BayouLife Magazine May 24

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This refreshing cocktail infuses aloe and melon syrup with crisp cucumbers and absinthe for a glorious, green sip.


Incorporate white into your home decor, feature stunning lamps, sophisticated sculptures and gorgeous vases against a bold color wall or within a monochromatic look for a timeless and elegant ambiance.


Embrace the season by infusing your living spaces with the vibrant hue of green, whether through your living spaces or refreshing grass-colored tiles, to bring a touch of nature indoors.

38 / MOMS

Highlighting mothers across our region. These women shared their thoughts on motherhood - who influenced their mothering, and how those values have changed.


A look at powder rooms styled and owned by locals of the area. The perfect inspiration to bring a fresh look to where you freshen up.



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

APRIL 2018

The Monroe Mojave space is intimate, an enclave of sorts, where guests can relax into a feeling of being somewhere else.


Casey Sandridge and his wife, Taylor, invested in a food truck that would lead to a full-time business. The Blue Taco is a family-operated business that sells traditional Mexican fare.


Tim Breaux, a Louisiana native, is a semi-retired pharmacist, but considers himself a full-time painter. He will be completing an artist residency in May, where he will be painting en plein air with scheduled paint alongs.


Looking for the perfect gift for Mother’s Day or the new graduate? We’ve compiled some of our favorite gift ideas from local retailers.


For her incredible talent in interior design and her successful career as a businesswoman, BayouLife Magazine salutes Terri Trichel as its May 2024 BayouIcon.

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MAY 2024
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As we delve into this month’s issue, we’re thrilled to celebrate a trifecta of beloved occasions: Mother’s Day, graduation, and Cinco de Mayo. These moments encapsulate the essence of love, achievement, and cultural vibrancy. As softball season kicks into high gear, we’re reminded of the invaluable support of family, particularly our mothers, who tirelessly lend a hand in our chaotic schedules. Personally, I’m grateful for my mom’s unwavering assistance in navigating the whirlwind of children’s activities.

In this month’s edition, we also celebrate the essence of local living and the heart of home. Dive into the charm of neighborhood powder rooms as we explore the intricate details and personal touches that transform these intimate spaces into havens of comfort and style. We also take a photographic tour of a local Airbnb gem, offering a glimpse into the unique character and warmth of our community’s hospitality. Plus, discover a curated selection of products from beloved home retailers right here in our own backyard, providing inspiration and guidance for your next redecorating venture.

This month, Georgiann Potts interviewed this month’s BayouIcon, Terri McClendon Trichel. Trichel has dabbled with design since childhood. Whether she was looking around her home for building supplies with which to build houses for her Barbie dolls or drawing house plans just for fun, it was clear early on that design would play a major role in her life. Today, Trichel has decades of experience in the design world and is a much sought-after designer both in Louisiana and well beyond. Her company -- Terri Trichel Interiors -- gives her the opportunity to do what she loves the most. Every job is

a challenge, and every product is classic and timeless. Find her article on page 168.

This month’s BayouArtist is Tim Breaux. Breaux, a Louisiana native, is a semi-retired pharmacist, but considers himself a full-time painter. He will be completing an artist residency in May, where he will be painting en plein air with scheduled paint alongs and open studio times. Find his story and get more information about upcoming paintalongs on page 130.

Casey Sandridge and his wife, Taylor, invested in a food truck that would lead to a full-time business. The Blue Taco is a family-operated business that sells traditional Mexican fare. Find this month’s BayouEats column on page 104.

In this month’s magazine, turn to pages 161-167 for our exclusive gift guide, meticulously curated to help you find the perfect token of appreciation for both Mother’s Day and graduation. Whether you’re searching for a sentimental keepsake for Mom or a meaningful gesture for the recent graduate in your life, our guide has you covered with unique finds from local retailers.

We hope you enjoy reading this month’s issue of BayouLife and remember to shop local!



1201 Royal Avenue Monroe, LA 71201

Phone 318.855.3185


PUBLISHER & OWNER Cassie Livingston




Lindsay Adams

Katelyn McAllister

Courtney Thomas

ART DIRECTOR Taylor Bennett



Dan Chason

Kenny Covington

Shannon Dahlum

April Doughty

Cindy Gist Foust

Starla Gatson

Miguel Lopez, MD

Paul Lipe

Erin Love

Meredith McKinnie

Georgiann Potts

Delia Simpson

Beatrice A. Tatem

Guy Miller

Kerry Heafner

Judy Wagoner

Joyce Sims

Clinton Downing

Marci Parker

Rev. Bette J. Kauffman, PHD Tabitha McBride


Kelly Moore Clark

Jansen Nowell Photography Co. J. Claire Creative - Joanna Weed

Olivia McClure

Steven Palowsky

Tim Breaux


Janice Butler, Kandice Guice and Kyrie

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.


Indulge Mom this Mother’s Day

With a Symphony of Tastes

AS MAY BLOSSOMS INTO FULL SPLENDOR, IT’S TIME to celebrate the epitome of nurturing love—Mother’s Day.

This year, transcend traditional gifts and pamper Mom with a bouquet of flavors that speak volumes of appreciation. From sparkling effervescence to rich, velvety depths, and a hint of summery zest, we’ve curated an ensemble of delights to elevate her special day. Join us as we embark on a journey through the palate, featuring the Monopolio Lessini Durello, Second Line 2021 L’Acadiane Albarino, and Avaline Red Blend wines, followed by the tangy Prairie Island Squeeze Sour, and culminating in the exquisite pairing of Laird’s Bottled in Bond Apple Brandy and Romeo y Julieta 1875 Reserve Toro Cigar.

Monopolio Lessini Durello: A Toast to Timeless Elegance

Begin the festivities with a touch of Italian sophistication embodied in the Monopolio Lessini Durello. Crafted amidst the picturesque vineyards of Lessini Mountains, this sparkling wine emanates a refined charm. With its delicate bubbles dancing gracefully upon the palate, it offers notes of green apple and citrus, culminating in a crisp, refreshing finish. Whether enjoyed on its own or paired with light appetizers, it sets the stage for an enchanting celebration, honoring the timeless bond between mother and child.

Second Line 2021 L’Acadiane Albarino: A Symphony of Sunshine

Embrace the vibrancy of summer with the Second Line 2021 L’Acadiane Albarino—a testament to the sun-kissed terroirs of California. Radiating hues of golden straw, this Albarino exudes an irresistible allure with its aromatic bouquet of tropical fruits and blossoms. With each sip, flavors of ripe peach and zesty lemon unfold, accompanied by a refreshing minerality that invigorates the senses. Pair it with seafood delicacies or light salads to elevate the dining experience and bask in the warmth of shared moments.

Avaline Red Blend: Embrace the Richness of Tradition

For those who prefer the depth and complexity of red wines, the Avaline Red Blend offers an exquisite symphony of flavors. Crafted with organic grapes nurtured under the Mediterranean sun. Rich aromas of dark berries and spices entice the senses, leading to a palate adorned with layers of plum, black cherry, and hints of cocoa.

Whether savored alongside hearty roasts or decadent chocolate desserts, it embodies the essence of indulgence, making it the perfect tribute to a mother’s unwavering love.

Prairie Island Squeeze Sour: A Burst of Refreshment

As the days grow warmer, treat Mom to a playful twist with the Prairie Island Squeeze Sour. Crafted by master brewers, this tantalizing sour ale exudes a burst of citrusy goodness, reminiscent of lazy summer days. With its tantalizing blend of tartness and sweetness, it offers a refreshing respite from the heat, tantalizing the taste buds with every sip. Pair it with grilled fare or spicy dishes for a symphony of flavors that dance across the palate, leaving a lingering sense of contentment.

Laird’s Bottled in Bond Apple Brandy and Romeo y Julieta 1875 Reserve Toro Cigar: A Match Made in Heaven

We wanted to also start featuring a cigar pairing in each month’s article. The Laird’s Bottled in Bond Apple Brandy, aged to perfection in charred oak barrels, exudes a warm embrace of caramelized apples and vanilla, offering a luxurious sensory experience. Accompanying this masterpiece is the Romeo y Julieta 1875 Reserve Toro Cigar—a symbol of timeless sophistication. With its complex blend of flavors and velvety smoothness, it harmonizes seamlessly with the rich nuances of the brandy, creating a symphony of indulgence that lingers long after the last sip is savored.

As Mother’s Day approaches, let us raise our glasses to the women who enrich our lives with love, wisdom, and unwavering support. From the effervescent charm of Monopolio Lessini Durello to the velvety depths of Avaline Red Blend, and the vibrant zest of Prairie Island Squeeze Sour, each offering is a testament to the beauty of shared moments and cherished memories. And as the day draws to a close, let us honor the essence of indulgence with the exquisite pairing of Laird’s Bottled in Bond Apple Brandy and Romeo y Julieta 1875 Reserve Toro Cigar—a tribute to the timeless bond between mother and child, and the unforgettable moments that define our lives. As always, thank you for letting us be your Spirits Guides here at Beef & Barrel.


Lush Textures

Create an inviting atmosphere in your home by layering textured textiles such as rugs and fabrics.

From top to bottom:

Styled by Taylor Bennett | Photography by Kelly Moore Clark Clifton & Company, Woodstock Monroe, Fabulous Fabric, Material Things, Sleepy Hollow, The Trove, InHouse Interiors, Haven, Palette House & Plume, Magnolia James Interiors, and Walsworth & Company

Color Me Happy

Infuse your living spaces with a burst of vibrant hues like pinks, blues, yellows and greens through art, fabrics, décor, and more to create a colorful and playful ambiance in your home.

1) Fabulous Fabric 2) Sleepy Hollow 3) Magnolia James Interiors 4) Clifton & Company 5) Muffin Tin 6) Fabulous Fabric 7) Palette House & Plume 8) Walsworth & Company 9) Haven 10) Woodstock Monroe 11) Revival Design & Consign 12) Material Things 13) Fabulous Fabric 14) Clifton & Company 15) The Trove 16) Parterre

Styled by Taylor Bennett | Photography by Kelly Moore Clark 1 10 2 3 4 5 7 8 9 11 12 13 14 15 16

Lifestyle Concept Shop

Joyce Shares Her Favorites From Material Things and The Haberdashery in Her Own Spaces

TRUDON - CLAUDE TRUDON becomes the owner of a store on rue Saint Honore in Paris in 1643 where he sells candles and spices. Thus begins the history of the oldest candle company still in operation. Not only do we carry their home fragrances but we also recently invested in their Eaux de Perfums. Their home scents and perfumes contain an olfactory complexity that hints at a character rather than a genre. They cast light on Trudon’s ethos: to promote creative freedom and invoke unique horizons. We carry six of the top scents of the Cire Trudon home fragrance line and five of the personal fragrances, as well as their entrancing wax busts…so, I know we have the perfect one just for your style.

Capucine de Wulf - We are so excited about bringing this fabulous jewelry line to our customers! This beautiful collection is made of 18k gold over brass mixed with semi precious stones, teak and coral. CDW was debuted in 2017 by Capucine and her husband David Gooding who already owned the well known tabletop company Juliska. CDW jewelry combines all of Capucine’s great passions-womanhood, home and heart, through the medium of personal adornment.

Louis Sherry- One of the most celebrated symbols of New York’s gilded age- opened as a candy shop and restaurant in 1881 by Louis Sherry on 6th Avenue in New York City. These decadent chocolate truffles come beautifully presented in designer tins that are meant to be kept forever. The iconic orchid colored tin with violets has been sighted in many famous movies. We offer two-piece, twelve-piece and 24-piece tins in various colors and designssurely we will have the perfect design for your loved one.

Singer Featherweight- These sweet little machines are the perfect portable piece of equipment to have in your repertoire of tools in your sewing room. They were only made between 1933-1969. We always have a few for sale in The Haberdashery including a stunning hot pink one that Robert totally refurbished. Not only do we offer the machines and the accessories for them but, also Robert services them. And, a couple of times a year we have a class on teaching you how to take apart and care for your precious little machine. So, if you are in the market for one of these, stop by and see what we have!

Museum Bees- This fabulous company owned by Trace Meyer in Louisville, KY has the motto that luxury can be accessible. Each OOAK piece is carefully created from antique frames and bridges the beauty of 19th century American craftsmanship into the modern. In each framed creation, you will find a variety of ornaments and antique objects that adorn the centers. The choices are endless, so I’m sure that you will find that special piece that can stand alone or do as so many others havestart a fabulous collections of these little gems.

Hunt Slonem- HS is an American painter, sculptor and printmaker. He is best known for his Neo-Expressionist paintings of butterflies, bunnies, birds and tulips. We have started carrying many items from his Hop Up Shop including trays, portrait plates, cocktail napkins, bunny bar bowls, lacquered boxes, candles and soon to come-his pajamas. Hunt’s art and his life is forever inspired by his connection to the spiritual and natural worlds, his travel and passion for color. If you are need of a special gift or a pop of fun color for your home, then you should stop in and see all of his beautiful pieces.

Husqvarna Viking- Keeping the world sewing for 150 years, this company began in 1872 in a small town in Sweden, “Huskvarna,” which means “house mill” in Swedish, represents the mill that still stands in the town where the first iteration of the Husqvarna Viking brand got its start. This exceptional machine is offered in a vast array of models in The Haberdashery part of our shop. Not only do we have machines for you to create something beautiful on but also all of the premier fabrics, notions, patterns and inspiration that you could possibly need to fulfill this! If you or anyone in your life has been wanting to continue their passion for sewing or are just getting started, then we have what you need. Another special aspect of The Haberdashery is that we not only sell the machine, we also have in house servicing by our own trained technician.

Quilts- As you probably already know, I have been a sewer of lots of things, including quilts! I am totally enchanted with the fabrics, the shapes, and the different styles of quilts. These are truly works of art for the maker and the receiver of these special pieces. I believe that having just one quilt in your home can be a jumping off point for your color palette.

So, as you can see we are your local “Lifestyle Concept Shop.” We can help you with any of these fabulous products and so much more, please consider us for all of your gifting and home decor needs whether they be big or small. So, please think about these items and envision them in your own personal spaces. XOXO - Joyce


Cucumber Cooler

This refreshing cocktail infuses aloe and melon syrup with crisp cucumbers and absinthe for a glorious, green sip.

What you need:

1 ounce dry gin

1 ounce aloe melon syrup

1/2 ounce lemon juice

5 cucumber wheels

3 cubes honeydew melon

1 dash absinthe

2 oz soda water

Add a dash of absinthe to a cocktail glass and then fill with crushed ice. Muddle cucumber and melon and add to a shaker filled with ice. Next, add gin, syrup and lemon. Shake and strain into glass. Top with soda water.

How to make the syrup: In a saucepan, add one tbsp water with a 2 inch piece of aloe vera and 1 1/2 cups of honeydew melon. Simmer for a few minutes. In another pan boil one cup of water. Once it reaches a rolling boil, add water, simmered aloe and melon and sugar to a blender. After blended, strain through a fine mesh and allow to cool before using.

Styled by Taylor Bennett | Photography by Kelly Moore Clark

Olive Pasta

Indulge in a delightful past dish featuring crispy pancetta, briny olives, fragrant fresh dill, and creamy feta cheese, creating a truly delicious meal.

What you need:

8 ounces linguine

4 ounces diced pancetta

4 garlic cloves

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Zest of 1/2 lemon

1 cup pitted olives

2 tbsp chopped parsley

2 tbsp chopped fresh dill

6 ounces feta cheese

2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

Directions: Cook pasta. In a skillet, cook pancetta until crisp and drain excess fat, reserving 2 tbsps in pan. Add garlic, pepper flakes and lemon zest to the pan and cook for around two minutes. Add olives, parsley, basil and dill, stirring often. Drain the pasta (keep 1/4 cup of pasta water) and add it along with the pancetta to the skillet and toss to coat. Add about 2/3 of feta, lemon juice and 1/4 cup of reserved pasta water. Add panko and salt and toss to combine.

Styled by Taylor Bennett | Photography by Kelly Moore Clark

Alumni Spotlight

ULM Alum: Cindy Foust

NOT ALL COLLEGE STUDENTS TAKE THE traditional path, and after graduating from West Monroe High School, Cindy Foust definitely charted her own territory. After briefly attending another university, Cindy found herself back home to help her family recover from tragedy. Her sister Angel had been killed in a car accident, and Cindy wanted to help her parents and little brother through this transition. Meanwhile, Cindy had no idea what to do with her life, and rather than identify a clear focus, she majored in General Studies with a concentration in business. Throughout her classes and taking care of things at home, Cindy journaled in her black and white speckled notebook. She started writing children’s books, sharing her family’s pain with the hope of helping other families navigate grief. Cindy found that putting her emotions on paper allowed her to channel her own complicated feelings into helping others who might be struggling.

Cindy’s coreer out of college began at a law firm, convinced she might like to go to law school. At her 10-year WMHS class reunion, Cindy reconnected with Scott Foust,a highschool friend, who was moving home from Dallas. The two were married a year later. Cindy had told herself over the last few years that she didn’t plan on having kids, that she didn’t want to open herself to the kind of loss her parents experienced. But life had other plans, and at 32, Cindy had Robert Scott, followed soon by son Samuel and then daughter Angel Grace. Her worst fears were realized when Scott and Cindy lost son Samuel at only 2 years old. Again, Cindy only knew to channel her grief into her writing; only this time, she was writing from one mother to another. She continued writing a series of books - typical kid topics - importance of being kind, cleaning your room, etc. Eventually, Cindy opened her own publishing company called Alpha-Kidz.

Now with the company expanding, Cindy got more bad news - breast cancer. With her young children and employees depending on her, Cindy knew she had to prioritize her health. She went through 18 months of treatment and found herself unsure of how to market her company in a self-publishing environment. As fate would have it, a friend called and asked Cindy to interview with the ULM Alumni Center Association. Being back on campus from a new perspective completely changed Cindy’s view of higher education.

She wanted to help advance ULM and be here for the students and alumni. Cindy realized she had taken the university for granted, that she wanted to be even more involved with ULM’s growth. Now as a Development Officer at ULM, Cindy can use her gifts to create resources for students, faculty, staff and university programs.

When the breast cancer returned a year into her new position, Cindy was devastated. The chemo would be harrowing, and she knew she needed something to take her mind off the treatment. So at 54, Cindy applied to graduate school at ULM, pursuing her master’s in Public Administration with a concentration in nonprofit management. Over the next two years, Cindy found out what she was capable of. With the help of supportive professors, Cindy found pursuing her degree quite therapeutic. When her coworkers suggested she walk in graduation, Cindy initially resisted, assuming she was too old for such things. But she did, and it was one of her last memories with her father. The entire experience was magical, as “It’s never too late to educate.”

The resources are available for those who want to finish a degree or even start over completely. Mid-career transitions are becoming more commonplace, as life is too short to not work in a fulfilling profession. Cindy’s oldest son, Robert Scott, graduated from ULM in 2022, and she’s now looking forward to her daughter, Angel Grace, starting ULM this fall. Cindy can’t wait to watch her daughter flourish on campus, to have the campus experiences that Cindy so desperately wants for her. ULM is the cornerstone of this community, and Cindy is honored to be an integral part of its growth under President Ron Berry.


White House

Incorporate white into your home decor, feature stunning lamps, sophisticated sculptures and gorgeous vases against a bold color wall or within a monochromatic look for a timeless and elegant ambiance.

Mirror - Material Things, Table - Sleepy Hollow, Lamp - InHouse Interiors, Sculpture on Wood Base - The Trove, Candleholders - Walsworth & Company, Bowls - Woodstock Monroe, Fabric - Fabulous Fabric, Vase with Wooden Beads - Palette House & Plume, Skull Sculpture - Revival Design & Consign, Vase with GreeneryParterre, Decorative Vase with Waves - Haven, Vase with Ceramic PearlsMuffin Tin

Styled by Taylor Bennett | Photography by Kelly Moore Clark

Ochsner LSU Health

Tips For Preventing Sports Injuries

FROM YOUNG TO OLD AND WEEKEND WARRIORS TO athletes, we’re all at risk for injury from playing sports. This is especially true for athletes who spend many hours training, practicing and competing at intense physical levels. While it’s not always possible to prevent injuries, there are ways to reduce your risks.


All athletes should see their primary care physician for a sports physical every year, ideally before the start of the season. A physical can help lower the risk of injury or health problems by ensuring that participation in your chosen sport can be undertaken safely.


Every second counts when it comes to serious injuries. That’s why the primary care and sports medicine doctors at Ochsner LSU Health are committed to seeing athletes within 24 hours of injury. If surgery is deemed necessary, we can facilitate surgical evaluation within 48 hours. We are also equipped with cutting-edge rehabilitation and diagnostic imaging technology to help you or your student athlete get back in action sooner.


This includes everything from knowing when to stop or take a step back to getting proper hydration and rest. Injuries often occur when athletes push too hard or don’t get adequate nutrition and rest.


Many athletes are at risk for overuse injuries due to repetitive use of the same muscle groups, especially if they participate in only one sport. Cross-training can help avoid overuse injuries. Proper technique and warming up sufficiently before training or playing a sport can help prevent acute injuries. Regular stretching and flexibility routines can also be beneficial to performance and injury prevention.


At Ochsner LSU Health Sports Medicine, we provide care for athletes, high schools, universities and performance groups from East Texas to the Mississippi border. We are the only group in northern Louisiana with experience providing medical care for recreational and professional athletes from the local community to the international level.

Thanks to this breadth of experience, we are able to identify, manage and treat our patients in an expedited manner while providing expert guidance in preventive strategies and rehabilitation.

Our sports medicine team consists of physicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists and athletic trainers. We have extensive knowledge of concussion diagnosis and management; heat-illness prevention and treatment; common acute and chronic musculoskeletal injuries; and other medical and dermatologic issues that athletes of all levels may face.

We also offer a world-class Human Performance Lab with an exercise physiologist to provide motion analysis, biomechanical testing and environmental testing. This level of care available to the individuals throughout the region is potentially only matched in major metropolitan areas.

Last but not least, the primary care and sports medicine doctors at Ochsner LSU Health are the only physicians in the area who are dually board-certified in family medicine and sports medicine, allowing us to treat the patient as a whole.

Whether you are looking for preventive care or are faced with an injury, the sports medicine team at Ochsner LSU Health has you covered right here close to home. To make an appointment, visit, or call 318626-2593.


Being At Home With Self

The Joy of Finding Home Within Yourself

THE MONTH OF MAY IS WHEN WE CELEBRATE MOTHER’S Day, Mental Health Awareness Month, Cinco de Mayo, Better Sleep Month and Memorial Day. May is always special to me. It is when my mother “pushed me out into the world,” to experience life outside of her physical being, into a world that has evolved far beyond her imagination. Fortunately for me, she has been present mentally and physically as I navigate the good as well as the challenges of life. My journey in life has taught me the value of self-discovery, the comfort of being at home with self, the ability to always come home to self when emotionally lost and the joy of finding home within. Last month I wrote about the impact of travel on our mental health and one’s need to reset, relax, rejuvenate, renew and recharge. I discussed my trip to the Island of Grand Turk, the capital of the Turks and Caicos Islands and the home of my paternal ancestors. This month I chose to write about being at home from the perspective of our bodies being the physical home and our mind and soul our mental and emotional home. It is in our houses and/or dwelling places where we are free to discover ourselves, to feel at home with self and experience the joy of finding home within ourselves. After a more recent trip to New Orleans where I attend the American Counseling Association Conference (ACA) I turned to my mother and said, “Home Sweet Home.” With a sigh of relief, she agreed. As I walked through my house, I took a deep breath taking in the lavender infused air, while scanning the room to once again reflect on the memories each item represents. I looked for changes, did the plants need watering, was everything the way I left them? In my travels one of the things, I value are the efforts made by the hotel staff to welcome guests, to make you feel special and at home. I readily admit to having a long-standing self-care practice of leaving my home the way I want to experience it when I return. So yes, I leave my bed freshly made, with fluffed pillows, and candles and Epsom salts neatly displayed in my bathroom ready to be used. I have learned when making my house cozy to my liking, I also must do the things to be comfortable in my emotional space or mental home. I experience cleaning my home to be cathartic and the results aesthetically pleasing impacting me emotionally and mentally. Dr. Gerald Corey, renowned Psychologist, distinguished professor and noted author stated, during his session at the ACA conference “If you don’t take care of your body where will you live?” I believe being at home with self is the best place to be. When you can find home within yourself you can be at home anywhere, in most situations, interacting with all types of people while encountering various circumstances.

To be truly at home with self is to know, understand and appreciate ourselves: our strengths, weaknesses, personality, values, hopes and dreams. It means owning your vision for life and feeling at home in your mind. Some regard this appreciation for self as a type of self-care, self-love, self-awareness, confidence and mindfulness. In my opinion being at home with self, is self-care. After all, how can we self-care if we do not love and appreciate ourselves?

Several years ago, I decided to get my house renovated. Throughout the process I was reminded that when we take measures to update and improve our dwelling places, we must not neglect our minds and our bodies, we must also take care of our emotional spaces and mental homes. Literature has shown that there is the misconception that if we get the external world, in this case our residences or dwelling places around us, correct and in order, we will feel at home. Whereas, I believe it is important to have our external places repaired and in order our mind, bodies and souls must be in order. I am quick to say when I am at home mentally, emotionally and physically I am able to enjoy the environment of my house more. I have found that the feeling of being at peace within myself is more important than the environment I am in. When reflecting on ways to feel at home from the perspective of our bodies being the physical home and our mind and soul our mental and emotional home I have identified some ways to feel at home with self. Be present, compassionate, patient, and okay with being less then perfect. Create a dwelling place where your physical and mental homes can be free to be, where you can take a deep breath, emote, hide and/ or showcase your values, beliefs, and thoughts. Consider how you are feeling physically and mentally, avoid past regrets or future anxieties, and feelings of being overwhelmed. Be mindful that being at home within yourself is an acceptance of self, it is comfort, it is being at peace with your feelings.

We are living in a time when the world around us could be kinder, gentler, more considerate, and safer. It is imperative that we are always able to come home to meet ourselves again and again, where we are hopefully in a good space and place mentally and physically. I suggested at the first of the year to get back on track or in this vein experience the joy of finding home within ourselves.

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



“Sometimes which choice you make is not as important as making a choice and committing to it.”

Matthew McConaughey, the Oscar winning actor best known for romantic comedy, box office gold and shirtless paparazzi photos, has published a memoir to surprisingly rave reviews. When I got my copy, I still had my doubts, certain the hype would correct itself eventually. His rugged personality manifests in a rugged, yet tender text that originated from McConaughey’s journals over the years. Full of introspection and advice on living as opposed to surviving, the actor/author delves into his family history and the lessons acquired from always saying “Why not?”

The memoir recounts McConaughey, the last of three brothers, flying by the seat of his pants and always landing on his feet. When presented with the opportunity to study abroad in Australia, McConaughey jumped at the chance, staying a year across the globe during high school. Though faced with culture shock and a freakishly strange host family, McConaughey adapted, often by looking inward. Throughout his life, when faced with adversity, McConaughey chases the unknown, leans into discomfort, and challenges the status quo. He respects tradition enough to ignore it when searching for truth. Whether it is floating the Amazon, or turning down box-office-gold roles, or daring to challenge Hollywood execs, McConaughey forges his own path via consistent self-evaluation and necessary pivots. He writes, “Persist, pivot, or concede. It’s up to us, our choice every time.”

I consumed this book in 24 hours. Admittedly, the plot of his life didn’t surprise me, but the analysis of those events from the actor did. I rarely pair the words cerebral and simple, yet McConaughey accomplishes both. Written in short chapters and even shorter sentences, McConaughey captures quite a bit of sentiment without losing the can’t-look-away factor. The book reads easily in McConaughey’s voice, and the graphics throughout provide a textured quality that sets it apart from Hollywood memoirs, much like the actor set aside Hollywood for his home state of Texas.

A consistent theme throughout this book is the actor’s rejection of comfort. If he finds himself domestically comfortable, he quickly hits the road. If he finds box office success, he trades it in for a new Hollywood image. If he wakes up from a wet dream, he chases the source, even when it takes him to the margins of civilization. The actor recounts a fearless life in a fearlessly written text. While his audience might seem niche, the wisdom acquired off-road is universal. I recommend this book to the McConaughey superfan, the McConaughey-curious, and to those, like myself, who just adore memoirs for the willing soul exposure.

“We cannot fully appreciate the light without the shadows. We have to be thrown off balance to find our footing. It’s better to jump than fall. And here I am.”


Herringstone’s Anniversary Bash

On April 7th, Herringstones, the beloved fashion boutique, orchestrated a delightful surprise for its esteemed owners, Cindy Stone and Debbie Herrington, marking an incredible milestone of 35 years! The atmosphere was charged with anticipation as guests gathered to celebrate this momentous occasion at the venue graciously provided by Restaurant Cotton. The evening consisted of the unveiling of the new birthday collection, shop-able live at the event. The celebration continued with a heartfelt champagne toast, a symbolic gesture of gratitude to loyal patrons and dedicated staff who have been integral to Herringstones’ enduring success. Throughout the evening, the air buzzed with excitement and nostalgia, as anecdotes of cherished memories and milestones were shared. It was a night of jubilation, a testament to the passion and perseverance of Cindy Stone and Debbie Herrington, and a reaffirmation of the enduring legacy of Herringstones.

On the BayouScene

1 Ashley Ellis and Cassie Bruscato

2 Ariana Howell, Leisha McHugh and Abby Gray

3 Cindy Stone and Debbie Herrington

4 Cindy Stone and Staphanie Osborne

5 Courtney Thomas and Lindsay Adams

6 Debbie Herrington, Erin Taylor and Cindy Stone

7 Debbie Herrington, Lynna Caples and Patchez Fox

8 Faranak Matheny, Sandra Shinn, Cindy Stone and Debbie Herrington

9 Hanna Lavergne, Erin Taylor and Claire Texada

10 Kaysi Masters, Cassie Bruscato and Hanna Lavergne

11 Dee Ledbetter and Faranak Matheny

12 Haley Herrington and Grant Thomas

13 Hanna Lavergne and Erin Taylor

14 Pam Jones and Tonyah Meredith

15 Stephanie and Cade Stone, Cindy Stone, Cerene and Cody Stone

16 Teresa Becton and LV Ham

17 Teresa Becton, Debbie Herrington and LV Ham

30 MAY 2024 | WWW.BAYOULIFEMAG.COM 12 4 5 6 7 11 17 16 13 14 10 9 8 15 1 2 3

Green With Envy

Embrace the season by infusing your living spaces with the vibrant hue of great, whether through your living spaces or refreshing grass-colored tiles, to bring a touch of nature indoors.

1) Sleepy Hollow 2) Haven 3) Fabulous Fabric 4) Walsworth & Company 5) InHouse Interiors 6) Woodstock Monroe 7) Magnolia James Interiors 8) Material Things 9) Revival Design & Consign 10) Clifton & Company

Palette House & Plume 12)

Styled by Taylor Bennett | Photography by Kelly Moore Clark
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 9 10 8 11 12 13 14
The Trove
Tin 14) Parterre

Serenity Care Providers

Supporting Project 4 Hope

SRENITY CARE PROVIDERS LOVES THE PEOPLE IN THIS area and the way they support one another. Last year to celebrate our 10-year anniversary, we highlighted a few people have adopted ministries of their own. These unsung heroes work tirelessly to ensure others are provided for physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Tina Bass with Kingdom Recovery, Proverbs 21 Ministries, and Broken Chains Ministry was named the winner of the 2023 Remarkable Women of the Ark-La-Miss for the work she does to help others overcome addiction.

Shelley Thomas started The Biscuit Ministry when she discovered a group of homeless women living in nature. Now, every single day, Shelley ensures this group of women receive breakfast, snacks, juice & water along with daily prayer and Bible devotions. She also takes home their dirty clothes and returns them clean and folded. When a lady wants to talk to her family, Shelley lends them her phone. THEN, if all things work out, Shelley buys the ladies new clothes before she reunites them with their family. Shelley has no corporate sponsors for The Biscuit Ministry. To date, Shelley has reunited 4 ladies with their families. It is quite remarkable, and you can watch my interview with Shelley on our Serenity Care Providers Facebook page.

Sandra Jones met decorated Colonel Steve Lindsley in 2016. Col. Lindsley has dedicated his life to the military, and as the owner of Hope Orthotics, he takes care of Veterans of all ages with prosthetics and shows them the respect and dignity they deserve. Together, Col. Lindsley and Sandra formed Ouachita Regional Veterans Association (ORVA) to bring improvement to the increasing veteran homelessness and suicide rates in and around Louisiana. They purchased eight acres in Arcadia with the long-term goal of placing fifteen cabins on the property for veterans who are displaced or need assistance.

But ORVA doesn’t want to just provide housing for vets; they want to offer veterans HOPE and the chance to start again thus naming this the “Project 4 Hope.” Each veteran and family will be evaluated upon entering the program. A private plan will be built for their individual needs and goals. Partnering with local service providers, ORVA will monitor each veteran and their family to ensure their physical, mental, and emotional needs are being met. The HUB or Community Center in the Veteran Village will provide a place for education, life skills training, employment preparation, mentorship,

counseling, and other vital programs. Each veteran coming through the doors will be celebrated!

Why did Serenity Care Providers get behind Project 4 Hope? We love our veterans and respect the sacrifices they and their families have made for our country. Partnering with the Veterans Administration and other veteran programs, we provide personal care services to veterans in the Monroe, West Monroe, and Ruston areas. We are aware of the many struggles veterans and their families can face. Project 4 Hope provides just that…hope for veterans and their families. They have 7.5 acres in Arcadia, LA that will be the site of tiny transitional homes for veterans. The 501(c)(3) plans to build a larger building that will house rooms for counseling, group counseling, life skill and job skill training, cooking classes, and a kitchen for gatherings. This project will assist veterans struggling with day-to-day decisions and social issues but will also provide help to those battling mental illness, drug addiction, unemployment, and/ or homelessness. Serenity Care Providers believes Project 4 Hope is a life-changing organization for our veterans.

Project 4 Hope is dedicated to helping veterans and their families. Together with community leaders, they will work to establish better resources for veterans and change how the community views issues surrounding veterans. Project 4 Hope is about restoration, hope, and healing.

Project4Hope is completely dependent upon donors for resources. Applications for grants have been submitted but the organization does not receive any federal monies. There are also fundraisers to be held that will assist in finishing the three cabins already on the property. ORVA is looking for corporate sponsors or individuals who would like to contribute to the completion of the Project 4 Hope mission to put an end to veteran homelessness and suicide one veteran at a time. By offering safe housing in an alcohol and drug free environment, Project 4 Hope wants to improve the lives of veterans in our area by making them feel supported and respected. If this is something you want to be a part of contact us here at Serenity Care Providers or contact ORVA-Project4Hope on Facebook or at sj.project4hope@

Together we can make a difference!


Celebrating Our Moms

This Mother’s Day, we’d like to highlight mothers across our region. These women shared their thoughts on motherhood - who influenced their mothering, how those values have changed, and how society’s ideas of mothering have evolved. At the essence of each spotlight is love and commitment to understanding, to doing the best they know how with the information available to them at the time. We see motherhood personified across generations, as children are forever imprinted by the women in their lives.

Douglissa Harris and Cayson

Douglissa Harris calls Cayson “My Guy,” as he is smart, helpful, and a full-on boy. He grabs life by the horns and is always up for a challenge. For Douglissa and husband Jakari, Cayson is their rainbow baby, and they couldn’t be more grateful and honored to be his parents. They strive to teach Cayson independence and bravery. Douglissa also leans into emotions with her son, acknowledging his feelings and walking through those episodes with him.

When it comes to mothering her son Cayson, Douglissa Harris extends a lot of grace, as she knows her 3-year-old is still learning and growing. Douglissa’s own mother Barbara Brown showcased resilience, always quickly bouncing back from whatever life threw at the family. Douglissa understands that motherhood is a tightrope of sorts, that we can’t get everything right all the time, even though society expects us to.

The last few years, Douglissa has learned to appreciate every moment. She already can’t remember the last time washed Cayson’s bottle or pushed him in a stroller. The time goes so fast; people tell us that, and it’s true. Douglissa also leans into her village, as raising a child requires a community of people to love a child. Though Douglissa is fiercely independent, she knows when to ask and depend on others. And finally, Douglissa makes a concerted effort to apologize to her son, acknowledging her mistakes as they occur. They hug it out, respecting both of their timelines and emotions. She believes modeling this behavior will help Cayson understand personal responsibility and owning up to his mistakes. Raising a son that is emotionally mature is paramount, and Douglissa knows that begins at home.


Nicole, Ava, Evie and Estelle West

For Nicole West and husband Brian, family and athletics are cornerstones of their relationship and uniquely entwined. Brian and Nicole were both athletes in their glory days. Nicole was a collegiate basketball player under Kim Mulkey and Leon

Barmore at Louisiana Tech, and she competed in the Final Four. Brian was a pitcher for the Chicago White Sox and played defensive end for LSU when the team won a national championship under Nick Saban. Now the parents of three daughters (Ava Violet, Evelynn Elise, and Estelle Margaret), Nicole and Brian love sharing their love of athletics, team sports, and competition with their girls. They are able to teach the young ladies what commitment looks like and how to accept responsibility and failure.

Nicole describes motherhood as “pure joy.” She is so grateful that God chose her to be the mother of Ava, Evelynn, and Estelle. Nicole’s mothering influences come from her maternal grandmother Violet Sherer, her mother Donna Burn, and her mother-in-law Gail West. Nicole learned the importance of continuing family traditions and highlighting her children’s strengths. Ava (15) is a freshman at Sterlington High School, focusing on securing her learner’s permit, and playing softball and basketball. Evelynn (13) is an 8th grader at Sterlington Middle, playing basketball and softball, and is really into robotics. Estelle (9) is adored by the entire family and spends her days playing basketball, softball, and tennis, along with running track.

The West family motto is “Grit & Gratitude,” as nothing worth having comes easily. The girls’ talents extend to academics, as all three are straight A students. Most importantly though, Nicole and Brian are proud that their children are foremost great humans, friends, and teammates. The bond among the girls is proof that a family that plays together thrives together.



Janice Butler, Kandice Guice, and Kyrie

For local attorney Kandice Guice, loving on her only son Kyrie is the highlight of her day. Kandice admits that motherhood provided a new lens through which to view herself, insisting we can heal ourselves through our children. Kandice knows that Kyrie comes with his own spirit- he is not hers to keep. 4-year-old Kyrie is funloving, vivacious, and into dinosaurs, traveling, and anything STEM-related. He is on a local swim team and plays competitive soccer. His active lifestyle keeps Kandice busy, alongside her professional and personal commitments.

Luckily, Kandice has a “SuperMom” as a role model with her own mother Janice Butler. After Kyrie was born, Janice, whom Kyrie calls Mimi, stayed with him every day. Janice counts Kandice as a “blessing from God,” after struggling to conceive, and Kyrie is her “blessing from a blessing.” Janice is impressed by Kandice’s strength as a mother and commitment to educating her son through direct conversations. Janice insists Kandice talks to him like a person with agency, always giving him choices and explaining issues thoroughly. As a result, Kyrie has developed a strong sense of self and his standing in the world around him.

Parenting Kyrie has broadened Kandice’s perspective on how she was parented, as she now gives her parents more grace. Kandice appreciates seeing her mother’s love for her doubled in her love for Kyrie. Together, caring for Kyrie, Janice and Kandice get to love their own inner children, showing their generational legacy in Kyrie’s future.

Yvette Jeter, Molly Jeter McCullar, and Ruby

Though Yvette Jeter has held many titles, MaMère might be her favorite. As the mother of Molly Jeter McCullar and grandmother of Ruby, Yvette knows that as mothers evolve, so does society’s definition of motherhood, and for Yvette, it’s the fun of being Mamère, as her job now is only to love and spoil her grandchildren.

Yvette describes daughter Molly as foremost a “nurturing soul,” always loving on her little brother John as if he was her own. Molly’s maternal instinct sharpened when she welcomed son Charlie in her late 20s, followed 12 years later by daughter Ruby. Molly credits Yvette with showcasing both a loving and firm nature, something Molly emulates with her children. Though seemingly easygoing and patient, Molly can be tough when she needs to be. And while Molly may now be the adult in the room, she still seeks out Mom’s advice daily. Yvette knows best.

Molly describes Ruby as being like Molly when she was her age - smart and witty with a good sense of humor. While leadershipdriven, Ruby is sensitive to others, always looking out for the little ones. Ruby is a dedicated tumbler and a proud member of Chickadees, a group that prioritizes community service. Molly sees a lot of Yvette in Ruby, and as her mother’s biggest fan, she knows her daughter will be just fine in the world with such spirit. Yvette’s family also includes son John Jeter, wife Jennifer Jeter, and grandchildren John Calvin, Lara Jayne, and Grayson.



As someone associated with the Chennault Aviation and Military Museum I don’t usually mention other museums. But assuming you wanted to visit the National Museum of the Pacific War to where would you fly? Hawaii? Old Pacific Coast Navy cities like San Francisco or San Diego? How about Fredericksburg, Texas?

Why this unlikely location? Fredricksburg is where Chester William Nimitz was born. Nimitz is, of course, Admiral Nimitz, who was designated as “Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas” on March 24, 1942 with operational control over all Allied units (air, land, and sea). Had Nimitz not been designated such, the course of World War II would have been vastly different and likely significantly longer and with a much larger number of casualties.

Although the teenage Nimitz desired an appointment to West Point, none were available. Offered a chance to enter Annapolis instead, Nimitz left high school without a diploma at age 16 when his application was accepted.

Nimitz regarded his grandfather as the most important person in his life. The older Nimitz offered advice to his grandson that helped him to become the Admiral that won the Pacific War. This advice was “the sea – like life itself – is a stern taskmaster. The best way to get along with either is to learn all you can, then do your best and don’t worry – especially about things over which you have no control.”

Despite running his ship aground as an Ensign in 1908, Nimitz made amends for this blunder as his career progressed. He performed his duties so well that the Navy promoted him directly from Ensign to Lieutenant in 1910, skipping the rank of Lieutenant J.G.

Nimitz spent most of World War I as an aide then Chief of Staff to the admiral commanding the Atlantic Submarine Force. This experience allowed him to closely observe how an admiral functions and makes decisions.

Nimitz was a Rear Admiral serving as Chief of the Bureau of Navigation when the Japanese Imperial Navy attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. On the morning of December 16th, Nimitz was summoned to the office of Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox. Knox asked him how soon he could be ready to travel. Nimitz said that it depended on where he was going and how long he would be away. Knox answered, “You’re going to take command of the Pacific Fleet, and I think you will be gone a long time.”

President Roosevelt had served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy during World War I and personally knew most of the senior admirals. He had actually offered Nimitz command of the Pacific Fleet in January 1941 but Nimitz asked to be excused because there were 50 officers more senior to him and he was too junior for such a

high profile assignment. By December, there were still 28 admirals senior to Nimitz but Roosevelt hand-picked Nimitz to take over the command. Once again Nimitz skipped a rank and went directly from Rear Admiral to Admiral.

The initial months of the war were a difficult time for Nimitz. He needed to rebuild the Pacific Fleet, restore morale among the command staff that he inherited from his predecessor, protect American supply lines to Australia and strike back against the Japanese.

Nimitz organized the initial American carrier raids against Japanese held islands including the April 1942 bombing of Tokyo by Army B-25s flown off of the carrier USS Hornet. Despite limited damage, the Doolittle raid provided an enormous boost to American morale.

In early May information from intercepted messages indicated the Japanese planned an offensive in the South Pacific. Nimitz made plans to stop that Japanese advance. Although the Americans technically lost the Battle of the Coral Sea, it was a strategic success because it turned back the Japanese invasion of the island of New Guinea. Further, two Japanese carriers were temporarily taken out of action, which would deprive the Japanese of their use during the Midway operation which took place shortly thereafter.

Nimitz’s biggest gamble of the war came later in May when he decided to assemble every available American carrier in the Pacific to defend against a possible Japanese attack on Midway Island. A few scraps of information his code breakers had gathered provided Nimitz’s only insight into Japanese intentions. Many officers on his staff doubted the accuracy of the information but Nimitz felt the information was correct. He ordered the damaged carrier Yorktown to join the Hornet and the Enterprise and sail to Midway.

Although the Japanese were able to launch an aerial attack on Midway Island on June 3rd, the outnumbered American fleet located and began attacking the Japanese ships. On the morning of June 4th, American dive bombers crippled three Japanese carriers and destroyed more than 200 enemy aircraft in less than 10 minutes. The loss of the Japanese carriers at Midway shifted the balance of naval air power for the remainder of 1942 and permanently ended Japanese naval supremacy in the Pacific. The Battle of Midway has been regarded as the turning point of the war. Free from worry about Japanese carriers and with superior air power, Nimitz was able to initiate his successful island-hopping strategy towards the Japanese home islands.

While Roosevelt’s decision to put Nimitz in command surprised many Navy leaders at the time, with his May decision regarding Midway Nimitz initiated his reputation as the ultimate architect of American victory over Japan.

Historical Impressions

Haven’s Favorite Gifts

Shop Haven’s Favorites for Mother’s Day and Graduation

WITH THE ARRIVAL OF MAY, MOTHER’S DAY IS ALMOST here. Haven has put together a wonderful list to provide you with ideas this Mother’s Day. Haven has a variety of gifts in all price ranges for every occasion! With graduation upon us, shower your favorite graduate with a practical gift from Haven. Here are a few of the staff favorites for both occasions:


1. POTTERY & COOKBOOKS: Alison Evans, an artist from Maine, draws inspiration from the ocean for her ceramics, particularly for her timeless oyster series. Pair your pottery selection with one of Haven’s great cookbooks for an amazing choice for mom. The Heirloomed Kitchen, offers recipes from nostalgic Southern favorites to unique dishes, using timeless cooking techniques.

2. OAK BED TRAY: The practical and collapsible Oak bed tray is perfect for working, watching Netflix on a tablet, or serving someone breakfast in bed.

3. GARDENING: Haven has several kits to care for indoor plants! The Revive and Thrive Duo Kit, features Enrich Powder to strengthen roots and Grow Concentrate for vibrant leaves and rapid growth. Among the many gardening books offered in the store, “Branches & Blooms,” showcases detailed projects using flowering and leafy branches.

4. BAREFOOT DREAMS: Indulge in the gift of comfort with Barefoot Dreams, known for their premium blankets and loungewear. Treat someone special to a cardigan, lounge set or a cozy throw, providing days ahead of relaxation.

5. GOLD TRAY: Perfect for the mom who loves accessories for a coffee table or dresser. Complete your gift with a design accessory, Lafco Absolute Candle, or design book from Haven.

6. FRAMES: Frame a beautiful picture for your mother or grandmother. A gift everyone loves. Your choice of frames in acrylic or Italian moldings in a variety of finishes. Bring your picture and the Haven staff will wrap it for you.

7. BATH PRODUCTS: Library of Flowers is elegantly packaged bath products from a small batch perfumery. Wonderfully fragrant bath bubbles, perfumes, soaps, and lotions. Lotions dissolve quickly into the skin, and all the products contain natural ingredients.

8. EARRINGS & NECKLACES: Haven always offers an interesting selection of handmade earrings in a variety of metals and stones. Necklaces and bangles made in the heart of Texas round out this jewelry offering.

9. DEVOTIONAL BOOKS: New inspirational reads and devotionals that mom will love have just arrived. Books are a thoughtful present she can truly enjoy every day.

10. STRAW TOTES: New chic handwoven straw tote bags are perfect to pack a picnic lunch, and towels for lazy days at the beach, or use the smaller version for an everyday tote. The hand-dyed, handsewn leather handles add a beautiful detail to this stylish tote.

11. PAJAMAS: Elevate any lounging experience with a beautiful blue Slouchy Tee Set. This pj set features four-way stretch jersey, a relaxed fit, and added details like a drawstring waistband and side pockets. Making it perfect for those seeking ultimate comfort without sacrificing style.

12. JENNIFER POE ART: Add a splash of color with a small canvas or original works on paper from artists Jennifer Poe or Austin James. A nice variety of sizes and color combinations.


13. DUFFLE BAGS: A duffle bag and toiletry bag from Haven make an excellent graduation gift for any graduate, offering both practicality and style to accompany them on their future adventures with versatile organization and durable construction.

14. BOOKS: Haven offers a variety of thoughtful ways to mark graduation, including several great informational books that provide graduates with insightful guidance and inspiration to navigate life’s next chapter with wisdom and confidence.

15. CHARGING CUBES: The Power Cube’s versatile design, including a 5ft. cable, five power sockets, and adaptable mounting options, provides graduates a convenient solution to their power needs, ensuring access to power all those necessities.

16. COSMETIC & TRAVEL BAGS: A business shoulder bag for the workplace, heat resistant travel bags, jewelry organizers, or cosmetic bags make ideal graduation gifts. Stylish, practical options to accompany her on future journeys!

17. FIX IT KIT: This kit is a compact set of repair tools neatly packaged in a vegan leather-bound case.

Haven has an amazing selection of gifts for all occasions, in every price range. Whether you are shopping for Mother’s Day, graduation or Teacher Appreciation gifts. Haven’s curated selection of gifts is unmatched. Gift wrapping is always complimentary. You can also browse Haven’s website for more gift ideas or to have packages shipped directly to the recipient.


Time To Pamper Mom

Medical Spa by St. Francis Medical Group

THIS MOTHER’S DAY, SHOW YOUR APPRECIATION WITH A gift card or facial at The Medical Spa. We’ve got you covered with the ultimate Mother’s Day facial bundle this month! The bundle consists of a Glo2Facial, dermaplaning and a ZO glow treatment for only $225 ($330 value). Whether you’re surprising mom or treating yourself, this is a bundle we know you’ll love!


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, amplified 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 smoothes overall appearance.

Dermaplaning is a gentle cosmetic procedure in which the skin is manually exfoliated, targeting the outermost layer of dead skin cells and vellus hair, better known as “peach fuzz.” This type of exfoliation unveils your radiant skin beneath, allowing your skincare products to penetrate deeper and allows for flawless makeup application. Dermaplaning is non-invasive, painless and requires no downtime.

ZO Glow Treatment (Stimulator Peel) is the perfect “lunchtime” peel for people of all skin types who want a glowing rejuvenated complexion. The Stimulator Peel is a superficial peel, so there’s no redness, irritation or post-treatment peeling, just immediate results with no downtime. This peel uses a combination of exfoliating alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids to renew and brighten the skin in just 30 minutes.


One of the best gifts you can give is the gift of self-care. ZO offers solutions for any skin type, age and skin condition. Help mom achieve her specific skin care goals with ZO Skin Health. Healthy skin starts with the basics. The first step to any ZO Skin Health regimen is Getting Skin Ready, which consists of cleansing, exfoliation and toning. Mom is sure to love the best-selling Anti-Aging program, too. This program consists of five products to address moderate signs of aging, such as fine line and wrinkles. If you’re still unsure where to start, we can help. As ZO-certified experts, our team can guide and recommend products she is sure to love.


The Medical Spa offers Tox Tuesdays! Every Tuesday will feature special pricing and discounts. Pricing will only be available during your appointment, no pre-purchasing. These spots fill quickly, so don’t wait to book. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram, where we’ll announce each week’s specific featured discounts!


Enjoy exclusive perks, pricing and discounts with a Medical Spa VIP membership. With three different VIP levels, there’s something for everyone! Monthly membership fees are deposited into your account and are yours to use toward treatments, products and services at The Medical Spa. In addition, members will also receive exclusive pricing and discounts.

We love building long-term relationships, so we’ve created a referral program to make it easy for you to share your knowledge about The Medical Spa and get rewarded at the same time. For every friend or colleague you refer, you’ll earn $10 once they make a qualifying purchase! Treat yourself and save money this year with either of these programs. To find out more information, call The Medical Spa at (318) 966-3772.

Be sure to come by The Medical Spa this month to take advantage of our specials and events and to find out more about the medical-grade skincare products offered here! We are in the James R. Wolff Building (also known as the P&S Building) in downtown Monroe. Our address is 312 Grammont St., Suite 406, across from St. Francis Medical Center. Also, follow us on the St. Francis Medical Center Facebook page and Instagram so you can keep up to date on all the new and exciting things happening here at The Medical Spa.


Revival Design & Consign

Unique Furniture, Art, Lighting and Gifts to Make Your House a Home

THERE IS QUITE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A HOUSE and a home. The structure is the house. Who lives within its space make it a home. For many of us the very blessing from God are our animals that bring us laughter, companionship, and joy. They become the bonus members of our family. We get to choose them. For myself, my rescues are the heartbeat of my home. Cookie, Cooper, and Luna have been my anchors since going off on this journey with Revival Design. No matter how great of a day or how bad it has been, their unconditional love has made my world and my home a better place.

As I am writing this article, our little home and my world has been jolted with the realities of life. For the past two and a half years, I have been blessed with my parents’ rescue dog, Luna, after their passing. With that sweet chihuahua face on that beagle body, her wagging tail and little bug eyes restored a lot of love and light through the grief. Unfortunately, I had to let that sweet baby go on to the great dog palace in the sky as her health deteriorated quickly and unexpectedly.

Reflecting on this time has made me realize what a void there is with her absence. Waking up in the morning to do office work and not seeing her in her favorite chair across from my desk or seeing that face glaring up through my glass desktop with so much love and innocence for this first time are fresh on my mind.

As I look around the room, I see so many reminders of her. Many of them are from the times we were on road trips and picking for the shop. We would stop and buy from starving artists or flea markets. She was one of my co-pilots on many a trip to New Orleans, Dallas and beyond with her brother and sister.

Just as the furnishings and accessories create the personality of our spaces, so do our beloved pets. They are the ultimate companions that truly transform a house into a home.

As we turn the page on a new chapter in life, we are excited to continue to grow within the walls of our showroom as well as outside. There is nothing for comforting than curling up with a good book with your dogs by your side on a rainy spring day. It’s the perfect way to escape life. I’ve enjoyed many of those days in my home with Cookie, Cooper, and Luna.

My love of books led me to explore, adding a literary presence to Revival. We began the process the past two years of hosting book signings for local authors. It has led us to offering a book nook of color coordinated old books for staging as well as to be read. The great response has brought us to the next phase as we have expanded to a small bookshop. With beautiful coffee table books, Louisiana, and southern books on entertaining, design, gardening, and history as well as children’s books, we are hoping to recapture some of that nostalgia of the sorely missed, Windows A Book Shop. We are very fortunate to have the knowledge of Elizabeth Gibson-Grant and Betty Jo Harris to guide us on this new journey. Many of these books will also be available on our website,

After exploring our books on gardening, we have been inspired to reboot a long-delayed project. The slow transformation of our vacant space outside will be evolving into our courtyard, “Avant Garde’n” over the remainder of the year. With herb gardens and water features and murals, it will be a great space to host events, farmers markets, artisan’s markets, receptions, small weddings, and art shows. It will also serve us well as backdrops for photo opportunities for fashion shoots, proms, and other events. This space will allow us to better serve our clients with outdoor accessories for the patio, poolside, or garden. These will range from iron work, patio furniture, concrete statues, and urns as well as sculptures. We also look forward to creating a small area of low maintenance plants that will work nicely for your patios, pool houses, and herb gardens. It’s a space that Luna loved so much every day as she lovingly barked and welcomed our customers. We want it to be a space of tranquility that will reflect the great life and energy she brought to our lives each day. We hope to accomplish this with Luna’s Garden.

As I continue this journey with Revival, my heart is filled with the great memories of Luna, who truly made my house a much better home. Rest well, my sweet baby.



Folks, as the ArkLaMiss has moved into spring, it seems the number of severe weather events is on the rise, and with the possibility of severe weather comes the possibility of damage from high winds, hail, lightning strikes, and saturated soils due to heavy rains. It’s never too late or too early to start taking precautions in anticipation of severe weather. Keep drainage ditches around your home and property clear. Don’t count on the city or parish to do this for you. Resources are already stretched thin. Take the initiative to do this yourself. Also, make sure you have a way to receive weather alerts either from the National Weather Service or from local radio and television stations 24 hours a day. Download the app for your favorite station and follow our local meteorologists on their various social media platforms. And be sure to keep mobile devices fully charged should you lose electricity.

In addition, make sure large specimen trees on your property are in good overall health. Well-maintained, healthy trees will be more likely to repel pests and pathogens, will exhibit healthy shoot and root growth and expansion, and be more likely to escape severe damage from severe weather events. This is a year-round responsibility that includes fertilizing in spring, watering during a dry summer, and proper pruning in fall and winter. Proper pruning is important for keeping the canopy open enough for adequate air circulation. This keeps the interior dry and free of fungal pathogens and allows sunlight to penetrate for healthy new growth. Of paramount importance is the thoughtful placement of large, specimen trees in the landscape, especially in an urban setting. As crews have been clearing powerline rights of way recently, this has been the subject of spirited discussion, so let’s look at this.

I think everybody will agree that trees add a much-needed aesthetic to any city landscape. In fact, the first ever photograph of a human (a daguerreotype taken in 1838 by none other than Louis Daguerre himself) shows a man on a Paris street ostensibly having his shoes polished, and the Boulevard Du Temple is lined with…you guessed it…small trees. They give a 19th Century city street a more bucolic aesthetic. In 21st Century Louisiana, how can we not love the sweeping vistas offered by the magnificent oak alleys of antebellum homes like Rosedown in St. Francisville or Oak Alley in Vacherie. The planters of those magnificent trees likely knew they would not live to experience the views we can today.

Having major thoroughfares lined with trees has additional benefits.

Urban Live Oaks photo by Olivia McClure

Japanese magnolias are excellent accent specimans or small trees for use as foundation plantings.

Trees provide shade and reduce hot temperatures and heat reflected off concrete, asphalt, and metal. Trees remove pollutants from the air. They also remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and, through the biochemical reactions of photosynthesis, convert it into cellulose, glucose, and other carbohydrates mainly to make more biomass. So, yes, the value of trees in urban settings is undeniable. And in this community, we love our trees. However, there is a more practical side to this. The trees lining that parish boulevard in that early photograph and the oak alleys of those plantation homes were all established long before powerlines, and herein lies the conundrum.

Folks, it doesn’t matter if your property is rural or urban, it’s never a good idea to place large, specimen quality shade trees close to powerlines. We’ve seen the outcome right here in our own community. Strong storms with damaging winds and heavy rains that quickly saturate soils cause large trees to topple over and if powerlines are in the way, they’re coming down, too. Crews have to remove debris first then repair damaged lines and/or poles. If many trees are affected and many utility lines are affected, restoring electricity takes a while. Crews are put at risk and homeowners are without power. This is precisely why power companies maintain rights of way for powerlines. Back in the mid-90s, I did contract work for a power coop in western North Carolina that was implementing a low-volume, selective herbicide application program to manage tree species in their rights of way, especially those on steep slopes where trucks couldn’t possibly go. I was contracted to do botanical surveys of the rights of way and document and mark any threatened or endangered plant species so the spray crews would avoid them. It was a great plan. It worked. So, I know from experience how serious power companies are about maintaining powerline rights of way and do so aggressively. We know how this goes in our area, too. Trees encroaching on the lines are butchered. Homeowners and citizens complain. What was cut away eventually regrows in a more unruly fashion. Trees get butchered again. Homeowners and citizens complain. Repeat.

Now, it is true that indiscriminate pruning (and I here use that term very loosely) of large trees has some negative effects. The first is purely visual. A large Live Oak or Southern Magnolia or Sycamore not allowed to have a full canopy and take on the natural shape of that species is unsightly. I see a lot of cases around the community where I think to myself, “They might as well just take the entire tree down.” Second, a lopsided canopy can make the tree top heavy and subject to being toppled over by fierce winds. If what’s left of the tree falls into the power line, nothing has been accomplished. If the tree comes down anyway during a severe storm, the city or property owner has a mess to clean up. Consider this: Live Oaks have a distinctive architecture with a relatively short vertical trunk with many spreading branches that make up most of the tree’s shape. Their distinctive architecture allows them to withstand hurricane-force winds better than other oak species, a great adaptation to life in the Coastal South. When we start messing with the overall natural shape of

these trees, they’re not as likely to withstand severe weather. Also, the lighting scheme of a yard or property could have changed in an instant because the shade source is now gone. This happened to a section of Monroe’s Garden District back in 2014 when a tornado touched down. Yards normally in full shade were transformed into full sun areas in a matter of minutes. Clean up after that storm was tremendous and costly. Entirely different sun-adapted plant selections had to be installed in a lot of yards. Six years later, Hurricane Laura would have much the same effect. Third, a tree that has been indiscriminately hacked on will be subject to any number of fungal infections. Our warm and humid climate supports an impressive fungal flora, and many fungal species are wood rotters. Gaping wounds in branches and tree trunks set the scene for wood rotting fungi to kill the tree slowly from the inside out. Folks, it all boils down to the adage of “the right tree in the right place at the right time.” Placing large trees near power lines isn’t smart. We know what’s going to happen eventually, so why bother? The safest option for both the property owner and the utility crew that may have to clear tree debris to restore electricity is to avoid power lines and poles. Don’t plant anything near them!

Here are some suggestions.

• Don’t plant anything within at least 30’ from both under the power line and the pole.

• Whether you live in town or out in the parish, select small to medium-size tree species that require minimal management and allow utility crews easy access to power lines for the front side of a property. These include natives like Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis), Grancy Grey Beard (Chionanthus virginicus), Dogwood (Cornus florida), or in a wetter situation, Alder (Alnus serrulata). Non-natives like Chaste Tree (Vitex agnuscastus), Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum cultivars), and compact cultivars of Japanese Magnolia (Magnolia X soulangiana), among others, could also be used. Rather than plant Crepe Myrtles that reach a mature size over 20 or 30 feet tall, plant dwarf varieties instead.

• Large trees like Live Oaks (Quercus virginiana), Water Oak (Q. nigra) and Willow Oak (Q. phellos), American Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis), Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda) and others should be placed in areas where either there are no power lines or where they can be at least 60’ away from existing lines.

Large trees do what they do best when they are allowed to grow uninhibited. When it comes down to man vs. Mother Nature, my money is on Mother Nature all day long.

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





Life! It gets challenging and chaotic. There are a million things to think about and a million things to get done –especially if you are a parent of active children. During these times I challenge you to remember my favorite advice – get prepared now, to save time and sanity later!

When life gets crazy, lists Always help. Lists take the guesswork out of what needs to be done. Some of the lists below will be ongoing lists that you add to daily, but some are “one and done.” You will make them once and then you will always have them to refer to. Easy peasy, so let’s get started.

1. To-Do List – Yes, you expected this one I know, but there is absolutely no way I could skip it. If you don’t have an ongoing to-do list, you are causing unnecessary stress on yourself and your brain. There is absolutely no reason to try to remember everything that needs to get done. Get it out of your head and onto paper as soon as the thought crosses your mind. Doing so will free up much needed space in your head so that you can think clearly and stay productive. I suggest carrying a notebook with you wherever you go!

2. Meal Plan – Create a list, document, or Pinterest page of quick and easy recipes. Refer to it at the beginning of each week and peruse your pantry to see what you may need to purchase for your meal plan that week. Now when your kids ask “what’s for dinner?” you will know without hesitation and without stress!

3. Project List – A project list is a list of the things you are responsible for regarding work, life, kids, school, home, etc. For instance, if you are on the PTO of your school you may need a reminder that Teacher Appreciation week is coming up. Your project list should be used during your weekly planning process.

These “projects” will jog your memory about anything that may be upcoming or that need to get done.

4. Goals – If you don’t have your goals written down you are doing it wrong, in my opinion. Listing out your goals makes them more likely to happen. It is a proven fact. I like to go one step further by reading my list of goals every week during my planning time.

5. Ideas – How often have you had a great idea, but you didn’t write it down,so you forgot it? I used to do that all the time until I started writing them all down.

6. Important Dates – This list will help during your yearly planning time and, of course, your weekly planning time. This list will include birthdays, special events (graduations), school events, vacations, work trips, etc.

7. Deep Cleaning Task List – You probably already have a system in place for the everyday and weekly cleaning tasks, but I suggest a deep cleaning task list to keep up with the often-forgotten tasks like cleaning fan blades, changing air conditioning filters, and cleaning exterior windows. I prefer my deepcleaning task list to be set up as a monthly to do list. Each month I add the tasks to

my calendar.

8. Username and Password List – It seems that every website and app demands that we come up with a unique password that is a specific number of letters, contains a number and a special character. Furthermore, they suggest that we not use the same password for everything. How is one supposed to remember all of that? Write it down or keep it in a controlled note app on your phone/computer.

9. Packing Lists – Instead of packing the night before you leave and, thus, risking the chance you may forget something, create packing lists for each of the places you generally travel to. For instance, I have packing lists for ball tournament weekends, beach trips, and simple overnight trips. All require very different items, so a list is a must for me.

10. A Wish List – When you see an item you want or need, add it to the list. Then next time your husband asks you what you want for your birthday you will be able to hand over the list and feel confident that you will get something you like this year!

Nothing beats a good, ole list in my opinion. Whether you choose to keep these on paper, a computer, or your phone, these lists are a must. Happy list making!


Powder Rooms

Small Spaces

Inspired by a magazine, the homeowner transformed their powder room into a haven of sophistication. Collaborating with carpenter Charles Woodall, they installed a striking floating concrete vanity. Ornate wall sconces exude historic charm, while an antique mirror sourced from New Orleans adds a touch of elegance. Margaret Moses’s keen eye helped select the perfect wall paint, completing the room’s refined aesthetic.

photography by Kelly Moore Clark

Powder Rooms

Pretty in Pink

At Rumo’s Barber & Salon, owners Morgan and Russell Moore have crafted a vibrant powder room that bursts with personality. The trim boldly flaunts a bright hot pink hue, echoing the lively tones of tropical foliage adorning the wallpaper. A sleek, wallmounted rectangular sink serves as a contemporary focal point, complemented by a modern backlit mirror overhead. Adding a quirky touch, the original “men” bathroom door finds new life in this vibrant space, seamlessly blending nostalgia with modern.


Powder Rooms

With Margaret Moses’s touch, a magical powder room comes to life. House of Hackney Wallpaper blankets the walls with a vibrant floral display. A custom-fit wall-mounted marble Turkish sink in Calacatta Viola Marble exudes luxury. The tile floor dazzles with an encaustic flower design mosaic, crafted from four marble types. Completing the enchantment, a hand-cast nickelfinished round mirror features delicate twisted twigs with bud details, adding organic elegance to the space.

Marble Marvel

Powder Rooms

Neutral Notes

In a quest for elegance, the homeowner partnered with Allen Taylor’s team to craft a custom marble sink with wall-mounted fixtures. An antique mirror from Italy, a ceiling-mounted light fixture with whimsical willow leaves, and a black tile floor with gold inlay from Holton Flooring contribute to the refined ambiance. Local art, including a City of Monroe print by Courtney Wetzel, graces the walls alongside a piece from Material Things. A repurposed glass decanter from Parterre adds a final touch of sophistication atop the sink.

This Little Light

Illuminate your space with warmth and style with these decorative and functional lighting choices from area retailers.

Left to right: Sleepy Hollow, Haven, Walsworth & Company, Material Things, The Trove, Palette House & Plume, Fabulous Fabric

DREAM HOMEBuild your

Your Vision, Our Expertise – Unleash the Ultimate Custom Home Experience with Taylor Made Construction For more information, contact Josh Taylor at 318-348-6162. See our full feature of this custom home on Lake D’Arbonne in next month’s issue of BayouLife. SCAN HERE TO SEE OUR CURRENT PROJECTS

Light the Way

Integrating decorative lamps into your home enhances ambiance by combining both practical illumination and aesthetic beauty. Find these at area retailers.

Left to right: Clifton & Company, Revival Design & Consign, Muffin Tin, Magnolia James Interiors, InHouse Interiors
“The Lacuna” by
“Trauma is not what happens to you but what happens inside you.”

Ifirst fell in love with Barbara Kingsolver’s voice while reading Flight Behavior, which I reviewed here in May of 2022.

Kingsolver’s impressive ability to take on entire literary worlds is astounding in scope and impressive in practice. In this novel The Lacuna, Kingsolver chronicles the parallel trajectory and intermingling of Mexican and American history from 1929-1951. The protagonist Harrison Shepherd is hustled to Mexico on the whims of his mother’s love affair. He marvels at the natural landscape, delves into underwater caves, curious about the environment around him and its secrets. Harrison takes a similar approach in his interactions with people, providing us a sideliner’s view into the worlds of those who transform history.

When Harrison takes a job with renowned painter Diego Rivera, he befriends his wife Frida Kahlo, morphing into her confidant. The two share a friendship that undergirds rife political turmoil in the region, as the Rivera household welcomes excommunicated Communist leaders and their families. Harrison documents the daily struggles of Leon Trotsky, acting as his secretary. Kingsolver allows us to glimpse political history through the viewpoint of someone in the right place at the right time. Harrison’s youth and the rife environment

forces the mature boy to grow up fast, eventually hiding himself from the world around him. He relocates to Asheville, North Carolina in his early twenties after suffering tragedy and begins writing the novel that would become a literary masterpiece - the novel we’re reading. Harrison responds with, “Murder has the weight of an unpaid debt, death as unfinished business.”

As I was reading The Lacuna, I kept admiring the time and research that the author devoted to this project. The characters having lived real lives outside of this story added to the intrigue. What Kingsolver does so well is to use narrative to prompt further curiosity in a time, a place, or a group of people. I wanted to know more about them than what history had recorded or what Kingsolver had imagined. If this book has a flaw, it is with the mystery of its storyteller. Though Harrison is the primary voice, he is almost unknowable and not in a way that seems appropriate for a novel of such expansive scope.

To trust his viewpoint, I wanted to know more about the man that didn’t make the history books. Kingsolver leans on the other characters to unravel the mystery of the protagonist, an interesting strategy, but one that left me wanting more.

“Many of the personality traits we have come to believe are us, and perhaps even take pride in, actually bear the scars of where we lost connection to ourselves, way back when.”


Meredith’s Musings

Iattended Pre-K-4 in a local church. We wore navy polo shirts and khaki skirts. Mom scooped my hair in half ponytails with matching bows. She has pictures of me at a square wooden desk, enormous against my small frame, with my crinkled brown paper bag lunch in the corner. I mention that lunch bag because mine contained something special, something the other kids didn’t have. Mom always left little notes. “Have a wonderful day, Meredith. I love you, Mom.” Each day had some iteration of the same message. It wasn’t what she said as much as how it made me feel. It was almost like Mom was sitting there with me, or that she wanted to be. Each day my friends would ask about my note, and I proudly showed off the cursive script that I’d learned to read. I felt superior because Mom never let me down. Lunchbox notes were standard practice.

Years later as a budding teenager, we traveled to summer church camps in Texas - one week away from home. We would meet for breakfast in the cafeteria, spend the morning in various praise meetings, then the afternoon in various sports. In the evenings, when everyone gathered in the chapel in their Sunday best, it was time for mail call. Monday’s call list was often abbreviated, as parents didn’t usually send mail until further into the week. But without fail, on the first night, the preacher would yell, “Meredith McKinnie.” I’d leap out of my chair and saunter down the aisle to collect my envelope as everyone watched with envy. Since this was before cell phones, the postal service was our only connection to home outside phone calls. It never failed, that I was either the only name called Night One or one of few. As I

walked back to my seat, I felt all the eyes on me. They knew my parents missed me before I even left. I had proof. Mom wrote me a letter. I don’t remember the contents of the letters. Mom is typically brief. But I do remember feeling remembered. And I knew I would have one every night that followed. Mom made sure of it and mailed them accordingly. I rarely called home, as Dad took phone charges seriously in our house, but I knew I was missed. And Mom understood the importance of public proclamations.

Perhaps my love of the written word originated with Mom’s letters. It probably involved a multitude of factors. But there’s something about handwritten notes that add that layer of sentimentality, a rarity in our evolving, digital world. Although I am now an adult with children of my own, Mom still prefers handwritten cards. We get them in the mail on birthdays, anniversaries, and special occasions. Once a few years ago, Mom and I had an argument. I left her house in a huff, determined to not be the one to break first. A few days went by, and I got a card in the mail. The stationery was blank, and scribbled inside in that familiar cursive script was simply, “I’m sorry. Love, Mom.” I crumbled on the inside. We didn’t really talk about the incident again, as that’s not her way. But she reached out in the way we communicate in each other’s absence.

This Mother’s Day, I am grateful for my Mom, who always lets me know I’m missed, who has the foresight to write it down - on the off chance that I’ll keep it and stumble across her words again. It doesn’t take long passages to let someone know they’re loved. Sometimes it’s the simple act of remembering to reach out.



The name MONROE MOJAVE was suggested by Joy’s mom, who is of Cherokee descent. Mojave means “beside the water,” and Joy took on decorating the space herself. Having always loved the desert, Joy recreated Joshua Tree, a minimal, yet warm design featuring terracotta, stone, and wood accents. The Monroe Mojave space is intimate, an enclave of sorts, where guests can relax into a feeling of being somewhere else.

For Joy and Clay Caissie, hospitality is the heart of their home and their hometown. As local Airbnb owners since 2018, Joy and Clay have welcomed Monroe visitors and staycationers to their Bayou Joy properties situated on Bon Aire Dr. and Bayou Desiard on the ULM campus. Originally Clay’s parents’ home, the couple renovated the property to welcome guests into their sanctuary - to share their slice of the bayou with future friends. Hundreds of visitors have stayed at Bayou Joy properties, including the newly renovated Monroe Mojave right next door. Guests leave little notes and drawings, highlighting their appreciation of Joy and Clay’s special brand of hospitality. With nightly boat rides and chats around the fire, Joy and Clay love interacting with people, sharing stories of Clay’s time on the road and the couple’s love of the Monroe/West Monroe area.

Joy and Clay met in the halls of West Monroe High School. Post-graduation, a fateful stint in Dallas opened doors for Clay in the music industry. He relocated to Nashville, his home base for the next 25 years, though he spent most of his time on the road. He learned the business, serving as guitar technician and tour manager, traveling domestically and internationally with big names across several music genres. Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr, Aerosmith, Michael W. Smith, Chris Tomlin, Maren Morris, Keifer Sutherland, Hunter Hayes, Old Dominion, Need to Breathe - Clay has toured with them all, most recently with Springsteen in Europe. Essentially, Clay is a culturecreator, always in charge of hospitality on the road. While Clay explored the world, Joy explored marriage and motherhood. She was nurturing kids, and he was nurturing bands. Working at Vantage and then single with three kids, Joy had little time to dream of what her life might look like as an empty-nester, though the friends kept in touch. Joy loved hearing about his escapades, and Joy reminded Clay of home. When Clay’s grandfather’s funeral brought him home in November of 2016,


OUTDOORS IN - The Monroe Mojave space is intimate, an enclave of sorts, where guests can relax into a feeling of being somewhere else. The front porch features pass-through windows, where guests can sit on either side, allowing the outdoors into the space. Joy’s Mojave accents include local estate sale finds and artistry, cementing the calming, desert vibe. Mojave features Monroe products like Seventh Square Coffee as the Caissies want guests to experience all Monroe has to offer.

Clay brought Joy back to the bayou that night to visit with his parents. They took a boat ride and talked throughout the night, as Clay’s parents had known Joy for years. That night’s festivities on the bayou would become the template for their future guests. With his grandparents home on the bayou now vacant, Clay mentioned turning it into an Airbnb rental, knowing they were lucrative in Nashville. Joy loved the idea. Having stayed in a bed and breakfast in upstate Arkansas, she always dreamed

of operating one. They decided that Joy and Clay’s mom would eventually run the property while Clay toured. In the year prior, during Clay’s visits home, the couple kayaked and boated on the bayou, falling in love with their hometown together all over again. On her 40th birthday, Clay invited her friends to bring their favorite albums on vinyl. He then created a wall of records - some of them signed personally. He told his mom on the back porch that he wanted to marry Joy, though he was scheduled

to head out on tour in four weeks, so the couple threw a surprise wedding before he left.

With two kids still living with Joy, Clay needed more space for his expanded family. He had purchased the home of Mama Lynn, his parent’s neighbor, and was eyeing the house across the bayou that had sat empty for years. As Joy’s father was battling cancer, Joy wanted her parents close by. When Clay randomly called the owner of the house across the bayou, he was just about to put it on the market. Clay purchased the home, and Joy’s parents moved in soon after. What the Caissies find so beautiful about their expanding homestead is that all these houses were built to take care of people, and they nurtured their combined families. Now Joy and Clay want to expand that hospitality to the broader public, providing an oasis right in Monroe.

Mama Lynn’s home featured a motherin-law suite, a small escape that Clay expanded into a rental for a couple. Monroe Mojave is now open to the public. The name Monroe Mojave was suggested by Joy’s mom, who is of Cherokee descent. Mojave means “beside the water,” and Joy took on decorating the space herself. Having always loved the desert, Joy recreated Joshua Tree, a minimal, yet warm design featuring terracotta, stone, and wood accents. The Monroe Mojave space is intimate, an enclave of sorts, where guests can relax into a feeling of being somewhere else. The front porch features pass-through windows, where guests can sit on either side, allowing the outdoors into the space. Joy’s Mojave accents include local estate sale finds and artistry, cementing the calming, desert vibe. Mojave features Monroe products like Seventh Square Coffee as the Caissies want



guests to experience all Monroe has to offer.

As you walk into the Monroe Mojave property, the stoned path leads through luscious green landscaping that catches the wind off the bayou. The porch features chairs for relaxing in the breeze and stools to dine under the pass-through windows. Inside the front door, the open concept kitchen and living room is stunning in its articulation of a desert oasis. Each piece of furniture tells a story, including the unique arched couch from the estate sale of local OBGYN Dr. Ralph Armstrong. The brick pavers accentuate the natural elements in the space, adorned with neutral jute rugs. Clay poured the concrete countertops, and Joy added the open wood shelving. Neutral rattan light fixtures add to the layered effect of natural tones throughout. Large open windows along the living room wall allow visitors to relax in the indoor/outdoor atmosphere. The large open shower also features the brick pavers, with a large cross recess and rain showerhead, for unwinding at the end of the day. In the bedroom, the natural elements are continued with a steer

head above the large bed. Again, a large window allows the outdoors in, or visitors can opt to close the curtain and sink into the comfort of solitude. The one-bedroom Monroe Mojave is ideal for singles and couples, those looking for a place to relax right on the ULM campus.

The Caissies see themselves as hospitality ambassadors for Monroe, West Monroe, and ULM. They are encouraged by the collective work of Mayors Friday Ellis and Staci Mitchell, alongside ULM President Ron Berry’s community outreach. They know if we all work together, sharing the same vision, this area can be a destination spot for tourists. If people have good experiences when they stay here, then they leave with a good impression of our area, will tell others, and are likely to return. Fifty-percent of Monroe Mojave’s business is returning guests. People like their experience here on the bayou, and that inclination to come back rests solely on the efforts of Joy and Clay. The couple are on hand to welcome their guests, offering boat rides in the evenings and Bayou Biscuits in the morning. Once a lady stopped as she was traveling from Laurel, Mississippi to Dallas, Texas, after burying her husband.

The Caissies see themselves as hospitality ambassadors for Monroe, West Monroe, and ULM. They are encouraged by the collective work of Mayors Friday Ellis and Staci Mitchell, alongside ULM President Ron Berry’s community outreach. They know if we all work together, sharing the same vision, this area can be a destination spot for tourists.

She cried as she pulled up to the property. The canoes against the houses mirrored those on her husband’s funeral program. This was where she was supposed to be. Numerous stories such as these are etched into the Caissies’ hearts and reflected in the Bayou Joy guest book.

Now empty-nesters, Joy and Clay are expanding their family to include every visitor that graces Bayou Joy’s doors. When Clay was on tour recently in Copenhagen, he showed one of the tour VIPs named Sarah around the city and behind the scenes. When Clay returned home, he found Joy in tears with a package in her hand, asking “Who is Sarah?” Joy held a record


with the inscription, “Joy, I knew the best way to thank Clay for his hospitality was to love on you. Please add this record to your collection. Love, Sarah.” Now Joy is able to travel with Clay, seeing the world she only heard about from his stories. And Clay gets to see the world again through his wife’s eyes. Now when Clay goes on tour, musicians ask, “How is the bayou?” They know about Monroe and want to see the oasis that Clay and Joy have created. The Caissies’ Southern style of radical hospitality beckons far and wide, and we’re lucky to have Bayou Joy right here at home.


Magnolia James Interiors

Bringing Timeless Southern Style to Life

IN THE HEART OF MONROE, LOUISIANA, A GEM OF interior design flourishes under the name Magnolia James Interiors.

Founded by Emily Welker Pullig, a woman with a passion for design as rich as the Louisiana soil, this studio is more than just a business— it’s a testament to family values and the vibrant essence of the South. Emily, alongside her husband Clay and their son Tatum James Pullig, embarked on a journey to translate their love for Louisiana’s unique beauty into tangible, exquisite spaces.

Emily’s path to founding Magnolia James Interiors wasn’t typical. With a background in education, she spent a decade nurturing young minds in Ouachita Parish. Yet, a dormant passion for design lingered within her, waiting to bloom. Driven by the desire for change and fueled by unwavering family support, Emily transitioned from educator to designer. She honed her craft in Houston, Texas, collaborating with industry leaders and soaking in invaluable experience. Working with a boutique firm and collaborating with Morning Star Builders, a showcase builder recognized in Southern Living Magazine, it was here that the seeds of Magnolia James Interiors were planted, nurtured by Emily’s dedication and vision.

The name itself, Magnolia James Interiors, speaks volumes about the values dear to the Pullig family. ‘James’ signifies the cornerstone of their existence—family, while ‘Magnolia’ evokes the quintessential charm of Louisiana’s iconic flora. Together, they encapsulate the essence of what this design studio stands for—timeless elegance rooted in familial warmth.

At Magnolia James Interiors, the mission is clear: to offer a comprehensive approach to interior design, from conception to realization. They don’t just decorate spaces; they curate experiences, guiding clients through every step of the design journey. From new constructions to remodels, residential to commercial projects, Magnolia James Interiors caters to a diverse clientele, ensuring each space reflects its inhabitants’ unique style and personality.

What sets Magnolia James Interiors apart is their dedication to offering a full-service experience. From initial consultations to final installations, they handle every aspect of the design process with meticulous care and attention to detail. Their one-stop-shop model, complete with a retail space boasting an array of furnishings, décor, wall coverings, and bedding, ensures clients’ needs are met.

One notable aspect of Magnolia James Interiors is their focus on collegiate living. Understanding the importance of creating a home away from home for college students, they offer a collegiate line tailored to dorm living. From affordable velcro headboards to gorgeous bedding and more, they take the stress out of creating a space for students transitioning to college living. This thoughtful approach extends their reach beyond traditional residential design, catering to a younger demographic with the same level of expertise and care.

The philosophy of Magnolia James Interiors—”Design. Construct. Style.”—serves as a guiding principle in their work. It’s not just about creating beautiful spaces; it’s about weaving a narrative that blends old and new, tradition and modernity, into a seamless tapestry of design excellence. Their specialty lies in infusing timeless southern style with contemporary flair, resulting in spaces that feel both familiar and refreshingly modern.

Central to their process is collaboration. From the initial consultation to the final reveal, Magnolia James Interiors works closely with clients, ensuring their vision is brought to life in every detail. Through mood boards, 3D renderings, and hands-on styling, they transform dreams into reality, one space at a time.

Looking ahead, Magnolia James Interiors aims to expand their facility, offering an even wider selection of unique pieces to their clientele. They are thrilled about upcoming collaborations with ULM and Louisiana Tech, which will broaden their range of curated pieces for collegiate dorm living. But beyond business aspirations, their message remains clear: it’s never too late to pursue your passion and turn your dreams into reality.

In a world where trends come and go, Magnolia James Interiors stands as a beacon of timeless elegance, rooted in the values of family, community, and the enduring charm of the South. Through their dedication, creativity, and unwavering commitment to excellence, they continue to redefine the boundaries of interior design, one exquisite space at a time.

Magnolia James Interiors is located at 905 Sterlington Road in Monroe, LA. For more information, follow them on social media or visit their website


Pearl Perfection

Embrace the essence of sophistication and tradition by gifting Mom elegant pearl jewelry from Hollis & Company Jewelers this Mother’s Day, a timeless token of your admiration and gratitude. For the accomplished graduate, celebrate their milestone with pearls in every form, from delicate bracelets to exquisite rings.


Timeless Pearls

Celebrate Mom’s timeless grace or the graduate’s achievement with stunning pearl jewelry from Flair Jewelers. Whether it’s a delicate three-strand pearl necklace, an elegant ring, or a sophisticated watch, each piece embodies sophistication and lasting beauty.

Styled by Taylor Bennett | Photography by Kelly Moore Clark

Navigating Sleep Solutions

A Journey with Trenton Sleep Solutions

IN THE REALM OF HEALTHCARE, FEW AREAS ARE AS CRUCIAL yet often overlooked as sleep. At Trenton Sleep Solutions, we believe that quality sleep is fundamental to overall well-being, and our dedicated team is committed to guiding you on your journey to better rest. Led by Dr. Paige Volentine Smith, DDS, our practice is rooted in a mission to provide personalized care and innovative solutions for those struggling with sleeprelated issues. Meet Dr. Paige Volentine Smith, DDS:

Dr. Paige’s journey to founding Trenton Sleep Solutions was sparked by her deep-rooted desire to positively impact the lives of individuals grappling with sleep disorders. Drawing from her experience in dentistry, Dr. Paige recognized the prevalence of sleep-related issues among her patients and embarked on a mission to provide tailored care to enhance their sleep and quality of life. A graduate of LSU Dental School, Dr. Paige’s commitment to excellence led her to open her own practice in 2008, laying the groundwork for Trenton Sleep Solutions, which officially came to fruition in 2022. With four locations across Louisiana and Mississippi, our practice continues to expand its reach, driven by a passion for improving sleep health.

We are delighted to extend a warm welcome to our new nurse practitioner Ashley Walpole APRN,FNP-C to our practice. Her expertise, dedication, and compassionate care will undoubtedly enrich our team and enhance the healthcare experience for our patients.


At Trenton Sleep Solutions, we understand that sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea can have far-reaching effects on daily life. That’s why we offer a comprehensive range of services tailored to address the unique needs of each individual.


Obstructive sleep apnea is a prevalent sleep-breathing disorder characterized by repeated breathing pauses due to a blocked airway. Despite affecting an estimated 22 million Americans, the condition often goes undiagnosed, leading to a range of adverse health outcomes. Today, 80 percent of suspected cases remaining undiagnosed.


While there are many symptoms of Sleep Apnea, the most common indicators include persistent snoring, chronic fatigue, and morning headaches. Left untreated, sleep apnea can contribute to serious health conditions such as stroke, high blood pressure, and diabetes, underscoring the importance of timely intervention and personalized care.


As an alternative to traditional CPAP therapy, our custom-fit oral

appliances provide effective treatment for sleep breathing disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea and snoring. Designed to maximize comfort and efficacy, these appliances offer a non-invasive solution that promotes unobstructed airflow and restful sleep. Worn only during sleep, an oral appliance fits like a sports mouth guard or an orthodontic retainer. It supports the jaw in a forward position to help maintain an open upper airway.


Custom-fit to maximize effectiveness; Quiet & comfortable; Portable & travel-friendly; Non-invasive; No on-going supply costs & upkeep. With benefits including portability and ease of use, oral appliance therapy represents a promising avenue for those seeking relief from sleeprelated issues.


Trenton Sleep Solutions offers a convenient at home sleep study evaluation. Utilizing a set of sensors, they can measure the patient’s sleep onset latency, aiding in the diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, nocturnal hypoxemia and a new feature aiding in arrhythmia detection.

Let’s talk about how they work:

• We use a wearable device that’s worn on the wrist like a watch during sleep.

• It has a sensor technology that measures key sleep parameters such as blood volume changes (PAT), heart rate, body position, an oxygen levels (SpO2).

• It collects data throughout the night (while you sleep at home).

• The wireless connectivity transmits data to an app.

• Advanced algorithms analyze data to asses sleep quality and detect sleep disorders, like sleep apnea.

• It generates a detailed sleep report that will be reviewed and interpreted by our team of sleep experts. And based on the finding, we will recommend appropriate treatment

At Trenton Sleep Solutions, our commitment to your sleep health extends far beyond diagnosis and treatment. Trenton Sleep Solutions sets itself apart by filing health insurance and Medicare claims, ensuring seamless and hassle-free coverage for their patients’ dental needs. If you’re ready to embark on a journey to better sleep, we invite you to discover the transformative power of Trenton Sleep Solutions. Together, we can navigate the path to better rest and brighter days ahead.

Trenton Sleep Solutions accepts medical insurance and is Medicare approved.



This topic could go on to the point it would engulf this entire publication. I have never seen any other area or topic that is so important or so much overlooked or twisted to accommodate one’s own desires. I’ll start with basic hunting etiquette and then move on to fishing. There are unwritten rules of etiquette at the hunting camp. Number one, it is not your place and you are an invited guest. Don’t show up at anyone’s invitation empty handed. Ask your host what you can bring. I cannot count the times I have had guests that don’t even bring a bottle of water with them with the expectation that what they need will be provided. My favorite guests realize how much time, money and effort is invested in my place and bring bags of corn, bran for the critters, or some prime steaks for the evening meal. These guys get invited back as they are showing a sensitivity to the need. Also, bring your own wheels if approved. I have had many guests in the past that show up and expect to be guided. They have to be transported and picked up with little consideration on how that affects other hunters tending to themselves. My pet peeve are the ones who “only want to shoot a fat doe.” The expectation is the desire for some deer meat, but there are times when we don’t shoot does. Ask and abide by the host’s wishes, as going to a new place means abiding by the rules of the host. Clean up after yourself. Leave the deer stand, camp and land in better shape than you found it. I can’t count the times I have gone back to a deer stand to find the door unsecure, windows left open and enough trash to start a recycling campaign. Nobody likes a slob and the deer camp is the last place to be one. The maid took the weekend off. Contribute and abide by the rules and you stand a good chance of being invited back.

Etiquette in fishing starts when you back your boat down the ramp. Rule number one is don’t back your boat onto the ramp and then start unbinding or unstrapping your boat. Your ramp time should be simply back down, drop your boat and clear the ramp. If it is dark turn off your headlights when backing down. Nothing is tougher than backing a boat down the ramp and some nimrod has his lights on bright, blinding your view of your rig. Every boat ramp area is a no wake zone, whether posted or not. Pull your boat out of the way of other rigs attempting to launch. If it is dark, put your running lights in and turn them on. This prevents accidents and another boat from hitting yours. One of the biggest controversies is boat wake. Let’s say you are going down the lake and another boat is fishing nearby. Do you hammer down or do

you slow down? The law says you are responsible for your wake. However, I throw a much bigger wake by not slowing from a safe distance instead of plowing a wake by slowing down and not idling by. The right call depends on the body of water. D’Arbonne Bayou for example is narrow. If you don’t slow to a idle speed, you will wash a fellow angler into stumps or on the bank. Someone fishing near a marked channel, for example, takes on the risk of approaching boats coming down the channel. This is a situation where staying on pad or plane is appropriate. Bass boats put out a much smaller wake on plane than idling where ski boats must idle or cause huge wakes.

My number one pet peeve is what I call fish poachers. If I take you fishing, it is a unwritten rule: Do not ever return to that spot to fish. I have experienced this quite a bit as I will take someone fishing, put them on a pattern or specific presentation and they return and poach my spot when I’m not there. The same goes for “honey holes” with some of them I fish being private lakes. There is no greater level of disrespect for me to put someone on a pattern and they find an alternative way to access the body of water to fish my stuff. These anglers do this so they can return with another person to impress them as to their fishing skills. Find your own place, find your own patterns and knock yourself out. Don’t use my experience, time and labors to benefit yourself. That is a great way to never be invited to share a boat with me.

This should be common sense. I’ve seen guys who are anal retentive about their hunting and fishing areas only to turn around and violate every ethical thing I know about fishing when it comes to their actions. I remember when I actively fished tournaments, GPS was pretty young and there was a competitor who thought it was perfectly find to “hole jump” by marking key areas stolen from other anglers. He didn’t last very long as he did not have the skills or expertise on his own. Something stolen or means used to take advantage never pan out.

In closing let me offer this bit of advice. Professional anglers or anglers who have a gift when it comes to chasing critters are usually very protective of their gift. When you find someone willing to share that gift which in the end makes you better yourself, honor that by following some of these tips. The reward of the outdoors is you have developed skills that last a lifetime. Those skills should come with the pleasure that comes through time on the water and in the woods. The rewards are lifelong and very satisfying, especially when you come by it in an honest and ethical manner.



as I thought about the parables of Jesus, that one of my favorites was the parable of “The Good Samaritan.” In this parable, the Lord tells of a Jewish man who was beaten and robbed as he travelled along what must have been a well-travelled roadway leading from Jerusalem to Jericho. The thieves beat him so badly that he was left, half-dead, by the side of the road. Without help, it was almost certain that he would have died.

But potential help was on the way because two religious men, a priest and a Levite soon came to where the poor victim lay in pain. However, first the priest and then the Levite crossed to the other side of the road and continued on their separate journeys. No mercy was forthcoming from two individuals who would have been good prospects for providing care. Despite the indifference of these two religious men, could there be any help for the poor man? If they did not care, who might?

Jesus introduces another character, a Samaritan, who happened to be travelling along that same road. But could he be counted on to come to the aid of this wounded Jew. Not likely, because Jews and Samaritans were not “on speaking terms;” in fact, they despised one another due to some past circumstances. Nevertheless, this “Good Samaritan” stopped, tended the wounds of the battered man, took him to a nearby inn and continued ministering to the poor man, even to the point of financial sacrifice. He showed mercy.

This parable took on special meaning to me recently as I was in need of some mercy. After decades of enjoying good health, things took a change. Arthritis attacked me, almost literally bringing me to my knees. Activities that usually were accomplished without much thought, were now difficult or impossible to do. Additionally, there was some pain with which I was not pleased and which I do not handle well. I needed some mercy!

That is where my experience differs from the victimized Jewish traveler. In my case, the religious folk have been more than helpful. For the purposes of my story, let us equate the priest with the church family. They have been exceptional in the loving care they have demonstrated in showing mercy to me. They have provided meals on a continuous basis, ran errands for me, visited when loneliness was in need of fellowship, and spent hours trying to, and succeeding in getting my yard in tip-top shape. On top of all of this, I regularly get phone calls inquiring as to my health and offering services to meet any needs that I might have. This time, the “priest” came through with flying colors. God is good!

Allow me the privilege of matching my Christian, biological family to the Levite. Unlike the Levite in Christ’s parable, my family has showered me with love that has made my “burden” so much more bearable. None of them “looked the other way and passed by” me in my need. They have been so attentive, causing my grateful heart to swell with pride as I experience my family showing care in the manner of Jesus Himself. Despite the long distances, my children, as well as my grands and their spouses have been equally thoughtful as they made the long journeys to pay a visit. God is good!

In my case, my neighboring family represents the “good Samaritan.” He, his wife, and their young daughter have gone the extra mile in bringing some sunshine of mercy to me in my time of need. The husband mows my lawn and is available for any other task that needs attention. He and his wife bring me meals, including a “full” breakfast every day! God is good! It is a good thing that eternity is endless because it is going to take me along time to thank the Lord for my priests, my Levites, and my good Samaritans! Despite my ailments, I am a blessed man who has been shown mercy and love by so many. And when I am able, I pray that Christ will enable me not only to be one who receives mercy, but one who can show it as well.

opinion expressed is that of the writer

Create An Inviting Entry Space

When sprucing up your living space, don’t overlook the mudroom—it’s the gateway to your home’s personality. Enhance its charm with hanging prints that infuse character, vases and watering cans brimming with fresh blooms to welcome you home, and plush rugs to cushion your steps. Complementing these accents, consider adding a cozy bench for quick shoe changes or a moment of repose. However, don’t forget the pièce de résistance—lush greenery that breathes life into the space, fostering a serene ambiance. Discover these essential décor pieces and more at local retailers, turning your house into a haven of style and warmth.

Styled by Taylor Bennett Photography by Kelly Moore Clark
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Top image: 1) Planters - Woodstock Monroe 2) Print - Material Things 3) Large planter - InHouse Interiors 4) Decorative platform - InHouse Interiors 5) Hand soap and dish brush - Haven 6) Glass bud vases - The Trove 7) Hand towels - The Trove 8) Rattan alligator - Revival Design & Consign 9) Plant - Parterre 10) Rug - Walsworth & Company 11) Tufted leather bench - Magnolia James Interiors Bottom image: 1) Hat - Parterre 2) Dress - Revival Design & Consign 3) Bag - Revival Design & Consign
Butterfly print - Woodstock Monroe 5) Watering can - The Trove 6) Print - Muffin Tin 7) Cane - Material Things

Fishing With Kenny


With the advancements of tournament technology such as Forward-Facing Sonar, Livescope and the 360 type of units, Glide Baits have become increasingly popular and a deadly tool for tournament anglers. While these types of lures can be effective in all types of water scenarios, they have proven deadly in clearer water bodies of water, such as Caney and Claiborne, drawing big bass out of the various depths, changing the way a generation of anglers are learning to fish.

Chris Patton is a tinkerer. For as long as he can remember, he was always building baits. From early memories of building buzzbaits, jigs and other “normal” fishing stuff with his dad, Chris was always one to tinker or fix something, even if it wasn’t necessarily broken, trying to make it better. This life lesson can easily be attributed to what lead Chris Patton to create his version of a glide bait called the “Ditch Donkey.”

The initial idea for making a glide bait came to Chris almost out of necessity. “I bought a couple $250-$300 glide baits that weren’t very well made or produced,” he explained. “They wouldn’t swim right or work the way I thought they were supposed to and it was frustrating to say the least. It was hard to justify paying that much money for something you hope will work after you take it out of the package. After trying several things to make them work right, nothing worked.” And so, the journey began…

Chris continued, “When my fishing partner Brennan Flick was having the same experiences, which is when I decided to build my own glide baits. Once I started the process, I began to understand why some of these baits cost as much as they do. It is very labor intensive and if you are OCD like me, it’s even worse. The initial idea was to build a few of them for myself, as well as a few buddies. Soon after, however, it escalated into a completely different animal. Now, my whole goal behind every “Ditch Donkey” is to produce a highquality bait but still keep the price where it was affordable for the angler and help them catch more fish in the process.”

Where did the name “Ditch Donkey” come from?

“This was an inside joke between me and “Joy,” when we first

got together. She had absolutely no clue about fishing but one day I made the remark to her that I was going to go catch some “ditch pickles” and then, a few days later, while fishing a tournament, she asked how we were doing, and I told her I had caught some donkeys. Well, she got confused and sent me a text asking if I had caught any ditch donkeys. When I was trying to come up with a name for my bait company, when she suggested we call it “Ditch Donkey”, I gave it some consideration, so the name stuck.”

Why the focus on a hand-made bait?

“From my experience, on mass produced plastic baits, all of them are made the same. You can buy a dozen plastic made lures and maybe half of them or even less will produce and catch fish. My number one goal and when you buy one of my Ditch Donkey lures, you tie it on, it works and fishes exactly the way it is supposed to!! I don’t want to see someone on a YouTube video explaining the modifications needed to make my lures to work correctly. I do not want people to waste their money, because it’s not about making a profit, it’s knowing that every bait I sell is perfect and the customer will be successful with it. I make sure every bait that leaves my house is one I would throw. Right now, the Ditch Donkey’s come in 4 sizes: a 5 ½, 7, 7 ½, and a 9” and I am constantly working to try and build up my inventory. It is a labor of love!”

How did the advancement of tournament technology drive you to create the “Ditch Donkey?”

Glide baits and big swim baits have been around for a very long time, especially in north California and places like. Those guys have used them for decades, but their lakes are more conducive to these lures and techniques due to the makeup of their fisheries. However, once the advancements of technology allowed the angler to see where all the structure and cover was in the southern fisheries, the ability to use glide baits and big swimbaits opened another window of opportunity in our sport. Now we can easily pinpoint where to cast these lures without the fear of losing it.

Chris’ Ditch Donkey tips:

Make sure you have the correct rod/reel set up. For the bigger lures, use a 7’9”-7’10” rod medium/heavy fast action with a 10-12” butt on the rod, it makes a huge difference in lure control. When throwing the the smaller glide baits, a 7” MH rod is a good starting point.

Before you fish with a Ditch Donkey, practice throwing it in a pool or pond, anywhere you can see the bait and how the bait reacts to certain cadences and rod movements. What does it do with quick chops of the reel handle or if you snap the lure using just the rod and a quick reel handle turn? Experiment until you have a good understanding of how the bait works.

Like all other lures in this category, you must keep it in your hands for it to be efficient. In a day’s time you may only get 6 bites a day but usually there worth it!

The more stained the water the more precise you must be with your presentations. In clear water they will come from several feet away to strike the lure.

While catching them is the goal, sometimes the best aspect of a glide bait is it allows you to find fish, even though you might not always catch them.

Well, it looks like we have run out of space and time again for this month. I want to thank Chris Patton for taking the time out of his schedule to talk to me about the Ditch Donkey and its creation. If you would like any additional information on the Ditch Donkey line of lures, look Chris Patton up on Facebook, call him at 318-548-1281 or go to You will be glad you did!

Be sure you catch one for me and I will see you next month!


J.P. Richardson

Building Dreams One Home at a Time



THERE ARE THOSE who merely build houses, and then there are those who craft homes - places where memories are made, families are raised, and dreams take shape. J.P. Richardson, the founder of J.P. Richardson Construction, falls firmly into the latter category. J.P. says he has always loved building things. After all, he has done it his entire life. With a lifetime of experience in the industry and a passion for creating not just structures but experiences, Richardson has established himself as a beacon of quality, integrity, and customer satisfaction.

Richardson’s journey into the world of construction began at the tender age of 13 when he joined a framing crew and trim carpentry during his summer breaks. Growing up with a father who was a painter, Richardson was no stranger to the sights, sounds, and smells of construction sites. His early immersion in the field ignited a passion within him for building and creating, setting him on a trajectory that would define his career.

As he honed his skills and knowledge over the years, Richardson worked for Allied Building Stores, a co-op company for lumber dealers that have hundreds of dealers in twelve states. Later, J.P. managed a door plant and distribution center for many years. These experiences not only bolstered his understanding of the industry but also instilled in him a keen business acumen that would serve him well in the years to come. J.P. eventually started building houses on the side, before deciding to venture out on his own.

Despite his success in various roles and moving up at the company he was currently working for, Richardson felt a yearning for something more - a desire to break free from the confines of corporate structures and carve out his own path. In 2019, he took the leap of faith and founded J.P. Richardson Construction, driven by the belief that the sky would be the limit if he had something of his own.

From the outset, Richardson set out to differentiate his company by prioritizing communication and attention to detail. Richardson and his team live and breathe them every day. Daily walk-throughs ensure that every aspect of the project meets their exacting standards, while regular consultations with clients guarantee that their vision is realized every step of the way. Richardson says, “communication and attention to detail is key.”

Central to Richardson’s approach is his hands-on involvement in every facet of the construction process. From liaising with architects to coordinating with subcontractors, he leaves no stone unturned in his quest to deliver exceptional results. With an in-house designer guiding clients through every selection, and a dedicated team ensuring seamless project flow, Richardson ensures that every aspect of the build is meticulously executed. He also takes pride in being very organized with his work.

Crucially, Richardson places a premium on transparency and honesty in all his dealings. By communicating openly with clients about costs and potential expenses, he ensures that there are no surprises along the way. This commitment to integrity extends to his interactions with subcontractors, where efficient scheduling and timely provision of materials help to minimize delays and keep projects on track.

But for Richardson, the true measure of success lies not just in the quality of the finished product, but in the satisfaction of his clients. Whether it’s seeing the joy on their faces as they walk through their new home for the first time or helping them navigate the complexities of budgeting, Richardson finds fulfillment in knowing that he has played a part in turning their dreams into reality. J.P. says he takes pride in making sure every customer is very happy with the product and process of the build, from start to finish. Weather it’s his style or not, just seeing the customers face is and knowing they are happy is what keeps J.P. Construction going. J.P. says, “Personally I love seeing the structure of the home done. Seeing something go from an empty field or just woods, to a house sitting there is my favorite part.”

As he reflects on his journey thus far, Richardson remains as passionate and driven as ever. For him, each new project is an opportunity to create something special - a place where families can thrive and memories can bemade. And as long as there are dreams to be built, J.P. Richardson Construction will be there, turning visions into reality, one home at a time.


Marsala Beverage Company

CINCO DE MAYO IS ALMOST HERE AND MARSALA 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


Need a Second Opinion?

It’s Common to Get a Second Opinion to Put Your Mind at Ease

AN ORTHOPEDIC INJURY OR CONDITION CAN GREATLY impact your mobility and quality of life. An orthopedic specialist can offer you a diagnosis, but receiving a diagnosis is just the first step. You may have questions about whether to get a second opinion. Getting a second opinion will not make your surgeon mad! Even if your orthopedic surgeon’s treatment recommendation appears to be clear cut and easy to understand, seeking a second opinion may assist in putting you at greater ease. “I think a second opinion is awesome. Most of the time, the treatment plan that is offered by the second surgeon is similar and if it’s not, the patient has options and can ultimately make a well-informed decision about their health. Second opinions are all about putting the patient at ease and granting them greater confidence in their decision,” says J. Marshall Haynie, MD.

“I welcome another head in the huddle. I tell my patients you are the most important consumer in making decisions about your healthcare. Seeking a second opinion does not make us mad, it just helps the patient make the best decision for their health,” David Googe, MD states. DO YOUR RESEARCH

All the surgeons at Orthopedic Specialists of Louisiana encourage their patients to do their research. A great place to start is with your family and friends. They can be a great resource when looking for second opinion recommendations, especially if they have had the same condition or surgery you are considering. Another great resource is online. Many clinic websites offer video bios which can provide insight to how your physician interacts with others and answers questions. Google reviews, and other websites like Healthgrades can offer great insight and include actual patient experience. At Orthopedic Specialists of Louisiana, many of our surgeons utilize robotic joint replacement- knee and hip. Patients may want to ask what other options are available for total knee and hip replacement. “When patients ask me what new knee or hip I am going to put in them and how I am going to do it, I explain the process as best as I can. I also tell them that it doesn’t matter the name brand or part I’m putting in you… what really matters is my experience with putting that part in you and making sure we both have clear expectations of one another. The information is there… we want you to utilize it,” explains Steven Atchison, MD.


Before surgery, if time allows and if your insurance allows, requesting a second opinion from another orthopedic specialist is a good idea. A

procedure like total joint replacement may be a great opportunity to seek a second opinion. This does not mean you do not trust your physician or agree with their recommendation. “Above all I want my patient to feel confident going into surgery. Getting a second opinion may spark different questions about the surgery. A patient that is well informed is more likely to have a stronger recovery and more successful surgery,” says Stephen Cox, MD.

Depending on the orthopedic injury or condition, a second opinion may introduce you to a nonsurgical option. Although orthopedic second opinions may help offer you alternatives to surgery, the input may also confirm the need for surgery. When surgery is the best option, a second orthopedic specialist can solidify this fact and help you feel better about your decision. “Second opinions allow the patients to weigh the pros and cons of having surgery. When a colleague gives my patient a similar opinion as mine as to their treatment, I think it really empowers the patient. If our opinions differ, it gives the patient the opportunity to make an informed decision,” explains Andrew Patton, MD.


Contact the office of your second opinion doctor to be sure you know what medical records you should bring with you, including any images from your visit with your initial doctor. Most of the time you can have the first office forward the records to the second office by requesting they be sent and signing a release. At Orthopedic Specialists of Louisiana, we welcome patients to get a second opinion within our clinic. If you seek a second opinion from another doctor at Orthopedic Specialists of Louisiana, you will still need to schedule a separate appointment with that physician, but we can access your medical records and images internally.


Your choice of treatment is always up to you. Whatever route you choose, it can be reassuring to know you did your research. Entering surgery, or any treatment, feeling you made an informed decision can help you be more committed to your care and recovery.

All of us at Orthopedic Specialists of Louisiana want to wish all our patients and friends a very joyous spring and a Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there!

To schedule an appointment, please call: (318) 543.BONE (2663) or visit:


Sonny Panzico’s Garden Mart

The Perfect Gifts for Mother’s Day Can Be Found at Sonny Panzico’s

FOR 48 YEARS, SONNY PANZICO’S GARDEN MART HAS been the premier destination for Northeast Louisiana’s gardening needs. From outdoor furniture to kitchens, statuaries to planters, grills to umbrellas, their two locations offer everyone looking to spruce up their outdoor spaces lots to choose from.

With Mother’s Day upon us, we have some great gift ideas for the special lady in your life. Sonny Panzico’s has a great selection of fruit trees including: figs, pears, persimmon, grapes, pomegranate, blueberries, apples, plums, peaches and pecans. If you’re looking for citrus trees, Sonny’s also carries Myers lemon, dwarf lemon, key lime, grapefruit, orange, satsuma and kumquat sweet and sour to name a few.

Beautiful weeping willow trees are among the favorites at Sonny Panizo’s and they have three sizes available: 3-gallons, 7-gallons and 20 gallons. They also have bald cypress, red maples, silver maple, river birch, Arizona ash and Gingko trees from fruit trees to blooming trees, Sonny’s has it all. Make sure to look for their deliveries of dogwoods, redbuds, crabapples, Bradford pears, Teddy Bear dwarf magnolias, yellow tulip poplars, all color and sizes of crepe myrtles, and vitex trees. Give mom the gift of beautiful roses. Sonny Panzico’s has Knock Out roses in a variety of colors, as well as a vast selection of Drift roses. They also have Peggy Martin’s climbing roses in 3-gallon sizes. Another great option for roses are their hybrid tea roses and tree roses, also available in several color choices.

Has mom been asking for a vegetable garden? Sonny Panzico’s friendly and knowledgeable staff will make sure you have everything you need fro plant a successful garden. They have over 15 varieties of tomato plants, squash, cucumber, cabbage, collards, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and strawberries.

A Sun Bubble from Sonny Panzico’s Garden Mart sounds like an amazing gift for mom! It’s not just a greenhouse; it’s a little paradise for her plants, providing the perfect environment for them to thrive. The innovative design ensures maximum sunlight exposure, promoting healthy growth. Plus, it’s easy to set up, move, and store, making gardening even more enjoyable for her. And the fact that it warms up quickly and stays at the optimal angle to the sun all day long is a bonus!

And, if she’s into bird watching, Sonny Panzico’s Garden Mart has a fantastic selection of bird feeders too. A hummingbird feeder would be a delightful surprise for Mother’s Day, bringing a touch of nature right to her backyard. Corinthian Bells would also a magical addition

to any outdoor space, adding soothing melodies to every breeze. With such a diverse range of gifts, there’s something for every mom at Sonny Panzico’s!

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

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

Sonny Panzico’s Garden Mart also recently received a new shipment of ceramic pots. These pots are available in a variety of colors and sizes. From smaller sizes to those large enough to plant trees in, the options are endless.

Whether you’re looking for statuaries or fire pits, grills or patio furniture, Sonny Panzico’s two locations has it all. Their friendly and professional staff has a range of knowledge and is available to share with you tips to keep your garden beautiful and thriving. Find them at 7540 Hwy 165 North in Monroe or at 1630 Arkansas Road in West Monroe, visit their Facebook page or website at Also, make sure to tune in to Sonny and Mark’s radio show every Wednesday at 5 p.m. on FM 105.7 and AM 540. Call 318-324-1500 to ask about lawn issues or with gardening questions.




Casey Sandridge and his wife, Taylor, invested in a food truck that would lead to a full-time business.

The Blue Taco is a family-operated business that sells traditional Mexican fare.

article by STARLA GATSON and photography by KELLY MOORE CLARK

When the coronavirus began its rapid spread across the globe and shut down much of the world in March 2020, many coped with being sent home from their workplaces and schools by spending more time in the kitchen. Cooking and baking became popular ways to pass the time in quarantine, and people everywhere mastered the art of making sourdough bread at home and baking feta pasta.

Casey Sandridge was one of those who honed their culinary skills during this time. But he wasn’t following social media’s trending recipes. He was making tacos, quesadillas, and nachos, and he planned to sell them.

In 2020, the thought of starting a food truck popped into Sandidge’s head. He had no professional culinary training or any idea of how to start and run a business. However, he had the support of his wife, Taylor, and enough funds to invest in a trailer he could sell his food out of; that was all he needed to run with the idea. Besides, he reasoned, if things went wrong, he always had his full-time oilfield gig to go back to.

“A lot of people that were working offshore got stuck on the rigs, and a lot of people that were home got stuck there because of travel restrictions,” Sandidge says, recalling the days leading up to his decision to start slinging tacos. “I ended up getting stuck at home.”

Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, Sandidge spent about six months at home in Caldwell Parish. During that time, his trailer was being transformed into the vessel he needed for his business, and by September, The Blue Taco trailer was finished and ready to open.

Sandidge was unable to be present for the food truck’s opening day — travel restrictions evolved, and he got the call to head back to the oil rig, leaving Taylor to captain the ship on her own — but he ran it on a part-time basis whenever he was home. The Sandidges ran the business this way for nearly a year until they felt it was time to move to the next level.

FAMILY-OWNED AND OPERATED - Running The Blue Taco has proven enjoyable for Sandidge, as it allows him to do something he loves and be home with his family every night — two things oilfield life couldn’t offer.

Despite only being open parttime, “[the business] continued to grow,” Sandidge says, “and I was starting to feel like we could make it on that living.” So, in July 2021, Sandidge retired from the oilfield and began pursuing The Blue Taco full-time. The rest, as they say, is history.

The Blue Taco has been Sandidge’s bread and butter since he decided to run it full-time. You’ve probably seen him and his crew — it consists of his wife, his nephew, and his nephew’s friend — at work, set up in front of a local business during

lunchtime. After all, they’re hard to miss. Painted an eye-catching shade of blue and decked out in sugar skulls, The Blue Taco is, in Sandidge’s words, “the brightest-colored trailer around.”

The Blue Taco’s menu contains traditional Mexican dishes: nachos, quesadillas, and — this is a given considering the business’s name — tacos. Sandidge says customers especially love ordering the 3 Amigos, a combination that includes three tacos of their choice and a drink. But he recommends the quesadilla above all. It’s his favorite menu item, he says, and it’s made with your choice of meat, three different kinds of cheese, and various toppings.

Some of The Blue Taco’s other menu items include Carnitas tacos made with pulled pork, slaw, avocado, queso fresco, cilantro, and lime crema, and the Chuck Norris taco, a combination of shredded chuck roast, onion, banana pepper, queso fresco, cilantro, and lime crema. Each offering pairs nicely with the food truck’s lineup of sides, which includes Mexican street corn and housemade chips and salsa, queso, or guacamole.

According to the food truck’s owner, The Blue Taco has come a long way since it first opened in 2020. He credits the business’s growth to two things: repetition and customer feedback.

The repetition of showing up every day and doing what has to be done has made The Blue Taco’s operations smoother and quicker, allowing them to be able to serve

more customers. Customer feedback is one of Sandidge’s primary catalysts for making changes to his recipes or business functions. He uses the food truck’s chips and salsa to show customer feedback at work.

“Somebody told me one day, ‘My wife said you can get that same [salsa] at Sam’s,’” Sandidge remembers, laughing. “I was like, ‘Yeah, you can.’ After that, I had to start making my own.”

Ultimately, Sandidge’s goal is to make food that people enjoy, and keeping their opinions in mind helps him do that. This strategy works for him, as several of his customers have told the Grayson native that his are the best tacos around. Comments like those hold weight to Sandidge, and he keeps them in mind as he brainstorms ways to make The Blue Taco even better.

“Things like that make me want to improve everything I can,” he says of the positive feedback he receives on his food.

Sandidge’s efforts to make The Blue Taco the best it can be appear to be paying off, as the food truck is currently doing so well that thoughts of opening a second are swirling around his head.

“We go out a little bit everywhere, to LaSalle, Franklin, and Ouachita parishes, but people even farther out are wanting it,” he explains.

Some customers wonder if settling into a building and operating out of a restaurant instead of a trailer is part of Sandidge’s vision for his growing business. For now, he says the answer is no. He loves the flexibility running a food truck affords him and worries that moving into a building would take away some of the freedom that his current setup allows.

“People would want it open all the time,” he says of the hypothetical restaurant.

Operating a food truck with limited business hours ensures Sandidge has time to spend with his family, and he doesn’t want to cut into that. At least, not right now. After all, the ability to build his work schedule around his family obligations is one of two major perks of the job.

The second is getting to cook for a living. Long before he had any plans of doing it professionally, Sandidge enjoyed cooking. He’s not sure where his passion for it came from, he says before adding, “Whenever I was on my days off from the rig, I was always cooking for friends and family. I just enjoyed [it].”

Running The Blue Taco has proven enjoyable for Sandidge, as it allows him to do something he loves and be home with his family every night — two things oilfield life couldn’t offer. But running a small business isn’t easy, he says, and lots of hard work


has gone into getting his food truck where it is today. Despite the difficulties of learning how to build a business, however, Sandidge says there has never been a moment he doubted what he was doing, not even in the beginning when he dared to start something new in such an uncertain time.

“I didn’t ever feel like [it might not be worth it] because it seemed like such a small investment for me,” he explains as he thinks back to 2020 when The Blue Taco was nothing more than an idea. “All I had to come up with was the money for the trailer, and I kept it in my mind that we could always get out of it if we had to. If it didn’t work out, I could sell it and not lose much.”

He was nervous about pivoting to a new career after spending so many years in another industry — “I was about to have to deal with the public every day, and that’s not something I had always done,” he says. “I’d always been on the drilling rig dealing with a crew, and that’s pretty much it.” — but his anxieties didn’t stop him from diving into this new endeavor. His desires to cook, have more time with his family, and prove the naysayers wrong were more powerful.

“Someone told me, ‘I give it a year, and you won’t be able to do it anymore. You aren’t going to like it,’” he shares. “That’s one thing [that motivated me], proving people wrong.”

And, of course, he adds, his faith played a major role.

“There have been a lot of prayers in it,” Sandidge says. “Don’t want to leave the Lord out. I pray and thank Him for a good day every day.”

Today, nearly four years later, these elements — loving the work, having time for family, silencing the doubters, and faith in God — still motivate Sandidge to show up to the trailer every day to serve customers.

“It’s really just repetition every day,” he says, explaining how he does it. “We just get in there and get rolling when the crowd shows up.”


The Joy of Motherhood

When Your Children Have Children

It’s the month of May dear readers, and Mother’s Day is resting differently with me this year. Yes, it is with great pride and adulation that I make a big announcement: I.Am.A.Grandmother. Can you believe it? Oh, I know I don’t look like a grandmother…if you’ve seen me recently, I know that’s what you are thinking. Well, except for the crow’s feet and the forehead indentions that look like craters and the creaky bones and the way I have to stretch in 6 directions to work out the kinks when I’ve been sitting too long. But other than that, I still look (and feel) like that 32-year-old first-time mother from 1998, having my first baby and knowing absolutely nothing about parenting. Nada. Zilch. Zero. Goose egg. Nothing except that my baby boy was absolutely glowing with a beautiful bronze color, despite the fact that Scott and I both look Scottish Irish and bit like Casper’s relatives with our chalky skin color. So, where did the beautiful tan skin come from? To quote our beloved pediatrician, Dr. Chico Rosales, “No, baby, he’s not tan. He has jaundice.” Which takes me back to my original statement about us knowing absolutely nothing about parenting.

Photo courtesy of J. Claire Creative - Joanna Weed

picture. He was, in our eyes, pure perfection.

But then the crazy thing happened: and this perfect little baby was shoved in our arms and with the wave of their hands goodbye, the nursing team sent us on our way. try and figure it all out on our own.

And that we did. But not without the help of many, many older and wiser counsel. Our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, someone we met in the checkout line at Brookshires when we couldn’t decide between Boudreaux’s Butt Paste or Destin cream. It’s definitely true that it takes a village, and this is truly a time when you feel their presence. And it’s as welcome as the first signs of spring.

Except that we were overwhelmed with love and adoration for this new life that we were gifted 26 years ago. It’s hard to believe, as I comb through his baby books, that my own son, who is now a father, was once this tiny little baby…with tiny little perfect features; ears, eyes, lips, teeth. Wait. He didn’t have teeth then. But you get the

I know, I know, I sound like Mark Twain. But the truth is, readers, as glorious and extraordinary as parenting was, and still is, becoming a grandparent has penetrated a part of my soul that I can only best describe as having been quietly sleeping. Sleeping? You have questions, I know, but for me, in the spirit of my usual transparency, after I lost my son, Samuel, I think a part of my heart, my soul, just went to sleep. Perhaps that’s a natural protective mechanism, I’m certainly no expert, but what I can tell you is that it happened, rather naturally, and likely understandably, and sealed off like some vault at Fort Knox. Until it wasn’t.

My daughter-in-law’s labor started quite naturally, and seemingly textbook. Until it wasn’t. In one moment, we were all laughing and making jokes about who was holding the baby first and who she was


going to look like, and then, in what seemed like a blink of an eye, the unexpected and unwelcome things that can happen with any labor and delivery slowly started to penetrate our blissful waiting room.

I have had some unfortunate life’s circumstances, some I write about in this column, some I choose to hold close to my chest. But many of those circumstances have revolved around medical professionals who have held me and my family close and who have and continue to come through in ways that keep us safe and healthy.

And this time was no different. In those hours of uncertainty and worry, the medical team that was supporting my children helped keep Gracie and my new granddaughter safe. Sometimes, you just want things to go smoothly, right? And without drama? But when it doesn’t, for me, trusting God will lay His hands on my family is all I have. And trust I did.

I told my mother that on this day, April 11, 2024, I watched my son grow up. Oh, I’ve watched him grow up in the traditional, conventional ways that we watch our kids grow up. I watched him play sports and graduate from high school and then college and then go to work and buy a house and get married and get a dog. But watching him stand in that delivery room and protect his family, and love and support them through the fear and worry that he had, took my love and respect for him to another plateau.

As he walked out in the hallway to show our new baby girl to her new grandparents, curiously, I wondered how I would feel when I first laid eyes on this little life…would I be able to love her as much as I love my children. Would that even be possible? There’s a line from the classic children’s book, The Grinch, that says, “The Grinch’s heart grew 3 times that day.” I’m here to confirm that that growth is entirely possible. It’s not just made up for the sake of young readers

in a children’s book, it’s not. A dear friend of mine told me to be prepared because becoming a grandparent causes this “seismic shift in your life,” and that is about the best way I know to describe it.

And when I held her? That shift was palpable, like feeling it in my bones. And watching the touch your son gives to his wife and their new baby…the current lump in my throat is the size of a Buick. So here we all are, friends, at the end of this column, in the month where we celebrate one of our most precious assets, our mothers, and you can find this writer in a puddle around my computer. Y’all know I am quick to write about my life, and share with you my experiences, my failures, the sometimes-unbelievable things that happen to me, and of course, the humor that lurks around every corner of my life. Sometimes the successes feel distant…like they belong to other people, just not to me. But not today, no today feels like I won at life. Like the gold medal champion of grandmothers. Is it hokey for me to say my heart is full? Well, that wouldn’t really be the truth… it’s more like my heart is exploding. In this first Mother’s Day in my life as a grandmother, I am full of gratitude and love and I find myself in complete and utter awe of this newest little life. It’s magical; extraordinary; and has me thinking that my little baby love will likely be going to Harvard in kindergarten. Any other grands out there, with me? And next month’s column? The result will be in as what she will call me. The debate has been real…9 long months of intense research but I’ve finally decided. And readers, buckle’s a good one!

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.


Watha’s Wonderful World, LLC

“A Mother’s Day Memorial”

MOTHER’S DAY IS A TIME OF celebration honoring both living and deceased female parents. In America Mother’s Day is observed on the second Sunday in May. It originated in May 1908 by Anna Jarvis daughter of Ann Reeves Jarvis. Ms. Anna Jarvis recognized the hard work and tremendous efforts put forth by her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, during the pre-Civil War era as a steering committee member for the “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs.” These clubs taught women how to properly rear their children. They were also instrumental in uniting areas of the country still disjoined over the Civil War. In 1868 Ms. Ann Reeves Jarvis formed “Mothers’ Friendship Day,” in which mothers assembled with former Union and Confederate soldiers to advocate reconciliation. The primordial efforts of Ann Reeves Jarvis and the persistence of her daughter Anna Jarvis led President Woodrow Wilson in 1914 to sign a measure officially declaring this holiday.

From an etiquette perspective, it is proper to recognize that mothers are females who show love and affection towards minor and adult children. Mothers can be biological, stepmothers, foster mothers, grandmothers, aunts, or any female who positively impact our lives. Exodus 20:12 teaches that we should “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Ms. Ann Reeves Jarvis was known to have a beautiful garden of white carnations. Her daughter wore white carnations to symbolize love for her deceased mother. The wearing of red carnations on Mother’s Day signifies your mother is still living. Some gift ideas for mothers are cards, candy, gift certificates, meals, and finances. Additionally, phone calls, text messages, and social media posts are exciting ways to give tribute to mothers. The memory of deceased mothers may be cherished by placing wreaths on their grave sites, viewing photos and videos of them, and

preparing their favorite secret family recipe. Mothers today are faced with numerous economic and social challenges of which the death of a child is the most devastating. Unfortunately, I can personally attest that such an out-of-order death is the closest feeling to death itself. On July 14, 2018, while visiting Louisiana, my only son PFC Herman Jerome Davis III met his untimely demise due to a service-connected disability from serving in Afghanistan. Two hours before his death he called me and told me how much he loved me, and I sang a term of endearment song to him as I did during his childhood. I would have never known that would be our final conversation on this side of Heaven. Rather than become enveloped by grief, I chose to take charge of the situation by planning his final arrangements, settling his affairs, and comforting his family and friends who were devastated by this tragedy.

Etiquette comes into play when understanding the difference between Memorial Day (honoring the lives of deceased service members) and Veterans Day (honoring those who served in the armed forces who are still alive). Celebrating Memorial Day by attending events such as The Memorial Day Service at the Veterans Cemetery, hosting a family barbeque, and reminiscing on a life well lived are fantastic methods of “A Mother’s Day Memorial.”


Professional Laser Center

Smart Things Come In Small Packages

BE AMONG THE FIRST TO experience the newest advancement in Regenerative aesthetics. The AnteAGE MDX® Exosome Solution is a first of its kind, state of the art, hybrid exosome solution. This innovative formula harnesses the power of exosomes derived from both human bone marrow and umbilical cord stem cells. This hybrid approach offers a whole new level of stability and efficacy to deliver unparalleled results.

Exosomes are tiny nanoparticles that get secreted by our cells. The cells naturally create exosomes as a way to communicate with one another and to help regulate biological processes. Despite their small size, exosomes have the ability to carry a variety of important biomolecules, including proteins, lipids, and genetic material.

The innate characteristic of exosomes is to mirror their parent stem cells, endowing them

with remarkable regenerative and reparative potential. When applied to compromised tissue, exosomes derived from stem cells, showcase profound healing properties. It is this reparative function of exosomes that we exploit in AnteAGE MDX.

These exosomes are applied topically to the skin with microneedling, resulting in a powerful, potent, ultra-pure exosome treatment unlike any other. Microneedling creates tiny wounds in the skin which lead to collagen production and increased blood flow within the skin. When combined with AnteAGE Exosome therapy, these topically applied exosomes orchestrate a cascade of cellular responses. In essence, exosomes serve as instructors, coaxing cells to revert to a more youthful state, thereby revitalizing skin’s appearance from within. These bio-signals instruct our cells to naturally increase skin firmness, reduce redness, improve skin texture

and tone, and decrease general signs of aging. Exosomes can train our cells to behave as if they were younger, which makes us look that way.

Patients often report noticeable improvements in skin texture and radiance within a week after the treatment. However, the full benefits, such as collagen production and reduced fine lines, may take a few sessions and several weeks to manifest fully. There is little to no pain or downtime with the procedure.

Professional Laser Center offers a variety of treatments that complement and enhance the results of exosome therapy. These treatments can be tailored to meet individual skincare needs and goals. Some related treatments include Microneedling, Botox, Filler, PDO Thread Lift, and Laser Skin Tightening.

From now until Mother’s Day, we will be offering a special Mother’s Day Discount. Purchase an AnteAGE MD Exosome Microneedling treatment or Gift Certificate and receive a $50 discount. Your mom will love it! For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 318-361-9066.


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.


Medication Or Surgery?


Named “Most Effective” in Treating Obesity

WHILE THERE ARE SEVERAL options for treating obesity, the National Institute of Health recognizes bariatric (weight loss) surgery as the most effective long-term treatment. As we know, obesity is a major health epidemic; approximately 70% of Americans are overweight.

In addition to producing significant weight loss, bariatric surgery lengthens a patient’s lifespan by 40%. Why? Weight loss surgery patients are at a lower risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and more.

At the Surgery Clinic of Northeast Louisiana, we perform three weight loss surgeries.

Sleeve Gastrectomy:

During a sleeve gastrectomy, the surgeon removes approximately 75-80% of the stomach. A smaller stomach holds much less food, restricting one’s food intake. Removing a large portion of the stomach decreases the hunger

hormone. Patients lose about 60-70% of their excess weight within one year of surgery.

Gastric Bypass:

Food is redirected to a different area of the digestive system, bypassing the stomach and part of the small intestine. Thus, the patient’s body does not absorb as many calories. Patients will feel full much faster and lose about 65-85% of their excess weight.

Duodenal Switch:

The duodenal switch surgery is a twopart procedure in which a surgeon removes approximately 75-80% of the stomach. The surgeon then creates a small, tubular stomach pouch and connects the new stomach pouch outlet to the small intestine. This new system causes the body to absorb fewer calories and nutrients. Patients lose about 70-90% of their weight.

More good news: The American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery recently lowered its requirements for weight loss surgery, making

it more accessible to more people. What other weight loss options are available?

GLP-1 agonists are medications that help manage blood sugar levels in people with Type 2 diabetes. These medications are sometimes used to help treat obesity. GLP-1 agonists and weight loss surgery produce similar effects in diabetes improvement.

Weight loss surgery patients may regain some weight if they do not implement behavior changes after surgery, such as eating healthier foods and exercising. However, overall, weight loss surgery patients experience greater longterm success. When patients opt for weight loss medications only, they typically regain their weight after stopping their medicines.

Treating patients with weight loss medications can be costly. Most are only approved for Type 2 diabetes treatment. The monthly cost may range from $800 to $1200 without coverage. Side effects may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, headaches, and heartburn.

Every weight loss option works best with the support of healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, and dietitians.

To learn more about our bariatric program, visit

The Surgery Clinic of NELA, home of Delta Vein Care, is operated by surgeons Dr. Walter Sartor, Dr. Bart Liles, Dr. Patrick Smith, and Dr. Mohamed Bakeer.


The Story Isn’t Over!

Why Should the Church Be as Full on Pentecost as on Christmas and Easter?

WHAT IF THE STORY HAD ended with Jesus’ ascension into heaven? Where would you be today? Probably not in church!

But the story didn’t end there. Jesus himself told his followers it wouldn’t. Indeed, he said, I’m out of here and better for you that I am because the One I will send will dwell within you, and you and you, and all of y’all for ever and ever. Or, words to that effect.

That “One” He was speaking of was, and is, the Holy Spirit, and we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday.

I’m sure you remember the story. It’s told in Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 2. The Apostles are hanging out in Jerusalem still not sure what they’re supposed to do since Jesus has gone. But they were praying, for sure.

Suddenly they’ve got fire dancing over their heads and in their hearts, and they preach with such vigor that people think they are 10 o’clock in the morning, no less!

Well, what would you think if your Sunday morning preacher suddenly spoke some sort of universal language that everyone understood perfectly? I mean, everyone, from the street person over in the corner catching some “zzzzzs” to the bank president sitting in her usual pew on the main aisle… also catching some “zzzzzs?” What if everyone ‘got the message’ at the same time in the same life-altering way? You’d think he was drunk, too!

But that’s the church being born, friends. Thousands were added to the number of believers that day, thousands of all races and languages and nations because that was Jerusalem in those days and because that was

the Holy Spirit, promised by Jesus, sent by God, forever dwelling within us.

So, Christmas celebrates incarnation, the coming of God in the form of a helpless babe in the manger. That’s a thing to celebrate for sure! And we do, with decorated trees and gifts and packed churches.

That babe grew into the man Jesus who walked this earth and preached repentance and mercy and the love of God for humankind. He was killed for his trouble, but God redeems his death by raising him on the third day. He lives! And we celebrate, with flowers and Easter eggs and packed churches.

And well we should! But…where are you Pentecost Sunday? The story goes on! Let us celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit and the birthday of the Church. Join us at Grace. We’ll by flying a dove with a fiery tail right down the center aisle of the church!


Gardens of Somerset Brunch with Teddy Roosevelt

A Memorable Morning of Captivating Storytelling and Delicious Bites


recently played host to a special event that transported residents back in time to the era of one of America’s most iconic presidents, Theodore Roosevelt. Aptly named “Brunch with Teddy Roosevelt,” the gathering brought together residents and history enthusiasts alike for a memorable morning filled with captivating storytelling and delicious brunch bites.

The star of the event was none other than Joe Wiegand, a renowned impersonator acclaimed for his striking portrayal of President Theodore Roosevelt. Dressed impeccably in period attire, Wiegand brought the larger-thanlife figure of Teddy Roosevelt to life, regaling the audience with tales from his remarkable life and presidency.

On March 21st, residents of the retirement community eagerly gathered in the dining hall, anticipation buzzing in the air. Teddy was greeted with an old fashioned “Welcome Rally” as the residents made signs for Mr. President

Roosevelt, to show their enthusiasm for his visit. “Teddy” took the stage, a hush fell over the room, broken only by the sound of his booming voice recounting tales of adventure, conservation, and leadership.

From his exploits as a Rough Rider to his pivotal role in the conservation movement, Wiegand expertly wove together anecdotes that showcased Roosevelt’s indomitable spirit and passion for the great outdoors. Residents listened intently, hanging on every word as they were transported back in time to an era of exploration and discovery.

But it wasn’t just the captivating storytelling that made the event truly special. Chef Randy, the culinary maestro of the Gardens of Somerset, had prepared a delectable spread of brunch bites that perfectly complemented the occasion. From savory delights to sweet treats, residents savored each mouthful as they soaked in the atmosphere of camaraderie and nostalgia.

Laughter filled the air as residents shared in the joy of Teddy’s larger-than-life personality, finding common ground in their appreciation for history and community. For a few hours, the worries of the world faded away as the timeless wisdom of Theodore Roosevelt resonated through the halls of the Gardens of Somerset. As the event drew to a close, residents bid farewell to Teddy Roosevelt with a sense of gratitude and admiration. It was a brunch to remember, a testament to the enduring power of storytelling and the ability to connect generations through shared experiences. For the residents of the Gardens of Somerset, it was a reminder that the spirit of adventure and exploration knows no age limit. A special thank you to The Monroe Garden Study League for bringing Joe to Monroe to remind us all about the grandeur of our National Parks and for the insight that President Roosevelt had to establish legislation that will forever preserve our beautiful national parks.




All forms of chronic disease spring from two simple causes; deficiency and/or toxicity. Nutritional deficiencies are rampant because our society prioritizes food convenience over food quality. Even unprocessed foods aren’t as nutrient dense as they once were because of how it’s raised (prioritizing efficiency) and how deficient our soils have become. Toxic exposures come in many forms, from agricultural and cleaning chemicals, to plastics and pharmaceuticals. The World Health Organization has acknowledged environmental pollution as the underlying cause of 80% of all chronic degenerative diseases. One pervasive contributor to toxicity in our bodies is heavy metals, which are so ubiquitous in our environment that everyone is exposed to them. They can’t be avoided completely and are present in everyone to some degree. Because heavy metals are persistent and cumulative in the environment, humans today are exposed to levels several thousand times higher than they were several hundred years ago.

Heavy or toxic metals are

non-nutritive trace metals that are at least five times denser than water. They can’t be metabolized by the body and are passed up the food chain to humans.

Heavy metals (including lead, mercury, nickel, aluminum, fluoride, cadmium, arsenic and uranium) are distributed widely throughout our environment due to their various applications in environmental, occupational, household (including foods, water, paints, cosmetics, etc), medical, industrial, and technological applications. These metals can enter the body through inhalation, intestinal absorption, and can even be absorbed through the skin depending on their form.

Elemental forms of heavy metals aren’t well absorbed by the body, but organic forms readily pass through cell membranes and can cross the blood-brain barrier, which allows them to accumulate in the brain.

Once absorbed into the body, heavy metals are distributed in various organs, glands, and the central nervous system. They are a major cause of inflammation, infection, irritation and tissue damage throughout the body.

Some metals are bone seekers and ultimately settle into the teeth and skeletal system. Others have a proclivity for the liver and brain where they interfere with neurological function, mood, and the hundreds of vital functions carried out by the liver. Heavy metals can effectively poison enzyme systems, increase free radical production, “short circuit” and otherwise damage the brain and nervous system, support the development of fungal, viral, bacterial, and parasitic infections, and displace or compete with the absorption of nutritional minerals that are needed to support healthy functioning. There are at least 76 published functional and behavioral abnormalities associated with heavy metal toxicity.

One factor that contributes to where heavy metals accumulate in the body, as well as an individual’s propensity to accumulate that metal, is called molecular mimicry. Different metals are very similar in molecular structure to different minerals and amino acids. For example, lead closely mimics calcium in structure, so it has a tendency to accumulate in

the bones and teeth. When an individual has a deficiency of calcium, their bodies can begin accumulating lead to use in its place. Because of it’s similar molecular structure, it serves as a (very poor) calcium substitute, but brings a host of problems along with it. Lead accumulation can create thyroid and adrenal problems, nervous system disorders and many neuromuscular symptoms. Conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis and other types of bone diseases may be related to lead toxicity to some degree.

Mercury is another pervasive toxic metal that is widely known to be toxic to humans. Its usage over the past few decades has diminished significantly, but it’s still pervasive in the environment. Major sources of mercury today are fish consumption (especially larger and longer living species, like tuna), dental amalgams, vaccines containing thimerosal, and congenital mercury that is passed from mother to baby. Mercury particularly affects the kidneys, liver, brain, endocrine glands, and muscular system.


Neuromuscular diseases (such as multiple sclerosis), and mental illnesses, as well as hundreds of other conditions can be related to mercury toxicity. Mercury pushes zinc, selenium, iodine, chromium and manganese out of the body, so it depletes these necessary nutrients. As a result of these deficiencies, an individual with a heavy mercury burden can develop neurotransmitter imbalances and mental health challenges, blood sugar dysregulation, and even metabolic diseases.

All of the heavy metals oppose various minerals and vitamins in the body which leads to deficiencies in vital nutrients. Lead opposes calcium, zinc, manganese, copper, iron, and iodine. Aluminum antagonizes vitamin C, magnesium, zinc and calcium. Arsenic opposes selenium, phosphorus, molybednum, iodine and vitamin C. The list goes on. Because of this mineral-metal antagonism, those nutrients can also push their opposing metals out the body. For this reason, consuming a nutrient dense diet rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals is one of our best defenses against heavy metal accumulation. An individual with nutrient deficiencies is much more at risk for accumulating heavy metals than those who have adequate nutrient stores.

In addition to consuming a diet rich in metal opposing nutrients, ensuring the elimination pathways in the body are open is vital for preventing heavy metal accumulation. The body relies on minerals and vitamins to support the detoxification of heavy metals, but they also need to be able to exit the body efficiently so they aren’t reabsorbed. This requires healthy colon function, kidney and liver function, and healthy lymphatic and respiratory system function. These systems can all be supported by ensuring easy daily bowel movements, consuming plenty of clean water (spring water is my top choice for cleanliness and mineral content), regular sweating through infrared sauna or hot soaks in epsom salt baths, consistent movement with walking, stretching, bending and twisting, and even ensuring healthy deep breathing patterns, while avoiding alcohol and highly processed foods.

Recently, I’ve been seeing a lot of my clients presenting with a high body burden of mercury and/or aluminum that appears to be interfering significantly with mental health and hormonal balance. Along with learning to support their bodies with the specific nutrients they’re in need of (which they find through testing), they are guided on supporting the elimination pathways mentioned above, and also learn how to diminish their exposure to these ubiquitous metals. Aluminum exposure that’s easily avoidable comes from anti-perspirants, cooking with aluminum foil and aluminum cookware, aluminum cans, antacids, cosmetics, some vaccines, nasal sprays, and tap water, among others. Common sources of mercury exposure are the consumption of large fish, fungicides, dental fillings, contact lens solution, some household cleaners (Ajax, Comet, Lysol, Bleach), cosmetics, laxatives, high fructose corn syrup, some vaccines, and tap water.

During this time of the year, as you focus on spring cleaning your home, I’d like to encourage you to also focus on cleaning out household and personal care products you’re using that may be contributing to your body’s heavy metal burden. Exposure to these metals can’t be completely avoided, but diminishing exposure where possible, while supporting your body with the foundational principles of nutrition, sleep, and movement, will give you the ability to prevent them from accumulating in your tissues and wreaking havoc on your health.


Embracing Community and Relationships

The b1BANK Way

IN TODAY’S FAST-PACED FINANCIAL world, finding a bank that prioritizes community, relationships, and personalized service can feel like a challenge. However, for those in North Louisiana, b1BANK stands out as a beacon of local commitment and trusted banking.

Established in 2006, b1BANK has embedded itself deeply within North Louisiana. With banking centers located in Monroe, West Monroe, Rayville, and Bastrop, b1BANK boasts a team of local bankers who are not only knowledgeable and trusted but also deeply passionate about serving their communities.

What sets b1BANK apart is its unwavering dedication to its five Guiding Principles, which serve as the foundation for every interaction and decision made within the organization:

• Relationship-Driven Team: At b1BANK, relationships matter. Local bankers prioritize getting to know their customers personally and understanding their financial needs.

• Thoughtful, Disciplined Decision-Making: Every decision at b1BANK is made with careful consideration and discipline. Whether it’s approving a loan or introducing a new product, the focus remains on what’s best for the customer and the community.

• Meaningful Communications: Clear and transparent communication is key at b1BANK. From explaining complex financial products to providing updates on account status, customers can trust that they’ll always be kept informed.

• Doing the Right Thing the Right Way: Integrity is non-negotiable at b1BANK. Ethical conduct and adherence to the highest standards of professionalism are crucial in every aspect of the bank’s operations.

• Striving to Be the Best Through Continuous Improvement: b1BANK never rests. The team is committed to ongoing learning and improvement to ensure they always deliver the best possible banking experience. Beyond just providing traditional banking

services, b1BANK takes its commitment to the community to heart. You’ll often find b1BANKers volunteering their time and resources at schools, museums, food banks, and senior centers in the area.

b1BANK wants their customers to enjoy personalized service. From basic checking accounts to high-interest savings options, b1BANK provides straightforward and competitive solutions to meet the diverse needs of its customers. Moreover, the bank offers a comprehensive suite of lending products, supporting businesses and individuals alike in achieving their financial goals, whether it’s financing commercial ventures or purchasing a home.

For those seeking a banking experience that’s uncomplicated and community-focused, b1BANK invites you to stop by for a coffee and chat with their friendly teams in Monroe (2271 Tower Drive) or West Monroe (2500 North 7th Street). b1BANK is here to serve you with integrity, expertise, and a genuine commitment to your success.


Parterre’s Enchanting Mother’s Day Gifts

Let Us Help You find the Perfect Gift This Season

AS MOTHER’S DAY IS ON THE horizon, Parterre invites you to embark on a journey of beauty and elegance. From the allure of Julie Vos jewelry to the captivating scents of Flamingo Estate candles and the indulgence of French soaps, Parterre offers a curated selection of treasures that celebrate the extraordinary women who nurture and inspire us. Explore our collection of concrete pots, benches, fountains, tables, consoles, and statuary, and immerse yourself in a world where botanical wonders and timeless elegance meet.

Elevate the art of gifting with Julie Vos jewelry, renowned for its timeless, opulent designs. Each piece is a testament to the enduring bond between mother and child, a treasure that symbolizes love, strength, and grace. Julie Vos captures the essence of beauty and sophistication, creating moments

that shimmer with joy and gratitude.

Our new Flamingo Estate candles are crafted with care and infused with the essence of nature’s bounty. Each scent invites you to journey through realms of tranquility and bliss, from the fresh allure of citrus groves to the serenity of blooming gardens.

Let the flickering flames of Flamingo Estate candles cast a warm glow over cherished moments and shared memories while filling the air with desirable fragrance.

Enhance your outdoor living spaces with Parterre’s concrete selection. Durability and refined elegance, each piece is designed to elevate gardens, patios, and outdoor cook areas with unparalleled grace. From the charm of pots and benches to the majestic presence of fountains and statuary, each piece is a masterpiece of artisanal craftsmanship inviting you to create a sanctuary of serenity and style.

Celebrate Mother’s Day in style and create memories that bloom with beauty, joy, and heartfelt gratitude with our variety of seasonal color. Whether filling containers with our curated selection of plants, let us guide as you to create the perfect combination for mom! Let Parterre be your destination for thoughtful gifts outside the box that honor the mothers, grandmothers, and mother figures who enrich our lives everyday.


From Blue-Collar Roots to Building Dreams

The Journey of a New Contractor




OVER THE bustling town of West Monroe, a new chapter begins for JTL Construction, a company fueled by passion, expertise, and a commitment to excellence. Founded by Jay Ludwick, a seasoned professional with a heart for serving the community, JTL Construction is more than just a contracting business—it’s a testament to the power of hard work, determination, and a love for construction.


Growing up in the heart of Lake County, Illinois, Jay learned the value of hard work and dedication from a young age. Raised in a bluecollar family, he embarked on a journey through various skilled labor jobs, uncertain of where his path would lead. However, it wasn’t until he found in the role of Project Manager that he discovered his true passion for construction and general contracting. From that moment, every nail hammered and every blueprint scrutinized fueled Jay’s enthusiasm for the industry.


With over 15 years of personal experience

in the construction industry, he brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to JTL Construction. While the company may be young, with just two years under their belt, the JTL team is comprised of skilled professionals dedicated to delivering top-notch service. What sets them apart is not just their experience, but the unwavering commitment to excellence and customer satisfaction.


At JTL Construction, they pride themselves on offering a comprehensive range of construction services. From residential renovations to commercial building construction, the team is equipped to handle projects of all sizes and complexities. While their focus has primarily been on residential construction, they are excited to broaden the horizons and venture into the commercial construction industry, further expanding their capabilities and serving a wider range of clients.


As they look to the future, Jay and his teams goals are ambitious yet attainable. In the

short term, JTL Construction aims to solidify their presence in the community and establish themselves as a trusted name in the industry. Our long-term vision involves expanding our reach, becoming synonymous with quality and reliability, and continuing to exceed the expectations of our clients. Whether it’s commercial building construction, renovation, or new construction land development/home development, we are committed to delivering exceptional results and making a lasting impact in the communities we serve.

This journey from blue-collar roots to building dreams has been nothing short of inspiring. With a foundation built on hard work, dedication, and a passion for construction, JTL Construction is poised to soar to new heights, leaving a legacy of excellence in its wake. We are not just building structures - we are building dreams.


Are You Due For a Checkup?

Schedule an Appointment Today

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

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

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

That’s why Drs. David Finley, PJ Henderson and Adam Coughran and our highly-trained hygienists want to make sure you know just how important it is that you visit our Monroe, LA dental office for routine checkups! And there’s no better time to make your dental health a priority than in the New Year.



Gum disease creeps in slowly to destroy your oral health, often without you even realizing it’s happening. That’s why professional dental care matters more than anything.

In our Monroe dental office, you’ll find highly-trained hygienists who have the experience and professional tools to give your teeth and gums the deep cleaning necessary to remove plaque and tartar buildup that you can’t reach with your toothbrush and dental floss at home.

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

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


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

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


Fabulous Fabric

Give Your House the Attention it Deserves

IF YOU HAVEN’T UPDATED YOUR home in 10 years or longer it may be time to visit Fabulous Fabric located at 1803 Lamy Lane in Monroe. Your house needs attention so you can enjoy and feel confident in its appearance for the next 10 years. We can help give your home a more updated modern interior and extend to the outdoor living spaces as well. Updates we can help you with include new window treatments, re-upholstering furniture pieces, adding pillows and changing out old rugs. All of these updates go hand in hand and must be coordinated together to give a seamless cohesive look for your living spaces. At Fabulous Fabric we have all the resources in store to coordinate and make sure everything looks beautiful together.

Window treatments not only add beauty to your interior space but provide privacy when needed and help insulate us from our extreme weather. We can help select the

right fabric for custom draperies and roman shades, along with the proper drapery hardware to insure the functionality of your treatments. Would you like motorization? We have a system in store you can come in and see how it works. Beautiful draperies can open & close with the touch of a button!

Do you have dirty chair seats, bar stools, ottomans or sofas but don’t know where to start? We will suggest an upholster, tell you how much fabric you need and then help you select the right fabric from our vast inventory.

We have an extensive selection of decorative pillows in stock and ready for purchase. This is the easiest way to make a drastic difference in a space by adding new fresh pillows! We also do custom pillows out of any fabric and trims we have to offer. Our large selection of designer remnants is the perfect starting point. Fabulous velvets, linens and prints are overflowing on our shelves.

If its time to replace a rug we have a variety of styles and colors in various price points. Samples are available to take home. If you need a statement in a particular space, fabric is your answer. We have designer fabrics from Stroheim, S. Harris, Vervain, Schumacher, Kravet, Samuel & Sons, Fabricut and many more. Hope to see you soon!

Fabulous Fabric also carries Sunbrella. Sunbrella is a trusted brand renowned for its high-quality outdoor fabrics, making it a top choice for summer essentials. With over 50 years of experience, Sunbrella fabrics are engineered to withstand the harshest outdoor elements, including sun exposure, moisture, and mildew. Their fabrics are faderesistant, durable, and easy to clean, ensuring your outdoor furniture and accessories stay vibrant and fresh year after year. Let Holly and her talented team help you create your perfect outdoor living space!


More Than Taxis and Cheerleading

Celebrating the Diverse Journeys of Motherhood

MOTHERHOOD. A WORD THAT conjures images of warm embraces, endless patience, and unwavering support. But the reality, as beautiful as it is, extends far beyond the realm of carpools and scraped knees. This Mother’s Day, The Woman’s Clinic, a pillar of care for Northeast Louisiana’s mothers for over 60 years, wants to celebrate the magnificent tapestry that is motherhood in all its diverse forms.

We often hear the simplistic definition - a mom is someone who nurtures, teaches, and guides. Yet, the paths to motherhood are as unique as the women who walk them. Some mothers experience the incredible miracle of childbirth, carrying a tiny spark of life within them. Others find their families through the heartwarming journey of adoption, welcoming a child with open hearts and boundless love. Still others choose the path of science, utilizing in vitro fertilization to turn their dreams of parenthood into reality.

And for some, the journey may be marked by loss, a yearning for motherhood that takes a different form.

Through it all, one thing remains constant: the strength and resilience of women. We at The Woman’s Clinic have witnessed countless mothers on their individual journeys. We’ve been present during moments of immense joy, the first heartbeat on a sonogram, the tearful laughter as a newborn enters the world. We’ve also walked alongside families navigating the heartbreak of loss, offering comfort and support in the face of unimaginable pain.

There’s a powerful saying, “Mother the mothers.” It encapsulates the beautiful truth that motherhood doesn’t end at our own children. We see each other, these remarkable women on this shared path. We recognize the exhaustion, the worry, the fierce love that binds us together. This Mother’s Day, let’s celebrate each other’s stories. Share the tale

of a mother who inspires you, who embodies the strength and grace of motherhood. Is it your own mother, a grandmother, a friend, or even a stranger whose story touched your heart? Let’s lift each other up, acknowledging the challenges and celebrating the triumphs on this extraordinary journey.

On May 8th, The Woman’s Clinic invites you to share your stories. Comment on our Mother’s Day Facebook post and tell us about a mom who deserves recognition. Not only will you be celebrating her, but you’ll also be entered to win a delightful Mother’s Day gift basket filled with goodies.

More than taxis, cheerleading, and scraped knees, motherhood is a tapestry woven with love, resilience, and the unwavering support of a community. This Mother’s Day, let’s celebrate the diverse stories that make motherhood so powerful and irreplaceable.


The Food Bank of NELA’s Empty Bowls Fundraiser

On Saturday April 6th The Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana held its annual Empty Bowls fundraiser at the Monroe Civic Center. Delicious food was served from over a dozen local restaurants accompanied by live music, a photo booth, and more. At the sold out event dozens of artists created beautiful bowls of various sized and colors for patrons to take home. The goal of Empty Bowls is to raise awareness for hunger while raising critical funds to provide food assistance to those struggling with hunger in our community.

On the BayouScene

1 Aimee Kane and Caron McPherson

2 Allison Lay and Madison Moore

3 Emily Ezell

4 Ginny Montgomery

5 Jean Toth and Sherry Shockley

6 Jeffrey Carson and LaTia Carson

7 Joy Palma and Douglas Le

8 Thashanna Lyle and Melissa Maxwell

1 4 5 6 7 8 2 3

Woodstock Monroe

The Perfect Gift for Your Celebrations

OUR SHELVES ARE ADORNED WITH VIBRANT displays showcasing the latest arrivals, signaling the arrival of brighter days and blooming possibilities.

This time of year brings with it the arrival of numerous occasions worth celebrating. At our store, we embrace the spirit of the season by curating a diverse array of gifts tailored to every joyous event on the horizon. From Mother’s Day to graduations, dance recitals, and the impending end of the school year leading into summer break, we cater to the full spectrum of festivities and milestones.

For the cherished matriarchs in our lives, we offer an enchanting selection of gifts that speak volumes of appreciation and love. Whether it’s a delicate piece of jewelry, luxurious fragrances, or a heartfelt keepsake, we ensure that every mother feels truly cherished and celebrated on her special day.

For the bright-eyed graduates stepping into a new chapter of their lives, we provide a treasure trove of inspiration. From thoughtful devotional books to practical accessories for their next adventure, our store is brimming with tokens of encouragement and support to commemorate their achievements.

As the stage lights illuminate for dance recitals and the curtains draw close on another school year, our store becomes a haven for outfitting the celebrants in style. From elegant dresses to sharp tops, our curated collection of clothing ensures that every moment is adorned with confidence and grace.

And let’s not forget the endless array of parties and gatherings that punctuate the season, from backyard barbecues to rooftop soirées. Our store is brimming with clothing and accessories to ensure that you shine bright at every event, with options to suit every taste and budget.


Oh My Darling Gift Basket -Take the guesswork out of gifting! We’ve curated a darling basket of goodies at a great price. Perfect for spring occasions like Mother’s Day, graduations, birthdays, and more!

Truelux Lotion Candles -Handmade from start to finish in the USA, these craft candles are natural, smell exquisite, and provide the added perk of melting into a lotion.

Caren Soap Sponge -Transform an ordinary shower or bath with this all in one skin cleanser and body buffer sponge. It cleans and exfoliates at the same time. Perfect travel companion.

Oh My Stars Rowan Top - The most exquisite clothing for all the parties and get-togethers coming up!

Kokedama: Also known as Japanese moss balls, this traditional pot is replaced with wrapping the root system and soil in moss and string. The vibrant moss ball highlights the plant’s natural features and catches the eye.

Teleties Hair Clip - Say good-bye to breakable hair clips! We have perfected the hair tie and now have re-invented the clip. Each clip has bendable teeth that take back to shape, they work on all hair types and have a strong hold.


Summer Crushers

Beat the Heat with Some Sweet Sips from Diageo Beverage Company


Whether lakeside, poolside, or just hanging out on the patio, these drinks will keep you calm, cool, and collected. The best part is all you have to do is crack open a can (or bottle)!

Smirnoff Ice Original

Smirnoff Ice, originally launched in 2000, is the definitive OG flavored malt beverage. It is famous for its refreshing lemon lime flavor and utter crushability. Among many imitators, it has stood the test of time. “More than two decades ago, Smirnoff Ice made history as one of the first flavored malt beverages and has been challenging the status quo ever since,” says Lisa Lee, Smirnoff Ice Brand Director. “Now, 24 years later, we look better than ever with the same great taste people know and love.” Smirnoff Ice remains a must-have for your summer cooler.

Smirnoff Ice Zero Sugar

Smirnoff Ice brings bold flavors and good vibes to any celebration. A regular Smirnoff Ice has a lemon lime flavor, which is probably why we tend to reach for a six-pack during the summer. The new Zero Sugar version has the same sweet citrus flavor, but now with none of that sugar. Each 11.2-ounce bottle has less than 100 calories and 4.5% ABV (alcohol by volume). So, you still get the same amount of booze as the original, but with more than half the sugar!

Smirnoff Ice Red, White, and Berry

Smirnoff Ice Red, White, and Berry is a summer staple. It combines the tantalizing flavors of cherry, citrus, and blue raspberry, creating a delightful blend that is both sweet and tangy. With each sip, you’ll experience a burst of refreshing taste that perfectly complements the lively atmosphere of any summer gathering. Not only does this delicious drink satisfy your palate, but it also adds a touch of patriotic flair!

Smirnoff Ice Neon Lemonade

Smirnoff Neon Lemonade is all ice, all fresh, and all yours. Available in variety 12-pack cans, this pack includes Pink Lemonade, Pineapple Lemonade, Blue Raspberry Lemonade, and Peach Lemonade.

“Smirnoff is redefining fun with our new Neon Lemonades Variety

Packs for people who refuse to settle for good, and demand great — better yet, BOLD,” said Lisa Lee, Smirnoff FMB Director. “Fun these days is in high demand and life is most fun when you make things happen rather than let life happen to you. That’s exactly what Smirnoff Lemonades will continue to do for the people, it’s the neon way to lemonade.”

Smirnoff Ice Smash

Because two fruits are always better than one, Smirnoff Ice smash combines two fruity flavors that give one smashing Smirnoff experience. Sometimes it’s hard to choose between two flavors. Problem solved. Now you don’t have to. Available in Lemon Lime, Strawberry Lemon, Peach Tea, and Lemon Tea, just to name a few, there’s truly a flavor combination for everyone.

Captain Morgan Sliced

Captain Morgan recently introduced its newest ready-to-drink lineup, Captain Morgan Sliced. Captain Morgan Sliced is a line of cocktail-inspired malt beverages. According to the company, each can of Captain Morgan Sliced balances convenience and deliciousness.

“We didn’t just want to introduce another new canned drink—we wanted to slice through the ordinary with an offering that compliments the adventurous spirit of our consumers,” said Laura Merritt, CMO, Diageo Beer Company. “Captain Morgan has always been known and loved for its bold flavor, and we’re excited to shake up the category and introduce Captain Morgan Sliced to the world.”

The new lineup offers four malt-based flavors inspired by traditional cocktails. Pineapple Daiquiri-style beverage is a maltbased take on the island drink that combines the flavors of lime and pineapple. Strawberry Margarita-style beverage fuses the flavors of lime and strawberry. Passionfruit Hurricane-style beverage is a take on the New Orleans cocktail with the taste of passionfruit, lemon, and orange flavors. Mango Mai Tai-style beverage is a malt-based drink that combines the tastes of citrus and pineapple with mango flavor.

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



Tim Breaux, a Louisiana native, is a semi-retired pharmacist, but considers himself a full-time painter. He will be completing an artist residency in May, where he will be painting en plein air with scheduled paint alongs and open studio times.

Tim Breaux’s journey to becoming a full-time painter is different from a lot of artists producing work today. Breaux actually managed to make it through his entire formal education, from kindergarten through college, without ever taking an art class.

At the same time, he was the type of kid who could visit a museum and spend 30 minutes staring at a painting. Even though an interest in art wasn’t actively nurtured, it was there, lying beneath the surface, just waiting to be awakened. Until that awakening occurred, Breaux pursued other interests and matured into an adult with a strong work ethic, which would later prove invaluable to him as a painter.

Breaux was born in Franklin, Louisiana, and spent his early childhood there, but his most formative years were spent in Swartz, Louisiana. He graduated from Ouachita Parish High School and, in 1986, earned a Bachelor of Science degree in pharmacy from what is now the University of Louisiana Monroe.

Today, Breaux lives in Ozark, Missouri, and is semiretired from his work as a pharmacist. After a 36-year career in pharmacy, he continues to work as a pharmacist on an as needed basis but considers himself a full-time painter for over a decade. Breaux actually worked full-time both as a pharmacist and a painter. He worked three 12-hour days as a pharmacist and then devoted himself wholly to painting during his time off.

About 15 years ago, Breaux began intentionally placing painting before his other professional and creative interests. In 2018, that decision paid off when he won Best of Show for his painting “Cheops Pyramid Sunset,” a painting of the Grand Canyon, at the 2018 National Oil and Acrylic Painter Society Best of America Exhibit.

Breaux is a signature member and mentor for the National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society and a signature member of

In 2018, Breaux won Best of Show for his painting “Cheops Pyramid Sunset,” a painting of the Grand Canyon, at the 2018 National Oil and Acrylic Painter Society Best of America Exhibit.

Heartland Art Club. He is also represented by several galleries nationwide, including American Heritage Art Gallery and Art Legends Inc., a wholesale national art publisher. Locally he is represented by Neville House Gallery and Courtyard on Cotton. In addition, he has participated in plein air events and invitationals across the country, winning numerous awards.

Thanks to Rebekah Lawrence, proprietor and curator of the Neville House Garden District Gallery, Breaux will be completing an artist residency in Monroe/West Monroe during a few weeks in May. During the residency, Breaux will be painting en plein air, which is a French expression meaning “in the open air.” There will also be scheduled paint alongs and open studio time.

Although there will certainly be time for other artists and community members to engage with Breaux, he explained that structured workshops are not his preferred method of teaching. He finds that the larger the class, the less attention an instructor can give to each student, and it becomes especially difficult to give beginner students the attention they need. For this reason, Breaux prefers working with students one on one in a relationship more like an apprenticeship. “I want to bring a personal approach to teaching artists,” he said.

Breaux actually knows firsthand how beneficial such a relationship can be. About twelve years ago, he became frustrated with his progress after working on his own for several years. He knew that if he was going to become proficient in the craft he would need to seek help from the best. That realization resulted in an inquiry with Master painter John Pototschnik. A three year intensive mentorship followed, which changed his work and gave him direction.


Prior to working with Pototschnik, Breaux transitioned from a hobbyist mindset to a more serious period of independent study and rapid growth. As someone who had no formal training in fine art, he first discovered his interest in painting through a labor of love. In the process of remodeling his daughter’s room, she asked that the room look like a stable with horses. Breaux decided to try his hand at decorative mural painting to bring his daughter’s dream room to life.

From there, painting began to consume more of his time. He started painting from life, attending local art openings, networking, and painting outdoors with other serious artists. The endless possibilities for expression that art could offer became a lifelong pursuit.

Breaux always had a creative side. Prior to discovering his passion for painting, Breaux had found opportunities for creative expression in wood working and in creating Native American replica bows. He was also an avid outdoorsmen and hunter. He said he enjoyed all of these activities, but they seemed to lack the same level of possibility present in painting.

Once he figured them out, he felt there wasn’t much left to explore, but painting was different. “I think it was a puzzle, a problem that had endless opportunity for exploration,” he said, “and I really wanted to figure it out.” Given the number of art movements, styles, and media, Breaux could not envision himself ever becoming bored with painting. From the beginning, he has been especially concerned with how to paint nature convincingly.

As Breaux learned more about his newfound passion, his skills improved at an accelerated rate, and painting began to consume more and more of his life. He began to feel like his other professional activities and pastimes were taking time away from what he really wanted to be doing: painting. “I guess the thing that really made me want to stick with art is that I woke up every morning thinking about it,” he said. “It was something I had to do.”

In an effort to figure out how he could make the transition to becoming a professional artist, Breaux considered going back to college and studying art. After discussing his options with a few other people, he arrived at the conclusion that there were better options than returning to college at his age.

BECOMING A FULL-TIME ARTIST -According to Breaux, there are so many resources available today to those looking to chart a path similar to his own. “If you want to become an artist, there is so much info online that you can learn,” he said, including his very own free ebook “The Secret Language of Successful Artists: Revealing the Key to Painting Art that Sells.”

At least one person told Breaux that he would be frustrated by the pace of college learning. It wouldn’t be fast enough for him, and in the end, this juncture in his development led him to his apprenticeship with John Pototschnik, which lasted about three and a half years.

In that time, Breaux said he learned as much as he could from Pototschnik, including not only the skills and knowledge needed to become a better painter but also where to focus his energy and how to manage the business end of things.

As Breaux delved further into the world of painting and into his efforts to represent nature, his development was influenced not only by Pototschnik but also by painters who came before him, such as artists from the Hudson River School and the French Barbizon School.

During his mentorship and critique sessions, Breaux noticed a recurring problem with his work. He said, “I realized there was something I didn’t understand about color and perception.” He determined that the problem lay in his inability to paint the value of color convincingly. “There are fundamentals of art that are inescapable,” he said, “so I went back to the beginning of the study of color and researched the fundamentals.”


In his efforts to discover what he was missing, Breaux said, “There was a key moment when I learned that there are defects in our perception. It was a light bulb moment that allowed me to take a big step forward in my work.” While studying the fundamentals of art, Breaux learned that there are three components of color: hue, value, and saturation. In his studies, Breaux found that “one of the keys to painting a true representation of nature is to understand and convey the value of color.”

Different elements of a painting will inevitably have different values, but the greatest challenge lies in being able to place the right value on the canvas. An artist who hasn’t grappled with this problem successfully may tend to paint a black ball black every time, not realizing that a black ball in sunlight may actually look more like a white ball.

During his exploration of how the

INSPIRED BY FAITH- One of the things that keeps Breaux returning to easel even when he doesn’t feel inspired is his faith. “I’m a believer,” he said, “and I believe God gave me this gift to pursue, so I try to meet him at the easel every day. Sometimes he gives me inspiration, and sometimes he doesn’t.”

components of color and light interact, Breaux wrote a series of six articles documenting his discoveries and explaining them for other artists. These articles were published in International Artist Magazine and later compiled into a book, which is free to download on Breaux’s website,

According to Breaux, there are so many resources available today to those looking to chart a path similar to his own.

“If you want to become an artist, there is so much info online that you can learn,” he said, including his very own free ebook “The Secret Language of Successful Artists: Revealing the Key to Painting Art that Sells.” Breaux’s book examines the reasons artists fail to paint nature convincingly and serves as a tool to help them understand the defects in their perception, as well as how to overcome those defects to paint nature more convincingly.

Such a tool would be useful to any artists looking to broaden their knowledge and skill base, and it’s just one of innumerable tools available to aspiring artists. According to Breaux, it’s easier than ever for artists to find the information and support they need for their artistic development without necessarily going to college. There are also lots of successful, professional artists willing to take on students as apprentices, which is an incomparable way to learn the specific skills you desire from someone you admire. However, Breaux said, “Choose your teacher carefully. Find one or two good teachers and learn everything you can from them.”

Of course, the work ethic has to be there too. During his own apprenticeship with John Pototschnik, and to this day, Breaux has made it a point to paint every day. “Sometimes it has nothing to do with


inspiration, and the paintings don’t always work out,” he said. In fact, he actually loses inspiration every three to four months. When that happens, “I just have to paint through those times,” he said, which is hard, but “if it was easy, I probably wouldn’t do it.”

One of the things that keeps Breaux returning to easel even when he doesn’t feel inspired is his faith. “I’m a believer,” he said, “and I believe God gave me this gift to pursue, so I try to meet him at the easel every day. Sometimes He gives me inspiration, and sometimes He doesn’t.”

Either way, Breaux just keeps going until the next spark of inspiration comes. “I see nature as the creation of God, and I paint to hopefully honor God with the tools he’s given me,” Breaux said.

While Breaux credits God with his inspiration, at least a portion of his success must be attributed to his work ethic. “People say I work harder,” he said. Working harder tends to pay off regardless of the field, and painting is no exception for Breaux. In addition to simply showing up at the easel on a daily basis, he aims to participate in three competitions a year and three to four exhibitions a year.

Although he is widely known for his plein air work, Breaux spends the majority of his time in the studio. Only about thirty percent is spent outdoors en plein air. Despite the fact he is primarily a studio painter, he said there are certain things a painter simply cannot capture from a reference photo.

At the same time, painting en plein air has its own challenges. Breaux said, “When you’re painting en plein air, there’s a process known as chasing the light.” As the sky and light change, he said, “You get different patterns of light and dark across a landscape.” If you don’t finish the painting in an hour and a half to two hours, you will essentially be painting a different scene. Sometimes you can go back to the same location and find similar light, but sometimes the moment has passed.

There are unique challenges to every type of painting, but for any artist, giving up should never be an option, even when setbacks happen. Breaux said, “Embrace the fail and show up at the easel every day. Progress will come. The biggest thing is don’t think that you can’t do it.” He started painting at age 40, and in 15 years, he went from struggling beginner to winning an international art competition. “If I can do it, anybody can do it,” he said.


Hopkins Dermatology

Offering the Latest in Dermatology

THE EVOLUTION OF BODY CONTOURING FOLLOWS decades of technological and procedural advancements. For Dr. Janine Hopkins, Board-Certified Dermatologist, she has witnessed this progression firsthand. After completing a progressive residency program in the Department of Dermatology at LSU Medical School in New Orleans where she trained in surgical, laser, cosmetic, and general dermatology, Dr. Hopkins started her practice performing liposuction to address fat reduction in patients. Over time, scientifically proven energy-based devices were developed, such as truSculpt iD and Fotona TightSculpting, to allow for noninvasive procedures to target unwanted body fat. Over the past 25 years, with each of these body sculpting treatments, Dr. Hopkins helped her patients achieve their desired results, but potential downtime, pain, and side effects (ex. swelling, bruising, discomfort) were to be expected. Now, in 2024, downtime and side effects are a worry of the past! While attending the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery’s Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL, Dr. Hopkins learned about the latest, cutting-edge technology from Erchonia called the Emerald laser system.

Dr. Hopkins is pleased to announce the launch of this innovative breakthrough to reduce unwanted body fat that is painless, safe and effective, hands-free and touch-free, and has zero downtime. Exclusively at Hopkins Dermatology, they are the first practice in Louisiana to offer the Emerald laser.

Emerald laser, the first and only FDA cleared non-invasive device, is used to treat overall body circumference reduction. It can treat all body types, ranging from patients with small pockets of fat to patients with up to 40 BMI. By emitting a 532-nanometer low energy green light onto the skin, the treatment emulsifies the adipose tissue, releasing fatty material into the lymphatic system for removal from the body during its natural course of detoxification.

Before patients start their first treatment, they will have a one-onone consultation with the knowledgeable team of professionals at HD, where an individualized treatment plan is curated. Emerald appointments generally take 30 minutes twice a week over a duration of five weeks, and patients can go about their day afterwards. Dr. Hopkins has always been in-tune with diet and exercise and strongly believes that these are two vital components to overall health. Patients are provided with nutrition/exercise guidance throughout their treatments, along with inoffice lymphatic massage and take-home detox tea. Most patients who undergo the Emerald process choose to focus on their waist, thighs, and hips, but other problem areas can be treated such as the arms, chest and back. Treatments can also be coupled with Semaglutide + B12 injections, the new and effective weight loss peptide. When monitored and used responsibly, these injections have been proven to be safe and effective.

Dr. Hopkins, alongside her Nurse Practitioners, Anna Grace Livingston, DCNP and Rachel Head, AGACNP-BC treat patients for both cosmetic and general dermatology. Anna Grace and Rachel now offer Semaglutide + B12 injections in conjunction with the Emerald laser program. To schedule a consultation and treatment, call (318) 325-0600. Be healthy, be beautiful!

*Pictured above: actual patient of Hopkins Dermatology before and after 8 sessions of Emerald laser.



Dev Patel makes his directorial debut with Monkey Man, a powerful genrebending action film. The story begins with a memory, an important one for our protagonist. His mother lovingly tells him the story of Hanuman, a divine human-monkey icon in Hindu mythology. Hanuman mistakes the sun for a golden mango in the sky and upsets the gods as he reaches for the enticing fruit. This universally recognizable parable sets the stage for a dynamic, cinematically beautiful story to unfold. Will our aptly named “Monkey Man” whose golden mango in the sky is retribution for his people, his mother, and all the oppressed, meet the same fate as Hanuman?

Though called a few names by different characters, the given name of our protagonist, who Patel also portrays, remains a mystery throughout the duration of the film, but he earns the moniker “Monkey Man” through a series of trials. At an underground fight club in an Indian city, the young man takes a beating every night wearing a gorilla mask. His adversaries carry a few of the many references to The Jungle Book the film contains, and he grows tired of bleeding for only a small amount of cash. We learn through flashes of memory the young man grew up in the jungle with his mother, and though he clearly misses home, he can never return. The village burned down in a night of political unrest and violence. He decides to uncover the responsible party who seem to be at the root of ongoing land disputes and sociopolitical unrest. Things get interesting when he discovers the inner sanctum of the realm ruled by the city’s tyrannical crime gods. What he sees and experiences incites an unmatched rage, and armed with his memories fragmented like sharp shards of glass, “Monkey Man” goes on to find strength in his culture as he trains to become a better fighter and avenge his people. He faces the very question spoken by a politically involved religious leader we see flash on a city center billboard: “Who are we to question the gods?”

Patel starred in Slumdog Millionaire which won Best Picture and swept other categories at the 2008 Oscars. He went on to take part in many other projects, but his film career has been lifelong. Patel directed, starred in, wrote, and produced Monkey

Man. It’s no surprise that with a career so prolific, he’s learned all about what it takes to make an impactful movie. With Jordan Peele by his side as a producer on this film, Patel is sure to go on as one of the most risk-taking and successful directors and producers of his time.

Monkey Man defies tropes of the action genre with its innovative camera work, its complex story, and its brutally shocking resolution. The score honors Bollywood cinema and India’s impact on world culture, even including Indian Rap Metal band Bloodywood. The shaky, often angled handheld camera movements increase the chaos in some scenes, and intense close-ups elevate the characters’ emotion in others. Action fans will love this one for its thrilling car chases, morally gray characters, and unique video game-like impacts in fight scenes. At the same time, cinephiles who love stories about humanity, hope, and finding strength in community with love this one as well. However, leave the kids at home for this one and take the R rating seriously. This one will spark a great post-date conversation for the mature couple.


Miss Louisiana Teen 2024

ON SATURDAY, APRIL 7TH,TWENTY of Louisiana’s brightest and most talented young ladies assembled on the campus of the University of Louisiana Monroe to compete for college scholarships and the coveted title of Miss Louisiana’s Teen 2024. “We are proud to announce that Melissa Le is our new Miss Louisiana’s Teen,” said Dewana Little, MLO Executive Director.

Taking home the crown was Ruston native, Melissa Le, a sophomore at Ruston High School with aspirations of becoming a dermatologist. Over the three days of competition, contestants engaged in private interviews, on-stage conversation, health and fitness, talent, and evening wear segments. Le clinched two preliminary awards on Saturday night for the Blues group – health and fitness, along with one for talent. Joining her as preliminary winners were Izzy Gray in the Jazz group for fitness and Scarlett O’Glee for talent. Le, the daughter of Louisiana Tech

Faculty, Dr. Son and Van Le, championed the Social Impact Initiative (CSI) “STEM to Bloom: Investing in STEM Education for All,” aiming to demystify stigmas around STEM education by encouraging youth and Louisiana residents to recognize everyday applications of STEM principles. “I hope to travel the state of Louisiana, advocating for STEM education to safeguard our children’s future workforce,” she expressed. Le captivated the audience with her classical piano rendition of “Hungarian,” earning her preliminary talent award. Melissa Le is set to vie for the national title later this summer.

Finalists for the title of Miss Louisiana’s Teen 2024 are as follows: 1st Runner Up – Izzy Gray, 2nd Runner Up – Virginia Kirkpatrick, 3rd Runner Up – Madeline McMahan, and 4th Runner Up – Camryn Elliers. Completing the Top 11 are Mackenzie Tillery, Laynie Roshto, Catherine Williams, Geneviève Wetzel, Julia Cox, and Scarlett O’Glee.

The Miss Louisiana Organization set a new record, awarding over $15,000 in scholarships to Louisiana’s Teens. The organization plans to award over $60,000 in scholarships and thousands of dollars in in-kind scholarships at the Miss Louisiana Competition on June 13th15th.

The Miss Louisiana Organization is a part of the Miss America Organization, the world’s largest provider of scholarships in the world for women. Miss Louisiana Corporate sponsors include: The City of Monroe, Discover Monroe/West Monroe, The University of Louisiana Monroe, The Propane Dealers of Louisiana, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and TownePlace Suites by Marriott of Monroe.

For more information about press opportunities and upcoming events, visit or www.missamerica. org. Photo courtesy of Steven Palowsky, the official Miss Louisiana Photographer


NOLA Bug Lady Receives Award

Linda Barber Auld Received the Caroline Dormon Award


Lady, received the Caroline Dormon Outstanding Louisiana Naturalist Award Saturday, April 13th.

“I was excited and honored to receive the award,” Linda Auld said. Auld follows Dormon’s model in being curious about many things, and that will be the focus of her keynote speech at LMNA’s awards dinner Saturday evening at the Civic Center.

“If Caroline Dormon were around today, she would very likely show up at a Linda event with gardening pruners and seeds to give a helping hand,” wrote Betty Miley, author and native plant nursery owner, in a letter of support for Auld’s nomination.

Auld became known as “the NOLA Bug Lady” through her lifelong passion, commitment to citizen science, teaching, and tireless advocacy on behalf of Louisiana’s natural heritage, especially butterflies and other arthropods, with special focus on the monarch butterfly.

Auld has written numerous articles about bugs, butterflies, and monarchs in particular, including one about the namesake of the award she will received, Caroline Dorman. Many of her articles have been turned into presentations she has made across Louisiana and in neighboring states. She has raised hundreds of butterflies and has done her own research into how the protozoan parasite, “Oe,” cripples monarchs. She aslo presented a workshop titled “Monarchs, Milkweed, Migration, and Oe,” prior to receiving the Dormon Award.

Many of Auld’s articles are available through her website,, as is her recently authored book titled “BugLady’s Butterfly Summer.”

Perhaps Auld is best known for a long career of partnering with schools, municipalities, state agencies, arboretums, and more to make real things happen. In other words, Linda Auld picks up her trowel and gets her hands in the dirt, helping start native plant gardens friendly to butterflies across the state. She is also a long-

time counter and compiler of butterflies for the North American Butterfly Association.

“Linda Auld embodies the spirit of Caroline Dormon – a woman whose legacy continues to shape Louisiana’s conservation landscape. I [am] confident that her passion, knowledge, and unwavering commitment will continue to elevate our state’s natural heritage,” wrote Stephen Norman, M.D.

Auld is the 7th recipient of the award, given by Louisiana Master Naturalist Association at their annual Rendezvous, hosted this year by the Northeast Chapter.

The LMNA website, https://www. award.html, provides a list of previous winners of the award, as well as additional information about Linda Auld.


When it Comes to Stroke, Time is Brain

St. Francis Health

STROKES ARE THE 5TH LEADING cause of death and one of the leading causes of long-term disability in the U.S. If you think you or a loved one is experiencing a stroke, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms, act quickly and get the right treatment. A quick response can save lives and reduce the impact a stroke can have.

St. Francis Health is a leader in Northeast Louisiana for stroke care, offering 24/7 care during a stroke. St. Francis Medical Center has earned the Joint Commission’s Golden Seal of Approval and American Heart Association/American Stroke Association mark for Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Center.

The St. Francis Primary Stroke Center is led by a highly collaborative, expertly skilled team of clinical professionals who direct and provide evidence-based care for every stroke patient. The program provides

care to the adult population of Northeast Louisiana. Services provided include:

• Acute Rehabilitation and Outpatient Rehabilitation

• Adult Neurology

• Critical Care

• Emergency Department

• Internal Medicine

• Interventional Radiology

• Neurosurgery

Time is critical during a stroke. Learn the signs of a stroke and B-E F-A-S-T (Balance, Eyesight, Face, Arm, Speech, Time):

• Balance Issues

Is the person having loss of coordination, trouble walking or dizziness?

• Eyesight Changes

Is the person having double vision or any trouble seeing?

• Face Drooping

Does the face look uneven? Ask the person to smile.

• Arm Weakness

Does one arm drift down? Ask the person to raise both arms.

• Speech Difficulty

Does their speech sound strange? Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase.

• Time

If you observe any of these signs, call 911 and get to the emergency room.

Stroke risk increases as a person gets older, but strokes can – and do – occur at any age. Other risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, smoking, heavy alcohol use, physical inactivity and obesity, atrial fibrillation, and family history of stroke.

Learn more about the top-tier stroke care available at St. Francis Health and how you can reduce your own risk of stroke at stroke.


Top Hat Society

The Dixie Theater Is Preparing For Centennial Celebration

AS THE HISTORIC DIXIE THEATER IN DOWNTOWN Ruston approaches its one-hundred-year milestone, strategic initiatives are underway to ensure its continued presence for another century. To sustain the Dixie Center as it nears this significant anniversary, a new campaign has been devised. The creation of the Top Hat Society aims to enlist advocates and community leaders willing to make substantial philanthropic investments in the Dixie Center for the Arts. This financial support will establish a steady revenue stream, fostering long-term financial stability to preserve this iconic establishment and uphold its mission for years to come.

Preparations are already in progress for the 2024 Legend’s Gala, an event dedicated to honoring individuals who have contributed to the preservation of the Dixie Center through financial donations or volunteer efforts as well as past employees during this event. The Legend’s Gala is slated to become an annual affair for the Dixie, with other events, added each year leading up to the centennial celebration, such as a Murder Mystery Dinner, a Progressive Dinner, and an Evening at the Dixie involving a play or concert with reserved seating and tables in the orchestra pit. Top Hat Society Members will receive exclusive invitations to the gala and other annual events, including “pop-up” cocktail parties that will precede Dixie stage events such as concerts, comedy shows, and magic performances. The parties will be hosted at the Dixie, private residences, or local Ruston businesses. Invitations for these gatherings will be dispatched one week before the event, with admission included as part of the membership perks for Top Hat Society members.

By enrolling in the Top Hat Society, members secure advance tickets for the Centennial Celebration, “Top Hats and Tiaras.” Further events planned for the centennial year encompass exclusive concerts reserved for Top Hat Society and Benefactor level members, along with a Classic Film festival offering designated seating for society members. While certain events are exclusive to Top Hat Society and Benefactor members, opportunities will be available for nonmembers to purchase tickets for select events.

For those interested in joining the Top Hat Society, detailed information can be found on the Dixie Center’s website at www. by clicking on the Top Hat Society link prominently displayed at the top of the page.

The Dixie Center for the Arts is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and restored historic theater in Ruston, La. Our mission is “to be the home and heart of the arts in North Central Louisiana.” For more information about the Dixie Center please visit our website at www.


Introducing InHouse Interiors

Redefining Home Design with Affordability and Quality


unveiled InHouse Interiors, a unique retail concept born from over a decade of experience in freelance design work. Fueled by a desire to offer cost-effective solutions without compromising on quality, Sherri embarked on a mission to create a one-stop shop for all home interior needs. With a degree in interior design from Louisiana Tech and over 20 years of industry expertise, Sherri’s vision for InHouse Interiors is rooted in her commitment to providing accessible design solutions for every budget.

Sherri has been married to her husband Freeman Mowad for 23 years. Together they have 2 boys, Joseph Mowad, 18, and Maddox Mowad, 15. With a supportive family backing her, Sherri focuses on unleashing her creativity to fulfill her clients dreams.

At InHouse Interiors, customers can expect an extensive selection of furniture and interior design services tailored to suit diverse tastes and budgets. From coffee tables to

dining sets, sofas to bedding, and everything in between, the store boasts an array of carefully curated items designed to transform any space into a personalized sanctuary. In collaboration with Kim’s Flooring, InHouse Interiors also offers flooring options, ceramics, and tiles to complete the look.

What sets InHouse Interiors apart is its dedication to customer satisfaction. Sherri continues to serve her clients as a freelance designer, offering personalized consultations and expert advice to bring their visions to life. Whether it’s selecting the perfect paint color or overseeing a complete remodeling project, Sherri and her team are committed to providing top-notch service every step of the way.

For Sherri, the most rewarding aspect of her work lies in building meaningful relationships with her clients. Understanding that homes are deeply personal spaces, Sherri approaches each project with empathy and respect, ensuring that every design reflects

the unique personality and lifestyle of its inhabitants. “It’s a privilege to contribute positively to people’s lives through thoughtful design and genuine care,” Sherri reflects.

Despite the joys of entrepreneurship, Sherri acknowledges the challenges that come with running InHouse Interiors. Sourcing quality goods at an affordable price point requires diligence and strategic planning. However, Sherri remains undeterred, determined to find the perfect balance between quality and affordability for her customers.

As InHouse Interiors continues to grow and evolve, Sherri remains steadfast in her commitment to providing cost-effective design solutions that elevate the home experience. Whether you’re embarking on a major renovation or simply seeking to refresh your space, InHouse Interiors invites you to explore their showroom and discover the endless possibilities of affordable luxury.


Arts Council Announces Blend

Blend 2024 is Slated for May 5, 2024 and is Back on the Bayou

RETURNING TO THE ICONIC LOCATION of Island Drive in Monroe, the best party on the bayou features local men and ladies who cook in addition to selected restaurants all serving tastings of their best culinary creations, a silent art auction featuring some of the area’s finest visual artists, along with exciting music.

Ticket proceeds and a portion of silent auction profits benefit the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council’s programs and services.

After a highly successful “BLENDing” of the Arts Council’s historic Blend of the Bayou and its more recent sister event the North Delta Food & Wine Festival in 2022, the Arts Council returns BLEND to its roots on Island Drive in 2024. The event centers around a wide array of delicious food and beverages prepared and served by prominent area professionals and business owners who generously volunteer their time and talents in support of the Arts Council. This BLENDing also incorporates select local restaurants.

Blend of the Bayou debuted in 1997 and is the granddaddy of arts fundraising events of its type in north Louisiana. Some of the early years volunteer cooks are still involved and helping continue the legend of Blend of the Bayou. Over the years a number of younger cooks have joined the ranks and are carrying on the tradition.

Attendees have an opportunity to view and bid on original artwork by some of our leading Region 8 visual artists. The Bayou Gallery silent auction is hugely popular with attendees and affords them the chance to bid and win unique original artwork to take home that evening.

Music is an integral part of BLEND. This year the Arts Council will feature the Brass Roots Brass Band. An exciting and fun group of current students and graduates of the ULM music program.

Joining us at BLEND again this year is Parish Ballet’s Statuesque. A must see.

Marsala Beverages, P F Importers, LLC, International Wines, Southern Beverage, and Choice Brands are providing select beverages to quench your thirst as you enjoy the calm setting of Island Drive and the beautiful view of Country Club Lake. Additionally, soft drinks and water provided by Coca-Cola and King Springs Water will be available.

Good food, good drinks, good music, good friends and great art…what more could you ask for? All for one ticket price at BLEND.

To see our complete list of sponsors, view latest information and updates go to the Arts Council’s Facebook page and website at www. DATE: SUNDAY, May 5, 2024

LOCATION: 2104-2112 Island Drive, Monroe

TIME: 5:00-7:30PM

TICKETS: $65 per person; $75 day of.

IDs required upon request. All guests must be 21+ to enter. Wristbands provided must be worn to be served alcoholic beverages. The Arts Council urges all adults to consume alcoholic products responsibly. Ticket purchasers grant permission for any photos or videos bearing their likeness to be used for any and all legal purposes. Tickets are NON-REFUNDABLE.

SILENT AUCTION: All artists donate a portion of the proceeds from their works to the Arts Council. The higher the bid, the more the artists make and the more the Arts Council can put toward their programs and services.


Support of arts organizations fundraising events by the public is critical to sustaining those organizations efforts. The Northeast Louisiana Arts Council’s… Mission is: to nurture a vibrant regional arts culture through support, promotion, and education.

Vision is: to be a transformative force for the community by encouraging a passion for the arts, promoting partnerships and collaboration, and ensuring access to the arts for all.

The Arts Council works every day to make arts and culture a recognized, valued, and expected part of everyday life. Buying a ticket to BLEND helps make this work possible.

The Northeast Louisiana Arts Council supports artists and art organizations in a 12-parish region. Through the Louisiana Project Grants Funding Program, we grant tens of thousands of dollars to deserving artists and arts organizations in both urban and rural settings. Grant applications are graded based on artistic merit, need and impact, planning and design, and administration and budget.

The Northeast Louisiana Arts Council believes that all children should have the opportunity to participate in the arts. We advocate for quality arts education in local schools. As part of the Louisiana Division of the Arts’ Arts-in-Education Program, we work to provide resources and quality artistic experiences for regional students and their families. We encourage children to express their imagination and creativity through art.


Embracing the Loneliest Color

Discovering the Beauty of Sherwin Williams’ Kingdom Gold

IN A WORLD FILLED WITH VIBRANT hues and striking shades, there exists a color often overlooked, yet possessing an undeniable allure – Kingdom Gold. Sherwin Williams’ Kingdom Gold, often referred to as the “loneliest color,” is a subtle, understated hue that quietly whispers elegance and sophistication. While it may not enjoy the same popularity as other colors on the chart, it holds its own unique charm, waiting to be discovered and embraced.

As we welcome the freshness of spring into our homes, what better time to explore the beauty of Kingdom Gold and breathe new life into our living spaces? Spring signifies a time of renewal, rejuvenation, and the perfect opportunity to revitalize our surroundings with a touch of warmth and richness that Kingdom Gold effortlessly provides.

Despite its status as the “loneliest color,” Kingdom Gold possesses a timeless appeal that transcends trends. Its soft, muted tones

evoke feelings of tranquility and comfort, making it an ideal choice for creating cozy retreats within our homes. Don’t let Kingdom gold fool you though, it can also be known as an uplifting pop of color to any room. Whether adorning the walls of a room, sprucing up a furniture piece, or adding character to an accent, Kingdom Gold infuses any space with a sense of understated luxury. Incorporating Kingdom Gold into your home décor doesn’t have to be daunting. Start by introducing accents of this enchanting hue through soft furnishings such as throw pillows, rugs, or curtains. These subtle pops of color add depth and interest to your existing décor while refreshing the room with a touch of warmth and sophistication.

For those feeling a bit more adventurous, consider painting an accent wall in Kingdom Gold to serve as a striking focal point in any room. Paired with crisp white trim or complemented by earthy neutrals, this bold

choice adds character and depth to your space, elevating it to new heights of style and sophistication.

For the truly bold at heart, embrace Kingdom Gold as the primary color scheme for an entire room. Whether in the form of rich, velvety upholstery or lustrous, satin-finish walls, immerse yourself in the luxurious embrace of this captivating hue. Paired with sleek metallic accents or natural wood finishes, Kingdom Gold creates a space that exudes modern elegance and timeless charm.

So as we embark on a journey to freshen up our homes this spring, allow the staff at Sherwin Williams, Monroe, to assist in making your spring home dreams come true. And remember, let us not overlook the beauty of the “loneliest color” – Kingdom Gold. After all, true beauty often lies in the most unexpected places.


Memorial Golf Tournament

Benefitting The Wellspring


Men’s Golf Association (CCFB MGA) and Forth Insurance have partnered to present The Memorial Golf Tournament benefitting The Wellspring. The tournament will take place at Frenchman’s Bend Country Club Saturday, May 25th through Sunday, May 26th. The tournament will kick-off Friday, May 24th with a golf Calcutta.

You don’t want to miss the Friday evening golf Calcutta! The fun begins with a 6 p.m. social hour that includes a spectacular seafood buffet and beer. We will have a silent auction with fabulous prizes! The Calcutta will start at 7:30 p.m.

Interested in playing in the golf tournament? Registration is easy! Simply call CCFB MGA at (318) 460-1132 to enroll your two-person team. You can also visit thememorial to download the player registration form. 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 a part of The Memorial Golf Tournament and to join forces with an amazing group of volunteers through the CCFB MGA! This is a particularly meaningful event 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 Wellspring! Together, we can change our community, one life at a time!

Thank you to our Sponsors!

Diamond in the Rough:

• Forth Insurance


• Graphic Packaging


• Bayou Powersports

• James Machine Works

• Sparks Nissan-Kia

Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Visit 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.


Ouachita Valley Federal Credit Union

Your Partner for Hassle-Free Homeownership

BUYING A HOME MARKS A significant milestone in anyone’s life—a moment filled with excitement, anticipation, and perhaps a touch of nervousness. Amidst the thrill of house-hunting and envisioning your future in a new space, the financial aspects can sometimes feel daunting. That’s where Ouachita Valley Federal Credit Union steps in, offering unparalleled support and a range of mortgage options tailored to your unique needs.

At Ouachita Valley Federal Credit Union, we understand that choosing the right mortgage is as crucial as finding the perfect home. That’s why our Mortgage Loan Department is dedicated to providing expert guidance and a variety of choices, ensuring that your home buying or refinancing journey is smooth, personalized, and affordable. With our array of mortgage options, you can find the perfect fit for your situation. Are you dreaming of a home nestled in the

tranquil countryside? Our USDA Guaranteed Rural loan might be just what you need. Prefer a traditional route? Our Conventional Mortgage offers stability and flexibility. For those requiring a more accessible path to homeownership, our FHA Mortgage provides attractive terms. And if you have your eye on a plot of land to build your dream home, our Lot/Land Loans are here to make it happen.

One of our standout offerings is our Down Payment Assistance program, designed to make homeownership more accessible. With little to no down payment required, borrowers can secure up to $300,000 for a maximum term of 30 years, all without private mortgage insurance. Plus, with a minimum credit score requirement of just 620, it’s easier than ever to qualify for this beneficial program.

As if that weren’t enticing enough, Ouachita Valley Federal Credit Union is currently running a limited-time promotion exclusively for our members. For a limited

time members can enjoy up to $5000 in closing or additional costs covered, significantly reducing the financial burden associated with purchasing a home. Imagine being able to step into your new home with little to nothing out of pocket—an opportunity made possible through this exclusive offer.

For more details on how you can take advantage of this exceptional promotion and explore our range of mortgage options, reach out to Joel Turner, our dedicated Mortgage Loan Officer. Joel and our team are here to answer your questions, provide guidance, and help you navigate the path to homeownership with confidence. You can contact Joel directly at 318.387.4592 or via email at

Ouachita Valley Federal Credit Union proudly serves the following parishes: Bienville, Caldwell, Catahoula, Claiborne, East Carroll, Franklin, Jackson, LaSalle, Lincoln, Madison, Morehouse, Ouachita, Richland, Tensas, Union, West Carroll, and Winn. Wherever your dream home may be, we’re here to make it a reality.

At Ouachita Valley Federal Credit Union, we believe that everyone deserves the joy and security of homeownership. Let us be your partner on this exciting journey, providing the support, guidance, and financial solutions you need to turn your dream home into a reality.



Make a bright statement in this ultra flattering and fitted midi dress. Perfect your next dressy summer event or tropical vacation. Pair it with creamcolored stilettos with crochet flower embellishment.


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




This sleeveless mini dress features buttons down the bodice of the dress, a flirty pleated skirt and a matching belt. Pair it with this simple and chic 14K gold filled hoop earrings.


This dress features vibrant puff sleeves and a tropical-print to create a flirty, fluttery look, while the cinched waist provides a flattering fit. Accessorize with a quilted leather clutch, metallic gold sandals, hoop earrings and a pink and gold statement necklace.


Elevate your warm weather wardrobe with this chic, summer dress. The button front and ruffle cap sleeves add a touch of whimsy to this flowy, relaxed-fit dress. Accessorize with a classic, wide-brim hat.


We dare you not to twirl in this dress! With its light navy toile pattern, it’s a little bit of Parisian elegance under the magnolias. This elevated and lightweight dress is generously sized in the bust along with carefully placed darts to cinch the waist, which will make the most of your figure with charm and sophistication.

This dress is a must-have for date night – it features a bold blue and white pattern with a split, v-neck halter top. Accessorize with layered gold and pearl necklaces and coordinating earrings and strappy sandals with threaded gold and white straps.



Did you know that any rose that existed before 1867 is called an “Old Garden Rose?” These heirloom roses are known for their deep fragrance and large beautiful bloom,and are the inspiration for Mr. P’s original design. Paired with a handcrafted green origami floral skirt.


This floral-print midi dress features a sweetheart neckline and flowy, tiered skirt with ruffled ends. The balloon sleeves adds an extra-feminine touch. Pair with a strappy sandal and coordinating hat with flower.


Make a statement this season with this stunning one-shoulder dress that features a tiered design and beautiful white floral print. The fit-and-flare silhouette flatters all body types. Accessorize with a large gold bracelet and freshwater pearl necklace.


ULM Wins Bowl Competition

ULM Medical Laboratory Science Students Win


Science (MLS) faculty and students attended the 2024 American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS) of Louisiana and Mississippi Bi-State Annual Meeting in Biloxi, Miss. on March 25 – 27, 2024. Twenty-five MLS students represented ULM at the conference.

Kayleigh Watson, an MLS student from Harrisonburg, La., said, “This was my first Bi-State Meeting, and I absolutely loved it! The meeting allowed us to meet fellow students pursuing the MLS field and put our knowledge to the test through the student bowl competitions. Everyone was supportive of each other. I am excited for what next year will bring!”

Four ULM MLS student bowl teams practiced for weeks to perfect their MLS knowledge, with one team taking first place in the competition. The members of the 1st place team are Dylan Andersen (captain), Allison

Dozier, Diona Garcia, Emily Holloway and Hannah Hudnall.

During the meeting, two ULM MLS students were elected as officers for the Louisiana Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (LSCLS): Jacinth Ervin – Ascending Professional Chair, and Lakayja Dupree –Ascending Professional Secretary. These two students will have the opportunity to attend the ASCLS Joint Annual Meeting (JAM) in Pittsburgh, Penn., this summer, and, in their positions, will work to promote and support the MLS profession.

Two ULM MLS students received honors during the awards ceremony. Joanna King received the Keys to the Future award and Surya Mulmi won the Betty Lynne Theriot Memorial Scholarship.

Emilea Haddox, ULM MLS Assistant Professor and Clinical Coordinator, was awarded the LSCLS 2024 Educator of the Year Award. Ms. Haddox was nominated

by several of the ULM MLS students for this prestigious honor.

Jessica Lasiter, ULM MLS Program Director, stated, “Our graduates are passionate about healthcare and the medical laboratory. Seeing many of the ULM MLS alumni represent their professional organization at the state, regional, and national level proves the impact our MLS Program has on our students.”

Student attendance at the conference was made possible by a $3,000 scholarship given by the ULM Student Enhancement Activity Fee Committee.

A medical laboratory scientist is a health care employee who performs tests on samples from patients to assess the presence or absence of diseases. They play a crucial role in the diagnosis, allowing doctors to identify the causes of the patients’ symptoms for more accurate diagnosis and effective treatment.

The ULM Medical Laboratory Science Program is currently accepting applications for the 2024-2025 academic year. 100% of ULM MLS graduates are employed within three months of graduation. Learn more about the program and apply at www.ulm. edu/mls. of the church!


School Mural Project

Baskin School Gets Public Art Through Louisiana Percent For Art State Grant

THE NORTHEAST LOUISIANA ARTS COUNCIL IS excited to announce that it is bringing greater arts access in the form of public art to Baskin School in Baskin, Louisiana, in partnership with the Louisiana Percent For Art program and Franklin Parish Schools.

The Louisiana Percent for Art program provides the citizens of Louisiana with an improved public environment, adds visibility to the cultural heritage of the state and its people, attracts visitors to the state, and creates economic opportunities and training for public art artists and related industries.

As part of an ongoing effort to fulfill this mission, Percent for Art will work with Louisiana’s Regional Arts Councils (RACs) across the state to select professional artists and schools to collaborate on art projects for public spaces through the Public Art in Schools Mural Grant program. This program is intended to provide opportunities for emerging public artists, bring hands-on enrichment to school arts programs, and install public art of lasting value for schools across the state.

The Northeast Louisiana Arts Council released an Artist Call in late fall of 2023 for Region 8 muralists. Five applications were received, and a selection committee made up of Baskin School administration, Franklin Parish Schools talented art program educator, the Baskin Mayor and the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council worked together to select the muralist team made up of Region 8 artists Daniel Myers & Ashley Greer. The selected team have met with the committee, have polled Baskin School students and plan to start installation soon, with the mural reveal set to happen before the summer break.

The Baskin School mural will be featured on the virtual public art map found on the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council website that features public art across Region 8, as part of its ongoing public arts initiative to facilitate greater arts access for all of the 12 parishes it serves.

About the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council

The Northeast Louisiana Arts Council nurtures a vibrant regional arts culture through support, promotion, and education. The Northeast Louisiana Arts Council strives to be a transformative force for the community by encouraging a passion for the arts, promoting partnerships and collaboration, and ensuring access to the arts for all. Activities of the Arts Council are supported, in part, by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council. Funding has also been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works.




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

Light of Her Life Time to relax and let Fabulous Fabric help you create the perfect ambiance with these amazing room fragrances

Hot Tub Happy Azure Pools and Spas carries several products from Hot Spring Spas, providing a powerful combo of massage and hot water.

This elegant coffee table book full of southern charm is perfect for the southern mama in your life. Visit Revival Design & Consign to snag this book and others.

Mama Monarch

This original monarch butterfly shirt from Mr. P’s Tees is featured on a hot pink short sleeve. Find this and other great tees for mom this Mother’s Day.

Mother and Child

For the mom with the spiritual side, this 5x5 mother and child intaglio by Brunix Designs is the perfect Mother’s Day gift. Available at InHouse Interiors

Statement Necklace

This handmade, one-ofa-kind necklace features freshwater pearls and natural stones set in 18K gold plated. This beautiful statement necklace is a beautiful and thoughtful Mother’s Day Gift from The Nude Nomad

Show Your Skin

Zo Skin Health, Inc. offers innovative skincare solutions that optimize skin health based on the latest advances in skin therapy technologies, unique delivery systems, bioengineered complexes and exclusive formulations. This set can be found at The Medical Spa by St. Francis Medical Group

A True Showstopper

This bracelet features all the magic and majesty of the multi-pave setting. Highlighting VAHAN’s unparalleled craftsmanship, the varioussized diamonds are meticulously set by hand to create an effect that is exquisitely ornate and exceptionally impactful. This bracelet and many more styles can be found at Flair Jewelers

Picture Perfect

A collection of rooms by Jan Strickland ‘Interiors for Living’ showcases Jan’s portfolio. Can be found at eight locations or

Coastal Elegance

Treat your mom to a touch of coastal elegance with our Coastal Charm Woven Tote, the ultimate accessory for both everyday errands and beachside adventures found at Herringstones!

Golden Hour

Your mom 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.

Something Special

Let mom know she is loved and thought about daily by grabbing this 101 Bible verse’s for mom card set at Pearce Pharmacy.

Give Her Your Heart

A symbol of everlasting love, this 14k gold necklace features a petite pink opal heart pendant with a glittering white diamond drop. Find this at Palette House and Plume

A Glowing Gift

For its 380th anniversary, Trudon dives back into history and launches a new collection named Tuileries: the new scent – available in four candle sizes and a diffuser. Available at Material Things.

Cutting Edge

Elevate your party with this beautifully crafted from a natural pallete that is rustic and simplistic. Rectangular cutting board with handle feeds your love for entertaining. Features a rustic look with beaded edges and laser etched State of Louisiana. Find this at Sleepy Hollow

Wrinkles Be Gone

A daytime vitamin C serum that 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

Gift A Good Night’s Sleep

Skip the nights of tossing and turning and gift her with 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.

Erase Your Skin’s Past Gift her brighter, beautiful skin this Mother’s Day from Professional Laser Center. This brightener 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.

Aromatherapy For Mom

Wash Your Cares Away with this bundle from Aveda Arlette Concept Salon that includes certified organic lavender, lavandin and clary sage and is formulated using the science of aromaology and the power of pure essential oils.

Arm Candy

Give mom an every day piece of jewelry this Mother’s Day with the dainty and elegant E. Newton bracelets. Find a variety of E. Newton jewelry at Walsworth and Company.

Admire Her

Brew It Up

A mother’s love is one-of-a-kind. Let her know how much you admire her love with this beautiful gold bracelet from Hollis & Company

Have you experienced the heart of Persian Culture? Sip away with warm mint tea this Mother’s Day with Monista’s Persian mint blended with organic peppermint and spearmint with the national flower of Persia, the rose. Find this at The Trove


The Rabbit Hole

A limited series of single barrel Bourbons, each label adorned with a unique Alice In Wonderland-inspired image linked to the distillery’s name and philosophy found at Beef & Barrell.

Choose Your Look

Get mom a gift certificate from Lola Jane Boutique and she is sure to find multiple looks for every day of the week.

Sippin’ In Style

Give your mom the gift of stylish hydration with our

Grab this vintage oriole feeder to give to mom this Mother’s Day and join her for some quality time with a backyard bird watch. This enchanting vintage feeder can be Sonny Panzico’s

Let Her Sleep In

Give mom these cozy PJ Harlow dreamwear pajamas this Mother’s Day. These pajamas and more can be found Walsworth and

Hug Her Neck

Floral Finds

Make your mom’s garden party pop with this stunning rose garden round tray by 8 Oak Lane. Find this gift at Revival Design & Consign

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

One Hot Mama

Give your mom the gift of effortless elegance with our Floral Bliss Sundress, the perfect addition to her summer wardrobe found at Dusty & Company

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.

Love Her To Infinity

Give mom the gift that keeps on giving this Mother’s Day with the Spinfinity wind spinner. This item plus many more designs can be found at Sonny Panzico’s Garden Mart.

For A Queen

This classic candle from Magnolia James Interiors has notes of Eucalyptus, Cardamom, White Sage, and sunwarmed Hinoki Bark. This aroma is sure to brighten any room.

Love, Love

Hemline Monroe is the place to get this great tote - from lounging at the courts or to the pool this spring, bag these up.

Wine Not

Celebrate this Mother’s Day with these hand-painted wine glasses. Made by a Louisiana artist, these can be found at Haven.

Step Out In Style

This Heather skirt by Kim’s Design paired with the Audrey top by Caryn Lawn is sure to be a conversation starter at your next event. Shop these ravishing looks and more at Lake Lady Boutique

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.

A Fresh Start

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

Aromatic Ambiance

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

A Touch of Elegance

Turf Up Your Lawn Game

The Lafco Wild Honeysuckle candle has refreshing minty notes blended with watery cucumber that gently fades into wild honeysuckle, wisteria, and violet leaf. Find this and more at Haven.

Whether your graduate is a seasoned pro or just getting started, Allegiance Ag and Turf LLC has got everything you need to make your lawn the envy of the block. Allegiance Ag and Turf LLC is your exclusive STIHL dealer for top-notch, tough lawn equipment.

Leather Goods

A leather wallet with money clip is the perfect gift for the new graduate. Find this and other leather goods at Max Porter Provisions

Straight Chillin’

Celebrate your graduate’s achievements with our fun Swig Mini Cooler, the perfect companion for keeping drinks chilled on the go found at The Muffin Tin.

Scent Escape


Celebrate your graduate’s achievements in style with this vibrant summer handbag, the perfect accessory for sunny days and new adventures found at HerringStone’s!

Graduate To A New Skin Care Routine Complexion

Clarifying Serum is clinically proven to reduce excess oil, pore size, and visible redness. Find this at The Medical Spa by St.Francis Medical Group

Tiger Spirit

Show your graduate all the love with these handcrafted bronze tiger pieces designed and made in South Louisiana. Available at Hemline Monroe.

Meet Me At The Grill

Your graduate will be beaming to get a Primo grill from Azure Pools and Spas. He can grill, roast, sear and smoke on this ceramic grill. Perfect for entertaining all of college buddies.

Fresh Face

Mr. P’s Tees

Show your school spirit in these original design tees from Mr. P’s Tees. These make the perfect gifts for graduates attending ULM, LSU or Louisiana Tech. Find these and more at Mr. P’s Tees

Live Your Life

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

Timeless Gift

This is a timeless gift for your graduate that she will cherish forever. This bronze cross is handmade with aquamarine and filigree charm. Designed by Andrea Barnett and exclusively available at The Nude Nomad

This gift item bundle of Love Your Skin Ultimate Day Collection is good for all ages. Mothers and graduates stop by for this bundle and more at Hopkins Dermatology

Feel The Glow.

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

Rosé All Day

Celebrate your newest achievements with this cool refreshing bottle of Avaline Rosé found t Beef & Barrell

Guiding You To Greatness

A card a day of encouragement will remind your graduate of their limitless potential as they embark on their next chapter. Find these at Woodstock Monroe

Reason To Explore.

Wrap yourself in memories of success as you embark on new horizons with this beautifully designed beach towel from Palette House & Plume

Poncho For The Win

Does your graduate need new clothes before heading to college? Stop by Max Porter Provisions for Poncho Outdoors and more.

The Giveback Scent

This original candle is the perfect way to enjoy your favorite Bridgewater fragrance. This timeless glass jar includes a black wooden lid and a hangtag that features a picture of a child who is supported through our LIGHT A CANDLE · FEED A CHILD program found at Sleepy Hollow

A Fresh Start

Celebrate life’s new beginnings and achievements with this beauty. Positive energy and a dance party at the dorm is a guarantee. Available at The Trove

Unlock The Secrets

Dive into the world’s unknown with these captivating stories, perfect for any adventure seeker found at Material Things.

Terri Trichell

Terri McClendon Trichel has dabbled with design since childhood. Whether she was looking around her home for building supplies with which to build houses for her Barbie dolls or drawing house plans just for fun, it was clear early on that design would play a major role in her life. Today, Trichel has decades of experience in the design world and is a much sought-after designer both in Louisiana and well beyond. Her company -- Terri Trichel Interiors -- gives her the opportunity to do what she loves the most. Every job is a challenge, and every product is classic and timeless. For her incredible talent in interior design and her successful career as a businesswoman, BayouLife Magazine salutes Terri Trichel as its May 2024 BayouIcon.

The small town of Bastrop, Louisiana, was a typical southern town when Terri Trichel and her sisters were growing up there. Terri describes it as “. . . a very small town where very little happened.” Although small, that town was a secure, happy homebase for the family. Terri’s parents, James and Betty, settled there to rear their family.

Terri’s father was born in Strong, Arkansas. He served as a captain in the U.S. Air Force during WWII and was a farmer. Terri’s mother was from Linville in north Louisiana. After settling in Bastrop, she worked at home taking care of Terri and her sisters. Terri describes her family as a “church-going family – low-key and hardworking.”

Terri remembers the wonderful family get-togethers that she enjoyed. She and her sisters were very close to their mother’s side of the family. Terri especially loved her maternal grandmother and they were very close. “I always enjoyed family get-togethers,” Terri explained. “They were a big deal, and we always had lots of fun.”

During her childhood, Terri loved spending “hours and hours” playing with her sister and their Barbie dolls. Terri not only played with her dolls, she also made clothes for them. She loved to sew, and she even made many of her own clothes. That creativity was also translated into drawing imaginative house plans. Pursuing Education

When Terri graduated from Bastrop High School, her interest in fashion design was what took her to Atlanta, Georgia. There she enrolled at the Massey Junior College, a fashion institute. Terri found the environment too “fast-paced and cut-throat” there, so she returned to north Louisiana.

After returning, Terri enrolled at the University of Louisiana at Monroe (then Northeast Louisiana University). There she selected art as her major. It was during her junior year there that she became excited about interior design. Era Davis taught a class

that brought together all of Terri’s interests plus ignited some new ones. “Professor Davis had us do a project which included drawing plans, furnishing the home, landscaping, and electrical drawings,” Terri explains. “And I loved it!”

Terri immediately began searching for where she could earn a degree in interior design. To her delight, she found that Louisiana Tech University in nearby Ruston offered such a degree. Following her dream, Terri transferred and earned her Interior Design degree. Her art credits would not transfer, so Terri had to study an extra year at LA Tech to get that degree.

At LA Tech, Terri was fortunate to study with Professor Mary Moffett, a teacher very well-known all over the country. Moffett was Terri’s most significant mentor in interior design. A second mentor was the late Phoebe Allen. Both women were strong figures in Terri’s education. “I always did well in art classes and interior design classes,” says Terri. Clearly her education laid an excellent foundation for the design career to come.

Forging a Career Path

Unlike many, Terri’s first job was an important beginning point in her career development. She worked at Liners Carpets where she was a “hands-on” employee. Here she developed experience in multiple facets of interior design work. Liners carried carpet, wallpaper, and furniture, plus made draperies. “I learned to measure for carpet and draperies,” Terri explains. “I learned so much about carpet and fabrics at Liners. I also learned how to design top treatments – a favorite thing of mine to do although there aren’t a lot of them done today.” An extra bonus: Mr. Liner would take her and others to market every winter and summer where they learned how to buy furniture for his store.


In a leap of personal faith, Terri’s next career step was to open an interior design business – Classic Studios – with two other ladies. Their first project was Century Telephone located on Riverside where they worked with Clarke Williams, Jr. Next they worked with Deposit Trust Bank in their building on 18th Street. A third great learning experience for Classic Studios was Century Telephone on the top two floors of that same building.

It was with Classic Studios that Terri had one of the most unusual design projects of her career. They were hired to create a hospital room at Glenwood Hospital for a politician’s wife. “He said that money was

no object – not something to say if you do not mean it!” Terri remembers. “We put an oriental rug imbedded in the carpet, hung a French painting above a lovely French chest, and placed a table and two chairs there so that he could share meals with her. We even had hospital gowns made to match. It was beautiful!”

Sometime later Classic Studios ended and Terri began working for Carl Tidwell Interiors. Terri describes Tidwell as a great man and a wonderful mentor. “He became like a second dad to me, and we did lots of projects together,” Terri remembers. “He was great fun and always encouraged me. He taught me the fundamentals of running


Terri is married to Elee Trichel and together they have a lovely blended family. Terri has two daughters, Maure and Leah, two granddaughters and one grandson. Elee has two children, Todd and Jana, and five grandchildren and two great-granddaughters.

a successful business.”

When Tidwell decided to retire, Terri faced the greatest challenge in her career – opening a solo business. “I needed to work so [Tidwell] helped me to open my own business,” Terri says. “That business –Terri Trichel Interiors – is still going some 30 years later! I love what I do, and I love meeting new people. Some of them have become very close friends.”

Terri’s design magic has been used for whole house designs in Baton Rouge and New Orleans and out-of-state in Utah, Colorado, Florida, and New Mexico. She especially loves to do these “whole house” projects where she gets to start at a project’s genesis. She loves helping with the plans, selecting fixtures, selecting paint colors, furnishings, fabrics, window treatments – literally everything that will go inside. “Today, after all of this time, this still excites me!” Terri says. “I love that every job is different, and I love putting it all together – challenges and all! Seeing that finished project is the best.”

One of the things that sets Terri apart is that she doesn’t follow design trends. When she is working with a client, Terri tries to make the finished “look” to reflect that client’s tastes. She just guides them toward selecting things that will still look good in 10-20 years. “I want my work to be classic, lasting,” Terri explains. Terri also does her best to please her clients. If she has to fix something, she will. “Things are expensive, and I want my clients to be happy and to think good things about me.” Clearly, they also say good things about her. Almost all of her clients are from word-of-mouth and repeat clients.


There’s More to Life

Terri learned early on in her career that there is more to life than work. Travel, for one thing, became a passion. She discovered snow skiing on a trip to Vail, Colorado, some years ago. She didn’t know how to ski, but that didn’t stop her from learning how and falling in love with the sport.

Many of her favorite trips have been to ski country. She has traveled to find slopes many places, but her very favorite is Snowmass, Colorado. There she not only skied, but she also enjoyed hiking there during the summer. “Some very close friends have a time share there and often invited my husband and me to go with them. I love those mountains!” Terri says.

“I don’t know that I would change anything,” Terri says. “ Everything has gotten me to where I am today. Those learning experiences have all been valuable. Some were hard; some were fun; and most were really good.”

Sometimes, one’s life’s work merges happily with one’s private life. Such was the case 24 years ago when a fellow named Elee Trichel came into her business looking for a picture for his kitchen. Four years later, the two were married in Snowmass. “Well, it’s been 24 years since we met, and Elee still hasn’t bought that picture!” Terri says with a laugh. She says that she is married to the love of her life, a happy marriage because they like the same things. “There is never a dull moment being married to Elee!” Terri adds.

Together, the two have a lovely blended family. Terri has two daughters, Leah and Maure. One lives in Baton Rouge, and the other lives in Lafayette. They have presented Terri with two granddaughters (8 years 0ld) and one grandson (5 years old). Interestingly, neither of her daughters chose a career in design. “They said I worked too hard,” Terri says. Elee has two children,

son Todd and daughter Jana. He has 5 grandchildren and 2 great-granddaughters. Both Elee and Terri love to entertain friends in their home. Terri will cook for special occasions, but never on a daily basis. The two took a Viking River Cruise through Germany, France, and Switzerland and loved it! They would love to go overseas again. Terri’s heritage is Scots-Irish and she would love to take a cruise around Scotland and Ireland. “I would love to see where my people came from,” she says.

Terri has always been active in church, following in the traditions of her youth. Today she is a member of Covenant Presbyterian, a Bible-focused church, where she serves on the Mission Board and Fellowship committees. She previously served as a deacon there. Before this she was an elder at First Presbyterian in Monroe.

Terri’s passion for mission work is fulfilled in Mercy Multiplied where she has served on their board for 15 years. She has become good friends with many of the other board members. “I loved it when they housed girls here in Monroe with problems. We would have birthday parties for them, get to visit and minister to them,” Terri explains.

She is also passionate about Bible Study Fellowship. This is a life-changing Bible study that Terri has participated in for about 23 years. She has been a leader there for about 15 years. It meets on Wednesday mornings from September to May.

Looking Back – Looking Ahead

When Terri was asked recently if she could start all over again,


what – if anything – would she change. “I don’t know that I would change anything,” Terri says. “Everything has gotten me to where I am today. Those learning experiences have all been valuable. Some were hard; some were fun; and most were really good.”

Terri says that interior design is a great career that offers excitement, the opportunity to meet new people, and is never boring. “An interior designer gets to do something different every day and to be creative,” she explains. She goes on to say that to be successful, the beginning designer must develop a clientele. “I was fortunate that there was a store here in Monroe where I got to learn and meet people before I started out on my own,” Terri remembers.

The biggest challenges that she and other interior designers confront today is the cost of mid- to high-end products and shopping online. “It could be considered a luxury to hire a designer and pay the prices of mid- to high-end products. With the internet, now many just make their own decisions, pick out something, and order it,” Terri says. “Of course, if it’s not right, they just live with it.”

Even with challenges, Terri doubts that she will ever retire so long as she can see and can get around. She simply loves designing too much! She does admit to one leisure activity – cross-stitch – but even that becomes a design project, albeit personal. Terri says she doesn’t work everyday samplers because she prefers more detailed pieces. She also often draws her own patterns to work – landscapes, people, rugs.

Henri Matisse (French visual artist / 1869 – 1954) once wrote, “Creativity takes courage.” Terri Trichel would agree. Terri’s journey from designing Barbie homes as a child through an exciting and ever-growing career as a professional interior designer was a journey combining an amazing creative talent with the courage to pursue a dream.


Calendar of Events

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

May 2-6

NAIA Baseball Red River Conference Championship

NAIA Red River Conference provides you with an early season 15 team tournament full of some of the Nation’s best teams.

Venue: Sterlington Sports Complex | 1290 LA-136, Sterlington

May 3 - 5

Red White & Blue Airshow

The Red White & Blue Airshow is back! Gaze into the sky as aircrafts fly by saluting America's heroes. The Twilight Shows will take place on May 3rd and 4th from 3:00-9:00 PM. That Sunday, May 5th the day show is from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Bring a chair, sunscreen, and lots of excitement! Food vendors will be on site.

Hours: Fri & Sat 3:00-9:00 PM; Sun 11:00 AM-5:00 PM

Cost: Ticket Prices Vary

Venue: Monroe Regional Airport | 5400 Operations Road, Monroe Phone: 318-362-5540

May 3, 4, 5, LA Tech Softball

Cheer on the bulldogs at this home game!

Hours: Friday 6pm, Saturday 2pm, Sunday 1pm

Cost: Varying ticket prices

Venue: Dr. Billy Bundrick Field, Ruston, LA 71272

Phone: 318-257-3631

May 3, 10, 17, 24

Out to Lunch Concert Series

During your lunch break, enjoy the fresh air, delicious bites from the food trucks, and the sound of local musicians.

Venue: Heard Freighthouse Food Park, 93 E. Railroad Ave, Ruston, LA 71270 Phone: 318-251-8647

May 4 - May May 2024 11:59:59 PM

HERPS Slidell Exotic Reptile & Pet Show

Thousands of reptiles, amphibians, insects, feeders, and supplies are coming to the West Monroe Convention Center on May 4th and 5th! They will have vendors from all over the US and some educational displays. Show and sale open to the public!

Hours: Sat 10:00 AM-5:00 PM; Sunday 10:00 AM-4:00 PM

Cost: $10 for adults, $5 for kids. 4 and

under are FREE

Venue: West Monroe Convention Center | 901 Ridge Ave, West Monroe

Phone: 979-595-7831

May 4

Roe City Roller Derby vs. Sugar Sands Roller Derby

Don’t miss the season opener against Sugar Sands Roller Derby from Panama City, FL. Following the bout, there will be a Star Wars-themed mashup.

Hours: 4:00 PM; doors open at 3:30 PM

Cost: $15 presale, $18 at the door;

Ringside- $20 presale, $25 at the door

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

May 4

Race Judicata 2024

Join the community effort at Race Judicata 2024 on May 4th, starting at 2300 Sycamore Street, Monroe Louisiana in Forsythe Park. This 5k event is more than a race; it’s a commitment to justice and community growth, with proceeds benefiting the Northeast Louisiana Bar Foundation pro-bono projects.

Hours: 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM

Cost: $30

Venue: Forsythe Park | 2300 Sycamore St, Monroe

May 4

ClawDaddy's First Annual Crawfish Cookoff

On Saturday May 4th, Clawdaddy's will be hosting their first annual crawfish cookoff! Come try crawfish recipes from various local participants and vote for your favorite batch. Entry cost is $25.00 for adults, $10.00 for kids 12 and under.

Hours: 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Cost: $25.00 Adults, $10.00 Kids

Venue: Clawdaddy's Crawfish & Oyster Bar | 7601 HWY 165 N, Monroe Phone: (318) 516-2529

May 4

Mother-Daughter Brunch at Logtown Estate

Come celebrate Mother's Day at Logtown Estate with Missy, Korie, Jessica, Lisa, Phyllis, and Miss Kay Robertson! You are in for a morning full of fun, encouragement, and long lasting memories made with the women in your life!

Hours: 9:00 AM to 12:30:00 PM

Cost: $55

Venue: Logtown Estate | 1463 Logtown Loop Road, Monroe Phone: (731)-358-0428

May 4 & 18

Lagniappe Saturdays at Landry Vineyards

Celebrate the afternoon with friends and family at Landry Vineyards! Listen to local live music by Cheridy Adams & Dave Gore on May 4th and Shannon & Mason Granade on May 18th. Wine will be for sale by the glass and by the bottle. Wine tastings, vineyard tours, and winery tours will be conducted as usual. Bring a chair or blanket to picnic on. Food trucks will be serving meals, summer sausages, cheese, and crackers will be available for purchase, and you can bring your own snacks too.

Hours: 3:00 PM to 6:30 PM

Cost: Free

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

May 4

Hats and Horses 2024

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! There's an elegant yet outrageous hat competition for the ladies and a best dressed award for the gentlemen and couples. You can also enjoy delicious hors d'oeuvres and a mint julep bar. This event helps raise money for educational opportunities and scholarships given to Louisiana Delta Community College students.

Hours: 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM

Cost: $50

Venue: Louisiana Delta Community College | 7500 Millhaven Road, Monroe Phone: 318-345-9365

May 4

Games in the Garden

Join The Biedenharn for a Star-Wars themed, stellar good time in the Garden. Test your reflexes with Giant Jenga, anticipate your competition at tic-tac-toe, use the force to perfect your ring toss, enjoy a Coke, and listen music to recharge.

Hours: 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Cost: $5

Venue: Biedenharn Museum & Gardens

| 2006 Riverside Drive, Monroe Phone: 318-387-5281

May 4, 11, 18, 25

Ruston Farmers Market

Enjoy local produce and handmade products at this farmers market downtown.

Hours: 9am-1pm

Venue: 220 E Mississippi Ave, Ruston, LA 71270

Phone: 318-957-1305

May 5

Mother Daughter Tea

Visit the Biedenharn Museum and Gardens on May 5th for a Mother Daughter Tea! Celebrate your mom a week before Mother's Day at these beautiful and elegant gardens.

Hours: 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Cost: $35

Venue: Biedenharn Museum & Gardens

| 2006 Riverside Drive, Monroe Phone: (318) 387-5281

May 5

BLEND 2024: Back on the Bayou

Returning to the banks of the bayou on May 5th, it's Northeast Louisiana's premiere food, wine, and arts festival, BLEND. This festival features local men and women who cook, local legendary restaurant chefs, live music, drinks by local sponsors, and a silent auction of works by Region 8 artists. No one under the age of 21 is permitted to attend. Taste this blend of the bayou's finest flavors!

Hours: 5:00 PM to 7:30 PM

Cost: $65

Venue: Island Drive, Monroe Phone: (318) 397-6717

May 5 & 12

Live Music at Flying Heart

Don’t miss Lee Denton on May 5th and Will Maranto & The Usual Suspects on May 8th live at Flying Heart! All ages are welcome. Jam out while enjoying a New York style pizza and craft beer!

Hours: 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM

Cost: No Cover Charge

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

May 8

Chonda Pierce: Life Is Funny

Chonda Pierce will have you laughing at life's curveballs, celebrating your quirks, and embracing the joy that can be found even in the most unexpected places. Life is too short not to embrace


the joy and humor it brings, so grab your girlfriends, put on your waterproof mascara, and get ready to laugh until your sides ache and your mascara runs!

Hours: 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Cost: $26.75 - $55.75

Venue: First West- West Monroe

Campus | 311 Mill St., West Monroe

Phone: (318) 322-5104

May 10

Texas Hold 'em Poker Tournament

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

Registration is at 5:00 PM.

Hours: May 10 to May 10 11:59:59 PM

Cost: $90.00 Buy-in

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

Phone: (318) 348-3237

May 10 - May 12

Louisiana Quarter Horse Association Crawfish Classic

Join the Louisiana Quarter Horse Association for their 2024 Crawfish Classic at the Ike Hamilton Expo Center!

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

May 10, 11, 12

LA Tech Baseball

Cheer on the bulldogs at this home baseball game!

Hours: Friday 6pm, Saturday 2pm, Sunday 1pm

Cost: Varying ticket prices

Venue: J.C. Love Field, Ruston, LA 71270 Phone: 318-257-3631

May 10, 11, 12

Grambling Baseball

Cheer on the GSU Tigers at this home baseball game!

Hours: Friday 6pm, Saturday 3pm, Sunday 1pm

Cost: Varying ticket prices

Venue: Wilbert Ellis Field at R.W.E. Jones Park, Grambling, LA 71245

Phone: 318-274-2629

May 11

165 Makers & Producers Festival

An arts and crafts festival celebrating and promoting local creators and producers.

Cost: FREE

Venue: 6301 HWY-165, Monroe Phone: (318) 372-4753

May 11

Landry Vineyards Concert- Hands on Band

The Landry Vineyards Music Concert will feature the band, Hands On. They play Country, Classic Rock, and great dance music. Come celebrate

an afternoon of fun with your family and community while listening to local music, eating local foods and drinking Landry Vineyards wine!

Hours: 4:30 PM to 8:00 PM

Cost: $10 adults; $5 13-18; 12 & under free

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

May 13, 27

Creative Meetups

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

Hours: 6pm-9pm

Venue: Creatives at Work, 112 W Alabama Ave, Ruston, LA 71270

May 16 - May 18

NJCAA Track & Field National Championships

The National Junior College Athletic Association will be at ULM's Brown Stadium for their 2024 Track & Field National Championship.

Hours: Competition through the day

Cost: Ticket prices vary.

Venue: ULM Brown Stadium | 518 Warhawk Way, Monroe

May 16

Dogs in the Garden

Join us for an enchanting garden stroll where both two and four-legged companions are welcome! Meet fellow dog enthusiasts and capture memorable family moments. Pamper your furry friends with an array of offerings from our dog-centric vendors!

Hours: 2:00 PM 5:00 PM

Cost: $10

Venue: Biedenharn Museum & Gardens

| 2006 Riverside Drive, Monroe Phone: (318) 387-5281

May 18

May River Market

Soak in the spring/summer vibes, shop for handmade pottery, art, body products, candles, and more, all while supporting our talented local artists. Bring your pups to enjoy the scenic riverfront with you!

Hours: 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM

Cost: Free to attend

Venue: Downtown Monroe RiverMarket

| 316 South Grand Street, Monroe

May 19

Texas Hold 'em Poker Tournament

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

Hours: Registration is at 3:00 PM.

Cost: $120.00 Buy-in

Venue: Krewe of Janus Float Den | 901

Louisville Avenue, Monroe

Phone: (318) 348-3237

May 22-26

Conference USA Baseball Championship

Enjoy a great day at the ballpark watching the Conference USA Championship series

Hours: Various times

Venue: J.C. Love Field, Ruston, LA 71270

Phone: 318-257-3631

May 24 -26

Crawfish Craze Barrel Run

The Crawfish Craze 5-D Barrel Run is taking place May 24th-26th at the Ike Hamilton Expo Center. There's an even payout across each division and $15,000 in added money and prizes. Buckles will be awarded to winner of each division in the average. Youth, adult, and senior rollover incentives.

Hours: Friday: Exhibition from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM and Open at 1:00 PM; Saturday: Open at 8:00 AM. Sunday: No Exhibition, Church at 7:00 AM, and Open at 8:00 AM.

Venue: Ike Hamilton Expo Center | 501 Mane Street, West Monroe Phone: (318) 235-5026

May 26

Memorial Day Bash with Charlotte's Web at Flying Heart

Join Flying Heart Brewing & Pub for their Memorial Day Bash! Enjoy cornhole games, New York Style pizza, craft beer, and music from Charlotte's Web.

Hours: 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM

Cost: Free

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

May 28 – June 1

2024 Varsity Spirit Camp

Join the Southeast Varsity Spirit for their 2024 Spirit Camp at West Monroe Sports & Events!

Venue: West Monroe Sports & Events | 875 Constitution Drive, West Monroe Phone: (253) 241-3822

May 31 - May 31 11:59:59 PM

Up Yonder Food & Wine Festival & Louisiana Seafood Cookoff

At the Louisiana Seafood Cookoff, competing chefs line the stage in this live cooking, fast paced, culinary throw down. Chefs from all corners of the state come together in one arena to compete for the winning crown. Also enjoy the first annual Up Yonder Food & Wine Festival with tastings from local and special visiting chefs and local brews and spirits!

Hours: 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM

Cost: Ticket prices vary.

Venue: Bayou Pointe Event Center | Warhawk Way, Monroe Phone: (318) 387-5691

May 31

Ouachita Live featuring Mathias Lattin

This concert features Mathias Lattin, an international award winning blues artist.

Ouachita Live is a free downtown concert held the last Friday of the month from March through October in Alley Park. Remember to bring your own chair! A food truck, beer, and wine will be on-site. Come shop downtown before the show!

Hours: 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Cost: Free

Venue: Alley Park | Natchitoches Street, West Monroe

ULM Baseball

May 1: ULM vs. Alcorn

May 3-5: ULM vs. Georgia Southern

May 8: ULM vs. Stephen F. Austin

May 16-18: ULM vs. Arkansas State

Venue: ULM Lou St. Amant Field | 308 Warhawk Way Phone: (318) 342-3592


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