Louisiana Life May/June 2018

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may/june 2018

Take Flight The bird lovers travel guide to the Pelican State pg. 30



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may/june 30 VOLUME 38 NUMBER 5



From The Editor


Bird’s Life 10

Photo Contest

Safe Harbor: A tranquil moment at the New Orleans Municipal Yacht Harbor at West End Park

One Man’s Dream: LSU’s Rural Life Museum and Windrush Gardens in Baton Rouge is a 25-acre advanced course in who we are and why 46 farther flung


Sail Away: Cruises out of New Orleans offer fun on the high seas and exotic locales

along the way

Summering: Car sickness, breweries and the grand Southern tradition of road trips



roadside dining

state of louisiana

Pelican Briefs: Noteworthy news and happenings around the state

Born Again: Shreveport’s Cotton Boll Grill gets another lease on life


50 great louisiana chef


Powerful Hospitality: Manny Augello of Bread & Circus Provisions in Lafayette recognized by the James Beard Foundation

Golden Years: Making the journey of aging a little easier 18 Literary Louisiana

Vanishing Treasures: Documenting Louisiana’s endangered coastal cemeteries

52 kitchen gourmet

Easy Does It: High-flavor, low effort recipes to ease the transition of spring into summer

20 Made In Louisiana

Wax Poetic: Jennings Apiaries in Ruston creates honey and honeycomb products straight from the hive

62 calendar

May and June: Festivals and events around the state

22 artist

Vitus Shell: Picturing the Black Experience 26 home

Updated Classic: Ty Larkins Interiors reinvigorates a circa1940s Baton Rouge house for a family of four

on the cover


64 a louisiana life

The bird lovers travel guide to the Pelican State By Cheré Coen

Each year, we create a travel guide for the May/ June issue, as a way to assist readers (and, truth be told ourselves) with their summer vacation plans. Louisiana is of course the Sportsman’s Paradise, so fishing, hunting, boating and other

outdoor pursuits are a natural starting point when we brainstorm what to focus on for the story. This year, we decided to cater to our readers who are avid birders, offering up a travel guide to the best places to see their favorite species and It certainly

helps that Louisiana is a top migratory path, hosting more than 400 species of both visiting and migrating birds. Naturally, we didn’t want to leave our readers who aren’t bird watchers out of the fun, so if that’s the case for you, zero in on those breakouts with

Beats on the Bayou: Steve and Cezanne Nails’ Dockside Studio in Maurice is a creative haven for recording artists

tips on where to stay and where to eat all around the state. A cozy place to lay your head and a great meal is something we can all agree upon. Happy trails this summer no matter where you travel.


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

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

For event information call (504) 830-7264 Production production manager Jessica DeBold production designers Emily Andras,

Demi Schaffer, Molly Tullier traffic manager Topher Balfer Administration Chief Executive Officer Todd Matherne President Alan Campell Executive Vice President Errol Laborde office manager Mallary Matherne Distribution Manager John Holzer Subscription manager Brittanie Bryant

For subscriptions call (504) 830-7231


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

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

Gold Companion Website 2011

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

1st Place Best Magazine 2016

Lifetime Achievement Award Errol Laborde 1st Place Best Magazine

110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123 Metairie, LA 70005 • (504) 828-1380 128 Demanade, Suite 104 Lafayette, LA 70503 • (337) 235-7919 LouisianaLife.com Louisiana Life (ISSN 1042-9980) is published bimonthly by Renaissance Publishing, LLC, 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005; (504) 828-1380. Subscription rate: One year $10; Mexico and Canada $48. Periodicals postage paid at Metairie, LA, and additional mailing entry offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Louisiana Life, 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005. Copyright 2018 Louisiana Life. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the consent of the publisher. The trademark Louisiana Life is registered. Louisiana Life is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, photos and artwork, even if accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope. The opinions expressed in Louisiana Life are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the magazine or owner.

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



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BIRD’S LIFE By Errol Laborde

Birds being the cover story this issue, I was reminded of my first venture

as a duck hunter. This is a short story. It happened on one of the days after Christmas when I was a kid, grade school age. My dad had been given a shotgun as a present, so he decided to take me to nearby Horseshoe Lake in Avoyelles Parish for a hunting adventure. It didn’t take long to spot a target. Near where the car was parked, a duck was perched on a stump in the lake. (I am not sure what kind of duck; I was just a kid.) My dad anxiously loaded a cartridge in his new weapon and took aim. There was one problem though, from down below. I was tugging on his arm pleading for him not to shoot the poor duck. My dad had been raised in these woods where barefoot boys wandered through the thickets in search of prey for the dinner table. As an adult he fought in a war where men fired machine guns and dropped bombs on each other. Now in this moment of his life with his sparkling shotgun in his hand he faced the realization that he was raising a city kid. I am not sure if he was proud or disappointed but it was probably the latter since he didn’t fire a shot that day, and, as far as I remember, never used the shotgun again. My father would spend most of his career working at a park where there were lots of birds, including ducks, swans, Canada geese and even coots. The worst threat the birds faced from humans was being overfed with popcorn and breadcrumbs. For the Canada geese the bounty may be more than they deserve. They are beautiful creatures with their striking black heads, white cheeks and brown bodies, but they are known in parks throughout the continent as a nuisance. They eat grass to the roots and their droppings are finger-sized pellets spread along the walkways. If ever they go back to Canada we should build a high fence. Far more aesthetically pleasing are pelicans gliding over the water. This is the most graceful of aviary acts. As the wind carries the state bird there is serenity. But then there is a sudden plunge as the pelican dives into the water. Next comes a mighty splash and then the big bird launches upwards spreading his wings to assume his resting place on the bed of wind. His bill is now richer by one fish. Most majestic of all the birds is the swan, the giraffe of the pond with its long curved neck seemingly out of proportion to its body nevertheless striking in its appearance. Nearby a duck is perched on a stump watching the pageantry though perhaps annoyed by the relentless gibberish of the seagulls. Nevertheless, for a bird a park is a good place to be, if only the Canada geese don’t decide to stay.

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Safe Harbor A tranquil moment at the New Orleans Municipal Yacht Harbor at West End Park Photo by Elton

Zhou of New Orleans

Submit your photos by visiting louisianalife.com

along the way

Summering Car sickness, breweries and the grand Southern tradition of road trips written and photographed by

Melanie Warner Spencer

My friend’s mom’s silver Nissan

Maxima was whizzing down the highway just outside of Chicago, Illinois when the many frantic shouts of seemingly all five people inside came to a halt. This sudden silence was punctuated by the nearly simultaneous motions of Chantal clapping her hand over her mouth, flinging her head out the window and blowing groceries all over I-65. At 10, my first instinct was to laugh, but let’s just say the — er, “backdraft” made the entire situation a lot less humorous. These yearly jaunts from Kentucky to Wisconsin with my friend’s family — despite the all too frequent arguments, crying babies and Chantal’s bouts with car sickness — instilled in me at a young age a love of road trips.

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After living in vast Texas for 12 years (where you can drive for 10 hours, say from Amarillo, Texas to Corpus Christi, Texas, and you’ll still be in the Republic), I’m thrilled to be in Louisiana. A drive from the southern tip at Grand Isle north to Farmersville can be accomplished in under seven hours. Also, the rest of the South is, in my mind, a few well-curated playlists away. Like many in the region, we often head down the coast between Louisiana and Florida. Our usual haunts are Bay St. Louis and Ocean Springs, Mississippi, Gulf Shores, Alabama and Pensacola, Florida. This could have to do with the proximity of those locations to breweries, but we’ll not scrutinize the possibility too closely.

For reference during your own travels this spring and summer, those breweries are Lazy Magnolia (in Kiln, which is less than 13 miles from Bay St. Louis); Crooked Letter Brewing Company (in Ocean Springs); Big Beach Brewing Company (Gulf Shores); and Pensacola Bay Brewery, Gulf Coast Brewery, Goat Lips Chew & Brewhouse; as well as Spahr Brewing Company and Perfect Plain Brewing Co., which both opened in 2017 (all in Pensacola). The Gulf Coast has its fun-in-thesun allure, but Louisiana is of course a winning destination in its own right, and I’m not just saying that so I can make a casino pun. I’m not much of a gambler, so that’s not our primary reason for going to say, Lake Charles. Rather, we visit because Lake Charles, with its historic downtown, delicious eateries (boy would a burger from Cotten’s taste great right now) and the Creole Nature Trail is so dang charming. I swear it isn’t because of Crying Eagle Brewery. Due to the easy two-and-a-half hour drive (we take Route 90 to avoid the Baton Rouge traffic snarl) from New Orleans, we often find ourselves in Lafayette. Its college-town vibes are never more apparent than when you are in the Freetown area enjoying a meal at a picnic table at Taco Sisters or live music at Blue Moon Saloon and Guest House or Artmosphere. The Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum however has big city appeal, so be sure to stop and enjoy the collection and rotating shows. It won’t surprise you at this point to know that we are fond of conversations spent over beers at Parish Brewing Co., in nearby Broussard or 30 minutes away from Lafayette in the beer garden at Bayou Teche Brewing in Arnaudville. This summer, we have our in-state travel sights set on Breaux Bridge, Natchitoches, St. Francisville and Grand Isle. To my knowledge there aren’t any breweries near those places, but again, that’s not our sole criteria, no matter what you think. Each summer as we pack up the trunk, pile into the car and set off to an old favorite or new-to-us destination, I recall with fondness those wacky trips to Wisconsin and, as much as I miss Chantal and her family in those moments, I also say a little prayer of thanks that there aren’t any passengers in the vehicle prone to car sickness. n




pelican briefs Noteworthy news and happenings around the state by


Merging Cuisine and Medicine Lafayette

Seafood a-GeauxGeaux In conjunction with Eat Lafayette, the 2018 Louisiana Seafood Cook-off is held June 19 at Lafayette’s Cajundome. Some of Louisiana’s top chefs are competing for the title, “King or Queen of Louisiana Seafood” (laseafood@crt.la.gov).

Lisa LeBlanc-Berry

Lake Charles

Grab an Eye Patch

new orleans

New Perks for Connoisseurs

If the Water Rises

The New Orleans Wine & Food Experience debuts its first-ever Petit Gateaux Show during the Friday-Saturday Grand Tastings, complete with burlesque dancers popping out of a tricentennial cake. The May 23-27 events include an expanded “seminars and experiences” series featuring LA Caviar, Oysters and Champagne (with pairings), Road Crossing (all things charcuterie) and the French Quarter Cellar Strut with tours (and samplings) of the city’s most impressive wine cellars, plus absinthe tastings and unique Wine Around excursions(nowfe.com).

As Louisiana braces for the 2018 hurricane season, the Louisiana Cajun Navy says that readiness preparations have recently included their first competitive boat-rescue training sessions held in Henderson Bay. New volunteers can perform a variety of roles by simply downloading a walkietalkie style app (Zello) and undergoing simple training sessions for such duties as dispatching rescue requests throughout Louisiana (info: 888372-2586; 833-225-8616; facebook.com/LaCajunNavy/). Meanwhile, Kenneth Graham (meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service office serving Baton Rouge and New Orleans since 2008) has been appointed to lead the prestigious National Hurricane Center in Miami, responsible for disseminating vital storm info to our federal, state and local officials.

Power to the Francophiles

On April 26, CODOFIL (now celebrating its 50th anniversary) received the 2018 International Achievement Award for promoting Acadiana’s ancestral French language and culture. Past recipients since 1998 have included Robert John Angers (founder and former publisher of Acadiana Profile magazine, which is owned by the same company that owns this publication, Renaissance Publishing LLC).

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Dust off your sword, peg leg, eye patch and cavalier hat, then dance like a pirate at the first-ever Pirate Festival Costume Ball, held in a setting with parrots, palm trees and plenty of Bayou Rum. Staged May 11 in the Buccaneer Room of the Lake Charles Civic Center during the annual Louisiana Pirate Festival (May 3-13). Also new (May 6) is the Pirate Festival Street Parade Extravaganza (louisianapiratefestival.com).

A $1 million project resulting from a grant awarded to Southern University at Shreveport is bringing a new, 5,000-squarefoot kitchen incubator and community kitchen (with training components modeled after Liberty’s Kitchen in New Orleans) to Milam Street. Designed to connect new chefs to resources and support existing foodrelated businesses, the incubator is within walking distance of a targeted housing site slated for development. The second phase will incorporate a “culinary medicine center” with initiatives based on Tulane University’s Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine.


Fun on the Bayou Thanks to a recently announced $89,900 federal grant from the Recreational Trails Program, new docks for canoes and kayaks are being installed in towns bordering the Bayou Teche (from Port Barre to Berwick).

Makin’ Groceries from Home Houma

A Bigger Bank Louisiana Community Bancorp’s five subsidiary banks (City Savings Bank, Coastal Commerce, Kaplan State Bank, Teche Bank and Trust and Tri-Parish Bank) have officially united and are now Pedestal Bank, with approximately $1.2 billion in assets, making it one of the 10 largest banks rooted in Louisiana.

The nation’s largest on-demand grocery delivery service, Instacart, has services underway for approximately 442,000 households in areas of Louisiana that include New Orleans, Metairie, Kenner, Covington, Mandeville, Belle Chasse, Marrero, Lockport and Baton Rouge. Deliveries hail from Costco, Rouses Supermarkets and Petco (Instacart.com).




Golden Years Making the journey of aging a little easier by Fritz


In unfortunate news for aging

Louisianians, bankrate.com ranked Louisiana 46th on the best states in which to retire. The states were scored on categories including cost of living, weather, health care, crime, taxes and culture. Louisiana’s worst score was on crime (48th) and its best was on taxes (6th). The top five states overall were New Hampshire, Colorado, Maine, Iowa and Minnesota. While you can’t control how your state ranks, there are a few things you can control when it comes to aging. n

Brain Health Living a long life without the ability to recognize loved ones or fondly recall pleasant memories is terrifying to consider. But many Americans with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia endure this every day. Can you do anything to prevent it? Yes and no. According to the Alzheimer’s Association (alz.org), a complex range of factors (age, genetics, environment, lifestyle and other medical conditions) cause Alzheimer’s. Age and genes cannot be controlled. However, several conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Just as heart disease patients combat that issue with regular exercise and a healthy diet, people can reduce their risk of Alzheimer’s by exercising and eating well (fruits, low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, nuts, vegetables). Yes, physical limitations associated with aging can make exercise difficult, but there are lower-impact options like walking, aquatic exercises and cycling to consider.

Mental Health Mental health is also an important issue. According to the Centers for Disease Control (cdc.gov), older men have the highest suicide rate of any age group. Men ages 45-64 commit suicides at a rate of 29.2 per 100,000 and it’s 29.0 per 100,000 for men over 65. Some have battled depression for their entire lives only to succumb with age. For others, factors like the loss of loved ones, decreased mobility and chronic health conditions are causes. The National Institute on Aging (nia.nih.gov) said older adults are less likely to talk about depression with doctors. But seeking emotional support from family, friends and, most importantly, medical professionals, is crucial. Having people to share your emotions with is just as important for old people as it is for young people. As a last resort, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-2738255) is available 24 hours a day.

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Vanishing Treasures Documenting Louisiana’s endangered coastal cemeteries By

Ashley McLellan

“They told me to take

a streetcar named Desire, and then transfer to one called Cemeteries...” Tennessee Williams’ troubled heroine Blanche Dubois thus used New Orleans’ cemeteries as a landmark to find her way through the city in “A Streetcar Named Desire,” as have many others, not only to mark a physical place, but also to mark a cultural note in time. Throughout literature, music and history, New Orleans’ cemeteries, and those of southern and coastal regions of the state, Louisiana’s “Cities of the Dead” are, simply put, iconic. But with rising sea waters and the loss of land along the Gulf Coast, many of these remarkable low-lying burial grounds are being lost. Louisiana natives and passionate historians Jessica H. Shexnayder and Mary H. Manhein document the unique cemeteries, burial plots, tombs and more in their photo-rich new book, “Fragile Grounds, Louisiana’s Endangered Cemeteries.” Writer and photographer Shexnayder and Manhein, retired director of the Forensic Anthropology and Computer Enhancement Services at Louisiana State University, use their academic backgrounds and experience to give readers a history of the

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laws and land, an overview of burial customs found throughout the area, as well as and in-depth look at coastal cemeteries and those upstate. “Writing ‘Fragile Grounds’ was important because cemeteries provide a source of comfort and remembrance for the living and are an invaluable resource for capturing Louisiana’s cultural history,” Schexnayder said. “Names on headstones detail

in the kitchen

the state’s coastal immigration patterns and reflect a diverse population of ethnicities from throughout the world. Yet, hurricanes, storm surge, subsidence, flooding and rapid erosion of the land create a dim future for these sites. As the land erodes and is inundated by seawater, the state loses its cultural fabric.” From mausoleums, caveau (vaults), society tombs and tabletop burials, Louisiana’s

burial customs including, heritage form Native Americans, French, Spanish, African, German, Islenos and Vietnamese, are in danger from land loss and coastal erosion. While immigration away from flood plains is not new to people that inhabit areas prone to flooding and natural changing landscapes, the increase in the rate of land loss has made the mission to document and appreciate these precious

“Memere’s Country Creole Cookbook” is part history book and part cookbook, with a generous sprinkling of lagniappe to spice up the culinary mix. Culinary expert, and native resident, Nancy Tregre Wilson explores the unique recipes of Louisiana’s German Coast, the rural community settled by German and French immigrants. Family recipes, well-loved classic Creole dishes and early-20th-century food preparation tips and rituals, such as pig tails and boucherie, are all included. Over two hundred recipes, like red bean gumbo, galettes and butterbeans, explore the rich culinary history of a region that if often overlooked.

areas even more important, according to Schexnayder. “Our mission in writing this book was to explain how Louisiana’s burial sites link the fragile land to the frailty of the state’s threatened community structures,” she said. “As people are forced inland due to coastal dynamics, cemeteries may become neglected and abandoned. Others have been taken by eminent domain. ‘Fragile Grounds’ is a wake-up call to the rapid demise of our endangered burial grounds, an element of Louisiana’s cultural heritage that once lost cannot be recovered.” Manhein echoed Schexnayder’s thoughts, reflecting on her own experience living and working in the area and watching it swiftly wash away. “As someone who grew up in the rural South in North Louisiana, I have always appreciated the value of maintaining a tangible link to the past through the cemeteries that are so much a part of our history,” she said. “Since moving to South Louisiana more than 40 years ago and working in bioarchaeology, I have witnessed the loss of this part of Louisiana’s cultural landscape at an alarming rate through coastal erosion and other factors over which we have no control. Our research has helped in some small way to make people more aware of this cultural dilemma. Though Jessica and I are unable to save the cemeteries, we can preserve some of their history, and the history of their community through this publication.” n

“Fragile grounds”

By Jessica H. Schexnayder and Mary H. Manhein University of Mississippi Press, 148 p., $30.

bedside reading

In “Approaching the Fields” poet Chanda Feldman brings together the day-to-day toils of the distant past and the present-day in a lyrical tribute to southern workers, farmers and homemakers. Feldman, whose poems have appeared in numerous journals including The Southern Review, New South and Ecotone, explores themes of work, both physical and emotional, love, courage, darkness and light.

Louisiana has a long tradition of poets and writers who have contributed to the modern U.S. literary landscape. In “Voices from Louisiana,” professor emeritus of English at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Ann Brewster Dobie brings together a collection of “who’s who” of the state’s best and brightest writing minds, including James Lee Burke, Ernest Gaines, William Joyce Shirley Ann Grau and many more. Each profile provides insight into the author’s inspiration, struggles and writing habits. Readers get an intimate glimpse into the writers’ lives, as if sharing a cup of tea with a dear friend; sure to be an inspiration to aspiring writers and literary lovers of all genres. LouisianaLife.com



Wax poetic Jennings Apiaries in Ruston creates honey and honeycomb products straight from the hive By Jeffrey portrait By

Roedel Romero & Romero

First the hum of the concrete

explodes into the constant crunch of gravel. But before long that gravel gives way to little more than the whispers of the dust and a faintly familiar sound as the next clutch of beehives appears up ahead. The heartbeat on the horizon is the buzzing that emanates far into the fields. There’s simply less out here among the hives. No conflict and no politics. The only technology in sight is a trusty old machine, that fundamental feeling of the rightness of work running on the knowledge that passionate adherence to a true purpose is what is most often rewarded in this life. Aaron Jennings carries little with him — a veil, a standard smoker, his hive tool. “If they get real testy,” he says, “I’ll put the full suit on.” But there’s a lot more going on out here in the calm. When he’s on the road making his weekly rounds to 120 hives dwelling on farmlands and in backyards across the parishes of Lincoln, Claiborne and Union, and harvesting honeycombs alone by hand, Aaron Jennings has plenty of time to reflect. “It’s soothing when I can observe the bees, because by watching over them, I’ve actually started observing myself more,” says Jennings, his years of military service gleaming through when he talks about the honor of work. “The bees are so diligent. They are working before the sun comes up and work after it goes down.” Jennings’ job is to render honey and wax from these hives for use in a variety of natural skin and hair care product recipes he has created — like beard oil, a tattoo care ointment, a lip balm and a honeybee face lotion. The 33-year-old’s latest creation is a richly-herbed Spicy Honey

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Cider, a new spin on the old folk remedy “cure-all” of apple cider vinegar. Jennings offers a raw unfiltered honey that is such a deep amber it could pass for hot gold. Together with his wife, Lauren, Jennings packages and sells these products at markets and in stores under the banner Jennings Apiaries. Certified naturally grown, their products are antibiotic-and chemical-free. Because nothing is treated chemically, Jennings must give utmost attention to every hive and assess what is best for each collective of bees. It might be his favorite part of the job. But the Ruston native has always been detailoriented and a thoughtful responder. As a senior in high school, Jennings proudly enlisted in the Air Force on September 13, 2001, and then worked four years filled with intense hours at air traffic control. In his teens, a series of food allergies made him cognizant of what chemicals were going into his body. He began stripping processed foods from his diet, and this awareness influenced his choices of skincare products.

“Most people think of skin as this impenetrable barrier, but it actually allows things to pass through it into the blood,” Jennings says. After the Air Force, he worked as a massage therapist and quickly began researching and developing his own lotions and oils for clients. How can I honestly say I’m helping to heal people if I’m adding more chemicals into their bodies, he thought. Jennings has reacted quickly to everything from aching clients and acts of terrorism to his own heart when he finally felt a return home to north Louisiana and a slower pace to life was his percentage play. And here he met his wife. “I’m the brains, but she’s the heart” behind the business, he says. Lauren kept coming up to his table at the farmers market and asking questions about bees, Jennings recalls. From day one Jennings Apiaries has been about connecting. Growing business means ample opportunity to connect purposefully with locals and to hopefully impact their lives. “No matter what business you’re in, you’re in the people business,” Jennings says as he responds to Amazon reviews and emails about his products. Fastidious. Just like his bees. “We try to keep it real,” Jennings says. “I get it. I buy things, too, and I like having good products, and we want to provide amazing products for people that highlight the work our bees do.” n

Q&A What do you love most about living in north Louisiana? I genuinely like the feel of it here. I know every state and area has its own special thing, but this place for me is home. I love how genuinely friendly and caring people are for each other here. Ruston is a cool community, and it is one that is growing so much. It’s exciting watching the town expand and all of the young entrepreneurs that are starting businesses here. For Jennings Apiaries and just for experiencing other great people and products ourselves, I really appreciate that Ruston supports local. Do you have interests that help keep you balanced or fuel your creativity? I am an avid reader. I still play a lot of video games, too. I’m a self-proclaimed Nintendo fan boy. My wife is an amazing hunter and grew up spending time outdoors.

Jennings renders honey and wax from bee hives to make natural skin and hair care products, including beard oil, tattoo care ointment, lip balm and honeybee face lotion.

Have you gotten your hands on a Nintendo Switch? On launch day I did. Back in the day, I had an NES, SNES, and the N64 was the first major purchase I saved for and made myself. I’m surprised I don’t have a Nintendo tattoo yet. Last question: do you get stung? I get stung all the time, it’s not that bad. The fear of getting stung is worse than the sting.




Vitus Shell Picturing the Black Experience By John R. Kemp

The poet and playwright

Bertolt Brecht said, “Art is not a mirror to reality but a hammer with which to shape it.” To Vitus Shell of Monroe, art is indeed a hammer. It is a means to shape reality for the outside world to see the African American experience through strong, compelling and often unsettling images of black contemporary life in America. His paintings focus public attention on a long dormant subject that has become as relevant today as it was in the troubled 1960s. Three themes drive that message — irony, activism and his notion of black coolness. “My large scale paintings are geared toward the black experience, giving agency to people from this community through powerful image deconstruction, sampling and remixing identity, civil rights and contemporary black culture,” Shell says. “In my work, I strive to bridge the gap between the older and younger generations by exploring and uncovering factors that contributed to the unfortunate relationship breakdown between the two. Moreover, my layered, mixed media painting examines parallels between present day behaviors and attitudes that date back to African roots. My artistic goal is to exude the hip-hop lifestyle with a Southern vernacular.” That “Southern vernacular” takes on varying imagery, depending upon his unwritten story line. Shell says he is “apt

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to pair depictions of grizzled hustlers, veterans of the street, with images of angelic school girls.” By so doing, he presents black culture “as something multi-dimensional and nuanced.”

New Orleans writer, storyteller and photographer L. Kasimu Harris likened Shell’s paintings to the poems of Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes and to the writings of the early 20th-

century Pan-African civil rights activist W.E.B. Dubois. “Vitus Shell’s work is steeped in the double consciousness that Dubois explored in ‘The Souls of Black Folk,’” says Harris. “Shell’s canvases speak

Restoring art for art’s sake in Monroe Since the 1960s, the Masur Museum of Art in Monroe has been the center of Northeast Louisiana’s art solar system. But all of that almost changed on April 25, 2017, when a fire at the museum’s nearby storage building badly damaged the museum’s valuable collection of European, American and Louisiana art. According to Masur Director Evelyn Stewart, approximately 500 paintings from the museum’s 600-painting collection suffered smoke and soot damage. The staff quickly moved the damaged art to another location and set up conservation labs in the museum’s upstairs galleries. A year later, the Masur with the help of volunteers and a professional art conservator has cleaned approximately three-quarters of the paintings. But there is still a lot of work to do, says Stewart. The restored paintings must be reframed and a new storage location found.

Exhibitions and Events Through May 19

Lafayette Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum. “Lynda Frese: Holy Memories & Earthly Delights.” Highlights early experimental photographs made in California by Lynda Frese, a professor emeritus at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette College of Art, before she moved to Louisiana in 1986. hilliardmuseum.org Through June 3

Baton Rouge Louisiana Art & Science Museum. “Tradition in Transition: Inuit Art and Culture.” Features the artwork of Canada’s Arctic native people, the Inuits. lasm.org Through May 28

New Orleans New Orleans Museum of Art, “A Queen Within: Adorned Archetypes.” The museum will feature experimental gowns, headpieces, and jewelry by avant-garde fashion designers Alexander McQueen, Gucci, Gypsy Sport, and Iris van Herpen. More than 100 articles of daring fashion are presented in a dramatic gallery design that explores eight archetypal personality types. noma.org through June 17

Baton Rouge LSU Museum of Art. “Robert Williams: Slang Aesthetics.” Features 25 new oil paintings and other artwork by Robert Williams, who has been called the “godfather of the lowbrow and pop surrealist art movements.” lsumoa.org

in bold declaration of blackness, examining the idealism of patriotism, but the reality of a pariah. And his subjects of everyday black folk who are often displayed on the white walls in galleries provide viewers

through June 23

Alexandria Alexandria Museum of Art. “Witness to Wartime: Takuichi Fujii.” Features the work of a JapaneseAmerican artist, his life and experiences in America during World War II. themuseum.org

Exhibitions and Events Through June 23


Masur Museum of Art. “Afghan War Rugs: The Modern Art of Central Asia.” Exhibit focuses on the contemporary practice of Afghani weavers, abandoning traditional, non-figurative styles to better reflect the current political, military and cultural climate in Afghanistan. masurmuseum.org may 19 - July 28

Lafayette Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum. “Spotlight on Francis Pavy.” Examines the work of nationally acclaimed Lafayette artist Francis Pavy and his unique symbolic narratives and mythologies inspired by Louisiana’s Cajun culture. hilliardmuseum.org Through Aug. 19

New Orleans Ogden Museum of Southern Art. “A Precise Vision: The Architectural Archival Watercolors of Jim Blanchard.” Exhibit brings together an extensive number of Blanchard’s exquisite watercolor paintings of South Louisiana historic architecture. ogdenmuseum.org through Sept. 2

New Orleans Ogden Museum of Southern Art. “Salazar: Portraits of Influence in Spanish New Orleans, 1785-1802.” Features the work of Spanish colonial New Orleans’s best-known portrait artist, Josef Francisco Xavier de Salazar y Mendoza. ogdenmuseum.org Through Oct. 14

Baton Rouge LSU Museum of Art. “Carrie Mae Weems: The Usual Suspects.” Two recent series by acclaimed photographer Carrie Mae Weems explore stereotypes associated African-Americans, crime and deaths at the hands of police. lsumoa.org Through Nov. 11

Shreveport R. W. Norton Art Gallery, “Enlist! Art Goes to War, 1914-1918.” See what life was like in Shreveport and Caddo Parish during World War I and how artistic posters were used to urge men to enlist and women to become nurses and join the Red Cross. rwnaf.org 24 Louisiana Life may/june 2018

a glimpse into lives other than their own. They are a confrontation of race, class and privilege that America wants to ignore.” Shell’s journey in art began at Wossman High School in Monroe where his teacher, Linda Ward, introduced him to painting and encouraged him to experiment with color and subject matter. From there he studied at the Memphis College of Art where he met and assisted artist Brenda Joysmith and her husband Robert. He credits them for teaching him how to be an artist and the business of art. In Memphis he also met other artists and formed a group called the NIA Artist Collective that helped launch his career and those of other AfricanAmerican artists. NIA, or Nia, means “purpose” in Swahili. Upon graduation in 2000, Shell remained in Memphis for

nine years, doing odd jobs while slowly coming to the realization that he didn’t want to work for other people. He needed the freedom to explore his art. “I locked myself in my extra room and started working towards my love,” Shell says. “In 2003, I was commissioned to fabricate five murals for the Orange Mound Community Service Center in Memphis. That gave me the confidence and money to be a full-time professional artist.” That confidence got a major boost in 2007 when he received a Joan Mitchell Foundation grant to attend the University of Mississippi where in 2008 he received a Master of Fine Arts. Shell spent the following summer at the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture in Maine before returning to Monroe where he now resides and teaches

drawing at the University of Louisiana Monroe. Over the years, Shell has developed an expressive style of painting that incorporates layered, mixed media images that often include photocopies of old magazine and newspaper ads. “The use of vintage advertisements allows me to create narrative-based environments, which comment on stereotyping, bigotry and oppression,” he says. “Having spent much time researching graffiti art, I incorporate a variation of its characteristics, techniques and unique aesthetics into my work such as paste-ups, stamps and stencils. Using graffiti techniques allows me to challenge the viewer’s perceptions of what is considered low art or high art, which also addresses classism.” Shell is unconventional in how he displays his art. He

hangs his un-stretched canvases from walls on grommets as a way, he says, “to subvert, to some degree, museum and gallery presentation standards for art.” By doing this, his work has the energy of a “good tag” on a moving freight train while bringing to mind the work of other activist artists connected to the civil rights movement. That activism and what he describes as an “undeniable sense of coolness” are key elements in a series he calls “Slim Crowism.” It is a style, he says, that gives viewers a way to see his work from a perspective that is not mainstream. That entry point is often music. “Using hip-hop lyrics as the basis of my work, I refer to the musical references to create visual icons in my work,” Shell says. “With strong ties existing among the history of rhythm and blues, reggae, and blues music, I depict the social conditions that are apparent in these musical forms and reproduce the images in my own work. In the past, I have often had a problem with art that is too conceptual; however,

with the use of the figures, my work becomes accessible to audiences on all levels.” That approach has brought him considerable recognition and exposure. In addition to a dozen grants, fellowships and artist residencies, Shell’s mixed media paintings have appeared in exhibitions across the nation from Oregon to Georgia, including high visibility shows at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art’s 2017 “Louisiana Contemporary” and the Joan Mitchell Foundation’s 2008 show in New York City. In January 2018, the Nebraskabased Bemis Center for Contemporary Art selected Shell and seven other artists from 344 applicants worldwide to serve a three-month artistin-residence stint in the winter and spring of this year at the Center in Omaha. “I believe in karma,” Shell says. “So if you work hard, it will pay off.” Indeed it has. For more information about Shell and his work, visit theshellofvitus.com n




Updated Classic Ty Larkins Interiors reinvigorates a circa-1940s Baton Rouge house for a family of four By Lee Cutrone Photos by Chad Chenier

When the owners of the 1940s

brick house first approached designer Ty Larkins in 2010, it was with the intention of redecorating their living room. “They wanted to bring it up to speed and furnish the room and to tackle the dining room at some point too,” says Larkins, who founded Ty Larkins Interiors in 2006 and whose own home has been featured in House Beautiful. As promised, the owners — a dentist, his wife and two young daughters — did call Larkins in 2012 to follow through with the dining room. Two years later, they called again — this time, to address the rest of the house. “They hired an architect to knock down walls and reallocate spaces and rethink the interior spaces as a whole,” says Larkins, who worked on the project with his assistant Rachel Todd. “We came on board with the architect and worked together.” While the architect did the exterior elevations and the interior floorplan, Larkins handled the redesign of the interior architecture — from kitchen and baths to millwork and trim. The remodel involved gutting the interior to the studs and creating a more cohesive design scheme. “We redid all spaces top to bottom with the exception of living and dining rooms, which we had already done,” he says. Larkins’ approach for the renovation was to respect the classic bones of the architecture, while renewing the environment with 21st century architectural solutions, such as casement openings, steel windows and high gloss finishes. The designer, who describes the original architecture as a hybrid of Cape Cod and traditional brick house styles, wanted the new iteration to read as a “sophisticated cottage.” To play up the cottage character, he highlighted and married the disparate

26 Louisiana Life may/june 2018

wooden floors throughout the house with a dark ebony stain, added shiplap painted high-gloss white to a previously drab stairwell, and had a stenciled pattern painted onto the floor of the master bedroom. He also designed highly customized details — such as the stainless steel stove hood edged with brass and the antiqued mirrored wall panels in the den overlooking the pool — to

elevate the cottage’s simplicity with a more polished point of view and open the door for a younger mix of furnishings. “If you’ve got an old house and you put a lot of old furniture in it, it creates a staid environment,” says Larkins. “The house has got patina, let’s freshen it, make it intelligent and forward thinking, so we stayed grounded in tried and true classicism

(Left) The kitchen’s gray and white is accented with warm gold. Larkins custom designed the hood edged with brass and used variations in gray to highlight the island and the exposed beams overhead. Pendant fixtures above the large island, through Ty Larkins Interiors. (Top) A colorful art piece made with paint cans and found at market is a focal point in the breakfast area. The custom banquette is a paired with a modernist Saarinen style table. (Bottom) Unexpected design treatments in the dining room include a cabinet used like a mantel with sconces and a mirror, and peacock blue crown molding.



and balanced it with touches of modernity. We always try to create a space that appears as if it’s evolved over time.” Where Larkins did use traditional furnishings and decorative elements, he considered them in a new light or enlivened them with the unexpected. He juxtaposed the dining room’s traditional wallpaper and drapery, for instance, with a triptych of mirrors that sit on the floor screen-style and with dark teal crown molding instead of

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white. When an oak cabinet inherited from the wife’s grandmother seemed too modest for the newly enhanced dining room, he had it painted, then utilized it like a mantel by pairing it with sconces and a mirror. Though the backdrop of the house is neutral, Larkins incorporated color throughout. Splashes of blue — the woman’s favorite color — punch up the backdrop of the white living room. A similar blue is also the central color of the

dining room and reappears in other parts of the house, including the family room, where it was used to cover the sofa. In the kitchen, which is predominantly gray and white with touches of warm gold, Larkins used strategic variations in gray to highlight the base of the island and the white beams overhead. He continued the use of gray in the master bedroom, along with cheerful shades of mustard, one of the wife’s favorite color combinations.

Rather than having the piecemeal effect that results when different parts of a house are renovated at different times, the interior now works within the context of the architecture and has a continuity that reads as a whole. “From an architectural standpoint, I’m into classic, traditional,” says Larkins. “From a decorative and interiors standpoint, our motto is ‘livable, elegant, modern for how we live today.’” n

(Left) The same blue used in the living and dining rooms is used for the sofa in the family room overlooking the pool. Custom antiqued mirrored tiles cover the wall behind the sofa. The steel windows were custom designed by Larkins and built locally. (Top) The living room’s faded saddle-colored leather sofa is paired with a round tufted ottoman custom designed and built through Ty Larkins Interiors and painted Klismos-style chairs. Furniture available through the Ty Larkins showroom. (Bottom) The floors in the house are refinished with a dark Jacobean stain and contrasted with white walls for a modern color palette. Touches of blue, the wife’s favorite color, are used throughout. The abstract painting above the living room mantel is by Tony Moses. The cabinet to the right of the mantel is by Oly.



The Bird Lovers Travel Guide to the Pelican State


H undreds of species head south for the winter down the Mississippi Flyway, an avian highway if you will, pointing birds down the Mississippi Valley to South and Central America and Mexico. Come springtime, when North America warms up, some of these migratory birds will fly across Texas and into Louisiana while others fly 600 miles straight across the Gulf of Mexico. When they arrive in Louisiana, the birds are hungry, tired and thirsty, looking for a safe place to land and refuel. Louisiana, like other states along the Coastal South, remains a top migratory path and every year hosts more than 400 different species, colorful songbirds like scarlet tanagers and indigo buntings or the regal bald eagles and white pelicans. Both visiting and resident birds may be found throughout the state. It’s only a matter of knowing where to look. We’ve broken the state into regions, detailing the best places to go birding and what species you may find, plus a few visitors’ tips. Grab some binoculars, a Louisiana bird checklist and greet the dawn. These birds are early risers.

New Orleans to Baton Rouge


ane Patterson, president of the Baton Rouge Aubudon Society, teaches a birding basics class at LSU’s Continuing Education, ending with field trips where Patterson helps students identify the many bird species found in the Baton Rouge area.

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Where to stay & eat in new orleans and baton rouge

“People are so amazed that there are so many birds out there,” she said. While New Orleans and Baton Rouge may be large cities, there are numerous spots within and surrounding that offer great birding opportunities. Some of the best, Patterson said, are Baton Rouge’s parks, many of which incorporate nature trails. Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center, for instance, offers a mile of gravel paths and boardwalks through both a cypress-tupelo swamp and a hardwood forest where birders have spotted migratory birds and yearround species, including white ibis, prothonotary warbler, great crested flycatcher and the nesting ruby-throated hummingbird. Greenwood Community Park adjacent to the Baton Rouge Zoo is one of Patterson’s favorites as it includes grasslands, a small lake and a forested area, three habitats in one which call for a diverse selection of birds. The mix of hardwood trees and pines within the Tunica Hills creates a nice birding spot at the Mary Ann Brown Preserve outside St. Francisville. Operated by the Nature Conservancy of Louisiana, the preserve offers two miles of nature trails, picnic tables and a pavilion. Some of the birds you’ll find at Mary Ann include red-shouldered hawks (bottom left), white-eyed vireo, Kentucky warbler, hooded warbler, summer tanager (top right) and barn swallows. The preserve is located near Oakley Plantation (a Louisiana state park also good for birding) where John James Audubon began painting his “Birds of America” series, a collection of 435 life-size prints of America’s birds. Outside New Orleans there are numerous preserves and parks. The Fischer Wildlife Sanctuary in St. Tammany Parish, for instance, consists of 86.5 acres of floodplain within the Honey Island Swamp system. It’s perfect habitat for nesting birds such as the barred owl and yellow-crowned night heron (bottom right). Neotropical migratory birds found here include the Tennessee warbler and the chestnut-sided warbler. Other great birding sites include Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge, Big Branch Marsh near Lacombe and the Jean Lafitte Barataria Preserve.

The 2,800 acres of Fontainebleau State Park rolls through different ecosystems, from forests containing six miles of nature trails to the shores of Lake Pontchartrain. It’s a haven for birders, where hundreds of species have been spotted. The park includes new lakefront cabins, some right on the water, and both Mandeville and Covington sport a lively culinary scene.

Special events In November, the white pelicans (top left) head south for the winter, following the Mississippi River until they find a special spot with ample food, explained Patterson. They feed collectively, scooping up fish as they travel, and usually remain in Baton Rouge for up to two months on the university lakes. “They can number in the thousands,” said Patterson. “That’s a big favorite of everybody, birders and non-birders alike.” Sherburne Wildlife Management Area on the eastern ridge of the Atchafalaya Basin has an observation tower



that’s optimal for sighting wood storks, herons, egrets and spoonbills, Patterson explained. Her Audubon group hosts tours of the area the first week in August when water is low in the crawfish ponds. “We go out and gawk at the wading birds,” Patterson said. The first weekend in May is another opportune time to view breeding birds along the Whiskey Bay corridor, she said, including Mississippi and swallow-tailed kites. “We usually do a guided tour the first weekend in May,” she said. The annual Feliciana Hummingbird Celebration will be Sept. 15 this year in St. Francisville while the Great Louisiana BirdFest happens in the spring at the Northlake Nature Center across from Fontainebleau State Park and includes birding field trips and workshops.



igratory birds heading south for winter across the Gulf of Mexico may enjoy a tailwind to ease their journey. In the spring, however, the long flight with unpredictable weather makes for a harrowing trip. “In the fall the birds always have a northern wind,” said Will Nidecker, tourist guide at the Creole Nature Trail and wildlife biologist. “They can use that to surf

Where to stay & eat in southwest louisiana Grosse Savanne includes an expansive lodge that accommodates 18 guests in nine rooms with modern amenities, entertainment such as billiards, a stocked bar and an oversized porch. Call in advance for the lodge fills up when ducks, and consequently hunters, arrive. Visit grossesavanne.com for more information. In Lake Arthur, Bobby and Roberta Palermo have converted a 1960s Jeff Davis Bank building into a boutique hotel called L’Banca Albergo or The Bank Hotel. There are eight rooms, a comfortable porch and a bank vault containing select wines for sale. Overlooking the lake is The Regatta serving seafood, steaks and pastas and a rich duck and andouille gumbo. Sam Houston State Park north of Lake Charles rents cabins and is a birding haven as well. “You will see different things there that you will not see on the coast,” Klenke said.

on, like a surfer would. Coming back in the spring, it’s a different thing.” When birds arrive on the Louisiana coast in spring, they drop to rest, drink and refuel. One of the best places to view these visitors is along the Creole Nature Trail, a 180-mile loop that stretches around Lake Charles and includes Gulf beaches, marshes, lakes, bayous and wildlife refuges. Anne Taber Klenke works as tourism director at the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau satellite office which doubles as “Adventure Point,” an attraction offering interactive displays and guides to the Creole Nature Trail. Like Nidecker, she routinely travels the Trail in search of birds and other critters. “I see amazing things there — crested caracaras, great blue herons,” Klenke said. Her favorite spots are the Jetty Pier in Cameron, where a variety of shorebirds and pelicans can be found, the Pintail Wildlife Drive and Boardwalk and the fields along Lionel Derouen Road north of Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge where sandhill cranes rest during the winter months. “I was there in mid-February and they were everywhere,” Klenke said of the cranes that usually visit in October and late March. The Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge west of Lake Arthur contains a 16,000-acre wetlands known as the “Lacassine Pool,” a great place to spot wintering waterfowl, including the pintail duck. The best way to enjoy “The Pool” is to drive the threemile loop that’s open daily from dawn to dusk, stopping at the observation tower for a wide view of the marshes. On the east side of Calcasieu Lake, Bobby Jorden of Grosse Savanne Eco-Tours offers guided tours into the company’s 50,000 acres of private lands. Jorden has a background in natural resource conservation management and explains the ecosystem of the reclaimed rice fields now flooded and teeming with bird life. Bird species include egrets, white ibis (left), blue herons, great blue herons (facing page), eastern kingbirds, red-wing blackbirds, least bitterns and black-bellied whistling ducks. In the spring and fall, migratory birds visit; the best time to see them is in spring when the birds are nesting. Jorden has a knack for getting birders up close, enough to witness the tiny gazes of baby egrets. Special events The yellow rail hides deep in south Louisiana marshes, difficult to spot. The small secretive bird is high on birders’

lists because of its elusive nature. Every fall, birders arrive in Jennings for the Yellow Rails and Rice festival, to spot the birds, visit rice fields and participate in workshops and birding field trips.



igns of Lafayette’s city life begin to disappear turning on to Lake Martin Road as homes and businesses become farms and wetlands. Suddenly, the road dips, an unusual occurrence for a landscape at or slightly above sea level. This pristine land only minutes from the Lafayette Airport was once the western edge of the ancient Mississippi River, hence the natural levee, and today still contains bottomland and hardwood forests and cypress-tupelo swamps in the Cypress Island Preserve operated by the Nature Conservancy of Louisiana. Lake Martin, the body of water at its heart, began in 1951 when St. Martin and Lafayette parishes built a levee to create a hunting and fishing preserve. In the late 1980s birds arrived to nest and the lake quickly became one of the largest colonial waterbird rookeries in North America. Outdoorsmen still use the lake that’s not part of the preserve but the Conservancy helps maintain the rookery which sees 12 species arrive in the spring between Feb. 15 and July 31, the peak season. Among them are roseate spoonbills (facing page), snowy and great egrets, an assortment of herons and anhingas. In the spring and fall, migratory birds arrive to Lake Martin. Year-round visitors may spot owls, eagles, osprey and other raptors, plus kingfishers (right) and cormorants. There have been 241 different species spotted at Cypress Island, said Katherine C. King, Cypress Island’s program manager. After hurricanes Katrina and Rita, many of the nesting birds disappeared. Rumors abounded, of too many tourists disturbing the birds and of pollution following the storms, but King insists the birds remain; they are just harder to see from the road. “They’re still there, just farther back,” she explained. The preserve remains important for nesting and migratory birds, King said, because it’s a natural habitat in what is becoming an increasingly commercialized region. “If you look at an aerial photo, you’ll see we’re surrounded by what we call a sea of agricultural property,” King said. “What’s left is Cypress Island Preserve, a forested area. That’s extremely important to birds.”

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Where to stay & eat in acadiana There are numerous bed and breakfasts in nearby Breaux Bridge, including Bonne Terre Louisiana with its two comfortable and relaxing buildings on a 10-acre farm. At Bonne Terre we spotted bluebirds nesting next to horse pastures, indigo buntings, egrets and herons on the pond and raptors in the trees, all from a porch rocking chair. The culinary hub of Lafayette is only 20 minutes away and the dining landscape runs the gamut of styles, from traditional and nouveau Cajun to ethnic and fine dining. Close to Bonne Terre — within walking distance — is Poche’s Market, serving up daily plate lunch specials, dinners and authentic Cajun dishes to go. In Breaux Bridge you’ll find great restaurants such as Buck & Johnny’s and Café Sydnie Mae, plus the Joie de Vivre Coffee Shop that features Cajun jam sessions.

Visitors may hike the circumference of the lake on a five-mile trail that’s half wooded and half on a paved road. The Nature Conservancy operates a Visitor Center that’s open on weekends and Wednesdays through Sundays during peak nesting season. Special events Morgan City and surrounding areas host an Eagle Expo every February, with tours to view American bald eagles and other birds of prey, plus workshops on nature photography by Louisiana photographer C.C. Lockwood, wildlife talks and birding seminars.



he heart of Louisiana contains a wide variety of ecosystems, from the Red and Mississippi River floodplains to the piney woods atop rolling hills. To the west is Toledo Bend, the South’s largest manmade lake and home to ducks, shorebirds and nesting bald eagles. To the north and east lies the expansive Kisatchie National Forest luring red cockaded woodpeckers to its woods. The Louisiana waterthrush nests near the state’s highest waterfall at Sicily Island Hills Wildlife Management Area, acces-

Where to stay & eat in central louisiana Cypress Bend at Toledo Bend Lake attracts golfers to its championship course but the resort also includes wooded trails throughout the property, perfect for spotting bald eagles, waterbird nesting colonies and the redcockaded woodpecker, in addition to migratory songbirds. There are cabins to rent all along Toledo Bend, including Wildwood Resort with its variety of accommodations, boat rentals, duck pens and more.

sible along the Rock Falls Nature Trail. Around Cheneyville, wintering sandhill cranes (facing page) visit agricultural fields and the lookout tower on Wildlife Drive at Catahoula National Wildlife Refuge allows birders to spot bald eagles, osprey and peregrine falcons. Kisatchie consists of six ranger districts, some with better public access than others. Central Louisiana refuges, reservoirs and remote areas known for great birding can also be daunting to the traveler. The best way to find birding spots is to obtain the Louisiana Birding Guide with its handy maps and bird sightings. The guide is available to download at atchafalaya.org/ckfinder/userfiles/files/BirdGuide.pdf. Special events The Shreveport Bird Study Group regularly visits the Cheneyville area to view the wintering sandhill cranes. “Almost every winter we try to take a trip below Alexandria to see the sandhill cranes,” said Larry Raymond, president. “They’re there every year but not necessarily in the same place.”

Northern Louisiana


orthern Louisiana has been known to attract birds not found in the rest of the state. The rare migratory Smith’s longspur, for instance, enjoys a three-prong grass growing near Shreveport. “That’s one we find in Northwest Louisiana but nowhere else,” said Larry Raymond, president of the Shreveport Bird Study Group.

Deciduous trees at Cotile Lake Recreation Area just north of Alexandria attracts migrating warblers, flycatchers and vireos and year-round bald eagles. Nearby is the town of Boyce and the acclaimed Janohn’s restaurant. Schedule your birding carefully for Janohn’s is only open for dinner Wednesday through Saturday.

The white-breasted nuthatch (left) is another uncommon bird for Louisiana. “A lot of birders from South Louisiana come up to see that one,” Raymond said. Birding hotspots include Caddo Lake that stretches into both Louisiana and Texas, a habitat for many species of aquatic birds such as grebes, herons, ducks and terns. The bald eagle and the horned grebe (top right) have been known to winter here and osprey arrive in spring and fall. The Red River National Wildlife Refugehas different tracks and Raymond enjoys the Yates Track pools in Red River Parish, where he’s spotted wintering ducks and shorebirds, such as the black-necked stilt (bottom right), sandpipers and yellowlegs. Raymond has also sighted a short-eared owl and a yellow rail. “It’s a great habitat for birds that we don’t find anywhere else,” he explained. “It’s open to the public but it’s always good to go with someone who knows where to go.” Cross Lake on the western side of Shreveport is another good site. A member of the Shreveport Bird Study Group spotted a mew gull there as well as western grebes, jaegers and Franklin’s gull, Raymond said. Birders have spotted 160 species at the 5300-acre Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge, one of five refuges managed in the North Louisiana Refuge Complex. Nesting bald eagles make their home here.

Special events The Shreveport Bird Study Group meets on the second Tuesday of the month January to June and September to December at the LSU-Shreveport Museum of Life Sciences in Shreveport. Speakers give talks on birding and natural sciences and the group takes occasional field trips.

Louisiana Coast


he Louisiana Coast is the first stop for birds flying north across the Gulf so when bad weather occurs during the spring the birds may literally fall from the sky, pausing in vegetation until inclement weather passes. “And that’s Grand Isle most of the time,” said Katherine C. King of the Louisiana Nature Conservancy. Which is why the Conservancy has preserved 41 forested acres on Grand Isle and works to encourage reforestation for the thousands of migratory birds that visit the barrier island each year. The annual threeday Grand Isle Migratory Bird Festival in April includes guided bird watching tours on the Grand Isle Birding Trail, Elmer’s Island and Grand Isle State Park. On the other side of the state lies Peveto Woods, a migratory bird sanctuary off Highway 82 near Johnson’s Bayou established by the Baton Rouge Audubon Society. The property contains live oaks with underbrush, feeding stations and water drips to attract birds. The Gulf is a short walk away. “It’s one of the highest places in the state,” explained Jane Patterson, Society president. “It’s a remnant oak chenier, a critical stopover habitat for migratory birds. It’s easy to get to and often offers the bird sightings that one might find on a barrier island that’s impassable.” Birders have counted 306 different species at Peveto Woods, Patterson said, including warblers, grosbeaks (right), indigo buntings (facing page), painted buntings and the brilliant scarlet tanager. The property is open to the public but no camping is allowed. Will Nidecker, tourist guide for the Creole Nature Trail and wildlife biologist, suggests hunkering down beneath Peveto’s live oaks, holly and hackberries in the spring and fall and waiting for the small songbirds to arrive and feast on vegetation.

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Where to stay & eat in northern louisiana There are several state parks that offer chances to view birds in northern Louisiana. Lake Bistineau, Lake D’Arbonne and Lake Claiborne both contain lakes as well as mixed hardwood forests with hiking trails, campsites and cabins. The 2,700acre, man-made lake at Poverty Point Reservoir State Park attracts waterfowl, raptors and other birds and features hiking trails and cabins. Cypress Black Bayou Recreation and Water Conversation District near Benton rents cottages and cabins and includes a Nature Study Center and zoo.

Where to stay & eat on the louisiana coast Many camps from one end of the coast to the other are available as rentals and Grand Isle offers a few motels. The closest cities to the coast, such as Houma, Abbeville, Morgan City and Lake Charles, have a large selection of accommodations and dining options.

“Make sure you find blackberry brambles,” he advised. “That’s what warblers eat.” Nidecker also suggests avoiding Peveto Woods in June and July when horseflies show up. Naturally, the coast includes beaches, which attract shorebirds of many kinds. Rutherford Beach, Holly Beach and Martin Beach are examples of beaches open to the public. The Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge between Pecan Island and Grand Chenier attracts waterfowl, herons, egrets and other wading birds to its marshes and coastal woodlands. Visit Price Lake Road just west of the refuge’s headquarters for great waterfowl viewing. Special events The Grand Isle Migratory Bird Festival in April features expert-led bird treks on the Grand Isle Birding Trail, Elmer’s Island and the Grand Isle State Park; kayak tours and boat tours to Queen Bess Island; and the catching and release of migratory songbirds by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.


One Man’s Dream LSU’s Rural Life Museum and Windrush Gardens in Baton Rouge is a 25-acre advanced course in who we are and why BY Paul

F. Stahls Jr.

The mild temperatures of late

spring at LSU’s Rural Life Museum and Windrush Gardens in Baton Rouge mean that visitors can linger in the outdoor areas — 25 acres of carefully collected historic structures and skillfully landscaped gardens — as comfortably as they can in the main exhibit hall’s 20,000 square feet of indoor displays. The goal of the place, indoors and out, is to interpret the rural folkways of Louisiana’s early farm life and small-town beginnings, with emphasis not on individual characters but on Louisiana’s mix of cultural groups, not on single events but on the progression of larger influences that shaped our lifestyles and then changed them over and over again. The lands and 1856 home called Windrush, acquired by Burden family ancestors in 1861, became in 1905 the farm and ranch of William Pike Burden, whose son Steele was destined, as a professional landscapist in the 1920s and ‘30s, to

do The Rural Life Museum is convenient to many other LSU attractions, on campus and off, the nearest being the

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Hilltop Arboretum (11855 Highland Road, 225-767-6916, sites01.lsu.edu/wp/hilltop, free), 14 acres of ridgetops and plunging ravines adorned by Louisiana trees, shrubs and wildflowers. Adjacent to the Old State Capitol, LSU’s Shaw Center for the Arts (225-3465001, shawcenter.org, free) has 125,000 square feet of

performing arts (most notably the 325-seat Manship Theatre), fine arts galleries (including the LSU Museum of Art and the LSU School of Art Glassell Gallery, plus a vast collection of Newcomb Pottery) and Tsunami, a rooftop, river-view sushi restaurant. On the campus itself, stop first at the Visitor Center (Highland Road at Dalrymple, 225-578-

5030), for free parking passes, maps and information about several museums and collections hidden away in academic buildings, most constructed in the 1920s of Palladian-style Italian Renaissance design. Park near Memorial Tower, the 95-year-old bell tower that honors student and faculty casualties of World War I, and, in its shadow, a 1998 memorial to those lost in World War II and

(Left) 1856 Windrush house (Top Right) Windrush Gardens (Bottom Right) Chitimacha basketry

thereafter. From here it’s a short walk to the classroom buildings and their surprises, like the Textile and Costume Museum in the Human Ecology Building (including impressive collections of historic and ethnic apparel,), rooms and halls lined with geological and archaeological treasures in the Geosciences complex, and, in Foster Hall, the Museum of Natural Science with its insect, snake

and bird collections, wildlife dioramas and, yes, LSU’s first Mike the Tiger (225-578-2855, lsu.edu/mns). Foster Hall is also home of an art gallery (second floor) showcasing the works of graduating seniors and postgrads, and more art can be found in the Student Union Art Gallery, Sculpture Park behind Atkinson Hall, the Design Building’s third-

floor Interior Design Gallery and the stairs and hallways of Allen Hall, covered with WPA-era murals by the famed Conrad Albrizio and his art students. Sports fans will want to stop by Mike the Tiger’s palatial habitat on N. Stadium Road on your way to the trophy and photo displays in the nearby Athletic Admin and Football Admin buildings, then head cross-campus (passing

LSU’s two 5,000-year-old Indian mounds on Fieldhouse Road) to the Andonie Museum on W. Lakeshore Dr., filled with memorabilia of Tiger greats and university history (225-578-3828, andoniemuseum.org). For overnighting on campus consider the Cook Alumni Center Hotel on beautiful Campus Lake (225-383-2665, thecookhotel.com, adjacent to the Andonie Museum).



(Top) Slave jail (Bottom) Double-bay corncrib and dogtrot house

beautify not only the family lands but also Baton Rouge’s City Park and “new” LSU campus. All the while, as an art aficionado and amateur historian, he was gathering Greco-Roman statuary in Europe for his gardens and collecting the vernacular structures and exhibit items that would become his beloved Rural Life Museum (4560 Essen Lane at I-10, lsu.edu/rurallife, 225-765-2437).

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The museum and gardens are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week, and a ticket allows a guest to come and go all day, rambling the property at will or taking advantage of audio tours or the company of one of 150 volunteer guides. In 1975 the Burden family donated its estate to LSU, 440 acres now also shared by the sprawling LSU AgCenter (lsu.edu/botanic-gardens and lsuagcenter.com,

225-763-3990) with its woodland trails, wetland boardwalk and experimental plantings of flowers, food crops and timber. By the time public awareness caught up with Steele’s singlehanded achievements in the 1960s, his museum had already acquired its overseer’s house, a dozen plantation dependencies and a giant barn, all full to capacity with his collections of blacksmithing tools, carriages, ancient autos, art, handcrafted tools and toys, vintage garments and agricultural equipment — a good start. Since then the vernacular architecture collection has grown to include structures from every corner of the state, like the River Road slave pen, Bayou Lafourche Acadian cabin (circa 1800), Natchitoches Parish dogtrot and massive two-bay Sabine Parish corncrib. Meanwhile, financed by private donations, indoor exhibit space has doubled (now 20,000 square feet) to accommodate displays that introduce the various livelihoods, population groups and vocabulary of 19th-century Louisiana, thus preparing visitors to perceive the significance of each structure, its contents and the particular lifestyle it depicts, be it yeoman farm life or the complex hierarchy necessary to manage the major plantations. Incidentally, every vernacular structure and display item (upwards of 34,000), can be traced to a particular Louisiana person or place, and each reveals some aspect of the influences that brought lifestyle changes in differing ways to our Upland South and Gulf Coastal regions: the immediate introduction of slavery, the various waves of immigration (and appearance of Creoles of color), the Civil War, Reconstruction, new industrial and farm equipment, the harnessing of steam, petroleum (for profit and propulsion, not to mention vinyl record albums), autos and the new importance of highways and bridges, and levees for protection and drainage of acreage. The list is unending, nearly unfathomable, but so is the Rural Life Museum’s inventory of visual aids. n



farther flung

Sail Away Cruises out of New Orleans offer fun on the high seas and exotic locales By Cheré


Last year, the Port of New

Orleans reached a milestone with 1,150,172 passengers heading through the doors of the Erato Street and Julia Street Cruise Terminals. But the port has seen more than a million cruise passengers for the past four years. Cruising has become so popular out of New Orleans that Carnival Cruise Line will bring new ships to the Crescent City in 2019 and Norwegian Cruise Line’s Breakaway starts sailing from New Orleans in November, the largest cruise ship to sail from Louisiana’s port. That’s just the local news. Many cruise lines have announced new ships and expanded sailings in a tourism industry that keeps growing from year to year. Are you ready to hit the high seas? There’s plenty from which to choose. Take advantage of hotel packages that allow you to park your car, enjoy a night or two in New Orleans and include shuttling you to dockside to bypass the sometimes horrendous traffic at port. The Crowne Plaza New Orleans Airport, for instance, offers a Stay-Park-Cruise overnight package that includes complimentary parking for up to 15 days and transportation to the cruise terminal, plus other amenities. Get off the ship when in port, bypass the port attractions and explore destinations. There are numerous excursions to choose from on cruises and many offer ways to experience the country and their residents, ranging from active trips such as snorkeling

Royal Caribbean has launched the world’s largest cruise ship, Symphony of the Seas, with inaugural sailings to Europe, then Miami beginning in November. There will be new dining opportunities and robot bartenders in the Bionic

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Bar and over-the-top entertainment such as the Broadway musical “Hairspray,” high-diving performances and an aqua show. Families may enjoy the Ultimate Abyss, the tallest cruise ship water slide, and the Ultimate Family Suite,

of wine aboard but most are sticklers about what you can bring. Get a passport, which is required for all travelers who enter or re-enter the United States by sea, although alternative identification is allowed on closed-loop cruises to Mexico, the Caribbean, Bermuda, Bahamas and Canada. Regardless, passports are inexpensive to acquire and highly recommended for travel outside the country. n

which include two levels with a slide from the kids’ bedroom on the second floor to the living room below, a LEGO wall, air hockey and more. Norwegian Cruise Line debuts its 4,000-passenger Norwegian Breakaway

to the Port of New Orleans beginning November 8 and claims to be the largest cruise ship in both length and passenger occupancy to ever sail from the city. Breakaway will offer seven-, nineand 12-day cruises to the Western Caribbean.

photo courtesy royal caribbean

Going Large

and zip lining to learning the country’s foodways. Be sure to tip your hosts when the shore excursion is over. Consider your options. Inexpensive cruises may mean you’re stuck in a tiny, sunless interior cabin and an upgrade might make all the difference in comfort. Prices often don’t include daily tipping, shore excursions and alcohol so budget accordingly. Some cruise lines allow a bottle


Royal Caribbean’s largest cruise ship, the Symphony of the Seas

Specialty cruises The National World War II Museum will host a special cruise to Malta, Sicily and Italy aboard the Sea Cloud II Oct. 19-28. The cruise will be led by historian Alex Kershaw who has written a book titled “The Liberator” about U.S. Army Office Felix Sparks battling his way through the Allied Liberation of Europe. The cruise will follow in the footsteps of Sparks and the Allied Forces and include Italian World War II battlefields. Other historians include Gordon Mueller, the founding president and CEO of the museum, and Robert Citino, award-winning scholar and author.

ParchedPig is on the menu at Carnival Cruise Line’s new Horizon, which debuted in Europe this spring but will reposition to the United States for sailings to the Caribbean. The ParchedPig craft beers are the creations of Carnival’s brewmaster Colin Presby and include a smoked porter, farmhouse ale, amber ale and IPA, and will be served at the ship’s Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse/ Brewhouse, a dining option developed by Food Network star Guy Fieri. Learn about the foodways of different cultures with Holland America Line’s culinary-themed EXC Tours shore excursions. The cruise line has teamed with Food & Wine magazine once again for 23 new excursions in 2018 on cruises to the Mediterranean and northern Europe. Visitors will be able to cook with local chefs and experience authentic cuisine in places such as Venice, Barcelona and St. Petersburg.



roadside dining

Born Again Shreveport’s Cotton Boll Grill gets another lease on life by

Jyl Benson

photos by Romero

& Romero

Panic set in among

tradition-minded Shreveport-Bossier residents in the spring of 2016. The Cotton Boll Grill had closed. Opened in the historic Highland neighborhood in the 1930s, when the Cotton Boll relocated in 1976 to 1624 Fairfield Avenue just across from the courthouse, the community grumbled but settled quickly into new patterns. In 2015, the tiny 30-seat roadside diner was sold with barely a ripple to Leslie Henry-Mellor but the announcement just one year later of Henry-Mellor’s necessary closure of the heritage business due to family medical issues calling her home to Arizona struck the heart of the community. For many the value-driven, predictable eatery was the only place they would consider for a morning cup of coffee and a biscuit dripping in butter. Hearty breakfast meetings were common, with deals often cut over plates of the tender, crisp-edged house pancakes or fluffy omelets bountifully stuffed with griddled ham and cheese. Lunch would summon them back for the red beans and rice with sausage on offer every day, not just Mondays, or daily down-home blue plate specials like the mammoth, expertly fried seafood platters on Fridays and rich chicken and dumplings on Thursdays. Blue plates were always served with two vegetables and a side of

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good bets

In an era that relishes the quick and convenient, another of Shreveport’s reliably quirky old diners, Jacquelyn’s Café, continues to welcome hoards of hungry locals

through its swinging front door into a sweet, old-school dining room set with low, barrel- backed chairs and tables covered in oilcloth. Jacquelyn and Jimmy Caskey opened

their wholesome café on Louisiana Avenue in 1983. Famous for its crowded, noisy dining room, creamy oldfashioned shrimp salad sandwiches, buttery Shrimp Étouffée,

Thursday’s lunch special at Cotton Boll Grill - Chicken and Dumplings with hot water cornbread

bread, the hot water cornbread being the hands-down favorite. The place was as reliable as rain, its closure most unpredictable, especially from such a predictable source, and absolutely unwelcome. Just days after the undesirable announcement another came that set the community at ease: Seth Manly, owner of onthegodelivery.com, established himself as a new local hero in purchasing the Cotton Boll, keeping the hours the same and rehiring the same warm and welcoming staff. He kept the drive-through pickup window open but he also made The Cotton Boll the first restaurant serving breakfast to partner with On the Go Delivery. Now that belt busting breakfast could be delivered directly to your office. Today, daily business at The Cotton Boll is handled by first time restaurateur Vikki Markavich and her daughter, but time still seems to stand still. The oxblood red exterior, cozy environs enlivened with a collection of Shreveport artifacts and the peerless, thicklybattered “New Orleans-style” fried chicken remain the same. Order the pecan pie “heated and treated” — griddled with a pat of butter on top under a lid topped with ice cubes — and it will arrive warm, gooey and steamed through. Welcome new menu additions include thickly-battered chicken fried steak under a cloak of cream gravy, a beef patty melt on rye topped with grilled onions, and an orange marmalade buttermilk pie. n

The Cotton Boll

a different cream soup every day, and homemade pies — Almond Jacq, Black Forest, and German Chocolate — to dine at Jacquelyn’s Café is to enter an era of quiet simplicity and gracious hospitality.

1624 Fairfield Ave. Shreveport 318-221-9397 facebook.com/CottonBollGrill Jacquelyn’s Café

1324 Louisiana Ave. Shreveport 318-227-8598 jacquelynscafe.com



great louisiana chef

Powerful Hospitality Manny Augello of Bread & Circus Provisions in Lafayette recognized by the James Beard Foundation By

Ashley McLellan & Romero

photos by Romero

Since the brick and mortar opening

in 2014, Chef Manny Augello at Bread & Circus Provisions has brought a distinctive cultural mash-up of classic and cutting-edge cuisine importing a dash of Italian, a smidge of the Far East and a helping local down home cooking to Lafayette diners. For Augello, the selfprofessed “Ambassador of Neapolitan pizza. High-priest of salumi,” working in the restaurant industry has long been a family tradition. “Cooking, farming, restauranteering and exposure to everything in between… gave me an appreciation for hospitality’s power,” says Augello. “The biggest influence in my culinary journey was my childhood spent in Sicily, where the simplistic approach to ingredients in both ancient and modern recipes remains paramount to the culture’s food ways.” Augello’s passion is reflected in his menu, which has an emphasis on the freshest of ingredients. “I have always noticed the resemblance that Cajun tradition has to my own culture,” he said. “Seasonal availability, simplicity and a deep sense of respect for the ingredient are principles which create the fundamentals for the enjoyment of food and company.” The James Beard Foundation took note of Augello, recognizing him in March with a 2018 semi-finalist nod for Best Chef: South. “As a chef, I find satisfaction in providing an experience to our guest that fills their need for nourishment and entertainment,” he said. “I’m grateful to be surrounded by a community supportive of my culture where I can practice my craft. This recognition lets us know that all the difficulty, long hours, and hard work that go into operating our restaurant comes from a desire to want to be better at our profession.” n

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“I am exceptionally lucky to be surrounded by a talented, passionate, and enthusiastic staff at B&CP whose commitment to redefining dining and elevating the expectations of hospitality are highly infectious. I look forward to continue to grow our B&CP family. Continue to learn with them and implement our knowledge to further refine our brand.”

Bread & Circus Provisions

258 Bendel Road Lafayette 337-408-3930 bandcprovisions.com

Osso buco Using kitchen twine, snugly tie each of the 5 pieces of beef shank (2-3� thick) around its circumference, as if you were attempting to fasten the meat closed around the bone. With a small piece of twine, fasten 4 sprigs of thyme, 2 sprigs of rosemary and 2 bay leaves together into a bundle.

Remove from the skillet, lower heat to medium and add ½ cup salt pork or bacon (diced small). Stir until bacon begins to brown, add 2 cups yellow onion (medium dice). Once onions are translucent, then add 2 cups celery (medium dice) and 2 cups carrot (peeled and medium dice) to skillet.

In a large skillet, bring 1 cup of olive oil up to smoking point. While oil is heating, season the shanks liberally with salt and pepper. Carefully place the shanks into the hot oil and proceed to brown well on both top and bottom.

Deglaze with 24 ounces of dry white wine. Bring to a simmer, scraping up brown bits off the bottom of the skillet. Turn off heat and stir in 24 ounces plain tomato sauce and 24 ounces beef or chicken broth.

Place shanks into a deep baking vessel and pour vegetable/liquid mixture over them evenly. Place the herb bundle in the pan last. Place a piece of parchment paper over the pan and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake at 300 F for 6-8 hours till meat is fork tender.



kitchen gourmet

easy does it High-flavor, low-effort recipes to ease the transition from spring into summer by

Stanley Dry

photos and styling by Eugenia


This time of year, home

gardens and farmers markets are overflowing with vegetables, herbs, fruits and berries, creating a banner season for cooks. As spring changes over into summer, we reap the benefits of both seasons. Our cooking is becoming lighter, vegetables are assuming more importance and we tend toward meals that showcase our local produce without requiring long hours of cooking. This month’s recipes are for several flavorful dishes that can be mostly prepared in advance and made with a minimum of effort. Personally, I love preparations, such as sauces, that are simple to make and that can be used for a variety of purposes. Recipes for classic pesto vary, but they almost always include fresh basil and olive oil, garlic, cheese (Parmesan and, or Pecorino Romano) and pine nut. The recipe for Arugula and Anchovy Pesto that follows makes a more assertive sauce that will be especially appreciated by those who love strong tastes. The recipes for Green Beans with Bacon and Zucchini au Gratin feature two of summer’s favorite and most prolific vegetables. Both are a snap to make. For a simple dessert, try the Blackberries with Maple Syrup recipe. It’s a revelation how the maple syrup, used in place of sugar, heightens the taste of blackberries. Top the berries with cream and mascarpone or yogurt, and you have a delightful summer sweet. To gild the lily, you can also serve some thin lemon cookies. n

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The initial preparation can be done in advance, if desired; the final turn in a skillet takes only minutes.

Blackberries With Maple Syrup And Whipped Mascarpone

Lemon Thins

This is indulgent, but the richness of the cream and mascarpone and the sweetness of maple syrup show off the berries to good advantage.

¼ pound butter, softened

1 pint blackberries Green Beans With Bacon The bacon and breadcrumbs provide both crunch and flavor. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Trim and wash 1 pound green beans. Add to boiling water and cook until just tender, about 3-4 minutes. Drain in a colander and refresh under cold running water. Drain, then dry in a clean kitchen towel. Meanwhile, cook 4 slices thickcut bacon until crisp but still slightly chewy. Drain on paper towels. Chop bacon. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add beans and bacon and cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently. Add 2 tablespoons Panko breadcrumbs, stirring to coat beans, until browned. Season to taste with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Makes 4 servings

½ cup heavy cream ½ cup mascarpone 4 tablespoons maple syrup 1. Wash blackberries and pick over.

Dry on paper towels. Divide among 4 dessert dishes. 2. Whip cream until it begins to

thicken. Add mascarpone and whisk until just combined. Place a dollop of whipped mascarpone on each dish of blackberries and drizzle with maple syrup. Serve with lemon thins. Makes 4 servings

tips for the blackberries with maple syrup and whipped mascarpone: If desired, use a variety of berries, such as blackberries, raspberries and blueberries. If you wish to reduce calories and fat, substitute plain, unsweetened yogurt for the heavy cream and mascarpone. for the lemon thins This dough can be frozen and defrosted when you’re ready to make cookies, but don’t let it soften too much or you won’t be able to slice it.

Zucchini au Gratin Gardeners need a large repertoire of zucchini recipes in order to keep up with the prodigious yields from their plantings.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Wash and trim ends of 2 large zucchini (about 1 pound total). Cut lengthwise into thin slices. Lightly coat a large cast iron skillet and an 8-inch baking dish with extra virgin olive oil.

These little cookies are light and bright with lemon flavor.

Arugula and Anchovy Pesto This robust sauce can be used in a variety of ways. Serve it with pasta, with boiled or roasted new potatoes, with hard-boiled eggs, combined with a can of drained and rinsed cannellini beans or chickpeas for a quick salad or spread on a sandwich. 1 cup arugula (torn and packed), 4 cloves garlic (minced), 4 anchovy fillets packed in oil, 1½ cups grated Parmesan and/ or Pecorino Romano cheese, 1 cup extra virgin olive oil and ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper in a food processor and pulse until combined. Makes about 1 cup

Place skillet over medium-high heat and add enough zucchini to cover the bottom. Cook until browned, then turn and cook the other side. Transfer zucchini to baking dish, season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup sugar 1 egg 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest ¼ teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking powder 1½ cups all-purpose flour 1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter, add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add egg, lemon juice and zest and mix well. Add salt and baking powder and mix well. Fold in flour with a rubber spatula. 2. Divide the batter in half and, using a rubber spatula, transfer each half to a length of wax paper. Using the sides of the wax paper, shape each into a cylinder about 1½ inches in diameter. Roll wax paper around the dough and refrigerate until firm. 3. Preheat oven to 375 F and grease a cookie sheet. Slice chilled dough into rounds about ¼-inch thick and place on greased cookie sheet. Bake until brown around the edges, about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Makes about 40 cookies

and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan (½ cup total for recipe). Repeat with remaining zucchini until all are cooked, adding a little oil to skillet, as needed. Combine 1 clove garlic (minced), 2 tablespoons chopped

parsley, and 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs and sprinkle over the zucchini. Drizzle with remaining olive oil. Bake until top is browned, about 15 minutes. Makes 4 servings



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traveling around louisiana


ouisiana offers so much of the expected—serene bayous with awe-inspiring alligators, exquisite Cajun food, and a variety of festivals and celebrations—but the state is also packed with the unexpected—hidden gem restaurants, fascinating museum exhibitions, and old-fashioned, family establishments that only the locals seem to know about. Traveling the main highways and back roads are both rewarding, as a wealth of authentic experiences await along your journey through Sportsman’s Paradise. From food festivals that celebrate peaches or corn to the historical attractions that remind us of the state’s storied past to the scenic waterways and outdoor activities, there’s tons to see and do this summer across Louisiana. Check out the latest news from various parishes and communities as well as a few new or new-to-you points of interest worth exploring in the following guide to traveling around Louisiana.

Parishes, Cities, & Communities It’s peach season in Ruston and Lincoln Parish! Mark your calendars for the 68th Annual Louisiana Peach Festival happening June 22-23 in downtown Ruston. It’s sure to be a fun-filled weekend

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with the entire family with live entertainment, activities for kids, arts and crafts, downtown shopping, a parade, and more! The entertainment lineup for the festival includes a Battle of the Bands, country music’s Lacy Cavalier and John King, Katalyst, and New Orleans superpop cover band Bag of Donuts. Kids will go wild for the festival’s

newest attraction: robots! Watch these extraordinary machines march in the parade and up and down the streets of the festival. You won’t want to miss your chance to sample savory treats made from Louisiana’s sweetest peaches or a trip to Mitcham Peach Farms for delicious homemade peach ice cream. For more information about Ruston or to plan your trip to the Louisiana Peach Festival, visit ExperienceRuston.com. Avoyelles Parish is blooming with opportunities for festival and music lovers. Cajun Crossroads Festival in Hessmer takes place the first weekend of May (4-5). Celebrate Mother’s Day with food and fun May 10-13 at the 44th Cochon de Lait Festival in downtown Mansura, the “Cochon de Lait Capitale of the World.” Paragon Casino Resort will host three concerts in May: Frank Foster,

Keith Sweat, and The CheeWeez. Call 800-745-3000 for tickets and information. The Tunica Biloxi Tribe of LA invites you to the 23rd Annual Tunica Biloxi PowWow, May 19-20, at the Alcide Pierite Pow-Wow grounds on the Tunica Biloxi Reservation. Visit TunicaPowWow.org for details. Bunkie hosts the 32nd annual LA Corn Festival June 7-9 at the Haas Auditorium and festival grounds with corny contests, great music, awesome food, and a carnival. Louisiana’s longest running 4th of July Celebration and the Avoyelles Arts and Music Festival take place July 4 in downtown Marksville. This family fest is free to the public. For more summer festivals and things to do in Avoyelles Parish in May and June, visit TravelAvoyelles.com or Travel Avoyelles on Facebook for a complete listing of events.


Hotel Bentley St. Mary Parish, also known as the Cajun Coast, is a gem for experiencing the great outdoors in Sportsman’s Paradise. Surrounded by the waters of Bayou Teche, Atchafalaya River, and the Atchafalaya Swamp Basin, the Cajun Coast is known for its natural splendor and “road less traveled” atmosphere. Options for exploration, relaxation, and excitement abound on both water and land. Find your calm among the serene wilderness of the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area or along the Bayou Teche Scenic Byway. Boaters enjoy the waters of the Atchafalaya Basin, the largest overflow swamp, as well as the scenery and sounds offered by the Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge. Golfers won’t want to miss a chance to hit the Atchafalaya at Idlewild, which was rated the number one golf course in Louisiana by Golfweek Magazine in 2008 and 2009 and number two by Golf Advisor in 2017. This summer, St. Mary Parish is alive with events such as Rhythms on the River, which continues on Fridays through June 1st, the Bayou BBQ Bash, July 13-14 and Bikers on the Bayou, July 15th in Frankln. For more information, visit cajuncoast.com. Central Louisiana is home to a hidden gem in the form of the Louisiana Maneuvers and Military Museum. The Museum is located on the grounds of Camp Beauregard in Pineville and offers free admission to the public. Built as a replica WWII barracks, the Museum houses memorabilia and artifacts from the WWII era as well as WWI and earlier time periods. Visitors can view life-size military vehicles, authentic military uniforms, and historic pieces from the home front while learning about the Louisiana Maneuvers. And for a more complete experience, after visiting the Museum, head to the site of

Camp Claiborne in Kisatchie National Forest to see where the 101st and the 82nd Airborne Divisions began. Step into the lobby of the Hotel Bentley where there is an exhibit about the Louisiana Maneuvers. To learn more or begin planning a trip, visit AlexandriaPinevilleLA.com or call 800-551-9546. Louisiana is a place unlike any other. It’s southern and coastal, traced with bayous and sprawling stands of live oak. It’s musical, with twangy accordion blending with New Orleans’ brass notes and jazz’s blue notes. It’s centuries of history living within an everevolving culture. It’s gumbo and étouffée; it’s boudin and cracklins, and it’s the best seafood in the whole world. When you come to Louisiana, it’s likely because one of these elements lured you here: the incredible local music, the delicious food, the depth of history, or the unique culture. Louisiana is more vibrant today than ever before, so it’s the perfect time to explore what makes this state so special. Whatever brings you to Louisiana for your next visit,

you’ll be glad to have followed your passion. Because once you experience Louisiana, it’ll keep you coming back time and again. Visit LouisianaTravel.com for more information and travel ideas.

Points of Interest: Fun, Food, and Fascination Immerse yourself in a world of natural wonders at Alexandria Zoological Park, Central Louisiana’s #1 destination for wild family fun. From the majestic Malayan tiger to the charismatic squirrel monkey, discover over 500 extraordinary animals representing 160 species from all over the world. Connect with wildlife at interactive keeper chats and stage shows, where fun meets education and nature conservation. An array of entertaining and educational special events, camps, classes, and programs are also held throughout the year. Amenities include a train ride, playground, gift shop, concessions, picnic tables, ATM, and stroller rental. For more information, visit TheAlexandriaZoo.com.

In 1931 it was a downtown jewelry store. Today, the location is the home of Alexandria’s crown jewel of dining. A recipient of several local food awards, including “Best Steak,” The Diamod Grill offers a wide range of superb menu items to suit every taste and budget along with a full service bar and elegant mezzanine seating. Locals love the nightly featured specials in addition to favorite menu items such as house grilled steaks and fresh local seafood. ​Michael L. Jenkins purchased the The Diamond Grill Restaurant in 2011, and since then, the restaurant has become one of the most well known restaurants in Central Louisiana. With its romantic ambience, the Diamond Grill offers intimate fine dining as well as two separate banquet areas able to comfortably seat up to 108 people. The Diamond Grill is perfect for memorable rehearsal dinners, birthdays, and more! Visit The Diamond Grill for chef-inspired creations, steaks, and seafood. For more information and reservations, visit TheDiamondGrill.com or call 318-448-8989. Like The Diamond Grill on Facebook for daily updates.




Recovered Memories: Spain, New Orleans, and the Support for the American Revolution is now on display at The Cabildo in New Orleans’ Jackson Square through Sunday, July 8. This engaging and elaborate exhibition explores Spain’s influence on the development of New Orleans, its support of the American Revolution, and Spain’s lasting legacy on American culture. It features hundreds of artifacts, documents, and works of art from more than a dozen Spanish, domestic and local institutions, private collections, and from the Louisiana State Museum’s own significant holdings. Highlights include Francisco Goya’s lyrical painting, The Swing, 1787 (on loan from the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid) and the original battle flag captured By General Bernardo de Galvez when he defeated the British at the Battle of Baton Rouge in 1779. Recovered Memories was organized by Iberdrola in association with the Louisiana State Museum. Iberdrola is an energy corporation based in Spain, focusing on the sustainable energy models of hydroelectric and wind power. For more information on this and other exhibits, visit LousianaStateMuseum.org. Since 1922, Bossier City has been home to one of the oldest, most unique hardware stores in the state. At just 12 years of age, Don Tubbs went to work sweeping floors at the very store he’d come to own only seven years later. Since that time, Tubbs Hardware has become a household name in North Louisiana and a point of interest for travelers to the area. In addition to being an old-fashioned, locally owned hardware store, Tubbs Hardware serves as a one-stop Louisiana souvenir shop with a vast selection of Mardi Gras supplies and Cajun gifts, including

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Recovered Memories: Spain, New Orleans, and the Support for the American Revolution on display at The Cabildo in New Orleans

Tubb’s famous wall of hot sauce. Visitors enjoy stocking up on their favorite Louisiana goods, experiencing the hometown hardware store, and visiting with owner Don Tubbs. Easy to get to right off I-20, Tubbs Hardware is located across from the Bossier Civic Center, near the Mardi Gras Museum, and just blocks from the Shreveport-Bossier riverboat casinos. Tour buses are welcome. Visit the store Monday through Saturday at 615 Benton Road. For more information, visit TubbsHardware.net or call 318-746-0311. In the center of Louisiana, in the twin city area of AlexandriaPineville, stands the grand Hotel Bentley. Situated on the banks of the Red River, this magnificent, century-old structure was built in 1908 by Mr. Joseph Bentley at the original cost of $750,000. Often called the “Waldorf of the Red River” or the “Biltmore of the Bayou,” this Central Louisiana treasure features 93 luxurious rooms and a wealth of history.

With the beginning of WWII, Central Louisiana became the center of a nine-state area for the training of military personnel. It is said that many of the plans for WWII were formulated at Hotel Bentley, and many troop commanders lived at the famed hotel whose register lists such names as Maj. Gen George Patton, Lt. Col. Omar Bradley, and Col. Dwight Eisenhower. Other famous guests of Hotel Bentley include Henry Kissinger, John Wayne, Bob Hope, Mickey Rooney, and Tommy Dorsey, along with Louisiana politicians Huey Long and his brother Earl Long. For more information and booking, visit HotelBentleyandCondos.com or call 318-442-2226. In the heart of Louisiana, tucked near a corner of Alexandria’s burgeoning downtown scene, Finnegans Wake brings the flavor of the authentic Irish pub to locals and visitors looking to pass a good time over a pint of beer

or a drink of whiskey. Founded by Shannon Nolan and Galen Bohannon in 2005, Finnegans Wake features the old look and atmosphere of a traditional pub, including imported English and Irish antiques and architecturals and the exquisite woodwork of Nolan himself. To be expected, beer is the main draw with over 100 beers in stock and 18 rotating taps that feature craft brews from Louisiana and beyond and, of course, Guinness—an Irish staple. The pub also stocks over 110 whiskeys from all over the world. Don’t miss the pub’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration—a sight to see as a local Alexandria priest gives the blessing of the beer at high noon. During special events, you can often catch live, authentic Celtic music at the pub. Finnegans Wake is located at 812 3rd Street in downtown Alexandria. For information, visit Facebook.com/FinnegansWake.alex. Generations of families have been returning to Sentry Grill for good, old-fashioned burgers and breakfast in Downtown


Alexandria for decades. Inside of Sentry Drug, this family owned restaurant, pharmacy, and gift shop has a way of making everyone feel at home. Located near Alexandria’s numerous museums and exciting zoo, Sentry Grill is the perfect lunchtime stop-in for a classic diner burger or famous pattie melt. Or, start your day at Sentry Grill with the Country Boy Breakfast: two eggs, choice of bacon or sausage, grits, and toast or a biscuit, baked from scratch daily. Visit the gift shop and pharmacy and take home your favorite Louisiana items like Cajun seasonings, LSU gear, locally crafted Mardi Gras masks, party goblets, and more. Sentry Drug offers fast, friendly pharmacy service and is one of few remaining family owned and operated pharmacies in the area. Sentry Grill is located at 1002 Third Street in Alexandria. For menus and other information, visit SentryDrug.net or call 318-445-0952. Sentry Grill serves breakfast Monday-Friday from 7:30-10:30; daily lunch specials run from 11:00am2:00pm, and burgers are served from 7:30am-3:00pm. Located just outside of Alexandria in Forest Hill, Louisiana, sits an unassuming little restaurant that packs huge flavor and a worldfamous recipe. Literally “world famous,” Mi Tierra’s hot tamales have received national and international recognition—the recipe itself is archived at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. Family owned and operated since 2004, Mi Tierra Restaurante Mexicano is the creation of Mrs. Irma Rodriguez, who takes a unique approach to traditional Mexican cuisine by fusing her family’s old recipes and Louisiana flavors. In addition to its famous tamales, menu favorites include the Mi Tierra combination plate, the queso fundido with housemade chorizo, and from-scratch flour and corn tortillas.

Mi Tierra has placed numerous times at the Hot Tamale Festival in Greenville, Mississippi, and the restaurant is one of only a few in the United States to be recognized by the Mexican government as accurately representing Mexican cuisine. Mi Tierra is located 11418 US-165 in Forest Hill and is in the process of opening a second location in Alexandria at MacArthur Village estimated to open during May. In 2017, Marksville welcomed a new culinary venture by Avoyelles Parish native Paige Lucas, who brings her culinary experience from all over the

state back home with the creation of Pork Belly’s Bar & Grill. With a creative spin on Louisiana and Southern fare, Pork Belly’s offers an array of foods with tantalizing local flavors such as the wildly popular “Da Hot Mess” (loaded curly Q fries topped with smoky pulled pork), the Cracklin Crusted Porkchop over whipped potatoes, and the Catfish Avoyelles, a fried catfish filet topped with crawfish bisque and served over rice. The restaurant’s signature Pork Belly is not to be overlooked—slow roasted for six hours, the pork belly is then deep fried and

Bone-In Pork Chop at Pork Belly’s Bar & Grill

drizzled with a secret-recipe cane syrup glaze. Specialty drinks and decadent southern desserts add to the flare. A proud supporter of the Marksville Chamber of Commerce, Pork Belly’s Bar & Grill is bringing new flavors to Marksville and setting trends in Avoyelles. Visit the restaurant at 523 Tunica Drive. For information, call 318-240-0000 or follow on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Pork Belly’s is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday.

Retirement Living Enjoy an amenity-rich lifestyle and the peace of mind that comes from living in the only Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) to offer Life Care in the Baton Rouge area. At St. James Place, residents enjoy the freedom to live life as they choose, without the hassles of home maintenance. Apartments, garden homes, and patio homes are available in wide-ranging floor plans with kitchens featuring new appliances and granite countertops. With multiple dining venues, a fitness center, indoor swimming pool, art classes, and evening cocktail hours, residents enjoy new activities and events every day. They also appreciate the safety of this 52-acre gated community located close to friends, family, and LSU with easy access to I-10. St. James Place offers something unique that can’t be found at other senior living communities in Baton Rouge: vibrant Independent Living and access to a full continuum of on-site long term care, including Assisted Living, Memory Care, Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Care. To learn more about St. James Place, enjoy an educational luncheon, take a tour, or arrange a personal appointment by calling 225-910-8305.



60 Louisiana Life march/april 2018




may/june louisiana peach festival

Festivals around the state by Kelly


ruston Every June, the Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce holds its annual two-day all things peach festival. From a peach pageant and peach hunt to a peach parade and cobbler eating contest, this festival is fun for the whole family. In addition to the peach-related events, guests can participate in or watch sporting events like the 5K run, walk, tennis tournament, rodeo and bass tournament.

GREATER NOLA May 3-6. New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. New Orleans. nojazzfest.com May 4. Whitney Zoo-To-Do. New Orleans. audubonnatureinstitute.org/ztd May 12. Crawfish Mambo. New Orleans. crawfishmambo.com

May 19-20. Soul Food Festival. Baton Rouge. hitcitydigital.wixsite.com/brsoulfoodfest

May 18–20. Mid–City Bayou Boogaloo. New Orleans. thebayouboogaloo.com May 23–27. New Orleans Wine & Food Experience. New Orleans. nowfe.com

May 25-27. Jambalaya Festival. Gonzales. facebook. com/gonzalesjambalayafestival

May 25–27. Bayou Country Superfest. New Orleans. bayoucountrysuperfest.com May 25–28. Greek Festival New Orleans. New Orleans. greekfestivalneworleans.com JUNE 9-10. Creole Tomato Festival. New Orleans. frenchmarket.org JUNE 21-23. FestiGals New Orleans. New Orleans. festigals.org JUNE 2–3. New Orleans Oyster Festival. New Orleans. nolaoysterfest.org JUNE 23–24. Louisiana Cajun–Zydeco Festival. New Orleans. jazzandheritage.org JUNE 30. Slidell Heritage Festival. Slidell. slidellheritagefest.org

CENTRAL May 4–5. Mayfest. Leesville. vernonparish.org/mayfest JUNE 7–9. Louisiana Corn Festival. Bunkie. bunkiechamber.net/lacornfest

62 Louisiana Life march/april 2018

JUNE 9-10. Louisiana Sports Fest. Baton Rouge. JUNE 29–30. Beauregard Watermelon Festival. DeRidder. beauregardwatermelonfestival.com

CAJUN May 3–6. Thibodaux Firemen’s Fair. Thibodaux. firemensfair.com May 3–13. Contraband Days–Louisiana Pirate Festival. Lake Charles. louisianapiratefestival.com May 4–6. Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival. Breaux Bridge. bbcrawfest.com May 5. Sunset Herb and Garden Festival. Sunset. sunsetherbfestival.com May 17–19. Starks Mayhaw Festival. Starks. mayhawfest.com

May 24-June 3. Cajun Heartland State Fair. Lafayette. cajundome.com/chsf.aspx May 24-June 3. Cajun Heartland State Fair. Lafayette. cajundome.com/chsf.aspx JUNE 1–3. Bon Mangé Festival. Gheens. gheensbonmange.weebly.com JUNE 22–24. Louisiana Catfish Festival. Des Allemands. louisianacatfishfestival.com JUNE 30–July 4. Erath Fourth of July Celebration. Erath. erath4.com

PLANTATION May 5. Red Wig Walk. Baton Rouge. brbacmetrohealth. wixsite.com/redwigwalk18 May 12. Hot Art, Cool Nights. Baton Rouge.

NORTH May 5. Gusher Days Festival. Oil City. gusherdaysfestival.com May 6. Derby Day. Shreveport. derbydayshreveport.com May 7-12. Poke Salad Festival. Blanchard. pokesaladfestival.net May 19. Beast Fest. Shreveport. centenary.edu/ alumni/news-events/beast-feast May 24–27. Mudbug Madness. Shreveport. mudbugmadness.com JUNE 15-17. Let The Good Times Roll Festival. Shreveport. rhoomega.com JUNE 16. Sunflower Trail Festival. Gilliam. facebook.com/RedRiverCrossroadsHistoricalAssociation JUNE 22–23. Louisiana Peach Festival. Ruston. louisianapeachfestival.org

a louisiana life

Beats on the Bayou Steve and Cezanne Nails’ Dockside Studio in Maurice is a creative haven for recording artists By Megan portrait By

Hill Romero & Romero

Steve Nails will tell you the best

thing that ever happened to him was a car accident in 1984 that left him a quadriplegic. He had to abandon his career as a musician — playing guitar, drums and bass — and get creative. “I broke my neck and I went from gigging to the other side of the glass,” he says. In 1989, Steve launched Dockside Studio on a 12-acre plot of an abandoned plantation along the Vermilion River in Maurice. Today, he runs it with his wife, Cezanne, and they’ve hosted some heavy hitters in their three decades in business: B.B. King, Dr. John, Buckwheat Zydeco, Irma Thomas, Arcade Fire and Sammy Kershaw. They have 12 Grammy awards associated with their studio. Steve likens the property to Oak Alley, with ancient trees that lend a sense of place musicians find inspiring. There are also two houses for them to stay in while they record. “You can have coffee or a crawfish boil overlooking the bayou,” Cezanne says. The studio uses vintage gear from the ‘70s and ‘80s that helps set it apart from the competition. “It seems like they may have figured out how to get the perfect mojo back then,” Cezanne says. The couple says it’s nearly impossible to single out one favorite experience from their epic recording careers. “We are so fortunate to have had artists from around the world and there is a live-in element so musicians settle in and just have a more creative atmosphere,” Cezanne says. “It’s also always fun when you wake up to B. B. King, Mark Knopfler or a band from France or Latvia. It is also a great feeling to record our hometown talent.” n

Q&A What’s your favorite Louisiana musician, group or artist? Susan Cowsill Best live music venue in the state or in your area? Lakefront Arena Best up-and-coming artist in the region? Samantha Fish

“I wanted to create a live-in place. I found a plantation that was abandoned and I turned it into a studio, where people can come to me. It’s handicap heaven out here. I don’t feel like I’m a wheelchair.”

“Musicians in this area seem to bubble up from the bayou with all the soul and groove from the first settlers.”