Louisiana Life March-April 2019

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Louisiana’s Best Retirement cities pg.38




Geaux Fish

8 delectable dishes that celebrate this abundant Louisiana food

fried catfish with Tartar Sauce

march/april 26 VOLUME 39 NUMBER 4


From The Editor

Home of the Hayride 5


Festival International de Louisiane: Cajun Country’s biggest festival kicks off in Lafayette, plus literary, film, wine and art festivals all over the state

44 roadside dining

Community Fare: Down home favorites fill plates and bellies at Rocky & Carlo’s in Chalmette 46 great louisiana chef

Happy Eats: Kimlin Hall shares her native Caribbean cuisine at Chindian Flavors in Ruston

6 along the way

The Parade of Life: When krewe life extends well beyond Carnival



kitchen gourmet

photo contest

Silent Watch: A Barred Owl nestled behind leaves locks eyes with Blind River fishers

Crawfish Feasting: 3 delectable crawfish recipes to enjoy this season



state of louisiana


Pelican Briefs: Noteworthy news and happenings around the state

Pirate Tales: Jean Lafitte’s legacy provides plenty to do and see in the legendary swashbuckler’s name

12 health

Paths to Fitness: If you’re looking to start jogging or add a little beauty to your running routine, Louisiana has a number of parks and paths

62 farther flung

Southern Hospitality: History, culinary delights and cultural activities make Atlanta a must-visit city

14 Literary Louisiana

Roux Roots: A culinary tour of Louisiana’s favorite comfort food and its history 16 Made In Louisiana

Metal Winner: David Cano collaborates with clients and other creatives to bring to life custom metalwork creations in his Baton Rouge fabrication shop 18

26 Gone Fishing Abundant, nutritious and delicious, fish is a Louisiana staple year round and all around the state By stanley dry photographs by eugenia uhl

38 louisiania’s Best retirement cities The top places in the state to enjoy your golden years to the fullest

64 a louisiana life

Basin Keeper: Dean Wilson has made protecting the Atchafalaya Basin his life’s work

By Cheré coen


Louisiana Monsters: Baton Rouge artist Jonathan “Feral Opossum” Mayers documents that which has stuggled to survive 22 home

Invested: Musician Amanda Shaw turned a worn double in New Orleans’ Bywater neighborhood into a comfortable home base where classic meets modern

on the cover

With Louisiana’s abundance of lakes, bayous, rivers and, of course the coastal area, fish is something that makes an appearance on nearly every Louisianian’s dinner table. Since this is the Sportsman’s Paradise after all, you may have even caught

it yourself. This year’s recipes were once again expertly developed by our “Kitchen Gourmet” columnist, Stanley Dry. The golden fried catfish was the obvious choice for the cover. This simple yet flavorful fish is popular all over Louisiana. Dry’s eight recipes feature a

variety of fish from baked sheepshead with tangy salsa to broiled flounder in brown butter. Can’t find the type of fish the recipe calls for? No problem. Dry says substitute with redfish. Find the recipes on page 26. — Alice Phillips



Editor-In-Chief Errol Laborde


MANAGING Editor Melanie Warner Spencer



Gold Art Direction of a Single Story Silver Photo Series Silver Travel Package Silver Food Feature Silver Department Bronze Cover

Art Director Sarah George


Associate editor Ashley McLellan copy EDITOR Liz Clearman web Editor Kelly Massicot travel EDITOR Paul F. Stahls Jr. FOOD EDITOR Stanley Dry

lead photographer Danley Romero Editorial Intern Alice Phillips

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(504) 830-7215 Colleen@LouisianaLife.com account executive Brittany Karno

(504) 830-7206 Brittany@LouisianaLife.com marketing DIRECTOR OF MARKETING & EVENTS Cheryl Lemoine Event Coordinator Abbie Dugruise digital media associate Mallary Matherne

For event information call (504) 830-7264

Gold Art Direction of a Single Story Silver Portrait Photo Bronze Photographer of the Year Bronze Food Feature Bronze Cover Bronze Public Issue Bronze Hed & Dek 2016

Silver Art Direction of a Single Story Bronze Column Bronze Food Feature 2012


Gold Companion Website

production manager Emily Andras


production designers

Rosa Balaguer, Meghan Rooney traffic coordinator Lane Brocato

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

Silver Overall Art Direction Press Club of New Orleans 2018

1st Place Best Cover 1st Place MultiPhoto Feature 2nd Place Layout/ Design 2017

1st Place Best Magazine 2016

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 2019 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.

Lifetime Achievement Award Errol Laborde 1st Place Best Magazine 1st Place Layout/ Design 2nd Place Best Magazine 2nd Place Layout/ Design 2nd Place Best Portrait 2nd Place Governmental/ Political Writing





Standing on the stage at Shreveport’s legendary Municipal Auditorium,

Winston Hall, a musician and tour guide with a passion for the city’s music legacy, points to a spot on the floor, right up from in the center. The auditorium is empty this afternoon, but the imagination quickly fills the seats as though it is Saturday night of yesteryear as radio station KWKH staged its weekly “Louisiana Hayride” broadcast. Hall fills in the rest by playing a soundtrack from October 16, 1954, when the announcer introduces a young man from Mississippi named Elvis Presley. After assuring the crowd that he was proud to be there Presley launches into a song called “That’s Alright Momma.” And then — from that very spot on the stage — the world changes. Really. Because the concert is being broadcast, microphones were set up throughout the audience section. The sound technician quickly noticed that something different was happening. Teenagers, who had been dragged along by their parents to hear a country music show, suddenly seem possessed. Turning the sound pods the technician integrates screaming, unlike anything ever heard into the song. Through the woods and hills of northcentral Louisiana and into Arkansas and east Texas the airwaves are raucous, as though sending a message that a king is born. Only two year earlier, also in October, young Hank Williams stood on that same spot. Nobody reached hearts (whether they were, “Cheating” or “Cold, Cold”) better than him. In Louisiana his hit, “Jambalaya” was as hot as a crawfish pie. On that October night it was announced that Williams had just been given a contract (thought modest) to regularly appear on the “Hayride.” It might have been a long and blissful life together except that Williams’ life, ended on Jan. 1, 1953. He was found in the backseat of a car in West Virginia, possibly the victim of a painkiller overdose. Hall argues that Shreveport has such a rich music legacy that it should have a Music museum. Being the birthplace of the early blues singer known as “Leadbelly” justifies some enshrinement. (Shreveport and neighboring Bossier City on the other side of the Red River qualified for our list in this issue of the state’s desirable places to retire. Certainly, a lazy day on the Red River with the latest listening device tuned to the songs from the city’s legacy could cure the blues.). Having been completed in 1929, the old auditorium is now a spry 90 years old. It has lost none of its Art Deco good looks and still houses travelling road shows. Like any respectable old building it is also haunted by ghost stories though neither Hall nor a regular staffer who joined us claim to have ever seen an apparition there. (Although—there is a window that seems to keep reopening after being shut.) Maybe it is the spirits from the past hoping for a matinee.


Louisiana Life march/april 2019


Festival International de Louisiane Cajun Country’s biggest festival kicks off in Lafayette, plus literary, film, wine and art festivals all over the state by kelly massicot photo by david simpson

Greater New Orleans Area

Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival March 27 - 31 // New Orleans

A five-day literary festival packed with award-winning speakers, theater performances and panel discussions. This year’s festival includes writer’s craft sessions, a breakfast book club and walking tours among many other exciting literary events. tennesseewilliams.net


Louisiana International Film Festival April 4-7 // Baton Rouge

The Louisiana International Film Festival’s goal is to promote and advance Louisiana’s digital storytelling. The festival is set to screen over 50 films, industry panels, musical performances and Q-and-As throughout the threeday event. louisianafilmfoundation.org


Held in downtown Lafayette ,

the 5-day, Festival International de Louisiane sees over 300,000 festivalgoers celebrating international music and the connection between Acadiana and its French roots. The festival features performance art, music, workshops, theater and more. Get close to the action with a Festival Pass, which includes express beverage lines, front row viewing, private restrooms among other amenities. If the festival isn’t enough, running enthusiasts can participate in Courir Du Festival, Festival International’s 5k race. Wind through downtown Lafayette and cross the finish line right into the festival. Festival International truly has something for everyone! Festival International de Louisiane April 24-28. Lafayette festivalinternational.org


Arts & Crafts Festival

Cork Wine Festival April 6 // Shreveport

Wine enthusiasts mark your calendars for an afternoon of wine featuring 80 wines from all over the world. Guests can sample wine, local cuisine and win prizes throughout the event. Additionally, wine experts from each of the represented regions will be at the festival to answer questions and discuss each of the wines. corkwinefestival.com

April 6-7 // Melrose Under the oak trees at Melrose Plantation, guests can peruse more than 100 local vendors and artists displaying jewelry, pottery, paintings and more. Festivalgoers can also tour the large house, plantation grounds and other buildings around the 200-year-old property. melroseplantation.org



along the way

The Parade of Life When Mardi Gras krewe magic extends beyond Carnival By Melanie Warner Spencer Photo by Austyn Marie Captures

(left to right) Kambria Temelkova, Megan Moss, Darrin Piotrowski, the author and Krissy Schexnayder Sagona of The Merry Antoinettes marching krewe.

By the time you read this, Mardi

Gras celebrations will be wrapping up all over the state, but one of the krewes I’m in will have just started its year’s worth of events. While I love watching parades, I used to think krewes and costumes looked a lot like a big hassle and an even bigger commitment. My husband Mark and I live on the Mardi Gras route, just a few steps off of St. Charles, so we see every parade that comes through Uptown during Carnival. We’ve also attended most of the French Quarter parades. By our second Carnival season, we’d become familiar with all of the marching, dancing and parading krewes — or so we thought. During one parade, a group of women and a couple of men dressed in a sassy and flashy version of the 18th-century French court attire made popular by the tragic Queen Marie Antoinette sauntered by and I immediately snapped to attention. I grabbed Mark’s arm and yelled, “Who are they? They are fabulous!” As a Francophile and lover of French and Louisiana history, especially the 1700s, my interest was peaked. They were


Louisiana Life march/april 2019

gone in a flash like a lacy, corseted, powered phantasm. Over the next year, I asked anyone that might know, “Who were those wigged women and men?” But, my sources were not coming through for me. The following Carnival season, we went to the French Quarter to watch Krewe de Vieux, a naughty and raucous satire parade, and krewedelusion, a smaller, artsy parade. After KdV and its astonishing amount of genitalia-related floats passed, krewedelusion started. At the beginning of the parade, there they were — what looked like about 100 wigged, floofed and flouncy marchers sashaying their way through the Quarter, fanning themselves coquettishly and tossing brioche to the masses. The banner read, The Merry Antoinettes, “Let Them Throw Cake!” Finally, I had a name. Not long after, I learned I knew someone in the krewe all along, but wasn’t aware of it. She encouraged me to apply and within a few days, I was a Merry. Since then, I’ve marched in three parades, helped build floats, crafted dozens of

glittery throws, costumed year round as a volunteer at charity events, including the Bastille Day Fête at the New Orleans Museum of Art — be still my Francophile heart. Whereas before, I had no interest in parading or costuming, now I own about eight wigs and look for any excuse to wear one. Most importantly however, I’ve met some of the kindest, most generous and fun-loving people I’ve ever known and they are so attuned to my interests and personality, I sometimes think I conjured them up. For some, joining a krewe can lead to addiction. Before you know it, you find yourself joining multiple parading organizations just to get that euphoric buzz that only the sound of cheering crowds can fix. I’m one of those people. To date, I’m in three krewes. One is a small, rogue group of friends who go by Krewe du Zoo, dress up like animals and jump into the St. Anne’s parade on Mardi Gras day. The most recent for me is Krewe of Iris. Founded in 1917, it is the oldest, largest female krewe in New Orleans. Thanks to that old Mardi Gras magic, not only do I get to relish living on the parade route with a front row seat to the action, but also, I am part of the grand Carnival tradition — and it doesn’t stop after Fat Tuesday. But, it all started with those merry Merrys. Much like the first time I visited New Orleans, it was love at first sight. n



photo contest

Silent Watch A Barred Owl nestled behind leaves locks eyes with Blind River fishers. Photo by laura hollier, denham springs

Submit your photos by visiting louisianalife.com


Louisiana Life march/april 2019





Higher Profits

pelican briefs Noteworthy news and happenings around the state by Lisa LeBlanc-Berry

Lake Charles

Tiny Town Rabbits Rabbit breeders and bunny lovers alike enjoy amazing rabbit shows staged by the Tiny Town Rabbit Club (usually more than 400 entries) during the annual Iowa Rabbit Festival, held March 1416 at Burton Coliseum Complex. To encourage youth participation, a 4-H show has been added. The one-of-akind festival has also added a bandstand, and offers abundant rabbit dishes including gumbo, the crowning of Miss Bunny, live music and marching bands (iowarabbitfestival.org).

New Orleans

Discounted Jazz Fest Tickets


Gator Therapy Work is nearing completion for a new $664,000 Gator Chateau at the Louisiana Oil and Gas Park just of I-10 (100 Rue de l’ Acadie, Jennings), set to open for visitors this spring. Crews hope to have the 500,000 square-foot structure fully enclosed by July. Visitors can hold and pet 12 rescued baby gators (with a handler). Free. Reservations required: 337-821-5521. Holding a gator can be therapeutic, according to a 65-year-old man who says that he uses his registered emotional support animal, a five-foot alligator, to battle depression, after receiving a doctor’s approval. Rescued as a baby, the gator likes to snuggle and play in his plastic pool.

New Art Event


New in 2019, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of New Orleans Jazz Fest, producers have added Thursday, April 25 to the first weekend, dubbed “Locals Thursday,” allowing anyone with a valid Louisiana ID to purchase up to two discounted tickets at the gate on Thursday for just $50 each (nojazzfest.com). Earth, Wind & Fire, Alanis Morissette, Taj Mahal and The Doobie Brothers are among the Thursday headliners.

Baton Rouge The Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge and Forum 35 are partnering to create a new interactive art event, Art Flow, which is serving as the anchor event for an expanded annual Ebb & Flow Festival season that promotes various films, music festivals, art, interactive media and conferences in March and April in downtown Baton Rouge. Vote for your favorite art installations March 15-April 5 during Art Flow’s juried art exhibition of temporary 2-D and 3-D art at participating venues downtown. Winners of the public and juried prizes will be announced at the free outdoor Ebb & Flow Festival held April 6-7; art displays continue through the Baton Rouge Blues Festival April 13-14 (artsbr.org; batonrougebluesfestival.org).

Louisiana Life march/april 2019

The Lafayette-based IberiaBank Corp., the largest bank headquartered in Louisiana, announced that it has exceeded analyst expectations after posting a higher profit ($129.1 million or $2.32 per share) in the 4th quarter, up from the same period last year. Core earnings saw an increase of 40 percent from a year ago. The earnings met the company’s 2020 financial metrics for the 3rd straight quarter.


Get a Business Degree Online UL Lafayette is launching an online business management bachelor’s degree this fall. Students will complete 120122 credit hours on either a part-time or full-time basis and will follow the same curriculum as students enrolled in the traditional program. Online students may interact with faculty members via telephone, email, discussion forums or audio and video conferences. To apply: bit.ly/ulonlinestudy.

New Iberia

New Food Fest Taunt Na Na’s Flea Market (125 W. Main) is holding its spring trade days and a new Bayou Teche Food Festival featuring a variety of iconic dishes from local food vendors in New Iberia’s Bouligny Plaza March 30. Artisan demonstrations, antiques, garage sale items and hand-crafted treasures await discovery (bayoutechefest.com; tauntnana.com).

Record Jobs Predicted According to Loren C. Scott, Professor Emeritus in Economics, and other economists, Louisiana has recovered from its 28-month recession and is expected to surpass 2,000,000 jobs on an annual basis for the first time in its history in 2019.

healthy louisiana

Paths to Fitness It’s not always easy to motivate yourself to get fit and stay fit. But if you’re looking to start jogging or add a little beauty to your running routine, Louisiana has a number of parks and paths that offer joggers plenty of eye candy to keep their runs from getting dull. The following four parks are just a small sample of what the Pelican State has to offer runners. By Fritz Esker

GET THE RIGHT FOOTWEAR When you’re running or walking, the right shoes are critical. Make sure your shoes fit properly and that you have the appropriate amount of arch support. This will save you from potentially nagging injuries down the road.


1 2 Audubon Park

There is a lot to like about the smooth 1.8-mile jogging path under a canopy of oak trees in New Orleans’ Audubon Park. Runners can enjoy the views of the park and of the streetcar coming up historic St. Charles Avenue. If you want to extend your run, you can make a short jog past the Audubon Zoo to The Fly along the Mississippi River. Last but not least, there are numerous drinking fountains that also have a shower nozzle to cool your whole body off during New Orleans’ oppressively hot summer months.


Tunica Hills Wildlife Management Area Trail A

If you’re looking for a bigger challenge, this 4-mile trail near Brandon offers joggers a difficult path with sharp elevation changes (a relative rarity in Louisiana). There is plenty of wildlife to be seen, especially birds. A run through Tunica Hills is often accompanied by the soundtrack of birds singing.

Louisiana Life march/april 2019

find a friend

3 4 Comite Park Trail

Near Baton Rouge, this trail also offers some elevation changes for runners seeking a higher degree of difficulty. There is a little beach near the trail as an added bonus. A few words of caution: bring insect repellent because some horseflies might join you on your run and mind the cyclists (this is also a popular trail for mountain bikers).

Red River National Wildlife Refuge

There are a few trails to choose from in the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Joggers might have to deal with uneven paths, but they will be rewarded with views of Lake Caroline and creatures like the colorful male wood duck and maybe even a few alligators.

If you are exercising during the day, be sure to wear sunscreen. Even if you do not get sunburned, sun damage from repeated exposure can add up and lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. Also, consider using insect repellent when out on nature trails. Lastly, if you are cycling, wear a helmet.

Everything is more fun if you have a partner. A running or biking buddy can keep you from getting bored with your workouts. They can challenge you to do better and force you to get out of the house on days when you just feel like staying in and watching your favorite shows.”


Roux Roots A culinary tour of Louisiana’s favorite comfort food and its history By Ashley McLellan

Cajun. Z’herbes. Duck and sausage.

Shrimp and crabmeat. No matter how you like your gumbo, most Louisianians can agree that the warm mélange of roux and spices is our state’s proudest dish. It’s the go-to dish, passed down through generations, that brings family together. Served with rice, potato salad or sweet potatoes, gumbo means more than just a hearty stew, and it’s that point that author Ken Wells explores in his new book, “Gumbo Life: Tales from the Roux Bayou.” A native of Houma, Wells grew up along Bayou Black, with the gumbo his momma cooked as a traditional family staple. “Gumbo Life” is Wells’ own search for the history of the dish, from its West African influences, Native American spices, and French culinary techniques. He also explores the ingredients that have become associated with the mix: Andouille sausage, okra, filé powder, the dark roux and more. With a conversational, folksy, poetic style, Wells’ “Gumbo Life” may be one man’s search for the perfect gumbo recipe, but is also a tale about all of Louisiana and the many cultures that make up the state and its food traditions. A bonus recipe section details selections from famed New Orleans chef Leah Chase, Senator Allen Ellender, food educator and chef John Folse, as well as the author’s mother’s recipe and more. n

spring gifts for kids


Louisiana Life march/april 2019

“Gumbo Life: Tales from the Roux Bayou” by Ken Wells W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 288 p., $26.95

“The Mermaids of New Orleans” written by Sally Asher, illustrations by Melissa Vandiver explores the colorful life of the undersea mer-village right outside New Orleans and deep under the Mississippi River. That watery version of the city may seem familiar, from their narrow trident houses, parades, brass bands, and summery roeballs that look suspiciously similar to our own snow ball treats. But what happens when the mermaids are allowed to leave the deep sea one day a year? Dive into this exuberant mer-tale and find out…. UL Press, 36 p., $20

Ask a Librarian: FICTION Librarians from East Baton Rouge Parish Library tell us what they’re reading right now:

“Skyjack: The Hunt For D. B. Cooper” By Geoffrey Gray,

The five traits of Ikigai are explained with examples from all walks of life. It’s part-philosophy and partcultural introduction into the Japanese way of life. The Ikigai traits are easily recognizable to the Western sense of purpose in one’s own life. It struck a chord with me so I’m re-reading the book now.” Cynthia Watanabe (Librarian) “Awakening Your Ikigai: How the Japanese Wake Up to Joy and Purpose Everyday” by Ken Mogi, The Experiment, 224 p., $16.95

While “Alligator, Bayou, Crawfish” by Ali Solino is, by name, a “NOLA Kid’s Alphabet,” this colorfullyillustrated book has ABC’s that will appeal to little Louisianians from across the state, as well as fans of the city of New Orleans. Published in New Orleans by the start-up Tubby & Coo’s Publishing, this little book features charming illustrations for each letter of the alphabet, from alligator to voodoo, that capture our home state’s culture. Tubby & Coo’s Publishing, 36 p., $19.99

“Nonfiction book about a journalist who gets pulled into an investigation about a suspect in the D. B. Cooper case, only to find out that there are still many suspects and conspiracy theories that need to be investigated.” Brandi Burton (Librarian, Head of Teen Department)

“Mycroft and Sherlock” by KareEm Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse

“Who knew that NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was such a Sherlock fan? He’s written a book featuring Sherlock’s early years in the stews of London—Sherlock and older brother Mycroft cross paths as they run parallel and competing investigations into the opium trade.” Mary Stein (Assistant Library Director)

“Fermat’s Enigma: The Epic Quest to Solve the World’s Greatest Mathematical Problem” by Simon Singh

“Loving it because: Math becomes astonishingly entertaining in the pursuit of its holy grail and the lives devoted to, sacrificed for, and saved by it.“ Brandy Luther (Adult Reference Librarian)




Metal Winner

As far as daily commutes go,

David Cano collaborates with clients and other creatives to bring to life custom metalwork creations in his Baton Rouge fabrication shop

(left to right) Matt Booksh, David Cano and Craig Booksh

By Jeffrey Roedel photos by romero & romero



Is there something in particular about your metal design that is specifically inspired by Louisiana? I would say it has to be the south Louisiana tradition of taking a minute to visit and not just rushing through things. Sometimes a job needs this [change of pace] also. It can slow down the work, but sometimes I have

Louisiana Life march/april 2019

David Cano’s is hard to beat. It runs from the recently renovated second-floor loft apartment directly above his wife’s letterpress studio to just down the street at the expansive metal fabrication shop where, with help from longtime employees and welders Matt Booksh and Craig Booksh, as well as two other employees, he creates artful gates and fences, windows, vent hoods, all manner of furniture, and even the shimmery steel bike racks that now dot Baton Rouge promoting exercise and connectivity. In between his residence and his office sits a brick building boasting bright murals that he purchased last year. It houses WHYR, Baton Rouge’s community radio station. Just home from an install, the 50-year-old — who looks 40 with his Paul Newman blue eyes — has scarfed down a quick sandwich and now saunters past the station to check on things at the shop. Even with a myriad of projects and planning tomorrow’s fishing expedition on his plate, his mind meditates on this building’s potential as he looks it over. He can’t hold his excitement for rethinking the subdivided offices and common rooms that remain empty inside. It’s just that bending and cutting metal 60 hours a week for Iron Design LLC, has kept him from making the time to do it. “I just want to ‘vanilla box’ it as they say in the industry, to attract some new businesses and artists to be good neighbors for the radio station,” Cano says. “I want to be able to say ‘Hey, this neighborhood is coming back.’” Be it for the quieter side of Mid City Baton Rouge where both he and wife Kathryn Hunter of Blackbird Letterpress live and work, or the timeless welding and design skills he’s preserved and championed for years through his elegant metalwork for commercial and residential projects, much of what drives Cano is a strong desire for revitalization.

to let a problem percolate for a while to find a good solution. I have to stop and visit with the problems.

it feels nice and peaceful. And I love just being on the boat, just moving through the marsh.

What is it about fishing that you love so much? I go as often as I can because I enjoy being out in wilderness. It’s like hiking. That same feeling. You’re out and away from it all, so

Where do you venture the most? Pointe-aux-Chenes is where I go fishing. I launch from Isle de Jean Charles Marina. The marina is more than a place to launch your boat and get bait. It is a

hub of the community, and people from the area come there to hang out and visit with each other and not just fish. I will end up at the marina visiting for hours. I feel close to many of those people. The sign on the marina says a lot: “Great salt water fishing, tackle, cold beer, good company.”

photo by Ryan Schneider

In this and other ways, Cano’s creativity bears all the hallmarks of the home state this Louisiana native has never left. Like many in this region rich with outsider artists made good, Cano’s craft is self-taught. His career is one he eased into over a winding path littered with a few lean years. His idea of relaxation is skimming across the bayou and casting his line into a rippling expanse of dark water. His community is built on nothing less than homemade, laboriously-prepared food shared warmly around a table. Cano grew up in Baton Rouge as an amateur mechanic, working on his father’s old Volvos and a VW Beetle bus from a young age, and longing to create custom pieces and additions to automobiles. But it was his work for a successful landscaper that led to his first experiments with welding. After gaining his boss’ support, Cano bought a welding machine and studied the instructions at home, drawing designs on his concrete floor. “If I got something wrong I would just beat my head against it until I succeeded,” he says. “It was actually years and years of teaching myself and doing things twice so I can go install the one I got right.” While still in landscaping, Cano began creating ornamental pieces for the luxuriously-manicured lawns of the Capital City’s well-heeled, and soon he was taking custom orders at a local arts market where he attracted the attention of business owners and homeowners alike. “Construction,” Cano says with emphasis, “is collaboration. Sometimes I get to do whatever I want, and that’s fun, but it’s really enjoyable to work with other professionals because they are incorporating what you’re making with other things going on in the house. I like that backand-forth and creative relationship.” To create a spiral staircase, casement-style door, an elegant range hood, or even a large wine rack takes intense communication with architects and interior designers even before the requisite hours of designing on AutoCAD, overseeing his team in the fabrication shop, then managing the installation. “I like the design distilled down, simple lines,” Cano says. Though recent work includes a lot of interior steel design for the Walk-On’s franchise of restaurants and leans more to the decorative and ornamental than a structural build, Cano still prefers a minimal, classic aesthetic. Outside his kitchen window is a monolithically rust-colored metal wall with clean geometric shapes that stand in stark relief. Facing it directly, the edifice feels plain at first glance, but over time it marvels. As the sun arcs across the sky throughout the day, the shadows cast evolve and entertain. “He has never said, ‘I cannot do that,’” says Kevin Alford, architect with Remson Haley

Herpin Architects. “Every time we have asked for something difficult he has given it a shot. He may come back and say, ‘I found a different way to get the look you want,’ but he has never said something is impossible.” Cano’s “impossible” jobs include encasing artist Stephen Wilson’s massive and mesmerizing stained glass wall overlooking both the atrium and meditation room at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. Though Cano spends more time on the design phase than welding or computer numerical control (CNC) router cutting himself these days, that’s intentional. He trusts his team of four, but also appreciates the value in using design to find and solve problems on a computer screen or paper before they arise on site with materials and laborers on hand and time ticking away. “Sometimes that can make the job go a little slower, and that adds stress on me personally, but it’s important,” Cano says. “I can feel like I’m waiting to be productive while in the design phase, but that isn’t really true. Catching problems in design is very productive. And install goes faster with a perfect design.” Using this process for problem-solving on the front end of a job is part of Cano’s process of refining his work in total, honing it down to the precise essentials — just like his favored minimal designs and the cleanest of welds. His is the art of practicality. “There’s craftsmanship there, certainly, and time and practice,” Cano says. “But do I consider myself an artist? I don’t know. I just care about what I do.” n

i like the design distilled down, simple lines.




Louisiana Monsters Baton Rouge artist Jonathan “Feral Opossum” Mayers documents that which has stuggled to survive By John R. Kemp

The South Louisiana landscape

is filled with mythical symbols of the people and cultures that have struggled to survive in an increasingly industrial world that has swept across the state over the last century. Baton Rouge artist Jonathan Mayers, alias “rat de bois farouche (feral opossum),” bears witness to those struggles with his allegorical images of peaceful landscapes haunted by monsters that rise from his own imagination. Mayers is a rising young artist on a mission to draw attention not only to the ecological damage being done to the Louisiana landscape but also to the fading Cajun and Louisiana Creole cultures and stories of his ancestors. In response, he is creating his own visual stories complete with monsters and beasts that appear like specters over the land and invade our consciences. “As a Louisiana Creole artist who grew up in a region [where] individuality was modified through industrialization, consumerism and capitalism,” he says, “my priorities are to create work which aims to reverse that homogenization, present new fantastic stories, and to provoke a dialogue on the importance of unique America-based, internationally-influenced, cultural region.” To describe that work, Mayers created a new French word – “Latanièrisme” that combines the Louisiana French word “latanière,” meaning a grove of palmettos, with the French suffix “-isme” to imply a regional art that speaks of place, culture, folklore, spirits, language, identity and interconnectivity. When searching for artistic inspiration, Mayers travels with his camera to places in their pristine natural state or to areas where human intrusion has damaged the land and where nature is struggling to heal those wounds. “As someone whose grandfathers worked in the oil and gas industry, I feel as though I have a burden to bear,” he says. “And bearing that, what I’m doing is to create an awareness about our unique landscapes, urging a perspective


Louisiana Life march/april 2019

shift in how we appreciate, view and interact with them, and giving back to our community by creating new stories to tell. While my love of the landscape gives me a reason to travel to these locations, historical and environmental events that have occurred, are occurring, or will occur manifest themselves as creatures, beasts, and monsters in my paintings.” Mayers’ “creatures, beasts and monsters” are not drawn from Louisiana’s distant past; they reflect modern American and Japanese pop

cultures, especially Japanese “kaiju” movies that included Godzilla, King Ghidorah and Mothra. “Of course,” he says, “I did hear traditional regional French, Creole and Cajun folktales about the Rougarou (Loup-Garou), though I didn’t hear as much as I’d have liked to in my childhood. These narratives and creatures inspire me to create bizarre monsters and gargantuan beasts in my own work.” Mayers, who describes himself as an Acadian and Louisiana Creole, grew up in White Oak

photographs by Michael Smith and Courtesy of Arthur Roger Gallery; portrait by jonathan mayers

Landing, a bicycle’s ride from the Amite River in East Baton Rouge Parish. He is a descendant of Acadians, French and Germans and other peoples who settled in Pointe Coupee and in the River Parishes south of Baton Rouge long before the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Like many artists, Mayers began drawing and painting as a child. He took art lessons in high school and received a bachelor’s degree in studio art at LSU and a master’s in art at the University of New Orleans. While at LSU he added the nickname “feral opossum” when he and an artist friend decided they needed artist aliases to be like the musicians they knew. Mayers chose “feral opossum.” “I know it seems repetitive to add ‘feral,’ ” Mayers says, “but as a kid growing up in the suburbs of Baton Rouge, I enjoyed being outdoors in the swamps, bayous and forests. I saw the use of ‘feral’ as a way of shedding the domestication of self and suburban-American culture. I now go by ‘rat de bois farouche,’ which is the Louisiana French translation.”

(left)“La Grosse Bréchure de l’Île Petite Anse (The Big Breach of Avery Island),” (top) “La Chousse verte sur la bordure du bayou des Acadiens (The Green Stump on the Edge of Bayou des Acadiens),” (bottom) “Vieilles Barges dans le marais salant (Old Haystacks in the Salt Marsh)”

My destination is to build on our culture, which thrives on language, storytelling, sense of place, environment, haunts and humor.



For more information about Mayers, visit jonathanmayers.com.

(top) “Le Mille-pattes d’écrevisse terrorisant toujours Jennings (The Centipede Crawfish still Terrorizing Jennings)” (middle) “La Louve blanche protégeant Rayne (The White Wolf Protecting Rayne)” (bottom) Photograph of Jonathan “rat de bois farouche“ Mayers drawing on the panel for painting “Le Marécage de Maurepas” (right) “Le Marécage de Maurepas (Maurepas Swamp)”


Louisiana Life march/april 2019

Following the lure of his French genes, Mayers traveled to Canada in 2015, 2016 and 2018 where he enrolled in the French immersion program at the Université Sainte-Anne in Pointe-de-l’Église (Church Point), Nova Scotia. As a result, he now moves with ease between English and French, obligingly throwing in helpful English translations. This was his way of regaining what many French-speaking Louisianians lost many years ago when schools forced children, including his grandparents, to converse only in English. As the French language disappeared, so did many of their stories and legends. “I believe many of the stories that I may have been able to hear and understand in French as a child were silenced,” he says. “I set out to learn French so I could speak it in my household and with friends. Now, I create my own stories in French and English so that I’ll be able to pass them down and share them with everyone.” When it comes to stories, Mayers takes a page from the Book of Genesis. When out exploring environmentally sensitive locations, such as the Manchac Swamp, Pearl River Basin, or on Belle River in Pierre Part, he reaches down and grabs a handful of soil or sediment to mix with the paint for his landscapes or to coat frames that hold his paintings. In a sense, the spirit of the land lives on each painting.

“This tactile element,” Mayers says, “creates a relationship between the physical place and location depicted in the representational image, bringing an awareness regarding the reality of that particular landscape.” In recent years, his polychromatic phantasms have attracted attention in Louisiana and Canada, including Prospect New Orleans, the city’s international contemporary art show. In 2017, he had his first solo show, “L’Éparpillage,” at the prestigious Arthur Roger Gallery in the New Orleans Arts District. And last autumn, he served as artist-in-residence at Tulane University’s A Studio in the Woods, located in a hardwood bottomland along the west bank of the Mississippi below New Orleans. Whether Mayers fantasizing about the land and its struggles or his Cajun-Creole heritage, his paintings reveal an artist who cares deeply about family roots as well as the ecological and social challenges facing Louisiana. “I love creating myths, legends, and beasts,” he says. “It’s a plus when I can express my sentiments toward historic or contemporary events in an adventurous and fun way. My destination is to build on our culture, which thrives on language, storytelling, sense of place, environment, haunts and humor.”n

Exhibitions and Events Through March 10

New Orleans Ogden Museum of Southern Art. “New Southern Photography.” Exhibition features photography practiced in today’s American South. ogdenmuseum.org Through March 29

Shreveport Meadows Museum of Art. “Global Contamination : A Gulf Project.” Artist Joan Hall creates sculpture from plastics collected from the Gulf of Mexico. themeadowsmuseum.com Through April 27

Lake Charles Historic City Hall Arts & Cultural Center. “Image Hunter: On the Trail of John James Audubon.” Italian painter Hitnes retraces Audubon’s journey. www. cityoflakecharles.com Through May 11

Monroe Masur Museum. “The 56th Annual Juried Competition.” Exhibit features contemporary artists from across the nation. masurmuseum.org Through May 18

Lafayette Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum. “Slavery, The Prison Industrial Complex: Photographs by Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick.” Husband-and-wife photographers explore life inside Angola. hilliardmuseum.org Through June 2

New Orleans New Orleans Museum of Art. “Keith Sonnier: Until Now.” First comprehensive museum exhibit for this pioneering Grand Mamou-born New York contemporary artist. noma.org Through June 9

Baton Rouge LSU Museum of Art. “Across the Atlantic: American Impressionism through the French Lens.” Explores the path to Impressionism through the 19th century. lsumoa.org Through June 22

Alexandria Alexandria Museum of Art. “Sordid and Sacred: The Beggars in Rembrandt’s Etchings.” Features 35 rare etchings by the master executed between 1629 and 1648. themuseum.org Through July 6

New Orleans Newcomb Art Museum. “Per(Sister): Incarcerated Women in Louisiana.” Art created by formerly incarcerated women in partnership with local and national artists. newcombartmuseum. tulane.edu LouisianaLife.com



INVESTED Musician Amanda Shaw turned a worn double in New Orleans’ Bywater neighborhood into a comfortable home base where classic meets modern By Lee Cutrone Photos by Sara Essex Bradley


Louisiana Life march/april 2019

Outside, Amanda Shaw’s Bywater

cottage looks like much of its surroundings — a modest Victorian cottage amid close property lines, old oaks and corner stores. In fact, as part of an historic district, the exterior of the house is protected by rules set in place for preservation. Inside, is a different story. The redesigned interior blends elements of the house’s classic past with fresh, modern design that speaks to Shaw’s creative spirit and to the influx of youthful artists and entrepreneurs that has turned the historic neighborhood into a hotspot of galleries and pop-up restaurants. Investing in the community is a theme in Shaw’s life. The Louisiana native, who began playing the violin as a child, found and developed a love of Cajun music early on. She has been performing since the age of eight and over time has become something of an ambassador for the state. “I have friends all over the world now who are interested in Louisiana,” she says. “It’s good to be able to share what it means to be from Louisiana.” In 2015, Shaw started the Amanda Shaw Foundation and last September, she relaunched the foundation and kicked off the Orchestrating Dreams initiative, a grant program devoted to helping young people in Louisiana realize their dreams – in whatever area they may be, not just the arts. “It wouldn’t be the same to have this house and not help other people achieve their dreams,” says Shaw who is mindful of those who helped her along the way and wants to pay it forward. Putting down roots in New Orleans has gone hand-in-hand with her desire to help the city and state thrive. In 2016, when she decided to turn the worn downtown double into the single-family residence she shares with her four lovable rescue dogs, she knew she wanted the redo to have longevity. That meant it had to check a series of boxes: it needed to express her style, offer real livability and comfort, and be conducive to entertaining. She hired interior designer Kristine Flynn of (left) Tufted velvet sofas provide seating in the two-sided living room with gold linen curtains, metal chairs, an animal hide rug and antique reproduction chandeliers added for a touch of Hollywood glam. (top, right) The black and white kitchen by Kristine Flynn of Flynn Designs features a tile backsplash from Floor and Décor and leather marbled stone counters from The Stone Gallery. Gold leaf trim on the stove mimics brass. Pendant fixtures and acrylic bar stools, through Flynn Designs. (bottom) Amanda Shaw at home.



(right) A pop of bright green is combined with black and white tile in the guest bath. Sconce through Flynn Designs.(bottom) Amanda personally comfort-tested the chairs at Doerr Furniture and chose a bright green snake-skin pattern club chair that complements the blue sofas and the gray tufted ottoman, which doubles as a coffee table. Wall sconce and Aiden Gray chandeliers, through Flynn Designs. (facing page) A built-in bar is painted with a custom blue inspired by the sofas in the living room. The custom adjustable dining table is combined with cowhide chairs and an acrylic and metal chandelier.

Flynn Designs to open and update the house and Earl Preston of Construction Specialist Group as the contractor. The eight-month process entailed removing walls, repurposing areas, being innovative with architectural details, using materials that straddle past and present, and gutting the kitchen and baths. “It was a collaboration, but I trusted Kristine,” says Shaw. “She brought all the ideas together.” Even before choosing a designer, Shaw chose a dark bamboo flooring because she thought it would camouflage the wear and tear of her dogs. The rich chocolate-cherry color ultimately became a source of inspiration for the new interior design, which contrasts black and white surfaces and mixes in pops of bold color and gold Hollywood glam accents. An existing support beam between what is now the kitchen and living area also provided an avenue for creativity. To incorporate the beam into the new design, Flynn fashioned a striking series of arches that Shaw loves for the “grandness” they bring to the space. Deep tufted sofas and a bright green chair, which Shaw complements with buckets of cozy blankets when she entertains, work for both the style and comfort mandates and Flynn’s subtle repetition of favorite motifs adds a detail-perfecting layer. Yet for Shaw, the beauty of her dream house is inseparable from the community where it resides. “I love it, this is my house and my space,” she says. “I also love this time of year because the school across the street is practicing for Mardi Gras.” n


Louisiana Life march/april 2019



fried catfish

with Tartar Sauce Catfish can be either wild caught or farm raised, and both are available in Louisiana.

C at f i s h i s m o st o ft e n f r i e d, b u t i t c a n a ls o b e b ro i l e d, b a k e d or grilled with a va r i et y o f s e a s o n i n gs .

Abundant, nutritious and delicious, fish is a Louisiana staple year-round and all around the state

Gone Fishing By Stanley Dry photos by eugenia uhl



2 cups milk

Baked and served with C r eo l e S a u c e

Fried and served with Tartar Sauce 1

tablespoon hot sauce

2 pounds thin catfish fillets

O ne of the many great things about living in Louisiana is the abundance of our seafood. In addition to all the shellfish and crustaceans, we have a variety of delicious fish. Some species, such as black drum and sheepshead, were largely ignored in the past, but they make for delicious eating and are more abundant than the popular red snapper and redfish and can be substituted for them in virtually any recipe.


Louisiana Life march/april 2019

1½ cups corn flour 1

teaspoon salt

¾ teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

¾ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 medium onion, chopped

cooking oil

lemon wedges

tartar sauce

Ta rta r S a u c e


cup mayonnaise

4 teaspoons sweet relish 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish 4 teaspoons minced onion 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 teaspoon chopped parsley

cayenne pepper to taste

Combine milk and hot sauce in a container large enough to accommodate the catfish. Add catfish and soak for 30 minutes or longer. Combine corn flour, salt and peppers in another container. Heat oil in fryer or deep pot to 375 F. When oil is at proper temperature, remove a fillet from milk, shake off excess, dredge in corn flour, shake off excess and carefully ease into the hot oil. Repeat with additional catfish, being careful not to overcrowd fryer. Cook until golden brown and crispy. Remove cooked catfish from fryer and drain on paper towels. Repeat until all the fish is cooked. Serve with lemon wedges and tartar sauce. Tartar Sauce Place all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Refrigerate, covered, for a few hours for flavors to meld. Makes 4 servings.

2 garlic cloves, minced 1 stalk celery, chopped 1 bell pepper, chopped 1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes

coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

cayenne pepper to taste

hot sauce to taste

4 redfish fillets In a heavy pot, heat olive oil and cook onion, garlic, celery and bell pepper until softened. Add tomatoes with their juice and cook on low heat, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Season with salt, peppers and hot sauce. Cool to room temperature before proceeding. Preheat oven to 350 F. Place fillets in large baking dish and cover with Creole sauce. Bake until fillets flake easily with a fork, about 15-20 minutes, depending on thickness of fillets. Serve in large shallow bowls garnished with chopped parsley. Makes 4 servings.

T h e l at e Pau l P ru d h o m m e p u t redfish on the nat i o na l ra da r i n t h e 19 80 s wi t h h is b l ac k e n e d r e d f i s h p r e pa rat i o n .



T h e t e xt u r e o f g ro u p e r i s f i rm , m o i st a n d f l a k y, m a k i n g i t s u i ta b l e fo r a va r i et y o f p r e pa rat i o n s .

Grouper with Capers and White Wine

Grouper has a mild, sweet flavor often said to be somewhere between bass and halibut.


Louisiana Life march/april 2019

Black Drum with White Wine and Shallots

Once disparaged as a “trash fish,” black drum is now, rightfully, highly esteemed.



D o n ’ t l et t h e na m e p u t yo u o f f. T h i s i s a n a bs o lu t e ly delicious fish.


Louisiana Life march/april 2019


Sheepshead with Green Salsa

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 4 sheepshead fillets

Louisiana Direct Seafood is a program whose mission is “to help coastal fishermen connect with consumers, and build community support for fresh, wild-caught seafood.” Check out louisianadirectseafood.com to find where you can buy seafood directly from the people who catch it.

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

lemon wedges

green salsa


Black Drum

cilantro leaves for garnish

with Capers and White Wine

with White Wine and Shallots

Green Salsa

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


4 tomatillos

4 grouper fillets

1 tablespoon minced shallots

½ cup chopped onion

Cajun/Creole seasoning

4 black drum fillets

1 serrano pepper, chopped


cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro ½ teaspoon sugar

big pinch salt

¼ cup water Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Oil a heavy duty F sheet. Brush fillets with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Bake until fish flakes easily with a fork, about 12 to 15 minutes, depending on thickness of fillets. Serve with green salsa and garnish with cilantro leaves. GREEN SALSA Remove

husks from tomatillos. Wash tomatillos, place in a pan, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove tomatillos with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool. Combine all ingredients in blender and puree. If salsa is too thick, add additional water. Makes 4 servings.

4 teaspoons capers, drained and rinsed 1

teaspoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon chopped parsley Preheat oven to 400 F. Oil a heavy-duty baking sheet. Brush grouper fillets with olive oil. Season with Cajun/ Creole seasoning. Bake until fish flakes easily with a fork, about 12-15 minutes, depending on thickness of fillets. Meanwhile, combine wine, capers and lemon juice in a small saucepan and boil until reduced by onehalf. Transfer fillets to serving plates. Divide caper sauce among them and garnish with chopped parsley. Makes 4 servings.


cup dry white wine

Cajun/Creole seasoning

2 tablespoons butter

chopped parsley

lemon wedges

Preheat oven to 400 F. Combine wine and shallots in a small saucepan and cook over high heat until wine is reduced to ½ cup. Place fillets in a buttered baking dish and sprinkle with Cajun/ Creole seasoning. Divide the butter among them. Pour the wine and shallot mixture in the dish and bake until fish flakes easily with a fork, about 12-15 minutes, depending on thickness of fillets. Transfer fillets to serving plates and spoon pan juices over them. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with lemon wedges. Makes 4 servings.

More than 1 million pounds of Gulf seafood are landed in Louisiana each year.

Red Snapper with Lime and Avocado-Mango Salsa One of the most sought-after fishes from the Gulf, prized for its mild, sweet flavor.


Louisiana Life march/april 2019


with Brown Butter A tasty and versatile flatfish that can be prepared in a variety of ways.

T h e P i c ayu n e ’ s C r eo l e Co o k B o o k ( 1 9 0 1 ) rat e s f lo u n d e r “ o n e o f t h e f i n e st fish found in the M e x ica n G u lf.”

I n 1 9 0 1, accordi n g to T h e P i c ayu n e ’ s C r eo l e Co o k Book, “ Trout i s esp ec i a l ly r eco m m e n d e d a s a br e a k fast dis h .”


Louisiana Life march/april 2019

Speckled Trout

with Brown Butter



4 small flounder fillets 8 tablespoons (1 stick) melted butter

4 speckled trout fillets

coarse salt

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper


tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice.

½ cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 tablespoons butter

Preheat broiler. Brush a heavy duty baking sheet with -utter and arrange flounder on it. Brush flounder generously with butter and season with salt and pepper. Broil until fillets flake easily (test with the tip of a small knife), about 8-10 minutes, depending on broiler and thickness of fish.

½ cup sliced almonds

lemon wedges

Season fillets with salt, dredge fillets in flour, coating both sides, then place on wax paper. Heat vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add fillets and cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Turn fillets and cook on the other side, about 2 minutes. Transfer fillets to 4 serving plates. Pour off oil. Add butter and almonds to pan and cook, while stirring or tossing, until almonds are lightly colored. Top each fillet with almonds and butter. Serve with lemon wedges. Makes 4 servings.



When purchasing seafood, take an ice chest with either ice or frozen packs of a gel refrigerant. To keep seafood fresh after you get home, keep it on ice in the refrigerator.

lemon wedges

Cook melted butter in a sauce pan over low heat, shaking pan frequently, until it turns nut brown. (Watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn.) Add lemon juice to butter and pour into 4 small ramekins. Transfer flounder to serving plates. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve with lemon wedges and ramekins of brown butter for each diner. Makes 4 servings.

Red Snapper

with Lime and Avocado-Mango Salsa 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 4 red snapper fillets Cajun/Creole seasoning

lime wedges

Av o c a d o - M a n g o S a l s a

2 ripe avocados, pitted, peeled, and diced 1

ripe mango, peeled, pitted and diced

¼ cup diced red onion 2 tablespoons olive oil 1

tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 400 F. Oil a heavy-duty baking sheet. Brush fillets with olive oil and sprinkle with Cajun/ Creole seasoning. Bake until fish flakes easily with a fork, about 12 to 15 minutes, depending on thickness of fillets. Serve with lime wedges and avocadomango salsa. Avocado-Mango Salsa In a mixing bowl, place avocado, mango, onion, olive oil and lime juice, and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne. Makes 4 servings.

75 percent of the United States, commercial sea catch comes from estuaries and Louisiana is home to 35 percent of the estuary marshes in the contiguous U.S.



Louisiana’S Best Retirement Cities By Cheré Coen


Louisiana Life march/april 2019


oderate climate, great food, the great outdoors, Mardi Gras — Louisiana has a lot to offer. With seniors about to become the largest demographics in the nation, Louisiana is primed to attract those who want to spend their glory years in the Sportsman’s Paradise. The Louisiana Legislature formed the Encore Louisiana Commission precisely to promote and market Louisiana as a destination for residents

and tourists 50 years and above. To narrow the playing field, the Commission requested applications from Louisiana communities for its Louisiana Certified Retirement Community designation. Eight made the inaugural list released in 2018. “Our vision is to get a lot of these areas and go to the world and say, ‘This is a great place to retire,’” said Mary Perrault Williams, Encore Louisiana Commission coordinator in the Louisiana Office of Tourism.

Qualifications for certification include a mild climate, favorable tax structure, affordable and plentiful housing, healthcare, access to public transportation, as well as employment and volunteer opportunities and events. Louisiana also offers a $75,000 homestead exemption, one of the highest in the country, and the cost of living indexes for most Louisiana cities are below the national average. Here’s a look at Louisiana’s prime retirement communities:

Lafayette Many consider a slower pace of life when searching for a retirement home, but Lafayette may be the exception. People who retire to Lafayette often do so for the music, food and festivals, said Ben Berthelot, president and CEO of the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission. “I’ve known many people who have come here to dance,” he said. “They want to enjoy the last fourth of their lives and they can do that here, a vibrant place with a lot of culture, great food and something to do.” Lafayette also offers traditional recreational opportunities such as golf and fishing, but Acadiana’s “Hub City” is best known for its award-winning restaurant scene, a vibrant arts community and worldrenowned festivals such as Festival International de Louisiane in April and Festivals Acadiens et Créole in October. “We’re the best of all worlds,” Berthelot said. Several hospitals and medical centers are located in Lafayette, as well as upscale active senior and assisted living communities. River Ranch and other mixed-used developments provide residents dining and shopping options without having to use a car, Berthelot added.

Lake Charles Lake Charles may be home to a growing oil and gas industry, but it’s also one of the best places to retire in Louisiana for outdoors enthusiasts.

Houma-Thibodaux Houma was named a tax-friendly city by Where to Retire magazine, which listed Houma’s historic downtown with shops, restaurants and museums, plus the city’s art galleries and golf courses, as reasons to retire in the South Louisiana community.

“We see lots of retirees who love the outdoors along the Creole Nature Trail enjoying birding, fishing and hunting,” said William Precht, media relations manager at Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitors Bureau. “There are lots of RV enthusiasts that visit the Trail quite frequently, as well. The numerous parks and RV campgrounds, like Sam Houston Jones State Park, are also popular among retirees who bring their families to experience the outdoors whether it be in an RV or by booking cabins.” For those who prefer golf, gaming, live entertainment and restaurants, Lake Charles is home to several casinos, including upscale properties Golden Nugget and L’Auberge Casino Resort. Yearly festivals and Mardi Gras are another draw. “Plus, with the local economy doing so well, we’re seeing new developments with local businesses and restaurants, which makes the city an exciting place to retire,” Precht said.

Both Houma and Thibodaux are only an hour from New Orleans, plus offer easy access to wetlands, bayous and the Gulf of Mexico for fishing, boating and nature exploring. Nichols State

University in Thibodaux provides continuing education classes and special events and both cities have active library systems. Ask locals what makes the twin cities so attrac-

tive, however, and they will mention the people, the Cajun and Creole food and culture and the joie de vivre that permeates everything, from the popular Thibodaux Firemen’s Fair to Mardi Gras.



ShreveportBossier City Shreveport-Bossier may be one of the few areas in Louisiana that might see winter snow but it’s minimal and the low cost of living more than makes up for whatever dusting occurs in January.

Toledo Bend and Sabine Parish Years ago, Toledo Bend consisted of mostly motor homes and lakeside cottages. Once 32 roads were built beefing up its infrastructure, retirees started moving in from Lafayette, Baton Rouge and Houston, many creating vacation


It’s also a hub of business, health care and Barksdale Air Force Base serving Louisiana and its neighbors Texas and Arkansas. Retirees may enjoy the numerous casinos and horse tracks and shopping within the twin cities, plus attractions such as Artspace, Sci-Port Discovery Center and the new Shreveport Aquarium. Annual festivals include the Red River Revel Arts Festival, Mudbug Madness, Red River Balloon Rally, the State Fair of Louisiana and Mardi Gras. The Robinson Film Center hold special events and screens films in an elegant setting with the top-notch Abby Singer’s Bistro on the third floor. In addition to the fun, the region boasts of more than 50 hospitals and health care services and there are now about 30 retirement communities and assisted living facilities.

homes on the lake, said Linda Curtis-Sparks, director of the Sabine Parish Tourist Commission. Today, subdivisions are being created yearly. Chalk it up to being voted the number one bass fishing lake in the nation, with dozens of fishing tournaments each year, but the South’s largest man-made lake also offers five beaches on the Louisiana side, two

Louisiana Life march/april 2019

state parks and Cypress Bend Golf and Conference Resort, where its 18-hole championship golf course is part of Louisiana’s Audubon Golf Trail. Residents may purchase memberships in Cypress Bend and use the resort’s spa, pool and golf course. The Wildflower Club and the Toledo Bend Lake Association offer recreational opportunities, from

Ruston and Lincoln Parish


College towns make good retirement communities because they usually offer healthcare options, continuing education and entertainment and sports events.

The oldest city in Louisiana boasts of a unique history and culture, luring retirees to its museums, historic downtown shopping and restaurants along Cane River Lake and the many attractions within the neighboring Cane River National Heritage Area.

Ruston and Lincoln Parish is home to Grambling State and Louisiana Tech and both attract fun and innovative restaurants and shopping, not to mention great football and Grambling’s World Famed Tiger Marching Band. Ruston and Lincoln Parish approved a sales tax to fund new infrastructure and hundreds of new housing units are in the works. Healthcare includes the Northern Louisiana Medical Center. Just north of Ruston lies Lincoln Parish Park with miles of biking and hiking trails, a man-made lake for boating and swimming, RV camping and covered pavilions. Golfers may enjoy the Squire Creek Country Club’s 18-hole Tom Fazio course.

quilt classes and potlucks to volunteer community projects. There’s plenty of history here, as well. The French were established at Natchitoches while the Spanish ruled the Toledo Bend area, with their capital at Los Adaes State Historic Site in Robeline. When the United States purchased Louisiana, boundaries between Louisiana and

But Natchitoches also offers affordable housing, quality of life attributes with its bike lanes, walking paths and paddling opportunities, and a health care hub. “The Natchitoches Regional Medical Center has expanded the medical provisions over the last few years,” said Kelli West, director of marketing and communications for the Natchitoches Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We have specialist care so people don’t have to travel to Shreveport.” Retirees can take advantage of Northwestern State University’s continuing education programs, as well as the college’s special events such as live music performances and the popular Christmas Gala by the theater, dance and art departments. Then there’s the many festivals, including the Natchitoches Christmas Festival, one of the nation’s oldest and largest, and the Louisiana Folklife Festival in the summer.

Spanish Texas were in dispute and became “No Man’s Land.” Beginning this year, “No Man’s Land” celebrates its bicentennial and other festivals include the Zwolle Tamale Fiesta, Fisher Sawmill Days and the Zwolle Loggers and Forestry Festival in May.




Aging Parents When parents start to face new challenges brought on by age, it can also present a challenge for adult children who feel they need to take on the role of caregiver and helper. Whether living out of town, caring for children, or consumed with a demanding career, there are countless reasons adult children can find it difficult to dedicate the time needed to an aging parent with changing needs. Plenty of resources across Louisiana are available to assist with finding a solution that works for your family—home care services offer helpers and companions who provide basic support while retirement communities offer safe spaces to live a maintenance-free and active lifestyle among peers. The following services and communities may be able to help you achieve peace of mind while giving your older family member the freedom and safety they deserve. North Louisiana Resources The Oaks of Louisiana in Shreveport is a maintenance-free living community designed for active adults age 55 and older. The 312-acre gated campus, which features beautiful vistas of plants, wildlife and two lakes, is more than a community. It is a lifestyle. Active adult residents want to remain socially active and physically fit, and The Oaks of Louisiana’s many amenities support vibrant living. A wide range of cultural, social and leisure activities allows residents to make their life as full as they wish while exploring both new, and long-held passions. A state-of-the-art spa and wellness center with indoor saltwater pool, fitness room and weight and cardio machines makes it easy to stay fit and active year-round. Dining options, 24/7 security and beautifully appointed apartments with a variety of floor plans add to the community’s appeal. Learn more at oaksofla.com. For seniors seeking a life of fulfillment with opportunities to make friends and join in activities seated on a beautiful landscape in South Shreveport, visit The Glen Retirement System. Explore a retirement lifestyle with options and learn the benefit of The Glen as a Life Plan Community. Choose the liberating feeling of rightsizing in your retirement years for an independent lifestyle. For those who need a little more assistance, let the welcoming staff help you live stress42

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free under assisted living. Should the need arise, The Cottages maintains a staff who specialize in assisted living memory care and the skilled nursing area continues to hold one of the highest ratings in the state of Louisiana. “When you move in to The Glen, you become part of an extended family. Staff and residents enjoy the emphasis we place on community. We seek excellence for the seniors we serve, and we continue to flourish because we put the residents at the heart of everything we do,” says Debra Williams, President and CEO. To schedule a tour, call 318-798-3500 or go to theglensystem.org. South Louisiana Resources Home Care Solutions, newly acquired by Poydras Home, specializes in compassionate in-home care, Alzheimer’s care, and Aging Life Care Management™ services to help your elderly loved ones extend their independence at home. They are committed to providing the highest quality of care, keeping loved ones safe and comfortable while giving families peace of mind. Caregiver’s are carefully matched to meet both your loved one’s needs and personality. Home Care Solutions Care Managers navigate the care of your loved ones with expertise and heart and are experienced advocates with creative solutions for complex situations and all care concerns. Care Managers’ familiarity with local resources saves you time and often saves you money while their compassionate understanding of the aging process saves you unnecessary distress.

Home Care Solutions, a licensed Personal Care Attendant Agency, is a member of Home Care Association of America and Aging Life Care Association™. Call 504828-0900 or visit HomeCareNewOrleans.com. Home Care Solutions would be honored to assist your family in navigating elder care. Poydras Home is a Life Plan Community offering independent living, assisted living, and nursing care in the heart of Uptown New Orleans. Poydras Home is known for its quality of care and innovative programs that allow residents to enjoy life to the fullest with emphasis on including residents experiencing Alzheimer’s and dementia. “Poydras Home has tapped into the New Orleans arts community to bring exceptional depth and variety to these residents,” says COO Erin Kolb. Music is a big part of life at Poydras Home. In 2018, Poydras Home forged a relationship with Loyola University and integrated Music Therapy student internships into its Life Enrichment Program for residents. Music Therapy students are paired with individual Poydras Home residents. The students complete a song history with their resident, perform/ listen to each song together, and engage in discussion about the song and any memories the resident may have associated with it. The students then create a song booklet for the resident to keep with lyrics and notes from their conversations. The students also create playlists for the resident for more relaxation or reminiscence. For more information, visit PoydrasHome.com or call 504-897-0535.



roadside dining

Community Fare Down-home favorites fill plates and bellies at Rocky & Carlo’s in Chalmette by Jyl Benson photo by Romero & Romero

Rocky & Carlo’s Spicy Fried Chicken, Macaroni and Eggplant Dressing


Louisiana Life march/april 2019

When the urge strikes for a

trip down to the end of the road before it falls off into the water consider a stop for a meal break in Chalmette before you head off to Delacroix and the like to take in the singular culture of southeast Louisiana’s fishing villages. Located across the road from the Chalmette Oil Refinery, Rocky & Carlo’s rebuilt following the Katrina flood (2005) and again after a kitchen fire (2013). I recall going back to the Chalmette institution immediately after its post-Katrina reopening in 2006. We stood in line with our trays laden, cafeteria style, with veal Parmesan, lasagna, fried catfish and rich macaroni and cheese made from bucatini pasta and drenched with thick red gravy alongside rolls of beef Bruciolone and little dishes of bread pudding and spumoni ice cream. When we reached the cashier to pay there were gold boxes stacked alongside the register and they were filled with curiouslooking little necklaces made entirely from fava beans and gold beads. It turns out the “necklaces” were rosaries a regular customer had made and was selling to raise money to properly re-bury his mother, who had been lifted from her resting place during Katrina’s flooding. That pretty much sums up the vibe at Rocky’s, which despite its justifiable fame, is really all about the immediate community in which it exists. If more evidence is needed, just check out the seats of honor reserved closest to the buffet line for the guys who come for lunch every day from the refinery across the street. Relatively new to the menu are fried spicy green beans. The freshest of long green beans are generously battered and rolled in a light dusting of breadcrumbs before they are fried in clean, fresh oil. The addictive little bits are served with a Creole mustard-based dipping sauce. There is a 20-minute wait for a four-piece order of perfectly-executed fried chicken, but that time spent anticipating the meal to come is well worth it. n Clean Course Meals 1800 E. Judge Perez Dr. Chalmette 504-265-0417 cleancoursemeals.com.

Rocky & Carlo’s 613 W. Saint Bernard Highway Chalmette 504-279-8323

GOOD BETS After losing 100 pounds and shedding the threat of pre-diabetes, Kim Sawyers, 29, learned how to eat fresh, non-processed foods and to move more. In 2016, she founded Clean Course Meals, a gourmet, health-focused meal prep and delivery service out of her New Orleans home. Her mission is to educate low-income communities. “Prevention is the most significant principle in building a healthy community. Nutrition education is necessary. We accomplish this through the Clean Course Healthier Families Initiative,” Sawyers said. Last year, Sawyers, a mother of three, won the fourth annual Startup St. Bernard pitch competition: a $100,000 prize package that would help take Clean Course Meals to a brick and mortar location. The storefront opened in St. Bernard Parish in November. Now, in addition to subscribing to the company’s meal preparation and delivery service, customers can shop at a storefront cafe for quick grab-and-go meals (with vegan and vegetarian options), including wraps, salads and grill bowls, as well as daily plate lunch specials.



great louisiana chef

Happy Eats Kimlin Hall shares her native Caribbean cuisine at Chindian Flavors in Ruston By Ashley McLellan portrait by Romero & Romero

Trinidad native and Ruston implant,

chef Kimlin Hall, brings unique flavor to her food with a combination of Caribbean and local Louisiana ingredients and spices. Chindian Flavors, a catering business and food truck that can be found parked at the Ruston Farmer’s Market and the Food Truck Takeover at Grown and Grazed, offers a fusion of East Indian, Chinese and African cuisine, with a Louisiana spin. For Hall, cooking is something she learned from an early age. After her move to Louisiana, it also became an exercise of necessity. “My dad, who was born in China, sold Chinese fast food in Trinidad and as the eldest of three children, I grew up helping out in the kitchen so cooking is in my blood,” she said. “In Ruston, there’s no Caribbean food much less Trinidadian food. If I wanted to eat it, I had to cook it myself.” A resident of Louisiana for the past 14 years, Hall’s cooking has evolved from her family kitchen to include the freshest locally-grown items she can find. “I use ingredients from Louisiana but I typically recreate flavors influenced by West Indian cuisine,” she said. “For instance, I substitute granny smith apples for green mangoes and butternut squash or sweet potatoes for pumpkin.” While her style of cooking may be new to many Louisianians, her exuberance and the passion with which she cooks translates to her dishes, creating a unique dining experience for both locals and visitors who make the drive in especially for a bite. Recent menu samplings have included curried chicken and lentils, fried roti bread, callaloo stew (spinach, kale, pumpkin, okra and fresh herbs simmered in a coconut broth), vegetarian macaroni and cheese pie, boba tea and chai. “I make happy soul food. My dishes sometime combine foods that are not traditionally served together or include ingredients that [are] prepared in a new way,” Hall said. “I usually taste and add ingredients until something deep inside of me is satisfied, then that pot is done.” Check out Chindian Flavors’ Facebook and Instagram pages for dates and locations, menu specials and more. n 46

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Turmeric Waffles and chickpeas with cucumber chutney Chickpeas 2 cans chickpeas, drained 1½ cups water ½ cup cilantro, chopped 1 small onion, sliced 4 cloves of garlic, minced 1 tablespoon cumin ½ tsp turmeric

salt and pepper to taste

Cucumber chutney 2

cucumbers, grated

3 cloves garlic, minced ½ cup cilantro, chopped

salt to taste

hot pepper (optional)

Turmeric Waffles 2 eggs 2 cups all-purpose flour 1¾ cups milk ½ cup vegetable oil 4 teaspoons baking powder ¼ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon turmeric powder 1. Saute onions and garlic. Add chickpeas and water. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes or until chickpeas are tender and sauce thickens. Add cilantro, turmeric, cumin, salt and pepper. 2. Grate cucumber and squeeze excess water. Add garlic, cilantro and salt. 3. Preheat waffle iron. Beat eggs in large bowl with hand beater until fluffy. Beat in flour, milk, vegetable oil, sugar, baking powder, salt and turmeric, just until smooth.

I’m working on bottling a few sauces that I’ve been making: habañero, jalapeño and tamarind. I’m hoping they’re available in stores and online later this year.

4. Spray preheated waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray. Pour mix onto hot waffle iron. Cook until golden brown. Serve hot topped with chickpeas, cucumber chutney and fresh tomatoes (if desired).



kitchen gourmet

Crawfish Feasting 3 delectable crawfish recipes to enjoy this season by Stanley Dry photo and styling by Eugenia Uhl

Sometimes crawfish remind me

of shmoos. Remember them? The small animals Al Capp introduced in his Li’l Abner comic strip in 1948. They were so accommodating they would jump into the pot and transform themselves into whatever you wanted to eat. I don’t remember them ever turning into crawfish, but crawfish weren’t on the national radar back then. Well, crawfish aren’t really that accommodating. They sure don’t jump into the pot on their own and they remain crawfish whatever you do to them, but they can be prepared any number of ways and they can be combined with a variety of ingredients. I have long since lost count of the many crawfish dishes out there. Boiled crawfish are everyone’s favorite this time of year, and for good reason. There’s no better way to celebrate spring. Whether you have leftover crawfish or you buy packaged crawfish tails, it’s fun to cook them in different ways. And with the availability of frozen crawfish tails, we can enjoy them year round. With the exception of crawfish bisque, which is a production, most crawfish dishes can be prepared fairly quickly, which makes them eminently doable even on a weeknight. This month’s recipes take a minimum of preparation time. The deviled crawfish recipe can be prepared ahead, up to the final step of baking, so it is also a good choice for entertaining. The combination of crawfish and pork in a stew is very quick to prepare, and it is a marriage that I’m particularly fond of. My version of crawfish jambalaya is somewhat different because the rice is first cooked in oil, which produces a jambalaya in which the grains of rice remain separate. This will not appeal to everyone. Some aficionados like their jambalaya rice to stick together. Finally, the crawfish gumbo is very straightforward and can be prepared in under an hour. n


Louisiana Life march/april 2019

Deviled Crawfish Preheat oven to 350 F. Place four 4-ounce ramekins on a heavy, rimmed baking sheet. In a heavy pot, boil ½ cup white wine vinegar and ¼ cup minced shallots until reduced to almost nothing. Add 1 cup chicken stock, bring to a boil and whisk in 1 teaspoon prepared roux until dissolved. Add 2 teaspoons tomato paste, 2 anchovy fillets (chopped) and 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce. Season to taste with coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper and cayenne. Add 1 pound crawfish tails with fat, bring back to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning. (May be made ahead to this point.) Divide crawfish and sauce among the four ramekins. Combine 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan and 2 teaspoons chopped parsley and spoon over the top of each ramekin. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil. Bake in preheated oven until bubbly and browned, about 5-10 minutes. Makes 4 servings as an appetizer.

Crawfish And Pork Stew

Crawfish Jambalaya

Two of Louisiana’s favorite ingredients come together in this dish.

Cooking the rice in oil before adding liquid helps ensure that the grains remain separate.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 pound lean ground pork

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 rib celery, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

1 rib celery, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2½ cups chicken stock

2 cups long grain rice

1 tablespoon prepared roux

3¾ cups chicken stock

1 pound crawfish tails with fat

1 pound crawfish tails with fat

coarse salt, freshly-ground black pepper and cayenne

2 teaspoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice

Hot sauce

¼ cup chopped green onion tops ¼ cup chopped parsley

steamed rice

1. Add oil to a a heavy casserole or

dutch oven, turn heat to medium high, add pork and cook, stirring to break up meat, until pork begins to brown.

For recipes that require only a small amount of tomato paste, keep a tube in the refrigerator.

2. Add onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add chicken stock and scrape up any browned bits from bottom of pan. Add roux, stir to dissolve roux and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. 3. Add crawfish, bring back to a boil and season to taste with salt, peppers and hot sauce. Reduce heat and simmer another 10 minutes. Serve over steamed rice, garnished with parsley and onion tops. Makes 4 or more servings.

coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper and cayenne

¼ cup chopped parsley ¼ cup chopped green onion tops 1. In a heavy casserole or dutch oven, cook onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic until they begin to soften, about 4 minutes. Add rice and cook, while stirring, for 2 minutes. 2. Meanwhile, bring chicken stock to a boil in a saucepan. Add to casserole, along with crawfish and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and peppers. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to very low and simmer, covered, until all the liquid is absorbed, about 20-25 minutes. 3. Turn off heat and let sit for 5 or 10 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork and adjust seasonings. Serve garnished with parsley and onion tops. Makes about 6 servings.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil in heavy casserole and cook 1 medium onion (chopped), 1 bell pepper (chopped), 1 rib celery (chopped) and 2 cloves garlic (minced) until softened, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, bring 5 cups chicken stock to a boil in a sauce saucepan, add 3 tablespoons prepared dark roux and whisk until dissolved. Add to casserole. Add 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 bay leaf Crawfish gumbos aren’t and ¼ teaspoon dried thyme leaves. Simmer seen as often as seafood or chicken and sausage for 30 minutes. Add 1 pound crawfish tails with gumbos, but maybe fat, season to taste with Cajun/Creole seasoning they should be. and hot sauce. Simmer for 15 minutes. Serve over steamed rice garnished with filé, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley and 2 tablespoons chopped green onion tops. Makes 4 servings.

Crawfish Gumbo




Louisiana Life march/april 2019




Louisiana Life september/october 2018




Louisiana Life march/april 2019




Traveling Around Louisiana

Springtime Fun Louisiana never waits for Punxsutawney

Phil to announce the arrival of spring. Rather, the state’s many communities get in on the action as soon as the first leaves sprout from the trees and the temperature rises anywhere above freezing. One of the busiest times of year, spring brings an abundance of festivals and events to the area while the gorgeous weather makes outdoor adventures as desirable as ever. Whether you explore your local offerings or take a day-trip to a nearby parish, enjoy all the state and season have to offer during this lively time of year. From shopping and dining to dancing and fishing, a wealth of activities offer opportunities for family-friendly fun as well as outings with friends. Louisiana Parishes & Cities Visit West Baton Rouge Parish on April 6 and 7, and enjoy the award-winning Kite Fest Louisiane! See kites of all sizes and shapes dance across the skyline, and marvel as professional kite teams fly two- and fourline kites choreographed to music. Festival attendees will be immersed in all kinds of kite fun, from kite design and creation to BOL races, candy drops, indoor kite flying, inflatables, and that irresistible Louisiana food we all know and love. On Saturday, April 6, the festival will feature fireworks at dusk. Conclude your fun day of kite festival action with a relaxing stay at one of West Baton Rouge Parish’s many convenient and economical hotels before returning to the festival for more kite action on Sunday, April 7. Kite Fest Louisiane is free and open to the public. Find more information, destinations, daytrip itineraries, and a short video on Kite Fest Louisiane at WestBatonRouge.net. Lafayette is at the heart of Louisiana’s Cajun Country, an area known for letting the good times roll—or as they say it, laissez les bons temps rouler—, and people are starting to notice. The Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch.com recently named Lafayette as the “Happiest City in America” and it’s no mystery why. With their distinctive blend of food, music and culture, it’s no wonder people from all over are heading down south with a smile on their face. One annual event bringing together all the elements that make Lafayette so unique is Festival International de Louisiane. The 58

Louisiana Life march/april 2019

largest free outdoor Francophone event in the U.S., Festival International highlights the connections between Acadiana and the Francophone world. Held each year in April throughout Lafayette’s downtown, Festival International hosts 500 performing and visual artists from 15 countries including Europe, Africa, Canada, the Caribbean and the Americas to share their talents across six

stages with Lafayette’s artists, residents and visitors. Visit LafayetteTravel.com/FestivalInternational for performance schedule, lodging and travel information. There’s lots to do this spring in Sabine Parish, Toledo Bend Lake Country. Celebrate Toledo Bend’s 50th anniversary by boating and fishing to your heart’s content.


This 186,000-acre lake is a world-class bass fishery in addition to hosting an abundance of other freshwater fish. Fishing Toledo Bend is easy with public fishing piers, boat launches, and boat rentals. Maximize your fishing trip and choose a professional guide service at ToledoBendLakeCountry.com. The area is also a destination for outdoor adventures such as hiking, golfing, ATV riding, camping, birding, and more. Experience the area’s frontier history with a drive along the 300-year-old El Camino Real del los Tejas National Historic Trail, where Davy Crockett and Stephen F. Austin once traveled. The area was once part of a lawless region known as “No Man’s Land.” Visit NoMansLand.com for exciting “Becoming Louisiana” bicentennial celebration events. Save the date now for the Battle of Pleasant Hill Re-enactment (April 12-14), the Choctaw-Apache Powwow (April 26-27), El Camino Real Sale on the Trail (May 3-4), and Zwolle Loggers and Forestry Festival (May 10-11). For more info, events, and destinations, visit ToledoBendLakeCountry.com. Plan a weekend trip this spring to Ruston & Lincoln Parish and experience all the bustling college town has to offer. Ruston’s music scene and arts community are showcased all season long with events like Railroad Fest, Ruston Makers Fair, and live music in Railroad Park. These cultural events highlight local artists, renowned bands, Louisiana cuisine, and more. Spring also brings Ruston Fashion Week, a week-long celebration of fashion creativity and the diverse selection of products and brands available in Ruston’s thriving retail community. Hungry for something a little different? Check out Ruston’s new food truck park, Heard Freighthouse, located in the historic downtown district. Food trucks are set up with gourmet burgers made from locally sourced products, craft BBQ, and creative liquid nitrogen ice cream treats! For more information on the area and upcoming events in Lincoln Parish, visit experienceruston.com or call 800-392-9032 for a free visitors guide. Louisiana truly has the best of all worlds. Captivating outdoor environments are accompanied by the unbeatable sounds you’ll hear inside its music venues. The arts scene is rivaled by historic architecture. When visiting and exploring what Louisiana has to offer, you enjoy soul-satisfying experiences that you just can’t find anywhere else. Where else can you paddle through cypress forests, camp by a bayou, or bike through groves of ancient live oaks, all in the same day? And when enjoying the spring in Louisiana, you’re never far from delicious food, live music and the captivating locals welcoming you with open arms. Experience

it all at more than 400 festivals around the state. From frogs to strawberries to Zydeco, let those good times roll in Louisiana this spring. There’s more to see, do and explore in Louisiana than you can imagine. Visit LouisianaTravel.com and let Louisiana feed your soul. Trek into the gorgeous Louisiana spring season with a visit to Natchitoches, the little city with a big history. Immerse yourself in 300+ years of history in Louisiana’s oldest city! It’s a year-long adventure. Explore the historic district and uncover French Creole architecture, a French Marines’ life at Fort St. Jean Baptiste, modern architecture, sports legends and history at the Louisiana State Museum, and eclectic shopping featuring nostalgic, collectable, and gourmet treasures. Discover centuriesold cultural legacies and traditions through National Historic Landmarks, Cane River Creole National Historical Park, and Melrose Plantation as you journey through the Cane River Heritage Trail, a Louisiana Scenic Byway. Experience culinary delights with authentic Creole, Cajun, and Southern dishes. Whether it’s meat pies and Cajun potatoes, seafood and steaks, or burgers and po-boys you crave, Natchitoches is full of satisfying flavors! Visit the iconic Lasyone’s Meat Pie Restaurant, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2017. Finally, relax from your adventures at a national chain hotel, a boutique hotel, or a quaint bed and breakfast. Plan your trip at Natchitoches.com. Regional Travel Springtime’s big event arrives in Ridgeland, Mississippi, with the annual Art, Wine & Wheels Weekend, April 6-7. This exciting weekend has grown into Mississippi’s premier art and wine festival at Renaissance at Colony Park. April 6-7, the Ridgeland Fine Art Festival features 78 of American’s most talented artists in eleven mediums. Live music takes over two stages, and arts and crafts demonstrations are given by the Craftsmen Guild of Mississippi. The fest also features a Children’s Craft Corner, student art gallery, food trucks, and wine and craft beer sampling (ridgelandartsfest.com). The Sante South Wine Festival, the largest wine festival in Mississippi, takes place April 6 and showcases over 120 international boutique vintners with food samplings from more than 20 of Mississippi’s top restaurants. The event is preceded on April 5 by the Run Now Wine Later 5K, which concludes with a wine and cheese social (santesouth.org). Finally, April 5-7, Cheers and Gears Bike Rally brings a weekend of cycling events to the area and its nationally recognized cycling routes: the Natchez Trace Parkway,

Barnett Reservoir, and the Petrified Forest (cheersandgearsride.com). For more info, go to VisitRidgeland.com. Special Events & Unique Destinations River Oaks Square Arts Center is located in the heart of Alexandria’s historic downtown and is one of the South’s most unique arts centers. River Oaks hosts over 20 exhibitions annually, featuring over 200 contemporary visual artists. The center offers premier education components with featured presenters and houses studio space for 35+ working artists. River Oaks will host its 5th Annual Dirty South Cup Call & Competition from April 5 through May 25, featuring over 100 unique beverage vessels from over 50 master ceramicists—an exceptional show for collectors! Mugs, cups, yunomis, and whiskey bowls created by regionally and nationally renowned potters will be on display during the event. New York-based master potter, Doug Peltzman (Guest Juror 2019) will conduct a two-day workshop on April 10 and 11th entitled Inviting Form & Dynamic Surface. An opening reception will be held April 12, 5 – 8 p.m. The event is sponsored by Greater Alexandria Economic Development Authority, LA Division of the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information, visit riveroaksartscenter.com and find the center on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. For class enrollment, call 318-473-2670. The LSU Museum of Art holds one of the most comprehensive permanent collections of Louisiana art, making it a central hub for experiencing insightful and inspiring local works. In addition to its permanent display, the LSU Museum of Art is proud to host a variety of exhibitions throughout the year. In March and April, the Museum is proud to open two notable exhibitions: Across the Atlantic: American Impressionism through the French Lens and Matt Wedel: On the Verge. Across the Atlantic: American Impressionism through the French Lens explores the path to Impressionism through the nineteenth century, the complex relationship between French Impressionism of the 1870s and 80s, and the American interpretation of the style in the decades that followed. A few of the artists featured in the exhibition include Edgar Degas, Mary Cassatt, John Singer Sargent, and Daniel Garber. Matt Wedel: On the Verge is an exhibition of ceramic sculpture by LSU School of Art Reilly visiting artist Matt Wedel, whose often remarkably large-scale ceramic works explore culture and nature and push materials and forms to the verge of collapse. For more details, visit lsumoa.org.




Pirate Tales Jean Lafitte’s legacy provides plenty to do and see in the legendary swashbuckler’s namesake By Paul F. Stahls Jr.

The town of Jean Lafitte invites

you to meet its favorite pirate and explore his Barataria wetlands with dry feet. Predictably, the town holds the title of unofficial guardian of its namesake’s place in history, but local bragging rights don’t end there. It’s also gateway to huge Lafitte National Park, the vast fishing and recreation waters of Lake Salvador, its famed swamp and marshland wilderness called Barataria and its role as popular hunting grounds for the beloved Louisiana Iris. Winding through it all is Bayou Barataria, ancient smuggling route and site of the annual Blessing of the Shrimping Fleet and July’s newly reorganized Jean Lafitte Pirogue Races (504-756-3714). For flower lovers the famously “beardless” Louisiana Iris is as precious as any treasure buried by privateer and smuggler Jean Lafitte, and although it’s a wildflower and prefers swampland, it’s known, nurtured, transplanted, hybridized and exhibited as avidly as domesticated “show flowers” like roses and camellias. Local chapters of the Society for Louisiana Irises (listed at louisianas.org) might report variations in nature’s schedules, but around Jean Lafitte the blooms appear for about two weeks each year, usually between mid-March and mid-April, in lawns, gardens and shallow roadside waters, and along a boardwalk in the heart of town and the National Park’s elevated Coquille and Visitor Center walkways just minutes away on La. 45. Check at nps.gov/ jela/barataria-preserve-trails-and-waterways. htm for dates of the Park’s Spring Wildflower Walk and Swamp Science Festival. From Gretna on New Orleans’ west bank, La. 45 and 3134 lead south to cross the Barataria/Intracoastal Bridge into Jean Lafitte, where the combined Visitor Center and Pirate Museum at 799 Jean Lafitte Blvd. waits to welcome guests (504-689-2299, townofjeanlafitte.com, closed Mondays).


Louisiana Life march/april 2019

DINE Jean Lafitte is a small town with very few restaurants, but the dishes are as memorable as the list is short. JAN’S CAJUN RESTAURANT 4831 Jean Lafitte Blvd. Jean Lafitte 504-689-2748 facebook.com/ janscajunrestaurant Cajun favorites plus American comfort foods. Closed Sunday and Monday. VOLEO’S SEAFOOD RESTAURANT 5134 Nunez St. Jean Lafitte 504-689-2482 Cajun and German specialties plus allAmerican favorites. Closed Sundays. RESTAURANT des FAMILLES 7163 Barataria Blvd. Crown Point 504-689-7834 desfamilles.com Haute Cajun cuisine daily and champagne Sunday brunch. Closed Mondays.

The Beardless Louisiana Iris grows in the swamps, along riversides and on damp hillsides.

Baratarian landscapes are introduced vividly in the center’s theater, but it’s the pirate ship, large-scale figures and vintage 12-panel continuous puppet show that best tell the legends of Andy Jackson and his “Buccaneer” buddy at the Battle of New Orleans. Downstream, after a stop at the Lafitte Art Gallery and Gifts at 2608 Jean Lafitte (search “Jean Lafitte art” on Facebook; closed Monday and Tuesday), it’s a short drive farther down the boulevard to City Park Drive where a left turn leads one block to hours of pleasant activities. Start with the mile-long Wetlands Trace boardwalk that loops through a 40-acre Nature Study Park, passing features like a rookery (where egrets nest March through June), pavilions and benches, where walkers can relax while scanning the surroundings for wildlife, waterfowl and swampland plants like lilies, orchids and irises. Adjacent to the boardwalk’s gate, the handsome new Multi-Purpose Center stands as a monument to the town’s survival after years of almost annual disasters, from hurricanes and killer floods to the BP oil-spill travesty. The prime attraction inside the Center is Lafitte’s Barataria Museum (504-689-



Beyond the boardwalks lies a wet and wild world that deserves a closer look, and sightseeing vessels manned by knowledgeable guides are waiting at dockside to share that world.

5145 Fleming Park Rd. Jean Lafitte 504-689-2005 airboatadventures.com Launch times: 9:45 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m., plus 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. on occasion.

“PIRATE VENTURE” SWAMP ADVENTURES 3064 Privateer Blvd. Barataria 504-233-5000 swamptour.us Custom tours: choice of sunrise, sunset, daytime or night.

7888, townofjeanlafitte.com, closed Mondays), which serves as a monument to the never-saydie spirit of Baratarians in the face of today’s coastal erosion and saltwater intrusion. Other exhibits in the museum present wetland animal life like beautifully mounted mink and otters arranged alongside a surprising variety of spectacularly preserved birdlife, while other displays trace the life of Lafitte and share the folklore, folk crafts and traditions of early and contemporary Baratarians. Perhaps the most dramatically presented are the exhibits of pirogues, handmade decoys, traps, nets, tanning tools, pelt-drying boards and oyster tongs, all vital for wresting livelihoods from the wetlands and all enhanced by the personal experiences of enthusiastic curators like Jill Darda who actually worked shrimpboats and dried muskrats under the tutelage of parents and relatives. Finally, heed this advice: don’t depart Lafitte’s Barataria Museum without pausing in its theater to enjoy the film’s stunning wetlands scenes of Barataria, ending with an actual appearance by a great Louisiana celebrity you’ll be delighted to meet. n



6601 Leo Kerner Pkwy. Marrero 504-689-4186 800-445-4109 jeanlafitteswamptour.com

9706 Barataria Blvd. Marrero 504-689-3599 1-888-30SWAMP

Launch times: 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., plus 11:45 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. on occasion.

Launch Times: 9:40 a.m., 12:10 p.m., 2:10 p.m. and 4:15 p.m.


For fishing adventures, the town’s website for visitor information (townofjeanlafitte.com) provides a long list of charter captains, plus boat-owner facilities like marinas, ramps and even lodges for overnighters wishing to launch on-site.



farther flung

Southern Hospitality History, culinary delights and cultural activities make Atlanta a must-visit city By Cheré Coen

Atlanta may be the most-visited

but rarely-seen city in America — its international airport calls itself the world’s busiest in terms of passenger traffic. But if you’re like many travelers and only visit Atlanta to change planes, it’s time to pass security and check out one of the most fascinating cities in the South.

things to DO

The World of Coke The attraction resembles what the name implies — Coca-Cola products, advertisements and artwork from around the world. Visitors will love watching


Louisiana Life march/april 2019

— and singing along to — a world of Coke commercials, visiting an 1880s soda fountain and tasting nearly 70 different Coke products, some of which you may wish you hadn’t. We recommend the Mexican Coke. College Football Hall of Fame You don’t have to love college football to enjoy this attraction, with its interactive exhibits and an indoor football field to test your agility and skill. The Game Day Theater and other films relate the thrill of a college game day and the Hall of Fame spotlights some of the nation’s finest, including Louisiana’s own Monk Simons of Tulane.

Georgia Aquarium More than 10 million gallons of water greet visitors at the Georgia Aquarium, along with thousands of sea animals. The aquarium is so large, visitors will be able to view sea lions, beluga whales and sharks within its wall.

The Silver Screen

Love the Marvel movies, “Hunger Games” or “Stranger Things” and long to stand on that overpass famous from “The Walking Dead?” Georgia, and specifically Atlanta, have become a second home for Hollywood and Atlanta Movie Tours takes visitors to those and many other

sites made famous by film and television. They also offer tours of nearby Castleberry Hill and Senoia, towns known as filming locations. For more information, visit atlantamovietours.com.

Walk, Bike or Run it out

One of the most exciting new city attractions is also good for your health. The 33-mile Atlanta BeltLine circles the city with multi-use trails for walking, biking and jogging. The main 22-mile corridor was laid on top of rail lines and links up to city parks, in-town neighborhoods and outlying trails. Plans are for the BeltLine to expand and include the entire metro area.

Atlanta History

Civil Rights Atlanta has been known as the unofficial headquarters of the Civil Rights Movement because Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph David Abernathy and other movement leaders used the city for organizing. Today, visitors may learn of this important social movement at various attractions, including many that are now part of the U.S. Civil Rights Trail. There are numerous sites connected to King and the Civil Rights Movement, but it’s best to start at the National Historical Park on Auburn Avenue. Here, visitors will learn of the movement’s beginnings and development and King’s boyhood home and church where he preached are within walking distance. Atlanta History Center Learn about the city’s varied history, from touring an 1860s plantation-style house and farm to an elegant 1928 mansion, fully furnished. The main museum includes artifacts from Native American settlements to the 1996 Olympics. The Margaret Mitchell House, owned by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Gone With the Wind,” is part of the complex but located in Midtown.


Eat Paschal’s Restaurant Paschal’s has long been the meeting place for politicians, entertainers and Civil Rights activists and its attraction — besides being the place to be seen — is its famous fried chicken, mac and cheese, collard greens and fried catfish, among other delectable dishes.

Sweet Auburn Curb Market This charming open-air market dates to 1924 and today its vendors sell cuisine that varies from Southern to international and fresh meats and regionally grown produce. The name refers to segregation days when African Americans could only sell off the curb.

Atlanta may be a transportation hub but it’s also known for horrific traffic. To bypass the freeways and related stress choose the fourdiamond Omni Atlanta Hotel at CNN Center, located in the Centennial Park District in the heart of downtown Atlanta. The hotel is within walking distance to almost all downtown attractions — including the CNN Studio Tour next door — and rooms offer striking views of Centennial Olympic Park.



a louisiana life

Basin Keeper Dean Wilson has made protecting the Atchafalaya Basin his life’s work By Megan Hill portrait by romero & romero

The year was 1984, and a young

Dean Wilson had just arrived in Louisiana. His ultimate goal was to move to the Amazon, but Wilson — who grew up in the mountains of Spain — knew he would need help adjusting. “I wasn’t prepared for the heat and the mosquitoes, and I knew if I showed up in the Amazon like that, I was gonna die,” he says. But Wilson never made it to the Amazon. The swamps of the Atchafalaya Basin took hold of him, and he has made its protection his life’s work. For 16 years, Wilson worked as a full-time commercial fisherman, and part time for another four years after that. In 2000, logging companies began indiscriminately harvesting Wilson’s beloved cypress trees, chopping them down and tossing them in the wood chipper for sale as mulch. It angered and saddened Wilson, who knew these magnificent trees — some of them a “young” 120 years old — provide habitat for scores of animals and vital flood protection. “When you cut those trees down, they don’t come back,” he says. Wilson did two things in response: He started a swamp tour company called Last Wilderness Tours to bring people into the basin and experience the same magnetic pull he first felt all those years ago. Today, his son and daughter run the company, and Wilson still runs tours when he has time. The second is likely to be his greatest legacy. Wilson started Atchafalaya Basinkeeper, part of a national network of nonprofits working to protect America’s rivers. Wilson’s chapter works to shut down the logging of cypress, monitor for illegal logging activities, and educate the public. He still serves as the Executive Director today. Wilson says he’s seen numerous successes and setbacks in his career. His organization shut down all logging efforts in the Atchafalaya in 2012, only to have new logging threats arise. Still, he’s undeterred—something that would undoubtedly make his 22-year-old self, fresh off a plane from Spain, proud. n


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Most people living nearby haven’t been in the Atchafalaya. There’s a big disconnect between something that is right in our backyard and the people that are living in coastal Louisiana.