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Better is Bigger

Our Emergency Department’s renovation and expansion helps us better respond to the emergent needs of our region. It’s also comforting to know that exceptional service, enhanced patient care, and the latest technologies are all close by.

Throughout the holidays and everyday, our doors are always open!

Wishing you a safe and joyous holiday season!

Glenwood Regional Medical Center A STEWARD FAMILY HOSPITAL



Holiday Gifts For Everyone On Your List

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1804 Louisville Ave., Monroe, LA 71201 MN-1000672299



Features 42 From Concept to Construction: Echols is Committed to the Community 50 Sparkle & Shine: Jazz up your wardrobe this holiday season with these perfect party looks 58 At home with‌The Mallards 64 Merry & Bright: Jewelry that wows 70 European Roots 74 Gifts for everyone on your list 76 Let it Snow: Warm up this Christmas with these flawless looks for the cold

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In Every Issue 11 14 15-22 29 32 94 88 82

Community Chatter Calendar Social Scenes My Favorite Things: Christmas Edition Delta Memories Gardening Tips with Rose Tara’s Taste of the Town Delta Destinations

Thank you for all of your support in making 2017 a fantastic year!

Merry&Christmas Happy New Year!



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Jerry Brasher, Clint Graham, Michael L. Walpole, Sissy Jones, and Dr. Gary Jones

LINCOLN BUILDERS/VANTAGE HEALTH PROJECT NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED Engineering News-Record magazine (ENR), one of the nation’s leading publications covering the construction industry has recognized the Vantage State Building with its 2017 “Award of Merit” in the category of Renovation/ Restoration projects. The Vantage Building renovation, located in downtown Monroe, LA, has sparked a major resurgence in business activity downtown. Vantage Health Plan, with this project and several others, is leading the way in the revitalization of Monroe’s downtown area. The $23.08-million restoration and retrofit of the 1925 Virginia Hotel into the new Vantage State Building returned the building to its original grandeur while incorporating modern amenities.

AUDIBEL RIBBON CUTTING Audibel Hearing Center celebrated their grand re-opening customer appreciation party on November 3 at their new location at 2200 Justice Street in Monroe. Congratulations on the completion of the new office!

PLAYGROUND RIBBON CUTTING Grace Episcopal School celebrated the ribbon-cutting of their brand new playground on October 24th.


Do you know how to protect your estate from the devastating costs of long term care? If you’re like most Americans, you may be concerned about becoming a financial burden on your family as you age. If so, call our office for a free estate planning appointment. You will learn: • Five signs your home and money are at risk • How wartime veterans or surviving spouses can receive up to $2,053 per month for long-term care costs. Even at home! • Legal ways to shelter assets from the nursing home forced “spend down” • Four ways to pay for long term care

Call Now! 318.855.4690

Pennington Financial, LLC Asset Protection Specialists 1900 NORTH 18TH STREET SUITE 211 MONROE, LA 71201

Investment advisory services offered through Brookstone Capital Management, LLC (BCM), a registered investment advisor. BCM and Pennington Financial, LLC are independent of each other. Insurance products and services are not offered through BCM but are offered and sold through individually licensed and appointed agents.


Yes – Medicaid Planning Is Ethical! As in any area of consumer spending, knowing what to look for and what strategies to use in arranging for paid care services can often result in saving money. Some strategies such as Medicaid planning allow for preserving the home or relieving the pressure of spending retirement savings. Oftentimes a strategy will provide tax advantages as well. A person facing the prospect of long-term care with moderate income and moderate savings may eventually have to rely on Medicaid to pay part, or all, of the cost of care. For instance, someone making $2,000 a month would not be able to afford a nursing home at $4,000 a month. Savings would be depleted quickly and the income from a spouse may be needed as well. Medicaid may become the only option. Medicaid has provisions to protect a healthy spouse at home financially. But many states rob a healthy spouse of a previously adequate income by allowing too little in protected resources and income. Likewise, children, relatives and friends are not recognized for the financial sacrifices they make in providing the early care before a recipient becomes bad enough to need Medicaid funded professional help. Medicaid planning, using a professional Medicaid planning advisor, allows families to correct inequities in the system. Medicaid planning has gotten a bad name because many people confuse Medicaid with Welfare. Medicaid was established in 1965 under Title XIX of the Social Security Act. President Johnson signed the bill into law with President Truman at his side. President Truman tried unsuccessfully to pass a similar bill during his administration. At the signing, President Truman was quoted as saying “Not one of these, our citizens (he was referring to folks over age 65), should ever be abandoned to the indignity of charity.” Medicaid is not Welfare. An individual must qualify for the benefit just as they do for Social Security and Medicare. These benefits were funded by each individual’s taxes paid. The rules were created by Congress and if you meet the criteria, you may be entitled to the benefit. While it is wrong to abuse the system, a bit of planning may do wonders for helping a family get through difficult times. It is not illegal to do long-term care planning, or plan for the Medicaid benefit. Friends, family, and some professionals, who have not had the experience of caring for a loved one who has a critical illness, have formed their own opinions about planning for Medicaid assistance. They are not knowledgeable of Medicaid rules and if nothing is done, the family will probably lose their life savings and home to cost of care. The healthy spouse still at home may be left with a lower quality of life and there may be nothing left for the heirs. Those that attempt to discredit long-term care planning can cost the family everything. Families should at least speak to a professional advisor to get a second opinion. Medicaid planning is no different from tax planning. In fact, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) condones honest methods of eliminating income taxes or estate taxes. Tax planning and Medicaid planning both put an additional burden on taxpayers, but one is considered ethical and the other is often frowned upon. In fact, they are both ethical.

Holiday Happenings

December 1-20 Candy Cane Lane 6:00-10:00pm on weekends @ 170 Highway 151 North, Calhoun December 1-23 Santa’s Village on weekends @ The Children’s Museum December 1-30 City of Ruston’s Ice Skating Rink Fridays 3:00-10:00pm Saturdays 10:00am-10:00pm Sundays 4:00-10:00pm @ Ruston December 2 Christmas in DoMo 10:00am-4:00pm @ Downtown RiverMarket Lincoln Lights Up the Pines 2017 5:30-10:00pm @ Lincoln Parish Park Rudolph Reindeer Race 5K 9:30am-12:00pm @ Lambright Sports & Wellness Center The Monroe Renaissance Fireworks Extravaganza 7:00-8:00pm @ DeSiard and Trenton Streets Kiwanis Club Christmas Parade 3:30-6:00pm @ West Monroe Bah Humbug 5K 9:00am @ Antique Alley Champagne and Shopping 10:00am-7:00pm @ 901 Ridge Avenue Caroling in Antique Alley 12:00-2:00pm @ Antique Alley December 3 2nd Annual Candy Cane Hunt 2:00-4:00pm @ Kiroli Park MN-1000674992

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December 7 DoMo Piano Bar 5:00-9:00pm @ 305 Walnut St. Downtown Gallery Crawl 5:00-9:00pm @ DeSiard and Trenton Streets Christmas Evenings at the Biedenharn 5:00pm @ Biedenharn Museum December 8 Christmas Evenings at the Biedenharn 5:00pm @ Biedenharn Museum December 9 Christmas Evenings at the Biedenharn 5:00pm @ Biedenharn Museum 70th Annual Ruston Christmas Parade 4:00-5:00pm @ Downtown Ruston 1st Annual Battle for the Paddle Chili Cook-Off 5:00-7:00pm @ Downtown Ruston Children’s Lighted Parade 6:00-7:00pm @ West Monroe December 16 Driven Desires Toy Drive 2017 10:00am-2:00pm @ Glenwood Medical Mall Live Nativity 12:00-3:00pm @ Antique Alley December 20 Coca-Cola Christmas Truck 5:30-7:30pm @ 2006 Riverside Drive December 21 until New Year’s Day Candy Cane Lane 6:00-10:00pm @ 170 Highway 151 North, Calhoun


Bronwyn Watts, Jennifer Phillips, Tiffany Ables

Becky Tripp, Esther Daily

Judy Hild, Monica Richardson

Penni Aulds, Kim Roberts Dianne Dollar, Peggy Malcomb, Diai Byrnes, Jo Lasyone, Misty Patterson, Yolonda Vehonsky

Jeremy Tinnerello

Lillie Shockney

Sharon McClain, Jeremy Tinnerello, Kristin Johnson, Lilly Shockney

Patsy Taylor, Pamela Holloway, Linda Bullock, Kate Peshell

Kristen Johnson, Lillie Shockney (guest speaker), Jackie Neal

Diane Miletello, Stacie Ambrose, Patti Bates


Food Fight on the ’Front NOV. 11 | DOWNTOWN RIVERMARKET

Charlotte McVey, Janyce Rawls, Mike McVey, Vickie Barnes, Joleen Martin, Shelly Scott, Carol-Anne Lenard, Brittany Ramsey

Heath Work, James Buckley, Scott Webster, Tracy Rainwater

Cheyanne Hobbs, Shea Burns, Christiana Pace

Andrea Brown, Missy Amy, Tina Williams

Heath and Hage Work


Ben Hickey, Rodrecas Davis, Erin Davenport

Ben Hickey, Emily Caldwell, EmJ Cruz

Clinton Downing, Dustin Green, Kathy Biedenharn

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Rodrecas Davis

2nd Annual Pumpkin Fest OCT. 21 | ANTIQUE ALLEY IN WEST MONROE

Emily, Charlie, Eva, Grant Cassis

Bobby, Kerri, Daniel Lenox; Rebekah, Jadon, Judah Hill; Zeb Gaines

Debbie Burg, Braylon Streetman

Heather Armstrong & Daisy

Austin, Adeline, Bekah Ortiz

Markie Hutto & Apache, Paige Danna

LaVerne & Lane Bodron

Sherrie & Cricket Jones, Marie Fortenberry, Barker & Maddie

Louisiana Food & Music Festival OCT. 21 | DOWNTOWN RIVERMARKET Dustin Underwood, Jordan Sheppard

Below: Sheena B, Mel Touchet

Tim & Linda Beth Neustifter

Szu Wei & Chris Domingue


Tails at Twilight OCT. 28 | BAYOU LANDING

Dr. Marshall Sanson, Jodie Sanson, Nancy Counts, Dr. Jeff Counts, Dr. Melissa Traxler

Pat Saez, Keri Rogers, Rachel Mayer, Dawn Truex

Nicole West, Sarah Marchbank, Christina Hinton

Sydney McLaughlin, Crystal Pantinople, Luke Hunter, Samantha Ellis, Destiny Howell J Ellen Cranford, Constance Wade, Kellye Hoogland, Rachel Mayer

Susan Norris, Rachel Mayer

Susan Norris, Rachel Mayer

Dawn Truex, Laura Mitchell, Anita Holloway

Debra & James Rasberry

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Kimberly Peters, Crystal Harper, Rachal Bouriaque

Pat & Frank Saez, Vince & Whitney Epling, Eric Wilhite

2017 Holiday Market NOV. 4 | DOWNTOWN RIVERMARKET

Dawne Smith

Santa and Mrs. Claus, Addison Lee

Aimee Kane

Carolyn Brooks, Amber Zitzmann

Sheena Bee

Holly McBee, Sharon Gooden

Braves Football Team Banquet NOV. 5 | COPELAND’S


Ouachita Green Recycling Collection Event NOV. 4 | MONROE CIVIC CENTER

Corneisia Jackson, Jessica Washington, Tommy Kuyrkendall

Courtney Hornsby, Stuart Hodnett

Kristin Lambrecht, Angie O'Pry

High Cotton 5K NOV. 11 | KIROLI PARK

Camille, Ricky, Traci Maier

David, Stacie, Anna Brown

Andrew McKaskle, Tammy Caudle

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Shannon Embanato, DeAnn Taylor, Melanie Hurd, Emerson Glover

Jodi Zuber, Kylie Berry

Ad Club Fall Social Carol-Anne & Grisham Lenard


Valarie Williams, Melonie Saulsberry

Amy Scott, Alexia Wooten

Brittany Ramsey, Amy Scott

Ainslea Snellenberger, Kaitlin Tarver, Brenda Tarver

Brian Bowers, Raymond Garza

Come In Today for a Personal Shopping Experience!

We carry sizes ranging S-3XL D us ty 3 1 8 -3 4 8 -5 6 4 9 C ind y 3 1 8 -3 4 8 -8 1 8 4

2201 Liberty St. Monroe, LA 71201 DELTA STYL E MAGA Z I NE | D ECEM BER 2017 | 21

Holidays in Cedar Town NOV. 9-11 | RUSTON CIVIC CENTER






1211 North 18th St. Monroe, LA 71201 318-387-8446 • •

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2200 Justice St. • Monroe, LA 71201 Phone: (318) 325-2363

1221 Farmerville Highway • Ruston, LA 71270 Phone: (318) 251-1272 MN-1000649621

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THREE REASONS TO UPGRADE YOUR HEARING AIDS “Immediate difference in clarity.” “The quality and performance is really beyond anything I’ve seen.” “Patients have experienced a significant improvement in sound quality when comparing hearing aids, even to recent technology.” “Patients have noticed improvement when listening to music and improvement for clarity of softer voices.” The above are just a few things people have said after trying the latest hearing aid technologies from Audibel. Audibel’s new products (Audibel A4 iQ, A4i iQ and Invisibel iQ Synergy) represent years of research and clinical trials all aimed at providing better audibility and speech understanding as well as comfort. Built with the new Synergy platform, these hearing aids are designed so that you can hear all the subtleties of life. Understand the subtle tone or accent in a loved one’s voice and enjoy nuances in the notes of your favorite song. So with all this new and exciting technology, is it time to consider upgrading?


1. To accommodate a change in hearing: Updating to new technology may be necessary to accommodate a significant change in hearing. If you begin to notice more difficulty understanding speech, TV, or hearing in noise, your hearing may have changed. Keep in mind that age-related hearing loss does change over time. Changes in hearing are expected and hearing acuity often diminishes over time. Upgrading to more sophisticated technology can help compensate for these changes. 2. To accommodate a change in lifestyle: Changes in occupational requirements, living situations, and outside interests often require better or different performance from your hearing aids. Conference calls, meetings, or an increase in social activities may require more advanced technology. An active lifestyle can take you from one difficult listening situation to another. Recent advancements in mechanical algorithms help tackle one of the biggest challenges hearing aid wearers face: hearing and understanding speech well in noise. Treating your hearing loss with the most sophisticated technology available will allow you to hear well in a number of challenging environments. 3. To improve overall listening performance: Experienced hearing aid wearers often develop specific listening preferences. New advancements give listeners more control over hearing aid settings and functionality. For example, with Audibel A4i iQ hearing aids and the TruLink Hearing Control App, unique listening preferences for specific environments such as a favorite restaurant or coffee shop can be saved and easily accessed as geotagged memories. Changes in wireless technology allows you to seamlessly stream audio from your phone or other media devices directly to your hearing aids. Our newest technology even features a specific prescription designed uniquely for music for a high-definition audio experience. Ear-to-ear technology also allows your hearing aids to make environmental decisions by communicating with each other, making listening in difficult environments more comfortable. Advanced feedback technology provides stable gain without whistling, and Surface Nano Shield technology protects your hearing aids from water and oil, reducing the need for repairs.


These are a few of our


The holidays are here! We talked to some of our local Christmas folks about their favorite things. Ben and Amy Hanson Owners of Candy Cane Lane We’ve been married 12 years this coming December. We have 4 children, Kaleb (23), Emily (23), Tommy (17), and Parker (9). Ben has worked in the pipeline industry as a Material Coordinator for the last 10 years and Amy is a former Registered Nurse. We attend at Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church and our youngest children attend Geneva Academy. Favorite Quote: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” 3 John 1:4 (ESV) Favorite Qualities to Possess: brotherly love, humility, charity Favorite Part about Christmas: Christmas lights!!! Favorite Christmas memory: When Tommy was 4, he was putting on his pajamas, lost his balance, and fell into the Christmas tree and it broke. “Santa” left a new Christmas tree on our porch the next day, along with roses for Mom! Favorite Christmas song: O Holy Night Favorite Holiday Drink: Apple Cider Favorite Christmas movie: A Christmas Story Favorite Christmas family tradition: Riding around looking at Christmas lights, of course! Favorite City to Visit: Chicago Favorite Life Experience: Building a Christmas light park!! Favorite Animal: Our dog, Doogie Schnauzer!

Ben Hanson working on Christmas lights at Candy Cane Lane Drive-Thru Christmas Light Park



Christmas Apple Cider

The Hanson Family



Santa Claus

Twin City Santa & Mrs. Clause

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Twin City Santa - professional Santa servies for your business, holiday parties, and in home visits. I have loved spreading joy of giving and christmas spirit since I was a child. Only as an adult did I discover the magical bells that are placed on my reindeer that I was able to travel around the world at the speed of light to spread the joy everywhere. I cannot give all of my secrets away, but know I do keep a list of who is naughty or nice all throughout the year ,and I have found that there is always a nice quality in every child. I may have to look hard, but I always find it. Favorite Quote: HOHOHO Favorite Qualities to Possess: Faith, Kindness, Goodwill Favorite Part about Christmas: Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ Favorite Christmas memory: My first Christmas with my wife, Mary Favorite Christmas song: Silent Night Favorite Holiday Drink: Milk Favorite Christmas movie: Miracle on 34th Street Favorite Christmas family tradition: Decorating the Christmas trees Favorite Book: Twas the Night Before Christmas Favorite City to Visit: New York Favorite Local Restaurant: Genusa’s. Santa loves Italian food! I secretly make it by there a few times a year Favorite Local Shopping Spot: You know Santa loves TP Outdoors Favorite Animal: Reindeer Favorite Way to Start the Day: A big stack of pancakes and maple syrup

Kids waiting at the Children's Museum fo rthe snow to fall

Melissa Saye Director of The NELA Children’s Museum I am the middle child (therefore most stable- ha-ha!) of 4. I grew up in Baton Rouge, went to LSU, and moved to Monroe in 1989 with my husband and baby #1 on the way. I taught first and second grade at Grace Episcopal School, and that’s where I met my business partner/best friend. We opened The Children’s Museum in 1998. That’s where you’ll find me still. I am also partner in a Monroe based company, Exhibits on The Go. My husband of 29 years, John, and I have 6 amazing kids of whom we are so very proud. Favorite Quote: Life isn’t always fair, but it’s still always good. Favorite Qualities to Possess: Be kind, be friendly and laugh as often as you can. Favorite Part about Christmas: I just LOVE coming to work when children are here enjoying Santa’s Christmas Village! My favorite part is looking at their little faces as they are waiting on the snow shower to begin! Favorite Christmas memory: We had a HUGE plumbing issue with our showers a few years ago. We literally used every single towel in our home to sop up water. All 25 members of my visiting family pitched in to help. We dubbed this event as the “Ringing of the Towels” instead of the traditional bells one rings at Christmas time. We have had many laughs reliving this over the years. Favorite Holiday Drink: My husband makes

Melissa Say and Santa during Christmas

the best Milk Punch during the holidays! Favorite Christmas movie: ELF. My whole family bundles up and watches it outdoors at our house each year. Favorite Christmas family tradition: Watching ELF while eating s’mores and drinking hot chocolate Favorite Travel Destination: My all-time favorite place is Rosemary Beach, FL, with my family. When I win the lottery, you will find me there all the time! Favorite Wine: A good Pinot Noir Favorite Perfume or Candle Scent: Happy by Clinique Favorite City to Visit: Any of the places my sweet children live. At this time that could be Paris, Dallas, Madrid, Ruston and Monroe.



Taking care of Northeast Louisiana for 30 years, Justin Gordon and his family have provided high-quality service and dependability in all Residential & Commercial Plumbing and Air Conditioning issues. Starting first in Heating & Air, Justin has incorporated the Plumbing aspect to give customers a complete package of services. Since getting his professional start back in high school, Justin has continued to grow the company, and begin a family as well. His wife, Courtney, is a Registered Nurse at St. Francis Hospital and they have two children who attend Claiborne Christian School. Whether it’s a leaky pipe, a stopped up drain , or a home remodel Gordon Air and Plumbing is always there to help. Justin says, “My daddy always taught me that if you work hard to earn your customers trust by providing quality and honest service, then that customer will always call you back when they need you.” That’s why Gordon Air and Plumbing is always putting the customer first. “ We want to build relationships with our customers and when problems do arise they know they can trust us for quick affordable service.” Check them out at or call the office 24/7.

MN-1000674853 | 318-397-8477

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Delta Christmas Trees Each Ornament is a Memory GEORGIANN POTTS

Every year at the first sign of fall, Jim and I begin making plans for the Christmas and New Year holidays. These plans always include opportunities to be with family and friends. Until about 10 years ago, for nearly 20 years we traveled to either England or Europe on average once a year, most often during the University’s break between fall and spring semesters. This was because most of that time we were both involved with teaching or administrative duties, this was the best two weeks that we could get away. With airline tickets, passports, Eurailpasses, a pair of filled backpacks (not the rugged, mountaineering kind — just regular backpacks), and copies of the appropriate travel books in hand, we would fly away and have an adventure together. Over the years we made adjustments — sometimes traveling in September or May, for

example — but our “game plan” was always the same. We would have two night’s confirmed reservations — one for the night that we arrived from the States, and one for the night before we were to depart. Other than those two, we quite simply explored together, soaking in the culture, the architectural wonders, getting a firsthand sense of the people and their customs, and generally immersing ourselves with the wonder of it all. Neither of us are “shoppers” by nature and because we were hopping on and off trains plus doing lots of walking carrying our backpacks, we did not tend to buy much. The one exception was Christmas ornaments from the countries we were visiting. They were small, lightweight, and could fit easily inside our packs. More importantly, each would assume a place of honor on our annual Christmas tree in Louisiana, reminding us of those wonderful adventures that we shared. - GP

When I was a young girl growing up on Kenilworth Plantation, I loved Christmas! It was an exciting time as we celebrated the season both in our school in Newellton and in our churches there. Football season had ended (sometimes rather quickly, but not always — there were occasional extended seasons with playoffs), basketball was in full swing, and there was a general uptick in activities both indoors and out as we prepared for those delicious several weeks when we would be free from classes and homework. This was the time when farflung family just might be able to “come home” for a few days. When that happened, the entire holiday took on a new dimension as stories (mostly true) were told about what had transpired since the last time that we were together. An annual holiday tradition was that at some point we cousins were stood up next to one another by our grandfather so he could see how much we had all grown since last we were together. It was interesting to see – most of us had gotten taller, but not everyone by very much. I was always the short one who never seemed to catch up with the rest of them.

During those early years, the Christmas tree itself was a surprise present to the children. It was cut from the woods on the place and then spirited indoors into the parlor on Christmas Eve after all were in bed. Its decorations were actual wax candles that were lighted on Christmas morning when the children awakened and the pocket doors opened to allow them to enter. Mother never forgot the joy and beauty of that moment, no matter how many strings of electric lights and popcorn, and strips of silver “icicles” were loaded onto the trees in later years.

Heirloom Ornaments . . .

Early Kenilworth Christmases . . . One of my favorite things about the season was hearing Daddy Moore, my mother, and the aunts remember and talk about the early Christmases celebrated by our family at Kenilworth. Daddy Moore and Aunt Dorothy (Mrs. Ralph Aly) were the best at it, because they both remembered how Christmas was celebrated in Illinois before the family made the move south and could compare. In Illinois, the family had operated a retail business and lived in a relatively large town. The move to Tensas Parish to live on a farm some distance from a very small town took some adjusting to, clearly! Even though life was “different” in their new home, from their stories it seems that they embraced most of joys that come from living in the Delta. Two exceptions were the mosquitoes and the humidity — both understandable.

Top: Four heirloom ornaments made by Georgiann’s aunt, Dorothy Aly, over 50 years ago. Above: Two ornaments made by Leigh and her mother when Leigh was a child. PHOTOS BY GEORGIANN POTTS

When I became a teenager, Aunt Dorothy began making an ornament for me for Christmas each year. These were made from kits that she ordered from somewhere. Even though they came in sets of ribbons, jewels, pearls, and assorted trims, she had to choose from those parts and then create an ornament by hand from them. This took time and patience, but the resulting ornaments were well worth her effort. I was delighted when she gave me my first one! Since I clearly loved it, she said that she would likely make me another “sometime.” For the next several Christmases, she did. I still have four of them each of which find a place of honor on our tree every year. My favorite is the last one that she made for me --a teardrop shape that she told me was “Russian” in character. It is the largest of them all, and it is the most elegant. I have had these for half a century now, and every Christmas when I unpack them I remember her with love. Equally precious to me are the far-less elegant ornaments that my daughter, Leigh, and I made together when she just a little girl. I laugh now when I look at the “survivors” – all of which required heating in a hot oven to “melt” the colored beads that would fill in the metal frames. I’m sure such ornaments would be outlawed today, because of a variety of potential dangers lurking in that process. Happily, neither Leigh nor I stopped to think about what “might happen” and simply spent some hours together, bak-


A collection of ornaments celebrating Hannah Grace and Savannah Faye Grainger.

From top: Dutch shoes ornament purchased in Amsterdam; an ornament depicting a nutcracker purchased in Munich. The nutcracker’s mouth opens and closes; a miniature figure of the French King Francis I.

ing ornaments and enjoying one another’s company. Today, a gift-bearing Daisy Duck and a cat with an attitude swing from the branches of our tree while the rest of them are “at home” now on the Grainger tree in North Carolina. Although I have given Leigh and Brian most of the ornaments from her childhood, there are two ornaments that I will not part with --- special ones that dear friends made for me. One is the traditional “sitting on Santa’s lap” photograph that shows a very happy little girl being hugged by a Santa who looks a

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little like he needs a coffee break. The other one always demands an explanation when someone sees it for the first time. Round and surrounded by pink yarn, it is a photo of an angelic-looking Leigh dressed in her Halloween costume for that year. I had big plans for her to dress as a fairy princess, but she had other ideas. “Jaws” she said. She wanted to go trick-or-treating as a shark . . .

Travel Ornaments . . . Mingled among the traditional American Christmas ornaments on our tree are a number


of ones that we have collected while traveling both in the United States and abroad. A pair of porcelain Dutch shoes, a German nutcracker, and a miniature figure of the French King Francis I are typical of our European selections. The tiny shoes we found in a small shop in Amsterdam, and the nutcracker was a treasure discovered in a food market in Munich. Francis Premier was purchased in Amboise where we stayed when we were touring the chateau country in the Loire Valley. King Francis I was an impor-

An ornament purchased near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.



tant patron of the arts, and he frequently had artists housed at his various chateaux. We saw the rooms in Chateau of Clos Luce where Leonardo da Vinci spent the final years of his life as the king’s guest. This home was located quite near the king’s Chateau d’Amboise, and legend has it that the king would come through a secret passage connecting the two so that he could have long conversations in the evenings with da Vinci. Among our travel ornaments collected from family travels in the United States are several that are especially precious. One is a festive moose proudly declaring “Colorado” in print along his side. He was a gift to us from Leigh while she was living in Boulder. Another is a large porcelain ornament that features a Santa hat and the words “Carolina Christmas." This one was given to us after we visited Brian and Leigh in Charlotte, NC, for Christmas for the first time. Others that we treasure are an eastern seaboard lighthouse, one from Colonial Williamsburg, another from the Jamestown settlement site, two from the White House, a sand dollar from Florida, and a balloon advertising the Natchez balloon festival. Seeing each one opens a floodgate of memories.

The Tradition Continues . . . Seven years ago this past November, our daughter Leigh

married Brian Grainger. Their first Christmas as a married couple, they gave Christmas ornaments that depicted a bride and groom and their wedding date. As time passed, the Grainger blended family grew with the birth of two little girls. With their births, a new constellation of Christmas ornaments began adorning our tree. Each Christmas after the birth of Leigh’s first, Hannah Grace, one of my dearest friends gives us an ornament that features Hannah’s picture. When Savannah Faye came along, there were then two ornaments to add each Christmas. When they were old enough, the little girls helped their mother to make ornaments of their own. Two that are especially precious to us are two that bear the imprint of the girls’ hands as part of the design. They make me chuckle, because I can see Leigh baking them in a hot oven, not worried in the slightest about any “possible dangers”. . . Now that Jim and I have children, grandchildren, and greatgrandchildren, we select a Christmas ornament every year for each one. In an inconspicuous place, we put our initials and the year. We like to think that years from now, another family will open their stored ornament boxes and see our ornaments. Perhaps they will remember us and the way that we celebrated Christmas so long ago.

From top: A dough ornament made by Leigh Grainger with Hannah Grace’s “help”; A dough ornament made by Leigh Grainger with Savannah Faye’s “help”; Leigh and Santa Clause.


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Rumoʼs Gallery Arender Gallery Upstairs Gallery Sugar Gallery The Big Room Downtown Gallery Outside Gallery The Palace Gallery The Garrett House

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ith politicians — and politics, in general — so much in the news these days, it is refreshing to know someone involved in the political arena who remains grounded, aware of (and concerned for) all of his constituents no matter their circumstances. Perhaps one reason that is so is because of his upbringing in Bastrop influenced by a number of family members who taught him important lessons about life and dealing with others.



t has been an interesting experience watching Michael Echols the businessman morph into Michael Echols the City Councilman, all the while remaining very much Michael Echols the down-to-earth person. While his roles have changed as his career has developed, one thing has remained constant. Michael Echols is still very much a person who remembers his roots and cherishes them. Not so very long ago, his paternal grandmother Mabel Echols passed away. He readily admits that she was a very influential person in his life, pointing out that it was she who taught him how to cook, sell, play cards, and make deals. Even toward the end of her life, Echols says that when he would call her to see how she was doing, she always said that she was doing great even when she clearly wasn’t. “Her spirit will always motivate me,” he said. While I don’t know anything about his cooking or his ability at cards, what I do know is that he can sell ideas and make deals in the best interests of his community. Over the past four years, I have seen this firsthand through his leadership on the Ouachita Business Alliance. This association with other community leaders has given him an opportunity to do both. – GP Until he was 18-years-old, Michael Echols was a Morehouse Parish boy. Bastrop was his hometown, and his growing up in that small rural community dominated by one major employer — International Paper — was the perfect foundation for the years that would follow once he left there. Echols’ parents were young when they married. That union produced only the one child, and not long afterwards they divorced. Both remarried, and Echols has several siblings from those marriages. His brother, Daniel Echols, is a commercial banker; sister, Molly Echols, is an accountant for the oil and gas business in Tulsa, Oklahoma; and sister, Megan Parker, is an accountant in healthcare who lives in Sterlington. “I remember when they were

Hunting is a past time enjoyed by Mr. Echols growing up in Morehouse Parish.

Echols remembers his dad telling him that he started work at $3.25 an hour about the time that his son was born. While the family had some hard times, they never went without.

younger they asked me what degree they should study,” Echols recalled. “My first response was always accounting because that was what my undergraduate degree was in. My second response was always finance. If you can read financial statements, you can talk the language of business.” Echols’ father, as did so many in his generation, worked for the same company for 22 years — M.G. Dickey, a farm implement company and Pelican Plug (now Sonoco). His mother earned degrees in Spanish, Latin, and a Masters of Education from the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM). She taught Spanish and Latin early on at Prairie View Academy and later taught at ULM in the math department.

Family Sets the Example ... Both of Echols’ parents were hard workers who understood the importance of doing one’s best in whatever job. Echols remembers his dad telling him that he started work at $3.25 an hour about the time that his son was born. While the family had some hard times, they never

went without. “We lived off what we killed,” Echols said. “We had lots of duck, deer, rabbit, and other wild game.” As is often the case when there is a divorce and remarriages, Echols was very close to his grandparents while he was growing up. His maternal grandfather, Arthur Hayden, was a dedicated golfer and began teaching the game to his grandson when Echols was 3years-old. Echols said that his grandfather not only taught him how to play that game, but also influenced his attitude toward good sportsmanship, self-reliance, and how to treat others. Echols also remembers his paternal grandmother buying older homes and fixing them up for resale. In a sense, his grandmother was a “house flipper” before that became a national sensation. He said that she made many deals, buying at a good price and then selling for a profit. One of her “deals” that Echols remembers well was her next-to-last house. The home was distressed, and she restored it to a beautiful home.


The current mayor of Bastrop bought it in the 1990’s. It has since fallen into disrepair, something that distresses Echols, because he is a passionate preservationist.

understood by that sacrifice how important education really is.

Professor McConkey ...

The Bastrop Years ... Work was always a part of Echols’ growing up. His first job was working at the Morehouse Country Club picking up range balls, mowing ditches, and planting trees. “Needless to say, I learned about manual labor early,” Echols said laughing. “It taught me that figuring out how to get an air-conditioned job would be a priority!” Echols attended Prairie View Academy from kindergarten through twelfth grade. He played golf in junior high and high school with success. He also enjoyed football and basketball, but golf was his favorite. He was academically strong as well, earning membership in the National Honor Society. One of his favorite high school memories concerns a political science competition at the state level. “Billy Watson was my American history and civics teacher. He played Glen Miller tunes while we took our tests in class,” Echols recalled. “I remember going to State in political science to compete after being notified that I had won the District competition in that category. Just before going to State, I found out that I was the only one who had competed at our District level so thus I had placed first. Needless to say, I got a ‘participation certificate’ for higher level State competition.”

Moving to Monroe ... The importance of getting an education — a college degree, preferably — was instilled in Echols from an early age both by words and example. His maternal grandfather, Arthur Hayden, was one of the first in the family to graduate from night school at Northeast Louisiana University. He earned a degree in accounting. Echols’ mother also went to night school, and after earning her undergraduate degrees returned to earn her MEd. Echols saw the sacrifices that were made to get these degrees, and

Echols was very close to his grandparents while he was growing up. His maternal grandfather, Arthur Hayden, was a dedicated golfer and began teaching the game to his grandson when Echols was three years old. Echols says that his grandfather not only taught him how to play that game, but also influenced his attitude toward good sportsmanship, self-reliance, and how to treat others.

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Among a number of professors who were instrumental in Echols’ development as a student and as an individual, marketing professor, Dr. Bill McConkey. stands out. Echols said that the late Dr. McConkey believed in him and gave him both the encouragement and the discipline necessary to succeed. Dr. McConkey was faculty advisor to Pi Sigma Epsilon, a co-ed fraternal marketing organization. Through Dr. McConkey, Echols became involved with the national organization that afforded him an opportunity to travel and develop corporate relationships all across the United States as a collegiate and then after as a member of their Foundation Board as a professional. Through his work with Pi Sigma Epsilon running a business while in college, Echols learned all facets of business while developing relationships with his faculty, staff, and fellow students as well as a nationwide group of businesses competing for national awards. This provided invaluable practical experience for his later career. In spite of freely admitting that he was “never a great student by way of grades,” Echols earned a B.S. in accounting from ULM (then NLU) in 1999. In 2002, he completed work on his Master’s of Business Administration. Echols’ favorite subjects not related to his career goals were psychology and speech. Psychology taught him how to understand “what makes people tick.” The hierarchy of needs concept that he learned there stayed with him long after the classroom. Speech was completely new to Echols as he had virtually no public speaking experience prior to taking that class. Speech class not only developed his public speaking skills, but also introduced him to another college organization that was to help frame his future, Circle K (the college level segment of Kiwanis International). Not long after he joined, he was asked to run for a District office. This required him attending a regional

conference speaking in front of large groups, telling his platform. “When I spoke to the very first group, I barely got out my first name,” Echols remembered. “The second group I spoke to I told them my entire name and the college I attended.” From this inauspicious beginning, Echols learned a valuable lesson. The more he put himself into difficult situations, the more skills he would learn that would assist him throughout life. Today he hosts a weekly talk radio show that has been on the air for 16 years. In addition, he has many speaking opportunities, all of which he handles well thanks to a long-ago speech class and, as he would quickly admit, lots of practice.

new regional presidents doing budgeting and finance. Nex,t he worked for a regional wealth management firm as Chief Operating Officer. Following that stint, he joined ULM as associate vice president of marketing and communications. It was during his time at ULM that he was able to implement the skills that he had acquired earlier in his career — branding and using the Internet as the “home” for new online degree options. “The work at ULM also gave me the chance to see how government works on the inside,” Echols said. “My eyes were opened! That experience prepared me for my current position with Vantage Health Plan & Affinity Health Group.”

Real Estate and Historic Buildings ...

The Non-Profit World ... When Echols first moved to Monroe, he sensed that he was an “outsider.” To overcome that and get to know more people, he began working with non-profits within the community once he completed his degree. At first the Arts was the focus of his activity, but later on he became active in business organizations both professional and political. Once again, family helped bridge the geographic gap. Since most of his family was in either Bastrop or Monroe, the “Echols Clan” could get together often to catch-up on news and visit. His paternal grandmother’s cooking skills were legend, so there were always many items to choose from and almost certainly leftovers. These were special times for Echols and served to remind him of the importance of family even as he was becoming a part of his new community.

Michael and Christy at their wedding

“I don’t see things the way they are, but only see what they can become. The potential that I see in our area motivates me every day. The words ‘It can’t be done’ are not in my vocabulary.” MICHAEL ECHOLS

Career Path ... Careers are rarely linear these days, and Echols’ career is no exception. The common denominator about the various jobs he has held is that each has served as a stepping-stone of experience to prepare him for the next opportunity. Early on Echols was in banking, working initially at a regional bank doing typical tasks. When that bank sold, he did regional budgeting and sold off bank assets while working with

Councilman Michael Echols, City of Monroe - District 1

Along the way, Echols added licensed commercial contractor and homebuilder to his resume. His passion is real estate development of downtown historic buildings. “It’s rewarding to redevelop properties that have been nearly lost. I think being from a small town outside of Monroe allowed me to see problems and come up with solutions to fix those issues,” Echols said. “I don’t see things the way they are, but only see what they can become. The potential that I see in our area motivates me every day. The words ‘it can’t be done’ are not in my vocabulary.” Interest in historic preservation grew while Echols was chairman of the Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation. In this position, he traveled around the state observing how other communities had revitalized their deteriorating downtowns, turning them once again into thriving retail and quality of life venues. From seeing what others had accomplished, Echols realized that Monroe and West Monroe could also become models for others. “A downtown is the heart and soul of a region. If it is healthy, so is the rest of the region,” Echols explained. “It has amazed me that for so many years we have not made this a priority. It is the single link that connects north and south Monroe. It is the anchor that can


grow the relationship between east and west. If we get this right, so many other things will work. It is my mission to bring it back.”

Having the Right Partner ... Most who know Echols know that Christie Jones Echols is more than just his adored wife. She is also his partner and chief supporter in his many pursuits. She learned early on that he wasn’t always going to be predictable. While they were engaged, he bought his first buildings “ . . . on a handshake”. He admited that she was skeptical at first, but quickly became an integral part of their success. She is an architect with an eye for creative detail. More importantly, she — like her husband — knows how to get things done. Not so long ago, Christy saw another example of that spontaneity when Echols decided to offer himself to public service by running for Monroe City Council to represent District 1. He won a hard-fought campaign and immediately set to work. One of the first lessons he had to

learn was the difference in the private sector and the public one. “In private industry, you can be more nimble and strategic,” he explained. “The government sector is very slow and sometimes not as thoughtful on issues. The biggest challenge for me has been to learn patience even as I see all of the things that need to be fixed.” Although the pace is slower, Echols finds public service invigorating. He was always basically an optimist, but became even more encouraged about the future during and after the 2016 flood. Seeing so many people from all backgrounds come together to save what they could and then work for a common solution renewed his sense that things can improve. He sees local government as having three primary challenges that must be addressed — flood control and mitigation (i.e., quality infrastructure), crime reduction, and enhanced quality of life for all citizens. Echols believes that if we can address these, the population will grow and so will the

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Putting Heart Into It ... When one looks over the career that Echols has developed — thus far, and he is still young — it would be easy to believe that he could not have had time for anything but his family and business. That belief would be wrong. Echols has been an active volunteer at the local, state, and regional level for years. He has not only put his energies and ideas into the for-profit sector, but has done so equally in the non-profit sector. Among the volunteer positions Echols has held include past chairmanships or presidencies of the Louisiana State Arts Council, the Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation, the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council, Downtown Monroe Renaissance, Monroe Symphony Orchestra, Garden District Neighborhood Alliance, and Monroe Kiwanis. In addition, he has served on the boards of such groups as Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI), Louisiana Association of

Health Plans, Twin City Art Foundation, Monroe Symphony Orchestra Endowment, Monroe Chamber of Commerce, Center for Children and Families of Northeast Louisiana, and Northeast Louisiana CASA. In the midst of all of this activity, there is a center that keeps Echols both motivated and grounded — his two daughters. He and Christie are making certain that nothing comes before their children. Echols said that his little girls “ . . . make my smile a little bigger and my heart softer.” Perhaps it is that family approach that is the key to Echols’ success. His vision of a better community in which all neighborhoods interact positively for the common good is really the dream of all parents of small children. And if he can play some part in making that happen, he will be content. And one more thing. Echols is no longer an “outsider” looking in. He is right in the middle of everything that will help transform his vision into a better future for everyone.

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Jay, Fran, Joe and Cooper on the back porch

ather, Joe Mallard, and son, Jay Mallard, are co-owners of the well-known car dealership Jay Mallard Ford and Lincoln in Jonesboro, LA. Prior to the dealership, the Mallards moved all across the northwest of Louisiana before they ended up settling on 10 acres of land in Ruston, LA, and owned a used car lot. One day, they got word that a car dealership in Jonesboro was going on sale, and the Mallards wanted it. They ended up making a trade for the dealership. The Mallards traded their 10 acres of land for the lot in Jonesboro, and the rest is history. “We kept moving west until we got as far west as we wanted to go, and then it was time to come back home,” Joe said. “There is nothing better than home.”

The view of Caney Lake from the Mallard Home

The Mallard Home

The father and son work side-by-side every day to make the Jay Mallard dealership a success. Jay lives in Jonesboro with his wife of 17 years, Fran, and Joe stays with them for the primary parts of the week, so he can help with the dealership. On the weekends, Joe stays at his condo in West Monroe, LA to keep close contact with his life-long friends. The Mallard home is located about 13 miles away from the car lot, so it is not too long of a drive to get to and from work. The house sits directly on Caney Lake with a beautiful view of the blue water. Gary Guinigundo and I had the opportunity to visit the Mallard home with Jay, Joe and Fran on a sunny afternoon.

The Home Jay wanted to drive us directly to their house, so we hopped into one of the dealership’s cars and made our way toward the lake. The road leading to the Mallard home is lined with a white picket fence that leads directly to the house. There are only a couple of other houses on the street, so it is a quiet and exclusive part of the lake. Since they are on the edge of the lake, the floods of March 2016 did affect them greatly. This is

the only time the lake had ever flooded, and it put their boat dock under four feet of water. Today, one could never be able to tell there had been any damage at all. The first thing I noticed was the incredible view of the blue waters of Caney Lake. The driveway goes up to the shoreline with very little grass in between. Fran welcomed Gary and me at the back door of the home through the garage, and showed us into their lovely home. We were also greeted by the Mallard’s little dachshund, Cooper, and we all quickly became friends. The door opened directly into the kitchen, which only needed the natural lighting from the many windows that viewed the lake. With all white cabinets and marble countertops, the kitchen was a sight to see. There was plenty of space for all the family’s home activities with several seats to spare at the kitchen table. To the right of the kitchen was Joe’s room and bathroom, which also had a white comforter to match the kitchen next door. Fran explained that Joe’s set up in the room was perfect, because it gives him privacy without being too far away from the family. Joe’s window, of course, had a fabulous view of

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the boat house and the lake. Needless to say, there were few windows in the house that could not view the lake. The living room was a wide-open space that stood as the main area of the Mallard home. There was a white marble fireplace in the room that had three matching pelicans on the sides to go with it. The most prominent aspect of the room was the chandelier of antlers that hung as the center piece. Fran said that as soon as they made the decision to use the antler chandelier, they immediately began gathering items that would match it. This included antler candle holders, antler lamps and an antler clock holder. “Fran started buying stuff for the house five years before we built it, because she knew what she wanted,” Jay said. “So, I started buying up anything that I thought fit the look she was going for.” The benefit of the open living room was that it directly connected of the other branches of the house. The dining room was quaint, because they did not want a big formal dining room. Fran said the room that they built was all that they needed, and it was great. Next to the front door was a hall-

way that led to two more bedrooms for the children. There was a bathroom that connected each of the rooms so it was easily accessible from both sides. Another branch of the house was the master bedroom. It was very spacious and the whole back wall had a view of the lake. When we walked into the bathroom, we noticed that the bathroom directly connected to the laundry room. We ventured back into the living room to make it to the Mallard’s favorite part of the house: the back porch. There were wind chimes making sounds as we exited the home and stepped onto the back porch. The view of Caney Lake was utterly phenomenal. Trees scattered across the vast green grass of the backyard to make the area shady and cool. There were three rocking chairs on the porch, which was the perfect spot for Jay, Fran and Joe to relax on any given day. Next to the dog door for Cooper, Fran had her own potted plants to grow tomatoes in. We then made our way down to the boat house which had two boats in it. One was a speed boat, and the other was a pontoon boat. The best feature of the boat dock was the owl decoy that was perched on the side of the boat house. Jay explained that they had a problem with birds coming into the boat house and settling nests everywhere. Once they put the owl decoy out there, they have not had an issue with bird nests since!

The Family Joe graduated from West Monroe High School before he dove into the car dealership business. He always had a passion for cars and motorcycles. When he was young, he would go to local dealerships where he would pick up brochures and do cut outs of his favorite vehicles. In 1959, an old family friend of Joe’s proposed that he become a new salesman for his used car dealership after a previous salesman had left. Eagerly, Joe took on the position and started his dream of working with cars. He kept this position for over 15 years before he had the opportunity to create his own business. Joe got married in 1956 to his

wife, Alice, and they had a happy marriage of 49 years. Together, they reared two children, which were one boy, Jay, and one girl, Sherri. Since Joe had attended West Monroe High School, he was wanted to be sure his children would receive the same amount of education that he had. Jay and Sherri are both graduates of West Monroe High School now. Sherri was always a great dancer from the time she was young and throughout college at North Texas State. After college, Sherri decided to try out for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders without anyone in her family knowing. One day, Joe got the call that his daughter had made the team to dance for the Cowboys, and he could not have been more proud. Today, Sherri has a daughter, Ashley, who is currently attending Baylor University in Waco, TX. In his spare time outside of his business, Jay likes to spend his time in the outdoors to deer hunt and fish. Jay and Fran met each other in 1997 after each of them had already had children. Fran had three children, and Jay had one son. Fran’s daughter, Erin, lives in Georgia, her son, Zach, lives in Monroe and her other son, Trent, just got out of the army and currently lives in Ruston. Jay’s son, Jarred, lives in Carthage, TX. On December 6, 2000, they decided to get married. “I tell everybody that we planned out the wedding date that way to keep up with anniversaries by knowing what year it is,” Jay said with a laugh. Today, the Jay Mallard Ford and Lincoln dealership is run by a team of eight people in the sales department, one in the parts department, and five in the service department. Jay said that there was not a better place to start their car dealership than in Jonesboro, because they are from the Monroe area so, people already know the Mallard family. Also, there is not a Lincoln dealer in the Monroe area either so, that is a great attraction for them. “We are just enjoying what we are doing right now and do not have plans to expand,” Jay said. “We plan on living it out here in Jonesboro.”

Fran Mallard

Jay and Joe Mallard




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The owners of Roma Italian Bistro and Tonys Pizza discuss their culture and Christmas

Tony and Kindal Makolli GARY GUINIGUNDO



ony and Ylli Makolli were born in the country of Albania in southeastern Europe, which thrives on Italian cuisine and values. While they were being raised, the brothers lived in various European countries such as Holland, Germany, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Tony had only lived in the Delta for two months until he met the love of his life and future wife, Kindal. She is originally from North Carolina, but since then moved to West Monroe, LA, where her mother and extended family live. Kindal also has a daughter named Kinley who is 8years-old. Roma Italian Bistro is the hub of their relationship. Tony and Kindal initially met while they were in the restaurant, it is where Tony proposed to Kindal and where they had their wedding over a year ago. Before proposing, Tony asked Kindal’s mom if he could have her hand in marriage. Not only that, Tony also made a proposal to Kinley and gave her a ring to show his love for both girls. Ylli and Kinley actually walked Kindal down the aisle at her wedding, which exemplifies the Italian values of being a close family. Since then, they have happily been the owners of Roma Italian Bistro, as well as the recently opened New York Style Tony’s Pizza. “I am happy to be here, and that is what matters,” Tony said. “We enjoy being in West Monroe, because it is one of the best places that we have been.”

Albanian Culture Being from Europe means that there are various core values that differ from the values that are utilized in American culture. The primary value in all of life to the Makollis is the importance of family. Tony explained that when you think of the typical American family, they tend to not be connected in the same town after the children grow up. In European culture, families are physically and emotionally closely knit. The entire family may live in one neighborhood so they can be close to one another all the time. They would grow up together, play together, and most of the time, eat together. This includes husbands, wives, siblings, cousins, uncles, children and grandparents. Sometimes, they all live under the same roof. “It is different calling someone and asking how they are doing than waking up in the same house as that family member,” Tony said. “You have that personal connection with each other.” Kindal explained that when she married into a European family, her values of family changed drastically from what they were before. She noticed that seeing the way someone else spends their life in general really makes one think about life in a different way. For Kindal, some of her family is

The Makolli brothers

Ribbon cutting at Tony's Pizza on Louisville

only a short plane flight away. For Tony, however, mother and extended family live an ocean away that requires an 18-hour flight to get to where they are in Albania. “I value things so much differently, because my mother-in-law speaks a different language than me, and she lives in another country,” Kindal said. “You really start to value and appreciate things in a new way, and it makes you want to work a little bit harder to establish a strong relationship with your family since there are boundaries to overcome.” Tony, Ylli, Kindal and Kinley all stay very close to each other. They all work together when it comes to big decision making, because their European roots bring in the mentality that the family is unified at all times. Even on Mondays, which is the only day that Roma Italian Bistro is closed, the Makollis always spend their free time with each other. They enjoy their time together at the restaurant, too, but the most important time to them is when they have all the time in that one day to solely focus on one another. “I always appreciate what I have, because without those things, nothing would matter,” Tony explained. “We created a small family here in West Monroe.” Tony explained that the south reminds him of home, because Europe, as well as the south, are very laid back. No one is in a rush when they live in the Delta, because there is all the time in the world to get things done that need to be taken care of. It is nice to slow down to sit with a family member or a friend to genuinely enjoy the time that is available to spend with each other and create new memories. “At the end of the day, we all have to have open opinions,” Tony said. “What is mine is yours, and what is yours is mine.” With a laugh, Tony added that the only thing they do not share in his culture are their wives.

Christmas with the Makollis

Tony and Ylli Makolli with Kay Robertson

Celebrating the holidays in the European culture is very different from that which we recognize here in the Delta. A variation in traditional norms is the state the house must be in all the time. In Italian culture, it is considered offensive to guests if the host does not keep the home immaculate upon the guest’s arrival. Tony explained that his mother used to wake up at dawn every single day to ensure the entire home was flawless. She did not want to risk a surprise guest in the day becoming unsettled in an untidy home. “When it comes to the holidays and having people over to the house, it is an act of disrespect to come into an unclean home,” Kindal said. “If you are hosting a party, especially Christmas, your house has to be spotless.” In American culture, it has become the standard to see people and local stores im-


mediately starting off the Christmas holiday with decorations. However, this is not the same in Europe. It is not until the first or second week in December that they begin to prepare and recognize that the holiday is coming. In many European areas, they do not even celebrate Christmas until New Year’s Eve. Despite the difference in when the Christmas holiday is celebrated, the focus on during that time of year is to bring the entire family together. “I would say that everybody is different. My Christmas is basically getting the family together, getting some good food, enjoying the food, enjoying the family members, and making memories,” Tony said. “It is not just having somebody there, you have to make sure that everybody is there, because it is not the same feeling if someone is missing.” The ultimate difference in Christmas tradition is the Good Witch comes and brings presents to the children instead of Santa Claus. The story goes that when the 3 wise men who were searching for baby Jesus invited the Good Witch to join them in their journey. However, the Good Witch declined their offer. Instead, she now spends the rest of her life looking for the good children and giving presents to those who have been good that previous year. “It is different, but it is neat to see what other people are doing, because we tend to get stuck in our own ways so easily,” Kindal said. “We think Good Witch is a little weird, but they probably make fun of us for having a big bearded man that brings Christmas presents each year.”

Italian food from Roma Italian Bistro


The Businesses Roma Italian Bistro was established in West Monroe on September 22, 2015. However, this was not the first restaurant in the Makolli family that has been opened in across the state of Louisiana. Over the past five years, Tony’s extended family have also established other Roma Italian Bistros in areas such as Ruston, Minden, Bastrop, and Shreveport. Kindal emphasized that Roma Italian Bistro is not a chain, because it is a restaurant that will only be kept in their family. Tony is very focused in succeeding in life and working hard to maintain the lifestyle that he provides for his family. Due to this mentality, he was not satisfied with only having one restaurant open. With that, he recently opened New York Style Tony’s Pizza on Louisville Avenue in Monroe, LA. Soon, there will also be a Tony’s Pizza restaurant open in West Monroe. “I love my pizza, it is different,” Tony said. “Everything is made with love and done by hand, so everything is fresh!” The Makollis bring their family-focused mentality into their business, too. Tony and Kindal both explained that their restaurant employees feel like their family, because that is how they want their business to feel

Panettone, an Italian dessert bread made with dried fruit. GARY GUINIGUNDO

to every customer that walks in. He went on to say that they do not take the business just as a job, he says it as getting to know someone else and making good memories. Tony believes that when you enjoy what you do, you enjoy the other person, too. “Everything has to start with family, that is why our businesses are not just work places,” Tony said. “It is a family, and that is how we are going to grow.” Be sure to visit the Makolli family at Roma Italian Bistro in West Monroe on Tuesday through Sunday from 11:00am to 10:00pm. You can also see them at Tony’s Pizza on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 11:00am to 10:00pm, or you can go there Friday and Saturday from 11:00am to 2:00am. Also, Tony’s Pizza delivers! For more information, visit the Facebook pages for Roma Italian Bistro and for Tony’s Pizza @NewYorkStyleTonyPizzaMonroe.

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THE RESORT AT PAWS UP! Horseback rides, cattle drives, and huckleberries make the land where Lewis & Clark explored, a unique retreat. 82 | DE C E M B E R 2 017 | D E LTA S T Y LE M AGAZ I NE


“My favorite state has not yet been invented. It will be called Montana, and it will be perfect.” Abraham Lincoln, 1864

Montana… After a taste of ranch life in Texas, I was eager to explore more ranches in the United States. My daughter has found a new love for horses and reminds me of when I was younger with my paint participating in English riding jumping events.

The goal was to spend time horseback riding while being out in nature with no cell phones which brought us to Montana residing in the northwestern part of the United States in the Rocky Mountain region. The state’s name is derived from the Spanish word meaning mountain with a nickname of “Big Sky Country.” They say Montana is untamed and scenic while holding interesting sites such as the Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park. This will be our first time to Montana and it will never be forgotten. Montana took my breath away with its natural beauty and there I discovered The Resort at Paws Up!

Limousines Unlimited… There is a straight flight from Shreveport, LA to Denver, CO and then you can pick up a flight to Missoula, MT for a total of just over three hours flying time. I decided to call Limousines Unlimited for the drive to Shreveport as I did not want to worry about directions or parking. John, the driver will show up on time and dressed to the nines. You could easily call him “Dapper John.” Limousines Unlimited has professional drivers who take such great care of you. After quick introductions, John will gather our bags and place in the back after handing us refreshments. One could get very used to travelling this way. He will ask us if there is anywhere we would like to go prior to the airport in case we wanted to get a bite to eat or any last minute errands. You cannot beat that kind of service! Limousines Unlimited has been serving our community since 1993, and they are reliable and trust worthy. We are eager to fly out, so we head straight to the airport while relaxing and enjoying the views. Once we arrived, John promptly handed us our bags and told us to ride some horses for him, and we did just that!

Paws Up! Paws Up is a luxury ranch consisting of 37,000 acres as an authentic working cattle ranch with a world-class spa in the middle of yellow, rolling meadows and a big sky. The best of so many worlds. This is the land where Lewis & Clark explored and the resort pays homage by naming its luxurious accommodations after these expeditions. There are five homes amongst tall timbers surrounded by mountains and rolling, yellow meadows, and you also can experience glamping with their luxury tents right beside Blackfoot River from late May through September. It is a playground for all ages amongst nature with no compromise. We arrived in Missoula and there to greet us was Chandler, the Bellman standing over six-feet-tall. He helps us with our luggage, provides us with drinks and snacks while we loaded into the Paws Up vehicle. Chandler is friendly and shares with us his family’s background which consists of true heroes that dedicate their lives to Federal and Local law enforcements. Chandler is planning in following in his dad’s and brother’s footsteps and has been attending the local university studying Criminology. While we drive through the woods this dark night, Chandler shares bear stories and all of the other different animals that call this resort home. Excitement pumps through our veins!

Wilderness Estate… We pull up to a beautiful home with a 1700 square-foot front and back porch and you know the views are going to be off the chart once the sun rises. Chandler tells me that we are staying in the estate with one of the best panoramic views, and I can confirm he spoke the truth. He brings our suitcases upstairs and starts a fire and gets the six-person hot tub

outside going just for me! I feel at home while admiring the features of this home and absorbing all of the interior designs with sharp colors and fabrics that say touch me. The owners are a husband and wife team named, Dave and Nadine Lipson with Mrs. Lipson receiving credit for the interior designs for each home on the ranch and she has skills. Mad skills! The Estate holds vaulted ceilings, three separate master suites, jetted tubs and showers in each suite, a Great room with a fireplace, a loft game room, high-speed wireless, surround sound entertainment systems with 42 inch flat screens in almost every room. Also, a full size washer and dryer to help with the clothes while on the holiday.

Bangladesh Project… After a soak in the outdoor hot tub, we dive into the gourmet sandwiches, chips & salsa, and the meat & cheese platters waiting for us after our day of travel in our kitchen. In the refrigerator, my teenager will find it fully stocked with grape, orange, cherry, cola and water drinks. I notice on the counter two very cool reusable market bags filled with yoga mats, books on yoga and smoothies and all kinds of fun treats, containers; all as welcome gift bags for both of us. These hand-made market bags are a product of the partnerships the resort and Saidpur Enterprises created and sell as part of the Bangladesh Project. By purchasing these 100% fiber reusable bags, you become part of this effort which creates an international market for these bags while providing fair wage jobs for Bangladesh woman and a portion of sales goes to social and educational projects for the community of Saidpur. Most recently they purchased school supplies for over 400 local children and working to build a sewing academy. The goal is to create life changing opportunities in the community of Saidpur


and is a great idea for the rest of the world. Our stay coincided with a special event the resort was hosting called, AdrenZen that focused on yoga, spa treatments, organic meals & smoothies as well as the other activities the resort offers from fly fishing, ATV riding and zip lining adventures. I wish I could say we participated in the yoga sessions, but instead you could find us horseback riding under the big sky. We slept like babies in our beds, and I took the perfect bubble bath once the sun rose. And the views from the front porch were magnificent. Outside chipmunks scurry and eagles fly above, we find our very own car, a KIA waiting for us to help us explore the ranch. My daughter will be my driver while on the ranch, and this is the perfect setting to practice those teenage driving skills. I cannot even describe the excitement as she drove us to the Trough restaurant for breakfast through the Angus cattle that had made their way onto the road. I filmed while she drove with the rolling, yellow meadows as the backdrop. Fresh air, no traffic and wide open spaces are all makings for a great way to start the day. We arrive at the Trough restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch daily with organic ingredients from local farms. The morning will hold fresh omelets made to order, homemade pastries and fresh juices. And I noticed the country design that transports you to a simpler time. Cowgirl hats off to the interior designer, Mrs. Lipson! After breakfast, Julie will take us on a tour of the ranch and of Blackfoot River, the star from the novel and movie, River runs through it.

Julie knows her stuff! She has a passion for Montana and shares information on the trees and wildlife which was a perfect way for us to become familiar with the land. Julie is a sweetheart who is there to help guests in any way possible. She points to an eagle perched on a tree limb straight head, and we view other homes on the ranch that sit directly on Blackfoot River that is a fly fisherman’s dream come true. She will also show us the resort’s indoor equestrian center which happens to be the largest in Montana. It is beautiful with over 56 stalls for the horses! We find the location where most of the horses are residing and my daughter falls in love. The horses are majestic with their winter coats and the clear, crisp sky is the perfect background. One horse out of the herd comes over just for some love and scratches. We submit. The tour could have ended here and we would have been delighted, but we pressed forward and ended up beside the Blackfoot River with its beauty filled with flowing, rushing water with its soothing sound and mountains just behind. What a glorious view. My daughter sat along the banks and it is one of the most beautiful, natural spots. No cell phones needed at this location and there is just something about a rushing river. Fly fisherman’s dream.

Live Cattle Drive… Just the thought of it was thrilling – a live cattle drive with full participation. I discovered we have a talent for herding, but I am getting ahead of myself. Chris, a cute, true cowboy and Natasha with flowing red hair are our wranglers who will take us across the Montana landscape directing herd of Angus cattle and it was the best activity we

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have ever participated in at a resort, but this does not feel like a resort! Every western that I had seen on television flashes in my mind while riding across the ranch on horses. We are feeling like cowgirls. The sun breaks through the clouds and lit the rolling hills golden and the cattle were untamed with us behind the reigns. After guiding the cattle back and across the ranch, we end with the experience to pick one cow out of the herd in order to isolate him or her from the herd. A challenge. My daughter goes first and immediately zooms in on a young cow pushing the cow out of the herd and blocking her from the rest. Chris, who is handsome and rugged in a good way, calls her “the cow whisper.” We were all proud of her results! The big sky seems low and stretches from one edge to the other. My daughter looks at me as we are riding back side by side towards the gate and says, “Now this is the kinda trips I like! If you can plan more like these, I am down!” Teenage stamp of approval! What more could you want? The trip is already a success and it is just the first day!

Spa Town… Our cattle drive experience will last a lifetime and now we are able to drive right over to this two-story house in between some rolling hills on the ranch for spa treatments. What a wonderful way to wrap up the day after horseback riding. Some clouds roll in and the temperature drops with some winds reaching across the mountains as we step into Spa Town, a fullservice, world-class spa offering facial and body treatments for all ages. As we enter into the warm space of Spa Town, the staff quickly brings warm tea for us and gathers

our riding jackets. After scrubs are selected, we will be guided upstairs into our private, individual spa suites for treatments. The warm table was waiting with the windows opened, so I could hear the winds blowing around the leaves. Sixty-minute Swedish massage for me and a 60-minute treatment of Chi Balancer Reflexology for my teenager. There is something about getting a massage with the windows open for that second floor view of rolling hills that remind me of yellow from Van Gogh’s paintings, and the only sound is of leaves being blown with force with a slight whistle.

crackling fire and Kobe hamburgers and fries delivered to our table by room service. Later, I will enjoy another bubble bath while the towels heat up on the rack.


Pomp! For dinner, my daughter will drive us on the curvy road to our dinner reservations at Pomp driving by the outside obstacle course and racecar track. The views are amazing and my daughter compares it to Jurassic Park as we drive past the bison, Angus cows and elk. Dreamy! Dinner will take place at Pomp by a roaring fire that lights up the room. Alice is our waitress and she is adorable and tells me that my southern accent reminds her of her theatre days in Texas during school. Alice will present to my daughter the Root Vegetable Soup with beet, fennel, ginger, cabbage, turmeric crème fraiche, sprouted fenugreek and dill. I decided on starting with Seared Diver Scallops with heirloom squash puree, cured tomato relish and 30-year-old balsamic. For our main course, we will savor the Dry Aged Bison Ribeye with Yukon smashed potatoes, asparagus, sundried tomato compound butter. A true masterpiece! Mouthwatering! We end the evening with the Huckleberry Pecan Tartlet with salted caramel sauce and crème fraiche ice cream. The dinner was amazing and the ambiance was ranch cool with a warm fire energizing the room. The drive back to our Wilderness Estate will bring us to deer showing up alongside the road looking up to see the bright headlights. We stop to admire. You can only see the mountain outlines in the dark skies. As we continue, we will see more deer as they cross the road right in front of us as we stop to admire and take in this beautiful, natural moment. This will be great driving practice for a teenager and a highlight for me being able to share how to stop for wilderness; for the untamed. Heading back to our Estate with the gorgeous views, this has been one of the best days and the best bubble baths are to follow. It will be easy to close our eyes under the Montana skies for a great nights rest.

Horses and the majestic Blackfoot River… Julie picks us up after a wonderful breakfast delivering us to another part of

Dry Aged Bison Ribeye with Yukon smashed potatoes, asparagus, sundried tomato compound butter at Pomp!

Holiday Travel Tips The Resort at Paws Up!:; 877-588-7151 Limousines Unlimited:; 318-3225466

the ranch with mountains and the sounds of the Blackfoot River can be heard just off in the near distance. Jackie, the Equestrian Manager, greets us dressed in chaps, hair braids (one on each side of her face), and a cowgirl hat with a badge of honor just below her left eye that holds blackness from a horse breaking incident. She looks like she just walked off the set of a Hollywood western movie, and we are impressed! Horses will be matched with riders and our guide, Kelly will take the lead guiding us across the Montana open landscape into the woods along the Blackfoot River. Kelly is a world traveler pursing her desire to become an attorney while raising a son. Kelly will take us through the woods while the sounds of the river soothes our souls. We will ride upon a herd of deer making their way through the trees. Galloping by boulders with light rain just light enough to make you feel like a cowgirl withstanding the elements. Kelly provided my daughter with hand heating pads to keep us warm during the ride, so we had a few perks besides nature at its finest! Three hours of riding along the Blackfoot River listening to the rushing water; I have fallen in love with Montana, and Kelly was a great tour guide. It was exciting being on a ride looking out for bears and mountain lions! It was thrilling! After our horseback adventure, we enjoy some time at our Wilderness Estate with a

My teenager will drive us across the ranch for dinner again at Pomp this beautiful evening. The fire is going strong and the atmosphere is relaxing. The night will begin with Tuna Tataki with avocado puree, sweet soy, pickled carrot and blue willow farms micro arugula. Our taste buds are alive! The main course for the evening will bring us the Braised Montana Raised Leg of Lamb consisting of garam masala, coconut milk, cashews, Italian plum chutney sultana rice with golden raisins. For our closer of the evening, we will sample the Honey-Thyme Mousse with orange and almond semolina shortbread, Concord grape gastrique, and candied lemon peel. Another wonderful evening at Pomp! The next morning, we will leave and our driver, John from Paws Up will pick us up in time with breakfast in insulated, reusable boxes; perfect for traveling, and he made sure to bring hand warmers for my daughter for her early morning flight which I thought was so thoughtful of the staff. It was Kelly’s suggestion that they provide a couple warmers for our early morning flight. John provided great service while sharing the efforts of his son, who has dedicated his life to wilderness and park preserving efforts. The staff has great stories to share! Paws Up takes you back to another time filled with nature and wildlife as the focus. Fresh air, stimulating natural beauty; the perfect place for a family holiday! We will never forget our cattle drive, the people that make this ranch so special and the natural wonders! Landing back in Shreveport, it was nice to see a friendly face, Nelda from Limousines Unlimited who is there to greet us and assist with our luggage that has differently gotten heavier than when we left. Grateful to have made it back home safe and appreciative of the assistance! Nelda is looking sharp in her suit with a pink, silk tie ready to lend a helping hand. She made sure to stock the limousine with water and fresh ice for our tired traveled bodies. We are tired, so it is nice to stretch out in the back of the limousine while Nelda takes care of navigating our way back home through traffic. During the ride home, my daughter will need to get a bite to eat, so Nelda finds us a restaurant for a quick refill of nourishment. Nelda made it easier for us returning home after a long weekend working on the ranch in Montana! Montana holds a special place in our hearts and Paws Up made it all possible! It is better than Jurassic Park and the people, the views and the experiences that reside in Montana are dreams come true!


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Cocktailing Holiday Style

Candy Cane Martini at Warehouse No. 1 Restaurant

Introducing some of the area’s finest cocktail ith the holidays quickly approaching, there are so many things we all do prepping for our family functions, office holiday celebrations and special time with friends. We grab our favorite recipes, some from magazines, and some from those little decorated tin boxes passed down to us from our Moms and Grandmothers – generally running ourselves ragged until the bitter end planning for that perfect day! Well, holiday ramblers, this installment of Tara’s Taste of The Town is just for YOU! This month we ventured to all of my favorite hot-spots, and then some, to bring you a little holiday enjoyment I’d like to call “Cocktailing – Holiday Style!” First on the list, just a short trip down DeSiard is one of the newly happening places,


Brass Monkey. Barkeep, Shannon Haley, under the direction of the owners, poured two high class glasses of celebration – An Cherry Brandy Old Fashion and a RoeLa Russian. In typical Old Fashion style, this concoction was served in a whiskey glass, adorned with a beautiful spiral of orange peel and a maraschino cherry, quite befitting its famous name and classic style. Next up, the RoeLa Russian. Brass Monkey’s version of this iconic beverage has been combined with the fine coffee blends of RoeLa Roaster (located right next door). As Shannon brings this sweet looking treat to the table, my dear co-hort, Gary the Gastronaut’s eyes open widely. Topped with whipped cream, caramel and chocolate drizzles, the take on this fabulous find is quite breathtaking and exudes “drink me” from every angle. Not stopping there, we follow Desiard down to the roof top of the Ouachita River to meet up with another one of my favorite bartenders, Toni DeVaney at Planter’s. Toni

explains that her vision of a holiday craft cocktail is a play on a daily Planter’s favorite. Crushed cranberries, rosemary, mint and ginger beer make up this stunning Christmas Mule! Owner Jay Howell gladly gives his seal of approval, and offers this fabulously refreshing drink to patrons to try during the holiday season and beyond. But make no mistake, not only is this light and tasty drink easy on the lips, the stunning presentation laid out by Toni certainly make it well worth the order! John Jeter and the grand folks at Enoch’s are known for their mouthwatering burgers, and craft beer selection, but it’s my pleasure to also introduce some of their bodacious cocktails. The Irish Winter Cream is not only a smooth in appearance, it’s alcohol content is easily disguised with subtle hints of Bailey’s, Amaretto, fresh whip cream and vodka – so watch out for this powerful powerhouse! Next on the list, John brings over the grown-up version of an old classic, The Dirty Shirley. Unlike it’s lesser

RoeLa Russian at Brass Monkey

Christmas Mule at Planters

Dirty Shirey at Enoch’s



S'more-tini at Monterrey Grill

Warhawk Martini at Waterfront Grill

Pink Dreamsicle at SQ's on the Ouachita

infused non-alcoholic version, The Dirty Shirley adds a silver rum to the mix giving this glassful glitz and glamour! Lastly, Jeter made certain that the evening ended on a fabulous note with Enoch’s Irish Ending, which is an impossibility to pass up! I highly recommend you grabbing your favorite driver and heading on over to Enoch’s. Adding to my panoramic takedown of the area’s finest, Monterrey Grill and Mario Mata’s signature S’more-tini could not be left off the list. Served in a traditional martini glass, this velvet drink has ribbons of chocolate sauce drizzled on the inside of the glass, rimmed in chocolate sauce and adorned with a graham cracker topping. Comprised of Bailey’s Irish Cream, vodka, and Hershey’s Syrup, this amazing cocktail is certain to end any sweet-tooth craving one may have. Down the road just a bit, Adron Greenwood is the man behind the bar whom you want to sit and parle’ at the Waterfront

Grill. As my co-hort and I pull up a seat, Adron explains his craft cocktail is appropriately named the Warhawk Martini. Vodka, Cointreau, combined with pomegranate juice and simple syrup make this cocktail scrumptious to the tasting, but it’s the perfectly spiraled orange rind, and orange slice/ cherry garnish that make this drink not only perfect for tasting but aesthetically pleasurable on the eyes as well. This drink is best enjoyed as the perfect starter for a lovely evening on Bayou DeSiard at the Waterfront Grill, or as a nightcap overlooking the beautiful bayou on a sunset evening. With another lovely, picturesque view of the Ouachita River in site, General Manager and overall jack-of-all-trades Shane Wall was my next stop at SQ’s on the Ouachita. Under the close direction of Owner, Brian Eskew, Wall created a lovely concoction he dubbed as the “Pink Dreamcicle.” Comprised of coconut milk, Grenadine, blood orange liquor, Grand Marnier, vodka and pink

Moscato, this beautiful little cocktail is not only delectable to the taste buds, but it’s quite stunning in appearance. Most certainly a mouthwatering delight to start the evening, or to top it off for certain. Last, but certainly not least, my journey ends on the Ouachita at The Warehouse No. 1. Bartender, Brandon Carter explains that his craft cocktail is truly befitting of the yuletide season – The Candy Cane Martini. Made up of a delightfully delicious mixture of Tito’s Vodka, crushed candy canes, simple syrup and cranberry juice, this lovely little drink beacons the holidays are near. With my journey somewhat complete, I couldn’t help, but feel that nothing would make this issue finer than sharing some of my own craft cocktails, as well as a special treat from Toni DeVaney, with the readers of DeltaStyle, so grab your shopping list, secure your favorite designated drivers and get ready to put the “festive” in all of those holiday get-togethers! Cheers!

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Tied Up With A Bow

Served: In a wine glass 1 Single Serving Ingredients: » 1⁄2 Glass Chilled Champagne (your personal preference) » 1⁄2 Glass Chilled Raspberry Juice or Cranberry Juice Garnish: Frozen Raspberries and/or Cranberries (generally 3 or 4 will do) and a small spring of fresh mint Directions: Mix in equal parts, toss in the frozen cranberries and/or raspberries to the bottom of the glass, add ice if desired and garnish with mint spring.

Served: In a Champagne Coupe or Brandy Snifter for single portions. Serve in a Goblet or Hurricane glass for a double portion. 2 Servings Ingredients: » 1 ounce of crème de banana syrup (Torani, DeKuyper or Bols brands are preferred) » 1 1⁄2 ounces of light rum (not to be confused with Spiced Rum) » 1 ounce of crème de cocao (I prefer Godiva White Chocolate, but any chocolate liqueur will do) » 1⁄2 of a fresh (not overripe) banana » 1⁄2 ounce of your favorite chocolate sauce Garnish: » Whip cream » Crushed peanut butter mixed with crushed chocolate chip cookies » 1 strawberry (sliced and fanned for the rim) Directions: Combine all ingredients in a blender, reserving some chocolate sauce for rimming and presentation. Prior to pouring the ingredients in the glass, stripe the glass with chocolate sauce in a crisscross pattern and drizzle a little around the rim of the glass. Take a small amount of the crushed cookies and rim the glass. Pour mixture into the glass, garnish with whip cream and more crushed cookies. Finish with the fanned strawberry.

Christmastime Punch

New Year’s Celebration

Apple Pie On The Rocks

Served: In a whiskey tumbler 6-8 Servings Ingredients: » 1 (48 ounce) can cranberry juice » 2 limes cut into wedges » 3 cups of vodka » Ice » 16 ounces of club soda Garnish: With a fresh sprig of rosemary. Directions: Mix all ingredients and pour into a pitcher. Serve over ice and garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary.

Served: Hurricane Glass 4-6 Servings Ingredients: » 1 (46 ounce) can of pineapple juice » 1 (23 ounce) can of orange juice » 1 (8 ounce) can of guava juice » Grated nutmeg » 8 ounces of Grenadine » 3 ounces of rum per glass Garnish: Orange Slices, Maraschino Cherries, Fresh Mint Leaves Directions: Combine liquid ingredients, shake and pour into Hurricane Glasses. Sprinkle grated nutmeg, garnish with orange slices, maraschino cherries and a sprig of fresh mint.

Submitted: Toni DeVaney of Planter’s Served: Rocks Glass (Whiskey Tumbler) 1 Single Serving Ingredients: » 1 ounce Vanilla Vodka » 1 ounce of Fireball Whiskey » 4 ounces Organic Apple Juice » Pinch of Ground Cinnamon » Brown Sugar for the Rimmer » Ice Garnish: Cinnamon stick Directions: Mix all liquid ingredients in a shaker. Moisten the top of the glass and gently rim with brown sugar. Fill rocks glass with ice and pour in mixture. Garnish with cinnamon stick and serve.

For more great photos and recipes, follow Tara’s Taste of the Town on Facebook at


Please join us as we celebrate the joys of the season with our

Christmas Open House December 7th


6:00PM - 7:30PM

Enjoy Entertainment by


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Give the Gift of Newk’s Buy $25 in gift cards, get $5 for yourself Buy $50 in gift cards, get $10 for yourself

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Merry Christmas & Happy New Year DELTA STYL E MAGA Z I N E | DECEM BER 2017 | 93



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he cold temperatures and frequently inclement weather during this time of year often hinder outside activities. These weather conditions make late fall through winter a great time to provide a little extra attention to interior plants. Beyond the regular watering and otherwise general care, this is an opportune time to perform specific tasks such as pruning and spritzing, pulling dead leaves, adding fresh soil, and otherwise providing TLC to inside greenery. The following general tips are offered from my personal experience to support your efforts. As always, more specific information on this and other gardening topics can be found at the official LSU AgCenter website,

Pruning and aerating plants » Carefully inspect plant leaves and stems and gently remove all withering or dead foliage. » Gently fluff, separate and space individual stems and leaves as needed to provide adequate air flow. » Using a small gardening trowel, your fingers, or any other small tool (i.e., a kitchen fork) gently aerate the soil in the plants’ pots, taking care not to disturb the plant roots.

Adding fresh soil and plant food » Replenish the soil in each plant container, as needed, with a high-quality potting mix, leaving enough headspace for watering without overflow. Approximately 1-2 inches is recommended. Do not pack the soil down, as this will hinder air flow among the plant’s roots. » If plant food is not included in the potting mix, add spikes, granules or liquid plant food into the container. While this task can be performed at different times throughout the year, now is a good time to get it done prior to the busy spring season, when most gardening tasks will be focused outside.


Spritzing and watering » Using a spray bottle filled with clean fresh water, give each plant a good spritzing not only to remove dust and other residue build up, but also to hydrate the plants, as the increased heat of inside temperatures during cool seasons may dry out the plants. » If evidence of plant-destroying pests or disease is visible, douse each plant with a recommended insecticidal spray, focusing specifically on the visibly affected areas, to prevent further damage. » Finally, if the soil in the container is dry to the touch, water each plant thoroughly, stopping when the water begins to overflow from the container into the drainage tray. Evidence of too little water may include drooping stems or leaves. On the other hand, and indication of too much watering may be the browning of leaf edges. Regardless of how much care is taken in performing the next two steps, the disturbed soil in containers and accumulated water in trays are apt to create a messy undertaking. Consequently, these tasks are best performed either with floors coverings over the interior work area (ex. sections of plastic, vinyl or newspaper) or in an exterior setting, such as the garage or driveway.

Cleaning plant containers and drainage trays » Remove the plant container (with plant

and soil intact) from atop the drainage tray and place it onto the prepared floor surface. Using a bristle brush or damp wash cloth, gently scrub and then rinse the accumulated debris from around the container. Set the cleansed container aside to dry. » Wash each tray in a soapy water solution; then rinse and dry each before setting the containers back onto the trays. » Repeat these steps for each container and tray prior to setting them back into the desired interior locations.

With proper care, a house plant can survive for years. Consequently, the plant may eventually outgrow the boundary of its container. When evidence of overgrowth or overcrowding is present (i.e., drooping stems or leaves or protruding roots) repotting may be required. The following steps are recommended: » First, using a spade or other gardening tool, gently loosen the soil around the perimeter of the plant’s container, taking care not to disturb the plant’s roots. » Next, set the plant onto the prepared floor covering and gently shake away the soil from the roots in order to determine where the roots can be separated with only minimal disturbance to the root system. » Place each separated plant into a container previously prepared with fresh potting mix with the roots spread out and facing downward. Fill each container with additional potting mix, leaving the recommended headspace for watering. Water each plant as previously recommended, and then place the container in the selected location. House plants can add not only warmth and beauty, but also color and texture to interior decor. Whether for a splash of color, a centerpiece arrangement, or a camouflage for unsightly wall sockets; for seasonal décor, room ambience, or merely sentimental reasons, house plants help to enhance the living environment in so many worthwhile ways. In addition, their air-purifying qualities help to create a healthy living environment. For these reasons, these interior staples deserve to be cared for and preserved. With proper care, inside plants can bring many years of ambient, air-filtering beauty to a home.


The brochure can be found at various businesses downtown, Monroe Civic Center, CVB, and more, or it can be accessed online. down do wnto wn townmonr townmonr wnmonroe oe.or oe .org/t .org/t g/tour our 96 | DE C E M B E R 2 017 | D E LTA S T Y LE M AGAZ I NE

OGLESBY FINANCIAL GROUP A Sturdy Case Isn’t All You Need to Protect Your Smartphone

Darren Oglesby, Registered Financial Consultant

Smartphones are incredibly handy. That may be why about three of every four Americans own them.1 On average, smartphone users spend almost three hours a day – 86 hours every month – using their phones. They send texts and email, interact on social media, listen to music and podcasts, watch videos or movies, take and send pictures, play games, read eBooks and online publications, get directions, make payments, and much more.2 Of course, there is a price for all that convenience. Smartphones can make their owners vulnerable. Norton, a cyber security firm, recently reported phone hijacking has become all too common. Cybercriminals contact a mobile service provider, pretend to be the account holder, and request the mobile service be transferred to a new phone. If they’ve stolen your personal data, convincing a phone company representative the request is legitimate isn’t that difficult.2

other sensitive data, the criminal can use it to steal money or blackmail and threaten the victim. Even sites that use two-factor authentication may now be accessed.” Common sense and some smart safety precautions can help protect your phone number and online accounts. For instance: •

Norton reports once the phone has been hijacked:3 “The criminal can now reset the passwords on every account that uses the phone number for auto recovery. The victim’s phone may also be used to hack into other aspects of his or her life. With access to payment apps, emails, photographs, financial sites, and

Use different usernames and passwords for different accounts. If you create unique email addresses to use with your mobile service provider and sensitive financial accounts, hijacking your smartphone and online accounts will be far more difficult.4 Add a passcode to your mobile account. Instead of using the last four digits of your Social Security number, create a unique passcode that must be provided to the customer service rep at your mobile provider before any changes are made.4 Don’t click on suspicious links or access content accompanied by a warning. As they say, “Curiosity killed the cat.” Use common sense before clicking on links or ignoring warnings provided by your phone, especially when using public Wi-Fi.5 Don’t allow online or telephone account changes. Tell your mobile provider that any changes to your account must be made in person with a photo ID. It’s not foolproof, but it’s an additional hurdle thieves must clear.4

It’s a good idea to take steps to protect your accounts as soon as possible. Whether you have taken action or not, if your phone stops receiving a signal or indicates only emergency calls are available, contact your cell phone provider immediately. Your phone may have been hijacked.3 Sources: 1 2

Platform-Era-Emerges 3 cid=hho_email_US_BLST_ACT_CLUBNORTON_2017_08_ONESPOT 4

hijacking-phone-numbers-and-breaking-into-email-and-bank-accounts-howto-protect-yourself/#1601a5ea360f 5

without-your-knowledge.html 6 7 term=.qh8Nr12Rax#.cwL25Np1Pm 8 9 10 /08e4a2a3f1b79e70416e16a5e70b746f1/ 11 12 13

gen-xers/ 14

platforms-and-creators-that-teens-love/ 15

baby-boomer-feel-like-a-kid?utm_term=.tfmRXyQz0G#.oylZp1X2d4 Securities offered through Oglesby Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. The above material was prepared by Carson Group Coaching. Carson Group Coaching is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer.

Securities offered through Oglesby Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. The above material was prepared by Peak Advisor Alliance. Peak Advisor Alliance is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer.

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




Every other year, John and Karen Crigler of St. Joseph enjoy traveling with best friends from their Kappa Sig days at LSU. Mont St. Michel was one of their favorite stops on their customized small group tour of France and England.




EXPERIENCES Gift your love ones with a fun vacation this Christmas. 98 | DE C E M B E R 2 017 | D E LTA S T Y LE M AGAZ I NE

ou better watch out cause Santa Claus is coming to town! And, as your friendly local travel agent at Monroe Travel Service, I just wanted you to hear the news first from me: Santa’s got a brand new “bag!” Of course, the jolly ole elf still has all the traditional fun packed away in his bag to hand out on Christmas morning. With the help of Monroe Travel Service, he can always deliver a trip to the Big Apple, a family escape to Disneyworld, a cruise from New Orleans to Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel, a ski trip, a romantic beach vacation, airline tickets to Paris, a riverboat cruise on the Rhine River, etc. Who would not be thrilled to find one of these getaways or a travel gift certificate all wrapped up under their holiday tree? Yet, for this Christmas, the “concierge” elves of the North Pole have outdone themselves, and you have all those adorable little Elves on the Shelves that adorn so many homes in December to thank for this new idea. You see, they have gotten the message back to dear ole Santa and told him it is time to have something new and creative in your travels for 2018. They let Santa know how much you like the idea of small group touring. You are looking for more personal experiences when you travel, more flexibility, and the chance to make more decisions about how you spend your time. Why some of you even wanted to design your own tours and activities, but the bottom line is you still do not want to go it alone. Big name hotels are not necessary; you had rather be invested in the local culture, stay in the smaller, boutique style hotels that a group tour simply cannot. You want time to shop and time to linger longer if you feel like it. If you see something special, you want to stop and enjoy the moment. So, in essence, what Santa and I heard you wish for in 2018 is “organized independence” when you travel. We understand your desire is to be part of a group, but not a crowd. You still wish to travel to all those places that will take your breath away, but you want it to be in a relaxed, unhurried way, and on your own terms to some extent. I think you are saying there is no need for a bathroom stop to be with 46 other people at one time! Still, you don’t want to go it alone: you wish to have an expert guide along to help discover the world you want to experience.

Well, lucky for you, with the help of the travel professionals at Monroe Travel Service, it’s in the bag! With a maximum of 18 guests in a Sprinter bus that can accommodate up to 30 passengers, I want to tell you about a small group tour where you can choose from a wide variety of destinations or, if you prefer, even design a tour of your own. In September, I had a group of 12 best friends who did just that when they combined the WWII sites of France with Bath, the Cotswolds, and London to create a wonderful adventure for a week! Karen Crigler, who, along with her husband John, have been enjoying small group trips with their LSU Kappa Sig pledge brothers every other year. This is what Karen had to say about their journey. “This trip was so perfect, because we got to enjoy the 2 locations we all wanted to see. We also totally loved the small private tour aspect of it all, because we had so much fun, we all agreed we could never do the big bus thing. In Bath, I saw those tour buses, and it just took so long to load and unload; we had a new Mercedes van that had a maximum of 14 seats, plus it had USB plugs at each seat to charge our phones! This trip truly spoiled us.” “Even though our trip was not as inclusive as some group tours, we did have breakfast included daily. Yet, what we had forgotten was how much fun it was eating at different spots, choosing where we wanted to dine, and with whom we chose to sit with. We were especially lucky, because our tour guide was so congenial. She knew her stuff and she did not lecture us or talk non-stop. She always tried to be accommodating and even took us on some side trips requested by one of our friends at the last minute.” “In short, if it was not on her radar, she did not seem bothered. How nice it was to have a private chauffeur guide who became our knowledgeable friend in strange places. The van was very comfortable, and the the

price was reasonable, so I think you should tell someone looking for an up-close and personal way to see Europe to consider this private van option. We all definitely had a great time.” To have a vacation tailored to the interests—biking, hiking, cooking, history, gardens, religion, etc-- of your family or friends is so very special. Yet, in addition to arranging personalized private tour programs, there are some pretty cool readymade programs where you can claim your spot if you don’t have your own group of family or friends. Many of their tour dates are guaranteed departures. In fact, these will go even if only 4 people sign up. Singles are also welcome. Once again, keep in mind the maximum number for any trip is 18 guests. A typical day will depart around 9 am and include anywhere from 100 to 170 miles of van travel depending on the destination. Of course, you can almost be assured travel will be on a scenic route (not a freeway or toll road), which enables you to see more of the village life. Because of the small group size, it is easy to ask questions of your very own personal driver/guide whose only job is to make sure you enjoy and see all the sites included on the journey. Here are just a few of the back-road trips you might want to ask Santa to tuck away in his bag for his big reveal on Christmas day: HIGHLIGHTS OF ENGLAND

10 days--York, Cotswolds, Lake District from $2,754


8 days--Inverness / Isle of Skye / Mull / Iona from $3,039


8 days-Lucca / Volterra / Pienza / Tuscany from $2,184


7 days--Naples, Capri, The Amalfi Coast from $2,849


e h t l e e v i v G f tra o t f i G Gift s cate certifi ble! a avail

7 days-Venice, Ljubljana, Opatija and Split from $3,134


9 days-Normandy, Brittany, The Loire Valley from $3,277


12 days --Belfast / Galway / Dingle / Kilkenny from $3,476

Please note, all tour prices are per person and valid through 1/30/18. Personally, I am thinking that Ireland trip through Connemara, the Burren, Kenmare and Dingle would be something I would love Santa to bring me. Ireland has such a rugged beauty about it, not to mention its 50 shades of green and the wild, Atlantic Ocean that will simply blow you away when you are standing on the Cliffs of Moher. Now, because they do drive on the wrong side of the road, I believe this would be the perfect Back Road trip to just sit back, enjoy all the ancient myths and folklore of the ‘little people,” the Celtic traditions of storytelling, the music, the history, and the warmth of the Irish while your driver/guide navigates those little backroads while you relax in your luxury van! I have a free brochure on this exciting small group way to travel the Back Roads of Europe, so give me a call at Monroe Travel Service 318-323-3465 or send your favorite Santa by our office at 1908 Glenmar and let’s wrap up your holiday shopping soon. I am sure you’ve been good, so don’t you think you deserve a big adventure in 2018? Whatever is on your travel wish list for 2018, come see us at Monroe Travel Service. We would love to send you away. Happy Holidays, everyone! Dianne Newcomer is a travel agent at Monroe Travel Service, 1908 Glenmar in Monroe. For all your travel needs, call the professionals at 318-323-3465 or email

318 323 3465 11908 908 Glenmar Glenmar Ave. Ave. Ave DELTA STYL E MAGA Z I N E | DECEM BER 2017 | 99

323 walnut street downtown monroe WWW.NELCM.ORG

The Northeast Louisiana Children's Museum


s ’ a t San

e g a l l i V s a m t is



nov 18 - dec 23 23rd will close at 6

1/2 price Thursday 5 - 8 pm 1/2 PRICE FOR THE FIRST 150 PEOPLE

Friday 5-8 pm Saturday 10-8 pm Sunday 1-6 pm


$7 admission includes cookie decorating ornament making snow show model train village festive light show visit with santa Mount Sneaux (42” and taller)

ice skating ($5 skate rental fee)

100 | DE C E M B E R 2 017 | D E LTA S T Y LE MAGA Z I NE

Honoring Jesus as Lord in Song, Communion, and Scripture.


Forsythe Church of Christ


We Welcome You and Your Family to Worship on Christmas Eve Morning at 10:30.

We have a focus and vision that addresses both your short term concerns while affecting long term improvement: balanced POSTURE (structure), optimal PERFORMANCE

Meet the Newest

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Member of the


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Merry Christmas

from River Oaks Varsity Football River Oaks School

MAIS District 5 AA Champions

600 Finks Hideaway Road, Monroe, LA 71201• 318-343-4185 • River Oaks has a Nondiscriminatory Open Admissions Policy.



Drama on Everest

Spooky table decoration


Potpourri Book Club explores death on the slopes GEORGIANN POTTS

Potpourri Book Club member, Nancy Inabnett, kept club members on the edge of their seats recently as she reviewed Jon Krakauer’s blockbuster book, Into Thin Air: Death on Everest. Sparing almost none of the horrific details, Inabnett methodically moved through the chronology of the tragedy as it unfolded. According to Inabnett, this trek to and from the summit resulted in the most lives lost on Everest in a single climb in that mountain’s history to that date --- nine. Inabnett carefully set the stage for her review by going over the known dangers that climbing Everest and similar soaring peaks present. She pointed out that these climbs require a commitment of approximately four weeks so that the climbers can acclimate as they move toward the summit through a series of base camps. Everything must be carried by the climbers and the sherpas who accompany them. These climbs are rigorous physically and mentally, and many fail in their attempt. Inabnett

Alpha Spence, Carole Kilpatrick

also pointed out that the cost for such expeditions is high (averaging $60,000+ per climber), thereby eliminating all, but the most ardent climbers. Jon Krakauer, according to Inabnett, was in the unique position of being both part of the group that climbed as well as the author of this account of what happened “up there” during that climb. His account was riveting --- a real page-turner, as Inabnett explained. In the book, details are revealed that most would never contemplate. How to dispose of human waste? What to do with the empty oxygen cylinders discarded along the way? Why do more die on the descent than on the ascent? “The most interesting aspect of the book

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Potpourri Book Club hostesses Martha Hayden, Sue Nawas, Jane Hayden, and LaVerne Bodron. The meeting was held in the Nawas home.

Kathy Patrick, Marilyn Stern

to me were the descriptions of the people who had come together to make this climb,” Inabnett explained. “They came from different backgrounds, different countries, and different cultures.” Krakauer, an experienced mountaineer, wrote that he, too, was surprised at the group that had assembled for the climb. They were not hard-core climbers, only people seeking what they considered to be the greatest adventure in life --- climbing the highest peak in the Himalayas. Among the climbing team members were Rob Hall, the head guide; Andy Harris, a guide with the expedition who died during the climb; Ang Dorje, Hall’s chief Sherpa who is a true hero during the climb; and Doug Hansen, a tourist. Hansen, Inabnett told the group, was among the most interesting in the party, because he was a postal worker who had attempted the climb the year before, but had failed. He was returning to see if he could make it this time. At the end of her review, Inabnett introduced Waigne Cryer of Red Lion Technology to show a series of still photographs illustrating the Everest climb and the hostile terrain that the party had to move through. Afterwards, there was a spirited discussion of the book that many in the club had read. The gorgeous home of Dr. Sue Nawas was the setting for the book club meeting. Nawas, always known for setting a gorgeous table, did not disappoint. She and her co-hostesses --- Jane Hayden, Martha Hayden, and

Judy Worthen, Rosemary Luffey, Pat Blanchard

Nancy Inabnett, Dianne Cage, Marilyn Stern

LaVerne Bodron --- decided to play up the Halloween “season” to the fullest. The entry to the Nawas home was appointed beautifully with mums, webs, and seasonally appropriate elements including strawmen and gourds. In the foyer, a devilishly cute spook straddled the staircase bannister, strumming his banjo in welcome. In the dining room, both the dining table and sideboard held a delightful mixture of those things that are associated with fall and Halloween. A fierce black cat with arched back centered the table, surrounded by skulls, ghosts, and even a Pilgrim lady and gentleman! Trays of delicate tea sandwiches – spinach and ham – were accompanied by a fresh crudité selection with dipping sauce. Elsewhere to be seen and enjoyed were a cheese and fresh fruit board, a hot crab and cheese fondue, and a trio of sweets including white chocolate chip cookies, a luscious spice cake, and chocolate fudge squares each topped with petite marzipan pumpkins. Enjoying being together were Martha Anderson, Pat Blanchard, LaVerne Bodron, Dianne Cage, Allison Cattar, Lillian Gentry, Jane Hayden, Martha Hayden, Lynn Hodge, Mike Husted, Nancy Inabnett, Kaydell Jackson, Carole Kilpatrick, Joy Loomis, Rosemary Luffey, Allison Mead, Sue Nawas, Jerry Oakley, Kellie Oakley, Kathy Patrick, Georgiann Potts, Adele Ransom, Carol Ransom, Linda Reeves, Denise Smith, Alpha Spence, Marilyn Stern, and Judy Worthen.


MEMBER MEMBER Northeast Tel is a 70-year-old locally owned and operated telecommunications company. With our latest expansion, we work with businesses to determine their communications, networking and internet needs. We do this by evaluating what businesses are currently utilizing for computers & networks, voice services and network security. We work together with each businesses technology partners to develop a solution that works best for your business. Our goal is to provide solutions that will save money &/or improve efficiencies. I participate primarily in the business advocacy organizations in Monroe & West Monroe, an active Diplomat with the WMWO Chamber & an Ambassador with the Monroe Chamber. I look forward to getting more involved with economic development opportunities. I am a Deacon with my home church, Village Baptist Church in Destin Florida, and run sound as well as assist my bride, Carolyn with Children’s Church when needed. We have 3 beautiful children Kelsi Arnold (Husband Tyler), Karli Thomson (Fiancé Brandon) & Tanner 18 who just started his University life, along with 3 amazing grands, Journi 6, Quest 3, and Jack Venture 8 Months. My involvement with the Diplomat has allowed me to network with many other business owners & sales leaders. I enjoy sharing my experience from many years of business to business sales however I also enjoy learning from others in different industries about their concerns, struggles, and successes. Personally, it is always nice to hear that you may have impacted someone in a positive way. I have had that experience in my short time participating as a diplomat. One of my favorite quotes: “The work is behind the scenes, the competition is the easy part...Behind the scenes is where all the work and everything is done to get to that one race that you need to run.” - Usain Bolt Keep Moving!

Yard of the Month First West, 311 Mill Street West Monroe

Spotlight The Fleurty Ginger Boutique, LLC was founded in 2013 by Christy White. Christy has always had a passion for stylish fashion throughout her life. Christy’s focus on fashion has allowed her to help people throughout Northeast Louisiana. For the past eight years, Christy has been associated with the Miss Louisiana Organization and has judged several preliminaries to the Miss Louisiana Scholarship Pageant. Christy is also a member of the Junior League of Monroe. Her career has been in the financial industry, marketing industry and the fashion industry, as this is her passion. Christy wanted to allow her customers to focus on life by freeing up their time through her keen eye for fashion. She is able to take an outfit and accent it with the perfect accessories to allow you to stand out in a crowd and enjoy the attention you will get in your community. This will save you time from having to create your own style. One of her goals is to allow you to focus on you and not break the bank. Many times women neglect making a fashion statement due to a limited budget. Christy set out to create a boutique where you could buy almost anything in the store for $40 and under. This allows you to Focus on You and dress fashionably within your budget. Visit The Fleurty Ginger Boutique at our store at 200 Bell Lane, West Monroe, LA 71291, 1862 Forsythe Ave, Monroe, LA 71201, on Facebook, on the website, on Instagram, or at local markets around Northeast Louisiana so you can ......BE FLEURTY!

The Fleurty Ginger 200 Bell Lane | West Monroe, LA 71291 | (318) 884-7467







Chamber Diplomat Spotlight Profile • Shawn Fleming



smile is more


than you think

FREE Consultation FREE Scan 24 interest free months to pay

Caples and Robinson Orthodontics Northeast Louisianaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s only Diplomates of the American Board of Orthodontics Monroe 104 | DE C E M B E R 2 017 | D E LTA S T Y LE MAGA Z I NE

West Monroe




2913 ASPHODEL DRIVE . MONROE New Construction. Completed 8/2017 Looks and feels like a Custom Built Home. Beautiful finishes throughout. Calcutta & Carrara Marble counter tops in kitchen, bathrooms & utility, wood floors, wainscoting in dining room. Juliet Balcony and New Orleans style court yard with grill & Sink. Gas stovetop with pot~filler. Pretty colors of grays and blues. 10 ft ceilings, media\game room plus so much more.. MLS 176093


Candy Goldman, Stella McStravick, Ellen Breed, Annetta Hill

It’s Fiesta Time!

Dianne Lawrence, Felicia Kostelka

Genevieve McDuff, Ann Hargon

Chapter AE Celebrates Fiesta decorations

Loura Barr, Sandy Duplissey, Nannette Flowers



Members of P.E.O. Chapter AE met on one of the first cool days of the fall to celebrate fun and friendship with a traditional Mexican fiesta. Chairman for the luncheon was Lauretta Tucker, a master at making people feel welcome, at cooking delicious meals, and at making everything festive. As the ladies entered the hall at the Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home, smiles erupted at the sight of bright colors, Mexican memorabilia, and good friends old and new. Before the buffet lunch was offered, the

ladies mingled with one another sharing stories and having a wonderful time being together. Members of the hostess committee --- Loura Barr, Annetta Hill, Felicia Kostelka, Carolyn Myrick, and Margaret Brock --- moved easily among those gathered, making certain that everyone felt special. Following the blessing delivered by Tucker, the group moved easily along the buffet, obviously delighted with the offerings they found there. The entire meal prepared by Tucker, and her choice of dishes was spot on. The traditional fare included chicken enchiladas, a lovely mixed salad

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with Mexican spices, and a delicious “mystery” Mexican casserole created by Tucker herself. It was the hit of the day! The ladies seated themselves at tables for six, each covered in a cloth in vibrant primary hues. At the center of each table was a charming centerpiece carrying out the fiesta theme. Alicia Poynter, Mariah Todd, and Eden Townsend from Chico’s provided a fall-inspired style show as the ladies enjoyed lunch. Models were AE members Linda Taylor, Joy Loomis, Melanie McStravick, and Terri Hayward. At the conclusion of the

style show, Melanie McStravick made a special presentation of a birthday cupcake to her mother-in-law, Stella McStravick. The group then sang “Happy Birthday” to Stella in honor of her 99th birthday! Immediately after the tribute, the hostesses brought coffee and a selection of cupcakes to the tables for the ladies to select from for their dessert. Guests at the luncheon were Bettie Phillips, Faye McStravick, Ellen Breed, Cherie McDonald, Ashley McDonald, Sandy Duplissey, and Diane Walters. Seen among the happy crowd were Nannette Flowers, Candy Goldman, Dianne Lawrence, Felicia Kostelka, Genevieve McDuff, Ann Hargon, Georgiann Potts, Loura Barr, Stella McStravick, Melanie McStravick, Terri Hayward, Linda Taylor, Joy Loomis, Lauretta Tucker, Michelle Brown, Stephanie Schaeffer, Ann Sanders, Tency Tarver, Yvette Greer, Yvonne Richardson, Yvonne Armstrong, Cynthia Travis, Carolyn Myrick, and Anne Sanders. P.E.O. (Philanthropic Educational Organization), one of the pioneer societies for women, was founded on January 21, 1869, by seven students at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant, 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 opportuni-

Michelle Brown, Lauretta Tucker ABOVE: Tency Tarver, Cherie McDonald, Ashley McDonald Yvonne Richardson, Yvonne Armstrong

Stella McStravick, Faye McKstravick

ties 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.

Yvette Greer, Bettie Phillips


Monroe Chamber of Commerce, Origin Bank and Thomas and Farr Agency, Inc. Present

Thursday, December 7, 2017 Bayou DeSiard Country Club, Complimentary Wine & Beer 6:00-8:00 Live Auction 7:00-8:00 Entertainment by Charlie Wood and Smokin’ Section Band • Cocktail Attire • $75 per ticket RSVP BY CALLING 323-3461 BY NOVEMBER 30, 2017 MN-1000675707


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Vogue Living: Country, City, Coast by Hamish Bowles An inside look at some of the world’s most lavish homes, gardens, and retreats, this massive collection of glossy photos and accompanying stories escort the reader through a private tour of truly gorgeous interiors and exteriors. From Cindy Crawford in Ontario, to Karl Lagerfeld in Paris, to Stella McCartney in Scotland, to Tory Burch in Southhampton, to Dolce and Gabanna in Italy, this collection focuses on the artists, designers, architects whose aesthetic impact has helped shape 21st century glamour.

I’ll Have What She’s Having: How Nora Ephron’s Three Iconic Films Saved the Romantic Comedy by Erin Carlson This is a lighthearted read that offers delicious backstage scoop about three iconic Nora Ephron movies — When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail. It details how Nora took on Hollywood and took a risk in telling a Romantic Comedy in her original and thoughtful approach that oftentimes placed reality above romance. If you loved the movies, this book is a must.

Revisit the Classics Collection by Juniper Books If you have not stumbled across this marvelous site for book collections, please visit now! Dozens of thoughtfully curated collections, beautifully coordinated through color, author, and theme are like nothing that you will find in the local bookstore. From the leather bound Harry Potter Collection (that arrives in a Hogwart’s trunk) to the complete works of Shakespeare, and Jane Austen to a James Bond First Edition Library set, there is something to delight even the hardest-to-shop-for reader. Shop the site at

Far From the Tree A Book that Takes Its Time: An Unhurried Adventure in Creative Mindfulness by Irene Smit and Astrid van der Hulst, editors of Flow Magazine Mindfulness is the state of active, open attention on the present, and it advocates being fully aware of where we are and what we are doing. It has inspired a new wave of thoughtful publications, coloring books, and Flow, an international magazine that celebrates creativity and taking pleasure in life. This unique book is the brainchild of Flow‘s editors ,and it mixes quotes, stories, stickers, tear-out cards, mini-journals, posters, blank papers for collage, and more. A wonderful surprise for the anyone who enjoys the daily pleasures of keeping a journal, scrapbook, or sketchbook.

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by Robin Benway Just announced, this 2017 recipient of the National Book Award for Young People is a moving novel of family, it interweaves the story of three siblings and delves deeply into the lives of Grace, Maya, and Joaquin as they manage their unique family dynamic. Brought together through birth, adoption, and foster care, the three navigate the complications of finding identity through redefining what it means to belong. This sensitive, powerful novel addresses sexuality, adoption, bullying, teen pregnancy, racism, and other issues that teens struggle with daily. It is a beautiful read and definitely for fans of the hit tv series This is Us.

The Doorman’s Repose by Chris Raschka This collection of 10 interwoven stories details the comings and goings of the residents of a grand old apartment building at 777 Garden Avenue on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The stories roam all over the building and are anchored by the Doorman who manages entrance to the building. This book is leveled for an upper elementary reader, but the content makes for a perfect read aloud to be enjoyed by younger children and adults alike.

GaryG u i n i g u n d o



Delta Style Dec'17  
Delta Style Dec'17