P E O P L E
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A R T
DECEMBER 2018 | JANUARY 2019
F O O D
M U S I C
$5000 CHRISTMAS MEGA CASH
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8080 Westshore Drive Covington, LA 70433
PUBLISHER Sarah Cottrell
The big LSU game, and you know the one I am talking about, was going to start in an hour and a half. Chores were done for the day, but I had that niggling feeling that I had forgotten to do something. Then it dawned on me. A photo shoot in Slidell! EEEK!!! How was I going to drag my husband away? His response? “Let’s go!” Over the last two years I have used and sometimes abused my husband’s kindness and talent. He loves to take pictures for the EDGE and does a great job, and it is a perfect balance for him with his job in the Chemistry Department at Southeastern University. But he has given up many of his weekends and Friday afternoons off, and I don’t think he fully knows how much I appreciate all he does. So, thank you Jerry for all you do to help me make EDGE so successful. I love hearing what people like about the magazine, and time and time again I hear the same thing, “We love to read the stories.” It is such a pleasure to bring these stories from around the Northshore to our readers. So many magazines have followed a trend of selling stories, and we are proud of our editorial integrity. If you know of a story you think our readers would be interested in, please email us at email@example.com. Don’t forget to vote in our 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards. Just go to edgeofthelake.com to vote, and the results will be announced in our next issue. Wishing readers, advertisers and all our team a happy and safe Christmas season. PUBLISHER
EDITOR Harry Lime ART DIRECTOR Erich Belk STYLE DIRECTOR Patty Beal BEAUTY EDITOR Caitlin Picou COPY EDITOR Mary-Brent Brown CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Sydney Bagby Charles Dowdy TC Elliott Ann Joyce Meredith Knight Elaine Millers Theo Mullen Liz Genest Smith Elizabeth Kenney Wells STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Jerry Cottrell CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Paul Chauvin Allison Elliott Joel Treadwell Pat Quigley SENIOR SALES EXECUTIVES Eloise Cottrell Rick Clasen ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Rebecca Blossman-Ferran Erin Bolton Debi Menasco Michelle Wallis-Croas
ON THE COVER Madisonville Photo Jerry Cottrell
The entire contents of this magazine are copyrighted by EDGE Publishing. @ 2018 with all rights reserved. Reproduction or use without permission of editorial or graphic content in any manner is prohibited. Please email comments or story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org. EDGE PUBLISHING • 69170 HWY 190. SUITE 1 COVINGTON, LA 70433 • 985.875.9691
Charo Arnold, Mandeville mom and neonatal nurse, was 16-weeks pregnant with Mila Grace when she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. Our multidisciplinary team of specialists delivered the best possible outcomes: Charo is cancer-free thanks to treatment before and after the birth of her daughter.
World-class breast cancer care, close to home. Breast cancer is one of the hardest diagnoses a woman can face. Having your treatment close to home can make all the difference. We offer the highest quality care right here in Covington, from our breast-fellowship trained radiologists and National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers to our multidisciplinary team approach including breast surgery, St. Tammany Parish Hospital delivers top ranked breast cancer care close to home. stph.org/WomensPavilion
1 of only 5 in Louisiana
301 n. hWy. 190, ste. c-2, covington | 985-773-1500
CELEBRATNG 60 YEARS
MYTHS, TIPS & TRENDS
CRAFT BAT MAN
CRADLE TO CROSS
EDGE OF FASHION SUIT STYLING
038 TRAVEL ALEXANDRIA
RESTAURANT REVIEW MY TURN BY: DAWN DAVIS
AROUND THE LAKE SOCIAL
CHARLES OFF THE AIR LETTER TO SANTA
Christmas Under the Stars Nov. 30 & Dec. 1, 7 - 8, 2018 • 6 - 9
Towne • Griffith Park in Olde Towne
Holiday Lights & Decorations • Santa’s Magical Mailbox • Parade of Trees • Slidell’s Nativity Nativity Life-size Christmas Cottages • Slidell Magazine exhibition at the Slidell Cultural Center Center Admission! Visits with Santa & Mrs. Claus in the Gazebo, 6 - 8:30 pm • Free Admission! And be sure not to miss these other festive holiday events in Olde Towne Slidell: Slidell: 4thth Annual Spirit of the Season Olde Towne Light Display and Decorations Contest Contest
Olde Towne Slidell will be decked out with festive lights and decorations, Nov. 23, 2018, through through January January 2, 2, 2019. 2019.
Christmas in Olde Towne Slidell • Saturday, Dec. 8 • 6 - 9 pm pm • Free Admission Admission
Art displays, live entertainment, fine and casual dining, and unique shopping experiences. Sponsored Sponsored by by the the City City of of Slidell, Slidell, Olde Historical Antique Antique Association. Association. Olde Towne Slidell Main Street, Carey Street Coalition, Olde Towne Slidell Association and the Slidell Historical Held please visit: visit: ShopLocalArtistsWeek.com. ShopLocalArtistsWeek.com. Held in in conjunction with Louisiana’s Shop Local Artists Week. For more information and to view events, please
Holiday Concert with the Northshore Community Orchestra Friday, Dec. 21 • 7 pm • Free Admission Slidell Municipal Auditorium • 2056 Second Street
Nights Slidell Movie Nights Christmas at Slidell’s Bayou Christmas Heritage Park • Saturday, Dec. 22 22 pm • • Free Admission Admission Holiday Movie starts at 7 pm
Christmas Under the Stars is brought to you by the City of Slidell, the Commission on the Arts and the 2018-2019 Cultural Season Sponsors: Renaissance, $5,000:
Baroque, $2,500: CLECO Power • Jazz on the Bayou/Ronnie Kole Foundation • The Slidell Independent Independent Neoclassical, $1,000: Councilman Bill & Laura Borchert • Holiday Inn & Suites, Suites, Slidell Slidell Lori Gomez Art • Lowry-Dunham, Case & Vivien Insurance Agency • Purple Armadillo Armadillo Again Again
Impressionism, $500: Dr. Nathan Brown, Northlake Oral & Facial Surgery • Chateau Bleu Bleu •• CiCi’s CiCi’s Pizza Pizza Slidell Mayor Greg Cromer • Flatliners Entertainment • Old School Eats Food Food Truck Truck Olde Towne Slidell Print Shop • Pontchartrain Investment Management • Roberta’s Cleaners • Silver Silver Slipper Slipper Casino Casino Sabrina Eats Sweets • Slidell Historical Antique Association • Terry Lynn’s Café & Creative Creative Catering Catering
(985) 646-4375 • MySlidell.com • “City of Slidell” on Facebook & Twitter Twitter
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STORY THEO MULLEN PHOTOS JERRY COTTRELL & STAA
St. Tammany Art Association Sees Bright Future as it Celebrates
60th ‘Diamond’ Anniversary
Started in a poolside cabana in 1957, STAA turns to youth and technology to honor its past and bolster the decades ahead. St. Tammany Art Association sttammanyartassociation.org 985.892.8650
EDGE Dec 2018 | Jan 2019
he St. Tammany Art Association celebrates its 60th anniversary – a diamond jubilee – on December 1st: a timestamp on the non-profit’s history that reflects the natural mineral’s beauty and incomparable, enduring qualities. Through decades of changes and challenges, STAA has come to stand for local and regional artists’ exhibitions, opportunities for them to sell their work in exhibits and art markets and for establishment of community events promoting the arts. STAA emerged from a 1957 Carl Cramer sculpture class held in a cabana next to the swimming pool at Red Bluff, the home of Miriam and Dalton Barranger. Amid the popularity of the class Ms. Barranger spoke with ever more frequency of an association. After the group added painting and ceramics instruction, classes moved to what is now the Southern Hotel. The first real “Art House” soon followed. It was a small, woodframe dwelling, donated by C.A. Bertel, in the San Souci Forest, the current location of Playmakers Theater. It was there that the
association formally incorporated as a non-profit on December 1, 1958 with about 38 founding members. The group adopted a mission statement they originally crafted in August 1957: “To encourage an interest in the fine arts in the community through lectures, panel discussions, exhibits and the screening of motion pictures. To sponsor classes in painting, sculpture, crafts and the fine arts generally.”
ART AS A SOURCE OF HAPPINESS AND JOY Barranger, in the minutes of a 1960 board meeting, is recorded as saying, “...Classes in painting, ceramics and sculpture would open up new horizons to many people; creativity in any of the arts is a supreme source of happiness and joy. We believe that it is the key to a fuller and more satisfying life… We don’t believe that we will all become superior artists…this is a rare thing…but by the very act of expressing, in some small measure, a part of our secret selves in a painting or a bowl or a piece of sculpture, we are growing emotionally and spiritually and becoming more integrated personalities.” One of Barranger’s more significant contributions was founding STAA’s National Juried Exhibition, now known as the “Summer Show.” To bolster submissions for the first show, Barranger persuaded New Orleans artists George Dunbar and Ida Kohlmeyer to exhibit. (STAA in 2015 renamed its main exhibition space the Miriam Barranger Gallery to mark the Summer Show’s 50th anniversary.) Some 60 years later, STAA’s mandate reflects the sentiments Barranger expressed, but in broader, more modern language: “To provide quality programming and cultural enrichment to the community, to support established artists, promote emerging artists and produce educational arts-related activities for adults and children and in doing so, enhance life in St. Tammany Parish.”
NEVER AN EASY JOB It wasn’t then, and isn’t now, an easy job. Support for the finances of a cultural arts non-profit ebb and flow with community sentiment and current events. Were there always financial and cultural hurdles to leap, even in the early days and as the association matured? “Of course!” exclaimed Lyn Hill Taylor, STAA’s president in 1987, the year the association celebrated its 30th anniversary. The association’s finances were often dire and when they were, “we had some board members and donors who would step up and cover costs,” said Taylor, now artist-in-residence for Abbey Art Works, an art program located at St. Joseph Benedictine Abbey on River Road outside Covington. In fact, were it not for the financial strength and support of some early members, STAA would not exist as it is today. The San Souci Forest building was sold in early 1973 for $8,000, clearing the way for the purchase of the Kawnier house at the corner of New Hampshire and Independence streets in old Covington. The financing was arranged, personally guaranteed
and made possible by former association president Dottie Severson – who served three terms as president after joining in 1969 – her husband John, and four others: Trudy and Chick Williamson and Betty and Howard Alberty. In the early 1990s, STAA’s profile rose under then-executive director Don Marshall when he established monthly coordinated art openings and the “Spring for Art” and “Fall for Art” street festivals. Marshall, STAA’s director from 1992 to 1995 and currently the executive director of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, also increased education and outreach initiatives while giving credit to the artists, volunteers and city officials who helped make the programs possible.
KATRINA AND 2007 FINANCIAL CRISIS In mid-2005 the association moved into its current Columbia Street home, then called the Claiborne House, after the Seversons co-signed the building’s mortgage, pledging personal property as collateral. STAA’s two Members’ Galleries are named for Severson and Williamson in honor of their many contributions. Soon afterwards, on August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina's storm surge dug 53 breaches into the floodwalls in and around the greater New Orleans area, submerging 80% of the city. St. Tammany was spared many of the ravages of the fierce storm, but didn’t escape the negative economic spillover of a major U.S. city -- just 30 miles to the south -- being paralyzed. “It was tough making the building note each month,” said Keith Villere, association president from 2004-2006. “It was a very difficult time,” even as the association chased every membership and grant it could possibly get and every class it could schedule, said Villere, who was also Covington’s mayor from 1991 until 2003. In 2006 Villere handed the association presidency to Cathy Deano, who served through 2009. Even a year after the storm, “our members were scattered and those that weren’t were distracted by the storm recovery,” said Deano.
EDGE Dec 2018 | Jan 2019
“We had to start from scratch with donations, and it was a challenge,” said Deano. “Recovery took several years and we had to somewhat reinvent ourselves.” That reinvention included adding outside events, starting a catering operation and becoming an event venue. Some efforts were successful, some not, but all attempts were battered by the unexpected financial crisis of 2007-2008, considered the deepest economic upheaval since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
‘SOHO ON THE BOGUE’ “We always had a core group of dedicated volunteers, and occasionally we would get a donation, so we kept it going,” although almost never running in the black, said Deano, the cofounder of Mandeville-based Painting With A Twist, which has 350 franchise units in 39 states. Through all the chaos, STAA has proven itself as the sustainable arts organization for Covington and St. Tammany Parish, and the “constant provider of high-quality art,” said Villere. Not only is the association a catalyst for economic development, but is largely responsible for the area being tagged as “SoHo on the Bogue,” a reference to the Bogue Falaya River that flows along the city’s edge. Others share Villere’s sentiment with a slight geographic adjustment. “We’re like the Hamptons, a weekend destination and a wonderful place to live,” said Roswell Pogue, a STAA board member since 2014, its current president and a realtor with Real Estate Resource Group, based in Covington. Pogue is referencing the string of villages and hamlets clustered along the east end of Long Island, N.Y., a traditional destination of the artistic well-todo. STAA has a broad reach and “is vital to the economic and cultural development” of St. Tammany, said Cindy Pulling, the association’s executive director from 2013-2017. STAA is an “economic engine” that “supports local, parish and state government, increases the quality of life for those who live here,
LETTER FROM THE PARISH PRESIDENT
businesses that are considering moving here and families who are raising their kids here,” said Pulling, currently Program Coordinator for NAMI St. Tammany.
CHANGES, CHALLENGES AND TECHNOLOGY Meanwhile, change and challenge is a constant for STAA. Amid the relentless growth of St. Tammany Parish comes a new Art House executive director and a smattering of new board members. Jennifer Dewey stepped into the lead staff role on October 23 after several years as development director for the Baton Rouge Art Gallery, where she led a significant increase in funding, donations, membership and participation. A graduate of University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Dewey is one of the youngest people to ever administer the Art House. Where once correspondence and meeting notes were pounded out on a manual typewriter or hand-written, Dewey brings a millennial-centric technology approach. “I love technology and am an early adopter of new ideas and automation,” she said. She will seek to automate as many administrative tasks as possible and put more staff time into community, membership, program development and attracting members from a younger demographic. Dewey plans to implement a localized version of what the University of Maryland’s DeVos Institute of Arts Management terms “The Cycle,” a theory of organizational activity that prioritizes investment in art. “The process starts with foresight into what the community needs, wants and is excited about,” said Dewey. “Bold, mission-driven, balanced programming follows and is communicated through aggressive marketing of both the content and institution. That prompts interest and enthusiasm to swell among a ‘family’ of community residents, board members, donors, volunteers and supporters,” Dewey said, citing DeVos. “The point is to make it easy, exciting and enjoyable for everyone to get involved. As more people do, the added revenue supports ever-bolder programming, which entices an ever-larger, more diverse, generous and connected ‘family,’” she said. “First, I need to see what needs to be done, as I don’t yet know what the issues are,” said Dewey, just days before the start of her tenure. “I want to make the arts community feel there is a place for them,” she said. “Someplace everyone can come, see great art, have fun and feel a part of it all.”
What’s Been Done and What’s To Come Merry Christmas and Happy New Year In 2018, we invested time, energy and taxpayer dollars into our roads, drainage, water quality and behavioral health. We made reductions across the board, reorganized to create eﬃciencies and refocused our core responsibilities while maintaining a high level of service to our residents. We introduced a digital, modernized, user-friendly Code of Ordinances as well as the Parish’s rebuilt GIS portal to bring the most forward-thinking technology to residents. We continued road and drainage infrastructure projects, including Lake Village in the Slidell area, the Riverwood drainage project in the Covington area and the Tammany Trace extension into Camp Salmen. Safe Haven saw milestones reached with the opening of the NAMI St. Tammany Day Center, and the implementation of transportation services to and from the Center. Our full-time Litter Abatement crew celebrated one year in operation and the removal of over 400,000 pounds of litter from St. Tammany streets. We continued water quality initiatives, as well as capital improvements to our water and sewer systems. Our Facilities team continued to implement energy eﬃciency upgrades. As we move into 2019, expect more of the same. We will continue to invest in essential projects with lasting impact, while increasing value for you our residents. Pat Brister St. Tammany Parish President
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BATON ROUGE • COVINGTON • LONG BEACH
The Comeaux Family Grace, Bob, Billie, David, & GiGi
STORY LIZ GENEST SMITH PHOTOS JERRY COTTRELL
Myths, Tips & Trends
fter a particularly bad breakup in my 20s I took myself to Paris, marched into a quaint Left Bank bistro, and proceeded to order a Beaujolais Nouveau and escargot. They were the two most quintessentially French selections I could think of – and two of the only things I recognized on the menu. (Did I mention I knew very little French?) I do not recommend this strategy. The waiter rightfully sneered a bit at my selection, but begrudgingly allowed me to wash down my powerfully garlicenhanced snails with my rather sweet, fruity wine selection. Even with my unrefined palate, I immediately recognized this was probably not an ideal combo. But no way was I going to give him the satisfaction of looking anything but delighted with my choice. I have since developed slightly more of an understanding of and appreciation for pairing food and wine, but let’s be honest – appreciation and expertise are two completely different things. With the holidays arriving, there will be plenty of opportunities to host or attend fabulous fêtes where your pairing skills may be put to the test. Both the pleasure of your palate and maintenance of your reputation may be at stake, so it seems like a good time to call in a professional to give us all a refresher course. The best source on the Northshore for this subject? Acquistapace’s, of course. Acquistapace’s Supermarket is a 150-year-old family business that started out in New Orleans, migrated to Covington in the ‘60s, and became renowned for its impressive meat department. Since then they’ve developed a world-class wine and cheese selection, and even more recently opened a specialty shop in Mandeville with an exclusive inventory of fine cheeses, wine, spirits, beer and cigars. It’s truly unheard of for such a small population as ours to support such an upmarket business, and this success has earned Acquistapace’s quite a reputation – not to mention multiple awards and nominations – from both near and far.
What’s your safest choice when bringing wine to such an event? Champagne and sparkling wines almost always make a good pairing. The bubbles provide a palate cleanse. Go with something dry and sparkling. What is your personal favorite pairing? I like a good triple-cream cheese – something creamy and buttery – with Champagne. There’s a Champagne from the south of France that I like called Blanquette de Limoux. It’s less expensive, it’s festive, and it pairs well with Delice de Bourgogne cheese. Do dessert wines pair well with cheese? Yes, sweet wine goes great with salty cheese. Think about sea salt and caramel or chocolate. It’s a similar philosophy. Bleu cheese with a dessert wine is a classic pairing. Myth or Fact: Pairing wines and foods from the same region is a safe bet. Definitely fact. Things that grow together, go together. They evolve together over time. Myth or Fact: The tannins in red wine make it less compatible with cheese. Tannins actually cut through the milk fat. A Beaujolais or Pinot Noir pairs well with cheese, but choose one that’s not too dry.
Patriarch Steve Acquistapace and sons Adam and Erik – all graduates of St. Paul’s Catholic School in Covington, by the way – run the business together. Adam, the resident wine expert (Erik is the cheese guru), graciously agreed to help us out by providing some tips and dispelling some myths.
PAIRING WINE & CHEESE Perhaps the most classic pairing at any holiday event – from intimate cocktail party to grand gala – is, of course, wine and cheese. So, let’s start there. What are some common mistakes that people make when pairing wine and cheese? I’m not sure people make a lot of mistakes. It’s less don’ts, more do’s. We like to make recommendations, not rules. Not all wines are created equal, and a lot depends on the style of cheese.
EDGE Dec 2018 | Jan 2019
OTHER PAIRINGS Most holiday event menus won’t be limited to wine and cheese, so we moved on to discussing a broader array of pairings.
Myth or Fact: Only red wine goes with red meat. You can definitely pair steak with white, like a barrel-fermented chardonnay or a barrel-aged white Bordeaux. Just be sure to choose heavier whites.
Myth or Fact: Only white wines pair well with seafood. You can absolutely pair seafood with a red, depending on the fish and the way it’s prepared. I once went to a dinner where the host served a Dover sole – which is delicate, like flounder – and paired it with her favorite pinot noir. You just have to choose a light, delicate pinot noir.
Any new trends we should be watching? We’re still seeing an explosion of dry rosé. It’s a generational thing. Older people think of it as cheap and sweet, younger people think expensive and dry. The trend has continued to grow over the last seven or eight years. It’s versatile and comes in so many styles.
Myth or Fact: You can’t serve dessert wines with dessert. You can serve dessert wines with dessert, just be sure the wine is sweeter than the dessert. The wine’s acidity will actually balance the sweetness. Myth or Fact: You can judge a wine’s sweetness by its alcohol content. That’s actually a pretty good gauge. If the alcohol content is lower, there’s probably residual sugar left in the wine. Port and fortified wines are the exception. Spirits or brandy are added to raise the alcohol content, and it stops fermentation. It could have 20 percent alcohol, and still be sweet.
Acquistapace’s Covington Supermarket acquistapace.com
EDGE Dec 2018 | Jan 2019
Your thoughts on screw caps? I love screw caps. Corks are great, but imperfect. There’s nothing a cork can do that a screw cap can’t do better. Caps are much more consistent, but there’s resistance because of perception, so it comes down to marketing. The wine industry knows screw caps are better, but they don’t want to fight the consumer, who believes what they want to believe. They’re willing to pay more for an inferior closure. Some wineries put out $300 bottles that are half screw caps and half corks. Some newer corks control oxidation, but they’re more expensive. How do you feel about Louisiana wines? Any you can recommend? European grape varieties – the noble varieties – don’t grow well here. You have to go to the hill country of Texas or cooler climates. But there’s a wine out of Bush called LA Serendipity Blanc (LA Serendipity Vineyards) that reminds me of a Spanish white. I can definitely recommend that one.
LETTER FROM THE MAYOR
So, much like the antiquated fashion faux pas of wearing white after Labor Day, the rules involving wine pairing have relaxed quite a bit. While Adam and the folks at Acquistapace’s like to encourage people to experiment, he offers up this basic rule of thumb: “You want to avoid things that clash, like spice and acidity. You want them to go together, so that you don’t notice one over the other.” “Go with something dry and sparkling” applies nicely to garlicky snails as well, FYI. Follow Acquistapace’s Supermarket on Facebook for future tastings and events.
Greetings! Happy Holidays to all in the Covington community. I wish all a December ﬁlled with family, friends and everything that makes your holidays both special and memorable. Looking ahead, I am excited to welcome the new year with its promise of new beginnings. The City of Covington is proud of the continued growth of new businesses, such as the highly anticipated Blind Tiger, exciting renovation of the Covington Library and the needed expansion to the St. Tammany Parish Hospital. In addition, the city is busy with local infrastructure and building projects including sidewalks, streets, drainage, sewerage, as well as a new Public Works Barn, a new restroom facility at Reverend Peter Atkins Park, an addition to the Cooper Fire Station and renovation of the historic ﬁrehouse on N. Theard Street. Projects such as these enhance our community and continue to make Covington a great place to live, work and visit. I invite and encourage all to continue to visit the award-winning restaurants and local shops not only during this holiday season, but also throughout the winter. The charm of our Historic Down-town continues to be a popular weekend spot during all seasons. Check out our Facebook Pages and Website for all of the current events – City of Covington- Oﬃce of Cultural Arts & Events, City of Covington and Covla.com. I close with wishing you a happy Holiday Season! As always, it is my honor to serve as your mayor.
MIKE COOPER City of Covington Mayor
hat will run in the December/January issue of EDGE of the Lake magazine. This ad will run as is unless we (11.14.2018) at 5:00 PM. Please make any changes or approve via email.
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The City of Covington invites you to help make CARNIVAL IN COVINGTON 2019 the best ever! Participation is easy and fun! See our Facebook page “CarnivalinCovington” or www.carnivalincovington.com for details. Please RSVP by Wednesday, January 30, 2019 to be part of the March 5 Celebration.
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STORY TC ELLIOTT PHOTOS ALLISON ELLIOTT
THE BAT MAN OF MANDEVILLE One Northshore man is making a difference in the lives of homeless bats. Building shelters for derelict (and nuisance) winged mammals has earned Mike Duryea the moniker of “The Bat Man of Mandeville” amongst the vendors of the Abita Springs Farmers’ Market. Duryea has been a real estate developer for the flying rodent community since 2003. “I started making bat houses when a friend of mine got bats in the vinyl siding of his house,” he said. “Between the vinyl, there was a small hole and the bats found that hole. Well, the house was next to an empty lot and there were probably 50 or 60 bats in there.” After researching bats and their behavior, Duryea and his infested friend waited for the bats to leave one night. The two men hung up a “bat house” that Duryea had designed and built. Taking care of two bats with one stone, Duryea evicted the bats from the hole in his friend’s house and, at the same time, found a new home for the bat colony.
EDGE Dec 2018 | Jan 2019
“We plugged up the hole and set the bat house up across the driveway and when they came back, they were kind of confused at first,” said Duryea. “But then they found the bat house and they all nested in it. So, it was very cool to see it work because there is nothing you can do to make them go into the bat house. They’ll either want to or they won’t. All you can do is design the bat house to be something that they’re looking for.” So, what do bats look for in a home? “Small chambers, a nursery shelf, and I put a vent across the back to keep airflow going through because the heat is a big killer,” he said. “And in something like my bat house design, you’ll get a colony of 40 or 50 in it. It would probably hold more than that, a couple of hundred bats maybe.” Duryea said that the bats provide organic mosquito and termite abatement, as one single brown bat can devour some 1,200 insects in an hour. In fact, 70-percent of all bats are insectivores. We know that any housing market is based on demographics.
LETTER FROM THE MAYOR
While there are 11 species of bat that call Louisiana home, Duryea is convinced that most of his “home flyers” are of the Big Brown Bat variety (Eptesicus fuscus), which may grow up to five inches long with a wingspan of up to 14 inches. The Big Brown Bats can live in any habitat, but seem to prefer Duryea’s bat houses, which are sold on Sunday in Abita Springs at the local Farmers’ Market and on the side of Highway 190 in Lacombe on Saturday.
Come join us as we celebrate Christmas in Mandeville! The Old Mandeville Business Association’s Sips of The Season will start off the weekend of festivities on Friday, December 7th. Mugs may be purchased at several locations in Mandeville, including Blent Juice Bar, Cameo Boutique, Das Schulerhaus Gift Gallery, K Gee’s Restaurant and The Lemon Tree – and are $20 each, paid by cash or check only. You can also order by phone at 985-630-0191. Strollers are invited to browse participating restaurants, bars and shops, all within walking distance from the Mandeville Lakefront. On Saturday morning, December 8th, the city is hosting “Christmas at the Market” at the Mandeville Trailhead from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Girod Street will also be closed off for the Christmas Past Festival, beginning at 10:00 a.m. and ending at 3:00 p.m. The festival will offer live music, train rides, carriage rides, face painting, games, a Children’s Snow Village, Superheroes, Disney Characters, Irish Dancing and the Northshore Roller Derby. Over 100 vendors will be on hand as well as food trucks, crafts, art, clothes and gifts for your holiday shopping list. At 3:00 p.m. when the Festival closes make your way down to the Lakefront Gazebo and enjoy live entertainment as Santa’s Parade will commence at 4:30 p.m. The parade will roll from the lakefront harbor to the Gazebo, where Santa will have candy for every child and will be available for pictures. More entertainment will follow as I officially turn on the Christmas lights, illuminating the lakefront for the holiday season. In Mandeville, the second weekend in December will be a Christmas destination for the whole family. Hope to see you there! On behalf of the Administration, Council and all city employees, have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
DONALD VILLERE City of Mandeville Mayor
PROPER AND READY TO PARTY:
A Holiday Makeup STORY CAITLIN PICOU PHOTOS JOEL TREADWELL
Book those haircuts, wax those brows and visit your local boutiques for the ideal outﬁt. Holiday season is in full swing, and that means parties! But each occasion calls for a different makeup look to ﬁt the setting. What looks fabulous with a friends-only party might not look suitable for an ofﬁce get-together. But don’t fret; I have curated three makeup looks to take you from family gatherings, to the ofﬁce hangout to a best friends’ brunch.
Office Talk Model: Maggie McGovern Three words when it comes to looking stylish for that office party: sleek, simple and spice. Hair should remain sleek and smooth. Your eyes should be neutral in both color and quantity: stick to browns, creams and nudes. Keep the shimmer and contouring to a minimum, but add a touch of spice with a bolder lip. My lip pick is Kismet’s Desert Rose. It is the ideal subtle red that has a touch of shine and compliments your less-is-more makeup look.
Hair and Makeup Amanda Fay ahbmakeup.com
Guide Glamorous Girls’ Night Model: Hailey Frey Grab your glitter and get ready to sparkle! There is just something about metallic glitter eyeshadow and winged eyeliner that gets me giddy. I recommend Tarte’s Foil Finger Paints palette. Then grab you favorite black liquid eyeliner, like Kismet’s Streamlined, and wing it. Don’t forget the false lashes. Pair the metallic eye shadow with minimal gloss lipstick, like Kismet’s Beloved. And don’t be afraid to let your hair down.
Family Friendly Model: Erica Vidrine Family parties are a little more relaxed and are a safe space to show off your personality. For this look, keep your hair simple and use a few colorful eye shadows in the berry family to create an ombre look. My eyeshadow pallet pick is Too Faced’s Razzle Dazzle Pallet. It has the perfect mixture of shimmer and matte shades, so you won’t go wrong. But remember to keep the lips tame. I suggest a cocktail of Kismet’s Really Pretty and Baby Lip Plumping Glosses.
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STORY MEREDITHD KNIGHT PHOTOS JERRY COTTRELL
For thousands of families in the Covington area — and beyond — the drive-through Christmas program at New Zion Baptist Church marks the beginning of the Christmas season each year. New Zion pastor Dr. Clark Stewart and his wife, Pam, greet the occupants of cars and trucks as they queue up to drive past Bible scenes, beginning with the angel Gabriel’s appearance to the Virgin Mary and proceeding through the birth, ministry, trial, crucifixion, resurrection and second coming of Jesus. “Many local families go buy their Christmas tree, tie it on their cars, then drive through each year,” Dr. Stewart said. “Some come every night of the show. They bring their kids then go get friends and neighbors and bring them back. They tell us [the presentation] starts the Christmas season for them.” This is the fifteenth year New Zion has performed Cradle to the Cross, a big undertaking for the small country church. In total it takes about 200 actors to perform in scenes which include Jesus performing miracles, delivering His Sermon on the Mount, chasing money changers from the temple, His last supper with His disciples, Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane then on trial before Pontius Pilate, Jesus being scourged in an authentic Roman soldier’s camp, Judas’ suicide, Jesus just after His crucifixion, the empty Easter tomb and His second coming atop a white horse.
But acting is only a small part of the overall show. Behind the scenes, church members and others from the community have sewn hundreds of costumes. They’ve constructed authenticlooking sets and borrowed farm animals. Some have even purchased animals specifically for the annual show. Volunteers direct the thousands of cars that come through the show each night, babysit the children of cast members, work on lighting and sound and feed the entire cast after each performance. And the St. Tammany Parish Sherriff’s Department donates their time to be onsite each night. What’s become known colloquially as “the drive-through” was the brain child of church member Jan Gagnon, who’d seen a similar production in her home state of Texas. She presented her idea to the church body, which voted to commit to three years and see how the production was received. “We couldn’t believe how eager people were to jump in and help — church members and nonmembers alike,” she said. “We threw our needs out to the congregation and the community: ‘We need this set built. We need someone to arrange the lighting. We need another sheep for the nativity.’ Next thing we knew, it was done. Ultimately, this is God’s show and each year He works out the details for us.” Jo Ann Thomas was on Gagnon’s committee that first year (along with Gayle Maestri, Jeanne Brady, Teena Warner and others). “That first EDGE Dec 2018 | Jan 2019
Cradle to the Cross December 1 and 2 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Free and open to the public 17387 New Zion Church Road in Covington
EDGE Dec 2018 | Jan 2019
night we had no idea if anyone would show up,” she remembered. “Then we saw headlights and more and more cars pulling into the parking lot. There’s just no way to describe the blessing we receive each year as we see that long line of cars.” That line has gotten longer each year, with thousands of cars, trucks, church buses, and vans coming through each night, some from as far away as New Orleans, Baton Rouge and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. New Zion’s Associate Pastor and Music Minister Toby Hughes says that many people are so overcome after driving through the production, they try to give him money for the church. “We always turn it down though,” he said. “We don’t want to charge for sharing the story of Christ. We do it for free because we love the Lord and we love the community. We want it to be free so everybody can come.” For many kids like mine, Cradle to the Cross has been a part of their childhood. As teenagers our daughters, Lee and Molly, took turns portraying the Virgin Mary in the nativity scene. Our younger son, Jonah, staked out his spot as close to the cow and sheep pen as possible, even bringing his own pet chickens on set with him. And our older son, Hewson, started 15 years ago as an angel, grew into the role of Gabriel (as soon as he was tall enough to wear the six-foot wings), Joseph in the nativity, a Roman soldier, and finally “graduated” to Jesus at the foot of the cross. I portrayed a weeping Mary cradling his bloodied body. When the weather was nice enough for car windows to be down or kids to ride through in the bed of pickup trucks, we could hear the families’ conversations as they drove past our scene. We heard children imploring their parents, “Why did they do that to Him?” or “Why is He dead?” Other times, there was stunned silence or quiet weeping. And one little girl called out an anguished, “I’m sorry, Jesus.” On those nights my character’s tears were authentic. Diana Kern first experienced the show driving through with her family. “We were blown away by how much work and effort went into it,” she said. “We had to turn around and drive through again.” Now she and her husband, Johnny, and daughter, Emily, are part of the miracle scene. “It’s been a blessing for the past eight years to watch the children and adults as they drive past and to share the story of Christmas in such a real and hands-on way.” Terri Huffman and her son, Ethan, have taken over as Mary and Jesus at the foot of the cross. “I try to bring my mom side to [the role],” she said. “Mary was a mother of a son, just like me. I want to show people what she must have gone though as she watched her son being scourged and beaten and killed, the son she’d given birth to and held in her arms. I want to make the story real for people.” That in a nutshell is the goal of everyone involved in every aspect of Cradle to the Cross: to make the story of Jesus’ time on Earth real and relevant, this holiday season and through the rest of the year. For information or directions to the church, call 985-892-4711 or visit NewZion.net
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Suit Styling 101 STORY PATTY BEAL PHOTOS JOEL TREADWELL
he art of dressing is a life skill that some haven’t had the opportunity to hone. As unfair as it is, first impressions do count. Dressing for success has been a hot topic not only in fashion magazines, but also in branding, marketing, business and psychology magazines. Well-fitting clothes can make or break many deals in the boardroom, an interview and on a date! Let’s take men for example. Unfortunately, less than 10% of male customers can purchase a suit directly off the rack and have it fit properly. A tailor is almost always necessary, which explains the growing market of custom suiting. A tailored suit exudes confidence, sophistication and style. It can communicate who you are – a leader, creative, detail oriented – and win over anyone. Thanks to our models, Mike and Gayle Reuling, owners of Air Blow Dry Bar and Salons, EDGE has curated tips on how to properly wear a men’s suit.
EDGE Dec 2018 | Jan 2019
Proper shoulder placement arm seam should be 90Â° vertical and sit at end of shoulder. Colored stitching on lapel hole is very stylish.
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When I was invited by the Alexandria and Pineville Convention and Visitors Bureau to visit Alexandria with a group of other travel writers, I was intrigued. I had no preconceived ideas of what I would find there, having only passed through a few times on my way to Dallas and Shreveport. When my editor asked me what we were going to see, I told her â&#x20AC;&#x153;I will tell you when I get back.â&#x20AC;? So with my destination plugged into my phone I hit the road, leaving Mandeville in time to miss that dreaded Baton Rouge traffic and making the drive in less than three hours.
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TRAVEL ALEXANDRIA STORY ELAINE MILLERS PHOTOS PAUL CHAUVIN
Hotel Bentley We checked into The Hotel Bentley, which sits on the west bank of the Red River. The hotel was constructed in 1907 by Joseph Bentley, a native of Pennsylvania who made his wealth in the lumber industry in Central Louisiana. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Bentley,â&#x20AC;? as locals call it, was designed by architect George R. Mann and modeled on the Capital Hotel in Little Rock, Arkansas. The hotel houses a World War II exhibit displaying uniform pieces, unit insignias and equipment from soldiers who took part in the maneuvers, as well as timelines, facts, pictures and videos that introduce visitors to the events that would shape the course of history. During WWII the United States military trained over half a million troops in the Alexandria area. The commanders of these
troops, Dwight Eisenhower and George S. Patton, resided for long periods of time at the Hotel Bentley, sometimes joined by Omar Bradley and Henry Kissinger, planning the historic Louisiana Maneuvers. The hotel has recently undergone a multi-million-dollar restoration with opulent furniture. The guest rooms are both comfortable and filled with everything one needs for a relaxing weekend. The hotel features a bar, two restaurants and a fitness center. It was in the lobby, under a large mural painted on the ceiling, that we met up with Ann Savage of the Alexandria and Pineville Convention and Visitors Bureau, before heading out to explore the area.
River Oaks Square Arts Center Upon arriving at the River Oaks Square Arts Center we were impressed by the Queen Ann Revival Architecture of the Bolton House, built in 1899. We all enjoyed browsing around the gift shop and studios housed in the extremely relaxed and eclectic space. The artists’ work included pottery, sculpture, oils, encaustic, mixed media and watercolor. We then walked under the covered walkway to the main building where we were able to peruse the 30+ studios housed in the 15,000 square foot Studio Annex. Each space was unique and offered a snap shot of the artist behind the work. I am always fascinated by the space in which an artist creates, and find that the space is often a reflection of the art created in it. An artist that keeps a spotless studio is impressive indeed, but I find that I can relate to the messy ones as they work more like myself. The River Oaks Square Arts Center offers programs and events for both children and adults, as well as monthly exhibits.
Forts Randolph and Buhlow After crossing the Red River to Alexandria’s sister city of Pineville to visit the historic Forts Randolph and Buhlow, we were met at the visitors’ center by Ranger Richard H. Holloway. He not only was a wealth of knowledge and trivia, but also cooked us some tasty chicken, salt pork, peppers and mustard greens in a Dutch oven, and brewed fresh coffee with okra seeds (all traditional fare from the Civil War). Inside the visitors’ center there is a replica of a cabin and we were able to see clothes and equipment in this hands-on exhibit. The center offers Dutch oven cooking classes and guided tours of the forts throughout the year. After a fascinating visit we walked on elevated boardwalks around the fort surrounded by the natural flora. This area is very popular with birders and even though we did not see Old Abe, one of the pair of Bald Eagles that have called this area home for the last year, we did see the large nest situated high in the trees. We also saw the remains of the earthen forts and the remains of Bailey’s Dam. Bailey’s Dam, remarkable for its design and the amount of time required to construct it, allowed the Union Fleet to escape below the rapids on the Red River during the Union retreat after the Battle of Mansfield.
Alexandria/Pineville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau alexandriapinevillela.com 800.551.9546
Spa Time A perfect way to relax is a visit to the LUX Studio and Spa to enjoy a massage, hair style, trapeze yoga or one of the many other classes they offer. Their mission is to provide the community with classes that people want, and as such they have offered classes in the museum as well as goat yoga. Co-owner Shannon Brewer is always adding classes and is open to ideas from clients. During our time there we were treated to massages by Shannon and had our hair styled by co-owner Rhianna Emmerson Bolen. The tranquil spa is located in the Holiday Inn. Just steps away from the Bentley, it offers Bentley guests the use of their amenities, including a pool set in a private courtyard. Plans are underway to offer customized Girls’ Weekends in 2019.
The Kent Plantation House The Kent Plantation House is the oldest standing structure in Central Louisiana. Built in 1800, the house was constructed on a 1795 Spanish land grant by Pierre Baillio II and his wife, Magdalene LaCour. The home was built by his slaves of a design and construction that was typical in 1800. In the early 1840’s the second owner, Rober Hynson, and his wife, Mary Hunter, added on to the original house and named the home after Mr. Hynson’s birthplace: Kent County, Maryland. The outbuildings provide examples of life during that era including a slave cabin, blacksmith shop, milk house and kitchen that on the day we visited was preparing corn bread to sample.
Also sitting on the grounds is the Sugar House. A working replica, it depicts the sugar making process from the 1840’s and is the only known operating structure of its kind in existence. I have seen sugar kettles of different sizes over the years, but had never understood the process or the progression of sizes of kettles that are used for the process. The sugar cane starts in the largest sugar bowl farthest away from the fire and is moved closer to the fire and into smaller bowls as the cane is refined into cane syrup and sugar. It was fascinating, and my only regret was that we weren’t there on one of their Sugar Days, when the cane is harvested, for a truly hands on experience.
Art Museum of Alexandria The Art Museum of Alexandria (AMoA) sits in a converted bank building not far from the Bentley. On the first floor of the museum is an ever-changing exhibit with art on loan from around the world. Artwork from the AMoA’s 31st “September Competition” was being displayed when we visited. The guest juror, William Eiland, Director of the Georgia Museum of Art, chose 50 works from over 500 international submissions. The third floor showcases its extensive permanent collection of contemporary Louisiana art and the state’s largest collection of North Louisiana folk art. AMoA is dedicated to the belief that their audience’s needs are of the utmost importance and listens to the feedback of the community in order to curate exciting exhibits for people in the surrounding area. We were privileged to be given a personalized tour of the museum by Museum Executive Director Catherine Pears, who explained the providence and importance of all the works hanging in the permanent collection. Catherine aims to make the museum relevant for everyone and to uplift different cultures. EDGE Dec 2018 | Jan 2019
Festivals Funktober Fest takes place over a weekend every October on the grounds next to the Spirits Food and Friends. The festival features a showcase of craft beer samples from professional micro-breweries along with a home brewers’ competition. Local musicians play on a stage with a well-appointed VIP Area featuring seating areas for guests to enjoy the music while sipping a cocktail and enjoying food from local restaurants. Louisiana Dragon Boat Races take place during the AlexRiverFête, a fundraiser for the AMoA. On Race Day, “Second Saturday Market at the Museum” expands to festival proportions from the Alexandria Museum of Art to the Amphitheater on the bank of the Red River. Along with the dragon boat races there are many other activities including an ArtWalk, Dinner on the Bricks, a BBQ Cookoff and live music.
Atwood Bakery What better way to start the day than with a hearty breakfast? Serve yourself coffee and sit and enjoy a full traditional breakfast or choose from an impressive display of baked goodies including chocolate mice, muffins, chocolate covered bacon and their famous petit fours that sell over 300 a day. Mi Tierra Restaurant offers traditional Mexican food. Started in the Forest Hills out of the back of a truck selling tamales,
EDGE Dec 2018 | Jan 2019
the family restaurant recently moved into their third location. Mi Tierra offers fresh items such as fried avocado tacos, empanadas and probably the best mole I have ever tasted. Made from several different chilies, spices and a hint of chocolate, the mole’s depth of flavor was simply divine. Hocus Pokus opened in 1940. This local family owned liquor store offers wine tastings nightly and a vast collection of wines and spirits. The staff are knowledgeable and able to help select a perfect wine to pair with any meal. On the night we visited we enjoyed a flight of wines from a Californian winery. The Bentley Room, Diamond Restaurant and Mirror Bar are all located in The Bentley Hotel. The Mirror Bar is an eclectic space with stained glass windows and a ceiling covered with hand-painted black metal squares that replaced the original mirrored ceilings, which were unable to be restored. The original stained glass windows have been restored along with the sconce wall lights, and the bar offers specialty craft-made southern cocktails and a vast variety of wines and spirits. It is a perfect spot to sit and relax after a long day of sightseeing. The Diamond features prime steaks and seafood, all prepared with French techniques with a Cajun flair. The Bentley Room offers an extensive menu, again with a Cajun twist. On the menu for brunch were such culinary delights as boudin omelet, pulled pork and blueberry pancakes, grits and grillages and my favorite, Cajun Benedict: a dish of fried green tomatoes, lump crabmeat and a hot sauce hollandaise served with hash. After finishing brunch and saying goodbye to new found friends, I hit the road. Deciding to take a different way home, I took the scenic route, avoiding the freeways and traveling past the cotton fields and small towns over the Morganza Spillway and crossing the Mississippi via the John J. Audubon Bridge. It was a perfect way to transition from a weekend away. Thank you, Ann, for sharing your city with us; I’ll be back.
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The beauty and history of St. Tammany Parish has attracted people from other cities, states, and even countries, for years, but many citizens have begun to see the underlying social crises involving drug abuse, mental illness and, specifically, high suicide rates. St. Tammany Parish is an area that 250,000 people call home, but many of its citizens commit suicide every year, and that number has shown a pattern of rising. As more families, schools, and workplaces are being affected by the loss of loved ones to suicide, local groups and lawmakers have created preventative programs and policies with the goals of spreading awareness and lowering the suicide rate in the community. In 2014, St. Tammany Parish faced a record suicide rate: 19.4 per 100,000 people, far above the national average of 13.4 per 100,000 people. That same year, suicide was the second highest cause of death for those ages 10 to 24 in St. Tammany Parish. The parish has continued to remain toward the top of the lists for both highest suicide rate in the state as well as the highest national suicide rate. According to the CDC’s Vital Signs report for June 2018, from 1999 2016 suicide has increased in Louisiana by 29.3 percent, and based on more current data, 2018 is predicted to be the year with the highest number of suicides in St. Tammany Parish. To add to the complexity of the situation, Coroner Charles Preston’s records since 2002 show common characteristics and factors that surround many of the 575 suicide victims. Many of the victims were within a certain age range and were mostly male. According to data from St. Tammany Outreach for the Prevention of Suicide (STOPS) based off of Coroner Preston’s records, the ratio of male to female suicides was 33:14 in 2014. In the 2018 report, the ratio is 20:7. STOPS also reports that most suicides occur in people that age from 40 to 59 years of age, with 46.32 as the median age in 2014. Although these numbers represent the most affected and vulnerable groups, suicide does not discriminate, and its impact is evident. In the U.S. “[T]here are approximately 14,000 homicides each year while there are approximately 41,000 suicides. There should be a public outcry to find ways to reduce these numbers,” says STOPS Executive Director, Lynette Savoie, on the impact of suicide on the national scale. It affects many people regardless of age, race and gender, and as the rates increase, more Northshore families become affected by loss. One St. Tammany resident, Anna Helton, began to learn of the impacts of suicide as a junior in high school when
she experienced the death of her mother, Christine Helton. Christine Helton was 39 years old and was a well-respected member of the community. Despite that she appeared to loved ones as an outgoing, high-spirited, involved mother, she was hiding away a severe mental illness. According to her daughter, Anna, she was trapped within her own mind by depression and anxiety as her marriage fell apart. Hours before her mother’s passing, Anna recalls seeing her mother staring at a blank television screen like she was not in her own body, and had found Christine’s Chick-fil-a dinner uneaten in the garbage can. She found her mother’s actions out of character, saying, “I knew something was wrong for her to not want to eat anything, so I went and laid in bed with her.” She read through her mother’s texts, but did not finding anything troubling. She then sent herself some of her favorite pictures from Christine’s photo album, something she is now so thankful she did. Anna comforted, and laughed with, her mother before preparing for a busy school morning and going to sleep. The next morning, Anna and her sister Emma exchanged “goodbyes” and “I love yous” with their mother, then left. Anna’s final goodbye came as a text from Christine: “I love you more than you will ever know! Promise me you will always be this strong! You are so beautiful inside and out – your heart is full with so much love and happiness. I love you forever.” Soon following, Anna and Emma were pulled out of class by their principal, coaches and teary, red-faced father, who gave them the news that would change their lives forever. Since losing her mother so tragically, Anna has experienced drastic changes in her own mental health. Even though she did her best to cope, she developed depression and attachment issues, causing her to lose 15 pounds. She discusses how she lived in denial, “My mom would have never done this…Christine without such severe depression would have never ended her life or leave me and my sister.” Keeping in mind that depression was her mother’s monster, Anna strives to overcome it by helping those like Christine. Anna says, “There’s no point in hiding the reality of what happened to me and my family. Everyone knows and it is a huge problem.” Anna’s family feels one of the only experiences that has helped to aid the pain came from talking to others who lost loved ones to suicide. Anna’s maternal grandmother says she feels connected to the other families because they share the feeling of loss and grief that she has for her own daughter.
BY SYDNEY BAGBY
Spoken About EDGE Dec 2018 | Jan 2019
Mental health organizations, like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) St. Tammany (which services a five parish region: St. Tammany, Washington, Tangipahoa, St. Helena and Livingston) and STOPS, have made it a mission to reach out to families like the Heltons and to prevent deaths like Christine’s, but gathering enough support and funding for their work has been a journey. NAMI started appearing in the media in 2007, two years after Hurricane Katrina, in response to the spike in suicides. Nicholas Richard, now the Executive Director of NAMI St. Tammany, had been practically living in Southeast Hospital as he worked with mentally ill patients suffering from bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, drug or alcohol addiction and depression for several years. The State of Louisiana closed the hospital in 2013 as part of an effort by Governor Bobby Jindal to decrease the number of state employees and to privatize the healthcare industry, a political move that abandoned the region’s mentally ill patients. Originally from the Northshore, Richard knew that something had to be done, as he has witnessed the mental health crisis from both local and psychiatric perspectives. St. Tammany Parish Government and other stakeholders like NAMI St. Tammany have collaborated for four years to create the Safe Haven campus and have still maintained the old Southeast Hospital building. Fostering the growth of a mental health center has created tremendous benefits for St. Tammany Parish, and more citizens have joined in on the effort. NAMI St. Tammany receives 150200 calls per month, so people are needed to simply have caring conversations and to direct people to the right avenues by phone. There are over 120 volunteers of all ages that regularly help NAMI and STOPS by hosting support groups that serve over 1,000 people, responding to calls, acting as loss team members and participating in public speaking events. NAMI even transports
St. Tammany Outreach for the Prevention of Suicide Stops-la.org 985 237 5506
citizens to campus and will provide housing and treatment for many patients until they are well enough to get jobs and resume life in society. For families, the organization also offers a class on empathizing and intervention for family members and a class for patients on improving quality of life outside of medical treatment. STOPS also supports the community by offering assistance and education to survivors. STOPS was formed in December 2001 as a non-profit organization comprised wholly of volunteers. The organization has some programs similar to those of NAMI, including training programs created by Living Works International of Canada, support groups, and awareness events. The first training program is called safeTALK, which is a short class available to the public 3-4 times a year. It teaches warning signs and how to assist someone struggling with suicidal thoughts to get help. The other training program is ASIST, an intensive 2 day course offered 3 times a year to anyone interested in learning the warning signs, risk factors, and how to actually intervene to save a life. The other 2 programs are LOSS and SOS, which are offered to those who experience a loss to suicide. STOPS is proud to have been the second LOSS team in the country. The team works together with the St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office and sends 2 members out to a family to give them appropriate assistance, a care package, information about self-care and clean up services, and follow-up communication to check on the family. This is often followed by SOS, a support group meeting offered every 2nd and 4th Monday of each month. Savoie says that the SOS program is important because, “taking care of those left behind remains a major focus for STOPS” and having other survivors to talk to along the journey helps in the healing process. Their other events include presentations to groups to raise public awareness, a “One Step at a Time” 5K race at the Abita Trailhead and a
LETTER FROM THE MAYOR
candlelight event remembering those who have died by suicide on National Suicide Survivors’ Day. This year’s ceremony was held on November 17th at the Mandeville Trailhead. Both NAMI and STOPS have made strides in prevention, education and awareness, and are always overjoyed to receive new volunteers and attendees at programs and events. All of these programs and events had to be pushed for to convince parish government and law enforcement to join in, but once they were on board it became more evident how flawed the health care system on the Northshore is. Although the work NAMI and STOPS are doing is improving lives for so many, their employees and volunteers are not enough to make the whole community aware of this health crisis. Over 30 percent of individuals who die by suicide are receiving mental health care at the time of their death, becoming victims of their suicidal thoughts even though they have reached out for help. Nicholas Richard believes this troubling statistic is caused by the general misunderstanding of the mental health system. One active NAMI member, State Representative Reid Falconer, has called for reform by writing a Zero Suicide prevention bill, which proposes changes in primary care settings throughout Louisiana. Falconer researched its success in Detroit and other areas before considering how it could be beneficial to Louisiana, and particularly St. Tammany Parish. Richard says the Zero Suicide initiative involves “taking 15 seconds to save a life.” Falconer’s bill states, “Approximately 45 percent of persons who die by suicide have seen a primary care physician within one month of their deaths, illustrating that primary care is often the entry point into the mental health system for individuals who are less likely to seek out mental health services.” The bill mandates that primary care physicians ask a series of basic questions to assess mental health. Falconer believes that mental illness is often not treated by society as a severe condition like brain cancer, but ultimately they are both conditions changing the functions of one’s brain. Regardless of this fact, a stigma on mental health remains. Savoie stated “The stigma that mental illness and suicide carries has prevented both issues from being brought to the forefront like they should be. We need to talk about them and raise awareness so everyone can be a part of the solution. In most cases, no one wants to die. They just want to get out of the pain that they are in. Pay attention and notice changes.” She also encourages people to be upfront with their loved ones about their changes, even asking them if they are considering suicide, because it is important to “never keep a plan for suicide a secret.” Nicholas Richard agrees, saying that what the Northshore needs is a “societal mind change” to understand that mental illness is just as serious as any other illness. He says, “Some patients feel pressured by stigmas. We do not see cancer patients feeling bad for receiving treatment. It is an illness like any other.” Not everyone understands the sense of absolute hopelessness and desperation that these patients feel, or the events that put them there, but as a community we can do our best to learn to understand and to treat all with attention and respect. Celeste Falconer, wife to Reid, is a NAMI board member and past organization president and secretary. She encourages St. Tammany residents to become more active in advocacy. She says citizens, “can advocate for change in our laws and availability of services, or lack of, at the local, state and most importantly, at the federal level.” She also finds it important that citizens support taxes and fund raisers for mental health organizations since they are not well funded. Anna Helton expands on the idea of advocacy, saying, “Suicide is NEVER the answer, and that needs to be realized on more than just social media. It needs to be seen and spoken” by the people of St. Tammany Parish.
DEAR CITIZENS, As the holiday season approaches, I am asking everyone to Shop Slidell and support your local businesses. They need your support now more than ever. I am inviting you to join the City of Slidell for these free holiday events in Olde Towne Slidell: • Christmas Under the Stars – Nov. 30, Dec. 1, 7 and 8 in Griffith Park – features visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, the Parade of Trees, Santa’s Magical Mailbox and letter writing station, life-size Christmas Cottages and Slidell’s Nativity created by artist Lori Gomez. • Christmas in Olde Towne – Dec. 8 from 5 to 9 p.m – community caroling, fine and casu-al dining and unique shopping experiences. • Spirit of the Season – Dec. 1 through Jan. 1 – Olde Towne Slidell will be decked out in lights and decorations. • Slidell Magazine 100 Covers: A Centennial Celebration art exhibition – through Dec. 21 – in the Slidell Cultural Center at City Hall • Slidell Movie Night – Dec. 22 at 7 p.m. – during Slidell’s Bayou Christmas in Heritage Park. • Holiday Concert – Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. – Northshore Community Orchestra in the Slidell Municipal Auditorium. For more information, please visit MySlidell.com or call the Dept. of Cultural & Public Affairs at (985) 646-4375. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, Greg Cromer City of Slidell Mayor
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.......................... A nationwide celebration of arts and culture. In 2016, Northshore Cultural Economy Coalition launched Shop Local Artists Weekend in the East St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce. In 2017, with the support of Louisiana Senator Sharon Hewitt and then-Representative (now Slidell Mayor) Greg Cromer, it grew to Louisiana’s Shop Local Artists Week with the adoption of Senate Concurrent Resolution 20. The conversation has broadened in 2018 into a nationwide celebration guided by Americans for the Arts. Shop Local Artists Week is about supporting the creatives and local arts organizations that contribute to our quality of life and spark the cultural economy. It’s the visual artists, authors, musicians, performing artists, galleries, museums, filmmakers, festivals, culinary artists and more. So this holiday season and all year long, please join us in the support of our local creatives and consider the gift of arts and art experiences for everyone special on your holiday shopping list.
• And don’t miss our State of the Arts Luncheon•
with Louisiana Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser and Americans for the Arts’ Vice President of Research and Policy Randy Cohen
Tuesday, Dec. 4 • Northshore Harbor Center • Info and tickets: www.NorthshoreCEC.org plus St. Tammany’s Holiday Festival of Arts in Covington Winter on the Water Santa Parade in Mandeville • Christmas Under the Stars in Slidell For local and statewide events, visit www.ShopLocalArtistsWeek.com. To join the national conversation, visit Americans for the Arts at www.ShopLocalArtistsWeek.org.
.......................... These events are supported in part by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts as administered by St. Tammany Commission on Cultural Affairs. A Northshore Cultural Economy Coalition initiative • www.NorthshoreCEC.org
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Pilotâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Pilot STORY ELIZABETH KENNEDY WELLS
PHOTO PAT QUIGLEY
doesn’t take long to figure out that flying is not a casual hobby for Ed Smith. He has been at it for 54 years and has licenses to fly commercial jets, sea planes and gliders, and is certified as a flight instructor with ratings for single engine and multi-engine planes and for instruments (i.e. flying without visibility and relying solely on the instrument panel).
FLYING LESSONS All of this started in 1964 when Ed and his wife, Karen, along with their six-month old daughter, Stacy, moved from Iowa to Chicago. It was only a few days after they moved into their apartment that a neighbor announced that he had just gotten his pilot’s license and offered to take Ed for a ride. It was during that one-hour ride that Ed says he was “hooked.” He took his first lesson the next day, and despite working full time, going to school full time and having a family, he got his private pilot’s license six weeks later with just 35 hours of flight time – the minimum required at the time. But those lessons did not go off without a hitch. Ed says he got lost on his first solo cross country flight. “We had just moved to Chicago and I had not had a chance to become familiar with the area. After 8 hours flying with an instructor, it was time to solo and the instructor told me to go out to the ‘practice area,’ a vague reference to the area west of our little airport without any real boundaries.” After an
hour or so practicing various maneuvers, he figured it was time to head back to the airport. “I turned east and flew and flew, not recognizing anything. My instructor had neglected to tell me that in the small trainers that we used you had to reset the directional gyro with the magnetic compass every 15 minutes or so because they were that unreliable. Anyway, I figured I was not going east but didn’t know which direction I was going.” So how did he solve this problem? “I finally decided to go down and look at the names on the water towers and finally recognized one which gave me an idea of where I was. Found a couple more I recognized and finally made it back to the airport.”
In 1967, Ed and his family, which now included a second daughter, Gina, moved to Louisiana and settled in Slidell. Ed was a court reporter, and two years later started his own business, Affiliated Reporting Technology, Inc., in New Orleans. In the early ‘70s, while Ed was working full time as a court reporter, he also worked part time for a charter airline based at Lakefront Airport in New Orleans. The company sent him to Wichita, Kansas to attend King Air School. He readily acknowledges that the King Air “was a much more sophisticated airplane” than he had ever flown. At the end of the course, he received his graduation certificate from Olive Ann Beech. She and her husband, Walter, founded Beech Aircraft in the 1930s. Beech, along with Cessna Aircraft, founded by Clyde Cessna, and Piper Aircraft, founded by William Piper, were the original pioneers in general aviation manufacturing. Ed reports that, “Once I was back from the King Air course, since I had a flight instructor certificate, and no one else wanted to do it, I was put in charge of training new pilots. The Wichita training was all classroom instruction, so before I could train others, I had to check myself out in the actual plane.” Ed adds with a smile that, “things were much more casual back then.”
Ed bought his first plane in 1978: a 1964 Cessna 210. Although a small aircraft, it was large enough to hold a family of five – the Smiths now had a third daughter, Ashley. Before that, he was in a flying club that owned a series of Piper Aztecs. In 1981, the year he turned 40, he bought a factory new A36 Beechcraft Bonanza. The tail numbers are N741ES – the month and year he was born, and his initials. Although the plane is now 37 years old, it has been regularly updated and has the same instrument panel, engine and fuel capacity as a 2018 model, plus a turbocharger that allows the plane to fly higher and faster than the 2018 model. Ed follows an aggressive maintenance plan, replacing engine and airplane components prior to the manufacturer’s recommendations. N741ES was on the cover of the October 2018 issue of American Bonanza Society magazine with an article titled “Fast and Aggressive.”
ADDITIONAL LICENSES With an ever-constant desire to learn as much as he can and to increase his skills as a pilot, Ed took glider lessons in the late ‘80s. The lessons were given by a former Delta pilot on a grass strip in Robert, Louisiana. A glider is an aircraft without an engine. An airplane tows the glider into the air and at the desired altitude, the glider pilot releases the towline and begins to glide. Relying on updrafts, or “lift,” a pilot can often glide for hours. With an FAA glider license in hand, Ed took a one week advanced glider training course in Minden, Nevada. This is a world-class gliding mecca in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Pilots come from all over the globe to train in this one location, which some say has the best and most challenging soaring conditions in the world. Ed later got his sea plane license as a result of a little serendipity. He was giving lessons to another pilot who needed an instrument endorsement on his flight instructor certificate. This student was a sea plane instructor. They cut a deal to trade lessons: Ed taught the other instructor what he needed for his instrument endorsement and Ed got lessons in a sea plane.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF SMITH FAMILY
FLIGHT INSTRUCTION Over the years, Ed gave flight instruction on a part-time basis. He says he enjoyed it, but only because it was part-time. One interesting period was in the late ‘70s after the Vietnam War ended. Ed explains, “A lot of Vietnamese pilots that had been trained by the U.S. Air Force settled in the New Orleans area. They could fly jets but didn’t have a U.S. pilot’s license. There were transition programs set up where they could get a U.S. license, but they had to go through the initial training in a small two-seat trainer. It was humorous watching them trying to approach the airport at 70 knots in a trainer that more resembled a glider than anything they had flown. When you chop the power in a jet, it’s like throwing a brick out the window and following it down. When you chop the power in a two-seat Cessna trainer, it’s like throwing a feather out the window and following it down. The little plane floated and floated and it was hard for them to get it back on the ground. It only took a few hours, but it was humbling for these war pilots to try to fly a two-seater that flew about the same speed as their car after flying jets at 500-600 miles an hour.”
POWER-OFF LANDING One benefit of having an instructor’s certificate is the ability to give yourself recurrent instruction. Ed says that he sets up lessons for himself as if he was giving a lesson to a student. “For example, I will make three types of approaches – ILS, GPS and VOR – following
the specified missed approach procedures and then evaluate my performance the same way I would evaluate a student: making sure that I stayed within the recommended pilot test parameters.” Ed stresses the significance of this. “It is extremely important to review and practice all the flight procedures you will use regularly, and even those you might not use regularly but could need. One of the maneuvers I have found that gives students, myself included, the most confidence is practicing power-off landings.” A practice ‘power off’ landing doesn’t mean you actually shut the engine off; it just means that you reduce the power to idle, so it is ready to be reapplied if necessary. “Actually making a power-off landing on an airport runway from a cruising altitude is a great way to develop an important skill and develop the confidence that you can handle the situation if it ever became necessary.” This became useful when Ed had an actual emergency in September of this year. . .
EMERGENCY LANDING On a flight from Des Moines, Iowa to Slidell on September 4th, the oil pressure light came on, and Ed immediately diverted to the nearest airport, which was in Little Rock, 37 miles away. He explains that things were fine for a couple of minutes, and then “the manifold pressure fluctuated wildly and there was extreme vibration coming from the engine. I was contemplating whether to shut off the fuel when the engine stopped vibrating and then stopped completely.” He was at 11,000’ without an engine. “I turned off the fuel, began gliding, and started looking for
a place to land. It was farm country, so I chose a soybean field with the lowest apparent yield and lined my wheels up between the rows.” He took the plane down with a completely visual maneuver and landed 11 rows from the farmhouse, with minimal crop damage and no damage to the exterior of the plane. Ed explains, “I was following procedures I had trained for in the case of an absolute power failure.” His wife, Karen, got out of the plane and knocked on the door of the farmhouse. It was quite a surprise for Kat Gosney, who had never had a plane land in her bean field. The control tower at Little Rock knew the plane went down and dispatched emergency assistance. Soon two fire trucks, three Sheriff’s units, two police units and an ambulance arrived to find that none of them were needed. The FAA followed for an inspection and interview. The cause of the engine failure? A failed ‘reducer fitting,’ which is a connection between a larger hose and a smaller hose. When the fitting broke, it caused all of the oil to be pumped overboard, and without lubrication for the engine the cylinders separated and broke through the crankcase. The investigative report concludes with “In other words [the pilot] did everything right … This serves as a reminder that … It is vital for pilots to be ready for engine failure at any time, including knowing where to go if the engine fails at any location.” So there you have it. Flying, even as a hobby, is serious business. Ed Smith, a true pilot’s pilot, had trained 54 years, with over 9,000 flight hours, for one event and was fully prepared when it happened.
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My turn: by Dawn Davis
ABOUT DAWN DAVIS For every issue, EDGE of the Lake invites a local restaurateur to visit another eatery on the Northshore. For this issue Dawn Davis, owner and manager of Morton’s Seafood Restaurant and Bar, visited The Wine Garden. Sitting on the bank of the Tchefuncte River, Morton’s has been a Madisonville landmark since 1985. Dawn has been actively involved with Morton’s since 1991. Prior to that time, Dawn was an accountant at a small firm in New Orleans. She did the books for Morton’s and, growing weary of the cubicle life, found herself in the restaurant business.
THE WINE GARDEN 300 Robert Street Slidell LA 70458 985.201.7415 slidellwinegarden.com
I drove over to Slidell with a friend late one afternoon to check out The Wine Garden. The cozy atmosphere inside reminded me of the Bombay Club. The building was formerly an art gallery and has been very well designed; I was pleased to see there were no big screens. You could tell someone really put some money into it. There are several different seating choices, with the main restaurant offering high boy seating along with seating areas with sofas. A grand piano sits in one corner, where local famed musician Ronnie Kole has performed many times. There is also a private alcove off the main dining room that is perfect for pre-dinner drinks or a late-night cocktail. An attractive courtyard is available for outside seating, and a private function room is available for private parties. We chose to sit in the main restaurant area where there was some Frank Sinatra playing in the background. It has a real relaxed lounge atmosphere that I immediately liked. We sat at the bar and had a couple of martinis to start things off. They have all the traditional drinks you would expect but also offer flights of drinks. The “Great Scott” samples scotch, the “Lynchburg” takes a look at bourbons, and so forth. They have wines on tap and what appeared to be an excellent selection. We ordered the Fondata, which has mushroom, spinach and a house cured bacon. That was delicious and very filling. What caught my eye next was a charcuterie plate, which had salami, prosciutto, pancetta and andouille. It came with a brie and a Muenster and some other cheeses and some olives. It was also delicious. You are able to mix the cheeses to your liking, an option that helps you tailor it to your own taste. The menu is extensive. The duck breast served with sweet potatoes sitting on a bed of wilted greens served with a balsamic reduction has a perfect balance of flavors and is a perfect dish to consume during the cooler months. They had shrimp and fresh fish, a bison burger and venison that sounded wonderful. The steak salad looked good too, with shaved Brussels sprouts, shallots, apples, shaved parmesan and an apple cider vinaigrette. Next time I visit I might try the Thanksgiving Leftover Sandwich. The Wine Garden offers lunch, dinner and brunch on Sundays. They are open Wednesday through Sunday, often featuring live music. The staff was attentive and polite; the atmosphere was great; and it is located in such a neat area of Olde Towne Slidell. I highly recommend it.
STORY ANN JOYCE PHOTOS JERRY COTTRELL Set in beautiful Cassidy Park in Bogalusa, the 7th annual Bogalusa Blues and Heritage Festival took place the last weekend in September. Visitors to the festival were able to stay at the RV Park or pitch a tent along the banks of the Bogue Lusa Creek. Music played on the Heritage and Blues Stages throughout Friday evening and Saturday. Musicians included Bobby Rush, Sonny Landreth, Dash Rip Rock, Sara Bee, The Rezonators and a late addition of Fessaround – a tribute to Professor Longhair and celebration of the 100th birthday of Professor Longhair, ‘Henry Roland Byrd.’ ‘Fess,’ as he was often referred to, was born in Bogalusa and remains one of the most famous performers in the area. The Studio in the Country, located on the outskirts of town (featured in our Dec 2016 | Jan 2017 issue), has seen the talents of many world famous musicians and marks the rich musical history of Bogalusa.
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With tents and trees offering shade, and a playground, splash zone, face painting and space jump available in the Kids Zone, there was something for everyone. The Festival also offered more than just music: Grayhawk Perkins was on hand to share stories of Native American Folklore, art vendors were scatted around the park and of course a plethora of festival food was available for purchase. Attendees of the festival were able to add some fitness to their weekend with a 5K Run/Walk on Saturday morning. When the sun set on Cassidy Park that night with the sound of blues and smell of barbeque in the air, with children settled on blankets or dancing alongside their parents, it was a perfect end to a day for music lovers of all ages. EDGE Dec 2018 | Jan 2019
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1. Ireland - Fred and Judy Bruce took EDGE to Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. 2. St. Tammany Hospital Foundation’s new signature event, THE Gala took place at the Southern Hotel with an unforgettable evening filled with cirque entertainment, games and delicious food from OxLot 9. The hotel was transformed into a magical wonderland for a truly special night. Money raised supported the St. Tammany Cancer Center. 3. The Second annual A Taste of Olde Towne Slidell took place with area restaurant vintner dinners, two wine tastings and a Champagne Jazz Brunch, all mixed in with live music and art. 4. Leslie Domingues celebrated the 20th Anniversary of Northlake Academy of Music with a fundraiser called Music with a Mission. Money raised went to the National Alliance on Mental Illness - St. Tammany. 5. Fall for Art took place on the streets of downtown Covington. Galleries and boutiques stayed open late and visitors were able to walk the streets while enjoying live music, art demonstrations and performances. 6. Scarlet Roa took EDGE with her when she visited the USS Alabama Battleship in Mobile, Alabama. 7. St. Paul’s School Marian Players performed Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mocking Bird.
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8. Saint Scholastica Academy senior Meg Mercante, who achieved a perfect score of 36 on her ACT, is a St. Paul’s Cheerleader, an active member of many extracurricular clubs on St. Scholastica’s campus and a devoted volunteer in the community, has been selected as a state finalist for the Wendy’s Heisman Award. 9. The 2nd Annual Women’s Charity Polo Tournament took place at Summergrove Farm in Folsom. The family-friendly tailgate style event raised money for the Thoroughbred Retirement Network of Louisiana. Women polo players from around the world joined local players for an afternoon of polo. 10. The St. Tammany You Night Class of 2018 took to the runway as friends and family watched and celebrated with an after party featuring the Top Cats. The theme for this year’s program was ‘Fierce Beauty: Revolution.’ The event is the culmination of the year-long program that helps women embrace life beyond a cancer diagnosis. 11. With parish schools closed for the week, the Washington Parish Fair Parade was one of the highlights. 12. The Covington Junior League’s Harvest Cup Polo Classic took place on a beautiful fall day. Patrons enjoyed a day of polo, silent and live auctions, music by Four Unplugged and food from area restaurants.
13. Avala, formerly Fairway Medical Center, unveiled a new state-of-theart facility located in Covington. Avala boasts a fully-renovated hospital and a new physical therapy building. 14. Rich Mauti Cancer Fund and Stone Creek Club & Spa celebrated 10 years of partnership. Stone Creek dedicated a tennis court to the Mauti family and the committee of the Rich Mauti Cancer Fund, in honor of this long-standing partnership and the impact the charity has had on the local community. 15. Kelly Kicking Cancer hosted their fourth annual fall gala, “An Evening in the Vineyard.” Entertainment featured comedian Marvin Lee. Guests enjoyed a sumptuous Louisiana buffet and an open bar, a wine “pull” and silent auction. The event honors the memory of Kelly O’Mahoney, who lost her battle with brain cancer and in whose name the money is donated to brain cancer research and scholarships. 16. Heritage Bank hosted a First Responders Appreciation Luncheon with lunch cooked by Randy Ponthieux.
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Seven-year old Wilkins writes to Santa STORY CHARLES DOWDY
All right. This letter to Santa has gotta be Gucci if I’m gonna score all the toys I want. Write neat. Make sure the big man can read it. Here we go…
Charles Dowdy is a broadcaster and writer living with his wife and four children on the Northshore. You can hear him each weekday morning from 6 to 10 on Lake 94.7.
Dear Santa, All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth. Signed, Wilkins P.S. But a Powerblade with a Megavolt Launcher would be nice. Wait, that’s cute and all but what if he doesn’t bring me anything else? Am I stupid? I should tell him what I really want. Put it out there. Dear Santa, All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth, that Powerblade with the Megavolt Launcher and a Super Playstation Reality Combat Center. Signed, Wilkins P.S. I wouldn’t mind if my big brother’s head exploded, either. Wilkins! You’re talking about brain matter in a letter to jolly ole Saint Nick and you’re still leaving too much out.
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Dear Santa, All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth, the Powerblade, the Playstation, any other toy you can think of, a small explosion inside my older brother’s head and a Christmas tree that doesn’t look like it’s wearing the junk left over from old lady Matheny's yard sale. Signed, Wilkins P.S. OK. I know this blowing up my brother’s head thing sorta violates the Christmas spirit, but I wouldn’t be whistling every time I breathe if he hadn’t pegged me with a rock. I know you saw that and plan to punish him with the whole switches and ashes routine. Well, let me tell you how things happen here on planet Earth, jolly guy. He is my BIG BROTHER. Brown, smelly stuff flows downhill, right? If I get this stash of presents and he gets a lump of coal on Christmas morning then he’s gonna shove that thing up my you know where and leave it there until it’s a diamond. You ever been locked in your big brother’s closet? We’re talking don’t bend over to grab the soap kind of stuff . . . Wilkins! You can’t shake up the guy with prison stories and then expect him to bring you toys. That won't ﬂy. Dear Santa, Just bring me a bunch of junk. If it’s plastic and says "Made in China," I want it. Maybe you shouldn't blow up my brother’s head or anything, but I wouldn’t mind if you permanently hurt him. Also, would you please allow my parents to have some tiny shred of class when they are putting up our
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Christmas tree? Just because I made a paper mache camel when I was three does not mean they have to display it year after year like it was made by Picasso. And could somebody use some math skills, please? The ten-foot tree looks great out at the Christmas tree farm, not so great in our house with nine-foot ceilings. Signed, Wilkins P.S. Do NOT eat the cookies we leave out for you. Dang, that's screwy and too long. The man is busy; Shoot this dude straight. Dear Santa, Only bring me toys made with child labor. Quite frankly, kids are the only ones who have a friggin’ clue how to make a good toy. My big brother can swim with the fishes for all I care, just get him out of the house. Send my parents and their tacky tree with him. And don’t eat the cookies. Signed, Wilkins P.S. Since it’s only going to be me and you in the house, some questions have come to mind. My dad said that smell I noticed on you at the mall was bourbon. Is this a warm-you-up in the cold weather kind of thing or something I should be concerned about? And what is pre-puberty? And how old are the elves? Just wondering. P.S.S. Seriously, dude, I’m not kidding about those cookies. Do NOT eat them. Last year my brother made them with this stuff called Ex-Lax. For some reason, my dad got really fired up about that.
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