St Bernard Magazine Fall 2021

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FA L L 2 0 2 1 VOLUME 3, ISSUE 3

Sidney D. Torres III & The Ranch Film Studios Building Creative Industry P. 8 St. Bernard Rebates Attract T V & Film P. 16 Kaya’s Persistent Drive to Law School P. 32


Whether you need a new home or a lower rate, We are here to open the door. Call today or visit us online for a free consultation.

Andrew Hunt Jr


Apply now at NMLS# 148241 | Corporate NMLS# 1537121 1000 E Judge Perez Dr Chalmeee, LA 70043


Fall Issue 2021


What’s Inside


42 52 4

36 Fall Issue 2021


Publisher’s Pen


The Journey:

“Hollywood in St. Bernard”

Sidney & The Ranch


Parish Incentives


Producers Like


Owners Gifted with

Attract Productions

Historic Courthouse

Movie-Set Leftovers


St. Bernard


Film Industry

Film History

Shops Local


Student’s Journey


Dysart’s Legacy


Relay for Life’s


Artist Brings Best


Hospital Offering


Doctor’s Facts


Small Biz Profile:

To Law Scholarship

On School Board

“Fun” Raisers

To St. Bernard

Lung Screenings


McKay & Associates

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Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Charles D. Jackson, President JPR (Jackson Public Relations) Enterprises, LLC Office - 2429 Octavia Drive, Chalmette, LA Mail - P.O. Box 57801, New Orleans, LA 70157 Email - Website - Phone - (504) 609-7509

Assistant Editor

Cover Photo

Michelle A. Nicholson

Lauren Sanborn

Art Director

Layout & Design

Tony Lawton

Dianne Waller

Contributing Writers

Ad Designers

Ron Chapman Suzanne Polk Fox Charles D. Jackson Heidi Koenigsmark Abdul Khan, M.D. Barry Lemoine Charles A. MacKay, Jr. Shirin Mehdi Arka Mukhopadhyay Michelle A. Nicholson Ed & Susan Poole Sidney D. Torres III

Brionna Palmer Sharon Hueschen

Photographers Joshua Gregory Charles D. Jackson Lauren Sanborn Justin Stroemple Stephen Legendre

Call to Advertise - (504) 609-7509 --------------------------------------------------St. Bernard Magazine is printed by Fox Press in Mandeville, LA © 2021 All Rights Reserved - JPR Enterprises, LLC, Chalmette, LA

Home Delivery Subscribe @ or call (504) 609-7509

© 2021 JPR Enterprises, LLC, New Orleans, LA. All rights reserved. Printed in the USA. The information contained in St. Bernard Magazine is intended for educational purposes only. JPR Enterprises, LLC, publisher of St. Bernard Magazine, does not endorse or promote any of the products or services described in the pages of St. Bernard Magazine, and the publisher does not verify the accuracy of any claims made in advertisements contained.


Fall Issue 2021

Publisher's Pen by Charles D. Jackson

Advertiser Writes:

‘Fun to Watch Hollywood in St. Bernard’ - Heidi Koenigsmark

I can see Hollywood all over St. Bernard. I grew up in Southern California, so I’m familiar with the movie industry and what goes on behind the scenes. I’ve had the opportunity to tour some movie sets and watch TV show tapings in production studios. I think it’s great that we have one in our own backyard at The Ranch.” Filming has changed a lot over the years. There seems to be more filming on real locations rather than facades built by studios. In fact, I know they have been filmed at various locations here in St Bernard and around the NOLA area. Every now and then, I will be driving somewhere and see yellow production signs giving crews directions on where to go. The signs have the initials of the production, movie, or show being filmed. Sometimes I can figure out what is being filmed, but most of the time it’s a mystery to me. I wonder what they are filming and if I will happen to watch it one day. It’s always a fun surprise when I do.

Heidi Koenigsmark moved to Chalmette in 2008. In April 2021, she opened a cheesecake bakery in Violet named Cheesecake Heidi. To get a discount, use the Cheesecake Heidi coupon from “The Community Resource” on page 54.

The magazine highlights the rich history, people, progress, traditions, culture, resilience, diversity, civics, small business, schools, organizers, and the extraordinarily welcoming community atmosphere of St. Bernard Parish. This mixture makes ‘Da Parish “The Most Unique County (Parish) in the Country.”


Sidney & The Ranch Film Studios Torres Anchoring Creative Industry for Generations to Come

For Sidney, it’s a deeply personal commitment to the economic and cultural arts development of the community he and his family have called home for generations.


Spring Issue 2021


hen local attorney Sidney D. Torres III and filmmaker Jason Waggenspack crossed paths seven years ago, it was the beginning of a journey that would result in the creation of one of the largest film studios in Louisiana (and rivaling those throughout the country). Since its inception, The Ranch Film Studios has proven to be a powerful economic force, bringing more than $1 billion in film and television productions to the region.

The Ranch

Content Creation Hub

Photos provided by Torres Law Office and The Ranch Film Studios


Jason was the location manager for a movie being filmed on the property next to Sidney’s office building in Chalmette and was in need of additional parking space. Sidney accommodated them, making one request: “I want you to come back to discuss how I can keep you here.” A few weeks later, Jason returned, a deal was struck, and The Ranch Film Studios opened for business in 2014. Today, The Ranch Film Studios on West Judge Perez Drive encompasses 250,000 square feet of office, production, sound stage, and mill space, situated on a 25-acre campus in the heart of Chalmette. The Ranch provides an array of services for motion picture, television, and video production. It has served as the home and production base for the films Bill and Ted Face The Music and The Dirt; for big budget, effects-filled blockbusters Deepwater Horizon and Terminator Genisys; and Underwater. Television series shot at the studio include Filthy Rich, The First, Tell Me Your Secrets, and critically acclaimed Your Honor.


Fall Issue 2021

The Ranch Spreading Out Recently, The Ranch launched an in-house production company, Neutral Ground Films, and The Arsonist Film Marketing Company, and has expanded its studio operations, staff, and facilities. “This expansion brings us one step closer to realizing the state-of-the art filmmaking center and cultural art hub my partner Sidney Torres and I envisioned when we first opened The Ranch Film Studios’ doors in September of 2014,” said Jason, the studio’s chief executive officer, or in Ranch parlance, “Head of Possibilities.” “We are excited to be able to continue growing, expanding our facilities, staff, and services, bringing together in one place all the businesses, vendors, and services productions require,” Jason said. For Sidney, it’s a deeply personal commitment to the economic and cultural arts development of the community he and his family have called home for generations.

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“I grew up in St. Bernard Parish and live and work here. We have a safe, quiet community filled with scenic beauty and natural resources. “It’s also a community that was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, which was a defining event for all of us who live here. Some residents who were forced to leave never returned. Those of us who returned experienced firsthand the challenges and opportunities of rebuilding our community. We had a blank canvas giving us options to rebuild an even better and stronger community. “Businesses like The Ranch have had a positive ripple effect that helps attract and retain other business and developments, which promotes job creation and neighborhood revitalization,’’ Sidney said.

The Ranch Film Studios recently launched in-house production and marketing companies, and expanded its studio operations, staff, and facilities.


Fall Issue 2021

Naming “The Ranch” Studios “Sidney and his partner Roberta Burns breed, ride, and show Paso Fino horses,” Jason said. “Their 45-acre estate in St. Bernard Parish (Hacienda Torres) is surrounded by barns, pastures, paddocks, riding ring, and trails, and is home to many of their prize-winning Paso Fino horses. On the day we were discussing a name for our new venture, Sidney, as he often does, was wearing Cowboy boots and one of the Champion belt buckles he had earned over the years riding/showing his horses. I immediately suggested we call our new venture The Ranch. “I’ve always believed that if you don’t trip over your own shoe strings and you are doing things for the right purpose, positive things will be in your pathway that are meant to be,” Sidney said. “Meeting Jason who had a passionate vision and then including partners who shared the vision, such as Charles Bienvenu and Blake Jones, together with building an organization with many talented people proved once again to confirm that belief.” As this publication goes to press, The Ranch is fully booked.




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Past Productions: • Bill and Ted Face The Music • The Dirt • Deepwater Horizon • Terminator Genisys • Filthy Rich



• Secrets of Sulphur Springs • Love Birds • The First • Tell Me Your Secrets • Your Honor


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Fall Issue 2021

Lisa Gunter, DNP

Heather Porche, MD

Meghan Jones, MD

Nick Algu, MD

Coming: “Epicenter of Creativity’’ Future plans include a multimillion-dollar historical restoration of the century old Ford Assembly Plant in Arabi and repurposing it into a 21st century creative industries hub and cultural art center for St. Bernard Parish and the Greater New Orleans area. “Just as The Ranch Film Studios sparked a revival along one of St. Bernard Parish’s main thoroughfares, I believe the restoration and preservation of the Ford Assembly Plant will serve as a communal industrial anchor that will lead to a cultural and commercial revitalization of the riverfront corridor in Arabi, which has been ranked the sixth fasest-growing suburb in America,” Torres said. “We want our young creatives and entrepreneurs to stay, live, and work here, so we need to invest in the infrastructure to make that a reality. “Louisiana remains a top destination for tourism and film production and a large part of that is because creativity and culture is in our DNA,’’ Torres said. “It’s part of the fabric of Louisiana life. You can see it, taste it, and feel it everywhere. We’ve got world-class cuisine, music, art, and undeniable creative force and spirit here, and I loved the idea of bringing that all together in a collaborative epicenter right here in St. Bernard. “Our goal is to anchor this creative industry in St. Bernard for generations to come. It will provide an opportunity for those with creative talent to live, work and raise their families here in St. Bernard.”

Just as The Ranch Film Studios sparked a revival along one of St. Bernard Parish’s main thoroughfares, I believe the restoration and preservation of the Ford Assembly Plant will serve as a communal industrial anchor that will lead to a cultural and commercial revitalization of the riverfront corridor in Arabi. - Sidney D. Torres III


Hollywood South

by Charles D. Jackson

Parish Rebates Attract Productions


“Film St. Bernard is the most competitive local incentive in Louisiana.” - Biz New Orleans

hen LSU football traveled to play the University of Southern California on September 4, St. Bernard Parish Government sent an entourage promoting the St. Bernard Film Incentive Program to Hollywood producers.

“The film and entertainment industry supports local and statewide economic growth,” St. Bernard President Guy McInnis said. “It creates jobs and showcases our community.” Since its inception in 2016 and upgrade in 2018, the parish’s lucrative rebate program has attracted several film production companies, including Amazon, Disney, Netflix, and Apple. So far this year, five production companies have applied for the program. Applications are reviewed and audits for rebates are conducted by a six-person panel: two certified public accountants; the economic development director; tourism/film director, consulting member Jason Waggenspack of The Ranch Film Studios; and parish Council Member Wanda Alcon. Filmmakers get a 3.5 percent rebate on all approved expenses, such as lodging, production location, rental expenses, purchases, and cast and crew


Fall Issue 2021

who are St. Bernard residents. To boost tax revenue, the parish government requires companies to have its principal Louisiana production office in St. Bernard Parish or use a soundstage in the parish. All projects must have the Parish logo tagline: Film St. Bernard, Louisiana. With the 3.5 percent rebate, “Film St. Bernard is the most competitive local incentive in Louisiana,” Biz New Orleans reported in April 2018. “The incentive is designed to complement the Louisiana Motion Picture Investor Tax Credit and support building upon a successful history of motion-pictures shot in St. Bernard, including Daddy’s Home, Terminator Genisys, and Deepwater Horizon.” In 2018, the program approved rebates totaling $93,039, based on total expenditures of nearly $2.7 million. In 2019, the program awarded $86,845 in film rebates, based on $2.4 million directly spent in St. Bernard Parish. Rebate totals for 2020 haven’t been completed.




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Years 8 3 ting t. Bernard a r b e Cel gS n i v of Ser C




Compared to other parishes of our size, The Ranch Film Studios has put St. Bernard Parish on the map as a premier filming destination. - Katie Tommaseo, St. Bernard Parish





There wouldn't be an us without you... Your loyalty is a good reason to Celebrate. Thank you!

- Issy & Dottie LaBrosse

Government Film/Tourism Director

“The film industry promotes the Parish in a positive way,” said Katie Tommaseo, film/tourism director. “I had a group here who saw Disney’s SulphurSprings and asked about the Creedmoor Plantation, where scenes were filmed. The residents here are welcoming to the film industry, which spends money on gas, food, and hotel rooms. As a community, we all work together to support the film industry.”


The St. Bernard Parish Government’s Office of Film and Tourism works collaboratively with the St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation to attract filming to the Parish. “The film industry not only shows off St. Bernard to an international audience on the big screen, but accounts for a significant portion of our economic activity and potential for growth,” said Meaghan McCormack, Executive Director, St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation.

3523 Paris Rd. • Chalmette, LA 70043


Having The Ranch Studios here also makes a huge difference. Tommasseo said, “Compared to other parishes of our size, The Ranch Studios has put St. Bernard Parish on the map as a premier filming destination.”

Hours of Operation: Monday - Saturday 5AM-10PM Sunday 6:30AM-9PM

After September’s show-and-tell in Cali, perhaps more filmmakers will move to the hub of “Hollywood South” – St. Bernard Parish!

"Family Owned & Operated" 17

On Location by Arka Mukhopadhyay The Cinemaholic

Hollywood Frequents Historic Courthouse


he courtroom thriller, The Whole Truth, was filmed in its entirety in the U.S., and especially in Louisiana. Principal filming began on July 7, 2014, and was wrapped up by September 6, 2014. Initially, the filming was supposed to take place in Boston, Massachusetts, but the director chose to film in the deep-south state of Louisiana instead. Louisiana fosters a rich repository of culture and lucrative tax credits (up to 40%) to entice directors to the state. The crew visited St. Bernard Parish to film some crucial sequences. The old courthouse of St. Bernard on the eastern side of the parish, which is known as the Beauregard Courthouse, proved


Fall Issue 2021

to be the location of the courthouse shown in the film. Named after the wealthy plantation-owning Beauregard family, the courthouse bears certain historical significance in the culture of Louisiana. Located at 1101 West Saint Bernard Highway, the parish courthouse has been frequented by numerous Hollywood productions, including Jonah Hex and The Last Exorcism.

The Whole Truth crew built a jail cell in the basement of the courthouse, which was not dismantled following the completion of filming since it could come in handy in future productions at the location. The parish was partially destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, but received help from the big-budget productions that filmed there.




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Locally Owned and Operated

Creedmoor Plantation Photo Provided By St. Bernard Parish Office of Tourism/Film

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Gain Set Leftovers


By Charles D. Jackson Kevin Williams of Goodwill is one lucky guy. And it’s not because he owns prize-winning thoroughbred horses.

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It’s because he opened his doors to the film industry. When a production company filmed pool scenes from the sunken front room of his two-story ranch house, crews left behind what they had built into his floor and wall: Four high-valued glass enclosures showcasing branches and stumps from a 2,000-year-old Cypress tree. What a bonanza! Like Williams, other St. Bernard property owners have been gifted with pieces of movie sets, thanks to Hollywood producers.

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St. Bernard Parish Government got a jail cell and window treatments at Historic Beauregard Courthouse on Bayou Road when The Whole Truth was filmed. The Parish School Board picked up stage floor coverings and a panel of curtains from a movie shot at Chalmette High School’s Cultural Arts Center. And Louis Pomes’ Creedmoor Plantation on Bayou Road, damaged by Hurricane Katrina, has received multiple cosmetic upgrades from film productions.

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St. Bernard Parish (TV Series Excluded)


By Ed and Susan Poole

American Opera, An - Dir: McPhee; Cast: McPhee, Garrison. Documentary filmed in Gonzales, New Orleans, and St. Bernard.

Hollywood on the (The Authority on Louisiana Film History)

1966 Hurricane Named Betsy - Dir: Cuchiara. Narrator: Fred Collins. A documentary on Hurricane Betsy presented by the Department of Defense - Office of Civil Defense partially filmed in New Orleans, Grand Isle, Baton Rouge, St. Bernard, and Plaquemines.

2000 American Frontier: Decisive Battles - Dir: Foreman. TV documentary about the battle at Chalmette. Filmed in Indiana for the History Channel.

2003 Mosquitoes and High Water - Dir: Alvarez. Documentary featuring the “Islenos” filmed in St. Bernard.

2005 Deconstructed Cities, Part 2: London - Dir: WhiteSobieski. Short history partially filmed in New Orleans, St. Bernard Parish, and Plaquemines Parish.

2006 After Katrina: Rebuilding St. Bernard Parish - Dir: Finberg. Post-Katrina documentary filmed in New Orleans and St. Bernard. Execution - Dir: Scaffidi; Cast: Cabana, Cambise. Crime drama thriller filmed in St. Bernard Parish. Feral - Dir: Capps, Pitre; Cast: Dodds, Capps. Horror thriller filmed in New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish. Glory Road – Dir: Gartner; Cast: Lucas, Luke. Sports drama partially filmed in Baton Rouge, Chalmette (Chalmette High School), Hammond, Jefferson Parish, Kenner, and New Orleans (Jesuit High School). St. Bernard Parish: After the Flood - Dir: Astrausky. Made for TV documentary filmed in post-Katrina St. Bernard Parish. Stay Alive - Dir: Bell; Cast: Foster, Muniz. Horror thriller filmed in Jefferson Parish, Kenner (including the Esplanade Mall) New Orleans, Oak Alley Plantation and St. Bernard Parish.

20 Fall Issue 2021

2008 I Love You Phillip Morris - Dir: Ficarra, Requa; Dir: Carrey, McGregor. Comedy drama romance filmed partially in New Orleans, Covington, Shreveport (Louisiana Wave Studio) and St. Bernard Parish. Racing for Time - Dir: Dutton; Cast: Barre, Beron. Made for TV biography drama filmed in New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish. Route of All Evil - Dir: McPherson; Cast: Langkopp, Parker. Short drama filmed in Orleans and St. Bernard Parishes. This Beautiful Yet Ugly World - Dir: Vaughn; Cast: Serigne. Short comedy filmed in Chalmette.

2009 Golden Age of Junk - Dir: Kurowski, Tait. Short documentary on Adam Dowis and his endeavors to turn trash from Hurricane Katrina into treasures filmed in Chalmette and New Orleans. Hurricane Season - Dir: Story; Cast: Whitaker, Washington. Sports drama filmed set in Marrero and filmed in Chalmette High School in Chalmette and New Orleans. Little Baby Eyes - Dir: Jackson, Jackson; Cast: Thompson. Short filmed in Chalmette, Gretna and New Orleans.

2010 Jonah Hex - Dir: Hayward; Cast: Brolin, Fox. Action drama-thriller partially filmed in Bayou Gauche, Crown Pointe, Fort Pike, New Orleans, Raceland, Rosedown Plantation in St. Francisville, St. Bernard Parish, and St. Francisville. Last Exorcism - Dir: Stamm; Cast: Fabian, Bell. Drama horror thriller filmed in New Orleans, and St. Bernard Parish.

2011 Destiny Lives Down the Road - Dir: Jackson, Saft; Cast: Thompson, Tyson. Short drama filmed in Chalmette. Lonely - Dir: Hoffman; Cast: Pallo, Salih. Short drama filmed in River Ridge, New Orleans, and Chalmette.

Film History 2012 Keys to Happiness - Dir: Petreikis; Cast: Akridge, Calico. Short comedy filmed in Chalmette. Lucky One, The - Dir: Hicks; Efron, Schilling. Drama filmed in New Orleans at Union Passenger Terminal, St. Bernard at the port and Creedmoor Plantation, Covington at Christ Episcopal School; Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church at Abita Springs; Houmas House Plantation and Port Eads Lighthouse in Plaquemine.

2014 Dermaphoria - Dir: Clarke; Cast: Morgan, Badaan. Crime drama filmed in New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish.

2015 Creatures of God - Dir: Parker; Cast: Alexander, Boucher. Short filmed in Chalmette and New Orleans.

2017 Rodents of Unusual Size - Dir: Costello, Metzler; Cast: Beran, Gonzalez. Documentary on Nutria and their impact on society in South Louisiana filmed in Delacroix Island and around Louisiana.

2018 20 Feet Tall - Dir: Barthelemy; Cast: Dowl, Williams, Kennan. Short drama filmed in New Orleans and Chalmette. Billionaire Boys Club - Dir: Cox; Cast: Spacey, Elgort. Biographical drama partially filmed in New Orleans and St. Bernard parish. Born Again Dead aka Cut Off - Dir: Carbin; Cast: Dourif, Baldwin. Crime drama filmed in Orleans, Jefferson and St. Bernard parishes.

Culling - Dir: Branaman; Cast: Sumpter, Davern. Horror filmed around St. Bernard Parish.

Cut Off aka Born Again Dead - Dir: Carbin; Cast: Dourif, Baldwin. Crime drama filmed in Orleans, Jefferson and St. Bernard parishes.

Delta Justice: Islenos Trappers War - Dir: DuBos; Cast: Santos, Wasem. Documentary about the attempted takeover of trappers land in lower St. Bernard filmed in St. Bernard Parish.

Domestics, the - Dir: Nelson; Cast: Bosworth, Hoechlin. Action horror sci-fi filmed in Orleans and St. Bernard parish.

Desiree - Dir: Clarke; Cast: Morgan, Badaan. TV crime drama filmed in New Orleans and St. Bernard parish.

2016 Deepwater Horizon - Dir: Berg; Cast: Wahlberg, Russell. Historical drama filmed in Chalmette. Free State of Jones - Dir: Ross; Cast: McConaughey, Russell. Action, drama, biography filmed in New Orleans, Bush, St. Bernard, Paradis, Clinton, Greenwood and Braithwaite, and at the Buckner Mansion, Evergreen Plantation, and Creedmoor Plantation. Interior scenes at the Round Table Club in New Orleans and interior church scenes at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington. Midnight Special - Dir: Nichols; Cast: Shannon, Edgarton. Mystery drama filmed in Folsom, Lacombe, New Orleans, Reserve, Slidell, and St. Bernard. Whole Truth, The - Dir: Hunt; Cast: Reeves, Zellweger. Mystery crime drama filmed in St. Bernard Parish at the Old Beauregard Courthouse, Marina Motel and around the parish.

2019 Dirt, the - Dir: Tremaine; Cast: Booth, Rheon. Biographical comed drama filmed in New Orleans and St. Bernard parish. Out For Delivery - Dir: Garcia, Locke; Cast: Joiner, Bryan. Short sci-fi filmed in New Orleans and Arabi.

2020 Bill and Ted Face the Music - Dir: Parisot; Cast: Reeves, Winter, Schaal. Adventure musical comedy filmed in Covington, New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish. Cut Throat City - Dir: Diggs (RZA); Cast: Moore, Whitaker. Action crime drama filmed in New Orleans and St. Bernard parish. Lovebirds, the - Dir: Showalter; Cast: Rae, Sparks. Action crime comedy filmed in New Orleans, Metairie, and St. Bernard parish. Money Plane - Dir: Lawrence; Cast: Copeland, Grammer. Action crime thriller filmed in Baton Rouge and St. Bernard parish. Underwater - Dir: Eubank; Cast: Stewart, Cassel, Athie. Horror action sci-fi filmed in New Orleans and St. Bernard parish.


Crews & Directors Shop Local For us to reach out to St. Bernard vendors saves us from going to New Orleans or Harahan, and it keeps the money in your community. — Mike Dares, Set-Dressing Director

“I have a relationship with all of the production companies, and we’ve actually delivered to the shoot to speed things up.” — Lynda Catalanotto, Owner

“While there is on-set catering, the movie industry makes a point to support us and our employees at WOW regularly.” — Brook Anastasiadis, Owner

“All these little TV shows they’re filming here come to Sweet Dreams to purchase mattresses.” — Ron McGuire, Manager

“At Cafe Aquarius, we get large orders from the film industry, consistently, each week.” — Ronda Reed DeForest, Owner

“My Three Sons Electrical Services has been used by the movie industry in St. Bernard for many film producers. Disney’s Secret of Sulphur Springs is in production now and they use us. ” — Earl F. Dauterive, Owner “The Deepwater Horizon production contracted with Southern Services and Equipment to help them create a reproduction of the oil rig used in the movie. It was worth about $350k if I recall. ” — Mindy Nunez Airhart, President/CEO

“While making films for movies to thrive, the film industry supports SisterHearts Thrift Store to keep us alive.” — Maryam Henderson-Uloho, Owner

22 Fall Issue 2021

Businesses Supported by Film Industry

–Compiled by Charles D. Jackson

-3D Auto Detailing

-Home Depot

-QC-Bayou Road Convenient Store

-A+ Computer/Cell Phone Repairs

-Hunting & Fishing Guides

-Quality Care Appliances

-ArtMetal Studios

-Islenos Fishermen, Trappers

-Renaissance Gardens

-Barker’s Dozen

-J&K Pawn/Jewelry

-Rocky & Carlos

-Battlefield Bar

-JFerret A/C

-Rotolo’s Pizzeria

-B&G Fresh Market

-Jeanfreau’s Meats

-Secret Thai

-Balli Plumbing

-Kevin Williams Stables

-Sherman-William Paints

-Beignets and More

-Kitchen Table

-Shell Station-Paris Road

-Best Western

-LaBella Vista

-Shoe Dept. Encore

-Big Chief Vapor Products

-Lacy’s Cue

-Sidney Torres Law

-Brewster’s Restaurant

-Los Islenos Museum Complex

-Signs Express

-Bywater Ace Hardware

-Louisiana Notary & Insurance

-Sister’sHeart Thrift Store

-Callais Ice

-Louis Pomes Properties

-St. Bernard Catholic Church

-Cafe Aquarius

-Meraux Foundation

-St. Bernard Parish District Attorney

-Cafe Roma

-Meraux Tackle Box

-St. Bernard Parish Clerk of Court

-Chalmette Bicycle & Lawn Mower

-Marina Motel

-St. Bernard Parish Government

-Chalmette Container Sales

-MeMe’s Bar & Grille

-Chalmette High School

-Metro Color Auto Paint Supplies

--St. St. Bernard Parish Hospital/ Ochsner

-Chalmette -Chalmette Home/Power Equipment

-Mike’s Electric Supply

-St. Bernard Parish School System

-Mt. Olive Baptist

-St. Bernard Port & Terminal District

-Charlie’s Restaurant

-My Three Sons Electrical

-St. Bernard Sheriff’s Department

-Coffee House

-NAPA Auto Parts

-Southern Services and Equipment


-Nineteen 42 Roofing

-Southern Silk Screenings

-Creedmoor Plantation

-NOLA Build



-Nunez Community College

-Ditto’s Printing

-Old Arabi Marketplace

--Sweet Sweet Dreams Mattresses & Furniture

-Docville Farm

-Ordes Electric

-El Paso Mexican Grill

-Our Lady of Lourdes

-Fred Sigur Civic Center

-Our Lady of Prompt Succor

-French Press Coffee

-Palms II Restaurant

-First Baptist-Chalmette

-Par3 Restaurant

-First Baptist-Verette


-Fish Shack

-Port of St. Bernard

-Gerald’s Donuts

-Poydras Hardware


-Rick’s Swimming Pool Supply

-Holiday Inn-Express

-RPS Plumbing

-TLC Laundromat -The Ranch Film Studios -Today’s Ketch Seafood -Tractor Supply -Undercover Coatings -Vetter Lumber -Wal-Mart -WOW Wings -Zeitgeist Theatre


24 Fall Issue 2021




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26 Fall Issue 2021

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CHALMETTE 2101 E. Judge Perez Drive

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KENNER 2560 Williams Blvd.

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ARABI 6901 St. Claude Avenue

(504) 277-0030

Meraux Foundation Stands with Community, Opposes Port Container Terminal in St. Bernard Parish (Sponsored Content)

Meraux Foundation Board of Directors Statement The Meraux Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of life in St. Bernard Parish. With each project we take on to advance this mission, we carefully weigh the pros and cons and make data-driven decisions based on a clear and compelling net gain for the people of St. Bernard Parish – such as when we provided land for the hospital, an elementary school, and a sheriff’s substation and when we invest in arts, education, environment, and economic development. The recent passing of Hurricane Ida reminded us of just how far we’ve come since Hurricane Katrina. Since that devastating event, we have been determined to help our parish come back stronger and better than before, and together, we are exceeding expectations. Our neighborhoods are among the safest and fastest-growing in the state, our schools remain among the best in the state, a new film industry is growing, our culture and environment are fertile grounds for tourism, the arts district is blooming, and a blue-green infrastructure industry is emerging. St. Bernard is on the right path, and we must not allow anything to knock us off course. That is why the Meraux Foundation opposes the Port of New Orleans’ proposed container terminal. We stand with the St. Bernard Parish Council, which voted unanimously to oppose the project, and thousands of residents who have voiced their opposition to it. Our decision to oppose the container terminal is based on the limited facts available. The information provided publicly has lacked detail. Furthermore, as a minority shareholder in Borgnemouth Realty Co., a group selling land to the Port of New Orleans for the development, the Meraux Foundation has requested basic information about the transaction and received no response. The lack of transparency is itself cause for concern. What we do know is that the proposed container erminal would add millions of containers to our streets, and the infrastructure cannot support it. The true impact to the environment and costs to St. Bernard Parish remain unclear. We hear promises of tax revenue and jobs, but we have seen no credible data to support, much less quantify, these claims. We are concerned that automation means the con-

tainer terminal will not create many jobs and that the port enjoys tax exempt status. Any decision to move forward on such a development must be grounded in a clear and compelling net gain to the people of St. Bernard Parish – now and into the future. The current proposal does not meet this threshold for our support. Around 2018, the Port of New Orleans approached our board to explore developing the Meraux Foundation’s property at 3911 E. St. Bernard Highway (Sinclair Tract) as a container facility. In contrast to the current proposal, we made it clear at that time in a press release that because the property was owned by the Meraux Foundation, any development project must conform with its mission to improve quality of life in St. Bernard Parish. We went on to explain that the “exploratory period [would] help us determine whether the proposed project will deliver a compelling net gain for the people of St. Bernard.” In it, we also said: “Our board is highly strategic in how we approach land use, and we always seek to ensure that our actions advance St. Bernard.” “Our goal is to make this parish a place where our children and grandchildren can prosper and raise their families...” We remain deeply committed to these principles. The current container terminal project has no such safeguards in place to protect and promote the interests of the people of St. Bernard Parish. The Meraux Foundation continues to embrace smart growth economic development and, together, we will strengthen St. Bernard Parish’s standing as a wonderful place in which to live, work, and play.


St. Bernard Parish residents have watched container ships travel to and from New Orleans for 50 years, with direct economic benefit from terminal operations going mostly to the City of New Orleans and Jefferson Parish. Yet St. Bernard Parish has always been – and still is – perfectly located to benefit significantly from container activity on the river. As you may know, the development of an international container terminal is proposed for St. Bernard Parish that would open one berth by mid-2027 and a second by 2032. Our goal is a project that will be a win-win-win-win, for the Parish, its residents, the maritime industry, and the State of Louisiana. In addition to property that can accommodate a terminal, there is land for community benefit and other necessary infrastructure.

Container terminals are a hub for significant economic opportunity. Investments for terminal infrastructure on port property will generate property taxes that help fund schools, parks, public safety, and other quality of life necessities. They also create opportunity for existing and new businesses to thrive. A container terminal in St. Bernard would add to the Parish’s economic diversity. The COVID pandemic showed us that while other industries stalled or faltered, goods had to be delivered no matter what. The stability of the maritime industry proved to be vital in keeping America moving. Potential benefits of a container terminal are both parish-wide and in your neighborhood. The maritime industry supports a wide range of family-supporting jobs, union and non-union, that are close to home.


28 Fall Issue 2021

The Port of New Orleans has started a multiyear due diligence and permitting process that includes studies of all aspects of the project and a robust public engagement process. Port NOLA is committed to sharing information and listening to St. Bernard Parish residents and business owners to ensure that this vital infrastructure project benefits the Parish and its residents. This is a long-term endeavor, and we want to make sure you have accurate facts about the project. We welcome your questions and input. There are many ways to connect: 1. Visit for the latest project information. 2. Sign up for community email updates via the website. 3. Visit the LIT Community Connection office at 6201 A E. St. Bernard Highway, Violet. Call to make an appointment, though walk-ins are welcome and encouraged. 4. Call the LIT Community Connection office at 504-345-2356.

Additionally, Port NOLA is committed to two Community Advisory Councils (CACs) with approximately 40 peer-selected members (roughly 20 in each group), comprised of residents willing to invest more time learning about the project and to share their perspectives on a broad range of issues. One group includes Violet residents and the other includes representatives from the entirety of St. Bernard Parish as well as members from Violet. Participants commit to attending monthly or bimonthly meetings for up to two years. The process is being led and facilitated by the TJC Group, a Louisiana-based consulting firm that specializes in the CAC process.

For the latest project info, visit

Common Goods Moved Through the Port

Port NOLA will work with industry, education, and economic development partners to promote training opportunities for local residents. 29

Point of View By Ron Chapman

Port Will Destroy Our Way of Life (Sponsored Content)

St. Bernard faces a decision that will seriously impact the quality of life in our Parish. The new planned container yard. Why did the St. Bernard Port sell the Violet facility to the Port of New Orleans? That should be made clear to the residents of St. Bernard. The St. Bernard Port only has jurisdiction over land that it owns along the river. The rest is controlled by the Port of New Orleans. Now we learn that they sold the Violet facility to the Port of New Orleans. Why? The Port of New Orleans has never had St. Bernard’s interests in mind. MRGO was the brainchild of the Port of New Orleans. Didn’t that work out grand for our parish!?! If there are any real positives for the parish in this venture, it is important that the port make these known. Because this new facility may prove to be just another disaster. The facility will occupy a significant parcel of land and extend along the riverfront. They plan to cut St. Bernard Highway. The port mentions that the container yard will occupy 350 acres with 3,500 linear feet of riverfront “within more than 1,000 acres of developable green-field property.” They likely plan to use the entire piece of property which means the facility will eventually become 3X larger. Try to imagine that. The facility is designed to service vessels holding over 23,000 containers in each ship averaging about 2,000,000 containers per year. That means 5,479 containers per DAY or 228 containers per hour 365 days per year! (If they expand, it could increase to 15,000 containers per day.) How will this impact life in the parish? There is only one highway and one railroad servicing St. Bernard. Moving 5,700 containers per day will paralyze all

30 Fall Issue 2021

transportation. Waits for long trains will increase dramatically, and roads will be congested. The ability to get to work or just travel to local businesses will be severely impacted. They promise an Interstate connection to serve this business, but when will that be constructed? Can it be constructed? The highway would have to cross damaged wetlands. Environmental litigation on that would go on for years. What will St. Bernard get out of this monstrosity? NOTHING! The parish will receive no taxes and the only jobs of significance will be non-resident truck drivers. The vital culture that is St. Bernard Parish will be destroyed, property values will plummet, businesses hampered, and our roads destroyed. All this so a few people who do not live here can make a buck. The residents of St. Bernard must make a strong and loud stand. We cannot allow this to happen. The future of our parish and our children hangs in the balance. St. Bernard is not a colony of New Orleans. We have the right to determine our own destiny. St. Bernard needs businesses and clean industries that will build the parish and improve the quality of life for residents. We do not need a facility that will destroy us.

Ron Chapman, a history professor at Nunez Community College, is a columnist with the St. Bernard

Voice newspaper and local business owner.


ST. BERNARD PARISH Help Us Stop the Destruction of St. Bernard Parish The Port of New Orleans is proposing a new container terminal to be built in our parish. There are more questions than answers about how this will impact our quality of life. What we do know is that there will be millions of containers on our streets. That's enough for us to say STOP. Learn more & help Save Our St. Bernard at PAID FOR BY THE STOP THE DESTRUCTION OF ST. BERNARD COMMITTEE

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Parish Pride by Barry Lemoine

The teachers in St. Bernard Parish are hidden gems; they are amongst the best of the best. –Kaya Lawerence

32 Fall Issue 2021

Kaya Lawrence: Hardships Lead To Leadership, NYU Law School Scholarship


he journey of Kaya Lawrence from experiencing homelessness as a young girl to attending New York University Law School as a young woman is as incredible as it is inspirational – a testament to her brilliance, tenacity, and sheer force of personality. Kaya, 22, sums up her early challenges this way: “As a black woman raised by a poor, white mother in the South, my upbringing presented its fair share of diverse experiences and challenges.” When she was 3 years old, her father passed away from a heart transplant failure. Her mother, Misty Hughes Lawrence, a recovering drug addict, relapsed after the grief and trauma of his death. “My brother and I were put into foster care, while my mother entered a drug rehabilitation program. After a year, my brother and I were reunited with my mother.” But this joy would be short-lived. A month after this fresh start, Hurricane Katrina hit. “We packed just a small bag and evacuated without realizing the devastation to come,” she recalled. “In the following year, we stayed at various shelters for people experiencing homelessness as my mother worked to bring order back to our lives.”

student leaders from public high schools to form multicultural teams. These scholars take part in an intensive training program with their “posse” for enrollment at top-tier universities nationwide. Kaya said she was ”blown away” to learn that she earned a full tuition scholarship to Notre Dame. She expressed her gratitude for this life changing opportunity.

Kaya said her early hardships instilled in her an unwavering sense of purpose and perseverance that contributed to her character.

“Posse pushed me to broaden my horizons and set my goals higher while also connecting me with the tools and resources to make the most of my education.”

She also credits her mom’s decision to move back to St. Bernard and the opportunities afforded in its public school system for part of her success.

Posse also prepared her for leadership and instilled in her the confidence and motivation to reach for new heights.

“The teachers in St. Bernard Parish are hidden gems; they are amongst the best of the best,” Kaya said. The rigorous coursework and her varied engagement in extracurriculars also shaped her passions and interests.

“I couldn’t imagine where my life would be without that opportunity.”

Getting a Push from “Posse” By 2017, Kaya was at the top of her class, graduating as a Valedictorian at Chalmette High School. She also took advantage of another opportunity presented there – a Posse Scholarship. The Posse Foundation identifies, recruits, and trains

She also took full advantage of the opportunities afforded her at Notre Dame.

Notre Dame Student Leader Kaya recently graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Global Affairs, and International Peace Studies. In addition to her academic excellence, Kaya was also an avid student leader on campus, serving on Class Council as Secretary of the Class of 2021;


as President of Shades of Ebony, a club dedicated to empowering, inspiring, and uplifting Black women; and as the Director of Diversity & Inclusion for Student Government. “One of my most notable accomplishments at Notre Dame was being awarded the University’s Student Leadership Award,” Kaya reflected. She said the culmination of these achievements and experiences prepared her well for her next challenge.

Earning NYU Law Scholarship “I am honored to announce that in the Fall of 2021, I will be pursuing my Juris Doctorate at New York University School of Law as a Root-Tilden-Kern Scholar.” This award is widely regarded as the most prestigious public interest scholarship for law students in the country. As part of the selection process, candidates are invited to an interview panel chaired by a federal judge and consists of a faculty member, distinguished alumni, and current Root-TildenKern Scholars. “The passion and dedication of every individual on the panel inspired me,” Kaya said. “They reminded Tabary&Borne_qtrpg.pdf 1 5/4/21 8:01 PM me that as long as I root my actions in my core

passion for serving others, my future will be bright and rewarding.” She said the RTK Scholarship Program at NYU Law is actually designed for students committed to public service. “For me, this is part of what made me confident that NYU was the right choice. I’ve always had an interest in service and giving back to my community. For now, I’m most interested in going into criminal law, specifically criminal defense to low-income people.” In preparation, she has explored this field through internships at the Orleans Public Defenders Office and the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office and said, “For now, I’m still figuring everything out, and I have a lot to learn over the next three years in New York!”

Credits Mother’s Influence Kaya says her mom’s support and example of strength inspire and motivate her. Misty Lawrence also helps others each day, working as a mental health professional, social worker, and counselor. Misty said she loves sharing her daughter’s story. “I love to brag on her because I believe when I share her success, I give everyone listening a huge shot of hope. If Kaya – coming from ‘Small Town, USA,’ raised by a single widow mother struggling to make ends meet, who attended only public school – can go where she’s gone and be on her way to another great experience, then surely onlookers feel inspired to keep on keeping on with their plans that they may be doubtful of their abilities to fulfill.” Misty also thanked Kaya’s teachers for helping guide her. “I am forever grateful for all of the educators and program coordinators who grew her love for education, service, creativity, and discovery of her true potential.” As she prepares for this next chapter of her life in New York, Kaya said her mom’s influence will always be a part of her. “My mom has enriched my life with her devotion and passion to her job, friends, and family. She has taught me the value of hard work and giving back to others, instilling these practices in how I present myself to the world.” Her journey continues. Barry Lemoine is an award-winning writer and educator. His commitment to and passion for the Parish and its performing arts have earned him the moniker of “The Bard of St. Bernard.”

34 Fall Issue 2021

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‘Love of St. Bernard’ Dysart Serves Nearly 40 Years On School Board


By Barry Lemoine

n 1983, Return of the Jedi was a box office sensation, Swatch watches were all the rage, and McDonald’s introduced its McNugget. That same year Diana Barcelona Dysart began her long and distinguished career in public service, serving her first term on the St. Bernard School Board. Nearly four decades later, she continues to be a champion for public education in the community she has always called home. Dysart said her strong work ethic is rooted in her humble beginnings. “My Mama died when I was just 9 years old, so my Dad raised me and my sisters the majority of my childhood,” she recalled. When she was a young girl, she worked her first job, she said, “farming, picking, packing, and selling tomatoes.” Her dad also taught her the link between education and independence, so school was always a priority. A product of St. Bernard’s public schools, Dysart was voted Miss Andrew Jackson by her classmates in 1973. She earned a bachelor’s in education from the University of Southwest Louisiana and a master’s from LSU. Soon after college, she married her high school sweetheart, Danny Dysart, and began working as a teacher and starting her family. After several years in the classroom, she ran for School Board, wanting to contribute to the community that had given her so much. “I love St. Bernard Parish,” she said. “As an educator, with teaching experience, I felt that I had some educational knowledge to help our system improve in a positive way.”

Improving the System Dysart said one of her early challenges was convincing her fellow board members to move away from the non-traditional packet system of instruction – especially for elementary students, who changed classes and who had seven different teachers and seven different classrooms. She said her

36 Fall Issue 2021

system for the overall benefit of students. “I witnessed the difficulty and complication of our students having to deal with this (packet) system and very unneeded stress on them. It was definitely a huge uphill battle to gain the support of a majority of the board to make the change at this time. Many countless hours and days were given convincing a majority to change this system,” she said.

witnessing the schools serve as a catalyst for the parish’s recovery stand out as special – a true testament to teamwork and tenacity. “We opened school within 75 days of our parish and all of its buildings being totally destroyed,” she said. “Each day since, we have continued striving to be a premier school system.” Dysart said much has changed over the years, but her focus remains the same.

Dysart said another barrier to learning that needed “In order to obtain effective and positive outcomes, to be changed was the conditions of the buildings - we have to work cooperatively together with the inside and out. most important common goal of serving the needs In addition to improving the school facilities, of every child, teacher, and parent.” Dysart also worked tirelessly with her fellow Board As a member of the school board, she also stresses members to better the learning environments for the importance of compromise and conviction. both student and teacher. “The ideals you have in your heart have to be

Under her leadership, the Board initiated:

• C onversion of 13th and 14th grades of CHS to the St. Bernard Parish Community College

A ccording to Dysart, “We were then able to work

with Senator Nunez, Representative Warner, Fernandez, and Odinet to secure state funding for a separate Community College on its own campus– and to receive state funding for it and not have to take away funds from the K-12 program. This is now Nunez Community College, a fully accredited Community College.”

• I mplementation of dual enrollment classes

for high schoolers who then take classes that enabled them to earn both Carnegie units for graduation and college credits

D ysart said, “This was first done by having the instructors (Ron Chapman) come to the high school and teach the classes for college accredited credits, and it grew. Today, students can actually be dually enrolled, and many earn an Associates degree at the same time as their high school degree,” she said.

• T he Academic Games Program

The program began with SBP teams competing locally in the Metro New Orleans area and now has evolved into competing in a nationwide competition. Dysart’s term also includes being on the forefront of Early Education and classroom technology, keeping a balanced budget, and continuing to invest in employee pay and benefits.

Rising After Katrina Of course, Dysart’s legacy is tied to the tragedies and triumphs that were part of the Hurricane Katrina story. She said funding teacher and employee medical insurance during such a devastating time and


Witnessing Success She said in addition to setting policy and making difficult financial decisions, the Board also has to comply with state and federal mandates – even when those demands are unfunded. But she said her favorite part of the job is attending events and witnessing the successes of the students in the district. “I love to learn about our former students who become doctors, lawyers, dentists, nurses, teachers, business specialists, technology specialists, tradesmen, mechanics, electricians, or whatever field they choose. It’s great to see our students accomplish their goals.” Dysart said she also gets satisfaction in her own career as the Title Agent and owner of Suburban Title Agency, providing property title and closing services to the community. When she’s not at work, she enjoys spending time with her four children and 10 grandchildren. She said family and fun make it all worthwhile. “I like to have fun no matter the occasion,” she said. “I know that sounds corny, but that’s me. God has blessed me in so many ways, and I do appreciate all of those blessings every day. I love people, and the bottom line is, I want the best for all.” When reflecting on her many years in office, Dysart said she is honored and humbled to have served for so long. She said the job has always been about helping people: “I gave my whole heart, soul, and efforts for our children, our teachers, and staff members who we are so blessed to have learning and working in St. Bernard Parish.


Annelise Cassar Tedesco: Louisiana Teacher of The Year For the second time in three years, a Chalmette High School educator has been named Louisiana State Teacher of the Year. The 2022 honor goes to Annelise Cassar Tedesco, presented at the 15th Annual Cecil J. Picard Educator Awards Gala on July 16, held virtually. CHS history teacher Chris Dier won the 2020 state award. Cassar Tedesco, an alumna of St. Bernard Parish Schools, serves as Vocal Music Teacher at Chalmette High School and Music Director for CHS Voices, Chalmette High School’s Music, Theatre, and Vocal Arts program. She has taught at CHS since 2008. Superintendent of Schools Doris Voitier said Cassar Tedesco represents all that is good in public education. Crave_qtrpg_new.pdf



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“We have been blessed to have had Annelise in our schools for so many years as a student and, now, as an outstanding educator,” Voitier said. “Everything Annelise does is student-centered and of the highest caliber. Her passion, professionalism, personality, and love of music education is inspiring, and we are so incredibly proud of the work she has done and the opportunities she has created for our students and community.” Cassar Tedesco said she is thankful and humbled by this recognition and expressed her gratitude for the students who have been a part of her journey. “Part of our mission is to build well-rounded, literate, and intellectual performers in a classroom that resonates as a safe space — where creative student performance can thrive and take place in an inspired and authentic way,” Cassar Tedesco said. She is passionate about creating equal opportunities for enrichment and experience within the performing arts and about combatting not only financial and social poverty but emotional poverty as well. “I position our students to see how their performing arts training can connect to greater success in more traditional career paths, and I strive to empower them to know that where they live now is a stepping stone to get them where they want to be tomorrow.” A valedictorian of Chalmette High School’s graduating class of 2002, Cassar Tedesco graduated summa cum laude from Loyola University New Orleans.

38 Fall Issue 2021

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40 Fall Issue 2021


Relay for Life ‘Fun’ Raisers By Michelle A. Nicholson


t all started with one man, Dr. Gordon “Gordy” Klatt, a cancer survivor who pushed himself to walk and run a track in Tacoma, Washington, for 24 hours straight — raising $27,000 in the process, money that would be donated to the American Cancer Society. Three decades later, there are more than 3,500 locally organized Relay for Life events worldwide. The people of the Relay for Life movement, like St. Bernard’s Louis Recurt and Debbie Tardo, are proof that “One person can make a difference.”

and they walk the first lap to officially open the Relay. Each Luminary Bag will say ‘In Honor’ of someone, or ‘In Memory’. ” “All is completely open to the public, and we invite anyone that is a survivor and/or current patient to sign up to be honored during our opening ceremony,” Tardo said. “The idea is to show endurance, as we know that cancer patients have to show a great deal of endurance and strength throughout their journey to recovery.’’

Recurt, who serves as the Event Lead, was happy Recurt has nothing but praise for the to share that on October St. Bernard Relay committee. 2, “Relay is going to be a “I have a great team working blast for anyone of all ages. I have a great team with me who are just as eager ‘Screaming for a Cure’ is working with me who to be involved as I am,” Recurt going to be this year’s slosaid. “I couldn’t ask for better gan. We are incorporating are just as eager to people. During the pandemic, everything spooky: Trickbe involved as I am. we still made the best of it we or-Treating, pictures with could. My amazing committee The Great Pumpkin, Cosand myself still went out into tume Contests, and other the pouring rain and handed out meals to cancer Halloween-fun activities are set in motion to survivors and their families.” make this year a hit. Regardless of if you’re there for the cause or just to have some fun with the kids, it is a blast for everyone.”

“Relay is a big deal all over,” Recurt said. “All these different people coming together every year is breathtaking. These people volunteer countless hours to raise money for a great cause. Our vision is to one day not have to do these events anymore because a cure has been found for cancer.” According to Debbie Tardo, a long-time member of Da Flamingos Relay team, the main Relay for Life event traditionally “begins with the opening ceremony, at which time survivors are honored,

Recurt emphasized that this team effort and spirit—and the teams’ enduring enthusiasm— is key to the success of the St. Bernard Relay committee. “They decorate their areas, get custom team shirts made, and go into competition over the spirit sticks,” he said. ”It always blows my mind every single year. The things these teams come up with are amazing. They always go above and beyond.” Stay up-to-date with fundraisers and events by following Relay for Life on

“Screaming For A Cure” Halloween Fun kicks off the St. Bernard Relay for Life 2021-22 season on October 2 in Meraux 41

Art for Joy

by Michelle A. Nicholson

42 Fall Issue 2021

Photo by Michelle A. Nicholson

Bringing Creative Gifts to St. Bernard


hen Blaire Brown Stroemple met her husband, Meraux-native Justin Stroemple, in art history class at LSU, there was no way she could have predicted she’d be where she is today: Settled with their newborn, son, in the “crazy beach house” they designed and built in Chalmette; operating several successful businesses; pursuing a Master’s degree in K-12 art education; and teaching at Smith Elementary.

Brown was always determined to live a uniquely creative life. She said, “My mom would get me coloring books. I only liked having a pen, pencil, and paper. I did not like coloring in someone else’s drawings. This snowballed into going to college and doing painting and drawing.” Brown said she began her career in farmer’s markets, “selling originals, little New Orleansey houses — my storybook houses.” “Her talent was quickly noticed by a real estate agent, who got Brown started in the business of creating

5x7 and 8x10 illustrations of homes and gardens in ink and watercolor. “The illustrations are always special because they are so custom,” she said, focusing on “the little things, like the numbers on the front door or the way the planters hang, like all the little touches, that’s what’s more important to homeowners. When I look at a painting that has trees and flowers and all this stuff and it’s lush, that makes me a lot happier than just the structural building or architecture.”


44 Fall Issue 2021




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Before the pandemic, Brown also created live paintings. Brown described the process: “I usually paint the bride and groom doing their first dance. I give it to them at the end of the night. It’s this compilation of energy, paint, colors, vibrations spilled onto the canvas.” Brown admitted, “My favorite things to paint are large nonobjective canvases — just color and texture. It’s very therapeutic and the hardest thing to recreate. It’s so satisfactory to create a mood with a painting.”

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Her other great love is teaching, but her husband’s work led her to leave her prior position teaching at Chalmette Elementary and move temporarily to California. Brown said, “I missed it so much. Teaching art is so rewarding and so creative. You really get to create your own curriculum and they give you a lot of freedom, so I get that satisfaction and that connection with the arts.” To support Brown’s artistic endeavors, visit her website at or follow her on Facebook or Instagram @blairebrownart.

A native of St. Bernard Parish, Michelle A. Nicholson is a writer, editor, teacher, and proud alumna of Andrew Jackson Magnet High, Loyola University, and the University of New Orleans.


Set the Stage

in Historic Saint Bernard Parish

Book your next event in Historic St. Bernard Parish. Venues include the Frederick J. Sigur Civic Center, the Historic St. Bernard Parish Courthouse, Val Riess Sports Hall of Fame Complex, and the Aycock Barn. Call Maurine Liuzza at 504-278-1506 or email at to book your event today.

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For information on accommodations, attractions or other details go to or 46 Fall Issue 2021

Pumpkin Cake

with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting By Shirin Mehdi This scrumptious cake is a perfect accompaniment to a large cup of hot chocolate. Actually, it’s a perfect dessert, too. Wait! You could have this all the time. Don’t believe me? Try it! It’s irresistible.

Ingredients For the cake  1/2 cup whole wheat flour

For the frosting  4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature

 2 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature

 2/3 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar

 2 tbsp maple syrup  A pinch of Kosher salt

 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour


 1 tsp ground ginger

 Preheat the oven to 350

 1 tsp ground cinnamon  1/4 tsp ground nutmeg  1/4 tsp ground allspice  1/8 tsp ground cloves  2 tsp baking powder  2 large eggs (room temperature)  1 cup light brown sugar  1 tsp kosher salt

degrees Fahrenheit.

 Grease an 8x8 cake tin with a little coconut oil and line with parchment paper.

 Sift as you add all the dry ingredients for the cake in a big bowl. Leave out the sugar for now. Mix well.

 Whisk the eggs and add the pureed pumpkin. Add the sugar and the coconut oil (gently warmed) and beat until the mixture is nice and smooth.

 Fold in the dry ingredients, ensuring everything is well incorporated.

 Pour the batter into the cake tin and tap gently to flatten the top.

 Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes or until the edges pull away and a tester comes out clean.

 While your cake is in the oven, work on the frosting.

 Beat the cream cheese and butter in a bowl using an electric mixer at a medium to high speed. Once combined, reduce the speed of the mixer and add the maple syrup, sugar and salt. Beat well until smooth.

 Once the cake is cool, you can layer and frost the cake. Top the cake with pumpkin seeds and nuts to add that extra touch.

 1 cup canned pumpkin  1/2 cup extra virgin coconut oil

Prep Time: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 35 minutes Serving Size: 1 8x8” Cake


Health & Wellness

SBP Hospital Screening

for Lung Cancer

Provided by St. Bernard Hospital Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in men and women in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates that 235,760 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed in 2021, with 131,880 deaths. More people die of lung cancer than breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer combined. While these statistics might be worrisome, rest assured St. Bernard Parish Hospital is here to help detect lung cancer early through low-dose CT screenings. If you are at a high risk for developing lung cancer, screening for early detection will improve your survival rate. The following groups are considered high risk and should talk to their provider about an annual screening:

• Adults between the age of 50-80 • Current or former smokers who have quit in the

past 15 years with at least a 20-pack-year history of smoking cigarettes

• Individuals who are able and willing to undergo a lung biopsy or surgery

“Early detection of lung cancer can save your life,” said Abdul Khan, MD, pulmonologist andvice president of medical affairs, St. Bernard Parish Hospital. “We have made great strides and advancements in lung cancer therapies, but give yourself the best chance for a good outcome through lung cancer screenings so that treatment can begin as quickly as possible. We are happy to offer CT screenings at St. Bernard Parish Hospital, only minutes from home.”

48 Fall Issue 2021

If you are in a high-risk group, discuss the pros and cons of screening with your doctor and decide if you’re a candidate. The scan may be scheduled once your physician orders the test. If you are a current smoker, you may also be offered an appointment with a smoking cessation specialist. St. Bernard Parish Hospital’s Smoking Cessation program can help you quit! A CT scan has a greater chance of displaying lung tumors than routine chest x-rays and can show the size, shape, and position of any lung tumors. CT scans can also help find enlarged lymph nodes that might contain cancer that has spread. You should receive your results from your doctor’s office within 48 hours and receive a letter from one of our lung cancer screen navigators. If the results show early lung cancer, radiologists and lung cancer specialists will give recommendations on the best way to manage and monitor. Strategies may include:

• Monitoring the nodules with additional CT scans over a two-year period

• Biopsy • Surgery to have it removed To make an appointment at St. Bernard Parish Hospital, call 504-826-9988. To learn moreabout lifesaving cancer screenings, visit cancer-screenings.

Ask a Doctor by Dr. Abdul Khan

COVID-19 Vaccines:

Fact vs. Myth

Abdul Khan, M.D, is Vice President of Medical Affairs at

St. Bernard Parish Hospital.

The U.S. effort to vaccinate against COVID-19 is ongoing, with three FDA-approved vaccines: Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. To end the pandemic, everyone 12 years of age and older* should get vaccinated. It is easy to be confused by vaccine myths. Below are three of the most common myths surrounding the COVID-19 vaccines. 1. Myth: The vaccine is not safe because it was approved quickly.


You can be a CASA Advocate. Visit or call 504.522.1962 to see how you can make a difference for a foster child in St. Bernard.

Fact: During a public health emergency, an Emergency Use Authorization authorizes the FDA to make a product available to prevent life-threatening diseases. No safety or efficacy evaluation steps were skipped in approving the vaccine.


2. Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine will alter my DNA. Fact: Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines contain a synthetic messenger RNA, which is a type of RNA that is found in our cells. RNA vaccines don’t use a live strain of the virus. They don’t enter the human cell’s nucleus, so it can’t be inserted into a person’s DNA. The J&J vaccine uses the more traditional virusbased technology, a disabled adenovirus. All three vaccines deliver the instructions to your immune system to attack the coronavirus, should it encounter the real thing.

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3. Myth: I already had COVID-19, so I don’t need the vaccine. Fact: If you have already had COVID-19 and recovered, you should still get vaccinated. There is not enough research to say how long after infection someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again, and it’s possible any immunity from the original strain of the virus would not protect you from the circulating variants. Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine: Ochsner. org/vaccine *The Pfizer vaccine is approved for those 12 years of age and older. Minors will need parental consent. The Moderna and J&J vaccines are approved for adults 18 years and older.

617 Bayou Rd. Saint Bernard, LA 70085 (504) 272-0661 2004 Paris Rd. Chalmette, LA 70043 (504) 277-5573

3225 E. Judge Perez Dr. Meraux, LA 70075 (504) 276-4643

4725 E. Judge Perez Dr. Meraux, LA 70075 (504) 278-1799

5815 E. Judge Perez Dr. Violet, LA 70092 (504) 682-4990


50 Fall Issue 2021

Football Feastival By Suzanne Fox


ootball season is here, and with it comes tailgate parties, feel-good food, and a time for families and friends to get together and cheer on their favorite team. Whether you are hosting a party for a high school team or this year’s Super Bowl, this Football Festival is going to be a hit! Easyto-make projects and football-themed foods allow you to put this party together in a snap. Start the scene with artificial turf, which is available at your nearest home store. Create yard lines on your “field” using white duct tape. The tape is easy to work with, plus, it’s temporary if you decide to alternate settings with soccer or baseball later on. Add a personal touch to the scene by hand-painting props in your team colors. We did this by pairing our blue-and-yellow decorative stars with black-and-white referee colors as seen on our concession stand and billboard. Next, place your props strategically in front of your

homemade goal posts. If you want to break up the school colors, simply add a neutral color centerpiece to the midle of the table. We did this with our easy-to-make, silver Lombardi Trophy. With all of the toppings you can imagine, easy buffet-style chili fritos entice young and old fans alike. Transform these simple ingredients into a novelty by serving them right in the bag, concession-stand style. There’s no need for the same old chips and dip at this party. Quick Mini Chicken Tacos and Football Quesadillas’ put the fun back in finger food! Lastly, for dessert we created chocolate-covered Football Strawberries and Semi-Homemade Stadium Crowd-Pleaser Cookies and Brownies. Find the chili recipe for the chili fritos at Serve the toppings in hand painted, football-themed mason jars or buckets in your favorite team colors.


Small Business Profile

McKay’s Path Leads to Firm’s Growth A native of St. Bernard Parish, Professional Engineer Charles A. McKay Jr. knows the terrain very well. Perhaps that’s why his firm – McKay & Associates, LLC, Engineering and Land Surveying – is now a leader in the industry. After working for engineering and surveying companies for 25 years, he opened McKay & Associates in 2015, providing important services to St. Bernard residents. In June, McKay & Associates marked six years of continued growth. The business now employs six field crew members and seven office personnel, including mechanical and civil engineering graduates from UNO. McKay also provides vital internship opportunities for local engineering students to obtain valuable experience for the next generation of engineers. McKay & Associates provides St. Bernard residents with a convenient local option for both Land Surveying and Civil Engineering Services. Since the firm is licensed in both Surveying and Engineering, it can provide clients with all the documents needed to obtain a building permit. McKay & Associates focuses on residential and small commercial projects by providing a wide range of services including FEMA elevation certificates, Coastal Use Permit drawings, state highway driveway permit drawings, property surveys and subdivisions, and custom plans for houses, boat houses, and bulkheads.

52 Fall Issue 2021

The firm also provides 3D renderings to assist clients in visualizing their projects prior to construction. The firm can also provide commercial site development plans and drainage studies, along with many other services.

His Background Charlie McKay spent many childhood and teenage years shrimping, fishing, and crabbing with his dad during summer and Christmas breaks. He attended Bournemouth Elementary, Millaudon Middle School, and graduated from St. Bernard High School in 1987. He was introduced to the professions of Civil Engineering and Land Surveying in 1989 by Stephen Estopinal. McKay worked part-time for Estopinal and served as a survey party chief and Auto CAD drafter for various surveying and engineering companies while attending college part-time. Hurricane Katrina sent him and his family to Ball, Louisiana (north of Alexandria), Osyka, Mississippi, and Baton Rouge until he rebuilt his home in Violet. Because of Katrina, McKay was one of only a handful of students who graduated from the College of Engineering at UNO in 2007. He completed his internship with Krebs, LaSalle Lemieux consultants based in Metairie, and became licensed to practice Civil Engineering in Louisiana in 2012.

Your Local St. Bernard Home Loans Lender Purchase, refinance, renovation & construction Pat Callaghan

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Contact a lender today to discuss your options: Conventional, FHA, VA, USDA, FHA 203K, Bond Programs, First Time Homebuyer, Jumbo, Investment Property, One-Time Close Construction, & Renovation. Normal credit qualifications and other terms & conditions apply. See lender for complete details.

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Resource Directory J&B_ResourceAd.pdf



6:31 PM



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Chalmette Bicycle Store

Largest selection of craft and draft beer in the Parish 2029 Paris Road, Chalmette



any craft or draft beer in house with this coupon

American Income Tax Service 318 W. Judge Perez Drive Chalmette, LA 70043

Celebrating 57 Years of Bicycle & Lawn Mower Experience! SALES • SERVICE • REPAIRS • BICYCLES LAWN MOWERS • CHAIN SAWS

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Hair Gallery Call for an Appointment 504-277-8607

115 W. Morales St. Chalmette, LA 70043

Holiday Gift Cards Available 54 Fall Issue 2021

CALL 504-609-7509 TO ADVERTISE




Every child is one of a kind. Pediatric care should be too.

Everything your growing child needs is right here at Ochsner Health Center for Children – St. Bernard

General pediatrics, plus more than 30 pediatric specialties and subspecialties to help you face anything, minor or major.

Access to MyOchsner, an online tool that lets you see medical records, schedule appointments online, message your pediatrician and more.

Same-day and next-day appointments available.

Access to the #1 Children’s Hospital in Louisiana (U.S. News & World Report ranking), featuring a kids-only emergency room with specially trained pediatric ER staff.

To schedule an appointment call 504-294-8926 or visit

St. Bernard Parish Hospital 8050 West Judge Perez Drive Chalmette, LA 70043

From the Barracks to the Bayou. St. Bernard is our home. Let’s make it yours too!



Jacques Alfonso Amanda Campo 504-228-3803 504-228-1860

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