Louisiana Life September/October 2018

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Relax and recharge with decadent treatments at casino spas




september/october 2018

The Above the Grid bar at the NOPSI Hotel pairs cocktails with great views.


Louisiana Life september/october 2018

sept/oct VOLUME 39 NUMBER 1

8 From The Editor

Spin of the Wheel 10 Photo Contest

Shrimping Before the Storm: A fisherman casts his shrimp net in the Gulf of Mexico at Grand Isle.




Old Times Renewed: Fall and winter bring special events to all of Alexandria and Rapides Parish, but especially to colonial Kent House on historic Bayou Rapides 46 farther flung

Desert Dreams: Lubbock, Texas surprises with the uncommon attractions, fun, food, art and wine

12 along the way

(Not So) High Rollers: Casinos, cocktails and inexpensive treats in ritzy locales

48 roadside dining

Culture Club: An ethnic food trail to hold you over from New Orleans to Baton Rouge

14 state of louisiana

Pelican Briefs: Noteworthy news and happenings around the state



great louisiana chef

Fresh and Bold: Ryan Trahan takes the helm at Blue Dog Café in Lafayette and the crown as the ‘King of Louisiana Seafood’


Ounce of Prevention: Advice from Baton Rouge General medical director of Breast Cancer for Breast Cancer Awareness Month



kitchen gourmet

Literary Louisiana

Mount Up: A photographic look at the Louisiana trail riders

Morning Cheer: Switch up your breakfast game with these quick and easy recipes



Made In Louisiana

Time is on Their Side: Brothers Reed and Riley Stephens design and craft lasting timepieces in Baton Rouge 22 artist

Iconic Imagery: Breaux Bridge photographer Lynda Frese explores spiritual places in Louisiana and all over the world

30 Raising the bar

40 Sure BET

A cocktail, crisp temperatures, a bite or two, good coversation and a spectacular view are the ingredients for a fine lunch, happy hour or night on the town.

Roll the dice on luxurious spa treatments at casinos throughout Louisiana

By Cheré coen

By Cheré coen

26 home

Modern Rustic: Jennifer and Wesley Thomas’s Shreveport house is part Barn (for him) and part transitional cottage (for her)

on the cover

When it comes to rooftop bars, it's all about the view. For this feature, we had our work cut out for us narrowing it down to just one for the cover. The rooftop bars in Bossier City, Shreveport, Baton Rouge and New Orleans

each have a unique vista, but the Crescent City, with its highest concentration of bars nestled atop hotel roofs in particular won out. Thankfully, the photos included in the feature allow us to spy the myriad views afforded by


October and November: Festivals and events around the state 64 a louisiana life

Dean’s List: New to New Orleans, Dr. Camellia Moses Okpodu looks forward to studying coastal erosion on the front lines

these popular perches. We landed at the NOPSI's Above the Grid bar in the Central Business District. The hotel is located in the circa-1927 former headquarters of the New Orleans Public Service Inc.





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 Director Sarah George lead photographer Danley Romero

Gold Art Direction of a Single Story Silver Portrait Photo Bronze Photographer of the Year Bronze Food Feature Bronze Cover


Bronze Public Issue

vice president of sales Colleen Monaghan

Bronze Hed & Dek

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

(504) 830-7206 Brittany@LouisianaLife.com


Silver Art Direction of a Single Story Bronze Column

marketing DIRECTOR OF MARKETING & EVENTS Cheryl Lemoine

Bronze Food Feature

Event Coordinator Abbie Dugruise digital media associate Mallary Matherne


For event information call (504) 830-7264

Gold Companion Website



production designers Emily Andras,

Silver Overall Art Direction

Rosa Balaguer, Meghan Rooney 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

Press Club of New Orleans 2018

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

1st Place Best Magazine 2016

Lifetime Achievement Award Errol Laborde 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123 Metairie, LA 70005 (504) 828-1380 LouisianaLife.com Louisiana Life (ISSN 1042-9980) is published bimonthly by Renaissance Publishing, LLC, 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005; (504) 828-1380. Subscription rate: One year $10; Mexico and Canada $48. Periodicals postage paid at Metairie, LA, and additional mailing entry offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Louisiana Life, 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005. Copyright 2017 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.


Louisiana Life september/october 2018

1st Place Best Magazine 1st Place Layout/ Design 2nd Place Best Magazine 2nd Place Layout/ Design 2nd Place Best Portrait 2nd Place Governmental/ Political Writing




SPIN OF THE WHEEL By Errol Laborde

I took my parents to experience what all the commotion was about. As gamblers my father could hold his own playing poker with the guys on a kitchen table or in the back of my grandfather’s store, and my mother was always anxious to yell “bingo” when playing with the gals, but neither were casino level wagers and both seemed a little taken aback by all the clinging, beeping and other casino noises. Yet they wanted the experience. The place was crowded so the two available slot machines were several yards apart, and I hovered behind them as they pulled the levers. At one point my father signaled me and asked if I could get some change. When I returned I noticed my mother had moved to a different machine; my father was still in the same place. It did not take long for fate to come crashing in for both. After about a half hour they were ready to surrender. Later than night I was talking to my mom on the phone recalling the field trip. Toward the end of the conversation she raised a question. “I want to ask you something,” she said. “When I was playing the slot machine all of a sudden these lights started to blink and bells were ringing. I looked around for you,” she added, “but you had gone to get change. I didn’t know what to do, so I just moved to another machine.” I sat there holding the phone in stunned silence. Perhaps the guy playing the machine next to her went home a lot richer that night. Several years later the casino business dealt me a better hand. Most of our post- Katrina exile was spent in Avoyelles Parish, the land of my ancestry. In Marksville the marquee destination is the tribal-owned Paragon Casino. During a period when the future itself seemed to be a gamble I did not spend time at the games. But the facility itself was full of welcomed diversions including a variety of restaurants, live music and Wi-Fi, which was not universal back then but was available in the Paragon’s hotel lobby. Sunday evening on the laptop in the lobby became a a ritual for several weeks. Occasionally we would spot someone from home with whom survival stories could be shared. New Orleans at the time was barely operational. Many street lights were down; what businesses that were operating also closed early. The neighborhoods were empty. By comparison the Paragon seemed like Times Square on New Years Eve. Among the features in this issue we look, as we have done for the last several years, at casino amenities, this time with a particular focus on spas. Another amenity that comes to mind is live theater. Land-based casinos have space to build theaters through which acts make the circuit. (Once during my time in Marksville I saw championship women’s wrestling). Many of the acts are rock and rollers or country crooners, but one time I was stunned when I was driving into Marksville and the big sign outside the casino announced the soon to be appearance of Wayne Newton. Imagine, Mr. Las Vegas playing Avoyelles Parish. The wheel spins and sometimes unpredictable things happen. Not long after dockside gambling began in Louisiana


Louisiana Life september/october 2018




shrimping before the storm A fisherman casts his shrimp net in the Gulf of Mexico at Grand Isle. Photo by Kevin Rabalais

Submit your photos by visiting louisianalife.com 10

Louisiana Life september/october 2018

along the way

(Not So) High Rollers Casinos, cocktails and inexpensive treats in ritzy locales written and photographed By Melanie Warner Spencer

On my 21st birthday, my mom

and grandparents took me to a casino. It was the first time I’d ever set foot in one, seeing as you have to be of drinking age to get in, and it was the first time I ever played roulette or pulled the handle of an actual slot machine. Grandpa had a piggy bank slot machine my brother, cousins and I found endlessly entertaining, but there was


Louisiana Life september/october 2018

a release hatch to reclaim your coins, and therefore never any threat of losing those hard earned pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. That day for my birthday, he gave me $20 to play the real slots. This was not long after casino boats had been legalized in Indiana, so we drove 30 minutes from where we lived in Kentucky and boarded a paddleboat (similar to the Steamboat Natchez

in New Orleans), then set out to cruise out on the Ohio River for an hour or so. After about 20 minutes, the cash Grandpa fronted me was property of the house and I was enjoying my first legal cocktail on the top deck of the boat with my mom and grandparents. In truth, drinks on deck were the actual reason for the excursion. No one in my family is much of a gambler. We enjoy our low-dollar thrills on occasion, but finding fun places to imbibe and taste-testing new drinks or discovering delectable desserts is a pastime upon which we never mind laying down a few bucks. In grade school, mom brought me into the fold on the treat-finding missions. Once or twice per year, I could count on a call from the school secretary instructing me via the intercom that my mom was here to pick me up. This continued in junior high and high school. It was always a surprise, but each time as I gathered my things, it was a clear we were headed out for an adventure. We’d take the scenic route into the city and mom would take me to a swanky restaurant where she would have a Brandy Alexander, a grasshopper or some other decadent after dinner drink and I would get a dessert. She found courtyards, revolving restaurants, riverboats and countless fine dining hotspots where we would indulge and enjoy the view. It was her way of sharing a small luxury with me, without breaking the bank. My grandparents and my mom have since passed and I carry on our tradition with my husband Mark. We are always on the hunt for a sweet happy hour deal or just a spectacular view. To date, our favorite vistas in Louisiana to pair with a cocktail are at the rooftop bars Hot Tin at The Pontchartrain Hotel in New Orleans and Tsunami in Baton Rouge; the overlook at Cypress Bend Resort in Toledo Bend; and the deck at L’Auberge in Baton Rouge. A few years ago at that L’Auberge location, Mark and I spent all of about five minutes in the casino where we each placed a $5 bet at the roulette table. After immediately losing our money, we decided to retire to the deck with a couple of Old Fashioneds and look out on the Mississippi River for a spell. Turns out that was a sure bet. n




Playful Raging, Splatter Therapy

pelican briefs

Lake Charles, Shreveport

Fly Away

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

The Lake Charles Regional Airport (flylakecharles.com) is being awarded $3.9 million in infrastructure grants by the Federal Aviation Administration, as part of the $3.18 billion Airport Improvement Program funding for projects throughout the U.S. The Shreveport Regional Airport (flyshreveport.com) announced it will receive a $300,000 award as a Small Community Air Service Development grant to help improve its airline service. Western Global Airlines is establishing an aircraft maintenance facility at Shreveport Regional Airport, creating more than 475 direct and indirect new jobs.

Broussard All the Rage, located at 201 Albertson Parkway in Broussard, is Acadiana’s first rage room. Inspired by trending escape rooms, it is designed as a safe (and oddly therapeutic) stress reliever that allows guests to break everything from dishes to printers, glassware, TVs and beyond. You can even bring your own objects to break. Suit up with protective gear, bring your own music and hook up to a Bluetooth speaker to rock out as you rage. Splatter rooms (where participants can throw paint) and paint party packages are also available (alltherage-room.com).


Cajun Navy Honored Artist Larry Crawford is painting a mural honoring Hurricane Harvey heroes from Louisiana’s Cajun Navy and other first responders. The mural is located in Houston’s Westchase District along the Brays Bayou Connector Trail.

Lafayette, Baton Rouge

50 Years, 50 Artists

Lafourche, Jefferson, Iberia

Gumbo Galore

Gumbo festival fans are facing a delectable dilemma in October. The Louisiana Gumbo Festival of Chackbay is held in Lafourche Parish Oct. 12-14 (lagumbofest.com) on the very same weekend as Bridge City’s World-Famous Gumbo Festival (bridgecitygumbofestival.org) in Jefferson Parish on October 12-14, in addition to the World Championship Gumbo Cook-off, held Oct. 13-14 in New Iberia. What’s a roux fan to do?

Big Hair, Sequined Tiaras


New Iberia Fans of the legendary Sweet Potato Queens (cookbooks, big hat brunches and roller blade parades) should head to New Iberia to see the utterly bodacious Berry Queens

Louisiana Life september/october 2018

(founded by an original Sweet Potato Queen) marching down New Iberia’s Main Street in royal garb with tall wigs and sequined tiaras during the Candy Toss parade that kicks off

More than 50 Louisiana artists and craftsmen pay tribute to the 50th anniversary of CODOFIL with exhibits at Vermilionville (vermilionville.org) in Lafayette through September 21, and at the Rural Life Museum (lsu.rurallife) in Baton Rouge through October 29.

the 77th annual Louisiana Sugar Cane Festival, Sept. 26-30 (hisugar.org). Riders on floats and bedazzled golf carts toss 6,000 pounds of candy to the crowds (reflecting the 6,000 Sweet

Greater Baton Rouge

Get Grant Bucks The Performing Arts Readiness (PAR) project is offering grants to 40 performing arts organizations for the creation of institutional emergency preparedness, or Continuity of Operations (COOP), plans. The Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge supports arts programs in 11 parishes. Final application deadline is Nov. 15 (artsbr.org/grants).

Potato Queen chapters worldwide). Now available: New Iberia’s Historic District Pass that features newly combined discounts for top attractions (iberiatravel.com).




Ounce of Prevention Advice from Baton Rouge General medical director of breast cancer for Breast Cancer Awareness Month By Fritz Esker

While doctors have made great progress in keeping

breast cancer patients alive, Louisiana still has the second highest death rate for breast cancer in the United States. It’s a source of frustration for doctors in the region. Dr. Everett Bonner, Medical Director of Breast Cancer at Baton Rouge General, gave us a list of five things Louisiana women need to know about the disease and staying healthy. n

1 2 Starting at age 20, women should perform a monthly self-exam and receive a yearly physical exam from a doctor. Yearly mammograms should begin at age 40, unless there is a family history. In that case, mammograms should begin 10 years before the youngest age a family member was diagnosed. However, no one under 25 should receive a mammogram.


A recent study published in “The New England Journal of Medicine” indicated that chemotherapy may not be necessary for some women with early stage breast cancers. Previously, only women who scored a 10 or lower (out of 100) on the test that measures the risk of recurrence could avoid chemo. Now, researchers believe that women under age 50 with a score of 16 or less can avoid chemo and women over age 50 with a score of 25 or less can avoid chemo.


Louisiana Life september/october 2018

Increased weight and alcohol consumption are risk factors, and Louisianians are known for loving their food and drink. Dr. Bonner added that the high number of chemical plants and oil refineries might increase the amount of carcinogens in the area. Louisiana is not a transient state, he said. Many people are born here, live here and die here, so any genetic tendencies towards breast cancer might be increased or magnified. “If you look at the things that are risk factors, we have a lot of them,” Dr. Bonner said.


A common misconception. Dr. Bonner often hears that breast cancer is only an issue for patients with a family history of the disease. While genetics play a part, many women with no family history still get breast cancer.




Mount Up

Recommendations for great reads from Chris Kirkley, Main Library Branch Manager, Shreve Memorial Library in Shreveport.

A photographic look at the Louisiana trail riders By Ashley McLellan

“Louisiana Trail Riders” by

Jeremiah Ariaz highlights the unique culture of African American trail riders in southwest Louisiana. The trail riders are part of a continuing tradition that began with Creole natives from the 18th century of gathering, socializing and riding. The riding clubs proudly continue the tradition with club names such as: the Crescent City Cowboys, the Buffalo Soldiers and the Stepping In Style Riding Club. The black and white images within are beautifully haunting and engaging and celebrate this hidden, yet thriving, community. Ariaz captures moments between both new and old generations of riders, the care provided to their horses and all of the details that transform preconceived ideas of what it means to be a “cowboy.” Bayou Song With south Louisiana starting to make a turn from unbearably hot to comfortably cool, “Bayou Song: Creative Explorations of the South Louisiana Landscape” explores the Spanish moss-lined waterway of Bayou Teche and encourages readers to take a stroll, compose poetry and enjoy nature. This interactive journal provides plenty of creative writing prompts with lots of blank space for sketches, writing and nature samples. Appropriate for both kids and kids at heart, Bayou Song will inspire readers and writers to create their own bayou song. *Selected as Louisiana’s representative “52 Great Reads” at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.

Two compelling memoirs


Louisiana Life september/october 2018

“Jackrabbit Smile” by Joe Lansdale

The latest entry in his acclaimed Hap and Leonard series. Mulholland Books, Little, Brown and Company, 2018, $26.

Southern Writers on Writing “Southern Writers on Writing,” edited by Susan Cushman, features contributions from 26 writers from across the South and explores the triumphs and struggles of composing good writing with a particularly southern viewpoint. The essays collected within are funny, inspiring, confounding and complicated covering topics such as “Becoming a Writer,” “Place, Politics, People,” and “Writing about Race.” These weighty topics are deftly handled, and serve to provide a comforting writerly shoulder for newbies to rest their worries. These writers have all “been there” before. Lee Smith, Harrison Scott Key and Clyde Edgerton, are just a few highlights in this stellar collection of work. n

“Well, That Escalated Quickly: Memoirs and Mistakes of an Accidental Activist”by Franchesca Ramsey. MTV star Franchesca Ramsey’s inside look at race and identity in social media in a fast-paced, ever-changing world. Grand Central Publishing, 2018, $27.

Louisiana Trail Riders by Jeremiah Ariaz, $49.95 “Bayou Song: Creative Explorations of the South Louisiana Landscape" Poetry by Margaret Simon, Illustrations by Anna Cantrell, Photography by Henry Cancienne, $19.95 “Southern Writers on Writing” edited by Susan Cushman, $28

“Sometimes I Lie” by Alice Feeney

A winding thriller with an ending that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page. Flatiron Books, 2018, $26.99.

“Educated”by Tara Westover. What happens when a young woman leaves behind her childhood growing up in isolation, and goes on to accomplish great things? Random House, 2018, $28.




Time is on Their Side Brothers Reed and Riley Stephens design and craft lasting timepieces in Baton Rouge By Jeffrey Roedel photos by romero & romero

Catch Reed and Riley Stephens on

the wrong day and it would be easy to assume the Metairie-born, Mandeville-raised brothers have a comically severe loathing for watches. An objective onlooker would see them slamming timepieces into freezers, hitting them aggressively with random objects and dropping them from great heights anywhere and everywhere they go. They even placed a watch right next to a gas grill once and fired up the burners with glee. “Someone might do that — have an accident grilling out, and then they’ll call us asking if they can get a replacement watch,” Riley says, pointing to the unreleased prototype wrapped around his wrist. “I don’t know if your watch will be the first thing on your mind if your grill blows up, but it might be, so we tested it. We’ve had a lot of fun making sure they are tough to be honest.” Durability is one prong of the personality the Stephens brothers want imbued in each of their creations for Ambici Wooden Watches, the company the duo launched while they were still teenagers. The other is uniqueness. One rarity of the Stephens’ business is their youth. Now 22, Reed is a mechanical engineering grad from LSU working on his MBA at Tulane. At 20, his partner Riley remains a Tiger, studying computer science in Baton Rouge. Both work nights and weekends on designs and concepts for their growing brand. “The idea is to make a great watch that has the uniqueness of a wood watch but the longevity of a metal watch,” says 20

Louisiana Life september/october 2018

Watches often tell a story. If you could pick actors to play yourselves in your story, in a movie, who would you choose, and why? Reed: Leonardo DiCaprio, because aside from his acting capabilities, he uses his influence to do great work — such as pushing everyone to be more eco-friendly and environmentally conscious. Riley: Robert Downey Jr. because not only is he an incredible actor, but he has a very inspiring back story of overcoming obstacles that I think any entrepreneur would appreciate and can learn from.

Reed. “The one-of-a-kind quality comes from the wood grain. No two pieces, even if they are the same design, are exactly alike.” Each of the four watches in Ambici’s Original Collection, equipped with all-natural wood, stainless steel, sapphire crystal and Japanese quartz movement, retails for $129. Four years in, the brothers say Ambici is ready to expand its slate. They have initial designs ready for sunglasses and other men’s accessories. “The design and engineering of it really drives us,” Riley says. “That’s what we love.” Often beginning with just pencil and paper, the brothers put their computer science and engineering skills to use, turning their loose sketches into complex digital 3D models and sending those models and schematics to their partners in Shenzhen — China’s skilled manufacturing hub. There, ebony and sandalwood sourced ethically from Africa and Brazil are cut and engineered with the metal and quartz mechanics and molds of each timepiece. Reed and Riley receive their finished watches by delivery and divide all inventory, sales and marketing duties among themselves. “The most fulfilling part is getting that box with the watch back for the first time,” Reed says. The duo has had interns for social media, but for the most part, theirs is a two-man operation. And that’s how they like it. The eldest of five, the precocious brothers have been collaborating their whole lives. One year they saved up allowance money and bought a wood engraver to cut simple, holiday-themed designs to sell to family and friends. With verve and organization worthy

of a Wes Anderson movie, hanging on their bedroom wall was a clipboard with a chart listing their products, material costs, sales figures and other entrepreneurial details. They were aged 11 and 9, respectively. Reed’s earliest memory is meticulously carving a toy airplane with his dad, and after coming across a wooden watch design in a magazine, Reed and Riley were inspired by the look that recalled the afternoons of their youth spent in their father’s backyard workshop. Soon they pooled their money and fashioned their own prototype watch. “Making that one watch cost five times what I was worth at the time,” Reed says. “I couldn’t even drive!” Riley says. Needing funding, they launched a successful Kickstarter campaign, and in 2014 Ambici was born. Albanian for “ambition,” the name suits the Stephens brothers like a glove. Or a great-fitting watch. “It’s an art piece, a luxury good,” Reed says. “But the test is trying to engineer it so the wood can shrink and expand but not crack. The real art is using technical means for creative ends.” n

The one-of-a-kind quality comes from the wood grain. No two pieces, even if they are the same design, are exactly alike.

Q&A You started making things and testing out businesses when you were pretty young.

How has being raised in Louisiana influenced or inspired you as watch designers and entrepreneurs? Riley: Louisiana has a really strong cultural presence that allows you to draw on that creativity for your work. There is also a strong sense

of community here. Everyone we meet is always very willing to help us in any way they can. What Louisianaspecific woods do you want to get into using in the future? Reed: Louisiana has some great live oaks, like the ones around LSU’s campus, and I

think using recycled or reclaimed bald cypress would be a great tribute to Louisiana and really hit home for people from Louisiana. Developing that is what’s next for us along with some ideas we are working on for designing other accessories.




Iconic Imagery Breaux Bridge photographer Lynda Frese explores spiritual places in Louisiana and all over the world By John R. Kemp

According to the poet Ralph

Waldo Emerson, “nature always wears the colors of the spirit.”

Over the years, Breaux Bridge’s transcendental photographer Lynda Frese has traveled the world, studying religions, mythologies, early goddess cults and the classical world of medieval Europe. She has visited prehistoric cave paintings, photographed megalithic sites in France and the sacred valley of Peru, and explored the natural and spiritual landscape of Louisiana in search of Emerson’s “colors of the spirit.” In a sense, these journeys and resulting photographs are portraits of self-discovery and self-reflection. Through her art, we accompany her on these journeys. Regardless of where she goes in that search, Louisiana-themed images continue to float in and out of her work. “The ancient sites of human culture have been a subject in my photography for decades,” says Frese. “But I also photograph the wilderness of my own backyard of Louisiana. These are the places, stretching back into prehistoric times that represent our cultural and natural heritage. The images from these places have been a kind of bedrock for my work.” In 2015, for instance, Frese spent a year as an artist-in-residence at the Shadows-on-the-Teche in New Iberia where she created an impressive body of photo-collages that drew upon the history and people who once inhabited that plantation. In her series “Art and Shadows,” faces of long-dead members of the Weeks family who owned the Shadows and the enslaved African Americans who worked the land moved in and out of her collages like specters in a dream. In her 1990s series “Reconstituting the Vanished: Gender, Memory and Placemaking in the Delta South,” Frese worked with Virginia Tech professor Barbara Allen to explore the lives of four notable women in Louisiana history. One was Caroline Dormon of North Louisiana who worked to preserve the state’s old growth


Louisiana Life september/october 2018

Exhibitions and Events Sept. 5

Shreveport ARTSPACE. Wednesday. “Downtown Artwalk.” Features an “Art Sampler” event during the city’s annual downtown art walk. artspaceshreveport.com Through Sept. 15

Shreveport ARTSPACE. “Critical Mass 6 Best of Show Visual and Literary Winners Solo Shows.” Features the art of Joshua Chambers and the literary work of Katie Beckham in this Best Of exhibition. artspaceshreveport.com Through Sept. 16

Baton Rouge Louisiana Art & Science Museum. “Feast for the Eyes: The Story of Food in Photography.” Exhibition explores the rich history of how food has been photographed from the late nineteenth century to present day. lasm.org Through Oct. 13


Masur Museum of Art. “55th Annual Juried Competition.” Juried exhibition features the artwork of contemporary artists from across the U.S., working in a variety of media. masurmuseum.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 with AfricanAmericans, crime and deaths at the hands of police. lsumoa.org Through Oct. 14

Baton Rouge LSU Museum of Art. “Confluence by Jerry Uelsmann.” Explores the black and white images of surrealist photographer Jerry Uelsmann. lsumoa.org

forests. The second was the 18th century former slave and later free woman of color and plantation owner Marie Thérèse, called Coincoin, from the Cane River area near Natchitoches. The third was the 19th century Micaela Almonester, Baroness Pontalba, who constructed the Pontalba Apartment buildings in New Orleans, and finally the spiritual voodoo practitioner Marie Laveau. In multi-layered photo-collaged compositions such as “Bewitchment” alluding to Coincoin and “La Clairvoyante” for Marie Laveau people are not seen but their spirits fill the images. Frese has been on this long spiritual and artistic adventure throughout her career. Born in Jacksonville, Florida, to an unwed mother, raised in New York and Rhode Island by adopted parents, Frese studied art at the University of California, Davis, where she received a master of fine arts degree in 1986. She also attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine, where she was influenced by the teachings of the American mythologist Joseph Campbell. After college, she joined the art faculty at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where

(Left) “Memento Mori” (Above) “Dog Stars”

I thought I’d be here a short time and then move on, But Louisiana got me and I stayed.



Exhibitions and Events Through Oct. 20

Alexandria Alexandria Museum of Art. “31st September Competition.” A juried exhibition, featuring contemporary art in all media selected from submissions entered nationally and internationally. themuseum.org Through Nov. 4

New Orleans

she taught until retirement in 2016. Fluent in French, she lives in Breaux Bridge just a few blocks from Bayou Teche. “I thought I’d be here a short time and then move on,” she said in a 2015 interview. “But Louisiana got me and I stayed. I love the music and the Francophone culture and language. There’s a certain kind of worldliness about Louisiana that appeals to me. It certainly has influenced my work. There’s also a kind of pagan lust of living on and off the land here.” In creating her images, Frese prefers the photo-collage process rather than traditional documentary-styled photographs. Like painting, a collage is more about the artist’s imagination than what lies before the camera lens. “The scenes in my head are not available in straight photography,” she says. “In collages, I can place images that don’t necessarily belong together to create a powerful narrative.” To create her visual stories, Frese juxtaposes elements from her own photographs with images from old magazines, glass slides, prayer cards and postcards that she finds in flea markets and what she calls “weird kiosks.” Once the collage is completed, she paints over the surface with egg tempera, an ancient form of paint consisting of color pigments mixed with egg yolks. She buys only eggs local to the scenes she paints, which she says is critical to her work. “It becomes a connection with the local bio-region,” she says. “When I work, I think about the land. I appreciate being present in the place where all this has happened.” Being “present in the place” has brought her critical acclaim. In 2016 the Louisiana Office of Cultural Development named her “Artist of the Year.” In addition, Frese has held artist residencies in Italy, including the American Academy in Rome, the Arte Studio Ginestrelle in Assisi, the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center, and the Liguria Center for the Arts and Humanities near Genoa. Her photo-composites are in museum collections across the nation and the list of her exhibitions in North America and Europe is quite long.


Louisiana Life september/october 2018

Ogden Museum of Southern Art. “Louisiana Contemporary.” Annual juried exhibition, featuring contemporary artists from throughout Louisiana. ogdenmuseum.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 Through Dec. 2

Shreveport Meadows Museum of Art. “Devil in a White City.” Features largescale paintings by Lavar Munroe portraying subjects deemed to be devils in current world affairs as opposed to actual perpetrators of evil. Also, “Aún Recordamos Aquel Hogar.” An investigation into the use of place as a character in visual narrative, through the artwork of five contemporary LatinX artists. centenary.edu/ campus-community/ meadows-museum Through Dec. 16

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

Although awards, fellowships and exhibitions are important to an artist’s career, art itself defines Frese. She is now taking that art in new directions. “In my current work, I adopt some of the palettes and compositions of the early Italian masters and borrow the visual language of religious art to speak about nature,” she says. “I have sometimes called this series ‘Plant Kingdoms in Antiquity.’ For example, in my piece ‘Arugula Icon,’ the plants are hovering in the temple and ringed with halos. It’s one example of how I am using Catholic tropes to speak about our relationships with the natural world, and about the idea of finding sacred ground.” In another new series titled “The Singer,” Frese incorporates photographs of the iconic rock singer Bob Dylan. “In these pieces I imagine Dylan as a kind of pilgrim,” she says. “They have autobiographical elements and sometimes have included my dogs.



$17.9 5 A collection of 50 traditional and contemporary recipes by Stanley Dry — Louisiana Life “Kitchen Gourmet” columnist, former senior editor of Food & Wine magazine and accomplished cook — top-notch ingredients are paired with fresh These pictures are about icons and stars, and the masks of god. For me, they are about the intimacies of singing and being sung to, the experience of the artist or troubadour – the boredom and weariness, the devotion and desire.” Whether traveling to remote civilizations or exploring the iconography of Bob Dylan or the tropes of Catholicism, Frese gives form to the natural and spiritual worlds that ebb and flow in her imagination. “It is important, to create new myths around the natural world, so we won’t die,” she says as she glances across the gallery where her photocollages hang, waiting to challenge viewers and their own sense of self. For more information about Frese, visit lyndafrese.com n

(Left) “I’m a Believer”(Top, right) “Bayou Madonna” (Bottom, right) “Bewitchment”

seafood to create delectable dishes imbued with the author’s signature simplicity. The easy-to-follow recipes emphasize Louisiana seafood and quality, local ingredients. Inspired, innovative and delicious, the seafood dishes in this collection are sure to become favorites in your kitchen.

Visit LouisianaSeafoodCookbook. com to order yours today!




Modern Rustic Jennifer and Wesley Thomas’s Shreveport house is part barn (for him) and part transitional cottage (for her) By Lee Cutrone Photos by Craig Macaluso

Husband and wife builders

Jennifer and Wesley Thomas of Wesley Thomas Inc. both wanted a house that looked like it belonged in its beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana setting. For the Thomases, that meant a timeless Creole cottage with a Hays Towne flavor. Beyond that, the couple’s vision diverged a bit. While Wesley wanted to create the rural ambiance of a barn using reclaimed materials and simple design elements, Jennifer wanted a more transitional flavor — particularly on the inside — that allowed for on-trend furnishings. The answer is a compromise they call Modern Rustic. The Thomases, who’ve run their custom home building business together for 10 years, are well versed in the finer points of design and building. In addition to building homes for clients, they’ve renovated two and built four for themselves. They say their commitment to quality sets them apart. “We like to work with clients from the beginning and we believe in a good design team, interior designer, architect and quality over quantity,” says Wesley. The couple called in architect Scott Payne of Farmer Payne Architects and interior designer Alison McKenzie of Medina Interiors for their own home. “I knew Scott and Wesley could nail down a good layout and I could work with Alison on the interior and get what we wanted,” says Jennifer. Inspired by the surroundings, which include a private lake, the couple wanted to be able to see through the house in order to take advantage of the views. With three kids and two dogs, they wanted outdoor spaces for living, dining and cooking. “It’s important to both of us to eat every night as a family,” says Jennifer. “We wanted [dining] options inside and outside.”


Louisiana Life september/october 2018

(Top) Outdoor living spaces were a must for the active family. The patio has an outdoor kitchen, a dining table and chairs and a sitting area with fireplace. The brick from Vintage Brick of Louisiana is reclaimed from an old church in Mansfield, La.; reclaimed cypress frames the windows. (Bottom)Wesley, Charlotte, Jennifer, Morgan, and Dean Thomas at home. (Right)The outdoor hearth has a bluestone ledge and a recycled beam shelf. Wesley found the elk shed on top of the Continental Divide while elk hunting in Colorado.



(Top) The family room overlooks a lake. Furnishings through Alison McKenzie of Medina Interiors. (Middle) An open post and beam construction allows visibility through the house. The iron of the coffee table echoes the iron stair rail by Custom Fab & Welding. Reclaimed pine beams are from an old saw mill in North Carolina. (Bottom) The kitchen combines quartzite, limestone and stainless steel with metal and glass pendant fixtures. The window enables Jennifer to watch the kids play in the front yard. (Right) The family room’s white oak cabinets were chosen for their organic feel. The brick is from an old church.

Because they enjoy cooking and entertaining, a large kitchen that functions as the heart of the home was also a must. The 4,000-square-foot house, a beautiful amalgam of all of those things, features an open post and beam construction, natural Louisiana-inspired materials such as old brick and reclaimed cypress, and modern touches like step-downs between rooms. To keep the


Louisiana Life september/october 2018

space from veering too far into rustic, Jennifer and McKenzie tempered the organic elements with a soft palette and current furnishings that would be equally at home in an urban setting. “We furnished it with lighter clean-lined pieces that would break up some of the rustic-ness and make it all blend,” says Jennifer. Despite having a busy family life that includes recreational activities like fishing and

paddle boarding, the house is uncluttered and minimal. The kids’ bedrooms and playroom are located upstairs away from the public spaces. The Thomases say that getting the itch to renovate or build is an occupational hazard that goes with the territory. “The ability to create again is always on the table,” says Wesley. But for now, they are happily ensconced in their modern rustic.

“There’s a nice scenic background,” says Wesley. “That’s really why we’re here. We can look out at the canopy of trees and the water. We love it.” n



Raising the Bar By Cheré Coen

A cocktail, crisp temperatures, a bite or two, good coversation and a spectacular view are the ingredients for a fine lunch, happy hour or night on the town. We’ve scoured the state for bars perched on high that strive to elevate our spirits. For this year’s installment of our Best of Louisiana feature, we offer you the best rooftop bars in the state. Cheers!

When I was a child growing up in New Orleans my parents included me on an outing where they entertained an out-of-state client at the “Top of the Mart,” a rotating bar at the pinnacle of the World Trade Mart. As we sipped cocktails — mine, of course, was a Shirley Temple — the bar’s circular motion alternated scenes of the Mississippi River, the Warehouse District and the Vieux Carré. Alth o u gh th e T o p o f th e M a rt w a s n ’ t o p e n t o th e e l e m e n t s ,

it was the city’s highest chance to imbibe with a view. For the most part, perhaps because of our weather, rooftop bars weren’t in vogue in the New Orleans of my youth. Or throughout Louisiana, for that matter. But what a thrill it was to absorb the city skyline from above. Skip ahead to today and you’ll find plenty of rooftop action and chances to look down on the Crescent City. While New Orleans has seen an explosion of new venues high above sea level, there are also a few rooftop tippling spots to be found in other parts of Louisiana. And so, the tradition continues. When my son hit 21, I bought him his first martini and we watched the downtown Shreveport street action from the balcony of Abby Singer’s Bistro at the Robinson Film Center, the city’s most famous rooftop venue. There’s nothing like a drink with a view. Here are a few to discover.


Louisiana Life september/october 2018

NOPSI’s Above the Grid rooftop bar features a cool pool but most people come for the drinks, small plates and the gorgeous view.

photo courtesy nopsi

(Clockwise) The Pontchartrain’s Hot Tin offers a 270-degree view of New Orleans and serves up unique cocktails like The Skyline made with Cathead Honeysuckle Vodka, grapefruit, lime, Campari and habaùero bitters. Small plates, pizzas and seasonal cocktails are all the rage at The Alto Bar at the Ace Hotel.

New Orleans

back to 1927, but the bar’s decor celebrates a time closer to Williams’s residency in New Orleans. Hot Tin is open to the public 4 p.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday, 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. to midnight on Sundays. hottinbar.com

Hot Tin Pontchartrain Hotel

Catahoula Rooftop Bar

This historic beauty has seen its share of celebrities over the years, including playwright Tennessee Williams, who was known to have written his famous play, “A Streetcar Named Desire,” at the St. Charles Avenue hotel. Today, the Pontchartrain is famous among residents who adore the exquisite 270-degree view from its Hot Tin rooftop bar. Cocktails are unique as well, including the aptly named, “A Spritzer Named Desire,” combining pamplemousse, Genepy des Alpes, lime, sparkling water and bitters. The hotel harkens

catahoula boutique hotel

The Catahoula may be a small boutique hotel with a rooftop bar of limited space, but the cozy ambiance and south-of-the-border menu make it unique for the city’s Central Business District. The hotel contains only three stories so the Catahoula Rooftop Bar doesn’t offer the dramatic views of other rooftop lounges but there’s plenty of comfortable seating beneath wooden canopies and umbrellas, plus warm string lighting and touches of succulents. The bar offers South American

and Spanish wines and a curated mezcal and tequila selection, plus craft beers and specialty cocktails. We sampled the Reverend Lovejoy, a mix of rum, agricole, lime, mango and cinnamon. The bar’s up for special events as well. We visited the night of that late musician Prince’s birthday and a party complete with drink specials in his honor — purple, of course — and a planned movie screening. catahoulahotel.com/rooftop-bar Alto ACE Hotel This rooftop escape on one of the city’s most hip hotels welcomes hotel guests. However, non-guests require a $20 pool access fee during peak hours Friday through Sunday. Happily, the bar’s happy house includes mostly non-peak days — 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday — so non-guests and guests alike may enjoy the poolside

The Best Happy Hours in the State Blue Dog Lake Charles and Lafayette

Blue Dog honors former Louisiana artist George Rodrigue and serves seasonal craft cocktails such as the gin-inspired Loup Garou and the Blue Dog Margarita beneath many of his famous paintings. For well drinks, beer and wine, there’s a happy hour from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays in Lafayette and Monday through Friday afternoons in Lake Charles.

Social Southern Table & Bar

The Mirror Room at The Bentley



Visit Social Southern for the $5 Buffalo Trace Old Fashioneds all day on Wednesdays, or the “Social Hour” from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and the Saturdays Suds beer specials from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays. But what makes Social Southern the place to enjoy “spiritual guidance” is the comfortable surroundings, uniquely designed for socializing and enjoying good company. The food’s not bad either.

The historic Bentley Hotel rises above the Alexandria skyline, but good things are going on below street level at The Mirror Room Lounge. You’ll want to sample their delicious cocktails, especially at happy hour from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. Patrons order a drink and receive a token for the second, but here’s the great part — you can use the tokens at a later date. Don’t miss the appetizers that include boudin balls with remoulade sauce and brisket sliders.

Meril and Delmonico

Brass Monkey Pub & Patio

New Orleans

You will find special every day at the Brass Monkey in downtown Monroe, a fun pub that offers sports viewing, trivia games and an outdoor patio. happy hour is 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily (all day on Thursdays) with $2 off all drinks, $1 off beer and $2 off food items.

Emeril’s Delmonico serves up Creole dishes in a historic establishment on St. Charles Avenue but here’s another reason to visit. happy hour is 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily with half-priced drinks — including classic and original cocktails like the Sazerac and Moscow Mule — and small plates. Lagasse’s Warehouse District restaurant, Meril, also offers a daily happy hour from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the large horseshoe bar with specials on drinks and Chef Will Avelar’s flatbreads.


Ember Grille & Wine Bar, L’auberge Casino Resort Lake Charles

Sip original cocktails and other libations while enjoying live music at Ember’s happy hour from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily. “We actually call ours a social hour,” said mixologist Kelly Bistok. Specials include certain wines, a weekly signature cocktail and bar menu items for $7, plus discounted well spirits and beer.

alto photos by Fran Parente; hot tin photos by Christian Horan and Randy Schmidt LouisianaLife.com


Finnegan’s Wake Alexandria

haunted bars Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar New Orleans

Arguably the oldest structure used as a bar in the United States, Lafitte’s naturally owns lots of history, many of which involves the Lafitte Brothers, Jean and Pierre, who smuggled goods into New Orleans. Does pirate Jean Lafitte haunt the bar? Is it he or another pirate grabbing your drink? Or is it one of the many French Quarter residents who refuse to leave?

Houmas House Plantation and Gardens darrow

I enjoyed a delicious mint julep in the Turtle Bar at Houmas House while a staff member told me a tale to curl the toes. She had spent the night at the plantation, only to awaken and find a woman in bed next to her. And this lady of the night wasn’t alive. The bar — a former garconniere — may not be haunted but we suggest you grab a spirit before enjoying a haunted tour of the plantation, offered every October.

You might chalk up seeing spirits to the aftermath of drinking spirits but the paranormal activity at Finnegan’s Wake was so notorious it attracted the TV show “Ghost Hunters.” Story has it that weird noises, footsteps and breaking glass are the result of items brought in from a former brothel. “Ghost Hunters” captured the sounds of singing and a woman’s voice.

Dat Dog Lafayette

(Top) Cushioned, covered alcoves make after work imbibing special at the Troubadour’s Monkey Board, with views stretching as far as Jefferson Parish and Lake Pontchartrain. (Bottom) Equally attractive for happy hour or late-night fun is the Catahoula Rooftop Bar with its South-of-the-Border menu, cocktails and specialty wines.

When the New Orleans’s famous hot dog restaurant opened a location in Lafayette, they found that the historic building in the heart of downtown was once a mortuary! Employees hear strange noises coming from an area just off the secondfloor bar and many believe it’s a man lurking in one of the old photographs lining the walls.

Monteleone Carousel Bar New Orleans

Many ghosts haunt the Monteleone Hotel in the French Quarter, from little children running the halls to Room 1467 which is said to house five spirits. Visiting psychics have felt energy lingering in the restaurant adjacent to the Carousel Bar, including “Red,” an engineer who once worked in the boiler room one floor below.

photos courtesy monkey board and catahoula rooftop bar 36

Louisiana Life september/october 2018

seasonal cocktails, frozen drinks, craft beer and wines as well as small plates and pizzas from Alto’s new pizza oven. The view takes in much of downtown with Lafayette Square as the epicenter. For those who work in the industry, their happy hour is all day Monday. acehotel.com/neworleans/alto Monkey Board Troubadour hotel This rooftop bar stretches around the hotel in three directions, offering views of the BioDistrict, the French Quarter and the Warehouse District. On a clear day, visitors can spot the lakefront, Mississippi River bridges and Jefferson Parish while imbibing cocktails and small dishes. Seating ranges from wooden picnic tables and bar stools to covered, cushioned alcoves, all popular with the after-work crowds. The afternoon sun at happy hour (4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-

Thursday) beats heavy so it’s best to choose either side of the main bar, where shade exists. Monkey Board offers three specialty cocktails and food options. monkeyboardnola.com Above the Grid NOPSI Everything at the former New Orleans Public Service’s building contains utility names and the hotel’s rooftop bar sizzles with energy once the sun goes down. Above the Grid doubles as a pool space, although the small natatorium is more for lounging than laps and pool hours conclude at 8 p.m. Above the Grid also features relaxing cabanas, drinks and a limited menu, plus an astonishing view of the city, including a close-up of the Hibernia Tower. Above the Grid is open to the public from 4 p.m.to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. nopsihotel.com/dine/above-the-grid

Baton Rouge

Bossier City



busted coconut margaritaville

Abby Singer’s Bistro

We take the mighty Mississippi for granted, Louisiana’s massive beating heart that flows through our state. But visitors from all over the world routinely stop and admire the world’s third largest river when visiting downtown Baton Rouge and the ideal spot to take in the view is Tsunami’s terrace atop the Shaw Center for the Arts, a contemporary visual and performing arts facility. Tsunami, with three locations in Louisiana, serves up sushi rolls, nigiri and sashimi as well as cocktails, beer and wine, but the Baton Rouge restaurant features astonishing views of the river, especially at sunset. There’s drink and sushi specials weeknights, which is also the best time to avoid crowds. servingsushi.com

There’s a four-person minimum to imbibe the Nut Buster at the Busted Coconut at the Margaritaville Resort Casino in Bossier City. At $125 you might want to bring a group or you’ll be wasting away. The massive concoction includes vodka, rum, Malibu, melon, Blue Curacao, sweet and sour, orange juice, cranberry and pineapple juice. Mammothsized drinks aren’t the only things on the menu at this second-floor pool deck bar with a great view of the Shreveport skyline. Since it’s a resort linked to musician Jimmy Buffett, you’ll find a tropical ambiance and drinks with fun names, such as the S.W.M.L. (Should’ve Warned my Liver). You can also order your cheeseburger in paradise, of course. margaritavillebossiercity.com/dine/the-busted-coconut

When the Robinson Film Center took over an old retail building in the heart of downtown Shreveport, organizers wanted to include a bistro on the second floor. They chose the name Abby Singer for an assistant film director who became famous for saying, “We’ll do this and one more” when asked about wrapping up production. “Abby Singer” became the name for describing the second-to-last shot of the day. Visitors to the Robinson restaurant and bar may enjoy cocktails and bistro-style dishes inside the bistro or on the balcony with its view of downtown — and even bring their purchases inside the theaters! Happy Hour is 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. robinsonfilmcenter.org/abby-singers-bistro


Louisiana Life september/october 2018

resort casino

Robinson Film Center

Beer Patios

Tin Roof Brewing Co.

Flying Heart Brewing

Baton Rouge

Bossier City

Tin Roof likely owns the largest outdoor space among Louisiana breweries, with a large patio filled with bar, picnic tables and perimeter benches plus the “yard” with 10-12 more tables, a permanently parked taco food truck and a space for live music. And there’s plenty room for more, said Jacob Talley, general manager. “We’ve had 700 people there are one time,” he said.

Flying Heart doubles as a restaurant serving up wood-fired pizzas and a brewery pouring craft brews. It’s located inside a former firehouse and they open the doors when the weather’s nice, plus there’s a beer garden-style patio out back that’s dog friendly and perfect for live music performances. Flying Heart uses seasonal fruits in their beers and we’ve heard the fall apple pie is delicious.

Crying Eagle Brewery Lake Charles

When Crying Eagle opened in July 2016, owners built for expansion. The brewery on the outskirts of Lake Charles included a 10,000-square-foot brewing facility, a large indoor taproom with bar and an outdoor space for lawn games, seating and concerts. This year, Crying Eagle unveiled its Bistro, serving up woodfired pizzas and other dishes. Special events include food trucks, music and Bottoms Up Yoga.

(Top) Very few places can boast of drinks overlooking one of the world’s largest rivers but Tsunami can and its Baton Rouge rooftop space is ideal for watching sunsets. (Bottom) Cheeseburgers in paradise doesn’t have to mean the Caribbean. The Busted Coconut at Shreveport’s Margaritaville Resort Casino serves them up along with fun cocktails.

Rikenjaks Brewing Company Lake Charles

Visitors can sit and sip their craft beers and cocktails at Rikenjaks’s large outdoor patio while enjoying south Louisiana dishes, listening to live music or playing games such as Giant Jenga and Cornhole. The bar’s located outside so that’s more incentive to enjoy fresh air when temps drop at night.

Bayou Teche Brewing Arnaudville

It’s all about live music, jam sessions, Cajun food and craft beer on weekends at Bayou Teche Brewing’s taproom, beer garden and covered patio. Occasionally, there’s a game of bourré conducted in French, song trivia games or smoked country barbecue. The taproom is family and pet friendly so bring the crowd.

Wurst Biergarten Lafayette

German beers and pub food are available, but it’s the large patio, space for arts vendors and outdoor stage that make the Wurst Biergarten in downtown Lafayette so attractive. It’s dog friendly, offers a wide selection of craft beers and has become a regular stop for Word Crawl, a spoken word fundraiser (think pub crawl with poets) for the Festival of Words that happens every September.

photos courtesy tsunami and busted coconut LouisianaLife.com


S u r e B ET Roll the dice on luxurious spa treatments at casinos throughout Louisiana


ouisiana casinos may amply satisfy those with an adventurous spirit, but one amenity allows guests to leave behing the excitement of the gaming floor. Several casino resorts in the Bayou State offer spas and salons that deliver a variety of treatments and services dedicated to promoting stress relief, relaxation and beauty boosts. P a r a g o n C a s i n o R e s o r t Dreamy soft music, muted lighting and original artwork leads visitors down a long hallway to the Spa La Vie at Paragon Casino Resort in Marksville. Once inside, its thick bathrobes and cucumber-flavored water and a long list of decadent services to set you on your way to complete relaxation.


Louisiana Life september/october 2018

The outside world be gone! Keryl Wells, a combination of aromatherapy Paragon remains one of the largest massage, a Moor mud back treatment, energy casinos in Louisiana and its Spa La Vie work and heated stones. is no different, offering “It’s a cross between almost 13,000 square feet Swedish and deep tissue of full-service spa services massage,” Wells explained. and a salon that’s open “The Moor mud is a like BY CHERÉ COEN to the public as well as a detoxifying clay on your casino guests. The facility back. It’s finished with a includes three relaxation hot stone facial massage.” rooms — for men, women Closer to home and reflecting the casino’s and couples — massage and Native American roots, the 80-minute body treatment rooms, a multi-use salon and access to a whirlpool, eucalyptus steam River Cane Massage allows masseuses to room and sauna. use warm, polished river cane in a rolling Heaven on Earth is one of the spa’s motion that ranges from gentle massage to signature treatments, said Spa Director deep fulcrum work.

W h at’ s n e w at t h e casinos?

Paragon Casino Resort updated its gaming floor with a new Mississippi River-themed carpet and additional slot machines. Seating arrangements have also been improved in Paragon’s Mari Showroom where special events are held and top-name entertainers performs. Margaritaville Resort and Casino in Bossier

New to Spa La Vie is Dermaflash that exfoliates skin and removes peach fuzz, Wells said. Hotel guests receive spa amenities such as the whirlpool with any service and day passes are available for $25. In addition, the spa offers a well-stocked retail store. “We have basically everything you could possibly need inside our facility,” Wells said. M a r g a r i t a v i ll e R e s o r t C a s i n o Warm stone massages have been all the rage, but Margaritaville’s spa takes the practice one step further by placing small stones on the body’s key energy points in its Elemis Aroma Stone Therapy. The stone’s heat penetrates tired muscles and eliminates stress, but that’s not all. The service uses Elemis Skin Care products, available only

in northwest Louisiana at the Bossier City casino. Another signature treatment of Margaritaville is the 75-minute Frangipani Body Nourish Massage, with includes the traditional Polynesian scents of coconut and Frangipani flowers in an oil called Monoi. “It’s basically a Swedish massage, light, a relaxation massage,” said Spa Director Sebrena Mills-Hawthorne. “But the product blends fragrant flowers and it can be purchased to bring home.” Guests arriving at the Margaritaville Resort Casino Spa are offered a choice of wine, champagne or mimosa, then are led inside to change into luxurious robes and to relax in rooms sporting a variety of teas, fruit, cookies and other treats, explained Mills-Hawthorne.

Coushatta Casino Resort in Kinder has kicked up its fall entertainment schedule with Grammy winners La Mafia performing with special guest Michael Salgado. Cypress Bayou in Charenton hosts country music singer, songwriter and actor Travis Tritt on Sept. 22 and multi-platinum recording artist, choreographer and dancer Paula Abdul will perform Oct. 19 in the Grand Event Center at Golden Nugget Lake Charles.

Services include hair treatments, facials, massages, and full body scrubs in this fullservice day salon and spa. For those visiting for special events or weddings, body wraps target weight loss, Mills-Hawthorne said. There are both hands-on and machine-led microdermabrasion as well, to gently exfoliate and remove dead facial skin cells. In addition to selling Elemis Skin Care products, the spa carries Image Skincare facials that focus on creating youthful, rejuvenating skin, she said. Back of the house are two relaxation rooms and two steam rooms. The spa is open to the public but only Margaritaville guests can use the steam rooms, Mills-Hawthorne said. Golden Nugget Lake Charles Regular customers to Golden Nugget’s Spa and Salon in Lake Charles are rewarded for repeat visits through a spa membership program. In other incentives, the spa’s “Happy Hour” from noon to 4 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays features discounts on the Ultimate Moroccan Oil Manicure and Pedicure, H2O Hydration Ritual and a full-leg wax. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg in what they offer. “Golden Nugget’s Spa and Salon has a full spa menu, including specialty massages, facials and treatments which can be modified for anyone with special needs, along with a full-service salon, barber shop and nail services,” said Spa Director Carrie Harmon. The spa, that’s open to the public, also features packages, such as airbrush makeup and hair updos for weddings and special events. The facility contains three relaxation rooms for women, men and couples. In addition to their regular menu, Golden Nugget has a few signature services. “Our guests enjoy the 24K Signature Massage and 24K Signature Facial,” said Harmon. “The 80-minute 24K Signature Massage includes gentle back exfoliation and an aromatic full body massage, heat therapy on the hands and feet, and a scalp massage brings the experience to a close. The 24K Signature Facial’s elegant


Louisiana Life september/october 2018

and timeless treatment will leave the skin luminous, hydrated and firmer. It is ideal for all occasions and creates a noticeable glow and a visible ageless appearance.” Non-hotel guests may book any spa or salon service or purchase a day pass for use of all the facilities. Seasonal specials occur as well and may be found on the casino’s website or by calling 337-508-4005. L ’ A u b e r g e C a s i n o R e s o r t There’s a buzz radiating from L’Auberge Casino Resort in Lake Charles. Be it the massive casino floor, the vibrant nightlife, several dining options or the giant lazy river pool with swim-up bars, visitors come to L’Auberge to play. Spa du Lac remains the flipside, a quiet oasis nestled beneath the hotel that offers a wide range of spa and salon services. In addition, the full-service facility includes a hot tub, dry saunas and relaxation rooms. One of the most indulgent body treatments at Spa du Lac is the Louisiana-inspired Sugar Baby Body Scrub mixing Louisiana sugar cane with milk and vanilla. Therapists cover the body with this sugary concoction to eliminate dry skin and invigorate the underlying skin cells. A warm honey mask is then applied to soak in moisture. After the guest showers, he or she is then treated to a massage using vanilla shea butter. Spa du Lac now sells the Eminence Organics Skin Care products and offers a “Seasonal Body Escape” body scrub, wrap and massage with Eminence Organica and a 50-minute Eminence Facial with a mangosteen lactic acid peel, said Retail Operations Director Natalie Peterson. “Our guests are raving and the Eminence products are flying off the shelves,” Peterson said. “It’s an extraordinary line featuring organic and bio-dynamic ingredients.” Peterson also said that Spa du Lac’s fall seasonal treatment will be the Coconut Mango Body Escape. Relaxing getaways with no vacation requests required? Sign us up.

Golden Nugget’s Spa and Salon in Lake Charles




Old Times Renewed Fall and winter bring special events to all of Alexandria and Rapides Parish, but especially to colonial Kent Plantation House on historic Bayou Rapides By Paul F. Stahls Jr.

Much more than a conventional

plantation tour, to visit Kent House in Alexandria is to see cultural conservation in action, with its proactive application of demonstration and teaching skills to preserve our collective and individual memory of traditions, folkways, clothing styles and foodways of colonial and antebellum Louisiana. Well-preserved family portraits and period furnishings fill the home and tell stories of their own, but it’s outdoors and in the vintage outbuildings where the workaday reality of the era is actually duplicated by gardeners planting traditional foods, open-hearth cooks following time-honored menus, Boy Scouts repairing chicken coops, rose gardeners pruning their “antiques,” a blacksmith shaping hot iron and herbalists nurturing their aromatics, culinaries and medicinals. All experts or eager apprentices, and — by the way — all volunteers. The story begins with Pierre Baillio II, son of an officer at Fort St. Jean in Natchitoches, who received a Spanish land grant near Poste du Rapides in 1794. Construction of his French colonial home began the next year and would consume, it turned out, the remainder of the century: six rooms (plus galleries) in five years. Consider, though, that there were no lumberyards or hardware stores and that cultivation of his 500 arpents (422 acres) no doubt demanded most of his time and attention. The home’s present name and shape were acquired in 1842 when Robert Hynson of Kent County, Maryland, purchased the plantation and added the wings that flank the home’s galleries, providing space for a master suite, handsome office, children’s rooms and “Strangers Room.” Since then Kent House has had two neardeath experiences, the first when Hynson’s oath of allegiance to the Union saved it when Alexandria was burned in 1864. Next, 99 years


Louisiana Life september/october 2018

older and sentenced to death by wrecking ball, it was donated by the American Legion to a hastily formed Friends of Kent House group, which moved it a bit upstream (still on original land grant property) and began restoration. Thus the oldest landmark in Central Louisiana became accessible to the public, the Friends group became a permanent font of generosity, and an incredible degree of community support and volunteer participation in Kent House activities became an enduring Rapides tradition. Wednesday “school days” are prime time to see truly fascinated youngsters watching the skilled volunteers in action, and Wednesdays also bring authentic open-hearth-cooking demonstrations during the cool months of October through April. First up on Kent House’s fall and winter calendar of events is Le Tour de Bayou on Sept. 14 through 15, consisting of 10- and 25-mile bicycle rides through the Bayou Rapides area, plus a 2-mile family ride and walk with a post-ride party. Register at bikereg.com. Other happenings include the Herb Society’s Herb Day, Oct. 6, where experts share information with guests as dealers sell their plants and products; Reptile Day, Oct. 20, for young folks (sponsored by the Louisiana Forestry Association); and Ghost Day, Oct. 26, with spooky storytelling (presented by the Rapides Library). Finally on Nov. 10 comes the 25th annual and now famous Sugar Day festival, when Kent House’s authentic three-kettle sugar mill goes into action amidst the food booths, music stages and craftspeople, with free home tours for lagniappe. Kent House at 3601 Bayou Rapides Road (318-487-5998, admin@kenthouse.org) is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, year-round. n


October always lands in Alexandria with a load of seasonal events, kicked off by Funktoberfest, a craft beer festival on Oct. 6 honoring craft breweries and regional music in the large outdoor space at Spirits Food & Friends restaurant, 1200 Texas Ave. (funktoberfestcenla.com).

DINE Tunk’s The catfish, softshells and gumbo are still worth the 8-mile drive west on LA 28 to that landmark on Kincaid Lake. tunkscypressinn.com Café DeSoto Don’t miss the jumpin’ flavors of the burritos and burgers at Chef Brad Blackwood’s new downtown restaurant. cafedesoto.com Pamela’s Bayou in a Bowl Plate lunches built around smothered pork chops, turnip greens and such are earning her No.1 ratings right and left. historic riverfront The classic standbys of the historic Riverfront District are still enticing: the lavishly restored Diamond Grill (thediamondgrill.com) and the Bentley Room with its innovative twists on “Southern Style” staples at magnificent Hotel Bentley hotelbentleyandcondos.cm.

The Les Fest on Oct. 11, honoring the late zoo-meister Les Whitt, features top bands at the “wildest” venue in town, the Alexandria Zoo, plus a wild variety of foods from local restaurants and caterers (3016 Masonic Drive, 318-441-6810, thealexandriazoo.com).

Take the kids to the Forts Randolph and Buhlow State Historic Site on Oct. 27 to enjoy a “Spirit of the Harvest” event, complete with hayrides and a fleet of classic cars loaded with goodies for “trunk-or-treating.”

The big downtown Alex Winter Fete, with its parades, festivities and street lighting ceremony on Nov. 29, marks the official opening of the Christmas season, but that’s not all. It also serves as Day 1 of the city’s beloved 12 Days of Christmas tradition, with

each day presenting a different form of activity or entertainment, like an “Old-Fashioned Christmas” event at Kent House and “River Feast” at Forts Randolph and Buhlow (depicting a Christmas meal likely to have been available to Civil War soldiers).

MUSIC If you like music for dessert, visit the Embers (embersdowntown.com), the oyster bar at Tunk’s, musician Charley Rivers’ new Cat Daddy’s Southern Table or the Spirit Food & Friends.



farther flung

Desert Dreams

Bruno House

Lubbock, Texas surprises with the uncommon attractions, fun, food, art and wine By Cheré Coen

Lubbock might be the epitome of

this column’s title, being that it’s one of the farthest flung cities in Texas. Flying into the flat, dry West Texas town, looking down on agricultural squares resembling a quilt of desert colors, it’s about as far removed from Louisiana as the moon. Yet, it’s that dichotomy that makes it fascinating. That and its myriad attractions you’ll not find anywhere else. There’s also great food, friendly people and a vibrant arts scene. If that’s not incentive enough, the Lubbock area grows the majority of Texas grapes, helping make the state one of the top wine producers in the United States.

Buddy Holly

You can’t mention Lubbock without its famous resident, Charles Hardin Holley, a young man with such a big name his mother called him “Buddy.” He created a rockabilly sound with The Crickets in the early years of rock ’n’ roll that took the world by storm before he died in a tragic plane crash at age 22. Lubbock celebrates this legend at the Buddy Holly Center (he changed the spelling of his name when he published his first record) and includes memorabilia from Holly and other famous musicians. Buddy Holly Center

Next door to the Buddy Holly Center is the home of Jerry Ivan Allison, drummer for The Crickets and cowriter of J.I. Allison House



their hits, “That’ll Be the Day” (which was written in this house) and “Peggy Sue.” The Crickets practiced in the house as well, and above their drum set rests a New Orleans street sign stolen when the young boys took a road trip to Louisiana. Devoted fans leave a variety of gifts, including guitar picks and high heel shoes, at Buddy Holly’s grave in the Lubbock City Cemetery. His name is spelled correctly here. Buddy’s Gravesite

The Unusual

Texas Tech architecture professor Robert Bruno created a sculpture of a steel house in 1971, which is now on display on campus. The creation, however, inspired him to make a larger version — one he could live in. Bruno died in 2008 after more than three decades of work on the house and 110 tons of weathering steel. The Robert Bruno Steel House remains incomplete, but is open for tours. Note: The inside is as fascinating as the exterior. Bruno House

Tornado Gallery


Texas Tech

The gallery offers a variety of local and visiting artists but back of house Tony Greer creates plasma/ neon sculptures and Sandstorm Glassworks fires up unique glass pieces for weddings and special events. There’s a patio for live events as well.

The Charles Adams Studio Project in the Lubbock Cultural District provides studio space for artists. Many offer classes to the public, including printmaking, monotypes and working a forge. CASP also features gallery space with revolving exhibits.

One percent of construction budgets on campus must be spent on public art, which is why Texas Tech’s sculptures have been named one of the top 10 public art collections in the United States by the Public Art Review. Self-guided and led tours showcase the more than 100 pieces on campus, including the Will Rogers statue at the school’s entrance.

Louisiana Life september/october 2018

Coming up In the works is the massive Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences, scheduled to open in 2020 and become the home of Ballet Lubbock and the Lubbock school district’s Visual and Performing Arts. The massive arts center will include a 2,200-seat main theater, a 425-seat studio theater, a 6,000-square foot multi-purpose room and outdoor performance areas.

Visitors to Lubbock love catching a glimpse of the cute prairie dog, but residents aren’t so fond of the pesky critters. They’re akin to squirrels, although these dogs create burrows in yards. It’s the reason K.N. Clapp created Prairie Dog Town in the city’s Mackenzie Park, a way to protect what he feared might become an endangered species. Visitors can watch dozens of these dogs play, although they won’t fetch sticks. Prairie Dog Town

Music lovers must save time for a visit to Ralph’s Records, one of the largest record stores in Texas — and you know that has to be big. Visitors will find thousands of new and used CDs and vinyl, films, games, comics, toys and concert tickets. Ralph’s Records

Do National Ranching Heritage Center

Step back in time and learn about the Native Americans who lived on the prairies and how pioneers settled West Texas and the houses and ranches they occupied at the 27-acre Ranching Heritage Center. The structures moved to the property range from the years 1780 to 1950 and the museum offers seven exhibit galleries. The Center also features special events throughout the year. The first Friday of every month features a free, self-guided public art event in the Lubbock Cultural District. In addition to gallery openings and new museum exhibits, there’s music and an assortment of food trucks. First Friday Art Trail

Numerous famous people have graced the stage at the historic Cactus Theater and their signatures grace the walls of the dressing room. The theater has been beautifully renovated and is now used for film screenings, local and touring concerts and other special events. n Cactus Theater

dine Cast Iron Grill Teresa Stephens grew up in a family of bakers but she didn’t veer toward desserts until she opened a restaurant in a spot once known for pies. Customers kept asking for pie and Stephens delivered. The Cast Iron Grill is now known for “boots, pies and chicken fry,” not to mention the fun antiques and signs gracing the walls. Be sure and sample the buttermilk chess pie, her grandmother’s recipe. Flippers Pub grub, including an eclectic variety of hot dogs, is on the menu here, but what’ll turn visitor’s eyes are the pinball machines that double as tables and artwork. La Diosa Cellars If ambiance is as important as a good meal, La Diosa Cellars has it in abundance. The walls are covered in fascinating artwork, many for sale, and comfy chairs and couches offer cool places to enjoy company, wine and the restaurant’s Spanish tapas.



roadside dining

Culture Club An ethnic food trail to hold you over from New Orleans to Baton Rouge by Jyl Benson photo by Romero & Romero

Over the course of its history

the people of seven nations — Native Americans, French, Spanish, Germans, English, Italians and enslaved Africans — were the most significant contributors to Louisiana’s Creole cuisine. The foodways of these cultures amalgamated to birth a culinary identity Louisiana alone can claim. However, people from numerous other cultures have built their lives here, too, bringing their traditions with them and often leaving their marks as restaurants celebrating their native cuisines. In Baton Rouge the humble Atcha Greek & Lebanese Café, serves Greek and Lebanese foods at value prices. Beef Fatera consists of flakey dough topped with hunks of grilled beef for $1.99. Atcha hummus is of a decadently creamy variety topped with dried tomatoes and feta cheese for $4.99. The combination plate (chicken and gyro served with hummus, feta salad, and rice) is large enough for two or three to share for $10.99. Right next door La Salvadoreña takes its inspiration from another continent but does so at the same kind of bargain prices with delicious results. Start your day with a Baleada — a large flour tortilla filled with scrambled eggs, refried beans, cheese, avocado and crema for $4 or add grilled beef for $6 and you can forget hunger pains for the rest of the day. Though celebrated for its Creole cuisine, the New Orleans area thrums with ethnic

good bets


Tal’s Hummus and Grilled Veggies

In celebration of Commander’s Palace’s 125th anniversary and New Orleans’ Tricentennial, the Commander’s Family of Restaurants will host a day-long discussion about the past, present, and future of food and hospitality in America on Sept. 17, 2018 at The New Orleans Orpheum Theater. The event is a resurrection of the American Cuisine and Hospitality Symposium that Commander’s Palace matriarch, the late Ella Brennan, hosted in 1983. For tickets and information visit achsymposium.com.

Louisiana Life september/october 2018

dining choices. Located inside of a gas station, Shawarma on-the-Go boasts lines out the door for its thriftily priced Middle Eastern fare. Excellent carved-to-order gyro meat is piled up on hefty sandwiches and the chicken shawarma plate is fresh and plentiful. Two can dine lavishly for $20. A few blocks up the street Tal’s Hummus is a bit sleeker and a bit pricier but offers a number of vegan and otherwise healthy choices. The finely minced Israeli Salad of cucumber, tomatoes, parsley and lemon and the creamy hummus swirled around a pile of flavorful grilled vegetables are personal favorites. The former will set you back $9, the latter around $14. Both are well worth it. In the Central City neighborhood 14 Parishes, named for the 14 parishes of Jamaica, the Blake family serves up authentic renditions of the cuisine of their native homeland. Look for classics like beef patties and jerk chicken paired with sides like sweet plantains and cornbread. The Portland stew of jerk chicken, rice, peas and callaloo will throw you off of your game if intensely spicy food is not your jam ($14.50). Cool things down with a Bobsled cocktail (hibiscus tea, ginger and white rum). At Luvi, Chef Hao Gong’s elegant, exotic, playful Asian hybrid cuisine draws on elements of his Shanghai upbringing, stints at restaurants around the U.S., and his decade-long career as the head sushi chef at Sake Cafe. Some dishes, such as spicy Szechuan Dan Dan Noodles and Mala Holla (razor thin slices of beef shank in ghost chili oil) hearken to Asian traditions. Others, like the Monkey Snack — raw salmon, sesame-crusted banana and a spicy-sweet sauce — are his own mischievous creations. It’s not cheap, but also not a bank buster and it’s worth every penny. n

Atcha Greek & Lebanese Café 3221 Nicholson Dr. Baton Rouge 225-383-7482 atcha-greek-lebanese-cafe. business.site 14 Parishes 1638 Clio St. New Orleans 504-605-4453 14parishes.com

La Salvadoreña 3285 Nicholson Dr. Baton Rouge 225-227-0141 facebook.com/ lasalvadorenarestaurant Luvi 5236 Tchoupitoulas St. 504-605-3340 luvirestaurant.com

Shawarma on-the-Go 3720 Magazine St. New Orleans 504-269-6427 shawarmaonthego.com Tal’s Hummus 4800 Magazine St. New Orleans 504-267-7357 ordertalsonline.com



great louisiana chef

Fresh and Bold Ryan Trahan takes the helm at Blue Dog Café in Lafayette and the crown as the ‘King of American Seafood’ By Ashley McLellan portrait by Romero & Romero

Chef Ryan Trahan, who was just crowned

“King of Louisiana Seafood” at the Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board’s annual Seafood Cookoff in June and “King of American Seafood” in New Orleans in August, sticks close to his Cajun roots in the kitchen and at work. “I was raised in a Cajun household right here in Acadiana,” he said, “so it has a great deal of influence on my cooking. Throughout my career, I have placed a lot of emphasis on fresh product and I like to showcase a lot of bold flavors.” Growing up in a professional kitchen (Trahan’s family owns a diner in his hometown of Crowley) and soaking up the advice of mentors in the industry also shaped Trahan’s passion and gave him the unique work ethic that he still uses today. “As a child I worked with my father in the restaurant,” he said. “I started out working in the front taking orders and then at about the age of 12 started cooking orders in the back. Within a few months my father had taught me the ins and outs of each station and house to properly cook and fill orders. [Later,] during my first years as a restaurant owner and chef, I met Kernis ‘Big Lou’ Louviere. Big Lou taught me not only how to cook, but how to cook perfectly and make people happy while doing it. He sparked my drive, which led to ‘How can I elevate my cuisine and make it the best it can be.’” While Trahan’s Lafayette restaurant Dark Roux (which closed at the end of 2017) racked up critical acclaim and local popularity, he is excited to become part of the kitchen legacy at Blue Dog Café, whose kitchen helm he took over this past spring. “I am very happy in my new home here at Blue Dog Cafe,” he said. “When you spend years working for yourself, [you] don’t think … that you would enjoy working under someone else. But I have become very close with the Rodrigues and I am honored to be able to work and share this journey with them. We have big plans for our future that involve our vision for the restaurant transformation as well as installing some unique fun ideas for events that I think the public is really going to enjoy.” n

“I was raised in the rice capital so I’m definitely a gravy man, but most recently I’ve been enjoying cooking anything on an open fire. I love how the fire makes you constantly adapt and teaches the chef how to constantly control it. This simplicity and adaptability inspires creativity and for me that’s what puts me in my comfort zone.”

Sous Vide Pork Belly, Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Spring Berry, & Crispy Quinoa Salad Sous Vide Pork Belly: Preheat a

sous-vide style water bath to 170 F. Place 2 pounds diced pork belly, 6 tablespoons butter (unsalted), 2 tablespoons salt, 6 sprigs thyme, 2 bay leaves and 8 black peppercorns in a food-saver style vacuum bag and seal. Alternatively, transfer

to a heavy-duty gallon-sized freezer bag and slowly submerge into a pot full of water, sealing the top just before it goes underwater to remove all air. Transfer to sous vide cooker and cook until completely tender, about 10 hours. Remove bag from cooker and chill thoroughly. When ready to serve, heat in the water bath just long enough to melt solidified fat, open

bag and remove pork belly into a fine mesh strainer to remove rendered fat. Place fat in a tall container (lard will rise to the top and liquid will settle on the bottom). Discard herbs and peppercorns. Remove belly from strainer and pat completely dry. Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium high heat with 3 tablespoons of lard. Once lard is hot add pork belly to skillet and

sauté until nice and crispy, about 4 to 6 minutes. Remove to papertowel-lined pan to soak up remaining grease and keep warm until ready to serve. Crispy Quinoa:

Heat 4 cups of vegetable oil to 350 F in a 2 quart sauce pot. Once hot, fry 1 cup red quinoa (cooked to instructions on bag and strained of water) until crispy, about 3 minutes. Remove quinoa from the oil, place on a platter lined with paper towels to

drain. Salt to taste and set aside until ready to serve. Strawberry & Sherry Vinaigrette:

Place 1 medium shallot (diced), 6 tablespoons sherry vinegar, 6 strawberries (stemmed and halved), 2 cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper in a blender. Turn blender on medium and blend for 30 seconds. Slowly add 8 ounces grapeseed oil over 30 more seconds and shut off blender. Dressing should be thick and emulsified. Store in the refrigerator until ready for use.

To Serve: Add 2

pounds of Brussels sprouts (shaved very thin with mandolin), ½ pint of strawberries (sliced), ½ pint of blueberries and ½ pint of blackberries into a large stainless steel mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Place bowl in the refrigerator and allow to stand and marinate for 30 to 40 minutes. Ten minutes before you are ready to serve, sear pork belly according to directions above. Remove salad from the fridge and add pork belly and 6 tablespoons of cooking fat to salad and mix thoroughly. Divide salad evenly between 8 salad bowls. Top each salad with crispy quinoa. Serve immediately.

Serves 8

I love promoting our state, our community, and our culture, so this honor is one that I cherish and am looking forward to help the Seafood Board shed a lot of light on the great seafood that our state has to offer. LouisianaLife.com


kitchen gourmet

Morning Cheer Switch up your breakfast game with these quick and easy recipes by Stanley Dry photos and styling by Eugenia Uhl

I ’ m i n o r d i nate l y f o n d o f

breakfast, but I don’t like to eat the same thing every morning. One day it might be pancakes or waffles, another day eggs with bacon, ham or boudin. But I’m also happy with good country bread, cheese and some type of cured meat or a salad of cucumbers and tomatoes with feta cheese and olive oil. Smoked fish with bagels, cream cheese and scallions is at the top of my list, as is a plate of fresh fruits with bread, butter and cheese. If I have cornbread from the previous day, I’m likely to crumble it in a glass with milk and sugar, a favorite treat from childhood. I could go on, because I have vivid memories of particularly wonderful breakfasts, both simple and elaborate. I’m also fond of reading about breakfasts in books, magazines and newspapers, a special branch of armchair travel, I suppose. One of those is the late Tom Stobart’s memory of an Indian chutney made from green coriander [cilantro] ground with coconut, green chili, salt and lemon: “There is no better breakfast in the world than chapattis [whole wheat flatbreads] spread with coriander chutney and honey syrup and eaten in the early sunshine to the call of doves and barbets.” Most of us don’t have time to prepare and enjoy leisurely breakfasts except on the weekend, and even then it’s easy to fall into the same routine. This month’s recipes are all simple and fairly quick to do. The sweet potato bread and the two jams can be prepared in advance, and the others can easily be done in the morning. Low-gluten flour, which is great for biscuits, is available in two versions — self-rising and regular. I was a snob about using the self-rising variety until I baked two batches of biscuits, one from each type. When I couldn’t tell any difference between them, I put away my prejudice and now opt for convenience and speed of preparation. n

Bags of frozen mixed berries are widely available these days. The one I bought contained raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. Since there is no added pectin, this is a soft spread. Made with a minimum of sugar, it is tart and tastes of the berries.

Buttermilk Biscuits and Quick Berry Jam BISCUITS Preheat oven to 450 F. Place 2 cups low-gluten, selfrising flour (such as White Lily) in mixing bowl; cut in 3 tablespoons chilled butter and 2 tablespoons chilled lard or shortening with a pastry blender or use your fingertips to distribute the fats until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ²⁄³ cup buttermilk and mix with a fork just until dough forms. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, knead a few times and roll out dough to a thickness of ½-inch. Using a floured 2-inch cutter, cut out biscuits and place on a heavy, ungreased baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven until tops are lightly browned, about 10-12 minutes. JAM Combine 4 cups frozen mixed berries, ½ cup sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Stir and increase heat as berries thaw. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 20 minutes. Cool, then transfer to serving or storage container and refrigerate. Makes about 12 biscuits and 2 cups of jam

GlutenFree Rice Waffles

Sweet Potato Bread


This bread is a treat for breakfast, either plain or buttered and toasted. If you want to save time, peel sweet potatoes, cut into chunks, boil until tender and drain.

for the berry jam: Measure the berries while they’re frozen. Once they defrost, it will take more berries to fill a cup and you will need more sugar.

1 cup all-purpose flour

You don’t have to be on a gluten-free diet to enjoy these exceptionally crisp and light waffles. This batter is thinner than one made with wheat flour.

½ cup whole wheat flour

Preheat waffle iron. Place 2 cups rice flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, ¼ teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon sugar in mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Add 1 cup milk, 2 eggs (lightly beaten), and 2 tablespoons melted butter; whisk to combine.

¼ cup buttermilk (more if needed)

Spoon batter on hot waffle iron and cook until crisp and browned. Makes 4 or more waffles

1 teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon cinnamon ¼ teaspoon ginger ¼ teaspoon nutmeg ¼ teaspoon salt 1 cup baked, peeled and mashed sweet potatoes

¼ pound butter, softened 1½ cups light brown sugar

Couche-Couche This is an old Cajun breakfast food not seen much these days. Serve with cane syrup and butter or hot milk. Football fans may remember this chant: “Hot boudin, cold couche-couche, come on Tigers, poush-poush-poush!”

3 large eggs

2 cups stone-ground cornmeal

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter

and flour a large loaf pan.

2. Sift dry ingredients into a medium bowl and set aside. In a separate container, combine mashed sweet potatoes and buttermilk and set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth. Alternately add dry ingredients and sweet potato mixture until well combined. Do not over beat. If mixture is too dry, add additional buttermilk. 3. Pour batter into prepared pan, smooth the top and bake until a tester comes out clean, about 1 hour. Makes 1 loaf.

2 cups boiling water 4 tablespoons bacon drippings 1. In a mixing bowl, combine cornmeal, salt and water. Stir well. 2. In a large cast iron skillet, heat bacon drippings. Add cornmeal mixture to skillet and cook over medium-high heat. Using a flat metal spatula, occasionally scrape the bottom of the skillet and turn the mixture, breaking up any large lumps that form. 3. Repeat this procedure until the mixture has browned and formed small distinct grains, about 20 minutes. Serves 3-4

Quick Persimmon Jam

Since the mixture isn’t cooked, this jam needs to be refrigerated or frozen. Place 2 cups persimmon pulp in blender. In a small bowl, stir 2 tablespoons Ball Instant Pectin and

½ cup sugar to combine. Add pectin and sugar to blender and process on high until thoroughly mixed. Fill clean container(s) with jam. Cover and refrigerate for immediate use or freeze. Makes about 2

TIP: Freeze whole persimmons while they’re in season so you’ll have some to enjoy in the winter. A frozen persimmon is nature’s perfect sorbet.





Traveling In & Around Louisiana

Texas Renaissance Festival


eing a relatively small state, Louisiana is both a great place to start a road trip and to end one. Whether you’re going north or south for a college football game, across the border into Texas for a festival or weekend getaway, or just a couple towns over for a little taste of something different, you can experience wildly different types of flavors and fun all within a few-hours drive. And while the state may be known for its Creole and Cajun fare, it’s also home to world-famous Mexican food, top-notch Asian food, and a confectionary food fest. Meanwhile, decadent ice cream, authentic German food, and sweet and savory barbecue await visitors to nearby Texas. Attractions like festivals, home tours, aquariums and art walks round out other options for fall travel fun. Access your inner explorer, and check out the variety of experiences Louisiana and its neighbors have to offer.


Louisiana Life september/october 2018

Food and FunFocused Events & Destinations Come have a sweet ol’ time at the West Baton Rouge Museum’s SugarFest on Sunday, October 7 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. SugarFest is an annual celebration of the start of the sugarcane harvest with music, food, and historical demonstrations, including muledriven cane grinding, cane syrup boiling, praline candy making, open hearth cooking, filé making, blacksmithing, rope making, soap making, bousillage making, and wood carving. Other festivities include wagon and train rides, a petting zoo, old-fashioned cake walks and a sweets contest. Live musical performances feature: Kenny Neal, Henry Turner, Fabulous Bagasse Boyz, Choupique Band, Cajun Roots and CFMA Dancers, Cane Grinders, Les Bon Sons, West Baton Rouge All-Parish Choir. SugarFest is free and open to the public. Hope to see you there, “Sugar!” West Baton Rouge Museum is located at 845 North Jefferson Avenue in Port Allen, Louisiana, just minutes from downtown Baton Rouge. For more information or to request a sweets contest entry form, please call 225-336-2422 x 200 or visit westbatonrougemuseum.com. Experience the magic of the Texas Renaissance Festival, the nation’s largest Renaissance theme park. Enter an enchanted kingdom filled with kings, queens, knights, nobles, peasants, pirates, fairies, elves, heroes, villains, dragons, and other mythical creatures. Enjoy a 60-acre enchanted village with 20 stages of continuous entertainment, fun rides and games, and delicious food and drink from around the globe. Stroll the tree-lined lanes in search of the perfect gifts to be found in over 400 16th century European style “shoppes.” Each weekend is a new adventure. Step back in time and put some “Huzzah” in your weekend!

The Texas Renaissance Festival is held every Saturday and Sunday from September 29 through November 25. The festival is also open on Friday, November 23, the day after Thanksgiving. The festival is located just outside of Houston in Todd Mission, Texas. For tickets and additional information, visit TexRenFest.com. Since opening their first restaurant in downtown Lafayette 17 years ago, Tsunami Sushi has set the standard and become a favorite dining destination for Asian-inspired cuisine. Tsunami is known in both the Lafayette and Baton Rouge communities for its diverse menu of fresh, highest-quality seafood dishes, and their newest location brings the same standard to locals and visitors of New Orleans in the Central Business District. Tsunami NOLA is a perfect lunch or dinner spot for downtown hotel guests as well as those who live or work in the CBD, Warehouse District, and surrounding neighborhoods. Tsunami Sushi is located at the corner of Poydras Street and St. Charles Avenue and is open for lunch and dinner, Monday-Friday, and for dinner Saturday-Sunday. Enjoy happy hour every weekday from 3 – 6 p.m. with cocktail, wine, and beer specials (under $5) and 25 percent off all rolls $9 and under. Catering is available for meetings, weddings, or convention-based events in New Orleans. Tsunami is ready to take your order! Email TsunamiNOLA@gmail.com for information and planning. View their mouth-watering menu at ServingSushi.com. Located just outside of Alexandria in Forest Hill, Louisiana, sits an unassuming little restaurant that packs huge flavor and a world-famous recipe. Literally “world famous,” Mi Tierra’s hot tamales have received national and international recognition—the recipe itself is archived at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. Family owned and operated since 2004, Mi Tierra Restaurante

photo courtesty facebook.com/texrenfest


Mexicano is the creation of Mrs. Irma Rodriguez, who takes a unique approach to traditional Mexican cuisine by fusing her family’s old recipes and Louisiana flavors. In addition to tamales, menu favorites include the Mi Tierra combination plate, the queso fundido with house-made chorizo, and from-scratch flour and corn tortillas. Mi Tierra has placed repeatedly at the Hot Tamale Festival in Greenville, Mississippi, and the restaurant is one of only a few in the United States to be recognized by the Mexican government as accurately representing Mexican cuisine. Mi Tierra is located 11418 US-165 in Forest Hill and has a second location newly open in Alexandria at MacArthur Village. There, try Mi Tierra’s time-honored menu favorites alongside new, authentic Mexican dishes.

Offerings from Surrounding Cities & Parishes Natchitoches, Louisiana, established in 1714 and the oldest city in the Louisiana Purchase, is a premiere Southern destination for families and friends. Natchitoches is a charming city full of culture, history, and mouthwatering Creole/Cajun cuisine. September 14-15 is the 16th Annual Natchitoches Meat Pie Festival, featuring live music and numerous food vendors. Looking to show off your classic car? Come to the 12th Annual Natchitoches Car Show, September 2829, in Historic Downtown. October 12-14 brings the 64th Annual Natchitoches Fall Tour of Homes, where you can go on enlightening candlelight, town, and plantation tours. The 92nd Annual Christmas Festival of Lights arrives November 17 - January 6! Join festivalgoers for six weeks of live music shows, handcrafted lit set pieces, and over 300,000 Christmas lights in downtown Natchitoches. Other events include the Holiday Tour of Homes, arts and crafts

shows, children’s activities, and fireworks every Saturday. For more information call 1-800-259-1714 or visit natchitoches.com. At the heart of Louisiana’s Cajun and Creole culture is Lafayette, a city also at the heart of Louisiana’s best cuisine. Boudin and plate lunches are significant contributors to Louisiana’s flavorful history, and both can be found and tasted with a Lafayette food tour. The Cajun Boudin Trail puts you in the driver’s seat when it comes to discovering Louisiana’s best boudin and other regional specialty items. The area in and around Lafayette is the indisputable center of all things boudin, including the annual Boudin Cookoff in October. Venture through the area and sample the many varieties and unique recipes from the award-winning boudin masters of Cajun Country. Lesser known is the rice and gravy-centric plate lunch that fuels the people of Louisiana’s Acadiana region. Consisting of

photo courtesty facebook.com/shreveportaquarium

meat, a gravy-covered starch, a pair of vegetable sides, and a simple piece of bread, the plate lunch emphasizes speed, affordability, and caloric heft. Lafayette’s historic plate lunch houses are rooted in the marriage of rustic, homestyle cooking with the convenience offered by the buffet line. Check out Lafayette’s many food tours under at LafayetteTravel.com/things-to-do. Located just south of Houston, Texas, and just a short drive from Louisiana is Pearland, Texas, a destination all its own and a starting point for exploring the Texas Gulf Coast. Whether exploring the town via the PearScape Trail of painted pears or curating your own itinerary, you’re bound to experience the vibrancy of this community through its unique food and fun. One of the top German restaurants in the U.S., King’s Biergarten boasts an impressive menu that varies from piping-hot, pork-stuffed bratwurst to pretzels, Bavarian fried pickles, burgers, traditional German dishes, and

even a few vegan options. Of course, Texas barbecue is also big in Pearland, and a number of mouth-watering menus await your visit. Wash it all down with a craft beer from local brewing companies, BAKFISH or Vallensons’. Birdwatching and shopping are popular in Pearland, which features a variety of bird-filled habitats—from wetlands to riparian forests—and stores—from designer-filled shopping centers to antique shops and boutiques. This fall, Pearland Art & Crafts on the Pavilion takes place Oct 6-7. For ideas and more, go to VisitPearland.com. Shreveport-Bossier is making waves! The all-new Shreveport Aquarium is now open in downtown Shreveport. Visitors can view and interact with more than 3,000 animals including sharks, rays, octopus, jellyfish, and more. Shreveport Aquarium is also home to Salt Cafe, a kid-friendly restaurant offering an al fresco riverfront dining experience. For more information, visit ShreveportAquarium.com.

Shreveport Aquarium




There are lots of great reasons to visit Shreveport-Bossier this fall, including some of the biggest festivals in northern Louisiana. The Highland Jazz and Blues Festival returns to Columbia Park on Saturday, September 15 with performances from Marc Broussard, Chris Thomas King, Buddy Flett, and Maggie Koerner. The Red River Revel Arts Festival will present top-notch entertainment and more than 100 artist booths in Shreveport’s Festival Plaza, September 29-October 7. Celebrate upcoming artists at Prize Fest 2018: Shreveport’s Film, Music, and Food Festival in downtown Shreveport, October 3-7. The Prize Fest weekend features competitions for short film, music, and cooking. Prize Fest takes place a short walk from the Red River Revel Arts Festival in the heart of downtown Shreveport. For more information about festivals and things to do in Shreveport-Bossier, visit Shreveport-Bossier.org. Football season is in full swing in Louisiana’s College Town! Home to Louisiana Tech University and Grambling State University, Ruston and Lincoln Parish welcome fans from across the country to enjoy game-day activities. Loyal Blue Weekends start in September with outdoor concerts, late-night pep rallies, and Louisiana food and brews. Bulldogs fans and visiting teams can avoid gameday traffic this season by parking downtown. Enjoy shopping and dining options prior to kickoff or get a ride to tailgating activities. Shuttle buses will run from downtown to the stadium continuously and free of charge. Historic Downtown Ruston offers a variety of boutiques and specialty shops, restaurants, and cultural events. Plan a visit this fall for Ruston Makers Fair, a festival celebrating the arts culture of the area with works of local artists and makers of all kinds. For more information and events, or to plan your visit to Ruston & Lincoln Parish, visit ExperienceRuston.com.


Louisiana Life september/october 2018

Baton Rouge

In America’s City on the River, you’ll experience authentic Louisiana sights, sounds, and tastes at every turn. Centrally located—just an hour from New Orleans and Lafayette—Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is the perfect city to experience the sounds of rich southern soul harmonizing with a medley of art, community, and 300 years of history. Take advantage of the walkable downtown while exploring venues and attractions such as the Old and New State Capitols. Enjoy an array of culinary experiences that will immerse your taste buds in authentic Louisiana cuisine. With an ever-growing restaurant scene to choose from, you can enjoy everything from local dives to delicious, new restaurants highlighting classic Southern fare. After a big meal, dance it off to the sounds of Baton Rouge—jazz, zydeco, swamp-pop—with live performances almost every night. For more information, head to VisitBatonRouge.com or call 1-800-LA-ROUGE. Halfway between Houston and Austin is a place filled with Texas history and unexpected discoveries. In Brenham, you can two-step into the past, enjoy the

local wines and enjoy a scoop of your favorite ice cream flavor at Blue Bell Creameries. Here, you’ll experience just about everything— except boredom. Brenham is the county seat of Washington County, where Texas became Texas. Just 25 minutes east of Brenham is the state historic site of Washington on the Brazos, where Texans declared independence from Mexico in 1836. Explore a replica of Independence Hall, a working 1850s farm, Star of the Republic Museum and a superb visitor center and gift shop. Neighboring communities such as Independence and Chappell Hill provide terrific small town excursions, including museums and walking trails. And in Burton, history is alive at the Texas Cotton Gin Museum and home of the oldest working gin in America. For more info and itineraries, go to VisitBrenhamTexas.com. Louisiana truly has the best of all worlds. Captivating outdoor environments are accompanied by the unbeatable sounds you’ll hear inside its music venues. Its arts scene is rivaled by historic architecture. When you visit and explore what Louisiana has to

offer, you enjoy a variety of unique, memory-making experiences that you just can’t find anywhere else. Love the great outdoors? Then Louisiana is a must-visit. Where else can you paddle through cypress forests, camp by a bayou, or bike through groves of live oaks all in the same day? And when enjoying the outdoors in Louisiana, you’re never far from delicious food, live music, and the captivating locals welcoming you with open arms. There’s so much to see, do, and explore in Louisiana—check out the upcoming fall festivals and “Feed Your Soul.” Visit LouisianaTravel.com for more details on hundreds of amazing adventures. The Alexandria/Pineville area, located halfway between I-10 and I-20 along I-49, comes alive in the fall with festivals, fairs, events, and concerts. Cycle your way through Central Louisiana during the Le Tour de Bayou cycling event hosted by Kent Plantation House on Saturday, September 15. Cyclers from across the United States ride up to 101 miles during the event. Enjoy the sounds of the Rapides Symphony Orchestra during their annual “Pops on the River” concert at the Alexandria Amphitheater on Saturday, September 15. Get ready to get funky on October 6 with the 4th Annual Funktoberfest, central Louisiana’s original outdoor craft beer and music festival featuring a home brew competition. On October 18, come out and enjoy great music and drinks while sampling Cajun and Wild Game dishes at the 18th Annual United Way Wild Cook-Off. Finally, on October 19, search for unique art pieces as the Fall ArtWalk takes over the streets of Alexandria’s Cultural Arts District. This annual event features art, music, dance, and art demonstrations, along with an array of craft vendors. Visit AlexandriaPinevilleLA.com or call 1-800-551-9546 for details on these events and more!


Home Grown

Casinos & Resorts


ouisianians have a lot of pride in their state and are some of the most creative, fun-loving people that the South has to offer. From its festivals and quirky “parishes” to its unparalleled Cajun and Creole cuisine, the state’s unique cultural habits and attractions make for a—dare we say it—gumbo of great flavor. Louisiana’s homegrown businesses keep the fun alive with their imaginative and original ideas, local friendliness, expertise and authenticity. Thriving communities all across the state rely on the support of residents who understand that buying local makes for sustainable Louisiana living. Whether you’re buying local produce, arts, and crafts, doing business with a locally based bank or shopping at your favorite mom ‘n’ pop hardware store, there’s a joy that comes along with knowing you’re supporting your neighbors. This fall, the spotlight shines on Louisiana businesses showing their state pride with products made right here at home. Known as Sportsman’s Paradise, Louisiana’s diverse landscapes welcome the explorer within us all. From the cypress-filled bayous of Cajun Country to the oak-lined streets of New Orleans and the hills, lakes, and forests of North Louisiana, adventurers have plenty to discover across this beautiful state. A seasoned local explorer deserves seasoned, local gear, and the built-to-last, sustainable bags made by Tchoup Industries show your Louisiana pride while inspiring travel “for city or swamp.” Based in New Orleans’ Lower Garden District, Tchoup Industries (short for “Tchoupitoulas” and pronounced “chop”) designs, cuts, sews, and sells its durable, designer bags all under one roof. Owner/Designer Patti Dunn and her team pride themselves on sourcing local Louisiana materials such as hand-woven panels, recycled rice bangs, alligator leathers, nutria furs, and metal hook closures that double as bottle openers. Bolstered by field-tested sewn construction reinforcements, the bags shouldn’t require repairs, but in the event that they do, repairs are available in-house at any time. Visit the store at 1115 Saint Mary Street in New Orleans or online at TchoupIndustries.com.

photo courtesty tchoup industries


veryone knows Louisiana for its alligator-filled swamps, historic architecture, and dishes like gumbo, beignets, or boiled crawfish, but there’s more to experience in the state than cemeteries, bayous, plantations, and festivals. Louisiana is a great place to get a little relaxation and a lot of thrills with the fun and luxurious offerings of its casinos and resorts. From the live concerts of super stars to the full-service spas, golf courses, restaurants, and—of course—table games and slots, you can pack a week’s worth of vacation action into as many or as few days as you’ve got to spare. Many casino resorts also offer kid-friendly activities and amenities, so make a family affair of your little escape. And, you never know—with one lucky day or night, a trip to a casino could end up paying for itself. Find your fun this fall among some of Louisiana’s most exciting destinations. Paragon features an impressive lineup of luxury amenities and attractions, including a 531-room hotel, full-service spa and salon, 18-hole golf course with a fully stocked pro-shop and grillroom, indoor tropical pool with a swim-up bar, a soaring atrium with “living” bayou and live alligators, three-screen cinema, Atrium Bar with an ice bar, seven restaurants, daiquiri bar, full-service RV resort with 205 slips and 30 cabins, Kids Quest child care activity center, Cyber Quest arcade, over 75,000 square feet of meeting space, and a variety of retail shops. With Las Vegas-style slot machines and over 64,000 square feet of gaming action, Paragon also features multiple table games, including Craps, Blackjack, Roulette and a poker room. Paragon also has a free player’s club membership program. Paragon Casino Resort is owned and operated by the TunicaBiloxi Tribe of Louisiana. For more information, please visit paragoncasinoresort.com and follow Paragon Casino Resort on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.




Louisiana Life september/october 2018




Oct. 18-21. International Rice Festival. Crowley. ricefestival.com

september/ october

Oct. 20-21. Poche Plantation Arts and Crafts Show. Convent. pocheplantationartsandcrafts.com Oct. 20-21. Rougarou Festival. Houma. rougaroufest.org

plantation country

Festivals around the state

Sept. 15. Feliciana Hummingbird Celebration. St. Francisville. stfrancisvillefestivals.com

by Kelly Massicot

Oct. 3. Tangipahoa Parish Fair. Amite. facebook.com/TangiFair Oct. 19-21. Harvest Festival on False River. New Roads. harvestfestivalnewroads.com


Oct. 25-Nov. 4. Greater Baton Rouge State Fair. Baton Rouge. gbrsf.com

Aug. 30-Sept. 3. Southern Decadence. New Orleans. southerndecadence.net

Oct. 27-28. Yellow Leaf Arts Festival. St. Francisville. stfrancisvillefestivals.com

Sept. 10-16. Restaurant Week. New Orleans. coolinaryneworleans. com/restaurant-week Sept. 20-23. Burlesque Fest. New Orleans. neworleansburlesquefest.com


Sept. 22. NOLA On Tap. New Orleans. nolaontap.org

Oct. 1-5. West Louisiana Forestry Festival & Fair. Leesville.

Cajun Country

Oct. 10. Rapides Parish Fair. Alexandria. therapidesparishfair. com

Aug. 30-Sept. 3. Louisiana Shrimp & Petroleum Festival. Morgan City. shrimpandpetroleum.org


Oct. 19-21. Andouille Festival. LaPlace. andouillefestival.com

Sept. 7-8. Lydia Cajun Food Fest. Lydia. lydiacancerassociation.org/ food-fest

Sept. 15. Highland Jazz and Blues Festival. Shreveport. highlandjazzandblues.org

Oct. 20. Krewe of Boo. New Orleans. kreweofboo.com

Sept. 13-15. Kiwanis Pepper Festival. St. Martinville.

Oct. 20. Mac n’ Cheese Fest. New Orleans. nolamacncheesefest.com

Sept. 20-23. Gueydan Duck Festival. Gueydan. duckfestival.org

Sept. 29. Mooringsport Cypress Festival. Mooringsport. mooringsportfestival.com

Oct. 20-21. Country Smooth Fest. New Orleans. countrysmoothfest.com

Sept. 26-30. Louisiana Sugar Cane Festival. New Iberia. hisugar.org/wordpress

Oct. 26-28. Voodoo Music + Arts Experience. New Orleans. voodoofestival.com

Oct. 11-14. Festivals Acadiens et Créoles. Lafayette. festivalsacadiens.com

Sept. 22-23. Fried Chicken Festival. New Orleans. friedchickenfestival.com

Oct. 13. Carnaval Latino. New Orleans. carnavalatinola.com

Sept. 28-29. Bogalusa Blues & Heritage Festival. Bogalusa. bogalusablues.com

Oct. 13-14. Madisonville Wooden Boat Festival. Madisonville. woodenboatfest.org

Sept. 28-30. Alligator Festival. Luling. alligatorfestival.org Sept. 28-30. Gretna Heritage Festival. Gretna. gretnafest.com Sept. 28-30. Hurricane Festival. Cut Off. lacajunbayou.com Oct. 5-7. Treme Fest. New Orleans. faubourgtreme.wixsite.com/tremefest Oct. 6. Beignet Fest. New Orleans. beignetfest.com Oct. 5-6, 12-13, 19-20. Oktoberfest. Kenner. oktoberfestnola.com Oct. 12-14. Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival. New Orleans. jazzandheritage.org/blues-fest Oct. 12-14. Bridge City Gumbo Festival. Bridge City. bridgecitygumbofestival.org Oct. 12-14. WWII Air, Sea & Land Festival. New Orleans. airsealandfest.com


Louisiana Life september/october 2018


beignet festival

at City Park’s Festival Grounds, Beignet Fest is a local festival surrounding the city’s favorite sweet treat and the Tres Doux

Sept. 29-Oct. 7. Red River Revel. Shreveport. redriverrevel.com Oct. 11-13. Zwolle Tamale Fiesta. Zwolle. zwolletamalefiesta.com Oct. 25-Nov.11. State Fair of Louisiana. Shreveport. statefairoflouisiana.com

Foundation’s want to provide the Big Easy with more programs serving children with developmental issues. Guests can expect to see performances by

Eric Lindell and the Imagination Movers while snacking on bites from the Ruby Slipper, Legacy Kitchen and New Orleans Coffee & Beignet Co. to name a few.



a louisiana life

Dean’s List New to New Orleans, Dr. Camellia Moses Okpodu looks forward to studying coastal erosion on the front lines By Megan Hill portrait by romero & romero

Camellia Moses Okpodu, Ph.D., the new

dean of the College of Arts and Sciences for Xavier University of Louisiana, says she’s looking forward to many aspects of living in New Orleans after spending the last several years in Norfolk, Virginia: Heritage, history, culture. And bugs. “There are so many unique bugs to look out for,” she says with a laugh. “And all the other critters out there.” That’s a fitting thought for a career biologist — even one who didn’t study wildlife. Dr. Okpodu leaves her post as Professor of Biology and Director of the Group for Microgravity and Environmental Biology at Norfolk State University. She has a B.S. in Biochemistry and a Ph.D. in plant physiology/ biochemistry. “I’m very humbled by this opportunity of being part of a historically black college and university. And being part of a university that has the same core value and same core mission that I have, which is to have global citizens that are both just and humane,” she says. Dr. Okpodu has spent the bulk of her research career on environmental topics, including climate change. She was awarded a grant from the Department of Homeland Security to study how plants change in response to increased salinity from coastal erosion and the resulting seawater infiltration. So, her position at Xavier will put her on the front lines of this issue. “I’m working to understand which plants we might want to put in the landscape in response to differences in coastal flood plains,” Dr. Okpodu says. “I’m really interested in comparing the data I’ve collected in Norfolk to what I will learn in New Orleans. I want to get the students involved too, and the community, to do citizen science.” Even with a career full of accomplishments in a field underrepresented by women of color, Dr. Okpodu says her proudest achievements lie outside of her career. “I’m proud of my academic record and my scholarship, but I’m most proud of being a mother of three daughters who are raised primarily by myself with the help of my mom and family.” n

“I’m excited to experience New Orleans and all it has to offer: Its history, its landscape, and of course, the great food.”