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When You Don't Feel Joy to the World or Have Peace on Earth By Tom Holman, M.A., Outreach Coordinator, St. Patrick's Mental Health Services, St. Francis Medical Center, Monroe, LA From mall audio speakers to the latest iPod nano, the seasonal exclamations blare but for many of us the holidays are filled with more stress than cheer. “It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” is not a sentiment shared by all. For some, “I'll Have a Blue Christmas” rings louder. No one experiences holiday stress in the exact way that another person does. One person may exhibit sleeping difficulty, while another may sleep too much. One may eat too little, while another may overeat. Often a person feels sadness or wishes to be alone. You cannot remedy negative feelings until you identify them. Make a list (and check it twice) to identify what is causing feelings of stress. It may be having too much to do for the holidays or having too little money. Stressors are more readily eliminated when they are precisely defined and you have a plan to reduce them. According to Dr. John Turpin, Psychiatrist at St. Patrick's Mental Health Services, the three main stressors during the holidays are balancing your budget, your holiday time, and your relationships. Balance your holiday budget. Make a Christmas budget and stick to it. Do not spend more during the holidays than you can pay for. Often the best gifts are those that are not extravagant. Make cranberry sauce or spiced apple cider mix for the neighbors instead of buying gifts. Balance your holiday time. It may be less stressful to send fewer Christmas cards than to dread sending many. Save time by reducing the flurry of activities. Much of our stress derives from a feeling of being out of control. By budgeting our time, we can control the ways we utilize it in more purposeful ways. Balance your relationships. It is important to not be alone. Even if you feel isolated, make the effort to be with people. Often responding to the needs of others by volunteering puts our own difficulties in a more realistic perspective. Take any holiday trip except a guilt trip. Do not fret over the past. A young boy brought a Christmas gift to his teacher - a superb seashell. She exclaimed over its beauty and asked where he found it. He explained that such shells could only be found at a beach several miles away. The teacher responded, “You should not have gone so far to get a gift for me.” He replied, “The long walk was part of the gift.” Whether it is shopping at the mall, baking holiday treats and meals, decorating the house, addressing holiday cards or entertaining friends and family, make your long walks part of the gift-the gift you give yourself and others. If you find yourself experiencing holiday stress and need help, call St. Patrick's Mental Health Services at (318) 966-4671. Louisiana Road Trips


Talkin’ It Up!


“Christmas is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.“ - Agnes M. Pharo

I love that quote. Christmas is indeed a magical time, with twinkling lights, sounds of unbridled joy, and gleaming faces. Meshed with the true reason for the season, the birth of Jesus, this time of year can fill our hearts and lift our spirits if we simply allow it. As we share another holiday, we Louisiana Road Trippers are feeling especially blessed and hope that through the years we've returned a few blessings to you as well - our readers, our advertisers, our contributors, and the many wonderful people we've met along the highways and backroads of Louisiana. Whether you're staying snug at home or road tripping this month, stay safe and be kind to yourself and others. Here's wishing you the merriest of Christmas' and the happiest New Year imaginable! Let's keep in touch.


Mona L. Hayden, Editor/Publisher (318) 547-1221

COVER CREDIT: Photos of Saint Matthew Catholic Church on Jackson Street in Monroe were provided by Saint Matthew Catholic Church, Lee Estes, and Mona L. Hayden.

"Celebrating country living and city happenings!"


11 15 21 21

Caring for Pets in Winter


My Favorite Fishing Hole by Joe Joslin Fishing Tips & Christmas Gifts


Taking Care of an Environmental Crisis: Migratory Bird Rescue by Johnny Wink


Louisiana Geese, Wyoming Deer and Turkeys, and the Perfect Hunting Trip…Almost by Dennis Stewart



Man (and Woman!) VS. Mountain: Mountain Wins by Lora Peppers

Backtalk The Nature of Christmas by Mae Flager December Calendar of Events Louisiana Lagniappe Answers


Recipes by Stacy Thornton


Tis the Season for… by Su Stella Celebrate the History of the Christmas Tree – Rail of Lights Christmas & New Year’s Train

12-13 Blockbuster Books by Deborah Burst 16 On the Scene – by Deborah Burst Christmas New Orleans Style


Runnin’ the Roads by Barbara Sharik No More Plain-Jane Ding-a-Linging For Me!


A Life of Trial…and Error by Dennis Stewart It Really Ticks Me Off


All Things Southern by Shellie Tomlinson Santa’s Rough Language or “Ho, Ho, What?!”


Hit the Road – by Deborah Burst Tale of Two Cities


Travel Adventure by Dianne Newcomer The Possibilities in the Impossible


When You Don’t Feel Joy to the World or Have Peace on Earth by Tom Holman

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Talkin’ It Up!


A Good Book Festival is Hard to Find by Carey Weeks Going Native by Larry Brock Look Up, Look Ahead, Look Beyond

8-9 Take a Road Trip to East Texas by Lee Estes


Louisiana Lagniappe – Remember When Louisiana Road Trips


Tis the Season for…


By Su Stella

Customer service. Feel blessed that you have a job and home this holiday season, as so many are not as fortunate. This isn't going to be my usual holiday chatter since this isn't a normal year. I never imagined having any desire to understand economics but my education is growing, as everything we do is interconnected and it all starts with customer service. Message to Stores: We want awesome customer service or else we will buy from your competition or the internet. Managers: Keep the place staffed with knowledgeable caring folks. Have enough lines open because some of us are in a hurry with just a few items. I've been known to abandon an armload of goods when I see long lines! Employees: Smile, you have a job, and if you hate it go find a new one. Your grumpy self ain't doing anyone any good! In holiday spirit, be extra kind by giving clean usable items to people in need, like coats and gloves. Be generous with your

gently used items. Be an Angel for a kid. Feed a hungry neighbor, your leftovers may be someone's only meal that day. And don't judge the jobless, or homeless, as most everyone is just a pink slip, an accident or a storm of life away from trouble. Also, part of the change in our world leads us back to the age of barter and brotherly love. For us, the 5th year after Katrina has finally broken the spell. I will give you an example of why good customer service is 'money in the bank'. About 2 years ago we went into the Holmes Honda dealership excited to buy an orange Honda Element! This, that and the other thing stepped in our way, but Luther our salesman impressed us so much that we never forgot his name. For 2 years we had the picture on our fridge, so we could see what we were working towards! Fast forward to September 2010. On the spur of the moment we stopped by the dealership and asked for Luther but it was his day off. Knowing that Luther treated us well, meaning he never pressured us; we waited for him to be at work. We now own a brand new orange Honda Element that had 4 miles on it within our financial parameters, thanks to Luther! We found out our old Jeep wasn't worth trading in. On our way home we saw a local painter down on his luck. “Come by the house the next few days,” I yelled out the car window. Hungry, he walked to the house immediately. For the old jeep and a reasonable sum of cash, our house that desperately needed paint is receiving it! In exchange, he got a ride that will double as a house. That is humbling to us. We included 3 meals in our contract because nobody should work on an empty stomach and he shouldn't go to bed hungry. My Mom always said, “Take care of the people that take care of your house!” Treat them like people, and they will treat your house like their own. 'Treat everyone like a person.' In the end, we are all involved in customer service whether we edit a monthly paper, chair the PTA, or run the bake sale. We all want a warm bed, a tasty meal, a better life, and the freedom to live in peace as we please. In this holiday season, bless us all who can share and lift the spirit of others in these challenging days of history. And may our elected officials work together in this new year coming to better our country!

Louisiana Road Trips


LRT Publications


EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Mona L. Hayden (318) 547-1221

OUR GUARDIAN ANGEL Debbie Hamilton Pope June 14, 1952-August 24, 2008

SALES Mona L. Hayden (318) 547-1221 Sunny Meriwether (318) 547-8126 Mark Cobb, Media Specialist / Sales • (318) 734-4894


Louisiana Road Trips magazine is published monthly to promote, inform, and entertain the residents of Louisiana. It is distributed FREE; however, home delivery is available. This magazine will reach approximately 56,000 individuals. Submission of articles and photos are always welcome but may be limited to availability of space and edited for content. Copyright 2010 with all rights reserved. Reproduction of any material appearing within this publication is prohibited without written permission of the Publishers. The opinions expressed in Louisiana Road Trips magazine are those of the authors or columnists and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, nor do they constitute an endorsement of products or services herein. “Louisiana Road Trips” magazine retains the right to refuse any advertisement.


P. O. Box 2452 West Monroe, LA 71294 (318) 547-1221


By Toledo Bend Guide, Joe Joslin

Fishing Tips & Christmas Gifts Hello, Anglers. Fishing on The Bend continues to be good but before we go there let's look at some new developments in the fishing industry. A few weeks ago I mentioned that it looked like ESPN would sell Bass Anglers Sportsmen Society (BASS) to a group of investors including Don Logan (formerly of Time Warner Cable/America Online), Jerry McKinnis (Outdoor media background with television show "The Fishin Hole") and Jim Copeland who has a longterm financial services background as CEO of Deloitte. That sale did happen...a done deal! ESPN has owned BASS for 10 years and this sale was welcomed by many in the bass fishing industry, this angler/writer included. Personally, I think the new management will be good for the organization. The Florida based company will continue to air BASS core television programming on ESPN running both the Bassmaster Elite Series and Bassmaster Classic for what both companies said was a multiple year contract. Christmas Gift Ideas - Each year we get a large number of requests from people who do not fish for suggestions. One of the most popular reels on the market is the Revo collection of reels from Abu Garcia, ranging from $125 for the Revo S to roughly $279 for the Revo Premier with various models to

choose from and all of them highly rated. Even the entry level Revo S is an excellent reel with a 5-star rating. I have two Revo S's, several of the STXs and three Revo Winch models. They are smooth casting and lightweight as well as very durable. In addition to the excellent reels above, our guide service (Joe Joslin Outdoors) also has gift certificates for Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions. They are good for 12 months. E-mail or call us for additional info if interested. We sell a lot of these each year. Toledo Fishing Reports/Bass - Stanley's Vibrashaft double willowleaf spinnerbait continues to be a primary bass tool in depths from 2 to 10 feet. When I have several bass swirl at the spinnerbait or slap it but not take it, I either speed up or slow down the retrieve, change skirt colors and if results are not better, will throw a follow-up bait at the swirl as quickly as possible and just dead-stick it. I like a light weighted or weightless TX rigged 7 inch Berkley Power Worm, Trick Worm, Sinking Minnow or Senko for a follow up bait. Time is critical on a follow-up bite because the quicker you get the bait back to the swirl, the better your chances of catching the bass. That's why I like a TX rig as a follow-up, because I can pick it up quickly and cast it with accuracy. You have got to put the bait on the right spot and my favorite place is about 3 feet past the swirl where you can ease it back to right on top of the swirl. You really need to put the first cast on the target as I have caught very few bass with a follow-up bait on the second attempt. If the swirl is


close enough, I will pitch the follow-up bait underhand and just ease the bait at the swirl. When you make these changes in presentations and colors and still no spinnerbait action, DeRidder angler then it is time to go Dennis Burk with a heavy Toledo Bend to another pattern bass which hit a which lately for us Stanley Vibrashaft has been a TX rig. spinnerbait. The presentations with the TX rig are also multiple as we fish it from 2 to 30 feet depending on conditions. We fish it weightless, lightweighted or heavy weighted with large worm, usually a 10 inch Berkley Power Worm or Ole Monster. Drop shottin' is producing and with another good cold front the jigging spoon also should really kick in. We have already had some decent days with the spoon but it has not been prime yet. By early December it should be perfect. Joe Joslin is a syndicated outdoor columnist, tournament angler and pro guide on Toledo and Sam Rayburn. Contact him at 337-4633848 or . and WEBSITE

By Carey Weeks

A Good Book Festival Is Hard To Find Last year I attended one of the state's premiere literary events - the Louisiana Book Festival, held at the state capital building in Baton Rouge. Second only to the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival held in New Orleans each spring, the Louisiana Book Festival was a free event where writers from across the South could speak about and share books for an entire day with eager readers. This year, however, the Louisiana Book Festival along with the Shreveport book festival, announced that it was closing its doors due to statewide budget cuts. For hard-core literary aficionados who thrive on visiting and participating in

book festivals, it was heartbreaking news. Thankfully, a writing circle in Lafayette called the Acadiana Writers Guild, headed by travel writer and author of the book Magic's in the Bag, Chere' Coen, decided to create an impromptu book festival as a way to fill the state's need for a literary event. The Acadiana Book Festival, as it was called, featured a line-up of independent authors and small publishers from across the state, many of whom would not typically have the opportunity to showcase their talent in larger venues. In downtown Lafayette, the Cite des Artes building (a bus terminal turned art gallery), opened its doors to writers and the general public on Saturday, October 30th for a day of literary fun. Poet Laureate Darrell Bourque as well as Marcelle Bienenue, author of Who's Your Mama, Are You Catholic and Can You Make a Roux? Attended as well as LSU Press. Louisiana Road Trips


I was among the writers at the event and shared a panel in the Black Box Theatre with author Carla Hostetter and multi-media author Cyril Vetter of Dirtdobber Blues. Afterwards, my daughter picked up a copy of The Legend of Papa Noel: A Cajun Christmas Story by Terri Hoover Dunham. For more information about the Writers Guild of Acadiana, visit their website To learn more about literary events across Louisiana, visit Chere' Coen's website To find out more about Carey Weeks' blog, visit Carey lives in Shreveport, Louisiana with her husband and daughter. She is currently working on a compilation of historical fiction short stories. You can read her blog at


By Larry Brock

Look Up, Look Ahead, Look Beyond It's the winter solstice and the ending of another year. Garden journals close - a record of the year's weather, seeding dates, first and last frost. Also plants that flower and fruit, the wildlife that feed on them, and the comings and goings of migrating animals. While it rained in early November at my house, the 2010 weather headline has been DROUGHT! Though parched, nature still displayed colorful fall blooms, berries and foliage. Lavender asters underfoot and bushy white ones standing upright. Golden sunflowers and coneflowers. Red turk's caps, white groundsel trees and blue butterfly bushes. Showers revived blossoming cosmos, lantana, periwinkles, petunias and zinnias. On Hallows Eve, one fearless buckeye had put out green leaves and flower buds. And in the family plot, an heirloom sasanquas was blooming on All Hallows Day. Even now, spring is sprouting on the forest floor. November's trees swapped faded green foliages for gaudy fall

fineries. Creepers, oaks, sumac and dogwood sported red leaves. Gingko, poplars, maples and catalpas wore yellow. A few like sweetgum and sassafras were stunning in motley shades of red and yellow, purple and orange. Then in swirling abandon, they all began shedding their leaves to mulch the woodland soil. Due to the drought, some colorful native fruit beautyberries, dogwoods, buckvines, Carolinamoonseed, coral honeysuckle, hackberries and native hollies fell prematurely or shriveled on the vine. Some still linger but few ripe ones have escaped hungry birds. Meanwhile, the garish abundance of imported pyracantha, nandina and hybrid hollies will decorate bleak leafless winterscapes. Each year, native grasses, trees and herbaceous plants produce millions of seed that feed wintering wildlife. Those that remain uneaten will germinate next spring to insure the survival of the species or remain on deposit in the soil

Look to Him who is the Greater Reason for this Season.

Louisiana Road Trips

bank for future generations. Thousands of tulip-poplar seed have fallen on my driveway while thousands more vitex seed await incoming sparrows and juncos. After the rain, hundreds of flocking robins foraged under pecan trees in the orchard next door as cardinals, doves, thrashers and wrens browsed through my backyard. Salvias and lantana drew a crowd of sulfurs, skippers, swallowtails and fritillaries, all competing with bumblebees and honeybees for space at the open blooms. Due to the short pecan crop, squirrels, jays and deer have been eagerly consuming the acorn crop. Can native plants really make a difference in your landscape? Does a mockingbird sing a mean song? In Bringing Nature Home, Doug Tallamy contends that native plants are essential to the survival of our ecosystems because they sustain native insects. But when native plants disappear, so do the insects that depend upon them, thus depriving birds and other wildlife of the bugs they eat. Yes, native plants do make a difference. Landscaping is so much more than just an exercise in design theory. Every planting decision counts! In October, as a guest at the 140th anniversary of St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Lake Providence, I listened to the seamless voices of identical twins as they sang anthems of God and creation. With heads and hands and arms, they inhabited their songs by reaching inside the verses to “embrace” the trees, “flow” with the rivers, and “soar” with the birds. I was reminded that beyond the mere biology of nature is something deeper, someone greater.


Now at the winter solstice, nights are long and gloomy. For ancient peoples, hope flickered. Evergreens were brought indoors and decorated to lift fearful spirits. Families gathered round and logs were lit to ward off the darkness. Then with dawn, the rising son brought new hope for mankind. A contemporary writer inspires us to look up, look ahead, look beyond - You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains; You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas; I am strong, when I am on your shoulders; You raise me up, to more than I can be. Look to Him who is the Greater Reason for this Season. Merry Christmas. A life-long resident of Lake Providence, Larry Brock was inspired by his grandfather’s passion for gardening and his own desire to recover the horticultural uniqueness of this region. Larry is drawn to the relationships between plants, birds, insects and soil and can be found puttering outdoors in his yard most any time, weather permitting.

Celebrate the History of the Christmas Tree Rail of Lights Christmas & New Year's Train Make this a Christmas to remember aboard the Rail of Lights Christmas Train in Jefferson, Texas. The unforgettable ride aboard an old-fashioned steam train departs each Thursday through Sunday evening from Thanksgiving through December 25. Passengers will be awed by the lights along the Cypress Bayou River as they hear the “History of the Christmas Tree” and view 25 different scenes. Discover the origins of the Christmas tree and how it evolved over the centuries. Also, ring in the New Year with the Rail of Lights New Year's Train running on December 31 and January 1. This ride will feature the dropping of the ball in Times Square, complete with beverages, noisemakers and a fantastic fire works show on every train ride. The excursions will take you by a life-size nativity scene, the German Markets, Jerusalem and the Angel Tree. Glimpse Christmas trees simply decorated, reminiscent of the bare-limbed sourwood of the Appalachian Christmas Tree to the opulence of a recreated 1885 Christmas tree in the SmithMcDowell House in Asheville, North Carolina. Experience scenes representing Alaska, San Francisco, Australia and the Arizona Hopi Indian nation. Also included in the tour is a replica of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, which was first decorated during the Great Depression in 1931. Enjoy an authentic life-sized 90-year old Christmas card as well as the post card sent by soldiers during World War II. Enjoy rider's favorites: the aluminum tree, reminiscent of the 1960's; a whimsical Teddy Bear tree; and Charlie Brown's forlorn little Christmas tree. The decorated historic railroad depot, complete with Santa Claus, captures the holiday spirit. The wonderful narrated tour by a local vocalist gives patrons an opportunity to sing some of their favorite Christmas Carols as they create unique Christmas memories riding along the river. Ticket Prices: First Class $18; Coach Class: $12.75. Lap children under 4 are free. First Class is offered in a beautiful historic, heated, enclosed coach. If you are riding Coach Class, be sure to dress warmly and bring a blanket as you will be riding in open cars. Seating is limited so purchase your tickets early. Jefferson is one of five cities on the Holiday Trail of Lights and is nestled deep in the Piney Woods of East Texas. It seems frozen in time and is an elegant reminder of a bygone era. The downtown area will be aglow with lights and greenery during the holiday season. You will want to make Jefferson and the Christmas Train a tradition for your whole family.

Louisiana Road Trips


Take a Road Trip to East Texas

Explore some small towns not found on the usual itinerary! By Lee Estes

The November Louisiana Road Trips featured Marshall, Texas on the cover with a suggestion to go there for the fantastic display of Christmas lights. If you go, may I suggest you continue a bit further and visit some of the interesting small towns of East Texas, and there are lots of them, each with its own particular personality and landmarks. The best way is to follow US80, my favorite highway, west from Marshall and start looking. That is the key, look and explore. Our country suffers tremendously from a habit of driving hundreds, perhaps thousands, to a destination without seeing anything in between. Develop an adventurous spirit and you will discover things of interest wherever you happen to be, in Urania, Louisiana; Pittsburg, Texas; or Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Stop and take a

look, talk to people, make a picture, ask the square and picked up a set of CD's with questions, and write it down. every issue of National Geographic from 1888 Let's travel beyond Marshall about forty to 2000 on them for $12.00. The courthouse, a miles on US80. That will place you a few replacement for an earlier one destroyed by miles west of Longview (too big for this story fire, shows a bit of wear and modification over but worth a lengthy visit sometime) in the years but is expected to be completely Gladewater where the discovery of oil nearby restored to original in the near future. Around twenty miles north of Gilmer at in 1931 started a boom atmosphere and the intersection of US271 and I30 is Pittsburg, spurred an increase in population from about seat of Camp 500 to 8,000. Dependence on oil County, production kept Gladewater going though home of the Great Depression before dwindling Pilgrim's away around 1940. What can you Pride food find in Gladewater in 2010? empire with Antique stores, and lots of them! the This is the antique capital of East surrounding Texas claiming more than two countryside hundred stores. A reminder of the dotted with oil heritage, a derrick and related chicken equipment, stands in the center of Fountain featuring Farmall Tractor, US271 between Gilmer and Pittsburg, TX farms town. One unique feature I supporting the processing plants. Alongside a discovered in Gladewater was a public farmer's market on US271 there is a small pond restroom owned by the city where everything with a fountain using an old Farmall tractor as in it was sparkling stainless steel, including a centerpiece. The Northeast Texas Rural the toilet seat. I can imagine how cold that Heritage Museum, mostly housed in the old must be on winter days. Rock Island depot is well worth a visit for Directly north of anyone interested in America's rail history. An Gladewater on US271 is addition Gilmer, seat of Upshur houses the County. The courthouse property's square is surrounded by most famous a variety of businesses artifact, a and court related replica of the edifices. I always make Ezekiel a point of dropping in Airship barbershops and Gilmer dating from has a dandy, five chairs the turn of the and four barbers, all 20th century Replica of Ezekial Airship, Pittsburg, TX full. Dropped in a

Develop an adventurous spirit and you will discover things of interest wherever you happen to be.

consignment shop across

Louisiana Road Trips


continued on next page > > >

Take a Road Trip to East Texas

continued and reported to have flown a year before the Wright Brothers. Preacher/Engineer Burrell Cannon was inspired by Ezekiel 1:19 in the Old Testament to build a flying machine. Invited to exhibit the craft at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis, he loaded his machine on a railway flat car and headed for Missouri. Near Texarkana, a severe windstorm blew the craft off the train and destroyed it. A few years ago their Optimist Club, using what they could find of the original drawings, constructed the replica on display in Pittsburg today. Also on display is a beautifully restored 1920's fire engine. Mineola is a modest town of about 6,000 people located at the junction of US80 and US69. Like Pittsburg, it has a small museum located in the old Depot. Like Gladewater, it has a number of antique emporiums. If you happen to be there at mealtime, drop in at the East Texas Burger Company. I opted for chicken fried steak for Detail on old bank building, Mineola, TX which Texas is famous and had plenty for lunch and enough left for dinner. As you approach Sulphur Springs, located about midway between Texarkana and Dallas on Interstate 30, you notice more dairy cows than beef cattle. It is the capital of dairy farming in Texas. The town is seat of Hopkins County with an impressive courthouse built of granite blocks accented with red sandstone decoration. The edifice dates from 1894 and features a unique spiral (more like a corkscrew) staircase to the top of the tower. That feature extends above a lower staircase rising three floors below. With court in session during my visit, I couldn't see the courtroom but was told it compared favorably to the rest of the structure. Another property in Sulphur Springs is The Southwest Dairy Museum. Out front are enormous statues of two cows, one Holstein and one Jersey, each around eighteen feet tall. They also serve very tasty ice cream and malts in a recreated soda fountain. Our base of operation during our visit to east Texas was Holly Lake Ranch near Hawkins. The property is located in the piney woods and deer are everywhere. One day as we departed for another adventure a young buck came bounding along, jumping the fence by the road, then when he came to an intersection with a stop sign, stopped, looked both ways, and took off. Never have I wished for a video of anything like I did then.

Louisiana Road Trips


Taking Care of an Environmental Crisis: Migratory Bird Rescue By Johnny Wink With the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, British Petroleum (BP) was made to pay farmers and landowners to flood their fields early with the intent to shortstop the birds. This is to protect the migrating waterfowl that will come to the marshes of south Louisiana. I heard Morehouse Parish was the primary parish to receive money for this project. You had to sign up by certain dates and there were specific requirements involved. The sooner you signed up, the sooner you started and the more money you got. You had to keep the water at a certain depth and not drain your fields until March (I think) and in turn you would get a check spread out over a three-year period to pay for flooding the fields for this season only. I know some farmers got pretty big checks. For landowners or farmers who lease their land for duck hunting, they would flood their land anyway so it was easy, except maybe they'd be doing it just a little bit earlier. It sounds like a good deal for a lot of farmers and I'm glad a lot of them are from Morehouse Parish.

Ok, so what will this do for the ducks? I live right in the middle of all this pumping and with fields being flooded early and we are covered up with ducks and geese! It's been so dry that we've been under a constant burn ban, with no water in the backwaters of the rivers, creeks and ditches. I think they knew what they were talking about by short topping a lot of the birds. Right now, if you've got a field with water, you've got a lot of waterfowl. And don't forget, you will have shorebirds and all kind of migrating birds that love water, too. So let's pray that this will save a lot of birds from getting sick or dying from the oil spill. Now here is another question. Ok, where we have duck blinds, we have water and after two days of shooting these ducks, where are they going to go? No water off the rivers. Wham Brake is almost dry. Creeks and sloughs have cracks in them. So we'll be sending them south a little bit later this year. Our season will probably be fantastic but I hope it's not going to adversely affect the hunters in south Louisiana. If I were them, I wouldn't want people to get paid to shortstop the birds ahead of me. Well, maybe the people in charge know what they're doing because the waterfowl count for November is up from last year. We're now killing a lot of first year Speckabelly geese this goose season. That means it was a good hatch up north this spring and when that happens, the younger 1. Why was Winter Quarters ones are dumber and we have better luck. Plantation not burned in the Civil Go figure. War? But I'm still concerned about the water. 2. What was the name of Epps We need more water in other areas that don't changed to in the early 1900's have blinds so the ducks and geese can go and before changing back to Epps? rest and this area can hold the ducks longer 3. Who did Tallulah High School graduate Harold Jenkins before they're forced south. But it's all about change his name to? the weather. One thing for sure, the hunter 4. What are “darning who has multiple places to hunt will do better needles” and “horse if he can let his other stingers” more places rest and not commonly called in the South? 5. How was Monroe's Louisville Avenue named? 6. Where did Jefferson Davis live? 7. What WWII Marine Corps Ace flew for Gen. Claire Chennault? 8. Who was the first governor of Louisiana Territory? 9. What is the English translation of “catalpa”? 10. What is the derivation of “pecan”?

The waterfowl count for November is up from last year.

ouisiana Remember When . . .

shoot his blinds every day. We're lucky that we do have a number of good blinds and we'll be doing just that. My hunters will see good shooting all season. As I write this, I have a good group in from Georgia and we're going in the morning to Speckabelly hunt. There are so many in that particular field that when we go in tomorrow, the ground will shake when we get them up. They are so fat! The season has been great and I hope it'll continue. In fact, I hope all of Louisiana has a great duck season. This might be the year we've all been looking for. If you have water, you probably have ducks. My advice as a seasoned duck guide is that if you scout for a hunting spot, don't go looking for ducks. Look for water and you'll find the ducks. And if you can't find any water, or if you do and there's a hunter around every tree, give me a call and book a hunt. BP paid for the water I'll be hunting this year. It looks great and I'm fired up! So be safe and take a youngster hunting if you can. Now, I've got to go to bed because I'm getting up early. See all y'all next month. God, I love my job. Thank you. Amen. Life is good being a duck guide in Jones, Louisiana.

Answers on next page 21

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By Barbara Sharik

No More Plain-Jane Ding-a-Linging For Me! I can now tell you what eating my words tastes like. Words aren't meant to be eaten, but when somebody blatantly says one thing and then does something else, sometimes words end up being served cold. Just last month I bragged about my El Cheapo cell phone. Well, let's make that plural because I had two. The point of having two was to be sure to have at least one telephone charged and on my person at all times. Admittedly, I still occasionally found myself cell-less. Sometimes both phones would wind up deader'n the proverbial doornail at the same time and other times in my purse and my purse too far away to hear them ringing. It'd been a bit of a nightmare to stay connected, but since I don't much like talking on telephones, it was okay. And then I did something foolish. You see, one of the two cell phones I wrote about last month, the battery began to fail. It wouldn't hold a charge. So, I headed to our local super center where I'd bought it in the first place, only to learn they don't carry replacement batteries for the phones they sell. On top of that, when I got home I found out that it's lost. I must've set it down somewhere. I avoid shopping because I'm weak. As I stood looking at my dying phone before I mislaid it, a really fine and fancy phone caught my eye. I noted the complete QWERTY keyboard for ease of texting. I've never texted in my life, but that full keyboard was so cool. And it offered mobile web access. Hmmm. That meant I could check my Facebook account anytime I wanted to. I do like

Facebook. I've become reacquainted with many former classmates, long lost cousins, old friends and a bunch of brand new ones. Plus I can send and receive email and have access to news, sports and weather. It has voice mail. I've got a ton of lost voicemails floating around in cyberspace because my old phone's voicemail stopped working. Or I forgot how to work it. Anything's possible. It said I had a message and every time I pushed the 'listen' button, it'd beep and some lady'd tell me it was unavailable. It takes photos and videos. I know. I said I prefer using my camera; and I will. But still, this feature is available. Like the other day a bald eagle flew overhead between Bonita and Gallion and I didn't have my camera with me. I won't miss a shot like that again because I'll always have my telephone. I can now join the ranks of all the folks with fancy ringtones. No more Plain-Jane ding-a-linging. Plus, the phone's

It'd been a bit of a nightmare to stay connected.

Louisiana Road Trips

face can be fancied up with customized graphics. I'm putting on a photo of BooCat. It has something called the Nokia Ovi Maps with which I can locate my position and get driving directions. I've always wanted a GPS for ease of making Louisiana Road Trips, and now I have one. It's Bluetooth friendly. Well, it would be if I didn't wear hearing aids. But all the rest of these features drew me in like candy on Halloween. I bought the phone. Now I've gotta find somebody to program it for me. All I can do is talk. Because, oh yeah, in addition to all the many amazing technological features, I can even make and receive telephone calls too. Barbara Sharik makes her home at Wit's End in Jones, Louisiana with a couple old dogs, young dogs and several stupid dogs, a cat, a talking cockatiel and a white dove. She's active in civic affairs, serves as a Justice of the Peace, a Notary Public, is the Clerk for the Village of Bonita and a columnist for the Bastrop Daily Enterprise. She has authored several books. You can e-mail Barbara at

For effective, low-cost advertising, call

Mona L. Hayden (318) 547-1221


I have been meaning to tell you that we love LA Road Trips!! Our family takes turns trying to answer the trivia questions. We can't wait to get the new issue every month. My family is learning so much about our state with it...thanks!!! ~SWB, via email

After reading about the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall coming to the Chennault Aviation and Military Museum (Oct, 2010), I decided to take my father and father-in-law to Monroe to see this. It was a very moving experience, especially exchanging information with other visitors about our families. God bless America. ~Stephen P., El Dorado, AR I just moved to Louisiana from Mississippi with my new husband and discovered LRT at the State Welcome Centers. What a great publication! Please tell me how to subscribe. ~Meagan S., Cleveland, MS Dennis Stewart's article offering marital advice (Nov, 2010) almost got us committed. I laughed so hard that my husband thought I was losing my mind so I made him read it. Now our kids think we're both nuts! ~Sarah G., Bossier City

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Blockbuster Books

New Orleans gilded memories and sweet confessions By Deborah Burst

Bryan Batt's memoir, She's not heavy, she's my mother, is a thoroughly moving and entertaining saga of the South, showbiz, and the unshakable bond between a mother and son. Stealing Magnolias presents a poetic portrayal of New Orleans scribed by author, Debra Shiver, a twelfth-generation Southerner, in what she calls part-love letter and part-scrapbook. She ain't heavy, she's my mother is sometimes referred to as a “momoir” rather than memoir but soon you realize Bryan and his mother, Gayle Batt, are one in the same. An accomplished Broadway/television actor and designer, Bryan is a hard-core southern gentleman. And Gayle, a true southern belle, is strong-willed, big-hearted, always dressed to the hilt, and as Bryan says, “One of those people who can tell you to go to hell in such a manner you would say thank you and ask for directions.”

Bryan's keen sense of humor shines through every page with narrative so real you can see his mother's pursed pink frosted lips and smell the scent of her Chanel perfume. How ironic that his role as Sal Romano on the Mad Men television series would be set in time with the years of his youth. Dressed in Mad Men's vintage suit and skinny tie, Bryan admits he is a “finely detailed replica” of his father, but his heart is that of his mother. A master of southern literature, Bryan folds his deep-seated love for New Orleans in iconic images of familiar places that have faded away--his mother, aunt and grandmother in white-gloved, high-heeled shopping sprees on Canal Street. Or the “he-did-me-wrong” visit to Adler's Jewelers and the obligatory lunch and cocktails at Galatoire's. The family photos are the perfect accompaniment to what are honest and difficult revelations. But like his mother,

Bryan finds a way to not only face the skeletons in his closet but pull them out and dance with them. A gay man, growing up in the “Jim Crow” era and son of a prominent family, Bryan offers an intimate discovery weaved into everyday life. The constant thrill for theatrics, his infatuation for fashion, and the overwhelming desire to own a GQ magazine, all laced with a heavy dose of humor as noted in his self described entrance into puberty, “I was a cross between a black Labrador retriever puppy, Jerry Lewis, and a clown…thank God a new look was on its way, even if it did include a unibrow.” She ain't heavy, she's my mother is an addictive tale that has you crying and laughing with every page. But more than a personal memoir, it's a motivational message of hope, determination and sheer will, an unwavering gift from Gayle and Bryan Batt. As Bryan says, “I feel it's best to straddle the

“I was a cross between a black Labrador retriever puppy, Jerry Lewis, and a clown…

continued on next page > > >

Ask about our PARTY ROOM! Louisiana Road Trips

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Blockbuster Books worlds of reality and fantasy, keeping one foot firmly planted in each so that when necessary, one can escape with just a simple shift of weight.” In Stealing Magnolias: Tales from a New Orleans Courtyard, Debra Shriver shares her love affair for the city of New Orleans and her French Quarter home in a romantic sojourn with sultry whispers of street-side musicians, whimsical memories of Mardi Gras, cayenne soaked gumbos and the oozing beauty of garden mansions and shotgun shanties. In a non-eventful weekend in early August 2005 Shriver and her husband discover their French Quarter home in what Shriver calls Coup de Foudre, love at first sight. She continues a lovely saga of how she and her decorator, Hal, transformed the building's dank, pedestrian interior to a carousel of color. The three story structure, cast in a Greek Revival architecture, is a symmetry of balance with double parlors, twin fireplaces and matching chandeliers. Contrasting colors in light and shadows, and opposing textures of silk and linens boast a refined downstairs while the upper level nods recurring themes of the Big Easy with sitting rooms for reading, music and movies. The book gracefully unfolds southern traditions in a lavish display of artwork that reveals the sights, sounds and smells of the fabled city. Daily nuances become everyday treasures--coffee at Café du Monde, shopping at the open air French Market, and reading the newspaper in a brick courtyard aroused by the fragrance of gardenias and the


cadence of cooing doves and cathedral bells. And of course the food rituals idolized by epicureans who crave everything from opulent dining to seafood boils both hosted by the equally worshipped cocktail. Tiny love notes dot the pages with quotes from New Orleans icons and those who swoon for her affection. As a parting gift, Debra shares her communal address book, a list of favorite shops, museums, restaurants, historic homes, and twelve reasons to return to New Orleans again and again. Stealing Magnolias tugs the heart like an old lover as the seductive pages cast a blissful spell of longing for a city filled with fantasies. For more information: appearances.shtml#book and Stealing-Magnolias-Tales-OrleansCourtyard/dp/0982379919

Catering & Gifts

318-647-3681 800-841-3543 Farm Supply Center Catering & Gifts

"I've advertised with several publications including newspapers but got the best results from my ads in LA ROAD TRIPS. Their reach brings in customers from all over northeast Louisiana to my shop." ~Debbie Zohimsky, Owner, WORN Consignment Shop, West Monroe

Louisiana Road Trips

206 S. 14th Street P.O. Box 253 Mer Rouge, LA 71261 CHESSLYE PIPES SANSON Email:

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by Stacy Thornton

"It's the most wonderful time of the year" Christmas! We wait all year for this much anticipated day. I absolutely love everything about Christmastime - the smells, the lights, the sounds of joy, laughter, caroling, blessings, celebrations, music, and gatherings with friends and family make this time of the year very special. As we celebrate the birth of Christ, we should also count our blessings. I hope you enjoy the holidays and these recipes that have been shared with me. One is from my daughter who loves to bake cookies. Another is from a friend that bakes a particular "yummy" pie and Carolyn's broccoli cornbread is delicious. Then there is the Favorite Party Cheese Mold that my Aunt Joy shared one Christmas and is now a family favorite. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Carlee's Holiday Sugar Cookies My daughter and her girlfriends can bake you out of house and home when they're bored. Carlee loves to bake and decorate sugar cookies. I know she's been on a baking binge when I'm all of a sudden out of eggs and vanilla. 1/3 cup butter, softened 3/4 cups sugar 1/3 cup shortening 1 tbsp milk 2 cups all purpose flour 1 tsp baking powder 1 egg 1 tsp vanilla In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and shortening on medium speed for about 30 seconds. In a medium bowl, combine baking powder with flour and mix well. To the butter mixture, add about half the flour, egg, milk, vanilla and sugar. Beat until combined. Mix in remaining flour and combine. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill 2 to 3 hours. On a lightly floured surface, roll half the dough into 1/8 inch thickness and cut with cookie cutters. Bake on ungreased baking sheet at 375 degrees for 7 to 8 minutes or until edges are light brown. Cool cookies on a wire rack. Frost as desired. Store in airtight container.

Helen's Cherry Pecan Christmas Pie Helen Cheek has swapped this special pie for years at Christmas for another friend's coconut cream pie. 3 cups graham cracker crumbs 2 tsp vanilla, divided 1 cup sugar (+ 3 tbsp) 24 oz cream cheese 2 sticks butter softened 1 can cherry pie filling 3 eggs (Helen prefers Comstock pie filling) 1 cup chopped pecans 16 oz sour cream Mix graham cracker crumbs with butter and _ cup of pecans. Divide and press into two pie plates. Combine cream cheese with 1 cup of sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture into prepared pie plates. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. While pie is baking, combine sour cream with 3 tbsp of sugar and 1 tsp vanilla. Pour over baked pie. Dot top of pie with cherry pie filling and bake an additional 5 minutes. Chill until ready to serve. Makes 2 pies so share one with someone you love.

Cranberry Nut Balls 1 pkg refrigerated white chocolate chip cookie dough 1 cup chopped craisins 1 cup chopped pecans powdered sugar for dusting Slice dough into 1/2 inch slices and roll into balls. Combine craisins and nuts and roll cookie balls into craisin-nut mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes. Don't over bake. Cool. Roll cookies in powdered sugar. Store in an airtight container.

Carolyn's Broccoli Cornbread 1 box Jiffy cornbread mix 6 oz cottage cheese or sour cream 1 box chopped frozen broccoli, thawed 4 eggs beaten 1 stick of butter, melted 1 large onion chopped 1 tsp salt 1 can cream corn Tabasco or hot sauce 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine Jiffy mix with all other ingredients and mix well. Pour into 9 x 12 baking pan coated with nonstick cooking spray and bake for 30 minutes. Place under broiler to brown.

Favorite Party Cheese Mold My Aunt Joy shared this one year at Christmastime and it's usually one of the first appetizers to disappear. 6 cups grated cheddar cheese 2 bunches green onions 2 cups finely chopped pecans 1/2 to 3/4 cups mayonnaise Strawberry jam fresh parsley Crackers Spray plastic mold with nonstick cooking spray. Chop green onions. Mix cheese onions, pecans, and mayo well. Pack tight into mold and refrigerate overnight. Turn out on cake plate or stand. Spread thickly with jam and fill center with parsley. Serve with crackers.

Louisiana Road Trips

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By Dennis Stewart

It Really Ticks Me Off It really ticks me off that Christmas used to be my favorite season of the year. I would mark off the days one by one in exuberant anticipation of That Day. Sadly, now I dread Christmas, because it means I can't go to WalMart without being verbally assaulted by the panhandlers at the Wal-Mart entrance. The panhandlers have been there at Christmas for ages, but now they have become bolder. In the old days you could just ignore them. Not anymore. Now they personally address you if you dare to try to ignore them. “Merry Christmas, sir, would you like to donate to the needy at the Mount Vesuvius Interdenominational Baptist Church. . . .?” My next door neighbor prints stuff on Tshirts. I have asked him to design one for me with a pistol with smoke rising from the barrel over big block letters on the front saying “Smoke A Pack of Wal-Mart Panhandlers A Day!” I will be selling them for $10 a piece at the entrance to the Rayville Wal-Mart. OH, and don't try to ignore me. It really ticks me off that NPR recently fired a commentator just because he said that

getting on commercial airliners with Muslims dressed up in traditional Muslim garb makes him nervous. Such a sight makes me nervous too. NPR said the commentator was biased and not fit to be one of their commentators. Well, NPR, I guess that makes me unfit to be a NPR viewer or to be one of your donors during pledge week. It really ticks me off that we have so many bears in north Louisiana, but no bear season. We used to have a lot of quail in Louisiana, but since the Wildlife and Fisheries Department realized how much money could be made manning DWI roadblocks in Monroe and West Monroe (road construction capitals of the world), I guess they fired all the biologists so they could hire more ticket writers. If they still had biologists, Wildlife and Fisheries would know we have enough bears for a hunting season, and they would be working on reintroducing the quail. It's sad that Wildlife and Fisheries doesn't even know we have cougars in north Louisiana. Oh well, as soon as some politician's kid gets mauled by a black bear, I'm sure we will have a bear season.

“Smoke A Pack of Wal-Mart Panhandlers A Day!”

It really ticks me off that the Department of Motor Vehicles won't let me use their fax machine to clear up THEIR mistake about an insurance flag, especially when said fax machine was bought and paid for with MY tax money and license fees. It really ticks me off to have a kidney stone. I had my first one on a Sunday this past October. Within five minutes of the first pain, I was at the Rayville Emergency Room. Having never had a kidney stone before, I didn't know what was happening to me. I threw up so many times, the last 20 were dry heaves. I have never been in that much pain in my life. If having a baby hurts like that, I have a newfound respect for every woman who has given birth. I even reached the point where I was considering the consequences of death, and I decided that death would not be so bad if it would make the pain stop. Three hours and two shots later, the kidney stone was diagnosed just as it arrived in the bladder. Blessed assurance, Jesus was mine and the pain was gone. I felt so good I tossed a quarter at the Wal-Mart panhandler when I went to get my Loritab prescription filled. Dennis Stewart grew up in northeast Louisiana, graduated from La Tech and LSU Law School. After having taught law at ULM and working as an Assistant District Attorney, Dennis is now a Hearing Officer in Rayville. He loves to hunt, fish, read, write, and shop on eBay.

The Nature of Christmas By Mae Flager

December in the garden is a slow time of year. Most flowers have tucked away their finery for a winter's sleep and the days move at a sleepy, twilight pace. Hopefully we've been more ant than grasshopper this fall, thinking ahead and preparing our gardens for the cold winter ahead. If not, it's definitely time to prune dead vegetation, clear away fallen limbs and fruit, and trim back any branches that look diseased or weak. Anything left to molder over the winter will be waiting to cause problems come spring. Now is also the time to clean up shovels, hoes, shears and other garden tools for storage. Wipe all surfaces and edges with a greasy rag and look for any tools that need to be re-edged or sharpened. Don't forget to drain out any gas or oil left in mowers or weed-eaters. There's no worse Spring surprise than a mower that won't crank. One way to bring some green to the winter season is with a live Christmas tree. If you do choose a live tree some simple tips will keep the boughs fresh and fragrant. First, make a fresh cut to the bottom off your tree and remove about _-inch disk of wood. It's important to get the tree in water as soon as possible as most species will still Louisiana Road Trips

absorb water 6-8 hours from the time they were cut. Place the tree in a stand that fits. Don't whittle or shave the tree as this inhibits water up take and increases water loss. The general rule of thumb for water in the stand is one quart per inch of trunk diameter. Be sure to keep the trunk submerged at all times. An easy way to water is to buy a large funnel and 3-4 inches of one inch tubing. Leave the end of the tube in your stand and tuck the excess next to the trunk. Then when it comes time to water, all you have to do is place the funnel in the tube and pour, no more spilling on the tree skirt or wondering if you splashed on the lights. Whether your tree is fresh or artificial you can bring in hints of your summer garden by drying petals through the growing season and then placing them in clear ornaments to decorate the tree. I'll be traveling back to Florida for Christmas this year so my day will have a few more palm trees than Christmas trees. Wherever this Christmas finds you, I hope the joy of the season fills your hearts and the light of your family shines throughout. Mae Flager is a native Floridian who's enjoying her new north Louisiana habitat. A writer and gardener, she enjoys digging in the dirt and seeing what grows. Please let her know if you have thoughts, suggestions, or gardening tips that just must see the light of day,

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On the Scene

Christmas New Orleans Style

Wrap up the holidays with a little Lagniappe By Deborah Burst Ring in a monthlong celebration with more than 100 holiday events and activities in concerts, decorations, Reveillon dinners and discounted hotel rates. Come see why Home and Garden Television (HGTV) named New Orleans as the “Top Christmas Town.” DECORATIONS - Blaze a jolly trail of twinkling lights in the Roosevelt Hotel's Waldorf Wonderland Lobby dressed in a canopy of white birch branches. Miracle on Fulton Street next to Harrah's Hotel will feature live reindeer, “Faux Snow” and Christmas Trees decorated with ornamental pelican, crabs and oysters to honor those affected by the oil spill. Take the driving tour of Celebration in the Oaks under a cascade of lights inside City Park's ancient oaks or ride on the antique (103 years old) carousel and miniature train. And Santa will have no problem finding the city of Mandeville (30 miles north) thanks to the Holiday of Lights main attraction, a 160 ft water tower draped with 40,000 twinkle lights. FAMILY / DECORATIONS - Monte the Lion and Santa will host the Hotel Monteleone Christmas teas with savory treats, games and a musical parade. Mrs. Claus will read classic Christmas tales and each child will receive a Monte stuffed animal. Teddy Bear Tea returns For a complete list of all other Christmas New Orleans Style events or to request the official guidebook, call 504-522-5730, or Visit and click on the Champions Square block for more details about times and restrictions.

to The Roosevelt Hotel where children enjoy holiday tea, stories from Mrs. Claus and a souvenir teddy bear. Explore the science behind snow and create your own snowflake at the Louisiana Children's Museum. For something a little more daring, why not attend Jingle Bugs at the Audubon Insectarium and spend the day sampling gingerbug cookies and special holiday themed insect programming. Reveal in lavish holiday decorations inside historic homes. The Preservation Resource Center Holiday Home Tour provides self guided tours of seven stunning Garden District homes plus a bonus tour of the Opera Guild Home. Houmas House plantation along River Road, less than an hour away from New Orleans, offers a glimpse into an ante-bellum Christmas with vintage decorations including owner Kevin Kelly's antique doll and toy collection. CULINARY - Break bread with family and friends in an old Creole dining tradition called Reveillon celebrated nightly in more than thirty restaurants during the holiday season. From the casual Gumbo Shop to fine dining at Brennan's Restaurant, the special menu typically offers three to five courses starting at $30. Take advantage of the free Chef's Holiday Cooking Demonstrations at Le Petit Theatre and learn the secrets of some of New Orleans' top chefs. HOTEL DEALS - New Orleans hotels offer some holiday lagniappe in what they call “Papa Noel Rates.” The century old Le Pavillon hotel welcomes guests to a lobby filled with Victorian Christmas decorations and twostory Christmas trees.

Louisiana Road Trips

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Known as the Grande Dame of the French Quarter, the Hotel Monteleone continues its holiday traditions entertaining visitors with sounds of the season from local school choirs, along with Tales of the Toddy sponsored by Tales of the Cocktail. Sample Toddy cocktails and meet the men of the 2011 New Orleans Firefighter calendar. SPORTS - A new open-air entertainment center, the 60,000-square-foot Champions Square pays tribute to loyal fans and iconic champions. Surrounded by palm trees and 30-foot tall images of sports heroes, it's the new hot spot for “Who Dat” partying before and after the game. Located on ground level adjacent to the Superdome, fans with and without tickets are welcome (no entry fee) to enjoy an urban style of tailgating. Similar to Jazz Fest, minus the grass, suds-sipping-Saints-fans savor a winning lineup of food ($8-$9 plates) from big-name restaurants and dance to the beat of homegrown live music. Thousands of beboping fans (up to 8,000) watch the show on a monster stage and LED screen with a state-of-the-art sound system. For a step above the usual fare, Club XLIV offers a separate 16,000-square-foot airconditioned, private lounge in Champions Square with high-end furnishings, flat screen televisions, premium open bar and complimentary food. WRAP IT UP - Bebop to a new grove with gospel, jazz and R&B in free evening concerts at the St. Louis Cathedral, caroling in Jackson Square, or rock the night away in clubs all across the Big Easy. While most cities shut down on Christmas Eve, New Orleans fires it up with teepee-structure bonfires along the Mississippi River levee from New Orleans to Baton Rouge to light the way for Papa Noel. Make plans to join Saints fans in Champions Square for the St. Louis Rams game on December 12 and the Tampa Bay game on January 2. And remember to include “REPEAT DAT,” on that Christmas list with an added request for playoff home field advantage.

Caring for Pets in Winter Winter is almost here and pet owners need to take precautions to keep their animals safe and healthy. The danger may be worse than what the thermometer reads. The wind chill factor can drop the temperature by 20 or 30 degrees. So even dogs and cats that stay outside in warmer weather may have to be brought inside in extreme cold snaps. An adequate shelter means your pet is kept warm, dry and away from drafts. If your pet lives in a shelter of his own, make sure that it is raised off the ground, has dry bedding and is insulated or heated. Make sure also that your pet has a constant source of clean water. Thermal heaters are available to make sure the water source doesn't freeze. Roaming cats and wildlife like to climb onto car engines for warmth in winter. Look under the hood or honk the horn before starting the engine. Animals get frostbite, too. Just a short exposure to very low temperatures can produce frostbite of the feet, nose or ears. Frostbitten skin is red or gray and may peel off. Treat it by applying warm, moist towels to thaw the affected areas slowly until the skin looks flushed. Then contact a veterinarian for further care. If your pet spends a lot of time outdoors, feed him extra calories because it takes more energy in winter to keep his body temperature regulated. Most importantly, remember that your pet is smaller and thus more vulnerable to the chills you feel. Louisiana Road Trips

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Hit the Road

Tale of Two Cities

Holiday family fun in Natchitoches and Galveston By Deborah Burst Shades of an old-fashioned Dicken's Christmas fill the air as both cities offer a multitude of holiday activities. Known as the City of Lights, Natchitoches comes alive with forty-five nights of Christmas lights along with weekends filled with parades and fireworks. The Galveston Festival of Lights is the Gulf Coast's largest holiday lighting event with a mile-long trail of more than a million lights and 100 sound-enhanced animated displays sparkling over the beautiful Galveston Bay. Natchitoches, the City of Lights - In Natchitoches all along downtown Front Street, there's a heighten sense of anticipation as the crowds build and shoppers sample coffee and pumpkin bread. It's a cherished scene that shines even brighter during the holidays in a time honored tradition spanning more than 80 years with more than 300,000 Christmas lights and over 100 displays. Young and old bundled against a light chill gather in front of Cane River Lake anxiously awaiting the big countdown. A collective “awe” spills across the crowd as thousands of lights come alive against a backdrop of fireworks. This scene is repeated every Saturday until January 6, and new this year, tube down a 110-ft snow hill the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. On the first weekend of December enjoy a parade of lighted barges on Friday night, and on Saturday, a day long extravaganza with an early morning 5K run, two parades, and live entertainment. It's a long list of festive events throughout the month of December including the

Natchitoches Historic Foundation annual Christmas Candlelight tour held on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from December 8-18. Galveston Festival of Lights & Dickens on The Strand Festive sights and sounds will once again fill the air at Moody Gardens against the triple pyramid backdrop and Galveston Bay during the Festival of Lights from now until January 1st. Stroll through the mile-long strip of lights or enjoy many of the Moody Garden attractions such as the IMAX 3D holiday film, Ridefilm, Discovery Museum, Aquarium Pyramid, Colonel Paddlewheel Boat and outdoor ice skating rink. On the first weekend of December the downtown historic district hold's its infamous Dickens on The Strand. The Galveston Historical Foundation's 37th annual Victorian-style street festival is filled with costumes, music, food and wares straight from the streets of 19th-century London. Both visitors and participants dress in Victorian-era costumes, and new this year, the Victorian Bed Races. Other festival highlights include parades, non-stop entertainment on five stages, strolling carolers and roving musicians, bagpipers, jugglers and a host of other entertainers. Costumed vendors will peddle holiday food and drink, Victorianinspired crafts, clothing, jewelry, holiday decorations and gift Louisiana Road Trips

of the river. Every morning dine items. Once again this year, on a gourmet candlelight children will be able to roll in breakfast in the glorious French snow at Dickens on the Strand. Provincial dining room. Accommodations In Galveston, spin a fairytale, 866357-0858. stay at the Hotel Galvez, Located an exquisite century-old, on Jefferson beachfront hotel with Street, world-class designs and within architecture. The Sunday walking brunch is the most distance of incredible Front Street display...long shops and spreads of omelets, restaurants, meat, pasta, salad, Jefferson seafood, dessert Street Townhouse Bed & Breakfast and even huge jars of presents a divine garden with chocolate and hard candy. year-round blooms. Elegantly Galveston is several towns decorated guest suites with rolled into one: endless beaches and the smell of the antique furnishings and lush bedding blend with amenities surf, rows of Victorian such as gated off-street parking, homes (survived both full-size pool, internet service and hurricanes 1900 & Ike), historic coffee bar. Each morning guests warehouse lofts/boutiques in the downtown district, and incredible gather around the banquet-size Empire table surrounded by a food such as the Gumbo Bar and collection of original oil paintings the Mosquito Cafe. and Audubon prints for a true, 409southern breakfast with 765-7721. homemade biscuits and mayhaw The sleepy town of jelly, eggs, bacon and creamy grits. Natchitoches, the oldest town in, the Louisiana Purchase, prides itself on a steeped history of Cane 800-342-3957. Save time in shopping and River Creoles with the historic district sprawled across a 33-block wrapping presents, give the gift of travel for area. Historic everyone on homes have your lovingly been Christmas restored in Bed & list. Book Breakfasts with your trip their own distinct now and personality. The start a new Violet Hill Bed & holiday Breakfast sits atop a tradition. ridge overlooking the Care River •Natchitoches Area Convention & Visitors Lake. Read a Bureau, 781 Front Street, Natchitoches, book or relax Louisiana 71457, 800-259-1714, with a cocktail on or the veranda or step down a •Galveston Moody Garden's Festival of Lights, cascade of steps 800-582-4673 or visit to the spacious •Galveston Dickens on The Strand, 409-765gazebo deck with 3403, a panoramic view

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By Dianne Newcomer

The Possibilities in the Impossible “…….and that was the Christmas your mama heard the reindeer hooves on our roof.” In my mind, it was The End. Story time is over and a let's-go-to-sleep moment, but my five year old grandson was not there yet. Totally captivated by this sudden revelation which, by the way, really did happen one Christmas Eve many years ago in his mother's mind, Thomas had entered the wonder zone. “Mam, I wonder…. How do reindeer fly…. How does Rudolph's nose blink… How does Santa go to every kid's house all around the world in one night….

How can he eat all those cookies….” Eventually, satisfied his every question had been answered, this precious child went off to sleep, completely mystified by the wonder of it all. Now, whether you believe Christmas is a high holy day or nothing more than a feeding frenzy for retailers, there is no denying the ritual of the season. How easy it is to get lost in the details and lose “the wonder.” After all, the lights, the trees, holiday open houses, the party invitations, and the cheery songs appeared before the Thanksgiving turkey was ever roasted! Still, in spite of our ambivalent feelings, we refuse to change anything about this holiday. Could it be because we want the childlike innocence - the one that hears “reindeer hooves on the roof on Christmas eve” - to prevail? Perhaps this is the one time of the year when the earth feels in balance. It resonates with the message of peace and goodwill and our focus changes from fear to joy. We smile, make eye contact, and even dare wish total strangers a “Merry Christmas.” It feels right to do so. Christmas is a celebration when we let our hearts, not our minds, take control. The more we participate in the rituals of the season, the more the magic surrounds us. We delight in the message of “Joy to the World.” We may grumble about the lights but diligently and dutifully, we

decorate the tree and house for others to enjoy. What happiness those beautifully wrapped gifts scattered under the tree give us. We bake cookies for the neighbors down the street. The ritual of the season allows us to be nice and do nice things, and we are generously rewarded because of it as we actually enjoy giving more than receiving. Christmas becomes a festival for the heart! Maybe our holiday rituals never change because even subconsciously, we want to return year after year and feel that gift of joy in our heart. We enjoy having the whim and richness of the season take us on another emotional and extraordinary journey. Furthermore, I would argue that, to this very day, the wonder of Christmas was something we learned from our most favorite Santa(s). By filling our little heads with all those amazing stories about a jolly little elf and his flying reindeer, I think it was just their fancy way of teaching us the impossible is a possibility. And, that, my friends, is my Christmas wish for you. May you always see the possibilities in the impossible. Thank you for traveling with me in Louisiana Road Trips this year and please remember, if you are making plans or just want to talk about some of the “wonder zones” of our world, call me at MONROE TRAVEL SERVICE - 1908 Glenmar, right next to the Muffin Tin. I would love to help you discover the world Santa travels every December 25th!

Happy holidays, The Staff of Monroe Travel Service

Linda Bashner, Mary Margaret Brenner, Page King, Mary Lou Kirby, Rob and Dianne Newcomer

For effective, low-cost advertising, call

Mona L. Hayden (318) 547-1221 Louisiana Road Trips

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By Shellie Tomlinson

Santa's Rough Language or “Ho, Ho, What?!" Hello folks… I've got Christmas cookies on the sideboard and apple cider on the stove. Make yourselves at home, and let's chat. ~smile~ As of this writing, the 2010 holiday season has been pretty tame as far as crazy news stories go. We can only hope that it holds. I've yet to get over that whole nonsense about Santa's rough language that came out last year. You heard about that, right? I may have missed it myself had Paulette not emailed me that article. I'm still not sure if it was the most amusing article of the season, or the saddest. Here, I'll fill you in and you

All Things Southern “Bringing you the charm and heritage of the South…” ph 318-559-0319 • cell 319-282-2508

decide. The story came from Down Under, mates, and I'm not even using my southern storyteller's license. It's not even necessary. A number of Australian stores have put Santa Claus on notice about his rough language. Old St. Nick is no longer allowed to say, “Ho, ho, ho!” because “ho” can be construed as a slang term that could offend women shoppers. When Paulette read that she said, “Well, if the shoe fits, wear it honey,” but as always, she misses the point. I challenge you to find a single female, regardless of her chosen profession, who has ever heard Santa's famous greeting and thought he was calling her out. You have to look extra hard for this kind of stupid. The PC cops think Santa should say “Ha, ha, ha” instead. I say, if it's confrontation we're trying to avoid, we're jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. Bubba and the boys tend to feel a bit of pressure at Christmas time. If they happen to run into Santa after a long day

traipsing around those overcrowded malls looking for just the right present for their Sugar Plums only to hear the fat man say, “Ha, ha, ha!” - Well, it won't be pretty. I'm not advocating rough language. I was raised to understand there was no excuse for ugly words, not even ignorance. Once, when I was five or six, I told Papa I was ready to join the older kids and take my turn hoeing cotton for him. “I'm a good hoeer,” I said proudly. Papa couldn't shush me fast enough and I thought Mama was going to faint dead away. They didn't explain. They simply told me not to repeat that proud announcement again, to anyone, ever. It was years before I figured that out. Let's give Santa a break, friends. There should still be some things that when kids don't know, you don't have to tell 'em. Y'all have a big, big time on the porch today and drop me a note if you have a mind. I love to hear from y'all! ~Hugs, Shellie

Man (and Woman!) VS. Mountain: Mountain Wins By Lora D. Peppers

Recently, some issues were found of a Monroe newspaper published in 1911 and this article caught my eye: The Daily Independent, Wednesday, August 23, 1911 Frozen on Pike's Peak. Man and wife attempt to walk to summit and are caught in storm. Bodies lie under snow. Reported to Be From Dallas and Employed on Newspaper There Woman Anxious to Perform Feat, But Man was Doubtful of Ability. Colorado Springs, Col., Aug. 23. - W.A. Skinner and wife of Dallas, Tex., were frozen to death near the summit of Pike's Peak yesterday morning. Their bodies, almost covered with snow, were found side by side, by a boy walking down the peak yesterday afternoon. It is understood both victims were printers employed on a Dallas, Tex., paper. Skinner and his wife started to walk to the top of the peak early Tuesday, and stopped at the office of the Pike's Peak News, about three miles above the half-way house, to register. At the time Mr. Skinner, who was about 55 years old, doubted their ability to reach the top of the mountain. Mrs. Skinner,

who was about ten years younger, is reported to have made the remark: Woman Has Texas Grit. “I'm from Texas, and they're not going to say when I get back that I couldn't climb Pike's Peak.” The couple was [sic] last seen about 4 o'clock by the crew of the downward cog railroad train. At that time, Mr. Skinner repeated his doubts to some of the passengers. But Mrs. Skinner again insisted on trying to reach the summit. At 7 o'clock Tuesday night a severe snowstorm, which covered the peak to a depth of a foot on the level, accompanied by a 50-mile wind, broke on the peak. From the positions of the bodies when found, it is believed the couple sought shelter in the lee of a huge boulder, but a short distance from the track. Both wore light weight clothing. A pathetic feature of the deaths is the finding of a letter in Skinner's pocket, dated Dallas, August 17, from J.H. Choyce, in which these words occur: “I hope you are having the time of your life in Colorado. I am sending you an overcoat as per your request. I hope you don't freeze to death on Pike's Peak.”

Louisiana Road Trips

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Now I have been to Pike's Peak in early September, and the snow was still pilled high around the visitor's center at the top. Even lower elevation mountains have their warnings about dressing in layers in case of sudden cold. I wonder what in the world would possess a couple, dressed in light weight clothing to tackle a mountain known to have snow year round. Another article I found on the internet stated they made it to 12,500 feet and were less than two miles from the top. They left behind a 12 year old adopted son named Carnegie. I did a little more research, and found that they were brought back to Texas for burial. shows that Willis A. Skinner (1857 - 1911) and Sallie E. Crane Skinner (1863 1911) lie buried in the Oakland Cemetery, Dallas, TX with the following inscription written on their tombstone: “Froze to death on Pike's Peak”. Lora Peppers, a Monroe native, grew up in Bastrop and graduated from ULM. Her love of history dates back to childhood when one of her favorite activities was visiting local cemeteries to examine headstones. She also loves to travel, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park being her favorite place on Earth. Her job as a genealogist and historian has given her the opportunity to lead many lectures and author several books. She can be reached by email at

Calendar of Events

December 2010 Thru December 18 ______

December 3-5 __________

Monroe/West Monroe Christmas on the River 800-843-1872

Christmas Extravaganza Covington – 985-796-5853

December 2-9 __________ Hanukkah

December 3 ____________ Christmas Festival of Lights Christmas Flotilla Natchitoches – 800-259-1714

A Rural Life Christmas Baton Rouge – 225-765-2437 Bonfire & Gumbo Cookoff Jennings – 337-821-5532

Christmas in the Country St. Francisville – 225-635-4224

Bonfire on the Levee - Oak Alley Vacherie – 800-44ALLEY

Orange Festival Belle Chasse – 504-656-7599

December 4 ____________ Christmas Tree Farm Festival Grant – 800-987-NOEL

Christmas Boat Parade Bourg – 800-688-2732 Christmas Bayou Boat Parade Delcambre – 888-942-3742

December 4-5, 11-12 _____ Renaissance Festival Hammond area 985-429-9992


December 5 ____________


St. Lucy Festival of Lights St. Martinville 337-394-6021

Address___________________________________________________ City______________________________________________________

December 10-12 ________

State_________ Zip___________ Phone_________________________

Fire and Water Celebration Arnaudville 337-754-5316

To subscribe, send check or money order to Louisiana Road Trips at P O Box 2452, West Monroe, LA 71294


Carolling in Washington Square New Orleans 888-312-0812

December 18 ___________ Bayou Christmas Boat Parade La Rose 985-693-7355

December 19 ___________ Carolling in Jackson Square New Orleans – 504-523-7074

December 21 ___________ Winter Begins

December 24 ___________ Christmas Eve Bonfires on the Levee Lutcher/Gramercy 800-367-7852

December 26 -January 1 __ Kwanzaa

Festival of the Bonfires Gramercy/Lutcher 800-367-7852

December 11 ___________

Answers …

1. Because it was General Grant's regional headquarters 2. LeFevre 3. Conway Twitty 4. Dragonflies 5. In honor of the Louisville community along the old Monroe-Natchez military highway 6. Davis Island, outside of Newellton 7. “Pappy” Boyington 8. Bienville 9. “Winged head”, referring to the blossoms of the catalpa tree 10. From the general Indian name for nuts, “pakan”

Louisiana Road Trips

Baton Rouge Christmas Parade Baton Rouge 800-527-6843 Fete Hiver - Winter Collection Natchitoches 888-677-7853 Madewood Christmas Heritage Napoleonville 985-369-7151

December 12 ___________ Creole Christmas Bonfire Baton Rouge 225-343-4955 Christmas Celebration & Gumbo Cookoff Morganza 225-694-3655

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Louisiana Geese, Wyoming Deer and Turkeys, and the Perfect Hunting Trip. . . Almost By Dennis Stewart November had been going so well, I should have known it couldn't last. The month started out great, hunting geese for the first time, with my fellow Louisiana Road Trip contributor, Johnny Wink, at Mega-Ducks in Morehouse Parish, Louisiana near the Arkansas border. I had emailed Johnny earlier in the year expressing my desire to shoot a few geese or ducks to have them mounted for my new house in Delhi. I told him I had no desire whatsoever to pay a taxidermist to mount a bird that someone else had shot. That meant I wanted to hunt in a blind where I was the only one shooting. If you have watched the Mojo outdoor show, you know that typically a duck blind is filled with about 20 hunters who are all shooting at the same unlucky birds, and it is impossible to tell who actually managed to hit a downed duck (pun unintended). Johnny managed to fit me in on a morning where it would be just me, him, and his good friend Glenn Kiper. Dennis Stewart & Glenn Kiper As we rode the mud buggy to the blind in the pre-dawn darkness, we could hear millions of ducks and geese in the surrounding rice fields, flooded in part due to the massive influx of BP money intended to keep the ducks and geese in north Louisiana. As I loaded my shotgun, I noticed that Johnny and Glenn were not loading theirs. Johnny then told me that he and Glenn would not shoot until I had my limit of two specklebelly geese. I advised him that could

The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others' burdens, easing other's loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of Christmas.

– W. C. Jones

take until noon and I had only bought one box of shells, which meant that there was a strong possibility that I would run out before I killed two geese. I urged both of them to start shooting as soon as I missed a couple of times. They politely refused. I shot at the first goose. A miss. I shot at the second goose. A kill. I then missed the next five geese. Then I limited out. We had been in the blind 15 minutes. Reckon there are a lot of geese at Mega-Ducks? As Johnny and Glenn shot their limits, I gazed in amazement at all the mallards, pintails, and teal that buzzed our blind. Along with gangs of specklebellies. I dropped my two geese off at the taxidermist that night. Later in the month my hunting buddy Chuck and I drove his 4-wheel drive Ford pickup to Wyoming for our fourth annual combo deer/wild turkey hunt near Sundance, Wyoming. Last year I was fortunate enough to kill the largest whitetail buck taken on the ranch in many years. This time, I shot a modest 8 point whitetail on the second day of the hunt. There was at least 6 inches of snow on the ground in the Black Hills where we were hunting so dragging the buck out was fairly easy even for someone as overweight as I am at an altitude of 5,000 feet. Chuck killed a really good mule deer buck on the third day. We both shot our Merriam wild turkeys on the third day also. Thanksgiving dinner!

To top it all off, we stopped at a truck stop in Murdo, South Dakota and I recognized the famous Bennie Spies Winnebago at the gas pumps. Bennie Spies has a hunting show named appropriately enough, “Gun It With Bennie Spies” every weekend on the Versus TV channel. I boldly walked up to the Winnebago, and sure enough, there sat Bennie at the steering wheel. He invited me into the Winnebago and had one of his producers snap our picture together. It takes about 24 hours to drive from Louisiana to the ranch where we hunt in Wyoming. We almost made it back without incident. An hour away from home, Chuck's truck started making some funny noises which grew louder and more disconcerting. We called the Ford dealership and they advised us to pull over and call a tow truck. An hour later, the tow truck arrived and towed us to Ruston, where Chuck's Dad rescued us and all of our hunting gear. Turned out to be worn out bearings in both front axles. In retrospect, I guess it could have been worse. We could have broken down and been stranded in South Dakota. We could have been rescued by the Bennie Spies Winnebago and forced to hunt with Bennie for a couple of days while our truck was repaired. That would have been terrible. I guess we were just lucky.

Ouachita River Art Gallery

308 Trenton Street • West Monroe, LA 71291

(318) 322-2380 Tuesday - Saturday 10:00 am-5:00 pm

Louisiana Road Trips

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Louisiana Road Trips

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Louisiana Road Trips December 2010  

Louisiana Road Trips is a versatile monthly publication promoting Louisiana tourism with short drives that are long on entertainment, histor...

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