May-June 2020 Issue of Inside Northside Magazine

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p r esen t ed b y

MAY-JUNE 2020 VOL. 35, NO. 3

May-June 2020 9

May-June 2020

Vol. 35, No. 3

Publisher Lori Murphy –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Editor Jan Murphy Creative Director Brad Growden –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Business Manager Jane Quillin Operations Manager Margaret Rivera Editorial Intern Bryce Growden –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Senior Advertising Account Executives Barbara Roscoe Poki Hampton

Heather Doles

Jonée Daigle-Ferrand

Advertising Account Executives Pemmie Sheasby Madalyn Giambelluca Account Representatives Anne Honeywell

Stacey Paretti Rase


On the Cover

Cover Artist Claire Friedrichs Taylor . Find more on page 18.



phone (985) 626-9684 Advertising Sales fax (985) 674-7721 Subscriptions ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

INSIDE NORTHSIDE is published bi-monthly (January, March, May, July, September, November) by M and L Publishing, LLC, PO Box 9148, Mandeville, LA 70470-9148 as a means of communication and information for St. Tammany and Tangipahoa Parishes, Louisiana. Bulk Postage paid at Mandeville, LA. Copy­right ©2020 by M & L Publishing, LLC. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without written consent of publisher. Publisher is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts and artwork. Inside Northside Magazine is created using the Adobe Creative Suite on Apple Macintosh computers.


Inside Northside


contents table of

Create a restful retreat. Page 32.

page 90

Features Departments

18 Painting Therapy Cover Artist Claire Friedrichs Taylor

page 40

14 Publisher’s Note

24 Northshore Restaurants Respond to Covid 19

16 Welcome from the St. Tammany Tourist Commission

26 Louis Prima Northshore Icon

22 Click Away! Click through our interactive video page.

32 Sanctuary Designing a restful retreat.

54 In Other Words New Normal?

36 Natural Focus Photographer John Snell

87 Connections to Getting Involved 100 Generous Hearts Focus on the Good

40 Leah Chase’s Legacy WYES introduces the new Kitchen Queens series.

110 In Great Taste PawPaw’s Granola

52 The Glow of Gaslight

102 Mask Sterilization STHS’s Innovative Approach

57 Live Oak Society

114 Christian Serpas


Inside Northside

60 Zen Zone 62 Our Northshore 74 Caps for Kids Creating smiles for kids with cancer. 80 Walker Percy Follow the trail of this northshore icon. 90 Precious Resources The Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges Complex

What day is it? I don’t know about you, but it is hard to keep track of the days right now. We are used to a routine that we take for granted: certain things happen on Tuesdays; hair appointment on Thursday, grocery shopping on Saturday, etc. Having none of the above leaves us moving through time in a fog. We last went on hiatus in fall of 2005 for Katrina, and it was a different kind of strange. It was VERY hot, and nobody had power. That left many of the little luxuries that are helping us weather this “storm” unavailable. Food was in ice chests, and ice was like gold. So was gasoline. We cooked on the grill, learned to text and spent many hours clearing and cleaning refrigerators, freezers, cabinets and yard debris. School was closed, and we couldn’t go to work because only “essential” businesses were operating. Fast forward to Covid-19, and we are again clearing and cleaning, but at least we are doing it in our airconditioned homes with no tarp over the roof. Essential businesses are keeping us safe, sane and hopefully healthy. As a global emergency, there are new concerns and the challenge of recovery is immense. Gas prices are so low one of our most important industries is in peril and schools are closed. Businesses large and small count the days, and we all pray for healthcare providers that hold our future in their hands. The Gulf South was blessed post-Katrina to feel the arms of the world hold us close and prop us up. I hope we are a beacon of hope to others as we pull through this new challenge. We will recover, because we learned that we can. Sharing that perspective goes a long way.


Inside Northside

There is nothing like a crisis to bring a community together. When

Lori Murphy approached us about helping her produce these digital

issues of Inside Northside, the St. Tammany Parish Tourist Commission didn’t hesitate.

air, and which tourism-related attractions are temporarily closed. This information is reconfirmed and updated daily and shared among our social media followers, which total over 50k.

One month into the COVID-19 crisis, I can say we have all come

Before COVID-19, you may not have known St. Tammany Parish had

together like never before – and this is a community that rallied during

That’s because, typically, we aren’t communicating to those who

Horizon disaster. Today, there is an intense feeling of community pride

a Tourist Commission…or even that we needed one.

live here. Instead, we are marketing to our potential visitors throughout the Gulf Coast region and beyond.

You may be surprised to learn that St. Tammany Parish is the fourth

largest visitor destination in the state, with visitors spending over $800 million annually in our hotels, restaurants and attractions.

And while they’re spending that money, they’re also paying sales

taxes. The amount of sales tax collected from visitors, over $37 million annually, offsets the amount our residents pay in taxes.

Bottom line, the money visitors spend in St. Tammany Parish saves

the unprecedented events of Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater

and love and appreciation for all things, little and big, woven into our St. Tammany Parish culture and our community.

Because we feel it’s important to celebrate them, we’ve launched

the We

Louisiana Northshore community pride campaign. We’re

posting daily inspirational content to our ExploreLouisianaNorthshore

Facebook page and @LANorthshore instagram account, and want to hear

from you. Share your St. Tammany stories and photos with us and all the things you love about living on the Northshore.

Today, at the St. Tammany Parish Tourist Commission, we are

your household over $1,200 a year in taxes.

preparing for the future while doing everything we can to protect the

Tourist Commission to pivot, and start speaking directly to you, our

when restrictions are lifted and everyday life begins to normalize, we

But as the COVID crisis approached, we knew it was time for the


While the hotels may be empty now, there are still many other

small businesses that benefit from a combination of both local and visitor dollars. Research tells us that, on average, about 40% of

restaurant revenue is generated by visitors. That percentage is even higher with attractions.

past. While it’s true that people are staying at home to stay safe now, believe our visitors will be more ready than ever before to explore

close to home. We are preparing for that moment, so we can do what

we do best and bring our industry back as a thriving contributor to the

economy in St. Tammany Parish. We’re all in this together, and we love our Louisiana Northshore.

And right now, the visitors aren’t here, so it’s more important than

We hope you enjoy this special digital issue of Inside Northside.

ever for our residents to support those small businesses that are still up On March 18, our team launched,

a resource for St. Tammany residents to access the latest information

about which restaurants are open to serve, which outdoor recreational opportunities are available for families to get out and get some fresh


to rediscover what we love about the Northshore!


Inside Northside

Donna O’Daniels

President and CEO

St. Tammany Parish Tourist

and Convention Commission


and running.

The St. Tammany Parish Tourist and Convention Commission is funded by a 3% local hotel occupancy tax collected from overnight guests.

May-June 2020 17


Painting Therapy by Lori Murphy

Cover Artist Claire Friedrichs Taylor NEVER UNDERESTIMATE the power of immersing children in experiences, values and talents you hope they will carry with them into life. It is often to those earliest memories they turn in times of struggle and challenge. That has been true for this issue’s cover artist, Claire Friedrichs Taylor of Mandeville. Growing up the daughter of an educator gave Claire and her sister, Rhenda Saporito, the chance to attend the lab school on the campus of Louisiana Tech in Ruston. Located next to the university art department, the students were treated to professional art training three times a week throughout elementary school. Working in various media using color, texture and paper techniques was as common in their school day as math or reading. What a gift. Agnes Miller was the dean of home economics on campus. She was grateful for the chance to provide well for her daughters as a young single mother, not very typical in the 1960s. But, then again, Agnes is anything but typical. Of the


Inside Northside

many blessings she bestowed on Claire and Rhenda, the most important was her sage advice. “No two people are alike, and everyone has talents. Find yours,” she said. There was a lot of love in the small family, but not a lot of sympathy for unmet aspirations. “If you decide to do something, put your mind to it. There is nothing that you can’t do if you are willing to work at it.” It was advice she had undoubtably given herself time and again. When Agnes’ husband fell ill, Claire was only one and her sister three. She decided to move home to Ruston to be near family while she set about creating a future for her girls. Well-read and determined, Agnes is still going strong, having just celebrated her 102nd birthday at The Windsor with a social distancing celebration under the porte- cochère with family and friends. Graduating from LSU with a degree in elementary education, Claire continued to immerse herself in art whenever she needed an emotional lift. It has been the best medicine for >>

Right: Agnes Miller joined daughters Claire Taylor and Rhenda Saporito in the porte-cochère at The Windsor to celebrate her 102nd birthday under quarantine! 20

Inside Northside


challenging the bouts of depression which have plagued her life, something she inherited from her father. Her sister, Rhenda, a professional artist herself, has encouraged Claire to paint and be creative as great therapy. It was Rhenda who suggested classes at the New Orleans Academy of Fine Art. When Claire walked in, she burst into tears, saying “I can’t do this.” Instructor Adrian Deckbar made her promise to strike that word from her vocabulary and join the small studio sessions that met weekly. She was the

first to challenge Claire to leave her comfort zone and push through. The first completed piece was a pastel portrait, not an easy feat. “Whatever Adrian painted, I painted. She taught me valuable fundamentals about how to break down the image into a grid of spaces, looking for details in each smaller area as I progressed. I still work that way today.” Claire’s art journey continued with workshops everywhere she could find them. She studied plein air, pastels and studio subjects with a wide array of instructors, learning something new from every opportunity. Some of what she learned helped her develop her style and favored subjects—some things she wanted to paint, and some she definitely did not want to paint. But every experience added to the process. “To this day, when I feel depression coming on I pick up a brush. There is a great blessing in becoming lost in the fog of creating. Painting is my medicine. I recommend it as treatment for everyone—you can immerse yourself into something for a long period of time, without realizing where you are,” says Claire. It is impossible to “snap out of it” when suffering a bout of depression. You have to move through it, and Claire does it with painting—and golf. Remembering the lessons her mother taught her about constantly learning and evolving as life swirls around you, Claire has followed her example as an educator in many ways. Her nine-to-five is working in investments with Raymond James as a Columbia Universityeducated financial advisor. She built her clientele through a conscious effort to teach investors how to read portfolio information and learn company dynamics to make sound choices in investing. It is another Agnes lesson. In the 1960s, Agnes went to see Mr. Marbury, a friend and community bank president, asking to borrow $40,000. She wanted to buy an apartment building or duplex to secure long-term income. Knowing her well, he loaned her the money, but told her to find the best companies in America and invest in the stock market instead. He said, “Thirty years from now your investment won’t have plumbing problems!” Agnes was a


great researcher, with annual reports as her guide. Claire’s approach is the same, looking for opportunity in places where the fundamentals are strong and the situation provides opportunity. She didn’t start in the investment industry as an advisor—she started at the receptionist’s desk. “It was the job I was qualified for,” she says without regret. She had two young sons from her first marriage when she married Buddy Friedrichs, a partner at the New Orleans investment bank of Howard Weil Labouisse Friedrichs. After only five months of marriage, he died of a heart attack, and Claire discovered that he had no life insurance, no savings, nothing. Just as her mother had done, she set about finding a way to support her sons. Going to work at Friedrichs’ firm, she was a quick study, moving into the research area after demonstrating interest and aptitude, and she eventually decided to break out on her own as an investment advisor. Her goal was to educate women so that no one ever had to face the harsh reality she found when Buddy passed away. Comfortable isn’t a place where Claire looks to stay. Things that make her uncomfortable are those things that teach her, and that is certainly true in her art. The subject or media that push her outside her comfort zone create the pieces she appreciates most. She credits her instructor, Gretchen Armbruster of Armbruster Artworks Gallery and School in Covington, for constantly pushing her to do those challenging things. There she internalizes new techniques and ways of looking at subject matter that she can use in the next piece. “When Gretchen taught me to paint a vase, I found myself using what I had learned about the play of light and dark in the next portrait I did.” Her favorite subject these days is portraiture—of dogs. She started with her own Buckwheat, an English setter. “Dogs are great subjects because they

are not critical,” she laughs. Donating a dog portrait to a CCA auction at the behest of friend Pierre Villere started the ball rolling toward combining two of her passions, dogs and art. She does many for herself, for friends and by commission. Tenacity is a word I use to describe Claire. She has found ways of gaining great strength from tragedy. She is quick to say that she will never retire, that constantly learning and evolving is where she finds joy. Married to Dr. Denny Taylor for 21 years, she says, laughing, “I was lucky to find a man so generous and supportive. He supports me even when it isn’t easy.” She enjoys spending time with him at their weekend home in Covey Rise. It is in this very happy place that she most enjoys painting—on the porch, with the breeze on her face and her grandson and beloved dogs, including her newest challenge, Ginger, playing at her feet. Claire learned a long time ago to get your high heel through the door and then prove you are worthy of being there. She works hard at creating and finds refuge in her art. Great medicine indeed, and she is definitely worthy. Claire’s work can be found at Armbruster Artworks Gallery at 502 N. Columbia Street in Covington. May-June 2020 21

These links take you to partner videos that will offer virtual tours, entertainment or education. Included are some that everyone in your family might enjoy!

Share the videos you love with the ones you love. 22

Inside Northside


You remember. You stepped into the light-filled dining car at LOLA and took your seat at a cheerful banquette, and you felt your

Jeremy Reilly of Restaurant Coté in Slidell and Austin Kirzner from

spirits lift. You settled into the plush velvet at Oxlot 9 in the grand

Covey Rise Farms to make the magic happen. St. Tammany Parish

Southern Hotel and raised your flutes to celebrate a date night out.

Sheriff’s office deputies even participated with the delivery to the

You dined al fresco along Bayou Bonfouca on the decks framed by

hospital – it was a true community effort.

foliage at Palmettos and tapped your feet to the beat of live jazz.

Chef Gavin Jobe of Meribo is originally from Baton Rouge,

You watched the kids run and play and savor ice cream at Rieger’s

and his best friend is a trauma nurse at Our Lady of the Lake

on the Trace while you sank your teeth into a bahn mi-style poboy.

Hospital. After an emotional and lengthy conversation with his

It’s no secret the Northshore’s deep and diverse culinary scene feeds

friend on one of his few days off, Gavin pledged to feed 54 nurses,

our hunger for authentic culinary experiences, and these are just a

on both their day and night shifts, three days a week. This week

few, both new and old, we’ve grown to love. They have become even

(his third one in), he’s adding a fourth day, which will mean he will

more precious during this time of staying at home and staying safe.

have served and delivered 1,296 meals to health care heroes by

Despite the challenges that Covid-19 has brought to the chef/owners in our community, many of them have risen to meet

the time this Inside Northside hits your inbox. Restaurants have creatively adapted during Covid-19, when

the need and have given back in the process. There are chefs like

sit-down dining is prohibited in Louisiana until at least April 30.

Jeffrey Hansell of Oxlot 9 in Covington and John Hodges of The

Offering new meal deals and old favorites with drive-through and

Wine Garden in Slidell, who with the help of friends and patrons

curbside service, our Northshore restaurants are thinking outside the

have fed hundreds of health care workers on the front lines in our

box. Chef Hansell at Oxlot 9 has brought back popular menu items

parish. Then there’s Brent and Deanna Sparkman from Sticks BBQ

from Smoke BBQ, much to the delight of his loyal patrons. Keith

in Mandeville, who launched #buyaboxfeedahero with the goal of

and Nealy Frentz from LOLA in Covington win the creativity award

delivering 400 boxed meals (cheerfully decorated with pictures

for offering frosé and take and bake chocolate chip cookie dough

colored by their four young daughters) to health care heroes,

by the quart, not to mention family-style lasagna pans that feed 10.

complete with encouraging notes from the donors tucked inside.

Highlights from Palmettos on the Bayou include shrimp and grits by

In just twelve days, they delivered 1,200 boxes.

the quart and barbeque and smoked chicken bundles, all delivered

Chef Brent Belsom of Abita Roasting Company, Abita

to your trunk or backseat with their very efficient curbside drive

Springs Café, and Abita Roasting Company Madisonville launched

through system. Rieger’s on the Trace is now serving their specialty

“Feeding the Frontlines,” to feed 50 health care heroes on Easter

ice cream by the pint or quart, vegetarian (and decidedly not) family

Sunday. When contributions came in, he had raised enough to

meals as well as vegetable boxes from Covey Rise Farms.

feed 600 St. Tammany Parish Hospital workers both lunch and


dinner, and called on his longtime friends and chef volunteers

Inside Northside

During this time, when Covid-19 has made it so hard for the

chef/owners in our community and the restaurants that we love,

and we pitch their stories to the media to inspire travel to the

the St. Tammany Parish Tourist Commission was thrilled to partner

Northshore. We caught the attention of Food and Wine’s David

with Anna Rockhold with the Weekly Yum to help produce and

Landsel, who featured Covington in his article This New Orleans

promote a collection of videos that specifically addresses how our

Suburb is Making Us Seriously Hungry in April of last year,

Tammany Taste restaurants have modified their operations and are

and Meredith Rosenberg from the Travel Channel, who said last

serving our community during this time.

summer that Covington was one of 10 Small American Towns

Rockhold is a vivacious, engaging videographer with 18

with Surprisingly Big Food Scenes. We realize the importance of

years of professional video production experience. She launched

helping our Tammany Taste community partners throughout the

a new company named the Weekly Yum in March 2020 to

Northshore stay “Open for Business” now, and in the future.

focus on video marketing for restaurants. Despite what she

This is the third year the St. Tammany Parish Tourist

gamely calls “bad timing,” Anna decided to take her CARES Act

Commission is presenting the Tammany Taste of Summer,

money and is using it to provide free videographer services to

traditionally a month-long celebration in August of the Northshore’s

restaurants through the months of April and May. By sharing

culinary scene, when partners offering prix fixe dinners, culinary

their stories, in-person via video, she’s convinced we can keep

events, and discounted hotel room rates receive the benefit of our

takeout orders rolling and get our restaurants back on their

free marketing services and media buy. To help our hospitality

feet. That’s something that every member of the Tammany Taste

partners rebound after Covid-19, the St. Tammany Parish Tourist

culinary community can get behind.

Commission is planning on devoting even more resources to

The chefs, farmers, brewers and bakers all make up the

promoting our culinary scene with Tammany Taste of Summer, and

Tammany Taste, St. Tammany Parish’s outstanding culinary scene.

extending the free promotion through September as well. We’re all

At the St. Tammany Parish Tourist Commission, we recognize that

in this together, and we all love our Louisiana Northshore.

our chef-driven restaurants, seafood stands, and breweries are a part of the fabric of our Northshore community. Just think of all of the fundraisers for schools, churches, and non-profits where you’ve spotted your favorite chefs and breweries donating their time and valuable resources. They are so worthy of celebrating. At the Tourist Commission, we promote po-boys from

Please visit our ExploreLouisianaNorthshore FB page as we share daily updates from Tammany Taste partners and visit to view our

list of restaurants with modified services and more recreational opportunities “Open for Business.”

our mom-and-pops and Gulf-inspired fare from talented chefs, May-June 2020 25

Northshore Icon

Louis Prima


Inside Northside

A PART OF ST. TAMMANY for 45 years, Louis Prima was a Grammy winner who recorded more than a dozen albums. Songs he wrote or performed have been used in over a hundred motion pictures and television shows. Spanning eras and styles from Dixieland Jazz to Swing to Big Band, Boogie-Woogie and Rock and Roll, his songs and performances are intertwined in America’s cultural fabric in productions ranging from The Jungle Book to The Sopranos and Everybody Loves Raymond. His classic recordings, such as Sing Sing Sing (With a Swing); Just a Gigolo/I Ain’t Got Nobody; I Wanna Be Like You; and When You’re Smiling (The Whole World Smiles with You) have been used in commercials for companies such as The Gap, Coca-Cola and Nike. To this day, they are performed by singers and bands and heard on radio stations and jukeboxes worldwide. Prima was born in New Orleans December 7, 1910. An accomplished instrumentalist, he might have become a concert violinist if his childhood training on that instrument had not been derailed the first time he picked up his brother Leon’s trumpet as a teenager.

After getting a taste of performing in clubs in New Orleans, Prima set off touring the country, heading up to the “big-time,” New York City, in 1934. There he began a fast-moving career with his own band, Louis Prima and His New Orleans Gang, and his own brand of swing music, headlining nightclubs up and down 52nd Street, which became known as “Swing Street” after Prima hit town. His energetic, funloving style made him a very popular performer. Prima was always recording and always touring, selling out nightclubs and theaters all over the country. In the 1940s, his group evolved into a big band orchestra, >>

Lena, Louis Jr., Gia and Louis Prima at their home in Covington.

May-June 2020 27

From top: Walt Disney and Louis Prima look over a sketch of his character from The Jungle Book; Louis and Gia enjoy a day on the golf course at Pretty Acres. 28

Inside Northside

always under the banner of his motto, “Be Happy.” It was also in the ’40s, in tribute to his mother and in celebration of his Italian heritage, that he wrote and recorded tunes such as Buona Sera, Angelina, Josephina, Please No Squeeza Da Banana, and Bacciagaloop, preceding the wave of Italian crooners such as Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett. In the 1950s, Prima developed a Las Vegas nightclub act with New Orleans saxophonist Sam Butera and his band, The Witnesses, and singer Keely Smith, who married Prima in 1953. In 1958, Prima and Smith were awarded the first-ever Grammy in the category Best Performance by a Vocal Group or Chorus for their recording of That Old Black Magic. They also appeared in movies, including The Continental Twist and Hey Boy! Hey Girl! Rock and roll was at its beginnings then, and Prima’s showmanship served as an early influence. He always moved on stage, a constant wiggling shuffle. Prima’s on-stage style rubbed off on at least one legendary performer. When asked where he got his wiggle, Elvis Presley said, “From Louis Prima, of course.” In the 1960s, sometime after >>

he and Smith divorced, Prima, Butera, and the band began performing with singer Gia Maione. Prima and Maione married in 1963. Louis, Gia and Sam Butera performed throughout the country. In 1966, Prima, who had appeared in movies all during the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s, took on one of his best-known roles, providing the voice for King Louie, the orangutan in Disney’s The Jungle Book. It was during the 1950s and ’60s that Prima invested in St. Tammany, first buying 36 acres along Highway 190 south of Covington in 1951, which he christened Pretty Acres. He put in a mileand-a-quarter racetrack for his racehorses to train and work out. During the next few years, he added more than 60 acres and built a house, an 18-hole golf course, a motel, a miniature golf course and a small pro shop. He put a special kitchen in the house and a seating area for a restaurant in the lower level, where his mother became very famous for her cooking. It was a popular weekend spot for people from New Orleans. After Prima’s father died in 1961 and his mother in 1965, the restaurant and

motel were discontinued. Louis and Gia had two children, Lena and Louis Jr., who attended St. Peter School and River Forest Academy when the family was in Covington. While enjoying northshore life in the 1960s and ’70s, Prima made New Orleans his home base professionally, appearing at the Blue Room in the Fairmont [now Roosevelt] Hotel during the ’60s. The Primas took over the Hotel Monteleone’s rooftop Skylight Lounge for three years, until it closed in 1974. In 1975, Prima underwent surgery for a brain tumor and fell into a coma during the procedure. His surgery took place in Los Angeles; after six months in a coma there, he was brought to New Orleans for further treatment. Gia stayed at his side until he died in August 1978. While Prima’s family focused on his care, Pretty Acres fell into disrepair. After his death, Gia restored it, adding cart paths, drainage ditches, sand traps and golf carts. In the 1990s, Pretty Acres closed. The site is now commercially developed with retail stores and restaurants along Highway

190 north of I-12. A street named Louis Prima Drive is the only sign that Prima was ever part of the area, other than the row of oak trees on the neutral ground leading from the highway; the trees once lined the driveway to the Primas’ home. Even after his death, Prima received accolades. The 2007 DVD release of The Jungle Book was met with phenomenal sales. He was honored on the February 2008 Grammy telecast with a special tribute to the 50th anniversary of his Grammy for That Old Black Magic. He was also inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame that same year. Prima was interred in Metairie Cemetery in a crypt overlooked by a statue of the angel Gabriel, who’s blowing a trumpet. And only in New Orleans, and only with Louis Prima, would you find these words forever engraved on a tomb: When the End Comes I Know They’ll Say “Just a Gigolo” As Life Goes on Without me.

Sanctuary by Poki Hampton


Inside Northside

WHEN IT’S FINALLY TIME to close the bedroom door for a little alone time, to read a magazine or get some much-needed sleep, it’s great to have a place that is serene and calming. If your room is not as restful as you would like, here are two ideas for decorating the perfect nighttime sanctuary. A woodlands mural of a Southern landscape is the striking feature of this bedroom designed by the EMB Interiors design team. The bed’s creamy caned headboard is balanced by two

oversized nightstands, also in a creamy white with acrylic. Crisp white cotton bedcovers are accented by linen pillows in soft sage, cream and white. Acrylic and brass lamps have square shades that are also trimmed in brass. Two acrylic and brass benches at the foot of the bed are upholstered in off-white linen. Topping the transitional white linen sofa, which has a bench seat, is a contemporary painting. The crowning touches of the room are the washed beams and the Art Deco chandelier in crystal and brass. >>

Create a restful retreat Corrinne Fisher of Greige Home Interiors designed this bedroom by combining soothing tones of fawn grey, champagne beige and duck egg blue to create a serene setting for the homeowners. The king-sized bed has a shelter headboard upholstered in dove grey velvet with silver accented detailing. Velvet throw pillows with velvet accents and appliques top the silver velvet coverlet and satin duvet cover. Locally made nightstands, in a whitewashed finish with brass hardware, flank the bed. The crystal lamps with brass finials have linen shades. Above the bed hang three framed intaglio. Two swivel glider club chairs are upholstered in embossed velvet animal print. Between the chairs is a Bunny Williams hourglass table in custom silver leaf finish. A hand-knotted viscose Persian-style rug anchors the room, while a crystal and silver transitional style chandelier is the perfect finishing touch. May-June 2020 35

Photographer John Snell

JOHN SNELL FIRST PICKED UP a camera about 10 years ago. “I’ve always worked in a visual medium—for over 30 years. I’ve worked with a lot of talented photojournalists, and learned a lot.” A part of the TV news business in New Orleans since 1983, Snell has reported on virtually every major news story in Southeast Louisiana since then. Currently a morning news anchor and investigative reporter for Fox 8, WVUE, he focuses on South Louisiana’s storm protection and natural features, such as barrier islands, marsh and cypress swamps. Snell has won two national honors: an Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio-Television Digital New Directors Association and a distinguished Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists. In his spare time, Snell enjoys bicycling and photography. “Photography to me is not a job—it’s 36

Inside Northside


Natural Focus


fun; it’s a hobby. I already have a job. Photography is an art form, but there’s also a science to the camera. You have to learn what all the settings are. It can be intimidating, and some folks give up and just set it to automatic.” Snell notes, “Probably the best advice I ever got was, ‘Take a month, put the camera in the manual mode and learn the relationship between apertures, shutter speed, film speed, depth of field—learn how the camera works.’ Boy, I ruined a lot of pictures!” John lives just outside Mandeville near Lacombe. “People are drawn here because it’s clean, it’s safe and a great place to raise a family. It’s perfect for people like me who are into nature. The Northlake Nature Center is right down Hwy. 190; I often shoot marsh scenes there. The Big Branch Marsh Natural Wildlife Refuge has some great scenic spots. And I’ve taken maybe too >> May-June 2020 37


many photographs of the Madisonville Lighthouse. I just get drawn to it. It’s not just a lighthouse—it’s a fabulous lighthouse, perhaps one of the great lighthouses in America. “I think the northshore is a beautiful place. It’s photogenic. The whole New Orleans area is unique. The food, the music—we sometimes take it for granted how good we have it here. I believe that if you’re gonna really live this life, you may as well live in an interesting place.”

Snell’s work on the cover of Inside Publications’ Welcome to the Northshore guide. View online at welcome-to-the-northshore. 38

Inside Northside

May-June 2020 39


Inside Northside

LEAH CHASE BECAME a larger-than-life figure herself after a lifetime spent feeding everyone from the down-and-out to royalty, presidents, athletes, movie stars and musicians, before sadly passing away in June 2019. Her life story, although more a tale of hard work than a fairy tale, became the inspiration behind Disney’s Princess Tiana in the movie The Princess and the Frog, and she inspired generations of New Orleans chefs and restaurateurs. Among many accolades, she received a James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016, and a red chef’s jacket that she wore was put on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. Her influence on the New Orleans culinary scene will be celebrated with the WYES-TV-produced series Kitchen Queens: New Orleans, which will debut May 16, 2020. The show, dedicated to Mrs. Chase, will explore her life and career and will also feature 26 of the city’s female chefs. Inside Northside interviewed Mrs. Chase for our November-December 2011 issue, and we are proud to tell her story again to help kick off WYES-TV’s Kitchen Queens: New Orleans.

Despite all the achievements and accolades Leah’d garnered during her career in the city, life growing up “out in the county” in depression-era Madisonville was never far from her mind. IN: Do you still keep up with the northshore? LC: I’m really gung-ho about Madisonville, where I came up. They have grown so much, oh goodness! I still have family there.

Leah Chase’s photo: ABBY SANDS MILLER

by Stephen Faure

People from all over the world make the trip to Tremé and Dooky Chase Restaurant, Leah’s domain at Orleans Avenue and North Miro Street. Founded in 1939 by Leah’s future in-laws as a small shop on the opposite corner of Miro—and named for her fatherin-law—the restaurant moved to its current location in 1941. Leah married Edward “Dooky” Chase II (who passed away in 2016) in 1945, went to work there and began putting her stamp on the restaurant. She oversaw its expansion and success over the years and shepherded it through its rebirth after Katrina. Her grandson, Edgar Chase IV, now oversees the restaurant as well as Leah’s Kitchen, which anchors the many restaurant offerings at the new terminal of Louis Armstrong International Airport.

Legacy I go across the lake and do fundraisers. I do St. Anselm’s Church every year and work with Mary, Queen of Peace. They even gave me a fundraiser in Covington after the storm. I still have northshore customers; they come across that lake all the time.

Opposite: Leah Chase. Above: Dooky Chase’s

IN: We recently did a story on the Jahncke Shipyard in Madisonville. Was that part of the town when you were there?

Restaurant’s worldfamous Creole Gumbo. May-June 2020 41

IN: Did you have a big family? LC: My mother [Hortensia] had 14 children. She raised 11 of us and we’re all 11 still living. I’m the oldest, but she had a little baby before me that died at 18 months.

Leah Chase’s life story was the inspiration behind Disney’s The Princess and the Frog. This tribute from the director and artists graces the entrance to Dooky Chase’s Restaurant. 42

IN: She must have had her hands full. LC: But I never remember my mother taking a pill for nerves or nothing. She would tell us, “Go dig me some worms out there.” You’d dig some worms and put them in a little tin cup. She’d take her fishing pole and go down to the river or go down to the bayou and she would sit there and fish. That was her relaxation. She would bring home those little perch, sometimes what we called a goggle-eye perch, and she’d fry ’em up. Sometimes she would say, “I’m going fishing now. Put on the grits,” because sometimes we had fish and grits—

Inside Northside

sometimes we just had grits! You know, I think about that, and it was good living. Those were good days. IN: Where did you go to school? LC: Daddy was a stickler for learning things. I learned how to tell the time on a Roman numeral clock when I was 5 years old. Can you beat that? He had no education himself, maybe third grade. People back then knew what they needed to know. My mother was from New Orleans; her mother was a midwife and a registered nurse. My mother had 14 children, so she was pregnant all the time and she would come to New Orleans to have the babies. We had to go across the lake with her until the new baby was ready to come home. My daddy had me going to school when I was 4 years old here in the city when my mother would come. They would send me to the little nursery school. Back then, kids did not go to school young; they started school when they were 7 or so. When I would get back home to go to school in Madisonville, Daddy said, “Now, don’t tell anybody how old you are.” There was no high school for blacks over in Madisonville at all, at least no Catholic ones, and my daddy was more Catholic than the Pope! We had to go to Catholic school, so we came over here and stayed with my aunt to be taught by the same nuns that taught us in Madisonville, the Sisters of the Holy Family. The school, St. Mary’s Academy, was at Orleans and Royal in those days. IN: What was growing up in depression-era rural St. Tammany like? LC: People ask me, “What did you do then? What did you do in segregated times?” I was too busy fighting poverty; I knew I had to rise out of that poverty cycle. I was poorer than Job’s turkey when I came up. It helped me. I had to work. I had to pick strawberries, I had to come home after picking strawberries and then go to school. Then you surely had to wash your clothes and do your things around the house. It didn’t worry me that I couldn’t go in this


LC: Oh, the Jahncke shipyard. My dear, my daddy [Charles Lange] was a caulker. He worked at Jahncke’s. You probably don’t know what a caulker is. See, they built wooden boats and caulkers sealed the joints to keep out water. They had to first go with cotton, then go with oakum—it was a ropy-looking stuff. We used to ride our bike and take him his hot lunch in a little bucket every day. When they had the launching of the boats, that was a big thing! That was your entertainment; it was really something.

place or that place; I didn’t have the money anyway. But I knew if I had the money, I could do more. My daddy used to tell us all the time, “If you work, you can get anything you want.” You know the Dendingers, the big white Dendinger house (the landmark home on Covington Street)? The Dendingers owned the whole town. What is now the Piggly Wiggly across the road from the big house was the Dendingers’ store then. We lived in the area behind there, and our house is still there. You see, you live next to the wealthy people, but you know what? It was segregation time, but they would tell you, “Good morning” and “Good evening.” Nobody ever hated anybody; nobody hated them because they had all the money and you had nothing. People didn’t think like that in those days. We didn’t think like that in the country. You knew you had to work, and you knew nobody gave them anything. They had a sawmill at their big lumber company in Livingston. You know, you didn’t feel like they owed you anything. You felt you had to work so that you could get something. I might not get what they had, but I’d get something. IN: How has Madisonville changed since then? LC: I enjoy that little town today. Some of the old people say, “Look at all these new people coming in and taking over.” Well, praise God they’re taking over, because you people are too old and the young people have moved out. It’s good they’re coming in; they’re bringing new things and new ideas and you can still enjoy.

They have this beautiful, big, new church in Madisonville, but no, they don’t like the church. But nobody explained it to them. St. Anselm is the patron saint of fishermen. You’re almost right on the river, where my mother and everybody used to fish. The church is like a big ship to me, and people don’t realize the inside of the church is like the belly of a whale. Nobody explained what the church meant, what the building meant. I tell people all the time, “If you don’t like the changes you see, change the way you look at it.” I think the church is beautiful myself. It looks like a big ship. That’s exactly what it looks like, a huge ship. And that’s what it’s supposed to be. I think it’s gorgeous. IN: Let’s talk food. The holidays are just around the corner. You’re known as the Queen of Creole Cuisine. What were the holiday traditions you grew up with? LC: I can only talk about my side of the Creoles; they call themselves the Creoles de couleur, the Creoles of color. I think some of the same traditions in New Orleans go the world around. Maybe the Creoles of color have more traditions that came by way of the islands because a lot of slaves came by way of the islands; you pick up things as you come through. IN: I’ve heard people say they consider New Orleans to be the northernmost Caribbean city. What was the islands’ influence on Creole cusine? LC: My gumbo z’herbes, I think, is a derivative of what they call callaloo in the islands. Callaloo is a green that grows out there, but they put okra in it; the African people used a lot of okra. You chop up those greens, and put the okra in with crab and bang! We turned it around and used what we had. IN: Isn’t the gumbo z’herbes an Easter tradition? LC: At Dooky Chase Restaurant, on Holy Thursday, that’s all I serve: gumbo z’herbes and fried chicken. Being superstitious, as we’re supposed to be—we came through the islands where people believed in voodoo and all that—even numbers like 2, 4 and 6 are bad luck. Odd numbers are good luck, so you have to have an uneven number of greens—5, 7, 9, 11. I use nine greens. We put a lot of meat because that was your last big meat day before Easter Sunday. Heaven forbid if your daddy caught you eating anything on Good Friday. I put a lot of meat in those greens. We put brisket in it, and chicken; we put ham and two kinds of sausage. In many communities, the Easter tradition is lamb, May-June 2020 45

because that was the sacrificial animal. But in our community, we had things that were seasonal. We had crawfish. It was important to make crawfish bisque on Easter Sunday, and you had your baked ham and potato salad—those were musts. The must-thing you had to have in the community of the Creoles of color was something called cowan. It’s a snapping turtle. You had stewed cowan. Why did you have cowan on Easter Sunday? Because that’s the beginning of spring, that’s when that turtle started crawling out of the mud. You had what was seasonal. Oh, you’d go to the market and feel the turtle for eggs. You wanted a female with some eggs in it to put in that gravy. Oh, mercy! I still go back to serving that cowan with rice and potato salad on Easter Sunday. You just had those things; it was the things the Creoles had to have. IN: What did your family do for Thanksgiving and Christmas? LC: When I was coming up, I remember only one time we had a turkey: when my mother raised one. On Thanksgiving, you know what we had? Things that they hunted. We had venison if someone hunted deer; we had rabbit and all those kinds of things. You always had gumbo. Gumbo was before any festive meal. You sat at the table and you ate that gumbo by 12 o’clock in the day. Then you got away from the table, you sat around and talked, the family was together and you had you a little wine. We had to make strawberry wine, because that was what we had. On festive holidays, you’d 46

Inside Northside

clean up and have the holly in the window—there was something about it that came together with the food. I remember the cakes we had, jelly cakes, with strawberry jelly, and you’d put the icing on them. We had sweet potato pies, everything you had you made on that day and you enjoyed. Christmas, you had everything, but the one thing the Creoles always had in New Orleans when they’d make market—and it was always “make market” and not “going to the market”—they had this big red snapper. They’d carry this cane basket and what you’d see sticking out of it was the fish’s tail and the celery. The red snapper, it’s a whole fish and you poach it and garnish it. You pull out his eye and you put an olive there and put a shrimp in his mouth. You just make it a pretty dish and that’s what’s on your table. You’d have that on Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’ve got a customer that comes for that every year! He says, “I want that fish you always talk about!” So every year I do one for him to take to his party. Celery was something we had only on holidays. They would take the hearts of the celery out, and they had a glass, a celery glass. You’d clean the hearts, take out the little strings on them and put that little glass on the table. We had olives only on Christmas; you had the celery and a little dish of olives, and that’s what you ate on Christmas. You would have oyster dressing—you never had cornbread dressing. We have what we called oyster patties; it was like a stewed oyster put in a little patty shell, a flaky shell. Naturally, you had your potato salad and your rice and your May-June 2020 47

sweet potatoes. Here in this restaurant, I try to keep up those traditional things and people like it. Some things you don’t have to change. You can do what you do, and whatever you do, you do it. IN: You said your mother liked to fish, and your daddy hunted. What else did you eat growing up? LC: People say, “You sure like to serve quail,” and I do! But I remember my mother and the quail. That was so funny. The bobwhite quail, when they’re up in the tree, they sing “bob-white, bob-white,” but if they fly down, it’s a different song. When they would get in the strawberry patch, my daddy would shoot ’em. He’d shoot those little quails and my mother would clean them. We had these little plum trees in the yard and she used to make jelly out of them. So we’d take those little quails, and you know, the WPA would give you good butter, back then. She’d fry those quails in that butter and put plum jelly over them. It was the best thing in the world. Now I serve that, they think it’s high on the hog! I’ll never forget—we were so poor—they had a grass that I don’t see anymore called purslane. It was a succulent grass, but if you cooked it, it was exactly like spinach. It was wild—what was that other thing you eat wild—poke, the poke sallet. My mother would tell us to go pick it—it would grow in the yard, in the fields and all over and she would cook it. But she would tell us, “Don’t let anybody know we so poor we eating grass.” But when my daughter was living in California, we went to a very elite restaurant. I paid 20 bucks there for my purslane 48

Inside Northside

that I was told not to tell anybody I was eating because it was grass! IN: How did your cookbooks come about? LC: When the publisher came to me, I said, “I can’t do that. I can’t do these recipes for you, I can’t do that.” She said, “We’re going to give you time; you just try.” They did give me time, but I thought I can’t be bothered with all that. I remembered what I heard Dr. Howard Thurman say to a group at a women’s college in Atlanta one time. He said, “There’s a genius in every one of you. But you know, you’re just hustling and bustling and going around, and you just have to stop. Just stop for a while and let it all come out.” And sure enough, I did that. I just sat down one day. I was thinking about food, I was thinking about how I came up and I just started writing it on paper. He said you will be surprised, and I certainly was surprised I could write that book. I wrote about things I did as a kid in Madisonville, and surprisingly, people liked those little stories. They read those little stories and say, “I can do this; I came up the same way.” That book came out in 1990, and it’s still selling. I still sign that book all over the place. IN: You share your traditions every day serving food at your restaurant. Besides your cookbooks, how else are you passing along your traditions? LC: I’m trying to do another cookbook with my grandson, who’s also called Dooky. He went to the Cordon Bleu in Paris. He came to work with me, but went back to work with Entergy. He had gotten his MBA while May-June 2020 49

working for Entergy and works there during the day. He comes to work here with me at night. I’m a cook. I’ve never been formally trained; I do what I’ve done all my life. He’s trained; chefs have to be trained and it gives a restaurant a little more credibility. None of these old black men that were in these kitchens were trained; they just did what they had to do. Then it came to the day when the chef became the big thing. If a restaurant is going to advertise, you better have some sort of training under your belt so they can say, “well, he’s qualified”—you know how people are. Dooky wanted to go to the Cordon Bleu. I said, “Cordon Bleu? We’re going to have to do some Cordon Noir; put a little black in that blue.” IN: Do you have any advice for cooks trying to keep their family traditions alive? LC: People say, “I can’t cook like my momma.” It’s because you’re not your momma! People who cooked all their lives, when they put something in their hands, they knew how much that was. That was their measurement, but they would get it right every time. If you make an oyster dressing, those old people would die if you put an oyster in a food chopper. You chopped it on the board. It’s a whole different ball game. For some reason it tastes different if you chop it than if you mash it up in that machine. Your momma had a certain touch that was unbelievable, and that was that. You’ll never be that, because you will never be her. You can do your own thing, and it will be yours. 50

Inside Northside

Kitchen Queens: New Orleans

A new WYES-TV series turns the spotlight on women who are changing the culinary landscape of New Orleans. Kitchen Queens: New Orleans will introduce viewers to the bumper crop of female chefs who are making their mark on the city’s food scene with unforgettable and uncommon dishes. The new 26-part series premieres Saturday, May 16, at 10:00 a.m., with a repeat on Sundays at 1:30 p.m. The list of extraordinary women whose unique voices and recipes will be highlighted runs from A to Z—from Saveur Catering’s Melissa Araujo to Zasu’s Sue Zemanick. The first episode, titled Creole New Orleans, will feature Creole Louisiana Snapping Turtle Soup by Jana Billiot, Restaurant R’evolution; Chicken Creole by Cleo Robinson and Edgar “Dooky” Chase, IV, Dooky Chase’s Restaurant; and Deep-Fried Seafood-Stuffed Bell Peppers by Tia Henry, Cafe. Dauphine. A watch party on Saturday, May 16 at the same time as the premiere will feature director/producer Terri Landry and the first three chefs participating online. Pre-register for the watch party at The series is dedicated to culinary pioneer Leah Chase. Her work in the culinary arts and as an activist led to countless awards, including a James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016. On Kitchen Queens: New Orleans, grandson Edgar “Dooky” Chase, IV, and niece Cleo Robinson prepare three of Leah’s signature dishes, while reflecting on her life and legacy. To capture the dynamics of this transforming industry, all of the dishes in the series were shot on location in kitchens that ran the gamut from an expansive teaching kitchen at the New Orleans Culinary and Hospitality Institute to the compact Diva Dawg food truck, to homey digs in Mosquito Supper Club’s Creole Cottage. The series is fueled by girl power through production mavens Terri Landry and Dawn Smith, who have

kitchens. “There was a terrible old saying that ‘women make good

spearheaded thirteen previous national cooking series for

cooks, but men make better chefs,’” says Landry. “Our Kitchen Queens

WYES-TV. That number includes five starring the late Chef

are reimagining the restaurant world as chefs and restaurateurs.”

Paul Prudhomme and, most recently, three with Chef Kevin

When the cameras started rolling, the Kitchen Queens

Belton. According to Landry, who is producer-director, a

demonstrated their unique creativity and style. “It was an honor

series featuring female chefs has been on her radar for

and a pleasure to feature these chefs,” says associate producer

years. She says, “As women in all walks of life are being

Dawn Smith. “Between dishes, we exchanged stories about our

acknowledged and celebrated, the timing was right.”

families and really bonded with these incredibly hard working

Women have always been involved with food, from


To join the watch party on May 16!


gathering and growing it, to feeding their families. Although women frequently brought home the bacon and cooked it too, they have been significantly underrepresented in professional

For more information, go to kitchenqueens/. May-June 2020 51


glow of gaslight by Anne Honeywell

LET'S STAY OUT HERE on the porch for a minute—and talk about outdoor lighting. A guest's first impression of your home is created while standing at your front door. There are many choices of outdoor lighting to illuminate the front of your home, but none more timeless than the glow of gas lanterns. Nothing is more elegant and no fixtures exude a greater sense of timeless beauty than the glow of simple brass carriage lanterns lighting your entrance. As Southern as painting your porch ceiling Virgin Mary blue, the locally crafted Bevolo lantern has not changed in design since 1945 and remains today as the gold standard of gas lanterns in this region. Made from the finest 52

Inside Northside

copper, Bevolo’s gas lights are hand-riveted and oxidized to give each lantern an antique, aged finish. Over time, they will oxidize to that gorgeous coveted patina of a rich bronze tone with tiny hints of green patina around the edges. Gas lights can transform the look of your home, creating the ideal combination of beauty, energy sustainability and energy efficiency. If you're building, there's no discussion. Run a gas line for your lanterns. If you don't have gas lanterns on the front of your house, call your plumber and ask about getting gas to your entry; it may be easier than you think. The most common mistake when buying outdoor fixtures is going too small. Remember, most people are viewing them from the street, 50 feet away. Let the delicate flicker of a gas flame say “welcome home” and give your house an added element of charm and distinction.

IN Other Words by Becky Slatten

new normal?

SO, WHAT DID you do today? Work from home in your pajamas? Incessantly cook meals and clean the kitchen? Go for 8 walks? Make some TikToks? (I don’t know how to TikTok yet, but if we’re stuck at home much longer, I’m threatening to learn and my kids are paralyzed with fear, haha.) These are crazy times we’re living through, and the new normal is so weird. I like to scroll through social media in search of some humor to keep me sane; I could easily write this entire article just by ripping off various Instagram accounts. For example, according to one Instagrammer, 8pm is now the official time to change out of your daytime pajamas into your nighttime pajamas; this actually turned out to be useful information because, early on in the Caronavirus lockdown, I stayed in my nightgown all day and then went back to bed in it that night, clearly in violation of the new pajama rule, who knew? But seriously, it’s either pjs or gym shorts and t-shirts these days, and really, what’s the difference? I actually put on real clothes the other day for my husband’s benefit, but, as it turns out, he couldn’t care less, so that was that. I now make an effort to change out of my pajamas into my t-shirt and gym shorts before noon strictly because I somehow find it less depressing—like there’s some hope attached to wearing clothes; like I might actually have to go somewhere and buy something essential. For the foreseeable future, I’ve decided to let 54

Inside Northside

myself go. With the closure of all the salons, I don’t care anymore. Let’s just say my true colors are now showing (we’ll call them “silver”), and I don’t even know where my makeup is. I painted my own toenails the other day, and they look like my 4-year-old granddaughter did them. (The ladies at the nail salon make it look so easy, but it is not.) Additionally, since the end is obviously near, I’ve decided to eat all the pasta I want; so how’s that working out for me, you ask? Not great. Let’s just say I’m not exactly bathingsuit ready. One of the major benefits of wearing a mask in public is definitely the possibility that I won’t be recognized, because it’s not pretty over here. On the bright side, I find myself flush with cash, since there’s no reason to buy anything except food and cleaning products. (Who knew Lysol wipes and Purell hand sanitizer would be the hot commodities of 2020? Only 2 per customer, please.) I presently have no interest in clothes because there’s, of course, nowhere to go (and also because of the above mentioned pasta situation); there are no gifts to buy for the weddings and parties that have been postponed; and worst of all, no dining at restaurants. I have been made starkly aware of how much money I spend dining out, and all I can say is, I can’t wait to do it again. In fact, two of the things I miss most are dining at restaurants and touching my face. I also miss people. Have you discovered Zoom

or FaceTime or Houseparty yet? They’re apps designed to facilitate virtual meetings. I’ve attended several virtual get-togethers and, while they’re fun and help us stay connected, it’s no substitute for real human contact— and I also look particularly heinous on the iPad for some reason. I can’t wait to hug my family and friends and celebrate together, if nothing else, the end of this nightmare called social distancing. And as I complain about being stuck safely inside my home, there are healthcare workers on the front lines putting themselves and possibly their families at risk tending to those who are fighting for their next breath. These heroes deserve our respect and gratitude as much as the sick need our prayers. Grocery store and pharmacy employees, truck drivers, everyone working to produce the food and goods the rest of us need are also to be commended. Thank you. So, for the time being, I’m sending you all a virtual hug and a reminder to stay 6 feet apart, don’t hoard the toilet paper and keep your hands off your face. May-June 2020 55


Inside Northside


Live Oak Society LIVE OAKS SYMBOLIZE STRENGTH, stability and steadfastness; these trees are evergreens, some of the longest-lived in the world, and the wood they yield when harvested is some of the strongest and most resilient. Live oak was, in fact, the most sought-after wood for building warships prior to iron and steel construction. Beginning in the Revolutionary War, the U.S. Navy purchased reserves of live oak stands to ensure the shipbuilders’ supplies of live oak wood. It was valued not only for its strength, but also because the oak’s “knees”—where the large curved limbs meet the trunk—were often the perfect shape for forming and bracing the sides of warships. The famous warship U.S.S. Constitution earned its

nickname, “Old Ironsides,” during the War of 1812 because enemy fire bounced off her live oak timbers. Admiration for the live oak and a need for a means to catalog and preserve the oldest and grandest of its specimens gave birth in 1934 to the Live Oak Society. Dr. Edwin Lewis Stephens, president of Southwestern Louisiana Institute, now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, envisioned a society in which the live oak trees themselves would be the members, with the largest being its president. Each tree would have a human sponsor, and one human being would serve as chairman and be responsible for maintaining the registry of trees. Dr. Stephens >>

May-June 2020 57


From top: President of the Live Oak Society, Lewisburg’s Seven Sisters Oak measures 38 feet in girth and is estimated to be more than 1,200 years old; A perfect example of a live oak that has grown unimpaired by other trees, the Abbot Paul Schaueble Oak, the largest at St. Joseph Abbey, provides peaceful shade for those resting in the abbey cemetery. 58

Inside Northside

began with 45 member-trees. Coleen Perilloux Landry, the only human permitted in the Society, has served as chairman since 2001. The criterion for registration is that the tree must have a girth (circumference) of a minimum of eight feet when measured at 4-4 1/2 feet from the ground. Live oaks measuring at least 16 feet are considered more than 100 years old and are registered as Centenarians. Today, there are 9,900 member trees located in 14 states, with more than 500 of them in St. Tammany Parish. Mandeville alone has more than 260 registered oaks, with 10 of those in the Lewisburg area on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain. One of those is the magnificent Seven Sisters, the largest live oak in the world, with a


The dramatic structure of a live oak is striking against the backdrop of a Mandeville lakefront sunset.

girth of more than 38 feet. Estimated by foresters to be more than 1,200 years old, it has been the society’s president since 1968. Formerly known as “Doby’s Seven Sisters,” it was first named by Carole Hendry Doby, who was one of seven sisters. Saint Joseph Abbey in St. Benedict near Covington is home to four registered oaks. The largest, the Abbot Paul Schaueble Oak, has a 20-foot girth and is named after St. Joseph’s first abbot. This mammoth oak presides over the abbey’s cemetery, and many find solace in its shade. Abbey historian Fr. Dominic relates a story illustrating the live oak’s enduring toughness. In 1957, a tornado struck the area and took the midsection out of the Abbott Paul Oak. Although many alternatives were considered for repairing the tree, it was decided that the best course of action was to leave the tree to heal on its own; it has filled out to become the remarkable icon it remains today.

A Place To Find A Moment’s Peace

Zen Zone LAKEVIEW REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER has opened “Zen Zone,” a dedicated space that is available all day, every day for employees and physicians to unwind and recharge as they face the COVID-19 crisis. The Zen Zone is a quiet area located in the Pelican Room on the first floor of the hospital. “We wanted to provide a place for our employees to go and find peace during this difficult time,” says Hiral Patel, CEO of Lakeview Regional. “They are giving every single bit of themselves to combatting this virus and often don’t have much time unwind and recharge to stay in the fight. We hope this small bit of quiet and Zen-like atmosphere helps to provide them with that opportunity.” The Northshore Community Foundation, through a donation from its “Community Heroes helping Healthcare Heroes” program, partnered with Lakeview Regional to furnish this room with yoga mats and workout balls for stress reduction, earphones and recliners to help relax, and diffusers filled with lavender essential oil to provide a calming space. In addition, Lakeview Regional offers an employee assistance program through Beacon Health to assist employees with any concerns or problems affecting behavioral health or well-being. This free resource includes counseling services. For more information about Lakeview Regional, please visit or call (985) 867-3800.


Inside Northside

LOUISIANA IS BLESSED with a unique blend of cultures. Its rich ethnic mixture includes descendants of the state’s original Native American inhabitants and those of settlers who were French, Spanish, English, German, West Indian, African, Irish or Italian. The state’s food, music, architecture and festive celebrations pay tribute to this great diversity. The southeastern area of the state known as the northshore, along the northern edge of Lake Pontchartrain within an hour’s drive from New Orleans, is composed of St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and Washington parishes. Long before the Europeans came to the area, the vibrant Native American Tchefuncte Culture thrived in what was an ideal location of rich forests and accessible waterways on l’autre côté du lac—the other side of the lake. Their descendants were to meet the Europeans when they came. European presence on the northshore began in 1699, when Pierre LeMoyne, Sieur d’Iberville, came ashore near Lacombe. The northshore area was


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included in the region known as the Florida Parishes, which was under the jurisdiction of the British and Spanish before declaring its independence in 1810. After the new republic was annexed by the United States, the three northshore parishes were among those formed from the former republic. Although settlers began arriving on the northshore as early as 1725, migration from the southshore accelerated in the early nineteenth century and has continued to this day. New Orleanians flocked to the northshore for fresh air, spring water and a resort lifestyle. The “other side of the lake” flourished, especially in the heat of summer; hotels, inns and restaurants promoted the health benefits. Steamboats and the railroads brought visitors who often stayed for long periods of time. Some southshore families built summer homes. The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway and Interstate 12 made it more realistic for people to live on the northshore and work on the southshore, and new >>


Our Northshore

May-June 2020 63


Inside Northside

Discover the northshore and experience the best that Louisiana has to offer— North of Your Expectations!

St. Tammany Parish St. Tammany is one of the fastest-growing parishes in Louisiana. What makes St. Tammany such a desirable location? Its proximity to New Orleans, transportation accessibility, low business costs, availability of labor, superb school system, low crime rate and first-rate medical facilities are just some of the many reasons for the area’s rapid development. St. Tammany’s thick pine forests, scenic rivers, lakes and cypress swamps create an outdoor playground. Approximately 77,000 acres, or 14 percent of the parish’s total land area are designated as public land, with two state parks, two national wildlife refuges and a wildlife management area. The Tammany Trace offers a 31-mile recreational corridor for pedestrians, bicycles, equestrians, rollerbladers and joggers. The St. Tammany Parish Public Schools system is a leader in the state by all major standards of educational excellence and has been named one of the top 100 school systems within the nation’s major metropolitan areas by Money magazine. >>


subdivisions and shopping centers were developed to accommodate the influx. The continued population growth and the accompanying commercial and industrial development brought prosperity and also the accompanying challenges. Offering a distinctive combination of cosmopolitan sophistication and country charm that reflects the state’s diversity, northshore cities, towns and villages have much to offer residents and visitors alike. Northshore residents enjoy living close enough to New Orleans to work or visit—but far enough away to delight in the benefits of a close-knit community with family-oriented activities, quality education and strong leadership in local government. That quality of life may be because residents, both old and new, value and strive to preserve the unique qualities that have attracted people to the northshore from the time of the Tchefuncte to today. Here you will find magnificent homes in expertly planne d subdivisions, as well as sweeping country estates tucked privately among rolling hills and winding rivers. When it comes to outdoor recreation, you can enjoy the region’s natural beauty by sailing, fishing, swimming, hiking and biking. Beautiful state parks and area wildlife refuges provide a haven for spectacular native wildlife.

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Abita Springs A popular retreat from New Orleans during the nineteenth century, this historic town has once again become a relaxing getaway from big-city living. Known for its legendary spring water, Abita Springs was originally founded as a Choctaw Indian village. Well-known attractions include the Abita Springs Opry and the Abita Brewery. Covington In 1813, John Wharton Collins laid out a town above the confluence of the Tchefuncte and Bogue Falaya rivers. With the coming of the steamboat and the railroad, Covington, the center of St. Tammany Parish government, has historically served as a hub for commerce to and from New Orleans. Decades-old oaks line many streets in this picturesque southern Louisiana community; >>


Six schools have been designated National Schools of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education. Students continue to exceed the national average on the American College Test. St. Tammany Parish offers many public and private medical facilities that provide a wide array of services, state-of-the-art equipment, qualified personnel and specialized medical practitioners. There are three public hospitals and a variety of private medical providers. In addition, the parish has numerous resources focused on its senior residents. Parish residents celebrate a wide variety of events throughout the year, including: Mardi Gras, Madisonville Wooden Boat Festival, Covington Three Rivers Art Festival, Slidell Antique District Street Fair and the St. Tammany Parish Fair. St. Tammany’s estimated population for 2018 was 259,526 and is expected to grow by 12,760 by 2023. In 2018, St. Tammany had 101,480 jobs. From 2013 to 2018, jobs increased by 9.2 percent in St. Tammany Parish outpacing the national growth rate by 1 percent.


a charming downtown district features excellent restaurants, art galleries, antique shops and boutiques. Folsom Located amidst rolling hills, horse farms and plant nurseries, the village of Folsom offers peaceful, country living. Rambling country estates, farms and ranches situated on beautiful rivers and streams make St. Tammany’s northernmost community a highly desirable destination. Lacombe Rich in Native American history, this small town was home to the Choctaw and Colapissa Indian tribes. Strategically located on one of south Louisiana’s most scenic bayous, Lacombe is the home of the popular Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge. Madisonville Named after President James Madison, this historic community grew up along the banks of the Tchefuncte River. Best known for its annual Wooden Boat Festival, the small community is host to the largest gathering of antique classic and contemporary wooden boats on the Gulf Coast. Mandeville In 1829, New Orleans planter and politician Bernard de Marigny de Mandeville bought Bonnabel Plantation on the northshore of Lake Pontchartrain and named it “Fontainebleau.” The site is now Fontainebleau State Park. By 1834, he began subdividing the land, and in three days, he sold 388 lots at auction in New Orleans. The migration continued through the years as steamers brought New Orleanians to the northshore to escape the heat and disease of the city. Later, automobiles made the trip to reach “the jewel on the lake.”

The sleepy, summer resort has become a thriving, energetic city. Connected to New Orleans by the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, Mandeville’s historic lakefront provides a magnificent setting for elaborate homes and excellent restaurants. Slidell In the early 1880s, the building camp established for construction of The New Orleans and Northeastern Railroad grew rapidly. Frederick Erlanger, who helped finance the railroad, named the settlement for his deceased father-in-law, John Slidell. Slidell was chartered in 1888. Now, as a crossroads of three interstate highways, a railroad and navigable bayous, Slidell is the most populous town in St. Tammany Parish. Slidell offers some of the best natural attractions and most beautiful scenery in southeast Louisiana. The Honey Island Swamp, considered one of America’s most pristine river estuary environments, encompasses St. Tammany’s eastern border. Slidell’s Olde Towne historic district offers a plethora of antique shops, art galleries and restaurants. For information, contact the St. Tammany Tourist and Convention Commission at (800) 634-9443 or, St. Tammany Corportion at (985) 809-7874 or, or St. Tammany Parish Government at (985) 898-2700 or

Tangipahoa Parish What started as a small economy rich in agricultural history, the Hammond Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Tangipahoa Parish, is now >> May-June 2020 69


designated as the second-fastest-growing MSA in the state of Louisiana. The parish is known for being open for business, and it is easy to do business here. Located at the intersection of two major interstates, I-12 and I-55, Tangipahoa is just one hour from New Orleans and Baton Rouge and a short distance from the Gulf Coast, so residents can quickly travel to these destinations for business or fun. Private, corporate and government aircraft take advantage of the Hammond Northshore Regional Airport. The Canadian National Main Line provides freight services, and Amtrak’s passenger train service operates daily with north and south travel as well as connecting services east and west. The Tangipahoa Parish Public School System educates over 19,000 students, providing strong instructional leadership in a safe and orderly environment Since its founding in 1925, Southeastern Louisiana University has made fundamental contributions to the northshore region. With nearly 15,000 students and over 152 areas of study, it is the third largest institution in the state, ranking #1 in Louisiana’s public health education and promotion programs. In 70

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the nation, Southeastern ranks in the top 23 for supply management programs and #19 in occupational, safety, health and environmental programs. Northshore Technical Community College provides essential career pathways in science, technology, engineering and math, as well as partnerships among school systems, community colleges and universities to advance a critical pipeline of talent that supports our local and regional industry partners. Tangipahoa Parish offers more fairs, festivals, social and cultural events than any other parish in the state. Over a half a million residents and visitors each year enjoy events such as the Louisiana Renaissance Festival, Antique Trade Days and Vintage Market Days of Southeast Louisiana. Events such as the Tangipahoa Parish Free Fair, Tickfaw Italian Festival, Independence Sicilian Heritage Festival and Amite Oyster Festival allow us to remember where we came from and celebrate moving forward. The Southeastern Columbia Theatre welcomes national and international talent, and culture and art are celebrated at the Hammond Regional Arts Center and the African-American


Heritage Museum. Southeastern’s Strawberry Stadium and other campus athletic venues, Chappapeela Sports Park and Ponchatoula Area Recreation District are home to countless yearround, family-friendly sporting events. Amite Known for its oyster industry, Amite celebrates the mighty mollusk with an oyster festival each spring. The town is home to the Tangipahoa Parish Fairgrounds and hosts the parish’s annual fair featuring agricultural events, crafts, entertainment and a rodeo. Independence The “Little Italy of Louisiana” celebrates its local Italian heritage and culture with the Independence Sicilian Festival featuring fine cuisine, arts and entertainment. Independence is also home to Amato’s Winery, a family-owned business specializing in dry, semi-sweet and sweet strawberry wine made from local strawberries. Hammond In 1818, Swedish immigrant Peter Hammond began the settlement that would bear his name and become the largest city in Tangipahoa Parish. The arrival of the New Orleans, Jackson, and Great Northern Railroad in 1854 brought many new people to the >>

area. After the Civil War, early entrepreneur Charles Emery Cate and other residents laid out the streets and lined them with oak trees. The city was chartered in 1889, and the downtown became a shipping center for the timber and strawberry industries. Today, the combination of highway-railair-sea transportation has made Hammond into a transportation/distribution capital. The city enjoys a re-invigorated historic downtown and is home to Southeastern Louisiana University. Ponchatoula Known as “America’s Antique City,” Ponchatoula is a shopper’s paradise with quaint antique shops and restaurants lining the streets. The annual Strawberry Festival draws countless visitors every April to celebrate Tangipahoa’s celebrated crop. For more information, contact Tangipahoa Parish Government at (985) 748-3211 or, Tangipahoa Parish Economic Development at (985) 340-9028 or, or Tangipahoa Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau at (800) 542-7520 or

Washington Parish Washington Parish, named in honor of the first president of the United States, is one of the state’s eight Florida Parishes, having been formed from a


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Bogalusa Bogalusa, the only city in the parish, is the chief manufacturing and trading center of the fertile Pearl River valley. Its name is derived from the Indian-named creek “Bogue Lusa,” which flows through the city. Bogalusa is known as the “Magic City” because of its rapid construction in less than a year. Brothers Frank and Charles Goodyear founded the Great Southern Lumber Company in


part of St. Tammany Parish in 1819. The roughly 665 square miles of the parish is filled with rolling hills, dense pine forests, scenic waterways and rural back roads. The area’s bucolic lifestyle is reflected in the fact that half of the parish is utilized for agricultural purposes. A large portion of the remainder is devoted to the timber industry, both natural and planted. Flowing between the hills of Washington Parish are the beautiful Bogue Chitto and Pearl rivers, which are surrounded by places of dramatic beauty that support a wealth of flora and fauna. Recreational opportunities are plentiful for outdoorsmen, including excellent hunting, fishing and camping. Washington Parish stands out in the production of lumber and other wood products, with an enviable record in reforestation of cutover lands, as well as in the scientific manner in which its timber resources have been and are being harvested. 1906 marked the beginning of the lumber industry for the parish. The Great Southern Lumber Company became the largest pulp and paper mill in the world. The mill, now owned by International Paper, celebrated its 100th anniversary in January 2018.

1906 and located their sawmill in the town they built for its workers; the town was incorporated as a city on July 4, 1914. In September, the city hosts the annual Bogalusa Blues and Heritage Festival, which is known as one of the top music festivals in the New Orleans and Gulf Coast regions. The city’s Magic City Carnival Association’s 38-float Mardi Gras parade, started in 1981, attracts more than 50,000 parade watchers annually. Franklinton Franklinton is a progressing rural town supported by aggressive farmers and a few industrial plants. Founded in 1819, Franklinton became the permanent parish seat in July 1826. The Washington Parish Free Fair, the largest free fair in the United States and the second-largest county fair in Louisiana, is held during the third week of October each year. On the fairgrounds is the historic Mile Branch Settlement, pioneer log cabins dating back to 1850. Bogue Chitto State Park offers hiking, fishing, camping, boating and tubing. For more information, contact the Washington Parish Tourism Commission at (985) 839-5228 or, or Washington Parish Government at (985) 839-7825 or May-June 2020 73

Caps For Kids Creating Smiles For Kids With Cancer

IN 1993, NEW ORLEANS-BASED orthopedic surgeon Dr. Stephen Heinrich, a specialist in pediatric oncology—notably limb salvage due to bone cancer—had a special patient who was a huge fan of the Auburn University football team. Through a personal relationship, Dr. Heinrich was able to have a team ball cap autographed by both the coach and the star player for his patient. The reaction of the young man when he received his autographed cap inspired Dr. Heinrich to do something similar for other pediatric patients, and before long, Caps For Kids came to life. Two years later, Caps For Kids was incorporated as an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. For the past 25 years, Caps For Kids has been creating smiles for kids with cancer by connecting them with their celebrity hero through autographed baseball caps. What started as one kind gesture for one child with one cap has grown into a national 74

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nonprofit organization that touches the lives of thousands and thousands of young cancer patients at more than 150 pediatric oncology medical facilities across the country and into Canada and the United Kingdom. The organization is led today by President Ellen Kempner and National Program Director Jamie O’Berry, along with a dedicated board of directors. Still headquartered in New Orleans, Ellen uses the strengths and skills developed through a 40-year career in marketing, as well as Jamie’s experience as a hematology and oncology social worker, to ensure the organization remains strong and always continues to grow. They are delighted to share that 1999 2019???was the best year in Caps For Kids’ history. The way the program works has been refined over the years. When a child is diagnosed at a partner pediatric cancer medical facility, the >>

facility helps to provide the name of their Cap Hero. Caps Kids themselves define who they consider their hero; those names include a wide range of well-known celebrity actors, musicians, sports players, cartoon characters, politicians and even YouTube stars. The Caps for Kids staff reaches out to the celebrity for their cap signature and sends the ball cap to the child. The caps are symbols of hope for Caps Kids and help give them courage and strength. Many Caps Kids say that their autographed cap makes them feel as if their Cap Hero is right there with them during every treatment, cheering them on and helping turn their struggles into triumphs. More than 15,000 children and adolescents are diagnosed with cancer every year in the United States. The Caps for Kids goal is to put a cap on each one of their heads. Caps For Kids handles all the costs of the program, relying on donations and partnerships to help achieve its mission. It costs $49 to send a Cap Hero cap to a Caps Kid; nearly every dollar raised goes directly into the program, with extremely limited administrative expenses. Donations at any level are encouraged; those on a monthly and/or annual recurring basis are especially important as they form the financial foundation of the program. In addition, schools and businesses can provide support by holding Cap Days. It’s a meaningful and easy way for students and employees to >>


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give back. Many businesses further their impact by matching their employee donations. To learn more about Caps For Kids, and how to become involved, visit, social media, email or call 504-891-4277.

When he was just two years old, Elliott developed a rare cancerous tumor that starts in the liver of young children. At four, he was diagnosed with a form of juvenile leukemia, affecting his blood and bone marrow. If that wasn’t hard enough, when he turned six years old, Elliott was diagnosed with another form of acute leukemia. To help bring a smile to his face, Caps for Kids connected Elliott with his Cap Hero, Mike Trout, center fielder for the Los Angeles Angels Major League Baseball team. Elliott’s dad says Elliott likes Trout because his dad has his jersey, and they always watch Angels baseball together. Elliott is described as outgoing, funny, loud and competitive. His hobbies include baseball, soccer and building with Legos. His new Cap makes him feel stronger and allows him to believe in heroes.


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Northshore Icon

Walker Percy WHEN HIS MEDICAL CAREER was short-circuited by tuberculosis, internationally renowned Covington author Walker Percy became a diagnostician of a different sort. He turned from the pathology of the body to the spiritual pathology of modern man. “I was the happiest doctor who ever got TB and was able to quit. It gave me an excuse to do what I wanted to do,” he told a reporter. Percy’s love of literature had been fostered by his “Uncle Will,” William Alexander Percy, actually a cousin. Will adopted Walker and his two brothers after their father committed suicide in 1929 and their mother later died in an automobile accident. In Greenville, Mississippi, Will was a lawyer, writer, planter, sponsor of the arts and supporter of the early civil rights movement. Percy absorbed it all. He published essays at age 19, but decided to pursue medicine, unlike the law careers of most of the men in his genteel Southern family. Percy studied at the University of North Carolina, where his papers are archived, and received his medical degree from Columbia University in 1941. College classmates recall how Percy regularly cut classes to go to the movies. He told a reporter, “It wasn’t escapist. I was getting to know how people looked at the world and what they thought.” He also believed “the study of the external man was necessary for understanding the internal man.” (St. Tammany friends recall how, when going to dinner with Percy, he would always sit so he could observe people and overhear conversations.) 80

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During an internship at Bellevue Hospital, Percy contracted tuberculosis; his recuperation took several years. Confined and isolated, he read to occupy his time, choosing the great European philosophers Jean Paul Sartre, Albert Camus and Søren Kierkegaard, and novels by Dostoevsky, Tolstoy and Kafka. Percy married Mary Bernice Townsend, who was known as “Bunt,” on November 7, 1946. They converted to Catholicism in 1947 and moved to the northshore in 1950 after a few years in uptown New Orleans. They eventually settled into a secluded, gracious French Chateau-style home on the Bogue Falaya River, where they raised two daughters, Mary Pratt Lobdell and Ann Moores, who gave them four grandsons. Percy has been called the “most provocative voice in American letters.” His six novels are The Moviegoer (1961), The Last Gentleman (1966), Love in the Ruins (1971), Lancelot (1977), The Second Coming (1988) and The Thanatos Syndrome (1987). Two non-fiction works are Message in a Bottle (1975) and Lost in the Cosmos (1983). His novels are not easy reads. Because of the metaphysical themes, his works can be somewhat challenging and puzzling. Maybe Percy is difficult to read because the reader doesn’t like what he sees. His novels are filled with a sense of despair, but also humor and hope. Walker himself said, “It is as if discouragement were necessary, and that one has to first encounter despair before one is entitled to hope.” Percy knew if he got preachy or moral about >>

Walker Percy at his home in Covington. May-June 2020 81

his observations of man’s alienation, he would lose his audience. He never lapses into a serious tone. Far from being glum and dogmatic, his commentary on Western society is laced with humor and irony. A satirist, he wraps his thoughts in comedy, parody and illusion. In his prose, one sees how hollow man’s pursuit of life, liberty and happiness can be. Percy won the National Book Award for fiction in 1962 for his first and most popular novel, The Moviegoer. He beat out J.D. Salinger’s Franny and Zooey and Joseph Heller’s Catch 22. Fortune smiled on Percy again in 1966, when his second book, The Last Gentleman, was a contender for the award.

Above: Walker Percy greets Pope John Paul II. Right: The novels of Walker Percy. 82

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When not writing in his studio at home, Percy rented space in several locations in downtown Covington—the old St. Tammany Art Association building on New Hampshire Street across from Christ Episcopal School; in a New Orleans-style slave quarters off Theard Street; and upstairs at his daughter’s bookstore, Kumquat, on Lee Lane. Often he would take a break by sitting on the steps of the shop, chatting with visitors on the popular shopping venue, many of whom were probably unaware of his national, even international, stature. National writers such as William F. Buckley and George Will described the setting in articles after interviews on the Percy porch from the ’60s through the ’80s. Percy once explained to a young reporter why he lived in Covington: “As bad as it is, and everything is bad—the politics is bad, schools are bad, pollution is terrible—still I think the people are the saving grace. I’ve tried living elsewhere, but it is the people here that make it so special.” Percy cared about the poor. He volunteered for Head Start, supervising the bus drivers and even driving himself. In the 1960s, he organized the biracial Greater Covington Community Relations Council, and a cross was burned in his yard. As a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, he helped collect and distribute fresh vegetables to the needy. Percy was honored many times in his lifetime: with dinner at the White House with President Reagan, participation with 40 other world figures in a series of meetings with Pope John Paul II, presentation of the Jeffersonian Lecture for the National Endowment for the Humanities and presentation of the Chekhov Festival Lecture at Cornell University. In 1989, an International Walker Percy Conference was held in Denmark, evidence of the breadth of his influence. Walker Percy died of cancer in 1990 at the age of 73. He is buried on the grounds of St. Joseph Abbey. In its memorial column about the author, the Washington Post said, “He called his second book, The Last Gentleman. That distinction belongs in truth to Percy himself.” The Los Angeles Times’ Frank Levering wrote, “He is one of the few contemporary fiction writers who have written as if God matters. And for that reason, he will last beyond our times.”

The Walker Percy Trail

You can still trace the footsteps of this Covington resident and National Book Award winner. Born in Alabama in 1916, noted author Walker Percy moved to Covington on the Northshore in 1948. It was here that he wrote his most famous books, including “The Moviegoer,” which won a National Book Award in 1962, as well as “Last Gentleman,” “The Second Coming,” and “Love in the Ruins.” The philosophical novelist was a devout Catholic, devoted to his family and reportedly fond of bourbon and naps. MANDEVILLE

2025 Lakeshore Drive: Currently The Lakehouse Restaurant, the structure built in 1834 by Bernard de Marigny was for decades known as Bechac’s. The lakefront restaurant was a favorite gathering spot for Percy who met friends for lunch there every Thursday. Today you can still sip a cocktail, enjoy lunch and a view of the lake, just as Percy did often. COVINGTON

Boston St. at Lee Lane: A Louisiana Historic Marker denotes details of Percy’s life and residence in Covington. 228 Lee Lane: Now a boutique called The French Mix, this quaint cottage formerly housed the Kumquat Book Shop, owned by Percy’s daughter. The author often wrote upstairs in his little office on the shop’s second floor. 213 Park Drive: One of Bill Binnings’ statues of Percy stands in Bogue Falaya Wayside Park in downtown Covington. Percy and his wife Mary Bernice “Bunt” Townsend lived a short distance from the park, near 8th Street and Jahncke. Highway 21 (Military Rd.) just south of Oswald Road: Another historic marker denotes the “Original Homestead of Walker Percy,” the property he first bought in 1948 when he moved to Covington. The marker is on the left-hand side of the highway, if you’re driving north. 2 Pinecrest Drive: A creature of habit, Percy met his brother Phinizy “Phin” Percy and friends for lunch every Wednesday here, at Tchefuncta Country Club. ST. BENEDICT

75376 River Road: St. Joseph’s Abbey. Percy is buried in the small cemetery at this Benedictine Abbey just northeast of Covington. A small, plain stone marks his gravesite. Percy served as a secular oblate of the Abbey, spending much time there in contemplation. MADISONVILLE

1123 Main St.: Stop here, at the Madisonville branch library, to visit with a large bronze statue of Percy seated on a bench with his beloved Corgi, Sweet Thing. The sculpture, by artist and friend Binnings, sits in the library’s Serenity Circle outside its main entrance. This is an abbreviated version of an article that originally appeared in the February 2019 issue of Explore, the magazine of the St. Tammany Parish Tourist Commission. – by Renée Kientz

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Get Involved! Whether passionate about children, families, health or your community as a whole, there are plenty of organizations and nonprofits to help you get involved. Below is a sampling of the many organizations, charities and clubs in our area: Alzheimer’s Association - Louisiana Chapter American Cancer Society American Heart Association American Red Cross Southeast Louisiana Chapter Business Women’s Network of East St. Tammany businesswomensnetworksttammany Children’s Advocacy Center / Hope House East St. Tammany Habitat for Humanity Habitat for Humanity St. Tammany West James Storehouse Louisiana Junior Auxiliary of Hammond Junior Auxiliary of Slidell Junior League of Greater Covington

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Kiwanis of Camellia City Kiwanis Club of Hammond Kiwanis of Greater Covington Miracle League Northshore NAMI St. Tammany Northshore Families Helping Families Northshore Food Bank Professional Women of St. Tammany Rotary Club of Bogalusa Rotary Club of Slidell The Samaritan Center Slidell Newcomer’s Club Exchange Club of West St. Tammany Tangi Food Pantry United Way of Southeast Louisiana Volunteers of America Youth Service Bureau


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Churches Finding the right church fit can be an overwhelming task—especially in southeast Louisiana where options are endless. St. Tammany Parish is home to 203 churches, Tangipahoa 259, and Washington 124. Whatever faith you may practice, find your new home by searching features by parish on

Especially for Women Newcomers The Northlake Newcomers Club is a nonprofit social women’s club offering fellowship through social activities. We welcome all ladies of the northshore to join us. Our monthly luncheons and ongoing activity groups offer a variety of fun opportunities for membership participation and camaraderie. Our September Membership breakfast will be held at Benedict’s Plantation in Mandeville at 10:00 a.m. on September 13, 2019. Attendance at this breakfast offers an opportunity to learn about the numerous activities available to members. These groups include gardening, card games, book club, gourmet, crafting, day trips, socializing, and more. There is something for everyone! For additional information, visit

Explore the Weekend Looking for a weekend plan? Find restaurants, annual event details, shopping, places to stay and more on our local tourism sites. Visit louisiananorthshore. com, and for plenty of things to do!

Precious Resources

The Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges Complex

Story and photography by Stephen C. Faure

Update on the refuge’s COVID-19 response: “In keeping with guidance from the White House and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and acting out of an abundance of caution, the Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges Complex is temporarily suspending operations of the Bayou Lacombe Visitor Center. Refuge staff is committed to doing their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 and to ensure the health and safety of our employees, volunteers, and visitors. Therefore, planned Refuge events and programs may not take place as scheduled. Refuge lands, including nature trails and outdoor recreational facilities, remain open and accessible to the public to provide opportunities for recreation and relaxation.” 90

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SILENCE. Complete, utter, total stillness. The quest to find it may be one of the reasons we moved to the northshore to begin with, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find. There’s a place you may not know of, just minutes away from Slidell and Mandeville, where the silence is deafening—Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge. It’s an area of pine forests, cypress swamps and fresh-

and salt-water marshes. Headquartered in Lacombe, the refuge covers about 14,000 acres along the shore of Lake Pontchartrain, stretching from Fontainebleau State Park to Bayou Liberty. It’s not the only refuge in the area. Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge is located in New Orleans and Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge is near the town of Pearl River north of Slidell. They, along with Big Branch and four others, constitute the Southeast Louisiana Refuges Complex. All of the National refuges are administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of the Department of the Interior. >> May-June 2020 91

The Southeast Louisiana Refuges are precious resources maintained for our benefit and our children’s. Preserving the past gives one insight on planning for the future. As a practical matter,

Big Branch Marsh and Bayou Sauvage allow realtime study of the coastal erosion process and give scientists a working laboratory to find solutions to this problem, our state’s most critical issue.

All of these refuges have a lot to offer northshore residents. Each has its own unique and interesting history, with abundant natural and manmade resources at our disposal. Natural beauty, wildlife, hiking, hunting, fishing, and educational programs are on tap.

The Facilities The offices for the Southeast Louisiana Refuges Complex are headquartered on the same tract of land as the Big Branch Marsh Refuge. The office administers Big Branch Marsh, Bayou Sauvage, Bogue Chitto, Atchafalaya, Delta and Brenton Sound National Wildlife Refuges. The visitor center and the administration complex are situated on 110 acres on Highway 434 near Highway 190 in Lacombe. The site has an interesting history in its own right. A dairy farm was situated there until the 1930s; the old blue dairy barn still stands on the premises. The property was eventually purchased by former Governor Richard Leche; his residence is now the visitor center. The center features a

hands-on exhibit for children featuring turtle shells, antlers and feathers. A juvenile alligator in an aquarium shares a sunny corner with some indigenous—and non-poisonous—snakes. No loose critters allowed! Leche and his wife cultivated gardens on the property, importing azaleas and camellias from the Orient. Eventually, around 1950, the Leches opened a commercial garden attraction named Bayou Gardens. The remains of Bayou Gardens surround the visitor center and form a very pleasant and flowery walking path, the Bayou Gardens Trail. With walls of azaleas and camellias, as well as local plants, the trail has many stops that have information on the plants in the area, as well as the history of the property. The trail ends at a dock for launching canoes. A spacious lawn rolls uphill away from the dock to the back end of the visitor center, where a chimney swift tower constructed by the Boy Scouts anchors a formal garden featuring wildflowers and other decorative native plants. The Leches sold the property to the >>

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Redemptorist order of Catholic priests in the mid-1950s; when enrollment declined, the school closed in 1980. The Southeastern Louisiana Refuges Complex administrative offices are located in a building constructed to be a seminary. The school building and cafeteria reflect a colonial Louisiana influence in their design. Local architect Samual Wilson of the firm of Koch and Wilson designed the buildings in keeping with his historical interests. Other buildings, including some residences and a chapel, were also built by the Redemptorists. Part of the site now included in the Bayou Garden trail was a cemetery for the order’s members.

Recreation All of the refuges offer a variety of recreational activities. Bayou Sauvage in New Orleans is unique, in that it is the only refuge system to be entirely situated within the city limits of a major metropolitan area. Because of its proximity to populated areas, it has many of the same fire management issues facing the Big Branch Marsh. (See sidebar.) Complicating matters is the fact that more than half of Bayou Sauvage lies within a hurricane protection levee which, when built in the 1950s, impounded a large portion of saltwater marsh. The effect has been the conversion of saltwater marsh into a freshwater pond environment. One benefit of the hurricane protection levee is that it provides the roadbed for Bayou Sauvage’s bike trail. The trail is approximately nine miles roundtrip, but the cyclists can always travel a shorter distance if they prefer. The trail gives great views of the lake from the Pontchartrain protection levee. Bayou Sauvage offers birders 340 species of waterfowl and other birds, with the peak population of waterfowl hitting 30,000 during fall, winter and early spring. Hunting is not allowed in Bayou Sauvage, as it lies entirely in the city limits of New Orleans, where it is illegal to discharge a firearm. Fishing is allowed, although subject to different regulations than those imposed by the state of Louisiana. Refuge regulations can be obtained at locations around the refuge, as well as the headquarters in Lacombe. Canoeing and hiking are also offered, with free, guided interpretive tours given regularly. 94

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These programs require advance registration. Schedules and brochures of all activities are available by mail or can be picked up at the visitor center in Lacombe. Big Branch Marsh also offers free hiking and canoeing interpretive tours by reservation. Hunting and fishing are allowed, subject to the refuge regulations published each year. Hiking and biking are popular with the Boy Scout Road trail extending from the Bayou Pacquet Road through the marsh and the woodlands to Bayou Lacombe. There is also a short boardwalk from the Boy Scout Road parking lot to the marsh; interpretive guides to use along with plaques are available at the trailhead and the visitor center. Hundreds of bird species are in Big Branch, with the endangered redcockaded woodpecker calling for exacting refuge management.

Education Bayou Sauvage and Big Branch Marsh offer schoolchildren a variety of hands-on educational programs. Bayou Sauvage offers in-classroom programs where rangers or volunteers visit schools to discuss the refuges’ flora, fauna and history. Classroom programs include Creature Feature, Raptor Adaptor, Skulls, and Endangered Species. Field trip opportunities by schoolchildren at Big Branch include Refuge-ology, a 3 ½ hour (including time for lunch) program for grades 4-6. Students explore how to manage a refuge for a day by gathering information from foresters, biologists and a fire management specialist. Students use their collected data to make decisions on how the land might be managed and explore some of the challenges of maintaining a balance that conserves the habitat >> May-June 2020 95


Inside Northside

and wildlife while providing opportunities for recreation and sustainable natural resources. Similar opportunities are available at the Bayou Sauvage refuge. For more information, visit visit/resources_for_educators.html or https://www. html. Many programs are held at the refuges yearround on an almost daily basis. Educators should contact the Southeast Louisiana Environmental Education office, 61389 Hwy. 434, Lacombe, LA 70455, or call (985) 882-2022. The Southeastern Louisiana Refuges Complex is in dire need of regular volunteers to aid in the environmental education programs. Retired teachers or teachers who would like to get out of the classroom would make perfect volunteers, although anyone with the eagerness and ability to pass on knowledge to children is welcome. Visit what_we_do/get_involved.html or call (985) 8222021 for more information. >>


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More information on the refuges is available at the visitor center in Lacombe, by calling 882-2000, or at http://

The Importance Of Fire One of the main purposes of the refuges is to restore and maintain the natural habitat of a given area so that historically native species are preserved, not just for their own sake, but for the enjoyment of everyone. Part of restoring the environment to its historically proper condition involves re-creating the effects of wildfire on the landscape. The red-cockaded woodpecker is the most important species in Big Branch Marsh. The bird is designated as an endangered species, and has several nesting sites in Big Branch. The species requires open ground forest area, with trees spaced

W. Mike Stewart AIF, RFC

Look for the word … Fiduciary!


Gerald, age 48, asks: How do I know if my advisor

is really an advisor and not just a salesman?


An advisor is someone who possesses knowledge and uses it to

guide you down the path best suited for you!

relatively far apart and little ground cover. The species is unique in that it does not nest in the hollows of dead trees, but builds nesting cavities in healthy, growing trees. This environment was historically created and maintained by occasional wildfires in long-leaf pine forests. This species of trees tolerates the occasional fires that keep the undergrowth cleared. Other native pines, such as loblolly and slash pine were planted in concentration for timber purposes. They don’t tolerate fire as well, and part of the refuge’s restoration process involves replacing them where possible with the longleaf pine. Research indicates that wildfires occurred every three to five years in the Big Branch Marsh area. The challenge is to reproduce these conditions in a process called controlled burning. Several factors, caused mostly by the refuge being in close proximity to populated areas, make controlled burning a challenge both in Big Branch and Bayou Sauvage. Controlled burning is managed by dividing the refuge into several tracts contained within fire boundaries—either

natural boundaries, such as streams or clearings, or manmade boundaries, such as roads or firebreaks. The biggest factor in deciding when and where to begin a controlled burn is the weather. The ground must be relatively dry and there must be proper atmospheric humidity. The wildcard factor is the wind. Too much may cause the fire to burn out of control, and too little wind, or wind blowing in the wrong direction, may cause smoke to blow into populated areas. Wildfires do occur in the refuge, caused mainly by lightning or occasionally by careless humans, but the goal in that case is to extinguish the fire as soon as possible. Uncontrolled fired are unsafe and unwanted.

the client, not some institution. The fiduciary advisor is paid by you, not an

An advisor is not someone who sells you investment products and

earns a commission for doing so.

The investment industry has become an “alphabet soup” of confusion.

Most do not understand the difference between which one works for you and which one works for an institution. The first thought that should enter your mind is: Where does (his or her’s) paycheck come from? If it comes from an institution (bank or broker/dealer) then common sense will tell you where their allegiance lies. If you pay them directly, then there is no “middleman” dictating protocol.

Have you ever stopped to think about how your advisor is measured in

his or her’s job performance? If they work for a bank, a wire-house, a broker/ dealer, or an insurance company they are measured by how much business they bring in, not by how they perform for the individual client. Sometimes it seems that the most important function of an “advisor” is to make money for the firm, not the individual they are supposed to be servicing.

A FIDUCIARY must act in a different manner. The fiduciary is

mandated by law, and hopefully their own ethics, to act in your best interest over their own. The fiduciary’s performance is measured by YOU, institution, therefore creating the right environment for YOUR success.

Simply take the time to ask if your advisor is a fiduciary and clarify

where his or her paycheck comes from. It could end up being the most important question of your financial life!

W. Mike Stewart AIF, RFC • Wealth Management Services 985-809-0530 • Check out Research Materials and Video Library at: May-June 2020 99

Generous Hearts by Susan Bonnett Bourgeois

#focusonthegood NAMI St. Tammany and GAVIN JOBE, Owner of Meribo

Above: Gavin Jobe, owner of Meribo Restaurant in Covington reaches out to support NAMI St. Tammany. Right: Stirling Properties is distributing free meals to healthcare workers, including North Oaks Health System, in partnership with some of their retail food tenants to serve local hospitals, nurses, and doctors as well as to help bolster the bottom line for their tenants. 100

Gavin had contacted NAMI before the COVID-19 crisis in an effort to develop a connection for resources and possible education or support opportunities for his staff at Meribo Restaurant in Covington, as well as others working in the service industry. He recognized that there is a high incidence of substance abuse and mental illness within the industry’s workers. Once the state’s shelter-in-place mandate was implemented, NAMI nearly canceled its previously scheduled meeting. But Gavin said, “We need to meet. It may be more important than ever in light of what’s going on. Our industry is going to be affected more than many others, and a lot of people are going to be looking for help,” said Gavin. Those turned out to be very wise words. The COVID-19 Resource Guide was built at that very meeting with information specific to the service industry in our area. The one-page guide was developed with resources for employment, financial support and food, as well as mental health and crisis contacts and online support groups. The guides are being distributed with free pizzas that Meribo is offering to local people in the service industry who have been affected by this shutdown and are in need of food. Gavin has committed to giving away

Inside Northside

20 pizzas a day and has expanded this program to include healthcare workers now as well. He truly does have a generous heart. In addition, Meribo agreed to be a Narcan distribution site. Narcan (or naloxone) is a life-saving, nasal spray medication that can reverse the effects of an overdose of opioid painkillers or heroin and is often described as an “opiate antidote.” Narcan can’t be used to get high, and it is safe to use on anyone because its only action on the body is to temporarily reverse the effect of an opioid overdose, stabilizing the individual until emergency medical care can be provided. With the closure of public facilities, the Florida Parishes Human Services Authority no longer has a venue to distribute Narcan within the community to individuals at high risk or need. Utilizing unconventional locations such as Meribo helps keep the vital resource within reach to those who need it. Meribo and NAMI St. Tammany have shared information on social media and continue to be a support to each other. This collaboration, while slightly unconventional, has been very beneficial to the community need it addresses. To learn more about NAMI St. Tammany, visit To see the delicious food that Meribo has to offer and to return some of those good vibes, visit

Stirling Properties In partnership with some of its retail food tenants, Stirling Properties started distributing free meals to healthcare workers to serve local hospitals, nurses and doctors as well as to help bolster the bottom line for their tenants.

May-June 2020 101

Mask Sterilization by Mike Scott

At St. Tammany Health Systems, the innovative use of ultraviolet lights designed to sanitize iPads is helping to ease the shortage of N95 and surgical masks. 102

IT’S A PROBLEM faced by hospitals around the country: As the number of COVID-19 patients spikes, so does demand for N95 masks to protect healthcare workers against the virulent coronavirus. For St. Tammany Health System, however, one decidedly bright idea – involving UV light technology and a little outside-the-box thinking – is helping to stem the resulting supply shortage. “These devices were actually made to disinfect tablets and iPads. They can charge them, as well,” STHS Utilization Management Department Head Elaine Ward RN said recently while standing in front of a row of five UV light units, each a little larger than a dorm fridge. “I think that’s why they were purchased here at the hospital, and somebody looked at them and said, ‘Why can’t we use it for masks?’” As it turns out, they could. And, so, after a series of tests were run to confirm the idea, Ward – a 36-year veteran of STHS -- was asked to rally her staff and come up with a system for sanitizing the hospital’s masks en masse.

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Twenty-four hours later, the new mask disinfecting lab was up and running. In its first week, an estimated 4,000-plus masks were cleaned in total. Currently, it can process 700 to 800 masks a day. That includes the coveted N95 masks, which are disinfected three times before being discarded, as well as more standard surgical masks, which can be cleaned until wear-and-tear makes them impractical or unsafe to use. “So that’s over 4,000 masks that would have been thrown away,” Ward said. “The hospital was using masks at a rate that was not sustainable -- and of course, that’s across the country. That’s the biggest concern of health care providers: the availability of personal protective equipment.” Of STHS’s six UV machines, one has been dispatched off-site to handle masks at its standalone Emergency Department in Mandeville. The other five are stationed in the new disinfecting lab on the main Covington campus, where two staffers keep the figurative wheels in motion. The process starts on the floors above, >>


STHS’s innovative approach

May-June 2020 103


Inside Northside

where, at the end of each shift, hospital staff throughout the facility remove their masks – each of which are marked with their name – and place them in a clear plastic bag marked with their name and department. All the marked bags from each unit then go into a “dirty” bin, which is delivered to the disinfecting lab. There, two staffers – on this particular day it was registered nurses Laura Blue and Cindy Dejean -- line up the bagged masks in the UV machines, each of which can fit 12 masks at a time. After 15 minutes of being bathed in UV light – a touch shorter for N95 masks – they’re flipped over for another 15-minute cycle. As the masks “cook,” staffers clean the bins, which are then filled with the freshly cleaned masks and put to the side to await pickup by each hospital unit the next day. The process has been tweaked here and there to maximize efficiency and to account for unforeseen issues. For example, masks were initially placed in zip-close freezer bags for their trip through the UV sanitizing machines – but it was soon discovered that the UV light didn’t penetrate those as well as sandwich bags, so a new batch of bags was put into circulation. For the most part, however, Ward said the system has worked like a charm. Tests run on the cleaned masks back that up. “UV technology is widely used across many industries to disinfect many surfaces,” Ward said. “We have it here in our air duct system to kill bacteria that are known to grow in ventilation systems. Other hospitals have them in operating rooms. They roll a blue light into the operating room and turn it on and it disinfects everything in the operating room. So it’s widely used. Many industries use it. We just repurposed it for our masks.” While it hasn’t completely solved the supply shortage problem, Ward said it has effectively bought the hospital time while manufacturers ramp up production of N95 masks. “This is just one more way that St. Tammany Health System has used innovation and the dedication of our staff to protect the community,” she said. “We’re a community hospital. We’ve always been a community hospital. We know that every patient we take care of could be our neighbor or our neighbor’s mom – or it could be our mom; somebody could be taking care of our mom – so we always want to do our best to protect our staff and our patients.”

ASI Federal Credit Union is now OnPath Federal Credit Union We rose from the docks of Avondale Shipyards Inc., as ASI Federal Credit Union in 1961. Since then, we have grown our membership to almost 64,000 members and have extended financial services across Southeast Louisiana and beyond. We are excited to announce our re-designed brand and our name change, now operating as OnPath Federal Credit Union. Using the feedback of members and the community in general, the new brand design was created to include a new name that captures our past and represents our vision for the future. “We are very proud of our legacy with Avondale Shipyards, Inc. and are grateful to live the credit union philosophy of “people helping people.” says Joey Richard, CEO of OnPath Federal Credit Union. “Our staff is passionate about finding solutions and helping our membership stay on track with their financial goals. We know it’s more than just providing a mortgage or a business loan. It’s being able to provide answers to questions that impact people’s financial lives and make their journey through life better.” Anyone can apply for membership as long as they live, work, go to school or worship in St. Tammany, Orleans, Jefferson or LaFourche Parishes. So, what are the some of the benefits exactly? Number one is being a “member-owner.” The profits OnPath Federal Credit Union makes go back to members in the form of lower interest rate loans and higher dividend returns in savings and investments. And the greatest benefit? A personal relationship. “We believe everyone who dreams big and works hard deserves a great local banking partner “. Joey Richard, says. “We take pride in actively listening to our members, answering their questions and building customized solutions to meet their financial needs. “

OnPath FCU is the Official and Exclusive Credit Union of the New Orleans Pelicans. Visit one of 11 branches including Mandeville,

Visit for the latest information on coronavirus in St. Tammany Parish.

Covington and Slidell and learn more about the great things happening at OnPath Federal Credit Union. May-June 2020 105

The Best Kept Secret on the Northshore

CHRISTWOOD CATERS TO MORE THAN JUST ITS RESIDENTS! Over the last 24 years, Christwood, the northshore’s Premier Retirement

ellipticals, NuStep, CyberCycles, and Hoist ROC-IT weight machines. The aerobics

Community, has grown to occupy one hundred and seventeen beautiful acres of

studio offers low, medium, and high intensity classes, yoga, tai chi and more. In-door

senior living surrounded by an abundance of green space and has been a long-

pickleball court and game area makes for great way to stay active and socialize.

standing icon in Covington. From the beginning, Christwood’s mission has been

The 25-yard multi-lane swimming pool, with accessible ramp, makes it easy for all

very clear–to help all seniors live with dignity and independence.

levels of aquatic takers. Additionally, there are fitness specialist on staff and personal

“The residents and staff have always been the heart of our Christwood community,” said Scott J. Jones, the Executive Director of At Your Service by

trainers available to help create a program designed for anyone’s specific needs. On the heels of the community center’s success, the Lotus Spa at Christwood

Christwood. “And from the beginning Christwood’s vision has also included

opened its doors to the general public as a full-service spa and hair salon for men

expanding into the local community to create, in a sense, a Christwood without

and women. From manicures, pedicures, facial and body waxing, and brow services,

walls,” continued Mr. Jones. “This initiative included reaching out to and

to soothing facials and eight different types of massage, there’s something for your

supporting those who wished to age in their own home, but who could also

every mood. Located inside the community center, this oasis of relaxation also offers

benefit from the amenities and socialization Christwood has to offer.”

a full line of skin care products to pamper and help inspire ageless living.

A little over five years ago that vision became a reality with the opening of The

In keeping with Christwood’s vision, the next addition was the Forever

Community Center at

Fit Kitchen, offering the

Christwood. The state-of-

general public a fresh,

the-art health & fitness

flavorful and wholesome

center, complete with

breakfast and lunch menu

the first and only indoor

that fills body and soul.

heated swimming pool

Additionally, the Forever

in Covington, gave

Fit Kitchen features “Eat

northshore adults 55+

Fit” certified soups, salads,

a great place to stay fit

sandwiches and more for

and socialize. Whether

dine in or take out.

you’re an avid swimmer,

And finally,

experienced exerciser, or

this year Christwood

just seeking to maintain

launched At Your

or enhance your fitness,

Service by Christwood, a

you can do it all at your

comprehensive in-home

own pace in a friendly

wellness and home

and encouraging

maintenance program

environment. The

designed for those adults

exercise room

55+ who wish to remain

boasts user friendly

at home and age in place

equipment including

surrounded by the people

Precor treadmills and

and things they love.

recumbent bikes, Octane


Inside Northside

In home wellness

services include personal assistants for those who would like assistance with tasks like the scheduling and keeping of appointments, transportation, personal correspondence, errands, grocery shopping, light housekeeping, meal preparation and more. For less independent clients, At Your Service offers caring companions who are Certified Nursing Assistant’s and can do all that the personal assistants do, but can also help with the activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, personal grooming, repositioning and a strong focus on overall personal wellness. And lastly, for those caring for a loved one, they offer an on campus Adult Day Stay program to give you a much-needed break so you can run your errands and manage everyday life. For as little as two hours or as many as ten hours, leave your loved one with them and rest assured they are well cared for, fed healthy meals and snacks, entertained and engaged in activities designed to stimulate and sharpen cognizance. What makes At Your Service so comprehensive is it takes support one step further and offers an array of general home maintenance. They realized that maintaining a home can sometimes be daunting, even for the fittest of the fit, but At Your Service can help with a variety of services like gutter cleaning, pressure washing, changing lightbulbs and smoke detector batteries, hanging light fixtures, furniture repositioning, and home organization, just to name a few. A couple more things that make At Your Service a great option is a guarantee that all of their service representatives are Christwood employees, thoroughly vetted through background checks and drug testing. And just as important, there are no contracts or membership fees. Services are simply A’ La Carte where and when you need them at a price you can afford. Introductory rates start at just $25 per hour. For more information,

May-June 2020 109

IN Great Taste by Yvette Jemison


Inside Northside

Paw Paw’s Granola Make granola with pantry staples. AS WE CONTINUE TO SHELTER IN PLACE over these next few weeks, I find myself looking for ways to optimize my pantry staples. Making granola is purely from pantry staples, and it’s one of my go-to recipes for enjoying at home in a variety of ways. You’ll find this recipe easy to prepare and adaptable to the ingredients in your pantry. The recipe calls for 2 cups of rolled oats, plus 2 cups of sliced almonds. You can actually swap the oats for almonds for a total of 4 cups almonds, or simply use any combination of oats and nuts that you have totaling 4 cups. If you don’t have vanilla extract, use almond extract. If you can’t locate honey, use agave, Karo syrup or cane syrup. Toward the end of the bake time, you will add your dried fruit. The recipe calls for 3/4 cup dried cranberries, but use any dried fruit that you have, and feel free to add as much dried fruit as you’d like. The last batch that I shared in my highlights at @y_delicacies on Instagram had banana chips, golden raisins, coconut chips, coconut flakes and cacao nibs. I often enjoy a bowl of granola for breakfast with a sliced banana and almond milk. I have been known to spread peanut butter on a banana and roll it in granola for a quick snack. If you’re feeling fancy, whip up a parfait by alternately layering a few spoonfuls of yogurt, berries and granola in an 8 oz. glass. Dust with cinnamon or chocolate shavings. Let’s be resourceful and use up those pantry staples. I am looking forward to the day that I can enjoy granola in my most favorite way: Divided into snack bags, packed in my carryon bag as I fly to another city (any city) for an enjoyable trip. Be well, my friends.

Paw Paw’s Granola Servings: 5 cups 2 cups rolled oats 2 cup sliced almonds 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup vegetable oil 1/4 cup honey 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract 3/4 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350° F 1. In large mixing bowl, combine the oats, almonds and salt. 2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the oil, honey, brown sugar and vanilla extract. Cook until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture comes to a boil. Immediately remove from heat, and pour over the almonds and oats. Stir until the almonds and oats are well coated. 3. Evenly spread the mixture on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until lightly golden brown, 12-15 minutes. 4. Remove from oven and stir well. Stir in the cranberries and evenly spread the mixture on the baking sheet. 5. Return to the oven and bake until deep golden brown, 3-5 minutes. Cool completely, and store in an airtight container. Do Ahead: Granola can be made 3 weeks ahead. Completely cool and store in an airtight container. We’d like to see your version. Share your creation by tagging us on Instagram at @InsideNorthside and @y_delicacies. For more recipes, go to or follow on Instagram at @y_delicacies. May-June 2020 111


beer here. It’s the kind of music that makes you happy to be alive, that makes women pull their men up on the dance floor and toddlers take their first two-step. During normal times, you can catch Serpas playing all around the region, locally in venues such as the Beach House, at area festivals, including New Orleans Jazz Fest, and beyond. He and his band, now with eight CDS behind them, have opened for a lot of names you’d recognize, including Merle Haggard, Blake Shelton and Robert Earl Keen. Ghost Town performs originals with titles like “Hoot and Holler,” “Revved Up and Ready to Go,” and “Read ‘Em and Weep,” as well as covers like Elvis’s “That’s All Right” and a hard-rocking version of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.” Serpas and his wife Melissa are hard-core animal lovers and volunteer their time for rescue causes like the St. Tammany Humane Society and Big Sky Ranch in Folsom. With four cats and two dogs (for now), Serpas is all softy and no sass offstage. On stage is a different story as he romps, stomps and spanks his guitar into submission. “That’s it. I quit. I’m gone,” he sings. The twinkle in his eye tells you he’s here for the duration and you’re going to enjoy the ride. For now, he’s riding this thing out. “Me…I got nothin’ to do, and all day to do it! Stay safe. See you

Christian Serpas by Renée Kientz


WITH THE EXCEPTION OF Tim McGraw, Louisiana isn’t really known for country music. But that doesn’t stop the Northshore’s Christian Serpas from taking a hard Western swing through Cajun territory. At 6’7”, the Louisiana-born Serpas is a tall drink of swamp water, a lank and lean gentle giant with a serious twang and songwriting chops. Don’t expect sad love songs, though. Serpas’ world is steeped in rockabilly joy and he and his band, Ghost Town, rip it up, dance and flat out have fun on stage. Their sound has been described as “Led Zeppelin playing Johnny Cash.” No crying in your

Inside Northside

on the other side of this thing.” Meanwhile, you can enjoy Christian Serpas and Ghost town’s music here Click below to see updated business operations around St. Tammany Parish.