DeltaStyle May 2018

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NEW YOU FREE Health Education Seminar on Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery May 1, 2018 at 6:00pm Glenwood Medical Mall Community Room For those who have tried dieting and exercise but still struggle with obesity, it’s time to put an end to the battle for good. Bariatric weight loss surgery can help change your life! Feel younger and more energetic, boost confidence and even reverse chronic health conditions. Join us for this FREE health education seminar to get all your questions answered and to see if you’re a candidate!

To register, call 318-329-8448 or visit and click on Classes & Events.

Bariatric Services | 1275 Glenwood Drive West Monroe, LA 71291 Most private insurance accepted. Financing is also available.






What A Specialty Shop Should Be


2252 TOWER DR, SUITE 108 MONROE • 323-7223

Return on Relationships

Kelly Moore Clark Entrepreneur Kelly Moore Bag

Kimberly Walker Origin Banker

Where Clutch Meets

From a fledgling garage business to a flourishing lifestyle brand


has turned to Origin banker Kimberly for all her needs, big and small.

where her keen eye for design continues to drive her success, Kelly From financial guidance to quick loan decisions, Kelly counts on Kimberly to deliver banking tailored to fit her needs. Start relationship banking at





Moxie, New Works by the BFA Candidates, will be on view in Louisiana Tech University


The exhibition will be from May 7th to the 11th and include paintings, sculpture, installation, and photography. Each artist is currently working in Ruston, LA. The show includes work that discusses a wide range of topics such as feminist issues, memory, family, social media, conspiracy theories, functionality, the individual story and experience, history, female empowerment, and sexual freedom. Each of the artists was recently seen in the group exhibition, Myriad, in the Upstairs Gallery in Monroe, LA, and they are currently seniors at Louisiana Tech University pursuing their BFA degrees.


Piney Hills Harmony members pose on stage immediately after their award-winning performance at the Sweet Adelines’ regional competition in Houston.


‘Camp Rock’ offers singing opportunity Four nights of learning to sing popular gospel or rock songs – or eight, if you choose – are in store for area women through “Camp Rock,” a program to be offered by an award-winning Ruston chorus.

DELTA Piney Hills Harmony Chorus of Sweet Adelines is hosting a one-night-a-week

“camp” during eight weeks this spring and summer. The gospel portion is planned for May 17, May 24, May 31 and June 7. The rock segment will be July 12, July 19, July 26 and August 2. Participants can attend either or both of the camps and do not have to be present for all sessions. The program is being offered at no cost.


St. Francis Medical Center and P&S Surgical Hospital Announce Stronger Alignment P&S Surgical Hospital was founded in 1997 by a group of 19 doctors and St. Francis Medical Center as a joint venture. Over the years, P&S has built a strong reputation for excellence in medical care, and currently offers 13 medical specialties. Today, over 20 years later, they are happy to announce that the ownership structure for P&S Surgical Hospital is changing to one that is more reflective of the ever-changing healthcare landscape. P&S Surgical Hospital will become a department of St. Francis Medical Center, Inc. with a planned effective date of July 1, 2018. Congratulations on the new venture!



Biography Day The students at Grace Episcopal Day celebrated their annual “Biography Day” dressing up as a wide range of characters such as Elvis, famous athletes, and even Abraham Lincoln. DELTASTYLE MAGAZINE ❚ MAY 2018 ❚ 11













Ike Hamilton Expo Center Arena – 6:00pm

Hamilton House – 2:00-4:00pm

– 7:00-10:00pm

2110 Island Dr., Monroe – 5:00-7:00pm


Downtown RiverMarket – 10:00am-4:00pm

Corner of Loop Rd and Forsythe Ave – 10:00am-5:00pm

Downtown RiverMarket – 5:00-9:00pm

ULM Fant-Ewing Coliseum – 4:00-9:00pm


Antique Alley – 5:00-8:00pm


Bayou Pointe Student Event Center Ribbon Cutting | March 16 | 100 Warhawk Way

Cory Crow, Sonni Bennett, Kayla Stiles

Hagen Campbell, Meagan Lee

Dr. Judy Fellows, Tony Arpino

Kelley & Treina Kimball

Ashley Hunter, Siddharth Gaulee, Kandace Moss, Timothy Perkins

Rep. Frank Hoffmann, Joe Holyfield, Dr. Nick Bruno

Jaleesa Harris, Meredith McKinnie, Kimberly Moore

Charles & Jo McDonald, Judge Jimbo & Faith Stephens, Rudy & Ann McIntyre


Downtown Gallery Crawl | April 5 |Downtown Monroe and Antique Alley

Jerrica Bennett

Liz Zanca

Anna Rowan, Jenny Ellerbe

Leigh Buffington

Emily Caldwell

Shannon Landry, Phil Patrick

Daniel Raymond, D.D.S.

Emily Wilhite, D.D.S.

Accie Sullivan

Vance Costello, D.D.S.

Ryan Rachal, D.D.S.



Schedule your FREE consultation FARMERVILLE 7699 HWY 2 | OAK GROVE 414 ROSS ST | MONROE 1220 STUBBS AVE | 318.387.5732 | 14 ❚ MAY 2018 ❚ DELTASTYLE MAGAZINE

St. Paddy's Day Bicycle Parade | March 17 | Kiroli Park

Kim Correro, Alexia Hunter

Courtney Hornsby, Peyton Hornsby, Dana Kennedy

Katie Redman, Anna Katherine Thompson, Anna Claire Lemoine

William McCandlish

Stephanie Garza, Sylvia McVey

LaTasha White, Paige Hodnett

Arrow Dental Center Ground Breaking | April 18 | 1560 Bienville Dr., Monroe


Bow Wow on the Bayou | April 7 | Bayou DeSiard

Victoria Sexton, Joan Hampton

Satchie Godfrey, Bobby Craighead

Lauren Lefebvre, Susie Lefebvre Richard Lefebvre, Jennifer Sparks


Sherry Free Bob Tucker, Rita Tucker

Claiborne Spelsor, Rebo Bradford

Scarlett Boles, Blanche Betz, Tara Ambrose

Egret Landing Phase II Ribbon Cutting

Chip and Lila Strode

David Sorrell, Stephanie Smith

Joe Holyfield, Ashley Doughty Able

Stephen Bell, Tabitha Hollins, Michael Dede

Sue Nicholson

Victoria Hefner, Katie Hodge

Dr. Billy Branch & Piper Branch

Lisa Holyfield, Alberta Green

Lindsey Dartlon, Susie Dartlon, Ashley Doughty Able

Lisa Holyfield, Chris Holyfield


Daffodils, Irises, and Rosemary Memories are Part of Delta Homes DELTA MEMORIES GEORGIANN POTTS

Writer’s Note: Among the most famous quotes by the late American poet Robert Frost is this one: “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” This line is found in Frost’s “The Death of the Hired Man.” That poem has haunted me since the first time I encountered it when I was in Ruth Watson’s English class at the beginning of my junior year at Newellton High School. The poem reminded me of the haphazard experiences of so many laborers for hire during my childhood, moving from job to job without any sense of permanence or place. The structure of the poem is primarily a dialogue between a husband and a wife — farm people — that begins with the husband’s return from the market with supplies. The wife tells him that Silas, an elderly man who has worked for them before, has returned to their farm looking for work. The husband is not pleased because of his past experience with this worker. Silas is no longer capable of doing fulltime work, and had even quit the previous haying season. As the couple quarrel about what to do about Silas, the wife finally puts the episode in perspective by saying that Silas has come home to die and will not be leaving them again. When her husband mocks that idea, she responded, “Yes, what else, but home? It all depends on what you mean by home.” And so, it does. – GP


There can be no doubt about the level of importance we humans place on the concept of “home.” Just look at all of the things that have been said, written, and sung about it! Each of us associates “home” in many different ways — with a specific place, a memorable landscape, a particular food prepared just for us, a family tradition that has been carried on for generations — and we always take comfort with those associations. Many have tried to explain what home is and what it means. What seems at first to be a relatively simple term to define, upon closer examination becomes considerably more complicated. Many factors influence how we feel about home, but I think the most important one is our age. Certainly, home means very different things to a child than it does to an adult. Our perspective makes all the difference.

More than walls, floors, windows, roof ... Someone once wrote that “. . . a house is made of walls and beams; a home is built with love and dreams.” That is certainly the way most Delta folk feel about their homes, whether modest shotgun houses or stately mansions or something in between. What material a home is constructed from is far less meaningful to us than are the love and dreams that have been shared there. The first home that I can remember was a modest wooden frame house set on a fenced lot of adequate size in Tioga, LA, just a few miles north of Alexandria. Be-

Kenilworth Plantation main house. Taken in the 1920s.

sides a great yard, the house had a wonderful front porch with rockers and a large wooden swing (my favorite!). I played for hours on that porch when rain was falling and that was as far “outdoors” as I was allowed to get. I especially enjoyed countless hours in that swing, listening to my parents and neighbors as they visited in the late afternoon talking over anything of importance that had come in the newspaper or over the radio. Sometimes it would be just my parents, each telling the other about their day. Either way, I was an eager listener, tending to my cat and enjoying the moment. Our house was in the “bungalow” style, a simple one-story house with that big front porch. It had three bedrooms, a bath, a kitchen, and a living room — exactly the kind of basic home that so many families in the 1930’s and ’40s were happy to have. I have no idea what the square footage of the

house was, but it was “just right” for us. This was the house that I was brought home to from the hospital when mother gave birth to me. It was the house where I learned to walk and talk, to dress myself, to care for my first pet, and to feel the happiness of early childhood and the excitement of beginning school. Here, too, my parents dreamed of the day that they would build their own home and leave renting behind. Because my father’s work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers meant that he was subject to transfer every few years, they had to postpone establishing a permanent home of their very own for many years. That would come later. Even so, the two of them made that little cottage a home in every way.

Daffodils Mean “Home” ... One thing that mother did that made a lifelong impression on me was to bring some of her mother’s daffodils from Kenilworth Plantation to plant in our yard in Tioga. Mom Moore, my grandmother, had planted those daffodils in a long, doublesided row, lining a long abandoned carriageway that had once led from the road to the home’s original front entrance. Every spring they marked the change of the season in glorious golden hues. My mother’s simple gesture — bringing something to her home that had been important to her own mother — was a way of having a little bit of her childhood home right there in Tioga with her. Nobel Laureate William Faulkner wrote

Rescued Potts Peabody heirloom iris DELTASTYLE MAGAZINE ❚ MAY 2018 ❚ 19

a letter to his mother in which he mentioned the sadness of missing one’s home: “How often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.” I think that mother must have missed her own childhood home at times, and seeing her mother’s beloved daffodils dancing in the spring breezes must have made her especially happy. Maya Angelou wrote of that same yearning for one’s childhood home as an “ache,” but added to the idea in “All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes”: “The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” There are times in all our lives when we feel the need for a “safe place” and immediately think of our homes. My second home was just such a “safe place.” Although I had never lived on a farm, there was a soothing quality about life on Kenilworth. The pace was slower, the food was always “farm to table” long before that was even a fad, and so many family members so close by made for very happy summers of leisurely play. I learned many lessons there in that lovely place, lessons that have served me well through my life. One of the most important lessons was to depend on myself. Self-reliance has saved me more than once since I was that little girl — hunting for doodlebugs and easing wiggly worms on a fishhook — taking in the view of cotton fields as far as I could see.

South Toward Home – the Iris ... When my husband graduated from George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University in 1958, he and the other candidates were given rhizomes of the famed Peabody iris. While I do not know what others did with theirs, I know exactly what Jim did with his. His father loved irises and grew them successfully. Jim gave him the rhizomes and his dad planted them back in Florence, AL, at the family home where Jim grew up. There they were tended until his father’s death. Several decades after the Peabody had been planted there, we were visiting in Florence and decided to rescue the irises that we could. Before we left to travel back to Louisiana, Jim took a shovel and dug up them up, hoping that there was a chance that a descendent of his Peabody iris just might be in the mix. He wanted any of his dad’s surviving irises — and the Peabody, if it had survived — to be a part of our new home in Louisiana. It would be several years before the rhi-

Potts rosemary in bloom

zomes fully adapted to our Louisiana climate and decided to bloom again. We had no way of knowing if they had been blooming annually in Florence, so we followed the advice of others who know about these things and just tended them as best we could and waited. When a few of them did bloom at last, the Peabody was not among them. Old favorites of Jim’s dad’s were, however, and became a welcome addition to our landscape. It would be five more years until one spring morning we awoke to find the distinctive pale blue of the Peabody, open and glorious in our yard. The following year, several more Peabody irises bloomed as did some of Jim’s dad’s older irises that he had not seen for years. They were home, again.

Rosemary Blooms in Monroe ... When I was growing up on Kenilworth, one of the most interesting things to me in


my grandfather’s garden was the small area reserved for herbs. Mom Moore was an exceptionally fine cook according to all reports, and she insisted on having fresh herbs to create her dishes. I remember picking different ones there in the garden, rubbing them and trying to learn their scents. The oils on the rosemary would linger for what seemed like hours, giving silent witness to my innocent robbery. When Jim and I were designing the two courtyards for our home, the one element that I knew that I would have to have was an herb garden. We saw a clever one while traveling in south Louisiana, and built an identical one for our back courtyard in the full sun. Among the first herbs that I planted was rosemary. As (beginner’s) luck would have it, the microclimate that the bricks on the courtyard together with those on the side of our home turned out to be a nearly perfect environment for herbs. The basil, dill, chives, flat leaf parsley, thyme, and oregano all grew. The rosemary plants were a different story — they thrived! I had planted two small rosemary plants instead of just one, thinking that this might increase my odds of having a survivor — a reminder of Kenilworth and my grandmother’s herb garden. Both plants grew rapidly, eventually creating a divider “wall” between the herb garden and the remainder of the courtyard. Many years later, they did something that I did not expect and that I never saw in Mom Moore’s herb garden. The rosemary plants bloomed, with beautiful petite bloom clusters in shades of light blue to pale lavender.

And Rosemary Blooms in North Carolina ... When our daughter, Leigh, and her husband, Brian, bought a new home near Charlotte, NC, they planted rosemary to create a hedge along the side. In time, theirs thrived, too, and bloomed. When their son, Brian Jr., and his wife, Lexi, closed on their first home, Leigh gave him cuttings from her plant as a “home-warming” gift to plant in their own yard. We cannot wait to hear that they have bloomed, too. Thomas Wolfe warned us that we cannot go home again and then spent a novel’s worth of time trying to prove it. I was never convinced. A daffodil, a pale blue iris, and the scent of rosemary rubbed between my fingers are all that I need to understand that we most certainly can go home again — in our memories.

Music Under the Myrtles | April 15 | St. Paul’s United Methodist Church

Linda Beth & Tim Neustifter

Carson Arrington, John Landry, Jay Cuthbert, Don Arrington, Wes Martin, Brian Jones, Matt Nolan

Jordan Sheppard

Jill Mouk, Stephanie Smith, Nat Smith, Claire Smith

Sarah and Mitchell Brown

George and Janelle Snellings, Bobby Craighead

Nancy and Faye Moulle

4th Grade Medieval Feast | April 17 | Grace Episcopal School



Staci Albritton Mitchell West Monroe Mayor-Elect and local photographer gave us the opportunity to get to know her a little more. 22 ❚ MAY 2018 ❚ DELTASTYLE MAGAZINE



hotography and community involvement are the things that keep Staci Albritton Mitchell constantly working hard to benefit her clients and the people of the Delta. As a certified professional photographer

through the Professional Photographers of America for over 25 years, Mitchell does portraits of babies, high school seniors, weddings, families, events, and so much more. She prides herself in giving her clients of Albritton Photography a true professional service starting with a professional photographer, a professional, trained staff and a professional lab that will give those who work with her a specialized product as a full-service studio. Mitchell’s time outside of the studio is occupied by volunteering for various organizations and getting ready to take on her new role, West Monroe Mayor. I was very fortunate recently and had the opportunity to meet and sit with her.

Congratulations on being elected the new mayor of West Monroe! I know it is an exciting time for you. What are you looking forward to the most as you take on your new role as Mayor? West Monroe has so many opportunities, and I look most forward to working with the people of West Monroe and our community as we move forward. In your opinion, what is the biggest contribution to the community that you will make. My energy and business experience will be big contributions. I am all about working hard and making the most of out of whatever project, job, or activity I am involved in.

Tell me about family life, how long have you been married? I married Jay Mitchell in July of 2013. He is an Assistant District Attorney and represents the Ouachita Parish Police Jury, and we have four children between us. They all graduated from LSU. Elaina who lives in New Orleans and works for Stryker. She is married and has two beautiful little boys. Calli, who just got married in October, works for a commercial real estate development company and lives in Baton Rouge. Casey is the Director of Golf Instruction at Top Golf in Huntsville, AL. Our young-

Now we would like to know a little backstory on you, where were you born? I was born on a United States Air Force base in Columbus, MS. My family then moved to Southaven, MS until I was 8-years-old. My father was an air traffic controller and did photography as a hobby. When he retired, he decided to go to camera repair school. So, we moved to Littleton, CO, because that is where the school was that he wanted to attend, and we stayed there for two years. When did you move to West Monroe and why? We moved to West Monroe in 1978, and it has been my home ever since. My parents are from West Carroll Parish, and this was the closest place that they could open a business and be close to my grandparents. Your parents were entrepreneurs, what business did they open? Albritton Camera Shop. It stayed open until my parents and I opened Albritton Photography around 1990. I know you attended LSU, what kind of work did you do while there? I did, I graduated from Louisiana State University in May of 1990, and I have a degree in Agricultural Economics. While there, I worked for LSU Public Relations as a darkroom printer and a photographer, and I worked for a local camera store in Baton Rouge. So, photography never got out of my blood. I thought I wanted to be a futures broker for the Chicago Board of Trade, but once I graduated, I realized my passion for photography and decided to pursue that dream.

ories. I have been doing this for so long that I have done people’s baby portraits, their senior portraits, wedding portraits and their family portraits. But, I really love little kids. Between the ages of 3, 4, and 5 are my heart. I know through the years you must have some great stories, what is one of your favorite moments from working with a client? I did a portrait of a senior the other day where she brought her portraits I had done with her to take a portrait of her with all her baby portraits from when she was 3-months-old to the one we just did last year. It makes me appreciate them as client, obviously, but also I am the only photographer that she’s ever had. So, it is cool that people trust me with their memories. I am now photographing graduating seniors that started with me as babies or I am doing their children’s portraits. That makes my job even more special. In your opinion, how has West Monroe grown? West Monroe has grown so much in the number of businesses we have and in the number of people who live on the west side of the river. We are a small town with a lot of amenities, because we are part of a bigger community. I like that and want us to be the best small town that we can be!

Photo taken by Staci Albritton Mitchell

est, Mary Allison, is a first-year law student at LSU. They are all doing really well, and we are proud of them. When you first started in photography, what type of portraits did you do the most? Like most photographers, when you start, you do a lot of weddings. So, I did mostly weddings in the beginning. My dad and I shot 42 weddings the year my daughter, Calli, was born. We have done as many as four weddings in one weekend. Why do you love photography? I love photographing people, because it is showing who they are, what they are, and it is capturing those mem-

Besides being the newly-elected Mayor and owner of Albritton Photography, what else do you participate in? I have been on the West Monroe City Council since 2011, past Chairman of the Board of the West Monroe/West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce, a past president of the Cancer Foundation League, a board member of the West Monroe High School Foundation, and a member of Kiwanis of West Monroe, Quota Club and serve on Glenwood’s board, board member of the Downtown West Monroe Revitalization Group and a board member for the Center for Children and Families. How do you make time for yourself, any hobbies? People always ask me that, and my hobby is being active in the community. I do like to go fishing and hang out with our kids and grandkids when Jay and I can. Thank you so much, Mayor-Elect Mitchell. We look forward to many years of your leadership! DELTASTYLE MAGAZINE ❚ MAY 2018 ❚ 23

On April 26, the 7th annual Healthcare Heroes Banquet was held at the West Monroe Convention Center. Special thanks to all sponsors and attendees for making this event extra special. And the winners are…

Community Outreach Awards: Arrow Dental Clinic for Dentistry from the Heart Dr. Larry Neal for Rock Steady Boxing DISTINGUISHED HUMANITARIAN AWARD: Dr. Michael Zambie for his work in creating MedCamps of Louisiana TERRY KING AWARD RECIPIENT: Dr. Sanjay Joseph ANESTHESIOLOGIST Dr. Jonathan Lukas Beebe – winner Dr. Zeke Wetzel Dr. Szu-Wei Domingue Dr. Charles McIntosh Dr. Jack Cox AUDIOLOGIST Dr. Deborah Cowen – winner Dr. Jerrilyn Frasier Dr. Lorra Pettit Dr. Sharri Fallin Dr. Kiley E. Stephenson CARDIOLOGIST Dr. David Burkett – winner Dr. Gregory Sampognaro Dr. Terry King Dr. Assad Mouhaffel Dr. Jeffrey Miles Hilbun CARDIOVASCULAR SURGEON Dr. Harry Donias – winner Dr. Blaine Borders Dr. Robert White Dr. Scott Henry Dr. Edgar L Feinberg CRNA Anna Claire Herndon – winner Anita O'Toole Dusty Daigle Freddy Box Stacey Embanato CHIROPRACTOR Dr. G. G. Grant – winner Dr. Michael Harvey

Dr. Kayla Deshotel Dr. Brent Bryant Dr. Dan Steffins COUNSELOR Gil Martin – winner Amanda Finley Shawn Eves Shawn Downhour Abigail Barthel Hays DERMATOLOGIST Dr. Janine Hopkins – winner Dr. James Altick Dr. Loretta Gremillion Dr. Kimberly Mills Dr. Virginia Lewis DENTIST Dr. Troy Bostick – winner Dr. David Finley Dr. William Johnston Dr. Matt Turpin Dr. Wayne Cranford Dr. Eric Lavespere DENTAL ASSISTANT Jenny Pankey – winner Angel Miller Donna Bermingham Marquita Heckard Ember Carmichael DENTAL HYGIENIST Amy Higdon – winner Wendi Garnett Kim Ensiminger Ashley Ecker Angela Caldwell ENT Dr. Wilson Barham – winner Dr. Joel Norris Dr. Lauren Mickey Dr. Lee Miller Dr. Lawrence Danna EMT Danna Edgeworth – winner Corey Schlesinger Dan Street Gabe Jackson Luke Nolan


GASTROENTEROLOGIST Dr. Collins Coon – winner Dr. H. Hill Hinkile Dr. Clarence Butch Dunn Dr. Brian Levatino Dr. Duke McHugh HEALTHCARE MANAGER Peggy Johnson – winner Russell Vallotton Roxie Bennett Ashley Kitchens Brittney Dodd HEALTHY LIVING ADVOCATE Bonnie Farmer Hay – winner Andi Holyfield Cesar Camacho John Blunschi Evan Develroy HEARING INSTRUMENT SPECIALIST Cherry Phillips – winner Dru Dollar Morgan Smith Dickie Billedeaux Resa Brady HOME HEALTH NURSE Amie Akers – winner Emily Jackson Haley Barham Wende Bruce Meredith Middleton HOSPICE NURSE Sissy (Dawn) Cook – winner Eydie Roark Amy Boyte Sherry Strain Angel Piercy LPN Becky Norman – winner Katie Hawthorn Harper Mac Razon Margo Moore Sherry Gooden MASSAGE THERAPIST Tammy Higginbotham – winner Bailey White Jeff Johnson Mary Beth Dickerson Candi Brooks MEDICAL ASSISTANT Sarah Thomas – winner Heather Woodrum Nikki Miller Candi Arnold Kimberly Howard MEDICAL LABORATORY SCIENTIST Nicki Delhoste Fryer – winner Eric Talton Jessie Ragan Michelle Rainwater Shantell Brass

MEDICAL LABORATORY TECH Angel Davis - winner Jessica Dupree Ashley Price Jack McFarland April Picou MEDICAL RECEPTIONIST Debbie Beam – winner Ginger Thomas Kasity Hudson Misty Humble Brandi Bush NEUROSURGEON Dr. Jorge Alvernia – winner Dr. Jose Bermudez Dr. Marshall Cain Dr. Anil Nanda NEUROLOGIST Dr. Aristoteles Pena-Miches – winner Dr. Cresha Davis Dr. Jenny Guerre Dr. Thomas Gulick Dr. Jeffrey Harris NURSE PRACTITIONER Christie Walters – winner Deidre Simmons Laura Bates Sharon Marie Tiffany Terra OBSTETRICS/GYNECOLOGY (OB/GYN) Dr. Amber Shemwell – winner Dr. Dawn Pennebaker Dr. Laurie LeBleu Dr. Jason Wilson Dr. Curtis Sanders OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST Casey Eckhart – winner Jamie Williams Kristen Hill Summer Powell Troy Shows OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST ASSISTANT Sarah Smeltzer – winner Charles Hable Keitha Duchesne Mary Margaret Hildebrand Marvin Crain ONCOLOGIST Dr. Sanjay Joseph – winner Dr. Barry Weinberger Dr. Coy Gammage Dr. Scott Barron Dr. David Osafo OPHTHALMOLOGIST Dr. Thomas Parker – winner Dr. Drew Thomas Dr. Jason Read Dr. Joseph Barron Dr. John Cooksey

OPTOMETRIST Dr. Jody Moss – winner Dr. Dale Cagnolatti Dr. Dwayne Yeager Dr. Jonathan Scoggins Dr. Malinda Legg ORAL SURGEON Dr. Eric Geist – winner Dr. Matthew Fowlkes Dr. Frank Harmon Dr. Richard Willis Dr. Ray Rhymes Jr. ORTHODONTIST Dr. Ricky Caples & Dr. Chris Robinson – TIE/winners Dr. Kevin Williams Dr. Glenn Hummel Dr. Corbin Turpin ORTHODONTIC ASSISTANT Wendy Carney – winner Brandi Matthews Shelley Storm Yates Toni Collins Vickie McWhorter ORTHOPEDIC SURGEON Dr. Clemens Soeller – winner Dr. Martin Degravelle Dr. Sol Graves Dr. Douglas Brown Dr. Robert Bulloch PAIN MANAGEMENT PHYSICIAN Dr. John Ledbetter – winner Dr. Hardy Gordon Dr. Navneet Sharma Dr. Vincent Forte Dr. Ronald Ellis PARAMEDIC Kim Sanderson – winner Fran Singleton Josh Zuber Joshua Younse Kyle Chandler PATHOLOGIST Dr. Nancy Smith – winner Dr. John Maxwell Dr. Howard Wright Dr. Lee Pankey Dr. William Liles PEDIATRICIAN Dr. Joaquin Rosales – winner Dr. Bonita Dyess Dr. Cindy Bimle Dr. Margot Eason Dr. Gary Stanley PHARMACIST Kay Chandler – winner Charlie Jones Gene Hastings Heather Furr Yolanda McElroy

PHARMACY TECHNICIAN Michelle Nyegaard – winner Autumn Scarborough Brooke Stiglets Doris Fields Shana Eckhardt PHLEBOTOMIST Karen Dark – winner Ashley Eason Ashley Liggin Connor Bennett LaNakia Cowart PHYSICIAN'S ASSISTANT Jenny Kuan Baker – winner Charles Furr Dustin Howell Thomas Marsala Wally Thomas PHYSICAL THERAPIST Tyler Eckhardt – winner Casey Eckhart Jon Richardson Michael Hildebrand Michelle Landry PHYSICAL THERAPIST ASSISTANT Kourtney Salter – winner Cameron Johnson John-Wesley Reed Jonathan Austin Whitney Allen PLASTIC SURGEON Dr. Timothy Mickel – winner Dr. Forrest Wall Dr. Herbert Maguire PODIATRIST Dr. Jeffrey Lux – winner Dr. Danier Anderson Dr. David G. Gardner Dr. Luke Hunter Dr. Dionne Nolan PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN Dr. Keith Calhoun – winner Dr. Kerry Anders Dr. Khaled Shafiei Dr. Leslie Oglesby Dr. Theresa Ross PSYCHIATRIST Frank Weinholt – winner Alfredo Torres Mark Taylor Roy Ragsdill Scott Zentner PSYCHOLOGIST Terry Thomas – winner Candi Hill David Thomason David Williams Laura Machasnhik PULMONOLOGIST Dr. Ronald Hammett – winner Dr. Thomas Gullatt Dr. William Matthews

Dr. Thomas Smith Dr. Antti Maran Social Worker David O'Neal – winner Janet Williams Joycelyn Love Lisa Howe Suzette Crayton Gutter SONOGRAPHER Jill Young – winner Amy Hale Debra Kendra Marla Freeman Rachel Mayer RADIOLOGIST Dr. Warren Green – winner Dr. Blake McGehee Dr. Ralph Abraham Dr. Jesse Lapietra Dr. Steve Pate RAD TECH Melanie Richardson – winner Chris Ensminger David Cleveland Derek Sanders Lisa Vallery REGISTERED NURSE (RN) Matthew Ratliff – winner Abbie Moon Heather Moss Brandi Milliken Lisa Lodgen Registered Dietitian Chelse White – winner Amanda Wood Andi Holyfield Jessica Hood Sarah Knowles RESPIRATORY THERAPIST Jamie Delrio – winner Chris McBroom Joseph Sievers Kristy Lockwood Valonda Moore SPEECH THERAPIST Holley Perry – winner Erica Ryan Tiffany Riga Stephanie Durham Wendy Petrus SURGEON Dr. Frank Sartor – winner Dr. Bart Liles Dr. Daryl Marx Dr. David Norman Dr. Henry Zizzi THERAPIST Aly Taylor – winner Katherine Wilson Darbi Hines Scott Shelby Jason Austin

UROLOGIST Dr. Brad Johnson – winner Dr. Robert L. Humble Dr. John Califano Dr. Paul Murphy Dr. Edward Rutland HEALTHCARE NON-PROFIT A Place for Her A Work of heART Alzheimer's Association Camp Quality Cancer Foundation league Families Helping Families Hidden Treasures Alzheimer's Respite Min La Tech Rock Steady Boxing Life Choices Living Well Foundation Louisiana organ procurement agency Pilots for Patients St. Francis Medical Center Foundation WIGGIN OUT Med-Camps of Louisiana Northeast Sickle Cell Foundation Ascent Health HEALTHCARE VOLUNTEERS Damien Miller Denise Smith Dr. Larry Neal Dr. Tara Haskins Elizabeth Fulton Elspie Franklin Ethel Wilkes Gavin Hall Glenn Northcott Helen Allen Jennifer King Jenny Baker Jenny Remsberg Jimmy McDonald Joshalynn Green Kathy Berry Phillip Thomas Ruth Beavers Shaniqua Tillery Stacey graves Ted Telano Topreda Ros Vicki Caskey Victoria Hamby Margaret Fussell Mary Wesley HEALTHCARE EDUCATOR Bernie Gray - winner Diedre Simmons Jennifer Zimmerman Kim Sanderson Lea Ann Jones




Where Louisiana Still Buys Boots

School’s out, but the

Dentist is in at


318 410-0044

HEBER TUFT D.D.S M.S.D Board Certified

• When should my child first see a dentist? When your child has their first tooth or first birthday; whichever comes first! • We Specialize in dental care for Infants, Children and Teens • Most Insurances Accepted (No Network Affiliation) • Offering a friendly, gentle and comfortable environment • Conscious Sedation, IV Sedation or Hospital Dentistry available for children with special challenges related to age, medical or developmental conditions • Tooth colored crowns and filling available • Honored and Excited to be a part of the Monroe Community and Surrounding Areas

1101 Royal Avenue Suite B • Monroe, LA 71201


1211 N 18th St, Monroe, LA 71201 • (318) 387-8446


Listen First and Often. Speak Last

By Georgiann Potts

Perhaps one of the reasons Bill Willson is sensitive about how others feel and think can be found in his own childhood. His parents set an admirable example.

WRITER’S NOTE: What quality is it about a person that leads him to add to an already full life the very real challenges that come with public service? In today’s environment of blaming others (refusing to look in the mirror) for our disappointments, of looking for “easy fixes” (refusing to address an issue directly) for challenges that face our society, and of staying silent so that we don’t “make waves” by offending someone (waiting for someone else to handle it) — it is rare, indeed, to see individuals willing to devote a large share of their “free” time toward worthy causes. Whatever the quality is — a sense of duty, a desire to make a difference, a belief that all is not lost — whatever it is, Delta folk are grateful that it exists in some. If everyone sat back and watched instead of stepping forward and getting involved, the Delta would not be the Delta very long. One of those people who has stepped forward to support an extremely worthy cause — the education of all our children — is Bill Willson. By vocation, he is a successful banker with an excellent record of accomplishment. By avocation, he is a public servant pledged to do his part to support the children of the Monroe City School District as they grow and learn, preparing themselves to be successful adults. – GP 30 ❚ MAY 2018 ❚ DELTASTYLE MAGAZINE

Childhood Memories ... Among his earliest memories are those associated with adventure in the outdoors. “I had great friends at Parkview Baptist — a great youth group there,” Willson recalled. “I loved camping out with my family and a group of other families from Parkview who also had ski boats. We would go up the Ouachita River at least two Saturdays each month during the spring and summer, skiing and picnicking.” Lake Ouachita, near Brady Mountain lodge, was visited annually for one week of skiing during the days and playing dominoes and cards each night. Every few years, the family would drive to California for two weeks to visit Bill’s paternal grandmother and the rest of his dad’s family. Bill Willson and his family

Family First ... Bruce G. Willson was a chemical engineer with a degree from Texas A&M. By the time he retired from a very successful career, he was Executive Vice President and Manager of Columbian Chemicals Monroe Office. During the Korean Conflict, he had been a U.S. Air Force pilot. Dr. Martha Albritton Willson was a University of Texas undergraduate and took graduate degrees from the University of Louisiana at Monroe (then Northeast Louisiana University). Her field was secondary education and she taught over 25 years at ULM in education and counseling. She was a licensed marriage and family counselor and, together with Dr. Harper Gaushell, established the Monroe Family Counseling Center over 35 years ago. Bill was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 1963 and the family lived in Santos, Brazil, for the first two years of his life. His father was there on assignment with Columbian Chemicals from 1960-1965. South Louisiana was their next home for three years, and then they moved to Monroe in 1968. Bill and his brothers were reared in a Christian family with dedicated service to Parkview Baptist Church. His father was a deacon and his mother taught the Sunday School Class for college students — both serving for over 30 years. The Willsons had three sons with Bill being the youngest. His two older brothers — Bruce Gordon Willson, Jr. and Dale Keirn Willson — both graduated from Neville High School (NHS). Bruce was a member of the 1972 State AAAA Football Championship team as a junior. Dale played on Neville’s basketball team. The three boys pursued different career paths, but all three made a success of their choices. Bruce graduated from Louisiana Tech and then Dallas Theological Seminary and presently serves as pastor of the John Knox Presbyterian Church in Ruston and as CEO of United Way of Northwest Louisiana. Dale earned an undergraduate degree from ULM in computer programming and then earned his Master’s in Public Administration from Indiana University. He served in the U.S. Navy and recently retired as head of the computer programming department for the West Coast with the Navy.

The Value of Education ... Education was a valued commodity in Bill’s family, and his path was almost entirely in Monroe City schools with the exception of Kindergarten (First Methodist Church) and 7th grade (Ridgedale Academy). Sallie Humble Elementary, Lee Junior High, Neville for grades 9, 11, and 12, and Carroll High School (CHS) for grade 10. This was in the early days of integration, and Bill’s class was bussed to Carroll to try and achieve parity. “For the most part, the parents were more concerned about the integration situation than we were,” Willson remembered. “The ‘life lessons’ I learned that year at CHS stayed with me more than the academic lessons I learned there. It made a profound impression on me to see how things were there compared to where I lived. It made me want to help my friends out who did not have the same opportunities that I had. As difficult as that process was, I am grateful for it. I made lifelong friends there, and I am proud to say that I am the only MCSB member who attended Carroll High School!” Although he was a good student academically, he freely admits that he could have studied more and been concerned less about sports and girls. “My best subject was history, but I also enjoyed math,” Willson explains. “I was fortunate to have had Mr. Jimmy Rogers at NHS for pre-calculus. He made math come alive.” Willson lettered in four sports at NHS, and thought his ideal job would be coaching in high school while teaching history like one of his favorite coaches, Billy Pee. He was involved with Key Club and was president his senior year. While representing Neville at Louisiana Boys’ State, he was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives. “At the end of our week, I was able to lead an actual House session in the House Chambers,” he remembered. “This made a profound impression on me and led to my interest in politics.” There was some collateral damage to Willson’s participation in Boys’ State, however. When he was selected to go, his football coach Charlie Brown told him that he did not want him to go. Willson had to choose between Boys’ State and football. Willson chose Boys’ State, and as a result found himself relegated to third string for the first game. By the second game, he was once again starting as tight end/wide receiver. “This


was a unique time in my life when I had to make a difficult decision that went against the grain, but going to Boys’ State was something that I thought was the right thing to do,” he remembered. “My parents taught me to never quit and to stand up for what I thought was the right thing to do. Easier said than done, sometimes.” Willson enrolled in Louisiana Tech thinking that he would be an engineer like his father. He began in chemical engineering and then changed to petroleum engineering. Shortly after, the oil and gas market crashed and he switched his major to finance with a minor in prelaw. While at Louisiana Tech, he joined TKE Fraternity, intermural sports, and the Student Government Association. “SGA helped me get to know a lot of people on campus and work with other people on common goals and projects,” Willson recalled. “I have always enjoyed being part of a team and we had a good one. I learned Robert’s Rule of Order, a valuable skill that has benefited me on the school board.” Willson was accepted into LSU Law School, but there was a gap of six months between his graduation and the start of the law school year. Dr. Tom Sale, Dean of the College of Business and the Finance department, encouraged Willson to consider commercial banking. An opportunity to be in the management trainee program with Commercial National Bank of Shreveport (north Louisiana’s first billion dollar bank) meant a change in plans. Banking became his career of choice.

A Career Path Begins ... After completing the trainee program, Willson became a private banking loan officer within the first year. After three years, he moved back to Monroe to begin the area’s first officially recognized private banking group. Willson was only 25-years-old. Lee Vanderpool III hired him, and the first day that Willson was on the job, Vanderpool announced his resignation from the bank. As a result, Willson was a 30-day employee of Ouachita National Bank that then became Premier. The new president of Premier Bank was the late Melvyn Rambin. Willson admired Rambin not only for his positive and inspiring attitude but also for his brilliance. “He never got credit for being as cerebral as he was because he had such a gregarious personality,” Willson said. “He was truly one of a kind and always tried to find ways to pick people up instead of tearing them down.” Willson’s career flourished. At age 27, he was offered the chance to head up Premier’s trust marketing department. A few years later, he moved into the bank’s commercial lending group where he worked with outstanding professionals including Susan Hoffman and Van Pardue. In 1994, Willson moved back to Commercial National Bank working for Clyde White, another great banker and mentor. When CNB was purchased, Willson was offered a position at Regions Bank. Here he worked with Kent Anderson, a man who became, according to Willson, like a second father to him. “Mr. Anderson opened up many ‘doors’ for me, and taught me many ‘life lessons’,” Willson said. With Anderson’s contacts and support, Willson was


able to participate in a number of outstanding projects over the next decade. He did the financing for LSU’s $1.5m East and Westside Stadium additions to Tiger Stadium. Closer to home, Willson developed a financing vehicle for ULM’s Student Housing revitalization project (via lower floater bonds), a $72m project in 2004. He worked closely with Dr. Nick Bruno, then chief financial officer for ULM, who had been involved in a similar project at Southeastern University. “Dr. Bruno was considered the State’s ‘expert’ in student housing projects,” Willson recalled. “Although some did not believe that it could be done, Dr. Bruno — because of his experience, education, and knowledge of these types of transactions — succeeded.” During his career at Regions, Willson was recognized for his leadership. He was over the ARK-LA-TEX commercial lending sales groups and received their Chairman’s Club award for two consecutive years and their President’s Club award for three. The last two years of his tenure with Regions, he was the top performing Commercial Lender in their 16-state region. When Regions was acquired by another bank, Willson decided to become an investment banker. He became north Louisiana’s only investment banker who lived and worked in north Louisiana. Through connections with Bill Boles and Wes Shafto, Willson was hired by Southwest Securities (SWS) as an investment banker to manage SWS’s Louisiana and Mississippi Municipal Bond groups. He was named to SWS’s President’s Club for two years. “Some of the bond issues I underwrote included two of the four TIF bond issues (financing and refunding) for the City of Monroe, the bond issue to construct Louisiana Delta Community College’s main campus in Monroe, the City of Monroe’s new airport, four different recovery bond issues including Dewey Weaver’s TownePlace Suites Hotel at Pecanland Mall, the TIF bond issues for the towns of Farmerville and Sterlington, and the bonds for D’Arbonne Woods Charter School,” Willson said. Investment banking took a downturn in 2012 and Willson made a career move by joining Capital One Bank. After two years, he was offered the job of executive vice president over their Dallas Middle Market commercial lending group. Willson’s oldest son, Edmund, was a sophomore at Neville, and his youngest son, Gordon, was in the 8th grade at Lee Junior High. He had also just been elected to the Monroe City School Board to represent District 3. The quality of life that he and his wife, Marion Smith Willson, shared with their sons plus the commitment to the voters in District 3 won out. Willson decided to stay. When Capital One closed its Monroe group, Willson went to work for Chase Bank in their business banking group. Today he is the head of Chase Bank’s Business Banking Group for Northeast Louisiana, earning the National “Top Performer” designation the first full year at the bank. He is glad to be back “on board” with Chase once again. While at Chase, he has worked with Vantage Health Plan on their remodeling of the 122 St. John Street property and especially has enjoyed working with Vantage’s president and CEO, Dr. Gary Jones, and Vantage’s executive vice president, Mike Breard. During his

commercial and investment banking career, Willson has financed over $1 billion in loans on numerous projects.

Working for the Children ... While in college, Willson initially considered a career in public service. He worked on a statewide gubernatorial campaign and decided after seeing some of the shenanigans associated with politics that it was not a career for him. After he married and began his banking career, Willson worked on some statewide and local campaigns, but never seriously considered running for office himself. He had worked with the Monroe City School Board and district on several of their bond refunding and had also served the Towns of Sterlington, Farmerville, and the City of Monroe as investment banker and financial advisor on several TIF bond issues. These experiences gave Willson insight as to the “inner workings” of governmental bodies. Unknown to Willson, Board member Mickey Trawek had been preparing Willson to replace him by putting him on the MCSB superintendent search committee with Jennifer Haneline, and on the NHS Principal search committee. When Trawek announced he would not seek reelection, he spent about a month convincing Willson to run. “The primary reason I ran was to make a positive difference and to be a voice of reason for our children, much like Mickey had been in his 16 years of service,” Willson said. Willson has been challenged, of course. People not “shooting straight” by telling him one thing and then telling others something else has been especially frustrating. He is a proponent of listening first and then speaking. “We need to realize that God gave us two ears and only one mouth for a reason,” he said with a chuckle. Even with the challenges, Willson sees real progress. There have been tangible improvements that have helped develop pride and confidence in the District once again. First and foremost is that the Monroe City School System achieved Unitary Status this past March. This had been a 53-year process beginning with the initial desegregation lawsuit filed in 1965. “This was an extremely positive event which took an incredible amount of work behind the scenes and by a lot of people. This has truly been a TEAM accomplishment!” Wilson said. Among other measures of success include the District moving from a “D” rated District to a “C,” seeing J.S. Clark Magnet Elementary rated “A” for five years in a row, Neville being rated “A” for three years in a row and being the only high school in northeast Louisiana (public, private, or parochial) two years ago to have all their Top 20 seniors score 30 or higher on the ACT. Last year, Darious Washington was the only student in northeast Louisiana to score a perfect 36 on the ACT. “Wossman High School has the same Academic Grade as West Monroe High School, with both schools having a “B” rating. In my district, Sallie Humble and Lexington Elementary schools have a “B” rating, and Lee Junior High School has a “B” rating,” he said proudly. In addition, MCSD has been recognized as one of the

top 10 safest school districts/systems in Louisiana and is rated #5 out of all of Louisiana’s school districts having more than one high school. Willson is quick to credit the teachers, administrators, and employees in the district with the success. Willson also gives credit to his fellow school board members, including VP Daryll Barry, former MCSD president Vickie Dayton, and Jennifer Haneline. Even so, Willson insists that more can be done. “I believe that we need to continue to enhance both our schools’ safety and STEM programs and facilities at all of our high schools, and I am working to do that,” Willson explained. “I would also like to see us improve our Jump Start facilities.”

And Next ... With son Edmund in college and Gordon a junior at NHS who was recently elected unopposed as NHS’s student body president for the coming year, Bill and Marion are never far from their parenting roles. “The two of us make a pretty good team” according to Willson, who clearly cherishes his wife and family. Although Willson loves travel (Australia, Brazil, Greece, Alaska, Scotland, Spain, and Chile are on his bucket list), golfing, snow skiing, attending sporting events, working with his church, and similar pastimes, he realizes that for now, at least, his time for such things is limited. There is too much to be done, and too little time in which to do it. He continues to be an important figure in volunteer activities in our area, often taking leadership positions as part of his commitment. Central to Willson’s thinking is the belief that what he and the others on the MCSB do matters now, and matters long-term. “Our kids are constantly watching us, and we have to set the tone,” he said. “I think we need to admit to making mistakes, but when we do, we need to try to correct them and then learn from them!” Perhaps all of us should follow Willson’s example and listen more and speak less in all aspects of our lives. There is no telling how much progress we might make.



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‘Home Sweet Home’ Begins in the Landscape Delta Gardener Rose Young-Lee

Our home is our sanctuary – ideally, a place of peaceful retreat from the hectic hustle and bustle of the outside world. However, I think few would argue that it is the love and care that we put into the physical structure that transforms a house into a home. Without attention to the small details, a house is merely a habitat for its occupants. It is our selection of fixtures, furniture, accent pieces and other personal touches that ultimately distinguish a warm and comfortable “home” from the physical structure of a “house,” both inside and out. As with the interior of a home, the surrounding landscape also contributes to its ambiance. Whether a small and cozy cottage, a traditional ranch or an ultra-modern contemporary; and regardless of its structure and size, a home flanked by a wellplanned landscape of trees, shrubs, plants

and other accents can help to achieve the ultimate desire of “home sweet home.” Spring is an excellent time to add or change features that can enhance the landscape. Specific simple changes that can boost curb appeal include adding or updating landscape lighting; pruning, shaping and mulching shrubbery; refreshing flower beds and cleaning or painting outside furniture.

Adding or Updating Landscape Lighting Landscape lighting is one element that helps to create an aesthetically pleasing exterior. Since there are both advantages and disadvantages to the various types of lighting fixtures in regards to installation and maintenance, it would be helpful to research options and peruse the information on the package label before making a final selection. With the right lighting, anyone can create an inviting, well-lit exterior around their home to welcome family, friends and other wanted visitors.


Pruning, Shaping and Mulching Shrubbery Although late winter is the recommended time for heavy pruning, if this task has not already been completed, now is a great time to trim back overgrown hedges and other shrubbery. However, it is important to remember that pruning of springblooming shrubs should be avoided until after the blooms are spent. Depending on the type of shrub to be pruned, this task can be completed with either electric shears or hand pruners. This is also a good time to aerate the soil and old mulch surrounding the plants and apply fertilizer or plant food. Finally, a layer of fresh mulch (pine straw, bark, rubber, rocks, etc.) should be applied not only to enhance the appearance of ground cover, but more importantly, to promote moisture retention and curtail future weed growth.

Refreshing Flower Beds Of all the landscape elements, flower

beds are perhaps the most reflective features of the home owner's personal preferences. Like interior accents such as curtains, pillows and comforters, flower beds are often the standout elements in the landscape. Along with trees and shrubs, these features can make an otherwise stark and uninviting exterior environment much more warm and inviting. In the spring, the appearance of these landscape staples can be enhanced by pulling weeds and dead plants, then spacing and planting new seasonal plants. The beds should then be watered thoroughly, followed by the addition of a layer of fresh mulch. Nothing says “Welcome!” to friends and family more than a fresh and colorful flowerbed or border.

Adding or Updating Outdoor Furniture & Decor As with interior settings, certain outdoor furniture pieces and decor can help to create a relaxing and aesthetically pleasing external environment as well. In addition to a welcome mat, the following are recommended elements to enhance an outdoor “room," such as weather-resistant drapes, pillows, rockers or chairs; medallions and other scroll or iron wall art; seasonal con-

tainer gardens and one or more water features. Whether placed on a deck, patio, front porch or stoop, these and other exterior components can add both comfort and warmth to the exterior of a home. During spring cleaning is an excellent time to clean outside furniture pieces. When it comes to cleaning exterior furniture, commercial cleaners may be too abrasive to be used. Consequently, to update existing outdoor furniture, recommended cleaning products include liquid dish soap and warm water, baking soda, bleach and vinegar; as well as WD-40© to update dulllooking finishes. A sponge or soft brush can be used to apply the cleaning solution, as well as to scrub seat pads and umbrella fabric. Painting the furniture may also be a viable option. Clean and fresh outdoor furniture not only is relatively easy and inexpensive to achieve but also adds a welcoming touch to a home’s outdoor living spaces. Regardless of the type, size and location of a structure, a house is truly not a home until it has been personalized to reflect the personality and lifestyle of the inhabitants. From the driveway to the entry way, a home’s exterior serves as the “welcome mat” to family, friends and other visitors and sets the tone for what will be seen inside.

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Sweet HOME

Melissa Saye is the Director of the Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum. On April 28th, she held her 22th Annual Tour of Homes. We were fortunate enough get a second to photograph the homes and sit down with her more details of her annual showcase of homes.

Tell us about the beginning. How did the Home Tour and Luncheon get it’s start? We actually started the Home Tour before the Museum even opened. A local couple with young children at the time, Dan and Emery Wood, not only suggested it as a fundraiser, they took it on themselves. It was such a hit, we have continued it all these years. We have commented so often how many beautiful homes we have around here and are so grateful to the home owners for allowing us to showcase them while benefitting The Museum.

How are the homes chosen? This year, we actually worked with local realtors to select homes. We always try to have the homes be within a short drive of each other so the visitors can spend their time enjoying the homes. These homes are “on the market” so we feel it’s a WIN-WIN. We have such great homes on the Tour and the owners have a huge open house that day!

What kind of response do you get from the community from the Tour of Homes? We just LOVE this event! We have so many folks 40 ❚ MAY 2018 ❚ DELTASTYLE MAGAZINE

from all over North Louisiana that look forward to this and come each year. People dress up a bit and spend the afternoon strolling through the homes “oohing and aahing” perhaps getting a decorating or renovating idea in the process. Most of the time, the home owners are present and can answer questions, share stories and just enjoy the compliments which is fun!

What has been your favorite part of having this annual fundraiser? I love walking through the homes and visiting with the people! We all share our favorite things we see.. like we are old friends all enjoying a day together. No one is a stranger to anyone else that day…makes me love this community that I call home.

Now that you have wrapped this year’s tour and are on to planning next years, is there anything else you would like to add? We have changed things up, added speakers, the luncheon and pop up shops in the past. The committee does an amazing job making each year more “eventful” than the last, so stay tuned! A special thank you goes to Leigh Ann Goff and Rhonda Neal for once again sharing their time and talents for this event, the Museum and with me for so many years. (Tiny love, T1) Browse through the pages to see some spectacular homes in our area. Thank you, Melissa, for letting us be involved and feature the homes from your tour!

Southern Elegance 320 Lakeside Drive, Monroe LA, 71201 Located on Phillips Bayou, this Greek Revival style home built in 1949 will not disappoint! The single-family house was recently renovated in 2012, and it looks completely new. The grand pillars at the front of the home are just the beginning of experiencing the elegance that can be seen throughout the 4,223 squarefoot house. This home provides a spacious area with four bedrooms, three full bathrooms, two half bathrooms, a wine room, an office, a dock on the bayou and a curved driveway. Also, there is an attached garage for the home’s residents to use. The white theme on the exterior of the house is matched on the inside, giving it a very modern appearance. There is a prevalence of white walls, marble, tiles, and windows to give the home a light, natural appearance. Except for the bathrooms, which are covered in tile, the rest of the house features hard-wood flooring. On the main story, you can find the master bedroom, kitchen, dining room, family room, the office space, a breakfast room, and an additional room. In the backyard is a covered patio that overlooks a large backyard that stretches to the waterfront of Phillips Bayou. Upon entrance, you are welcomed by a stair case with black and white steps and a beautiful black railing that leads to the second floor of the home. There are three bedrooms upstairs as well as a den or study area for one to enjoy. Also, there are three fireplaces available that provide the area that “warm, homey” feeling. For more information about this home, contact realtor Kathy VanVeckhoven at 318-537-3701 or email her at


Live Beautifully 1504 Riverside Drive, Monroe, LA 71201 The phrase, “you cannot judge a book by its cover” can be applied to this home! On the front, the building itself appears to be a quaint, somewhat small home located on the Ouachita River. There is a long driveway with many oaks trees that lead to the home. However, the house stretches back to a total of 4,406 square-feet. Built in 1927, this home is a one-story building featuring a living room, a dining room, four bedrooms, three bathrooms and one half bathroom. When entering the home, you will discover that the feel of the home is very modern and sleek. Many of the rooms featuring white aesthetics so each room has a similar theme to it. The kitchen itself is a sight to see! There are windows on each wall to create natural lighting throughout the room. There is plenty of countertop to use as a cooking space and a breakfast table spot. Many of the rooms have fabulous chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. For more information about this home, contact the Misti Haijj Group at 318-935-0633 or email Misti at



Classic Charm 2309 Myrtle Street, Monroe, LA 71201 This home is located on one of the most looked-for streets of north Monroe. The exterior of the Home is a pale green that flows well with the bushes that surround the building. The front door to enter the house is actually located on the side on the home. While walking to the front door, there is a large window that allows one to see into the lovely living room that one is about to enter. Many of the walls are a similar pale green that flows well with the color on the outside of the home. Built in 1940, this single-family home provides an area of four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a dining room, kitchen, study room, a breakfast room, and covers 3,369 square-feet. Each shower of the house is a clear-glass shower with white tiles. The master bedroom has a large bath and a double doored shower. A fireplace can be found in the front living room and in the master bedroom. The kitchen has all white cabinets and lightbrown tile flooring, and there is room for a breakfast table next to a large window. The backyard of the home is completely fenced in. However, beyond the fence is a small park that can easily be accessed to spend one’s free time. There is also a storage building the backyard that matches the same exterior of the home. For more information about this home, contact the Misti Haijj Group at 318-935-0633 or email Misti at



Timeless Style 2311 Pargoud Blvd, Monroe, LA 71201 The beauty of this home can be found the moment you step on the front lawn. There is a long circle driveway that is covered in oak trees and trimmed bushes, and there are even climbing vines on most of the exterior of the front of the home. Once entering the house, it is apparent that there is an antique theme to be found since the home that was built in 1956. Dark wood is the primary feature that stands out in each room. Each door and window seal match the dark wood that is located throughout the house which gives it a wholesome look because each room replicates the same flow of design. The main floor of the home is the primary living space. You will discover the white marble kitchen and counter tops, a dining room, family room, living room, a bedroom, and an extra room which is great for an office or exercise space. There are two staircases that lead to the second floor. One is at the front entrance and the other is located in the kitchen area. The upper floor of the home is where the master bedroom, three other bedrooms, and a den area can be found. Each bedroom has a slightly different color on the walls to give each room their own theme. The backyard is the greatest experience of the entire house! Directly onto the back porch is a fire place and plenty of space for seating and dining. From there, brick flooring leads to a beautiful pool that is in the center of the backyard. Located on the other side of the pool is an additional patio area for casual lounging closer to the pool area. Beyond the pool is a grated area that is full of various brick paths to explore the gardens of the home. Once you exit the backyard through a wooden door, you can see that the home is on the waterfront of the Ouachita River. There is a walkway that leads directly to the boat dock that sits on the water. There is much exploring to be done throughout this home! For more information about this home, contact realtor Amy Sherman at 318-3726227 or email her at




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Building the Future Katie Burke

“There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.” Most people recognize these iconic words and Dorothy clicking her ruby slippers together as she wished to be returned to her previous life that a twister ripped her from. When thinking about the Wizard of Oz, characters like the Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, or traveling to the Emerald City are what we remember. However, what was the driving force that caused it all? The most important thing in the movie, that is sometimes just an afterthought. The twister. Without it, Dorothy would have never met the munchkins and traveled down the yellow brick road. The devastating tornado is the most important moment that matters so much, but, too often, is overlooked. Larkin Gibbs Memorial Pavilion HENRY MCCOY


MedCamps of Louisiana have experienced their own kind of twister. Founded in 1987, MedCamps began as a camp for 13 children that had severe asthma and allergies. Over the years, it has grown tremendously and has now served over 7500 campers with disabilities. “MedCamps fills a void in our campers’ lives,” Caleb Seney, executive director, said. “Far too many children living with special needs view life as a spectacle that is to be watched and enjoyed from a distance as it passes by. Children living with medical fragilities or disabilities often resign themselves to this life on the sidelines. Not at MedCamps! At MedCamps, we modify activities to accommodate a child’s special needs, and we design them for success to promote self-confidence. Our focus is on what each camper can do. We encourage and challenge our campers to reach their full potential.” With the traffic of thousands of campers, over the years the camp was left in need of improvements. “The camp was in such a state, that it was bordering on complete disrepair,” Seney said. Seeing such a need in the area, the architecture department at Louisiana Tech University stepped up and began a rewarding relationship with MedCamps to help give those children a place to be themselves. Robert Brooks, design build faculty at Louisiana Tech: “A lot of things that we experience every day, we take for granted. When you put yourself in the mindset of a camper and you realize that they are getting to come to summer camp like all of the other kids, it is an emotional and powerful thing.”

Larkin Gibbs Memorial Pavilion In comes the twister, the driving force than began it all, the Larkin Gibbs Memorial Pavilion. In their initial meetings with the architecture department, they determined that one of the most pressing needs for the campers to have place to assemble. Three times a day, they gathered in the parking lot. With the idea of transporting the kids from their world to the unknown, the pavilion serves as that gateway. This meeting place was the project of the 3rd year architecture students in 2014. They created such a unique structure. Stacked

Chiasmus Archery Range HENRY MCCOY

steel rods make up the roof that rests on the brick wall. However, this brick wall is not one of normalcy, instead, it is a steel cage filled with broken bricks and debris. The fountain flowing from the side successfully blocks the noise from the passing cars and welcomes the campers to participate in their new and exciting experience. “I did not realize how much quality design and the thought behind the design would impact our campers until this was built,” Seney said. The students finished the structure in time to dedicate it for the campers in the summer of 2014. “Rounding that corner and experiencing it for the first time as a camper would…it was incredible,” Jacob Rhodes, a design build student, said.

Chiasmus Archery and Paintball Range After the successful unveiling of the new pavilion, they knew they had to keep going and give the campers an activity to do. In Hebrew literature, a chiasmus is a form of writing used to structure poetry by overlapping ideas to represent an “X” structure. From that inspiration was born an archery range built especially for people with limited mobility. The shooting stands hold the bows for the campers and it only takes a simple movement of their hands to send the arrow flying. “The project really reinvigorated a whole half of the property that the camp owns. We placed it sort of deep in the woods so it is a destination, a

Hero's Launch HENRY MCCOY

thing to be discovered,” Brad Deal, a member of the design build faculty, said. The project was completed and dedicated in the spring of 2015.

Hero’s Launch Next was a project to give the campers an experience of taking a journey to a new place. Who doesn’t remember going to summer camp without canoeing? With a large body of water on the prop-


erty, it is a great activity to have for campers, but, can be challenging to steady and load the canoes. They built a new dock out over of the water that made loading the campers in and out of the canoes much easier. It gave challenged campers who may have never been able to do that, an opportunity to take that journey with the staff. “For someone that is not able to do that, it is huge. It shows them, if I can do this, I can do something else too. That’s powerful,” Jed Walpole, a design build student that worked on the project in 2016, said.

Pisces Bridge In 2017, the students set out to design and build a 340-foot bridge that would dramatically improve the quality of the camp. For inspiration, the students looked to a story from Greek mythology. Student, Lacey Hanemann stated, “We stumbled across the story of pieces. It’s about two fish that are connected by a single cord to never be separated. We started to think about our connection with the campers and how the bridge was that cord for us.” With a ton of plastic barrels and steel rod that was donated, the students set out to make a bridge that would float across the water connecting the two sides of camp and give campers access to one of their favorite activities, fishing. Now finished, the bridge is just as functional as it is beautiful. Sails, in the shape of fish tails adorn the top for shade, and the middle can be shifted aside for the passing of canoes.

Passing on the Inspiration With the completion of these projects over the years, it not only made an impact on the camp, but the lives of the students that built it as well inspiring them to continue serving others through design. “It is very eye-opening. I do not want to sit behind a desk,” Kendell Webb, student, said. “I do not want to do what I thought I wanted to do anymore, I want to take a different route and help people. Another student, Nikki Crane stated, “My world was changed, honestly, that is what happened.” The students are currently working


Pisces Bridge COURTESY

on the Peregrine Treehouse and Zip Line that will be open this summer for campers. Their designs have also impacted the lives of the parents of those children. As a parent, it is immeasurable, the feeling of knowing how happy your child is. It is amazing that here locally; we have a camp that brings so much joy. Tonya, mother of camper, Natalie said: “When she goes to camp, she comes back happy, ready to share.” Others have stated how the camp is the only time that their children are away from them and it is the thing that they look forward to the most. Lastly, the projects have also served as a platform for professor of architecture at Louisiana Tech, Brad Deal, to embark on his first ever film making venture. He registered his short film he made about the first three projects in the I Look Up Film Challenge. The film took home the grand prize and won the people’s choice award with over 40,000 votes. His second short film on the building Pisces, also took home awards in the same contest, as well as, assisted in raising money for the projects. We are so fortunate in this area to have students at a great university to breathe new life into this camp. Seney assures us that they are just getting started.

Hero's Launch HENRY MCCOY

MedCamps of Louisiana is a nonprofit 501 ©3 organization. To donate or request a camper application packet, please visit They can also be contacted by email at or call 877-2820802. Photos of all the projects and the award-winning videos are also available on our website,


OGLESBY FINANCIAL GROUP Government Report Details Household Finances

Darren Oglesby, Registered Financial Consultant

Every three years, the Federal Reserve sponsors the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF), which collects information on the financial state of U.S. households. The survey is one of the nation’s primary sources of information on the financial condition of different types of households. Here are a few interesting observations gleaned from the most recent surveys conducted in 2013 and 2016, with the latter comparing changes during that timeframe. Income The typical household’s median family income rose 10% between 2013 and 2016, from $48,100 to $52,700. During that same period, mean income (the average) increased 14%, from $89,900 to $102,700. Families at the top of the income distribution saw larger gains in income between 2013 and 2016 than other families, consistent with widening income inequality. Across age groups, median and mean incomes show a life-cycle pattern, rising to a peak in the middle age groups and then declining for groups that are older and increasingly more likely to be retired. Income also shows a strong positive association with education; in particular, incomes

for families headed by a person who has a college degree tend to be substantially higher than for those with lower levels of schooling.

The same patterns of inequality in the distribution

Incomes of white non-Hispanic families are substantially higher than those of nonwhite (black or African-American non-Hispanic, Hispanic, or Latino, and other or multiple race) families. Income is also higher for homeowners and for families living in urban areas than for other families, and income is systematically higher for groups with greater net worth.

ethnicity groups, the mean is substantially higher


Hispanic families’ median and mean net worth

Families near the bottom of the income and wealth distribution experienced large gains in mean and median net worth following large declines between 2010 and 2013. Families without a college education and nonwhite and Hispanic families experienced larger proportional increases in net worth than other types of families, although more-educated families and white nonHispanic families continue to have higher wealth than other families. Overall, median and mean inflation-adjusted net worth — the difference between a family’s gross assets and liabilities — rose between 2013 and 2016. Overall, the median net worth of all families rose 16% to $97,300, and mean net worth rose 26% to $692,100. Much of the increase in wealth was driven by the increased prices of homes and investments such as stocks and other securities.

of wealth across all families are also evident within race/ethnicity groups: For each of the race/ than the median, reflecting the concentration of wealth at the top of the wealth distribution. White families had the highest level of both median and mean family wealth: $171,000 and $933,700, respectively. Black families’ median and mean net worth was less than 15% that of white families, at $17,600 and $138,200, respectively. was $20,700 and $191,200, respectively. A few other interesting facts Homeownership rates decreased between 2013 and 2016 to 63.7%, continuing a decline from their peak of 69.1% in 2004. For families that own a home, mean net housing values (value of a home minus outstanding mortgages) rose. Retirement plan participation and retirement account asset values rose for families across the income distribution, with the largest proportional increases occurring among families in the bottom half of the income distribution. Overall, many measures of debt and debt obligations indicate that debt has fallen, while education debt increased substantially between 2013 and 2016.

Securities offered through Oglesby Financial Group, Member FINRA/SIPC. This material was prepared by Carson Group Coaching. Carson Group Coaching is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer.

W W W. O G L E S B Y F I N A N C I A L G R O U P. C O M




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Getting a mortgage loan – what you need to know

Beverly Joiner

Senior Vice President, Mortgage Loan Officer

Landon Joiner

Mortgage Loan Officer

When it comes to buying a home, preparation is key in today’s housing market. As part of American Housing month, here are some important steps to take that will make the home buying process as seamless as possible.


❚ EVALUATE YOUR FINANCIAL HEALTH Before you begin house hunting, determine what you can afford to buy. Be familiar with your credit score, monthly income, and how much debt you currently carry. Aim to keep total mortgage payments and the cost of utilities to less than 25-30% of your gross monthly income. Most loan regulations limit debt to income (DTI) ratio to 43%, so determining DTI ratio is also an important step. Down payments are typically 5-20% of the home’s cost. Without depleting your savings or emergency funds, decide if you have enough saved to finance the down payment. Additional housing costs should also be taken into consideration. Research to see if your utilities will increase, if you will have to pay for trash services, if yard maintenance pricing will increase, and if you will be required to pay a home owner’s association fee. Real estate taxes and mortgage insurance should also be factors. ❚ GATHER THE NECESSARY DOCUMENTS Loan officers will need to review pay stubs, tax returns, and copies of additional monthly payments (car loans, credit statements, student loans, etc.). Though they are not required, any other documents or information (i.e. proof of supplemental income) that will reflect your credit request positively will be beneficial. ❚ FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH THE BASICS Research current interest rates, loan terms, and any additional fees you may incur. ❚ COMPARE QUOTES Beyond interest rates, you could be faced with closing fees and commissions. Review what sort of additional costs you may be obligated to beyond interest rates when comparing lender options. ❚ RESEARCH LENDERS Ask for referrals from friends and family judging from their own experiences. You can also call your local Better Business Bureau to ask if they’ve received any complaints about lenders in your area. Federally insured banks are required to operate under high levels of regulatory supervision, so a federally insured bank could be your best option. RICHLAND STATE BANK

Tips for Getting Pre-Approved for a Mortgage Loan Getting pre-approved for a mortgage loan is one of the most important steps a borrower can do in the home buying process. RSB’s application process is quick and getting pre-approved will make your home buying experience Palmer Terri Jarrell Crawford much more relaxing. Mortgage Assistant Vice Getting pre-approved can make Loan Officer, President, the difference between a seller Commercial Mortgage Loan Lender Officer accepting your offer or going with another buyer. Once you get preapproved for a home loan, the seller knows you're a better prospect than someone who hasn't talked with a lender. Prospective buyers should contact a mortgage lender, prior to beginning their home search to determine how much home they can afford. It is heartbreaking for a borrower to contact a

lender, after they have signed a purchase contract, only to find out they do not qualify for that particular sales price. If you have a preapproval amount of $250,000, for example, you know not to waste your time shopping for a $350,000 home. Lenders look at income and debt to determine the industry underwriting ratios and pull a credit report to be sure the borrower’s credit scores are sufficient to be approved for a mortgage loan. Also, the preapproval process allows the borrower to get to know their lender and develop a comfort and trust level. The process also allows the lender to ask questions and resolve any issues that may come up during the application process such as length of time bankruptcy discharged, source of funds to close, etc. The lender can also counsel the borrower on which type of financing best suits their financial situation. Checking credit and verifying income is only a small part of the preapproval process. Getting pre-approved can be done in short period of time, and it can pay off when you're searching for the perfect home. A preapproval won't guarantee you'll get the exact mortgage in the estimate, but it will give you and the seller a good idea of how much mortgage you can qualify for.


Know a few things before you buy. Getting a mortgage is more than having your offer accepted and signing on the dotted line. Building, purchasing, or refinancing a home is easiGinger er when you’re able to start by pre-qualifying. DoHolton ing so lets you know exactly how to plan ahead. Assistant Vice Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you President, Mortgage Loan can make, and it’s likely the largest purchase you Officer will ever make. Here are the three landmines in the mortgage process and how to avoid them. 1. NEGLECTING TO CHECK YOUR CREDIT BEFORE STARTING THE PROCESS. Ideally, you’ll check your credit well before you begin your house hunt and work to increase your score if you need to; or dispute errors on your report, since those can take time to rectify. You’re entitled to a free credit report from each of the three bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) once a year. If there are errors, fix them. 2. APPLYING FOR OTHER NEW CREDIT SIMULTANEOUSLY. When you’re applying for a mortgage, your credit is under serious scrutiny. It’s best if you don’t apply for any other credit when you are applying for a mortgage. Doing so could adversely affect your credit score. 3. HOUSE SHOPPING BEFORE CHOOSING A MORTGAGE LENDER. You’ll want to find a mortgage lender early in the process so you already have a relationship with him or her when you find the home of your dreams. By doing so, you’ll be able to kick-start the mortgage process by getting pre-qualified to enable you to put in a serious offer quickly; and once you sign a contract, applying for the mortgage itself will take less time. Even if interest rates and loan terms are similar across different lenders, final costs and fees at each lender might not be. At Progressive Bank, our lenders work with you to determine the best choice to meet your individual needs among the available home loans options. We offer Conventional, FHA, VA, and Rural Development Loans. DELTASTYLE MAGAZINE ❚ MAY 2018 ❚ 61

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Tips for Traveling with a Toddler By: Paulen Luttgeharm

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No matter your mode of transportation, traveling with a toddler can make you frazzled. Use these ideas to travel safely and stress-free. Flying with a Toddler: • Reduce ear pressure. Help toddlers relieve ear pain or pressure: Encourage them to drink liquids through a sippy cup or straw. • Understand safety procedures. Even if you’ve flown before, tune in to the pre-flight safety speech, and clear up any lingering questions you might have with a flight attendant. • Prepare safe seating. Children who weigh more than 40 pounds can safely use the airplane’s seat belt. If your child weighs less than that, bring the proper child safety seat for your child’s size. • Pack entertainment. Carry on a variety of toys and snacks to accommodate short attention spans. Some parents recommend giving toys out on a schedule. Try wrapping them up as gifts to make the experience even more exciting. Traveling with a Toddler by Train: • Stick together. It’s easy to lose your balance on a train, especially for unsteady walkers. Stay with toddlers if they need to move around the train car. • Sanitize surfaces. Encourage children to wash their hands whenever possible, and use sanitizer often.

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Driving with a Toddler: • Ensure a suitable safety seat. Exact height and weight measurements will determine the correct size of safety seat for your toddler. Infants should be in rear-facing car seats, but children age 2 and older can typically use front-facing seats. • Come prepared. Especially on long drives, young children may become bored easily. If both adults are in the front, have the front passenger distribute soft toys and snacks to keep toddlers calm and content. Whether you’re at home or traveling, it’s always important to keep your kids safe in the car. MN-1000686161

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First encounter with a dolphin

DREAMS in Cancun Monroe Travel Service agent Dianne Newcomer reflects on her most recent family getaway with her family and how you can experience, too! Dianne Newcomer Photos by Dianne Newcomer

Been dreaming of a great family vacation? Are you getting tired of just seeing your kids or grandchildren-as well as everyone else you know-- via the little screen you hold in your hand? Have you been wondering how to change that? Well, not to worry, as your friendly local travel agent, I have the perfect solution. Why not call Monroe Travel Service and let us plan an unforgettable family vacation that is sure to have everyone putting down their phones and making special memories to last a lifetime? I know it works, because Rob and I just returned from such an amazing spring break trip with our own family that I wanted to share it with you, but let me tell you right up front: it only happened because we dreamed big. For the very first time ever, all

of our grandkids--ages 7, 10, 13, and 16--had the same week off, so the always difficult problem of choosing a date when everyone was free was easily solved this time. Since this trip was our gift to them, the second problem in planning a family vacation--the budget-- was a moot point. Lastly, when thinking of a family vacation, it is always important to make them an offer they cannot refuse. There needs to be something for everyone to enjoy to make the trip an easy no-excuse-not-to-go event. This decision did not come easy. With so many wonderful family resorts scattered throughout the Caribbean, Central America, and Mexico, we struggled to find the perfect place until we discovered airfare from New Orleans to Cancun for only $250 round-trip. The hunt was over; another piece of the puzzle, the destination choice, had fallen into place. Where to stay in Cancun was never a problem; from past client feedback


we knew that answer, and the DREAMS PLAYA MUJERES GOLF & SPA RESORT very quickly became our resort of choice. It did not disappoint; the resort proved to be the dream come true we expected. The minute we entered the private gates of this stunning beachfront resort located in the community of Playa Mujeres, it was obvious. A simple "wow" was all our 7year-old grandson, Jude, could say as we all stood in the lobby and overlooked the wide expanse of pools, manicured grounds, and beautiful turquoise sea spread out before us. "Wow" described it perfectly in my book, too! Most all the rooms at the DREAMS are junior suite--600 square-feet with a nice roomy bathroom--and a hot tub (basically a jacuzzi tub) on the balcony. Our daughter's family of five never once complained about the room size, but, for those desiring extra space, the resort does have a wide selection of accommodations, including two

bedroom villas. Although each of our rooms was beautifully decorated and spacious, what we all loved about the resort was what it had to offer, and, since the DREAMS is an all-inclusive (i.e.: all meals, drinks, entertainment, taxes, and tips are all prepaid), it was ours to enjoy whenever and however we wanted--no limits! Everyone quickly found their leisure pleasure. Whether it was relaxing on one of Cancun's finest white sandy beaches or enjoying the resort's water paradise (all 65,000 square-feet of the resort's threetiered pool levels including two infinity pools), the art of doing nothing--except wiping our mental slates clean--was soon mastered. Renewing our energy level, forgetting about the to-do lists of back home, and enjoying a margarita or two delivered by beach butlers, while watching the kids swim, sunbathe, build sand castles, or run back and forth to the ice cream shop completed our daily agendas. On vacation, sometimes, the less you do, is better, but, someone forgot to convey that message to the three-hyper active young boys who were in our family group. Luckily for us, the DREAMS has a plan for that, too. On-site, the resort has a superduper dual water slide which sends kids racing down a twisting tube at Mach speed as a source of entertainment. In addition to the slide, there is also a fun interactive waterpark and an excellent kids program designed for all age levels, which was very active into the wee hours of the evening enabling parents to enjoy themselves too! Our three grandsons particularly appreciated the video game room, basketball court, batting cages, Euro-bungee jumping, darts, archery, beach football, parasailing, snorkeling, and group activities specific to their age available to them. Meanwhile, our 16-year-old granddaughter was especially lucky, because a large group of 54 high school seniors from a private

We travel

Family in Cancun

school in St. Louis were enjoying a spring break/graduation trip with their parents, and they very quickly added her into their fun. As it turned out, this beautiful all-inclusive resort was a great--and very safe way--for everyone to be together. It was also big enough to allow each family their own private time, too. I will confess, we had planned to take the kids to Isla Mujeres (about 20 minutes away by ferry), rent golf carts and let them explore the island. We had also talked about a deep-sea fishing trip, going cave tubing or zip lining, or spending a day at XelHa. As a destination, this area has so much to offer. Yet, no one wanted to leave the resort (not even for the free golfing included in our stay). Luckily, for the grandkids, the DREAMS does have an excellent dolphin habitat located right on their beach, so the kids did get to experience a very special dolphin encounter together. What a great memory for the cousins to share, because, as far as memories go, do not we always tend to remember the good things? In a world of hustle and bustle, it is so easy to forget the importance of showing how much we care for and appreciate each

other on a daily basis. Technology is great for keeping us in touch as a family, but there is nothing like "invading" each other’s space and having the time to re-connect. For our family, our trip to the DREAMS PLAYA MUJERES was a perfect escape. "Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children,” is a quote from Charles Swindoll that I love. Rob and I figure we may not leave our kids very much they can put in the bank, but we do plan to deposit as much as we can-- for as long as we can-- in their memory banks. Letting them see and experience the amazing world beyond the Ouachita is a part of the hopes and dreams we have for them. If you are ready to unplug and make some unforgettable family memories, we have all sorts of dream destinations from Costa Rica to New York City, you name it. Just give Monroe Travel Service at 318-3233465 a call, and let's get started, because, let's face it, kids are like ice cream. They are gone before you know it! Dianne Newcomer is a travel agent at Monroe Travel Service, 1908 Glenmar Street, right off Tower Drive and 19th Street. For all your travel needs, call 318-323-3465 or email

our y n a l p o t s u Call escape!!!

318 323 3465 DELTASTYLE MAGAZINE ❚ MAY 2018 ❚ 73

From St. Joseph to the Middle East! Georgiann Potts

There had been a sense of heightened expectation concerning Rebecca Vizard’s presentation to members and guests of the Monroe Garden Club (MGC) since the Club yearbook was distributed in September of last year. Upon seeing Vizard’s name listed among the year’s programs, virtually every member circled their calendar to “save the date.” The anticipation grew as the date drew nearer. As the ladies entered the twin doors of the main entrance to Bayou DeSiard Country Club, the sounds of excited chatter filled the air. Greeting them was a stunning foyer arrangement featuring an abundance of tea roses, daffodils, and carnations arranged in a modern collection of vases. A tall, pale green bottle vase held delicate branches just showing new growth. Intermingled among the branches were blush tea roses and bright yellow daffodils. Forming a lovely collar around the bottle’s neck were white carnations with blush tips. A crystal vase beribboned in spring green held a mass of daffodils that fairly shouted “Spring!” as it stood to one side. On the other side were two dainty china teacups holding nosegay arrangements of yellow tea roses sporting pale orange tips. These elements were echoed in a much larger way in the Grand Hall. Here on the wooden hall table stood an enormous crystal vase holding the same daffodils and roses in profusion. Greenery complimented the look as did the daffodil bulbs from which the flowers sprung which were clearly visible submerged near the bottom of the vase — a charming botanical detail! The center arrangement was encircled by

Foyer teacups detail

Guest speaker Rebecca Vizard and MGC president, Therese Nagem

Carolyn Dolecheck and LaVerne Bodron

Foyer daffodils

more lovely china teacups holding additional roses. The effect was simple, elegant, and worthy of a “near” spring meeting. Rebecca Vizard’s book, “Once Upon a Pillow: A Story of Home, Design, and Exquisite Textiles,” was familiar to many of those gathered to hear her presentation. As Vizard began her talk, it was immediately clear that this program had been worth waiting for. Vizard began by explaining how her business, B.VIZ DESIGN, came to be. She remembers that her earliest dreams were to leave St. Joseph and head to the “big city.” “When we graduated, I looked around at some of the others who were crying because high school was over,”

B.VIZ DESIGN was born. It actually began with $75 worth of children’s clothing Vizard bought at Walmart. She painted simple but whimsical animal designs on them and they sold quickly. A booth at a show in Dallas brought in literally stacks of orders — and the need for Vizard to borrow capital. “I made an appointment with my dad at the bank and went to see him ready to impress with my stack of orders,” she explained. “He listened to me and then said that I had no business experience so he could not lend me the money. I was furious, and I determined that day to make a success of it!” And a success of it she has certainly made. From children’s


Vizard explained. “My thoughts were just the opposite. I was headed to New Orleans and could not wait to get there!” Eight years in New Orleans served to underscore her love for the city. There she took her degree, met “the man of my dreams — an Uptown NOLA guy” and felt that her life’s plan to live there forever was secure. Everything seemed to be working until her father offered her husband a position at Cross Keys bank in St. Joseph. “For four years I pouted,” Vizard said with a chuckle. “I pouted so much I was tired of myself.” Boredom gave way to creativity, and slowly — aided by a series of fortuitous events and her own indefatigable energy —

MGC hostesses Paula Walker, Nanette Cohen, and Sylvia Masur Thompson

Loura Barr and Linda Graves

Debbie Luffey, Rosemary Luffey, and Linda Graves

Grand Hall

painted clothing to spatterpainted socks to world-class throw pillows far too precious to throw — Vizard has become a trendsetter. Her pillows are seen on the covers of top design magazines and in homes from St. Joseph, Louisiana, to the Middle East. After talking about how the business got started and has evolved, Vizard turned her presentation to the unique way she develops her inventory of precious materials from which to craft her products. She travels abroad (Istanbul is a particular love), carefully searching out old fabrics and trims. Among her favorite “finds” is priests’ clothing that is no longer in use. Because Europe is becoming more and more secular, cathedrals and churches are closing and the statuary and regalia are begin collected and stored. She hunts these places with the help of locals whom she has befriended and then carefully selects the best pieces

to bring home for her inventory. “I take a suitcase in a suitcase in a suitcase holding a duffle bag,” Vizard explained. “When my daughter, Sarah, went with me recently she wanted to take two pair of boots. I told her, “No way.” We needed that space for bringing home our finds.” Once home, coworkers carefully cut out designs so that they can be placed in inventory for later use on the pillows and on a new line of clothing that Vizard is developing. Vizard saves everything. If the gold or silver threads are unraveling and cannot be reworked, they are carefully re-spooled so that they will be available for repairs later. Ottoman embroidery, tapestry, European embroidery — Vizard cherishes them all. In the final part of her talk, she showed examples of each and gave the ladies a quick course in the particular beauty of each. Over time, spurred no doubt by her growing business which

offered the perfect outlet for her creativity, Vizard came to realize that she is living at exactly the right place. The lake on which she lives provides inspiration almost daily. The soft colors there find their way into the pillow fabrics that she selects. “I travel so much now, and I have learned that no matter how exciting the world is, there really is no place quite like our home in St. Joseph,” she said. And Vizard is giving back to this place she loves. She operates a store — B.VIZ DESIGNS Global Headquarters — in downtown St. Joseph. Through her tongue-in-cheek riff on the traditional crystal chandelier ubiquitous in the South — a “beer-de-lier” fashioned from bottle caps — she is employing children in her hometown. “They find and smash the caps for me and I pay them per cap,” she said with a grin. “I tell them that if they can do the math and figure out how much I

owe them, I will pay. A math teacher called me recently and encouraged me to keep at it. She said they were telling others in the school if they knew math, they could make money, too!” Following her presentation, the ladies enjoyed a brunch while discussing what they had learned. The centerpiece for the menu was a rich Mexican casserole featuring sausage and peppers in a baked cheese and egg custard. Fresh fruit, pound cake, brownies, and tea cookies completed the offering. Chairing the gathering was Phyllis Gordon, well-known for her design skills. Serving with her as the hostess committee were Leah Anders, Lanell Armstrong, Brenda Carso, Nanette Cohen, Cathy Hall, Jennifer Haneline, Carla Hardy, Nancy Inabnett, Carole Lawrence, Ann McMickle, Sylvia Masur, Ann Murray, Babs Oakley, Kerstin Pohlman, Sheryl Potts, Carolyn Rester, Kathy Schendle, Nancy Shlosman, and Paula Walker. For more information, please visit and like us on Facebook.


A New Look at Katrina Mead Reviews for Potpourri Book Club

Hostesses for Potpourri Book Club were Nancy Inabnett, Rosemary Luffey, and Lynn Hodge

Barbara Cattar and Sue Nawas

Georgiann Potts

Members and guests of Potpourri Book Club gathered in the lovely home of member Nancy Inabnett on a glorious spring afternoon to continue their year-long study of disasters and the lessons that can be learned from them. Reviewer for the afternoon was the lovely Allison Mead who brought to the review a cleverness and thoroughness that everyone both enjoyed and appreciated. Mead reviewed Dr. Ivor Van Heerden’s controversial book, “The Storm: What Went Wrong and Why During Hurricane Katrina – The Inside Story From One Louisiana Scientist.” She began her talk by showing a charming antique sign that she had acquired in New Orleans. It consisted of three panels which, though timeworn, held the still readable phrase that is almost universally associated with NOLA: Laissez le Bon ton Rouler (“Let the good times roll!”). “Those good times came to an abrupt halt when the massive storm, Hurricane Katrina, struck,” Mead said. “In many ways, New Orleans may never be quite the same again.” Mead explained that Dr. van Heerden had co-founded the Louisiana State University (LSU) Hurricane Center, and he was an expert well able to write about Katrina and offer an analysis of what went wrong. He had warned since 2001 about the threat of catastrophic flooding in the city, but his warning fell, for the most part, on deaf ears. Politicians, bureaucrats, and even the United States Corps of Engineers refused to take the kinds of actions that van Heerden was convinced were necessary to avoid disaster. A native of Johannesburg, South Africa, van Heerden earned a Ph.D. in marine sciences from LSU. His research there was centered on the Atchafalaya River Delta, an area critical to flood control. He had fo-

Allison Mead, Martha Woods, and LaVerne Bodron

cused for a number of years on not only disaster preparation and mitigation, according to Mead, but also on what steps should be taken after such an event to restore habitat and manage the environment. “Since 2001, van Heerden and those working with him had been developing computer models that showed how a major storm would impact New Orleans,” Mead said. “Their models, especially those dealing with storm surge predictions, were unfortunately correct.” Likely because of his outspoken beliefs concerning the decisions that he believed had made the flooding even worse than it might have been, van Heerden was let go by LSU effective the end of the spring semester in 2010. He filed a wrongful termination lawsuit that was settled out of court for six figures. Van Heerden believed that his blaming the U.S. Corps of Engineers for much of the NOLA flooding was the primary reason that he was terminated. “The Corps’ levee design and construction were, according to van Heerden, the principal causes of the severe flooding in the city,” Mead told the group. “He felt that they and others should have been held accountable.” Following the review, the ladies moved to the home’s beautiful dining room to enjoy refreshments. Inabnett had created a perfect table to usher in the new season. An


LaVerne Bodron and Jane Conrad

heirloom crystal and bronze epergne centered the table and held “posies” of pink roses, bridal wreath, and seasonal greenery encircling its center. Flanking the centerpiece on each end were two bunny “people” executed in fine porcelain who elicited smiles and chuckles from all who saw them. “Miss Bunny” was dressed as a country girl going to market. She was holding a produce-filled basket and a duck stood alongside. “Mr. Bunny” was dressed as a country gentleman, complete with top hat and cane. Affixed to his vest was a watch and fob. Joining Inabnett as hostesses were Lynn Hodge and Rosemary Luffey. Tempting treats placed around the table on silver trays included a spectacular salmon mousse with crackers, petite lemon tarts each topped with a single blueberry, decadent brownies, vanilla petit fours each decorated with a single spring flower in icing, and a fresh fruit compote. A crystal and silver pitcher held lemonade to be served in sterling julep cups. Coffee and chilled lemon water completed the offering. Among those seen enjoying the afternoon were Barbara Cattar, Sue Nawas, Jane Conrad, LaVerne Bodron, Rosemary Luffey, Lynn Hodge, Carol Ransom, Martha Hayden Woods, Georgiann Potts, Jerri Oakley, Kellie Oakley, Marilyn Stern, Judy Worthen, Carole Kilpatrick, and Allison Mead.

P.E.O. Installs New Officers

AE Loura Barr was surprised at a recent P.E.O. chapter AE meeting which fell on her birthday. Lauretta Tucker planned the surprise, including a delicious cake!

Georgiann Potts

The lovely home of Mary Grace Bozeman was the setting for two special moments in the life of P.E.O. chapter AE recently. The first was a surprise birthday party planned by Lauretta Tucker to celebrate Loura Barr’s birthday that fell on the same day as the meeting. A beautiful star-shaped cake with an “appropriate candle and numbers” was surrounded by noisemakers to mark the occasion. Barr is currently the only member in Chapter AE who has a March birthday, but that was not the reason for the celebration. As Tucker put it before inviting everyone to sing “Happy Birthday,” Loura Barr IS “Miss P.E.O.” Barr’s many years of service to the organization have been marked by a succession of outstanding leadership successes. She was initiated in 1985 and has served as chapter president seven terms. In 1991, she became a member of the P.E.O. Louisiana Chapter executive board, and she served for seven years. She was state president in 1997-1998. The second special moment came as Chapter AE welcomed a new set of officers for the coming club year. Georgiann Potts served as the installing officer. Sworn into office were Melanie McStravick, president; Lauretta Tucker, vice president; Loura Barr, treasurer; Mary Grace Bozeman, recording secretary; Carolyn Gates, corresponding secretary; Gretchen Hamel, chaplain; and Travis Breard, guard. A delicious brunch was prepared by hostesses Mary Grace Bozeman, Nannette Flowers, and Candy Goldman. Bozeman’s dining table was centered with a beautiful arrangement of white gladioli. Petite ham and cheese sandwiches were paired with assorted fresh fruit, pecan squares, Mexican wedding cookies, and a cheese casserole with toasted French bread ovals. Coffee and juice completed the menu. P.E.O. (Philanthropic Educational Organization), one of the pioneer societies for women, was founded on January 21, 1869, by seven students at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant, IA. Today, P.E.O. has grown from that tiny membership of seven to almost a quarter of a million members in chapters in the United States and Canada. The P.E.O. Sisterhood is passionate about its mission: promoting educational opportunities for women. Our sisterhood proudly makes a difference in women's lives with six philanthropies that include ownership of a two-year women's college, Cottey College; and five programs that provide higher educational assistance: P.E.O. Educational Loan Fund, P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship Fund, P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education, P.E.O. Scholar Awards, and P.E.O. STAR Scholarship.

Susan Reynolds and Alise Oliver

Outgoing AE president Felicia Kostelka with incoming AE president Melanie McStravick

Stephanie Schaeffer and Genevieve McDuff

Standing: Carolyn Gates, corresponding secretary; Travis Breard, guard; Gretchen Hamel, chaplain; and Mary Grace Bozeman, recording secretary. Seated: Loura Barr, treasurer; Melanie McStravick, president; and Lauretta Tucker, vice president.









Hometown Goodness & Love, One Bite at a Time Tara Ambrose

Tara’s latest Taste of the Town featuring Cormier’s 78 ❚ MAY 2018 ❚ DELTASTYLE MAGAZINE

“I do not pretend to be the best, but I do my best at what I do.” – Larry Cormier. Larry Cormier’s humble beginnings started on the family farm in Lake Charles, LA, where Larry grew up with an adoration of good food and family values instilled in him by his mother and her strong Catholic roots. Larry fondly recalls watching his mother who was always helping with bazaars and other functions of their church and family. While growing up with his mother’s influence, Larry grew up appreciating the fundamentals of farm life in raising vegetables, cattle, sheep, and simply living off the


land. Growing up, Larry lamented that there was not anything his family did not raise except wheat, so it was no surprise that by the time he was 18-years-old, Larry was cooking on his own, learning and loving all the Cajun family recipes handed down to him from his mother and his late grandmother, Ms. Elvie Higgenbothem Cormier Vidrene. During the tough times in the late 80’s, and after Larry’s own farm collapsed, it was time to decide what he was going to do to put food on the table for his family and be source of support for his wife and children. It was during this time that Larry relied on the many evenings he cooked for his friends and family, and the requests of those same folks rang out with Larry’s Cajun upbringing when he went to help out a dear friend of his beloved wife at her restaurant called “C’est si bon,” which loosely translates to “It’s so good.” Having his hands in cooking was all it really took for Larry to realize his true calling, and with a little bit of money, a lot of Cajun spirit and know-how instilled in him through the teachings of his family, Larry secured an old gas station nestled in the heart of Monroe’s own Garden District. “Now I felt like a fish out of water,” Larry said as he recollected the first few years of Cormier’s, as Larry went on to say, “I had to learn fast about licenses and fees and all the things that go into running a restau-

Larry and Jamie Cormier TARA AMBROSE

rant… but you learn what your clientele likes and you find your niche.” Fast forward 29 years, Larry, with his lovely wife Cindy, his son Jamie, and a handful of full-time and part-time employees, Larry looks back on the inspiration that he opened to share his homemade sausage and boudin with back in 1989, when the rent was cheap DELTASTYLE MAGAZINE ❚ MAY 2018 ❚ 79

Now for a little lagnappe, Larry Cormier was kind enough to share a couple of recipes from the Cormier family to yours.

MawMaw’s stuffed potatoes Ingredients: 8 Large Red Potatoes 1 clove of garlic 1 large onion 2 bunches of green onions Cooking oil

Directions: ❚ Peel the potatoes ❚ Core a hole in the end of the potato. Save the cored out potato for later use. ❚ Finely chop garlic, onions and the cored out potato, add salt and pepper and mix together. Larry's Famous Pig Sandwich TARA AMBROSE

and all they had was a big canopy to serve crawfish, “it always has been a work in progress… and we kept it simple. People like to come to a laid-back atmosphere with good food, cleanliness and food that always stays the same.” Larry stated with a smile, “It is all what you start with.” Now for the good stuff, the FOOD! While my personal favorite is the Cormier’s famous “bowl” – consisting of their famous pulled pork, red beans, sausage, jambalaya and topped with their perfectly seasoned coleslaw, Larry’s personal signature flare extends from the very roots of Cormier’s existence with his personal favorite dish “Larry’s Famous Pig Sandwich.” With each behemoth bite, the Cajun spice brined pulled pork is piled high and garnished with Larry’s own signature vinegar cabbage, and has been a crowd pleaser time and again, but there is nothing like the local favorite CRAWFISH!!! With Larry’s late father-in-law’s recipe in hand, Larry crafted, created and perfected his very own spice blend which later caught the attention of local gourmet, Chef Hans, who stepped in and offered Larry to mix the custom blend for him for his bulk use at Cormier’s. With Cormier’s success, Larry, Cindy, Jamie and the rest of the Cormier Family continue to give back to their community and honor those who have stood behind this local business. Food, fun, and family all brought together by the absolute love and adoration of the community, spills out of every dish coming out of the kitchen at Cormier’s. So for a trip to note on your “places to go,” Cormier’s delivers tasty southern cuisine in a family friendly environment that is sure to have everyone coming back for seconds! From the hopper to the hot boiled crawfish and shrimp, there is a little something for everyone at Cormier’s!


❚ Stuff the mixture into the hole of each potato. ❚ Add about 4 tbsp of cooking oil to a 12 inch skillet and brown all sides of each potato. Leave potatoes in the skillet and add left over stuffing. ❚ Add enough water to submerge 1⁄2 of the potato. ❚ Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. ❚ Then rotate potato and add chopped green onions. Cover and simmer for 30minutes.

Cormier’s Vinegar Cabbage Ingredients: 1 large head of cabbage 1 cup White vinegar 1 Tbsp Black pepper Directions: ❚ Shred the cabbage ❚ Put in large bowl and add White Vinegar, and Black pepper. ❚ Stir together.

For more information and photographs about Cormier’s, visit them on the web at, and for more photographs for additional local restaurants, follow Tara’s Taste of the Town at


Drop Off Camp

9 a.m. - 2 p.m. Bring a Sack Lunch $35 per child Ages: 5-8 New theme each week Limited Spots - Pre Registration Required

Fridays at 11 .am..


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