BayouLife Magazine May 23

Page 109



Organic chicken thighs are cooked alongside blackberries and aromatic herbs to create a dish that is full of flavor.


From handblown pieces to retro-inspired glasses, this collection of glassware will add the finishing details to your table.


From contemporary to traditional, these four kitchens incorporate a range of materials and design features that are swoon-worthy.


Mario Mata is no stranger to finding inspiration at the crossroads of food preparation and art.


Our favorite color in all of our favorite things from area retailers.


Taylor Bennett used his styling genius to create a cozy nook in Tiffany Jones’ kitchen. Find these items and more at area retailers.


Let there be light with these decorative lamps from area retailers. From floor lamps to sconces, these lamps switch your décor on.


Take one look at Benicia King’s profile on networks like Instagram and LinkedIn, or take a look at the products she sells in her online store, and you’ll see that she is both artistic and business-minded.

APRIL 2018


Looking for an easy way to update your space? Change your pillows with the seasons for a fresh look.


Because of his career in design through which he has helped countless families build their “dream homes” and because of his willingness to lend his expertise and time to support small town economic development, Larry James is our May BayouIcon.


Interior Designer Julie B. Mays worked with homeowner Tina Newton to transform her two-store, French countrystyle home into a space indicative of her forever home.


The Herringstones expansion into Lafayette was lead by Hanna Lavergne.


Find the perfect gifts for this Mother’s Day and graduation.


From linen dresses to oversized blazers, these looks are perfect for spring outings. Find this and more at area boutiques.

134 76 MAY 2023 152

I’m ready for summer. This month has been exhausting – with kids in travel softball, rec ball, soccer and dancing – we’ve been on the move.

I don’t see things slowing down anytime soon, so if I look a frazzled mess when you see me out and about, there’s a reason, and this is the season. I’ve been told by many friends to soak it all in because one day I will miss all of this. Trent and I are finally in our house and couldn’t be happier. If you’re in the process or building, remodeling or updating home décor, you can find inspiration in this month’s issue. From lighting to kitchen accessories, Taylor Bennett created style guides for your resource.

To celebrate Cinco de Mayo, we’ve featured one of our favorite restaurants. Mario Mata is no stranger to finding inspiration at the crossroads of food preparation and art. A restaurateur and cook with the soul of an artist may seem like polarizing interests, but for Mata, they feed off each other. The intimacy required of each is comparable as it demands the artist’s incorporation of all of the senses, and, when intersected, the creative expression at stake can produce masterful cuisine and dining experience. Mata’s newest venture, Casa Real, is the epitome of an artist at work, both in the kitchen and in the restaurant’s space. Read this article by Vanelis Rivera on page 62.

Larry James has designed over 5,000 custom house plans and has sold predesigned plans for over 15,000 homes throughout the United States and many countries as far away as Japan. These homes range from the on trend “tiny houses” at 240 square feet to homes featuring over 17,000 square feet of living space. His homes have been


1201 Royal Avenue Monroe, LA 71201 Phone 318.855.3185


featured on the covers of Better Homes and Gardens and House Beautiful plus other national publications. He designed the personal residence of Mitchell Gold in Hickory, North Carolina, a wellknown furniture manufacturer. Larry is one of the principals who created The House Designers, one of the first online internet sites to market predesigned home plans. In addition to his residential design career, Larry has designed and developed two subdivisions, North Point and Sterling Fields. At age 76, he has no interest in stopping anytime soon. Read his article on page 102.

This month’s photo shoot is one of my favorites. Mallory Kirksey models at the Haddad home with her little girl, Elle. Mallory is also expecting a baby boy – this family is absolutely precious. See the images on page 152.

We are so excited for the future of our community and celebrate all of our local graduates. Also, happy Mother’s Day to all of our incredible moms. Thank you for being an inspiration, for teaching us about accountability, respect, empathy and kindness.

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

PUBLISHER & OWNER Cassie Livingston




Katelyn McAllister

Courtney Thomas

Cait Wise

ART DIRECTOR Taylor Bennett



Darian Atkins

Dan Chason

Kenny Covington

Shannon Dahlum

Cindy Gist Foust

Starla Gatson

Paul Lipe

Erin Love

Meredith McKinnie

Georgiann Potts

Delia Simpson

Beatrice A. Tatem

Vanelis Rivera

Judy Wagoner

Guy Miller

Clinton Downing

Dr. Leslie Coffman

Jeffrey Pearson, MD


Kyle Wood

Matt Brown

Kory Savage

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.

Alumni Spotlight

ULM Alum: Gretchen Kovac

GRETCHEN KOVAC IS A TESTAMENT TO THE VALUE of an education. Her father, an immigrant from Yugoslavia, only acquired an education through the 3rd grade, and her mother, a resident of West Carroll Parish, only through the 9th. The Kovacs stressed upon their six children that to be successful, they must stay in school. And to their credit, Gretchen and her five siblings all graduated from college. The family operated a farm in West Carroll Parish. Gretchen’s father bought the original 1000 acres before the Great Depression and sold all but 400 acres to settle the debt during the national crisis. Gretchen’s youngest brother Mike still farms cattle on that land today. After working on the farm herself as a child, Gretchen heeded her parents’ advice, and sought an education as a way to expand her options. Alongside the incredible work ethic and solid values imparted by her parents, Gretchen sought her own path, initially choosing to become an educator.

Gretchen obtained a Bachelor’s of Science in Health and Physical Education in Ruston and then a masters while working in Lafayette, Louisiana. Gretchen started teaching school shortly after her first college graduation and throughout her masters program, attending night school and summer classes. As a mother of two boys, Gretchen didn’t have the luxury of indulging the full college experience, and instead, devoted her little free time to career advancement. She attended ULM and obtained 30-plus hours beyond her masters. After teaching for 18 years, Gretchen decided to consider another field and looked toward construction. Her house sat on 10 acres, and she sold the bulk of it and built her first new house on the remaining three acres. Having always been told that if she wanted to do something then she could do it, Gretchen worked with local investors and secured financing to develop more properties, eventually building hundreds of homes and multiple subdivisions in this community.

While Gretchen’s name may be on the development signs, she credits her phenomenal team with the business’s success. Gretchen learned the benefit of teamwork while playing basketball at Oak Grove High School. She knew she needed a team of like-minded business people that were committed to hard work and possessed a passion for construction. When members of a team invest in each other’s success, the possibilities are endless. Alongside team

building, Gretchen continued her education. While at ULM, Gretchen learned from mentor and kinesiology professor Bill Arrington that rigor builds knowledge. She identified a desire to continue learning outside the classroom. She admits she’s still learning today. Gretchen obtained her realtor certification, and though she didn’t have time to sell houses, the knowledge has been vital to growing her construction business.

After 43 years in the construction business, Gretchen is grateful for the God-granted vision to see what she’s capable of and the insight to pick the right people to develop that vision. She designs and builds every house as if she is going to live in it. Gretchen pays close attention to the customers’ needs and the ever-shifting design trends. She loves making new homeowners happy and being a part of their lifetime investment. Gretchen introduced the open-design concept to home building in this area. She credits the appeal of this design to our changing society, as most two-parent households involve both parents working outside of the home. When everyone is home, people want to be together, so dividing walls don’t really suit people’s tastes anymore. Gretchen invests in relationships with people, as does her team, and the business success follows.

As an advocate of education, Gretchen finds knowledge wherever she can. She understands that understanding in one area enhances other areas. To learn is to grow. She attributes success to five practices. To grow, you have to seek opportunities to learn, and that often happens outside one’s comfort zone. Love what you do because life is too short to spend it otherwise. Give back to your community, for not only are you a part of it, but it’s a part of you. Identify the talent and passion around you - encourage and nurture it, Always acknowledge and foster a team, for success is rarely attributed to one source. Gretchen Kovac believes in a solid work ethic and sound values. Pair those characteristics with a solid education, and success is just around the corner.


Your Monthly Spirits Guide

Doe’s Eat Place and Washington Wine and Spirits

AS THE WEATHER GETS WARMER AND THE DAYS GET longer, it’s time to start exploring the best bottles of wine and spirits that May has to offer. From the unique flavors of Bonny Doon Orange Wine to the rich history of Uncle Nearest Rye, there’s something for every taste and preference. Let’s dive into these six standout bottles and discover what makes them so special.

Bonny Doon 2022 Le Cigare Orange Wine is a unique and delicious expression of the orange wine style. On the nose, there are aromas of orange blossom, honey, and stone fruit, with a subtle hint of baking spice. The first sip reveals a lively and textured palate, with flavors of orange peel, apricot, and peach. As the wine opens up, more complex flavors develop, including hints of tea leaves and a subtle earthiness. The finish is long and satisfying, with a subtle tannic grip that lingers on the palate. The orange wine is made using a combination of white and red grape varieties, which gives it a distinctive flavor profile that’s both complex and intriguing. The Bonny Doon 2022 Le Cigare Orange Wine is versatile and complex making it perfect for pairing with a wide range of dishes, from light salads to hearty stews.

Vietti Moscato d’Asti is a sweet and delicate Italian wine that’s sure to delight those with a sweet tooth. Made from the Muscat grape, this wine has a floral and fruity aroma with flavors of peach, apricot, and honey. With its low alcohol content and effervescence, it’s a perfect choice for an afternoon or after-dinner drink. The wine is produced in the Asti region of Italy, where the soil and climate create the perfect conditions for growing Muscat grapes. Vietti, a family-owned winery that has been producing wine since the 19th century, is known for its commitment to quality and traditional winemaking methods. This makes Vietti Moscato d’Asti a standout choice for those looking to experience a classic Italian wine with a sweet and delicate flavor profile.

Canerock Spiced Rum is a delicious and aromatic spirit that’s perfect for adding a flavorful twist to your favorite cocktail. On the nose, there are aromas of cinnamon, vanilla, and clove, with a hint of orange peel. The first sip reveals a smooth and velvety texture, with flavors of warm spices, including cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. As the rum opens up, more complex flavors develop, including hints of caramel and a subtle sweetness. The finish is long and satisfying, with a warm spice that lingers on the palate. The spiced rum is aged in oak barrels, which gives it a distinctive flavor profile that’s both robust and complex. The balance of flavors is exceptional, making Canerock Spiced Rum a true standout in the world of spiced spirits.

Barrell Vantage Whiskey is a true masterpiece, and its complex flavor profile is a testament to the care and attention put into its production. On the nose, there are aromas of vanilla, caramel, and honey, with a subtle hint of spice. The first sip reveals a rich and smooth texture, with notes of toasted oak, vanilla, and toffee. As the whiskey opens up, more complex flavors develop, including hints of cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. The finish is long and satisfying, with a lingering sweetness and subtle warmth. The Mizunara oak barrels give the whiskey a distinctive flavor profile that’s difficult to replicate, and the French oak and toasted American oak barrels add complexity and depth. Its recognition as the Number 3 whiskey on the Whisky Advocate’s top 20 whiskies of 2022 list is well-deserved, and it’s sure to be a favorite among whiskey enthusiasts for years to come.

Hendrick’s Flora Adora Gin is a truly unique and captivating spirit. On the nose, the floral aromas are immediately apparent, with notes of rose petals, chamomile, and elderflower. The first sip reveals a beautifully balanced blend of botanicals, with juniper, coriander, and angelica root at the forefront, followed by hints of orange peel, lavender, and black pepper. The finish is long and smooth, with a subtle sweetness that lingers on the palate. The combination of botanicals is expertly balanced, resulting in a gin that’s both complex and harmonious. Hendrick’s Flora Adora Gin is a testament to the art of gin-making and the passion that goes into creating the high-quality spirits that have come from their cabinet of curiosities in recent years.

Uncle Nearest is an incredible producer honoring a true innovator and their newest release is fantastic rye whiskey. On the nose, there are aromas of caramel, vanilla, and honey, with a subtle hint of oak. The first sip reveals a smooth and velvety texture, with flavors of butterscotch, toffee, and baking spices. As the whiskey opens up, more complex flavors develop, including hints of cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. The finish is long and satisfying, with a subtle warmth that lingers on the palate. Master Blender Victoria Butler continues to create exceptional batches for Uncle Nearest and we cannot wait to see what will come out of the new distillery that was recently completed over the next several years.

In conclusion, May offers a great selection of bottles to explore. From the refreshing and unique Bonny Doon Orange Wine to the bold and spicy Canerock Rum, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. So, grab a glass and cheers to the flavors and aromas of the season and always, thank you for letting us be your Spirits Guides here at Washington Wine & Spirits.



Pineapple and coconut milk combine to give this classic margarita a sweet twist. Fresh elements are added to make this summer sipper a hit.

Find on

What you need:

2 ounces pineapple juice

1 ounce coconut milk

2 ounces tequila

2 teaspoons agave

1 fresh lime, juiced

Lime Sugar:

Zest of 1 Lime

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Run a lime wedge around the rim of the glass. On a shallow plate, mix the lime zest and sugar and dip the rim of the glass in the mixture. Pour the pineapple juice and coconut in a blender and blend until smooth. Add pineapple/ coconut mixture, tequila, agave and lime juice into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into glass filled with ice. Garnish with fresh mint.


“The Nickel Boys”

Whitehead’s gripping novel is based on The Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Florida that allowed physical and sexual abuse from 1900 until 2010. Allegations of mistreatment and murder circled the school for years, but despite investigations and promises, the school tradition continued. After a formal investigation, researchers uncovered a hidden graveyard where over 55 bodies were buried, only a few of which have been identified by name. This fictionalized version of events is centered on the story of Elwood Curtis, a 17-yearold black boy, raised by his grandmother and about to venture to college. When he hitches a ride to school, the police discover the car is stolen and immediately sentence Elwood to the reform school. A black boy in the body of a black man is a perceived criminal and menace to society. Justice is not a viable outcome for Elwood.

Inspired by the speeches of MLK, Elwood struggles with the conundrum of loving his fellow man and revolting against injustice at every corner: “He who gets behind in a race must forever remain behind

or run faster than the man in front.” As Elwood adjusts to a life without freedom, he learns the hard way that the unspoken rules apply more vehemently than those directly communicated. Even in the confines of a reform school, the hierarchical structure of society dictates the winners and the losers in a setting reserved for those who have lost.

I read this Whitehead novel directly after reading The Underground Railroad (2016). I knew the terror inflicted at the reform school would be difficult to digest, but Whitehead accurately depicts the horror without marinating in the details. He doesn’t disguise the tragedy, but he relies on the reader’s imagination more frequently than I would have expected. The novel’s themes of self-discovery, friendship, and love anchor the novel in a world of madness and tragedy. Whitehead eloquently explains via this narrative why the suffering stay silent, the collective effort that ensures atrocities continue. Whitehead stabs at the assumption that the truly victimized spill their secrets, showing that the silencers and those who turn a blind eye to perpetual violence are as guilty as the perpetrators.

“It was crazy to run and crazy not to run. How could a boy look past the school’s property line, see that free and living world beyond, and not contemplate a dash to freedom? To write one’s own story for once. To forbid the thought of escape, even that slightest butterfly thought of escape, was to murder one’s humanity.”

bayou PAGES
“We must believe in our souls that we are somebody, that we are significant, that we are worthful, and we must walk the streets of life every day with this sense of dignity and this sense of somebody-ness.”

Louisiana Delta Community College

Preparing Students For Where They Want To Go

FOR MOST STUDENTS, MAY SIGNALS THE END OF AN ERA and the beginning of another. Such is the case for the graduates of Louisiana Delta Community College. On May 15, 2023, LDCC will hold two graduation ceremonies.

The Center for Adult Education Commencement Exercises

10 a.m. at ULM’s Fant Ewing Coliseum

This ceremony is for students who have successfully completed their high school credentials. LDCC administers adult education services throughout northeast Louisiana. Services are offered onsite at an LDCC campus. Offsite locations are available for services where there is no LDCC campus. Course offerings include financial literacy, digital literacy, health literacy, job readiness, Accuplacer preparation, skills upgrade, HiSET preparation, remediation, and English as a Second Language. You can also be co-enrolled in various technical programs, including Nurse Assistant and Certification for Manufacturing.

Louisiana Delta Community College Students Commencement Exercises

6 p.m. at ULM’s Fant Ewing Coliseum

This ceremony is for students who have completed collegiate work to earn an associate’s degree, technical diploma, or certificate.

Salwa Saeed is one of those students. You may recall her sister, Mariam Saeed, who graced BayouLife’s June 2022 edition as LDCC’s student highlight. Like her sister, Salwa is blazing trails. Saeed is preparing to graduate from LDCC with an Associate of Science Louisiana Transfer Degree with a concentration in Biological Sciences. As she readies to walk on May 15th to receive affirmation of her dedicated work, she has her sights set on the University of Louisiana – Monroe for the continuation of her studies. She hasn’t firmly decided what she wants to study, though. “I planned to pursue medical laboratory sciences, but after taking chemistry classes, I became interested in pharmacy,” explains Saeed.

In the meantime, Saeed will attend the Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP). SHPEP is a free summer enrichment program focused on improving access to information and resources for college students interested in the health professions. SHPEP seeks to strengthen the academic proficiency and career development of students who are underrepresented in health professions. The goal is to prepare them for a successful application and matriculation to health professions schools.

Saeed applied and was accepted, which is impressive because, looking at last year’s numbers, only 998 students were accepted from the

2022 pool of applicants. SHPEP is implemented at 12 universities across the nation. Each institution provides scholars with academic enrichment in the basic sciences and math, clinical experiences, career development activities, learning and study skills seminars, and a financial planning workshop. The summer-long experiences also provide housing, meals, a stipend, and guidance.

“I believe being in the SHPEP program will allow me to be exposed to a pharmacy environment, which would help me to decide what I want to do,” shares Saeed. Looking to her future, Saeed says, “I can see myself working in a major that relates to chemistry or biology.” Though Saeed thus far sounds like a very serious student, there’s more to her than her studies. When she has some downtime, Saeed enjoys empty boxing through sewing, cooking, photography, and drawing henna art on hands.

Salwa works as a Peer Tutor for biology and chemistry courses and as a student worker in the Library/Learning Resource Center. Says Amelia Brister, Director of Library and Learning Resources and supervisor of Saeed, “Salwa is dedicated to her studies and loves LDCC. She believes education is important and tells everyone that Delta is a great place to start your education because LDCC is welcoming to everyone.”

The Saeed sisters are not the only stars in their family; brother Saif is pulling up the rear. He’s the youngest of the siblings and is also a student at LDCC. Saif and his sisters have made attending LDCC and the Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP) a family thing, as Saif has also applied for the Summer 2023 program and has been accepted. He will attend the dentistry division of the program.

LDCC prepares students for where they want to go. Whether the end goal is a career or self-fulfillment, we’re thrilled to help facilitate part of our students’ journey. We offer flexible scheduling, online classes, in-person classes, some hybrid formats, and distance learning. We offer classes and whole programs that are transferrable. You can attend LDCC as a high school student, a full or part-time student, or even as a visiting student (which means you’re primarily enrolled in another institution and may need to pick up a class or two). Students also choose LDCC because they want to secure marketable skills but don’t want to continue an education path beyond a certificate or associate’s degree. Therefore, we offer high wage-high demand, short-term training opportunities through the workforce arm of the college.

Registration is open now for Maymester, summer, and fall classes. Class offerings can be found at


The Power of the Room

How Surroundings Impact Mental Health

THE IDEA OF WRITING ABOUT THE POWER WITHIN A room came to me early one morning on my way to work. I was talking to a good friend about the therapy room as a healing environment and the comfort, support, and peace it can provide. I recall saying, “our conversation will be a really good topic to discuss in BayouLife, I think I will save it for their next home edition.” He commented, “some things must be written in the moment in which it resonates within your thoughts and not put off for a later time; it is on your mind to write about it for a reason.” I was reminded in this instance how thoughts and actions often align with life occurrences. As fate would have it, it is BayouLife’s spring home edition and it is May, National Mental Health Awareness Month. The theme this year focuses on the impact surroundings have on one’s mental health. This national campaign calls for individuals to look around as well as look within. The month of May in the mental health world is designated as a time to raise awareness of those living with mental health and/or behavioral issues. May is also a time when the campaign attempts to reduce the stigma many encounter when seeking mental health services. The stigma often associated with mental health and receiving assistance has long existed, thank goodness this is starting to change.

The relationship between our surroundings and our mental health has proven to be significant. In acknowledgement of the multitude of people confronting their mental illness I am addressing this year’s Mental Health Awareness theme. I consider the surroundings one experiences when working, studying, socializing and/or residing as important to one’s day to day well-being. Although, it is not always the case, ideally, the spaces and places we navigate provide us with some of our basic needs, for love, nurturing, food, safety and stable housing.

Making changes to your surroundings can foster feelings of comfort, security, and appropriate stimulation for the activities you are partaking in. There are many ways to create and foster an environment supportive of your mental health. We must first begin by being aware of our surroundings and willingly taking the time to self-evaluate as to the degree our environment affects our life. I recommend selecting decor with color and textures that stimulate your senses and awaken your emotions. Choose colors that energize you when necessary and are soothing when needed. Decorate each room with a unique theme to suit different moods and feelings. Grow houseplants or keep fresh flowers as décor to minimize odors naturally while being aesthetically pleasing. Go green, get clean, and detox for your mental wellness. Green is the color used to symbolize the continual awareness of mental health. It is also a symbol of mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder and depression. Surroundings that are unorganized, unkept, full of debris and poorly cleaned can be depressing to see. Some people describe cleaning

as cathartic and the results of ridding their homes of physical clutter as emotionally uplifting. Let the light shine in. Identify opportunities and ways to bring natural lighting into your room. Inadequate lighting can contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression while limited access to green spaces or nature contributes to feelings of stress. My suggestion is to do an emotional detox and free your surrounding spaces of unhealthy relationships, chaos, distractions, and toxic behaviors. Designate areas of your home for working, entertaining, and unwinding. Everyone needs alone time for just being, tocreate your own sanctuary where you can meditate and sit with yourself.

As a therapist it would be remiss of me to discuss the power of the room and the impact surroundings have on our mental health and not mention the therapy room. My perspective on the power of the therapy room has been shaped by the comments and feedback of clients I have served. In my opinion it is in the therapy room where individuals invite me into their lives as they share their stories, secrets, and inner thoughts, while I listen. The therapy room is an environment where we become acquainted with one another on an emotional level and through the clinical process the client learns trust. It is place where the individual, after having fallen, gets back up and begins to plan what to do next. Daily I attempt to create an environment of intentional peace and genuine warmth in hopes of empowering, encouraging, and supporting. In this room I take in the energy, spirit, and feelings of the individual. It is where I am reminded how difficult life can be for some and as a client recently commented, “just how hard it is to be human when the world around me seems to be so difficult and inhumane.” It is a space that allows one to move closer to themself even when they are unsure of themselves. The therapy room is an emotional zone where the client can tear emotional walls and barriers down to freely express themselves. It is where tissues are strategically placed to catch tears, and decorated mirrors are positioned as décor for those desiring to check their tear-stained faces before exiting the room. The therapy room is a safe place where words hug the individual and regardless of the issues presented, they are worthy of respect and acceptance.

It has been my experience as a therapist when people recognize the connection between environment and mental well-being, they are more eager to make changes to their personal environments to meet their mental health needs. May we all be a part of this year’s Mental Health campaign in support of those dealing with mental health issues. Perhaps we can each take the time to look around and look within and contribute to the power of the room.

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


Meredith’s Musings


Social situations are my strong suit. I feel comfortable interacting with people. I will not hesitate to start a conversation or extend a greeting beyond a basic exchange. I think well on my feet if the conversation is surface level. Talking to people is easy. I don’t fear mass gatherings or new people or “having to be on,” so to speak. I never thought of this ability as a skill, but over time, I realize not everyone finds socializing so easy. For some, it strikes panic. I was chatting with a colleague, a brilliant academic mind who seems to know all the things I don’t and wish I did. We were chatting about intelligence, and he said he envied my interpersonal intelligence, that I had a way of making people feel comfortable, that I made interaction look easy. This smart person envied my ability to just be me. And I envied his ability to amass loads of information that always seem leagues out of reach. I can always find the answer, but it doesn’t just come to me from the back of my brain. I’ve always rested on my ability to interact, counted on it to get me through life. I may find certain situations hard, but the common occurrence of face-to-face interaction is not one of those scary places. As parents, we are forced to reexamine what we’ve always taken for granted, to consider how our kids are not us and may find parts of life more complicated. Being a parent brings social anxiety, not so much for me, but for my girls.

I love taking the girls to the parks. We hit all of them, multiple times a week. When Wilder was three years old, she would look anxiously out the window. “Look, Mom, there’s kids over there.” She couldn’t wait to hop out of the car and make new friends. She would fiddle with the car seat buckle, rushing the process that can only be completed with my aid. I reminded her that we walk, not run, to the playground and give people their space. I got anxious as we approached the playground equipment. What if the kids don’t want to play with her? What if they’re rude, or worse, what if she’s rude to them? I hadn’t relied on daycare, so her social circle was relatively small. Will she suffer because she doesn’t have social experience with kids her age? Have I done enough to prepare her for disappointment? Will someone unknowingly break her little heart?

Wilder’s inclination is to dive into someone’s lap and demand they play with her. On our last trip to Kiroli Park, Husband and I were sitting on the bench when two kids walked up with their parents. Wilder immediately ran up to them. “Hi, my name is Wilder. And this is my sister Fable. And that is my mom and my dad.” She then proceeded to list the name and relation of every person she knew before asking the new kids’ names. It was the cutest exchange, and the other parents seemed surprised at how forthcoming Wilder was with information. She has this dominating presence about her, but still relies on polite language where she doesn’t come across as in charge as she feels. It’s the same version of the little girl we get at home but seeing her interact with strangers is a new experience. I feel nervous for her. I want the other kids to take to her and welcome her in. I feel protective in a way that surprises me.

Husband and I watch her sliding up and down the playground equipment, squealing with joy as the new kids trail along behind her. She is a born leader, and most of the kids seem content following her lead. She decides where they go next, which slide to tackle or which tunnel to traverse. Wilder is always in front, frequently turning around and motioning to “come on, guys.” As she was starting Pre-K that fall, watching her in her element around other kids made me feel better about her next chapter, one in which I would be predominantly absent. I love that she craves the comfort of other people, that she strives to include everyone, even though I know she will inevitably clash with another leader. I want these experiences for her, but I’m glad I won’t be around to suffer through them. I know the absurdity of my fear, but also that it must be common. Kids must find their way, and I’m a firm believer in that happening naturally with me out of the way. I started physically distancing myself from her playtime with kids at the park. I kept her in sight but stayed out of earshot. I resisted the inclination to save her from awkward interactions, to let her experience disappointment, to let her feelings get hurt. It’s the right course of action, but man was it hard to do. The idea of someone hurting my little love just breaks me, but I guess this was part of raising a child, letting her fly on her own, across one playground at a time.



I REMEMBER, Mama! And because of those memories, Mother’s Day has long been one of my favorite holidays. It has been my good fortune, not only to have had a mother who dearly loved me and my siblings, but to have been blessed with a wife who was the ideal mother to my children. Is it any wonder that Mother’s Day is of great importance to me? My only regret is that I did not adequately communicate this sentiment to the two ladies who had the greatest impact on my life – impact saturated by their selfless love.

There can be different reasons why someone might love another, and there can be divergent ways by which love can be expressed.

When we think of God’s love for us the thought of “giving” comes to mind: “For God so loved the world that He GAVE His only Son” (JOHN 3:16) to save us from our sin and its punishment. God loves us, so He is generous in giving to us that which we need. That’s how our heavenly Father behaves!

On the other hand, we demonstrate our love for God by our obedience to His will: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15). God loves primarily by giving us a Savior; we love God by giving Him our obedient service and worship. That’s how God’s children should act!

When I think of a word that defines the love of a mother, perhaps “sacrifice” comes closest. Surely my mother and my wife denied themselves to care for their loved ones, putting the child’s wants before their own needs.

My mother suffered from arthritis, an ailment with which I am developing an acquaintance. Despite her discomfort, she faithfully worked through the pain to care for her family. Many were the times when my sisters and I would have been gladly content

with a peanut-butter-and- jelly sandwich, but she persevered in her task of providing a solid, balanced meal for us. That’s what mothers do!

A couple of years ago, I experienced my greatest loss and my wife realized her greatest gain when she left this world to claim her inheritance in heaven, purchased for her by our Savior, Jesus Christ. Though I had some idea of how much she sacrificed in serving our family, it was only when she was no longer here that I realized a whole lot more about just how much she gave to us through her sacrificial love. But that’s how mothers are!

And because that’s the way they are, they deserve their special day when we honor them, when we give respect to those mothers who have blessed our lives by their loving sacrifices for their families. Our world is a far better place because of mothers, in large part because we are better individuals because of our mothers.

How can we say “thanks;” how can we show love and appreciation to our mothers? Perhaps we can give them the honor they have merited by trying to discern what kind of person our mother would like for us to be. Of course, it is appropriate for us to give them flowers or candy, but they would be more pleased to see those characteristics in us that they sought to develop. And when they see their children growing into mature, caring adults, I am confident that they have no regrets with regard the sacrificial love they showed those for whom they cared so dearly. That’s just the way mothers are!

Let’s all remember Mama! And may those memories encourage us to be the kind of person her sacrificial love deserves.



Ifirst met Jake Ormond as a sophomore student at ULM. Jake had invested many hours the prior year, investigating the requirements and feasability of having a fishing team. President Cofer advised him of the funds needed and the need of a committed faculty advisor.

Jake secured the initial funding sponsors, recruited a team, and then he and a classmate approached Larry Ellerman and me about officially starting a fishing team. Jake served as president of the fishing team until his graduation in 2011. Little did we know just how tenacious a group this would come, leading to multiple National Championships on the college level and that the group would spawn professional anglers who are still on the tour today.

Jake settled in Sterlington, Louisiana and married his sweetheart Lena, and had two children, Gabi and Jonah. They are the backbone of his career as the life of a fisherman is anything but easy. Long periods of being apart and miles of traveling is a necessity as Jake pursued his dream of being a pro angler. This all started after college where he fished the MLF BFL circuits two years, 2016-2017, where he had three top 10 events one of which was a win at the BFL at lake Greeson in 2017 and qualified for the regional championship two years in a row. He took this success to make the move up to the next level on the Toyota series. Jake was succesful at this level and went on to qualify for the Toyota National Championship for two years. He was a top 10 in one of those at Lake Guntersville and finished 11th in AOY points, which qualified him for the MLF Pro Circuit in 2020-2021. Consistent top 20 finishes are the norm for this gifted angler. I sat down with Jake to get a feel on what fishing is today and how various traits of the trade have changed over the years.

Fishing “back in the day” for us old timers was a flasher and a big motor was a 150 horsepower engine on the boat. Today, it is common to see 250-plus horsepower engines, forward facing sonar and tackle that varies from new offerings not even thought of 20 years ago. The modern pro fisherman is young for the most part. The demands on the body and mind are astronomical and not for those of us with bad backs and knees. Lakes are ocean sized such as the Great Lakes up north or Okeechobee in Florida where typical runs to find fish can take you hundreds of miles through challenging terrain and waves that not only are back breaking but boat breaking. One season, Jake literally totaled two bass boats in wave and stump infested waters on the east coast. This is the life of a pro angler. New waters, testy weather and of course, finding the five biggest fish you can find in a nine hour day.

Technology has changed how anglers fish and the most noted change is the forward facing sonar such as Livescope. This device can actually let you see the fish moving and you can actually track your lure in live action. It has changed how bass fishing is approached in a dramatic way. I once was asked how different it is today for anglers and my first comment was

that it takes a degree in computers to fish today. Today’s angler is very skilled at lake maps, sonar, boat position and the best technique in how to coax a bass into biting. The field is a level playing field as you won’t find many boats without multiple graphs, multiple lake mapping tools and of course enough rods on board to rarely have to re-tie on a presentation.

Jake’s gear of choice is the new on line rigs produced by KASTKING. They even make a rod/reel designed specifically for braided line which has zero drag. I asked Jake about his set ups for different seasons and he quickly relayed that he has his go-to lures starting with the spring: Top 4...whacky rigged Yamamoto Senko in Spring, Buckeye swim jig (flip or swim) and a spinnerbait and a frog.

Top 4 summer. Texas rigged worm, shaky head worm and Bill Lewis MR6 and MR12 crank baits. This selection works on most Southern lakes and has been a main stay on his Phoenix bass boat. Most tournaments have pre-fishing, then official practice and that parlays into at least two weeks of pre-fishing for one event. The challenge is: will the fish you locate hang around for the tournament. There are many variations that can quickly take all the practice and flush it down the toilet: Weather, new water due to rain, cold fronts and of course the old “someone beat me to the area.” With up to 200 boats in these tournaments, the larger the lake, the better it is as the angler is able to escape the crowds. Jake’s go-to depth is medium range except during the spawn. He believes that most active fish prior to the heat of summer, tend to gang up and are catchable in the 8-12 foot range and this is where he concentrates. One of the tips he shares as a professional guide is to get off of the banks. There are a lot of fish that never go to the bank and the number one mistake anglers make is to “bank pound” where their boat is actually sitting where the fish are located. This is where Livescope comes in. When you can see these areas holding fish, the confidence to pursue them follows which usually means success.

But Jake is not all about total concentration on the tournament fishing. He is an expert on local lakes such as Lake Bartholomew (where he lives), D’Arbonne Lake, Caney Lake, Ouachita River and Lake Claiborne. His professional guide service specializes in instruction and how to make you a better angler, even if you live on the lake. Jake says the future of fishing and the future angler is where we need to concentrate and he does that. He is a “coach” of teenagers wanting to pursue fishing on the high school and college level. He volunteers at events to teach fishing and has a client list that includes the business professional as well as anglers just wanting to be better at consistently catching fish.

Jake is a winner both on the stage and in the growth of the fishing industry. I see a bright future for him as he is planting the seeds for a successful career. He will certainly achieve that one cast at a time.

photo by Kory Savage photo by Matt Brown photo by Kyle Wood

Strickland Interiors

Interior Decorator Services

JAN HALES STRICKLAND’S LOVE AFFAIR WITH INTERIOR decorating began at a very young age when she was fortunate enough to travel abroad including when her parents would rent a home in the countryside of England every summer. This travel helped foster the inspiration for her passion, as did visiting local museums and homes. By the time she was in high school, Jan knew she wanted to be a designer/decorator. She even began her career during this time working on beach condos and homes.

Jan received a Bachelor of Science degree in Interior Design from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, a CIDA Accredited program. Jan was an active student member or the American Society of Interior Designers. She also served on the advisory counsel for CIDA accreditation for the Interior Design program at the University of Alabama. Jan has been an active Allied member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) since 2010.

After college, Jan worked at a kitchen design center in Birmingham, Alabama, a fabric decor store in Montgomery, Alabama, and a nationally recognized antique store in Montgomery, Alabama. But when her husband had the opportunity to practice law with Jan’s father, she was ready to come home. Now in her 12th year as an interior decorator, Jan says “This business is my passion…I eat, sleep and breathe it. I love working with clients to help create beautiful and functional interiors. In some cases I simply do a room refresh; sometimes I work with a client though a remodel; and then there are times I make every selection for a new build, including the color of the doorbell! There is truly no job too big or too small.” Along with her design business, Jan recently published a coffee table book, ‘Interiors for Living’ that is sold locally and online.

Jan has enjoyed building her interior decorating and consulting clientele, while at the same time she’s been able to give back to her community. In her 6th year as the lead designer for the St. Jude Dream Home, Jan is also passionate about this cause. “Having lost my best friend to cancer makes this cause very personal to me. This summer I was able to attend the St. Jude summit and toured their campus, which made me even more passionate when I saw the far reaching impact our support gives St. Jude. Last year we were able to sell $800,000 worth of tickets, and being able to see the children and the families that these monies support gave me even more

motivation to maintain the support we can in our community. And most honored to receive the Kichler Lighting Award for my work on this project.” This project would not be possible without all the sponsors’ help. Everyone rallies and comes together to get the job done. When you see the list of sponsors, it’s important to realize this is their donated time and money. Everyone comes together for the common cause - to Beat Childhood Cancer!

Jan’s work has been featured in BayouLife Magazine, Style Me Pretty Living, Cottage Journal (French Cottage),, HGTV, and numerous others.

When not focused on her clients or her St. Jude work, Jan enjoys spending time with her husband Josh, son Jey, daughter Evy, and dogs Belle and Bingo. “I’m in a busy season of my life, and getting to spend time with clients, getting to know them and their home brings me such joy. I believe your home can have a great impact on your mental and physical well-being, and I like being a small part of helping my clients create a calm and inspiring environment.”

Along with being feautured in numerous publications, she has been recognized for her community involvement and design work including the University of Alabama HES Jack Davis Professional Achievement Award in Interior Design, Bayou Buzz Finalist 2020, Bayou Buzz Finalist 2021, Bayou Buzz Finalist 2022, Top 20 under 40 Nominee for Monroe, LA, Marquis’s Who’s Who.

If you are looking for professional design services, Jan Hales Strickland is a passionate, trustworthy and talented interior decorator who will transform your project into a functional and beautiful space. To schedule a consultation, contact Jan at (318) 2820911, by email at, or visit her website at for more information.


Night of Champions

On Friday, March 31st at Fant-Ewing Coliseum Night of Champions was held. The ULM Athletics Foundation hosts the event that supports 17 different sports at the NCAA Division 1 Level, ULM student-athlete scholarships, and the ULM Athletic Foundation. The night featured Louisiana Seafood prepared by Aramark Food Services. Guest enjoyed a full bar and over fifty silent auctions items to explore. A live auction was also hosted by Daniel Guinn and his team that included exclusive trips hunting excursions, private dinners and much more. And to cap off the night, NOLA’s own “Bag of Donuts,” rocked the evening away.

On the BayouScene

1 Ceci Kieliszewski and Hannah Kubik

2 Shelley Hamilton and Cindy Foust

3 Heather and Kyle Smith

4 Chris and Lauren Vorhees

5 Hannah Livingston and Amanda Edge

6 Hank Pipes, Seth Thomas and Chris Clark

7 Sallie and Charles Anzelmo

8 Andi and Chris Holyfield

9 Ty and Avery Harp, Michael Gammon, Maddy Katchen and Adrian Harris

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Organic chicken thighs are cooked alongside blackberries and aromatic herbs to create a dish that is full of flavor. Find on

What you need:

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

Sea salt and black pepper

1 tablespoon preferred high-heat oil

1 cup frozen blackberries, thawed

2 tablespoons butter

1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed

6 sprigs fresh thyme

Preheat oven to 425℉. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Warm oil in a large cast iron skillet. Add chicken breasts skin side down. Flip thighs after 6-8 minutes and add blackberries to the skillet. Place in oven for 20 minutes. Remove skillet and scoop out excess fat. Push thighs to the side and add butter, thyme, lemon and garlic so that the butter pools on one side. Next, use a spoon to baste chicken with herb butter. Plate and drizzle herb buttter over chicken.


Corazón Tequilas

Hand Crafted in the Heart of Mexico

THE EARLIEST RECORDS OF TEQUILA DATE BACK TO at least 1000 BC, when the Aztecs used the agave plant to make a fermented drink called pulque. In the 16th century, Spanish colonists introduced distillation to Mexico, and tequila began to be produced in the area around Tequila.

Here are some of the key moments in the history of tequila:

• 1000 BC: The Aztecs use the agave plant to make pulque.

• 16th century: Spanish colonists introduce distillation to Mexico.

• 1758: The first commercial tequila distillery is founded.

• 19th century: Tequila production grows.

• Early 20th century: Tequila is exported to the United States.

• 1970s and 1980s: Tequila experiences a boom in popularity in the United States.

• Today: Tequila is one of the most popular spirits in the world.

For over 130 years, Corazón has been perfecting the art and craft of tequila. Distilled in the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico, their awardwinning tequila is made from the region’s 100% blue Weber agave by a group of artisans who hold themselves to the highest standards. Staying true to the original family recipe for the spirit, they have developed breakthrough techniques for aging and have created new ways for tequila lovers to experience the remarkable taste they love.

The word Corazón means “heart” in Spanish. It refers to the piña, or heart, of each agave plant, nurtured and harvested in the Highlands and used to create Corazón. It also refers to the heart and passion of the men and women who have embarked on a new mission to create tequila like you’ve never experienced before; a passion that has created some of the most unique tequilas available in the world.


Aromas of baked pineapple, roasted jalapeno, and tangerine zest explode on the nose of this complex tequila. The palate has an iodine mineral tone and a creamy texture that fills the mouth and leads to an invigorating, spicy finish. ABV: 40% Alc/vol (80 Proof)


This Reposado is light amber in color from the 6-8 months it spends aging in American Oak. Fresh aromas of thyme, green grass, and agave nectar mingle to create a vibrant nose. Earthy tones play an integral role on the palate with support from soft vanilla, marcona almond, and fresh

herb flavors. The finish is round on the palate and refined. ABV: 40% Alc/ vol (80 Proof)

Keep an eye out for the rarer collections, Single Barrel and Expresiones. Aged in barrels from several of Sazerac’s award-winning bourbon brands, Corazón Single Barrel is tequila with an inherently provocative twist. These personally selected, one-of-a-kind tequilas go against the grain in essence and taste. Corazón Single Barrel is unconventional in spirit and wild at heart. Expresiones del Corazón is a truly remarkable collection of tequilas. Expresiones embodies the extraordinary payoff you can only achieve by taking a risk. Aged in some of the rarest and most special barrels available in the world, these limited tequilas hold unique characteristics that make them unlike any other.

At the 2021 World Tequila Awards in Chicago, Corazón won an astounding four medals and three titles. Corazón Reposado was honored with the distinction of World’s Best Tequila, as well as Best Reposado. Corazón’s Expresiones won Best Anejo and Silver Medal. Rounding out the lineup with Bronze Medals were two more tequilas from the Expresiones Collection and Corazón de Agave Extra Anejo Tequila. While Cinco de Mayo is upon us, there is really no wrong time for a perfect Margarita. Mix up the recipe below and thank us later.



2 oz Corazón Single Estate Tequila Blanco

1.5 oz Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice

.5 oz Gran Gala Triple Orange Liqueur

1 tsp Light Agave Nectar (to taste)


Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain onto fresh ice in a rocks glass (salt rim optional) and garnish with a lime wedge.

Be sure to like Choice Brands on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram to keep up with new product releases. Feel free to message us for information on where to find your favorite brands. Find us at thechoicebrands,, and


Minutes Matter: Speedy Stroke Care

Be Fast With St. Francis Health

WAKING UP TO A STROKE WAS A TOTAL SURPRISE AND life altering moment for Jeff Elliott, but immediate care from the team at St. Francis Medical Center got him on the road to recovery.

Elliott, now 66, was healthy and active, working long days at his maintenance job at St. Joseph Continuing Care and additional hours doing repair and construction work for family and friends.

“For my age, I was probably in the best health of anyone you would meet,” Elliott said. Other than a statin to manage high cholesterol, he was “healthy as a horse.”


Elliott woke on September 15, a typical day, to get up for work. “I rose up out of bed and had a funny feeling, a feeling I’ve never had before,” he said. “My right leg just didn’t want to act right. It was different than typical muscle spasms or cramps.”

Although it wasn’t painful, Elliott knew right away something was wrong as he made his way to the bathroom. Because of his work at a rehab and skilled nursing facility, Elliott recognized the signs of headache, nausea and losing the use of his right side. He yelled for his wife, Debbie, who works for St. Francis Primary Care Clinic, and told her he was having a stroke.

Debbie called her daughter, a self-employed RN. Her daughter alerted St. Francis that a possible stroke victim was on his way. The drive to the hospital from the small town of Start took about 25 minutes.

“I threw up about three times on the way,” Elliott said. “It was almost comical.” But it was also a very fraught and scary experience. The stroke team was ready when Elliott arrived.


Care at St. Francis began immediately, and Elliott was seen by a neurologist and others on the team. A CT scan was done to make sure there was no bleed in the brain causing his symptoms. He was then taken immediately for an MRI of the brain. This allowed the stroke team to see that a stroke was indeed occurring in the left side of the brainstem, but that it had started very recently, likely within a few hours of when Elliot woke up. Since the drug used to break up blood clots (tPA, or tissue plasminogen activator) can only be given within the first 4.5 hours of a stroke occurring, this emergent MRI was critical in allowing the stroke team to treat Elliot with tPA. Fortunately, the stroke didn’t cause damage to Elliott’s memory or cognition, although he did temporarily lose speech.

After the tPA was given, Elliot was taken to the ICU for close monitoring. “They hooked me up to the clot buster drug very quickly,”

Elliott said. “That was another blessing in itself.”


After a stay in the ICU, Elliott was moved to a regular room. Prayers surrounded him, including from his church, friends and family.

The doctors weren’t sure if he would regain control of his right side, and for five days he couldn’t move a finger or toe on that side. Elliott spent time willing a finger to move, and finally was able to flick his index finger just a quarter of an inch.

“I tell people now their prayers were answered,” he said. “Maybe it wasn’t a miracle, but my prayer was answered.”

Elliott retrained himself to use his left hand to eat, brush his teeth and hair, and shave while also working with physical and occupational therapists to regain use on his right side.

Of his therapists, Elliott said, “The team was wonderful.” The work he put in paid off, and when he was discharged on October 7th, Elliott estimates he probably had regained 30% to 40% usage of his right side.


Elliott transitioned to outpatient rehab at the St. Francis Community Health Center. By December he had returned to work part-time, four hours per day, and in February he began working six-hour days. He hopes to soon return to full-time work.

Although his dexterity has returned enough that he can handle nuts, bolts and drills in his day-to-day work, Elliott’s control for playing music — he is a bass and guitar player — is not yet back fully. But he is able to do some music gigs for assisted living residents.

Elliott keeps at his therapy and working out to strengthen his muscles and avoid any atrophy. He also credits his health and recovery to regular use of supplements.


“A lot of people ignore the symptoms and don’t know what’s happening until it’s too late or wait too long,” Elliott said. A stroke is different for each individual. Don’t wait if experiencing any stroke-like symptoms.

For other recovering stroke patients, Elliott advises them to “KEEP ON KEEPING ON” and use their muscles, hands and fingers. “Concentrate on what you can do, not what you can’t. Don’t give up before you even get started.”

When asked how he’s doing now Elliott often responds, “I’m better than yesterday but not as good as tomorrow.” His optimism remains as he continues to see daily improvements in speech, physical strength and endurance.


ULM’s Wine Over Water

The 16th Annual Wine Over Water event benefiting alumni scholarships took place on Thursday, April 13th on the beautiful ULM campus at Bayou Pointe. With over 25 vendors across Northeast Louisiana and beverages provided by Southern Glazer’s and Marsala Beverage, attendees were guaranteed to have a good time. Guests enjoyed upbeat tunes from Monroe’s favorite band - Mr. Taylormade and the Taylor-made Band. Proceeds from the event benefit the The Spirit of the Warhawk Endowed Scholarship (started by the Ouachita Parish Alumni chapter) and the ULM Alumni Association.

On the BayouScene

1 Allison Cattar and Terri Arthur

2 Arneta and Kenneth King

3 Brittany McNamara and Amanda Edge

4 Caron McPherson and Vicky Kelly

5 Hank and Sage Pipes

6 Baylie Churchwell, Hannah Ferkel and Erin Taylor

7 Brad McGilton, Drew Harder and Will Copeland

8 John and Melissa Saye

9 Dixie-Tooke Rawlins, DO., Gunnar Brolinson, DO, Rae Schiller and Chase Regian

10 Patrick and Brittany Coughlin

11 Jenny Hopkins and Michael Waller

12 Temika Cooks, Sabrina Herring-Antwine and Eja Johnson Ausberry

13 Medria Buford, Becca Kleinpeter and Sarah Siereveld

14 Cindy Stone, Debbie Herrington and Erin Taylor

15 Nikki Tinnerello and Bianca Hebert

16 Ella Nimmers, Chernae Minor, and Lakisha Iseah

17 Kaleb and Laura Williamson

18 Molly Northsworthy, Victoria Bice, Brittany Liner, Tiffany Otwell, and Linda O’neal

19 Wendi Tostenson and Diane Tabulog

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Fishing With Kenny

Ilike old lures, especially old wooden lures. Not just to look at, or to collect, but to use in tournament competitions. The modern bass bait has all the technological advancements as the most up to date graphs and bass boat accessories, but that does not make them better. This is one instance, when using lures made of wood, specifically balsa, where I believe older is better. Like with anything else that is modern, these lures come with a price.

The first wooden crankbaits that I was ever aware of was the original “Big O” crankbait lures produced in the early 70s. My dad had a few of them and I can remember asking him to throw one and he responded with a resounding “No.” To me it was just another bait, however, back in the day it was considered an investment. The original “Big O’s” would sell for over twenty dollars, an outrageous price back in the 60s and 70s, but it was a fish catching machine, so to the serious angler, it was considered a must have.

The first wood lures I remember buying for myself were the Bagley crankbaits back in the early 80s. I would pay almost seven dollars for them and at the time such a purchase was considered “high dollar.” What I didn’t understand was why these lures, while more expensive, would out produce the plastic versions of lures that were much less expensive but becoming more popular among anglers. While I could catch just as many fish on the plastic lures, it seemed like I would catch bigger fish on the wooden ones. My wooden lure quest went beyond crankbaits, as some of my favorite topwater lures are made of wood. The Devil’s Horse has been in my tackle box since I was a kid and now, almost fifty years later, I still catch fish on them. The equivalent to a Devil’s Horse is a lure made by Cotton Cordell called a Boy Howdy and while it catches fish, I catch bigger fish on the Devil’s Horse. Another popular topwater lure in our area, the Crazy Shad, is made of plastic and is as good a fish catcher as you can find on our local area rivers and lakes but in my lifetime I have only caught one bass over five pounds on one. Coincidence? I think not.

The original Zara Spook was made of wood, and I still have a couple that I will only use on tournament days, and I have won a lot of money on those lures. The newer versions of the Spook are made of plastic and while I have done well with the modern of the lure, I know without a doubt, I catch bigger fish on the old wooden one. My biggest bass I ever caught on the Ouachita River came on a “Shore Minnow,” a color my uncle affectionately would call “old ugly,” original wooden Spook.

The advancement in mass production is what caused the decline in the purchase of handmade wooden lures. Angler’s learned they could buy a Bandit crankbait for four dollars and catch numbers of fish, overlooking the aspect of the lack of quality in their catches. The Bagley series of lures are still in production, but I believe the newer lures aren’t as effective as the older baits. This probably explains why at times on eBay you will see an original Bagley Balsa B squarebill crankbait will sell for over $100.

Now that I have given you a basis for my wooden lure affection, let’s look at the downside of these fish catchers. First of all, as I have mentioned briefly, hand made wooden lures are expensive. I have paid as much as $50 for a single lure and I have friends who have paid much more than that. My logic is if I can win one tournament on an expensive wooden lure, over time, the lure will pay for itself, so I consider it to be a good investment. It just might take a bit longer to see the payback.

I will buy my crankbaits in numbers of threes and, for whatever the reason, one of the three lures will out produce the other two. Since these lures are made by hand, sometimes it may be the density of a particular cut of wood, or it could be something different about the coats of the paint job. Whatever the case may be, no two wooden lures are alike.

Probably the biggest downside to using wooden lures is they are not very durable. Our lakes are crowded with Cypress trees, boat docks and every known obstacle to be a angler’s nightmare. When using these lures, casting accuracy is a must but still not a cure all. A homeowner who has a catfish trap, or other hidden obstacle under the water, can be the death of your favorite wooden crankbait. I can tell you on more than one occasion I have left my boat to retrieve a snagged lure.

I have found the wooden topwater lures to be much more durable than the crankbaits, unless casting accuracy isn’t your strong suit. One of the tricks I have learned when trying to extend the life of your favorite wooden topwater is to take apart the lure and anywhere there is a place to attach a hook hanger or insert the prop screw, use a dab of super glue in each opening. These small amounts of glue help to make these weaker areas of the lure much stronger. I have read all of the articles an angler can find as to why some wooden lures were better producers than others. I don’t have a scientific explanation, nor do I have a logical argument as to why these wooden plugs are such money winners. I just know, through my own experience, they just are.

Well, it looks like we have run out of time and space for another month. I hope we have been able to shed some light on an old school idea that still has a place in the modern fishing world. Please be careful while out on the water as we head into the summer months and don’t forget to catch one for me! See you next month.


Lauren Roebuck Designs

Lots of New Furniture and Decor to Spruce Up Your Space

THERE’S NOTHING QUITE LIKE SHOPPING AT A locally-owned store, especially when it’s a furniture, gifts, décor and a floral shop all rolled into one. Lauren Roebuck Designs offers a unique shopping experience, one that’s personal, friendly, and one-of-a-kind. And in the case of this particular store, it’s even more special, because she’s celebrating her 20th year anniversary this June and adding a brand new building right beside the main store.

For two decades, this store has been a staple in the community, offering customers a wide selection of beautiful and high-quality items. Lauren started out small, but through hard work and dedication, she has grown into one of the best-known stores in the area. Their expansion into their new building, coming soon, is a sign of their success and continued commitment to their customers. One of the most exciting things about this store is their vast selection of furniture. So many options! They carry everything from classic and traditional pieces to modern and trendy items. No matter what your personal style may be, you’re sure to find something you love here. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly, always willing to help you find the perfect piece for your home. And because they’re a local shop, they’re able to offer more personalized service than you’d find at a big-box store. Lauren also has delivery options to select areas.

Lauren and her team are very talented and can help you transform your space into something you’ve only dreamed about. Hiring an interior decorator is a great investment if you’re looking to transform your living space into something truly beautiful and functional. Whether you’re moving into a new home, or just looking to update your current space, Lauren can help you achieve the look and feel you’ve always wanted. Lauren has the knowledge and expertise to create a cohesive and aesthetically pleasing space. She can help you choose the right color scheme, furniture, and accessories to suit your personal style and needs. She has an eye for design, and can help you create a space that is both beautiful and functional. Another benefit of hiring an interior decorator is that they can help you save time and money. A decorator has access to a wide variety of resources and suppliers, and can help you find the best deals on furniture, materials, and accessories. She can also help you

avoid costly mistakes, such as purchasing furniture that doesn’t fit in your space or choosing the wrong color scheme. Lauren can help you incorporate your own personal style and tastes into your home, creating a space that is uniquely you. She can also help you create a space that is functional and suits your lifestyle, whether you need a home office or a family-friendly living room.

In addition to furniture, Lauren Roebuck Designs is also known for their beautiful floral arrangements. Whether you need a bouquet for a special occasion or just want to brighten up your home, their talented floral designers can create something stunning just for you. They have a wide selection of fresh flowers, plants, and succulents, as well as vases and other accessories to help you create the perfect display.

But that’s not all - this store is also a great place to find unique gifts for any occasion. They have a wide selection of items, from jewelry and accessories to home decor and kitchenware. Whether you’re looking for a birthday gift, a house-warming present, or just something special for yourself, you’re sure to find something here.

As mentioned earlier, this store is celebrating its 20th year anniversary in June. That’s no small feat in today’s business climate, and it’s a testament to the hard work and dedication of the owner, Lauren, and her staff.

The move to a brand new building is also cause for celebration. The new space is larger and more modern, allowing the store to offer even more items and services to customers. The building is designed to be inviting and comfortable, with plenty of natural light and beautiful displays. It’s a place where customers can come to browse, shop, and relax.

Overall, Lauren Roebuck Designs is a true gem. With a vast selection of beautiful items, personalized service, and a commitment to the community, it’s no wonder they’ve been in business for 20 years. The new building addition is just the next step in their journey, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for them. Whether you’re a longtime customer or a newcomer, we highly recommend checking out this amazing store.


Serenity Care Providers

Who Are We, and What Do We Do?

“ LISTEN, MY SON, TO YOUR FATHER’S INSTRUCTION and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.”

-Proverbs 1:8-9 NIV Did you know the official Mother’s Day holiday arose in the 1900s as a result of the efforts of Anna Jarvis, daughter of Ann Reeves Jarvis. When Anna’s mother died in 1905, she conceived of Mother’s Day as a way of honoring the sacrifices mothers made for their children. Although Anna Jarvis never had children, she fought to see Mother’s Day added to the National Calendar. Her version of the day involved wearing a white carnation as a badge and visiting or attending church services with one’s mother. In 1914 her persistence paid off when President Woodrow Wilson signed a measure officially establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

Unfortunately, by 1920, she became so disgusted with the commercialization of the holiday and fought to have it removed from the National Calendar. While Anna Jarvis’ idea of a simple Mother’s Day celebration didn’t go as planned, the idea of honoring mothers with a day set aside for them was phenomenal.

Who is the virtuous woman who nurtured, protected, and sacrificed for you? The one that taught and encouraged you but also disciplined you with care and wisdom. The one who made sure you were equipped with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to make it in this world. A woman who stepped up for you when no one else would or could. How will you celebrate her this Mother’s Day?

Because I am a 50-year-old mother of three grown sons my perspective of Mother’s Day may be different from moms with younger children. When my boys were younger, I remember only wanting a nap on Mother’s Day! If someone would do the laundry and dishes that would be a gift over the moon. But one thing I certainly looked forward to were those precious Mother’s Day gifts the boys created at school. Oh, how I loved their proud little faces when they presented their works of art. I still have most of them in a special box and look at them from time-to-time reminiscing about the dirty little hands that made them. Those are priceless treasures to a mother. The heart felt sentiments and time put into those little hand-crafted gifts couldn’t bring this momma’s heart any more joy.

To know their little minds were focused on which colors I’d like best and what words they could find that best expressed their love for me still brings tears to my eyes.

As the boys grew, the thoughtful little sentiments were no longer something they saw as a satisfactory gift for me. They wanted to buy mom something on a grander scale (but of course fit into their budget), and I “OOOH’d” and “AHHH’d” over every single gift. But nothing they could buy me will ever compare to those precious little homemade gifts they put so much time and effort into creating. You see, while the “grander” gifts and gestures are nice and very much appreciated, most mothers treasure the heartfelt sentiments more than you realize. Receiving a sweet handmade drawing or card may not have the same effect on mom as it did when you were six; however, spending special moments together will be treasured for a lifetime. Your mother realizes your time is precious and she knows you value your time. Sharing your time with her shows her she is important, and you value her as well. Moms want to know you care.

I understand completely that balancing work, your spouse, children (whether grown or small), grandchildren, aging parents, and having a life for yourself is exhausting and can quite frankly be overwhelming. You want to be able to enjoy the moments you spend with each of the special people in your life. I get it! In 2013, I formed Serenity Care Providers, a home care company that understands the challenges and concerns of the aging population, as well as those faced by the “sandwiched” generation. Our services are designed to enhance the lives of our clients while giving friends and family the peace of mind that comes with knowing their loved one is safe.

With Mother’s Day on the horizon, allow Serenity Care Providers to take away the worry and stress that can stem from caring for an elderly loved one. We offer a range of services designed to help our clients manage the challenges of day-to-day tasks and enjoy the quality of life they desire. Let our team give you the opportunity to spend precious quality time with your loved one, just as Anna Jarvis imagined when she set out to honor her mother in 1908.



From handblown pieces to retro-inspired glasses, this collection of glassware will add the finishing details to your table. Find these and others at local retailers.

Clockwise from left: Seafoam stemless glasses from HAVEN; colorful green and pink martini glasses from PARTERRE , gold rim champagne glasses from WOODSTOCK MONROE , green and blue glasses from OUACHITA ANTIQUE WOODS, pink rand green rattan glass from LAUREN ROEBUCK DESIGNS, textured stemmed glass from MATERIAL THINGS, white glass with design from PALETTE HOUSE & PLUME , multi-colored blue glass from WALSWORTH & COMPANY, gold mushroom glasses from REVIVAL DESIGN & CONSIGN

photography by KELLY MOORE



The homeowner wanted a sleek design for a mid-century modern renovation Sandy Sartor, owner of Key Millwork and Supply, was instrumental in working with the client to create a sleek and functional space. Rift sewn white oak cabinets are found throughout the kitchen, along with integrated appliances that are seamlessly


From contemporary to traditional, these four kitchens incorporate a range of materials and design features that are swoon-worthy.

disguised in the design. Custom Design Center fabricated Carrera marble to create a slab backsplash, shelves and perimeter countertops, while white quartz was used on the island. Taylor Bennett sourced brushed bronze pulls from Key Millwork & Supply and incorporated the homeowner’s art to style the kitchen.

Photos by Kelly Moore Clark


Owners Kate and Danny Graham created a sanctuary in their Ruston home by incorporating custom millwork and beautiful hardware.

The homeowners worked with Kiki Wardlaw to create a serene space that combined their love for old English charm with all the luxuries of a modern design. Key Millwork and Supply Co. fabricated cabinets with overlay doors which were painted Pigeon, a nostalgic blue gray hue from Farrow & Ball. Handcrafted brass pulls and knobs from deVOL punctuate the design. A custom-designed vent hood was fabricated in Chicago and takes centerstage along with a stunning gourmet range by Wolf. Both extra durable and all-natural, Taj Mahal quartzite was used on both the island and perimeter countertops. Reminiscent of old vintage taps, the faucet adds a lovely appeal when combined with a traditional apron-front sink. Taylor Bennett was responsible for styling the kitchen with elements that incorpate the appeal of this design from across the pond.


A curated collection of dishes and vases are elegantly displayed in a niche crafted from reclaimed wood. Chad Sanders fabricated the dark-hued concrete countertops and backsplash, and Trey Reese installed a bold gray and white Moroccan tile backsplash from Clay Imports in Austin, TX.


Homeowners Kristi and Eli Globke worked with Holly Gray to create a design that incorporated rustic elements in a modern, open concept design.

Custom millwork by Wilbur Rucker incorporates reclaimed wood, from Ouachita Antique Woods, inset into a painted frame. Custom crafted hardware by Marty King creates a balanced look. A gorgeous Bertazzoni range is a welcomed addition to this expertly designed kitchen perfectly suited for a family who likes to spend time cooking and entertaining.


was tasked with creating a dramatic custom paint in a dark blue matte that would be cohesive with the rustic drawer facings and custom concrete countertops.

Simmermaker Photography by Kelly Moore Clark


Claire and Hardy Gordon worked with designer Tish Miller to create a space they could gather, get comfortable and entertain.

Photography by Kelly Moore Clark

A quiet color palette is punctuated with moments of soft gray, Hardwick White by Farrow & Ball, which is seen on the perfectly crafted inset cabinetry by Key Millwork and Supply, Co. Beautiful quartzite is used as a countersplash behind a Lacanche range which serves as a centerpiece in this sophisticated space. Special thanks to Susan Duke at Function First and the contractor, Taylor Builders.


An Artist’s Restaurant

Mario Mata is no stranger to finding inspiration at the crossroads of food preparation and art.

A restaurateur and cook with the soul of an artist may seem like polarizing interests, but for Mata, they feed off each other. The intimacy required of each is comparable as it demands the artist’s incorporation of all of the senses, and, when intersected, the creative expression at stake can produce masterful cuisine and dining experience. Mata’s newest venture, Casa Real, is the epitome of an artist at work, both in the kitchen and in the restaurant’s space.

Of all his siblings, Mata was the only one born in Mexico. Though he arrived in the United States at an early age—raised in Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana—he decided to return to Mexico as a teenager. There, he completed his education, sharpened his Spanish skills, and soaked up the cultural palette of his home state, Tamaulipas. Located in the northeastern part of Mexico, it is bordered by the Gulf of Mexico to the east and Texas to the north. Characterized by its varied climates, vegetation, and rich agricultural economy, it was the perfect place to establish an appreciation for fresh ingredients.

Wanting to celebrate what it means to be Mexican, Mata opened Kahlo Tapas & Tequila in 2019. Unfortunately, the multicolored, tavernstyle eatery closed during the pandemic, and Mata was left with the question many of us ruminated on during the time—what’s next? His answer came by way of former Kahlo customers who were taken by the distinctive flavor of his dishes. “We kept getting asked, even called, by people that would see Kahlo existed on the internet. So we did have a nice following,” he says. Adding, “Finally, we decided to do it again in a bigger space.”

Wedged away from the thrum of the city, Casa Real is located off of U.S. Route 165 on a spacious verdant lot. “I wanted something more upscale,” says Mata, hence the restaurant’s name, which in English translates to “royal house.” Additionally, his interior design leans toward a more minimalist layout. A lengthy granitetop bar area is illuminated by industrial, cage pendant lights, and lined with wood barstools. Across from the bar, three high-top tables line a low dividing wall decorated with leafy vines spilling out of recycled tequila bottles. The rest of the space is the main dining area—neatly laid out wood tables, chairs, sangria-colored double booths, and the copper glow of glass pendant lights.

“As far as the artwork, it’s very simple. I didn’t want to overcolor it. We tend to do that because Mexico is very colorful, our artwork is very colorful,” explains Mata. Wanting to explore a part of his culture that sinks into the solemn and spectral, he landed on one of his favorite Mexican holidays—Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). “Lately, everybody has an idea of it because it’s becoming more common, but there is always a misconception. Some people think it looks like voodoo or that we’re celebrating death. But it’s the other way around” says Mata. This seemingly macabre holiday, which coincides with All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, is a celebration of life where the dearly departed are commemorated by way of altars laden with their favorite food and are believed to return on these days to reunite with living family and celebrate life together. “The purpose is not painting your face as a skeleton,” says Mata. Remembrance is at the heart of this festivity. For instance, Mata’s family honors his wife’s father by listening to his favorite songs, cooking his favorite meals, and even engaging in activities he enjoyed.

The mural that wraps around the restaurant walls draws from the spirit-filled holiday as well as the label of the restaurant’s house tequila, El Espolón. With the help of his wife, Mata emulated the calacas (figures of skeletons) and use of the rooster, a symbol of national pride, interweaving his visual narrative drawn in black Sharpie markers. “I took all that artwork and I imagined the story the way I wanted to lay it out on the wall,” he says. The story begins with a revolution led by a spear-clad rebel riding a massive rooster. Astounded skeletons run away, but further down the mural life remains undisturbed. Mariachis play at a bar, patrons drink and dance, and a marketplace is busied by women styled in long dresses. “The way I laid it out, it was gonna have movement,” he says. While using markers widens the room for error, Mata embraced the mistakes, explaining that it differentiates an art piece from the static nature of photographs or art prints. “I like to leave [mistakes] because it shows part of the work you did,” he adds.

Like his art, there is a deep-seated authenticity to Mata’s cooking, though he tends to avoid using the word to describe his culinary talent. “There’s a lot of types of authentic Mexican food. It really depends on where you’re coming from,” he clarifies, adding, “So it’s really hard to just pinpoint what authentic is. To some people, a certain kind of sauce is authentic, and another one isn’t.” What Mata recognizes as authentic can be traced to the freshness of ingredients. “I started liking to cook as a teenager,” says Mata, who made it a habit to step into the kitchen and ask questions about the food being prepared. He enjoyed the puzzling task of recreating dishes he had tried in other restaurants, further developing his palate. The distinguishing features of northern Mexican cuisine tend to deal with “a lot of meats,” which he has transplanted in his “Grill Specialities” portion of the menu. From his Steak Fajita Real (grilled aged outside skirt, onions, and peppers served with Spanish rice, charro beans, cheese quesadilla, tortillas, and a selection of sauces) to the monstrous Parrillada (grilled outside skirt, chicken, shrimp, pork, carnitas, sausage, bone marrow, served with two cheese quesadillas, Spanish rice, beans, and sauces), his meat specialties are a clear breakaway from Tex-Mex approaches.

As he did with Kahlo Tapas & Tequila, Mata endeavored to create a mural that would evoke the spirit of the space.
The Casa Real menu aims to introduce customers to the tradition and culture of Mexico; in that way, each menu item represents the heart of Mata’s home cooking.

The Casa Real menu aims to introduce customers to the tradition and culture of Mexico; in that way, each menu item represents the heart of Mata’s home cooking. Take the enchiladas on the menu. Usually prepared using a corn tortilla wrapped around a filling, Mata is changing things up and using a housemade crispy pastry: “It’s crunchy and soft in the middle.” Another innovative approach takes place before the meal. Instead of chips and salsa, complimentary handmade flour tortillas are served with two creamy butter spreads. “In Monterrey, where I was a teenager, flour tortilla is a big thing. We eat them all the time, and nobody buys them at the store because everyone is making them,” says Mata, who has brought that “freshness” to Casa Real.

“We always say that the food is made by the salsa you put on it,” says Mata, adding, “so we are very specific about how good our salsa is supposed to be.” Essentially, salsa is either made with boiled or roasted vegetables. Mata’s go-to salsa consists of blended roasted tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, and garlic. While

blenders are most commonly used for this process, Mata opts for the traditional use of the molcajete (mortar and pestle) which is often made out of volcanic rock. “There isn’t a better salsa than having a molcajete salsa,” declares Mata.

Of course, no meal is complete at Casa Real without a refreshing specialty drink. Both the Organic Margarita and Organic Jalapeño Rita make use of fresh squeezed limes and oranges instead of a pre-made margarita mix. The spicy Rita adds a splash of homemade jalapeño syrup, further enlivening the already animated drink. Try the sweet-tart flavor of grapefruit soda in the refreshing Paloma (grapefruit soda spiked with tequila, salt, and lime) and Grapefruit Mojito. Also on the drink portion of the menu is an array of wine and coffee selections.

Emboldened with the resounding depth that is Mexican culture, Casa Real is an inspired and sophisticated dining experience that will expand your tastebuds and understanding of the intricate flavors found in the multifaceted land on the other side of the Rio Grande.



The human suffering and cost in lives had been unbearable. Especially among the innocents and non-combatants. But for Europe the end would only be a matter of days.

The Russians had Berlin surrounded. The Allies had stopped their advances to the west and south but this was only to save their soldiers while the Russians expended theirs. Not wanted to be captured by the Russians, Adolf Hitler committed suicide on April 30th and ordered his bunker staff to burn his body. Infuriated by Reichsmarschall Göring’s request to take over the leadership of the Reich and also with Reichsführer Himmler’s attempt to seize power and negotiate a favorable surrender, in a final act Hitler appointed Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz as his successor. With Hitler dead, the remaining German troops in Berlin surrendered to the Russians on May 2nd.

Dönitz knew Germany could no longer wage any kind of effective war. He feared the Russians would engage in vengeful reprisals and hoped he could make some kind of surrender deal with the Western Allies. He therefore devoted most of his brief time as Reichspräsident to trying to ensure German personnel would surrender to the British or Americans and not to the Russians. He did have some success in this latter objective.

On May 2nd the German general with command over Italy and Austria decided to unconditionally surrender his nearly 1 million troops to the British. Another German commander surrendered his 1 million men to the British in Northwest Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands. That same day all German forces in Bavaria surrendered to the Americans.

In the east the Germans and the Russians continued to fight with the Russians inexorably grinding the German units down and taking the survivors

prisoner. Because of this, Dönitz ordered General Alfred Jodl, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces High Command (OKW) to offer to surrender all of the German forces to Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight Eisenhower. Eisenhower refused, however, to accept anything less than a complete unconditional surrender. He made it clear that absent an unconditional surrender he would order the western lines closed to German soldiers which would force them to surrender to the Russians. When Dönitz was informed of Eisenhower’s position he knew he had no other options. Shortly after midnight on May 7th Dönitz authorized the unconditional surrender of all German forces. In his capacity as Dönitz’s official representative, Jodl signed the document of surrender not more than a couple of hours later with the agreement that “[a]ll forces under German control to cease active operations at 2301 hours Central European Time on May 8, 1945.”

Because the Russians were not included in the May 7th surrender decision, the senior generals of the German OKW had to go to Berlin on May 8th and shortly before midnight signed another document of unconditional surrender. At this signing there were representatives of all of the Allies including Marshal Georgi Zhukov of the Soviet Army.

May 8th was declared Victory in Europe (V-E) day. The war in Europe was over. But not quite.

Some German commanders refused to acknowledge the surrender and fought on. This was especially true in areas where the fighting was against the Russians but was also in isolated pockets in the west and in locations where the news had not yet gotten to the German troops. The greatest number of holdouts was in Austria which fought until May 11th. Other units included some in Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia and cut off pockets of troops on the Channel coast of France and on the Channel Islands. Except

for a small abandoned group on an island weather station, all German units had finally surrendered by May 25th.

On the Allied home fronts it was time for celebration. Church bells rang across America. Flags and red, white and blue bunting seemed to appear on every building in America and in the United Kingdom. Confetti rained down from military planes in Canada. Joyous celebrations erupted as tens of thousands gathered in New York’s Times Square. People danced in the streets of New Orleans as if celebrating Mardi Gras. In London, crowds filled Trafalgar Square and up the Mall to Buckingham Palace. The Royal Family and Prime Minister Winston Churchill appeared on the balcony of the palace before the cheering crowds. Churchill later addressed another crowd at Whitehall saying:

“God bless you all. This is your victory. In our long history, we have never seen a greater day than this. Everyone, man or woman, has done their best.”

President Harry Truman dedicated the victory to President Roosevelt’s memory and said his only wish was “that Franklin D. Roosevelt had lived to witness this day.” Soldiers, sailors and airmen might be dancing in the streets and kissing pretty girls in London and New York but there was little celebration by the men in the front lines. Most merely read the story of victory from reports sent to the troops, said something like ‘I’m glad,’ and walked away. They were tired, still far from home and remembered their buddies who didn’t live to see the victory.

V-E day was not the end of the war. But with the end of the fighting in Europe, the Allies could transfer their sole attention to the Pacific conflict. The days left to Imperial Japan were unknown but without question were numbered.

Oh, those Germans at the island weather station? Some Norwegian fishermen took their surrender on September 4th.


Local Realtor Reminisces Career

Nancy Inabnett Retires From John Rea Realty After 31 Years

IF YOU HAVE BEEN AROUND MONROE FOR ANY AMOUNT of time, you have probably seen Nancy Inabnett’s name on a John Rea real estate sign. And if you recently moved here, well, she either sold your house to you or to someone else during another transaction. To say that Nancy and her family have been a pivotal part of the community would be an understatement. Her father was a successful attorney while her mother practiced law as well as started a new career later in lifegrowing crops and breeding cattle. The family home was the original Country Club and they were very active in the community, giving their time to many charitable organizations.

Nancy grew up attending Georgia Tucker Elementary, Lexington and Neville High School, and the latter years are where her dream of real estate began. She often noticed the signs for local real estate business in the front of local homes, but brushed it off as a fleeting thought. She went on to attend law school and work at a local doctor’s office, an insurance company and even taught at Neville. In 1991, Nancy’s interest in the real estate industry became more than just an interest, it became a very successful career. For 31 years, Nancy has been a staple in the local real estate market. This year, she announced her retirement to spend more time at home with her family, enjoying views of Bayou Desiard and visits with grandchildren.

When Nancy joined the John Rea Realty brokerage as an agent, the year was 1989. This was the year that Monroe experienced a terrible flood that displacing many people. Nancy put it bluntly. “It was a crisis,” she stated. “But it brought our community together. That is one my favorite things about this area. No matter what happens, good or bad, the community rises to the occasion. Everyone is willing to help their neighbor, raising money for a good cause, rally around each other… whatever is needed, the community steps up.”

When asked why she chose the John Rea Realty brokerage company, Nancy said, “The agents that I knew worked there and honestly, I didn’t look at any other options because in my mind, there weren’t any other options.” John remembers this time as well. “When Nancy joined real estate, it was not the most ideal time,” said John. “But she hit the ground running. She was number one in the local board for residential production and maintained that status for many years.” John feels like Nancy could have chosen anywhere to begin, and maintain, her business but he is honored at the fact she chose his brokerage. “Nancy has such a wonderful education and is such a high caliber person overall,” he said. “She really added to the feeling that the John Rea people are a family.” Additionally, John feels like Nancy’s attention to detail was one of the things that made

her so successful. “She was very hands on with every client she had,” he stated. “She had a certain level of expectations for herself, and she wasn’t driven by money. People loved her. And she genuinely loved them back.” Over her three decades in the business, Nancy saw technology revolutionize the industry, but that didn’t change the way she did business. “Nancy always communicated effectively and personally with her clients that included friends, family, church and club acquaintances,” said co-worker Patti Morris. “She made wonderful use of her phone and snail mail, staying connected with old friends and developing new ones. Handwritten notes were sent to children of friends, encouraging them during during their college years. Fruit and other little gifts were dropped off at the homes and offices of clients and friends. Clients that were new to town were treated to Bayou Desiard Country Club’s Burger night, where they were introduced around and subsequently added to Nancy’s extensive repertoire of personal friends.”

Relationship building is truly one of Nancy’s many gifts, and one of the factors to her success. In one year, she closed almost $18 million dollars in sales, a phenomenal accomplishment for a one-woman business. Nancy’s impact will be felt for years to come, as she has had such a big impact on so many agents in our community. “I was lucky enough to work with Nancy over the years on multiple listings and have learned so much from her,” said Kathy VanVeckhoven, fellow John Rea Realty agent. “Working with Nancy was always a joy, which helped my love for real estate grow even more. Her enthusiasm and sense of humor captivated me from the day I met her!”

Both under John’s leadership and agents like Nancy Inabnett, John Rea Realty has become one of the premier brokerages in Northeast Louisiana, working with residential, commercial and land transactions, and currently has 50 licensed real estate agents associated with his company. They have been serving the community since 1976, and that isn’t just a “slogan.” John implemented the “Love Your Community” initiative in 2011. This was a community action plan, encouraging everyone to speak and share positive things about our community. John has given his time to many local organizations including the United Way, the Chamber of Commerce, the University of Louisiana Monroe, the North Louisiana Economic Development Board and the Louisiana Real Estate Commission, just to name a few. He believes in the whole agent, encouraging, guiding and supporting them. This is just one of the reasons that John Rea Realty has become the trusted name in real estate in Northeast Louisiana for nearly 50 years!


Ouachita Council on Aging’s Annual Shindig

On Friday night, March 24th, the Ouachita Council on Aging held its annual Shindig at the MBH Farm in Calhoun. There was not a seat left empty in the barn! A special shout out goes to Mary Beth and Dr. Herschel Harter for their unwavering support and generosity as they opened their farm for another night of amazing fundraising for Meals on Wheels. What a night to celebrate Lynda McGehee and her 32 years of dedication to our community. Everyone enjoyed dancing to music by Lisa Spann & Company, food catered by Catfish Charlie’s and cold beverages from Marsala Beverage. Tables were sponsored by local businesses and a live and silent auction were in tow. Be sure to mark your calendar for next year’s event – this is one you don’t want to miss!

On the BayouScene

1 Vanessa Jenkins and Albertine Jackson

2 Fredia Bastoe and Susan William

3 Brittney Smith and Jarod Golson

4 Stuart Scalia and Anne Lockhart

5 Mark and Danielle Owens

6 Patti Pate, Anne Curry and Beth Ingram

7 Lynn Savell, Anna Norman and Loretta Hudson

8 Wonda Waldrop, Deanna Farr, Marilyn Lovett and Alvin Geageaux

9 Jessi and Robin LaPietra

10 Shawn and Susan Guidroz

11 ALynn Hairston and Shari Owen

12 Eve Valentine and Diane Gaines

13 Shelva Thomas and Sammie Winters

14 Heather Bice and Dave Massart

15 ALynn Hairston and Shari Owen

16 Cyntha Sanders and Chaise Sanders

17 Fran Martin and Gigi Harvey

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

Is Your Smile Summer Ready?

Smile All Summer Long with NELA Dental

COSMETIC DENTISTRY AIMS TO IMPROVE THE appearance of teeth, gums, and bites. Cosmetic dentistry procedures are popular and effective solutions for people looking to enhance their smiles. You will smile bigger than ever with cosmetic services from NELA Dental! Our team can whiten, fill in the gaps, and make your smile stand out in the crowd. NELA Dental offers fast and affordable teeth whitening, veneers and resin bonding, multiple options for orthodontics, and more. Here are some of the most common cosmetic dentistry options.


Teeth whitening is a popular cosmetic dental procedure that can enhance the appearance of teeth by removing stains and discolorations. It is a simple, non-invasive procedure that can be performed in the dentist’s office or at home using custom-fitted trays. The dentist applies a bleaching solution to the teeth, which breaks down stains and discolorations, leaving teeth whiter and brighter.


Dental veneers are thin, custom-made shells that are placed over the front of the teeth to improve their appearance. They are made from porcelain or composite resin and can be used to correct a range of dental problems, including chipped, cracked, or misaligned teeth, gaps between teeth, and discolored teeth. Veneers can be designed to match the color, shape, and size of the surrounding teeth, providing a natural-looking and long-lasting solution.

Dental bonding is a procedure in which a tooth-colored resin is applied to the surface of a tooth and then hardened with a special light. Bonding can be used to correct a variety of dental issues, including chipped or cracked teeth, gaps between teeth, and discolored teeth. It is a quick and painless procedure that can be completed in a single visit to the dentist’s office.


Dental implants are a permanent solution for missing teeth. They consist of a titanium post that is surgically placed in the jawbone, which serves as an anchor for a replacement tooth or a bridge. Dental implants look and function like natural teeth and can last a lifetime with proper care. They are a popular cosmetic dental option for people looking to replace missing teeth and improve their overall oral health.

Now with Teeth in a Day, you can get your dental implants completed in just one day. NELA Dental is your home for this One-and- Done, dental implant services. In fact, it is one of the few dental practices offering this

procedure in the state of Louisiana.

NELA Dental always strives to utilize the best in advancing technologies. Through the use of CAD (Computer Aided Design) and 3D printing, dental implants can be placed, and long-term temporary teeth can be printed and placed in one day. This process allows for more chewing ability and much less pain while healing. It also allows you to test drive your teeth, so you get the teeth you want.


Gum contouring is a cosmetic dental procedure that can be used to reshape and improve the appearance of the gum line. It is often used to correct a “gummy” smile, where too much gum tissue is visible when a person smiles. Gum contouring can also be used to address uneven or receding gums. The procedure involves removing or reshaping excess gum tissue to create a more balanced and aesthetically pleasing smile.

Teeth contouring, also known as dental reshaping, is a cosmetic dental procedure that can be used to reshape teeth and improve their appearance. It is often used to correct minor imperfections such as small chips, uneven teeth, and irregularly shaped teeth. The procedure involves removing small amounts of tooth enamel to create a more even and attractive smile.


A smile makeover is a comprehensive cosmetic dental treatment plan that is tailored to the individual needs and goals of the patient. It can include a combination of dental procedures such as teeth whitening, dental veneers, dental implants, and orthodontic treatment. A smile makeover can be an effective way to address a range of cosmetic dental issues and achieve a beautiful and confident smile.


Call to schedule your cosmetic service at NELA Dental. In addition to offering flexible scheduling, NELA Dental wants to make dentist visits financially easier for all their patients. That’s why they offer membership plans to help alleviate the cost of some procedures. Frequent visits keep your smile healthy, but these visits may also help catch potential problems early. This could make treatments simpler and more affordable.

NELA Dental accepts most major dental insurance plans, third-party payments, and offers flexible financing options. Call one of our convenient locations in Farmerville and Monroe, schedule your appointment. The NELA Dental team is ready to help guide you and your family to a strong smile and healthy living.

BLUE WAVES. Our favorite color in all of our favorite things from area retailers. Clockwise from top left: dyed mudcloths from Ouachita Antique Woods, painting from Haven, paper lantern from Parterre, alligator print from Revival Design and Consign, Asian-inspired jar from Walsworth & Company, large ginger jar from Lauren Roebuck Designs, blue glass candleholders from Woodstock Monroe, fabric and trim from Fabulous Fabric, blue velvet throw from Material Things, bowl with colorful interior from Palette House & Plume, blue stick candles from Parterre, ceramic tile from Custom Design Center Styled by Taylor Bennett. Photograph by Kelly Moore Clark.

Marsala Beverage Company

La Vida Más Fina


Beverage would love to help you celebrate the holiday with the largest portfolio of imported brand in the US. Marsala Beverage has been a partner with Constellation Brands for over 20 years. Constellation Brands is the visionary company behind the beer, wine and spirits brands that you love and have celebrated with for over 70 years. Driven, smart, passionate and agile, we are never content with the status quo, or playing it safe. We thrive on innovation and new ideas, and are at our best when pushing our boundaries. As an entirely American-owned company, they produce quality iconic brands such as Corona Extra, Modelo Especial, Corona Light, Corona Premier, Negra Modelo and many other beverages.

As written on every bottle, Corona is crafted to be La Cerveza Más Fina, “the Finest Beer,” and the new campaign takes this philosophy a step further. Translated as “the Fine Life,” La Vida Más Fina encourages people to explore the fundamental truth that more fulfillment and joy can be found in just about anything, simply by changing one’s outlook.

CORONA EXTRA With a refreshing, smooth taste balanced between heavier European imports and lighter domestic beer, Corona is an even-keeled cerveza with fruity-honey aromas and a touch of malt. The flavor is crisp, clean and well balanced between hops and malt. A superior taste profile from superior ingredients.

CORONA LIGHT Corona Light is a pilsner-style lager with a uniquely refreshing taste—brewed for outstanding light flavor with a crisp, clean finish. Its pleasant, fruity-honey aroma and distinctive hop flavor make it a favorite of those seeking a light beer that is full of flavor. Corona Light’s naturally easy-drinking style makes it perfect for pairing with spicy and citrus-infused dishes.

CORONA PREMIER Corona Premier offers the premium lowcarb, light beer experience you’ve been waiting for. Its refined, crisp taste and even-bodied feel makes it the smoothest and most drinkable Corona. With only 2.6g of carbs and 90 calories, Corona Premier is perfect for casual entertaining, sharing with guests, or rewarding yourself for a day well-lived.

CORONA FAMILIAR The best beers are made to be shared. That is why Corona Familiar embraces the bright, crisp taste Corona is known for with a slightly fuller flavor, higher ABV, and shareable 32oz packaging. With strong ties to authenticity and heritage, Corona Familiar is best served in small gatherings with close friends and family, using the tradition of sharing to create meaningful experiences.

CORONA REFRESCA Corona Refresca is a premium spiked refresher that brings the taste of the tropics from Mexico to you. Available in Passionfruit Lime and Guava Lime, it is a bright, flavorful malt beverage with 4.5% ABV and natural fruit flavors. Crisp, flavorful, and never too sweet, Corona Refresca doesn’t sweep you away to the tropics, it brings the topics to you.

CORONA SELTZER The #1 most refreshing beer is bringing a lighter, less filling option to the hard seltzer category. Introducing Corona Hard Seltzer, the only 0g carb, all Corona, hard seltzer. With 0g carbs, 0g sugar, 90 calories, 4.5% ABV and gluten-free, Corona Hard Seltzer is a tasty, better-for-you alcoholic beverage rooted in Corona’s chill attitude and high-end credibility. This 12-pack variety includes: Tropical Lime, Cherry, Blackberry Lime and Mango.

MODELO ESPECIAL Brewed as a model of what good beer should be, this rich, full-flavored Pilsner-style Lager delivers a crisp, refreshing taste. Well-balanced taste and light hop character with a crisp, clean finish. Modelo Especial is characterized by an orange blossom honey aroma with a hint of herb. Modelo is the #2 imported beer in the US.

NEGRA MODELO Negra Modelo, better known as “the cream of the beer,” is a Munich-type beer with 5.3º of alcohol that offers a balanced flavor and a delicate aroma of dark malt, caramel and hops. Today it occupies the first place in sales among dark beers in Mexico. This beer is accompanied by a bright deep amber color, which is adorned with abundant, white and compact foam. Negra Modelo was introduced in Mexico in 1925 as the dark beer called Modelo, to begin its great tradition. In 2014 it changed its image to a more sophisticated bottle but with the same content.

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 or follow us on social media:

Facebook: Marsala Beverage

Twitter : @marsalabeverag1

Instagram: @marsalabeverage


Ouachita Medical

New Name, Same Local Physicians

OOUACHITA MEDICAL, PREVIOUSLY FAMILY DOCTORS of NELA, is excited to offer the community 12 primary care providers in five different locations throughout the Monroe/ West Monroe/Sterlington area.

Ouachita Medical’s providers include Dr. Tommy Banks, Dr. Billy Branch, Dr. Erin Breard, Dr. Mark Dollar, Dr. Harry Hawthorne III, Dr. Byron Henry, Dr. Steven McMahan, Katie Cantrell, FNP, John Evans, PA, Carrie Genusa, FNP, Lindsey Morrow, FNP, and Sherry Peveto, FNP.

This experienced group of physicians and nurse practitioners see patients of all ages through all stages of care. Whether you’re in need of an annual exam, a referral to a specialist, or a plan of care for chronic conditions, the providers at Ouachita Medical are equipped to treat your unique healthcare needs and concerns.

Ouachita Medical’s providers offer a range of healthcare services, including wellness checks for adults and children, preventative care, women’s health, diabetes care, hypertension management, lab and radiology services, sports and school physicals, obesity management, treatment of minor injuries, in-office procedures, skin procedures, allergy management, and more.

One of the things that sets Ouachita Medical apart from other healthcare providers in the area is its commitment to personalized care. The team of physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, and support staff take the time to get to know each patient, their unique health needs, and their individual preferences. By doing so, they are able to provide tailored care that meets the specific needs of each patient, resulting in better health outcomes and a more positive patient experiences.

Not only do Ouachita Medical’s providers care deeply for their patients, but they are also passionate about the community. The majority of providers were born and raised in Northeast Louisiana and chose to return to the area to grow their practice and enrich the health and wellbeing of their communities.

All Ouachita Medical providers are currently accepting new patients and welcome same-day appointments. You can find our providers at the following locations:

Drew 1117 Cheniere Drew Road 318-329-4370

Steven McMahan, MD

Lindsey Morrow, FNP

Thomas Road 102 Thomas Rd, Suite 203 318-538-0140

Sherry Peveto, FNP

Katie Cantrell, FNP

North 7th Street 1900 North 7th Street 318-651-7000

Tommy Banks, MD Mark Dollar, MD

Byron Henry, MD

Carrie Genusa, FNP

North Monroe 3995 Sterlington Road 318-329-9447

Erin Breard, MD (Suite C)

Byron Henry, MD (Suite A)

John Evans, PA (Suite A)

Sterlington 9052 Highway 165 N 318-665-0170

Billy Branch, MD

Harry Hawthorne III, MD


STYLE ME PRETTY. Taylor Bennett used his styling genius to create a cozy nook in Tiffany

kitchen. Find these items and more at area retailers.



Jones’ On shelf: wood and glass cake dish from Lauren Roebuck Designs, glasses from Woodstock Monroe, plant with dishes and from Material Things, dishes from Walsworth & Company, landscape from Lauren Roebuck Designs, paper mache bowls from Palette House & Plume, olive tree from Woodstock Monroe. On countertop: potted plant from Parterre, wood bowl and pestle from Ouachita Antique Woods, books and white bowl from Haven, wood bread board from Walsworth & Company, moth plate from Revival Design & Consign, vinegar and olive oil from Ouachita Antique Woods, salt bowl with spoon from Haven, small wood bread board from Palette House & Plume Styled by Taylor Bennett. Photograph by Kelly Moore Clark.
THIS LITTLE LIGHT. Let there be light with these decorative lamps from area retailers. From floor lamps to sconces, these lamps switch your décor on. From left to right: gold lamp with black shade from Lauren Roebuck Designs, small touch lamp with changeable shade from Palette House and Plume, green lamp with woven shade from Parterre, tall white lamp from Haven, white lamp with small blocks from Material Things, giraffe lamp from Revival Design & Consign, green and gold lamp from Fabulous Fabric, gold floor lamp from Walsworth & Company Styled by Taylor Bennett. Photograph by Kelly Moore Clark.
What you’ll need:
PILLOW TALK. Looking for an easy way to update your space? Change your pillows with the seasons for a fresh look. Clockwise from top - blue and brown graphic floral pillow from Palette House & Plume, Asian-inspired floral vase from Lauren Roebuck Designs, leopard pillow with tassels from Woodstock Monroe, multi-colored pastel pillow from Fabulous Fabric, reservations pillow from Parterre, bird and floral pillow from Material Things, blue and green watercolor pillow from Walsworth & Company, bug pillow from Revival Design & Consign, kilim-inspired pillow from Ouachita Antique Woods, blue and green spotted pillow from Haven, colorful swashes pillow from Walsworth & Company Styled by Taylor Bennett. Photograph by Kelly Moore Clark.

Mother’s Day Specials

The Medical Spa by St. Francis Medical Group

THIS MOTHER’S DAY, WHAT BETTER WAY TO THANK that special mother figure in your life than with a gift from The Medical Spa. The Glo2Facials will be buy one, get one 50% off from May 1 – May 12. Your mom will leave The Medical Spa glowing and refreshed. There is no better way to say thank you for her love and care through the years.

The Medical Spa also offers a wide variety of medical-grade skincare products that she’s sure to love! If you’re unsure what products are best, we are here to assist. Gift cards make a great gift as well. Purchase a $100 gift card for only $75 during the entire month of May with a limit of four.


The Glo2Facial by Geneo is the go-to facial for rebalanced beauty. This breakthrough treatment unlocks the body’s natural superpowers: Oxfoliate with 02 bubbles, amplify with Lux via our lite ultrasound experience and detox via lymphatic massage. Each Glo2Facial is formulated with highly effective, natural ingredients to target specific skincare concerns. With six different treatments, your Glo2Facial is customizable for every age, skin type and season.

• Balance: Best for oily, acne prone skin, Balance removes impurities, fights acne and minimizes oil production.

• Detox: Best for skin regularly exposed to allergens, Detox protects the skin from environmental stressors.

• Glam: Best for preventing signs of aging, Glam improves elasticity and prevents loss of collagen.

• Hydrate: Best for dull, dry skin, Hydrate enhances moisture retention and strengthens the skin barrier.

• Illuminate: Best for pigmented skin, Illuminate unifies skin tone and reduces pigmentation.

• Revive: Best for mature skin, Revive reduces fine lines, improves texture and smooths overall appearance.


National Sunscreen Day is May 27th. This day was designed to bring awareness to the importance of wearing sunscreen. Sun exposure damages the skin, worsens the signs of aging and increases

your risk of skin cancer. Sunscreen defends the skin from ultraviolet rays by forming a protective barrier. Sunscreen is vital during any time of year, because whether it’s winter or summer, the sun is still shining. Sunscreen should be part of your daily routine. An SPF of 30 or 50 provides approximately 93-98% protection against UV rays. If you’re looking to boost your sunscreen effectiveness, simply add a daily antioxidant! Antioxidants work to neutralize free radical damage from UV rays, pollution and daily lifestyle factors. Harmful environmental factors can result in skin cancer and photoaging (loss of elasticity, fine lines, wrinkles and discoloration). During the entire month of May, sunscreens will be 25% off, so be sure to stock up this month.

• Daily Brightening UV Defense SPF 30: A lightweight, residuefree formula combines broad-spectrum UV protection with a potent blend of discoloration-correcting and hydrating ingredients for brighter, more even skin.

• Physical Matte UV Defense SPF 50: Tinted, broad-spectrum sunscreen with 100% mineral-based UV filters absorbs oil for a longlasting matte finish.

• Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50 (Our best seller!): Tinted, broad-spectrum sunscreen fluid with 100% mineral UV filters promotes radiance and a more even skin tone.

• Sheer Physical UV Defense 50: Lightweight, broad spectrum sunscreen fluid with 100% mineral UV filters and a transparent, matte finish.

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. Also, 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.


St. Francis Hosted LOPA Heroes

Flag Raising Ceremony and Butterfly Release


Procurement Agency (LOPA) and St. Francis Medical Center hosted families of recent LOPA heroes with a luncheon on April 18th, which featured guest speaker Patricia Cameron, author of Grief Unwrapped Following the luncheon, attendees and hospital team members were asked to pause while the LOPA Donate Life flag was raised near the front entrance of the hospital and butterflies were released in Anna Gray Noe Park.

Local, state, and national events like St. Francis Medical Center’s flag raising ceremony and butterfly release help to draw awareness for donation and encourage people to become registered donors. Hospitals throughout the state of Louisiana celebrated during April - National Donate Life Monthto help raise awareness about the critical need for individuals to register as organ, eye, and tissue donors by participating in flag raising

ceremonies, donor drives, and educational outreach programs.

There are over 100,000 people on the national transplant for lifesaving organ transplants and hundreds of thousands more are in need of corneal and tissue transplants. On average, 20 people die each day because the organs they need are not donated in time. Fortunately, one donor can save or heal the lives of more than 75 people. Learn more and register today at

About LOPA

LOPA is the only federally-designated organ procurement agency for the state of Louisiana. The agency plays a vital role in educating the medical community and the general public about organ and tissue donation matters, working with families through the donation process, recovering donated organs and tissues and placing the organ and tissues for transplant.

About St. Francis Medical Center

St. Francis Medical Center is a not-forprofit, 328-bed medical center in Monroe, Louisiana, with more than 1,800 team members committed to caring for those we serve. With an acute-care hospital, freestanding outpatient center, 19 outpatient clinics and nearly 350 physician partners, St. Francis Medical Center provides comprehensive healthcare services for a variety of medical and surgical specialties. St. Francis offers Northeast Louisiana’s only Level III NICU, Level III OB, and Level II PICU services. St. Francis Medical Center leads the region in heart and vascular services, critical care, and complex and minimally invasive surgical procedures. The hospital offers a designated Level III Trauma Program, Graduate Medical Education Program, Accredited Chest Pain Center and Centers of Excellence in the areas of obstetrics, bariatric surgery, robotic surgery, minimally invasive gynecology, and breast health.


Make Mom’s Day

With a Gift Card to LA Center for Women’s Health

WHEN YOU DON’T LOOK YOUR best, you’re not going to feel your best. Over a period of decades, our clinic has acquired the equipment and expertise to offer a palette of state-of-the-art procedures to maximize your appearance. We strive to offer our cosmetic services and procedures at affordable prices, which represent real value in today’s world. These various high-tech services can be obtained at our private clinic here in the Monroe area for a fraction of the charge for the same procedure in other cities. We are aware that our patients are interested in getting the best value, and we are structured to deliver this.


Everyone can benefit from the Hydrafacial procedure. It is inexpensive, gives immediately noticeable results, only takes about 30 minutes, and has no social downtime. The procedure is

extremely pleasant and relaxing. We have the latest Hydrafacial equipment and a dedicated technician to perform it in a private setting. The procedure minimizes skin discoloration and brightens skin tone, instantly minimizing fine lines and wrinkles. Your skin is saturated with antioxidants and peptides to maximize skin glow. Uncover a new layer of skin with exfoliation and resurfacing.


We are among the earliest adopters of Vaser Liposuction in the world. In fact, we have taught and demonstrated this unique procedure for doctors from as far away as Seoul, Korea.

Vaser liposuction uses a very small incision of less than 1/4 inch to emulsify and remove fat. The procedure is performed in the office under local anesthesia, saving the expense of a hospital or surgery center. The

results are immediate, unlike various noninvasive treatments which may or may not work.


Hormone pellets have helped thousands of men and women achieve hormonal balance for restoration of their health. We offer hormone pellets and hormone testing in our clinic. The pellets look much like a grain of rice and are placed under the skin where hormones are released as they dissolve over a period of months. For most people, this is the easiest way to replace missing hormones. If you have fatigue, depression, anxiety, decreased sexual performance, muscle wasting, insomnia, or weight gain, it might be appropriate to have your hormones checked.


Our clinic has state-of-the-art lasers for the treatment of numerous medical and cosmetic problems. Unfortunately, this involves too much information to include in this space but will be detailed in future articles.


We also offer Botox, Juvederm fillers, and various cosmeceutical beauty correcting formulas, all priced competitively. Please call if we can provide you with additional information at 318-387-3113.


Orthodontics Redefined

Caples and Robinson Orthodontics

TECHNOLOGY IS WHAT DRIVES US AND SETS US apart at Caples and Robinson Orthodontics. Innovation is what drives the world to move forward. At Caples and Robinson Orthodontics, it is our desire to be the forefront of orthodontics in Northeast Louisiana. We work hard to stay on top of new combinations of technology and innovation to help improve our patients’ experience and speed in which we can give them the smile they want. Through these new technologies and innovations, we are now able to treat our patients better, faster and more comfortably than ever before. Orthodontics is not what it was 10 years ago let alone 20 years ago and definitely not what your mom and dad had.

Clear aligner therapy has been around for a little over 20 years. In this time there have been many improvements and changes in the quality of care and the quality of output we have seen with these products. The Spark Aligner System by Ormco has again redefined what can orthodontically be done with clear aligner therapy. At Caples and Robinson Orthodontics, we have been using clear aligners for 15+ years and are excited to say the Spark Aligner System sends heads & shoulders above all others! Instead of straightening teeth with braces and wires… we are now able to get the same quality results with a series of clear aligners to create a custom smile that is just right for you. The Spark Aligner System has been proven to be the best fitting, most durable, and clearest aligner system on the market!

Your Spark adventure begins with a three-dimensional scan of your teeth and your bite. That’s right… no more gooey molds or impressions of your teeth. The digital scan is then uploaded into the Spark software and Drs. Caples and Robinson are able to virtually align your individual teeth to give you the smile that you have always wanted. Your custom smile is then brought to life by the industryleading software that calculates precise tooth movements into a series of clear aligners. Once your tooth movements are approved by our doctors, your personal aligners are manufactured and sent to the office.

At your delivery appointment, we make sure the fit and prescription is perfect. We also placed a few dots of glue (attachments) on very specific teeth to be able to complete the necessary movements

to give you the quality result that families expect from Caples and Robinson Orthodontics. Most patients switch their aligners out every seven days. Aligners are taken out to eat and to brush, but need to be worn 22+ hours a day. We traditionally see our patients every 10 to 12 weeks to monitor their progress. The average patient starts with 25 to 30 aligners. Once this first series of aligners is completed, commonly there is a second scan and a refinement series of aligners to get things 100% perfect. The desired results are usually achieved in two series of Spark aligners, averaging 14 to 18 months of treatment time, but we have the ability to do more if needed.

Our newest technology will arrive this summer with the implementation of Dental Monitoring with all Spark aligner patients. Our patients will scan their teeth with the use of their own smart phone from home, office or wherever and will immediately know if the aligners are doing what they should. If there are any issues in the quality of the fit or in the projected tooth movement, our doctors and our patients will immediately be notified and an office visit will be scheduled. This will allow us to ensure the quality results we strive for every day at Caples and Robinson Orthodontics. What does this mean for patients? Fewer office visits, satisfaction to know the product is working the way it is planned, and immediate reassurance that their money has been well spent.

We are again excited to bring the latest innovation & technology in orthodontics to Northeast Louisiana. Call our office to today and come visit one of our five locations and see if the Spark Aligner System is right for you.

Please feel free to research the Spark Aligner System yourself at


Bone Health and Osteoporosis

AS THE WEATHER WARMS UP AND EVERYONE STARTS to get a little more active, staying consistent with fitness is so very important. I wanted to give our women readers some tips and advice when it comes to staying active and maintaining healthy bone quality. As women age and go through menopause, they are at an increased risk for breaking bones, we call them osteoporotic fractures. Three areas most at risk for breaking, especially in women in their 50-70s are the wrist, spine and hip. Osteoporosis is a decrease in the bone mass that results from age, menopause and metabolic changes in your body. The treatment for osteoporosis involves a team approach with your medical providers to manage the building blocks of bone and most importantly- to help prevent them in the first place.

Osteopenia and osteoporosis are diagnosed with something called a dexa scan. This is a special x-ray that measures the density or “bone mineral density” of certain bones in your body, such as your pelvis. The results are given as a “T-score” which is a comparison of the bone mass in a 25-year-old. This test should be done on all women aged 65 and older, and certain women younger than 65 with risk factors for osteoporosis. The results of this test determine how often you should receive the next scan and this varies from patient to patient.

Like so many things, prevention is the best medicine for osteoporosis. It takes a lifestyle geared toward your health and staying active to maintain good bone quality. Smoking has been linked to decreased bone quality and osteoporosis. Kicking this bad habit is a great first step in bone health. Making sure you are taking in the proper building blocks for bone health is also very important. Without the right materials, you can’t maintain healthy bone quality. Vitamin D and calcium are essential nutrients for bone health, and it’s often very difficult to get adequate amounts in our regular diet. Calcium is one of the main building blocks of bone. All women over 50 should be consuming 1200mg of calcium every day. Vitamin D is used by our body to absorb calcium. We get this from food and sun exposure, but again, do not always get enough. The bone health and osteoporosis foundation recommend men and women over age 50 should get around 800-1000 international units (IU) of vitamin D

per day. Taking these two nutrients as daily supplements can ensure your body has the materials it needs to maintain healthy bone.

Staying active with exercise is the last piece of the puzzle for preventing osteoporosis and fractures. Weight bearing exercises are important in increasing and maintaining bone density. These are exercises done while standing, working against gravity. Examples include brisk walking, hiking, jogging and tennis. Strength training exercises can also help with bone quality. These are exercises done either against your own body weight, with resistance bands or free weights. Activities like yoga and Pilates are not necessarily weight bearing and though not directly helpful to bone mass, they can improve balance which can help prevent falls and fractures.

In summary, maintaining bone health is a lifelong commitment and an investment in yourself. It takes an assortment of healthy lifestyle choices, supplemental intake and exercise to make sure osteoporosis never starts. In some cases, if this isn’t enough your medical doctor might discuss medications that can be used to help. As the old saying goes though, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Jeffrey Pearson, MD is a fellowship trained orthopedic surgeon specializing in hip and knee replacement. A fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon elects to spend an extra year after their required five years of general orthopedic surgery training, focusing on a specific ‘specialty’ in orthopedics like total joints or sports medicine. Although Dr. Pearson primarily performs hip and knee replacements, he also practices general orthopedics and has a vast knowledge of the musculoskeletal system. Dr. Pearson sees patients at both our Shreveport and Bossier City clinics. If you would like to schedule an evaluation with Dr. Pearson or one of the nine fellowship trained orthopedic surgeons at Orthopedic Specialists of Louisiana, please call: (318)543-BONE(2663) or visit No referral is necessary and, in most cases, we can accommodate same day appointments.


Geaux Family Health Opens New Building

On Thursday, April 13th, Geaux Family Heatlh celebrated the opening of their brand new building and Spa Terra - A Medi-Spa. Champagne and sweets, were served and guests could enter for giveaways. Visit their new exquisite location at 2900 Forsythe Avenue, Monroe.

On the BayouScene

1 Jessica Ates and Victoria Lawrence

2 James and Suzanna Reneau

3 Franny Kelly and Tara McMileon

4 Emily Lane and Mindy Gilbert

5 Meghan Sharp and Hannah Salsbury

6 Jennifer Cain, Emily Lane and Jessica Storm

7 Emily Lane, Tiffany Terra and Mindy Gilbert

8 Katie Stansbury, Chandler Gaiennie, Erica Thompson and Jessica Carter

9 Tiffany Terra, Pam Taylor, Toni LaPietra Green

10 Charlotte Robinson and Jean Hall

11 Tiffany and Bryan Terra

1 4 5 6 7 9 10 11 8 2 3

Surgery Clinic Of NELA: You Do Not Have To Live With Pain

Maintaining Your Physical Health Benefits Your Mental Health

MAY IS MENTAL HEALTH MONTH.WE KNOW OUR PHYSICAL health significantly impacts our emotional well-being. In fact, those with physical pain are at a heightened risk for depression and anxiety.

All of us at the Surgery Clinic of Northeast Louisiana, home of Delta Vein Care, strive to relieve our patients’ pain and comfort them. Our Delta Vein Care success stories illustrate the power of pain relief. One of our patients, Barbara, could not sleep at night because the pain in her legs and feet was so severe.

Barbara said, “After my ultrasound, Dr. Bart Liles immediately told me the problem: the valves in my veins were no longer working properly. Then he explained how he would address my pain. He was so kind and upfront about everything. After our meeting, I had so much hope, which meant everything to me.”

Barbara underwent procedures to treat vein reflux, which occurs when veins cease to circulate blood properly. She said, “I had no pain after any of the procedures. I returned to work the very next day.”

She vividly remembers the night following the first procedure. “I was pain-free for the first time in years. It felt like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I was given my life back. I knew I could once again live a normal existence.”

Pain can appear in many forms. So many of our weight loss patients have carried obesity-related emotional burdens their entire lives. One of those patients is Krystal. While studying nursing at ULM, Krystal struggled with her appearance. She said, “Whenever I was at my heavier sizes, I

always felt self-conscious about how I looked and angry for letting myself go.”

After graduation, she became a successful nurse, but her work was physically painful. She worried about her health due to her family history of obesity-related illnesses. She also worried about how her weight affected her son.

“One night, after a long, painful day at work, I had to tell my two-yearold son, ‘Mama can’t get down on the floor to play cars.’ That is when I finally decided to regain control of my life. I was sick of having pain dictate what I could and couldn’t do. I wanted to enjoy my reflection again,” she said.

Krystal decided to act. Dr. Walter Sartor performed her gastric sleeve, a non-invasive procedure in which a portion of the stomach—and the hunger hormone responsible for cravings—is removed. The smaller stomach ensures patients consume smaller amounts. She lost 80 pounds within the first year and 20 more in the following months. Krystal now walks into a room with confidence. She has also observed Dr. Sartor’s surgical skills and dedication from a nurse’s perspective. “What makes him great is that he genuinely cares—and is so diligent—about his patients,” she said.

If you are experiencing any pain, even if it seems minor, we urge you to undergo an examination. Our minimally invasive procedures can help you live a happier, fuller life.

Our Surgery Clinic houses surgeons Dr. Walter Sartor, Dr. Bart Liles, Dr. Patrick Smith, and Dr. Mohamed Bakeer.


“Home designing done well requires the skills of an artist, an engineer, a carpenter, a mind reader and a marriage counselor, mixed with gallons of grace, love and patience.”



LARRY JAMES HAS DESIGNED over 5,000 custom house plans and has sold predesigned plans for over 15,000 homes throughout the United States and many countries as far away as Japan. These homes range from the on trend “tiny houses” at 240 square feet to homes featuring over 17,000 square feet of living space. His homes have been featured on the covers of Better Homes and Gardens and House Beautiful plus other national publications. He designed the personal residence of Mitchell Gold in Hickory, North Carolina, a well-known furniture manufacturer. Larry is one of the principals who created The House Designers, one of the first online internet sites to market predesigned home plans. In addition to his residential design career, Larry has designed and developed two subdivisions, North Point and Sterling Fields. At age 76, he has no interest in stopping anytime soon.

Larry is active in several civic endeavors that enhance the community. He was a founding member of the Sterlington Planning and Zoning Board and served as Chairman of the Main Street renewal program for Bastrop. Through this association, Larry designed nearly all the new facades in Historic Downtown Bastrop.

Because of his career in design through which he has helped countless families build their “dream homes” and because of his willingness to lend his expertise and time to support small town economic development, Larry James is our May BayouIcon. Article by Georgiann Potts and Photography by Kelly Moore Clark.

Creativity needs solitude, and Larry enjoys spending time alone, but he also loves people, and has a passion for designing homes that are just right for them. He talks closely with his clients, listening to their dreams carefully. This way he learns what they really want, how they will live within the home (a key to the final design), and what special elements they hope to have included.

With that information, Larry creates homes that are truly custom. He makes suggestions during the process to help the dreams fit the reality of the laws of math, geometry, and physics, but he always remembers that his client’s dream is the most important first step to the ultimate design.


Larry’s mother, Pauline Pickett, was born in Bastrop in the home that her father, John Pickett (a carpenter), had built. Larry’s grandmother (Mema Pickett) never spoke ill of anyone nor did Larry ever see her angry.

Larry’s father, Bennie James, was a sharecropper in Wisner who left school in the 5th grade to support his mother and four siblings. He met Pauline when he came to work at the Bastrop papermill.

James remembers his father was smart, kind, and ambitious. He dressed well, was an entrepreneur, and a good businessman. Larry’s father retired as a supervisor at the papermill. Pauline loved reading and even did a few paintings. She, too, dressed well and was very stylish, but it was her heart that was most beautiful to Larry. “She completed a two-year degree from the newly opened junior college in Monroe,” Larry says. His mother died at age 59 and that spurred his “Time is short; do it now!” attitude. Through the years many people told Larry what a good listener she was and how much she cared for people. It’s easy to see where Larry got both of those skills.

The couple had two sons, Larry and a younger brother, Paul. Paul made a career at AT&T and in his own communications service business. Larry’s career path would not be quite so linear.


Larry spent his childhood in Bastrop all except for one year when the family moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Larry’s dad served in WWII and Korea, and it was during the Korean conflict that the move occurred. Larry was five.

The epicenter of Larry’s childhood was in 3rd Ward on the Old Monroe Road in Bastrop near the New Friendship Baptist Church. Brother Paul was the hunter, while Larry discovered many interests to exercise his creative mind. “The mailbox, magazines, and the library were my best friends,” Larry says.

When he was 7, Larry discovered house plan books. The hand-painted water-colored renderings of the houses fascinated him. “The designs made the homes look real” Larry recalls. This fascination would become a lifelong passion.

Between 7th and 8th grade, Larry remodeled his bedroom. He took measurements, drew a floor plan, designed a place for everything, and then built all the furniture to go in it. He built an “L” shaped elevated platform. “The scheme was 1950’s modern which was the style of the day,’’ Larry explains.

Though he lived in a house built by his grandfather, Larry thought the house was “old” and was a little embarrassed. The home was raised off the ground with steps up to the front porch. Constructed using white board and batten siding, it had a red brick chimney on one side. “Ironically, white painted board and batten farmhouses are now all the rage,” Larry says. “I have designed hundreds of homes based on the home that I was once ashamed of.”

Larry’s vision of the world beyond Bastrop was broadened through yearly vacations the family took. Most were week-long, but one summer Larry remembers that the family planned a two-week vacation to Florida. “We thought we might need to lock the front door while we were gone for that long, but we never found the key,” Larry says. “Times were different then.”


Larry’s creativity sometimes interfered with traditional education. He always loved learning on his own – something he candidly admits is probably the result of his not liking being told what to do – but that curiosity was not always appreciated. When he was in first grade, the family’s Life Magazine – dedicated to dinosaurs -- arrived. Larry took it to his teacher and said that this was what he wanted to study. Perplexed, his teacher dismissed the idea because her first graders were “too young and would not understand.”

Larry made good grades through elementary school, and enjoyed art. He excelled in penmanship, thanks to his 4th grade teacher, Clara Pratt. His test scores for high school qualified him to take advanced classes – including Latin. Unfortunately, a bowling alley opened in Bastrop and his grades fell. After his dad talked to him, the grades changed for the better. Again, art was a favorite class and Robert Younger, a favorite teacher.

Larry has always worked. During his senior year, hoping to make enough extra money to go the 1964 World’s Fair in New York, Larry walked around the Courthouse Square asking every store for work. All summer, he filled in for people who were taking summer vacations. He delivered drugs for the drug store, sold “high heel sneakers” at Rains Shoe Store, and even “created” a job by asking stores if they wanted their windows painted for the rodeo that was coming to town. By summer’s end Larry had saved $1,200. He didn’t go to the World’s Fair because his dad wasn’t happy with that idea. The next year he did go to New York to sell books door-to-door. He outsold 3-year veterans, but the job was short-lived. His sales partners all left after less than a week of selling. Larry sold solo one more day and then he, too, took a bus home –a 48-hour trip.

Larry’s work ethic never changed. He entered Northeast Louisiana State College at age 17. He earned a B.A. at the age of 21, and soon after a M.A. degree in fine art with studies in art history, painting, drawing, graphic art, and ceramics. College appealed to his independent spirit because he was 100% responsible for himself. To put himself through without debt, Larry worked every summer at the papermill and in the art department as an intern.

As Larry was about to march in for his graduation with his B.A. in 1968, his name was called, and he was asked to sit on the stage during the graduation. “I thought I was in trouble for not paying a campus parking ticket!” Larry remembers. “Turns out I was an honor graduate and didn’t know it.”


During his senior year, Larry began dating Dianne Pyle, a Bastrop girl he had gone to high school with. She was going with a friend of Larry’s in the art department, but the friend moved to Pittsburg. Larry saw his chance and the two began dating. They

Larry and Dianne dated for a year before they got married on June 28, 1968. Larry says, "We had $78 to our name. LOVE!"

dated for a year. After graduation, Larry got a job doing advertising design for the Bastrop Daily Enterprise. “We got married on June 28, 1968, and we had $78 to our name. LOVE!” Larry says.

It was wartime, and Larry was vulnerable to the draft. At age 21 he took a job as a high school art teacher at Terrebonne High School in Houma where some of his students were 20. They lived in an unair-conditioned mobile home in the middle of a sugar cane field. “We survived on Chef Boyardee spaghetti and Sweet Sue Chicken and Dumplings until we decided Vietnam didn’t look that bad,” Larry says. He took a chance and left teaching to return to Monroe and earn his M.A. in ceramics with a minor in painting. Eventually Larry was given a 4F deferment and they were free to start a new life away from small towns.

Dianne has always been supportive of Larry’s career dreams. When he told Dianne that he believed he could improve mobile home design and he was going to Dallas and get a job doing just that, she believed in him. After putting together a portfolio of designs – floor plans and 3-dimensional exteriors all drawn by hand -- Larry went to Dallas and landed a job on his first interview.

The two moved to Dallas where they both learned about the differences in life in a small town and a big city. Although Larry advanced quickly with a very promising future, the two soon realized that there is no place like home. They moved back to Monroe and Larry began working with Dianne’s father, Don Evans, who was a builder and designed homes. Ironically, Evans had built Larry’s parents’ new modern 60’s home in Bastrop when Larry was a senior

in high school. Four years later, Larry married Evans’ daughter and began creating a career of doing what he loved best, designing homes.


When Larry was 27, he bought his father-in-law’s home design business and built the office on Justice Street that he still occupies today. Larry considers Evans to be one of his most valuable mentors. “He was patient and gave me an opportunity to work for him – even when I thought and acted like I knew everything but really knew nothing,” Larry says. Larry finds that working for himself is most rewarding. While not for everyone, it suits his personality. Over the years there have been challenges. One is that he can’t do the work faster. He has averaged 15-25 active clients all the time, and takes in over a hundred new projects each year. “In the 50 years I have been in business, I can only remember about 45 minutes that I didn’t have any projects waiting to be designed. I have been richly blessed,” he says.

Another challenge has been technology – learning new CAD programs to design houses in 3 dimensions, for one. “It’s great for the client and the designer, but it is a steep learning curve for anyone at times. Still, I’m learning and loving it more every day,” Larry says.

Larry has been fortunate to have talented people who have worked with him in his business. “Early on, Randy Shultz brought talents to the table I did not, and will never have. Michelle Stokes started working as an office assistant while in high school. She was 17 years old. She has been invaluable and indispensable, taking on multiple responsibilities, and doing them perfectly for 40 years.”

“In the 50 years I have been in business, I can only remember about 45 minutes that I didn’t have any projects waiting to be designed. I have been richly blessed."
~Larry James


In every aspect of their relationship, Larry and Dianne are partners. Both have a deep faith on which they rely when they face a challenge.

After Dianne worked in retail sales for a time, Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf coast. A temporary rescue mission was opened in Bastrop to aid Katrina victims and Dianne was put in charge of operations there. Later the relief center transitioned into a thrift shop that Dianne and her late friend, Sandra Coats, managed. This work touched Dianne and Larry, and they formed Thrive Ministries, a nonprofit to help those in need.

Six years ago, the couple built Thrive on Thrift – a store that helps local people by taking donations of used goods and selling them at low prices -- in Sterlington. The thrift store provides jobs for 20 people who need to work but might not be able to find employment elsewhere. “Dianne loves every one of them, and shares her faith with every customer,” Larry says. “This ministry has been yet another blessing that has come to us -- and countless others -- through faith. The property that the thrift store is built on was sold twice and both deals fell through. We were upset each time, but God’s plans are always better than our plans.”

Another story of faith was the creation of Sterling Fields. The property was purchased, Larry had designed the streets and figured the number of lots that could be developed, financing was approved, and a name was chosen, “Sterling Fields.” They were debt free. Should they gamble it all at 60 years of age?

Early one morning during Larry’s quiet time, he asked the question “Should we do this?” Larry closed his eyes, opened his Bible, and placed his blind finger on the page. The verse it pointed to read “Do your planning and prepare your fields then build your house.” (Proverbs 24:27). Larry rushed downstairs to wake Dianne.

Their decision was made. The verse was later painted on the walls of the community post office as a birthday gift by their niece, Angela Leachman.

Though Larry and Dianne don’t have children of their own, they believe that God has blessed them with many children – nieces, nephews, and their youth group family at Christ Episcopal Church. “We are Uncle Larry and Aunt Di to many young people,” Larry says. Both agree that the only thing that matters in life is to find ways to love people and help others whenever possible. By doing so, they are living their faith. Each is doing that every day, whether designing houses or lifting up those who need it most. And each is the other’s biggest cheerleader and best friend. They know that life is remarkable and filled with His providence. The main street in Sterling Fields is named Providence Park.


Gardens of Somerset

Celebrating A Year In Northeast Louisiana

IN MARCH THE GARDENS OF Somerset celebrated a year of being a part of this wonderful community with a ribbon cutting on our beautiful grounds. P. Allen Smith welcomed dignitaries, family members, residents and guests to commemorate this momentous occasion. “The generous support that we’ve received from this community has been overwhelmingly positive. We are so thankful for our residents, their families, our staff, and the people of Northeast Louisiana for trusting and believing that we would build and establish a community that would benefit older adults in this region,” said Ashley Kirk.

We are dedicated to providing a comfortable and enriching environment for our residents, and we are proud to offer the following four things that make our community stand out:

A Variety of Living Options

We offer a variety of living options to fit your needs, including independent living cottages,

independent living apartments, assisted living accommodations, and memory care apartments. It’s important to us that you feel comfortable and at home in your living space, and we will work with you to find the perfect fit, no matter where you are in your healthcare journey.

A Vibrant Community & On-Site Amenities Gardens of Somerset has everything you need right here on our 18-acre property, so you don’t have to go far to enjoy the things you love most. We know the importance of convenience, and we do everything in our power to make your life as comfortable as possible. Gardens of Somerset offers an on-site restaurant, hair salon, fitness center, library, and more. There’s simply no need to leave the community to get the things you need, and you can take advantage of our amenities at your leisure.

A Dedicated Staff

Our caring and professional staff is here to

serve you and make sure that your needs are met. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist you with anything you need. We understand that the transition to a new living situation can be difficult, and we are here to help make it as smooth and seamless as possible. We create individualized plans that reduce stress and confusion, helping each community member enjoy a happier, more purposeful life.

A Pet-Friendly Community

We know that pets are family too, and we are proud to be a pet-friendly community. We welcome small pets, and we have plenty of curated outdoor spaces for them to run and play to their heart’s content. Spending time with pets has shown to be beneficial for seniors in a number of ways. They can help reduce stress, anxiety, and loneliness, and they provide companionship and unconditional love.


If you’re looking for a better living community that offers everything you need to live a comfortable and fulfilling life, look no further than the Gardens of Somerset. Our vibrant community, variety of living options, on-site amenities and activities, and dedicated staff set us apart from the rest. Contact us today to schedule a tour. We can’t wait to show you everything that the Gardens of Somerset has to offer!


Give the Gift of A Good Night’s Sleep

Find Your Perfect Sleep Solution at American Mattress Outlet

AS WE APPROACH MOTHER’S DAY and graduation season, people are looking for the perfect gift to give to their loved ones. While there are countless options out there, one gift that stands out as both practical and thoughtful is a new mattress.

A good night’s sleep is essential for overall health and wellbeing, yet many people neglect the importance of a comfortable and supportive mattress. For mothers and graduates alike, a new mattress can make a world of difference in terms of quality of sleep and overall health.

For mothers, a new mattress can be a thoughtful way to show your appreciation for all that they do. Many mothers spend countless hours taking care of their families, often sacrificing their own needs in the process. Giving a new mattress can show that you recognize and value the importance of their self-care.

Similarly, for graduates who are entering the workforce or continuing their education, a new mattress can be a practical and thoughtful gift. College students, in particular, often prioritize their studies over their sleep, leading to fatigue and decreased productivity. A new mattress can provide the support and comfort needed to ensure that they get the quality rest they need to excel in their academic and professional pursuits.

In addition to the practical benefits of a new mattress, it can also be a long-lasting and meaningful gift. Unlike flowers or other temporary gifts, a good quality mattress can last for years and provide a daily reminder of your love and appreciation.

American Mattress Outlet provides a wide variety of beds to choose from, they also have adjustable bases made by Malouf and BedTech, and a range of pillows. “If buying a mattress is not an option, the Malouf Shoulder Zoned Gel Dough makes a wonderful gift. This pillow has

a unique shoulder cutout that allows proper shoulder alignment and puts the neck at a 90 degree angle. Changing your pillow is small investment that can make a huge difference,” says owner Robby Compton. So, whether you’re looking for a gift for your mom, or a graduate in your life, consider giving the gift of a good night’s sleep.

American Mattress Outlet is Northeast Louisiana’s premier mattress dealer. Stop by today and visit Robby Compton and his team at 2200 North 7th Street in West Monroe or at 208 West Alabama Avenue in downtown Ruston. Find them online at or call 318.366.5565.


Recognizing Cognitive Changes

The Clinic at Gardens of Somerset’s Reflection Program


The Clinic at Gardens of Somerset offers is the Reflection Program. This program uses specialized memory and cognitive assessments coupled with physical therapy to detect early signs of cognitive decline and protect against preventable dysfunction and memory loss. We talked to Elizabeth Hoskins, NP, about normal cognitive aging and dementia.

Memory loss is not a normal or inevitable part of aging. Understanding the difference between normal cognitive changes and those more serious, such as dementia, is very important to ensure early diagnosis. This is because dementia can be prevented in up to 40% of cases.

Normal age-related changes in cognition are subtle and shouldn’t interfere with routine tasks. Examples include: occasionally having trouble finding a word or phrase, trouble with

multi-tasking, slower thinking speed, trouble remembering events that happened long ago, and occasional delays in remembering dates and events.

If you notice that a loved one is having cognitive changes that are disrupting their daily life, it’s time to determine why this is happening. Forgetting names of close friends or common items, repeating questions, losing track of time or place, misplacing items, taking longer than normal to finish tasks can all be signs that cognitive changes may be due to dementia.

The Reflection Program at Gardens of Somerset helps to detect early signs of cognitive decline, and protect against preventable dysfunction and memory loss and enhances brain health and performance. Participants will complete a detailed cognitive assessment with Elizabeth, using an evidence-based tool called the BCAT. Use of this tool provides a

multidimensional understanding of a resident needs and strengths. The information from the BCAT allows the physical therapy team to tailor training, exercise, and other forms of therapy to the patient’s needs. It also provides specific treatment recommendations for the Gardens of Somerset staff.

There are many options to treating those suffering from cognitive impairment, and The Clinic at Gardens of Somerset is here to assist those looking for peace of mind. Similar to the mission of the Gardens of Somerset, their goal is to offer integrated care to the residents while also inviting the community onto the campus for primary care services. For more information on the services offered at The Clinic at Gardens of Somerset from Integrated Care Professionals, or to schedule an appointment with Elizabeth, call (318) 3062389. The clinic is located at 340 Lonewa Road in Monroe.


Haven Has Everything For Your Home

A Carefully Curated Selection Of Everything That Relates To Your Home

HAVEN OFFERS SO MANY BEAUTIFUL THINGS TO compliment your home. They have a great selection of instock bedding from Matouk and Pine Cone Hill, including coverlets in different weights of cotton and velvets that are all machine washable and practical for today’s living. Starting with a neutral palette for your bedding always provides great groundwork. This gives you the opportunity to layer color and texture in your shams or throw pillows. Pillows also allow you to change your bed’s interest with just a few new additions. Layering is what provides interest and a well-designed bedding choice. Haven also has a great selection of throw pillows with so many more on the way.

The designers at Haven just got back from Highpoint Furniture Market and they have ordered so many new items for the shop. Bedding, lamps, and some amazing design accessories are all on the way. Haven had a tremendous response to the new design side of their retail space that opened in September. So, while they were shopping at the premier furniture market in the country, they put a heavy emphasis on high design with a great price point. Haven will have a larger selection of well-priced design accessories, wall art, small tables, ottomans and pillows in stock. More special-order rug samples have also been ordered and will be arriving soon. These

rugs have a great price point and can arrive in just a week. The design staff added wool and natural fiber rugs, as well as some polyester rugs that are pet friendly. Haven also welcomes several new staff members that will be available to assist you in the design area of the shop. This design area also provides the opportunity for customers to browse through wallpaper books and order cabinet hardware. Haven has always been a great destination for gifts to celebrate every occasion. Mother’s Day is coming up soon. Haven has restocked their pajamas, slippers and Barefoot Dreams. New shipments from our customer favorites Hazen and McClendon Jewelry are in and would be perfect for Mother’s Day. Other special gifts to consider are new spring/summer bags, small batch bath products, and new devotional and inspirational books. Candle scents for spring have debuted. The Crushed Mint and Heirloom Tomato candle are two that always sell out fast. Nest has added new scents to their relaxation collection, as well as their Santorini Olive and Citron candle that is delightful. A gift certificate is always an amazing gift. This way Mom can purchase something she has had her eye on for the house or herself.

Treat yourself and your home with a visit to Haven today!


Erase Your Skin’s Past

IPL…For That FLAWLESS Complexion

BEAUTIFUL SKIN ISTHE HALLMARK of youth. With Intense Pulsed Light therapy…you can improve the color and texture of your skin without surgery. It can undo some of the visible damage caused by sun exposure, noticed mostly on your face, neck, chest, and hands, but most any area of the body can be treated.

An evenly-colored, pigment-free complexion is very important for maintaining a youthful look. Blotchy skin doesn’t reflect light very well, making the complexion look dull. But unified skin tones do reflect light and can take years off of our appearance.

While it may sound like a laser treatment…it’s not a laser. IPL uses multiple wavelengths of light, which means we can treat a variety of skin issues, including freckles, age spots, melasma, and rosacea. Rosacea is a facial redness caused by spider veins and acne-like outbreaks. About 90

percent of our patients are very satisfied with their level of clearing…especially with the redness of rosacea.

This magic wand can smooth and soothe facial woes and delete fine to moderate lines and wrinkles. Because the light generates heat, it stimulates cells to form more collagen, as much as 20 percent more. Because it plumps the skin, it’s like getting a collagen injection, but using your own collagen.

Best of all, there’s no downtime. It’s truly a lunch time therapy. Most treatments take about 45 minutes to perform. Afterward, there is just a flush, which goes away in less than two hours. You can apply makeup directly after the treatment.

Depending upon the severity of problem…several treatments (one to three) may be needed to remove all pigment.

Uneven skin tones can add just as many

years to your skin as having fine lines and wrinkles. After IPL, your skin tone will be more even, creating younger looking skin. Other services offered at Professional Laser Center include microneedling, laser hair removal, PinPointe FootLaser, Botox, filler, and bio-identical hormone replacement, which can be achieved with compounded creams, pellets, shots, troches, and capsules.

For a free consultation or to schedule an appointment, call 318-361-9066. For more information about our services, visit our website



It’s common knowledge that too much sun exposure isn’t a good idea, as it can damage your skin, lead to premature aging, and repeated sunburns raise the risk of developing skin cancer. Entirely avoiding sun exposure on your skin isn’t necessarily a wise health decision, either, however. Allowing your skin to have direct contact with the sun triggers the production of vitamin D, and helps regulate hormones and neurotransmitters that support healthy energy production, sleep and mood.

Exposure to the sun’s UV rays also lowers blood pressure and exerts positive effects on adipose tissue that decreases the risk of metabolic syndrome.

There seems to be a fine line between getting enough sun exposure to promote health and not getting so much that it puts your health at risk, and the amount of time each person can tolerate varies greatly. Based on your heritage, you’re born with a certain amount of melanin, which is natural skin protection. More melanin creates a darker skin tone and offers protection from the sun. If your natural skin doesn’t contain a lot of

melanin, you’ll be more fair complected and likely won’t develop much of a protective tan before your skin begins to burn. The darker your natural complexion is, the more sun exposure you’ll need to reap the health benefits, and the more you can tolerate before you burn.

Beyond the natural tolerance for the sun that you’re born with, there are nutritional factors that can increase your skin’s natural defenses, too. For one, copper is utilized by enzymes that make melanin. Without healthy copper levels in your body, your ability to produce protective melanin upon exposure to the sun will be diminished, causing you to burn more easily. I’ve often heard people say that as they’ve gotten older, they just don’t develop a tan in the sun like they used to, and burn more easily than they once did. Diminished copper levels in the body, or an inability to utilize copper properly due to other deficient nutrients, may be to blame for this in some cases. When the sun’s ultraviolet rays touch your skin, it triggers the conversion of cholesterol in the skin to cholecalciferol, or vitamin D3. The main role

of D3 is to enhance calcium absorption and to pull calcium into the blood either from calcium in your digestive system or from other tissues in your body, like the bones, muscles, and skin. When large amount of vitamin D3 production is triggered through sun exposure, it can lead to a rapid removal of calcium from the skin, which affects something known as the epidermal calcium concentration gradient. This loss of calcium diminishes the skin’s protective barrier and leaves the cells more vulnerable to burning.

The healthy functioning of your cells also plays a role in maintaining a healthy calcium concentration in the skin. The permeable membrane surrounding every cell in your body is made up of lipids (fat) that allow nutrients to easily enter and exit the cell as needed. Omega -3 fats are important for maintaining this healthy cell membrane, while excessive amounts of omega 6 and 9 fats create inflammation and cause it to harden. Rather than a gelatinous-type layer around each cell, the membrane becomes more like a tough shell and nutrients have a hard time

getting inside. This makes it more difficult for the calcium that’s lost from the skin during sun exposure to be replaced quickly. This leaves the skin vulnerable to damage.

To enhance your skin’s natural protection from the sun and allow you to receive the health benefits of adequate sun exposure without damage, build your body’s natural SPF from the inside. Support melanin production by increase your consumption of copper, which is abundant in shellfish, organ meats, nuts and seeds. Oysters and beef liver are absolute superstars when it comes to providing your body with not only copper, but a variety of other minerals and the fat soluble vitamins you need to utilize those minerals properly. If you don’t like beef liver (me, neither) you can purchase it in capsule form and supplement with it as well.

Always discuss your supplementations choices with your healthcare provider, however. Cashews and dark chocolate are also good sources of copper.

Since the loss of calcium in the skin’s protective barrier


leads to burning, ensuring that you’re getting ample calcium through your diet can be protective, as well. Dairy products from healthy, pastureraised cows are great sources, and full fat varieties also contain vitamins D, A, and K which support your body’s use of both calcium and copper. Sardines and other forms of fish that contain edible bones (like canned wild salmon) are rich calcium sources, as well as dark leafy greens, almonds, and winter squash.

Lastly, to support healthy cell function, avoid vegetable and seed oils, which are rich in the omega 6 and 9 fats that damage cell walls. Nearly all packaged snack foods, packaged meals and restaurant foods contain these inflammatory oils. Check your ingredient labels and avoid canola, safflower, corn, cottonseed, soybean, vegetable, and all other seed oils. At home, use cold pressed extra virgin olive, avocado and coconut oils, and butter from grass-fed cows. Animal fats (from meat, dairy and eggs) that come from animals raised on pastures, eating

their natural diets of fresh green plants and bugs have a higher anti-inflammatory fatty acid profile, rich in omega-3 fats. However, the same products from animals fed unnatural diets of grain contain inflammation promoting omega 6 and 9 fats.

The simplest rule of thumb to follow, is that a diet rich in plants and animals grown and raised in the sun will support your own sun protection, while animals raised in indoor feedlots and foods created in indoor factories will damage your natural sun protective capabilities.

While you’re out enjoying the sun this summer, practice safe sun exposure, as always, by retreating to the shade before any indication of burning begins and use sunscreen or clothing to cover areas that will be exposed for long periods of time. By promoting your own body’s sun protection mechanisms from the inside, you may enable yourself to enjoy a bit more time in the sun, while preventing painful, damaging burns.


Gift Beauty And Confidence

With DermamediQ This Year

MOTHER’S DAY IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER, and it’s the perfect time to show your appreciation and gratitude to the special mother in your life. While flowers and chocolates are always appreciated, this year, why not gift her with something that will make her feel beautiful, confident, and rejuvenated? Here are a few reasons why Forma, Botox and fillers, and laser hair removal would make an excellent Mother’s Day gift.


Forma is a non-invasive treatment that uses radiofrequency energy to stimulate collagen production and tighten the skin. It is a safe and effective way to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, lift and firm sagging skin, and improve skin texture and tone. The treatment is painless, requires no downtime, and provides immediate results. Gifting your mother with a Forma treatment will leave her feeling more confident, youthful, and rejuvenated.



Botox and fillers are two of the most popular cosmetic treatments for reducing the signs of aging. Botox is a purified protein that is injected into the skin to relax the muscles and smooth out wrinkles and fine lines. Fillers, on the other hand, are injectable gels that add volume and lift to the face, filling in lines and wrinkles. These treatments are safe, quick, and effective, and the results can last for several months. Gifting your mother with a Botox or filler treatment will leave her feeling refreshed, youthful, and more confident.


Laser hair removal is a popular cosmetic treatment that uses laser technology to permanently reduce unwanted hair. It is a safe and effective way to remove hair from any part of the body, including the face, legs, underarms, and bikini area. The treatment is painless, requires no downtime, and provides longlasting results. Gifting your mother with a laser hair removal treatment will leave her feeling more confident, comfortable, and ready to take on the summer months.

In conclusion, Forma, Botox and fillers, and laser hair removal are excellent Mother’s Day gifts that will leave your mother feeling beautiful, confident, and rejuvenated. These treatments are safe, effective, and provide immediate results. They are also personalized gifts that can be customized to meet your mother’s individual needs and preferences. This year, show your mother how much you appreciate her by gifting her with a cosmetic treatment that will leave her feeling her best. Call us today for our Mother’s day special starting May 1st - May 5th.

1705 Lamy Lane, Monroe, LA 71201 (318) 807-1060

Call to schedule your appointment today!



Entrepreneurship and creativity run in Benicia King’s family. King’s maternal grandfather, Robert Cornwell, was a reverend, photographer, and musician in Grambling. But he wasn’t the only creative or ambitious Cornwell; other members of this — one of the Lincoln parish town’s original families, King says — made a living working as tailors, farmers, and restaurant owners. The Cornwells’ entrepreneurial spirit trickled down the family tree's branches until it reached King’s mother, a Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising graduate who owns and operates a clothing design and alteration business.

article by Starla Gatson and photography by Kelly Moore Clark

Take one look at King’s profile on networks like Instagram and LinkedIn, peruse her portfolio on her website, or take a look at the products she sells in her online store, and you’ll see that, much like those who came before her, she is both artistic and businessminded; there’s no denying it. Not that King is trying to — she’s embraced these seemingly hereditary traits since her youth.

She has found ways to make her interests profitable since she was a child selling handmade scarves to her classmates and through a local shop. And judging by the Future Business Leaders of America club emerging business leader awards she racked up in high school, King was good at it.

It’s safe to say Seattle-born, Grambling-raised King is still good at it, as she makes a living through her brand 9ëfer, a conglomerate of the things she is passionate about. One of those passions is photography, and it has been for most of her life.

She explains her childhood home had plenty of photo albums, each filled with images of family events or documenting her ancestors’ cross-country moves during the Great Migration period, remembering, “I was really inspired by the photography I was seeing.”

Since her mother was a fashion designer, she kept plenty of fashion magazines around. A young King drew inspiration from the photo spreads in those, too. She was so enthralled by the images she saw, both editorial- and documentary-style, that she decided to pursue photography post-high school.

“My family said, ‘If you’re going to go to college, do something you’re passionate about,’” King explains. “And I was like, ‘OK, I’m passionate about photography.”

Though it was what she decided to study, King confesses that photography wasn’t her first career aspiration, “At first I wanted to be a vet; I really liked animals at the time. But then, I got into biology and said, ‘I don’t think so.’” She laughs before adding, “But [photography] being something I always knew I wanted to do and having family backing put it all together.”

With her heart set on commercial photography, the then 18-year-old left north Louisiana — the local universities weren’t teaching many commercial photography practices at the time, she explains — and headed to her birthplace: Seattle.

King’s undergraduate studies began at The Art Institute of Seattle, a commercial-based school where she took courses in subjects like lighting and product photography. After a few months, she transferred to Seattle Central College to learn more about art history and culture.

The aspiring photographer only spent a year at Seattle Central before switching schools again. This time, though, she was going more than a few minutes down the road. At her grandfather’s request, she relocated to sunny California — “My grandmother had passed away, and [he] wanted me to be there with him,” King explains — and resumed her education at the University of Southern California.

Early photography - Senior Portraits, digital photograph, 2012 Heffner Portraits, digital photograph, 2013 - 2015 How It Feels to be Colored Me series, “Untitled”, inkjet print, 2018 SMG Portraits, digital photograph, 2013 - 2015 Ritual Dinner, Event, digital photograph, 2023 My Louisiana Studies, “Grambling Juneteenth Parade”, gelatin silver print, 2020 - currently

The move to California not only gave King precious time with her grandfather before his passing, it also sent her photography career in a new direction. While in the Evergreen State, King directed much of her energy into learning the ins and outs of commercial photography. But in California, she became more interested in fine art photography, a category much of her current work falls into.

King’s fine art photos explore multiple topics, including masculinity, culture, self or internal dialogue, family dynamics, and spirituality (she even did a project on church attire inspired by her family’s religious background). While those subjects still inform her work, King says she’s exploring a wider variety of areas so she doesn’t pigeonhole herself.

“I always had ideas of traveling for work and seeing what that’s like, but I never knew my stuff would be in Vogue, I’d be editing for other photographers, or I’d be in exhibitions,” she says. “I’m constantly surprised and happy.”

“I’m still figuring out what I’m talking about,” she admits. “There are a lot of changes going on; I have to go through the experience first and figure out what I want to say.”

She may still be “figuring out what she’s talking about,” but the entries on her curriculum vitae reveal that so far, her work has done a good job of saying what she intended thus far. At just 29 years old, she has already found quite a bit of success in her field, not just as a fine art photographer, but in editorial and documentary-style photography, too.

King’s photos have been shown at venues including the Masur Museum, New Orleans African American Museum, and the Stella Jones Gallery. She has shot Fashion Week in Italy, was awarded the Fine Arts Club of Pasadena’s Visual Arts Award in 2019, and publications including Vogue and VoyageLA have spotlighted her. You may have even seen King’s name in an issue of BayouLife, as she was

mentioned in an article on the Black Creative Circle in November 2021.

She admits her professional achievements have been surprising, and even though she’s worked in the industry as a photographer and photo editor, for more than a decade now, King says it still catches her off guard when people recognize her or her photographs.

“I always had ideas of traveling for work and seeing what that’s like, but I never knew my stuff would be in Vogue, I’d be editing for other photographers, or I’d be in exhibitions,” she says.

“I’m constantly surprised and happy.”

But don’t be fooled, she warns. Her career isn’t only high points, she says, adding, “There’s also rough times, too. It’s not [like I’m] being featured in stuff all the time. It’s a well-rounded experience.”

Though a big part, photography is not the only component of her “well-rounded experience,” and it’s not the only thing that falls under the umbrella of her brand, 9ëfer. Creating natural beauty products is also a passion of King’s and has been since she was a student at USC and began making her own hair products to use.

“My family’s really into herbs and farming; we used to have a big farm back in the day,” King explains. “That inspires me in the beauty aspect, keeping up the use of natural herbs, natural products, and focusing on a healthy body in terms of what we put onto it.”

While spending a summer in Louisiana, a hairdresser, impressed with King’s hair, encouraged her to sell her products. By the time she returned to USC in the fall, she was ready to act on that suggestion.

“There was an entrepreneurship minor, and I used that to focus on the target market and develop a brand,” she recalls. “Then, I


started doing pop-ups at the farmer’s markets out here.”

King withdrew from USC just before the COVID-19 pandemic began and moved back home to Louisiana. Here in the Pelican State, she finished her undergraduate degree at Grambling State University and focused her efforts on building her beauty brand, testing out the customer market through local pop-ups, and developing it visually.

“People think building beauty products happens overnight [because people like] Lori Harvey can just pull out a brand,” she says. “That’s not how it works.”

Making and selling 9ëfer-branded products has been a lengthy process, but one she’s grateful for, as it helped her develop skills and tools she could integrate into her photography business. It’s also given her time to ponder other potentially profitable interests she could incorporate into her brand.

She assures BayouLife that whatever she adds to her résumé next will offer a unique point-of-view, something she feels is necessary, especially here in the south.

“There are some developments I’m working on for the beauty products right now,” she reveals. “I eventually want to have some sort of event space and some type of food delivery service. [There are] just a lot of things that are important to culture and community shift. There are things we should be focusing on more. That’s what readers can expect from me: a different perspective on things.”

And, of course, there will be photos — photography is one thing King says she will always produce. Some of her work is on display at this article’s time of writing as part of Seeing Black Photography and the Ashé Cultural Arts Center’s exhibition, “In the Spirit of Black.” The show, which runs through May 27th, features both well-known and emerging photographers and depicts black life, self-expression, culture, spirituality, remembrance, and futurity in a variety of styles and approaches.

What King will do after this exhibition, however, we will have to wait and see, paying a close eye to her Instagram profiles (@ kingbenicia and @9efer) and website,, for announcements regarding her latest projects.


Shop Woodstock Monroe

Your Gift Destination

EVERYBODY KNOWS THIS TIME OF YEAR IS SO BUSY. Woodstock has you covered for Mother’s Day, graduation, Teacher Appreciation, recital, and everything in between. We featured our top six gift ideas for Mother’s Day and graduation below. Come by our shop and you will see we have all of that and much more to offer. Or check us out online! We ship out orders every day, and there is a pickup option if you are local. We can have gifts wrapped and ready to go with your pickup order! New arrivals come in weekly, so stay in the know by following our social media accounts.

We are happy to announce that our friends at Studio Roo Floral Design are joining us for Mother’s Day Weekend, May 12th - 13th. They always bring the most beautiful flower arrangements that we know your mom would love! Also, Woodstock is turning twelve and we are throwing the biggest party ever! You want to make sure you come by the store June 8th - 10th for a mega sale, giveaways, some fun vendors, and more! Again, be sure to check out our social media pages for more info leading up to these events!

This year has already brought us so many great opportunities and adventures. The store is full of so many great items for your home, gifting, or clothing needs. With spring right around the corner we hope to see you soon to find some pieces to bring new life to your space. We are so excited to see what the next few months will bring and don’t forget to check out our website at


• Arm Saver Gardening Gloves-nearly elbow length, these gloves keep the dirt out and protect your hand and arms from scratches

• Riddle Oil Boujee Body Oil-smells amazing... one of our best sellers!

• Tiger Beach Towel- microfiber towel that is compact, sand resistant, and quick drying.

• Hand Painted Wine Glasses-hand painted in the 318, these glasses feature a pelican, crawfish, and magnolia.

• Barr Co Saddle Bar Soap-back at Woodstock! Barr Co is a long time Woodstock fav, we have many of their other bath and body products that keep your skin feeling soft and smelling great!

• Powder Pajamas-this is one of those gifts that you get one to give, and one for yourself! Silky smooth, light weight, and comes with a beautiful gift bag.

Mark your Calendar for Upcoming Events at Woodstock:

May 12 & 13: Mother’s Day Weekend with Studio Roo Floral Design

June 8-10: Woodstock’s 12th Birthday Weekend


Your Hometown Urologist

Dr. Robert Marx Specializes in Vasectomies

YOU’VE DECIDED YOUR FAMILY IS complete and now it’s time to cruise into the next phase of your life. You may be empty-nesters, or you may be running your children from soccer to the ballpark. Whatever season of life you’re in, if you’ve decided that your family is complete, let Dr. Robert Marx ease you into that next chapter with less worries.

A vasectomy is a medical procedure in which two tubes (the vas deferens) that carry sperm from the testicles to the urinary tract are tied and sealed. This prevents sperm from passing into the seminal stream and fertilizing a woman’s egg. Although it is permanent, it is surgically reversible in most cases. Reversibility is dependent upon time elapsed since the vasectomy. When it comes to forms of permanent male birth control, a vasectomy is the ideal permanent surgical procedure available to men. The procedure carries a very low risk of complications and is available to be performed as an outpatient procedure with

localized anesthesia. Dr. Marx performs a nocut technique, which is the least invasive. The patient is sedated and local anesthesia is used in order to achieve a painless procedure.


Prior to a vasectomy, patients may be asked to prepare by:

• Washing the scrotum to prevent infection

• Not shaving the area

• Bringing a pair of tight-fitting underwear or athletic support to the surgery to support the scrotum and minimize swelling

• Arranging for transportation home to prevent extraneous movement

• Avoiding anti-inflammatory drugs prior to and following the procedure, which thins the blood and can cause excessive bleeding


After the vasectomy is completed, patients are advised to rest for two days in order to

reduce swelling and allow the vas deferens to heal. Discomfort may last for up to a week after the procedure, with patients often being prescribed anti-inflammatory or painkillers for pain. Patients are encouraged to avoid heavy lifting, straining or squatting for 1 week. If you do any of these activities for work, you may need to take off work or arrange for light duty. Dr. Marx can give you an excuse. Also, keep the area dry for a week as well.

If you are considering a vasectomy, call today to discuss your options with Dr. Marx.

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


Educators Rising Campus Day

The University of Louisiana Monroe Hosts Educators


Monroe hosted the second annual Educators Rising Campus Day on Thursday, April 6, 2023, in The Hangar on the second floor of the ULM SUB. Over 200 students, administrators, and personnel from eight school districts and 11 partner high schools learned more about being professional educators. Partner school districts in attendance included Caldwell, DeSoto, Franklin, Madison, Monroe City, Morehouse, Ouachita, and Richland.

“We are incredibly pleased to see the growth of this program and our campus visit day event. We have more than doubled our enrollment in pre-educator coursework and our attendance at this event from last year to this year,” said Dr. Amy Weems, ULM Assistant Professor of Education.

The crowd was welcomed in an opening address by ULM President Dr. Ron Berry, who encouraged the students on their path to becoming educators. “If you look around, one of our biggest needs as a state is teachers.

Teachers who care about other individuals and want to make a difference in their lives, who want to create their futures. So please stay with it. We desperately need you,” said Berry.

The day continued with sessions and activities for the students including the opportunity to participate in a service-learning project by helping assemble “LEAP Survival Kits” that will be distributed to approximately 90 local 4th grade classrooms. These students are part of ULM’s Centennial Scholars Program, who will make up the incoming freshman class of 2031, the University’s 100th year.

“We are so thankful for the support of our service-learning project from the campus visit day participants, our ULM family, and the community,” said Weems. “We know these LEAP survival kits and the inspirational videos we are creating will help our Centennial Scholars during standardized testing week,” she said.

The closing keynote speaker was Kimberly Eckert, who currently serves as the Dean of

Oxford Teachers College at Reach University. An educator for 15 years, Eckert was a 2020 Global Teacher Prize finalist, 2019 NEA Social Justice Activist of the Year national finalist, the 2018 Louisiana Teacher of the Year, and the inaugural Louisiana Public Interest Fellow for her work developing a state-wide Educators Rising Program for targeted recruitment of a diverse and culturally responsive teacher pipeline.

In her speech, Eckert recounted experiences from a recent trip to Kenya. She spoke about the educational challenges faced by teachers and students there and what American educators can learn from them. She closed by saying that she would love for all of the students to join her in the profession of becoming a teacher. “Because even though you may be one part of your community now, whenever you become a teacher, you become part of a much larger community, and none of us are alone. All of us have so much to share, and we do it all through the willingness to serve an entire community,” said Eckert.

The afternoon closed with a signing ceremony featuring graduating high school seniors who have committed to attend ULM or Louisiana Delta Community College (LDCC) in the fall to pursue a degree in education. LDCC has a “two plus two” agreement with ULM which allows students to transfer to ULM after two years at LDCC and receive a teaching degree.


Louisiana Cancer Research Center Welcomes Researchers

Researchers from Louisiana Tech Join Louisiana Cancer Research Center

AS PART OF THE LOUISIANA Cancer Research Center’s (LCRC) emphasis on expanding its reach across the state, Center Director and CEO Dr. Joe W. Ramos will travel to North Louisiana on May 1-2 to meet with scientists from Louisiana Tech University and the University of Louisiana Monroe.

Every year up to 28,000 Louisianans receive a cancer diagnosis and cancer is the second leading cause of death in the state. It is the mission of LCRC to reduce this high burden of cancer.

“It is our priority to serve the entire state by expanding our faculty membership and supporting collaborations that advance our mission of reducing the burden of cancer in our state,” Ramos said.

Ramos will welcome the scientists as new research members of the LCRC, which was established by the Louisiana Legislature

in 2002 to raise the level of research and to promote education, diagnosis, detection, and treatment of cancer. The LCRC is the state’s cancer research consortium including LSU Health New Orleans, Tulane University School of Medicine, Ochsner Health, and Xavier University of Louisiana.

“There is an impressive amount of cancer research in North Louisiana and our state has a tremendous amount to gain by facilitating collaborations as much as we can. The purpose of my visit is to make those connections happen,” said Ramos, who will be making a presentation entitled “Elucidation and therapeutic targeting of tumor cell invasion pathways” as part of Louisiana Tech’s School of Biological Sciences seminar series.

Ramos’ presentation will take place on May 1 at 3:30 p.m. and is open to the public. It is also available through a Zoom webinar

which can be found here.

“We are excited to host Dr. Ramos on our campus and share our interests, strengths, and resources with him,” Dr. Jamie Newman, Associate Dean of the College of Applied and Natural Sciences said. “It is a great opportunity for us to find innovative and meaningful ways to collaborate and improve research, education, and health outcomes across our state.”

Last year, LCRC scientists at member institutions were awarded a total of $31.6 million in cancer-related funding from the National Institutes of Health and $14.6 million in cancer-related funding from the National Cancer Institute.



There is just something about springtime that welcomes the new, clean, and refreshed! For me, spring is the time to breathe new life into my home and spaces, especially the closet. After months of heavy, cold- weather clothing, it is finally time to bring the dresses, flowy tops, and open-toe shoes to the front and center. Imagine starting and ending your day in a well-organized closet that holds endless outfit opportunities. This sounds too good to be true doesn’t it? Oh, but it’s not! I create these spaces for clients on a regular basis, and I am about to let you in on all of my secrets. I hope you enjoy!

1. Change all of your hangers to matching hangers. If you incorporate only one of my suggestions into your own closet, this should be the one. Changing your hangers so they all match makes an immediate difference in the look and feel of your closet, and you will be able store more clothes because mismatched hangers will no longer be fighting for space. My new favorite hangers are the slimline, velvet ones. Amazon makes the best.

2. Organize like with like and in color order. In other words, all tops should hang together, in color order, and all bottoms should hang together in color order. I prefer to organize from lightest to darkest, but if you prefer the opposite, go ahead. Also, in this same vein, I suggest separating any matching pieces (suits, etc.) as it helps you consider them when mixing and matching. Just remember to launder the matching pieces together so they fade at the same pace. *Tip: If the thought of separating your matching pieces makes you cringe, it’s ok! In the end, this is your closet and it should be organized the way you feel serves you the best.

3. Organize your shoes by alternating the direction of each one. I prefer the right shoe toe forward and the left shoe heel forward, but again, go with your own preference. This method typically allows for one more pair of shoes on each shelf, plus you will be

able to tell the heel height of each shoe in one glance! *Tip: This same concept applies to glassware. Alternate you glasses by mouth up and mouth down. Most of the time you will be able to fit another glass.

4. Create some sort of division in your closet. For instance, I love using hanging organizers to divide shirts and pants. This division helps break up the monotony of full lines of clothing, and it helps create vertical organization space. The organizers can be used to house sweaters, of course, but I also put jeans, shoes, purses, etc. in them!

5. Add a double-hang rod if needed. If you have one long-hang bar in your closet, then this tip is for you. The addition of a doublehang rod will immediately increase your hanging space and it is perfect to utilize all vertical space. You can hang tops from them, but I’ve even hung purses on them before, so use your imagination and make the most of the space you have. You can purchase the double-hang rods from Target, Bed, Bath and Beyond, or, if you prefer shopping from home, Amazon.

6. Use organizing bins, but label them! As a professional organizer, I love bins and baskets, but have found that once an item goes into a bin or basket, it has a tendency to be forgotten. An efficient way to keep up

with stored belongings is to label each bin. You can make the label fit your color scheme and preferences by creating or finding a design online and then printing it. Baskets are great for housing out-of-season items, but they can also hold everyday pieces such as hats, socks, camisoles, etc. Also, one of the latest trends is to use all clear organizing bins, however, I am not always a fan of them. If a client is visually stimulated, for instance, the look and feel of being able to see through the bins will be distracting and not lend itself to a clean, organized closet. Of course, there are times that they are beneficial. It all depends on what is going inside of them. I prefer clear bins for small purses and clutches that hold their shape and will not appear disheveled inside of the bin, for instance. All in all, the organizing pieces that are used can make or break the overall look and feel of the closet, so be aware of this while purchasing products.

7. Help your boots and purses maintain their shape by stuffing them. Of course, there are organizing products that have been made specifically for this, but if you want to save money by using something you probably already have in your house, I have a few ideas. I have used everything from newspaper, magazines, and tissue paper to water and wine bottles to stuff boots. For purses, I typically get a gallon zip-lock bag and stuff it with tissue paper or newspaper and then place it inside each purse. Using a zip-lock makes the stuffing easy to remove when you want to use the bag.

8. Use the “hanger trick” to help you decide what to keep and what to toss. The “hanger trick” is a tool I use to help my clients realize when it is time to let a clothing item go. To use this trick, turn all of your hangers backwards on your rods. When you wear something, return the hanger to its original position. After one full month, notice which hangers are still


turned around backwards. Those are the items that should get special attention now. Perhaps you will make sure to use them in an upcoming outfit, or you will decide to get rid of them. Either way, the hanger trick paid off.

9. Use the two-year rule instead of the one-year rule! Some professional organizers suggest that you should get rid of anything that you haven’t worn in one year, but I think that two years is a better estimate of when an item has passed its prime.

10. Figure out how to make use of all available vertical space. The amount of vertical space that is unused in most closets is astounding!! You can see so many opportunities to go vertical if you take a little time to study the space. One solution might be to use those hanging organizers previously mentioned or you can add extenders to all available shelf space. Ask yourself what can be stacked and how.

11. Treat your closet as you would any other room in your home and personalize it. This is one of my number one tips because it makes such a huge difference in the look and feel of a closet. Add pictures, a rug, a plant, or anything else that you like.

12. Create a boutique-like atmosphere by incorporating mannequins and busts. Mannequins and busts are perfect for displaying jewelry and scarves! Take inspiration from your favorite boutique and then create your own little nook. They don’t have to be used inside the closet, by the way. Make a space just outside of the closet if you don’t have enough room inside.

Ladies, believe me, you will feel AMAZING after spring cleaning your closet. I can’t wait to hear all about it! Feel free to email me at erinlove@ if you need help.


The Memorial Tournament

To Support The Wellspring

THE COUNTRY CLUB AT FRENCHMEN’S BEND MEN’S GOLF Association (CCFB MGA) and Trinity Diamonds Direct have partnered to present The Memorial Golf Tournament benefitting The Wellspring. The tournament will take place at Frenchmen’s Bend Country Club Saturday, May 27th through Sunday, May 28th. The tournament will kick-off Friday May 26th with a golf Calcutta.

And, you do not want to miss the Friday evening golf Calcutta! The fun begins with a 6 p.m. social hour with the Calcutta starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for the Calcutta are available to the general public for $25 each and include entry to the evening’s festivities, a seafood buffet dinner, and beer. We will have a silent auction with prizes including a beach vacation and more! You can get tickets online at wellspringofnela. org/thememorial.

Interested in playing in the golf tournament? Registration is easy! Simply call CCFB MGA at (318) 460-1132 to enroll your two-person team. The tournament will be 36 holes of four-ball stroke play. Tee times start at 7:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Proceeds from sponsorships and the silent auction benefit The Wellspring. The Wellspring is thrilled to be part of The Memorial Golf Tournament and to join forces with an amazing group of volunteers through the Men’s Golf Association. This event is particularly meaningful for the agency given the large veteran population that they serve.

Since 1931, The Wellspring has served as a community leader in bringing people and partners together to address some of the greatest challenges of our time: domestic violence, homelessness, sexual assault, poverty, mental illness and children facing adversity. The Wellspring also serves as our region’s only accredited Sexual Assault Center, and the lead agency in the Family Justice Center of Ouachita Parish. Grab your clubs and take your best swing for the The Wellspring. Together, we can change our community, one life at a time!



• Trinity Diamond Direct


• Graphic Packaging


• Thomas & Farr Agency and Reeves, Coon & Funderburg


• Bayou Powersports

• Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys

• James Machine Works

• Sparks Nissan Kia

• StrongPoint Self Storage

Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Visit wellspringofnela. org/thememorial and scroll to the bottom of the page to view the sponsorship packet.

As a 501(3)(c) charitable not for profit corporation, your donation is tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.


Outpatient Rehabilitation

Morehouse General Hospital

MOREHOUSE GENERAL HOSPITAL HAS BEEN SERVING the needs of the community as a rural healthcare provider for 90 years. We take pride in providing high quality, cost effective healthcare services to our patients. The Outpatient Rehabilitation department at MGH offers physical, occupational, and speech therapy services by licensed experienced therapists. They provide skilled services in both the inpatient and outpatient setting and accept all insurances. Their goal is to provide the highest level of care in a comforting and encouraging setting. Speech therapy provides treatment and support for people experiencing speech disorders or communication problems. This approach is useful in treating several issues in both children and adults. Here are some indicators that may help identify if a child or an adult may require speech therapy:

CHILDREN | By 12 months:

• Baby does not babble and are often silent in their play.

• Does not use gestures to express simple things.

• Does not seem to understand simple sentences/commands.

• Does not understand words for common objects.

By 12-18 months:

• Does not follow simple commands or understand simple questions

• Does not enjoy simple stories, songs, and rhymes.

• Does not point to pictures in books when named.

• Does not learn new words on a regular basis.

• Does not start to use 1-2 word phrases or questions

Additional Age Groups:

• The child is not well understood by other children/adults.

• The child has stuttering speech patterns, does not produce age appropriate sounds.

• The child will only eat foods of certain textures or may have difficulty swallowing.

• The child has an intellectual disability or hearing impairment.


• Adult has had a stroke, or neurological condition (Parkinson’s, M.S., Dementia).

• Adult has difficulty swallowing/feeding- Dysphagia.

• Adult has difficulty finding the correct word to say or following what is being said - Aphasia.

• Adult has slurred speech patterns- Dysarthria.

• Adult has difficulty forming words to produce speech- Apraxia.

• Adult has newly acquired reading/writing difficulties.

Our Outpatient Rehabilitation department is located on the first floor of Morehouse General Hospital. Call today for more information on our therapy services offered.

MGH very own Lisa Hale received her master’s degree in Speech Pathology from The University of Colorado in Boulder. Her career has been in Austin, TX and Bastrop, LA in a variety of settings, including schools, outpatient clinics, inpatient rehab hospitals, and nursing homes. She has more than 30 years of experience as an SLP. She has extensive experience working with stroke and traumatic brain injuries patients in both inpatient and outpatient rehab settings. She is also Vital Slim certified and has provided this service to treat dysphagia in both children and adults. She served as an Autism expert for a school district in Texas for many years. Her services also include early intervention, articulation and language disorders, apraxia, phonological disorders, and motor speech disorders.


Bayou Buzzworthy

The University of Louisiana Monroe Women’s Golf Team is your 2023 Sun Belt Conference Champions. The team won its first title in school history and became the first team since 2017 to win a conference championship in any sport. The Warhawks earn a berth to a NCAA Regional, which will be announced Wednesday, April 26.

The 14th Annual Off the Wall fundraiser was held on Friday, April 14th. This event is considered the area’s premier art auction and features an excellent selection of art by artists in our community and from around the country. The party included an expanded bar and delicious food, both of which paired nicely with live music by Makeshift Tapedeck.

On April 16th and 17th, Louisiana Blaze 11u placed in the USSSA Angels 4 Autism softball tournament held at Ouachita Sportsplex. The tournament not only brought awareness to Autism but honored several children who were invited to throw out the first pitch on Saturday.


Warmer Weather Is Here

Get Your Summer Essentials Today

SUMMER IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER AND IT’S TIME to start thinking about getting ready for all the fun and adventures that come along with the season. Whether your child is headed to the beach, the pool, or just playing outside, they’ll need the right clothes and toys to stay comfortable and have a blast.

Let’s start with clothes. As the temperatures rise, it’s important to make sure your child is dressed in lightweight, breathable fabrics that will keep them cool and comfortable. Cotton and linen are great options for summer clothes because they’re lightweight and breathable, and they allow air to circulate around the body.

Summer clothes for kids should also be easy to move around in. Shorts, T-shirts, and tank tops are all great options for boys and girls. Dresses and skirts are perfect for girls who want to look cute while staying cool. Make sure to choose clothes that are loose-fitting and not too tight, as tight clothes can trap heat and make your child uncomfortable.

Swimwear is another essential item for summer. Whether your child is headed to the beach or the pool, they’ll need a good swimsuit that fits well and provides enough coverage. The Children’s Shoppe has many styles and patterns to chose from, so you are bound to find the perfect swimsuit!

When choosing a swimsuit for your child, look for one that is made from a quick-drying material like nylon or polyester. This will help prevent chafing and irritation, and it will also make it easier to get in and out of the water.

Now, let’s talk about toys. Summer is the perfect time to get outside and play, and there are plenty of toys that are perfect for outdoor fun. Balls, frisbees, and jump ropes are all great options for kids who love to run around and play. Water toys like squirt guns, water balloons, and sprinklers are perfect for hot days when you need to cool off.

If your child loves to swim, consider getting them some pool toys like goggles or water buckets. These toys can help improve your child’s swimming skills and make pool time even more fun.

When choosing toys for your child, make sure to choose ageappropriate options that are safe and easy to use. Avoid toys with small parts that could be a choking hazard, and always supervise your child when they’re playing with toys in or near water. In conclusion, gearing up for summer is all about finding the right clothes and toys that will keep your child comfortable and entertained. Lightweight, breathable fabrics and swimwear that fits well are essential for staying cool and protected from the sun. Stop by the Children’s Shoppe today to get your summer essentials , and get ready for an unforgettable summer filled with fun in the sun!


Teacher Appreciation Week

Showing Appreciation to Our Educators

Greetings loyal readers as we stare into the eyes of the month of May, the proverbial “end of school” month of the year. I don’t know of anyone in the world that can look back on their educational career, whether they stopped after high school, or took it as far as medical school, who doesn’t have at least one teacher that literally help shape the course of their future. Perhaps it was a coach or a beloved chemistry teacher (to be clear, I didn’t say chemistry was beloved, I said the teacher was), that you might give credit for the successes you have enjoyed. With that being said, I consider myself very lucky to have had many influential teachers along my educational path; a path I continue to stay on even today.

One of the most notable is Mrs. Sylvia Brass, who recently retired from governing the halls of Minnie Ruffin Elementary. But before she became Mrs. Brass the “principal,” she was Mrs. Brass the “teacher,” and in my 7th and 8th grade English class, Mrs. Brass is the very reason I am a writer today. Her creative approach to English and her interest and encouragement of my early writing skills, gave me the basis for the writing path I have taken. I am sure she could hardly wait to get home to read and grade my essay on Benjamin Franklin; and felt so helpless at her inability to nominate me for the Nobel Peace Prize for the piece of literary genius that I cranked out in the 7th grade. Even though I wasn’t a middle school threat in the world of the prestigious Nobel for literacy,

Mrs. Brass certainly made me feel as if I was. My writing skills were certainly honed under her tutorship, but I will never forget how her encouragement and praise made me strive to do better each time I turned in my paper.

As a mother who has fostered two children through the school system, I appreciate and understand how valuable encouragement and praise are when it comes from a teacher that your child loves and respects. I know we would all agree that our children’s teachers are with them as much as their parents. I may be biased, but my children have had, and continue to have some of the very best teachers that can be found. Sadly, and without hesitation, I will say that our present education system has created many challenges for teachers today.

I have watched with interest, especially over the course of the last school year as my daughter-in-law has entered the profession, and found that my teacher friends and acquaintances have, however, risen to the challenges, and continue to expect, and get, excellence in their classrooms. I think so many times that a teacher’s work and a teacher’s dedication to their students is a thankless job. However, the very idea that someone is sitting at a computer writing an article, which will ultimately be read by thousands of people, can only be attributed to the teachers who taught her to read and write. And along with the knowledge they impart to us (except in calculus, there is not a calculus teacher in the world that can help me understand slopes), the foundation


they lay in the areas of behavior, discipline and life skills are just as important to the students they are charged to influence.

Many of these lessons our children learn from the educators we entrust them to, can’t be taught from a textbook. These lessons must come from a place in that teacher’s life that makes them willing to share and motivate their students to be better people. So, it’s no coincidence that this article will coincide with Teacher Appreciation Month, or week, and my hope that our readers will take a few minutes to think about the influence of a teacher.

I have talked to many of my teacher friends about how they enjoy this time of year and the kinds of things they appreciate getting. I found it interesting that even though they certainly enjoy gift cards for movies and local restaurants, what they cherish the most are words of appreciation from their parents and students. Yes, you heard it… just when you thought you had turned in your last writing assignment in college, I am challenging you to one more. Why not sit down at your computer or, heaven forbid, blow the dust off the stationery at the bottom of your desk drawer, and handwrite (cursive or print from BC (before computers) era) and let your child’s teacher know how much you appreciate and respect the job they do with your child or children. I don’t know of any teacher who wouldn’t appreciate and treasure a sincere note that simply gives thanks and lets them know that their work is valuable (of course, a Visa gift card will also give a shout out of love, as well).

What’s more, make this a family affair and have your child (aka the student) practice their writing skills and also send a note of thanks to their teacher(s). I wonder how many students actually thank their teachers each year, and let them know how much they have learned in their classroom or as important, how they made them feel? And while we are in the middle of this handwriting extravaganza, why not send a note to a teacher that you had yourself… that might even be retired, and let them know how they influenced your life and/or career.

As I write this column, I pulled out some old yearbooks and found myself right smack “dab” in the middle of memory lane. A rush of memories, particularly my elementary and middle school years (do I need to remind you readers that I am a former Miss Woodlawn Junior High?), comes flooding back with some pretty special teachers that I was fortunate to have. I love the saying that “Students may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” I urge you to reciprocate the love and attention that a teacher once showered on you, as our loyal readers, or who continues to shower on your children, and send them a note of encouragement and thanks.

Unlike my 7th grade Benjamin Franklin piece, it might not be Nobel Prize worthy, but it will go a long way with that teacher who has devoted their life to the education and well-being of our children. That note, and a gift card to Outback, will likely bring a smile, and a tear, to the heart of our dearly-loved educators.

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


West Monroe Brown Bag Lunch Concert Series

Free Concerts at the Pavilion at 7th Square Each Wednesday at Noon

THE FIRST CONCERT OF THE West Monroe Brown Bag Lunch Concert Series will be held Wednesday May 3rd and continue each Wednesday at noon for all 5 Wednesdays in May. Make sure to show up every week so you don’t miss the talented lineup. May 3rd will feature Rod Payne and Lisa Spann, May 10th will feature Monty Russell, May 17th will feature Holt Harrison, May 24th will feature Jackson Culp, and the final concert on May 31st will feature Spencer Young. Brown Bag Lunch

Concerts are held every Wednesday in May from noon to 1 p.m. at the Pavilion at

Seventh Square in West Monroe, located directly behind the West Monroe Farmer’s Market.

The West Monroe Brown Bag Lunch Concert Series is presented by WMWO Chamber of Commerce and the City of West Monroe in partnership with Emily Nunnelee State Farm, Ouachita Valley Federal Credit Union, Paramount Healthcare Consultants, The Northeast Louisiana Arts Council, Newk’s Eatery, 90.3 KEDM, and the Ouachita Parish School System. Artists coordinated by Music City Studios – Northeast Louisiana’s Premier Recording Studio.

The concerts are free to the general public. Newk’s Eatery will be selling bagged lunches on site which include a half sandwich, bag of chips and half dessert. Lunches are sold on a first come, first served basis. Attendees may also bring a brown bag lunch while they enjoy various musical performances. Chairs and complimentary beverages and desserts will be provided by the sponsors. The Brown Bag Lunch Concert Series will continue with a fall series on Wednesdays in September.

For more information about the concert series, please call the WMWO Chamber of Commerce at (318) 325-1961 or online at www.


Revival Design and Consign

Green and Grand

GREEN IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE colors. It’s one of the most common earth colors on any terrain. Its appearance invokes happiness. Just as spring appears and the first signs of new leaves on the trees and the grasses rejuvenate to a lush green, we too rejuvenate with winter gone. Green invokes happiness and joy.

Green brings forth growth. Once our grassy lawns return to a shag carpet of green, we are evoked into getting our patios and gardens ready for a new season. That most anticipated trip to the plant nursery finally becomes a reality. Our entrances to our spaces come alive with bright foliage with accompanying blooms.

Green is a color for harmony and balance. It is a color of enlightenment. In etymology, green is referenced as “growing, vigorous, living”, in terms of plants. In reference to wood, ‘freshly cut or unseasoned” are used. The phase “Green Thumb” is coined for the finest of horticulture enthusiasts.

Green is a color whose hue is somewhat less yellow that that of emerald or is that of the part of the spectrum lying between blue and yellow. It is a color that is used in environmentalism with a social impact with the phase, “Going green”, which is target at addressing recycling and conservation efforts to better our planet.

We often hear the grass is greener on the other side, or is it? In terms of design that depends on how far you are willing to push the envelope in terms of using green.

My late dear friend, Rosemary Anderson, was the queen of green. It was the signature color in her home. Whether it was just a pop of a hue or the entire room, it was a vibrant space with a spectrum of green hues. Sage, olive, chartreuse, lime, hunter, and all those in between created a happy space. More recently I have noticed her daughter Ainsley bringing those greens into her home. It is a nice homage of a wonderful color.

From the theatrical green room to the green felt that lines many a pool and billiard table or

the green turf of a football or tennis court, Green is one of those colors that pairs well with every color in the spectrum.

Green is synonymous with holidays. Green & red signify Christmas. Green, gold, and purple signify Mardi Gras. Green & gold signify St. Patrick’s Day.

At Revival Design and Clinton Whitney Downing Design, we treat every day like a holiday when it come to green. Our entrances are flanked with bright apple green urns with lush vegetation and boxwoods in black and green vessels surround our building. Upon entering our showroom, you will find hues of greens in our accessories, furniture, and rugs. Many of our vignettes are wall in grand green wall coverings. Come check our unique and wonderful finds at 300 Walnut Street in Historic Downtown Monroe. Your friends will be “Green with Envy.”


Curating A Joyful Home

Interior Designer Julie B. Mays working with homeowner Tina Newton to transform her two-store, French country-style home into a space indicative of her forever home

Article by Vanelis River and Photos by Kelly Moore Clark

For the most part, interior design is aesthetic. It aspires to please the eye with colors, patterns, shapes, and attractive layouts. Of course, as an art and science, this branch of study is meant to achieve beyond aesthetics. Professional designers have spent years honing their craft and, when seeking to enhance a client’s space, tend to consider usability and function. What seems like a rudimentary undertaking then becomes a carefully curated project, one that prioritizes establishing a cohesive vision. A cognizant designer is always asking hard questions and seeing more than what meets the eye. Such a vision is what Julie B. Mays brought to the table when homeowner Tina Newton was in search of transforming her two-story, French country-style home into a space indicative of her forever home.


FFive years ago, Newton and her husband bought the sizeable residence from a friend. Though drawn to its tucked away location in the hilly, Northeast Louisiana woodlands, they noted facets that they wished to custom-fit to their personality and lifestyle. Cue in, Mays’ expertise: “My mantra is ‘Let’s wait for the right thing.’ Don’t use ‘BandAid’ areas because you’ll end up fixing them.” Newton chimes in, “I did do that,” adding, “We worked on almost every room. And I’m happy with it. It was worth the wait.” The synergy between the pair feels like they’ve known each other for a long time. In fact, they attended high school together but ran in different circles. It seems that this chance meeting of the minds brought them closer together, so much so that they consider each other dear friends. “That’s why this all works out,” says Mays, referring to the rapport built one design decision at a time.

It was not necessarily a bumpy road to the finished product, but Newton quickly realized there was more to design than selecting a few pieces. “I’ve learned less is more,” she laughs, reminiscing about her past interior design choices. “Every nook and cranny had something,” she explains, referring to her tendencies to mix too many colors, patterns, and styles. “Together, we made everything cohesive,” explains Newton. Not only did she develop a deep trust in Mays, but she refined her own instincts and started trusting herself. “My taste has changed for the better,” says Newton. As a result, she now lives in what Mays describes as a calm, comfortable space that is not so busy that your eye stalls. That’s to say, each room has a flow with a few standout pieces, but not too much interruption.

Selecting pieces for a large space is no simple task, but it's important to consider the item's size, finish and whether it is within the budget. Mays suggests to consider wall color first before conceptualizing a room.


Selecting pieces for such a large space is no simple task, but Mays lives for the challenge. “I try very hard not to have a favorite selection to present to clients. And I will never show them anything as an option that I have a question about.” She spends a considerable amount of time examining an item’s size, finish, and whether it is within budget. “It’s a lot of thinking through,” says Mays, adding, “I’m all or nothing, I’m not a warm, in-the-middle girl.” This tends to be tough for clients who expect a long line of options. While Newton wouldn’t categorize herself among those, she did push back on a few decisions which she soon after yielded. “You know what you’re talking about. You’re right. That did not fit in this space,” Newton says, playfully recounting her concession speech.

Before conceptualizing a room, Mays has the inclination to consider wall color first. “It begins with the walls because they set the palette and they are the biggest part of the space,” she says. In the primary bedroom, warm gray walls compliment the creamy egg white of the cathedral ceiling featuring exposed wood beams. Natural light floods the space from arched top patio doors revealing an enthralling

gated courtyard, complete with a checkered turf pattern surrounding a three-tier floor fountain. Needless to say, the centerpiece of the room is the bed, a striking four-poster bed with an antique grey finish and gold leaf accents and trim. Two walnut-colored accent chairs are positioned at the foot of the bed and placed over a beige abstract rug. In one corner, an oversized Baroque mirror leans on the wall. Here, Newton admits, is where her husband usually rolls out a tee turf mat to practice his golf form.

“I’m on a lifelong treasure hunt,” says Mays, as she confidently stands in the foyer; behind her, the wood, arched double doors of the main entrance. She turns to the dining room, nodding past the wood top, tulip base table toward two large frames showcasing reflective, silver-gray chinoiseriestyle paintings. “I knew that Tina wasn’t in love with birds in art,” says Mays slyly, admitting that she nudged Newton towards the images with the hope that she would fall in love with their glimmering presence. Her subtle approach worked, and Newton agreed to try them out, later admitting that she didn’t even quite notice the birds. The lesson—subtle pieces can still make a statement.


“This is my life,” declares Mays, who started tinkering with design when she was sixteen. Her craft begins with her intuition, and an impressive ability to see the possibility of a space. Take the room across from the dining room. It was initially a closed office, but Mays opened it up, transforming it into a cozy parlor. A clovershaped, tufted linen ottoman centers the space while four, aged leather, olive accent chairs circle around. “It’s nice when it’s cold outside and you have the fire on, just to cozy up with a blanket,” says Newton, who enjoys sitting in this room for game nights or by herself, contemplating the outdoors from the nearby window. “This is an example, again, of how everything flows. Your eye doesn’t stop,” says Mays, whose gaze etched past an archway leading toward the living room where a white, cerused oak and brass coffee table is the gravitational pull of the spacious room. Surrounding it is an off-white linen sofa, two curved high-back accent chairs, and two asymmetrical, twist-base stools. Beyond the living room, where once existed an enclosed patio, is a remodeled second dining room featuring a billiard-kitchen table combo, perfect for family gatherings. Accenting the space are two padded and woven armchairs, illuminated by two white, geometric light fixtures. Beyond the foldable glass doors, the long rectangular pool and jacuzzi are visible, as well as the impressive outdoor kitchen area, which is fully furnished with woven patio furniture and high-end appliances. Adjacent to this roofed space is a large rectangular firepit area punctuated by two black and white, vertically striped ottomans. “We like to have dinner out here. We light the fire out here even when it’s hot,” says Newton enthusiastically.


For both women, it’s hard to pick a favorite room. For Newton, the places where her family gathers—kitchen and back patio—are hard to beat. Yet, Mays has an affinity for one of the smallest rooms in the house, one that tends to crystallize a first impression of the home for any guest. “My theory is that the powder bath is the diamond of the home. It needs to be just amazing,” she says; after all, it is the first place a guest occupies where they have time to truly take in details. The powder room of the home is located off the “friend entrance.” Glowing from the light of a geometric, glass-paneled candelabra reflected on grasscloth wallpaper, this petite space features a gold-trimmed vanity mirror and a white-centered stone top sink. The lasting impression here is that of elegance and calm. “There’s nothing wrong with a little more effort to find the right thing rather than just settle,” says Mays who believes in curating a timeless space that can translate into each period of a person’s life. In fact, Mays makes a distinction between a “pretty” space and one that elicits joy. That’s why she tends to “dig deep” with clients in order to find what is true to them. Her kind but firm approach is what helped further establish Newton’s trust in her. It’s been five years in the making, and thanks to Mays, as well as builder Richard Heard, Newton finally has a home she feels proud to pass down to her children. Clearly, when it comes to curating happiness, the results are worth waiting for.


Key Millwork and Supply Company

Helping Create Extraordinary Living Spaces for Over 50 Years

WHEN YOU WANT YOUR SPACE to be truly custom, Key Millwork & Supply Co. is your key to a beautiful home. The experts at Key Millwork have been helping customers create their dream homes for over 50 years. Their professional service and unparalleled product quality is what has made them so successful over the past several decades.

At Key Millwork & Supply Co., they believe that every home should reflect the unique style and personality of the homeowner. That’s why they offer a wide range of materials, finishes, and designs for customers to choose from. Whether you’re looking for cabinetry, Anderson windows and doors, hardware, decorative tiles or accessories, they have what you need.

“One of the things that sets us apart from other companies is our love for specialty design. We work closely with our clients to understand their needs, offer advice and guidance and

provide recommendations to help bring their vision to life. We know that every home is unique, and we are dedicated to helping our customers create a space that they will love for years to come,” said Sandy Sartor, co-owner of Key Millwork & Supply.

Whether you’re looking for a custom range hood, unique cabinetry, or seamless appliances –no installation is too challenging. Key Millwork & Supply takes pride in their customization capabilities. “I came to Sandy with a folder full of ideas. I knew that I wanted integrated appliances and rift sewn White Oak cabinets. I wanted a kitchen that would work in a midcentury design but that was also functional, and the team at Key Millwork helped make that happen. From the initial consultation to sourcing cabinet hardware, to picking our appliances that would seamlessly integrate into the design, the team at Key Millwork helped to tailor my ideas into an exceptional space,” said Cassie Livingston, client.

Along with custom millwork, they also offer deluxe kitchen appliances. From Sub-Zero refrigerators to under counter wine coolers, ranges to microwave drawers, even the super functional Galley Sinks, their selection of appliances are the highest quality. All of their kitchen appliances come from the top appliance brands, ensuring you get the best equipment possible.

If you’re looking for a company that offers superior materials, exceptional customer service, top-of-the-line appliances and much more, then Key Millwork and Supply Company is the right choice for you. Their team of experts are dedicated to making your home build or remodel an enjoyable and stress-free experience. Stop by their showroom at 4200 Jackson Street in Monroe to see various options, or schedule an appointment by calling (318)-387-9995. You can also visit their website at for a list of products and project images.


The Head Fashionista



Hanna Herrington Lavergne was raised in a family of entrepreneurs, notably female small business owners who put their fashion stamp on the Monroe community. Hanna’s mother Debbie Herrington and aunt Cindy Stone opened HerringStones in Monroe in 1989. The trendsetters sought the best brands and merchandise for local clientele and even customers beyond the 318. While Hanna was in and out of the store from the time she was 2-years old, she kept busy dancing for Linda Lavender for 16 years, being a member of the Twin City Ballet for 10 years, and cheering at West Monroe High School. Hanna enrolled

at ULM and majored in marketing with a minor in business. While not quite sure of her next step, Hanna knew the sales world and planned to chart her own path. Upon graduating in 2009, Hanna moved to Lafayette, taking a sales job in the oil field. She quickly noticed the missed market for retail spaces in Lafayette, particularly trendy boutiques like HerringStones back home. One night, after acknowledging her lagging personal style, Hanna pondered opening a boutique in Lafayette. She could fill the local need and put her marketing skills to use. When she called Debbie, her mother asked what she would call the store. Hanna knew she liked the HerringStones aesthetic and suggested expanding the local favorite down south. In April of 2010, Hanna opened the second HerringStones location in Lafayette.

The HerringStones expansion allowed for an inventory of the store’s current systems and business practices. While the store remained popular, Hanna saw room for updates in her new location. She quickly learned QuickBooks and sought to simplify the business side of the operation. The

Lafayette expansion allowed HerringStones to evolve, becoming a staple of the store’s growth over the last 13 years. As social media platforms became a component of boutique sales, Hanna started a Facebook page and eventually an Instagram account. Hanna led the way in bringing HerringStones upto-date and online. Surprised by the warm reception from the Lafayette press, Hanna dove into making the most of her growing customer base.


With any growing success comes inevitable setbacks. In June of 2010, the oil spill decimated the South Louisiana economy, and Hanna saw short term dips in the store’s revenue. Forced to balance what her customers wanted with what the store could afford, Hanna’s hard business decisions required frequent pivots, a code word that would continue for years to come. But with hardship comes opportunity. During these forced pivots, Hanna intricately learned the business. As her business techniques manifested, she navigated how to make it work, regardless of external circumstances. While she experienced failures, she learned that failure was integral to future success. Failure allows one room to grow. Balancing inventory, staff, customer needs, and finances, Hanna perfected her business methods and finally understood the necessity of change.

Since opening the second location in 2010, HerringStones style has evolved with its customer base. While the HerringStones clientele spans all ages, the cornerstone of bold fashions and customer confidence remain steadfast. The store’s fashion choices steer toward “who she strives to be,” catering to daughters and grandmothers alike. The HerringStones brand has evolved, and that willingness to progress forward continues to invite new customers to the brand.

Hanna and her team garner marketing ideas from big box stores and then localize to suit the brand’s personality, which Hanna describes as “charming, inspirational, and confident.” When marketing is popular, it is inevitably mimicked, and Hanna’s team quickly pivots in a new direction. HerringStones stores operate their e-commerce through Shopify. The HerringStones’ style is bold and sophisticated. Picture a bright floral top with fitted jeans. The brand

leans into practical, classic styles with a touch of flair via color and prints. Hanna describes her customers as people who prefer statement pieces.

HerringStones now offers 5 brick-and-mortar locations across the state of Louisiana. After the initial opening in Monroe, followed by Hanna’s second location in Lafayette, the company opened a sister store HeirLoom by HerringStones in Youngsville in 2017. Former Lafayette employee Claire Kostelka Texada co-owns and co-operates the Youngsville location and is integral to the overall HerringStones operation. Hanna calls Claire her “saving grace.” In 2018, Bethany Dodd Martin opened a fourth location, HeirLoom by HerringStones in Houma. And in 2019, Hanna’s sister Haley opened the fifth location of HerringStones in Baton Rouge. At the same time of rapid physical growth, the e-commerce side of the business was expanding quickly. Hanna realized she could not maintain a physical store and the e-commerce inventory in the same store. She purchased a 5000-square-foot warehouse to process orders. After the Covid shutdown, the business saw 35% growth with e-commerce going through the roof. The warehouse became its own entity, with its own staff and marketing team.

Amidst all the business growth and change, Hanna met Jarrad Lavergne. The couple have been married for ten years and have two children. Luke is 4 ½ and Herrington Kate is 1 ½. Navigating work and home life is challenging; every day is different. While Hanna plans everything weeks ahead, just like with the business, she is ready to pivot on a dime. The daily transition from boss to mom/wife also involves a learning curve. Each woman must figure out what works best for her and her family. While Hanna and Jarrad are both

Hanna envisions HerringStones continual evolution, whether it be externally or internally. Entrepreneurship is consistent with a mindset of change, and Hanna Herrington Lavergne is mastering both.

constantly working, they value their kids seeing the importance of a strong work ethic. They find comfort in routine; and the kids thrive on a consistent schedule. The family outsources where they can. Hanna seeks harmony as opposed to the myth of balance.

In the last year, Hanna has started reflecting on her personal and professional goals, asking “What do I want?” While she loves selling clothes and connecting with customers, Hanna wants to give back and encourage the next generation of small business entrepreneurs. Post-Covid, Hanna noticed her young staff experiencing anxiety and insecurity, remnants of a lack of socialization. Losing contact with the outside world makes it difficult for people to function in the world once one returns. Hanna strives to lead and help develop strong, female personalities that can make their small business dreams come true right at home. She finds fulfillment in helping others, in building a strong professional foundation for others to cultivate and emulate. To this end, Hanna was recently awarded the Marquis Who’s Who of America 2022-2023.

As the HerringStones brand is synonymous with growth, Hanna envisions growth outside of business revenue. She wants to work on the company culture, elevate the mindset of her staff, and establish core values. Identifying a central business identity helps with everything from interviewing, to interacting with customers, to handling customer feedback. Hanna envisions HerringStones continual evolution, whether it be externally or internally. Entrepreneurship is consistent with a mindset of change, and Hanna Herrington Lavergne is mastering both.


Reason To Explore

The best bag a mother could receive. This Bogg Bag found at The Children’s Shoppe is practically indestructible,

Pamper Mom

This mild, lightweight and tolerable formulation is indicated for all skin types and sensitive skin areas. It reinforces skin health and hydrates to support the visible improvement in skin elasticity and firmness. Find this at The Woman’s Clinic.

Roses Are Red

Flowers make a great Mother’s Day gift because they express appreciation and love through their beauty. Find these and more at Carlstedt’s

Kitchen Revamp

A Galley Workstation sink would be the perfect gift for Mother’s Day this year. This sink is not only functional, but has a sleek design to fit any home. They are truly unique and can be found at Key Millwork Supply & Co.

Gift A Good Night’s Sleep

Skip the nights of tossing and turning and gift her a Malouf Shoulder Zoned Gel Dough pillow from American Mattress Outlet. This pillow has a unique shoulder cutout that allows proper shoulder alignment and keeps your neck at a 90 degree angle. Give the gift of a good night’s sleep.

Buckle Up

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend and this buckle bracelet would be the perfect gift for the special mom in your life. Find this one and many more at

Mom Masque

Get mom this calming, soothing and hydrating Glo2 Facial that suitable for all skin types. This masque will get her skin glowing and let her beauty shine. Find this and more at The Medical Spa by St. Francis


Mom Sleep In

Mom deserves the best and these PJ Harlow

PJs are certainly that. Pick up this pair so she can relax and sleep in. Available at Haven

Glow Up

This DiamondGlow Facial is a next-level, noninvasive skin-resurfacing treatment that will quickly become mom’s new obsession for her skin. It will leave her skin instantly renewed and delivers radiant results. Available at District Spa


Sandal Weather

Herringstones is the place to go to get the most stylish gifts for your mother. Check out these perfect Chinese Laundry platform sandalsperfect for moms night out.

Kimono Get It

Lounge in style. Give the gift of comfort and style this Mother’s Day with a trendy Evil Eye kimono. Found at Revival Design & Consign

Erase Your Skin’s Past

Gift her brighter, beautiful skin this Mother’s Day. Professional Laser Center combines micro needling with the powerful AnteAGE MD Solutions to reduce the appearance of scars, stretch marks, fine lines and wrinkles, enlarged pores, and hyperpigmentation, or dark spots.

Step Out In Style

Dusty and Company has everything you need for the mother in your life to step out in style. Gift her the gift of confidence this year with Dusty and Company

Fine Fabrics

Add a bit of adventure to your sewing room with these colorful and whimsical fabrics. Find the collection of Everglow Fabric Collection by Tula can be found at The Haberdashery

Mom Is A Saint

Show mom how much you care with a necklace worthy of a saint, just like her. The Virgins Saints & Angels necklace from Hemline Monroe is both spiritual and fashion forward.

Light Of Her Life

Time to relax and let Fabulous Fabric help you create the perfect ambiance with these amazing room fragrances from Sydney Hale Co.

Relax In Style

Mom deserves the best and this robe from Palette House & Plume is certainly that. Pick up this robe so she can relax and sleep in.

Rosé All Mother’s Day

Treat your mother like royalty this Mother’s Day with the perfect bottle of Royal Princess rosé from Washington Wine and Spirits


Fresh Face

The REVEPEEL® is a true medium depth peel works to repair skin at cellular level with integrated pre and post peel treatment. Just one REVEPEEL® will significantly reduce hyperpigmentation, melasma, age spots and sun damage. Available at Spa Terra

Beautiful Botanicals.

An Anthurium Kokedama is a Japanese style of planting where the roots are wrapped in moss. The moss ball just needs to be soaked once a week. It lives on its’ little tray and continues to flower. It can be placed anywhere around your space. Find this at Ouachita

Hug Her Neck

This hand crafted religious jewelry by Andrea Barnett is sold exclusively at The Nude Nomad. Each piece is hand crafted; descending dove is representative of the Holy Spirit’s presence. They are simple beautiful and timeless everyday necklaces that your graduate will cherish forever. Both necklaces are on a filigree chain and are available at The Nude Nomad.

Pamper Yourself

For A Queen

This Tuileries Cire Trvdon Candle with a floral and fruity chore fragrance was conceived as an homage to the rose, the Queen’s favorite flower throughout her life. The world’s most prestigious candles of the highest quality with hand blown glass and pure vegetable wax are available at Material Things.

Admire Her

A mother’s love in one-of-a-kind. Let her know how much you admire her love with a beautiful Ronaldo Bracelet. Find this at Walsworth & Company

Wrinkles Be Gone

This daytime Vitamin c serum delivers advanced environmental protection and improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, loss of firmness and brightens the skin’s complexion. Find this and many other products at Spa Nouvelle

This unique lipid correction cream contains the first 2:4:2 cholesteroldominant ratio to help restore skin’s external barrier and support natural selfrepair, available at Center for Women’s Health

Love Your Skin

Gift your mother the gift that she really wants this year. These Skin Medica products found at DermamediQ will keep her glowing and youthful all year round.

A Touch of Elegance

The Casablanca scented candle has a metal lid that features a unique horn handle. Add a touch elegance and quirk to the side board or shelf with this candle jar set found at Lauren Roebuck Designs


Toast To Graduates

Celebrate your achievements with this cool bottle of Busy Signal Pinot Noir found at Washington Wine and Spirits.

Too Cool For School

These polarized shades from Max Porter Provisions is the perfect gift for your graduate. Stop by to see these and other styles.

Make Your Statement

Coming In Clutch.

Herringstone’s is the place to be to grab anything for your graduate this year, like this super cute beaded floral clutch.

Feel The Glow

This mild, lightweight and tolerable formulation from Obagi is indicated for all skin types and sensitive skin areas. It helps to reinforce skin health and hydrate, as well as support the visible improvement in skin elasticity and firmness. Found at the Woman’s Clinic.

Your new graduate will fall in love with this Julie Voss bracelet from Parterre. It’s the perfect statement piece that you can keep collecting through the years.

Aromatic Ambience

Your dorm room or apartment will smell amazing this fall with Fabulous Fabric’s Sydney Hale room spray.

A Fresh Start

Flowers will make a great gift for your graduate because they celebrate achievements and new beginnings with their beauty, freshness, and positive energy. Find these and many more at Carlstedt’s

Details In The Bag

This Mary Frances Purse is sold exclusively at The Nude Nomad; each handbag is handmade and is a work of art. Find this at The Nude Nomad.

Lash Blast

The Obagi Nu-Cil Eyelash

Enhancing Serum can be purchased at Spa Terra located in Geaux Family Health. This clinically proven lash enhancing serum product is sure to boost fuller, denser and more voluminous-looking lashes.

Diamonds Are Forever

Hollis & Co has the perfect selection of gifts for your graduate. Give them the gift of a timeless statement piece with Hollis & Company


Recipe For Success

A perfect gift for your hungry dorm-dwellers, this must-have pocket guide will help your graduate make and eat healthy snacks, meals, and other tasty bites. Find this at Palette House & Plume.

Go Explore

Hemline Monroe is the place to get this great beach bag that holds your hat. Perfect for lounging by the pool or walking on the beach.

New Beginnings

Gift your graduate with a beautiful New Beginnings Ronaldo bracelet as they embark on their new beginning. Found at Walsworth & Company.

Keep That Youthful Glow

Protect your skin from harmful rays and live your best life with this SPF 50+ Ultra facial Defense Broad Spectrum moisturizing sunscreen with Mexoryl found at Spa Nouvelle

Spark Your Smile

Give your graduate the gift of a beautiful smile with Spark Aligners at Caples and Robinson Orthodontics

Best Smile Forward

Give your graduate a cosmetic consultation with Dr. Mary Kathryn Crigler at District Dental for a smile enhancement or Opalescence in-office whitening to get your graduate ready to face the world. Contact District Dental for your consultation.

Graduate To A New Skin Routine

SkinCeuticals has products for every skin type. It’s not too late to start on a skin routine that will improve your complexion for years to come. Find this and more at The Medical Spa by St. Francis Medical Group

Travel In Style

This stunning Flower Jacquard Stripe Kate Spade bag is perfect for your graduate as she steps out into the world. Find this bag and many more at Lauren Roebuck Designs

Backpack Game

Send your kid to college with a backpack the cool kids carry. This rucksack features wax canvas and leather straps. Find this and many more styles at Max Porter Provisions on Antique Alley in West Monroe.

150 MAY 2023 |


From linen dresses to oversized blazers, these looks are perfect for spring outings. Find this and more at area boutiques.

This lilac linen midi dress features cut out details and frayed edge detailing at the seams. The look is accessorized with Mignonne Gavigan pearl drop earrings and straw-colored sandals with a block heel.

Special thanks to Parterre for letting us shoot at their beautiful store

Photography by Kelly Moore Clark Hair and Makeup by Meka Bennett Model: Mallory, Elle, and (Baby) Kirksey HEMLINE MONROE


This whimsical dress with a hot air balloon design is perfect for spring outings. Pair it with a fascinator and colorful green pumps with a delicate heel for a look that is out-of-this-world.


It’s a mother/daughter tea party in this coordinating ensemble from Woodstock. Mallory is wearing a floral top with embroidered details and white distressed jeans with quilted, rubber soled sandals. Elle is wearing a bold print pink and red dress with a flutter sleeve.


Swing into the sunny season in this fluid maxi dress covered in camouflaged leopard. Add gold chain necklaces and gold and pearl earrings, along with woven heels and a beaded beach girl handbag for a complete look.


This white satin top is worn with high-waisted boot cut, cropped jeans with frayed step-hem, a linen gingham blazer and retro-styled tennis shoes that feature a plush recycled water resistant nylon and chrome-free suede.


Mallory is pretty in pink in these haute pink joggers from Dusty & Company. These are worn with a multi-print floral top with flowy sleeves, layered beaded bracelets and charcoal heels.


Oh my goodness! This precious smocked dress with ruffle sleeves features pink, blue and yellow flowers on cotton layers. Accessorize with white sandals and a pink bow for a look that goes from casual to dressy.


Calendar of Events

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

May 5-7

Big Creek Trade Days

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

Time: Friday & Saturday 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Sunday 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

Cost: Free

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

May 5-7

Red White & Blue Airshow

The Red White & Blue Airshow is back for a 2nd year! Gaze into the sky as aircrafts fly by saluting America's heroes. Bring a chair, sunscreen, and lots of excitement! Food vendors will be on site.

Time: Friday and Saturday at 3:00 PM. Sunday at 11:00 AM.

Cost: Ticket Prices Vary

Address: Monroe Regional Airport | 5400 Operations Road, Monroe

May 6-7

National Crappie League Ouachita River Qualifier and Kids Fishing Rodeo

The National Crappie League Ouachita River Qualifier fishing tournament is taking place on May 6th and 7th. This tournament is Open Division and will be located at the Forsythe Boat Dock in Monroe. The Kids Fishing Rodeo also takes place on May 6th at 9:00 AM with prizes, giveaways, and loads of fun!

Time: 6:30 AM to 2:30 PM.

Address: Forsythe Boat Dock | 2100 Riverside Drive, Monroe Phone: (318) 791-2266

May 6, 13, 20, 27

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

Time: 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM

Cost: Free

Address: Ruston Farmers Marketplace | 220 E. Mississippi Ave. Ruston, LA 71270 Phone: (318) 957-130

May 6

Kindness in the Park

Kindness in the Park 2023, designed for elementary through high students and their families, features a family fun run, DJ Sonder, Rated E’s bike ride, a dunking booth, hot air balloon, an obstacle course, Corn Hole Tournament, music, a petting zoo and many more activities!

Time: 8:30 AM to 2:00 PM

Cost: Free

Address: Forsythe Park | 2300 Sycamore Street, Monroe Phone: (318) 322-6000

May 6

Hats and Horses Derby Party

Have you ever wanted to attend the Kentucky Derby? Well, Louisiana Delta Community College has you covered with Hats and Horses! This authentic derby party features live music by the ULM Jazz Ensemble, a silent auction, photo booth, live viewing of the derby, as well as games and prizes!

Time: 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM

Address: Louisiana Delta Community College | 7500 Millhaven Road, Monroe Phone: (866) 500-5322

May 7

Mother Daughter Tea

Go to the Biedenharn Museum

and Gardens on May 7th for a Mother Daughter Tea! Celebrate your mom a week before Mother's Day at these beautiful and elegant gardens.

Time: 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Cost: $25.00

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

May 12

Jurassic World Dominion & The Dinosaur Experience

Get ready for a fun and educational evening with The Dinosaur Experience and their liveaction dinosaurs, then stick around for the movie JURASSIC PARK WORLD DOMINION (rated PG13)! It's going to be a beastly good time at the Dixie Center for the Arts.

Time: 6:00 PM

Cost: $15.00

Address: Dixie Center for the Arts | 212 N Vienna St, Ruston, LA 71270 Phone: (318) 255-1450

May 13

Ouachita RiverFest

A huge new festival is happening in Downtown West Monroe! Ouachita RiverFest will have live music, delicious food trucks, artisan vendors, the Big Bass Classic fishing tournament at Lazarre Park, a kid's play area, and a rubber duck drop into the Ouachita River. You do not want to miss out on this day full of excitement!

Time: 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Address: Downtown West Monroe | Trenton Street, West Monroe Phone: (318) 396-2600

May 13

Landry Vineyards Concert- Code Blue & The Flatliners

The Landry Vineyards outdoor music concerts are here once again. Rock out to Code Blue & The Flatliners while sipping on Landry Vineyards wine! They will be playing classic rock and a dance mix. Wine by the glass and bottle, wine tastings, and peach wine bellinis will be available. Local food trucks will be serving meals. Bring a lawn chair or picnic blanket and relax!

Time: 4:30 PM to 8:00 PM

Cost: $10.00 Adults. $5.00 13-18 Years. Free 12 & Under.

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

Phone: (318) 557-9050

May 14

Mother's Day Tea and a Tour

To celebrate Mother's Day, Layton Castle is hosting an afternoon Tea and a Tour! Treat your mother to local baked goods and a cup of tea while learning about the history behind the beautiful grounds and architecture that make up this serene venue.

Time: 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM

Cost: $48.00 Per Ticket

Address: Layton Castle | 1133 South Grand Street, Monroe Phone: (318) 322-4869

May 18

H2 Go Kayak Paddles Free Workshop

This H2 Go workshop will teach you how to pick the paddle that is right for you. You will learn everything from paddle stroke techniques to how to avoid paddling errors and trouble shooting from poor kayaking performance.

Time: 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM


Cost: Free

Address: H2 Go Paddle | 2814 Desoto Street, Monroe

Phone: (318) 732-9533

May 19

The Dixie Presents: Yesterday and Today

Yesterday and Today: The Interactive Beatles Experience is the nation’s most innovative and unique show utilizing the works of the Beatles. This amazing band, anchored by brothers Billy, Matthew, and Ryan McGuigan, perform as themselves and leave the song choices completely in the hands of the audience. Every show is different, every show is interactive, and every show is amazing.

Time: 7:00 PM

Cost: $10.00-$35.00

Address: Dixie Center for the Arts | 212 N Vienna St, Ruston, LA 71270

Phone: (318) 255-1450

May 20

Layton Castle Tour

Explore Layton Castle and learn about its evolution from a creole cottage to a castle. Learn about Swiss immigrant Judge Henry Bry and his role in helping to develop Northern Louisiana and beyond. What role did he play in Fort Miro changing its name to Monroe? It’s one of the few historic homes in the United States still lived in by descendants of the first European settlers to the area.

Time: 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM

Cost: $15.00

Address: Layton Castle | 1133 South Grand Street, Monroe Phone: (318) 322-4869

May 21

Goat Yoga at the Farm

Goat Yoga at the Farm is back at Double BB Farms! This class is for people of all skill levels. Bring your yoga mat and dress for the outdoors. The class will be taught by Elizabeth Griffon and includes a tour of the farm. Disclaimer: Class could be interrupted at any moment by baby goat cuddles!

Time: 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Cost: $25.00

Address: Double BB Farms | 1816

Stubbs Vinson Road, Monroe

May 26

Ouachita Live Concert- NELA Blues Masters Showcase

Join Downtown West Monroe at Ouachita Live for a free concert on the last Friday of the month through October! With great local food trucks and great music, it's sure to be a great time! This concert is a NELA Blues Masters Showcase. Artists such as Toby Traylor, Ira Barger, D.K. Harrell, and surprise special guests will take the stage with unforgettable moments of soul-stirring sounds!

Time: 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Cost: Free

Address: Alley Park | 250 Trenton Street, West Monroe

May 27

A Day of Plein Air

The Ruston Art Encounter hosts interactive art experiences for the community to be a part of on the last Saturday of every other month starting in July. The sixth and final installment of the Ruston Art Encounter is the Day of Plein Air. Come downtown to see artists line the streets with easels and paintbrushes in hand to create artworks LIVE right before your eyes.

Time: 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Cost: Free

Address: Downtown Ruston Phone: (318) 251-8647


Articles inside

Calendar of Events

pages 160-163


pages 152-159

The Head Fashionista

pages 142-144, 146-151

Key Millwork and Supply Company

page 141

Curating A Joyful Home

pages 134-140

Revival Design and Consign

page 133

West Monroe Brown Bag Lunch Concert Series

page 132

Teacher Appreciation Week

pages 130-131

Warmer Weather Is Here Get Your Summer Essentials Today

pages 129-130

Bayou Buzzworthy

page 128

Outpatient Rehabilitation

page 127

The Memorial Tournament

page 126


pages 124-125

Louisiana Cancer Research Center Welcomes Researchers

page 123

Educators Rising Campus Day

page 122

Your Hometown Urologist

pages 120-121

Shop Woodstock Monroe

page 119

Gift Beauty And Confidence

pages 114-118


pages 112-113

Erase Your Skin’s Past

page 111

Haven Has Everything For Your Home

page 110

Recognizing Cognitive Changes

page 109

Give the Gift of A Good Night’s Sleep

page 108

Gardens of Somerset

page 107


pages 103-106

Surgery Clinic Of NELA: You Do Not Have To Live With Pain

pages 100-102

Bone Health and Osteoporosis

pages 96-97

Orthodontics Redefined

pages 94-95

Make Mom’s Day

pages 92-93

St. Francis Hosted LOPA Heroes

pages 90-91

Mother’s Day Specials

pages 88-89

Ouachita Medical

pages 80-87

Marsala Beverage Company

pages 78-79

Is Your Smile Summer Ready?

pages 74-77

Ouachita Council on Aging’s Annual Shindig

pages 72-73

Local Realtor Reminisces Career

pages 70-71


pages 68-69

An Artist’s Restaurant

pages 63-67


pages 56-57


pages 54-56


pages 49-52

Serenity Care Providers

pages 46-48

Lauren Roebuck Designs

pages 42-45

Fishing With Kenny

pages 40-41

ULM’s Wine Over Water

pages 36-39

Minutes Matter: Speedy Stroke Care

pages 34-35

Corazón Tequilas

pages 32-33


pages 30-31

Night of Champions

pages 28-29

Strickland Interiors

pages 26-27


pages 24-25


pages 22-23

Meredith’s Musings

pages 20-21

The Power of the Room

pages 18-19

Louisiana Delta Community College

pages 16-17

“The Nickel Boys”

pages 14-15


pages 12-13

Your Monthly Spirits Guide

pages 10-11

Alumni Spotlight

pages 8-9


pages 4-6
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