GOOD HUNTING SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2019
The best places, seasons and game to hunt plus Louisiana’s custom gunsmiths, stockmakers and engravers create works of art PG. 28
Bossier City’s Winning Cuisine
Foodies go all in for worldclass wine and Chinese fare at nationallyrenowned Lucky Palace
sept/oct VOLUME 39 NUMBER 5
From The Editor
A Gubernatorial Story 6 along the way
Bovine Blues: A family that breeds beef cattle adheres to an unspoken rule, mostly
Quiet Morning: A bucolic landscape in Baton Rouge.
Flavorful Fusion: Chef Ryan Dunning serves up a new take on Louisiana home cooking at Cajun Asian in Bossier City
10 state of louisiana
Pelican Briefs: Noteworthy news and happenings around the state
48 kitchen gourmet
Breakfast Bliss: Sweet and savory offerings for breakfast or, if you are inclined, brunch
Gumbo Daze: Everyone’s a winner at the World Champion Gumbo Cookoff in New Iberia
Double Down: Plan a resort-style getaway at Lake Charles’ casinos or one of the many throughout Louisiana
There’s an App for That: Health and fitness apps by Louisiana dietitians and hospitals help you eat nutritiously and get fit 14
Essential Fall Cookbooks: The best from Southern chefs, cooks and entertainers near and far 16 Made In Louisiana
20 Good Juju: Retired New Orleans TV and radio show host Garland Robinette turned to his Cajun roots for new direction in paintings and life 24 home
Retro Renovation: Alice and Richard Roth renovated their 1970s Thibodeaux house with respect for its classic modernist design
Luck of the Draw: Lucky Palace in Bossier City offers a world-class wine list and some of the best cuisine in the country great louisiana chef
Dream Weaver: New Orleans fashion designer Trishala Bhansali favors Old World craft, slow living and intention
28 Best Hunting in the state
36 Artfully Loaded
Food, sport and tradition define hunting in the Sportsman’s Paradise
Louisiana gunsmiths, stockmakers and engravers turn firearms into fine art
By Chris Holmes
by Megan Romer photographs by Greg Miles
on the cover
Culture Club: Houston brims with art, world-class shopping, immense green space, international cuisine and cosmopolitan flair 64 a louisiana life
Going Nuts: Jady Regard grows pecans and his family’s business in New Iberia
The September/October issue has become a space for us to explore “the best” of some aspect of Louisiana’s culture, heritage and traditions. For this installment, we went on the hunt for the best places, seasons and game hunting around the state. The Sportsman’s Paradise lives up to its name with abundant opportunities to get outside, hone your hunting skills and put food on your family’s table. Award-winning columnist, past president of the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association and avid outdoorsman Chris Holmes, offers up everything you need to know about food, sport and tradition in Louisiana. Even experienced hunters will learn a thing or two from this comprehensive glimpse into the passion of so many Louisianians. There’s even something for non-hunters: dogs — and yes, they are all good boys.
AWARdS EDITORIAL MANAGING Editor Melanie Warner Spencer
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Gold Art Direction of a Single Story Silver Portrait Photo Bronze Photographer of the Year Bronze Food Feature Bronze Cover Bronze Public Issue Bronze Hed & Dek 2016
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Administration Chief Executive Officer Todd Matherne President Alan Campell Executive Vice President Errol Laborde office manager Mallary Matherne Distribution Manager John Holzer audience development Claire Sargent
For subscriptions call (504) 830-7231
Press Club of New Orleans 2018
1st Place Best Cover 1st Place MultiPhoto Feature 2nd Place Layout/ Design 2017
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110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123 Metairie, LA 70005 (504) 828-1380 LouisianaLife.com Louisiana Life (ISSN 1042-9980) is published bimonthly by Renaissance Publishing, LLC, 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005; (504) 828-1380. Subscription rate: One year $10; Mexico and Canada $48. Periodicals postage paid at Metairie, LA, and additional mailing entry offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Louisiana Life, 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005. Copyright 2019 Louisiana Life. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the consent of the publisher. The trademark Louisiana Life is registered. Louisiana Life is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, photos and artwork, even if accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope. The opinions expressed in Louisiana Life are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the magazine or owner.
Lifetime Achievement Award Errol Laborde 1st Place Best Magazine 1st Place Layout/ Design 2nd Place Best Magazine 2nd Place Layout/ Design 2nd Place Best Portrait 2nd Place Governmental/ Political Writing
from the editor
A GUBERNATORIAL STORY By Errol Laborde
This is a gubernatorial election year, which raises the admittedly dorky
question, to me at least: Who was governor 100 years ago? That would be in 1919. Well, it turns out the answer has significance in two of the state’s passions — politics and football. Not only did he participate in both, but he would have a major impact on the state’s iconography. Meet Ruffin G. Pleasant. Having served as governor of Louisiana from 1916 to 1920, he is best remembered for mobilizing the state’s war efforts during World War I. Pleasant played his politics well. Born in Union Parish he rose to political prominence in nearby Shreveport where he was city attorney before being elected as the state’s attorney general. Though from Northern Louisiana he had the support of the potent New Orleans political machine, which knew it could never elect one of its own but could swing the vote for someone else. Having been governor is enough of a superlative for anyone’s lifetime, but during his college years he had played football for LSU and was the quarterback on the squad that in 1893 played the school’s first game against Tulane. In preparation for that game, which was set for Nov. 25 of that year, Pleasant and football coach Charles Coates went to a place called Raymond’s store, on the corner of Third and Main streets in Baton Rouge, to buy ribbons that could add color to the team’s grey jerseys. With carnival not far away, the store was loaded with purple, green and gold ribbons. The two chose purple and gold. (Green, according to one story, was not yet in stock, but that would have been Tulane’s color anyway.) Coates and Pleasant bought up the supply and made it into badges as decorations for the team to wear. There are variations of the story saying that the baseball team had actually chosen the colors first, but Pleasant’s involvement has endured, thus he is most celebrated (with appreciation to New Orleans’ Rex organization which in 1872 had established carnival’s colors) as the man who gave LSU its purple and gold. Looking good was about all that the LSU team brought to that first game as it fell to Tulane 34-0. Pleasant was born in 1871. He died in 1937. But don’t mourn for Ruffin Pleasant; his name survives. There is even a building named for him on the LSU campus. A tip- off that he might have been destined for public service was that his mother’s maiden name was Martha Washington Duty and his father was Benjamin Franklin Pleasant. That should be good for a few victories in politics and football.
(Editor’s Note: In the July/August issue, the “Friendship Firehouse Festival” was erroneously included in the Calendar section as an event held in Alexandria, Louisiana. We regret the error.)
Louisiana Life september/october 2019
along the way
Bovine Blues A family that breeds beef cattle adheres to an unspoken rule, mostly By Melanie Warner Spencer
My people aren’t hunters. We shoot
and we eat, but we don’t shoot what we eat. It’s just not in our DNA, I suppose. At least it doesn’t appear to be part of the genetic makeup of the five generations of Warners currently inhabiting the planet. Case in point: My grandparents owned a cattle farm and growing up, we didn’t even do the dirty work of putting down the sacrificial cows selected to fill the family freezer. Pop would farm that chore out to a man named Tom. My guess is, Pop didn’t want to give the animals a reason to fear him, given he was their caretaker. But, this is just a theory of mine. I never asked and Pop wasn’t much of a talker. Now, you might be wondering: How did she come up with this theory? Well first, Pop would name each cow. I mean, what sort of lunatic names an animal he plans to personally shoot and kill? Pop would often let us suggest names, too. There was sweet ol’ Rusty, for example. My cousin Jimmy and I were there when he was born, so we got naming honors.
Louisiana Life september/october 2019
Rusty’s burnt orange coat inspired his name and animal that was losing its life for our benefit. before long, we had grown attached to that lil’ It was at once fascinating and horrible. bull. Second, Pop was not an uncaring man and A week or so later, Pop, Dad or one of the saved us the pain of seeing Rusty slaughtered other adults would bring home a huge cooler by selling him at market. filled with various cuts of meat. Each one was Conclusion: Men who name their cows and neatly packaged in white butcher paper with allow their grandchildren to name (and grow “hamburger,” “New York strip” or what have you attached to) said cows employ other people written in black marker on a piece of masking tape. to do the darker deeds. Seems plausible, huh? By then, we’d all have conveniently tucked away So, once or twice a year, Tom would come into the far corners of our youthful brains the by, fell the poor beast, drain the blood on horrors we’d witnessed just a few days prior and site and then haul him or her off to the meat look ahead to stews, burgers and barbecued ribs. processing and butchering company down Where the livestock were concerned, our collecthe road. Us kids would gather with morbid tive, selective memory was as inherent as our curiosity close enough to the barn to be able aversion to pulling the trigger on anything more to hear and make out what was happening, animate than an empty soda can or gallon milk but at the same time far enough away to shield jug. It was a given that a descendant of Granny ourselves from the most icky and traumatic and Pop’s would embrace the cognitive dissonance parts. Dad would often gather with us to and we were happy to oblige, as long as Rusty instruct us on the process and answer our and any other bovines we befriended didn’t end questions. He made sure we were sufficiently up on the wrong side of the meat freezer. reverent and that we understood the imporWhich is why no one in the family ever brings tance of showing respect and gratitude for the up Susie. n
Quiet Morning A bucolic landscape in Baton Rouge. Photo by angela cunningham, baton rouge
Submit your photos by visiting louisianalife.com
STATE OF LOUISIANA Lincoln Parish, Bienville Parish
Hardly Just Chicken Feed
pelican briefs Noteworthy news and happenings around the state Natchitoches
Meat Pies, Glowing Balloons, Zombie Thriller
by Lisa LeBlanc-Berry
Check out the 17th annual Natchitoches Meat Pie Festival and 20th annual River Run (Sept. 20-21) for tethered hot air balloon rides, the famed Balloon Glow, water slides, climbing walls, live music, Brewfest and the Zombie “Thriller” Dance with Dark Woods Haunted Attraction plus a River Run through the Creole National Historic Park along Cane River Lake (natchitoches.com/ meat-pie-festivalriver-run).
House of Raeford Farms announced it will invest $40.9 million to build a new feed mill in Simsboro in Lincoln Parish and $5.7 million to upgrade its Arcadia chicken processing plant and Gibsland hatchery in Bienville Parish. The feed mill will be capable of producing 12,500 tons of chicken feed weekly, doubling its capacity of the older mill in Choudrant. House of Raeford Farms Inc. is one of the nation’s Top 10 chicken producers providing ready-to-cook and processed chicken products to foodservice, retail and export markets (houseofraeford.com).
Put on Your Poodle skirt
Do you feel like doing the twist and the jitterbug or hula-hooping and feasting on great barbecue? Head to the Oldies But Goodies Fest & Smokin’ Oldies Cook-Off (Sept.14-15), where cooking teams compete for top barbecue trophies and cash prizes (including a Steak Championship Cook-Off) with a backdrop of live music and jitterbug contests, an antique car show and a poker run (westbatonrouge.net).
Let’s Go out to the Movies
On October 16-23, the Oscar-qualifying 30th Annual New Orleans Film Festival brings screenings of more than 250 films, including new works such as “Burning Cane,” which recently won the top award, “Best Narrative Film,” at New York’s famed 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. The director is 19-year-old New Orleans native, Phillip Youmans, the youngest and first African-American director ever to win the award. “Burning Cane,” also won Tribeca’s awards for “Best Cinematography” and “Best Actor” for Wendell Pierce. NOFF features silver screen speakers, music videos, nightly parties and more (neworleansfilmsociety.org/festival).
Slow Food Showcases New Foodie Attraction
What Voodoo to Me Fans of Post Malone‘s gristly, sultry (double platinum) crooning will be able to catch him live during Voodoo Fest (Oct. 25-27) in City Park, joined by 60 acts ranging from Guns N’ Roses to REZZ, Bassnectar, Moon Taxi and Zhu (voodoofestival.com).
Princeton, Shreveport Fête on the Farm, the annual fall fundraiser for Slow Food North Louisiana (a local chapter of Slow Food USA) features an openair feast held Oct. 20 at Mahaffey Farms in Princeton featuring chefs of the new farm-to-table, French, The Revenir Restaurant opening in downtown Shreveport inside Every Man a King Distillery (700 Cotton St.) in 2020. The revitalization of Shreveport Common’s long-abandoned circa-1915 Arlington Hotel will transform the 30,000-square-foot building into an entertainment complex featuring the Cotton Street Club with live music, a large event space flowing into a giant courtyard outside the new distillery, a tasting room, gift shops and The Bottoms Speakeasy hidden in the partly underground level (facebook.com/everymanakingdistillery).
Louisiana Life september/october 2019
Veolia North America is making a $40 million capital investment to expand its regeneration plant in Darrow, known as the Burnside Factory (one of 7 such plants in the U.S.). Veolia’s corporate headquarters are located in Paris, France (veolianorthamerica.com).
Chocolate Balls, Keto Balls and Lucille Ball with Martinis Where can you get a fried bread pudding po-boy, keto balls, a Lucille Ball Caesar and ball-themed chocolate desserts with mint juleps and martinis? At Tiniball, Rock ‘N’ Bowl de Lafayette’s new “martinis and meatballs” restaurant concept. The Blanchers announced they’re switching gears with a new dining venue that melds the more affordable, fun atmosphere of their bowling alley downtown (tiniball.com).
Highland Jazz & Blues Festival Sept. 14. Shreveport
Gumbo daze Everyone’s a winner at the World Champion Gumbo Cookoff in New Iberia
The Highland Jazz and Blues Festival in Shreveport is a free annual event that highlights great local music and art. Sample food, art and other vendors from all over the area. highlandjazzandblues.org
by kelly massicot Plantation
Bogalusa Blues & Heritage Festival Sept. 27-28. Bogalusa.
For five years, the Bogalusa Blues and Heritage Festival has been gaining in popularity for its food, music and lovers of blues. Friday, Saturday and Sunday are packed full of local bands ready to rock the Blues and Heritage stages. Festivalgoers can also even bring their camping gear and camp out around the festival grounds. bogalusablues.com
Les Fest Sept. 26. Alexandria
With More than 20,000 eventgoers
expected, the annual Gumbo Cookoff in New Iberia is clearly a popular event. In addition to the cookoff, attendees can participate in the Roux Run, cooking demonstrations and a gumbo giveaway, as well as live music and a “Gumbotron.”
World Championship Gumbo Cookoff Oct. 12-13 New Iberia cajuntravel.com
Nola Mac N Cheese Fest
The Alexandria Zoo holds Les Fest, an event honoring former zoo director Leslie “Les” Whitt,” who loved the zoo and live music — both of which are features of the festival. Local restaurants and caterers will be in attendance and guests can enjoy music by The BB King Blues Band featuring Michael Less from NBC’s “The Voice.” thealexandriazoo. com/LesFest
Oct. 12. New Orleans. Located in Armstrong Park, the Nola Mac n’ Cheese Fest brings together amazing chefs and restaurants from around New Orleans to compete for your taste buds with their versions of the cheesy dish. The event will also include live music and bands. nolamacncheesefest.com
There’s an App for That Health and fitness apps by Louisiana dietitians and hospitals, as well as national entities help you eat nutritiously and get fit By Fritz Esker
One of the good things about smartphone
technology is it can put a wealth of information at your fingertips. Here are some of the best apps available for health and nutrition info. Most of them are free, too, so there’s no excuse not to take advantage!
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Louisiana Life september/october 2019
Eat 2 Win This app, the brainchild of local sports dietitian Tavis Piattoly, is free to download and offers a comprehensive meal plan based on users’ body weight goals. There is a calorie counter and over 12,000 healthy restaurant recommendations and advice for vegan/vegetarian users, too. If users want to pay a 99-cents-a-month subscription fee, they can compete in monthly challenges with other users to win prizes. home.mysportsd.com/eat-2-win-app
Ochsner Eat Fit This app is free and a part of Ochsner’s Eat Fit Program. Users can find Eat Fit-approved restaurant dishes and recipes, as well as download shopping guides and locate community wellness events. The app also allows people to connect with healthcare professionals. ochsner.org/eat-fit My Fitness Pal This free app lets users scan barcodes to get nutrition facts about grocery store items. It lets people keep track of what they are eating and offers nutrition breakdowns so they can see what specifically they are missing from their diet. myfitnesspal.com Healthy Recipes by Spark Recipes This free app puts users just one click away from over 500,000 healthy recipes. The recipes have all been tried and tested by home cooks. While the number of recipes might seem daunting, the app has an easily searchable database which includes gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options. Download at iTunes App Store. Fast Food Nutrition Maybe you’re not the most ambitious fitness buff. You like your favorite fast food options a bit too much to let them go. For a $2.99 purchase, the Fast Food Nutrition app lets users keep track of nutritional info and Weight Watchers points for 60,000 menu items at 350 popular fast food restaurant chains. Download at Google Play.
Essential Fall Cookbooks The best from Southern chefs, cooks and entertainers near and far By Ashley McLellan
Carla Hall’s Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration Carla Hall Although TV celebrity chef and cookbook author Carla Hall’s “Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration” has been out for a little while, the book recently took on special significance with the passing of soul food icon Leah Chase. Hall was able to serve up lunch with Chase in February just weeks before her passing. Hall has also recently toured south Louisiana spreading her own brand of love and community outreach through biscuit making. Recipe highlights include: cracked shrimp with comeback sauce, field peas with country ham and sweet potato pudding with clementines. Harper Wave, 336 pages, $29.99
The Peach Truck Cookbook, 100 Delicious Recipes for All Things Peach Stephen K. Rose and Jessica N. Rose While Georgians may try and make claim, we all know that the best peaches come from northwest Louisiana. That said, the duo behind Nashville farmer’s market peach darlings Stephen and Jessica Rose have put together a unique cookbook chock full of ways to incorporate the blushing fruit into dishes, morning, noon and night … and, perhaps, midnight snack. Think: peach sticky buns, glazed ribs and peachy lemonade. The book also gives information on picking peaches, varieties and pantry storage tips. Scribner, 288 pages, $28
South: Essential Recipes and New Explorations Sean Brock James Beard award-winning chef Sean Brock is back with his second cookbook (his first, “Heritage,” won a James Beard Award for Best American Cookbook in 2015.) In “South: Essential Recipes and New Explorations,” Brock examines all regions of Southern cuisine, as well as kitchen methods and manners, such as how to care for cast iron, how to fry and more. This will be an essential guide in a Southern cook’s tool kit. Artisan, 376 pages, $40
Louisiana Life september/october 2019
The New Orleans Kitchen Justin Devillier and Jamie Feldmar From the recipe files of New Orleans Magazine’s 2014 Chef of the Year and James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: South, 2016, Chef Justin Devillier and coauthor Jamie Feldmar, have put together an essential tour of modern and classic Louisiana cooking. Basic instructions on rouxs and stocks, techniques on pantry staples such as chow chow, and recipes for everything from the chef’s renowned blue crab beignets to root beer braised short ribs and brown butter crepes with rum raisin ice cream. There’s something for every appetite here. Lorena Jones Books, 384 pages, $40
Dream Weaver New Orleans fashion designer Trishala Bhansali favors Old World craft, slow living and intention By Jeffrey Roedel photos by romero & romero
The opulent palaces and forested
expanses of foothills stretching up to the highs of the Himalayas were enthralling, but Trishala Bhansali found her creativity molded more by muslins and silk brocade and block prints. The entrepreneur witnessed these among the kinetic colors and gold-embroidered, floralsplashed textures pouring out in raucous hives all along the crowded street markets of Mumbai. “I always ended up hunting for fabrics in the stalls,” Bhansali says of childhood trips to her parents’ homeland combing through bandhani tie-dye dresses. “I was sketching designs and would bring material we found to our family tailor in Bombay who would craft the clothes based on my drawings.” From this colorful chaos experienced as a child, the now 31-year-old artisan designer’s clothing line is an elevated reaction to disorder, a seeking of simplicity. Her brand Lekha is built on living slowly, connecting with intention, and investing in an Old World craft and the caretakers who practice it. Even so, Bhansali is in the middle of Lekha’s first measurably manic moment. It’s a steamy May afternoon in New Orleans, and the entrepreneur has less than a week to organize inventory and finalize marketing for a summer-long pop-up at Destination Haus in The Hamptons. A month ago, a glowing feature in Garden & Gun — the first deep dive on her nearly two-year-old line of artisan dresses, blouses, pants and skirts — resplendently raised Lekha’s voice in the regional conversation about organic, ethical and slow fashion trends. It almost maxed out her Spring 2019 collection. “It’s been bananas,” Bhansali says. “Since that article, we’ve had a lot of unintentional fast growth, and it’s hard to keep a lean team, but the smaller
16 Louisiana Life september/october 2019
I can keep Lekha while we grow, the better it will be.” Packing up her life in New Orleans for exploration in Amagansett, New York, is just another summer away from Louisiana in a life filled with seasonal adventures. Bhansali grew up in the Crescent City raised by her immigrant father, a cardiologist, and surrounded by Indian traditions, food and fabrics. But her mother had returned to India and her family’s royal roots to pursue a career in politics when Bhansali was young, so every summer the designer would travel to Mumbai, Delhi and across the country. After 10 years grinding in New York City fashion retail and attending NYU and Parsons School of Design, Bhansali felt a need to prove herself creatively and to connect on a deeper level with the two places she considered home before the Big Apple. Bhansali was working for a large home goods brand using ethically-sourced materials, many from India, when her “ah ha” moment arrived. “I started to make the connection that this was something I could do and something I should do myself, my own way, with a new brand,” she recalls. In 2017 she returned to New Orleans and began connecting with women’s artisan groups and nonprofits in India who could manufacture her designs. Those partners include the Nabha Foundation, the Kala Swaraj Foundation and the Saheli Women’s Group. In April 2018, Bhansalie opened a by-appointment showroom in the city and began taking online orders. Lekha was born.
Louisiana Life september/october 2019
“I don’t think you leave New Orleans thinking it will be forever,” she says. “It’s not easy to pursue your muse. It takes courage. It took a lot to get the push to do something, and the feeling of wanting to get back to New Orleans was my push.” Lekha blends Bhansali’s love of traditional Indian fabrics like breathable linens, cotton, silk, and muslin — all of which work well in the similarly humid, hot climate of south Louisiana — and her desire for comfortable designs flexible enough for all body types and occasions. “You can wear it all day,” Bhansali says. “If you fall asleep in it you don’t feel horrible in the morning.” Most importantly, the designer wants her line to support hard-working, creative women in India, just as her pieces are worn by talented, empowered women in Louisiana and beyond. “I admire how calm and level-headed Trish is,” says Cheyenne Ellis, founder of Make Movements, a yoga-driven corporate wellness business in New Orleans. “I can see how easy it is to have your attention diverted as an entrepreneur, but she remains stable and dedicated to smart, sustainable production and the heart of her brand which is to support these women and authentic community. It’s inspiring.” Bhansali calls her clothing “warm, soft female armor,” and for her, Lekha is more about building thriving communities than thrilling closets. “I’ve met these incredible Southern women, and creative souls in New Orleans who are finding their footing and the strength to pursue their passions,” Bhansali says. “I hope Lekha can bring more of those women together.” n
Q&A You are welltraveled; what is one place outside of Louisiana that really inspires you? Every single time I go to Jaipur — in Rajasthan, India — I see or experience something new, whether its the marigold flower market, the pink and terracotta hues across structures, the fabric stalls filled with bandhani, brocade and block printed fabrics, or even peoplewatching. You’ll see men with their white muslin kurta pajamas and brightly-dyed turbans or women with their lime, red, fuchsia or tangerine sarees decked out with assorted bangles, earrings and nose rings. Where are you most likely to be found in and around New Orleans? What do you like to do for fun? One of my favorite things to do in New Orleans is to take a walk through Audubon Park or City Park. Both are beautiful in their own right.
If you could design a piece for any one specific person, who would you choose, what would you make, and why? I wish I could have dressed Georgia O’Keefe in some of my longer, voluminous muslin dresses. I’m a huge fan of her work, and I think that the backdrop of the Southwest, along with her palette, works so well with the Lekha aesthetic I strive to create. She was a woman of intense talent, gentle strength, subtlety, and independence — and appreciative of natural surroundings. I love how all of these qualities are reflected in her work. I often look at old photos of her for inspiration. What, when push comes to shove, can be spicier: Traditional Indian cuisine or Louisiana cooking? Indian heat hits hard and deep, while I think Louisiana spicy is more topical. I can definitely handle Louisiana heat better than Indian! Is there a particular misconception or myth about fashion design that you’d like to dispel now or that you’re working to combat with your brand? I think Lekha is unique because we are working with artisans and organizations across the world, entrepreneurs and small business owners stateside, and alongside our incredible customer base. I love that the brand is completely built on all of this connectivity.
Good Juju Retired New Orleans TV and radio show host Garland Robinette turned to his Cajun roots for new direction in paintings and life By John R. Kemp
Mention the name Garland Robinette
and most Southeast Louisiana residents over a certain age will recall the once wildly popular New Orleans TV news anchor during the 1970s and ‘80s or the no nonsense “Think Tank” radio talk show host who busted political heads in post-Katrina New Orleans. There is another Garland Robinette, however, one whose artistic talents will long outlast memories of his broadcasting career. Robinette, who resides in New Orleans with his wife Nancy, is an exceptional artist who
Louisiana Life september/october 2019
has come a long way from the microphone and his childhood along the bayous of South Louisiana. Born in 1943 in Texas and adopted by an oil field worker and his Cajun wife, Robinette grew up in an oil camp in the swamps near the fishing village of Des Allemands. As a child he had asthma, which kept him home a good bit drawing pictures of friends and playing the piano. The family later moved to nearby Boutte where he attended high school. Then came LSU and 13 months in Vietnam
where he was the only member of his crew to survive almost-daily patrol boat missions and firefights in the Mekong Delta. Shot twice, Robinette returned home with two Purple Hearts and post-traumatic stress disorders. Back in civilian life, he worked as a janitor at a radio station before charming his way into a broadcast job at WWL-TV in New Orleans. Young Robinette was on his way. And then there was his art. During those years, Robinette refined his talents as a painter. Though primarily self-
taught, he took lessons under Auseklis Ozols at the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts and became friends with prominent New Orleans artists Henry Casselli and Rolland Golden. Both influenced his work. Casselli gave Robinette “courage” to express feeling in his work while Golden gave him “a sense of color, perspective and experimentation.” Those skills have served him well. Robinette is an accomplished portrait painter. One wall in his studio is filled with photographs of his portraits of prominent New Orleanians, including jazz clarinetist Pete Fountain and New Orleans Saints owner Gayle Benson. Loyola University also commissioned him to paint Pope John Paul II’s portrait during his 1987 visit to New Orleans. His portraits
are technically precise, aesthetically pleasing and palette true. On another wall across the studio, hangs another type of portrait, one created with quick, energetic and expressive brushstrokes. In these paintings, his brush, dipped in paint, seems to move easily from the mortal to the mystical. Faces and images look out from the canvas like specters in a mist or in a dream. They reveal an artist with great inner passion and angst that finds release in his brushes, paints and canvas. And that’s where he finds his peace, his “juju.” “Juju” is a belief in magical fetishes and powers of good luck and protection brought to the Americas, including South Louisiana, by enslaved West Africans. Over the centuries
juju found its way into the Cajun culture and Robinette’s childhood home. Recently, Robinette has taken his art in a new direction. In 2017 he retired from his radio show after surviving a rare life-threatening autoimmune disease that badly damaged his voice. With a refreshed sense of life and purpose, he has turned his art inward to his Cajun roots, to nostalgic memories of his mother and his own good juju. He calls these new paintings his “Juju Doll” paintings. “I told my wife, Nancy, that I need a break from the portraits,” he said. “I knew there was something else deep in me. I grew up in the swamps, and there had to be a connection there. I started experimenting and then it dawned on me that my mother was a mega-Cajun who spoke with a strong Cajun accent. She would say, ‘My chère, you make good juju, you. You are going to get good luck and protection.’” Nancy, who handles the business end, suggested he focus on the small triangular sketches he enjoyed drawing. Great idea, he thought. He added legs, faces and arms. Before long, his “Juju Dolls” emerged. Robinette experimented with the concept while Nancy put his paintings on the internet. Orders started coming in from across the United States and countries around the world. He couldn’t keep up with the demand. A South African client wanted a cat in his painting. A Texan wanted a juju painting with a portrait of novelist Walker Percy. Others wanted paintings of their boats, cats and other objects that had meaning to them. Robinette also includes iconic New Orleans images of streetcars, Saints football players, Mardi Gras Indians and flambeaux carriers,
anything that represents the culture of South Louisiana. While painting, music plays in the background, music ranging from Keb’ Mo’ blues to Pavarotti, anything with emotion, he says. With the volume turned high, he paints to the rhythms and lets whatever is deep in his subconscious guide his brush. When that happens, he seems to retreat to his childhood
Through Sept. 28
“I didn’t think people would get it,” he says. “I tried to explain it and I’d listen to people say, ‘This feels happy and totally different’. ” To help viewers better understand the juju doll imagery, Nancy researches the topics and writes little stories to accompany each painting. In one titled “Evangelette: Protector of the Wetlands,” she wrote: “They call me Evangelette. I am the protector of all swamp life — from snowy egrets that fly above, to the moss backed gators and turtles that sun themselves on the banks, to the oysters snuggled deep in their beds on the swamp floor. You can find me surrounded by swamp lilies, darting between the cypress knees like a firefly in the moonlight.” Robinette’s mother was a wise woman. Garland has juju. “I always said I was the luckiest and conjure images of jujus For additional guy in the world,” he says, glancing protecting the beauty of South information, visit around his studio. “I was adopted robinettestudios.com and barely got out of high school Louisiana’s natural landscape. and I was one of the few to come Robinette’s “Juju Dolls” have become, in a friend’s words, the artist’s “Blue back from Vietnam. I went from a janitor Dog,” referring to fellow Cajun George to a television anchor, to a vice president of Rodrigue’s popular paintings. Demand has a major worldwide corporation, a radio talk become so great that Garland and Nancy have show host, and now an artist. It’s dreamlike. hired a manager to oversee sales and promotions. How did this happen?”n
Through Sept. 29
Through Oct. 6
Through Oct. 13
Through Oct. 20
Artspace. Shreveport Regional Arts Council presents “Neil Johnson’s Still Photography.” Johnson showcases never-before seen images and essays. artspaceshreveport.com
LSU Museum of Art. “Matt Wedel: On the Verge.” Ceramic sculpture by LSU School of Art visiting artist, Matt Wedel. lsumoa.org
The Historic New Orleans Collection. “Art of the City: Postmodern to Post-Katrina Presented by the Helis Foundation.” Presents the work of 75 contemporary New Orleans artists. hnoc.org
New Orleans Museum of Art. “Bodies of Knowledge.” Exhibition brings together eleven international contemporary artists to reflect on the role of language in defining cultural identities. noma.org
National World War II Museum. “In Memory of What I Cannot Say: The Art of Guy de Montlaur.” Exhibit focuses on the art of French artist Guy de Montlaur, who fought with the French underground during the war. nationalww2museum.org
Louisiana Life september/october 2019
Garland Robinette Photo by Jessica Bachmann
Retro Renovation Alice and Richard Roth renovated their 1970s Thibodeaux house with respect for its classic modernist design By Lee Cutrone Photos by Haylei Smith
Louisiana Life september/october 2019
When one thinks of saving an architectural
treasure in southwest Louisiana, plantation houses with wide porches and sweeping staircases or quaint Acadian cottages encircled with moss-draped oaks come to mind. Not so in the case of Alice and Richard Roth’s circa 1970s Thibodeaux home. Its modern architectural features, more closely aligned with design of the 1950s and ‘60s than the 1850s and ‘60s, include an unusual A-frame roof divided down
(Above) The custom walnut cabinetry of the kitchen is repeated in the addition’s den, which is open to the kitchen. (Right) Elongated windows in the den are an homage to the original portion of the house. Built-in shelves include wood carvings by Alice’s father, a collection of duck decoys from local bayou artists, art by the Roths’ 9-year-old son, and antique bottles inherited from Richard’s parents.
the middle, a striking center walkway and gate, and a koi pond (a 4,000-gallon aquarium that originally went through the house). Yet it too is an architectural gem that has been lovingly preserved. Designed and built by engineer Bob Blair and his wife Susan in the early 1970s, the house still speaks to those who appreciate midcentury inspired modernism today. Several years after purchasing the house in 2005, the couple began working with architects Terri Hogan Dreyer and Ian Dreyer of NANO Architecture & Interiors to design a renovation and addition that are seamlessly in step with the original house. “We loved the house because of the way it was designed; the pitch of the roof, the brick, the aquarium, the gate,” the Roths say. “We had no intention of doing away with that. We hired an
architect who knew we wanted it to be an addition that you wouldn’t have even known it was addition.” Not only did the Roths respond to the wowfactor supplied by such things as a sunken living room, they also appreciated the way the house lives. Alice particularly loves the fact that the house has separate spaces for different uses and activities unlike many of today’s open concept houses. The footprint and layout of the original portion of the house remained the same. The couple did however raise the sunken living room to the level of the rest of the house. “We use it even more now,” the Roths say. The renovation opened the kitchen to the dining room and completely remodeled it with custom walnut cabinets and millwork, travertine floors, new fixtures and surfaces. It also included a new sleek master bath that repeats the walnut of the kitchen.
Louisiana Life september/october 2019
(Facing page) The office is open to the original living room, which overlooks the outdoor entryway’s original koi pond and iron gate. The Roths’ son Paul and grandson Jack enjoy feeding the koi and turtles. (Left) The dining room’s sliding glass doors have views of the L-shaped pool area. The Roths frequently host holiday gatherings for their growing family of eight and extended family. The shelves next to the fireplace display pottery that Alice collects from North Carolina and Nicholls State University’s art department. (Right top) The natural wood soffit of the addition’s 7-foot cantilever is an extension of the interior’s warm wood components. (Bottom) The pool, which Richard designed on the back of an envelope, has the same pea gravel and travertine found on the original front walk and aquarium. The existing house and the addition frame the pool and patio, where kids, family and friends often swim in the evening.
The addition, intended as a casual living space for the couple and their 9-year-old son, the last of the Roths’ four children still at home, includes a den, a game and exercise room, a pool bathroom and a storage area. The NANO team created it by elongating one side of the house and outfitting it with large-scale windows to bring in the newly refurbished outdoor area, which features an L-shaped pool, a seven-foot cantilever for shade and a mix of California- and Louisiana-inspired landscaping. “We repeated the architectural vocabulary that exists in the front of the house,” says Hogan Dreyer, referring to the addition’s windows as a sort of homage to the façade of the house. “At the same time, we also injected modernity so you get the full effect of the outdoor living space.” The Roths furnished the house in collaboration with Hogan Dreyer — also an interior designer, whom Alice describes as “always thinking of the whole house,” and completed the space with things that reflect their lives — organic elements, meaningful pieces, such as cypress carvings by Alice’s father and art by locals. “Credit goes to the original builder and designer for its appeal,” says Alice. “And Terri had a feel for the house’s original intent and our vision. Whether it’s just our family at home on a quiet night or a gathering of friends and family, we use every space.”n
Best Hunting in the state
Food, sport and tradition define hunting in the Sportsman’s Paradise
By Chris Holmes
unting is inextricably woven into the wild fabric of Louisiana’s heritage and culture. A harsh land when first settled, hunting was a necessity of subsistence as well as commerce. The wide diversity of habitat and abundance of game and birds provided a seemingly endless bounty of food for the table. With scant regulations in place and a voracious commercial demand for meat and hides, over-hunting sent many species into a major decline. However, with modernization of farming and food production practices came regulated hunting and concerted conservation programs that restored native species to sustainable levels. The abundance and variety of Louisiana’s birds and game, combined with world-class fishing make the state a true sportsman’s paradise.
erched at the tip of the Mississippi flyway funnel, Louisiana is the stopping point for millions of ducks and geese on their annual fall migration. Though small in land mass, Louisiana boasts thousands upon thousands of varied wetlands habitat that provide food and rest for a wide variety of migrating waterfowl. Duck hunting is ingrained in the local population and is a bucket-list destination for waterfowl hunters from across the country. During the 2017-18 season, hunters in Louisiana bagged a whopping 1.08 million ducks statewide with a season average of 23.1 ducks per hunter. Unusually warm and wet weather patterns lowered those numbers last season. However, Louisiana still provides world-class duck and goose hunting in many areas of the state. Guided duck hunting operations are numerous and range in services from drive-up day hunting to luxurious lodges with 5-star amenities. Two of the top-tier waterfowl operations are Grosse Savanne near Lake Charles and Honey Brake Lodge near Jonesville. Both offer premier accommodations and excellent duck hunting opportunities. The state also boasts over a million acres of public hunting access consisting of many state-owned Wildlife Management Areas, state and federal wildlife refuges, and national forests. Many of these areas contain suitable areas for waterfowl hunting. Two of the most productive properties are located near the mouth of the Mississippi River in Plaquemines Parish. Both are only accessible by boat and require navigating the lower reaches of the Mississippi River for access. Providing over 125,000 acres of prime hunting habitat, Pass-a-Loutre WMA and Delta National Wildlife Refuge are a waterfowl hunterâ€™s paradise. Whitetail deer are the only big game species available for free-range hunting in Louisiana. The deer population was lowest between 1915 and 1925, with an all-time low estimate of 20,000 deer throughout the state. Large scale market hunting and decimation of habitat by large-scale timber cutting in
Louisiana Life september/october 2019
the late 1800s and early 1900s caused the decline. Deer management programs began in the late 1940s and well-regulated hunting seasons rebuilt the deer stocks which are estimated at over 500,000 today. Giles Island sits in the Mississippi River between Louisiana and Mississippi. The property is intensely managed and produces trophy deer every year. This namesake guided hunting operation near Ferriday is extremely popular for those looking to bag a large southern whitetail buck. Though they can be found throughout the state, larger trophy bucks generally come from the northern parishes and along the Mississippi River delta lands above Baton Rouge up to the northern border with Arkansas. The state has a lengthy season and generous bag limit allowing up to six deer per hunter depending on antler/antlerless regulations and specific areas. The vast areas of public land mentioned above also provide great opportunities for successful deer hunting. Feral hogs exist throughout Who Knew? the state and are considered an Millennials get blamed invasive species that compete for the decline of lots with native game for food and of things, like face-to habitat. Hunting is encouraged as face conversation due to their embrace a means of controlling the populaof social media and tion. They provide great sport and digital technology as excellent food quality. Hunting their primary commuopportunities are year-round in nication preference. However, as hunter many areas. numbers generally Although their numbers have decline, that generadeclined somewhat in recent tion, as a segment, is responsible for a slow years, Louisiana still offers great increase. Noted as opportunities to bag a wild turkey. being foodies, their A large majority of turkey hunters primary reasons cited come from the ranks of successful for taking up hunting are not the traditional deer hunters. While hunting outdoors experience, whitetail deer is extremely chalchallenge or trophy lenging, turkey hunters took that seeking, but rather the opportunity to up a notch. Those that paid their self-harvest local, dues and honed their deer hunting sustainable, wild meat skills over many years have added to foster their healthturkey to their hunting efforts conscious lifestyle. Hunter recruiting for the extreme sport it provides. organizations across â€œBird brainedâ€? is a misnomer the country are taking when it comes to hunting turkey. note and welcome Even the most skilled hunters them to the fold.
Turkey Rebuilding Success April kicks off the most challenging game Louisiana has to hunt. The wild turkey has senses that are second to none and successfully taking a mature bird is a great hunting accomplishment. Although there are no huntable populations across coastal Louisiana, prime turkey hunting areas are within a couple hours drive. Due to low populations in the state, most of our parents and grandparents did not regularly pursue hunting turkeys. Therefore, it was not a tradition that many in Louisiana had passed down to them like deer and duck hunting. Wild turkeys truly are a hunter/ 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. However, due to aggressive live trapping and restocking programs across the state, the wild turkey has made an amazing comeback in most areas of the state that have suitable habitat. Many areas now have an annual, well-regulated turkey hunting season. The National Wild Turkey Federation estimates Louisiana’s current wild turkey population at 50,000 birds.
2020 LOUISIANA HUNTING SEASONS: turkey Area A April 4 – May 3. • Area B April 4 – 26 • Area C April 4 – 19 • Youth and Physically Challenged March 28-29
2019-2020 LOUISIANA HUNTING SEASONS: deer Area 1 Primitive Weapons November 9 – 15 January 20 – 31 Modern Firearms/ still-hunt only November 16 – December 6 January 6 – 19 With/without dogs December 7 – January 5 Area 2 Primitive Weapons October 19 – 25 January 13 – 19 Modern Firearms/ still-hunt only October 26 – December 3 With/without dogs December 4 – January 12 Area 3 Primitive Weapons October 12 – 18 January 6 – 12 Modern Firearms/ still-hunt only October 19 – December 1 With/without dogs December 2 – January 5 Area 4 Primitive Weapons November 9 – 15 Jan 20 – 31 Modern Firearms/ still-hunt only November 16 – December 6 January 6 – 19 With/without dogs December 7 – January 5
Area 7 Primitive Weapons October 12 – 18 January 6 – 12 Modern Firearms/ still-hunt only October 19 – December 1 With/without dogs December 2 – January 5 Area 8 Primitive Weapons October 12 – 18 January 6 – 12 Modern Firearms/ still-hunt only October 19 – December 1 With/without dogs December 2 – January 5 Area 9 Primitive Weapons (either sex) November 9 – 15 (bucks only) January 20 – 31 Modern Firearms/ still-hunt only (either sex) November 16 – 17 November 29 – December 1 (bucks only) November 18 – 28 December 2 – 6 With/without dogs (either sex) December 14 – 15 December 21 – 22 (bucks only) December 7 – 13 December 16 – 20 December 23 – January 19
Area 5 Primitive Weapons November 9 – 15 (either sex) January 20 – 31 (bucks only) Modern Firearms/ still-hunt only (either sex) November 16 – 17 November 29 – December 1 (bucks only) November 18 – 28 December 2 – 6 With/without dogs (either sex) December 14 – 15 December 21 – 22 (bucks only) December 7 – 13 December 16 – 20 December 23 – January 19
Area 10 Primitive Weapons October 12 – 18 January 6 – 12 Modern Firearms/ still-hunt only October 19 – January 5
Area 6 Primitive Weapons November 9 – 15 January 20 – 31 Modern Firearms/ still-hunt only November 16 – December 6 With/without dogs December 7 – January 19
October 1 – January 31
Archery Areas 1, 2 & 4
Area 3, 7, 8 & 10
September 21 – January 15 Areas 5, 6 & 9 October 1 – 15 (bucks only)
October 16 – February 15 (either sex)
Louisiana Life september/october 2019
Champion Duck Dogs
sometimes end up with their hat in 2019-2020 chances of getting drawn vary their hand. Matching wits with a wily LOUISIANA HUNTING depending upon the number of SEASONS: Teal tom (male turkey) leads to ultimate tags available for a specific area satisfaction — or frustration. Locating, September 14 – 29 and the number of applicants calling and tricking a wise old bird into for the area. shooting range is what keeps hunters waiting for Honey Brake, Grosse Savanne, and Giles Island those few days of the season each year. all offer guided alligator hunts. Additionally, the Most turkey hunting is a do-it-yourself affair Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries on public or private land as there are not many website has a contact list for alligator guides. outfitters that offer guided Louisiana turkey In addition to the species detailed above, hunts. One exception is Giles Island. Noted Louisiana also offers small game hunting opporprimarily for guided deer hunts, Giles Island tunities for rabbit, squirrel coyotes and bobcat. also caters to turkey hunters. Bird hunting for dove and quail is also popular. Alligators are a unique species for hunting From the coastal marshes to the pine plantations and Louisiana offers an out-of-the-ordinary of the northern end of the state, Louisiana’s hunting opportunity to bag a pre-historic beast diverse habitat provides a variety of species for that makes a great trophy and excellent table hunting which provide rich sport and delicious fare. The season lasts only one month and most table fare. Hunting in Louisiana is not just a hunters must use the aid of a licensed alligator pastime, it is a passion. hunter to hunt during the highly regulated season. However, Louisiana residents may apply for Becoming an Outdoors-Woman an annual lottery hunt drawing that provides Gain the basic skills, experience and confidence three alligator tags to successful applicants for to hunt or fish independently. self-guided hunts on specific public lakes and While the total number of hunters in the country Wildlife Management Areas. Lottery applicahas generally declined, the number of women tions are announced in May for the September hunters has increased to where they now account annual season. This year, hunters could apply for one-in-five, or 20 percent, of all hunters in for one of 47 locations across the state. The the United States.
Duck hunting with the aid of a trusty retriever brings the sport to a new level. Hunting with one that has been professionally trained comes as close to having a remote-controlled dog as you can get. The bond becomes much more than a pet, but rather a trusted hunting partner. Joe and Tina Perron own Champion Retrievers just outside of Pineville. Their 50-acre technical training facility is known for producing some of the best retrievers in the country. Various retriever breeds are meticulously trained and polished for serious duck and goose hunting as well as hunt tests by the Hunting Retriever Club, Inc., American Kennel Club and the United Kennel Club. For summertime training, Joe utilizes a 400-acre facility in Bemidji, Minnesota where temperatures are much cooler. Taking a pup and training it to be its best is their mission. In addition to training, Champion also offers breeding services and has a reputation for producing multi-award winning retrievers. Whether a serious waterfowl enthusiast, or those looking for a hunt contest champion, duck dogs that pass through Champion Retrievers are always at the top of their class.
2019-2020 LOUISIANA HUNTING SEASONS: DUCKS Coastal Zone
November 2 – 3 (youth only) November 9 – December 8 December 21 – January 19 West Zone
November 9 (youth only) November. 16 – December 8 December 21 – January 26 February 1 (youth only) East Zone
November 16 (youth only) November 23 – December 8 December 14 – January 26 February 1 (youth only)
Get You a Gator Folks from across the country are mesmerized by the thought of actually going out and catching an alligator. Many do not believe that a lot of us live in such close proximity to these dangerous creatures. Of course, the History channel’s reality TV show “Swamp People” brought the spectacle of alligator hunting to living rooms across the country. Do-it-yourself recreational opportunities for Louisiana residents to hunt alligators are limited to special lottery draw programs. However, residents and nonresidents can hire a commercial guide for a unique, thrilling experience that can only be had in a few states. Alligators were once threatened with extinction and for many years, there was no hunting allowed. Thanks to strict management and a cooperative effort with the commercial industry, the population has been brought back to sustainable levels. For information on Louisiana resident alligator hunting or hiring an alligator hunting guide: wlf.louisiana. gov/wildlife/alligator-hunting
2019-2020 LOUISIANA HUNTING SEASONS: ALLIGATOR : East Zone
August 28 – September 26 West Zone
September 4 – October 3 Alligator hunters must qualify for landowners tags or hunt with a licensed hunter/helper with available tags. Louisiana residents may also apply for special lottery area hunts awarded by random drawing.
Louisiana Life september/october 2019
There are several factors credited with the upswing in female hunters, one of which is the ability to put healthy, free-range, organic food on the table. Louisiana participates in the national BOW (Becoming an Outdoors-Woman) program and annually holds a weekend workshop that offers over 30 specialty courses designed to break down barriers to participation of women in outdoor activities, including hunting. Participants may select from huntingrelated courses such as live fire shotgun, rifle and handgun classes to turkey and deer management. Additional courses are available for beginning fly fishing and basic freshwater fishing. For those interested in the outdoors, but not hunting or fishing, they can choose to learn about outdoor photography, ecology, backpacking, outdoor cooking, kayaking and more. This is a unique opportunity for women to gain the basic skills, experience and confidence to hunt or fish independently. The wildly popular program fills up quickly when applications become available in early January. The Yentzen Story Louisiana is steeped in duck hunting history. In the last six decades, duck hunting has seen monumental changes. The clothing
is highly advanced, surface drive motors have virtually replaced pirogues, motorized decoys and computer-designed shot shells all make up part of the modern duck hunter’s gear. Duck calls have changed a lot also. The calls of old were generally handmade with their barrels turned from wood stock or fashioned out of hollow canes. Reeds were metal or hand carved out of hard rubber. Today’s massproduced calls certainly work, but are mostly made of plastic and synthetic materials and have lost that intimate, homemade charm. That simple fact bodes well for the Yentzen duck call. The call was invented in the early 1950s by George Yentzen and his young protégé, James “Cowboy” Fernandez. Yentzen, a native of Donaldsonville grew up with the influences of south Louisiana’s great waterfowl hunting legacy. A crude bandsaw, turning tools, and a lathe let Yentzen turn out duck calling works of art. Yentzen’s call was the first to use a “double reed” design. So unique, he obtained a patent and had the only such call for the 17-year life of the patent. Yentzen unfortunately died in 1958 and did not live long enough to realize what a 2019-2020 LOUISIANA HUNTING revolutionary mark his invention SEASONS would make in waterfowl hunting history. His protégé, Fernandez Doves (recently deceased), took the call and made history on the duck Mourning and White-winged doves and fully-dressed calling contest scene. He racked Eurasian Collared and up local, state, regional and Ringed Turtle-Doves national championships. In 1961 South Zone he was named the “Champion of September 7 – September 15 Champions” duck caller. October 12 – November 17 The rich black-walnut wooden December 19 – January 31 call is truly a classic design. You North Zone can taste the history packed into September 7 – September 29 this call the second you put it to October 12 – November 17 your lips. No cold, plastic toy feel. December 28 – January 26 The wood taste will instantly evoke memories afield and it blows just as Geese sweet and smooth as it always has. Snow, blue, Ross’s and The original Yentzen double reed whitefronted geese call is still available from Sure-Shot November 2 – December 8 December 21 – February 9 Game Calls. n
2019-2020 LOUISIANA HUNTING SEASONS Rabbit October 5 – February – 29 • Squirrel October 5 – February 29. May 2-24 • Quail November 16 – February 29
Louisiana Life september/october 2019
Artfully Loaded Louisiana gunsmiths, stockmakers and engravers turn firearms into fine art
t’s no surprise that in a state that brands itself “Sportsman’s Paradise,” the art and craft of fine firearms is very much alive and well. Our neighbors include stockmakers, metalsmiths, engravers and restorers, several of whom are working at such a high level that collectors and enthusiasts from around the country have taken note. “I work for people in New Jersey, I work for people in Pennsylvania, Florida, Texas… all over the place,” says Delhi-based gunsmith David Christman, Jr., who, like most fine arms craftspeople, designs exclusively on a custom basis, working directly with clients to bring their vision to life. “There’s just something about fine firearms,” says Christman. “There’s a niche for everybody. You may like one kind or another. You may like the process of building them, you may like to just look at them. But there’s something — some style or some element — that really can appease anyone.”
b y M e g a n R o m e r p h o t o g r a p h s b y Gr e g M i l e s
aton Rouge’s Layne Zuelke, a certified master engraver with the Firearms Engravers Guild of America, says that the creative vision itself is often part of the customer’s request. “Most people who are buying the level of work that I do, they generally just turn a gun over to me and let me run with it,” says Zuelke. “They’ll give me a budget. Sometimes they’ll give me a theme that they might want, maybe scrollwork from a certain period; they might want gold inlay or something like that, and then I’ll just go with that. But mostly everything comes out of my head.” Zuelke initially trained as a jeweler beginnning at age 17, and while he still does some jewelry work, his interest in engraving firearms took precedence early on. Part of this was his attraction to working with steel, a much harder metal than silver, gold or other standard metals used in jewelry. “Steel is much harder to cut, obviously,” he says. “Silver and things like that are really soft. So the techniques are a little different with steel. You can’t just use a push graver in steel — you have to use a hammer and chisel or a pneumatic graver.” Steel is not only physically hard, but it’s unforgiving. Unlike gold, where a little heat or pressure can smudge things back into place, once you cut steel, there’s no going back. “There’s no room for mistakes,” says Zuelke. “There’s some tricks we’ve got to fix an errant line, but for the most part, you don’t make mistakes. You need to be confident enough in what you’re doing to know that you’re not going to mess up.” This level of difficulty in craftsmanship is part of why there are so few people actually doing this work — the Firearms Engravers Guild of America only has around 50 master engravers on its rolls — and the difficulty and scarcity of the art form mean the price tag is astonishingly hefty. Zuelke’s objets d’art can sell for upwards of $30,000 and he’s not hurting for work, but he’s humble about it.
Louisiana Life september/october 2019
“Most of [my clients] find me through social media or the internet,” he says. “I don’t advertise, so it’s just word of mouth.” Even with five-figure price tags on his pieces, Zuelke encourages his clients to use the guns now and again, advising, “Please don’t just put this in a safe or put it on the wall, go shoot it.” He is clear that his engraving does not affect the utility of the gun, and keeping the weapon in good working order is, in fact, part of what adds to the difficulty of the craft (and thus, to exacting craftsmen like Zuelke, the appeal). “I’ve said that I think that engraving is one of the highest forms of art,” he says. “The reason behind that is that as a gun engraver, I’m combining four different skills to create something: I’m an artist first. I have to be able to get down on paper, y’know, my vision. I have to be a gunsmith second, because I’ve gotta be
able to work on that gun — disassemble it ... I’ve gotta be a metalsmith next, because the gun as it comes from the factory is usually not clean enough for me to engrave, so I’ve got to refine the gun: sand it out, polish it. And then I’ve got to be an engraver fourth. So combining all of these things into one art — it’s not easy. If it was easy, everyone would do it.”
ovington-based Sam Alfano works with jewelry, knives, tools and even coins, but it was firearm engraving that first caught his eye. “My father was a firearms enthusiast and he had lots of magazines and books with pictures of firearms and I was always fascinated by that,” he says. “And I was an artsy kid anyway, so it was just something I pursued because of my interest in art. I got my first set of engraving tools from a mail-order catalog in the early 1970s and I didn’t know how to use them. And I struggled with them for about 10 years before a book came out that explained how to sharpen the tools and how to use them. “Once I got that book, I was off and running and it was at that point that I started calling myself an engraver because I could actually engrave something. A couple of years after that is when I was employed by the New Orleans Arms Company and I worked there for seven years as a gun engraver.” At the now-shuttered New Orleans Arms Company, Alfano studied under Lynton McKenzie, a legend of firearms engraving. “Working with Lynton, that was like hitting the lottery for me,” says Alfano. “This was the first time I had been able to receive any instruction. Prior to that I was just self-taught.”
Louisiana Life september/october 2019
Like Layne Zuelke (one of the many engravers Alfano has taught), Alfano is attracted to firearms engraving in large part because of the technical demands. “If it was easy, everybody would be an engraver,” he says. “It’s a very demanding, exacting art form. It’s certainly not for everyone. It takes a special kind of person to be able to spend days on end working on something the size of a pack of matches or a cigarette package. You put a lot of sweat and blood into something that’s very, very small.” Alfano was recently named a grand master by the Firearms Engravers Guild of America, making him one of only a handful of craftsmen recognized at this level. Rather than lock himself away in a studio, Alfano uses this designation (and the skills that led him to acquire it) as an opportunity to teach and pass on this dying art to a new generation. He teaches workshops regularly at the GRS training center in Kansas and also offers private instruction in his own studio. Despite being a bit of a traditionalist himself, Alfano is not a stick-in-the-mud; he encourages his students to find their own artistic voices and is altogether delighted by some of the things he’s seeing. “We’ve got some younger engravers that are engraving watches, particularly,” he says. “They’re doing more modern design. I’m a traditionalist: I like the more classic scrollwork and designs that are more timeless. But a lot of the younger guys are engraving skulls and tattoo-type designs and doing a beautiful job of it! And they’re very popular. “So yeah, the trend is changing from some of the oldschool stuff to some newer cutting-edge designs. These
younger guys are really thinking out of the box. They’re influenced by tattoo art a lot and they’re incorporating that into high-end engraving jobs. They’re really doing quite well at it.” Alfano, almost always in teacher mode, encourages young artists to try out engraving, but suggests that they do not attempt the self-taught route that he struggled with. “If someone is interested in learning the art of handengraving, the best advice I would give them is to take a class,” says Alfano. “If you take a class, you can avoid years of trial and error. You can get in the game much quicker. And when you have a master that’s instructing you, they can help you over the hurdles and the pitfalls.” The second piece of advice he offers is to hone your art skills. “What you engrave is only as good as what you design,” says Alfano. “The best engravers are also accomplished artists. If you can’t draw a good design, then chances are you won’t be able to engrave one. I mean, you can use patterns from pattern books and that’s fine. That’s fine for the hobbyist. But if you really want to excel in the art, and have full flexibility as far as being able to do different shapes and design different objects, take a class and learn how to draw.”
p in North Louisiana, David Christman found a different element of guns to fall in love with. “ “Those big military weapons, I don’t like them,” says Christman. “I don’t like handguns. I’ve got one, but I don’t like it. I don’t even like shotguns. I like rifles.” Christman is a hunting enthusiast who got into gunmaking in his 30s. What attracted him? “I was too poor to buy a factory gun, so I built one,” he says. “That’s the truth! Necessity is the mother of invention. Life’s too short to hunt with an ugly gun. You know, I tell guys, ‘when you’re sitting out there in your deer stand, you’re gonna look at your gun a whole lot more than you’re gonna look at the deer’!” He sees something important and even a bit poetic about the wooden stocks that he builds. “I think the word I want is ‘warmth’,” he says. “There’s just something so different about holding a wooden stock and a synthetic stock. It’s the feeling itself, that’s what you get out of ‘em. And you should have wood in the woods.” Christman starts as most craftspeople who work with wood do: with a nice wood blank. He prefers English walnut (“it’s just the prettiest”), but will work with whatever wood his client requests. “From there, I whittle it, if you will, until it’s a stock,” says Christman. Harkening to Michelangelo’s famous philosphy that his works of art were already in the marble, he just had to chisel away the superfluous material. He laughs in agreement with the comparison. “Yep, that’s the same thing. Somewhere down in there is the stock you’re looking for.”
Louisiana Life september/october 2019
Christman prefers a clean, classic look to the stocks he builds, emphasizing the natural beauty of the wood and embellishing only very simply using checkering techniques. He does not begrudge other gunsmiths their own aesthetics, but makes it clear that the customer should really consider the specialties of the gunsmith when ordering custom weapons. “I like the classic style,” he says. “I’ve got other styles I can do. I’m not crazy about it. This is a place where the customer makes a mistake: he sees a thing that the guy down the road has, and he likes it, so he comes up to me and says ‘I want one just like that.’ Well, I don’t do that. I excel at this.” If Christman’s interpretation of “this” is what you want — be ready to wait. He builds only one custom gun per year nowadays, and has a few in the hopper. He does basic gunsmithing as well — replacing barrels, adding Cerakote (a ceramic coating that makes guns “just about totally impervious to anything a human or the elements can do to it) — but the high-craft, madefrom-scratch weapons are a one-a-year deal for him. n
Luck of the Draw Lucky Palace in Bossier City offers a world-class wine list and some of the best cuisine in the country by Jyl Benson photo by Romero & Romero
I was traveling through north
Louisiana with a worldly friend skilled in cooking many cuisines with a concentration in the foods of Asia. I had long heard rumors of a sensational Chinese restaurant in Bossier City with a voluminous wine list and we were eager to check it out. Upon arriving at the motel where $195 will score you a room for a week, we did as we had been advised to do: “Do not look around the lobby, just head straight for the door in the back.” Upon opening the nondescript door under the words “Lucky Palace” reality shifted: A white linen cloth restaurant where nattilyattired patrons drank decanted wine from balloon glasses, tasteful Asian art glowed under subtle spotlights, bright tropical fish swam languorously in a pair of massive tanks. Awards lined the walls. The restaurant’s fabled wine “cellar” consists of racks, glowing in corners save for a small room lined floor-to-ceiling with glittering bottles. More bottles chill in a small refrigerator outside of the kitchen, others in another outside of a broom closet. We were seated next to a wall of windows. Through the foliage on the other side we caught glimpses of a grubby swimming pool. Look forward: One reality. Look back: Another. “I am just waiting for Andy Warhol to show up,” my friend said. “This is un-f***ing-real.” Welcome to Kuan Lim’s world. He immigrated to the United States from Kuala Lumpur to study mechanical engineering at an Illinois university. In 1997, he and his then-wife, Evelyn, a native of Taiwan, were traveling through Bossier City on their way to open a restaurant in Texas. They were sidetracked by a game of blackjack and simply never left, instead opening Lucky Palace in an old Ramada Inn with a menu that was heavy on Americanized classics and one or two crappy wines tossed on as an afterthought.
Louisiana Life september/october 2019
Housed in a converted service station, and named for his mama, Marilynn’s Place is a funhouse overseen by Chef “Boz” Baucum, a Shreveport native who returned to his hometown following decades of living and working in New Orleans and, according to him, “trying to drink myself to death.” Now sober, Baucum describes the Marilynn’s brunch experience as “drink ‘til you drown.” His is a place where a younger generations can go for brunch without worrying that they’ll be seated next to someone’s grandparents. The food is terrific — think fluffy biscuits split and topped with spicy Cajun sausage gravy; a creamy version of shrimp Creole served over baked garlic cheese grits; and creamy style red beans cooked with plenty of smoked andouille sausage, tasso and ham.
Lucky Palace’s roasted duck with shredded white scallions served on scallion pancake with hoisin sauce
Lucky Palace 750 Diamond Jacks Blvd. Bossier City 318 752-1888 lucky-palace.com Marilynn’s Place 4041 Fern Ave. Shreveport 318-868-3004 marilynns-place.com
Noting the drinking tastes of a group of visiting Chinese high rollers, Lim set out to educate himself on the wines of the world and evolved his menu to match. He hired chefs Gerardo Orta Marcial and Alberto Orta Marcial, natives of north-central Mexico, who learned to cook Chinese food in Texas. Now, in addition to pu-pu platters and sweet and sour pork, specialties designed to pair with fine wines are on offer: Truffled chicken wings; roasted duck on scallion pancake; tempura fried lobster tails with green curry; and grilled rack of New Zealand lamb with mushrooms, sweet onions and a rich brown sauce among them. Lim’s Lucky Palace features an encyclopedic, world-class wine list. His collection is diverse, approachable, and accessible, filled with bottles of all different price points and vintages. Both this year and last it was recognized by the James Beard Foundation for the Outstanding Wine Program. The Wine Spectator has bestowed its Award of Excellence and named it one of the Top Ten Restaurants in the USA. n
great louisiana chef
Flavorful Fusion Chef Ryan Dunning serves up a new take on Louisiana home cooking at Cajun Asian in Bossier City By Ashley mclellan portrait by Romero & Romero
Cajun Asian in Bossier City is the
kind of place where magic culinary mash-ups happen. Think Cajun meets Vietnamese meets American and a hint of classic French cuisine. Under the leadership of Chef Ryan Dunning, along with the management of wife Amy Ly Tran, Cajun Asian brings a true melting pot of flavors for a new take on Louisiana home cooking. “My father-in-law, Chef Tom Tran, owns a Vietnamese restaurant that initially sparked my interest in cooking,” Dunning said. “Seeing his passion for cooking, I always followed him around in the kitchen. I loved to ask questions about the culture. We loved to mix American traditions and Vietnamese together to see what we could come up with.” Dunning eventually took over the Cajun Asian kitchen from his father-in-law, and since then, he and Amy haven’t looked back. “It has been exciting, challenging, stressful, but very rewarding seeing our dream come to life,” he said. Menu items include innovative fusion creations such as jambalaya egg rolls, crawfish wontons and fried rice étouffée. For Dunning, his menu all comes down to the basics: the freshest food with the boldest Cajun flavors. “I love organic, home grown, fresh vegetables to cook with,” he said. “We try our best to use the most organic and healthy ingredients and vegetables. I love to add Cajun twists to every dish.” When asked what’s next, Dunning teased an expansion and even more reasons for diners to sit back and set a spell, with an outdoor patio and live music and spirits. n
Louisiana Life september/october 2019
What is your favorite thing to cook at home? After 14-hour work days, it’s really hard to come home and want to cook much. We like to [cook up] Crockpot beef tips and rice.
Cajun Asian 1964 Airline Drive Bossier City 318-588-5250
Cajun Fried Rice 2 ounces diced Andouille sausage 2 ounces 71-90 shrimp, peeled 2 ounces crawfish tails 1 teaspoon olive oil 1 cup cooked white rice ½ teaspoon diced garlic 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning ½ tablespoon salt ½ tablespoon sugar
Put oil and garlic in pan and turn heat to high. Once hot, add sausage, crawfish and shrimp. Stir-fry until shrimp are seared and cooked through. Add rice and seasonings. Cook on high heat, stir until mixed and serve.
Breakfast Bliss Sweet and savory offerings for breakfast or, if you are inclined, brunch by Stanley Dry photo and styling by Eugenia Uhl
Fall makes me think of breakfast,
which I love, or — horrors — brunch. The late Anthony Bourdain once contemplated what he might do if his gig as a celebrity came to an end. I could always cook brunch, he mused. Ending with, nobody wants to cook brunch. Boy, was he ever right! Back in those long ago days when I cooked in restaurants, Sunday brunch duty was the absolute worst. All of us would have rather done anything than that. Double shifts, no problem. No days off, no problem. Anything but brunch. I grew to hate it so much that, to this day, the thought of going out to brunch as a customer gives me chills, in part because I still identify with the cooks and feel their pain. All the damn eggs benedict, gallons of hollandaise, mimosas and bloody marys. Half the customers are sloshed, the staff are hungover and cranky and don’t want to be there. Truth be told, many of the customers don’t want to be there either, and as the alcohol begins to take hold, arguments break out among couples for whom Sunday brunch is loved by one and hated by the other. Enough of that. The recipes this month can be prepared for bunch, if you insist, but I think they taste better at breakfast. The boudin turnovers, in fact, taste good anytime. I like them for breakfast with fresh fruit, such as grapes or melon, which provide a nice counterpoint to their spiciness and richness. They are also excellent as a snack and even better with cocktails. Don’t be put off by lard in the crust. It makes for a very flaky pastry. Besides, if you’re eating boudin, what’s a little more pork fat? For something sweet, try the sweet potato muffins slathered with butter. The breakfast bread puddings, which contain both bacon and eggs and are baked in a muffin tin provide a nice change of pace. Increasingly, it seems that people are on gluten-free diets, and that can be a challenge for those of us who aren’t. So I’m including a recipe for gluten-free pancakes which are
Louisiana Life september/october 2019
tasty enough to pass muster with even those who aren’t on a restricted diet. Cooking for someone who is both vegan and gluten-free is more of a challenge. This recipe can be adapted by replacing milk with almond milk, substituting coconut oil for butter, omitting
the eggs and adding some applesauce, although it takes a little experimentation to get the proportions right. But playing around with recipes is fun, and it sure beats cooking brunch. n
Breakfast Bread Pudding
Sweet Potato Muffins 1 small sweet potato
4 slices thick-cut bacon
3 tablespoons buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
⁄8 teaspoon salt
⁄8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups French bread torn into small pieces 2 tablespoons melted butter Boudin Turnovers Mix 1 cup all-purpose flour and ½ teaspoon salt in bowl. Work ¹⁄³ cup chilled lard into flour with your fingertips or a pastry cutter until mixture is mealy. Drizzle in 3½ – 4 tablespoons ice water, mixing with a fork, until dough comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead a few times and form into a disc. Wrap in plastic film and refrigerate for 30 minutes or more. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to a thickness of ⅛1⁄8-inch. Cut out rounds of dough 4-inches in diameter. Combine scraps, roll out again, and cut more 4-inch rounds. You should have 9 to 10 rounds of dough. Form 1 link boudin into lumps about the size of a pecan and place one on each round of dough. Moisten edge of dough with water, fold over, and press with fingertips to seal. With the palm of your hand, gently flatten turnover. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Repeat with remaining rounds of dough. Brush turnovers with 1 tablespoon milk and bake in preheated oven until browned, about 15 minutes. Remove turnovers to a rack. Serve hot or warm.
⁄8 teaspoon ginger
⁄8 teaspoon nutmeg
⁄8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, softened ¾ cup light brown sugar 2 large eggs
1. Preheat oven to 350 F and
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2. Cook bacon until crisp. Drain on paper towels, then chop.
1. Preheat oven to 350 F and
grease a muffin tin.
3. In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs,
milk, salt and pepper together. Add bread and push bread down so it is submerged. Add bacon and melted butter and stir to combine. Spoon mixture into a muffin tin, smooth the tops and bake until a tester comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Cool for a few minutes in muffin tin, then use a small spatula to remove puddings. Makes 6 servings
grease a muffin tin.
2. Peel sweet potato and cut into
small pieces. In a small pot, cover potato with water and boil until softened. Drain, combine with buttermilk in a small bowl and mash.
3. Measure dry ingredients into another bowl and whisk to combine. 4. In a mixing bowl, beat butter
and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add sweet potato-buttermilk mixture and beat until smooth. Using a rubber spatula, fold in dry ingredients. Spoon batter into a muffin tin and smooth tops. Bake until a tester comes out clean, about 15-18 minutes. Cool for a few minutes in muffin tin then turn out onto a rack. Makes 6 muffins
Place 1 cup finely ground almond flour, ½ cup gluten-free flour blend, 1 tablespoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Add 2 eggs, lightly beaten, 1 cup milk and ¼ cup melted butter and whisk to combine. Grease grill or pan lightly and heat. Cook pancakes until lightly browned, then turn and cook briefly on the other side. Makes 4 servings.
Makes 9 to 10 small turnovers.
Louisiana Life september/october 2019
Louisiana Life september/october 2019
Traveling Around Louisiana
Toledo Bend’s 186,000-acre lake is a world-class bass fishery in addition to hosting an abundance of other freshwater fish.
Louisiana comes alive in fall with much more than falling leaves—seasonal festivals, events, and exhibitions welcome locals and visitors to celebrate the state’s unique culture. Music aficionados, sports fans, outdoor enthusiasts, art lovers, and foodies will all find exciting opportunities to explore their interests in fall. Weather is perfect for running, paddling, cycling, and fishing as well as to dancing to the sounds of Louisiana’s rhythms at outdoor festivals and celebrations. Football is in full swing with professional and collegiate teams going head to head against exciting rivals and tailgates getting the party started early. Local schools get in on the fun, too, with art exhibitions highlighting local and international artists and educating children in one of the state’s many languages. Check out the wealth of fall offerings across the state below and plan your September and October to include all varieties of fun. Cities & Parishes The Alexandria/Pineville area comes alive in fall with festivals, events, and concerts. Saturday, September 14, Alexandria native Layon Gray presents his award-winning off-Broadway production, Black Angels Over Tuskegee. Saturday, September 21, join cyclists from across the United States as they ride up to 101 miles at the Kent Plantation House’s Le Tour de Bayou. Later that evening, enjoy the Rapides Symphony
Louisiana Life september/october 2019
Orchestra “Pops on the River” concert at the Alexandria Riverfront Amphitheater. The first weekend in October is full of fun with the first ever Planes over the Pines Airshow in Pineville. The skies will be lively over Esler Field as families gather to watch the thrilling flights of skillful pilots. The first weekend of October also brings the 5th Annual Funktoberfest,
central Louisiana’s original outdoor craft beer and music festival featuring a home brew competition. Finally, October 18, search for unique art pieces and enjoy live performances as the Fall ArtWalk takes over the streets of Alexandria’s Cultural Arts District. Visit AlexandriaPinevilleLA.com or call 1-800-551-9546 for details on these events and more.
Football season is in full swing in Ruston & Lincoln Parish. Home to Louisiana Tech University and Grambling State University, the area welcomes fans from across the country to enjoy game day activities. Loyal Blue Weekends start in September with outdoor concerts and downtown events, late-night pep rallies, tailgating activities and more. First game weekend
is September 6, when the LA Tech Bulldogs and GSU Tigers go head to head! Fans can avoid game-day traffic this season by parking downtown and enjoying a shuttle ride to the stadium free of charge. Downtown Ruston offers a variety of boutiques and specialty shops, restaurants, and cultural events. Plan a visit this fall on October 26 for Ruston Makers Fair, a festival celebrating the arts culture of the area with works of local artists and makers of all kinds. For more information and events, or to plan your visit to Ruston & Lincoln Parish, visit ExperienceRuston.com. There’s lots to do this fall in Sabine Parish, Toledo Bend Lake Country. Celebrate Toledo Bend’s 50th anniversary by boating and fishing to your heart’s content. This 186,000-acre lake is a worldclass bass fishery in addition to hosting an abundance of other freshwater fish. Fishing Toledo Bend is easy with public fishing piers, boat launches, and boat rentals. Maximize your fishing trip and choose a professional guide service at ToledoBendLakeCountry.com. The area is also a destination for outdoor adventures such as hiking, golfing, ATV riding, camping, birding, and more. Experience the area’s frontier history with a drive along the 300-year-old El Camino Real del los Tejas National Historic Trail, where Davy Crockett and Stephen F. Austin once traveled. The area was once part of a lawless region known as “No Man’s Land.” Visit NoMansLand.com for exciting “Becoming Louisiana” bicentennial celebration events. Save the date now for the Zwolle Tamale Fiesta (October 10-12), the Louisiana Native American Art Festival and Veterans Powwow (November 1-2), and the Sabine Freestate Festival (November 1-2).
For more info, events, and destinations, visit ToledoBendLakeCountry.com. Work hard, play hard. That’s not just a motto—it’s a way of life in the heart of Acadiana. No matter what time of year you visit Lafayette, there’s always something to celebrate. With a festival for everything—from beer to boudin, shrimp to sugarcane, gumbo to gratins—there’s something happening weekly. Lafayette truly comes alive in the fall with remarkable weather to complement the season’s events and activities. Lafayette is the self-proclaimed Free Music Capital of the World, with its various free music events, including two free fall concert series, Downtown Alive and Rhythms on the River. Fall festivals include the Latin Music Festival, Germanfest, Festival Acadiens et Créoles, Blackpot Festival & Cookoff, and more. Fall also brings football back to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Whether your passion is for Lafayette, the state’s rich cultural history, the bustling culinary scene, or Cajun and Zydeco music, you will leave Lafayette satisfied and nourished. Plan your escape to the “Happiest City in America” at LafayetteTravel.com. Allons Avoyelles—Avoyelles Parish—as the parish welcomes the much awaited fall season. As always, events and activities are plentiful across Avoyelles. Come for another color run experience, “Run Through the Decades.” Register for the 5th annual Steps Cenla 5K Color Run on September 17 at Steps-Cenla.org. September also brings Sammy Kershaw in concert at Paragon Casino Resort on the 27th at 8 p.m. October brings another harvest of opportunities beginning October 3 with Art in the Rafters at Bailey’s
on the Square, sponsored by the Avoyelles Arts Council. See the Facebook page for details. All roads lead to Main Street for Bunkie Trade Days on October 5 from 8 a.m. - 2 p.m.; check with Bunkie Chamber of Commerce for details (318-346-2575). Entertainment continues at Paragon on October 5 with the Isley Brothers and OctoberFete Avoyelles on October 26. Visit OctoberFeteAvoyelles.com for information. Visit TravelAvoyelles.com and like Travel Avoyelles on Facebook to begin planning your fall travels. Points of Interest The LSU Museum of Art’s Art in Louisiana exhibition features permanent collection highlights of Louisiana art, both historic and contemporary. Galleries devoted to Newcomb Pottery, New Orleans Silver, and contemporary Louisiana art make it a central hub for experiencing insightful and inspiring local works. Currently on display, Adore | Adorn: The Elsie Michie Contemporary Jewelry Collection features over 100 pieces of contemporary art jewelry that demonstrate the joy of making, collecting, and adornment. Semblance: The Public/Private/Shared Self is also on display and features three contemporary painters who use the figure to explore identity in private and in public spaces. On view until September 29 is Matt Wedel: On the Verge, an exhibition of ceramic sculpture by LSU School of Art Reilly visiting artist Matt Wedel, whose remarkably large-scale ceramic works explore culture and nature and push materials and forms to the verge of collapse. From October 24 – February 9, Destination: Latin America discusses the key historical and artistic movements that
influenced Latin American art, from the Mexican revolution of 1910–1920 and the dictatorships of the 60s-80s, to issues faced today. For more details, visit lsumoa.org. Louisiana Education Spotlight Ecole Bilingue de la Nouvelle-Orléans is the only private French school in New Orleans that is accredited by the French Ministry of Education and State of Louisiana. Founded in 1998, the mission of the school is to provide a strong and distinctive education by combining the best of French and American academics. Ecole Bilingue follows the curriculum of the French Education Nationale, considered to be one of the most rigorous educational systems in the world. Ecole Bilingue also offers a rich English language arts and American mathematics and social studies programs designed to balance out and complement the strength of the French curriculum. The school has a campus of three buildings off Magazine Street in Uptown New Orleans with students and teachers from the U.S. and around the world. Classes are offered for children in preschool (18 months) through 8th grade. The student-to-teacher ratio is 7 to 1, allowing each student an opportunity to have personalized attention for a better, differentiated education. For more information on Ecole Bilingue de la Nouvelle-Orléans, please visit ebnola.net. To schedule a tour, call 504-896-4500.
Louisiana is fortunate to have a neighbor in Texas, an enormous state that offers enormous fun and intrigue. With varying landscapes and diverse cultural experiences, Texas welcomes visitors to explore its small towns, big cities, and relaxing vacation destinations. From putting your toes in the sand and your fishing line in the lake to antique shopping on old Main Streets and diving into the legend of Bigfoot, opportunities for wild excitement or relaxing activities exist all over this one-of-a-kind southern state. Plan your fall trip to Texas and see just what the state has to offer.
“Texas’ best-kept secret” are words travelers often use to describe Jefferson. With 20+ award-winning inns, popular restaurants, informative museums, historic downtown shops, thrilling events and interesting attractions, Jefferson is Northeast Texas’ “must see” destination. This fall, Jefferson hosts antique car and tractor shows, Texas Sounds International Country Music Awards, the Texas Bigfoot Conference, and much more. Find out more by calling 903-665-3733 or visiting VisitJeffersonTexas.com.
t i s i V Texas-sized excitement is waiting at Holiday Inn Club Vacations® in your choice of beautiful Texas resorts. Make waves at Galveston Beach Resort or at Galveston Seaside Resort on Galveston’s Gulf Coast. Discover fantastic water amenities at The Waterpark at Villages Resort. Drop a line in beautiful Canyon Lake at Hill Country Resort or have an exciting water day at Piney Shores on Lake Conroe. Book your stay today at discoverhcv.com/texas-resorts. 56
Louisiana Life september/october 2018
Located just south of Houston, Texas, and just a short drive from Louisiana is Pearland, Texas, a vibrant starting point for exploring the Texas Gulf Coast. Prepare to love a thriving culinary scene, fabulous shopping, year-round cultural events, delightful birding opportunities, and affordable hotels in Pearland. Go to VisitPearland.com for details.
Home Grown Louisiana has always been a state that values its own, and local businesses play a big role in helping the state’s unique culture thrive. The state’s culture bearers, artists and craftsmen are part of what bring visitors internationally to see and experience Louisiana’s southern hospitality and good times. Home grown fun and home grown products make Louisiana a treasure trove of unique celebrations and products. Check out our highlight of local businesses and be a part of what makes the state a one-of-a-kind destination. Based in New Orleans, Tchoup Industries designs, cuts, sews, and sells durable, designer bags “for city and swamp.” Owner/Designer Patti Dunn sources Louisiana materials such as hand-woven panels, recycled rice bags, alligator leathers, and nutria furs. She prioritizes working with local craftspeople, hunters and farmers whenever possible.
Louisiana Life september/october 2019
Double Down Plan a resort-style getaway at Lake Charles’ casinos or one of the many throughout Louisiana By Paul F. Stahls Jr.
Casinos are now scattered liberally
across Louisiana’s landscape and cityscapes, offering entertainment of many kinds. Since the actual gambling part of gaming houses is pretty much the same everywhere — you do split 8’s against dealer’s 10; you don’t get 50-50 odds on red/black roulette bets — but the variety of other diversions to be enjoyed at most of those establishments might surprise you. To start with, think of the expanded roster of posh accommodations in cities large and small that casino-hotels provide, and when two or three of them appear in a single town, with the resulting cluster of lavish pools, golf courses, spas, shops and restaurants, they can transform the place into bona fide resort town. Consider Lake Charles. September in Louisiana is really just August gone to overtime, so take a cool plunge in that shady pool at Isle of Capri, order an icy beverage from atop one of the Golden Nugget’s “floating daybeds” or enjoy a lazy river float around the tropical garden and pool complex at L’Auberge. Come evening, let the others gamble into the wee hours. Better to turn your attention to the all-you-can-eat crab legs at Isle of Capri or grilled red snapper in the “Favorites Southern Kitchen” at L’Auberge. Or combine the pleasures of blackjack, music, dining and imbibing at the Golden Nugget’s H2O outdoor pool and lounge or Blue Martini Lounge. Nightclubbing and dining, in fact, have become prime attractions at many casinos around the state. So has entertainment. There’s a live band playing right now in practically every Louisiana casino, whether it be in a gaming area or a big show in one of the many major spaces designed for music and stage presentations. Because of Louisiana’s original requirement for casinos to be floatable vessels (some looking much like steamboats of old), most are still to be found in river cities, the exceptions being the slots-only facilities at pari-mutuel racetracks (the Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans,
Louisiana Life september/october 2019
Louisiana Downs in Bossier City, Delta Downs in Vinton and Evangeline Downs in Opelousas), and the three full-fledged casinos owned and operated by Native Americans in Charenton on Bayou Teche, Kinder in Allen Parish and Marksville in Avoyelles. High and handsome hotels have sprung up beside most of the original boats, a half-dozen
of which line the Shreveport-Bossier riverfront with names like Sam’s Town (318-424-7777, samstownshreveport.com), Boomtown (318746-0711, boomtownbossier.com) and Diamond Jack’s (318-678-7777, diamondjacks.com), all boasting dining and dancing at spots like Eldorado Casino’s Celebrity Lounge (318220-0981, eldoradoshreveport.com) and the
Native American tribes that own and operate casinos in Louisiana are noted for efforts to preserve and share their cultures and histories — an aspect that sets their hotels and grounds apart in terms of décor, activities and captivating exhibits. Furthermore the popular golf courses have not only proved individually
successful, but also significantly buttressed our reputation as a golf state (earned by the acclaimed statewide Audubon Golf Trail) and inspired greatness in newer links like designer Tom Fazio’s Contraband Bayou course at L’Auberge (open to the public) and the Golden Nugget’s Country Club course, both in Lake Charles.
Timber barons and their sawmills, like the Crowell, levelled our primordial woodlands but pumped new life into the destitute South. The Civilian Conservation Corps, whose story is told by the “CCC“ exhibit building and statue at the Southern Forest Heritage Museum, created Depression-era jobs and transformed cut-over lands into infinitely self-regenerating forests.
Horseshoe Casino’s Riverdome stage (318742-0711, horseshoebossiercity.com). Best of all, wherever the evening might lead, you can bet fun and fancy dining spots like the World Tour Buffet at Margaritaville Casino (318-698-7177, margaritavillebossiercity.com) will never be far away. Downtown Baton Rouge boasts two of the original steamboats, the Hollywood
Another major golf hotel, Cypress Bend near Many in Sabine Parish (318-590-1500, cypressbend.com), also offers tennis, a fitness center and a spa in a setting of lakes and hardwood forests irresistibly close to the trophy-bass-fishing waters of Toledo Bend Reservoir (a perennial favorite of Bassmaster Magazine and now celebrating its 50th anniversary).
Casino with its Center Stage music (225381-7777, hollywoodbr.com) and the nearby Belle of Baton Rouge with concerts in its Belle Atrium and dinner from the Captain’s Kitchen (225-378-6000, belleofbatonrouge.com). The L’Auberge Casino just below town on River Road has quickly become popular for its big-show presentations in the 1,600-seat Event Center, the Bon Temps Buffet and, above all, the rooftop pool with its cabanas, full bar and dramatic view of the Mississippi (225-215-7777, lbatonrouge.com). Near Morgan City on the bank of the Atchafalaya River’s Avoca Island Cutoff, the stately Amelia Belle steamboat offers restaurant, music, slots, video poker and multiple poker varieties (off U.S. 90 on Parish 33, 985-3846044, ameliabellecasino.com). And New Orleans? Well, New Orleans is actually the birthplace of craps, steamboat gambling is certainly no stranger there, and
The Chitimacha tribe’s Cypress Bayou in Charenton (337-9237284, cypressbayou.com) is known for its spacious gaming areas and crowded calendar of concerts at its ROX and Pavilion stages, and just upstream from the casino, on the bank of Bayou Teche, the Chitimacha Museum (337-923-4830, chitimacha.gov) tells the story of the tribe through paintings, vintage garments
those traditions live on at Kenner’s Treasure Chest Casino on Lake Pontchartrain (504443-8000, treasurechest.com) and Boomtown Casino and Family Arcade on the Westbank’s historic Harvey Canal (504-366-7711, boomtownneworleans.com). Finally, standing proudly at the head of Canal Street with two football fields of Carnival-decorated gaming space, plus 10 name-dropping dining rooms representing the city’s best and most generous spaces for jazzmen to strut their stuff, Harrah’s New Orleans (504533-6000, caesars.com/harrahs-new-orleans) remains the grande dame of modern gaming in Louisiana. And forever, it seems, the old river with its ruffle-shirted gamblers and the town where the Cincinnati Kid lost his shirt will remain eternal symbols of life’s most vexing element: chance. n
and artifacts, oral history and nationally-renowned basketry. The Tunica-Biloxi tribe’s Paragon Casino-Resort in Marksville (318253-1946, paragoncasinoresort. com) is surrounded by its par-71 Tamahka Trails Golf course, elevated swamp walk, nature trail and pathway through reservation grounds to the famed Tunica Treasure museum.
Visitors to the Coushatta tribe’s Coushatta Casino Resort on U.S. 165 in Kinder (318-738-7300, coushattacasinoresort.com) are torn between the giant Events Pavilion (concerts, pow wows and even rodeos), the Seven Clans resort hotel with its Dream Pool and endless gaming, and its island-hopping Koasati Pines golf course.
Culture Club Houston brims with art, world-class shopping, immense green space, international cuisine and cosmopolitan flair By Helen Anders
Like a Houston woman heading out
for a night on the town, the Bayou City seems always to be adding one more jewel. OK, dozens more. Even though it has long been a haven for culture and cuisine, Houston just can’t resist sprinkling the landscape with more spots for feasting, soaking up culture and unwinding in the great outdoors.
CULTURE AND COUNTRYSIDE
Houston’s vastness — 669 square miles — means expansion of everything is easy. New buildings can spring up without sacrificing lush green spaces. In the art world, the renowned private Menil Collection recently added a sleek fifth building, Menil Drawing Institute (1412 W. Main St., not far from the main Menil Collection, menil.org/drawing-institute), dedicated solely to modern and contemporary drawings. These galleries hold works you probably haven’t seen before. A show featuring French draftsman and architect Jean-Jacques Lequeu opens Oct. 4. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (1001 Bissonnet St., mfah.org) is in the midst of an expansion that has already added an amphitheater, dancing fountain plaza and a new building for its Glassell School of Art. It will eventually add gallery space and gardens as well. This fall and winter, the MFAH will feature But the biggest project is taking place in Jasper Johns and Impressionist and Post- the 1,500-acre Memorial Park (memorialimpressionist works from Monet to Picasso. parkconservancy.org), one of the largest and Don’t forget Houston’s performing most heavily-forested urban parks in America. arts. Wortham Theater Center (501 Texas Regardless of the weather, the paths in this park Ave.), home of the Houston Grand Opera — currently about three miles — are always (houstongrandopera.org) and Houston Ballet filled with joggers, including professional (houstonballet.org), reopened last fall after athletes and, during the past year, Lady Gaga. a $100 million restoration after Hurricane The park has recently added more native Harvey flooded it. Or take in a play at the trees, flowers and grasses, along with two 70-year-old nationally recognized Alley Theatre all-important restrooms. It’s in the process (alleytheatre.org). of adding more jogging and bike trails, and Then you’ll want to spend some time a new sports complex and redesigned golf outdoors, and it’s easy to do with Houston’s course are on the way. devotion to improving and expanding its parks. The park is bisected by six-lane Memorial Downtown’s Discovery Green, for example, Drive, but by 2020 the halves will be joined is enlarging its children’s play area. by a land bridge — a 30-foot-high, 100-acre
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mound where the native prairie wilderness will be restored. Cars will drive through a tunnel, and, people and wildlife will be able to move through the entire park easily. A big win for nature over concrete.
At River Oaks District (4444 Westheimer Road, riveroaksdistrict.com), everybody’s mad about MAD. The name references Madrid airport, but the “modern tapas” are delightful madness: What appears to be a tomato is actually gel-encased parmesan mousse with pesto, served on pumpernickel “dirt.” A tiny ice cream cone is ... foie gras. Nearby at the District, Ouzo Bay’s seafood is so fresh and tender you’ll swear you can smell salt water.
More new eats: At 1801 N. Shepherd Drive in The Heights, La Lucha (laluchatx.com) standouts include juicy fried chicken and bubbly parmesan-garlic roasted oysters. Louisiana-born chef Drake Leonards serves flavors of home at Eunice (3737 Buffalo Speedway, eunicerestaurant.com) with an enticing raw bar and crunchy fried quail. Mendocino Farms in Rice Village (5510 Morningside Drive, mendocinofarms.com) focuses on hearty sandwiches, while at the Galleria, Fig & Olive (figandolive.com) packs the flavors of both into crostini and salads.
Did you know? Census data reveal that 145 different languages are spoken in Houston. That number is higher only in New York and Los Angeles. After English, the top five, in order of popularity, are Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, Arabic and French.
Opulence and service reign at the year-old Post Oak Hotel (1600 West Loop South; thepostoakhotel.com), the latest from the Landry’s empire. From the poolscape behind the check-in desk to the elegant marble and dark wood room interiors, this hotel trumpets luxury. The spa offers facial technology you won’t find elsewhere in Texas. If you need new wheels, there are Rolls Royce and Bentley dealerships on property. The hotel’s five restaurants include the popular Willie G’s seafood and the award-winning Mastro’s Steakhouse. The newest hotel is C. Baldwin (400 Dallas St., tiny.cc/zkj08y) — a former Doubletree that is now a chic boutique — part of Hilton’s upscale Curio Collection. Named for pioneering businesswoman Charlotte Baldwin Allen, it offers lovely views of the soaring skyline. And north of the Galleria, the Omni Houston (4 Riverway, omnihotels.com/hotels/ Houston) has bounced back from Hurricane Harvey with a makeover that immediately drew a flurry of wedding bookings.
Don’t leave without playing Houston’s most popular sport: shopping. At the Galleria, Saks has moved farther west, making room for new arrivals Paige, Maje and Sandro, along with restaurants Nobu, Blanco Tacos, Musaafer and aforementioned Fig & Olive. Nearby, 136-year-old men’s bespoke shirt mainstay Hamilton has, at last, added women’s shirts. Drop in at 5700 Richmond Ave. for a fitting. n
a louisiana life
Going Nuts Jady Regard grows pecans and his family’s business in New Iberia By Megan Hill portrait by romero & romero
For a long time, it seemed as if the
trajectory of Jady Regard’s career would see him climbing the ladder in sales and marketing for professional sports teams. In college at LSU, he was a student manager for the men’s basketball team, overlapping with Hall of Fame player Shaquille O’Neal. After a stint as a ski instructor in Breckenridge, Colorado — where his students wondered aloud whether a Louisiana boy was truly going to teach them to ski — Regard earned his master’s degree in educational psychology from Texas A&M University. He worked his way up various pro sports teams’ front offices, eventually putting in 12 years as corporate sales manager for the Chicago Bears. But in 2001, Regard’s father died of cancer. “I felt like I had hit a wall, professionally, and I was missing home a lot,” he says. His father’s death opened a new opportunity to move back to his native New Iberia and take up the family business. In 2002, Regard became the Chief Nut Officer at gourmet gift maker Cane River Pecan Company, which his father and uncle founded in 1969. “Most of my life was sports, so this was a big departure,” he says. “But I had a love for Louisiana and a lifelong knowledge of pecans.” Since taking over as CNO, Regard has brought his company to new heights. Last year, the company opened a new storefront on Main Street in New Iberia, where they eventually hope to add a dining element and a museum where people can learn about growing, harvesting and eating pecans. He’s also overseen the addition of new products to the lineup, including a recent creation called Boudin Pecan Pie, a sweet-savory creation involving uncased Louisiana pork boudin, sweet potato soufflé, and pecan praline glaze.
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When he’s not running the pecan business, Regard keeps busy. He and his wife, Olivia, have two children, Hays and Camille. He founded a miniature toy company and has written six children’s books. He’s also an alligator hunting guide. It seems, of all his business ventures, the pecans make him proudest. “Food is this state’s calling card, and to have the ability to work in the food industry is a certain kind of pleasure in the state of Louisiana,” Regard says. “We have such a rich tradition of food here. It’s just wonderful to be a player in that.” n