BayouLife Magazine June 2022

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BLcontents 73



Host the perfect summer soirée with this signature drink.


These beautiful blooms are masterfully arranged into a gorgeous wedding bouquet and boutonnière perfect for wedding day festivities.

JUNE 2022


Many artists use their work to tell a story, and Whitney Trisler Causey is no exception. However, the stories told through her latest series of painted portraits aren’t entirely her own.


Make your day even more magical with a stunning wedding cake. It is your opportunity to share your taste (literally) with all of your guests.




Jay Howell’s newest restaurant, Okaloosa, is a family-friendly restaurant that offers patrons an interactive experience.


Stuart Keith Scalia is a Monroe girl, through and through. She balances a successful career with a robust family life, and still finds time to volunteer in the community that she loves with all of her heart.

APRIL 2018


From a long vertical canister overflowing with roses, to a classic hand-lettered invitation suite, a signature cocktail with a hint of rosemary to a glamorous wedding dress, these inspiring looks are elegantly defined.


These gorgeous wedding dresses from HERS Bridal and Blush by Sadie C’s offer dreamy designs perfect for your big day.


A plethora of doors have opened for Coco York, a professional vocalist with an electric and seductive voice that has been described as “a jazz-angel whispering rhythms in your ear.”


Searching for the perfect look for a summer wedding? Choose an outfit that is cool, yet classically elegant. Find these l and more at area boutiques.


his year marks my 17th wedding anniversary and I still remember my wedding day like it was yesterday. My friends were running around trying to get margarita machines working; Maré, Vikki and Nick were putting the finishing touches on all the flowers; and Kelly Moore Clark was busy taking pics – the first collaboration of many. In this month’s issue, we’ve compiled the best of the best wedding vendors in our area. On our cover this month is the breathtaking Bella Robertson Mayo in a wedding gown from Blush by Sadie C’s. Meka, Kelly, Meagan and Taylor headed out to the Gordon’s home to take these beautiful photos. Special thanks to Carlstedt’s for supplying the florals for the bouquet. While we were there, we also shot this month’s fashion shoot. Find it on page 152. Special thanks to our model, Mallory Kirksey, for helping us pull together a great “Bridal Party” shoot. I absolutely love being able to create a story – especially when it revolves around weddings. In this month’s Art of a Simple Wedding, Taylor Bennett creates a gilded and white inspired setting sourcing products from local vendors like Carlstedt’s, Nib & Flow, Dansby’s Taylor Rental, and Cake. Find this on page 87. Along with welcoming weddings into the pages of BayouLife Magazine, this month we celebrate fathers, those men who represent strength, love, and commitment to family. Find a great gift guide for dads on page 63. Stuart Keith Scalia is a Monroe girl, through and through. She was born here, has lived her entire life here, found her one true love here, reared a family here, and is one of the happiest people you’d ever care to meet here. Stuart is

also a very busy woman. She balances a successful career with a robust family life, and still finds time to volunteer in the community that she loves with all of her heart. And whenever she can, this girl travels! Because of her many contributions to our community, her tremendous talents as a floral designer, and for her irrepressible zest for life, Stuart Scalia is our June Bayou Icon. Read her article on page 118. Jay Howell’s newest restaurant, Okaloosa, is a family-friendly restaurant that offers patrons an interactive experience. Approachable and affordable fare stays true to the Gulf coast theme in this restaurant that lives up to its host city’s nickname – Funroe! It’s definitely on the top of my kid’s favorite places to visit – from jumpy houses to cornhole, and spaghetti and can’t be beat for keeping the kids entertained. Read about Okaloosa on page 73. Many artists use their work to tell a story, and Whitney Trisler Causey is no exception. However, the stories told through her latest series of painted portraits aren’t entirely her own; they belong to her daughter, M’Lynn, and children much like her. Read her article on page 34. We are so excited to kick-off this year’s 6th annual Bayou Buzz Awards. Make sure to pick up the July issue of BayouLife where winners will be listed. You can also find it on our Facebook page. And, a very special thank you to all the dads out there. A special shout out to my dad who has always been a cheerleader for me, who has rubbed my head when I’ve been sick or down, and has encouraged me to be my best. Happy Father’s Day!


BayouLife 1201 Royal Avenue Monroe, LA 71201 Phone 318.855.3185


PUBLISHER & OWNER Cassie Livingston COPY EDITOR Cindy Foust GRAPHIC DESIGNER Meagan Russell ADVERTISING SALES EXECUTIVE Katelyn McAllister Courtney Thomas Jenny Pankey ART DIRECTOR Taylor Bennett LEAD PHOTOGRAPHER Kelly Moore Clark CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Darian Atkins Dan Chason Dr. Leslie Coffman Kenny Covington Clint Downing Patti Dupont Cindy Gist Foust Starla Gatson Dr. Val Irion Paul Lipe Erin Love

Meredith McKinnie Dr. Timothy Mickel Guy Miller Georgiann Potts Vanelis Rivera Delia Simpson P. Allen Smith Beatrice A. Tatem Judy Wagoner Robert Wright

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Kelly Moore Clark Andrew Bailey Frank Hamrick Sarah Dupree Tony Molina Buie Photogtraphy ON THE COVER Bella Robertson Mayo in a wedding dress from Blush by Sadie C’s photo by KELLY MOORE CLARK

Art of a Simple Wedding, page 87 6 JUNE 2022 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

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.


Historical Impressions

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



believe most of us fathers are hard wired to do all we can to protect our families and also to endure any difficulties or dangers in the hope that our children will not have to experience the same. Sometimes a father becomes such a significant role model for his children that they want to follow in his footsteps regardless of what that might mean or what potential danger it might imply. Occasionally a father and child both end up making the ultimate sacrifice for the path they choose in life. This happened three times during the Vietnam War - three pairs of fathers and sons can be found on the Vietnam Memorial Wall. The first American casualty of the Vietnam War was not killed in action. Sadly he was murdered in a fit of rage by a fellow soldier. Richard B. Fitzgibbon Jr. was a United States Navy veteran who served during World War II. After leaving the Navy, he joined the Air Force and rose through the ranks to become a Technical Sergeant. By the mid-1950s Fitzgibbon was deployed as a aircraft crew chief to the Military Assistance Advisory Group, Detachment 1, 1173rd Foreign Mission Squadron which had been created to train South Vietnamese aviation personnel. During one of the training flights, Fitzgibbon’s aircraft was attacked by hostile ground fire. In the heat of combat, Fitzgibbon berated his radio operator, Staff Sergeant Edward C. Clarke, who was not properly doing his job. Unfortunately Clarke was the type of person who took criticism badly. After landing, Clarke went to a bar to get a drink and to calm down. Instead, he ended up drinking heavily and became even more irate. Leaving the club, he saw Fitzgibbon across the street playing with some local children and giving out candy. Clarke drew his sidearm and shot Fitzgibbon several times. Fitzgibbon died


Hester from these wounds a few days later on June 8, 1956. He was 36 years old. The Department of Defense originally established January 1, 1961 as the starting date for the Vietnam War. This date was chosen because President Lyndon B. Johnson had declared in a speech that Army Specialist 4 James T. Davis, who died in a Viet Cong ambush near the village of Cau Xang on December 22, 1961, was “the first American killed in the resistance to aggression in Vietnam.” Fitzgibbon’s family, with the help of U.S. Representative Ed Markey (Massachusetts), convinced the Department of Defense to change the start date to November 1, 1955 which was the date American military advisors assigned to the Vietnam Military Assistance Advisory Group were first sent to Vietnam. With this change, Fitzgibbon became the first American casualty of the war. According to Fitzgibbon’s sister, Alice DelRossi, Fitzgibbon’s son wanted to connect to the place where his father had died. After graduating from high school, Richard B. Fitzgibbon III, enlisted in the United States Marine Corps so that he could be sent to Vietnam. Attached to the Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, 3rd Marine Division, Marine Corps Lance Corporal Fitzgibbon was killed by an explosive device in the Quang Tin province of South Vietnam on Sept. 7, 1965. Fitzgibbon was 21. Father and son are both buried in the Blue Hill Cemetery in Braintree, Massachusetts. Lieutenant Commander Leo Claude Hester was a pilot with the United States Naval Support Activity command in Saigon. On March 10, 1967 Hester was flying a VC-47J aircraft between Cam Ranh Air Base and Tan Son Nhut Air Base in Saigon. Due to a wing failure, the plane crashed into a hillside near Phan Rang. Hester was 43 years old.

Jenkins Leo Claude Hester Jr. wanted to follow his father’s footsteps into military aviation. He enlisted in the United States Army and volunteered to become a helicopter pilot. Finishing his training, Hester was sent to Vietnam and piloted an OH-6A for the Headquarters Company, 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, On November 2, 1969, Hester was on a reconnaissance mission when his helicopter was hit by a B-40 rocket while hovering near a tree line in the Tay Ninh Province. Warrant Officer Hester was 20. Father and son are buried next to each other in the Barrancas National Cemetery in Pensacola, Florida. Army Specialist 5 Fred C. Jenkins was an Ordnance Corps welder assigned to C Company, 725th Maintenance Battalion, 25th Infantry Division. On April 2, 1968, SP5 Jenkins was welding in the engine well of a military vehicle at the Cu Chi Base Camp in Hau Nghia Province. While he was working an explosion occurred and the area was filled with smoke and Jenkins was asphyxiated. He was 49 years-old. Jenkins is buried in the Chattanooga Cemetery in Chattanooga, OK. Bert McCree Jenkins enlisted in the United States Army and was sent to helicopter flight school. After completing his training, Warrant Officer Jenkins was deployed to Vietnam and assigned to B Company, 1st Aviation Battalion, 1st Infantry Division. On April 28, 1969, Jenkins was piloting an AH-1G Cobra gunship on a convoy ambush support mission between An Loc and Lai Khe along Highway QL-13. The helicopter was hit by enemy small arms fire and WO1 Jenkins suffered a gunshot wound to the head. The copilot grabbed the controls and made an emergency landing. Jenkins was evacuated to a military hospital but he succumbed to his wound after arriving there. Jenkins was 29 years old. He is buried at the Louisville Memorial Gardens in Kentucky.


Important Men’s Health Checks Ochsner LSU Health – Monroe


EN ARE NOT ALWAYS THE BEST AT KEEPING up with their health. If men feel “under the weather,” many men shrug it off, and let time and over-the-counter medications do the healing. However, men need to map out a plan that includes routine examinations and tests. Most men had routine exams when they were young and attending school. Their pediatrician checked their height, weight, temperature, reflexes and more. However, pediatricians stop seeing patients when they get between 18 and 21 years old. That is when it is time for men to find a primary care provider. Here are some important screenings that men should undergo as they age. BLOOD PRESSURE A man needs to have his blood pressure checked every two years. The test measures the pressure in your arteries as your heart pumps. The test can indicate hypertension, commonly called high blood pressure. If hypertension goes untreated, it could lead to a stroke, heart attack and other health problems. Depending on your blood pressure, your doctor may recommend a screening for diabetes. CHOLESTEROL A cholesterol test checks the level of your body’s cholesterol. It determines your risk of a heart attack or other heart-related diseases. The American Heart Association recommends that screenings begin at 20 years old if you have certain risk factors like diabetes. Men over the age of 35 should be tested every five years until the age of 45, when they should undergo a cholesterol test every two years. TESTICULAR CANCER SELF-EXAM Testicular cancer is not common. However, about one out of every 250 men will develop it at some point during their lifetime. Medical experts recommend that men between the ages of 15 and 55 perform a monthly self-examination to look for any changes to their testicles. Report any abnormality, such as a mass or bump, to your doctor quickly since it could be an early indication of cancer. SKIN CANCER SCREENING Self-exams of moles and other skin conditions should become a part of any man’s routine. If a man finds a scaly red patch that


becomes crusty and bleeds, a wart-like growth, or a new mole or other spot on the skin that is changing in size, shape or color, then he needs to make an appointment with a dermatologist. A mole with an odd shape, irregular borders or areas of different colors can also be a sign of skin cancer. COLORECTAL CANCER If you are under age 45 and your family has a history of colon cancer, talk to your doctor about whether you should undergo a colonoscopy. Beginning at age 45, you should start getting a routine colonoscopy. Your doctor will determine how often you should have a colonoscopy based on their findings. PROSTATE CANCER The American Cancer Society recommends that men undergo a prostate cancer screening beginning at age 50. Men under 50 years old should have their exam earlier if they are at a higher risk. The exam includes a blood test. A digital rectal exam could also be part of the screening, but it is optional. OTHER HEALTH CHECKS There are other health screenings that men should consider, including a blood test to check thyroid hormone levels. A thyroid issue can affect a man’s hair loss, sex drive, erectile dysfunction and lower testosterone levels. Depression screening is also important as men age. Men can become more depressed as they deal with more health concerns. It is important to be honest and up-front with your healthcare providers. If they know your family history, they can easily identify the screenings you should undergo. Meanwhile, you should consider quitting tobacco use (including vaping), using sunscreen, watching your calorie intake and getting more exercise to improve your health. Those positive steps can go a long way in keeping you healthy. It’s important for adults to receive regular health checks, even when feeling healthy. Schedule an appointment with one of our Primary Care team members at Ochsner LSU Health – Monroe today! To schedule an appointment, call 318-330-7168 or visit

Bayou Buzzworthy

St. Francis Home Health celebrated one of its own physical therapists. Raul Africa, a physical therapist with the hospital, was named LHC Group Inc.’s National Physical Therapist of the Year. Africa was selected from around 1,000 physical therapists from comments on evaluations sent in by patients and has been with St. Francis Home Health for more than 25 years.

The 2022 St.Jude Dream Home raised $800,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and over eight thousand tickets sold out in record time! After two years of no open houses, the 2022 St.Jude Dream Home beauty was show ready to the public for the month of May. Lead interior decorator Jan Strickland said “But, at the end of the day it’s not about how pretty and finished the home is; which is important for the project. But, it’s about raising funds for St. Jude.”

A group of ULM students published work from a major class project in World Literature Today Weekly, an award-winning magazine of international literature and culture. Students from English 4000, a special topics course on Native women writers, interviewed acclaimed novelist, poet and essayist Diane Glancy, whom they had studied in the course.

On May 13, 2022 Cake was awarded the Emerging Entrepreneur Award from the West Monroe-West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce. Sisters Emily Kemp and Becky Thompson are owners of Cake, a modern southern bakery located on Antique Alley.


Monroe’s Chennault Aviation and Military Museum will soon have a new mural designed by Louisiana Tech University’s Art 427 Advanced Drawing studio to honor veterans for their service and sacrifice.“Murals have an amazing ability to help form connections between artists and the community,” said Whitney Causey, Assistant Professor of Studio Art at Louisiana Tech. “The focus of this mural was to highlight the sacrifice made by so many, within all branches of the military”

Alumni Spotlight ULM Alumna: Jeanette Robinson


ONG BEFORE ATTENDING COLLEGE ENTERED HER mind, Jeanette Robinson thrived in the ULM campus culture. Her grandfather Edward Lee attended ULM, then Northeast Louisiana College, in the 1950s and played football for the institution. As season ticket holders, Jeanette’s grandparents brought her to all the games and tailgating events. She distinctly remembers the smells of the Chili Cookoff and the freedom of chasing the ULM band through the Grove while the Boola Boola song resounded from the instruments. The ULM atmosphere remained synonymous with home and happiness, and so when the time came to choose a place to study, the answer was obvious. Originally, Jeanette majored in Toxicology and worked in the Office of Public Information as a photography assistant. She adored photography and memory making. Her grandparents’ home features a wall stacked with photo albums, but Jeanette never considered the passion as a potential career path. In 2015, Jeanette took a break from school, married her husband Jacob in 2016, and the couple welcomed daughter Zoe in 2017. The next year Jeanette’s friends from ULM, Srdjan Marjanovic and Emerald McIntyre, suggested Jeanette return to school and work in the Office of Marketing and Communication. She knew it would be difficult, but after witnessing her husband graduate in 2015 with his BSN, she knew she could too with the support of her family and friends. An eternal introvert, Jeanette stepped out of her comfort zone and changed her major to Communications. The classes involved group activities and relying on others - she learned the importance of a team effort. A communication theory course involved prioritizing models to show students the true complexity of conversations, whether in person, via email, or on social media pages. While taking this course, Jeanette solidified an understanding of the higher education social media world and how to better communicate to students across platforms. In spring 2021, Jeanette earned her bachelor’s of Communications with a focus in digital media. Graduation day allowed Jeanette to sit next to her sister Julie Rogers; the twosome walked across the stage while their grandmother snapped more pictures to add to the household collection. Grandfather Edward Lee passed away in January of that year, but Jeanette and Julie felt his spirit in the ULM coliseum and knew he would be honored that his granddaughters continued the ULM family legacy. While continuing to work in the ULM Office of Marketing and Communications, Jeanette sharpened her skills and credits her supervisors with aiding in advancing her career. She has served as a photography assistant, videographer, social media specialist, and now as the Marketing Media Manager. In this position, Jeanette develops and


maintains the department’s webpage, while serving as a vital strategic advisor to internal departments in the usage of new media tools. An integral part of ULM’s good reputation, Jeanette advances ULM’s footprint through social, online, new media, and other public affairs strategies, digitally and in print. Outside of the office, Jeanette further fosters her love of photography, capturing and sharing stories of hidden local talent. She organizes and facilitates local marketing shoots for businesses and bands. Jeanette developed a program offering free photography services to foster families, a cause close to her heart. While fostering is a temporary placement, she witnessed how the children make a lasting impression on foster parents and families. Jeanette is honored to capture those memories for the parents and children to remember. Jacob and Jeanette’s daughter Zoe attends the ULM Emily Williamson Laboratory School, and in May Zoe walked across the stage for Pre-K graduation with her own little maroon and gold cap and gown. The staff at Emily Williamson helped shape the beautiful, smart young lady with Talons Out. One of Jeanette’s favorite events to capture on film is the Mardi Gras Trike-A-Thon, the Emily Williamson school community service project. Zoe personally raised over $2000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital while attending the school. ULM’s community impact cannot be overstated. Last September, Jeanette witnessed a group of local third graders receive a ULM scholarship as part of the Take Flight Through Reading project. The students’ faces lit up as President Berry announced the scholarship awards. Because these third graders will be the class of 2031, each student was awarded $500 inside the book “There’s a Bridge on the Bayou.” These centennial scholars will be the freshman class when ULM celebrates its 100th anniversary. In November, Jeanette helped establish a campaign for Giving Tuesday to continue support for the Centennial Scholarship fund. Jeanette knows the personal impact of creating a bond with our local university and is committed to continuing that tradition for future generations of Warhawks. The ULM Alumni Association reaches, connects and celebrates alumni and friends to build lifelong relationships, and commit to the university’s missions of academic freedom, scholarship, diversity, excellence, integrity and service. We represent alumni who honor the traditions of our university and who share a sense of achievement and pride. We create a network of professionals, establish scholarships and advocate for our University through community engagement. Members of the Alumni Association support countless initiatives, and annual memberships are just $35. To learn more or to become a member, please visit our new alumni network at

Rosemary Lemonade

INSTRUCTIONS: Combine Meyer lemon juice, simple syrup, and water. Add in freshly squeezed lemon rinds and stir to combine. Chill until ready to serve. Add rosemary sprigs to garnish.

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

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


Host the perfect summer soirée with this signature drink. This refreshing combination of Meyer lemons and rosemary is a great staple to serve by the pool, add your favorite spirit to kick things up a notch.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED: 1/2 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice 1 cup simple syrup 4 cups water Fresh rosemary



A Photographer’s Journal After the Ceremony, All We Remember Are the People and the Photos



HAVE HAD THE HONOR OF BEING THE PHOTOGRAPHER for over forty weddings. I began as a wedding photographer during my teen years. I actually bought my first car in the summer of my junior year in high school from photography profits. I was shooting with a film camera in the mid-1990s. However, my photography pursuits came to an end after one bad wedding job. I opened up the back of my camera and exposed the film before it completed the rewind process. The bride came to pick up her prints and to her horror, she learned that there were no images. I was devastated and it was a huge burden on the shoulders of a teenager. I told myself I would never pick up a camera again. In 2000, digital cameras hit the market and my first one was a Sony Mavica 1000. It came with a CD, no more film. With this, I thought, I could not make the same mistakes that I made with film. I began a professional pursuit two years later, but didn’t shoot my first wedding as a digital photographer until the end of 2004. It has been quite an experience since and I’ve been selected dozens of times to document the moments of newlyweds. Many are still married today and my photos are probably somewhere in their homes on a wall. Here are just a few stories. BRITTNEY AND COURTNEY SUTTON Brittney Stevenson was married to Courtney Sutton on May 23, 2015 at the Venetian Room in Atlanta, GA. I was Brittney’s high school and debutante photographer and was delighted when she asked me to be her wedding photographer. I drove to Atlanta for the opportunity. Bishop Dreyfus Smith was the officiant. The Matron of Honor was Dawnette Carter. The Maids of Honor were Shassity Stevenson and Brittany Beal. The Best Man was Byron Williams. The bridesmaids included: Robbin Robbins, Nicole Banks, Freda Todd, Jasmin Lewis, Jameslynn Owens, Kyler Robinson, Jaelynn Ballard, and Ikia Thomas. The groomsmen included: John Herring III, Ronnie Colbert, Jr., Freddrick Britton, Jr., Joshua Stevenson, Eric Williams, Shondell Ultsev, and Lewis Carter, II. The ring bearer was Caden Sutton. The broom bearer was Chase Ballard and the bride announcer was Paris Branch. ASHLEE AND TERRY MARTIN Ashlee Mechelle Christian was married to Terry Martin, II on June 16, 2018 in Shreveport, Louisiana. The outdoor ceremony was held lakeside at the Valencia on Cross Lake. The ceremony was officiated by the Rev. Oliver W. Billups, Jr.


This was a very unusual wedding experience for me. It was the first time I’d ever worked as a wedding photographer without meeting the bride prior to the ceremony. I was hired at the last minute and had not met anyone other than the groom’s mother. I made the transit to Shreveport and waited along with the rest of the guests. It was a hot evening, and many waited inside until moments before the preacher and groom walked out. I still hadn’t seen the bride. The ladies in attendance were very pretty so I was hoping this would not be an ugly bride. Then it happened. Her father escorted her from the side of the building to the outside gathering. She was drop dead gorgeous. I looked at the groom and thought “You lucky dog.” I’d forgotten about the heat and sweat and began to take photos. My camera was in love, for it loves beautiful subjects, and she was definitely that. ASHLEE AND DEWAYNE WILLIAMS I met Ashlee Hill when she was just a freshman at Neville High School. I was the school’s photographer. My first shoot with her was as a freshman cheerleader. She remained active as a cheerleader until her senior year. In 2012, she was selected by the football team to be the Homecoming Queen. At the homecoming football game, her cousin, the recording artist Torion Sellers (who would one day star in the the blockbuster movie Barbershop: The Final Cut) sang the National Anthem and came back the next night to hang out at the Homecoming Dance. She and I would work together on various photography projects including two weddings. I took photos for her 21st birthday in New Orleans. So in 2019, it was a treat for her to ask me to photograph her wedding. Ashlee was married to Dewayne Williams on Saturday, August 3, 2019 at the Greater Realness Cathedral in Monroe, Louisiana. The wedding party wore pink dresses and blue tuxedos. The bride wore a white gown with a splash of pink and the groom wore a pink suit with brown shoes. The wedding party included: Amiya Pollard, Todd Sellers, Hailey Bachimen, Terrance Miley, Asia Brooks, Tyus Early, Kaylee Nettles, Kiri Brown, T’Anna Banks, Kirkland Hopkins, Neisha Carter, Jacory Anderson, Kawanna Carter, Willie Nettles, Ciara Evans, Marvin Millsap, Brianna Sellers (Maid of Honor), Donecia Banks-Miley (Matron of Honor), Hailee Giles (Junior Bridesmaid), and Skylar Mason (Ring Bearer). The flower girls were Ziva Hill, Amariyah Jefferson, Zoe Hill, and Isis Miley. The officiant was Bishop and First Pastor Don and Sharlaski Banks. The reception was held at the Vantage Building downtown Monroe.

Men’s Health Month Why Men are More Likely to Avoid a Doctor’s Visit


E ALL KNOW THE AGE-OLD TROPE THAT MEN need to toughen up and avoid showing weakness. Maybe that’s also why men tend to avoid going to the doctor— often until it’s too late. Studies show men aren’t paying enough attention to their health or speaking with their doctor regularly about health concerns. In fact, according to a 2019 Cleveland Clinic survey, about 50% of men have avoided getting an annual physical and other preventative care measures, though 82% said they wanted to stay healthy for the sake of their family, friends and business. “Most men don’t want to even think about health issues. They tend to avoid those conversations. They think they are 10 feet tall and bullet proof,” says Dr. Charles Morgan, an internal medicine physician with St. Francis Medical Group. As a result, men are more likely to develop heart disease, aortic aneurysms, kidney stones and chronic illnesses. They carry more excess body fat on their waistlines, making them more prone to heart attacks. And because they don’t pay attention to their health as closely as women do, the life expectancy for men is five years less than women, according to a 2019 Harvard study. The age group of men most likely to skip out on doctor’s visits is around 35 to 54 years old. That’s also around the time men are recommended to start scheduling regular checkups. “Once you get in the door for an appointment, it’s not difficult to talk about these things,” Dr. Morgan says. “A lot of men worry they will come in and get put on a bunch of medications, but there are plenty of lifestyle changes you can do to avoid that.” That can include improving diet, decreasing alcohol consumption and increasing activity and exercise—all measures you can discuss at length with your doctor. With June being Men’s Health Month, it’s important for men to get into a regular routine of meeting with their primary care provider. Here are some general guidelines about regular screenings for men to consider by age group:


MEN IN THEIR 30S Now’s the time to start thinking about cardiovascular health. If heart disease runs in your family, talk to your doctor about your blood pressure, cholesterol levels and other factors related to your heart. You should be scheduling routine checkups every other year in your 30s. MEN IN THEIR 40S Routine checkups should take place yearly starting in your 40s. Recommended screenings for certain types of cancer also come into play at this point. In fact, the American Cancer Society dropped the recommended age for colon cancer screenings from 50 to 45 years old in 2018 as a response to an uptick in colorectal tumors among younger patients. MEN IN THEIR 50S AND ABOVE You should be discussing a variety of milestone medical tests and screenings with your doctor. At this point, colon cancer and prostate cancers should be discussed with your doctor regardless of family history. Blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar should all be checked regularly. Regular screenings and annual doctor’s visits are vital for a man’s health and detecting problems at an early stage. And your doctor can help answer many questions you have about your personal health as well as discuss potential treatment options—from cardiovascular issues and prostate health to erectile dysfunction and hair loss. For Men’s Health Month and any month, don’t wait until you get sick to establish a relationship with a primary care provider. Take control of your health and your future. Find a doctor who is ready to help you at



“The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man” by James Weldon Johnson

“In the life of everyone there is a limited number of experiences which are not written upon the memory, but stamped there with a die; and in the long years after, they can be called up in detail, and every emotion that was stirred by them can be lived through anew; these are the tragedies of life.”


ublished in 1912, Johnson’s autobiography is one initially released in anonymity. Fearful of the social and legal implications of disclosing the truth of his life, Johnson wrote the confessional without claiming it. Having passed as a white man in post-reconstruction America, Weldon’s account shows the internal turmoil of a man who felt pulled in two directions both to defend his own race and to live a life of privilege afforded him by his white-enough skin. Johnson’s account of his life as a man of color is backdropped by an America reeling from the horrors of its original sin. One of the opening scenes of the book begins with Weldon learning he is colored, when a Northern school teacher separates the children by race. Alarmed, Weldon admits being disappointed by the realization, running to his light-skinned mother for confirmation. Fostering a musical talent at such a young age, the piano prodigy decides to use his skills to give back to his people, to combine the lyricism of black music with the refined

sounds of the European classics he learns abroad. Tragedy and reality challenge his efforts abroad and back home in the South. What follows is a man’s desperate search for selfhood and freedom in his home country founded on those very principles. Johnson writes his narrative in a compelling, soothing style, as if the reader is curled up on the couch hearing the story from the author’s own mouth. Though a century removed from the historical events, the resonance and spirit of America leaps from its pages, grasping for recognition and confirmation. Weldon’s internal revelations of the social upheaval following the Civil War, of an America adjusting to a new reality, is layered with nuance - never totally vilifying the Southern aristocrat or absolving the Northern abolitionist. The exploration of dynamics at play in a country trying desperately to unify once more is reminiscent of today’s social turmoil, where everyone can find enough truth in his own version to cling desperately to one side of an argument. I read old novels to understand today’s problems. What’s the saying, “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” African American authors, generations removed, provide a version of events from the people who lived it first-hand. Engaging these stories allows the historically suppressed voices a chance to speak. “It is the spirit of the South to defend everything belonging to it. The North is too cosmopolitan and tolerant for such a spirit.”





“Mapping the Interior” by Stephen Graham Jones

“And that’s how I recognized him that first night, crossing from the living room through the kitchen. His boots, his bustle. His fancydancer outline. In death, he had become what he never could in life.”


unior is the man of his house. His father has died years before, his little brother is suffering from some seizures not yet linked to any discernible cause, and his mother works so much to care for them that her presence is sporadic. Junior is not only the oldest living male, but he is the closest thing to an adult with a consistent presence. Though his family doesn’t own this modular home far removed from Indian country where he was raised, he still sees himself as its owner, a 12-year-old boy wearing the weight of adulthood long before being an adult. Poverty forces kids to grow up fast. Jones’ novella is an exploration into identity, cultural awareness, manhood, parental absence, and undergirding it all, the confines of poverty. Junior feels a presence in the home, a feathered, decorated Native American presence, a ghost reminiscent of the ancestors of his father, a man he barely knew. It is tempting to glorify the dead, to espouse all the praise undeserved when they were drawing breath. But it is untoward to vilify the no-longer-living. Junior idolizes his father

in his absence. He fantasizes that his father’s death is the cause of the family’s financial and emotional hardship, that if only he were still around, that things would be different. Such are his thoughts when this phantom graces the household, lingers around his brother Dino, and commands attention. Junior, still a boy, protects this secret, this knowing of the undead’s presence, this desire to connect with his longlost father causes him to summon the spirit, to crave the undead’s return. Blackfoot author Jones navigates this exploration of Native American heritage through the fascination with the spirit world, through his character’s desire for connection with his past, his origin, and a longing for an example of who he should become. This horror story is not as scary as it is revealing, a portrayal of history and cultural identity and the loss of personhood on native soil, an experience of living hard while consistently looking backward for how to live better. This coming-ofage indigenous tale of an Indian boy becoming a man and viewing his life through the lens of his childhood resonates as we all owe who we are to where we come from. No matter how far we run, how much we resist, the past is inevitably present in some form...albeit a ghost, a memory, or a chance to live it all again. “There’s a real you squirming down inside you, trying all through the day to pull up to the surface, look out. But it can only get that done when your defenses are down. When you’re sleeping.”




A Gift for Dad

Washington Wine & Spirits Has Excellent Bourbon and Whiskey Selections


HIS MONTH WE’D LIKE TO HIGHLIGHT SOME GREAT products for Father’s Day and the heat of summer. We’ll take a quick dive into some incredible whiskey in a variety of styles to help you find the perfect gift to celebrate your dad. We’ll go over six different styles of whiskey that will cover a gamut of flavor profiles. We’ll start in North America and take a quick trip through some of the major whiskey producing areas of the world. When it comes to bourbon for Father’s Day, we have to mention our private barrel selections. These barrels have been carefully selected by the team here at Washington Wine & Spirits to provide you with incredible flavor and value. We currently have selections from Barrell Bourbon, Barrell Private Release, Cathead Old Soul Bourbon, Jefferson’s Bourbon, Pinhook 6-yr Vertical Series Bourbon, Wilderness Trail High Rye Bourbon, Wilderness Trail Wheated Bourbon, and Tumblin Dice Heavy Rye Bourbon. Several of these have a very limited amount left in stock. If your father is a fan of any of these get it before it’s gone! Now we’ll take a look at the Penelope Architect Bourbon finished with French oak staves. This is the first edition of the new Architect series from Penelope and it is delicious. In the glass it is a bright golden copper in appearance. On the nose we get tart cherry, blackberry, toasted croissant, and a touch of baking spice. On the palate we get honeyed vanilla bean, French toast, cherries, and green apples. The finish is generous and long with soft vanilla, apple, and chewy baked bread. This first edition was bottled at 104 proof, but drinks much smoother than one would think. An easy sipper that calls you back for more and would be a treat for any bourbon loving dad out there. Our next selection is for the rye guys out there. Redemption 10 year old barrel proof rye is a stellar bottle that packs a punch of flavor. This is a classic 95% rye and 5% barley mash bill from MGP in Indiana and bottled at 116.2 proof. A rich nose opens with fresh cut dill and rosemary, but then transitions quickly to rich caramels, dried citrus, and a touch of tropical fruits. The taste is everything that you want from a classic aged rye with rich dark honey, apple, clove, cinnamon, dill, fennel, and a touch of sweet vanilla. The finish is surprisingly long with candied pineapple, sweet anise, cinnamon, and oak spice. There is a pleasant heat from the barrel proof that we find delightful when paired with the sweet flavors that this whiskey shows off. This is earthy, herbaceous, and sweet all at the same time. As we look to the north we’re going to touch on the Crown Royal Winter Wheat from the Noble Collection. The winner of last year’s 28 JUNE 2022 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

Canadian Whiskey of the Year, this is a departure for Crown Royal as most of their whiskey is rye. This newest edition has a mash bill of 51% red winter wheat, 39% corn, and 10% malted barley. The nose hits hard with sweet banana bread, peach cobbler, rich vanilla caramel, and toasty oak. The palate is reminiscent of bread pudding with toffee, vanilla, candied fruit, and a touch of gentle baking spice. The finish is superb! Peach cobbler blends with a touch of sweet honey, vanilla, and gentle oak. This is exceptional and one of the best in the series. These are in limited quantities so don’t miss out on this awesome whiskey. Now we’re going to start looking across the oceans and we’ll start in Ireland with the classic Powers John’s Lane 12 year old single pot still. Distilled at the John’s Lane Distillery this offering from Powers is a true treat for fans of Irish whiskey. The nose glides out of the glass with vanilla, aromatic black cavendish, apple, and a little milk chocolate. The mouth feels pure silk with flavors of baked apples, vanilla, coffee, and some sweet raisins. The finish shows a balance of sherry sweetness with more candied fruit notes that linger on the palate in a luxurious softness. Next up we’ll move over to Scotland where we have the 1998 Braeval from Signatory. This interesting rarity is one of only 283 bottles. Distilled in 1998 and bottled 13 years later this was matured in ex-bourbon barrels. The whiskey from the Braeval Distillery is rarely seen or bottled on its own. This offers up flavors of vanilla, green apple, and honeyed pear. The finish is smooth and lingers with gentle sweet tobacco, apples, honey, and vanilla. We only have two of these unique and rare bottlings. We’re going to end our journey with Hibiki Harmony from Japan. This is a truly beautiful Japanese whiskey that fans of bourbon and Scotch can both thoroughly enjoy. Blended from whiskies from the Hakushu, Yamazaki, and Chita distilleries finished in five types of oak for an incredibly smooth and flavorful whiskey. The nose opens with apricots, golden raisins, refined oak, and a touch of cacao. The palate is full of tropical fruits, apricots, raisins, white chocolate, honey, and sandalwood. The finish is sublime with notes of honey, graham crackers, sweet citrus, and delicate notes of oak. This is a true treat for any whiskey lover. This is just a small example of the vast variety we have on offer here at the store. We hope that all of the dads out there have a fantastic Father’s Day. Don’t forget about the Doe’s Eat Place steaks to take home for the grill. As always thank you for letting us be your spirits guides here at Washington Wine & Spirits.

St. Frederick High School Class of 2022

























photos by Rhyan Emery with Albritton Photography

























3300 Westminster Avenue, Monroe


At Left: The fragrance of Shimmer, Cappuccino, Playa Blanca and Mother of Pearl roses take center stage, and are bordered by variegated pittosporum, giving this bridal bouquet a touch of nostalgia. Bouquet by Vee’s Flowers.


Effortless and romantic, this chiffon A-line bridal dress from Blush by Sadie C’s will make you feel like a bride. It features a plunging illusion Sabrina neckline that perfectly blends with your skin, making the sequined lace appliqués appear to be floating along the neckline up to the straps. A Chantilly lace underlay in the sheer bodice offersa touch of extra detailing. Appliqués cascade down onto the floaty chiffon skirt and continue arround to create a stunning cutout chapel length train.

Bouquets in Bloom

These beautiful blooms are masterfully arranged into a gorgeous wedding bouquet and boutonnière perfect for wedding day festivities. Designed by Vee’s Flowers, these fantastic florals offer inspiration for your big day. 32 JUNE 2022 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

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

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

Below: This simple arrangement of variegated pittosporum and roses add a big punch of personality to wedding day lapels.



ART AS ADVOCACY Many artists use their work to tell a story, and Whitney Trisler Causey is no exception. However, the stories told through her latest series of painted portraits aren’t entirely her own; they belong to her daughter, M’Lynn, and children much like her.

M’Lynn has Angelman syndrome, a rare neurogenetic disorder, and Causey uses her vibrantly-colored portraits to raise awareness of the disorder while challenging society’s views on developmental disabilities. “When you think of someone that is disabled, what is the first image that comes to mind?” Causey asks. “Usually, it’s not one of the portraits you’re looking at in the work. When people see the work, they’re like, ‘Look at these beautiful, happy children,’ and when they hear the diagnosis, their perception immediately changes.” Each of the children depicted in the portrait series also has Angelman syndrome, and though they were born in the same year as Causey’s eldest daughter, most were not diagnosed as early as M’Lynn. Thanks to M’Lynn’s physical therapist, Melanie Massey, and Causey’s intuition, doctors were able to give M’Lynn a diagnosis at just 11 months old. But according to the Angelman Syndrome Foundation, most children aren’t diagnosed until they’re between the ages of two and five. “If you’re not on top of it, doctors can really quickly say [they’re] fine,” Causey explains. “[But] those therapies are so vital at an early age.” The vitality of the therapies Causey speaks of and the typically too-late diagnoses are why she has gotten other artists involved in her advocacy efforts. Causey’s an assistant professor of studio art at Louisiana Tech and invites students enrolled in her classes or involved with the college’s Visual Integration of Science Through Art (VISTA) program to collaborate with the Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics and the Angelman Syndrome Foundation. ARTICLE BY STARL A GATSON PHOTOGRAPHY BY KELLY MOORE CL ARK

LIFE IN PORTRAITS At right: Causey has painted her daughter, M’Lynn and more than 40 other children with Angelman syndrome. Below: Clinton, Ella, Whitney and M’Lynn Causey, portrait by Skylar Taylor.


tudents have spent the spring quarter of the 2021-22 school year providing illustrations that help visualize different genotypes of the disorder. This not only allows Tech’s School of Design students to experience doing client-based work and build their portfolios, she explains, but also helps them feel as if they are a part of something bigger than themselves. “My teaching style [includes trying] to be as vulnerable as possible; I tell my students what’s going on in my life, and I want to hear what’s going on in their lives,” Causey says. “Because they’ve heard me talk about M’Lynn and they’ve heard me talk about how difficult it is at times, they feel like they’re doing something that means something. It’s been really amazing, and I’m hoping this is something that continues.” Speaking of things that will continue, Causey’s portrait series will, too. Though the more-than-40 children she painted were just babies when they were captured on canvas, they, like M’Lynn, are now five years old. It’s time, Causey declares, for an updated round of portraits. “I think it’s really important for me to continue this work and paint them as children doing normal things for them and provide them a place within art history [where they aren’t] ‘the other,’” she says. “Thinking about those with disabilities and developmental disabilities — it’s like they were never presented as just humans. It was like a sideshow or something.” Though Causey is now confident in her decision to use her art as advocacy while encouraging her students to do the same, there was a time in the Louisiana native’s life when she wasn’t even certain a career in art would be the thing she pursued. Though she was exposed to drawing at an early age — she attended adult art classes with her mother at just five years old — it wasn’t until her junior year at Ouachita Parish High School that she began taking her own drawings seriously. “I never took an art class, but when I was in 11th grade, I had to take it,” she recalls. “That’s when I started realizing I had this

sensitivity to looking and seeing things a little bit differently than everyone else did. After 11th grade, my fine art teacher was like, ‘You need to be in talented art,’ and I got tested and was in it my senior year.” The realization that she had a gift plus her teacher’s validation encouraged her to think about art more, but still, the idea of pursuing it professionally wasn’t on her radar when she started college, she says, “I was like, ‘I’m going to be an English teacher.’ And I honestly hate writing, so I don’t know what I was thinking!” Causey admits her first year as a college student didn’t exactly go as planned — “I failed out because I didn’t want to be there, which I think a lot of students do.” — but in hindsight, this change of plans was the best thing for her. “I wish all students coming out of high school could go and work for a year or two and figure out who they are, what they want to do, and how to save their money,” she says. “I think that was another moment that let me step back, be creative, and play [with art] just for the sheer love of it. And then, when I went back to school, I was like, ‘Oh, I can actually do this.’ I took a drawing class, and I was hooked.” Causey’s second go at college began with a year at Delta Community College and a year at the University of Louisiana at Monroe before concluding at Louisiana Tech in November 2012 when she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.


To keep up with Causey’s Angelman syndrome advocacy efforts, see when the award-winning artist is exhibiting next, or find out where you can see one of the murals she, Bustamante, and their students have completed, visit her website, 38 JUNE 2022 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

“In undergrad, I had no idea what I was going to do, and it wasn’t until I came to Tech that I realized I could go to grad school for this.” However, Causey reveals, she still had some reservations about continuing her education. “When you’re in undergrad, you see grad students and think, ‘You’re so much better than I could ever possibly be,’” she says. “I could not picture myself there, and at that moment, I decided if I can’t picture myself doing that in the future, then that’s what I need to dive into — into the unknown, into that fear — because I feel like I do so much better under pressure and in things that scare me.” Since she didn’t get to spend much of her undergraduate time as a Bulldog, Causey elected to apply to Tech’s graduate program. Besides, she explains, she was a newlywed and already committed to staying in the area; graduate school in Ruston just made sense. There, while pursuing her Master of Fine Arts degree, Causey began exploring multiple mediums and playing around with portraiture. “That was 2013 to 2016, the height of social media, selfie culture, and all of that, so that was really connected to the work,” she recalls. “It was all about our perception of others, our perception of ourselves, [and] how you portray unseen characteristics through a painted portrait. Then, I was trying to bring attention to how all images are mediated through something, be it a computer screen, a phone screen, a television, or the news — we’re always getting something through someone else’s perspective or point-of-view.” A love of portraiture wasn’t the only thing conceived during Causey’s graduate school years; during her last quarter as a student, she became pregnant with M’Lynn and began what would become one of the most taxing periods of her life. “I graduated in May 2016, and on October 25, I had my daughter,” she recalls. “During that summer, I also got a visiting teaching position here at Tech. Then, in the spring of 2017, I applied for the full tenure-track assistant professor job.” Right after Causey got her current job, M’Lynn got her Angelman syndrome diagnosis, and Causey’s motivation and priorities shifted. She says, “That was the moment I feel like my whole purpose in life changed. I knew that my work wasn’t just about painting portraits; there would be a deeper meaning moving forward.” Thus, the young mother’s advocacy efforts were born. Now, when the artist isn’t painting portraits for Angelman syndrome awareness, standing in front of a classroom filled with eager art students, or spending time with her husband and two daughters (Causey gave birth to a second daughter, Ella, in August 2021), Causey makes time for yet another artistic pursuit that holds her heart: mural painting with her former instructor and current colleague, Nick Bustamante. The two have been partners in mural painting for the past decade, completing 11 large-scale works in the past five years alone, including several that can be spotted in Ruston. Life as a wife, mother, artist, and professor is amazing, Causey declares, and though pieces of her journey have been less than simple, she resents none of it. “I feel very fortunate, even in M’Lynn’s diagnosis and the things we have to go through,” she says. “I just feel like overall, it’s made me a better person. It’s slowed me down enough to be able to see people and not just move through life so quickly — slow down and appreciate every person and who they are in general. That’s how I approach the classroom and the relationships I’m developing with the students. I want them to feel like they’re seen and heard.”

Ball of Confusion Finding Inner Peace in the Midst of World Chaos BY BEATRICE TATEM, PH.D., LPC-S, NCC, ACS


HE MONTH OF JUNE HAS ARRIVED. IT IS THE MIDDLE of the year and the midpoint of the growing season between planting and harvesting. June houses the day (20th) with the most daylight hours and the official day that kicks off the summer season. The month of June is cited as the prime time for weddings and the observance of Father’s Day, Flag Awareness Day and Let It Go Day. Increasingly, people are becoming aware and have begun to celebrate Juneteenth now a national holiday and LGBTQA Pride. Although, less known, during this time, Men’s Mental Health Awareness, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness and Celebration of the Senses are recognized. Last month I acknowledged in my article Mental Health Awareness Month and Mothers’ Day while highlighting my own mother a retired Social Worker. This month I am recognizing Men’s Mental Health Month while celebrating Father’s Day and my father. I wrote this article during an early Sunday morning in May. I had awakened once again with concerns about societal issues and the impact these issues are having on humanities mental health. The state of our mental health is not a one-month event but a lifelong occurrence we should attend too daily. Life has proven to be unpredictable, mentally heavy and chaotic. Chaos is described as a state of disorder or confusion that appears in every facet of the human experience. While chaos is subjective it is different for everyone and is an inevitable sometimes unavoidable part of life. Chaos can be negative or positive and can be associated with both good and bad things. Depending on how you perceive chaos and chose to respond, the impact of chaos can be life altering. I began my career in mental health during my young adult years. It was the start of a promising career I am now proud to have. I would also experience the greatest pain of my life…the death of my father. I can recall the loss as though it were yesterday. At the time I remember thinking about the special moments my dad would not be able to share with me. To heal from his death I began focusing on memories of our times together. My father was great with words. He would use words to normalize without minimizing my challenges, fears and yes feelings of chaos. He would say things like “you’re the alpha and omega of my life” to show his love and support while building my confidence and self-esteem. As a child when doing math “homework” he would remind me “once you have done your best girl even angels can’t do better.” When confronting stressors associated with teen years he would say “you could have done better but you could have done worse” be proud of what you have done. While enduring the demands of graduate school he would state, “be at 40 JUNE 2022 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

peace with yourself and you will be at peace with the world”. Whereas, this has proven at times to be easier said then done I would later realize he was encouraging me to be self-aware, to have a clear view of self in the world and to be connected with my inner peace. Recently, a young teen asked, “Dr. Tatem, how do you do it, how do you keep it together.” He stated, my life seems to be one ill after another, “my life is like a ball of confusion.” I exclaimed, “no way, that’s the title of my next BayouLife article.” Amazed that this teen knew this “oldie but goodie” we began to sing the Temptations 1970’s hit Ball of Confusion (That ‘s What the World Is Today). It was written when the world was in a state of confusion and many were attempting to make sense of the chaos and disorder at the time. I was taken by the similarities and thus the relevance of the song decades later. Consider the lyrics: Well, the only person talking about love thy brother is the preacher…And it seems nobody’s interested in learning but the teacher…Segregation, determination, demonstration, integration…Aggravation, humiliation, obligation to our nation; Ball of Confusion, that’s what the world is today…The sale of pills are at an time high, Young folks walking round with their heads in the sky, The cities ablaze in the summer time…Evolution, revolution, gun control, sound of soul…Shooting rockets to the moon, kids growing up too soon… Politicians say more taxes will solve everything, So, round and around we go, Where the world’s headed nobody knows Fear in the air, tension everywhere Unemployment rising fast. Many have been challenged by the human condition of poverty, food insecurities, formula shortages, soaring gas prices, rising rent, inflation, student debt, teen suicide, unemployment on the rise yet hired help is hard to find, corona virus pandemic, political divisiveness, racism, bigotry, anti-Semitic beliefs, homophobic thinking that appears to be multiplying. The extreme ideological divides, attacks on Ukraine, shootings at movie theatres, concerts, churches, schools and now supermarkets have many asking when and where are we safe? There are those who have stated this is not who we are as a nation while others are asking who are we? The question what the world is coming too is now a statement of what we have become. When navigating the world each of us will experience conflict differently. It is up to each of us in a world full of chaos to be our own peace. As my father would say strive to be at peace with yourself so that you can go forth and be at peace with the world. For more information about counseling services and outreach programming contact Dr. Tatem at Wellness Initiatives, LLC, 2485 Tower Drive, Suite 10 Monroe La 71201, 318-410-1555 or at


Confection Perfection

Make your day even more magical with a stunning wedding cake. It is your opportunity to share your taste (literally) with all of your guests. From over-the-top creations to simple sophisticated cakes, let your dessert double as décor. Above: A decadent four-layer basketweave cake with fresh fruit and florals by Thurman’s Food Factory S T Y L E D B Y TAY L O R B E N N E T T A N D P H O T O G R A P H Y B Y K E L LY M O O R E C L A R K

THE GOLD STANDARD This beautiful four-layer wedding cake with edible gold flakes created by Cake in West Monroe.

Kewl Aid Pickles Made by Angels


ICKLES ARE ONE OF AMERICA’S FAVORITE CONDIMENTS. Starting out as the humble cucumber, after being added into a saltwater brine for approximately three to four weeks, they are ready to eat straight out of the jar or, better yet, paired with just about any sandwich or hamburger. For some, a pickle jar has double the fun, as some pickle fans enjoy drinking the tangy brine, finding it refreshing, especially on hot summer days. Overall, pickles are familiar and are expected, happy pairings to some classic American favorites. With that said, there are a few people that are pushing the bounds of this seemingly straightforward snack by pairing it with another cemented American childhood favorite, Kool-Aid! Before you run for the hills, this niche combination, though strange, has been a popular treat in the south, especially in the Delta. The process is simple. Kool-Aid, sugar, and pickle juice are whisked together, poured into a jar with the spears ready for transformation, then refrigerated for about a week. It’s fine to admit that Kool-Aid pickles or koolickles, may seem like a crazy twist, but the sweet and tangy union further proves that opposites do attract. Tapping into this culture is family-owned Kewl-Aid Pickles Made by Angels, a locally owned company ready to spread the fun of this new snack, giving it its own tasty and unique twist. Alesia Angel, registered traveling nurse, created Kewl-Aid Pickles Made by Angels alongside her sons Erik Angel (CEO) and Frederick Culpepper (Co-Vice President). “We wanted to take a cultural thing and try to make it mainstream,” says Alesia. While many people make koolickles at home, selling them out of the trunk of their car at football and basketball games, being a registered nurse, she didn’t want to go that route. “We wanted to put science behind our product,” she explains, emphasizing the importance of guaranteeing a safe food product for the public. With the help of an independent lab based in California and the Louisiana State University AgCenter, they were able to expedite their product. “The pickle has been tested for yeast, mold, pH, water activity, and shelf life,” she adds. Having completed the nutrition test, the company is now a certified Louisiana product, approved by the Louisiana Department of Health, and registered with the FDA. Their logo, like the company name, is a play on their product and family surname. A short red pickle spear with angel wings sporting a halo gazes to the side with cartoon eyes and a smile. Currently, you 44 JUNE 2022 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

can spot this adorable product mascot at Mac’s Fresh Market and Randall’s Fine Meats and Deli, and about 12 convenience stores in the area. The mother-son team has also reached out to regional schools. So far, Richwood Middle School and Carroll Junior High School are all enjoying the crazy cool flavors that this one-of-a-kind company is offering. Interested and curious customers can now choose from Black Cherry, Watermelon, Green Apple, Cherry, Grape, Blue Rasberry, or the signature flavor Tropical Punch (now available with Splenda), all made from Alesia’s special powder blends. “Once you try it, most people fall in love with it,” asserts Alesia, describing the taste of the curious paring as “a cool, sweet, salty, crunchy pickle” with a kick at the end. “It has a hint of something,” she adds, keeping the responsible ingredient a secret for good reason. With plans to keep expanding their product line, the Angel team has an enjoyable treat that is meant to refresh your palate and keep you cool during the scorching summer. Kewl Aid Pickle will take the form of huckabucks, frozen koolickle juice in all the existing flavors offered by the company. “It’s like a harsh Slurpee,” says Alesia who was inspired to transform her product based on the many rave reviews she has received about her pickle juice. Adding to this fun product will be luxury huckabucks, topped with candies, a sure favorite with kids. With a new grandbaby that is four months old, Alesia and her sons are driven and dedicated to establishing a legacy that lasts for generations. “I wanted to start for generational wealth for my children, she says, adding, “to make sure I can have something and leave something for my children and for my grandchild for his college fund, she says. The Angels want their customers to know that their company is about family, growing together and alongside each other. The love they hold for their business is more so a reflection of the love they have for each other, a love they are hoping to share with the Northeast Louisiana community one pickle spear at a time. Though the idea of Kewl-Aid pickles may raise a few brows, in this case, you’ll definitely want to try it before you knock it. You may find yourself becoming a believer. After all, Kewl-Aid Pickles are made by Angels.






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1. Steve’s Jewelry 2. Steve’s Jewelry 3. Hollis & Company 4. Dupont Jewelers 5. Hollis & Company 6. Hollis & Company 7. Hollis & Company 8. Steve’s Jewelry 9. Dupont Jewelers 10. Dupont Jewelers 11. Steve’s Jewelry 12. Dupont Jewelers 13. Hollis & Company


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There’s a New Doctor in Town Koga Orthodontics


T’S ONLY A NAME CHANGE. SAME GREAT SERVICE WITH the same great people. We want to welcome Dr. Liseane Koga of Koga Orthodontics to our area. As she is the only female solo owner orthodontist practicing in North Louisiana, she would like to share her story and the vision of her team with all of her patients past, present and future. Dr. Koga was born and raised in the south of Brazil. She is a graduate of the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande Do Sul dental program where she completed the first of two Orthodontic residencies. In 2013, the Whirlpool Corporation invited Dr. Koga’s husband, Tiago Koga, an MIT graduate, to work at their headquarters in Michigan as an engineer. Despite the challenges and sacrifices of moving to another country, she saw it as a great opportunity to grow professionally and personally. She enrolled in the orthodontic fellowship program at Indiana University where she studied dental and facial growth disharmonies. This included the extensive treatment of cleft lip and palate patients. As a non-US citizen, she overcame the language barrier as well as the trials that come with living, studying and working in a new country and obtained her American citizenship. With her persistence and determination, she completed her second orthodontic residency by receiving her masters and certificate in orthodontics at Indiana University. After graduating Dr. Koga went right to work in private practice in Michigan and Indiana where she expanded her knowledge base with the Damon system, Herbst appliance, and Spark clear aligner therapy. After years of practicing with a partner, Dr. Koga and Tiago decided to move from the Northern part of the US to the Southern region. They were looking to escape the snow and relentless long winter months. They dreamed of living in a region that resembled their home in Brazil. In the process of relocating, they met Dr. Glenn Hummel and became instant friends. There was a friendship made that was almost instantaneous between the two doctors and their families. Dr. Hummel has mentored Dr. Koga the past few months and they have worked hard to transition their patients in a seamless manner. Every aspect of Dr. Koga’s treatment of her patients will be carefully planned. No stone will be left unturned as her motto for the practice is “Your Smile, Our Passion.” Besides being highly educated and additionally trained in America Dr. Koga a is very outgoing and attentive person. She strives to be as warm, caring and kind as the people who have welcomed her here. She


considers her patients top priority and will guide her team to give the same top notch treatment that her patients deserve. In addition to a mindset and attitude of excellence, Lis is bringing the latest technology and orthodontic techniques to Koga Orthodontics. When Lis is not working, she loves the outdoors and going on long walks with her husband and her dog, Riley. They also like the southern cuisine, trying new restaurants and flavors because they are “foodies.” One of her favorite past times is cooking for friends at her home as she needs them to try her new recipes! Additionally, the Kogas also enjoy traveling and meeting new people in all of the regions of the US and around the world. Dr. Koga wants to thank all of the local dentists and people in our community for the warm and inviting welcome. She will continue to see patients in the same Monroe location at 2124 Forsythe Ave. as well as the satellite offices in West Monroe, Rayville, and Columbia. She is grateful for the opportunity to practice and bring her talents to our area. Whether you are an existing patient or looking for information on achieving an amazing smile, contact us at 318.388.4209 or or follow us at Koga Orthodontics on Facebook. You will receive care with cutting-edge technology in an atmosphere that is fun and family-oriented. Dr. Koga and her team love working with patients who want to boost confidence and self-image and improve their oral health and function by giving them beautiful and healthy smiles for life. Koga Orthodontics offers patients a number of treatments to suit a variety of orthodontic needs. They treat each person with individualized care and strive to create smiles that exceed any patient’s expectations. Some treatments include: • Traditional braces with clear or metal brackets • Clear Aligners • Damon self-ligating braces • Herbst appliances • Surgical cases Schedule a New Patient Consultation Today! Your Smile, Our Passion! Koga Orthodontics 2124 Forsythe Avenue Monroe, LA 71201

Mariam Saeed

Louisiana Delta Community College’s First Peer Tutor BY DARIAN ATKINS


A R I A M S A E E D W A S B O R N I N F O R T W AY N E , Indiana, and moved to Yemen when she was three years old. Upon returning to the states at age eleven, Saeed only spoke Arabic. Saeed’s parents moved to Louisiana to seek employment opportunities, and soon her father opened his own business. Saeed’s mother was a physician in Yemen but chose to devote her time to supporting her children as they adjusted to their new way of life. Saeed is a part of first-generation Yemenis women attending college in the U.S. Her parents support her decision to pursue education and career goals. Initially, life wasn’t so simple in Louisiana because learning to adapt came with its own set of challenges, particularly navigating through school and college preparation. “When we were in high school, we did not know what to do,” explains Saeed. The ACT test was unfamiliar to her. She didn’t know ACT preparation classes were available to help students. She didn’t realize counselors were available to advise her with high school classes and college prep. The challenges from the language barrier caused Saeed to question whether she was a viable candidate for college. Saeed and her sister chose to return to Yemen to finish high school. Socially, Saeed would have the friends she desired in the states; however, her Yemenis friends all longed for the education she had access to in the U.S. “They all wanted to go to college. They wished they could go out of the country, like, it was their dream. I did not value this. I wanted to go to college in Yemen because I wanted friends. But when I went there, they didn’t care about friends a lot. They cared about education, explains Saeed. Education is everything there.” Saeed recalls how hard she saw her friends work academically. “As I finished high school in Yemen, I reflected on that if you got to go to college out of the country, you were the luckiest person in the world, especially America- no one could come here. You could get scholarships to Germany and Asia; but like, America, it’s really hard,” says Saeed. When Saeed and her sister returned to Louisiana, they had to complete high school here. So, they enrolled in Neville High School. The success she met there and the care of her instructors at Neville birthed the college dream in Saeed. “Ms. Kathy, the ESL instructor,


told us about the ACT prep course. I told her I wasn’t going to get accepted to any school, and she told me about Louisiana Delta Community College,” recalls Saeed. “The reason that motivated me to come was that my parents really wanted me to go to college, and I’m the oldest, so I figured I would just try. I came to get advised, and my parents came with me. They were so happy. They wanted to help me. Dr. Scott advised me and told me what I needed to take. I’m so glad I came here.” After taking Frank Boone’s class, she fell in love with the sciences. Saeed graduated this semester and plans to take the pre-med track at ULM and afterward take the DAT admission test and head to dental school. She intends to remain in the states and practice. “Whenever I feel like I want to maybe switch to dental hygiene or instructor track, my mom encourages me to push through and complete the program. She reminds me that I’m smart and that I can do this. When I graduated, it felt like we did it, not just me,” says a smiling Saeed. Saeed was accepted into the Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP). SHPEP aims to strengthen the academic proficiency and career development of students underrepresented in the health professions and prepare them for a successful application and matriculation to health professions schools. Saeed applied and was accepted. “They prepare you for the DAT exam, so you’ll take classes like Organic Chemistry, Anatomy & Physiology, and Physics, plus you’ll have clinical work,” says Saeed. “It was a dream for me to get accepted.” Saeed was also the first peer tutor in LDCC’s tutoring service and said her supervisor, Amelia Brister, director of library and learning resources was a great boss. Says Brister, “Mariam was not only a hard worker and kind but went out of her way to ensure that students got the extra support needed. She recorded her on-line tutor lessons and sent the recordings and pictures of her notes to students to further assist them. I believe Mariam is one of the reasons the peer tutoring services have been such a success in such a short time. I am proud of how she conducted herself with professionalism and compassion when interacting with fellow students.” LDCC wishes Mariam Saeed and all the graduates the very best!

Deals for Dad

Celebrate Father’s Day with The Medical Spa


URPRISE DAD WITH SOMETHING DIFFERENT THIS Father’s Day with a gift from The Medical Spa. We have three special offerings to choose from. Consider choosing one or all for the special guys in your life. Men can benefit from a regular skincare routine. Not only does a healthy routine keep them looking their best but can provide valuable protection when using appropriate ingredients. To keep it simple, we recommend a cleanser, an antioxidant, and a broad-spectrum SPF. This month when you purchase a Skinceuticals Antioxidant, you will also receive a free sport SPF. The combo of antioxidant and SPF provide the ultimate pairing to protect against UV rays and free radicals from sun exposure. If you have a gentleman that enjoys pampering, we have a facial bundle available – purchase a Geneo hydrate or charcoal facial and SPF for $160 ($215 value). The Geneo charcoal facial is excellent for removing dirt, impurities, and balance oily skin. The Geneo hydrate refreshes and revives dry and dull skin, leaving it hydrated and replenished. Lastly, but certainly not least, purchase laser sessions for Dad. Shaving can be a hassle. Does your man have excess unwanted hair or experience frequent ingrown hairs or razor burn? Treatments with the Splendor X laser can lessen those unwanted effects, make shaving easier, and greatly reduce hair growth! This laser offers customizable laser hair removal treatments for all skin tones. Splendor X offers BLEND technology by utilizing two wavelengths, Alexandrite 755 and ND-Yag 1064. The proportion of wavelengths used depends on skin type, hair color and texture, allowing for a safer and more effective treatment. By utilizing the dual wavelengths simultaneously, and a dual cooling system, the Splendor X offers quick, effective, and comfortable treatments for hair removal. Purchase three laser hair removals for $300; that is only $100 per session (excludes full body)! NEW PRODUCT The neck and décolleté are areas often neglected in our daily skincare routine. Left unsupported, stressors like tech neck and sun exposure break down elastin, resulting in signs of aging skin including horizontal lines, sagging, crepiness, discoloration and uneven skin tone. There are corrective treatments such as laser or skin


tightening, but prevention and maintenance are just as important. If using corrective treatments, it’s important to protect your investment. Using quality products at home to prevent and maintain your results is important. We are excited to offer the newest ELASTiderm product by Obagi, the ELASTIderm Neck and Décolleté Concentrate. Part of the ELASTIderm collection, this concentrate contains the same patented Bi-Mineral Complex found in their eye cream and facial serum. The Bi-Mineral Complex supports skin elasticity by promoting the development of healthy elastin. In addition, the concentrate contains retinoid and arbutin, decreasing fine lines, wrinkles, and brightening uneven skin tone. What makes this product even better is the rollerbar application, encouraging microcirculation and dispersing of the serum evenly. This product helps to restore firmness, elasticity and even skin tone, while caring for the delicate skin of the neck and décolleté. We are certain you will love this product! As part of the new product release this month, we are pairing our popular radiofrequency neck treatment with the Neck and Décolleté Concentrate – three RF treatments and ELASTIderm Neck and Décolleté for only $400 ($925 value). Be sure to come by The Medical Spa this month to take advantage of our specials, events, and to find out more about the medical grade skincare products, and treatments offered here. We are in the James R. Wolff Building (also known as the P&S Building) in downtown Monroe. Our address is 312 Grammont Street Suite 406, across from St. Francis Medical Center. Also, be certain to follow us on St. Francis Medical Center Facebook page and Instagram so you can be up to date on all the new and exciting things happening here at The Medical Spa.

Down the Aisle

Walsworth & Company, Your Wedding Registry Headquarters


LONG WITH PROVIDING THE TWIN CITIES WITH one of the most distinct home decor assortments, Walsworth & Company has recently renovated their showroom floor and created a fabulous space with a brand new look. The re-imagined space incorporates original architectural elements such as exposed beams and original hardwood elements. Please join us in celebrating Bubbles and Bites on Thursday, June 2nd 4:00 - 7:00 pm. There will be a ribbon cutting, champagne drinks topped with fresh spun cotton candy, small bites, live music by Josh Madden and a drawing for a $2500 gift certificate. You don’t want to miss out! Some inspired settings by Lisa Dixon, Kelly Taylor and Taylor Bennett are on hand in the showroom as well. If you’re looking to update your home with seasonal décor, are in search of the perfect accent chair, or need a gift, Walsworth & Company is the destination. With a beautiful designed storefront on Antique Alley in West Monroe Louisiana, anyone looking for the perfect piece to compliment their home’s style is sure to find exactly what they need at Walsworth. Local interior design and furniture shop, Walsworth & Company has been a downtown staple since opening its doors in 2014. Featuring a premier decorator showroom, Walsworth & Company offers selections from furniture, bedding, and lighting, with fully customizable and unique pieces from The MT Company, Uttermost / Revelation, Wesley Allen, McKinley Leather Furniture, Riverside and Universal Furniture allowing you to commission pieces that reflect your unique style and specifications. Their walls are adorned with curated works of art, intricately designed mirrors, and unique wall hangings all complemented by plush sofas, coffee tables, dining and bedroom furniture. In addition to their vast selection of furniture finds, Walsworth & Company has a robust collection of accent pieces fit for any space; from area rugs, throw pillows to vases and coffee table accessories. With such a vast selection, it’s no surprise that Walsworth & Company is the decorator destination for the Twin Cities and surrounding areas. Walsworth & Company also offers choices to find the perfect unique gift for nearly any occasion. They carry candles from Nest, Nouvelle Candle Company, Capri Blue, and Orleans. Other gift ideas include: Jewelry from designers Ronaldo and Mariana, as well as pajama sets from PJ Harlow and Barefoot Dreams. 58 JUNE 2022 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

Be sure to check out Down the Aisle, the premiere wedding registry of Northeast Louisiana. Down the Aisle is a transformed space, boasting more than 1,400 square feet devoted to “must-haves” for the modern bride. Down the Aisle exudes a romantic vibe and classic elegance, continuing in true Walsworth and Co. fashion. With wedding season upon us, it is the perfect time to visit Walsworth & Company and explore their bridal registry space. Building from a vision of providing local brides with a premier wedding registry destination, the team at Walsworth & Company has devoted more than 1,400 square feet of showroom to their registry area. Unlike the online registries, brides have grown accustomed to, the experts at Walsworth & Company help take the guesswork out of registering and are prepared to guide registrants through the entire registry process providing a checklist along the way. Helping to ensure all of your registry needs are met and your service is truly personalized. Providing brides with pieces from Zodax, Beatriz Ball, Abigails, Emile Henry, and Nora Fleming these selections are truly unparalleled. As a special gift to their brides, Walsworth & Company will be gifting each bride a gift certificate valued at 10% of the total of their registry to be used throughout the store; no more unused credits or gift cards. Another benefit to registering at Walsworth & Company, no more duplicate gifts! You can make exchanges for other items throughout the store such as rugs, pillows, art, furniture; the list goes on and on. Once you’ve completed your registry, don’t forget to take advantage of their vast collection of gift items for your hostess and bridal party gifts. Housing home fragrance brands such as Archipelago, Nest, Capri Blue, Nouvelle, as well as Orleans, let Walsworth & Company be your gift headquarters. When you need to treat yourself, select something luxurious from their expansive Lollia or Spongelle collection. When the wedding is over, Walsworth & Company will continue to be your go-to for all things home decor, from lighting to bedding and seasonal pieces; Walsworth & Company are always ready to help transform your house into a home. Stop in today to see the newest and most elegant bridal registry to hit the twin cities! Walsworth & Company, your home decor, gift, and now bridal registry headquarters. Located at 311 Trenton Street on Antique Alley in downtown West Monroe. Open Monday - Saturday 10 AM- 5:30 PM.

Paperglaze Calligraphy is known for creating classic suites with beautiful hand-lettered invitations. This elegant invitation with vellum monogram combines chic appeal with timeless design.


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

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






ere in Louisiana, especially in our part of the state, it is not uncommon for our rivers and lakes to be higher than normal this time of year. Often, due to our springtime rains, the Ouachita River is well above pool stage and our areas lakes can be a few feet high as well. This gives angler’s a new twist to the question we all like to ask: “Where did the fish go?” In this month’s BayouLife “Fishing with Kenny” article, let’s see if we can answer the question. According to a lot of fishing publications, when the water rises, no matter if it is a lake or river, the fish move to the bank. This has been a staple for as long as I can remember but through my experience, I am not sure I totally believe it to be true. I do believe some fish will move shallow, but a lot of fish seem to prefer to move vertically on cover than they do horizontally to the bank. A good example is if you are fishing an oxbow with an abundance of cypress trees. If the fish were positioned on the trees before the water rises, why

would they move to another tree just because of an extra two foot of water? I won a tournament on Lake Providence a few years ago targeting trees that, under normal water levels, had water on them. The fish didn’t move to the banks, they stayed in stabilized areas that weren’t influenced by rising or falling water. I have found over the years a lot of the bass movements in high water scenarios depends largely on the type of fishery. On a lake like Bayou Bartholomew, with its high banks, as the water rises, the fish often move to the bank and, as the water begins to fall, will quickly move out. Horizontal cover such as logs, and laydowns are extremely productive due to the fish ability to remain in and around cover without having to move very far. The Ouachita River is the model of complexity that comes with fishing high water. When the river is on a rise, finding an area where you can reach the bank is important. However, if an angler can locate a stopping point or a type of structure the fish can use as a migration route,


such as a flooded roadbed or pipeline, or maybe even an area that has slow current pulling across, it’s quite possible to load the boat in a hurry. Here are a few rules I have when fishing high water, while not set in stone, I try to always remember. First, from April through October, if the water is high, to find fish and to catch fish, I throw a topwater lure. Second, if I am fishing cypress trees, and there is no current around them, the fish will suspend around the trees instead of relating to the bottom. Three, any kind of a floating log or laydown tree has potential to hold a fish. And last, the fish will usually be bunched up in small areas so patience while trying to locate them is very important. My choice of lures when fishing high water is as basic as an angler can get. I have a lot of confidence in these lures and have always been my favorites. A topwater has always been my first choice and I have had as many as six rods rigged with different styles when I am practicing for a tournament. My first choice is either a Devil’s

Horse or a Crazy Shad, both are effective target lures for brush lines or isolated trees. My second choice is a Spook which is a great way to cover water and catch a bigger size fish. I always have a buzzbait tied on but for whatever reason, I have better luck on the smaller ¼ or 1/8 versions. On occasion, especially in thicker cover, a frog can be the best lure in your boat. When I am not throwing a topwater lure, I am pitching or flipping a Senko style of soft plastic. I will rig them two different ways: one will be rigged Texas style with a pegged 1/8th ounce tungsten sinker for fish that are deeper in the cover, and one will be rigged Texas style, weightless for fish that are suspended and won’t commit to the topwater lure. Well, it looks like we have run out of time and space for another month, but I hope we were able to share with you some information that will make your next high water fishing trip more productive. Be careful on the water and most importantly, catch one for me! See you next month!


gift guide










Max Porter Provisions Your One-Stop-Shop For Graduation and Father’s Day Gifts


ax Porter Provisions, a men’s mercantile offering everything for apothecary to apparel, general store items to unique gift ideas, is located at 206 Trenton Street in West Monroe. Parters Laurie Cochran and Cassie Livingston had a vision to open a store in the old Mojoware store that would appeal to men looking to shop for themselves or women looking for unique gift items for the men in their lives. Vintage family memorabilia and antique furntiure sets the stage for Max Porter. When asked about the name of the store, Livingston said, “The store is named for my father-in-law, Max Livingston, who we lost to leukemia in 2011. It’s a tribute to our family roots – acknowledging the hard-working, veteran who devoted his life to family and country. Among the brands that Max Porter Provisions carries is Paige jeans, a premium denim company that manufacturers all of their clothing in America. The Ampal Creative is another diverse line of socks, beanies and hats that are exclusively made in the USA. Shoppers can find a range of sauces and rubs from distributers like Hoff & Pepper, BBQ Rubdown, Strongarm Barbecue, along with drink mixes from awardwinning El Guapo Bitters. “The store definitely had ‘every man’ in mind when we were purchasing products,” says Cochran. “Whether you describe your style as western, modern, rustic, old-school, metro... our store has something for you.” A favorite of the owners are the candles from Manready Mercantile. “Manready was really the inspiration behind the store. A friend put it on our radar, and the next time we visited Houston we really fell in love with the products. My husband loves the room sprays and candles – these were the first orders that we placed for Max Porter,” says Livingston. There are also candles and fragrances from Guy Fox, an under-the-radar company that offers affordable and unique colognes that are warm and full of zest. Looking for a new razor? Supply offers an injector-style blade cartridge which allows you to reload the razor with ultra-sharp stubble-slicers, without ever touching a blade with your hands. Pair it along with Educated Beards delightful beard-grooming kit to keep your facial hair in place. Both of the companies, along with Duke Cannon are favorites of Livingston and Cochran’s husbands. While Max Porter Provisions originally only intended to carry a few clothing brands, the owners have expanded their apparel lines to include items from Duck Camp, Flag & Anthem, Howler Bros, and 64 JUNE 2022 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

Criquet. “We have clothing for everyone – pearl snap Western-inspired shirts, fishing shirts and light-weight shorts from Duck Camp, great looking golf polos from Criquet and favorites from Austin-based company, Howler Bros. We also carry boxers from Richer Poorer, socks from Ampal Creative, and fun hats from Sendero Provisions. Our husbands definitely weighed in when we were ordering clothing, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the unique apparel that we have.” Leather goods is among one of the largest selections of gift items in the store. There are some beautiful, hand-crafted leather goods like wallets, belts, dog collars and leashes, bags, coasters, trays and more. “The Atticus duffle from Will Leather Company is my favorite item in the store,” says Cochran. “With plenty of pockets for organization and a dedicated shoe compartment, its roomy interior will hold all your essentials and more. It’s the right size for an overhead compartment and leather strap make going through the airport a breeze.” Even though the leather bags are a must-have, Max Porter also has a vintage camo print bag line from another local manufacturer that has been one of our best-sellers. Along with drink mixers, Max Porter has several items to meet your barware needs – beautiful crystal rocks glasses, unique beer mugs and decanters, along with essentials like whiskey roks, perfect for the craft cocktail connoisseur. Whether you are looking for a birthday or gradutation gift, something special for Father’s Day, or just need retail therapy, make sure to stop in and visit Max Porter Provisions. “We’ve had such great response from our community. We genuinely found a need for a store like this, and feel that we will continue to evolve to become a shopping destination for Northeast Louisiana.” says Livingston. “If you haven’t had the chance to stop by and walk through, carve out the time to check us out. If nothing more, come in and have a great chat with our manager, Bradley Castle. He has a wealth of product knowledge and experience and is super entertaining.” Max Porter Provisions is located at 206 Trenton Street in West Monroe. The phone number is 318.737.7742 and you can find them on Facebook and Instagram. Store hours are Tuesday - Saturday 10:00 am - 6:00 pm.


As time goes by...



s if planning a wedding during Covid wasn’t stressful enough, these nuptials included a category five hurricane Ida blowing through the city just two weeks before the event in New Orleans. But if there’s a city and its people that can come together to throw a perfect party despite all obstacles, it’s The Big Easy. On September 25th, 2021, Ellison Currie Jackson married Dr. MohamedAly Reda Bakeer under the beautiful trees in the garden at the scenic Elms Mansion on St. Charles Avenue. The couple was inspired to have a classic, elegant, old New Orleans vibe and this venue was the perfect canvas. Dr. Jazz and the New Orleans Wedding Sounds played La Vie


en Rose as the wedding party came down the aisle, and Claire de Lune for the bride and her father. Ellison is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jack Tom Jackson Jr. She is the granddaughter of Karen Gibbons, John Gibbons and the late Dr. Jack Tom Jackson and the late Kaydell Currie Jackson all of Monroe. Tomy is the son of Dr.’s Reda and Mona Bakeer of New Orleans, grandson of the late Dr. Mohamed-Aly Bakeer and the late Dr. Aziza Hassan, and the late Mr. Yousef Kamal Ahmed and Bothaina Afifi of Cairo, Egypt. Robert Sanders, the uncle of the bride, performed the ceremony and elicited many laughs, tears and cheers from the entire audience. The bride wore a Justin Alexander ball gown from Bliss Bridal and

BayouLife’s very own Meka Reliford was responsible for the glam looks of the bride and her family. Ellie was joined by her Maid of Honor Ashley Rayborn, and bridesmaids Kathryn Jones, Kalena Jackson, Kaki Dixon, Dina Bakeer, Claire Smith, Anna Hudson and Rachel Spiegel. The groom was accompanied by his best man Roshan Koneru, and groomsmen Evan Yost, Rami Hassan, Dr. Michael Joannides, John Thomas Jackson and Dr. Randal Cornateanu. Ellie and Tomy’s first dance was to Frank Sinatra’s As Time Goes By, following the classic crooners theme of the curated set list. After the couple cut their Gambino’s Bakery cake, guests joined them on the dance floor for the rest of the night until their grand exit to a classic Second Line. The florals throughout the wedding were designed by Patti Wilhite and all of the details executed by Clinton Downing and aunt of the bride Karen Brewton. The Elms Mansion’s gorgeous courtyard was the perfect backdrop for the guests while they were serenaded by Dr. Jazz and his band. Hunter Leone from Three Nails Photography set up the flawless lighting to capture the night. The Elm’s creative culinary team provided a night full of classic New Orleans fare to all the guests as they enjoyed the perfect evening. The couple has made their home here in Monroe, La where Dr. Bakeer is a new partner in the Surgery Clinic of Northeast Louisiana with Dr.’s Sartor, Liles and Smith. He specializes in general surgery and bariatrics. Ellie is a sales representative for Intuitive Surgical, where she trains surgeons and hospital staff on the daVinci surgical robot in NELA and MS. They will be welcoming a baby girl in October. WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | JUNE 2022 67

Ellender for Court of Appeal Includes Franklin, Richland and Part of Morehouse, Ouachita & West Carroll Parishes


UDGE DANNY ELLENDER SPOKE TO A PACKED HOUSE Community & Professional Activities as he kicked off his campaign for the Court of Appeal at the home • Leadership Ouachita, 1995 of Jennifer and Tap Parker. • LSU Ag-Business Leadership Program, 1996-1997 The beautiful flowers were arranged by Traci Canterbury and • Village of Mer Rouge Alderman, 1997-2008 Stephanie Smith. Thurman’s Food Factory laid out a feast of their • Louisiana Family Forum; Board of Directors, 1999-2003 finest and Choice Brands and Marsala Beverage provided the • Northeast Louisiana Red Cross; Board of Directors, 2005-2016 beverages. • St. Frederick High School; Board of Directors, 2005-2008 In his fourteen years as a District Court Judge, Danny Ellender • Fourth Judicial District Bar Association, 1993-present; President has established a reputation as a hard worker who is always well 2004-2005 prepared for cases that come before him. He treats everyone with • Louisiana Judicial Leadership Institute, 2011 respect and renders decisions in a fair, impartial and timely manner • Louisiana District Judges Association; Executive Committee, based on the rule of law. These traits, combined with Judge Ellender’s 2014-present experience on the bench, will be an asset to the Second Circuit Court • Judicial Council of the Louisiana Supreme Court, 2017-present of Appeal. • Louisiana Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Ethics, 2020-present Faith & Family • Louisiana Judicial College Board of Governors, 2021-present Lifelong Republicans, Danny and Amy were married August • Continuing Education Instructor: Civil and Criminal Law, 10, 1991. They have six children: Erin, 29, husband Taylor; Maggie, Ethics and Professionalism 27; Daniel, 25; John, 23; Will, 19; Ann Marie, 17; and one grandchild, William. Danny earned his J.D. from the Louisiana State University Law They are members of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Bastrop. Center in 1991 and he and his wife, Amy, established the Ellender Law Danny has been active in ACTS retreats as a team member and co- Firm in 1993. In July of 2008, Danny was elected to a newly-created director. judgeship and took office the following January. He was re-elected in 2014 and in 2020. Education & Experience The Second Circuit Court of Appeal is located in Shreveport • Bachelor of Arts; Speech Communication, Louisiana State and is one of five circuit courts of appeal in Louisiana. The court University, 1986 consists of nine judges who are elected from three districts in the 20 • Juris Doctorate; Louisiana State University Law School, 1991 northernmost parishes of Louisiana. Our district includes Franklin, • Second Circuit Court of Appeal; Staff Attorney, 1991-1992 Richland and part of Morehouse, Ouachita and West Carroll Parishes. • Second Circuit Court of Appeal; Law Clerk for Judge Jeffery Danny’s record and experience will be a benefit to our district. Victory, 1992-1993 Paid for by the Committee to Elect Danny Ellender. •H earing Officer; Fourth Judicial District Court, 1997-1998 • Assistant District Attorney; Fourth Judicial District Court, 2002-2008 • Ellender Law Firm; General Civil Practice, 1993-2008 • District Judge; Fourth Judicial District Court, 2009-present • Chief Judge; Fourth Judicial District Court, 2019-2020




oanna Claire Franklin and Randall Tyler Weed exchanged their vows surrounded by family and friends on March 26, 2022, at White Oak Venue in Ruston, Louisiana. Brother Alan Miller of Alto Baptist Church officiated the ceremony. Joanna is the daughter of Carole Emfinger Franklin of Gilbert, Louisiana and Roy Gill Franklin of Rayville, Louisiana. She is the granddaughter of Mrs. Bettie J. Franklin and the late Mr. George B. Franklin Jr. of Rayville, and Mrs. Annabelle Emfinger and the late Elmer Emfinger of Gilbert, Louisiana. Tyler is the son of Ms. Sonja Renee Garner of Baskin, Louisiana and Mr. Randall Keith Weed of Mangham, Louisiana. He is the grandson of the late Mrs. Kathleen Weed and Mr. Purvis Weed of Hebert, Louisiana and the late Mrs. Dean Garner and Mr. O.L. Garner of Baskin. On the evening of the rehearsal, the groom’s family hosted a seated dinner at White Oak catered by Tyler’s sister and her husband, Ray and Mariah Mejias with Raging Bull Barbeque. The meal consisted of phenomenally smoked brisket and pork, potatoes au gratin, green beans, homemade boudin balls and tamales. For dessert, each member of the family made a special homemade pie from family recipes passed down from generations.

Tanya Paul and her staff at Everything Artsy Events created a dreamy ceremony and reception with intricately designed and decorated floral arrangements containing white roses, hydrangeas, and snapdragons paired with a variety of greenery. The bride’s cake, created by Mrs. Tuleta Sasser of Rayville, Louisiana was eloquently accented with the same floral scape. The groom’s yellow and chocolate cake topped with strawberries was designed and created by Mrs. Deanie Collier of Baskin, Louisiana. The bride and the bridal party’s hair was styled by Jamie McCarty from the Beauty Bar in Sterlington and makeup was done by artist, Brittany Dye. The entire day ran smoothly and stress-free for the bride, family and vendors with coordinating performed by Adrienne Steele with Sage Events and Design. After the ceremony, the reception began with dinner catered by Mrs. Linda Peevy and the L.L. Catering staff serving main courses featuring beef tenderloin, chicken bow tie pasta, shrimp & grits and jambalaya. Other stations included fresh boiled shrimp along with au gratin and sweet potato casserole, green beans, roasted asparagus, plus a delicious spread of fruits, cheeses and dips. The Wonderfuls Band of Dallas, Texas got the party started and kept the wedding party and guests dancing the night away on the back terrace after sunset. During the reception, the bride along with her bridesmaids dressed in their matching cowgirl hats to perform a line dance that they had learned on her bachelorette trip in Nashville, Tennessee. Soon before the night ended, Tyler and Joanna’s fur baby Jax made a grand entrance to join in on the celebration! The marquee letters were provided by All Things Festive, LLC in Shreveport.

ph otograp hy by Unve ile d Ra di a n ce

Presented by her father, the bride chose an elegant gown from Elle James Bridal in Ridgeland, Mississippi. The gown featured an overskirt that was custom designed and created from scratch by Mrs. Beth at the Fashion Post adjacent to Elle James. The fitted gown and skirt material were designed by Anne Barge based in Atlanta, Georgia. Lauren Sistrunk Burkett of Converse, Louisiana served as Maid of Honor. Bridesmaids were college friends, roommates and Kappa Delta Sorority sisters, Kiersten Robertson Daniel, Madison Foster Futrell, Megan Alise Sistrunk, Callie Teekell Labeff, Anna Katherine Ginn, Kaitlyn Grice Arnold, and lifelong friend Lauchlyn Emfinger Stockstill. Jeffery Todd Weed, Jr., cousin of the groom, served as his Best Man. Groomsmen were lifelong and college friends, Joshua Ralph Duncan, Jacob Randall Monnin, Jonathon Taylor Hoggatt, William Leonard Dear, George Kameron Harper, Taylor Maxwell Hipp, and Cody Michael Turner. Through their eight years together, Joanna and Tyler shared much of their relationship together at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Joanna is a graduate of Riverfield Academy in Rayville and obtained her bachelor’s degree in marketing and master’s in business administration at ULM. She is employed by CoJo Mfg. LLC, a company her dad started in 2013, and also works alongside her family at George B. Franklin and Sons, Inc. in Holly Ridge, Louisiana. Tyler is a graduate of Mangham High School and received his bachelor’s degree in agribusiness at ULM, and master’s degree in business administration from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He is currently employed by Nutrien Ag Solutions in Crowville, Lousiana. Following their honeymoon in St. Lucia, the two settled down in Rayville, Louisiana. The day would not have been complete without amazing work of Angela Groce Shoemaker with Unveiled Radiance Photography. She captured every detail, and her fun personality made every moment special. Along with Angela, Taylor Fairbanks with Fairfilm created a video for the couple to remember and enjoy for a lifetime.


Jay Howell’s newest restaurant, Okaloosa, is a family-friendly restaurant that offers patrons an interactive experience. Approachable and affordable fare stays true to the Gulf Coast theme in this restaurant that lives up to its host city’s nickname – Funroe! a r t i c l e b y VA N E L I S R I V E R A a n d p h o t o g r a p h y b y K E L LY M O O R E C L A R K


ddly enough, the place started on a fish sandwich,” says Jay Howell about his most recent eatery Okaloosa. He and his father, frequent Gulf Coast travelers, often find themselves craving a good grouper sandwich, but they have found that it’s not a frequent find in Monroe. On his last beach trip to the Florida Panhandle, satisfied from indulging in a variety of fish sandwiches, he was resolved to bring a part of his many coastal adventures back to the land of the bayou. Howell has established himself in Northeast Louisiana as a successful dentist and restaurateur. Already responsible for the good eats and unique atmosphere at Restaurant Cotton, Planter’s Gastropub, and The Eli, he was not planning to open another restaurant in that location. Though he owned the property of what is now Okaloosa, he was hoping to lease it to “the right person,” that is, someone who would have respect for the location and bring a “good idea” that would work for the community. “I was very protective,” he says. As months passed without any viable candidates, Howell had the fish sandwich epiphany and set out to work. Having already curated impeccable interiors for all three of his restaurants, he set out to really understand the design of his future endeavor. Also, as a recent father of twins, he wanted to make sure his new space would be family and kid-friendly, an interactive space that also felt culturally significant. “It started out very mid-80s, like spring break,” he says. In his research, he began channeling his childhood and teenage years, which led him down a rabbit hole of music, one of his favorite sources of inspiration. “I always have to have the music,” he laughs, referring to the playlists he makes for his restaurants. He started tapping into the sounds of the mid-1970s to the 1990s, artists like Bob Marley, Sublime, and Fleetwood Mac and compiled them into a 27-hour 47-minute playlist titled Okaloosa. Each retro beat ushered in distinct “happy memories,” like the time when he lived on the Gulf Coast as a kid. “It was that whole Panama Jack time period,” he says, recalling the aesthetic of his early childhood homes like rattan furniture and vintage hand-me-downs. Howell kept sourcing inspiration from his memories, finalizing his vision for Okaloosa which ultimately aims to capture beachy retro vibes. The grab of the space begins as you drive down Hudson Lane. On a late afternoon, you’re sure to spot the lush front lawn buzzing with groups playing cornhole or lounging on the outdoor picnic tables, which are shaded with tangerine-colored patio umbrellas. Walking into the space is like walking into a wide range of selfie spots. The white building is almost completely covered in ivy and lined with ferns and rosemary bushes. A neon orange sign peaks brightly from the wall of ivy, boldly displaying the name of the restaurant. Upon entry, you’ll be instantly transported, if not by the sand brown shag carpet wall, by the second neon sign, golden yellow letters spelling out what Howell considers one of Matthew McConaughey’s most famous lines, “It’d be a lot cooler if you did.” Choosing your seating may be one of the most arduous tasks, not because of a lack, as the restaurant can currently seat about 250 customers, but because each seating option offers a unique visual experience. Take the left-wing of the restaurant. Lit by natural light seeping through a clear glass garage door, a party of six has a space in the center by way of a rattan table with a rectangular glass top and vintage cushioned chairs. Booth seating lining the wall is accompanied by an array of Slim Aarons-syled prints hanging on the wall depicting dreamy beach hangout scenes. The room adjacent is referred to as the “bird room,” most obviously monikered because of the flamingo wallpaper, bubble gum pink shag carpet, and showstopping cockatoo prints. The wicker pendant light fixtures provide an amber hue tying nicely with the vintage feel. “I think it’s one of the coolest rooms,” says Howell.


Above: The courtyard has a Palm Beach County attitude with picturesque MURALS --two painted by Ashley Alford-Dollar, and the other by Lyndsay Jones. Seating is ample in this tropical escape, where metal patio tables and chairs are spaced out and accented by Flamingo-pink and thatch, tikistyle patio umbrellas. At right: Sylvia Sue and Slayter enjoy the bouncy house, among other activities that keeps kids entertained. Right: A neon orange sign peaks brightly from the WALL OF IVY, boldly displaying the name of the restaurant. A favorite dish is the SPAGHETTI AND MEATBALLS which features spicy marinara, pork and beef meatballs and parmesan cheese.

On the Smalls and Shares menu, lightly seared tuna is perfectly seasoned and served with a dipping sauce. Other items on the menu include the Mexico Cheese Fries which is described as including “all the good things,” and the Backyard Burger which features Black Angus beef, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles and Duke’s mayo on a sesame bun.


ne of Howell’s favorite spots is the “ship room.” This cozy nook connects the front patio to the inside of the restaurant thanks to another clear glass garage door that when opened welcomes a light breeze during late afternoon hours. “Sailboats somehow, some way, connected me to the 70s and 80s,” says Howell, as he glances at a wall haphazardly strewn from top to bottom with vintage paintings of schooners--hues of deep blue, aqua, and gold mingling. Exhibited on the wall across, is a threemast, ship wall sculpture in the style of brutalist metal art. There is an elegance to the space, and yet, it is met with casual elements. “I need it to look like it’s the inside of a trailer,” says Howell, explaining his decision for the fake wood paneling in parts of the restaurant, including the “ship room.” Considering it one of the more challenging rooms to furnish, he settled on capturing rooms he had grown up in in the form of forest green vinyl tablecloths and mid-century woven rattan counter stools, which ended up being the same kind his family owned when they lived in the Gulf Coast. If you’re not lured toward the bar area, glowing in amber lighting, and distinguished by a mounted vintage Zenith console TV, then make your way to the courtyard where you will probably decide to stay awhile, especially on a cool summer night. The space has a Palm Beach County attitude with picturesque murals --two painted by Ashley Alford-Dollar, and the other by Lyndsay Jones. Seating is ample in this tropical escape, where metal patio tables

and chairs are spaced out and accented by Flamingo-pink and thatch, tiki-style patio umbrellas. Two show-stopping light fixtures add an element of romance and intrigue. A fuchsia branched chandelier hangs at the center of the outdoor space as if floating in midair, an illusion created by the metal plate it is secured to, which is chained at the sides. Even more impressive is a complex light fixture Howell personally designed. The idea began when he had acquired a few twig baskets. “I wanted it to feel like a large nest, almost,” says Howell, who proceeded to have his father build a large steel ring. The result--art installation meets canopy meets light fixture. Regardless of where you choose to sit at Okaloosa, your experience isn’t complete without giving the food and drink menu a look (especially the cocktail section). Approachability and affordability were the main principles when Howell was considering the menu. “So, the thought with the food is just trying to make it something simple,” he says. Items are well-rounded and familiar, all the while staying distinct to the Gulf Coast theme. As for starter items, the Boardwalk Fries are a tasty favorite--signature crispy fries with parmesan, garlic, and truffle seasoning. The Seared Tuna small plate is perfectly refreshing for hot summer days, and the Mexico Cheese Fries are described as “all the good things.” True to the restaurant’s origin story, on the sandwich menu is a grouper sandwich (blackened grouper, tomatoes, shredded lettuce, spicy tartar on a sesame bun, and served with chips or fries) among a few other grillers like the Backyard Burger and Beach Club sandwich. WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | JUNE 2022 77

Okaloosa cocktails are the stars of the drink menu. BayouLife’s favorite is the Rockstar Martini. This interactive concoction is a mix of Absolut vanilla vodka, passion fruit liqueur, passion fruit puree, vanilla sugar syrup, and fresh lime juice in a glass carafe accompanied by a vintage, Emerald green sherbert dish with a scoop of shaved ice. Pour in the mix, and prepare for childhood nostalgia with adult fun. A recent addition that is a must-try is the Coconut Mojito--Bacardi Silver rum, fresh lime juice, cream of coconut, fresh mint, and club soda. On the frozen drinks side, the Louisiana Bushwacker is tempting, made with Bacardi Silver rum, Kahlua, praline liqueur, creme de cacao, ice cream, and piña colada puree, as well as the Funroe Hurricane, a simple mix of Southern Comfort and passion fruit puree. “This is really a discovery about design, and letting an energy come through you that you may not understand,” says Howell, later adding, “I’ve put a lot of my heart into this place.” When he walks around the Okaloosa, he sees a living piece of art. “It’s not just twodimensional, you know. It’s not just a painting. It’s not just a story,” he continues, considering all the elements involved--food, music, aesthetics, human interaction. Howell hopes that he has created a space that asks patrons to have a moment, slow down, and live up to the city’s nickname--Funroe! Okaloosa is located at 311 Hudson Lane, Monroe, LA 71201 and is open Wednesday and Thursday from 11 AM to 9 PM, Friday and Saturday from 11 AM to 10 PM, and Sunday from 11 AM to 8 PM. Visit their Instagram page to learn more about one of Monroe’s best summer hangouts.


Comprehensive Convenient Care For the Whole Family


OREHOUSE GENERAL HOSPITAL HAS BEEN SERVING the needs of the community as a rural healthcare provider for over 90 years. Beyond the primary mission of providing high quality, cost effective health care services to patients, the hospital represents a vital community economic development asset. The hospital has made great strides in recent years to improve the healthcare in our community. One of those ways is offering services at our various physicians clinics. Our physician clinics are now outpatient departments of Morehouse General Hospital. All of our clinics are full-service and offer a wide range of medical services supported by a dedicated and caring staff, and backed by the expansive ancillary services of Morehouse General. Our clinics are committed to providing patient-centered high-quality care to patients of all ages. Through efficient use of a compassionate office staff that embraces professionalism and teamwork, we offer accessible personal care in a comfortable atmosphere. As the medical needs of Morehouse Parish grow and change, we are expanding to fill those needs. Our clinics provide high quality care and cost-effective services for members of our community, from prenatal to seniors. To find one of our specialty physician clinics that best for you, contact Morehouse General Hospital at (318)283.3600. One of our friendly reception staff members will be glad to help you find the right physician for your needs. One of our clinics is lead by Dr. Nagatomo. He is a general surgeon that preforms surgical procedures to treat conditions affecting the abdomen and related structures. Here are some of the procedures that he and his team are proficient in: • Port Placement • Thyroid Surgery • Breast Surgery • Gallbladder Surgery/Cholecystectomy • Appendix Surgery/ Appendectomy • Hernia Surgery • Hiatal Hernia • Ventral Hernia • Incisional Hernia • Inguinal/Groin Hernia • Colon Surgery • Hemorrhoid Surgery • Abscess Incision & Drainage • Soft Tissue Mass Removal • Mole & Skin Tag Removal Kei Nagatomo, DO, is a fellowship-trained general surgeon. After his general surgery residency and clinical research experience in Wynnewood, PA, he completed advanced/complex gastrointestinal surgery fellowship at Methodist Richardson Medical Center in Richardson, Texas. He provides comprehensive care to a variety of acute and chronic surgical conditions, including inguinal hernias, ventral hernias, hiatal/paraoesophageal hernias, gallbladder disease, and colorectal conditions. Dr. Nagatomo is passionate about helping his patients and enjoys the challenges related to managing complex gastrointestinal surgical diseases. He focuses on the “total care of a patient”-mentally and physically and believes that the best medical care will be achieved when a surgeon thinks about surgical issues from patients’ perspectives. Dr. Nagatomo lives in Sterlington with his wife, Genevieve and their son, Ruka. For more information visit us at WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | JUNE 2022 79

Come Have Fun with Us

Spartan Adventure Park


PARTAN ADVENTURE PARK IS NOT JUST ANY trampoline park, we are the ultimate indoor adventure park and party place! With a family-friendly atmosphere, we have so many indoor activities to choose from. Take your kid’s birthday to another level with us at Spartan. Celebrate by playing virtual golf, riding one of our virtual reality rides or just jumping at the trampoline park. We are one of the largest locally owned and operated trampoline parks in North Louisiana. Spartan Adventure Park is massive. A 12.5-foot Spartan with glowing red eyes welcomes you at the entrance. The 25,000-squarefoot trampoline park with a zip line, rock-climbing wall, a ninja course and state-of-the art virtual reality are options. Located in the newly remodeled Twin City Shopping Center, Spartan Adventure Park has plenty of parking space and convenient for all our customers. A hallmark of the adventure park is the large simulator that can flip a full 360-degrees and run more than 50 games, flight simulations or roller coaster simulations. It’s the same setup as the military uses for flight training. A smaller version runs up to 35 games or scenarios, and a singleuser VR room has up to 19 options. Looking to practice your golf swing? Our PGA-endorsed golf swing simulator has its own room


with curved 14-foot-by-8-foot screens. This is the ultimate sports simulator experience with a state of the art software and multipart gaming. Want to wind down and have fun doing it? There are six party rooms for events like corporate meetings and birthday parties. Each room has private area and event staff coordinator to work with you on the details of your party or meeting. We have party packages to fit anyones budget along with refreshments and concessions. Enjoy our large quiet glassed-in rooftop area where parents can watch the whole park with a birds-eye view. Beat the heat this summer by visiting us at Spartan Adventure Park located at 2257 Louisville Avenue. Our summer hours are Monday - Thursday 10 am to 8pm, Friday & Saturday 10 am to 10 pm and Sunday 12pm to 8pm. Book your next special event at You won’t be disappointed! Clean. Safe. Ready to play! Spartan would like to congratulate all graduating 2022 seniors!

Your Hometown Urologist Dr. Robert Marx Specializes in Vasectomies


S WE EMERGE FROM INDOORS with the weather warming, flowers blooming, birds and bees pollinating, rest assured with a vasectomy your pollinators will be permanently retired. Don’t hesitate, now is the perfect time to schedule that procedure you have been putting off through the dreary winter months. A vasectomy is a medical procedure in which two tubes (the vas deferens) that carry sperm from the testicles to the urinary tract are tied and sealed. This prevents sperm from passing into the seminal stream and fertilizing a woman’s egg. Although it is permanent, it is surgically reversible in most cases. Reversibility is dependent upon time elapsed since the vasectomy. When it comes to forms of permanent male birth control, a vasectomy is the ideal permanent surgical procedure available to men. The procedure carries a very low risk of complications and is available to be performed as an outpatient procedure with localized anesthesia. Dr. Marx performs a no-

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

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


Top Rated Pressure Washing In Monroe Dirty Home? Don’t Have Time? We Would Love To Help You!


RE YOU SEEING BLACK STREAKS on your roof? Streaks or spots on the driveway or patio? Bacteria and algae tend to build up on fences and decks. Your home siding looking warn from dirt, grime, mildew build up or rust stains running down the side? Oil stains on your driveway? Is your brick or stucco mailbox becoming black or dirty? No fear, let Southern Xtreme Softwash come to your rescue. Southern Xtreme Softwash proudly serves the North Louisiana region. Homes & businesses just like cars need to be washed on a regular basis. Playgrounds need to be cleaned and sanitized for the safety and sanitary obligations for your children. Having your home or business washed will improve the curb appeal and reduce allergens. Keeping your property clean and safe is first and foremost with our company. Southern Xtreme Softwash will pre-treat concrete and paver stones to get rid of the


problem at the roots so that your home will have a clean look and last a lifetime. Driveways are the first thing visitors or family see when arriving at your home so be sure to keep it clean to improve the curb appeal. Patios are much more inviting to relax in and enjoy when they are clean and fresh. Clean walkways also help reduce allergens from being tracked in to your home. We would love to help restore your deck, fence, gutters, or statues. Bacteria, mildew, algae, dirt or grime may have taken over and made them look old and tattered. Southern Xtreme Softwash is proud to use 100% biodegradable solutions when improving your homes curb appeal. We use a blend of softwashing and power washing on each home except for roofs. Bacteria on asphalt shingles known as gloeocapsa magma can be visible by the black streaks seen on many roofs. Pressure washing will void the warranty on asphalt shingles, this why we use the softwash system recommended by ARMA

(Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association). Our solutions will penetrate, sanitize, and get rid of the issue resulting in a long lasting clean roof. Call Danny Brown and his team at Southern Xtreme Softwash today. They offer residential and commercial services, powerwashing, softwash roofs, houses, driveways, sidewalks, patios, decks, gutters, dumpster pads, outdoor athletic complexes, banks, apartments, churches and stadiums, just to name a few. They are locally owned and operated in Union Parish off Hwy. 2 in Sterlington, La. He and his family live in Frenchman’s Bend subdivision and look forward to serving their community.

Frozen Fat, Thinner You

New Applicators Make Coolsculpting Faster and Better



O S T O F Y O U H A V E P R O B A B LY H E A R D O F CoolSculpting, an FDA approved, non-invasive fat removal procedure, that is clinically proven to reduce bulges of unwanted fat without needles, without surgery and – most importantly – without downtime. Mickel Plastic Surgery was one of the first practices in this region to offer CoolSculpting, and our results over the past ten years have been impressive. Yet as good as the procedure has been at freezing and reducing unwanted fat, it has just gotten significantly better! We are excited to introduce a new series of CoolSculpting applicators that make treatments quicker, more comfortable and more effective than ever! With the new CoolSculpting Elite system the treatment cycle takes about 35 minutes and two areas can be treated at one time – so treating both love handles takes about 40 minutes. No sedation is needed so you can drive yourself to and from the office. No compression garments are necessary after the treatments and you can literally return to your normal activities, including exercise, immediately. CoolSculpting uses an ingenious concept called cryolipolysis developed by researchers at Harvard Medical School. It works by delivering precise, even cooling to the fat layer causing fat cells to freeze, then slowly die and release their contents. The fatty material

is picked up and removed by the lymphatic system and the fat layer that was frozen becomes thinner. Studies of hundreds of patients who have undergone CoolSculpting treatments have shown no ill effects from this fat cell rupture. Improvement is gradual and progressive, peaking at two to three months. Most patients experience a 20 - 25% reduction in the thickness of the fat with the first treatment and a little less with each subsequent treatment. No compression garments are necessary after the treatments, and you can literally return to your normal activities, including exercise, immediately. Our experience over the past ten years indicates that while some improvement is noticeable after one treatment, most patients require three sessions for an optimal result. Because we want every patient to get the best result possible, we no longer offer single sessions. Treatments are sold as a package of three sessions at a significantly discounted rate. Of course the procedure is not for everyone. The ideal patient is close to their ideal weight and has relatively small, localized areas of fat without a lot of saggy skin. So if you are reasonably fit and close to your ideal weight but still have areas of unwanted fat, then CoolSculpting may be right for you. Call Mickel Plastic Surgery at 388-2050 today to set up a consultation.


Paperglaze Calligraphy

Set Your Wedding Apart with Custom Stationery


L E VAT E T H E S T Y L E A N D E L E G A N C E O F YO U R wedding with custom calligraphy! Specializing in pointed pen calligraphy, Shannan Inman from Paperglaze Calligraphy (est. in 2008) can accommodate any lettering style you desire. For over 20 years, she’s specialized in addressing services, custom invitations and wedding signage. She serves clients all over the country, but especially in Louisiana and Mississippi. She’s been featured in several blogs and magazines and is honored to have her calligraphy featured in this summer’s Magnolia Journal, coming out in May 2022. ONE-OF-A-KIND INVITATIONS Your wedding invitation not only sets the tone and style of your wedding, but serves as a keepsake to treasure for decades to come. Whether you want invitations that are contemporary and stylish or classic and elegant, Paperglaze Calligraphy works alongside area stationers/printers to craft a custom design that suits your exact taste. For a truly custom invitation, each component of the invitation suite can be completely written out in calligraphy. For the more budget-savvy bride, Paperglaze offers “spot calligraphy,” which highlights important items (e.g. names and venue) while the remainder of the invitation is typeset with a beautiful classic font. Finally, details such as hand-drawn maps, custom crests and scripted monograms can be added to truly set your invitation apart. HAND-LETTERED ADDRESSING Paperglaze Calligraphy believes that the prelude to a beautifullyscripted invitation should be an equally elegant hand-addressed envelope. Show your wedding guests that you value their presence at your big day by giving them the gift of a beautiful piece of mail, complete from hand-lettered address to invitation. Most brides know that computer-printed labels are discouraged for wedding invitations, but to hand-address the envelopes that contain your gorgeous invitations is not only daunting, but also far too timeconsuming! Take the pressure off of yourself and your busy weddingplanning schedule and let Paperglaze address your invitations in whatever lettering style you desire. Whether you envision a sweeping and elegant design or a unique and bold look, Paperglaze can address your envelopes to complement your invitations, as well as ensure that each address is correctly formatted and that guests are addressed with distinguished titles. WHERE TO START Once you’ve decided what services you would like (invitation design, envelope addressing, wedding signage, etc), email Paperglaze Calligraphy to request basic details and a quote. Include your wedding date, approximate guest count, a general description of your wedding style, and services you’re interested in. From there, Paperglaze Calligraphy will communicate with you about a more accurate quote and timeline. Like a popular wedding venue, experienced calligraphers book up quickly, so start the process early to ensure that your wedding is punctuated by the beauty of custom calligraphy. EMAIL: PHONE: 318-914-1116


VelaShape Body Contouring

Non-Invasive Body Contouring Treatment Available at The Woman’s Clinic


ALWAYS TH O U G HT I’ D LOOK C UTE W ITH dimples—who doesn’t, right? Unfortunately, those dimples showed up not on my face, but on my rear end and thighs. Perfect. Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m in good company—upwards of 90% of women have cellulite—but I’d be lying if I said my cellulite didn’t bother me at times. It’s only natural to feel embarrassed given the way it’s been demonized throughout the years. But cellulite isn’t so much a problem as it is a fact of life; it just kind of...shows up on our bodies, not so different from leg hair. And, like that leg hair, you can minimize and manage it if you want to. Or you can let it do its thing and leave it alone. It’s up to you! If you are interested in minimizing the appearance of cellulite, allow me to introduce you to VelaShape, a non-invasive body contouring treatment for temporary cellulite reduction and circumferential reduction of the thighs and abdomen. So. What is VelaShape, then? VelaShape is a non-invasive body contouring treatment cleared by the FDA for temporary cellulite reduction and circumferential reduction of the thighs and abdomen. While most cellulite treatments use a single modality to treat the appearance of dimpled skin, VelaShape uses a combination of four modalities: radiofrequency energy, infrared light, gentle suction, and mechanical massage. Treatments take between 15 and 30 minutes and require zero

downtime afterward, making it an advantageous option for those with a busy schedule. Claire, our MediaSpa nurse at The Woman’s Clinic, notes that multiple sessions are needed to see results. She recommends between four to six rounds of treatment, scheduled one to two weeks apart, suggesting that patients likely won’t see results until after at least three sessions. Maintenance treatments are suggested every three to six months. One of the very best things about VelaShape is that it results in little to no side effects or aftercare. Patients may experience mild pain, redness, or bruising in treated areas though the risk is fairly low. As a matter of fact, aftercare is barely needed, if at all, with patients able to head straight back to work after a midday treatment (for those who have the luxury of a VelaShape lunch break). If there’s any discomfort, Claire says that massaging treated areas should do the trick. In rare cases, patients will ice areas if swelling is present, and occasionally take mild pain medications (think over-the-counter Tylenol) if needed. Otherwise, aftercare is as simple as scheduling (and attending) follow-up treatments and keeping up with biannual maintenance. Best of all, for the entire month of June, all VelaShape treatments are 25% off! To schedule an appointment for VelaShape or a free consultation with Claire, please give us a call at 388-4030, Option 3.


Meredith’s Musings DESERT CORAL article by ME RE DI TH MC K IN N I E


he had stood by her side years prior on her wedding day. And now it was her friend’s turn to exchange vows. The now bridesmaid wanted to give her best friend the day, the experience, the fairytale. For the sake of anonymity, we’ll call the now mother/best friend of the bride Jane. Weddings are now organized over group texts and informal exchanges on electronic devices, such is the world we live in. The days of collectively trying on dresses with other bridesmaids are for the most part behind us. Everyone orders online, and many see the formally dressed party the afternoon of the event. Jane hosted a shower for her friend, navigated a cake debacle, and eventually laughed off the incident, such is life. But the big day was soon approaching, and Jane’s son would serve in the bridal party. Jane’s son arrived dressed in a crisp, toddler tuxedo with a ring

bearer pillow wider than his little head. Jane’s husband donned a matching tuxedo, and Jane looked stunning in a desert coral long dress, modest and tasteful, and the decided-upon color for all the bridesmaids’ dresses. As the other bridesmaids started removing their dresses from clothing bags, Jane noticed her dress was different, the color slightly off. Apparently, in the mass group text, a change had been made to coral reef, and Jane missed the message. The bride’s family members were baffled at how to handle the mix-up. The bride should be the focus of the event, not an error in bridal party hues. Jane was embarrassed by the mistake, but didn’t particularly think the color variation was even noticeable. Peach is peach, right? After much ado, it was decided that Jane would stand on the groom’s side, with the thought being that the color variation would be less conspicuous. Apparently, no one


thought it odd that one female would be standing alongside the men, conspicuously in the peach dress like the other five maids on the bride’s side. Jane was hurt and felt villainized for her mistake. If a groomsman had made an error in color, would he be ostracized to the side with the females? Would anyone even care? Jane took it in stride and veered right at the end of her processional. She took her new place at the end, two people down from her husband’s place in the groomsmen’s line. Jane’s mother sat in the audience confused, assuming Jane made a mistake or one of the flower girls needed a second hand. Wounded and isolated, Jane focused on making the most of the moment. Her best friend was saying forever - and some things matter more. Ironically, Jane’s new place provided a magical gift and a new perspective on weddings. From her vantage point, Jane

could see her best friend’s face. She witnessed the tears and the smiles and the deep breaths. Her isolation afforded her visibility of the person she cared for the most. The appropriately peachy-hued bridesmaids, fallen in line behind the bride, they missed it all. Jane didn’t just hear the words; she saw them nervously uttered. She could feel the emotion as it was happening instead of imagining her friend’s face from behind her back. Jane preferred her new place, and had she not made a color mishap, she would have never known it. What had been intended as a punishment evolved into an advantage, a blessing, a privilege. Jane always looks for the beauty in the world, even when she is relegated to the back seat. What she learned is that if you look hard enough, even when you feel ostracized, the light is always there, and sometimes the view is even better.


Elegance Defined

On the following pages, Taylor Bennett creates a cohesive look that hits all of our nature-inspired dreams. From a long vertical canister overflowing with roses, to a classic hand-lettered invitation suite, a signature cocktail with a hint of rosemary to a glamorous wedding dress, these inspiring looks are elegantly defined. S T Y L E D B Y TAY L O R B E N N E T T A N D P H O T O G R A P H Y B Y K E L LY M O O R E C L A R K

WHITE WEDDING Taylor created a beautiful tablescape with natural wood chairs and table from Taylor Rental. An ivory cloth is draped down the center of the table with an arrangement of hydrangeas, garden raoses, lisianthus, ranunculus, jasmine, olive and eucalyptus from Carlstedt’s.

YOU’RE INVITED Nib &Flow created a chic and elegant invitation suite on handmade paper with deckled edges.

GARDEN VIBES Guest seating is marked by a porcelain tile with hand-lettered names and a simple setting with gold accents from Taylor Rental.


HOLLY WOOD ELEGANCE This stunning gown from Hers Bridal is entirely decorated with beads and sequin. The off-shoulder decollete and long detachable semitransparent sleeves are also covered with sparkles. This mermaid-style, sheath dress features a detachable overshirt made of numerous layers of tulle. The bouquet echoes the table arrangement with gorgeous hydrangeas, garden roses and ranunculus from Carlstedt’s.

SWEET ENDINGS Cake created a three-layer wedding cake that adds color to our natureinspired palette.


SIGNATURE SIPS This signature drink combines rosemary and grapefruit which adds a pop and combines seasonal ingredients that highlight an outdoor wedding.

Need a Lift?

Youthful Looks Without Surgery



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

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

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


Celebrating the Good Daze



F YOUR IDEA OF A GOOD DAY includes perusing local storefronts in search of a few one-of-a-kind finds, you’re in for a treat at The Good Daze. In fact, given the rather impressive inventory co-owners Jackie Murphy and Hartley Waldrop keep stocked in the shop, you’ll probably have quite a few good days inside the vintage clothing and local goods store. The Good Daze was created when Jackie and Hartley, who owned and operated Mercantile Monroe and HARTFORSTYLE, respectively, decided to join forces. Despite having two different businesses, the two shared similar goals: to give off good vibes and happiness while giving customers the same quality items both women had become known for. Coming together just made sense, Hartley, a 19-year-old West Monroe native who founded HARTFORSTYLE at just 16,


explained. She said, “When I first met Jackie, I felt like I had met an older version of myself.” She goes on to explain that both women had a strong love for vintage fashion and art and wanted to cultivate a space filled with happiness, creativity, and overall good vibes. “It was only fitting that we merge our ideas,” Hartley said. “[And] a lot of awesomeness can happen when two strong-willed women come together!” Thus, The Good Daze was born. When you walk through the door of the downtown Monroe shop, you’ll not only see one (or both) of its smiling-faced shop girls and racks of classic yet stylish vintage clothing, shoes, and household items. You’ll also see items made by a few of the area’s creatives, — “the makers, doers, and shakers,” as Jackie calls them — including Eclectic Karma Design, Yeehaw Princess, and Daniel Myers. Whether you’re searching for a gift for a friend or family member or simply want to treat yourself after

a long week, you’re sure to find something that suits you among the shop’s offerings. Jackie and Hartley are proud to be a part of Downtown Monroe and are excited to serve the area through The Good Daze. Their journey as co-owners of the storefront has only just begun, but they are confident their skills and passion — solidified by the following and reputation both women built for their businesses as individuals — will only add to the community. “I feel as if the future of The Good Daze is bright and perfect for Downtown Monroe’s development,” Hartley said. Perhaps the best way to see what The Good Daze is all about is to visit Jackie and Hartley in person Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. In keeping with the spirit of spreading good vibes and happiness, the building, located at 401 Walnut Street, is painted a bright and cheerful shade of blue — you can’t miss it! However, if you want to get a glimpse of the items the two women sell before heading downtown or stay up-to-date on all the business’s happenings, you can check out the shop’s social media profiles: @thagooddaze on Instagram and TikTok and The Good Daze on Facebook. You can even shop online at www.

Do the Men in Your Life Avoid Routine Medical Exams? The Surgery Clinic of Northeast Louisiana Urges Proactive Care


S YOU SEARCH FOR A FATHER’S Day gift, consider sharing this article; there’s no better gift than the gift of health. A new Cleveland Clinic study confirms that only half of the surveyed men get regular checkups. In addition, approximately 72 percent would choose household chores versus seeing a doctor. Why? Women tend to interact with the healthcare system earlier when they begin seeing gynecologists. Whereas men, unless something is urgent, may not see a physician until their 30s or 40s for routine screening. Some men simply don’t like talking about their health — even when they visit a doctor. Learn from our patients and review this checklist—all of which the Surgery Clinic of Northeast Louisiana and Delta Vein Care can address—with your loved ones.* Melanoma. Like many, Buddy Hill spent his childhood outdoors. His parents were adamant about sunscreen, so a skin exam

never occurred to him. Still, at age 77, he was diagnosed with Melanoma. “My mentality was to visit the doctor when I was sick or in pain. Later, when my surgeon removed the stitches, he knew which ones would hurt, and he would warn me. He made me part of the conversation, and he spoke to me in terms I could understand.” The majority of people in the U.S. diagnosed with Melanoma are Caucasian men over age 55. Obesity. Jay Paul has maintained a 200-pound weight loss since 2013 and no longer suffers from high blood pressure, prediabetes, or joint pain. “I truly embraced this journey as life-changing and have found it much easier to enjoy hunting, fishing, hiking, running, and exercising.” The Surgery Clinic offers a nationally-recognized weight-loss surgical program. Colon Cancer. Stephen “Tank” Hill said, “If you’re proactive in all areas of your health, your disease can be caught early like in my case. You need to take it upon yourself to

manage your health. Caring for your health does not have to be scary or embarrassing.” The Surgery Clinic offers robotic surgery to remove cancer, making the procedure minimally invasive and the recovery time shorter. Vein Disease. One of our patients vividly remembers the first night following the procedure. “I was pain-free for the first time in years. It felt like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I was given my life back. I knew I could once again live a normal existence.” Delta Vein Care offers minimally invasive procedures that typically only last one hour. *This is not a complete list of all issues affecting men’s health. The Surgery Clinic of Northeast Louisiana is home to surgeons Dr. Walter Sartor, Dr. Bart Liles, Dr. Patrick Smith, and Dr. Mohamed Bakeer. Contact the clinic today with your questions about general surgery, vein care procedures, and weight loss surgery.



A Celebration. A Statement. A Forever Piece. Steve’s Jewelry in Bastrop


ROM THE MOMENT A COUPLE starts talking about popping the big question, the ring can be one of the most exciting items on the list. At Steve’s Jewelry they believe that the experience of shopping for an engagement ring is just as important as the purchase. Isn’t it true that diamonds are a girl’s best friend? Helping a newly engaged couple find the perfect ring is something the team at Steve’s take pride in. The proposal is one of the most memorable moments in a young couple’s life together and is one of the first stepping stones to a happy marriage. This is why picking out the perfect piece for your loved one is so important. It’s going to be a forever piece! Located in the heart of Bastrop on the square, Steve’s Jewelry is a locally family owned jewelry store that has it all for the happy couple at every stage - from engagement to walking down the aisle. Understanding that there is a great deal of thought that goes into choosing an engagement ring, the team at


Steve’s are here to help. There are various styles, shapes and sizes to consider as well as numerous designer lines and especially the bride-to-be’s personal taste in jewelry. At Steve’s Jewelry, they carry a large selection of engagement rings and loose diamonds. Sitting down and helping couples understand the quality of what exactly it is they are buying. The diamond is the most important part of an engagement ring. At Steve’s, they take the time to educate you on the craftsmanship and caliber of each piece of jewelry. Not only do they specialize in wedding and engagement jewelry, Steve’s provides a full showroom of everyday jewelry, gift items and more. They are able to do custom work using computer-aided design and custom wax carvings. They also have a full jewelry repair workshop to help restore all of your most valued treasures. At Steve’s Jewelry they believe that the best part of being a jeweler is being able

to take your piece of jewelry that may lack some luster and bring it back to life. Being able to help restore your family’s most prized possession is something the staff at Steve’s Jewelry values most. Their friendly and professional customer service is what separates them from the rest. They go the extra mile to ensure that their customers are pleased with every purchase, jewelry repair or custom design. One thing that speaks for itself is the reputation of being in business for more than 45 years. Since 1977, owner Steve Perry and family pride themselves in making your experience special so that you will continue to share with friends and family how the process of choosing the right piece met your needs. The best referral is from a happy customer. Steve and his family always thanks God for the success he has had as a local jeweler. *12 - 24 months same as cash financing and in house layaways.

Offering Excellent Prenatal and Postpartum Care LA Center for Women’s Health BY LESLIE R COFFMAN, M.D.



Louisiana have had the convenience of choosing between three excellent hospitals for their labor and delivery needs. With the announcement of Glenwood Regional Medical Center’s pause of services, this has limited obstetrics options for not only my patients, but our staff at the Louisiana Center for Women’s Health. Regarding my personal story, I am a solo, private, board-certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist in collaborative practice with two excellent nurse practitioners. Previously, both St. Francis Medical Center and Glenwood Regional Medical Center required me to be on-call 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week. I have been on call continuously for over a year, and decided I cannot sustain this amount of call without backup coverage. Neither hospital offered me any relief from continuous call, so I had to make the tough decision to terminate my obstetric hospital privileges until (and if)

appropriate coverage could be arranged. Now the good news: our medical office continues to provide quality private prenatal and postpartum medical care in a comfortable atmosphere. Under the current system, your delivery would occur at either St Francis Medical Center, which still offers obstetrics or Ochsner LSU Health Monroe by the physicians who are contracted to do so. If this situation changes, I plan to resume delivering babies. We fully realize this limitation on services affects the available choices for women in this community, and we want our patients to know that we are fully-committed to provide women with unmatched care during their pregnancies, as well as excellent gynecological care postpartum. We pride ourselves on offering sexual and reproductive health care in a private, personalized setting that isn’t part of a hospital or larger clinical network. Personcentered care has always been a priority, and we will continue to strive to treat our patients with

comprehensive, personalized care despite the limitations that we are currently experiencing. We are the Louisiana Center For Women’s Health, and we are here to help. We offer a full range of state-of-the art services for women including: diagnosis and treatment of the pelvis, breast, ultrasound, hormone analysis and therapy, addressing symptoms of menopause, advanced laser procedures, weight management, and a range of advanced cosmetic procedures. To set up a personalized, confidential consultation for any treatment or a preventative care appointment, call Louisiana Center for Women’s Health or book online at Leslie R. Coffman, M.D. | Fellow, American College of Surgeons | Fellow, American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists | Fellow, American Society of Cosmetic Surgeons


Cake - An Award Winning Modern Bakery Located in Downtown West Monroe


AKE TOOK A HUGE LEAP forward by opening its storefront at 115 Trenton Street in Downtown West Monroe. With the arrival of our new storefront, our original business model of expanding custom orders was suddenly flipped on its head. Custom orders were quickly being overshadowed by a growing demand of everyday patrons who had fallen in love with our storefront offerings! This has led to an everexpanding variety of cakies, cookies, macarons, brownies, etc. that has given Chef Becky an opportunity to showcase innovation and skill with food and flavor combinations that are both creative and surprising. Historically a location for retail businesses or office space, 115 Trenton Street’s transition into a food service establishment was no small feat. Long days, long nights, blood, sweat, and tears were spent preparing CAKE’s new home. However, to Chef Becky, the satisfaction of unlocking the front door of her dream every day is more than worth the journey it took to


get here. CAKE takes great pride in presenting a sleek, modern, efficient, open, and inviting bakery. Surprisingly though, the war horse and backbone of our bakery is our vintage 20-quart Blakeslee commercial mixer, circa 1970. Although our aesthetic leans toward “industrial-chic,” it has always been our intention for modern equipment to exist alongside the tried-and-true tools and furniture of the past. Though in stark contrast, the inclusion of antiques in our bakery was paramount in Chef Becky’s vision – a nod to our induction into the history of Antique Alley. Since settling into our new storefront, CAKE has had the honor of being included in the West Monroe West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce’s 2022 Small Business Awards - receiving a nomination for the Community Champion Award and being awarded the Emerging Entrepreneur Award. CAKE is also proud to be amongst the nominees for the 2022 Thomas H. Scott Award of Excellence.

The concept of family is an integral part of CAKE’s unique philosophy and everyday operation. When customers come into our bakery, they are greeted with an atmosphere of warmth and welcome. The centerpiece of the bakery is a family table – where ALL are welcome and encouraged to gather. It is not uncommon to hear the sounds of children, siblings, parents, and grandparents all participating in the life and success of the business. At Cake, Thompson and Kemp are marrying their childhood favorites--pralines, millionaires, fudge, and cookies--with the foundational techniques of traditional French baking. A big-city style with an at-home feel reflects their demand for excellence through simplicity. At this bakery, each confection is a celebration, a centerpiece, and a statement. And, Thompson’s eye for design and flavor literally and figuratively takes the cake. Cake is located at 115 Trenton St, West Monroe, LA, and is open Tuesday through Friday between 10

North Louisiana Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Clinic Dr. Jeffrey Counts Explains How Hip and Lower Back Pain Are Hard to Distinguish


ANY TIMES DISTINGUISHING between lumbar spine pain and hip pain proves challenging. The sciatic nerve is a conglomeration of multiple nerves that run a short distance through the buttocks and upper leg before branching into many other small nerves in the lower leg. Patients describe their pain as “ants crawling on my skin,” “electric shocks,” “pins and needles,” and even “burning or scalding.” Their leg symptoms can be combined with pain in the lumbar spine and buttocks and hips. Many different changes in the lumbar spine can cause “sciatic” pain and lower back pain. A bulging or herniated disc places pressure on the nerves and causes irritation. Arthritis in the joints of the spinal vertebrae occurs just like an arthritic knee or shoulder. An MRI is usually needed to determine specifically the level in the spine where the nerve is compressed and producing the symptoms. After an MRI, appropriate treatment recommendations

can be determined. New robotic technology offers minimally invasive surgical options, which dramatically reduce operative time and patient recovery time. However, because these nerves pass through the buttocks and upper thigh area, many find it difficult to distinguish between “sciatic” pain and hip pain. Many hip conditions remain overlooked because people think they are experiencing low back issues. Signs of hip arthritis present more acutely in the groin and front of the thigh. Upon first awakening in the day, the first steps will be very difficult. As the day progresses, walking becomes a little easier, but after sitting a while, an arthritic hip doesn’t want to get up and get going again. Regular x-rays are usually sufficient to diagnose an arthritic hip, and a hip replacement effectively returns an increased quality of life to most patients who undergo the procedure. Other problems in the hip can produce nagging, aching pain. Just as a baseball pitcher

can suffer a labral injury to his throwing shoulder, a person can suffer the same type of injury to the hip joint. The labrum surrounds the rim of the socket of the hip and can be torn like the same structure in the shoulder. Arthroscopic hip surgeries can repair the labrum in the hip similar to procedures in the shoulder. An MRI arthrogram (with fluid in the joint) is used to diagnose injuries to the structures of the hip. Hurting in the low back, hips, and legs is miserable. A great deal of time and frustration can be spent chasing the problem. Don’t assume “sciatica” has always been the issue and let the real problem go undiagnosed. Sometimes it may be necessary to take a step back and orthopaedically evaluate the structures that hold the majority of our weight each and every day. Dr. Counts is a board certified orthopaedic surgeon who routinely performs minimally invasive spine surgery, joint replacement, and hip arthroscopy.




ypical wedding customs have evolved along with many other social practices. Knowing what to do whether you are the bride or a guest can be overwhelming and confusing, so I am here to help by assembling a few tips on wedding etiquette and customs.



Getting engaged is one of the most exciting things that will happen in your lifetime, so it is understandable that you will want to shout it from the rooftops as soon as it happens. However, this is where the “old school” etiquette should be followed to a point. Before announcing your engagement on your social media pages, it is best to tell those closest to you personally. (Then you may shout it from the rooftops!)


The traditional paper invitation is still the more appropriate way to invite guests to your wedding, especially if it is a formal wedding. However, it is now appropriate to have guests RSVP via a wedding website instead of the traditional mail-in card. Another tradition that shouldn’t be broken is the listing of the registry on the invitation. Your registry information should never be included with an invitation. *Note: I am still in favor of a traditional-style invitation with a handwritten or calligraphed name and address.


All of the traditional parties that used to accompany a wedding can still happen, but now most will have a bit of a twist. As mentioned above, registries now tend to include nontraditional items, and so should the parties/ showers that are hosted. The following celebrations should honor the couple and their families – The Engagement Party, The Couple Shower, The Bachelor/Bachelorette Party, and The Bridal Shower. A formal invitation should be mailed for the engagement party and the bridal shower; however an e-vite or text invitation could be made for the couple shower and the bachelor/ bachelorette party. But, as always, the formality of the invitation sets the tone and dress-code for the event, so keep that in mind.


The tradition of the bride’s wearing white on her wedding day is a hard one to break, but it is a bit antiquated. Feel free to wear whatever your heart desires on your wedding day! There are many beautiful colors and dresses that can be substituted for the wedding gown. and they still look “bridal!” Think outside of the box and look for beautiful embroidery or pink lace, for instance. The same goes for your wedding party attire. Break from tradition and make your wedding more memorable!


Let’s squash this rule once and for all – you can wear black to a wedding! And, you can most likely wear white, as long as it is not bridal in style. Just keep in mind that a wedding isn’t necessarily the time to make a bold fashion statement as it is the bride’s time to shine. That is still an etiquette rule to follow!


It has become more common for couples to marry at an older age than before, so it isn’t unusual for you to have most of the typical gift items already taken care of. It is now okay to register for other home items and accessories that you may need instead of the typical china and glassware. In fact, many couples forgo china for an everyday dinnerware set now, anyway. Although, it has become commonplace to register for gift cards I am not a fan. However, it is perfectly acceptable for a wedding invitee to purchase a gift card as the wedding gift.

A traditional wedding ceremony can’t be beat (and it is expected) but as long as you include a few of the mainstay elements (processional, exchange of vows, exchange of rings, etc.), its okay to throw in a little fun to make your wedding stand out from the crowd! A few suggestions may be to have the wedding at a meaningful place, to include your pet in the ceremony, to honor special guests or those who have passed, to play nontraditional music, etc. The new rules include letting the couple personalize the wedding more while still showing favor, grace, and thanks for their family and guests.



While many brides have recently had to opt for smaller, or no reception, it is now time to party! And that means bigger and over-the-top floral and design elements. Have fun with it! Nothing is off limits except loud, tasteless music and food that doesn’t accommodate every taste bud and diet choice. While you are at it, why not make it a full … wedding weekend – Couples are now frequently opting for “wedding weekends” instead of a wedding day! The thought is to make the time that much more special for their guests, not just for themselves. Think – welcome party, daytime activities, and after-party brunch. What a great idea!

With all of that said, there are still a few rules of etiquette that you should ALWAYS follow: 1. Do not arrive too early or too late! A good rule of thumb is to arrive around 20 to 30 minutes before the scheduled start time. Arriving too early may disrupt pictures, first looks, etc. and too late may disrupt the bride’s processional down the aisle. 2. Do not overindulge. Or you may be remembered as “that girl.” 3. Never tell the bride or groom if you notice something that you think is wrong or incorrect. Find an event planner or facility coordinator. 4. Never RSVP that you will be attending and not show up. It is proper to let someone know if something has changed. 5. Do not leave without speaking to the bride and groom. They are the reason you are there in the first place. Make sure you acknowledge the happy couple. 6. Always place your phone on silent during the ceremony and reception. Better yet, do not even bring it inside. That type of disruption isn’t only rude, it is embarrassing. 7. Unless your child is specifically added on the invitation, they are not invited. Some couples prefer children not be at their special ceremonies. Honor that. This year, couples should make everything more intentional, focus on the guest experience and create more personalized details.


Easy Living in Classic Comfort Revival Design and Consign


ANY OF OUR PERSPECTIVES have changed over the past two years after being quarantined to our homes. Many of us have even adapted to working from home. I have lived where I work for almost three years now in a very comfortable setting here in Downtown Monroe. With much reflection, many of us have sought more comfort while keeping our living spaces classic. The normalcy of our lives has transitioned into a different way of life since pre-pandemic times. We have embraced the glory days wholeheartedly. We have found refined refuge within our dwellings. Our gatherings have been more intimated and appreciated. We have fallen in love with our homes. What was once old is renewed again. We are finding ourselves adding classic pieces and comfortable seating areas for indoor and outdoor entertainment. Many of these pieces are not just something you purchase within

a big box retailer or online without a lengthy time delay for delivery or a million pieces to put together with foreign directions. At Revival Design, we strive to fill our showroom with unique finds and quality consignment pieces. We curate wonderful local and regional artists to adorn our showroom walls in our vignettes to bring the spaces to life. Our showroom is constantly flipped with new goodies weekly. What was old to someone is now renewed for another. We strive to have a wonderful tchotchke or signature piece to enhance any area in your home or outdoor area. Over the past month, we have made some great shopping adventures to the hill country of Comfort and Fredericksburg, Texas where we found a renewed vision embracing a more relaxed lifestyle. The adventure was a very rejuvenating experienced that has allowed our team to

reboot for new creative inspirations. We have arranged for an array of fantastic finds to be heading to our showroom over the next few months. Finding extremely unique and quirky things has been amazing. It has created a very needed reboot from myself and my team. I can best describe it as creative therapy for the soul. Creativity has always been in my blood but sometimes needs a spark. It is through resilience, faith, and favor that I have been given the strength to continue what I love so much. My parents and grandmother inspired me so much. Having lost them all, blurred my imaginative vision. As summer begins, Revival is rebooted and ready to bring those creative vibes to your home. We are back doing interior decorator consultations as well as room flips and move in staging. As we work to beat the heat, don’t think we are closed. We have just anchored our windows with draping to help with the torrid heat from the summer sun. Our current summer hours are Tuesday- Saturday 11 am5pm and Sundays 1pm-4pm. So, amidst your summer travels, shop local and bring your vacationing guests to the most unique shopping experience in Downtown Monroe at 300 Walnut Street.


Not Just a Bar, But an Experience The Rambling Rose - Vintage Mobile Bar


ELCOME TO THE RAMBLING ROSE, A MOBILE BAR service for a dry hire company in Monroe, Louisiana. “At The Rambling Rose, we know how to throw a good party,” says owner Ragan Barnes. “It will be a unique and personalized experience for you and your guests. Our 1959 Chevrolet Apache truck along with our 1978 vintage horse trailer has been converted into a unique mobile bar that will be the talk of any event. If you choose us for your next party or wedding, we will make sure it will be truly special and something unique and personalized to your event. We’re here to provide you and your guests with a priceless experience.“ So, what does a dry hire company mean for you? It means you will save money on alcohol because you don’t have to pay additional markups or overspend on liquor not consumed. Due to Louisiana liquor license requirements, the client must provide the alcohol but the Rambling Rose provides everything else. Give your guests not just a bar but an experience. This experience is also detailed oriented and we walk you through the step-by-step from start to finish. From your first inquiry to the proposal to the tasting consultation (the best part of the planning process!), your event will be a beverage experience that you could only dream of. “We love offering guests a unique signature drink for their big day. And, with a number of packages to choose from, we have options for every budget,” says Ragan. When it’s event time, The Rambling


Rose shows up two hours before your event and come show time, we are set and ready to serve you and your guests the beverage experience that is a true celebration. Let us help you create a memorable experience that will have your guests raving! Many people ask Ragan where this clever and innovative idea came from and she answers with a laugh, “My husband is used to my wild ideas! My first business idea was to start a custom sign company. But, I soon pivoted and with a little coaxing from me, my husband set me up with the vintage truck and trailer of my dreams! Now, I get to use these wonderful resources to help make someone else’s dream come true!” After getting health unit certified and the trailer stocked, The Rambling Rose has already been servicing customers at weddings, showers, engagement parties and corporate events. Not only do we offer drink services, we can customize The Rambling Rose’s service to cater to your needs. “We recently participated in a baby shower and served guests ice cream sundaes.” From luxury picnics, to engagement parties, baby showers to wedding receptions, The Rambling Rose is a must-have for your next event. Find the contact form online at for quotes and reservations. This experience will leave you and your guests ready to book your next event with our one-of -a-kind mobile bar service.

Connecting Seniors to the Community

Gardens of Somerset BY P. ALLEN SMITH


HE RECENT PANDEMIC HAS caused us to rethink many of the ways we have approached even the simplest daily activities. This need for change is most apparent in seniors as they have been the most vulnerable and isolated sector of the population (in our communities.) during these unprecedented times. In 2017 I was approached by a wellrespected assisted living operator about looking at senior care in a different way. While Rodney Thomason, president of MAHC, had an outstanding reputation for delivering some of the best care in our region he wanted to do more. “We need places for seniors that we’d want to live in.” He had seen firsthand the interest in the public coming for tours to see the gardens, farm, and ‘green’ home; enjoying a farm-totable meal and hearing the message of organic, chemical-free living.

Rodney was inspired after visiting my property, Moss Mountain Farm, and in some ways, wanted to use it as a model for a new approach. He had seen firsthand the interest in the public coming to explore Arkansas’ beautiful countryside overlooking the Arkansas River while touring lush gardens, ‘green’ home, connecting with the land by eating a farm-to-table lunch, and ending with a visit to see Heritage Poultry and other farm animals. Replicating Moss Mountain wasn’t the answer, but much of what we do on the farm does spill over into this new concept, that later evolved into the Gardens of Somerset, in Sterlington, Louisiana. A strong focus will be placed on maintaining residents’ high quality of life through sensory stimulation, community integration, social engagement, exercise, proximity to green space, and access to healthy, locally-sourced food.

We want to keep seniors connected to the pulse of the community and to nature itself. By engaging the local community, nature, the garden, and developing sensory enhancing environments, we can vastly improve the quality of life and health for our future residents. Placing a priority in the design by interfacing with nature and from the community is a hallmark of our approach. Creating a fabric of meaningful social interaction must be built into the DNA of a facility. The ‘sticks and bricks’ are simply not enough and its time we understand that buildings alone do not make a community. The design of a facility, both inside and out, must foster and encourage interaction, discourse, and engagement of its residents, staff, families, and members of the larger community. The Gardens of Somerset, an 18-acre community located in Sterlington, LA, is designed to bring unparalleled living options to Ouachita Parish for older adults. Centered around outstanding architecture, the Gardens of Somerset will offer residents independent living, assisted living and memory care and a lifestyle focused on the things they love and cherish such as gardening, the culinary arts, exercise, and family. Call Ashley Kirk at 318-372-8348 to schedule a tour of Gardens of Somerset.



HERS Bridal

This floral lace ballgown is one of fantasies. This romantic wedding dress flaunts the detailed floral lace appliqués that bloom along the fitted bodice and tulle skirt. Cap sleeves add a touch of modesty, supporting the subtly plunging neckline while a keyhole back creates dimension from behind. The center of the gown cinches comfortably at the natural waist and extends into a blooming skirt with a 75-inch train.

Picture Perfect

These gorgeous wedding dresses from HERS Bridal and Blush by Sadie C’s offer dreamy designs perfect for your big day. Photography by Kelly Moore Clark Hair and Makeup by Meka Reliford Model Bella Mayo

Blush by Sadie C’s This romantic sweetheart neckline wedding dress is simply stunning. Detachable straps create an off-theshoulder neckline, while modern leafy lace appliqués adorn the illusion bodice and cascade down the tulle A-line skirt. The look is finished off with a sexy slit and buttons down the back.

Custom Handmade Engagement Rings Trusted Jeweler Since 1952


EDDING SEASON IS IN the air at Dupont Jewelers, known explicitly for beautifully handcrafted engagement rings. Gifted with the artistry skills of designing engagement and wedding rings is what James does best! He has created over five hundred handmade pieces of jewelry over the past eight years. One of his missions as a handmade jewelry designer is to preserve the disappearing art of handcrafting jewelry. The process starts by sitting down with James and sharing your ideas. We are great at creating long histories with our customers and establishing real relationships with them based on trust and listening to the ideas for your dream engagement ring. The process of designing your engagement ring with James is simple. Gather ideas from pictures of designs you like and send us the photos with contact information to our texting platform at Dupont

Jewelers. The number is 318-855-4695. Set an appointment to meet with James. James will listen to you describe your dream ring and ask you detailed questions about customizing your ring. He offers sound design advice. He works in yellow gold, white gold, rose gold, and platinum in 14 kt or 18 kt. After the design is decided, he will quote you his price, and you will put a down- payment on your ring. He orders the metals and puts you on his calendar. Each ring is so unique and well thought out before beginning the execution. I have watched him spend time thinking through the creative process. It is very important to him. He is very meticulous in choosing the individual design steps in creating an engagement ring that’s as unique as you are. When we deliver the ring to the fiancé, it is priceless to see the expression on his face after seeing it for the first time. “It’s magical and I love being a part of their dreams!”

After creating the engagement ring, James then takes it a step further in creating a matching custom wedding band. We can also help you choose the perfect man’s wedding band with customized engraving if desired. All jewelry comes with a fantastic warranty. With the purchase of the custom ring, once a year, you can bring in the rings for a total refinish at no charge. This process makes the ring look like it did the day you received it. We encourage our customers to stop any time for a quick clean throughout the year. If you are looking for a one-of-a-kind jeweler and jewelry shop that will create the ring of your dreams, please come by, and visit with James at 1874 Forsythe Ave. Monroe, La. We are committed to investing time and one on one consulting to make sure your oneof-a-kind engagement ring is exactly what you dream it to be. Once a customer, always a customer of Dupont Jewelers, exceeding in the excellence of customer service and unique jewelry. Please check out our customer reviews on Google.

– Patti DuPont facebook/dupontjewelers Trade - Restore - Redesign - Sell Dupont Jewelers on Forsythe in Monroe




he beautiful spring day March 26, 2022 began and ended with bountiful joy for Doctors Avery Bryan and Drayton Daily and their families in a celebration of marriage at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church at 6:00 p.m. with Reverend Todd Strain officiating. Avery, daughter of Dr. David G. Bryan and Mrs. Beverly Bryan, and Drayton, son of Mr. David L. Daily and Mrs. Tracy Lee Daily, met during their first year of medical school at Ochsner LSU/Shreveport and became engaged in March 2021. Avery’s maternal grandmother is the late Mrs. Gloria Evans, and paternal grandparents are Mrs. Velva Jean Bryan and the late Mr. Reginald N. Bryan. Drayton’s maternal grandparents are Mrs. Marietta Lee and the late Mr. Lester H. Lee Sr. Bridesmaids were treated to their choice of hairstyle by the talented Larkin Adcock and Morgan Myers. Makeup was done by Haley Gould and Landry Wade of Haley Marie’s Vanity from Benton,LA. Erin Wilson Photography and her team started early at the Neville House memorializing the day and then to Bayou Desiard Country Club for pre-wedding photos and first looks for the bride and groom. The wedding ceremony was performed in the chapel of Saint Paul’s United Methodist Church in Monroe. The floral designs were created by Brianna Belton Design from Bossier, LA. Guests, honored guests, parents and wedding party were seated to classical music selections performed by DiGiulian Strings.

Maid of Honor Virginia Lindley and bridesmaids, Casey Dufrene, Annabelle Daily, Ali Morgan, Emily Millet, Langley Sampognaro, Cara Crawford, and Alyssa Blazier wore Hayley Paige crepe de chine A-line one shoulder neckline gowns in dusty rose and carried a smaller version of the bride’s bouquet. Avery’s nephew and niece Beckham Bryan and Emerson Kate Bryan served as ring bearer and flower girl. The groom’s attendants included Best Man, Drake Daily and groomsmen, Hunter Calhoon, Colton Tomlin, Taylor Guillot, Jacob Williams, Thomas Breaux, William Dinnat, and Alex Clausen. Dr. Bryan escorted Avery down the aisle as Eclipse Brass performed Trumpet Voluntary. Avery’s timeless, classic wedding gown designed by Valery Zelenyuk of Vagabond Bridal was a light ivory silk crepe, with classic lines made individually by hand. The classic V neckline bodice, and deep V in the back complimented the mermaid fitted crepe skirt with full train. Avery’s veil by Toni Federici was circular cut, cathedral length train trimmed with Alencon lace, which complimented the modern silhouette of her gown. Over four hundred guests arrived to the bayou lawn cocktail hour decorated with white tables and chairs adorned with gold lanterns filled with candles and greenery. Seating vignettes of club chairs, settees, and benches with ivory cushions and colorful pastel pillows scattered throughout the lawn welcomed guests to linger, enjoying the gorgeous evening and the sounds of soft jazz music by LA Jazz Trio. Cutting the white five tiered circular wedding cake adorned with fresh spring flowers in a waterfall pattern surrounded by bridesmaid’s bouquets followed the traditional dances. The cake was white with almond flavored icing created by Cake Bakery in West Monroe. The groom’s cake, a square three layer chocolate decorated with chocolate icing was created by Butter Bakery in Monroe. Drayton’s cake was adorned with greenery and small white flowers. Adjacent to the groom’s

cake a turkey fan, photos of turkey hunts, turkey calls, and a display board hand made for Drayton’s wedding by a family friend adorned the groom’s cake table. The dance floor was packed all night dancing to the sensational sounds of twelve piece band Three Thirty Seven from Lafayette. Family and friends from medical school, high school, and college danced along with the happy couple! The band summoned Avery and Drayton to the stage, where they entertained everyone to Don’t Stop Believing by Journey. A happy night and a time to be remembered with joy! Just before midnight the crowd made their way outside sending of the newlyweds with a dramatic sparkler exit. Awaiting in their Master Craft boat, complete with Just Married banner was Mr. Gus Campbell and First Mate Dr. Jane Mickey to whisk the couple away. The boat roared away from the dock and immediately did a fast 360 degree turn as everyone waved and cheered farewell to the happy couple, then sped away. Following a honeymoon to Copper Mountain, Colorado Both Avery and Drayton resumed their residency training programs. Drayton is attending an Orthopedic residency program and Avery is attending a General Surgery residency program. They will make their home in Shreveport.


Tower Medallion Recipient

Nick Akins Inducted Into Tech’s Hall of Distinguised Alumni


ICK AKINS, A 1982 AND 1986 graduate of Louisiana Tech’s College of Engineering and Science (COES) and today Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of American Electric Power (AEP), is the University’s newest Tower Medallion recipient. As the recipient of the Tower Medallion, Akins was inducted by the Louisiana Tech Alumni Association into Tech’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni during the University’s 2022 Spring Commencement Ceremonies for the COES on Saturday, May 21st, in the Thomas Assembly Center on the Tech campus. The Tower Medallion Award signifies membership in the Hall and is awarded to Tech alumni who have distinguished themselves by exceptional achievement, community service, and humanitarian activities. “Nick has been a great friend and supporter of Louisiana Tech,” Tech President Dr. Les Guice said. “His leadership in AEP, one of the nation’s most important energy companies, has been highly impactful, and he has established a legacy of innovation in safety, reliability and


sustainability for the industry.” Akins attended Tech because it was close to home and friends, and because “I was interested in getting a great engineering education — and Tech was known for having one of the best undergraduate engineering programs around,” he said. “Also, scholarships were made available that certainly made the cost of college, along with student loans, more affordable. “Later, after starting work for AEP-SWEPCO, I recognized the need to get further education in computer applications to power and returned to Tech for my master’s in electrical engineering. The value of my Tech education and the lifelong friends I made there has been priceless.” In addition to his Tech degrees, Akins has earned additional training through executive management programs at LSU, the University of Idaho, and the Reactor Technology Course for Utility Executives at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The University also received a generous gift from Akins, president of the Foundation, in 2017 to support the then-new Academic Success

Center, which includes Tech’s cyber training center, located in the National Cyber Research Park in Bossier City. “Nick has for so long been a positive difference-maker for his University,” Tech Vice President for University Advancement Brooks Hull said. “His impact reaches campus-wide, far beyond the College of Engineering and Science. The investments he’s made in Tech’s present and future and how he’s represented both himself and his school in the past makes us happy and proud to pay tribute to him in this way. Nick deserves the highest honor the University can grant him.” Under his leadership, AEP continues to invest in modernization and security of the electric grid, resource diversification, and technology and innovation to enable the transition to a clean energy future while preserving universal access to the grid. And he continues to help Tech position itself as leader in higher education. “My family — wife Donna, sons Chris and Matt, my sister Patti, and brother Rick, who also graduated from Tech — are very proud and excited to be honored this way,” he said. “My mother was able to come to my very first Tech award — Electrical Engineering Sophomore of the Year, the David Johnson Scholarship. She passed away from cancer when I was in graduate school, but I know she would have been very proud as well.”

Courtesy of Louisiana Tech (edited for print)

WaterView Casino and Hotel Celebrates

Local Casino and Hotel Works Diligently to Provide an Award Winning Experience


H E TH E R YO U’RE LO O KING FO R A GIRLS’ getaway, a romantic weekend, an exciting gaming experience, the best blue plate special in Vicksburg, a relaxing hotel stay with an amazing view, or some combination of those things, WaterView has you covered. Our friendly staff and comfortable atmosphere make visits with us a fantastic way to visit Vicksburg and see what more there is to do in the Key City. WaterView has been celebrating this Spring! As summer 2022 approaches, WaterView turns 6 years old. With our history as the first casino to open in Vicksburg, we are pleased to continue to provide an outstanding gaming experience and entertainment to our guests. There is certainly a treasure trove of history in our ‘burg, and we are so pleased to have a huge part in that. Come visit us to see what all the historic fuss is about! We started our birthday month with the induction of Allan Solomon into the Mississippi Gaming Hall of Fame as an Industry Pioneer. Allan was one of the principals in the opening of the very first casino in Mississippi, the Isle of Capri in Biloxi. After an illustrious career, Allan is now one of the owners of our parent company, Foundation Gaming Group. His accomplishments aren’t just limited to the world of gaming, however. He and his wife Shirley, a Mississippi native, have 4 children and 11 grandchildren who are doing some amazing things themselves, with their Pop cheering them on every step of the way. We couldn’t be more proud to be a part of Allan’s legacy!

That’s not all WaterView has been celebrating this Spring. We are certainly beaming with pride over the completion of our latest remodeling projects. The results: an all-new hotel and a brand-new gaming area complete with games available at WaterView and nowhere else in Mississippi! Our already comfortable rooms, many of which feature a jetted tub and unrivaled view of a bend in the Mighty Mississippi, have been refreshed to make them even more enticing! We have also installed new Electric Vehicle chargers in our north parking lot, exchanged air fresheners for ionizers to clean instead of just perfume the air in our facility, and we are hard at work renovating our lobby restrooms. We aren’t even close to finished, though! Keep an eye out for upcoming projects to further improve our facility and make sure you have the best possible visit with us. Coming up very soon, we’re going to debut a new feature for our MYEDGE cardholders. To learn more, watch our social media and WaterView Casino website, as we launch the most up-to-date version of the WaterView mobile app, which will soon enable you to earn points without using your card. That’s right! You’ll be able to use your mobile phone just like a MYEDGE card at many of our slots. Stay tuned for this and all the other updates here at WaterView Casino and Hotel in beautiful, historic Vicksburg, Mississippi.



Destination Wedding Destination weddings appeal to all couples. Gathering family and friends in a picturesque, intimate setting away from home is often cheaper than local weddings and provides the escape so many desperately crave. BayouLife interviewed Kim Johnson at The Travel Company to highlight the top wedding/ honeymoon destinations for 2022. ARTICLE BY MEREDITH MCKINNIE


aribbean weddings dominate the weddingmoon market with free wedding options. Sandals Resorts, which is adults only, feature locations in Antigua, the Bahamas, Barbados, Curacao, Grenada, Jamaica, and St. Lucia. The ultra-all-inclusive Beaches Resorts, part of the Sandals brand, are family-friendly locations in Turks & Caicos and Jamaica and feature excursion activities such as scuba diving, windsurfing, sailing, and snorkeling. When couples book a stay of 3 nights or more, the wedding is free and includes a personal wedding team, preparation of marriage documents, and 15% off spa treatments at the resort. The free wedding ceremony includes bridal bouquet, boutonniere, pre-recorded musical choices, and a complimentary 5x7 wedding photo. The reception promises a 2-tiered 112 JUNE 2022 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

fondant wedding cake with fuchsia orchids; a table setting with white linen, silverware, and crystal; decoration centerpieces; white cushioned chairs for all guests; sparkling wine, hors d’oeuvres, and a Bride and Groom signature cocktail. This package is popular for couples-only weddings, as catering for guests involves a surcharge. The couple can expect breakfast in bed on the morning of their choice, with romantic turndown service with flower petals on the first evening of the honeymoon. The Dreams Resorts is a family-friendly company with locations in Costa Rica, Curacao, Dominican Republic, and Mexico. The wedding packages start at $3399 and include all wedding organization and preparation, an on-site coordinator, ironing of wedding clothes, and a judge or minister for the ceremony. The Dreams Resorts do feature some complimentary wedding packages, depending on the number of

guests. The Royalton Resorts offer adult-only properties and family-friendly locations depending on the destination. Royalton location options include Antigua, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, Mexico, and St. Lucia. Domestic weddings remain popular, a getaway that’s not too far away. Las Vegas is synonymous with eloping, but many couples choose the iconic location for more traditional weddings. The Little White Wedding Chapel, popularized by Britney Spears’s and The Hangover movies, hosts weddings beginning at $75. Hawaii, featuring some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, consistently ranks high on destination wedding lists. The big island of Kona offers ceremony-only packages for $850, and the island of Maui begins at $1500. These Hawaiian ceremonies typically include a beach vow ceremony, a heart of flowers, and a ceremony minister. For those couples who desire a getaway

MAKE MEMORIES TO HAVE AND TO HOLD Whether you are planning on having a destination wedding at the beach or at The Little White Wedding Chaple in Las Vegas, finding resorts that offer wedding packages can make planning easier.

within driving distance, New Orleans is a hot wedding spot. The budget-conscious couples can marry for free in the New Orleans City Park. The most popular site for domestic weddings in Destin, Florida. The wedding company Just the Two of us in the Sand features wedding packages starting at $1295 including: officiant, bamboo arbor, 6 shepherd hooks with flower balls or lanterns, rose petals, and set up and breakdown of ceremony. Barefoot on the Beach offers deluxe options beginning at $2895 including: officiant, professional photographer for one hour, USB 100150 images, release of all images, arbor with 4-post bamboo or hexagon, up to 30 chairs or 4 white benches and 10 chairs, sashes on the aisle and front-row chairs (color of your choice), six shepherd hooks with lanterns, rose petal aisle, rose petals for flower girl, raking of sand at ceremony, sound package, sand ceremony including one vase and two colored sands, greenery and flowers on the arbor, heart in sand with initials and date, beautiful artificial bride bouquet and matching boutonniere with your choice of color; and set up and break down of ceremony. International weddings offer luxury and elegance. Paris, France and Florence, Italy are popular. The Il Salviatino is a private villa in Tuscany, and packages start at $20,000. Regardless of your budget, destination weddings are not only possible, but can deliver the wedding of your dreams. Call the Travel Company to plan your dream wedding; the time for forever is now. WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | JUNE 2022 113


Be Passionate About Family Dinners Learn How to Cook, Try New Recipes... Learn From Your Mistakes and Above All, Have Fun article by Cindy G. Foust


ell, here we all are at the middle of the year… it’s June, readers, and we are flying through yet another year at lightning speed. I hope this month’s column finds all of you on vacation in some tropical place drinking out of a coconut…or at least laying by a pool in a palm tree inner tube. It’s hard to believe it’s time again for summer vacations, pool parties and sleep overs. Hey, I’m just grateful we are actually able to safely do these normal life happenings and without masks! From a “grown-up” perspective (I’m not sure I qualify as such, so I will use the word loosely), I personally enjoy this time of year from the viewpoint of a “foodie.” For certain, I am a person who gets a kick out of visits to the farmer’s market and stopping on the side of the road for home-grown produce. If you circle anywhere near my very boring and somewhat hohum network, you already know that this writer has no hobbies, no social life and no enviable travel schedule (unless travel to the grocery store makes you envious.) Like most folks I know, my days are filled with work and children...which I wouldn’t have any other way, but it leaves very little time for a “hobbyful” (Dr. Seuss meet Cindy Foust) life. There is one thing that does give me great joy, however, and makes the hills alive with the sound of music, and that is cooking. I have come to appreciate that cooking either puts a person in a happy 114 JUNE 2022 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

place or it puts them in a grumpy, irritable place. Frankly, there is no in between, you either love it or you don’t. For me, that happy place is in my kitchen, performing some new experiment on a shrimp, with my family and friends standing around like the proverbial guinea pigs. However, not everyone embraces the warmth from the oven, and for many families, the kitchen just becomes the place where your kids sit their backpacks. Some of the buzz words in education today are obesity, childhood obesity and healthy eating, and heads scratch daily on what we, (my fellow Americans), can do to change this trend. Many believe that we too far gone and it would be impossible to eradicate the damage. Just call me Hopeful Holly, but there is boatloads of research out there, and experts that share the opinion that if families will cook and eat together, it could be a vital step in resolving obesity issues, and not just for children. In my humble opinion, it seems there could be an entire revolution just waiting to happen and that revolution could start in the kitchen (I’ve got to start with my friend Melanie, who thinks take-out chicken nuggets are a food group.) I read somewhere that cooking with your children is a “lost art” in households across America today. Common sense supports that primarily because families lead such hectic, busy lives and the family time that probably suffers the most is the dinner hour. It’s just easier to pick up pizza or run through a drive-through.

Lets’ face it, planning, grocery shopping and preparing meals takes time. How many readers have ever found themselves rushing from work to the grocery store and after trying to decide what to cook, rolling in the garage on two wheels to get dinner “on the stove?” Probably everyone that reads this column. As the research suggested, family dinnertime is a lost art. But that same research says that if families today would slow the cycle down just a bit, and evaluate the value of organizing family meals, prepared some nights by the entire family, what an impact that effort could make. How so? By encouraging your children to take part in the process, they will be more inclined to try healthier foods. Listen, I’m not saying you have to plan a 7-course meal that includes sorbet and eating with the right fork, but the reality is that good, home-cooked meals are going to be much healthier than take-out. Most people are probably not aware that the average calories for a fast food meal (burger with cheese, fries and a soda) is 1,300, and if you add a shake or dessert, it goes up even more. Cooking at home however, reduces the caloric intake

drastically, depending on your meal choice (half of a roasted chicken, baked potato and green beans averages 350 calories). Children that are challenged with weight control could benefit greatly from the extra time and effort it will take to prepare your meal at home. There are plenty of meal choices that the family can make together, that doesn’t include cabbage (I’m not trying to offend the cabbage farmers of America, because I love cabbage), that will encourage healthier food choices that are lower in calories. I’ve written before about how a person’s general health as an adult is overall improved based on their health as a child. In fact, this could be an entire column, but it’s just the plain truth, if you are a healthy child, chances are you will enjoy good health as an adult. And as with most every column I write, encouraging families to spend time together at every opportunity is just something I am passionate about. Time spent in the kitchen together, preparing a meal is yet another opportunity for structured family time. Hey, I think Ward and June were on to something in the Cleaver household, having meals together, talking about the events of the day.

And finally, eating at home is certainly more economical than eating out, so if you need to appeal to the bread winner in the family as you make an argument for the family to gather in the kitchen to bake some chicken, there’s your argument. All these arguments make for a win-win opportunity. In the words of the great culinary genius, Julia Child, “Learn how to cook, try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all, have fun!” So readers, get those notebooks out, plan some weekly meals with your family, carve out some time to prepare it together, and enjoy your family time around the table. With this extra effort, your family will be healthier, they will begin to look forward to this time and your pocketbook will be fuller. Just don’t be surprised when your friends start comparing you to the Waltons.

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.



LIGHT: Elephant ears will grow in sun or shade. If you put them in a hot, sunny location, make sure they get a little shade during the middle of the day.


WATER: Make sure to water frequently. Elephant Ears need consistent moisture throughout the summer, and should not be left to go dry. Droopy leaves will give warning for the plant to recover if watered within a day. PLANTING: Elephant ears are planted in spring after any danger of frost has passed. The tubers will not grow until the soil is warm, so don’t plant them until the soil temperature is at least 65ºF. Elephant ear tubers can be very slow to sprout. Depending on when and where they are planted, it may take more than a month before you see any sign of growth. Plant elephant ears in rich, well drained soil.

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

If you’re looking for a plant that won’t go unnoticed, the Upright Elephant Ear is a stand-out. The beautiful thick leaves can grow up to eight feet and work well in a planter or in the garden.

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


Junteenth Celebration

Museum Celebrates Juneteenth With Array Of Activities


UNETEENTH, OFFICIALLY JUNETEENTH National Independence Day and also known as Jubilee Day,Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, and Black Independence Day is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans. It is also often observed for celebrating AfricanAmerican culture. Originating in Galveston, Texas, it has been celebrated annually on June 19 in various parts of the United States since 1865. The day was recognized as a federal holiday on June 17, 2021, when President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law. Juneteenth’s commemoration is on the anniversary date of the June 19th, 1865, announcement of General Order No. 3 by Union Army general Gordon Granger, proclaiming freedom for enslaved people in Texas,which was the last state of the Confederacy with institutional slavery. The following will take place at NELA Delta African American Heritage Museum the month of June:

• Opening Artist Reception on June 1st, 2022 at 6pm • Poetry Night on June 16th, 2022 at 6pm • Family Fun Day on June 19th, 2022 at 3pm • An Evening with Coco York and Mass Choirs on June 24tg, 2022 at 6pm. • An Evening with Coco York and Blues Fest on June 25th, 2022 at 6pm • Artist Award Program on June 30th, 2022 at 6pm


Tickets for An Evening With Coco York will be available for purchase at NELA Delta African American Heritage Museum beginning May 25, 2022. Museum hours are Tuesday-Friday from 10am to 4pm and Saturday from 10am to 2pm. Regular admission to the NLDAAHM is $5 for adults 18 and over and $3 for senior citizens. Admission for students with school groups is $5. Groups are welcome and encouraged to make reservations by calling 318-342-8889.



Stuart Scalia

Stuart Keith Scalia is a Monroe girl, through and through. She was born here, has lived her entire life here, found her one true love here, reared a family here, and is one of the happiest people you’d ever care to meet. Stuart is also a very busy woman. She balances a successful career with a robust family life, and still finds time to volunteer in the community that she loves with all of her heart. And whenever she can, this girl travels! a r t i c l e b y G E O R G I A N N P O T T S a n d p h o t o g r a p h y b y K E L LY M O O R E C L A R K


or Stuart, travel is a kind of therapy. She has enjoyed many special travel experiences in a number of different countries, and remembers them all with a special joy. Stuart has ridden a camel in Egypt, shouted “Opa!” from a mountain top in Greece and then tossed her empty Ouzo glass over the side, placed prayers in the cracks of the Western Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, and happily shopped the open markets in Turkey. But Stuart believes that there is more to travel than just these special memories. Whenever she “gets away” she loves watching the people – even in crowded airports. Stuart admits that she is always curious about the people she sees, and that she would love to know their stories! She believes that we could all learn a lot about life if we just studied the people we pass by each day. Because of her many contributions to our community, her tremendous talents as a floral designer, and for her irrepressible zest for life, Stuart Scalia is our June Bayou Icon.

Among many things that she loves, Stuart considers flowers to be her passion. She loves them because of their diversity, their beauty, and that they can’t talk back. She spends countless hours hauling and arranging them, but when her work with them is done, seeing them bringing joy to others makes it all worthwhile.

Although Stuart Scalia has traveled the world, among her most favorite travel memories are those from trips she enjoyed as a child with her family. When she and her two sisters were little, their parents bought a new station wagon and the family vacations began. “It seems like yesterday that we all piled in the car, threw our sleeping bags in the back with not a seatbelt in sight, and hit the highway,” Stuart remembers with a laugh. “We played games, sang songs, and many times we just stared out the window to see what this life is all about.” Stuart’s curiosity about life and her innate sense of adventure remain today. She is interested in just about everything, and is always ready to learn or do something new. Change does not phase her; instead, she sees change as an opportunity to grow. “I’ve learned that if you can conform to change and dig deep within yourself, you will find hidden talents that you might have never realized you had,” Stuart says. “You just might miss the opportunity of a lifetime.” Stuart’s parents met when both were students at Neville High School. That meeting wouldn’t have come about if Stuart’s father, Malcolm J. Keith, Jr., hadn’t moved to Monroe when he was a senior. Stuart laughs when she says her dad came from Paris – but quickly adds that he came from “Cowboy Paris, Texas,” not “Eiffel Tower Paris”. Her dad was a country boy, reared in Texas where he learned how to break and ride horses. Stuart’s mother, Sherry T. Keith, lived in Bastrop and Monroe, and was a drum majorette at Neville when Stuart’s dad first met her. After graduation, Stuart’s dad returned to Texas to attend Texas A&M. Her mother enrolled at ULM. Her dad graduated and then worked off his masters from ULM. He enjoyed a successful career in the banking industry. When their university days were over, they reunited and married soon after. Later they welcomed three daughters in quick succession – Danette, Stuart, and Troy. When Mrs. Mac’s Children’s Shop became available, Stuart’s mom bought the business with good friends Linda Reeves and Gwen Hardy.

Growing Up in Monroe

Stuart’s paternal grandfather passed away when the little girls were small, so many of Stuart’s childhood memories include her grandmother, Lorraine Stuart Keith. Called “Mom Keith” by the family, she played a significant role in Stuart’s upbringing while living nearby.

BAYOUICON Mom Keith had a piano and Shortly after high school wanted all three girls to learn graduation, they married. Today, to play. Stuart took lessons, but 43 years later, their love is still the instrument was just not for obvious to everyone. They have her – although Stuart admits that lived in Monroe the entire time. she can still “bang out a mean A Family Of Their Own rendition of ‘Trailers For Sale’ and Stuart and James were to have ‘Rent’” when the mood strikes. three children, but the first two Her grandmother was also an were 3 years apart and the third accomplished seamstress. She arrived 13 years later. Stuart made all of her own clothes, and chose to stay at home with the often made three “just alike” first two – Miranda and James dresses for her granddaughters. -- until they were school age. At She spent countless hours that point, she went to work at attempting to teach Stuart to sew, Lexington Elementary where she but Stuart found that sewing, like could have a job and still be at playing the piano, was just not home when her children came for her. “Truth is, I couldn’t sit At left: Stuart is pictured with her crown and dress on her 5th home. She has great memories of still long enough to get the thread birthday with sisters Danette and Troy. At right: Stuart and husband, her time there. through the needle’s eye,” Stuart James, dated all through high school. Shortly after high school Stuart’s own first grade graduation, they married. Today, 43 years, 3 children and 5 grandchildren confesses. later, their love is still obvious to everyone. teacher, Mrs. Gabriella Tarver Stuart remembers growing was still teaching Lexington up in Monroe in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s when Stuart’s children began there. “She was a wonderful reading as the very best of times. Her description of childhood play reminds teacher, and I can still hear her reading books to her class in that many what it was like to grow up without the distraction of constant beautiful southern accent of hers,” Stuart says. “When I was working television and ever-present technology. “First of all, everyone had a there, it automatically took me back many years to when I was a first ditch in their yard which was the center of everything. We played in grader and she was reading the very same books to me. This is the it, swam in it when it rained, caught tadpoles in it which morphed perfect example of why it’s so wonderful to live in the community into zillions of frogs, and occasionally we nearly cut a toe off in it,” you grew up in!” Stuart recounts with a giggle. “We never really knew what was in The only downside Stuart discovered when she began working the bottom of the ditch after a good rain. A few stitches and a tetanus at Lexington was that she was surrounded by many of the teachers shot, and we were good to go on to our next adventure!” who had taught her – and they all had sharp memories of her Stuart’s family lived on Emerson Street just a few blocks from “shenanigans” as a student. They would share these at lunch every St. Paul’s Day School and Lexington Elementary. The girls attended day, often causing Stuart to blush. Stuart had the best surprise both, and later attended Lee Junior High (now Neville Junior High) for them, however, when she wondered if she might be expecting and Neville. Stuart says that she was not a “bad” child, but does another child. She had a 13-year-old and a 10-year-old, so doubted it. admit that she was quite full of herself – which sometimes got her in One of the teachers ran out and got a pregnancy test, and then Stuart trouble. says 20 of them all crowded together to see the results. Daughter While a student at Lexington, Stuart remembers that she had Mary Ellis would be born in due time. “At that moment, it sunk in. nearly daily trips to the principal’s office. Mr. Kuckles, the principal, There was a wee baby on the way,” Stuart recalls, “and I was facing was very special to Stuart because he had a pet tarantula in his 25 years at Skatetown listening to “Dirty Diana” lyrics booming office. When she was sent there, he would call her in with a stern away. Suddenly, I needed a martini, but obviously that was out of the “Miss Keith -- In my office -- Now.” Once the door closed, Kuckles question!” would get out the tarantula and they would have their discussion. Afterward, he would open the door, wink at Stuart, and say he’d probably see her tomorrow. Stuart would giggle and say, “You bet!” A Career Path Meanders Today she is grateful that times were different then or she fears that When the children were nearing college age, James suggested to she would still be sitting in a time-out spot somewhere for eternity. Stuart that she might need to leave Lexington and seek employment At both Lee and Neville, Stuart was active in many things. She elsewhere. She applied at the State Farm Regional Office in Monroe was a cheerleader at both Lee and Neville and joined as many clubs and was hired. After spending a brief time in Auto, she was as possible. She loved her school years and wanted to be a part of transferred to Agency Resources, the department that recruited everything. While at Neville, she had the bad luck to slide into Mr. and trained agents. She loved this work, and traveled to job fairs in Larry Loflin, the Neville principal, one morning just after pep rally. Louisiana and Arkansas. State Farm encouraged its employees to Stuart had taken off her tennis shoes and was sliding down the hall attend as many of the continuing education courses as were offered in her sock feet when he stepped out of his office. She simply couldn’t on site. “I think that I took all of the classes that were offered,” stop herself in time. “I plowed right over him and wiped him out,” Stuart says. “I thought how great it was that this company would pay she says. “Needless to say, he didn’t love me like Mr. Kuckles had – for us to better ourselves and obtain knowledge in so many different and he didn’t have a pet tarantula, either.” areas.” When Stuart was in the 10th grade, a good friend Tracey Scalia Unfortunately for Stuart and the entire region, State Farm closed introduced her to her cousin, James Scalia – a good-looking 11th the regional office. Stuart was offered a transfer to Baton Rouge, but grader. They began dating, and dated all through high school. that wasn’t possible at the time. Even so, a new career path opened WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | JUNE 2022 121

have lived there ever since then. Several years ago, an elderly gentleman approached Stuart and asked if he might show his family around the building because he had worked there as a teenager. “I said he certainly could, but only if I could walk with them and hear all about the building back then. He had wonderful stories including that the building held businesses that sold all sorts of things. On the first floor, they sold Model T cars,” Stuart says. “They would be unloaded from the trains and then sold in the building. He added that my own office was originally the basement, a place he and others avoided when possible. He explained that it is haunted!” Stuart never has a “typical” on the job. People come in and out of her office daily with issues to discuss, emergencies arise, and she is constantly acting as a dispatcher, sending the crew to locations to handle whatever needs handling. She credits the fact that the entire crew treats Washington Plaza as though it were theirs and take care of it with that mindset. Stuart also says that they treat the tenants like family. “We want our building to be a comfortable space where you enjoy coming every day,” Stuart says. “We take pride in our building and in our work. I consider the most important foundation of commercial rental is tenant retention. If we create an environment that makes our tenants want to stay, our building will always be full.”

In Her Spare Time

for Stuart when she was offered a position at Premier Plaza working for Joe Holyfield, Dave Cattar, and Trey Nelson. During her time with them, she began learning what it takes to manage a large building filled with multiple tenants. After 7 years at Premier Plaza, Stuart was hired to manage Washington Plaza. Mike Ashbrook and his son, Scott, asked her in to interview out of the blue. “I wasn’t looking for another job, but sometimes the Lord opens a door when you least expect it,” Stuart says. “That was almost 15 years ago, and I was blessed once again to be in a position that I truly love and enjoy!”

It’s Like Running 100 Households At Once

Stuart quickly learned that being Property Manager for the Ashbrook’s family-owned business would entail an exponentially larger scope of work than she had experienced previously. The holdings included not only Washington Plaza but also nursing homes and several other businesses. “When I say there is never a dull moment, I meant it,” Stuart says. “It’s like running a household times a hundred and any given day can bring a new issue. I had to learn to change course many times every day.” Luckily for Stuart, the crew that works to keep all of the properties ready and in great shape is a truly fine one. “I love my guys! They probably say I ride a broom many days and I always remind them that I will sweep them up with it!” she says. One of her responsibilities is being available to the tenants, many of whom she sees daily. Washington Plaza opened in 1984, and some of the tenants 122 JUNE 2022 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

Many in the Monroe community know Stuart best for her amazing talent with flowers – designing stunning arrangements for all manner of occasions and sometimes for no reason at all! “In my spare time I do flowers – LOTS of flowers,” Stuart explains. “I do wedding flowers, party flowers, Hospice flowers – for just about any occasion, I’ll sling flowers!” Among many things that she loves, Stuart considers flowers to be her passion. She loves them because of their diversity, their beauty, and that they can’t talk back! She spends countless hours hauling and arranging them, but when her work with them is done, seeing them bringing joy to others makes it all worthwhile. Stuart confesses that she could stare at flowers and at pictures of flowers all day long. Several years ago, her niece had a lovely wedding in New Orleans. Stuart “did” the flowers for that special family occasion. The wedding was subsequently chosen to be featured in Southern Bride Magazine. As the floral designer, Stuart was sent paperwork and a release form to be signed so that she would be identified by name. She signed it and returned it. Not long after Stuart received a call from the editor telling Stuart that she had forgotten to fill out her contact information. Stuart thanked her, but said that she didn’t want her contact information included. She explained that she did an occasional wedding, but that she didn’t want to advertise. The editor was amazed that Stuart would pass up this opportunity to promote her work. Stuart convinced her, and although her name appeared in the feature, how to reach her did not. Although she downplays her talent, all who have seen examples of Stuart’s work recognize it as art. “I can’t take much credit for my arrangements because the lovely flowers are the stars!” she insists. “There really is

no way that they can be messed up. They simply will not allow you to look bad.” Stuart loves Monroe today as much as she did as a little girl growing up here. For her, life is wrapped inexorably around community. Here she has found life’s greatest blessings. She has also learned what really defines “success.” As Stuart explains, “Success is not always the job that pays the most. To me, success is doing what you love and enjoy and then actually getting paid to do it!” Some might look at her non-linear career path as being undesirable. Not Stuart. She believes that the beauty of her career is that she has been able to map out and create opportunities that worked for her and for her family. “The best part of so many different types of work is that I took both something and many someone’s with me from each position to the next. I have made so many friends who are still enriching my life,” she says. While Stuart was developing an enviable body of work experience, she never failed to give her time wherever she could through volunteerism. She has served as room mother for all 3 of her children, Brownie leader, youth group leader, soccer mom, football mom, baseball mom, Lambda mother sponsor, and served on countless community boards. She is busy working in her church and is an active member of the Monroe Garden Club and the Monroe Garden Study League. She and Terri Arthur recently co-chaired a major fundraising event for the latter.

In Her Spare Time

Today, much of Stuart’s attention is focused on her five “perfect” grandchildren who lovingly call her “Sugar.” Sosie, James V (aka Bubba), Ellery, Jaxson, and Rhodes occupy a large portion of her heart. She loves spending time with each of them, laughing and sharing life’s little adventures. “I remind my husband often that by the time I’m finished rearing kids, I will have spent 50 years doing just that!” Stuart’s only regret is that her precious grandchildren will never experience the kind of freedom she did as a child. As she explains, “Life back in the day without cell phones and electronic devices was truly living.” If she could only transport them back in time and find a handy ditch nearby . . . Today Stuart describes herself as one who “knows something about many things, but a lot about nothing in particular”. Many would disagree. Her versatility and ability to do many things quite well bely that description. Stuart is clearly someone who has embraced every change that life threw at her and learned something of value with each one. “I cannot wait until the day comes when I’m stooped over and old as dirt,” she says. “That will be the day that I am truly complete and full grown.” Until that day, this area and countless people will be blessed to know and work with Stuart. Such generous, happy souls are not found just anywhere. WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | JUNE 2022 123

NELA Master Gardeners Spring Plant Sale On April 2, 2022 the NELA Master Gardeners’ Spring Plant sale was held at the West Monroe Convention Center. Plant enthusiasts gathered to hear talks by guest speaker, P. Allen Smith. At 10:00 a.m., Smith lectured on the “Principles of Design” and later in the afternoon his lecture was “10 Plants I Cannot Live Without.” Smith also had his personal plant selections for sale. Guests were able to take home everything from vegetables to flowering vines, ornamental shrubs to herbs. This event is the main fundraiser for the Northeast Louisiana Master Gardeners, proceeds from the sale are used to fund projects around the community.





On the BayouScene

1 Bryan Babb and Sally Temple 2 Elaine Johnson, Mendy Sylvester and Sally Temple 3 Helen Hotard, Joyce Marlette and Christy Francis 4 Kerry Heafner and James Cobb 5 Patty Fincher and Lora Fix 6 Patty Fincher, Helen Hotard, Linda Tubbs and Brenda Myers




The Inaugural Pelican Cup

The Entrepreneurship Pelican Cup is the premier academic business plan competition established by ULM and is one of the largest cash prizes in the nation. Fifteen teams entered business plans and plans were judged by area top tier business professionals. Six finalists were chosen and they presented their plans orally in front of a different panel of judges and winners were selected. Each team also selected one member to conduct a 90-second “Elevator Pitch” and the audience voted via text for the winner. First place team Gaea Environmental took home the $25,000 grand prize, second place team Virtual Hut was awarded $15,000; and third place team SpotiT was awarded $10,000. Tama Washington from Rapid Receipts was chosen by the audience for the Elevator Pitch competition and won $2,000. The primary faculty advisors also received $3,000 for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winning teams.

On the BayouScene

1 Marie Bruno and Cathi Hemed 2 Dr. Jun Yu, Samir Gurung, Dharmendra Sharma, Hieu Mai, and Dr. William Barnett 3 Dr. Ron Berry, Dr.Michelle McEacharn, Tama Washington and Dhu Thompson 4 Gannon Malone, Joydeep Bhattacharjee, Paurava Thakore, and Prabin Basnet 5 Leslie Lane, III, Rush Deacon, and Sam Walls, III 6 Dr. Ron Berry, Dr. Michelle McEacharn, Dhu Thompson, Valerya Trubskaya, Stanislova Prosvietova, Adesola Raphael Akinpelu, Joyce Zhou and Brenda Myers










“Every single thing I’ve done is because so many doors opened. But I trusted enough to walk through them,” says CoCo York with a grin. We’re sitting comfortably on a large sofa at Dan Sumner’s music studio, also known as Fort Sumner. For the last few months, York and Sumner have been collaborating as a duo, sometimes alongside his band, taking the stage at the Downtown Monroe Art Crawl, the West Monroe Brown Bag Concert Series, and most recently at Flying Tiger’s Beatles tribute concert Love, Love Me Brew. York continues, “I didn’t have to know what was on the other side. I just knew that as long as I have crossed to the other side I can make it happen.” Since she left her hometown of Strong, Arkansas, she has followed the raging current of her heart, pursuing a music profession that has taken her to six continents, performing in each at least twice. During that impressive trajectory, a plethora of doors have opened for York, a professional vocalist with an electric and seductive voice that has been described as “a jazz-angel whispering rhythms in your ear.” Now back in her childhood stomping grounds, York still feels like she is living a fairy tale. “I’m like Alice in Wonderland,” says York, taking a beat. “Except, her name is CoCo.”



t four years old, York started taking piano lessons because she wanted to follow in her brother’s footsteps. So, after she finished high school in Farmerville, Louisiana, she set out to study piano at Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge. When she showed up for her piano audition, she also auditioned for voice on a dare from a peer. “I think they were trying to make fun of the fact that I was so young and innocent from the country. And I’d be rejected.” At that point, she had never had formal voice lessons. But ultimately, the joke was on them as she was accepted into both programs. “Once I actually started singing, I really fell in love with it… it was something that reached my soul in a way that playing piano didn’t. I had to put all of me in something, rather than just my fingers in technique,” she reveals. The turning point of her education occurred when Mattiwilda Dobbs visited Southwestern to perform a concert. She was a coloratura soprano and the first black woman to receive a long-term performance contract and to sing a lead role at the Metropolitan



Opera in New York, and the first black singer to play a lead role at the San Francisco Opera. “I didn’t know that much about opera, although I was learning arias, and all this kind of stuff. But I didn’t know what I was doing. I’m a country girl,” she reveals. York remembers Dobbs as a thin, delicate-looking woman; yet, watching her on stage was awe-inspiring. “I had never heard anyone sing like her…And then once I heard her, I was like, ‘Oh my God. What would it be like to have lessons under her?” When the concert was over, she went over to Dobbs to chat with her, and “of course” get her autograph. Following that seminal meeting, she went to her vocal professor, Dr. Atkins, to ask about the probability of studying under Dobbs. “Actually, she’s a friend of mine,” he responded. “I think I can set that up for you.” And so, she set out to convince her parents to let her attend The University of Texas at Austin. Though her father was a bit trepidatious, thanks to some helpful nudges from her mother, York soon found herself packing for the drive to Austin. One of her first endeavors upon arrival was to visit Dobbs at her office. York re-introduced herself and reiterated the message her former voice professor had given her concerning her new tutelage under Dobbs. “Who is Dr. Atkins?” asked Dobbs, following with, “I

don’t even know who you are talking about.” York was floored. No “I was just on top of the world, actually. Just sitting on top of the communication had ever been made. She was stuck in Texas. While world doing the very thing that I love to do,” enthuses York. Probably making plans to return to Southern, she decided to return to Dobbs one of York’s busiest periods, she took her experiences in stride. in order to thank her and express her disappointment in not being She began working for American Voices, a nonprofit organization able to study with her. Dobbs was moved and offered to audition her providing cultural exchange through the performing arts in nations before she left for Louisiana. York was accepted, though she ended up emerging from conflict and isolation. Her work with them resulted having to attend Huston-Tillotson University because she was too late in travel to Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, and for registration at UT. Afghanistan, among other Central Asian Countries. On these trips, Between her college courses, extracurricular music events, she would play with local musicians, who unfortunately didn’t and Dobbs’ instruction, she was expanding her vocal range and always welcome her warmly. While in Afghanistan, where she was her bravado. So, when Dobbs accepted another Artist in Residence the second American after Duke Ellington to perform there, her position at Spellman College in Atlanta, York was bent on following. presence was barely greeted. “Here I am, a woman, black woman. There, she met a jazz musician who helped her And they don’t know what to do, because I don’t transition from opera to Jazz. Upon graduation, her know if anybody even told them that a woman then-boyfriend encouraged her to move with him was going to be involved in this show,” she recalls. “SO, I’M ACTUALLY to New Orleans because he had just landed a job “When they saw me…their eyes got big.” The at the Fairmont Hotel. The pair got married, had Afghani musicians proceeded to sternly shake SINGING ABOUT a baby, and York began gigging and concurrently hands with the visiting male musicians, but when found herself falling in love with New Orleans they got to York, they didn’t want to touch her. LIFE , ABOUT EXPERIENCES, music despite the challenge it presented. “If I was York was resolved to take the disregard in stride. ABOUT LOVE , AND going to sing jazz and blues and pop, I had to now “You can’t get angry about it because it just is. unlearn the rules, all the things that I had worked There is an isness and isness is real…So, what are ABOUT THE WONDERMENT so hard to learn for opera,” she reveals. you gonna do about it?” York went with the flow, The first gig she ever got was on Bourbon having learned that one should never let “isness” OF IT ALL .” Street. She went to the Absinthe Bar with friends. affect one. “And if they don’t want to touch me, I Unbeknownst to her, one of her friends went up don’t touch them. I don’t have to touch you. I’ll get to the musicians on stage and asked them if her paid,” she exclaims with laughter. In spite of the friend “who sings” could join them. After York’s rocky start, the Afghani musicians changed their set, she was offered the job, replacing the former in-house singer. “I tune when York began singing “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless was really enthralled for myself for my first gig, but I was not happy Child,” to the traditional scales that the Afghans were playing. about how that happened,” says York. Adding, “I soon got over it!” “Something was born from that endeavor…and from that point on, Her stint in New Orleans was a hustle, often going from one early their whole attitude towards me changed.” afternoon gig to a late-night show which often ended close to four in Even the most unpleasant experiences took a turn for the better, the morning. “Oh yeah, that’s New Orleans.” like York’s visit to Kurdistan. When she arrived with the pianist, On one such gig, she met the woman that would be responsible they had a 50-mile drive up the mountains in what ended up being for her first voyage across the Pacific. “So many people come up to you. a snowstorm. The temperature was below zero. She remembers that So many people want to chat with you. So many people got something it was so cold that spit would ice before it hit the ground. After the to say or whatever,” says York, explaining why she initially brushed concert, she found out that someone stole her coat. “Because they off the eager fan, asking her to wait until after the show. York didn’t wanted a Western coat.” In a scurry for another coat, an audience expect her to still be around when the show was over, but the woman member approached her and gave her the coat off his back. “I still was still there and approached with a proposal. “I just love your have that coat,” she says, adding, “It was just a wonderful experience. voice,” said the woman, “Why don’t you come to Australia?” York’s And I mean, I have 1001 other little experiences like that.” interest was piqued, particularly because at the time her marriage When her mother got ill, she started traveling every weekend was “going left.” Even then, she took the offer lightly, giving a snippy from Holland to Monroe and then back again. She ended up having to answer: “Yeah, you set it up and I’ll go.” A couple of months later, she take a sabbatical, then later leaving the Conservatory. She was only a was on a plane to Sydney. few months into her return home when she got a call from a producer Moving to a “strange country” was like being in the twilight out of Holland. He was directing a musical alongside the Royal Dutch zone. “Everything is the complete opposite,” she says, referring Air Force and wanted York to join. “This is a 52-piece orchestra. I to driving on the left side of the road while navigating from the knew how special this was because I had already performed with right side of the car. “And, plus, I’m living with a lady who I don’t the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra,” stresses York. So she told know.” All that to say, there was an adjustment period. When she her mom, “I’m on the road again.” After six months of rehearsals, finally settled, her mother brought her son, and she began working comradery, and thrilling performances, York was back with her in the trendiest places in the city. In the midst of working at a chic mother, but only for a few months. She got another call, this time restaurant and piano bar, some travelers from Holland heard her and from a promoter offering her gigs in Southeast Asia. During that time asked her to visit their country. “So, they sent me a ticket.” Though she hit Indonesia, Singapore, Bangkok, and Hong Kong. “Oh, my the project they invited her to fell through, York decided to stay in world changes with the telephone,” she says. Northern Europe with her son. With the help of a connection, she was Moving back to Monroe was like coming home. “I was born and able to find gigs, which never ceased to roll in. Once after a show, a raised in this whole area,” she says, recalling that the first concert music student from the Rotterdam Conservatory of Music asked York she ever went to was in the Monroe Civic Center. Her current music whether she could take lessons from her. After a few sessions, the connections in the area began at the house of Dr. Alyce Adams, student invited her to lead a few vocal workshops at the school, which who she considers her sister. At a party, she performed with her would eventually lead to a full-time position as a vocal teacher, a job brother, and immediately a reporter from KNOE asked to interview she would have for almost 15 years. her. The same night, she was introduced to Rob Lloyd, on-air radio WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | JUNE 2022 129


producer at The Radio People. Through Lloyd, York ended up meeting Adrienne LaFranceWells, Downtown Main Street Director at the City of West Monroe, Dan Sumner, and seasoned local musician Josh Madden. These rapid connections allowed her to get steady gigs in the area, which have kept increasing with each breathtaking performance. “What I have here in Monroe are angels,” she asserts. Though my interview with York lasted three hours, she describes herself as “not a talker” and “very shy.” I found this an intriguing revelation because her stage presence suggests otherwise. “I conserve this energy,” she says. “And, when I’m doing the things that I love to do is when it comes out.


Your body is a container,” she says, referring to emotions and thoughts that only come out during a performance. She describes her vocal technique as evocatively talking through someone else’s lyrics. “So, I’m actually singing about life, about experiences, about love, and about the wonderment of it all.” Though a revered International Jazz Stylist who has performed for the Clintons, the Queen of Holland, and the King of Denmark, she also boasts a MS in Psychology and a Masters Certification in Music Therapy. In the end, York still considers herself the country girl from Strong, Arkansas. She’s a star, but not the kind that gets up in the morning to put on makeup or spend hours styling her hair and day’s outfit. “I don’t need to be dressed up to do this,” she says, with a confidence that speaks to her character. There are two constants that she makes sure to always encase her days with, and that’s love and music. “You can’t get around those,” she says. Though she has already lived a few lifetimes in one go, her zest for new experiences hasn’t subsided. And for a girl from Strong, Arkansas whose population nears 600 people, Coco York has made quite a mark on the world so far. “I just feel like there’s a universe. I want to be all of it. I want to be all up in it… It’s a hell of a lot of extraordinary.”

ULM Career Center

Collaborated with ULM School of Allied Health


HE ULM CAREER CENTER AND ULM SCHOOL OF Allied Health have collaborated to design and implement an innovative, multi-day program to train students in soft skills like professionalism, networking and communication. The program kicked off with a 3-hour interactive Skills Camp Workshop held on April 8 and culminated with a Professional Business Luncheon on April 12. “The faculty and staff within the School of Allied Health are dedicated to not only train their students to do well technically in their field, but to do well holistically in their field. We want our students to be skilled in their profession and to be professionally prepared to navigate the office,” said Dr. Donald Simpson, dean of the College of Health Sciences. The purpose of the workshop was to create a meaningful, handson student experience that would enhance soft skills for confident interactions with healthcare community leaders at the networking event. One hundred fifty-three health sciences students – including representatives from the dental hygiene, health studies, kinesiology, medical laboratory science, occupational therapy assistant, radiologic technology and speech-language pathology programs – learned about dining etiquette, professional dress and career readiness. “I enjoyed collaborating with the ULM Career Center staff in designing this workshop — our collaborative efforts brought together different skills, expertise and talents that resulted in a very successful session for our students,” said Dr. Jessica Dolecheck, program director of health studies. The workshop was based on the National Association of Colleges and Employers competencies that employees value the most: collaboration, professionalism, communication and problem-solving. “This interactive workshop provided students with experiences in improving and practicing non-technical skills needed for life and career success. Improving and mastering these skills will have a positive impact on entry into their careers and overall future,” said Dr. Paula Griswold, associate dean of the College of Health Sciences. Students rotated through three different sessions with topics including developing and practicing an elevator pitch, dining etiquette and place settings and roleplaying various work-place scenarios. The following week 250 students, faculty, alumni and professionals networked at a Bayou Pointe luncheon, where students exercised their newfound skills. Armed with questions and discussion points, students sat with leaders from their disciplines, which allowed for meaningful dialogue about careers in their field. The purpose of this business luncheon was for students to gain knowledge and application of appropriate business etiquette, interpersonal communications and networking with healthcare professionals in their discipline. The Professional Business Luncheon struck a chord with students, community leaders and faculty. “Our Professional Luncheon provided a meaningful way for our students to learn what employees are seeking in their workforce, the types of careers in their field and overall, valuable life skills needed for a successful career,” Dolecheck said. The luncheon was sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield Louisiana, Vantage Health Plan, GO CARE Community Health Center, St. Francis Medical Center, Omega Diagnostics, CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Hospital, Dr. Susan Lacey, Dr. Terry Thomas, LabCorp, Wellstar and ULM Radiologic Technology.





not eat.” I am not sure how others I REMEMBER something may react to this approach, but I that my father taught me and have no doubt that it works with my siblings, something that me! I do like to eat! impacted my life as a youngster The dignity of hard work was and continues to influence my recognized and exalted during behavior. He taught us that “a the reformation and continues to job worth doing is a job worth be a hallmark of our capitalistic doing well.” I suspect that if economy. One of the biggest every father had instructed his threats that confronts our nation in offspring with those or similar this post-pandemic period is that words, the health of the economy so many who were out of work of our nation and the stability of during Covid, have been hesitant our society would be significantly in returning to the work force. improved. Only a casual look at I have no doubt but that a the way many go about handling little Christian work ethic would their responsibilities will make it “WHATEVER YOUR HAND FINDS TO be helpful in dealing with this evident that this important lesson DO, DO IT WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT.” predicament. The Bible also has has been left out of the education something to say to those who of many, or even most of our ECCLESIASTES 9:10 refuse to give diligence to their citizens. work – Proverbs 6:6 – “Go to the My own experience has been ant, you sluggard; consider his ways and be wise.” If it takes an ant that the more effort I give to a task, the better the results that I experience. And to the contrary, when I have been lackadaisical in to show us that a job worth doing is a job worth doing right, let’s be my undertakings, the outcome has been less than satisfactory. This, I thankful for the ant! Because of my Father’s influence on my life, I have tried to imagine, is pretty much universally true. In fact, it has been observed that those who give their best to their endeavors seem to be blessed emulate him in encouraging my two children to give their best, no with unusual “good luck!” Well, it is not luck but hard work that matter what the challenges or opportunities might be. Fortunately, they responded to my encouragement with more discipline that I gets the positive outcomes. I have the privilege of being in regular contact with individuals who have experienced noticeable success in did relative to my Father’s efforts, and the result is that they both are their vocations and in their lives in general. Without exception, each having useful, satisfying careers. Furthermore, they are raising my grandchildren to have productive lives. of these has demonstrated a consistent diligence in every endeavor. As Father’s Day approaches, let us keep this in mind: Blessed is They are successful because they “do their jobs well.” Disciplined work is not only something that makes sense and the home that has a father who works diligently to provide for his family and who teaches his children the wisdom of disciplined work. that produces good results, it is also a principle that is widely taught Such fathers surely merit our highest praise. And our heavenly Father in the scripture and that is one of the pillars of the Christian faith. who said of Jesus, “This is my Son in Whom I am well-pleased,” also A verse that has instructed my life is found in Ecc.9:10 – “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” The Bible also has commendations for fathers who teach their children to do their gives an antidote for those who reject the Scriptural injunction to tasks well. May our commendations be added to His as we wish do one’s work well: II Thess. 3:10 – “If a man will not work, he shall “Happy Father’s Day” to the fathers in our families.

ar t i c le b y PAUL L I PE o p in io n e x p re s s e d is t h a t o f t h e w r it e r 132 JUNE 2022 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

Delta Community College Hats and Horses Derby Louisiana Delta Community College Foundation held its first annual Hats and Horses Derby fundraiser on May 7, 2022 in the Advanced Technology Center on the main campus in Monroe. Refreshing mint juleps were served, appetizers from Chef Corey Bahr’s restaurant Parish were enjoyed all while derby goers bid on silent auction items. Everyone sported magnificent derby outfits and custom made hats for the occasion. Watching the race was no exception, while watching the long shot win it all. The LDCC Foundation fundraiser was a ton of fun and you won’t want to miss next year’s event.


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On the BayouScene

1 Bobby Graham, Michael Anderson and Bob Lenox 2 Mary Logan, Kyle and Wendi Tostenson 3 Amanda Edge and Mike Walsworth 4 Anthony Tate and Stewart Ewing 5 Ashley Letsinger and James Carroll 6 Beverly Lewis and Gwen Amelin 7 Chris and Dorobeth Windham 8 Diane and Kenneth Tabulog 9 Don and Shelley Simpson 10 Hannah Livingston and Drew Hardee 11 Jamil and Jack Norman 12 Josh and Caleb Etheridge 13 Kandice Hunter and Bret Sanders 14 Kelsea McCrary and Kris Kelly 15 Randy and LaNell Esters 16 Shelia Hatten, Cathy Morris, Amanda Edge and Patty Fuller 17 Josalind Lumpkins, Herdrea Brice and Sophie Brice 18 Roy and Beth Heatherly 19 Madison Tate and Missy Amy





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Dragon Boat Festival The boats returned to Bayou DeSiard for another year, in what has quickly become one of Monroe’s signature events. The Bayou DeSiard Dragon Boat Festival was held May 14, and spectators turned out to watch teams compete for the top prize–bragging rights as the top Dragon Boat team of the year. Altitude Trampoline Park, Choice Brands, Entergy, DB Real Estate, KTVE & KARD, Southern Beverage Company, The Toggery, Homeland Bank, The Key and Union General Hospital were the Premier title sponsors of the Children’s Coalition of Northeast Louisiana’s main fundraising event for the year. Cold drinks were provided by local vendors and eats were served by various local food trucks. This year’s event was kicked off by a fun parade that includes the Neville Tiger Band and all of the dragon boat racers!





On the BayouScene

1 Cade and Tate Addcock 2 Cody and Lindsey Copeland and Ximena and Harold Scott 3 Kamie Samual, Theresa Lawson, Rosie Fields, Racine Bridges, Elania Washington, Deborah Tunrer and Cynthia Cage 4 Abby Seney and Caleb Seney 5 Brent Stovall and Jordan Walton 6 Katie and Cameron Murray 7 Alison Paulson and Victoria Williams 8 Tristan Hill, Jacks Ingram and Reagan Wagoner 9 Lakeisha Gix and Jasmine Harrison 10 Jeff Freeman and Sandra and Danny Fontenot 11 Shannon Embanato, Toni McCarty and Lori Taylor 12 S usan Chappell, Seth Hall Lisa Miller, Wootsie, Marion Willson and Denise Duplechin 13 Michelle Ashley and Ingrid and Tony Murphy 14 Sarah Drane, Brandon Williams and Allison Crews 15 Tony Arpino and Jason Ewing 16 Lanston Salsbury, Nick Harrison and Shonta Keys

















ONCE CONSIDERED ONLY A RECREATIONAL FOR aimless teenagers, skateboarding has since evolved into one of the fastest-growing and newly respected sports in the world. Its debut at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo (held in 2021 due to the pandemic) cemented the physical artform into the professional arena, duly demonstrating the versatility of its athletes. Take, for instance, Nishiya Momiji, the 13-year-old female skater that won the first-ever gold medal in the women’s street competition. Most skaters will tell you that the caliber of their athleticism is often dependent on the availability of skateparks, especially those providing a smooth surface and a variety of obstacles like half-pipes, ramps, and ledges. Though the sport originated in the United States, not many American cities are prioritizing these specific recreational areas, which have often carried the reputation of being seedy hangouts. Wanting to break the mold for their region, as no concrete parks exist within a 150-mile radius, Friends of Ruston Skatepark are on a mission to provide a purpose-built environment and public art experience in order to enhance their community’s quality of life, while also encouraging fitness and self-expression through skateboarding.


he original plan was that the city was going to build opportunity to take on sponsorships. Currently, their list of sponsors a skatepark in the pool,” informs Jessica Slaughter, is published on their website, alongside information about the six Program Manager of the nonprofit organization. levels of sponsorship available. These initial stages began around 2017. At that time, Their largest fundraising event took place last month. Titled the city’s old swimming pool had closed with no plans 50/50 Ruston, this online auction featured a number of customof reopening, so a group of skaters and professors at painted skateboard decks. The idea emerged when Joey was invited Louisiana Tech, one of which was Jessica’s husband Joey, worked to design and paint a skate deck for a fundraising auction organized together to develop their “dream” skatepark plans. The city then by Project LOOP, which aimed to raise funds to build a skatepark sent that to Hunger Skateparks based in Indiana, in Taylor, Texas. “Joey participated and loved the where the company prepared construction documents. experience,” says Slaughter. When one of the Project In order to spread “Everything was a go to start working on it. And then, LOOP members reconnected with Joey, they offered awareness and build the tornado came. And then, COVID came. And then, assistance for the Ruston project, encouraging him enthusiasm in the the hurricane came,” says Slaughter. The project got to organize an auction, as their event had proved community, the group put on the back burner for a while, but in the meantime, successful. The first step was to line up artists and began holding “skate calls kept coming in inquiring about the pending send them blank decks. They ended up having pockets jams,” immersive events timeline for the project’s construction. Pleasantly of artists from all over--Seattle, Austin, New York, where people of all ages surprised by the amount of outreach, Joey decided Georgia, Canada, and even Wales. Interested parties could take skateboarding to start a petition in order to gauge the community’s had their work cut out for them. Each completed deck lessons while enjoying interest. The Slaughters were expecting at least a couple maintains the aesthetic of the artist by way of color music and browsing art hundred signatures. In about six weeks, they had a palette, images, and even shape of the deck, which and food vendors. couple thousand. “So, that’s when the city said yes,” some artists took liberties with; for instance, one deck says Slaughter. Currently, Friends of Ruston Skatepark was shaped into a school paddle, with the message are collaborating with the City of Ruston, which has agreed to break “End school paddling!” painted in black and written in all caps. ground on Phase 1 of the project when $250,000 is raised. Another artist turned their slab of wood into a guitar while another In order to spread awareness and build enthusiasm in the constructed “something that looks like a fire extinguisher box,” says community, the group began holding “skate jams,” immersive events Slaughter. Another eye-catching board created by Jason Byron Nelson where people of all ages could take skateboarding lessons while features a Zues-looking man with antlers growing from his head, enjoying music and browsing art and food vendors. These events have styled with a red and black flannel shirt and gripping an ax. “It has drawn skaters from Shreveport and Monroe, giving the organization been so amazing,” she says, in awe at how each artist imprinted their a better idea of how many skaters occupied the area. “It’s been a really vision for their tremendous cause. “I mean, they’re all over the place.” beautiful thing… Every time we have greater attendance” informs Other pieces for auction were just as exclusive. Ruston native Slaughter. Finalizing their nonprofit paperwork brought in the Jeff Mangum, American singer/songwriter, best known for his band 138 JUNE 2022 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

Friends of Ruston Skatepark’s largest fundraising event took place last month. Titled 50/50 Ruston, this online auction featured a number of custom-painted skateboard decks. Photo by Buie Photography.

At right: Joey Slaughter assists in building a temporary ramp for the Friends of Ruston Skatepark “skate jam.”photo by Frank Hamrick. Friends of Ruston Skatepark hosted “skate jams,” where people of all ages were able to take skateboarding lessons. Photo above and at left by Sarah Dupree.



Guided by the understanding that skateboarding is a creative practice, Friends of Ruston Skatepark want the space they have diligently been working on for the past five years to be a space where their community can be inspired. Whether you’re a skater, an artist, or a curious bystander, the future home of skater boys and girls will be for everyone to come and enjoy. Photo by Frank Hamrick.

Neutral Milk Hotel, donated three signed records with his art on them. “They’re completely one-of-a-kind items. People are going crazy over them on the auction already,” says Slaughter. Other artists donated shirts, stickers, prints, cards, and “all kinds of other things.” “People… believe in it and want to help,” says Slaughter, who has been inspired by the number of contributors who have assisted in the success of 50/50 Ruston, many of whom have never set foot in the area. “It’s been a really beautiful thing.” One of the most coveted items in the bunch were decks signed by skateboarding pioneer, Tony Hawk. This monumental hookup occurred thanks to a connection the team had in Florida. This individual is not only well connected with the professional skating community in that area but hosts a podcast that, at the time, was having Hawk on as a guest. The result was Hawk signing a deck that Joey had designed, as well as a personally written note that he sent to Ruston. Another Hawk-centered deck was added, this one specially made for and featured in the documentary Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off (2022). “They made 100 Skateboard decks for the documentary, only 100,” says Slaughter. The filmmaker was doing a giveaway for one of those decks signed by Hawk, and thanks to the donation-seeking endeavors of one of their board members, they were able to receive one in time for the auction. The auction officially ended on Friday the 13th with a closing auction party held at the Ruston’s Farmers Market where many people came together to celebrate the $58, 138.46 raised (193.8% of their goal). 140 JUNE 2022 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

“We have plans to make this a public art space as well,” enthuses Slaughter. The concept renderings by Kevin Singh’s CDAC class at Louisiana Tech University School of Design reveal sectioned areas marked by grassy patches and cement borders where murals and sculptures will be displayed. “We’re excited about working with artists,” says Slaughter, who hopes the end result will be a “larger community experience.” From the initial stages of the project, art was always going to have a role. “There’s just a lot of crossover with skating and art and music,” she adds, explaining that skate culture has played an influential role for people who have transitioned into creative industries. For that reason, Friends of Ruston Skatepark have collaborated with other regional organizations like the Arts Council and the Ruston Farmers Market. Ruston is proud of the art scene the city has curated and wants to join in that tradition, as well as further its momentum. Guided by the understanding that skateboarding is a creative practice, Friends of Ruston Skatepark want the space they have diligently been working on for the past five years to be a space where their community can be inspired. Whether you’re a skater, an artist, or a curious bystander, the future home of skater boys and girls will be for everyone to come and enjoy. Visit the Friends of Ruston Skatepark Instagram page and website ( to learn more about how you can help make this project a reality.

50/50 for Ruston Fundraiser for Ruston Skatepark Friends of Ruston Skatepark celebrated the closing of their online auction, 50/50 for Ruston, on May 13 at Ruston Farmers Market. The community event included 200 skateboard decks created by artists, musicians, and skaters from across the US and beyond. The fundraiser also featured: live music and painting from Peelander Yellow and DJ Default Layer; food trucks Mi Meza Latin Cuisine and Peach City Rolled Ice Cream; screenprinting on site; Flying Tiger craft beer; a shop with prints, books, and signed music memorabilia; and skateboarding. Friends of Ruston Skatepark raised $63,000 through 50/50 for Ruston to put directly toward the construction of Ruston Skatepark.





Photos by Buie Photography

On the BayouScene

1 Mary Taylor Carwile, Stephanie Carwile, and Don and Julia Kaczvinsky 2 Brooke Cassidy, Frank Hamrick and Kacey Richard 3 Joe and Melanie Koskie, Van Stake. Kristi and Joel Stake 4 Victoria Smith, Ashley Kober and Stephen Kober 5 Amy Stegall, Dianne and Desi Bourgeois, Staci and Gary Faulkner 6 Logan Stevens, Jay Randle and Ashley Carey 7 Rae Tedeton and Alejandro Aristizabal 8 Nathan Hexom and Robert Brewer 9 Jack Marzullo and Reagan Munn 10 Abigayle Neel, Ashley Smith, Ashleigh Ogden, Megan Povirk and Jenna Roblee 11 Whit Mckaskle, Connor Pagans, Tyler Vallery and Aaron Holmes 12 Drék Davis and Erika McFarland 13 Jed and Corky Walpole 14 Amber Word and Tony Molina 15 Amy Stegall, Joey and Jessica Slaughter, and Chase Lenard














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Sierra Nevada Brewing Company New Beers from One of America’s Original Craft Brewers BY DELIA SIMPSON, CRAFT BRAND MANAGER, CHOICE BRANDS, INC.


EN GROSSMAN FOUNDED SIERRA NEVADA BREWING Company in 1980, with the goal of providing his customers with the kind of beer he liked to drink — hoppy, dark, and flavorful. What began in a 3,000 square foot warehouse in Chico, California is now a multi-brewery operation with beer distributed in all 50 states and overseas. Ken’s background in homebrewing, uncompromising commitment to quality, and financial savvy have helped him build one of the most successful craft breweries in the United States. Despite being one of the largest beer operations in the country, Sierra Nevada remains a family owned and run business. Grossman still plays a large role in the brewery’s day to day operations. Under his direction, Sierra Nevada has evolved from using second-hand dairy vessels to one of the most state-of-the-art facilities in the world. The continued expansion of the craft beer industry challenges Grossman to hold true to the company’s spirit of innovation, which helped change the drinking tastes of millions. When they began brewing at the end of 1980, with limited equipment, their production maxed out at 120 barrels a month, a little over 1,000 barrels a year. They quickly realized they would need to scale up if they were going to turn a profit. Ken worked a second job for a year or so and they added two more open fermenters and four more cellar tanks. By 1987, they had gained enough of a track record that they were able to convince a bank to loan them some money, along with friends and family. They started construction and opened what is the current facility in 1988. Sustainability has always been a goal for the company. In the Chico, California facility today, there is a lot of energy generation equipment. 15 years ago, they put in a megawatt of fuel cell power. At the time, it was the largest private installation in the U.S. They have since changed that out to 10 microturbines – 2 megawatts worth – with a bank of Tesla batteries. They have their own onsite storage and distribution network, which is coupled with more than 10,000 solar panels. The Chico facility produces almost 100 percent of its own energy. While Pale Ale has been available in our area for some time, there are some new beers on the horizon for us.

SIERRA NEVADA PALE ALE A craft original, this beer made hops famous and brought an industry back from extinction. Heavy on the hops has always been the plan. They loaded Pale Ale up with Cascade hops, which were new in 1980 when this beer was conceived. Named after the mountain range, they have intense aromas of pine and citrus. 5.6% ABV (Alcohol by Volume), 38 IBU (International Bitterness Units) SIERRA NEVADA HAZY LITTLE THING Juicy hops and silky malt meet in this hazy IPA. Oats and wheat, both malted and unmalted varieties, are critical to the recipe. The fermenters are chilled at slightly higher temperatures than normal, so the haze doesn’t fade. Filtering is skipped to package all the hazy flavor in its prime. 6.7% ABV, 35 IBU SIERRA NEVADA BIG LITTLE THING This anomaly of imperial IPA starts with the mash. More than just using a huge volume of malt, the grain is aggressively mashed to yield a higher ratio of fermentable vs. unfermentable sugars. This allows yeast to metabolize nearly all sugar, which both boosts the ABV and cuts the malt sweetness. At the same time, yeast and hops collaborate on their own magic. Dry hopping during active fermentation sparks biotransformation: yeast cells alter the chemical compounds in hops to unlock entirely new aromas—like the tropical wave that washes over Big Little Thing. 9% ABV, 45 IBU SIERRA NEVADA SUMMER BREAK IPA Jump into summer with a cannonball of hops. This Session Hazy IPA is brewed for long days of play. Go anywhere with hoppy notes of mango and passion fruit, backed by smooth malt flavor. Pair with your favorite summer dishes, like grilled mango chicken skewers. Summer Break is available through July. 4.6% ABV, 30 IBU Be sure to like Choice Brands on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram to keep up with new product releases. Feel free to message us for information on where to find your favorite brands. Find us at facebook. com/thechoicebrands,, and choicebrands. WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | JUNE 2022 143




f you live anywhere in the south, there is no other time that will get more boats cleaned up, tackle gathered and kids loaded for the one thing we all love to hear: They are on the beds. Panfish of every make will start in early April with the ritual of spawning or “bedding” on shallow banks all across the south. In Louisiana there are two primary types of “bream” or pan fish. These include the bull bream or male bream and of course the hearty chinquapin or red ears. The chinquapin normally start a little later and can be caught bedding around mid-April with the beds loaded fully when you near Mother’s Day in May. Although these two table fare favorites will hit just about any offering of bait or lure, let me help you lean the curve in your favor when chasing these feisty fighters. Bream fishing is how most young anglers start fishing. The set up is very simple with a cork/float/bobber, a light hook and a cane pole, ultralight or jig pole being the most common manner to fish. I started with a Zebco 33 long before ultralights were invented but the choice of tool mainly depends on whether you are bank fishing or boat fishing. Every lake in our area is loaded with bream. Some are better than others but the guaranteed places of my choosing are first Black Bayou in Monroe, Cheniere Lake in West Monroe and Poverty Point Reservoir in Delhi. These lakes seem to trend more to large “knee” bream. We call them knee bream because they are too large to grab with your hand and you have to put them between your knees to take them off of the hook. For chinquapin I’d choose Black Bayou Lake in Monroe hands down, for the big bedded chinquapin. In fact there is a point in Black Bayou named Chinquapin Point due to their love of this area to bed. Chinquapin differ from bream in their choice of bait. Worms, baby crawfish and beetle spins are the go to presentation. In lakes such as Caney (another favorite) the favorite technique is to tight line worms on the bottom of the shorelines. The trick is to located sandy bottoms which they dearly love. 144 JUNE 2022 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM

For bream, crickets cannot be beat. Bream will hit worms or grass shrimp as well but its hard to beat a good old home raised Armstrong Cricket when they are hungry. The largest difference in presentation is that chinquapin like a bait moved. Throw into the bed or near it and slightly move it and it turns them on. These fish are feisty and large and will certainly give a kid a thrill as they fight like a bass. Big bull bream are the same as they are protecting the bed and are tenacious fighters. There are some other tips I will share but remember in choosing a hook, buy long shank hooks which rarely break but will bend free when hung and are easier to retrieve from the fish’s mouth. Another trick is to use a weighted float. A weighted float comes in handy on windy days and the ability to cast accurately greatly increases when the float is weighted. In Florida, chinquapin are called “shell crackers.” They gained this name due to their love of fresh water mussels. One way to locate them in bunches is a guide trick from our Southern neighbor. Grab a 6 foot piece of PVC pipe. Ease into areas where you think the chinquapin may be and stick the pipe into the water and the end on the bottom. Put your ear to the pipe. You can actually hear the chinquapin crunching and popping on the mussels. It works like a charm. An old timer I know swears that when he pulls up to a bedding area for bream, he will beat the side of his boat with a paddle. He claims it runs off all the little bream and nothing stays but the big ones. I’m not a proponent of it as it just goes against my raising. If I did that my Pop would roll over in his grave and want to hit me with the paddle. Bream and chinquapin can be caught year round. They move much like crappie and will go from the shallow beds to the first cover near deep water. Their second favorite place to go is in the grass. And I mean IN the grass beds. My brother used to take a rake and ease it into the grass and make a hole. He would kill the big ones with this method as the grass holds every creature these pan fish desire from grass shrimp, crawfish and small minnows that they devour. The best days to pan fish are after a full moon when they are bedding. The full moon kicks off the spawning time and with the crawfish hatch, they will be hungry. Alternatively, a falling barometer always makes them aggressive. The number one killer on catching a bunch is high water. High water scatters pan fish and they will leave their beds. The second worst event is a cold front. Being shallow, they are susceptible to cooler temperatures. Nothing is more fun than landing on a huge bed of bream or chinquapin. There is not a better time to take a kid as the action is fast and furious. A few years ago, my son Andy and his son Cooper came to try them. Cooper was the kind that would fish for hours without a bite in a mud hole. We fished 64 minutes and had 59 big bream. We only stopped because Cooper said his arms were too tired. What a great memory and a great family time that you will never forget. So grab a pole and a bucket of crickets and come see what all the fuss is about. It is the easiest way to catch fish and these fish in a batter and grease cannot be beat.

Doc, When Can I Play Again? Young Athletes and Sports Related Injuries BY VAL IRION, MD


IDS PLAYING SPORTS IS GREAT. ACCORDING TO DR. Cynthia Bella, pediatric orthopedist at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, the benefits of sports participation include: • Increased socialization with their peers • Enhanced self-esteem • Fosters a child’s overall health and bone density • Reduces the risk of being overweight, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression and risk-taking behavior My wife and I have three young boys all playing sports, and it is a huge part of our family dynamic. Yet, children often do get hurt, and sometimes those injuries can sideline young athletes for months or an entire season and may sour them on participating in the future. The effects of sports injuries may even linger into adulthood. We hear a lot about young athletes having serious sports related injuries. Youth related sports injuries typically fall into two categories: • Acute traumatic injuries. These injuries include things like: fractures, sprains, concussions, and cuts and they typically result from a sudden blow or force. • Overuse injuries. These injuries are also called chronic injuries because they typically occur over time and are the result repetitive training and fatigue. Overuse injuries in young athletes can be just as damaging as acute injuries, especially if ignored or left untreated and we are seeing a lot of overuse injuries in young athletes. This in part stems from young athletes electing to drop seasonal sports and focus their energies on one sport year round. Using the same muscles over and over again results in forming muscle memory and when the body is called to react differently, the muscles don’t know how to react and this often results in injury. In addition, younger athlete’s muscles are still developing and this also puts them at greater risk for injury. Prevention of injuries in young athletes is a big issue among all youth sports organizations and a big concern for the American Orthopaedic Society of Sports Medicine (AOSSM). Several years ago, AOSSM initiated the STOP Sports Injury Program. STOP is an acronym for SPORTS TRAUMA AND OVERUSE PREVENTION in youth sport. The goal of AOSSM is to keep these young athletes out of the operating room and on the playing field.

Accurate diagnosis of a young athlete’s pain may require orthopedic expertise because pain from a repetitive motion injury may develop somewhere in the body other than the site of the injury. Knee pain, for example, could result from injury to the hip. When assessing a new patient following an injury, one of the most important things I can do is have a pretty detailed conversation with the young athlete and their parent(s) to help identify why they may be seeing me. I often ask them about what awards they have won, what championships, the best game, etc. We also talk about training, the hours, the time put into play. Once we review the information, it is often a wakeup call to the player and their family of how the injury could have occurred due to overuse and ultimately fatigue. Combine the personal history with a physical examination, and we are on the path to an accurate diagnosis and ready to discuss options. Although, surgery is sometimes the only option, operating on young athlete has special considerations. According to The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, “children’s bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments are still growing,” which makes them more susceptible to injury. Growth plates, the cartilage at the end of long bones where bone growth occurs, are especially susceptible to injury that could disrupt normal growth. “A twisted ankle that might result in a sprain in an adult, could result in a more serious growth plate fracture in a young athlete,” the organization emphasized. When a young athlete comes to see me in clinic following a sports related injury, inevitably, the first question they will ask is, “Dr. Irion, when do you think I can play again?” Unfortunately, the answer to that question is rarely quick or simple. Return-to-play answers can be controversial and confusing and often involve a lot people including parents, grandparents, coaches, trainers, and health care providers. It’s really important to keep an open mind, a well-rounded perspective, and make sure that young athlete understands his/her injury and what the safest and healthiest options are (surgical and non-surgical) to insure a healthy outcome. Let’s keep our young players healthy and injury free and remember, kids should not play through the pain… keep them safe and if you suspect a sports related injury, see your family doctor and/ or orthopedic sports medicine doctor. For more information about youth sports injury prevention, please visit: WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | JUNE 2022 145

BLEND A Fundraiser for NELA Arts Council On May 1st at the downtown Monroe Rivermarket BLEND presented by Northeast Louisiana Arts Council was held. Northeast Blend of the Bayou and North Delta Food & Wine Festival merged to become BLEND. Delicious food, great music, cool drinks, fantastic art all coming together to create an afternoon of fun in support of the arts in Region 8. Be ready May 7, 2023 for the next BLEND, the Biggest Party on the River! This great fundraising event benefits the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council.






On the BayouScene

1 Brad and Carmalita Castle 2 Eddie and Dana Milford 3 Paul and Leslie Murphy 4 Adrienne LaFrance-Wells and Melissa Baldwin 5 Laverne Bodron, Johnette and Steve Mintz 6 Max Clark, Lindsey Lowe and Nick Cardinale 7 Heather Yates and Jessica Grigson 8 Georgia Street and Tammi Arender 9 Jay Davis and Jill Carr 10 Leah and Mac Reitzell 11 Mary Kathryn McGuffee and Sarah Nerren 12 Delia Simpson and Scott Stone 13 Paul Gullette, Aaron Booth and Bart Lizenby 14 Mitchell Nerren, DJ Fortenberry and Kelsea McCrary 15 Ashley Ellis, Mark Napoli and Mayor Friday Ellis 16 Brad McGilton, Chef Jack Melson and Will Copeland 17 Clay Colvin, Lance and Eron Bethard, and Debora Colvin 18 Courtney Hornsby and Mayor Staci Mitchell 19 Chris and Brandi Brownlee Thomas






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Sip Simply This Summer Marsala Beverage Introduces NÜTRL Vodka Seltzer


UMMER IS HERE AND NÜTRL VODKA SELTZERS ARE changing the game. Refreshingly simple, tasty and uncomplicated. NÜTRL is gluten free with natural flavors, no added sugar and just 100 calories. Best when served chilled and perfect for the hot summer days. You’re probably thinking, “another seltzer?” but hear us out. NÜTRL is vodka-based and made with just three ingredients: vodka, seltzer and real fruit juice. NÜTRL Vodka Seltzer is a tasty, sessionable beverage that is unpretentious and uncomplicated. The gluten-free drink, which recently launched in the U.S., boasts a simple and straightforward recipe: real vodka, real juice and real seltzer, nothing else. NÜTRL is available in four flavors — pineapple, raspberry, and watermelon — and contains 4.5% alcohol inside a 355mL can, with no added sugar. In total, each can contains only 100 calories and 2.4g of sugar. Pineapple: NÜTRL Vodka Seltzer Pineapple is a refreshing light, low 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 you 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. Locally, Marsala Beverage employs about 100 full-time employees. Marsala Beverage, LP is the largest malt beverage, wine/spirits, and non-alcoholic distributor in Northeast Louisiana. Their success is based on the fact that they never lose sight of delivering what is really important – quality products, timely service and a genuine concern for our customers’ needs. Annually, they deliver over 2.4 million cases of beverages to over 700 retail accounts. Please find us at or follow us on social media: Facebook: Marsala Beverage Twitter: @marsalabeverage1 Instagram: @marsalabeverage WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | JUNE 2022 147

Ellender Campaign Event Huge Success Judge Danny Ellender kicked off his campaign for Court of Appeal with a fundraiser at the home of Jennifer and Tap Parker. Traci Canterbury and Stephanie Smith arranged the decorations and flowers. Choice Brands and Marsala Beverage provided the beverages and Thurman’s Food Factory catered the event..

On the BayouScene

1 Stephanie and Nat Smith 2 Nathan Ryan, Danny Ellender and Maggie Ellender 3 John Miller, Kelly and Paul Coburn, Wallace Hardy and John Belton 4 Jordan Chappell and Christopher Ellender 5 Darren and Tracy Oglesby and Paige King 6 Katie and Cameron Murray 7 David Hampton and Mennon Campbell 8 Sherry Mahaffey and Nick Anderson 9 Ann Marie Ellender and Isabella Moore 10 Robbie, Angela and Clara McBroom 11 Mike Tubbs and Jennifer Clark 12 W ilson and Kathryn Barham with Cullen and Molly Clark 13 Tap and Jennifer Parker and Danny and Amy Ellender 14 John Belton and Christian Creed 15 Mike and Diana Breen 16 Mayor Staci and Jay Mitchell and Danny Ellender

















Wine Over Water Wine Over Water took place on Thursday, April 21st on the campus of the University of Louisiana at Monroe on the beautiful ULM campus bridge. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana sponsored a patron party that was held on the 7th floor of the ULM Library, overlooking the beautiful campus. On the bridge guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and the sounds of the Troy Marks and the No Idea Band. With food from many local restaurants, wine provided by Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits and beer from Marsala Beverage, everyone danced the night away and took sunset boat rides on the bayou with B&L Marine. Proceeds from the event benefit the The Spirit of the Warhawk Endowed Scholarship, which is instrumental in attracting local scholars to ULM.





On the BayouScene

1 Cory Crowe and Baron Brandon 2 Callie Shermer, Ebony Watson, Pamela Saulsberry and Cindy Foust 3 Colby Petch, Jill Young, Todd and Bianca Hebert 4 Dixie Rawlins and Kristen Wolkart 5 Jessica Holley and Glen Lewellyan 6 Ashley and Marc Able 7 Connie Bell and Fran Miller 8 Nikki and Jeremy Tinnerello 9 Sarah Siereveld and Vee Dickey 10 Judy Wagoner, Tammi Arender and Gene Ponti 11 Sue and Nash Patel 12 Jeanne Mitchell, Dana Storey, Sheri Carter, Mindy Smith, Elizabeth Freeman, Cori Massey, Peggy Sullivan and Clesi Neitz 13 Stephen and Kristen Hill, Lisa and Lyle Miller 14 Will Copeland, Coach Bowden and Brad McGilton 15 Samuel and Krista Williams 16 Kerrigan May, Kerri Taylor, Madeline Kent and Nona Kent














THESE ARE A FEW OF THE BRIDE’S FAVORITE THINGS This month, we asked area retailers for bridal gift ideas. From servingware to beaded clutches, these local stores will have the upcoming bride taken care of.








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1 . W ASH I NG TO N W I NE & SPI RI TS 2. E L E V E N 2 6 B O U T I Q U E 3 . T H E M U F F I N T I N 4 . S T E V E ’ S J E WE L RY 5. DUSTY & CO M PANY 6. M ATERI AL TH I N G S 7 . R E V I V A L D E S I G N A N D C O N S I G N 8 . H O L L I S & C OM PAN Y 9. T HE G O O D DAZE 10. DUPO NT J E WE L E R S 1 1 . H E M L I N E M O N R O E 1 2 . H E R R I N G S T O N E ’ S 13 . W ALSW O RTH & CO M PANY 14 . B L U S H B Y S A D I E C ’ S 1 5 . P A L E T T E H O U S E A N D P L U M E



Searching for the perfect look for a summer wedding? Choose an outfit that is cool, yet classically elegant. Find these and more at area boutiques. PHOTOGRAPHY BY KELLY MOORE CLARK MUAH BY MEKA BENNETT


ELEVEN 26 BOUTIQUE Cut from stretch crepe, this mini dress has a fit-andflare silhouette framed by playful puff sleeves. Accessorize with these white dress platform heels and gold and glass choker.

SADIE C’S Dance the night away and look your best doing in flirty dress that has a oneshoulder asymmetrical neckline with a cutout. Pair with drop frosted stone earrings, and gold pumps.

HEMLINE MONROE This citrine mini is cut on the bias to give that perfect slip draping we’re all looking for. The top softly wraps around your neck for a flattering high neck and leaves a dramatic open back. Accessorize with a beaded butterfly clutch, and pink, clear statement party mule.

HERRINGSTONES This structured fabric shapes this chic dress with a scoop neckline and low cut back with a statement removable bow. Pair with the ultimate diamante encrusted statement heel and Kendra Scott earrings.

DUSTY & COMPANY Jump into wedding season in this fun and flirty tiered dress with textured detailing. Accessorize with stackable beaded bracelets and rhinestone hoop earrings.

PALETTE HOUE AND PLUME Beautiful in blue. Mallory looks stunning in this placket v-neck short sleeve midi tunic dress in washable viscose sateen. Pair it with gold palmetto leaf earrings by Sue Sartor and a double chain necklace.

THE GOOD DAZE This vintage floral dress with flouncy hemline is super feminine and flattering. Accessorize with white, round toe heels with gold accents and gold earrings.

Leadership Transition

Announced for St. Francis Medical Center


T. FRANCIS MEDICAL CENTER PRESIDENT, KRISTIN Wolkart, RN, will be leaving St. Francis Medical Center to assume the role of Executive Vice President, Chief Nursing Officer for the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Health System (FMOLHS), parent organization for St. Francis Medical Center. Thomas Gullatt, M.D., currently serving as the Chief Medical Officer at St. Francis, has been named President for the North Louisiana Market which includes St. Francis Medical Center. Richard Vath, M.D., FMOLHS President and CEO said, “I am pleased to have leaders of this caliber as both Dr. Gullatt and Kristin will be instrumental in guiding essential elements of our organization. Their gifts and talents are invaluable both to our Monroe market and the system as a whole. These moves, effective June 5th, complement my strategic vision for our system future which emphasizes high performance and high value throughout our Catholic healthcare ministry.” Dr. Gullatt has served the FMOLHS ministry since 2004 when he began the Hospital Medicine Intensivist program at St. Francis. As a board-certified Pulmonologist, he has been instrumental in the expansion of the Intensivist role at St. Francis as well as its integration into the overall care model for St. Francis Medical Center and Medical Group. Dr. Gullatt currently serves as President of the St. Francis Medical Group, Chief Medical Officer for the medical center, and Designated Institutional Officer for St. Francis’ entry into academic medicine. Dr. Gullatt completed his medical training at LSU Medical Center in Shreveport including both Residency in Internal Medicine and Pulmonary Fellowship. A registered nurse and fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives, Wolkart has served the northeast region since being named Market President in 2014. She first joined the organization in 1995 at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Gonzales and later transitioned in 2007 to serve the broader health system organization leading nursing informatics as well as special projects. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Nursing from LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans and a Master’s in Healthcare Administration from Kennedy-Western University. Wolkart has been an active member of the Monroe community building partnerships to help strengthen one of the most challenging healthcare markets in Louisiana. Health System Chief Operating Officer Kevin Cook adds, “Dr. Gullatt’s confident presence and leadership during the pandemic earned the respect of both physician peers and the broader system team and I’m impressed with his knowledge of the Monroe region and our continued opportunities to serve the community. Likewise, Kristin is a proven expert in continual performance improvement and transformation and we welcome her unique insights for our integrated operations and our nurses today and beyond.” “I am excited for these changes and confident in the contributions Dr. Gullatt and Kristin will continue bringing to our ministry. Both of these colleagues are enthusiastically committed to our mission, service excellence and the people of Louisiana and Mississippi,” added Dr. Vath.


Calendar of Events For a full list of event happenings in Northeast Louisiana, see our website at June 1 - 30 Juneteenth 2022: Free & Empowered Call for Art The Board of Directors at the Northeast Louisiana Delta African American Heritage Museum is planning an art festival for our 2022 Juneteenth celebration. The theme is "Juneteenth 2022: Free and Empowered." The festival's focus will be on the region's young and not so young, lesser known and unknown artists. We are inviting all lesserknown artists to showcase their talent; however, participants must enter their work to be considered. There are four categories for entry: Elementary, Jr. High, High School, and Adult. Venue: Northeast Louisiana Delta African American Heritage Museum, 1051 Chennault Park Dr, Monroe Phone: (318) 342-8889 June 1 Summer Kick Off It's time to get the summer fun started with the Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum! Lots of extra activities, crafts and more will be going on throughout the day and it ends with a Summer Family Movie in the front lot. Hours: 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM Venue: Northeast Louisiana Children's Museum, 323 Walnut Street, Monroe Phone: (318) 361-9611 June 2 Downtown Gallery Crawl It's time to Crawl! Come and celebrate and experience the work of talented local artists while enjoying the warmth and charm of locally owned shops, businesses and eateries in Historic Downtown Monroe and West Monroe. Hours: 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM Venue: Historic Downtown Monroe and West Monroe Phone: (513) 857-1292 June 3 - 5 Southern Nationals and RC Show Ready, Set, Go! Head out to the Ike Hamilton Expo for thrilling races

at the Southern Nationals! Venue: Ike Hamilton Expo, 501 Mane Street, West Monroe June 3 Acts of Faith: Forward Together Opening Reception The Collector and Artists will be in the Gallery along with Coke floats and refreshments in the Welcome Room. The Garden will also be open during the reception. The exhibit features 60 works from Will and Cheryl Sutton’s African American Spiritual Art collection. Hours: 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM Cost: Free Venue: Biedenharn Museum and Gardens, 2006 Riverside Dr, Monroe Phone: (318) 387-5281 June 4 Louisiana Peach Festival Ruston’s biggest event all year, the 72nd Annual Louisiana Peach Festival will feature live entertainment, a local arts market, free kids’ activities, area food vendors, fresh peaches, and more. Time: 9:00 AM -11:00 PM Cost: Free from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, After 5:00 PM- $10 for adults; $5 for Children (4 and younger free all day) Venue: Railroad Park, 101 N Trenton St, Ruston Phone: (318) 255-2031 4th Annual Community Health & Wellness Expo The largest health and wellness expo in North Louisiana! Your onestop shop for healthcare, fitness, and nutrition education. Hours: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM Cost: Free Venue: Monroe Civic Center, 401 Lea Joyner Exwy, Monroe Phone: (318) 791-5074 Downtown Throwdown Join Louisiana Purchase Council Boy Scouts of America for the Inaugural Louisiana Purchase Council Boy Scouts of America “Downtown Throwdown” cornhole tournament! This is a fun-filled event for the whole family. Proceeds directly benefit


our local Scouting programs in the Louisiana Purchase Council, BSA. Hours: 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM Cost: $100 per Team Venue: Flying Heart Brewing & Pub, 204 Commerce St, West Monroe Beaux Atkins Live at Trapp's Trapp's is proud to present live music from Beaux Atkins! Hours: 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM Venue: Trapp’s 113 S Riverfront St, West Monroe Phone: (318) 272-5990 Gin Mobsters Live at Brass Monkey Gin Mobsters will be jamming at Brass Monkey! Hours: 9:00 PM - 11:30 PM Venue: Brass Monkey Pub & Patio, 521 Desiard St, Monroe June 4 – 5, 10 -11 Monroe Symphony League Book Sale The Monroe Symphony League Book Sale consists of gently used books, magazines, and more. Two buildings are full of hardbacks, magazines, paperbacks, fiction, and non-fiction. Many books and magazines priced 25-50 cents. Also included are records, CDs DVDs, sheet music, art prints, puzzles and much more. Proceeds support the projects of the MSL. Hours: Sat- 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM; Sun-1 :00 PM – 5:00 PM Cost: $2 first day admission fee for adults; other days are free Venue: Monroe Symphony League, 320 North 4th St, Monroe Phone: (318) 537-5171 June 4, 11, 18, 25 Ruston Farmers Market Shop, eat, and support local at the Ruston Farmers Market. Choose from a wide selection of seasonal fruits and vegetables, meat, eggs, honey, jams, and other locally produced goods. Hours: 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM Cost: Free to attend Venue: Ruston Farmers Market, 220 E Mississippi Ave, Ruston Phone: (318) 957-1305

June 9 Downtown Rundown Join Fleet Feet and Flying Tiger Brewery every 2nd Thursday of the month for a free Fun Run/Walk! Hours: 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM Cost: Free Venue: Flying Tiger Brewery, 506 N 2nd St, Monroe Phone: (318) 855-3146 June 10 - 12 Big Creek Trade Days Big Creek Trade Days are held monthly on the weekend before the second Monday of the month with over 100 indoor and outdoor vendors, food trucks, and fun for all ages! Hours: Friday & Saturday 9:00 AM5:00 PM, Sunday 10:00 AM-4:00 PM Cost: $5 per vehicle for the weekend Venue: 327 California Plant Rd, Dubach Phone: (318) 680-1304 June 10, 11, 17, 18 Funkin’ Dead Strauss Theatre Center invites you to a wild night of dancing, murder, and FUNK at Strauss Theatre Center as they present the murder mystery comedy Funkin’ Dead. Watch as the police try to take down one of the city’s biggest drug dealers, all while dancing divas and disco dudes show off their moves. Hours: Cost: $50 Venue: Strauss Theatre Center, 1300 1/2 Lamy Ln, Monroe Phone: (318) 812-7922 June 11 - 12 West Monroe Gun Show Bring your gun and trade for the gun you always wanted. See the hundreds of displays of new and old guns, ammo, gun parts, books, knives, jewelry, camouflage, militaria, and related items at discount prices! Cost: Adults $8; Kids 6-11 $2; Under 6 Free Venue: West Monroe Convention Center, 901 Ridge Ave, West Monroe Phone: (985) 624-8577

June 11 National Amateur Disc Golf Tour Divisions must have at least 3 participants. If enough competitors have not registered for a division 2 weeks prior to the event, those players may be provided the option of a full refund or moving to another division. Hours: 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM Venue: Chennault Park Golf Course, 8475 Millhaven Rd, Monroe Phone: (337) 525-8420

June 16 - 18 Miss Louisiana The Miss Louisiana Organization is proud to announce the 59th Annual Miss Louisiana Competition to be held in Monroe on June 16th18th at the Monroe Civic Center’s W.L. Jack Howard Theater. Young ladies from across the Bayou State will compete for the coveted title of Miss Louisiana. Venue: Monroe Civic Center, 401 Lea Joyner Exwy, Monroe

Children's Funday The Biedenharn Museum & Gardens invites you and your kiddos to Children's Funday of 2022! This session's theme is Whirlygigs and Tops! Hours: 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM Cost: $5 Venue: Biedenharn Museum and Gardens, 2006 Riverside Dr, Monroe Phone: (318) 387-5281 June 15 Summer Film Series: The Whole Gritty City Gearing up for the fifth year, Northeast Louisiana Arts Council has selected a collection of topnotch shorts and feature films for this year’s series. The Whole Gritty City is a unique, fascinating window into the little-known world of New Orleans school marching bands. This dramatic, music-filled documentary follows kids in three bands as the directors get them ready to perform in the Mardi Gras parades and teach them to succeed and to survive. Hours: 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM Cost: Free Venue: Flying Tiger Brewery, 506 N 2nd St, Monroe Phone: (318) 397-6717 June 15 - 18 Ruston Community Theatre presents Frozen Jr. Visit Downtown Ruston's Dixie Center for the Arts to view Disney's Frozen reenactment this from RCT’s kids. Sure to be hit for the whole family and children of all ages. Showtimes: June 15th @ 7:00 PM, June 16th @ 7:00 PM, June 17th @ 10:00 AM & 7:00 PM, June 18th @ 10:00 AM & 7:00 PM Cost: Adults - $14, Students - $7 Venue: Dixie Center for the Arts 212 N Vienna St. Ruston Phone: (318) 255-1450

June 18 Super Saturday The Children’s Coalition opens the gates to the Origin Bank Family Garden every third Saturday of the month to host Super Saturday, featuring garden-based activities for children and adults, early childhood activities in the outdoor learning center, healthy cooking demonstrations using fresh produce grown locally, and community resources and volunteer opportunities. Hours: 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM Venue: Origin Bank Family Garden, 127 Hall St, Monroe Phone: (318) 323-8775 Gin Mobsters Live at Enoch’s Irish Pub Gin Mobsters will be back jamming at Enoch’s Irish Pub. Come hang out with the Mobsters and free your mind! Hours: 9:00 PM - 11:30 PM Venue: Enoch's Irish Pub, 507 Louisville Ave, Monroe

June 17 - 18 Red White & Blue Airshow Don't miss this exciting air show at the Monroe Regional Airport featuring the Air Force Demo Team F16 Viper, The Golden Knights, Aeroshell Team, Jelly Belly Team, Kevin Coleman, Charlotte's Chariot, and Frank Kimmel's Corsair. Enjoy a Friday Twilight Show or all-day action on Saturday. And don't forget to check out the Car Show featuring Classics, Antiques, Truck Antiques, Modifieds, and Military Vehicles. Hours: Fri- 4:00 PM – Until; Sat- 9:00 AM - Until Cost: Friday Twilight Show: $35 general; $100 VIP Saturday: $20 adults; $10 ages 4-12 and Military, $100 VIP; Children 3 & under are free Venue: Monroe Airport, Monroe Phone: (318) 602-4533 June 17 - 19 Bayou Trade Days Flea Market Join Bayou Trade Days Flea Market for their second event in June! Enjoy shopping, fun, and great food! Venue: Bayou Trade Days, 7890 Desiard St, Monroe Phone: (318) 805-2022

Emo Night Watch Matressi play new songs from their album and covers from Panic! At The Disco, My Chemical Romance, Blink-182, All Time Low, and more! Hours: 9:00 PM - 11:30 PM Cost: $5 Venue: Brass Monkey Pub & Patio,521 Desiard St, Monroe June 19 The Funny Father's Day Comedy Show featuring Bruce Bruce and Friends Bruce Bruce is a name synonymous with keeping audiences rolling with laughter thanks to his captivating improv skills and larger than life comedic style. Bruce’s steady style of comedy has been showcased across the country, and he has been entertaining audiences young and old, and of all backgrounds, for years. His wit, spontaneity and dazzling personality set him apart from other standup comedians. Although Bruce is known for his adult comedy, he prides himself on not using vulgarity to win a laugh and is no stranger in winning over new audiences with every appearance he makes. Hours: 8:00 PM - Until Cost: $60 Venue: Monroe Civic Center, 401 Lea Joyner Exwy, Monroe

June 23 Pub Run at Flying Heart Brewing Join Fleet Feet Monroe every 4th Thursday of the month at Flying Heart Brewing! Hours: 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM Cost: Free Venue: Flying Heart Brewing & Pub, 204 Commerce St, West Monroe Phone: (318) 855-3146 June 24 Ouachita Live Join Downtown West Monroe at Ouachita Live! With great local food trucks and great music, it's sure to be a great time! Hours: 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM Cost: Free Venue: Alley Park, 250 Trenton Street, West Monroe June 25 Pelican Head Painting Class The Art Alley Marketplace will guide you step-by-step through painting your own pelican on canvas! Hours: 1:00 PM - 3:30 PM Cost: $60 Venue: Art Alley Marketplace, 131 Art Alley, Monroe Phone: (318) 547-1611 June 30 – July 3 Louisiana Firecracker The Louisiana Firecracker is 4-game guarantee event, hosted a LaTech, ULM, SSC, and surrounding high school venues. This event will feature full social media coverage, player of the game (top performer) recognition, and tournament champion awards. 2Dsports will maximize player coverage through our social media channels which are followed by colleges across the country. Cost: $10/day; $5 Senior/Military Venue: Sterlington Sports Complex, 1290 LA-136, Sterlington