BayouLife Magazine June 24

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Indulge in a delightful drink that combines peaches, thyme and bourbon this Father’s Day. This sweet and savory concoction is sure to impress dad.


Flair Jewelers and Hollis & Company show off some of the best engagement rings of the year. These sparkling settings are undeniably gorgeous.


This Father’s Day get dad everything he needs for a great grilling experience. From delicious rubs and spices to essential tools and smoking chips, he’ll be good to get his grill on.


Treat dad to a feast with a succulent roasted chicken cooked to perfection in a cast-iron skillet, adorned with peaches, tomatoes, red onions and fresh basil.


Explore a collection of “something blue” finds handpicked from local retailers. From beautiful baubles to charming trinkets, these items will add a touch of whimsy to any occasion.



Board & Bottle is a café and wine bar Jayne Jenkins and Emma Machen opened together nearly a year ago on Park Avenue in Ruston.

APRIL 2018

Bridal bouquets are an important part of the wedding, bringing beauty and elegance to the ceremony. These bouquets crafted by local floral designers are simply exquisite.


Searching for the ideal bridal gown for your special day? Look no further; these enchanting dresses are sure to make you feel like a princess walking down the aisle.


Edmund Williamson would have been 72 years old this month. To honor his contributions to the arts, a retrospective art exhibition will be held in June.


This year’s St. Jude Dream Home, built by BRACO Construction, is one of the first homes in DeSiard Trace, a new subdivision in Sterlington, Louisiana


Ray Newman and his son Todd are excellent examples of lives well-lived –even in the face of decidedly different life experiences – we salute them as our Bayou Icons for June.


From playful sundresses adorned with whimsical florals to chic ensembles bursting with color, these outfits are a celebration of style and the arrival of warmer days.

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Ilove weddings. I love the ceremony, the flowers, the music and most importantly...the cake. In this issue, we bring you important trends and inspiration for your special day. From dreamy dresses to floral arrangements, engagement rings to delectable cakes,our curated content will guide you through creating the wedding of your dreams.

This month’s issue is not only dedicated to the romance of weddings but also celebrates the unsung heroes of our lives – just in time for Father’s Day. On page 124, we proudly honor two special men who happen to be father and son. Ray Newman and his son Todd are both interesting characters, and both are extremely successful. Though Todd did not follow his dad’s military career path, he nevertheless forged a path of his own that has been just as outstanding. Both men are devoted to their family. Both understand the value of hard work and the importance of a man’s word. Because this father and son duo are excellent examples of lives welllived – even in the face of decidedly different life experiences – we salute them as our Bayou Icons for June.

Our BayouArtist this month is Edmund Williamson, who would have been 72 years old this month. To honor Williamson and his contributions to the arts, a retrospective art exhibition will be held June 6, from 5-9 p.m., in cooperation with the Downtown Gallery Crawl. The exhibition will take place at The Gallery at 118 Cotton St. in West Monroe, Louisiana, and will run until mid July. Because the reach of Williamson’s work is so large, works that could not be featured in the physical show will be featured in a virtual gallery on the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council’s website. The

opening event during the Crawl will allow family members and others who knew Williamson to share about his life, work, and legacy. Read his story on page 62.

On page 100, Jan Strickland walks Vanelis Rivera through this year’s St. Jude Dream Home. Built in DeSiard Trace subdivion by BRACO, the St. Jude Dream Home is the very first construction in the new neighborhodd. As always, from lot to finished product, each aspect of the St. Jude Dream Home is one hundred percent donated by national and regional donors. “It is crazy to think that this is my seventh one as lead designer,” beams Strickland, who never fails to emphasize the extent of passion poured over each house. Read more about this year’s build on page 100.

We hope you enjoy reading this month’s issue of BayouLife Magazine. There are so many beautiful weddings in this month’s issue. Special thanks to Logtown Estates for letting us shoot this month’s fashion spread at their beautiful venue. And, thank you to my dad and husband for being the incredible fathers that you are. Happy Father’s Day,



1201 Royal Avenue Monroe, LA 71201

Phone 318.855.3185


PUBLISHER & OWNER Cassie Livingston

COPY EDITOR Meredith McKinnie



Lindsay Adams

Katelyn McAllister

Courtney Thomas

ART DIRECTOR Taylor Bennett



Dan Chason

Kenny Covington

Shannon Dahlum

Clinton Downing

Starla Gatson

Paul Lipe

Erin Love

Meredith McKinnie

Georgiann Potts

Delia Simpson

Beatrice A. Tatem

Vanelis Rivera

Guy Miller

Kerry Heafner

Marina Jeffery, DO

Joyce Sims

Judy Wagoner

April Honaker

Phil Trahan

J Marshall Haynie, MD


Kelly Moore Clark

Hannah Williams Photography

Brittney Malone

Forever Williams Photography

Brittany Ashlyn Photography

Brittiny Williams

Jansen Nowell

Ashlyn Johnson

Robert Wright Photography

Brad Arender

Catilin B Photo


Molly Claire West, 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.


Plenty of Peaches

Indulge in a delightful drink that combines peaches, thyme and bourbon this Father’s Day. This sweet and savory concoction is sure to impress dad.

What you need:

1 small peach

2 sprigs thyme

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons water

3 ounces bourbon

2 ounces simple syrup club soda

fresh peach slices (garnish) fresh thyme springs (garnish)

Place roasted peaches and juices from roasting dish in a cocktail shaker and muddle. Add bourbon, simple syrup and ice. Shake until chilled. Strain into highball glass and top with club soda. Garnish with peach slices and thyme sprigs.

How to roast peaches:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place peach halves cut side up in glass baking dish. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with thyme leaves. Pour two tablespoons of water in the bottom of dish and cover with foil. Roast for 30 minutes. Allow to cool and then remove the skin.

Styled by Taylor Bennett | Photography by Kelly Moore Clark

Ochsner LSU Health

Diving In To Swimmer’s Ear: Prevention and Treatment

NOW THAT TEMPERATURES ARE WARMING UP, swimming pools, area lakes and the river will become a welcome escape from the heat. However, the fun for some people could turn into an unwelcome reminder of their day in the water. Swimmer’s ear is a common and painful condition that affects the outer ear canal. Although swimmer’s ear is often associated with swimming, there are other culprits.

Swimmer’s ear is an inflammation or infection of the outer ear canal. The ear canal runs from the eardrum to the outside of the head. Typically, swimmer’s ear occurs when water becomes trapped in the ear canal. It creates the perfect moist environment for bacteria and fungi to grow. People who swim in fresh water (such as pools, lakes and rivers) have an increased risk of developing swimmer’s ear.

There are other issues that can cause swimmer’s ear. Earwax is designed to protect the ear canal from bacteria. Removing too much earwax can irritate the delicate skin of the ear canal, as can using cotton swabs or other objects to remove the wax.

Ear pain is a common symptom of swimmer’s ear. The intense pain worsens when pulling on the earlobe or moving the jaw. The infected ear canal may feel itchy, and the outer ear may appear red and swollen. There might be discharge or drainage coming from the ear. The ear will also become tender to the touch. As the infection gets worse, people experience temporary hearing loss or a feeling of fullness in the ear. Some people may also experience a slight fever and swollen lymph nodes.

Prescription ear drops containing antibiotics are commonly used to treat swimmer’s ear. The drops help eliminate the infection and reduce inflammation. For any pain associated with the problem, ibuprofen or acetaminophen will help alleviate the pain. While undergoing treatment, keep the affected ear dry. If you plan on swimming, wear a swim cap or waterproof earplugs. At home, use a shower cap when bathing.

There are several strategies for trying to prevent swimmer’s ear. They typically don’t need to be implemented, except in people who have a history of this condition developing frequently. An ear drop called Swim-EAR® is a dry alcohol with a moisturizer. Its purpose

is to get retained water out of the ear by helping water to evaporate. This product is not recommended if you have already developed an infection or have tenderness. An at-home treatment to help with swimmer’s ear symptoms is to rinse out the ear gently with a 1:1 white vinegar and clean water solution. This solution has a role in killing the bacteria, as well as removing any debris, wax or leftover water in the ear. This is not a caustic mixture, and it should not cause pain if there is inflammation in the eardrum. Other remedies (such as peroxide or rubbing alcohol) are not recommended.

The most common measure recommended for swimmer’s ear prevention is to rinse your ears out with a vinegar-water solution after swimming. A small syringe can be used to rinse out the ear with this solution.

It takes a medical professional to diagnose swimmer’s ear. They will check the ear for redness or swelling, as well as test any of the fluid that is draining from the ear. If a checkup confirms that you have swimmer’s ear, the doctor will prescribe ear drops that contain antibiotics to treat the infection. Doctors will prescribe over-thecounter medication for any pain. Most people feel better in about a week.

It is important to recognize the symptoms of swimmer’s ear. If you have ear pain, itchiness, discharge, hearing loss or decreased hearing, see a doctor as soon as possible.

Marina Jeffery, DO, specializes in Family Medicine at Ochsner LSU Health – Monroe Medical Center. Call 318-330-7168 to make an appointment, or visit to learn more.


The Elements of Home Decorating

Knowing how to decorate a home is not an innate skill, and some people need help more than others. The good news is that with just a little direction, you can obtain the knowledge to decorate a home that you will be proud to show off. In the rest of this article, you will find simple tips that have the potential to elevate your space instantly. Sometimes it’s not just about decorating; it’s about styling. There are typically five elements of decorating that can help you visualize your finished space. Check them out below!

person? How will the room be used? Will it be for sleeping, playing, doing homework, cooking, relaxing, or all the above? Once you figure out the things you must-have, it is much easier to start incorporating the things you love. The “loves” are typically the icing on the cake - the little things that make you more comfortable and happier.

2. The Colors and Patterns! Color and pattern are two of the most important elements in a room. That’s because they set the tone and feel of a space instantly. Darker colors can make a space moody, while lighter colors will make a space feel cleaner and brighter. Of course, there are always exceptions, so I tend to stay with neutral shades for walls and larger furniture pieces and then throw in a bit of color and pattern with rugs, pillows, artwork, etc. Adding pattern to a room creates interest and gives a room depth and character. If you don’t feel confident with mixing and matching patterns, it is okay to choose one pattern and then choose a solid color from it to incorporate.

creating visual balance. It can be tricky but all it takes is the correct placement of furniture and décor. I always use the “rule of threes” when styling most spaces. Simply put, always add a third element to a pair. When three isn’t enough, just remember that working with odd numbers is always best.

5. The Lighting! Lighting is one of the most important elements! A well-lit space can have a positive effect on our mood and vice versa! A dimly lit room can have a negative effect on our mood. Lighting also has a powerful effect on the ambiance of a room. Too much light can have a clinical feel, while a room with expertly placed table lamps and overhead lighting will have an inviting feel. I prefer warm white light over the cool white. Warm light creates a much more relaxing atmosphere and is kinder to your skin tone.

1. The Must-Haves and The Loves! When you first begin decorating, or re-decorating, a space, it is important to consider the needs (must-haves) and the wants (loves) of the person(s) who will be using the room. It is very important to consider all of the potential uses for the room during the planning process. For instance, who uses the room, your whole family or just one

3. Shapes and Sizes! Using varying shapes and sizes is the key to creating a cohesive space. It’s all about contrast! Contrast flat items, such as books, with taller, rounded items, such as vases and urns. Objects with visual weight provide balance and scale to the overall look and feel of a space. That is something that paint can never do.

4. The Arrangement! This step is all about

After considering the five elements of decorating, the next step is to find inspiration. I suggest looking everywhere for inspiration – the outdoors, a doctor’s office, magazines, online, a friend’s house, etc. Inspiration doesn’t just come in the form of pictures. It can come in the form of a mood or scent that you are attracted to. Or maybe it’s a color or an animal. Keep an open mind and a pen and notebook with you so you can jot down any ideas that arise. Happy decorating!


Ring Leaders


& Company 2. Flair Jewelers 3. Flair Jewelers 4. Flair Jewelers 5. Flair Jewelers 6. Hollis & Company 7. Hollis & Company 8. Flair Jewelers 10. Hollis & Company 11. Hollis & Company 12. Hollis & Company
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Real Men, Real Conversations

Highlighting the Importance of Therapy and Support for Men’s Well-being


Father’s Day, Juneteenth, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), LGBTQ Pride, and Men’s Mental Health. I have chosen this month to address men and their mental health. Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month started in 1994 as National Men’s Health Week. Since its inception each June, Mental Health Awareness Day is celebrated on June 13th, Wear Blue Day is June 14th and Men’s Health Week is June 10th through the 16th. The goal of this article is to bring attention to mental health-related issues that affect men and their overall well-being. In addition, my intent is to highlight that it is okay to be vulnerable. This article acknowledges men who are in therapy, want therapy, as well as those considering therapy. I am especially addressing those who are hesitant to seek therapy and wrestle with the idea of requesting therapy as a man. Do real men participate in therapy? I am quick to say yes; real men really engage in therapy. I witness it regularly. In fact, I was motivated to write this article in recognition of the men in my personal and professional life who despite stereotypes and the stigma surrounding mental health have trusted me enough to share their challenges as well as their difficulties when seeking mental health services. It is my hope their shared experiences when seeking therapy will help other men know that it is okay not to be okay, and most importantly to get help. Asking for help, understanding, support, and guidance is not a sign of weakness, fragility, or unworthiness but an acknowledgement that life can be better. Whereas I am happy when men contact my office seeking an appointment, I am not naïve that there are barriers men encounter when seeking therapy. I know from men that they have heard the message from society, from their own homes and from other men, that seeking help is often viewed as a “weakness” and that a “real man” will “man up” and deal with things themselves. Some communities have strong cultural stereotypes around how men are expected to behave. For many men, the thought of being verbally open about their mental health struggles and seeking outside support goes against the traditional notions of masculinity and messages they received while growing up. Many perceive the role of the man as provider and protector, whether it as a spouse, parent, or friend. For many men this ingrained perception is internalized as meaning they cannot discuss emotions, show fear, experience sadness, feel vulnerable but instead must be tough, stoic, and strong. I have shared with male clients who share this perspective that the therapeutic experience is an opportunity for the individual (male and female) to

protect their mental health, to educate themselves about their condition and to explore the stressors and triggers that impact their lives. Some of the prevalent mental health conditions among men are Depression, Schizophrenia, Panic Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, PTSD, Disordered Eating and Substance Abuse. In addition to these conditions are what I call the triggers leading to one feeling mentally ill. This includes separation, infidelity, divorce and other relational problems, unemployment, workplace stress, financial problems, illness, parenting concerns, drug or alcohol abuse. Mental illness can and does affect anyone regardless of one’s living situation, social status, age, race, ethnicity, or gender. I see men of all ages, racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds with different personalities, temperaments and experiences and ultimately different approaches and attitudes towards the therapeutic process. I have learned from these men who come in for therapy, men who express themselves in a myriad of ways around an array of issues. Frequently, these men enter therapy (some admittedly after self-medicating before seeking help) after much contemplation ready to work, to confront issues and release emotions. Some emote readily and steadily, laugh heartily, cry in response to both joy and pain, while others experience anger when expressing deep-rooted feelings of hurt, pain and disappointment. These real men have learned the cathartic value of being authentic in their expression of self.

We are living in complex and complicated times. Times when societal occurrences are troublesome, frightening, divisive, and are simply hard to explain, when our actions towards one another are questionable, and our sense of morality and justice seem awry. We are living in times when our mental health and emotional stability is constantly being tested. We are attempting to function in times when the need for mental health services is high. This is an opportune time to encourage the men in your life to join the conversation about men’s mental health in an effort to eliminate the barriers blocking their receiving help. We all have that man or those men we love, support and care about…I know I do. For the men in my personal life and those special men I have come to know through the therapeutic process (you know who you are) this line is written especially for you; keep striving, continue to do your work, and seek the changes you desire. This June wear blue in support of men and their mental health.

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



Max Porter Provisions has everything a dad could want this Father’s Day. Stop in the store to see a huge selections of rubs, spices, sauces and grilling essentials.


This Father’s Day get dad everything he needs for a great grilling experience. From delicious rubs and spices to essential tools and smoking chips, he’ll be good to get his grill on.

Photo by Kelly Moore Clark

Alumni Spotlight

ULM Alum: Herb Guillory

RAISED IN LAKE CHARLES, HERB GUILLORY KNEW he was destined for college. At Washington-Marion Magnet High School, Herb excelled in athletics, serving as captain of the football team and running track and field. Herb displayed early leadership skills as a member of the National Honor Society and Senior Class President. Even though college was part of the master plan, Herb was forming his own path. As a first-generation college student, Herb was delving into an environment his family members had never experienced. Many people from his neighborhood didn’t go to college, but Herb wanted something different, and he saw education as the pathway to bettering his life. Graduating college would be historic for his family, and Herb was determined to make his parents proud.

Landing on ULM’s campus, Herb experienced a bit of culture shock, as Monroe was different from South Louisiana. Knowing he needed to fit in, Herb sought community at all cost. With a personality that can fit in anywhere, Herb immersed himself in the people and attended numerous campus events. He started having fun alongside attending classes. He found just being himself meant people liked him, just like back at home. By attending campus concerts, Spring Fever events, and pool parties, Herb filled his social calendar. He credits his success to getting involved, staying in the know, and making a positive name for himself.

Though initially pursuing a major in healthcare, Herb realized he could help people in other capacities. He graduated with a BS in Psychology, and then followed with an MA in Teaching and a Masters in Education. He credits advisor Dr. Peggy Jelks, retired Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, for guiding and influencing him in his educational journey. In his education classes, Herb built a fierce camaraderie with his cohort, leaning on those friendships throughout his ULM tenure. While studying for his advanced degrees, Herb worked freelance with a friend’s production company. He created projects for the City of Monroe, the Monroe Mayor’s office, and MGM Resorts in Las Vegas. Always juggling, Herb also worked as a mentor for Positive Forces, a counseling service for youth, and he even did some classroom teaching, instructing 3rd and 4th grade students as well as young adults preparing for a GED. As a graduate student, he was able to instruct literary enhancement

courses to college freshmen. He considered how he could combine all his talents, still making an impact on students outside of the classroom. He created HDG Academy in 2018, helping students transition from school to the workforce, serving as a bridge for young people. Herb likes the hands-on approach of seeing youths grow and transition. He impresses upon students the importance of life skills - finances, interviewing, budgeting, job maintenance, and interpersonal dynamics. He shows students how to identify resources, to advocate for themselves, and know their rights in the workplace.

In July 2023, Herb married Kim, whom he calls “a breath of fresh air.” He describes Kim as “sweet, considerate, down to earth, and down for me - all around 100.” The couple met through some of Herb’s friends from ULM, and the couple married on campus at Bayou Pointe Event Center. The couple transformed the space into an elegant black and white wonderland, and each attendee dressed in the designated colors. With over 250 guests, the Guillorys danced the night away, cementing the ULM campus as an important part of their love story. As an only child, Herb loves being able to look out for someone else and have Kim look out for him. Kim works as a travel nurse in labor and delivery.

From graduating from ULM the first time in 1998, to obtaining his MEd in 2007, Herb made a life in the community and near the institution that gave him so much opportunity. Herb loved seeing the smile on his parents’ faces when he graduated - making them proud was always the ultimate goal. As a lifetime ULM Alumni Association member, Herb stays involved on campus. He served as a graduate advisor for his Omega Psi Phi fraternity, ULM Chapter Mu Lambda. He works with young adults at campus events, partnering with the ULM Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Valerie Fields, a great advocate for students and a positive presence on campus. Herb is a testament to ULM being a beacon in this region. He does his part to contribute to ULM’s continued success, bridging the campus with the community, one student at a time.


The Perfect Father’s Day Gift

Found at Beef & Barrel on North 6th Street

AS FATHER’S DAY DRAWS NEAR, THERE’S NO BETTER time to celebrate the dads who add richness and depth to our lives. And what better way to honor these extraordinary figures than with a toast to their exceptional taste? This Father’s Day, we’re thrilled to offer a discount of 15% on all 19 of our private barrel selections! Below we have a few highlights that we wanted to highlight, as we hope to help you find the perfect Father’s Day gift.

We’ll commence with a special treat from Yellowstone Bourbon. Our private barrel selection from the Limestone Branch Distillery was chosen during our trip to Kentucky back in September. Stephen Fante, the award-winning brand ambassador, treated us to one of the best barrel selection experiences we’ve ever had. Sitting on the picturesque porch of the distillery, he guided us through a sensory experience to ensure we acquired something truly special. This barrel was bottled at 119 proof but goes down oh so smoothly. The nose opens with ripe cherry, vanilla bark, cinnamon brown sugar, and cocoa. The first sip is delightful and mouth-filling with immediate flavors of bright cherry and vanilla white chocolate, with just a touch of spice that balances everything. The second sip reveals caramel toffee goodness. The finish is long, with buttery cinnamon French toast.

Next up, we have our Wilderness Trail Wheated Bourbon. This is a mashbill of 64% corn, 24% wheat, and 12% malted barley. This bourbon comes to the nose with toasted almonds, Queen Anne’s chocolate covered cherries, and a pleasant subtle woodiness. A voluptuous, creamy mouthfeel leads to rich notes of salted and fried almonds, sticky caramel, and buttery flaky croissant. The finish is long and smooth for 118 proof with toasted vanilla almond toffee.

Now, let’s look back on our Barrell Craft Spirits 7-year-old Kentucky (barrel #Z2A6) bourbon bottled at 122.48 proof. The nose opens with creamy apple jacks, vanilla bean, and caramel. The heat of the proof is almost not present, allowing for you to nose deeply. A rich creamy mouthfeel leads to baked apple pie with nutmeg, vanilla cream, and touch of oak grip. The finish is long and smooth with a gentle tingling sensation. This drinks like a 107 proof, and will sneak up on you.

A forgotten gem of a barrel came from the Cathead Distillery located in Jackson, MS and is the closest distillery to us here in Monroe. Our pick of Old Soul was distilled at MGP in Indiana and entered the barrel at 125 proof, then aged for 5 years entirely in Jackson at Cathead. It was bottled at 109 proof, and the nose opens with toasted

marshmallows, honeyed vanilla, almonds, and a touch of cinnamon. The first sip reveals graham cracker and hard caramel candy. The second taste shows vanilla, a touch of candied orange peel, and sweet marzipan. This culminates in a long finish that shows rye spice at first and then settles into chewy caramel.

Another offering we have from Barrell Craft Spirits is our Private Blend of 8 and 14-year-old light whiskies with a touch of bourbon that is then finished in Armagnac barrels. For those of you who haven’t heard about light whiskey, it is a 99% corn and 1% malted barley mashbill. It was developed by MGP in the 1970s to find an alternative to gin and vodka, which had begun to dominate the market. This mashbill was discontinued at MGP in 2012 and since then the older barrels have started getting bought and bottled at advanced ages by different companies who saw the potential for some amazing and forgotten whiskies. The incredible nose leads with a punch of caramel fudge, milk chocolate, fresh ground coffee, and layered vanilla. The palate is rich! Exploding with creamy vanilla custard, white chocolate, and pralines. The finish is long and creamy! Flavors reminiscent of white chocolate macadamia nut cookies and melted vanilla bean ice cream linger with pleasant sweetness. Bottled at cask strength(128.72 proof) the flavor profile makes for an easy drinking experience.

Finally we have our 7-year-old selection from the vertical series from Pinhook Bourbon. This whiskey is bottled at 118 proof (59% abv) and is a deep burnished copper in the glass. The nose opens with brown sugar, cherries, honeyed flan, and fresh roasted coffee. The palate opens with sweet vanilla butterscotch, followed by cinnamon raisin bread, and toasted almonds. A long finish is warming and inviting with notes of French vanilla latte, sweet red berries, toasted marshmallow, and bitter dark chocolate.

So, as Father’s Day approaches and our thoughts turn to the fathers who’ve shaped us, let’s raise a glass to their unwavering presence and timeless wisdom. And what better way to celebrate than by indulging in the remarkable spirits they’ve inspired? With our exclusive 15% off sale on our handpicked barrel selections, it’s the perfect opportunity to treat the dads in your life—or perhaps even yourself—to a taste of something truly exceptional. Cheers to fatherhood, to shared moments, and to the bonds that endure beyond measure. As always, thank you for letting us be your Spirits Guides here at Beef & Barrel and Happy Father’s Day!


Skillet Chicken

Treat dad to a feast with a succulent roasted chicken cooked to perfection in a cast-iron skillet, adorned with peaches, tomatoes, red onions and fresh basil.

What you need:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

8 pieces chicken (thighs and legs)

Salt and ground black pepper

½ cup all-purpose flour

4 peaches, cut into wedges

3 tomatoes, cut into wedges

2 red onions, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, diced

¼ cup white wine

¼ cup chopped fresh basil

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium head and add olive oil and butter. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and then dredge in flour. Add chicken to pan and cook until brown on all sides. Remove from pan. Next, add peaches to skillet and sear for around 2 minutes and remove from pan. Then, add tomatoes, sear, and remove from pan. Add red onions to the skillet and saute until tender. Finally, add garlic and cook until fragrant. Deglaze skillet with wine and return chicken to pan. Transfer to oven and roast for 10 minutes. Add peaches and tomatoes and cook an additional 5 minutes. Garnish with basil and serve.

Styled by Taylor Bennett | Photography by Kelly Moore Clark BAYOU RECIPE

New Fabric and Events

The Haberdashery Inside Material Things

ROBERT AND I WENT TO THE NEW H+H Americas International Trade Show the first week of May in Chicago. This is a relatively new show to the U.S.; it originally started in Cologne Germany. I believe the show promoters felt there was a void that needed to be filled so, in 2022, they opened this to the U.S. We went to the first one that year and felt like it was going to turn into something big; we skipped last year because of a conflict but, thankfully was able to go this year. I found so many new things that will be coming into The Haberdashery over the next couple of months; I decided to give you an update on all of the newness!

Tilda Fabrics is a fabric brand founded by Norwegian designer Tone Finnanger in 1999, best known for whimsical, naive characters and charming fabric design.There is a certain attitude to life in Tilda’s world, whimsical and romantic, like a ball gown worn with welliesperfectly imperfect! The Jubilee Collection was introduced this year in celebration of Tilda’s 25 year anniversary so, we are hosting a trunk show featuring this collection as well as her solids collection that we also carry in The Haberdashery. We will be able to have the show for several weeks in June so, be sure to join us for all of the fun!

As a lot of you know, we are an exclusive dealer of Husqvarna Viking (HV) embroidery and sewing machines as well as sergers. HV is a company with an extensive history of innovation and design since 1872 that started in a small town in Sweden. We are hosting independent educator Jeanne Healey for a 2-day event on June 11th and 12th from 10-5 each day. Jeanne will be our tour guide as we travel along the adventures of constructing

this beautiful pillow called Marrakech utilizing techniques such as cathedral window piecing, quilting, thread velvet, and decorative stitches. The class fee for this event is $30 and includes your kit as well as lunch; you will need to bring your HV embroidery/sewing machine, as well as normal sewing supplies. We will have several of the new Designer Epic 3’s available to use if you are looking to purchase a new machine or upgrade your old machine. Space is limited so, call and reserve your spot as soon as possible.

Another fabulous and exciting new line for The Haberdashery is the addition of Liberty of London (LOL) Tana Lawn cotton fabrics. I was so happy to meet with the sales representative for LOL at the H+H show as this was the first time that they have ever exhibited at a trade show. Since the 1890’s, Liberty has been experimenting with cotton lawn, a smooth, plain weave prized for its ultra-soft and durable qualities. In the early 1930’s LOL’s cotton buyer William Hayes Dorell established a new LOL signature, Tana Lawn cotton and a brand legend was born. The ground breaking product was named after Lake Tana in Ethiopia, where its unique long staple cotton fibers originated. If you have ever touched their cotton lawns, then you know what all the “hoopla” is about. Stay tuned for when they arrive!

The week of July 15-18, we will be hosting our fourth Children’s Sewing Camp from 9-12 each day. During this week, your camper will be learning to sew on their own HV sewing machine that they will be taking home with them when the week is over. They will be learning the basic techniques of using their machine and sewing and completing many

projects. We do have a few spots available, the camp fee is $495 and includes their HV sewing machine, all supplies for beginning sewing, kits for each project and a snack. So, give us a call to reserve your spot!

Another fabulous company that I met with at H+H was Zakka Workshop; we will also be hosting a trunk show with them in June. Zakka, or “many things” is a fashion and design phenomenon that spread from Japan throughout the world. The term refers to anything and everything that improves your home, life and appearance. We will have all of the beautiful bags and accessories that they are so well known for here in the shop for you to see in person, as well as the corresponding fabrics and patterns to peruse. You definitely don’t want to miss out on this one!

I am also super happy to be introducing Little House Cottons to The Haberdashery. Founder Kristen Baluch comes from a long line of women who sew. Her grandmother introduced her to a needle and thread when she was seven years old. Kristen’s fabric designs are inspired by color play and the universal themes in folk art. She has also authored/illustrated children’s books and designed silk and cotton scarves-both of which we will be stocking in the shop. Some of the fabric collections coordinate with her books, but all of her collections are playful with whimsical narratives. I can’t wait for you to discover all that she offers!

So, as you can see, we are kicking off a super busy summer filled with all of your sewing desires!

XOXO - Joyce


Something Blue

Explore a collection of “something blue” finds handpicked from local retailers. From beautiful baubles to charming trinkets, these items will add a touch of whimsy to any occasion.

Clockwise from top: Vase - Muffin Tin, Dish - Walsworth & Company, Coasters - Palette House & Plume, Tray - Revival Design & Consign, Cheers napkins - Material Things, Beaded bracelet - Dusty & Company, Sapphire and Diamond ring and necklace - Hollis & Company, Topaz drop necklace - Hollis & Company, Statement earringsHemline Monroe, Cross necklace - The Nude Nomad, Handkerchief - Blush by Sadie C’s, Small earrings - Herringstones, PaintingPetals & Pearls

Styled by Taylor Bennett | Photography by Kelly Moore Clark


Transport your guests to a bygone era with a vintage-inspired tablescape that exudes elegance. Combining delicate vintage flatware, gold scalloped Chinea, and a charming floral tablecloth sets the stage for a romantic celebration. Top it off with a traditional 4-tiered wedding cake adorned with fresh fruit and delicate florals for a truly enchanting wedding reception.

photography by Kelly Moore Clark styled by Taylor Bennett


The tablescape combines a tablecloth and napkin rings from Material Things, China from Muffin Tin, Napkins and stemware from Walsworth & Company, Crystal vase from Revival Design & Consign and florals from Carlstedt's.


Indulge in the classic decadence of this four-tiered buttercream cake with layers of chocolate and vanilla, a timeless treat that blends tradition with mouthwatering delight.


PLANNING AND DECEPTION Historical Impressions

It was to be the largest assault operation in history - and executed as the greatest deception of the war. We know it today as D-Day.

Eighty years ago, the world witnessed one of the most pivotal moments of the 20th century- the Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. While much of the focus rightfully falls on the bravery and sacrifice of the soldiers who stormed the beaches that day, the preparation leading up to D-Day was equally monumental.

In all of military history, few operations have rivaled the sheer scale and complexity of the Allied invasion of Normandy. The planning for D-Day actually began in late 1943 when Allied leaders recognized the need for a significant operation to establish a western front against Nazi Germany. Code-named Operation Overlord, this invasion required meticulous planning, coordination and, most importantly, a staging area that could support the massive logistical requirements of such an endeavor.

Troops, equipment, and supplies from across the globe poured into military bases, ports, and airfields across England. The logistical challenge was immense, requiring the coordination of thousands of ships, aircraft, and vehicles. England’s existing infrastructure was expanded and adapted to accommodate the influx of personnel and materiel with new ports and airstrips hastily constructed to support the massive buildup. Allied soldiers underwent rigorous physical conditioning, weapons training and rehearsals for the assault. The rugged terrain of England’s coastline, with its cliffs and beaches reminiscent of those in Normandy, provided an ideal backdrop for practicing amphibious landings and combat maneuvers.

In the months leading up to D-Day, Allied naval forces, including British, American, and Canadian vessels, waged a relentless campaign to secure control of the seas. Convoy escorts, anti-submarine patrols, and strategic bombing raids targeted German naval assets, gradually turning the tide in favor of the Allies.

But the success of the D-Day landings hinged not only on the bravery of the soldiers storming the beaches but also on the ability to deceive the German high command about the time and location of the invasion. Central to the deception efforts was “Operation Bodyguard,” a comprehensive plan aimed at misleading the Germans about the Allied intentions. This multifaceted operation employed a range of tactics, from double agents feeding false information to the creation of fictional military units and a phantom army led by arguably the most audacious general in the European theater.

Lieutenant General George S. Patton was champing at the bit to get back into action but Supreme Allied Commander General Eisenhower had other plans. Eisenhower knew the German High Command had more respect for Patton than for any other Allied commander and considered him to be central to any plan to invade

Europe from England. Because of this, Patton was made a prominent figure in a deception scheme called Operation Fortitude during the first half of 1944.

Through the British network of double-agents, the Allies fed German intelligence a steady stream of false intelligence. One of the most effective double agents, Juan Pujol García (code-named “Garbo”), carefully crafted fabricated intelligence reports that convinced the German high command that the main Allied invasion would target the Pas de Calais- the shortest route between England and France, leading them to keep vital reinforcements away from Normandy.

Other false information given to the Germans was that Patton had been named commander of the First United States Army Group (FUSAG) which was established as an invasion force to be used at Pas de Calais. FUSAG was in reality an intricately constructed fictitious army and fake radio signal traffic based around Dover to make Axis leaders believe that a large force was massing there. Decoys and props such as fake landing craft and inflatable tanks, trucks, and artillery aided in the deception. Allied planners did everything possible to mask the real location of the invasion as Normandy.

The usually highly-visible Patton was ordered to keep a low profile to deceive the Germans into thinking that he was in Dover with FUSAG throughout early 1944 instead of his true assignment training the Third Army. As a result of Operation Fortitude, the German 15th Army remained at the Pas de Calais to defend against Patton’s supposed attack. So strong was their conviction that this was the main landing area that the German army held its position there even after the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, believing landing to be a diversionary force.

On the eve of D-Day, the culmination of months of planning and deception, the Allied forces launched their assault on the Normandy coast. Despite adverse weather conditions and fierce German resistance, the element of surprise afforded by the deception efforts proved crucial to the success of the operation. Within weeks, the Allies had established a firm foothold in Normandy. D-Day thus became a turning point in World War II as it paved the way for the liberation of Europe and the eventual defeat of Nazi Germany.

The legacy of D-Day’s deception endures as a testament to the power of strategic misdirection in warfare. By outthinking their adversaries and exploiting the fog of war, the Allied planners achieved the impossible, turning the tide of World War II in favor of the Allied forces.

What happened to the bold and audacious yet sidelined Patton? He flew to France a month after D-Day and returned to combat command with the Third Army. His peak of fame was yet to come.


Say “I Do” to a Dazzling Smile

Get Your Perfect Smile With NELA Dental’s Cosmetic Dentistry


Cosmetic dentistry covers a range of dental procedures and treatments aimed at improving the appearance of your teeth, gums, and smile. While traditional dentistry focuses primarily on oral health and functionality, cosmetic dentistry places emphasis on aesthetics and enhancing the overall look of a patient’s smile. Cosmetic dentistry addresses various issues, including tooth discoloration, misalignment, chips, cracks, gaps, and other imperfections that may affect the appearance of your teeth and smile. These techniques can effectively restore, enhance, and transform teeth, helping you achieve your perfect smile!


Cosmetic dentistry offers transformative solutions for a brighter, more confident smile. Teeth whitening, veneers, and dental implants are a few of the cosmetic services that we provide at NELA Dental to bring you the smile you’ve always wanted!

Teeth whitening, or dental bleaching, is a procedure designed to brighten and enhance the color of the teeth by removing stains and discoloration. Utilizing bleaching agents like hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, teeth whitening treatments can effectively break down stains on the enamel caused by various factors such as food, beverages, smoking, aging, or medications. Patients have the option of undergoing in-office whitening treatments, where a highconcentration bleaching gel is applied to the teeth and activated by a special light, providing immediate results, or using at-home whitening kits provided by NELA Dental, offering convenience and flexibility. With proper care, the results of teeth whitening can last for several months to a few years, giving you a brighter and more radiant smile.

Veneers are thin, custom-made shells designed to cover the front surface of teeth to improve their appearance. This procedure is used to address various imperfections such as chips, cracks, stains, or gaps, providing patients with a natural-looking and aesthetically pleasing smile. During the veneer placement process, a small amount of enamel may be removed from the tooth surface to accommodate the veneer, and then the veneer is bonded securely in place. Veneers offer a versatile solution for enhancing the color, shape, size, and alignment of teeth, and they are highly durable and stain-resistant,

providing long-lasting results. With proper care and maintenance, veneers can transform a patient’s smile, boosting confidence and self-esteem.

Dental implants are prosthetics used to replace missing teeth and restore both the function and appearance of the smile. These implants are composed of a titanium post surgically implanted into the jawbone. The implant-supported restorations mimic the structure of natural teeth. This approach ensures stability, durability, and a natural-looking result. Dental implants offer numerous benefits, including improved chewing and speaking ability, preservation of jawbone density, and prevention of neighboring teeth from shifting. They provide a permanent solution for tooth loss, as they integrate with the jawbone over time, offering long-term support and stability. While the process of receiving dental implants requires multiple appointments and a healing period, the outcome is a restored smile that enhances confidence and overall quality of life.


For a comprehensive transformation, patients can opt for a smile makeover. This is a customized treatment plan tailored to address a patient’s unique dental concerns and goals. From teeth whitening and veneers to dental implants, a smile makeover combines various cosmetic dental procedures to create a stunning, harmonious smile that reflects your personality and enhances your natural beauty.


We accept most major dental insurance plans, third-party payments, and offer flexible financing options. NELA Dental wants to make things financially easier for our patients. That’s why we offer membership plans as an alternative to insurance.

Our membership plans offer no deductibles, no maximums, and no denials. It includes two exams and cleanings and one set of bite-wing x-rays per year and 20% off all other services. While most insurance plans cap payouts each year, there are no limits to the benefits of our membership plans.

Call one of our convenient locations in Farmerville and Monroe to schedule your appointment today!



Clinton Downing designed a breathtaking bouquet combining real and silk florals such as orchids, chrysanthemums, hydrangeas, berries and eucalyptus, resulting in a truly exquisite arrangement.


Bridal bouquets are an important part of the wedding, bringing beauty and elegance to the ceremony. These bouquets crafted by local floral designers are simply exquisite.

Photos by Kelly Moore Clark BAYOU WEDDINGS


Taylor Bennett skillfully arranged this stunning bouquet using a mix of Quicksand roses, blue delphinium, ranunculas, pink spray roses and peach stock, all sourced from Carlstedt’s.

STUDIO ROO The experts at Studio Roo crafted an elegant bouquet using a combination of beautiful white ranunculus, roses, snapdragons, stock, peach carnations and clematis.


Petals & Pearls curated a stunning bouquet showcasing an assortment of flowers including ranunculus, double bloom lillies, Playa

roses, Butterfly ranunculus, accented with myrtle and mixed greenery.


Meredith’s Musings

When I was a kid, my dad had a logging company. And he was never the type to sit behind a desk. His small, but profitable, operation relied on his physical labor alongside a small crew of workers. In our small neighborhood, Dad had to park the log truck at the end of the street. Sister and I would hear the roar of the truck and race our bikes to catch Dad as he descended the massive truck steps. Fitted in dirty overalls with a mix of grime and sweat on his face, Dad would smile and make his way back to the house, Sister and I weaving around him on our bikes. Dad was home, and it punctuated the day.

Dad had this way of being omnipresent. He was around even when he wasn’t. We knew to turn the lights off when leaving a room, to keep toys picked up from his path, and to slide that air up to keep the system from running. Dad never said we were poor, because we weren’t, but he doesn’t believe in wasting money. And anything not essential to Dad is a waste of money. We learned never to mention how much something costs - even a bargain is too much for the old man.

Dad would collect my report cards to lower my insurance rate. He beamed when I got TOPS as that saved him paying my tuition. He never bought new clothes, as the old ones work just fine. Even now, he lives in my Husband’s old coaching gear. His closet is

devoted to several public schools in the area. He drives a 2007 Ford pickup. You might come across him in town when he ventures out. He’s the one in the fast lane driving 20 mph under the speed limit. He jokes that he has so many friends - everyone is always honking at him.

Husband and I borrowed Dad’s truck last weekend to pick up some lumber for a home project. Dad had left the keys on the driver’s seat. We rolled down the windows since the AC doesn’t work. Fixing it would be an unnecessary expense - wind is free, after all. When Husband drives Dad’s truck, he goes slower, as he’s used to doing in Dad’s presence. Dad never rushes anything. Now being in his 70s, people might assume physical limitations slowed him down, but he’s always been that way. He moves at his own pace and makes his own way, rarely influenced by the opinions and attitudes of others. I think my dad had self-confidence before he ever knew the term. He doesn’t care what people think, probably thinks most people don’t “think” at all.

Watching your parents age is a humbling experience. You know them as they used to be but are constantly in the presence of how they are now. Dad has inevitably softened in his old age. All that pent-up emotion that boys like him were taught to stifle comes out with abandon. He shows his emotions in spurts, and it’s a blessing to witness. Dad modeled a vicious work ethic and preached financial solvency.

Those lessons are ingrained in my bones, and I can’t imagine traversing life without them. But what I’m noticing more and more is Dad’s big beating heart, a capacity to love rooted in deep observation. Dad notices, listens, and remembers. He picks up on social cues without being promoted, and he has this way of making people feel seen and important - though if he’s upset with you, you will know it - in fact, everyone will. He may not always know what to say, but he ruminates on dialogue, revisits conversations you’ve long forgotten. His mind collects the nuances and impressions of people. Without fail, once or twice a week, the phone will ring close to 8pm. Mom is always early to bed, so I know dad is bored with the TV and looking to connect. He always greets my voice with a boisterous, “Hey!” and then proceeds into whatever reason he had for calling. I know it’s a ruse. He misses us. And like Mom with her notes, Dad always reaches out to connect. I share anecdotes of the girls’ activities, and he laughs from the belly as only someone with close knowledge of them can. Often, he’ll chat with Husband, sharing whatever joke or new bit of knowledge he’s acquired seconds earlier. After a few minutes, he’ll say he has to go, but really he doesn’t want to be a bother. I love those calls more than I can explain because they remind me of home. Dad will always be home to me, and for now, only a phone call away.


Suit Up This Wedding Season

Don’t be a wedding crasher, make sure to show up in style this season with a beautifully crafted suit or tuxedo from Ron Alexander Clothiers. These are some of our favorite looks for casual, dressy and black tie attire.


This tuxedo features a customized fit perfect for the sharp dressed man. If you’re looking for black-tie attire, you can’t go wrong with the OG of tuxedos. We love the black lapel against the blue jacket.


Perfect for a dressy wedding, but not black tie, this suit combines perfectly tailored trousers and jacket in a cool blue with a coordinating tie.


This classic look is perfect for a black tie nuptial. Whether you’re a groomsman or a guest, you’ll look debonair in this trendy tux. For the groom, opt for an off-white coat in the same family.

PRO TIP FROM RON: Make sure to have your suit tailored to fit your body. You’ll want a streamlined look to gain the most flattering fit.


Nothing says a southern wedding better than magnolias and seersucker suits. Find comfort in a traditional blue and white color, or step out in a gray and white style. Feel special and look fabulous on your big day.


Reasons to Use a Travel Agent

Expert Insights for Stress-Free Vacation Planning

DANA POUNCEY, A DEDICATED TRAVEL AGENT originally from West Monroe, Louisiana, now resides in the busy city of Houston, Texas. Despite her relocation, Dana remains deeply connected to her roots, and feels passionately about helping residents of her hometown plan the vacation of their dreams. As a valued member of Around About Travel, Dana combines her extensive travel expertise with a heartfelt commitment to her clients, ensuring every journey is as seamless and memorable as possible. Whether it’s a family getaway, a romantic escape or anything in between, Dana’s personalized approach and insider knowledge make her a valuable resource for travelers looking to explore the world.

Expertise and Knowledge: Travel agents often have extensive knowledge and expertise in the travel industry. They can provide personalized recommendations, insider tips, and advice based on their experience and training. This can be especially valuable when planning complex trips or when travelers are unfamiliar with a destination.

Time-Saving: Planning a trip can be time-consuming, especially when it involves multiple destinations, accommodations, and activities. Travel agents can help streamline the process by handling all the details, including booking flights, accommodations, transportation, and tours, saving travelers time and hassle.

Customized Itineraries: Travel agents can create customized itineraries tailored to the specific preferences and needs of their clients. Whether someone is looking for a luxury vacation, a familyfriendly trip, or an adventure-packed getaway, travel agents can design a trip that meets their requirements.

Access to Deals and Discounts: Travel agents often have access to special deals, discounts, and promotions that may not be available to the general public. This can help travelers save money on their trips and get the best value for their budget.

Assistance in Emergencies: In the event of unexpected travel interruptions, such as flight cancellations, natural disasters, or medical emergencies, having a travel agent can be valuable. They can assist with rebooking flights, finding alternative accommodations, and provide support during that stressful situation.

Peace of Mind: For some travelers, the peace of mind that comes with using a travel agent to handle all of the details of their trip is

worth the cost. Knowing that there is someone available to assist them before, during and after their journey can relieve the stress and uncertainty.

Complex Travel Arrangements: Travel agents are particularly useful for planning complex itineraries that involve multiple destinations, modes of transportation, and accommodations. They can help coordinate all aspects of the trip to ensure a smooth and seamless travel experience.

In conclusion, enlisting the services of a travel agent like Dana Pouncey can transform vacation planning from a daunting task into a delightful experience. Dana’s extensive knowledge, commitment to her clients, and personalized approach exemplify the myriad benefits that professional travel agents offer. From saving valuable time and money and providing peace of mind to securing exclusive deals and managing complex itineraries, travel agents are indispensable allies in creating memorable, stress-free vacations. Whether you’re seeking a family adventure, a romantic getaway, such as an upcoming honeymoon or anniversary, or even if you are just looking for a luxurious relaxing retreat, the expertise and dedication of a skilled travel agent ensure every journey is flawlessly executed and truly unforgettable. Contact her today, and let her help you turn the vacation of your dreams into a reality.

Contact: phone: 318.348.7005


Twisted Tea

America Parties with Tea

SCHOOL IS OUT, TEMPERATURES ARE UP, AND summer is here! Refreshment is a high priority, but fun is at the top of the list. Whatever your favorite summer activity, Twisted Tea has the perfect solution to quench your thirst. Though there have been many imitators, Twisted Tea is the original hard iced tea. It tastes like iced tea because it’s made with real brewed tea, which results in a beverage that is delicious, refreshing, and seriously twisted.

Twisted Tea Hard Iced Tea, the nation’s No. 1 hard iced tea brand, is making sure “America Parties with Tea” this summer with the return of a crowd favorite, limited-edition flavor, Twisted Tea Rocket Pop. A taste as big and as bright as fireworks on the Fourth of July, this limited-edition Twisted Tea combines the bold, iconic flavors of Rocket Pop – including lemon-lime, cherry and blue raspberry –with the smooth and delicious taste of America’s favorite hard iced tea.

Available exclusively in summer’s limited-edition Twisted Tea Party Pack, this flavor fits right in with a pack so delicious, fans will be picking it up all summer long. In addition to the Rocket Pop flavor, Twisted Tea’s Summer Party Pack features Twisted Tea Original, Half & Half and Peach, and sports an all-American theme for a festive addition to any party.

But the fun doesn’t stop there! Fans looking for a Twisted Tea big in flavor and in size can pick up the brand’s most twisted pack ever: The Twisted Tea Party Pouch. Featuring 1.3 gallons of deliciously refreshing Twisted Tea Original, this pouch allows fans to get creative when sharing with friends – whether they pass it, pour it, crush it or slap it.

“The secret is out: America loves to party with Twisted Tea, and we’re ready to fuel the fun this summer,” said Erica Taylor, Senior Brand Director for Twisted Tea. “Twisted Tea Rocket Pop is the perfect way to kick-off the season. An adult take on the frozen treat, these nostalgic flavors get a big upgrade when combined with the smooth and delicious real iced tea taste of Twisted Tea. A throwback flavor with a kick of alcohol, this is sure to become a fan-favorite this summer!”

As delicious as Twisted Tea is to sip on, did you know you can also cook with it? Twisted Tea, mixed with a few other ingredients,

makes a scrumptious sauce for a rack of ribs (or chicken… or sausage… you get the idea). What screams summer more than grilling and chilling? Check out the recipe below for your next summer gathering.



2 Pounds (1 rack) of Pork or Beef Ribs

Steak Seasoning or Salt (as needed)

2 Bottles or Cans of Twisted Tea Original

1/2 Cup of Soy Sauce

1/2 Cup of Brown Sugar


Step 1

Cut ribs individually and season with steak seasoning (or just salt), and grill until lightly caramelized on both sides.

Step 2

Place in saucepot, and add remaining ingredients.

Step 3

Place on grill and bring to a simmer. Keep on low simmer until tender.

Step 4

Pop an ice cold can of Twisted Tea and savor the flavors.

To find your favorite flavors of Twisted Tea, visit www.

Be sure to like Choice Brands on Facebook and follow us on 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 and




Searching for the ideal bridal gown for your special day? Look no further, these enchanting dresses are sure to make you feel like a princess walking down the aisle.





This dress is the embodiment of elegance and sophistication with a daring plunging v-neckline and a back that gives a touch of sensuality to the classic bridal look. The sheer bodice adds a delicate and feminine element, making this the perfect dress for the modern bride.

A sculpted, strapless bodice lends texture, balance, and structure to the full Mikado skirt of a ball gown by Allure Bridal. The bride can choose to add a touch of flair with detachable puffed sleeves to personalize her look .

This stunning lace fit and flare gown is perfect for the bride that craves a bit of drama with her wedding dress. Featuring an illusion bodice with a plunging sweetheart neckline, it’s paired with detachable off-the-shoulder straps that allow you to change up your look throughout the day. The dress is embellished with tonal beaded lace appliqués and a shimmering Chantilly lace underlay that is sure to make you stand out.



Iam told that on my first fishing trip, my stroller rolled into the lake and about flipped my mother out. My dad was a die-hard fisherman. His favorite saying was “Just let me catch one more”. He was a pan fisherman and a cat fisherman. He wasn’t introduced to bass fishing until he was over 50 years old. The man would fish in a bathtub if he thought there was a fish in it. If there was one in that tub, I assure you he would catch it. Dad came by his fishing fever honestly as my grandfather or “Pop” was a notorious fisherman (and moonshiner) in southern Georgia. In fact, Pop held the record at Lake Seminole for years with a bass that weighed in at 14.75 lbs. The amazing thing is my Pop did not own a baitcasting reel. He fished with a spin cast Zebco or Johnson reel. But let me tell you one thing, that old man could fish.

My father not only loved to fish, but he loved to share his love for fishing with his two sons: my older brother Steve and me. It was always a fierce competition, and I was determined to be the best angler of the three of us. It was ironic years later when I took my dad fishing and he didn’t fish for quite a while. When I asked him why he wasn’t bass fishing with me he said, “I just like to watch you.” He could not have paid me a higher compliment. I remember many a day on the lake with my dad and brother growing up. Dad never invested in quality fishing equipment. Our rod and reels were Zebco 33s or cheaper, and our boats left much to be desired. At the time we lived in Millry, Alabama, which was a stone’s throw from the Tombigbee River. My dad loved to fish on the downstream side of the dam where we caught huge catfish, buffalo and anything else that would bite. Dad figured out that our 14-foot aluminum boat wasn’t cutting it with 3 of us in it and that raging current. He opted to buy a 16-foot wooden boat that looked like it was brought over with Columbus when he discovered America. This thing had more bondo than wood with plugs to stop up the holes and a rotting transom that leaked. Dad latched on his dependable 20 hp Mercury and off we went. The problem was soon apparent as our old anchors for the aluminum boat were not nearly heavy enough. We returned home, and dad called a member of his church who was a welder. The welder fashioned a 3-foot-long piece of 6-inch pipe and put long rebar spikes on it so that we could anchor and fish. The next day we were off again, and Dad backed the old Ford LTD down the ramp. We eased into the rushing water as the dam was in full gear discharging water. We all loaded up and off we went. Now this water was not only rushing

but there were waves. I’m talking a lot of moving water. The waves were so high the boat crested and crashed sending this monstrosity of an anchor airborne and back down where the spikes impaled through the bottom of that wooden boat. Water rushed in and my brother and I had every hand, finger and toe stuck in holes as Dad somehow got us back to the landing. I know it will sound crazy, but the next week we were back in the same boat with the same anchor. The only design change was a rubber mat that was laid under the anchor. It is a miracle I’m still alive as this was a very dangerous and concerning set up. But that was my dad.

Every year at Christmas, we gave Dad three things: Duct tape, vise grips and a spool of wire. Everything the man owned from lawn mowers to vehicles had either duct tape or wire holding something together. But I’m not kidding when I say the man was a gifted fisherman. Later in life, he retired from boat fishing and would spend his free time at a “Pay Per Pound” catfishing lake. He would go a couple times a week and was satisfied to know he would catch them and had fish to eat. The amazing thing about him was his giving spirit. He rarely went to the catfish ponds without neighborhood kids. His fishing time was split with novice anglers already there who were having no luck. He didn’t even know them but he would show them how he was catching fish. That was his personality. He loved to see people have success fishing and in life. He was known as a kind and gentle soul. I knew that to be true as I lived with him.

Dad used fishing for many other uses. My favorite is how he would come into my brother’s and my bedroom and slip up close to your ear and whisper “wanna go fishing”. On weekends I looked forward to it. But he used it on school days as my brother and I would literally jump out of the bed, only to find out it was a school day. He insisted on good grades and our reward was when he would check us out of school to go fishing. I learned many lessons from this man. One saying he had when he was beating you fishing was “Gotta live right to catch fish, son”. My advice to you is this: If your Father is still alive, cherish those times with him. I would give anything for his wise advice or one of his bear hugs again. His legacy lives on as I pass these gifts on to my children and grandchildren. Somehow I know deep inside that Dad and Pop are looking down from heaven and know that they planted a seed that flourishes from their son and grandson who appreciate what was handed down to me over the years. Happy Father’s Day, Dad and Pop. I miss you. See you soon.


Blossoming Dreams

The Story of Studio Roo Floral

IN THE HEART OF OUR BUSTLING town lies a floral sanctuary, where every petal tells a story and every arrangement is a testament to passion and dedication. Welcome to Studio Roo Floral, a blooming haven founded by owner Harley Price.

Harley Price, the nurturing soul behind Studio Roo Floral, traces her love affair with flowers back to the precious days of her childhood. While growing up, Harley’s grandmother had a love for all things gardening, which inspired her love for flowers today. Little did she know that this cherished childhood pastime would eventually blossom into her life’s calling.

The journey of Studio Roo Floral began unexpectedly, sparked by a simple request from a friend in 2018 to make her a bridal bouquet for her small wedding. One request led to another, and soon, she found herself enveloped in a whirlwind of creativity, designing exquisite arrangements and bouquets that caught the eye of our community.

With each floral creation, Harley’s passion flourished, fueled by a profound sense of purpose and divine guidance. She attributes her success to God in every step of her journey. From humble beginnings to her now admirable reputation, Studio Roo Floral has become a beacon of floral artistry in our community.

Specializing in wedding and event florals, Studio Roo Floral weaves magic into every celebration, whether grand or intimate. From breathtaking centerpieces to delicate flower arrangments, each creation is infused with Harley’s signature style – a “straight out of the garden” aesthetic that exudes timeless elegance.

At Studio Roo Floral, the emphasis lies not only on the final product but also on the meticulous process of creation. Every color, shade, texture, and shape is carefully curated, ensuring that each floral masterpiece is a true reflection of her client’s vision. Harley works closely with her flower vendors, particularly her cherished partnership with Carlstedt’s in Monroe, to

source the finest blooms and materials. She says they have been a huge help to her from the very beginning.

Despite Studio Roo Floral’s burgeoning success, Harley remains grounded in her aspirations for the future, as weddings and larger events hold a special place in her heart. When asked about her future plans, she told us she knows one day she will have a studio space, as she is outgrowing her home space, but for now she finds solace and joy in the intimacy of her home studio, where every arrangement is crafted with love and attention to detail.

As Studio Roo Floral continues to flourish, Harley Price remains steadfast in her commitment to spreading joy and beauty through her art and throughout our community, as well as continuing to form relationships with her customers. In the garden of life, Studio Roo Floral stands as a testament to the enduring power of dreams, blooming brightly against all odds.


Edmund Williamson

Edmund Williamson would have been 72 years old this month. To honor his contributions to the arts, a retrospective art exhibition will be held in June.

It’s been nearly 15 years since Edmund Williamson passed away, and the impact he made on Monroe and West Monroe, especially in the arts community, continues to be felt. He is perhaps most famous in Ouachita parish for his public art, including the Maypop in downtown Monroe, the Tomato Worm at the West Monroe Community Center, the Trenton Flowers on Antique Alley in West Monroe, and the Great Blue Heron at Restoration Park in West Monroe.

To honor Williamson and his contributions to the arts, a retrospective art exhibition will be held June 6, from 5-9 p.m., in cooperation with the Downtown Gallery Crawl. The exhibition will take place at The Gallery at 118 Cotton St. in West Monroe, Louisiana, and will run until mid July. Because the reach of Williamson’s work is so large, works that could not be featured in the physical show will be featured in a virtual gallery on the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council’s website. The opening event during the Crawl will allow family members and others who knew Williamson to share about his life, work, and legacy.


Like most artists, Williamson’s interest in art began when he was a child. According to Tina Guilliams, Williamson’s baby sister, Williamson picked up his love for art and gained a lot of his skills and talent from their mother, who was an artist, a painter, and a creative person at her core. “With my

mother, art was a part of every day growing up,” Guilliams said. “She liked to draw and paint, and we were right there painting with her, or getting in the way.”

For this reason, Williamson was already an artist before he ever had the opportunity to take classes. Guilliams was 10 years younger than Williamson and recalled that when she was little, maybe about four, Williamson shaped a small duck and egg out of gumbo mud for her to play with. When their mother passed away, Guilliams said she found that her mother had kept the duck and egg in a drawer and that the figures remained intact after all those years.

On another occasion, when Williamson was supposed to be babysitting Guilliams, he started painting a mural on a wall in their house, and Guilliams joined him. “I remember him saying Mama’s gonna spank us both,” she said. The two of them scrubbed the wall together to clean it, but Guilliams could not recall the outcome or whether they got in trouble.

While they were growing up, Williamson would often draw caricatures on Guilliams’s school folders, and even as a teenager, the immensity of Williamson’s talent was becoming apparent. He enrolled in art classes as early as he could, and by the time he was 15 or 16, Williamson was doing impressive pen and ink drawings, paintings, and sculptures, some of which he would display at craft shows in the region. At one such event in Columbia, Louisiana, Williamson displayed a wax sculpture he

had carved of Eve handing Adam the apple. Guilliams said the figures were nude but not depicted in an explicit way. Still, she said many of the elderly women who witnessed the sculpture were offended. Since that time, the sculpture has remained in Williamson’s family and now belongs to Guilliams.

Young Adulthood

Williamson graduated from West Monroe High School and went on to study painting at both the University of Louisiana at Monroe and Louisiana Tech University in Ruston. When he was a young artist living on his own, Williamson lived for a time in an old Victorian house owned by his friend Alice Jordan. The house was fondly known by those who lived and socialized there as Peach St. Williamson had attended West Monroe High School with the owner Alice and her sister Di. In fact, the sisters had been featured in a mural he painted at the high school that depicted Di as homecoming queen along with several yearbook portraits of their classmates, including Alice.

According to Terry Tugwell, one of Williamson’s friend’s who met him at Peach St., Williamson lived there with Alice and other friends for several years. “It was a gathering spot for a very artsy, bohemian group of people,” Tugwell said. “We used to have a saying that Peach St. was not a place. It was a state of mind.” Tugwell also said that the people who frequented Peach St. were not just friends or acquaintances. They were like family to each other.


Another friend of Williamson’s, Doyle Jeter, met Williamson in 1969 and was also familiar with the Peach St. crowd. He, too, echoed this notion of closeness between Williamson and his friends. “Ed was family,” he said,”and our relationship was like family.” Jeter said he and Williamson had mutual friends and that they did everything together from sharing meals and partying to attending funerals. Jeter said this group had a lot of fun partying together. “We were all children of the 60s,” he said, “and it was the psychedelic era.” At the same time, Jeter emphasized that Williamson was much more than a partier. In fact, multiple of Williamson’s friends mentioned how prolific he was as an artist.

“Edmund was constantly creating work,” Jeter said, “and I don’t know anyone that doesn’t own a piece of his art.”

His Work

For Williamson, art was a part of his life as much as breathing, and it was at times a way for him to express his love for his friends as he would often give pieces away. His sister Guilliams said that he would also borrow them back on occasion. “He was never really completed with a piece of artwork,” she said. He would see it on the wall while visiting, study it, then take it down, and give it back later. “He would return it very changed,” she said.

In addition to being prolific, Williamson was very diverse in his body of work and went through “seasons” according to his sister. He painted abstracts, landscapes, animals, and portraits. He also worked in pen and ink and charcoal and created 3-dimensional sculptures and assemblages with a variety of materials. He worked on large and small scales. He even went through a period in the 90s when he painted jungle scenes on houseboats. According to his friend Billy Stanley, Williamson made his signature bigger and more flamboyant than the painting on some of these boats to make a statement. One of the coolest pieces of Williamson’s that Stanley could recall was a shark’s mouth that he painted on the front of another friend’s ski boat. Stanley said the shark looked like it was opening its mouth when the boat accelerated on the water.

Another special piece, for which he received national recognition, was a Christmas ornament he designed for the White House Christmas tree. Displayed in 2001, the ornament was a miniature replica of Layton Castle in Monroe, which was then owned by Carol Layton Parsons, a friend of Williamson’s. According to Pam DuPuy, Parson’s daughter, the idea for the design came to Williamson when Laura Bush decided she wanted to decorate the tree with ornament replicas of two historic homes from each state. Williamson submitted his design for Layton Castle and was chosen. The task was a new challenge for Williamson who said at the time, “I’m used to taking something very small, like a dragonfly, and reproducing it in large form.” Williamson

Sculpture Photography by Joli Livaudais

altered the actual layout a bit for balance and constructed the ornament from balsa wood. He and Parsons were invited to see the ornament on display at the White House. DuPuy said it was a memorable moment for her mother and that Williamson’s friendship was important to her. Four paintings by Williamson deck the walls of Layton Castle today, including one of DuPuy’s late mother Carol Parsons. Parsons’s daughter Pam DuPuy said she has pushed for something to be done to honor Williamson many times, and she’s pleased the retrospective exhibition is finally happening.

Williamson also had a daughter, Kate McGehee. When her mother passed away, she was raised by her mother’s brother, but Tugwell said Williamson loved her dearly and that many of his pieces, especially the more playful ones, were inspired by her.

Williamson’s work undoubtedly touched many lives. Although he is most widely known for his public art, Tugwell said that in the arts community, he was known more for his paintings, especially his landscapes. He grew up and attended school in West Monroe but spent a lot of time on his family’s farm called Woodlace in Richland Parish. While on the farm, Williamson would paint outdoors, depicting the unique beauty of north Louisiana with scenes of pastures, animals, and sunsets. Tugwell said, “He would paint these pieces that were realistic, but there was always a bit of magic or surrealism in them. There was always something a little on the fantastic side. The magic was always the thing that made his work distinctive.”

Williamson would also spend a lot of time painting along the Ouachita River. Stanley said, “He was a Louisiana artist at his core. He was a product of Louisiana, and he was who he was. You always wanted to see what he would do next, and he was a joy to be around.” According to Stanley, Williamson also had an appreciation for nature that he passed along to Stanley. The two knew each other when Williamson operated a gallery known as The Lost Bazaar on Trenton St. in West Monroe. Stanley was interested in plants and took care of the garden behind the gallery. The two spent a lot of time together, and Williamson was a big influence on Stanley. They would hang out and play croquet together in the evenings. “Edmund did art in all kinds of mediums,” Stanley said, “but his greatest art was how he lived his life. He wasn’t a big dude, but he had a persona that was just magnified.”

Public Art

During his career as an artist, Williamson worked closely with Tommy Usrey on multiple projects. Usrey was development coordinator for the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council when he met Williamson and was president of

“He was a Louisiana artist at his core. He was a product of Louisiana, and he was who he was. You always wanted to see what he would do next, and he was a joy to be around. Edmund did art in all kinds of mediums, but his greatest art was how he lived his life. He wasn’t a big dude, but he had a persona that was just magnified.”

the organization for most of the time he and Williamson worked together. “He was always a talent,” Usrey said of Williamson. “I could see that immediately, and he had a gut feeling for an awful lot of things.” Usrey worked with Williamson on his public art projects and said sharing art with the public was always a priority for Williamson.

According to Usrey, Williamson was fun to work with and had a strong business sense. He always came to Usrey with ideas that were very well thought out. Usrey helped him write his first grant and said he soon became very proficient, growing in his ability to design and plan detailed projects, including not only the artistic elements of the projects, but also all aspects of funding and execution. When asked to comment on his Maypop project as it was coming to fruition, Williamson said, “The process of this project requires that I be that jack-of-all-trades—writing the grant, fundraising, building community support, designing the sculpture, and building it.”

Usrey mentioned a long list of projects Williamson worked on, including sets for the Twin City Ballet, holiday decorations for Kiroli Park, the Maypop in downtown Monroe, the Tomato Worm at the West Monroe Community Center, the Trenton Flowers on Antique Alley in West Monroe, and the Great Blue Heron at Restoration Park in West Monroe. Williamson’s first major public art project was a dragonfly sculpture in Forsythe Park. The sculpture was a fixture in the park for nearly 20 years, and during its lifetime, many people climbed onto it to pose for pictures. In 2014, the sculpture was removed. It had fallen into disrepair and resulted in an injury and lawsuit. At the time, the city reported that attempts to repair the sculpture failed and that it would remain in storage until the lawsuit was final. Williamson passed away prior to the removal, but some of his friends remain bitter over the decision.

Another mark Williamson left on his community lay on the walls and ceilings of St. Matthew Catholic Church in Monroe. Williamson painted alongside his friend

and fellow artist Glenn Kennedy. The two completed the fresco ceiling and sanctuary of St. Matthew Catholic Church in Monroe together. Guilliams said the Kennedy family had Mojo, a gallery and boutique near Williamson’s Lost Bazaar, and Glenn’s work was featured there. The two became close during that time. Guilliams recalled that they also once got into trouble for “defacing public property” after painting murals of wildlife along the sea wall. Their attempts to beautify the wall were painted over, but Guilliams said she did not believe either of them were actually charged with anything.

Galleries and Impact

Williamson spent much of his life creating art, but he spent an equal part of his life trying to bring art to the public eye and trying to lift other artists up. “He was a proponent of art across the board,” Stanley said. “He was trying to make it inclusive.” Williamson operated multiple galleries in his lifetime, most notably The Lost Bazaar, and Stanley said he would do open calls for artists and essentially go out beating a drum trying to get people to bring art in. His efforts resulted in discovery of unknown and selftaught artists that might never have shown their work otherwise.

Stanley watched the various works being brought into the gallery with awe. “He was a hero to me,” Stanley said. “He made me believe it was possible to be a poet or an artist.” After being discouraged from pursuing art as a kid, Stanley said Williamson was the first person he met who declared himself an artist. His talent could have taken him to other places, but Stanley believes he stayed here in Ouachita Parish because he felt safe here. That sense of safety likely came from the close network of friends he made and the support he received from the community, which empowered him to grow as an artist and support other artists as well.

Another important facet of who Williamson was as a person was that he was openly gay. At the time of his death,


Williamson had been with his partner Jeffery Jones for over 10 years. Tugwell said, “Jeffery was a great partner for Edmund and took great care of him. Everyone fell in love with Jeffery instantly.” Jones was several years younger than Williamson. When they met, Jones was a young man from Baskin, Louisiana, who had just come out. Jones said, “He (Edmund) was an artist—bigger than life, intelligent. I was enamored.” Williamson never hid their relationship. “He gave me a sense of pride,” Jones said. “If you’re a good person, people will like you regardless. I learned that from him.”

Although they hosted some great parties in their time together, “You can’t really make a living running an art gallery,” Jones said. While they were together, Jones waited tables and helped Williamson with the gallery, but he said, “It was kinda rough times actually.” One thing Jones said always amazed him was how they could be struggling day to day, but Williamson could have an idea for an art project and get it funded.

While Jones and Williamson were together, Williamson operated the first gallery on what is now Art Alley in downtown Monroe. Jones said, “Before Edmund, there was nothing. At first, it was just me and him, and it was cold as hell with one space heater, but eventually, he revitalized the whole downtown art scene.”

Another key player in launching the arts scene in downtown Monroe was Brad Arender. Arender met Williamson in 1999 after wandering into The Lost Bazaar. Williamson inspired Arender with a lively discussion about art and a shared passion for photography, which led Arender to seek more advice as he delved into photography himself. “His guidance and subsequent curation of my work set the trajectory for my entire career,” Arender said. “He couldn’t have been more supportive than he was.”

By inviting Arender to participate in a group exhibition shortly thereafter, Williamson helped Arender connect with the finest artists and creative minds in our region. “This experience left a lasting impression on me, sparking a newfound passion and sense of belonging within the artistic community,” Arender said. Such a story appears to be one of many similar stories about Williamson’s support of his fellow artists.

Together with Alan Brockman, Arender and Williamson also approached Tommy Usrey with the idea for the Downtown Gallery Crawl. Usrey said they wanted to have live music and create a festival-like atmosphere. After this meeting, Williamson, Arender, and Brockman co-founded the Downtown Gallery Crawl, catalyzing a vibrant artistic community.

From Arender’s perspective, Williamson’s

legacy in the arts community is unmatched. “His initiatives birthed Antique Alley and later paved the way for Art Alley,” Arender said. “Through his prolific creation of public sculptures and paintings, he inspired countless individuals, myself included, to delve into the world of art.”

Speed Lamkin , by Edmund Williamson, private collection of Pam DuPuy

Look Good, Feel good

Delta Vein Care Eliminates Painful Vein Disorders

WHILE IT IS OFFICIALLY summertime, let’s face it: Louisiana weather often calls for “shorts weather.” Some of us dread wearing shorts due to problematic leg veins. Delta Vein Care specialists want you to understand that vein disorders, albeit painful, are more than a cosmetic issue and can even lead to heart disease. Let’s debunk some myths about varicose veins, which appear as blue or purple chords beneath the skin’s surface and affect the legs and feet.

Myth 1: Only women get varicose veins.

While women are twice as likely to develop varicose veins, men are not immune. The number one indicator is family history. If your grandfather or mother had varicose veins, you will likely develop them, regardless of gender.

Myth 2: Varicose veins are an inevitable symptom of aging.

While the risk of getting varicose veins increases with age, not every senior develops them.

Myth 3: Varicose vein treatment is painful.

You may have heard about previous treatments such as “vein stripping” or other painful vein procedures. Severe pain is no longer part of the equation. Delta Vein Care uses the most advanced—and minimally invasive—technology.

A longtime pharmacist, Michelle Goldman, can attest to Delta Vein Care’s technology. Before being treated at Delta Vein Care, Michelle, who was on her feet all day at work, suffered varicose vein pain.

Dr. Bart Liles, a general surgeon at Delta Vein Care, performed radiofrequency ablation—a procedure that sends heat to the veins and closes off blood flow—on Michelle’s varicose veins. Michelle, who also had spider veins, underwent sclerotherapy, a procedure in which a chemical solution was injected directly into the vein. The vein faded within a few weeks.

After each procedure, Michelle returned to work the next day—without pain.

“Dr. Liles used the latest technology— radiofrequency ablation. I had only one incision instead of several,” Michelle said. “And there was hardly any pain and no downtime.”

Michelle is adamant about educating her patients. She said, “I tell them Dr. Liles and his team are great. They relax you and talk you through the procedure, which is simple and nothing like it used to be because the technology is much better. Dr. Liles is local, and he is excellent.”

Michelle also praised Lindsey McCready, one of the nation’s first registered phlebology sonographers, who is on staff at Delta Vein Care.

“It’s clear Lindsey loves her job,” Michelle said. “She answers your questions and ensures you understand what will happen. She is so thorough. It’s very evident that Lindsey loves taking care of people.”

Learn about Delta Vein Care’s minimally invasive procedures, which last about one hour and allow patients to resume normal activities the same day. Visit: In addition to Dr. Liles, the Surgery Clinic of Northeast Louisiana, home of Delta Vein Care, houses surgeons Dr. Walter Sartor, Dr. Patrick Smith, and Dr. Mohamed Bakeer.


PremiER Pet Emergency Clinic

Compassionate Pet Care in Northeast Louisiana

IN A SIGNIFICANT MOVE TO ENHANCE veterinary care in Northeast Louisiana, four dedicated veterinarians, Dr. Keri CataldoRogers, Dr. Sydney Copeland, Dr. Laura Little, and Dr. Kelsey Stokes, have joined forces to establish PremiER Pet Emergency Clinic. This new clinic aims to provide a reliable and compassionate option for pet emergencies, particularly during nights and weekends when primary care veterinarians are typically unavailable.

The establishment of PremiER Pet Emergency Clinic stems from a shared vision among the founding veterinarians. They recognized the need for an emergency clinic that primary care veterinarians could confidently refer their patients to, ensuring continuity of care and peace of mind. This initiative not only supports local veterinarians by allowing them to fully embrace their time away from their practices but also ensures that their valued clients and patients receive the same high standard of care they are accustomed to.

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PremiER Pet Emergency Clinic stands out by offering comprehensive sick, urgent, and emergency/critical care services. The clinic is well-equipped with state-of-the-art technology, including in-house laboratory services, digital radiographs, ultrasonography, and more. These capabilities enable the clinic to provide primary level care for common illnesses and injuries, as well as advanced critical care services and emergency surgeries. In situations requiring specialized equipment or expertise, the clinic guides pet owners to the appropriate resources, ensuring that every pet receives the care it needs.

A Commitment to Continuity and Compassion

Understanding the deep bonds between pet owners and their primary veterinarians, the clinic places a strong emphasis on continuity of care. The goal is to treat pets promptly, preventing the progression of illnesses that can occur while waiting for primary veterinarians to become available. By offering immediate attention,

PremiER Pet Emergency Clinic aims to facilitate quicker recoveries and promote healthier, happier pets.

To maintain strong communication with pet owners, the clinic implements frequent updates on hospitalized and surgical patients via phone or text messaging. Follow-up calls ensure that pets are recovering well and that pet owners are satisfied with the care provided. This focus on communication not only enhances the pet owner’s experience but also reinforces the clinic’s commitment to exceptional care.

Building an Exceptional Team

Central to the clinic’s success is its dedicated team, led by practice manager Cody Kelley. With years of experience across various veterinary practices, Kelley is committed to fostering a supportive environment for the clinic’s staff. By emphasizing both technical skills and client interaction, Kelley ensures that the team is wellequipped to provide the highest level of care. This dedication to staff development translates into better experiences for both patients and pet owners.

PremiER Pet Emergency Clinic invites pet owners to visit their new location at 2024 Forsythe Avenue in Monroe. With a compassionate and skilled team ready to provide top-notch emergency care, pet owners can have peace of mind knowing that their beloved companions are in capable hands.


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one of the most thrilling yet demanding experiences in life. From choosing the perfect dress to organizing seating arrangements, the list of tasks can feel endless. Amidst all the hustle and bustle, it’s crucial to take some time for yourself, to relax and rejuvenate before your big day. At our Day Spa, located at 1813 Roselawn Ave in Monroe, we offer a haven of tranquility and luxury to help you look and feel your best as you walk down the aisle.

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Searching for North Louisiana’s Lost Apple

The prevailing paradigm is that apples (Malus domestica) won’t grow and produce in Louisiana. This isn’t true, of course. In fact, apple trees were once quite common on farms and homesteads throughout the southern United States, including the Deep South. They were more of a staple crop than we realize today. The half dozen or so apple varieties currently found in supermarkets don’t begin to scratch the surface of apple diversity. I’ve written and spoken before about how gardeners with backyard orchards should experiment more with old southern apple varieties. The old ‘Horse’ apple was likely the single most common apple found throughout the South. When an older person describes to me an apple tree they remember from childhood, more often than not, they describe the old ‘Horse’ apple to a T. There are many apple varieties with origins in the Deep South that should not be overlooked like ‘Shell’ from southern Alabama, ‘Reverend Morgan’ from Houston, Texas, and ‘Sam Hunt’ and ‘Cauley’ from Mississippi. Even Louisiana is home to several apple varieties like ‘Basseer,’ ‘Bossier Greening,’ ‘Fall Cluster,’ ‘Louisiana,’ and ‘McMullen’ from the Shreveport area, and ‘DeLee’s Red Winter,’ ‘DeLee’s Striped,’ ‘Felt’s Strawberry’, ‘Spark’s Late,’ ‘Terral,’ and ‘Woodland’ from down in Feliciana. In his seminal work Old Southern Apples (Chelsea Green Publishing), Lee Calhoun has all these Louisiana apples listed as extinct. If there is a snowball’s chance of finding one of these today, I believe it is the McMullen apple.

The McMullen Apple

Joseph Cullen “Joe” McMullen was born in Kimble County, Texas, on November 24, 1844, one of four children born to his father, Cullen McMullen, from Rowan County, North Carolina, and his two wives, Abigail and Harriet. After a circuitous route through Tennessee, Mississippi, and Texas, the family settled in northern DeSoto Parish near Stonewall. As far as I can tell from both old and new maps, the old McMullen property stretched east to west along what is now State Road 3276 and northward adjacent to what is now Missile Base Road. The property has been parceled up and little of it remains in the family. Joe fought for the Confederacy during

The 1904 Passmore painting of the McMullen apple. USDA National Agricultural Library (2015). U.S. Department of Agriculture Pomological Watercolor Collection. National Agricultural Library – ARS – USDA.

The old Horse apple was once commonly grown in the southern United States, even the Deep South.

the Civil War and was wounded during the Battle of Mansfield (The Battle of Sabine Crossroads) on April 8th, 1864. His wounds were problematic for the rest of his life, even prompting surgery thirty years later. Not much is known about Joe’s years after the war except he was a cotton farmer.

Sometime in 1888, Joe purchased a bundle of fruit tree whips from a salesman claiming to be a nursery owner from Long Beach, Mississippi. Some of those fruit tree whips were apple trees, and Joe assumed they were seedlings. He planted them and, of course, some didn’t survive. However, the trees that did survive produced a crop of quality apples, and all produced the same apple, after seven years of growth. The possibility of the trees being seedlings is essentially zero because apples rarely, if ever, breed true from seeds. Joe most likely purchased root sprouts of an ungrafted tree which would, of course, all produce the same apple if they were taken from the same tree. By 1904 Joe’s health had deteriorated to a point where long-distance travel was impossible for him. However, someone encouraged him to exhibit his apples at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, aka the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. The Exposition commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase and was supposed to have opened in 1903 but was delayed a year to allow exhibitors from all over the world ample time to ship exhibits and to travel to St. Louis. The Louisiana Purchase Exposition finally opened on April 30th and closed on December 1st in 1904. Joe’s efforts would not go unrewarded; his apples won a bronze medal along with other fruit exhibits from Louisiana including peaches from Calhoun that won a silver medal. In February 1904, two months before the Louisiana Purchase Exposition opened, a group gathered in Garig Hall on the campus of LSU for the first annual meeting of the newly reorganized Louisiana State Horticultural Society. Attendees included such horticultural luminaries as Arthur K. Clingman, who operated a nursery first in Homer then in Keithville from 1874 until his death in 1919, and James P. Bowman of St. Francisville, the sonin-law of Martha Turnbull of Rosedown Plantation. Eugene J. Watson of the North Louisiana Experiment Station (Calhoun) was also present. At this first annual meeting, John DeLee of Teddy, Louisiana (present day intersection of Highway 422 and Ed Freeman Road in East Feliciana Parish) gave a presentation on apple production in Louisiana. And, as if 1904 wasn’t already a penultimate year for the McMullen apple, it became the subject of a watercolor painting by renowned botanical artist Deborah Griscom Passmore (1840 –1911), who contributed over half of the 7,500 watercolor paintings of fruit commissioned by the USDA in 1887. Artist Bertha Heiges (1866 – 1956) contributed a second painting of the McMullen apple in 1905. The Passmore and Heiges paintings show us exactly what

the McMullen apple looked like.

The second annual meeting of the Louisiana State Horticultural Society was held in January 1905 in Shreveport. A Mr. Nelson gave a presentation about this new Louisiana apple on Joe McMullen’s behalf. Mr. Nelson was most likely John Massengale Nelson, Sr. (1847 – 1924), the County Agent at that time. In the question-and-answer session following his presentation, Nelson was asked if this apple may be of commercial value in Louisiana. He reported that Joe “gathered from five to nine bushels to the tree off six trees and sold them in Shreveport at $1.35 per bushel.” Nurseryman Arthur Clingman stated that while apples may not be a commercial crop in Louisiana, they were certainly a valuable crop. Curiously, the McMullen apple never appeared in Clingman’s catalogs which advertised a variety of summer, fall, and winter apple varieties for Louisiana home orchards.

Joe McMullen died on February 17th, 1906. In 1907, J. M. Nelson’s name appeared in a brief newspaper advertisement for the McMullen apple; trees were $1.00 each or $10.00 per dozen. How times have changed. Nelson evidently took over propagating this apple for the McMullen Family. In 1908, when the Louisiana State Horticultural Society met in Minden for the fifth consecutive year since reorganizing, one of Joe’s daughters by his second wife gave another presentation on the McMullen apple. Harriette Belle “Hettie” McMullen was not quite 18 years old when she read the exact same presentation that J.M. Nelson had read in 1905. Hettie added that the original six surviving McMullen apple trees were still healthy and productive and stood at about fifteen feet tall at that time. Hettie further reported that 1,000 trees had been grafted sometime in 1906, cared for through the summer; and in November of that year, an orchard of 450 of those trees had been established. Twenty-five hundred McMullen apple trees were propagated in 1907, and 6,000 trees in 1908. What happened to these trees?

J.M. Nelson died in 1924 at age 77. His descendants are still in the Stonewall area, and I have communicated with a great-great-grandson. Hettie McMullen Fincher lived 99 years. She died on February 2nd, 1990, and with her the location and the fate of the orchard of 450 trees as well as the fates of the thousands of grafted trees. My hope is that there is still an old McMullen apple tree out there somewhere.

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

The McMullen apple won bronze medal at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. Thanks to Jason D. Stratman of the Missouri Historical Society Library & Research Center.

Spartan Adventure Park

The Ultimate Destination for Indoor Fun

SPARTAN ADVENTURE PARK IS NOT just any trampoline park; we are the ultimate destination for indoor fun and are the largest locally-owned and operated trampoline park in northern Louisiana. Conveniently located in the Twin City Shopping Center on Louisville Avenue, Spartan offers plenty of well-lit parking, multiple handicapped parking spots, and entrances to the park. As the premier family-friendly, indoor adventure park in northern Louisiana, we have more options available than any other indoor facility. This includes our trampoline area for both young children and the young at heart, a ninjainspired obstacle course, a dodgeball arena, a zip line experience, a fully equipped arcade featuring this area’s most exhilarating virtual roller coaster experience, and two virtual golf simulators that will allow you to play the world’s greatest courses without the downside of the outdoor elements! Our PGA-endorsed golf simulators are not just child’s play; the simulator experience offers state-of-the-art software and multi-part

gaming for all ages. Located in a separate room with a curved 14-by-8-foot screen, you have the ability to choose your own course and difficulty levels, or practice your long swing and sinking those putts. After jumping or recharging during your jump time, visit our concession stand for a yummy treat such as pizza, a variety of different candies, soft pretzels with cheese, different ice cream and soda flavors, and much more!

Spartan Adventure Park is the place to level up your next gathering, whether you’re celebrating an event or just want to wind down and have a little fun. Spartan Adventure Park is where fun lives! Our adventure park is massive, with 25,000 square feet of play space; there is no limit to the fun your group can have. We cater to family outings, field trips, team-building events, birthday parties (including specialty-themed birthday parties), family reunions, company parties, after-prom parties, or just an afternoon hanging out with friends. Spartan features five party rooms that can be used for parties or

meetings; each room has its own private area and event staff specifically assigned to work directly with you on the details and needs of your event.

The front of our building features a welcoming courtyard area where we sponsor multiple community-based activities all year long, along with our mascot Leo, a 12.5-foot Spartan who greets you at the door every time! Leo also makes appearances in the park throughout the day and loves to join in during the birthday party fun. Leo and his team can be found out and about in the community at area events and festivals! We love our community and are active supporters of many local agencies that serve children and families. Snapping pictures with Leo and his team is a sure way to get featured on all our social media outlets. If you’re not following us on social media, you could miss out on all our park-sponsored events and specials!

Make plans now to beat the heat this summer by visiting Spartan Adventure Park located at 2257 Louisville Avenue, Monroe, Louisiana. Our summer hours are MondayFriday 12 noon - 9 pm, Saturday 10 am - 9 pm, and Sunday 12 noon - 8 pm. You can book your fun easily online at, call us at (318) 460-8160, or come by the park any time! Spartan makes fun easy! Spartan would like to congratulate all graduating seniors in 2024!


Watha’s Wonderful World, LLC

The Art of Effective Communication

WHAT SAY YOU? The beginning of summer, Wedding Season, International Children’s Day, Father’s Day, Juneteenth, and so much more! June brings opportunities to enjoy great food, travel adventures, and fellowship with friends and loved ones. June is designated as National Effective Communications Month, where we focus on the importance of mannerly exchanges in business and personal settings. The International Association of Business Communicators inaugurated this month-long celebration in June 1992, to foster effective communication in various aspects of life.

Proper communication is most important and is expressed via four basic channels: verbal, nonverbal, written, and visual. Verbal communication is the most prevalent mode of expression in which individuals exchange ideas vocally. This exchange is frequently illustrated as a lecture, a speech, or a conversation between people. Proper etiquette commands a respectful tone in contrast

to demeaning verbiage during vocal dialogue. Effective communicators embrace the “call and response method” in which active listening enables two-way discussions and discourages fatally boring monologues. Non-verbal communication consists of physical expressions used to illustrate our thoughts and feelings. Examples of non-verbal communication are body language, eye contact, hand gestures, touch, and appearance. An example of poor communication at a formal event such as a wedding would be a bridesmaid promenading the aisle in a two-piece bikini. Such an impromptu action would communicate feelings of disrespect to the bride, groom, and attendees. By contrast, a pastor, relative, friend, or neighbor extending a warm embrace to a grieving family communicates love, respect, and support. Americans stress the importance of direct eye contact as a mode of trustworthiness and high self-esteem. Casting a glare or staring at someone would illustrate a threatening form of communication in certain situations. Visual communication is an excellent

communication model in that it reinforces ideas through photographs and signage. Through visual communication, we can understand the lifestyle of ancient Egypt via hieroglyphics. Parents may choose to give coloring books to children as gifts to celebrate International Children’s Day. Families utilize all methods of communication to express love during Father’s Day by verbally saying “I love you dad,” or showering their fathers with gift cards, dinner, clothes, cologne, and finances. This type of active language is a positive expression of love to fathers and builds amazing memories. Lastly, written communication is the printed version of communication ranging from cookbooks, textbooks, social medical posts, instruction manuals and such like. We celebrate Juneteenth because of miscommunication between the sender and the receiver. Albeit the Emancipation Proclamation was issued on January 1, 1863, and President Abraham Lincoln signed the Thirteenth Amendment on February 1, 1865, news of the Thirteenth Amendment was not received until June 19, 1865, by more than 250,000 enslaved black people in Galveston Texas. The Thirteenth Amendment came full circle on June 17, 2021, as President Joe Biden signed a bill making Juneteenth the eleventh American federal holiday.

Are you ready to refine your communication skills? Please contact Watha’s Wonderful World, LLC at (318) 647-4495 to schedule your session or book via BBB.ORG.



Board & Bottle is a café and wine bar


Jayne Jenkins and Emma Machen opened together nearly year ago on Park Avenue in Ruston. ARTICLE BY STARLA GATSON PHOTOGRAPHY BY KELLY MOORE CLARK


OF FIVE OR SIX college-aged women gather around one of the green velvet couches in the front of the restaurant. A teacher sits grading papers at a two-top with a glass of his favorite red. Two men sit at the bar with bottles of cold beer, catching up on each other’s lives and chatting about their days. A few couples and families are spread out at tables across the establishment, enjoying a delicious meal and each other’s company.

This is what Jayne Jenkins saw one evening as she looked around Board & Bottle, the café and wine bar she and longtime friend Emma Machen opened together nearly a year ago. While the place, located at 130 West Park Avenue in Ruston, was intended to appeal to the adults who call the Lincoln Parish city home, it has managed to win the hearts of patrons of all ages. That wasn’t necessarily what Jenkins and Machen envisioned. However, they certainly aren’t upset about it.

“It’s a true representation of the melting pot that Ruston is,” Machen says of the diverse groups of customers that visit Board & Bottle each day before Jenkins adds, “And that’s what we want to be about.”

According to the duo, Board & Bottle appeals to such a wide customer base for several reasons. The first is the casual, laidback atmosphere Machen and Jenkins have worked so hard to create in the space. They mention several times in their conversation with BayouLife that they want theirs to be someplace you sit and stay awhile, and the comfy seating they have throughout the restaurant makes that easy to do. Soft, cushioned chairs surround


The casual, laid-back atmosphere is something Machen and Jenkins were trying to create. Soft, cushioned chairs surround every dining table, and there are serveral sofas scattered around the resturant. When visiting the space, you might catch a musician playing live – that is when there isn’t a a trivia night or wine tasting happening instead.

every dining table, and there are several couches scattered around the restaurant.

The barstools are some of the only noncushioned seating in the place, Machen points out before noting that those will soon be upgraded to something softer.

The music playing softly in the background doesn’t hurt the ambiance, either. During the day, tunes play through a speaker, but if you visit Board & Bottle on a weekend evening, you might catch a

musician playing live — that is when there isn’t a trivia night or wine tasting happening instead.

The coffee they serve — all of which is locally roasted — is another draw to the restaurant, Jenkins says, especially for Louisiana Tech and Grambling State University students.

“They use this as a hangout for studying over a coffee, and we absolutely want to keep that on board,” she explains.


And the last but certainly not least factor that brings customers into Board & Bottle? That’s the food, of course! Menu items like the B&B Signature charcuterie bagel, Coronation Chicken Wrap, and the Classic Charcuterie board offer a pleasant and diverse casual dining experience and provide a nice break from nearby chain establishments, Machen and Jenkins explain.

“As much as I love Ruston, the one thing that we we’re really lacking is that diversity of offerings from a culinary standpoint,” Jenkins says before Machen adds, “But different at a price point everybody can enjoy. There are many restaurants that offer different foods and a fine dining aspect, but not everybody can [afford them].”

So, Jenkins, a self-professed food enthusiast and selftaught chef — “I’m always thinking about food,” she says with a laugh, — thought up Board & Bottle as a means of meeting the need she noticed in Lincoln Parish. Initially, the business was to operate on a much smaller scale, sharing the space with the now-defunct Railway Coffee and only operating a few nights a week. But when Railway owner, John-Luke Robertson, decided to sell, Jenkins decided to “go big or go home.”

“That’s when I started speaking to Emma [about it],” she shares. “She’d already known what I’d been planning to do and was like, ‘Is it going to happen?’ I said I probably need


Equipped with Machen’s restaurant experience and Jenkins’s love of and knowledge about food, the two gathered their funds, purchased Railway Coffee, and transformed it into the business they envisioned, Board & Bottle.


to open a whole restaurant now, and she said, ‘That’s what I used to do.’”

The timing couldn’t have been more perfect, the two explain. At the time, Machen was planning to re-enter the workforce after nine years as a stay-at-home mom. Given her years of restaurant experience — “I started from the bottom when I was 16 hosting, and as soon as I was old enough to wait tables, I did that. Then, I bartended, then managed,” she says, — joining forces with Jenkins was the logical next step.

Besides, Machen says, she loved the intention behind Board & Bottle.

“I feel like Ruston is mostly a college town,” she says. “But there are adults that live here, and there aren’t very many places for them to come and hang out and relax. That was kind of my drive to bring this environment [to life] the way it is.”

Equipped with Machen’s restaurant experience and Jenkins’s love of and knowledge about food, the two gathered their funds, purchased Railway Coffee, and transformed it into the business they envisioned. Despite their rebranding efforts, however, they share that some people still have a hard time separating Board & Bottle from its predecessor.

“It’s been one of the biggest challenges, actually,” Jenkins says of differentiating their business from the Railway Coffee name. Machen agrees, noting, “It’s not like we changed the space so drastically that it doesn’t look like Railway anymore. We still offer coffee, but now, we’re so much more.”

Jenkins goes on to say that they’re still working on branding themselves and searching for a way to clear up any Railway-related confusion on what the restaurant is.

“We thought it’d be really easy, just putting a new sign on the front saying ‘Café Wine Bar,’ and people would just get it,” she shares. “But they don’t, really. The transition’s been a lot more challenging than we anticipated.”

However, in customers’ defense, Board & Bottle is a bit difficult to sum up in just a few words. Both Jenkins and Machen agree though it’s not a traditional restaurant, it isn’t just a coffee shop, either.

“It’s a hybrid, really, kind of a mixed-use space,” Machen says. “A lot of businesses nowadays have to move into many different avenues or fields to survive in this economy. That’s kind of what we’re doing. We’re tapping into multiple areas of the food industry to make this work and appeal to a multitude of people.”

Tapping into multiple areas of the industry means it’s been difficult to find a rhythm, she says, explaining, “I find that one week, the coffee’s great and the food, not so much. Then, it picks up the other way around. Where one slacks, the other side picks up. It’s been interesting to see that.”

Both women admit that kind of ebb and flow can make running Board & Bottle a stressful ordeal, but the excitement of planning the next thing keeps them motivated.

“You have to keep planning and bringing new things,” Jenkins notes.


The “new things” she’s referring to include seasonal coffee drinks, cocktails, and food items, as well as what they create to sell in tandem with Ruston events, like the annual Louisiana Peach Festival.

“My goal is that, hopefully, when you step in here once a quarter, it’s something different and something exciting,” Machen says, echoing her co-owner’s sentiments. “That’s what keeps me motivated. We just keep rolling with the punches and the needs and wants of Ruston.”

There’s been a learning curve as they navigate what works and what doesn’t, the two reveal. But their efforts seem to be paying off. Both Jenkins and Machen share that the feedback Board & Bottle has received from patrons has been overwhelmingly positive, and they’re encouraged by customers’ kind words.

“It’s all very well, us having this dream and wanting to deliver this food and this experience,” Jenkins says. “But that’s just our opinion. To have that validated by people saying, ‘Yes, there’s a need for this. We really enjoy it here.’ —” Machen interjects, “It’s really cool to get that public feedback from people we don’t know.”

Taking the lessons they’ve learned and the feedback they’ve received since opening their business, Machen and Jenkins plan to keep pushing Board & Bottle forward, advising current and potential customers to keep an eye out for fun events, like wine or whiskey tastings, and new menu items.

“There’s always something different,” Jenkins promises. “[You’re] not going to walk through the door and have the same experience every time. We’re not boring like that.”

You can experience all Board & Bottle has to offer seven days a week, Monday through Wednesday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday through Friday 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., or Sunday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Before you show up to “Gather, Graze, Sip, Share,” as the business’s tagline suggests, check out the restaurant’s social media pages (@ boardandbottleruston on Instagram and Board & Bottle Ruston on Facebook) or head to to see what new items or special events you can look forward to on your visit.


Professional Laser Center

Because Your Hair Matters

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

Throughout history, hair has played a significant role in our society. It’s associated with youthfulness and beauty in women and considered their “crowning glory.” In men, it’s associated with virility and masculinity. We

often see our hair as a reflection of our identity because it’s both personal and public. So, it’s no surprise that hair loss can be devastating for many men and women.

Recent advances in hair follicle science has led to an amazing product that is helping people grow hair. AnteAge MDX Hair Exosomes takes hair health to the next level. Backed by rigorous scientific research and its commitment to innovation, AnteAge MDX ensures results. This unique approach results in exosomes specifically targeted to upregulate WNT signaling – a crucial signaling pathway involved with hair follicle development.

Several different types of cells produce growth factors. Research has shown that some of the most important cells for this are bone marrow-derived mesenchymal cells and umbilical cord cells. These cells are primarily used for tissue regeneration, and they are the best cells at producing growth factors. AnteAge MDX is a powerful combination of bone marrow

mesenchymal and Wharton’s Jelly (umbilical cord) stem cells. This combination is unlike any other product on the market. Combined with medical microneedling to the scalp, this amazing product signals the body to reawaken hair follicles from the “resting” to the “active” growth phase, without the pain of injections, surgery, lasers, drugs or ointments. The results parallel those of invasive and expensive PRP, with much less inflammation, and at a fraction of the cost.

The treatment protocol is once a month for at least two months, possibly more, depending on the severity of hair loss. Most of our patients are seeing hair growth within the first month. Cost for the procedure is $650.

AnteAGE MDX Exosome Solution is the real game-changer. It’s a total home run for our patients. For more information or to schedule a consultation or appointment call 318-361-9066. Visit our website at for a list of other services offered.


Father’s Day

Medical Spa by St. Francis Medical Group


THE SOCKS, TIES AND TOOLS FOR DAD THIS Father’s Day! Treat Dad to something truly special this year - a treatment from The Medical Spa. Men nowadays are seeking the benefits from self care and non-invasive treatments to maintain a youthful appearance. There’s no better way to spoil the men in your life!


Botox is not just for women! More men than ever are getting Botox or “Brotox” for a more youthful, well-rested appearance. Botox is great for guys since the results are easy and natural. The most common areas to be treated are forehead, glabella (the 11’s between the eyes) and crow’s feet. These areas commonly show signs of aging in men. During the month of June, all neurotoxins are $10/unit for men!


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 vary 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.


This Father’s Day, upgrade Dad’s routine with ZO Skin Health! It’s time to get rid of the all-in-one face and body wash. A basic skincare regimen for men should include the basics: cleansing, exfoliation, toning and SPF.

Cleansing twice daily washes away impurities, debris and sweat that accumulate during the day or night. ZO Gentle Cleanser is suited for all skin types and leaves the skin feeling refreshed. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells and leaves the skin feeling smooth. Regular exfoliation can help minimize irritation related

to shaving and can often provide a closer shave. ZO Exfoliating Polish is suitable for all skin types. This polish contains ultra-fine magnesium oxide crystals that gently sweep away dead skin cells without being abrasive. Men often like ZO’s Dual Action Scrub as their exfoliating product. This product is a great option for more oily prone skin. ZO’s Dual Action Scrub provides both physical and chemical exfoliation with jojoba beads and salicylic acid.

Toning removes excess surface oil and clarifies pores. Complexion Renewal Pads have a non-drying formula.

The final step should always include sunscreen! Using sunscreen daily can help to shield skin from harmful rays and environmental damage. Daily Sheer SPF 50 is water- and perspiration-resistant and offers broad spectrum protection. It also helps to lightly replenish hydration, keeping skin from feeling dry.

Call the Medical Spa to schedule your complimentary consultation. During the month of June, when you purchase two full-size products, you’ll receive a FREE travel size product of your choice!

Be sure to come by The Medical Spa this month to take advantage of our specials and events, and to find out more about the medicalgrade skincare products offered here! We are in the James R. Wolff Building (also known as the P&S Building) in downtown Monroe. Our address is 312 Grammont St., Suite 406, across from St. Francis Medical Center. 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.


Experience Expert Maternity Care Close to Home

St. Francis Medical Center

WHETHER YOU’RE THINKING about having a baby or are already pregnant, one of the many decisions you will make is where to deliver. St. Francis Medical Center has the proven expertise to care for situations that may arise before, during, and after your pregnancy and childbirth.

As you begin to prepare for your new baby, we are here to support you throughout your pregnancy, delivery and even with newborn care. We understand your childbirth experience is a physical, emotional and spiritual process. We invite you to sign up for our free prenatal classes available at We also offer tours of our labor & delivery suites, as well as our postpartum rooms. You’ll also learn about birthing options and maternity support services you will receive at St. Francis including:

• Skin-to-skin bonding, or Kangaroo Care

• Rooming-in

• Designated quiet time 2-4 p.m. daily

• Formula provided (if requested)

• Breastfeeding support provided by certified lactation consultants with a 24/7 hotline

available even after leaving the hospital

• Birth certificate

• Commemorative baby footprints

• Safe Place infant security system

• A team of healthcare professionals who will offer loving care and support

St. Francis Health is home to Northeast Louisiana’s ONLY Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), OB-ED, Level III OB and Level II Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).

Our obstetrical emergency department (OBED) is the first in the region to provide specialized and more immediate care for pregnant moms (and up to six weeks postpartum) who find themselves in emergency situations. And as a Level III OB unit, we are capable of caring for mothers at any gestation.

When a newborn needs round-the-clock specialized care to start life off on the right foot, being close to home — and mom — can make all the difference. When you choose to deliver at St. Francis, this area’s only Level III NICU care is just down the hall from our labor & delivery suites. Families have a choice where their newborn

receives care.

This year St. Francis earned accreditation as a Birth Ready facility as designated by the Louisiana Perinatal Quality Collaborative. This recognizes the hospital’s consistent, thoughtful healthcare and quality improvement work to provide the highest quality care through all maternity. St. Francis is also a proud recipient of the Guided Infant Feeding Techniques (GIFT) certification.

Whether you have your birth plan determined or need help understanding your delivery options, we’re here for you through all maternity. Your pregnancy journey is unique, and we’re honored to support you along the way. We’ve created The Ultimate Pregnancy Resource Guide to help you prepare for the big day — the birth of your baby!

Every birth has a story, and we would be honored to be part of yours. Come see why you’ll want to choose St. Francis as the location to welcome your bundle of joy. Visit to learn more and download your guide.


A Sanders State of Mind


On December 2, 2023, Kandice Nicole Hunter and Samuel Bret Sanders’ dream wedding was filled with love and joy. Kandice and Bret exchanged vows and proclaimed their commitment to each other in the presence of their loved ones. Kandice is the proud daughter of Herbert and Jennett Hunter. Bret is the dapper son of the late Dr. William Mac Sanders and Velora Sanders Duncan. Dr. Eric Sims, the couple’s life coach, was there to support the couple as Reverend Oliver W. Billups, Jr. of Mt. Olivet Baptist Church officiated the ceremony.

The love celebration started at the couple’s rehearsal dinner at Chef Pat Nolan’s Bistro. Chef Pat deliciously prepared the meal, Shawn Bruce exquisitely decorated the venue, and Gabriel “Saxman” Johnson provided vivacious entertainment.

The Abe Pierce III Convention Center, Monroe, LA, the wedding ceremony venue, was draped with vibrant flowers, gold accents, and candles that ignited warmth and intimacy. The blend of the lovely melodies played by the violinist, Quinterrian White, filled the room. As Kandice walked down the aisle in her stunning wedding gown from Anitra’s Formal Wear, she instantly felt a sense of overwhelming love and happiness that filled the room. Kandice’s dad proudly escorted her to her forever love. Bliss could be seen on the faces of the bridesmaids and groomsmen standing proud beside the couple.

As Kandice and Bret exchanged rings, a profound sense of unity and completeness filled their hearts, marking the beginning of their journey as husband and wife. The Lord’s


Prayer played by Eddie Bilberry added to the emotional atmosphere as the couple received the Lord’s blessing on their union. Mrs. Sylvia Brass and Ms. Kathy Gray, the wedding day coordinators, ensured the day was flawless. Reneé Ivy of the UPS Store elegantly designed the ceremony programs.

The reception, held at the B. D. Robinson Conference Hall, was a true celebration of love and happiness, made possible by the contributions of many. Ms. Kathy Gray and Mr. Thomas Stanley led the reception with laughter and inspiration. Mrs. Debra Robinson mesmerized all that attended with her transformation of the venue into a classy and elegant love scene that reflected the couple’s style and personalities.

Guests were treated to a delicious feast prepared by B&B Catering of Monroe, LA. There were heartfelt toasts by Dr. Curtis Sanders and Miss Kristen Lacy. The dynamic entertainment was provided by The TaylorMade Band and DJ Roadblocka, who kept everyone dancing. One of the bride’s requests was real flowers for some floral pieces, which Henderson’s Flower Shop flawlessly created. The beautiful wedding day hostesses also ensured the day was flawless.

Melinda Adams of MeMe’s Kitchen deliciously made both the traditional wedding cake and the chocolate groom’s cake. Robert Wright Photography and Harmland Visions captured beautiful photographs and videography that touched the couple’s hearts.

Jakyrannee Phillips completed the bride’s wedding day makeup and hair and did the mother of the bride’s makeup. Quenisha Givens glammed the bridesmaids’ faces.


Melissa Thaxton, director of the Monroe Civic Center, ensured the couple had everything they needed for their big day. H2X Rental and Dansby’s Taylor Rental Center also ensured the couple had all the décor for the special day.

Dr. and Mrs. Samuel Bret Sanders’ wedding day was a culmination of a beautiful journey and love story filled with happiness and unforgettable memories that led them to this day. Surrounded by cherished family and friends, they embarked on a new chapter together. Their dream wedding was a celebration of their love and a reminder that it has the power to bring people together. They cannot wait to continue walking hand in hand through life’s journey, supporting and cherishing each other every step of the way.


Modernizing and Mixing Design Styles

With Revival Design & Consign

JUST LIKE FORMING A MATRIMONIAL bond, merging styles of design eras is easily obtainable with the right artist’s eye. Mixing the masculinity of wood and leather with the femininity of textiles, accessories and foliage can be the perfect union in achieving an amazing space.

This happens quite often when a couple marries. Combining their households to make it a harmonious home may come with some challenges. Most often it’s that horrible recliner or trophy mounts he has or those over-the-top floral patterns or frilly accessories she has that can suffocate a room. Tossing out that starter furniture or family hand-me-downs can be problematic for some.

If you are like me, I have a weakness for lamps, pillows, art, and chairs. Friends joke about how many lamps I have in one space and do I have enough pillows on my couch. It has caused me to transform my former seasonal closet into an arsenal of extra tchotchkes and

furniture that I often swap out with seasons. Hey, I like my things and can be a maximalist at times but, it is done with style. Empty rooms bore me. They are cold and institutional. They have no personality or pizzazz. I must tell myself, “Edit, edit, edit.”

You might ask why I am writing about this. Well, this month we launched an extension of our business with Revival Real Estaging. It had started out by editing one home before it was photographed to be listed for sale.

A picture can say a thousand words and capture great interest. If the space seems cluttered, a buyer will pass it up and move on to the next. That is where our team comes in. We can suggest updating lighting, rearranging furniture, editing wall art, and making the rooms magazine ready.

You want it to be a place of comfort while sustaining some style. Memories and mementos can bring too much drab and take away the fab in a space. Those cherished pieces

have their place but do not always have to be the focal point of the room. Just because it belonged to a family member that passed, doesn’t make it fantastic. This may seem harsh, but it’s a reality in design.

My favorite is to merge turn of the 18th and 19th-century antiques with clean line mid-century furniture and modern art and architectural elements. It’s a marriage of the eras that can be quite harmonious.

At Revival, we love to mix the eras in our staging. It keeps our showroom interesting and adds a wow element to our windows. Creating that same edited effect in a room can transform the space into a happy place. Thinking outside of the box or the norm also gives your home a personality that can reflect that of the owners.

I love the modern mid-century luxe vibe in a room. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Revival and allow us to bring a rebirth to your home.


State-of-the-Art Hearing Aids

The Ultimate Wedding Day Accessory

FROM THE TEARFUL “I DOS” TO THE heartfelt speeches, weddings are full of moments where you’ll want to hear your best. Wearing today’s modern hearing aids, packed with highly sophisticated technology, practically guarantees you won’t miss a word. Whether you’re a current hearing aid user or generally have trouble hearing, check out some of our favorite hearing aid advancements to enhance your wedding experience.

Enjoy crystal-clear sound effortlessly, thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning with digital signal processing (DSP).

This powerful combination of technologies is responsible for a host of innovative features that work automatically and adapt according to your preferences and listening situation.

• Noise reduction algorithms help suppress background noise, allowing you to focus on conversations in noisy environments.

• Feedback cancellation eliminates that annoying whistling, providing a more

comfortable listening experience.

• Speech enhancement technologies amplify the human voice, making it clearer and easier to understand.

• Tinnitus management helps mask that constant ringing or buzzing in your ears, offering you much-needed relief.

Have a Good Chat Wherever You Go With Motion and Environmental Sensors

These sensors adjust the hearing aid settings based on your physical activity and surrounding environment (for example, if you’re trying to have a conversation while walking in a noisy place), providing a more personalized hearing experience.

Get More Connected With Enhanced Bluetooth® Compatibility

Bluetooth isn’t just for streaming calls from your smartphone to your hearing aids. You can also connect your hearing aids directly to a variety of Bluetooth-enabled devices, including computers, tablets and TVs, to enjoy a seamless,

better-sounding listening experience.

Stay on Top of Your Health With Biometric and Activity Monitoring Features

Today’s hearing aids are smarter than ever—they can monitor your vital signs, track your physical activity and detect falls, providing you with an added layer of support and safety.

The Proven Benefits of Hearing Aid Use

Did you know that people who use hearing aids experience benefits for their physical, mental and emotional health? Evidence shows that wearing hearing aids can enhance balance, slow cognitive decline and reduce depression.

However, hearing loss usually develops gradually, making it difficult for many people to notice. Regular testing can help detect changes in your hearing as soon as possible, allowing an audiologist to treat your hearing loss more efficiently and effectively to help you maintain a good overall quality of life.

Fortunately, the options for treating hearing loss are more advanced than ever. As you’ve seen above, today’s hearing aids are no longer just tools for improving your hearing ability—they’re now multifunctional devices designed to elevate your well-being!

Interested in trying the latest devices or finding out where your hearing stands? Call us today to schedule an appointment with our audiology team.


May Day at Gardens of Somerset

A Testament of the Power of Community, Kindness, and Togetherness

ON THE PERFECT SPRING DAY of May 1st, Gardens of Somerset transformed into a haven of delight as residents and guests gathered for a day filled with merriment and community spirit.

The festivities kicked off with a delectable donut breakfast, hosted by the compassionate and caring souls at Elara Caring setting a sweet tone for the day ahead.

As the sun climbed higher in the sky, mimosas flowed freely, adding a touch of effervescence to the morning air. Energized and rejuvenated, residents then gracefully flowed into group yoga, guiding participants through serene poses and mindful breathing, fostering a sense of inner peace and vitality. Following the invigorating yoga session, it was time to savor a scrumptious lunch, generously provided by Brian Futch of Allegiance Hospice & Palliative Care and

Ashley Ray of Freedom Behavioral Health in Minden. The wonderful aroma of chili dogs filled the air, satisfying appetites and warming hearts with every savory bite as residents enjoyed lunch and fellowship.

With satisfied stomachs and spirits soaring, residents indulged in refreshing snow cones to cool them down. A perfect treat to beat the afternoon sun’s warmth! Laughter and joy filled the air as friends, old and new, came together to partake in a variety of lively games, fostering bonds and creating cherished memories. There was even a competitive game of corn-hole.

As the day transitioned into early evening, the enchanting melodies of outdoor music by The Melters drifted through the gardens, providing a soulstirring soundtrack to the day’s festivities. Residents swayed to the rhythm, basking in the ambiance of camaraderie and shared joy.

The day’s activities were the perfect example of the benefits of leading an active lifestyle for seniors. From the gentle movements of yoga fostering flexibility and balance to the invigorating outdoor games promoting physical agility and coordination, each activity showcased the importance of staying engaged and mobile. Research consistently demonstrates that regular physical activity among older adults not only enhances physical health but also contributes significantly to mental well-being, promoting cognitive function, reducing the risk of chronic illnesses, and fostering a sense of purpose and fulfillment. May Day in the Gardens served as a poignant reminder that age is no barrier to embracing vitality and embracing the joys of an active, vibrant life.


Father’s Day Gift Ideas




According to the American Psychological Association, women are more stressed than men, and statistics tell us that women are twice as likely to suffer from anxiety disorders than men. In traditional households, women carried more of the domestic burden while men supported the family financially, but in recent times those roles have blurred somewhat and often overlap. Are the higher rates of stress and anxiety in women due to the fact that they carry a heavier burden or is it simply a matter of gender differences in how stress impacts them?

Women’s physiology is exquisitely more hormonally sensitive to the effects of stress than their male counterparts because their bodies are biologically designed to create life. Stress creates a high energy demand on a woman’s body, as does pregnancy and motherhood. During periods of increased stress (whether the threat is real or perceived) a woman’s sex hormones often down regulate to prevent conception. This is a brilliant survival mechanism to promote the species as a whole, and it’s also why women will often suffer from the symptoms of hormonal imbalances as one of the first indications of increased stress. A minor uptick in stress can alter her menstrual cycle for up to three months, while chronic stress can cause a more profound depletion of sex hormones and even thyroid function over time. Even the degree to which she experiences uncomfortable symptoms during her perimenopausal years is directly correlated to the amount of stress her body has endured up to that time in her life.

Generally, when she experiences stress, a woman’s physiology goes into a state known as “tend and befriend” which motivates her to nurture others. She is driven to turn her attention toward others to increase oxytocin and bonding, which turns down stress hormones. In short, a woman will blunt her

own stress by internalizing it and focusing on others. Perhaps this was an evolutionary tool to motivate women to care for children, elderly, or others in the tribe who were unable to care for themselves during attack, famine, or natural disasters.

Stress not only alters a woman’s sex hormones, but it influences her immune function. When her immune system is responsive to stress, antibodies increase. This up regulation in antibody pathways can lead to autoimmunity. In the short term, turning her attention toward others can help blunt her stress, but if she lives in this state for an extended period of time, she can develop autoimmunity, in which the body “attacks” itself. Because of this immune response to stress, women are nine times more likely to develop an autoimmune condition than men. Repressing her emotions to turn her attention to others also contributes to the development of anxiety disorders.

Men’s physiology responds quite differently under stress. While women tend to internalize their stress and focus on others in a state of “tend and befriend,” men are more likely to go into a state of “fight or flight” which motivates them to express their stress outwardly in the form of aggression or impulsivity. When men’s immune systems are responsive to stress, there’s an increase in inflammation and inflammatory pathways are up regulated. This had a very useful impact for our ancestors, because inflammation triggers healing. Because men are driven to fight in times of stress, they’re more likely to be injured, so the corresponding increase in inflammation can help their bodies heal once the stressor/attacker is gone. When stress and the corresponding inflammation becomes chronic, however, it leads to an increased risk for hypertension, cardiovascular disease, susceptibility to infectious disease, and drug abuse, all of which are generally observed to be higher in men.

Regardless of gender, chronic stress drives chronic disease of all kinds and learning to properly work through and mitigate stress is imperative for maintaining long term health. Because the general physiological stress response in women drives them to repress their needs and care for others, it may be important for her to find ways to turn her attention back to caring for herself. Anything that helps her to bring her awareness back to her own body may be helpful; intentional self care practices, breathwork, and yoga, for example. Seeking out friends with whom she can talk through her stress is important as well, as we know that women thrive through bonding and social support. Talking it out, or even writing it out in a journal, can help her recognize and express her stressful emotions properly, so they don’t remain repressed.

Since men tend to express their stress outwardly through aggression and impulsivity, regular physical activity can be an important tool to allow them to express their stress in healthy ways. Participating in sports, weight lifting, or exercise classes can be helpful. Training for competitions, like local races, can give them goals to shoot for and work toward. The sense of purpose along with regular physical activity training for a competitive event can be a great way for him to work off the energy created by his stress.

Of course, diminishing the overall stress load is incredibly important for both men and women. There’s only so much that can be done to help the body manage the stress it encounters, so diminishing that stress load can make a huge impact. Avoiding stress entirely isn’t possible (or desirable) but avoiding unnecessary stress by tending to the body’s foundational needs is fairly simple: Sleep Routine

To enhance your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep, avoid eating 2-3 hours before bed, and aim to be in bed with the lights out by 10:30pm. Avoid artificial light and electronic


screens at least one hour before bed (wear blue blocking glasses if this isn’t possible for you), as exposure to blue light will delay the melatonin release that’s necessary for healthy sleep. Be sure to sleep in a cool, dark room.


Adequate intake of nutrient-dense foods lets the body know it’s safe: protein, veggies and fruits, healthy fats, fibrous beans and grains. Deficiencies in any of the macro or micronutrients is seen as a threat to the body that increases the stress hormones. Regular, consistent intake throughout the day of unprocessed foods sends a signal to the body that energy is abundant. Remember that intermittent fasting can perhaps have therapeutic benefits for some, but it is a stressor. For many of us who are already carrying a heavy burden of stress, adding more stress in the form of fasting isn’t helpful.


Intense or strenuous exercise isn’t appropriate for everyone, but regular movement (like walking) is important for circulation, lymphatic drainage, and healthy blood sugar regulation. A good goal for creating consistent movement throughout the day is to get in a ten minute walk after each meal. This not only creates a habit of moving at fairy regular intervals, but it helps tremendously with digestion and blood sugar regulation after meals.

Time Outdoors

Getting outside at least a few times each day to expose your eyes and skin to the sun’s rays triggers important functions in the body. Your daily cortisol rhythm takes its cues from the light your brain receives through the naked eyes from the sun, for one. Cortisol isn’t only one of your stress hormones, but is your body’s master regulating hormone. When your cortisol rhythm is off (because you spend most of your day indoors in artificial light, remaining mostly sedentary, maybe eating late at night) other downstream hormones and even blood sugar regulation are negatively impacted as well.


Experiencing joy and pleasure immediately diminish the stress response in the body. Our culture tends to prioritize productivity and being busy, but this certainly promotes chronic stress. All of the “doing” needs to be balanced with time to just “be.” Spending some time on hobbies, bonding with friends, being creative, or other activities that bring a sense of peace or joy increase hormones that mitigate stress.

The fact is, regardless of gender, all of us are living under a heavy burden of chronic stress that is affecting our health. Understanding the differences in how both genders experience stress may help us recognize when our bodies are overwhelmed with it, and help us find better tools to overcome it.


Nostalgia reigned supreme at ULM April 20 in observance of the 50th anniversary of Women’s Tennis. Members of the inaugural 1974 team were honored by current and former players, ULM administration, and community tennis enthusiasts.

1. E50th Players – ULM inaugural team members Karen Zimmerman Trahan, Ann Bolton McIntyre, and Debbie Sanders Dahl flanked by ULM assistant Phil Trahan and head coach Ivone Alvaro.

2. Dr. Berry – ULM President Dr. Ron Berry kicks off the 50th Anniversary reception at Laird Weems Center.

3. 50th Alumni – Former players return to commemorate 50 years of Women’s Tennis.

4. Annie – Annie Martin is the

10 and under winner in the Tennis Life Play Day.

5. John and Graham – John Hayner, right, and Graham Barron finished first and second respectively at the Tennis Life Play Day May 4.

6. Ridge and Kirk – Ridge Creech and Kirk Fisher brought home 3rd place finishes at the Bocage Senior Invitational.

7. Tori – Tori Fisher collected championships in singles and doubles at the Bocage Senior Invitational.

2 3 6 7 5 4


This month’s tipster is Joel McGregor, Director of Tennis at the MAC.

When attacking the net, it is important to use the split step, which allows the net rusher to change direction and makes passing shots more difficult. The split step should start when your approach lands in your opponent’s court. 1


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


The Perfect Wedding Venue

A Historical Venue To Start Your Future

WHAT IS ONE OF THE MOST exciting times in your life? Getting engaged… planning your wedding… having the fairytale that every girl and guy dreams of. Over the years, this story will be a memory that is told to all of your friends and family and one that will never be forgotten. After all one of the first and most important steps in wedding planning is choosing the right venue. Let us be part of your dream wedding with our exceptional venue here at Park Manor.

When looking for the perfect venue for your big day, there are some things you want to keep in mind: the venue size, location, parking availability, bathroom availability and so much more! The venue sets the tone for the entire process and is the backdrop of the whole event. Availability is key, and we at Park Manor are here to help navigate the process in a simple, stress free way.

Park Manor is one of the most elegant, breathtaking venues in North Louisiana. It is

accessible from Highway N 165 and minutes from local shops that can be accommodating for those last-minute wedding items. Our property includes a plantation home with an amazing brick walkway and a one-of-a-kind bridal cottage with a dressing room. The enclosed reception hall can be used rain or shine. This stunning venue has all the modern amenities one would want with 150 acres of rolling hills and rustic woodlands to set the backdrop for your day.

The reception hall can host your wedding guests for the ceremony and double as the dance floor for the reception. It is spacious and accommodating. Weather will not be a factor, as our grounds can hold an indoor or outdoor ceremony. Beautiful and designed to be easily decorated, the reception hall has the perfect floor plan to serve food and drinks, dance and entertainment.

Park Manor has designed the reception hall to go with all types of wedding decor.

Three windows center the reception hall, each designed and built in the 1850s and installed as the focal point of this grand space. If you are looking for a more traditional wedding, the plantation home itself was built in the 1860s. The front of the house is adorned with large white columns, a balcony and a grand doorway - all can be easily decorated to match each bride’s particular style. The brick pathway leads from the bridal cottage all the way to the front steps and up to the house, making a fairytale setting for a trip down the aisle.

Pristine landscaping around the grounds provide a plethora of opportunities for bridals and wedding photos. The venue also has more than enough parking for guests. These are just a few of the wonderful amenities at Park Manor. Come see it for yourself, and all the beauty that it has to offer.

To schedule a private viewing of the estate and a list of available packages, contact Tammy Warner. Her number is 318.239.2146 or you can

bastr op, louisian a

Betting on Love


Betting on Love was the unofficial theme of the Otwells’ 3-day wedding weekend in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Bride Ruby Maray Gentile, a realtor from West Monroe and daughter of Trey and Ellen Gentile, and Groom Daniel Scott Otwell, owner of Otwell Flooring and resident of West Monroe, met at a Chamber of Commerce meeting in 2023. The couple chose to marry at Anthony Chapel on Friday, April 26, 2024, the sole venue they toured and instantly fell in love with.

The festivities commenced on Thursday at The Reserve at Hot Springs, a former private mansion and a recognized national heritage landmark. Guests arrived in bright spring colors to attend a dinner party by Chef Joshua Garland at Don’s Southern Social under lavish chandeliers inside the four-acre estate’s beautiful white, sun-filled greenhouse. Ruby stood in pearl-beaded heels and wore a strapless satin high-low slitted dress featuring a large waist-height bow, while Daniel wore a light blue suit with thin white stripes and

light brown cowboy boots. Ryan Grantham at Johnson’s Floral Co. decorated the tables with white hydrangeas and quicksand roses. Among the drinks enjoyed by the attendees, espresso martinis proved to be a favorite, particularly among those who journeyed a three-and-a-half-hour drive north to partake in the celebration.

Their wedding day began inside the hospitality suite at Oaklawn Casino, where Johnna Austin at the French Twist Salon did the makeup, and Allie Barton and Kim Tavares from Delta Salon styled the hair. Jansen Nowell was the chosen photographer for his fashionable and stylish imagery, which aligned with the couple’s desire for a timeless, yet modern, approach to their wedding. Afterward, the bridal party transitioned to Garvan Woodland Gardens via a party bus for an Annie Leibovitzinspired group portrait by Nowell, featuring all the bridesmaids on moss-covered rocks around a waterfall, dressed in one of the bride’s favorite colors, sage green. Bridesmaids included her sister Kaitlin Montgomery and maid of honor –

Hannah Givens, Rylee Otwell, Destiny Impson, Alexis Tuttle, and junior bridesmaid, Lilly Montgomery. Ruby grasped a bridal bouquet crafted from a blend of white peonies, white hydrangea, quicksand roses, genestria, white veronica, and accents of seeded eucalyptus. The arrangement cascaded elegantly, all handtied with double-faced satin.

Ahead of the ceremony, guests were treated to a delectable charcuterie board of appetizers and cocktails beneath the Pavilion, immersed in the company of the garden’s majestic peacock residents, flaunting their vibrant green and blue feathers.

Inside the chapel, a violinist and pianist played a cover of Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” accompanied by the sounds of April showers from atop the glass-covered roof, creating a dramatic entrance for Ruby and her father Trey as they walked gracefully down the grand aisle. The bride boasted her voluminous hair in a bold Hollywood wave styled mane, accessorized on the opposing side with an intricate pearl and diamond silver hairpiece.


Gentile, wearing Hattie, a figure-flattering mermaid bridal gown by Maggie Sottero Designs, selected at Blush by Sadie C’s, added her own personal touch with delicate detachable off-theshoulder straps decorated in leafy-shaped floral lace matching the surrounding botanical gardens. Otwell, accompanied by best man Brandon Crenshaw, Michael Otwell, Clay Caissie, and Peter Gentile, wore a Perry Ellis seersucker suit with brown tortoiseshell buttons and brown leather shoes. Justin Underwood married the pair in a ceremony backdropped by flashes of lightning and celebrated with claps of thunder.

On Saturday, an air of sophistication enveloped the casino’s derby, leading into an elegant evening reception at Oaklawn Casino. Ruby, with a locally made Jenny Teel hat in one hand and her new husband’s hand in the other, passed through the paddock area. A young admirer, eyes wide with admiration, mistakenly whispered, “That’s Lainey Wilson.” Her ivory rancher-style hat with a teardrop crown was adorned with dried flowers and embellished with an antique gold “O” brooch, serving as her “something old.” To commemorate the special occasion, she had “The Otwells” and their wedding date burned underneath the brim.

The couple were captured placing their bets and enjoying an impeccable view of the winner’s circle before ascending to the skybox. There, at the Arkansas Room, 140 reserved seats would soon be filled with friends and family.

After the races, guests exchanged their colorful outfits and derby hats for elegant allblack reception attire. The bride’s father created a custom welcome sign decorated with muted pink flowers for the entryway. Playing cards were repurposed for the sign-in messages, providing a unique twist on the traditional sign-in book. Randi Slick from Signature Events was tasked with modishly decorating the remainder of the hall. Lindsey Neely completed all the wedding planning responsibilities. Melinda Adams from Meme’s Kitchen made the most wonderful lemon and Italian cream layered cake that everyone kept going back for. The revelry continued late into the night, with dancing energized by the lively tunes of the Diamond Empire Band.

The couple honeymooned in Tulum and will make their home in West Monroe.


Love Amongst Family



Katelyn Bryte Middleton and Lance Brendan Isaac exchanged their vows surrounded by friends and family on March 23, 2024, at The Norton Building in Ruston, Louisiana. Bro. Will Englerth of Conway Baptist Church officiated the ceremony.

Katelyn is the daughter of Keffney Dean Middleton of West Monroe, Louisiana and Huey Phillip Middleton Jr. of West Monroe, LA. She is the granddaughter of the late Mrs. Elva Gray Dean and the late Mr. Gladden Everette Dean of Farmerville, and the late Mrs. Minnie Gertrude Middleton and the late Mr. Huey Phillip Middleton Sr. of West Monroe, Louisiana. Lance is the son of Janie Allison Isaac and Lance Barry Isaac of Downsville, Louisiana. He is the grandson of the late Mrs. Charlotte Ann Tubbs-Johnston and Mr. John Van Johnston Sr. of Downsville, and the late Mrs. Joyce Erline Isaac and the late Mr. Charles Telbert Isaac of Downsville, Louisiana. Special recognition to the bride’s bonus grandparents Mr. Bill Bearden and Mrs. Lynn Bearden of

Lake Providence, Louisiana, and the groom’s step-grandmother Mrs. Conni Futch Johnston of Downsville, Louisiana.

On the evening of Saturday, March 23, Katelyn and Lance enjoyed a beautiful day with those closest to them. The morning started with Katelyn and her bridesmaids getting their makeup done by AbbyGayle Frasier with All Things Beauty by AbbyGayle and Kailei Broadway with Vanity Hair Co., and their hair done by Prestin Smith with Hair by Prestin. Katelyn was joined by her matron of honor and sister, Taylor Gragilla, maid of honor and sister, Callie Middleton, and bridesmaids, Salena Navarro, Mallory Gray, AnnaBelle Isaac and Nicole Becton. Lance was accompanied by his best men, Jordan Walsworth and DJ Gray, and groomsmen, Landyn Albritton and Devin Barkley.

Katelyn and Lance’s first dance was to “Biblical” by Calum Scott, and Katelyn walked down the aisle to “Another Forever” by Ni/ Co. The theme of the night was bright and colorful while being laid back surrounded

by wildflowers, which are Katelyn’s favorite. Kate, Lance, and their guests enjoyed street tacos served by Freddie’s Tacos of Calhoun, Louisiana. The food was amazing and although, casual, was the hit of the night. Along with the theme of wildflowers, the whimsical florals were arranged and designed by Ruston Florists of Ruston, Louisiana. As part of honoring their loved one’s memories, Katelyn had their grandmother’s favorite flowers incorporated into their florals for the day. The day was stress free with the help of wedding coordinator, Jamie Massey. The couple had three small cakes in their favorite flavors: wedding cake, lemon, and red velvet that were made by Allbritton’s Cake House & Catering of West Monroe, Louisiana. The bride and groom aren’t huge on cake so they opted to go with a full ice cream bar with a “His” (Orange Sherbet) and “Hers” (Butter Crunch by Blue Bell) favorites theme.

The rehearsal dinner was a cajun theme and was hosted by the groom’s parents at the venue and consisted of homemade jambalaya and etouffee. They had an arrangement of


desserts, consisting of homemade tarts, mini pies, and other pastries, made by Jennifer McVay with The Cupcake Lady of Downsville, Louisiana.

The bride was escorted by her father and wore an Allure Bridals gown that she had help picking out from the Blush by Sadie C’s team in West Monroe, Louisiana. It featured custom sleeves that she had the designer add when making the dress.

Katelyn and Lance, though having met and becoming friends in the fifth grade, have been together since January of 2021. They graduated high school together from Downsville Charter School in 2016. Katelyn has her degree in Nursing from Louisiana Tech University and is an ICU Registered Nurse at Glenwood Regional in West Monroe, Louisiana. Lance works in Ammonia Refrigeration at Foster Farms in Farmerville, Louisiana. After their honeymoon, they settled down in Downsville, Louisiana.

The day was beautifully captured in pictures by Brittiny Williams with Williams Photography. Her outgoing and hilarious personality made the day less stressful and made the bride and groom feel more comfortable. She captured all of the best parts from the day while also being able to get behind the scenes. The day was filmed by the talented Hunter Johnson with Ten33 Productions. His laid-back and fun personality meshed so well with Brittiny’s, and he created a beautiful video for the couple to enjoy for a lifetime.


The St. Jude Dream Home

This year’s St. Jude Dream Home, built by BRACO Construction, is one of the first homes in DeSiard Trace, a new subdivision in Sterlington, Louisiana

DeSiard Trace is a new subdivision in Sterlington, Louisiana, offering something “a little different than the average subdivision.” While it boasts larger property sizes, highquality infrastructure, practical location, and AT&T fiber optic, its very first construction is part of the nationwide St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway. “It’s really going to be an amazing set,” exclaims Jan Strickland, interior decorator, and home designer of the monumental project. “Look at that pasture. It’s a big pasture view. And it’s so convenient,” she adds. As always, from lot to finished product, each aspect of the St. Jude Dream Home is one hundred

percent donated by national and regional donors. “It is crazy to think that this is my seventh one as lead designer,” beams Strickland, who never fails to emphasize the extent of passion poured over each house. “It’s a labor of love,” she says, adding, “No matter the challenges, no matter what happens, it always works. It always comes together. And I truly believe, you know, God has his hand on this project.”

About a year ago, Strickland began ruminating about the direction she wanted the house to go in. She always begins by looking at national donor websites like Shaw Flooring, Kichler Lighting, Bosch, and Brizo Luxury Faucets. “That’s where the creativity sparks from,” she says. As she weaves between selections, she allows herself to naturally gravitate toward a tile pattern, plumbing fixture, or light fixture. “This year, I was just really drawn to the polished chrome finish I saw in a lot of the fixtures I was loving on the website,” she says. Arriving at a thematic focus allows her to dive into other selections to match, such as the plumbing fixtures. Reminiscing about the process is always comical for Strickland, whose creative mind can best be described as having many navigation tabs open. “I focus on all the areas because they all have to, you know, be one,” she says when asked which room she begins designing. Even then, she spends the most time conceptualizing the kitchen and the primary bathroom because “those are always the two biggest showcases.”

“I say this every year, but, the environment of where the home is located reflects on the style that I select for the home, overall,” says


Strickland, mentioning the “brand new” subdivision and the home’s proximity to the bayou as her main points of inspiration. She adds, “I wanted it to represent Louisiana.” The four-bedroom, three-bathroom home is a nod to Acadian-style houses, complete with a gabled roof, white brick exterior, window shutters, and a columned porch. At the home’s entryway, visitors are greeted by a pre-fabricated, glass-paneled door donated by Russell-Moore Lumber Inc. and a ceiling-mounted lantern. Inside three archways, leading to the open kitchen, living room, and dining area, are illuminated by Kichler’s Lente Pendant, an industrial-style fixture characterized by cable railings, Auburn wood accents, and a Brushed Nickel finish.

The dining room is immediately tucked to the left side of the entrance and is Strickland’s favorite room this year. “It’s something about the vibe in this room that I just love,” she says, gushing over the navy ceiling which contrasts beautifully with a white, multi-pendant light fixture inspired by cocktail shakers. The beige draperies from Fabulous Fabric complement a round, wooden table and four off-white, upholstered chairs from Sleepy Hollow Furniture. “The style in here is not one particular style,” she says making note of the large, textured abstract painting. Adding further to the room’s depth of character are two glazed, ceramic lamps on each corner of a console table. “It’s a small room, but it’s awesome,” she emphasizes.

Unlike past years, Strickland stuck to only two paint colors, Sherwin-Williams’ Snow Bound, and Naval. “It’s almost got a nautical vibe to it,” she says about the color combination, noting how the navy color can get darker in some parts of the house. It’s easy to spot the sleek pop of color in the kitchen area as seen in the custom kitchen hood, and the base of the kitchen island, both glowing with the hue of two showstopping light pendants. The three-dimensional light fixtures exude a contemporary,



Builder: BRACO Construction

Designer / Decorator: Jan Strickland of Strickland Interiors

Home Plans: Ray Bendily Home Design

Furniture for Staging: Sleepy Hollow Furniture

Flooring: Dupuy Flooring

Plumbing and Cabinet Hardware:

The Plumbing Warehouse LCR

Plumber: Mark Kennedy Plumbing

Electric: Word Electric

Lighting & Appliances: Coburn’s West Monroe

Countertops: Twin City Granite, BPI, Prestige Stone, and Louisiana Stone LLC

Doors, Door Knobs, Molding, and more:

Russell - Moore Lumber

Roof: Elite Roofing

Garage Door: Overhead Doors

Patio Concrete and Counters: Decorative

Concrete Coatings

Patient Artwork: Emily Morris

Draperies and Pillows: Fabulous Fabric

Glass / Mirrors: AAA Glass and Mirror

Landscaping: Riverside Landscaping

Cabinets: Woodlands Custom Cabinets

West Ouachita Cabinets

Paint: Antonio Rubio / Sherwin Williams

Furniture Movers: McCorquodale Transfer

Air Conditioning: Gilley’s Heating & Cooling

Fireplace: O’Neal Gas

Concrete: Kenneth Lawrence Concrete, Pokie’s Ready Mix, and River City Ready Mix

Brick: Acme Brick Company Monroe, LA

Vinyl Siding: Danny Fontenot

National Sponsors: Brizo, Shaw, Trane, Bosch, Kichler

Special Thanks:

KTVE/KARD, Z107.5, Dream Day Foundation, 3B Outdoor Equipment, BayouLife Magazine, Automated Alarm, Joe Banks Drywall and Acoustics, Inc., Louisiana Stone, DeSiard Trace

upscale aesthetic with their polished nickel and wood finishes. The donated Bosch appliances further add to the luxury of the space, which includes a stainless steel, French door refrigerator, built-in microwave, and stainless steel gas range oven. Despite the high-end features, the hidden, walk-in pantry has always been a Strickland favorite. The space is hallmarked by patterned tiles from Shaw Floors, a picture window, and cabinets with a concrete countertop donated by Decorative Concrete Coatings.

The living room echoes similar accents, including a large, contemporary chandelier, vaulted ceiling, and striking fireplace. The Naval color is carried to the back of the bookshelf, beautifully juxtaposing the decorative accents carefully placed on each shelf. One set of ceramic bowls is intimately connected with the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway. The daughter of veteran donor Brian Allen, owner of BRACO Construction, wanted to donate her talents to the mix. Taylor Allen is an art major at the University of Louisiana at Monroe who donated three stunning ceramic creations. “The details of them are beautiful,” says Strickland. Undoubtedly, she was inspired by her father’s fourteenyear-old history with the project. The family-owned business is run by Brian, Christine, and Bradley Allen and has built over a dozen homes, helping raise over $8 million for the kids of St. Jude.

“Everything is a straight line,” informs Strickland, who chose bedroom and bathroom light and plumbing fixtures with a chic, industrial feel. The primary bedroom hosts a striking chandelier that resembles the shape of gathered wheat. When illuminated, a soft pattern of light covers the ceiling, extending the motif of lines. “Normally, I like to mix and match,” she asserts, but when she found matching pendants, she knew exactly where they belonged. Three


mounted pendants line the double sink bathroom cabinet, while one hangs adjacent to the walk-in shower, an elegant entryway featuring an arched window cutout. Cloudy patterned tiles meet the eye in the shower and bath area, featuring a rain showerhead and a freestanding bathtub. The laundry room connects with the bathroom through a walk-in closet and is one of Strickland’s favorite rooms to design. “I go crazy in the laundry room every year,” she laughs, mentioning how playful she gets with the tile pattern. This year, she opted for a porcelain tile with a deco blend of sandy hues. “I love it against the navy cabinets,” she says.

The secondary bedrooms are tucked in the right wing of the home, each with an accessible bathroom. For staging purposes, each room is decorated to honor North Louisiana children who lost their lives too soon as a result of cancer. The boy’s bedroom is in memory of Claude Williams and Corbin Gulde and the girl’s bedroom is in memory of Harley Sykes, Amber Tamburo, Tiffany Greer, Zoe Simpson, and KK Joyce. Strickland grew up with three of the children mentioned, and never fails to shift the focus back to them. “I know we always mention them, but they are always at the forefront of my mind,” she says.

Each room contains a full-size bed, nightstand and lamp, accent rug, and stylish wall decor.

The back patio always makes a statement thanks to Chad Sanders from Decorative Concrete Coatings whose “concrete art,” as Strickland refers to it, adds a refined texture to a cozy outdoor space. The wood-paneled ceiling, compliments of Russell-Moore Lumber Inc., stands out from the white brickwork donated by Acme Brick Tile & Stone. Strickland chose black outdoor furniture which ties nicely with the stylish black blade, ceiling fan with WiFi apps, and voice control technology. It’s the perfect spot to decompress and take in the panoramic view.

“You know, it’s fun to pick out the latest and greatest in home design and make it look good, but at the end of the day, we’re trying to sell tickets to raise almost a million dollars,” affirms Strickland concerning the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway. During the open house, a painting by local artist Emily Morris was on display to remind visitors of the heart of the project. Strickland asked her to paint something that represents St. Jude and the children

of North Louisiana who are patients. Morris delivered a heartfelt birthday scene with three children gathered around a birthday cake topped with thirty-five candles, each representing a child patient from our area. Two arched windows are intentionally left empty, the voids pointing to those children who have lost their life due to cancer. “I love the vibrant colors that she selected, and what the whole represents,” mentions Strickland.

Without fail, the St. Jude Dream Home donors and volunteers carve time away from work and family to create a physical embodiment of community and charity. “There’s so much that happens behind the scenes that the public doesn’t have an inkling about,” says Strickland, always full of gratitude for the helping hands that consistently create an industry-standard home for the children of St. Jude. “It just goes to show the love they have towards St. Jude. They just make it happen. And it amazes me every year because building a home is not an easy thing to do,” she adds. Ultimately, when the intensity of deadlines subsides, what is left is the love and care community partnership provides.


Fishing with Kenny

Bass anglers are a curious bunch. We like to ask questions and even if we are given truthful answers, we tend to overanalyze what we are told. In this month’s “Fishing with Kenny” article, I want to share some popular questions I have been asked and the answers I have given. Hopefully somewhere along the way, we can share with some information that will make you a better bass fisherman! What is your favorite lure and why?

Anyone who knows or has competed against me over the years will tell you my favorite bait is a spinnerbait. It catches fish yearround, in all types of lakes and water conditions. It is a specialized lure that you only gain confidence in by throwing it a lot. The more you study the spinnerbait and the different ways to use it, the better spinnerbait fisherman you will become. The most popular combination is a 3/8-ounce Colorado/willow combination, usually a chart/white, but it’s one I seldom use.

What is your favorite time of the year and scenario to fish? Example: Early morning summertime, late fall in the evening, a cool winter morning.. What makes it stand out from the others?

My favorite time of year to fish is in the fall. I prefer a cool, crisp fall morning with a slight chop on the water, and this scenario sets up to throw a topwater plug or a spinnerbait. Also, the fish tend to bunch up this time of year and it’s a great time to catch a big one!

Do you think i,t is important to spend the time mastering a certain technique opposed to bouncing around trying to learn too many things at once?

I believe each angler needs to develop their own style. I can fish deep or shallow water, but I prefer to fish shallow. I have won fishing deep with a Carolina Rig or a crankbait, but I have won most of my tournaments, even in the wintertime, fishing water less than five feet deep. To me you are better off being a jack of all trades, instead of being a master of one. Being versatile, even in the technology age of bass fishing, is crucial to success.

Do you feel the modern beginning anglers make a mistake by trying too many things with the plethora of lure options that are available today?

Again, this comes back to an angler’s style. If I go to a new body of water, with the exception of the wintertime, I will have a shallow crankbait, a spinnerbait or two, a moving topwater, a slow topwater and a jig tied on when I leave the boat ramp. I know with these five basic lures I can catch fish on any body of water most of the year. The idea is to cover enough water until you find fish; once you find them, you can figure out the better ways to catch them. If you could recommend one lure for a newer angler to spend the most time on, what would it be?

A shakey head or a drop shot rig. Both of these techniques will catch fish year-round, no matter where you go or what the weather conditions are. Cold water, hot water, gin clear, muddy water, no matter

the season or the lake you fish, both techniques will catch fish for you. What is something you have tied on year-round that you would consider your comfort lure?

A small compact ¼ or ½ once jig. Most of the crawfish eaten by bass are usually less than three inches in length. Most of the bream a bass will eat are small. I believe there is no better lure to mimic either forage than a small jig. Buy using two colors, a base green pumpkin or black and blue, I keep things simple.

Is there a bait or style of baits that you just do not care for and have never had much luck with?

Suspending jerkbaits. I can count on one hand how many fish I have ever caught on one. I know they work, and I know anglers who catch lots of fish on them; I am just not one of them. My issue is I can’t get a true feel for what the lure is doing during the cast and for me, that effects my confidence when using one.

How do you use the electronics on your boat? Do you side scan or down scan to look for structure?

Most of the time, I always have my front graph on; I am only concerned about the depth of the water and the temperature of it. However, no matter what, I always use my side scan as much as I can because it is instrumental in finding cover and structure out away from the boat. Side-scan is especially effective for locating offshore grass flats.

What are the most important factors you determine when getting a gameplan together for an upcoming tournament?

The first thing I do is I consider the time of year and what I think the bass will be doing. Spawning? Post-spawn? Wintertime cold front? North wind, south wind? Is the water high and what is the water’s color? The variables go on and on.

Then I look at the history of the lake and what winning weights has it produced in the past. I have tournament records that are over forty years old and using them as a reference point is invaluable. Once I have this established, I make a list of twelve lures that I believe will be effective and in practice, begin the process of elimination. A key point to remember: most tournaments are won on an overlooked lure or technique or an overlooked area, which hasn’t been pressured. Would it be hard for a newer angler to compete today without the use of Forward-Facing Sonar?

I think FFS is the way the sport is going and if you want to remain competitive, to some degree, you will have to use technology to your advantage. Not all events are dominated with technology but on lakes such as Caney and Claiborne, you just about can’t compete without having up-to-date technology on your boat.

Well, it looks like we have run out of time and space for another month. I hope we were able to share some information with you that will make your next trip to the water more enjoyable. Take care and the next time you go wet a hook, catch one for me! See you next month!


Now and ForeverMoore



Madison Guerriero and Spencer Moore’s story started long before they knew each other. Madison’s great aunt, Emy-Lou Biedenharn entrusted Spencer’s grandfather, Jack Dyke, to install the infamous hand-painted golden wallpaper in her home, which is now a part of the Biedenharn Museum exhibit. She even gave him one of the Biedenharn Family Heritage books that were only given to members of the Biedenharn family.

Little did Madison and Spencer know that one day their two worlds would collide, and they would go from being best friends to husband and wife, exchanging their vows on October 21, 2023, with an intimate ceremony at the Biedenharn Museum, a place that holds so much history for both of their families.

None of this would have happened had Madison’s grandmother, Jody Johnston, not stumbled across Spencer on the cover of a local magazine. After reading about him, she told Madison she found the perfect person for her. Madison laughed it off, telling her

grandmother they were best friends. Had her grandmother not put this little bug in her ear, Madison and Spencer may have never taken the next steps to start dating. They say the best relationships start out as great friendships, and that’s exactly what happened with this happy couple.

Instead of a large soiree, Madison and Spencer opted to have a small, intimate wedding surrounded by twenty-two of their closest family members at ELSong Gardens. Hallie Cleveland set the mood by filling the European-inspired garden with the beautiful sounds from her violin. The song “I Get To Love You” by Ruelle played in the background as Madison walked down the aisle in a custom couture gown handmade in Israel by Galia Lahav. The gown featured floral and pearl accents to complement the outdoor setting. Spencer matched his bride to be in an ivory tuxedo jacket from Ron Alexander.

The ceremony, which took place on the ballet lawn in front of the Wagnerian fountain, was led by Pastor Phillip McCready of Central

Baptist Church. Madison’s and Spencer’s shared faith and love of Christ has always been at the center of their relationship. You could feel the presence of God on their wedding day as they poured their love out to each other in their heartfelt vows.

As dusk hit, the ceremony was followed by coke floats in the beautiful conservatory. Surrounded by luscious greenery, many laughs were shared as the two families connected and became one. Each guest received a custom Coca-Cola bottle with his or her name on it to remember the celebration.

In lieu of a standard reception, Madison and Spencer chose to have a sit-down dinner under the stars of ELSong Gardens. Event Planner and Florist Gregory Hudgins planned the perfect evening, creating a magical setting with large crystal chandeliers reflecting the moonlight and blush and cream flowers cascading above an elegant candle-lit dinner.

As the family gave toasts celebrating the newlyweds, there was not a dry eye in sight. It was beautiful to hear how Madison’s and


Spencer’s parents had prayed for their future partners long before they knew each other and how God played a pivotal role in bringing this couple together.

The fountain shined light behind Madison and Spencer, creating a fairytale setting as they shared their first dance on the ballet lawn to “I’m Going to Love You” by Josh Tatofi. Madison’s father, Jeff Guerriero, surprised her by singing “Best Parts of Me” by Will Dempsey during their father-daughter dance. Spencer and his mom, Brenda Moore, shared their first dance to “You’ll be in My Heart” by Tom Collins.

After the first dances were complete, the family enjoyed dinner by Chef Cory Bahr of Parish Restaurant and Standard Coffee, who created a menu inspired by the beautiful botanicals of the garden. The dinner began with a roasted golden beet salad followed by bronzed Florida Mahi and Creekstone Farms prime filet mignon. Madisons and Spencer’s favorite coffee was paired with fig bread pudding and raspberry lemon meringue pie to complete the evening meal.

This was truly an intimate fairytale garden wedding, with the perfect weather, families that united and bonded, and a beautiful couple that radiated joy and happiness from within. Madison and Spencer will always cherish the vows they shared and the memories they created with their families as they celebrated their unison and promise to love each other “Now and ForeverMOORE”.


Love in Bloom



Nadalea Blakelyn Bostick, daughter of Ms. Dee Bostick of West Monroe and Clinton Tucker Perodeau, son of Mr. and Mrs. Clint Perodeau of Calhoun were united in marriage on Saturday, April 27th, 2024. The Perodeaus soaked in their surreal moment at TR Farms in Calhoun, La., where the groom’s family and the newlyweds reside. Home is the perfect backdrop for life’s most memorable moments, so it makes sense that is where the couple chose to exchange their vows. Landon Jones officiated the ceremony, and it was deeply personal and magical. Nadalea and Tucker did not have bridesmaids or groomsmen, but they did have family in the wedding that walked the aisle.

Their family members included mother of the bride Dee Bostick, sister of the bride Emalyn Fulmer, brother of the bride Jon-Parks Bostick, grandparents of the bride Mr. and Mrs. Bardell Bostick,

cousins of the bride Kalyn Red and Jaislee McDonald. The groom’s family members included his parents Mr. and Mrs. Clint Perodeau, sister Anna Clair Perodeau, brother Clayton Perodeau, Grandparents Mr. and Mrs. Don Frantom, and Nancy Perodeau. The lovely flower girl was Reagan Frantom and the handsome ring bearer, Lane Pickering. Kirby Rambin was the violinist who played enchanting tunes as the couple and their wedding party walked the aisle. Photographer Ashlyn Johnson with ACE Photography has a unique eye. ACE photography beautifully captured every special moment of the wedding day. The wonderful flowers were from Sanders Wholesale Florist and arranged by the bride’s grandmother Rhonda Bostick and groom’s sister Anna Clair Perodeau.

Their ceremony was followed by a dreamy tent reception where homemade jambalaya was served by Greg and Sandra


Hawkins. Next to the jambalaya was a beautiful charcuterie spread by Don and Staci Raborn. The wine was supplied by Michael and Savannah Ray from Thirsty Farmer winery and vineyard located in Calhoun, Louisiana. The classy three tier wedding cake was designed by Albritton’s Bakery, and Rachel Huber created a unique chocolate flavored groom’s cake. The talented singer and DJ Josh Madden provided music for the reception. The Perodeaus along with their guests danced the night away under stars and string lights.

Tina Young coordinated the wedding and made the day flow perfectly and stress free for the family.

The couple has truly been blessed with loving family and friends, and are so unbelievably grateful for everyone that helped make this wedding so special.


Bayou Bliss


On July 1, 2023, Herbert D. Guillory and Kimberly M. Benton became husband and wife at the Bayou Pointe Event Center in front of close friends and family. It was indeed a day of marital bliss on the bayou. The theme of the wedding was “Nuthin But a G Thang.” The theme was not only inspired by the Guillory name, but because of the glitz, glamour, and gorgeous individuals attending this classic event. Two memorable moments that stood out were the infamous flower guy and their unique symbol of unity, which was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that was prepared by the mothers.

When They Met:

Kimberly’s Perspective- We talked on the phone for a couple of days and then he went ghost on me for a week or so. I was like, “screw it. I’m not going to chase behind his butt.” Then I found out the poor baby was recovering from being

sick with pneumonia. Our first date was a movie date. Right from the start, we had a pretty strong connection.

Herbert’s Perspective- We chatted for a second, but then I caught pneumonia and was sick for a while. I reached back out during my recovery and she was still trying to go on a date, while I was still sick and in cold weather. She didn’t care. she just wanted to shoot her shot. And after that night...Bam!!! Cupid got me!

We just want to give a huge salute to our vendors for creating an artistic display of bliss on the bayou. KM Designs Event Styling (Wedding Coordinator), Roll Play (Food Truck), Chandra Maze (Caterer), Forever Williams Photography, Gaundhi Hays (Day of Coordinator), Bash Booth, Diva Styled by Angie (Beauty and Makeup), Detrick James (Barber), Crystal “The Bartender” and a host of others. Thank you to all the family and friends that showed up and showed out.


Material Things

Artist Reception

On Thursday, May 9th an artist reception was held with Jay Davis at Material Things. Sips and lite bites were served as guests shopped and gazed at Jay Davis’ pieces that were on display. You could also register to win a $500 gift card to Material Things and The Haberdashery. Keep your eyes open for their upcoming events.

Joyce Sims, Candace Tingle and Cindy Barnes

Joyce Sims, Robin Hitt and Angie O’Pry

5 Joyce Sims, Ronnie Walker and Rebekah Lawrence

6 Katie Maude Gerhardt, Peggy Turnbough, Debbie Harkness and Brenda Davis

7 Laura Hardin, Jay Davis and Brenda Davis

8 Lenece Cavalier, Jay Davis and Larry Cavalier

9 Sharon Brown, Clinton Downing, Ashley Hubenthal and Ronnie Walker

10 Hal Hinchliffe and Kathy Biedenharn

114 JUNE 2024 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM On the BayouScene
2 Joyce Sims
Carr and Ansell Jordan
and Sharon Brown
1 5 6 7 8 9 10 2 3 4

Marsala Beverage Company

Budweiser Is Celebrating 14 Years Of Partnership With Folds Of Honor


Beverage are once again joining forces with Folds of Honor – a nonprofit organization that provides life-changing educational scholarships to the families of fallen or disabled U.S. service members and first responders – to release limited-edition Budweiser patriotic packaging. With a century-long commitment to supporting the military and honoring those who serve our country, Anheuser-Busch is proud to continue its work with Folds of Honor as the organization’s longest standing partner. Over the last 14 years, Anheuser-Busch, its industry leading brands, and wholesaler partners have donated $28 million, which has funded over 5,000 scholarships for Folds of Honor recipients.

“For over a decade, Anheuser-Busch, its brands and wholesaler network have been invaluable partners, significantly advancing Folds of Honor’s mission of providing life-changing educational scholarships to military and first responders’ families,” said Folds of Honor Founder and CEO, Lt Col Dan Rooney. “Their steadfast support has been instrumental in driving tangible change, evident in a 63% surge in scholarship applications in 2023 alone. As we reflect on the past 14 years, we are deeply grateful for Anheuser-Busch’s enduring partnership and the profound impact it has had. We’re thankful that Budweiser is once again taking its support on the road with a national Clydesdale tour to celebrate those who have served and their families, and empower consumers to contribute to our cause as well.”

For over a decade, Anheuser-Busch has released annual patrioticthemed packaging to support Folds of Honor and this year, Budweiser unveiled new limited-edition cans, available in time for Memorial Day Weekend. The cans and aluminum bottles will feature patriotic branding and an interactive QR code so consumers can learn more about Folds of Honor. From May 13th – Sept 1st, Budweiser will donate .25 for every case sold to Folds of Honor.


For more than 165 years, Anheuser-Busch has carried on a legacy of brewing great-tasting, high-quality beers that have satisfied beer drinkers for generations. Today, we own and operate more than 120 facilities, including breweries, wholesaler distribution centers, agricultural facilities, and packaging plants, and have a dedicated network of more than 65,000 hardworking Americans across the United States who bring our beer to life.

We are home to several of America’s most iconic beer and beyond beer brands, including Michelob ULTRA, Cutwater Spirits, Stella Artois, Budweiser, and Bud Light as well as regional brands that provide beer drinkers with a choice of the best-tasting craft beers in the industry. From our industry-leading efforts to support American farmers and our

nation’s military, veterans, and first responders to emergency drinking water donations and responsible drinking programs, we are guided by our unwavering commitment to supporting the communities we call home –that’s who we are.


Budweiser, an American-style lager, was introduced in 1876 when company founder Adolphus Busch set out to create the United States’ first truly national beer brand – brewed to be universally popular and transcend regional tastes. Each batch of Budweiser stays true to the same family recipe used by five generations of Busch family brewmasters. Budweiser is a medium-bodied, flavorful, crisp and pure beer with blended layers of premium American and European hop aromas, brewed for the perfect balance of flavor and refreshment. Budweiser is made using time-honored methods including “kraeusening” for natural carbonation and Beechwood aging, which results in unparalleled balance and character.


Folds of Honor is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization that provides educational scholarships to the spouses and children of US military service members and first responders who have fallen or been disabled while serving our country and communities. Our educational scholarships support private school tuition or tutoring in grades K-12, tuition for college, technical or trade school and post-graduate work, including a master’s degree, doctorate, or professional program. Funds for a second bachelor’s degree or trade/technical program certification are also available. Since its inception in 2007, Folds of Honor has awarded over 52,000 scholarships totaling about $244 million in all 50 states. Among the students served, 45 percent are minorities. It is rated a four-star charity by Charity Navigator and Platinum on Candid. It was founded by Lt Col Dan Rooney, the only-ever F-16 fighter pilot (with three combat tours in Iraq) and PGA Professional. He is currently stationed at Headquarters Air Force Recruiting Service Detachment 1, at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. For more information or to donate in support of a Folds of Honor scholarship visit

Marsala Beverage is a local-based company that employs about 100 full-time employees, which all live and support the community of Northeast Louisiana. Each employee bases his or her success on never losing sight of delivering what is really important – quality products, timely service and a genuine concern for our customers’ needs. Please find us at www. or follow us on social media: Facebook: Marsala Beverage; Twitter : @marsalabeverag1; Instagram: @marsalabeverage.


Together At Last



Miranda Cheyenne Robertson and Zachary Lee Miller exchanged their wedding vows surrounded by over 200 friends and family on April 6, 2024 at Molto Bella in Calhoun, La. Miranda is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Brandon and Melanie Robertson of Monroe, La. She is the granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bobby and Kathy LeBeau of Lake Providence, La, Ms. Brenda Hicks of Monroe, La and Mr. Carey Robertson of Houston, Tx.

Zach is the son of Ms. Michelle Miller of West Monroe, La, and the late Mr. Jeff Norsworthy of Simsboro, La. He is the grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Darrell and Linda Miller of Ruston, La, and Ms. Hedy Norsworthy of Simsboro, La.

Emily Aulds, cousin of the bride, served as maid of honor. Madison Corbell, Brittney Coleman and Allyson Miller served as bridesmaids. Ben Richardson served as best man. Ethan Brackett, Micheal Jones, Grayson Noland, and Luke Nelson served as groomsmen.

The bride spent the morning getting ready in the bridal suite of Molto Bella, surrounded by some of the most important ladies in her life. The bride had her hair styled with a timeless half-up do, styled by Connie Andrews of Cross Cuts Monroe, La. The bridesmaids each had a classic low bun, styled by Ashley Farley of Hair Associates Ruston, La. The bride chose to do her own makeup, while the rest of the ladies enjoyed having their makeup professionally done by Emarie Adams MUA of Monroe, La.

The bride wore an elegant lace gown from Magnolia Mariee Bridal Boutique in Natchez, MS. The wedding gown was designed by Kitty Chen Couture and featured pearl-adorned spaghetti straps that connected to a stunning plunging V-neckline. The delicate floral lace appliqué scrolled throughout the fitted bodice and mermaid skirt. A glamorous low back detail introduced a long, captivating cutout lace train. The bridesmaids wore beautiful satin floor length gowns, in the color Bermuda blue.

Zach spent the morning in the groom’s suite of Molto Bella getting ready, playing

cards and enjoying time with his groomsmen as he waited to marry his bride. The groom and groomsmen wore gray suits from King of Hearts, accented with a satin Bermuda blue tie. The groom’s tie was special, as it had a photo of the groom with his late father made into the back of it. The bride gifted this tie to the groom as a way to have his dad with him on this special day.

The bride walked down the aisle, escorted by her father, to “I Get To Love You” by Ruelle, with a cascade of various chandeliers glowing overhead. The room was adorned by intricately designed florals containing magnolias, white roses, peonies, wisteria sprays, and a variety of greenery, designed by the bride’s cousin, Stacy Ross of Oak Grove, La. The heartfelt ceremony was officiated by the groom’s uncle, Michael Miller of Hillsville, Va. The couple had the joy of having two very special ring bearers, Miranda’s grandfather, Bobby LeBeau, and the groom’s grandfather, Darryl Miller. The couple strongly believes that Christ should be the center of their marriage, so they chose to


symbolize their coming together with A Chord Of Three Strands. As the acoustic version of “Oceans” was beautifully played on guitar by the bride’s brother, Riley Robertson, the couple braided three cords on a cross. During the ceremony, the bride and groom wanted to have an intimate moment with their immediate family. Their families came together and laid hands on the couple for a moment of prayer, while “The Blessing” lightly played in the background.

After the ceremony, cocktail hour was held outside under the large covered arbor, surrounded with flowers in full bloom. Guests enjoyed a mashed potato bar, (Catered by the Bakery Barn Oak Grove, La) served in martini glasses, while conversing to romantic music before entering the reception.

The newlywed couple shared their first dance to “Covered Me Up” by Morgan Wallen, under glistening lights and beautiful greenery. Artist Ginger Stapp of West Monroe captured this moment through her amazing live art painting. Throughout the night, memories were made that will last a lifetime. Guests enjoyed leaving voice messages to the newlyweds on the audio guestbook provided by Ring-A-Ding-Ding of Lafayette, La. Everyone danced the night away, thanks to DJ Benji Guice of Monroe, La. The beautiful wedding cake, by CAKE West Monroe, La, was white and decorated with a gorgeous magnolia, and accented with gold leafing.

The magical evening ended with a grand exit of sparklers, and cheering from loved ones, as they sent off the newlweds to begin their new chapter as husband and wife. Every aspect of the wedding was absolutely perfect. It truly was the wedding of Miranda and Zach’s dreams! Brittiny Williams Photography and Hays Porter Films did an amazing job of capturing every cherished detail of the couple’s special day.

The bride is a graduate of The University of Louisiana at Monroe, with a bachelors degree in Marketing. The groom is a firefighter/EMR at Monroe City Fire Department. The happy couple reside in Monroe, La, and are loving the married life!


Love Conquers All


On December 19, 2020, in the enchanting Anthony Chapel in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Savannah Hill of West Monroe, Louisiana, and Cameron Polk of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, exchanged vows in an intimate ceremony that was both heartwarming and elegant.

The couple’s wedding ceremony was officiated by Scott Gallimore. The occasion was accentuated by the melodic and classical notes of pianist JC Abiera, creating a serene and romantic atmosphere. The chapel, adorned with exquisite floral arrangements by Tanarah Luxe Floral, exuded natural beauty and sophistication, complementing the picturesque setting.

Savannah looked radiant in her wedding gown, purchased from Unveiled Bridal Collection in Little Rock, Arkansas. Next to the beautiful bride were her bridesmaids: Kelsey Brasher, Katie Roberts, Kisha Harris, Camille Arant, Lauren Arant, and Aimee Ramsey. Cameron stood confidently beside his groomsmen: Nick Polk, Marshall Harris,

Madison Polk, Rees Clayton, and Zach Hill. The ceremony was a beautiful blend of heartfelt vows and joyful moments shared among family and friends.

Leading up to the ceremony, a delightful rehearsal dinner was hosted at The Porterhouse in Hot Springs the night before, setting the tone for the weekend’s festivities. Once Savannah and Cameron were officially married, the celebration continued with a lively reception held at The Warehouse, expertly catered by Debbie Talley, who provided a delectable array of dishes that delighted all guests.

The wedding cake, a masterpiece by Ambrosia Bakery Co. in Hot Springs, Arkansas, was a highlight of the reception, both for its beauty and delicious taste. DJ Joe Snell ensured that the dance floor remained filled, as friends and family celebrated the newlyweds with music and laughter. Artist Tanner Cangelosi also painted the perfect canvas of the ceremony for the couple.

Capturing the essence of the day were the talented Nick and Brooke Price, who


provided both wedding videography and engagement photos. Their work ensured that every precious moment was preserved for Savannah and Cameron to cherish forever. The day’s photography, handled by Brittany Ashlyn Photography, immortalized the joy and love evident in every smile and embrace.

The families of the bride and groom were an integral part of the celebration. There to celebrate the couple were Savannah’s parents, Suzette and Marshall Hill, as well as her brothers, Zach, and Jackson Hill. Cameron’s family included Kelli, Wally, Nick, Madison, and Melissa Polk. The couple’s family surrounded them with love and support on their special day. The couple’s grandparents were there to witness their grandchildren say I Do. Savannah’s maternal grandmother, Dolores Arant, her paternal grandmother, Wanda Hill, and Cameron’s grandfather, Walt Polk, added extra warmth to the special occasion.

Savannah and Cameron’s wedding took place during the peak of Covid, but their bond and connection prevailed. The Polks are a true reflection of love conquers all. The memories of this magical day will undoubtedly remain a cherished cornerstone of their life together.


A Celebration of Love


On a warm, sunny day, February 25th, 2024, the beautiful union of Ericka

Danielle Cherene and William Taylor Lockwood took place at the Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home Chapel in Monroe, Louisiana. This intimate ceremony, officiated by Cody Albritton of North Monroe Baptist Church, was a heartfelt celebration of love.

Ericka and Taylor, both dedicated emergency room nurses, first crossed paths in March of 2023 at St. Francis Medical Center. Their shared passion for helping others and their undeniable chemistry quickly blossomed into a deep and loving relationship. By Christmas Eve of the same year, Taylor proposed to Ericka surrounded by her family at Aunt Rhonda’s house, a cherished holiday gathering spot since her childhood.

Despite the short engagement, Ericka, along with her mother Suzy and aunt Naomi Mitchell, meticulously planned every detail of their wedding. The chapel at the Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home was the first venue Ericka visited, and she instantly knew it was

the perfect place to say “I do.” This venue held special significance as Ericka’s grandmother, Linda Brock, sews clothes for the children residing there.

Surrounded by their closest friends and family, Ericka and Taylor exchanged vows in a ceremony that emphasized the importance of Jesus’ love and forgiveness, values that have guided their relationship. Ericka’s father, Erick Wade Cherene, and her mother, Suzy Bedgood Cherene, both from Tallulah, Louisiana, along with Taylor’s parents, Nelda Teresa Poss Lockwood of Calhoun, Louisiana, and William Edward Lockwood of Monroe, Louisiana, were filled with joy as they watched their children unite as one.

The chapel was adorned with elegant floral arrangements by Petals and Pearls of Monroe. White hydrangeas and roses, paired with asparagus ferns and magnolia leaves cut from Ericka’s father’s farm, created a stunning backdrop. Ericka and her mother had lovingly gathered the magnolia leaves themselves, adding a personal touch to the decorations.

The wedding cakes, crafted by Sweet Caroline’s Bakery of Monroe, were as delightful as they were beautiful. Ericka’s cake was a simple yet elegant three-tiered red velvet creation with a satin bow, while Taylor’s cake, reflecting his love for duck hunting, was a rich chocolate masterpiece.

Ericka looked radiant in the Florence Gown by Made with Love Bridal, purchased from Blush by Sadie C’s. Her hair, styled by Pearl Williams from Rain The Salon and Day Spa, and her makeup, applied by Haley Wade Gould of Haley Marie’s Vanity, perfectly complemented her natural beauty.

Hannah Williams Photography, the talented photographer, captured the weekend’s special moments, ensuring that the memories of this beautiful day would be cherished forever.

The reception, held at Bayou Landing in Monroe, was a joyful gathering featuring a fabulous charcuterie board spread catered by The Platter in West Monroe. Guests enjoyed finger foods, cake, and a champagne toast


given by Ericka’s uncle, Tommy Leoty, as they celebrated the newlyweds. The outdoor deck overlooking Bayou Desiard provided a picturesque setting for mingling.

Following their wedding, Ericka and Taylor spent a blissful week skiing in Breckenridge. They now reside in West Monroe, where they continue to share their love for the outdoors and enjoy life together on their days off.

Ericka and Taylor’s wedding was a beautiful reflection of their love, their faith, and their families. Ericka’s grandparents, Marilyn Ruth Bedgood and Daniel W. Bedgood of Tallulah, and Linda Darlene Brock of Tallulah and the late Dewey Vernon Brock of Bastrop, were honored by her loving gestures and thoughtful touches. Taylor’s grandparents, Betty Marie Lockwood of Allison Island, Florida, and the late Charles Richard Lockwood of Spearsville, Louisiana, along with Nelda Mae Poss of Dewitt, Arkansas, and the late Richard Asa Poss of McGhee, Arkansas, were remembered with love and respect.

Ericka and Taylor’s wedding was a testament to the strength of their bond and the unwavering support of their families. Their story, from meeting in the ER to exchanging vows, is a beautiful reminder of the power of love and faith, a true fairytale ending.


Happily Ever After


As cars filled the parking lot and lined the driveway of White Oak Venue in Ruston, Louisiana, Bride — Laura Willis and Groom —Chandler Simpson were soaking in all the emotions of the happiest day in their lives.

Despite thunderstorms earlier in the day, Laura and Chandler had a chapel full of family and friends waiting to witness the marriage between the two of them. There was not a dry eye in the chapel when the doors opened and Laura and Chandler locked eyes. They had a beautiful ceremony officiated by Brother Greg Dunn. The couple opted for a unique unity ceremony by locking together two personalized locks and giving Brother Greg the key.

Following the infamous “I Do’s”, the couple made their way down the aisle. Florist, Lori Golden, created an elegant ceremony and reception with intricately

designed florals, one of the highlights being the couple’s monogram initial floral. The guests were greeted with an abundant, perfectly presented array of charcuterie by Stacy Raborn and beverages from Rabb’s of Ruston, alongside a stellar presentation and selection of dinner by Chef Nolan of Monroe. The bride’s and groom’s cakes were created by Melinda Adams of Calhoun and were a hit with guests.

Dj Calvin Presley got the party started and swept everyone away to the dance floor. He did an exceptional job keeping the party going all night long. 360 Photo Booth provided by Koby Book was a hit among guests. The bride and groom loved getting to rewatch all of their guests’ videos from the night.

The bride and bridal party’s hair and makeup was done by The Beauty Bar in Sterlington with artists: Jamie McCarty, Grace Oliver, and Taylor Wells. Seamstress, Angi Norrell Sandifer had the bride,


groom, and bridal party flawlessly styled for the big day. With Sandifer’s talent and attention to detail, she remade the bride’s original wedding dress into her dream gown. The entire day ran smoothly and stress-free, with coordinating performed by Meagan Morris even as the surprise bride, groom, and bridal party’s second line entrance to the reception.

The day would not have been complete without the amazing work of Brittiny Williams with Williams Photography and Estevan Garcia Jr. with Egghead Video Productions. They captured every detail and their personalities made it fun for everyone involved. You can feel the couple’s love through their work.

As the bride and groom reflect on their special day, all they feel is love and gratitude to all of those listed above, their family, and their guests for making their day so special.


Service to Country and Community

June 16, 2023, is Father’s Day. For this issue, we proudly honor two special men who happen to be father and son. Ray Newman and his son Todd are both interesting characters, and both are extremely successful. Though Todd did not follow his dad’s military career path, he nevertheless forged a path of his own that has been just as outstanding. Both men are devoted to their family. Both understand the value of hard work and the importance of a man’s word. Because this father and son duo are excellent examples of lives well-lived – even in the face of decidedly different life experiences – we salute them as our Bayou Icons for June.


The Newmans

Ray Newman has spent a lifetime doing hard things and doing them well. So has his son, Todd. They may not always agree on everything, but that doesn’t matter. They don’t share all the same interests, but that doesn’t matter, either. Uniting the two are their shared values and beliefs. Both men trust each other, believe in each other, respect each other, and love each other. Neither would have it any other way.

Comparing Childhoods

Ray Newman’s parents were hard workers who set good examples for him early on. Ray’s dad, Bill, was from Leesville, Louisiana, and worked in Monroe as a barber. Ray’s mother, Mary, was from Strong, Arkansas, and was working as a waitress in

a diner in downtown Monroe when the two met. Later she would become a Deputy Clerk of Court. Bill served in the military during the early 1920’s, so Ray understood the importance of military service. Ray describes his parents as “perfect”. He remembers his father’s kindness, and never heard his parents quarrel.

The young couple settled on Moore Avenue in Monroe. Ray’s grandparents lived in Bosco. Ray remembers going to their home, spending the night, and playing outside. “I never had a bad day as a child,” Ray says. “I was poor, but I always had a job. When I was 8, I sold peanuts on Louisville every Saturday. Later on, I delivered newspapers, mowed yards, umpired baseball, and worked at Monroe Sports and Ball One.” Of all of

his early jobs before military service, Ray’s work during college with Louisiana Power and Light ranks for him among the most professionally and personally rewarding. “Cutting right-of-way, using sling blades and chain blades, and being part of the treetrimming crew were all important learning experiences,” Ray says.

Ray’s parents had “rules” for their son. Church was mandatory until he finished high school, for example. They trusted their son with responsibilities that illustrated that trust. Because both worked, Ray was often on his own. One of Ray’s special memories from his childhood was playing on the first Little League team in Monroe. Games were on Saturdays, and parents did little more than drop the child at the park. Ray grew up in a time when neighbors stepped up to corral kids when others had to work.

Ray attended Barkdell Faulk for kindergarten, Lida Benton for elementary, and Ouachita High for high school. His earliest career aspiration was to be a Game Warden. Then he found out the course requirements and decided that Economics would be a better choice. He earned a BS in Economics from Northeast Louisiana University (now ULM) in 1964. In 1978 he earned two Masters degrees from West Texas State University.

It was at Northeast that Ray became interested in the military as a career. “In college, ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) was mandatory,” Ray explains. “It paid $22 a month for Advanced.” “Cactus” Jack Collins, a legend today, was a mentor for Ray during his college years. Todd’s dad enjoyed an active military career from 1964 until 1990. He worked at NLU until 2003 as academic advisor to all athletic teams.

Ray met his first wife, Barbara Gulley, at Ouachita Parish High School. They began dating in college and married in 1967. They had a son, Todd. The two divorced in 1984. Barbara taught school until 1979. She then worked as an AT&T computer programmer until 2010. Ray married his second wife, Lynn Barfield, in 1990. Lynn worked in graphic design at NLU. She died in 2017.

Todd’s childhood was very different from his dad’s. While his dad had grown up in one place, Todd grew up in many places. He was born at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. For the next 18 years, Todd moved 9 times and attended 6 different schools. From 1966-1967 Sterlington, Louisiana, was home while Ray served his first tour in Vietnam. Then they moved to Clemson, South Carolina, and Fort Benning, Georgia, for Ray’s second Vietnam tour. Next came Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and then Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where


Ray attended Command General Staff College. They moved to Amarillo, Texas, and to Washington D.C. Fort Sherman Canal Zone in Panama was next where Todd graduated while his dad was Commander of the U.S. Jungle Warfare School.

Todd describes his childhood in one word: “Great!” He lived on military bases through the 3rd grade, and then lived out in the country on “farms” from his 4th through 9th grades. There he worked cattle and horses. Because of this traveling life, Todd made friends all over, many of whom he remains in touch with today. Among those are Coach Fred Wagner (1st coach), Larry Cowley (high school math teacher), and Beverly Hoffman (high school English teacher). Todd speaks with Hoffman several times a year, visits with her every few years, and credits her with teaching him to put words to paper.

“Those early years exposed me to everything so I didn’t really feel like anything was out of the ordinary,” Todd says describing his childhood. “Only looking back do I realize how idealistic my youth was. I saw others as I saw myself. I thought that everybody did what I did. It was only later I learned differently while visiting a former schoolmate in Texas.” Todd reconnected with his friend. During that visit, Todd mentioned that his friend was the first person he knew who had HBO. The fellow laughed and told Todd that while Todd liked to come to his house to watch HBO, he liked to come to Todd’s house for a chance to eat meat!

Todd says that his dad equipped him with everything possible to prevent or deal with any problem that he would ever have in life. His dad viewed fatherhood as a time to prepare Todd for the world. Ray had lost two best friends to senseless accidents over a 2-day period, and then saw 18 and 19-year-olds get killed in Vietnam. “Let’s just say that my ‘training’ came with a heightened sense of

awareness,” Todd explains.

Lessons that Todd learned growing up included recognizing both his limitations and his capabilities. “I learned early that a ‘90’ was still an ‘A’. That helped me to realize that I didn’t have to be perfect,” Todd says. “I learned to trust my decisions because they were mostly right ones.”

Shared Characteristics and Passions

When asked recently how much like him Todd is, Ray answered, “No one I know is like me!” When Todd was asked a similar question, he responded, “Others would say we are ‘identical’. We would say we are ‘polar opposite’!” Even so, they share certain qualities of character and certain passions. Both men have the same drive and determination to succeed. Both are loyal, although Todd admits that his dad is a little ahead on this – but not far. Both embrace the belief that they reserve the right to get smarter every day, even as both admit to thinking they already know most all they need to know.

One early shared passion: horses. When Ray was 10, he worked helping with Shetland ponies at Bernstein Park in south Monroe. The fellow there would let Ray ride the ponies to get water. This, Ray says, was where his love of horses began. That love remains strong today in spite of being thrown in 2023 at age 82. He was breaking a young horse when an airplane spooked the animal. Ray suffered a broken femur and hip. He lay in the arena for 3 hours before help arrived. In typical fashion, Ray told others during the ride to the hospital, “At least no one was shooting at me, and there’s a bunch of folks in the cemetery who wish they could have been thrown from a horse today!” Ray recovered, but decided that his horse days were likely over.



Ray and Todd share certain qualities of character and certain passions. Both men have the same drive and determination to succeed. Both are loyal, although Todd admits that his dad is a little ahead on this – but not far. Both embrace the belief that they reserve the right to get smarter every day, even as both admit to thinking they already know most all they need to know.

Todd’s favorite early “horse” memory was working for Helen Groves, the “First Lady of Cutting” during the summers of 1979 and 1982. Groves grew up on the famous King Ranch in Texas and raised elite cutting horses. During those summers, Todd lived with Harry Price (Groves’ farm manager there) in Middlebrook, Virginia. They lived in Gray Gables (a house that had been built by Hessian POW’s during the 1700s). The two traveled the country for cutting horse shows. Interestingly, Todd’s dad cites as one of his favorite memories of Todd is watching his son compete in cutting horse shows against adults -- and winning.

Both men share an enormous capacity for hard work and an appreciation for what that work brings. Like his dad, Todd had a variety of jobs starting early. He began as a self-described “farm flunky” in the 4th grade, and added to that delivering newspapers in the 8th grade. In the first two years of high school, he and best friend John Frady mowed yards. During the last two years, he refereed soccer and umpired baseball. During summers he worked at Silverbrook Farms for Mrs. Groves.

During college, Todd worked at County Market, Monroe Building Supply, and Goudeau’s Gym – all while serving as Student Body President at NLU. Todd was named his fraternity’s Outstanding Active in the nation, and competed nationally in power lifting. In that sport Todd was ranked #45 in the world for his weight class.

Todd also shares his father’s natural leadership qualities -qualities that have served them both well. Ray had 6 commands (normally there are only 2) and rose in rank from 1st Lieutenant to full Colonel. During his career in addition to commanding the U.S. Army Jungle Operations Training Center and also commanding the Swamp Phase of the U.S. Army Ranger School, he was an Army Ranger and a member of both the 82nd Airborne and the 101st Airborne divisions. His actions in Vietnam earned him the Combat Infantrymen’s badge, and the Soldier’s Medal (i.e. Medal of Honor in non-combat situations) for swimming a raging river to save 19 men stranded on an island. He was awarded the Purple Heart, a Silver Star, 4 Bronze Stars, and 4 Air Medals representing over 100 actual combat encounters. “Dad is one of the most highly-decorated soldiers from Louisiana in the history of the U.S. military,” Todd proudly explains.

Todd’s leadership qualities have led him to a highly successful dual career in law and business. After earning a BA in Government from NLU in 1987, Todd earned his JD from LSU in 1990. He began his law career in 1990 working at Onebane, Donahoe. He returned to Monroe in 1992 and in 1996 became a partner in Noah, Smith, and Newman. In 2000 he opened his private practice and later brought in partners. Today his firm – Newman, Olivaux, & Magee LLP –practices family law, criminal law, and personal injury law.

Like his dad, Todd has always loved sports. That interest morphed into a business venture when Todd became a sports agent from 1997-2003, representing several NFL and NBA players, one of whom was the first selection Michael Jordan made as an NBA General Manager. He owned the Monroe Moccasins hockey team from 2000-2001, a short-lived venture but an educational one. From 2008-2015 Todd owned Charitable Bingo Hall. In 2009 he added an ATM company which he still owns today. In 2015 Todd added Trampoline Parks to his business portfolio. Even with all of these ventures, Todd readily admits that being a lawyer has been the best job he has had. “Being one has enabled me to do everything else I love doing,” Todd explains with a smile.

Second Generation Love, Family, and Memories

In 1993, fresh out of law school, Todd went dancing at the Honky Tonk. There he met Kim Crawford. After 2 years of dating, they married in 1995. Kim – besides being known as the “Mom of a lifetime!” by Todd – has also worked throughout the marriage. At different times she has been a dental hygienist/office manager, a pharmaceutical tech, and a bookkeeper.

Together they had 3 children. Firstborn Kelly, a daughter, works at George Welch Elementary teaching special needs children. Their second child, a son named Reagan, was born with cerebral palsy and died at age 4. “Kelly worshiped Reagan, and since then wanted to work with special needs children,” Todd says. “She has her Masters in Special Ed now and has achieved her dream.” Their 3rd child, also a son they named Ty, is currently a junior at LSU. “Ty is a perfect kid,” Todd says. “My dream for him is that he achieves his.” Proud grandfather Ray says that Todd’s children are all a 10 out of 10.

Todd has coached both Kelly and Ty on rec league and school sports. He and Ty have traveled to the World Series and to NBA games as well as to the last game held at the old Yankee stadium. The two also enjoyed attending Derek Jeter’s last game at Yankee stadium. Both father and son share a passion for playing poker. Todd has won several state poker tournaments, and has played in the World Series of Poker twice.

Lessons Learned

Ray has one regret. When his son Todd was born, Ray was on active duty with the Army. Even though the family lived together, Ray’s work days – often 12 hours each – meant that he wasn’t at home


with the family much. “I played the role of commandant to him rather than normal father,’ Ray says. “I regret that now.” Born in 1941, Ray was part of a generation when fathers were not necessarily involved with their children. Instead, Ray explains, “Fathers worked and established ‘rules’ and often missed things like ballgames.”

Todd regrets that there wasn’t time when he was growing up for the two of them to develop more common interests. Todd learned to listen to what his dad told him because he knew that no one on earth had a greater interest in seeing him succeed. Looking back, Todd says that his dad’s major contribution to his life was being the driving force behind his success despite knowing little about the things Todd has done to achieve that success.

Today, Ray is moving a little slower but is still a force to be reckoned with. He speaks with pride about his son, his grandchildren, and their lives. Memories from his Vietnam tours flow freely, as do memories of a special love – duck hunting. He will quickly tell you about his 3 Labrador retrievers – all champions and each already fully trained when he bought them. Today his best buddy is a small Yorkie that happily joins him in his recliner. “Pup” is his close companion.

Todd has changed, too. Today -- while he enjoys many pursuits -he is focused on one specific area – coaching young kids. He coached daughter Kelly’s first team named “The Pink Team.” That morphed into a 24-year coaching stint – and Todd has loved every minute! He founded the summertime Bayou Belle Softball Club for girls aged 6-8 to provide a sports opportunity for them. When asked recently about Todd’s coaching, one parent said that he is pure magic with those children!

Umberto Eco (Italian novelist and philosopher / 1932 – 2016) wrote the following: “I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.” (Foucault’s Pendulum) There are evidences of this truth in Ray’s and Todd’s relationship. Both men are blessed.



This soft pink dress features a delicate rose motif, deep v-neck and gathered long sleeves. Pair it with layered bracelets, gold earrings, white platform sandals and a unique handbag for a effortlessly chic look.


From soft florals to bold abstract prints, these dresses are not only perfect for upcoming wedding guest attire but also sure to turn heads and make a statement.






This collared gown is featured in a timeless rose jacquard with functional covered buttons, tie belt, and cuffed sleeves. Perfect for a summer wedding, this dress is paired with nude heels.

PALETTE HOUSE AND PLUME The flirty and glamorous dress features romantic off the shoulder bubble sleeves, a fitted waist and a flattering A-line skirt. This dress is crafted from luxurious satin fabric with an elegant sheen and a fluid drape. Pair with Chan Luu gold and pearl earrings.


Alicyn looks dreamy in this floral skort romper. The soft v-neck and layered ruffle skort add a touch of whimsy. Pair with pink crystal earrings and gold leather strappy sandals.


This beautiful lavender dress features a detachable hem that can be changed to a deep purple or lavender toile. With its luxurious material, this dress promises a lustrous sheen and sumptuous texture, ensuring you’ll stand out with grace and sophistication at any wedding or upcoming event.


This floral dress features a collared neckline, smocked gathered sleeves and a whimsical print. This playful, yet sophisticated look is paired with pearl earrings, necklace and layered bracelets. Complete the look with silver sandals.


This striking midi dress boasts a strapless design with intricate embroidery and delicate pleat detailing at the bust. Featuring pockets at the side, smocking, and a zipper closure at the back, this dress is both functional and fashionable. Pair it with a Mary Frances clock bag and silver heels.


Alicyn looks radiant in a sleeveless dress adorned with a vibrant, abstract print. Accessorize with pink earrings, platform heels and a darling blue handbag.

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 of 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 allow 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 persist, 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:



I REMEMBER how, as a youngster, I always looked forward to the months of summer. Strangely enough, when my two children were approximately the same age, they had similar desires for summertime. Part of the explanation is that we were so happy to be out of school, but there is more to our tale, especially as regards to our offspring. They were overjoyed at the prospect of having some vacation time with their cousins. You see, we are a tight “family” who enjoy and benefit from fellowship together.

There is one segment of our “clan” that is particularly close, in large part due to the closeness of ages. My sister, who was just three years older than I, and her husband have four children, three of whom are about the same ages as my two kids. In addition to being close in age, they all have much in common and enjoy doing similar things. When summer came, it gave us the chance to be “family”.

To illustrate how inviolable our concept of “family” is, consider this: my sister’s husband is a Yankee! Yet, despite this strike against him, he has always been “one of us”. In fact, he has always been one of my best and closest friends.

Furthermore, my sister (now with her Lord in heaven), was the greatest influence on my life during the formative years of my Christian growth. She encouraged me faithfully and just as faithfully, held me accountable for demonstrating the fact of my commitment to Jesus Christ. It is with considerable satisfaction and joy that I see this being practiced by my grandchildren, who have been taught this “family” concept by my son and daughter. They care for one another with genuine love.

One major contribution to our development of this sense of “family” was those summers when we kinfolk spent vacations at the beach near Pensacola, Florida. These vacations were a combination of enjoying the beaches

and of finding even more enjoyment as participants in the theological institute sponsored by a church in Pensacola. Every summer, for over a decade, our two families would rent a house on the beach and make the most of eight days of “family” with people dear to our hearts. Even now, memories of those times bring pleasure to me – memories that yearn to once more become a reality. But my wife and my sister, mother to the other side of the family, have departed this life and I and my brother-in-law are too old (and too infirm! –sorry, brother) to pursue such a cause. So, will this summer not afford such joy and pleasure of “family” that once we experienced?

Well, as I sit at my computer and endeavor to write this article, we are on the eve of another “family” reunion. One of my nephews, who has family at heart, in conjunction with my two “kids”, have organized a gathering to be held in Delhi, primarily to get me and my brother-in-law together. The hope is that, if we two old codgers can make the party, most of the other members of our families will be here, too. One can only hope and pray that our family can enjoy being “family” one more time!

It will be too late for you readers to crash our party because we will have gone our separate ways by the time this article is printed. But if you have a craving to have “family” the way the Lord intended families to be, don’t waste this summer! Our nation could stand some oldfashioned, Godly families who love and care for one another. What do you think? Is it worth a try? Should anyone ask me, the resounding reply would be “Yes, Yes, Yes!”


Hats and Horses 2024

On Saturday, May 4th, patrons gathered for the 3rd Annual LDCC Hats and Horses Derby party benefitting the Louisiana Delta Community College Foundation. This fundraiser raises money for scholarships that assist LDCC students in short-term and long-term programs. The community doned their most elegant attire for this year’s event. Winners of this year’s contests were: Too Hot To Trot (Best Ladies’ Hat and Ensemble): Sharon Ross, Dapper Dan (Best Mens Hat and Ensemble): Tillman Watkins, Hat-ATude (Best Handmade Hat): Christina Randle, and Daily Double (Best Dressed Couple): Matthew and Krista Fowlkes. Guests mingled and enjoyed mint juleps and delicious hors d’oeuvres, and indulged in a whiskey pull and silent auction.


16 Patricia Watt and Anna

17 Stewart Cathey Jr. and Mike Walsworth

18 Verberlyn Washington and Deborah Gilmore

WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM | JUNE 2024 141 13 4 5 6 7 12 18 17 14 15 11 10 9 8 16 1 2 3
On the
BarbaraAnn Coldrion and Elizabeth Cochran
Carla Holmes and Mike Downhour 7 Carla Holmes and Sharon Ross 8 Doug and Jennifer Harvey 9 Jamil Norman and Alvina Thomas 10 Frank Bennett, BarbaraAnn Coldiron, Guy Cochran and Elizabeth Cochran 11 Jennifer and James Callender 12 Josh Etheridge and Randy Esters 13 Karen and Frank Bennett
15 Patience
Beasley and Emily Bailes 2 Adderly Severin, Randy Esters, and Donna Cathey 3 Ainsley Collins, Mallory DeMers, and Kelsi White 4 Alvina Thomas, LaWanda
and Jamil
and Holley Couppia
and DeRon


BLEND, the Northeast Lousiiana Arts Council’s premier fundraising event was held on May 5th at the Clarke M. Williams Innovation Campus. The “biggest party on the bayou” featured local men and women who cook, local and legendary restaurant chefs, live music, dancers from Parish Ballet Company, drinks by local sponsors and a silent auction of original works by Region 8 artists. Awards were given to “Best of Blend –Restaurant” and “Best of Blend – Home Cook.” All proceeds benefitted the Arts Council’s programs and services.

6 Mitch and Sarah Brown

7 Emily Ackerman, Lisa Holyfield and Ronnie Walker 8

Temika Loyd-Cooks, Brittany Ceaser, Kacie Whipple and Sherrell Bailey 17 Todd and Debora Colvin

18 Tyler and Becky Flemister

19 Andi Hernandez, Erica Miller and Misty Foster

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On the BayouScene
Beth Risinger
Lindsay Adams 2 Braxton
Crawford 3 Chris
and Nadine
McElroy, Seth Thomas, Trent Livingston and Will Erwin 4 Christie and Justin Ouchley
5 Courtney and Seth Thomas
Katherine Flowers
GG and Heather Grant 10 Emily and Kimberly Essex 11 Lauren Erwin and Cassie Livingston 12 Linda and Joe Holyfield 13 Matthew and Scarlett Garcia 14 Sarah Heatherly and Emma Loyless 15 Shelby and Sophie Heath 16

Calendar of Events

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

June 1

The Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo

100th Birthday Party

Join the Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo in celebration of their 100th birthday! They will be unveiling their new branding and closing out their 100th year with the community.

Hours: 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM

Venue: Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo | 1405 Bernstein Park Dr., Monroe Phone: 318-329-2400

June 1

74th Louisiana Peach Festival

12+ hours of live music, arts market, food vendors, kids’ activities, and more peachy fun!

Hours: 9am-11pm, Cost: Free Venue: Downtown Ruston, LA Phone: 318-255-2031

June 1, 8, 15, 22, & 29

June Tunes at Strauss Theatre

The Strauss Singer Songwriter Series is happening every Saturday in June. Strauss will be bringing some of the best talent with North Louisiana roots. Don’t miss Marcella Simien on June 1, Nikki Hill on June 8, Timothy Wayne & Stephen Paul on June 15, Le Trainiump on June 22, and Esther Rose on June 29.

Hours: 7:00 PM

Cost: $40 per show or $175 for all 5 Venue: Strauss Theatre Center | 1300 Lamy Lane, Monroe Phone: (318) 323-6681

June 1

Lagniappe Saturday with Dave Gore Landry Vineyards is proud to present Lagniappe Saturday with Dave Gore! Dave entertains the crowd with country and a variety of other music.

Hours: 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Venue: Landry Vineyards | 5699 New Natchitoches Rd, West Monroe Phone: (318) 557-9050

June 1

2nd Annual Juneteenth Celebration at the Biedenharn

Kick off Monroe’s Juneteenth Month with The Biedenharn Museum & Gardens! Join the festivities featuring live performances by the Taylormade Band, stunning artwork from the Black Creative Circle, and delicious bites from local food trucks.

Hours: 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Cost: $10.00

Venue: Biedenharn Museum and Gardens | 2006 Riverside Drive Phone: (318) 387-5281

June 1, 8, 15, 22, 29

Ruston Farmers Market

Enjoy local produce and handmade products at this farmer's market downtown.

Hours: 9am-1pm

Venue: 220 E Mississippi Ave, Ruston Phone: 318-957-1305

June 2, 9, 16, & 30

Live at Flying Heart

Don’t miss Grayson May on June 2, Message from Mercury on June 9, Cal Presley on June 16, and Zane Anderson on June 30. No cover charge and all ages are welcome. Jam out while enjoying a New York style pizza and craft beer!

Hours: 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM

Cost: No Cover Charge

Venue: Flying Heart Brewing & Pub 204 Commerce Street, West Monroe Phone: (318) 367-0888

June 3-5

Art Is Play- Teen Summer Camp

Focused on having fun in the process and not the final product for ages 1317! Campers will create mixed media art projects using unconventional materials with snacks and drinks provided. The workshop is taught by Keagan Vaughan.

Hours: 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM

Cost: $110

Venue: Masur Museum of Art 1400 S Grand St., Monroe Phone: (318) 329-2237

June 3-7

Art Is Play- Kids Summer Camp

Focused on having fun in the process and not the final product for ages 8-12!

Campers will create mixed media art projects using unconventional materials with snacks and drinks provided. The workshop is taught by Keagan Vaughan.

Hours: 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM

Cost: $125

Venue: Masur Museum of Art | 1400 S Grand St., Monroe Phone: (318) 329-2237

June 5, 19

Dog Days of Summer

Special event during Louisiana Tech Orientation with cheerleaders, band,

and more!

Venue: Railroad Park, Ruston, LA

Phone: 318-251-8647

June 5-June 8 11:59 PM

New Music on the Bayou Music Festival

At the New Music on the Bayou Summer Festival, composers and performers intersect over the course of an intense multi-day, multi-city, multi-venue series of rehearsals, presentations, and concerts. Concerts days, times, & locations are listed below:

June 5, 1 PM, F. Jay Taylor Visual Arts Center at Louisiana Tech (Ruston)

June 5, 7 PM, Dixie Center for the Arts (Ruston)

June 6, 1 PM, Masur Museum of Art (Monroe)

June 6, 7 PM, Biedenharn Museum & Gardens (Monroe)

June 6, 9 PM, Flying Tiger Brewery (Monroe)

June 7, 11 AM, Biomedical Engineering Building (Rotunda) at Louisiana Tech (Ruston)

June 7, 1 PM, Lincoln Parish Library Events Center (Ruston)

June 7, 4 PM, Creatives at Work (Ruston)

June 7, 7 PM, Walker & Co (The Loft) (Ruston)

June 8, 11 AM Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge (Monroe)

June 8, 7 PM Emy-Lou Biedenharn Recital Hall at ULM (Monroe)

Cost: Free

June 6

Sustainability Workshop

Learn ways to reduce your business’s environmental impact at a free workshop held by Keep Louisiana Beautiful in partnership with LifeCity! A workshop will be held Tower Plaza. Lunch is provided by KLB. Registration is required, as seating is limited.

Hours: 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM

Cost: Free

Venue: Tower Plaza

1500 North 19th St, Monroe

June 6

Downtown Gallery Crawl

It's time to Crawl! Come celebrate and experience the work of talented local artists while enjoying the warmth and charm of locally-owned shops, businesses and eateries in Historic Downtown Monroe and West Monroe.

Hours: 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Cost: Free

Venue: Downtown Monroe & West Monroe

June 6-8

Short Attention Span Theatre: A Sketch Comedy Show

A hilariously good time at a perfect little comedy club venue right here in Monroe, LA! Get there early and enjoy cocktails in the cozy atmosphere and then settle in for a 60-minute uproariously funny sketch comedy show featuring some of the best comedic performers in the area!

Hours: Shows each night at 7:00 PM and 9:00 PM.

Cost: $15.00

Venue: El Camino 605 N 2nd St , Monroe

June 7-9

Big Creek Trade Days

Shop local vendors for unique items, enjoy live music and delicious food trucks.

Hours: 9am-5pm

Cost: $5 per car to enter Venue: 327 California Plant Rd, Dubach, Phone: 318-680-1304

June 7

Out to Lunch at the Biedenharn Grab lunch from a local food truck & explore our latest exhibits on the first Friday of each month.

Hours: 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM

Cost: $5.00 entry

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

June 8

Summer Sip & Shop

Join Thirsty Farmer as they celebrate their 2nd Wineiversary with this indoor/ outdoor market sip & shop experience complimenting local artistic wares: Thirsty Farmer wine, cider, live music, food truck, and 20+ market vendors to shop! Thirsty Farmer Charcuterie & Flatbreads will be available for purchase, wines and ciders can be purchased by the glass or by the bottle only with free admission. Outdoor Concert with FOUR ON THE FLOOR will be from 3 PM-6:00pm. Don't forget to bring your own chairs. Cheers!

Cost: Free

Venue: Thirsty Farmer 531 Hwy 144, Calhoun Phone: (318) 267-5580

June 8

June River Market

Soak in the summer vibes, shop for handmade pottery, art, body products, candles, and more, all while supporting our talented local artists.

Hours: 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM

Cost: Free to attend

Venue: Downtown Monroe RiverMarket | 316 South Grand Street, Monroe


June 8

Farmer's Market at Seventh Square Season Opening

Join The Farmer's Market at Seventh Square for their Season Grand Opening! They will have many fun activities including face painting, live music, petting zoo, kid zone as well as food trucks, fresh produce, homemade baked goods, and many arts & crafts by gifted makers.

Hours: 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Cost: Free

Venue: Farmer's Market at Seventh Square | 1700 N. 7th St, West Monroe Phone: 318-322-2203

June 10, 24

Creative Meetups

Gather with fellow artists to share ideas, techniques, and stories as you create art.

Hours: 6pm-9pm

Venue: Creatives at Work, 112 W Alabama Ave, Ruston, LA

June 13-June 15

Miss Louisiana Pageant

Get ready for the 2024 Miss Louisiana Pageant! It will take place at the Jack Howard Theater in the Monroe Civic Center June 13-15.

Hours: June 13 to June 15

Cost: Ticket Prices Vary Venue: Jack Howard Theater 401 Lea Joyner Expressway, Monroe

June 13

Movie Night in the Garden- “The Prince of Egypt”

Join The Biedenharn Museum & Gardens for their summer "Movie in the Garden" Series! Occurs in the ElSong Gardens every second Thursday from June-August. Bring your own chair or blanket & indulge in tasty food from local food trucks!

Hours: 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM

Cost: $10.00

Venue: The Biedenharn Museum & Gardens | 2006 Riverside Dr., Monroe Phone: (318) 387-5281

June 14

Texas Hold 'em Poker Tournament

The Texas Hold 'em Rebuy Tournament is hosted by the Krewe of Janus on the second Friday of each month. All proceeds benefit the Krewe of Janus Mardi Gras Parade.

Hours: Registration is at 5 PM.

Cost: $90.00 Buy-in

Venue: Krewe of Janus Float Den 901 Louisville Avenue, Monroe Phone: (318) 348-3237

June 20-23

RCT Presents: Annie

Enjoy this Ruston Community Theatre

production of the classic: Annie.

Hours: Thursday-Sat. 7pm, Sunday 2pm

Cost: Varying ticket prices

Venue: Dixie Center for the Arts, 212 N. Vienna St. Ruston, LA 71270

Phone: 318-255-1450

June 23

Texas Hold 'em Poker Tournament

The Texas Hold 'em Freeze Out Tournament is held the next to last Sunday of each month. All proceeds benefit the Krewe of Janus Mardi Gras Parade.

Hours: Registration is at 3 PM.

Cost: $120.00 Buy-in

Venue: Krewe of Janus Float Den | 901 Louisville Avenue, Monroe

Phone: (318) 348-3237

June 28 7:00 PM-June 28 9:00 PM

Ouachita Live featuring Sunpie and the Louisiana Sunspots

Join Downtown West Monroe for a fabulous evening to kick off the Ouachita Live outdoor concert series! This concert features Sunpie and the Louisiana Sunspots, a traditional zydeco band. Remember to bring your own chair! A food truck, beer, and wine will be on-site. Come shop downtown before the show!

Hours: 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Cost: Free

Venue: Alley Park | Natchitoches St., West Monroe

June 29

NELA Pride 2024

Join NELA Pride at the second Family Pride Day at the Monroe Civic Center. This event will feature LGBTQIA+ resource booths, kid’s activities, and live entertainment. Local artists and makers will offer original art, soaps and skincare, woodwork, tannery, crystals, jewelry, customer apparel, pet treats and care services, and more. Enjoy food trucks, a lemonade stand, baked goods, and a smoothie bar. Visit the Get Proud table with free rainbow and Pride accessories to deck out your outfit and sign up for prizes and giveaways.

Hours: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Cost: Free

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


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