BayouLife Magazine June 23

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Flair Jewelers, Marty & Mark’s and Steve’s Jewelry show off some of the best wedding rings of the year. These sparkling settings are undeniably gorgeous.


Thurman’s Food Factory created a 4-layer wedding cake with delicious buttercream frosting, edible gold flakes and thoughtfully placed roses.


Treat your wedding party to a brunch box on the Big Day. Add canned bubbles, orange juice, fresh fruit, bagels and jam for a unexpected treat.


Serving up his and hers cocktails is a fun and playful way to add a personalized touch to your nuptial celebration.


The Sirmons are working with the City of Monroe to raise money for an inclusive playground at Forsythe Park.


The perfect gifts for Father’s day from local retailers.


There are some people who are destined to make the world a better place. Dewana Little is one of those people.

120 / AMTRAK

APRIL 2018


Steve Porter does not want you to put him in a box. Not that it would be easy to do. His work, spanning multiple mediums, has been called surrealist by some and abstract by others.


In an attempt to extend their love of coffee to West Monroe, Madison Corey Coates, and his wife Kaylea Coates recently opened Corner Coffee + Provisions.

The Amtrak trains will stop in the historic downtowns of Jackson, Vicksburg, Monroe, Ruston, and Shreveport.


These outfits are perfect for celebrating on the Big Day. Not only are these standout silhouettes chic but will allow you to celebrate if an all-night dance party is on the itinerary.


From romantic gowns to sleek tuxedos, these looks are perfect for your wedding day. Find these and more at area retailers.


Thomas H. Scott Awards of Excellence reception was held Thursday, May 11th at the Monroe Civic Center.

127 32 JUNE 2023 78

Softball, softball and more softball. If anyone is wondering where I’ve been the last few months, I’ve been at the softball fields. It’s funny when you get to a point in your life when you truly understand the sacrifices your own parents made. My mom and dad were at swim meets most weekends, and now I’m at softball tournaments most weekends. I’m thankful for the time and money my parents invested in me. This month is Father’s Day, and with that, I do want to tell my dad how much I love him. I’m so appreciative that I had a father that truly cared about the person I would grow up to be. I’m thankful to know that if I ever need something, he’d still drop everything to help me. Happy Father’s Day, Dad. All of our BayouLife family wishes their dads the best day: Wade Coker, Mike Flemister, Reagan Wise, Seth Thomas, Marty Bryan, Butch Tolbert, Jack Green and Trent Livingston.

In this month’s bridal issue, you’ll find beautiful wedding dresses on page 134, as well as the perfect outfits for wedding guests. Find this on page 127. You can also find ideas for wedding cakes, signature cocktails, bouquets and some of our favorite engagement rings.

On page 52, Hillary Sirmon talks with BayouLife about her efforts to raise funds for an all-inclusive playground at Forsythe Park which would not only benefit children playing there, but would also offset some of the funding for other playgrounds in our area. Read more about how you can help in this fundraising effort.

I remember scrolling through my Facebook page and running across an artist that was collaborating on dress that he was painting for a designer. I went to his page and starting looking


1201 Royal Avenue Monroe, LA 71201 Phone 318.855.3185


PUBLISHER & OWNER Cassie Livingston

through his artwork and really loved some of the unique works that he had produced. That man is this month’s BayouArtist, Steve Porter. StevePorter does not want you to put him in a box. Not that it would be easy to do. His work, spanning multiple mediums, has been called surrealist by some and abstract by others. Porter just says it’s his. Read more about him on page 94. I met our icon years ago when one of my graphic designers was working with the Miss Louisiana Organization. As we approach the 60th year, we thought it was fitting to feature the executive director, Dewana Little. She has worked tirelessly in rural healthcare and in providing scholarships for women through the Miss Louisiana and Miss America organizations. Her work in these seemingly different fields has helped countless individuals young and old strive to do their best. Because of her exemplary career in healthcare for the elderly and her leadership in helping young women realize the possibilities that education can afford, Dewana Little is our June 2023 Bayou Icon. Read more on page 104.

We hope you enjoy reading this month’s issue of BayouLife Magazine




Katelyn McAllister

Courtney Thomas

Cait Wise

ART DIRECTOR Taylor Bennett



Darian Atkins

Dan Chason

Kenny Covington

Shannon Dahlum

Cindy Gist Foust

Starla Gatson

Paul Lipe

Erin Love

Meredith McKinnie

Georgiann Potts

Delia Simpson

Beatrice A. Tatem Vanelis Rivera

Judy Wagoner

Guy Miller

Marshall Hanie, MD

Emma Stone

Kerry Heafner

Laura Clark


Monica Boudreaux

Taylor Cutrer

Abby Wimberly

Cassie Porche

Trish Kirkland Photography


Kelli Neal wears a wedding dress from Blue Sparrow Bridal Co.

Photography by Kelly Moore Clark

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


Ring Leaders


1. Marty & Mark’s 2. Marty & Mark’s 3. Marty & Mark’s 4. Marty & Mark’s 5. Flair Jewelers 6. Flair Jewelers 7. Flair Jewelers 8. Marty & Mark’s 9. Steve’s Jewelry 10. Flair Jewelers 11. Flair Jewelers 12. Marty & Mark’s PHOTOGRAPHY BY KELLY MOORE CLARK
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

“On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous”

“Because something in him knew she’d be there. That she was waiting. Because that’s what mothers do. They wait. They stand still until their children belong to someone else.”

Ocean Vuong’s memoir is equal parts harrowing and gorgeous, as evident in its title. I was drawn to Vuong’s work after hearing the poet interviewed on a podcast. His memoir reads much like his whispery voice sounds, echoing with truth and faint optimism yet immersed in layers of oppression. Born in Vietnam, but raised in Hartford, Connecticut by his mother and grandmother, Vuong struggles to manage his loved ones’ mental illnesses. His mother suffers from PTSD due to the American napalm raids on Saigon in her childhood, while his grandmother Lan battles schizophrenia. Though Vuong does not shy away from the grisly details of such a tenuous upbringing, the resounding emotion of this complicated dynamic is love, deep familial love. The author explores the tension of loving someone deeply while coming to terms with how and why love often hurts.

The memoir delves back in time, narrating the story that preceded his birth, showing the hardships the Vietnamese encountered during the war and the lasting scars that afflicted the generations that followed the survivors. The memoir is written to his mother in a letter, ironically one she can’t read due to her illiteracy.

In the opening scene, Vuong and his mother stop at a gas station to relieve themselves and his mother stares at the taxidermy buck above the restrooms, shocked at the permanence of such a practice, idolizing the death of a hunted animal. Vuong returns to this theme of the hunted throughout the memoir, relating it to the plight of immigrants in America, longing for freedom but confined by economic and social restraints. The author longs for visibility, to be seen instead of stereotyped, craving the individualism long denied the othered. To be Vietnamese in America is to be defined by somewhere else, a cage of sorts, that one forever tries to escape. As an outsider, Vuong views the idea of American exceptionalism from the perspective of the unaccepted:

“Too much joy, I swear, is lost in our desperation to keep it.”

This book wrecked me in a soul-filling way. I read it in pieces, as each anecdote required time and reflection to fully digest. I kept thinking about the difference between sympathy and empathy, feeling for someone as opposed to feeling with them. Vuong’s writing submerses readers in the experience, never letting them up for air. He forces us to contemplate what it means to find hope and purpose amidst suffocation. This love affair with language on the page, as only a poet can manifest, weaves tragedy and beauty in this stunning articulation of generational trauma.

“Because the sunset, like survival, exists only on the verge of its own disappearing. To be gorgeous, you must first be seen, but to be seen allows you to be hunted.”

bayou PAGES


June is traditionally the month most associated with weddings. It is without question that in June 1945 matrimony was very much on the minds of a hundred thousand or so people in Europe.

The war in Europe ended in May 1945 with the death of Hitler and the subsequent surrender of the German military. America’s young soldiers and sailors in Europe had been away from home a long time and in their companionship with local women many found love.

Most Europeans easily accepted and encouraged friendships with the Americans. Women of war-ravaged Britain found American soldiers’ carefree, happy-go-lucky demeanor irresistible. The liberated people of continental Europe saw Americans as nothing short of heroes. Americans also seemed so wealthy in comparison to destitute Europe with seemingly unending supplies of food, chocolates, cigarettes, and stockings. But many European parents did not want their daughters dating American soldiers much less marrying these foreigners. Back home, single American women were upset with the idea of “their” men dating foreign women and bringing home foreign brides. The U.S. military believed family responsibilities would be a distraction that impaired the effectiveness of their purpose and mission. Accordingly the U.S. military actively discouraged servicemen from marrying by initially imposed many restrictions on marriages between servicemen and foreign women.

But love usually finds a way.

American men and European women dated and married despite any obstacles making this difficult. By June and subsequent months of 1945, returning to America was very much on the minds of millions of Americans in uniform and about 100,000 of them wanted to come home with someone they had met and married while overseas. The “war brides” wanted to join their husbands for a new life in the United

States but the obstacle in their way was the restrictive American immigration policies. Legal entry of immigrants into the United States was constrained by the National Origins Formula quota system as established by the Immigration Act of 1924. The 1924 Act barred Asians other than Filipinos from immigration and set strict quotas set for specific countries that was based on two percent of the U.S. population originating from that country as represented in the 1890 census.

In 1945 the pressure to bring America’s fighting men home was immense and these men demanded they be allowed to bring their new wives and sweethearts, even if from countries proscribed by the 1924 Act. U.S. military and political leadership eventually had no choice but to bow to the insurmountable volume of American public opinion and to establish a pathway forward for GI brides and sweethearts. 59 Stat. 659, “The War Brides Act,” was enacted on December 28, 1945 “[T]o expedite the admission to the United States of alien spouses and alien minor children of citizen members of the United States armed forces.” The Act exempted “war brides” and their dependents from the quota systems of the Immigration Act of 1924 and granted them free passage to their new homes in America.

Until the War Brides Act was passed, however, and then given the logistics and distances involved, many “war brides” and their children waited months and sometimes even years before coming to America.

In early 1946 the U.S. Army began “Operation War Bride;” which the press jokingly referred to as “Operation Diaper Run”. The first ship, the converted oceanliner troop transport SS Argentina, left Southampton, England on January 26th with 152 British women, 173 children and one bridegroom and arrived in the United States on February 4th. The Army operation eventually transported an estimated 70,000 people from Europe including 37,553 war brides and 59 “war bridegrooms” from the

“British Isles.” In the three years between the passage of the War Brides Act and the expiration of the Act and subsequent amendments in December 1948, an estimated 300,000 foreign war brides and dependents moved to the United States.

The “War Brides Act” had significant intended and unintended immediate, short, and long-term consequences. The Act may have expired in 1948 but it set a precedent that helped guide American policy through subsequent conflicts and up to the present day. The Alien Fiancées and Fiancés Act of 1946 helped further ease barriers to the marriage of American service members and foreign nationals. The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 addressed marriage issues for Korean War service members. Between 1942 and 1952, about one million American soldiers married foreign women from 50 different countries. Actual numbers are hard to pin down but up to 100,000 war brides were British, 150,000 to 200,000 hailed from continental Europe including 14,175 German brides, and 16,000 came from Australia and New Zealand. Using the exemption from the National Origin Formula quota system, a significant number of women and children from China, Korea, Japan, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East and Africa were able to legally immigrate to the United States. During the Vietnam War era, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 finally eliminated the National Origins Formula altogether.

Because the United States is mostly a country of immigrants and descendants of immigrants, the war brides were in good company. Most war brides blended seamlessly into the fabric of American life. As one British war bride remarked, “If I didn’t like it here, I would go home.”

If your family is 1st or 2nd generation American, or even 3rd generation for many, you have the American military to thank for your family’s ease of entry into our Nation.

Historical Impressions

Join Us for this Special Event

THIS IS SUPER EXCITING! WE ARE hosting Jessica Barrera, the founder and owner of Sallie Tomato for an all day class on Saturday July 15, 2023. This is how it all happened! Last October, I saw a post that Jess had made on her Instagram account where she was talking about going on a cross country tour this summer, and if there were any shops interested in her teaching a class, to please reach out. So, I did and low and behold, her husband Mitch called the shop shortly thereafter and we got the ball rolling! I’m going to give you a little background on Jess and Sallie Tomato.

“I began by selling items that I had sewn myself. Now, my passion is to design quality sewing patterns and supplies so you can create too!”

WHO WE ARE - Hello, my name is Jessica Barrera (Kapitanski) and I’m the founder and owner of Sallie Tomato. Lucky for me, I’ve been around sewing and quilting all my life! I originally opened my shop in 2014 as another source of income to fund my college tuition. I began by selling items that I had sewn myself. It wasn’t until 2016 that I released my first pattern, the Puppy Pillow. Now, my passion is to design quality sewing patterns, so you can create too! My business has rapidly grown over the past few years. Sallie Tomato is now a team of over 20, hard-working individuals, dedicated to providing you with the best bag making supplies on the market and to helping you create!

WHAT WE SELL - Sallie Tomato provides original sewing patterns, as well as designer patterns from other companies, bag kits, purse hardware, nylon-coil handbag zippers,

a wide variety of cotton, canvas, cork & faux leather fabrics - plus sewing machines, notions, interfacings & stabilizers, & more. Each of our patterns is complete with stepby-step graphics to help make the written directions easier to understand. Included are many sewing techniques and tips to help you achieve a quality, finished project. Each pattern is designed to help you learn and expand your sewing skills. Each pattern is available as an Instant Download PDF file, or may be available as a physical paper copy. My hope is that it will be more convenient for you to find the supplies to go along with each of my patterns - see the back of our patterns for more information.

SHOP NAME HISTORY - The name of my shop developed around my middle name, Sallie. Also, the tomato pin cushion is the main part of my name and logo design because I create sewing patterns. Thank you for visiting my website!

CONNECT WITH US - After you purchase a pattern from me, you may send me a message on our Contact Page or email me at info@ should you need any help working through your project. Be sure to check out our YouTube channel for detailed tutorials and full, project sew-a-long videos. Join my Facebook group for support, to connect with others who sew, and to share projects made with Sallie Tomato Sewing Patterns, plus follow our Instagram & TikTok accounts to see exclusive behind the scenes and more! Pssst, did you know? Members of my Facebook group receive an exclusive discount codeso join today! Thank you for taking the time to read all about Sallie Tomato and I hope to

see you at The Haberdashery inside Material Things!

Now that you know a little bit about this exciting event, let me tell you about everything else that we have going on in The Haberdashery. We have numerous monthly clubs and lots of special classes each month. Here is just a sampling-maybe something will peak your interest-the second Friday/Saturday, we have a block of the month sit and sew-this starts in January and runs until December. So, this is something for you to consider next January. Then, on the third Tuesday of the month, we host our Wool Club from 1-4, this is for anyone that is working on a wool applique project to come and sit and sew. The third Thursday of the month from 1-4 is our Applique Club-this is open to anyone working on a hand applique project. Our Featherweight Club has been extremely popular-it is on the third Saturday from 10-12, the only requirement is that you own a Singer Featherweight sewing machine, we do a different project each month! Also, on that third Saturday from 1-3 is our Pin Pillow Club, each month a different pin pillow (cushion) is featured. Along with all of these monthly clubs, we offer so many other classestote bags, project pouches, stuffed animals, needlepoint, hand piecing, quilt making and hand embroidery, just to name a few. We are always interested to know what you would like to learn about!

Call me or message me about signing up for this wonderful handbag class with Jess or any other classes/clubs that you may be interested in.


Louisiana Delta Community College

Everyone Has a Story…

EVERY PERSON HAS A STORY. IT DOESN’T MATTER who you are, where you’re from, your socioeconomic status, gender, race, or religion; we all have varied experiences that have helped shape who we are today. These experiences and our responses to them make up a great part of our story, which continues to be written with every breath we take and the decisions we make.

It’s common practice to make assumptions about another person’s place in their journey. We deduce how we think they arrived there and judge what we know of their circumstances. The homeless are often subjected to this practice. Nontraditional students also fall into this category. When students don’t take the traditional route of achieving their high school diploma, they are stigmatized by some as being troublemakers, and incapable of learning. While that may be the story of some, it is not the story of all.

During the spring graduation ceremony for LDCC’s adult education class, that theory was defied. Under every graduation cap was a story. Each graduate had decided to take control over something in life that they could-their future. Whatever their story was before completing the requirements for their high school credentials, their recent decision would impact their future story. A great many of those students graduated with honors. Some also graduated with a certification from a skill learned to aid in employment. These students are learning that while they can’t change their past, they can equip themselves to own their future. Joseph Burgess, the commencement speaker, paid homage to his parents, who encouraged him to never give up. Burgess completed multiple certificates, among them was the Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Basic Mill Wright certification. While his journey was not a straight path, with the help of his support system and sheer grit, Burgess is seizing control over his path.

Life happens to us all, and sometimes, no matter the preparation, unfortunate things still happen. We get that at LDCC. While we can’t fix all things in a person’s life, we can help get things back on track career-wise.

If you have never completed your high school education and need a high school equivalency, LDCC offers the High School Equivalency Test (HiSET) preparation classes in both face-to-face

and online options. HiSET is an alternative to a high school diploma and the GED test.

For those who already have a high school diploma or high school equivalency but lack the skills to move forward in either your job or your college career, LDCC offers skill upgrade opportunities to help get you back on track. In LDCC’s centers, you will find experienced instructors willing to go the extra mile to make sure you get what you need. There are also scholarship opportunities to help pay the costs associated with the HiSET exam for those who meet specific criteria.

Each Louisiana Delta Community College campus offers learning opportunities through the Center for Adult Development, and each campus holds a separate registration and orientation for classes. You will be greeted by friendly staff members with the expertise to help you through each phase of your education, from enrollment through completion and then the transition to either college or the workforce. Course offerings include financial literacy, digital literacy, health literacy, job readiness, Accuplacer preparation, skills upgrade, HiSET preparation, remediation, and English as a Second Language. You will also find opportunities to become coenrolled in various technical programs, including Nurse Assistant and Certification for Manufacturing.

The staff at the LDCC Center for Adult Development is ready to help with enrollment to get you started on the next best journey of your life!

For information, contact the Monroe office at 318-570-6027. You can also go to the website at and choose Adult Ed on the homepage.


A Gift for Dad

Washington Wine & Spirits Has Excellent Bourbon and Whiskey Selections

FATHER’S DAY IS A TIME TO CELEBRATE THE REMARKABLE men who have guided us through life with love, wisdom, and unwavering support. And what better way to honor the dads in our lives than by raising a glass of exceptional whiskey? With its rich heritage, complex flavors, and the ability to evoke cherished memories, whiskey is the perfect spirit to toast the incredible fathers who have shaped us. So, as we approach this special day, let’s explore a world of whiskey and discover the perfect expression to make your dad’s Father’s Day truly unforgettable.

Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Rye is an extraordinary whiskey that embodies the exceptional craftsmanship and expertise of the renowned father and son team, Jimmy and Eddie Russell. With its deep amber hue, the aromas of toasted rye, caramel, and vanilla captivate the senses. Upon tasting, a symphony of flavors unfolds, including spicy rye, hints of dried fruit, rich oak, and a touch of cinnamon. The long, smooth finish leaves a warm and satisfying sensation. It is in every sip of Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Rye that we can truly appreciate the remarkable talent and passion that Jimmy and Eddie Russell bring to the whiskey industry. Their combined knowledge and skill have resulted in a masterpiece that showcases their dedication to producing exceptional spirits. The Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Rye is a true testament to their greatness as the greatest father and son duo in the whiskey world.

Dad’s Hat Rye Whiskey Finished in Vermouth Barrels is a unique and captivating spirit that makes for an excellent gift to celebrate Father’s Day. This is an excellent gift for anyone who has enjoyed High West Yippee Ki-Yay which is finished in the same way. Upon pouring a glass, the enticing aroma of herbs and spices immediately intrigue the senses. The first sip reveals a delightful balance of zesty citrus, baking spice, and a subtle hint of dark stewed fruits. The finish is smooth, leaving a lingering warmth on the palate. Dad’s Hat Rye Whiskey Finished in Vermouth Barrels is not only a pleasure to drink, but it also represents an inspired gift choice that showcases the depth of your appreciation for your dad’s taste and discernment. Raise a glass to your father’s special day and let him savor the distinctive flavors that make this whiskey an exceptional gift.

K. Luke Small Batch Bourbon is a truly special spirit that not only captures the essence of craftsmanship but also carries a deeply personal touch. With a beautiful golden copper color and an inviting aroma of caramel and oak, it immediately piques the senses. Upon tasting, the palate is treated to a symphony of flavors—rich dark caramel, candied

vanilla, and a subtle touch of cinnamon that lingers. The finish is smooth and satisfying. What sets K. Luke Small Batch Bourbon apart is the personal touch it carries in its name. It is lovingly named after the distiller’s children, representing a legacy that goes beyond just the liquid inside the bottle. Each sip becomes a celebration of family,and the shared love for exceptional bourbon.

Crauford 2014 Tattoo Cabernet Sauvignon is an exquisite wine that makes for an exceptional gift to honor fathers on their special day. With its deep garnet color and enticing bouquet of black fruits, cedar, and a hint of dark chocolate, it immediately captivates the senses. Upon the first sip, the palate is greeted with a velvety texture, firm tannins, and a symphony of flavors. Blackberry, plum, tobacco, and subtle oak intertwine harmoniously, creating a wine of exceptional complexity and depth. Whether enjoyed on its own or paired with a hearty meal, Crauford 2014 Tattoo Cabernet Sauvignon is a gift that allows fathers to savor the beauty of life’s moments. Its exceptional taste and the care put into its creation make it the perfect choice to celebrate the remarkable fathers who have shaped our lives.

While you are picking up the perfect gift for your dad, grab some of the Doe’s Eat Place steaks and fire up the grill, sizzle those succulent steaks, and pour a dram of fine whiskey to celebrate the extraordinary dads in our lives. The combination of grilling steaks and enjoying a drink with our fathers creates cherished memories and an opportunity to bond over shared passions. From the tantalizing aroma of seared meat to the clinking of glasses filled with exceptional whiskey, this ritual embodies the essence of love, appreciation, and quality time spent together. May this Father’s Day be filled with laughter, delicious food, and heartwarming moments that will be cherished for years to come. Cheers to grilling steaks and sharing a memorable dram with Dad! As always, thank you for letting us be your Spirits Guides here at Washington Wine & Spirits.

6 oz Filet - $13.87 10 oz Filet - $23.12 1.5 lb Bone In Strip - $22.49 20 oz Ribeye - $29.99 2 lb Bone In Ribeye - $46.99 1.5 lb T-Bone - $22.49 2 lb T-Bone - $29.98 2.5 lb Porterhouse - $42.48 3 lb Porterhouse - $50.97 2-5 lb Sirloin - $13.99/lb

“Malibu Rising”

the challenge of keeping it together and the pull of familiarity amidst disappointment. All the Riva children carry secrets and view the party as a coming-into-the-light occasion. When the secrets collide, the family dynamic is challenged, and the party is upended. Reid alludes to disaster in the early chapter detailing Malibu’s historical propensity to burn.

Nina Riva’s epic Malibu beach party is the setting for this novel - a glamorous gathering of the Who’s Who of Hollywood and the debauchery that inevitably manifests in such a crowd. Famous for a flattering bikini ad and a series of surfing shots, the reluctant sex symbol hosts the annual gathering each year, though Nina does not fit the expectation of a Hollywood host. Nina essentially raised her siblings (Jay, Hud, and Kit) in the absence of their icon father Mick Riva who couldn’t resist the bevy of women at his fingertips, to the dismay of their mother June. The novel focuses on the day of the party in 1983, though it features flashbacks of June and Mick’s courtship on the Malibu shores twenty years before.

Malibu, in itself, is alluring, as Taylor Jenkins Reid well knows. Her former bestselling novels Daisy Jones & the Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo capitalize on the appeal of fame and failure on the West Coast, of beautiful people blessed with talent and transcending tragedy. Unlike the other star-studded books, Malibu Rising explores the family,

As I adored Daisy Jones & the Six’s examination of the 70s rock and roll scene, I anticipated this novel being a return to Reid’s exceptional revisiting of a decade. While some of the 80’s material staples were present, the narrative’s vibe struggled to capture its sentiment. The melodrama felt forced, the fashion was nonexistent, and the party scene failed to capture the magic of the moment, instead exacerbating the inner party dynamics of characters introduced so late in the novel that I didn’t care.

Reid’s narrative did shine in depicting the freedom and bonding potential of surfing. While essentially a solo sport, the Rivas’ shared passion for the water creates fanciful daydreams of catching the perfect wave and letting the saltwater wash the world away. The anticipation of this novel superseded the experience of reading it, though I remain a Taylor Jenkins Reid fangirl.

“That is the thing about the water, it is not yours to control. You are at the mercy of nature. That’s what makes surfing feel like more than sport: It requires destiny to be on your side, the ocean must favor you.”

“Maybe our parents’ lives are imprinted within us, maybe the only fate there is is the temptation of reliving their mistakes. Maybe, try as we might, we will never be able to outrun the blood that runs through our veins. Or maybe we are free the moment we are born.”


Thurman’s Food Factory created a 4-layer wedding cake with delicious buttercream frosting, edible gold flakes and thoughtfully placed roses.

Styled by Taylor Bennett Photograph by Kelly Moore Clark

Men, Let’s Talk

The Presence of Men In Therapy

WHEN MEN SEEK THERAPY, ESPECIALLY FOR themselves, I am overjoyed. When I decided to work as a therapist in private practice, I was warned to be aware that men generally do not seek counseling and if they agree to attend therapy, it is to appease their spouse, or they have been court mandated. I was also warned if by chance a man voluntarily agrees to come, he will only want to see a male therapist. When men contact my office requesting counseling for themselves, I consider this to be a professional win and most importantly a win for the individual. Men in therapy, like women in therapy, is a win for society. When men seek counseling, they are coming with hope for positive change despite feelings of vulnerability, shame, guilt, and reservation. Often these feelings are attributed to stigma, societal norms, and cultural values regarding their masculinity. Whereas men do not attend therapy as often as women, and are said to have difficulty accessing their feelings, men are increasingly participating in therapy proving therapy for men is real and real men seek therapy. Thank goodness this is changing due to the attitudinal shift which has challenged antiquated thinking.

In last month’s article I talked about societal strides towards accepting mental health services and those receiving services and yet there are still strides to make especially as it relates to men. I wrote this article in recognition and celebration of the men who value receiving counseling services. For the men who do clinical work to better themselves for self and for the people they interact with, care for and love. Men who are strong enough in their view of self to go against societal expectation of a man in an effort to address their own mental health needs, wants, ideas, and beliefs. I chose the month of June as it houses Father’s Day, and it is cited as Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month. In honor of Father’s Day this article was written from my perspective as a “daddy’s girl” and a therapist who treats male clients. As a child I would ask my father what he wanted for Father’s Day, and he would reply “for you to be happy” when you were born that was my gift. My father was not the stereotypical “hard guy.” He was a sensitive man who versed in several languages, loved family, traveling, cooking, gardening, laughter, storytelling, stamp collecting and religious studies. My father understood my passion for sharing and caring, and would develop my love for travel, reading, education, the arts, shopping, and fashionable dressing through visits to the museum and library. He taught me the art of conversing and how to appreciate others’ views no matter how different while upholding my own with awareness and insight. He was in my biased opinion a true “girl dad” and I, a “daddy’s girl.” My life benefited from his accepting early in life I was a “girly-girl” who needed her feelings to flow freely. Teasing me once that he wanted nine sons for his own baseball team he would smooth over this joke and say if a man

has only one child, he will be fortunate if it is a girl. Girls stay close to their father’s while sons leave home and go with their wives. Recognizing my familial world had a heavy male presence he would do his best along with my mother and extended family to prepare me to thrive in what at the time seemed to be a man’s world. Our physical journey together in life would end Memorial Day weekend the year of his death and less than a month before Father’s Day. Ironically, this physical journey would end at the start of my career in mental health. I was a newly hired counselor at Northeast Louisiana University (now University of Louisiana Monroe) when I got a midnight call alerting me my father had been rushed to the hospital. I would board a plane on the first flight the next day with a black dress packed and, with the hope, I would be able to talk to my dad. I now miss our conversations and often wonder what they would entail. My father’s death would snip out the opportunity for him to see me become a therapist. What I know for sure is that he would be proud of my work as a licensed Professional Counselor and Counseling Psychologist and my ability to help others identify their feelings and access their emotions. It was on board the plane when I felt emotions, I had recently studied in psychology class, fear, hurt, disappointment, sadness, loneliness, confusion, shock, grief. I am a self-professed crier and gave myself permission to cry as needed. I would hear blue code after blue code signifying the demise of others and then it was my dad’s turn…my father had passed. In the background as though on cue Stevie Wonders song “Ribbon in the Sky,” could be heard. In my sorrow I reached for the love I knew. My father’s physical demise has brought me closer to him spiritually through memories and recanted stories.

Not a day goes by in therapy when I do not think about my father, he joins me in spirit. I am thankful to my dad as he was outwardly expressive of his thoughts and feelings and demonstrative in his display of emotions and affection. I am also appreciative of those special men in my life, cousins, godsons, grandfather, uncles, guy friends, mentors, and colleagues who in their different ways of emoting have brought me to a closer understanding of men, the ways they express themselves and how I view masculinity. These special men have taught me how to connect with men and their emotions. Therapy helps to restore one’s life. It offers the hope of enjoying the small and large aspects of life. Talking can be difficult and most men report having been taught to be strong and quiet and that seeking help is unmanly. Men Let’s Talk. Man Up, and when needed unapologetically seek therapy. After all, “everyone deserves a voice, including you and I am here to listen.”

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



Treat your wedding party to a brunch box on the Big Day. Add canned bubbles, orange juice, fresh fruit, bagels and jam for a unexpected treat.

Styled by Taylor Bennett Photograph by Kelly Moore Clark

Alumni Spotlight

ULM Alum: Kevin Koh

ORIGINALLY FROM JOHOR BAHRU, JOHOR, Malaysia, on the southern tip of the country near Singapore, Kevin Koh and his wife Sally Liew came to America to pursue education. The first in their families to attend college, Kevin and Sally discovered ULM (then NLU) through the MalaysianAmerican Commission on Educational Exchange (MACEE) at the U.S. Embassy, as NLU was an accredited college recognized by the Malaysian government. When Kevin and Sally entered the U.S. in 1982, the couple had no intention of staying in America after graduation. But, as Kevin notes, “Life has a way of happening, and we have been in Monroe ever since.” The Kohs are thankful that the ULM community and the broader Monroe community welcomed them with open arms. Standing on their family values of treating people fairly and acting with intention have served them well throughout the last four decades.

While on campus, the Kohs were active in the Overseas Christian Fellowship, a Chinese Mission Church sponsored by First Baptist Church in Monroe. Kevin and Sally both majored in Finance and Commercial Banking. Some faculty mentors included Program Director Dr. James Caldwell, who taught Corporate Finance and provided the fundamentals for Kevin’s future career in corporate banking. Dr. Caldwell expected his students to come to class well prepared, having briefed the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Industrial Index before taking a seat each day. Another mentor was Dr. Walter E. Huff, who taught Commercial Banking and simultaneously served as director at several community banks. Huff’s experience in academia and the banking world provided the Kohs with an introduction to the real world of banking, especially with Huff’s emphasis on life case studies.

In 1985, Kevin graduated at the top of his class with a BBA and was offered a management trainee position with Ouachita National Bank, now known as Chase Bank. Kevin then helped found Horizons Bank, delving into community banking, and later joined Ouachita Independent Bank (OIB) in 2003. Kevin held several positions at OIB including: Chief Credit Officer, Chief Operating Officer, President, and then CEO. In 2018, Kevin negotiated the sale of OIB to BancorpSouth, which after a merger became Cadence Bank. Kevin currently serves as Regional President of Cadence Bank for the state

of Louisiana. He had the benefit of two integral mentors during his career, Van Pardue and Clyde White. As a leader in the banking industry, Kevin focuses on building the right team, recognizing and appreciating people’s unique skill sets. Establishing trust is key to maintaining and growing a successful banking team. Throughout his career, Kevin has benefitted from serving in the banking industry from several vantage points, with a combination of experiences in community banks, regional banks, and national banks.

After graduation, Sally stayed home with the couple’s two sons through the youngest son’s 4th grade year. Then Sally returned to ULM and received a Master’s in Special Education. Sally now works as an Itinerant Special Educator with the Ouachita Parish School Board. Their oldest son Jonathan Koh attended SMU Law and serves as general legal counsel for a group dental practice private equity firm in Dallas. Son David Koh is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and practices internal medicine at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.

The Kohs are evidence of the power of pursuing higher education. Being first generation college students, Kevin and Sally do not take their success for granted. As devoted community members, the Kohs understand the importance of ULM’s footprint for community enrichment and empowerment, providing the knowledge, exposure, and skills for a developed workforce. ULM is the voice for innovation and collaboration for economic and social developments. In an effort to give back to the community, the Kohs established an endowed first generation scholarship at ULM. The Kohs prioritize integrity, discipline, and people. They contend that they are “grateful to the Lord and His invisible hand. Despite being immigrants who literally started with nothing, we have achieved more than we ever imagined.”



Embrace the season by using summer produce to whip up delicious ricotta toast with marinated tomatoes and lemon thyme honey.


(Marinated Tomatoes)

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

1 clove garlic

Kosher salt and black pepper

(Lemon Thyme Honey)

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons fresh thyme

1 tablespoon lemon juice

(Ricotta and Toast)

Sourdough bread

2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese

To make the tomatoes, combine all ingredients in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate. Next, make the honey by combining ingredients in a jar and season with salt and pepper. Finally, whip the ricotta in a food processor until smooth and season with salt. Place bread on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Grill the bread until lightly toasted and spread the ricotta over the bread. Top with tomatoes and honey.

Styled by Taylor Bennett Photograph by Kelly Moore Clark


2 ounces bourbon

2 dashes angostura bitters

1 teaspoon blackberry simple syrup

Fresh blackberries for garnish

To make syrup combine 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water in a saucepan and stir. Add fresh blackberries (be generous). Bring to a low boil, reduce heat and simmer. Smash berries and strain into a jar.

To make the drink. Add bourbon into a rocks glass with angostura bitters and syrup. Stir gently. Add in one block of ice and garnish with fresh blackberries.


2 ounces gin

1 teaspoon of lime juice

1 teaspoon basil simple syrup

Splash of soda

Lime wedge and basil for garnish

To make syrup combine 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water in a saucepan and stir. Add fresh basil. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat and simmer. Strain into a jar.

Add gin, lime juice and simple syrup to a mixer. Shake and strain over ice. Splash with soda and add garnish to finish.


Serving up his and hers cocktails is a fun and playful way to add a personalized touch to your nuptial celebration.

Styled by Taylor Bennett Photograph by Kelly Moore Clark


Southern Stables is Northeast Louisiana’s newest Wedding and Event venue. This gorgeous Kentucky Derby style barn is nestled in the middle of a privately gated, exquisitely landscaped property surrounded by rolling hills and a beautiful pond. Southern Stables is the home to 6 beautiful horses who love to welcome our guests at the gate. We offer indoor and outdoor ceremonies complete with a stunning horse drawn carriage. When it comes to choosing the ideal wedding or event venue, there is a timeless charm and allure that only Southern Stables can provide. With its rustic elegance, picturesque landscapes, this wedding venue offers an enchanting backdrop that is sure to make your special occasion truly unforgettable. Here are the reasons why Southern Stables would be a perfect fit for your wedding or event.

First and foremost, it exudes rustic charm. The weathered wooden beams, vintage decor, and open spaces create an atmosphere that is both inviting and romantic. The authentic Southern architecture and design elements add a touch of nostalgia, taking you and your guests back in time to a bygone era. Whether you envision a classic or a bohemian-themed event, the rustic aesthetic will beautifully complement any style or vision.

Additionally, Southern Stables wedding venue is nestled in picturesque landscape. The surrounding natural beauty, such as rolling hills and meadows provides a stunning backdrop for your photographs and creates an idyllic ambiance. The breathtaking scenery ensures that every moment of your celebration is captured in timeless and captivating imagery.

Another advantage of Southern Stable venue is its versatility. This venue offers a range of indoor and outdoor spaces, providing options for every aspect of your event. You can have an intimate ceremony in a cozy, candlelit barn or opt for an open-air reception in a beautifully decorated courtyard. The flexibility allows you to customize the layout and design, making it easy to accommodate your guest list and create the ambiance you desire.

This property is equipped with a stunning guest house which is an ideal location to get dressed on your big day. Brides love using the guest house for rehearsal dinner as well. The beautiful outdoor veranda is a perfect setting to relax and enjoy a celebratory meal with your family and friends the night before your wedding. We are so proud to offer this as an option to our brides,

allowing them to have access to the property for two complete days for their wedding weekend. This allows our clients adequate time to prepare and decorate for their BIG day, creating a stress free wedding day without time restraints. The bride and her bridesmaids love staying overnight in the guest house after rehearsal dinner. Waking up at the venue is truly a unique experience that we are certainly proud to offer. Southern Stable wedding venue offers a range of amenities and services to make your planning process seamless. This allows you to focus on creating cherished memories with your loved ones, knowing that every detail is taken care of by a dedicated and experienced team.

Can you imagine, after having a tranquil day at the 5,000 square foot guest house being picked up in a horse drawn carriage to enter your wedding ceremony? It is truly a magical moment watching the bride step down from the carriage in her wedding gown. We are currently the only venue in Louisiana with a horse and carriage on the property. Once your ceremony is over, words simply can not describe the romantic gesture of watching the bride and groom exit on the horse and carriage at sunset. The grandeur of the day is effortless watching the newlyweds dance the night away under eloquent double chandeliers hanging within large open ceilings along side massive overhead beams. It is truly a Cinderella experience.

“This is an absolute dream of a venue. Everything is perfect on the inside and the outside as well. Mandy is the best coordinator you could ask to have at your side on the biggest day of our life. I fully recommend this place for any wedding or even a special event.”

Call to schedule a tour today: (318)372-2706

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Shannon Inman of Paperglaze

Calligraphy created a personalized tag for our groom’s boutonnière. Small details will make for a picture perfect wedding day.

Styled by Taylor Bennett Photograph by Kelly Moore Clark


This beautiful bouquet from Carlstedt’s features garden roses, chocolate Queen Anne’s Lace, olive, stock and bay leaf tied with a neutral ribbon.

Styled by Taylor Bennett Photograph by Kelly Moore Clark

Sonny Panzico’s Garden Mart

From Outdoor Furniture to Father’s Day Gifts, Sonny Panzico’s Has You Covered

FOR 47 YEARS, SONNY PANZICO’S GARDEN MART HAS been the premier destination for Northeast Louisiana’s gardening needs. From outdoor furniture to kitchens, statuaries to planters, grills to umbrellas, their two locations offer everyone looking to spruce up their outdoor spaces lots to choose from.

Celebrating Father’s Day with a delicious meal cooked on a new grill can be the perfect way to make his day extra-special. There is no better gift for a dad who loves to cook and host barbeques than a new grill and Sonny Panzico’s has a range of popular grills and cooking accessories to light your fire. Among the favorites is the Louisiana Grills which enhance the sophistication of grilling with top-of-the-line products that were derived from the passion and precision of the world’s foremost modern outdoor chefs. Unlike most of its competitors, the Louisiana Grills possess the capability of both direct and indirect cooking using an innovative technology that turns the unit from a smoker to grill with a simple pull of a lever. Sonny’s also carries a range of Kamado Joe grills. These performance driven ceramic grills are for those that crave the ultimate charcoal outdoor cooking experience. Get better heat retention, fuel efficiency and smoking ability with the Kamado Joe range of grills.

Sonny Panzico’s also carries a full line of Bull Outdoor grillsfrom grill heads to grill carts, the ReliaBULL technology improves heat distribution on your grill by 250%, creating a more even grilling surface, and eliminating hot and cold spots so you can use your entire grilling surface. If you want to take things up a notch, Sonny Panzico’s also carries Bull Outdoor Kitchens. These award-winning kitchens are designed to meet all your outdoor grilling needs. They feature gas grills, stainless steel sinks, refrigerators, countertops and electrical outlets. If you already have an outdoor kitchen installed, the addition of a Bull Gas Fired Pizza oven will round out your outdoor kitchen mecca. These ovens offer the same great features of woodfired ovens but with the added convenience of cooking with gas, and don’t require the ash cleanup that is associated with their wood-fired counterparts.

Dad has all the options this Father’s Day, and one of the newest additions to the Sonny Panzico’s outdoor lineup is the Ultimate Griddle by Pit Boss® Grills. This 3-burner lift-off griddle perfectly

blends power, portability and precision to create a one-of-a-kind grilling machine that delivers a bigger, hotter, heavier outdoor cooking experience. Completely portable, the griddle can transport to any campsite or tailgating event. They are also fitted with all-new proprietary non-stick armored ceramic cooking surface, which makes clean-up a breeze.

Nothing says Louisiana better than a table full of crawfish and Sonny Panzico’s offers the Bayou Classic Crawfish cooker. Perfect for large batch outdoor cooking events and backyard parties, these cookers are great for boiling crawfish and other seafood. Available in different sizes, these cookers heat a large volume of water to a rolling boil in 30 minutes and provides an easy lift basket which allows seafood to slide down into a cooler.

Sonny Panzico’s Garden Mart recently re-stocked Lodge Cast Iron cookware. From seasoned cast iron pans to bakeware accessories, Sonny’s selection of Lodge is unrivaled in this area. If you’ve been looking for the best cast iron, this American-made cookware is a terrific tool for beginners, home cooks and chefs.

From grills to furniture, Sonny’s selection of Signature Design by Ashley furniture sets are the perfect setting for summer days spent outdoors. Whether your looking for simple loungers or a full outdoor sectional, they have durable and chic options in-stock. A favorite is the Sundown Treasure Adirondack chair in turquoise or red. Easily add cottage-quaint charm to your outdoor oasis with this gorgeous chair that is designed to shed rainwater and weather the seasons beautifully. Not only do they carry furniture, they also carry a line of Milwaukee Garden Tools. These tools deliver unrivaled performance in a compact structure. From string trimmers to blowers, these power tools will help you tackle any landscaping or backyard project.

Whether your looking for outdoor grills and accessories, outdoor furniture, power tools, hammocks, or gardening equipment, Sonny Panzico’s Garden Mart is your one-stop-shop for Father’s Day and beyond. Their friendly and professional staff has a range of knowledge and is available to share with you tips to keep your garden beautiful and thriving, not to mention helping you find gifts that dad will love! Find them at 7540 Hwy 165 North in Monroe or at 1630 Arkansas Road in West Monroe.



Springtime in the ArkLaMiss means, among other things, the return of hummingbirds to our landscapes. I saw my first hummingbird just a couple days before Easter. The rapid-fire of shrill, staccato chirps is unmistakable and you may even get “buzzed” if you’re in an area where they’re feeding. Hummingbirds rely on carbohydrate-rich nectar to supply the energy that allows them to beat their wings up to 80 times per second.

Hummingbirds are infinitely fascinating to watch and are easy to attract to your landscape. Like any other wildlife, they need food and cover, and you can design an entire landscape around attracting them. Pack your landscape with plants that produce flowers specifically adapted for attracting these tiny, and this can include everything from trees down to herbaceous annuals. Hummingbirds are attracted to flowers that are brightly colored (especially red), tubular or trumpet-shaped, and have a strong scent, and of course, are producers of copious amounts of nectar. There are some exceptions to the rules. Roses, petunias, and zinnias, for three examples, produce brightly colored flowers, but they produce little nectar. Their color might attract hummingbirds, but pickings will be slim when it comes to feeding them. Another exception is Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) which produces a white or yellowish flower, but also produces copious amounts of nectar that hummingbirds will often pass up a feeder for.

Trees and shrubs

• Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia), a small understory tree that flowers in very early spring and may be finished up by the time hummingbirds arrive back in our area.

• Tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), a large tree that will need plenty of space.

• Althea or Rose of Sharon (Althea syriacus), a member of the Hibiscus family, try the Louisiana Super Plant ‘Aphrodite’ in a sunny location with good drainage.

• Turk’s Cap (Malvaviscus sp.), a popular pass-along plant will produce bright red flowers hummingbirds won’t pass up.

• Texas Star Hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus), an herbaceous perennial included in this list because of its size, loves our summer heat and attracts hummingbirds to our kitchen garden at the zoo!

• Silk Tree or Mimosa (Albizzia julibrissin), the familiar mimosa-

> Coral bean or Mamou (Erythrina herbacea), a leguminous shrub producing bright red flowers and said to have medicinal properties.

< Liatris, also known as blazing star, is a long-blooming perennial wildflower native to eastern North America.

like tree that produces fluffy pink flowers in early summer.

• Coral bean or Mamou (Erythrina herbacea), a leguminous shrub producing bright red flowers and said to have medicinal properties.

• Azaleas (Rhododendron sp.), both native and cultivated.


• Coral and Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera sp.)

• Trumpet vine (Campsis radicans)

• Cypress vine (Ipomea quamoclit)

• Scarlett runner bean (Dolichos lablab)

• Clematis

• Mandevilla

• Morning glories (Ipomea sp.) Bedding Plants for Hummingbirds (annual and perennial)

• Impatiens, and look for ‘Compact Hybrid’ SunPatiens® and the ‘Beacon’ series, both Louisiana Super Plant selections.

• Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

• Bee Balm (Monarda didyma), specifically, look for ‘Jacob Cline’ for prolific red flowers and vigorous growth. Our native lavender Bee Balm, Monarda fistulosa, will also attract hummingbirds.

Salvias deserve a category all their own for attracting hummingbirds. There is perhaps no group of plants better suited for doing so and the varieties of Salvia that can be placed in the landscape range from annual to perennial. These members of the mint family will not fail to draw hummingbirds into view. Put the familiar annual salvia (Salvia splendens) in sunny flower beds, and don’t be afraid to really pack them in. Think about putting them in the front of taller, perennial salvias like the tried and true ‘Mystic Spires,’ or ‘Black and Blue.’ Don’t be afraid to mix colors when it comes to the perennial Salvias. ‘White Flame’ and ‘Roman Red’ are also great options, and don’t forget Russian sage (Salvia yangii, formerly Perovskia atriplicifolia) for an indestructible source of flowers in the very back of your beds.

Obviously, this list is by no means exhaustive. In fact, it barely scratches the surface! Visit our local garden centers throughout the ArkLaMiss and get creative with colors and textures and make selections based on the goals you have set for your landscape.

Now, all this said, don’t worry if you don’t have room for beds of flowering plants if you want to attract hummingbirds. They will still find plants in pots and containers just as easily, if the flowers have what they’re looking for. Also, tempting hummingbirds to your yard can always be achieved with hummingbird feeders, and

the question of whether to use red dye always comes up. The truth is red dye isn’t necessary. Fill your hummingbird feeders with a simple sugar solution of one cup of regular, granulated sugar to four cups of boiled water. Bring the water to a boil first, then remove from the heat and dissolve the sugar into it. Dissolving the sugar into the water off the burner will prevent it from caramelizing. Let the solution cool and it’s ready to use! Refrigerate unused portions to slow the growth of mold, which will be inevitable as our daytime temperatures warm up.

Finally, don’t forget to catch In the Garden on Tuesdays at 4:30 on Louisiana Living on KARD Fox 14, and every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 8:45ish on KWCL 96.7 FM or listen online at! To suggest a topic for In the Garden, send an email to inthegarden@

Tune in
to Louisiana Living every Tuesday at
for In the Garden with Kerry Heafner of the LSU AgCenter. All pictures by Monica Boudreaux, Bayou Photeaux.
Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia), a small understory tree that flowers in very early spring and may be finished up by the time hummingbirds arrive back in our area.
Don’t worry if you don’t have room for beds of flowering plants if you want to attract hummingbirds. They will still find plants in pots and containers just as easily.
Tempting hummingbirds to your yard can always be achieved with hummingbird feeders, and the question of whether to use red dye always comes up. The truth is red dye isn’t necessary.

Ten Things All Young Ladies Should Know

In the past, young ladies took classes in proper manners and etiquette, but in recent years, more emphasis has been placed on furthering education and becoming financially independent. These are very important goals, but even the most educated and financially independent woman needs to know how to navigate a table setting, write a thank-you note, and express sympathy for instance.

the compliment be sincere. We can always find something to appreciate about others.

3. A lady makes eye contact with the person with whom she is engaging . She also smiles often during the interaction. This makes everyone feel included and accepted.

4. A lady knows and uses table manners. I am not talking about just which fork to use. There are many more important manners to master first. They include the following:

- Unless instructed otherwise, do not eat before everyone at the table has been served.

- Never place something back on a platter if you decide you do not want it. Once it is on your plate, it is yours.

- Never reach across someone to get something on the table. Ask that an item be passed to you.

- A lady places the napkin in her lap immediately upon sitting.

comes to a death or illness, however, a hug and a few thoughtful words can go a long way.

7. A lady knows cell phone etiquette. There are times and places for cell phones, and those do not include the dinner table and during conversations with other people. Also, a lady never talks on speaker phone in public places.

8. A lady uses social media appropriately. She always thinks before she posts and never engages in gossiping about someone.

9. A lady loses well. She always congratulates the winner and never blames her teammates or another person who is involved in the game.

10. A lady holds her head high and maintains good posture while sitting, standing, and walking. In doing so she will exude confidence and elegance.

1. A lady says “please” and “thank you” often. I am sure you expected to see this one on my list, but I couldn’t leave it out no matter how many times you’ve heard it. These words spoken from the heart show the utmost respect for others. Otherwise, a request can feel harsh and commanding-neither of which will make someone feel comfortable around you.

2. A lady gives compliments as often as possible. Compliments are the gifts we can give others that don’t cost a cent. Think about the last time you were paid a compliment and how good it made you feel. It probably made you feel instantly at ease with the person who paid you the compliment. It is important, however, that

- A simple “no thank you” suffices when a dish you do not like or want is offered.

- Never burp or blow your nose at a table. Excuse yourself to the bathroom for such occurrences.

- If you feel a sneeze coming, turn your head and place your nose and mouth in the crook of your arm or in your napkin. Then promptly excuse yourself to clean up if needed.

5. A lady knows how to write a proper thank-you note. A thank-you note should be written on stationery and in good penmanship.

6. A lady expresses sympathy for a friend or relative with grace. For instance, when a friend loses an important ball game, a simple “I’m sorry” is considerate. When it

It’s never too early or too late to learn grace and good manners.


The Gardens at Georgia Tucker

Honored to Be Recognized

THE GARDENS AT GEORGIA TUCKER, A BELOVED landmark in The Garden District of Monroe, is beaming with pride as it receives the esteemed Thomas H. Scott Award for a Medium Business category from the Monroe Chamber of Commerce. This accolade acknowledges the significant community contributions made by The Gardens, particularly its commitment to providing exceptional assisted living and memory care resident apartments. With a rich history rooted in fostering well-being and creating a nurturing environment, The Gardens at Georgia Tucker is honored to be recognized for its dedication to the community and its expansion of essential senior living facilities.

Nestled in the heart of Monroe, The Gardens at Georgia Tucker has been revered as a haven for seniors seeking comfort, care, and community. Since its inception in 2018, The Gardens has embraced the mission of enhancing the lives of older adults by offering exceptional assisted living and memory care services. At the outset, the owners invested $2 million in renovating the former 1920 neighborhood elementary school, creating a serene and meticulously maintained environment to provide a peaceful and welcoming atmosphere, while the compassionate staff ensures that residents receive the highest standard of care and support.

Since its opening, The Gardens at Georgia Tucker has become a trusted provider of assisted living and memory care, offering personalized assistance, engaging activities, and a nurturing environment. Their commitment to enhancing the well-being of seniors has created a warm and inviting home for individuals and their families, fostering a sense of belonging and contentment.

The Thomas H. Scott Award, presented by the Monroe Chamber of Commerce, is a recognition bestowed upon organizations that have made a significant impact on the community. In the case of The Gardens at Georgia Tucker, this honor acknowledges the substantial contributions made in providing exceptional senior living options and enhancing the overall well-being of its residents.

During 2022, the expansion of 22 additional assisted living (added to the original 20) and 26 new memory care apartments at The Gardens exemplifies the commitment to meet the evolving needs of seniors. By offering a range of personalized care services and an enriching environment, The Gardens has become a beacon of support and compassion for individuals and families navigating the challenges of aging care.

The Gardens at Georgia Tucker is grateful to the Monroe Chamber of Commerce for bestowing upon them the Thomas H. Scott Award. This recognition serves as a testament to the unwavering dedication and hard

work of the staff and team members who strive every day to provide exceptional care and support to the community’s seniors.

The Gardens acknowledges the Chamber’s role in fostering economic growth and community development, as well as its commitment to recognizing organizations that make a positive impact. The award represents a shared vision of creating a vibrant and inclusive community that values the well-being of its older adults.

The Gardens’ expansion added 25 new jobs and they extend heartfelt appreciation to the residents, families, and community partners who have supported their mission of compassionate care and community building. This honor serves as a reminder of the profound impact that The Gardens has had on the lives of individuals and families, and it motivates them to continue exceeding expectations and improving the quality of life for those they serve.

The $12 million expansion of assisted living and memory care apartments at The Gardens at Georgia Tucker marks an exciting new chapter for the community. With the recognition received through the Thomas H. Scott Award, The Gardens is inspired to further enhance its services and amenities, providing an even greater level of care and support to seniors in need.

The additional living spaces enable The Gardens to accommodate more residents, ensuring that a growing number of individuals can benefit from the exceptional care and compassionate environment. The well-planned expansion reflects The Gardens’ commitment to staying at the forefront of senior living, offering innovative programs and services that promote well-being, independence, and engagement.

Looking ahead, The Gardens at Georgia Tucker is excited to continue its legacy of providing exceptional senior living experiences. With the ongoing support of the Monroe Chamber of Commerce and the community, The Gardens aims to remain a beacon of care, compassion, and community for generations to come.

Receiving the Thomas H. Scott Award from the Monroe Chamber of Commerce is a tremendous honor for The Gardens at Georgia Tucker. It not only recognizes their significant contributions to the community but also celebrates the expansion of their assisted living and memory care apartments, continuing its mission of enriching the lives of seniors, creating a thriving community, and making a lasting difference.

Call the office Monday-Friday, 8 AM – 5 PM to schedule a tour. For more current and historical information, and to hear residents’ testimonials, visit


Fishing with Kenny

Recently I competed in a couple of Media Bass events on the Ouachita River, a team event on Saturday and an individual event on Sunday. Not long after we started fishing Saturday, my team partner and I began to realize just how brutally tough the bite was on the river. We simply could not get a bite. At the weigh-in that afternoon, our suspicions were confirmed as it only took a five-fish limit weighing just over ten pounds to win.

When preparing for Sunday’s individual event, my goal was simple: catch a limit of fish and let the chips fall where they may. After being pounded by forty of the best two-man teams in our area, I knew the bad fishing from the day before could only get worse and I was correct. While I didn’t catch a limit of fish, surprisingly, I won the event with four fish weighing just over six pounds, the lowest winning weight in the history of Media Bass.

I have always enjoyed fishing when the bite is off, and the other competitors are complaining about how bad things are. I feel these types of events are the easiest to win because all it takes is to figure out how to catch a few fish, and then run with it. No matter if you are the weekend angler or someone who chases their favorite tournament circuit, catching fish when the fish simply aren’t biting is one of the most intriguing puzzles in bass fishing. Let us take a closer look.

I have a mental check system I use when fishing tournaments on tough fisheries. While I can’t say it is foolproof, this system has served me well over the years. Using my system is what allowed me to place high in the money years ago fishing an ABA National Championship on Tennessee’s Old Hickory Lake while only catching five keeper fish over the three-day tournament period. To say the bite was tough was an understatement, but I was able to figure it out. This is how my system works.

Someone will catch them. They always do. No matter how tough you think the fishing is, or how bad you think the lake might be, someone will catch enough fish to win the tournament. With this in mind, why not put a spin on this thought process and say, “well if someone is going to catch them and win the event, why can’t that someone be me?” This is where a positive mental attitude is invaluable.

In tougher fishing conditions, most of your competition is beat before their boats are put in the water. Use this to your advantage. Don’t poor mouth the conditions or how bad of a struggle you think the day will be. Just allow yourself to believe, “one bite at a time, one fish at a time” and you will be amazed at how focused you become on the job at hand.

Stick to what you do. If you are a shallow water angler, fish

shallow. If you like fishing deeper areas and fishing slow and methodical, that’s what you should do. No matter where I am fishing, when things get tough and I am struggling to get a bite or get anything going, I go back to the techniques I am comfortable with, (spinnerbait, topwater, small jig) and focus more on what I am doing.

A lot of guys do very well with finesse tactics, such as a drop shot or a shaky head, and I am not disputing their success, but it is not something I do a lot, so I generally use them as a last resort. My only exceptions to this are when I am fishing clearer water lakes like Caney or Claiborne, finesse tactics on these bodies of water are a must.

Adjust and adapt. Maybe you need to use a smaller soft plastic when you are flipping and pitching. Or maybe you should use smaller blades on your spinnerbait. Every fish is trying to tell you something, no matter if you catch him or not. If I have a fish or two hit at my topwater, and not take it, I automatically start analyzing what might be wrong with my lure choice. Is it color, size, action? Adjust and adapt until you figure out what might be wrong with the technique you are using.

A good example of this happened to me in a tournament I won on the Ouachita River almost 30 years ago. I was fishing a creek bank throwing a small buzz bait and I had three strikes without a hook-up. It occurred to me that maybe I needed something that made noise but not with a consistent movement. I switched to a Crazy Shad, a double propped topwater, and won the tournament.

Pay attention to the details. The question, “why?” should constantly run through your mind. Why was that fish on that piece of cover? Why did the fish strike my lure when I stopped it? Which direction was the wind blowing? What was different about that cypress tree? Why? Why? Why? The key to catching fish when no one else does, is being keenly aware of what is going on around you. The more subtle things you can figure out, the easier figuring out how to catch the next fish will become.

The attention to detail also applies to your equipment. Do you have the right rod for the proper technique? Are you using the correct line? What about your hooks, are they sharp enough or do you need to change them out? All these things, and so many other variables, can lead to your success or failure. Choose wisely.

Well, it looks like we have run out of time again for another month. I hope we have given you some information that might help make your next tough fishing trip a bit more enjoyable. Please be extremely careful on the water as more and more people are answering the call of summer to enjoy the outdoors. Take care, catch one for me and I will see you next month!

When the Going Gets Tough article by KENNY COVINGTON

inclusion MATTERS

The Sirmons are working with the City of Monroe to raise money for an inclusive playground at Forsythe Park.

When Hillary Sirmon was pregnant with her third child Benjamin, she always felt like something was different. It wasn’t until Benjamin’s dramatic delivery that she and her husband K.C. quickly realized how fragile his life was. It took some time to figure out what was happening, but eventually a diagnosis was made. Benjamin was born with a rare genetic disorder called DNM2 centronuclear myopathy.

The disorder allows for normal brain development but interferes with muscle development and results in severe progressive muscle weakness. Few children diagnosed with the disorder live beyond age 10. After receiving the diagnosis, Hillary said, “We knew we wouldn’t have him for long, but we also knew there was nothing we could really do to help him, so we just wanted to make him happy.”

Hillary said when they were bringing Benjamin home from the hospital, the doctors made them feel as though their goal should be only to keep him comfortable and that they could not do much more than that, but he lived until a week after his third birthday and the Sirmons took him everywhere. Germwise their choice could have caused problems, and it did. But Hillary said, “I just felt like I would rather him have a full short life than a restricted long life at home, so we took him everywhere in that wheelchair, and he loved it. He loved every bit of it. He loved being around his siblings, and we took him to all the games and the zoo, and he loved every minute of it. And I’ve definitely seen in our communities the impact that Benjamin has made on other people, and if we’d have kept him at home that wouldn’t have happened.”

When Benjamin was about six months old, Hillary was taking him and his older sisters to the playground. As she watched his sisters play, she realized that when Benjamin was old enough to begin playing alongside them, they would have a problem. The average playground simply was not accessible to children like Benjamin.

Hillary was unwilling to accept that Benjamin would not have a

place to play and was determined to solve the problem. At the time, the Sirmons lived near New Orleans, and K.C. is from St. Charles Parish, so they decided to contact public officials there to ask if they raised enough money to buy an all-inclusive playground, they could install it. The parish was supportive, and over about seven months, Hillary was able to raise the funds for the playground, which was then installed in Destrehan, Louisiana.

Features of the playground included wheelchair ramps and color coding for children with visual difficulties, as well as special features for children with Autism. Unfortunately, right before the playground was finished, the Sirmons moved to Monroe. Hillary said they had not planned to move here, but K.C. found a job here after finishing medical school.

Around that time, Matt West of the West Monroe Civitan Club contacted Hillary. He was working to

raise money for Civitan Smiles Park at Kiroli Park, so Hillary joined his efforts. It was helpful to have another similar project to turn her energy towards since her dream of watching Benjamin on the playground in Destrehan were never realized.

Unfortunately, Benjamin passed away before the Smiles Park playground was completed. Even though Hillary was never able to watch Benjamin play on either of the playgrounds she worked so hard to help fund, loving Benjamin changed her and K.C. “He’s definitely changed our lives,” she said, “and made us look at things a little differently. I think K.C. and I both look at our kids a little differently. You look at the way life happens a little differently, knowing that you’re completely out of control of anything, and you just take it day by day and enjoy every minute while you can because you never know if it’ll be there tomorrow.” Losing Benjamin has also filled her with a desire to help

other children with disabilities and their families have the opportunity to experience what Benjamin never did.

Shortly after his funeral, Benjamin’s family and community donated $25,000 toward Smiles Park, which resulted in a play area and pavilion in the park being named after him.

Hillary has continued to find ways to honor Benjamin’s memory, which led recently to her interest in the playground at Forsythe Park in Monroe. A couple of years ago the condition of the Forsythe Park playground started to weigh on her heart. She felt there were safety concerns and that the park was in dire need of updating. When this park started weighing on her, Hillary went to the City of Monroe and asked what the plans were for the playground. She was left with the impression that the City was trying to get grant funding and was working on plans to update the park. Then, several months passed and Hillary found herself starting to wake up every night around the same time. “It was just Benjamin pulling, going, ‘Come on. You’ve gotta do it. You’ve just gotta do it,’” she said.

Shortly thereafter, Hillary called the City of Monroe and set up a meeting to present a plan similar to the one she had presented in St. Charles Parish. They agreed to let her move forward. Hillary was excited because not only would her efforts to raise funds for an all-inclusive playground at Forsythe Park benefit children playing there, but they would also offset some of the funding for other playgrounds in our area.

Hillary is now working with some of the same people she worked with in Destrehan. Julie Smith was instrumental in designing the playground there and works as a project manager now for Struthers Recreation who is designing the new inclusive playground at Forsythe Park. Although plans are not complete, Hillary has begun raising funds to make sure the installation happens. She said her background, not only as Benjamin’s mom but also as a pediatric physical therapist, has been useful in communicating the needs of the park.

The budget for the project is currently between four and five hundred thousand dollars. In addition to being all-inclusive, the

Hillary’s hope is not only to have this project fully funded but also that in the future communities will begin to think about ways to make playgrounds inclusive at the moment planning begins.

playground will be designed to blend into the natural environment of the park in a harmonious way. According to Hillary, the City of Monroe is using a company called Carbo Landscape Architecture to help design all the parks. “So we’re working together with their vision, the City’s vision, and what I know we need in an inclusive playground, where it will be beautiful and fit into the community and into Forsythe Park, but meet the needs of all the kids and adults as well,” she said.

The plans for Forsythe Park’s inclusive playground will be the result of extensive collaboration, and Hillary said the plans will be like a puzzle piece into Carbo’s larger design for all the parks.

The Forsythe Park playground project will be Hillary’s third inclusive playground project. Although the budget for the project is large, Hillary is confident it will happen. Each project is a fulfilling way to remember Benjamin.

“I think the playground thing, although it’s never easy, is my technique for grieving,” Hillary said. “It just keeps my mind busy. Starting all this up again…it’s amazing, and I love it, but it does bring up raw feelings sometimes. You kinda go back

through that whole grieving process again of sadness and anger, but I know it just helps me, and it helps me keep him alive for my kids.”

For Hillary, inclusion has always been important. Even before she had Benjamin or any children of her own, she was working with children with special needs in her career as a physical therapist. She has also spent time petitioning the school board to get wheelchair seating and ramps at the high school stadiums at Neville, Wossman, and Carroll. Her efforts have also led to a communication board for nonverbal children being placed on the playground at Lexington Elementary, so children can select pictures to let others know what they want.

Hillary said all of these efforts are not only a distraction for her and a place to focus her energy. “They also give meaning. They give meaning to his life and a purpose,” she said, “and I think it’s just great for the kids to be able to still feel connected.” Benjamin has four siblings, Lennon, Isla, Rush, and Kateri.

In addition to changing Hillary and her husband, Benjamin’s life made a huge positive impact on his siblings. “My children are very compassionate,” Hillary said, “and they’re just very thoughtful of others.” At times, Benjamin’s siblings would have to help Hillary perform CPR or administer other life-saving medical care. “They definitely saw things that most kids would not have seen at their age,” Hillary said. “It’s not common to have a two year old help save someone’s life, but it just changed them in such an amazing way, and I just really feel like every kid should have that opportunity. There’s no better place to learn about other people at that age than on the playground.”

Hillary said her experience as Benjamin’s mom really opened her eyes to the financial stress that many families face when caring for a child or loved one with a disabling medical condition. Benjamin was dependent on a ventilator, and his nursing care cost over $20,000 a month. To help care for him, Hillary was unable to work full time, and her husband was in medical school. When Benjamin was about six months old, they started earning just enough income that Benjamin no longer qualified for disability insurance income, which paid for virtually everything, including nursing care and therapy.

With the loss of this support soon coming to an end, Hillary said they would go to the state capitol and speak to lawmakers to try to get better services for kids whose families had some income but not enough income to support a child who

is seriously ill or on a ventilator. When she was giving these talks, Hillary said, “I always felt like if I could reach kids now, to have them understand the needs of other people, then maybe I wouldn’t be up here in 30 years still fighting for the same thing for my child.”

So this experience was also part of the underlying motivation for the playgrounds. “If I could teach these kids when they’re seven or eight, I wouldn’t have to be at the state capitol anymore in 30 years. Those kids would be in positions to make a difference.”

Hillary’s hope is not only to have this project fully funded but also that in the future communities will begin to think about ways to make playgrounds inclusive at the moment planning begins. She said that working hard to see inclusive playgrounds brought to life hurts because Benjamin was never able to play at one, but at the same time, she said, “Seeing other kids be happy, and seeing life made a little bit easier for some of the kids that may struggle is so rewarding.”

It will also mean the world to her to see her kids’ faces light up when they play at the new Forsythe Park playground for the first time. “When you lose a child, you don’t want them to be forgotten–by anyone–so anything I can do to keep his name alive helps me grieve but also know that he did have a purpose. There was a real purpose for those three years and not just for my family but hopefully for the community as well. It’s nice making other kids’ lives that are kinda challenging sometimes a little bit easier and a little happier.”

For those interested in donating to the Forsythe Park playground project, the John Clarke Perry Foundation, which is a local nonprofit that provides support to families with children in need of life-saving medical treatments, is serving as fiscal agent for the project. Checks can be mailed to 4213 Adaline Lane, Monroe, LA 71201, or donations can be made online at johnclarkperryfoundation. com. When making donations for the playground project, please include the word “playground” in the memo line of your check or in the comments when donating online.

article by April Clark Honaker and photography by Kelly Moore Clark
“When you lose a child, you don’t want them to be forgotten–by anyone–so anything I can do to keep Benjamin’s name alive helps me grieve but also know that he did have a purpose.”



If there is one guy on this planet that I’ve grown to know as a true turkey predator, it would be my son Andy Chason. If you follow my career in the outdoors, you will know that my one and only son started filming our show “Dan Chason Outdoors” at the young age of 8. He graduated to producing the show at the age of 12 and now at the age of 40 and having graduated from ULM in his chosen field, owns “Plugged In Creative” a popular video production studio.

Recently, Andy and I were invited to join TP Outdoors owner, Bill Petrus the host of TP Outdoor Adventures, on a turkey hunt to his place in west Texas. Having less than favorable trips on our annual trip over the last 3 years, we looked forward to the trip with Bill. Bill is a gifted hunter and I will say with no reservation, the best host of any trip I have ever attended. There was no pressure, no expectations. As usual, we started our trip in a driving rain and 40 degree temperature, and I was not surprised. It’s just how the Chason luck goes.

Bill had selected a number of spots and drove us around upon arrival to let us decide what looked the most promising. Our Andy is a “run and gun” type of turkey hunter. I am not. My idea of a fun hunt is to set up in a ground blind, in a comfortable chair and wait them out. Saves me much stress on bad knees and a bad back. The next morning, Andy agreed and we all three set up in a ground blind. I had brought my mechanical decoy we named Murray (inventor of the Mojo decoy) and waited. Intermittent rain and wind was an issue and few gobblers where heard but we did have hens visit our area which was encouraging. About noon, Bill decided we could catch a bite and maybe ride around the other properties and see what we could see. I opted to take a nap at the camp and Bill and Andy went on the scouting trip. When they returned around 1:45 my son was fit to be tied. They drove up on not one but two doubles. Two pairs of strutting gobblers and Andy was bouncing off the walls. The decision was then made for the next day to pursue the alternative areas but we would go ahead and finish the day where we started as our decoys were still out and we could slip in and hunt. That is where the fun started.

We dismounted the truck and after walking about 100 yards, I realized I had left essential gear and returned to the truck while Bill and Andy went on to our blind. As I approached well to the rear, I could see Bill and Andy both about 70 yards from our blind and they were on the ground. I ducked under a mesquite tree and watched.

Apparently, a gobbler had located Murray, our decoy and was literally tearing my decoy to pieces. They watched him for about 10 minutes and I saw my son start to belly crawl. Bill was filming and I was thinking “now that’s a dead turkey.” Sure enough, Andy was able to conceal himself in the grass and behind the turkey’s view with our ground blind and put the number 9 TCC through his head. Dead turkey. I won’t go into how hard both of them ribbed me for missing it but I was proud. I wanted Andy to take the first one and take it he did in dramatic fashion. We ended the day seeing more hens and we had turkey’s gobbling within hearing distance. We saw two more gobblers who were pulled off of us by hens. We ended the day with a fabulous meal and awoke to a clear day and high expectations.

The second morning hunt was good but no takers. That afternoon, Bill offered to let us split up and see if we could cover 3 different areas. I told Bill that if he dropped Andy at the mall, he would probably still find a turkey. I know my son well. He was dropped at the gate on an area of roughly 300 acres dotted with mesquite and tall grass. Now remember this is where the West Texas Rattlesnake Roundup is held. Wading through grass knee high with a high population of rattlesnakes isn’t my idea of fun. So I opted to go back to the security of the ground blind and prayed my son would not run into old “no shoulders.”

Andy heard the gobbler, who was on the move from about a quarter mile away. Andy worked his way to within 80 yards but the gobbler was hung up. He refused to cross a small ditch so Andy closed the distance to within 60 yards and spotted him. The strut was on as the gobbler was hot but would not come any closer. With the grass high and scattered mesquite trees, Andy placed his hen decoy on his head and put his mouth call to work. The turkey made it to 42 yards and that was his last move. This gobbler was estimated to be at least 4 1/2 inches and sported 1 3/8 inch spurs. There was no feathers or hair left on his chest from dragging his body through the rough terrain. A great hunt, a great memory and a tribute to man who possesses no quit.

I will say that this was a trip to remember. I didn’t have an opportunity and neither did Bill but you can tune in to future episodes of TP Outdoor Adventures to experience what I will always remember as another time “Andy puts it on us.” Congratulations to Andy and thank you Bill for the memories.


Meet and Greet Stephen Waguespack

On Monday, April 24, 2023, Joe Holyfield and James Moore hosted Stephen Waguespack at Tower Place. Guests enjoyed a light breakfast and coffee while Waguespack addressed attendees regarding his upcoming gubernatorial run.

Waguespack worked a decade on Capitol Hill and previously served on the State Board of Education. He spent five years as a senior official for former Governor Bobby Jindal and ten years as the CEO of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry. For more information, visit

On the BayouScene

1 Richard Brown and Andrew Yarbrough

2 Owen Moses, Brent Moses and Brett Bonnecaze

3 Barry Bell and Joe Holyfield

4 Chris Strickler, Wes Martin and Ashley West

5 Charles Anzelmo and Tommy Hayes

6 James Moore, Stephen Waguespack and Joe Holyfield

7 Cary Davis and Hal Hinchliffe

8 Don Bell and David Fox

9 Andrea Adams, Christy Childers and Linda Holyfield

10 Joe and Sylvia Humble

11 Brandon Ewing, James Moore and Bill Hogan

12 Lisa Holyfield and Deidra Adair

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10 11 12


I REMEMBER some of the jobs that I held during my years as a college student -- jobs that provided funds which helped me with incidental expenses that are associated with the life of a college student. The more major costs, such as tuition and lodging and meals, were covered by scholarships and by living off-campus in my parents’ home.

The net result was that, instead of piling up massive indebtedness that would have plagued me for years, I graduated debt-free from an expensive college. During my time as a seminary student, I repeated my practice of part-time work with the same result of graduating with no significant debt hanging over my head.

This “pay-as-you-go” approach had advantages different from just avoiding the burden of repaying education loans while, at the same time, trying to begin a new career. I think it is evident that freedom from a massive financial burden is, of course, a vitally important consideration and is reason enough for one to have this as a principle goal for the college student. If the sole result is avoiding huge indebtedness, that, in itself, is noteworthy, commendable and peace-producing. However, there were other compensations besides the contentment of not having to handle the weight of a long-range repayment of a debt that did not have to exist.

One of these add-on gains of working to help with the costs of a college education is that such an effort can go a long way in developing a sense of dependability and responsibility. Earning resources instead of borrowing them is more difficult but is also more rewarding. Not only is debt avoided, but there is the added benefit of the contentment in knowing that one is acting conscientiously by “carrying his own weight”. My parents were not financially able to provide much monetary assistance, so my options were to borrow cash or to find ways to earn enough so as not to saddle my future with the burden of huge financial liability.

Choosing the second alternative was one of the best options of my life.

Another significant advantage of summer time employment was that, as I worked alongside of other employees, I learned more about human nature than I did from any psychology course I took in college or seminary. Partnering with people who had different views and aspirations and work ethics exposed me to a picture of human nature that has enhanced my understanding of man’s heart. This has been of immense benefit to me as I have sought to fulfill my calling as a pastor/minister.

Another thing that has benefited me in my life’s vocation is that, as the result of my jobs that provided college-expense income for me, I learned to appreciate the labor that others had undertaken. Our occupations can sometimes be very taxing, even to the point of causing discouragement or despair. Grasping this truth has resulted in a greater appreciation of those who contend with the challenges of their vocations. It is almost as if I can “walk in their shoes.”

Earning one’s way can be instrumental in developing the skill to manage one’s finances as well as to develop some discipline relative to spending habits. It encourages a person to be more inclined to spend his resources on what he needs rather than what he wants. Spending, and perhaps wasting borrowed money, comes easier than doing the same with money that has been earned. With earned dollars, we tend to seek to “get our money’s worth.”

Above all the above-mentioned reasons for being financially sound is that God is pleased when we exercise our time and talents wisely. To this end, He instructs us in Proverbs 6:6 to follow the example of the industrious ant. So, let us be faithful in giving our best effort in whatever He gives us to do.

opinion expressed is that of the writer

Meredith’s Musings


Last summer, Husband and I remodeled much of the home we’ve owned since 2015. I completed a three-year study period for my comprehensive exams in February and enjoyed a brief reprieve before embarking on writing a dissertation. I longed to fill my days with anything nonacademic. It all started with a quick search for home organization remedies. I perused Amazon for storage ideas and downloaded Tiktok for inspiration. I can’t enjoy a space that is not clean and orderly - I literally start to fidget. As the packages arrived, little bins started populating previous junk drawers and the inevitable spring closet cleanout ensued. Husband moans when I begin statements with, “So, I’ve been thinking...” but he always appreciates the product of our labors. I discovered a list, twelve scrolls into the Notes section of my phone, detailing the home improvements I envisioned upon its purchase.

And so, the marathon began. Chipped trim received a fresh coat of bright white paint, doorknobs transformed from dull bronze to dynamic black, wood flooring replaced the dreadful carpet in three rooms. My house resembled the department stores I haven’t shopped at in years - clean, orderly, everything in its place. I began to think bigger and couldn’t escape dissatisfaction with our outdated cabinets throughout the house. I scrolled home improvement websites, reengaged Pinterest beyond recipe storage,

and became convinced that our cabinets could be like-new for little out-of-pocket expense. While Husband needs a push, he enjoys the art of creating, particularly wood work. He likes seeing projects through to completion, calling his father for advice and sharing updates. He appreciates frequent gratification for his efforts, and I enjoy a finished product. Playfully, his father dubbed me “The Project Manager.”

We often hear about the glorification of busyness. I wouldn’t quite describe my obsession with productivity that way. I do enjoy rest and relaxation, but my work ethic precludes my need for self care. Even though I know it’s ludicrous, rest -or rest’s sake feels lazy. My mind insists I must earn rest. In childhood, I remember jumping up off the couch if my dad entered the room. We would pretend to mimic a chore until the observer left the room. I could only fully relax if no one was watching. As an adult, I enter the house and immediately get to work. The dish rack must be emptied, the trash taken out, the kitchen and rooms in order before I start making dinner. I need a space clean before I wreck it. Even as I dirty measuring cups and spoons, I race to clean them in between the addition of ingredients. It’s like a game of sorts. How much can I do before the doing time is over?

Husband, on the other hand, relaxes through life. He works hard, but he doesn’t make work harder by rushing through it.

Relationships are funny in that we are attracted to opposites, but the longer we’re together, we merge lives and become more alike. But the essence of an individual stays the same. As that couple likeness evolves, those individual differences beam brighter. When I returned to the office to study and Husband was home continuing cabinet renovations, I would check in for updates on his progress. He would say things like, “I’m waiting on the wood putty to dry.” I would ask why he didn’t run to Home Depot for the sandpaper he needed the next day while he waited. It never occurred to him to hurry, to seek the final product at rapid speed. He’s the quintessential epitome of “Tomorrow is another day.” It’s infuriating, but often a welcome contrast.

I stress the small stuff. I obsess over selfimposed deadlines that matter to no one but me. A failure to meet those deadlines feels like a failure of self. I’m working on this. I know my attention to detail and time management make me a good teacher, a good administrator, and an organized parent. It also makes me miss the roses and the deep breaths and the satisfaction of a small task well done. Looking forward serves its purpose but being present allows the magic of a moment to manifest. If I rush through life, I might miss it. While my pace hasn’t slowed significantly, I’m trying to hit the pause button with intention.


King of the Grill

This Primo charcoal grill is proudly made in the USA and are ready to help make you the grill master of your street. Stop by Azure Pools and Spas in Monroe and Ruston and see our Primo ceramic grills and accessories.

Hats Off

Step out In style in this Knotted Pine Trading Co hat perfect for these upcoming hot summer days. Find this hat and more at Dusty & Company.


Make Your Statement

This men’s classic diamonds collection from Bulova is a six-hand chronograph in matte gray IP stainless steel with eight diamonds individually hand set on black dial with stainless steel bracelet find this at Flair Fine Jewelers

Father Time

Give the gift of time to your special father. He’ll be stepping out in style in this pre-owned Rolex from Marty & Marks found on Antique Alley.

Nothing Basic About This One

Who said basics can’t be cool! These versatile V-necks from Ron Alexander Clothiers will keep you comfortable wherever you roam.

Show Your Skin

This SkinCeuticals

Phloretin CF Gel contains vitamin C that provides environmental protection while diminishing discoloration, It can be purchased this Father’s Day at The Medical Spa by St. Francis Medical Group

Aromatic Ambience

The Mortel Noir Trudon Parfum boasts natural harmonies; the strength of black pepper from Madagascar blended with incense from Somalia, myrrh and benzoin reveal the erotic spell of pure Cistus. Find this at Material Things

New Wheels

Get dad what he really wants this Father’s Day, a new truck from Jim Taylor. Dad’s new toy will be the talk of the town.

Cool Dude

Enhance any occasion with this insulated cooler bag found at The Muffin Tin. Each cooler is durability tested to ensure your personal cooler keeps your drink of choice cold without ice for up to 7 hours.

Super Smells

These Man Bars are bar soap with benefits. Find them at the Muffin Tin. This soap will leave your skin clean, soft, and lightly scented with a fresh, masculine fragrance.

On Fire

Valet for Dad

These leather valets found at Petals and Pearls neatly store things like wallets, watches, keys, etc. Perfect for the Dad in your life.

Unleash his inner chef with a Firedisc Grill found at Sonny Panzicos Garden Mart.

That’s Fry

Bring the fryer to the Backyard this Father’s Day with a Bayou Classic deep fryer found at Sonny Panzico Garden Mart.

Roses For Dad

All you have to do is take one sip and you’ll discover something that may both surprise and delight you – Four Roses is unlike any other Bourbon found at Washington Wine & Spirits.

Sun Protection

Make sure dad has the best skin protection with this Physical Matte UV Defense SPF 50 by SkinCeuticals found at Spa Nouvelle

gift guide

Thomas H Scott Awards

Thomas H. Scott Awards of Excellence

Reception was held Thursday, May 11th at the Monroe Civic Center. There we 45 nominations for the prestigious awards which honor companies making significant contributions to the Ouachita Parish economy through capital improvements, expansion, job creation, and community involvement during 2022/2023. This year’s nominees collectively created or retained 6,538 jobs in Ouachita parish and made capital investments of over $391 million.

In addition to the annual awards — for the small, medium, large, corporate and nonprofit levels — eight businesses received special judge’s awards.

On the BayouScene

1 James and Sarita Daniel

2 Matt Sanderson and Terri Arthur

3 Ashley Smith and Farrah Dixon

4 Brent Vidrine and Patti Wilhite

5 Brook Stanley, Heather Toms and Nicole Morgan

6 Cheryl Lafoe and Martha Ulmer

7 Dallas Perryman, Robyn Garsee, Jason Garsee, and Tim Thompson

8 Jamie Brooks and Aline Smeady

9 Daphne Garret, Christina Davis, Kirstin Gladden, and Roy Heatherly

10 Matt and Kelsi Dickerson

11 Drew Stanfield, Janis Daniels, Dana Westerbur, and Kristi Corley

12 Hannah O’Connor, Rhyan Emory Taylor, and Kelly Taylor

13 Josh and Amber Etheridge, Caleb and Erin Etheridge

14 Markeaya Eaton, Stacy Wright and Kimberly McFadden

15 Mike Downhour and Doug Seegers

16 Randy May, Anne Howard, Angie Farris and Heather Hurley

17 Shelley and Stacy Odom

18 Kim Lowery and Janet Durden

19 Terry and Melony Darden

20 Tine Hill Conley and Karen Evans

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This whimsical and airy garden bouquet by Petals & Pearls is filled with lavender alstoemeria, purple dianthus, delphinium, light yellow butterfly ranunculus, safari sunset, white spray roses and thistle all centered around white and green kale.

Styled by Taylor Bennett Photograph by Kelly Moore Clark

Father’s Day Specials

The Medical Spa by St. Francis Medical Group

WE BELIEVE THE MEN IN YOUR LIFE DESERVE A little pampering too! This Father’s Day, The Medical Spa by St. Francis Medical Group has several options for dad to choose from this June. Show your dad a little appreciation with any of our Father’s Day specials this year. If you’re unsure of what to purchase, you can get a gift card for him to pick what he’ll enjoy the most.


Kybella is a non-surgical injectable, specifically formulated to reduce the excess fat under your chin. Kybella contains a naturally occurring ingredient called deoxycholic acid that eliminates fat cells in the body. Optimum results are achieved with a series of treatments and results are long lasting. On average, patients require 2-4 treatments. The number of injections and injection sites varies by patient. During the month of June, Kybella is only $450/vial. Schedule your consultation with our nurse practitioner to determine the best treatment plan!


The Glo2Facial by Geneo is a breakthrough treatment that unlocks the body’s natural superpowers: Oxfoliate with 02 bubbles, amplify with Lux via our lite ultrasound experience and detox via lymphatic massage. Each Glo2Facial is formulated with highly effective, natural ingredients to target specific skincare concerns. With six different treatments, your Glo2Facial is customizable for every age, skin type and season. Glo2Facial delivers clear, calm and naturally hydrated skin through patented technology and highly effective, natural ingredients. With six customization options, Glo2Facial will become your go-to treatment. Purchase a Glo2Facial + antioxidant serum for your dad this June for only $220.


Splendor X by Lumenis 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! We recommend scheduling a consultation to discuss expectations and desired results from hair removal treatment. Purchase the t-shirt bundle this Father’s Day — 3 large areas for only $600!


It may sound non-traditional, but gifting dad some Botox this Father’s Day might be the best gift yet. Men want to look and feel their best, too. Botox can create a very natural, smooth appearance around the forehead, eyes, nose and frown lines. Men will receive Botox for $11/unit the entire month of June.

Be sure to come by The Medical Spa this month to take advantage of our specials and events and to find out more about the medical-grade skincare products 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 St., Suite 406, across from St. Francis Medical Center. Also, be certain to follow The Medical Spa by St. Francis Medical Group on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date on our weekly specials, sales, promotions and giveaways.


Hats & Horses Derby Party

On May 6, 2023, Louisiana Delta Community College Foundation’s Hats and Horses was held to raise money for scholarships that assist students at Louisiana Delta Community College with shortterm and long-term programs. Attendees donned their best hats and clothing for the “Greatest Two Minutes in Sports.” Guests enjoyed mint juleps, savored elegant hors d’oeuvres, voted on their favoirtes horses with a donation, and indulged in the whiskey pull and silent auction. Live music entertained guests and a portrait studio was set up to capture the day. Prizes were also awarded to Derby attendees with the most charming and elegant hats.

On the BayouScene

1 Kim Dietrich, Patti Wilhite and Ana Hale

2 Aaron Carpentier, Amanda Edge and Kristopher Kelley

3 Brent Vidrine and Patti Wilhite

4 Cynthia Cage and Coleedia Skipper

5 Donna Cathey and Heather Hartwell

6 Abby Lord, Brooklyn Lord, Doug Harvey, Katelyn Harvey and Mac Lord

7 Hannah Briggs and Joey Gardunio

8 Frank Bennett and Amanda Edge

9 Holley and Kevin Cuppia

10 Amanda Edge, Sheila Hatten and Leah Spangler

11 Kelly and Dawne Barkley

12 Leah Spangler, Dawne Barkley and Sheila Hatten

13 Mac and Leah Reitzell

14 Mayor Friday Ellis and wife Ashley Ellis

15 Reagan Wise and Frank Bennett

16 Senator Stewart Cathey Jr. and wife Brittany Cathey

17 Siam Davis

18 Aaron and Kim Dietrich

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Summer Sippers

Beverages for the Season from Boston Beer

IT’S OFFICIAL. SUMMER IS UPON US. THE KIDS ARE OUT of school, the weather is warm, and there are endless possibilities for fun. Longer days mean more time to spend with your family and enjoy your favorite activities. Whether you are headed to the beach, or just to the back yard, Boston Beer has the refreshments you need to stay cool and hydrated.


America parties with tea. And this summer, Twisted Tea has all the flavors for the season. A Rocket Pop flavored Twisted Tea? That’s right. Available exclusively in this summer’s limited-edition Twisted Tea Party Pack, this new flavor fits right in with a pack so delicious, fans will be picking it up all summer long. In addition to the new Rocket Pop flavor, Twisted Tea’s new Party Pack features Twisted Tea Original, Half & Half, and Peach, and sports an all-American makeover for a festive addition to any party. If you’re looking for a beverage for Peach Festival, you can also find Twisted Tea Peach in 24-ounce cans.


What happens when you take four iconic American summer flavors and combine them with some serious hard seltzer refreshment? You get the most patriotic pack of Truly ever. This summer, for a limited time, look for the Truly Red, White, and Tru Variety Pack. At 100 calories and just 2 grams of carbs in four distinct flavors, they’re the perfect sipper for that summer body. In Blue Razz, just a touch of hard candy sweetness meets a boatload of hard seltzer refreshment for one lightly delightful drink. Hot days and sweet, bright cherry flavors go together like fireworks and lawn chairs (AKA, perfectly). Cherry Pop pairs well with popsicles, 4th of July celebrations, and the National Anthem. Don’t sleep on Lemon Ice. It just isn’t summer without a little taste of frozen goodness -- and this nostalgic, sweet-yet-sour lemon flavor does the trick. The best part? No brain freeze (and no chasing down the ice cream truck). Peach Burst rounds it out with a truly refreshing burst of pure peach flavor. Yes, that’s how it got the name.


Jim Beam Kentucky Coolers sip like summer no matter the season. Best when paired with sunshine, friends, and good vibes, they come

in a Kentucky Cooler Variety Pack with four thirst quenching flavors: Black Cherry Lemonade, Sweet Tea Lemonade, Strawberry Punch, and Citrus Punch. Crack open the cooler side of flavor with the crisp taste that lets you sip back and stay awhile.


For cider lovers, it doesn’t get any better than Angry Orchard Peach Mango. Peach Mango has the crisp, fresh apple flavor you expect from Angry Orchard, combined with the ripe, vibrant flavors from peaches and mangos, this fruity brew is balanced, slightly sweet, juicy, and has a refreshing finish. Angry Orchard Peach Mango is certified gluten free and crafted with ten different varieties of apples. Whether you enjoy it straight from the can or over ice, it is guaranteed to cool you off in the sweltering summer heat.


Sam Adams has long been synonymous with seasonal beer. On shelves now, Summer Ale is light, refreshing, and perfect for summer. An American Wheat Ale with a citrus blend of orange, lemon and lime peel, this beer is balanced with a touch of spice from Grains of Paradise, a rare pepper from West-Africa. Crisp, refreshing and easy-drinking, Sam Summer Ale is perfect for ditching the hustle and turning any summer day into a summer Friday.

Since every day isn’t Friday, Sam Adams also has you covered with a non-alcoholic option. Just the Haze is brewed by beer lovers, for beer lovers. After years of pursuing better and better with each brew, the brewery finally crafted a rich-tasting non-alcoholic beer that meets their beer-fanatic standards. Other beer lovers agree. Just the Haze won a Gold Medal for Best Non-Alcoholic in America at the Great American Beer Fest.

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.


Food Bank Empty Bowls

The Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana hosted its 7th Annual Empty Bowls event on Saturday, Aprill 22, 2023 at the Monroe Civic Center. Guests were allowed to choose a beautiful bowl from local artisans as a reminder of all the empty bowls in our community. There was also a tasting from over 10 local restaurants. Live music from the Toc-Toc Troubadours entertained guests will they mixed, mingled and ate. Talented local artist Leigh Buffington created a large painting during the event that was part of a silent auction that included a variety of art and gift items. Ceramicist Alyssa Guidy had a live pottery throwing demonstration alongside the ULM Ceramics Department which held an air-dry clay pinch pot activity, among other engaging events.

On the BayouScene

1 Allison Parker and Kim Knight

2 Artist Leigh Buffington

3 Brian, Coty and Amelia Savage

4 Brooke Cassady, Ann Johnston Currie and Sarah Hoffman

5 Chef Pat and Chip Nolan

6 Desi Bourgeois of Grown and Grazed

7 Rachel Meachum and Tyler Green

8 Food Bank Staff

9 Colette and Neil Ducote

10 Jacera Francois, Nirali Patel and Sarah Hoffman

11 Matt Morgan, Paul Amy, and Jeff Hicks of the Toc-Toc Troubadours

12 Sam Chapman, Sami Chapman, Sarah Hoffman and Hope Fruge

13 James Miles

14 Taste of India owner Ramakrishna Thota and staff

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When it comes to popular nutrients and supplements, magnesium seems to get all the credit. In general, the majority of us are deficient in magnesium and because it’s a vital mineral involved in well over 300 functions in our bodies, it gets a lot of attention for good reason. Of course, there are a wide array of minerals needed for maintaining healthy functioning, but I think potassium is a bit of an unsung hero.

The majority of clients I work with are women in their 40’s and 50’s who struggle with body weight challenges. In our work together, they always start by running a hair tissue mineral analysis test, which shows us how the body is utilizing minerals in the tissues. Almost across the board, I see low potassium in these women, and that’s likely because it’s the first mineral that’s lost during the stress response. Without healthy potassium levels, optimal hormonal balance can’t be maintained. That’s because potassium plays a starring role in blood sugar regulation, thyroid function, and healthy bowel function.

Potassium assists with blood sugar regulation in two ways. First, it helps to usher blood sugar into the cells of the body, similarly to insulin. When there isn’t enough potassium in the body to move glucose from the blood into the cells, blood sugar remains elevated. Second, potassium also helps with the conversion of glucose into glycogen, which is how sugar is stored as fuel in the liver for future use. When blood sugar dips, the liver should release glycogen into the blood stream to make sure blood sugar level stays in a healthy range. If glycogen conversion is impaired, however, the body may be forced to use alternative fuel sources between meals, and this raises the risk for blood sugar dips. Both the inability to move glucose easily into the cells and to convert it effectively into glycogen will lead to blood sugar highs and lows, which creates inflammation, increased stress hormones, diminished

metabolic function, and increased fat storage particularly in the midsection.

In addition to ushering sugar into the cells of your body, potassium is also needed for ushering thyroid hormones into the cells where they can act on the thyroid gland itself. Low thyroid function is a common cause of unexplained weight gain and weight loss resistance. Even with healthy thyroid hormone levels on a blood test, low potassium can prevent those hormones from being able to do their job.

Every cell has to maintain a balance between sodium and potassium in order to function properly. Sodium carries a positive electrical charge and is concentrated outside of each cell, while potassium carries a negative charge is concentrated inside of the cells. Together, these minerals create the sodium-potassium pump which is crucial for the physiological functions of every single cell. When the functioning of this pump is reduced, the ability to transport T3 (your active thyroid hormone) into the cell is also reduced which diminishes the functioning of the thyroid itself. Since the thyroid sets the pace for your metabolism, this can lead to poor energy production and increased body weight.

Healthy bowel elimination is another component that’s needed for maintaining hormonal health. Without a minimum of one bowel movement daily (up to three is even better), the body won’t be able to eliminate excess estrogen, hormone disrupting environmental toxins, or maintain a healthy balance of the gut’s microbiome. The accumulation of estrogen and toxins promotes excess fat storage, while increased body fat promotes even more estrogen

production, so this can become a vicious cycle. The overgrowth of inflammatory gut microbes that often results from impaired bowel function contributes to chronically elevated stress hormones, which further exacerbates estrogen accumulation, hormonal imbalances and metabolic dysfunction.

Potassium plays a role here because it supports bowel function by pulling water into the digestive tract, and for peristalsis, which is the wave-like muscular contraction that moves waste through the bowels.

There are several reasons potassium deficiency is so common, and reason number one is chronic stress. When the stress response is triggered in the body (whether it’s from mental/emotional stress, a drop in blood sugar, or inflammation inside the body that you’re completely unaware of) a hormone called aldosterone increases, which causes your body to retain sodium and lose potassium. The purpose of this is to elevate the sodium to potassium ratio, which increases fluid retention (higher blood pressure) and insulin resistance (higher blood sugar). This is intended to be a temporary situation that prepares your body to spring into action. Ideally, aldosterone falls shortly after, and the sodium to potassium ratio rebalances. Most of us live in a state of chronic stress, though, so those minerals don’t get much of a chance to recover. The longer your body remains in a state of stress, and the higher that stress is, the greater the potassium loss becomes.

No nutrient in the body ever works alone. Just like all other minerals, potassium is affected by the availability of other nutrients in the body. Excess vitamin D supplements, as well as inadequate zinc and magnesium can both deplete potassium. The accumulation of


heavy metals also negatively impacts potassium, and even regular exposure to fluoride can impair potassium’s ability to enter your cells.

The best way to support potassium in your body is to be sure you’re getting it in your diet; about 4,700mg daily should be your goal. If you’re including an array of high quality animal products and fresh produce daily, it’s easy to meet your needs. If the bulk of your diet comes in the form of processed foods, you’re going to ingest a much higher intake of processed salt which will exacerbate a high sodium to low potassium ratio.

A six ounce portion of salmon contains 600-800mg of potassium and 4 ounces of chicken has about 435 mg. Pork, beef, cod, Greek yogurt and cottage are good sources, too. White potatoes have developed a bad reputation for being poor in nutrients and high in starch, but they’re actually a very rich source of potassium. One cup of potato includes 600-650mg of potassium, so don’t write them off as a useless food. Winter squash contains about 500mg per cup and black beans have 600mg per cup. Other good plant sources of potassium include tomatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, Swiss chard and mango. One of my favorite sources to include, especially after working up a sweat in the summer, is coconut water. It’s a great way to replenish lost electrolytes and contains about 600mg of potassium.

Minerals play an often overlooked, yet crucial role in maintaining healthy metabolic function, hormonal balance and body weight, and all of them are important. Since potassium is the first mineral that’s lost in the physiological stress response, being intentional about increasing your daily intake can have a big impact on your overall functioning.

“Minerals play an often overlooked, yet crucial role in maintaining healthy metabolic function, hormonal balance and body weight.”

Blue Sparrow Bridal Co.

A One-of-a-Kind Bridal Experience C

ALLING ALL BRIDES AROUND the world, are you ready for a one-ofa-kind bridal experience? Then look no further than the Blue Sparrow Bridal Co. in nearby Jena, Louisiana. Owner, Courtney Pentecost, says, “It’s reasonable that Jena might be considered a little out of the way, but it’s no further than Shreveport, Dallas or Baton Rouge, and I can assure our brides they will get a better boutique shopping experience at Blue Sparrow.”

This quaint bridal boutique officially opened in October of 2021, and they have been helping brides say “yes to the dress” ever since. Before the official opening, Courtney and her husband owned an oil field company, and while they still do, one day Courtney said to her husband, “Listen, pumps and mud are perfectly fine, but I need something pretty in my life!”

And suddenly, the roots of the boutique were planted.

Well, after a year-long process that involved ordering inventory and getting the boutique ready for opening. Says Courtney, “I wanted to be in the bridal industry because I have always loved weddings. I love being part of that special day and have always been the ‘go-to’ person on my family and friend’s wedding day because I love the bridal logistics.”

This desire to make a bride’s day as special as possible served as the catalyst for Courtney’s business. “When you think about some of life’s biggest moments, getting your wedding dress ranks right up there at the top. I love the laughs, the tears and the ‘ah-ha’ moments when someone is shopping for their wedding dress and I just wanted to be a part of that. Twenty years from now a bride might not remember that I was part of this big moment, but I will always remember!”

Courtney also knew that she had to sell the bridal experience. “The way I differentiate my boutique from others is the exclusive treatment I provide for my brides.” Starting with the VIP experience, which includes a VIP room with refreshments, until the bride “says yes to the dress,” Courtney and her staff strive to make the bridal gown selection process as easy and seamless as possible.

“We have a beautiful dressing room for the bride, encased by velvet curtains. Once she’s back there, the bride never leaves the room, it’s like a big reveal moment as she changes from gown to gown; her audience just sits and waits to be wowed!”

When asked about her bridal inventory, Courtney says, “We have been intentional with our gowns in terms of pricing and most of our store is geared toward the modern day bride with a lot of options…just without the New York City price tag.” Blue Sparrow carries designers: Moonlight Bridal, Rebecca Ingram, Justin Alexander, Ashley & Justin, Demetrius, and two modest lines, Mon Cheri and Moonlight Modest. One other special feature in dress shopping at Blue Sparrow is a mix and match section where a bride can select a top and a bottom she likes and put them together.

Blue Sparrow also carries custom jackets that can be made with matching wedding colors, fonts and florals. They also carry bridal jewelry, hair pieces, veils, and robes.

Says Courtney, “I consider it a privilege to be part of a bride’s wedding dress decision and I look forward to meeting our future bridal customers who will entrust Blue Sparrow with this important and special decision.”


Pamper Yourself at Spa Nouvelle

From Facials to Massages, Spa Nouvelle is Your Bridal Headquarters for Relaxation

YOU’VE GOTTEN ENGAGED, congratulations! Now its time to get down to business; the business of beauty that is. Don’t panic. We at Spa Nouvelle and Derma MediQ love our brides and are here to help you with your wedding beauty plan.

Flawless skin should definitely be a top priority. Drew Farr and Wendy Newsom can assess your complexion’s current state way better than you and your magnifying mirror. We can help devise a strategy for achieving your dream-like skin goals. At the time of your appointment we will discuss your skin type and any problems or concerns you may have. Some treatments take time - up to several months -and you certainly want a game plan that’s just for you. We will also discuss your athome skin care routine. We carry SkinCeuticals and we are blown away by the results from this skin care line. While we know it’s YOUR big day, we also want the moms to feel and look their best as well. We will work with your

budget and your skin to have you glowing down the aisle. And don’t forget all the people who are helping make this day so special for you. You can pick up a gift certificate for them as a way to say thank you.

Here are a few of our “glowing’’ favorites:

• Oxygen Hydro Facial

• Dermaplaning

• Chemical peels

• B5 Hydrating Facial


We know being a bride can be very stressful. We want to remind to you be sure and take time for yourself during this exciting time of your life. We know that emotions will be running high. Our massage therapists Ana Hale and Mary Beth Dickerson are here to help take away that pre-wedding stress and get you ready for your big day, mind and body. Our massage therapists will talk to you in detail about your needs and customize your massage

just for you. It doesn’t get much better than that and our massage therapists are A-M-A-ZI-N-G!

The Signature Massage – our signature massage is a spa favorite with 80 minutes of bodywork with essential oils (sounds like heaven doesn’t it?)

Deep Tissue Massage – a wonderful remedy for those tired muscles from all those pre-wedding workouts.

Spa Nouvelle is located at 1705 Lamy Lane in Monroe. Visit our website at to schedule an appointment or for a list of services.


steve porter

Steve Porter does not want you to put him in a box. Not that it would be easy to do. His work, spanning multiple mediums, has been called surrealist by some and abstract by others. Porter just says it’s his. And if, after seeing his pieces, someone thinks his art is similar to another’s, he says it’s purely coincidental.

“WHEN I WAS LITTLE , I heard of Michelangelo,” he says. “I heard of da Vinci. I didn’t know who some of these other guys were until I was an adult already creating work. When somebody sees my work and says, ‘That reminds me of so-and-so,’ that’s fine. But so-and-so had nothing to do with [it].”

Porter’s brightly colored paintings, detailed drawings, and carefully crafted figures come straight from his experiences, real and imagined. That’s where his art has always come from, ever since he was just a little boy drawing images in the driveway dirt.

“I’m inspired by things I see, things I remember, things I may have seen, things I dreamed about, fears,” the Shreveport native muses. “I might see something on a wall or brick and think, ‘Gosh, that looks like a face.’”

The big imagination he’s had since his childhood — the same one that convinced four-year-old Porter that he’d found a terrifying giant scorpion in the backyard (it was a crawfish) and that pecan tree limbs were long arms and fingers — serves him well now as he makes art. But it didn’t do him any favors during his school years. Unfortunately, his teachers’ lessons didn’t hold a candle to the thoughts, ideas, and images his mind could conjure up. Much to his instructors’ dismay, Porter constantly slipped into his own little world.

“I was consistently in trouble for being a daydreamer, drawing, looking out the window,” he recalls. “It wasn’t that I wasn’t smart or couldn’t do the work; it was that I chose to imagine. I chose to put those images on paper, and I chose to draw.”

Porter wasn’t a fan of school from the very beginning — “Gosh, I hated kindergarten,” he says — and admits he had no interest in going to college after graduating from C.E. Byrd High School. But he enrolled at Louisiana Tech University anyway, thinking he had no other choices.

“We were told you had to go to college if you wanted to get any kind of a job,” he explains.

While in Ruston, Porter earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art. But even with classes devoted to art, the thing that had held his interest for years prior, none of his courses were as enjoyable or fulfilling as doing things his way.


“There were a couple of professors that knew how I was, and I was able to do what I wanted to do,” he remembers. “I appreciated them letting me do it.”

Other instructors, however, taught with methods that didn’t necessarily fuel Porter’s creativity.

“Sitting in front of a still life for three and a half hours two times a week, what’s

that supposed to teach me?” he asks. He says assignments like those were monotonous to him, and though they may work for some artists — “I’m not slamming that; it’s good for some people,” he clarifies — they didn’t do much for him. Uninspiring assignments aside, Porter knows his going to college wasn’t in vain. He says having a degree has benefited him in the long run before mentioning the other bright spot from his college years, “I met my future bride there, so that was a good part.”

After graduation, Porter moved from job to job, including a nearly 15-year run as an art teacher. But eventually, he stepped away from teaching and art entirely. He moved on, opting to start his own lawn service. But soon, he realized he wasn’t done with art yet.

Porter remembers the day he knew he had to start creating again. It was during his stint in lawn care, and while outside working, he noticed three brand

new canvases left on the side of the road, waiting to be hauled off by the sanitation department.

“I was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’” he remembers. “That was something saying, ‘You need to get back to it.’”

So, he did.

Part of getting back to it meant returning to the classroom. Not as a daydreaming, bored student, but as a teacher once again. After his epiphany with the canvases, Porter got an offer to teach talented art. He accepted, and while there, he helped build up that parish’s talented art program and mentored students much like himself.

“There are other kids like me that other teachers would get irritated about, but they had such potential to create,” he says. “Those are the kids I went after. Don’t tell me about the kid making straight As. I want to see the kid nobody’s talking to [who has] a thick sketchbook or might be in trouble.”

“A lot of it is me working with the paint, seeing what it’s going to do, and just playing with it,” he says. “I want to see what’ll happen. Not to sound cliche, but it’s like you’re taking a trip with this paintbrush.”

Finding those blank canvases inspired Porter to go back to teaching “some amazing students,” which he did until retiring in 2020. It also moved him to begin creating art of his own again. Since then, he’s managed to build quite an impressive resume. He’s won awards, instructed at art workshops, spoken on panels, completed murals, and illustrated publications.

His work has been shown numerous times, at locations like Kisatchie Art Gallery, East Bank Gallery, and the Meadows Museum of Art. Some of his pieces live in the homes of art collectors across the globe, specifically in Canada, France, New Zealand, Russia, and Spain.

Currently, some of Porter’s art can be viewed here in Ouachita parish at the Northeast Louisiana Art Council’s gallery in West Monroe. He’s excited about the opportunity to share his work with this community. It’s not an area he knows well, he admits, but he likes it — “There’s just something about it.”

His solo show at the art council gallery, which opened May 29th and closes July 7th, features a little bit of everything: pen and ink drawings, acrylic paintings, and paper mache figures. “There’s not a paper towel or toilet paper tube that goes in the trash at my house,” he quips after sharing that he makes all his paper mache pieces with recycled materials.

When asked to reveal what his creative process looked like, Porter explains that

much of what he does, particularly when painting, is experimentation.

“A lot of it is me working with the paint, seeing what it’s going to do, and just playing with it,” he says. “I want to see what’ll happen. Not to sound cliche, but it’s like you’re taking a trip with this paintbrush.” Or with his little finger, he adds; a large percentage of the time, he’d rather use that than a paintbrush.

Porter is aware that his process leaves room for mistakes to happen, but he says he doesn’t shy away from those, “If I mess it up, I’ll correct it.”

Correcting those mistakes, which range from grandkids’ fingerprints in paint to colors that aren’t quite right, is a challenge, and that motivates him. Well, that, plus faith and his innate need to make art.

“There are those of us that are artists that are born with [the need to create],” he muses. “It’s like a curse and salvation at the same time, a love-hate relationship.”


Your Hometown Urologist

Dr. Robert Marx Specializes in Vasectomies



you may be questioning if it’s time to retire your swimmers. Don’t hesitate, now is the perfect time to schedule that procedure you have been putting off through the busy summer 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 nocut technique, which is the least invasive. The

patient is sedated and local anesthesia is used in order to achieve a painless procedure.


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 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.


Marty & Mark’s

Locally Owned and Operated

MARTY & MARK’S IS A FAMILY OWNED AND operated, watch and jewelry repair shop located on Antique Alley in West Monroe, Louisiana (pictured Mark, Tammie, Katelyn and Madisyn Bennett). Unlike other stores, they prioritize customer satisfaction by ensuring that repairs are handled in-house, with no need to send items away. With a wide range of fashion jewelry, fine jewelry, engagement rings, wedding bands, watches, and more, Marty & Mark’s is your one-stop destination for all your jewelry needs.

What sets Marty & Mark’s apart is their commitment to providing personalized service and attention to detail. When you walk into their shop, you’ll have direct access to the skilled craftsmen who handle your repairs. They take pride in their ability to work on-site, ensuring that your precious items never leave the premises until you come to collect them. This hands-on approach allows them to maintain a high level of quality control and ensures that every repair is carried out to perfection.

Marty & Mark’s offers an impressive array of jewelry options to suit every taste and occasion. Whether you’re looking for fashion jewelry to complement your daily attire or seeking exquisite fine jewelry for a special event, you’ll find it here. From stunning engagement rings and wedding bands to elegant pendants, earrings, and watches, Marty & Mark’s caters to all styles and budgets. They proudly showcase reputable watch brands like Belair and Bertucci, ensuring that you have access to reliable timepieces that blend both style and functionality.

At Marty & Mark’s, it’s not just about repairs and jewelry; they also believe in spreading happiness. The store features an enticing selection of “happy’s” that include scented candles and various other delightful items. These little extras can brighten your day or make for perfect gifts to celebrate special occasions. The team at Marty & Mark’s understands the importance of bringing joy to their customers’ lives, and they go the extra mile to curate an assortment of little gifts that add a touch of charm and warmth to your shopping experience.

For unmatched customer service, locally sourced repairs, and a wide range of beautiful jewelry options, Marty & Mark’s is the go-to destination in West Monroe, Louisiana. Their dedication to serving the local community shines through their commitment to keeping repairs on-site and offering a delightful selection of fashion jewelry, fine jewelry, watches, and more. Pay them a visit at Antique Alley, and experience the difference that local care and expertise can make.


Firefighter Listens to Instinct

Says He Will Always Choose The Surgery Clinic of NELA Tony Waterman


irritated him for a few years before he finally decided to visit an urgent care clinic, where he was told the spot was an infected hair follicle. However, Tony’s gut told him the growth was something more.

Tony, a District Fire Chief for the Cadeville and Calhoun Districts, visited his regular doctor, who looked at it and immediately said: “It’s skin cancer, and it needs to come out now.”

His doctor referred him to Dr. Patrick Smith at the Surgery Clinic of Northeast Louisiana. Tony vividly remembers how his first interaction with Dr. Smith made him feel. “Dr. Smith’s demeanor was completely gentle and calm. He put me at ease as soon as he walked into my room. I immediately felt comfortable,” Tony said. “After meeting with him and scheduling my surgery, I remember thinking I wouldn’t have anything to worry about.”

Dr. Smith removed a more significant section than initially intended, leaving Tony cancer-free.

While waiting for his surgery, Tony heard sounds that made him happy. “Everyone at the Surgery Clinic was just a joy to be around. And while I was waiting for the surgery, you could hear them all talking. They were all so joyful. They were laughing and putting other patients at ease,” he said. “If I had to have another surgery, that would be the place I would choose.”

Tony, 61, has spent a lot of time outdoors throughout his life. He enjoys fishing and metal detecting, which means full days in the sun. And like many kids of his generation, he enjoyed the outdoors with little protection,

often playing without shoes or a shirt.

Tony, who will retire in September after 33 years as a firefighter, now wears long sleeves and a cap when outside. “I am much more aware of sun exposure after this experience,” Tony said. “You think it’s not going to happen to you, but you must pay attention.”

Reflecting on his decision to seek additional medical advice, he said, “If you have something that continues to concern you, get a second opinion. Men can be hard-headed and say, ‘I’ll handle it later.’ However, handling it first and handling it quickly is the best decision.”


While skin cancer can develop anywhere on the body, it frequently grows in areas heavily exposed to the sun. The first signs are changes in existing moles or new and unusual growths.

Most people in the U.S. diagnosed with skin cancer are Caucasian men over age 55. If detected early via frequent screenings, most skin cancers have a high cure rate.

Sun exposure is the primary cause of skin cancer, but there are other risk factors:

• Ultraviolet radiation exposure from tanning beds

• Family history and age

• People with fair skin, freckles, and several unusual moles

Call the Surgery Clinic, home of Delta Vein Care, for answers regarding skin cancer. To learn more about clinic services, visit:


The Anchors in Our Life

Honoring Those Who Hold Us Together

Well, readers, here we all are at mid-year and if you are like me, probably wondering where in the cat hair the year is going? I mean, seriously, we just put Santa Claus and the nutcrackers in the attic and BAM, we are already seeing the fall and Christmas decorations come out of the woodwork in the retail markets. Trust me, readers, it will be here before you know it. But in the meantime, why don’t we take a little breath and just relish in the sights and the sounds of early summer. I love this time of year, well except for the heat, of course, because I love all the things that summer brings from the Farmer’s Market, right? Next weekend is the opening of our West Monroe Farmer’s Market and I’m here for it. Over 60 vendors will be there with their wonderful produce and baked goods and homemade everything. It’s my idea of heaven, actually. I love these lazy days by my parent’s pool, watermelon, homemade ice cream…the list goes on and on. I don’t really “lay out” anymore, time is marching on and it’s marching right across my face (that’s a joke but kind of the truth), but I love being out there under the umbrella listening to my favorite Pandora station, Hall & Oates (make this one of your stations, you will thank me later). I’m kind of struggling this summer, though readers, when I think about where my family was this time last year, specifically my daddy. We can always expect “Big Daddy” to come out by the pool several times during the “lay out” day and join in on whatever tune was blaring out over the speaker. And let me just say, if it was Elvis, well, we could expect “the hound dog” to come out through Big Daddy…like some kind of out of body experience. He

never stays long out in the heat long, just long enough to make us realize just how lucky we are to have this man in our lives, and better than that, this man for a father. I try to stay away from the “tribute” type columns, readers, or else I would be writing every month to the different people in my life who keep me going. It’s no secret the last few years have been some of the more difficult in my life, but as I come out of that sort of fog and my mental and emotional clarity continues to sharpen, I realize that I have been richly blessed by the support group that I have had. Leading that charge for me is the one who answers to many things…Tommy, John T., Tall T, Big Daddy, and for me…just daddy. No one has prayed louder or harder for his kids than my daddy…which, quite understandably, serves as the inspiration for how many other people pray. Someone ask me recently how my dad was doing, they hadn’t seen him in years. Their first comment after I told them was “Mr. Tommy has always been an anchor in his church, his community.” I have to tell you readers, I felt a rush of emotions hearing this. You see, that anchor, that one person that I knew I could count on when the going got tough, has been in a bit of a struggle these past few months. Well, almost a year, really, and frankly, it’s been very hard to watch.

We all have those same people in our lives, right, readers? The ones who are the “anchor” who holds for us? I certainly have and still do, and ranking right up there at the top is my father. Growing up, my dad was the consummate “provider” for our family. My two sisters, my brother and I never wanted for anything and Daddy worked very hard, long days, oftentimes away from home, to make


sure we never did. Daddy ran our home with unsaid and unwritten expectations for how he expected his children to act…with kindness, with integrity…with manners (impeccable)…with dignity…and with tolerance and acceptance of others. He also “preached” on forgiveness quite a bit, even when the rest of us wanted to hold a grudge or be upset with someone over something trivial or inconsequential, Daddy always stood the ground for giving grace. His thought: “I’ve been given grace many times by my parents, my wife, my children and my Heavenly Father. The least I can do is extend that same sentiment.”

As the years began to morph into my early adulthood, my family experienced the inexplicable with the loss of my sister in a tragic car accident. Never before had I seen my dad “anchor” his family the way he did after we lost Angel. Those next few years were some of the darkest of our lives but Daddy never wavered in his faith and the rock solid fortitude he provided his family. It would be years later before he shared with me the years he spent in a black abyss of pain and grief that he kept from his family. Interesting. Dare we compare him to an anchor...never seen but strongly felt?

What people do see when they meet Big Daddy is a man tall in stature (at the high rise height of 6’6 hence the name, Tall T), but more important is what they see after they spend 5 minutes with him, and that’s a man completely devoted to his family; a man full of pride at their accomplishments; and a man who would lay down his life for those he loves. And loves hard he does.

Little did I know that years after we gave up Angel that we would again be facing another devastating blow with the loss of my own child. During this time, my daddy stood in the gap for Scott and me. He prayed over us, he counseled us, he tolerated me (and that was difficult many times), and he loved us through it.

Like an anchor.

Well, today, readers, I find the twisted roles of life reversed as our family has been called on to help nurse Big Daddy back to good health. All those years he firmly held our family in the palm of his capable and strong hands, has found us now needing to hold him in ours.

And I’m here for it.

Readers, some of you might be in the same “predicament” that my family now finds ourselves, but can there be a higher

calling, a greater privilege than caring for those who have always cared for us? Here we are at the month where we have a day where we celebrate our fathers, but don’t we need more than one day? Friends, whether you are fortunate enough to have your father still with you, or if death has separated you from him, take a few minutes with your own children to celebrate your own “anchor.” I understand that person may look different for some families; it might be a grandfather, an uncle, a brother, a friend, but whomever it was that stood in the gap for you, or still does, celebrate the role, the influence they have had in your life, not just on Father’s Day, but all year long. Their influence, whether close or distantly felt, is one of our greatest treasures.

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.


Gardens of Somerset

On Tuesday, April 25th Gardens of Somerset hosted Double BB Farms to bring their cute animals out for a day of goat yoga with the residents, their families and staff. Some residents snuggled with goats and rabbits, while others were more daring and participated in yoga poses. Those in attendance spent the day in fellowship with other animal enthusiasts laughing and enjoying the fun festivites.

On the BayouScene

88 JUNE 2023 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM 1 4 5 6 7 8 2 3
1 Billie Hindsman 2 Heather Hurley 3 Jesse Bush 4 Karen Hamilton 5 Maggie McGuffie and Chef Randy 6 Nita Robertson 7 Pauline Braddock and daughter Mary 8 Friends and family enjoying goat yoga

Family Owned and Operated

North Delta Title Company

BUYING A PROPERTY INVOLVES MANY LEGAL processes, and one important step is choosing a title company to ensure you get a clear title to the property. Choosing a reliable and trustworthy company can make a significant impact on your property purchase experience.

North Delta Title Company has been helping individuals purchase their new homes for over 29 years and has closed over 35,000 transactions throughout the State of Louisiana. They have one goal: To make your closing process as smooth and effortless as possible while protecting your ownership in your new home. They want to be your first choice when choosing a Title Company to help purchase your new home.

So, who chooses the Title Company and what do you look for?

Louisiana law states that the buyer has the legal right to choose their title company. You should look at such factors as reputation, cost, experience and longevity of the company. North Delta Title Company prioritizes clients to make sure that you enjoy a smooth sales, saving yourself the headache of time-consuming and costly mistakes.

So why choose North Delta Title?

North Delta Title is a family owned business where Attorneys, Kirby Price and his daughter, Amy Price Sawyer, want you to feel like family in a relaxed and enjoyable environment. Buying a home should be a fun and exciting time and North Delta Title wants to take the stress out of the Closing Process. The staff is always willing to go the extra mile to answer any question you might have or resolve any unexpected issues that may come up during the process. And the vast knowledge of the staff and attorneys can help solve almost any issue that may arise.

Both Kirby and Amy are lifelong residents of Ouachita Parish and are deeply rooted in the community. They consider it an honor and privilege to help people become homeowners and take roots in the community. When asked why she loves her job, Amy enthusiastically responded, “What’s better than helping someone find a home to love, raise a family, have a dog, or just play in your own yard? That’s what makes a community thrive and that is why we love what we do. We get to be a small part of a huge accomplishment while at the same time having a front row seat at a great moment in their lives.”

North Delta Title Company wants to be your choice when choosing a title company. So, visit their website at or call Amy and Kirby at 318.387.1100 with any questions. You can also email them at or They are here to help and look forward to helping make your dreams of home ownership a reality.


Bayou Buzzworthy

Kristyn Smith, an upcoming graduate of Louisiana Tech University in spring 2023, has overcome tremendous challenges by recovering from a sudden and serious ruptured brain aneurysm. Despite this setback, she has shown remarkable determination to pursue her passion for veterinary medicine.

West Monroe will soon welcome the arrival of Andy’s Frozen Custard. This delightful establishment will be situated at 110 Basic Drive, nestled between Texas Roadhouse and Golden Corral. Patrons can indulge in a delectable assortment of frozen custard treats, including concretes, sundaes, and banana splits, available in a variety of flavors such as vanilla and chocolate.

Grambling State University’s baseball team had a remarkable reason to rejoice in Prairie View, Texas. On Thursday afternoon, they secured an impressive victory of 6-3 against Prairie View A&M at Tankersly Field, which led them to clinch their first Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) West Division title since 2017.

West Monroe recently made an exciting announcement by appointing Todd Garvin as the upcoming head coach of the West Monroe football program. Garvin brings valuable experience to the role, having served as the athletics director and head football coach at Ouachita Parish High School for the past two years. During his tenure, he guided the Lions to an impressive 15-10 record, which notably included a memorable victory over the Rebels in 2021.


Gardens of Somerset

Goat Yoga at Gardens of Somerset

AS WE AGE, MAINTAINING physical and mental health becomes increasingly vital. Exercise and mobility are integral components of healthy aging, contributing to muscle strength and reducing the risk of chronic disease. Regular exercise is proven to reduce the risk of heart disease, strokes and diabetes. At Gardens of Somerset, we strive to involve our residents in numerous activities around our campus, and have included goat yoga to our expansive list. We believe that social and physical activities are a key part of our programmatic offerings and help to create a well-rounded, engaging, and fun environment for our residents.

Goat yoga involves the practice of yoga combined with the company of goats. Participants typically perform gentle yoga poses close to the goats, feeding them or just enjoying their company. This unique spin on traditional yoga has rapidly gained popularity over the past few years, and is now

a favorite activity at Gardens of Somerset.

Goat yoga is an especially senior-friendly exercise, as it is low-impact yet high reward. It vastly improves muscle tone, strength, balance and overall energy. The exercise improves balance and, in turn, reduces the risk of falls among seniors. Additionally, it’s known to create an elevated emotional state, boosting overall mood and mentality. This colorful activity caters to the unique needs of residents, offering relaxation, social interaction, and an opportunity to appreciate the outdoors.

The residents, families and staff at Gardens of Somerset were thankful to have Judy and Bryan Babb of Double BB Farms bring a new experience to the community. It was a fun filled day of yoga, socializing and laughter for all those involved.

If you’re looking for a better living community that offers everything you need to live a comfortable and fulfilling life, look

no further than the Gardens of Somerset. Our vibrant community, variety of living options, on-site amenities and activities, and dedicated staff set us apart from the rest. Some of our other amenities and activities include:

• Beauty salon

• Movie theatre

• Fishing and swimming pool

• Greenhouse and potting shed

• Fitness center

• Ornamental gardens

• On-site NP clinic

• On-site therapy: PT, OT, and Speech

Inspired by P. Allen Smith’s Moss Mountain Farm, each carefully chosen community amenity and activity supports an active lifestyle. Residents will appreciate the convenience, and the uncompromising attention to every detail. If you’re interested in learning more about what the Gardens of Somerset has to offer, contact us today to schedule a tour at 318-329-4000.


June Gallery Crawl

Downtown Art Alliance June Gallery Crawl

DOWNTOWN MONROE AND WEST MONROE WILL soon be “crawling” with art enthusiasts and fun seekers at the upcoming Downtown Gallery Crawl on June 1st. Presented by the Northeast Realtors of Louisiana, the Downtown Gallery Crawl, an initiative of the non-profit Downtown Arts Alliance, was designed to enhance the art culture of the 318 and to allow North Louisiana artists a platform to grow, prosper and connect with one another and the local community while continuing to revitalize the downtowns of Monroe and West Monroe. The Crawl’s mission is to provide interactive art education and to showcase and make accessible to the NELA community the works of emerging and established local, regional and national artists and artisans.

Participating galleries in June include:

Monroe - Anapolé Gallery, Art Alley Marketplace, Ascent Gallery, Flying Tiger Brewery, La Bella Events & Receptions, Neville House, Revival Design & Consign, Sugar Gallery (presented by Black Creatives Circle of North Louisiana), The Good Daze, and The Palace Gallery

West Monroe - Albritton Photography, Alley Park, Northeast Louisiana Arts Council Gallery, and Rumo’s

The Downtown Gallery Crawl is free and open to the public occurring every other month, six times a year happening from 5pm-9pm on the first Thursday of each month starting in February of each year. Remaining dates for the 2023 season are June 1st, August 3rd, October 5th, and December 7th. Participating galleries provide a free and fun environment for the community to interact with, observe, learn about, and acquire fine art.

The 2023 Downtown Gallery Crawl is made possible by the generosity of local sponsors including the Northeast Realtors of Louisiana (Crawl Presenter), Origin Bank (Crawl Believer), and North Delta Title (Crawl Sponsor).

“The Northeast Realtors of Louisiana are committed to supporting our community and so excited to be a sponsor of the Downtown Gallery Crawl,” said Debbie Bayles, President of the Northeast Realtors of Louisiana. “We hope to help promote the arts and our beautiful twin cities through this wonderful event. Hope to see you there!”

In kind sponsors include Sir Speedy Monroe, KEDM Public Radio, Flying Tiger Brewery and Herons on the Bayou.

The Downtown Arts Alliance and its community programs are supported by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council, and as administered by the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council. Funding has also been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works.


Hot Weather Safety for Older Adults

The Clinic at Gardens of Somerset

SUMMER CAN BE A WONDERFUL season filled with outdoor activities and fun times with family and friends. However, with the summer season comes hot temperatures that can be dangerous, especially for aging adults. According to the National Institute on Aging, older adults are more prone to heat-related health issues than any other age group. Here are some tips to help keep older adults safe during hotter weather:

Stay Hydrated

One of the most important steps to take during hot weather is to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, even if you’re not feeling thirsty. It’s vital that seniors avoid sugary drinks, caffeine and alcohol as they can cause dehydrations. Dehydration can lead to serious health problems, including heat stroke.

Stay Cool

Another effective way to protect yourself

from the heat is to stay cool. Try staying indoors where there’s an air conditioner or fan to regulate the temperature. If that’s not possible, seek out alternative cool spots. It’s best for older adults to avoid outdoor activities during the hottest part of the day.

Dress Appropriately

Wearing light-colored, loose-fitting lightweight clothing can help to keep you cool and reduce the risk of heat exhaustion. It’s also important to wear hats, sunglasses and sunscreen to protect the skin from harmful UV rays when going outside.

Be Aware of Warning Signs

It’s essential to know the signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Some common signs of heat exhaustion include dizziness, headache, nausea and feeling faint. The most serious heath related illness is heatstroke, which is a life-threatening medical emergency. Symptoms

may include a rapid heartbeat, headache, nausea, confusion, and loss of consciousness. If you or someone you know experience symptoms of heat exhaustion or heatstoke, seek help immediately.

There are many options to stay safe during hotter weather, and The Clinic at Gardens of Somerset is here to assist with those suffering from hot weather related illnesses. Similar to the mission of the Gardens of Somerset, their goal is to offer integrated care to the residents while also inviting the community onto the campus for primary care services. For more information on the services offered at The Clinic at Gardens of Somerset from Integrated Care Professionals, or to schedule an appointment with Elizabeth, call (318) 306-2389. The clinic is located at 340 Lonewa Road in Monroe.


Corner Coffee and Provisions

In an attempt to extend their love of coffee to West Monroe, Madison Corey Coates, and his wife Kaylea Coates recently opened Corner Coffee + Provisions. Its cozy layout, chic interior, and superb cups of smooth, steaming coffee provide the kind of comfort and relaxation you’ll want to sink into. In fact, a bright yellow neon sign mounted on a crisp white wall says it all—Take a break.

Originally from Farmerville, Madison has lived in West Monroe for the past five years. “We both have always wanted a coffee shop,” he says. At the time, both were working in ministry at Christ Church, and though a fulfilling experience, they wanted to do something more for the community. “We love coffee shops, we just like culture and coffee.” Sporadic conversations about the future rolled into consistent and thoughtful planning. They weighed the pros and cons of owning a business carefully. While they recognized the plentiful coffee market in the area, they believed what they had to offer outweighed the statistics. Even then, they considered it more judicious to keep on the lookout for an existing coffee shop that may be ready to pass the torch, as it would provide a stepping stone that they could unleash their imagination and craft. In fact, they had one in mind. Having enjoyed the fellowship they experienced time and again at the West Monroe staple Corner Coffeehouse, an establishment spanning close to seventeen years, they often imagined taking over and giving it the Coates’ spin. “So we just kind of started talking to people,” says Madison. Their visualizations quickly manifested when one day they were in line at Corner Coffeehouse and the manager casually approached them and asked whether they were interested in buying. “So it was kind of like a God thing for us. We just felt like everything fell into place,” says Kaylea. It didn’t take long for them to make an offer. It was the middle of May, and three months later they opened up Corner Coffee + Provisions in a new location.

The pursuit of a new location was guided by their love for coffee shop culture. Madison, in particular, pulled ideas from his coffee shop excursions when he lived in Dallas, thinking of the times he’d stay at an establishment for hours doing work. “A coffee shop with a great vibe and aesthetic is a place you want to be,” says Madison, adding, “so if I wasn’t at work, I was at a coffee shop.” This ability to bring in and foster community is one of the attributes the couple appreciated and loved about the former Corner Coffeehouse. “There’s a lot of good community,” he says. Considering the community building they wanted the new establishment to foster, they began looking for a more spacious location, finding their current 3000 square feet coffee home tucked at the corner of McMillan Rd and Bell Ln. “It was very scary envisioning this place,” says Kaylea, referring to fashioning an interior from scratch. Working with a blank canvas can be stress-inducing, but they approached the challenge one piece at a time. “My dad and I basically just did all of the work ourselves,” says Madison. The transformation was significant. The former sandwich and

frozen yogurt shop went from its grape purple and neon green walls, to clean and bright white walls. “We had friends putting together furniture,” says Kaylea. Madison, her father-in-law, and a friend poured the concrete on the curved order countertop, while her brother-in-law crafted the butcher’s block tables placed in front of wood benches that Madison’s grandfather built. “Most of the time, I just swept up all of their messes,” laughs Kaylea. Adding, “It was a friends and family rally.”

As far as vibe, the couple aimed for a luminescent, polished, modern space that would awaken the senses. They selected timeless pieces of furniture that are both comfortable and stylish—black metal bar stools facing the window storefront, a large wooden dining table with black spindle back dining chairs, two rattan cane fabric armchairs surrounding a chic wood coffee table placed in front of a mid-century leather tan sofa. The light and welcoming space, characterized by the white walls and light wood accents, is the kind of space that makes you feel like you’ve entered someone’s home. A few of their regulars can attest to this, especially the friend groups

“A coffee shop with a great vibe and aesthetic is a place you want to be,” says Madison, adding, “so if I wasn’t at work, I was at a coffee shop.”


that arrive around eight o’clock and stay until ten. “They’ve been doing this for ten years,” says Madison, referring to the former Corner Coffeehouse customers. “It was cool seeing that our community trusts us. They were open to the changes every time.” Considering their customer base as important to the establishment as their coffee brews, interactions with customers also extend to sharing ideas with the purpose of pushing things forward in their establishment. “It’s been amazing seeing them get on board with our vision and support us with where we are taking it,” says Madison.

The already optimal hangout space is made even better if you are holding one of Corner Coffee + Provisions’ snazzy clay mugs

brimming with any of the brews on their menu. Whether you’re craving an espresso, specialty latte, or classic cappuccino, your taste buds are in good hands as the business uses Onyx Coffee Lab roasted beans, a café and roastery based in Northwest Arkansas. The roast used on the brews is the Onyx Monrach, a great “middle of the road” roast designed to work well with milk. On drip, treat yourself to the Onyx Southern Weather, a complex and sophisticated blend with hints of citrus and full-bodied chocolate. Also, keep an eye out for seasonal blends that get rotated on their drip bar. One original Corner Coffeehouse roast that the couple has kept is the Southern Pecan roast, a customer favorite. As far as personal favorites go, Kaylea’s go-to

cup is a flat white with honey and oat milk. “And that’s how I judge any coffee shop I go to,” she says, admitting that she developed a refined coffee palate when living in Australia for three years having experienced their “very deep coffee culture.” Keeping true to the classics, as a self-proclaimed “simple man,” Madison enjoys either a vanilla cappuccino or a cortado, “Nothing in it, just plain.” While not much will make Kaylea


stray from a flat white, she enthusiastically reveals that their cups of frappuccino are the perfect sweet treat. Their Samoa frappuccino, based on the Girl Scouts Samoas Cookies, is one such luxurious delight. “It will blow your mind!” The couple is aware that while there is a substantial market for craft coffee (i.e. eclectic latte art), at their establishment they are striving to balance craft along with whatever you want. “We have latte art and we have whipped cream,” laughs Kaylea.

Of course, the rebrand of their establishment promises a bit more than coffee, and some of their provisions have been readily sought after, particularly with the early morning crowd. You can’t go wrong with the pastry selections, such as the mildly sweet Monkey Muffin—a fusion of banana, nut, and chocolate—and the Cranberry Orange Muffin with its balanced tartness. Their breakfast biscuits, croissants, and kolaches (jalapeño or regular) are made in-house and baked every morning. But, thus far, Kaylea is “obsessed” with the açaí bowls. Customers can choose from the three bowls on the menu and the option to “build your own” with up to six toppings. The hardiest bowl is aptly named Elvis Bowl and is topped with bananas, peanut butter, granola, cacao nibs, coconut shreds, and Nutella drizzle. Meanwhile, the fruitiest is the Health Bowl—strawberries, blueberries, goji berries, almond butter, granola, and coconut shreds.

“We’re doing weddings and events,” enthuses Madison, who already has a few weddings lined up for the fall. From fashioning a coffee bar to catering the event, they can meet the vision of any customer with their many goods and expertise. Impress guests with a bride and groom latte or a picturesque display of mini açaí bowls as party treats everyone will love. They’ve even been known to decorate their charming food trailer with an impressive garland of balloons matching the color scheme of any event.

The couple emphasizes that welcoming people is part of their culture. “We want to make impact here, not just with the customers, but the biggest reward of having the place is being able to invest in the culture of our team,” says Madison, who makes sure to provide job opportunities for people in recovery. Kaylea, who is still in ministry, adds, “We love people . . . And whether that’s serving them coffee or a conversation or just a safe place to be, we’re here for it.” With an eagerness to bring people together, Madison and Kaylea want the Northeast Louisiana community to know that Corner Coffee + Provisions is a place where they encourage everyone, from all walks of life, to take a break, especially if it involves a coffee in hand.


Downtown Ruston Mural Projects

Small Transformer Boxes Become Mini-Mural Projects

EVEN SMALL TRANSFORMER BOXES with bright, colorful murals can help transform the ambiance of Downtown Ruston.

Ruston Cultural District is calling for artists in Lincoln Parish for help with its newest mini-mural project. The project will choose four different local artists to each paint a transformer box located throughout downtown Ruston.

All expenses and materials are provided by funding from the Louisiana State Cultural Districts Implementation Grant.

Amy Stegall, Community Coordinator, highlighted the importance of the project for Ruston.

“Ruston is a place for nonprofits to incorporate and celebrate our culture through visual, performing, literary and culinary arts along with folklife,” said Stegall. “We want to focus on bringing those pillars to the district.” Each artist will be given given freedom on the art he or she wishes to submit.

“The coolest part of the project is the opportunity to find unexpected ways to come across art,” said Stegall.

Art submissions must be received by 5 p.m. April 10th. With a quick turnaround, the winners will be announced the following April 14th.

Dylan Sanders, board member of the Ruston Cultural District, outlined the reason for utilizing the grant to create the project.

“Our goal is to get some beautiful pieces of artwork while supporting local artists,” said Sanders. “We will be working with the chosen artists to take their designs and enhance them and make them become a reality.”

The winning artists will receive $400 in supply credit that can be used at Creative Exchange. Once the project is completed, they will receive an additional $775 stipend.

Jessica Slaughter, board member of the Ruston Cultural District, spoke about the need for compensating the artists.

“I think so many times people ask artists to do things for free. It’s something they worked really hard at, studied for and practiced,” said Slaughter. “We wanted to pay them as they needed to be.”

The project is expected to complete and be displayed May 27th as part of the Ruston Art Encounter. The event will be open to the public to view the murals.

“Transformer boxes are such an unsightly but necessary part of life. We really want this to be another way to show that creative expression and to take something that normally is an eyesore, and turn it into something beautiful,” said Slaughter.


A Celebration. A Statement. A Forever Piece.

Steve’s Jewelry in Bastrop

FROM 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 girls 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 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 a great deal of thought 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. Their team will sit down and help couples understand the quality of what they are buying. The diamond is the most important part of an engagement ring. At Steve’s they take time to educate on the craftsmanship 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 a 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 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 46 years. Since 1977, Steve’s Jewelry has taken pride 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 always thanked God for the success he had as a local jeweler. His family will continue the legacy of Steve’s Jewelry. *12 months same as cash financing and in house layaway*


University of Louisiana Monroe Inaugural Day of Giving

ULM Raises More Than $2 Million in 24 Hours During its First Day of Giving


Monroe raised more than $2 million in just 24 hours as part of its inaugural Day of Giving on May 17th. A total of 86 donors raised $2,319,442 for their favorite colleges and sports on the Bayou.

“With most graduations occurring in the month of May, we thought it would be fitting to host our first ever ULM Day of Giving on the heels of commencement,” said ULM Foundation Executive Director Susan Chappell. “What better reason to give to ULM than to celebrate and honor graduates?

Whether your favorite graduate earned their degree from ULM this month or whether they earned their degree from NLU or NLSC decades ago, we welcome your gift in honor of them.”

Two of those donors made individual $1 million gifts. These anonymous donors, empowered by the exciting direction of the

University, directed their gift to the College of Business & Social Sciences.

“I am overwhelmed by the generosity of the ULM family,” said ULM Foundation Executive Director Susan Chappell. “Every single donation, from the $5 gifts to the $1 million pledges, will change lives at our beloved institution.”

Donors were given the opportunity to make their gifts in honor of a graduate, whether that person graduated from ULM this month or from NLU or NLSC decades ago. The graduates with gifts made in their honor will be recognized in an upcoming ULM publication.

“The more than 900 students who became alumni at commencement on Saturday joined a group of amazing alumni, friends, and community partners who believe in our mission of changing lives and lifting our community to new levels of prosperity,” said

ULM President Dr. Ron Berry. “We sincerely appreciate our donors and their gifts as they don’t just support our outstanding Colleges and athletic programs - they absolutely change the trajectory of the people who live in Northeast Louisiana.”

Included in the total donation numbers are contributions from gift partners. These individuals and organizations, including anonymous donors, Coach Lou St. Amant, Louisiana Wholesale Drug Company, Inc., Lumen, and Pinnacle Family Health, made $2,000 challenge gifts to spur other donors on Day of Giving.


Make Your Wedding Timeless

With Paperglaze Calligraphy


Of all the items you’ll pay for when it comes to your wedding—from food to flowers—very little of it can still be held and cherished for years to come. That’s why when you invest in a calligrapher, you invest in physical mementos of your day that can be displayed and admired for decades.

GIVE YOUR WEDDING A TIMELESS ELEMENT by choosing Shannan Inman of Paperglaze Calligraphy for all of your calligraphy needs. Specializing in pointed pen calligraphy, Paperglaze Calligraphy offers custom invitations, addressing services, and wedding signage that are tailored to fit the style of your wedding. Shannan has been in the calligraphy business for 20 years, and in the past year alone, was featured in Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Journal, designed Arkansas governor-elect Sarah Huckabee Sander’s inauguration invitation, and was the official calligrapher for the Washington, D.C. Mardi Gras Queen. But despite all of these accolades, the heartbeat of her business remains calligraphy for weddings.


In the digital age, invitations that are high quality and handlettered are more valuable and classic than ever. Whether you desire invitations with an elegant look, a modern tone, or something inbetween, Paperglaze Calligraphy works alongside area stationers/ printers to create a custom invitation that suits your exact taste.

For a truly one-of-a-kind invitation, each component of your invitation suite can be written out in calligraphy. For the more budgetsavvy bride, Paperglaze offers “spot calligraphy,” where important elements such as names and venue are written in calligraphy while the remainder of the invitation is typeset with a beautiful classic font. Paperglaze can also add other custom details such as handdrawn maps, custom crests, and scripted monograms to make your invitations truly special.


First impressions are priceless, so wow your wedding guests with invitations hand-addressed by a professional calligrapher. Paperglaze Calligraphy will ensure that your invitation envelopes are graced with a lettering style that matches the tone of your wedding.

By investing in a calligrapher to address your invitations, you give your invitations the elegance they deserve and yourself the time you need. Paperglaze will ensure that each envelope is formatted correctly, beautifully, and with correct titles for guests—and you won’t have the unneeded stress of addressing envelopes for days!


Paperglaze Calligraphy is happy to help you with each step of designing keepsake invitations and more for your wedding. Simply choose which services you would like (invitation design, envelope addressing, wedding signage, etc.), then email Paperglaze 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 will communicate with you about a more accurate quote and timeline.

Like popular venues and photographers, experienced calligraphers book up quickly. An early start to the process will ensure that custom calligraphy is a foundational element of your big day.

E-Mail: Phone: 318-914-1116


Naturally Beautiful You

Achieve Optimal Health Inside and Out

WHAT CAUSES YOU ANXIETY when it comes to deciding whether to have any aesthetic treatments or procedures? You may decide it will be too expensive, might not work, or have the fear of looking overfilled, plastic, or overdone. You see some celebrities or those you know looking bizarre from using extreme measures to fight mother nature.

At The Woman’s Clinic, our goal is to work with our patients to achieve optimal health inside and out. In our aesthetic division, our aim is to prescribe individualized protocols for skin care with our ZO Skin Health Expert and to do aesthetic treatments and procedures that are subtle, minimally invasive, price competitive, and will make you look exactly like you – minus a few years.

With this in mind, we now offer Platelet Rich Plasma in the form of injections or topically combined with micro pins and

radiofrequency. You may have heard this referred to as a vampire facial. The platelets in your own blood contain a concentrated amount of growth factors, which can stimulate new collagen production. The result is a tight, smooth complexion that looks just like you, only younger and fresher. You will not look overfilled or unnatural.

If you don’t want injections or venipuncture, we offer boosters from ZO Skin Health for brightening or firming as an alternative to PRP topical with Sublative micro pin and radiofrequency procedures.

Call Claire at 388-4030 option 3 for more information or to schedule your appointment. Remember that consultations are free of charge, and we accept Care Credit for aesthetic procedures.


Introductory Prices

Single or touch-up $300

Package of 3 $500 (scheduled 4-6 weeks apart)



Introductory Prices

Single PRP $200

Package of 3 PRP $400

ZO Firming Serum Booster $75

ZO Brightalive Booster $75


a little goes a long way

There are some people who are destined to make the world a better place. Dewana Little is one of those people. Her motto perfectly reflects her character: “Just be nice and treat people with kindness and respect because everyone deserves that.”

It isn’t long after someone meets Dewana Farrar Little that they realize that her parents have been major influences in her life. Their example taught her important lessons about living life to the fullest while respecting others. “Our parents taught us that everyone has something to give or contribute to their community,” Dewana explains. “And they also emphasized the importance of volunteerism.”

Dewana’s father, Boots Farrar, was born in Marion, Louisiana. He graduated from Bastrop High School and then earned a degree in banking and finance from Louisiana State University. He had an outstanding career in banking, serving as a bank executive and on the Board of Directors at Bastrop National Bank, Hibernia Bank, and then Capital One Bank until his retirement in 1994.

On July 4, 1953, Boots married his true love, Francis “Nell” Panquin. She was born in Hamburg, Arkansas, and graduated from Hamburg High School. Nell worked first as a switch board operator for Bell South Telephone Company, and later as retail clothing store manager at Shainburgs in Bastrop. She especially enjoyed her favorite job – making a home for Boots and their family.

The marriage was a true love match. “My parents had a lifelong love for each other, and I never remember them having a disagreement or cross word,” Dewanna says. “They taught us by example just what marriage could – and should – be.”

A Close-Knit Family

Dewana’s parents lived in Bastrop and reared their family there until they moved to Azalea Estates in Monroe in 2018. They were blessed with two children during their marriage – Dewana and her younger brother, Michael.

Dewana has countless fond memories of her parents. “Dad was very civic-minded, and loved politics!” she recalls. “He never met a stranger, and I don’t think there was ever anyone he could not engage in a conversation. He loved people, and loved being involved with Mother in their community and church.” They were lifelong members of Christ Episcopal Church in Bastrop and were active at both the diocesan and parish levels for many years until their move to Monroe.

Her father served several terms as member and president of the Morehouse Parish School Board. Boots also served on the North Louisiana Fair Board for years. There is a pavilion at the Morehouse Parish fairgrounds that is named for him, honoring his many years of service.

A passion that Dewana’s parents shared was orchids. They were active members of the Northeast Louisiana Orchid Society for many years, happily sharing their love for those beautiful flowers with others. This hobby enlarged exponentially when they acquired a commercial style greenhouse. Together they raised many orchid plants – some won awards from the American Orchid Society. A special joy came when they shared their orchids with others, especially brides.


Dewana married Reese Little in 1975 at Christ Episcopal Church in Bastrop. She describes Reese as “. . . the love of my life and the partner I cannot imagine being without!” They both grew up in Bastrop and began dating in high school.

Dewana remembers the family’s summer vacations during her childhood. They would stop at a roadside park for lunch, breaking the journey with special fun. Her father would haul out the heavy metal ice chest. Then her mother made sandwiches on the picnic table. “There were no fast-food restaurants around back then,” Dewana explains. “We enjoyed a delicious picnic that was a part of the vacation fun!”

Summer weekends were spent at the family’s lake house on Lake D’Arbonne.

If the fish were biting, they could be found on Lake Enterprise, fishing and water skiing. Holidays were always spent with family at Dewana’s paternal grandparents’ home. Walter and Gertie Farrar did everything to make those holidays special. Her grandmother began baking and cooking days before a family holiday gathering because she prepared everyone’s favorite dish to include. “That meant a lot of cooking because we had a large extended family!” Dewana recalls.

Growing Up in Bastrop

Dewana attended Bastrop High School and Northeast Louisiana University (now The University of Louisiana Monroe). While in high school, Dewana was active in the band and the orchestra (where she played flute and viola), and the cheer squad. Her favorite subjects were art and Louisiana history. Wayne Horton was her favorite teacher. “He was a very talented artist, and a great educator,” Dewana remembers. “He loved teaching and sharing his skills.”

While at NLU, Dewana took courses related to healthcare and entered the AIT Program to become a Louisiana licensed nursing facility administrator. She has practiced for 35 years. Dewana had always wanted to work in some capacity in the healthcare field. Her parents encouraged her to pursue that dream. “My parents told me that I had a heart to care for others, and no matter where life might take


me, people would always need healthcare,” Dewana remembers.

It was from Mrs. Wanda Cathey that Dewana learned firsthand the importance of a strong work ethic. Cathey managed Pay Less Shoes where Dewana had her first job. Dewana was 16 years old, and worked for Cathey after school and on Saturdays. Cathey took Dewana under her wing and taught her how to do the work properly. “Mrs. Cathey was one of the kindest, most hardworking ladies I have ever known,” Dewana remembers. “Even so, without a doubt you knew exactly what she expected of you, and you were scared to death not to meet her expectations.”

All throughout her “growing up” years, Dewana’s parents’ constant message to her was to remember that they were only a phone call away, anytime day or night, and no matter where she was or what she was doing. They made sure that she always had a nickel in her pocket to make that call and they promised to come. “That reassurance was a wonderful gift from them,” Dewana says. “And, yes, I used that nickel several times and they were right there, no questions asked, just as they had promised.”

Fulfilling a Dream

After finishing her education, Dewana worked for Dr. Flood Garrett and Dr. Robert Holmes in their medical office in Bastrop. There she learned the basics about a private medical practice. Next, she worked for a time at Morehouse General Hospital in their Emergency Room. Still later, Dewana accepted a position from the Louisiana Peer Review Organization as a Peer Review and Quality Assurance Coordinator. Each of

these steps added to Dewana’s knowledge of the healthcare field and its many components.

In 1986, Dewana began what she says is one of the most interesting and rewarding careers anyone can have. She began working with West Carroll Health Systems in Oak Grove, Louisiana, becoming a Nursing Facility Administrator in long term care. “I cannot imagine being anywhere else. I love the work and involvement with our residents, family, and staff,” Dewana explains. “Long term care is not a field for everyone, but it has been perfect for me. I have enjoyed every day, and look forward to many more ahead.”

Love Enters the Picture

Dewana married Reese Little in 1975 at Christ Episcopal Church in Bastrop. She describes Reese as “. . . the love of my life and the partner I cannot imagine being without!” They both grew up in Bastrop and began dating in high school. They attended different high schools, but still managed to be high school sweethearts.

They had two children, both very successful. Daughter Frannie is married to Rusty Landry and lives in Mountain Home, Arkansas, where she owns an insurance agency. Son Rusty is also married. He and wife Angie live in Monroe where he is the manager of the family’s UPS Store.

Reese and Dewana have three grandsons who they cherish – and spoil, when possible! They call Blake, Tanner, and Chapman their “superstars.” Blake and Tanner are at college (Blake: Delta Community College; Tanner: LSU) and Chapman will be a freshman at Neville High School next year.

Dewana loves to share a favorite story about Chapman. Before he was born, Chapman was expected to be a precious, redheaded little girl to be named Mary Margaret and who would be Dewana’s “little girlie girl.” “Instead, Chapman was born with blond hair and is 100% all boy!” Dewana says with a chuckle. “I love him just as much as the other boys, and am thrilled that he is my shopper. He loves to shop with me more than any little redheaded girl ever could. I call “Mary Margaret” often to go shopping!”

Making Their Home in Monroe

Reese and Dewana moved to Monroe from Bastrop in 1986 and immediately began searching for a new church home. One afternoon they spotted St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in their neighborhood. They stopped to look it over and met John and June Eby. The Eby’s invited them to join them the next morning and they accepted. Within two hours of getting back home, Reese and

Dewana received a phone call from Sandry Eby (John and June’s daughter-in-law) also inviting them to please come and visit St. Alban’s. They attended church there the next day and immediately felt at home. As a member of St. Alban’s, Dewana has been an active volunteer. She has served as a member of the Vestry as Junior Warden, Chairperson of the Altar Guild, member of the Search Committee for a Priest, a member of the Board of Trustees for the Episcopal Diocese of Western Louisiana, and as a member of Daughters of the King.

Combining Work with Fun

In 2012, Reese and Dewana -- together with son Rusty – opened the UPS Store in Monroe. Rusty manages the store and they all enjoy sharing the family business. It has done so well that just last year they had to expand and relocate.

Work is not the only thing that Reese and Dewana share. They love traveling! Many of their trips involve flying somewhere, renting a car, and then driving with no plans other than the day they will have to return to the airport to fly home. “Our travel includes no interstate highways whatsoever, if possible!” Dewana says. “We enjoy staying off the beaten path. That way we find the most wonderful and unique places just tucked away in the countryside.”

The couple, like most Louisianans, love both LSU Tiger football and the New Orleans Saints. Fall weekends will usually find the two in their motor home, tailgating at LSU’s Tiger Stadium and then cruising down to New Orleans to catch a Saints game. Although retirement isn’t on their radar just yet, they do plan to take longer extended road trips in that motorhome – with no planned agenda when that does happen.

Just Doing a Friend a Favor

In 1998, Dewana’s close friend, Nancy Mulhearn, called her and asked a favor – a big one and one that changed Dewana’s life. Nancy was in a jam because the Miss Louisiana pageant was approaching and a dorm hostess volunteer had to back out at the last minute. She asked Dewana to fill in. Dewana agreed, and then found out that she would be needed the very next week when she would have to move into a NLU dormitory on campus and live there with the girls for the entire week. Oh, and she would also have to bring her sheets, towels, and everything she would need for the stay. “With a little reluctance, I agreed to help –but for just that week,” Dewana says. “I had no idea what adventures were ahead of me!”

Today, 25 years later, Dewana is very much a part of the Miss Louisiana Organization. She has served on the national

Dewana has served on the national level as a member of the Miss America Advisory Council, the Miss Louisiana Board of Directors as Executive Secretary, and as Executive Director of that body for the past 18 years.

level as a member of the Miss America Advisory Council, the Miss Louisiana Board of Directors as Executive Secretary, and as Executive Director of that body for the past 18 years. “After realizing what a dedicated group of volunteers were involved in this organization that exists to provide scholarship funds and educational opportunities to young women, I knew that

it was an organization I wanted to become a part of,” she says.

Over the years, Dewana has witnessed the personal and professional growth of many young women who have competed at Miss Louisiana. “Many are now physicians, judges, attorneys, professional entertainers, educators, accountants, and the list goes on,” Dewana says. “These young women have had a major impact across our state.”

The most uplifting comment Dewana says she hears from former contestant or title holders is “I graduated debt free because of the scholarship monies earned through this organization.” That’s when Dewana stops to think about all of the work involved in raising those scholarship funds and realizes that it is all worth the effort. “We have truly helped make a difference,” she says. Facing

Life’s Challenges

In just 5 years, the Littles experienced great sadness. Dewana’s younger brother had an established career in law enforcement when he died from cancer in 2015. “One of the hardest things in my life was seeing my parents’ grief at losing their son,” Dewana remembers. “I felt so helpless because there was nothing I – or anyone -- could do to take away or ease their pain.”

Tragedy struck again in 2020. In April of that year, Dewana’s father lost his life to

COVID. His was one of the first COVIDrelated deaths in Ouachita Parish. “There were truly dark days that were sustained only by prayer and support for each other,” Dewana says.

As a healthcare administrator during the pandemic, Dewana was trying to support her staff, her facility’s residents, and families and friends. She describes those days as a “blur.” “We have emerged from COVID as a different world,” she explains. “Some things for the better, some for the worse, and accepting some things will never be the same. We continue to count our blessings and are thankful for our health and the opportunities each new day brings to us.”

Even so, for this complex, very busy woman who hates snakes (“I am absolutely mortified by them!”) but is fascinated by alligators, life continues to be a delight. She loves fresh flowers and trying her hand at arranging. She has placed seeing the Kentucky Derby in person at the top of her Bucket List.

Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948) -- one of the 20th century’s most respected political and spiritual leaders -- wrote, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in service to others.” Dewana Little has done just that, and we are fortunate that she has “found herself” right here among us.


WaterView Casino & Hotel

The Perfect Place to Play, Eat, and Stay in Vicksburg

SO MUCH AT WATERVIEW HAS been updated, it might not look like “the boat” you remember. Most recently, we have completed the work on our restaurants, and are proud to announce the debut of our Sandbar Grill. Whether you’re in the mood for a juicy steak, a rack of ribs, or some seafood pasta, we’ve got it for you in the Grill. Open Thursday through Sunday for dinner, we strongly recommend you make a reservation to ensure your preferred dining hour is available for you. This new eatery also features a full-service bar with a trained mixologist, so the sky’s the limit! And don’t forget about dessert!

Not willing to take the time for a full-service meal? The refreshed look in the Sandbar Café is only the start. From breakfast favorites to our ever-popular daily blue plates to a grab & go snack, there’s a great selection of quick-service options at the Café, open most of the time for your dining

pleasure. Our friendly staff will happily take your order, or you might want to give one of our new ordering kiosks (we call them Kevin) or the WaterView mobile app a try. We’ll send a text or email directly to your phone when your order is ready for pick-up, so you can relax while you wait. Download the WaterView app today!

The restaurants project is the last of the major renovations here at WaterView, where we began by starting a major refresh of our hotel. Now that we’re done with it, it looks so good we joined the Wyndham Trademark Collection of hotels (we’re pretty proud of that, to be honest.) The lobby alone is such a delight it is worth seeing even if you’re not planning to spend the night when you visit… but you totally should plan to do exactly that. Upgrade to a deluxe riverside room and arrive in time to enjoy the sunset over the river. That view is one of WaterView’s many outstanding features, so much that

the readers of our local paper say it’s the best in Vicksburg!

We have added space to our gaming floor and filled it with lots of the latest slot games. We are always adding new titles to our slot floor! Not only do we continue to update our new slot area, but we spread the fun around the entire casino, so be sure to take a look around when you get here. Our table games team has been working hard to get your favorite game open as well! And don’t forget about sports betting: you can request assistance from a ticket writer or use one of our convenient betting kiosks to root for your favorite team by putting your money where your heart is.

Now, that leaves us with only our updated restrooms, new smoke eaters, smoother concrete in the parking lots, and EV chargers to tell you about. We really did think of everything we could do to make WaterView nicer for our guests’ enjoyment.


Louisiana Tech University Commencement Addresses

Representatives Letlow, Johnson Encourage Tech Graduates in Commencement Addresses


at the Thomas Assembly Center saw Louisiana Tech University confer 1,040 degrees on members of the Tech Family and expand the total number of its graduates around the world to 112,907.

Congresswoman Julia Letlow was keynote speaker for the 9:30 a.m. ceremony and addressed graduates of the Colleges of Applied and Natural Sciences, Business, and Education. Letlow represents Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, and she is both Louisiana’s first Republican woman elected to Congress and the first woman to represent Louisiana in the House of Representatives in 30 years.

Letlow’s message to graduates had a theme: “choose joy.”

“While happiness is a feeling, joy is a true state of being,” Letlow said. “And here’s the best part of this strategy: it’s possible to continuously experience joy even when you

don’t feel happiness all the time.”

The congresswoman went on to explain that she learned how to follow this philosophy after experiencing grief and loss throughout her life.

“When you are going through one of life’s valleys,” she said, “and you feel as if all joy is gone, the one way to see it return is to get outside of yourself and to serve other people. When you can step outside of yourself and serve others, it will give your life meaning and, ultimately, joy.”

In the 2:30 p.m. ceremony for the Colleges of Engineering and Science and Liberal Arts, Congressman Mike Johnson delivered the commencement address. Johnson is currently serving his fourth term representing the state’s 4th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Referencing Letlow’s speech earlier in the day, Johnson said his speech had a theme of its own: “pursue truth.”

“Choosing joy and pursuing truth are

critically important to every single one of us today,” Johnson said.

The congressman’s address called attention to the state of the world, and Johnson was quick to stress that the graduates’ education would help them persevere through challenging times. “No matter how dark the skies, you can let your light shine through all that darkness,” he said. “And you can help to prove that virtue and love and bravery and integrity and charity are still possible.”

Also in the 2:30 p.m. ceremony, 1987 graduate in Electrical Engineering and current CEO of Radiance Technologies William “Bill” Bailey became the newest member of the University’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni and the newest recipient of the Tower Medallion Award, the highest honor bestowed by Louisiana Tech, awarded to alumni who have distinguished themselves by exceptional achievement, community service, and humanitarian activities.


Positive Steps Fertility

First Love, Then Marriage, and Then What?

JUNE HAS LONG BEEN THE MOST popular wedding month of the year. The month is appropriately named for the Roman goddess Juno, who was the protector of women in marriage and childbearing. Months and sometimes years of planning go into beautiful ceremonies where friends and family celebrate the happy couple and their future together. With anything in life—school, relationships, jobs—there are these landmarks where after a big achievement or day, people always wonder—what next?

When a wedding (though not universally) is a major step in building a family, it is natural for friends and family to think about when and who will be the next member. This can lead to awkward conversations where people think they should impose their own timelines for children on others, which is ridiculous. We

actually have videos on our Positive Steps Fertility Facebook page from 11/21 and 12/18 with a collection of the best responses to overly-intrusive questions. Some are funny, some are educational, and some should absolutely never be used even if at times one wishes somebody could say them. However, one of the best things you can do for these inevitable questions is to be prearmed with a bank of responses, so that you can respond on your terms, rather than be made vulnerable by others.

Family building is not just one of timing but of knowledge. It’s about knowing what to say, how to think, where you are, and ultimately what to do. Knowing what to say is really not about the rest of the components, but about how to keep life and family on your own terms rather than others. Similarly, “how to think” isn’t about brainwashing, but rather getting rid of the

fertility nonsense such as hips in the air, Geritol, pineapple core, cold showers for men, and much more. A simple office visit with professionals (Positive Steps Fertility, anyone?) is often all it takes to switch from anecdote to the real. “Where you are” often involves a single affordable test for both the man (semen analysis) and the woman (Parryscope testing), so that you can have facts rather than guessing about your true fertility potential. Finally, “what to do” is incredibly dependent on where you are, where you need understanding before you act, but quick, gentle testing can guide a lot of this.

Ultimately, weddings remind us that some of the best of what life has to offer is through being close to others. This is true for spouses, babies, friends, and more. Whether you have a June wedding (or any at all), we hope that your relationships bring you everything you want in life. Moreover, if you want to expand your family, from our clinical team to the Positive Steps Fertility support group (online at 6 pm, 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month), know that so many of us want to help you on your journey. Have a wonderful month!

The Positive Steps Family


Southern Charm


Kalena Lauren Caruthers and John Thomas Jackson exchanged their vows on May 28th, 2022 at Bayou Desiard Country Club in Monroe, Louisiana. Robert Sanders, the uncle of the groom, flawlessly officiated their ceremony.

The couple was inspired to have a classic, timeless, and exceptionally fun wedding where all of their family, friends, and teammates could come together and celebrate their love in the city where the couple first met. The bride walked down the aisle, accompanied by her father, to “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You,” performed beautifully by Wyoming native Kathryn Harding. Following the bride’s grand entrance, the groom surprised the bride during the ceremony by reciting his own written vows to her. This sentimental moment left all two hundred and fifty guests

in tears and is certainly a memory the couple will cherish forever!

The ceremony took place outside overlooking Bayou Desiard, with a lively reception to follow inside the Country Club. This charming southern wedding was planned by the groom’s aunt, Karen Brewton, who made the couple’s wedding dreams come to life and certainly exceeded all expectations! The beautiful couple toasted to their newly committed vows with champagne and a slice of cake from a stunning four tier wedding cake accented with a timeless single gold floral arrangement, created by Ruston’s very own “Social Bites.” The Top Cats, a New Orleans fan favorite, filled the country club with dancing, singing, and laughter for the entire evening. All floral arrangements were elegant and created by the lovely Patti


Wilhite, whom is a close Jackson family friend.

John Thomas and Kalena met in January of 2017 while both attending the School of Business at the University of Louisiana Monroe. Kalena was a fouryear collegiate indoor volleyball player while John Thomas was a quarterback for the ULM football team for four years. The couple got engaged in July of 2021 at the Lake Yellowstone Hotel in Yellowstone National Park, a family favorite location where his family grew up spending their summers.

Kalena is the daughter of Ms. Julianne McCoy and Mr. Mark Caruthers, born in Lake Jackson, Texas, a small town south of Houston, Texas. She is the granddaughter of Tony and Grace Godinho, Janie Gonzales, and late Clarence Gonzales. John Thomas is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Jack Tom Jackson Jr., a Monroe native, and grandson of Karen Gibbons, John Gibbons, and the late Dr. Jack Tom Jackson and late Kaydell Jackson.

The bride was breathtaking as she embodied both elegance and grace in her Justin Alexander ball gown and cathedral length vail from Bliss Bridal and Bayou Life’s very own Meka Reliford was responsible for the glam looks of the bride and her family. Kalena Caruthers was joined by co-Maid of Honors sister Kassidy Caruthers and childhood best friend Mariah Roberts, and bridesmaids Ellison Bakeer, Ashley Lopez, Kelby Martinez, Allison Nichols, and Sarah Woods. The groom was accompanied by his Best Man and childhood best friend Joseph Legerski and groomsman Spencer Brooks, Chance Clowers, Chris Dixon, Tyler Hasson, Brian Thlang, and Braedon McCoy.

The memories from this special day will last a lifetime thanks to their talented photographer, Taylor Cutrer, of Taylor Cutrer Photo located in Shreveport, Louisiana and their artistic videographer, Morris Media Group, located in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Following a honeymoon to Lisbon, Portugal, both Kalena and John Thomas Jackson returned to their home in New Orleans, Louisiana. John Thomas is currently an orthopedic sales representative for Zimmer Orthopedics and Kalena is a Risk Analyst for Entergy Corporation. The couple is enjoying their time as newlyweds by traveling, spending quality time with friends and family, and trying new restaurants in the Big Easy.

Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. John Thomas Jackson!


Methodist Foster Care

Looking for New Foster Caregivers

BY DEFINITION, FOSTER CAREGIVERS ARE AMONG the kindest people, providing a safe and nurturing environment for children in need. In Louisiana, a special group of children requires your kindness and support. These children, who often have unique therapeutic needs, are seeking foster homes that can provide them with the care and love they deserve. Methodist Foster Care communities across the state are actively looking for compassionate individuals who are willing to become foster caregivers and make a lasting difference in a child’s life.

Communities with Methodist Foster Care homes understand the importance of providing therapeutic foster homes. These homes are specifically designed to meet the needs of children who have experienced trauma or have emotional and behavioral challenges. By creating a therapeutic environment, foster caregivers play a vital role in helping these children heal, grow, and develop resilience. They offer stability, support, and guidance to help the children overcome their past and build a brighter future. With Methodist Foster Care communities, you can become part of a network dedicated to making a positive impact on the lives of Louisiana’s most vulnerable children.

Becoming a foster caregiver is a deeply rewarding experience. It offers an opportunity to make a significant difference in the life of a child—a difference that truly matters. By opening your heart and home to a child in need, you provide them with stability, love, and a sense of belonging. Foster caregivers witness the transformation of these children as they flourish in a nurturing environment. The bonds formed between foster caregivers and the children can be lifechanging for both parties. The satisfaction derived from knowing you have positively impacted a child’s life is immeasurable.

Louisiana’s children in foster care urgently need homes, and you can help. Take the first step by calling the Methodist Foster Care office nearest you. Our dedicated and supportive Foster Care Recruiters will guide you through the process, answer your questions, and provide you with the necessary information to become a foster caregiver. Discover the profound impact you can have on a child’s life by offering them the kindness, stability, and care they deserve.

Every child deserves a loving and nurturing home, especially those who have faced adversity and challenges in their young lives. Methodist Foster Care communities are seeking compassionate individuals who are ready to embrace the kindness and become foster caregivers for Louisiana’s children. By opening your heart and home, you can provide a therapeutic environment that promotes healing, growth, and resilience. Don’t hesitate—call your nearest Methodist Foster Care office today, speak with our helpful Foster Care Recruiters, and embark on a journey that will change a child’s life forever. Your act of kindness can make all the difference in the world.


Here Come the Fousts


Gracie Janett Britt, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bryan Britt of West Monroe, Louisiana, and Robert Scott Foust, II, son of Mr. and Mrs. Scott Foust of West Monroe, Louisiana, exchanged marriage vows before their family and friends on Saturday, November 26, 2022 at 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon. The ceremony was held on the veranda of the beautiful Bayou Pointe with the glistening bayou in the background. The couple were married by the groom’s uncle, John Gist, III, in front of a cross that was built by the bride’s grandfather, Mr. Robert Britt.

Emmerson Britt, sister of the bride, served as Maid of Honor. Angel Grace Foust, sister of the groom, Hattie Hamilton, cousin of the groom, Callie Matuschka, cousin of the groom, Macy Brooke Kennedy, friend of the bride, Gracyn Bailey, friend of the bride,

Lilly Claire Robbins, friend of the bride, Ali Murphy, friend of the bride, Callie O’Bryant, friend of the bride and Katherine Antley, friend of the bride served as bridesmaids. They wore green velvet floor length gowns and carried bouquets of white roses and Italian Ruckus.

The bride and her bridesmaids enjoyed a lovely bridal brunch hosted by Traci Lilley. They spent the day together having their hair (Avery Monat Hill) and make-up (Savannah Gee Beauty) done.

Ryder Hamilton, cousin of the groom, served as Best Man. Chance Davis, Ty O’Neal, Jonathan Washam, Hunter Johnson, Taylor Young, Ethan Daily, Ryan Cupit, Tanner Jolley and Will Alexander, all friends of the groom, served as groomsmen. They wore matching black suits with emerald green silk ties, a gift from the groom.


Serving as flower girls were Misha Gist, cousin of the groom and Savannah Wiltcher, cousin of the bride. Grandparents of the bride are Mr. and Mrs. Robert Britt and Mr. and Mrs. Ricky Duprey. Grandparents of the groom are Mr. and Mrs. Tommy Gist, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Foust, Mr. Edmund Justice and the late, Elsie Douglas Justice.

Following the ceremony, parents of the couple invited their guests to attend a beautiful reception in Bayou Pointe, catered by Thurman’s Catering. Guests also enjoyed a luxurious charcuterie table prepared by Staci Raborn of Southern Spreads.

The bride and groom kicked the reception off by dancing to their first song as Mr. and Mrs. Robert Scott Foust to Sweet Symphony by Chris Stapleton. Gracie then danced with her father, Bryan Britt, to My Little Girl by Tim McGraw. Robert Scott danced with his mother, Cindy Foust, to The Way You Look Tonight by Jerome Kern. He also danced with his sister, Angel Grace, to My Wish by Rascal Flatts. Guests then danced the night away to tunes played by DJ Ryan Carr of RC Productions.

The couple’s wedding crest, created by Callie Matuschka, encased the room, along with breathtaking floral arrangements made up of white hydrangea, white roses and silver eucalyptus. Their beautiful wedding pictures were taken by Abby Wimberly with Abby Nelson Photos.

Both graduates of the University of Louisiana Monroe, the couple were especially happy to get married on the banks of their alma mater. Robert Scott is an Account Executive with Cintas and Gracie is a 3rd grade math teacher at Drew Elementary. They now reside in West Monroe.

Photography by Abby Wimberly with Abby Nelson Photography

Neville Class of 1973 Reunion

The Neville High School Class of 1973 recently gathered for their 50th Reunion. The weekend was a walk down memory lane beginning with a fish fry at the Neville High School cafeteria which used to be the high school gym. Saturday the class was joined by a replica of their mascot, Shasta the Bengal Tiger, in the Tiger Cage which brought back so many more memories!

The planning committee was headed up by Cheryl Brown Grigson. Joining her with the yearlong planning was the committee: Peggy Anzalone

Doucette, Jeff Aycock, Dianne Buford Carter, Ann Cox Farr, Carol Deney Hanks, Sandra Fitch

Voorhees, Lauren Grigson Vincent, Bruce Hanks, Debbie Hardy Sawyer, Deb Highfill Harrison, Susan Johnson Jacks, Melvyn McCoy, Buff Miller Harvey, Susan Raphael Kenny, Chelle Rivers, Pam Scruggs Wilkins, and Terri Traylor Kent.

On the BayouScene

1 Carol Deney Hanks, Cheryl Brown Grigson, Peggy Anzalone Doucet, and Dianne Burford Carter

2 Mike & Annette Davis

3 Tommy & Paula Aitken

4 Debbie Miller Westbrook & Pam Bank Lary

5 Peggy Clay McQuaide & Betsy Laudenheimer

6 Tricia & Donovan Davis

7 Anneal Osbon Havard & Dorinda Brunson Gifford

8 Lauren Grigson Vincent & Danette Sagar

9 Sandra Fitch & Larry Voorheen

10 Pam Bank Lary, Patty Miller Mauldin, Bruce Hanks, Carol Deney Hanks, & Lillian Polk Swanson

11 Patty Miller Mauldin and Gus Campbell

12 Terri Traylor Kent & Cheryl Brown Grigson

13 Dianne Burford Carter & Margot Liebetrau Parker

14 Sharon Albritton, Ronnie Ward, & Les Loper

15 Cary Davis and Buff Miller Harvey

16 Left to right: Stuart Scalia, Mary Helen May Blanchard, Buff Miller Harvey, Peggy Anzalone Doucet, Jeff Adcock, Terri Traylor Kent, Dianne Burford Carter, Debbie Hardy Sawyer, On top: Carol Deney Hanks, Chelle Rivers, & Lillian Polk Swanson

17 Joseph Hakim, Dennis Surratt, Debbie Hardy Sawyer, Lee Wyatt, Les Loper

118 JUNE 2023 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM 1 4 5 6 7 10 13 16 17 11 14 15 12 9 8 2 3


The Amtrak trains will stop in the historic downtowns of Jackson, Vicksburg, Monroe, Ruston, and Shreveport. The I-20 Corridor will host the first substantial long-distance passenger rail expansion in 70 years.

Long-distance passenger rail will soon be a reality in north Louisiana along the I-20 Corridor. The project’s origin dates back decades, thanks to the work of volunteers from the Southern Rail Commission, Transportation for America, and Smart Growth America. The Surface Transportation Board allowed the merger and acquisition of Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern, now called Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC). Governor John Bel Edwards invested $10 million into the study of infrastructure along the I-20 Corridor, of which a portion was used to apply for the CRISI grant, and $12 million for inner city rail between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Meanwhile, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, better known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, was signed by President Biden in 2021 and allotted $66 billion for inner

city and long range passenger rail. Governor Edwards’ initial investment and the approval of federal funding by Congress gave local NELA officials the confidence to collectively lobby for this project. Local delegations (representing Monroe, Ruston, Shreveport, Vicksburg, and West Monroe) showed tremendous support and made it clear that passenger rail was a priority. Mayors Friday Ellis (Monroe), Ronny Walker (Ruston), Tom Arceneaux (Shreveport), and George Flaggs (Vicksburg) showed that there is a two-state partnership between Mississippi and Louisiana by hiring engineers and passing resolutions through their local city councils to get the train stations up and running for the 4 confirmed stops along the I-20 corridor. The Mayors jointly applied for the Fed-State Partnership Grant with Monroe being the lead entity.

Amtrak, which serves 500 communities nationwide, 150 of which are rural, took notice of the I-20 Corridor initiatives and stepped in to be the lead applicant for the Fed-State Partnership Grant to fund the entire route from Dallas to Atlanta. This was a huge win and game-changing announcement. While these grant applications normally occur in phases, Southern Rail Commission and Amtrak realized that they can and should happen concurrently. The federal letter of intent will help make good on the promise of one round trip per day from Meridian to Dallas within two years, and two round trips per day within four years. Mayor Friday Ellis says, “Long range passenger rail will not be a state-supported or subsidized endeavor. No state recurring dollars will have to stand up operating costs of the Corridor.” The Amtrak trains will stop in the historic downtowns of Jackson, Vicksburg, Monroe, Ruston, and Shreveport. Delhi is under consideration for a stop but has yet to be confirmed. The I-20 Corridor will host the first substantial longdistance passenger rail expansion in 70 years.

“Mayor Ellis and I understand that while we are two cities, we are one region, which includes the City of Ruston and our rural parishes. We grow our relationships so we can continue to grow our region. Any new industry or sector improvements benefit all of us.”

which helps further connect the Twin Cities. West Monroe Mayor Staci Mitchell notes that passengers can walk across the Endom Bridge, stroll along Antique Alley, and stay at local Airbnbs, bed and breakfasts, and hotels. Mitchell emphasizes that “Mayor Ellis and I understand that while we are two cities, we are one region, which includes the City of Ruston and our rural parishes. We grow our relationships so we can continue to grow our region. Any new industry or sector improvements benefit all of us.” Mitchell stresses the importance of community participation and involvement from all residents of this region, as the cities and rural parishes share a labor force. This means remaining focused on quality of life projects so people want to stay and create opportunity here.


Monroe Mayor Friday Ellis promises to build a train station that will serve as the “front porch of our community,” in the city-owned parking lot at North 4th and Desiard St. behind Washington Plaza and across the street from Rain the Salon and Standard Coffee. People can interface with passenger rail much differently, as commuters can hop on and off the train and explore our cities. Ellis wants that downtown experience when passengers step off the train, and that starts by creating an attractive station that shows off our community. A benefit of the Monroe station is its proximity to Downtown West Monroe,

The regional benefits of long-distance passenger rail begin with economic development. Mayor Ellis contends that the rail investment will play “a crucial role in driving economic growth, especially for mid-market cities like Monroe.” Along with providing convenient transportation options, it will attract businesses, investors, and tourists, increasing commerce and job opportunities. Rail allows for moving “human potential,” and enables our region to fill critical gaps in our workforce. Secondly, rail expansion enhances regional connectivity. An efficient mode of transportation promotes regional integration and development, allowing residents from rural populations to access employment, education, and healthcare, aiding in balanced regional growth. Thirdly, passenger rail is a sustainable form of transportation, providing an alternative to individual car use, which we know adds to wear and tear of our highways. Trains are more energy efficient and


Monroe Mayor Friday Ellis promises to build a train station that will serve as the “front porch of our community,” in the city-owned parking lot at North 4th and Desiard St. behind Washington Plaza and across the street from Rain the Salon and Standard Coffee. People can interface with passenger rail much differently, as commuters can hop on and off the train and explore our cities. Ellis wants that downtown experience when passengers step off the train, and that starts by creating an attractive station that shows off our community.

will reduce the carbon footprint for future generations. Trains align with millennial beliefs and behaviors. According to Smart Growth America, 30% fewer millennials own cars, and they look to websites like Walk Score to assess walkability/accessibility of downtown areas. Millennials understand that not having to own a car means more cash on hand. And finally, passenger rail contributes to improved quality of life. It will reduce commute times and lower traffic congestion, provide alternative transportation options for cultural events, sporting events, and concerts. It will transform the travel options

for students at ULM, Tech, and Grambling and their families. Traveling physicians and nurses can serve our area residents. The benefits of passenger rail across north Louisiana touches all our residents.

The revitalization and beautification of Monroe’s historic downtown continues, and Ellis promises projects like the Monroe rail station and downtown development help citizens envision the “boxtop to the puzzle, a clear vision of what we are trying to achieve.” Inspired by the downtown developments in Ruston by Ronny Walker and in West Monroe by Staci Mitchell, Ellis

envisions a similar path for Monroe. The Amtrak expansion brings the City of Ruston full circle, as Ruston was founded because of the railroad. Mayor Walker notes the benefits for LA Tech and Grambling students and the institutions themselves for recruitment purposes. When Walker became the Ruston mayor 8 years ago, he looked at what cities did to grow. He began by revitalizing the downtown area, transforming the old water building into the permanent farmer’s market, introducing curbside recycling, and creating 27 miles of walking/biking trails in the city. While lobbying in Washington, Mayor Walker stressed that Ruston was home to one of three National Federation of the Blind (NFB) centers in the country. He notes, “Students from ages 2-99 can get on a train and come to our Center to learn how to deal with their blindness or the fact that they’re going blind.” Mayor Walker adds that “Anytime you can increase mobility, you enhance what you can offer potential and existing companies and businesses.”

This summer, Monroe Mayor Ellis plans to put in a $4.5 million bid for a marina on the backside of the Rivermarket. The City is working with DEDD (Downtown Economic Development District) to improve Desiard St. with improved roads, sidewalks, and extensive beautification efforts, eventually connecting to areas such as Walnut St, the Garden District, South Monroe, ULM, and Tower Drive. The rail expansion is the lynchpin that makes the City plan visible. Ellis wants passengers to step off the train and experience the sights, sounds, and smells locals have come to know and love. The Mayor spoke about branding the route from Meridian to Dallas, putting local beer, local recipes, and music from the Mississippi Delta to make the ride an experience in itself. Ellis adds, “We have so much potential here. If we do it right, we can tell a whole different story about the City of Monroe.”

On June 8th, Amtrak executives will be in Monroe for an announcement, a big deal for a community our size. Ellis extends his thanks to Mayors Ronny Walker, Tom Arceneaux, Staci Mitchell, and George Flaggs, noting “We all have unique stories to tell about our communities and they’re all worth telling.” Those thanks extend to Congresswoman Letlow who wrote the first letter of support for the Mayors; to Senator Cassidy, the Southern Rail Commission, and Transportation for America who all made sure the IIJA dollars would be spent in Louisiana; to John Bel Edwards for his investment in this region, and to our local delegations for championing this project. “Because of their leadership, all of this is happening.”


Put your Best Face Forward on Your Big Day

LA Center for Women’s Health Offers A Variety of Services

YOUR WEDDING DAY IS A DAY THAT you will look back on for years to come so you definitely want to feel...and look... your best! At Louisiana Center for Women’s Health, we offer a variety of services and procedures to help you do just that. Our clinic has acquired the equipment and expertise to offer a palette of state-of-the-art procedures to maximize your appearance. We strive to offer our cosmetic services and procedures at affordable prices. These various high-tech services can be obtained at our private clinic here in the North Louisiana community for a fraction of the charge for the same procedure in other cities.

HYDRAFACIAL Everyone can benefit from the Hydrafacial procedure. Using patented technology, the HydraFacial cleanes, extracts and hydrates, all with nourshing ingredients that create an instantly gratifying glow in just three easy steps. The first is to cleanse and peel, uncovering a new layer of skin with gentle

exfoliation and relaxing resurfacing. The second step is to extract and hydrate, removing debris from pores with painless suction and nourishing with intense moisturizers that quench the skin. The final step is to fuse and protect, saturating the skin’s surface with antioxidants and peptides to maximize your glow. It is inexpensive, gives immediately noticeable results, only takes about 30 minutes, and has no social downtime. Not to mention, the procedure is extremely pleasant and relaxing, perfect for a bride before her big day. We have the latest Hydrafacial equipment and a dedicated technician to perform it in a private setting. The procedure minimizes skin discoloration and brightens skin tone, instantly minimizing fine lines and wrinkles.

VASER LIPOSUCTION We are among the earliest adopters of Vaser Liposuction in the world. In fact, we have taught and demonstrated this unique procedure for doctors from as far away as Seoul, Korea. Vaser liposuction uses a very small incision of less

than 1/4 inch to emulsify and remove fat. The procedure is performed in the office under local anesthesia, saving the expense of a hospital or surgery center. The results are immediate, unlike various non-invasive treatments which may or may not work.

STATE-OF-THE-ART LASERS This cosmetic procedure uses a dual-wavelength laser to resurface your skin while promoting the growth of collagen. We use the Sciton® Halo™ laser system to perform virtually painless skin rejuvination treatments to deliver predictable results with just 1-2 sessions, doing away with scars, spots, large pores and even some wrinkles.


We also offer Botox, Juvederm fillers, and various cosmeceutical beauty correcting formulas, all priced competitively.

Please call if we can provide you with additional information.


New Orleans Nuptials


Bailey Brenna Miller, daughter of Ms. Tish Miller and Mr. Randal Miller of Monroe, LA and Reed Sutton Connelly, son of Ms. Julie Connelly of New Orleans, LA and Mr. Craig Connelly of Brookfield, WI exchanged marriage vows before their family and friends on Saturday, April 15th 2023 at 6:30pm in the evening. The ceremony and reception were held at Felicity Church in New Orleans, LA.

Bailey, her mother Tish and her bridesmaids spent the morning getting ready at the Pontchartrain Hotel with hair and makeup by Glam NOLA. Emery, Bailey’s sister and Maid of Honor, and the rest of the bridesmaids wore ML Monique Lhullier floral-print jacquard gowns. Bailey wore a strapless off-the-shoulder gown with handbeaded pearls designed by Sarah Seven from Lovely Bride in Dallas, TX. Reed and his

groomsmen wore navy blue suits with rose gold ties from Generation Tux.

Bailey and Reed had a private first look at Felicity Church before the guests arrived. Once the ceremony started, Bailey walked down the aisle escorted by her father carrying a beautiful bouquet of Sweet Pea flowers and Playa Blanca roses provided by Gregory Hudgins of Southern Flower Exchange of Monroe, LA. The ceremony flowers were stunning arrangements of Stargazer lilies, french tulips, Playa Blanca roses, Snapdragons, hydrangeas and Belles of Ireland. Beautiful colored stained glass windows surrounded the bride and groom while their friends and family witnessed their exchange of vows.

Immediately following the ceremony, the bride and groom were joined by their guests as they Second Line paraded out of


the chapel and into the streets of New Orleans. Guests waved their handkerchiefs that were used as the ceremony program parading to the music played by a New Orleans brass band. Upon their return, guests enjoyed light bites and drinks during the cocktail hour while Bailey and Reed took sunset portraits with photographer Cassie Porche of Thistle and Rose Co. After the cocktail hour, guests then proceeded to the reception where they enjoyed dinner catered by Black Pearl Catering that consisted of traditional New Orleans dishes such as cochon de lait and chicken and andouille gumbo.

Bailey and Reed made their grand entrance and had their first dance to Surf by Mac Miller performed by the band D’Play. After their first dance, the newlyweds cut their Chantilly Berry cake made by Mad Batter Bakery of New Orleans and had their first toast with Waterford champagne glasses gifted to the bride by her grandparents.

Following the first dance and dinner, guests danced the night away. Beignets and cafe au laits were passed around towards the end of the evening. The evening closed with the bride and groom’s grand exit as family and friends surrounded the newlyweds as they drove off in a vintage Rolls Royce.


ULM’s Product Enters the Healthy Aging Market

ULM Develops Marketing and Commercialization for Oligen

ALMOST FIVE YEARS AGO, ULM entered into a licensing arrangement with Oleolive Inc, a private biotechnology company, to develop the marketing and commercialization of Dr. Khalid El Sayed’s research on the health benefits of olive oil. Dr. El Sayed’s research isolated oleocanthal, a phenolic compound found in trace amounts in olive oil and demonstrated oleocanthal’s contribution to the health beneficial properties of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO).

The result is a product that has been branded Oligen.

Kiley Grant, CEO of Oleolive claims, “Oligen has been in the works for more than five years. Our partnership with ULM has resulted in more than $5 million in additional grant funding and millions more in private equity investment.”

ULM’s Office of Innovation and

Research noted how the process has also included protecting the intellectual property while expanding the potential for commercialization. Chief Innovation and Research Officer John W. Sutherlin, PhD, remarked, “What Dr. El Sayed did in the laboratory was the critical first step of this effort. Working with Oleolive was the next step.”

Grant added, “Working closely with ULM researchers, especially Dr. Khalid El Sayed, Oleolive has done extensive testing before going to the market in order to gain the trust of consumers in that our product is of the highest grade possible with documented benefits. We stand behind all of the claims made.”

ULM President Ron Berry commented, “Few universities can claim to bring products to market. What our faculty and staff have accomplished is remarkable.”

The research regarding oleocanthal has been extensive. Thousands of articles from universities and other publications around the world have demonstrated for years the benefits of oleocanthal as well as other polyphenols found in EVOO. ULM’s role in facilitating this research has been crucial, especially as it relates to health matters related to those getting older.

Jim Cardelli, PhD and Chief Technology Officer of Oleolive, sees the promise in healthy aging for those using the product. He stated, “Promoting the effects of Oligen has been based on the vast amount of supportive peer-reviewed science publications. This product has decades of scientific healthbased support.”



This dress is a total showstopper. Tent style dress with a high neckline and pleated specialty fabric. Includes removable self-tie belt and small back neck keyhole. Pair with sleek gold sandals.


These outfits are perfect for celebrating on the Big Day. Not only are these standout silhouettes chic but will allow you to celebrate if an all-night dance party is on the itinerary.



This strapless minidress is adorned with a bold floral print and an asymmetrical draped front skirt. Pair with stiletto heels that have a sleek silhouette and crafted in gleaming leather. Accessorize with a gold nail bracelet.


This stunning suit features a crop top with v-neckline and smocked hem. Worn with coordinated crop pants with button detailing and blazer with scrunch pleated sleeves and single button.

ROSE BOUTIQUE Dance the night away in these floral print linen pants with smocked pullon waist. Pair it with a cream-colored, lightweight chiffon top and camisole.


Turn heads in this multi-colored wrap dress with removable belt. Pair with chuncky white sandals with black block heel. Stackable bracelets and a beaded statement necklace complete the look.

Love at Mount Hope


Alexis Nicole Curtis, daughter of Mr. Christian Curtis of Bastrop, Louisiana, and Mrs. Sherry Chessor of Sikeston, Missouri, and Louis Adam Coco, son of Mr. David Coco and Mrs. Stacy Knight of Monroe, Louisiana exchanged marriage vows before their family and friends on Saturday, March 11, 2023 at 5:30 in the evening. The ceremony was held at Mount Hope Plantation in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Upon arriving, the guests were greeted with beautiful floral arrangements and harmonious string music by students of the LSU School of Music.

The bride wore a custom-designed dress of silk duchess satin paired with removable sleeves that were fabricated of silk organza and hand placed French lace. This beautiful dress was made more special

in that it was designed by her best friend and bridesmaid, Lovell Faye. The bridesmaids wore a beautiful lilac colored chiffon dress, which complimented the groomsmen’s light gray suits.

Of course, the bride had “Something, old, new, borrowed, and blue” for her wedding day. Something old was a locket from her great grandmother, which hung on her bouquet. Her something new was her one-of-a-kind gown. Her something borrowed was the get-away car at the end of the reception. Her something blue was the blue beaded heels she wore down the aisle. Adam and Lexi were able to enjoy a few moments alone together right before the ceremony, during their first look. Shortly after the first look, Lexi was escorted down the aisle by her proud father, carrying a stunning bouquet by The Flower Tree from


Bastrop, Louisiana. Standing with Adam was his best man, Hudson Biedenharn. The couple were married by a close friend, John Patrick Owen, who shared their love story with the guests. Adam and Lexi were surrounded by love as they entered into their holy union.

Following the ceremony and formal portraits with Trish Kirkland Photography, Lexi and Adam signed their marriage license and continued to their first dance while I Don’t Wanna Go To Heaven by Nate Smith played. Following their dance, the father daughter dance brought many guests to tears as Lexi and her father danced to The Man Who Loves You the Most by Zac Brown Band played. Adam then swept his mother onto the dance floor for the mother-son dance to Like Jesus Does by Eric Church.

Adam and Lexi spent lots of time planning every detail of the reception to ensure their guests would have a wonderful time. The cocktails and wine were served in personalized cups and the beer was served with a coozie that displayed the couples’ precious pups, Curtis and Jazzy. The wedding cake was a simple white 3 tiered cake decorated with colorful flowers. The groom chose a chocolate cake decorated with all things outdoors including deer and his beloved dog, Curtis.

The festivities continued on with music that the whole crowd loved from the Josh Madden Band. The party would have lasted all night if it could have. The evening closed with a grand exit, sending Lexi and Adam off to enjoy their life together, as husband and wife. Photography by Trish Kirkland Photography


This custom three-piece suit with double breasted vest is the perfect look for your wedding day. A small rose, pocket square and coordinating tie complete the look.


From romantic gowns to sleek tuxedos, these looks are perfect for your wedding day. Find these and more at area retailers.




Beautiful, bold lace adorns this lavish strapless sweetheart neck stunner featuring a fishtail train coupled with a striking detachable lace embellished sheer train. Accessorize with statement earrings with porcelain flowers, faux pearls, and glass rhinestones.


Dare to show off your stellar style on your wedding day in this gown with intricate floral embroidered details on a sheer tulle bodice. This dress is detailed with a sheer corset bodice that rhymes with its illusion v-open back. The floral adorned mermaid skirt flows into a sweep of train. Pair with rhinestone jewelry.

Marsala Beverage Company

Open The Bar with Cutwater Spirits

AMERICANS HAVE HAD A HISTORY OF DISTILLING spirits that tracks back from over 300 years ago and have been distilling quality spirits ever since. Today, we take a detailed look at one such distillery that has changed the spirits game with its range - Cutwater Spirits. With producing almost all the varieties of spirits, this distillery has bagged medals for itself for its quality, value for money, and packaging, which is enough for us to conclude that the quality will always be the priority even when the production is at quantity. Established in 2006, this young distillery - Cutwater Spirits is known for its all-around beverages that deliver the best spirits experience and thus have been a winner in the London Spirits Competition by claiming over 40 medals for themselves. Because this distillery’s spirits have won in all categories, it’s safe to say that Cutwater Spirits have earned all the bragging rights.

Just recently, Cutwater Spirits announced its newest branding initiative, Open the Bar. This integrated campaign features new, creative ad spots highlighting the brand’s premium, ready-to-drink innovations which turn any occasion into a high-quality cocktail experience. Accompanying the platform is a new, elevated visual brand design seen on Cutwater’s line of 20-plus canned cocktails, including Lime Margarita, Vodka Mule, Tiki Rum Mai Tai and Mango Margarita.

The new campaign launches amidst a rise in the ready-to-drink (RTD) category and is designed to educate and empower consumers on the quality of the segment. This is brought to life in three spots developed by AKQA and directed by Italian artist duo Mathery, “Après Ski,” “Beach,” and “At-Home Entertaining,” each pulling inspiration from the brand’s vibrant color palette and brand world – from set design to decor and beyond. The spots highlight key drinking occasions where barriers to easy enjoyment of a favorite cocktail might exist.

“Cutwater is on a mission to make bar-quality cocktails more accessible by enabling consumers to finally enjoy the cocktail of their choice, whenever, wherever,” said Chad Lafeldt, Vice President of Marketing for Cutwater, in a news release. “In our new ‘Open The Bar’ campaign, we show that by simply opening one of our 20+ award-winning canned cocktails consumers can enjoy barquality cocktails in occasions that were otherwise reserved for other

beverages, bringing the best of the bar where they are.”

Alongside the new campaign, the brand is unveiling a new visual brand design that champions this sentiment while providing more clear graphic cues. The elevated packaging will mirror the quality of its portfolio to help consumers more easily navigate the spirits-based ready-to-drink category.

Inspired by consumer insights and designed to keep the brand growing sustainably for years to come, the new packaging features bold colors and illustrations to showcase flavors and cocktail graphics. The ABV is displayed front and center while the amount of shots in each ready-to-drink can is clearly marked. Other design changes include a larger logo for easier recognition on crowded shelves and more simple typography for readability. Cutwater’s new visual brand design and campaign will be rolling out, living across social channels, connected TV, premium digital video platforms and retail.

Locally, Marsala Beverage employs about 100 full-time employees. Marsala Beverage, LP is the largest malt beverage, wine/spirits, and nonalcoholic 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

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Thomas H. Scott Awards of Excellence Reception was held Thursday, May 11th at the Monroe Civic Center. There we 45 nominations for the prestigious awards which honor companies making significant contributions to the Ouachita parish economy through capital improvements, expansion, job creation, and community involvement during 2022/2023. This year’s nominees collectively created or retained 6,538 jobs in Ouachita parish and made capital investments of over $391 million.

The nineteen nominees in the small business category were: 318 LABZ, Andy Smith Global Enterprises, Banks-Miley Law Firm LLC, BayouLife Magazine, Candor Wealth Partners, CMN Title and Acquisitions LLC, Fasta Pasta, Fit4Life Nutrition and Energy, Geaux Family Health, Holton Flooring, Miller/ Roy Development, QuesTECH, Regymen Fitness, Rhyan Emery Photography DBA Albritton Photography, Serenity’s Cake Bar, The Neighborhood Vet, LLC, The Ujima Center, The Washam Agency Inc. and Twin City Chiropractic.

The ten nominees in the medium category were: Checkers, Citizens Progressive Bank, Delta Biscuit Company, Delta Fiber, Fox Realty Group, Gardens of Somerset Senior Living, HiTech

Computers, Kinetix, The Digital People, and The Gardens of Georgia Tucker.

The four nominees in the large business category were: Etheridge Pipeline & Conduit, LLC, Golden Corral, MOEbiz, and Wendy’s / Carlisle.

The four nominees for the corporate category were: Entergy Louisiana, Ochsner LSU Monroe - Rehabilitation Services, Pulpmill Services, Inc., St. Francis Medical Center, and the University of Louisiana Monroe.

The seven nominees in the nonprofit category were Barak Shrine Temple, Life Choices Pregnancy Resources Center, Monroe City Schools, Northeast Delta Human Services Authority, and Ouachita Parish School Board, The Center for Children and Families, and The Wellspring Alliance for Families, Inc.

The Thomas H. Scott Awards of Excellence Reception is hosted by the Monroe Chamber of Commerce. Presenting sponsors for the event are Origin Bank, Reeves, Coon & Funderburg, Thomas & Farr Agency, Inc. and BayouLife Magazine. Additional sponsors for the reception are City of Monroe, First Horizon Bank, Mid South Extrusion, Inc., Monroe Housing Authority, Ochsner LSU Health Monroe, Progressive Bank, and Scott Powerline & Equipment Company.


Small Business Winner

Small Business winner was Candor Wealth Partners. In 2022, Ivan Hendricks launched Candor Wealth Partners with a $340,000 investment. Ivan has grown his financial advisory company from a zero-at-startup to over $40 Million in assets-under- care in eight months. In Candor’s eight months of business, CWP has contributed over $10,000 in sponsorships and donations to local organizations from Arco and the Barak Shriners to the Children’s Museum and St. Jude. CWP is located at 2485 Tower Drive in Monroe.


Medium Business Winner

Medium Business winner was The Gardens at Georgia Tucker. The Gardens at Georgia Tucker, an assisted living and memory care facility, opened in 2018. With a $12 Million investment, Phase II of the facility opened in 2022. This doubled their assisted living apartments for a total of 68 residents. Georgia Tucker is involved in CABLE and supports the Children’s Coalition, Matthew 25: Ministries for Human Aid, the Boys and Girls Clubs of NELA and Pilots for Patients. Paul Coburn and Matt Sanderson’s involvement in 2018 saved Georgia Tucker from demolition. The historical building is remembered by many as Georgia Tucker Elementary School since 1920. The Gardens at Georgia Tucker is located at 405 Stubbs Avenue in Monroe.


Large Business winner was Etheridge Pipeline & Conduit, LLC. Founded by brothers, Josh and Caleb Etheridge, Etheridge Pipeline & Conduit is a utility construction, directional drilling company focusing in telecommunications. Etheridge has doubled in size in 2022. The company went from a one room portable metal office building into a 5,000 sq. ft. office and multi acre yard on Camp Road in West Monroe. Etheridge has donated to ULM, La Purchase Gardens and Zoo, the Cancer Foundation League, and many others. Their focus is to provide a good living wage career for anyone willing to work in North Louisiana.

The Corporate Business winner was University of Louisiana Monroe. Founded in 1931 as Ouachita Parish Junior College, ULM is now a comprehensive, state funded institution of higher learning. ULM employs nearly 900 employees and has an annual enrollment of about 8,500 students. In 2022, ULM completed its $11.6 million, state-of-the-art, student union building- The HUB. The HUB features food vendors like Bento Sushi, Subway, Chickfil-a and others. The second floor of The HUB has a large meeting space with white boards, decks and other amenities. Dr. Ronald Berry, ULM’s President, is heavily involved in organizations throughout the area. ULM is also providing a ten-acre land site for BRIP’s infrastructural development. ULM encourages its students to volunteer as well.


The Nonprofit Winner

The Nonprofit winner was The Center for Children and Families. The Center for Children and Families is a local nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting safe, healthy environments for children and families through advocacy, counseling, education and prevention services. The agency started as Court Appointed Special Advocates aka CASA in 1999. Other programs were added over the years for instance the Medication Management program and the Brokers of Hope program. This year, the Hope Center opened at 105 Regency Place in West Monroe. The Hope Center offers psychological services, medication management and counseling to meet the mental health needs of children. Their employees volunteer at various organizations throughout our region.


The Spirit of Restoration Award

The Spirit of Restoration Award was presented to Miller Roy Development. Developed and renovated by Ben Marshall and Rep. Michael Echols, The Miller-Roy Development is a mixed use development of sixty-six units of affordable housing and one stop community service center. The development includes partnerships with the United Way of NELA, Ouachita Parish Police Jury, Homeless Coalition, and other agencies. Located at 1001 DeSiard Street in Downtown Monroe, The MillerRoy building once was the home of African American owned businesses in the early 1930s. The building was originally developed by Dr. JC Roy and Dr. JT Miller. The $15 Million development was funded through the Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant Program.

Etheridge Pipeline & Conduit Large Business Winner University of Louisiana Monroe Corporate Business Winner


The Spirit of Lightning Award

The Spirit of Lightning Award was presented Fit4Life Nutrition and Energy. Owned and operated by Desmund Lighten, Fit4Life has partnered with a global nutrition company to serve planbased meal replacement smoothies and herbal energy teas. Fit4Life has expand opened a second location and is also a training hub for their sister nutrition clubs in the area. Fit4Life is now one of the top Herbalife markets in the country per capita. Desmund currently serves as a board member for Habitat for Humanity and is an active Monroe Chamber member.


I of the Tiger Award

I of the Tiger Award was presented to Andy Smith Global Enterprises In 2021, Andy Smith founded three newspapers: I Connect, Bastrop Community Voice-the only newspaper in Morehouse Parish, and Winnsboro Connect. Andy also founded three magazine publications: I Worship, Woman of Rise and I Create Magazine. Andy is the pastor of Life City Church in Monroe. Andy Smith Global Enterprises give scholarships to local students and recently launched a new nonprofit, Andy Smith Wellness Initiative.


The Golden Years Award

The Golden Years Award went to Gardens of Somerset Senior Living. The Gardens of Somerset is a retirement community that strives to offer their residents the means to remain active and enjoy life in a safe environment. With a $30 million investment, The Gardens of Somerset officially opened in July 2022. It features several amenities for example, a movie theatre and green house. Having over forty employees and sixty plus residents, several events have been hosted on the grounds from fall festivals to inaugural ceremonies for the Mayor of Sterlington. Many of Somerset’s residents lived, served our surrounding cities, and helped to build and establish our community. The Gardens of Somerset’s Executive Director is Ashley Kirk.


The Delta Slam Award

The Delta Slam Award was awarded to Delta Biscuit Co. Delta Biscuit Co is a breakfast, brunch and lunch restaurant featuring food made from scratch using the finest ingredients possible. Owned and operated by Glen Lewellyan, the restaurant opened in March of 2022 with a $400,000 investment. Delta Biscuit has donated food to multiple agencies for example the United Way of NELA, and the Monroe Chamber of Commerce and this year will partner with the NELA Food Bank to provide meals for the needy. Delta Biscuit’s goal is to be hospitality driven with extreme efficiency.


The MOE Business Award was presented to MOEbiz. Monroe Office Equipment was founded in 1923 by Armand Breard. Currently owned by Chap Breard and Ann Breard, MOEbiz now provides records management, and network support. In 2022, MOEbiz added eight jobs for a total of 55 employees. MOEbiz continues to upgrade. For example, a 3,000 sq. ft. audio visual showroom has just been completed. Chap is a Leadership Ouachita graduate and has recently participated in the Monroe Chamber’s membership campaign. To say the least, Chap also volunteers for Pilots for Patients and has donated to the Children’s Coalition and many others.


The Spirit of Resilence Award

The Spirit of Resilience Award was presented to The Wellspring Alliance for Families, Inc. Since 1931, The Wellspring has been an umbrella organization focused on leading our community by serving people in need. The Wellspring currently owns seven properties and operates ten service sites in Ouachita Parish. Five Wellspring properties were damaged during the Easter Sunday tornadoes of 2020. More than $1.1 million was spent on restorations. In 2022, The Wellspring’s historic administration building, located at 1515 Jackson Street, was completed. The Wellspring employees lend their time and talent engaging with local and state groups. Now led by Executive Director, Caroline Cascio, The Wellspring is a member of the Monroe Chamber and its employees serve on a vast array of boards, committee and organizations.


JUNE 1 - Diversity Lunch & Learn

JUNE 15 - Coffee & Conversation


The Spirit of Life Award

The Spirit of Life Award was presented to Life Choices Pregnancy Resource Center. Founded in 1979 by Dr. Meade O’Boyle, Life Choices Pregnancy Resource Center offers help for one of life’s toughest circumstances- unplanned pregnancy. Currently, Sikes serves as Executive Director. They offer variety assistance from ultrasounds to birth mom support. Due to the 2022 Supreme Court decision, Life Choices has experienced tremendous growth in staff and clients. A new Director of Operations and an Outreach Coordinator were added. Processes and procedures have been updated and outreach efforts will now go into underserved areas. Life Choices sponsors the Angels Gala along with I Will Carry You- a local nonprofit that helps families with infant loss. Life Choices is located at 2007 Roselawn Avenue.

JUNE 19 - Accepting nominations for Top 20 Under 40 Young Professionals


MOEbiz The MOE Business Award

Happy & Healthy Feet for Summer

5 Tips to Keep Your Feet Healthy and Free of Injury This Summer


“Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.” Even though temperatures may rise to nearly unbearable in our beloved Louisiana, we still flock to our lakes and rivers, fire up the grill and flip-flops become the footwear of choice… only to be beat out by bare feet running down the pier. Unfortunately, these seasonal behaviors, can wreak havoc on our feet leading to foot pain, blisters and even increasing your risk of infection and injury.

There is a lot you can do to protect your feet and ankles. Here are five tips to help keep your feet in tip top shape this summer.

Flip and flop in moderation. Flip-flops are a summer staple, and they are comfortable, convenient, and fun. However, flip flops typically offer little to no structural support around the foot and extraordinarily little, if any arch support. This lack of support can lead to foot/ankle pain and fatigue which can lead to even greater orthopedic issues. Flip Flops are not designed to wear all day. I tell my patients wear the proper shoes for daily activities, so you can wear the fun shoes for special occasions or shorter periods of time. Not all flip-flops are created equally… when shopping for new pair, look for flip-flops that have a thicker sole with arch support and a moderate toe box that allows minimal movement underneath the toes.

Drink plenty of water. Spending more time on our feet and in the summer, heat can cause our feet and ankles to swell and a big contributor to this swelling, is dehydration. When you perspire and do not take in enough water, your blood will become slightly thicker which decreases circulation and can exacerbate foot and ankle swelling. When outdoors, try to always keep water with you and if the weather is particularly hot, try to continue drink and do so regularly. If foot and ankle swelling persists, lie down, and elevate the feet higher than the rest of the body. You can also soak your feet in ice water for fifteen minutes or less to reduce swelling.

Wear your sunscreen! Summer footwear or lack thereof leads to greater sun exposure to the feet. In the summer, we replace shoes, boots and socks with flip-flops and sandals. The skin on the outside of the foot is very thin and more susceptible to sunburns and sun damage and can increase the chance for callouses and blisters forming on the feet. Do not forget about your lower body! Getting a sunburn on your

feet will make it very painful to wear shoes in the coming days. Waterskiing… woe is me! We love our lakes in Louisiana and one of our favorite pastimes is to get behind a boat on a pair of skis. Being aware of some the common injuries associated with waterskiing can help water enthusiasts reduce risk of injury and seek proper treatment if an injury does ensue. Some of the more common waterskiing injuries I see as a foot and ankle surgeon include ankle sprains, fractures and Achilles’ tendon injuries. In all water sports, ankle sprains are probably the most common injury. If the water skier “catches the edge” of the water, it can cause the foot to be pulled backwards causing the leg to move outwards or inwards resulting in either an ankle inversion sprain (outward) or ankle eversion sprain (inwards). Prevention and taking precautions are key to keeping you on the water. Make sure before you get behind the boat that you practice strengthening and conditioning exercises and that you are in sync with your boat captain regarding turns and speed changes. Remember to adjust the skis so that your feet are not wobbling in an event of a crash and most importantly, if you suspect or know you have an injury, do not push the limits, and consult an orthopedic foot and ankle specialist sooner rather than later. Also, with all water sports, whether it be the pool, the lake, the beach, be sure to rinse and clean your feet. Stagnant water often carries bacteria which can potentially lead to foot infections.

Do not ignore foot pain. If something happens to one or both of your feet, it can have a major impact on the rest of your body. Foot and ankle instability often leads to putting extra stress on our body, particularly the knees, hips, and spine. If you have injured foot or have persistent pain, see your doctor. With summer and greater exposure of your feet, do not ignore blisters, punctures or wounds and be mindful of your feet by strengthening and conditioning the feet and wearing the proper footwear for the designated activity.

Here’s to a safe and healthy summer and happy feet! Also, if you want to look for more information about foot and ankle care and treatment, you may want to visit:

To schedule an appointment or an evaluation with one of the docs at Orthopedic Specialists of Louisiana, call our scheduling department: (318) 543-BONE or visit:


Calendar of Events

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

May 31 Through June 3

New Music on the Bayou Festival

The 7th New Music on the Bayou Festival is taking place May 31stJune 3rd across venues in Monroe and Ruston. At the New Music on the Bayou Festival, composers and performers intersect over the course of an intense multi-day series of rehearsals, presentations, and concerts. This year, over 40 composers have traveled to Northeast Louisiana to hear 9 concerts performed by 30 different performers from across the region. Time: Times Vary

Cost: Free

Address: Visit newmusiconthebayou. com to learn more information about the locations and schedule.

Through July 7

The Steve Porter Exhibition

The Steve Porter Exhibition will be on display at The Gallery at 118 Cotton from May 29th to July 7th. You can visit anytime within open hours. Go experience art and culture in the community! The opening reception takes place on June 1st from 5:00-9:00 PM.

Address: The Gallery at 118 Cotton | 118 Cotton Street, West Monroe

June 2-3

American Crappie Trail Qualifier

The American Crappie Trail Qualifier fishing tournament is taking place at the Forsythe Boat Dock June 2nd and 3rd.

Address: Forsythe Recreation Area Boat Ramp | 2201 Riverside Drive, Monroe | Phone: (618) 201-5280

June 2

Creative Convos

Creative Convos brings together a mix of unique imaginative people: freelancers, novices, and professional creatives, to hang out and talk about art trends, lifestyle, trials and tribulations in the art world. Discussions begin at 7:00 p.m. every first Friday at The Sugar Gallery.

Time: 6:30 PM to 9:30PM

Cost: Free

Address: The Sugar Gallery | 135 Art Alley, Monroe

Juneteenth Weekend Kick Off- All White Party

To kick off the Juneteenth monthlong celebration in Monroe, the Monroe Regional Black Chamber of Commerce is hosting a Juneteenth Weekend Kick Off All White Party! This event will feature a live band and DJ along with delicious food and drinks.

Time: 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM

Cost: $60.00 Per Person. $350.00 for Table of 8.

Address: The W Event Center | 2348 Sterlington Road, Monroe Phone: (318) 235-4840

ARKANSAUCE with special guest

James Linden Hogg

Arkansauce is a genre-hopping, fourpiece string band from northwest Arkansas, bending the rules and blurring the lines between bluegrass, newgrass, folk, and Americana, with notes of country, blues, and funk. James Linden Hogg is an American musician, writer, and storyteller. Inspired by his European heritage, he has recorded four albums in the Celtic and folk genres.

Time: 7:00 PM

Cost: $20.00-$35.00

Address: Dixie Center for the Arts, 212 N Vienna St, Ruston, LA 71270 Phone: (318) 595-0872

Jeff Elliot Live at the VFW

Listen to Jeff Elliot live at the VFW on June 2nd! This will be a fun night of music and family-friendly good times.

Time: 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM

Cost: $10.00 Cover

Address: VFW Rodney J Hobbs Post 1809 | 1499 Highway 594, Monroe Phone: (318) 345-4185

June 3

Juneteenth Freedom Parade

As part of the Juneteenth weekend kick-off, the Juneteenth Freedom Parade will take place on Saturday, June 3. Line up will be at 8:00 AM and the start time is 10:00 AM.

The theme is "Re-Discovering Our Roots." Later that day the Freedom Market will be taking place from 5:00-9:00 PM at the Downtown River Market. The parade route starts at the Monroe Civic Center then to South 11th Street, to Manassas Street, to Desiard Street, and to North Stanley Avenue by Eastgate.

Time: 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM

Cost: Vehicle Entry $40.00. ATVs $20.00.

Address: Desiard Street & North Stanley Avenue, Monroe Phone: (318) 235-4840

73rd Annual Louisiana Peach Festival

Discover the homegrown flavors, art, music, and culture of Ruston, Louisiana at the 73rd Annual Louisiana Peach Festival on Saturday, June 3rd. This year's festival features 10-plus hours of live music, a local arts market, food vendors, FREE kids' activities, and more peachy family fun in the heart of charming Downtown Ruston. Festival admission will be free until 5 pm. Other offsite peach events will also take place during the week leading up to the festival.

Time: 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM

Cost: Free until 5:00 PM; $10.00 for adults (12+), $5.00 for kids (4 and under are free all day)

Address: Downtown Ruston Phone: (318) 255-2031

Community Health & Wellness Expo

The Health & Wellness Expo will offer a variety of activities, including health screenings, fitness classes, kids activities and cooking demonstrations. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about the latest trends in the health and wellness industry, as well as discover products and services designed to improve their overall health and wellbeing.

Time: 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM

Cost: Free

Address: Monroe Civic Center | 401 Lea Joyner Memorial Expressway, Monroe Phone: (318) 791-5074

Juneteenth Freedom Day Market

The Monroe Regional Black Chamber of Commerce is hosting a Juneteenth Freedom Day Market Saturday, June 3rd, at the Downtown River Market. This will be a grand celebration of African American culture. Enjoy delicious food, local vendors, and live entertainment!

Time: 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Address: Downtown River Market | 316 South Grand Street, Monroe Phone: (318) 235-4840

The Final Herons on the Bayou Reveal

Get ready for an evening of herons and happiness! The Final Herons on the Bayou Reveal is happening on June 3rd. Rounding it out to 100 herons on the bayou, 13 new full-sized herons will be displayed. The 100th heron will be auctioned off, along with 30+ new mini herons. This event will include treats, live music by the Dead Reckoning String Band, and lots of fun!

Time: 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Cost: Free | Address: The Palace | 220 Desiard Street, Monroe

June 3, 10, 17, 24

Strauss Singer Songwriter Series

The Strauss Singer Songwriter Series is happening every Saturday in June. Strauss will be bringing some of the best talent with North Louisiana roots. The first show will feature A.J. Haynes on June 3. The second show will feature Dylan Earl on June 10th. The third show will feature Robert "Slim" Finley on June 17th. The last show will feature Maggie Koerner on June 24th. Don't miss out on an unforgettable summer of music!

Time: 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Cost: Ticket Prices Vary

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

June 3, 10, 17, 24

Ruston Farmers Market Shop, eat, and support local producers and creators every Saturday morning!

Time: 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM

Cost: Free


Address: Ruston Farmers Marketplace, 220 E. Mississippi Ave. Ruston, LA 71270

Moonlight Frog Walk

Looking for something fun for the kids to do? Join the Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday, June 3rd for a frog walk in the moonlight! Bring headlamps or flashlights for the best experience. Meet in the Visitor's Center.

Time: 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Address: Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge | 480 Richland Pl Drive, Monroe Phone: (318) 387-1114

June 4

Juneteenth Sunday Musical

The Monroe Regional Black Chamber of Commerce is hosting a Juneteenth Sunday Musical that takes place on June 4th at Greater New Antioch Baptist Church. Church choirs, praise teams, quartet singers, and soloists will be performing! This event is free and open to the public.

Time: 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM

Cost: Free

Address: Greater New Antioch Baptist Church | 301 Sherrhouse Avenue, Monroe

June 4, 11, 18, 25

Live Music at Flying Heart

Catch live music at Flying Heart every Sunday in June. Will Maranto and The Usual Suspects are live on June 4th. Clara McBroom is playing on June 11th. DJ Grissom performs live June 18th. Last but not least, Clayton Maza is live on June 25th. Jam out while enjoying a New York style pizza and craft beer!

Time: 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM

Cost: No Cover Charge

Address: Flying Heart Brewing & Pub | 204 Commerce Street, West Monroe

Phone: (318) 367-0888

June 6, 13, 20, 27

Dixie's Summer Matinee Series

This summer at the Dixie is PACKED with movie magic! Thanks to Jonesboro State Bank, the Dixie Center for the Arts is having a free family-friendly movie every Tuesday throughout the summer - popcorn and drink included! Schedule: June 6th: Ratatouille. June 13th: A Bug's Life. June 20th: The Jungle Book. June 27: The Princess and the Frog. Time: 10:30 AM

Cost: Free

Address: Dixie Center for the Arts, 212 N Vienna St, Ruston, LA 71270 Phone: (318) 595-0872

June 7 & 22

Dog Days of Summer

Come enjoy all that Downtown Ruston has to offer with this special event during Louisiana Tech Orientation. Experience all the restaurants, shops, murals, and more!

Time: 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Cost: Free

Address: Downtown Ruston

June 8

The Big Run 5K

Celebrate Global Running Day at Forsythe Park on June 8th. Even if you have never ran a 5K before, you are invited to join in on the excitement! Race shirts, custom bibs, and medals will be guaranteed to the first 150 participants to register, so don't miss out.

Time: 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM

Cost: $25.00 Registration Fee

Address: Forsythe Park | 2300 Sycamore Street, Monroe Phone: (318) 855-3146

June 9

Mustache The Band Live at Mustang Sally

On June 9th, Mustache The Band is making their debut at Mustang Sally! They are said to be "The world's most powerful 90s country party band," so don't miss out! Doors open at 8:00 PM and the show starts at 10:00 PM.

Cost: Advance $25.00. VIP $100.00. Address: Mustang Sally | 207 Olive Street, Monroe

June 9-11

41st Annual MDA Poker Run

The North Central Louisiana Motorcyclist for Kids' 41st Annual MDA Poker Run is happening June 9-June 11 at the Ike Hamilton Expo Center. There will be silent auctions, delicious food, a poker run, tricycle races, bike games, live entertainment on Friday and Saturday, and so much more! There will be free tent camping and RV hookups as well.

Address: Ike Hamilton Expo Center | 501 Mane Street, West Monroe

June 9-11

USSSA Fastpitch Softball State Championship

The United States Specialty Sports

Association Fastpitch Softball State Championship is taking place June 9-11 at the Ouachita Sportsplex.

Address: Ouachita Sportsplex | 710 Holland Drive, Monroe Phone: (318) 617-5748

June 9-11

Big Creek Trade Days

Big Creek Trade Days are held monthly on the weekend before the second Monday with over 100 indoor and outdoor vendors, food trucks, and fun for all ages!

Time: Fri. & Sat. at 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM; Sun. at 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Cost: Free

Address: Big Creek Trade Days Grounds, 327 California Plant Rd, Dubach, LA 71235 Phone: (318) 680-1304

June 10-11

Ouachita River Big Bass 2023 Tournament

The Ouachita River Big Bass 2023 Tournament is taking place June 1011 at the Lazarre Park Boat Launch.

Address: Lazarre Park | 703 South Riverfront, West Monroe Phone: (318) 387-7933

June 10

Thirsty Farmer 1 Year Wineiversary

Join Thirsty Farmer on June 10th for their 1 year Wineiversary! There will be an outdoor sip and shop with local artistic wares. Live music by Four on the Floor from 3:00-6:00 PM. Local food vendors, thirsty farmer wine, cider on tap, frose, and lots of food will be available.

Time: 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM

Cost: $5.00

Address: Thirsty Farmer Winery & Vineyard | 531 State Highway 144, Calhoun | Phone: (318) 599-0076

Lagniappe Saturday- Travis Whitehead

Celebrate the afternoon with friends and family at Landry Vineyards!

Listen to local live music by Travis Whitehead and enjoy wine tastings and tours. Food trucks will be on site and snacks will be available.

Time: 3:00 PM to 6:30 PM

Cost: Free

Address: Landry Vineyards | 5699 New Natchitoches Road, West Monroe

Phone: (318) 557-9050

June 11

Juneteenth Freedom Festival

Plans are underway for the City

of Grambling’s annual Juneteenth Freedom Festival! This year’s event is scheduled for June 11th-June 19th; and promises to be filled with cultural and historical pride, funfilled activities for the entire family, vendors, music and so much more! Check out Experience Ruston or the City of Grambling’s website for more information! Address: Grambling, LA Phone: (318) 247-6120

June 15-17

Miss Louisiana Pageant

The 2023 Miss Louisiana Pageant will be held June 15-17. It will take place at the Jack Howard Theater in the Monroe Civic Center.

Address: Jack Howard Theater | 401 Lea Joyner Expressway, Monroe Phone: (318) 372-0963

June 15

H2 Go Back Country Cooking Class

Learn how to cook in the back country with H2 Go! This free class will take place in the shop from 5:006:30 PM on June 15th.

Time: 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM

Cost: Free

Address: H2 Go Paddle | 2814 Desoto Street, Monroe Phone: (318) 732-9533

June 17

12th Annual Juneteenth Celebration & Parade

The community's traditional Juneteenth Parade will be held on Saturday, June 17th. Participants will line up at Wossman High School and travel down Berg Jones Lane to end at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo Pavilion. Family-oriented fun including: picnics, games, entertainment, and free food will be there at Charles Johnson Park for all to enjoy! Time: 9:00 - 11:00 AM

Cost: Free for Spectators. $20.00 Fee for Vehicle Entry.

Address: Wossman High School | 1600 Arizona Avenue, Monroe Phone: (318) 381-0028

June 22-25

Ruston Community Theatre Presents: Shrek the Musical Jr. Once upon a time, in a faraway swamp, there lived an ogre named Shrek. One day, Shrek finds his swamp invaded by banished fairytale misfits who have been cast off by Lord Farquaad, a tiny terror with big ambitions. When Shrek sets off with a wisecracking donkey to confront Farquaad, he's handed a task — if


he rescues feisty princess Fiona, his swamp will be righted. Shrek tries to win Fiona’s love and vanquish Lord Farquaad, but a fairytale wouldn't be complete without a few twists and turns along the way.

Time: 2:00 PM & 7:00 PM

Cost: $8.00-$15.00

Address: Dixie Center for the Arts, 212 N Vienna St, Ruston, LA 71270 Phone: (318) 595-0872

June 24

Run for Autism 5K

Lace up your running shoes and join others in Forsythe Park on June 24th for the Run for Autism 5K. Timing for the race will be done by Mcduffie Timing and will include chipped bibs. Runners will be awarded at the end of the race in age groups of 10.

Time: 7:00 AM to 11:00 AM

Cost: $25.00 | Address: Forsythe Park 2300 Sycamore Street, Monroe

KOUS 96.3 20th Year Celebration

KOUS 96.3 will have their 20th year birthday celebration Saturday, June 24th at the ULM Bayou Pointe Event Center. Featured artists will be Vince Hutchinson and the Original Heavy Storm Band, West Love, Stan Butler, and Ronnie Rude Perkins. The host is national recording artist, Angel Faye Russell. Tickets include access to a cash bar and light hors d'oeuvres. Dress code is semi-formal and should include red and black clothing.

Time: 5:00 PM to 11:30 PM

Cost: Ticket Prices Vary

Address: ULM Bayou Pointe Event Center | Warhawk Way, Monroe Phone: (318) 538-9070

Comedy Skit Showcase

Make your way to The Palace on June 24th for a Comedy Skit Showcase brought to you by Bolton Live Entertainment. This event will feature 7 original comedy skits written by Luke Bolton and his crew.

Time: 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Cost: $10.00 Tickets at the Door

Address: The Palace | 220 Desiard St, Monroe | Phone: (318) 355-5605

June 24

WWE Saturday Night's Main Event

WWE returns to the Monroe Civic Center for the first time in 4 years!

See some of your favorite WWE Smackdown Superstars such as Charlotte Flair, Sami Zayn, Drew McIntyre, The Brawling Brutes, The Usos, and Solo Sikoa. You do not

want to miss this event!

Time: 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM

Cost: Ticket Prices Vary

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

Phone: (318) 329-2225

June 25

Goat Yoga at the Farm

Goat Yoga at the Farm is back at Double BB Farms! This class is for people of all skill levels. Bring your yoga mat and dress for the outdoors. The class will be taught by Elizabeth Griffon and includes a tour of the farm.

Time: 4:00-5:00 PM | Cost: $25.00

Address: Double BB Farms | 1816 Stubbs Vinson Road, Monroe Phone: (318) 237-0827

June 26-30

The Singing Actor's Workshop

Join SYAA this summer for The Singing Actor's Workshop in collaboration with ULM's Dr. Claire Vangelisti, Justin Harvard, and Miss ULM, Leslie Hobgood. Learn the basics of vocal techniques, enhance your dramatic performance, and showcase your new skills! This workshop is for ages 13-18.

Time: 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Address: Strauss Youth Academy for the Arts | 1300 1/2 Lamy Lane, Monroe | Phone: (318) 812-7922

June 30

Ouachita Live Concert Featuring Geno Delafose & French Rockin' Boogie

Join Downtown West Monroe at Ouachita Live for a free concert on the last Friday of the month through October! With delicious local food trucks and lively music, it's sure to be a great time! This concert features Grammy-nominated Creole cowboy, Geno Delafose & his band French Rockin' Boogie! His sound is traditional Creole and Zydeco with a little Cajun and Country Western.

Time: 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Cost: Free

Address: Alley Park | 250 Trenton Street, West Monroe

Reservations are required.

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