EDGE of the Lake Magazine June | July 2019

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| JULY 2019





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PUBLISHER Sarah Cottrell

What a busy time it has been, publishing EDGE, organizing the Bluesberry Festival and most importantly watching my son graduate from high school. What an amazing privilege and journey it’s been, from his pre-prep days at the Old Malthouse School in Langton Matravers, Dorset, England to graduating from St. Paul’s School in Covington. I couldn’t be more proud of all that he has accomplished and how he has overcome all the adversities that have come his way. To the class of 2019, congratulations; your futures are bright! Publishing EDGE takes a team of dedicated professionals. We are lucky to have so many talented people in our community and benefit from their dedication to their crafts, from our photographers to our wonderful editor and writers. We start with a clean slate every issue and build the issue around our communities and the stories that we think are interesting and relevant. In this issue Liz Smith takes us behind the gates of the Tulane Primate Center to find out what goes on there. We meet local artist Scott Ewen, learn more about the Bluesberry Festival, travel to Russia and cover many of the events that have taken place over the last few weeks. We are always looking for stories so please send any ideas to us at edgepublisher@yahoo.com. Enjoy the issue and don’t forget to take the EDGE with you on vacation and send us a picture for possible inclusion in a future issue. PUBLISHER

EDITOR Tony Montana ART DIRECTOR Erich Belk STYLE DIRECTOR Patty Beal BEAUTY EDITOR Caitlin Picou COPY EDITOR Mary-Brent Brown CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Rhett Allain Mary-Brent Brown Charles Dowdy Sean Noel Liz Genest Smith STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Jerry Cottrell CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS G. Brent Brown Paul Chauvin Matthew Schlenker Joel Treadwell SENIOR SALES EXECUTIVES Eloise Cottrell Rick Clasen ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Rebecca Blossman-Ferran Erin Bolton Debi Menasco Michelle Wallis-Croas

ON THE COVER Blueberries Photo Jerry Cottrell

The entire contents of this magazine are copyrighted by EDGE Publishing. @ 2019 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 • 985.875.9691




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Page 034 Scott Ewen


Dive-In Movies & Family Fun






Ethics & EfďŹ cacy: Touring the Tulane National Primate Research Center


EDGE June | July 2019



s it often happens, yet another intriguing topic dropped into my lap in a rather circuitous way. While doing research on some historic St. Tammany Parish homes, a local historian suggested I look into the crumbling old house on the property belonging to the Tulane National Primate Research Center (TNPRC), just off Highway 190 in Covington. Naturally, I was curious about the rundown structure and its history, but more than that, I’ve always wondered what goes on behind those secured gates. What exactly are they doing in the mysterious laboratories tucked away in those dense, piney woods? There’s been a smattering of questionable press over the years, and I’d heard some completely unsubstantiated, unsettling rumors, but I knew nothing for sure. So, I figured, what the heck? First, I’ll see if they’ll let me tour it, at all. Then, I’ll see if they blow smoke in my general direction, only allowing me to peer through a window or two. If worse comes to worst, and they don’t make it worth my while, I thought, I’ll just skip writing about it, and chalk it up to an interesting experience. Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised. My two-hour tour, which covered both the north and south campus of the 500-acre site, left me literally dizzy with the volume of information that was freely shared.

First, the History The Tulane National Primate Research Center, which was originally called the Delta Regional Primate Research Center, is located on land that was purchased from the Alexius family in the early 1960s. The site was once known as Alexiusville, which included a main house, cannery, sugar mill, blacksmith shop and a brickyard, but all that’s left is one remaining structure. Situated alongside a quaint lily pad-filled pond, adjacent to the labs and a parking lot, the dilapidated old 1800s cabin, thought to have been the Alexius family’s main home, is sadly falling further and further into disrepair. Apparently, there was talk of the university’s architecture department taking it on as a restoration project, but the plans have yet to materialize.

There’s really not much more information readily available about Alexiusville, other than the fact that many descendants of the original family still live in the area. And to be honest, once my research on the facility kicked in, those historical aspects sort of fell to the wayside.

Touring the Facility As I previously implied, I approached this story with a healthy mix of curiosity and trepidation. I was excited when my request for a visit was approved, but I fully expected a very carefully narrated, scripted tour of limited scope. Still, I was hoping they would prove me wrong. I was initially greeted by the new Communications and Outreach Manager, Leslie Tate, and C.E.O., Mark Alise, who conducted the tour of the north campus. Naturally, we began with the requisite introductory information, both on this particular research center, as well as the network of affiliated centers around the country, all federally funded and regulated by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). “Each regional facility has a different focus,” Mark explained. “Here, we focus on infectious diseases. Historically, HIV-AIDS, malaria and a number of others. But our director, Dr. Jay Rappaport, plans to focus more on diseases of aging and inflammation, which is referred to as inflammaging.” We began the tour in the cool, original 1960s buildings that are still in use – one houses administrative offices, the other is about to undergo a massive 10,000 square-foot renovation, which will allow for the addition of 5-7 new researchers. As we strolled, I learned that of TNPRC’s 500 acres, half is still woods and wetlands, while the rest is basically split in half by Three Rivers Road, with 125 acres on the north side dedicated to laboratories and administration, and the other 125 acres to the south dedicated to the rhesus macaque monkey breeding colony. I also learned that its 300 employees make it one of the largest employers in St. Tammany Parish, with an economic impact estimated at $70.1 million a year.

Tulane University Primate Center 985.892.2040 www2.tulane.edu/tnprc/


While busily scribbling down notes, I couldn’t help but notice that this was not the enclosed, stifling environment I had envisioned. I was surprised to see so many open air, green spaces between the buildings, with a large grassy quad in the center, and imagined it is a welcomed respite for researchers who are cooped up in labs all day. There was even a guy happily pedaling a bike across the campus to deliver mail, and some big, fluffy felines lounging about to add to the casual vibe. Yes, there are a few resident feral cats who have made themselves at home, earning their keep by controlling the vermin population and chasing away other feral cats. In turn, they are paid in food and free health care. Savvy kitties. In the middle of the quad, we came upon a couple of structures that looked like enormous bird cages that house a handful of monkeys. My tour guides openly admitted that this group was basically there for display purposes, and I thought, a-ha! Token monkeys, a.k.a., the smoke screen.

But, things were about to get really interesting. After passing a few more monkeys in their indoor/outdoor housing and getting a quick glimpse of the aforementioned dilapidated cabin, we headed for the highest level biosafety building on the campus. Earlier, Mark had

EDGE June | July 2019

told me that after 9/11, national biodefense labs stepped up their efforts to create vaccines and cures to combat and neutralize chemical warfare agents. He also explained that a biosafety level, or BSL, refers to a set of containment precautions required to isolate dangerous biological agents. The levels range from the lowest, biosafety level 1 (BSL-1) to the highest at level 4 (BSL-4). This facility only goes up to BSL-3, as they work with stuff like anthrax and ricin, but not hemorrhagic viruses, like Ebola, which top the biosafety charts. Instead of walking past this building after that explanation, we headed right for the front door. Wait, what? We’re going in there? Without hazmat suits? Yep. Be careful what you ask for! Mark assured me there are plenty of redundancies and back-up plans within the security and containment systems in this building, including “negative pressure,” meaning air flows inward – which is helpful to those of you on the outside, but not so much for those of us who willingly enter the building. Of course, I fully believed him that we were in no danger, but as a chronic germaphobe, I may or may not have occasionally held my breath and avoided touching any surfaces. I’m sure that this, along with the hand sanitizer I used copiously on the way out, would be completely effective against dangerous toxins. Once we exited the building, there was a van waiting to take us to the south campus, where the breeding colony is located.

Now, About the Animals... This is probably a good time to go ahead and address the enormous elephant in the room. Animal research is, undoubtedly, a complex, hotly debated issue. Animal right advocates have every right to be concerned about the welfare of the creatures in these facilities, but it’s important to get all the facts before forming a hardline opinion, one way or the other.

First, the Facts... Within TNPRC’s approximately 5,000 primates, six different species are represented, but the predominant one is the rhesus macaque. Instead of extracting these monkeys from the wild, Tulane maintains an enormous breeding colony, where anywhere between 250-900 babies are born each spring. Some will remain in the colony, some will participate in the research at this facility, and some will be sent to other facilities. As multiple staff members very proudly pointed out, in addition to being subject to mandatory regulations and oversight by the USDA, CDC, and NIH, they go above and beyond by voluntarily seeking out and maintaining accreditation by the Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care, or AAALAC. According to the organization’s website, this “private, nonprofit organization that promotes the humane treatment of


EDGE June | July 2019

animals in science through voluntary accreditation and assessment programs” endorses “the use of animals to advance medicine and science when there are no non-animal alternatives, and when it is done in an ethical and humane way.” Mark initially brought this up early on in the tour, and said, “They come out every three years for a site review, and in all five of the last visits, we’ve received an exemplary rating, which is the highest you can get.” In the days before my tour, I wondered, and sort of worried, how I would broach the subject of ethics and the treatment of the animals without having the staff clam up and quickly escort me off the property. But, the subject came up quite naturally on more than one occasion. The first time I specifically brought it up was at the conclusion of the tour of the breeding colony, conducted by Shelley PhillippiFalkenstein, Colony Epidemiologist, who has been at this facility for 30 years. When we loaded up in the awaiting van, she squired us around and through acres and acres of spacious outdoor cages, populated with active and curious monkeys. She spoke passionately and in great detail about their wellbeing. They get two annual check-ups, they are fed Monkey Chow (for real, Purina makes it), plus fruits, vegetables, seeds and popcorn, among other things.

The topic of “behavioral management” was touched on by each person on the tour, but Shelley thoroughly discussed how they are always housed in groups that mirror their matriarchal society in the wild, and given toys and tools to keep them active and engaged. The time felt right, so I carefully segued into my next question by first admitting that I’m a huge animal lover, who also strongly believes in science. As someone who sounds like she comes from a similar place, how is Shelley able to merge those two somewhat conflicting convictions on a daily basis? “It can be hard,” she admitted without skipping a beat, then paused to let that sink in. “We’re dedicated to providing the best care possible because we genuinely care about these animals, but we understand that, in the long run, they’re serving an important purpose for both human and monkey populations. They even help us find better ways to deliver vaccines to wild populations.” Sure, you can read Tulane’s official statement on their ethical and compassionate approach to animal research, and their claim, which echoes that of the AAALAC, that “while the university is diligent in pursuing alternatives, certain experiments requiring animals are vital to the advancement of knowledge that benefits both animals and humans.” But, it has a whole lot more impact when you hear it directly from the people who care for them everyday. Without any prompting, Dr. Rudolf Bohm, Jr., whose multiple titles include Chief Veterinary Medical Officer, dove right into the subject. “There’s no doubt that there is sometimes pain and distress in animal research, but we’re very dedicated to minimizing that. Veterinarians oversee every experiment. They work with the scientists, because it’s our job to take care of the animals, to be their advocates. And we have to remember that the benefits for both humans and animals outweigh the risks.” In discussing the proliferance of bad press and misinformation that often gets circulated, he admitted, “Scientists are changing their approach. We used to think we didn’t have to publicize or draw attention to our work, but we’ve realized that’s not a good approach. Primate centers have decided to start opening our doors. We want to be forthright, and express that we understand the concerns.”



As such, they are stepping up their outreach efforts. Tours are available upon request, but there are certain criteria that must be met – mainly, it should be for educational or business purposes. At the time of my visit, they were preparing to host select students from two local high schools for the upcoming Biomedical Research Awareness Day (BRAD). It’s purpose is “to educate people about the vital role animals play in the development of new treatments and cures for people and animals, highlight careers in biomedical research, and promote support for the compassionate care of animals needed for research.” Sounds like a step in the right direction.

The Research & Results No one can dictate to others how to feel about anything, including animal research, but like anything else, it’s crucial to start with facts in order to develop an informed opinion. One fact is, there are literally SEVEN pages of milestones and discoveries that have been achieved at this facility alone, relating to such issues and maladies as HIV/ AIDS, Zika, hepatitis, leprosy, tuberculosis, Lyme disease, malaria and biodefense, just to name a few. But, animal research in general is responsible for a huge array of medical advancements, such as: • Polio, typhus, diphtheria, whooping cough, smallpox and tetanus vaccines • Diabetes treatment and the development of insulin • Treatments for stroke and heart ailments (including open-heart surgery, pacemakers, and heart transplants) • Animal vaccines and treatment (including feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), feline leukemia virus (FeLV), and canine parvovirus) While talking with Dr. Bohm, he casually mentioned recently being “on the phone with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,” collaborating on a Zika virus study. It speaks volumes about the success and integrity of TNPRC that they have received grants and equipment from this prestigious, highly selective private organization, which mainly focuses on the health of people in impoverished, developing nations. No one enjoys the idea of experimenting on animals, but until there are other effective ways to study diseases and develop treatments or cures to ease the suffering of both humans and animals, it’s good to know there are conscientious facilities like this one that strive to strike a balance between ethics and efficacy.


Preservation, Conservation and Mitigation Over the past five years, we have worked to establish our own Wetlands Mitigation Bank. We recently dedicated it and will now to begin to use it. We have purchased and placed in conservation for perpetuity 1169.2 acres of untouched land. Some of this land will be utilized solely for wetlands mitigation by St. Tammany Parish Government. Wetlands mitigation credits are required by federal law when natural resources are disrupted through developmental impacts. Before this bank was established, we purchased credits from out-of-state companies at a much higher cost, and for land that is not in our state. Now our bank will be funded from capital project funds for $6,000 per credit, as opposed to market value, which can range up to, and over, $22,000 per credit. The first phase of the Mitigation Bank will provide approximately 395 acres of mitigation credits and the second phase will provide nearly 300 acres of mitigation credits. This is a re-investment in St. Tammany through responsible preservation and growth that both takes into consideration the viability of a location for development as well as mitigates the environmental impact through planned, dedicated environmental equity and guaranteed preservation. It will give us another tool to save taxpayers money because we will not have to rely on out-ofstate mitigation banks to purchase credits, and it will help us maintain our commitment to preserving one of our greatest assets — our pristine natural resources. Pat Brister St. Tammany Parish President

EDGE June | July 2019


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EDGE June | July 2019



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EDGE June | July 2019

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EDGE June | July 2019

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EDGE June | July 2019




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EDGE June | July 2019


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EDGE June | July 2019




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Artists are fascinating people. Beyond the obvious – their enviable talent – it’s always enlightening to delve into their perspectives on life, as well as what inspires and motivates them to create. Insight into the artist usually enhances the way you perceive their art. So, let’s explore what makes Covington artist Scott Ewen tick. Though Scott’s roots are in New Orleans, many family members began moving to the Northshore in the 1970s. He went to Abita Springs Elementary for a short time, but he moved with his mother and stepfather to Houston, where he graduated from high school. After going to art school and meeting his wife in Boston, they moved to San Francisco, then Austin, before returning to the Northshore. I recently visited him at his home in Covington, which he shares with his wife and two teenage children. As we made our way back to the converted garage that he uses as his studio, in addition to mentioning that he bought the house from none other than kitschy, famed New Orleans television personality Morgus the Magnificent, he also spent a lot of time singing this region’s praises. “I moved back for personal and professional reasons,” Scott told me, pausing for a moment to show me the canvas sneakers his budding artist daughter is handpainting with pop culture art. “Most of my patrons and clients are here, and my mom and family are here. Austin is a music and food city. It’s a good place to create art, but it doesn’t typically sell. No galleries, no patrons. This is the best, most supportive place I’ve lived. There are actual patrons of the arts here; people buy original art here. It’s built into the culture.” There’s no mistaking that Scott comes from an artistically inclined family. He recalls his grandparents’ home – one of the first in Mandeville’s Beau Chene community – being filled with family paintings. One of EDGE June | July 2019


Scott Ewen SALADINO Gallery Saladinogallery.com


EDGE June | July 2019

the more prominent of his kin is his uncle, Bill Binnings, a Covington sculptor who helped Scott launch his career. But, when asked what originally inspired him to become an artist, he gave a lot of credit to his mother, Pamela Binnings Ewen, who’s spending her retirement writing and publishing novels. “As an only child, I was alone a lot. I would go to work and school with my mom – I basically went through Tulane Law School with her,” he explained. “She went to law school to give me a better life. I always had pen and paper to draw, and was given a lot of encouragement. She retired ten years ago, but I don’t think of her as a lawyer anymore. She’s a writer.” What an incredible role model. His grandfather came up fairly frequently, as well, whom he described as being “a superhero to us. He was sort of a John Wayne type, who would take us deep into the Honey Island Swamps. It looked like a Tarzan movie; it was beautiful.” While his family’s influence – whether it’s a result of nature or nurture – is unmistakable, his style is all his own. And what is that style, exactly? According to the SALADINO Gallery, which represents Scott, he’s “a contemporary figurative and landscape painter combining attributes of realism and abstraction.“ If you ask the artist himself, he’s more focused on the essence of his art. He frequently spoke of capturing the spirit instead of the ideal of places and things. As you survey his body of work, you’ll see what he means. You may notice that whether the image is still or depicts movement, each one is

strikingly vibrant, conveying incredible dimension and life. You’ll also notice that some of the recurring subjects include horses, fish, water fowl and swamp landscapes. The horses stand apart a bit from the other related subjects, so a simple question about how he developed an interest in painting them led to a rather perplexing revelation. “I grew up riding a little bit; my aunt raised horses,” he said. “When I was 10 years old, my aunt put me on an ex-racehorse – they’re really tall, and I was intimidated – and the damn thing took off, not stopping, not listening to commands. The way to stop a racehorse is the opposite of what you’d think, so I did everything wrong, pulling on the reins and yelling at it. Eventually, I fell off, broke a rib and got a concussion. I was done.” How in the world does a traumatic experience like that inspire someone to go on to pay homage to quadrupeds on canvas? “I guess I gained a respect for their power, what they’re capable of.” Maybe chalk it up to that which doesn’t kill us… inspires us? It would seem so, as in addition to painting horses, he donates to equine organizations, like New Heights Therapy Center in Folsom and the New Orleans Polo club. Knowing that he grew up exploring the wetlands of St. Tammany Parish, it would seem pretty straightforward as to why he chooses his other favorite subjects, but he revealed a little more on this topic with surprising candor. “This might be too personal, but I started having anxiety attacks and seeing a therapist, and he taught me that to control the episodes, I should think of a good memory and focus on that. The first thing that came up was [my grandfather’s camp in Pearl River]. I just remember being there and feeling so content as a kid.” He referred to this as memorism, instead of realism – a way to capture on canvas the good things in life. He also told me that “after a while, a landscape became an

escape.” And added, “When I’m painting, my brain isn’t infected with the day to day.” On the flipside of therapeutic or aesthetic motivation is something many artists don’t want to discuss – money. They’re often reluctant to admit to having side gigs to make ends meet, but Scott is candid on this subject as well. He has certainly sold some of his work for enormous sums of money, but admits that it helps to have a background in graphic design to help pay the bills when there are lulls. Upon his return to Covington, he teamed up with two of his cousins – Chris and Nick Binnings – to form 3R Ink screen printing and design services. In addition to designing for this business, he has other graphic design clients and appreciates being able to take breaks from painting original work. “I can walk away and do other things, then come back with a fresh perspective. It’s a good balance, and I like what I’m doing. The trick with art – you’ve got to make a living, but you can’t paint with that in mind.” But, as they say, you can’t please all the people all the time. “I’ve gotten guff for some of my subject matter from people who don’t appreciate it – the art world, other artists,” he admitted. “Mostly from people who don’t have to support themselves. I just like to add beauty to the world. I’m not interested in creating confrontational work.” Something else that separates Scott from many other artists, and provides some interesting insight into his character, is how he approaches a new project. Facing down that daunting blank page or canvas is often an intimidating part of the creative process for writers and artists alike. Not for Scott, however, whose “fast painting” style keeps him from overthinking while he creates “My favorite is at the very beginning of a painting,” he said matter-offactly. “Every time you make a mark, you remove a choice. You just need to finish it. I don’t like to use too much paint. There’s a point where I’m either improving it or just noodling. That’s when it’s time to call it done.” Raise your hand if you’d like to apply this philosophy to your daily life. He conveys all this clarity and self-assuredness without the slightest trace of smugness or artifice. Instead, he explains it away as a necessary coping skill. He seems to have a lot of those, which are seamlessly woven into his creative life. While he’s the first to admit he doesn’t have it all figured out, he certainly has assembled an effective tool kit. (Full disclosure: Scott shared with me a simple, but difficult piece of advice he’d given another artist: sometimes you have to sacrifice the best part of the painting in order to make the rest of it make sense. I turned this over in my brain for days before applying it to a creative writing project that felt hopelessly gridlocked, and darn if he wasn’t right.) Of the many artists I’ve met or interviewed over the years, some are on very personal, introspective journeys, while others are celebrating the subjects that they choose. It seems as though Scott’s somehow managed to blend the two. I once had a friend misquote the old adage about turning stumbling blocks into stepping stones. Her version turned the stumbling blocks into firewood, and I’ve always liked that better. Whether it’s a major trauma or life’s daily struggles, what better way to conquer them than to use them to light your creative fire? All the better if you transform them into beautiful works of art to share with the world, as Scott Ewen does.


EDGE June | July 2019


Last June, Edge of the Lake featured a story on blueberries, the wonderful summer fruit that is grown locally, tastes delicious and is good for you. We lamented the fact that it didn’t have its own festival. Fast forward a couple of months, and what started as coffee and a catch up between friends ended up as the launch of the the Bluesberry Festival – a full-day celebration of the arts that will make its debut on Louisiana’s Northshore at Bogue Falaya Park in Covington on June 8, 2019 – the peak of blueberry season! Festival founders include Sarada Bonnett, Sarah Ferderer and EDGE publisher Sarah Cottrell. They knew the festival needed to be more than blueberries. Sarah Cottrell used to work for Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones, Sarada Bonnett’s mother sang with Elvis and Sarah Federer is a public relations rock star, so music was the obvious addition to the festival. Sarada is the event coordinator for the Three Rivers Art Festival, so adding art was another natural fit. The huge undertaking had begun: the organizers travelled to listen to acts in order to put together a stellar lineup. The

Bluesberry Festival’s music lineup will feature national acts as well as regional favorites performing from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the Westaff Music Stage. Texas native Casey James, a singer, songwriter and guitarist who is familiar to many as a finalist on season 9 of American Idol, will headline the festival along with Johnny Hayes, an Alabama native whose rock-blues style gained national notoriety on Season 12 of The Voice when he landed a spot on Adam Levine’s team. Another must-see performance is Baton Rouge native Jonathon Long, Guitar Center’s 2011 “King of the Blues” whose self-titled album recently reached #8 on Billboard’s Blues Rock Album Chart. New Orleans’ own Charmaine Neville will also take the stage with her spicy mix of the best of New Orleans music – blues, jazz and R&B. Other acts include New Orleans-based blues artist Eric Johanson, who was nominated for Best Blues Album of 2018 by Offbeat Magazine; New Orleans-based blues guitarist Steve Mignano; Northshorebased vocalist Tyler Kinchen and Northshore-based singer/ songwriter Crispin Schroeder.


In addition to a lineup of blues musicians, the festival boasts an interactive arts tent (canvas and paint will be available to festival goers), live art demonstrations, 30 plus original art vendors, a children’s village and a rejuvenation station where patrons can cool down from the summer heat, hydrate and relax with yoga and other activities. Patrons can also enjoy some of the region’s favorite mobile eateries at the festival’s food truck roundup. Each will serve up their signature dishes, but also put a creative blueberry spin on some of their favorites. A wine experience and beer garden will allow festival goers to sip on locally crafted wine and a variety of locally crafted brews, including Abita’s discontinued Blueberry Beer, which is being revived just for the festival! Festival organizers turned to local artist Scott Ewen to paint the artwork for their first poster; the result was the Bogue Blue. The painting was unveiled at a launch party for the festival at the SALINDINO Gallery. The Bogue Falaya Park provides a perfect backdrop to the festival with plenty of trees and open spaces. The family friendly festival is a perfect escape for blues music and art aficionados who want to “experience” the arts amidst Southeast Louisiana’s beautiful natural landscape. “More than just a festival, Bluesberry is an immersive experience for all the senses where we not only celebrate the arts, but also inspire others to create it – through music, visual art, culinary art or any other creative outlet that speaks to them. There’s something here to delight and entertain everyone, from young children to the young at heart,” says Sarada.

Greetings! On December 1, 2016, I wrote my first Edge column, welcoming Edge of the Lake as the newest publication for the citizens of the Northshore. Today, I congratulate the Edge on their success and thank the community for their support, as I write my final column as mayor of Covington. I thank all of you for your role in making Covington an excellent place to live, raise a family, own a business, work, shop and visit. As my two terms come to an end on June 30, we are finishing strong!! The recent dedications of the Covington Puppy Park, Reverend Peter Atkins Park Bathroom Facility, Bogue Falaya Park Paddler’s Launch/Shoreline Protection Project and Old Fire House Event Center bring many new features to the city. We are also continuing and completing over 50 infrastructure and building projects that will benefit the citizens and visitors of Covington – now and in the future. For outdoor excitement this summer, I invite you to visit Covington’s Bogue Falaya Park on Saturday, June 8 for the first annual Bluesberry Festival and Wednesday, July 3 for the City of Covington’s Fourth of July Celebration – Sparks in the Park. Finally, please join me in giving a warm welcome to Covington’s incoming mayor and new city council. It has indeed been my honor and privilege to serve the citizens of my hometown for the past 8 years. Thank you!

MIKE COOPER City of Covington Mayor

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omen everywhere are buying miracle lash growth serums, spending hundreds on eyelash extensions, searching for the holy grail in mascara and now perming and dying their lashes. I must admit, I am excited about this trend. Eyelashes are one of the most feminine features we have. Think about it: put eyelashes and a bow on Mickey Mouse, you get Minnie. I mean look at Betty Boop, lashes for days! I have been using Kismet’s Wink Eyelash Conditioner, but my beautiful, longer, fuller lashes are board straight and slightly blonde. Like so many women, I have to wear mascara daily. I’ve been hearing wonders about Lash Lifts and Tints. This little salon treatment claims to curl your lashes to their fullest, and then dye them dark to give the appearance of mascara without having to actually swipe it on. Sold. The process takes about an hour to an hour and a half. It is quite relaxing; mainly because you must keep your eyes closed the entire time. No complaints here. I went to Kristian Keeler from Dermatique in Mandeville to give it a try. You must go to a trained professional. Do NOT find a deal on Groupon. They will be applying a perm solution to your eyelashes, along with a temporary dye, so you want someone fully trained in this technique. Kristian did all the hard work, while I just lay there and rested. She measures out the right curling rod for your lashes. The smaller the rod, the sharper the curve. Once she selects the ideal rod size, she secures the rod to your eyelid with eyelash glue. Next, she separates each lash and glues them in place. This is tedious for the technician of course, but extremely important. How she positions the lashes is how they will set. Once she is happy with the positioning, she applies the perm solution to your lashes.





Once the process is complete, she carefully removes the lashes from the rod and then the rod from your eyes. I also got my eyelashes dyed to give them a darker appearance. You only need a Lash Lift every six weeks, and Kristian recommends using an eyelash growing serum, like Kismet’s Wink, nightly to extend the life of the lift. I think I can get on board with this treatment every six weeks. My eyes look bigger, and my eyelashes never looked this good, even with mascara on. And if I get to lay there with my eyes closed for a solid hour, I’m in.


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EDGE June | July 2019

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ith the weather so warm here, I thought it would be nice to reminisce about a place that gets so cold, teams of civil servants roam the city removing icicles from roofs before they harm innocent bystanders. That winter wonderland is St. Petersburg, Russia. You may know the name from the story of Anastasia, the youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II whose rumored escape from the Bolshevik rebels that killed the last Imperial sovereign family was a mystery throughout the 20th century. DNA evidence later proved she was indeed murdered, but there is still plenty of mystery in the cultural capital of Russia. The first mystery is how the buildings can be so beautiful. The pastel-hued buildings throughout the city make snow look like whipped cream, but the turquoise and gold Hermitage, pictured below, is the cherry on the sundae to top them all. Founded by Catherine the Great as the winter palace in 1764 and containing over 3 million pieces of art (the Louvre has a mere 38,000), the Hermitage is the second largest museum in the world, with a coat room to match. Guided tours of the diamond, silver, and gold rooms provide an idea of the opulence the Romanovs enjoyed before communists took over. And don’t think the art here is second-rate just because it’s in eastern Europe; Rembrandts,

da Vincis, Picassos and Rafaels abound. Luckily travel writer Rick Steves provides a map of the museum with the highlights so we could save time for the rest of the city. The symphony, opera and ballet are very well attended in Russia. Most large cities have their own orchestra and ballet and opera houses. In 1860, the Mariinsky Theater opened in St. Petersburg and quickly became the preeminent music theater of late 19th century Russia. A large green building the color of an Easter egg, the Mariinsky Theatre is just as beautiful on the inside as the outside. For some visitors this is an even greater draw than the Hermitage. I had never heard a “Brava!” outside the movies, but Russians love to show their appreciation for the arts here. Thunderous applause and shouts of praise were plentiful when I attended the ballet, Sylvia. The 30 minute drive through the Russian countryside was well worth it to see Catherine’s Palace, located in the town of Pushkin (for literature buffs, the town is named after the famed author Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin, Russia’s version of Shakespeare, who lived there). A tribute to Catherine I’s reign and her successor Empress Elizabeth’s wealth, the summer palace is as grand as its companion in the city, the Hermitage or winter palace. Germans left only a barren shell when they retreated during World War II, but

EDGE June | July 2019


since the 1970’s the government has been painstakingly restoring the palace. Visitors returning over time can see the restoration expanding room by room as new areas are finished and opened to the public. In addition to the majestic gardens and an exact replica of a painted Vatican hallway, a recreation of the Amber Room – an “Eighth Wonder of the World” – lives here. In 1716 the King of Prussia gifted Tsar Peter the Great 13,000 pounds of amber in the form of wall panels backed with gold leaf, carved “pictures” in frames, and mosaics. Unfortunately, Nazis saw past the wallpaper Soviet curators put over the room to hide it and in 36 hours looted millions of dollars’ worth of amber. The room had to be recreated almost from scratch before being dedicated by President Vladimir Putin in 2003 at the St. Petersburg tricentennial. You may be most familiar with the “ice cream cone building” or the “church with the colored onions on top.” This is the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood. The unusual name comes from the fact that Alexander II was assassinated on this spot in 1881 by revolutionaries who opposed his reforms, including the emancipation of serfs – peasants who were effectively enslaved to their owners. The Cathedral boasts one of the largest mosaic collections in Europe, with 23,130 square feet of tiles. Brilliantly baroque, the Church’s colorful features contrast beautifully with the nearby cobblestones and canals, which run throughout much of the “Venice of the North.”

The second mystery I encountered was how Russian people thrive so well in the cold. Although travel websites will tell you to absolutely never visit in winter, I arrived at the beginning of March. While I struggled to walk with three layers of clothing, women strolled wearing only sheer hose. And although I didn’t take many pictures because I was too cold to remove my gloves, denizens had no trouble typing barehanded on their phones as they waited for a bus. Maybe their bravery keeps them warm: Even with bridges across the rivers and canals and no knowledge of how thickly frozen the water was, thousands of footprints could be seen criss-crossing the rivers. In the summer, bridges over the many rivers and canals in St. Petersburg open late at night to allow ships to pass. It is a beautiful sight, but once the bridges go up, they stay that way until the early hours of the morning, so it is important to watch from the side of the river where you will be sleeping. You might be out late enough

to see the bridges open because St. Petersburg is at such a high latitude that during summer the sun does not go under the horizon deep enough for the sky to get dark. The nights are so bright that they do not turn on the street lights. This is why the summer nights are called “White Nights” (Belyye Nochi in Russian). It seems that as much as we southerners adjust to the heat, the Russians have adjusted to snow falling on half of all winter days. The sidewalks bustle no matter the weather since getting “fresh air” is seen as very important. The sidewalks are especially packed on the almost three-mile-long main street, Nevsky Prospekt, which has an abundance of shops and sights. Grandmothers can always be seen pushing prams here or in the many parks, even with several feet of snow surrounding them. Indoors, radiators blast heat at a government-mandated level and people always wear slippers to keep their toes toasty. When visiting another’s home, it is respectful to remove your shoes, and your host will provide guest slippers to

use during your visit. If you come prepared with the right clothes so as not to be too cold, the snow adds an element of magic to an already striking city. Watching snow drift past the eternally burning flame at the World War II memorial, which honors the 800,000 civilians who died in the 900-day Siege of Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), makes you feel as though you are in a souvenir snow globe. Plus, the weather makes a warm cup of borscht, beet soup, all the more enticing. Based on the meals I had it is a mystery that Russian food hasn’t caught on more in the West. I happen to visit during the eastern European version of Mardi Gras, called Maslenitsa. This festival celebrates the beginning of spring with blini, a cross between pancakes and crepes. They can be sweet or savory depending on the filling: jam or meat. My favorite restaurant in St. Petersburg was Pelmenya, its name a variation of the word for Russian dumplings,


EDGE June | July 2019

pelmeni. These dumplings are similar to tortellini and, like much of Russian cuisine, feature dill as a main, and sometimes only, seasoning. In addition to their native dumplings, Pelmenya serves ravioli (Italian), dim sum (Chinese), gyoza (Japanese), pierogi (Polish), manti (Turkish) and khinkali (Georgian). Georgian food, from the country adjacent to Russia, not the state, is very popular in St. Petersburg, as it is more seasoned than typical Russian food. Visiting in winter allowed us to avoid the crowds and see the snowy city in a way summer tourists do not. But I’d love to go back and see Catherine’s Palace with the fountains turned on and see the trees lining Nevsky Prospekt uncovered from their wrappings. After St. Petersburg we were looking for more. Luckily rival Moscow is only a four-hour bullet train away…


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Another hurricane season is approaching and I encourage everyone to start making preparations now. One of the most important things you can Little Hospital. do is stay informed. As in years past, we Big Heart. will post all emergency information to our city website, Facebook and Twitter SOS account. One of the easiest ways to stay Liza Ledet, DVM updated is by signing up for email 419 Girod St. Mandeville, LA 70448 | 985.377.0800 | mandevilleah.com notifications on our website, MySlidell. com. It’s as easy as clicking on the “Stay in the know.Join our email list!” at the top of the page and entering your name and email address. Information is also posted on our social media pages. General news and emergency news is posted at the “City of Slidell, Louisiana” Facebook page and emergency news can be found at @ SlidellSOS on Twitter. To be notified via text or email when something is posted on the @SlidellSOS page, visit Enabling Mobile Notifications under the Twitter Help Center for more information. All of these services can be accessed from virtually anywhere, whether it’s a cell phone, desktop, laptop or tablet. HE LAKE • 69170 HWY 190. SUITE 1 • COVINGTON, LA 70433 • PHONE 985 733 4670 Even if you evacuate, you can still get continuous updates about Slidell. I encourage you to take advantage of these useful capabilities. R E A D E R S ’



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Greg Cromer City of Slidell Mayor



umankind has an innate resilience that allows us to pursue our goals and aspirations in the face of adversity. Hemophilia, a genetic bleeding disorder, has aected my life greatly. Despite my condition, I consider it the single most crucial factor in determining how I developed as a person and became an advocate for the hemophilia community. Without my bleeding disorder, I would not have had the opportunities and ideas that would allow me to make service a part of my life. I have encountered a multitude of hurdles as a result of my condition, but the drive that it enabled me to possess has made me a better person because of it. At the time of my diagnosis, I was unaware of what would lie ahead for me. When I was learning how to walk, I would often fall down and develop dark, massive bruises on my body. Seeing this as unusual, my parents brought me to a pediatrician. After a series of tests, I was diagnosed with hemophilia at age two. My parents were dumbfounded, as neither of them knew how they could have passed down the disease. After my mother underwent medical testing, doctors found that she was a carrier for hemophilia. Following my diagnosis, my parents educated themselves as much as possible on the rare genetic disorder. As I grew up, so did my knowledge of my own condition.


When I was in elementary school, my mother signed me up for a summer camp for children with hemophilia. This was the first time I had ever met other kids with the same condition as me. We played games, swam, and learned more about managing our own health. For my entire life, I had felt like my condition was a mark of shame, but being in the company of others with situations similar to mine put me at ease. That summer, I experienced a stark paradigm change. I began to learn that hemophilia was not an impediment, but simply another part of my life. I had such a remarkable summer that year; camp gave me the inspiration to do something more for other kids with hemophilia. From this, the nonprofit Sean’s Factor was born. While the camp was wonderful, not every child had the financial resources to attend. I decided to start an organization that would alleviate the monetary burden and send kids to camp for free. Sean’s Factor initially sold bookmarks to raise money, but through the years my program gained more exposure. Crowdsourcing services allowed donors to contribute from all across the world. As of today, Sean’s Factor has raised thousands of dollars and sent several children to camp for no charge whatsoever. Seeing what could be accomplished with Sean’s Factor, I decided to continue the missive of service in other areas. I started other community service organizations with the help of my family members. I created Warm Hearts with my older sister, Annie. We collect cold weather items and distribute them over a five-parish region. In addition to this, I created St. Tammany Remembers, a program dedicated to recognizing local active, deceased, and retired Armed Forces members. Continuing the idea of patriotism, I offer to the community the service of retiring tattered American flags. Community service has given me a sense of fulfillment like no other. I feel that if I can help at least one person in one way, I am making a difference. As I approach my senior year, I hope that my efforts to better the community have inspired generations young and old. It is not enough to simply do a good deed. The real change lies within the continuance of the act. The generations after us will be our legacy, and by educating them on the importance that service and respect have in life, we can all look towards a brighter tomorrow. Christopher Reeve, the actor who played Superman and later became quadripalegic after an accident, said, “Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.” I resonate with this quote, as it is a simple truth. Mankind’s ability to overcome difficulties is synonymous with the belief that anything and everything we do is possible. Truly, we all can choose hope.

The city is proud to announce that the Port Marigny Project has been settled and the city is looking forward to a beautiful development enhancing our lakefront landscape. The Port Marigny building permit was originally filed in our Planning Department in 2015 and went through two years of public meetings with our Planning and Zoning Commission prior to being recommended to the City Council. After many meetings, the City Council identified areas of concern that the owners addressed, and the project was returned to Planning and Zoning for review and recommendation; however, the City Council eventually voted the project down. It then ended up in federal litigation for two years. Recently, the City Council passed an ordinance to provide mixed uses for property at lower density levels. The city was then able to negotiate a settlement that will provide a future development with residences, commercial space, a hotel, parks and a marina that will deliver appealing architecture and a lifestyle of which our citizens can be proud. The City of Mandeville was also recently recognized at a St. Tammany Parish Council Meeting for garnering several awards, including “One of the Top 100 Places to Live” by Relocate America, “Tree City USA” by the Arbor Day Foundation, “Safest City in the State” by SafeHome.org, “One of the Best Places to Retire” by Niche and “Best Place to Escape in Louisiana” by Expedia. We are blessed to live in a city filled with history and resources that can be enjoyed by all.

DONALD VILLERE City of Mandeville Mayor

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EDGE June | July 2019





hen you think of martial arts, you might think of disciplines like karate, kung fu or judo. But judo might not be what you think it is. It’s not really about combat. It’s not even really about competition — except for competition to make yourself better. Judo is a martial art that focuses on grappling, throwing and pinning. There are no punches or kicks (definitely not any crane kicks). It was created in 1882 by Jigoro Kano as a way to stay fit — physically fit, mentally fit and even morally fit. Judo isn’t just a sport, it’s a way of life. The motto of judo (maximum efficiency with minimum effort) can be seen in a simple judo throw. By using an opponent’s own mass and inertia, a throw can be performed without actually lifting the person. This motto should carry over into everyday activities too — in sport, in cleaning the house and in studying for school. At least that’s how Sanichiro Yoshida describes it. As a sensei – a martial arts teacher – Yoshida leads one of the few judo classes in the area. He has been running a judo class at Southeastern for the past few years. Oh, and not only is Sensei Yoshida a master at Judo, he is also a physics professor in the Department of Chemistry and Physics. How did Yoshida get into judo? He says that it started when he was 12 years old. In school, there were many activities and clubs. Yoshida focused on soccer, rugby and yes — judo. It is only judo that he still practices to this day. That means he has been studying judo for 50 years. If you want to become a true master in a subject, it takes years of practice. There are no shortcuts. It doesn’t matter if you want to improve on the piano, or in math or juggling. Time is the ultimate tool. But what does a judo class look like? Yoshida and his students meet in a room on campus with a large mat. They start off with some basic exercises designed to improve core strength and skills. Of course, you need to practice falling and landing on the ground so that you can compete without injury. It’s great to see such a diverse group of students all working on improving their skills and making themselves better each day. Yoshida likes to say “every day is a competition. It’s not a competition against your opponent. It’s a competition against yourself. Each time you spar in judo, you want to be better than you were before. It doesn’t matter if you win or lose.” You can see this in action when students spar in class. It’s not purely a contest. You can see them stop and give each other pointers and tips. They not only want to improve themselves, they want to help others improve. Of course, there wasn’t always a judo course at Southeastern. Yoshida made the decision to start a course after a visit to Japan. During that time, he met with his original sensei who taught him as a child. His sensei encouraged Yoshida to bring the art of judo to Louisiana — and so he did. That was the beginning of the class. As I observe a judo session, the sparring ends, and all the students line up and face the sensei. They get on their knees and bow, head to the ground. It’s a moment for all to reflect on their study of judo. How can they improve? What can they change? How can they bring these ideas into other areas of their lives? It’s a lesson that we can all learn from. Reflection on our failures and successes is a way to become better. Better with maximum efficiency and minimum effort — the judo way.

EDGE June | July 2019


My turn:

by Vicky Bayley

ABOUT VICKY BAYLEY In every issue, EDGE of the Lake invites a local chef or restauranteur to visit another eatery on the Northshore. Vicky Bayley has been in the restaurant business since 1991. She came from a background in thoroughbred horses and broke into the industry with the highly acclaimed Mikes on the Avenue, voted one of the top 50 best new restaurants in the country by Esquire Magazine. She said she liked to ďŹ nd rising young stars and feed their creativity. In 1997 she opened Artesia in Abita Springs with a young chef named John Besh. After a few years in Bay St. Louis as a consultant the restaurant bug bit her again. She decided to take on a new venture, but she also wanted to be at home often. She had always worked, always been on the move and thought the idea of a wine bar, something not chef driven, would give her the control she needed to enjoy time with her sons. The St. Anne Wine Bar is open Tuesday through Saturday, with Happy Hour daily from 4 to 6. When she’s not in a kitchen, Vicky likes to be anywhere on the water or enjoying nature.

I had not been to Café Lynn before my visit for this review. I would describe the décor as fine dining with a warm, welcoming atmosphere. Brandy, one of the owners, was behind the bar when I came in and made my Bloody Mary. She made a great drink. For the rest of the staff, the common answer to anything I asked for was “yes,” which is always a great sign. I love small plates, so we started with a bunch of appetizers. We shared calamari, the sautéed crab claws, a Brandy salad, and some fried oysters. I’m not sure of the name of it but we also got a really interesting dish, kind of like blue cheese and prosciutto balls. One of the things that jumped out to me right away was that their food is very fresh, and it is not at all heavy. The sautéed crab claws were the best ones I have ever had. They weren’t drowning in anything. I don’t like things that are too oily. And the fried food was great, too. Nothing was heavy handed. It all tasted very fresh and it was very well prepared. For our main course we ordered the crab cake entree on fettuccini. I think it was blue crab. The alfredo sauce was very light. Lots of crab meat and not too breaded. It was very nice. A small thing that I like about Café Lynn is that there is plenty of light in the dining room. I prefer to eat in spaces where I can see my food. Our waitress was lovely. I ask a lot of questions and she had an answer for all of them, except one. But when she came back to the table, she had an answer for that one, too. For dessert we had the white chocolate bread pudding, the crème brulee and the chocolate pecan pie with ice cream, which was my favorite of the three. The other owner and chef, Joey, came out to the table toward the end of our meal. I had met him years ago. Café Lynn has such a friendly, warm atmosphere, and it is fine dining. The owners are present with big smiles and the staff is great. I will become a regular at Café Lynn. It was a very comfortable experience and the food was excellent.

CAFE LYNN 2600 Florida St, Mandeville, LA 70448 cafelynn.com





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The Bluesberry Festival unveiled their poster art, a painting called Blue Falaya by Scott Ewen, at a launch party at SALINDINO gallery in Covington.


The history of enslaved individuals and indigenous cultures was researched and documented as the Eagle Scout project of 16-year-old Jackson Cantrell.



St. Scholastica Academy held their 35th annual fundraiser, Falaya Fling, on their campus in downtown Covington. The event featured music by 4Unplugged and catering by Gary Bonanno.

The Old Mandeville Business Association held their annual Girod Street Stroll. Local businesses offered signature mint juleps to guests as they wandered down the streets visiting art vendors and sampling.


Southeastern Honors Program presented SLU chemistry major Pedro Jimenez Antenucci with their Honors Student of the Year Award.


St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Randy Smith hosted his seventh annual golf tournament at the Royal Golf Club in Slidell. The annual event benefi ted Rainbow Childcare this year and was attended by many local community leaders and golfmenthusiasts.


St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Deputy Justin Nail was presented with the Louisiana Silent Hero Award at the 34th annual Crimestoppers of Greater New Orleans.



Gardner and Ronnie Kole opened up their home for the 27th Annual Jazz in the Bayou. The two-day event featured music, food and live and silent auctions benefi tting Easter Seals Louisiana, STARC, Safe Harbor and the Slidell Cultural ARTS Society. Under the direction of Gordan Carmadelle, the St. Paul’s School Marian Players performed the musical Newsies to audiences at sold out shows. Seniors were presented with Senior Blankets at their last performance.

10. Slidell Mayor Greg Cromer and members of the Slidell City Council officially named the Heritage Park amphitheater stage “The Ronnie and Gardner Kole Stage” before the Some Enchanted Evening with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra concert.

12. The Grand Tasting took place during the five-day food, wine and art event, The Taste of Covington. Patrons sampled wines from different wine regions around the world. 13. The 16th Anniversary Garden Party took place to benefit The New Heights Therapeutic Riding Center. Guests enjoyed an afternoon of food and beverages provided by local restaurants and bid on a spectacular silent auction while listening to live classical music. 14. You Night Battle of the Models took place at Slidell’s Municipal Auditorium. The alumni class of 2018 took on a group of professional models.

Want to be featured in Around The Lake? Send your pictures to edgepublisher@yahoo.com

11. The St. Tammany Hospital Foundation held its annual Leadership Recognition Celebration at Benedict’s Plantation in Mandeville. The evening’s program featured special recognition of the St. Tammany Hospital Guild for achieving the Champion level of giving on the donor wall with Guild president, Ken Lane, speaking from the donor’s perspective. All donors were applauded for supporting the Foundation in the previous year with nearly $1.1 million in giving and over $18.7 million in donations since its inception. Northshore Media Group was awarded the coveted spotlight award for their generous inkind contributions to the Foundation. Charles Dowdy accepted the award on behalf of the Dowdy Family. This award is affectionately known as “The Adrian” for Dr. Adrian B. Cairns, Jr., fi rst chairman of St. Tammany Hospital Foundation.

EDGE June | July 2019


FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS Our August / September issue will feature our annual PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW! Â Call for details 985.705.4440


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.

It might be called America’s game, but I know baseball parents who are lunatics who come unhinged at every badly called pitch, every close play at the plate or because their child played right field so the coach’s kid could play shortstop. (The coach’s kid ALWAYS plays shortstop.) It isn’t entirely their fault. America’s game can be slow. At any age there are pauses for players to adjust the crotch area, for lots of spitting and for the batter to try to understand what sign the coach is sending down from third base. That time gives parents opportunity to simmer and then slow burn about perceived slights. Eventually someone erupts. America’s game is the only game where you might involuntarily yell something, decide you like the sound of it, and then yell it again and again even though it makes no sense. That’s called chatter. One of my favorite baseball coaches once said to my son, “Just watch the ball and you will hit it.” My kid watched the ball go by six times before the coach corrected himself. “Just watch the ball while you swing the bat and you will hit it!” Before you cry foul ball on my assessment of America’s game or the parents around it let me say that I was one of them. Sometimes I even coached, which was practically a felony since I knew nothing about teaching someone how to play the game. EDGE June | July 2019


One year our team had a problem scoring. No one could hit the ball. Jacks, our vertically challenged twin, would either crouch his way into a walk or dump the ball in the infield and easily leg out a single. Either way, he was fast, had good instincts and would get between the bases on every pitch and force some kind of Bad News Bears run down until someone screwed up and he was able to take the next bag. On the next pitch he would do it again. One opposing coach got so mad he marched into the infield, threw down his cap and yelled, “This ain’t baseball!” So, Jacks was doing his usual chaotic base running when there was a play at third, where I was coaching. The ball did not hit me, but the opposing coach, a banker named Pete I went to church with, came charging from the dugout claiming it was a dead ball. Play continued while we were bumping chests at third and there was a call at the plate. Still with Pete, I heard that Jacks was called out. Out? I marched toward the umpire. The kid on third had spaghetti for an arm. The catcher was Engelberg times ten. Parents were screaming. The banker named Pete was heckling me. A mom from our own team was cursing me because Jacks played second base and she knew her son was a much better second baseman. Veins were popping out of foreheads; spittle was flying from mouths with some creative language from normally loving mothers and fathers. It was Little League and the fourth inning of a 3 to 3


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game featuring kids whose ages were not in double digits. The banker I went to church with got banished to the parking lot, and that was as far as he went, feet planted in the edge of the gravel as he yelled instructions to his assistant coach. Meanwhile I’m face to face with the ump. “There’s no way he was out.” “Did you see the play?” “I was being verbally abused by Pete. And the mom of an awful infielder.” The umpire looked toward the banker in the parking lot. He took in the screaming parents and grandparents. Then he stared at me. “Look, your kid might have been safe, but Pete’s got my mortgage.” We lost. After the game one dad was convinced it was his kid’s bat, and they would be getting a newer, more expensive one before the next game. Another parent was convinced it was the shortstop who cost us. Another blamed the second baseman. According to the crowd, we were swinging at bad pitches, our pitchers threw trash and on every ball that got into the outfield our cutoff man was picking his nose. Baseball, like life, is complicated. Is America’s game a reflection of us? Not the big leagues, all corporate and brawny and Capitalism 101. Maybe we just don’t want to see what stares back in the mirror when it is loud and ugly and messy and four feet tall. Maybe that’s why it is called America’s game.

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EDGE June | July 2019


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