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“Having Dr. George as a full-time psychiatrist will only enhance patient care for northeast Louisiana.” BRIAN BRUNSON, ADMINISTRATOR

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“Where Louisiana

Still Buys Boots”

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CenturyLink CEO Glen Post was honored with the Kitty Degree Humanitarian Award, at the 2017 Addy Awards! This week he officially accepted the award alongside Nell Calloway of Chennault Aviation and Military Museum and leaders of the Ad Club of NELA. Friends of Black Bayou announces that Nova Clarke, Refuge Ranger at Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge, has been named Conservation Educator of the Year by the Louisiana Wildlife Federation. Refuge Manager Erin Cox had this to say: “Nova is one of the most dedicated employees to her job and her mission that I have ever known. Her enthusiasm for educating our youth is evident to everyone who knows her.”

The University of Louisiana Monroe’s student newspaper, the Hawkeye, won third place for “Best Newspaper” at the College Media Association’s annual conference held March 7-11 in New York City. Celebrating their award at the College Media Association’s annual conference in New York City were the Hawkeye staff members, from left, top, Kristin Nieman, Raven Adcox, KeEmma Everett, Alfonzo Galvan, Cory Thaxton, Jerimee Washington and bottom, Kandace Moss, Ethan Dennis, Sisam Shrestha and Siddharth Gaulee.

Family Solutions Counseling Center held their first networking open house on February 23, 2018.

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APRIL

UPCOMING EVENTS

COMMUNITY EVENT CALENDAR

APRIL 6 • DO GOOD DATE NIGHT

APRIL 7 • COFFEE & TEA FESTIVAL

6-8PM at the Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana

10AM-4PM at the Downtown RiverMarket

APRIL 12 • WALK-A-MILE IN HER SHOES 2018

APRIL 13 • WIG & STACHE BASH

APRIL 19 • SIP & SPIN VINYL NIGHT

APRIL 21 • RITAS ON THE RIVER

APRIL 25 & 26 • ST. FRANCIS MEDICAL CENTER FOUNDATION GOLF CLASSIC

APRIL 5 • WINE OVER WATER 6-9PM at ULM

3:30PM at ULM

10AM-4PM at the Downtown RiverMarket

7PM at the Vantage State Building

at the Bayou DeSiard Country Club

APRIL 5 • LOUISIANA SPORTS HALL OF FAME FOUNDATION, “AN EVENING WITH DAVID TOMS” 6-9PM Bayou DeSiard Country Club APRIL 5 • KRIS LAGER AT THE DOWNTOWN RIVER JAM Downtown Monroe 5:30-8:30PM APRIL 5 • DOWNTOWN GALLERY CRAWL - Downtown Monroe 5-9PM APRIL 6 • 28TH ANNUAL GARDEN SYMPOSIUM & PLANT SALE 9AM-3PM Biedenharn Museum & Gardens APRIL 6 • NORTHEAST LOUISIANA MASTER GARDENERS SPRING PLANT SALE 12-6PM Farmer’s Market at Seventh Square APRIL 7 • 28TH ANNUAL GARDEN SYMPOSIUM & PLANT SALE 10AM-1PM Biedenharn Museum & Gardens APRIL 7 & 8 • MISS LOUISIANA’S OUTSTANDING TEEN PAGEANT 7:30PM at ULM APRIL 13 • OFF THE WALL 2018 6-9PM Masur Museum of Art 12 | A P R IL 2018 | D E LTA S T Y LE MAGA ZI N E

7:30PM at the Flying Tiger Brewery

APRIL 28 • 21ST ANNUAL AMERICAN RED CROSS BASH

7:30-11:30PM at the AV Flight, Hangar 9

APRIL 14 • LAZARRE SPRINGFEST DISC GOLF 7AM-6PM Lazarre Park APRIL 14 • SUMMER CAMP & KIDS ACTIVITIES EXPO - Pecanland Mall 10AM APRIL 14 • RACE 2 GRACE 5K, 10K & FUN RUN 8AM Fair Park Baptist Church APRIL 21 • 2ND ANNUAL RJHS DANCE GOLF TOURNAMENT FUNDRAISER 7AM-12PM Trails End Golf Course in Arcadia, LA APRIL 21 • EARTH DAY CELEBRATION 10AM-1PM Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Rescue APRIL 21 • RUSTON PLEIN AIR COMPETITION 7AM-7PM Downtown Ruston APRIL 28 • ANNUAL TOUR & LUNCHEON at the NELA Children’s Museum 11:30AM APRIL 28 • CELEBRATE YOUR HEROES 5K & 1-MILE FUN RUN 1-mile Fun Run at 8:00AM 5k at 8:45AM Chennault Park & Golf Course APRIL 28 • SUPERHEROES FOR AUTISM 5K/WALK 10AM Kiroli Park


Origin Bank Ribbon Cutting | March 12 | 1800 Hudson Lane

Robert & Traci Canterbury, Steve Brolly

Lori Reneau, Ruthie Wheatley, Sherry Foy

Joey McGinn, Taylor Cagle, Carrie Siudy, Traci Canterbury, Billy Haddad, Justin Higdon, Linda O'Neal

Gerald McCloskey, Laura Maddox Daniel, Jon Wages

Sarita Daniel, Linda O'Neal

Jordan Sheppard

Billy Haddad, Lance Hall, Carrie Siudy, Taylor Cagle, Ryan Kilpatrick

Harold Book, Steve Taylor, Rick Siudy

Sue Nicholson, Jamie Mayo, Billy Haddad

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Byway Blues Release Party & Ribbon Cutting | March 2nd | KEDM Public Radio

Rebecca Frye, Lila Strode, Doug Duffey, Lesli Rambin, Kirby Rambin, Jay Curtis, Cory Crowe

Brian Davis, Cheryl Castille, Barry Stevens

Jay Curtis, Camille Currier

Mason Howard, Vanelis Rivera

Doug Duffey

Nick Bruno, Lila Strode

Daisy Morris

Celebrating Excellence United Way | March 6th | Monroe Civic Center

Origin Bank receiving their Campaign Leader Award Amanda Regan, Linda O'Neal

Diane Miletello, Ashley West

Dr. Nick Bruno, Malcolm Maddox

Heath Lord, Richard Raue

Terry Williams, Michael Echols, Courtney Hornsby

Joyce Landrum, Earnestine Dunn

Richie LeBlanc, Janet Darden, Ron Berry

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2018 First National Bank Bayou DeSiard Dragon Boat Festival Launch Party | February 21st | Flying Tiger Brewery

Alana Babb, Caitlin Gilly, Daisy Oliver, Cesar Camacho, Allison Camacho, Kathryn Gordon, Marcus Price, Sarah Mouton, Katie Burke

Mike McGee

Allison Camacho, Lynn Clark, Cesar Camacho, Ashley Doughty

Melissa Touchet, Kathryn Gordon

Who Won It? 52nd Annual Addy Awards | March 1st | Strauss Little Theater of Monroe

Racheal Maddox, Darah Gardner, Carol-Ann Lenard, Claire Smith

Jason Bryon Nelson

Rhonda Councilman

Nick Harrison, Sheena Burbridge, Amy Scott, Melissa Touchet, Andy Tripp

Jeremy Tucker

Brittany Ramsey, Ashley McTurner

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Thank You to Our Grace Gala 2018 Corporate Sponsors

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Grace Episcopal Gala 2018 | February 23rd | Bayou DeSiard Country Club

Beth Ricks, Jodi Lyle

Krista Fowlkes, Matthew Fowlkes, Jason Read

Amy and Hill Hinkle

Nancy Inaunett, Deidra Foley Adair

Denise Hill, Kristin Hill, Meryl Farr Krystal Ellis

Claudia Quayle, Jamie Crawley, Oci Anumele

Sara Butler, Satchie Godfrey, Janelle Snellings

Deidra Foley Adair, Jamie Crawley, Kay Arnold

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Cypress Trees in Silhouette: Cypress trees silhouetted against an evening sky at Lake Bruin State Park. JAMES WALTON

Finding Inspiration I N T H E D E LTA Contributing writer Georgiann Potts shares how living in the Delta has inspired her throughout her life.

WRITER’S NOTE: Over the past several weeks, I have been thinking about the concept of inspiration. When I learned that the theme for this issue of DeltaStyle was going to center on inspiration, that caused me to really think for probably the very first time about what — or who — has inspired me. While my thoughts are my own, I am fairly certain that others who grew up in the Delta will identify with at least some of them. As I thought about inspiration, I was frankly a little overwhelmed at the many people, things, and places that I could name which have absolutely inspired my life and the choices that I have made. Some of these (people, especially) were obvious — family members, for example, both whom I have known and those I only “know” through genealogical research and stories passed down through the generations. Teachers were also obvious inspirations, as were church leaders, and even one politician — our local mayor, the Honorable Edwin Preis, when I was growing up at Kenilworth. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that there are also sources of inspiration that are not so obvious. A number of books have inspired me even as they have educated me about so many things in life. I also realized that certain experiences — both

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positive and negative — have been sources of inspiration. I have always believed that no experience is wasted just as no education is wasted. There is something useful to be taken away from both the good and the bad in our lives. As I thought about it, I realized that the four seasons, the cadence of harvest — even these offered inspiration for me. After pondering all of this, it finally occurred to me that it is the sense of “place” that is so prevalent among those who grew up here that may very well be the longest lasting source of inspiration for me in my life. As all good English majors are taught to do, I did a little research into the several meanings of the term “inspiration.” I discovered one particular definition that seemed exactly right for this column: “Inspiration: the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.” Growing up in the Delta provided daily stimulation “ ...to do or feel something” to those of us lucky enough to be there in that special “place.” We were also stimulated “ ...to do something creative” because of our Delta heritage. Some of us became artists in a variety of mediums, some became entrepreneurs, and a lucky few became so much a part of that “place” that they never left, nor wanted to. And at least one of us became a writer, a chronicler of our time. Clearly something or someone provided the inspiration for me to undertake this writing journey that is now some 70 columns long. GP


E

very life finds inspiration at times, no matter how “ordinary” a person thinks his life may be. It may be a person who takes a little extra time to get to know him, really get to know him and show an interest in his life. It could be a landscape, or a flower, or a vineripened tomato, or a sermon, or a song. It might be anything, really, so long as it “speaks” to you and spurs you to action.

Family Inspirations ... My parents were both inspirations for me when I was growing up, but are even more so now that they are gone and I am an adult, at last capable of understanding their lives objectively. Although nearly 20 years separated them in age (Daddy always said that he had “robbed the cradle” which always brought forth giggles from Mother), in many ways they were perfectly matched. They shared a work ethic that is not as often seen today, a sense of humor and the ability to tease others that was both robust and kind, a love for each other and for their children that was reassuring, and a devotion to home that provided a foundation on which my life and my brother’s life could be solidly built. Daddy was an engineer with the United States Army Corps of Engineers and in that position worked along the Mississippi River. At some point in his life when I was in the very early elementary grades, he contracted tuberculosis and had to be institutionalized for an extended period of time. That was the first experience that I can remember which taught me the meaning of “separation.” It was a hard lesson for a child devoted to her father. When Daddy was declared cured and finally able to come home, his health was shattered, and his career with the Corps was over. Emphysema quickly took over his already damaged lungs, and he spent his last years doing accounting at our cousin’s service station. I can still remember hearing Daddy’s labored breathing after he had walked the short distance — probably about the length of a football field — from his workplace to our newly built home in town. For a man accustomed to working outdoors measuring and attempting with his peers to “control” the Mississippi River, this turn in his life must have been very frustrating. Still, I never heard him complain, nor saw him truly unhappy. That taught me the lesson of living one’s life as fully as possible for as long as possible, no matter the challenges. Daddy Moore and Mom Moore were also inspirations to me, although in different ways. I knew Daddy Moore for 20 years, but never really knew Mom Moore, because of her death when I was so small. Still — through the memories of others who did know them — I have also been able to “see” them objectively, as more than just my grandparents. They were pioneers with

Cotton growing on Myrtle Grove Plantation, near Waterproof, Louisiana, in Tensas Parish. ANDREA R. TARVER

courage and a vision for a better life who sold everything and risked their future on a farm faraway in northeast Louisiana. That willingness to take a risk with one’s life was an inspiration that I have drawn from a number of times in my life. After Mom Moore’s death and the death of his only son, Daddy Moore decided to begin separating himself from Kenilworth. Although I have never researched the exact legal transaction, by the time I lived there the land was being worked by someone else. As part of the transaction, Daddy Moore retained control of the homestead, the outbuildings, the garden, the horse pastures, and the woods. When I was a young teenager, Daddy Moore sold what remained of Kenilworth Plantation that he had not previously sold. He moved “to town” with us to a modern brick home that my parents had built and which was conveniently located to everything. Although that new house was lovely, it never meant quite as much to me as Kenilworth had. It was the right move at the right time for the family, but it was a traumatic transition nonetheless.

Teachers, Clergy, and Neighbors ... Teachers have more influence on their students and their community than they realize, I have found. At the time, both the teacher and the student are focused on “now” and what is necessary to be done by both to achieve a passing score for the student. It is not until later that both realize that the endgame was actually a successful life, not moving up to the next grade level in school. The teachers that I was privileged to

study under in Newellton were all important influences for decisions that I made in later life. All of them were competent in the subject matter that they taught, but there were several who stood out for other reasons. Virginia Crossno, our longsuffering home economics teacher, often found herself frustrated with me, I am afraid. I was in a class peopled with those who had literally grown up cooking, for example, while I had almost no experience in that when I came into her classroom. The same could be said for sewing. I could competently sew on a button, but that was it. I was the proverbial “blank Virginia slate.” Crossno, It is a testament to Miss former home Crossno’s patience and talent economics that I survived — and thrived teacher at — during her home economNewellton ics courses in high school. I High School have had the joy of seeing her in Tensas on several occasions since I Parish. was her student, and each CONNIE time I have tried to tell her HANKINS how much she did for me during those years of baking powder (or was it baking soda that I was supposed to use?) biscuits — gorgeous to look at, but bitter to taste — and ripping out miles and miles of seams that were just never quite straight. Although my father had been a math wizard (he thought doing trigonometry problems was fun ...), I have never been very good at it without major effort. A series of excellent math teachers tried their best

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with me, but I struggled nonetheless. I made my grades, but it was only because of their willingness to explain “just one more time” the intricacies of algebra and geometry. Leaders in our church were also inspirations to me as I was growing up. Seeing their devotion to those of us in their “flock” and their steadfast determination to share with us the importance of the spiritual side of our natures were lessons that have carried over throughout my life. Neighbors — both those nearby and those scattered throughout Tensas Parish — also inspired me. Their sincere concern for each other was evidenced with each casserole or dessert delivered as word of a birth or death or illness spread. It was also seen through a surprise “drop by” visit with a bushel of newly-picked corn or a bag of tomatoes still warm from the summer sun to leave behind. Most often, though, I remember them for the many kindnesses they showed to me as I was growing up. That memory of that kindness sustains me even today after nearly all of them are gone.

Harvest Time at Panola: Mechanical cotton pickers at work on Panola Plantation in Tensas Parish. CANDICE HEAD

“Place” as Inspiration ... People — whether family or “just like family” — have always been sources of inspiration to those of us growing up in the Delta, but I think that it is the Delta itself that has provided us with the most inspiration. Ask almost anyone who has lived in the Delta all or most of their lives what makes the Delta special, and you will get almost as many answers as the people you ask. That is the magic of the Delta — that it is to each person something unique to him, something that makes one love the place as much as the people. I have always cherished the fact that the Delta marks the year with four distinct seasons. We actually experience the cold (and occasional snow) of winter, the slow warming of spring, the oppressive heat of summer, and the slowly cooling winds of fall. I feel sorry for those who have the same climate all year round. How can they mark the transitions in their own lives if they don’t have these seasonal “markers” as an example? Akin to the seasonal changes is the cadence of the harvest. All of us Delta folks have measured our lives by the repetitive planting, growing, and harvesting cycle that is so much a part of our agrarian landscape. That landscape has changed, however. Seeing “white gold” (aka cotton) strewn along the roadways, falling off the wagons taking the cotton to the gin is now more memory than reality. Today the cotton is picked and baled in large, round rolls (I suppose they are still called “bales” although they are no longer the rectangular blocks that I recall) while still in the fields. Gone, too, are the multitudes of people I watched once upon a time working in those fields.

Chimney Ruin: An abandoned chimney presumed to be all that remains of an old cotton gin near Newlight on the Tensas River. JAMES WALTON

They are gone like my childhood, the one replaced by mechanical marvels that can perform nearly every task associated with a crop and the other replaced by the orderly, predictable rhythms of being an adult living in a city. The Delta perceived as a special “place” has been the backdrop for countless novels and short stories. Those of us who grew up here understand that nuance better than those who have never experienced life in this special place. Is the Delta a kind of utopia, devoid of evil? Hardly. The land bears the scars of long ago war, especially along the northern Mississippi River parishes — East Carroll, Madison, Tensas, and Concordia. Just

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across the river from Tensas Parish lay Vicksburg to the north and Natchez to the south, both living museums reflecting Delta life during the Civil War. There are also countless tombstones marking the graves from other wars — World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm. Is the Delta life one of ease and idleness? Absolutely not. Everyone I knew there worked, and worked hard. The land is fertile, but it is equally demanding. My brother lived there during a time when Kenilworth was transitioning from human labor to mechanical labor. He remembers that Daddy Moore had 60 mules, some of which he bought at auction in Memphis, TN, and then brought down to the place. He remembers that about 30 mules would be working on a given day. By the time I got there, there was only one mule — Robert — left, all of the others replaced with a collection of tractors. Even so, Delta folk continued to value a day’s work to take care of their families. Is the Delta just an anachronistic example of the “moonlight and roses” stereotype attached to the south during the last century? I can attest from personal experience that the moon shines brightly over the Delta, and the roses bloom there in abundance, but I can also say with confidence that there is much more to the Delta than that. There are remarkable people there, doing remarkable things with their lives. There are beautiful vistas there, showcasing the natural beauty and seasonal variances of the locale. Most importantly, there is a spirit there — one that reflects a keen survival instinct that is tempered with a kindness that sweeps across the land like a sweet breeze in late spring. May the Delta continue to inspire her people, generation after generation, to do, to feel, and to create. That alone will ensure a life well-lived.


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GONE

AT 3:17 GEORGIANN POTTS

There are times in life when irony takes over. Such was the case when Georgiann Potts reviewed David M. Brown’s book, Gone at 3:17: The Untold Story of the Worst School Disaster in American History. Members of Potpourri Book Club to whom she gave the review have been reading books the entire club year that showcased the year’s theme: “Disasters and Lessons Learned.” As Potts explained to the group, “I had finished my research and had the review drafted when the news came on about the mass shooting at Parkland High School in Florida.” She immediately went back to work at that point, redoing the review to include the current events. Brown’s book, an undertaking that required nearly 25 years of research, carefully chronicled the events leading up to the worst unintentional school disaster in American history. The disaster was a natural gas explosion that killed approximately 319 students and teachers, although an exact count was never determined, Potts told the group. The title of the book --- Gone at 3:17 --- memorializes the time of the blast --- just as the school day was coming to a close. “When Brown was working in east Texas as a journalist, he saw an article marking the 50th anniversary of the New London School Explosion,” Potts said. “He was surprised that he had never heard of this terrible event, and decided to drive to New London to investigate.” Brown’s investigation found him standing in Pleasant Hill Cemetery, the graveyard where many of the victims were buried. As he looked at the grave markers, so many of which had the exact same date of death --March 18, 1937 --- he knew that their story had to be told, according to Potts.

Potts reviews for Potpourri Book Club

“What Brown uncovered was that the New London School Board had decided in early 1937 to cancel their natural gas contract and tap into a residue gas line instead to save money,” Potts explained. “Although this was not an unheard of practice, no one really realized what seeping, untreated natural gas beneath a building might do. Untreated, it was odorless and therefore undetectable.” Many lawsuits were filed, but no one was ever found liable, Potts told the group. However, laws were passed almost immediately requiring that only licensed plumbers could hook up natural gas, and that natural gas would have to have a foul-smelling chemical added to it so that its presence was detectable. Because of the current anxiety about school disasters, Potts said that she also decided to research America’s worst intentional school disasters and incorporate those in her review, as well. “This led me to almost exactly 10 years earlier than the New London School Explosion,” Potts explained. “In 1927, the village of Bath, MI, was the site of a horrific intentional school disaster. One man injured 45 individuals, 38 of them students.” The tool of destruction was over 500 pounds of dynamite that the killer had hidden in the school basement and in the back of his pickup truck, according to Potts. “No one suspected the fellow since he was a member and treasurer of the local school board and had no prior legal problems,” she said. After the school explosion, the man behind the devastation drove up in his pickup truck and fired a shot into his pickup truck’s cargo – more dynamite and shrapnel. Because this second explosion killed him, no one was ever

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Alpha Spence and Adele Ransom

Jane Conrad and Lillian Gentry

Joy Loomis and Denise Smith

Kathy Patrick and Linda Reeves

able to determine a motive for his actions. “Authorities later discovered that he had killed his wife and set fire to their home before blowing up the school,” Potts explained. “Clearly mental illness was a factor.” The tragedy devastated the entire community. This was a time when there were not counselors or disaster plans to address the grief and horror these people faced, Potts told the group. “This was what Brown discovered through his research,” she explained. “The people had made a pact to never discuss the event again out of respect for the dead. That is why the complete story had never been told before.” Following the review and the lively discussion about safety in our own education facilities, the ladies retired to the dining room to enjoy a delicious offering prepared by the hostesses, Denise Smith — in whose lovely home the group gathered — and Allison Cattar, Lisa Nelson, and Joy Loomis. Smith’s dining table was covered in a striking cloth featuring a baroque pattern in shades of cream and deep blue. Center-

ing the table were twin bronze candelabra flanking a Chinese blue-and-white urn holding a mass of white tea roses. A scrumptious fresh strawberry layer cake was the “main attraction” while tea sandwiches — black olive and pimento — plus cheese straws and everyone’s favorite, toasted Louisiana pecans, provided a savory option. Rounding out the menu were Mexican wedding cookies, dusted with powdered sugar. On the sideboard, the hostesses offered coffee from a silver coffee service with gold and white demitasse cups at the ready. Among those seen enjoying the afternoon were Kaydell Jackson, LaVerne Bodron, Lillian Gentry, Alpha Spence, Allison Meade, Stephanie Abell, Kathy Hart, Rosemary Luffey, Carol Kilpatrick, Joy Loomis, Lynn Hodge, Martha Hayden Woods, Pat Blanchard, Judy Worthen, Martha Jane Anderson, Linda Reeves, Adele Ransom, Dianne Cage, Denise Smith, Lisa Nelson, Jane Conrad, Kathy Patrick, Kellie Oakley, Georgiann Potts, Nancy Staab, Mike Husted, and Nancy Inabnett.


Tye Sheridan is a teenage boy who escapes his dystopian reality for a virtual one in “Ready Player One.”

JAAP BUITENDIJK

‘READYPLAYERONE’

HERE’S WHAT CRITICS ARE SAYING ABOUT STEVEN SPIELBERG’S NEW MOVIE BRYAN ALEXANDER

Director Steven Spielberg traveled to the South by Southwest Film Festival on Sunday to unveil the world premiere of his upcoming film, “Ready Player One.” While there were, ironically, some technical difficulties with the projection leading to delays, the reviews for Spielberg’s look into a virtual realityfilled future, based on Ernest Cline’s sci-fi novel, were positive. Ready Player One, starring Tye Sheriden and Olivia Cooke as players in a giant virtual reality adventure known as “The Oasis,” is filled with 1980s-ish pop culture references, dating back to the game’s developer Halliday’s (Mark Rylance) obsession with his childhood past. Here’s what the critics were saying about Ready Player One: Variety critic Owen Gleiberman called it a “dizzyingly propulsive virtual-reality fanboy geek-out.” “Ready Player One tells a breathless

and relatively coherent story — essentially, the future of civilization is riding on the outcome of a video game — but the movie, first and foremost, is a coruscating explosion of pop-culture eye candy.” Movie site Indie-Wire referred to the film as an “astonishing sci-fi spectacle.” “Never, ever underestimate Steven Spielberg. That’s the biggest takeaway from Ready Player One, an immersive sci-fi spectacle about a future overrun by virtual reality gaming, and the world’s most famous commercial director has transformed it into a mesmerizing blockbuster steeped in callbacks to the best of them. It runs too long and drags a bunch in its final third, but make no mistake: This is Spielberg’s biggest crowdpleaser in years.” The Hollywood Reporter’s John DeFore called it “a rollicking adventure through worlds both bleak and fantastic.” “Gamers are far from the only ones who will respond to this virtual-worldset picture, which strikes an ideal balance between live action and CGI,” DeFore writes.

The Verge’s Tasha Robinson writes that “Ernest Cline’s fast-moving novel was a treasure trove for pop-culture junkies, but the endless references work better on the screen.” “The film improves significantly on the book by prioritizing the story over the signifiers. The hardcore pop-culture crowd that is this movie’s ultimate intended audience will have plenty to pore over and pick apart in this film.” The British newspaper The Guardian was one of the few detractors. Monica Castillo wrote that the “flashy adaptation of the book is full of pop culture references and striking visuals” but decried “a thin plot and shallow characters.” “Those who come away cheering for Ready Player One will likely have enjoyed the film’s many references, the story’s breakneck speed and playful visual design. Others may want to unplug from the paint-by-number characters and shallow plot.” Check it out and see what you think, it is in theaters now!

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Melanie Massey Local physical therapist shares her experiences as a certified leadership coach, speaker and trainer. EMMA SAGER PHOTOS BY GARY GUINIGUNDO

M

elanie Massey established her physical therapy clinic, Melanie Massey Physical Therapy (MMPT), almost 20 years ago. Since then, her company has expanded to 5 clinics in Monroe, West Monroe, Ruston, and Shreveport. However, many do not know about the other aspects of life that she is passionate about, and she wants to share with the community. Melanie spends much of her time being a life coach for the people around her. Her coaching has a strong focus on leadership and knowing one’s strengths so that one can thrive and live their life to the fullest. Her drive to help others spawned when she was very young and seeks to encourage others to the best of her ability. For the inspirational issue this month, we thought Melanie was the perfect person to learn about and give her the opportunity tell her story.


Where are you from? I was born and raised right here in West Monroe. Do you have any children? I have two great little girls that came into my life through adoption. Ellie is 10 years old, and she will be headed to middle school next year. Gabby is 9 years old, and she attends Drew Elementary. They are polar opposites, but they both have leadership qualities in their own life. Where did you go to college? I moved away for a few years to Louisiana State University (LSU) which led me to go to physical therapy school at LSU in Shreveport. I thought I wanted to stay in Shreveport, but then my sister had a baby. I decided that I needed to be home. I am a family girl, and I love my hometown so, I planted myself here. What services do you provide at MMPT? We do every aspect of physical therapy such as orthopedics, which includes dry-needling, we have a massage therapist on staff, occupational therapy, you name it. We like to say that we see patients from zero to 99 years old, because we treat patients of all ages. Tell me about your Pediatrics location in West Monroe. We have a separate building for pediatrics, because we want the people with those strengths to be with children to be working with them. It helps them to have the ability to be more focused on the kids. Almost everyone goes to take specialist exam in their area of expertise, because we like to have people that are very good at what they do. What is your key mission at MMPT? Our mission statement is, “Joyfully use your gifts to brighten the lives of others.” We strive to do that every day for our company and our patients. What made you want to start helping others outside of MMPT? Being a physical therapist was not enough for me, and it took me a long time to realize that it does not have to be all that I do. I started thinking, “what else do I want?” Well, I love to incorporate art, I love to help other businesses to have the same culture we have at MMPT, I would love to go transform other countries, and I just watched it manifest from there. When did you develop your leadership skills? When I was 11 years old, my Poppa started sending me leadership cassette tapes from Zig Ziglar. From then on, I

was always drawn towards positive stuff. Throughout middle school and high school, I was always class president. I liked the responsibility of making sure everyone in my class was tended to, making sure we had great things and we were having fun experiences and opportunities. That all started when I was young. How did you become a member of the John Maxwell Team? In 2012, I had the opportunity to go hear John Maxwell speak in Florida. I had no earthly idea when I got there that it was a certification course. I had no idea that I would come home with mounds of information that I could teach other people. I thought I was going to listen to John, and it would improve

What other businesses do you own besides MMPT? So, I have two companies. One is Mojoy, which is across the street from my clinic in West Monroe. Mojoy was created for teaching self-awareness and confidence in an environment of creativity, so there is a lot of art done there. The other one is MoCo Leadership, a coaching, speaking and training company which helps leaders and organizations develop their culture, their influence, and achieve their maximum potential by using their leadership skills. I have coached and trained a lot of businesses in this area.

“Your life will be your greatest masterpiece. What you want is already here, you just have to live in it and make it welcome.” MELANIE MASSEY

my leadership skills. If I oversee 70 people in my company, I better know something about leadership. I need to be sure I create an environment where people want to stay. You recently received an award from John Maxell. Tell me about that. He gives 10 people a year the “John Maxwell DNA Culture Award.” It is given to those who have the culture of John Maxwell. This is the second year he has given out these awards, and one of them is called, “Leading and Lifting.” Basically, it means that you lead other people and you lift to positions of leadership, which is exactly what I have done with MMPT. In February, I was honored to be one of the 10 that got to share the stage with John. I got to tell my story about MMPT to an audience of about 3,000 people in Orlando, FL, which was super neat. When you travel to other countries to train them on leadership with the

John Maxwell Team, how does that process work? In my most recent experience teaching in another country, there were about 300 people from around the world that helped John transform that country. We had three assignments a day at leadership positions in the country. We meet heads of state, healthcare admins around the capitol city, key businesses and key entrepreneurs that have a big impact on other people. We trained three different company groups a day, who in turn learned 10 values that are key for changing the mindset of the leader. Then, they had to commit to teaching five more people those values. So, those 300 people taught three groups a day had an exponential effect by the end of the week, and that causes a dramatic impact on that country.

What else do you provide through Mojoy? I get to combine all my favorite things. I do kid birthday parties, summer camps, and I do a monthly creative group for women that meets once a month to come together and share our experiences. I also do women’s retreats. What do you feel is your purpose in life? I have just come to understand that my purpose in life is to inspire people to be their highest self. I want to help someone get to where they need to be, it can be a job, a state of mind, or just whatever their next step in life needs to be. It is a limited time on this earth, and I want people to utilize the unique gift God gave them to do that no one else is gifted like that person to do. In your words, what information do you want people to know right now? Your life will be your greatest masterpiece. What you want is already here, you just have to live in it and make it welcome. Do not not force it or wonder when it is coming or why it has not come yet. Just expect it.

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Hints for a Patient Having a Total Knee Replacement…. From a Knee Doctor Who Has Had One!! My name is Dr. David Waddell. I am one of the founding members of Orthopedic Specialists of Louisiana and Specialists Hospital Shreveport in Shreveport, Louisiana. I practiced for over 40 years and retired in 2017. Years of sports, working on a farm and standing led to me having severe osteoarthritis. In 2018, the pain became so severe that I had my right Total Knee Replacement and the left one shortly thereafter. In my opinion, Specialists Hospital Shreveport is one of the best places in which to have your surgery done. With this as a background, I want to give you some hints that I feel will make your journey as a patient getting a TKR much easier. 1. 2.

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You’ve already decided to have the surgery, but don’t hesitate to ask your doctor ANY question that comes to your mind. Good communication with your health care team is vital to success. Get in the best physical condition that you can prior to your surgery. Lose those extra pounds. Do as much exercise as your body and knees will allow. Your doctor can provide you a complete list of great exercises to do. You need to be in the best mental condition as well. Patients with great attitudes just do better. Numerous studies have confirmed this fact. Talk with your primary care physician as well as your orthopedist about this fact. Your orthopedist may ask you to see a specialty physician prior to your surgery. This may be a cardiologist, pulmonologist or internist. This will be determined by your overall health condition. Don’t resist this workup, it’s for your own GOOD! Depending on the exact type of surgery that you will be having, you will need lab studies, EKG, chest x-ray, special knee x-rays or scans. Once again, this is to collect all the necessary information to insure the best outcome possible. If you are having a Makoplasty TKR (robot assisted), a CT scan will be needed to get the precise alignment data for the case. This is a painless x-ray study that only takes about 2-3 minutes to complete. JOINT CAMP is a preoperative class available at SHS in which you will be able learn about your knee surgery and surgical protocols specific to your surgeon. Be sure to attend this very important program. Again, ASK questions. An anesthesiologist (a doctor who will care for you while you have your surgery) will review your medical history and discuss the options available for anesthesia. You may need some specialized injections (blocks) to provide pain relief during and after your surgery. In the past, I had patients express concern over some of the injections. Now that I have had the surgery done, I would strongly URGE you to have the blocks. When I was fully awake following my surgery, I had NO pain due to the blocks. Not everyone has this exact experience, but the vast majority of the pain is relieved by them and all you may need post-op is a pill to augment the pain relief. Be sure to wash your leg before surgery with an antibacterial soap such as Dial soap. Your physician may make additional recommendations. Check with him or her. Your will be tol¬d to discontinue certain medications prior to surgery. If you take NSAIDs, such as Advil, Ibuprofen or Mobic, you will need to discontinue them at least a week before the surgery. Other meds also may need to be with held. Do not take Metformin, a diabetic agent, the day prior to your surgery. Heart and blood pressure medication guidelines vary. Discuss this with the anesthesiologist. It is probably wise to plan on having someone stay with you the night of your surgery. The nurses at SHS are great, but having someone there with you constantly will make you feel better.

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12.

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You should know that Medicare and many insurance companies now consider TKR a surgery in which the patient should be discharged on post-op day 1. Understand this going in, so you can make arrangements for your home care. If you live alone, be sure to let your doctor know so that arrangements can be made for you to go to a skilled nursing facility or someone to stay with you or you with them. Do you have steps to climb at home? Is your bedroom on the second floor of your home? Do you live in an apartment that has stairs and no elevator? Do you need a bedside commode? Do you need a walker and/or a cane? These are just a few of the important questions to consider. Discuss with your doctor what medications will be needed after your surgery. Pain meds and muscle relaxants may be needed. Your regular medications may need to be changed at least for a short period of time. This is especially true of blood pressure medications. Your will WALK within hours of your surgery. You will BEND your knee at that same time. Early ambulation and exercises have been show to improve outcomes. DO THEM!!! Don’t be afraid to move your leg as the physical therapist will direct you to do. Early motion means more motion later. Your incision is firmly repaired. Don’t worry. There may be some discomfort with the exercises. This is to be expected and does not mean that anything is wrong. Again DO the EXERCISES as frequently as you are told. When you get home, don’t be a couch potato!!! Get up. Walk with your walker. Have someone assist you if you feel weak. Again MOVE, MOVE, MOVE!!!! After leaving the hospital, if you go home, you will either have home PT or outpatient PT. This depends on your individual health, strength and social condition. If you live alone, you may need someone to stay with you or someplace to stay until you are more mobile. After discharge, call your doctor if you have ANY questions. There is a 24-hour answering service and one of the medical team will call you back. It’s a good idea to have a plan about where you will go if you have a medical emergency after surgery. SHS does not have an EMERGENCY ROOM. Discuss with your doctor where you should go if you need emergency evaluation or treatment. Prevention of blood clots in the legs or lungs is important. Elevation of your leg is important. Wear your special support hose as directed. Take either aspirin as directed or a prescription anticoagulant recommended by your doctor. Always go to therapy as directed. WORK hard at PT and at home. Half of a successful outcome for your TKR is up to YOU!!! Work!!! Make sure that you attend all of your post-operative appointments. After any TKR, the outside aspect of the knee will be numb. This is normal. The incision for the surgery cuts some skin nerves. There is no way to avoid this. The numbness usually decreases with time but some numbness often persist. This will be less noticeable as time passes. Finally remember, the only bad question is the one you don’t ask!

I hope these hints will help you have a great experience with your surgery and a wonderful outcome. The doctors, nurses and all the staff at SHS want only the best for you. They consider all SHS patients as family. They will do everything to make your surgery and hospital stay as comfortable and successful as it can be, as well as pray for your return to a healthy functional lifestyle. David D. Waddell, MD Fellow of the American Orthopedic Association.


T Tiny Dancer BY KATIE BURKE

ONE FEARLESS GIRL’S JOURNEY OF OVERCOMING OBSTACLES AND FULFILLING HER DREAM

The Mitchell Family: Jeremy, Gina, Lillie, and Scarlett RUFFLED FEATHERS PHOTOGRAPHY


i

n my position as manager of this magazine, I encounter many kids of people and I am still awed and amazed at how much there is in the world to be inspired by and how many people will leave a lasting impression on your life and maybe not even realize it. Sometimes it’s the ones that positivity beams out of their souls and their happy smile and bubbly personality is a beautiful contagion that passes on to every individual they encounter. Other times, it may be the quiet soul that lives every day at a minimum only to give everything they have to the less fortunate. Inspiration comes in many forms. But, it’s how we handle the curveballs that life throws at us that shows our true character. It’s the people that take a daring and new direction and are

living to the fullest despite current conditions that make a genuine impact. Recently, I was fortunate enough to meet a brave little girl that hasn’t let any obstacle

hold her down or keep her from dancing. Nine-year-old Lillie Mitchell has had quite the journey at such a young age. Last year, doctors discovered that Lillie had two curves in her spine and that she would need corrective surgery, but Lillie didn’t let it slow her down. This is her incredible story, told by her mother, Gina:

From the time Lillie was born, I knew she was a fighter. She was born prematurely at 32 weeks gestation on October 13, 2008. The hospital didn’t have the proper equipment to suit her needs so off she went to a different hospital. It was hard to see her wheeled away in an incubator before anyone could hold her. We quickly found out her lungs weren’t fully developed, she had a heart murmur, needed two blood transfusions, had a cyst on her wrist, and a dimple in her lower back that raised major concerns. Her lungs took time to develop, the heart murmur went away, the blood transfusions were successful, and the cyst on her wrist was surgically removed when she was 6 weeks old. We were told several different things about her back. At first it was spina bifida, then spina bifida occulta, and lastly sacral agenesis. This meant she might not be able to crawl or walk. We covered her with prayers and believed she would overcome whatever she faced. You know what? She did just that! She started crawling, walking, running, and dancing. We cheered on every milestone she surpassed. The doctor was amazed, but we were not. We knew it was a miracle! Although we were unsure of her future, we continued to stay in faith. Lillie was almost 2 years old when we were told she might not be able to control her bladder or bowels. We didn’t push potty training or make it a big deal. At 3 1/2 years old, she was fully potty trained! Once again, no surprise! The doctor told us to watch for anything unusual. Like accidents or her becoming clumsy with

her walking. As the years went by, Lillie showed no signs of any health-related issues. She was mentally and emotionally ahead for her age. She actually started talking in full sentences at 18 months old, and it blew us all away. She became more elegant in her movements. We saw her love for people and her passion for dance unfold in front of our very own eyes. It brought us the most joy to see her God given gifts being explored and seeing her continue to grow into a beautiful young lady. At the beginning of the summer of 2017, Lillie hit a growth spurt. She went from a size 12 to 2 in shoes. We went to the dance store to pick her out new leotards and shoes and when she was trying on the leotards I asked her to drop her shoulders and relax. When I turned her around so I could see how it fit, her shoulder blade was sticking out a couple of inches. I went into the dressing room with her and observed her backside. One of her hips was higher than the other, her shoulder blade was sticking out, and her spine was curved. I look at this sweet princess every single day, and I never once noticed these things. I knew something was not right. This looked like a severe case of scoliosis. I immediately reached out to my sister, Paula, for her help. She has been a complete ANGEL and helpful in more ways than imaginable. She gave me a lot of information, and we took Lillie to a pediatric clinic here and met with an amazing Nurse Practitioner. She confirmed scoliosis and we were advised to go see a

Lillie’s scoliosis can be seen clearly in her dance leotard.

Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon, Dr. Andrew King, at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans. We went to Dr. Andrew King at the Children’s Hospital in New Orleans. He examined Lillie and had her sent over for X-rays. The X-rays showed us she has 2 curves; an upper thoracic curve that measures at 69 degrees and a lumbar curve that measures at 39 degrees. It was discovered she has a hemivertebrae, which is an extra vertebra shaped like a wedge, the diagnosis being congenital scoliosis. Through the months leading up to the surgery, at the hospital, and in recovery, Gina kept family and friends informed and documented Lillie’s progress.

August 2017 We are back at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans. This time for her to get a 3part MRI of her entire spine and a CT scan of her thoracic spine with 3D reconstruction. Dr. King wanted to be able to see her spine at every angle and check her neck, kidneys, and spinal cord. As always, Lillie handled everything wonderfully. She didn’t need to be sedated for the MRI and laid there patiently with the loud buzzing for 45 minutes. I was thankful they let me stay with her because I got to rub her feet and pray over her the entire time. Afterwards, Dr. King met with us to go over her results. Her CT scan confirmed the extra vertebrae causing her scoliosis, but her neck, kidneys, and spinal cord were in perfect condition. Because she is still growing, Dr. King recommended MAGEC growing rods instead of spinal fusion surgery. We are so proud of how Lillie has handled this news. When Dr. King told Lillie she needed surgery, he told her that she

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didn’t need to be afraid. She responded to him, “I’m not afraid. This is a new adventure!” We know and acknowledge it is only because of God’s grace that Lillie is experiencing faith and peace through her entire journey. 1 Peter 2:24b “...by Whose stripes we were healed.”

November 2017 Lillie Bug’s surgery is scheduled for December 5th at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans. Dr. King will be putting MAGEC growing rods in her back. Every 2-4 months he will lengthen the rods magnetically in Monroe. The MAGEC system comprises a magnetically distractible spinal rod implant and an external remote controller, which lengthens the rod; this system avoids repeated surgical lengthening. Rod implants brace the spine internally and are lengthened as the child grows, preventing worsening of scoliosis and delaying the need for spinal fusion. Thankfully, Lillie will continue to dance. He actually said, “Do not take her out of dance. Let her keep dancing.” It was the most wonderful thing he could have told us! After her surgery, we will wait for Dr. King to give her clearance to get back in dance. For those wondering if Lillie is in any pain, thankfully she is not. There has only been a couple of times where her back hurt and that was when she did a certain dance move. Besides that, she is never in pain. With a curve, severe as 69 degrees, we believe it’s miraculous.

Lillie’s before- and after-surgery X-rays.

December 5, 2017 Lillie’s MAGEC Rods are in! Dr. King said everything went good and told us she was charming everybody. The surgery lasted about two and half hours. The rods were put down her spine on both sides and screws put in thoracic 3 & 4 and lumbar 3 & 4. The rods will give her up to 8 inches of growing room. She will get her rods lengthened every 3-4 months. She’s hurting a bit, but they are doing great managing her pain and taking great care of her.

December 6, 2017 Lillie Bug is doing so good. She is rotating every 2 hours from her right side, back, and left side. She is hurting the worst when she has to move. On a scale of 1-10, her pain level was from a 3-5 most of the night. It’s only been to a 6 while she is being moved. She has a thin incision down her back and then deeper ones on top and bottom where the MAGEC Rods were inserted. At around noon she will be standing and walking to sit in a chair for about 30 minutes. We were told the MAGEC patients tend to get moving around quicker and recover faster than spinal fusion patients. Lillie is asking every nurse a lot of questions about what they are do-

Lillie sitting up in a chair the day after surgery.

ing and why they are doing it. She’s being very polite. Great attitude. She is truly being courageous.

December 7, 2017 Lillie is no longer in critical care! She was hooked up to 7 different things and now down to one. At 2:15, her pain level was at a 7 on a scale from 1-10. She wanted to get up so the nurses helped her stand. She then walked to a chair and she sat up for 35 minutes!

December 8, 2017 It was a rough night and morning for Lillie. After her walk, sitting in the chair for 30 minutes, and then getting her catheter out she is sooo happy! She told her sweet nurse, “I have goals today.” Yup. That’s Lillie Bug! She will be getting up a

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On the left is Lillie’s back before the surgery and the right is three weeks post op.

couple more times throughout the day to go for walks, bathroom breaks, and to sit in the chair. She’s very motivated to getting better.

December 11, 2017 Lillie had some visitors yesterday. I think she was most excited about seeing her cousin, Jackson. Since we’ve been home, she’s adjusting really well. She’s able to roll on her side and back without any help. The worst part is her not being able to hold her sister and a lot of stimulation overwhelms her. She’s walking a little better, but still needs help being stable and she’s tolerating sitting up better. She slept awesome last night and she went to sleep at 11 and didn’t wake up until 5. She’s not taking pain medication as often either. Being home is much better!


Lillie is all smiles as she attends her dance class after the surgery.

December 13, 2017 Lillie is doing amazing! She can get up by herself, walk on her own, and tolerate sitting up for longer periods of time. She is back to eating regularly. Also, she is completely off pain medication! On a scale of 1-10, her pain is between a 0-2! This is exactly what we prayed for her. She believed her back was straight and we knew she would have supernatural healing. We remained in faith and stayed out of fear. Perspective my friends, see things through God’s eyes. There is always a purpose to your pain... what the enemy meant to harm me, God will use for GOOD. God NEVER causes our paininstead He is the one who provides a way OUT of that pain. He is GOOD, always. And FAITHFUL, always.

December 31, 2017 This strong girl is doing amazing! She’s three weeks and five days’ post operation. She is still not able to lift more than 5 pounds, which is no fun for her or her sister, Scarlett. There has only been one sad moment where they were both crying because Scarlett wanted Lillie to hold her and she couldn’t physically pick her up. As sad as it was, it was precious to see how much they love each other. Lillie is still on restrictions doing anything with high impact, so running, jumping, leaping, etc. She dislikes not being about to do a lot of physical activities. I have to be “mean mom” so that she doesn’t injure herself. Of course, she’s most ready to get back to what she is most passionate about, dance. She asks me almost every day, “How much longer until I can dance again?” We are partnering up with her incredible dance school

Lillie seven weeks post op, finally back into her dance leotard.

and believe she can go sit and watch in January. We believe she will be back participating earlier than expected. She’s a miracle and continues to amaze us! She was praying over our lunch today. A few words that stuck out to me was when she said, “Father God. Thank you for my straight spine and for healing me fast so I can get back to dance soon.” As her mother, to see her God given strengths come into action brings tears of gratitude to my eyes. Wow, this precious girl is my daughter. I get to witness the work of the Lord in this little loving, brave warrior princess. What an honor. We are so thankful for the outpouring love we have received during this time. God bless you all!

January 6, 2018 This girl is unbelievable! She sat in on her dance classes this week at Linda

Lavender School of Dance and with Twin City Ballet Company. She told me, “These people aren’t just my friends, they are like my family.” She said she got so many hugs and was very happy to see all her dance buddies. We are hoping she will be able to do barre work after the 6week mark. Her incision is healing up nicely. She has her first lengthening February 28th with Dr. King. She will be twelve weeks’ post operation at that point. We believe she will get clearance to get fully back into dance.

January 25, 2018 Seven weeks’ post op! Lillie put on a leotard for the first time since her surgery this week. I honestly got teary eyed because she looked absolutely stunning. Her body is portioned perfectly. We are still waiting to get clearance for her to get

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back in dance. It seems to be taking forever, but we are doing our best to stay patient. She continues to impress us with her attitude and outlook. She’s very athletic and grew tired of laying around after week 2. Although her incision is healed and she feels great, the anchored parts of the hardware need more time to heal. She has zero pain.

February 18, 2018 Lillie is just shy of eleven weeks’ post op. Tomorrow is the day Lillie gets her first lengthening with her MAGEC rods. She isn’t nervous or afraid about any of it. We will find out if her rods, screws, and hooks are secure enough in her spine to start back dance. She is more than ready to get back to doing what she loves most!

February 19, 2018 She had her first lengthening today by Dr. King, he did 5 mm on each rod. It lasts only a couple minutes and it was very painful for Lillie. Thankfully, our sweet friend Jackie was able to give her some Tylenol to ease the pain afterwards. Next time, we will be sure to give her something beforehand. This is something she will do every 3 months. Eleven weeks’ post op, he said Lillie is healing perfectly. She also got cleared to get back to dance! She cannot do back bends, no trampolines, or anything with hard impact. We are so grateful she gets to start doing again what she loves most!

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

GARY GUINIGUNDO PHOTOGRAPHY

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What an amazingly courageous little girl she is to undergo this at such a young age. Our staff got to spend a little bit of time with her in the park, her smile never ceased. A true testament of bravery and the power of positivity. After all, as people, we believe what we see. To be inspired by another is to be reminded that what stirs us so deeply about someone else is, in fact, possible within ourselves. When truly motivation people come along, they make others believe too. Lillie’s courageous character and vivacious personality is a truly inspiring and we thank her sweet family for sharing her story.


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Enjoy the benefits of personal service with Jeff, Ashley, and our Private Banking staff who can assist with all of your commercial and residential lending, asset management, and personal and business deposit account needs. We’re proud to say that Jeff, Ashley, and many other Progressive Bank team members lend support through leadership and volunteer efforts that enhance our local community. In fact, in recognition of their efforts, both Jeff and Ashley have each been awarded the Monroe Chamber of Commerce ‘James M. Shipp, Jr. Memorial Young Business Leader Award’, and have been recognized as a ‘Top 20 Under 40 Young Professional’. YMCA of Northeast Louisiana Board Chair

Jeffrey Laudenheimer

NOVA Workforce Institute Board of Directors Neville Alumni and Friends (NAFA) Volunteered as a United Way of NE LA Agency Operations Evaluator and as a coach for Monroe Youth Baseball

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Member and Past President of Junior League of Monroe

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Sr. Vice President Sr. Private Banking Relationship Mgr. 318-651-5046

Administrative Vice Chair for Northeast Louisiana Arts Council United Way of NE LA Regional Campaign Team Leader Communications Chairman for Lexington Elementary PTO Volunteered with American Heart Association, The Children’s Advocacy Center and The Monroe Chamber of Commerce

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A LIFETIME OF

COLLECTING Dr. Kerry Anders collects coins, clocks, cars and friends GEORGIANN POTTS

Dr. Kerry Anders GARY GUINIGUNDO


WRITER’S NOTE: Life is filled with twists and turns, and all of them are fascinating — especially those that are completely unexpected. When I stepped into a classroom for the first time as a student-teacher at West Monroe High School (WMHS) working under the supervision of Star Hill and Dr. Wallace Jones, I had no idea how valuable that experience would be for me. From that beginning, my life has moved through layer upon layer of experiences. My career would twist and turn from high school teaching to university teaching to corporate consulting to university administration and then back to teaching again, this time in Louisiana’s libraries. Even though mine has been a winding path, at no time have I ever forgotten the joy that I felt at the end of that long-ago student-teaching semester when I turned in my grades and was offered a permanent teaching position at the school I had grown to love. It was there that I first met a collection of outstanding students who became for me the measure for what a good student should be. While I lost touch with many of those earliest students of mine, I still interact with a good number of them. It has been fun to watch them grow into the responsible adults that I fully expected them to become. I saw that promise in so many of them when they were teenagers. One of those earliest students saved my life, quite literally. This is his story, shared with my sincerest gratitude. GP

D

Early Influences

r. Kerry Lynn Anders never meets a stranger. His quick smile, infectious laugh, and natural warmth draw people to him. There is an openness about him that was present even in his teenage years when I first met him. A product of the best education that West Monroe, LA, could offer, Kerry enjoyed a childhood typical of so many born there in the late 1950s. West Monroe was no tiny Mayberry RFD, but it was neighborhood-centered and filled with good people who cared about their neighbors, their town, and their schools. “West Monroe was a wonderful town to grow up in,” Anders said. “I am grateful for that experience. Our neighborhood was adjacent to Highland Elementary so there were young children to play with in nearly every house.”

Early Years Anders’ father, J.L., was a salesman and his mother, Sue, worked at Glenwood Regional Medical Center as a switchboard operator. She also ran the answering service for the medical staff at Glenwood for over 30 years. They were both originally from Jackson Parish, but moved to Ouachita Parish when they married. They had two children, Kerry and his sister, Beverly, who now lives in Ruston, LA, and is a retired educator. As a high school student, Anders was more than just an excellent student. He also took vocal lessons from Estelle Sanders for eight years (junior high school through college) while participating in the West Monroe High School choir, Rebelaires, National Honor Society, Key Club, and Anchor Club. He also entered the lo-

through the classroom and through my sponsorship of the Interact Club, I realized that they really were an exceptional group of young people. I learned from other faculty that Anders had a beautiful voice, something that I likely would not have known otherwise. He never boasted about that talent or any other. As a special favor to speech and drama teacher, Linda Townsend, I agreed to help her with the spring high school play. She had decided to present three one-act plays instead of the usual single three-act play. This, she believed, would give even more students the opportunity to experience acting in a live performance. Trying out for the plays was a great group of students, Anders among them. We cast him in a futuristic play that required a significantly higher level of acting than most high school productions do. He pulled it off perfectly. That underscored for me the belief that he would have a successful life in whatever career he ultimately chose. He graduated, and I left WMHS soon after to begin work on a Master’s degree at the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM). One “addiction” that Anders shared with his father was a love for old clocks. His father collected them, refurbishing some and reselling others. Along the way, J.L. taught Anders the joy of the “hunt” to find just the right clock. This early influence came to fruition in the 1980s when Anders began amassing his own clock collection. Through his mother’s work at Glenwood, Anders met a beloved local physician, the late Dr. Fred Bennett. Bennett was a successful surgeon, well respected in the medical profession, and someone Anders admired. Bennett became a mentor for Anders and was a strong influence on Anders’ decision to pursue a medical career. “I observed Dr. Bennett’s kind, gentle treatment of people who were sick and needed him,” Anders remembered. “It made quite an impression on me.”

Dr. Anders in his 20s.

University and Medical School cal workforce, working part-time after school and on weekends at Brookshire’s Grocery. His most vivid memory of his workdays was that he was trained to speak to each customer he encountered in the store. “Speaking to complete strangers was not a natural thing for a teenaged boy to do,” he explained. “It definitely helped me to be more outgoing when meeting people.”

And Now – A Teacher’s Perspective Kerry Anders was a slightly built, goodlooking young man when I joined the English faculty at West Monroe High. As I got to know him and his friends better both

Anders enrolled as a pre-med student at ULM in 1974. During his four years there, he was active in AED, the pre-med honorary fraternity, serving as that group’s president in 1977-1978. Two professors in the biology department made special impressions on the young college student during his undergraduate work. Dr. Melinda Kincaid was his comparative anatomy teacher who he remembers as being “. . . a positive, enthusiastic individual and excellent teacher.” Dr. Bill Norris taught all of the pre-med students embryology and histology. Anders remembers that Norris “ . . . always demanded our best.” Anders’ favorite class, however, was

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Kerry Anders and Leah Alexander in 1978.

human physiology. Dr. B.L. Ricks was an outstanding instructor, of course, but there is another reason that this was Anders’ favorite class. This was the class where he met the young woman who would become his wife. At the time, Leah Alexander was a 19-year-old junior pharmacy major from Shreveport, LA. Since Dr. Ricks seated his students alphabetically, Anders happily found himself seated right behind Miss Alexander. When the class had to team up as lab partners, Anders quickly asked her to be his. “A friend of mine had told me that she was the best student in her year of Pharmacy School, so I knew she could help me,” Anders explained. The two began studying together and through that became close friends. In the spring of 1978, they began dating. As he had in high school,

Anders worked in addition to taking classes. He worked nights for United Parcel Service (UPS) unloading and loading trucks. He also worked at E.A. Conway Medical Center one summer as an orderly in the emergency department. It was there that he encountered another medical professional willing to mentor him. Maggie Nordman, R.N., recognized both Anders’ youth and his aptitude for medicine and gave him valuable support. Another summer he worked at Glenwood as a “gopher” for both the X-ray department and central supply. During his last two years at the university, he worked parttime as a youth minister at the First United Methodist Church in West Monroe. “All of these experiences helped me in my career as a primary care physician,” Anders recalled. Although he had already been accepted to LSU-New Orleans Medical School, Anders selected LSU-Shreveport instead when he was accepted there. “My new girlfriend and the proximity to home made it an easy decision,” Anders said.

Below: David Barnes, Kerry Anders, Gary Jones, Art Yarbrough, Dean Stockstill, Mike Hayward

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In 1980, Anders married Miss Alexander, who was by now a registered pharmacist. She worked as a pharmacist while he finished medical school. In 1982, they moved to Columbus, GA, where Anders was to begin a residency in family medicine. They lived there for three years while Anders continued his studies and Leah continued her career as a hospital pharmacist. Since her hours were often as long as his, the couple developed early on a clear understanding of the demands that a medical career brings. Medical school was challenging, but rewarding, and Anders enjoyed the experience. When he had to choose a residency field, he chose family medicine. “It was the one area in medicine that would allow me to follow my patients throughout their lives and to treat them as friends,” Anders explained. “If I had the chance to choose again, I would still choose family practice, because it fits my personality, and I enjoy going to work every day.”

Establishing a Private Practice In 1985, Anders and Dr. Gary Jones began their medical practice together. They recruited Dr. David Barnes, Dr. Dean Stockstill, Dr. Mike Hayward, Dr. Art Yarbrough, and Dr. Keith Calhoun to join them on the North Monroe Hospital campus. Over the years, this group was to be instrumental in bringing about many good changes in healthcare for north Louisiana. On his very first weekend on call after coming to Monroe, LA, Anders experienced firsthand the quality of medical care available to residents in the area. He had a patient in extreme distress who had come to the emergency room for help. Anders suspected an abdominal aortic aneurysm and asked the ER doctor for the name of the best surgeon in town. He told Anders to call Dr. Dan Sartor. Sartor left a performance at the Monroe Civic Center to join Anders and examine his patient. They decided that the patient would have to have surgery, and Anders asked Sartor if he could assist. Sartor agreed. While they were scrubbing, the patient’s aneurysm ruptured making the situation immediately extremely critical. “Over the next three or four hours, Dr. Dan showed me his mastery of the surgery suite,” Anders remembered. “I thought that night how lucky Ouachita Parish is to have the caliber of physicians who live and work here.” Over the years, Anders’ practice grew. To date, he has seen and treated over 25,000 patients from north Louisiana and south Arkansas. Each one he thinks of as a personal friend. Many have been with him since his earliest experiences in medicine. Several of his current patients were people whom he first met while he was an undergraduate

Dr. Anders and his family in Colorado in 1998

and working as a youth minister. “It is a joy and privilege to care for them and their families,” Anders said, “Because they helped and encouraged me when I was a young man.” Along with his practice, Anders has served the community in many ways. He was Chief of Staff for both North Monroe Hospital and St. Francis Regional Medical Center, and he was president of the Ouachita Parish Medical Society. His work as Chief of Staff at St. Francis and with the parish Medical Society was especially satisfying, because it allowed him to work with all of the physicians in the parish. Other areas of service to which Anders has lent his time and ideas include the United Way of Northeast Louisiana, the ULM Foundation Board, and a number of committees for North Monroe Baptist Church.

And Now — A Patient’s Perspective When Kerry first moved back to Monroe to start his practice, he called me to “catch up” and to predict that his wife would become one of my very best friends. He was absolutely right. Leah quickly became a treasured confidant and a partner in crime. It seems that we share the same sense of humor and love for practical jokes. . . Kerry became our family physician and kept us well and healthy, taking care of the occasional illness with dispatch. It was not until early September 2001 that his skills were going to be put to the test as far as I was concerned. What began as a sluggish “unwell” feeling in the morning hours developed into a raging fever of 104 and a thundering headache complete with distorted vision by

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Dr. Anders and family in 2012

PHOTO BY MARY DAWSON

early evening. Jim called Kerry and asked for help. He told us to meet him at the emergency room at North Monroe Hospital. I remember only a little of that terrible night — the headache overrode nearly everything else. Kerry called in Dr. Michael Boykin, neurologist, who performed a spinal tap to get a confirmed diagnosis — St. Louis encephalitis. Over the next several weeks in the hospital and the several months afterward that I spent at home recovering, I experienced Kerry’s best medical care. I saw, for the first time in my life really, just how horrible an illness can be and how important the care one receives truly is. I was Kerry’s first encephalitis patient, and together we fought not just the disease, but also the possible aftereffects. We reversed roles — now HE was the teacher, directing my recovery. Of the 60+ patients who contracted St. Louis encephalitis that late summer and early fall here in north Louisiana, most agree that I have had the best outcome.

Family Joys Not long after Anders moved back to

Monroe, he and Leah began their family. Together, they decided that Leah would put her own career on hold and devote her time to rearing their children. Over the years they had four children – two daughters and two sons. All of the children have grown into successful adults in their own right. Katie has a doctorate in Mathematics and teaches at the University of Texas - Tyler, Alex and Michael are both medical doctors, and Caroline is completing a Master’s degree in accounting. Since they all live out of state, the Anders enjoy going to visit their children whenever possible. Although retirement is not eminent, Anders does look forward to having more time to spend with Leah and to continue his collecting. A hobby that began because of his dad’s influence has over the years become a way for Anders to “connect” with his patients who also collect “old” things like coins, cars, and clocks. His latest acquisition is a 1976 Toyota Land Cruiser that a patient from Arkansas gave him. Over the past two years, Anders has carefully restored it to original condition.

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Of all of the things that Kerry has collected over the nearly six decades of his life, friends are clearly the most important. He has kept in touch with people he grew up with, went to school with, has worked with, and those he has treated. His empathy towards people and his genuine interest in them and in their lives are the things that set this physician apart from others. His patients respect him, admire him, trust him, and genuinely like him. When I recently asked Kerry’s firstborn, Katie, what she thinks makes her father a superb doctor, this is what she said: “My dad has a wonderful combination of knowledge and love for people.He had an excellent medical education and training, but his personality has been just as important to his career.He truly sees his long-term patients as dear friends. He not only loves getting to help them medically, but also hearing about what is going on in their lives and families. One of his favorite things about his job is getting to see these friends at work every day.” Exactly right, Katie. Exactly right.


What a Specialty Store Should Be

109 N. TRENTON, SUITE A RUSTON • 251-9599

2252 TOWER DR, SUITE 108 MONROE • 323-7223 DELTA STYL E MAGAZIN E | APRIL 2018 | 47


Calling A ll Go lfe rs St. Francis Medical Center Foundation 7th Annual Golf Classic Classic Reception: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 with special guest Thomas Morstead, New Orleans Saints Punter #6

Classic Tournament: Thursday, April 26, 2018

Sponsorships and teams available now! Register at www.stfran.com and click on Foundation/Support or call (318) 966-7731 or email laura.daniel@fmolhs.org Proceeds benefit services for women and children at St. Francis Medical Center.

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It’s

Spring Cleaning

season at

MN-1000679183

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

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Bone Building

for Seniors Sessions held on Mondays Introduction to Pilates for Bone Building 10:00am Learn precautions, proper posture, principles of alignment, core control and breathing for injury rehabilitation and bone building exercises. Pilates for Bone Building 6:00pm Level 2 Intermediate program for those who can get to the oor for exercise. We do standing balance, leg and back strengthening and Pilates-based core exercises for a bone building workout.

Glenwood Medical Mall 102 Thomas Rd, Suite 501 West Monroe Outpatient Therapy Sports Gym, Suite 501 (Entrance #5) Instructor: Sherri Betz, PT, DPT, GCS, PMA-CPT Cost: $30 for 6 week series

To enroll and pay, go to glenwoodregional.org or call 318-329-4770.


Local Legacy

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Tara Ambrose went to one of the oldest and most successfully restaurants in town, the Cheniere Shack. TARA AMBROSE PHOTOS BY GARY GUINIGUNDO

T

wenty-five years is a quarter of a century, two and a half decades, and that is precisely how long Robin and Terry LaForge have been serving the people of northeast Louisiana at The Cheniere Shack in West Monroe. I personally found the Cheniere Shack about 18 years ago when I first moved into the West Monroe/Calhoun area. I recall my grandparents coming down from Bastrop to meet the family for various special occasions, like birthdays or special holidays, and we would always choose the Cheniere Shack. My grandfather’s favorite dish was the “Shack Steak,” consisting of a hamburger steak, served with sautéed bell peppers, onions and Cheniere Shack’s signature brown gravy. My grandmother has always loved their crispy catfish filets, which remind me very much of Middendorf’s Seafood in Akers, LA. Personally, I cannot visit the Cheniere Shack without indulging in their fabulous shrimp sampler platter, comprised of shrimp cooked four ways – blackened, boiled, fried and grilled. Feeling a little adventurous, add a cup of their signature gumbo, your favorite side and you will never go wrong with any of the wonderful menu items the LaForge family offers. Literally started from the remnants of an old shack, Robin’s amazing woodworking and Terry’s fabulous cooking has turned this restaurant into one of our areas go-to staples. “We opened with five tables in 1993,” Robin said as he pointed to the photos on the wall in the hallway of their establishment. “It’s always all about family,” Terry said with a smile beaming. “The first major addition was in 1998 when we added 2,000 square feet,” Robin explained while moving from room to room. Their newest expansion to the establishment is a party room that will accommodate larger gatherings, groups, luncheons and the like. The walls are lined with “vinyls,” (the term used back in the day to describe long playing records), all from the private collections of both Robin and Terry. Robin went through the room pointing out which belonged to him and those that were Terry’s selections, all from when they were dating. The absolute attention to detail in every facet of this restaurant comes forward, and the exquisite carpentry work

Robin and Terry LaForge, owners of the Cheniere Shack

Cheniere Shack Location: 7975 Cypress Street, West Monroe, Louisiana Telephone: 318-396-9754 Website: www.cheniereshackrestaurant.com Open: Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Crawfish Season is in full swing from now until the end of May!

performed by Robin is simply outstanding – proof positive of the love and hard work that these owners have put into their business, and in the center of it all is a beautifully carved stone that simply reads “Tail Whopping Good.” “When I was growing up, that was the phrase we used to describe something that was very good,” Robin elaborated, and I can certainly see why he would have kept using it all these years at the Cheniere Shack. In addition to the detail in the woodwork, Terry LaForge has left no stone un-

Gumbo and cornbread

turned in her tireless efforts on the culinary end. “A lot of people do not know this, but we hand wash all of our seafood and fish every morning before anything is ever cooked,” Terry explained. “In addition,

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Shrimp Sampler Platter

we also hand peel our potatoes for our mashed potatoes.” She went on to say and this is precisely why Cheniere Shack has the loyal following that it has had for the last 25 years. Not only do the LaForge family ensure quality in their savory dishes, Terry is also at the helm of the scratch made chocolate, coconut cream pies, chocolate truffle cake, and coconut cream cake — all of which are offered daily to the patrons of this wonderful establishment. Need a whole pie to take to a gathering? Then look no further than the Cheniere Shack for a sure-fire crowd pleaser, but do not take my word for it, go visit the LaForge family yourself, and try each of these fabulous dishes and more. One need not look outside of our own area to find great local flavor, excellent service which support our local small business owners. For more photographs of this restaurant and more, follow Tara’s Taste of the Town on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TarasTasteOfTheTown.

Chocolate Truffle Cake

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Shack Steak


COCKTAIL THE HONEY BEE

A cocktail to get you in the mood for spring! There is nothing like the first warm, sunny day of the season. Put aside the warmer, deeper flavors of winter and embrace the brighter flavors of this time of year. Light and refreshing, this cocktail makes the most of crisp, seasonal flavors and local honey.

Honey Bee INGREDIENTS • 2 oz. light rum • 2 oz. dark rum • 1/2 tbs. honey

• 1/2 tbs. warm water • 1/2 oz. lemon juice • splash of ginger ale

DIRECTIONS: Stir honey and warm water in a cocktail shaker until honey is dissolved. Add rum and lemon juice, shake with cracked ice, then strain into chilled cocktail glass and finish off with ginger ale. Garnish with lemon slices and rosemary.

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PROGRESSIVE FINANCIAL ADVISORS, LLC A Subsidiary of Progressive Bank

Your

Trent Crawford, Financial Advisor, RJFS Trent.Crawford@RaymondJames.com (318) 651-5025

Ramona Putnam, Branch Office Coordinator Ramona.Putnam@RaymondJames.com (318) 651-5012

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Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. member FINRA/SIPC, and are NOT deposits, NOT insured by FDIC or any other governmental agency, NOT GUARANTEED by Progressive Bank, are subject to risk, and may lose value. Investment Advisory services offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc. Progressive Financial Advisors, LLC and Progressive Bank are not registered broker/dealers and are independent of Raymond James.

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YOUNG PROFESSIONALS • Young Professionals meet at Flying Tiger 68 | A P R IL 2018 | D E LTA S T Y LE M AGA ZI N E

2018 Leadership Ouachita Retreat at Cypress Bend

BACK OFFICE DAY AT CENTURYLINK

2018 CAREER FAIR

MN-1000682109

Congressional Update with Congressman Abraham


Go the natural way when it comes to allergy relief ANGIE O’PRY BLADES

owner of Fiesta Nutrition Center

The lush greenery and beautiful flowers Louisiana we enjoy comes with a penance for some in the form of seasonal allergies. In the world of herbals and homeopathy there are numerous alternatives to traditional treatments that really truly work. I would like to introduce our top players in the field of allergy relief. Get out and enjoy our beautiful blooming city… without sneezing!

Dr. King’s Regional Allergies (Southern U.S.) This homeopathic formula addresses symptoms from the allergens of our southern region’s specific trees, flowers, grasses and molds. This formula may offer relief from hayfever, sinus headache, tickling in nose, hoarseness, watery eyes and lung congestion. It comes in a spray to be taken under the tongue. Breathe X Containing the best of ingredients to support normal histamine production and boost immune function.

Renewal Silver Nasal Spray This silver-based nasal spray beats all others with the addition of peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils to open the sinus passages . This spray is safe to use unlimited times per day.

Nightwell From the makers of the world-renowned Wellness Formula is a nighttime formula to encourage good sleep if you’re under the weather . This fast-acting liquid also contains “ getwell “ herbals like elderberry, echinacea , and ginger.

Located in Fiesta Nutrition Center | 1211 N. 18th Street | Monroe, LA | fiestanutrition.com | MN-1000683986

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Leah Lopez

TALKS on TOWER

Community Educator

Faith. Family. Food. Hours: M-Th 10AM to 9PM • F-S 10AM to 10PM CLOSED SUNDAYS 125 Constitution Drive • 884-DUCK (3825) www.williesduckdiner.com •

“Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency Donor Process and How to Register” Presented by:

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Thursday, April 12th

12:00 Noon - Lunch Provided

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P - 318.388.8885 | F - 318.388.8822 2483 Tower Drive Unit 5 • Monroe, LA. 71201 www.yoursummit.com 70 | A P R IL 2018 | D E LTA S T Y LE M AGA ZI N E

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4 Ways to Stay Safe During a Severe Wind Event By: Paulen Luttgeharm

I don’t just see a customer. I see you.

During severe weather events like hurricanes and tornadoes, winds can reach speeds greater than 100 miles per hour. But even winds at 25 miles per hour can damage homes and property. Take a few simple steps to learn disaster preparedness and prepare your family and home for the possibility of severe winds.

Develop an emergency plan Proper planning can help save your family from injury and inconvenience when severe weather strikes. Prepare your family for severe winds by creating a disaster preparedness plan, including a disaster survival kit and an emergency evacuation plan. Stay informed Getting up-to-the-minute information is an important part of staying safe in any weather emergency. When severe weather threatens, tune in to a NOAA Weather Radio or batterypowered radio for updates. A high wind advisory means that sustained winds of over 25 miles per hour are predicted. Thunderstorm, tornado, and hurricane warnings should be taken very seriously, as they mean that severe weather has been spotted and is on its way. Find shelter When severe winds occur, move to the middle of your home or basement, away from windows and glass doors. Try to take cover under a staircase or a heavy piece of furniture. Do not stay in a manufactured home during severe winds. They are easily overturned by

high winds, and flying debris can puncture their light frames and exteriors. If you live in an area prone to severe winds, you may want to build a safe room in your home. A safe room is an area of your home that has been reinforced to provide protection from broken glass and flying debris. An experienced contractor can build a safe room with a reinforced roof, walls, and ceilings in a new or existing home. Wherever you seek shelter, be sure to bring your family disaster kit with you. Secure your property If there is sufficient warning before the onset of severe winds, move garbage cans, patio furniture, grills, and other potentially windborne objects inside your home or garage. In the future, you may want to consider replacing gravel or rock landscaping materials with shredded bark. Vehicles and boats are also at risk during a severe wind event. Store vehicles in a garage or other enclosure. Moor boats securely. If your boat is ashore in a jack stand, strap the boat down when possible.

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Dianne Newcomer tell us the opportunities we have to travel the globe

THE purple IN OUR WORLD DIANNE NEWCOMER

I have been a travel agent at Monroe Travel Service for over 40 years, so I have seen some “stuff.” Yet, I still remain surprised, shocked and, sometimes, even appalled by the gimmicks, the hooks, and some of the strangest ideas imaginable used to promote products in our marketplace. I like advertising in the travel industry to those Super Bowl ads where the absurd is taken to the extreme. You know, the kind of ad where you turn to your partner and say, “Did you get that?” Let me give you an example of what I mean. Last month, it was not enough for Virgin Atlantic, a relative newbie airline in the industry, who came on the travel scene and dazzled the marketplace with its new planes, roomy leather seats, and excellent airfares. All of these are sufficiently fine reasons for the product to sell itself, but, somehow, someone, somewhere convinced Virgin Atlantic the way to promote their airline better would be to name their planes. This month, we saw “ The Daydream Believer,” one of Virgin Atlantic’s brand new Airbus A330-200 aircraft, flying the friendly skies from New York, NY, and Boston, MA, to Manchester, England. Although I did not understand the reason for the of naming of this new plane, I thought the catchy name was not a bad choice. Yet, what did send shivers down my spine, was the names chosen for their next two planes in their fleet; “ Scarlett O’Hara“ and “ Honky Tonk Woman “ are their new babies. Now, can’t you just see it? Passengers will soon be calling Monroe Travel Service and asking us to fly the “ Honky Tonk Woman.” Wait! There’s more! In the Upper Class Cabin on Virgin Atlantic’s “Honky Tonk Wom-

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an,” you are now given the opportunity to request one of the airline’s new seat styles, and, to no one’s surprise, these seats have names of their own, too. All you need do is ask for The Love Suite, The Freedom Suite, or the Corner Solo Suite, and you will be lying in comfort in a seat with direct aisle access. So, thanks to this advertising gimmick, you can now call us, and we will gladly reserve The Love Suite on Honky Tonk Woman. Just when I thought that airline promotion sounded a little strange, I read about this really cool place opening this summer in Alaska’s Denali National Park. At the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge, a custom-designed tree house has just opened. This 500-square foot addition gives guests the chance to see the south face of Denali Mountain from a vantage point high above the trees. What an amazing view that must be! This tree house option, which is part of the Princess’ cruise/tour program that we sell at Monroe Travel this summer, sounds like an unbelievable wilderness experience in itself, but, then, they got too cute with a concept that was already perfect in my mind. The idea of a tree house in the middle of the woods with a million dollar view had to be the most ingenious travel “gimmick” ever! Still, someone thought they needed a little something more. They could not just let the one-with-nature concept sell itself so, they created the tree house “experience.” Included in this program is a whole array of themed activities including Sappy Hour, during which travelers gather in the tree house for a sampling of birch syrups and


other tree-inspired products, a Trivia at the Tree house game time, and a Tales from the Sourdough (hiking) Expedition. All that “fluff” of themed activities just strikes me as strange, and I sincerely believe those advertising gurus have missed the mark. If I wanted to stay in a tree house in the woods, I certainly would not want some “sappy” experiences, which brings me to my final point: there is no need for “gimmicks” like these in our travel market because the beauty in our world sells itself! I think my favorite line from the movie “The Color Purple” says it best: “I think it really annoys God if you walk by the color purple in a field and do not even notice.” It is exactly how I feel about travel. This planet is ours to enjoy. God gave us the keys to this great museum. It is ours to see, to study, to understand, and to cherish. We have been made heirs to all its treasures — past and present — so how can we not get out there and enjoy all “the purple” HE has created especially for us? Travel is what inspires me, and, since this month’s DeltaStyle is all about being inspired, I wanted to share five trips we sell at Monroe Travel Service that are sure to immerse you in “the purple” and hopefully inspire you to get out there and appreciate all the wonder that surrounds us! Check out just a few of my favorite trips that do just that:

Discover Glacier National Park, Hells Canyon & Washington Wine Country Take 10 days, fly to Seattle WA, visit Mt. Rainer National Park’s 14,000 foot peak before heading to the Wine Country. Enjoy the fruits of this area, then cross into Idaho and travel the Snake River on the same route of Lewis and Clark. Relax on the beautiful shores of Lake Coer d’Alene before heading into Glacier National Park for a three night stay at Whitefish before heading back to Seattle with a stop in Spokane. » 10 days, 13 meals, with hotels and sightseeing » Tour Departs Weekly JulySept: $3,279 each

Best of Ireland and Scotland Pretty pink heather and perfectly stunning emerald green landscapes can be yours to enjoy on this 15-day, three country journey that visits Dublin, Belfest, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Learn about the rugged beauty, the myths, the legends, the castles and the blood battles as you travel the beautiful countryside from Dublin to Edinburgh, Including a stay on the Isle of Skye! » 15 days, 20 meals, with hotels and sightseeing » Tour Departures Weekly May-Sept: $3,595 each

Ultimate Iceland Roam through desolate landscapes and extraordinary natural wonders following the foot-

We travel

steps of the mighty Viking explorers on the remarkable little island of Iceland. You will see a wonderland of fjords and waterfalls, geysers and glacier as you travel round-trip from the quirky capital of Reykjavik. This is your chance to cross the largest mass of lava to have ever flowed on the face of the earth and play in the healing warm waters of Iceland’s famous geothermal Blue Lagoon. » 10 days, 16 meals, with hotels and sightseeing » Tour Departures Weekly May-Sept: $6,025 each

Best of the Hawaiian Islands You cannot miss the “color purple” in the islands of Hawaii; it is everywhere! On this fully escorted trip that starts in Honolulu and ends in Maui, you will capture the spirit of the islands as you visit Pearl Harbor on Oahu, the Volcanic National Park on the Big Island, and Iao Valley and Haleakala National Park on Maui. Of course, you will be staying at beachfront hotels where that beautiful Pacific Ocean is yours to enjoy for free. » 10 days, 14 meals, with hotels and sightseeing » Tour Departures Monthly April-Dec.: $3,279 each

Cruise from New Orleans With summer just around the corner, why not grab a balcony cabin on the Carnival DREAM sailing from New Orleans and show the kids something different than the beaches of Alabama and Florida? This 7-day adventure to the Caribbean lets them

experience the diversity of the islands of Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, enjoy the fun activities of the ship, meet new people from around the country, and sit through a meal without snapchatting, instagramming or facebooking! A cruise is a great excuse to remove everyone from the problems of the every day and reconnect again while seeing the beauty around us-and it is probably almost as cheap as seven days on Orange Beach! The DREAM sails out every Sunday from New Orleans. » 7-day cruise, all meals and entertainment, port taxes and government fees » June 10 departure with a balcony cabin for a family of four: $3,547 I am sure you realize I could go on and on and on but there is just not enough print to cover all the places in the world you need to see! Our world is an amazing playground! Start thinking about where you want to play in 2018, and come visit us at Monroe Travel Service. Let us show you the way to the wonder in our world. Who knows? It just might be closer —and more affordable — than you would ever know. Go see all you can for as long as you can is my motto, and I hope you make it yours, too! Dianne Newcomer is a travel agent at Monroe Travel Service, located at 1908 Glenmar, right next door to the Muffin Tin. For all your travel needs, call 318323-3465 or email info@monroetravel.com. Their service is free, and their advice is priceless.

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318 323 3465 info@monroetravel.com DELTA STYL E MAGAZIN E | APRIL 2018 | 73


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OGLESBY FINANCIAL GROUP Home is Wherever You Make It

Darren Oglesby, Registered Financial Consultant

“There’s no place like home.”1 Conjuring an image of ‘home’ was a lot easier for Dorothy than it is for people who are on the cusp of retirement. After all, isn’t retirement supposed to be a new start? Aren’t retirees supposed to wave goodbye to friends and family as they head for new adventures in warmer climates? Shouldn’t the latter decades of life be spent traveling in golf carts down palm-lined streets and tipping umbrella-studded cocktails? While southern migration has played a role in many retirements, the Milken Institute suggests today’s retirees may be seeking a different type of retirement experience. “They are launching companies and nonprofits, climbing mountains, creating apps, and mentoring youth. They increasingly seek lifelong engagement and purpose.”2 Often, older Americans are finding these experiences close to their hometowns. While many retirees move, most – 60 percent on average – land within 20 miles of their previous homes. They tend to remain close to family and friends and age in familiar communities. Just one-fifth move more than 200 miles away, according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.3 Those who settle farther from home may choose their destinations because they offer engaging programs and valued amenities. In its 2017 report on the Best Cities for Successful Aging, the Milken Institute pointed out, “Longevity is linked to location.”2 It’s not too surprising to learn a wealth of factors, including education, income, access to health care, food choices, smoking rates, exercise, safety of housing, and pollution, affect life expectancy and quality of life. However, the cities that provide

the best environments for aging in place may be unexpected. For 2017, the report identified these large cities as the best for aging in place:2 1. Provo-Orem, Utah Top traits: General livability, wellness, and education Areas for improvement: Affordability and health and wellness

4. Columbia, Missouri Top traits: Healthcare, education, and financial security Areas for improvement: General livability and community engagement 5. Sioux Falls, South Dakota Top traits: Financial security, community engagement, and healthcare Areas for improvement: Wellness, living arrangements, transportation, and convenience

2. Madison, Wisconsin Top traits: Community engagement and wellness Areas for improvement: Employment and living arrangements 3. Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina Top traits: Healthcare, education, and financial security Areas for improvement: Safety and resources and unhealthy trends 4. Salt Lake City, Utah Top traits: Healthcare, education, and financial security Areas for improvement: Quality of life obstacles 5. Des Moines-West Des Moines, Iowa Top traits: Financial security, healthcare, and employment Areas for improvement: Wellness, transportation, and convenience The top five list for smaller cities includes:

2

1. Iowa City, Iowa Top traits: Healthcare, education, transportation, and convenience Areas for improvement: Financial security and living arrangements 2. Manhattan, Kansas Top traits: Education, healthcare, and financial security Areas for improvement: Health and air quality 3. Ames, Iowa Top traits: Education, general livability, transportation, and convenience Areas for improvement: Employment and living arrangements

As you peruse the list, you may notice many of these cities are college towns. In addition, Sun Belt cities don’t dominate the choices, as some might guess. In fact, overall, Frost Belt cities appear to have a combination of factors that make them more attractive to older Americans.2 There are, of course, caveats that affect the results of the research:2 • First, the index does not measure cultural diversity. • Second, not all aspects of cities lend themselves to datadriven research, so some important attributes – both positive and negative – may not be considered. • Third, negative factors may offset positive factors and affect a city’s rank. For instance, “a region struggling to emerge from economic doldrums and job shortages – which drag down its ‘Best Cities’ ranking – may at the same time be developing an admirable neighborhood ‘village’ pilot program, with transportation and services that enhance independent living for older residents.” There is no right answer when it comes to deciding where to live during retirement. You may choose to live in a city that ranks high among these lists, stay in a beloved current city or town, or move to an entirely new locale. The key is giving serious thought to your preferences before you reach retirement age and making sure you have the financial resources to make it happen. If you would like to talk about your plans for retirement, give us a call.

Sources: 1 https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/3242.L_Frank_Baum 2 http://successfulaging.milkeninstitute.org/2017/BCSA-2017.pdf 3 http://crr.bc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/wp_2009-16-508.pdf Securities offered through “Your B/D Name Here”, Member FINRA/SIPC. This material was prepared by Carson Group Coaching. Carson Group Coaching is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer.

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.

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DELTA STYL E MAGAZIN E | APRIL 2018 | 75


P.E.O. conducts business GEORGIANN POTTS

The charming Garden District home of Melanie McStravick was the perfect setting for a meeting of P.E.O. Chapter AE members. This meeting was essentially a business meeting during which a number of key items were addressed. Included in the discussion was the adoption of a slate of AE officers for 2018-2019, a review of the financial condition of the chapter and how funds would be distributed, and preliminary plans for an upcoming garage sale to raise additional funds. A highlight of the meeting was the reading of the President’s Letter, something that occurs annually as a summary of the chapter’s achievements during the closing club year. The letter is heard by the chapter membership and then forwarded to the State chapter. The outgoing president, Felicia Kostelka, read her letter to the delight of those gathered. In the letter, Kostelka reminded the chapter of the progress that had been made during this past club year. She thanked the officers who had worked tirelessly with her, and urged the group to continue the good work. McStravick and her hostess committee, Stella McStravick, Terri Hayward, and Travis Breard did everything to make the ladies feel welcome and comfortable. A beautiful seasonal door decoration made everyone smile as they entered. The home’s dining table held twin sphere-shaped topiaries of red azaleas standing above delicious brunch dishes. Enjoying themselves were Felicia Kostelka, Travis Breard, Terri Hayward, Mary Grace Bozeman, Yvette Greer, Annetta Hill, Michelle Brown, Lauretta Tucker, Tency Tarver, Frances Jakes, Georgiann Potts, Loura Barr, Joy Loomis, Ann McClendon, Carolyn Myrick, Stella McStravick, Linda Taylor, Stephanie Schaeffer, Ann Hargon, and Melanie McStravick. P.E.O. (Philanthropic Educational Organization), one of the pioneer societies for women, was founded on January 21,

Above: Lauretta Tucker, Joy Loomis, Annetta Hill, and Frances Jakes At right: P.E.O. Chapter AE hostesses for the group’s business meeting — Stella McStravick and Travis Breard (seated) and Melanie McStravick and Terri Hayward (standing).

1869, by seven students at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. 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.

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Lose that wreath! MGC meets to celebrate Valentine’s Day, Mardi Gras GEORGIANN POTTS

As members of the Monroe Garden Club (MGC) arrived recently at Bayou DeSiard Country Club fighting through everpresent rains and cold winds, many were heard declaring that if spring did not come soon, they were not sure what might happen! It was a gray, damp day to be sure, but once indoors their spirits lifted. The meeting fell on a “double-holiday” for Louisiana — St. Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras (aka Fat Tuesday). While some members were down south enjoying the revelry there, many remained in our region and were more than ready to celebrate right here at home. Setting the tone were twin hearts centering each of the club’s French doors and primary entry. The hearts were created from clusters of red blooms, creating a striking contrast to the bright white doors themselves. The urns on either side of the entry repeated the heart theme, featuring floral hearts and “plantings” of red tulips, all enhanced by deep green ivy overflowing the urns’ rims and studded with subtle “twinkle” mini lights. Who could remain sour and grumpy with that kind of vista greeting her? Just inside, a glorious arrangement of red roses and red carnations seemed to burst from a gilded vase grounded by a crystal platform. The vase featured two cherubs holding up the mass bouquet — the perfect touch for Valentine’s. A few steps more brought the ladies to the Great Hall display that was a deceptively simple study of love in red, white, and gold. A gilded cupid stood in the center, holding a single, perfect red rose. Three cream vases in graduated sizes each held different flowers — one, blooming white quince branches; another, roses in red and pink; and the third, red carnations. All stood on a lush deep-red velvet cloth about which were “tossed” beautiful red and gold hearts. A gilded sign heralded the word “love” in simple script, bringing

Norene Smith and Charlotte Goodwin

Speaker Sherri Mowad creating a door hanger with a Mardi Gras theme

Janice Eason and Judy Haddad

Annetta Hill and Beverly Sivils

together the theme for the day. As the ladies enjoyed a tempting brunch (highlighted by a gorgeous King Cake, of course!) and sipped juice and coffee, they were filled with anticipation for the day’s business. The official slate of MGC officers for 2018-2019 would be revealed, the club’s annual business meeting would be held, and reports of ongoing activities including recycling would be given. It was to be a busy day! When the business was completed, Vicki Robinson introduced the day’s program — a demonstration of making door hangers for the upcoming seasons. The presenter, Sherri Mowad of Sherri Mowad Designs, was recognized by many from recent years when she worked in a local retail design center as an interior decorator and designer. What few had experienced previously, however, was the full power of Mowad’s delightful personality and charm. Both were in evidence on this day. The point of Mowad’s class was to show the ladies the ease with which truly attractive door hangers can be made. “Lose that wreath!” Mowad advised. “ Everyone has those. Be different!” As Mowad moved through her designs, she emphasized

that she is not a professional florist. “I do not know that much about plants or flowers, so I use what I like. That is my test when I am selecting plants,” she explained. Over the course of her demonstration, Mowad created five different versions of seasonal door hangers. Each was constructed in a different basic hanger, all readily available in our local market. The first was for Valentine’s Day and used simple hearts-on-a-stick forms plus small green plants which she simply left in their pots. The second was constructed using a simple, polka-dot umbrella door hanger. To this, Mowad added beads and greenery. Mardi Gras was not forgotten, as Mowad demonstrated with her third door hanger. She used potted plants, moss, and typical Mardi Gras decorations to complete the look. “Do not ‘gaud’ it up,” she warned. “Remember, most people will be driving by and will glance to see it. They will not hit the brakes to pick up details from your door!” At the midpoint of her demonstration, Mowad did a “time out” and taught the group how to make a bow. Doing the work step-by-step, she walked the members through several

Incoming MGC president, Alise Oliver; Outgoing MGC president, Thereze Nagem; and MGC president-elect, Vicki Robinson

Brenda Carso and Emily Nash PHOTOS BY GEORGIANN POTTS

tricks to making the perfect bow. She also pointed out the importance of placing the bows on the side opposite of the door handle. “You do not want to be hit by a bow every time you go in or come out,” she advised. For her final two door decorations, Mowad honored Easter and the summer season. For Easter, she used metal vegetable garden identification stakes, a plush bunny, and yellow lilies to celebrate the season. For her summer door decoration, she chose the simplest of items — potted greenery, moss, and whirly-gigs. The result was a happy, joyful “look” that is sure to please young and old alike. Chairing the meeting and responsible for the gorgeous decorations were Cindy Price, chairman; and her hostess committee Dixie Bishop, Travis Breard, Dianne Brown, Pat Cascio, Jane Conrad, Gretchen Dean, Judy Haddad, Anne Lockhart, Faith Marx, Susan Marx, Sharon Mills, Charlotte Moore, Linda Nelson, Betty Ann Nolan, Nancy Kay Peters, Carroll Sander, Barbara Trascher, and Peggy Turnbough. For more information, please visit www.monroegardenclub.com and like us on Facebook.

DELTA STYL E MAGAZIN E | APRIL 2018 | 77


Coming in April

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Curiosity does not have to harm your pet PLANTS TO AVOID TO KEEP PETS SAFE ROSE YOUNG-LEE

Whether in natural settings, parks or even privately-owned yards and homes, the varieties in species of trees, shrubs, plants and flowers create color, texture, scents and overall appearance that can beckon curious onlookers to come closer for a more personal inspection. Just as humans are tempted to take a closer look – or even smell and taste – pets are also prone to see plants as tempting treats. However, while humans are generally intelligent enough to steer clear of vegetation that may be hazardous to our health, the curious nature of cats and dogs can lead them to sample greenery that may be at odds with their health. Hence, plant lovers who also share their home with cats or dogs have to be selective of where flowers, plants, shrubs and even trees are placed in areas where pets have accessibility. In an interior environment, protecting a pet from poisoning by cut flowers or house plants is fairly simple: either place plants that have toxins within their bulbs, leaves, stems or roots where they are inaccessible to pets, or refrain from buying such flowers and plants altogether. On the other hand, keeping a pet safe outside may be trickier, especially if your dog or cat has a wide area to roam. There are two major issues that give cause for concerns; namely, how to keep your landscape from harming your pet and how to keep your pet from harming your landscape. It should be noted that there are some plants that are toxic to pets, but do not necessarily pose a threat if they are not suitable to the animal’s taste buds, such as azaleas and hosta. Yet many others are harmful to not only dogs and cats, but other animals (horses, goats, sheep, etc.) as well. In addition, if ingested, some common plants are identified as dangerous only to dogs, such as azaleas and mums; others as especially dangerous to cats, such as lilies; while others are designated as harmful to both cats and dogs, such as the yew plant and the autumn crocus.

Pay particular attention to expert-identified toxic plants The following list of common plants suitable for our southern environments – but harmful to a cat or dog’s health – is provided to help pet owners provide a safe living environment for their four-legged family members while still enjoying the natural beauty of plants and flowers. Anyone who loves flowers and greenery and keeps a lot of plants in and around their home that a dog or cat can nibble on will want to pay particular attention to the following list of plants, since they can be quite toxic to a feline or pooch. This list is by no means exhaustive. However, your veterinarian and the ASPCA website can provide a comprehensive list of plants that can irritate or even kill your pet.

House Plants These include flowers and plants from the florist that are typically received for holidays or special occasions, such as schefflera, cyclamen and amaryllis. While these pretty flowers are popular in both gardens and pots, they contain toxins that can be deadly to pets.

Health & Nutrition-Enhancing Plants These include marijuana, aloe vera and cilantro. Though effective for medicinal purposes or nutritional enhancement, the chemical composition of these plants can cause harm or death to cats and dogs. Hence, it is important for any pet owner to take precautions to keep their pets away from these plants.

Plants to avoid in the garden (seasonal favorites, vines, bedding plants)

Spring-blooming favorites that are also toxic to pets include lilies, tulips and azalea. Ultimately, ingestion of any of these can result in death. In addition, all species of the ivy family contain a toxic substance that can cause your pet gastrointestinal irritation. Finally, popular landscape staples that can cause quite a bit of discomfort to your pet are the chrysanthemum and the castor bean. Although both plants are popular for homes, parks and other public spaces, ingestion by your pet could lead to tremors, seizures, coma and death.

Most Dangerous Plants The sago palm variety of palm trees is dangerous for both dogs and cats. All parts of the sago

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are toxic, but especially the “nuts” or seeds. Even a seed or two can make your pet desperately ill. In addition, all varieties of the oleander plant are poisonous for both dogs and cats. This plant contains toxins that can cause sudden death from heart failure.

Symptoms If symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, difficult breathing, change in urine color, hyper-salivation, weakness, and any other abnormal condition are observed, you should seek medical attention immediately, as the animal may be poisoned. Other symptoms include lethargy and depression, drooling, abdominal pain, anorexia, tremors, increased heart rate, seizures, and coma. Fatalities have also been reported in some cases.

Keep your landscaping toxin free In addition to plants that can irritate or kill your pet, landscaping materials and chemical controls can also cause problems. For example, although cocoa mulch has a great smell and is a mostly soft on paws, if ingested by a dog, it can cause the same bad reactions as chocolate. Moreover, many types of bait for other pests can be fatal to pets. If baits must be used to combat pests such rats or snails, they should be placed out of reach of pets. A vast amount of information related to “petfriendly gardening” can be found on the Internet, including on the LSU AgCenter website, www.lsuagcenter.com.


May 3 - May 6 | Ike Hamilton Expo Center

Music Lineup: Thursday - ROSES & REVOLVERS & FRAMING THE RED. Friday - JOSH CLARK, THE BEARDED LADIES, BIG PO, & DEAD BY DAWN! Saturday - BLACK WATER BRAKE, KNUCKLESTONE, & LAINEY WILSON Sunday - CHOSEN STONE, JEREMY LOWE, MALORIE AKIN, & BRADLEY BRIDGES

Join us for

boiled crawfish • fair rides • games • live music • petting farm • snow cones face painting • raffles • crafts/clothes/hand made goodies • & much more!

FOR MORE INFORMATION, follow the event page on FACEBOOK! DELTA STYL E MAGAZIN E | APRIL 2018 | 81


HOMEand

nelachildrensmuseum MN-1000684077

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The Northeast Louisiana Children's Museum


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Delta Style April 2018  
Delta Style April 2018