Louisiana Life September-October 2017

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september/october 2017

Casino dining

Place your bets on these restaurants P. 36

Exploring the Sportsman’s Paradise




sept/oct VOLUME 38 NUMBER 1 6


From The Editor

Jole Blon’s Anniversary 8 Photo Contest

Pecking Order: A marsh hen forages for insects across the lily pads south of Lake Arthur. along the way

The Tree Funeral: Creative punishments and an outdoorsy childhood shape a young conservationist

52 great louisiana chef

Local Flavor: Sustainable, seasonal and domestic fare is at the heart of Monroe-native Cory Bahr’s culinary pursuits

14 health

Locavore: 5 fabulous farmers markets throughout the state



kitchen gourmet

Literary Louisiana

Catch of the Day: Extend a bounty of locally caught redfish with four deliciously distinct dishes

Carnal Knowledge: New Orleans author investigates sex, hooking up and the shifting emotional landscape of college-aged students

62 calendar


Dawn DeDeaux: New Orleans artist uses installations to save ‘MotherShip’ Earth and Louisiana’s wetlands

farther flung

Fresh Pickings: Fet organic, sustainable and humane offerings at Alexandria’s Inglewood Farms

Pelican Briefs: Films, funny money, flights and free lunch



roadside dining

state of louisiana


Natural Education: Nature centers dazzle in fall, teach us about Louisiana’s outdoors environments



Beyond the Surface: The environment is the driving force behind Thibodaux woodworker David Bergeron’s work


Texas Welcome: Like an old friend, the Texas Gulf Coast promises fun, food and easy relaxation


Made In Louisiana



36 Put your Cards on the Dining Table

Exploring the Sportsman’s Paradise

Casino dining takes a chance on making a culinary mark and it’s a win

By chris holmes

Site Specific: Becky and Kenny Nelkin’s Bayou Teche home draws Louisiana’s French heritage and the area’s natural beauty

2 Louisiana Life september/october 2017

64 a louisiana life

Passion in Action: Director of Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana follows her calling to save the state’s coast and wetlands

by Babs Van Zandt

26 home

September and October: Events and festivals around the state


Louisiana is known for its otherworldly swamps, marshes, coastal areas, lakes, rivers and bayous, quite simply the all around abundance of land, water, flora and fauna. Those elements have contributed

to the state’s nickname, the Sportsman’s Paradise, but — even if you aren’t into the sporting life — its still a scenic place to live. In this issue, we are highlighting people who work hard to conserve and preserve the

state’s natural resources and celebrating the natural beauty of Louisiana. Each conservation story is marked with a small Earth icon at the top left of the page.

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

Colleen@LouisianaLife.com (504) 830-7215 account executive Lisa Holland LisaH@LouisianaLife.com (504) 830-7298 marketing DIRECTOR OF MARKETING & EVENTS Cheryl Lemoine event coordinator Whitney Weathers


Silver Art Direction of a Single Story Sarah George Bronze Column Melissa Bienvenue Bronze Food Feature Award of Merit Reader Service Article 2012

Gold Companion Website 2011

Silver Overall Art Direction Tiffani Reding Amedeo

digital media associate Mallary Matherne

For event information call (504) 830-7264 Production production manager Jessica DeBold production designers Monique Di Pietro,

Demi Schaffer, Molly Tullier traffic coordinator 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 2017

1st Place Best Magazine 2016

Lifetime Achievement Award Errol Laborde 1st Place Best Magazine 1st Place Layout/Design Sarah George 2nd Place Best Magazine 2nd Place Layout/Design Sarah George 2nd Place Best Portrait Danley Romero

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.

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2nd Place Governmental/ Political Writing Jeremy Alford 3rd Place Column Melissa Bienvenu 3rd Place Medical/Health Writing Amanda Wicks




Jole Blon’s Anniversary By Errol Laborde

Somewhere on an autumn night

when the sudden chill in the air betrays the truth that there will still be warm days, ahead the melody might hit you. If you’re in a Cajun dance hall it begins with a rollicking fiddle solo, the same if an aged jukebox begins to play as the scratchiness on the record adds patina to the sound. At a football stadium in Lake Charles, there’s the echo from the blast of a marching band as the McNeese Cowboy orchestra takes to the field. Then comes the up-tempo and all the Cowboy fans in the stadium know to sway in unison to a march-time rendition of what is the university’s fight song and the Cajun anthem. Before 2017 fades way let it not be overlooked that a piece of music born out of Louisiana passion dominated the country charts 70 years ago, in 1947. There were five variations of the song (some with different spellings) on Billboard’s Top 100 Country Music chart that year, with what would be the most popular rendition, “Jole Blon,” by Cajun fiddler Harry Choates having climbed to number four in the nation. Choates and his band, the Melody Boys, had recorded the song in 1946 for the Houston-based Gold Star label. Other performers liked the song’s infectious 6 Louisiana Life september/october 2017

swing-time danceability and began recording various versions so that by 1947 there were, among others, a recording by country legend Ray Acuff as well as “New Pretty Blonde” and “New Jolie Blonde” by Moon Mullican and Red Foley respectively. (Number One that year was, “Here Comes Santa Claus” by Gene Autry.) There were earlier versions of the song with the first recording in 1929 made in in Atlanta by the Breaux Brothers. Debate remains about the song’s author and just who was that pretty blonde. The song was recorded in French and English and the message is the same in both: She left here and went back home. He laments that she is in the arms another. He concludes that there are plenty other pretty blondes around and that he will find another. Pretty blond, you thought there was just you, There is not just you in the land to love me. I can find another pretty blond, Good God knows, I have a lot. Harry Choates could have been a Cajun superstar except for the demons — booze, hard living and womanizing got to him. He was born and raised in Louisiana, near New Iberia. The state shaped his music and career though much of his time was spent in Texas. In July, 1951 he was hauled to an Austin jail for non-payment of child support. There he began to act crazy, possibly because of the shakes from not having an alcohol fix, and started banging his head on the cell bars. He was found unconscious. Harry Choates died July, 17. He was only 28. Choates reminds me of a Hank Williamstype character. Both performers had similar demons; both died unexpectedly. On Jan. 1, 1952 Williams was found dead in the backseat of a car outside a restaurant. The cause was likely heart failure due to alcohol and morphine, He was only 29. “Jole Blon” and Williams’ “Your Cheating Heart” are part of the ongoing saga of man and woman embraced, yet tormented by each other. For Choates’ recording, this year is a milestone. Blessed is a song that can inspire both love stories and a fight song.




pecking order A marsh hen forages for insects among the lily pads south of Lake Arthur. Photo by Bernadette



Submit your photos by visiting louisianalife.com

8 Louisiana Life september/october 2017

along the way

The Tree Funeral Creative punishments and an outdoorsy childhood shape a young conservationist written and photographed by

Melanie Warner Spencer

We gathered in gloomy silence

around two shallow pits on the edge of the woods and watched as my 13-year-old cousin lowered each casualty into freshly turned dirt. My 15-year-old brother, other 11-year-old cousin, and my 12-year-old self served simultaneously as supervisors of the punishment’s implementation and as mourners. The victims: two saplings. Dad discovered the carnage during a routine walk of the property. The investigation, interrogation, trial and sentencing — which all took place at the scene of the crime — were swift and, as is always the case with my dad, the penalty was both fitting and creative. An avalanche of evidence pointed to my oldest male cousin (whose name is being withheld because he was a juvenile at the time) as the perpetrator. It didn’t take long to wrangle out a confession. Dad kept all of us there while the offender grimly dug the graves and buried the young trees, imparting a

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lesson that day about the meaningless destruction of nature and other people’s property and the consequences to such illconceived actions. A childhood steeped in family camping vacations; hiking and fishing trips; countless hours helping my grandparents care for their livestock and land; and those inventive schoolings at my father’s knee admittedly made a nature-loving conservationist out of me. Perhaps because of that, time spent at the beach or in the forest is always the quickest way for me to relax and recharge. When a trip to the coast isn’t an option, it’s not a problem. A bike ride on the Tammany Trace hike and bike trail or a nature walk at the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve serve as quick fixes to the stressors of city life. In fact, a recent 30-minute visit to the alligator habitat at the University of Louisiana did wonders for my disposition. As my husband Mark and I watched alligators gliding through the

water and turtles swimming or sunbathing on logs, my breathing got a little easier and I nearly forgot we were in the middle of downtown Lafayette. In May, Mark and I went to Toledo Bend. At 185,000 acres, Toledo Bend is the largest man-made body of water in the South and fifth largest in the United States. It is breathtaking. We stayed at Cypress Bend Resort, and while we aren’t anglers or golfers, gorgeous scenery and light hiking kept us occupied for a few days and nights. The swimming pool and bar helped pass a little time too. One evening during our stay, we smuggled a bottle of bubbly out to the overlook for a sunset toast. As we navigated the slight inclines of the concrete path, fireflies began to flicker in the trees. We could hear the sound of water lapping against the ground as we approached the steep bluff. I did the honors of popping the cork and pouring our drinks. Looking out at Texas in the distance, the sky ablaze with pink, orange, blue and purple, a light breeze came in off of the reservoir rustling the leaves in the trees and we clinked our cups. Surrounded that night by mature pine and shade trees, I made a mental note to call my dad to tell him about our trip and that it reminded me of that one time he staged the tree funeral. Inevitably when I called the next day, the conversation turned to the time I climbed the birch tree, was overcome by a sudden fear of heights and Dad had to rescue me with an extension ladder. That experience gave me an altogether different interpretation of the term tree hugger. n




Research Ship Announced

pelican briefs Films, funny money, flights and free lunch by

Lisa LeBlanc-Berry

Gains for Gooding Cuba Gooding Jr., the Oscar-winning “Jerry Maguire” star, just made his directorial debut in Louisiana with the New Orleans-set thriller, “Louisiana Caviar.” It finished filming at summer’s end. In it, a Russian oligarch is banished from the U.S. and Gooding portrays a boxer. The A-list actor is now setting his sights on another Louisiana-shot production, “Katrina: American Crime Story. “Gooding’s dramatic portrayal of O.J. Simpson in the franchise’s first season, “The People v O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” attracted nine Emmys, a Golden Globe and five other coveted awards. FX recently announced that production dates for its third anthology season about Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath have been delayed from late 2017 to early 2018. The original, politically-inspired story for the Katrina series is now based on Dr. Sheri Fink’s book, “Five Days at Memorial,” based on suspected homicides at the hospital during and shortly after the hurricane. Prior to press, producers announced that Sarah Paulson (pictured above), 2017 Golden Globe winner for “American Crime Story,” is portraying the controversial Dr. Anna Pou. Casting announcements and changes continue for the blossoming production.

Halloween Hauntings Baton Rouge, Jefferson, St. Francisville, Hammond, New Orleans, Leesville Are you looking for spooky spots to wear those new fangs for Halloween? The 13th Gate Haunted House in Baton Rouge has live snakes, a crematory oven

and about 100 scary actors; Necropolis 13 is like walking through an old cemetery with its 400 zombie infested crypts in a 40,000 square-foot haunted space (across the street from 13th Gate). The House of Shock in Jefferson hosts a full Halloween Festival with pyrotechnics, a bar, music and food. The Myrtles in St. Francisville, known as the most haunted house in America, has creepy tours each weekend in October (stay overnight if you dare). Rise Haunted

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House in Hammond has a hidden lab that simulates experiments to create the walking dead, plus the Dark Souls Haunted House, and Operation Deadly Assault Zombie Paintball featuring a paintball hayride as you hunt the undead. The Mortuary’s City of the Dead in New Orleans is the epitome of haunted houses. The Tree Farm Massacre in Leesville is a 45-minte walk-through horror trail with a zombie hunt for added gore.

Baton Rouge and beyond

Funny money

The 20th Judicial DA’s office has advised that there has been an increase in counterfeit currency being used in the Baton Rouge area. At first glance, it appears to be authentic, but the bad cash has notices indicating that it’s for use in movies and is not legal currency. So, if you come across the funny money, don’t try to use it or stash the cash, or you may end up wearing stripes (it’ a felony, so call the DA: 225-683-8563).

Gulf Island Shipyards in Houma was awarded a contract by Oregon State University to build a $122 million, 193-foot ocean research ship (courtesy of a National Science Foundation grant). The cutting-edge new vessel, expected to support science operations for 40 years or longer, will have advanced sensors that can detect and characterize harmful algae blooms, including those associated with the annual summer Gulf of Mexico dead zones occurring in Louisiana and Texas.

Flying High for Less Kenner The Denver-based no-frills discount carrier, Frontier Airlines, begins its new non-stop flights from Louis Armstrong International Airport to AustinBergstrom International (Oct. 5), Providence, Rhode Island’s T.F. Green Airport (Oct. 5), San Antonio International (Oct. 6) and New York’s Long Island MacArthur Airport (Oct. 6). A new $1 billion terminal is scheduled to open in 2019.

Disney Bucks are Back Lake Charles

State’s First Microhospital Louisiana’s first micro-hospital opens in midOctober in Lake Charles (3730 Nelson Road). AMD Global LLC officials said the 33,000 squarefoot facility, built on seven acres, has a smaller footprint than regular hospitals with enhanced visual aesthetics and more individualized patient care, as well as 24-hour ER. Plans to build similar hospitals around the state are underway.

Louisiana was selected as the filming location for Disney’s live-action adaptation of the children’s book, “Timmy Failure.” The feature-length film is in pre-production through September, with 60 days of principal photography to follow. Budgeted at $42 million (with $32 million being spent in-state), the major studio has Tom McCarthy (“Spotlight,” winner of two Oscars) as director.

Lake Charles

Lunch is On Us All of the students at Lake Charles College Prep, Lake Charles Charter Academy and Southwest Louisiana Charter Academy can now get free breakfast and lunch daily for the 2017-18 school year. Unlike in past years, parents aren’t required to complete any forms for free and reduced-price meals. For more info: 337-475-7910.

Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP


Locavore 5 fabulous farmers markets throughout the state by Fritz


America is sharply divided on many issues these days,

but most people can agree that eating healthy is a good thing and so is supporting local businesses. You can do both at the same time at a farmers market. Plus you can meet the farmers who grew the food, ask them questions and leave with the ingredients for delicious meals. To find a farmers market near you, visit the United States Department of Agriculture directory at ams.usda.gov. n


2 lafayette

new orleans

Hollygrove Market & Farm

Hub City Farmers Market

Crescent City Farmers Market

In a New Orleans neighborhood that’s underserved by grocery stores, this market provides all the basics like veggies, dairy, meat, coffee and bread, as well as other nifty options like soaps and honey. There are discounts for neighbors and students, as well as demonstrations for those interested in adopting environmentally sustainable practices.

The Oil Center in Lafayette hosts this market every Saturday year-round. Aside from the usual staples, you can get goodies like Mediterranean foods and sprouted cereals. On the third Saturday of every month, local artists join the market to sell their works.

new orleans



The Crescent City Farmers Market shifts to various locations in New Orleans on different days of the week (Uptown, French Quarter, Mid-City, Downtown). It features seafood, fresh dairy, farm-raised meat, cut flowers and handcrafted meals. Frequent special events, such as a recent one on the 4th of July, include a petting zoo and games for kids. crescentcityfarmersmarket.org



Baton Rouge


Red Stick Farmers Market

Teche Area Farmers Market

This Baton Rouge organization operates markets in different areas of the city. All produce is locally grown. There are also specialty items like seafood, artisan breads, homemade pies, and herbs. Be sure to check out the cooking demonstrations, too.

In Cajun country, this market is devoted to not just local farmers and bakers, but also local artists and crafters. You can regularly see hand-crafted wooden bowls and utensils, birdhouses, garden benches and much more.

new iberia

cityofnewiberia.com breada.org/markets/red-stick-farmers-market

14 Louisiana Life september/october 2017



LITERARY LOUISIANA Orleans and consider it my true home. I think everything about life that is good is much, much better here. And what’s bad in life is worse here, but when you really love someone you want to be there for the tragedy as well as the good and I’m in love with New Orleans.

Carnal Knowledge New Orleans author investigates sex, hooking up and the shifting emotional landscape of college-aged students by

Amanda Orr

As you send your

beloved offspring to college this fall you know that alcohol-fueled hookups are as much a part of campus life as football games and dorm rooms. In fact, you probably have your own fond memories of hookups, but according to one sociologist and expert in human sexuality, dating culture has been completely usurped by the culture of casual sex. Lisa Wade, a sociology professor at Occidental College, looks at this phenomenon without judgment in “American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus” — she highlights the good aspects of a more sex-positive environment — while dissecting the emotional and social impacts through student interviews and

hooking up, a how to (excerpts from the book)

Step 1: Pregame. “When everyone is being their intoxicated self, students collectively

examination of who most benefits from this no-stringsattached setup. It is a fun, but messy and sometimes tragic picture Wade paints through her findings. For me, the quote from her book that most encapsulates the reality of the changing relationship dynamics on campus is from a male student: “It’s harder to ask some-

bring into existence a thing called ‘drunkworld’.” Step 2: Grind. “Grinding is the main activity at most college parties. Women who are willing press their backs and backsides against men’s bodies and dance rhythmically.”

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Step 3: Initiate a hookup. “’The classic move to establish that you want to hook up with someone,” Miranda’s friend Ruby wrote from a woman’s perspective, “is to turn around to face him, rather than dance with your back pressed against his front.”

one out than it is to ask someone to go back to your room.” Her message to readers is not to ask “How can we go back?” but “Where do we go from here?” Q: I know you’re a professor in Los Angeles, so why do you call New Orleans home? A: I’m officially bi-coastal, but I bought a house in New

Step 4: Do… something. “According to the Online College Social Life Survey, in 40 percent of hookups, Ruby’s ‘it’ means intercourse. Another 12 percent include only what we might call foreplay: nudity and some touching of

Q: So what is hookup culture and why did you decide to write a book about it? A: The simplest definition of hookup culture is the idea that people should be having casual sex. A more complex definition includes a set of rules for interaction of students that facilitate these hookups within an institutional context. I started teaching freshmanand senior-level human sexuality classes and noticed that the media coverage and popular culture conversation about hookup culture was oversimplified and didn’t capture how insightful students are about it. As part of the class, my students wrote in diaries and when I collected them I was impressed with what they had to say. They deserved to have their voices out there and I decided the public conversation about the subject needed to have an intervention. Q: How do you think the university system is set up to encourage hookup culture? A: Colleges are now marketing themselves as places where people should come to have

genitals, while 13 percent proceed to oral sex, mostly performed by women on men, but don’t include intercourse. A full 35 percent of hookups don’t go any further than open-mouth kissing and groping.”

Step 5: Establish meaninglessness. “The goal is ‘fast, random, no-stringsattached sex.’” Step 5a: Be (or claim to be) plastered. “Sober sex is interpreted entirely differently from drunk sex. It’s heavy with meaning.

fun and it’s reiterated in pop culture and the way parents talk about their college experiences. Imagine if colleges sold themselves as rigorous, challenging or mind-achingly difficult. It’s about fun — and a particular kind of fun. We can thank frat brothers for that narrow image of partying to the point of perilousness and sexual conquests. University relationships with fraternities allow men to define what fun is at college. There are institutional rules such as no drinking allowed in dorms, no parties allowed on sorority row and laws such as no drinking until 21 that encourage students to attend fraternity parties. Q: It seems like hookup culture is not contained to colleges, it happens in junior highs across America on up to retirement communities. Single adults often downgrade from a dating relationship to a hookup-only relationship with that same person. A: It’s a cultural phenomenon that’s gained power on college campuses but you’ll see the hookup script escaping to other institutions. If you think of the rules for hooking up as one script, and the rules for dating as another script, you’ll encounter people who are going to use the dating script at first and then move to a hookup script with no notice and that’s now seen as a legitimate thing to do — flip the script. Students

‘A sober hookup indicates one that is more serious,’ explained a student.’” Step 5b: Cap your hookups. “A second trick for dismissing the significance of hookups is to limit how many times two students hook up together.”

accept that the person you’re having sex with doesn’t have to have feelings for you. Q: Is there anything good about hookup culture? A: Most students don’t want to go back to a situation where women were considered broken or disgusting if they had sex, and most men agree. Plus, the open acknowledgement that we are sexual, that it’s normal to have sexual feelings, want to connect in that way and that we shouldn’t have to feel guilty about wanting that. Q: Do you have insights or advice specific to hookup culture for students going off to college for the first time this fall? A: Yes, two things. One is whatever you feel about what would make you comfortable sexually is the right thing for you. Full stop. And two, no matter what kind of sexual interaction you have, whether it be with a friend, husband, stranger, you always deserve to be treated with respect and kindness. This interview has been edited for length and clarity. n

“American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus”

By Lisa Wade W.W. Norton & Company, $26.95

Step 5c: Create emotional distance. “After it’s all over, students confirm that a hookup meant nothing by giving their relationship — whatever it was — a demotion. The rule is to be less close after a hookup than before, at least for

a time. If students were good friends, they should act like acquaintances. If they were strangers, they should act like strangers. And if they were strangers, they shouldn’t acknowledge each other’s existence at all.”




Beyond the Surface The environment is the driving force behind Thibodaux woodworker David Bergeron’s work By Jeffrey photos By

Roedel Romero & Romero

It’s 7 a.m. and David

Bergeron is up with the sun. There’s a smattering of fresh materials — junk to some, and new only to Bergeron’s woodshop — waiting to be sorted, strategically stacked and readied for rebirth. The artist saved this wood from languishing in a landfill. The material has weathered in wait for years and generations, making its way across the South and the neighborhoods of New Orleans, into much of coastal Louisiana closer to Bergeron’s current home of Thibodaux. As Bergeron gets to work on these vintage materials, he isn’t so much fiddling with old

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wood as assuming the role of a caretaker for something that could speak of stories of old. Maybe even a forgotten truth. These slats and boards are the former bones of his city and he wakes up every morning to resurrect the dead. He launched Bergeron Woodworks in his mid-20s, and now at 45, the Delgado Community College alum has built with his hands a kaleidoscopic body of reclaimed woodwork, from $30 geometric picture frames to intricate custom-built benches, beds and tables that fetch thousands. Growing up on the West Bank, Bergeron watched his grandfather, a woodworker and gardener, make a proud living and build the family homestead on a third-grade education. “I kind of bounced around construction and was lucky enough to encounter a few very talented people,” Bergeron says. “I just tried to keep my mouth shut and watch.” His work is time-intensive, due to the nature of the materials and the fact that he’s doing everything he can to maintain the integrity and color of the wood. It didn’t take long for Bergeron’s playful colors — which reflect the city’s personality and his constant attention to detail — to catch the eye of the House of Blues. For a decade he helped to define the eclectic rainbow remix of designs that became part of the unforgettable aesthetic of the Decatur Street music mecca. “At the beginning, [House of Blues] had a really talented in-house art and design department that was very focused on keeping the founder’s vision intact,” Bergeron says. “It was an incredible learning experience that I could not put a price on.” With the House of Blues as a client, Bergeron’s sense of story and his passion for environmentally-friendly work led to three separate creative projects for the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Tennessee, including a series of 10-foot by 10-foot frames for

Q&A What do you do for fun when you’re not putting in 10 hours inside the shop? I’ve been really getting into the work of the abstract expressionist painter Richard Diebenkorn lately — for whatever that’s worth. Mostly, I’m an outdoors kind of person. So running I love. Being out in nature, hiking and beer. I’m trying to get a better grip on the organic gardening thing too, but that is proving to be quite the learning curve, ha. Do you feel like you have to seek out inspirations and explore other people’s art to move forward? People are always recommending that I check out the work of so-and-so, but I’m a firm believer in ‘protecting the eye.’ In other words, I feel like everything we take in or experience affects us so I like to curate that very carefully. Your work used the old bones of structures of New Orleans, so in a very tangible way, New Orleans influences your work. Why did you decide this was the place for your woodwork to thrive? Can you define the spirit of the city? New Orleans has an openness that is a lot harder to find in the rest of the South. I grew up in a lower-to-middle income, blue-collar and culturally-diverse area, and I wouldn’t change that for anything. Just people helping people and figuring it all out.



housing acclaimed rock photographer Danny Clinch’s work. The festival founders responded well to the principals of sustainability that Bergeron’s work professes, but this wasn’t always the case. Twenty years ago the populace was much more timid about purchasing furniture from salvaged materials. “People would approach the work with interest and then back off when you said it was from the trash,” Bergeron recalls. “Now when you say it’s from the trash they move forward.” Protecting the environment has always been his driving force, he says. In 2016 alone, Bergeron diverted more than five tons of material from the waste stream. “When its all said and done, that is something I will lay my head on,” he says. If de-nailing wood slats for days on end has his muscles feeling like they are filled with battery acid, or the soothing effects of a new color palette of well-weathered materials has his childlike wonder lit and aloft, all of it is part of his process and central to the more fundamental desire Bergeron holds for his life’s work. He wants to see beyond the surface of all things — inanimate and living. At the very heart of Bergeron’s craft is a search for a kind of glory in someone else’s garbage, a rescue mission for the rebirthed and bright future of what was once cast away. “The most rewarding thing is creating value in a piece of material that is otherwise unwanted,” Bergeron says. “I think that with a little time and creativity, all people and materials have value.” n

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Q&A You’ve certainly figured things out, and had some incredibly recognizable clients like the House of Blues and Bonnaroo. You must have come across some celebrities. I did do a piece for Brad Pitt’s Make It Right 9 Project in the Lower 9th Ward, and I got to meet him. I went to introduce myself, and he says ‘Oh, I know who you are, I love your stuff.’ That’s a great story. Pitt seems to be someone with a keen eye for design and construction and I can’t imagine how many new people he met and worked with during the entire project, so that’s a compliment. Any tales of rock ‘n’ roll from working for the Bonnaroo? I don’t think any of my rock ‘n’ roll stories are fit for print, ha!




Dawn DeDeaux New Orleans artist uses installations to save ‘MotherShip’ Earth and Louisiana’s wetlands By John R. Kemp

In recent years, many Louisiana

artists have worked to document the alarming rate at which Louisiana is losing its environmentally-rich coastal wetlands. Galleries and museums across the state regularly show dramatic images of watery landscapes where marshlands once stood. Few artists however, have used their art as a call for public and political action. In steps New Orleans artist Dawn DeDeaux, who has gained international acclaim for her monumental, synchronized, media-driven art installations with a conscience. Her work is complex, layered and unsettling with razor-sharp social consciousness that examines the human condition, inner-city violence, and, more recently, the destruction of Louisiana’s wetlands. As an strident advocate for saving the environment, her conceptual artworks are more than simply art for art’s sake, but art for social and environmental justice. In her constantly evolving “MotherShip” project for instance, DeDeaux explores the sustainability of life on earth, beginning with ancient myths predicting the end of time, to contemporary social, economic and ecological signs that show those prophesies may be coming true. A later phase conjures images of humans escaping planet Earth and what earthly souvenirs they may take to a new utopian life on other planets. “I have had a long-term interest in using public art as an educational, communicative tool that aims to connect citizenry across socio-race-class-political barriers,” she says. Her work has not gone unnoticed. DeDeaux, a co-founder of the New Orleans Contemporary Arts Center, has shown her art in major museums across the nation, including the prestigious Whitney Museum in New York. Her awards could fill a wall, and in 1996 the International Olympics Cultural Committee selected her

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as one of the eight most important Southern artists. The following year, the American Academy in Rome awarded her a Prix de Rome, and in late 2019 the New Orleans Museum of Art will stage a major retrospective of her work from 1975 to 2019. DeDeaux’s interest in art began early in life. “As a child, I lost a brother and a sister to disease and observed its classic destruction of our family,” she says. “Early grief and loss led me on a path aiming to reconcile love, suffering and spirit. I turned to art as a tool for investigation and as a refuge for the heart.” That refuge eventually led her to study art and theater at LSU, the University of Colorado and Newcomb/Tulane University. As her interest in conceptual public art expanded, she took courses in mass communication theory at Loyola University in New

Orleans and advanced digital technology at the University of New Orleans. With these tools in her palette box, DeDeaux’s conceptual installations are like theatrical stage settings, complete with electronically-driven lighting, sound and narrative where each object is an actor playing a part in visual dramas before live audiences. To heighten that drama, she creates on a human scale so that viewers react with a visceral response to what they see. Those installations first take form in her studio on the edge of the old Gentilly section of New Orleans. The main studio, housed in a long vacant early 20th century neighborhood corner grocery store, is one of four adjacent clapboard structures that she recently restored. All are filled with oversized artworks in progress or

Exhibitions and Events Through Oct. 1

Baton Rouge LSU Museum or Art, “Reflections: African American Life from the Myrna Colley-Lee Collection.” Show features 50 artworks that present the lives, traditions and environments of African American in the 20th century, Shaw Center for the Arts, 100 Lafayette St., 225-389-7200, lsumoa.org Through Oct. 15

New Orleans Ogden Museum of Southern Art, “Louisiana Contemporary.” Fifth annual statewide juried exhibition, featuring contemporary artists from across Louisiana. Also, “William Eggleston: Troubled Waters.” Featuring renowned Southern photographer William Eggleston’s images of rural life in the Mississippi Delta. 925 Camp St., 504-539-9650, ogdenmuseum.org Through Oct. 22


Dawn DeDeaux’s dynamic conceptual installation “Vanishing Coast Wall” (above) depicts South Louisiana’s fragile and threatened coastal wetlands. For example, in “Lostscapes: Killing Fields” (right), DeDeaux illustrates the disastrous effects caused by saltwater intrusion into Louisiana’s coastal waterways especially in Terrebonne and Plaquemines parishes where dead oak trees stand in watery graves. The oak is a metaphor for South Louisiana’s endangered culture and heritage. The human silhouette in each dramatizes the enormity of the problems facing Louisiana.

Meadows Museum of Art, “Unraveled by Jim Arendt.” South Carolina artist Jim Arendt explores shifting paradigms of labor and place and how transitions in economic structures affect individual lives. 2911 Centenary Blvd., 318-869-5011, centenary. edu/campus-community/ meadows-museum Through Dec. 2

Lake Charles Historic City Hall Arts & Crafts Center, “Colorama from the George Eastman Kodak Museum: The Stories Behind the Pictures.” Traveling show, featuring 36 large, nostalgic photographs of American families on vacation across the United States from the 1950s through the 1990s. These color images once hung in New York City’s Grand Central Station, 1001 Ryan St., 337-491-9147, cityoflakecharles.com



Dawn DeDeaux (above) is an internationallyacclaimed New Orleans artist who creates complex and layered monumental, synchronized, media-driven art installations to draw public awareness to Louisiana’s vanishing coastal wetlands and rising world sea levels. Large conceptual artworks such as “The End with Ladders and Rings” (above) are DeDeaux’s call for direct political and social action to head off impending environmental catastrophes.

left over from previous shows. In the garden, large remnants of past art installations seem to grow organically from the dark soil among banana trees and thick bushes of lush flowering plants and vines. This semitropical setting is a fitting place to create environmental art. Since Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the 2010 BP oil spill, DeDeaux has worked to make people aware of impending ecological catastrophes facing Louisiana. The state, she says, is at the frontline of environmental issues, ranging from coastal erosion and water contaminants found in rivers and wetland marshes to expanding dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico. “After Katrina, I turned to sculpture to reconstruct the landscape,” she says. “Then came the oil spill. That is when I became so aware of the eroding coastline and how much damage the oil company canals have done to the wetlands. The BP spill has shaped my work by going out there and experiencing the loss. Prompted by the wake-up call of Katrina and oil industry accidents and interventions, environmental activism is no

24 Louisiana Life september/october 2017

longer an extracurricular activity for the world’s fastest eroding land mass.” To interpret that destruction, DeDeaux launched her “Lostscapes: The Killing Fields” and “Mutants” series. The latter work, still in a planning phase, will consist of large, handmade, translucent orbs set afloat in waterways. Each is filled with chemicals that change color and glow when they encounter water pollutants. In “Lostscapes,” DeDeaux illustrates the disastrous effects of saltwater intrusion on Louisiana’s coastline, especially in Terrebonne and Plaquemines parishes where the land is disappearing rapidly. In these “apocalyptic landscapes,” DeDeaux memorializes dead oak trees that now stand in thousands of watery graves along the coast. The oak, she says, is a metaphor for south Louisiana’s culture, heritage and all that is being lost. Here she focused on conditions in Lake Hermitage south of New Orleans, a lake that was once filled with thousands of live trees. “You see marsh turning into water,” she says. “Thousands of oak trees and marsh grasses are dying. When you see these trees disappearing, it hits you hard. When I saw those dead oaks, I cried. It was horrid. This is the land our people live on. New Orleans is next.” DeDeaux is currently working with Tulane University and NASA to build a satellite geopositioning map of south Louisiana that will regularly update the amount of land loss and the changing shape of the state’s coastline. Though still in its conceptual form, “Lostscape: Live Data Vanishing Coast Wall” will use constant incoming water-level data collected just offshore in the Gulf to update the coastal map. When completed, DeDeaux hopes to mount the 200-foot-long art installation at a public site on the riverfront in downtown New Orleans. “Here, art iconography can translate and simplify the complexities of erosion to a larger audience and increase civic participation,” she says. DeDeaux believes artists have an important role in translating scientific data into works of art that can help educate people about ecological problems facing Louisiana and the world. “We can convey more information in a small amount of space,” she says. “It has however, been grueling with a lot of work and disappointments.” Fortunately, she continues. For more information about DeDeaux and her work, visit dawndedeaux.net. n

Exhibitions and Events Through Dec. 7

Lake Charles McNeese State University, Shearman Fine Arts Center Annex’s Grand Gallery, “Annual Faculty Show.” Show features artwork by McNeese State University art faculty held in conjunction with communitywide gallery promenade. 4205 Ryan St., 337475-5428, mcneese. edu/visualarts Through Jan. 20, 2018


Alexandria Museum of Art, “Refining & Defining a Nation.” Through historic paintings borrowed from museums across the nation, this exhibition explores how late 19th and early 20th century American artists visually defined rural and urban America. 933 Second St., 318-443-3458, themuseum.org Through May 5, 2018


Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum, “Tina Freeman: Artist Spaces.” Exhibition features Freeman’s photographs of the studios and workspaces of contemporary artists based in New Orleans along with examples of their work. 710 East St. Mary Blvd., 337-482-0811, hilliardmuseum.org




Site Specific Becky and Kenny Nelkin’s Bayou Teche home draws on Louisiana’s French heritage and the area’s natural beauty By Lee Cutrone Photos by Craig Macaluso

When Becky and Kenny Nelkin

first visited the Bayou Teche property where the historic LaGonda plantation once stood, they were captivated by the beauty and romance of the southwest Louisiana setting. The Nelkins are both lifelong residents of the area. Kenny and his late father cofounded Candy Fleet, which supplies boats and ships to the offshore oil industry. Located on the lower Atchafalaya River near Morgan City, LaGonda was one of the top sugar-producing plantations in the state during the years preceding the Civil War. The peaceful, 8-acre site once had a grand, double-galleried plantation house with fireplaces in every room, but that house no longer exists. The Nelkins knew however, that the swathe of land along the bayou would be perfect for a home of their own. The process of planning and building the house from initial architectural drawings to completion took six years. The couple wanted the house to be worthy of the natural surroundings and to stand the test of time. Having seen George Hopkins’ book, “Creating Your Architectural Style,” they contacted the New Orleans-based architect, whose work is rooted in classical architecture. “We loved everything we saw in his book,” says Becky. “So we called him and met with him.” The Nelkins invited Hopkins to visit the property numerous times to experience the land firsthand. The challenges were twofold: build a house that maximizes the views and work within the existing framework of the huge live oaks. The result of their meetings was a plan for a long, narrow house that pays homage to Louisiana’s French heritage and exposes most of the rooms to the bayou vista.

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(Far left) French doors overlook the flagstone rear porch, which faces the bayou. (Top left) Interior designers Connie Seitz and Christine Diggs worked with Becky to choose a palette of whites, pales blues and grays to enhance the bayou views rather than compete with them. Seagrass rugs delineate the great room’s two seating areas. Chandelier, Tara Shaw Maison. The grand piano is a treasured heirloom inherited from Kenny’s aunt. (Bottom left) The great room’s main seating area faces a custom limestone mantel. Above it is a Louis Philippe mirror with putti cartouche from Renaissance Interiors. Chandelier, Tara Shaw Maison.

“Rather than build or rebuild a Louisiana French-style cottage, the Nelkins opted to build a manor house in the French style,” says Hopkins. Among the amenities that the Nelkins wanted incorporated into the 9,000square-foot home were an indoor grill room where Kenny can cook outdoor-style with indoor comfort, a wine room with Old World European ambiance, a large kitchen, a master suite with his and hers master baths, a fully-equipped home gym, a bar and bedroom suites for both of their grown children. The grounds also include a boathouse and a guesthouse, designed by Hopkins. Interior Designers Connie Seitz and Christine Diggs worked with Becky to furnish the home with a quiet palette of whites, grays and pale blues — chosen to enhance rather than compete with the



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views — and with a formal, yet comfortable combination of European antiques and contemporary designs. The Nelkins also wanted to weave some meaningful and indigenous elements into the design. Hand-hewn wood pilings, used to build the original LaGonda plantation and found submerged in the bayou, were milled for the shelves and desk in Kenny’s office. Wainscoting for the office was created using a pair of 100-year old cypress doors, purchased and stored for many years by Kenny’s grandfather. Louisiana pecky cypress warms the walls of the wine room. Today the finished house, which has French doors overlooking the water and carefully considered Louisiana touches, is as much a part of the property as the bayou itself. “We created this house on-site,” says Kenny. “We’d draw and throw away and start over again until we got it right.” n

(Far left) A French 18th century neoclassical trumeau from Karla Katz Antiques tops the marble mantel. French Louis XV-style chair and martini table, from Dop Antiques. (Top left) Becky and Kenny Nelkin in their wine room. (Top right) Only one is pictured, but Becky opted for two small tables in the dining room. “They work beautifully for large gatherings, but you can still have an intimate dinner for two,” she says. (Bottom right) The kitchen’s French-style marble and pewter hood is from Francois & Co. Large zinc lanterns by Niermann Weeks hang above the island. Counters and backsplash are honed Calacatta Gold marble.

Exploring the Sportsman’s Paradise

BEST OF LOUISIANA outdoors By Ch ris Ho lmes

One of several

nicknames bestowed upon Louisiana, “Sportsman’s Paradise” is emblazoned on the state’s vehicle license plates, splashed across websites and printed on stickers, T-shirts and koozies. It is a bold statement. Considering the immense popularity of hunting and fishing across the United States, does Louisiana warrant that selfproclaimed distinction? Given the diversity of fish and wildlife, the uniqueness of the environment, heritage, as well as liberal seasons and harvest limits, the answer is a resounding yes.

Learn to Hunt Hunting is heritage in Louisiana. However, many kids are now more familiar with video games than they are with ducks and deer. Also, some older folks may have wanted to try hunting, but didn’t have the chance. In an effort to preserve the tradition of hunting and conservation, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries created the Louisiana Hunting Heritage Program. It matches apprentice hunters with experienced hunting mentors. The program affords novice hunters the opportunity to learn and experience wildlife and the outdoors as only a hunter can. wlf.louisiana.gov

Louisianans are steeped in a culture of hunting and catching. Of course it stems from generations of old when subsistence on the creatures of the Bayou State was a natural part of survival. Though times have changed, a deep passion for field sports and the nourishment they provide still comes with respect and value. Nearly every activity and celebration in Louisiana can be tied to food, none more revered than that which is self-gathered and prepared. Hunting and fishing trips are as much about the meals they ultimately produce as they are about the passion for the sport. Recreational opportunities for takeand-eat are near limitless. Freshwater fish, inshore and offshore saltwater fishes, crabs, crawfish, shrimp, deer, turkey, rabbits, ducks, geese, frogs, squirrels, alligators, doves, quail, hogs, coots, snipe, rails, woodcock and yes, even nutria. If it runs, flies, swims or crawls, you can bet we’ve found a way to capture it and make a meal of it. Sitting at the southern end of the Mississippi Flyway, the state’s diversity of habitat makes it arguably the most important state in the country for wintering waterfowl. Louisiana’s wide variety of habitat and feed, has sustained millions of migrating waterfowl for hundreds of years. The state consistently ranks in the top tier for waterfowl take in the country and in some years, the harvest in Louisiana alone has exceeded the total number of ducks killed in other flyways. Two premier lodges offer first-class waterfowl hunting, accommodations and dining. Honey Brake in central Louisiana is an exclusive facility on 20,000 acres of the old Louisiana Delta Plantation. It is a duck hunting experience like no other. Further south in Buras, Cajun Fishing Adventures has been providing excellent waterfowl adventures for nearly 40 years. Don’t let the name fool you, fantastic fishing is a big part of the company’s business, but the waterfowl hunting is unmatched. Because surf and sky provides a more rounded dinner table, “blast and cast” is an option for sportsmen wanting to duck hunt in the morning and fish in the afternoon. As a direct benefit from the state’s oil-and-gas-driven economy, the infrastructure of rigs and wellheads in the

Gulf of Mexico has cemented Louisiana as a world-class destination for offshore fishing. What makes this area so special? The myriad oil and gas production platforms act as vast artificial reefs that sustain complete ecosystems and provide habitat for virtually every creature that lives in the Gulf. Billfish, tuna, swordfish, king mackerel, dolphinfish (dolphin, mahi-mahi) and a variety of deep-bottomdwellers swim the Gulf waters off the coast. The near shore structures hold large populations of snapper, amberjack, cobia and many other tasty sport fish. Though inedible, tarpon offer great sport and are

they take their first deer, Peace imparts two bloody handprints on the angler’s chest after their first tuna hits the deck. The marks are both a rite of passage as well as an homage to the magnificent beast that just gave its life. Louisiana is not generally thought of as a whitetail deer hunting destination. However, it is a popular species for residents to hunt and they are abundant in many areas of the state. Archery season lasts four to five months depending on the particular area, and lengthy firearms seasons provide ample days for hunters to get afield and fill their freezer with

the namesake of the Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo — the oldest fishing tournament in the United States. Tuna is the king of Louisiana’s offshore sportfish. Captain Peace Marvel (yes, there really is a Captain Marvel) of Peacekeeper Charters in Venice, is world-renowned as a tuna fishing icon. If you are talking tuna, all you have to say is “Peace” and everyone knows who you are talking about. Many of the varied methods of catching tuna in the Gulf were either created or refined by Peace. He is a perfectionist, fanatic, comic and stern teacher, all rolled into one. Tuna virgins beware. Much like the ritual of applying blood to a hunter’s face when

venison. Liberal limits allow hunters to take up to a maximum of six deer each per season. Giles Island Hunting Club near Ferriday, sits in the Mississippi River nearer the Louisiana side, but most of the land is considered to be in Mississippi. However, a Louisiana businessman owns it and either Louisiana or Mississippi hunting licenses apply. The nearly 10,000-acre private island is intensely managed for trophy bucks and is a deer hunter’s mecca. Every hunt on Giles Island has the potential to see and kill the buck of a lifetime. Feral hogs have become a great problem across the United States and

The Poop on Pigs Domestic pigs were introduced into what is now the continental United States into Florida in 1539 by explorer Hernando de Soto. Thirteen pigs were captured in Cuba and released as a future traveling food source on expeditions. The pig herd accompanying the expeditions, not counting escapees, grew to 700 in three years. Those that escaped became the seed stock for what is now the country’s massive wild or feral pig population.

they are known to inhabit at least 35 states, including Louisiana. Destruction to habitat, spread of disease and competition for food with native species such as deer and turkey has sounded alarm bells in wildlife agencies across the country. It is estimated that harvest rates of up to 70 percent annually are necessary just to keep their numbers in check. Wild hogs provide great sport and delicious pork. In an effort to increase the number of pig hunters and decrease the number of pigs, Louisiana has relaxed laws regarding pig hunting. The use of aircrafts, boats, vehicles, dogs and hunting at night is typically illegal to take most game animals. However, classified as a nuisance, the laws allow all of these methods to help keep their numbers in control. In the traditional sense of hunting, such methods are not considered fair chase. This really is not about hunting, it is about killing and helping to control the population. Wild hogs are omnivores and have adapted well to the marshy areas that cover much of south Louisiana. They eat virtually anything. More commonly seen plying the swamps and marsh for industrial operations or wildlife tours, several hunting operations have begun utilizing airboats as a fun and efficient method for hunters to kill wild hogs. Elite Airboat Hog Hunting, LLC just south of New Orleans has perfected the use of airboats for pig hunting and control. It is a hunt like no other — a combined swamp tour, educational seminar, trip to the grocery and thrill ride all rolled into one. The airboat is an effective tool to make it as easy and successful as possible. Wild turkeys truly are a hunter and conservation success story. Unregulated hunting practices and subsistence hunting nearly eliminated the birds from the state in the early 1900s. Combined with heavy deforestation of prime habitat areas, the future for Louisiana’s wild turkey was bleak. Peak estimates of up to one million birds in the 1800s was reduced to a mere 1,400 by the mid 1940s. Due to low populations in the state, turkey hunting was almost a lost art. However, aggressive live trapping and restocking programs allowed wild turkeys to make an amazing comeback in most areas of the state that have suitable habitat. State-wide population estimates are currently over

80,000 birds and well-regulated hunting is allowed in many areas. “Bird brained” is a misnomer when it comes to hunting turkey. Even the most skilled hunters sometimes end up with their hat in their hand. Matching wits with a wily Tom (male turkey) leads to ultimate satisfaction — or frustration. Wild turkeys are as delicious as they are cunning. Both Honey Brake and Giles Island mentioned above offer outstanding guided turkey hunts.

trout. Of course they have a fantastic lodge, delicious food, excellent boats and guides, but what is in that big metal building? A seaplane. There are fishing trips and then there are fishing adventures. All anglers have an exotic destination on their bucket list they dream about making. This is it — whether they know it or not. Once launched, it is only a matter of minutes before the floats are up and the beautiful flight over the wetlands and

Toledo Bend Lake shares water and a border with Texas and was named the number one bass fishing lake in the country by Bass Master Magazine two years in a row. Anglers in search of double-digit bass are well advised to ply the waters of Toledo Bend. Living the Dream Guide Service in Many is the go-to for trophy Louisiana bass. Owner, Captain Jerry Thompson and his stable of professional guides know the lake and know where to find lunker bass. When the owner’s name is Captain Theophile (toe-feel) Bourgeois, you know you have found the real Louisiana deal. His namesake Bourgeois Fishing Charters is the place to go for redfish and speckled

coast of Louisiana begins. The destination is the Chandeleur-Breton chain of uninhabited barrier islands 60 miles from New Orleans at the easternmost point of the state. There you will wade fish for giant specks and reds in a Cajun fishing experience like no other. In addition to utilizing the services of professional guides and lodges, privately owned land and leases are preferred by many hunters. However, there are roughly two million acres of public lands available for hunting and countless bodies of water for fishing and pursuing other tasty aquatic morsels. The Sportsman’s Paradise? As they say, It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.

a n d T e q u i l a B a r at L’A u b e r g e L a k e C h a r l e s

c h i c k e n a n d b e e f fa j i ta s f r o m C a d i l l a c M e x i c a n K i t c h e n

Put yo u r Cards on the Dining Ta b l e

Casino dining takes a chance on making a culinary mark, and it’s a win

By B a b s Va n Z a n dt 18Steak

Besh Steak


estaurants have long been a part of casinos for obvious reasons of practicality — if you want people to come and enjoy your games, expecting them to dine off-site and come back makes about as much sense as having them meet other natural needs in a port-a-potty out back. That said, casino restaurants have suffered from a reputation for a certain, let’s say, utilitarianism. Gamers could fill up (and then some) at a buffet or enjoy a steak, but the food wasn’t part of the attraction. You ate at the casino restaurant because it was there, not because it had its own special appeal. This is no longer the case at today’s gaming destinations. Casinos are now part of the national conversation about trends in food and have become significant players in the dining scenes of their cities attracting hungry gamers as well as serious diners. In Louisiana, where America comes to dine and where new restaurants have a high bar to clear to be taken seriously, the new generation of casino restaurants is making itself relevant — and hungry Louisianans would do well to take note. Sean Malone, Vice President of Food and Beverage at L’Auberge Casino and Hotel Baton Rouge, traces this elevation in the status of casino dining to 10 or 15 years ago and places it within a wider context: casinos and gaming destinations became increasingly interested in making all aspects of their entertainment offerings relevant in and of themselves, rather than simply being add-ons or amenities. This is the era that also saw the rise of spas, salons and other luxurious treats; casinogoers could increasingly have a complete, deluxe getaway at their favorite property. With this rise in attention came, of course, competition: no destination could afford to take a relaxed attitude to dining with its competitors coming up with new food options to entice customers. An additional inducement was that more states began offering more licenses: the casino market was about to get more competitive, and amenities like dining were one way in which properties could differentiate themselves.

38 Louisiana Life september/october 2017


Photos courtesy: besh steak ; 18 steak ; select photos by jeff strout

C r a b C a k e f r o m 1 8 S t e a k at L’A u b e r g e ’ s B at o n R o u g e

Redfish Del Mar from Cadill ac Mexican Kitchen and T e q u i l a B a r at L’A u b e r g e L a k e C h a r l e s


Photos courtesy: cadill ac mexican kitchen and tequil a bar; ember

The resulting pressure has meant that casino restaurants have to be not just excellent, but creative, all while remaining plugged into what’s going on in American food. Some have worked with celebrity chefs; others have looked at wider trends that have attracted diners, like farm-to-table food and, more broadly, the revived interest in fresh, highquality ingredients. According to Malone, much of this has added up to key players in the casino food and beverage scene having to think like restauranteurs. Restaurants within, or associated with, casinos have freedom to experiment, both with menus and dishes and with entire restaurant concepts, that an independent restauranteur might not. Even the venerable mainstays of casino cuisine — the steakhouse and the buffet — have gotten some refreshment from this new attitude. The popularity of the steakhouse and buffet concepts however could theoretically limit attempts at new offerings, since even adventurous diners might have old favorites, for example, at the buffet. To make room for exploration, these restaurants are experimenting with specials like theme nights, tasting menus, wine dinners and other tempting offerings in the style of what you’d expect from any upscale restaurant looking to intrigue existing customers and attract new ones. The L’Auberge properties in Baton Rouge and Lake Charles are both excellent examples of these new trends in casino dining. Like many casinos, their steakhouses serve to some extent as the flagship restaurants, since for many people the steakhouse simply is the fine dining option when gaming. Ember, at the Lake Charles property, offers regular, bar and social menus to complement its deep bench of wine offerings, some of which are available in flights. The particularly bold can sample a beef candle, which is what it sounds like but also tastes better than such a concept has any right to; once the excitement has died down, diners can choose from an array of excellent steaks, with lavish add-ons like seared scallops or foie gras. Each drink on the cocktail menu bears an accompanying haiku, which, while not quite worth copying onto a napkin and passing off to your beloved as your own work, indicates a devotion to mixology. 18Steak, the Baton Rouge property’s restaurant named after Louisiana’s being the 18th state, has an overall calmer but just as tempting menu — any restaurant that offers three different kinds of butter, including one with smoked marrow, is bound to have loyal fans. In addition to the exquisite steaks, diners can order among other tempting appetizers, charcuterie or a seafood tower, featuring a Babel of six different kinds of shellfishy goodness. (If only all restaurants and chefs understood that what we want is a serving of seafood that truly towers!)



Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse

Lucky Lake Charles, which has wisely used casinos to bolster its appeal even as it develops a wider tourism industry featuring its cultural and historical charms, is also home to the Golden Nugget Lake Charles and the restaurants within. Like many, perhaps most casinos, the Golden Nugget offers its guests options between site-specific house brands and chain franchises. Diners can opt for wellregarded options, including Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse and margarita-mad Mexican option Cadillac Mexican Kitchen and Tequila Bar, or they can snag a table at Chart House, a nationwide, though not widespread, chain known for choosiness of locale, as well as its excellent food. The mixture of concepts means, above all, that diners will be spoiled for choice. The culinary heft of the Golden Nugget and L’Auberge Lake Charles restaurants, compared with the relatively small population of the area, means that these restaurants play a large role in the dining culture of the area and are likely to be enjoyed and recommended by locals. Last, but emphatically not least: the most obvious example of an upscale casino restaurant in Louisiana is Besh Steak, within Harrah’s New Orleans. Harrah’s, the most prominent casino in New Orleans, has a steakhouse; of course John Besh, who’s explored a number of restaurant concepts, would have a good old American steakhouse in his repertoire. The confluence of these two powerful forces has led to a lasting niche for this eatery. Besh Steak’s menu features the meaty masterpieces anyone expects from a steakhouse and offers the seafood dishes no Louisiana menu can claim completeness without as well as a nice complement of starters: tartare with caviar could tempt the most disciplined dieter. The result is a fresh, modern steakhouse suitable for a special occasion — or a big win. These featured restaurants are a good start, but diners should train themselves to be on the lookout for casino restaurants to try. You won’t have a hard time; these properties are proactively making sure they have identifiable brands that exist alongside the wider brand of the casino, and they’re not just advertising: many participate in local restaurant associations and community outreach efforts. Whether you’re in a new city or close to home, make sure these eateries are on your radar — if not, you’ll be missing out on an important part of the dining culture. Plus, you can always run a $20 bill through the slot machines after dessert. Other restaurants don’t even give you the chance to win back your dinner bill.

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Besh Steak

Photos courtesy: vic & Anthony’s steakhouse; besh steak

B a r b e c u e d S h r i m p f r o m B e s h S t e a k at H a r r a h ’ s N e w O r l e a n s


Natural Education Nature centers dazzle in fall, teach us about Louisiana’s outdoors environments BY Paul

F. Stahls Jr.

Nature centers are wondrous

places that share woods and wildlife with youngsters and seasoned nature lovers, and the comforts and colors of fall make this a great time for visits. The last big news about one of our locally managed nature centers was grim: the big Louisiana Nature Center in New Orleans, ruined by Hurricane Katrina, had closed. That was then. Today’s news is that the Louisiana Nature Center has merged with the Audubon Nature Institute (operator of the Audubon Zoo, Insectarium and Aquarium) and will reopen this September or October. Meantime, devote some fine fall days to other centers, starting perhaps with the oldest, the Walter B. Jacobs Memorial Nature Park west of Blanchard in Caddo Parish. Established on land donated in 1970 by two brothers to honor their nature-loving father, it’s well known for easy-elevation trails and “vernal pools” (fed only by rain) where the absence of fish allows unusual plant and animal life to thrive. Unique trail markers were donated by nature artist Don Edwards (see “Go”), who also created wildlife dioramas for the Interpretive Center (a virtual natural history museum and gathering place for events like ”Owl Night Hikes” and the scary Oct. 28 “Bugs, Bats and Bones” hike).


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It’s only natural: nature inspires art, so it is no surprise that the 51-year-old Norton Art Gallery of Shreveport (4747 Creswell, 318-8654201, rwnaf.org) has chosen the landscape and wildlife paintings of Don Edwards for its first-ever one-man

exhibit honoring a living local artist. Edwards, winner of countless awards in the arts, creator of duck and wild turkey stamps and current president of the Louisiana Wildlife Artists Association travels the world

painting, but credits Caddo Parish’s Jacobs Nature Park for much of his inspiration. “Especially in the fall,” he says, “when the hickories and sugar maples of that nearvirgin forest just explode with color.”

Visit his “open-usually” Nature’s Art Gallery (2855 Summer Grove Drive, 318-207-2229, donedwardsart.net ) and his big “Alaska to Zimbabwe” exhibit remains at the Norton until Jan. 7.

Under the guidance of wildlife biologist and master falconer Rusty Scarborough, the Jacobs center now boasts raptor rehabilitation facilities and the unique Birds of Prey Aviary. Across Red River, at the Bossier Parish School System’s Cypress Nature Study Center near Benton, woodland animals and birds flourish along bottomland and upland trails donated by the Jacobs family. A classroom and exhibit facility displays curiosities like turtle shells, local rocks and minerals, bird nests (with eggs) and live hard- and softshell turtles. At Lafayette’s Acadiana Park Nature Station natural science curator Stacy Scarce says it’s the location of

her trails on the lip of the Mississippi River floodplain that provides their variety: prairie, bottomland, the escarpment edge of the floodplain and the primordial river bottom itself. A three-story interpretive center provides dramatic views of its surroundings and “exhibit drawers” filled with nature’s curiosities. Just outside, the little François Coulee stream serves as a canoe and kayak launch for explorations of the Vermilion River. In our capital city a natural swamp has been transformed by the Baton Rouge Recreation and Park Commission into the Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center where trees killed by 2008’s Hurricane Gustav have returned nicely, along with the raccoons, foxes

(Left) Walter B. Jacobs Memorial Nature Park (Top) Acadiana Park Nature Station (Bottom) Don Edwards painting



DETOURS In addition to trails at local Nature Centers, many can be found on Nature Conservancy lands (lafo@tnc.org), at state parks (crt.state.la.us) and Wildlife Management areas (wlf.louisiana.gov/ wma) throughout Louisiana. Some National Wildlife Refuges (fws. gov/refuges/ profiles/ByState. cfm) even offer full-fledged nature centers, a prime example being Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge north of Monroe (480 Richland Place, 318-387-1114, fws. gov/northlouisiana/ blackbayoulake). “People like the variety of terrain here,” says ranger Nova Clarke, “from cypress swamps and hardwood forest to prairieland and waterfront habitat. The trails pretty much follow the lakeshore and Bayou DeSiard — very nice.” The Arboretum Trail has 150 Louisiana tree species, the “pollinator gardens” at the visitor center/ museum present indigenous flowers in season, and the Conservation Learning Center houses critters like a giant snapping turtle and pair of rare/endangered Louisiana Pine Snakes.

and otters. Monthly bird walks reveal why the spot is vital to the Louisiana Bird Observatory program. In addition to mineral displays, working beehives and small animal residents, the giant interpretive center houses a large collection of vintage hand-carved duck decoys donated by the late collector and author Charles Frank Jr. Next door to Fontainebleau State Park, the trails of Mandeville’s Northlake Nature Center traverse acres of longleaf pines and savannas along Bayou Castille. Major annual events include the big Louisiana Birdfest in spring and (Top) Audubon the Sept. 28 “Wings and Louisiana Nature Wine” fundraiser (details Center (Middle) Conservation on the website). Learning Center By the time you’re (Bottom) Bluebonnet home from that statewide Swamp Nature circuit, it’s likely the Center Audubon Louisiana Nature Center will be open and great things await you. From the huge exhibit pavilion’s life-sized swamp diorama and boardwalk views of the replanted acreage, to peaceful picnic spots and space flights at the restored planetarium, the wonders restored and created by this $10 million restoration will thrill generations to come. Check the website for details on the midNovember Fall Family Fest (Audubon’s first major event), and be a frequent visitor to all nature center websites for news of regular and special hikes, classes and exhibits. n

Walter B. Jacobs Memorial Nature Park

8012 Parish Road 4, Shreveport 318-929-2806 • caddo.org Cypress Nature Study Center

545 Beach Circle, Benton 318-965-5800 • bossierschools.org/cnsc Acadiana Park Nature Station

1205 E. Alexander St., Lafayette 337-291-8448 • naturestation.org Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center

10503 Oak Hills Parkway, Baton Rouge 225-413-5355 • brec.org/swamp Northlake Nature Center

23135 Hwy 190 East, Mandeville 985-626-1238 • northlakenature.org Audubon Louisiana Nature Center

11000 Lake Forest Blvd., New Orleans 504-587-2105 audubonnatureinstitute.org/nature-center



farther flung

Texas Welcome Like an old friend, the Texas Gulf Coast promises fun, food and easy relaxation written and photographed By


Helen Anders

It’s not that the Texas Coast is

my best friend. It’s several best friends, each with her own Gulf of Mexico personality. I hang out with each, depending on what I’m in the mood for: sailing, shopping, fishing or just walking the shoreline, feeling the waves tickle my feet. Regardless, I know I’ll sink into some serious relaxation and dive into dining. Come with me.

GALVESTON For a luxurious experience and plenty to do, this is your beach. The San Luis Resort, with its spa, fitness center, restaurants and pool with swim-up bars, has long been a seaside star, but its five-suite enclave Villas at the San Luis (5222 Seawall Blvd., villasatsanluisresort.com), tucked at the edge of hotel, takes pampering to a new level in these graceful, 800-square-foot hideaways with a private pool, bar and staff.

48 Louisiana Life september/october 2017

GALVESTON Rudy & Paco Restaurant and Bar (2028 Post Office St., rudyandpaco.com) offers possibly the best fine dining on the Texas coast, whether you want steak or seafood (plantain-crusted snapper). Enjoy seafood Italian style (scallop risotto) at Riondo’s Ristorante (2328 Strand Ave., riondos.com). Brunch on oysters benedict at Sunflower Bakery & Café (512 14th St., thesunflowerbakeryandcafe.com).

Take a walk along the seawall, which helps protect the city from a repeat of the deadly 1900 hurricane. Downtown, stroll the Strand and pop into a few boutiques for cute sundresses, then enjoy a sunset cocktail in a real glass — not a plastic one — at the swanky Tremont House (2300 Ship Mechanic Row, thetremonthouse.com)

PORT ARANSAS/ROCKPORT/CORPUS CHRISTI Fishing’s the big lure. Whether you’re on a boat in the Gulf or bay, parked on a pier, jutting out on a jetty or casting a line into the surf from the sand (you can drive and park on this beach), Port A and Rockport are your spots for tarpon, pompano, sea trout and more. Birders flock to Aransas National Wildlife Refuge north of Rockport (fws.gov/refuge/aransas). Hunters stalk south to King Ranch (king-ranch.com) seeking

(Above) On South Padre Island’s broad beaches, it’s all about the sun, sand, and surf. Enjoy kiteboarding, surfing, kayaking, or just soaking up rays. (Right) In Rockport, piers jutting into Aransas Bay define the mid-coast’s primary passion: fishing. Cast a line for a sea trout or hop on a deep-sea boat for tarpon.

PORT ARANSAS/ CORPUS CHRISTI Water Street Seafood Company (309 N. Water St., waterstmarketcc. com) has those raw oysters you crave, as well as mesquite-grilled fish. Tex-Mex and seafood marry marvelously (crab enchiladas) at unfancy, but fun La Playa (222 Beach St., Port Aransas). SOUTH PADRE ISLAND You’ll find fine dining with good wines and excellent pasta at Gabriella’s (700 Padre Blvd., gabriellas.com). Blackbeards’ (103 E. Saturn St., blackbeardsspi.com) will cook your catch or fill you (huge portions) with with grilled mahi mahi, huge fried shrimp and more.


deer, turkey, quail, and feral hogs. Everyone loves beachcombing on serene, undeveloped Padre National Seashore (20420 Park Road 22, nps.gov/pais). Dock yourself in a deftly decorated beach house at Cinnamon Shore (500 Texas 361, cinnamonshore.com) near Port Aransas with two pools, restaurants and a stocked lake for fishing.

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND South Padre Island’s all about the wind and the waves: sailing, surfing, windsurfing, kiteboarding, parasailing, even skydiving right onto the beach. You’ll want to book a condo or beach house. Franke Realty (frankerealty.com) handles luxury accommodations on the quiet, north end of the island. Enjoy a massage with clam shells at Sapphire Spa (310A Padre Blvd, spisapphire.com), then hop aboard a sunset cruise (sailspi.com) with a chef grilling shrimp as you cruise gently down the bay. Watch the sun set over the bay with a margarita and ceviche at the Painted Marlin Grille (202 W. Whiting St., paintedmarlingrille.com). Don’t let the gulls steal your food. n


GALVESTON Moody Gardens (1 Hope Blvd., moodygardens.com) offers a full day’s fun. See creatures from penguins to sharks to jellyfish at the aquarium. In the rainforest, get a treetop view of butterflies and colorful tropical birds. Got an adventurous streak? Try the Iron Shark coaster, with its and drop-deadvertical plunge from a height of 90 feet on the Pleasure Pier (2501 Seawall Blvd., pleasurepier.com) CORPUS CHRISTI Watch dolphins dance, giggle at otters, then pet a jellyfish at Texas State Aquarium (2710 N. Shoreline Blvd, texasstateaquarium. org). Right next door, explore life on a World War II aircraft carrier with a tour of the USS Lexington (2419 N. Shoreline Blvd, usslexington.com). SOUTH PADRE ISLAND Sea Turtle Inc. (6617 Padre Blvd., seaturtleinc.org) rescues injured turtles and rehabs them. Meet them (they have personalities!) and learn their stories. Nearby, take a bird-spotting hike out to the Laguna Madre on the boardwalk at South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center (6801 Padre Blvd., spibirding.com)

Schlitterbahn waterparks make a big splash in three Texas beach locations, with lazy rivers (not so lazy as all that; rapids will spin you and sprayers will soak you) as well as tons of pools and tube slides. Covered sections of South Padre’s and Galveston’s Schlitterbahns are open year-round on weekends. South Padre Island and Corpus Christi’s parks include hotels; the Corpus one has a golf course.



roadside dining

Fresh Pickings Get organic, sustainable and humane offerings at Alexandria’s Inglewood Farm by

Jyl Benson

photos by Romero

& Romero

South of downtown Alexandria

thickets of fragrant swaying pine trees give way to the 3,800 pristine acres of Inglewood Farm. Here, the Red River Delta’s fine alluvial soil pours forth a kaleidoscopic array of organic flowers, fruits, and vegetables, and freely grazing Red Angus cattle, Berkshire pigs, and assorted chickens are raised in a humane, dignified and environmentally sustainable manner on fresh green grass, vegetable scraps and organic feed. In a few weeks the farm’s 75 acres of mature pecan groves will release their bounty just in time for the holiday dinner table. It is the only certified organic pecan orchard in Louisiana. Inglewood’s land has been used for commercial farming over its 90-year history. In 2011, its owners, descendants of the Keller family that established the farm on the former plantation in 1927, made the decision to commit their land to use for a greater social good and began converting it to organic use. The process involved replenishing healthy nutrients in soil exhausted by years of commercial farming and creating and maintaining systems that naturally combat bugs and weeds. To this end, aphid-eating ladybugs and mantids are heavily employed. Free-range chickens are pressed into service to enrich the soil via a repurposed school bus and a cotton trailer. The bus of birds is continually moved to different sections of the farm, where the fowl peck about munching on bugs and enriching the soil with their manure. The decision to convert the farm entirely to certified organic use was initially met with skepticism due to the area’s intense heat, humidity and undesirable pest

50 Louisiana Life september/october 2017

population. Today the successful bounty of Louisiana’s largest certified organic farm is for sale at its on-site market as well as other farmers’ markets in Alexandria, Pineville, Lafayette, Baton Rouge, Lake Charles and New Orleans. Offerings include free-range meats, both hen and duck eggs, pecans, pecan oil, fresh flowers and 75 varieties of fruits and vegetables. The Harvest Barn Market at Inglewood is open Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 12 p. m. or by appointment and a devoted effort is made to offer goods at value-driven prices that make the organic offerings available to everyone. Central Louisiana growers and producers are invited the showcase and provide samples of their products during themed events and live music performances. Guests are encouraged to picnic and explore the working organic farm, making the chicken bus a popular attraction. Throughout the year the graceful plantation house is the site for farm-to-table dinners featuring guest chefs from throughout the state. As a Certified Organic Community Supported Agriculture farm, Inglewood offers subscriptions to weekly CSA boxes filled with fresh, seasonal offerings. Autumn harvest boxes will include arugula, beets, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, Chinese greens, collards, daikon, eggplant, both hot and sweet peppers, kale, kohlrabi, assorted lettuces, mustard greens, pumpkin, radishes, rutabagas, Swiss chard, turnips, winter squash, fresh herbs and tender, young sprouts. n

Inglewood Farm

Good Bets Alexandria’s popular Wildwood Pizza makes fine use of vine-ripened tomatoes from Inglewood Farm. The restaurant’s hand-thrown pies are baked in a wood-burning oven and the heirloom varieties really shine in Garden District (garlic olive oil, mozzarella, sliced Inglewood tomatoes, minced garlic, spicy sausage, capers, fresh basil) and Margherita(garlic olive oil, sliced Inglewood tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil). Wildwood Pizza is a partner in Fresh Central, a project of the Central Louisiana Local Foods Initiative, which aims to strengthen Central Louisiana’s local foods economy, while also increasing access to fresh foods for all residents of the region.

Wildwood Pizza

1260 Texas St. Alexandria 318-448-7121 wildwoodpizza.com

6233 Old Baton Rouge Highway Alexandria 318-442-6398 inglewoodfarm.com



great louisiana chef

LOCAL FLAVOR Sustainable, seasonal and domestic fare is at the heart of Monroe-native Cory Bahr’s culinary pursuits By

Ashley McLellan & Romero

photos by Romero

Chef Cory Bahr is a culinary

shooting star. The Monroe native’s extensive resume continues to grow, and includes a thriving catering business, a new restaurant, multiple national accolades, volunteer work throughout the state and TV appearances on Food Network’s “Chopped” and “Food Network Star.” Like all good Louisiana boys, Chef Bahr cites his Southern upbringing and family lessons as the inspiration for his success. “I was raised by my grandparents and they instilled a sense of hospitality and graciousness in me at a young age,” he says. “I was always underfoot in the kitchen with my grandparents, so really my fondest memories of growing up were spent in the kitchen around the table so it’s just a natural progression for me to be in the hospitality industry.” Community and his love of the outdoors remain essential to his take on culinary matters. “Sustainability is at the forefront of everything we do; by building close relationships with our purveyors were able to assure that we are only using domestic seafood. We tend to offer only things that are in season and regional, that creates more work for us on the front end it’s definitely something that makes an impact not only with our diners but also with our local and state economy.” Bahr brought his Louisiana love to an even wider audience as a finalist on this summer’s “Food Network Star,” although he remains ever humble. “The ‘Food Network Star’ experience was amazing,” he says. “It allowed me to share my culinary point of view with the world.” Catch him while you can: Chef Cory Bahr’s star is definitely on the rise. His latest venture, Parish restaurant — a modern Southern restaurant featuring a wood-fire kettle — is set to open in Monroe, late fall 2017. n

52 Louisiana Life september/october 2017

Louisiana Shrimp and Watermelon Aguachile Combine 1 pound (10/15 count) Louisiana shrimp (peeled, deveined and poached), 3 cups seedless watermelon (cut into half-inch cubes), 1 jalapeño (stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped), 1 tablespoon sugar, ½ cup fresh juice, 1 cup seedless cucumber (sliced and a quarter inch thick rounds), 1 cup thinly sliced red onion, 2 tablespoons whole coriander seed (crushed), 2 teaspoons Korean chili flakes and kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste in a large mixing bowl. Let marinate for one hour, then fold in ¼ cup packed mint leaves (roughly chopped) and ¼ cup packed cilantro roughly chopped including stems (or culantro works nicely as well and it is available in most Asian supermarkets). Serve immediately with fried tortillas or plantain chips.



kitchen gourmet

Catch of the Day Extend a bounty of locally caught redfish with four deliciously distinct dishes by

Stanley Dry

photos and styling by

Eugenia Uhl

Some generous

friends who don’t like to freeze their catch recently gave me a bag filled with beautiful redfish fillets. There were far more than we could possibly eat at one sitting, so I planned several meals around the fish. For our first meal I prepared redfish amandine, a dish I haven’t had in ages. I dredged the fillets in flour, sautéed them and then topped them with sliced almonds browned in butter. I suppose brown butter and almonds would make most anything taste good, but not as good as this fish. The next meal consisted of redfish prepared two ways. For an appetizer, we enjoyed ceviche (or seviche), a Latin American preparation that uses lime juice to “cook” the fish. The dish can be prepared in a variety of ways, but using lime juice to lightly pickle the fish is a common denominator. It is a refreshing dish in hot weather and doesn’t require turning on the stove. We enjoyed the ceviche with tostadas and cold beer. For our main dish, we had redfish tacos. Tacos are one of my favorite foods, and I’ll fix them for breakfast or lunch or dinner or in-between meals for snacks. They’re a great way to dress-up leftovers, and they

54 Louisiana Life september/october 2017

Nothing could be simpler to prepare than this redfish ceviche, and few dishes are more refreshing. Cold beer is the logical accompaniment.

Redfish Ceviche Cut 1 pound redfish fillets into ½-inch cubes and place in a glass container. Juice 8 limes and pour over redfish, making sure that all the fish is covered. Refrigerate, covered, for two hours. Drain fish, transfer to a serving dish, drizzle with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and season to taste with coarse salt, freshly-ground black pepper and cayenne. Garnish with ¼ cup sliced green onion tops and ¼ cup cilantro leaves. Serve with tostadas or tortilla chips. Makes 4 servings as an appetizer.

will accommodate a variety of sensible combinations. I much prefer white corn tortillas to ones made with yellow corn. Packages sometimes only designate white corn tortillas as “tortillas de maiz blanco.” Tacos are best when they’re eaten immediately, so we gathered around the stove, beers in hand, and ate them as they were made. For the record, redfish make a great taco in combination with chipotle chile pepper, lime, salsa and cilantro. Finally, we used the remainder of the redfish to make fish cakes. It’s a simple dish to prepare, and it’s also a good way to use up any fish trimmings or leftover cooked fish. We accompanied our fish cakes with tartare sauce and a green salad. At the end of the meal, far from being tired of redfish, our only regret was that we had no more. n

Tartare Sauce 1 cup mayonnaise 2 teaspoons minced sour pickle 2 teaspoons minced capers 2 teaspoons minced shallots 1 teaspoon chopped parsley 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish

Place all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.

Redfish Tacos Redfish Cakes Fish cakes can be made with raw, salted or cooked fish. They are a good way to use leftovers or fish trimmings. Mince enough fish to yield ½ cup, packed. Add to mixing bowl, along with 6 tablespoons Panko bread crumbs and 1 egg (lightly beaten), 1 teaspoon chopped parsley and 2 teaspoons chopped green onion tops. Toss well to combine, then season to taste with coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper and cayenne. Form mixture into 4 flat cakes, dredge in ½ cup all-purpose flour and place on wax paper. Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and 2 tablespoons butter to large frying pan on medium heat until butter foams. Add fish cakes and fry until well browned, about 5 minutes. Turn and cook until browned on other side, about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Serve with lemon wedges and tartare sauce. Makes 4 servings.

Makes about 1 cup.

Redfish Amandine This is a rich and elegant dish that brings top dollar in restaurants, but it’s easy to prepare at home

Season 4 small fillets of redfish with ¹⁄8 teaspoon coarse salt, dredge fillets in ½ cup all-purpose flour, coating both sides, then place on wax paper. Heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (or clarified butter) in a large nonstick skillet

A well-seasoned cast iron skillet is the ideal pan for this. The chipotle chile powder imparts a smokiness to the fish. Make your own salsa or use a prepared version. 1 pound redfish fillets chipotle chile powder coarse salt lime wedges 1 cup cilantro leaves your favorite salsa white corn tortillas 1. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat and heat another cast iron pan, comal or griddle. 2. Season redfish with chipotle chile powder and salt. Cook in pan until browned on one side, then turn and brown on the other. Squeeze lime juice over fish, turn off heat and leave fish in pan to keep hot. 3. Meanwhile, heat tortillas on the other pan, comal or griddle. 4. Using spatula, remove a section of fish and place in heated tortilla. Add a spoonfull of salsa and a generous amount of cilantro. Serve with lime wedges and cold beer. Makes about 8 tacos.

tip Fresh fish should be iced and stored in the refrigerator. Put fillets in a zippered freezer bag and pack them in a container filled with ice or frozen ice packs. Whole fish can be packed in ice, but they should be in a container that allows melted water to drain.

over medium-high heat. When hot, add fillets and cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Turn fillets and cook on the other side, about 2 minutes. Remove fillets to 4 serving plates. Pour off oil. Add 4 tablespoons

butter and ½ cup sliced almonds to pan and cook, while stirring or tossing, until almonds are lightly colored. Top each fillet with almonds and butter. Serve with lemon wedges. Makes 4 servings.




Traveling In & Around Louisiana


eptember and October bring an end to the summer season and a return to the activities that make fall one of the busiest times of the year. Seasonal festivals are as abundant as a fall Louisiana harvest and those seeking opportunities to explore the state and region will find it a great time to cruise the back roads for unique sights and sounds. From sea creatures to college football, North Louisiana provides tons of family friendly fun, while cycling, symphonies, and holiday events greet visitors to the central part of the state. South Louisiana boasts diverse cultural events, big city hotels, and small town strolls with scenic views. Take a short drive into Mississippi and Arkansas and experience the best of what our state’s neighbors have to offer in shopping, music, outdoors, and more. Go away for a weekend or gear up the RV for an extended tour across the state—there’s something for everyone this fall.

Parishes, Cities, & Towns Tucked between the swamps of the Atchafalaya is Iberville Parish, a place of awe-inspiring beauty, massive live oaks, and meandering bayous and waterways teeming with life. Just outside of Baton Rouge, this area prides itself on a unique culture in which many people still live close to the

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land and enjoy a way of life passed through generations. The Iberville Swamp Life Expo, held at the beautiful, shaded Iberville Parish Visitors Center (I-10 at Grosse Tete), will be the kick-off event for Experience Atchafalaya Days, a monthlong celebration of the Atchafalaya Heritage Area. The expo will include netmaking demonstrations, woodcarving, works from

local artists, and relics of the area’s long history. The Iberville Swamp Life Expo will be held Saturday, October 7 from 10:00am until 3:00pm and will feature live music by Terry and the Zydeco Bad Boys, food, and art. Experience Atchafalaya Days runs throughout October. Cultural, food, and art demonstrations will be available free to the public. St. Mary Parish, also known as the Cajun Coast, is a gem for experiencing the great outdoors in Sportsman’s Paradise. Surrounded by the waters of Bayou Teche, Atchafalaya River, and the Atchafalaya Swamp Basin, the Cajun Coast is known for its natural splendor and “road less traveled” atmosphere. Options for exploration, relaxation, and excitement abound on both water and land. Find your calm among the serene wilderness of the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area or along the

Bayou Teche Scenic Byway. Boaters enjoy the waters of the Atchafalaya Basin, the largest overflow swamp, as well as the scenery and sounds of the Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge. Golfers love the Atchafalaya at Idlewild, which was rated the number one golf course in Louisiana by Golfweek Magazine in 2008 and 2009 and number two by Golf Advisor in 2017. This fall, experience the Louisiana Shrimp & Petroleum Festival during Labor Day Weekend, September 1-4. On October 7-8, paddle the Tour du Teche or explore the Berwick Lighthouse Festival. The Harvest Moon Fest in Franklin and the Patterson Fall Fest both celebrate the season on October 28. For more information, visit CajunCoast.com. Lafayette is at the heart of Louisiana’s Cajun and Creole Country, an area known for letting the good


times roll, or as they say it, laissez les bons temps rouler, and people are starting to notice. The Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch.com recently named Lafayette as the “Happiest City in America,” and it’s no mystery why. With their distinctive blend of food, music and culture, it’s no wonder people from all over are heading down south with a smile on their face. Lafayette’s annual Festivals Acadiens et Créoles (October 13-15) provides the ideal opportunity to discover Lafayette’s unique blend of food, music and culture. For over 40 years this free festival has offered locals and visitors alike the opportunity to experience three days of nonstop music, dancing, food as well as crafts and a genuine Cajun and Creole experience like no other. Visit LafayetteTravel.com/ FestivalAcadiens for performance schedule, lodging, and travel information. Whether it is football you crave, high-speed drag racing, historic plantation homes, scenic views of the Mighty Mississippi, or a fun festival, West Baton Rouge Parish has it all. On September 10, don your poodle skirt and bobby socks for the Oldies But Goodies Fest. On October 1, learn all about Sugar Cane and life on a plantation at the Annual Sugar Fest. Honor the men and women of our armed services on November 5 at Veterans on Parade. Finally, look forward to Reflections of the Season, which opens December 7 and features a month of holiday lights, activities, horse drawn wagon rides, snow, ice fishing and more. Stop in at Exit #151 and visit the 13’, 760lb. alligator “Moby” at the West Baton Rouge Tourist Center. Visit WestBatonRouge.net for details and more. Shreveport-Bossier is making waves! The allnew 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, a contemporary American restaurant that emphasizes sustainable sourcing and offers a unique riverfront dining experience. For more information, visit ShreveportAquarium.com. There are lots of great reasons to visit ShreveportBossier this fall, including some of the biggest festivals in northern Louisiana. The Highland Jazz and Blues Festival returns to Columbia

Grambling State University, Ruston & Lincoln Parish welcome fans from across the state to enjoy game day activities and cheer on the home teams. Loyal Blue Weekends kick off September 1st in Downtown Ruston with live outdoor concerts, pep rallies with LA Tech spirit groups, and your favorite Louisiana food and brews. Bulldogs fans and visiting teams can avoid game day traffic this season by parking downtown. Enjoy shopping and dining options prior to kick-off or get a ride to tailgating activities. Shuttle buses will

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 16. 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 30. Get ready to get funky on October 7 with the 3rd

be running from downtown to the stadium continuously and free of charge! Historic Downtown Ruston is thriving with boutiques, specialty and gift shops, restaurants, art galleries, and cultural events. Plan a visit this fall for Ruston Makers Fair, a festival featuring the works of local artists, designers, and makers of all kinds, and ARToberfest, a celebration for beer enthusiasts offering craft beers, live music, and food trucks! For more information and events, or to plan your visit to Ruston & Lincoln Parish, visit ExperienceRuston.com. The Alexandria/Pineville area, located halfway

Annual Funktoberfest, central Louisiana’s original outdoor craft beer and music festival featuring a home brew competition. On October 19, come out and enjoy great music and drinks while sampling Cajun and Wild Game dishes at the 17th Annual United Way Wild Cook-Off. Finally, on October 20, 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!

Atchafalaya at Idlewild

Park on Saturday, September 16 with performances from Marc Broussard, Chris Thomas King, and Maggie Koerner. The Red River Revel Arts Festival will present four stages of entertainment and more than 100 artist booths in Shreveport’s Festival Plaza, September 30-October 7. The Louisiana Film, Music, and Food Prize Festivals will bring live music showcases, film screenings, and more to downtown Shreveport, October 4-8. For more information, destinations, and events visit Shreveport-Bossier.org. Football season is in full swing in Louisiana’s College Town! Home to Louisiana Tech University and





Accommodations & Entertainment Four Points by Sheraton French Quarter is located in the heart of the French Quarter on world-famous Bourbon Street. They offer 186 comfortable guest rooms, more than 4,000 square feet of market-leading meeting facilities, a recently renovated, tropical courtyard with an outdoor pool, 24-hour fitness center and more. Café Opera, Four Point’s full-service restaurant, features a classic New Orleans menu of Creole and continental cuisine. Guests can also enjoy a wide section of specialty drinks at the Puccini Bar. Four Points by Sheraton French Quarter is located on the site of the French Opera House (1859-1919), a legendary New Orleans cultural venue. Their performance series, “Opera Returns to Bourbon Street” features local operatic talent from the New Orleans Opera Association and local classical vocalist group Bon Operatit! Four Points by Sheraton French Quarter is located at 541 Bourbon Street. For reservations and more,

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call 866-716-8133 visit FourPoints.com/frenchquarter. Plan your visit now to Alexandria, Louisiana, for this November 30th through December 2nd. For three days, downtown Alexandria will be magically transformed into a winter wonderland with snow, ice rinks, snow globes, and all the sights and sounds of the winter holiday season. The streets become a holiday village with shops selling unique gifts, cakes and cookies, as well as art, crafts, and jewelry. Children laugh, Santa visits, sleigh bells ring, and egg nog flows as people mingle, shop, skate and sled to the sounds of street performers delighting the crowds. Stellar music fills the fete at two big bandstands while fireworks light up the night sky, and no one wants the festival to end. Join friends and family at the LTPA’s 2017 Louisiana Festival of the Year, AlexWinterFete. Learn more about the festival and lineup at AlexWinterFete.com.

Regional Travel 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 mustvisit. 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—no matter your passion, follow it here and let Louisiana dazzle you. Visit LouisianaTravel.com for more details on hundreds of outdoor adventures. Situated high on the bluffs above the Mississippi River, Vicksburg, Mississippi, serves as the “Key to the South” and prides itself on its perfect location as a midway point between Memphis and New Orleans.

If you are in search of the elusive sound of the Mississippi Delta Blues, you will find it in Vicksburg. Live Mississippi music from the Delta Blues to country and rock can be enjoyed at venues throughout the city. Learn American history by visiting the site of the defining battle of America’s defining war at the Vicksburg National Military Park. Enjoy the southern charm of Vicksburg by strolling the brickpaved streets of its historic downtown. Visit eclectic boutiques, art galleries, and various eateries featuring Southern specialties. Enjoy sweeping views of the mighty Mississippi River and some of the most beautiful sunsets imaginable. Relax—it all runs on river time! For more to see and do in Vicksburg, go to VisitVicksburg.com or call 1-800-221-3536. Arkansas is the perfect fall getaway—it’s fun, affordable, and not too far from home. As soon as you spot the “Welcome to Arkansas, The Natural State” sign, you’ll notice natural beauty around every turn. Continue northwest through the Ozarks to experience what Travel + Leisure called one of “America’s Best Fall Color Drives.” In this region is the world-class Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville. On the way home, stop in Central Arkansas to see the capital city of Little Rock. The Clinton Presidential Center is located downtown, walking distance from shops, restaurants, museums, coffee bars and craft breweries. Rent a bike for a beautiful ride on the Arkansas River Trail, which extends to Pinnacle Mountain State Park. Just an hour away from Little Rock is Hot Springs National Park, famous for its naturally thermal waters on Bathhouse Row. Visit Arkansas.com, or call 1-800-NATURAL to plan your trip today.



calendar SEPT. 9. Taco Festival. Lafayette. thetacofestival.com/lafayette

september/ october

SEPT. 15-16. Pepper Festival. St. Martinville. stmartinville.org SEPT. 16. Rebel Run 5k. Sulphur. active.com/sulphur-la/ running/distance-runningraces/rebel-run-5k-2017 SEPT. 21. Farm Fest. New Iberia. shadowsontheteche.org

Events and festivals around the state by Kelly Photo by

SEPT. 22. Downtown Live After 5 - Blue Eyed Soul. Houma. tpcg.org

Massicot David Simpson

SEPT. 22-23. Best of the Bayou Music Festival. Houma. bestofthebayou.la SEPT. 23. Movies in the Parc. Lafayette. downtownlafayette.org

Greater New Orleans

SEPT. 28. Sesquicentennial Exhibit Opening. Lake Charles. visitlakecharles.org

Aug. 31 - Sept. 4. Southern Decadence. New Orleans. southerndecadence.net

SEPT. 29. Sesquicentennial Community Celebration. Lake Charles. visitlakecharles.org

SEPT. 11-17. Restaurant Week New Orleans. New Orleans. coolinaryneworleans.com SEPT. 14-17. New Orleans Burlesque Festival. New Orleans. neworleansburlesquefest.com SEPT. 23. NOLA on Tap. New Orleans. nolaontap.org SEPT. 23-24. National Fried Chicken Festival. New Orleans. friedchickenfestival.com SEPT. 29-Oct. 1. Treme Fall Fest. New Orleans. faubourgtreme.wixsite.com/tremefest

SEPT. 30. Movies in the Parc. Lafayette. downtownlafayette.org OCT. 20-21. Boo at the Zoo. New Orleans. audubonnatureinstitute.org

Festivals Acadiens et Creoles

OCT. 21. Krewe of Boo Halloween Parade. New Orleans. kreweofboo.com

Oct. 12-15 One of Lafayette’s premier festivals, Festivals Acadiens et Creoles is highlighting Cajun music in it’s 43rd installment, Oct. 12-15. The free festival held in Girard Park will see more than 60 live bands, two dozen food vendors and 70 artists from across Louisiana. This year you can download a handy pocket guide to ensure you have all the need-to-know information right at your fingertips.

OCT. 21. Mac n Cheese Fest. New Orleans. nolamacncheesefest.com

SEPT. 30. Carnaval Latino. New Orleans. carnavalatinola.com

OCT. 21. Cochon de Lait Festival. New Orleans. facebook.com/nolaporkfest

SEPT. 29-Oct. 1. Treme Fall Fest. New Orleans. faubourgtreme.wixsite.com

OCT. 22. Oak Street Po-Boy Festival. New Orleans. poboyfest.com

OCT. 4. Art for Arts’ Sake. New Orleans. cacno.org/afas

OCT. 27-28. Boo at the Zoo. New Orleans. audubonnatureinstitute.org

OCT. 6-8. Gentilly Fest. New Orleans. gentillyfest.com OCT. 6-21. Oktoberfest. Kenner. deutscheshaus.org OCT. 7. Beignet Festival. New Orleans. beignetfest.com OCT. 11-19. New Orleans Film Festival. New Orleans. neworleansfilmsociety.org OCT. 13-15. Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival. New Orleans. jazzandheritage.org/blues-fest

62 Louisiana Life september/october 2017

OCT. 27-29. Louisiana Seafood Festival. New Orleans. louisianaseafoodfestival.com OCT. 27-29. Voodoo Music + Arts Experience. New Orleans. voodoofestival.com OCT. 27-29. WWII Air, Sea and Land Festival. New Orleans. nationalww2museum.org

Cajun Country JUNE - SEPT. 17. Eat Lafayette. Lafayette. lafayettetravel.com Aug. 31- Sept. 4. Louisiana Shrimp & Petroleum Festival. Morgan City. shrimpandpetroleum.org

OCT. 6-8. Tour du Teche 135. Breaux Bridge. tourduteche.com OCT. 7-8. Germanfest. Roberts Cove. robertscovegermanfest.com OCT. 10-15. Louisiana Cotton Festival. Ville Platte. louisianacottonfestival.com OCT. 12-15. Festivals Acadiens et Creoles. Lafayette. festivalsacadiens.com OCT. 14-15. Gumbo Cookoff. New Iberia. iberiachamber.org OCT. 18. St. Martin Creole Farmers Market Chariot Parade. St. Martinville. stmartinville.org OCT. 19-22. International Rice Festival. Crowley. ricefestival.com OCT. 21. Boudin Cook-Off. Lafayette. boudincookoff.com

SEPT. 1-2. Louisiana Zydeco Music Festival. Opelousas. zydeco.org

OCT. 21. Shake Your Trail Feather Festival. Breaux Bridge.

SEPT. 8-10. TaWaSi Antiques and Collectibles Show. Thibodaux. tawasi.net

OCT. 28. Sweet Dough Pie Festival. Grand Coteau. sweetdoughgc.com

SEPT. 9. Boudin Wars. Sulphur. facebook.com/BoudinWars

OCT. 28. Harvest Moon Festival. Franklin. franklin-la.com

Central SEPT. 10. Living on a Spare Youth Rally. Alexandria. fourseasonsbowlingcenter.com SEPT. 16. Le Tour de Bayou 2017. Alexandria. bikereg.com OCT. 7. Friendship House Annual Pig Roast Fundraiser. Alexandria. friendship-house.net OCT. 19. United Way Wild Cook-Off. Alexandria. uwcl.org/wild-cook

North SEPT. 2-3. Powerboat Nationals Grand Prix of Louisiana U.S. National Championship. Shreveport-Bossier. shreveportbossiersports.com SEPT. 3. Red River Margarita Pour Off. Shreveport-Bossier. redriverpouroff.com SEPT. 9-10. Centenary College Book Bazaar. Shreveport. SEPT. 16. Highland Jazz and Blues Festival. Shreveport. highlandjazzandblues.org SEPT. 21-23. PRCA Rodeo. Springhill. (318)469-6358. SEPT. 30-7. Red River Revel Arts Festival. Shreveport. redriverrevel.com OCT. 13-14. Springhill Lumberjack Festival. Springhill. 619-988-6941 OCT. 26-12. State Fair of Louisiana. Shreveport. statefairoflouisiana.com OCT. 31. Boo at the Boardwalk. Shreveport. louisianaboardwalk.com

Plantation Country SEPT. 13. Behind Enemy Lines. Baton Rouge. chabadbr.com SEPT. 22-23. National TLSM Single Mom’s Conference. Baton Rouge. thelifeofasinglemom.com SEPT. 22-23. Hot Air Balloon Festival. Gonzales. ascensionballooning.com OCT. 6. Brew at the Zoo. Baton Rouge. brzoobrew.org


NOLA Mac N Cheese Festival It’s not a New Orleans festival if it doesn’t involve food. The inaugural Mac N Cheese Festival is bringing a new spin to a food festival. More than a dozen local restaurants will be serving up their best mac ‘n’ cheese while you get down to the tunes of Grayson Capps and Susan Cowsill. Sept. 3

Red River Margarita Pour Off The best restaurants, bars and other businesses around the Shreveport-Bossier area will compete in the 3rd annual Red River Margarita Pour Off. It’s up to the attendees to taste, sample and vote for their favorite. Beer, tacos and additional margaritas will be on sale as Southern Roots provides the live music for the evening. Sept. 22-23

Hot Air Balloon Festival Soon Gonzales will be full of hot air when the annual Hot Air Balloon Festival takes flight Sept. 22-23. The whole family can enjoy the festival, which features a children’s village, classic car show, barbecue competition and fireworks show. Due to the heavy flooding in 2016, the festival was cancelled, so show organizers are determined to come back better than ever for 2017.

OCT. 21-22. Boo at the Zoo. Baton Rouge. brzoo.org OCT. 28-29. Boo at the Zoo. Baton Rouge. brzoo.org



a louisiana life

Passion in Action Director of Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana follows her calling to save the state’s coast and wetlands By Megan portrait By

Hill Romero & Romero

The ocean fascinated Kimberly Reyher at an

early age, and that unshakable hold has led to her life’s calling. Reyher is the executive director of New Orleansbased Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, which works to respond to the ongoing issue of coastal erosion. Reyher has long been fascinated with humans’ ability to impact the environment — for better or worse. “We, in the most collective sense, crashed the north Atlantic cod fishery,” Reyher says. “We drained the Aral Sea. We dried up the Colorado River in the U.S. and the Yellow River in China. Humans have the power to change natural systems in unimaginable ways. Thankfully, we also have the power to restore natural systems, at least some of them. We know enough to be able to make better decisions going forward. We need to do that.” Reyher, who is originally from Florida, moved to New Orleans in 2011 after her husband received an assignment to lead the Navy ROTC at Tulane University. She previously served as fisheries program director for the World Wildlife Fund, where her work was globally focused. Now back on the Gulf Coast, she relishes the opportunity to make an impact locally. “We need to act with urgency,” Reyher says. “Louisiana is slipping into the Gulf of Mexico — while we go about our daily lives and celebrate Mardi Gras each year. We live on a river delta that is sinking and the water is rising. We’re losing our rich wetlands — and the bounty and storm protection they provide us. In this time of drawing lines between parties and people, this issue brings people together. Coastal land loss is a threat to all who live in and love Louisiana. It isn’t political. It is existential. Very simply: Do you want to live here into the future? If so, you should be calling for bold action to restore our coast.” n

Q&A Top hidden gem in Louisiana: Bilingual education. My young children attend a French immersion charter school. Favorite Louisiana restaurant: Urban South Brewery. Artful, fun and surprisingly family friendly. Favorite place to take your kids: The Audubon Zoo. Wonderful place. A gem of our city with a talented and dedicated staff.

“This issue should be on the top of the list for all Louisiana’s elected officials and business leaders. We need more people to be involved. Everyone in Louisiana should be concerned about coastal land loss.”