UR T UL
5 regional classics Chefs around the state keep our culinary heritage alive through iconic dishes
split second crabmeat au gratin from cafĂŠ jefferson in new iberia
After a nearly fatal accident, Mark Raymond Jr. mobilizes the paralysis community PG. 36
july/august VOLUME 39 NUMBER 4
From The Editor
Easy Rider at 50: Full Throttle Through the Parishes 5 along the way
This is Not a Bucket List: 5 things to do in Louisiana on your next business, road or day trip photo contest
Cajun Learning Curve: Chef Alexis Cupich-Indest brings local flair to the table at Bon Temps Grill in Lafayette
8 state of louisiana
Pelican Briefs: Noteworthy news and happenings around the state
46 kitchen gourmet
New Fashioned: 4 fun and easy ice cream recipes to beat the summer heat
Art en Blanc: White Linen Night in New Orleans, plus events all over the state
Boom Days: Untouched by time, a Rapides Parish sawmill village offers a virtual return to Depression and World War II-era Louisiana
Heat Wave: Three tips for safe outdoor workouts when the temperatures are on the rise 12 Literary Louisiana
Made In Louisiana
Sweet Preservation: Crowley family makes Noni’s Kitchen preservative-free, local jellies and preserves inspired by mom’s recipe 16 artist
24 Classically louisiana
Modern Farmhouse: Brittany and Aaron Ashby build a new rustic home with modern finishes and décor in Benton
36 split second
Chefs around the state keeping the culinary heritage alive through its iconic dishes
After a nearly fatal accident that left him paralyzed, Mark Raymond Jr. seeks to mobilize the paralysis community with his nonprofit foundation
By jyl benson photos by romero & romero
By sarah ravits photos by romero & romero
Garden of Memories: Dr. Charles Smith pays tribute to black culture and heritage with his museum in Hammonds 20
Bowled Over: Red Stick Social opens as 30,000-squarefoot entertainment complex in Baton Rouge
great louisiana chef
The Night Tripper: Dr. John died on June 6 at age 77.
Beach Books: A summer reading list for those lazy days relaxing at the beach — or any favorite body of water — complete with our summer daiquiri rating system
on the cover
39 Best Hospitals Louisiana’s hospitals rated by the patients they serve vis Medicare’s yearly report Compiled by sarah Ravits
62 farther flung
Crusin’ 30A: Florida’s Highway 30A is chock full of fun in the sun 64 a louisiana life
Musical Inspiration: Belle River singersongwriter Kyle Daigle navigates a day job, family and his growing music career
Each year for the July/August issue, we explore some aspect of the state’s food culture. Our culinary heritage in Louisiana is so rich and diverse, bringing together the ingredients, flavor and stories of cultures from all over the world. For this issue’s installment, we are focusing on those dishes that Louisianians come back to again and again, whether it’s to serve on their own tables or served up on the tables of chefs from the tip of the boot to the bottom, and everything between. Even our classic dishes have a rich and ethnically and culturally diverse story. France of course has had perhaps the greatest influence on the state and its food, given Louisiana’s origin as a French territory. So it’s fitting then to focus on dishes with French roots and French-style, such as the crabmeat augratin on the cover. Bon appétit!
Editor-In-Chief Errol Laborde
MANAGING Editor Melanie Warner Spencer
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For event information call (504) 830-7264
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production manager Emily Andras
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For subscriptions call (504) 830-7231
Silver Overall Art Direction Press Club of New Orleans 2018
1st Place Best Cover 1st Place MultiPhoto Feature 2nd Place Layout/ Design 2017
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Lifetime Achievement Award Errol Laborde 1st Place Best Magazine 1st Place Layout/ Design 2nd Place Best Magazine 2nd Place Layout/ Design 2nd Place Best Portrait 2nd Place Governmental/ Political Writing
from the editor
EASY RIDER AT 50 Full Throttle Through the Parishes By Errol Laborde
Fifty years ago, the search for the meaning of life wound through Louisiana
with stops in the Pointe Coupee parish town of Morganza and in St. Mary Parish on the way to New Orleans. The motorcycle riders never found the meaning that they were looking for but at least the ride got them away from Hollywood for a while. This summer marks the 50th anniversary of the release of “Easy Rider,” the film that rallied the hippie generation as Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper mounted their choppers and headed east to try to make sense out of a world made tumultuous by the Vietnam war. Along the way they befriended Jack Nicholson who in those days before sitting courtside at Los Angeles Lakers games was also a troubled spirit. In one of the film’s most memorable scenes the trio stops for lunch at a rural café. A cop and some local rednecks look at them with contempt and mutter statements suggesting that the future would not be bright for the visitors. Without giving away too much, I will say that Nicholson should have gone to see the Lakers; Fonda and Hopper made it to New Orleans and spent part of Mardi Gras romping with allegedly loose women in a cemetery. (Partially captured in the background is the pile driving for the construction of the I-10 extension which was in progress at the time.) What is best remembered in the Louisiana segment was the Morganza lunch scene at Blackie Melancon’s café. The film achieved cult status and through the years the café became a stop for youth relishing the bikers’ lifestyle, if only for a day. The folks at Melancon’s could have exploited the café with an Easy Rider theme but they kept it pretty much the way it always was, reflecting perhaps that the locals were divided by the film which made Morganza look like the ugly side of America. On the other hand, the filming was an historic moment in the town’s history. For Morganza this year has been an eventful one, at least by its standards, as the high waters in the Mississippi river prompted debate about opening the nearby flood gates and as the celebration of the film’s anniversary will open the gates for rediscovery of the town. This edition of Louisiana Life contains a feature about chefs and their version of Louisiana classics. We’re not sure if Melancon’s served any native specialties. The signage above the front door boasted of: “Homemade Pies,” “Lunches” “Short Orders.” I would guess that catfish was served on Fridays and gumbo most any day. For all the state’s memorable restaurants, Melancon’s is still the most historic café, although it was torn down in 2002. There was some talk that at least a monument should be placed at the site of the fallen restaurant. In 2010 a plaque was made which announced the site as a location for “the movie Easy Rider. Featuring Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson.” Twelve area folks are listed as being the film’s “Local Stars.” It speaks of the internal concern about the town’s image that the monument is placed in the sidewalk. Perhaps it was unintended, but anyone reading it has to look down. Celebrations to honor the film’s 50th will be held this summer in the St. Mary Parish town of Franklin and in Morganza. Meanwhile, the meaning of life remains elusive , but certainly it continues to run through Louisiana.
Louisiana Life july/august 2019
along the way
This is Not a Bucket List 5 things to do in Louisiana on your next business, road or day trip By Melanie Warner Spencer
The term “bucket list” just doesn’t
sit well with me. Not because of its allusions to death — there’s no stopping that canoe from its rapid whoosh down river. Rather, the idea of rushing to get entertaining and adventuresome things done on some death deadline sucks the fun right out of it. There’s also the possibility that my dislike of “bucket list” is an irrational distaste for those two words smooshed together in a sentence. But I’m going with the drudgery of a death deadline to-do list thing and invite everyone to believe it’s that, rather than simply me being a lot more of a kook than I let on in casual conversation. But I digress. After moving here from Texas, my husband Mark and I started a list of things we wanted to do in Louisiana. We made quick work of immersing ourselves in the culture and racking up experiences that many natives have enjoyed their entire lives. Here are a few that, if you haven’t yet tried them, I highly recommend getting them on your list: 1. Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Barataria Preserve: Walk through the wild swamp and marsh, view birds, alligators, turtles and other wildlife and get a sense of what Louisiana looked like when the Native American tribes made their home in this verdant area. nps.gov/jela/barataria-preserve 2. French Quarter Ghosts and Legends Tour: Amble through the French Quarter in New Orleans while sipping to-go cocktails and learning about the city’s most famous and infamous hauntings. hauntedhistorytours.com 3. Steamboat Natchez: The two-hour jazz cruise features unrivaled views of the Mississippi River, local history and lore, live music and the chance to pretend you are Mark Twain. steamboatnatchez.com 4. Louisiana’s Old State Capitol: Speaking of Mark Twain, it is widely reported that he hated the now more than 160-year-
old Gothic Revival structure stating, “It is pathetic ... that a whitewashed castle, with turrets and things ... should ever have been built in this otherwise honorable place.” The interior with its cast iron railings and dazzling stained glass is especially impressive, no matter what Samuel Clemens said. louisianaoldstatecapitol.org 5. Shreveport Waterworks Museum: History buffs and aficionados of Industrial Revolution-era buildings and machinery will thrill at the circa-1887 McNeill Street Water Treatment Plant. According to the waterworks website, it “was the second water works built in Louisiana and one of the first in the post-Civil War South.” Be sure to leave time in your trip to stop into the onsite Railroad Museum. shreveportwaterworks.org Now you might be thinking, “these are so touristy” and if so, you’d be correct. I’m a believer in being a tourist in your town, or
state — the cheesier the activity the better. The kitschy endeavors are almost always the most fun. This list is a little New Orleans-centric, but Mark and I do live in the Crescent City after all. We’ve visited a lot more than five fun places around the state, but this is a short column, y’all. I’m sure I’ll get a few emails letting me know the many things I should have put on this list. Please, send me those suggestions for future adventures. One way we’ve married our love of history, art and adventure with our fondness for craft beer is to create road trips based around the state’s many breweries. There is a brewery not too far away from all of the above locations. If you too are a craft beer lover, try this strategy. If you do and you write to me about this or suggestions for our upcoming adventures, I won’t even get irked if you call them items for my bucket list. n
The Night Tripper Dr. John, whose given name was Mac Rebennack, died on June 6 at age 77. He was a beloved New Orleansbased pianist, singer and songwriter. He was best known for his song “Right Place Wrong Time” and “Makin’ Whoopee,” and more. Photo by cheryl gerber
Submit your photos by visiting louisianalife.com
STATE OF LOUISIANA
Learn New Hexes and Spells
Noteworthy news and happenings around the state by Lisa LeBlanc-Berry
New Orleans, Baton Rouge
Happy Hour at Your Fingertips
Purrrrfect for Cat Lovers The 5th annual Covington Cat Party, Cat Art and Film Festival (artforcatssake. org) is Aug. 29 in Covington featuring funny cat videos, cat agility and training, fabulous feline-themed art and jewelry, unique cat accessories and furniture, kitty-themed cocktails and punch, adorable cats and kittens for adoption in the Purr Parlor, the “Why Does My Cat Do That?” Vet Booth, celebrity cats, cat book authors and contests.
The first-ever New Orleans-based (free) happy hour search engine app, Drinker’s Edition, featuring more than 400 bars and eateries (with multiple ways to filter results) is up and running, created by Tulane University grads Noah Stambovsky, Sam Stein and Cary Greenwood. Now available in Google and Apple app stores. The recently updated Drinker’s Edition Premium allows users to subscribe for $5 per month to get access to anytime deals and flash deals. “We launched Baton Rouge last week,” Stein told Louisiana Life in May. “We have plans to launch in Austin, Texas in a couple of months. We are going to tinker with those three markets and see what works best, and then plan a more aggressive nationwide rollout.” Baton Rouge happy hour listings total 200 to date, and a wine club has been introduced. Craft beer clubs, craft cocktail clubs and foodie clubs are also in the works.
Learn about witches’ magic, voodoo and hoodoo August 9-11 when the Witches of New Orleans present Hexfest 2019: A Weekend of Witchery. The conference kicks off with a Riverboat Ritual and Dinner followed by two days of workshops, drumming and rituals at the haunted Bourbon Orleans Hotel. Attendees can shop on site for powerful ritual tools, spell crafts handmade by true practitioners, books and jewelry. Registration includes admittance to all workshops, rituals and performances, passage and dining on the opening Riverboat Ritual; hotel must be booked separately: 504-571-4626.
Blending Art with Technology Entries are due Aug. 27 for the DigiArt Competitions in the 9th annual DigiFest South, designed to inspire students to seek advanced education in digital arts by exposing them to diverse digital skills in myriad markets. Presented by the Bossier Arts Council, this year’s festivities kick off with a 48-hour video game design competition September 13-15, and will conclude with DigiMusic, an outdoor free concert September 20 held in East Bank Plaza (digifestsouth.info).
French Immersion Coming to Vermilion
Family Fun for Ninjas & Zipliners
Lafayette, West Monroe, Metairie, Baton Rouge New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is bringing a state-of-the-art, 42,000-square-foot Surge Entertainment Center (surgeadventureparks.com) to Lafayette featuring indoor sports including ziplines, a ninja course, laser tag, trampolines and bowling. A father of four, Brees promoted the center’s safe, family-friendly amenities during a May 21 groundbreaking of another Surge Entertainment Center that is underway in West Monroe. The Lafayette location, slated to open in October (2723 W. Pinhook Rd.) is among nine others, including one in Metairie and locations in Florida (Ft. Walton and Jacksonville), Alabama, Virginia, North and South Carolina and Oklahoma. The $10 million, 43,000-square-foot West Monroe location will have over 12 bowling alleys, climbing walls, an arcade and a separate area for adults. A Baton Rouge location is also in development as part of a nationwide expansion. Surge job fairs info: 318-737-7841.
Louisiana Life july/august 2019
In August, LeBlanc Elementary in Erath will become the first in the parish to offer a French immersion program, starting in kindergarten. The program will echo similar French immersion educational programs that have been implemented in South Louisiana. Félicitations!
Art en Blanc White Linen Night in New Orleans, plus events all over the state by kelly massicot photo by cheryl gerber
USS KIDD’s Fourth of July Spectacular July 4 // Baton Rouge
Families and spectators of all ages can head to the USS KIDD Veterans Museum to experience wholesome, patriotic fun. The events include live music, hot dog eating contest, a parade and the “Fireworks on the Mississippi River” fireworks display at the end of the night. usskidd.com
Glow Greenwood July 10 Greenwood/Shreveport
Glow Greenwood is a hot air balloon festival in conjunction with the Red River Balloon Rally in Shreveport. Visitors can enjoy live music, food, rides and, of course, hot air balloons that will light up the night sky. facebook.com/ TownOfGreenwood
Each year, Hancock Whitney and
the Contemporary Arts Center host an outdoor celebration of local artists in the New Orleans Arts District. Don all white while perusing the art galleries and shops along the 300 to 700 blocks of Julia Street. There will be public art displays and food and all proceeds benefit the Contemporary Arts Center. White Linen Night Aug. 3 New Orleans cacno.org/hancockwhitneywhitelinennight
Prairie Tribe Festival
Friendship Firehouse Festival
Aug. 3 // Alexandria
The Friendship Veterans Fire Engine Association is a philanthropic organization that is focused on fire safety and firefighting history. The outdoor event features live music and food and guests can visit the Friendship Firehouse Museum originally built as a firehouse in 1855. alexandriava.gov/ FriendshipFirehouse
July 27 // Opelousas This annual event is a celebration of the culture of the Louisiana’s Native American tribes. Hosted by the Attakapas Opelousas Prairie Tribe, this free event brings together many tribes from around the state to perform, share their history and celebrate their culture. Festivalgoers can experience Native American drumming, dancing lessons and educational sessions throughout the day. cajuntravel.com
A stunning collection of traditional (and some non-traditional) Louisiana recipes An absolute must-have for your kitchen and a perfect gift for a Louisiana seafood lover The Essential Louisiana Seafood Cookbook A Louisiana Life publication for only $17.95 To order, visit LouisianaSeafoodCookbook.com
Heat Wave In theory, summer lasts from June 21 to Sept. 23. But in reality, Louisiana summers can last anywhere from mid-April to mid-October. If you like exercising outdoors, what can you do to work out safely during the brutally hot and humid Louisiana summers? Here are three tips for safe outdoor workouts when the temperatures are on the rise. By Fritz Esker
1 2 3 See Your Doctor
Dr. Vincent Shaw, program director of the Family Medicine Program at Baton Rouge, said anyone starting an exercise regimen should see a doctor first to make sure their bodies can handle the strain.
“You want to make sure you’re healthy enough to exercise, especially in the heat,” Dr. Shaw said.
Hyrdate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Know the Warning Signs
This one seems like it’s common knowledge, but many people don’t know the best way to hydrate. Dr. Shaw said it is important to hydrate at least 30 minutes before exercising in the heat. If you are working out in the sun for a long time, rehydrate after 45 minutes, then at 30 minute intervals after that. Each time, drink at least 6 to 8 ounces of water or Powerade or Gatorade. Do not drink soda, tea, coffee or beer. “You don’t want to wait until you’re thirsty,” Dr. Shaw said.
Heat exhaustion can manifest itself with symptoms like fatigue, muscle cramping, headache, and rapid pulse. If you start feeling these symptoms, stop all activity immediately and go inside an air conditioned space, or if one is not available, seek shade. Hydrate and use cool water or towels lower your body temperature.
The point of exercising is to be healthy. Exercise early in the morning or late in the evening during the summer and never be ashamed to listen to your body if it’s telling you the heat is too much on a given day.
Louisiana Life july/august 2019
If you are with someone who shows those symptoms, call 911 immediately and cool off the afflicted person while you wait for the ambulance. Lying down with legs elevated can also get blood flowing to the heart.
Heat exhaustion can progress to potentially fatal heat stroke if not addressed. Heat stroke can feature nausea and vomiting, skin that is warm to the touch, dizziness and confusion, slurred speech, and lack of sweating despite the heat. The confusion element may prevent someone suffering from heat stroke to seek medical attention.
Beach Books A summer reading list for those lazy days relaxing at the beach — or any favorite body of water — complete with our daiquiri rating system By Ashley McLellan
My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing
House of Secrets: The Many Lives of a Florentine Palazzo by Allison Levy
Southern Lady Code: Essays by Helen Ellis While writer Helen Ellis hails from Alabama, her newest book, “Southern Lady Code,” and its humorous tales, advice and nonsense, will ring true with Louisiana ladies from the tip of the boot to the top of the state. Sip on a freshly made mint julep and dive into essays covering essential southern topics such as: thank-you notes, marriage, ghosts, monograms and gunshots. “Southern Lady Code: Essays,” Doubleday, 224 pages, $22
Louisiana Life july/august 2019
Escape to Italy this summer, from your own backyard. Author, editor, art historian and New Orleans native Allison Levy explores the secrets behind the walls of a 15th century house, the Palazzo Rucellai. Throughout the grand home’s history, generations have witnessed murder and mayhem, war and peace, passion and excess. Levy peeks behind the façade for an exploration not only of a place, but of those that lived within. Sip this summer’s hottest cocktail, the Aperol Spritz, and be transported. “House of Secrets, The Many Lives of a Florentine Palazzo,” Tauris Parke, 304 pages, $25
New Orleans writer Samantha Downing’s debut novel, “My Lovely Wife,” has us drinking a Dark and Stormy cocktail by the pool this summer. Full of suspense, intrigue and thrills, the story follows a married couple who decide to keep their marriage exciting with mystery and murder. Read what happens when the couple-next-door aren’t at all what they seem to be. “My Lovely Wife,” Berkley, 384 pages, $26
Southern Nights by Barry Gifford “Southern Nights” is a collection of three of author Barry Gifford’s weirdest, darkest and most unique short novels – “Night People,” “Arise & Walk” and “Baby Cat Face.” Set in New Orleans and the Deep South, the characters will take readers on a wild ride through the surreal landscapes of their lives. Pair this collection with something strong and southern: Southern Comfort and CocaCola. “Southern Nights,” Seven Stories Press, 464 pages, $19.95
Sweet Preservation Crowley family makes Noni’s Kitchen preservative-free, local jellies and preserves inspired by mom’s recipe By Jeffrey Roedel photos by romero & romero
T heir fingers were
crimson — almost stained — and with bellies full like the certainty of a cicada song at sunset, baskets of strawberries remained, and a decision had to be made. “There were just too many, and we didn’t want them to go to waste,” says Toni Duracher of their fresh berry pickings. “So I started playing around with different recipes for strawberry preserves. That became a tradition, and Ken and I would often go out again picking for berries and peppers. It was our time together.”
Louisiana Life july/august 2019
So what began as a getaway date to a farm outside Ponchatoula with her future husband — and the overly-ambitious haul that ensued — quickly turned into a family treat and a shared hobby. Now, a generation later, it is a thriving local business. Inspired by her mother, Tori Frith launched Noni’s Kitchen in 2017 to bring those original recipes for natural jellies and preserves, without preservatives, to families just like hers across south Louisiana. “All the years my mom had made these recipes for our family and
friends, she never used anything of bubbling from the top during artificial,” Tori says. “So even bottling or remove a berry that going commercial, we wanted to doesn’t look ‘just right,’” Tori keep the product the same. Even says. “We really take our time and if it is a little more costly or takes make sure each jar is something more time. Her recipes were the we would serve at our own table.” reason I knew this would work, Toni, Tori and Kyle work so we definitely didn’t want to simultaneously in Toni’s kitchen change a thing.” to create every Noni’s batch, Tori and her husband Kyle usually in the evenings. Weekends source locally-grown blackberries, are reserved for making personal mayhaw and strawberries from deliveries and traveling to events. farmers they’ve met in Crowley, Both Kyle and Tori maintain Mouton Cove and Ponchatoula. other full-time jobs during the Positive word-of-mouth about work week. their fledgling company and “Even when we are exhausted, commitment to quality has paid we like to keep things light and off when connecting with growers fun,” Tori says. and buyers at markets and festivals. Noni’s is their growing business, “It really is so nice dealing with a sometimes intense hobby but, a community that helps each other just like it was for Tori’s mom and out,” Tori says. dad, a light-hearted date-night While the Friths lean on Loui- activity, too. siana farmers for fruit, they grow “I wouldn’t necessarily call their own organic peppers to Noni’s Kitchen work,” Kyle says. create a unique blend for the jellies “If you saw us in the kitchen with they sell in 4-ounce jars. But what our beautiful hairnets, you would kind of peppers? “Some things we understand.” have to keep secret,” Tori says. Daughter Arabella is just 5 but Though now a growing brand the progenitor of her grandma’s with plans to expand into more nickname “Noni”— which Tori markets in 2019, Noni’s Kitchen pinched for the brand. When maintains the spirit of a tight-knit Toni, Tori and Kyle are all tradition; one that is devoted to assembly-lining fresh preserves feeding their family with the best or jellies, Ken watches Arabella, possible food they can. who seems always eager to join “The most time-consuming in on this colorful family activity. thing is that we are still processing “She’s a little young for the jelly as if we are making it just cooking,” Tori says. “But soon for our family, so we are taking the enough. Right now she’s a heck time to skim even the smallest bit of a taste tester!”n
Noni’s Kitchen is developing a new pepper jelly-flavored finishing sauce — the consistency of honey — for vegetables and proteins. Noni’s Kitchen products are in select stores and can be ordered directly from noniskitchenllc.com
Garden of Memories Dr. Charles Smith pays tribute to black culture and heritage with his museum in Hammond By John R. Kemp
On an unlikely spot in an older
section of Hammond, Louisiana, sits one man’s tribute to the African-American experience. Dr. Charles Smith’s AfricanAmerican Heritage Museum and Black Veterans Archive is unlike any other museum. It is a personal and spiritual mission directed by God, as he says, to tell the story of black America and to save the nation. In a statue garden and sculpted cryptlike museum building on the corner of East Louisiana Avenue and Walnut Street, hundreds of lifeless statues and dark faces stare out to the street as if waiting to tell their stories to visitors. Dr. Smith, who created each piece by hand with (top) Dr. Charles concrete, mortar, paint Smith’s “AfricanAmerican Heritage and found objects, has Museum and Black Veterans Archive” in riveting tales to tell. (bottom) With the driving voice, “AHammond Monument to cadence and passion of Maya Angelou” a preacher witnessing to his congregation, the 78-year-old self-taught artist, Vietnam vet, social worker, educator and spreader of the Gospel pointed to various statues across the garden. One titled “The Dream is Dead,” depicts three young AfricanAmerican boys raising a weather shredded American flag. The visuals are subtle, the message isn’t. “Dr. King’s dream for America is dead,” he says, staring at the flag. “We failed you.” With that said, he strolled over to a large group of figures titled “A Testimony to Maya Angelou.” Six nude African female figures, heads shaved, are bound in the chains of slavery for the Middle Passage. Others represent people killed in the Civil Rights movement, victims of Hurricane Katrina, African-Americans and their contributions to American culture, and, sadly, one for a friend killed in Vietnam. Smith’s art is raw and comes from the heart and soul unencumbered or influenced by formal training or artistic trends. It is unfiltered expression in its purest art form that rises from the
Louisiana Life july/august 2019
Exhibitions Through July 6
New Orleans Newcomb Art Museum. “Per (Sister): Incarcerated Women of Louisiana.” Art created by formerly incarcerated women in partnership with local and national artists. newcombartmuseum.tulane.edu Through July 13
Lake Charles Historic City Hall Arts & Cultural Center. “Broken Time: Sculpture” by Martin Payton. Features local artist Martin Payton’s 20 steel sculptures inspired by New Orleans jazz musicians. cityoflakecharles.com Through July 14
New Orleans Ogden Museum of Southern Art. “Vernacular Voices, Self-taught, Outsider and Visionary Art from the Museum’s Collection.” ogdenmuseum.org Through July 28
New Orleans New Orleans Museum of Art. “You Are Here: A Brief History of Photography and Place.” Exhibition explores relationship between photography and place. noma.org Through Aug. 10
Shreveport Artspace. Shreveport Regional Arts Council presents “Summer of Glass,” featuring lectures by renowned Louisiana glass artists and works by 22 contemporary Texas glass artists. artspaceshreveport.com Through Aug. 11
Baton Rouge Louisiana Art & Science Museum. “Frameworks of Absence.” Artwork by Brandon Ballengée memorializes 60 animal species gone extinct between 1592 and 2018. lasm.org
shadows, tears, joys and collective memories of a people. His purpose is to preserve and pass on those stories to African-American children to help them “find their greatness in God and in their history.” And that’s where his museum comes in. “Without a museum to tell your history,” Smith says, “you are like a piece of paper blowing down the road on a windy day without any direction. You’ve got to have a museum.” Smith’s journey to Hammond began in New Orleans where he was born in 1940. It took a tragic turn in the early 1950s with the murder of his father in what Smith says was a hate crime. His body was found in the Mississippi River near the docks. No one was arrested. Soon after, Smith’s mother moved to Chicago with her three children. Another seminal moment came in 1955 when his mother took him to the funeral of Emmett Till, where he saw lying in an open coffin the
body of the 14-year-old African-American boy murdered in Mississippi. The sight made a lasting impression. Then came Vietnam, the draft board and a two-year hitch in the Marines where he fought in horrific battles at Khe Sanh, Hue and in the Tet Offensive where he saw bloody bodies covering the battlefield. Only 23 men, he says, were able to walk to the evacuating helicopter. During the war, Smith was wounded, exposed to Agent Orange, and suffered post-traumatic stress and health disorders that continue to affect him. In 1968, he received an honorable discharge and a Purple Heart. After the war, Smith returned to Chicago and in 1981 took a job at the Illinois State Employment Service to counsel veterans. The department later transferred him to Aurora, Illinois, where he attended the Virgil L. Black Christian Academy to learn how to minister to prison inmates, drug addicts, prostitutes
Through Aug. 17
Monroe Masur Museum. “Our Story: Over 50 Years of Collecting.” Exhibition celebrates the history of the Masur Museum. masurmuseum.org Through Aug. 18
Shreveport The R.W. Norton Art Gallery. “Ann George: Seasons of Self.” Explores the stories, poems and personal journeys of Louisiana photographer Ann George. rwnaf.org Through Aug. 24
Lafayette Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum. “Gisela Colon: Pods.” Features the organic minimalist artwork of Los Angeles-artist Gisela Colon. hilliardmuseum.org Through Sept. 1
Alexandria Alexandria Museum of Art. “Connected Visions: Louisiana’s Artistic Lineage.” Exhibition explores the development of art in Louisiana. themuseum.org
and veterans. While in Aurora, Smith also created his first African-American Museum sculpture garden, which he returns to several times a year, and — at the suggestion of an art professor — added “doctor” to his name. It is a title, he says, that comes not from a university but from “God, life and experiences.” Dr. Smith’s story continues in Hammond where he and his wife Mary settled in 2005 after months of traveling back and forth from Aurora and New Orleans to visit his mother who had returned to the city in 1980 and has Alzheimer’s. On one trip, he stopped in Hammond to buy gas and while there he decided to search for local African-American
Louisiana Life july/august 2019
his own museum that draws several hundred visitors a year, including school children. In 2001 the Kohler Foundation purchased over 600 of his works and donated them to 19 organizations and major museums, ranging from the Houston Museum of Fine Arts to the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. In addition, several of his artworks are now touring Europe in a major group show sponsored by the Chicago-based Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art. In his art, Dr. Smith has found peace from the murder of his father, Emmett Till, Dr. King and the brutality of Vietnam. Faith and God, he says, are the driving forces in his art. In 1994 Emmett Till’s mother, Mamie TillMobley, visited Smith’s museum in Aurora and in a letter praised his work, saying he was “divinely inspired.” Smith agrees. “God gave it to me,” he says. “I had all this hate back in the 1950s and 60s and God washed it away. The only way to history sites. After asking around overcome hate is through love. I asked (left) “The Three town and finding nothing, he came Marys -- Mary, My God for a weapon to work with. The Mary, My upon a historical marker for the wife; weapon had to be non-violent and Mother; and Mary, city’s founder, Peter Hammond. the Mother of socially acceptable and be able to cross The marker describes the nearby Jesus” (right) Dr. cultural lines. God showed me art. He Charles Smith and gravesites of Hammond, his wife, his “Monument to said art is the most powerful weapon three daughters and “a favorite Hurricane Katrina” in the world. The Lord’s spirit guides slave boy.” me, and the next thing I know I am Incensed that the little boy’s name was doing something. The check may be in my not on the tombstone, Smith remained in name, but it was God who did it.” Hammond for several days trying to identify He glanced across the garden. the child. Nothing. He decided to move to “By the grace of God,” he says, “I continue Hammond and work with the local African- the fight to save America.” American community to start a museum. In For more information, call 504-931-5744. n the end, he went out on his own to create
Modern Farmhouse Brittany and Aaron Ashby build a new rustic home with modern finishes and décor in Benton BY lee cutrone photos BY marc gibson
When Brittany and Aaron Ashby of
Benton, Louisiana north of Bossier City decided to build a new house for the second time, they knew they wanted rustic elements that impart a sense of age. They also knew they wanted to avoid the hackneyed farmhouse signs and barnyard animals often associated with country. 20
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“I didn’t want any country clichés,” said Aaron, an equipment operator with Southwestern Electric Power Company. Instead, the couple, who designed the house with builder Twilla Robinson of Robinson Construction and architect Jim Saintignan of Palmetto Design, juxtaposed natural unfinished woods, exposed beams, shiplap walls, industrial
light fixtures and brick fireplaces with things that evoke modern “city glamour” — tufted velvets, gold accents and statement chandeliers. “I like rustic a lot but didn’t want to do the whole house in that,” said Brittany, an orthodontic assistant with a second business of her own cleaning new construction houses for builders. “I tried to combine the modern with the rustic.” In addition to getting fresh ideas from the new houses she sees through her cleaning business, Brittany keeps a binder of inspirational pictures from sites like Pinterest. While the couple’s former house had dark woods and paint colors, she wanted the new house to be a complete departure with lighter woods, kid-friendly tile floors that look like wood
(left) Thanks to the open floorplan, the dining area is used daily. A cable stair rail suggests both urban loft and ranch fence. Table from Ellis Pottery in Bossier City. (right) The bar features blue cabinets and a white tile backsplash. (bottom) The family roomâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rustic fireplace and industrial sconces are modernized with pink velvet tufted sofas and blue velvet curtains. Sofas from Wayfair, sconces from Etsy.
(the Ashbys have two daughters, ages 10 and five), white walls, airy 12-foot ceilings and an open floorplan that minimizes wasted space. For the exterior, the couple went with a Southern Living cottage design with historic references â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the Eastover. The interior is a custom plan that Brittany largely drew from scratch. Among the custom highlights the Ashbys brought into the design are a built-in breakfast nook, a cable stair rail that manages to be reminiscent of both an urban loft (city) and a ranch fence (country), a gold-trimmed range hood, gliding barn doors and master bath vanities made with antiques topped with granite. In most of the rooms, Brittany began with an important item from her wish list, such as the gold-trimmed hood in the kitchen and LouisianaLife.com
(left) Blue velvet and gold accents add polish to the farmhouse feel of the master bedroom’s cathedral ceiling. (bottom) Brittany and Aaron Ashby. (right) The black and white master bath includes a tub with gold feet, vanities made from antiques topped with granite and a patterned tile floor. Chandelier - River Cities Lighting, Bossier City. (facing page) Warm and cool metals are used in the kitchen. Cabinetry by Builders Custom Cabinets in Bossier City.
the wallpapers in the girls’ rooms, and developed the room from there. When a design feature was especially costly, the couple customized it themselves with a budget-saving DIY version. They had the feet of the black and white tub in the master bath painted gold and used PVC to create the mullions on the shower door rather than ordering the metal door that inspired it. Navy and gold, one of Brittany’s favorite color duos, are found in both the master bedroom and in the main living areas, where it’s combined with a pair of pink velvet sofas. Friends of the Ashbys have suggested that they have a future in home design and the couple do envision building again. “It’s something we both love to do, designing and building and planning,” said Brittany. “It isn’t going to be our last,” added Aaron. “Hopefully we can at least match or do even better with the next.” n
Louisiana Life july/august 2019
Executive Chef michael sheltonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s grillades and grits from Apolline in New orleans
Louisiana Life july/august 2019
by jyl benson with portraits by romero & romero
s a child of New Orleans, coming up in the ‘70s and ‘80s, I was accustomed to seeing the same things on restaurant menus again and again, as I dined out with my gustatory-minded parents. Common were panéed meat, poultry or fish, both crabmeat and potatoes au gratin, crawfish bisque, whole fish stuffed with seafood dressing, long-smothered grillades of pork or round steak, redfish court-bouillon, trout Marguery, crabmeat ravigote, trout meunière or amandine , Pompano en Papillote, shrimp or chicken Clemençeau, chicken bonne femme, and chicken Rochambeau. While these old classics, most of which have roots in Louisiana’s French heritage, have not disappeared they are by no means as prevalent as they once were. Explanations range from cost (crabmeat) or labor (crawfish bisque and stuffed fish) prohibitions to general, societal dietary changes that eschew heavy sauces and, often, breaded and fried preparations. In our annual celebration of our culinary heritage, we visit a few of the Louisiana chefs who continue to explore our iconic fare.
Chefs around the state keeping the culinary heritage alive through its iconic dishes
Classically Louisiana LouisianaLife.com
Chef Damien R.L. “Chapeaux” Chapman Chef/Owner Orlandeaux’s
Shreveport Stuffed Shrimp Stuffed shrimp are exceedingly popular in Shreveport, particularly within the city’s African American community on the city’s west side. They look like corndogs and, so beloved are they, as to be featured like stars in color photographs adorning the walls of some of the places that serve them. The hefty shrimp hand food originated at the
long-gone Freeman and Harris Café, established in 1921 in the 1000 block of Texas Avenue. At the time the black-owned café was one of a small handful where black and white people could dine together. Averaging about four inches in length, Shreveportstyle stuffed shrimp are typically served three to an order. They start as U-10-to-15-count
Louisiana Life july/august 2019
shrimp that are peeled, deveined, butterflied, stuffed with a zesty crabmeat dressing, and hand-rolled in a flour batter before they are fried to a golden crisp. They are typically served with tartar sauce. In June, Shreveport launched the first annual Shreveport Stuffed Shrimp Festival.
orn into Shreveport culinary royalty, Damien “Chapeaux” Chapman obtained a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Southern University’s A&M College in Baton Rouge before accepting a job with Halliburton as a field engineer. Chapman’s restaurant pedigree dates back to Freeman and Harris Café, established in 1921 in Shreveport. At the time the black-owned cafe was one of a small handful where black and white people could dine together. Following the deaths of co-owners Scrap Chapman and Pete Harris (Chapman’s great uncle) his grandfather, Willie Chapman, opened Pete Harris Café. Pete Harris Café closed in 2006 and Orlando Chapman, son of Willie Chapman and Damien’s father, opened Brother’s Seafood. The business was later renamed Orlandeaux’s Cafe. “Orlandeaux’s Café is the direct lineage of Freeman & Harris Café,” says Damien Chapman, 30. “We are the legacy of the oldest continuously-operating African American restaurant in the United States!” He started working the family restaurant bussing tables when he was 14. “As expected, I did everything — hosting, serving tables, washing dishes, cooking. But after working like a slave and missing what I thought were very important parts of my life — prom and parties with my friends, I made up my mind that I was going to be on the first Orlandeaux’s Cafe train smoking out of here. 4916 Monkhouse Dr. Shreveport I left on a marching band (318) 635-1641 scholarship to SU and orlandeauxs.com never looked back. “Yeah right! Every holiday, every spring break, every summer, I was home working the café. Slaving like I never left. “After visiting home for a fishing weekend with my Pops and younger brothers, I received the most devastating phone call: My father had passed from a very sudden heart attack. Initially my family was against me leaving my career to run the café because they have all watched our family members die in the business from stress and anguish. But they saw my unwavering passion to ensure that the family’s legacy didn’t die so they were all behind me. “My plan is just to simply continue this rich legacy that was set out before me 98 years ago. I feel a very strong presence of my father, grandfather, and great grandfather. They all cooked from the soul, and when I feel their spirits around me I know that they live and cook through me.”
Orlandeaux’s Café is the direct lineage of Freeman & Harris Café. We are the legacy of the Oldest Continuouslyoperating African American Restaurant in the United States!
I am in my element under pressure. Those three hours before service with a prep list a mile long and the reservations are growing.Â That pressure is my comfort zone. I love conquering the challenge.
Louisiana Life july/august 2019
Michael Shelton Executive Chef Apolline
ichael Shelton started cooking at “I am in my element under pressure,” Shelton says. age 10. “Those three hours before service with a prep list a “My parents worked and both mile long and the reservations are growing. That went back to school so I cooked pressure is my comfort zone. I love conquering for my family.” the challenge.” Now 39, as an adult a personal tragedy led Shelton He is direct and unapologetic regarding his goals to leave Jackson State University in Mississippi for the future. where he was pursuing a degree in marketing. This “My goal is to be a great dad. I had my children setback led to a revelation. prior to choosing this career so this has benefited “I took a job at Waffle House in my 20s.” The those relationships. It fulfills me — a career field I experience triggered the memory of a task he had genuinely love. So I have to be a solid chef to make once mastered as a child: cooking breakfast for his my family situation run properly. That peace and brothers and sisters. fulfillment is key.” “That got my motor going.” The Philadelphia native serves as a mentor with He moved on to become an assistant manager both Café Reconcile and Son of a Saint and plans to at Jersey Mike’s Sub Shop. It was here that he met Chef incorporate a devotion to service to others into his Joshua Wilkinson of 2 Johns Steak & Seafood, who professional career in the future while continuing his offered him his first kitchen restaurant stage, which personal advocacy work against abuse and toward led to a job at on the grill line at 2 Johns in Bossier promoting wellness in restaurant kitchens. City. Shelton went on to work at Wine Country “All young cooks, male or female, always be Bistro and Bella Fresca, both in Shreveport. He left ready to stand up and fight for themselves and northern Louisiana to accept a job in the kitchen at La their wellbeing. We do not owe this business our Petite Grocery, then The Caribbean Room, and, later, happiness. Fortunately, in this age of accountCompere Lapin, all in New Orleans, before becoming ability resources exist to help you out. I recommend executive chef at Little Gem Saloon, then FairKitchens.com as a helpful resource Sala. He took over the kitchen at Apolline, in bringing about change in professional Apolline 4729 Magazine St. a, popular bistro on a lively stretch of kitchen culture.” New Orleans Uptown Magazine Street specializing in (504) 894-8881 apollinerestaurant.com Southern contemporary cuisine.
Grillades Though the word “grillade” is French for grilled, in Louisiana grillades (note that the word becomes a plural noun as opposed to a verb) are pieces of meat that are pounded, seared in hot fat then smothered in a rich sauce of aromatic vegetables and tomatoes. The regional origin is believed to have come about when Cajun country butchers preparing a boucherie sliced thin pieces of fresh pork, pan-fried them in cast iron, then smothered the mixture over a low fire for workers to eat throughout the course of the day over grits or rice. Today, the combination of grillades and grits is particularly popular for weekend brunch.
Eric Cook Executive Chef/Proprietor Gris Gris, New Orleans
Redfish Court-Bouillon The method of poaching protein in a seasoned liquid, such as vegetable broth enlivened with mirepoix (minced onion, celery, carrot) or fish stock enriched with herbs predates the founding of the Louisiana colony by at least a century. Though Louisiana cooks favor the redfish (red drum) for poaching, this quick cooking method may also be used for vegetables, eggs or meats. The cooking method is credited to François Pierre de la Varenne, the 17-century author of Le Cuisinier François who received his initial training in the kitchens of the French king Henry IV and his second wife, Marie de’ Medici. This period ushered in the Age of Enlightenment when the culinary arts were regarded as central to the reflection general culture. The cooking method was “of the Court.” Following the establishment of the Louisiana colony, to the existing poaching base Creole, and later, Cajun cooks added tomatoes, cayenne, and bay leaves. Bell pepper was substituted for carrots, which were not available in the early colony. Following poaching, the protein, in our case redfish, may be removed in order to thicken the poaching liquid with a bit of roux. The resulting gravy and poached fish are then served atop steamed rice.
Louisiana Life july/august 2019
graduate of Chalmette High singular style of warm hospitality and features School and a retired combat inspired takes on the classic dishes locals cherish veteran with the U.S. Marine and visitors seek out. Corps, Eric Cook found “My mom makes this every year for my comfort in the regimented birthday and I plucked this straight from her,” structure and high-pressure environment of Cook says of his deeply satisfying chicken and the restaurant kitchen. dumplings, which have the power to bring a “The kitchen is crazy,” says Cook, 49. “Success warm smile to the stoniest of faces. Tender is dependent on all the elements coming ribbons of pulled chicken mingle with carrots together in just the right way for things to and pillow-like dumplings, the long-cooked dish work — just like the military. If one element enlivened at the last moment with the addition falls off everything can come down. I love the of fresh thyme. For the chef’s rendition of sense of teamwork and the hustle and bustle.” Redfish Court-Bouillon a whole, fried specimen He left the John Folse Culinary Institute at arrives swimming in a pool of a light, yet deeply Nicholls State University to accept a position flavorful tomato broth. at Brennan’s under Chef Mike Roussel. He “I know who I am and what I do well,” Cook then spent the next 20 years working his way says. “I am staying in my lane, serving the foods through the kitchens of Commander’s Palace I grew up cooking and eating with my family, (sous chef), The American Sector at the WWII my best memories. My mom always cooked Museum (executive chef) Dickie Brennan’s the New Orleans staples like red beans and Bourbon House (Executive Chef) and Tommy’s rice for dinner. My dad came in [the kitchen] Cuisine (executive chef). on the weekends to cook the big classics. He In 2018, Cook opened Gris-Gris, a chic would take my brother and [me] hunting or but comfortable restaurant and bar fishing and a part of that experience in the triangular-shaped building at was cooking the deer, rabbit, fish, Gris-Gris Magazine and Felicity streets in New or whatever wild thing. I made it a 1800 Magazine St. New Orleans Orleans’ Lower Garden District. Gris point to try everything and learn the (504) 272-0241 Gris is firmly rooted in New Orleans’ best way to cook it and present it.” grisgrisnola.com
I know who I am and what I do well . I am staying in my lane, serving the foods I grew up cooking and eating with my family, my best memories.
I brought my recipes from home and began to adapt them to the size needed for the café.
Louisiana Life july/august 2019
Louise Richard Chef/Owner Cafe Jefferson
ith no formal training, yet armed with a passion for cooking and hospitality learned from her mother, Louise Richard opened Café Jefferson in 2004 on the grounds of Rip Van Winkle Gardens, which she and her husband had purchased the year before. At first the restaurant served only salads and sandwiches for lunch. “I brought my recipes from home and began to adapt them to the size needed for the cafe,” Richard said. She says her mother’s spirit is at the base of the menu at Café Jefferson and she draws inspiration from the bounty of the area’s fresh seafood, poultry and game. Her restaurant, which is situated in a grove of ancient live oaks, offers a breathtaking view of the gardens and Lake Peigneur from a glass-in porch. It is a fitting backdrop for decadent, old fashioned dishes like seafood cream bisque crowded with local crawfish, jumbo lump crab, and large Gulf shrimp; crawfish Cardinale stew with fresh mushrooms and fine Cognac; her rich, blue-ribbon crawfish etouffee; and a rich creamy crabmeat au gratin served hot and bubbling straight from under the broiler. Richard’s chicken sauce piquante is made the old-school way with a Café Jefferson full leg quarter simmered 5505 Rip Van Winkle Road New Iberia long and slow in a sauce (337) 359-8525 ripvanwinklegardens.com of tomato and roasted bell peppers enlivened with tasso and andouille. Richard, 67, says her moments of greatest confidence in the kitchen come when she is inundated with orders, breathless, and without a moment to stop. Humble, she acknowledges her culinary skill as the cornerstone to her success but is quick to attribute her business to her team. “My strength is in the artful preparation of delicious food. Personnel management, the most daunting task of any business, I leave to my dear friend and confidante , Dinah Boudreaux, who has the complete love and respect of all our staff. I have always believed that the effective management of any restaurant depends on the utilization of the strengths and skills of staff.”
Crabmeat au Gratin Another dish with French roots, this decadent favorite features delicate lump or claw crabmeat bound together in Béchamel sauce to which a blend of mild cheeses has been added.
The dish is then topped with either more cheese or a blend of cheese and bread crumbs. The terms “au gratin” or “gratinee” refers to any dish prepared this way then baked in
a shallow, ovenproof oval or round gratin dish, which increases surface area thereby ensuring a larger crispy portion after the dish makes a pass under the broiler before serving.
russell davis Chef/Co-Owner Eliza Restaurant
Paneed Fish with Sauce Béarnaise Breaded and fried foods are about as classic as it gets. In the Louisiana parlance panéed (locally pronounced “pon-aid”) simply means a pan sautéed dish — usually thinly-sliced chicken, veal, pork or fish filets served with a sauce. Often a dredge in egg wash and flour or breadcrumbs is employed to add a crisp coat to the dish. Itself a classic French sauce, Béarnaise is made with a reduction of vinegar, wine, tarragon and shallots and finished with egg yolk and butter. It pairs well with simple preparations of meat, fish, eggs and vegetables. 34
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business side of the operation into the kitchen. In 2016, Sally joined Russell, long since her husband, in opening Eliza in Sally’s hometown of Baton Rouge. They named the bright, airy contemporary Creole restaurant for their 10-year-old daughter. The menu at Eliza spans generations to cover classics like crabmeat salad maison, panéed Gulf fish with lump crabmeat and sauce Béarnaise, a fried soft-shell crab with pecan Meunière sauce, as well as a grilled shrimp bánh mi poor-boy, and seared tuna tartine. “I fell in love with food and cooking in my grandmother’s kitchen at a young age and my mother is my greatest inspiration,” Russell says. “After college I spent some time in Europe then moved to New Orleans to be a part of the food scene. It’s a good fit for me. My family reacted to my choosing the restaurant industry with guarded optimism. They knew of the long hours and high failure rate but, like anyone who wants to be successful in a field, I put in the long hours. But that has never deterred me from starting a family (I have four great kids) or finding a work/life balance. I just don’t sleep as much.” Now 53, Russell says he is most connected to his craft when teaching and working with others. ussell and Sally Davis both began “Seeing a young cook develop or perfect a their careers at Commander’s technique keeps me engaged with my craft Palace Restaurant in New Orleans. and helps me to learn, as well.” She was in event planning, he in He and Sally are planning another restaurant operations. When a co-worker “in the near future” where they will continue to set them up on their first date they discovered perpetuate the nurturing professional culture shared passions for food, hospitality and the they have created at Eliza. entrepreneur’s drive to create something special “There’s no time for nonsense,” Russell says. of their own. “It detracts from our goal of putting out great Russell, a native of Newton, Massachusetts food. We try very hard to create a good culture with a degree in marketing from the University of Denver, opened Eliza Restaurant & Bar behind the scenes and believe it’s just as important as what guests 7970 Jefferson Highway Saltwater Grill in the Riverbend area Suite J see in the dining room. It affects of New Orleans in 2004, making Baton Rouge the whole experience.” (225) 349-8895 the long-desired moved from the
We try very hard to create a good culture behind the scenes and believe it ’s just as important as what guests see in the dining room. It affects the whole experience.
Split Three years ago, on july 4th Mark Raymond Jr.’s
life changed in an instant. At 27 years old, he had been celebrating the holiday with friends on a boat all afternoon in Lake Pontchartrain and periodically cooling off in the water— familiar territory to the New Orleans native and broadcast engineer who has a passion for athletics. But the tide in the lake had changed over the course of the day, and when he dove off the boat later, the water had gone down to three feet. He damaged the C-5 vertebrae by the base of his neck and nearly drowned as his lungs filled with brackish water. When he woke up more than two weeks later, following a medically induced coma in the intensive care unit, he was 30 pounds lighter and learned that he’d lost his ability to walk. Newly quadriplegic, he was so weak, in fact, he could barely hold his head up, and on top of that he had a tracheotomy. “I woke up and the first thing the doctors told me that I would never walk again. I was very new to all of this; it was a shocking moment in time before I could really begin to grieve,” he recalls. While going through physical and occupational therapy he remembers feeling hopeless, frustrated and dissatisfied. The methods of his recovery focused more on restoring basic functionality, but not fitness. After most patients complete the required physical therapy, they’re often sent off on their own. They may be referred to gyms, but many people who’ve been in a life-altering scenario like Raymond’s don’t feel comfortable in that type of setting — people tend to stare. And many can end up back in the hospital again due to complications and infections. Raymond is ambitious, and he likes to problem solve. He says of the therapy routines, “They weren’t challenging me enough. I felt like I could do more.” He also hadn’t lost his swagger or his resourcefulness in the accident and while he was struggling mentally to accept it, he didn’t give himself too much time to mope, as he began to independently research ways to get stronger. His goal is to walk again, and with progress being made in the field of stem cell research, that could potentially be a reality. An Instagram search led him to the discovery of a gym in Sacramento, California called Spinal Cord Injury Functional Integrated Therapy, aka SCI-FIT, which focuses on comprehensive, post-traditional exercise-based therapy for people with life-altering injuries like his. With his mother, Ronda — now his full-time caregiver — he set off across the country to participate in the program, which helped him restore strength and hope. (He paid out of pocket as it was not covered by insurance — another
issue he wants to work on is Second Foundation seeks to advance treatments getting insurance companies to for spinal cord injury, fund research and advocate cover more treatments for these for more progressive therapies. The organization costly expenses.) will also partner with other health organizations, During his workouts at the instructors, medical professionals and trainers. facility, he began to regain confiWith The Split Second Foundation, Raymond dence along with his physical also hopes to establish fitness facilities for people strength, and his sense of hope- with spinal cord injuries, amputations and lessness vanished. paralysis, as well as form a “I had better trunk control, community. “People with more strength in my abs, I disabilities get marginalIn his ongoing recovery could crawl a lot better than ized,” he says. “It’s harder from a nearly fatal I could when I left; I could to find a job; it’s harder to hold a wine glass steady,” accident that left find relationships. Having professionals with training he says. “It was the most him paralyzed, Mark uplifting environment I’d [who know] tragedy and Raymond Jr. seeks to been in. It was a bunch of trauma would change so mobilize the paralysis people like me, pushing many things.” Details are themselves to get better.” community by providing still being finalized as the According to a Christopher organization continues to advocacy, funding and & Dana Reeve Foundation raise funds, but his goal is to study in 2013, up to 5.4 open the first fitness facility fitness centers with his in New Orleans by the end of million people live with nonprofit foundation the year with plans to expand paralysis.The American Association of Neurological around the state and eventuSurgeons (AANS) estimates that around 11,000 ally, go national. spinal cord injuries of this nature occur in the It could raise challenges, but Raymond also United States every year — falls, gunshot hopes once it’s implemented, that insurance wounds and vehicle accidents are among the companies will cover clients’ costs. most common ways that they occur.. He reasons that if people living with these At SCI-FIT, Raymond realized that Louisiana injuries and paralysis are able to get physically was severely lacking in resources and facilities and mentally strong, it will actually save the that cater to those living with paralysis. There are insurance companies money in the long run, approximately 30 facilities similar to SCI-FIT, because if these individuals are as healthy as around the country— but not one here. He’s possible, their condition could help them cut going to change that, hopefully by the end of down trips to the emergency room, for example. the year. His positive experience at the facility, He was also appointed by New Orleans mayor surrounded by people who understood him, LaToya Cantrell to serve on the board of commismade him want to make life better for people sioners for the Regional Transit Authority (RTA). in these conditions. He notes that they live with “We’ve made the city more accessible,” he says, more than just a physical limitation — mental with the installation of more yellow bumpers, health issues including depression can manifest ramps and sound devices on lights to help people (Raymond says he was battling some suicidal cross the street. thoughts early on during recovery), margin“I am the new face of disability. I’m tackling a alization from others, higher rates of poverty lot of advocacy and policies. Trying to provide and lack of employment often accompany the better resources. Progress drives the hope,” he says. conditions — roughly The facility, he says, is intended to be a “prog28 percent of families ress-driven space. People don’t want to feel like by Sarah Ravits with a member who’s they are shackled in their condition. We want portrait by romero & romero living with paralysis to expand. I want to grow.” are at federal poverty Everybody knows someone who has suffered level or lower. from paralysis, he continues. “It’s your friends, family, neighbors. This is our community; we To help this population out, he formed The Split Second Foundation (splitsecondfoundation. are a part of your community. The broader goal org). The name serves to remind people that life is to build this community. We are here for it; can change quickly, and it operates with a concept we get it; we have solutions. Let’s figure this of “transforming hope into action.” The Split out together.”
Louisiana Life july/august 2019
BEST HOSPITALS Louisiana’s hospitals rated by the patients they serve vis Medicare’s yearly report compiled by Sarah Ravits
+ BEST HOSPITALS
There is one major source
that provides credible ongoing analysis of hospitals: Medicare, which, as the federal health insurance program for people 65 and older, as well as certain younger people with disabilities, often provides funding for many of the big bills. As part of its informational services, medicare.gov reports on evaluations of hospitals based on queries of patients. The Louisiana Life editorial staff sifts through the data every year in order to create a one-of-a-kind list that demonstrates the state’s hospitals according to locality. To qualify for this list, at least 60 percent of the patients queried had to give the hospital a top overall ranking of 9 or 10. These are the top general service hospitals as seen through the eyes of those who have experienced them firsthand — the patients. Note, however, that several hospitals in the state did not have any information available on Medicare’s website and therefore could not qualify to be on the list.
Abbeville General Hospital 118 N. Hospital Drive (337) 893-5466
Hood Memorial Hospital 301 Walnut St. (985) 748-94865
Alexandria Central Louisiana Surgical Hospital 651 N. Bolton Ave. (318) 449-6400 CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Hospital 3330 Masonic Drive (318) 487-1122 Rapides Regional Medical Center 211 4th St. (318) 769-3000
Bastrop Morehouse General Hospital 323 W. Walnut (318) 283-3600
Baton Rouge Baton Rouge General Medical Center 3600 Florida Blvd. (225) 387-7767
Louisiana Life july/august 2019
Ochsner Medical Center – Baton Rouge 17000 Medical Center Drive (225) 752-2470 Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center 5000 Hennessy Blvd. (225) 765-6565 Surgical Specialty Center of Baton Rouge 8080 Bluebonnet Blvd. (225) 408-8080 The Spine Hospital of Louisiana 10105 Park Row Circle, Suite 250 (225) 763-9900 Woman’s Hospital 100 Woman’s Way (225) 927-1300
Bogalusa Our Lady of the Angels Hospital 433 Plaza St. (985) 730-6700
Breaux Bridge St. Martin Hospital 210 Champagne Blvd. (337) 332-2178
Chalmette St. Bernard Parish Hospital 8000 W. Judge Perez Drive (504) 826-9500
Columbia Caldwell Memorial Hospital, Inc. 411 Main St. (318) 649-6111 Citizens Medical Center 7939 U.S. Hwy. 165 S. (318) 649-6106
Avala Hospital 67252 Industry Lane (985) 801-3010
Our Lady of the Lake Ascension 1125 W. Hwy. 30 (225) 647-5000
Jennings American Legion Hospital 1634 Elton Road (337) 616-7000
Cypress Pointe Surgical Hospital 42570 S. Airport Road (985) 510-6200
Jackson Parish Hospital 165 Beech Springs Road (318) 259-4435
North Oaks Medical Center, LLC 15790 Paul Vega MD Drive (985) 345-2700
St. Tammany Parish Hospital 1202 S. Tyler St. (985) 898-4000
Crowley Acadia General Hospital 1305 Crowley Rayne Hwy. (337) 783-3222
Cut Off Lady of the Sea General Hospital 200 W. 134th Place (985) 632-6401
Delhi Richland Parish Hospital – Delhi 407 Cincinnati St. 318) 878-5171
Homer Claiborne Memorial Medical Center 620 E. College St. (318) 927-2024
Leonard J. Chabert Medical Center 1978 Industrial Blvd. (985) 873-2200
Beauregard Memorial Hospital 600 Pine St. (337) 462-7100
Physicians Medical Center 218 Corporate Drive (985) 853-1390
Terrebonne General Medical Center 8166 Main St. (985) 873-4141
Union General Hospital 901 James Ave. (318) 368-9751
Bayne-Jones ACH 1585 3rd St. (337) 531-3118
Lallie Kemp Regional Medical Center 52579 Hwy. 51 S. (985) 878-9421
Franklin Foundation Hospital 1097 Northwest Blvd. (337) 828-0760
LaSalle General Hospital 187 9th St. (318) 992-9200
Abrom Kaplan Memorial Hospital 1310 W. 7th St. (337) 643-8300
Kenner Ochsner Medical Center – Kenner 180 W. Esplanade Ave. (504) 468-4806
Kinder Allen Parish Hospital 108 6th Ave. (337) 738-2527
Lafayette Heart Hospital of Lafayette 1105 Kaliste Saloom Road (337) 521-1000 Lafayette General Medical Center 1214 Coolidge St. (337) 289-7991 Lafayette Surgical Specialty Hospital 1101 Kaliste Saloom Road (337) 769-4100 Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center, Inc. 4801 Ambassador Caffery Pkwy. (337) 470-2000
Park Place Surgical Hospital 4811 Ambassador Caffery Pkwy. (337) 237-8119 University Hospital & Clinics 2390 W. Congress St. (337) 261-6000 Our Lady of Lourdes Women’s & Children’s Hospital 4600 Ambassador Caffery Pkwy. (337) 521-9100
Lake Charles CHRISTUS Ochsner Lake Area Hospital 4200 Nelson Road (337) 474-6370 CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital 524 Dr. Michael DeBakey Drive (337) 436-2511 Lake Charles Memorial Hospital 1701 Oak Park Blvd. (337) 494-3000
Lake Providence East Carroll Parish Hospital 336 N. Hood St. (318) 559-4023
Leesville Byrd Regional Hospital 1020 Fertitta Blvd. (337) 239-9041 Doctors Hospital at Deer Creek LLC 815 S. 10th St. (337) 392-5088
Luling St. Charles Parish Hospital 1057 Paul Maillard Road (985) 785-3644
St. James Parish Hospital 1645 Lutcher Ave. (225) 869-5512
Monroe Surgical Hospital 2408 Broadmoor Blvd. (318) 410-0002
P&S Surgical Hospital 321 Grammont St., Suite 101 (318) 388-4040
Savoy Medical Center 801 Poinciana Ave. (337) 468-5261
Mansfield DeSoto Regional Health System 207 Jefferson St. (318) 872-4610
Many Sabine Medical Center 240 Highland Drive (318) 256-1232
St. Francis Medical Center 309 Jackson St. Suite 101 (318) 966-4000 Ochsner LSU Monroe 4864 Jackson St. (318) 330-7000
Morgan City Teche Regional Medical Center 1125 Marguerite St. (985) 384-2440
Tulane Medical Center 1415 Tulane Ave. (504) 988-5263 University Medical Center New Orleans 2000 Canal St. (504) 903-3000
New Roads Pointe Coupee General Hospital 2202 False River Drive (225) 368-6386
Richardson Medical Center 254 Hwy. 3048 (318) 728-4181
Springhill Medical Center 2001 Doctors Drive (318) 539-1000
Thibodaux Regional Medical Center 602 N. Acadia Road (985) 447-5500
Northern Louisiana Medical Center 401 East Vaughn Ave. (318) 254-2100
Shreveport CHRISTUS Health Shreveport-Bossier 1453 E. Bert Kouns (318) 681-5000
West Carroll Memorial Hospital 706 Ross St. (318) 428-3237
Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport 1541 Kings Hwy. (318) 675-5000
Overton Brooks VA Medical Center (Shreveport) 510 E. Stoner Ave. (318) 424-6037
Oakdale Community Hospital 130 N. Hospital Drive (318) 335-3700
Specialists Hospital Shreveport 1500 Line Ave. (318) 213-3800
Avoyelles Hospital 4231 Hwy. 1192 (318) 253-8611
Natchitoches Regional Medical Center 501 Keyser Ave. (318) 471-2628
Opelousas General Health System 539 E. Prudhomme St. (337) 948-3011
Iberia Medical Center 2315 E. Main St. (337) 364-0441
Hardtner Medical Center 1102 N. Pine Road (318) 495-3131
Ochsner Medical Center – North Shore, LLC 100 Medical Center Drive (985) 646-5000
East Jefferson General Hospital 4200 Houma Blvd. (504) 454-4000
New Orleans East Hospital 5620 Read Blvd. (504) 592-6600
Alexandria VA Medical Center 2495 Shreveport Hwy. 71 N. (318) 473-0010
Marrero West Jefferson Medical Center 1101 Medical Center Blvd. (504) 347-5511
Minden Minden Medical Center No. 1 Medical Plaza (318) 377-2321
Ochsner Medical Center 1516 Jefferson Hwy. (504) 842-3000 Touro Infirmary 1401 Foucher St. (504) 897-8247
Willis Knighton Medical Center 2600 Greenwood Road (318) 212-4000
Slidell Memorial Hospital 1001 Gause Blvd. (985) 643-2200
Southern Surgical Hospital 1700 Lindberg Drive (985) 641-0600
Ochsner St. Anne General Hospital 4608 Hwy. 1 (985) 537-8377
Sterling Surgical Hospital 989 Robert Blvd. (504) 690-8200
Sulphur West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital 701 Cypress St. (337) 527-7034
Ville Platte Mercy Regional Medical Center 800 E. Main St. (337) 363-5684
Vivian North Caddo Medical Center 815 S. Pine St. (318) 375-3235
West Monroe Glenwood Regional Medical Center 503 McMillan Road (318) 329-4600
Winnsboro Franklin Medical Center 2106 Loop Road (318) 435-9411
Winnfield Winn Parish Medical Center 301 W. Boundary Ave. (318) 648-3000
Zachary Lane Regional Medical Center 6300 Main St. (225) 658-4000
Bowled Over Red Stick Social opens as a 30,000-square-foot entertainment complex in Baton Rouge by Jyl Benson photo by Romero & Romero
With 10 bowling lanes, a stage for
live music, a full-service restaurant, multiple bars, a rooftop deck and a beer garden, Red Stick Social, Baton Rougeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s newest hot spot, defies definition. Robert Lay was the developer who reimagined then reconfigured the 30,000-square-foot, 104-year-old brick building from its former incarnation as the Baton Rouge Electric Company, a power plant, into its current manifestation. Red Stick Social is the lively anchor for the Electric Depot, a campus with two other buildings with mixed residential and retail use. Lay and his design team made every effort to maintain the buildingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s inherent gifts while bringing in both compatible and unexpected elements to keep things lively: A 22-ton overhead gantry crane now serves as a support for entertainment lights above the live music stage. Recycled bowling alley lanes were used in creating the first-floor and private fifth-floor bars, tables, and stage. These elements keep time with contemporary furnishings, exposed brick, vintage signage and an abundance of natural light. The buildingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s five floors are unified by a central atrium of sorts that makes activities on every floor visible to the others. The building can accommodate 600 people. The first two floors of the five-story space are devoted to the Red Stick Social, the restaurant, where Chef George Sittig, an enthusiastic Lafayette native who has cooked in kitchens around the globe, keeps the focus broad with contemporary Acadiana/Southern and overlays ranging from the Caribbean to Korea. Look for
42 Louisiana Life july/august 2019
Art & Crabs Burton Coliseum Complex 7001 Gulf Hwy. Lake Charles 337-439-.2787 artscouncilswla.org Red Stick Social 1503 Government St. Baton Rouge redsticksocial.com
Red Stick Social’s Rougarou Flatbread - spicy crawfish and tasso Béchamel with sautéed onions and poblano pepper, covered with white cheddar and Steen’s cane syrup
crawfish, tasso, and macaroni bound together with a creamy cheese sauce; a fried seafood poor boy ladled over with crawfish etouffee; Nashville-style hot chicken set between two Belgian waffles and drizzle with praline butter; buffalo smoked wings; and a decadent four-layer chocolate cake filled with a rich chocolate ganache and accented with toasted almonds. The restaurant is open for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. Upstairs, the third floor is devoted to six bowling lanes outfitted with balls painted colorfully to look like those one expects to find on a pool table. The fourth floor is devoted to private events while the fifth floor, which has another bar adjacent to four more bowling lanes and a verdant outdoor terrace, is also available for private events but will otherwise remain open to the public. n
GOOD BETS Presented annually by the Arts & Humanities Council and the SWLA Convention & Visitors Bureau, Lake Charles’ Arts & Crabs festival will take place on Saturday, August 17th, 5pm-8pm, at the Burton Coliseum. A limited number of early bird tickets are priced at $30, and the remaining tickets will be $40 each. The homegrown event celebrates the ties between Louisiana’s greatest assets — seafood and culture. With the purchase of a wristband participants can sample extensive selections of crab and seafood dishes prepared by Lake Charles area chefs and enjoy beers paired with those dishes from Crying Eagle Brewing. Participating chefs will vie for guests’ votes in the annual “Best Crab Dish” award, which is determined by popular vote. Arts & Crabs, recognized for the sixth year in a row as a “Top 20 Event” by the Southeast Tourism Society, will feature live music from Emily Simon are Keepin It Cajun and an eclectic art market with live demonstrations. Funds raised at Arts & Crabs are reinvested back into the SWLA community through the Arts & Humanities Council’s year-round services and events.
great louisiana chef
Cajun Learning Curve Chef Alexis Cupich-Indest brings local flair to the table at Bon Temps Grill in Lafayette By Alice Phillips portrait by Romero & Romero
A pot of g u mbo was the first
challenge Chef Alexis Cupich-Indest undertook in the kitchen after moving to Louisiana. A native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Cupich-Indest attended the Texas Culinary Academy in Austin, fulfilling her childhood dreams of becoming a chef. “Since I was little I always wanted to cook professionally,” Cupich-Indest said. “I would go to my grandma’s and sneak and watch ‘Great Chefs.’ I’d stay up late to watch that show.” After meeting her husband in culinary school, Cupich-Indest moved with him to his hometown of Lafayette in 2008. “I wanted to make gumbo, trying to be the good fiancée, and I asked, ‘What’s trinity?’” said Cupich-Indest. “He said it was kind of like mirepoix. So, I built it and took it to him at work. He was like, ‘Are there carrots in this?’ and I go, ‘Well, yeah. You said it was like a mirepoix!’ He wouldn’t even eat it. So, that was my first experience with Cajun food.” Twelve years later, Cupich-Indest has mastered authentic Cajun comfort at Bon Temps Grill where she has been a chef for five years. Steven and Patrick O’Bryan, two brothers who grew up in Lafayette, opened Bon Temps Grill. The O’Bryans’ mother is originally from Albuquerque like Cupich-Indest. Creole classics like seafood-stuffed mushrooms, boudin and crawfish pot pie satisfy Lafayette locals and visitors filling up both the modest dining space and stomachs seven days a week. “I love anything that we do with fish,” she said. “That’s such a vital part of the culture down here. From catching the fish, to processing and cooking it, taking that time is just a very beautiful thing.” n
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Cracklin Encrusted Mahi Over roasted spring root vegetables and jumbo lump crabmeat Cracklin Encrusted Mahi
Preheat oven to 375 F. Place 1 cup fresh cracklins in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add ½ cup panko and 1 tablespoons fines herbes (chopped) and pulse until well incorporated. Remove crust and place in shallow bowl. Fold in ½ tablespoon Tony’s seasoning. In medium cast iron skillet heat 4 tablespoons blended oil on medium high heat. Season 6 ounces mahi (or any steak-like fish filet) with salt and pepper to taste and press into prepared breading. Place filet in hot oil and sear each side for 2 minutes. Cook in oven for about 8 minutes. Roasted Root Vegetables Heat 2
In case you were wondering, a blended oil is a combination of a high smoke point oil, like vegetable oil, with a lower smoke point oil, such as extra virgin olive.
tablespoons blended oil in medium sauté skillet on medium high. Add 2 tablespoons chopped garlic and sweat for 30 seconds. Add ¼ cup shaved Brussels, 2 stalks kale (cleaned and chopped), 1 carrot (julienned), ¹⁄8 cup jicama (julienned), ¹⁄8 cup red cabbage (ribboned) and 2 tablespoons dried fruit (cherries, cranberries, apricots). Sauté for about a minute or until tender. Deglaze with 4 tablespoons white wine and salt and pepper to taste. Toss with 2 tablespoons toasted pecans or almonds to finish. to plate Place fish filet over roasted vegetables and top with lump crabmeat.
LouisianaLife.com LouisianaLife.com 45
New Fashioned 4 fun and easy ice cream recipes to beat the summer heat by Stanley Dry photo and styling by Eugenia Uhl
If desired, cayenne pepper can be added to taste in the final step of the Mexican chocolate ice cream.
Ice cream has no season,
but if it did, it would be now. Ice cream consumption is highest in July and August, which should come as no surprise, but for many of us it is a year-round obsession. There are many quality commercial brands of ice cream, so some may question the logic of making your own. In the first place, making ice cream is fun, and with modern ice cream machines, it is not the production it once was â&#x20AC;&#x201D; requiring ice, salt and manual churning. Those who are nostalgic can still do it the old-fashioned way, but with todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s countertop machines homemade ice cream is a breeze.
46 Louisiana Life july/august 2019
Use large, soft dates, such as the Medjool variety, for the date and walnut ice cream.
Date And Walnut Ice Cream Pit and chop 4 large dates. Coarsely chop ½ cup walnut pieces. Place in a small bowl with ¼ cup brandy. Stir to combine. Set aside.
Making your own ice cream also gives you complete control over the process, which means that you can make varieties of ice cream that suit your own taste with ingredients that you choose, without additives, stabilizers or artificial flavors. As a bonus, making your own is a lot cheaper than buying premium brands. The four ice cream recipes this month are all made with a custard base of egg yolks, whole milk and sugar. There is no cream in any of them; as a result, they are lighter than those made with heavy cream. After churning, the ice cream can be eaten immediately while it is still soft or it can be packed into containers and frozen. If frozen, remove the containers from the freezer and allow the contents to soften before serving. I like to freeze ice cream in one-cup containers, which is enough for one sensible or two smallish servings. After filling the containers, store them in the freezer upside down. That way the ice cream forms a seal against the top and there is no space for air to do its damage. When removed from the freezer, the ice cream softens quicker and you’re not left with a half-empty container of ice cream that suffers from partial defrosting, refreezing and exposure to air. n
Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream
Heat 3½ cups whole milk in a heavy saucepan to just below a boil. In a mixing bowl, beat 8 egg yolks and ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar until light and airy. Slowly add hot milk to egg yolks, a little at a time, while whisking constantly. Return mixture to saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a high-heat silicone spatula until thickened. The mixture will coat the spatula when ready and a finger drawn across the spatula will leave a track. Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a mixing bowl. Add date and walnut mixture and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and whisk to combine. Place the bowl in a larger bowl of ice and water and stir until cool. Refrigerate until cold, then process in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.
“Airplane Cookie” Ice Cream Many of us first encountered these crisp caramelly cookies on airline flights, where they have been served since 1986.
Add two to four tablespoons of bourbon, brandy or rum in the final step, if desired.
8 Biscoff cookies
½ cup ground French roast coffee
3½ cups whole milk
3½ cups whole milk
8 egg yolks
8 egg yolks
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
¾ cup granulated sugar 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1. Place cookies in a plastic
storage bag and crush with a rolling pin. Set aside. 2. Heat milk in a heavy saucepan
to just below a boil. In a mixing bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar until light and airy. Slowly add hot milk to egg yolks, a little at a time, while whisking constantly. Return mixture to saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a high-heat silicone spatula until thickened. The mixture will coat the spatula when ready and a finger drawn across the spatula will leave a track. 3. Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a mixing bowl. Add crushed cookies and vanilla and whisk to combine. Place the bowl in a larger bowl of ice and water and stir until cool. Refrigerate until cold, then process in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Makes about 1 quart
Makes about 1 quart.
Combine 3½ cups whole milk, ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa and ¼ cup almond flour in a heavy saucepan, whisk to combine and heat to just below a boil. In a mixing bowl, beat 8 egg yolks and ¾ cup granulated sugar until light and airy. Slowly add hot milk to egg yolks, a little at a time, while whisking constantly. Return mixture to saucepan and cook over medium heat,
French Roast Coffee Ice Cream
1. Combine coffee and milk in a heavy saucepan and bring almost to a boil. Remove from heat, cover and macerate for 30 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove most of the coffee grounds, then through several layers of cheesecloth. Return coffee milk to a clean saucepan and bring to just below a boil. 2. In a mixing bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar until light and airy. Slowly add hot coffee milk to egg yolks, a little at a time, while whisking constantly. Return mixture to saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a high-heat silicone spatula until thickened. The mixture will coat the spatula when ready and a finger drawn across the spatula will leave a track. 3. Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a mixing bowl. Place the bowl in a larger bowl of ice and water and stir until cool. Add vanilla. Refrigerate until cold, then process in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Makes about 1 quart
stirring constantly with a high-heat silicone spatula until thickened. The mixture will coat the spatula when ready and a finger drawn across the spatula will leave a track. Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a mixing bowl. Add ¼ cup bittersweet chocolate chips and stir until chocolate is melted. Add
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon pure almond extract and whisk to combine. Place the bowl in a larger bowl of ice and water and stir until cool. Refrigerate until cold, then process in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Makes about 1 quart.
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Louisiana Life july/august 2019
Louisiana Life september/october 2018
Louisiana Life july/august 2019
Traveling Around Louisiana
Explore the Culture
LSU Museum of Art’s Adore | Adorn: The Elsie Michie Contemporary Jewelry Collection on view until October 6
Louisiana is one unique
destination. With so many different cultural experiences packed into one relatively small state, locals and visitors are lucky to have so much to do, see, and explore whether for a weekend or a whole summer. Different areas of the state all have their own charm. This summer, journey through the state’s capital city and its surrounding areas, which offer everything from big-city excitement to smalltown festivals and fun. Central Louisiana is a great stop for history buffs looking to further their knowledge of Louisiana’s military contributions to the country. Down in Cajun Country, festivals serve up delicious food and live music to accompany the gorgeous bayou scenery and opportunities for outdoor fun. Take your summer adventure across Louisiana and explore a side of the state you’ve not seen before. From fine art to military fanfare, fais do dos, water parks, and golf courses, there’s something for everyone in Sportsman’s Paradise. Baton Rouge & Surrounding Attractions The LSU Museum of Art’s Art in Louisiana exhibition features permanent collection highlights of Louisiana art, both historic and contemporary. Galleries devoted to Newcomb Pottery, New Orleans Silver, and contemporary Louisiana art make it a central hub for experiencing insightful and inspiring local works.
Louisiana Life july/august 2019
On June 27th, the museum opened two new exhibitions. An exhibition of jewelry, Adore | Adorn: The Elsie Michie Contemporary Jewelry Collection, features over 100 pieces of contemporary art jewelry that demonstrate the joy of making, collecting, and adornment. Semblance: The Public/Private/ Shared Self features three contemporary painters who use the figure to explore identity in private and in public spaces. On view until September 29th is Matt Wedel: On the Verge, an exhibition of ceramic sculpture by LSU School of Art Reilly visiting artist Matt Wedel, whose remarkably large-scale ceramic works explore culture and nature and push materials and forms to the verge of collapse.
For more details, visit lsumoa.org. Check out the sunnier side of Baton Rouge this summer with a one-of-a-kind outdoor adventure. Louisiana’s capital city offers exceptional experiences for the sporty, the nature-driven, and those looking for playful relaxation. Indulge your competitive side while testing your limits at BREC’s Extreme Sports Park with its three skate parks, BMX track, rock climbing wall, and more. Golfers love the links at Santa Maria Golf Course, considered the best public course in Southeast Louisiana. Meanwhile, Topgolf offers a sports bar and golfing experience combined—compete with friends over cold beers at the open, interactive range.
Nature lovers flock to Baton Rouge’s lakes and the Mississippi River levee, where running and cycling are made even better by majestic natural scenery. Greenwood Community Park, Bluebonnet Swamp & Nature Center, and Baton Rouge Zoo offer their own unique explorations of the local landscape and its wildlife. Summer’s the perfect time to cool off at Liberty Lagoon and Blue Bayou & Dixie Landin, water parks that both thrill and chill. Delicious icy treats at Snoman Snowballs also relieve the heat. For more to do in Baton Rouge, go to visitbatonrouge.com. Whether it is football you crave, high-speed drag racing, historic plantation homes, scenic views of the Mighty
Mississippi or a fun festival, West Baton Rouge Parish has it all. This summer, celebrate the history of the nation. On July 4, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., gather with friends and family on the downtown Port Allen riverfront for the 14th annual holiday celebration featuring fireworks, live music, and activities for children. While in Port Allen, visit the West Baton Rouge Museum and view its current exhibition, Through Darkness to Light, Photographs Along the Underground Railroad. This September, have a blast at the Oldies But Goodies Fest & BBQ Cook-off. Saturday and Sunday, September 14-15, the West Baton Rouge Tourist Information & Conference Center will be taken over with live music, delicious barbecue, an antique car show, and more. Save the date now for Reflections of the Season, scheduled for Friday and Saturday, December 20-21. Visit WestBatonRouge.net for details and more events. Stop in at Exit #151 and visit the 13’, 760 lb. alligator, “Mobey,” as you travel through Louisiana. Central Louisiana Central Louisiana is home to a hidden gem for military history enthusiasts in the form of the Louisiana Maneuvers and Military Museum. The Museum is located on the grounds of Camp Beauregard in Pineville and offers free admission to the public. Built as a replica WWII barracks, the Museum houses memorabilia and artifacts from the WWII era in addition to that of WWI and earlier time periods. Visitors can view lifesize military vehicles, authentic military uniforms, and historic pieces from the home front while learning about the Louisiana Maneuvers. After experiencing the museum, step into the lobby of the historic Hotel Bentley
where an exhibit about the Louisiana Maneuvers fascinates locals and visitors alike. Complete your military history experience by heading to the site of Camp Claiborne in Kisatchie National Forest to see where the 101st and the 82nd Airborne Divisions began. To learn more or begin planning a trip, visit AlexandriaPinevilleLA.com or call 800-551-9546. Cajun Country St. Mary Parish, also known as the Cajun Coast, is a treasure for experiencing the great outdoors in Sportsman’s Paradise. Surrounded by the waters of Bayou Teche, Atchafalaya River, and the Atchafalaya Swamp Basin, the Cajun Coast is known for its natural splendor and “road less traveled” atmosphere. Options for exploration, relaxation, and excitement abound on both water and land. Find your calm among the serene wilderness of the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area or along the Bayou Teche Scenic Byway. Boaters enjoy the waters of the Atchafalaya Basin, the largest overflow swamp, as well as the scenery and sounds of the Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge. Golfers love the Atchafalaya at Idlewild, which was rated the number one golf course in Louisiana by Golfweek Magazine in 2008 and 2009 and number two by Golf Advisor in 2017. This summer, experience, Morgan City’s Bayou BBQ Bash ( July 12-13), The 50th celebration of Easy Rider at Bikers on the Bayou ( July 13), and the Louisiana Shrimp & Petroleum Festival during Labor Day Weekend. For more information, visit CajunCoast.com.
FREEDMAN MEMORIAL CARDIOLOGY ROBERT J. FREEDMAN, JR., M.D., F.A.C.C., F.S.C.A.I. ALAN H. YOUNES, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.S.C.A.I. J. MICHAEL SMITH, M.D., F.A.C.C. SALIL SETHI, M.D., M.P.H., F.S.C.A.I.
311 PRESCOTT RD., SUITE 112 • CABRINI DOCTOR’S BUILDING ALEXANDRIA, LOUISIANA 71301 PHONE (318) 767-0960 • FAX (318) 767-0610
State of Medicine Medical care is one of those things you
likely only think about when you need it. And when you need it, you likely want to know what’s available quick and nearby. Fortunately, just about every corner of Louisiana has quality healthcare close to home. From longstanding, award-winning specialty clinics to expanding hospitals, state-of-the-art surgical centers, and healthimproving wellness centers, you can find a doctor, surgeon, or therapist to help you through whatever health challenge you face. From quitting smoking and losing weight to open-heart surgery or a minimally invasive laser procedure, the treatments, technologies, and professionals exist locally to serve patients from all across the state. Take a look at the following providers from North, Central, and South Louisiana, and learn what’s new in the state of medicine. Cardiology When you or a loved one is in need of topquality cardiac care in central Louisiana, the physicians and staff of Freedman Memorial Cardiology of Alexandria are here to help. From advanced diagnostic and therapeutic services to education on preventative measures, The Freedman Memorial Cardiology team stands ready to assist you. Freedman Memorial’s team of skilled, board certified cardiologists and caring staff are devoted to their patients’ best interest. From certified echo and nuclear diagnostic services to pacing and interventional procedures, the practice clinic is at the vanguard of quality cardiology. Freedman Memorial Cardiology is named for Dr. Robert Freedman, Sr., the first cardiologist in Central Louisiana. The current physicians and staff practice with his spirit and philosophy in mind. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call 318-767-0960. The practice is located at 3311 Prescott Road, #112, in Alexandria. Wellness & Surgical Centers The Wellness Center of Thibodaux Regional, located in Lafourche Parish, is changing the health of the community. The Center offers WellFit, which integrates wellness into clinical care. WellFit is an 58
Louisiana Life july/august 2019
eight-week, physician-referred program that offers a customized plan for improving an individual’s health and well-being. Participants receive nutrition counseling with a registered dietitian along with fitness education and unlimited access to the Center’s Fitness Center. Smoking cessation options, physical therapy, and behavioral health screenings are also available if needed. “The goal of WellFit is to help people live the highest quality, most active lifestyle possible,” says Education and Training Coordinator, Katie Richard, MA, BSN, RN. Physician specialists helped to shape the WellFit pathways. “We want people to feel that their unique needs are being met and that their doctor was a part of the process,” says Richard. Call 985-493-4765 for more information or visit thibodaux.com. Crescent City Surgical Centre (CCSC) is America’s premier physician-owned surgical hospital. Owned and operated by a combination of 32 elite local practicing physicians and Louisiana Children’s Medical Center, CCSC offers eight operating rooms and two procedure rooms. Using cutting-edge DaVinci robotic laparoscopic technology, CCSC offers patients minimally invasive surgery resulting in less pain and faster recovery time. Twenty VIP private rooms are available, and CCSC can make accommodations for those whose loved ones wish to stay overnight. Catered restaurant-style meals are served and designed to meet patients’ personal dietary needs. They offer expedited wait times on appointments in a relaxing and comfortable environment. CCSC features surgical specialists in the fields of Bariatric, Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, ENT, Colo-Rectal, General Surgery,
Gynecological Procedures, Urology, Interventional Radiology, Pain Management, Plastic, Reconstructive and Advanced Cosmetic Surgery. For more information about Crescent City Surgical Centre, please call 504- 8302500, or visit ccsurg.com. Healthcare Systems Willis-Knighton Heath System has become the regional healthcare anchor for Northwest Louisiana, providing healthcare services at its five hospitals in Shreveport and Bossier City and developing affiliate relationships with rural hospitals to enhance healthcare regionally. Offering clinics and hospitals throughout the community helps to assure that healthcare is convenient and accessible to patients, providing a hospital and emergency department within eight minutes of most homes in Shreveport and Bossier City. Through more than a dozen centers of excellence, each with uniquely trained physicians and complementary technology, Willis-Knighton offers unique services that draw patients regionally for cancer, heart, eye, women’s and children’s care, rehabilitation, hyperbaric services and more. The exceptional technology and innovative services at Willis-Knighton are undergirded by a commitment to quality care exemplified in Willis-Knighton’s Always Here Promise that focuses on empathy, compassion and communication. It’s what Willis-Knighton employees offer patients and what Willis-Knighton offers the community. For more information on WillisKnighton, visit wkhs.com.
BOOM DAYS Untouched by time, a Rapides Parish sawmill village offers a virtual return to Depression and World War II-era Louisiana By Paul F. Stahls Jr.
From the late 1910s through mid-‘20s
the Gulf states and other regions of the United States were systematically shorn of their virgin forests of pine, cypress and marketable hardwoods. It was one of the growing pains of an adolescent nation, with new sawmills and milltowns popping up like mumps, an estimated 3,000 in Louisiana alone. Most disappeared as quickly as their wooded acreage could be reduced to stumps, but the future was brighter for R.D. Crowell’s mill in Long Leaf, 30 miles below Alexandria via U.S. 165. That company had the will and wherewithal to thrive beyond the boom days, becoming a great American asset during that area’s famed U.S. Army maneuvers on the eve of World War II, then dedicating the huge sawmill’s total production to Andrew Higgins in New Orleans for manufacturing the landing crafts which, simply stated by Gen. Ike, “won the war.” When peacetime finally returned Crowell converted his huge inventory of original machinery from steam to electricity – the same saws and other ingenious, fan-belted contraptions that still amaze visitors today – and fell in step with the quickly normalizing lumber market. The company remained successful until 1969, at which time the owners simply locked the gates — mill, industrial plant, employee housing, commissary, post office and all — whereupon Long Leaf, took a Rip Van Winkle snooze till the early 1990s when it was donated by the Crowell family to the Southern Forest Heritage Museum (318748-8404, open 9-4 Wed.-Sat., but closed Dec. 15-Jan. 31). An Interpretive Trail encircles most of the property, and one strategy for touring the mill complex is to follow the route of logs arriving by rail at the millpond (now filled), to be herded past the pumping station that fed the boilers, thence into the mill to be sawed to length and sliced into boards, and finally to the planer mill and its power plant where the boards were “finished” for market.
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To this day the museum is blessed with a cadre of retired experts who maintain the operation of every machine in the place, including the “rolling stock” of the company’s own 12-mile Red River & Gulf Railroad (one-of-a-kind log-handling cars and three steam engines, including “Old 106” whose engineer was father of today’s museum director Claudia Troll-Johnson). Major exhibit spaces include the Hardtner Building (office of the “Father of Southern Forestry,” Henry Hardtner, moved to the museum from his Urania mill in LaSalle Parish), and the Crowell mill’s own superintendent’s house, commissary, sales office and carriage house. The buildings share a single goal: to present artifacts and vivid imagery telling the entire story of early Long Leaf, right down to factors that shaped the lives of milltown folks:
early railroading, depression, war and (very interestingly) even the influences of national media, like Edward R. Murrow on the radio, stories and ads in magazines, newsreels at the movies. One very positive impact on rural life was FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps, which provided employment during the Great
Besides the Crowell milltown, very few historic mills have left evidence of their existence, but some scattered landmarks can be found. Two of the more visible are Garyville’s Lyon Cypress Lumber Co. Museum and cluster of distinctive two-story workers’ houses (east bank River Road, St. John Parish) and, in a pleasant city park just above
Timber barons and their sawmills, like the Crowell, levelled our primordial woodlands but pumped new life into the destitute South. The Civilian Conservation Corps, whose story is told by the “CCC“ exhibit building and statue at the Southern Forest Heritage Museum, created Depression-era jobs and transformed cut-over lands into infinitely self-regenerating forests.
DINE Despite the somewhat remote location of the Southern Forest Heritage Museum, it’s less than a mile to two popular Mexican restaurants in Forest Hill or five miles down 165 to Glenmora where Fuzzie’s serves seafood and comfort entrees (318-7484385). For scenery, drive east from Forest Hill on La. 112 to enjoy 9-beautiful miles of nurseries on your way to Lea’s Lunchroom in Lecompte (318-776-5178), home of unique ham sandwiches, Southern-style plate lunches and regionally famous fruit and icebox pies.
Depression to young men in every state, including 50,000 in Louisiana. The “CCC boys” are known for tackling all manner of civic projects but best remembered for the millions of seedlings they planted on cutover lands. Their story is now dramatically told by exhibits and interactive media in a large CCC log cabin from nearby Alexander State Forest.
Pineville (1301 Tioga Rd.), the Tioga Lumber Co.’s handsome commissary with its museum of Central Louisiana history. Both museums are closed for fundraising and maintenance but hellbent on reopening quickly. You can help. Visit tiogaheritage.com. Below Many in Sabine Parish, the village of Fisher on U.S. 171, milltown of the Louisiana Long
Such progress and development at the Southern Forest Heritage Museum is due to the support of the U.S. Forest Service, Louisiana Forestry Association, Kisatchie National Forest and individual benefactors, including, not surprisingly, descendants of the Crowell and Hardtner families. n
Leaf Lumber Co., still boasts its opera house and commissary (now the Ole Mill Store antiques shop and flea market, 318-5901212), and the “4-Ls” old office building is now Town Hall. Vying in rarity with Fisher’s landmarks, Oakdale in Allen Parish can boast a milltown hospital — a distinctive 1888 Arts & Crafts structure now serving
as a parish welcome center and Leatherwood Museum (318-335-0622). There’s no evidence of the F.B. Williams Cypress Company (world’s largest cypress mill) to be found in St. Mary Parish, but the State Museum’s Patterson facility (118 Cotten Road, 985-399-1271, louisianastatemuseum.org)
Still in the sawmill mode as evening nears? Remember that the lavish 1908 Hotel Bentley in Alexandria (318442-2226) was the “trophy” of local lumber mogul Joseph Bentley and the favorite bivouac of Eisenhower, Patton and Bradley during the Louisiana Maneuvers.
presents a definitive “Cypress Sawmill Collection” complete with original film footage of Atchafalaya loggers somehow swinging axes and manning their passé-partouts (cross-cut saws) on pirogues virtually dancing under their feet.
Crusin’ 30A Florida’s Highway 30A is chock full of fun in the sun By Cheré Coen
It sounds so easy: Hop over to the
Florida Panhandle and enjoy fabulous sun, emerald Gulf waters, grab a cool beach drink and enjoy exquisite seafood. But alas, the region known as 30A — referring to the highway that runs through South Walton — complicates things. Starting east of Sandestin and stretching down to Panama City, Highway 30A offers miles and miles of beaches carved from sparkling quartz eroding off the Smoky Mountains, the Gulf’s turquoise waters and more than a dozen beach neighborhoods with unique personalities. Artists flock here with the promise of this idyllic lifestyle, selling their art in galleries and shows. Adventure lovers not only relish the outdoors, they offer tours. Acclaimed restaurants and shopping dot the landscape. In addition, there’s a variety of entertainment and attractions, so every day brings something new. Yes, it’s easy to drive over to Florida and coast down 30A. The hard part is deciding what to do from the long list of opportunities. But we’re here to help.
Resort communities Seaside Remember “The Truman Show” starring Jim Carrey and the perfect village in which he lived? The film was made in the resort community of Seaside, a 20th-century New Urbanist development of pastel-colored homes with wide porches and a town center featuring shopping, restaurants and entertainment. Rentals are available for visitors. seasidefl.com
Renting a bike allows visitors to enjoy more than one beachside community, plus the endless miles of Gulf beaches. There are many bike rental companies to choose from and some, such as 30A Bike
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Rosemary Beach, Florida
Alys Beach Everything’s white in Alys Beach, which makes it the perfect place for a digital graffiti festival. Instead of spray cans of paint, artists project their artwork onto the town’s brilliant white canvases.
Rentals in Seagrove, deliver bikes to the many Hwy. 30A communities. The region boasts of many year-round festivals so it’s easy to visit when one’s happening. Food
festivals such as the 30A Wine Festival appeals to foodies, while those who prefer a liquid lunch might enjoy the 12th annual Baytowne Wharf Beer Festival at Sandestin on October 11-12.
Festivals aside, the town offers vacation home rentals so visitors can enjoy the many nature trails, restaurants, wellness centers and more. alysbeach.com Rosemary Beach Further east along 30A is the high-end resort community of Rosemary Beach, featuring architectural gems for rent and sale, The Rosemary Beach Inn, several pools, green space for entertainment, restaurants and a lively town center. rosemarybeach.com
One of Florida’s best state parks lies in the Panhandle. With almost 2,000 acres of dunes, lakes and beaches, Grayton Beach State Park remains a day’s adventure for 30A visitors. The
park’s open daily, year-round, and features more than four miles of trails for hikers and bikers. An inland lake lures fishermen and paddlers and cabins offer overnight accommodations. If you want to escape the crowds and experience coastal Florida in its natural beauty, Camp Helen State Park fronts the Gulf of Mexico but also skirts Lake Powell, the largest coastal dune lake in the state. Visits to the 180-acre park may enjoy swimming, both freshwater and saltwater fishing, hiking along the trails and exploring the historic Native American middens and mounds. The camp was original a company resort for Avondale Mills, which produced textiles from 1945 to 1987. For a taste of Florida history with natural acreage, try Eden Gardens State Park near Grayton Beach, once the home of William Henry Wesley and his lumber company, which took advantage of the area’s longleaf pine forests. Wesley’s company ceased operation around World War I but the massive 1897 Wesley home and its collection of Louis XVI furniture, plus the landscaped 163 acres, are open to the public. The park provides an ideal place for picnics and fishing is allowed on Tucker Bayou.
Several dune lakes occur naturally behind the white sand beaches of the Florida Panhandle, created from rising water that breaks through the beach line — known as a “blowout” — and traps Gulf water inland. Visitors who kayak these dune lakes may witness saltwater creatures such as flounder and crabs merging with fresh water alligators and bass, or gulls flying with great blue herons. Many people head to the Florida Panhandle for the quartz sand beaches and warm Gulf waters but if your predilection turns toward cold water to battle the summer heat, Florida has refreshing natural springs to satisfy. Cold springs for swimming, paddling and diving include Holmes Creek, Econfina, Morrison Springs and Ponce de Leon Springs State Park. Don’t just practice yoga at the beach, downward dog on a paddleboard! 30A Paddleboard Yoga offers everything from weekly Stand Up (SUP) classes to happy hour yoga with dolphins near The Bay Restaurant. For information and a schedule of classes, visit 30apaddleboardyoga.com.n
Sunset drinks Bud & Alley’s Located on the beach, Bud & Alley’s in Seaside offers sea-totable dishes in its restaurants, but you’ll not want to miss drinking a Seaside Fizz on the Roof Deck Bar while the sun turns the Gulf’s emerald waters to shades of red and orange.
The Vue The Vue on 30a in Dune Allen Beach has been named one of the “Hottest Spots to Watch the Sunset” in 30A.com’s Hot Spots poll. Enjoy an Emerald Coast martini and sample dishes from celebrity Chef Giovanni Filippone, known for his season five role in the culinary reality show, “Hell’s Kitchen.”
Havana Beach Rooftop Lounge at The Pearl Hotel The Havana Beach Rooftop Lounge at The Pearl Hotel in Rosemary Beach offers a breathtaking view of the Gulf, plus there are signature cocktails. Share a small plate and sip Cuba Libres while the sun dips below the horizon.
a louisiana life
Musical Inspiration Belle River singer-songwriter Kyle Daigle navigates a day job, family and his growing music career By Megan Hill portrait by romero & romero
Kyle Daigle remembers the first time he
heard his music on the radio. “I was getting dressed to go to work and I just froze in my tracks,” the country music singersongwriter says. “It’s a very cool experience to hear your song sharing the same air waves as the singers you’ve been looking up to for years.” Daigle still lives in the small community of Belle River, north of Morgan City, where he was raised. He still works his day job in construction at chemical plants and oil refineries, but his star is rising on bigger stages. Daigle has received two American Songwriter Awards and was nominated for the second year in a row as one of the Nashville Songwriters Association International’s “Ones to Watch.” Daigle’s first music lessons came from his grandfather, who showed him a few guitar chords. When he was 10, Daigle’s father bought him a drum set. He gravitated toward rock music, and he played drums in a rock band. But, he never forgot the chords his grandfather taught him. When his parents bought him a Martin guitar, his focus shifted. “Once I heard the beautiful tones coming from that guitar I was hooked and couldn’t put it down,” Daigle says. “I’ve been playing and writing songs ever since.” But the then 22-year-old didn’t immediately see music as a viable career option. “Music has always been my passion, but the desire to make it a career was not on my radar,” he says. Daigle slowly built a following through gigs in the area, but things took off when he released his first EP. Before he knew it, he was opening for major recording artists like Joe Diffie, Wayne Toups, Parmalee and Craig Campbell. His first music video, for his single “Out There,” received 66,000 views on Facebook in just one week after its release earlier this year. Daigle’s seven-year-old son, Ryder shows flashes of musical talent, too, and is learning piano, guitar, and drums. “I’ve always said I won’t force it on him,” Daigle says. “But if he’s ready, I’ll be there to show him everything I can.” n
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Although this industry is very challenging and competitive, I keep pushing forward in hopes that my music can inspire someone or help them through challenges they are facing in life.