P E O P L E
S C I E N C E
H E A LT H
APRIL | MAY 2018
A R T
F O O D
T R A V E L
Th i r d A n n ua l P o l o C u p SUNDAY, APRIL 15TH SUMMERGROVE FARMS — FOLSOM, LOUISIANA
POLO MATCH AT 1:00PM PATRON TICKETS: INCLUDE HORS D’OEUVRES AND SEATED LUNCHEON — 11:00AM ADMISSION GENERAL ADMISSION: TICKETS INCLUDE COCKTAILS AND DESSERT — 12:30PM ADMISSION AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE THROUGH EVENTBRITE For more information, please call the front desk at 844-866-1907
GIVING BACK FREEDOM HOUSE
COOL SUMMER CAMP GUIDE
WORTH A DRIVE STENNIS SPACE CENTER
GIFT GUIDE MOTHER’S DAY
HEALTH HEART WALK
SPORTSMAN’S EDGE ART OF THE FLY
Page 050 Sakeenah Ashiru
CUTTING EDGE OF FASHION SAKEENAH ASHIRU
HABITAT FOR HUMANNITY
MY TURN BY CHEF: ERIC HUNTER
AROUND THE LAKE
CHARLES OFF THE AIR
PUBLISHER Sarah Cottrell As we move into spring, the days are getting longer and my thoughts turn to summer. Growing up in England, my parents ran a boarding school. They had the whole summer off, so they would load up the VW bus and take my brothers and sisters and me on extended road trips: often to France and Spain, and sometimes we just traveled around Britain visiting family along the way. Parents here have to plan for a long summer as well, so we have put together a Summer Camp Guide for our Northshore parents. It is full of information on camps to entertain any child — from sports to science and arts to cooking, the Northshore certainly has it all. In this issue we meet some talented artists, learn about what’s going on at NASA, get an update on an Operation Angel participant, and follow one family on their journey to home ownership, to name just a few of the stories we are bringing you. We also have another blog from Charles Dowdy ‘Off the Air,’ so be sure to read it and enjoy his unique take on life. I am so lucky to have the opportunity to meet and work with so many inspirational people. As you enjoy this issue, we will be working on our next. As we like to say, ‘Expect the unexpected.’
ON THE COVER Seeds of Contemplation Photo Jerry Cottrell
EDITOR Alex DeLarge ART DIRECTOR Fernanda Chagas Kirk STYLE DIRECTOR Patty Beal BEAUTY EDITOR Caitlin Picou COPY EDITOR Mary-Brent Brown CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Kim Bergeron Charles Dowdy Meridith Knight Liz Genest Smith STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Jerry Cottrell SENIOR SALES EXECUTIVES Eloise Cottrell Rick Clasen ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Rebecca Blossman-Ferran Erin Bolton Dave Dunaway Michelle Wallis-Croas
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 email@example.com. EDGE PUBLISHING • 69170 HWY 190. SUITE 1 COVINGTON, LA 70433 • 985.875.9691
Photo courtesy of Tripolo Gallery
â€œI paint for the sole purpose of magnifying the privilege of being alivEâ€? Robert Henri American painter
S o u l P
STORY LIZ GENEST SMITH
Within minutes of meeting local artist Robert Labranche outside the Tripolo Gallery in downtown Covington, he innocuously slipped a classic Seinfeld quote into our conversation, and made reference to Morgus the Magnificent, New Orleans’ mad scientist TV host from yesteryear. The instant we stepped inside, however, he pivoted away from frivolous small talk and pop-cultural allusions, and became reverent on the topics of art and inspiration. While the quote on the left is attributed to Robert Henri, an American artist and teacher from the late 19th and early 20th century, it could just as easily apply to Labranche’s personal philosophy. “I’m rich because of these,” he said, gesturing to a wall displaying several of his paintings. “Helping to bring beauty to the world makes me rich.” The first thing one notices about his work is its big, bold intensity. Not only are his paintings large in physical size, but the magnitude and visual impact practically leap off the canvas. One in particular that caught my eye features the nude form of a woman in the fetal position in the foreground. She is surrounded by colorful flora and fauna, and a bird is perched on her hip. Is she dead? Sleeping? Representing some esoteric concept? The complex composition of his work leaves it open to interpretation. Yet there always seems to be an unmistakably uplifting quality, thanks to his brilliant color palette and dreamlike images. For a non-artist, the process of creating something so epic and original seems incredibly daunting, both in planning and execution. “It never begins fully formed,” he explained. “It starts as pieces. Soul pieces, mental pieces. Time stands still as the process links the pieces
to create a unified whole. The picture gets bigger, the perspective gets wider.” Later, he added, “Art shouldn’t just be decorative. It should have intention behind it.” Many artists are solitary creatures, withdrawing from society and becoming more insular as their talent develops. Labranche’s developmental arc seems to have gone in the opposite direction. The youngest of five children, he grew up on Carrollton Avenue near Bayou St. John, a stone’s throw from the New Orleans Museum of Art in City Park, in what he describes as a highly supportive family. Nonetheless, he hit a rough patch in his youth, and quit high school as he battled some personal demons. “I learned I wasn’t king of the jungle, and saw some things I probably shouldn’t have,” he admitted, adding that his early art was borne out of pain and discord. “I had tremendous anxiety when I was young. It’s a horrible feeling, but it can exist on canvas. It was my release.” That release took the shape of macabre images like exploding hearts, enormous eyes, and disembowelment. It comes as no surprise that he was influenced by the German Expressionist movement. “It inspired awe and wonder in me. It’s all about emotion and breaking the rules. The sky is red, the grass is blue, figures are out of proportion.” Miraculously, Labranche managed to pull himself together and earn his GED, followed by a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from LSU and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Upon returning to Louisiana, he accepted a professorship at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond. The zen-like demeanor he adopted while discussing his
i e c e s
Photo Jerry Cottrell ROBERT LABRANCHE tripologallery.com 985.789.4073
EDGE April | May 2018
LETTER FROM THE PARISH PRESIDENT
background and creative process became impassioned when the subject turned to education. “I don’t love the word teaching. I see it as facilitating,” he explained. “I see it as being a guide to the special place in you.” In describing experiences with some of the elementary-schoolaged and at-risk students he’s worked with over the years, he was at his most animated — at times leaping up from his chair, and using props and pantomime to explain his approach to instruction. To get them past self-doubt and help them to focus on the process instead of the outcome, he challenged them with exercises using blindfolds and imposing time limits. Along with helping students to stay in the moment, he wanted to reach them on a very personal level. His primary message: “Don’t listen to people who say you can’t do something. Prove them wrong; start from a place of strength and confidence.” As someone who found redemption through art, and given the value he places on connecting with other people in his personal spiritual journey, it’s no surprise that he’s a huge proponent of art therapy and education. The more he spoke on the subject, the more he seemed to rediscover the fulfillment, wondering aloud if it might be time to start teaching again. Raise your hand if you’d like to pre-register for his art class! In addition to painting, he writes poetry and prose, sculpts, works with ceramics and wood, and collaborates with fellow artist Steve Hasslock. But ask him to classify his personal style, and he’ll jokingly tell you he’s “the first plein air figurative expressionist.” Get it? Confession: as one who appreciates, but is not a student of art, I had to go home and hit up Google for clarification. First, plein air is a French term that refers to leaving the confines of the studio to create outdoors. And figurative expressionism is “the manipulation of formal or representational elements to convey intense feelings.” The second classification is obvious once you see his work, but to understand the plein air reference, it’s important to note that Labranche currently lives and works on the family property in Abita Springs, aptly named Destiny. After his physical studio was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina, he simply moved his practices of contemplating, meditating, and creating outside, under a giant, ancient live oak or on his porch. It seems symbolic of his philosophy that art is about surrender, and it certainly explains his connection to the plein air movement. In the blink of an eye, what was supposed to be a 30-minute meeting quickly turned into a two-hour tête-à-tête that could have easily kept going. He may have struggled mightily in his youth, but at the half century mark, Labranche certainly seems to have attained an enviably positive perspective on life through art — something he believes anyone can have. To illustrate that very point, he left me with one last quote from a surprising source — Kurt Vonnegut. “Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.” If a famously dark, satirical writer — and an anxiety-ridden, troubled young man ‒ can gain that kind of insight, there may be hope for the rest of us, after all.
CONNECT WITH US As the weather warms up and we spend more time outdoors, we also spend more time preparing for the possible uptick in activity during storm season. We have multiple ways to keep our residents apprised of what’s happening, whether it’s for an event, a weather advisory, or just great news from Parish Government. Ideally we want to connect with everyone. We’d like everyone to be informed and aware of what St. Tammany Parish is working on throughout the year. So how should you connect? You can follow us on social media. We are active on Facebook (@sttammanyparish), Twitter (@STPGOV), and Linked In (St. Tammany Parish). You can also sign up for email updates at stpgov.org and have news delivered to your inbox. You can tune into Access St. Tammany Television through multiple platforms, as well. Charter communication subscribers can find us on Channel 197 SD, and Channel 710 1080i HD with the digital cable box. AT&T U-verse subscribers can find us on Interactive channel 99, menu item Access St. Tammany. Web users and smart TV owners can view our high definition web stream at stpgov. org, and Roku users can now add Access St. Tammany as a channel option. We’ve produced a how-to video on our YouTube channel. You can access it by visiting YouTube and finding our Channel — St. Tammany Parish Government — and then clicking on the video entitled How to Add St. Tammany Government’s Channel to a “Roku Account.” However you choose to, we hope that you decide to get connected and stay in touch. We take pride in the services we bring to you, and we want every resident to be in the know about what your Parish Government offers. PAT BRISTER St. Tammany Parish President
La Cornue Gourmet Cooking Classes
Professional Chef Demonstrations from Keith Frentz of LOLA Restaurant 227 Lee Lane Covington, LA 70433
(985) 807-2120 www.bellacucinadesign.com
Who said adults can't have toys?
- Aaron Capdeboscq
FREEDOM HOUSE Womenâ€™s Sober Living Home 504.450.7818
EDGE April | May 2018
STORY CHARLES DOWDY PHOTO MICHELLE SCLAFINI
LETTER FROM THE MAYOR
elissa Messina grew up in a middle-class family. She graduated from college and started her own family, having two boys. She loved her time as a mother and was totally involved in her children’s lives. But as her relationship with her husband began to decline, she found herself turning to alcohol, and then drugs. Addiction took complete control of her life. Drugs took her away from her family. Her world fell apart. She wanted to stop and could not figure out how to make that happen. Then she stumbled upon Operation Angel. Instead of arresting Melissa, the Covington Police Department offered to get her treatment. Chief Tim Lentz had heard of a similar program in the Northeast. Simply put, if a person walks into the Covington Police Department, surrenders their drugs and asks for help, then help will be given. They will not be arrested. Most of the local law-enforcement agencies in this area have joined this effort. Melissa needed help and Operation Angel arranged for her to be sent to a Baton Rouge facility for rehab and then eight months in a sober living home. “If she was the only person who needed this, then that would be great,” Lentz said. “But I know that is not the case. We all know someone, a friend, a family member, a co-worker, who needs help.” Lentz said that the relatively new program has an almost 33% success rate. The program is working: 1/3 of the people who have sought help are now clean and sober. He said programs like Operation Angel spark dialogue and make people think about the way we interact with those who abuse alcohol or drugs. Now clean, Melissa began to work as a house mother for sober living facilities in Baton Rouge. She opened several new houses and helped get them running. But, wanting to be closer to her own family, Melissa began looking for a sober living facility in Covington. “There wasn’t one,” Melissa said. “In order to succeed, people need the structure and accountability. They need the meetings. They need the support. I called my father and explained it to him. He told me to start looking for a house.” That became Freedom House, which provides an environment for women who have successfully completed primary residential treatment for substance abuse and have the desire to remain in a supportive community as they develop their sober lifestyle. Residents of Freedom House will work on maintaining employment, improving social interaction, building financial and personal self-esteem, and making sure they are accountable to those around them. “Operation Angel was a miracle for me,” Melissa said. “I will always be thankful to Chief Lentz and the Covington Police Department.” “Sometimes people don’t need to be arrested,” Lentz said. “Sometimes they just need someone to help.”
HAPPY EASTER! I’d like to begin by wishing all a wonderful holiday filled with family, friends, loved ones, and joy. Let us welcome Spring’s warm weather, outdoor activities, and the events that come with this time of year. This spring, we will proudly host our popular Rockin’ the Rails concert series, STAA’s Spring for Art, the Columbia Street Block Parties, Sunset at the Landing, and the LPO Concert at Bogue Falaya Park on Mother’s Day weekend. In particular, we’re looking forward to the Covington Antiques and Uniques Festival, a collaboration between the City of Covington and the Covington Heritage Foundation. In its fourth year, this festival highlights high-end artisans, antiques, vintage collectibles, architectural salvage, and the opportunity to have your items appraised. This event is Saturday April 21st and Sunday April 22nd from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in Historic Downtown Covington. I invite all to enjoy the events in our beautiful city that provide entertainment close to home, while helping our non-profits, service organizations, and the local economy. Event information may be found on the City of Covington’s website: covla.com, and on Facebook: City of Covington Office of Cultural Arts and Events. I look forward to seeing you at the springtime events, and hope that you visit and patronize the unique local restaurants and shops that make Covington a great place. As always, it is an honor to serve you and the citizens of my hometown.
MIKE COOPER City of Covington Mayor
Cutting Edge Theater Thank you for nominating us the BEST "Theater Group" in Slidell!
April 6-29 Fri. and Sat. 8pm
GET YOUR TICKETS TODAY!
Let's Be Frank! An Evening of Sinatra May 11-19 Frid. and Sat. 8pm
767 Robert Blvd. Slidell 985.649.3727
Our children have been at Planet Kids since they were 14 months old. At every age, their individual needs were met and our expectations were well exceeded. They are now in Pre-K and we have no doubt they are prepared for Kindergarten and beyond. - The Goll Family
Planet Kids Academy, setting the standard in Early Childhood Education on the Northshore for over 23 years. Call now for more information... 985.845.0377 | planetkidsacademy.com
SUM MER camp guide
EDGE April | May 2018
KIDCAM Summer Camps Weekly themes are action-packed with activities that promote fun, fitness, friendship and creativity Ages 7-13 Hours 9AMâ€“3PM Dates June 4-June 29 Daily Transportation from Covington, Hammond and Mandeville to Kidcam Camp in Liuzza Land in Amite 877-4kidcam / kidcamcamp.com
NORTHSHORE SPORTSPLEX Basketball Ages 7-13 Hours 9AM-Noon Dates June 26-August 16 70239 Hwy 59 / 985.264.6552 / northshoresportsplex.com
BELIEVE SUMMER CAMP Performing Arts Day Camp Grades 3rd and up Hours 8:30AM-4PM Dates June 25-29 Bogalusa High School, 100 M.J. Israel Drive 985.516.1758 / believecamp.com
SPLENDOR FARMS Horse Camp for Girls Ages 7-16 Hours Day and overnight Dates TBD 27329 Mill Creek Road / 985.886.3747 / splendorfarms.com
ARCHBISHOP HANNAN HIGH SCHOOL Little Hawk Day Camp Ages 5-12 Hours 9AM-3PM Dates June 4-July 13 (before and aftercare) Baseball, Basketball, Soccer Ages Vary Hours Vary Dates May 29-July 19 Archbishop Hannan High School, 71324 Hwy 1077 985.249.6363 / hannanhigh.org CAMP ABBEY Catholic Sleep Away Camp 1 week sessions Grades completed 2nd-8th Hours TBD Girls July 1-28 Boys June 3-30 77002 K C Camp Road 985.327.7240, ext. 3223 / campabbey.org CAMP OLD HICKORY Summer Day Camp Ages 5-12 Hours 9AM-3PM Dates May 28-July 20 73234 Louisiana Ave. / 985.892.4788 / campoldhickory.com
EDGE April | May 2018
CHRIST EPISCOPAL SCHOOL Summer Camps Creation Sensation Grades Pre-K-7th Hours 9AM-3PM Dates June 19-22 Drama Camp Ages Pre-K-7th Hours 9AM-3PM Dates June 19-22 Wildcat Spirit Grades 2nd-5th Grade Hours 9AM-3PM Dates June 19-22 80 Christwood Blvd. / 985.871.9902 / christepiscopalschool.org COVINGTON POLICE DEPARTMENT Kids Camp Applications at the Covington Police Department Ages 6-13 Hours 8AM-Noon Dates June 4-8 William Pitcher Junior High 415 S. Jefferson Ave. / 985.892.8500 CREATING U ACADEMY Acting and Modeling Camp Week-long interactive camp for youth eager to strike a pose, walk the runway and act for the camera while building confidence and friendships along the way Ages 8-16 Hours 9AM-3PM Dates June 25-29 and July 16-20 LA to LA Camp Ages 5-Adult Hours TBD Dates June 5-10 69154 Hwy 190, E. Service Road 985.893.2218 / creatingu.com KEHOE-FRANCE Northshore Camp Ages 8 weeks-13 Hours 9AM-3PM Dates June 11-August 3 (before and aftercare) 25 Patricia Drive / 985.892.4415 / kehoe-francens.com KIDCAM Summer Camps Weekly themes are action-packed with activities that promote fun, fitness, friendship and creativity Ages 5-13 Hours 9AM-3PM Dates May 29-August 3 (before and aftercare) Coquille Park, 13505 Hwy 1085 877-4KIDCAM / kidcamcamp.com NORTHLAKE CHRISTIAN SCHOOL Camp Northlake Grades Entering K-6th Hours 8AM-3:30PM Dates May 28-July 27 70104 Wolverine Drive / 985.635.0400 / campnorthlake.org PLAYMAKERS SPORTS Sports Camp for Kids Ages 5-12 Hours TBD Dates Starts May 22 (for 11 weeks) 800 Winward Drive / 985.898.2809 / playmakersindoor.com PLAYMAKERS THEATRE Frank Levy Summer Theater Camp Three separate theater camps Ages 5-16 Hours TBD Dates May 28-June 10, July 16-21 and July 23-August 5 19106 Playmakers Road / 985.893.1617/ playmakersinc.com ST. SCHOLASTICA ACADEMY Summer Camps Basketball, volleyball, cheer and dance combo, movie making, cartooning, sculpting, video games, dance team training and musical theatre Ages TBD Hours TBD Dates June 4-29 122 S. Massachusetts Street 985.892.2540, ext.129 / ssacad.com
VARIETY OF SUMMER CAMP PROGRAMS FOR ALL AGES FLEXIBLE SCHEDULES & AFFORDABLE PRICING Multiple Northshore Day Camp Locations May 29th - August 3rd * Coquille Sports & Rec in Covington Pelican Park in Mandeville Chappapeela Sports Park in Hammond DESTINATION KIDCAM @ LIUZZA LAND ... think outsite the city! daily transportation from above 3 cities
Highest Quality Programming & Care | Weekly Fieldtrips | Ages 5-13 (5 by 9/30/18) Kid’s Choice Curriculum plus Swimming, Art, Science, Sports, STEAM | Attend Multiple Camp Locations Flexible Scheduling by the Week | Extended Hours 7a - 6p* | Multi Child Discounts *prices, dates & times vary by location CALL OR EMAIL TO SAVE ON MULTIPLE CAMP LOCATIONS
LEARN MORE & REGISTER ONLINE TODAY! 877.4KIDCAM SummersRock@KidcamCamps.com www.KidcamCamps.com
S T. PA U L S U M M E R C A M P S Drama Camp $170 Dates: June 4-8 June 18-23 Time: 1PM - 4PM Location: Alumni Theatre Ages: Boys / Girls 9-13 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Contact
VEX ROBOTICS CAMP $150 (Limited space - fee includes T-shirt and snacks) Dates: TBD Time: 9 AM - 12OPM Location: Location Main School Building, Room 111 Age: Boys grades 5 - 6 Contact: Julie Beck email@example.com / 985-516-2761
Sports Camps $210 Dates: June 4- July 27 (dates vary according to each sport) Time: 9AM - 3PM (aftercare available untill 5PM) Ages: Boys 8-13 Contact: Contact Keren Davis / firstname.lastname@example.org / 985-502-7132 Craig Ketelsen / email@example.com / 985-892-3200 ext 1283
stpauls.com • 917 South Jahncke, Covington
ST. PAUL’S CATHOLIC SCHOOL Summer Camps Boys baseball, football, wrestling, basketball, lacrosse, soccer, speed/strength (aftercare available) Ages 8-13 Hours 9AM-3PM Dates TBD 985.502.7132 / 985.892.3200, ext 1283 VEX Boys Robotics Camp Ages 9-13 Hours 1PM-4PM Dates TBD Main Building Room 111 / 985.516.2761 Girls and Boys Drama Camp Grades Entering 5th-6th Hours 9AM-Noon Dates June 4-8 and June 18-23 Alumni Theatre / firstname.lastname@example.org St. Paul’s School, 917 South Jahncke Ave. 985.892.3200 / stpauls.com ST. TAMMANY ART ASSOCIATION Fingerprint Art Camp Ages 6-12 Hours 9AM-3PM Dates June 4-29 320 N. Columbia Street 985.892.8650 / sttammanyartassociation.org STONE CREEK CLUB AND SPA Summer Tennis Programs Ages 4 and up Hours Mornings and afternoons Dates May 28-31, June 4-29 and July 9-27 1201 Ochsner Blvd. 985.801.7100 / stonecreekclubandspa THE LITTLE GYM OF THE NORTHSHORE Skill Thrill Camps Ages 3-12 Hours 3 hours a day Dates TBD 51 Park Place Drive / 985.871.8989 / tlgthenorthshorela.com YMCA Summer Camp Ages 5-15 Hours 8:30AM-4:30PM Dates May 24-August 10 71256 Francis Road / 985.893.9622 / ymcaneworleans.org
BIG SKY RANCH Farm Camp Hands-on activities captivate as they teach about nature, animals, farming, food, and the environment Ages 5-13 Hours 9AM-3PM Dates June 4-8 and June 18-21 (aftercare available) 15442 Jack Fork Road / 985.276.0270 / bigskyranch.org ZOO 2 U & PONIES 2 1 week camps and single days Ages 6-14 Hours 9AM-3:30PM Dates TBD 82089 Hwy 25 / 504.756.1501 / zoo2uparties.com
KIDCAM Summer Camps Weekly themes are action-packed with activities that promote fun, fitness, friendship and creativity Ages 5-13 Hours 9AM-3PM Dates May 29-August 3 (before and aftercare) Chappapeela Sports Park, 19325 Hipark Blvd. 877-4KIDCAM / kidcamcamp.com
NORTH CYPRESS FITNESS Ages 4-13 Hours 9AM-4PM Dates May 28-August 10 1606 S. Magnolia Street / 985.542.3121 / northcypress.com SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA UNIVERSITY Camp Rec Ages 4-12 Hours 8AM-4PM Dates May 29-August 8 Student Activity Center / 985.549.5591 / southeastern.edu
GIRL SCOUT CAMP Girls Sleep Away Camp Grades 1-12 Hours TBD Dates July 1-August 3 Whispering Pines, 56535 Hwy 1054 800.644.7571 / gsle.org
VILLAGE THEATER COMPANY Ages 7-18 Hours 9AM-2PM Dates June 4-8 and June 25-30 The Village Church, 29180 Hwy 190 / 985.218.9711
MADISONVILLE EQUESTRIAN CENTER Riding Camp Ages 4-16 Hours 9AM-2PM Dates May 21-August 17 (before and aftercare) 135 Vista Street 985.778.6981 / madisonvilleequestriancenter.com LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN BASIN MARITIME MUSEUM Aquatic Robotics Camp Ages 11-15 Hours 9AM-4PM Dates June 11-15, June 25-29 and July 9-13 Junior Aquatic Engineers Ages 9-10 Hours 9AM-4PM Dates July 23-27 133 Mabel Drive / 985.845.9200 / lpbmm.org
ART TIME Ages TBD Hours TBD Dates May 30-August 3 705 Asbury Drive / 985.674.2023 / arttime.biz BLOSSOM GIRL Girls Camp Arts, crafts, make-up, hair, fun and games Ages 6-12 Hours 9AM-2PM Dates June 11-15, June 18-22 and July 16-20 1281 N. Causeway Blvd. / 985.626.6280 / blossomgirl.com CAMP GIRL BIZ Girls Camp Ages 5 and up Hours 9:30AM-3PM Dates May 28-June 29 (before and aftercare) 5200 Hwy 22, # 6 and 7 / 985.705.9288 / campgirlbiz.com
EDGE April | May 2018
CEDARWOOD SCHOOL Summer Camps Camp Kaleidoscope (For Younger Campers) Ages 2-6 Hours 9AM-3PM Dates June 4-July 27 (before and aftercare) MADD Camp (Music, Art, Dance, Drama) Ages 1st-7th grade Hours 9AM-3PM Dates June 18-29, July 9-20 (before and aftercare) 607 Heavens Drive / 985.845.7111 / cedarwoodschool.com CULINARY KIDS Cooking and Kitchen Science Camp Adventure, science, cooking, crafting and creative fun Ages 5-13 (divided by groups) Hours 9AM-3PM Dates May 28-June 29 and July 9-August 3 (before and aftercare) Special Needs Camp Ages 5-13 (divided by groups) Hours 1PM-4PM Dates July 5 and 6 (before and aftercare) 915 Marigny Ave. / 985.727.5553 / culinarykidsns.com FRANCO’S Summer Camp Athletics, swimming, arts, weekly field trips, water slide, games and activities Ages 4-13 Hours 8:30AM-3:30PM Dates May 28-August 3 (10 sessions, before and aftercare) 100 Bon Temps Roulé 985.792.0205 / francosmandeville.com
MIKE STORMS Karate Camp Ages 5-11 Hours 9AM-3PM Dates May 28-August 3 4420 Hwy 22 / 985.674.7887 / stormskarate.com NORTHLAKE ACADEMY OF MUSIC Music Camp Ages 2-6 Hours 9:30AM-Noon (Optional extended day to 3PM) Dates June 4-8, June 18-22, July 30-August 8 and July 30-August 3 375 Asbury Drive / 985.630.8112 northlakeacademyofmusic.net NORTHSHORE GYMNASTICS Tiny Tumblers Summer Jamboree Ages 3½-7 Hours 9AM-2PM Dates June 4-July 20 1973 6th Street / 985.624.8310 / northshoregymnastics.net PONTCHARTRAIN YACHT CLUB Sailing Camp Ages 8-16 Hours TBD Dates June 6-15, June 18-29, July 9-20 and July 23-August 3 140 Jackson Ave. / 985.6263192 / pontyc.org PRIDE, YOUTH AND COMMUNITY RESOURCES Positive Action Camp Grades 9th-12th Hours Overnight Dates June 4-8 and June 9-13 Positive Attitude Camp Grades 7th-8th Hours Overnight Dates June 23-26 and June 27-30 Fontainebleau State Park / 985.727.7710 / prideresources.org
KIDCAM Summer Camp Weekly themes are action-packed with activities that promote fun, fitness, friendship and creativity Ages 5-13 Hours 9AM-3PM Dates May 29-August 3 (before and aftercare) Pelican Park, 63350 Pelican Drive 985.237.1616 / kidcamcamp.com
30 BY NINETY THEATRE Theater Camps Shakespeare Summer Camp Ages 8-17 Hours 9AM-3PM Dates July 9-13 and July 16-20 880 Lafayette / 844.843.3090 / 30byninety.com
LOUISIANA ACADEMY OF PERFORMING ARTS Music Camp Three one week sessions Ages 5-16 Hours 9AM-3PM Dates July 9-July 27 105 Campbell Ave. #3 / 985.674.2992 / laapa.com
GYMNASTIC PLUS FUN & FITNESS Summer Camp Ages 5-12 Hours 9AM-3PM Dates Weekly sessions 58445 Pearl Acres Road / 985.643.0914 / gymplus.net
MANDEVILLE PUBLIC WORKS Water Wonders Camp Grades 4th-7th Hours 8AM-4PM Dates June 4-8 and June 11-15 1100 Mandeville High Blvd. 985.624.3169 / cityofmandeville.com MANDEVILLE HIGH SCHOOL FIRST Robotics Camp Grades 4th-7th Hours 9AM-3PM Dates June 4-8 and June 16-20 Mandeville High School Library, 1 Skipper Drive 985.626.5225 / mandevillerobotics.org MANDEVILLE SPORTS COMPLEX Summer Camp Ages 3-12 Hours 9AM-3PM Dates May 24-August 10 (before and aftercare) 23052 Hwy 1088 85.727.7277 / mandevillesportscomplex.com
EDGE April | May 2018
IMAGINE Art Camps Ages TBD Hours 9AM-1PM Dates TBD Big Red Barn Creative Arts Center, 18769 Weinberger Road 985.373.0468 / bigredbarn4kids.com
CROSSGATES Cub Camp (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) Ages 3-4 Hours 8:30AM-1PM Dates May 24-August 18 Pre-K Camp Ages 4-5 Hours 9AM-4PM Dates May 24-August 18 Traditional Camp Ages 5-13 Hours 9AM-4PM Dates May 24-August 18 200 N. Military Road / 4038 Pontchartrain Drive 1311 Gause Blvd. / 985.643.3500 / crossgatesclub.com
SWIM & TENNIS LESSONS INCLUDED!
SUMMER CAMP Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9
AWARD WINNING SUMMER CAMP
May 28-June 1 June 4-8 June 11-15 June 18-22 June 25-29
July 2-6 July 9-13 July 16-20 July 23-27 July 30-Aug 3
Global Wildlife Chuck E Cheese Saints Training Camp Safari Quest / Hammond
Audubon Zoo Children’s Museum-NOLA Movie Time Cinema Aquarium / IMAX Elevation Station Tangi Lanes Bowling
985.792.0205 | FRANCOSMANDEVILLE.COM
CYPRESS COVE ELEMENTARY CSI Science Camp Grades Entering K-6 Hours 9AM-3PM Dates June 4-8 540 S. Military Road 985.641.3033 / cypresscoveelementary.stpsb.org KIDCAM Summer Camp Weekly themes are action-packed with activities that promote fun, fitness, friendship and creativity Ages 5-13 Hours 9AM-3PM Dates May 29-August 3 (before and aftercare) First Christian Church,102 Christian Lane 985.237.1616 / kidcamcamp.com SLIDELL LITTLE THEATRE Youth Actors Theatre Mini-YATS Ages 4-9 Hours 9AM-2PM Dates May 28-June 15 YATS Ages 10-18 Hours 9AM-2PM Dates May 21-July 15 2024 Nellie Drive / 985.643.0556 / slidelllittletheatre.org SLIDELL MEMORIAL HOSPITAL AND ST. TAMMANY FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT NO.1 Fit as a Firefighter Summer Camp A summer nutrition and fitness day camp that aims to build self-esteem and teach nutrition and exercise skills to local children. Fun activities teach children and their families to embrace a healthy, active lifestyle Ages 7-11 Hours 8AM-4:30PM Dates June 4-8 STFPD No.1 Training Academy, Camp Villere 34780 South Range Road / 985.280.8529 / slidellmemorial.org OLD TOWN SLIDELL SODA SHOP Soda Jerk Summer Camp Ages 7-12 Hours 9AM-11AM Dates TBD 301 Cousin Street / 985.649.4806 / slidellsodashop.com REMBRANDT STUDIO Ages 8-12 Hours 10AM-2PM Dates June 25-59 1118 Brownswitch Road 985.645.9565 / rembrandtstudio.com CHECK OUT YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY FOR THEIR SUMMER READING PROGRAMS! *ALL CAMPS ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
L E A R N
S A I L
Summer Sailing Camp Ages 8-16
Two week sessions Session Session Session Session
1 2 3 4
06.04 06.18 07.09 07.23
06.15 06.29 07.20 08.03
COOKING, SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS, GAMES, CRAFTS AND SPECIAL GUESTS! (985) 727-5553 www.culinarykidsns.com email@example.com 915 MARIGNY AVENUE
WHERE KIDS AND FAMILIES CONNECT IN THE KITCHEN!
p o n t y c . o r g
STORY LIZ GENEST SMITH PHOTOS NASA
EDGE April | May 2018
oon after President John F. Kennedy famously proclaimed that the United States would send astronauts to the moon and back within a decade, NASA selected a rugged spot in Hancock County, Mississippi for testing the engines and platforms that would make the Apollo Program a reality. Even infamously destructive Hurricane Betsy couldn’t deter the construction of the site, which was completed in time to test-fire a Saturn V second-stage prototype on April 23, 1966. And Stennis Space Center was born. Delivering on the president’s promise, Apollo 11 famously landed on the moon in July of 1969, allowing Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to take “one giant leap for mankind.” Who knew our little corner of the world played such a pivotal role in kicking off the Space Age? Over the past five-plus decades, the facility has remained NASA’s primary rocket propulsion testing site, powering 135 space shuttle missions and providing services for not only NASA, but the Department of Defense and private companies like SpaceX and Aerojet Rocketdyne. Most recently, Stennis
Science Meets History LAT 30° 38’ 00” N, LONG 89° 61’ 00” W
has been testing rocket engines for a new Space Launch System, which is projected to take humans further into space than ever before. Located near the Louisiana-Mississippi border just off Interstate 10, the 13,800acre complex, which employs about 5,000 people, is literally its own little city with its own zip code. In addition to testing sites, it hosts more than 40 resident agencies and a 72,000-square-foot museum. Also serving as a visitor’s center, Infinity Science Center is a non-profit science museum that houses artifacts and interactive exhibits that not only relate to space, but also delve into Earth science, engineering, and technology. Some of the many highlights include Neil Armstrong’s test space suit, multiple simulators, and a spacious Kidz Zone with climbing apparatus and reading and play areas. There’s
also a gift shop, plus an on-site cafe and large vending area for refreshments. Visitors who arrive early and sign in with the staff have the best shot at participating in the first-come, first-served bus tours. A knowledgeable guide provides tons of information as the tour winds its way through the expansive site and near actual test areas where, on rare occasions, visitors might actually witness some earth-rattling testing. Tour guides typically get word of testing about 90 minutes prior, but sometimes they’ll announce testing several hours in advance on the Stennis Facebook page. To make way for the facility in the early 60’s, the federal government had to displace hundreds of residents of an old logging community. Some willingly accepted the financial compensation, some fought against EDGE April | May 2018
FOR MORE INFORMATION Infinity Science Center visitinfinity.com • 228.533.9025 John C. Stennis Space Center nasa.gov/centers/stennis/home
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it, but they eventually relocated, allegedly leaving behind a few “ghost towns” in what is now the facility’s restricted 125,000-acre buffer zone. But forget about going in search of these locations; there are penalties for trespassing. Some of the remnants of these old communities are visible from a walking trail that not only highlights the area’s ecology, but commemorates its history. The starting point of Mississippi’s Heritage Trail, the Possum Walk is a three-mile segment that starts at Infinity and ends at the Logtown Cemetery near Pearl River. A tram tour is also available. In addition to welcoming visitors with regular tours as well as special events, Stennis has an Office of Education whose community outreach
efforts are designed to promote STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) training, learning, and professional development opportunities for students and educators. As such, it sponsors an array of events, internships, fellowships, and scholarships, as well as the annual summer Astro Camp, a series of weeklong sessions held in June and July for children in grades 2-10. It’s a good idea to call or check Infinity’s website in advance for a special events schedule and classes that require pre-registration. And for those who would enjoy getting sucked into a fascinating rocket science rabbit hole, Stennis’ extensive website is worth exploring before or after touring the facility.
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www.k2realtyla.com • 985.234.9930 • 220 Park Pl. Suite 202, Covington, LA 70433 • Licensed in Louisiana
STORY MEREDITH KNIGHT PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE BISHON FAMILY
Dane and Alex Dishon were excitedly preparing for the birth of their first child when a routine prenatal check-up revealed a problem. Something was wrong with their son’s heart. By 22 weeks gestation, testing had revealed that the baby had five different congenital heart defects. “We had time to prepare,” Alex said. “We researched doctors and hospitals and decided that Children’s in New Orleans would provide him with top-notch care while we could stay close to family support.” To date, young Dylan has had four open-heart surgeries, at 16-days, 20-days, 5-months, and 4½-years. “There’s no cure or fix for the problems Dylan has, but the surgeries will sustain his life,” Alex said. Dylan is seven now and Alex says he’s an “active, hilarious, amazing little boy.” He’s in kindergarten at Marigny Elementary School in Mandeville, playing baseball, basketball and soccer and is an extreme Saints fan. And his parents are active supporters of the American Heart Association. “Sometimes they put us in touch with other families who’ve just received a diagnosis of heart problems or whose child is preparing for surgery, and we’re able to reach out to them,” Alex said. “My husband and dad have spoken at AHA events. My mom’s very active.” And the family has walked in the last seven Northshore Heart Walks to help raise money for research, so other families might not have to endure what they’ve been through. For years now, the Northshore Heart Walk has brought families like the Dishons together with the community, for a day of fun and cardiovascular education. This year’s event is set for Saturday, May 5th in beautiful Fontainebleau State Park in Mandeville. The 5K race begins at 8:00 a.m. and is part fundraiser for further research/part celebration of how far AHA research has already come. The walk is not a competition; it’s a family fun event. Along the 3.1-mile course are health checks for blood pressure and education stations with
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information on getting families moving toward better cardiovascular health. There are fun stations scattered along the course with heart-healthy games such as hopscotch, hoola hoop, jump rope and even a bubble wrap stomp and dance station. Across the country each year, nearly one million people participate in 305 such heart walk events, raising millions of dollars for cardiovascular research. The goal for this year’s walk here on the Northshore is $350,000. With two dynamic local businesswomen at the helm, that goal is sure to be realized. CJ Ladner and Laurie McCants have served on the executive leadership committee for the walk for years and decided this was their year to step up into leadership. “We’ve both had heart disease in our families,” CJ said. “My father died at 66, my brother at 28 and another brother at seven, all from heart problems.” Last year, her husband was discovered to have 99% blockage of his heart. Laurie watched her mother and brother struggle with heart problems and recently survived a minor heart attack herself. “We’re both involved with many non-profits, but this one touches home the most,” CJ said. And because of their position in the community, they’ve been able to bring local businesses on board to support the cause. “Companies are encouraged to form a walking team,” Laurie said. “They establish a team goal and individual goals, and then set up a team page and start gathering donations. Many of the teams will have a team shirt made and walk together. They can walk in honor of someone who’s been lost to heart disease or dedicate their walk to someone who’s fighting now. There are awards for teams that raise the most money.” “There’s music and there’s coffee served before the race,” CJ said. “Franco’s Athletic Club will be there to help stretch us out before we walk. Families are encouraged to bring strollers and wagons, and even a family pet. We schedule the walk for early in the morning, so families can participate and still have the day ahead of them. It’s a fun family time and helps to raise money for much needed research to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.” Find out more and sign up to walk at 2.heart.org.
“Active, hilarious, amazing little boy.” Alex Dishon Mother
LETTER FROM THE MAYOR
NORTHSHORE HEART ASSOCIATION northshoreheartwalk.org heart.org
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Great news for our residents! The City of Mandeville has recently been re-evaluated by FEMA through the new guidelines for their Community Rating System. The result of this evaluation is an improved score from a Class 7 to a Class 6. This new designation provides an additional 5% discount to all National Flood Insurance Program policies in the community. The total discount is 20% for special flood hazard properties (Zones AE, VE) and 10% for non-special flood hazard properties (Zone X). These changes will go into effect on all policies renewed after October 1, 2018. Mandeville is the only municipality at this time to be awarded a Class 6 in the State of Louisiana and the first under the new guidelines. Mandeville Live! is going strong at the Trailhead. Please join us at our ongoing music concerts on Friday nights at 6:30 p.m.! April 6th features Four Unplugged, April 20th The George French Band, April 27th Amanda Shaw and on May 4th, The Yat Pack. Admission is free. On Saturday night, April 21st, The Dew Drop will host David Torkanowsky & Friends for a Toussaint/Domino Tribute. On May 12th, the Hank Mackie Band will perform, and on May 26th, it will be Andrew Duhon & The Lonesome Crows. Tickets are $10 at the door. The Mandeville Trailhead will also host the annual Easter at the Market on Saturday, March 24th, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. There will be free face painting, a petting zoo, free crafts, free Elmer’s candy and The Easter Bunny will be on hand to take pictures with the kids. Music will be performed by Eileen Lambertson and entertainment by the Mandeville Milkshakers.
DONALD VILLERE City of Mandeville Mayor
Northshore Heart Walk
May 5, 2018 Fontainebleau State Park NorthshoreHeartWalk.org Northshore Heart Walk Co-Chairs
CJ Ladner State Farm
Laurie McCants Honda of Covington
Photo Jerry Cottrell
The art of the fly
STORY SARAH COTTRELL PHOTOS COURTESY OF ORVIS
here is a simple beauty in a fly cast, a sense of inner peace that comes with standing on the edge of a stream or lake, or directly in it, rhythmically casting a fly line back and forth. Fly fishing is different from spin or bait casting for which a lure or bait is thrown, almost like throwing a rock with the line following obediently behind. In fly fishing you cast an almost weightless fly made of feathers, hair and thread to imitate a natural food source for the fish. The line is the weight and the fly is along for the ride. The rod and reel can be fairly simple in form and function, from natural, hand crafted bamboo to man-made materials like the graphite Helios rod that I tried out on my visit to Orvis. Understanding the mechanics is the essential first step in mastering the art of fly casting: A flexible rod is moved through a casting stroke to a point that aims the line precisely at the target, landing exactly as intended. It is not difficult; it just takes a lot of practice. The flies themselves are often pieces of art. Some are simple, but many tend to be very elaborate. Hand-tying each one, the fly maker attempts to imitate an insect or baitfish through color and shape. Thus, it is important to know the area that you will be fishing and the food source of the fish you are trying to catch. There is a debate among fly fishermen as to which is more important: knowing where to find the fish or being able to present the fly to them. Knowing where the fish are biting is certainly important; however, if you can’t reach them — present the fly — you are simply not going to succeed. Even if you have no idea where the fish are, but can cast well enough to cover the water with finesse, you are likely to find the fish. Beyond all the techniques, the most important thing you need to know is what the fish are feeding on in the area at the time of
There are eight types of flies: Dry flies, nymphs, streamers, bass and panfish, terrestrials, redfish, tarpon, and bonefish flies and many varieties within each type. All types are used to fly fish in Louisiana.
ORVIS.COM 225.757.7286 BAYOU ADVENTURES 985.882.9208 EDGE April | May 2018
LETTER FROM THE MAYOR
year you are fishing. Enthusiasts travel around the world to fly fish, knowing that each location requires a unique set of flies. It is not unusual for a seasoned fly fisherman to pack between 100 and 300 flies for a weekend trip. It is important to find out from a local expert what type of flies to use. In my quest for more knowledge, I traveled from Slidell, with a stop at Bayou Adventures in Lacombe, ending up at the Orvis store in Baton Rouge. This family-owned national company has been around since 1856, and each store is staffed with local fly fishing aficionados. When I arrived late one Friday afternoon, Corey greeted me and spent the next hour and a half explaining the art of fly fishing — even suggesting that I come to their free fly tying class the next day. There wasn’t a question I asked that he didn’t have an answer to. Corey’s enthusiasm was infectious, standing in the store showing me how to cast, explaining each fly as he presented it to me. What makes fly fishing so addictive? Corey explained that it is the process of fly fishing; often the fish are thrown back in the water. To be caught again, perhaps? Also, with fly fishing, there is a sense of being in tune with nature by understanding the season and the feeding patterns of the fish. It also requires patience and tenacity: what works one day might not work the next. The solitude of the outdoors is a draw for many, and the fly line moving through the air — floating almost weightlessly — has a poetic nature all its own. There is passion and love and, as Corey told me, “There is no fly fishing in ugly locations!” We are so lucky to live in a location that draws fishermen from around the world. The Northshore and surrounding areas offer a plethora of different lakes, streams, rivers and marshes to fish in, whether you are a beginner, like me, or an expert, like Corey. Go out and give it a try! After all, we truly live in a fisherman’s paradise.
DEAR CITIZENS, Spring is in the air, which means festivals and events happening in Slidell! The City of Slidell’s Arts Evening will take place on Saturday, April 14, from 4 to 9 p.m. in Olde Towne. Over 100 artists and 15 different bands and entertainers will be showcasing their talents in Slidell’s Olde Towne district. There will be great art, live entertainment, delicious food, and plenty of time to shop and discover what Olde Towne Slidell has to offer. Admission is free. The 3rd annual Camellia City Kids Fun Fest returns to Heritage Park on Saturday, April 28 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. There will be plenty of events for kids of all ages, plus live entertainment, arts and crafts, and great food and cool drinks. This year’s event will be held in honor of Lt. Ray Dupuy, one of the founding members. The City of Slidell will also be hosting “Some Enchanted Evening” with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra on Sunday, May 6, at 6 p.m. in Heritage Park. This is one of my favorite events each year! The Louisiana Veterans Festival will be held on May 19 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. in Heritage Park. Hosted by the East St.Tammany Habitat for Humanity, the event will have live entertainment, arts and crafts, kid’s activities and lots of great food. Lastly, the City of Slidell’s Bayou Jam concerts! Big Al and the Heavyweights perform on Sunday, April 22 and the Castaways Band plays on Sunday, May 20. Concerts begin at 5:30 p.m. and admission is free. FREDDY DRENNAN City of Slidell Mayor
KEESLER FEDERAL CREDIT UNION presents
Charity Golf Tournament For Combat Wounded Veterans of South Mississippi Thursday, May 3 • The Oaks Golf Club PASS CHRISTIAN , MS R E G I S T R AT I O N & C O N T I N E N TA L B R E A K FA S T: 8 : 0 0 A M – 9 : 3 0 A M S H OTG U N S TA R T: 10 : 0 0 A M
For more information contact: Nell Schmidt • 228.385.4557 email@example.com Register online at www.kfcu.org/eagles
• The City of Slidell presents •
Arts Evening Saturday, April 14, 2018 4:00-9:00 pm • Free Admission Olde Towne Slidell (985) 646-4375 • MySlidell.com Local Artists & Artwork Live Entertainment Fine & Casual Dining Antique, Boutique & Unique Shopping “Louisiana Legends from the New Orleans Museum of Art” in the Slidell Cultural Center
“Heads or Tails” by Mary Christopher
The City of Slidell and the Commission on the Arts would like to thank our 2017-2018 Cultural Season Sponsors for making this event possible: Renaissance $5,000 Sponsors:
Baroque, $2,500: CLECO Power • Jazz on the Bayou/Ronnie Kole Foundation • The Slidell Independent Neoclassical, $1,000: Councilman Bill & Laura Borchert • Holiday Inn & Suites, Slidell Lowry-Dunham, Case & Vivien Insurance Agency • Lori Gomez Art • Purple Armadillo Again, LLC • Impressionism, $500: • Dr. Nathan Brown, Northlake Oral & Facial Surgery • Chateau Bleu CiCi’s Pizza • Krewe of Perseus • La. Rep. Greg Cromer • Flatliners Entertainment Old School Eats Food Truck • Olde Towne Slidell Main Street • Olde Towne Slidell Print Shop Pontchartrain Investment Management • Roberta’s Cleaners • Sabrina’s Sweet Eats Silver Slipper Casino • Slidell Historical Antique Association • Terry Lynn’s Café & Creative Catering
Well traveled, well styled, accomplished, and going places. Meet Sakeenah Ashiru, another Northshore resident whoâ€™s making her mark on the international fashion scene. In her final year at Louisiana State University, designer Sakeenah has persevered and met every goal she has set for herself. Read on to follow her journey from Nigeria to the U.S. to China, and back home to the U.S. She's definitely one to watch, and we're proud she calls the Northshore home.
STORY PATTY BEAL PHOTOS COURTESY OF SAKEENAH ASHIRU
PATTY BEAL: Sakeenah when did the fashion bug first bite you? SAKEENAH ASHIRU: In Nigeria in primary school (which is American middle school). Fashion was not a big thing there, but I remember looking at pictures in magazines and just getting so excited. I tried to get my hands on as many magazines as I possibly could. I would keep them all in a box like a treasure. I knew that deep down it’s what I wanted to do. I didn’t know how I would make it happen, but I would sure try. PB: Did your parents see your interest at that young age? SA: They knew I liked fashion, but didn’t take it too seriously at the time. They wanted me to go into something more traditional, like medicine or engineering. They thought maybe it was a stage that I would outgrow. I just continued to cut out fashion pictures and paste them all in a book. PB: When did they change their mind? SA: When we moved to the United States, they saw that it was possible to have a career in fashion. I’ve worked really hard to prove that I was serious; I was very determined. They watched me create a clothing collection and produce a fashion show for my senior project at Fontainebleau High School in Mandeville. They are very supportive now; my dad even forwards me articles about fashion when he comes across them. PB: Tell me more about your high school senior project. SA: I wanted to see how capable I was of making clothes and putting together a runway fashion show. I think I needed to prove it to myself and to my family. I taught myself how to sew and did it. PB: Wait...You didn’t know how to sew before you designed the collection?! SA: Well, I didn’t know the steps or rules. It was just trial and error. PB: I hope you got an “A.” SA: Yes, I did. It was fun. All of my teachers were talking about it; they were all there plus at least 100 more people. It was like a gateway into what I wanted to do. PB: So you graduated, and now you’re attending college, correct? SA: Yes, I went to Southeastern Louisiana University for one year, and now I’m in my fourth year at Louisiana State University. My junior year I studied abroad, in China. I’m majoring in textiles/clothing design, and graduating in May.
SAKEENAH ASHIRU smofashion.com 985.629.1803
PB: An entire school year abroad! Why China? SA: Well, I looked at France first, but you had to be able to speak French. So that was out. Next my interest was in east Asia, specifically Japan and South Korea. But I had some great encouragement from a couple of my teachers who were from China, so I went in that direction. Also, there is a lot of importing in the U.S. textile industry from China. I thought it might be wise to gain some knowledge about that. PB: What was your take-away from your experience in China? SA: It was a great getaway, an opportunity to explore the kind of designer that I am, to develop my aesthetic. Also, it was a needed break from the structured classroom and instruction. I enjoyed getting out and moving about in the real world. PB: What was your favorite experience attending school in China? SA: I loved experiencing life in a foreign country. There are a lot of differences between our cultures. I absolutely loved going to the fabric market to pick out fabrics. I liked taking the public transportation, interacting with the people, practicing my Mandarin. I didn’t know any Mandarin before I arrived. I took intensive language classes in Mandarin: five days a week, four hours a day. PB: Are you fluent? SA: No, I’m not the perfect student! PB: Did you study how to make fabric or a textile while you were there? Or design any clothes there? SA: My department was called the textile engineering department. They have big printers there to print on fabric.
Really impressive to see. I also learned how to dye fabric the traditional Chinese way. I did get to design for class assignments, what they told us to make, but I was designing on my own time - for New Orleans Fashion Week. PB: You don’t stop, do you? How did you get involved with New Orleans Fashion Week? SA: I attended NOFW a couple of times in high school, and I set a goal: I told myself that I would be IN New Orleans Fashion Week by the time I was a senior in college, as a runway presenter. So with that dream, I started designing a future collection. I had already planned an African American themed collection since I’m from Nigeria, but when I was in China, the city inspired me to change to a Chinese theme. PB: And did your dream come true? SA: Yes! I showed at the 2017 NOFW! PB: Incredible! Congratulations! How extensive was your collection? SA: I had 11 outfits. I finished three in China and the rest back in the U.S., at LSU and at my home in Mandeville. I remember getting my labels in the mail; I was so excited. Every time I sewed a label on to a piece, it made me feel so proud. PB: The collection is indeed stunning! Obviously you’re passionate about your goals. Let’s jump to your internship last summer in New York City. SA: It was wonderful! I did an internship at Marchesa. I didn’t think in my wildest dreams I would be so lucky to get an internship at my favorite fashion house. Here I am from LSU competing for a spot against people from around the
whole country. At first I tried more local opportunities, but nothing seemed to work out, so I had no choice but to step outside of Louisiana. I didn’t expect a response from Marchesa, but after two months they contacted me and I interviewed with an assistant designer. They asked when I would be available, and I told them “Friday.” It was Tuesday, and I had no idea how I was going to get to New York or where I was going to live. But I was determined. PB: And fearless! SA: They needed people for an upcoming runway show and a big photo shoot for Vogue Magazine. I arranged to stay with a friend in New York and interned for Georgina Marchesa! I did all sorts of menial to meaningful tasks. It was great. I cut out patterns, researched trends, hand stitched appliqués, created mood boards, to mention a few. I learned that it takes so many people to create one garment. The process is very long and intense. PB: Any celebrity sightings while you where there? SA: When a celebrity client arrives, all of the interns and workers are sent out of the building, to lunch. Later when we are working on the garment, we are never told who it is for until after the client wears it. I found out later that the one I was working on was for the Duchess of Cambridge! PB: What’s next for you? SA: Currently, I’m interested in textile science. PB: Can you explain that? SA: I’m taking textile science classes at LSU. We perform experiments on different textiles - fabric testing, like temperature sustainability, physical properties, quality and dyability. Through textile science we can investigate creating hybrid fabrics and discover different usages for textiles, so it’s not just about clothing. PB: I have a feeling we will be seeing a whole lot more of Sakeenah Ashiru. SA: I hope so. I have dreams to take my label international and to somehow marry the science of textiles with the creativity of design. I believe it’s important to attempt what you are fearful of because when you conquer it, you’ll gain confidence to try the next thing. Step by step you learn, you grow, and you become a success. PB: Well said. Well played. It’s been an honor.
THE SENIOR EXPERIENCE 2018 SENIORS CALL & BOOK SOON! 985.773.2227 joeltreadwell.com CONTACT PATTY BEAL FOR YOUR IN-HOME/OFFICE APPOINTMENT
Free Friday Concerts The Mandeville Trailhead
APRIL 6 APRIL 20 APRIL 27 MAY 4
6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Four Unplugged The George French Band Amanda Shaw/Cute Guys The Yat Pack Old Mandeville Historic Association
Motherâ€™s Day Home Tour
Eclectic Old Mandeville: Architecture from 1850-Present
May 13th 2:00 - 5:00 pm Tickets available at: Das Schulerhaus 611 Girod Street & The Jean Baptiste Lang House 605 Carroll Street oldmandevillehistoricassociation.org
STORY SARAH COTTRELL PHOTOS JERRY COTTRELL
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e’ve all seen pictures of a smiling family standing on the front porch of a newly built Habitat for Humanity house and being ‘given’ the keys to their new home. Given? “That is a common misconception,” explains Jennifer Messina, Vice President of Development at Habitat for Humanity St. Tammany West (Habitat). “There is a long journey to homeownership and the criteria is very strict. Habitat prides itself on giving hands up, not handouts.” In December of 2016, Jennifer invited me to follow one of the participants in the program. I met up with Kate Lytle during her lunch break at the Habitat ReStore. Kate had taken a vacation day from her regular job to work at the West St. Tammany ReStore (The store is located off highway 59 in Mandeville, and is filled with donated items that are sold to help fund Habitat). Kate was working at the store as part of her obligation to fulfill 300 ‘sweat equity’ hours. Sweat equity is the time a future homeowner donates to Habitat ‒ helping to build other people’s homes or working in the ReStore ‒ in order to participate in the program. Kate is a single mom with three children: Brent, 11; Mackenzie, 9; and Madison, 8. She shared her story of poor
Home at Last
choices and bad luck. At the age of 22, Kate was homeless with no job, and the single mother of three young children; she was determined to change her life and raise her children in a home of their own. Kate needed to learn to drive, so that was the first thing she took care of. She also needed somewhere to live. Her father offered them a room in his 3-bedroom trailer where her brother was already also living. Although not an ideal situation with three young children, it allowed her time to organize her life. Kate shared a room with her youngest child and the older children shared the living room, storing all their belongings on couches, which left little room for the family to sit together. Kate had a space in her room where she kept their food, but due to the levels of moisture in the trailer, the food would go bad quickly, and the family suffered from allergies due to the mold. Kate was determined to get a place of her own. About this time, Kate secured a job with Claiborne Hill Veterinary Hospital, a job she enjoys and which allows her flexibility to be there for her children. Her oldest child has special needs, so she takes her lunchtime in the afternoons to meet him when he gets off of the bus, and during school holidays she is able to bring her children to work where her
children, along with other employeeâ€™s children, have space to hang out and play. Her childrenâ€™s needs are clearly paramount to her; she was determined to keep them in the same school district to provide continuity and stability in their lives. It was at that time that she heard about Habitat, and Kate reached out to find out about the program. The mission of Habitat for Humanity is to build simple, decent, affordable housing for families who want to move beyond survival mode and live better lives. The houses are never extravagant â€“ instead they provide a safe and livable home for a family that would not otherwise be able to afford one. The size of the house is determined based on family size, and all have central air, a refrigerator and a stove. Families choose the color of the siding, shutters, floors, cabinets, and countertops. Habitat sells these houses, without making a profit, to people who complete all of the requirements of the program, which includes 300 hours of sweat equity, a cash down payment and signing a no-interest, 30-year mortgage. Once Kate was in the program, her first obstacle was that her salary was a few cents below the minimum requirement to qualify for a Habitat mortgage. She met with her employer EDGE April | May 2018
HABITAT FOR HUMANITY ST. TAMMANY WEST habitatstw.org
and was given a well-deserved raise. Then Kate embarked on her first goal of 150 hours of sweat equity. With a fulltime job and three young children, it was hard to find the time — and childcare — to work at the Restore, but Kate clearly made it a priority. By May of 2017, Kate had reached her first milestone and was allowed to choose her home site. As luck for Kate would have it, there was a home already under construction for another person who was removed from the program because she wasn’t fulfilling her obligations. Kate was offered that house as an option, and she says it was an easy choice. The following Sunday afternoon she took her children to see the house for the first time. It was important that they could see what their mom was working towards and why she had to give up time with them for their future. I was waiting on the porch as they arrived for the first time. They were so excited, and Kate lifted them up to peer in the windows. It was hard to see where one room started and another ended, as each room had been framed but no dry wall installed. The sisters were not sure how they would feel having their own rooms. Although excited, they discussed putting a window in the wall between the rooms so that they wouldn’t be alone. Once Kate had chosen her future home, she still had another 150 hours of sweat equity ahead of her. She also had to save the deposit money that enabled her to leverage funds donated by the United Way Individual Development Account. Kate’s home was completed in October 2017 with the help of many volunteers, and she, her children, one dog, three cats and a rabbit (she likes to bring her work home), were able to move into the house and entered into a
EDGE April | May 2018
lease/purchase agreement with Habitat. Over the following months, Kate completed all of the program requirements. The traditional Habitat blessing took place with Habitat President and CEO Jeff St. Romain and Pastor Eddie Swan of New Beginnings Church. Kate chose Jennifer, who had invited me to follow Kate on her journey, to present her with the symbolic hammer to mark the occasion. On Mach 15, 2018 all the work and sacrifices paid off, and Kate signed her mortgage at Columbia Mortgage in Covington with Jeff Romain and other members of the Habitat team present. The Habitat team had been there for Kate for the two years it took for her to get her home, and they will continue to be there for her. Habitat maintains an ongoing relationship with their homeowners, including follow up visits, and also offers opportunities for financial and household education. It was an honor to follow Kate and to see her family in their own home. They were all elated, and the children were so proud of their home and of their mom. I noticed that the girls had decided against the interior window; they were too happy to have their own space, and had decorated their rooms with art donated by Painting with a Twist. Kate said that the kids love their rooms so much it is hard for her to get them to sit at the table for dinner. Every parent wants the best for their children, and this mom has worked hard for two years to see that her children grow up in a stable, safe and loving home, literally and figuratively. By choosing to go through this two-year process, Kate not only provided a home for her family, but she also taught her children so many life lessons along the way. Welcome home, Lytle family.
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Il•lus•trate STORY KIM BERGERON
As a child, Hanna Gumbo found her joy in letting her imagination run wild simply by utilizing paper and pens. Her subject matter was largely animals, with a particular affection for cats. She found herself adding a tiny cat face next to her signature on each page of her notebook, and this evolved into page after page of high fashion sketches with feline-human hybrids as the models. “These mash-up drawings were compiled into large stacks and stapled together,” says Hannah, “and they became my own version of magazines, much like the Barbie catalogs from which I drew my inspiration.”
EDGE April | May 2018
Young Hanna loved visiting the library weekly with her mother, perusing the books to find the perfect escape in words and pictures. She still recalls the sadness she felt when her mother suggested it was time she selected from offerings “on the other side of the library.” To many youth, the transition to the young readers’ selections marked a rite of passage. But for Hannah, it meant abandoning the illustrations that brought her so much joy. Oh, the horror. “The children’s section was a magical place of exploration and every picture book opened up a new world of possibilities,” she said. “Why on earth would I want to leave all that for the boring, old,
colorless chapter books? Even today, my book shelves house a much wider selection of illustrated children’s books than anything else.” For illustrator Shiho Pate, it was not cats, but mice, that captured her affection. She talks of an unusual affinity with the creatures, including the Chinese zodiac connection of having been born in the year of the mouse. “My family used to tease me that I looked like a mouse because of my big front teeth,” says Shiho, “but my grandfather said that this connection was special. As a child, I was enamored with Graham Oakley’s book, The Church Mouse. I savored every little detail in that book — day dreaming about each mouse’s personality and backstory.” The Japanese-born artist says that her artwork became especially important when, early in her childhood, she moved with her family to the UK. Because at the time she didn’t speak English, she communicated through pictures. Her work became her universal language. Though her career would lead her to the path of game designer, eventually Shiho gleefully transitioned her focus to that of a children’s book illustrator —
CHRIS HSU THE BOO BOOS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD
critters and all. She says her work now explores and celebrates the mice that have always been within her — witty, curious creatures that she hopes make a connection with her audiences. Hannah and Shiho are two of the five illustrators to be featured in St. Tammany Art Association’s Il•lus•trate art exhibition, which opens Saturday, April 14. The two will be joined by Chris Hsu, Lindsay Ryden and Britt Spencer, presenting a whimsical and colorful body of work sparked by imagination and fueled by childlike wonder. Hannah is now a multi-media artist who works from what she describes as her “cozy studio” in downtown Eunice, Louisiana. She received her BFA from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2012 with a concentration in painting. Whether through a variety of personal work, commissions or commercial assignments, she is best known for her vibrant and approachable style to mark-making. Hannah finds her work rewarding in that it connects with others and communicates concepts that her words cannot. “I was raised on cornbread and milk, Paw Paws and Maw Maws with a Cajun tongue, and a large family of colorful characters that fought as hard
EDGE April | May 2018
LINDSAY RYDEN DROP THE BEET
as they loved,” she says. “These Acadian roots stretch deep and wide in my heart and influence all the work on which I put my hands. The combination of energy, chaos and the mystery of Louisiana bubble up as I create art that reflects the ever changing culture that is life in the South.” hannahgumbo.com As a Japanese artist living in America, Shiho remains passionate about creating art for children. A graduate with honors from Savannah College of Art and Design — and a winner of the International Award Citta di Chioggia, put on by the Associazione Culturale Teatrio of Venice — Shiho started her career as an artist for several indie gaming studios in New York City, through which she published numerous social and mobile games. But after a decade of working in that industry, Shiho realized she could no longer deny her deep-rooted passion for illustrating. She made the daring move to Southern California, with the goal of breaking into the industry with her playful, bold style that combines her talents utilizing gouache, watercolor and digital media. Her goal is to create work that reflects warmth and simplistic imperfection, with results that are both endearing and enduring. shihopate.com Bringing more international flair to Il•lus•trate is Chris Hsu, who hails from Taiwan and grew up in Northeast Florida. A traditionally-trained artist, Chris has worked professionally in the fields of greeting cards, advertising and animation. He currently serves as a background artist on the animated FX spy comedy, Archer, and he says his work is heavily influenced by art history and music. He also has been a regular contributor to the Cricket Magazine group, creating illustrations for their science-and-history-based titles. Chris’ first illustrated children’s book, The Boo–Boos that Changed the World, will be released this spring by Charlesbridge Publishing. It’s the humorous but true story of the invention of adhesive bandages. Of his work, Chris says, “In illustrating the narrative, my aim is to always complement and enhance the written text by staying true to the
EDGE April | May 2018
SHIHO PATE UNTITLED
flow of the story, time period and setting, but I also want to give the reader some surprises and additional visual information along the way. I believe this is the core role of a story illustrator.” chrishsu.net Atlanta-based artist Lindsay Ryden is a painter and illustrator whose work has been featured in Atlanta Magazine, The Bitter Southerner, Plywood People and Adweek, and her work has been exhibited in numerous solo shows throughout Georgia. A graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design with a BFA in Painting, Lindsay says she enjoys inflicting her unique brand of humor on unsuspecting viewers. “I draw my inspiration from listening to crackly vinyl, drawing my spirit animal cat, Nigel, and depicting the underappreciated weirdness of the world around me,” she says. “I encourage audiences to view my works with a grain of salt and a pinch of sweetness, as I attempt to bridge general gaps and relate to all, ranging from grandmothers to best friends to bitter rivals to passive aggressive roommates. My goal
is to make viewers smile, belly laugh, cry silently into their sleeves or stare off into the distance, pondering life’s complexities to the slow fade glow of a sunset… or something.” lindsayryden.com Rounding out the five is award-winning artist Britt Spencer, whose work has been featured in hundreds of editorial spots, three children’s books and a graphic novel, garnering national and international acclaim. The Savannah, GA based artist has been “pumping out drawings and other such nonsense for the better part of a decade.” His work has earned recognition from the Society of Illustrators New York, the Society of Illustrators West, Communication Arts, New American Paintings and Art Prize’s Juried Short List, and has been featured in numerous art exhibitions in the United States, Canada and Europe. Britt says that when commissioned for illustrations, he’s very methodical in his approach. He reads the text that his work will accompany, considers the audience
EDGE April | May 2018
HANNAH GUMBO THE BOOK THAT WANTED TO BE RED FOR MORE INFORMATION sttammanyartassociation.org/illustrate Il•lus•trate and Spring for Art April 14 - May 26, 6PM to 9 PM Gallery hours Tuesday - Friday 10AM to 4PM Saturdays 11AM to 4PM
EDGE April | May 2018
and works to create an image that’s relevant, good looking and consistent with his style, all of which he says are the general rules when working as an illustrator. He then takes those rules a few steps further. “You’ve got to have an identity as an illustrator. You’ve got to have a voice,” he says. “Mine could be summarized by the following: I’ve always had an interest in figurative work, and more specifically, figures that are quite silly, with exaggerated posture and expressions that match their equally humorous surroundings. I really like the non-heroic Everyman, characters that look like they’re struggling, or otherwise incapable of the task at hand… rarely in static positions despite their desperation. It would seem this combination of content and stylistic choices often leads to political satire, caricature, and children’s books.” brittspencer.com
Collectively, the five illustrators will paint downtown Covington with an exhibition that speaks to everyone in different ways, drawing upon the artists’ and the viewers’ personal experiences and points-of-view — with splashes of quirkiness and joviality. In conjunction with the Il•lus•trate exhibition, St. Tammany Art Association is offering a number of educational opportunities, including three children’s workshops and an artist talk for general audiences featuring the exhibition artists, hosted at the STAA Art House. At the Covington Library Branch, two additional workshops — one for toddlers, one for youth — will feature storytelling and craft-making. For the artist talk, no registration is required and admission is free. For the children’s workshops at STAA, a nominal fee and preregistration are required. Workshops at the library are free, but space is limited and preregistration is required.
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ABOUT CHEF ERIC HUNTER Every issue EDGE of the Lake invites a local restaurateur to visit another eatery on the Northshore. Eric and Jennifer Hunter have owned La Provence since May 2, 2017. Eric loves the farm to table concept and even delivered this review while standing in the restaurantâ€™s pig pen. Eric and his wife were customers at La Provence before they had a chance to buy it. He said their goal is to maintain what they fell in love with at the restaurant. He said it has been around so long that it means different things to different people. La Provence is open Friday and Saturday from 5PM until 9PM. They are open on Sundays from 11AM until 8PM. And they would love to hear from you if you have a special event. THE LAKEHOUSE 2025 Lakeshore Dr. Mandeville 70471 lakehousecuisine.com 985.626.3006
My turn: by chef Eric Hunter My wife and I had never been to the Lakehouse on the Mandeville lakefront before visiting it for EDGE of the Lake Magazine. Of course, we had heard about it and were excited to check it out. On the evening we went it was a little chilly outside, so my wife asked for a table where it was warm. They sat us at a nice two top next to a window with a wonderful view. The staff was attentive from the moment we walked in. They were knowledgeable about the menu and after some back and forth we settled on the Buffalo Fried Calamari, served with Crystal butter and Green Goddess dressing. We also got the Chicken Liver Pate’. The pate’ was very good, with nice consistency and flavor. And we enjoyed the calamari. It had just the right amount of breading and was perfectly crispy. For our main course, I went with the Bouillabaisse and my wife had the fillet. I knew my selection was a bit of a “dealer’s choice” since everyone makes it a little different, but their take on it had a loose, chunky tomato base with rice and plenty of seafood, which was cooked well. The shrimp were big and the fish, amberjack, tasted great. I liked my choice very much and would get it again. My wife ordered her Pan Roasted Hereford Fillet rare and it came out temperature perfect. It was served with duck fat mashed potatoes with chimichurri butter and a burgundy reduction. There was also a big stack of onion rings. The seasoning on the meat was just right. Everything went well together, and it was excellent. For dessert Jennifer went with the Chocolate Torte Mousse Cookie Parfait, served with hazelnut ganache, pecan bark, and bourbon cherries. It was very good, but mine might have been better. I had the White Chocolate Bread Pudding. The huge portion was rich and moist. And, as good as it was, I carried my leftovers home and it took me three different sittings to finish it off. As far as the ambiance goes, obviously the views are nice, and you want to be outside when the weather allows it. Inside, they have unique tables and chairs and a décor that brings it all together. The setup is comfortable and a good fit for where the restaurant sits. We found that the Lakehouse Restaurant offered an excellent experience and we will definitely go back.
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EDGE April | May 2018
EDGE April | May 2018
EDGE April | May 2018
1. Covington Celtic Club’s (CCC) annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and celebration took place in downtown Covington. Dr. Jay Saux performed the duties as the Grand Marshal. The CCC was joined by Irish wolfhounds, bagpipers, Irish dancers, St. Paul’s Marching Wolves, SSA cheerleaders, The Fools of Misrule and their float, the CCC’s kids’ float, The Mandeville Milkshakers and The Covington Bicycle Club. 2. Guests and participants all enjoyed a fun-filled evening at the Hammond Regional Arts Center’s annual fundraising event, “Art of the Cocktail.” Photos by Phillip Colwart 3. East St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce’s membership awards and appreciation event, Starry Starry Nights, took place at the Northshore Harbor Center in Slidell. Members and guests enjoyed the evening and toasted the achievements of the East St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce, Emerging Young Professionals, and the Olde Towne Slidell Main Street organizations.
EDGE April | May 2018
4. American Factory Direct celebrated its grand opening of the new location in Covington with a ribbon cutting by the St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce. 5. Mandeville High School’s FIRST Robotics Team 2992 traveled to the FIRST Robotics Rock City Regional in Little Rock, Arkansas (FIRST: For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). 6. St. Paul’s School’s basketball team players thanked the members of the faculty and staff for their support of the basketball program by providing dinner and honoring selected members with a special recognition. Senior team members recognized faculty members who have played a special role in their education. 7. Little Oak Middle School’s students in the district Science Fair at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond. 8. The 2018 St. Tammany Parish Poetry Out Loud Competition was held at Fontainebleau High School. Eight
St. Tammany Parish High Schools competed in the ninth annual competition. The top three finalists who advanced to the State Championship are as follows: First Place, Dejeune Richardson of Covington High School; Second Place, Grace McCullar of Covington High; and Third Place, Justin Basse of Covington High. 9. Congratulations to the Saint Scholastica Academy soccer team on winning the 2018 Division 1 State Championship. 10. Christ Episcopal School’s girls’ high school basketball team won the LHSAA Division V State Championship. Congratulations Wildcats! 11. Lake 94.7’s Dave Bruce took a copy of EDGE of the Lake on his trip to London, England. 12. EDGE of the Lake’s art director, Fernanda Chagas Kirk enjoys reading EDGE while visiting Denver, Colorado. Want to be featured in Around The Lake? Send your pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org
STORY CHARLES DOWDY
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.
ho are these people taking their newborn children to restaurants? Let me narrow that down. Who are these people taking their small children to restaurants that provide a server? Not a server where the level of service is limited to “You want to Super-Size that?” I’m talking about a real, live person who knows what wine might or might not be good with the duck. Just to make myself perfectly clear, that excludes any restaurant with playground equipment. We seemed to find these people every time my wife and I went on a date. Since my wife got pregnant the first few times I looked at her, a date represented a sizable investment on our part. Not just financially, but an investment in time and effort. First, we had to secure the babysitter. I have no idea why, but potential babysitters seemed to lose interest when they learned we had four children. A good way to circumvent the four-child objection was simply in the definition of the word “children.” For example, when asked, I would say that we only had two children. I could do this honestly because I defined the word “child” as anyone between the ages of birth and five-years-old. Anyone beyond the fiveyear-old threshold was, under my new terms, included in the preteen grouping. (Preteen is not a category you need to publicize to the prospective babysitter. There are some negative connotations EDGE April | May 2018
associated with the term “teen” so, if my hand was called, then I usually used the more vague and generic “tween” that’s having some currency in child development circles these days.) So, anyway, my wife secured the services of a babysitter, who managed to show up at our house within thirty minutes of the assigned time and appeared to be sober. We exited the house by throwing candy into a corner and slipping away while the children and preteens fought for it, and arrived at the restaurant for our eight o’clock dinner reservation. After we were seated I took my wife’s hands, stared deep into her eyes, and was about to launch into a conversation about reality television, when THEY came in. THEY were hard to miss. The mother looked like she had applied her makeup during an earthquake. She was also either a direct descendant of Dolly Parton, or she was breastfeeding. The father trudged along behind her with the thousand-yard stare of someone who’d been in baby country too long, and he was carrying a basket with some type of screeching animal in it. Turned out the animal was their newborn child. THEY and the screaming basket were seated right next to us. People at the surrounding tables made the obligatory polite comments about the child. “She’s just darling,” one woman said as her husband waved with both arms for another drink. After a few compliments had been bestowed upon the
thrashing baby, the mother, like mothers everywhere, dropped that whopper of all lies. “I just fed her, so I expect she’ll drop off to sleep at any time.” Not unless the room ran out of oxygen, but what can you do? Call the waiter over and say, “Excuse me, we would like to move to another table.” “Is there any particular table you would like, sir?” “Do you have one in Afghanistan?” Instead, my wife and I suffered through our meal. The only time this child did not scream was when she was crammed up against her mother’s breast, which would have been just fine with me, but the mother had to go and order the rack of lamb. Then she passed off the wailing kid to her husband because, as she explained loudly for all of us to hear, there was NO WAY she could eat rack of lamb with just one hand. I guess it would have been improper to ask her husband to hold the thing up to her boob while she ate her lamb. I could have offered to do it for them, but I’m pretty sure that would have crossed some personal boundary. So, I was left sitting there with my wife, doing our best to salvage something out of our date. Still, I couldn’t help but wonder, why were these people there? They looked miserable. The meal was costing them a fortune. Why didn’t they get a babysitter? Come to think of it, I had some preteens who needed the work.
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EDGE of the Lake gives a fresh edgy look at the parishes north of the lake and the unique mix of people that make up our community. Expect t...
Published on Apr 2, 2018
EDGE of the Lake gives a fresh edgy look at the parishes north of the lake and the unique mix of people that make up our community. Expect t...