Page 1

‘The truth is, like rarely pure and, like never simple.’ A modern twist on Oscar Wilde’s classic. See page 7.

Vol. 75- Issue 14

‘Celebrating the past’ For a look at one of McNeese State University’s founding fathers, See page 6.

January 27-31

Fee increase

eminent It’s up to you to decide which fees are worthy. David Ryan Palmer Associate Editor

Depending on how the votes go this spring, McNeese State University students could have to dig a little deeper into their pockets in the fall. Late last fall, the Student Senate voted to move forward with a number of fee proposals, the first in a series of steps that will culminate with a campus wide vote later this spring.

These fees would be student assessed, meaning that the university is not the origin of this increase in cost, but rather the student body itself. Among those on the ballot is an increase for the Band, for Athletics, for the Rodeo Club, the Cowgirl Kickers and Cheerleaders, two requests from the McNeese Police Department,

See Fee on page 02

“There’s an app for that.”

Hard off the back iron...

The university’s unveils its new spart phone app. For a look a the technological offering, See page 9.

McNeese’s basketball teams’ hard luck continues as ladies drop a game in overtime. See page 14.


January 27 - 31


Welcome back, cowboys and cowgirls ‘Welcome Back Wednesday’ draws crowd.

Courtessy McNeese Public Relations

Students and faculty alike enjoy the “Welcome Back Wednesday” celebration.

Morgan Authement

Contributing Writer McNeese State University (McNeese) is celebrating 75 years. To start their year of festivities the university hosted Welcome Back Wednesday. Students were encouraged to stop by the Old Ranch on Wednesday, January 22, where tables were set up with free goodies. While in the Old Ranch, students could pick up a copy of the Log or a free 75 Anniversary tshirt and lapel pins. The crowd favorite seemed to be the photo station. People

lined up to get their “mug shots.” No, not mug shots like when you go to jail, but mug shot like your face on a mug. Students would take their pictures, which were then printed on a mug that they could take home. Students also enjoyed the free food. Chartwells provided free hot dogs, corn dogs, and popcorn. To finish the meal the university provided blue and gold cupcakes. Dr. Philip Williams made a speech to kick off the event where he welcomed students back and wished them a good start to

the new semester. He said he was excited to be celebrating McNeese’s 75th birthday and was glad to see others doing the same. Williams also suggested that students read this week’s contraband, as it contained 75th anniversary information. “To kick off the 75th anniversary, this is a great event. It showcases who we are, where we have come from and where we want to go. I am very proud to see everyone celebrating the blue and gold university that we all love,” said student body President, Davante Lewis.

Lewis stopped by the Old Ranch to get his copy of the Log and free t-shirt. He was eager to see how McNeese’s 75th anniversary cel-

ebrations would go. Lewis also said that he was looking forward to what the Student Government Association (SGA) would do in the com-

ing semester. He was hopeful about the progress SGA would make, catapulting McNeese into the future.

Fee from page 01

was the Emergency Alert Fee, aimed at providing funding for the McNeese Police Department to fully implement an emergency alert system throughout campus. However, during discussion on the bill, Speaker of the Student Senate Alex Reinauer expressed concern over the idea of setting a bad precedent. “It is not the students’ responsibility to fund something that the University is supposed to be paying for,” Reinauer said. “It is not fair to place that burden onto the students.” The Senate amended the bill to include language that removed a student assessment, and encouraged “… the University Administration find a funding source for the Emergency Alert System outside of a student or university assessment.” Chief Spinks told the Contraband in January that he understands what the

Senate is trying to do. “This remains an extremely positive opportunity for us, and I fully understand the intent and the goodwill that the Senate was trying to convey in their wording,” Spinks said. “I also appreciate that there are a lot of fees, and that every dollar needs to be closely scrutinized.” The assessment would have charged every student at McNeese $1 per semester. “The University funds the Emergency Notification Tools as funding becomes available. In this one specific fee, we were merely looking to maintain an additional trickle of funding to continue to enhance that system,” Spinks said. “It was never designed or intended that the fee be the single or only source of funding for the dispatch operation center and the Emergency Notification Tools.”

and a request from the Student Government Association (SGA) itself. If each passes, students could see an $88 increase in the fall. The largest is the Student Engagement Fee, a $54 new assessment that, according statements last fall from SGA President Davante Lewis, is designed to revamp the student experience at McNeese. Part of that is a fund that would allow for ‘big ticket items,’ such as high profile bands or comedy acts to come to campus for student’s entertainment., as well as money set aside for changes to the Holbrook Building. The Senate, however, was not simply signing blank checks filled with student money out to organizations. In particular, Chief Robert Spinks brought two proposals before the Senate last fall. One


January 27 - 31

MCNEESE STATE UNIVERSITY POLICE MAKE A CAREER AT YOUR UNIVERSITY POLICE The McNeese State University Police Department is a full service law enforcement agency that has primary jurisdiction for all University facilities and property. MSU-PD works in concert with other local, state and federal agencies to ensure the safety and security of our University. Unlike traditional police departments, MSU-PD is tasked with additional responsibilities from 1st response to crimes and criminal investigation, emergency management duties, emergency medical responses, crisis intervention, and serves as the University’s only 24 hour-a-day staffed service. We will be recruiting for both Police Office 1 (Dispatcher) and Police Officer 2 (Patrol Officer) positions due to retirement. We’re not recruiting for the average, we are recruiting mature individuals who are self-motivated, service oriented and place helping on par with enforcement. Currently working 12-hour shifts, we invest in our staff in basic training as well as training Officers in Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training, active shooter response, crime prevention and Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) certification. MSU-PD is working on a strategic plan to implement the recommendations of a management study conducted by the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA). By building partnerships to include working with the Student Government Association (SGA), faculty, staff and helping agencies, we are looking to maximize our effectiveness and service to you. We hope to develop resources to build the first College Community Emergency Response Team (C-CERT) in the State of Louisiana that will train and engage students, staff and faculty in emergency management duties and response. We have already received significant support from the Calcasieu Medical Reserve Program and the Governors Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP). WE VALUE:

 Diversity in our workforce.  Prior military service with progressive responsibility and life experience.

 Current certification as a police officer.  Police Officer 2 applicants must have a minimum of 30 semester credits at the time of application.

These jobs require that you take the State of Louisiana LEAPS Civil Service Test. Visit the State Civil Service web site to schedule your test now. This test score must be on-file when you apply for an open police position with MSU-PD. You can check for job openings via the McNeese State University Human Resources page at: Testing consists of written tests, oral board interview, background investigation, polygraph exam, psychological screening, medical and drug testing. Felony convictions are disqualifying as are convictions for domestic violence and selected misdemeanor crimes.

MCNEESE STATE UNIVERSITY POLICE 4314 Ryan Street * Lake Charles, LA 70609 337-475-5711 *

Ice Storm

2014 Chris Leblanc / contraband

Friday morning, ice and snow blanketed the entirity of Southwest Louisiana and Southeast Texas, including McNeese State University. Many Lake Charles businesses closed up shop, and drivers were urged to stay off the roads. Fear not: forcasts less frozen weather going into this week.


January 27 - 31

The right application for the job Corey Greineisen Staff Writer

How many times have you been out with your friends or at a sporting event wishing that you had quick access to “Joli Blon?” There is now an “App for that”! McNeese’s app is live and ready to use for all Android and iPhone users, and yes being able to randomly play “Joli Blon” is one of the features that come with it. The app is available either through the Google Play store for Android users or through Apple’s app store. Links to both stores on are the main page of the McNeese website. “The app is going to combine all information to an easy to use interface,” according to Director of Technology, Chad Thibodaux. Aside from the ability to play the fight song at your leisure there are many useful features of the app. First of all there is access to multiple maps of the school so for all of

you that may not be familiar with where all the buildings in the school you may find this feature quite helpful. In information section of the application

there is the standard campus map with all of the buildings labeled with names, but there is also a Google map that gives a bird’s eye satellite view of the school as well. The map is even detailed enough to show classroom layouts for each floor. The only downside is the classrooms are not numbered. The next feature of the app is an

events calendar. If you need to know what is going on around campus the events feature contains a calendar with all the events happening around campus. If you know what event you want to attend but don’t know when the event is taking place you are also able to look up events with a search feature. Did you forget

when or where your class is being held? There is a feature to assist you there as well. On the app is a master schedule of all the courses offered for the semester. If you want to keep up with campus news there is a feature that updates the user with campus information. There is also an athletics section to keep up with scores and highlights of the recent events. There are social media aspects to the app as well. There


he app is going to combine all information to an easy to use

interface. Chad Thibodeaux Director of Technology is an area to look for YouTube videos from McNeese, as well as access to McNeese’s twitter. For future students there is also an area for admissions. There are links to different areas of admissions, as well as checklists for new and transferring students. On top of all the features of the app itself there are also links to the Ban-

Advertise with us! We have a number of sizes, including the one you’re looking at right now! Contact us at for prices. Ask about the student discount!

ners Series, the library, weather, and links to the McNeese website. One last important feature is the emergency section. The section contains numbers for the campus police, as well as other emergency services. “We are still working on it, there will be an alumni module and radio module where you can stream the radio.”


January 27 - 31

Keep your health up, inside and out Betty Sonnier, RN Watkins Infirmary

Whether you are a returning MSU student or a beginning freshman, there is something exciting about the New Year. It’s like a clean slate on which to write something new and exciting and hopeful. The nurses in the Infirmary (Lesa and Betty) are here to help students try to stay well, so the student does not miss class for an illness or injury that could possibly have been easily corrected, such as ear/sinus infections, allergies, skin rashes, stomach virus, or minor first aid. As you begin this new year and new semester, we would like to offer some friendly and hopefully helpful advice. During Orientation, we always advise the new incoming freshman that there are 3 things they need to do to be successful as McNeese Students: 1) Eat on a regular basis 2) Sleep on a regular basis 3) Study on a regular basis This may seem silly or old-fashioned to some, especially with online classes and new technology to help with studies. But, our bodies are still wired the

The campus infirmiry is at your disposal same old-fashioned way. We still need food to fuel the engine that runs our bodies, just like a vehicle needs gas to fuel it. If you would like to speak to a professional regarding nutrition issues, the Infirmary is partnering with the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, to offer free nutrition counseling from its Graduate Dietetic Interns. You may schedule an appointment to speak privately with one of the Dietetic counselors by calling the Infirmary at (337) 475-5748 or (337) 4755750, or by coming by the Infirmary to set up an appointment. The Nutrition Counseling schedule is accessible on the MSU website. You can access it by entering www.mcneese. edu, then click on the Current Student tab at the top of the page. Scroll down to Campus Resources, click on Student Health Services. On the tool bar on the left of the page, click on Nutritional Counseling. This service is offered free to MSU students, faculty and staff. Sleep deprivation can make you physically ill. Your body

can compensate for a while, but it cannot compensate indefinitely. If you run any machine without allowing it to rest, or not letting it rest enough, it will eventually fail. And it will fail sooner, the more you run it without rest. If you need tips for getting better sleep this semester or if you are having trouble sleeping, the Infirmary and/ or the Counseling Center may be able to give you some ideas. It doesn’t cost anything to be seen at either department. When you pay your tuition, the minimal fees for these departments are included. Studying on a regular basis takes discipline. There is something to be said for how the military does things. They know that discipline develops habits and habits become easy to repeat. As you repeat the habit, it becomes part of your normal routine and you will be less likely to allow anything to disrupt that daily routine. Kind of like how it feels when you forget to brush your teeth in the morning-Yuck!

Jazmin Farraj

Contributing Writer Ever wasted hours of your time worrying about some impending event that stressed you out so terribly you experienced an aching feeling physically or mentally? Anxiety is one of the most common reactions to stress, so it is to be expected—especially as a college student. But actually having reoccurring episodes of anxiety “attacks” is a little more complicated. In middle school, the voices of my peers would surround me in waves. My mind would be a flurry of quips and elaborations to the conversations in front of me. Yet, I was in a state of frozen incapacity, unable to voice the words aloud: Social anxiety. As I came to college without any plans for my future, my anxiety became so intense, I couldn’t even speak to peers in classes or focus on the subject matter at hand. I was quiet and flustered. I overthought every action. Often I felt like I could barely breathe. I wasn’t myself. So, I listened to the advice my sister gave and scheduled an appointment with a counselor

Counseling can help with anxiety, fear at McNeese. At first I was softspoken and would always stop short when asked any personal questions. But as I grew to know the counselor with my frequent trips, my confidence grew and so had my speaking ability. Even my counselor was surprised. Delighted eyebrow raises and compliments to my intelligence and intuition became commonplace. I was being given the most beautiful gift from my counselor: empathy. I grew up in an emotional battleground. Feelings weren’t something my family discussed. We had neither “family meetings,” nor could anyone agree on anything. It was a constant fight with no clear winners. Everyone left arguments emotionally exhausted. So to come to a counselor—who not only understood my feelings, but also saw how I analyzed them mentally—was astounding and profound for my personal growth. My true self was finally unleashed. I was assertive,

emotionally mature and the future was my “battleground.” I was able to better deal with my family by utilizing what I learned in counseling. Despite my strides, I’ve learned that anxiety is something that never really goes away. I have accepted this. It comes and goes so strongly anytime my emotions are bottled and avoided. For many college students, self-medication—with alcohol or drugs—seems like the easy answer for emotional stresses. However, this is just another avenue for avoiding the issue. Psychotherapy is a form of talking out the problem. If your support system isn’t enough—and the anxiety becomes a fact of life—know that help is easily accessible and free of cost here at the McNeese State University (MSU). The MSU Counseling Center is always available to help you through any stress you may be dealing with. No matter how “stupid” you may feel, your feelings will not be ignored. They matter.


January 27 - 31

‘What’s in a name’-The story of Kaufman Hall’s namesake




K a u f m a n quickly gained a reputat i o n f o r h i s i n tel-




One of the most easily identified buildings on McNeese State University’s campus, Kaufman Hall has been iconic to the university. In its unique “H” configuration and the aesthetic beauty of the circle drive—complete with the McNeese “M” hedge in the center—the building is an apt tribute to its namesake, Leopold Kaufman. Dedicated to John McNeese after its construc-

Store.” In town of a b o u t 5 0 0 people,



tion in 1941, the building was named for Kaufman—a merchant, civic and religious leader, and philanthropist. In 1872, following the Franco-Prussian war, Kaufman brought his family to Louisiana from Alsace-Lorraine—a hotly contested region along the border of Germany and France. He eventually settled in Lake Charles in 1879, opening a general merchandize store called “L. Kaufman Cheap Cash


Chris LeBlanc

lect and business savvy. Kaufman’s business—located at the corner of Ryan and Broad Streets—was a mainstay in the rapidly growing community until the great fire of 1910 destroyed it, along with most of downtown Lake Charles. By the time of the fire, however, Kaufman was entrenched in the city’s inner circle, later founding the first National Bank of Lake Charles. One of the first Jewish

Ryan Domingue, The Contraband

emigrants to the area, Kaufman founded and presided over the Lake Charles Hebrew Association. He was also instrumental in the founding of Temple Sinai downtown. Kaufman is further credited with bringing other Alsacian Jews to Lake Charles. Following its inception, Kaufman Hall housed many of the university’s student services. In spite of the recent hiccups involving the renovation of the building, it is currently open for classes.


January 27 - 31

Arts and Entertainment

Like, local theatre group performs totally rad play Megan Landry Staff Writer

The original play of The Importance of Being Earnest, written by Oscar Wilde, was first performed in 1895. On January 17-19, the play was performed at ACTS Theatre - with a twist. The Lake Charles School of Bunburying with Bard Upon the Lake Productions presented The Importance of Like Totally Being Earnest, a comedy set in the 1980’s. ACTS Theatre performed this adaption several years ago but set it in the 1920’s. It was while rehearsing for this play that the director, Michael Muffuletto, got the idea to set it sixty years later. This idea occurred to him as one of the male actors was trying to get into character by putting on a dress that happened to be from the ‘80s. The idea came up again over this past summer as Muffuletto was having drinks with a few fellow ACTS actors. That


he biggest challenge in directing was being at the disadvantage of not being able to see the whole picture up on stage. Michael Muffaleto Director is when the planning process began and nearly all of the original cast was on board. The setting of the story was changed to California in 1987. The character, Gwendolen, was modeled after a mean girl character from the film, Heathers. Another character, Cecily, became a Valley Girl. A reformed ‘70s porn star was also added to the mix as the character of Dr. Chasuble. The characters of Lane and Merriman were changed to be less formal and almost disrespectful. Muffuletto not only had the task of directing, but he was also an actor in the play. He said, “The biggest challenge in directing was being

at the disadvantage of not being able to see the whole picture since I was on stage.” Another challenge the production faced was which ideas to use in the play, and with nine people involved, there were many. An additional disadvantage was working rehearsal times around two other productions. Some rehearsals even took place at cast members’ homes. Muffuletto said, “We are very thankful to the board of ACTS who gave us permission to do our show. We are also thankful to Walt Kizer who allowed us to squeeze our show between two of his larger productions.” The cast included Aaron Webster as

The Importance of like totally being Earnest/Courtesy ACTS Theatre

Pictured is Aaron Webster and co-actor Kristina Sara Parks. Jack Worthing, Michael Muffuletto as Algernon Moncrieff, Sarah Parks Plauche’ as Gwendolen “Gwenny” Fairfax, Kelly Rowland as Cecily “Cecie” Cardew, Mark Bowling as Mrs.

Senator Bracknell, Kris Perez Webster as Senorita Prisma, Casey B. Doucet as Dr. Chasuble, Diki Jines as Lane, and Julian Quebedeaux as Merriman. Muffuletto finished

by saying, “I love working on stage with the cast. The biggest joy I got from the production was hearing the audience laugh at the bits and gags we added it.”


January 27 - 31

The bands you should know Erin Evans

Contributing Writer It was totally unintentional, but the artists that were picked for this week’s Artists You Should know are all female vocalists. I mean, who doesn’t like a strong female voice serenading you in your ear hole? Jhené Aiko has garnered a lot of attention lately due to her recent performances

on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon If you manage to catch the episode of Saturday Night Live with Drake, you definitely saw her sing with him during “Hold On, We’re Going Home.” If you dig that P BR&B genre that includes Frank Ocean and Miguel, you’ll definitely dig Jhené Aiko with her sultry, smooth vocals. Her first album,

Souled Out, comes out in May 2014. However, check out her EP, Sail Out, on her website jheneaiko. com. Stand out tracks include: “Bed Peace (With Childish Gambino)” and 2 Seconds. London Grammar is a trip-hop band that hails from England. (Obviously, I mean look at their name.) The lead singer, Hannah Reid, has

Courtesy HAIM

HAIM- Playing the House Of Blues Houston April 22nd

Courtesy London Grammar Courtesy Jhene Aiko

Jhene Aiko’s first album will be released in May 2014

London Grammar- Performing at Fitzgerald’s March 17

some very brooding yet powerful pipes. Think along the lines of Florence Welch from Florence and the Machine. Their first studio album, If You Wait, came out on September 9 of last year. It’s available to download on iTunes and on CD (if you’re still into CDs). Tracks to check out are “Everywhere You Go” and “Nightcall

(Raaja Bones and Fyfe Dangerfield Remix.) If you want to make the trek, you can catch London Grammar at Fitzgerald’s in Houston on March 17th. I believe that Haim is the female answer to Hanson. Both are comprised of three siblings, have band names that are their last names, and write their own music. That’s where

the similarities end. These girls sound like a modern Fleetwood Mac with a few synths thrown in. They’re quite catchy. One listen to “The Wire” and you’ll be humming it to yourself throughout your day. Check out their album Days Are Gone. Haim will be playing a show at the House of Blues in Houston on April 22nd.


Where Erin Evans

Contributing Writer

In the spring of 2012, a parish, typically divided by political differences, had a reason to finally come together as one: to support Joshua Ledet on the American Idol. Business, churches, and schools had plastered their signs with messages of support for the local singer. Everyone gathered around their TVs on Tuesdays to see him perform and on Wednesdays to ensure that he made it through to the next week. It was such an exciting time in Southw e s t Louisiana,

watching the local golden child ascend all the way to the top. As we’re all aware now, Ledet was eliminated the week that American Idol does their hometown parade and concert. He had ended the season eleven competition in third place. Not bad, considering thousands across the country auditioned to appear on the show. Besides, we all know that in American Idol Land that the runners up have more success than the winners. (See: Jennifer Hudson, Adam Lambert, and

in the World is

Chris Daughtry) After fifteen standing ovations from the Idol judges, our hometown hero had a bright future ahead of him. Did the fame change him? Is he still our hometown hero? As we’re settling into the thirteenth season of the popular singing reality show, one can’t help but wonder what Joshua Ledet is up to these days. On August 26, 2013, Ledet released an original song called “Here to Die” on YouTube. Rolling Stone gave a rave r e view a n d


urged record labels to give it a commercial release. It seemed as if Ledet was on track to record and release his debut album. The Contraband reached out to Mr. Ledet for an interview via Twitter, text, and a traditional phone call to find out any possible albums, tours, his experiences on Idol, and advice for those wanting to audition for the show. When we reached out to Josh on Twitter, we didn’t get any response. This is understandable. He has (at the time of this article) 126,233 followers. It’s easy for one tweet about wanting an interview to get swallowed up among all of the “OMG! @ joshledet IT

January 27 - 31

WOULD MEAN THE WORLD 2 ME IF U FOLLOW ME BACK!!!” Another reporter managed to track down Josh’s phone number. We called but received no answer. A polite voicemail was left on his phone. Several minutes later, a text message was received from the number, “Did someone call me”. A response text was sent out repeating the information left on the voicemail. Yet again, we received no response. Maybe the fame has changed Ledet. At my old job at Hot Topic, I witnessed an awkward situation involving Ledet and a co-worker of mine. Ledet was shopping at the store and made a purchase. He paid with his credit card. The

policy at Hot Topic is that if you purchase something with a credit card, you must show your ID to verify that you are the owner of the credit card. My co-worker had no idea who Ledet was. He asked Ledet to see his ID to verify that the credit card was genuine. Incredulously, Ledet looked at my co-worker and asked, “Don’t you know who I am?” My co-worker was completely oblivious to Ledet’s status, as he had never seen an episode of American Idol before. He honestly answered Ledet, “No, dude. Sorry. I still need to see your ID.” Ledet, sadly, handed over his ID to my coworker. It was such a painful interaction to witness. Has the fame changed Ledet? If we hear from him, we’ll let you know.


January 27 - 31

Local artist named SELA best artist Megan Landry Staff Writer

Southwest Louisiana’s Best Artist, as voted by the people in 2013, has a studio right in downtown Lake Charles. Her most popular series, “Fleur De Lis- Worlds Within Series” has spread throughout not only Lake Charles, but throughout the world. This artist is Candice Alexander. She designs Fleur De Lis with a story painted into the design itself. The story of how her “Fleur De Lis- Worlds Within Series” goes like this: A woman commissioned her to design a simple Fleur De Lis as a copper engraving in 2006; at the time, she

was living in New York and Pennsylvania. The woman wanted to purchase the original copper plate and 12 prints for Christmas, but she never picked up her $300 order. Flash-forward to the Lafayette Mall in 2007 where Alexander sold the original 12 prints and nearly 200 black and white prints of the engraved plate: “Thus began my journey into the ‘Fleur

De Lis- Worlds Within series.’ All thanks to a commission gone bad,” Alexander said. She grew up in the small town of Hathaway, LA. As a member of 4-H, she was always involved in leadership projects, demonstrations, public speaking, and any creative project she could imagine. She always wanted to be a fashion designer and to make a movie. At the age of nine, her life changed when “Passion Fish,” directed by John Sayles, was filmed in her hometown in 1990. She met an artist working on backdrop paintings for the set of the film. This was the day she knew she was destined to

become an artist. The following year a Lafayette artist, Floyd Sonnier, drew with her at a French Festival and she was completely inspired. In 2002, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts with a concentration in printmaking and engraving. She immediately established Alexander Art Studio in an old classroom with a chalkboard and a huge idea. She began traveling, and with her baby printing press, she made a living out of her van, campgrounds, and renaissance fairs. She even sold her work on the streets of New York City where she lived on camp-

grounds and in the parking lots in Jackson Square (Heights?). “I starved, but I did what I love to do,” Alexander said. In 2007, she came back to Louisiana to find what she was searching for had been here the whole time in her roots. After this is when she opened her 5,000-squarefeet studio in downtown Lake Charles. Currently, she is filming a major video project that tells stories and documents how art changes peoples’ lives because it changed hers. Alexander Art Studio is also currently offering an unpaid internship for approximately but not limited

to 10 hours per week. Alexander will help the intern design a project to benefit the development of his or her skills in desired academic area or in the student’s field of study. This is an opportunity for professional development and mentorship for the intern while working for a well-known artist in a growing business in downtown Lake Charles. “It was always my dream to own my own studio. I wrote about it, and the universe heard me. And with hard work it happened. I have taken many risks along the way and I have struggles in the success,” Alexander said.

Local high schoolers recite out loud Megan Landry Staff Writer

High school poets of Southwest Louisiana will compete against each other on Thursday, Feb. 20, at the Central School Theater. Over a dozen students will represent their school or library at Poetry Out Loud’s Annual Southwest Louisiana Regional Competition. A 2013 graduate from DeRidder High School was one of the

competitors. Whitney Lynn provided some insight on the contest. She competed in the Poetry Out Loud contest at her high school, which sent the top three winners to regional competition. After placing second, Lynn then made her way to Lake Charles for the regional competition. There, she recited two poems in front of the judges and audience. “I have been in

plays before. There was no stage fright. It was different than what I was used to because you really weren’t suppose to move around. You had to perform the poem with just your tone and inflection,” she said of the experience. “It was fun, and I encourage people to try it. I remember concentrating hard on my poem, so I couldn’t enjoy the other contestants’

poems. Once I got up to the microphone, it just felt right,” Lynn continued. Poetry Out Loud began in 2005. The National Endowment for the Arts and Poetry Foundation came together for a program that would challenge high school students to study and memorize poetry in a competitive setting. This would help to build public speaking skills, confidence and character. The

top three students at the regional competition will go on to compete with students from across Louisiana in Baton Rouge. The state winner will receive a cash prize and a stipend for his or her school for the purchase of poetry books. Then the national competition will be held in Washington D.C. The national winner will be rewarded over $50,000 in prizes and stipends, including a

$20,000 cash prize. The students currently competing have already made it through the first round of competition at their schools or libraries. The Arts Council of Southwest Louisiana facilitates the program. The schools must register their own Poetry Out Loud competition with the Arts Council for students to compete at Regionals.

January 27 - 31

Priceless, one-of-a-kind accessories

Tori Hebert Staff Writer

Consumers often forget that great accessories don’t always have to be purchased at top-notch prices. Older loved ones have acquired beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces that often have been passed down for many generations. A price tag cannot give value to family heirlooms or items that have a special place in one’s heart. Some accessories are worn everyday, while others only make an appear-

ance for special occasions. Whatever the case may be--just like all of us--these special trinkets have a story. Religious observance is a popular reason to wear an accessory everyday. Purity rings or cross pieces are often worn by those of Christian faith; however, Celtic Trinity Knots are less common. With all other things, a Trinity Knot can be interpreted many ways, but for senior, Aly Sonnier, her ring is simply a symbol of her faith. Sonnier explains,

“The three points on the triangle represent Father, Son and Holy Spirit. If you trace the lines of the triangle, it is never ending which stands for eternal life.” Finding something that tells a part of who you are is a beautiful addition to any wardrobe. Gifts from family friends and loved ones are often the most precious thing you can have. For many girls, charm bracelets are the first piece of jewelry they have. Charm bracelets are a great way

to keep a visual log of your life and all of your favorite things throughout the years. Senior Laurel McNeill has a charm bracelet that was given to her by her aunt. McNeil says, “My aunt gave me my bracelet and has given me charms to put on it over the years. I love to see all of the pieces that have been a part of my life. I don’t wear it very often though because it makes so much noise!” McNeill’s bracelet includes memories from high school band days,

shows her love for travel and even includes drama faces for her love and appreciation of theater and other dramatic works. Be proud of who you are and the things that make you, you. Showcase everything that is a part of your story. Whatever accessories you have, don’t be afraid to show them off. Even if they are not a part of the latest trendy items, cherishing something close to your heart never goes out of style. Having hand-


me-down jewelry is a great way to always feel close to the ones you love. Even beloved pieces that you bought for yourself can bring a smile to your face when you need a little pick-meup during the day. Whatever it is that tells a part of your story, let the world see it. Inner beauty is like no other, but why not bring a little bit of it to the outside with a little something that shows the real you. Sometimes the most valuable gifts don’t come from the store.


January 27 - 31

And the Oscar goes to.... Jay Martinez

Contributing Writer Another year, another batch of Oscar Nominations have been announced. And with the nominations comes the speculation. The awards do not mean anything. Nothing concrete comes from them, but for some reason they begged to be discussed. There are ten slots for the best picture category. Only nine

films were nominated this year. Was there nothing else this year worth putting in that spot? The latest Coen brother’s film, Inside Llewyn Davis, found itself a spot on many critic’s top ten lists, but the academy chose to ignore it. The omission begs the questions: why was it not nominated? Did the Coen brothers do something to upset the academy? It is quite easy to formulate conspiracy theo-

ries to explain the lack of a nomination. The leading actor category this year is populated with towering performances. Three out of five actors carry their respective film. With no real front runner, it will be a tight race. This may be the year Leonardo Dicaprio finally gets his elusive Oscar for his mesmerizing performance in The Wolf of Wall Street. His lack of an Oscar has gone on

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Oscar’s 2104 Matthew McConaughey, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Jennifer Lawrence long enough to spawn a meme. Even with such an imposing performance as Jordan Belfort, the competition is steep with Chiwetel Ejiofor in the beautiful 12 Years a Slave and the frightenly skinny Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club. The Academy tends to favor large important films like 12 Years a Slave and comebacks such as the one Matthew McConaughey has mounted. The academy has an ongoing affair with Meryl Streep. With a total of 18 nominations, it seems she only needs to show

her face in a film to warrant a nomination. The film she is nominated for, August: Osage County, has a stellar cast, but has generally received only average reviews. The film seems to be less than the sum of its parts. Even the academy itself is not swooning over the film, granting it only two nominations. This year would have been an acceptable year to give Streep a break and let someone else in the spotlight. Emma Thompson delivered an engrossing performance this year as P.L. Travers in the origin story

of the beloved film Mary Poppins, Saving Mr. Banks. It was the kind of performance the academy usually rewards with at least a nomination and sometimes a win. American Hustle is this year’s Argo. While technically proficient, the film does not merit the amount of critical acclaim being heaped upon it. American Hustle drags where a similar film like The Wolf of Wall Street does not while still outrunning it by 40 minutes. Also, the Jack-Ass crew now has an Oscar nominated film in their filmography.


January 27 - 31

Subtle and Sci-fi: Her touches your heart Jay Martinez

Contributing Writer The film starts with a close up on the face of Phoenix’s character, Theodore. There is hardly a frame in the film without Theodore in it. Phoenix does an admirable job throughout the film emoting with only his face. The quiet muted Theodore starts to thaw as he develops a relationship with his newly acquired operating system, Samantha. Scarlett Johansson provides the voice for Samantha. Although she is never seen, Johansson manages to accomplish so much with just her voice. It should also be noted that during the creation of the film Johansson and Phoenix never interacted and yet their relationship feels natural and believable. Samantha becomes a fully fleshed out character that can be easily empathized with. Their relationship turns into a sweet, touching, and memorable reflection on many different kinds of relationships. The supporting cast is strong

and helps flesh out the film. Chris Pratt has a small role as Theodore’s boss, but he manages to be funny every time his character is on screen. Spike Jonze’s direction creates a near future that feels very close to our own. Simple fashion choices distinguish the film. A few inches added to the inseam of men’s pants adds a noticeable and unique change to the wardrobe. The technology is subtle, plausible,

and could have easily come from a concept video. Her is a beautiful film. The craft involved is obvious. Every shot feels deliberate and composed with a purpose in mind. Visual metaphors are scattered throughout the film. My favorite was a shot of melting icicles when a relationship was starting to grow cold. Having recently won the Golden Globe for original screenplay, Her

stands out amongst its peers in the two very different genres the film manages to blend. Subtle and scifi are not often used in the same sentence. A romantic relationship where one side is never shown is not the norm. A romantic relationship between a human being and an artificial intelligence is a major story hurdle to overcome, but Jonze manages to make it more human than most on screen romances. Her is modern, touching, and thoughtful. The film speaks to the human desire to connect with someone or even something. Not everyone will have the same reaction, but everyone will feel something by the end of the film. Spike Jonze’s Her is beautiful sci-fi romance with a human core. Her is Spike Jonze’s latest film. Jonze both wrote the script and directed the film. It stars Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams, and Rooney Mara. It opened wide in theaters on January 10, 2014.

Where’s the beef? Beliebers vs the Supernatural Fandom Megan Landry Staff Writer

The teen YouTube sensation from Canada, Justin Bieber, has apparently grown up. Bieber’s friend, rapper Lil Za, was arrested due to drug possession from Bieber’s home in Calabasas, California. This is when Supernatural star Jared Padalecki took to social media and tweeted, “Hey @justinbieber, how much are you paying your friend for pretending that it was HIS cocaine, and taking the fall for you?” This one tweet sparked a rivalry between Bieber fans, who call themselves “Beliebers,” and Supernatural fans. It all began with eggs. “The Biebs” allegedly egged his neighbor’s home for an estimated $20,000 of damage on Jan. 9. This led L.A. County Sheriff’s officers to raid his home in search of “video surveillance or other relevant evidence,” on Jan. 14. It was on this search that police found what they originally thought to be cocaine, but was actually Molly. That was when Lil Za, real name Xavier Smith, was arrested. He was later also charged with vandalism for smashing a phone while he was in custody. He was later released. According to reports he has been “staying at Bieber’s Calabasas home for months” and is regarded as a “bad influence” on Bieber. Enter Padalecki’s tweet at Bieber. Beliebers instantly rushed to the defense of the star by tweeting back at Padalecki and threatening to stop watching his show, Supernatural. Padalecki also sent out another tweet a few days after his first. This one said, “’corey’ was suppose to directly mock @justinbieber ... and this was BEFORE his most recent douchebaggery! #Supernatural.” When E! News caught up with the Supernatural star on the red carpet at the Critic’s Choice Awards, Padalecki said, “I was like ‘Uh, Justin Bieber’s buddies are gonna beat me up.’ It was like, ‘Don’t touch our idol!’ I was like, ‘I was just kinda sending a joke.’”


January 27 - 31

Sports McNeese basketball teams show signs of life, despite rough start

Cowgirls lose a heartbreaker, fall to 4-3 in Southland Conference play.

Men show promise on road. Cory Greineisen Staff Writer

The struggles of the McNeese Men’s basketball team continue after picking up two more conference losses and only one win this week. After falling to A&M- Corpus Christi, 77-61, the Cowboys were able to pull out a two-point win over Houston Baptist. The struggles then continued against Nicholls, a game that was taken to overtime, but ended with Nichols gaining an 8-1 run on the Cowboys that resulted in an 87-79 loss. The Cowboys were showing sparks of promise when conference games began starting with a 3-1 record, but after this week’s games have fallen to a 4-3 record. The struggles for the Cowboys seem to be when having to play outside of Burton Coliseum. The home record for McNeese is 4-2, but on the road and neutral sites it is a much different story.

On the road the Cowboys are 1-9 and 1-2 in neutral site games. In the game against A&M- Corpus Christi (AMCC) McNeese was dominated from the get go. AMCC took control of the first half going into half time with a 23-point halftime lead. “They whipped us in every aspect of the game,” said McNeese head coach Dave Simmons.  A lot of the problems the Cowboys faced in the game were due to the lack of playing time by star player Kevin Hardy. Hardy, who averages 39-minutes of playing time a game, sat for seven minutes in the first half of the game due to foul trouble and fouled out with 11-minutes left in the game in the second half. Hardy played a total of 18-minutes the entire game. AMCC took full advantage of Hardy’s absence shooting 18

Cory Greineisen Staff Writer

Jonathan Clausen, The Contraband Desharick Guidry dishes the rock in.

of its 28 shots for 64.3 percent. The Islanders also held a 22-11 advantage on the glass at the break and scored 11 second-chance points.  McNeese made just 7 of 27 in the half and was 3 of 17 from

three-point range. The next game went much better for the Cowboys where they were able to pull out a 70-68 win. Kevin Hardy made his presence known in the last few seconds after a game-winning

See Men’s Basketball on page 15

The Cowgirl basketball team started conference play over the winter break, starting with Southeastern Louisiana. McNeese didn’t have one of its better night’s shooting, ending the game with a 36.8 field goal percent, including 4-of-16 from three point range. The Cowgirls had four players record in double figures with Allison Baggett leading the Cowgirsl with 16 points. Baggett also led the Cowgirls in rebounds with nine. Jayln Johnson scored 11 points and NeTanya Jones and Alaina Verdin both chipped in 10. Southeastern’s hot hands were just too much for the Cowgirls to overcome and they fell 82-65. The Cowgirls then hosted University of New Orleans in the next conference game. McNeese junior Alaina Verdin scored a career high 19 points and senior Arianna James grabbed a career high 11 rebounds to lead

the Cowgirls in an 8259 win over UNO. The win improved the Cowgirls to 8-5 on the season and evened their conference record to 1-1 on the year. Sophomore Allison Baggett led all players with a game high 22 points. Baggett was 8-of-22 from the field, including two threepointers. She was perfect from the charity stripe, making all four attempts. The following game the McNeese headed to Huntsville to face Sam Houston. The McNeese women’s basketball team held off Sam Houston State and came away with a 59-55 Southland Conference road win. The Cowgirls were led in scoring by Allison Baggett’s 19 points. Jayln Johnson and Cecilia Okoye also scored in double figures with 14 and 11 points, respectively. Sophomore Alaina Verdin grabbed a career high 12 rebounds. The Cowgirls improved to 9-5 on the season, 2-1 in conference play.

See Women’s Basketball on page 16


January 27 - 31

Indoor season starts off strong with gold for track and field events Corey Greineisen

Staff Writer The McNeese Track team had an exciting start to the 2014 season in the opener with multiple first place finishes. McNeese State opened the 2014 track and field indoor season on Friday here at its host meet. “It was a good start, we got some nice marks and times for the first time out

this season,” said head coach Brendon Gilroy. C o n f e r ence champion La’Shantena Rounds who threatened the Ralph O. Ward Recreation Complex record in the weight throw, with a mark of 63-8.25 won the event by nearly seven feet. Her throw was just three feet short of the complex record while it mea-

sures in the top 20 in the nation this early season. Rounds also took second in the shot put with a throw of 42-9. The Cowgirls finished 1-2 in the 800 meter run with Amy Talbot taking first with a time of 2:21.32, seventhbest in the SLC, followed by Laura Casey at 2:30.10. Casey and Talbot also were success-

ful on McNeese’s distance medley relay team with Alison Smegal and Meagan Moore winning the event with a time of 13:02.19. Coutnei Carter was the top athlete to place in the triple jump with a mark of 38-3.25. Reigning conference champion in the long jump Jasmine Cornelius, finished second in long jump with a mark of 18-9.75. The women were not the only ones to

do well in the meet. The Cowboys dominated the mid to long distance events. McNeese placed 1-5 in the 3000-meter run with Ryan Holroyd taking first with a time of 8:50.30, Fisher Hamilton was second at 9:10.94, followed by Enrique Soto at 9:15.59, Nicholas Kiprono at 9:17.37, and Alex Kiptoo at 9:22.31. Oliver James took first in the 1-mile run with a time of 4:25.31. Teammate

Men’s Basketball dunk with 7.2 seconds left on the clock. After missing most of the previous game Hardy finished with 15 points, six assists and seven rebounds after he played the entire 40 minutes. Ledrick Eackles led the team with 20 points after he sank a career-high six three-point goals in nine attempts.  He was 6 for 7 in the first half from long range.

Alex Evans was second with a 4:27.25 and Brock Moreaux third with a time of 4:28.28. Freshman pole vaulter Dakota Breaux took home is first gold in his collegiate debut with a clearing of 14-7.25. McNeese also got firsts in the field events from Jared Mack in the high jump (6-0), and Kartavius Hamilton in the long jump (23-9).

from page 14

After HBU the Cowboys went to take on Nichols in a televised game in the Civic Center. After finishing regulation in a 72-all tie, Nichols was able to take command of the extra period ending in an 87-79 loss. Free throw trouble plagued the Cowboys all night and hit just 13 of 29 for the game for 45 percent. McNeese hit 28 of 72 from the field

for 39 percent and went 10 of 31 for 32 percent from long range. Nicholls hit 57 percent from the field (29 of 51) and was 7 of 16 for 44 percent from 3-point land.  The Colonels held a 41-37 advantage in rebounds. The Cowboys will take a break from action until Thursday, Jan. 30 when they host Central Arkansas at the Lake Charles Civic Center.


January 27 - 31

Former McNeese football great passes away Staff Reports

Women’s Basketball from 14

McNeese Athletics Former McNeese State University (McNeese) football great, Derrick Batiste lost the battle to pancreatic cancer. He died last month in Vallejo, Cal. A California native, Batiste, 51, was raised in Lake Charles. He attended St. Louis Catholic high school, before coming to McNeese. An engineering major and four-year player for the Cowboys, Batiste had an indelible impact on the university. During his tenure, Batiste earned first team all-Louisiana and second team allSouthland Conference (SLC) honors, while helping his team to a conference championship and an Independence Bowl. A decorated Cowboy, he earned the Johnnie Caldarera Award-which is bestowed upon McNeese’s Most outstanding defensive player-- in 1983. He was awarded the team’s Johnnie Caldarera Award as the Outstanding Defensive Player in 1983. As a Cowboy, Batiste totaled 131 tackles, eight pass interceptions and returned 54 punts.

McNeese Athletics Batiste defends a pass.

When his football days were over, Batiste had a brief professional career in the USFL before returning to his birthplace of San Francisco. He is survived by is grandmother, Mrs. Amelia Toussand; his

father and stepmother, Willie and JoAnne Batiste; and his siblings, Darryl, Jennifer, Kim and Daphanie, all of Wichita, Kansas. He was predeceased by his mother, Laura M. Batiste and sister, Gwendolyn.

The next game for McNeese was the border battle with Lamar. The Cowgirls couldn’t stop the Cardinals’ scoring runs throughout the game and in turn couldn’t make the baskets when they needed. The Cowgirls placed four players in double figures with Jayln Johnson tying her career high with 17 points. Johnson was 4-of-10 from the field that included three three-pointers. Alaina Verdin chipped in 11 points and Allison Baggett and NeTanya Jones both added 10 points apiece. Jones completed the doubledouble by grabbing 10 rebounds. The Cowgirl’s then returned home for a five game home stretch, starting with A&M-Corpus Christi. The Cowgirls used a team effort to pick up the victory with all 10 players that played, scored at least four points. “This was a total team effort, the rest of the team played their role on defense. I’m so proud of the young ones that came in and out together,” said head coach Brooks Donald Williams. McNeese placed

four players in double figures and was led by Allison Baggett’s 14. NeTanya Jones recorded her third career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Freshman Hannah Cupit came off the bench to score a career high 11 points and Cecilia Okoye scored 10 points. Okoye also led the team with five assists. The Cowgirls then picked up a 66-62 Southland Conference win over Houston Baptist to improve to 11-6 overall and 4-2 in the SLC. The Cowgirls placed three players in double figures with sophomore Allison Baggett scoring a game high 23. Baggett was 7-of-20 from the field and perfect from the free throw line, making all six attempts. Baggett scored 16 of her 23 points in the first half. Senior Cecilia Okoye scored 18 points and led the Cowgirls with nine rebounds. Sophomore Jayln Johnson added 12 including two key free throws with :13 left in the game. The Cowgirls made a season high 10 threepointers and shot a

season high 52.6 percent (10-19) from behind the arc. The Cowgirls ended the game shooting 46.8 from the field (29-62) and 68.8 percent from the charity stripe (11-16). McNeese’s last game before a 9-day break was against Nichols on Tuesday in the Civic Center. McNeese State senior Cecilia Okoye recorded her fourth double-double of the season with 17 points and a career high 19 rebounds in a 71-63 Southland Conference loss to Nicholls Tuesday night. The loss is only the second home loss of the season for the Cowgirls as they fall to 11-7 on the season and 4-3 in conference play. McNeese State sophomore Allison Baggett has been named the Louisiana Sports Writers Associations women’s basketball player of the week for the week ending Jan. 19. Baggett led the Cowgirls in scoring in both games with 14 points against Texas A&M-CC and 23 against Houston Baptist. For the week, she averaged 18.5 ppg., shot 46.2 percent from behind the arc and was perfect from the charity stripe, making all nine attempts.

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