A possible and only benefit of this love could be brownie points with one we hope to impress along with a reputation of being kind and generous. We generally appreciate and respect the person who meets this standard.

A type of love that all of us are desirous of experiencing and that has been so valuable and enriching to me has been the affectionate, attentive care of my family. The blessing of the love of one’s spouse and one’s children and grandchildren is beyond description and an individual who experiences such is fortunate indeed. This mutual concern and caring in a family contributes enormously to the emotional and spiritual well-being of all its members, helping one another to effectively cope with the challenges of life.

Then there is that love which draws individuals to one another because they share common interests and goals. We could dub this “friendship love.” We “love” others because we “love” the same things that they love. Tiger fans might be especially harmonious when the Alabama football team is in town, but the harmony can be shattered where there are significant political differences – then this “love” can dissipate pretty fast. Despite the fact that there might be a number of things which we may have in common, there are likely just as many things with which we disagree. A Valentine would probably desire a more stable love.

Closely in tune with familial love is that which exists between God and His children. The love of God is so awesome that it defies comprehension. The apostle John expressed it this way: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…” If giving is a qualification of genuine love, God the Father meets and exceeds the requirement. But for His love to have its desired effect, the recipient must respond in kind. What does our response look like? Jesus gave the answer when He said, “If you love me, you will obey me.´(John 14:15). God loves, so He gives; and He gives us His Best! We respond to this awesome love by giving Him our loyal obedience, know that His commands spring from a heart that always acts based on His love for us. And it is no surprise that His prime commandment is, “Love one another!” When we are striving to obey our Lord, a genuine love for others will be one important result! May our Valentine’s Day this year be filled with His love for us and marked by our love for Him and for one another.

article by PAUL LIPE opinion expressed is that of the writer


Looking for a signature drink this Valentine’s Day? This berry bourbon cocktail is the perfect way to start out date night.

What you need:

2 oz bourbon

1.5 oz unsweetened 100% cranberry juice

1/2 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 oz simple syrup

Raspberries, thyme, cranberries for garnish

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and pour in bourbon, cranberry juice, lemon juice and simple syrup. Shake vigorously. Pour in old fashioned glass filled with ice. Garnish with raspberries, cranberries and thyme.


Crafting a Buy-Sell Agreement


businesses with more than one owner. This type of agreement determines what will happen to the departing owner’s share of the business if they leave the business. By planning ahead, you can reach an agreement while all owners are on the same footing. This is important because it can be difficult to negotiate after a triggering event occurs.


A buy-sell agreement is a contract among owners of a company that outlines how an owner’s interests can be transferred to a buyer if a triggering event occurs. A triggering event may be the owner deciding to sell their interests, leaving the company, dying, or becoming incapacitated. The agreement defines how the equity interests will be valued and who will have the right to purchase the owner’s shares. This agreement typically stipulates that the departing owner will sell their shares back to the remaining owners at a price based on a predetermined formula, and it may also include provisions for how the purchase will be funded. The price is typically determined by (1) having an appraiser determine the full market value of the business, (2) a predetermined agreed-upon value, or (3) using a predetermined formula.

While a buy-sell agreement is not required by law, it is a critical tool for protecting the interests of all owners of a business. For the departing owner, a buy-sell agreement ensures they will receive fair value for their shares. For the remaining owners, it ensures they will not have to deal with the departing owner’s heirs or other third parties.

There are two main ways to structure a buy-sell agreement. Under a cross-purchase agreement, each owner agrees to buy out the other owner’s share of the business in the event of their death, disability, or departure. The purchase is typically financed through a life insurance policy, a loan, or personal funds. Under an entity purchase agreement, the business agrees to buy out the other owner’s share of the business in the event of their death, disability, or departure. Like a cross- purchase agreement, the purchase is typically financed through a life insurance policy, a loan, or corporate funds.


Triggering events are any event you want to “trigger” the terms of the buy-sell agreement. They can include retirement, incapacity, disability, death, and voluntary departure, among others. A well- crafted buy-sell agreement will consider as many “what-ifs” as possible to smooth the transition.

One of the most critical components of a buy-sell agreement is the valuation of the business and each shareholder’s interest. This portion of the agreement aims to reduce conflicts between departing and remaining owners (and potentially their families) regarding their stake in the company. In this section of the agreement, it’s important to devise a methodology for valuing the company in the future. For example, the owners may decide to obtain three different valuations and find the average value of the company based on the three valuations. The owners may also work with their accountants to determine a formula for valuing the company. If the owners opt for this valuation method, it is important to include language to ensure the formula does not become stale.

Once a valuation method has been determined, owners will need to consider how a payout will be financed, if at all. If the owners opt to finance a portion of the buyout, they will need to determine the length of the term and the interest rate. And given that buy-sell agreements may not come into play for years, it’s wise to avoid a fixed interest rate. It is best to stipulate that interest rates follow the applicable federal rate at the time of closing. This portion of the agreement should also reference any life insurance policies acquired to fund the buyout.


While buy-sell agreements can help protect the interests of all parties involved, they can also be a source of conflict if they are not drafted correctly with clear and unambiguous language. This cannot be emphasized enough, as ambiguity or minor discrepancies can lead to conflict about the required procedures and value of the business after a triggering event. Such conflict can result in costly litigation and animosity between the parties. Business owners should consult with attorneys and accountants to ensure that the agreement’s language matches their intentions.

Buy-sell agreements are not something to set and forget. They must be reviewed periodically to ensure the agreement still meets everyone’s goals. Likewise, the business should be valued regularly to ensure the sufficiency of any life insurance policies that will fund a potential buyout.

The best way to ensure your buy-sell agreement is expertly crafted and suits your business’s needs is to meet with experienced professionals who understand the complexities of these types of contracts.


Sweet Specials

The Medical Spa by St. Francis Medical Group

LOVE IS IN THE AIR AT THE MEDICAL SPA THIS FEBRUARY with these sweet specials for Valentine’s Day! Get kissable lips this month and receive $75 off when purchasing a syringe of Juvéderm from February 1st to 17th. Whether you’re looking for subtle or plump, we’ve got you covered with Juvéderm’s collection of fillers. If you need a gift idea for your Valentine, we will also have our gift cards on sale during those dates. You can purchase a $100 gift card for only $75 (limit 5). Our Geneo Facials are an excellent choice as well if you are looking to gift something a little more personal! Our celebrations don’t end after Valentine’s Day! As we make our way to the end of February, we celebrate Mardi Gras with our purple and gold products featured from February 20th to 28th. If you purchase a SkinCeuticals Vitamin C Serum, you will receive a free SPF ($36 value). We will also have the HA intensifier by SkinCeuticals 20% off.

CE FERULIC - Vitamin C antioxidant serum with Vitamin E and ferulic acid provides environmental protection, improves the appearance of visible signs of aging and brightens the skin.

SILYMARIN - An oil-free Vitamin C serum formulated specifically for oily and blemish-prone skin types that delivers advanced environmental protection and reduces oiliness, refines skin texture and visibly improves skin clarity and fine lines.

PHLORETIN - Vitamin C antioxidant serum with phloretin and ferulic acid provides environmental protection and improves the appearance of fine lines and discoloration.

HA INTENSIFIER - Multi-action serum with a high concentration of synergistic ingredients supports skin’s hyaluronic acid levels, delivers surface hydration, and improves the appearance of firmness, smoothness and plumpness. HA intensifier helps reduce the appearance of crow’s feet, nasolabial folds, and other lines and wrinkles by hydrating and adding smoothness, and plumpness to your skin. This serum can be used daily and compliments injectables such as Botox and dermal fillers. This product is one of our favorites and can be easily incorporated into your daily routine.


Juvéderm is considered a dermal filler and is used to replace volume loss and smooth out wrinkles. Juvéderm is hyaluronic acidbased, a natural substance found in the body. Fillers can be used to soften creases, such as the nasolabial folds, marionette and vertical lips lines. If you are looking to add some fullness to your cheeks and lips, fillers are a good option for those areas as well. The results are seen instantly with dermal fillers, with the best results seen after 2 weeks and lasting for 12 months or longer. You may experience some bruising and swelling afterward. Prior to the injection, topical numbing cream is applied to minimize any discomfort experienced. The Juvéderm XC line also contains lidocaine to numb the inner tissues during the injection as well. If you are considering filler, we would love to help you choose the best option for the results you want.


Rebecca Justice, RN, received her Associate of Science in Nursing degree at Darton College in Georgia. She brings 9 years of nursing experience to the spa. Rebecca is excited to specialize in aesthetics and assist The Medical Spa patients with skincare and treatment options. She loves seeing the excitement and confidence the patients achieve after visiting the spa. In her spare time, Rebecca enjoys being outdoors, traveling and spending time with family and friends.

Be sure to come by The Medical Spa this month to take advantage of our specials and events, and to find out more about the medicalgrade skincare products offered here. We are in the James R. Wolff Building (also known as the P&S Building) in downtown Monroe across from St. Francis Medical Center.

312 Grammont St., Suite 406 Monroe, LA 71201

Follow The Medical Spa by St. Francis Medical Group on Facebook and Instagram to keep updated on our weekly specials, sales, promotions and giveaways.


For those of you who remember, I started my business as a personal stylist, and my love for the art of fashion has never left. With that in mind, I thought it was high time to bring the topic back and help us all refresh our style!

Secret #1 – The stylish woman (or man) makes it a habit to conduct a wardrobe assessment at least every other year. I have long given the advice that if an item hasn’t been worn in TWO years, it should be donated or tossed. Many other stylists and organizers live by the one-year rule, but I truly feel that two years is the better length of time for knowing when to move on from an item. During the assessment, really consider your lifestyle now and the one you hope to have in the upcoming years. Decide what to add and delete from your wardrobe with those thoughts in mind.

Secret #2 - The stylish woman doesn’t have a closet full of trends. Trends come and go, so don’t waste money and precious closet space on trendy pieces that may be out next year. Instead, choose pieces that are stylish but everlasting.

Secret #3 – The stylish woman doesn’t just shop from the sales rack. I enjoy a good sale as much as everyone else, but a “sale” usually consists of items that didn’t sell previously or are going to be out-ofdate soon. There are always exceptions,

and you might really hit a good deal, so be aware of the lure to buy just because an item is on sale. Make sure it fits in with your current lifestyle and the wardrobe you want.

Secret #4 – The stylish woman knows what her best, and worst, colors are. Even if something is “stylish” on the hanger, it will not translate into being attractive on you if it drains all the color from your face.

Secret #5 – The stylish woman knows her personal style and doesn’t stray from it too often. Comfort and style are synonymous! Now I don’t mean t-shirts and tennis shoes comfortable, I just mean that you will know that you’ve found your personal style when you are comfortable in your outfits. “Comfort” is more than just physical. It’s mental, too.

Secret #6 – The stylish woman knows how to dress for the body she has now. No matter what size you are, I promise there is clothing out there that will accentuate all your positive attributes!

Secret #7 – The stylish woman uses accessories sparingly and with thought. With accessories you must know when enough is enough. I don’t necessarily believe in the “take one piece of jewelry off before you walk out the door” policy, but I do believe that accessories can make or break an outfit. Here’s a tip – If you look in the mirror and your eyes can’t rest on one

thing in your outfit, you probably have too much going on.

Secret #8 - The stylish woman maintains her hair and makeup. I don’t think that you should follow hair and makeup trends. I think style comes from creating your own look and sticking with it. I am the perfect example of this tip because I have had the same bob haircut for years. At this point, if I change my hairstyle I wouldn’t look or feel like myself.

Secret #9 - The stylish woman knows how to treat her clothing. For instance, never use wire hangers or you run the risk of deforming your clothing. If the label says “dry clean,” it is best to leave it to the professionals. And last, but not least, take care to store your purses and shoes in a way that they will not lose their shape or get scuffed.

Secret #10 – The stylish woman knows what she has in her wardrobe and can maximize it to the greatest potential. If you haven’t learned the art of mixing and matching, you must! I once did a style clinic where I had 10 pieces of clothing and 5 accessories. I was able to make almost 50 different outfits out of those 16 pieces. Can you imagine the outfit opportunities that are lurking in your closet right now?

If you are unsure of where to start when it comes to mixing and matching, feel free to reach out to me or simply peruse Pinterest for outfit inspiration.

“Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.”

Cancer Foundation League Annual Gala

The Cancer Foundation League held their annual Gala on Saturday, January 14th at the Bayou Desiard Country Club. The theme was an Evening of Southern Elegance and the event was just that. Guests enjoyed hearing about the mission of the nonprofit organization as well as bidding on live auction packages, silent auction items and mystery gift boxes. Music was provided by Lisa Spann and Company. Title sponsors of the event were Northeast Louisiana Cancer Institute, Northeast Louisiana Radiation Oncology, Dr. Ross Bland and Dr. William Zollinger. The Cancer Foundation League is affiliated with the Louisiana Cancer Foundation as a fundraising arm to help with outreach and to support the Foundation’s programs and services. They aim to provide direct financial assistance to individuals diagnosed with cancer.

On the BayouScene

1 Debbie Bourg and Brittany Bourg 2 Debbie McNew and Emily Nunnelee 3 Jada Ali and Lindsey Brian 4 Bill Wilson, Joey Gardunio, Dr. Jason Maljaars, Barry McPherson, Paul Dunn and Bill Sawyer 5 Jimmy and Kathy Bond 6 David Finley, Lance Donald and Vance Costello 7 Ginny McMullen, Sarah Hendrix, Catherine Stuckey and Jessica O’Quinn 8 Tim and Katie Socha 9 Trent Nunnelee and Dwayne Ludley 10 Katelynn and Makray Phillips 11 Micheal and Nicole Creighton 12 Marcia Donald and Christi Howard 13 Kristie Bardell and Naomi Hill

Tiffany Otwell and Brittany Liner

Sara Weaver and Stephanie Weaver 16 Karla Parker, Laura Nickerson and Amber Etheridge 17 Josh Grant, Whit McMullen and Justin Powell

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 12 9 10 11 8 13 14 15 16 17

Meredith’s Musings

Typical Saturday morning scenario - Big Sister bangs into our bedroom first, cradling a stuffed pig and a lamb. She crawls up the bench at the foot of our bed, throws Fluffy Oink Oink and Lamby over the footboard, and giggles relentlessly as she snuggles between her father and me. Our dog Lulu readjusts under the covers to make room for an extra pair of legs, albeit shorter ones. She asks, “What are we doing today?” as she knows weekends make routines evaporate, an early luxury that children appreciate. She knows Mom always has a plan, detailed the night before with Husband. We might have an hour under the covers, we might have two minutes, but inevitably, another intruder will come barging through the door, no stuffed friends and a scowl on her face. Little Sister has risen, and the day begins.

I grew up in a house where I was Big Sister. My little sister and I were completely different in perspective and interests, though our demeanors mirrored one another. My children are not like this. While they look alike, and often are mistaken for twins, they come from different worlds and collided in this one. Big Sister is loveable, outgoing, a defiant footstomper, and blazes a path and screams at injustice around every corner - granted her scope of injustice is Little Sister playing with “her” toy, but still. Big Sister is predictable, much like myself. We are self-centered, yet tender-hearted, blunt, and call spades as we see them - though when someone points out our sharp edges, we scoff. How dare someone use or own wisdom against us?

Little Sister takes up space as well, though quietly and with less mess. She can often be found playing in a corner, systematically taking something apart only to put it back together again. She rarely requires praise, unlike Big Sister who demands life’s performance be acknowledged at every turn. Little Sister does not welcome affection, turns her nose up to kiss requests, and halfway submits to hugs. She loves from a distance. When she does crawl in a lap for comfort, inevitably her eyes will soon close. She does not aim to please, refuses to accommodate the desires of others, and will not be shamed. When she does cry, it is the result of physical pain or simple exhaustion. She has feelings, but rebukes sharing them willingly. I jokingly tell people that Little Sister is from another planet. I don’t speak her language or understand her motivations. And naturally, she is the most intriguing of our two little girls.

Over the last year, as Big Sister approaches five years and Little Sister approaches three, the girls play more together. And where there is play, there is conflict. We have this bay window in the kitchen that provides a panoramic view of the back yard. Often, when I look up, one Sister is whacking the other. My late attention prohibits knowledge of the origin of the disagreement. More times than not, I observe, letting the girls work it out themselves. This can be hard, and one Sister will cry and stumble to the back door to protest unfair treatment, submitting to defeat. Due to size difference, one would think Little Sister makes the most back door appearances, but one would be surprised. Little Sister can hold her own and land a solid punch.

This past year as Big Sister attended preschool, I enjoyed more oneon-one time with Little Sister, a rarity for a second child. From birth, a sibling exists in the shadow of the one who came first. I try to stay aware of this, giving Little Sister individualized attention that Big Sister takes for granted. Little Sister and I developed our own routine, grocery store runs on Friday mornings and park dates in the afternoon. We share a loathing of temperatures over 90 degrees and unanimously announce we’ve had enough of the outdoors relatively soon. While Big Sister is the spitting image of her mother and speaks her mother’s language, Little Sister is emerging from her shadow, creating her own space, and developing her own voice. I always wondered if sibling differences were due to nature or nurture. Are they unique because we are all individuals, or does the second child swerve toward the unfilled space in a family? How much of becoming ourselves is simply a reaction to those who came before?

We don’t live life in a vacuum. People make the world a place worth inhabiting, and people are works in progress. One of the benefits of parenting, when one has the time to notice, is observation - the cliché being to see the world through a child’s eyes - “to see” being the key term. We don’t get to do childhood over again, but we do get to watch others go through it for the first time. We observe the shadow makers and the shadow fillers from outside the circle, realizing how small and how large it all is at the same time. But the beauty of observation coupled with personal experience is scope. Little Sister may always stay in the shadows. She may even steal the spotlight. Or she may be brave enough to ignore the pressures of comparison all together. From my vantage point, it really doesn’t matter, for where there are shadows, there is always light.



What a month February is! The number of holidays occurring in February alone is mind-numbing! According to www., each day this month should offer something for everyone. Look at February 1st alone: Work Naked Day (I’ll pass), National Freedom Day, National Serpent Day, National Get Up Day (convenient for those of us who have to be at the office), and National Girls & Women in Sports Day. February is also the month of Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, National Tater Tot Day, The Day the Music Died, National Carrot Cake Day, National Farmer’s Day (mark that one!), National Create a Vacuum Day, Chocolate Fondue Day, National Weatherperson’s Day, and that’s just up to the the 5th! February is also an important month in gardens and landscapes of the ArkLaMiss so let’s get outside and get at it!

First, you still have plenty of time this month to install trees and shrubs. Make sure they have all the space they need to grow and expand. Trees planted for shade need plenty of room and full sun. Consider natives like Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum), Willow Oak (Quercus phellos), Shumard Oak (Q. shummardii), or even Live Oak (Q. virginiana). If you plan on installing Crape Myrtles (Lagerstroemia indica and cultivars), make sure they situated in an area that receives full sun, has good drainage, and has plenty of room for canopy expansion. A popular trend has been for landscapers to put Crapes directly adjacent to the front entrances of new homes. Remember, a tree’s root system needs room to grow and expand over time just like the shoot system does. Planting trees directly adjacent to a building, or a driveway, or other barrier will impede root growth, and will possibly stress the tree over time. Stressed trees will be more susceptible to pests and pathogens and will not perform optimally in the landscape. Because trees are long term investments, taking time to adequately prepare the planting hole will pay dividends. For all trees, dig the planting hole two to three times wider than the root ball and position the tree in the hole so the top of the root ball is even with the soil’s surface. Back fill with native soil since that’s what the tree will be growing in for years to come. Fertilizing at planting isn’t necessary and avoid amending native soil with bagged

> A 1:1 mixture of Premier Pro-Mix and screened compost makes a great seedstarting medium.
< Red LaSoda is an LSU variety recommended for home gardens.

potting medium. After watering the tree in, put down a 2 to 4 inch layer of mulch, such as pine straw or aged wood chips, around the tree being careful to not pile mulch up around the trunk. In addition to helping conserve water and adding organic matter to the soil, a ring of mulch will protect the tree’s trunk from being damaged by lawn equipment.

Out in the vegetable garden, plant Irish potatoes this month! Potatoes are quite possibly the most perfect food. Naturally, gluten-free and a healthy source of carbohydrates (starch), Irish potatoes are among the most culinarily versatile of all vegetable crops. And, whether you like them baked, boiled, mashed, fried, or any other way, Irish potatoes are an easy and rewarding crop for home vegetable gardens. The LSU Ag Center recommends ‘Red La Soda,’ and ‘Red Pontiac’ for red-skinned varieties, and ‘Kennebec’ and ‘Yukon Gold’ for whiteskinned varieties. Heirloom potato varieties are also available to home gardeners from a variety of online sources.

Cut larger “seed” potatoes into smaller pieces, about 2 ounces each, with each piece containing one or two eyes. Some sources recommend curing the pieces, so the cut ends dry for a few days before planting. Some sources also recommend coating the cut edges with horticultural sulfur or other powdered fungicide to prevent rotting, but this is not necessary if your soil has good drainage. Plant Irish potatoes in rows that are spaced four to six feet apart in soil that is acidic and friable (easily dug). Each section of seed potato should be planted three to four inches deep at twelve-inch intervals. As the vines start to sprawl, hill soil up around them periodically to create more underground space for tuber formation and to completely cover tubers that have already been formed. Tubers are forming underground when above-ground stems flower. After 60 to 70 days, try sneaking a few “new” potatoes from under the plants. Don’t be greedy; every little new potato could grow into a large keeper later in the season. Dig the crop when plants start to yellow and die off. Start about one foot on either side of the plants and work inward toward the center of the row. Tubers injured during digging should be used immediately. Otherwise, gently brush away any loose soil and store them at 55°F in a humid area. Save the smaller tubers from the spring crop a fall crop planted in late summer when seed potatoes aren’t in stores.

February is also time to start seeds of tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, and eggplants for the 2023 spring and summer season. Transplants of these nightshades should be ready to set out by early April. Locally purchased seeds are the way to go, especially if you’re a newbie gardener. Our local garden centers and hardware stores are excellent sources for quality seeds. If the designation “OP” or “Heirloom” appears on the seed package, you’ll be able to save seeds of that variety for next season and not have to worry about ordering every year.

Keep the following tips in mind when starting seeds.

• Seed trays with clear, plastic domes are widely available. However, salad containers from fast food restaurants and chicken containers from grocery store delis make perfect mini-greenhouses.

• A variety of media is available for seed starting. A generic potting soil that drains well should be fine, as will be a specially formulated seed starting mix. I’ve had the best luck with a 1:1 mixture of sifted compost and Premier Pro-Mix.

• If temperatures are chilly, place seed trays on a heating mat made specifically for horticultural use.

• Sow most seeds between one-eighth and one-fourth of an inch deep.

• Most seeds take between four and seven days to germinate. Some take longer; don’t get impatient.

• Keep the medium moist, but not saturated.

• Transplant to larger cells or pots only after the first pair of true leaves has emerged.

• After transplanting, gently brush over seedlings with your hand to promote sturdy stem growth.

• Transplant to the garden after risk of frost, late March or early April for our region.

Finally, be sure to join me on Tuesday and Thursday mornings on KWCL 96.7 FM for the radio companion to In the Garden!

Tune in to Louisiana Living every Tuesday at 4:30 for In the Garden with Kerry Heafner of the LSU AgCenter. Start pepper, tomato, and eggplant seeds this month for transplanting in early April. Locally purchased seeds are the way to go, especially if you’re a newbie gardener. Our local garden centers and hardware stores are excellent sources for quality seeds. WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | FEBRUARY 2023 37

Your Heart’s in the Right Place

St. Francis Medical Center

WHEN IT COMES TO MATTERS OF HEART HEALTH, your heart’s in the right place at St. Francis Medical Center. Our cardiovascular experts are committed to preventing heart disease and bringing you the latest and most effective treatments. Our highly skilled team provides patient-focused, collaborative care with each patient receiving a customized care plan for their unique health needs.

St. Francis is the region’s leader in cardiovascular care and offers:

• An Accredited Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI by the American College of Cardiology (ACC).

• The region’s most advanced hybrid operating room (OR) with innovative technology and imaging capabilities, which contribute to better patient outcomes and quality of care.

• The left atrial appendage closure procedure for patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation. St. Francis is the first and only provider in Northeast Louisiana offering this procedure.

• Percutaneous (through the skin) valve replacements or repairs such as the transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) and transcatheter mitral valve repair (TMVr).

• Six cardiac catheterization labs for patients who need coronary interventions.

• Various endovascular procedures (using a catheter inserted through the skin to diagnose and treat vascular disease) and hybrid (part open and part endovascular) intervention to treat complex vascular problems.

• Traditional open-heart surgery.


The aorta is a major blood vessel within the heart that delivers blood to the rest of the body. Aortic stenosis is a narrowing of the aortic valve opening which prevents normal blood flow from the left ventricle to the aorta causing the leaflets to not open and close properly. This restriction of the aortic valve makes your heart work harder to get blood pumped to the rest of your body.

There are several types of surgical procedures that can be used to treat severe aortic stenosis which involves replacement of the damaged aortic valve.

• Open heart surgery. The damaged valve is surgically removed, and the new valve is inserted through a chest incision. The patient is on a heartlung bypass machine during the procedure. Some patients are at high risk due to illness or other conditions and may not be a good candidate for open heart surgery.

• Minimally invasive open heart surgery. It is like open heart surgery,

but a smaller incision in the chest is needed. The surgeon uses a tiny camera and small tools to replace the aortic valve. For those who cannot have open heart surgery, this is an option for treatment.

• Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR). This is an alternative treatment option for those patients who are at high risk for open heart surgery and qualify for the procedure. While the heart is still beating, TAVR allows a new valve to be placed inside the diseased aortic valve via a thin, flexible tube, or catheter. The new valve replaces the diseased valve and blood flow is increased throughout the body. The patient does not have to be on a heart-lung bypass machine during TAVR.


TMVr is used to treat mitral regurgitation, also known as “leaky valve.” The mitral valve is located between the upper and lower chambers on the left side of the heart. When the mitral valve can’t close properly, blood leaks backward into the upper chamber. To help keep blood moving in the correct direction, the bottom chamber works harder than intended, which can lead to heart failure.

One treatment option for “leaky valve” includes a transcatheter mitral valve repair. This minimally invasive procedure involves the placement of a small clip on the mitral valve leaflets to reduce the regurgitation. This is an option for higher risk patients such as those of older age, with comorbid medical conditions or advanced heart failure.


Atrial fibrillation, or irregular heartbeat, increases your risk of having a stroke. The reason for that is because AFib causes your heart to beat irregularly, which affects its ability to pump blood normally. And when the heart does not pump as it should, blood can collect and form clots. If a clot escapes, it can cut off the blood supply to the brain—causing a stroke.

Many patients with AFib not caused by a heart valve problem may be prescribed blood thinners to help prevent blood clots. Long-term use of blood thinners like warfarin can increase the risk of excessive bleeding because they reduce the ability of blood to clot.

More than 90% of stroke-causing clots that come from the heart are formed in the left atrial appendage (LAA) for those diagnosed with AFib not caused by a heart valve problem. That is why closing off this part of the heart is an effective way to reduce stroke risk.

The device fits right into your LAA. It is designed to permanently close it off and keep any blood clots from escaping. The device is about the size of a quarter and made from very light and compact materials commonly used in many other medical implants.



The month of February is a sad time of anticipation for the average outdoorsman or woman. Deer season is over and unless you chase squirrels or rabbits, the options are pretty limited for activity in the woods. Deer stands are being locked up, wheelers put away and the memories of 2023 are cherished as the camp is secured and weekends become a time to fulfill. I’d like to cover a couple of activities that most of us overlook but can fill your days with fun in the outdoors in this month of transition.

First of all if you fish, February is a time to catch some really fat fish. Bass and crappie are fat and starting to spawn. Water temps are low and fluctuating and most of our water is muddy from all the rain and water shed we have endured for the last couple of months. If you are looking for bass there is no better choices offered that what we have right here at home in Northeast Louisiana. To escape pressured fish, let me recommend a couple of lakes who are consistently good for big bass. Poverty Point Lake in Delhi is a great choice if you don’t mind competing with perch jerkers pounding the banks for crappie. This lake has consistently produced for me over the years with many fish over the 7 pound mark. I recommend fishing during the week and avoiding it on weekends. The place to go is on the northwest side of the lake and look for grass. The bass will spawn near the rocks as most baitfish use these rocks for heat and cover. I like a creature bait such as brush hog in watermelon red for best results. When a cold front pushes through, throw a suspending rogue or a chatter bait (white) for best results.

Another overlooked lake for the spawn is Bayou DeSiard. This lake probably gets less spawning pressure than most and I have had best results here with a gold Long Bomber A. The creature baits work well but the color here is plain pumpkin seed or motor oil.

Bayou Bartholomew is my secret spot when I’m chasing spawning bass. I like the far upper end of the lake and target grass patches or single cypress trees. You can really catch a pig here and you need to have patience and work the cover slowly, then slow down.

My favorite spawn fishing lake of all time is the Ouachita River. Floating logs are the target and a gold Rapala will make them bite. Look for no current in the back water and find logs with a lot of wood in the water. These fish really love to get on these logs and will stay on them well past any fish on shallow cover.

So what if you aren’t done in the woods? What about shed hunting? A whitetail deer sheds their horns every year and this is

a great way to learn your woods and where a big buck has been hiding. Thickets and narrow deer trails will bring you the most luck as the horns become dislodged as they travel their corridors. A big win is to find both sides but I guarantee you when you find one, you are hooked. These antlers make great accessories for making knives and other works of art and makes for a great day of walking in the woods hunting these shed horns. Not a lot of people do this in our area so the pickings should be abundant. The best times to look begin around the 2nd week of February and into early March.

One of my passions is hog hunting. I like to take the month of February and concentrate on hogs. It is a great time to weed out these pests and in February they are hungry and a lot less wary with all the folks out of the woods. The secret to hog hunting with a rifle is the right food. Hogs like their corn soured and sweet. The way to accomplish this is by taking your corn and soaking it for about 3 days in water. I add fish grease which they love and then pour a hog hunting supplemental sweet molasses to the mix. It does not take long for them to find it if you start close to a known hog sign. Let me caution that when you do take a hog be very careful with skinning and processing. Hogs carry diseases that while cannot be transferred when cooked properly, but can be transferred to bare skin.

In Louisiana it is now legal to hunt hogs at night. You must notify the local sheriff if hunting at night but the results can be outstanding. Always hunt hogs with the wind in your face. Hogs have a terrific sense of smell. They don’t see good but they can hear you and smell you at a level that would embarrass a deer. Weapons can vary but my choice is my trusty .223 AR 15 or my single shot .308. Shot placement is critical as you need to target the head area, specifically right behind the eye. After the shot, approach with extreme caution. Hogs have nine lives like a cat and I’ve seen them get up when they shouldn’t. Whether you fish or hunt, February can be a great month to gather new information about your choice of prey. When fishing, always wear a PFD and remember that cold temperatures mean less time of survival in the water. Always wear a kill switch when the big motor is running and by all means if you are in the woods, utilize seat belts and helmets to make sure you come home in one piece. Hunting and fishing in the early spring can be quite rewarding. Don’t take shortcuts and enjoy your time in the field.



Taylor Bennett’s mantle décor was inspired by Mardi Gras bead trees in New Orleans. Break tradition with this whimsical design.

styling by TAYLOR BENNETT photography by KELLY MOORE CLARK La Petite Abeille candles from Material Things line the mantle and a gold alligator from Revival Design and Consign watches over the branches dripping with an assortment of Mardi Gras beads.

Abita Brewing Company

A Louisiana Legacy

ABITA BREWING COMPANY WAS FOUNDED IN 1986 IN the piney woods just outside Abita Springs. Abita Springs is about 30 miles north of New Orleans and has long been known for its artesian waters. Today, it is just as well known for its great local craft beer like Abita Purple Haze, Strawberry Lager, and Amber Lager. The original brewery is now a charming 100 seat brewpub frequented by locals and tourists alike.

In 1986, craft beer was still in its infancy. In their first year, the brewery produced 1,500 barrels of beer. The beer was popular and by 1994, the operation moved up the road to a larger facility in Covington, Louisiana. Today, they brew more than 125,000 barrels of beer and 13,500 barrels of soda in this state of the art facility. Abita Brewing has continued to grow over the years. The company was ranked 16th on the Brewers Association’s list of the Top 50 biggest craft breweries in America in 2021 by sales volume. Still privately owned and operated by local shareholders, the team takes great pride in brewing with the highest quality ingredients, using local products when possible.

It all starts with the water. It’s the reason the Abita Brewing Company is located in beautiful Abita Springs, Louisiana. While most other breweries must filter and chemically treat their water for the brewing process, Abita does neither. It is taken straight from the source. The water is drawn from a deep artesian well in the Southern Hills aquifer system. Over 3,000 feet deep in some areas, it contains fresh water kept pristine in underground structures that are more than 2,000 years old. This water has been tested and shown to be free of manmade pollutants, including Tritium, a man-made radioactive isotope that marks all surface waters.

Today, you can consume this wonderful water in any of Abita’s brews, including the root beer. To find abita near you, visit and type your zip code into the ‘Find Abita’ tab. Below are just a few of our favorites, available locally.


Strawgator is the fusion of Strawberry Lager sweetness with the bite of Andygator. This golden lager is made with malted barley and wheat. It is hopped with German Perle hops for a delicate hop flavor. After filtration, generous amounts of fresh Louisiana strawberry juice are added, giving the beer a pleasant sweet taste and aroma, as well as a rich golden color and slight cloudiness. Strawgator is a great dessert

beer. It pairs well with fruit, dessert or sorberts. It is also excellent with chocolate dishes and cheeses such as St. Andre, Mascarpone and Brie.


AlphaGator is an Imperial IPA that is unquestionably at the top of the chain. Lurking around with a cloudy appearance, this brew asserts big hop flavors of tropical and citrus fruits. With a substantial alcohol content, this reptile reigns supreme and packs a big bite.


With creamy notes of maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg, this Stout will have you craving breakfast for dinner. A decadent brew inspired by a morning favorite; Abita French Toast Stout has a smooth & subtle sweetness perfect for any time of day. French Toast Stout is part of the limited series, so grab it when you see it! Look out for the next beers in this lineup: PB & Jams, Ride Share Triple IPA, and Fluffernutter.

ABITA ROOT BEER , Non-Alcoholic

Abita Root Beer is made with a hot mix process using spring water, herbs, vanilla and yucca (which creates foam). Unlike most soft drink manufacturers, Abita sweetens its root beer with pure Louisiana cane sugar. The resulting taste is reminiscent of soft drinks made in the 1940s and 1950s, before bottlers turned to corn sugar and fructose. Some soft drink makers add caffeine to their product, but Abita is naturally caffeine-free. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream for an old-fashioned root beer float. Abita Root Beer can also be used in cooking to create delicious glazes and sauces as well as cakes and other desserts, or you can keep it simple – just pour it into a frosty mug and slurp loudly through a straw.

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ABV: Alcohol by Volume, IBU: International Bitterness Units



layers of the story show the magnitude of political decisions and the impact affecting generations. Each chapter reads like its own vignette or short story; woven together, the quilt of familial existence comes into focus. This novel is impossible to read without experiencing a flood of emotions.

In this sweeping epic that spans almost three centuries, Yaa Gyasi delivers a powerful punch to colonial history and the transatlantic slave trade. Two sisters are born with no knowledge of one another in opposing villages. While Effia is married off to a white colonial soldier, Esi is imprisoned and relegated to the Gold Coast Atlantic slave trade, and monetized in America’s chattel slavery institution. In alternating chapters, the story follows their descendants in Ghana and America. Gyasi lures readers into an intense meditation on the binds of family and the horrors of history. She compels readers to complicate foremothers and forefathers, the distant relatives whose choices and circumstances so greatly impact our current lives.

The opening pages feature two parallel family trees. As each chapter introduces a tangential plot line, I kept referring back to the tree for reference. While it may sound confusing, the novel flows quite seamlessly between the sisters’ families. Gyasi’s visuals of the historical African landscape and the battles between Asante and Fante tribes depict a transatlantic history we rarely see with such clarity. The integral

I sped through this novel, relaxing into Gyasi’s command of prose and storytelling. The novel lacks predictability, much like life itself. Though fictional, each character’s story beats with historical relevance and brings the importance of ancestry into full view. Gyasi refuses the convenience of resolve, often retaining the fate of one character to the background of another. I left each chapter hesitantly, wanting to climb back into each plot line for a bit longer. As a woman, witnessing the lack of female agency is harrowing, especially when it happens on our own continent. The girls exist as currency to the patriarchal system both in Ghana and America. Whether owned by white masters in America or married to tribe leaders for the sole purpose of procreation, their lives are not their own. Gyasi intensely focuses on the historical human experience through the lives of women, lacking in agency but brimming with determination. Homegoing is Gyasi’s debut novel and won numerous awards after its publication in 2016.

“Theirs was the kind of life that did not guarantee living.”
“The family is like the forest: if you are outside it is dense; if you are inside you see that each tree has its own position.”

“Delicious Foods”

“A story might help you get through your life, but it doesn’t literally keep you alive -- if anything, most often people who have power turn their story into a brick wall keeping out somebody else’s truth, so that they can continue the life they believe themselves to be leading, trying somehow to preserve the idea that they’re good people in their small lives, despite their involvement, however indirect, with bigger evils.”

The title of James Hannaham’s novel sounds like the name of a corporation, a greedy capitalist outfit that maintains a stellar image while robbing its workers of fair pay, dignity, and leverage. And this assumption wouldn’t be far from the truth. As the horror novel opens, Eddie is driving furiously from nowhere Louisiana to Minnesota, struggling to maneuver the steering wheel as his hands have been severed from his body. When he finally reaches his aunt’s house and she recovers from the shock of his condition, Eddie learns to adapt to his new reality, concocting an apparatus that allows to move his nubs and make mechanical repairs. He markets himself as The Handyman Without Hands and morphs into a small-town celebrity. In the following chapters, Eddie’s backstory evolves with the force of tragedy and the continual onset of trauma. Through the voice of three characters, Hannaham unveils the demise of a family and the history of black violence in America.

The most interesting and telling narrator of the story is Scotty, aka Crack -the drug of choice. Scotty’s cool black vernacular tells the story of Darlene, Eddie’s mother, whose addiction after the murder of her husband is the root cause of the chaos that ensues. Having essentially lost two parents, Eddie comes of age in an environment not fit for human beings, and especially not for young boys. At Delicious Foods, Eddie learns the hard lessons of sacrifice, loss, abuse, and manual labor. This novel is not for the faint of heart. The plot is relentlessly heavy and Hannaham notably draws out tension and pain, forcing the reader to sit with hard truths. The plot parallels the history of slavery, showing the frameworks that supported the institution are still very much in place in America, working to protect the powerful and punish those who are not. The story is violent, frank, and unsettling - as is the history of the institution on which it so deliberately comments. Hannaham’s novel will leave you pondering what was real, what was fiction, and whether there is even a difference.

“Everybody black knows how to react to a tragedy. Just bring out a wheelbarrow full of the Same Old Anger, dump it all over the Usual Frustration, and water it with Somebody Oughtas. Then quietly set some globs of Genuine Awe in a circle around the mixture, but don’t call too much attention to that. Mention the Holy Spirit whenever possible.”



Historical Impressions

On May 8, 1792 the second Militia Act of 1792 was passed into law. This act established state militia organizations that would be available for federal service and called for the conscription of “each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years...” Although the language of the Act is not explicit, as a matter of practice it was viewed as prohibiting the enlistment of non-white men into the United States Army.

As the 19th century approached there was no consistent legal status covering all individuals of every non-white race in America. Although the Navy was free to enlist black sailors because of its chronic shortage of manpower, the Army only permitted white males to serve in its ranks. There was one exception. Black men could serve in Army militia units in Louisiana.

When the territory of Louisiana was purchased from France a treaty provision allowed it to opt out of any law which ran counter to its traditions and customs.

Louisiana’s free people of color enjoyed a relatively high level of acceptance and prosperity under the state’s French and Spanish founders. This would continue into the antebellum years of the 1800s. One measure of this acceptance was the existence of militia units composed of free black men during the Spanish rule.

To compensate it for its losses in the Seven Years’ War, France had ceded Louisiana to Spain in 1763. The colony’s transfer to Spain began the most liberal period in Louisiana’s history in regard to free people of color. A new set of laws was enacted that essentially allowed free people of color to live lives not very different from whites of similar social and economic status. This included service in the militia.

By the time of the Louisiana Purchase

in 1803, New Orleans had a population of about 8000 people of which at least one in six was a free person of color. Beginning in 1791 and continuing until 1810 the population of the city grew rapidly due to an influx of Haitian émigrés displaced by the revolution led by Toussaint Louverture, a free man of color. Any unforeseen population growth strains housing, food and employment but there were additional concerns because the Haitian refugees were bringing discontent and turmoil to Louisiana.

With the War of 1812 underway, in September 1813 the governor of Tennessee sent Andrew Jackson and his militia to combat the Red Stick Creeks attacking American settlements and allied with the Shawnees fighting for the British. After his successful campaign Jackson was appointed a brigadier general in the United States Army, brevetted to major general and given command of the Seventh Military District which included Tennessee, Louisiana and the Mississippi Territory.

Since Louisiana was exempt from the Militia Act of 1792, Andrew Jackson issued a proclamation to the free people of color of Louisiana on September 21, 1814. In this proclamation he regretted the United States government’s previous neglect of the colored militia, invited them to participate in the defense of the country and promised everyone who enlisted a bounty of 160 acres of land. Although Jackson planned to appoint white officers, he would readily allow all non-commissioned officers to be men of color.

Jackson’s proclamation resulted in the reestablishment of the old Spanish colonial militia of free men of color. It also helped ease the problems caused by the influx of Haitian émigrés. Two colored battalions and a home guard company were quickly organized; one of the battalions solely constituted from Haitian refugees.

The 2nd Battalion of Free Men of Color was recruited and led by Joseph Savary, a colored refugee who had served as a lieutenant-colonel in the French Army. The 156 men of the 2nd Battalion were placed under the command of Major Louis D’Aquin of the 2d Regiment of Louisiana militia, a white refugee from the same island. Savary was made secondin-command with the rank of captain and three other colored officers were also appointed. The battalion was mustered into United States service on December 19, 1814.

When British troops marched across Louisiana to the Mississippi River bank and took the Villeré Plantation on December 23, the American forces attacked in two columns. Included in the American forces was the 2nd Battalion of Free Men of Color. Captain Savary, leading his men forward with the words “March on! March on my friends, march on against the enemies of the country” in Haitian French, helped delay the British advance long enough for Jackson to fortify his line of defense for the city of New Orleans.

The January 8, 1815 Battle of New Orleans saw the 2nd Battalion stationed in the left center of the right wing of the American line of defense. Field commander Captain Savary had an effective strength of about 150 men. Another battalion of free men of color under Major Plauchés was to the right of the 2nd and 350 men from the 44th US Infantry were to the left. During the battle, the battalion made an attack under its own initiative and reached the advancing British lines. The British commander, Sir Edward Pakenham, was killed in this attack and the demoralized British withdrew.

After the battle Jackson praised the two colored battalions, stating they had not “disappointed the hopes that had been formed of their courage and perseverance.”



From flirty dresses to sassy dusters, these looks are perfect for Valentine’s Day and beyond. Hats off to our local boutiques for providing these red haute looks.

Hemline Monroe

This super cute two-piece ivory set features flirty bubble sleeves and a cutout back, and is paired with a matching skirt with flounce hemline. Pair with triple tiered bubble sculptural heels, and a gold heart locket necklace.

photography by KELLY MOORE CLARK model ALLISON LEVESQUE hair and makeup by MEKA BENNETT Palette House and Plume Allison is darling in this lux french terry sweatshirt dress with shawl collar and pearl buttons. Pair it with a chic yellow bucket bag and silk printed scarf.


Layer up this Valentine’s Day in this pink cami with criss-cross neckline and white button up duster. Wear with Judy Blue mid rise skinny fit jeans and accessorize with a cross heart latch bracelet and pink cheetah print heart earrings.


This soft pink brush ribbed longsleeve tee is worn under a boxy blue, one button blazer and paired with a light-wash skort with raw hems that ties at the hip. Add a leopard print scarf and faux snake skin print purse.


Remind yourself everyday that you are “worthy” in this super soft graphic tee. Wear with a striped duster and purple fringe hoop earrings and layered beaded bracelets.

Create a sturdy and fitted base by twisting together pipe cleaners – the rest is up to your imagination. String on beads and glue pom poms and rhinestones for extra bling.


Looking for a cute activity to do with the kiddos this Valentine’s Day? Libby and Abby Gifford twisted together these adorable crowns using pipe cleaners, beads and rhinestones.


NWLA Artist Ellen Soffer

Evocative Use Of Color Asks Something Of The Viewer

NORTHWEST LOUISIANA ARTIST ELLEN SOFFER IS WELLknown for her brilliant use of color--bright, powerful, emotive greens, yellows, reds, blues, oranges, pinks—color that compels you to pause, respond, to feel something. The titles of many of her pieces are also an homage to her passion for color: “Pink Shell, Blue Fish,” “Green Alphabet,” “Pink Slice,” and “Blue Bird.” There is a unique intensity of color and an awareness of form throughout her newest works. Experience more than 60 new works by Soffer in the exhibition, “Ellen Soffer: PINK SKY,” opening Thursday, January 26, 2023, at 5 p.m. The exhibition is presented by the Shreveport Regional Arts Council (SRAC) at artspace at 708 Texas St. in downtown Shreveport and curated by Professor of Art & Humanities at Bossier Parish Community College, Kelly McDade.

The Shreveport Regional Arts Council will host two months of colorful events to celebrate Ellen Soffer: Pink Sky that remains in artspace until April 8th. One evening to especially look forward to is a conversation with artist and curator and Happy Hour on March 9th, from 5-7 PM. Participants are invited to a discussion with Soffer and McDade while experiencing the power and emotion of the artist’s exhibition at artspace. Soffer says that she creates intuitively, not always knowing how a piece will come together, but certain that color and its intensity will be driving forces. According to Soffer, when she is making new work, she is inspired by previous work, visually and formally, and the titles for the pieces come afterward as she carefully reflects on how a painting might relate to her current and past series of work. Soffer says, “My intention is to capture the impressions and sensations left behind from dreams, emotions, or memories without being limited to the specific details of the events, leaving room for viewer participation and interpretation.”

Emily Wilkerson, professional critic, writer and curator based in New Orleans, recently reviewed Soffer’s work during SRAC’s annual showcase of Northwest Louisiana Art and Artists Critical Mass X (2022). Wilkerson said, “In Ellen Soffer’s painting Summer Light, Blue Lake, the artist’s bright, beautifully mixed pigments create a dynamic tension between abstract shapes and natural, undulating edges.”

Robert L. Pincus, who has been an art critic, author, book critic and art historian for more than four decades and was the staff art critic of The San Diego Union-Tribune for 25 years has contributed an essay to a full color catalog that will be available in conjunction with Soffer’s exhibition. Pincus says, “I have admired Ellen Soffer’s paintings for a decade now, so it was a real pleasure and a lovely challenge to write an essay on her recent work. The paintings in this exhibition and catalog are teeming with

exuberant color, formal ingenuity and subtle symbolism.” Kelly McDade, curator for “Pink Sky,” says that Soffer’s paintings ask something of her audience—that they pause, absorb, think and ultimately make something meaningful of the works for themselves. McDade’s goal with this exhibition is to celebrate and recognize the work of Ellen Soffer who she believes is one of the most prolific, meticulous, and focused artists she knows. “To become absorbed in Ellen’s imagery is a thrilling and moving experience for the viewer, as she communicates with such bold brushwork and intense color,” says McDade.

McDade goes on to describe Soffer’s work as intuitive, while also being very analytical. “When I look at her paintings, while they have a sense of spontaneity and freedom within them, I can tell that nothing is haphazard—every brush stroke and color combination is strategic, which ultimately requires that the viewer engage in a ‘conversation’ with her work. This newest body of work reflects Ellen’s ability to be responsive to how light, color, and shape interact in a very moving way, visually. I see her work as an invitation for critical thinking and individual emotion,” says McDade.

Soffer creates on canvas and paper using mainly oils, but also gouache, acrylic, and watercolor. She has had solo exhibitions in Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Texas and Georgia and has been featured in numerous group exhibitions including Mary Tomás Gallery in Dallas and the Longview Museum of Fine Arts, among many other venues. She is a recipient of the Shreveport Regional Arts Council’s Visual Arts Fellowship and has been awarded residencies from the Ragsdale Foundation and Skowhegan. Soffer earned her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her BFA from the Philadelphia College of Art.

When asked what she hopes to convey to those seeing the “Pink Sky” artspace exhibition, Soffer says, “I look forward to sharing my work and the viewers of the exhibition having the chance to see a large body of my work together. I invite those who see the work to engage with and interpret my paintings in their own way.”

Don’t miss “Ellen Soffer: Pink Sky,” a substantial exhibition of more than 60 new paintings created in the past four years (2019-2022) by Artist Ellen Soffer, opening January 26, 2023, at 5 p.m. at artspace in downtown Shreveport. The exhibition includes works of gouache and watercolor on paper, as well as large scale oil paintings on canvas that feature vibrant color, organic shapes, and dynamic patterns. “Pink Sky” remains at artspace at 708 Texas St. through April 8, 2023. For more information, visit


Spa Bella Changes The Skin Scene

Local Spa is Seeing Remarkable Results with their Laser and Esthetic Options

SINCE INCEPTION, SPA BELLA HAS ADDED ADVANCED aesthetic products and procedures revolutionizing the offerings available to their customers. In the last year, owner Kristan Berry and her team have not only introduced new products, but added a Sciton laser to their arsenal, and their clients are seeing amazing results. “We are always striving to be on the cutting edge of technology and offer the latest products and procedures, allowing our clients to be their best selves,” said Kristan.

The Sciton HALO is a high-end skin resurfacing laser that operates using two distinct wavelengths to target skin concerns on multiple levels. “Over the years, sun exposure and everyday living can result in visible signs of aging,” said Kristan. “This includes sun spots, fine lines and loss of your natural and healthy glow.” But Spa Bella is changing that by using this laser technology to eliminate years of damage by triggering the body’s natural healing response, revealing the luminous glow their clients are looking and longing for.

The treatment takes as little as one hour, has minimal downtime and you will see results within just one week, with continued improvement over time. Since it does stimulate the collagen in your skin, you will see results for the weeks and months to come. “Everyone’s skin is different,” said Kristan. “Everyone’s needs are different and with HALO, we can customize a treatment that fits your lifestyle and what your skin needs.”

Since she is always striving to improve the experience and results for her clients, Kristan sought a solution to improve the HALO results even more. And she found it right here in North Louisiana! Kristan was introduced to Hydrinity, created by a West Monroe native himself, Keith O’Briant. Keith has a medical and pharmaceutical background with 30 years experience and recently moved back from Atlanta, Georgia. “I spent a large part of my career in pharmaceuticals and then helping to create, consult and build companies,” said Keith. “So this was a natural transition. I always knew that I wanted to have a Louisiana based company.” What began as a regenerative medicine company that developed advanced wound care products using revolutionary hyaluronic-acid technology quickly developed into more after hearing the results of their products. “Reports from leading clinicians revealed that our supercharged hyaluronic acid-based formulas promoted rapid healing and repair on even severely compromised skin in patients undergoing radiation therapy,” said Keith. “We realized that we were on to something and so started experimenting with skin repair and anti-

aging serums for at-home use. After 3 years, multiple formulations, and tireless research from our teams of scientists and physicians, accelerated skin science was born.”

Their products feature the only injectable grade hyaluronic acid rather than topical and have twice as much than other products. “This is truly the first real advancement in 25 years when it comes to these products,” said Keith. “It allows people to experience healing from within rather than just on top of their skin.” Currently, Hydrinity offers three products - a restorative serum, a renewing serum and a purifying mist. The company plans to expand with an eye serum, a hair, nail and skin gummy, a brightening cream and more in the coming year. Spa Bella was the first spa to carry their products and it is a natural fit. “Our restorative serum is really designed for post treatment while our Renewing serum is good for everyday use,” explains Keith. “The mist is anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory so when laser patients use it, they see a reduction in redness and it normalizes the pH of their skin, allowing them to heal quickly, improving their results even more.”

Other BBL laser options include BBL Corrective, Forever Young BBL, Forever Clear BBL, Forever Bare BBL and SkinTyte. These lasers address freckles, rosacea, wrinkles, acne, hair removal and firmness. Their expert staff can advise you what is best for you and your skin. Spa Bella offers a variety of massages, with three massage therapists on staff, so you don’t have to wait weeks for an appointment. Spa Bella also has injection and filler services, from licensed Nurse Practitioner Kelli Drost, and Registered Nurse Bethani Thomas in a relaxing environment. Licensed massage therapists include Dawn Miller, McKenzie Dent, and Kylie Flowers. They also have a full time nail technician, Alexis McCoy, specializing in manicures, pedicures and nail art. Their esthetician, Kallie Bible, services include dermaplanning, facials, waxing, lash lifts and tints and more. In addition to the Hydrinity line, they carry Osea and SkinBetter products, as well as bath bombs, soaps and lotions from Bathhouse Soapery. Spa Bella is the perfect place to grab something for Valentine’s Day, from a gift certificate for a spa day to a gift basket of skin care products. They even have mens’ products like shaving cream, lotion and more. Spa Bella is located on Wood Street, right off Trenton Street in downtown West Monroe. Stop by and visit them to see everything they have to offer and how they can help you put your best face forward!


Most Neutral Vodka

Marsala Beverage Introduces NÜTRL Vodka Seltzer

IN LATE JANUARY, MARSALA BEVERAGE CONTINUED THEIR spree on innovation rollouts with the introduction of NÜTRL Vodka Seltzer to Northeast Louisiana. You’re probably thinking, “Another seltzer?” but hear us out. NÜTRL is vodka-based and made with just three ingredients: vodka, seltzer and real fruit juice.

NÜTRL Vodka Seltzer is a tasty, sessionable beverage that is unpretentious and uncomplicated. The gluten-free drink, which recently launched in the U.S., boasts a simple and straightforward recipe: real vodka, real juice and real seltzer, nothing else. NÜTRL is available in five flavors cranberry, lemonade, pineapple, raspberry, and watermelon and contains 4.5% alcohol inside a 355mL can, with no added sugar. In total, each can contains only 100 calories and 2.4g of sugar.

Cranberry: NÜTRL Cranberry Vodka Seltzer is sure to be a crowd favorite each season. NÜTRL Cranberry is a refreshingly light, tasty, easy drinking, low calorie cocktail that is simple, clean and uncomplicated. Made with real vodka, real juice and sparkling water. It features four flavors: cranberry, cran orange, cran apple & cran grapefruit.

Lemonade: NÜTRL Lemonade Vodka Seltzer is made with simple ingredients like vodka, seltzer, real lemon juice and cane sugar. It combines the slightly sweet and pleasantly tart taste of lemonade with the light and refreshing taste of vodka seltzer. At just 100 calories and gluten free, NÜTRL Lemonade Vodka Seltzer is so simply delicious it will put you in a summer mindset all year-round. It is available in the flowing flavors: classic lemonade, blackberry lemonade, peach lemonade and strawberry lemonade.

Pineapple: NÜTRL Vodka Seltzer Pineapple is a refreshing light, low calories pineapple seltzer. For pineapple lovers, NÜTRL pineapple is gluten free, has no added sugars, uses natural flavors, all with just 100 calories.

Raspberry: NÜTRL Vodka Seltzer Raspberry is a light and tasty drink with a zing of raspberry. Relax and sip away as you enjoy a gluten free seltzer with natural flavors and added sugar. Oh, and it’s only 100 calories.

Watermelon: NÜTRL Vodka Seltzer Watermelon is your new favorite simple and tasty watermelon seltzer. NÜTRL Watermelon is gluten free, with no added sugar with all natural flavore and only 100 calories.

Anheuser-Busch is one of the largest companies in the beer market.

As ready-to-drink beverages have become the fastest-growing alcohol category in the U.S., the company is looking to expand its stake in the alcohol business with its newest addition to the category. In the last year alone, more than 181 seltzers were introduced in the increasingly saturated product category. However, with each new addition to the seltzer market, the category continues to adapt to consumer preferences. Now it’s getting into the hard liquor game by way of the rapidly expanding ready-to-drink segment.

A bit more about that base spirit: Nütrl Vodka is corn-based and quadruple distilled in the Midwest—although it originally started out of an eponymous distillery in Delta, British Columbia. The initial formula involved purification through a 76-step process. And it’s this elaborate methodology which results in an especially neutral liquor. Hence the name...get it? The people of Canada certainly did, where it is already the best-selling canned vodka cocktail in the country.

Anheuser-Busch is among the biggest names in beer, worldwide and as previously mentioned, Ready-To-Drink beverages (RTDs) are the fastest growing alcohol category in the US. And yet they still account for less than 3% of domestic spirits volume. In other words: this is just the beginning. And with Nütrl, Anheuser-Busch sees space for separation through simplicity.

One thing you shouldn’t question about NÜTRL, is that it provides an ideal blank canvas upon which fizzy water and fruit can shine. To wit, Nütrl Vodka Seltzer, canned at 4.5% ABV, is equally refreshing and sessionable. Available in variety 6-packs, it’s quite likely that you’d find yourself wanting to sample several flavors in one sitting.

From a marketing perspective, Nütrl is more noteworthy for what it lacks than for what it lends. Namely: loudness. Missing are any sort of flashy packaging flourishes or high-profile endorsements, which we’ve come to expect from the hard seltzer space these days. Presumably, the play here is that the next wave of hard seltzer consumers are responsible adults that don’t necessarily want to go “hard” at all. On the contrary, they just want something easy to drink amongst friends, that also fades easily into the background; a beverage that facilitates conversation without being a part of that conversation. If indeed that is the working model, Nütrl is well-positioned to make a splash. A reactionary product for folks who ever feel overwhelmed or even intimidated by all the craft beer and whiskey talk of the day.


This magnificent, costumed, beaded and feathered carnival is rich with tradition and is all about having a good time. These fun events can be found right here in the Twin Cities. Updated information about each krewe’s events can be found through their Facebook pages @TwinCitiesKreweOfJanus and @krewederiviere This year we are happy to share what

KING CAKE HEADQUARTERS BUTTER BAKERY 2001 Tower Drive, Monroe CAKE 115 Trenton Street, West Monroe CASTER & CHICORY 405 Natchitoches Street, West Monroe CC’S COFFEE HOUSE 2350 Tower Drive, Monroe FLYING HEART BREWERY 204 Commerce Street, West Monroe JAC’S CRAFT SMOKEHOUSE 401 Trenton Street, West Monroe SWEET LOVES 211 Trenton Street, West Monroe THURMAN’S FOOD FACTORY 1608 Stubbs Avenue, Monroe laissez les bon temps rouler
we consider Northeast Louisiana’s King Cake Headquarters. These local bakeries each offer unique and delectable king cake creations.




Children’s & Pet Parade

February 4th | 10AM

Mardi Gras Madness

February 4th | 11AM

3rd Annual Parade

February 4th | 5PM


Children’s Parade

February 11th | 10AM

Krewe of Paws

February 11th | 1PM

Jester Jog Color 5K

February 11th | 2:30PM

39th Annual Parade

February 11th | 6PM



For most, the idea of creating a world of their own is just a dream. But for Inique Harris, it’s reality and has been since she was young.

She doesn’t use a hammer and nails to build her worlds, though, and she doesn’t say things like, “Let there be light.” Instead, she grabs a sketchbook and pencil, paintbrush and canvas, needle and thread, or crochet hook and yarn.

“My process starts with a character,” Harris explains. “I don’t know how I get the inspiration for it; it’s either from something I watched or read or something I see out in day-to-day life.”

From there, Harris goes on, she works on discovering who that character is and in what environment they exist. She says, “I build who their family is, where they live, what kind of government this place has, what kind of landscape there is, and what the weather pattern is even. I go from one person to a world and then a universe.”

Harris has done this since she was young, only 11 or 12 years old. She filled sketchbooks with depictions of original characters going on big adventures, and even though she was young, she took it seriously. She worked hard to develop detailed stories and strong protagonists, much like and closely inspired by the ones in the Japanese cartoons and anime she watched religiously.

“I was super enticed by Japanese animation because their storylines were much more mature than what we have in America,” Harris explains, “The stories also continued. It wasn’t like a one-off Spongebob episode; the storyline kept going and building on itself.”

The idea then, Harris remembers, was to create a TV show, saying, “I had all these characters and storylines written up, and I worked on it for about four years. I worked on a lot of other stuff then, as well: working on characters, backgrounds, and just teaching myself all the things that go into creating a show.”

The then-teenaged Monroe native loved what she was doing so much that she decided she wanted to learn how to illustrate books, too. So, after graduating from Ouachita High School, she entered the art program at the University of Louisiana Monroe. There, she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a painting concentration and picked up even more skills necessary for becoming a professional illustrator.

Upon graduating in 2019, Harris didn’t immediately jump into a career as a professional artist. Instead, she took a job at a public library a “bucket list thing” and stayed there until she no longer felt inspired to continue.

“An opportunity for an art teacher position came up at a private school, and I was like, ‘I can do that! That will take me out of my little creative funk,’” she recalls. “I could also have fun creating projects and instilling that love of art that my teachers put into me when I was younger.”

Now, in her second year of teaching, Harris admits she resented the part-time teaching position at first, “My mom is a teacher, and she was always like, ‘You can be a teacher like me!’ and I was always like, ‘No, I’m a little different.’” She laughs before adding, “But I love connecting with students, finding the things they’re passionate about, and working with them on projects I know they’ll love.”

When she’s not in the classroom with her elementary and

middle school students, Harris creates art with multiple mediums, including oil, acrylic, or watercolor painting; crochet; and weaving to continue creating characters and worlds of her own. It may seem unusual to some for an artist to work with so many materials, but Harris says it makes sense for her.

“I want to make sure my creativity is not limited to one medium or one subject,” she says when asked why she works with so many materials. “I want to make sure that it flows and is constantly evolving and growing, as I am. I fear stagnation. Once I stagnate, I lose the chance to grow, and I don’t want to lose that opportunity.”

With whatever materials she chooses to use at any given time, she continues doing what she did as a child: creating her own worlds, one character at a time. Only now, rather than imitating the likes of Sailor Moon, Naruto, or whoever starred in the show her childhood self was watching at the time, the characters reflect the lessons she has learned.

Her characters are “little puzzle pieces” that show who she is, she explains, citing one of her most recent works to elaborate, “I have a mural in downtown Monroe, and [in it], I explore how I’ve grown to learn what love at first sight and actual passion for a person are. I show it as a girl with her eye on fire but also her heart being broken. When you see someone for the first time, you’re like, ‘Oh, my God, they’re the most beautiful thing ever.’ But when you build them up in your mind and get to know them, it’s kind of a disappointment. The second part of that mural is holding onto that flaming eye and being like, ‘OK, I’ve learned from this, and I know how love is in real life instead of in my head.’”

That kind of art the kind people can find themselves in is what Harris is passionate about creating. The body of work she is currently creating stems from the personal growth the artist has experienced. She hopes to have these pieces ready to show at the


next Downtown Gallery Crawl. Harris wants viewers to have a relationship with the work and to be able to say, “Oh, I remember when something like that happened [to me]!” upon seeing it.

“I’ve learned so much about myself, how to deal with negative emotions, and how to handle certain situations that would usually stress me out,” she says. “This body of work is my way of showing that I’ve learned from previous experiences.”

Whether Harris meets her goal of completing her current project before the next Gallery Crawl or not, she will be in attendance. She serves as secretary of the Downtown Art Alliance (DAA), the nonprofit organization responsible for organizing the bimonthly event. Holding the secretary position means doing a lot of paperwork, Harris admits, but she doesn’t mind. Being a part of the DAA allows her to connect with other artists, and that’s something she’s passionate about.

“I’m a sucker for getting to meet new people and artists,” she says before explaining that making connections and building relationships is a game changer in her industry, “[Having a creative community] is beneficial because so many times, at least in my experience, other creatives are so willing to help each other out and give advice on things like writing grants or getting into shows.”

Having a creative community is so crucial, Harris says, that she likely wouldn’t be where she is now without it. She suspects that without the connections she made during and after her time at ULM, there’s a chance she would still be where she was before college making art by herself and probably wouldn’t have become an art educator. Because community and relationships have played such a huge role in her journey, Harris encourages her students to seek it, too.

“I’m always trying to instill in them that they should meet professional artists and artists around their age,” she says. “That


ABOVE : With whatever materials Inique chooses to use at any given time, she continues doing what she did as a child: creating her own worlds, one character at a time. Only now, rather than imitating the likes of Sailor Moon, Naruto, or whoever starred in the show her childhood self was watching at the time, the characters reflect the lessons she has learned.

will help them see art isn’t just a hobby, and it’s something they can do outside of school.”

Eventually, Harris hopes to see the community she and so many other artists have cultivated in Downtown Monroe and West Monroe expand. She wants non-artists to be just as involved.

“I hope the rest of the community will see what we have to offer and come support us and buy locally,” she says. “I know a lot of people do that already in Antique Alley, but I don’t want it to be limited to Antique Alley. I want it to spread a little further.”

Harris’s passion for the local art scene is genuine and sincere, and so are the messages she conveys through her art that’s the message she most wants to convey to BayouLife readers and others who see her work, whether downtown or at an exhibition.


Are You Due For a Checkup?

Schedule an Appointment Today

IF OUR TEAM AT BAYOU DENTAL GROUP HAD OUR way, we’d see every single patient of ours at least twice a year for routine dental cleanings and exams. But unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

We understand that life gets pretty hectic. With work, school, and kids, it’s sometimes hard to find the time for regular dental visits when you have so many other responsibilities competing for your attention.

There are all sorts of reasons people might not make it to the dentist regularly. Maybe it’s a busy schedule, maybe it’s fear, or maybe you’re embarrassed about the state of your oral health because you’ve stayed away too long. The fact is, professional dental care can make all the difference when it comes to achieving and maintaining your healthiest smile.

That’s why Dr. Finley, Dr. Henderson and our highly-trained hygienists want to make sure you know just how important it is that you visit our Monroe, LA dental office for routine checkups!


Gum disease creeps in slowly to destroy your oral health, often without you even realizing it’s happening. That’s why professional dental care matters more than anything. In our Monroe dental office, you’ll find highly-trained hygienists who have the experience and professional tools to give your teeth and gums the deep cleaning necessary to remove plaque and tartar buildup that you can’t reach with your toothbrush and dental floss at home.

Dr. Finley and Dr. Henderson can thoroughly examine your mouth and catch any signs of dental problems. With technology such as digital X-rays, they are able to catch the things that threaten your oral health that you can’t see on your own. We also offer dental sealants and fluoride treatments for added protection against tooth decay and cavities, even for adults.

These are just some of the ways a dental professional can make the difference between a glowing, healthy smile and dull, damaged teeth and poor oral health.


The best defense your mouth has against harmful bacteria is prevention. That may begin with your daily oral hygiene at home, but that’s only half of what it really takes for strong, healthy teeth and gums.

You need help from professionals like you’ll find here at Bayou Dental Group. Our passion is helping patients get healthy and stay that way, but we can only help if you come to see us for regular cleanings and exams. Without vigilance and proper professional dental care, there is only so much you can do at home to maintain lasting oral health.


TOP Neurologist

Cresha Davis, MD Ochsner LSU Health Monroe Medical Center

4864 Jackson Street | Monroe, LA 71202 318-330-7600

At the Ochsner LSU Health – Monroe Department of Neurology, we are here to provide unrivaled neurology specialty care for patients throughout North Louisiana. Armed with the latest technology, we treat patients of all ages with even the most complex and rare neurological conditions. Our phenomenal staff evaluates and treats patients with conditions, including but not limited to:

• Autoimmune CNS Disorders

• Cerebral Palsy

• Concussions

• Dementia

• Developmental Concerns

• Headaches and Migraines

• Movement Disorders

• Neurofibromatosis

• Seizure Disorders

• Sleep Disorders

• Stroke

Among our team of neurologists is Dr. Cresha Davis who has been voted as a 2023 Top Doctor by BayouLife magazine.

Dr. Davis obtained her medical degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine in Michigan. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology and General Dietetics cum laude at the Tuskegee Institute. She completed a General Pediatrics residency at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. Dr. Davis did her Child Neurology fellowship at Wayne State University, Children’s Hospital of Michigan. Thereafter, she completed a Sleep Medicine fellowship at Detroit Medical Center, Wayne State University. Dr. Davis is a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the American Academy of Neurology, and the Child Neurology Society. She is board-certified in Child Neurology and Sleep Medicine. Dr. Davis also serves as the Stroke Medical Director at Ochsner LSU Health – Monroe Medical Center. She has a special interest in autism and ADHD.

Dr. Cresha Davis is accepting new patients at Ochsner LSU Health – Monroe Medical Center, located at 4864 Jackson Street in Monroe, Louisiana. Call 318-3307600 to schedule an appointment, or visit ochsnerlsuhs. org to learn more.


Get That Glow

Step Into the Best Version of Yourself

UNFORTUNATELY, THERE IS NO TRUE FOUNTAIN of youth…at least not one we have discovered yet. But DermaMedicQ offers treatments to help your skin achieve the youthful glow we all desire. DermaMediQ proudly offers a variety of services including Eyelash Extensions, Evoke, Botox and Fillers and BodyTite and PRP plasma treatments that addresses these areas, giving you your self confidence back. Plus, the coming months are the perfect time to plan these procedures.


Every girl wishes to have full, long, fluttery lashes and this wonderful technique is probably one of the greatest beauty trends for glamorous, natural lashes- that is here to stay. Here’s why: making your lashes even more beautiful, fuller, darker and thicker 24/7. One of the most significant benefits of this is the ability to look put together any time of day because they give the appearance that the wearer already has mascara on.


Evoke is a revolutionary, hands-free facial remodeling platform. This proprietary non-invasive technology is an industry first, delivering hands-free thermal facial and submental remodeling. The remodeling of these areas produces results that are associated with a youthful appearance. The ultimate in medical-grade technology that ensures your practice capitalizes on client demand for facial remodeling treatments.


With a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) treatment personally designed for you, will take you one step closer to fighting hair loss that has already begun and stopping it in its tracks before it worsens. The procedure is minimally-invasive and produces some of the best results available on the market.Your PRP hair transplant procedure will involve blood drawn from your own body to stimulate the rejuvenation of hair follicles. The entire procedure is done in the office and you can rest assured knowing that Dr. Sowma and her team have your best interest in mind at every step of the way.


Sometimes the line between Botox and fillers can be blurred…no pun intended. But Dr. Sowma and her staff can advise you on what will work best for you, without looking overdone. Botox can be used to treat dynamic wrinkles, like those that occur naturally around the mouth and eyes, as well as in between the eyebrows. Dermal fillers also treat wrinkles on the face, but are primarily used to treat smile lines and they can be used the plump the lips and cheeks.


BodyTite is an advanced minimally invasive technology for the treatment of large body areas through soft tissue coagulation. It delivers unparalleled clinical results in a single treatment.

No matter your age or issue you want to address, Dr. Sowma and the staff at DermaMediQ can help you achieve your beauty goals and truly put your best face forward. Call the helpful staff today to schedule an appointment or consultation to start your journey to becoming a more confident and better you.


Yoga Made SIMPLE

The physical practice of yoga has long been known to supply practitioners with many health benefits from improving flexibility to helping stress relief, and increasing strength. While some poses can be intimidating, there are many simple poses that, when done consistently, can go a long way for mind, body, and spirit. The following poses have helped me maintain flexibility and improve body strength, consider incorporating any of these as part of a pre or post-workout, and/or combined into a peaceful morning or evening flow. Find your peace, power, and poise in the simplicity of yoga.


It’s hard for me to imagine yoga without flowing between Cow Pose (Bitilasana) and Cat Pose (Marjaryasana). Flowing between these two poses warms up the spine and helps relieve tension in the back, shoulders, and neck. On an inhale, lift the upper torso and broaden the shoulder. On an exhale, round the spine, contracting the abdominals for further lengthening of the back body. If it’s a Netflix and chill night, sit on your yoga mat for an equally beneficial variation.

Technically, plank is not considered a traditional yoga pose, but it is a common transition pose into the sweat-inducing Four-Limbed Staff Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana). To get into plank, hands should be shoulder-width apart. Keep legs extended. Activate abdominals and glutes. On an exhale, lower to Chaturanga, activate the muscles of the upper torso, keep elbows close to ribs, and maintain energized legs by keeping glues active and heels pressing back. Hover for a few breaths and return to plank or lower all the way to the ground. At any point, bring your knees to the ground for a gentle variation.



One of my favorite poses to hold for a deep stretch is known as Standing Figure-Four Pose, Half-Chair Pose, or One-Legged Chair Pose (Eka Pada Utkatasana). As someone who spends a lot of time seated, this is my go-to stretch right before bedtime, particularly the supine version!

For standing balance, stand feet parallel and hip-width apart. Set your gaze on the floor as you raise your right foot and place the right ankle over the left knee (keep a gentle flex on the right foot). Bend your knees, keeping your thighs parallel to the floor and spine aligned, allowing your torso to lean forward slightly.

For a variation that engages the core, try this pose seated, making sure to broaden


Lunge, another power pose, always manages to challenge my leg flexibility—in the best way. This variation incorporates a spinal twist for the added benefit of activating the muscles of the spine and abdominal core. Begin standing with feet parallel and hipwidth apart. Bend the right knee and, on an exhale, send it back far enough to keep the left knee aligned with the left ankle. Keep spine lengthened. On an exhale, twist only from the thoracic spine, and allow the left arm to follow. For a gentle version, bring one knee down to the ground.


Yoga Made SIMPLE



I always feel invigorated in Tree Pose (Vrksasana). This classic balance pose can be tough for some, but I always encourage practitioners to find a wall or a chair to assist with balance. To begin, stand with feet parallel and hip-width apart. Raise your right foot high onto the left shin, middle thigh, or upper thigh, and press into the leg. Keep pelvis level, gazed fix to steady your balance, and explore arm variations for a more playful pose. Close your eyes during the full expression of the pose to further challenge your balance!

athletic wear available at Blush by Elle (this page)


Love Your Locks


history, hair has played a significant role in our society. It’s associated with youthfulness and beauty in women and considered our “crowning glory.” In men, it’s associated with virility and masculinity. We often see our hair as a reflection of our identity because it’s both personal and public. Many women feel that a bad hair day equals a bad day: when our hair is too fine, too frizzy, too dry, turning gray or falling out, our self-esteem is seriously affected. So, it’s no surprise that hair loss can be devastating for many men and women. The most common form of hair loss is Androgenetic Alopecia, which is caused by DHT, a derivative of testosterone. With the advent of testosterone supplementation, more and more women and men are suffering from this type of hair loss. Which will become irreversible if not treated early.

Recent advances in hair follicle science has led to an amazing product that is helping people grow hair. AnteAge MD Hair Rejuvenation combines medical microneedling with cell cytokines, taken from the bone marrow of 20 year old Scandanavian women. These powerful growth factors and cytokines signal the body to reawaken hair follicles from the “resting” to the “active” growth phase, without the pain of injections, surgery, lasers, drugs or ointments. The results parallel those of invasive and expensive PRP, with much less inflammation, and at a fraction of the cost.

Several different types of cells produce growth factors. Research has shown that some of the most important cells for this are bone marrow derived mesenchymal cells. These cells are primarily used for tissue regeneration, and they are the best cells at producing growth factors, compared to platelets, fibroblasts, or adipocytes. AnteAGE MD contains the antiinflammatory growth factors and cytokines derived and cultured from pristine human bone marrow. They’re pre-packaged and require no

blood drawing in the office.

The treatment protocol is once or twice a month for at least three months, depending on the severity of hair loss. All of our patients are seeing hair growth within the first month and it continues to improve with each treatment. Significant results can be seen in 3 months. AnteAGE MD Hair MicroNeedling Solution is the real game-changer It’s a total home run for our patients.

For more information, visit our website www., or call 318-361-9066 to schedule an appointment.


“I had lost so much of my hair that the only way I could fix it was to pull it straight up into a bun. Even then, I was still using sprays and powders to cover the balding areas. I was devastated. I can’t tell you how many tears and meltdowns I was having. Someone suggested Microneedling with AnteAge MD at Professional Laser Center and I thought, why not? I’m two washes away from a full wig. Two weeks after the first session, I could tell a difference. After one month, I no longer needed the sprays, and after the third treatment, I could wear my hair down again. It was growing again and even my family could see the difference. Microneedling with AnteAge MD gave me back my hair. Now, I maintain the results with one or two treatments a year because I know it works.” LH

Stop Hair Loss Naturally

Bring Mardi Gras Home


¼ oz of active dry yeast (2 ¼ teaspoon OR 1 packet), ¼ cup warm water (100° to 110°F), ½ Tbsp granulated sugar, 8 oz full fat sour cream, 2 Tbsp granulated sugar, 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 large egg (lightly beaten), 3 to 3 ½ c bread flour (all purpose can also be used)


⅓ cup unsalted butter (softened), ½ cup granulated sugar, 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon Glaze, 3 c powdered sugar, 3 Tbsp cream cheese, softened (butter can also be used), 2-4 tablespoon milk, 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, ¼ tsp vanilla extract, Purple, green and gold sprinkles to decorate


1. In a glass measuring cup or small bowl, stir together yeast, warm water, and sugar and let stand for 5 minutes. The yeast should become foamy and be ‘activated’ after that

time. 2. Add first 4 ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat OR into a microwave safe cup. Heat using the stove or microwave, stirring often until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat & cool down the mixture to 100° to 110°F. 3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, add the sour cream mixture, yeast mixture, egg and half of the flour. 4. Give a quick stir with a spatula and then turn the mixer on medium speed. As the ingredients start to come together, reduce speed to low, and gradually add the remaining flour until a soft dough forms. 5. Once the dough forms, lower the speed setting and allow the dough to knead until smooth and elastic (this can take up to 10 minutes). The dough should not be sticky or too dry. It should release from the sides of the bowl. 6. Place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with a linen cloth or plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place (75-78° is ideal) for 1 hour or until the dough has

doubled in size. 7. After the dough is finished proofing, divide the dough in half. 8. Roll a portion of dough into a long rectangle using a rolling pin (about 16” in length and 8-9” in width). 9. Spread HALF of the ⅓ cup butter evenly on the rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border. 10. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle HALF the amount evenly over the butter. 11. Roll the dough (like a cinnamon roll) from the bottom up, ensuring a tight roll. 12. Pinch the seam tightly. 13. Repeat steps 8 - 12 with the other portion of dough. 14. Next, form the cake. Place the dough rolls seam side down on a sheet lined with parchment. Pinch one of the ends together, and twist the dough logs over each other to give a braided look. Bring the other ends around together to form a ring, ensuring to make a good seal at the seam.

15. Cover and let rise in a warm place again, 20 to 30 minutes or until doubled in size. 16. Preheat the oven to 350°F. 17. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until golden. 18. After the cake is done baking, allow to cool most of the way.

19. Meanwhile, in a large bowl mix the glaze ingredients until smooth & creamy using a hand mixer. 20. Pour glaze evenly over warm cake; sprinkle with colored sugars, alternating colors and forming bands. 21. Let cool completely & serve.


Blush by Elle Boutique

We’re Moving!


boutique is moving to Sterlington!

Our new location will be located right next door to The Fish House in Sterlington at 8823 US-165 Suite 4. We are so excited to share this new location with you and would like to invite you to our Grand Opening on Saturday, February 4th from 10 am – 4 pm. Join us for a fun day of shopping our newest arrivals, giveaways, & snacks. At Blush by Elle you will find styles for women of all ages. There are plenty of finds here, not only in clothing but so much more. We have gift ideas for men, women, & kids. Some of our favorite brands include Judy Blue Jeans, Mia Shoes, and Swan Creek Candles. We are open Tuesday-Friday 11 am – 6 pm & Saturdays 11 am – 5 pm.

Owned by Ellie Dyess, Blush by Elle began as an online only boutique in 2018, but you might have seen us at numerous local pop ups. As this boutique came to life it was

very important to support small, local, and women owned businesses. We are so excited to say that now over half of our vendors check those boxes and we continue to add to this list.

For the month of February, we are bringing our best Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras collections. We have several Mardi Gras shirts to choose from, along with numerous Mardi Gras earrings that will make you stand out in the crowd! Don’t forget our Mardi Gras headbands to go with your festive look! After shopping with us, you will be the target for all the beads! Once Mardi Gras is over, it will be time to get snuggly for Valentine’s Day. We have cute shirts and the best lounge socks to keep you warm and remind you of that loving feeling every time you put them on. Our friendly staff will make your personal shopping experience fun and stress-free, so come by and see what we can add to your wardrobe.

Follow Elle on social media for all the latest styles, or scan the QR Code below to download the free Blush by Elle app for easy access and on the go shopping!

Facebook: Blushbyelleboutique

Instagram: Blushbyelle TikTok: Blushbyelle Website:

Android Apple


Roughly 70% of your body’s weight is water and the remainder is made up of minerals. This means that approximately 30% of your bodyweight consists of essential and trace minerals from calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium, to chromium, zinc, phosphorus, selenium, and numerous others. Technically, many are elements, but to keep things simple, we’ll refer to all of them as minerals. There are around 76 of these minerals in your body that not only make up its structure, but are utilized for every single function.

When minerals are dissolved in water, they carry an electrical charge, and this is why we call them electrolytes. Minerals are dissolved in the water within your body, which allows that water to conduct electricity. This electricity is how communication travels through your body. The minerals act like spark plugs which are needed for every single function, whether biochemical, electrical, chemical, or physiological. Put simply, minerals are needed for creating energy, so if you’re deficient in minerals, you’re deficient in energy production. Decreased energy means your body can’t properly carry out all the functions needed for optimal health.

Sadly, humans have become increasingly deficient in these life giving minerals over many years. In 1936, based on research conducted at prestigious academic institutions along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Senate stated that U.S. soil was seriously depleted of minerals. One of the lead researchers warned that, “Countless human ills stem from the fact that the impoverished soil of America no longer provides plant foods with mineral elements essential to human nourishment and health.”

Decades later, two-time Nobel prize winner Dr. Linus Pauling said, “You can trace every sickness, every disease, and every ailment to a mineral deficiency.”

Since that time, our mineral decline has only grown. In 1999, a study from Rutgers University revealed the mineral content of commercial fruits and vegetables was less than 16% compared to vine-ripened organic

produce, and trace elements necessary for the production of vitamins in the body were completely absent. Not only is our food sadly lacking in minerals, but each generation is born with greater mineral deficiency, because babies are born with their mother’s “mineral fingerprint.”

Not only is our food lacking in the minerals we desperately need, but our lifestyles also cause us to increasingly “use up” what we do have at a rapid pace. When any sort of stress response is triggered in the body, stress hormones are released. Among those hormones is aldosterone, which causes the body to retain sodium. Sodium is the body’s most potent solvent, and it’s necessary for dissolving other minerals so your body can properly absorb and utilize them. When sodium is in excess, however, other needed minerals are overly dissolved and lost from the body. As sodium increases with stress, potassium go. Boron is typically lost next, and since magnesium and boron are two important cofactors needed for keeping calcium in the bones, calcium then becomes lost from bone and can begin to accumulate in the soft tissues of the body. This creates more inflammation, which continues to enhance mineral loss. This is only one link in long chain of mineral loss events that leads to chronic illness.

The earth’s oceans and salt beds contain every single mineral needed by your body in the exact proportions required for healthy functioning. Before the days of refrigeration, meats were preserved in this mineral rich sea salt. Flood waters replenished the minerals in the soil, which then grew mineral rich plants. Humans ate these plants themselves and the animal products consumed came from animals who also ate these mineral rich plants. In animals, the organ meats accumulated most of the minerals, and our ancestors ate these in abundance along with the animal fats, which contained the fat soluble vitamins needed to enhance their ability to properly use those minerals, like vitamins A, D, and K.

With the advent of refrigeration, salt curing wasn’t necessary, so the exposure to the minerals provided in the natural salt

declined. Additionally, to maintain more control of the water on farmlands, dams were built to prevent flooding and the soil no longer received mineral replenishment from those waters. Lastly, because mineral rich sea salt or rock salt can get clumpy when exposed to moisture, people began refining salt so it would be more shelf stable and flow more easily, stripping it of all 76 trace minerals except for sodium chloride. Instead of an important trace mineral supplement that provided the body with all the minerals needed, refined salt contributed to elevating sodium levels in the body and causing a loss of other vital ones. Eventually, iodine was added back in because the damaging effects of iodine deficiency realized. of your produce.

Replacing all refined salt in your home with natural sea or rock salt is a simple way to increase your consumption of trace minerals. Refined salt is the white salt you buy in the grocery store.

It may simply say “salt” or it may even say


“sea salt” on the label. If it’s pure white, or if it says “iodized,” it has been refined and stripped of all the other trace minerals you need. It will raise sodium levels in your body and diminish the others. Unrefined salt that still has all its naturally occurring minerals will be gray or pink in color. Celtic Sea Salt and Redmonds Real Salt are both excellent choices. Himalayan Pink Salt is a good choice for mineral content, too, but some sources reveal that it can often contain heavy metals, as well. Using only good quality salt at home will ensure you’re getting small doses of needed minerals on a regular basis. Locally, you can find these options at Fiesta on Eighteenth and For His Temple Family Foods. Keep in mind that packaged and restaurant foods will contain high amounts of refined salt, so the more you eat your own food at home, the better.

When it comes to produce, fruits and vegetables that are allowed to ripen on the vine can have up to a whopping 84% higher mineral content than commercially available options. Instead of buying produce in the grocery store that was picked well before ripe so it

every ailment to a mineral deficiency.”

Voted Best of the Best In Vicksburg

Waterview Casino & Hotel in Vicksburg, MS


Casino yet this year? If not, there’s no time like the present. There’s so much to tell you if you haven’t been here for a bit, it’s difficult to know where to start. Chargers for electric vehicles, smooth new concrete at our casino and hotel entrances, new air handlers, restroom updates, new sportsbook kiosks, new money exchange machines, and so much more have been added to the WaterView experience.

The readers of the Vicksburg Post have once again chosen WaterView Casino and Hotel as the Best of the Best in town! We are once again proud to invite one and all to experience Our View on the Best Casino in Vicksburg, MS. While we are certainly excited to have won Best Casino again, we also earned a new honor: #1 Place to Catch a Sunset! Catch your own personal sunset view from the balcony of your river view room, complete with a jetted tub for the best in a restful stay.

In addition to having the best slot floor with the latest games, WaterView offers more table

games for your convenience, sports betting your way, whether you visit a kiosk or one of our friendly ticket writers, and a completely renovated hotel for your relaxation. It’s only a short drive, but why not stay overnight and take advantage of a new view?

Have you heard that WaterView’s hotel has joined the Wyndham Trademark Collection of hotels? This means that you can use and earn Wyndham Rewards points in conjunction with your visits to our hotel. We will have more information on how to maximize your rewards in both Wyndham’s program and our MYEDGE club later in 2023!

Now we’re upgrading our food & beverage options. While we transformed the space that used to hold our steakhouse into more slot floor last year, we planned all along to bring back a steakhouse-style restaurant and make it better than ever. Stay tuned for updates on the brandnew Sandbar Grill & Café, debuting in February 2023. We’re adding a bar with draught taps, leading into the grill restaurant with a brand-

new menu and a fresh new look for the Café (formerly known as the Lucky Bean).

We always have a lot of fun things happening at WaterView Casino & Hotel, so be sure to visit our website to learn about upcoming promotions, entertainment, and events, and log in to review your current offers as well. Membership in MYEDGE is all that’s needed to see your membership rewards as they become available. You’ll just need your card number to access all your offers from WaterView.

If you have not visited recently, it might be time to come and enjoy some fun, gaming action, and relaxation at the first casino to open in Vicksburg! As noted above, we’ve been sprucing the place up and we’d love for you to see what’s new here at WaterView Casino and Hotel. For more detailed information, visit our website at


Bayou Buzzworthy

The Tim Pierson family of Eatonton, GA and the Stephens Winters’ family of West Monroe, LA enjoyed a Louisiana Saturday Night Celebration honoring their children, Alix and Hamilton, at the festive home of June and Charles Poole.

The Monroe Chamber hosted U.S. Congresswoman Julia Letlow on Thursday, January 19th at the Monroe Civic Center Banquet Hall. Congresswoman Letlow gave guests and sponsors an update from the 118th Congress. Letlow announced she was appointed to serve on the House Appropriations Committee, responsible for allocating the federal government’s discretionary funds and she honored to serve our district.

The Louisiana Travel Association held its annual meeting on January 19th, and Cory Bahr was honored with the Restauranter of the Year Louey Award. Cory is the owner & founder of Parish Restaurant, Standard Coffee Co., and Heritage Catering in Monroe, LA. He has been recognized for his culinary talents nationally and serves as a culinary ambassador for the state.


12th Annual Master Gardeners Seminar

Saturday, January 14th, the Northeast Louisiana Master Gardeners proudly presented the Natives in the Home Landscape 12th annual gardening seminar at the West Monroe Convention Center. This event was complete with amazing speakers such as Dr. Heather Kirk-Ballard, Dr. Davis Creech and Dr. Damon Adbi. Vendors were lined up for shopping, there was a fun interactive bug guessing game and delicious King Cakes provided from Caster & Chickory.

On the BayouScene

1 Brenda McManus and Karla Griffin

2 Debbie Horseman and Linda Tubbs 3 Lisa Rice and Brandon Creekbaum 4 Phena Parker, Angie Pickens, Joan Brown, Roselie Overby and Sandy Curry

5 Kathy Blakeney, Virginia Lee and Lora Fix

6 Markeye Russell and Glenda Guice

3 4 5 6
1 2

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

The Woman’s Clinic Has Expanded Their Mental Health Services


wholistic therapy and professional counseling services caring for the whole client, the biopsychosocial individual within their relationships and lived experiences. Therapy and counseling provided focuses on how an individual’s personal relationships, behavior patterns, and life choices are interconnected with the issues they face in their life. Therapy services provided may help individuals understand the ways their emotional life affects how they interact with others. The Woman’s Clinic provides a safe and confidential space to talk about personal issues that may be too painful or difficult to share with others and provides insights into relationships.

Presenting issues addressed include Perinatal mental health such as postpartum anxiety & depression, mood disorders (depression and anxiety), emotional regulation (anger/stress management), relationship enrichment, relationship issues

and difficulties, eating disorders, PTSD, acute stress disorder and more.

Benefits of therapy/counseling may include:

• greater self-understanding by exploring one’s own patterns of thoughts, actions, and emotions which may lead to developing healthier relationships

• understanding of different perspectives and constructs which may affect and impact mood and behaviors

• an opportunity for individuals to be empowered in their own lives

• relationship skills of conflict resolution, effective and efficient communication, all of which may foster more loving and fulfilling relationships

• helps individuals identify their core beliefs

• Identification of strengths/resources which may lead to improved self-worth, value and confidence

• develop greater empathy for others, which

is essential for healthy relationships with parents, partners, and children

• learning to work together within the family for the benefits of each member.

Katherine and Marley are professionally educated and trained in both systemic marriage and family therapy and counseling.

Perinatal mental health disorders are of specific focus and treatment. Reconciling, repairing, and enriching relationships are specialized services provided by marriage and family therapists (MFT). Therapy modalities include individuals, couples, significant relationships, and families. Therapy provided can be live inperson or via telehealth.

Carly “Marley” Marie Herrera, MA, PLMFT,PLPC

Katherine M. Wilson PhD, AAMFT-AS, LMFT-S, LPC-S, PMH-C, RN-C


Drip Therapy HBW

Give Your Body the Vitamins it Needs

THE PANDEMIC LED MANY OF US TO PRIORITIZE nurturing our physical and mental health. Those already taking care of their bodies looked for ways to boost their temples. Jalise Smith, CEO of Drip Therapy Health Beauty and Wellness noticed a health shift in the Monroe community, after returning to Louisiana. She also noticed a need for more methods.

Drip Therapy HBW is a mobile IV drip and immune shot bar. “When moving back I realized people were wanting to take more control of their health. There were so many gyms and tea shops but the wellness from the inside (IV vitamins) was missing,” Smith said. In a study on Micronutrient Inadequacies in the U.S. Population by Linus Pauling Institute, at least one half of adults have preventable chronic disease.

Smith says that IV hydration is a wellness tool and giving the body the vitamins it needs on a regular basis combats illnesses before they start.

A nurse of 11 years, Smith began as a dialysis nurse in 2012. In 2018 she took on travel nursing in South Dakota and more recently, in Atlanta, cardiac nursing. When moving back to Louisiana she had a stint in home health allowing her to start Drip Therapy HBW. Since fully opening in July, Drip Therapy HBW Smith and her team of three certified nurses continue their concierge services. Drips can be done in the comfort of the patient’s home. They also offer their services at Infit Monroe and Pure Drip, yoga and sauna studio.

Smith looks to expand and add a weight loss management program. “We added weight loss management on Christmas as well as Concierge lab work and processing. Many more exciting services in the near future.” Lab processing will entail any blood work or lab results a patient should need.

In addition to pop up shops and concierge, Smith hopes to open a drip studio of her own. “Whether I open a space in the future as we add services I do believe I will always keep IV hydration as a concierge service.” In her time dripping she believes her patients enjoy the ability to drip in the comfort of their own home any time they want.

For a while, many thought IV Drips were just for hangovers. Smith, a mom, says that’s far from true. Drip Therapy HBW’s mission works to change the stigma that IV hydration is just for hangovers. Vitamins are essential to everyday wellness, not just recovery. A mom of a two-year-old, Smith says she finds dripping essential in her life, especially since it’s hard for her to take pills and vitamins. “I’m a nurse that has a hard time taking pills so I never get my daily vitamins and nutrition,” she says. “This has allowed me to receive those essential vitamins to boost my energy to keep up with my two year old, boost my immunity to fight all the germs he brings home and just overall give my body the things it needs on the inside quicker and longer.”

Her clients range from athletes, weight trainers, lawyers, doctors, entrepreneurs, pageant ladies, cancer patients and whoever feels they need an extra boost in immunity. Although we are entering into a post pandemic world, taking care of our bodies shouldn’t come to a halt.

Drip Therapy HBW hopes to put the healthcare needs of the community first with an extra boost of IV hydration.


Helping Bring Your Confidence Back

THERE IS NO NEED TO LIVE IN fear to live your life to the fullest. If you are having bladder problems it’s ok to seek help. You don’t have to continue living with a leaking bladder and you don’t have to be embarrassed by it. There are many ways to manage bladder control problems.

Robert D. Marx, M.D. is this community’s hometown urologist. He was born and raised right here in Monroe, Louisiana. He graduated from NLU, now ULM, and graduated from medical school and completed his residency at LSU Shreveport. Dr. Marx has traveled extensively working with the leaders of the field in order to keep up with the latest and most successful techniques in incontinence. He has been in practice for over thirty years and conveniently operates at Glenwood, Monroe Surgical and P&S.

Specializing in female urology since 1998, Dr. Marx is board-certified offering specialized care for female incontinence.

Dr. Marx promises caring, confidential consultations and personalized solutions for any related problem such as: bladder prolapse, removal of mesh, InterStim, urethral bulking. He also treats male incontinence. Vasectomies are done in the office with a no cut technique.

Because bladder incontinence seems so common, it’s sometimes difficult for women to understand that they may have an actual problem that requires medical attention. The best way to address your concerns is to talk to Dr. Marx.

Depending on the severity of your condition, as well as how frequently you feel urges to use the bathroom or urinary accidents, Dr. Marx will be able to determine if you have minor to moderate incontinence that can be improved with physical therapy, Kegel exercises, or medication.

In some instances, incontinence is severe and doesn’t respond to non-invasive treatments. In these cases, Dr. Marx may

recommend bladder suspension surgery. This procedure can be performed in several ways, including through an incision in the vagina. Each procedure involves pulling the bladder back into place and securing it with sutures so that it stays put.

Success rates for bladder suspension surgery are good. Success often depends on a patient’s medical history or other medical conditions, age, how long she’s been managing with incontinence, and how active she is following surgery. To maximize the effectiveness of your post-op results, be sure to discuss your lifestyle, limitations and any concerns you may have with Dr. Marx.

Whatever level of severity your problem is, Robert D. Marx, M.D. and his dedicated staff are ready to assist you. Dr. Marx prides himself on the personal attention he provides each patient. He understands that this is a sensitive time for you. Dr. Marx has decades of experience providing careful, appropriate treatment to put you at ease. The office’s goal is to make you feel comfortable, so you can openly address your problems and let them help you fix it.

Conveniently located in the Glenwood Medical Mall, they are happy to be accepting new patients. Call today for an appointment.


Random Acts of Kindess

Celebrate In A Different Kind of Way article

Happy month of love readers, as I hope this month’s column finds you healthy, safe and surrounded by your “loved” ones. When I was a child, I always looked forward to February because I always felt it was our one shot at having a snow day, right? Not that we had them that frequently, but when we did, you could always count on school being cancelled. One such time, my family was out enjoying the snow lined hills, my dad pulling us behind the 3-wheeler (look it up, it was once a thing) on an inner tube and mom was inside making hot chocolate. It was straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting I tell you, until I got the great idea to ride my Shetland pony. Nah, she wasn’t having it and after she walked about 5 steps with me on her back, she decided she had enough and bucked me straight over the top of her head. Yeah, not one of my better laid plans. At any rate, February can sometimes bring a Snowcopolypse like we had a few years ago and I am here for it.

Speaking of being here for it, anybody want to hear about my latest experiment? I’ve been contemplating this month’s column for a few weeks and as usual, wondering what in the world I was going to write about. It got me to thinking about the actual month of February and that likely most of us associate it with love and chocolate and candy and all that goes with that. I knew there had to be more, so I looked it up and as it turns out, February is actually chock full of holidays. In case you missed it, GI Joe (with the Kung Fu Grip) has a day of celebration; it’s Great American Pie month; National Goat

Yoga month (I’ve always wanted to do that so I think I might celebrate that one); and National Bubblegum Day. Kind of sounds like you can just create a national day to celebrate anything if you ask me. But one that caught my attention (that I have actually written about before) is National Random Act of Kindness Day and readers, I think this is one that we can all get in behind. As it turns out February 17th is the day where random acts of kindness are encouraged, but I’m here to stand on the principle that we should make this a point of our business (Bitsy used to say that) every day. I’m speaking to myself as well and I especially want you to think about how these random acts might impact your children. I don’t really ever get star struck, but I do love Morgan Freeman (think Shawshank Redemption) and he has a quote that I read “How do we change the world? One random act of kindness at a time.” This has always stuck with me, because random acts of kindness can look all sorts of ways on any set of days (you know I’m going to rhyme) and should be top of mind for us. Sometimes it’s the smallest of things that someone does for us that give us the most joy. As my children have turned into young adults, these kinds of columns get me all in my feels. I think about all the things we did together as a family and sometimes those “things” did include random acts of kindness. That’s one thing I have always tried to be intentional about…just trying to make sure my kids knew that it wasn’t all about them. Anybody with me? I think as we muddle along in this sometimes fractured and broken world, it’s easy to lose sight of


the fact that there is still beauty all around us. Finding it sometimes, or recognizing it rather, means we have to slow down a bit and look for the goodness, the kindness that can be right under our nose. And when it comes to being the “giver” of the kindness, I suppose we have to be intentional in that, too. Not that we aren’t all kind people, I’m not saying that at all, but for me, speaking only about myself, I think I get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and work and family and obligations and it distracts me just enough to miss opportunities to extend kindness. Anyone else feel this way? Anyone? In moving about in our hustle and bustle, it’s still important, however, for our children to see us do things for others that might be random or they might be intentional. Either way, it’s so important for them to be part of these acts and know that they too can contribute to someone’s happiness by being kind. Perhaps we want to buy the person’s food in the line behind us at Taco Bell. Maybe it means actually preparing food and taking it to someone who’s going through a difficult like circumstance. Maybe it’s sending a random Amazon order to

someone that includes a good book, a cozy blanket or maybe some chocolate.

Now, back to my experiment. This week as I was walking through Wal-Mart, I decided I was going to speak to every single person I passed. I know this isn’t Marie Curie worthy of a test laboratory, but in the 11 people I saw that morning, 9 of them spoke back, 1 of them hugged me and the other never looked up from her phone. I’m not sure that just speaking to someone is a random act of kindness but it sure made my step lighter as I wandered through the store, stalking people I could speak to. As a result, I’m probably on the bulletin board in the breakroom at WalMart for stalkers, but hey, it felt good to be nice.

So what says you, readers? Am I getting anywhere with any of you or am I just simply rambling on in the lines of my column? Being kind is free…it doesn’t always mean you have to buy someone something. Perhaps you just sit down at the dining room table with your children and send cards to your family members or friends. Or maybe your children just watch you opening a door for

someone or helping them get their groceries in their car. Or maybe it is tipping the carhop at Sonic a little extra…I can’t imagine their job in the coldest and hottest of days and a few extra dollars would make them feel appreciated. Just remember that no matter the circumstances or the acts you choose, your children are watching and the impression you make by being kind will be so impactful in their young eyes. As we start this year together (what is now my 10th lest anyone forget), I pray that we all use our gifts, our resources and our time to give someone else joy. Nothing makes you feel better than to know that your random or intentional gift of kindness is responsible for making someone else feel special and loved.

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


What’s Love Got to Do with It?

The Emotions that Come with Fertility

IN SLOVENIAN FOLKLORE, SAINT VALENTINE WAS NOT only the saint for good health, but also for things growing where flowers and other plants would “start” growing on Valentine’s day. Many pregnancies and conceptions start growing on Valentine’s day (and interestingly would be predicted to deliver on Halloween), but fertility isn’t always so simple. To improve chances, some are physically and emotionally preparing themselves for pregnancy. Many think the most successful conception will come through simultaneously achieving the ideal basal body temperature, the LH surge at the right time, to be rested, and have lost weight, and to have the perfect diet. Yet we can all name people who under the worst circumstances still ended up conceiving. How much do we have to emotionally regulate ourselves and have the perfect loving mood to successfully conceive? We can all agree that the messy miracle of life can be beautiful, even if unplanned or with a complex start. For every woman that stresses that things are not “perfect” in preparation, knowing that they don’t have to be is an important part of forgiving oneself and finding wellness. The truth is most of us aren’t expected to fix our cars by ourselves—why should we be expected to do it all for our bodies and our minds? Getting the right level of support (such as our video support group at 6p on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month on Facebook), seeing a psychologist, or a fertility specialist can make a world of difference—the whole Positive Steps Fertility team is here

for you. Moreover, we can help you find additional support if other options are needed.

There are so many emotions that come with wanting to conceive, but expanding one’s family isn’t occurring on one’s timeline. This makes the fertility roller coaster range from exciting and amazing when successful to pure nausea (which is different from being excited to have morning sickness). The hardest part is not just regulating your own emotions, but those of your spouse, family, friends and more, even though fertility timelines and goals should be purely your own.

Ultimately, the full range of Kubler-Ross emotions can come with subfertility (denial, anger, bargaining, grieving, acceptance), when more positive feelings are possible since often there is so much that can be done (with a lot of love and prayer, as well as a little bit of science). Who we are is often not just a reflection of what we do at our best, but how we grow and connect with those around us when we are at our worst. In short, love yourself, love your spouse, and love that child that is yet to be, but also know that if you aren’t everything to everyone, that’s OK. And we will love you too. You’re not alone, we’re hopeful for you, and for most women and couples, lots can be done.

Happy Valentine’s Day from the Positive Steps Fertility family!


Thyroid Cancer Common In Females

Surgery Clinic of NELA’s State-of-the-Art Procedures Mean Fast Recovery


most common cancer in women ages 15 to 30 and the second most common cancer in women under 50. Seventy-five percent of all thyroid cancers occur in women. The good news? It is also one of the most curable cancers.

So, what is the thyroid? While the thyroid is small, its functions are significant. The butterfly-shaped organ—located at the base of the neck, just below the Adam’s apple— produces hormones that regulate heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and weight.

The root cause of most thyroid cancers is unknown. Risk factors include gender, high radiation exposure, certain inherited genetic conditions, and race.

Thyroid cancer is approximately 70% more prevalent in white people than in black people. Most thyroid cancers don’t cause any signs or symptoms in the early disease stages. Some thyroid cancers may never create any

symptoms. As thyroid cancer grows, it may cause:

• Fatigue • A lump (nodule) in your neck

• Changes in your voice • Difficulty swallowing

• Swollen lymph nodes in your neck

• Pain in your neck or throat

• Persistent cough

Neck nodules are common, and not all are cancerous. However, if you experience any of the above symptoms or feel generally unwell, visit your doctor; they will examine the size and firmness of your thyroid and any enlarged lymph nodes. You will undergo an ultrasound, biopsy, and surgery if necessary.

Most thyroid cancers grow gradually, and while some can be aggressive, most thyroid cancers can be cured with treatment. In addition, most thyroid cancers are not likely

to return, including the most common types of thyroid cancer—papillary and follicular thyroid cancer. Your physician can explain the likelihood of your cancer returning.

Recurrence is more likely if your cancer is aggressive or expands beyond your thyroid. When thyroid cancer returns, a physician will usually detect it in the first five years after your initial diagnosis. Thyroid cancer recurrence still comes with a good prognosis. Most people will experience successful treatments.

Our physicians at the Surgery Clinic of Northeast Louisiana perform many general surgeries using minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic procedures, including partial or complete thyroid removals. The benefits of our minimally invasive techniques are:

• Reduced pain due to smaller incisions

• Quicker recovery

• Smaller scars

• Reduced risk of infection

• Less time away from work

Call us today and learn about all of the services we perform including general surgery such as thyroidectomies, weight loss surgery, and vein procedures.

The Surgery Clinic of Northeast Louisiana, home of Delta Vein Care, houses surgeons Dr. Walter Sartor, Dr. Bart Liles, Dr. Patrick Smith, and Dr. Mohamed Bakeer.


Fishing with Kenny

All fishermen like a deal. No matter if we are talking about a bulk of hooks, a spool of line or a sale on our favorite rod or reel. If there is a way or a better price to get what we want and, even better, catch more fish because of it, we are hooked. Fishermen like a good bargain and you can include this angler to be among them.

In fishing, it seems every day something is introduced as bigger, and better than yesterday’s products. The technological advancements, while popular, come with a high price tag. Modern boats resemble small, open, spaceship shaped water-based vehicles and are priced accordingly. Today’s electronics require the knowledge of a NASA engineer to use and the cost of them equals that as well. The sport of bass fishing, slowly but surely, is becoming a rich man’s game. Or is it?

Many anglers, who are choosing to upgrade their boats by buying a new one, are putting high quality used boats on the market. By using the internet anglers can easily shop the boat markets to find the best deal possible to fit their budget. There are several websites that focus on the buying and selling of boats and these sites can also provide you updated information as well as the pros and cons of what type and style of boat you might be looking for.

When it comes to trolling motors and electronics the same process used for buying a boat comes into play. Anglers are always looking to upgrade the equipment they already have, so the opportunity to purchase quality used equipment at a more affordable price is a viable option. Talk to other anglers, visit the boat dealerships and mechanics, or search the internet; all are good ways to find capable products that you can purchase at a much lower cost than buying something new. Just because things have an older date on them doesn’t mean they can’t or don’t work just as well as the new products.

One of the good things about the modern advances to our sport is the quality of the low-end products. Anglers can buy a good rod and reel combination for less than $150 now when years ago, that wasn’t the case. Twenty years ago, it was considered high dollar if you paid more than $100 for a rod or a reel. Nowadays, high end rods can cost an angler in excess of $300 dollars and the same can be said of the reels many choose to use. Overkill? Perhaps, but always remember, your equipment alone will not make you a better angler.

Speaking of “bassin’ on a budget,” what about the cost of lures, soft plastics in particular? One of the best fisherman friendly companies I have found is Big Bite Baits. Their choice of soft plastics, as well as some other popular fish catching lures, is very impressive and they have the prices to match. For years, I have chosen the BBB CrawTube as well as the Fighting Frog as my flipping and pitching

soft plastics in the spring and early summer. The BBB Kamikaze is as good a Chatterbait/Spinnerbait trailer as you can find and on occasion I have used it on my Buzzbaits as well. When it comes to sight fishing, the Warmouth, designed by Dean Rojas, is arguably one of the best soft plastics ever introduced for this technique.

These soft plastics are just a small sample of what Big Bite Baits has to offer. They have an extensive catalog of lures that you can find on their website as well as the more popular selections found in several of our local tackle and sporting goods stores. Fishing catching soft plastics at an affordable price, now that is what I call a great deal!

Here’s another cost friendly way to make your time on the water more wallet friendly this year. How about fishing line? Ever notice how often you go to the tackle shop and buy another small spool of line for an upcoming trip the following weekend? While many anglers are specific on their line of choice, one thing I have found is I save money when I buy my line in the larger bulk spools. If you are just getting into the sport, I would recommend buying the Berkley Big Game monofilament in their smaller bulk spools. For our area fisheries the only size line an angler needs are the 15 and 20 lb. versions. Both sizes, when used correctly, will cover 95% of the fishing techniques you will use.

If you are an angler who prefers using braid, a good choice, no matter what brand of braid you use, is to select the larger 300-yard spools. This will allow you to adequately spool up four to six rods and the braid should easily last you throughout the rest of the year. I have kept braid on one of my frog rods for almost two years before I finally felt it necessary to change it.

I have been asked if I could only choose one size of braided line which would it be, and 30 lb. braid would be my choice. I can feel confident in flipping/pitching, throwing a frog or topwater, using a spinnerbait or a squarebill crankbait in most fishing scenarios and on most lakes. My theory has always been if a fish can break 30 lb. braided line, chances are he probably could have broken 50 lb. braid as well.

Well, it looks as though we have run out of space and time again for another month. As I stated earlier, the fish aren’t interested in how much you pay for a boat or that you are using a name brand rod and reel. The art of fishing is one that can be learned and the best way to get started is to find equipment you are comfortable with and learn how to use it properly. Great fishermen aren’t created because of how much money they spend on their equipment, great fishermen are created because they learn how to effectively use the equipment they have!

Catch one for me and I will see you next month!!!


Show Your Skin Some Heart

FEBRUARY CERTAINLY HAS A LOT PACKED INTO IT FOR such a short month: Valentine’s Day, Mardi Gras, AfricanAmerican History Month, American Heart Month and so much more. This year, these celebrations will look a lot different, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be marking the occasions. It’s especially important that we use this month to assess our heart health, and you could also be doing your skin a big favor.

Your skin is a great indication of what is happening with your body. If your skin looks great, things tend to be fine. On the other hand if your skin doesn’t look good, there’s probably an issue.

During Heart Month, we’re all encouraged to eat healthier, get more exercise and more sleep, and quit smoking, among other things. While these steps will improve our overall health, it will also help our skin look its best.

Our skin contains a system of blood vessels. When we exercise and get our heart really pumping, the blood carries oxygen and nutrients to skin cells. Take a look in the mirror after your next workout. You’ll notice your skin has a flushed look and that your cheeks are rosy. That’s all because of the blood your heart is pumping, as well as the oxygen and nutrients it brings to your skin cells.

Our heart also helps with increasing the production of collagen, which keeps our skin plump and youthful-looking. It helps to renew skin cells, which keeps your skin’s elasticity. Just as your blood brings oxygen and nutrients to your skin cells, it also carries away the bad things that cause your skin to age.

If you plan on participating in outdoor activities or exercising outdoors, don’t forget the sunblock. Even though it’s February, the sun can still cause a sunburn and damage your skin.

At Louisiana Center for Women’s Health, our team of experts will help you find the right sunblock and moisturizers for your skin. If the sun has already caused damage, we offer the latest technology to improve the way your skin looks. From wrinkles and fine lines to dark spots, we can help you look and feel your best.

Your Heart is the Key to Healthy Looking


Some scoff at the idea of love at first sight, but not Jeff Guerriero. He remembers clearly the first time he saw Elizabeth Johnston when they attended River Oaks Academy. He went home and told his mother that he had met the girl he was going to marry. It took a few years, but Jeff finally won Elizabeth over and they started dating when she was a high school junior. The two had been great friends for several years, and that friendship grew quickly into a love that has lasted a lifetime. Today they are partners in every way – in marriage, parenting, business, and volunteerism. In spite of incredibly busy lives, they have always found time to give back to their community. Because of their loving example as a couple and of their devotion to this region, Jeff and Elizabeth Guerriero are our February BayouIcons


eff Guerriero came by his love for the law honestly. Most of his family are attorneys, and his grandfather (Joseph S. Guerriero) and his uncle (Robert Guerriero) were the original partners in the law firm of Guerriero and Guerriero. Jeff’s father (Joseph Dowling Guerriero) graduated Tulane Law School. After earning a B.A. (History) and M.A. (Criminal Justice) from Northeast Louisiana University (now the University of Louisiana at Monroe), Jeff followed the family tradition and graduated from Tulane Law School.

Elizabeth also comes from a family in which the practice of law has been an influencing factor. Her great-grandfather (Murray Hudson) was a founding partner in Hudson, Potts & Bernstein. Her uncle (Murray Biedenharn) also went to law school but did not practice law. That law gene skipped several generations until it bloomed in Elizabeth. She graduated Tulane Law School just like Jeff.

Family Has Always Meant Everything Both Jeff and Elizabeth had wonderful childhoods filled with lots of family and fun. Jeff’s mother (Jackie Devore Hopkins) was born in Mound City, Illinois, and lived there until her family moved to New Orleans. She met Jeff’s dad there while he was attending Tulane. He was a New Orleans native. The two married and had three sons, Jeff, Justin, and Jaime. All three are very successful businessmen. Elizabeth’s father (Bishop Johnston) was from Sterlington and her mother (Jody Biedenharn) was from Monroe. They both attended Neville High School. Her dad was a farmer, car salesman, and an oil and gas and real estate investor. Her mom was a full-time homemaker, rearing Elizabeth and her three sisters – Doll Vines, Kathy Patrick, and Jodi B. Lyle. All three – like Elizabeth -- are also very successful businesswomen. Both Jeff and Elizabeth are grateful to have lived with so many of their relatives close by. Even now the families get together for every major holiday. When Elizabeth was a young girl, Easter was her favorite holiday. The Johnston and Biedenharn families (numbering about 60) would go to church and then come to Elizabeth’s home to hunt eggs and eat lunch together. “One year my mom said we needed some more little babies because we had all grown-ups hunting eggs,” Elizabeth remembers. “The next year we christened 6 new cousins at the same time!”

Elizabeth’s childhood was one typical of the south before cable and internet. A highlight for her was the book mobile.


It took a few years, but Jeff finally won Elizabeth over and they started dating when she was a high school junior. The two had been great friends for several years, and that friendship grew quickly into a love that has lasted a lifetime. Today they are partners in every way – in marriage, parenting, business, and volunteerism.

Those books were treasures that ignited her imagination. Another of Elizabeth’s favorite memories is riding through the fields with her dad in his truck. They talked for hours. “He told me I asked so many questions and talked so much that he was going to get me a totem pole for Christmas,” Elizabeth recalls. “But he never did, until I told him how upset I was as a child because he never got me that totem pole. Just last year, he finally gave me one for Christmas!”

Two events from her childhood created stressful memories. Once when her dad was racing cars, his car flipped and caught on fire. Guards wouldn’t allow her to go out on the track to check on him. Another time the family airplane caught fire while her mother was piloting it back from Colorado. Her dad, acting as co-pilot, knocked the door off the plane to let the smoke out and pulled the wires from the dash. (He pulled the wires because he could see that the fire was electrical.) “That meant that we had to come down through the clouds with no communication with the tower,” Elizabeth remembers. “We landed in a cotton field. That was the closest I have ever felt to death.”

Jeff’s early years were also spent with family, but his work ethic was evident early on. When he was in high school, Jeff had a lawn service and a janitorial service. Because of these, he was able to purchase his first home when he was 17. Jeff’s parents would fly to Las Vegas frequently, and they always took their children with them. “In fact, they took us everywhere, all over the country and the world,” Jeff remembers. “I try to take my family everywhere we can because I think it helps them learn firsthand

how other cultures live, and it allows us to grow and bond as a family.”

A Wedding Day to Remember

Almost everyone has something amusing happen on their wedding day, but Jeff and Elizabeth may very well have the best story of them all. And the humor began even earlier when Jeff proposed. He was 19 and Elizabeth was 17. Elizabeth said “yes” but added that Jeff must get her father’s approval. Jeff made several appointments to meet Elizabeth’s father, but her dad didn’t keep them. Finally, when they did meet, Jeff’s future father-in-law arrived with a shotgun. After a good chuckle, Elizabeth’s dad gave his blessing on the marriage.

The actual wedding day has been variously described (Jeff: “It was like a sitcom.”) (Elizabeth: “Our wedding could be a movie.”) but always with a hearty laugh. It was, indeed, a sequence of “interesting” adventures. A flash flood storm knocked out the electricity at Elizabeth’s home just as she was getting out of the shower to get ready for pictures. Workmen putting up a tent in the driveway hit a water main. Jeff had a wreck on the way to the church and was late. Jeff’s friends picked up the wrong car at the church to decorate for the couple’s “get away” so Elizabeth’s grandparents called the police and reported their car stolen. The wedding ring was locked in a car at the repair shop. Neighbors called to complain to the police during the reception and they shut down the band.

“Jeff left his driver’s license in his tuxedo, so we couldn’t get into the hotel bar after the reception even though all my sisters and cousins were in there with their



During their years together, the couple has maintained a busy law practice, started a semi-professional football team, started a professional sports agency representing NFL and CFL football players, and became part owners of Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships, the fastest growing combat sport in the world. And they have found time to be on television! Jeff starred on the television show Super Agent, a reality series on Spike TV.

fake ID’s,” Elizabeth says. “To top things off, Jeff got sun poisoning on our honeymoon.” Elizabeth didn’t let any of this diminish her joy at being married to Jeff. “I have told many brides, including our daughter Lauren on her wedding day, that it doesn’t matter if everything that could possibly go wrong does. At the end of the day, you will be married and that is what is important.”

laugh. “I had planned to leave Monroe and travel the world. I really never envisioned myself settling down with a family.”

After their marriage, Jeff and Elizabeth waited 8 years before starting their family. They finished college and law school first. “That gave us a strong foundation to build on,” Elizabeth says. “Looking back, I would not change a thing.”

practiced tax law and estate planning with John Luffey, Jr. until she decided to pursue teaching full-time at ULM. She worked there for 20 years as an Associate Professor of Business Law before the couple’s businesses grew to the point that she was needed there.

“Fit” During college, Jeff continued operating the land and janitorial services and when he started dating Elizabeth, he added buying and selling homes (today called “flipping houses”). Together they bought, remodeled, and sold numerous homes. They also opened an ice cream store (Arctic Scoop and Café Beignet on N18th).

Finding Career Paths That

In high school, Elizabeth’s career goal was either to be an international spy or work internationally in governmental affairs. “I don’t know where that came from because I had never even traveled internationally. I guess from books,” Elizabeth says with a

Neither Jeff nor Elizabeth has ever shied away from either a new challenge or hard work. As a result, their careers have had many interesting twists and turns. Elizabeth began working at 13 for the credit bureau. Later while in high school, she worked at the Ouachita Coca-Cola Bottling Company in billing during the summers. She earned a degree from ULM in Computer Information Systems (a rapidly growing field that merged computers with business) but realized that she was a “people person.” She graduated from college in 3 years and then enrolled at Tulane as the youngest entering freshman in the law class that year. Following graduation, Elizabeth

During their years together, the couple has maintained a busy law practice, started a semi-professional football team, started a professional sports agency representing NFL and CFL football players, and became part owners of Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships, the fastest growing combat sport in the world. And they have found time to be on television! Jeff starred on the television show Super Agent, a reality series on Spike TV. Both Jeff and Elizabeth were featured as agents on The Agent, an NBC network series. From connections made from these “adventures” the couple created an entertainment production company with shows on Spike TV and the Food Network. One of their newest business ventures has involved CBD production. CBD is a non-


hallucinogenic extract from the cannabis plant that has many health benefits. To help get it legalized in Louisiana, Jeff spoke at Senate meetings on the benefits and potential economic impact of CBD. Jeff’s testimony was first-hand because he has used the extract with significant success as part of his own medical treatments. The CBD business opened the door to another company, ArtisIQ, that developed a new point of sale software platform for dispensaries that will allow contactless purchases and government-approved banking, eliminating the banking and cash issues dispensaries have been plagued with. ArtisIQ is already contracted with the largest dispensary footprint in the country

and is currently in the onboarding process in California.

Their latest foray into the business world concerns sports trading cards for collegiate athletes – University All-Stars. “We create one-of-a-kind cards designed by artists from all over the world who create limited edition trading cards for athletes,” Jeff explains. “When athletes participate in the card creation process, our platform allows them to engage with fans on a deeper level and earn money through Name/ Image/Likeness opportunities provided by University All-Stars.” This company recently produced cards for both Tulane and USC for the Cotton Bowl and are also producing cards for the East-West Shrine


The Guerriero’s are happy that their daughters (Lauren Creekmore and Madison Guerriero) have decided to make their “adult” homes in Monroe, too. Lauren and her husband, Bryan, have made Jeff and Elizabeth doting grandparents with the births of their daughter, Emorie, and son, Camden. Both of Jeff and Elizabeth’s daughters are successful business women in their own right.

All-Star game.

In spite of incredibly busy lives, the Guerriero’s still find time to mentor promising young entrepreneurs. “We are also mentoring a brilliant young man who has the ability to make world changing innovations that will affect all of us in our lifetimes,” Elizabeth adds. “His company, Vocapsul, clones voices using Artificial Intelligence.”

Loving Life Together

“No matter what our future holds, I love doing life with Jeff and working side by side in all we do,” Elizabeth says. He is the motivation, and I am the voice of reason. He is the people person and I work behind the scenes. We balance each other out.” Jeff couldn’t agree more. Added to their pleasure is the fact that their daughters (Lauren Creekmore and Madison Guerriero) have decided to make their “adult” homes in Monroe, too. Lauren and her husband, Bryan, have made Jeff and Elizabeth doting grandparents with the births of their daughter, Emorie, and son, Camden. Both of Jeff and Elizabeth’s daughters are successful business women in their own right. Lauren is a successful realtor – a career where her people skills and attention to detail are showcased. Madison opened a boutique, The Nude Nomad, on West Monroe’s Antique Alley 6 years ago. “She has an eye for style and always seems ahead of major trends,” Elizabeth says.

A key part of this Guerriero partnership is their joint commitment to their community. “Elizabeth and I – along


with our family – have always felt that it is important to give back to the area that has given so much to us,” Jeff explains. “Giving back and volunteering is incredibly important. We can get caught up in our daily lives and the ins and outs of what we have going on in our little world and forget that there are other people who need help. There are unique needs that people have and God has blessed each of us with gifts. We shouldn’t keep those blessings to ourselves but share them with others. Throughout the years we have been blessed to be part of several community organizations that distribute food, warm clothes and coats, and toys. It is a blessing to be able to help others stay safe and warm and to ensure that their children have something special during the holidays.”

Among the many volunteer activities that the Guerriero’s sponsor is a fundraiser called “Jungle Bells” for the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo. It showcases the zoo and the people who work there. The public gets to attend free of charge. “We know that during the holidays, money is tight and people are spending so much on presents and travel along with ordinary expenses,” Jeff explains. “This is a great event where people can come and just enjoy our wonderful zoo.”

“It is really rewarding and truly so much better to give than to receive,” Elizabeth adds. “To know that you can be a part of changing someone’s life for the better. To know that you can brighten a child’s day, or ease the burden for a family, and help improve our community – these are truly rewarding. I think we all want to impact the world in a positive way, and starting with home and community makes sense. We feel so blessed to live in a community where so many people volunteer their time and generously give back!”

And central in all of this activity is a very successful law practice. Both Jeff and Elizabeth have an abiding love for the law. They use their legal degrees for good nearly every day, although not always within a courtroom or in judge’s chambers. Many people have been blessed by their expertise and generous spirits – and many more will be in years to come.


Master of Occupational Therapy

Program Receives 10-Year Accreditation

THE UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA MASTER OF Occupational Therapy Program was recently granted full accreditation by the Accreditation Council on Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) during its December 2022 meeting. The accreditation comes after a year-long self-study process and an on-site review by ACOTE in August 2022. The ULM MOT program received the maximum accreditation level of 10 years, indicating that the program showed “no areas of noncompliance” and “demonstrated exceptional educational quality.”

ULM MOT Program Director Dr. Patti Calk says she is incredibly proud of the MOT faculty and students for this accomplishment. “This was a strenuous 2-year process through the self-study and preparation for the on-site visit,” said Calk. “This included a full curriculum review, revision of our mission, philosophy, and curriculum design to reflect the needs of our university and our unique student population, and development of a new strategic plan,” she added.

Now in its 10th year, the ULM MOT Program was awarded candidacy accreditation in 2013 and full seven-year accreditation in 2015. The program was granted an accreditation extension by ACOTE in 2021 due to an excellent compliance record. 36 students graduated from the program in December 2022 and there are currently a total of 90 students enrolled in the program across four cohorts.

Dr. Calk would like to recognize all members of the MOT faculty for their contributions to the accreditation process. “This was completely a group effort and if it were not for the dedicated, compassionate, and knowledgeable faculty, we would not have received such accolades,” said Calk.

ULM Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost Dr. Mark Arant also praised the faculty. “This is a testament to the quality and commitment of our faculty and administration in MOT and the College of Health Sciences. Our students are learning from some of the best faculty in the country. It is because of our faculty that we can look forward to the future with confidence,” said Arant.

The MOT team includes Dr. Carolyn Murphy, Academic Fieldwork Coordinator; faculty members Dr. Donna Eichhorn, Dr. Barbara Johnson, Dr. Emily Mike, Dr. Emilee Sasser, Dr. JoEllen Showers, Dr. Jamie Sikes, and Dr. Alvetta Smith; and adjunct faculty member Dr. William Wells. Dr. Calk also would like to thank President Dr. Ronald Berry, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost Dr. Mark Arant, Dean of the College of Health Sciences Dr. Don Simpson, Associate Dean of the College of Health Sciences Dr. Paula Griswold, and School of Allied Health Director Dr. Jennifer Whited.

The ACOTE on-site evaluation report lauded the program in several areas, stating, “The faculty are applauded for their dedication to the oncampus, pro-bono occupational therapy adult and pediatric clinics. This has resulted in skilled occupational therapy services for underserved members within the community.” They also highlighted the work of the students. “The students are acknowledged for their dedication and commitment to the occupational therapy program. It is noted that these students maintain employment on a limited basis as they are completing their degrees. This has resulted in graduates who are sought after for their ability to bring experience and new skills to their employers,” the ACOTE report said.


Running For the Kids

THE DELTA ZETA CHAPTER OF KAPPA DELTA Sorority was founded at the University of Louisiana Monroe in 1967, and since then has upheld the standards of all things honorable, beautiful, and highest. Kappa Delta Sorority started supporting Prevent Child Abuse America in 1981 and have been donating to their organization to help children across the nation. Kappa Delta is committed to building confidence and inspiring action in not only its members but others as well.

This sisterhood believes that instilling confidence in children is essential to a great childhood. Child abuse and neglect destroys the confidence of children. This is why Kappa Delta is driven to help children everywhere and help them gain the confidence they need and deserve. By working with Prevent Child Abuse America, Kappa Delta is able to ensure that children across the nation are getting the help they need to have a bright, colorful childhood. There’s nothing that destroys a child’s confidence like abuse, and Kappa Delta wants to do the most it can to prevent this.

Kappa Delta encourages its members to inspire action by getting involved in the community. We do this by hosting several events not only in our community but also on ULM’s campus.

During Shamrock Week, we help raise funds and awareness for Prevent Child Abuse America on campus by hosting bake sales and selling pinwheels, the national symbol for PCAA.

Come join Kappa Delta sorority as we host our annual 5k Color Run at Forsythe Park in Monroe, Louisiana on March 18, 2023. All proceeds from our 5k Color Run benefit Prevent Child Abuse America, and our local beneficiary, The Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home. Registration for this race will begin at 7:30 a.m., and the 5k race will begin at 9:00 a.m. All ages and pets are welcome!

Abuse and neglect destroy the confidence of those they affect. As Kappa Deltas we strive to build confidence in others, which is why we are passionate about preventing and ending child abuse. 80% of the money raised from this year’s Shamrock event will go directly to the Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home, right here in this community, and the other 20% will go to our national philanthropy, Prevent Child Abuse America, which is one of the oldest and largest organizations committed to preventing child abuse and neglect before it happens. We, as well as both of the organizations benefitting from this event, appreciate the generosity and kindness of each person who signs up or donates to this cause. We hope everyone enjoys this event and leaves more knowledgeable about these two amazing causes. Come prepared to leave more colorful than you came!

Visit the shamrock website or scan the QR code for more information and to sign up!


Home Is Where The Heart Is

North Delta Title Company

AT NORTH DELTA TITLE COMPANY, OUR PASSION IS helping make your closing experience the very best. Why choose us? We conduct all types of residential purchase and sale transactions as well as refinances from the opening of escrow to the final settlement of the sale. Our company facilitates every aspect of the transaction and works closely with the real estate professionals, the lender, buyer, and seller to ensure that every settlement runs smoothly, and is handled in an efficient and stressfree manner.

Once you have found a home you love, our office will run full title searches of land records to ensure that no liens or encumbrances will affect your ownership of the property. We prepare all settlement documentation and conduct and/or coordinate final settlement at the closing. North Delta issues title commitments, title policies, and title endorsements through First American Title Insurance Company, Stewart Title Guaranty, Fidelity National Title Insurance Company, Chicago Title, and WFG National Title Insurance.

We are experts in 1031 tax-free exchanges and offer escrow services for deposits, documents, and posting-closing matters.

Both Amy Price Sawyer and Kirby O. Price have lived in Northeast Louisiana for over 40 years. Recently awarded the 32nd Annual James M. Shipp, Jr. Memorial Young Business Leader of the Year, Amy graduated Cum Laude from Southern University Law Center in 2009, earning her Juris Doctorate. She specializes in residential and commercial real estate transactions, business and succession law.

Kirby Price earned his MBA from ULM before graduating from LSU Law School earning a Juris Doctorate. He has practiced law in Monroe since 1978, focusing on his real estate law practice. Price was recently recognized for 40 years of legal service by the Fourth District Bar Association and awarded an AV Preeminent Rating by Martindale Hubbell. The staff of North Delta Title Company offers the best expertise in their field. This is what one customer said of their experience, “North Delta is efficient and effortless to work with. Their people are hands-down some of the nicest and most helpful at navigating what can be a painful and scary process. I’ve used them for 3 different housing transactions in the last ten years and cannot tell enough people how wonderful my experiences with them have been.”

Since opening in 1994, North Delta Title has successfully closed over 30,000 real estate transactions and is the largest title company in Northeast Louisiana. Although our offices are located in Ouachita Parish, North Delta Title provides residential and commercial real estate closing services throughout the state of Louisiana. For more information call 318.387.1100 or visit our website at


Inject Beauty


us – Mardi Gras and Valentine’s Day – followed by the most coveted season of all, spring, the time is ripe for a refresh! INJECT BEAUTY can instill a glow to your complexion and enhance your overall appearance and well-being with more youthful and relaxed features. Using the latest technology and training, it’s possible to remove years of sun damage and neglect with skin resurfacing that provides exceptional results.

Stacy Rutledge, Family Nurse Practitioner and rigorously trained injector, has devoted time and energy studying this industry before making a huge investment in equipment to provide patients with an ultimate experience. Her dedication to customized treatment plans and outstanding results has clients returning for additional skin care procedures.

Stacy graduated from NLU in 1996 with a BSN and practiced for six years in emergency medicine before shifting her focus to home health. In 2018, Stacy continued her education at ULL earning an MSN APRN (Advanced Practice Registered Nurse). During her career, she also developed a keen interest in medical aesthetic anti-aging and correction treatments.

“Aesthetics have always interested me so I pursued extensive training with Aesthetic Medical Educators Training in Dallas,” says Stacy. “I am continually researching and studying new techniques

and training to improve my skills for ultimate patient success. With unlimited access to innovative resources to ensure safety and comfort, I personally test, evaluate and use all products and treatments I provide.” This month’s promotions are a great introduction to INJECT BEAUTY skin care. We are offering Lumecca treatments for skin renewal and clarity at no charge with any Morpheus8 skin resurfacing package. For a special Valentine, how about $100 off lip filler or get bonused 20 units of Dysport with the purchase of 20 units? Of course, we have gift certificates that make shopping easy and exciting. And why not treat yourself to 10% off laser hair removal packages for bikini area and legs as we anxiously await warmer days ahead.

We accept Care Credit and also have a loyalty rewards program for both products and treatments. Although no one can stop the aging process, INJECT BEAUTY can help slow it down by revitalizing your appearance. From groundbreaking equipment like Morpheus8 that stimulates collagen production and resurfaces the skin to microneedling, neurotoxins, fillers and more, a more radiant complexion can be just a phone call away. Together, we can transform your appearance to elevate your selfesteem and confidence to the next level as you live your best life!

Follow us on Facebook @INJECTBEAUTY for more treatments and specials. Call to schedule a free consultation at 318.235.6153.

Instill a Glow to Your Complexion

Local Talent Rides In Rose Bowl

FOR MILLIONS OF PEOPLE AROUND the world, the Rose Parade is an iconic New Year’s Day tradition. The Rose Parade travels 5.5 miles down Colorado Boulevard featuring four types of entries: floral-decorated floats entered by a participating corporation, non-profit organization or municipality, equestrian units, bands, and tournament entries. Rose Parade participants have long histories with the Tournament of Roses and keep the traditions alive.

On January 2nd, Emma Carter, who is a senior at Quitman High School made local history by being the first high school student from Jackson Parish to ride a float in the annual Rose Bowl Parade that was held in Pasadena, California. Standing alongside her was Miss Louisiana 2022 Gracie Reichman from Colfax, Louisiana, was a junior Kinesiology & Health Sciences major at Louisiana Tech University.


Gracie and Emma, along with other fair and festival winners from all over the state of Louisiana were invited to ride on a float sponsored by the state of Louisiana along with Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser. Riding along beside them was Country Music Association Award winner and 2022 Academy of Country Music New Female of the Year winner Lainey Wilson who performed on the “Louisiana Celebration Riverboat.”

The float, which was in the image of a Louisiana Riverboat covered with roses, was the brainchild of Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser, to promote the state and use as an introduction to Mardi Gras celebration to the world. The float was the darling of the parade and brought home the Showmanship Award, traditionally given to the float that had the most creative design.

The earliest Tournament of Roses welcomed 3,000 spectators to its first parade filled with beautiful, horse-drawn carriages covered in flowers. More than a century later, the parade floats are a marvel of state of the art technology, all tucked away beneath flowers and other all-natural materials.

Each year more than 80,000 hours of combined service are supplied by 935 volunteer members of the Tournament of Roses Association. Nicknamed “White Suiters” because of the distinctive white suits every volunteer wears, these community-spirited men and women give up their evenings, weekends and holidays to ensure the success of the Rose Parade® and Rose Bowl Game.



article by VANELIS RIVERA photography by KELLY MOORE CLARK


Nick Carlson zigzagged his way into becoming the owner of Seventh Square Coffee, currently the only coffee roaster in Northeast Louisiana.

Born in California, his family moved around, passing through Idaho, the Carolinas, and Louisiana.

“I’ve been in Northeast Louisiana ever since I was a young teenager. So I would call this home,” he says. While a student at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, he switched from majoring in biology to construction, then back to the sciences. “I had no clue what I wanted to do,” he says with a carefree tone. After graduation, he considered a few career trajectories including wildlife

management, but he ended up taking a shotgun approach, trying out random jobs with the hopes of finding the right fit. From banking to restaurant management, he gathered experiences until they led him to Ascent, a non-profit organization providing mental health services for children and adolescents. “It was the first time in my life that I landed somewhere. And I was like, this is it, this is what I’m meant to do,” enthuses Carlson. And yet, there was still a part of him that kept yearning. “I wanted to create things,” he says.

It began with a Breville Barista Pro and a spirit of just having fun. Inspired by the impressive latte art videos on Instagram and Tiktok, Carlson began to test his skillset at home. Soon, considering himself a barista in the making, he began sharing his frothy art with friends and family, which led to appearances at the Farmer’s Market at Seventh Square. “Yeah, so I didn’t really think about the name too hard when I went there, because I was like, this is just for fun,” he relays. What started as a Saturday morning hobby quickly gained traction, and many of his customers began asking about the location of his shop. “That kind of got me thinking, maybe there could be more.” Keeping his limited resources in mind, he began looking for spaces that he could share with someone and quickly found an opening at For His Temple Family Foods owned by Dana Milford. “And again, the reception was so much more than I thought it was gonna be,” he enthuses. After a few months, Carlson’s trajectory was clear—it was time to transition to his own brick-andmortar. And so on December 2022, in 414 Wood St. West Monroe, the Seventh Square team established what has become a hub abuzz with conversation, casual hangs, and of course, premium coffee.

As far as curating the interior and food menu, Carlson recruited the assistance of Heather Land, modern-day homemaker. “Nick had a very specific heart behind the process of dreaming up his first true brick and mortar,” she says. “For me, this was a passion project,” continues Land who has “a soft spot for sharing her time and gifts with people working to create beautiful things that I believe in. It is the way I have found to breathe into the true local’s life here.” Guided by Carlson’s passion to create, foster, and nurture the community, Land directed her focus on creating a timeless clean canvas where he could “literally put his heart on the walls.”

Creamy egg white walls are minimally textured with sections of pastel colors and honeyed woodbines. Golden camel velvets and leather from barstools and booths ground the space and create a warming feel. “We drew from the wood of the original old counter we requested to stay in the space,” says Land. Pops of green come from a number of lush indoor plants strategically scattered around the space—succulents, snake plants, and a stunning fiddle leaf fig. And finishing accents include brass coming from the barstools, brightly colored skate deck art, the “largerthan-life” Joey Slaughter art piece, and their


BARISTA MENU : The barista menu boasts coffee in a few ways, including cortado, cappuccino, and latte. The current seasonal menu plays with go-to flavors, uniquely blended. Take the Winter Ladybug (peppermint, mocha, and sea salt) and St. Nick’s Ginger Boy (gingerbread, honey, and cinnamon). In the “Not Coffee” section, the chai latte has a steadfast following, as well as the matcha latte.

groovy coffee bag designs. “Alone, it finished as a lovely neutral space with a modern mid-century kind of vibe to both impress and also welcome,” informs Land.

Brainstorming menu items was another collaboration of the minds, as well as the tastebuds. Land began with the question, “How could we create a menu that matched the craft of [Nick’s] coffee in a micro mini space with limited everything?” In a way, the simplicity of the space was exactly the principal component of what would become the menu, coupled with enough complexity to leave people craving for another visit. Thoughtfully chosen and purposefully layered, Land’s goal was “not to compete with the menus of other shops, but to pave a new way and present simple things really well and consistently.” A customer favorite is avocado toast, topped with cucumbers, microgreens, black sesame seeds, and siracha. Carlson particularly favors the brisket breakfast tacos—two corn tortillas hold a layer of garlic pepper jelly, brisket, potatoes, and microgreens. More savory plates include the brisket kimchi panini and chicken pesto panini. On the sweeter side, customers can enjoy jam and butter toast, honey almond toast, overnight oats, and granola parfait, all of which are further enhanced with a cup of house-roasted coffee. Currently, Seventh Square is using coffee distributors that work with small farmers and roasters. “The ultimate goal of ours is to have direct relationships with the farmers,” Carlson says. For the time being, his attention is directed toward the craft of roasting and dreaming up a plethora of coffee blends from the light, with sweet berry notes like the Seventh Sense to their ultimate dark roast Dark Matter, a smooth sixty-forty Brazilian-Guatemalan blend with rich

dark chocolate and almond notes. Each unique bag is an ode to the aesthetics of skateboard culture with animated-style illustrations by Jeff Wheeler. “A desire of mine was to create iconic characters so you could have a sense of the coffee’s personality,” says Carlson, who has amassed close to half a dozen unique designs matching their array of coffee flavors.

“The most fun part of the business is being able to create things,” says Carlson, particularly referring to roasting and blending the coffee beans. It’s a meticulous process and he often gives a lot of thought to the flavor notes he is aiming to extract from the beans. From developing the roasts, coming up with graphics and names, and then rolling them out, therein can be found his creative control.

“And it feels like it’s always changing, too,” he adds.

The barista menu boasts coffee in a few ways, including cortado, cappuccino, and latte. The current seasonal menu plays with go-to flavors, uniquely blended. Take the Winter Ladybug (peppermint, mocha, and sea salt) and St. Nick’s Ginger Boy (gingerbread, honey, and cinnamon). In the “Not Coffee” section, the chai latte has a steadfast following, as well as the matcha latte. Regardless of which brew you land on, customers can choose from any of their housemade syrups, such as vanilla, caramel, brown sugar cinnamon, lavender, and rosemary.

Carlson is still amazed at the level of engagement his coffee shop has experienced in such a short period. And though his product stands alone, he also credits the culture of comradery that has been established since day one—encouraging employees to have a sense of ownership. He makes sure that his leadership is based on kindness,


staunchly believing that if his employees’ cups are not full, they won’t be able to fill that of others. “So their cups need to be overflowing in order for people to receive that,” he says.

Ultimately, Carlson hopes that his new business is a space that feels fun and inviting. “That’s our brand,” he says, referring to the brightness of their packaging and the care he takes with creating specialty coffee that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Seventh Square is where you want to go if you are seeking a lighthearted space where you can find joy at the bottom of a coffee cup.

Seventh Square is where you want to go if you are seeking a lighthearted space where you can find joy at the bottom of a coffee cup.

ULM Receives Funding For Two Projects

State Mesonet Network and M.A.D.R.E. Projects

THE UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA MONROE HAS received approval for federal funding for two projects that will make a positive impact for citizens of Louisiana. The amount for both projects totals $2,505,000, which will be funded by the Fiscal Year 2023 Omnibus Appropriations Bill recently passed in the U.S. House and Senate. The projects were supported by Louisiana’s federal legislators after originating in the form of Community Project Funding (CPF) requests.

Louisiana District 5 U.S. Representative Julia Letlow sponsored the request for the State Mesonet Network Project. This project was approved for $2,000,000 as part of the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2023.

Mesonets are interconnected networks of instrumented monitoring stations across an entire state or region that measure temperature, humidity, pressure, solar radiation, wind speed and direction, precipitation, and soil conditions. The Mesonet and its data will be used for critical weather and climate monitoring that will affect sectors such as severe and hazardous weather forecasting, homeland security and emergency management, aviation, energy and renewables, agriculture, transportation, and education.

“Our universities are the economic engines of our region, and I was proud to help secure this substantial federal investment for the University of Louisiana Monroe,” Congresswoman Letlow said. “This project at ULM will provide critical information to our farmers, small business owners, and community leaders so they can better plan and respond to weather events,” she added.

The funding will be used to purchase equipment to support the installation of 100 mesonet sites across Louisiana. At least one site will be installed in every parish, with some parishes having multiple sites, given their size and population distribution.

U.S. Senator Dr. Bill Cassidy sponsored the request for the Mobilized Aid and Disaster Relief for Emergencies (M.A.D.R.E.) project. ULM was awarded $505,000 for the project as part of the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2023. The project will support evacuation shelters in Northeast Louisiana during disasters such as hurricanes. M.A.D.R.E. is the brainchild of an interprofessional group of students and faculty from the ULM College of Health Sciences and the ULM College of Pharmacy.

“The M.A.D.R.E. project will help Northeast Louisiana build healthier and safer communities,” said Dr. Cassidy. “It serves Louisiana families with a double purpose, both of which are focused on saving lives.”

M.A.D.R.E. will use a mobile pharmacy unit that will be deployed when people are displaced from their homes and usual avenues of healthcare due to natural disasters. During non-disaster times, the unit will provide support in rural and medically underserved communities to provide great access to prescriptions, vaccinations, and health screenings.

“ULM is very grateful to Congresswoman Letlow and Senator Cassidy for their support of these impactful projects that will help us further our mission of changing lives, not just in our region, but across Louisiana,” said ULM President Dr. Ronald Berry.


For the Love of Sports and Medicine

WHEN THINKING OF SPORTS MEDICINE, MANY THINK it only focuses on helping athletes improve performance, recover from injury, and prevent future injuries…. while that’s true, it’s not the whole story. Today’s sports medicine physicians treat people of all ages and fitness levels, from seniors to elite athletes, all with an array of common musculoskeletal issues. Val Irion, MD and Andrew Patton, MD are two of the fellowship trained orthopedic sports medicine physicians at Orthopedic Specialists of Louisiana. We recently asked them a few questions about why they chose the subspecialty of Sports Medicine and what a typical day looks like to them in their practices.

OSL: Why did you decide to go into orthopedics and why a Sports Medicine Fellowship?

Irion: I always gravitated towards medicine… only secondary to my love of sports. Growing up, I played about every sport you could play. When I realized early in my life that I was probably not going to become a professional athlete, I realized that pursuing a career in sports medicine could allow me to stay in sports. In college I worked for an orthopedic surgeon and really enjoyed it- that experience reaffirmed my interest and today I am fortunate to make it my career.

Patton: In medical school, I really enjoyed orthopedics and following my orthopedic residency, the subspecialty of sports medicine was particularly appealing because I saw an opportunity within the orthopedic practice that would allow me to treat all types of patientsall ages, all backgrounds, all different levels of function and get to help them restore that level of function to where they want it to be.

OSL: Is Sports Medicine just for athletes?

Irion: I get asked that question a lot… Pretty much everyone can consider themselves an athlete. I see patients of all ages and all activity levels- whether it be the weekend warrior, the high school athlete or the patient suffering from overuse injuries that could be interfering with their work duties or their daily activities.

Patton: The thing I love about Sports Medicine is that it does allow me to see all types of patients- different ages, different levels of function, different goals. Really, anything can be a sport. In many ways, I believe that Sports Medicine doctors are the general practitioners of orthopedic health.

OSL: What are the most common injuries you treat?

Irion: The main things I run into are general shoulder pain and knee pain. Certainly, I see a lot of the larger joints that have more of the weight bearing stresses, a lot of wear and tear injuries like rotator cuff tendinitis rotator cuff tears. In the knee, I see degenerative changes, meniscal injuries, and tears. In younger athletes, we will see more acute injuries, such as ACL tears or labral tears. However, the majority of my patients fall into the category of the weekend warrior… a lot of overuse injuries and they are just trying to get back to their normal activities.

Patton: Although I see a lot of shoulders and knees, I also see a fair share of necks, backs, hands and acute injuries like fractures. I find that patients may -initially come to see me with one issue…maybe hand pain… and as we progress through the examination, they may tell me about their shoulder or their knee pain. That’s the great thing about being in Sports Medicine, we really look at the whole picture because we want to restore the patient’s level of function.

OSL: What about Mako Smart Robotics? Do you use it? Irion: Definitely. I love the technology and am excited about where it is going. Currently, I utilize Stryker Mako Robotics for partial and total knee replacements. I am anticipating in the next decade, Stryker Mako will implement the technology for the robot to be utilized for shoulder replacement.

Patton: Absolutely…when I joined the OSL team in 2020, I was really excited to have the opportunity to utilize this technology and work and learn from my partner, Dr. Steven Atchison. Sports Medicine is really about getting people back to their desired level of function as quickly and successfully as possible. By utilizing the robot (Mako Smart Robotics) combined with better perioperative education and advances in anesthesia, I believe, we are able to offer patients the opportunity for a better recovery.

Val Irion MD and Andrew Patton, MD are both committed to keeping their patients active and healthy. Both physicians are currently accepting new patients of all ages and all activity levels. To schedule an evaluation with Dr. Irion or Dr. Patton, please call or visit Orthopedic Specialists of Louisiana: (866)759.9679 or


Monroe Chamber Holiday Gala

On Thursday, December 1, 2022 the Monroe Chamber of Commerce held its annual Holiday Gala at Bayou DeSiard Country Club. It was a magical night filled with music by The Josh Madden Band, complimentary wine and beer, 42 days of Christmas auction items donated by local business in our community and a wall of wine pull. The Chamber staff along with Mrs. Terri Arthur (Gala Director) went all out for this event. Patrons, sponsors, Chamber staff along with other guests enjoyed a night out on the town and enjoyed photos with Santa himself.

On the BayouScene

1 Kevin Patel and DJ Fortenberry

2 James Miles and Amber Marshall

3 Joey Gardunio and Hannah Briggs

4 Aimee Kane, Kelsi Dickerson, Victoria Christy and Jana Elkins

5 Ashley Ellis, Kelsea McCrary and Steven Keirsey and DJ Fortenberry

6 Roy and Beth Heatherly

7 LeBrone Robinson and Mayor Friday Ellis

8 Shelley and Stacy Odom

9 Ashley White, Katherine Clary and Nici Hanks

10 Emma Loyless, Sarah Ewing, Sarah Heatherly, Cynthia Nyquist and Ashton Mintz

11 Emily Martin, Ashley Scogin, Zach Scogin, Hunter Chapman, and Phillip Charles

12 Hunter and Victoria Christy and Kelsi and Matt Dickerson

13 Josh Etheridge, Lamont Windom, Courtney Dickerson, Tommy Guyton and Caleb Etheridge 14 Leigh Buffington and Jenny Pankey

15 Terri Arthur, Cynthia Nyquist, Roy Arthur and Victoria Christy

16 William Smart, Lyle and Lisa Miller 17 Roy Arthur, Debbie and Blake Herrington

18 Ruthie Wheatley, Sarita Daniel, and Rebecca McLaughlin

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7 8
13 14 15 16 17 18
9 10

St. Christopher Day School’s Cabaret

On Saturday, December 17th St. Christopher Day School held a fundraiser with live entertainment from award-winning Cabaret stars Mark Nadler and Marta Sanders-Cooper. Guests enjoyed delicious food, a martini bar and live auction.

On the BayouScene

1 Marta Sanders-Cooper and Mark Nadler 2 Suhaila Saad and Ming Lim 3 Faith Gremillion and Marta Sanders-Cooper 4 Jonathan Joseph, Marta Sanders-Cooper, Lisa Holyfield, Joe Holyfield, Alissa, Chris, Andi and Christopher Holyfield 5 Julie and Dr. Heber Tuft, Steven Foley 6 Lauren Lancaster and Faith Gremillion 7 Kristy and Michael Statham 8 Joe and Charlotte Barron 9 Rachel Chauvin, Susan Chappell and Kathrine Klagholz 10 Justin and Christie Ouchley 11 Lou and Lynda Gavioli 12 Charles Fontana and Valarie Samulski 13 Carl and Cassey Bernstein, Vickie Krutzer 14 Jason and Jaceinthe Maljaars 15 Diane and Ken Tabulog 16 Kathy Gardener and R.B. Green 17 Brian Freeman and Jessica Simoneaux 18 Aimee Buchanan, Heather Ganey and Rebekah Norman 19 Jorge and Courtney Alvernia

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11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
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Calendar of Events

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

January 10 – February 25


Mardi Gras Gown Exhibit

Mardi Gras season is upon us and to celebrate, the Biedenharn is displaying gorgeous Mardi Gras ball gowns of the past! View the gowns and outfits of former Krewe of Janus Queens and Kings until February 25th.

Time: 10 AM - 5 PM

Cost: Adults $7.00. Military/Senior $6.00. Students $4.00.

Address: Biedenharn Museum and Gardens, 2006 Riverside Drive, Monroe

February 4

North Louisiana Makers and Producers Market

North Louisiana Makers and Producers Market is working to bring artisans, makers, crafters, livestock producers, and food producers together in North Louisiana. Located in the parking lot of Paramount Health Care Consultants.

Time: 9 AM – 3 PM

Cost: Free Address: Paramount Health Care Consultants Parking Lot, 1905 North 7th Street, West Monroe Phone: (318) 372-4753

Krewe de Riviere Children's and Pet Parade

Join the Krewe de Riviere for their Second Annual Children's and Pet Parade. Dress up your pet or decorate a cart/wagon for your children.

Time: 10 AM – 11:00 AM

Cost: Free

Address: Monroe Downtown Rivermarket, 316 South Grand Street, Monroe

Mardi Gras Madness

It's Mardi Gras Madness at the Downtown RiverMarket! Live music, mask making stations, food trucks, vendors, and magicians are just a few of the fun things that will be there.

Time: 11 AM– 8 PM

Cost: Free Address: Downtown River Market,

316 South Grand Street, Monroe

Krewe de Riviere Mardi Gras ParadeRolling on the River

Twin Cities Krewe de Riviere is an all inclusive, community based Krewe that will roll on February 4th. This is a full day of events, so join in on the fun!

Time: 5 PM – 10:00 PM

Cost: Free Address: Downtown Monroe and West Monroe Phone: (318) 376-2501

February 10-11

Valentine Cabaret

Join Strauss Theatre Center for the Valentine Cabaret February 10th and 11th at 6:30 PM Enjoy wonderful food, great music, and dancing all night!

Time: 6:30 PM

Cost: $50.00

Address: Strauss Theatre Center, 1300 1/2 Lamy Lane, Monroe Phone: (318) 323-6681

February 11

6th Annual Poor Man's Run and Gumbo Cookoff

The St. Vincent de Paul Community Pharmacy and ULM College of Pharmacy are having their 6th annual Poor Man's Run. The Gumbo Cook-Off takes place after the run, so join in on the fun.

Time: 8 AM – 1 PM Cost: Ticket Prices Vary Address: ULM College of Pharmacy, 1800 Bienville Drive, Monroe Phone: (318) 342-3800

Krewe of Janus Children's Mardi Gras Parade

The cutest Mardi Gras parade is rolling at Pecanland Mall's Center Court. This free event kicks off the day's celebrations with the cutest mini-Mardi Gras floats and even cuter riders. Registration begins at 9:00 AM, line up is at 9:30 AM, and the first 100 participants receive a goody bag!

Time: 10 AM – 11 AM

Cost: Free Address: Pecanland Mall,

4700 Millhaven Road, Monroe Phone: (318) 323-0230

Children's Funday

Children's Funday is back at the Biedenharn Museum and Gardens! This is a craft activity for all children. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Time: 10 AM – 12 PM Cost: $5.00 Per Child. Free for Adult. Address: Biedenharn Museum and Gardens, 2006 Riverside Drive Phone: (318) 387-5281

Krewe of Paws Pet Parade

The Krewe of Paws Pet Parade is back on February 11th! Pets line-up at 100 Block of Commerce Street. Time: 1 PM – 2PM Cost: Free Address: Antique Alley, 100-400 blocks of Trenton Street, West Monroe Phone: (318) 323-0230

Jester Jog Color 5K

Run a portion of the Krewe of Janus Mardi Gras Parade route and back through downtown West Monroe in your Mardi Gras-themed outfits! Participants will gather in Alley Park located on the corner of Trenton and Natchitoches Street. Time: 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM Cost: $35.00 Sign-Up Fee Address: The Corner of Wood & Commerce, West Monroe

Twin Cities' Krewe of Janus Mardi Gras Parade

The Twin Cities Krewe of Janus Mardi Gras parade will celebrate 40 years of Mardi Gras tradition and flavor in the Twin Cities. Time: 6 PM – 10 PM Cost: Free Address: Krewe of Janus Float Den, 901 Louisville Avenue, Monroe Phone: (318) 614-8572

February 14

Valentine's in the Garden

Take a peaceful stroll with your sweetheart through the lovely gardens at the Biedenharn on

Valentine's night! Get a coke float and take a Valentine themed photo. Time: 5 PM – 8 PM

Cost: $5.00

Address: Biedenharn Museum and Gardens, 2006 Riverside Drive, Monroe Phone: (318) 387-5281

February 19

Biedenharn Concert Choir

Listen to melodious serenades while sauntering through the gardens at the Biedenharn. Grambling State University is having a concert choir in the beautiful Emy-Lou Gardens. Time: 4PM – 5 PM Cost: $15.00

Address: Biedenharn Museum and Gardens, 2006 Riverside Drive, Monroe Phone: (318) 387-5281

February 24

Dancing with the Louisiana Stars

Join Louisiana Delta Ballet for their annual Dancing with the Louisiana Stars fundraiser. Local celebrities will be paired up with dancers to compete with a choreographed routine for the championship title. Food will be catered from local restaurants. The crowd can pay to vote for their favorite contestant. Don't miss out on this exciting night!

Time: 7 PM – 10 PM

Address: Monroe Civic Center, 401 Lea Joyner Memorial Expressway, Monroe

Phone: (318) 381-7489


Articles from BayouLife Magazine February 23

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