Edge of the Lake Magazine October | November 2021

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As we go to press, our region is still in the midst of recovering from Hurricane Ida. I was living in England during Katrina, so I had never experienced a major hurricane. Yes, I had gone through the drill of preparing for a storm, but we had always been lucky and escaped damage. Not this time. As I sat at home watching the storm move toward land, it no longer looked like it was heading to Baton Rouge. I had mixed feelings: I was relieved that it wasn’t heading towards my son, but it was heading right towards us. We just had to pray that we would be ok. We were. Our home, not so much. A large water oak took off the front of the house. Over the next few days, I was humbled by the out pouring from friends, neighbors and church groups. A cup of coffee, a working phone, a place to sit, a place to stay. Two days after the storm, my son arrived with 32 of his Delta Chi Fraternity brothers. They poured into our neighborhood and not only helped us, they helped many of our neighbors. I was so impressed by these young men who took the time to drive from Baton Rouge to help. All across the Northshore I witnessed people putting others’ needs in front of their own, offering help where it was needed most. I know that we have a long road ahead of us, but there are so many who have it worse than us. I know our community will once again come together and rebuild. We are Northshore strong.


PUBLISHER Sarah Cottrell EDITOR Jason Voorhees ART DIRECTOR Erich Belk STYLE DIRECTOR Patty Beal BEAUTY EDITOR Caitlin Picou COPY EDITOR Mary-Brent Brown CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Liv Butera Chris Massengill Liz Smith Christina Cooper Sarada Bonnett STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Jerry Cottrell CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Kevin Garrett Hanna Joyce Eric McVicker Abby Sands Matthew Schlenker Joel Treadwell

KEY ACCOUNTS EXECUTIVE Eloise Cottrell SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Rebecca Blossman-Ferran ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Erin Bolton Debi Menasco Stephanie Miller

Cover Photo Causeway Bridge Photo by Eric McVicker

The entire contents of this magazine are copyrighted by EDGE Publishing. @ 2021 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 edgepublisher@yahoo.com. EDGE PUBLISHING • 69170 HWY 190 SERVICE RD. SUITE 1 COVINGTON, LA 70433 • 985.867.5990



























Page 28 Wild Wood Apiary




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Mike Cooper St. Tammany Parish President

Randy Smith St. Tammany Sheriff


The end of August is always a challenging time in Southeast Louisiana. The summer heat is stifling, the peak of hurricane season is approaching and for many, painful emotions and memories start to resurface. This year was no different. As the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approached, so too, did what would become one of the strongest storms to hit Louisiana, Ida. Our Parish Public Works crews work year-round to prepare for the possibility of storms, whether it be pumping down ponds, practicing emergency activations or assessing drainage. In St. Tammany Parish, Ida barreled through in the dark of the night, leaving widespread damages,not revealed until the sun rose on Monday morning. Once Hurricane Ida had made her way through our Parish, nearly 100% of St. Tammany Parish’s homes and businesses were without power. Our roadways were blocked by downed trees, powerlines, storm debris and in some areas high water. The morning after Hurricane Ida had passed, our Public Works crews began clearing all main arteries in the Parish for emergency vehicles and utility restoration crews. Within the first week, our push crews had cleared all Parish roads, more than 1,600 miles. In less than two weeks, power was restored to 99% of properties in St. Tammany Parish and schools were preparing to reopen. From August 28th to September 5th, we housed 130 residents at our shelters and many more first responders and essential emergency personnel. Following the storm, we organized Points of Distribution Sites, or PODS, in Covington and Slidell to serve our citizens with MREs, water, ice and tarps. We distributed dozens of pallets of MREs and water to Folsom, Lacombe, Abita Springs, Madisonville, Sun, Bush and Pearl River. While the magnitude of Ida’s impact was remarkable, I believe that our perseverance and passion is stronger. I am thankful and proud to serve the citizens of St. Tammany, who never wavered, and lead a spectacular team of professionals, who never let the devastation they encountered rattle their spirits. From our Public Works crews, to the utility companies’ line workers and our emergency response teams and first responders, we never stopped to think about what we were going to do, we just went to work. As I write this column our parish is experiencing the rain brought on by the remnants of Hurricane Nicholas, while we are still recovering from the devastating effects of Hurricane Ida. Some in our parish are still without electricity and many are still without internet and phone service. Piles of debris, branches and fallen trees line our parish and state roadways. We are in full-on recovery mode – something St. Tammany is no stranger to. I would like to take a moment and thank our citizens who provided meals for all of our first responders as they worked the long days following the storm. I would also like to thank the many individuals and businesses who graciously opened their hearts to the hundreds of out-of-town lineman and workers who came to help get our parish back up and running. Our community is made up of some wonderful, strong and selfless people, and it is humbling to watch our community come together to help each other during times like this. It was an honor to watch as immediately after the winds stopped blowing neighbors came out to help neighbors clear trees from roadways and put tarps on roofs. And in the days following, I watched as businesses, big and small, handed out meals, gas, ice, bottles of water and other necessities and asked for nothing in return. The people of St. Tammany truly embodied the spirit of neighbor helping neighbor, as they always do. We would not be where we are in the recovery process if it were not for the can-do attitude of the people of St. Tammany and the many, many volunteers who came from other states to literally do everything and anything they could to help, including clearing debris, cooking meals, washing clothes and handing out hope. Though Ida left a mess in her aftermath, and it will be a long time before our streets are completely clear of the debris the storm left, I am once again blown away by the resiliency of our community and the willingness of our residents to give to others even when they themselves are dealing with the same struggles. God Bless You All and God Bless St. Tammany!

EDGE October | November 2021

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here’s something about being surrounded by artwork, top-notch food and incredible architecture to kick off any girl’s weekend. We first met Nurhan at the Frenchman Street art market, looking for artwork for my daughter’s room. While walking through the artist’s market, we stumbled upon Nurhan. Madison was immediately drawn to his work: his unique way of creatively representing architecture, illusions, emotions, and bright feelings; the colored pigment floating in water is perfect in its imperfections. We love art that can evoke a feeling, something more than just “liking” a painting. Also, artwork that is unique in nature. Nurhan’s definitely fits the criteria. I mean, you only have so much wall space; you should fill it with art that makes you happy. He is a multidisciplinary artist and urban designer. Born in Istanbul, Turkey, Nurhan immigrated to New York City and was educated in the public school system. His projects have been featured at the Venice Biennale, Aqua Art Fair, Art on Paper, Contemporary Art’s Center New Orleans, Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, Governor’s Island Art Center (NYC), The New Institute in Rotterdam, and the Onsite Gallery in Toronto. He has been featured in Metropolis Magazine, Gambit’s Top 40 under 40, was Interviewed on NPR, and was awarded the Architizer A+ Award. He is the Collectors Club artist for the Contemporary Arts Center and a The Front artist collective member. He is a Board Trustee and the Program Chair at The Contemporary Arts Center and serves on the Board of Directors for the Arts Council of New Orleans. Nurhan is a faculty member of The New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts and is a participating artist in the Jazz and Heritage Festival. Nurhan coordinated the first major Habitat for Humanity Buckminster Fuller Design Science Exhibition in Istanbul, Turkey. Formerly, he held a senior designer position at Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill and at Kohn, Pederson, and Fox, both in NYC. Nurhan received a Master’s Degree from Harvard Graduate School of Design and a Bachelor of Architecture from Pratt Institute.

Poster artist, Nurhan Gokturk will be at the Three Rivers Art Festival -Booth 322

200 Block 200

Tom Homann



Angie Spears



Amber Poole



Donna Hoyack

3D Mixed Media


Kate Beck



Christinia Smith

2D Mixed Media


Erin Sansoucy



Jan Byron

3D Mixed Media


Ronald Linton


2D Mixed Media


Bob Stern

3D Mixed Media


Greg Arceneaux




Marianne Kalinoski

3D Mixed Media

309/310 Russ Schmidt

Patrick Reynolds


205/206 Jan Dicks



Keith Villere



Kathleen Hunt



Carol Hallock



Guiteau Lanoue



Pui-Lan Cockman



Elaine Lanoue



Jake Asuit



Joel Lockridge



Liping Jackson

3D Mixed Media


Margaret Luttrell

2D Mixed Media


Paulette Lizano



Megan Austin



Woody Smith



Ginger Kelly



Joey Blazek



Scott McQueen

2D Mixed Media


FinchnFox FinchnFox



Gordon James



Paula Tregre


Carla Moll



Deb Wight



Chrissy Jones



Fred Weber



William Armstrong

2D Mixed Media


Laura Teague



Alena Vinet



June Pryor


Anne Gaines


Petronella Shepard

2D Mixed Media Printmaking & Digital Art Fiber

422/423 Ryan Boase

3D Mixed Media

2D Mixed Media


Neil Russell

2D Mixed Media


Marian Baker

2D Mixed Media


Neshama Roash



Susan Elnora



Melissa Holbein



Nurhan Gokturk



Audry Deal-McEver



Chrissy Doolen



Tim Peters



Bonnie Hedden



Margaret Grier



Samuel Yao



Delton Gerdes



Eric Mort



Shirley Doiron



Michael Bonardi



Erika Mock



Rocky Broome



Phyllis Minnery




Marvin Bower

Functional Art

329/330 Patrick Kielkucki

Robert Zarcone

Fiber Woodwork


Sam Clark



Juli Juneau



Carol Bryan



Suzanne Juneau



Jeff Long



Pat Juneau



Larry Hamilton



Nick Cantrell



Marisa Ray



Craig & Tracy Wilson



Edward Heerten



Micheal Paul Cole



Shaun Aleman



Jana Epstein



Gary Curtis



Julie Salvetti



Craig McMillin



Merida Hines-Tyler



Susan Bergman



Stacy Gresell

3D Mixed Media


Ana Andricain



Dan Finerman



John Davis

Printmaking & Digital Art


Ghada Henagan



Mary Fischer



Nancy Strailey


442/443 Keith Andry



Susan Clayton





Brian Miller



Gint & Regina Sabaliauskas



Nancy Eaves



Michael Young



Richard Veselik



Brian Greer



Lynn Langhoff



Helene Fielder



Loveday Funck

Printmaking & Digital Art

300 Block

Carol Carmichael

339/340 Suzanne Seiler

2D Mixed Media


Sharon Johnston



Wayne Gao

3D Mixed Media


Cindy Cherrington



Candiss Cole-Footitt



Laurie LaMarca



Chase Mullen



Debo Groover

2D Mixed Media


Summer Lydick

2D Mixed Media

500 Block 400 Block


Don McWhorter



Alisa Butts



Chris Cumbie

3D Mixed Media


Ken Tracy



Rebecca Bradford

2D Mixed Media


Roger & Renae Poer



Kalle Siekkinen



Jeri Vitello



Donna Guidry


506/507 Royal Miree



Jerry Brem





Lorrie Drennan



Cindy Aune

2D Mixed Media


Scott Jones



Michael Terra



Sally Austin

2D Mixed Media


Paul Gillam



Mickey Asche



Kerry Leasure



Paul Nikitchenko

2D Mixed Media


EDGE October | November 2021

Wendy and Joe Edwards


Michelle McLendon

Functional Art


Emma Fick



Jack Charney



Jaron Reeser



Charles Gatewood



Mick Whitcomb

Functional Art



Lisa Arkus

2D Mixed Media


Martin Taber


618/619 Joshua Lee Nidenberg

Lisa Morales


Anthony Arkus



Don Meinders




Amanda Proctor



Rachael DePauw


621/622 Victor Edwards

Jennifer Ponson

2D Mixed Media Photography Jewelry Woodwork


Nichol Brinkman



MaxAnne Noel-Ragusa



William Colburn



Michael Bonin



Teresa Merriman

3D Mixed Media


Terri Kennedy


546/547 Craig Routh


Epaul Julien

2D Mixed Media


Busarin Kittichareonsup



Dennis Heckler



Jay Nielsen



600 Block


Molly Taylor



Holt Lewis



Christopher Smith



Layl McDill



Joan Curtis





Kris and Al Clement



Kenneth Butler


601/602 Alexander Brown



Katherine Prejean



Katherine Likos





Connie Kittok

2D Mixed Media

Kimberly Clark

Jean Havet Tone Lowe


Suzi Eveleth



Reiko Uchytil




Lisa Norris

2D Mixed Media


Molly McGuire


635/636 Christy Boutte



Josh Price



Robert Wagner



Michael Davis


2D Mixed Media

530/531 Tai Taeoalii



Al Vinsant

3D Mixed Media


Michael Eddy

3D Mixed Media


Jayne Vinsant



Steve Coburn



Allison Esley

2D Mixed Media


Trish Ransom

3D Mixed Media


Spirit & Samuel Bush



Jason Wilson


611/612 Tamar Taylor

535/536 Sunny Liang



Andres Arango




Dawn Middleton


614/615 John Marc Anderson

3D Mixed Media


John Mroczek



Sean Corner





Michele Benson Huck


Jason & Stoddard Lauren Thomas

3D Mixed Media


Steve Ayers




Damen Mroczek


* Subject to change EDGE October | November 2021





10:00am Festival Opens

10:00am Festival Opens

10:00am Children’s Hands-on Area Opens

10:00am Children’s Hands-on Area Opens

5:00pm Festival Closes

2:00pm Student Art Awards at the Covington Trailhead

6:00pm Start Artists Awards 7:00pm Free Concert at the Covington Trailhead

5:00 PM Festival Closes

8:00pm Track Acoustic to open for Tyler Kinchen and The Right Pieces * Subject to change



EDGE October | November 2021

Finally, an easy parenting decision. - Cecilia S. Ochsner Pediatric Patient

This fall, Ochsner Health Center for Children – River Chase is opening as a one-stop pediatric super clinic. This clinic will be dedicated to treating kids separated by feet, not traffic including:

• General Pediatrics • Therapy & Wellness • Clinical Psychology • Cardiology • General Surgery • Gastroenterology

Learn more at ochsner.org/CovingtonKidsCare

• Hematology/Oncology • Plastic Surgery • Hand Surgery • Pulmonology • Oncology • Urology

Northshore Media Group salutes and thanks the first responers, linemen and hundreds of volunteers that are helping to restore our community after Hurricane Ida. Northshore Media Group is proud to bring you YOUR local Northshore radio stations. Bringing you local pertinent information with live local news, interviews, weather, sports and music.




Hotel • Casino • Spa • Pools • Lazy River • 7 Restaurants • Conference Center • Marina • Amphitheater

Camellia Bay Resort



magine it … a first-class resort casino on the shores space large enough to host major concert events. But the of Lake Pontchartrain, located right at the foot of the amphitheater will also be available to the community to Twin Spans in Slidell. It would become a reality if voters bring people together. A space large enough to host farmers approve it in an upcoming election. markets or high school graduations — no more driving the The design plans are simply spectacular and the amenities family to another parish to watch your child graduate. are like nothing St. Tammany has ever experienced. A $325 MILLION INVESTMENT hotel with up to 250 rooms and the Northshore’s first real Louisiana is the heart of camellia country and for convention center — big enough for special events, weddings years Slidell has been known as the Camellia City. So it’s and even Mardi Gras balls. The resort will also include a only fitting that the new resort will be called Camellia Bay. luxury spa, swimming pools and everybody’s favorite … a The name was chosen in an online contest from thousands lazy river. In Louisiana we love good food and part of the of names submitted by local residents. The winner was plan is seven different restaurants … from casual to fine awarded a $5,000 cash prize and the honor of naming the dining with a celebrity chef. $325 million investment that would bloom on the shores of But the excitement doesn’t end there. Outside the resort Lake Pontchartrain. there’s even more for the community to enjoy. Because the The project is being developed by a celebrated casino new resort casino will be located right on the lake, a brand operator, P2E. The company has a proven track record of new marina is part of the excellence. Their resort project. Want to get in on properties have been the fun while enjoying more honored as outstanding by Our mission is to create quality beautiful sunsets? Just pull USA Today, US News & up in your boat and enjoy. entertainment destinations while World Report, and even Another major outdoor earned the coveted Four attraction has generated a enhancing the communities where Diamond Award from great deal of interest in the AAA Travel. we are privileged to do business. community. An outdoor amphitheater with green


EDGE October | November 2021

Lazy river.

Seven restaurants.

Live music.

Luxury spa.


From an economic standpoint, the resort casino is a major win for our area. A historic five percent of the gaming revenue, which is the largest percentage is state history, will be available to improve our education, roadways and public safety. That means millions annually to be used for drainage, flood protection, and infrastructure. The project will mean thousands of local jobs too. These jobs will pay far more than the local average wage and include full health insurance benefits. Millions of payroll dollars would flow into the local economy creating more jobs and boosting home values too. For a long time the Mississippi casinos have drawn tourists and locals alike to their properties. But think about this … all the tourism money and revenue generated across the state line would be able to stay right here and generate millions for our roads, schools and safety.

Located south of Slidell.


“This location in Slidell is the best single casino development site that I’ve ever seen,” said P2E CEO Brent Stevens. “Our mission when we develop a property is to create quality gaming and entertainment destinations while enhancing the communities where we are privileged to do business.” Those enhancements are clearly demonstrated through the developer’s commitment to the Slidell community. Leaders in Slidell have worked for years to develop a sports park for East St. Tammany and now the project could become a reality. The developer has committed $35 million to build a state-of-the-art, regional sports park in our community — the first of its kind in East St. Tammany. The sports complex will offer first-class sports, recreation and fitness facilities that are not only close to home, but will attract athletes from across the country for tournaments and events. The complex will be

$35 million sports complex.

independent of the resort and would be a permanent asset for our community. The developer has already made a $100,000 donation to be used to begin the planning and development process of the project they’ve pledged to fund upon approval of their proposed resort. The final step for Camellia Bay to become a reality is for St. Tammany voters to vote yes in a parish-wide election in December. To learn more about the project and show your support, visit TheNorthshoreWins.com.

Questions? Email answers@thenorthshorewins.com | visit: thenorthshorewins.com | on Facebook @thenorthshorewins EDGE October | November 2021





W W W. H O O D P R E O W N E D . C O M

Are You Experiencing the First Signs of a Hearing Loss? We often have our teeth checked, our eyes checked and our blood-pressure tested, but when was the last time you had a hearing test? Hearing loss doesn’t happen overnight. It is a gradual process over the years, so it isn’t noticeable at first. But at some point, things will start to change. A few common signs of hearing loss include finding conversations hard to follow, turning the TV’s volume up louder than usual, and asking people to repeat themselves. JJ Martinez, AuD., CCC-A, FAAA Board Certified in Audiology

You might not think too much of it at first, or, despite any frustrations it is causing you, you might decide to put treatment off for “another day.” Often friends and family are the first to notice one’s hearing loss before it becomes a real challenge for the sufferer.

Slidell | Hammond | Mandeville


EDGE October | November 2021

Sound familiar? If so, then SLENT Hearing & Balance Center encourages you to visit one of our hearing centers in Hammond, Slidell or Mandeville, LA for a hearing test. We’ll test your hearing, and identify if a hearing loss is at play, and if so, provide you with some treatment options. A recent worldwide study* confirmed that eight out of ten hearing aid users reported they had a profound positive impact on their quality of life, including improved relationships at home and work and a better sense of safety and independence.

Download Our Free Guide “The Early Symptoms of a Hearing Loss to Look Out For” Written by Dr. JJ Martinez Visit slenthearing.com/free-guide *Source: Findings of EuroTrak 2015 (ET 2015) and MarkeTrak 9 (MT9) worldwide studies about hearing loss and hearing aids.

Call 985-273-5795 Visit www.slenthearing.com

R E A D E R S ’



2 0 2 2

VOTE For your

FAVORITE It’s time to let us know what you LOVE about living on the Northshore from Artists to Restaurants to Yoga.... Go to EDGEOFTHELAKE.COM to vote and we will announce the winners in our February/March issue. VOTING TAKES PLACE November 1st - December 4th For our readers in Tangipahoa Parish please go to our sister publication, Tangi Lifestyles and vote at Tangilifestyles.com.

St. Tammany NOW


Tammany NOW is a curated collection of the latest economic development information and business and industry insight in our community directly from St. Tammany Corporation, the economic development organization for St. Tammany. St. Tammany NOW highlights what and who makes the St. Tammany business community thrive and illustrates the opportunities to diversify and fortify our economy. In this issue, we are sharing information about Restore St. Tammany, St. Tammany Corporation’s business disaster response and economic recovery action plan in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. During an emergency, the priority responsibility of a local economic development organization is to serve as a conduit and disseminator of timely, relevant, and dependable information and resources while providing technical assistance to its businesses and community. St.

Tammany Corporation takes this responsibility seriously, and we are committed to the development of an economic recovery plan for St. Tammany. The first phase of this official effort launched on September 8, including the facilitation of a brief business impact assessment, the re-establishment and operation of a business assistance and resource help line, and the launch of a comprehensive disaster relief website. Collectively, these streamlined efforts helped St. Tammany Corporation gauge immediate business needs and coordinate efforts for economic recovery with our local government, business stakeholders, and regional, state, and federal economic development partners. Our digital comprehensive resource center, www. RESTOREStTammany.com, serves as a one-stop resource center for St. Tammany businesses and a guide for communities throughout the parish. This comprehensive

Chris Masingill Chief Executive Officer St. Tammany Corporation

website includes timely, relevant updates on the current restoration process and ongoing economic recovery in St. Tammany. We also understand that businesses have very specific needs and questions. Our business recovery help line also remains open at 985-809-1411 to field business recovery calls. At this number, you can reach a live member of our professional technical staff who can answer questions related to Hurricane Ida resources for your business operations from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week. From September 8 through September 14, St. Tammany Corporation facilitated a brief business impact assessment survey to understand the initial experiences and needs of St. Tammany businesses in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Ida. This survey was the first in a series over the coming months that will help us track our businesses’ needs and recovery progress over time. Of the responses received, most businesses reported that while they were currently open, access to electricity, phone, and internet services was a challenge to reopening in the days immediately following the hurricane. The majority of respondents indicated that they would like additional information about Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster Assistance and Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Programs. For the latest topics, dates, times, and links to join these technical assistance sessions, please visit www.RESTOREStTammany.com.

As we develop and implement St. Tammany’s economic recovery plan, we will continue to work under the direction of Parish President Mike Cooper and in close collaboration with our partners such as the St. Tammany Chamber, Northshore Business Council, St. Tammany Tourist & Convention Commission, Northshore Homebuilders Association, Tri-Parish Works, and the Northshore Community Foundation to maximize the impact of our recovery efforts. Developing the economic recovery plan, facilitating technical programming, and administering subsequent surveys are all outreach efforts designed to understand the specific and unique needs of our local business community and to help meet those needs through the available, eligible resources. Our team is here to help your business navigate the ongoing recovery efforts to help St. Tammany thrive once again. St. Tammany Corporation remains a resource hub for businesses and consistently shares timely, relevant information related to hurricane and pandemic recovery and resiliency on our online platforms. Stay connected with St. Tammany Corporation on Facebook at @StTammanyCorporation, Twitter at @StTammanyCorp, our website at StTammanyCorp.org, our data and research platform at StTammanyStats.com, and our digital comprehensive resource center at www.RESTOREStTammany.com. Ashley Llewellyn and Elizabeth Lee are the lead staff contributors to this article.

• Most dental services provided without the need for referral • Implants, Dentures, Root Canals, Crowns, Etc. • Sleep Apnea Treatment (for CPAP intolerant patients) • 26 years serving the Northshore Randall L. Foto, DDS / 645 B Lotus Dr. N, Mandeville, LA 70471 / 985.626.4447 / mandevilledentistry.com

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EDGE October | November 2021

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EDGE October | November 2021




started following Wild Woods Apiary some time ago when I discovered this local brand of honey at Shred Meal Prep in Slidell. The beautiful design of the label caught my eye which was quickly followed up by the owner of the store noting that it was the best honey in the area. Intrigued, I bought a bottle and looked up the company on Instagram. The honey did not disappoint, but it was the apiary’s Instagram feed that fueled my already note-worthy fascination with honey bees to the point where I gave my daughter a bee-themed first birthday party. Her first BEE-day if you will. Nicholas Usner, the owner of Wild Woods, is a bee rescuer. All of the honey produced by the apiary is produced by the honey bees relocated by Usner from homes and property all around St. Tammany. Usner documents many of his live removals and swarm relocations for social media raising awareness for these pollinators. A farmer for most of his life, Usner started beekeeping for the same reason many farmers do, to pollinate his crops. “A friend of mine from high school suggested that we get a single hive over here at the farm just to play with it. The hive died out a year later, but then a year later a wild swarm moved into it”, recalled Usner. This sparked Usner’s rescue efforts. He began putting up traps with already drawn combs. Like a turn-key fully furnished apartment rental, the drawn combs trick the bees into thinking there is a ready-made home to move into. Usner recently removed what may be his largest live removal ever: 8 live hives under one house. A wild swarm can be a real nuisance to property owners who find themselves unwilling hosts. Problematic for obvious reasons, like mail services refusing to deliver, many property owners are tempted to spray or call pest control. However, polinators, including honey bees and bumblebees, are crucial to Earth’s ecosystem and our food supply. According to the Planet Bee Foundation which educates and advocates for the protection of bees, “Globally, pollinators are responsible for pollinating more than 1,200 crops. 87 of the leading 115 food crops, or about 75%, depend on pollinators. Every year, pollinators contribute more than $217 billion to the global economy, and $24 billion to the US economy. If we consider the indirect products of plants, such as milk and beef from cows fed on alfalfa, the value of pollinator services in the US would increase to an incredible $40 billion.” “Honey bees make honey and wax products for candles. They happen to produce something sweet we all love. I feel like the other bees, who are equally important, get overshadowed by the European honey bee which is not native here” - Usner Bees are an inspiration for Usner, who notes that they are a perfect metaphor for us non-winged creatures to achieve a better world. “One bee by itself is inconsequential, but the fact that all this honey can be produced by 30,000 individuals really goes to show you that when bees, people, whatever organism it is, come together great things can be accomplished, ‘’ says Usner.


EDGE October | November 2021

Nicholas Usner does around 100 live removals and swarm relocations a year. He relocates many of the bees back to his apiary at his home and harvests the honey. Wild Woods Apiary honey is harvested and jarred in its natural state. Usner does not heat or process the honey in any way and the apiary does not use synthetic pesticides. The result is pure, organic, raw honey. When I visited Usner at the Apiary, he was kind enough to let me try the honey harvested fresh from the comb. He also gave me a bottle of the honey he sells at the local markets, and other than the rush of adrenaline from being so close to all those buzzing liquid gold producers, the taste was the same. HEAVEN. During my visit, I was able to ask Mr. Usner a few questions regarding his apiary and bee culture. He credited the growth of his business to his partner Alicia Bequette who designed his label and inspired him to begin selling the honey to more local markets. Usner also spoke about his bee community and the tightknit group of beekeepers working to preserve this fuzzy flying creature for the future. Usner proudly showed me rows and rows of beekeeping equipment, many antiques at this point, that he inherited from his friend and mentor Jay Martin. “I met Jay at the Uptown farmers market in my 20’s and as he is slowly retiring from natural, commercial beekeeping, the wealth of knowledge he has shared along the way is priceless. Passing the torch is most definitely the best way for me to describe our friendship.” In addition to their late spring multi-floral honey, Wild Woods Apiary also sells tallow honey. Tallow is claimed by many to be the best tasting honey variety, but Chinese Tallow is quite a polarizing topic in the environmental community. I asked for Nick’s take on the topic. “Tallow has become ‘endemic’ at this point and is a part of our ecosystem. It makes up the largest nectar flow that we have in Southeast Louisiana and the quality of the honey is phenomenal. However, in certain areas, it’s extremely invasive and outcompetes the natives. I believe we should leave it at this point because all pollinators and a plethora of other insects benefit from its blooms!” I asked Nick what he considered to be the most rewarding part of working with bees. He responded, “The most rewarding part of beekeeping is definitely working with the wild genetics that has acclimated to our area of Louisiana and successfully working with those genetics to build disease and pest resistance without the use of chemical aids.”

Given the importance of natural pollinators to our environment and their current state of endangerment, I asked Nick to detail steps we can take as a community to ensure their longevity and safety. “Honeybees are the ‘fuzzy poster child’ for the pollinator protection movement but are equally as important as any other native pollinator. THREE EASY WAYS TO PROTECT ALL POLLINATORS ARE: 1.

Plant plenty of pollinator-friendly plants and leave areas of wild weeds for them to forage


Stop using chemical insecticides on food crops that depend on the pollinating species.


Buy local honey from a producer near you. He adds, “If a wild swarm is resting or bees have taken up residence in a home or man-made structure, please do not disturb or spray them. Just CALL NICK AT WILD WOODS!! 985-373-3016” Wild Woods Apiary honey can be found at the Covington Farmers Market on Saturday, all Abita Roasting Co locations, Hoodoo Ice Cream, Tessier Gourmet, and Full Moon Nursery in Abita Springs. Please remember to shop local and save the bees!


EDGE October | November 2021

VOTE YES! AND THE NORTHSHORE WINS. A $325 million first-class resort with over 500,000 square feet of luxury and entertainment on the lakefront in Slidell. The beauty and excitement of Camellia Bay Resort will keep millions of dollars here at home that now go to Mississippi casinos — millions we can use to improve our roads, schools and safety. And statistics show, in cities with resorts like this one, jobs increase, home values rise and the economy booms. VOTE


Hotel • Casino • Spa • Pools • Lazy River • 7 Restaurants • Conference Center • Marina • Amphitheater Questions? Email answers@thenorthshorewins.com | visit: thenorthshorewins.com | on Facebook @thenorthshorewins

33rd Annual

Presented by

St. Tammany Parenting center

Saturday, October 23rd Bogue Falaya Park | 10am - 2pm

Children: Children: $15 $15 inin advance advance II $20 $20 atat gate gate


Children Children 22 and and under under admitted admitted free free

Adult: Adult: $5 $5 CHILD available online online only only CHILD VIP= VIP= $35 $35 -- available Tickets Tickets available available online online or or atat select select ticket ticket outlets outlets


Parenting Center Sponsors

St. Tammany Parenting center thanks these community partners


in-kind sponso

SEPTEMBER 24 - OCTOBER 16 Friday & Saturday Evenings, 8pm Set in 1929–1930 Berlin during the waning days of the Weimar Republic as the Nazis are ascending to power, the musical focuses on the hedonistic nightlife at the seedy Kit Kat Klub, and revolves around American writer Clifford Bradshaw’s relations with English cabaret performer Sally Bowles. A sub-plot involves the doomed romance between German boarding house owner Fräulein Schneider and her elderly suitor Herr Schultz, a Jewish fruit vendor. Overseeing the action is the Master of Ceremonies at the Kit Kat Klub, and the club itself serves as a metaphor for ominous political developments in late Weimar Germany.

Cutting Edge Theater 767 ROBERT BLVD. SLIDELL

TICKETS AVAILABLE ONLINE cuttingedgetheater.com PHONE 985.649.3727 TEXTING 985.285.6666


RUBY 14955481

100 N CATE ST, HAMMOND EDGE October | November 2021




EDGE October | November 2021


ne of the Northshore’s most popular culinary events, Men Who Cook, partners local “celebrity cooks” – leaders in St. Tammany or Washington Parishes – with top local restaurants to fight child abuse and trafficking on a local level. These teams compete against one another for the best dish, and to see who can raise the most money for Children’s Advocacy Center - Hope House. After a 2020 hiatus, Men Who Cook will return to its traditional location on the rooftop of the St. Tammany Parish Justice Center parking garage in Covington on November 7th from 4 to 7PM. Despite the cancellation of last year’s gala, Hope House pivoted masterfully by partnering with local celebrities and restaurants to host a series of week-long dine-in promotions at local restaurants. Not only did the campaign raise more than $170,000 for Hope House, including a $60,000 matching grant from the IJN Foundation (In Jesus’ Name), but it also helped to drive traffic to local restaurants during a year when so many small businesses were struggling. “Our restaurant and celebrity partners are a huge part of what makes Men Who Cook such a beloved fundraiser for our community. Our teams bring an incredible spirit – and even more incredible food – to this competition. We are so grateful for their support and their passion for our cause,” says Hope House Executive Director Thomas Mitchell. What can you expect at Men Who Cook on November 7? A whole lot of fun and some incredible food! In addition to tastings of each team’s featured dish, ticketholders will enjoy complimentary wine and beer, live music by Tyler Kinchen & The Right Pieces, a silent auction and more! Patrons are encouraged to “tip” their favorite teams to determine the People’s Choice Award winner. A panel of celebrity judges will also conduct a blind tasting of each dish to determine the Judge’s Choice Award winner. To maximize the impact of this year’s Men Who Cook donations, the IJN Foundation (In Jesus’ Name) has announced that it will match all donations up to $50K. However, $50K must first be raised by Hope House in order for the organization to qualify for the matching contribution. Tickets to the event are $70 per person or $125 per couple and can be purchased at www. cachopehouse.org. The 2021 Men Who Cook gala will be preceded by a full month of dine-in promotions at top local restaurants across the Northshore. Beginning in October, patrons will be given an opportunity to donate on site at participating restaurants to unlock special deals like discounts, free desserts, and more. To sweeten the deal, those who donate $50 or more online (toward ANY Men Who Cook team) by November 6, will automatically receive one entry to win a Walt Disney World vacation valued at approximately $3,000. This prize was generously donated by Safe-Stor Climate Controlled Storage on behalf of Jim Yancey and Neal Clark. EDGE October | November 2021


SOME OF THE 2021 MEN WHO COOK CELEBRITY + RESTAURANT TEAMS INCLUDE: • Covington Councilman Rick Smith and Seiler Bar • State Senator Patrick McMath and Tchefuncte Country Club • Madisonville Councilman Keith Dennis and Tchefuncte’s Restaurant • D.A. Warren Montgomery and The Shack • Shane Mutter and Pyre Provisions • Frank Richerand and Giddy Up Folsom • St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Randy Smith and DiCristina’s • Nick LaRocca and Hambone • Neal Clark and Jim Yancey with Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux Covington Restaurant • Covington Police Chief Michael Ferrell and Abita Roasting Co. • Washington Parish Sheriff Randy “Country” Seal and BBQ Shrimp Guy

ABOUT CAC - HOPE HOUSE “Children’s Advocacy Center - Hope House is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to ending the cycle of child abuse in our community. We provide a path to recovery and a bridge to justice for victims of abuse. CAC - Hope House provides forensic interviewing, family advocacy, counseling services, and prevention outreach within St. Tammany and Washington Parishes. All the professionals involved on our team – forensic interviewers, clinical therapists, advocates, investigators, and more – meet with kids and families at our center. In fact, the St. Tammany Multidisciplinary Team and Washington Parish Multidisciplinary Team are both headquartered at CAC - Hope House. The team includes Hope House staff and representatives from 12 other agencies. Our childcentered environment is a central location for families to get the help they need after abuse has been reported.” -Thomas Mitchell Executive Director of CAC - Hope House

IMPORTANT STATISTICS Hope House is expected to serve over 350 new child victims of abuse this year. • The average age of child abuse victims Hope House serves is 9.7. • 67% of our kids meet full diagnostic criteria for PTSD. • 90% of our kids know his/her perpetrator. • When Hope House forensics are used, it results in conviction rates of 96.1%. • 1 in 10 children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday. • 60,000 children live in St. Tammany Parish.

“If you’re caught littering, that’s your

Randy Fandal, Slidell Police Chief


It’s against the law to litter in the City of Slidell. You could be fined, serve community service hours in a litter abatement program, or even spend time in jail time after multiple littering convictions. It’s easier to put trash in the garbage and keep our city clean! Refer to the City of Slidell Code of Ordinances: Litter, Chapter 13, Article III, Sec. 13-52 – 13-68 for more information.

For more information about Keep Slidell Beautiful, call Trey Brownfield at 646-9564. Follow “Keep Slidell Beautiful” on Facebook. Thank you to Keep Slidell Beautiful’s $5,000 Media Sponsors:

Our Lady of the Lake Physician Group Expands Care on the Northshore Our Lady of the Lake Physician Group continues to grow and expand its services on the Northshore with the addition of two skilled physicians at a new clinic in Covington. Brad LeBert, MD now offers otolaryngology (ENT) services, while Susan Ovella, MD practices internal medicine and pediatrics.

Dr. Ovella, a longtime Northshore resident and healthcare provider Board Certified in both internal medicine and pediatrics, is passionate about providing primary care to children, teens and adults. She believes in the importance of preventive medicine in one’s healthcare journey.

As a Board Certified otolaryngologist, Dr. LeBert cares for patients of all ages and finds much joy in caring for his entire community.

“As a primary care provider, nothing is more important than my relationship with my patients,” said Dr. Ovella. “I want them to feel comfortable in turning to me as their healthcare guide.”

“This is my calling. Every day, I get to go to work, meet new people in my community, see some familiar faces, and help them feel better and live healthier,” said Dr. LeBert.

Dr. LeBert and Dr. Ovella are now accepting new patients. Schedule a visit at ololrmc.com/northshore.

Brad LeBert, MD Otolaryngology

Susan Ovella, MD Internal Medicine, Pediatrics

728 West 11th Avenue • Covington, LA 70433



Ranch & Hatchery Raising alligators is all in a day’s work for John Price and his family STORY CHRISTINA COOPER PHOTOS KEVIN GARRETT & LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM


t’s been a long time since John Price, owner of Insta-Gator Ranch & Hatchery, hatched his first eight-hundred some-odd alligators in the backyard of his Metairie home. Come September of the same year, 1989, he loaded those baby alligators into the family Buick and moved them, along with the entire Price family, to a beautiful parcel of land on Lowe Davis Road in Covington. John has an incredible passion for the American Alligator, and it shows. “Our kids were young then,” he remembers, “but it didn’t take long for them to gain an interest in alligators. Shortly thereafter they began taking care of the alligators, helping in egg harvesting and running a summer camp and selling snoballs in the summer. My wife, Stephanie, has also handled possibly the most important part: public relations and wound care,” he laughs.

For more information or to book your tour, birthday party, or fieldtrip online: Insta-Gator Ranch & Hatchery 23440 Lowe Davis Road, Covington www.Insta-GatorRanch.com (985) 892-3669 For more information on attractions and things to do in St. Tammany Parish, visit the St. Tammany Parish Tourist Commission’s website, www.LouisianaNorthshore.com

All joking aside, through the Prices’ hard work and dedication, Insta-Gator Ranch and Hatchery has become an extremely popular attraction in St. Tammany Parish, educating tourists, locals and schoolchildren about the American Alligator through their informative and fun tours of the facility. An estimated 25,000 visitors were able to “feed ‘em, hold ‘em, and hatch ‘em” at Insta-Gator in 2019, a far cry from its humble beginnings in 2001. “After years of [sharing] cocktail party stories about gators and preparing for the expense of four kids in college simultaneously, I concluded that alligator education and entertainment was the next obvious step to achieving happiness and our financial goals.” The rest is history, and Insta-Gator Ranch and Hatchery opened its doors, and its alligator barns, to the curious public. Almost every visitor who comes to Louisiana is in search of an alligator interaction, and Insta-Gator Ranch and Hatchery, open year round, is happy to oblige. John and his son Matthew, along with their team of charismatic tour guides and alligator wranglers, share a wealth of knowledge about the prehistoric creature. Visitors get up-close and personal to the American Alligator during the tours and make Instagram-worthy memories holding baby gators at the touch pool. Visitors to the working alligator ranch can peruse the alligator-themed gift shop, with cool alligator items like belts, wallets and even alligator tooth necklaces. Visitors learn about the alligator industry “from hatchling to handbag” through a fact-filled talk sprinkled with more than a few laughs. There’s also a video of alligator egg collection in the wild and a massive, life-sized reproduction of an alligator nest to check out. Finally, visitors tour the alligator barns where they can meet farm-raised alligators in various stages of growth; even enormous 8-footers and alligator celebrities that have made appearances (courtesy of John’s wrangling abilities) in Hollywood feature films and television shows like NCIS: New Orleans. But perhaps most important to John and his family, Insta-Gator Ranch and Hatchery is an active participant in the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries alligator management program, credited for restoring the stability of the American Alligator population in Louisiana and increasing its numbers to the more than 3 million alligators living in Louisiana today. Through the alligator Sustainable Use Program, licensed alligator farmers like the Prices are able to collect alligator eggs on private lands and incubate and hatch them under ideal growing conditions. The hatchlings are then raised until they grow to 3-5 EDGE October | November 2021


feet long. Ten percent of the alligators are released back into the wild, on the same lands the eggs initially came from. The rest are harvested for their meat and hides. Releasing the alligators after they have had a chance to grow in protected conditions greatly increases their chances of survival in the wild. At Insta-Gator, the survival rate of alligator eggs hatching and growing to becoming a 4 foot alligator is 92-94%. In the marshes, only 6-8% will survive if


EDGE October | November 2021

left alone to fend for themselves, even with the help of their alligator mother. According to Price, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries program of protection has “increased the population of alligators in Louisiana from 500,000 to over 3 million in just 35 years. This is possibly the fastest growth in population of any species on earth.” That’s great news for a species that was first listed as endangered in 1967 and now considered

fully recovered by US Fish and Wildlife Service. Every year, after the female alligators build their nests, John climbs into his ultra-light aircraft and flies over marshes in Des Allemands and Larose where he spots the nests from his bird’s eye view high above. Flying comes naturally to the Price family. “My Dad had a V-tail Bonanza when I was 8-15 years old. He taught me a lot and smartly sold it when I was of age to

get my license,” he notes wryly. “In my humble opinion, no bulletproof 16-year-old like me should have been a pilot and he obviously agreed. But once I got older and getting into the sky to spot alligator nests became a necessity, I took lessons from an FAA instructor and didn’t go off on my own until he said I was ready.” John marks the locations he spots from the ultralight by throwing down a flag attached to a pole and returns with a EDGE October | November 2021


GATOR FACTS The American alligator averages about 800 pounds and can be 10-15 feet long, though the largest ever recorded was found here in Louisiana and measured 19.2 feet. Alligators can run about 20 miles per hour in short bursts. The state’s alligator population is around three million, the most of any state. After population declines by the mid-20th century, harvest quotas were put into place. Populations now are at sustainable levels. Diet consists mostly of fish, turtles, small mammals and birds, though alligators have been known to attack dogs, deer and on rare occasions, humans. Alligators in 2019 represented an estimated $86 million industry for Louisiana. Shoes, purses and other items of alligator skin fetch high prices and the meat, which is classified as seafood (but, yes, tastes like chicken), is increasingly offered in restaurants. Mating season is April to May. Females build a nest and lay 20-60 eggs, then cover the nest with vegetation and hang out ‘til August when eggs begin to hatch. As a species, alligators have been around for about 37 million years.

crew by boat to carefully mark and remove the eggs from the nests. Each basket is painstakingly documented and the eggs situated just as they were originally arranged in the nest. The alligator eggs in tightly-packed nesting material are brought back to Insta-Gator Ranch and Hatchery, where they are carefully monitored to maintain ideal hatching conditions. Hatching season is in August, and in 2021, Insta-Gator Ranch and Hatchery’s team collected close to 1,000 alligator eggs from the wild. That’s when the real fun begins. Guests can pre-book a hatching experience through the website, www.Insta-GatorRanch.com, and help the tiny creatures break through the egg’s shell when it’s time, wiggling right into eager hands. After Covid-19 forced Insta-Gator’s hiatus from the public hatching season in 2020, alligator enthusiasts like my eight-year-old daughter Charlotte were so excited to help alligators emerge from their eggs again this past August.

“I’m going to work there when I get older,” Charlotte announced as we took the scenic drive to Lowe Davis Road. I wouldn’t be surprised, since she wasn’t squeamish at all, not even when the tiny hatchling scuttled across the hatching table, or snapped her finger harmlessly in its tiny jaws (“doesn’t even hurt, Mom!”). Mind you, I exclaimed and jumped every time. It was kind of embarrassing, truth be told. John was exceedingly patient with eight-year-old Charlotte, answering her endless questions about alligators that began with a polite, “Excuse me!” and continued, rapid-fire, whether he was ready or not. I remembered the first hatching experience for both of us, when she was four years old. The rapt wonder of it all was written all over her face then, just as it was now. “I really like hatching eggs at Insta-Gator. You get to experience a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of hatching baby alligators,” she sagely declared. “You get to see what

their life cycle is from the egg. My favorite part is getting to hold them and play with them. I think they feel like a dinosaur!” Hurricane Ida prematurely ended the public hatching season for Insta-Gator, but John and his family helped the remainder of the eggs (about a hundred) to hatch. “The alligators and the family home all did fine…All in all very blessed,” said John. Tours are resumed as of the third week in September, and guests are able to visit the working alligator ranch again and hold last year’s alligator hatchlings as they leisurely swim around, serpentine, in the touch pool. John observes, “After years of studying the American Alligator and because we have harvested eggs, hatched babies and raised alligators for 33 years now, we not only have a lot of knowledge of these prehistoric creatures, but even more stories of unexpected surprises and exciting experiences to tell.” Charlotte would agree. EDGE October | November 2021


What’s Your Story?

985.773.2227 joeltreadwell.com

GOLF TOURNAMENT Friday November 12 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM Registration Opens - 9am Tournament Begins - 10am

Beau Chene Country Club 602 N Beau Chene Dr. Mandeville, LA

4 Person Format: $125 per golfer $500 per team Includes: Green fees, Golf Cart, Open Bar & Food

Register a team or Become a Sponsor 985-882-5002 or Northshorehba.org


This event raises funds for the Northshore HBA Scholarship at Northshore Technical Community College


EDGE October | November 2021

5-7 PM: 7-8 PM: 8-9:30 PM:

An Emporium of

Southern Avenue shopsouthernavenue.com 985.871.1466



onfucious said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” That’s sage advice, but how many of us actually manage to accomplish this? Lucky for Rebecca Bradford, a local artist and owner of Southern Avenue, she had the right amount of artistic vision, drive, and encouragement to carve out her own dream job-creating and curating art and other locally hand-made treasures for her distinctive gift boutique. “My parents supported my messy, creative endeavors as a kid, and I wound up graduating with an art degree from Millsaps College,” she explains. “It’s such a privilege to do what I love. It’s a pleasure to work seven days a week.” After college, the Covington native moved to New Orleans, where she wasn’t producing her own art at first, but her experience in working in design and sales for a furniture designer and a custom textiles manufacturer certainly helped pave a path to her current venture. For the past decade, most of her time has been spent either in her studio or her store. Tucked away in a strip mall on Highway 21 in Covington, Southern Avenue somehow manages to be chic and sophisticated, yet warm and accessible. Predominantly awash in white, gold and a calming palette of sea glass hues, the space is brimming with art, jewelry, linens, furniture and accessories.

“We have a wide range of prices, and we try not to have too many similar things. We’ve created a mix that allows customers to put together a fun gift set.” Rebecca refers to her inventory as “arts and craftsmanship,” since “arts and crafts” doesn’t typically garner the respect it deserves. Some of her bestsellers include in-house-designed products like the NOLA Street etched wine glasses, Louisiana-themed Christmas ornaments and custom lines of housewares and jewelry. Upon entering the shop, it’s hard to pinpoint what jumps

out first–the pleasant visual ambience, or the friendly, enthusiastic welcome Rebecca appears to bestow upon all of her customers. She credits her mother with sharing her flair for hospitality and knack for being the perfect hostess. Combined with Rebecca’s genuine love for what she does, these elements help her strive to reach her goal–to provide her customers with a special experience. “With all that’s going on in the world right now, I hope customers leave a little happier than when they came in. It’s a happy space, an escape. No matter the weather, there’s

always sunshine inside the shop.” After living and working in New Orleans, what brought Rebecca back to little ol’ Covington? Simply put–family. Her parents, who moved across the lake in the 1960s, and three of her five siblings still live on the Northshore. Plus, the St. Scholastica Academy alumna is also the proud aunt to 11 nieces and nephews. While those kinds of roots certainly make this the ideal spot to set up shop, what actually inspired her to launch her own business at the tender age of 32? “My first successful item was a Christmas ornament to

commemorate the first year the Saints won the Super Bowl. I had worked for others for 10 years after college, then the ornaments took off, and I started imagining what it would be like to have a shop that features other locals, like me.” That one Christmas ornament, it’s worth noting, has spawned an array of 40 designs that fill a whopping 2,000 orders a year. When it comes to choosing other people’s work to sell in her store, Rebecca’s selection process comes down to a gut reaction - it just has to be something she likes, or that her

customers might like. But the selection of artists has its own criteria. Rebecca explains with a laugh, “They have to be from a state with an SEC team.” True to her word, you can find everything from Kentucky –made soaps and lotions to Texas - made carved antler pens and bottle openers to monk soap from St. Joseph’s Abbey, right here on the Northshore. Over the years, her artists and artisans have ranged from people she’s known for years–like her first grade teacher and her mentor, Covington - based artist, John Hodge–to those she’s discovered at festivals or on Instagram. But all have become treasured friends to her. “This isn’t catalog shopping. I’ve collected an incredible group of artists. Some are over 60 and on their second careers. Some are full - time artists with lots of experience. Some are young up-and-comers who’ve recently found their niche. I’ve met some of their children, grandchildren, and parents. They’re real people with whom I have real relationships.” Thankfully, Rebecca’s post-college respite from creating her own art was short-lived. By her mid-20s, inspiration returned, and she’s been producing ever since. On November 13 and 14, Rebecca will have the opportunity to showcase her personal creations at the Three Rivers Art Festival, Covington’s annual event that features original art from nearly 200 artists. Highlights include a group of paintings based on antique maps of downtown Covington,

circa 1915. The maps retain their old world feel, but she tweaks them with the application of gold leaf. Another collection, that she calls Beyond the Horizon, is a series of abstract landscapes with a fantasy vibe, that incorporate acrylic, resin, and–you guessed it–gold leaf. “I have a little addiction to gold leaf,” she playfully confesses. “I used to watch PBS specials about Egyptian art, the Vatican, and Celtic art and the gold always fascinated me. Growing up near St. Joseph’s Abbey inspired a lot of the gold, as well. It’s become my signature.” Another major event that will make this fall an exciting time for Rebecca and Southern Avenue is the store’s 10year anniversary. They’ll be celebrating that momentous milestone by officially kicking off the holiday shopping season. Though Rebecca vows that Christmas music won’t start until after Thanksgiving, lights, decorations and holiday-themed inventory–including her wildly popular ornaments–will adorn the shop. Customers can expect new items to arrive every week between October and Epiphany, and they’ll even be open on Christmas Eve until 3pm for last minute shopping. “Everyone is invited to come in and find a gift for mom, a friend, or for yourself. There will be tons of decorations and a fun vibe to celebrate the magic of Christmas. We want to bring a smile to your face and be the bow on top of the gift wrap.






4 In-Home Care 4 Elder Care 4Respite Care 4Special Need Care 4Emergency Response



985.542.6565 985.542.6565 1500 J W Davis Dr, Ham mon d, LA 70403 | w w w.CareI nc.com 985.542.6565

1500 J W Davis Dr, Ha mmo nd, LA 7 0 4 0 3 | w w w.Ca re I nc.co m 1 5 0 0 J W D av i s D r, H a m m o n d, L A 7 0 4 0 3 | w w w. Ca re I n c. c o m



info@namisttammany.org www.namisttammany.org


EDGE October | November 2021


George C Lanaux, SR ca 1850, (Royal Globe Insurance)

George C Lanaux, JR ca 1900, (New Orleans Insurance Association)



Gaston L Lanaux, ca 1920, (Royal Insurance Company)

NORTH AMERICAN INSURANCE AGENCY of Louisiana, LLC 2255 North Highway 190 | Covington | 985.871.5480 | naiala.com

Charles A Lanaux, ca 19 (George S Kausler,

Left: Hynson Lanaux, ca 2020, North American Insurance Age Center: Robert W Lanaux, ca 2020, North American Insurance Age Right: Merrick Lanaux, ca 2020, North American Insurance Age


Pursuit of a Pirate STORY LIZ GENEST SMITH


everal times in recent years, I’ve stumbled upon some deliciously salacious stories from the Northshore’s past that have been inexplicably buried or ignored. From Covington’s former red light district, to a disgraced governor and his cronies using Mandeville as their personal playground, to CIA training camps in Lacombe – it’s always satisfying to dig up the facts that support such juicy rumors. My latest discovery, however, proved to be the most challenging of all. In a nutshell, I recently read that there once was a dashing, but deadly pirate named Pierre Rameau who, along with his legion of cutthroat henchmen, pillaged

and plundered from Mississippi to the Carolinas, using Slidell’s Honey Island Swamp as a homebase and hideout. Wait, what? I’ve been on countless Honey Island Swamp tours for school field trips and to entertain out of town guests, and never once have I heard this name! My initial online searches yielded only a few blog posts and old local magazine and newspaper articles, but the profile of this swashbuckling outlaw grew more fascinating by the second. A duplicitous scoundrel with a trio of identities, he was born Kirk MacCullough (or McCullough) in Scotland sometime around the late

Pier re Rameau

1770s, but went on to create his nefarious network under the name Rameau. He also established himself in New Orleans as an upstanding, well-connected gentleman named Colonel Philip Loring, who attributed his great wealth to his ownership of a lucrative Mexican mine. When the Battle of New Orleans was looming, he is said to have been so insulted by Andrew Jackson’s refusal to hand him a high-ranking commission in the army, that he switched sides and fought for the British, getting himself mortally wounded in the process. Wow! Quite a character, right? So, why in the world had I never heard of him? Because he was a traitor?

Because the Northshore likes to hide its most delightfully wicked history? Because Jean Lafitte outshined him in the piracy department? There had to be more to his story, and I was dying to discover it. Little did I know I was about to spend weeks in an absolute warren of research rabbit holes as I conducted my investigation. Searching the Swamp I began my quest in the areas adjacent to Honey Island Swamp, focusing specifically on Rameau’s pirate identity. I reached out to librarians, historians and archivists in St. Tammany Parish, neighboring Hancock

County, Mississippi, and even the Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies at Southeastern Louisiana University. Some were unable to provide any useful new information beyond the sources I’d already found, but a few solid leads surfaced. A book called Louisiana Legends & Lore features an article from a 1907 issue of the New Orleans Item newspaper about an actual treasure discovered in Honey Island Swamp. The book claims that the $1,000-cache of gold coins belonged to Pierre Rameau, but most of the coins were minted in 1827, over a decade after Rameau’s demise. So, while it certainly could be pirate treasure – the swamp was allegedly once a haven for ne’er-do-wells – it’s not likely to be this particular pirate’s treasure. Another promising lead that kept popping up was an obscure book, published in the 1890s, called The King of

Honey Island, which prominently features Pierre Rameau, alongside a colorful cast of characters, in an adventurous tale that takes the reader from the Mississippi coast to Honey Island Swamp to New Orleans in the days leading up to the Battle of New Orleans. None of the local libraries or bookstores I contacted carry it, but I downloaded an electronic copy, and I kept a notebook handy to jot down any new names or references that might be worth scrutinizing. New Orleans Gentleman While I read the novel by night, I used my days to cast a wider net. Perhaps New Orleans’ universities, public libraries, city archives, or other research facilities held some sort of deed, tax record, or news item that mentions one of the aliases – most likely Colonel Loring, the name

he used to purchase a stately mansion and hobnob with the city’s elite. When nothing turned up, I wondered if it was evidence that he didn’t exist, but an archivist informed me that city directories were not commonplace during that time period. I was on the edge of my seat when another researcher told me she’d found something documenting one of Loring’s business endeavors, but it turned out to be just another unsubstantiated mention from one of the news items I’d already found.

A Traitor on Battlefield Down, but not beaten, I decided to review the stories about Loring’s participation in the Battle of New Orleans for a new line of inquiry. Chastened by Andrew Jackson’s dismissiveness, Loring is said to have delivered all the intelligence he had gathered from the Americans to Lieutenant General Sir Edward Pakenham, who was leading the British army’s assault on New Orleans. When the Americans miraculously trounced the Brits, Pakenham was among the first casualties, and they say a critically injured Rameau fled to a nearby home. Multiple sources claim a former associate named Vasseur tracked down the traitor to confront him for his treachery, as well as for previously robbing him and leaving him for dead in a burning house. Though both of his arms had been rendered useless, the still ambulatory Rameau was able to use a fearsome kick to subdue or kill Vasseur, then he ran into the swamps where he died. Frustratingly, several reports say there used to be a plaque to commemorate his final resting, but it was lost over time. I pulled out the big guns to research this aspect of Rameau’s life, enlisting the assistance of the Historic New Orleans Collections/Williams Research Center, plus a professor of Archives & Historic Preservation at LSU Shreveport and the head of the War Studies Department at the Marine Corps University in Quantico, Virginia – both of whom have researched and written extensively on The Battle of New Orleans. But, guess what? Despite their efforts, nary a trace of any of his aliases was to be found in any battle records or historical accounts.

While scanning a roster of enlisted men, I had a glimmer of hope when I found two soldiers by the name Vasseur, but not a single Rameau story included Vassuer’s first name. So, I came to a screaming halt in yet another dead end. Valid by Association? My optimism returned when I came across two exciting discoveries from some old small-town newspapers. The first was an article by Polly Morris that appeared in a 1976 issue of the St. Tammany New Banner, comparing and contrasting Pierre Rameau with Jean Lafitte. It’s filled with strikingly specific details, including a passage that describes Rameau as “a big man with a blonde beard that had a coppery hue. His peculiar grey eyes were shadowed by thick black brows.” The other came from a January 1893 issue of a Wisconsin newspaper called the Brandon Times. An article about John Murrell, a criminal who operated along the Mississippi River in the 1800s, mentions how “Pierre Rameau and John A. Murrell were names of dread from the Ohio River to the Gulf Coast.” (Keep that date – 1893 – in mind for future reference.) Both Lafitte and Murrell are well-documented individuals. Does it lend credibility to Rameau’s existence if journalists mention him alongside those historical figures? Can we consider the reports factual if they don’t use words and phrases like “legend has it” or “allegedly”? It’s tempting, but without any references to their original sources, there’s no way to verify them. I hoped to try another “valid by association” angle by researching the secret society – called the Chat-Huants, or Screech Owls – who were said to serve as Rameau’s criminal crew, much like the Baratarians for Jean Lafitte. Many convincing accounts of how they communicated in the swamps using avian shrieks and wavering cries, and also held surreptitious meetings in New Orleans, would seem to lend at least a little credence to their – and possibly Rameau’s – existence. Sadly, neither I, nor a single historical expert I contacted, could find any proof. A Promising Source Documentation is crucial to historical research, so I had high hopes for a manuscript that turned up deep in the State

Library of Louisiana’s digital archives. It’s described as, “An account of the life and death of Pierre Rameau, born Kirk McCullough in Scotland. Also known as Phillip Loring or Colonel Loring. Notorious robber in Mississippi, Alabama, and the Carolinas. Home base was Honey Island, Louisiana (near New Orleans). Died as a result of wounds suffered in the Battle of New Orleans in 1815.“ It’s undated, but the author is listed as: “Edwina Grace Damonte Fredricks (1902-1987) who was Vice-President of the Times-Picayune when she retired in 1972 after 50 years with the paper.” I was thrilled by her credentials and the plethora of details that matched and exceeded many of the other accounts, plus the inclusion of some poignant insights, such as, “Had the engagement between the forces of General Andrew Jackson and General Packenham resulted in a British victory, the name of Rameau would have outshone that of the Lafittes in dark luster.” My excitement faded, however, when I realized that, yet again, there were no sources cited, and that these particular archives (the Louisiana Works Progress Administration collection) describe their contents as containing both legends and local history. Well, which one is it?! The historian who had found the manuscript admitted, “We do not know which source materials Fredericks may have used. Consequently, we do not know if the narrative she wrote for the WPA was based entirely in fact.” So, she may have just been compiling the lore for posterity? No one knows. Tracing the Origins As my deadline loomed, it was time to start evaluating all my findings. Initially, the article from the Wisconsin newspaper that mentioned Rameau in 1893 was the earliest mention of him that I’d found. But when I discovered a few sources that placed the publishing date for The King of Honey Island in 1892, instead of 1896, it became plausible that perhaps the journalist had taken Maurice Thompson’s newly released book as a factual historical account. Authors of contemporary historical novels tend to include an addendum that reveals which parts of their books are the product of creative license, but this is not the

case with Thompson. While spinning this fantastic tale, he occasionally speaks directly to the reader to attribute certain details to what he claims are legitimate sources. But neither I, nor the professional researchers I contacted, were able to locate or identify any of them. Did they exist? Or was it a playful attempt to blur the lines between fact and fiction? If his goal was to keep the reader guessing, mission accomplished! In a last ditch effort for some answers, or at least insight, I did a deep dive into the author himself. Maurice Thompson was a well educated man who was born in Indiana, raised in Georgia, and had a colorful mix of careers – engineer, lawyer, soldier, amateur botanist and ornithologist, and finally, a writer of nonfiction – but also novels and poetry. He spent many summers in Bay St. Louis, but all we can glean from this is that he had occasional geographical proximity to the opening setting of the book. Just as I was finally winding down my research, an article surfaced from the November 1965 issue of Deep South Genealogical Quarterly which describes Rameau as a “most improbable and completely unprovable legend upon which Maurice Thompson based his best-selling novel.” And an archivist with the New Orleans Public Library found a book buried deep in their special collection entitled, The Literary

Career of Maurice Thompson, published in 1965. I was unable to see it myself, but the archivist told me that the biographer claims “that Thompson sought to ground his stories in the popular history of the time, specifically utilizing Rameau as a way to include Jean Lafitte in The King of Honey Island.” The Bountiful Book While all the evidence, or lack thereof, points rather convincingly – and disappointingly – in one direction, I’m unwilling to speak in absolutes and definitively declare Pierre Rameau purely a figment of Maurice Thompson’s imagination. Maybe he based him on a real person he either met or heard about in Bay St. Louis. Maybe the many journalists who reported on him simply failed to include their verifiable citations. The possibilities are neither endless nor likely, but they’re still possible. My research didn’t exactly result in an x-marks-the-spot conclusion, but it certainly unearthed a priceless trove of history culture, and lore. Real or imagined, Pierre Rameau’s story is a rich one that’s worth exploring, especially in the pages of The King of Honey Island, which turned out to be the real buried treasure all along.


Robby Miller Tangipahoa Parish President


They say adversity does not build character; it reveals it. Over the last several weeks, in the heat and exhaustion of rebuilding our lives post-Hurricane Ida, the true character of the people of Tangipahoa has been a shining light. I talk about it all the time—when our people are hurting, when our neighbors are in trouble, the people of Tangipahoa move. Just as we did during Hurricane Ida. All across our parish, we have heard countless stories about the generosity of our citizens. Some went to work cutting through fallen timber to reopen roadways. Some helped their neighbors dig out of homes that were badly damaged in the wind and rain. Some fired up their barbecue pits and cooked meals to serve. Some made gasoline runs or went out to find ice and water for those in need. Some opened their homes and businesses to people without a place to stay. Ida delivered a powerful punch to Tangipahoa Parish, but our people are bouncing back by working hand-in-hand, helping one another. It’s an inspiring sight to see, and I am both humbled and blessed to be part of this incredible community. As I always say, our people are our greatest asset here in Tangipahoa, and in the aftermath of Ida, these stories of selfless service prove it.

EDGE October | November 2021

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As a follow-up from Chevron’s recent announcement about their commitment of $3 million to Hurricane Ida recovery. Chevron has donated more than 115,000 gallons of fuel to first responders, healthcare workers and citizens in impacted communities. Ochsner Health has named Corwin Harper as Chief Executive Officer, Northshore and Mississippi Gulf Coast Region.

Mike Detillier was the featured speaker at the St Tammany Chamber Luncheon, pictured with Northshore Media’s Stephanie Miller and Mike Prevel.

J.T. Meleck Distillers presented the Acadiana Veteran Alliance with a $2,225 donation following their July Spirit of Valor Campaign.

Twelve Saint Paul’s School seniors have been recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation for their outstanding academic achievements. Back Row: Preston Orgeron, William Ditta, James Walker Dubreuil, Carter Murphy, Andrew Hightower, Thomas Cazenavette. Front Row : Zachary Nichols, Daniel Whalen, Gage Graham, Brody Reina, Kason Shaw, Michael Olsen


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St. Scholastica Academy collected much needed supplies for fellow Archdiocese of New Orleans high school, St. Charles Catholic in Laplace, LA. This drive was led by SSA faculty/staff, SSA Volleyball Doves and SSA Student Ministers. They delivered two school bus loads full of cleaning supplies, drinks, generators, gas gift cards and more. St. Scholastica Academy also provided 200+ meals and supplies to their neighbors in Covington’s West 30s who were still without power and water.

EDGE October | November 2021


The Bluesberry Festival held an event at the Covington Firehouse Event Center to reveal Shaun Aleman’s art for their 2021 poster.


EDGE October | November 2021


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