VOLUME 40 NUMBER 2
Noteworthy news and happenings around the state
You don’t have to be Catholic to make a postCarnival season switch to seafood
Considering temperance when it comes to alcohol consumption 06
Our suggestions to enjoy Carnival on and off the parade route 08
MADE IN LOUISIANA
Designer Blake Haney expands Dirty Coast in New Orleans beyond its side-hustle beginnings into a full-service retail and wholesale brand 12
Restoration of ‘Fountain of the Four Winds’ by renowned New Orleans sculptor Enrique Alférez 14
Jay Covington and Hugh Johnson worked with designer Myron Griffing for a dramatic redo of their Shreveport house 32
Crawfish season is here, which means tails in everything. Here are some recipes to get you started
Pull over for a warm welcome and a full plate at Roberto’s in Sunshine
The beginning of the rest of your life
GREAT LOUISIANA CHEF
Chef Ryan André hits creative high at Soji in Baton Rouge
Events and landmarks preserving and celebrating Louisiana genres 48
Downtown Savannah is made for strolling, shopping, noshing and sipping — gocups encouraged 50
A LOUISIANA LIFE
Alexandria Police Officer Anthony Deshautelle uses his boxing skills to teach, mentor and help others
O N T H E COV E R
For some Louisianians, there are two seasons: crawfish season, and the rest of the year. The beginning of the season is cause for celebration and we are looking forward to bellying up to the boil. If you are blessed with leftover tails, our crawfish recipe feature has you covered. The crawfish with asparagus and fresh dill on the cover is just one of six fresh new ways to enjoy the season. Find the rest on pg. 27.
E D I TO R I A L EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Errol Laborde MANAGING EDITOR Melanie Warner Spencer ASSOCIATE EDITOR Ashley McLellan COPY EDITOR Liz Clearman TRAVEL EDITOR Paul F. Stahls Jr. FOOD EDITOR Stanley Dry HOME EDITOR Lee Cutrone ART DIRECTOR Sarah George LEAD PHOTOGRAPHER Danley Romero EDITORIAL INTERN Kathy Bradshaw SALES VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES Colleen Monaghan (504) 830-7215 Colleen@LouisianaLife.com SALES MANAGER Nancy Dessens (504) 830-7263 Nancy@LouisianaLife.com M AR K ETI NG DIRECTOR OF MARKETING & EVENTS Jeanel Luquette EVENT COORDINATOR Abbie Dugruise DI GI TAL WEB EDITOR Kelly Massicot DIGITAL OPERATIONS MANAGER Sarah Duckert P R ODUCTI ON PRODUCTION MANAGER Emily Andras PRODUCTION DESIGNERS Rosa Balaguer, Meghan Rooney TRAFFIC COORDINATOR Lane Brocato TRAFFIC ASSISTANT Jeremiah Michel ADM I NI STR ATI ON CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Todd Matherne PRESIDENT Alan Campell EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT Errol Laborde OFFICE MANAGER Mallary Matherne DISTRIBUTION MANAGER John Holzer SUBSCRIPTION MANAGER Claire Sargent For subscriptions call (504) 830-7231
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PEL I C AN B RIE FS
Festival International de Louisiane A World of Music for Francophiles in Lafayette BY LISA LEBLANC-BERRY PHOTO BY DAVID SIMPSON
B ATO N R O U G E
PICK UP TRICKS Though disappointment prevails over Bayou Country Superfest’s spring cancellation, music lovers and songwriters may do better learning how to become superstars during the Third Street Songwriter’s Festival featuring local and national songwriters and an industry panel of Nashville professionals representing publishing companies and songwriter organizations. Participating songwriters perform and have their songs critiqued. Songwriters and national celebs are celebrated at Manship Theatre (March 20-22; thirdstreetsongwritersfestival. com).
NEW I BER I A
For Literary Leanings The Books Along the Teche Literary Festival presents “The Best of Enemies” movie screening based on the racially-charged novel by the 2020 Great Southern Writer, Osha Davidson, with a symposium. Louisiana poet laureate emeritus, Darrell Bourque, showcases his latest book, “Migrare,” Grammy-nominated Yvette Landry talks with Warren “Storm” (aka the Godfather of Swamp Pop) about his life and new book and the 2019 King of Louisiana Seafood, Chef Nathan Richard, stages the Great Southern Chefs Food Demo (April 3-5; booksalongtheteche.com). B O SS I E R CI TY
Of Kegs and Corks Mark your calendars for the second annual Kegs & Corks Craft Beer and Wine Festival presented by Flying Heart Brewing & Pub. Local and regional breweries and wineries will provide samples to participants, along with food from local eateries. Area homebrewers’ original creations will be offered as lagniappe. Tickets: Eventbrite (May 9; flyingheartbrewing.com). WI NNSBOR O
he 34th annual Festival International de Louisiane presents francophone music from 24 countries, including such headliners as Ayrad, a percussive Canadian group integrating gypsy funk with Moroccan gospel and desert rock. Lisa Stafford, the festival’s revered programming director of 20 years, received the coveted Trouble Worldwide Award by globalFEST in January from the Association of Performing Arts Professionals in New York City (April 22-26; festivalinternational.org).
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Fresh catfish creations bring more than 20,000 visitors to the oldfashioned Franklin Parish Catfish Festival. Antique cars, Christian bands, lumberjack and fiddling competitions, Wallenda’s high wire act and celebrity tricycle races are among the April 4th perks (franklinparishcatfishfestival. com).
HEALTH Y LOUISIANA
Drinking in Moderation Considering temperance when it comes to alcohol consumption
Fresh Take 3 greens in season
BY FRITZ ESKER
CO L L A R D G R E E N S
Are you worried about osteoporosis or other bone issues? Collard greens are an excellent source of vitamin K, which improves calcium absorption, which in turn aids bone strength.
S P I N A CH
ouisiana is a social state. Part of that social scene includes drinking — during Mardi Gras, at football tailgate parties, at neighborhood bars and often parents partake (a little) at children’s birthday parties. But what are the best ways to engage in moderate alcohol consumption without overdoing it?
THE GUIDELINES The US Department of Health and
Human Services advises women to have no more than one drink a day and men to have no more than two drinks a day. What constitutes a drink? A drink is 12 ounces of a typical lager or lite beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of spirits (whiskey, vodka, and so forth). The World Health Organization advises people to follow these guidelines, but to not drink every day. They suggest that people should have no more than 5 drinking days a week. So, even if it’s Mardi Gras or Christmas party season, give yourself a couple of days a week to detox. TIPS Dr. Ryan Truxillo, a family medicine physician
with Ochsner Health System, said it’s important to
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remember that alcohol is a toxin by definition, and is not good for you. “The healthiest level of alcohol consumption is none,” Dr. Truxillo said. It might be helpful for a Louisianian to think of it the way they think of, say, a fried seafood po-boy or fried chicken. Those foods are not healthy to eat, but it’s OK to enjoy them sometimes. Similarly, alcoholic drinks are not healthy, but it’s OK to enjoy them in moderation. Speaking of eating, Dr. Truxillo also said that drinking should never be done on an empty stomach. If you’re drinking, make sure you’re doing it with a meal or shortly after you’ve eaten. Considering how much Louisianians love gathering ‘round the table (or seafood boil pot), this shouldn’t be an issue. If you’re looking to moderate alcohol consumption, spritzers (which merge an alcoholic drink with a non-alcoholic mixer) are an option. Truxillo did warn however that when watching your weight, mixing spirits with soda can translate to a lot of calories, so be mindful of ingredients with soda and sparkling water. n
Spinach made Popeye strong, but it has subtler benefits, too. Its carotenoids promote healthy eyesight and help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts.
CA U L I F LO W E R
High in fiber and B vitamins, this edible flower (yes, it’s technically a flower) aids digestion, weight loss, and has antioxidants to ward off cancer. Try roasting it for a tasty treat!
L IT ERARY LOUISIANA
Louisiana Spirit Spring selections inspired by family, food, music and mysterious stories BY ASHLEY MCLELLAN
FA M I LY
Stone Motel: Memoirs of a Cajun Boy BY MORRIS ARDOIN
Mosquito Supper Club: Cajun Recipes from a Disappearing Bayou
Growing up in Eunice, Morris Ardoin and his seven siblings had a unique childhood working at the family’s roadside motel. In “Stone Motel,” the author details growing up gay in the 1960s and ‘70s in a small town. Paired with a turbulent family life, the book highlights episodes that are at times sweet, funny and inspiring. University Press of Mississippi, 272 pages, $28
M US I C
Encyclopedia of Louisiana Musicians: Jazz, Blues, Cajun, Creole, Zydeco, Swamp Pop, and Gospel BY GENE TOMKO
An exhaustive A to Z exploration of the musicians that define the unique sound of Louisiana, author and music historian Gene Tomko has put together a compilation of more than 1600 roots music creators. Each entry documents the musicians’ history and impact on the musical landscape, and includes both big names and those lesser known, as well as record producers and studio executives. LSU Press, 320 Pages, $49.95
BY MELISSA MARTIN
Chef Melissa Martin is passionate about two things: food and helping to preserve and protect the fragile wetlands and fisheries of her native Louisiana, as well as the culture of the Cajun people she grew up immersed within. Martin, a classically trained chef who may be best known for her Mosquito Supper Club family-style dining experiences, delivers recipes that will feel at home in any kitchen. Each chapter of the book focuses on key ingredients that comprise Cajun essentials. From picking and putting up blackberries to celebrating the Blessing of the Boats marking the opening of each fishing season, Martin provides a heartfelt tribute to the bayou cultures of south Louisiana. Artisan, 368 pages, $35
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A M Y ST E R I O US STO R Y
Lost Boy Found BY KIRSTEN ALEXANDER
This based on a true story is a must-read for mystery and true crime enthusiasts, or anyone just interested in a good story. The tale revolves around the disappearance of a young boy from a small Louisiana town in 1913, a wealthy campaign seeking his return and the reappearance of a child claiming to be him. What follows is a struggle between truth and the love of two mothers set among the backdrop of class struggle in the South. Grand Central Publishing, 368 pages, $16.99
LO UIS IANA MADE
Wear Y’at Designer Blake Haney expands Dirty Coast in New Orleans beyond its side-hustle beginnings into a full-service retail and wholesale brand BY JEFFREY ROEDEL PHOTOS BY ROMERO AND ROMERO
tacked three and four high and all around Blake Haney are brown boxes of just about everything: stickers, T-shirts, hats, socks — everything. Leaning back in his chair and turning his attention from his computer for what looks like the first time in several hours, the bearded, hoodie-clad entrepreneur is apologetic about the navigational difficulties the boxes around his office present. “Excuse all the stuff,” Haney said. “It’s Christmas.” It is, in fact, not Christmas. Not yet anyway. Thanksgiving is next week, but the apparel designer and founder of Dirty Coast is
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busy overseeing production runs that will fulfill a raft of holiday orders while also testing the first full redesign of his New Orleans-bred brand’s website — set to go live in less than a week. Even as an aesthetics-minded creative, Haney admits that the new site is just as much of a necessity as it is a nicety. The growing clothing label needs to be equipped for a much higher volume of traffic and sales than it was even a few years ago. Three retail locations, a wholesale roster that has expanded to the Northshore and Baton Rouge and a storefront inside the sleek new Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport are a far cry from how Haney began when he first posted his NOLA-infused designs on CafePress 15 years ago as a side-hustle under the slangy moniker Dirty Coast. “I thought ‘This’ll be fun,’ and then Katrina happened,” said the then-full-time commercial web designer. While displaced in Lafayette for two months in the fall of 2005, the New Orleans native with a philosophy degree from Sewanee created a sticker that summarized in the simplest of terms how he felt. It read: “Be a New Orleanian wherever you are.”
→ FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT DIRTYCOAST.COM
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Once Haney moved back to the city, he distributed stacks of these stickers to his favorite bars, cafés and retail shops. Locals in recovery from the storm snatched them up faster than he could restock. He decided then that Dirty Coast was about more than looking good; it could be a connection point for commentary, solidarity and community in his hurricane-ravaged hometown. “The idea that New Orleans is not just a place, that you can be a NOLA convert really showed that this wasn’t just fun designs, that it would have more meaning to people,” Haney said. “And that became the direction and the voice for the brand.” Since 2014, Haney has devoted his full attention to the start-up he said “ate” his web-design work, and he’s intent on moving Dirty Coast beyond graphic T-shirts. “Blake has the ability to see the big picture and create space for creativity while our staff tackles the day-today to keep the machine rolling,” said Rachel Marcell, director of operations at Dirty Coast. “I think his drive for learning and connection is what brings success. He’s really [devoid] of ego, so that helps him to connect with the community and the neighborhood in a genuine way.” Now, Dirty Coast’s outlet at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport will dress a new neighborhood of locals and visitors in designs ranging from soulful to silly, so they too can wear a little bit of New Orleans’ heart on their sleeves. “I like the idea of making something that a community of people can interact
with and take ownership of,” Haney said. “At our best, Dirty Coast has always done that.” That interaction is expanding with the new website containing platforms for future Dirty Coast editorial storytelling through community-driven podcasts, articles and photo essays, and with the brand’s lagniappe coin, a black-and-gold doubloon good for 10 percent off Dirty Coast purchases forever and for select discounts from local businesses across the city. So far, more than 30 businesses have signed up to accept the coin as it catches on, not unlike that first New Orleans sticker Haney made almost 15 years ago. Still, most don’t know the man behind the Big Easyloving brand, and he likes it that way. “I don’t have any interest in being the face of anything,” Haney said, scrolling through the new website. “I like being behind the scenes and tinkering with creative ideas. If I can make a living doing that, then I’m happy.” n
If you could outfit one celebrity in a Dirty Coast T-shirt, who would it be and what shirt would you want them to wear? Harry Connick Jr. in “I Know What It Means” or Cam Jordan in our “There Is a House” design. Maybe Ellen [Degeneres] in the “Be a New Orleanian Wherever You Are.” What do you like to do in your limited spare time? We bought a house in Bay St. Louis in 2018 and go there from time to time to turn everything off. The beach and being on the water is always relaxing. We take some trips with family and friends when we can. Where’s the best place to hang out in NOLA or meet up w ith your Dirty Coast team? As I have gotten older, I prefer just being in my kitchen or someone else’s or on a porch to hang with friends, have some laughs, talk life. Every month or so, I host a steak night at Charlie’s Steak House and have 20 or so folks show up to eat and ‘meat.’ You like a good cigar, I gather. What is it about that pastime that you enjoy? I like that you have to sit and take your time. It is a moment of quiet.
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Preserving (Art) History Restoration of “Fountain of the Four Winds” by renowned New Orleans sculptor Enrique Alférez BY JOHN R. KEMP
he long-neglected and nearly-forgotten “Fountain of the Four Winds” — one of Louisiana’s most spectacular, yet controversial Great Depression-era New Deal works of art located at the New Orleans Lakefront Airport — is at last being restored to its former glory. A masterpiece designed in a neoclassical style and built in the mid 1930s by the renowned New Orleans sculptor Enrique Alférez, the “Fountain of the Four Winds” is a tribute to the prevailing four winds. Yet only the North Wind is a male figure (explicitly so). To quote Hamlet, “There’s the rub.” But that can wait. Alférez, who died in 1999 at the age of 98, was a prolific sculptor whose artwork graces public and private spaces throughout New Orleans, notably at the old Charity Hospital and New Orleans Lakefront Airport. The greatest collection of his art, including work for the Works Progress Administration, or WPA, is located in City Park’s Helis Foundation Enrique Alferez Sculpture
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(above) “Fountain of the Four Winds,” WPA photo, July 8, 1938, New Orleans Lakefront Airport (facing page, clockwise) Art conservator Elise Grenier cleaning “Fountain of the Four Winds.” Art conservator Elise Grenier. The West Wind. Enrique Alférez, ca. 1975 in Mexico.
Garden, Tad Gormley Stadium and among the park’s bridges and walkways. The “Fountain of the Four Winds,” is owned by the Orleans Levee District and undergoing restoration, thanks to a $180,000 post-Hurricane Katrina grant from the Federal Emergency Management Authority and $90,000 raised by Friends of the Airport. Heading the project is Lakefront Management Authority chairperson Wilma Heaton who also spearheaded the recent restoration of the historic Art Deco Lakefront Airport terminal. The fountain, she said, should be operating by spring. “It was designed and built by a great sculptor during the Depression,” said Heaton. “If we don’t restore it, we will lose a piece of our history, and we can’t afford to lose any more history.” Doing the restoration is Elise Grenier, an acclaimed art conservator with offices in Baton Rouge and Florence, Italy. Painstakingly working through an internationally approved conservation process, Grenier is restoring the statues and surrounding pool wall. At a distance, the four cast-concrete and cement-coated figures resemble weathered sandstone. “My biggest challenge is staying true to the ethics of conservation,” said Grenier. “It’s like medicine. Do no harm. As a conservator, there should be nothing of yourself in it. It has to be all his work. I don’t want people to look at it and say, ‘Look, it’s newly restored.’ I want people to see it as it is and how it has aged.” Alférez’s unmistakable imagery, inspired by the populist and aesthetic realism of his native Mexico, has brought elegance and grace to public art throughout New Orleans. His sculpted statues appear as stilled motion, like a dancer poised between calming phrases of music. At times, they are sensuous with an embracing passion or, as in his religious statuary, embrace a medieval purity. Called “Rique” by family and friends, Alférez was born in 1901 in Mexico to a large family. His father was a European-trained artist. At 12, Enrique ran away, rode with Poncho Villa’s revolutionary army, later escaped to Texas and, in 1924, enrolled at the Art Institute of Chicago. Five years later, on a trip back to Mexico, he stopped over in New Orleans, where he ran out of money and remained. Commissions came his way from local architects and later from the WPA. In the early 1930s, the Orleans Levee Board hired Alférez to create bas-relief friezes for the new Lakefront Airport, then called Shushan Airport. The board hired him again to build the “Fountain of the Four Winds.” Katie Bowler Young, who is writing a biography of Alférez, said the fountain was part of a $233,000 two-year WPA and Levee Board-funded airport beautification project that began in 1936. Alférez hit a snag when local WPA officials objected to the North Wind’s exposed penis. They ordered him to chisel it off. He recounts the story in a 1989 University of New Orleans documentary written by Matthew Martinez and produced by Barbara Coleman. “The director of the WPA here, a roughneck, said, ‘I’m not going to let my men go there and stand in front of that indecent thing, the man with his ding
PHOTOS COURTESY NEW ORLEANS LIBRARY, LOUISIANA DIVISION; DR. TLALOC ALFÉREZ
Exhibits Art to see around the state CA J U N
“ The Art of Sir Winston Churchill.” Presented by the National Churchill Museum. Solo exhibition of paintings by Winston Churchill, through March 21. Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum, Lafayette. hilliardmuseum.org. CE N T R A L
dong hanging out’,” Alférez said. “There was a meeting at the City Park board and WPA. They were horrified that I should have a nude man there. They said, ‘What would your mother say?’ I told them if my mother didn’t know what it was, I would not be here.” Alférez reported the incident to his friend Lyle Saxon, head of the local WPA Writers Project and Saxon intervened. “I told Saxon,” Alférez continued, “they were going to go over there with a sledgehammer and chop off the penis of this figure. I said if they do, I’m going to be there with a 30-30 [rifle] and I’ll shoot anybody and I have a right to do it because I think it’s a right of an individual to protect the way he makes a living. I made up that law.” Then Alférez laughed. Alférez said Saxon wrote letters of appeal to President Franklin Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor. They responded, saying they had no objection to the statue. The WPA official backed off. A bias against Avante Garde art emerging in the 1930s apparently existed in the local office of the WPA’s Federal Art Project. Historian Richard Megraw notes in his history of New Deal art in Louisiana that project director Gideon Stanton’s more conservative tastes in art caused tensions between him, local artists and more open-minded WPA officials in Washington. “At every turn,” Megraw wrote, “he resisted the egalitarian impulses of the project and frustrated the ambitions of local artists with the popular spirit, to organize and spread ‘the people’s art’ along the avenues of the Crescent City.”
“ Connected Visions: Louisiana’s Artistic Lineage.” Development of art in Louisiana through connections between artists and educators, through 2022. Alexandria Museum of Art. themuseum.org. P L A N TAT I O N
“ Soulful Journey: Randell Henry.”
Since the 1930s, the fountain slowly decayed, despite shoddy repairs, and it stopped working long before Katrina. Even more insulting, a prudish vandal took a hammer to the North Wind’s privates. In 1991, the Levee Board hired Alférez to restore the fountain and to return the North Wind’s pride. In a recent interview, Alférez’s daughter, New Orleans physician Tlaloc Alférez, discussed her father’s career and art, especially the fountain. “I think he thought it was one of the finest pieces he had ever done,” she said. As insurance against future disasters, Dr. Alférez had 3-D scans made of the piece. She also hopes to have the statues cast in bronze for placement elsewhere and to create a museum in her father’s honor. Commenting on his own work in the 1989 documentary, Alférez said creating art is not mysterious. “To me,” he said, “it’s an escape from the reality of the world around you. I would much rather enjoy the world I make.” Indeed, Alférez has created a world and an escape for us all to enjoy. n
Paintings by Baton Rouge artist Randell Henry, through May 31. Louisiana Art & Science Museum, Baton Rouge. lasm.org. NOLA
“ Ear to the Ground: Earth and Element in Contemporary Art.” Influences of nature in creating contemporary art, through April 19. New Orleans Museum of Art. noma.org. NORTH
“ Create a Beautiful Life.” Features artist-residents of Holy Angels in Shreveport, through March 15. The R.W. Norton Art Gallery, Shreveport. rwnaf.org.
Take Two Jay Covington and Hugh Johnson worked with designer Myron Griffing for a dramatic redo of their Shreveport house BY LEE CUTRONE PHOTOS BY MARC GIBSON
agazine publisher Jay Covington describes the previous state of the house he shares with his partner Hugh Johnson as “Versailles Over the Top.” When the couple built the Georgian-style house in 1998, their tastes leaned toward heavy furnishings, French embellishments, silk draperies, traditional Oriental rugs, gilding and ornate flourishes. But several decades later, vacations to Florida and the easy, modern lifestyle
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The dining room’s green, black and white are carried over from the living room.
there had them longing for a simpler version of their home. The homeowners called designer Myron Griffing of Space Interiors, whom they’d met through his work in the local magazine world, for a consult. They told Griffing they wanted a vibrant take on New Orleans style, a showplace where people could have fun. With the exception of a few pieces of heirloom furniture and much of the art they’d collected over the years, they were ready to edit and start with a blank slate. “We don’t have children, and we saw this as a chance to have fun and be a bit exuberant,” said Covington. “It
was hard to see things being carried off in trucks, but it was also very liberating.” The first drawing that Griffing showed the clients — the remodeled living room — checked some of their favorite boxes. It called for white walls, which both Covington and Johnson had envisioned as a background for their art, a coastal-inspired black and white stripe and a ceiling lacquered emerald green, which is Covington’s favorite color. “Unbeknownst to me, friends had dubbed their house ‘Oz’ because it’s a little remote and magical,” said Griffing who found inspiration for the redesign in a magazine photo of a boutique hotel lobby with a
glossy black ceiling. “The emerald green was completely serendipitous.” Griffing proceeded with a full update of the living room, dining room and den, grounding his use of vivid color and graphic motifs with a simple masculinity derived from neutral tones, comfortable tufted seating and rich fabrics. He also helped curate the couple’s art to give it the importance it deserves and reworked pieces that needed a fresh perspective. In the living room, he chose figural works (and a large triptych landscape) featuring green as a main color and repurposed a weighty Empire-style sofa by painting it black and
The living room’s lacquered emerald green ceiling has a glossy, mirror-like finish. Tufted velvet sofas, a crystal chandelier, touches of gold and graphic black and white add to the glamour of the space.
At a Glance LOCATI ON
Shreveport SQUA R E FOOTAGE
Y E A R BUI LT
A R CHI TECT
Homeowners’ design I NTER I OR DESI GNER OF R EM ODELED SPACES
Myron Griffing, Space Interiors STA NDOUT FE ATUR ES
Lacquered emerald green ceiling, French molding, colorful art collection, arched doors and windows framing indoor and outdoor views.
(top) In contrast to the vibrant colored art and the original fireplace’s curvilinear design, Griffing anchored the den with “his and his” tailored furnishings and a masculine palette of gray, blue and tan. (right) The owners built their brick Georgian-style home in 1998. Razzi, an Australian labradoodle, welcomes visitors.
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reupholstering it with a crisp stripe. To balance the adjacent living and dining rooms, he selected a green wallpaper for the dining room ceiling and a rug that repeats the Greek key pattern he used on the backs of a pair of living room chairs. In the den, where the couple spend most of their at-home time when not in the kitchen, he worked around the existing limestone mantel and the idea of “his and his” pairings of furnishings to create comfortable symmetry. “Myron loved it because we let him have free rein and it was a pinnacle opportunity for him to express himself, but it also represents us very well, too,” said Covington, who, along with Johnson finds the remix original, livable and great for entertaining. The couple open their home frequently for civic, charitable and family events, where guests overwhelmingly have a positive response to the house. “It brings everybody’s mood up; it makes everybody happy,” said Covington. “It’s very inviting. Hugh and I both love it, too. It’s home, and we’re glad to be here.” n
Crawfish season is here, which means tails in everything. Here are some recipes to get you started. BY S TA N L E Y D R Y P H OTO S BY E U G E N I A U H L
It’s the height of crawƒish season, and as much as we love our weekly crawƒish boils, we also enjoy those little crustaceans in other preparations. For a change of pace, try a crawfish etouffée enriched with shrimp and lump crabmeat, mirlitons stuffed with crawfish, fried crawfish with an elegant béarnaise sauce or a gratin of crawfish and eggplant. In Sweden, fresh dill is much loved with crawfish, so add that to the menu. Or, yet again, make a sumptuous dish of crawfish with saffron, artichoke hearts and green peas. That’s enough recipes for every night of the week that you don’t eat boiled crawfish.
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CrawfishStuffed Mirlitons Recipes often call for discarding the seed in a mirliton, but the seed is edible and very tasty. Panko are Japanese-style crispy bread crumbs. 2 mirlitons 1 pound peeled crawfish tails ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil 1 medium onion, chopped 4 cloves garlic, minced 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice ½ cup panko bread crumbs ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan coarse salt, cayenne and freshly ground black pepper ¼ cup chopped green onion tops ¼ cup chopped parsley paprika for garnish COOK mirlitons in salted boiling water until tender, about 60 minutes. Refresh under running cold water. When cool enough to handle, cut in half lengthwise. Remove flesh, leaving a ¼-inch thick shell. Chop mirliton flesh and add to mixing bowl. Chop crawfish and add to mixing bowl. PREHEAT oven to 350 F. In a
large skillet, cook onion in olive oil until softened. Add garlic and cook briefly. Add mirliton flesh and crawfish and simmer until heated through. Add lemon juice, bread crumbs and Parmesan and stir to combine. Season with salt, cayenne and black pepper. Stir in onion tops and parsley. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
FILL mirliton shells with crawfish mixture and place in a baking dish. Sprinkle with paprika and bake until browned and heated through, about 30 minutes. SERVES 4
Crawfish with Saffron, Artichokes and Green Peas The combination of crawfish tails, artichoke hearts and green peas has spring written all over it. The addition of prized saffron is a welcome bonus. 2 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil ¼ cup minced shallots ¼ cup diced onions ¾ cup chicken broth ½ cup white wine 2 tablespoons lemon juice ½ teaspoon saffron 1 (9-ounce) package frozen artichoke hearts 1 pound peeled crawfish tails 1 cup frozen green peas coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper and cayenne to taste HEAT butter and olive oil in a large skillet or casserole. Add shallots and onions and cook over medium heat until softened, about 8 minutes. ADD chicken broth, wine and lemon juice. Crumble saffron into pan, add artichoke hearts, return to a simmer, cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Add crawfish tails, return to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add green peas, season with salt, black pepper and cayenne and cook for another 5 minutes. Serve over steamed rice. SERVES 4
Crawfish with Saffron, Artichokes & Green Peas
Saffron, which comes from the stigmas of the Crocus sativus flower, is very expensive because of the tedious hand labor that goes into its harvest.
Known as mirliton in Louisiana, this member of the gourd family goes by a number of different names, including chayote, vegetable pear and custard marrow.
CRAWFISH, SHRIMP AND LUMP CRABMEAT ETOUFFÉE Fried Crawfish with Béarnaise
½ cup butter 2 large onions, chopped 2 stalks celery, chopped 2 cups chicken broth ¼ cup all-purpose flour 1 pound peeled crawfish tails 2 tablespoons lemon juice
coarse salt and cayenne to taste 1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp 1 pound lump crabmeat ¼ cup chopped green onion tops ¼ cup chopped parsley
IN A HEAVY POT over medium heat, melt butter and cook onions and celery
until softened, about 8 minutes.
MEANWHILE, in a small mixing bowl, whisk together cold chicken both and flour until smooth. Add to pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until thickened and raw taste of flour disappears, about 30 minutes. ADD crawfish and cook an additional 15 minutes. Add lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and cayenne. Add shrimp and cook until shrimp redden, about 5 minutes. Add lump crabmeat and cook only until crabmeat is heated through. Adjust seasonings. Add onion tops and parsley. Serve over steamed rice. SERVES 6 LOUISIANALIFE.COM 23
Fried Crawfish with BĂŠarnaise BĂŠarnaise sauce, which is one of the aristocrats in the sauce world, is often served with steak, but it is also scrumptious with fried crawfish.
GRATIN OF CRAWFISH AND EGGPLANT
Olive oil for frying 1 pound eggplant, sliced ½-inch thick 1 medium onion, chopped 4 cloves garlic, minced 2½ cups peeled plum tomatoes, crushed 1 pound peeled crawfish tails
coarse salt, cayenne and freshly ground black pepper fresh basil ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan ½ cup bread crumbs 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
PREHEAT oven to 350 F. Heat a thin layer of olive oil in large skillet and
fry eggplant until colored on both sides, adding additional oil, if needed. Drain on paper towels. Cook onions in skillet until softened, then add garlic, tomatoes and crawfish and simmer until thickened. Season with salt, cayenne and black pepper.
COVER the bottom of a 2-quart baking dish with half of the eggplant. Add half the tomato and crawfish mixture. Cover with fresh basil leaves. Layer with additional eggplant and tomato-crawfish mixture. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and drizzle with olive oil. Bake in preheated oven until bubbling and browned, about 25-30 minutes. SERVES 4 OR MORE
Gratin of Crawfish And Eggplant
Crawfish with Asparagus and Fresh Dill In Sweden, where crawfish are very popular, they are prepared with a dill sauce. Do not substitute dried dill for fresh in this recipe. 1 pound thin asparagus spears 4 tablespoons butter 1 pound peeled crawfish tails ½ cup white wine ¾ cup heavy cream coarse salt and white pepper to taste 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill PUT 6 cups of water and a teaspoon of salt in a nonreactive pot and bring to a boil. Cut off the tough base of asparagus spears and discard. Cut spears into 1-inch lengths. Blanch asparagus in boiling water for 1 minute, then drain in a colander and rinse under running cold water to stop the cooking. MELT butter in a large,
nonreactive skillet over medium-high heat. When butter foams, add crawfish and cook for about 1 minute. Add wine and cook until liquid is reduced by half. Add asparagus and cream and cook, while shaking or stirring pan, until sauce thickens. Season with salt, white pepper and dill.
Crawfish with Asparagus and Fresh Dill
Dill is a member of the parsley family, while asparagus belongs to the lily family. As with crawfish, both dill and asparagus are harbingers of spring.
Fried Crawfish with Béarnaise It’s difficult to choose which crawfish preparation one likes best. For many, boiled crawfish may top the list, but fried crawfish could be a contender. CR AWFISH
Vegetable oil for frying 1 cup buttermilk 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup corn flour 1 teaspoon salt 1 pound peeled crawfish tails BÉAR NAISE SAUCE
¼ cup white wine ¼ cup white wine vinegar 1 tablespoon minced shallots 4 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon, divided 2 black peppercorns, bruised with the side of a large knife pinch salt dash cayenne 3 egg yolks 1 cup melted butter FOR THE CRAWFISH Heat oil in a fryer or deep pot. While oil is heating, pour buttermilk in a bowl and combine flour, corn flour and salt in a shallow pan. When oil has reached 375 F, dip crawfish tails in buttermilk, then dredge in flour mixture. Fry, in batches, to a golden brown. Remove fried crawfish with a skimmer or slotted spoon and drain on absorbent paper. Keep warm in a 200 degree oven until all the crawfish are fried. Serve with béarnaise sauce. FOR THE BÉARNAISE SAUCE Combine
wine, wine vinegar, shallots, 2 teaspoons tarragon, peppercorns, salt and cayenne in a small pan and boil until reduced to a few tablespoons. Transfer to a stainless steel mixing bowl and cool. Add egg yolks and whisk to combine. Place bowl over a pot of simmering water and cook, while whisking, until mixture thickens. Begin slowly adding butter while continuing to whisk. Continue adding butter while whisking and moving bowl away from heat and then back, as needed, until all the butter has been incorporated. Strain sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a serving bowl. Add remaining fresh tarragon to sauce and stir to combine.
Retirement, Louisiana Style The beginning of the rest of your life
by KATHY BRADSHAW
Age is just a number. People are living longer, staying active later in life. They don’t age; they mature. They’re not “over the hill;” they’re climbing it — or even running up it. There are 84-year-olds doing halfmarathons. There are 70-year-olds beginning a new career. And for some, life doesn’t even get started until 50. ¶ If you’re 55 plus and looking for a retirement community within Louisiana — whether you seek a smaller living space, luxury amenities or the companionship of other, youthful seniors in the prime of their lives — there are many options from which to choose.
Waterview Court 2222 E. Bert Kouns (Industrial Loop), Shreveport blueharborseniorliving.com/ senior-communities/waterview-court
aterview Court Senior Living touts “charming, Southern-style independent living.” Right in the heart of Shreveport, this community is in a prime location for those who want both the comforts of home and access to vibrant city life. Every apartment comes with either a balcony or patio — perfect for outdoorsy types. To get even closer to nature, there’s a community garden on the grounds. Active residents can dance the night away on the dance floor, rock out on the grand piano (showtunes, anyone?) or get dolled up in the
on-site beauty salon before a night on the town. To relax and unwind, visit the library, computer center or movie theater. Waterview Court offers an extensive activities program based on residents’ suggestions — up to six activities per day during the week. Options include dominoes and beanbag baseball, cooking and movie clubs or bingo and trivia nights. Waterview celebrates “holidays,” from birthdays to National Peanut Butter Day. There also are regular field trips. Join a Walmart run, “make groceries” at Kroger or tag along for a cultural outing to the opera. There’s never a dull moment at Waterview.
But, you don’t have to be an artist or patron of the arts to enjoy Christwood, as it has so much more to offer. On 117 acres of landscaped grounds, the community features a heated, indoor saltwater pool; day spa; fitness center with a personal trainer on staff; three libraries and over 43 clubs and activities. There is full-time housekeeping available, free rides to local spots and both a convenience store and bank onsite, so that you can tend to all your practical needs — and happy hour and Sunday brunch for when you want to have a little fun. If you can’t decide what to do when there are so many options, ask the full-time activities staff for recommendations.
The Greens at Pelican Point
40023 Pelican Point Pkwy., Gonzales livethepoint.com
he Greens is a 55 plus community within the larger, all-ages Pelican Point Golf Community. When not enjoying the championship golf courses, residents can access the activity center — open around the clock — that houses a heated indoor swimming pool and a fitness center. A well-equipped clubhouse offers a card room, billiards, banquet hall and library. Get involved via events such as poker and bridge games, potluck dinners, group outings and social gatherings. If staying active is your thing, the community has tennis and volleyball courts, as well as baseball and soccer fields. There are also scenic trails for walking or running, lakes for fishing and a pro shop for browsing. Pelican Point has its very own main street, with 40,000 square feet of shops and offices. The wide range of businesses to choose from include a dentist’s office, nail salon, bank, pub, spa and a Subway.
Christwood 100 Christwood Blvd., Covington christwoodrc.com
re you artsy and imaginative and considering retirement? Christwood just might be the perfect place for you. This retirement community proudly supports the creative arts. From organizing music, art and writing events onsite to planning outings to nearby museums, plays and concerts, Christwood is a creative-type’s dream. If you love art but don’t know your way around a paintbrush, Christwood has an art studio and art classes. There’s even an in-house gallery, with a nearby fireplace and café, where regional artists can show off their work after being honored by an opening reception before each exhibit.
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something in the arts and crafts studio. Offsite shopping trips, lunch outings and cultural excursions are also a possibility. There are plenty of ways to keep busy and entertained here. Other facilities and amenities include a library, unisex hair salon, game room, chapel, fitness program, a community room with a fireplace and scenic grounds. Brookdale Lafayette leans slightly more towards assisted rather than fully independent living, but you can still exercise as much freedom as you want and remain as active as you can — the 24-hour full-time staff is just there in case you need them. You can even take advantage of the concierge service if you’d rather relax and let them do the work for you.
150 Broadway St., New Orleans lambethhouse.com
ptown New Orleans is often associated with posh luxury and gracious living, and Lambeth House is no exception. Located near Audubon Park and Zoo, Lambeth House’s 118 individual apartments in its 12-story main building offer lavish comfort with river or park views. Whether you’re enjoying redfish almondine in the formal dining room, a game of cards in the parlor or a glass of wine during happy hour, you’ll feel ritzy and pampered. The 21,000-square-foot Wellness Center features a spa, saltwater pool, café, art studio and a fitness center offering personal training and classes — from water aerobics to line dancing. Feeling zen? Get a massage, take a yoga class or chill out in the meditation room and garden. And nothing says swanky like a full-service salon. If group activities are what you seek, there are plenty at Lambeth House. Sing your heart out with the choral group, show off your literary prowess with the book-of-the-month club or get out with your fellow residents and enjoy New Orleans. Outings range from knocking down pins at the bowling alley to watching a performance of the ballet.
Brookdale Lafayette 215 West Farrel Road, Lafayette brookdale.com/en/communities/ brookdale-lafayette (Also locations in Alexandria, Shreveport, Lake Charles and New Orleans)
hat are you going to do today? You’ll never have to wonder at Brookdale. Based on each resident’s interests and preferences, Brookdale designs a personalized monthly calendar of events for every senior. Maybe you want to learn to cook or play the piano. Stroll through the gardens or create
The top 15 reasons to retire in Louisiana retired and least 66 golf 8 Atcourses 1 You’re have more time on statewide. your hands, and daydrinking in this state is you’re down9 Ifsizing, considered cool. you can throw whatever stuff aptly you want to get rid of 2 Louisiana, named the Festival off a Mardi Gras float. Capital of America, has some 400 festivals almost 10 It’s annually. That’s more always warm. than one per weekend, giving you plenty of occasions enjoy No.1.
The humidity will keep your skin looking young.
Cajun dancing can help fight heart disease.
11 Because somebody
probably really does have some swampland to sell you.
can save 12 You money on
hearing aids; the music is plenty loud here.
average age in 13 Oysters: the French Quarter nature’s Viagra. 5 The is 54.5. are 14 There Peeling crawfish is excellent retire6 a good exercise to ment communities. prevent arthritis. would you 15 Why Spicy food can want to live 7 help boost your anywhere else? metabolism and keep you regular.
R OADS IDE DINING
River Life Pull over for a warm welcome and a full plate at Roberto's in Sunshine BY JYL BENSON PHOTOS BY MORGAN & OWENS
→ NOTE: Though the address says Sunshine, Roberto's is actually located in St. Gabriel on River Road (Highway 75) about 3 miles south of Gardere Lane and 1/4 mile north of Bayou Paul Lane.
32 LOUISIANA LIFE MARCH/APRIL 2020
everal factors make Roberto's River Road Restaurant in Sunshine memorable. For starters, the location — it is nearly impossible to find to the extent that it can start to feel like a prank as you drive and drive, seemingly going nowhere. Next, the appearance of the former 1950s general store, when it finally sprouts up facing the levee in the gravel parking lot when you find it, pretty much screams "dump" from the outside. But, the telltale line outside of the door prior to opening for lunch and dinner is a giveaway. Roberto's is located 10 miles or so south of Baton Rouge on the Mississippi River levee in a clapboard building erected in 1850. It clearly once bore a coat of white paint. Roberto's changes the game just as soon as you open the door however, into a warm, rustic, inviting interior. There's an echo through the cavernous space as you walk across the old wooden floors. Numerous salvaged mirrors of no discernible lineage and rustic signage lend a casual, shabby-chic charm. The restaurant is generally packed with regulars who come again and again for fresh takes on Cajuninspired dishes. The usual steaks and fried seafood are here for sure, but skip them unless you become a regular — and you just might. Try instead the namesake Shrimp Roberto with three large specimens stuffed with seafood dressing, wrapped in bacon, fried, and served atop a pool of silky beurre blanc and finished with lemony hollandaise. The Roasted Duck St. Gabriel features half of
(far left) Fresh Gulf catch of the day is served en papillote — wrapped in parchment paper, and baked with fresh herbs, lemon and white wine and topped with hunks of jumbo lump crab meat (left) Chef Hays Kahoa (below, left) Shrimp Roberto: seafood stuffed shrimp wrapped in bacon, fried and served atop beurre blanc and finished with hollandaise and parmesan cheese (right) Roberto's main dining room
On the Side Tickle your tastebuds with a little statewide food news B ATO N R O U G E
Seasonal ramen rolled out at Jinya
Anderson's, before moving on to join the opening team at Juban's, where, Mary said, Roberto — a native of Guatemala City — really found his groove in the kitchen. He put it all to good use as one of the original owners of Mansur's. In 2001, several restaurant gigs later, the couple rented the old J.J. LaPlace Store on River Road in Iberville Parish. The intention was to complete a catering job after having lost their existing building in downtown Baton Rouge after the state suddenly commandeered it a waterfowl glazed with a currant and blueberry for a downtown redevelopment project. The Old demi-glace reduction, served with creamy potatoes. J.J. LaPlace store had served as a commissary and The River Road Shrimp packs just the right bite of post office, before LaPlace was robbed, shot and spice with large Gulf shrimp sautéed in a brandy killed in 1990, while managing his general store. butter sauce seasoned with plenty of trinity and The Sandovals had no intention of remaining in served over linguine. the rather dubious River Road building. Despite the building's unsavory past, the Sandovals The fresh Gulf catch of the day is served en papillote — wrapped in parchment paper and baked quickly realized the strength of the petroleum with fresh herbs, lemon and white wine and topped industry in the area and the almost built-in clientele with hunks of jumbo lump crab meat. Finish the that came with the River Road location. They opened meal with the Malted Chocolate Caramel Pie or the for lunch and dinner, with Roberto in the kitchen Peppermint Mocha Crème Brûlée that gives executing riffs on the Creole and way to a silken interior when you crack the Cajun cuisines he had mastered at Rober to's Riv er sugary crust with the back of your spoon, Road Restaurant Juban's and Mansur's. Today, the kitchen is headed up by and you'll never forget it. 1985 La. 75, Sunshine Chef Hays Kahoa, who also serves as Mary and Roberto Sandoval started 225-642-5999 a partner in the business. n their careers together, at the nearby Mike robertosrestaurant.net
The wildly popular, Jinya (10000 Perkins Rowe #160, 225-2564004, jinya-ramenbar. com), a chic Japanese ramen bar, has unveiled a new bowl of goodness just in time for spring. Kara-Men is a spicy chicken based ramen bowl with cilantro, bean sprouts, pork soborro (ground pork), yellow and green onions topped with Osen tamago (a specially prepared egg), chili powder and sesame seeds. Yum. M ONR OE
Himalayan Cafe cures Napalese cravings Are you seeking authentic Napali cuisine? The recently opened Himalayan Cafe (3600 Desiard St., 318-600-3439) is enjoying enthusiastic reviews. Check out the chicken Biryani and Kothey momo. NEW OR LEANS
Antoine's Anniversary Antoine’s Restaurant (713 St. Louis St., 504-581-4422 antoines.com), the oldest family-owned eatery in America, is celebrating 180 years in business with special events, menus and celebrations.
GREAT LOUISIANA CH E F
Fifty Shades of Asia Chef Ryan André hits creative high at Soji in Baton Rouge BY LISA LEBLANC-BERRY PHOTOS BY ROMERO & ROMERO
ith his rock star persona, tattoos marking culinary milestones, penetrating eyes and an easy laugh that obscures an indefatigable, serious work ethic, Chef Ryan André is at the top of his game at Soji Modern Asian in Baton Rouge. Opened in 2018, this popular foodie haven is filled to capacity on weekends, when the noise level often outshines Friday’s lunch crowd popping magnums of bubbly at Galatoire’s. Neon-lit raw and noodle bars, two intimate craft cocktail bars and occasional limbo contests add to Soji’s utterly cool allure. “We wanted to create a unique, high-energy place that offers something new to Baton Rouge,” said André. Instead of offering the typical Asian-American fusion that prevails, André’s menu is a multi-national mosaic, in which each offering retains its regional integrity. The hip gastronomic gladiator from Gonzales seduces with edible art and flavors that can cause your eyelids to lower in quiet euphoria, from the deep, primal succulence of Korean ribs to fiery Thai drunken noodles and complex ramen bowls that emulate the many shades of sweet, salty and spicy gleaned from a dozen Asian countries. It came as no surprise when Soji was named Best New Restaurant for 2019 and André was named Best Chef by 225 Magazine’s Best of Baton Rouge awards, a title he also won in 2017 leading City Pork Brasserie. Recruited from the Louisiana Culinary Institute by mentor Chef Tory McPhail for a seven-month stint at Commander’s Palace in New Orleans following hurricane Katrina, the tastemaker’s tipping point ensued when André returned to Commander’s for a second transformative stretch before opening Le Creole in 2010. “I was commuting back and forth from Baton Rouge for school and working at Commander’s until midnight,” he said. “A lot of my drive comes from putting my head down and working hard. It remains my work ethic.” A restless perfectionist with an ongoing quest for new flavor profiles, André returns to Thailand this summer. “When I visited Thailand in 2018, I was Soji Moder n Asian amazed at the street food and discovered over 20 to 30 distinctly different soy Restaurant and Bar 5050 Government sauces from various regions," he said. "I’m Street returning in July for my 40th birthday. It Baton Rouge will keep me on my toes. Being challenged 225-300-4448 eatsoji.com is my passion.” n
34 LOUISIANA LIFE MARCH/APRIL 2020
B E I J I N G S A U CE N O O D L E S 1 tablespoon small diced fresh ginger 1 tablespoon minced garlic 8 ounces ground beef ¼ cup minced shiitake 1 tablespoon canola oil 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce 3 tablespoons Koon Chun ground bean paste 1 tablespoon dark soy 1 cup water 1 tablespoon sugar 27 ounces cooked wide Chinese noodles ½ cup shredded carrots ½ cup shredded cucumber ½ cup green onion 1 tablespoon sliced pickled ginger 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
CO O K first ginger, garlic, ground beef and shiitake in canola oil over medium-high heat until browned. Add hoisin sauce, ground bean paste, soy sauce, water and sugar into skillet and bring to a boil. R E D U C E sauce to a simmer and cover. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking. Remove lid and toss in cooked noodles. Cook for another 2 minutes to heat noodles. R E M O V E from heat. Toss in carrots, cucumbers, green onion, pickled ginger and lime juice. Serve immediately. Serves 3.
K ITC HE N GOURME T
R OA S T E D CAULI FLOWER WI TH FR I ED B R E A D CR U M B S 1 head cauliflower ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 4 anchovy fillets, chopped 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 teaspoon capers, drained and chopped ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper ½ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese ½ cup panko bread crumbs freshly ground black pepper coarse salt, only if needed P R E H E A T oven to
CO R E and separate cauliflower into small florets. Toss with ¼ cup olive oil to coat. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until browned, about 30 minutes. CO M B I N E anchovy fillets, garlic, capers, red pepper and Pecorino in mixing bowl.
Lenten Respite You don’t have to be Catholic to make a post-Carnival season switch to seafood BY STANLEY DRY PHOTOS AND STYLING BY EUGENIA UHL
36 LOUISIANA LIFE MARCH/APRIL 2020
ent is upon us, and probably just in the nick of time. The human body can only take so much Mardi Gras before it spirals into an altered state. Someone once said that Louisiana itself is an altered state of reality, and they may have been onto something. But even alternate realities need to take a break, and Lent provides just that opportunity. With all our delicious seafood, going meatless has never been difficult. I suppose if we really want to make a sacrifice for Lent, we should give up seafood as well as meat. I’m not going to go that far, but truth is, for a while now, I’ve found myself eating more vegetarian meals, for reasons I can’t really explain. It hasn’t been a deliberate choice; it’s just something that happened.
H E A T 2 tablespoons olive oil in large skillet. Add bread crumbs and fry, stirring frequently, until they begin to brown. Add cauliflower and cheese mixture and toss until well combined. Season generously with black pepper. Taste before adding salt. Makes 4 servings.
I’m certainly not dogmatic about it, and neither am I a purist. I’ll often use chicken stock or a small amount of cured pork or dried shrimp to season a vegetable dish. I’ve left meat and chicken stock out of this month’s recipes, but I don’t think you’ll miss them. Mustard, garlic, anchovies, hot pepper, various spices, such as Cajun/Creole seasoning and smoked paprika, and assertive cheeses provide more than enough flavor to please a jaded palate. Frankly, these are some of my favorite everyday preparations. I’m extremely fond of lentils, especially the small green French du Puy variety, which can be prepared as a hot dish, a soup or, as in this month’s recipe, a salad. The name “lentil” has led some to assume a connection to Lent, and though they are a popular Lenten food in many Roman Catholic countries, experts pooh-pooh the idea. Actually, the name is derived from the Latin “lens.” Cauliflower is boring when boiled to TIP death and covered with a white sauce, but roasted and enlivened with anchovies, Both the garlic, hot pepper, capers, fried bread anchovies crumbs and Pecorino, it is scrumptious. I and cheese sometimes make a meal of it, along with are salty, so good bread and wine. additional I love fish cakes, particularly when they’re salt may not made with salt cod and potatoes, but I can’t be necessary. find salt cod where I live. Flounder or some other white fish can be substituted, though the flavor is not as assertive. Finally, a tasty and quick meal can be prepared from onions, peppers and eggs. I like to eat the dish with tostadas, but tortillas or pita bread are good alternatives. n
SMOK EY PEPPER AND ONI ON STEW WI TH EG G S A N D TOS TA D OS 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 large onion, halved and sliced 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced 1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced 1 serrano pepper, seeded and chopped 2 cloves garlic, chopped ¼ cup water Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper 2 teaspoons smoked paprika 4 eggs 2 tablespoons chopped parsley 2 tablespoons chopped green onion tops ¼ cup grated Pecorino Romano or crumbly Mexican cheese 4 or more tostadas H E A T olive oil in a large skillet. Add onions, peppers and garlic, cover pan and cook on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are browned and peppers are soft. Add water and season with salt, pepper and smoked paprika. B R E A K eggs over the vegetables, cover pan and cook until whites are set and yolks are still soft. Sprinkle with parsley, onion tops and cheese. Serve over or with tostadas. Makes 4 servings.
GR EEN LENTI L SA L A D WI TH M US TA R D V I NA I GR ETTE 1 cup du Puy lentils 3 cups water 1 bay leaf ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper ⅓ cup diced red bell pepper 2 tablespoons chopped parsley 2 tablespoons chopped green onion tops 1 hard-boiled egg, peeled and chopped S O R T and rinse
lentils. Combine lentils in pot with water and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until lentils are tender, about 2530 minutes.
M A K E a vinaigrette by combining olive oil, vinegar and mustard in a mixing bowl, whisking until emulsified. D R A I N lentils and remove bay leaf. Add lentils to vinaigrette and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. After lentils have cooled, add red pepper, parsley and onion tops and toss to combine. Garnish with chopped hardboiled egg. Makes 4 servings.
FISH CAK ES 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and cubed 1 pound fish fillets, such as flounder ½ teaspoon salt Cajun/Creole seasoning to taste Freshly ground black pepper to taste 1 tablespoon chopped parsley 1 tablespoon chopped green onion tops 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil ½ cup all-purpose flour Clarified butter or vegetable oil for frying Lemon wedges Tartare sauce P L A C E potatoes in pot and cover with water. Add salt and lay fish fillets on top of potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are cooked through, about 10 minutes. D R A I N fish and potatoes in colander. Transfer fish and potatoes to a mixing bowl and mash. When cool enough to handle, season with Cajun/Creole seasoning and black pepper. Add parsley, onion tops, lemon juice and olive oil. Form mixture into 8 cakes. H E A T about a quarter inch of clarified butter or oil in a skillet. Dredge fish cakes in flour and fry until browned on one side, about 4 minutes. Turn fish cakes and brown on the other side. Drain on absorbent paper. If working in batches, keep fried fish cakes warm in a 200 degree oven. S E R V E with lemon wedges and tartare sauce (recipe online). Makes 4 servings.
S PON S OR ED
Parents are the experts when it comes to showing love and support, from caring for a child’s skinned knee and cooking family dinners to teaching life lessons and lending a helping hand. Roles often reverse as parents age, and adult children may need to now lend a helping hand to their parent whose needs have changed. When helping an aging parent make decisions for independence, it’s good to know the options that exist for families of aging adults, from life plan communities that offer independent living through skilled care to at-home services for the adult who wants to continue living in the comforts of their current home. Across Louisiana, families are finding ways for aging parents to maintain healthy, productive lifestyles and also receive a helping hand when needed. The following resources offer options for families in need of added assistance and aim to provide peace of mind for everyone. The Oaks of Louisiana in Shreveport is the area’s premier life plan community, a vibrant, inclusive, and welcoming community for adults 55 and older. Designed to be different and exceed expectations, The Oaks offers a lifestyle of choice, opportunity, control, and peace of mind that comes from having a plan should care needs change. The 312-acre gated campus features a range of residential options (independent living, assisted living, and skilled care) and first-class services and amenities that lets residents enjoy life without the burden of caring for a home, cooking every meal, and keeping a pristine lawn. The Oaks of Louisiana focuses on helping seniors maintain personal wellness in all 42 LOUISIANA LIFE MARCH/APRIL 2020
dimensions through programs, classes, events, and opportunities. With apartments starting at $1,563, The Oaks is an outstanding value, offering housekeeping, dining options, 24-7 security, transportation, and more. Learn why residents live here and love it at oaksofla.com. When you can’t be at home to care for your family member, you want peace of mind knowing that the person who is there will treat your loved one with the same level of care and concern that you would. At Personal HomeCare Services, your family is their family. For over 22 years Personal HomeCare Services has been Providing 24/7, in-home companion care. The company offers clients the ability to remain in the comfort of their own home with their personal memories and possessions while you regain the time and energy needed to experience being a real family again. Personal HomeCare Services is one of the first non-medical services specializing in live-in care and working in conjunction with doctors, healthcare providers, and hospices to provide continuous around-the-clock care without the worry and expense of hourly services. They’ve built a solid reputation with word-of-mouth referral, evidence of the trust their clients have in their caretakers and services. Services include meal preparation, help with personal hygiene, medicinal reminders, light housekeeping, transportation to/from appointments, and companionship. References are available upon request. To learn more, visit PersonalHomeCare.net or call 877-336-8045.
S PON S OR ED
Traveling Around Louisiana Festival International de Louisiane
Louisiana offers much to do in the busy spring season—from “egg knocking” in Avoyelles, to music festivals in Lafayette, art exhibitions in Alexandria, and bass fishing on Toledo Bend. Natchitoches and Baton Rouge are also in on the fun, offering their own reasons to visit, relax, and pass a good time. March and April bring beautiful weather to Louisiana, so now’s the time to head out and enjoy all the state offers with a windows-down road trip to new and old destinations. Art enthusiasts will want to peruse the season’s exhibitions at art museums and centers across the state, while thrill-seeking families will want to hit up the many seasonal festivals that highlight the unique music and cultures of the region. Check out the following destinations for spring fun and plan your getaway while the flowers are blooming and the cool breezes abound.
Louisiana Art Museums & Centers
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: Living with Art: Selections from Baton Rouge Collections and Conspicuous: Satirical Works by Caroline Durieux. 44 LOUISIANA LIFE JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020
Through the loan of extraordinary works from private collections, LSU Museum of Art celebrates the creative spirit that binds artists to collectors and collections to institutions with Living with Art: Selections from Baton Rouge Collections, which runs March 5 – June 14. From historic German Expressionism to Southern self-taught artists, from historic French and international artists to Louisiana artists, this exhibition shares a wide variety of artworks. Running March 19 – August 30, Conspicuous: Satirical Works by Caroline Durieux depicts the quirky, conspicuous behaviors of upper class consumption and leisure that Durieux observed in bourgeois circles. The exhibit focuses on the Newcomb College graduate’s 1930s and 1940s lithographs. For more details, visit lsumoa.org. 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 6th Annual Dirty South Cup Call & Competition from April 3 through May 23, featuring over 100 unique beverage vessels from over 65 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. Seattle-based master potter, Deb Schwartzkopf (Guest Juror 2020) will conduct a two-day workshop April 2-3 entitled Exploration of Form. An opening reception will be held April 3, 5 – 8 p.m. The event is sponsored by the 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. Featuring a growing collection of Modern and Contemporary Louisiana and Southern art, the Alexandria Museum of Art (AMoA) strives to address issues within the Central Louisiana community and the nation through art. In addition to the museum’s permanent exhibition, Connected Visions, Louisiana’s Artistic Lineage, AMoA presents multiple temporary exhibitions each year on varying themes. This spring, the museum is excited to highlight art within literature in the exhibit Childhood Classics: 100 Years of Children’s Book Illustration from the Art Kandy Collection from March through June 2020. The exhibition was curated and organized by Lee Cohen and Lois Sarkisian in association with Landau Traveling Exhibitions, Exhibition Tour Management by Landau Traveling Exhibitions. The museum is partnering with the Rapides Parish Library to hold a number of events during the exhibition, including a panel discussion, concert, a lunch and learn, monthly story hours, and a book club. For more information, visit themuseum.org. PHOTO BY DAVID SIMPSON
Parishes & Cities
Lafayette remains entrenched in its French heritage 250 years after the Acadians arrived from Canada. Every April, Lafayette’s French heritage is celebrated in a big way at Festival International de Louisiane, the country’s biggest international music and arts festival. Artists from more than 20 French-speaking countries will take over downtown Lafayette on five stages, attracting some 300,000 festival-goers. “The festival exposes visitors to different cultures, both internationally as well as to Lafayette’s unique culture,” says Carly Viator, Festival International marketing coordinator. “With top-quality local performers, GRAMMY winners and up-and-coming international acts along with food and art, it’s really the perfect gateway into experiencing everything our city is all about.” Around the main stages, on-site food vendors help festival-goers refuel. Two dozen of the area’s most popular restaurants provide specialty items while numerous downtown restaurants offer special menus and serving stations. In Marché des Arts, festival-goers shop paintings, pottery, mixed-media sculptures, artisan jewelry, and other handcrafted items from all over the world. For more information, visit LafayetteTravel.com/FestivalInternational. There’s lots to do this spring in Sabine Parish, Toledo Bend Lake Country. Fish are beginning to spawn, and the lake level is rising—conditions are perfect for catching your personal best. This 186,000-acre lake is a world-class bass fishery and hosts an abundance of other freshwater fish. Locate public fishing piers, boat launches, boat rentals, and professional guides at ToledoBendLakeCountry.com. The area is a mecca for hiking, golfing, ATV riding, camping, and birding. Stay in a cozy cabin on the lakeside at Wildwood Resort or plan a family golfing trip at Cypress Bend Resort. 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. Sabine Parish was once part of a lawless region known as “No Man’s Land.” Find related events at VisitNoMansLand.com. Save the date now for the Battle of Pleasant Hill Re-enactment (April 3-5), the Choctaw-Apache Powwow (April 24-25), El Camino Real Sale on the Trail (May 1-2), and the Zwolle Loggers and Forestry Festival (May 8-9). For more info, visit ToledoBendLakeCountry.com. Discover the charm and history of Louisiana’s oldest city with a tour by foot, carriage or boat. Natchitoches is full of opportunities to sight-see and relax. Step back in time as a Cane River National Heritage Area ranger leads you on a complimentary walking tour through the historic district detailing the early history and culture of the area. Take a ride through the historic district and listen to the facts, folk lore, and jokes from a guide in a horse-drawn carriage. Or, relax and sit back as the Cane River Queen paddles you up and down the Cane River Lake while the Captain and his first mate entertain guests along the way. After your tour by foot, carriage or boat, make your way to one of the many restaurants in the historic district to find a selection of food fare that is sure to fulfill your hunger. Visit Natchitoches.com to plan your stay in Natchitoches or call 800259-1714 to request materials by mail. Allons aux Avoyelles, to pass a good time! Avoyelles Parish, the “Easter Egg Knocking Capitol of Louisiana,” invites you to pacque on Easter Weekend. These competitions feature different age groups knocking their own chicken or guinea eggs. Cottonport hosts Knockin’ on the Bayou complete with competitions and shopping opportunities, and Effie welcomes you to Easter on the Red River, which hosts a variety of contests, including egg decorating, egg hunting, and more. Family-friendly events, both Knockin’ on the Bayou and Easter on the Red River are scheduled for Easter Saturday, April 11. On Easter Sunday morning, Marksville celebrates its longtime tradition of egg knocking competition at the Avoyelles Parish Courthouse Atrium with registration beginning at 9 a.m. Come for the joie de vivre! Ici on est fier de parler Français! LOUISIANALIFE.COM 45
T RAV ELE R
The Sound of Music
Events and landmarks preserving and celebrating Louisiana genres
Fests for the rest of the year
BY PAUL F. STAHLS JR. PHOTO BY DOUGLAS MASON
MARCH 28-29. La.
Cajun-Zydeco Fest. New Orleans.
APRIL 16-19. French
Quarter Fest. New Orleans
APRIL 17-18. Grand
Hoorah. Ville Platte.
APRIL 2226. Festivals
APRIL 23-MAY 3.
Jazz & Heritage Fest. New Orleans.
MAY 15-16. Jazz
and R&B Fest. Natchitoches.
MAY 23-24. Bunk
Johnson Jazz Fest. New Iberia.
JULY 4. Arts and
Music Fest and Parade. Marksville.
he New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival — with its dozen of stages and countless purveyors of art, crafts and yummy lunches — is just one of many music festivals around Louisiana throughout the year, but it is by far the biggest and best known around the globe. The dates are April 23-26 and April 30-May 3 (nojazzfest.com), and the performers number in the hundreds, from near and far but most with familiar names, including The Who, Lionel Richie, The Revivalists, Irma Thomas, Aaron Neville, The Beach Boys, BeauSoleil, Trombone Shorty and Lenny Kravitz. Imagine eight days of stage music and at least 10 all-nighters with band members scattering to join impromptu sessions at every club in town. Louisiana is the home and even the launchpad of several historic music styles, many memorialized by landmarks and even by their own museums, meaning that beyond the festivals, we have the added pleasure of seeking out those very special spots. It can be habitforming, and there’s no better place to begin than New Orleans, especially during the 10 days of Jazz Fest. Start in the French Quarter, where venues like Preservation Hall and the Famous Door are sprinkled among such points of interest as the State Museum’s jazz collection (in the old U.S. Mint) and tiny Musical
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Legends Park (311 Bourbon St.) with its cluster of statues honoring greats like Pete Fountain, Al Hirt, Fats Domino, Louis Prima and Allen Toussaint. The best of the city’s several Louis Armstrong statues stands in Armstrong Park/Congo Square, a stone’s throw from the statue of legendary gospel singer Mahalia Jackson at the performing arts theatre that bears her name. To find live music in town (irresistible gigs like Kermit Ruffins at the late Ernie K-Doe’s Motherin-Law Lounge), find daily “Livewire” schedules on WWOZ (90.7 FM) or at wwoz.org; and to seek out historic music landmarks, refer to the 22 tours and maps posted by OZ at acloserwalknola.com. Now, off the beaten path, an 1855 lighthouse on today’s UNO campus marks the long-vanished 19th-century dancehalls of Milneburg, from which musicians and good-timers could also take Lake Pontchartrain schooners to Northshore jazz clubs like Mandeville’s 1895 Dew Drop, still active in the spring and fall (dewdropjazzhall.com). Louisiana is a complex of overlapping musical regions — most famously jazz, blues, country, rock, Cajun and zydeco — all of which are represented by performers now enshrined in the Delta Music Museum & Arcade Theatre in Ferriday
State Fiddle Championship. Natchitoches JULY 31-AUG. 2.
Satchmo Summer Fest. New Orleans
SEPT., TBA. Cajun Music Fest. Mamou. SEPT. 4-5. Cane
River Zydeco Fest. Cane River.
SEPT. 4-5. S/W La.
Zydeco Music Fest. Opelousas.
SEPT. 19. Highland
Jazz & Blues Fest. Shreveport.
SEPT. 25-26. Blues & Heritage Fest. Bogalusa. OCT., TBA. Tab Benoit’s Voice of the Wetlands Fest. Houma. OCT. 9-11. Festivals
Acadiens et Creole. Lafayette.
(deltamusicmuseum.com). Word’s out, now, and it has become routine for pilgrims on “Blues Highway” 61 to detour west on US 84 to see memorabilia of the hall’s inductees, including a life-size diorama of famed Ferriday first cousins Jerry Lee Lewis, Mickey Gilley and Jimmy Swaggart singing around a piano. Due north in Richland Parish is the I-20 town of Delhi, hometown of country superstar Tim McGraw, and near Jonesboro in Jackson Parish (just west of beautiful Jimmie Davis State Park), the Jimmie Davis Tabernacle stands in tribute to our double Hall of Fame “singing governor” (“You Are My Sunshine,” “There's a New Moon Over My Shoulder,” “It Makes No Difference Now”). Like many singers, he gained early recognition at the "Louisiana Hayride," the stage and radio show then presented at Shreveport’s historic Municipal Auditorium, which remains an entertainment venue and offers occasional backstage tours (shreveportmunicipalauditorium.com). A few blocks east, near the Caddo Courthouse on Texas Street, stands a statue of prolific composer and 12-string guitarist Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter (“Goodnight Irene,” “Rock Island Line”) born in Caddo in 1888. Cajun music and folkways dominate three satellite exhibit areas of Lafitte National Park: the Acadian Cultural Center in Lafayette, Wetlands Cajun Cultural Center in Thibodaux and Prairie Acadian Cultural Center in Eunice (nps.gov/jela). The Eunice facility is actually part of a cluster of music-related attractions including the Cajun Music Museum with its extensive hall of fame (cajunfrenchmusic.org) and the 1927 Liberty Theatre where visitors gather 6-7:30 p.m. on Saturdays to enjoy the taping of Cajun radio shows. Just east of town, at 9 a.m. most Saturdays, visitors are also welcome to a casual Cajun jam session at the store and home of famed accordion maker Marc Savoy (4413 Hwy. 190, savoymusiccenter.com). Ville Platte in Evangeline Parish is considered Louisiana’s “Swamp Pop Capital” and houses the Swamp Pop Hall of Fame in a century-old railroad station filled with photos, vintage instruments and 45-rpm records (10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday), and Opelousas in St. Landry is dubbed Zydeco Capital by virtue of being the 1925 birthplace of undisputed Zydeco King Clifton Chenier. That city’s Heritage Park collection of museums includes a set of panels tracing the evolution of Cajun and zydeco from Creole “la la” beginnings, and the statue of an influential 1930s la la composer, Amédé Ardoin, stands nearby at the St. Landry Parish Visitor Center. For a scenic circular trek linking most Cajunzydeco landmarks, including special spots like beloved Fred’s Lounge in Mamou and pioneer radio/ recording studios like Jay D. Miller’s in Crowley, visit byways.louisianatravel.com and consider the “Zydeco/ Cajun Prairie Byway,” complete with special signage and informative roadside kiosks provided by the State Office of Tourism. n
Georgia on My Mind Downtown Savannah is made for strolling — go-cups encouraged BY MARK PATRICK SPENCER
ome towns are cut from a different cloth than the state they inhabit. Obviously, New Orleans is different from other parts of Louisiana, Austin is still a bit different than the rest of Texas, and, within the borders of the state of Georgia, resides a one-of-a-kind gem known as the “Hostess City of the South” — Savannah. EAT
Vacation is really just walking around until it’s time to go to another restaurant or bar, and downtown Savannah has that covered. Get fancy at The Olde Pink House. From oysters and pork sliders to ribeyes and shrimp and grits, the menu delights in all things Southern. Call ahead to reserve the vault room downstairs in the tavern, now used as a wine cellar and for an intimate dining by candlelight affair. The Grey, a restored Art Deco Greyhound bus station, opens into an elegant restaurant for dinner. By day, catch the retro lunch counter vibes of the Diner Bar. The menu changes throughout the year but you can rely on crushing a great sandwich. Be sure to grab a cocktail, too. When it comes to pizza in Savannah, Vinnie Van GoGo’s is the only place to go … go. Family friendly with an indie feel, Vinnie's has delicious slices bigger than your head. Plan for a packed house. Bonus: it stays open late for carousers in need a perfect slice. DR I NK
Savannah is considered America’s most haunted city and Moon River Brewing Company is considered by some to be its most haunted building. Drop in to enjoy quality pub grub and local craft beers. Those who don’t like to share their wings however may find it haunting that the buffalo wings are billed as a shareable plate — you’ve been warned. From Moon River, and with a go-cup in hand (yes, like New Orleans, it’s OK to take your drink to the streets in the entertainment district), allow your taste buds to lead you to the west side of downtown and Service Brewing Co. As alluded to by the name, it has a military flair. The beers are quality and he a stage inside allows patrons to catch a band while quaffing the selection of IPAs. Yes, quaffing.
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Shake off the tourists by heading to The Original Pinkie Masters, a dive bar recommended by the one and only author, Garden & Gun columnist and entertaining doyenne Julia Reed. Fun-fact: Before becoming president, Jimmy Carter stood atop the bar and paid homage to owner Luis Christopher Masterpolis. DO
With 22 squares and parks, downtown Savannah, much like New Orleans, is built for a walkabout. The largest park, stretching over 30 acres, is Forsyth Park. A perfect spot for an afternoon picnic, the park is known for the impressive Forsyth Fountain. You can’t throw a fried green tomato in thiscity without hitting a building that is owned by the Savannah College of Art and Design. The school owns over 60 buildings with a majority located downtown. The SCAD Museum of Art is a must-see stop featuring work by SCAD students and world-famous artists alike. If you’re in the mood for some shopping take a trip down Broughton Street. The Paris Market feels more like a bazaar than a store and has treasures to match. While you’re moseying around shopping or counting SCAD buildings, grab a cone at Leopold’s Ice Cream, open since 1919. Later in the summer, the Savannah Bananas baseball team opens its doors at Grayson Stadium to folks who love hardball and saying the words Savannah Bananas. n
Stay It would be easy to spend an entire weekend in the new 50-room Drayton Hotel. The boutique hotel has a coffee bar and cocktail bar downstairs, plus a rooftop bar overlooking the Savannah River. If you’re the type of person that picks living quarters by Instagram potential, head to the Thunderbird Inn. More motel than hotel, the Thunderbird is a laid-back charmer that keeps you downtown for a decent rate.On the other end of the spectrum, the Victorian Romanesque Mansion on Forsyth Park is a sight to behold. Across the park from the Mercer House of “Midnight In The Garden Of Good and Evil” fame, there is a spa and the Grand Bohemian Art Gallery, which is open to the public.
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A LO UISIANA LIFE
Fighting for Others Alexandria police officer Anthony Deshautelle uses boxing to mentor and help others BY LAURA MCKNIGHT PORTRAIT BY ROMERO & ROMERO
nthony Deshautelle is proud of his championship boxing belts, but he doesn’t keep them all. Instead, two of the prized belts shine from inside of a trophy case at the Alexandria Police Department headquarters, engraved with the names of fallen officers. Deshautelle, who has competed in numerous charity boxing matches, has, for years, dedicated his fights to local law enforcement killed in the line of duty. The 51-year-old Marksville native thrives on using his athletic skills to honor and help others, regularly fighting for various charities through events like Battle of the Badges, an annual competition that pits police and firefighters against each other for good causes. Deshautelle remembers becoming interested in boxing during the 1976 Summer Olympics, caught by the charisma and energy of gold medalist “Sugar” Ray Leonard and, later, the iconic Muhammad Ali. Boxing was unavailable in Marksville, so Deshautelle played baseball instead, later chasing his dream into the ring when he moved to Los Angeles in 1989. He found some success as an amateur boxer, but a hand injury sidetracked that path. After nearly 20 years in California, Deshautelle moved back to his hometown in 2006 and began pursuing another lifelong dream: a career in law enforcement. “I wanted to do something where I could make a difference in my community, where I’m from,” he said. He soon shifted to the larger Alexandria Police Department, where he began representing the department in the ring, while still in field training. He has since earned several state and national belts and racked up donations for charities. Deshautelle found his niche in the department’s Community Policing Division, boosting his ability to combine two of his major passions — boxing and crime prevention. Through his assignment at the Alexandria Youth and Teen Center, he mentors and teaches boxing to youth. Deshautelle also continues to compete, with an eye on honoring a fellow Louisiana officer waging a battle of his own: East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Deputy Nick Tullier, who is still recovering from injuries he sustained in the deadly 2016 Baton Rouge ambush on police. “I’d like to give a belt or a medal to him,” Deshautelle said of Tullier. “He’s a true fighter.” n
50 LOUISIANA LIFE MARCH/APRIL 2020
What is your favorite sport to watch aside from box ing? I enjoy watching LSU football with my sons. Very exciting games and we love when Coach O says, “Geaux Tigers” at the end of every interview. If you could have dinner w ith three famous people, who would you pick? Wow, that’s a hard
one because most of my favorites have passed on. If Redd Foxx were still alive, I’d enjoy neck bones and a bottle of Ripple with him. So let’s say we keep it Louisiana: Wynton Marsalis, Ellen DeGeneres, Tyler Perry and Natalie Desselle. I know you asked for three, but that is my Alexandria girl!
Tell us something surprising about Alex andria, Louisiana. Alexandria is a small city with a big heart. You can always count on having a good time at our festivals. There are many charitable organizations here. We enjoy helping others, which is great, especially for a city located in the center of the state. That makes me proud, as a Cenla native.