JULY 2020 Digital Country Roads

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Natchez, Mississippi

Celebrates the Blooms! Crepe Myrtles • Summer 2020


DOWNTOWN WALKING TOUR Beautiful blooms along downtown streets in Go-Cup District


Explore top area gardens

NATCHEZ CITY CEMETERY - DRIVE OR WALK Over 490 tress in bloom. Grounds established in 1822.

Find us on social media #NatchezCelebratestheBlooms

Look for the Natchez International Crepe Myrtle Festival to Return Next Summer!


With support from Peter Patout of Talbot Historic Properties and the Adams County Master Gardeners

See VisitNatchez.org/events for updates and to book your stay! 2

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15 th AUG 22 ANNUAL



Registration NOW OPEN!

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Socially distant fireworks, fishing on the river, galavanting in galleries—it’s all still a go.

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REFLECTIONS by James Fox-Smith




CHEF MICHAEL DARDENNE Sneaking elegance and nuance into St. Francisville’s favorite comfort foods by Christina Leo

James Fox-Smith

Associate Publisher

Ashley Fox-Smith

Managing Editor


Jordan LaHaye

Southern-Japanese concoctions in Ocean Springs by Lauren Heffker

Arts & Entertainment Editor

Christina Leo

Creative Director

Kourtney Zimmerman

CHEF JOEY NAJOLIA Upholding a tradition of classic French cuisine on the Northshore


Lucie Monk Carter, Denny Culbert, Beth D’Addono, Cheryl Gerber, Brian Pavlich, Elizabeth Chubbock Weinstein

by Jordan LaHaye

Cover Artist

On the Cover

Denny Culbert



Photo by Denny Culbert


As such a central sentiment of our Southern culture, perhaps it isn’t surprising that food has become a hallmark of conversation during this complicated year. From home, we’re spending more time in the kitchen—trying old things and mastering old ones (as in Lucie Monk Carter’s roast chicken poetry on page 38). And in our communities, we’re continuously discovering how important our eateries are to us—and how important we are to them. So our Cuisine issue comes at an apt time, and we revel in the chance to celebrate our local chefs— especially our three 2020 Small Town Chefs, each working in his own way to maintain hope and connection through the artistry of native ingredients. This celebration of small-scale business, of local cuisine, and of natural ingredients continues throughout the issue and into your glass—read about Katie and Denny Culbert’s new natural wine shop on page 40, and then join us for a universal toast to discovery, and to taste.





THE SCHMALTZ WALTZ A chicken dance made perfect by years of practice and ample time


by Elizabeth Chubbock Weinstein

by Lucie Monk Carter


THE WILD WORLD OF NATURAL WINE As it makes its official debut in Acadiana, we take a look into the natural wine trend.

A look at our long-held obsession with pictures of food


PRESERVATION TACTICS Dried onions, citric vinegars, pepper jelly— oh my by Christina Leo

by Jordan LaHaye


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For once, we’ve got her all to ourselves. by Beth D’Addono


Sales Team

Heather Gammill & Heather Gibbons

Custom Content Coordinator

Lauren Heffker

Advertising Coordinator

Baylee Zeringue


Dorcas Woods Brown

Country Roads Magazine 758 Saint Charles Street Baton Rouge, LA 70802 Phone (225) 343-3714 Fax (815) 550-2272 EDITORIAL@COUNTRYROADSMAG.COM WWW.COUNTRYROADSMAG.COM

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Copyrighted. All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced without permission of the publisher. The opinions expressed in Country Roads magazine are those of the authors or columnists and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, nor do they constitute an endorsement of products or services herein. Country Roads magazine retains the right to refuse any advertisement. Country Roads cannot be responsible for delays in subscription deliveries due to U.S. Post Office handling of third-class mail.

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here aren’t many places in the world where you can have a transcendent gastronomic experience in a gas station parking lot. One of them, as any boudin lover can tell you, is South Louisiana. But another is Italy. Here’s how I know that. Twenty years ago, before we had kids or real jobs or much in the way of responsibility, my wife and I visited Louisiana friends who were living in Rome. Although Eric and Lynne are Canadian by birth, they had come to graduate school at LSU and, aside from a year Lynne spent working for the United Nations in Italy, they’ve never really left. We were all in our late twenties—an age when friends showing up to sleep on your couch is more or less expected when that couch happens to be in Rome. After some very agreeable days spent eating and drinking our way around the Eternal City, the four of us piled into an impossibly small rental car and drove south: destination Sicily. Somewhere around Naples we stopped at a gas station and Eric wandered inside in search of a snack. What he returned with was a plastic bag half filled with chalky liquid, in which something about the size and shape of a softball 1

was sloshing around. It was mozzarella di bufala, the legendary fresh cheese made from the milk of water buffalo and the most delicious thing any of us had ever put into our mouths. During the ensuing week we ate a preposterous amount of this silky smooth, lightly salted delicacy, which has been made in the region around Naples using the milk of Asian water buffalo, for centuries. How Asian water buffalo ever came to Naples in the first place is something noone seems to agree upon but I for one am glad they’re there. I came home with dreams of establishing Louisiana’s first commercial buffalo mozzarella operation. Why, I reasoned, couldn’t a simple, fresh, delicious cheese made from the milk of a huge, swamp-dwelling ruminant be a hit in food-fanatic Louisiana? But then life happened. Reality intervened: there were magazines to publish, bills to pay, kids to have. Twenty years later, all I have to show for my boutique farming fantasies are a flock of chickens, a stunted avocado tree, and a strange talent for growing cucumbers. So imagine my surprise when I learned that I was soon to be neighbors with a herd of water buffalo! Having had her own life-changing buffalo mozzarella

experience, my friend Sarah Roland (Bayou Sarah Farms founder, Lake Rosemound resident, chicken whisperer, and aspiring cheesemaker) has taken the bull by the horns, so to speak, and imported eight Asian water buffalo to Louisiana with ambitions of building up a milking herd. Now these huge, impossibly gentle beasts reside in pastoral splendor not five miles from my house. On a recent evening, while lounging against a couple thousand pounds of extremely contented water buffalo, Sarah explained the finer points of mozzarella di bufala production, which depends upon the exceptionally high fat content of water buffalo milk (double that of cow’s milk, while lower in cholesterol) to achieve the cheese’s deep flavor and uniquely silky texture. Her grand plan: to produce enough milk to add artisanal cheese and hand-made gelato ice cream to the offerings of pastured chicken, fresh eggs, and blueberries that Bayou Sarah



Farms already sells. This strange, delicious development is the latest in a series of cottage industryscale farming efforts cropping up (excuse the pun) around the Feliciana parishes. They include dozens of varieties of microgreens (Westdome Nursery), heirloom tomatoes (Bon Vivant Produce), and gourmet mushrooms (Maggie’s Mushrooms), among many others. And if the response from local gourmands, plus the Baton Rougearea restaurant and grocery store clients they serve, is any indication, the market for high quality, locally grown food is healthier than ever. It feels a bit like a return to the Felicianas’ agricultural roots. As St. Francisville grows and evolves, with more folks moving to the parish every day, this feels like a very right and sustainable thing. If Sarah gets her way, maybe one day I’ll be able to have gastronomic revelations in gas station parking lots much, much closer to home. Until then perhaps I can score the occasional buffalo-sitting gig. If I never get to realize my dream of raising water buffalo in South Louisiana, living vicariously through the success of Sarah and others is a pretty good consolation.



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—James Fox-Smith, publisher, james@countryroadsmag.com

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Sunday, November 15, 2020 at the Myrtles, St. Francisville, LA Celebrated Chefs • Creative Dishes • Craft Cocktails Fine Wines • Live Music • Lawn Games

Tickets on sale now at

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N E W S , T I M E LY F A C T S , A N D O T H E R






Photo courtesy of Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities.

s a student, English was always my favorite subject. I can still recall reading the works of renowned poets like Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou for the first time in middle school, learning how art can function as a salve, or how, years later, the first line of Mary Oliver’s beloved 1986 poem “Wild Geese” stopped me in my tracks. Analyzing each line of their stanzas to extract meaning felt like solving a puzzle bit by bit, how the big picture becomes clearer with each fitted piece. It felt like waking up. “Poetry is a genre that touches hearts like no other genre does,” said John Warner Smith, Louisiana’s Poet Laureate, who was recently awarded a prestigious Laureate Fellowship from the Academy of American Poets (AAP). One of twenty-three honorees across the country to receive the $50,000 award, Smith was chosen in part for the strength

of his proposed community project. This fall, Smith will conduct youth poetry workshops in the Louisiana Delta region, specifically within East Carroll, Morehouse, Madison, and Tensas parishes. Smith, a Morgan City native and longtime public education reform advocate, was appointed to the state’s two-year ambassadorship last August. “I had a personal connection there, so I wanted to go back to those communities as Poet Laureate and help them to understand and appreciate the power of poetry,” said Smith. “It has done so much to enrich my life, and I wanted to give some of that back to these children.” The workshops will begin in October or November and run through spring 2021, Smith said, though the format is dependent on the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic in the coming months. “We're honored to be able to select John Warner Smith, Louisiana's

first African American male Poet Laureate,” said AAP President and Executive Director Jennifer Benka. “We took note of his collaboration with the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and local schools, and the fact that he will be conducting poetry workshops for young people in four underresourced parishes in Northeast Louisiana.” The Southern University English professor has long sought to offer this sort of creative programming to young people especially. Smith believes poetry offers a vehicle for self-expression that, once taught, can inspire a lifelong love of the literary form. “This is a journey I’m hoping will carry on with these students for the rest of their lives.” —Lauren Heffker



t’s not what you’re thinking. PBS American Portrait is a national storytelling initiative by the Public Broadcasting Service that seeks to define what it means to be an American today. With an aim of capturing the state and spirit of the nation in all its diversity, PBS and affiliate stations, including Louisiana Public Broadcasting, are inviting Americans from all walks of life to share stories by responding to a series of prompts like “I was raised to believe___”, “The tradition I carry on is___”, “My greatest challenge is___”, “Now is the time___”, and many more. PBS curates all submissions and posts qualifying 8

entries to the PBS American Portrait website. All accepted submissions have the possibility of becoming part of upcoming American Portrait programming including social, book, podcast, and TV documentary content. To submit a story, and see some of the hundreds already featured, visit: www.pbs.org/ american-portrait. There’s also a cool, interactive map that shows which states have sent the most stories. Currently California, Texas, and New York are in the lead, so come on Louisianans: Let’s paint a portrait! Deadline to submit is August 31. —James Fox-Smith

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Photo courtesy of Louisiana Public Broadcasting.

Photo courtesy of Yes We Cannibal.



n 1928, the Modernist Brazilian poet Oswald de Andrade published a document called Manifesto Antropófago, or the Anthropophagic Manifesto, a call for worldly propagation and continued development of Brazilian art. Its most famous metaphor, still famous in the world of contemporary art, uses old tribal traditions of cannibalism—made less literal as a way to illustrate Brazil’s history of “cannibalizing” other cultures— to symbolize cultural distinction in the wake of European post-colonial domination. If at first glance that all seems too specific and irrelevant to the non-Brazilians and non-avante-gardeartists of Baton Rouge, you may want to take a closer look at the new collective set to open this July in Mid City. Yes We Cannibal, founded by the Chicago-hewn Fulbright artist Liz Lessner and the D.C. geographer and LSU doctoral candidate Mat Keel, is a new community institution designed to be a home for “unrestricted and nonhierarchical cultural experimentation in the areas of art, music, food, social research, performance, and more.” Whether in the form of lectures, workshops, reading groups, food events, concerts, performances, art exhibitions, or other expressions, the space at 1600 Government Street aims to be a cultural center appropriate for all ages, available at no cost to the community. Inside,

a fully functioning kitchen with new appliances, an administrative area, two bathrooms, and a reading room awaits the boon of Baton Rouge’s freshest freethinkers, nestled against the beginnings of a public garden sprouting flowers, fruits, vegetables, and herbs. The space will also rehouse the D.C.-born Sensory Engagement Lab, a free bi-weekly community technology and robotics salon designed to inspire collaboration between artists, programmers, and other kin. In the midst of COVID forcing a delayed opening—though a July date still looks bright—Lessner and Keel started an Indiegogo fundraiser to help the project spread its wings. “The reason we wanted to start these funky community spaces is because they were so important to us growing up,” said Lessner. “When I was a teenager, there was a local artist who hosted a salon every Saturday, and that’s where we went to hang out. We didn’t see much here that wasn’t associated with LSU or other major institutions, and that’s why we’re fundraising—to help create a free space where people don’t have to pay to rent the space or join in on any events. We’d love to bring that sort of community here to Baton Rouge.” —Christina Leo

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Enter to win a Get Away to St. Tammany for your family of four! Prize Package includes: • Two (2) night stay at a family-friendly hotel in Slidell • Four (4) tickets for a boat tour of Honey Island Swamp B • One (1) Breakfast, lunch, and dinner for four Winner will be drawn on July 31, 2020. Giveaway is eligible during Tammany Taste of Summer, August 1-September 30, 2020. The St. Tammany Parish Tourist Commission will assist with all bookings and reservations. Restrictions may apply.

Enter at subscribe.countryroadsmagazine.com/TTOS2020

You've invited to discover the many reasons to love Louisiana Northshore. Explore where adventure and relaxation meet in the great outdoors with two waterfront state parks, Honey Island Swamp tours, fishing charters, outdoor recreation, and so much more. The Northshore’s chefs and farmers, brewers, and bakers are waiting to feed your soul with the tantalizing Tammany Taste of Summer.

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As re-openings and social distancing measures continue to fluctuate due to COVID-19, don’t forget to check out our online Events page at countryroadsmag. com to stay updated on the latest changes and additions to Louisiana and Mississippi’s ever-rotating schedules.




The Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge has collaborated with hundreds of visual artists, musicians, dancers, teaching artists, poets, arts organizations, and others to celebrate the very best that Baton Rouge has to offer in the arts and culture. This year’s Virtual Ebb & Flow will take place through July 4 with a combination of virtual and live offerings. Visit the festival website to view the events happening over the week including virtual musical and dance performances, along with a live arts market at PointeMarie. ebbandflowbr.org. k




From the Ogden Museum of Southern Art’s permanent collection emerges an assemblage of black abstraction as expression. Spanning five decades, the work of artists including Sam Gilliam,

Horton Humble, John T. Scott, Ron Bechet, and more, draw on the language of abstraction to communicate ideas, emotions, and identities deeply tied to the American South. On exhibition until July 5. ogdenmuseum.org. k




The Sea-n-Sail Adventure Camp is a day camp that is designed to bring about a greater awareness of The Mississippi Gulf Coast’s original history and maritime heritage through a variety of fun and educational activities. Camp is open to students ages 6-12 and consists of a week of activities including model boat building, fishing, cast netting, swimming, and field trips to places such as the Mississippi Aquarium, Lynn Meadows Discovery Center, and the Institute of Marine and Mammal Studies. July sessions will take place between July 6–10, 13–17, and 20–24. Daily activities will begin at 8 am and end at 4 pm. Campers will be grouped according to age: 6–8 and 9–12 years old. Camp staff for each group will include

three counselors who are CPR/First Aid certified. All Sea-n-Sail Adventure Campers will take two sailing trips aboard one of the Museum’s famous replicas of the Biloxi Schooner. Age group 9–12 will take a full day trip to Horn Island through waters fished by Biloxi fisherman for over two hundred years. Campers age 6–8 will visit Deer Island during one of their half-day sails and learn about marine pollution. During the sail, campers will learn components of sailing a schooner, boating safety and rules of the road, and participate in many sailing activities. Sign up online at maritimemuseum.org/new/2020-sean-sail-registration and contact Corey Christy at (228) 435-6320 or outreach@ maritimemuseum.org with any further questions. k




Centered on NOMA’s recently acquired Akwanshi stone monolith from the Cross River region of Nigeria, Ancestors in Stone explores the African cultural expression of the afterlife. In many traditions, deceased // J U L 2 0



Beginning July 1st

ancestors linger as important members of the community even after they are gone, venerated as a source of divine intercession in matters of wealth, fertility, and agricultural prosperity. Throughout history, this belief has been expressed in the form of visual arts, usually created with ephemeral and perishable materials like wood, mud, or plant and animal matter. This is based upon the belief that ancestral intervention is brief and impermanent—following the intercessory rituals, the objects lose their power and are left behind. However, on occasions when these figures are rendered in stone, this idea is turned on its head. In this exhibit, figures and objects rendered in stone from regions all across West Africa are presented along with the Akwanshi stone, speaking to the significance as the material within these objects. noma.org. k




With its annual community Garage Sale postponed this year due to COVID-19, Broadmoor United Methodist Church

(Broadmoor UMC) is getting creative to make previously donated items available to its congregation and community by launching the Baton Rouge Mission Market, an online marketplace which will raise money for the church’s mission and ministries, such as Southeast Ministries, Habitat for Humanity, and Red Stick Together. New items are being added daily and soon there will be an opportunity for others to list items on the Baton Rouge Mission Market to benefit the church. Categories on the Mission Market include antiques, collectibles, children’s items/toys, jewelry, household items, and décor. The market also includes a donation option that allows customers to round up their purchase or securely donate if they don’t see anything they need but want to support the mission and ministries of Broadmoor UMC. brmissionmarket.com. k




Don’t give up on a fun-filled summer just yet. In the next couple of months,

Face masks won’t stop us from staring intently at the perfect produce available at upcoming farmers markets like the one in the Red Stick capital. Photo courtesy of BREADA. See page 24.

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BREC will offer a variety of activities, experiences, and camps to serve as many children as possible while following state and federal recommendations regarding COVID-19 to ensure the safety of campers and camp staff. In accordance with those recommendations, capacity will be limited with a ratio of nine children to one adult. BREC staff will also conduct temperature checks, frequently sanitize supplies and facilities, encourage physical distancing, rotate camp experiences among small groups, and wear masks while working with children and their parents. BREC will offer both in-person summer camps and virtual experiences through July 31. Available opportunities and registration details for the month of July are expected to be announced sometime in June as additional information becomes available from public health officials. BREC’s virtual camps will involve interactive streaming experiences with “Camp in a Bag” supplies that participants can retrieve at six different BREC park locations to provide accessibility across the parish. BREC will also offer traditional camps in general recreation at eight locations as well as special interest summer camps at the Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center, Farr Park Equestrian Center, Highland Road Park Observatory and Magnolia Mound. Due

to a lack of outdoor classroom space and recommendations for social distancing, the Baton Rouge Zoo will not be able to hold summer camp this year. As the City/Parish moves into phases two and three BREC will offer tennis instruction, equestrian instruction at Farr Park, and Outdoor Adventure programs as well as opportunities for teens and children with physical and developmental disabilities. Parents or guardians must register online at webtrac.brec.org for all online and in-person locations this summer and may register for more than one camp or activity during a day. Each offering will vary in duration. Registration for individual camps will close the Thursday prior to the beginning of each session or once a session is full. Summer camp dates, times, ages, and fees vary per camp. k

accommodate social distancing due to the current COVID-19 pandemic—for example, live performances and in-house programs will be substituted with virtual story times and take-home crafts. All virtual programming will be posted to the Terrebonne Parish Library System Facebook page. Children, teens, and adults who register will be rewarded for a minimum twenty minutes of reading per day, every five days. Books read must be library books. After the first five days, readers will receive a certificate, an “I Love My Library” yard sign, entry into the library’s annual summer raffle, and— new this year—a brag tag. Other prizes include a bicycle and Kindle Fire tablet. Sign up online at mytpl.org/srp. For more information, contact Naomi Magola at (985) 876-5861, opt.3. k





Build great reading habits, discover new books, and win prizes with the Terrebonne Parish Library System’s 2020 Summer Reading Program. This year’s theme is “Imagine Your Story,” which centers around fairy tales and mythology. Appropriate changes will be made to



The East Baton Rouge Parish Library’s 2020 Summer Reading Program, Imagine Your Story! runs through Saturday, August 15. But it’s Summer Reading, Re-Imagined as it transitions to a new online program. The traditional summer reading program, which relied on paper

logs, regular visits to the library, and attendance at library programs, was impacted by the ongoing disruption due to COVID-19, and the library has pivoted to offer something that could work from a distance. The Reading Challenges for all ages include: • Beanstack Summer Reading Challenges: It’s easy! Just read and complete activities to earn badges. Each challenge (except Red Stick @Home) has both a reading/logging element, as well as an activity factor. The rules, requirements, badges and incentives vary based on the age group. Sign up at your local Library location, or online at ebrpl.beanstack.org. There’s even an app! There are three funfilled programs for children based on their ages and reading levels: Dragon Cubs, for ages 0-5; Heroes in Training, for ages 5-8; and Storybook Adventurers, for ages 8-11. • Page Turner Adventures: Adventure awaits you! The Library invites you to enjoy fun content from the Emmy Awardwinning production company Page Turner Adventures. The library will post special links to five new virtual programs each week, created and produced by Page Turner Adventures. Get access to shows, crafts, games, and activities for kids by checking the online calendar at ebrpl. com for drop dates for each, and visit the Children’s Facebook group page EBRP Library Kids Programming for special

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Beginning July 1st links to each program. Links also will be available inside your Summer Reading Beanstack account. • Red Stick @Home Challenge: This special Beanstack challenge is for the whole family, and includes thirty-three activity badges designed to have patrons explore our community, including its cultural assets, attractions, and the work of local organizations. • Summer Camp @Home: Each week, now through Friday, July 31, the Children’s Room will have Summer Camp @Home packets filled with fun crafts, activities, and weekly schedules for virtual programming. Stop by your local branch to pick up the base packet including the instructions, a MondayFriday schedule, and a content packet. Pick and choose your family’s schedule from the content choices and make the schedule that’s right for your family’s interests. Every weekend, we will have the next week’s content pack ready to go! For more information about the Library and any of its free resources, call (225) 231-3750, or visit the library website at ebrpl.com. k




This summer, the Alexandria Museum of Art is painting the way with three sessions of creative virtual camps for kids. These half-day camps provide campers with dynamic, art-centered experiences that will entertain and challenge your creative thinkers who are interested in art. With each registration, campers will receive a box of supplies for a week’s worth of projects, written lesson plans, video instruction, and access to AMoA’s Virtual Artroom to interact with the certified art instructors and other campers. Projects can be completed without a computer. A webcam with internet access is required to participate in the secure Virtual Artroom. Campers ages 6–9 meet from 9 am–noon; campers ages 10 and older meet from 1–4 pm. $100 for AMoA members; $150 for nonmembers. Sign up by July 2 for “Artistic Upcycling,” when you can join retired art educator Brenda Howell to make a range of projects from assemblage to textured sculptural works using found and collected objects. Campers will be encouraged to reflect on the environment as well as ways to represent themselves as artists. themuseum.org. k 14

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FINE ARTS WRITTEN IN THE SAND Ocean Springs, Mississippi

Islands have a particular ability to capture the imagination of artists and explorers alike. Perhaps their remoteness lends them a mythological air—promising enlightenment, rebirth, and transformation. Horn Island is no different and its inspirational pull has been felt by artists for generations. For the past few years, seven painters from the Gulf Coast have ventured in the footsteps of Walter Anderson to experience the island and create works capturing its beauty and atmosphere. Written in the Sand, the newest exhibition at the Walter Anderson Museum of Art, is composed of twenty-three works by artists Billy Solitairo, Mary Monk, Jerrod Partridge, Louis Morales, Curtis Jaunsen, Diego Larguia, and Auseklis Ozols. Some works were completed on site, others were finished in the studio, but all were influenced by the island’s unique character. With selections available to view online, and with plans to reopen the museum forthcoming, make your plans to encounter the island through the eyes of these artists and lose yourself in the sun, wind, and sand. walterandersonmuseum.org. k




The Bossier City Farmers Market is making its 2020 return with its first-ever drive-thru market every Saturday through November 21 in the Pierre Bossier Mall parking lot. Amid the COVID-19 mandates, the market will continue to offer garden vegetables, fresh meats, homemade goods, and more, all while practicing social distance guidelines. Traffic will flow through two drive-thru lanes, allowing customers to shop from the seat of their car. Each lane follows a loop that passes every vendor, and customers are allowed to drive through these lanes an unlimited amount of times. 9 am–1 pm. For more information, visit the Bossier City Farmers’ Market Facebook page, or visit their website at bossiercityfarmersmarket.com. k




The LSU Museum of Art is excited to

The Historic New Orleans Collection is still a virtual treasure trove, with with several exhibitions viewable online during COVID-19 social distancing measures. Image: François Fleischbein, “Portrait of a Creole Woman”, 1850, oil on canvas. Photo courtesy of The Historic New Orleans Collection.

welcome visitors back to a safe place to recharge through creativity and culture. During the Phase II period, the museum is pleased to allow access to its wonderful exhibitions and works of art once again, while asking for patience as it opens with a modified schedule and safety protocols. Guidelines allow only twenty-five percent capacity access, and all visitors will be required to wear face masks. The LSU Museum of Art will also have safe gallery paths titled “FOLLOW THE FLOW” and other directional signage to protect viewers, along with no-touch digital resources, including a digital animated gallery map and its safety protocol guidelines that people can access online via their devices. The museum will also introduce single-use disposable paper gallery maps. Phase II hours at the LSU Museum of Art & LSU Museum Store are as follows: • Sunday and Monday: Closed. • Tuesday–Thursday: Noon-6 pm. • Saturday: Noon–6 pm. • Friday Noon–7 pm. • 25% Capacity: 4-5 people allowed at one time in the LSU Museum Store; 100 in the LSU Museum of Art. Don’t forget to keep checking our online calendar and lsumoa.org/onlineresources as COVID-19 protocols and

reopening plans continue to change in the upcoming months. k




The Acadianas are one of the most culturally rich areas of Louisiana, and St. Charles Parish is making sure we don’t lose a minute of the beauty and education thanks to the online exhibitions provided by its Virtual Museum. Check out the website to follow in the footsteps of early explorers, visit with founding fathers (and mothers), and access a plethora of resources, including video interviews, documentaries, historical footage, oral histories, town histories, and so much more from the 18th century and beyond. scphistory.org. k




The Historic New Orleans Collection has long upheld its reputation as one of the foremost resources for digging into the past of the Crescent City, from its people to its culture to its artistic heritage. Now, // J U L 2 0



Beginning July 1st due to COVID-19 restrictions, many of the museum’s artifacts appear online in 360-degree interactive experiences, where guests can wander the halls and peer into paintings and photographs at will—all from the safety of their computer chairs. Here are some additional choices: • Enigmatic Stream: Industrial Landscapes of the Lower Mississippi River: As it churns toward its terminus in Southeastern Louisiana, the Mississippi River becomes a wide, muddy superhighway of activity, matched in might only by the megastructures of heavy industry that line its banks. The section of the river from Baton Rouge to New Orleans doubles as one of the most potent economic corridors in the country. For two decades, photographer Richard Sexton has explored this complicated region. Enigmatic Stream: Industrial Landscapes of the Lower Mississippi River features more than one-hundred blackand-white photographs by Sexton, accented by other materials drawn from and inspired by the Mississippi River, capturing the essence of a complex and often mysterious section of the country’s largest waterway.

• Money, Money, Money!: Currency Holdings from The Historic New Orleans Collection: American banknotes in the twenty-first century are recognizable for their uniform size, green ink, built-in anti-counterfeiting features, and universal acceptance as the United States’ only paper money. But prior to the American Civil War, we had no single currency, except for small-denomination coinage issued by US mints following the American Revolution. Between 1810 and 1865 thousands of American banks, states, counties, parishes, and municipalities printed their own banknotes for circulation. Because they varied in appearance and quality, counterfeiters easily capitalized on merchants’ lack of familiarity with notes from lesser-known banks. From 1719 French banknotes to early twentiethcentury coins minted in New Orleans, this virtual exhibition illustrates the history of money in America, with a special focus on Louisiana. • Andrew Jackson: Hero of New Orleans: For many, Andrew Jackson is a figure from a remote past—a portrait on a twenty-dollar bill, a statue in an old

Book nerds unite! Summer reading challenges are being held by libraries all over the state, so people of all ages can turn the page into more knowledge, more entertainment, and more peace of mind—and maybe win a few prizes, too. See page 12.

city square, a lyric in a Johnny Horton

Battle of New Orleans, this exhibition—

song. Yet Jackson was the nineteenth-

now in virtual form—uses original

century equivalent of a rock star, one of

manuscript documents, prints, artworks,

the United States’ most famous heroes, as

and material culture artifacts to take a

well as one of its most polarizing figures.

retrospective look at this American icon.

Originally presented to commemorate the

• French Quarter Life: People and

bicentennial of his famous victory at the

Places in the Vieux Carré: For more

SCOTT, LA • 888-620-TREE (8733) CHURCH POINT, LA • 337-684-5431 WWW.BOBSTREE.COM 16

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While we’ve been stuck at home, our bodies of water have remained open to aquatic life, which means that the False River fishing tournaments are still a bobbing good time. See page 22.

than 150 years, artists from around the world have worked to capture and share their impressions of New Orleans’ most iconic and historic neighborhood. This virtual exhibition gathers twenty-two paintings from the museum’s permanent collection. From the bustle of the French Market to the jazzmen of Preservation Hall, these artworks explore the streets, buildings, and people of the Quarter over time and through a variety of techniques. Additionally, each image has been paired with a literary quotation that the museum hopes will complement it and convey a more vivid sense of French Quarter life • New Orleans Medley: Sounds of the City: The music of New Orleans is the living product of dynamic cultural interactions played out over centuries in this diverse Southern port city. While the city’s music is often characterized by a single style, rhythm, or beat, the reality is much more layered and complex. New Orleans Medley: Sounds of the City explores how the interactions between many musical cultures shaped the city’s music. Selections from THNOC’s extensive musical holdings weave the narrative of the city’s rich musical story. Visitors will see the first music published in New Orleans, tickets from the French Opera House, Jelly Roll Morton’s handwritten sheet music, video footage of Mardi Gras Indians from the 1970s, and much more. See a full list of online exhibitions at hnoc.org, and don’t forget to keep checking for updates as COVID-19 measures continue to change. k




The Ogden Museum of Southern Art isn’t sleeping in during the COVID-19 crisis, ensuring that Southern art remains at the forefront of New Orleans’ thriving creative scene. See a list of exhibitions and curator talks online, a selection which includes: • Revelations: Recent Photography Acquisitions: See photographs made from the early twentieth century to the present and added to the Ogden Museum of Southern Art’s permanent collection over the last decade. • Melvin Edwards: Crossroads: Peer into Melvin Edwards’ world of twisting, sinuous metal, and you will find a place of possibility, an environment where found objects expand—both formally and conceptually—beyond the boundaries of their given form. • What Music Is Within: Black Abstraction from the Permanent Collection: Presenting works that use abstraction as a powerful modality of expression, each of the artists in the exhibition project their own voice to convey their individual visions. To see more, visit ogdenmuseum.org. k

JUL 1st - JUL 22nd


Wednesdays in July, join Michelle // J U L 2 0



Beginning July 1st

This Fourth of July may look a bit different from holidays past, with social distancing measures preventing our usual gatherings of family and friends. But the show must go on—the fireworks show, that is— in a handful of cities across Louisiana, viewable right next door on page 19.

Pontiff, Museum Educator at New Orleans’ Ogden Museum of Southern Art, for a series of stress-free, beginnerlevel online drawing classes designed to improve on and build your drawing skills. Participants are encouraged to tune in each week to learn a new technique and need only a pencil, eraser, and paper to join in. Optional additional materials for each class are suggested in each session’s description. 6 pm–7 pm. Online registration is free, but if you are able, please consider a donation of $10 to help the museum continue to present creative arts programming inspired by Southern art and artists. This month, sign up for: • July 1, Exploring Light and Shadow: Creating depth and realism in drawing starts with an understanding of light. In this exercise, draw a stylized image by blocking out the light and dark areas of your subject. Optional materials: charcoal. • July 8, Exploring Mark-making and Pattern: Explore different mark-making techniques. Use your newfound skills to create an artwork based on pattern and repetition. Optional materials: pen, ink, or markers. • July 15, Abstract Drawing: Learn how to use a viewfinder to compose an abstract work of art. Additional materials: magazine image and scissors. Optional materials: cardstock, X-Acto knife, colored pencils, pastels, or markers. • July 22, Still Life: Learn to Draw Your Favorite Houseplant: Use all of the skills and techniques you have learned throughout the series to draw your favorite houseplant. Additional materials: houseplant or image of plant. Optional materials: color pencils, pastels, or markers. To register, visit ogdenmuseum.org. k 18

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JUL 1st - JUL 29th


The Walter Anderson Museum of Art is hardly letting a pandemic drain all the color from its service to art-lovers everywhere. Every Wednesday during this period of self-isolation, tune in to the museum’s Facebook page for a half-hour Facebook Live show, “Connect,” WAMA’s arts and culture show connecting you to interesting people and ideas from across the map, including interviews with artists discussing their work. Part of the Our ART+ initiative, “Connect” and the museum’s myriad online resources and exhibitions help makes art experiences accessible digitally, and connects the collection to a variety of fields of study including art history, science, social studies, and language arts. Each module is targeted to state standards, student creativity, and overall well-being. For more information, visit facebook.com and walterandersonmuseum.org/artplus. k

JUL 14th - JUL 31st


The Capitol Park Museum in Baton Rouge is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibition, A Colorful World in Black & White: Fonville Winans’ Photographs of Louisiana. As a free-spirited and daring young man in the early 1930s, Theodore Fonville Winans drove the backroads and ...continues on page 20.

ACADIANA • Lafayette, July 3: Uncle Sam’s Jam takes place at Parc International in Downtown Lafayette. The event is free for all ages. Face painting and other kid-friendly activities will be on hand as well. Food will be available for purchase, and of course, plenty of both non-alcoholic and adult beverages will also be available for purchase. The night ends with a massive firework display that is sure to be unforgettable. lafayettetravel.com. • New Iberia, July 4: A Fourth of July parade will take place in Downtown New Iberia. 2 pm–5 pm. (337) 344-9397.

NEW ORLEANS • Luling, July 3: St. Charles Parish will hold its annual Independence Day celebration at West Bank Bridge Park, featuring performances by popular band Groovy 7 and food and drinks sold by local nonprofit organizations. A twentyminute fireworks display will take place at 9 pm. 6 pm–9 pm. 13825 River Road. stcharlesparish-la.gov. k

FELICIANAS • New Roads, July 4: The False River Boat Parade is chugging along, this time themed in honor of American

frontline workers dedicating themselves to the COVID-19 crisis. Participants are encouraged to decorate their boat, and at 2 pm, boaters will cruise by the front deck of False River Paddle Club, next to Satterfield’s, to be judged by a panel of voters. Trophies will be handed out around 3 pm. 2 pm–5 pm. 108 E. Main Street. For more info, visit facebook.com/ events/2016183311858793. • Natchez, July 4: Gather the family for an Independence Day fireworks extravaganza from the lofty heights of the Natchez Bluff, a sight filled with beauty and history. Grab your family household, pull up a seat, and enjoy the spectacular fireworks on the river. 9 pm. visitnatchez.org. k

iberiatravel.com. • Lake Charles, July 4: The City of Lake Charles invites everyone to celebrate its annual Red, White, Blue, & You Fourth of July celebration—virtually! Brandon Broussard and Chez de Bon Temps will play from Historic City Hall from 7:15–8:15 pm and will be streamed on Facebook and on KPLC’s Channel 7. The Lake Charles Community Band will put on a patriotic concert and Salute to the Armed Forces featuring a veteran from each branch of service in Central School’s Auditorium. Fireworks will be live-streamed by KPLC at 9:15 pm. visitlakecharles.org. • Krotz Springs, July 4: Celebrate the

Fireworks on the River in Nall Park in the community of Krotz Springs, a small town nestled along the banks of the Atchafalaya River considered a sportsman’s paradise for hunters, hikers, fishermen, and birders. Also, enjoy hot dogs, watermelon, and live music. Guests are also welcome to bring ice chests, lawn chairs, and picnic blankets. See more at cajuntravel.com. k

NORTHSHORE • Mandeville, July 4: Usually a daylong festival, Light Up the Lake will be ramping up the fireworks in light of caution regarding COVID-19. Fireworks will begin at 8:30 pm and spectators may watch from their cars parked in bays along Lakeshore Drive or on the lakefront, respecting social distancing. Tune into The Lake 94.7FM to hear synchronized music as you watch. cityofmandeville.com. • Abita Springs, July 4: Bring chairs, blankets, family, and friends to Abita Springs’ Trailhead & Park, and be sure to grab your spot around 8:30 pm, since fireworks start at 9 pm. The 2019 event featured a decorated bike and wagon parade rolling through the town, along with live music, a flag retiring ceremony, games, Abita Beer, concessions and snoballs. Details will be announced at louisiananorthshore.com. k

We see extraordinary courage. We see a culture of resilience. We’ll make it through the tough times, we always do. And Blue Cross will always be here to support you. bcbsla.com 01MK7309 04/20

// J U L 2 0



Beginning July 1st -- July 3rd ...continued from page 18.

navigated the bayous of South Louisiana in a secondhand boat he christened the Pintail. During his travels, Winans documented many fascinating aspects of Louisiana culture, including the Acadian fishing community of Grand Isle, the Crowley Rice Festival, an annual fox hunt in the Feliciana parishes, the interior of the Avery Island salt mine, prisoners at Angola State Penitentiary, and Governor Huey P. Long, who was also known to visit remote areas of the state. Winans remarked about this time in his life, “I didn’t take the pictures deliberately. I just took them for fun. None was on assignment. I wasn’t a freelancer. I just took my camera and got pictures when I saw something interesting.” Although color photography became more available and popular during the course of his career, Winans stuck with the familiarity of black and white, developing an intuitive eye for composition and an innate ability to connect with his subjects, revealing both their personality and a sense of place. louisianastatemuseum.org. k

JUL 1st - JUL 29th


Every Wednesday, farmers gather to sell produce, plants, honey, homemade pies and other locally grown items at the Gonsoulin Farmers Market. Grass-fed beef, pork, and lamb are also available at the meat market during this time. Stop on by 6110 Loreauville Rd., New Iberia, from 2–6 pm. For more information, call (337) 577-9160 or visit glcranch.com. k

JUL 1st - JUL 31st


The art galleries at the Ogden Museum ring with music on Thursdays each month, when the popular Ogden After Hours evening concert series brings Southern musicians to entertain and Southern music scholars to elucidate. Now, during the COVID-19 crisis, the museum will host these musical gatherings online with Hear the South,

featuring Southern musicians and DJs performing from the comfort of their own homes. ogdenmuseum.org. k

JUL 2nd - JUL 20th


The Arts Council of Livingston Parish will offer free Virtual Summer Camps in July for children, each hosted via Zoom and accessible with a cell phone, laptop, or iPad. Here are just a few options for burgeoning artists young and old below: Performing Arts Virtual Camps: • Beginning Ballet (ages 5–10) with instructor Misty Bibby. Ten spots available. Monday, July 13, from 6:30 pm–7:30 pm. Monday, July 20, from 6:30–7:30 pm. • Beginning Recorder Classes (ages 9–10) with instructor Robert Reynolds. Eight spots available. The ACLP will provide a recorder for each child. Children will participate in each session for three weeks on Thursdays: June 25, July 2, and July 9 from 6 pm–7 pm. Visual Arts Virtual Camps • July 11, Drawing a Modern Still Life (ages 10 and older). Ten spots available. The ACLP will be providing pens,





pencils, and paper for these classes. 10 am–11 am. • July 14, Drawing and Shading a Contemporary Flower (Advanced) (ages 10 and older) Eight spots available. The ACLP will be providing sketch packets for these classes. 6:30 pm–7:30 pm. To view all classes, register, or schedule a supply pick-up, please call (225) 664-1168. For more information, visit artslivingston.org. k

JUL 2nd - JUL 31st MOVIES & MUSIC JULY AT BAYOU TECHE BREWERY Arnaudville, Louisiana

Acadiana’s busiest brewery boasts live music three days a week and a weekly movie night to boot. Enjoy a show in the brewery beer garden with woodfired pizza from the Cajun Saucer Pizza Kitchen, or take a taproom tour and learn how the unique craft brews get made on the banks of Bayou Teche. Weekly events include: Thursdays on July 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30 • “Arnaudville Theater” Thursday Night Movies: Come out for free popcorn and old sci-fi or B horror flicks, with woodfired pizza and brews on standby. Call (337) 754-5122 or check the Brewery’s Facebook page for the weekly film


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selection. 7 pm–9 pm. Fridays on July 3, 10, 17, 24, and 31 • Friday Night Live: Fresh pints and equally fresh tunes await your summer evenings this month. Visit the Brewery’s Facebook page for weekly lineups. 7 pm–9 pm. For more updates, visit bayoutechebrewing.com. k

JUL 3rd

ART MARKET ART ON POINTE Baton Rouge, Louisiana

The village of Pointe-Marie is excited to partner with the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge to bring on its second art market since its drive-thru in June. The market will host more than twenty vendors, multiple food trucks, snowball stands, and performances by Bayou Cirque and Betsy Braud in conjunction with the Ebb & Flow Festival. Attendees are encouraged to wear masks and practice social distancing protocols. 5 pm–7 pm. facebook.com/ pointemariebr. k

JUL 3rd

Looking for a new way to spend these bright summer nights? Why not learn a bit of drawing from online courses through the Ogden Museum of Southern Art? See page 17.


Celebrate America’s birthday in the

Irene W. Pennington Planetarium this year with special showings for the whole family. Choose one (or all!) from the following: • 5 pm, National Parks Adventure: Join LASM for the ultimate off-trail adventure into America’s awe-inspiring great outdoors. Explore the wilds of America and celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of the National Park Service in this full-dome, giant screen movie narrated by Robert Redford. • 6 pm, America’s Musical Journey: Here, every chord, every riff, every bang of a drum tells a story. In this film, narrated by Morgan Freeman, these stories come together to create a soundtrack for the American experience, which showcases the nation’s diversity and its collision of cultures, culminating in a unique blend of sound, music, and innovation unlike anywhere in the world. • 7 pm, Laser Queen: Experience this brand-new laser music show featuring the classic rock band Queen’s greatest hits, including favorites like Bohemian Rhapsody, Another One Bites the Dust, and You’re My Best Friend, on the 60-foot, 360-degree dome of the Planetarium. Tickets are $20 (includes parking in LASM lot, instructions in receipt) for non-members; $10 for members; members will be sent an email with their discount




s t r u o C t s i r u o T 3-V Hotel r o t o M s ’ 0 4 19


For Reservations: 225-721-7003

We want to congratulate Chef Michael Dardenne on his Small Town Chefs win!


Beginning July 3rd -- July 4th

Live music and the “Arnaudville Theater” Thursday Night Movies series kick off again this month at Bayou Teche Brewery, where we can once again sit back, relax, and do some people watching. See page 20.

code, or they can email ptaylor@lasm.org to receive the code. lasm.org. k

JUL 3rd - JUL 25th


In its modest digs on Florida Boulevard, the Red Dragon Listening Room pulls in artists who, in terms of their accomplishments, are anything but. Well-known and emerging songwriters take the stage here several times each month, and with the venue’s non-profit status, all money raised at the door goes directly to the artists. Join the eager audience for one, or all, of these concerts: • July 3: Steve Judice CD Release with opener Clay Parker & Jodi James ($20–$30) • July 10: Bill Kirchen with opener Clay Parker & Jodi James ($30–$40) • July 25: Jack Ingram (solo) with opener Grant Peeples ($50–$65) Shows usually start at 8 pm. (225) 939-7783 or cmaxwell@premier.net. reddragonlr.com. k

JUL 3rd - JUL 31st


Boutique Hotel, Restaurant, & Bar 5720 Commerce Street • (225) 635-6502 www.StFrancisvilleInn.com 22

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Louisiana’s favorite four-mallet jazz vibraphonist, Dr. Charles Brooks, is bringing weekly live music entertainment to the masses with his free Friday Night Vibes music series. Each Friday night at 8 pm, Brooks will stream a one-hour concert on Facebook

and Periscope live from his music dojo in Central. In an atmosphere full of Southern ambiance, Brooks offers more than just music to listeners; he brings physical visual entertainment as well by showcasing the innovative, multimallet improvisational vibraphone techniques for which he is known. Set lists include, but are not limited to, Charles Brooks originals, popular jazz classics and standards like “What A Wonderful World,” “Bye Bye Blackbird,” “Girl from Impanema,” and “In A Sentimental Mood,” as well as vibraphonic interpretations of popular classic rock, blues, and funk tunes. Previous shows have included Lynyrd Skynyrd, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Alice in Chains, and Prince, to name a few, and the tributes don’t end there. If you listen closely, you just might hear music from some of your favorite movies of the 80s and 90s. Each concert features different tunes interpreted on the vibraphone, and there is no fee to tune in live and watch the show, which Brooks plans to continue even after the end of the coronavirus crisis. Shows stream live on Facebook @ thecharlesbrooksmusic and on Periscope. tv @theCBDMA. Previous Friday Night Vibes shows can be found online at TheCharlesBrooks.com/music under Live Performances. Tune in at 8 pm. k

JUL 3rd - JUL 31st


While we’ve been stuck at home, area waterways have remained open for fishing.

With museums across the state beginning to re-open, the Capitol Park Museum in Baton Rouge is happy to announce its newest exhibition, A Colorful World in Black & White: Fonville Winan’s Photographs of Louisiana, available to view starting July 14. Photo courtesy of the Capitol Park Museum. See page 18.

False River’s Friday Night Cookie Jar and Tuesday Night Fishing tournaments take place every Tuesday and Friday evening until the final “Classic” tournaments in September. Tuesday Night Tournaments run from 6 pm–9 pm and launch from the Morrison Parkway Boat Dock. The Friday Night Cookie Jar Tournament is 7 pm– midnight, from the LA Express Boat Dock in Jarreau. For the Tuesday Night Tournament, contact Billy Bagette at (225) 718-5395; for the Cookie Jar Tournament, contact Storm Randall at (225) 937-0489. k

JUL 4th


The Diversity Initiative for Cultural Inclusion (DICI) Collective of NUNU‘s in Arnaudville presents La Table Chinoise. Similar to the collective’s Atakapas-Ishak, Creole, and French tables, this event is an opportunity for people to share experiences and to participate in language learning. In this case, the language to learn, enjoy, and practice is Chinese. Log in to a virtual version of events (which also explore the practices of traditional medicines, foods, and exercises with Dr.

Dan Liu, assisted by Sophie Zhao) and form meaningful relationships with a diverse social group on the first Saturdays of the month from noon–1 pm. facebook.com/ events/284503422703698. k

JUL 4th


Due to COVID-19, the LongfellowEvangeline State Historic Site’s museum remains closed until further notice, but in an effort to strengthen community ties and raise awareness of the treasure which is Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site, on the first Saturday of each month residents of St. Martinville (with proof of residence) are welcome to enjoy the grounds and site without incurring the standard entrance fee. Have a picnic, go for a walk, or ride bikes—the opportunities are endless. For more info, call (337)-394-3754. k


To paraphrase Minny Jackson’s character from The Help: “Fried chicken can make you feel better about life.” Come learn the tricks of the trade at the Viking Cooking School and see the charming sites from the blockbuster film, The Help, filmed in Greenwood.

JUL 4th


The Baton Rouge Arts Market is returning downtown. Shop with // J U L 2 0



Beginning July 4th -- July 28th over seventy artists from Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Florida who will present original works of art in a variety of mediums including, pottery, jewelry, woodwork, textiles, photographs, glass, paintings, sculpture, hand-made soaps, and so much more. Don’t leave the kids behind; a children’s activity center is always set up between 9 am and noon. Held alongside the weekly Red Stick Farmers Market from 8 am–noon between Main and Laurel streets. Free. (225) 344-8558. k


Experience the Bayou Teche’s harvest of locally grown produce and homemade products by area farmers, artists, and crafters every Tuesday and Saturday. Find one-of-a-kind regionally inspired items such as handcrafted cypress decor, fresh baked goods, ceramics, honey, jellies, candies, and more. 2:30–6 pm on Tuesdays; 7 am–11 am on Saturdays. (337) 369-2330. k



On the first Sunday of each month, the LSU Museum of Art welcomes all to enjoy its exhibitions free of charge, promising special family activities, live music, and more. Now, during the COVID-19 crisis, virtual guests from all over the world can check out these special events online, as well as viewing past First Sunday talks with curators and art historians on the museum’s YouTube channel. lsumoa.org. k

JUL 6 - JUL 31 th



Join fellow young artists for four weeks of fun in a safe, kid-friendly environment alongside local arts organizations and professional teaching artists from July 6–31. Artsplosion! will allow campers to delve into the creative process and learn exciting new perspectives through art making. In addition, Kids’ Orchestra music will contribute enrichment programming during

Look into the recent past via the an online version of Revelations: Recent Photography Acquisitions at the Ogden Museum. Image: Keith Calhoun, The Way She Shakes, She Shimmies, Makes Me Wanna Holla, 1990, Archival Pigment Print, Gift of Stacy and Michael Burke. Photo courtesy of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. See page 17.

the first week, July 6–10. 8 am–3:30 pm. $275 per week. For more info, visit artsbr.org/summer-camps. k

JUL 11th


Every second Saturday, Envision da Berry in New Iberia hosts a monthly flea market featuring everything from gently used household items to local art. Grab a good

deal while you can. 8 am–2 pm. For more info, visit daberry.org. k

JUL 15th


Every third Wednesday of the month except August and December (too hot! too cold!), Les Cadiens du Teche (Cajun French Music Association, offers Cajun music, a meal, door prizes, cake walk,

Schedule your appointment now!

5172 Corporate Blvd. Baton Rouge, LA • 225-928-7155 24

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This July, BREC will roll out its first sessions of in-person summer camps, each bolstered with special safety measures to ensure compliance with COVID-19 health guidelines. See page 12.

50/50, and camaraderie at its monthly meeting open to the public at La Louisiane Banquet Hall located at 5509 Hwy. 14, New Iberia. 7 pm–9:30 pm. Slip into some dancing shoes and learn more at (337) 258-1876 or at facebook. com/lescadiensduteche. k

JUL 17th


searchable by the nominal hashtag—to connect you to New Orleans artists’ and artisans’ work, whether via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. The Arts Council will be posting artist features online, and you can tune into the Arts Market New Orleans’ Facebook page for special video content from local artists to small, handmade businesses. 10 am–4 pm. See a schedule of videos and featured artists at facebook.com. k


Covington, Louisiana

Who doesn’t like free, outdoor live music? We, and the folks on the Northshore certainly do, because they’re bringing back their Sunset at the Landing concert. Past acts have included The Groove Kings, The Magnolia Sisters, Sweet Olive, and many other esteemed local artists. This month, catch Baby & the Brasshearts at 6 pm, followed by The Crispin Shroeder Band at 7:15 pm. Always a lively crowd, and did we mention that it’s free? Just bring chairs and refreshments. Please remember to follow social distancing guidelines. Face masks requested. Find more information on Facebook. k

JUL 25th


Quarantine crafts not exactly turning out to be masterpieces? Maybe it’s time to call in the professionals. On the last Saturday of the month, the Arts Council of New Orleans presents the continuation of its #virtualartsmarket, a collection of online resources—

JUL 28th


On July 28, 1755, British Governor Charles Lawrence signed the deportation order which set in motion Le Grand Dérangement, or the Great Upheaval. The Acadians were then exiled from their homeland of l’Acadie, and from 1755 until 1763, an estimated one-third of their population perished on their journeys. While many of the Acadians eventually found their way to Louisiana and reestablished a community, their descendants remained a people in exile until 2003, when Queen Elizabeth II signed a Royal Proclamation declaring July 28 as the official day in which the world would remember the Acadians’ suffering as a result of Le Grand Dérangement . Each July 28 since the proclamation, the Acadian Memorial hosts a special evening program in reflection and remembrance. 121 South New Market Street. Free. (337) 394-2258 or acadianmemorial.org. k // J U L 2 0



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Our Small Town Chef Award Winner Chef Michael Dardenne of the The Saint Restaurant & Bar at the St. Francisville Inn. Photo by Brian Pavlich. 26

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ust last spring, the St. Francisville Inn—an eggshell blue Gothic Victorian tucked into the oaks of a smalltown crossroad—was transformed via extensive renovations under the guidance of owners Jim Johnston and Brandon Branch, a couple whose talents in design and hospitality helped revamp the inn into one of the go-to destinations in the South. Inside, every inch effortlessly integrates the building’s Old World charm and its contemporary quirks—period-era portraiture intermingling with Hunt Slonem’s rabbit paintings, themselves clinging to the jewel-toned wallpaper climbing to reach luxuriously high ceiliings. In the Inn’s Saint Restaurant & Bar, rays of natural light stream through sapphireblue glasses on bistro-style dining tables. The restaurant wasn’t originally part of Johnston and Branch’s vision. But the need for an established dining experience emerged following the Inn’s remarkably succesful re-opening last spring. Amongst a flood of customers, the hunt for a full-time chef began. For Baton Rouge native Chef Michael Dardenne, the timing couldn’t have been better. “I had been looking for the perfect

fit for about a year,” said “IF YOU ASK A MUSICIAN HOW THEY WRITE Dardenne, who, after a career A GREAT SONG, THEY MIGHT SAY THAT THEY spent racking up credentials in STRUGGLE WITH IT AND WRITE BITS AND PIECES Baltimore, Atlanta, New York, OVER A LONG PERIOD OF TIME, OR THEY MIGHT and London, craved the small BANG OUT A HIT OFF THE TOP OF THEIR HEAD community feel of his home in Louisiana. He settled down BASED OFF A LITTLE BIT OF INSPIRATION, AND in Zachary, where much of SUDDENLY THEY’VE WRITTEN A MASTERPIECE. his family currently lives and THAT’S DEFINITELY HAPPENED TO ME— where his specialty seasoning MANY OF MY BEST SPECIALS COME FROM business, Louisiana Spice OFF-THE-CUFF IDEAS.” Company, is based. “As soon as I sat down with Jim and Brandon and saw how great —MICHAEL DARDENNE they were and the plans they had for the Inn, something just clicked, and I knew that this was self-defense,” said Dardenne, laughing. purposefully, with every intention of “My dad loved to eat, but my mom turning the job into a career. exactly what I was looking for.” “I used to watch Julia Child and The first couple of months after the didn’t care much for cooking, so my restaurant’s November 2019 opening brother waited the table and I prepared Jacques Pépin for fun as a kid, so I guess were a time for experimenting, said the food, and that was kind of how we the interest was always in me,” he said. “After school, I would just head straight Dardenne, as he worked to figure out played together.” the desires of his new customer base Dardenne also recalls his great to White Oak Plantation to work fulland whether they lay in fine dining, grandmother, Maw Maw Babin, and time, and I loved it because I knew it comfort food, or—as fate would have her near-constant laboring over the was what I wanted to do with my life.” it—a subtle balance between the two. Even additional interests in marine kitchen stove, an atmosphere which But the grind toward success is just helped foster the notion of food as a biology and journalism—pushed part of a lifelong routine for Dardenne, social and familial necessity. By the slightly to the backburner once who began operating as his own time Dardenne was a senior in high Dardenne realized he likely wouldn’t household’s chef by the time he was school, he had attained the position be jetting off on sea vessels and nine years old. of sous chef at White Oak Plantation contemplating octopi like Jacques “My brother is also a chef, and we’ll under the tutelage of Chef John Cousteau—eventually played a role often say that we started cooking out of Folse, an education he approached in his culinary journey, both in the

Dardenne’s Lamb T-Bone with mint-basil pesto and toasted garlic parmesan potatoes, served with curried tomato jam and seasoned with Greek-inspired herbs grown on the Inn’s property. Photo by Christina Leo. // J U LY 2 0


Cazan Ballet continued ... Chef Dardenne continued . . . .. seafood-centric education he received after high school at the Baltimore International Culinary College, and as a writer for House & Home magazine, a freelance position he held for several years. “I did their ‘food spotlights’ and a monthly recipe that would accompany an article,” he said. “I’d also do food styling for them, when I’d prepare and arrange a dish and they’d send over a photographer.” As a young man, Dardenne knew that traveling away from Louisiana and its stalwart stance on Cajun and Creole cuisine would ultimately widen his horizons, a freedom he found working at the restaurants of Renaissance Hotels, whether cooking for the Baltimore Orioles or waiting out blizzards in Times Square. Every move was an opportunity for growth and knowledge. For Dardenne, the creative impulse behind his calling lies not just in technique, but in the belief that every recipe is an opportunity to create a work of art. “For me, designing a dish is very similar to being a musician,” he said. “If you ask a musician how they write a great song, they might say that they struggle with it and write bits and

Chef Dardenne’s “Citrus Mambo Jardiniere”: farm eggplant and heirloom tomatoes, topped with Gulf shrimp, lump crabmeat, wild mushrooms, and a lemon basil vinaigrette. Photo by Brian Pavlich.

pieces over a long period of time, or they might bang out a hit off the top of their head based off a little bit of inspiration, and suddenly they’ve written a masterpiece. That’s definitely happened to me—many of my best specials come from off-the-cuff ideas.”

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One such offering includes the recently concocted Yardbird Sandwich, a smorgasbord of ingredients almost certainly pulled out of a Chopped picnic basket—toasted brioche buns, fried spicy chicken, applewood bacon, Creole honey mustard, house-

made pickles, pimento cheese, and a slathering of hot honey with house chips—but which culminate in the perfect balance of the salt, fat, acid, and heat that every chef aims for. One taste of the way Dardenne’s Voodoo Shrimp’s savory blackening

mellows against the sweet spiciness of pepper marmalade and the crunch of crispy angel hair, or the lightness imbued in a creamy Crab-and-Brie Soup via the merits of a well-seasoned stock, and any diner will understand why Dardenne prides himself on a mixture of tones and textures that straddle the line between the surprising and the familiar.

“I like to present dishes elegantly, but also from a comfort-food approach, so that no customer is too afraid to take a risk,” said Dardenne. “I can put in the ingredients that I want, but tone down the language of how I’m writing them, so to speak. You can write all kinds of flourishes on a menu, but if I can introduce customers to something in a more subtle way, and use some

restraint, I get a real creative kick out of that.” Take, for example, his Lamb T-Bone with basil-mint pesto and toasted garlic parmesan potatoes, served with curried tomato jam, seasoned with Greek-inspired herbs grown on the Inn’s property. A T-bone feels familiar, though elevated when cut from lamb, and the tomato jam, though flavored

In addition to his work at the St. Francisville Inn, Dardenne also joins his brother as an owner of the Zachary-based Louisiana Spice Company. Photo by Christina Leo

with Indian spices that might—under less practiced hands—overwhelm or conquer a dish, is as vibrant and sweet as the vegetable alone. And then of course there’s the true Southern favorite Dardenne can’t seem to make enough of: key lime pie, this time with a berry coulis for extra warmth, and in constant battle for supremacy with The Saint’s other dessert rival: blueberry bread pudding. “Food ties into memory so strongly,” he said, shortly after a couple paused our interview to extend their complements to the chef. “It’s great to hear that something is delicious, but being able to transmute an ingredient into a memory that stays with people— whether through taste or smell or even the social event of eating with family— is what I ultimately love to do.” h

The Saint Francisville Inn 5720 Commerce St. St. Francisville, Louisiana stfrancisvilleinn.com laspiceco.com

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Chef Alex Perry


Photo by Brian Pavlich. 30

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o our 2020 Small Town Chef Alex Perry, his path to the culinary arts was “an expensive shot in the dark” more than anything else. As a student at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, the Ocean Springs native studied epidemiology, a subject he found to be interesting in theory, but monotonous in practice. Upon graduating with a microbiology degree, Perry did what many people do when faced with a career they no longer wish to pursue: he went back to school, enrolling in a fifteenmonth program at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Miami. His rationale for such a drastic pivot? “Well, I don’t know that I hate cooking.” An expensive shot in the dark, indeed—but, like most of the risks Perry takes, it paid off. His tall, commanding stature and relaxed demeanor were well-suited for the organized chaos of the kitchen, where each dish presented a new challenge. Here, every day was different. Here, there was always more to learn. With formal culinary training now in his repertoire, Perry’s next move was a return to familiar ground in Mobile. He spent seven years at the helm of NoJa, a Mediterrasian restaurant downtown, learning the ropes and honing his craft, one mistake at a time. “It was a really good learning environment,” said Perry. “‘I’d say, alright, that’s terrible. Why is it terrible? What did I do?’ and then go back and correct it.” When the time came that Perry was ready to open a restaurant of his own with his wife, Kumi Omori, moving back to his Mississippi hometown wasn’t the plan. The couple had been eyeing spaces in Charleston for a while, but the stakes—and bottom dollar required—felt too high in South Carolina’s culinary hotspot for the first-time restaurateurs. They had returned to Ocean Springs to regroup when the space on Washington Avenue became available. Perry figured if he was going to make another expensive shot in the dark, he’d be more likely to stick the landing in the place he grew up in. “When I thought about it, I was like, this is a good first step, it’s in a place where people know me,” Perry said. “Let’s try not to completely crash and burn.” The couple opened Vestige in 2013 as a farm-to-table concept, sourcing

Our Small Town Chef Award Winner Chef Alex Perry , owner of Vestige in Ocean Springs. Photo courtesy of Vestige.

ingredients from the farmer’s market and forming partnerships with area growers and vendors. Over the years, Perry gradually integrated more naturalistic elements of Japanese cuisine—inspired by Omori, who is from Japan—to Vestige’s evolving menu, which he viewed as an opportunity to offer a different perspective on “traditional” Southern cuisine. A vestige is a trace or remnant of that which is disappearing or no longer exists, the lingering thereafter. In his restaurant, Perry wanted to create an experience that would recall the memory again and again, far after the meal’s end. Nestled along the stretch of Interstate 10 between Biloxi and Pascagoula, Ocean Springs is a small artistic community with a culinary scene characterized by seafood-heavy Southern classics and Cajun and Creole offerings. Perry saw the chance to dig a little deeper. “What’s beyond that, you know, what’s more than that? What are the things growing around us that aren’t obvious?” He was interested in incorporating the land’s wild, underutilized bounty into his food,

Top: Tartare of smoked Verlasso salmon, kombu bavarois, fermented carrot and whey bouillon, with fried mustard frills. Bottom: French Hermit oyster, with mignonette of strawberry vinegar, pickled white strawberries, and heshiko onions. Photos courtesy of Vestige. // J U LY 2 0


Chef Perry continued . . .

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Chef Alex Perry’s heirloom tomatoes, smoked over wax myrtle, preserved shiso, sesame koji cream, and served with seaweed bavarian and fresh elderflower. Photo by Brian Pavlich.

sourcing plants indigenous to the Gulf Coast region such as elderflower, elderberries, dewberries, wax myrtle, beautyberries, wild bay, swamp bay, sassafras, and Jackson vine. “People were beginning to get it, and the market for the food that we wanted to do existed, they just needed a place to come to, and that was us. “It isn’t just the local farms and the local vendors, but the natural element that’s around,” said Perry. “It seemed like an interesting way to explore and serve food that’s not overtly Southern, but by every stretch of the imagination, sort of couldn’t be more Southern.” The menu at Vestige is one grand, adaptive experiment, designed around what’s currently in season, what’s exciting or interesting to Perry and his team, and—most importantly—what’s delicious. The result is an ever-shifting fare that’s

not explicitly Southern or Japanese, but somewhere in between. “We are beholden to no dish,” said Perry. “My counter argument is that if we’re any good at what we do, the next thing you eat should be as good as that dish. We like to test the waters and see what we can get away with.” There’s not much Perry doesn’t manage to get away with, however— Vestige’s patrons are often receptive to even the most eclectic and zany of his dishes, an occurrence that, seven years in, continues to surprise him. One of Perry’s only dishes to flop in recent memory featured brown rice, an ingredient that was simply too ordinary for regulars who had come to expect unusual flavor amalgamations from Perry. “They’ll come back asking for octopus or beef tongue, but the brown rice was what crossed the line,” said Perry with a chuckle. They’re not the


only ones—Perry’s unconventional methodology earned him national attention in 2019, when he was named a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef in the South award. The recognition was unexpected for the modest 39-yearold, who sees his success as the result of a trusting local populace and a lot of luck, though our Small Town Chefs judges know better. “I’m just making it up as I go along,” Perry said. During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Vestige’s multi-course menu has changed weekly. In midJune, the tasting menu included courses of wok-fried octopus, grilled okra with hibiscus, chrysanthemum, marinated crawfish, and leg of lamb with peach-kosho, wood smoked pommes paillasson, and shishito peppers. Since collaborating with local farmers to supply their menu,

Perry and his team also work with producers to distribute fresh flowers and vegetable boxes each week from Vestige, as well as homemade soup, bread, pickles, artisanal cheese, and desserts. All of the sauces and pickled vegetables from Vestige are made from scratch, an effort that allowed Perry to dust off his old microbiology knowledge and practice bygone fermenting techniques. “You never stop learning,” mused Perry. “I’ve been doing this for fifteen years and I assume that I know nothing about food. There’s always something new, and that new thing could be something that’s two hundred years old. I love that. I really, really do.” h

Vestige Restaurant 715 Washington Avenue Ocean Springs, Mississippi vestigerestaurant.com // J U LY 2 0



Chef Joey Najolia


Our Small Town Chef Award Winner Chef Joey Najolia and his wife Brandi, owners of Café Lynn in Mandeville. Photo by Brian Pavlich. 34

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hen Chef Joey Najolia and his wife Brandi first opened Café Lynn in 2007, the larger-thanlife mythos of the great Chef Chris Kerageorgio loomed large over the Northshore. The founder of the Lacombe institution La Provence, the Port St. Louis-born Kerageorgio— with his riveting personal history in the French underground and the Merchant Marine—had died that February a revered master of French cuisine in the New Orleans area. And here was the final chef de cuisine of his iconic restaurant, in an old Burger King in Mandeville, attempting to serve meager (although, actually quite superb) red beans and rice with a pork chop. “Can’t you whip up a filet au poivre? A veal picatta?” Chef Najolia’s customers would ask. “At heart, and at home, Joey’s really a one-pot kind of guy,” said Brandi, who manages the front-of-house at Café Lynn. “That is the kind of food I really like,” Joey agreed. “Jambalaya, shrimp creole—real soul food, not a lot of ingredients, simple.” But, alas—“People knew La Provence, and they knew Chef Chris,” said Brandi. “They knew that’s where Joey came from.” Today, seated at the couple’s linentabled, chandelier-dimmed restaurant, a diner must only look to the art on the powder-blue walls to discover this “where”—this happyland of rolling hills, layered terra cotta roofs, and clustered wildflowers. This is no longer the town’s old Burger King (an association Brandi said they never quite kicked) filled with the charming bric-a-brac of relatives’ leftover furniture and the couple’s wedding gifts—a genesis Brandi fondly described as “like our first apartment.” Having moved just three blocks down the road into the more spacious location once occupied by French Market Crawfish and Seafood, Café Lynn’s identity has matured with a measured elegance and confidence, acquiescing to their customer’s expectations for fine dining in a comfortable, non-pretentious space. “The art on the walls represents our roots, our French Provençal background,” explained Brandi. The couple and their restaurant owe much to the spirit of Provence—first emulated in Kerageorgio’s restaurant where they met: Joey a sous chef, Brandi a waitress. A Delgado culinary graduate, Joey spent altogether eight years working at La Provence, developing his skills in French culinary practices under the

Chef Najolia’s classic chicken piccata: lightly floured and pan seared chicken breasts, finished with lemon butter and caper sauce. Photo by Brian Pavlich.

mentorship of Kerageorgio himself. When Brandi joined the team in 2001, Joey was already preparing for his second excursion as a staigiaire, or trainee chef, in France. For his first trip, taken in 1999, he had apprenticed at a ritzy hotel restaurant in Orleans called Le Rivage. This time, he’d be stationed at the Michelin-starred La Petite de France, in Provence. “Because we worked together, I was initially hesitant to go on a date with him,” said Brandi. “But then I heard he was about to leave, was going to be gone for six months. So I was like—well, what have I got to lose? Of course, we hit it off, and went on three or four dates before

he left. Then, once he was gone, he’d call me and tell me all about it.” When Kerageorgio started planning his annual summer in the South of France, where he’d be checking on Joey, he—noting their connection—invited Brandi to come along. “We got to know each other there, in France, for a month,” said Brandi. “It was this really unique thing. I didn’t come up cultured, had never eaten French food before I worked at La Provence. So I was really open and excited to experience all these new things. I had so many firsts there. Meanwhile, Joey was working constantly and learning so much.”

“I’d show up in the morning there,” he described it. “Fish was sitting on the doorsteps. We’d spend an hour and a half cleaning fish and lobster and chanterelle mushrooms. I learned not to take shortcuts, do it right—all the way, every time.” This culinary philosophy ties into equally Provençal values such as using simple, fresh ingredients with an emphasis on locality and seasonality to enhance—rather than disguise— natural flavors, and is the hallmark for Joey’s approach to Café Lynn’s menu. Everything—from the stocks to the soups to the mayonnaise—is made in-house, and every bite of seafood is // J U LY 2 0


Chef Najolia continued . . . sourced straight from the Gulf, and never frozen. “He is a total crab snob,” said Brandi. “He will not order pasteurized crab meat. When we can’t get it fresh, we take it off the menu.” Luckily for this writer, at the time of our meeting, crabs were in season and presented grandly in three courses across the tableau that was my lunch: claws glistening in a fragrant pool of garlic and herb butter; meltin-your-mouth fin meat folded delicately

With simple elegance, Café Lynn’s dining room recalls its French Provençal origins—which present themselves even more grandly on Najolia’s menu. Pictured on the right: Speckled trout atop a pile of green beans and roasted potatoes, topped with a fried softshell crab in Grenobloise sauce. Photos by Jordan LaHaye.

in swaths of cream and swiss cheese in an au gratin; and then soft-shelled and fried, dressed in Grenobloise Sauce with brown butter, capers, and red onions—a generous and decadent topping to the perfectly seasoned filet of speckled trout Joey had recommended, which in its turn sat upon a wonderfully absorbent pile of green beans and roasted potatoes.

This is not to mention the earlier brightness of the Lynn’s Salad, which sneakily incorporated the sinful pleasure of fried goat cheese into a pious bowl of cucumber, tomato, red onion, and bell pepper. Less sneakily, Joey topped the bowl of vegetables with a lamb chop— “just cause that’s my favorite thing to eat.”

When, in between mouthfuls, I asked Joey to explain his definition of “classic French Provençal cuisine,” he said that it’s more about technique than rigid cultural fidelity. “We’ve got the classic French dishes—duck confit, fish almandine, panéed chicken. But we also have eggplant parmesan, alfredos, fried shrimp sliders—these Italian and

New Orleans dishes. For me, it’s more about how things are prepared, that they are prepared in a classic manner, than anything else.” “Many people have the impression that ‘French’ food is a bunch of heavy sauces and cream, but really the Provençal style of cooking is all about fresh ingredients and simplicity,” said


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Brandi. “Yes,” agreed Joey. “A lot of olive oil, a lot of garlic, herbs—lots of tomato.” Throughout the course of our interview and in between edible courses, Joey would apologize and head back to the kitchen. Towards the end of the lunch rush on a Thursday—“They need me back there.” He later told me, “I’m very much a chef that’s working right next to my cooks. I’m not an office chef. I tried to be, but I just got bored sitting over there—I’d rather be in the mix, be in it. I like the rush of being busy and getting organized alongside my crew.” In a neighborhood establishment such as Café Lynn, in a town such as Mandeville, being close to the crew is also being close to the community. Over the years they’ve forged relationships with their staffmembers that last far beyond their stints at the café. Brandi pointed out paintings on the wall, distinct from the pastoral villages. “Those are done by one of our golden children,” she said of a longtime waitress. “We’ve probably sold fifteen of them. “We’ve got a quite a few that have come up with us, who still have such a special place in our hearts even after they leave,” she said. “And her grandfather is still to this day one of regular regulars.” These—“the regular regulars”—are

as responsible for shaping the identity of Café Lynn as Joey and Brandi are. “Our menu really came up to serve what people wanted,” said Joey. “As a neighborhood restaurant, your customers like what they like and want what they want, and they come into the restaurant once or twice a week, and they develop their favorite dishes and come to expect certain things.” “Mandeville is a small town, small community,” said Brandi. “But man, they’re loyal.” In return, Joey has remained committed to crowd favorites—but more than that—to consistency, especially when it comes to quality. His specials, though, are where he indulges. “Depending on the time of year, we’ll run the fun stuff—things like crab risotto, shepherd’s pie, shortrib lasagna, stuff to just keep us creative, stimulated—but still maintaining that classic approach.” For the Najolias, like most restaurant owners, the past few months spent navigating a global pandemic have been turbulent, and have called for countless adaptations. But this time has also been filled with affirmations. In times of trouble, Joey said, it’s good to know that your team will show up for you. “You learn about the kind of people you’ve

“I’D SHOW UP IN THE MORNING THERE, AND FISH WAS SITTING ON THE DOORSTEPS. WE’D SPEND AN HOUR AND A HALF CLEANING FISH AND LOBSTER AND CHANTERELLE MUSHROOMS. I LEARNED NOT TO TAKE SHORTCUTS, DO IT RIGHT–– ALL THE WAY, EVERY TIME.” got working for you. Everyone just dug in and said, ‘We’re gonna make this work.’ It’s been eye-opening.” The community showed up too, in some ways even more than before. “Having everyone at home searching for local to-go food online and on social media, we worked harder to get our name— and more importantly, our menu— out there,” said Brandi. “People who never really understood what we do discovered us for the first time.” And throughout it all, even when seafood became difficult to source and when the menu had to be reduced, the Najolias kept their part of the deal too: serving consistently fresh, thoughtfully prepared, classic dishes to the community who has supported them for so long.

—JOEY NAJOLIA When it came time for dessert, Joey dared me to try and fit just one more thing in. Scanning temptations of strawberry cobbler and crème brulee, I opted for a New Orleans favorite: bread pudding. Across the table, Brandi mouthed: “Good choice.” And though Joey had earlier provided that he is “in no way a baker,” the first bite of creamy, custardy indulgence ensured that––despite all odds— there would be a second, and a third. Sugar, bread, butter, milk, a rich creamy sauce. A classic. h

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// W


The Schmaltz Waltz


Story and photos by Lucie Monk Carter To spatchcock your chicken—and ensure it cooks perfectly inside and out—remove the backbone with kitchen shears and lay it flat, skin-side-up, on a rimmed sheet pan. Prepare to wash your hands rather a lot, but aren’t you doing that now anyway?


ome workdays end with dinner still a mystery. I might see a recipe in my inbox that whets my appetite. I might cave and call in pizza delivery on the way home. Other evenings, there’s a dance I know by heart.

Spatchcock the chicken. Well, have I bought the chicken yet? If no, then I head straight for Calandro’s, down the road from my office in Mid City Baton Rouge. I can make this trip in minutes and maybe even without the costly and caloric additions of ice cream, rice, fruit snacks, and several of the scrumptious, regionally made Anna’s Pies stacked at the register—they’re from Lake Charles, which is something I always have to say, being prideful and being from Lake Charles—but only if I go before picking up my toddler. I circle back to grab the dear from daycare and race home to the sultry sounds of Elmo throttling the Beatles, their mop-tops swishing in distress. If we catch mostly green lights and fewer than half of the other drivers are texting while they steer, the toddler won’t have time to notice us blaze past the library or the humid park or to remember the tall towers and bubble 38

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tanks of the Knock Knock Children’s Museum. It’s over a mile away but looms large over the Garden District’s lush live oaks and in her imagination. Sometimes we can squeeze in an hour there in the evenings. Not on a roast chicken night. Picture a mid-century magazine ad, the somehowtrim-waisted mother (does she eat alone, earlier in the kitchen?) presenting the emblazoned bird to her towheaded brood. Roast chicken is the plump, cheerful mascot of the home cook—excepting vegetarians, vegans, and all others with more dietary discipline than I have. Variations abound in how you can cook it. I’ve rubbed the chicken with herb butter some nights and marinated it with ginger, garlic, yogurt, and dried mango on others. I’ve tied it up with kitchen twine. (“I trussed the chicken,” I told my husband. “But you guys just met,” he cracked.) In the early years of my cooking, I never did the same recipe twice. Creative stagnation would surely follow, then some time later, death. Now a decade in, I’ve learned to refine. Successive successes may not surprise anyone, but they nestle somewhere above my oftenrumbling stomach in a place I suspect is my heart. At last, we’re home. I wrestle the backbone from

the beast with my kitchen shears, stopping to wash my hands upwards of forty times, and lay and splay it skin-side-up on the rimmed baking sheet. This is called spatchcocking. The chicken cooks evenly, beautifully. After too many birds that were raw within and burnt without, I realized salmonella is not a seafood pasta dish but a regular possibility in my terrifying kitchen. No more—now I spatchcock.

Preheat the oven to 450 F. Meanwhile season the chicken. The chicken needs thirty minutes out of the refrigerator and an hour in the oven. That’s time I had in spades during the long, long spring, when my office became adjacent to my kitchen. I didn’t stress about Baton Rouge traffic snarling my route home. I did worry that my daughter would bring up the Knock Knock, or the library, or all the other bright places doing their best to become digital as the world got sick and small. Months into this mess, you’re sure to have seen several articles about how quarantine unfolded in the kitchen. As my friend and Country Roads contributor

Chris Turner-Neal put it, “Yes, Joyce, we ALL cooked while thinking about oblivion.” I’d rather cook to reach oblivion, blissful productivity free from health stats and medical-grade masks. Many steps of my chicken dance remained the same on lockdown. Cluck, shuffle, flap flap, cluck. With quickly blushing wads of paper towel, I dab and blot the chicken skin till its puckered, matte, and dry. Then I rain down salt. Robbed of its moisture, the skin will crisp in the oven.

accordingly. I have renamed my Chicken Dance the “Schmaltz Waltz” so you don’t think I’m just here to wiggle at your wedding.

garden went fallow with the shift in seasons, but still I roasted chickens. I could do it with the newborn in a sling and the three-year-old calling out song requests to the Google Home. I could Cook the chicken and potatoes do it, practically, with my eyes closed. But the furtive masked visits to the for 1 hour. supermarket or the convenient but For an hour, the chicken needs unsatisfying grocery delivery apps had nothing from me. Normally, I catch my me reminiscing on the first time I cooked husband’s car coming up the driveway a whole bird myself, after a visit to the at this time. During the lockdown, I’d Red Stick Farmers Market. “I went to the farmers’ market still find him outside, spending an hour with our daughter in the evening sun. yesterday,” I wrote on my now defunct Toss potatoes in olive oil and She’s now our older daughter, in the food blog in 2012, “and watched a cooking demonstration in which arrange cut-side-down the brilliant, confident chef around the chicken. . . . STILL I ROASTED CHICKENS. [that’d be Celeste Gill] stuffed I COULD DO IT WITH THE her chicken with a sausage I’ll let you in on a secret: the NEWBORN IN A SLING AND THE THREE-YEAR-OLD CALLING mixture and then grilled the cook’s allowed to eat more of OUT SONG REQUESTS TO THE whole bird up. The presentation that crispy skin than anyone GOOGLE HOME. I COULD DO IT, just made me so happy and else. Just pretend to be checking PRACTICALLY, WITH MY EYES inspired that I had to rush home the chicken’s temperature and CLOSED. and turn my market bounty into ignore all questions about why a damn good dinner.” you keep licking your fingers. The answer to that is schmaltz, the feel- vague sense that time has passed–in fits good word for the feel-guilt ingredient: and starts–and the specific sense that she Repeat until perfect. Then, chicken fat. But you should only feel turned three years old (well wishes came whenever you’d like. guilt if you fail to put potatoes on the via video calls and weeks of Amazon pan to absorb all that dripping fat. I arrivals) and got a baby sister too. I’ve rushed home because I was tired, In the first weeks of quarantine I because I missed someone. And I’ve often halve baby yellow potatoes, toss them in a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, and baked everything I could from scratch: rushed home to make dinner, whether it’s arrange them cut-side-down in a single sourdough boules, pies, and tarts, even a new or foreign recipe I’d like to take a layer around the mountainous chicken. an elaborate bunny birthday cake with whack at or an old favorite I know we’ll I nearly flunked physical geography in candy ears that looked decent and tasted all love. I long to be out in the world and college, but I know with frightening far better. I reached May with less energy feel that tug. To come home and cook. Is precision where the rivulets of fat will and more stamina. My sourdough starter that too schmaltzy? h run on the pan and thus plot my potatoes hibernated in the fridge, the vegetable Once the chicken is spatchcocked, use the backbone, liver, and giblets to make dirty rice the next night. (But I am a bad quasi-Cajun and used carrots instead of green peppers.)

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Local blueberries, picked by a toddler, cooked in a skillet, turned into a cobbler. With chicken in the oven for an hour, there’s ample time to make dessert.

Regina’s Kitchen will be reopening in July. BOOK YOUR BRUNCH CLASS NOW!

// J U LY 2 0



Coup du Terroir


Stroy by Jordan LaHaye • Photos by Denny Culbert


itting between a jungle and the Caribbean Sea, eating dishes prepared by some of the finest chefs in the world, Katie Culbert stopped short. She had to know—“What is this wine?” At the time, she probably wouldn’t have quite described the taste of Bichi (which translates to “naked”) as “rebellion.” But she wasn’t far: “It was like nothing I’d ever tasted before. It tasted alive.” It warms the belly, you see—breaking the rules. Sticking it to the man. It tickles the toes, electrifies the blood. Feels just a little wrong, but much more right. And certainly all the more so in communion. Joined by like-minded, open-minded folk clustered tight, toasting to— toasting with—revolution. 40

So it was with the early pioneers of the cultural phenomenon that is “natural wine,” gathered in small scattered groups upon unpoisoned, wild, and often tiny vineyards across the globe––and later, crowded in the few, secret places that served the pure—, albeit sometimes strange—, concoctions they created. As Uncorked Fine Wine & Spirits’ Jonathan Gray puts it, “Natural wines are like the punk rock subculture of the wine world.” Joining hands with the farm-to-table movements of the increasingly healthand environment-conscious twentyfirst century, the natural wine trend has emerged over the last two decades as a somewhat exclusive, oft-misunderstood indie niche. Pushing against the centuryold, multi-billion-dollar modern wine

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industry’s intrusive farming practices, use of chemical additives, flavor manipulation, preservation tactics, and overall corporate nature, natural winemakers and -drinkers seek to cultivate— in practice and in spirit—that oh-sosought-after virtue: authenticity. Though natural wine is not altogether new (in fact, it’s thousands of years old—one might even consider it the “original” wine), apart from a handful of low-intervention winemakers in mid-to-late twentieth century rural France, the widespread resurgence of the stuff is often traced back to wine critic Alice Feiring’s exposé-esque coverage of the wine world throughout the early 2000s, a body of work which critiqued the chemistry lab acrobatics producers employed to, as she described

it, “homogenize” the product, increasing consistency and maximizing production. Natural wine refers to wine that has nothing removed from it, nothing added. In its purest form it is, essentially, fermented grape juice. Though the definition has less than clear parameters, its purveyors and consumers generally agree on the term as a concept referring to wine production adhering to most, if not all, of the following criteria: vines are grown using biodynamic, organic, or dry farming methods––meaning that no irrigation is used to water them; grapes are not sprayed with pesticides or herbicides and are then harvested by hand; the fermentation process is allnatural, using no commercial yeasts; nothing is added for flavor, color, or preservation—excepting, on some occasions, a small quantity of sulfites. The wine is often unfiltered, holding onto the yeast particles and microbes used in fermentation. “People are getting more concerned with where their food comes from,” said Gray, who manages most of Uncorked’s natural wine portfolios. “There’s all this movement towards organic produce, humanely raised meat, locally grown food. It’s only natural that people start asking questions about the things they drink.” But then there’s also the taste. Following that sip of Bichi at the Noma Mexico dinner in Tulum, Katie and her husband Denny started chasing that sensation all over the world. “From there, I was looking, going to all these little wine spots, searching for that flavor, trying to understand what I was tasting. Was it the grape? Was it the winemaker? Eventually, we came to understand that it was how it was made. Not that all natural wines taste the same—they don’t. But there is this underlying thing, this essence to it. It opened everything up.” Gray described this essence as energy. “These wines, they’re often more immediate,” he said. “They’re lively on your palate, often taste fresher, and are made in a way that makes them easier to drink­—easier to digest even—, with a refreshing acidity, lower alcohol levels. A lot of people describe them as ‘alive,’ and they do taste that way, but they are also literally, biologically alive thanks to the lack of filtration and sulfur—which kills off good bacteria and microbes in conventional wine.” Gray has been in the South Louisiana wine business since 2014, and said that he’s watched natural wines gain traction little by little each year. “It’s certainly

“NATURAL WINES ARE LIKE THE PUNK ROCK SUBCULTURE OF THE WINE WORLD.” —JONATHAN GRAY been focused in New Orleans, which is likely just due to the restaurant scene there, all the transplants from bigger cities, and then tourism,” he said. “But it’s started to spread out, with smaller retailers offering selections across the state.” After years of only being able to enjoy natural wines when they traveled, or when they got the chance to take a trip to New Orleans and stock up, the Culberts decided they would bring natural wine to their hometown of Lafayette themselves. Katie, who co-founded Lafayette and Baton Rouge’s Kiki boutiques, had already been searching for a new project, with her eye on Downtown Lafayette. “We were just getting so excited about these wines, kind of obsessed, and we couldn’t get them here,” said Katie. “It all kind of clicked. We are by no means wine professionals, have never really been in the wine world. But I know the retail world, and Denny [a nationally published freelance photographer] is in the food world, and in food marketing. It was something we wanted here, and it seemed like we could do it.” In January, Wild Child Wines opened in the front half of Denny’s photography studio, which has been transformed into an intimate square of a space, walled on two sides with bottles, on one side with a window view of Downtown Lafayette,

and on the fourth with a by-the-glass tasting bar. “We knew from the beginning that having the bar was super important,” said Denny. “People will come in who are interested like us, but others who haven’t tried it will come in curious, or even skeptical. The bar is our way of introducing people to these wines little by little.” Part of the overall mystique of “being introduced” to natural wines is discovering the stories behind each bottle. Much like the charm of the farmers market and the makers revolution, with natural wines, a much smaller distance divides those who make the wine and those who drink it. Produced on small operations— sometimes just a handful of acres of land worked by a dozen or so hands—each vintage tells a story of specific people and of a specific place. “These farmers are mostly picking for lower yields, better grapes,” said Denny. “The batches of wine end up being so small because there is so much concentration. It goes back to what we’ve always supported in our community— eating local, at places where they aren’t necessarily buying their food straight off of the Sysco truck. It comes from a better place.” Gray believes that if anyone can

Wild Child Wines opened in downtown Lafayette in January, offering the first curated selection of natural wines in the Acadiana area—along with an intimate tasting bar perfect for hanging out on summer evenings. Working with small-scale producers, the collection is always changing. See the most up-to-date options at wildchildwines.com, where each wine is accompanied by a detailed description of its flavor profile, as well as its makers and their unique production methods. All photos by Denny Culbert, courtesy of Wild Child Wines. // J U LY 2 0


Coup du Terroir continued . . . ..

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J U LY 2 0 // C O U N T R Y R O A D S M A G . C O M

understand the value of a product capturing the spirit of a region, it should be the people of Louisiana. “In Louisiana, we have such a relationship to our regional delicacies, our distinctive dishes,” he said. “Strawberries from Ponchatoula, crawfish from Breaux Bridge, boudin from Scott. This same sort of language—all tied into the preservation or revitalization of culture and economy—is the spirit of terroir when it comes to wine, especially natural wine.” Because natural wines are produced with the least amount of human intervention possible, they are the most authentic expression of a specific region’s terroir—its environment. “It tastes like it’s from a place,” described Denny. And while conventional wine producers have long treated the changing nature of terroirs as a detriment to their product—adjusting each batch with chemicals and additives to achieve a certain storied flavor year after year— natural wine producers have leaned into the idiosyncrasies of their little vineyards. “It’s a really, really complex web of influences that make a wine what it is each year,” said Gray. “Given that the code of conduct for natural wine is to do as little as possible and just try to translate it into a finished product called wine, it ends up being a bottled snapshot of what happened on your little slice of earth in a specific place in time. What the weather was like in a particular place, how many days of sunshine there were.” By relaxing the human hold on this ancient practice, producers of natural wine discovered something they believed to be more nuanced, more pure. And slowly the long-held rules of the industry begin to lose their sway. Your wine no longer had to look a certain way, its flavors can range from a traditional pinot noir to something totally wild and unprecedented. If you want to grow grapes in a vineyard in Anjou, but don’t want to follow the strict protocols required to market your wine as an Anjou, well hell—call it something else. “It’s a tiny—well, no, really massive now—rebellion against the commercialization of wine,” said Denny. Gray agreed, saying “People start to decide they aren’t going to play the bureaucracy game, they decide to step out of the traditional market entirely and to make the wine they believe in.” Denny and Katie’s collection of around 250 wines is constantly shifting. Because most natural wines are produced in such small yields, the couple can often only get a few crates of each at a time, and

it might be months to a year before they can acquire that wine again. “We have some wine that, maybe ten cases made it to the United States, and only one made it to Lafayette,” said Denny. “We didn’t really understand how difficult it would be to keep up with, but it’s fun. This selection, at any given time, is totally unique to anywhere else in the world because it is made up of what the two of us are excited about right now.” Before having to halt their bar service due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wild Child Wines was squeezed tight on most evenings—downtown lawyers coming together with the service industry crew and a handful of ULL professors. “It’s like an alt coffee shop, an unpretentious setting for a diverse crowd of people to just come and drink wine,” said Denny. “It’s what it’s all about. We want everyone to have it in the community, to drink it and love it like we do, and to support these small winemakers around the world.” On recommendation, I took home a bottle of Weingut Beurer rosé, which Denny described as some of the “most delicious red wine in Germany, with a fantastic, bright taste,” and that Katie proclaimed the one—“This is the one. It’s delightful.” Across my friend’s coffee table later that week, I poured us each a glass, prefacing with the fact that the rosé’s maker is an ex-BMX champion whose vineyard grows wild with over twentyfive grape varieties—many from rare medieval-age vines—which themselves coexist with peach trees, almond trees, quince trees, herbs, birdhouses, and an insect hotel. I sniffed, swirled, and soaked my unrefined tastebuds in it, searching for elements of the ancient, for a hint of peach, the sweat of the worker who plucked its fruit, or even the oft-quoted “barnyard” taste often attributed to natural wines. Did I feel something? Sure. A tingle, a twist. But, really, in the end, it was just a truly wonderful rosé—a fresh, bright, intoxicating balm on a summer evening shared with the not-to-betaken-for-granted-these-days gift of companionship. As the Germans say, trinkfreudigkeit—a joy to drink. And grown, crafted even, with care. So we toasted: to friendship, to great wine, to small business, and to rebellion. h

Wild Child Wines 210 E. Vermilion St. Lafayette, Louisiana wildchildwines.com


our a Glass

Elizabethan Gallery “More than just a frame shop.”

Recommendations by Katie and Denny at Wild Child Wines

Keith Douglas




Dufaitre, Cote de Brouilly (2017) Hands down our favorite red wine in the shop. We’ve carried Remi Dufaitre’s wines since day one. This bottle is the quintessential gamay from Beaujolais. $34 Back To The Dock Acrylic by Ed Eure

Cooking, fishing, reading, and even those crazy family photos

Andrea Phillips

680 Jefferson Highway, BR, LA 70806 • 225-924-6437 • Elizabethangallery.com


Konpira Maru, I Dream of Tangerine (2018) A wildly delicious Sangiovese rosé from an unexpected region of Australia. Konpira Maru, like many Aussie winemakers, produces serious wines with a playful attitude. $35


Enderle & Moll, Weiss & Grau (2018) Sven Enderle and Florial Moll are just a two man operation in Germany who have gained a true cult following in the natural wine world. They are the benchmark producer for natural, Burgundy-esque German Pinot Noir, period, end. The white wines, though a small part of their production, are revelations in skin-contact whites, transparent and energetic. $24


Kobal, Bajta Muscat Pét-Nat (2019) The Kobal pét-nats from Slovenia are the perfect companion to Louisiana summertime. A pét-nat, or pétillant natural, is a light and fizzy wine made by bottling the juice before it completes it’s first fermentation. The result is a crisp, refreshing, and a little bit rustic sparkling beauty. $23

Kitt Capri’s Rec

Visit Wild Child Wines, and your likely to meet Katie and Denny’s daughter Kitt, who you should thank for getting mom and dad to stock the shop with her favorite snack—Bjorn Corn (which, onbrandedly, is popped all-naturally—using heat from the actual sun). Ask Kitt about her favorite wine in the shop? “Kombucha!”

// J U LY 2 0



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F I L M ) E A T S F I R S T // 4 7








PHOTOGRAPHING FOOD, THEN & NOW By Elizabeth Chubbock Weinstein


rom gleaming billboards boasting of boiled crawfish to our neighbor’s latest #brunchtime Instagram post, in Louisiana we are constantly consuming imagery of our favorite cultural totem: food. Food is an important part of our humanity and perhaps what we most love to share. In fact, in today’s digital landscape, our appetite for photos of food has reached such astronomical proportions that new words are being coined to describe the fetish. The word “foodtography,” according to YourDictionary.com, for instance, means “the practice of diners photographing food they are served in restaurants, usually for the purpose of sharing the photos on social media.” Particularly nowadays, some might argue that 44

foodtography should encompass photos taken in private kitchens as well. The passion for capturing food in photos long precedes social media, though. The first image of food as the primary focus of a photograph was taken in 1845, only a few years after the camera was invented, by William Henry Fox Talbot: a bowl of fruit, which he titled “A Fruit Piece.” For over a century, photographers from Irving Penn to Sandy Skoglund and Cindy Sherman have turned their artistic eye upon food. The earliest photographs mimicked fine art still-life paintings, but it did not take long for artists to begin experimenting, using foodstuffs as a stand-in for social, cultural, and political commentary. The advent of commercial photography in the 1930s saw food as a commodity

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Photos by David Humphries (left), Collin Richie (top right), and George Graham (bottom right).

appearing in advertisements and on billboards. Magazines dedicated to the subject, such as Condé Nast’s Gourmet, whose first issue came out in 1941, increased demand for high-quality pictures. By the 1950s, the popularity of fast food joints and the growing dine-out trend gradually resulted in a specialized niche within the photography industry. It is the cookbook, however, with its images of sumptuous, artfully arranged dishes displayed on page after

page that brought food photography into the home. The earliest known cookbook—three clay tablets dating from 1700 BCE which include twentyfive versions of stew—obviously did not contain pictures. The first to include visuals is Bartolomeo Scappi’s 1570 Opera dell’arte del cucinare, or “Opera on the art of cooking,” a collection of nearly one thousand Renaissance recipes accompanied by a set of twenty-eight copper engravings, including the first

known picture of a fork. While a few early twentieth-century cookbooks did include photographic images­ —such as Mrs. Beeton’s Cookery Book, published in 1901—their regular inclusion was not possible until advancement in printing techniques and photographic processes much later. By the 1940s, color photography had been invented and large companies like Crisco began to produce free “cookbooklets” containing recipes

language cookbook when it was published in New Orleans in 1840. Since then, Louisiana cooks have been educating the world on the differences between an étouffée and a fricassée and providing illustrated instructions on how to create dishes like crawfish pie, sausage-and-ham jambalaya, and gumbo z’herbes. There have been fifteen editions of the The Picayune’s Creole Cook Book, first published in 1900, and the

THE PATTIES WERE PRE-SOAKED IN LARD, SESAME SEEDS WERE GLUED ONTO THE BUNS, AND CONDIMENTS APPLIED WITH SYRINGES. THERE WAS PRECIOUS LITTLE ROOM FOR ERROR, UNLIKE TODAY WITH OUR RELIANCE ON SOFTWARE PROGRAMS LIKE PHOTOSHOP. and photographs to promote use of their products. In Louisiana, we have our own cookbook legacy. La Petite Cuisinière Habile, a reprint of an earlier European work, became America’s first French-

illustrated chart of various rouxs in Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen (first edition 1984) has become “one of the most referenced cookbook pages in the history of Louisiana cooking,” according to food writer Rein T. Fertel,

The trend in food photography today is more minimal—focusing on close-ups of food in direct light. According to Collin Richie, the photo should “hit you in the mouth.” Photo by Collin Richie.

whose grandmother founded the Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse chain. From River Road Recipes and Talk About Good by the Junior League of Baton Rouge and Lafayette, respectively, to books by award-winning chefs like Emeril Lagasse, who has produced eighteen cookbooks—there is no shortage of recipes, with their accompanying imagery, available. Among these, the hefty tome titled The Encyclopedia of Cajun and Creole Cuisine by Chef John Folse stands out due to sheer quantity of photos. Restaurants too, from Antoine’s to Mulate’s, also have produced cookbooks featuring mouthwatering images as part of their promotional strategies. When Baton Rouge photographer David Carlysle Humphries got his start in the 1970s, commercial food photography was a thriving market in America. He began with Piccadilly Restaurants, later adding Ralph &

These creative professionals employed all manner of tricks to keep up the food’s appearance, from using paint to simulate mustard or Elmer’s Glue as a stand-in for cereal milk to melting cheese on the spot with a hairdryer. Humphries recalled one shoot in which fifty to sixty burgers were held together with toothpicks. The patties were pre-soaked in lard, sesame seeds were glued onto the buns, and condiments applied with syringes. There was precious little room for error, unlike today with our reliance on software programs like Photoshop to adjust, correct, and enhance images. Humphries, who now also uses digital processes in his professional and artistic practice, said that ninety five percent of food photography today is taken digitally. A new generation of commercial digital photographers emerged in the early 2000s, among them Collin Richie, who also resides in Baton Rouge. Digital


In the early days of food photography, the art involved much more equipment, meticulous manipulation and refining of the food, and was typically styled in the trend of opulence—cornucopia-style, with lots of props and raw ingredients. Photo by David Humphries.

Kacoo’s and Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers to his portfolio. According to Humphries, his food photography stood out at the time because of his passion for the subject matter, and also thanks to the fact that “most photographers didn’t want to do it.” Not only was it laborious to manipulate a large format 8x10” view camera to get tight close-ups, but the set-up had to be thoroughly tested in advance. Before the food even entered the picture, numerous instant Polaroids were taken to correct the set and refine the image. A photoshoot took hours to days to complete. Due to harsh lighting conditions and the lengthy timeframe, it was crucial to “build the food.” Food stylists were flown in from big cities.

cameras revolutionized photography. While food stylists are still in demand for high-profile clients, capturing food imagery is less troublesome than it used to be. For instance, Richie said he shoots “tethered,” meaning he connects his camera to another device like a tablet or even a smartphone, which allows the food stylist and the photographer to simultaneously view the shot before it is taken. Aside from such improvements in technology, Richie said a recent change is the overall aesthetic of food photos. Instead of multiple dishes laid out on a table with a cornucopia of raw ingredients and floral arrangements, today’s trend is toward minimalism. The focus is on a single, well-executed // J U LY 2 0


Foodtography continued . . .

In the age of social media, image is everything. And our existence-long love affair with food has presented itself in the 21st century in the impulse to share our meals—”phone eats first.” George Graham has made a name for himself as a blogger by teaching himself not only to cook, but to photograph the food he makes—”a defining element for a blog,” he says. Photo by George Graham.



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J U LY 2 0 // C O U N T R Y R O A D S M A G . C O M

dish captured in direct light––a brighter image, but with more shadows. As Richie described it, the photo should “hit you in the mouth.” Another trend, he said, is to show more evidence of human interaction, such as hands holding a sandwich or lips on a straw, suggesting that the food pictured is about to be eaten. According to Richie, “Restaurants want the image to look more organic, like a customer took it, but, they want it to be professionally executed.” This current fad is no doubt influenced by foodtography. People want to see images of food reminiscent of the ones on our Instagram feeds—photos taken by ordinary people with cell phone cameras. Instagram currently has more than 942,112,858 images attached to just four of the one hundred most popular hashtags for food imagery: #food, #foodporn, #instafood, and #yummy. Food is perhaps the most photographed subject on the network, especially if these stats are added to the astounding number of food images found on other sites like Facebook and on blogs. Since 1997, when Chowhound provided the first online community for the food-obsessed, food blogs have continued to grow in popularity. Today, there are virtually millions of food blogs to salivate over. “Good food photos are a defining element for a blog,” said George Graham, who launched his award-winning food blog acadianatable.com in 2010 and now has over fourteen thousand engaged social media followers. Graham is from Louisiana and no stranger to local fare. A move to Lafayette in the 1970s, however, marked a turning point in his career. It was there that he fell in love with the

Cajun-Creole food culture of Acadiana. As a cook, he started collecting not only recipes but also stories passed down from generation to generation by the people he met. Graham gradually learned the art of writing recipes and taught himself how to plate, style, prop, and photograph the foods he prepared. Graham said that “the photographs brought [his blog] to life,” conveying the richness of his unique subject matter. Over 180 full-color photographs are included in Graham’s Acadiana Table: Cajun and Creole Home Cooking from the Heart of Louisiana, published in 2016. His newest cookbook venture Fresh from Louisiana is due out this November. For all his success, Graham modestly claims that “[he] is still learning.” Indeed, so many of us are aspiring food photographers these days, learning as we go. Our appetite to share pictures of food is showing no signs of abating. When asked for a word of advice on how to take more professional-looking images, both Humphries and Richie stressed the importance of lighting. Richie offered a handy foodtography tip for your next restaurant visit: “Sit by a window and use a menu to reflect the light back onto the dark side of the dish.” He said it will make all the difference. If only it was that easy! h

fabphotos.com colinrichiephoto.com acadianatable.com Elizabeth Chubbuck Weinstein is an independent curator, writer, and creative consultant based in Baton Rouge.


Preservation Tactics



he rooms of Suzanne Poole’s Livonia home flow into one another with nary a dividing wall in sight. From entryway to kitchen to living room to dining nook, walking through the manicured space—lace curtains, long countertops—feels a bit like navigating the broad aisles of a homestead museum: sepia-toned portraits of sisters in sausage curls rest on an antique cupboard, Indian pumpkins cluster below an old brick fireplace, a trio of wooden spinning wheels occupies a windowed corner, and across from them, a fully set dining table sits laden with rose-painted china, gleaming silver trays, and a crystal condiment station made of glass cut so finely, it would just as easily belong in the treasure coves of One Thousand and One Nights as a Southern supper spread. The aesthetic is at once incidental and purposeful, the result of decades spent amassing artifacts honoring the “old ways” of Louisiana living, when handstitched clothing lasted several years, furniture pieces bore the individual marks of their craftsmen, and feeding

a family required a culmination of a woman’s knowledge of tending plants, identifying medicinal herbs, and perfecting recipes older than the depths of anyone’s Pinterest board. It’s no surprise, then, that Poole has built a reputation for herself as one of the finest preservationists in South Louisiana— and I’m not even talking about the two-hundred-year-old items in her

and canned loquats, all clustered beside spires of glass-bottled cherry bounce and cordials made from strawberries, blackberries, apricots, and pears—not to mention the armfuls of green herbs which turn the air soft and minty-fresh in the ninety-degree weather of our visit. Once the owner of her own homemade preserves business, Suzanna

“WHEN YOU’RE MAKING CORDIALS,” SHE SAID, POURING SMALL TASTING GLASSES OF VAPOROUS CHERRY BOUNCE FRAGRANT AS CHRISTMASTIME, “YOU’VE GOT TO USE WHAT’S CALLED SAIGON CINNAMON. NOT THAT POWDERY STORE STUFF. “ —SUZANNE POOLE collection. Poole’s kitchen counter shrinks under the jars, baskets, and bottles holding her latest bounty of food preserves, a display of dried peppers and onions, citric vinegars, pickled cucumbers, berry jams, her pepper jelly specialties,

of Louisiana, these days Poole usually makes preserves solely for friends and family. But this July, as a means to reenter the public sphere, she’ll launch a new website, suzannaoflouisiana. com, a place dedicated to communityshared knowledge about gardening and

preserving. “I’ve always been interested in the way people lived in previous generations, and what they did to get by in their daily life,” said Poole, who, although only sixty-five years old, grew up with grandparents born in the 1880s. “The truth is that you only lived as well as your own ingenuity. Up in Kentucky, where some of my family comes from, the winters were too cold to not have preserved foods at the ready, and in the summer, your mama—and it was the mama who usually did the gardening and sweating in the heat— would stand out over a pot under a shade tree, cooking her jams and jellies.” As for Poole’s particular methods of canning, bottling, drying, and pickling, she admits that she learned how to make preserves mostly on her own, reading voraciously and cultivating a natural interest in healthy cooking after she and her husband decided to begin eating more healthconscious—but still flavorful and nutritious—meals. With a little practice, Poole assured, preservation // J U LY 2 0


Preservation Tactics continued . . . ..

can turn out to be one of the most efficient ways to add flavor to meal prep. Lemon vinegar, for instance, can take the fishiness out of filets, herb jellies can add some zing to veggies and meats, and butters can be blended with chive and garlic—all easy tricks that can change the whole palate of a simple dish. “I talk a lot about the big families being fed and clothed in the 1800s,” she said, “but learning how to preserve foods and herbs is also great for young people living alone or in small apartments. It’s easy to waste fresh ingredients when you’re only buying for one person. This way you can dehydrate a whole bucket of peppers, for example, and fit them into a single bag that you can keep for a long time.” The art of preserving also comes with a valuable lesson in home economics. “Lots of young people don’t even know what it means to set up a ‘pantry,’” she said. “It’s important to purchase a stash of the basics—flours, cornmeal, certain spices—instead of wasting time 48

and ingredients by grocery shopping for individual recipes.” In lieu of relying on Internet recipes from sources like Pinterest, which she says often lack expertise or knowledge about balancing flavor profiles, Poole turns to old Southern Living cookbooks, or else from tried-and-true discoveries she’s made by herself along the way. “When you’re making cordials,” she said, pouring small tasting glasses of vaporous cherry bounce fragrant as Christmastime, “you’ve got to use what’s called Saigon cinnamon. Not that powdery store stuff. That, and vanilla bean paste. It’s a bit expensive, but the flavor is like nothing else, and totally worth it.” Aged for one year in jars packed to the brim with fruit, the liquors are sweet and fiery in their turn, preferred with a vodka base by some, and a brandy base by others, and usually sipped after dinner as a digestif. Anyone familiar with Diana Barry’s accidental imbibing of the raspberry variety in Anne of Green

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Gables—(even if, okay okay, it turned out to be currant wine)—will know just how quickly these little sugar bombs can actually strike. “Back in the day, cordial was the only alcohol a woman could drink respectably in public,” said Poole. “Or it might be one of the only forms of medicine you’d have available in the house.” Before being boiled, fermented, or infused, the ingredients housed in Poole’s jars and bottles and bags begin life in her backyard, a well-groomed jungle of nearly every vegetable, herb, and occasional berry or fruit found in any traditional Louisiana kitchen. “It’s been a trial by murder over the years,” she said, “but you figure it out eventually.” Mint grows in tyrannical sprawls, intertwined with its different varieties scented with chocolate, wintergreen, and pineapple. Lemon verbena practically weeps with summertime when snapped in half, sprays of

Jamaican Malabar spinach crawl up a gazebo like so many landlocked waterlilies, carrots take the brunt of nematodes to protect the tomatoes, green beans spilleth over, eggplant shines, celery goes to seed, coriander waits to be plucked from cilantro, thornless blackberries crouch in the distance, guava and key limes huddle in the shade by a statue, basil and thyme and rosemary and garlic chives emanate a cologne in the fountain-ruffled air by the pool, lilies make a name as the most resilient of Southern flowers, and the firm leaves of papyrus peep over them all like Nile tourists lost in a crowd. All of it useful, all of it lovely. In Poole’s words: Like a homecooked meal, the best plants aren’t necessarily ones you grow from seedlings, but ones you receive as gifts. “I can’t explain it,” she said, “but they’re always the ones that’ll last you forever.” h


Blackberry Cordial by Suzanne Poole

Things You Need: Clean one gallon jar with tight lid Two fifths good vodka Four cups sugar Two tablespoons siagon cinnamon,or regular cinnamon Two tablespoons vanilla bean paste or a good grade vanilla Fresh or frozen blackberrys to fill jar to one and a half inches below rim Directions: Simply fill jar with Berry’s, add all ingredients saving the vodka for last. Store jar in pantry, gently shake once a month to disperse sugar. You can add more sugar if you want it sweeter, same with vanilla and cinnamon. Here’s the hard part: Wait at least three months to enjoy. The longer the wait, the better the taste.

...a way to give and to receive®

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L O C A L L O V E //




Falling in Love with the Quarter, All Over Again



couldn’t believe my eyes. For the first time since I came to New Orleans for an assignment in 1991, the French Quarter was empty, a veritable ghost town. It was a week or so after the COVID-19 lockdown, towards the end of March. Walking my dog Pearl, exercising, and cooking were so far my main coping mechanisms, the way I tried to keep anxiety at bay. So, on a gorgeous spring day—wasn’t it the most beautiful stretch of spring weather in recent memory?—I got on my bike, and rode from my home close to Bywater into the French Quarter. From North Rampart to the river, up Royal to Canal and 50

back to Esplanade on Bourbon, I was gobsmacked. The crowds who typically fill the Quarter were out of sight, with only a few homeless souls on the street. With no traffic and all restaurants, bars, shops, and clubs closed, the only sound was birdsong, the air heavy with the scent of gardenias and jasmine. Talk about surreal. I locked up my bike and started rambling. I looked upon St. Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square, weirdly devoid of their street buskers, artists, and mule-driven carriages, tour guides waiting patiently to clip-clop tourists around town. Street after street, details stood out, lacy wrought iron balconies and galleries, glimpses of secret

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courtyards, homes awash in color and lush greenery. Crooked streets, walls, and buildings. Spanish street signs. It all reminded me of the first time I saw the Quarter, how it took my breath away, like no place else I’d ever been. It occurred to me that as we all seek to find opportunity, somehow, in this pandemic, the French Quarter is one place to seek solace. Was it only months ago that I was exasperated by a throng of tourists crowding the sidewalk on an evening ghost tour, forcing me to walk into the street to get around them? Well, they’re gone. The virus has hobbled our hospitality industry, a heartbreaker on so many

levels. But as we slowly emerge, our city awaits. Now that shops, restaurants, and bars are open again in some form or another, and musicians are trying to find creative ways to perform, it’s up to us—to we locals and lovers of New Orleans living in surrounding towns and states—to rally around this amazing place. Because it will never be easier to park, to get a restaurant reservation, or to appreciate the three-hundred-year-old city’s amazing architectural details, than it is right now. Dickie Brennan agrees. Brennan, whose family sets the highest bar for hospitality in town, has a lot of faith in

installing an elevator. “But we’ve still with most of the company’s growth been in the Quarter, and this is a chance centered in the historic neighborhood, to see it with fresh eyes,” she said. including Broussard’s, the Bombay “We already have some private parties Club, and Kingfish. Although he planned for August, and then plan to acknowledges that business went from reopen all business in September.” She $80 million to zero overnight and encourages coming in for dinner, with from fifteen hundred to thirty-eight time spared for a stroll. “We have a employees, Ammari sees opportunity national historic treasure in our own around every corner, with eighteen of backyard—now’s the company’s spots reopened at press the time to revisit time and more on the way. He’s even THE VIRUS HAS planning to expand, opening at least it.” HOBBLED OUR While iconic two more restaurants in the near future. restaurants like “We hope to attract the drive market, the HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY, Antoine’s connect people who already love New Orleans,” A HEARTBREAKER ON diners to the city’s he said. “We’ve improved and invested in SO MANY LEVELS. Creole past, there all of our properties during this time— are plenty of newish we love the French Quarter and are His family would often make the restaurants that explore all manner of committed to making the neighborhood trek from Uptown, kids packed into the contemporary American cuisine. Robert better.” Calling the pandemic a wake up station wagon, driving down Bourbon LeBlanc is the CEO of LeBlanc+Smith, a towards the French Market, where boutique hospitality group that includes call—“there was always so much Morning Call had its original location Sylvain, Longway, Meauxbar, Cavan, business, it was easy to take it for serving beignets and café au lait. “We’d and Barrel Proof. His company went granted”––Ammari sees the chance wander along the river to look at the from one hundred fifty to five people to reconnect with locals and dig into boats. If you didn’t grow up as a kid in March. “We aren’t really set up for community as a plus. The company coming to the Quarter, bring your own takeout,” he explained. “Our business joined so many other New Orleans kids for the experience.” model is based on community, on a restaurants in giving back, with more From its romantic back alleys and love of food and drinks, and taking care than five thousand meals donated to staff funky bars to the architectural elements of people. We couldn’t make it work and some fifteen thousand meals served and historic sites, the French Quarter so we did the safe thing.” Like so many at area hospitals and food banks like reveals its checkerboard past, a gumbo restaurateurs, LeBlanc hunkered down Second Harvest, which it will continue to partner with moving forward. of ethnicities and influences unlike Keeping prices reasonable and anyplace else in America. BUT AS WE SLOWLY offering specials like Broussard’s “The French Quarter is our three course $19.20 menu, a EMERGE, home; it’s the oldest part of the city,” celebration of the restaurant’s 100th said Daniel Hammer, president anniversary, is a part of the opening plan. and CEO of The Historic New Orleans with his family while having daily Zoom “The French Quarter is the jewel at the Collection, an under-appreciated vault calls with his team, who are ready to get heart of our business,” said Ammari. of history and culture based in its newly back to work. Broussard’s chef Jimi Setchim, renovated digs at 533 Royal Street. “Our “After Katrina, we all fell back in who led the kitchen cooking for the streets and building are our artifacts. love with New Orleans, and the world community while the restaurants were They contain the stories of everything followed,” said LeBlanc, whose family closed, used the unfamiliar downtime that happened here, everybody that has roots date back to mid-18th century to explore the neighborhood. “I live in been here.” New Orleans. “What was different was the Irish Channel, which is close, but Hammer hopes that current times will that we were working and then going working seventy hours a week doesn’t call people home to the French Quarter. home to rebuild—we don’t have to do give you much downtime. My wife and “Feeling rooted is more important that this time.” Proud to live in the most I came into the Quarter so many times now than ever,” he said. HNOC’s first European city in America, LeBlanc and just explored, little micro-vacations.” phase of welcoming visitors includes believes in New Orleans and in its With the Quarter’s many riches new interpretive displays in its spacious resilience. “The French Quarter is unlike laid bare, few tourists in sight, locals shady and history-filled courtyard. The any other neighborhood. I love Collection is also offering self-guided going to Manolito or Cane & walking tours through its new app, OUR CITY AWAITS. Table for amazing cocktails. French Quarter Tours, which leads one I love the galleries on Royal on explorations based around topics that Street, especially Frank Relle’s can reclaim the city’s most historic include: Free People of Color, Music, amazing photography. Our restaurants neighborhood, at least for now. Literature, Bourbon and Beyond, and have never offered a better range of Hopefully we won’t have it to ourselves the Slave Trade. “The historic fabric of cuisine. Let’s savor this time while we for too long. h the neighborhood is an irreplaceable have it almost to ourselves.” storytelling tool and vital to both Like LeBlanc, Marv Ammari is preserving the past and embracing what finding hope in the current moment. comes next,” said Hammer. frenchquarter-dining.com Ammari is CEO of Creole Cuisine Lisa Blount gets it. Her husband’s Restaurant Concepts, with some thirty hnoc.org family founded Antoine’s and she had bars and restaurants in its portfolio, antoines.com big plans to celebrate the restaurant’s a business that started with his first leblancandsmith.com 180th birthday this year. Instead of daiquiri shop in St. Bernard Parish in creolecuisine.com parties and events, the company’s been 1985. He opened his second a few years making capital improvements, including later on Decatur Street in the Quarter, the Quarter—he owns four restaurants there: Palace Café, Bourbon House, Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse, and Tableau. “I’ve been coming to the French Quarter since I was a little kid,” he said. My dad used to bring me into Brennan’s when he worked on Sundays, and I’d run around in the courtyard, float toothpicks in the fountain. I loved it.”

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Baton Rouge is OPEN FOR BUSINESS! It’s a new day in Baton Rouge, a new day in business and as a business community we will show the world our resilience and commitment to our community. Let’s do this together and make Baton Rouge proud! Let’s shop. Dine out. Celebrate the arts. Enjoy the outdoors. And BUY LOCAL. A strong economy is important to the future and BR needs our support now. Be safe, stay healthy—and keep Baton Rouge moving forward. Together, WE ARE BACK TO BUSINESS.


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Sponsored by Tangipahoa Parish Tourism





Visitors to JAMNOLA will explore the spirit of New Orleans through rooms celebrating cultural totems including (top left) Spirit Trees, (bottom left) feathers, and (right) umbrellas. Photos courtesy of JAMNOLA.

eathers. Feathers everywhere. As though a parakeet and a peacock threw a party–– Mardi Gras-themed, of course, 79rs Gang playing somewhere in the background–– feather chandeliers, a feather fireplace, a giant gilded bird cage, all crafted and curated by New Orleans costume designer and “rainbow lady” Julianne Lagniappe. It all leads gently to a video immersion tribute to Royce Osborne, featuring dazzling clips from his 2003 documentary All On a Mardi Gras Day––which honors the secret culture of Mardi Gras Indian costume-making. This is only the first leg of the journey that is JAMNOLA, New Orleans’ very first experiential popup museum, which co-founder Jonny Liss describes as “5,400 square feet of pure NOLA joy”. Standing for “Joy Art Music New Orleans,” the collaborative project will take locals and visitors alike through twelve rooms—or rather worlds—of concentrated New Orleans brilliance. After walking through Lagniappe’s “Feather Forest,” guests will wander on through muraled celebrations of second lines and poboys; a Bling Bayou featuring thousands and thousands of recycled Mardi Gras beads, doubloons, and CDs; a larger than life Spirit Tree; a room imagining what might happen if giant crawfish decided to season us for their Saturday afternoon boil; a virtual costume closet; an umbrella room, a sound garden; and an ode to local legends ranging from Louis Armstrong to Lil Wayne. “It all started with happiness,” said Liss, a Los Angeles native who fell in love with the Crescent City at Jazz Fest 1992. He’s long been on a mission to foster joy through music and art, “and always knew the only place was New Orleans.” Liss and his partner in business and life, Chad Smith, knew that to achieve what they envisioned, they would need to partner with people deeply rooted in South 54

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Louisiana culture. “That’s where Colin Ferguson and Catherine Todd came in,” he said. The founders of Where Y’Art, a New Orleans collective representing more than 150 local artists, Ferguson and Todd helped Liss and Smith to develop the concepts for each room in JAMNOLA, fine-tuning the most important cultural experiences to play on. Then, pulling from their network of hundreds of local artists, they brought each room to life with help from a collaboration of eighteen painters, musicians, craftsmen, and curators including: Lagniappe, Erika Goldring, Ceaux, Noah Church, Josh Hailey, Jeremy Paten, Jon Sherman, Pompadour Productions, the Milagros Collective, Robin Durand, Shel Roumillat, Kari Shisler, Henry York, Marcus Brown, Khari Allen Lee, Skye Erie, Jacob Reptile, and Charles Hoffacker. “Every single artist that we went with took our ideas so far above and beyond what we could have imagined,” said Liss. Modeled after immersive happy houses such as The Museum of Ice Cream, Color Factory, or George R.R. Martin’s fantasy-land “House of No Return” that is Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, JAMNOLA infuses the whimsy of enclosed imagination with a sense of profound place. Each world within is magical for the beauty and the reverie crafted by its artists, but also for its quintessential New Orleans-ness. “We wanted people to come and to see our gems, and then to go out and find them for themselves,” said Liss. “Oh, this beaded, upside down bayou—remarkable! But now, show me a real bayou.” In hopes of fostering a true New Orleans experience that goes beyond the walls of JAMNOLA, one aspect of the museum comes in the form of a gift. “Microsites,” said Liss excitedly. “Every person who enters, we’ll create a mini website for you.” As visitors journey

through the maze, they’ll collect “keepsakes” on their smartphones, including cultural information, restaurant recommendations, resources on the environmental plights of Louisiana bayous and on recycling Mardi Gras beads, historical references, automatic boomerang videos, and—of course, Instagram-ready, envy-inducing selfies. The element of participation has always been important to Liss’s vision of experience––“I never wanted this to be a [conventional] museum,” he said, describing the way participating in a Jazz Fest krewe years ago made him feel part of something, part of New Orleans. Of course, this has become all the more challenging in the wake of COVID-19, which has already pushed the $700,000 installation’s opening date back by three months. “At first, we just had to stop everything,” he said. “Locked everything up until we saw some regulations given for opening up to the public.” Since then, Liss has been working with each artist individually to shift each exhibit into being totally “touchless.” “Ultimately,” he said, “everyone stepped up, were all so willing to make the changes. And I think that they actually turned out even better than before.” Set to open for private tours of six or fewer this July ($29/person), then to the public later on August 1— JAMNOLA will be “the first experiential museum of the new normal,” said Liss. “I’m an eternal optimist, but I’m sure we’ll get through this. After crisis, the people will crave joy.” h

jamnola.com whereyart.net

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Programs are available for all ages! Dragon Cubs: for ages 0-5 Heroes in Training: for ages 5-8 Storybook Adventurers: for ages 8-11 Teens: for ages 11-18 Adults: for ages 18+ All Abilities: for all ages

Sign up at your local branch or online at ebrpl.beanstack.org

Through August 15 ttt

Join us through Beanstack online for our Red Stick @Home Program. Complete fun activities while exploring and supporting our local community!

Is your family looking for at home activities for the summer?

Each week, the Children's Room will have Summer Camp @Home packets ďŹ lled with fun crafts, activities, and weekly schedules for our virtual programming. For more information, call your local branch library Children's Room. All printable activities will be available from our Kids Page on our website at www.ebrpl.com.

Through July 31