Louisiana Life July/August 2018

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july/august 2018

Female chefs are running the kitchens and changing culinary culture in a host of Louisiana’s top restaurants


Chef Martha Wiggins



july/august VOLUME 38 NUMBER 6

4 From The Editor

Ham and a Slice of Pie 6 Photo Contest

Smooth Sailing: A shrimp boat cruises through the water South of Houma near Caillou Lake.




Seaside Summer: Grand Isle is an important part of the River Delta and dwindling Chenier Plain habitats, as well as a popular fishing and birding hub for both residents and visitors 50


farther flung

along the way

Gulf Coasting: The best facets of Destin, the jewel of the Emerald Coast

Kitchen Tales: True confessions of a foodobsessed writer



roadside dining

Over and Under: Overpass Merchant in Baton Rouge offers something for everyone with global menu

state of louisiana

Pelican Briefs: Noteworthy news and happenings around the state



great louisiana chef


Simply Elevated: Scott Gautreau focuses on elegant, home cooked classics at City Pork in Baton Rouge

Sun Safety: Protect yourself from the hot Louisiana sun this summer 14


Literary Louisiana

Tour de Force: Author, journalist and entertaining expert, Julia Reed’s new book of essays invites readers along for a hilarious ride through the South 16 Made In Louisiana

First Impressions: Leslie Graham and Ryan Howell master the art of letterpress in Alexandria 20 artist

Bayou Dreaming: Carol Hallock paints her impressions of Bayou Lacombe

kitchen gourmet

Cool Eats: Quick summer meals that go well with your favorite chilled, adult beverages 62 calendar

28 woman’s work Female chefs are running the kitchens and changing culinary culture in a host of Louisiana’s top restaurants

43 best hospitals compiled by sarah ravits

By jyl benson pHOTOS by romero & romero

July and August: Festivals and events around the state 64 a louisiana life

At the Root: Omari Ho-Sang is working to abolish crime and poverty in Shreveport and beyond

24 home

Direct Descendent: A Hammond house passes through four generations of one family and into a new era of design that incorporates its 119-year history

on the cover

Each year, we celebrate some aspect of Louisiana’s culinary heritage. For the 2018 installment, we are focusing on the women who are leading kitchens

in some of the top restaurants in the state and the challenges and triumphs they face in a male-dominated industry. Their stories are as diverse as their

backrounds, and the innovative cuisine these women are creating reflects the ever-evolving culinary landscape of Louisiana.


EDITORIAL EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Errol Laborde MANAGING Editor Melanie Warner Spencer Associate editor Ashley McLellan copy EDITOR Liz Clearman web Editor Kelly Massicot travel EDITOR Paul F. Stahls Jr. FOOD EDITOR Stanley Dry HOME EDITOR Lee Cutrone art Art Director Sarah George lead photographer Danley Romero sales vice president of sales Colleen Monaghan

Colleen@LouisianaLife.com (504) 830-7215 account executive Brittany Karno Brittany@LouisianaLife.com (504) 830-7206 (504) 261-9459 marketing DIRECTOR OF MARKETING & EVENTS Cheryl Lemoine event coordinator Whitney Weathers digital media associate Mallary Matherne

For event information call (504) 830-7264 Production production manager Jessica DeBold senior production designer Demi Schaffer production designer Emily Andras traffic manager Topher Balfer Administration Chief Executive Officer Todd Matherne President Alan Campell Executive Vice President Errol Laborde office manager Mallary Matherne Distribution Manager John Holzer Subscription manager Brittanie Bryant

For subscriptions call (504) 830-7231


Gold Art Direction of a Single Story Sarah George Silver Portrait Photo James Shaw Bronze Photographer of the Year Danley Romero Bronze Food Feature Denny Culbert Bronze Cover Sarah Geoge Bronze Public Issue Sarah Ravits Bronze Hed & Dek Stanley Dry 2016

Silver Art Direction of a Single Story Sarah George Bronze Column Melissa Bienvenue Bronze Food Feature 2012

Gold Companion Website 2011

Silver Overall Art Direction Tiffani Reding Amedeo Press Club of New Orleans 2017

1st Place Best Magazine 2016

Lifetime Achievement Award Errol Laborde 1st Place Best Magazine

110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123 Metairie, LA 70005 (504) 828-1380 • LouisianaLife.com Louisiana Life (ISSN 1042-9980) is published bimonthly by Renaissance Publishing, LLC, 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005; (504) 828-1380. Subscription rate: One year $10; Mexico and Canada $48. Periodicals postage paid at Metairie, LA, and additional mailing entry offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Louisiana Life, 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005. Copyright 2018 Louisiana Life. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the consent of the publisher. The trademark Louisiana Life is registered. Louisiana Life is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, photos and artwork, even if accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope. The opinions expressed in Louisiana Life are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the magazine or owner.

1st Place Layout/Design Sarah George 2nd Place Best Magazine 2nd Place Layout/Design Sarah George 2nd Place Best Portrait Danley Romero 2nd Place Governmental/ Political Writing Jeremy Alford




HAM AND A SLICE OF PIE the same year that Huey Long was elected governor. Both the lunchroom and the Kingfish would have colorful careers, though Lea’s made better pies and has lasted much longer. Located along LA Highway 71 in Lecompte near Alexandria and just about half-way between New Orleans and Shreveport, the geo-political location was happenstance though founder Lea Johnson was mesmerized by governors passing through. He liked to say that every governer had visited his place since Huey Long except for Edwin Edwards. (According to that claim, by the time Johnson died at age 98 in 1995, approximately 12 chief execs would have passed through his doors.) Whether a visitor was a Democrat, Liberal or Libertarian the house was never divided on what to order: the signature ham sandwich and a slice of house made pie from among eight daily flavors. Alexandria is near the cultural divide for the state, an imaginary line between the land of cypress and pine trees; swamps and hills; Creole tomatoes and poke salad. A ham sandwich is a tempting common denominator especially when served, as Johnson insisted, with ham fixed two ways; sliced and ground, and topped with lettuce, tomato and a pickle. The pie is a grand follow-up. (Eventually, according to the restaurnt’s figures, the pie business would expand from making two a day to nearly 65,000 a year.) In his day Mr. Lea, as he was known, would walk the floor. If his coffee didn’t wake you his bellowing voice would. His flamboyance and his white hair gave him a Colonel Sanders of the ham sandwich presence. (Prior to Lea’s, Lecompte had already established some notoriety because of a racehorse that was born on a plantation south of town in 1851. Appropriately he was named LeComte — without the “p” in the town’s name, which was inexplicably added by the railroad. He grew up to be one of the greatest thoroughbreds of his day. His main competition in life was a Kentucky bred horse named Lexington. In 1854 the two horses were matched in a series of races held in New Orleans over several days. LeComte won the first two impressively. In the third race he was slowed by a bout of colic and lost, but he will always be remembered for those first two wins.) This issue features some of the state’s top chefs and recipes. The emphasis is on women chefs, which makes it appropriate to note that for all the acclaim that Lea Johnson achieved there were two important women in the story. When he first opened he hired a 17-year-old skinny red-haired girl that he referred to as Miss Georgia, to serve the coffee and manage the café. In 1939 he married her. (A favorite Johnson tease was to say that marrying was cheaper than paying her a $4 a week salary.) It was from his bride’s mom that the pie inspiration came. Georgia Johnson would go to the restaurant each working day at 3 a.m. to assist the pie maker with her family’s recipes. Like LeComte, Edwin Edwards won all his major races except one. When he last ran for governor in ‘92 I happened to see him out campaigning. Despite the great issues of the day I had one question that nagged at me. “Governor, you know Mr. Lea at Lea’s in Lecompte?” I asked. “Yes,” he nodded. “Well, he says that you’re the only governor that never ate there.” “I know, Edwards responded with a touch of his Cajun dialect. “But it is not true. I’ve been there many times. He just doesn’t remember.” With so many pies to sell Mr. Lea could not have been faulted for overlooking a gubernatorial visit. In March, 2001 the Louisiana legislature declared Lecompte to be the “Pie Capitol of Louisiana.” Making history is hard work. Lea’s Lunchroom opened in 1928,

4 Louisiana Life july/august 2018




Smooth sailing A shrimp boat cruises through the water South of Houma near Caillou Lake. Photo by Michelle


Submit your photos by visiting louisianalife.com



along the way

kitchen tales True confessions of a food-obsessed writer written and photographed by

Melanie Warner Spencer

Cooking is an obsession in my

family. For example, in the early 2000s, we went through an Amish Butter and White Cornmeal Cornbread phase. My parents, grandmother and aunts were caught in a vicious cycle of driving 100 miles round trip to buy a six-pound roll of Amish butter from the international foods store and 100 miles round trip in the other direction to a milling company to acquire stoneground

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white cornmeal. It was worth it, because we got to enjoy the best version of my grandmother’s homemade, cast iron skillet cornbread. There was also the Great Chili Con Carne Operation of 2014, involving a complicated recipe from one of the many editions of the massive “The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook.” Note: if you aren’t drying and grinding your own peppers, you aren’t doing

it right. Also, just go ahead and plant a batch. Those no count, peppers from the store won’t cut it. Despite decades spent perfecting his former chili recipe, my dad now swears by this one. Yes, he grows his own peppers. I hauled with me from Kentucky to Texas and Louisiana, along with a cherished, heavily seasoned cast iron skillet, this quirky family trait of going to great lengths to make my favorite dishes. Even before moving to Louisiana, I knew its people were my culinary soul mates. This was made clear in 2013, when the late, incredibly talented Anthony Bourdain visited Cajun Country for a boucherie in an episode of the Travel Channel’s “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations.” (Viewing the recent “Cajun Mardi Gras,” episode will be bittersweet to say the least.) When watching that first installment, my desire to take part in the culinary traditions of the region was so strong; my eyes repeatedly welled up — and not just because I felt bad for the sacrificial pig. There were only a few people back home who, like us, spent their free time growing and seeking out the best ingredients and searching for new restaurants, but it wasn’t (and isn’t) a common practice. That said, no one in my family would consider themselves a food snob. We’re just as likely to hit up the Waffle House, as we are to whip up (bourbon) pecan waffles at home. The most obvious example of my passion for food is that, for about five or six years, I’ve been honing my biscuit recipe. The base is a family recipe. Mine swaps all-purpose flour for bread flour and calls for more baking powder (both give them a little extra rise). I also like to use buttermilk in place of milk and butter, rather than shortening. The thing I love most about this recipe isn’t the time and effort I’ve invested to give it a personal twist and push it to where I think it’s “done.” No, the thing I love most is that the other women in my family handed it down. It is part of my family’s history steeped in the food, simple ingredients and traditions of rural Kentucky. It represents part of my culinary heritage, influenced by the other regions that have shaped my cooking, including Louisiana. In fact, I’m currently working on a savory version of my biscuits with either crawfish or Andouille. It’ll most likely involve frequent 100-mile round trip jaunts to Acadiana for the best tails or sausage, because after all, I am my father’s daughter. n




pelican briefs


Noteworthy news and happenings around the state by

Lisa LeBlanc-Berry

Houma, Thibodaux, Lafayette

Delectable Deliveries Billionaire Tilman Fertitta, owner of the Houston Rockets, Golden Nugget Casino, Landry’s and 50 other restaurant brands, has agreed to buy the food delivery startup Waitr that originated in Lake Charles for $308 million. He is paying Waitr’s backers, which includes Drew Brees, more than $50 million in cash in a deal that is also bringing the food delivery company public. Waitr will trade on Nasdaq after the deal closes later this year. In May, Waitr partnered with Drew Brees to surprise a Who Dat customer with a meal delivered by Brees himself. Waitr recently expanded to Houma and Thibodaux and now boasts a second Louisiana office in Lafayette, with services to nearly 200 Southeastern cities (including New Orleans, Lafayette, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, Alexandria and Monroe). Waitr typically hires around 200 delivery drivers for each market (inquiries: waitrapp.com/become-a-driver).

Cyber Geeks Needed

The Australianbased Syrah Resources company has selected a Vidalia site as the preferred location for its $25 million capital investment to develop a graphite processing facility in Louisiana, with room for future expansion in Concordia Parish. Materials for batteries in electric vehicles will be produced. Syrah initiates natural graphite from its flagship Balama Operations (in Mozambique), and is expected to be the largest producer of graphite globally (syrahresources. com.au/sphericalgraphite-project).

Bringing Back the Blades Louisiana lawmakers have voted on the state’s little-known switchblade ban, which has long prohibited the ownership, possession or use of switchblades (automatic-open knives) except for police use. The ban has officially been lifted, so go ahead and find that dusty old switchblade and practice your gangster moves while watching classics like “West Side Story” or “The Delinquents” on Netflix.

Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Monroe Cybersecurity firm Twistlock announced it will establish its new Global Solutions Engineering Center in Baton Rouge, offering average annual salaries of $90,000. This is the fifth global office for the fast-growing, cutting-edge tech company based in Portland (twistlock.com; opportunitylouisiana.com). There’s a growing base of cloud jobs available in Louisiana, with the new IBM in Baton Rouge (ibmlouisiana.com), the DXC job center in New Orleans (glassdoor.com), and the CenturyLink headquarters in Monroe (jobs.centurylink.com/key/Monroe-la).

10 Louisiana Life july/august 2018

Making Batteries for Electric Cars

Writers, Claim that Cash Aug. 15 is the deadline for entries for the prestigious 12th annual Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. Designed to honor outstanding literary work from rising African-American authors, the Gaines Award heralds outstanding fiction (novels or short story collections) published in 2018; galleys for 2018 publications are also accepted. The award includes a $10,000 cash prize. Info on criteria is available at ernestjgainesaward.org.


Voilà le Frottoir Visitors to St. Landry Parish can now see a giant replica of an original Willie Landry frottoir (rubboard) that was built to promote Sunset as the “Rubboard Capitol of the World.” The huge frottoir was ceremoniously unveiled May 22 at the corner of Duffy and Napoleon Avenues. Landry was working as a Port Arthur metal fabricator in 1946 when he met Clifton Chenier with his brother, Cleveland (strumming a handheld washboard with bottle openers). After sketching a new rubboard design in the dirt, Clifton asked Landry, “Can you make one like that?” Landry’s original design is still popular among many celebs (including Cyril Nevil, Terrance Simien, superstar Rihanna) who purchased their custom rubboards from Landry’s son, Tee Don Landry, owner of the Key of Z Rubboards in Sunset (Tip: You can buy one of his miniature rubboards as a gift; kofzrubboards.com).


A Leader Arrives LSU of Alexandria has named Dr. John Rowan as its new provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs starting Aug. 1. He comes to LSUA from Purdue University Northwest, where he served as the founding dean of the Honor’s College.




Sun Safety Protect yourself from the hot Louisiana sun this summer by Fritz


Summer is here. It’s the season of swimming,

lounging on the beach and water sports. But it’s important to be sun smart and reduce your risk of skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation (skincancer.org), more Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer in a year than all other cancers combined. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70 and the diagnosis of non-melanoma skin cancers went up 77 percent between 1994 and 2014. Melanoma, the most fatal kind of skin cancer, kills one person every hour. So what can you do? n

1 2 3 4 12 Louisiana Life july/august 2018

Everyone should be vigilant. And that means everyone. While it is more prevalent among fair-skinned people, no one take skin cancer lightly. The Jamaican reggae superstar Bob Marley died of melanoma at the young age of 36. The Skin Cancer Foundation states that the five-year melanoma survival rate for African-Americans is only 69 percent, compared to 94 percent for white patients.

Not all skin cancers look alike. In the digital age, it is tempting for patients to self-diagnose, but skin cancers can look to the naked eye like anything from moles to bug bites to skin tags. This is why everyone should see a dermatologist once a year for an examination.

wear sunscreen The American Academy of Dermatology (aad.org) notes that everyone should wear sunscreen, even on cloudy days. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours, or after swimming or sweating. It’s especially important to be vigilant near water because the water reflects damaging UV rays, increasing the odds of a bad sunburn.

avoid the sun during peak hours Experts agree it is best to avoid the sun during peak hours. However, peak hours can last a little longer in Louisiana. UV exposure is highest in areas closest to the equator, so people will be more prone to sunburns and skin cancer this region than they would be in, say, Milwaukee.




Tour de Force

Creoles of South Louisiana by Elista Istre South Louisiana native and cultural historian Dr. Elista Istre explores the rich, and yet often overlooked, traditions and influence of the Creole on the music, food and flavor of the area. The Creoles of south Louisiana brought a true gumbo of heritage, with influences from European Spanish, French and English, blended with African and Native American cultures. Storytelling, narratives, shared recipes and music mixed to create a culture that is unique among the state, the country and the world, to create a people accustomed to change and resilience.

New Orleans-based author, journalist and entertaining expert Julia Reed’s new book of essays invites readers along for an hilarious ride through the South by

Ashley McLellan

Writer and editor Julia

Reed’s storytelling compass often (luckily for all of us readers) swings towards all points south. A Louisiana Life editor’s top pick, Reed has that wry southern way of embracing quirky skeletons in the closet and celebrating the way we do things that make us a little bit different from the rest of the world. The essays in her latest “South Toward Home: Adventures and Misadventures in My Native Land,” Reed’s sixth book, is a combination love-letter, culturalcritique and travel-diary through her hometown haunts from the Mississippi delta to the oak-lined streets of New Orleans, which she now calls home. She tells stories in a way no one else can, a reason even national publications have

dubbed her the finest hostess and party guest in the land. Escapades in “South Toward Home” include, but are not limited to, experiences we many of us have had (like it or not) and some completely unique to the author: Bible camp, living it up on the “Redneck Riviera,” enjoying fried chicken, Kool-Aid pickles and other regional delicacies, travel

Butterfly Watching Butterflies of Louisiana by Craig Marks Summer time is wildflower time, and with

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through dry counties, Carnival balls and more. This is a book a reader can, and should, sit back with and sip, whether it be sweet tea or something stronger, and enjoy the ride. n South Toward Home: Adventures and Misadventures in My Native Land

those blooms come the multicolored flutterings of Louisiana’s native skippers and butterflies. In “Butterflies of Louisiana,” butterfly expert, aka lepidopterist, Craig Marks outlines what to look for when butterfly watching in your own backyard or around the state. Full color photos of native butterflies along with maps

by Julia Reed, $25.99

highlighting where to find each provide an easy way for both experts and novices to identify species. Marks also outlines the life cycle of the butterfly, potential threats to the butterfly families and the best natural areas, divided by region, from across the state for butterfly viewing, from Avery Island to Waddill Wildlife Refuge.

Arrêté Pas La Musique! by Emile Waagenaar Dutch photographer Emile Waagenaar was first introduced to Cajun music via a radio broadcast in 1979, and he felt immediately inspired by the honesty of the music. He would travel to Louisiana for the first time in 1982, visiting dance halls and earning musician’s trust and friendship on that trip and many follow-ups throughout the following two decades. His touching, intimate portraits are an important historical record of the unique culture of Cajun music in an attempt to preserve the legacy of a vanishing way of life.


First Impressions Leslie Graham and Ryan Howell master the art of letterpress in Alexandria By Jeffrey portrait By

Roedel Romero & Romero

When the press lightly

glances off to leave the paper unharmed below and only ink behind, any trace of the creation process is like the faintest whisper of a myth. The finished print is smooth and perfect — and really not all that human. This is called the kiss. It was common practice for centuries when letterpress relied on type made of lead; the soft metal an artist used could really smash into gibberish if not incredibly careful. But with any great revival comes a renewed spirit. Letterpress resurrected for the Digital Age is a more romantic beast, intent to prove its old fashioned ways. Its streak rakish rather than refined, letterpress today runs counter to the glittering gloss of Madison Avenue’s march of modern design in its dutiful carrying on of a centuries old craft. It is with this vigor, the fervor of an old Southern reverend thumping a tattered King James — first distributed en masse thanks to Gutenberg’s letterpress in 1454 or 1455 — that the artist couple, Leslie Graham and Ryan Howell, give up the kiss so impersonal and embrace the art of deep impressions.

I’d say one of our biggest inspirations would have to be Charles and Ray Eames ... they created timeless designs working together.

We love the work of Kathryn Hunter at Blackbird Letterpress in Baton Rouge. She’s been a role model of ours since before we even moved to Louisiana.

Using a combination of digital typography, line art and hand lettering on photopolymer letterpress plates, they preach the power of a press graced under masterful command with the gift of leaving the mark of the maker. Theirs is Rise & Shine Letterpress, the company they founded in 2006 amid an abandoned warehouse taken over by a patchwork of artists in North Philly and relocated, three years later, to Alexandria, Louisiana, where Graham was raised. “Our philosophy,” Howell says, “is to borrow what works from the past and evolve it to make it relevant to the present.” It was touching these deep impressions set in a card sent by Graham’s sister that first awoke in Howell, then a copywriter for a Philadelphia ad agency, a strong desire to find such an old machine and use it to create something new. Working as a graphic designer, Graham was equally intrigued by the idea of matching her digital design skill set with a mechanical technology perfected during the Eisenhower administration. Today, Rise & Shine handles foil stamping, graphic design and custom, traditional letterpress for wedding invitations and business cards as well as product labels and packaging for a variety of clients like Bayou Teche Brewing, John & Kira’s Chocolates and The Honey Hutch Soap. “I enjoy that we get to play a small part in a business’ growth, that’s important,” Howell says. “It makes something more real when you strike it into print.” Graham and Howell have an eight-year-old son, and they live and work out of the same renovated space in downtown Alexandia. “Rent was always more of a struggle in Philly — here we can mellow out and have a bit more time to be creative and grow as artists,” Graham says. “But living and working in the same space does require discipline.” The couple makes carpool runs together and schedules out their workflows in a detail only matched by their letterpress. They are driven toward quality over quantity, and

Q&A Working in a smaller town in Louisiana, and not, say New Orleans or Baton Rouge, how do you approach interacting with other creatives or even potential local clients? Ryan: I’ve been getting more involved in the letterpress community, and communicating with other people who do what we do. We’re all on a similar wavelength and talk like old friends through Facebook, Slack and Instagram. I look up to other letterpress printers, especially Hammerpress in Kansas City. Leslie: I love to see what all the other print shops are up to. Alexandria is nice, but it’s out in the boonies, so it’s hard not having a lot of like-minded people close by. Ryan: We’ve been wanting to do more events to meet people and market what we do. We’re both a bit shy in event situations. But bringing a press is cool, because it enforces interaction. The Crop conference for creativity and design was sort of our first exploration into that. We’ve been the past two years. It’s definitely an awesome experience. We met Crop founder Matt Dawson at Creative South in Columbus, Georgia, actually.



When do you feel the most creative? Ryan: I’ve found that routine and order is really important to making our business work, so during office hours I’m more structured and production-focused. Creativity happens on the weekends when I get to play around with the equipment or take a hike at Kisatchie National Forest. Leslie: Besides parental responsibilities, for the most part, our workday is self-guided. I’d say my most productive time is the morning. But I feel like I never stop being creative. It’s a 24-7 thing with me.

while Howell’s mechanical mind is enamored with the grandfathered gears of the press, Graham in particular identifies with the passion of the makers movement. “I’m tired of things falling apart,” Graham says. “I appreciate handmade things, things made locally. I like items that are made slowly and methodically. And I want Rise & Shine to always be a part of that.” Though the learning curve was steep after dropping successful careers to pick up an entirely new craft, the biggest lesson for this talented couple has actually been the first thing the letterpress taught them. How would they move the massive, thousand-pounder they first bought to start it all? “It was huge, this 1902 press with a flywheel and everything, and we had to figure out how to haul it,” Howell recalls. “We realized then that in life you have to do things yourself. You’re the only thing ever holding you back.”n

18 Louisiana Life july/august 2018

You mentioned your son who has now grown up around your presses and your designs, but do you have a piece of equipment that’s another ‘baby’ of yours? Ryan: We have a whole bunch of different presses, now, but our favorites are our five original Heidelberg presses from the 1950s. They really represent the peak of letterpress engineering, and I’m obsessed with everything about them. So those are the Eames-like, midcentury modern version of a press? Ryan: They are absolutely that. Made in West Germany, they are like the most beautiful example of midcentury industrial design.




Bayou Dreaming Carol Hallock paints her impressions of Bayou Lacombe By John R. Kemp

St. Tammany Parish artist Carol

Hallock doesn’t have to look far for inspiration. Bayou Lacombe, with its dark forested palmetto swamps and primordial beauty, flows just outside her front door. Her brightly colored, energetic and highly impressionistic landscapes call to mind Edgar Degas’s thoughts about art. “Art is not what you see,” he said, “but what you make others see.” Degas, whose mother was a New Orleanian, visited the city in the mid 1870s and was impressed by what he saw there. So was Hallock. After returning to Louisiana and settling in Lacombe in 2002, the Baton Rouge native has explored by car, foot and kayak the bayous that lead from the pine forests of northern St. Tammany to the coastal marshes of Lake Pontchartrain. With her brushes and paints, she records on canvas her impressions of changing seasons, light and the natural landscape. “I did not realize how beautiful and unique it was here until I had moved back after many years,” she says. “I love the moods of Louisiana, the banana leaves which give me a warm tropical feel, the shape of the oaks trees with moss and limbs laying on the ground, the peacefulness of the water, the bright days of summer, the birds. I look for a subject that catches my attention. I then decipher what I like about it. Does it make me feel an emotion? Is it the light, the color, the mood? Once I decide these questions, they become the focus of my paintings.” Though Hallock occasionally paints street scenes in New Orleans and other places, she constantly returns to the bayou. “I live on the bayou and can drop my kayak in the water and paint,” she says. “I also live just a few minutes from Lake Road which has marsh on both sides and then ends at Lake Pontchartrain. This is

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my favorite. The marsh changes from the seasons and the time of day. If the marsh is not pretty that day, I look for something else. There is always something to paint.” Since the days of the French Impressionists, many artists believe landscapes should only be painted outdoors on location, or so called “en plein air.” Only then, they claim, can a painter experience the atmosphere, air, sunlight and scents that truly capture the feel of a place. Hallock agrees. While painting on location, she opens all her senses to the scene while floating along in her kayak or while standing with her easel and paints alongside a narrow gravel road that follows the bayou through marshes to the lake.

“I enjoy painting outdoors, listening to the sounds of nature and seeing nature,” she says. “It is actually easier to make a more three-dimensional painting because you are looking at the real thing not at a flat twodimensional photo. A photo does not see what we see. You can feel the wind, smell the salt of the water, and listen to the waves. It is a very fine day if I come out with a painting I am pleased with.” Hallock is not a purest, however. She keeps a camera by her side when driving around just in case she comes upon a scene for a possible painting back in her studio. Because she spends so much time painting on location, she remembers some of the things she saw and felt.

Exhibitions and Events Through July 28

Lafayette “Spotlight on Francis Pavy” Examines the work of nationally acclaimed Lafayette artist Francis X. Pavy and his unique symbolic narratives and mythologies inspired by Louisiana’s Cajun culture. Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum. 710 East St. Mary Blvd., 337-482-0811, hilliardmuseum.org july 12 - Aug. 11

Shreveport “A Distance Nearer Home by Melanie Parent” features Caddo Parish photographer Melanie Parent’s nostalgic and longing images of the landscape and “old homeplaces” of rural Louisiana. artspace. 710 Texas St., 318-673-6535, artspaceshreveport.com Through Aug. 19

New Orleans “A Precise Vision: The Architectural Archival Watercolors of Jim Blanchard” brings together an extensive number of Blanchard’s exquisite watercolor paintings of South Louisiana historic architecture. Ogden Museum of Southern Art. 925 Camp St., 504-539-9650, ogdenmuseum.org Through Sept. 1

And then there is the question of the best time of day to paint outdoors — in the harsh midday light or in the burnishing warm light and long shadows just before and after sunrise or sunset. “I prefer afternoons, as the light and color are so much prettier and inspirational,” she says. “Morning light is beautiful, but I’m not an early riser. I did learn that to paint at sunrise, the greatest colors in the sky are actually before sunrise, so you have to get out there early. Sometimes, I like to paint on a cloudy day because the light is more consistent and there is more time to paint before everything changes. It can be more relaxing.” Hallock’s journey as professional artist has been long but determined. She has

Alexandria “Connected Visions: Louisiana’s Artistic Lineage” spotlights development of Louisiana art through connections between artists and educators. Alexandria Museum of Art. 933 Second St., 318-443-3458, themuseum.org Through Sept. 2

New Orleans “Salazar: Portraits of Influence in Spanish New Orleans, 17851802.” Features the work of Spanish colonial New Orleans’s bestknown portrait artist, Josef Francisco Xavier de Salazar y Mendoza. Ogden Museum of Southern Art.

Exhibitions and Events

painted most of her life and minored in art at LSU. She is mostly self-taught though over the years she attended workshops and experimented with various artistic styles. At first, her life went in a different direction. After graduating from college in 1977, marriage and jobs took her and her husband, Jim, first to Florida, back to Baton Rouge, then to northwest Louisiana where Jim worked for FedEx. His company later transferred him to Oklahoma. Both commuted to nearby Fort Smith, Arkansas, where she worked in a post office. By 1998, Hallock had developed tendonitis in her arms and hands, making it difficult to work. She quit her job to follow her dreams — making a living as an artist and returning to Louisiana to be near her parents. She thought her paintings would sell right away, but they didn’t. She soon learned that success comes with hard work, sound self-marketing and by developing painting skills that would enable her to express herself through her art. “There are no higher highs than an art career, and in the early days no lower lows,” says Hallock. “But successes build upon themselves and gradually the successes grow and add confidence to move forward.” Hallock, who now gives workshops, has come a long way since launching her art career. In addition to various grants, awards and commissions, her paintings have appeared in regional and national magazines, on public TV as well as in the 2014 film “The Best of Me” and short-lived Amazon TV series “One Mississippi.” She also has published three books about her work, all titled “Bayou Impressions,” and how-to videos called “Loose Painting” that she says airs on TV stations across the United States and in South Africa. Aside from her skilled marketing efforts, Hallock paints because it is the most visible way to express her emotions and respond to the world around her. “I try to create a mood that I hope viewers feel,” she says. “I try to paint what grabs your heart. When I finish a painting and it hits that ‘awe’ button in me, I hope people feel the same. I want people to say, ‘Oh, my God’ when they see my paintings, but I’m not there yet.” For more information about Hallock, visit carolhallock.com. n

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july 12 - Oct. 13


“55th Annual Juried Competition.” Juried exhibition features the artwork of contemporary artists from across the U.S., working in a variety of media. Masur Museum of Art. 1400 South Grand St., 318-329-2237, masurmuseum.org Through Sept. 16

Baton Rouge “Capitol City Contemporary 4: Food, Glorious Food” Exhibit honors local and regional artists who are contributing to the vitality of the city and state’s current art scene. CCC4 focuses on the growing aesthetic surrounding food photography. The Louisiana Art & Science Museum. 100 River Road South, 225344-5272, lasm.org Through Dec. 29

Lafayette “A. Hays Town and The Architectural Image of Louisiana.” The exhibit focuses on the noted Louisiana architect A. Hays Towns’ residential designs and showcases the evolution of Town’s work from the Modernist designs to his later iconic residences inspired by the historic architecture of the American South. Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum. Through Dec. 31

New Orleans “Orientalism: Taking and Making.” Artworks taken from NOMA’s collection explores oppression, racism and superficial cultural concepts as portrayed in 19th century Orientalist paintings, photographs and decorative arts. New Orleans Museum of Art. One Collins C. Diboll Circle, 504-6584100, noma.org


Direct Descendant A Hammond house passes through four generations of one family and into a new era of design that incorporates its 119-year history By Lee Cutrone Photos by Sara Essex Bradley

in the 1899 Hammond house she lives in today. So did her father. Hayley herself grew up in the house and dreamed of one day renovating it. Last year, she got her chance. Hayley, a certified health and life coach who now lives in the house with her husband Tom Taff and father Don Fellows, renewed what had become a faded vestige of a family’s past into a fresh reiteration that thoroughly respects that heritage. (In addition to occupying the house for more than a century, the Fellows family is known for owning the Central Rexall Drugs in Hammond, which closed after 120 years of business in 2016.) “The house was always very busy and full of life,” says Hayley. “But, it had gotten dilapidated over the years from all the wear and tear.” According to Hayley, the house is said to originally have faced another direction and it went through updates in the 1920s, 1950s and 1970s. There was also a kitchen remodel in the 1990s. The latest renovation, which involved gutting the interior, was intended to make the house a cohesive blend of old and new. The cottage feel of the original architecture and craftsman elements — probably added during the ‘20s (such as cypress paneling in the dining room and den and a built-in cabinet in the dining room) — set the tone for the reboot. Working with Pentek Homes and Adamick Architecture, both of New Orleans, Hayley kept those features, while modernizing the house with a current aesthetic. Structural repairs included shoring the foundation and adding support beams for the sagging second floor, while changes to the interior architecture included bumping out closets for a new office space, extending inner walls to the outer edges of several previously enclosed porches, as well as a new kitchen and new baths. Hayley then teamed with mother and daughter designers Penny Francis and Casi St. Julian of Eclectic Home in New Orleans to create an interior where inherited furnishings and heirlooms meet new designs chosen to put the couple’s own stamp on the house. Evidence that Hayley and the design team were wellmatched came in the form of mood boards. “Penny and Casi put together a mood board and I had done one and they were almost identical,” says Hayley Taff’s grandfather lived

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(Facing page, top) Schumacher wallpaper inspired the living room’s palette of red, green and blue. Accents of black are also part of the scheme. (Bottom) The den is painted with a deep blue by Benjamin Moore. The Taffs had the brick fireplace plastered and painted and the cypress paneling re-stained. The crown molding is white as in the rest of the house. A teal sofa bed anchors the seating and accommodates guests. (This page) Craftsman shelves flank the passageway between the living and dining rooms. The floors are refinished virgin pine.



The bedroom’s sewing table, dress form and armchair are inherited. Rug, Eclectic Home.

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Hayley, who found inspiration in such things as the vintage look of the pre-renovation wallpapers added during the 1970s. “We were all sort of on the same page from the beginning.” Francis and St. Julian found a Schumacher wallpaper (for the living room), which Hayley describes as South Carolina Lowcountry meets Colonial India. “That kind of set the color palette of blues and greens for the rest of the house,” she says. “But I also wanted a red couch, that’s where some of the red started to come in.” The challenge, according to Francis, was in editing the many pieces that Hayley had inherited. “We had to figure out which pieces to incorporate and refurbish, so that they provided the function and the form that was appropriate to the design,” says Francis, who is pleased with the final mix. Homages to the family’s history are found throughout the house — from the Dixie Beer, Tabasco and other framed local imagery that have been in the kitchen since Hayley’s childhood to the depression era glass displayed in the dining room — and are the soul of the renovation, which is as much about honoring years gone by as it is heading into the future. “I love history and I think it’s important to know where we came from, so we know where we’re going,” says Hayley. “I wanted to make sure that was all incorporated into the house.” n

(Left top) The kitchen shade’s red border pulls in the artwork in the breakfast nook. Benches and light fixture, Eclectic Home. (Bottom) The breakfast table is from Hayley’s grandfather’s house and the framed pieces have hung in the kitchen since Hayley was a child. Metal patio chairs, Eclectic Home. (Above) The guest bath combines gray subway tile, brass accents and a porcelain tile floor.



best chefs

Female chefs are running the kitchens and changing culinary culture in a host of Louisiana’s top restaurants By Jyl Benson photographs by romero and romero

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elcome to Louisiana Life’s celebration of take charge women who are running restaurant kitchens in an industry long dominated by men. For the third consecutive year, writer Jyl Benson leads us on an exploration of Louisiana’s culinary heritage and the people moving it forward, while at the same time preserving and revealing the treasures of the state’s past. What individuals and different cultures cook and eat tells a story. We asked women in the business of food who are at the top of their game what they cook and to share their stories and experiences fighting to the top of the line in the kitchen.

Not surprisingly, the one thing many of the women we’ve profiled have in common is zero tolerance for the harassment and condescension that has, until recent months, often been considered the norm in the industry. The culinary world, especially in New Orleans, was shaken at the end of 2017, when The Times-Picayune and NOLA.com published its eight-month investigation into celebrity chef, restaurateur and cookbook author John Besh who was at the center of sexual discrimination and retaliation complaints filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by former female employees of Besh Restaurant Group.

Like most industries, as the women in this feature have made their marks, some have had to fight back and stand up for themselves, while others have experienced no harassment at all in their careers. One of the other things they have in common is that each of these women employs their gifts to utilize Louisiana’s bountiful agricultural harvest to sustain, enlighten, educate, dazzle and inspire us. The recipes they shared are as diverse and vibrant as the women and they, along with their female counterparts across Louisiana and the nation, are changing the face and the culture of their industry.



best chefs Lua Cafe at Half-Moon Gardens, Abita Springs

Sirlei Guidry Sirlei Guidry experienced real food in 1966, in the rural lands outside of Santo Antônio do Sudoeste, in the southern Brazilian state of Paraná less than an hour after her birth.


y grandmother had been out picking corn,” said Guidry. “She peeled a piece and rubbed it on my lips. My mother said I seemed to like it.” It was a prophetic moment and learning its meaning took a long time. Today, Sirlei Guidry and her business and life partner, Craig Houin, own Full Moon Gardens & Lua Cafe, where she serves as the manager and landscaper for the lush nursery specializing in exotic plants, as well as the head cook and hostess for the diminutive Brazilian restaurant tucked inside. Despite the many roles she plays and the long hours she works, the tranquil spot in Abita Springs is a sweet, secure counterpoint to years filled with toil, hunger and uncertainty. “When my parents moved from the countryside where we could forage, to a small town so we could go to school, times got really, really tough, and we went hungry many, many times,” Guidry said. “The other kids laughed at me and called me names because I had to work as a maid or a babysitter while they played. I became numb. I learned all trades that I could. At 12 I joined a mothers’ club to learn how to sew, knit, crochet and understand home economics. “I moved to the U.S. in 1996 to give my children a better opportunity. I have worked as a busgirl, waitress, concierge, limo driver, project manager for a stucco company, and many other jobs. The name of the game is to survive, and adapt. That’s my life motto.” For Guidry the American Dream has worked the way it is supposed to. “My son just got his degree in civil engineering,” she said. “My daughter has a degree in marketing and public relations. My youngest daughter wants to be an engineer.”

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Lua Cafe at Full Moon Gardens 71344 LA-59 Abita Springs 985-809-5010

Bobó de Camarão (Shrimp in Creamy Yuca and Coconut Sauce)

In a medium bowl, season 1 pound large Gulf shrimp (peeled and deveined) with salt and ground pepper to taste. Reserve in refrigerator. In a large pot, pour enough water to cover 1 pound yucca (peeled and boiled). Add 1 tablespoon salt and boil until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain.

Guidry says she has experienced an abundance of harassment throughout her lifetime — because of poverty, her sexuality and because of her status as an immigrant. “When I was a child I endured

“Becoming a cafe owner fell in place. I was told many times that my cooking style was unique and delicious. I do not have a culinary degree but I have ‘street cred.’ My inspiration for the Brazilian street food, tapas and desserts I serve is the food that I grew up with — tasteful, healthy and affordable with fresh herbs, non-GMO ingredients, ethicallyraised meats, fresh seafood, olive, coconut, palm and avocado oils and Himalayan pink salt. I hate fake stuff.

“Lots of things help me connect and love my craft, but my favorite is when people tell me how much they like my food. To me it’s a privilege to feed other people, and give them something to enjoy. I’m focusing on being the best cook that I can be, and learning new ways to bring my food to different festivals, so that more people can experience the flavors of my country, and taste the love and care I take in preparing each and every one of my dishes.”

instances of sexual harassment from a very young age. It broke me down, until the moment that I said to myself, ‘I’m tired of this shit. I won’t put up with it any longer,’ and I got stronger.”

While the yuca is cooking, in a large skillet or Dutch oven sauté ½ large white or yellow onion (sliced) and ½ large red bell pepper (deseeded and diced), ½ large yellow bell pepper (deseeded and diced) and ½ tablespoon minced, deseeded habanero pepper in 2 tablespoons coconut oil over medium heat until softened, about 4 minutes. Add 2 large tomatoes (diced) and sauté until softened, about 2 minutes more. Add 2 garlic cloves (minced) and ½ cup minced parsley, stir and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Puree one 13.5 ounce can coconut milk and boiled yuca in the blender. Add mixture to sautéed vegetables. Cook mixture over medium heat for an additional 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add shrimp and 1 tablespoon red palm oil and cook until the shrimp are just pink, about 4 minutes. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve over basmati rice and garnish with a drizzle of palm oil.

best chefs Earnestly Tootie Chef Services, Shreveport-Bossier

Chef Ernestine “Tootie” Morrison Tootie Morrison recently returned from several weeks in Morocco as the first recipient of a $2,000 cultural exchange scholarship presented by the Ross Lynn Foundation, which celebrates the legacy of Shreveport’s late Ross Lynn, a farmer, artist and philanthropist with initiatives focused on art, outdoor adventure and healthy living.


orrison’s go-to ingredients — garlic, onion, salt, olive oil and lemon juice —are common in Moroccan cooking. “This opportunity is my destiny,” said Morrison. While in Morocco, Morrison, who was profiled in these pages in 2017, worked with the local community to increase sustainability and knowledge of sustainable agriculture and pest management. She will now work with the foundation and sponsor next year’s scholarship recipient. Morrison’s culinary career began after her children graduated from high school. She was

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35 when she completed her coursework in the culinary arts program at Bossier Parish Community College in 2008. Since then Morrison has worked at Shreveport’s now defunct Macaroni Grill, her brother’s barbecue joint, and, following a successful catering gig on a referral, she spent almost six years as the manager and executive chef at Abby Singer’s Bistro in downtown Shreveport’s Robinson Film Center. In 2015, Morrison won the inaugural Battle for the Golden Fork cook-off hosted by Louisiana Food Prize. Like Food Network’s

“Chopped,” the stressful competition placed local chefs at kitchen stations where they had to beat the clock crafting exceptional dishes using whatever ingredients they found their baskets. She wowed the panel of national celebrity chefs and took home a trophy and a $5,000 cash award. Cooking is in Morrison’s blood. “I started cooking after years of sitting on the kitchen counter watching my mother cook,” she said. “Then when she worked, I cooked. My mother and my grandmother, my father’s mother, are my greatest inspirations.”

Egg (Custard) Pie

Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Add 6 large eggs (room temperature) to a mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Add 2 cups sugar, 2 tablespoons allpurpose flour, and 1 teaspoon salt. Beat thoroughly. Add 1½ sticks unsalted butter (at room temperature) and blend thoroughly. Add 1½ cans evaporated milk (not whole milk or condensed milk) and 1½ tablespoons vanilla extract and blend until mixture resembles curdled milk. Pour mixture into two 9-inch pie crusts (prebaked according to package instructions for a custard filling) and bake until golden brown and the filling is not juggling, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm or chilled.

“While I have not experienced discrimination or harassment in the professional kitchen, I have witnessed arrogance from male chefs who feel that men are better suited to run a kitchen and I have encountered male employees who didn’t want to take direction

Earnestly Tootie Chef Services 3064 Gorton Road Shreveport 318-617-6633

from a womAn. I quickly corrected their behavior and moved on. They got the message.”



best chefs Co-Chefs, Cocha, Baton Rouge

Saskia Spanhoff and Katelyn Alaniz Though separated by over a decade, geography and life experiences, Katelyn Alaniz, 30, and Saskia Spanhoff, 46, share similar inspirations in the kitchen at Cocha, the produce-forward bistro that has become a must-do in Baton Rouge since its opening in late 2016.


laniz’s role keeps her firmly in the Kitchen while Spanhoff straddles the line between the kitchen, the front of the house, and her duties as sommelier. Their roles cross in the development of a new menu every four months that focuses on global flavors with plenty of vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options. Both chefs reach for the Vita-Mix blender again and again throughout the day. Saturday mornings frequently find the co-chefs at the sprawling Red Stick Farmers Market that sets up just around the corner. Hours later vendors and shoppers from that same market show up in the bright, airy space that sat vacant for seven years until Spanhoff and her husband, Enrique Pinerua, took a

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chance on the forlorn building. The welcome came immediately from a community hungry for locally-sourced, often organic, produce and sustainably sourced meats and seafood. Alaniz, a native of Baton Rouge, found her place in the culinary industry at age 15 and holds both an Associate’s degree (Advanced Baking and Pastry) and a Bachelor of Science (Culinary Arts) from the Louisiana Culinary Institute. “In the future I would like to advance into food medicine,” said Alaniz. “I want a hand in healing our nation by creating absolutely delicious food that has all the proper composure to cure and heal the food related illnesses that plague us — heart disease, stroke, diabetes — without deprivation or bland food.

Spanhoff, a native of Los Angeles, has an extensive background in the restaurant business, both front and back of the house. Her degrees are in history and geography from LSU and in Culinary Arts from Santa Monica College. She is inspired by a desire to nurture others through the kind of healthy, organic, food grown and made from scratch by her parents, who are the source for the ethereal Tres Leches cake for which Cocha is becoming justifiably famous. Spanhoff’s plans for the future include the expansion of the restaurant to include a private event space, a rooftop garden, where she will grow more of the ingredients she cooks with, and an exploration of educational based projects with the community, particularly youths.

Cocha 445 N. Sixth St. Baton Rouge 225-615-8826 cochabr.com

Add 3 cups allpurpose flour to a mixing bowl, scrape in white bean mixture and blend until a smooth dough has formed. Separate dough into 10 golf ball size pieces, and roll each one into a smooth ball. Let rest 5 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 F.

Cocha’s Street Corn Empanadas

Corn Filling:

Puree 1 ripe Haas avocado, ½ cup coconut milk, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 cup grapeseed oil in blender. Combine kernels from 4 ears fresh corn, juice of one lime,¼ cup minced cilantro, ¼ cups minced red bell pepper, ¼ cup minced jalapeño pepper, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 2 teaspoons onions powder and ½ cup diced red onion. Mix thoroughly. Add avocado puree and blend thoroughly. Empanada Dough: Combine

²⁄³ cup cooked white beans, 4 tablespoons water, ¾ cup coconut milk, ¼ cup almond milk and 1 teaspoon salt in a blender.

On a floured surface, roll each ball of dough into a circle about 6 inches in diameter. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of the corn filling in the middle of the circle. Brush edges of the dough along bottom half of the circle lightly with water. Fold top half of the circle of dough over the filling to form a semicircle, and press edges together firmly to seal. Brush pressed edge with a little bit of water, and fold the edge over itself, pinching and crimping as you go to make a braid-like effect. Place empanadas on a baking sheet. Mix yolk from one large egg (beaten) with 1 tablespoon of water and brush mixture lightly over entire surface of each empanada. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown and slightly puffed. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Katelyn: “I have had a lot of unfavorable moments in the industry in the last 15 years. None of them have made me give up yet. For all of those not so great moments there have been hundreds that make it worth it. Sometimes it does take a strong personality to make it through the murky waters unscathed. Culture, race, religion, gender and sexual identity should never play a part in how you treat people or how you are treated.” Saskia: “I am willing to stand up for myself, educate or as last resort, fight or walk. I have a strong work ethic, which has made me valuable to my employers and a strong presence and stature that act as a deterrent many times. When I have been harassed, it never progressed too far. You usually cannot expect the issues to be resolved by management because of how male dominated the restaurant business is.”



best chefs formerly of Sylvain, working part time at Angeline, New Orleans

Chef Martha Wiggins Martha Wiggins has the mettle to walk away from what she knows and loves.


n January, she shocked the industry and her legions of followers when she left Sylvain, the romantic French Quarter spot where she cooked since 2010, the last four years as executive chef. While there she twice earned nominations from the James Beard Foundation. “For a long time I put myself on the back burner for the sake of my career, said Wiggins, 31. “I gained as much as I have given. I reached a point where I had nothing left to give and nothing left of myself for me. Eventually, I reached a state of peace and clarity. I realized I was ready to leave my beloved Sylvain. “I have been working part-time with my good friend, Alex Harrel, at Angeline restaurant. I was getting antsy after spending time just relaxing and catching up with my people. Working brunches at Angeline three days a week is just enough to keep the kitchen tweaks at bay while keeping up with my new pastimes: daydrinking, eating crawfish, sleeping and cooking at home. “Also, I have always wanted kids. I want to adopt and am exploring how others are successfully raising families within this industry.” A native of Washington, D.C., Wiggins started working in restaurant kitchens at 15 and went on to earn a degree in culinary arts from Bristol Community College in Fall River, Massachusetts. “The reason I ended up working in kitchens for so long? It suited me as someone with no filter, who is generally irritated by all y’all (myself included), and someone who, for whatever reason, works well with boys. I’ve always been addicted to the rush of pushing myself and my team through the weeds. I call myself the ‘weedeater’.”

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Martha Wiggins at Angeline (Visit website For new location) New Orleans 504-308-3106 angelinenola.com

Coconut Red Beans

Add 3 tablespoons vegetable oil to a large stockpot set over mediumhigh heat. Add 2 medium onions (diced), 4 cloves garlic (chopped), 4 ribs celery (diced), 1 jalapeĂąo pepper (seeds deseeded, minced) and 3 sprigs fresh thyme and cook until vegetables are softened and aromatic, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 pound dried red kidney or pinto beans (soaked overnight), 2 smoked ham hocks or smoked turkey wings, 3 quarts, chicken, pork or vegetable stock, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 2 cups coconut milk, 2 tablespoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Cut a small slit in 1 habanero

For the last eight years I have not been within a position to be exposed to those who can abuse their power. I hope to have the opportunity to continue to learn from and teach others how to stop discrimination and harassment before it presents itself by practicing honest, intentional dialogue and less bureaucratic bullshit to cover the ass of a CEO.

pepper and drop it in the pot. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to a very low simmer, stirring occasionally. Cook for 1 hour. Remove ham hocks (or turkey wings) and set aside to cool. Add 1 large sweet potato or small butternut squash (peeled and cut into large chunks) and 2 cups of coconut milk to the pot. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed, bearing in mind that flavors will intensify in the final hour of cooking. Cook for 1 more hour, stirring gently so as to not completely break up sweet potato (or butternut squash). If mixture becomes too thick add a bit more stock, coconut milk or water. Strip meat from the ham hocks or turkey wings. Discard bones and skin. Fold in meat when the beans are creamy and fully cooked. Adjust seasoning. Remove habanero (if you can find it!), if desired. Serve over rice.



best chefs Cinclare, Thibodeaux

Chef Crystal Lachney Some leaders govern their kingdoms with a golden scepter, others, an iron fist. Chef Crystal Lachney rules her domain with tweezers and a fish spatula, the two kitchen implements the proudly self-professed perfectionist and control freak cannot do without.


t was a meat market that drove her to become a chef. “I was 16,” the Alexandria native said. “Business was pouring into the meat market where I worked. Everyone was stressing out except for Robbie, my boss. He was so content and under control with 10 whole chickens in front of him waiting to be de-boned and stuffed with dirty rice. The customers were impatiently waiting, just staring and watching him work. He never lost control in the midst of chaos and pressure. He only cared about the food he was putting out. That’s when I realized ‘Wow I really love food and, being a control freak. I’d found a place where I fit in. “The restaurant industry is full of misfits and I happen to be one of them. There’s something beautiful about the vulgarity of the kitchen and all the people that follow it — front of the house and back.” Now 23 and a graduate of the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University, Lachney did her first paid externship at the Michelin-rated Restaurant Marc Forgione in Manhattan where she worked her way from garde manger to the top of the kitchen line within four months. She is now co-head chef at the celebrated Cinclare Restaurant in Thibodeaux and remains addicted to the singular, intense pressures that only a restaurant kitchen can inflict. “I never feel more connected than when I’m ‘in the weeds’ and there’s a board full of tickets. Two hours later you’ve cooked flawlessly for 150 people with two people on the line. That’s connection. It’s beautiful.”

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Lamb Shanks with Tomato Ragu

Season 6 lamb shanks with salt and pepper to taste. Working in batches if necessary, brown shanks in a large Dutch oven set over high heat. Remove shanks and set aside. Add 3 ounces salt pork and 1 pound pancetta and cook until the fat has rendered out. Add 2 cups diced onion, 1 cup diced celery and 1 diced carrot and cook until brown, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 2 tablespoons garlic and cook until fragrant, about 90 seconds. Deglaze pan with 2 cups light, fruity red wine (such as Chianti) and, using a wooden spoon, scrape the fond (brown bits) from the bottom. Cook until no liquid remains. Add 4 cups tomato puree, 6 cups canned diced tomatoes with their liquid, 6 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 sprig fresh rosemary, 1½ tablespoons sugar and ½ cup capers. Add reserved lamb shanks, 6 cups beef stock and 1½ pounds pork bones. Bring to a boil then cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until meat is falling from the lamb shanks, about 2 hours. Remove bones and herbs. Serve over polenta.

A chef, who shall remain nameless, told me I shouldn’t do my externship in New York with Marc Forgione because I was a girl and ‘In big city kitchens it’s super old school and they may hurt your feelings and treat you bad.’ Well, I didn’t get treated any differently from the guys at all. I was treated with the utmost respect. I even out-cooked some guys that had been working there before me. They were thoroughly impressed. I never ran into any problems in any kitchen I worked in but there have been multiple male cooks and chefs I have met who overlooked me. They wouldn’t even shake my hand or look me in the eye. My co-chef, Logan Boudreaux, is also my best friend. We both make sure everyone is treated equally and with respect. “



best chefs St. John Restaurant (St. Martinsville) & Café Sydnie Mae (Breaux Bridge)

Chef Bonnie Breaux If living well is the best revenge then Bonnie Breaux is a five star general. In 2006, the Lafayette native was in the unenviable position of being newly divorced single mother.


took inventory of my talents as a home-cook and opened a small restaurant, Breaux’s, in Covington with the help of my family,” said Breaux, now 51. In the years since, Breaux honed the selftaught, “heritage-influenced Cajun/Creole” style she learned at the knee of her mother and perfected under Wayne Peltier at Clementine in New Iberia. She steered the kitchen at Roux in Tampa before Alcee and Lucy Durand tapped her to return to her native state to steward the kitchen at The St. John Restaurant in St. Martinville. In doing so, she brought a fresh approach and organizational skills that revolu40 Louisiana Life july/august 2018

tionized the historic restaurant. Last year Breaux bested and out-cooked scores of other chefs to become the first ever “Queen of Louisiana Seafood,” an honor bestowed by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board (LSPMB) at the annual Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off. This spring the energetic executive chef seemingly cloned herself and, with the Durands, opened Café Sydnie Mae in Breaux Bridge. What’s next on the docket for the ostensibly inexhaustible dynamo? “Both Café Sydnie Mae and The St. John have high standards for fresh, local ingredients,” she

said. “We plan to expand our farm-to-table model to include greenhouse produce and cage-free poultry. We are also talking about another place. “If you would have asked me two years ago, if I would have found myself where I am today I would have said, ‘you’re crazy’.” A rare day off is spent in the kitchen with her mother or teaching her grandchildren to cook, employing her must have ingredients — the trinity, as well as Steen’s 100% Cane Syrup, hot sauce, cayenne pepper and heavy cream — to accomplish her tasks. Her Old-World cast-iron skillet and new age sous vide immersion cooker are indispensible implements in her kitchen.

Breaux’s Louisiana Shrimp and Grits

Grits: Melt 1 tablespoon

unsalted butter in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1 shallot (finely chopped) and sauté until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add 1 quart chicken stock and 1 quart heavy cream and bring to a boil. Add 2 cups coarse, stone-ground grits, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, stir, reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until all liquid is absorbed, 30 to 40 minutes. Beat in 8 ounces cream cheese (softened) with a wooden spoon until fully incorporated. Remove from heat, cover and set aside and keep warm. Sauce: Melt ¼ pound

unsalted butter in a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium heat. Add ½ medium yellow onion (julienned), ½ medium red onion (julienned), ½ medium red bell pepper (julienned) and ½ green bell pepper (julienned) and sauté until softened, about 8 minutes. Add 3 cups finely chopped smoked Tasso, stir, then add 2 quarts shrimp stock and 2 quarts heavy cream and cook on medium uncovered until mixture is reduced by one third, about 1 hour. Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon white pepper, ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon Louisiana hot sauce and ¼ teaspoon granulated garlic. Add ½ cup sherry and blend thoroughly. Fold in 2 cups grated smoked Gouda cheese and blend thoroughly. Set aside and keep warm. Shrimp: Combine 1 tablespoon kosher salt, 1½ tablespoons paprika, 1 tablespoon garlic

“Life in a restaurant kitchen can be brutal — harassment, discrimination and other unique complications women face. As a mother and grandmother, I am particularly sensitive to these issues. Fortunately, for most of my career, I have been in leadership roles that have allowed me to establish the culture in the kitchen. I run a tough, but fair, kitchen, with high expectations. My culture demands respect for each other.”

powder, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 2 tablespoons light brown sugar and 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Blend thoroughly, add 3 pounds 21-25 count Gulf shrimp (peeled and deveined), and toss to coat. Set a cast iron skillet over high heat for five minutes. Working very quickly, add 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, then shrimp. Allow seasoning on the shrimp to blacken, about 90 seconds. Turn shrimp and repeat. To plate: Divide grits among six shallow soup plates. Using a wooden spoon, make a deep impression in the center of the grits. Divide sauce, then shrimp atop the grits. Serve at once.

BEST HOSPITALS There is only one major source that provides credible ongoing analysis of hospitals. It is Medicare, which as the federal health insurance program for people 65 and older, as well as certain younger people with disabilities, often pays many of the big bills.

As part of its informational services, medicare.gov reports on evaluations of hospitals based on queries of patients. For the last several years, the Louisiana Life editorial staff has sifted through the data and created 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.

Please note 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. - Compiled by Sarah Ravits




Bossier City



Abbeville General Hospital 118 N. Hospital Drive (337) 893-5466

Willis Knighton Bossier Health Center 2400 Hospital Drive (318) 212-7000

Franklin Foundation Hospital 1097 Northwest Blvd., (337) 828-0760

Abrom Kaplan Memorial Hospital 1310 W. Seventh St. (337) 643-8300

Alexandria Central Louisiana Surgical Hospital 651 N. Bolton Ave. (318) 449-6400 Christus St. Francis Cabrini Hospital 3330 Masonic Drive (318) 487-1122 Rapides Regional Medical Center 211 4th St. (318) 769-3000 Amite Hood Memorial Hsopital 301 W. Walnut St. (985) 748-9485

Breaux Bridge St. Martin Hospital 210 Champagne Blvd. (337) 332-2178 Chalmette St. Bernard Parish Hospital 8000 West 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 South (318) 649-6106



Morehouse General Hospital 323 W. Walnut (318) 283-3600

Fairway Medical Center 67252 Industry Lane (985) 801-3010

Baton Rouge

Lakeview Regional Medical Center 95 Judge Tanner Blvd. (985) 867-4443

Baton Rouge General Medical Center 3600 Florida Blvd., (225) 387-7767 Ochsner Medical Center - Baton Rouge 17000 Medical Center Drive (225) 755-4876 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

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 DeRidder

Gonzales St. Elizabeth Hospital 1125 W. Hwy. 30 (225) 647-5000 Hammond Cypress Pointe Surgical Hospital 42570 S. Airport Road (985) 510-6200 North Oaks Medical Center 15790 Paul Vega MD Drive (985) 345-2700 Homer Claiborne Memorial Medical Center 620 E. College St. (318) 927-2024 Houma Leonard J. Chabert Medical Center 1978 Industrial Blvd. (985) 873-2200 Physicians Medical Center 218 Corporate Drive (985) 853-1390 Terrebonne General Medical Center 8166 Main St. (985) 873-4141 Independence Lallie Kemp Medical Center 52579 Hwy. 51 South (985) 878-9421 Jena Lasalle General Hospital 187 Ninth St.,/Hwy. 84 West (318) 992-9200 Jennings Jennings American Legion Hospital 1634 Elton Road (337) 616-7000

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 Ave. (337) 289-7991 Lafayette General Surgical Hospital 1000 W. Pinhook Road, Suite 100 (337) 289-8095 Lafayette Surgical Specialty Hospital 1101 Kaliste Saloom Road (337) 769-410 Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center 4801 Ambassador Caffery Pkwy. (337) 470-2000 Park Place Surgical Hospital 4811 Ambassador Caffery Parkway (337) 237-8119 University Hospital & Clinics 2390 W. Congress (337) 261-6000 Women’s & Children’s Hospital 4600 Ambassador Caffery Pkwy. (337) 521-9100 Lake Charles Christus Lake Area Hospital 4200 Nelson Road (337) 474-6370

Woman’s Hospital 100 Woman’s Way (225) 927-1300

Beauregard Memorial Hospital 600 S. Pine St. (337) 462-7100




Christus St. Patrick Hospital 524 Dr. Michael DeBakey Drive (337) 436-2511

Union General Hospital 901 James Ave. (318) 368-9751

Jackson Parish Hospital 165 Beech Springs Road (318) 259-4435

Lake Charles Memorial Hospital 1701 Oak Park Blvd. (337) 494-3000

Our Lady of the Angels Hospital 433 Plaza St. (985) 730-6700

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Lake Providence



East Carroll Parish Hospital 336 N. Hood St. SÂ (318) 559-402

Monroe Surgical Hospital 2408 Broadmoor Blvd. (318) 410-0002

Hardtner Medical Center 1102 N. Pine Road (318) 495-3131


P& S Surgical Hospital 312 Grammont St., Suite 101 (318) 388-4040


Byrd Regional Hospital 1020 Fertitta Blvd., (337) 239-9041 Doctors Hospital At Deer Creek LLC 815 S. 10th St. (337) 392-5088

St. Francis Medical Center 309 Jackson St. (318) 966-4000

Opelousas General Health System 539 E. Prudhomme St. (337) 948-301 Pineville

Southern Surgical Hospital 1700 W. Lindberg Drive (985) 641-0600 Sterling Surgical Hospital 989 Robert Blvd. 504) 690-8200 Springhill Springhill Medical Center 2001 Doctors Drive (318) 539-1000

University Health Conway 4864 Jackson St. (318) 330-7000

Alexandria VA Medical Center 2495 Shreveport Hwy. 71 N. (318) 473-0010


Morgan City


St. Charles Parish Hospital 1057 Paul Maillard Road (985) 785-3644

Teche Regional Medical Center 1125 Marguerite St. (985) 384-2440



Ochsner St. Anne General Hospital 4608 Hwy. 1 (985) 537-8377

St. James Parish Hospital 1645 Lutcher Ave. (225) 869-5512 Mamou

Natchitoches Regional Medical Center 501 Keyser Ave. (318) 471-2628

Richardson Medical Center 254 Hwy. 3048 (318) 728-4181

Thibodaux Regional Medical Center 602 N. Acadia Road (985) 447-5500


Sulphur West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital 701 E. Cypress St. (337) 527-7034 Thibodaux

New Iberia


Ville Platte

Iberia General Hospital and Medical Center 2315 E. Main St. (337) 364-0441

Northern Louisiana Medical Center 401 East Vaughn Ave. (318) 254-2100

Mercy Regional Medical Center 800 E. Main St. (337) 363-5684

New Orleans




New Orleans East Hospital 5620 Read Blvd., (504) 592-6600

North Caddo Medical Center 715 South Pine St. (318) 375-3235

Sabine Medical Center 240 Highland Drive (318) 256-1232

Ochsner Medical Center 1516 Jefferson Hwy. (504) 842-3000

Christus Health Shreveport Bossier 1453 E. Bert Kouns Industrial Drive (318) 681-5000


Touro Infirmary 1401 Foucher St. (504) 897-7011

Savoy Medical Center 801 Poinciana Ave. (337) 468-5261 Mansfield DeSoto Regional Health System 207 Jefferson St. (318) 872-4610

Avoyelles Hospital 4231 Hwy. 1192Â (318) 253-8611 Marrero West Jefferson Medical Center 1101 Medical Center Blvd. (504) 347-5511 Metairie

Tulane Medical Center 1415 Tulane Ave (504) 988-5263 University Medical Center New Orleans 2000 Canal St. (504) 903-300 Oak Grove

Overton Brooks VA Medical Center 510 E. Stoner Ave. (318) 424-6037 Specialists Hospital Shreveport 1500 Line Ave. (318) 213-3800

West Monroe Glenwood Regional Medical Center 503 McMillan Road (318) 329-4600 Winnfield

University Health Shreveport 1541 Kings Hwy. (318) 675-5000

Winn Parish Medical Center 301 W. Boundary St. (318) 648-3000

Willis Knighton Medical Center 2600 Greenwood Road (318) 212-4000



East Jefferson General Hospital 4200 Houma Blvd., (504) 454-4000

West Carroll Memorial Hospital 706 Ross St. (318) 428-3237



Ochsner Medical Center Northshore 100 Medical Center Drive (985) 646-5000

Minden Medical Center No. 1 Medical Plaza (318) 377-2321

Oakdale Community Hospital 130 N. Hospital Drive (318) 335-3700

Slidell Memorial Hospital 1001 Gause Blvd. (985) 643-2200

Franklin Medical Center 2106 Loop Road (318) 435-9411 Zachary Lane Regional Medical Center 6300 Main St. (225) 658-4000




Seaside Summer Grand Isle is an important part of the River Delta and dwindling Chenier Plain habitats, as well as a popular fishing and birding hub for both residents and visitors BY Paul

F. Stahls Jr.

It’s the surrounding sea and its

280 species of neighborhood fish that keep Grand Isle’s residents staying and visitors coming back — especially in summer when the 90-year-old Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo and a half-dozen younger tournaments turn the old barrier island into a nonstop party town. These days, however, even the fishermen are stopping to enjoy the other natural assets to be found here, like the nesting grounds on the island’s south shore and the islets of 180-square-mile Barataria Bay, the wild sounds and scenery of adjacent wildlife management areas and the unimaginable swarms of birds and butterflies that arrive in spring and fall (celebrated by the island’s now famous three-day Migratory Bird Festival in April). Capt. Danny Wray, a respected fishing guide who has broadened his services to include nature, ecology, history and photography tours (225-721-8182), asserts that boating tours around Grand Isle and Barataria are more stunning than nature tours he’s seen in celebrated spots like the Virgin Islands and Hawaii. And the history? Don’t get him started… unless you’d like to hear about the mix of early settlers (like indentured servants escaped from European ships), World War II submarines, Lafitte’s pirates and old Fort Livingston on Grand Terre, just across Barataria Pass from Grand Isle State Park (easy access by fishing boat but check weather and wave reports before trying it by kayak).

46 Louisiana Life july/august 2018

For terra firma tours featuring sites and stories from the early 20th century, ask owner Leoda Bladsacker at Yum’s Café (985-787-2995, 3059 LA. 1) about her golf cart tours of the historic district at the island’s center. To find several short but rewarding nature trails (plus motel and restaurant lists), stop first for an essential Island Map at the Grand Isle Tourism Office (2757

LA. 1, 985-787-2997, grand-isle.com) next door to a flower-filled butterfly dome. The big map’s “birding tract” trails for bird and butterfly photography also present samplings of the island’s variety prairie, marsh and forest terrains), all accessible as properties of the Nature Conservancy (985-688-3871, nature.org /Louisiana). The Lafitte Woods Trail through the Griletta Tract, for instance, leads for a

FICTION & FILM As a setting Grand Isle has produced three works of great American fiction. Alas, the famed Lafcadio Hearn‘s 1889 “Chita” is not one of them (its focus is 40 miles west and based on the 1856 Last Island Storm), but the opening scenes of steaming west from New Orleans give us an almost poetic description of “beautiful Grande Isle” with its orange trees and flowering meadows. The “rustic hotels” and cottages he saw then would survive to give Kate Chopin a stage for her acclaimed 1889 story of desire and despair, “The Awakening,” still in print and filmed as “The End of August” in 1982 and for TV as “Grand Isle” in 1991.


So you want to fish, too? There are marinas for launching your boat, or check grand-isle.com for a list of 30 charter captains. If you prefer staying ashore you’ll find that every street, lane and trail leads to fishing opportunities, and gear and bait shops are everywhere.

There’s beach fishing along the eight miles of Gulfside sand, or try wading for flounders and crab-netting from the jetties. Remember also that “offshore” here can begin with a five-minute kayak ride and, matter of fact, hardfighting deep-water species can even be snagged from

the La.1 “Old Fishing Bridge” or public piers, like the handicapped-accessible pier on the bay side and 400-footer in the State Park. The camps along LA. 1 are private property, but public beach access is provided by 20 well-marked crossover points.

James K. Feibleman was a Tulane philosophy professor and novelist whose 1948 “The Long Habit of Living” was a gripping philosophical (of course) story of murder, family bonds and revenge on the island community that he renamed Isle Cheniere in Hamilton” Parish. Ten years later his wife, Pulitzer winner Shirley Ann Grau, moved her island farther from shore for “The Hard Blue Sky” and named it Isle aux Chiens, where its remote community faced constant conflict, both human and natural.



(Top) Pelican nesting grounds (Middle) Kayak fishing tournament (Bottom) Back bay marshland

time though windblown inland-leaning oaks (reminiscent of the 1920s photographs of Fonville Winans), then transforms itself into long-grass footpaths as they pass near the north shore’s full-fledged marsh. The well-preserved natural aspects of Grand Isle owe much to the Conservancy and its community service projects, such as assisting Grand Isle School with its Native Plant Nursery, and local director Jean Landry says the town responds with total support for projects like the drive to replace storm-ravaged palm trees. From the Griletta’s north side it’s one block west on Medical Avenue to an unexpected attraction, a strikingly designed town park that doubles as a water purification facility. Located at 90 degrees west longitude, “Ninety West Park” centers on a circular “rain garden” surrounded by porous surfaces that filter contaminants from the run-off of heavy rain events. Just north of the park, beside the island’s kayak launch, the Marine Fisheries Lab has become a premier attraction thanks to tours featuring some of its astounding projects (often partnering with the LSU Extension Service), like the production of “customized” oysters in varying sizes and flavors. We’re talking about fat and flavorful oysters 12 months a year. Walk-ins are welcome but call the lab in advance (985-787-2163) to be sure a biologist is available to guide you. At the east end of the island, Grand Isle State Park offers a mile of beaches plus fishing piers, nature trails and camping (985-787-2559, crt.state.la.us, click “State Parks” and “Grand Isle”). Undaunted by the natural and manmade catastrophes that barrage it periodically — whether rolling up its sleeves to reinforce its coast or acting as staging ground for oil-spill mitigation projects — Grand Isle remains much the same as always. Twelve hundred residents still consider the place a paradise, with visitors still visiting, crab pots boiling, songbirds singing, butterflies flying, fish still biting. That’s how you’ll find it next time down, and hopefully forever. n

48 Louisiana Life july/august 2018

farther flung

Gulf Coasting Dreams of paradise realized on Emerald Coast in Destin By Kim


Screensavers around the world

tend to feature variations of the same image: expanses of sugar white sand melding into a sea of pale blue, crystal clear water. It’s this vision that represents the pinnacle of relaxation, of escape, of paradise. It also happens to be less than a day’s drive away. The jewel of Florida’s Emerald Coast, Destin, continually ranks as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, drawing over 80 percent of the Emerald Coast’s 4.5 million visitors every year. When it comes to beaches, the clear winner is Henderson Beach State Park. Boasting nearly 6,000 feet of shoreline, the park includes a playground, nature trail, plenty of wildlife (including dolphins, sea turtles and a wide array of birds) along with 60 campsites. (Editor’s Note: Some of the services and activities in this piece were provided complimentary.)


If camping isn’t your thing, however, The Henderson Beach Resort offers another incredible option. Guests of this four-story, 170-room resort hotel (opened in November of 2016) enjoy complimentary day passes to the adjacent state park. The resort itself sits on a 200-acre nature preserve. Inside The Henderson you’ll find two pools — one that’s adults only and another that includes a lazy river and poolside bar and grille — along with lush gardens and four restaurants and eateries that offer everything from luxurious dock-to-table dining to a 1950s-style ice cream and candy shop. In addition to a fitness center and kids’ activity zone — which includes a Kid’s Night Out program nightly from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. — there’s also the 10,000-square-foot Salamander Spa, a perfect place to escape for a couple’s massage, a caviar age-defying facial or a custom thermal manicure or pedicure. If you are looking for something even more intimate for a romantic getaway, right in front of The Henderson is the Henderson

50 Louisiana Life july/august 2018

Park Inn, Destin’s only beachfront bed and breakfast. This wood-shingled inn featuring just 35 rooms and suites has a real Northeast coastal vibe and boasts a long list of little romantic touches that earned it the title of “The Best Place to Pop the Question” in VIP Destin magazine last year. About. com Reader’s Choice Awards also recently proclaimed this little getaway the “No. 1 most romantic hotel in North America” and “No. 2 most romantic hotel in the world.” Gourmet breakfasts, picnic lunches, complimentary wine, grapes and chocolates, fireplaces, a gratis daily happy hour — it’s all here for the taking.

Do! Biking, paddleboarding and fishing — these are the activities that

need to be on the “must do” list of anyone heading to Destin. For the first two, YOLO Board offers the perfect one-stop shop. Whether you’re looking to make a purchase or just borrow for a while, YOLO Board does it

EAt AND DRINK It makes sense that the proclaimed “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village” was named for a fisherman — a man named Leonard Destin who left New London, Connecticut for sunny Northwest Florida in 1835, long before the invention of rods and reels. Decades later, Destin’s great, great grandson, Dewey Destin, continues his family’s passion for fish today at two Dewey Destin’s Seafood restaurants, one on Crab Island and one on Destin Harbor, with a third in Navarre, Florida set to open by Memorial Day. The place to be for waterfront dining, Dewey Destin’s continually snags the honor of Best

all. For rentals, you can either pick up a paddle board or bike at YOLO Board and Bike on 30A or YOLO Board Adventures Sandestin, or rent gear by the day online and have it delivered right to you.

For fishing, Destin boasts no shortage of charter options for everything from inshore to deep sea. In July look for red snapper and tarpon. In August, grouper and snapper remain in season.

SUMMER EVENTS Every Thursday night in the summer — The Red, White and Blue Hero Celebration starts at 7 p.m. and includes a WWII vintage airshow, live music and fireworks at 9 p.m. at HarborWalk Village Memorial Day to Labor Day — Rock the Docks Concert Series at HarborWalk Village from 7 to 9 p.m.

Seafood Restaurant in Destin and Best Outdoor Restaurant on the Emerald Coast. The original Dewey Destin’s is the Harborside location, opened in 2001. While certainly nothing fancy, what this multi-deck restaurant lacks in class it more than makes up for in both taste and a rich sense of history. The dock on which the restaurant stands was formerly where the Destin family would unload their day’s catch from as far back as the 1800s. Destin says the restaurant’s most popular item is not the fish; however, it’s the shrimp — fried or grilled. Both restaurants are open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. For those that find it’s not quite a vacation until you have a nice cold brew in hand, you’re going to want to check out Destin Brewery’s tasting room. Opened in June of 2016, this family-friendly establishment — kids can enjoy the house brewed root beer — just took home the title of Best Brewery at the 10th annual Blues Brews and BBQ Festival at HarborWalk Village last November. Destin Brewery features five flagship ales (including a rye ale and double IPA) and a continuously rotating menu of seasonal offerings. n

July 3 — Smoke on the Coast BBQ Festival at Destin Commons and Fourth of July Celebration at HarborWalk Village

Come Back in the Fall October is festival season in Destin, so mark your calendar now for: Destin Seafood Festival, Oct. 5-7 11th Annual Baytowne Wharf Beer Fest, Oct. 12-13 Destin Fishing Rodeo, Oct. 1-31



roadside dining

Over and Under Overpass Merchant in Baton Rouge offers something for everyone with its global menu by

Jyl Benson

photos by Romero

& Romero

The Overpass Merchant is located

under an overpass on a little patch of Perkins Road that always feels weirdly mysterious to me. It’s the patch where the busy, congested boulevard rapidly transitions into a two-lane street lined with small merchant shops, bookstores and a smattering of restaurants, the whole thing sheltered under pair of traffic-jammed bridges looming overhead. Inside, the sleek urban space is intimate enough to maintain the mysterious feeling. Co-owners Lon Marchand and Nick Hufft opened the popular spot in the spring of 2016 for lunch and dinner, late-night bites, and Sunday brunch. The weekday $9.99 lunch plates are a bargain. Add a couple of small side salads and there’s plenty on one plate for two to share. The menu has no specific theme that I can discern. It is, rather, a collection of delicious, fun, shareable foods that span the globe from Canada to Korea. The starter menu roves happily all over the place. Crisp frites are cut and fried to order then presented with roasted garlic aioli. Dreamy, decadent cheese curds are served deep fried with a side of zesty buttermilk ranch dip. Add beef cheeks and gravy and you have Merchant Poutine. Fried chicken skins are shattercrisp and drizzled with a spicy-hot honey sauce. Don’t look to the green beans for

Good Bets

Bistro Byronz,

5412 Government Street Baton Rouge 225-218-1433 bistrobyronz.com The Overpass Merchant

2904 Perkins Road Baton Rouge 225-508-4737 theoverpassmerchant.com.

While the menu at The Overpass may be all over the place the one at Bistro Byronz is decidedly of the Louisiana FrenchCreole ilk. Refined and respectable, this is great pick for a first date, dinner meeting or an affordable, yet impressive spot to bring the parents for dinner. The cassoulet, a French bistro classic, marries the Old and New Worlds with white beans, smoky tasso ham, chicken, and duck sausage.

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Coconut shrimp tacos with spicy avocado slaw, salsa and sour cream from Overpass Merchant

a healthy respite: They are tempura battered, fried, and served with a Korean ranch dipping sauce. The only way to justify this culinary debauchery is by sharing with others and reminding yourself that you only live once. Keep that sentiment firmly intact as you tuck into a platter of coconut shrimp tacos. The large specimens are fried with a bit of coconut in the batter and presented with avocado coleslaw, salsa, sour cream and four tortillas so you can build your own Frankenstein. This is the only place on earth where I will ever be a Billy Ray Cyrus fan. Save for its Nashville origins there’s no sign of the mulletadorned “Achy-Breaky Heart” crooner on the hefty sandwich that bears his name. Chef Jonathan Breaux brines chicken in a mixture of tea, cayenne, garlic, bay leaves and spices before it’s fried, lacquered in a spicy-hot buffalo-style sauce, topped with jalapeno coleslaw and offered up on a hefty bun. Ditch the coleslaw and sub in cheddar, thick-cut bacon, and a fried egg and the sandwich morphs into The Hot Lonnie. If burgers are your jam this is your happy place. A blend of freshly ground chuck, brisket and short rib is cooked to your desired doneness and dressed with choice of American, aged cheddar, or Maytag Blue cheese as well as applewood smoked bacon, fried egg, roasted pork belly, and caramelized onion jam. I’m not much of a late night diner but the next time I stay overnight at my daughter’s collegiate apartment we are making a midnight run to Overpass for the Korean Pork Frites, which only appear on the Late Night menu (Friday through Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.). It’s a beautifully insane mishmash of those perfect frites topped with sesame fondue, green onion relish, bulgogi vinaigrette, Sriracha, wonton chips and toasted sesame seeds. n



great louisiana chef

Simply Elevated Scott Gautreau focuses on elegant, home cooked classics at City Pork in Baton Rouge Ashley McLellan photos by Romero & Romero By

City Pork Brasserie & Bar

Executive Chef Scott Gautreau keeps things simple, and his menu reflects that philosophy. He uses many items you may have on hand in your own kitchen, but with a twist. A starter dish of Sticky Wings is transformed with a glaze of cane cola and ginger chili. Local greens are dressed with house-cured bacon and pepper jelly vinaigrette. Chicken Fried Duck puts an elegant spin on a diner classic. A Baton Rouge native, Gautreau embraces the culinary traditions he grew up around and presents them in a way that is at once homey and innovative; a delicate balance of home cooking meets elevated cuisine. Gautreau learned to love cooking from an early age, and built upon his love of the home kitchen experience and ran with it, studying at the prestigious Johnson & Wales University College of Culinary Arts. “I grew up around great home cooks with my mother and two grandmothers who loved to cook and always had excellent home cooked meals with family,” he said. Local ingredients and Louisiana flavors inspire Gautreau’s menus, and bring his love of the kitchen and family to City Pork. “Growing up in south Louisiana I have a deep appreciation and love for Louisiana products and strive to utilize local ingredients whenever possible,” he said. City Pork’s charcuterie are all made in house, and Gautreau’s menu playfully includes many of the riches found in the swamps and salty shores of the state, from Wild Boar Flautas to Andouille Corn Dogs and the killer Big Pig sandwich. While City Pork’s kitchen strives to bring a global culinary style inspired by local foods, the menu is ever-changing, something Gautreau is excited to see continue to develop. “[What I’m most looking forward to in 2018] is seeing City Pork’s growth and potential.” n

54 Louisiana Life july/august 2018

Three words that describe your culinary style? Simple ingredients, elevated.

Cured Duck Bacon Salad with orange citrus vinaigrette Cured/Smoked Duck Breast:

Combine ¼ cup kosher salt, ¾ cup brown sugar and 2 tablespoons Creole seasoning in a bowl. Coat 2 duck breasts with mixture. Place in a sealable bag for two days. Remove from bag and rinse off each duck breast. Pat dry and season with salt and pepper. Cook breasts in smoker at 200 F until internal temperature reaches 155 F. Allow to cool and slice thinly at a slight angle for a wider slice. Orange Citrus Vinaigrette: Place

1½ cups of orange juice in saucepot and reduce by half. Let cool. Combine 1½ ounces of apple cider vinegar, ½ ounce of balsamic vinegar, 1 shallot, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 tablespoon of Creole mustard and ½ cup of orange segments in blender and blend for a minute or two. Slowly add 2 cups of salad oil to emulsify into the dressing. Season with salt and pepper.

For The Salad:

Toss vinaigrette with spring mix lettuces, toasted walnut pieces, orange segments, bacon lardons and grape tomato halves. Top with sliced duck breasts. City Pork Brasserie & Bar

7327 Jefferson Hwy., Baton Rouge • 225-615-8880 • CityPork.com.



kitchen gourmet

Cool Eats Quick summer meals that go well with your favorite chilled, adult beverages by

Stanley Dry

photos and styling by

Eugenia Uhl

The heat is on us now

and it’s likely to be here for a while. The best time of day is early, before dawn, keeping company with the birds. During the morning, through the afternoon and into the evening, our energy wanes and appetites flag. Eating out or bringing home foods prepared by someone else suddenly seem like great ideas. But even that can get old. For those of us who like to cook and want to eat well, it’s never too hot to turn on a stove or light a grill. As much as we enjoy eating out, doing so frequently is not only expensive, but it’s ultimately unsatisfying. Just ask anyone who does it all the time, even if they’re eating in top restaurants, and they’ll tell you that what they really crave is a home-cooked meal. When we cook in the summer we favor quick meals that go well with chilled wines or iced beer. This month’s recipes fit the bill. Broiled or grilled fish with fresh salsa is not only simple to prepare, but the cool, fresh salsa packs enough punch to momentarily cut through the humid air. Anyone with a garden knows how prolific zucchini is in the summer. So much so that we sometimes run out of ways to prepare it. For something different, try zucchini hash

56 Louisiana Life july/august 2018

The fish can be grilled instead of broiled, if desired.

Jalapeños can be very hot or mild, so taste to find the spice level you like. This salsa is best eaten the day it is made.

browns either at breakfast or as a vegetable accompaniment later in the day or in the evening. It’s a quick and simple preparation that packs loads of flavor. Chicken wings, which are always popular, can be prepared any number of ways. This recipe, which combines soy sauce with cane syrup and cane vinegar, has a distinctly south Louisiana accent. Salads are a mainstay during the summer, often serving as the main course of a meal. For a change of pace, make a grilled salad: grill a variety of vegetables, cut them up, combine and dress with olive oil and vinegar. This recipe calls for onion, bell pepper, summer squash and zucchini, but other vegetables could be substituted or added. All of these recipes can be adapted and reworked to fit your personal preferences and style. That’s what recipes are for, really, just to provide a guideline, a map, if you will, of how to proceed. Take the roadmap analogy: two people are given the same map and told to go from Point A to Point B. Since there is more than one way to get there, each follows a different route. As a result, they have different experiences and the accounts of their trips vary greatly. Similarly, give two people a written recipe and the results will be different. n

Broiled Redfish With Fresh Salsa Other saltwater fish, such as black drum, speckled trout or freshwater catfish, can be prepared the same way. The cooked fish and salsa can also be tucked into corn tortillas to make tasty tacos. FISH Preheat

broiler. Rub 4 redfish filets with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Broil until flesh flakes easily.

Fresh Salsa

An all-purpose fresh salsa that can be eaten with chips, used as a sauce to enliven meats, fish, poultry, and eggs, added to mashed avocado to make guacamole, or stirred into a bowl of beans. Combine ½ cup diced tomato, ½ cup diced onion, 1 jalapeño pepper (or to taste), diced, ¼ cup chopped cilantro, 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice and coarse salt to taste and let flavors meld for 30 minutes before using. Makes about 1½ cups. to serve Divide filets among serving plates and top with salsa. Makes 4 servings.

Grilled Salad

Grilled Chicken Wings

This is one of my favorite summertime salads and another way to make use of seasonal vegetables.

This recipe calls for cooking the whole wing. An alternative is to separate the wing into three sections before marinating and grilling. Sometimes wings are available already sectioned.

1 large onion 2 medium zucchini 2 medium summer squash

½ cup soy sauce

1 large red bell pepper

6 tablespoons cane syrup

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon cane vinegar

4 teaspoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder

½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves

coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 12 chicken wings

1. Peel onion and cut into thick slices. Trim ends of zucchini and summer squash and slice lengthwise. 2. Rub onion, zucchini and squash with some of the olive oil and grill on both sides until nicely browned. Grill bell pepper until charred, then place in sack or covered container. When cool enough to handle, peel away blistered skin and remove seeds. 3. Cut all vegetables into bite-sized pieces and combine in a bowl. Add olive oil, vinegar and thyme and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper, add chopped parsley and toss. Serve at room temperature. Makes 4-6 servings.

Zucchini Hash Browns This simple preparation can be served to accompany broiled or grilled meats or poultry. It is also delicious as a

1. Combine all ingredients except chicken wings in a bowl and whisk to combine. 2. Make a few cuts in each wing and place chicken wings in a non-reactive flat container. Pour over marinade and turn wings to coat thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for six or more hours, turning wings every few hours. 3. Grill until cooked through. Check for doneness by making a cut in the thickest part of the wing. Makes 4 servings as an appetizer.

stand-in for potato hash browns at the breakfast table. Trim ends from 1 pound zucchini and peel 1 medium onion. Coarsely grate both using a box grater, food processor or mandoline. Combine grated zucchini and onion with ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan and ¼ cup Panko bread crumbs in a mixing bowl and season to taste with

coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper and cayenne. Add 1 egg (beaten) and toss to combine. Heat 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini mixture and cook, stirring and tossing, until browned, about 5-7 minutes. Makes 4 servings.




summer adventures: Traveling Around Louisiana Hotel Bentley


art of the fun of summer is filling the long, slow days with adventures to new places. Treasure hunt your way across Louisiana this summer and explore the hidden gems that exist a short drive away from home. From world-famous recipes to historic landmarks and exciting festivals, you can find something for everyone in every nook and cranny of the state. Hit a new brewery in North Louisiana, shop for gifts and antiques in Central Louisiana, or load up on ice cream or music in Cajun Country—there’s a variety of options for family fun, romantic getaways, and day trips with friends. Summer is the season of exploration and making memories, so start planning your adventure with the following cities, parishes, and points of interest that make our state such a unique and diverse cultural destination. The state satisfies every appetite with its food, experiences, travel, and history—get your fill before summer ends!

Cities & Parishes Louisiana truly has the best of all worlds. Captivating outdoor environments are accompanied by the unbeatable sounds you’ll hear inside its music venues. Its arts scene is rivaled by historic architecture. When you visit and explore what Louisiana has to offer, you enjoy a variety of memory-making experiences that you can’t find anywhere else. Love the great outdoors? Then Louisiana is a must-visit. Where else can you paddle through cypress forests, camp by a bayou, or bike through groves of live oaks all in the same day? And when enjoying the outdoors in Louisiana, you’re never far from delicious food, live music, and captivating locals welcoming you with open arms. 58 58 Louisiana LouisianaLife Life july/august july/AuGuST2018 2018

There’s so much to see, do, and explore in Louisiana—no matter your passion, follow it here and let Louisiana dazzle you. Visit LouisianaTravel.com for more information. Summer fun is in full swing in “The Most Cajun Place on Earth,” also known as Vermilion Parish. Located minutes south of Lafayette and west of New Iberia in South Louisiana, the parish is alive with the music, language, cuisine, and scenery that define the Cajun cultural heritage. Summer fun kicks off this month with Erath’s annual 4th of July celebration with fireworks, carnival rides, music, and more. Food is a big focus in summer, when farmers markets bring fresh produce, handmade goods, and seafood to the public in Delcambre and Abbeville. In Abbeville, the Annual Cake and Ice Cream festival helps cool off festivalgoers, who indulge in sweets, contests, music, and family fun. Kaplan hosts Coffee and Music, treating music fans to the sweet sounds of local musicians along with the sweet and savory flavors of coffee, doughnuts, cracklins, and boudin on July 28 and August 25. The Delcrambe Shrimp Festival takes place August 15-19, which features a shrimp cook-off, pageants, fais-do-do, food, carnival rides, and the blessing of the fleet. For more information, events, and ideas, visit MostCajun.com. 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 13-14), Bikers on the Bayou (July 15), and the Louisiana Shrimp & Petroleum Festival during Labor Day Weekend. For more information, visit CajunCoast.com. Experience for yourself the arts and culture of Ruston and Lincoln Parish. Home to Louisiana Tech University and Grambling State University, the area is alive with cultural events, festivals, and more! Must-see attractions in the parish include the Louisiana Military Museum and the Eddie G. Robinson Museum. Looking for an outdoor adventure? Check out Lincoln Parish Park! Nationally known for the mountain biking trails, Lincoln Parish Park is also a great location for camping, hiking, fishing, or relaxing hammock-style. Downtown Ruston is as busy as ever with shoppers and foodies taking advantage of boutiques and specialty stores, art galleries, and local restaurants. Enjoy a drink and brickoven pizza at Ruston’s first brewery, Utility Brewing, also located downtown. For more information on Ruston and Lincoln Parish, visit ExperienceRuston.com or call 800-392-9032. Gather your girlfriends for a weekend getaway in central Louisiana where you can shop antique stores, flea markets, and specialty boutiques sprinkled throughout the area. Find that special gift at Southern Chic Boutique or John Ward Interior and Gifts in Alexandria. Or, grab a one-of-a-kind treasure at Junkin’ on the Main or Amelia’s Attic in Glenmora. Pamper yourselves at one of the local spas or relax in a yoga session before taking a tour at Kent Plantation House. Explore Alexandria’s downtown Cultural District where you will find museums, performing arts venues, restaurants, nightlife and more. End your day with dinner at one of the more than 100 locally owned and operated restaurants in the Alexandria/Pineville area including Verona, Bellino’s, Cajun Landing, Diamond Grill or Spirits Food & Friends. There are many ways to eat, shop, and play your way through Alexandria/ Pineville. Begin your planning by visiting AlexandriaPinevilleLA.com or calling 800-551-9546.

Points of Interest Since 1922, Bossier City has been home to one of the oldest, most unique hardware stores in the state. At just 12 years of age, Don Tubbs went to work for Mr. Holmes sweeping floors


at Holmes Hardware, the very store he’d come to own at the age of 19. Since that time, Tubbs Hardware has become a household name in North Louisiana and a point of interest for travelers to the area. In addition to being an old-fashioned, locally owned hardware store, Tubbs Hardware serves as a one-stop Louisiana souvenir shop with a vast selection of t-shirts, Mardi Gras supplies and Cajun gifts, including Tubb’s famous wall of hot sauce. Visitors enjoy stocking up on their favorite Louisiana goods, experiencing the hometown hardware store, and visiting with owner Don Tubbs. Easy to access right off I-20, Tubbs Hardware is located across from the Bossier Civic Center, near the Mardi Gras Museum, and just blocks from the Shreveport-Bossier riverboat casinos. Tour buses are welcome. Visit the store Monday through Saturday at 615 Benton Road. For more information, visit TubbsHardware.net or call 318-746-0311. In the center of Louisiana, in the twin-city area of Alexandria-Pineville, stands the grand Hotel Bentley. Situated on the banks of the Red River, this magnificent, century-old structure was built in 1908 by Mr. Joseph Bentley at the original cost of $750,000. Often called the “Waldorf of the Red River” or the “Biltmore of the Bayou,” this Central Louisiana treasure features 93 luxurious rooms and a wealth of history. With the beginning of WWII, Central Louisiana became the center of a nine-state area for the training of military personnel. It is said that many of the plans for WWII were formulated at Hotel Bentley, and many troop commanders lived at the famed hotel whose register lists such names as Maj. Gen George Patton, Lt. Col. Omar Bradley, and Col. Dwight Eisenhower. Other famous guests of Hotel Bentley include Henry Kissinger, John Wayne, Bob Hope, Mickey Rooney, and Tommy Dorsey, along with Louisiana politicians Huey Long and his brother Earl Long. For more information and booking, visit HotelBentleyandCondos.com or call 318-442-2226. Located just outside of Alexandria in Forest Hill, Louisiana, sits an unassuming little restaurant that packs huge flavor and a world-famous recipe. Literally “world famous,” Mi Tierra’s hot tamales have received national and international recognition—the recipe itself is archived at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. Family owned and operated since 2004, Mi Tierra Restaurante Mexicano is the creation of Mrs. Irma Rodriguez, who takes a unique approach to traditional Mexican cuisine by fusing her family’s old recipes and Louisiana flavors. In addition to tamales, menu favorites include the Mi Tierra combination plate, the queso fundido with house-made chorizo, and from-scratch flour and corn tortillas. Mi Tierra has placed repeatedly at the Hot Tamale Festival in Greenville, Mississippi, and the restaurant is one of only a few in the United States to be recognized by the Mexican government as accurately representing Mexican cuisine. Mi Tierra is located 11418 US-165 in Forest Hill and is in the process of opening a second location in Alexandria at MacArthur Village in July 2018. The new location will feature longtime menu favorites alongside new, authentic Mexican dishes.

State of Medicine


nowing where to turn when illness or injury strikes can mean accessing better care faster. Louisiana offers a wealth of quality medical institutions, practices, physicians, and other healthcare providers and resources. No matter where you are in Louisiana, you can rest assured you’re near help when help is needed. Hospital expansions are frequently in the news, bringing more services and technologies to area patients and their families. Specialists are continually honing their knowledge and skills, providing solutions for even the most complicated of cases. Advancements in technologies bring new methods of diagnosis and treatment and may have changed the way physicians approach your health concern as recent as yesterday. The state of medicine is always in flux, always growing and advancing. Explore Louisiana’s state of medicine with news and highlights from the following cross-state providers. Thibodaux Regional Medical Center, located in Lafourche Parish, recently announced plans to construct a new state-of-the-art cancer facility. The new cancer facility will accommodate the growth the Center is experiencing and will position Thibodaux Regional for the future of care, treatment, and support for those affected by cancer. According to Greg Stock, Thibodaux Regional CEO, “The new Cancer Institute will provide the springboard for continued growth and development of cancer services into the future. That future aligns with our vision and includes important innovations such as integrating wellness into the clinical aspects of cancer care.” The $35M, five-story building will provide nearly 100,000 square feet, allowing for growth of the hospital’s cancer program, and will include Radiation Therapy, Chemotherapy/

Infusion Area, Medical Oncology Clinic, Education Center, Wellness Services, Activity Center, Library, Diagnostics Center, Conference Center, Laboratory, Pharmacy, and a Chapel. Construction is expected to begin December 2018. For more information, visit Thibodaux.com. At CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Hospital, patients are treated like they would like to be treated. The hospital delivers high-quality care with a focus on the individual. As a Catholic health ministry, CHRISTUS Cabrini is dedicated to serving each patient with compassion, empathy, and the love of Jesus Christ. While taking care of patients is top priority, the hospital equally prioritizes hiring only the best associates. Those looking to enter the medical profession are always welcome to join the CHRISTUS Cabrini team, whose mission is to make the community an even better and healthier place to live. “We have many great opportunities at CHRISTUS Cabrini for health care professionals,” says Nancy Hellyer, RN, FACHE, CEO of CHRISTUS Cabrini. CHRISTUS Cabrini supports associates at every step of their journey. Just as the team focuses on treating the entire patient, the CHRISTUS ministry is dedicated to respecting and engaging the entire professional. CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Hospital is located in Alexandria, LA. For more information, visit CHRISTUSHealth.org/StFrancesCabrini or call 318-487-1122. Lafayette has long been the cultural hub of Acadiana and has secured its place as its medical hub as well. At Surgical Specialists of Lafayette, Drs. Henry J. Kaufman IV, Jason A. Breaux, and Jacob Landry are each board certified in General Surgery and meet the need for expertly trained and qualified surgical oncology in Acadiana. Dr. Henry J. Kaufman, IV, is fellowship trained in Surgical Oncology. A native of Abbeville, Dr. Kaufman specializes in the surgical care of cancers in the skin, soft tissues, and abdominal, pelvic, breast and endocrine organs. Dr. Jason Breaux specializes in Oncology Surgery and the multidisciplinary care of cancer. Dr. Jacob E. Landry is a native of Lafayette and specializes in laparoscopic surgery and oncologic surgery with special interests in breast surgery, head and neck endocrine surgery, and melanoma. Together, these surgeons provide quality and comprehensive cancer care in a compassionate and professional environment. Enlist Surgical Specialists of Lafayette in your fight against cancer or for any surgical needs. For more information, call 337-237-5774. LouisianaLife.com LOuISIANALIfE.COm


60 Louisiana Life july/august 2018


july/ august Festivals around the state by Kelly


GREATER NOLA July 4. Dueling Barges Firework Show. New Orleans. go4thontheriver.com July 5-8. Essence Festival. New Orleans. essence.com/festival-2018 July 13-15. Running of the Bulls. New Orleans. nolabulls.com July 14. Bastille Day Fete. New Orleans. bastilledaynola. com/bastilledaynola July 17-22. Tales of the Cocktail. New Orleans. talesofthecocktail.com Aug. 1-31. COOLinary New Orleans. New Orleans. coolinaryneworleans.com Aug. 1-31. New Orleans Museum Month. New Orleans. neworleans.com/museummonth Aug. 3-5. Satchmo SummerFest New Orleans. New Orleans. satchmosummerfest.org Aug. 4. Whitney White Linen Night New Orleans. New Orleans. cacno.org Aug. 11. Dirty Linen Night New Orleans. New Orleans. dirtylinennola.com Aug. 11. Red Dress Run New Orleans. New Orleans. neworleanshash.com/rdrsignup.asp

Louisiana watermelon festival

Aug. 24. Nola Downtown Music And Art Festival. New Orleans. cuttingedgenola.com Aug. 30-Sept. 3. Southern Decadence New Orleans. southerndecadence.net

Cajun Country June 30 - July 4. Erath Fourth of July Celebration. Erath. erath4.com July 20-21. Natchitoches/ NSU Folk Festival. Natchitoches. louisianafolklife. nsula.edu


year marks the 53rd annual Watermelon Festival — an event that combines a great summer treat with

62 Louisiana Life july/august 2018

fun pastimes, such as tennis, arm wrestling and tricycle races. The biggest watermelon wins the prize and watermelons are auctioned

July 28. Ladies & Gentlemen’s Regatta LCYC. Lake Charles. lakecharlesyachtclub.com Aug. 18. Arts & Crabs Fest. Lake Charles. artscouncilswla.org Aug. 16-18. Le Cajun Music Awards and Festival. Lafayette. cajunfrenchmusic.org Aug. 15-18. Shrimp Festival. Delcambre. shrimpfestival.net Aug. 30 – Sept. 3. Louisiana Shrimp & Petroleum Festival. Morgan City. shrimpandpetroleum.org

off to the public. Participants can also try their hand at a watermelon eating or speed spitting contest — or opt for dressing up your

CENTRAL July 4. Red Stick White & Blue. Baton Rouge. lsumoa.org Aug. 31-Sept. 1. Cane River Zydeco Festival. Natchitoches. natchitoches.com

North July 27-28. Louisiana Watermelon Festival. Farmerville. farmerville.org/watermelon.php Aug. 24-26. Ark-La-Tex Music Heritage Festival. Shreveport. klkl.fm

prized watermelon for the best-dress watermelon competition. Add in a parade, a pageant with “teen” and “miss” categories,

plus arts and crafts and you have a full weekend in Farmerville.

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a louisiana life

At the Root Omari Ho-Sang is working to abolish crime and poverty in Shreveport and beyond By Megan portrait By

Hill Romero & Romero

Activist Omari Ho-Sang is

originally from Birmingham, Alabama, but she’s working hard to transform lives for Louisianians. Now living in Shreveport, Ho-Sang is the founder of ASAP Shreveport, which stands for All Streets, All People. She launched the organization after an uptick in crime in 2016, to bring together a diverse set of citizens and discuss actionable solutions to a host of community issues. “We access people in their homes, families, churches, and mobilize everyday people around critical issues and systemic issues,” she says. Ho-Sang says that while marches and protests can raise awareness temporarily, she wants to engage people for long-term solutions. And she has big goals for what ASAP can accomplish. “Our work is to abolish crime and poverty,” she says. The program addresses root causes like unemployment, education inequity, and health and economic disparities. ASAP mobilizes citizens to attend public meetings to voice their concerns, and organizes roundtable discussions that always end with an action item to effect change. In her free time, Ho-Sang leads a group of young boys, including her son, in scouting activities. She created a group based on the principles of Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver, and often takes the boys camping and fishing. She also works for The Minority Suppliers Institute, part of the Strategic Action Council of Northwest Louisiana. There, she works to close the wealth gap experienced by minority business owners. Ultimately, Ho-Sang wants to ensure the world her son grows up in is one he can thrive in. “The primary focus is to create mass movement around the systemic issues and to challenge institution to tear down systemic barriers,” she says. “I understand that this is long-term work but it’s necessary work and I believe that if it’s done successfully in Louisiana it can be done successfully anywhere around the South.” n

“Louisiana is a really important aspect of the work that we’re doing. We want to serve as a model for the rest of the South.”