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Louisiana Road Trips


Talkin’ It Up! I love new beginnings. Like a fresh sheet of paper, early morning light, a full tank of gas, and a new year. As we begin 2011, we each have the opportunity to write our own story or rewrite an existing one. I have a lot of ideas, along with an incredible cast of characters that I hope to pull together in the coming months. We can watch it transpire together, right here on the pages of LRT. Oh, the possibilities… For the last five years we have featured the BEST OF awards in our January issue where readers nominate and vote for their favorites in various categories. This year, we've decided to mix it up a bit by having our contributing writers report on the BEST OF THE BEST by guiding you on a road trip in their area of the state. I hope you enjoy these selections and get the opportunity to follow their route soon. Here's to a wonderfully gratifying New Year with lots of Louisiana road trips! Let's keep in touch.


Mona L. Hayden, Editor/Publisher (318) 547-1221

y p p a H r a e Y New COVER CREDIT: Photos of Black Bayou were provided by Lora Peppers (Pier) and Leslie Calhoun (Visitor’s Center); and Lee Estes (Central Bank).

ROAD TRIPS "Celebrating country living and city happenings!"





4 Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge 5 Lora Peppers…Northeast Louisiana 8 Mae Flager…Best of the Best 9 Su Stella…Shreveport 10 Dianne Newcomer…Monroe 12 Deborah Burst…Hit the Road 14 Larry Brock…Northeast Louisiana 16 Barbara Sharik…A Portrait of Morehouse 17 Cheré Coen…Lafayette – A gem of a small city

19 20

Sunny Meriwether…Northeast Louisiana Shellie Tomlinson…Lake Providence


Northeast LA Virtual Clinic Preserving Memories Exercising Your Dog


3 5 6 9 10 11 11 13 15 16 20 20

Talkin’ It Up! Going Native by Larry Brock Louisiana Lagniappe – Remember When Memories in the Garden by Mae Flager Book Review: LA1 by Carolyn Files Runnin’ the Roads by Barbara Sharik Do More in Morehouse Louisiana Lagniappe Answers Ancient Healing Spices by Angie O’Pry Blades Backtalk January Calendar of Events Angels Exist by Su Stella Honorable Mentions


Natural Wellness Center




Recipes by Stacy Thornton


Deer Hunting During the Split by Johnny Wink


My Favorite Fishing Hole by Joe Joslin Fish Still Eat, No Matter How Cold


Travel Adventure by Dianne Newcomer Iceland – A cool place to be! On the Scene – by Deborah Burst Beyond the French Quarter


AG Expo 2011


Central Bank, The Jewel of Downtown Monroe by Lee Estes Strange Fruit: The Tallulah Italian Lynching by Lora Peppers


A Life of Trial…and Error by Dennis Stewart Show and Tell


All Things Southern by Shellie Tomlinson Scientific Priorities and Animal Night Louisiana Road Trips


Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge, located in Monroe just seven miles north of I-20 off US Hwy 165, opened in July 1997. The Refuge consists of 4,500 acres including a 1,700-acre lake and beautiful wetlands and offers numerous opportunities including both a birdwatching and a photography blind, a 1200- foot wildlife observation pier, an observation deck, a mile-long nature trail and boardwalk through wetlands, an arboretum and amphitheater, a wildflower and prairie area with concrete walkways, rental canoes, and many other possibilities for wildlife observation, fishing, and hunting. The Refuge's Conservation Learning Center provides excellent information and resources on wildlife and conservation with live exhibits such as snakes, small alligators, turtles, and some of the area's freshwater fish, along with a well-equipped classroom. The adjacent Visitor Center, originally a planter's home built in the 1880s and renovated by Friends of Black Bayou, has outstanding interactive displays and a well-stocked gift shop. Founders of the Refuge include George W. Mouk (community/conservation leader, recently deceased), Kelby Ouchley (founding Refuge Manager), and Bob Eisenstadt (founding president of FoBB). Ann B. Smith was the first vice president of FoBB and then president (2nd 5 years). The current president is Wallace Hardy and the current Refuge Manager is Brett Hortman, assisted by Gay Brantley and Brittany Petersen. Many members of FoBB, and the organization itself, have received national and state awards for their work, including Amy Ouchley, FoBB's Director of Environmental Education, who recently received the national "Star-Thrower Award" from the National Association for Interpretation. LRT congratulates Black Bayou for being selected as the '2010 Best of the Best' road trip destination. For more information, call (318) 387-1114 or visit

PUBLISHER LRT Publications


EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Mona L. Hayden (318) 547-1221

OUR GUARDIAN ANGEL Debbie Hamilton Pope June 14, 1952-August 24, 2008

SALES Mona L. Hayden (318) 547-1221 Sunny Meriwether (318) 547-8126 Mark Cobb, Media Specialist / Sales • (318) 734-4894


Northeast LA Virtual Clinic “Dental & Medical Care Made Easy”

A “virtual clinic” became reality in northeast Louisiana when the Northeast Louisiana Virtual Clinic (NLVC) began accepting patients in 2010. NLVC is a nonprofit organization formed with the purpose of providing comprehensive healthcare services to the low income, working uninsured population of an eight parish area in northeast Louisiana. NLVC is a direct response to regional health needs identified by the Living Well Foundation *(LWF) in its 2008 Community Health Assessment. The development of a “virtual community clinic” was specifically cited as a targeted initiative in the LWF 2008 Strategic Plan. The NLVC is a “virtual clinic” in the sense that, although the NLVC has an administrative office, it does not have physical clinic space. The NLVC uses the volunteer services of qualified healthcare professionals, healthcare organizations, and community members. The NLVC is modeled after the Greater Baton Rouge Community Clinic, which has been operational since 2000. To qualify for care, an applicant must meet all of the following criteria: • Be currently employed, working a minimum of 30 hours per week • Have worked ten out of the last twelve months • Earn below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines • Show proof of residence in one of the eight target parishes • Not have any other form of medical or dental insurance • Not receiving any federal or state assistance Those found to be eligible for NLVC services will be assigned to an appropriate healthcare provider for a six month period. The six month period can be extended for an additional six months for medical care. The NLVC is currently focusing its efforts in Ouachita Parish. The service offered will eventually be made available to those living in Caldwell, Franklin, Jackson, Lincoln, Morehouse, Richland, and Union parishes. Watch for ads to see when the NLVC services will be offered in the parish in which you reside. Any healthcare provider who would like to donate their services or need additional information about the NLVC, please contact the NLVC office at (318) 329-8490 or visit us at

Louisiana Road Trips magazine is published monthly to promote, inform, and entertain the residents of Louisiana. It is distributed FREE; however, home delivery is available. This magazine will reach approximately 56,000 individuals.

Submission of articles and photos are always welcome but may be limited to availability of space and edited for content. Copyright 2011 with all rights reserved. Reproduction of any material appearing within this publication is prohibited without written permission of the Publishers. The opinions expressed in Louisiana Road Trips magazine are those of the authors or columnists and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, nor do they constitute an endorsement of products or services herein. “Louisiana Road Trips” magazine retains the right to refuse any advertisement.


*This project was funded (or funded in part) by a grant from the Living Well Foundation. The Living Well Foundation is a public charity dedicated to enhancing the health, wellness, and quality of life in northeast Louisiana. Founded in 2007, the Living Well Foundation serves the residents of Caldwell, Franklin, Jackson, Lincoln, Morehouse, Ouachita, Richland and Union parishes. For more information about the Foundation, visit

Louisiana Road Trips


P. O. Box 2452 West Monroe, LA 71294 (318) 547-1221


By Larry Brock

Plant a Tree It's midwinter, the time when annual cycles come full circle. In the aftermath of the growing season, look back to the heat, the drought and the lessons we learned. Now look around. In the chill of pre-publication December, traces of summer still linger on lantana, periwinkle and petunia tucked under trees and eaves. Then look ahead - iris, paperwhites and some daffodils have leafed. Larkspur is sprouting. Coral honeysuckle is blooming and buckeyes are at it again, flowering prematurely on the east side of the house. Seasons endlessly circling, overlapping. Road trips for nature lovers can be rewarding pastimes, watching plants grow and mature throughout the year. But moderns are taught to ignore anything that keeps them from their appointed rounds. Drives are tiresome and boring, nature at

best a distraction. Travelers speed through a countryside they barely notice in passing. In James Cameron's blockbuster movie, AVATAR, the native Na'vi “see” one another and the world around them - an awareness of connection, an acknowledgement of purpose, a recognition of the spiritual. On your next road trip, look for the sacred, the relationships, the reasons why and how. Notice a red-tailed hawk perched high on a power pole, a northern harrier gliding low over a lonely field, a belted kingfisher diving headfirst into a quiet pond, a great egret posed motionless in a roadside bayou, formations of snow geese across a pink dawn, robins foraging on a winter pasture, a column of buzzards spiraling overhead. Find time to reconnect with the natural world. Plot a slower course,

Trees are BFF's so invite some to live at your place this year.

Lora Peppers…Northeast Louisiana The thing I love best about Northeast Louisiana is the friendliness of the people. Most greet you with a warm smile and speak as you pass by. Nowhere else but in the South will people actually hold the door for you! One of my favorite places is Black Bayou National Wildlife Refuge to the walkway. The scenery is ever changing and very beautiful. Black Bayou covered in snow last year was one of the most beautiful and peaceful places I have ever seen. I also enjoy Poverty Point in Epps for a bit of history. Finally, a trip down Antique Alley in West Monroe would be in order as I love to look for old marked photos for sale. I like to exercise my research skills by trying to reunite family photos with their descendants. Chile Verde on Hwy. 165 is where my friends and I love to go for celebrations. Their Queso Blanco is the best in town. Portico for their seared tuna and Pie Works for their chicken and spinach pizza on whole wheat crust are also big celebration spots. Louisiana Road Trips

even if it's just around your backyard. Discover how plants and animals relate to each other. In Louisiana, Arbor Day is the 3rd Friday in January. Trees are BFF's so invite some to live at your place this year. They cool hot summer air and block cold winter winds. Roots anchor the soil and reduce erosion. They recycle nutrients and provide habitat for wildlife. Leaves absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. They clean the air, add humidity and reduce pollution. Plant a tree and we'll all breathe easier. Trees buffer sound, screen unwanted views, create privacy, supply decorative foliage and add structure to the landscape. For wildlife, they offer protection from predators, shelter during storms, refuge when roosting, security while parenting and food such as sap, buds, nectar, pollen, fruit and seed. While alive, trees enrich us by increasing property values, beautifying the landscape and touching our soul. Even after death, trees are valuable as fuel for fire, cellulose for paper and lumber for construction. When asked what he'd do if he had only one day left to live, Martin Luther reportedly replied: “I'd plant a tree.” Need help deciding? The local LSU AgCenters have booklets describing trees suitable for Louisiana soils and climates. When you go, thank your County Agent for their service and carry a soil sample to insure your garden soil is not deficient in essential nutrients for optimum plant growth. For more advice, consult your local library, friends, nurseries, garden centers, and of course the Internet. After the frosts and flurries of December, leaves hastened to change colors before falling off. Backlit by an afternoon sun, dogwoods shined with a dazzling red glow. Sourwoods too. Sweetgums turned purple and orange, maples and river


birch a golden yellow. Bronzed bald cypresses rimmed the bright blue waters of Lake Providence. Elsewhere, colorful ginkgos, Bradford pears, sawtooth oaks, Japanese maples and tallows shed their leaves too. Even now, as a gray winter chill creeps through the landscape, life is resolute. Meadows bristle with green winter grasses. Sonchus and henbit are blooming. Fritillaries and sulfurs visit on warm afternoons. Today is a good time to discover the art of “seeing” the natural world … and one another. Garden well and prosper in 2011. A life-long resident of Lake Providence, Larry Brock was inspired by his grandfather’s passion for gardening and his own desire to recover the horticultural uniqueness of this region. Larry is drawn to the relationships between plants, birds, insects and soil and can be found puttering outdoors in his yard most any time, weather permitting.


By Dianne Newcomer

Iceland - A cool place to be! By Dianne Newcomer

Happy New Year!! It's an exciting time in the world of travel because it means "hot new destinations" have hit the marketplace. It's too early to predict what destination will be most popular worldwide but for Louisiana travelers, I predict Iceland is going to be one cool place to be in 2011. In my 30 some odd years as a travel agent, I've only had four travelers who purposely planned a trip to this island of "fire and ice." If Eyjafjallajokul had not erupted last spring, displacing about 10 million travelers with its volcanic ash, I would guess very few people could even locate Iceland on a map. Thanks to the media, Ice-land looked like NICE-land! Instead of ice and snow, we saw rolling green pastures, hot geothermal soaking pools nestled in rocks, colorful painted seaside towns, and ice blue glaciers set in a lunar-like landscape. The little island was clean and pristine--stunningly beautiful and unique-and basically uninhabited, which is just exactly what the early Vikings wanted. When the Vikings discovered this land in the 9th century, they chose to keep future explorers out by naming it Iceland, then named the neighboring island to the north

Greenland. For centuries, no one ventured to this land of ice except the Norse and Celts from Scotland and Ireland who were brought in as slaves. Iceland became a land unto itself with its own language and a genetically pure race. Iceland is not just a stopover on many of our travel programs for 2011 but a destination! The allure of going to a place so remote and filled with such natural beauty was what appealed to adventure travelers Larry Jones and Dickie Culpepper but a 5-star Silver Sea cruise that began in London and included stops in Scotland, the Shetland Islands, the Farce Islands, and then Iceland was what sold their ladies on the trip. Even if Iceland was not everything Larry and Dickie hoped for, Jeannie and Daphne were sure to enjoy the luxury of sailing with Silver Seas! "It was fabulous," said Jeannie Jones as she sat in my office at MONROE TRAVEL SERVICE. "I have never been so waited on in all my life! Because the ship is small, only 282 passengers, it was like having your very own yacht. We could get in and out of ports so easily and I can't even begin to tell you how good the food was, but it was Iceland that totally exceeded our expectations. "I loved the old fisherman's village in Isafjordur and the beautiful valley fjord where the little town of Akureyri sat surrounded by mountains which protect it from the harsh winds. The charming little country homes along river beds, the little woolies playing in the pastures, and the unbelievable waterfalls were amazing. Sometimes it reminded me of driving the California coast and other times, it was like being surrounded by the rugged peaks of Idaho. "Despite being so close to the Arctic Circle, our weather was spectacular. Although they say the weather year round is very similar to New York City, the sun seemed brighter, the sky clearer, and the water bluer in Iceland. Daytripping in and out of Reykjavik allowed us the opportunity to

Thanks to the media, Ice-land looked like NICE-land!

ouisiana Remember When . . .

1. What prompted a 1941 State law prohibiting the naming of public structures after living persons? 2. What river flooded Monroe in 1927? 3. Who was the first governor to serve two successive terms? 4. Who did Jerry Stovall succeed at LSU? 5. The pecan belongs to what family? 6. Are there any closed seasons on fishing in Louisiana? 7. Who was the first Governor of Louisiana Territory? 8. Who formed the world's first serial crop dusting firm? 9. Who was the first black mayor in Louisiana? 10. Is any part of a cotton boll not put to use?

explore on our own. We went to a horse farm to see the infamous Icelandic horses, which often roam free in the countryside. We learned these small horses were brought to the island by the Vikings. Their blood line has been kept pure ever since. For example, if a horse ever leaves Iceland, it cannot return. We also found it interesting that this Viking horse has 5 gaits whereas, in America, most of our horses have only three gaits. "Little surprises like that made our trip to Iceland fun," continued Mrs. Jones. "The corrugated looking buildings in Reykjavik were so plain on the outside but inside held all sorts of bright colors and unusual art decor. Not only were there wooly little lambs and horses but we saw an abundance of big rabbits and alpalcas. We learned a few words but we also learned the Viking language, which looks like a long string of consonants, is as difficult for Icelanders to learn as it was for us! Luckily, English is widely spoken. We found the locals to be very helpful! "It is an amazing place with volcanic peaks, waterfalls, and craters all around, where the language looks and sounds like Chinese, where stores leave their doors open because the country is heated with geothermal resources and there are no insects. NASA trained our astronauts for walking on the moon in Iceland because they thought it was the most other-worldly place on the planet!" For all of you travelers who are looking for a natural marvel--a place that is still uncrowded, unspoiled, and unique-why not give me a call at MONROE TRAVEL SERVICE and let's see how we can put Europe's hottest new travel destinations on your agenda for next year? Iceland is just too cool to miss in 2011! Wherever you journey in 2011, please make MONROE TRAVEL SERVICE (318 323 3465 or 1908 Glenmar Street) your first stop!

Answers on next page 11

Louisiana Road Trips


Central Bank, The Jewel of Downtown Monroe A New Sense of Preservation Pervades The City! By Lee Estes

For most of the latter half of the 20th century, there was little feeling among politicians, business community, and the general populace in Monroe to preserve historic properties in the city. This attitude resulted in the loss of numerous structures with historic or architectural significance, most notably the Paramount Theater. Considerable money was spent in the early 1970's in an ill planned Urban Renewal program which widened sidewalks and eliminated street side parking. Consequently, most of the downtown business community fled to Louisville Avenue or elsewhere. Of course, the opening of the Lea Joyner Bridge in 1935 with the rerouting of US 80 from DeSiard to Louisville was the first event to impact Monroe businesses. Although few people realize it, if another bridge across Chauvin Basin is constructed, the mid town area near Louisville and 18th Street will eventually suffer the same fate as DeSiard Street a half century earlier. If one examines the major structures in downtown Monroe, Frances Towers, Executive Tower, Vantage Health (Formerly Ouachita National Bank), RiverScape (Former Penn Hotel), State Office Building (Former Virginia Hotel), Ouachita Grand Plaza, etc., and then look elsewhere within the city you cannot find comparable structures with the integrity and exquisite ornamental detail found in these buildings with almost a century of service behind them. For a real shock, take a look at the Jackson Street U. S. Post Office/Courthouse (Circa 1932) with its beautiful art deco features and compare it with any Post Office in Monroe.

Most of the downtown business community fled to Louisville Avenue or elsewhere.

Downtown Monroe churches, St. Matthews Monroe's history during the 20th century (Late 19th century) and First Baptist (Circa unfolded. Around the long table complimented 1912), warrant consideration for their beauty by fine upholstered chairs gathered the and contribution to the landscape. founders of Delta Airlines in 1930; here the Central board discussed ways and Central Bank was means to survive the Great Depression; founded by some and eventually voted to merge into Monroe Business partnership with a financial people shortly after the conglomerate. That room hosted the turn of the 20th century Delta Airlines annual board meetings for and was housed in the nearly half a century and, after Delta earliest skyscraper, if became one of the leading airlines of the you could call it that, world, was named the "Delta Room" on S. Grand Street. The with a table tapered to resemble an building stood four airplane wing. During the three quarters story's with the bank South Grand Street, 1968. of a century Central Bank functioned as at ground level and Original Central Bank (taller a leading financial institution, office and rental property building, left center), opened in public areas were decorated with art above. Known as the 1904. The building in foregroud was Farmers and Merchants Bank works of various kinds and description Heninger Building which preceded Central Bank. and a collection of cast iron mechanical when I arrived in Monroe is 1956, it survived until the 1970's. In banks accumulated in a display case in the board room. 1921, Ouachita National Bank erected the Chase was the last financial institution to tallest structure in North Louisiana at 130 serve the public at 300 DeSiard and ended the DeSiard Street with Central Bank following a history of banking couple of years later at 300 DeSiard. Central in downtown did not try to compete with height but Monroe. When the instead, elegance. The lobby featured a high grand old building embossed ceiling with three magnificent was offered for sale, chandeliers suspended from it. Walls were decorated with more features in plaster and today have the appearance of Wedgwood Porcelain Piece of art work including the in Delta Room lovely light blue showing Huffagainst a white Daland Duster in background. foreground with Above the original Delta Terminal Building polished brass entrance doors, an in background. Eagle over main entrance. eagle with wings Delta Board Room table and chairs Vantage Health Plan responded to the spreading several feet, overlooked DeSiard opportunity and purchased it. They now own the Street. Customers must have been assured of former Ouachita National Bank Building and the security of their savings when, upon Central Bank Building. With headquarters in the entering the facility, they were looking directly ONB structure, they plan to use Central for toward the most immense circular vault in extended office space and to make the elegant North Louisiana. This vault lobby available for special functions. They have with a series of locking already made considerable progress in taking plungers all the way around care of any needed repairs and plan to install an is a wonder in itself. In elevator. Everyone in Northeast Louisiana should addition, there were other compliment Vantage Health Plan for their vaults within the bank, ongoing efforts to preserve two grand examples including one in the of early 20th century architecture. Dr. Gary Jones basement. Huge windows is CEO of Vantage and his wife "Sissie" is along Catalpa Street overseeing the preservation of Central Bank, illuminating the lobby were along with Doug Walters, property manager for dressed with draperies Vantage. Included in their purchase of Central extending from ceiling to were more than two hundred pieces of art work floor. Upstairs, facing and fifteen of those mechanical banks. DeSiard Street, was the board room where much of

Louisiana Road Trips


Deer Hunting During The Split By Johnny Wink

Well, the wildlife people knew what they're talking about when it comes to shortstopping the birds. Because of the oil spill, British Petroleum was made to pay farmers and land owners who wanted to pump early for the sole purpose of short-stopping the birds so they wouldn't go down to the marsh were the oil was and get it all over their feathers. The landowner could still hunt on it but they also have to leave the water on the fields after duck season ends so they'll have a place to rest and eat on their way back. Okay. Now let me tell you what happened. The fields got flooded about a month early and just as soon as the water got on the fields, in our case, the ducks and geese started filling it up. Our first split was great one of the best in 36 years. It got a little slower mid-December, but still good. Also, we had more Mallards than in most first splits. Maybe we can get BP to do that again next year but without the oil spill, please. I hope it didn't have a negative effect on all the duck hunters down South because I wouldn't want that to happen to us here if a lot of rice fields up above us was given free money to flood, keeping them away from us too. Of course, if that was the case, I'm sorry but my hunters were happy. Anyway, I hope that the whole reason for this worked and helped a lot of ducks stay away from the oil. As I write this, the second split starts the next morning and again we're loaded with ducks. A lot of weather up north means more down South, so we're getting ready to get in the blinds. It's looking to be a very good second split. During this split I did a little deer hunting and got a nice 8-point buck that weighed in at 185 lbs. I decided to take it to a meat processor. As I was backing up to the building, a man was directing me to where I'd unload. This man was a giant with a bloody apron on and was holding a bloodied 12-inch butcher knife. (I later found out it was very, very sharp). I told him I wanted to mount my deer in a shoulder mount; touching it at the shoulder to let him know he'd need to cut the skin past the shoulder so the taxidermist would have plenty of hide to work with.

Maybe when I get it back, I'll let someone Well, this big bloodied giant of a man else cook and eat some and then I'll call the then grabbed a horn in one hand and with the next day to see if they're still alive. All I can other, swung that razor-sharp butcher knife, remember about the place was that giant man cutting off half the deer's head in one slice. What a knife. I was shocked to see what he did with a bloodied apron and a huge bloody butcher knife. I hope he's out sick the day I go to my mount. Well, I went crazy and started pick up my meat. But if he's there and says talking in words that sounded like an exorcist anything, I might just let the demons out might be needed. Everyone got back and the again. And let me say here and now, I won't owner told me not to say those words. I wonder what I said because when demons talk be responsible for my actions. My head might for you, you can't remember. Anyway, she said do some spinning on my shoulders and if that happens, watch out. I'm glad I don't have to she'd give me another deer hide to replace the bring all my ducks there. The way that guy destroyed one. At that point the demons left me and I got to feeling better, but swung his blade, we'd have duck fricassee. Anyway, let me go to sleep. Four a.m. I don't think the owner did. comes early in Jones at Megabucks Duck Afterward we decided what cuts Guide Service. Thank you, Lord, for letting me I'd get from the deer: half steaks, be a duck guide. I hope everyone had a Merry quarter sausage and quarter Christmas and that your new year will be hamburger, and a hide. As I write this, I haven't heard good. Thank y'all for reading my stories and anything from them about my hide or my may God bless all y'all! meat. I know they're busy so I'll wait. But, Editors Note: We just heard that Johnny somewhere in the back of my mind I wonder Wink's father passed away today, December if they're fixing my meat special, like maybe 20th. Please keep Johnny and his family in with dog crap or something else that you your prayers. won't want to eat blended in, to try to get even with me about my outburst or that they've got to get me a big hide too. What I'm wondering is how will I know if I got good meat or if they might've put When I first moved to Eros (Jackson Parish), one of the first something in it? things I sought out was a great plant nursery. Thyme in the Garden, tucked in West Monroe, not only has the best herbs and flowers but the gardens surrounding her greenhouse and home will inspire you to take your garden to new heights. After my first trip there I was planning two new raised beds and dreaming about lavender hedges. Exploring a new area works up quite an appetite so I obviously found a few favorite restaurants in my travels. The Kitchen in West Monroe is my hands down favorite for breakfast and their delicious plate lunches hit the spot, too. When I'm in the mood for something lighter, I head to Rawz on Hwy 165 in Monroe where they offer a variety of Asian dishes, from fragrant Vietnamese Pho soup to pad thai and sushi. Not to mention their Vietnamese iced coffee - sweet delicious jet fuel. When my friends and family come to visit I have a list of must-sees ready to go. I like to start with a trip to Caney Lake. The trails and cabin areas show off the natural beauty of north Louisiana. Last time I went walking there, I saw two does running through the brush. For a former city bound girl like me, that is the height of excitement! The next spot is always the Mohawk Tavern in Monroe. The gumbo, fried oysters, and fried shrimp give my guests a taste of the unique flavor of Louisiana cuisine. They make a mean Bloody Mary to boot. After that, it's time for the Biedenharn Gardens & Museum. Walking into the greenhouse takes your breath away, especially during their Moonlight in the Garden events. I hope you enjoy my favorite north Louisiana spots!

This man was a giant with a bloody apron on.

Louisiana Road Trips

Mae Flager - Best of the Best


Memories in the Garden By Mae Flager

This Christmas I traveled home to Florida. Though it wasn't the climate change I thought I might get, it was wonderful to see my friends and family. I arrived home during the evening and as I turned onto my parents' street, I was greeted by a garden full of lights strung along the pergola and garden gates and hung in the Chinese plum and cypress trees - a perfect welcome home for the holidays. My love for gardening came from my mother. Watching her tear every bit of grass from the front yard and replace it with rows of petunias and sunflowers, thick bushes of rosemary and fragrant tangles of mint, I knew my own yard would look just the same one day. Even in winter, I can see the promise of flowers to come in the light strewn frosty garden. When I was preparing to move to Louisiana, I wrapped up cuttings from a stag horn fern that was started by my great-grandmother and a piece of a Boston fern that my mother planted the year I was born. I knew that these plants would give me a corner of home in my new surroundings. As I watered and tended them, I thought back on all the seedlings I started with my mom and the afternoons spent chatting and

AG Expo 2011 The 29th Annual AG EXPO, sponsored by the North Louisiana Agri-Business Council, will be held January 14-15, 2011 at the Ike Hamilton Expo Center in West Monroe, LA. Show hours Friday are 28pm and Saturday 9am-4pm. Advance tickets are on sale at all locations of Goldman Equipment, Louisiana Land Bank in Monroe, and Irrigation Mart in Ruston. Tickets are $5; children under 6 admitted free. Tickets may also be purchased at the event. New Features this year include a Working Stock Dog Show Friday at 3 pm and a Miniature Cow Show, presented through the American Miniature Zebu Association at 8am and 2pm Saturday. Organizers expect 50 to 75 of the animals to be entered into the show by breeders from around the USA. Ag Expo 2010 will be held simultaneously with the Louisiana Cattlemen's Association Annual Meeting, which will be headquartered at the Hilton Garden Inn across from the Ike Hamilton. The trade show will feature more than 125 exhibits of farm equipment, technology, products and services for agriculture and related businesses. Ag Alley, educational exhibits coordinated by LSU Ag Center, will feature a minifarm, soybeans and sweet potatoes. A Master Gardener program featuring guest speaker Barbara Pleasant and a Forestry Forum, both coordinated through LSU AgCenter, will be presented on Saturday at the West Monroe Convention Center. Advance registration is required. Visit or call 318.323.2251 for complete details. Elsie the Cow and little Beauregard will be in Ag Alley throughout the event, and Smokey Bear will make guest appearances. Both educational exhibits and sampling of many Louisiana commodities will be featured at the show, including beef, dairy, rice, poultry and egg, and catfish. The Jr. Livestock Show will be held on Saturday, Jan 15, featuring divisions in beef, dairy, goats, swine, sheep and rabbits. For more detailed information, please visit, email or call 318.355.2495.

For effective, low-cost advertising, call

Mona L. Hayden (318) 547-1221 Louisiana Road Trips

pulling weeds. Out in my garden with my family heirlooms, Florida didn't seem quite so far away. It's been two years since I wrapped up my ferns and hit the road. Since then my Louisiana garden has grown and spread, though I still have quite a bit of grass left to cover. Watching over this expansion has been my two Florida ferns, reminding me of my mother's garden and all the lessons I learned there. One gardening tip my mom passed on was that January is a great time to clean clay pots. First, soak them in vinegar to remove salt deposits, then rinse and soak in a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water to kill microorganisms. You can also use the bleach solution to clean gardening tools. She also suggested I paint the handles of my tools red or orange so they'd be easier to find when laid down in the yard. You can learn a lot from experienced gardeners, if you listen. Thanks, mom! I hope your New Year brings gardening success and new memories among the flowers. Mae Flager is a native Floridian who's enjoying her new north Louisiana habitat. A writer and gardener, she enjoys digging in the dirt and seeing what grows. Please let her know if you have thoughts, suggestions, or gardening tips that just must see the light of day,

Su Stella…Shreveport If you have a day or two to visit Shreveport, I'll tell you some cool places to visit. For breakfast I'd head to Strawn's at 125 Kings Highway. My breakfast is their crazy good strawberry pie and their lunches are delicious, too. Then you can drive to Spring Street and visit the beautiful Tourism Office and pick up the latest LRT and brochures. Walk across the street to visit The Multi Cultural Center of the South, which is full of artifacts, art and cultural items from over 20 cultures living in Louisiana. A short drive to the river brings you to the Barnwell Art and Gardens with new art shows and wonderful plants. Get off your feet at the IMAX Theater at SciPort, or find out if you are as smart as a fifth grader in the exhibits. For yummy Louisiana flavors, the Blind Tiger at 120 Texas Street is best. Just for fun, have your palm read across the street. Drive a few blocks to the Municipal Auditorium and stand on the stage that made Elvis famous and hear the history of the Louisiana Hay Ride. When you are done, drive to the top of Texas Avenue and visit ArtSpace catching the latest art and cross to Robinson Film Center for cool movies, and happy hour or dinner at Abby Singer's Bistro on the second floor of the Film Center. On your second day, eat breakfast at Lilah's Bakery at 440 Olive Street in the Highland section. For those that love old houses and neighborhoods, be sure to get a historic Highland brochure and follow the route. Don't miss the Norton Gallery which is at 4747 Creswell off Line Avenue, a huge and wonderful free museum and garden. Get back on Line Avenue if you are hungry. The Real Pickle has great sandwiches and the best beer fries. Further down is The Lil Shanty for unique local art. Or try Albasha Greek Restaurant at 7460 Youree Drive (in the strip mall with Michaels Crafts across from Lowes). The food is exceptionally fresh and abundant and I suggest the chicken Shawarma. If you feel like a bit of action, the casinos are on the river or you can shop down Youree Drive or cross the Texas Ave Bridge and visit Bass Pro and the Louisiana Boardwalk. No matter what you chose to do, Shreveport is always worth the visit!



By Toledo Bend Guide, Joe Joslin

Fish Still Eat, No Matter How Cold Hello, Anglers. Is it cold enough for you? We have had some very cold weather and I am putting this report together and the weather forcast is saying a low of 25 degrees in the morning at daylight at my boat launch on The Bend. We just made arrangements to delay our start fishing time to 7:30 as temps should be above freezing by then. Update: Wishful thinking....the temp reading on my Tundra said 27 degrees when I backed the boat in the water one late December morning. We did not see another boat on the lake all day and we fished until early afternoon. I am fortunate that I am not bothered very much by cold weather because I have some of the best warm weather clothes available to keep me comfortable in tough weather situations. I've had numerous people over the years ask if fish really bite when it is this cold. Yes, fish are cold blooded creatures and while they do not eat as often in cold conditions, they

still feed. In addition, presentations of lures this time of year often have to be adapted to fish being less active and can be the difference of catching very little or having a great day. Fishing slower is often the key to getting a cold-water bass to bite and there have been days where you just cast your soft plastic worm, let it sink and never move it. For this technique, “dead sticking”, I hold my rod at 1 or 2 o'clock position in order to feel a bite/tap and during cold conditions these can be very light. Other techniques can be productive in cold weather and a couple of my favorites include the jigging spoon and drop shot. Fishing Reports / Bass: With water temps falling nearly 10 degrees in 2 weeks, some of the fishing patterns are different for me. One major difference is that I am spending two-thirds of my time fishing deep water and one-third fishing depths less than 12 feet. That is a reverse of most of November when we camped on the 4 to 12 feet areas. While we are still catching some bass on the outside grassline in 6 to 14 feet we did catch most of our bass in 24 to 40 feet. On the shallow bite, we are still catching fish on Stanley's Vibrashaft double willow in 3/8 oz size but we also have added

Dianne Newcomer… Monroe I suppose what I like best about this area is how easy it is to leave [Editors note: Remember, she is a travel agent!]. For a town the size of Monroe, how fortunate we are to have such good air service. In a matter of hours, there's a whole new world to enjoy and explore! Since most of my out-of-town visitors are grandchildren, I take them to the Children's Museum, the Monroe Zoo or the trails at Black Bayou Refuge to burn off energy. The Biedenharn Museum always affords us great photo opportunities so I try to stop there, too. For special occasions and family celebrations, we go to Restaurant Sage and get the grilled oysters, sea bass, and a sinful dessert! If I were to move away, I would miss seeing our beautiful bayous. Only this morning, as I traveled down Loop Road, the colors of the season and the quiet beauty of the bayou amazed me. I actually took a picture with my camera phone and sent it to some friends in England. I think they will be blown away, too. As a travel agent... If I could wake up tomorrow and be somewhere outside of the USA, it would be along the Amalfi Coast where my days could easily be spent absorbing all the history, culture, food, and natural beauty of Italy. Also, I've always wanted to be a California girl and in my old age, still do! Anything along the Coastal Highway would be fine but Rob and I really love the Santa Barbara area. It makes you feel young again to walk the beach, eat well, and wake up to such beauty. Louisiana Road Trips

Stanley's Big Shot which is their 1 oz version that we are slow-rolling on points and along grasslines and drains/ditches. We also are catching some fish in scattered grass on Bill Lewis's Rat-L-Trap in 1/2 and 3/4 oz sizes in Toledo Gold, Rayburn Red, white crawfish and blue/crome. Our best tools so far this week have been the jigging spoon and drop shot and we have caught a bunch of nice fish. Our jigging spoons have included a homemade version weighing about 5/8 oz and a 3/4 oz hammered spoon by Klassic Lures. With weather moderating, more than likely the spinnerbait and TX rig should be stronger and the jigging spoon may wane somewhat with the warming trend. We continue to use Berkley's 5" Wacky Crawler and Zoom's 5" Fineese on our drop shot. Joe Joslin is a syndicated outdoor columnist, tournament angler and pro guide on Toledo and Sam Rayburn. Contact him at 337-4633848 or and

Book Review: LA 1 By Carolyn Files

If you don't have time to drive the 436 miles of LA 1, Anne Butler and Henry Cancienne can tell you all about it in their book, LA 1, covering Louisiana from Grand Isle to the Ark-La-Tex corner. Anne easily weaves history of past hurricanes and yellow fever epidemics with Katrina and the recent BP oil spill chronicling ongoing hardships. We are reminded here that disaster is not a recent situation in Louisiana but one we have overcome time and again. Grand Isle, synonymous with great fishing, was once home to sugar cane plantations and cucumber farms. Martha Field, 19th century journalist, commented on Chinese immigrants "dancing the shrimp" to separate heads and shells from the sun-dried crustaceans. Anne leads the reader through Golden Meadow and Bayou Lafourche to Nottoway Plantation and on to the bustling Port Allen/Baton Rouge area with scenes of barges and bridges moving humanity and its cargos. False River and New Roads hint of quiet history, dotted with sugar cane fields that will send ripened cane to Alma Plantation to be processed. Lea's of Lecompte and Bailey's Dam, built across the Red River in 1864 are a couple of central Louisiana's highlights. Who can resist pulling into one of Kisatchie Forest's parking areas to explore the many trails and thinking of Caroline Dorman and her work in the area as the first woman employed in forestry in the United States. The house that marked the Caspian Plantation in the Shreveport area can be viewed at the LSU-S campus as part of the Pioneer Heritage Village. Cotton fields and 'Christmas trees' hinting of oil coursing underground are a couple of the economic pluses of northwest Louisiana. Text and photographs could easily stand alone to give a great Louisiana overview. Together, Anne's tidbits of interest complimenting Henry's pictures make for a full-bodied armchair experience.

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By Barbara Sharik

Do More in Morehouse As president and longtime member of the Morehouse Tourism Commission and in keeping with the LRT's January theme to present the best of the best around Louisiana, I'm not just listing the many splendid things there are to do here but presenting it as a challenge to residents. Morehouse suffered a big loss with the closing of the paper mill and all but one major auto dealership. But we've also seen several new smaller businesses open and other remain steadfastly in place and will continue if we support them. This is a joint venture. They can't make it on their own; we have to be the wind that blows the barley or they'll be forced to either close or relocate. One thing I know for sure, we can't just sit back and hope for the best, we have to actively become a part of making it the best. At the head of each historical event are great men and women. History is a collection of stories - moments in time - written by the very actions of these great people. Yet no historical event is accomplished by one person alone. It takes the masses standing and serving by the sides of these great personalities to bring historical occurrences to fruition. Nameless men and women are equally as important when history is being made as those famous few whose names are inscribed in the history books. While the action of some particular individual can cause

an incident to become etched in the book of life, it's the mass movement, involvement of the little guy, that insures things get done. Because most historical events actually start small, realize that although memorable people stand out like beacons, they cannot shine alone. Flashlights need batteries. If we liken history to a magnificent machine, recognize it can't run without cogs in its gears and great people do not work in a vacuum. What this means is that if you as an individual don't support our community, pull your individual weight, either be a good leader or follow one, nothing will happen. Never think what you do is meaningless. It isn't. When you participate in even one project within our community, you're helping make local history. You're making our home a better place in which to live, to raise our children. Knowledge of the past doesn't enable us to predict the future, but it guides us on our daily walk through life. Become active in community affairs and participate in local events. Join a local organization and participate in your church or synagogue. And VOTE! Who owns, manages, and works in most of the stores, businesses and restaurants in Morehouse Parish? We do. Who lives in the parish? We do. But who goes to malls in Monroe, Greenville, Jackson, Shreveport and Pine Bluff? We do. Who goes sightseeing everywhere except right here where we have so much to see and do and, who goes camping everywhere except Chemin-A-Haut State Park, located right here in Morehouse Parish? We do. Who thinks somewhere else always has greener grass?

Although memorable people stand out like beacons, they cannot shine alone.

ouisiana Answers …

1. Gov. Richard W. Leche's conviction of federal mail fraud charges. 2. Mississippi River 3. John J. McKeithen 4. Bo Rein, who succeeded “Cholly-Mac” 5. Hickory 6. No 7. Bienville 8. Collett Everman Woolman 9. B. T. Woodard 10. No. Even the hulls are used, mixed in mud for drilling of oil wells.

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We do. Who goes to doctors and hospitals in other larger cities when Morehouse Parish has one of the best hospitals and exceptional physicians available? We do. Who subscribes to big city newspapers instead of our local one? We do. Now, who's surprised when stores, businesses and restaurants close their doors? We are. Who's surprised when our kids move away once they're grown? We are. The only way there can be More in Morehouse is for each of us to do More. Shop locally. Join parish organizations and events. Utilize everything our parish has to offer. Eat at local restaurants, visit local museums, play in the parks, voice your opinion, vote. Join the chamber, read the Bastrop Daily Enterprise - and don't be surprised to find it's a superior newspaper; reporting the news locally, accurately and fairly. Support Morehouse Parish and Morehouse Parish will support you. Barbara Sharik makes her home at Wit's End in Jones, Louisiana with a couple old dogs, young dogs and several stupid dogs, a cat, a talking cockatiel and a white dove. She's active in civic affairs, serves as a Justice of the Peace, a Notary Public, is the Clerk for the Village of Bonita and a columnist for the Bastrop Daily Enterprise. She has authored several books. You can e-mail Barbara at

Hit the Road

New Orleans in three days By Deborah Burst

I often get random texts from friends and family asking about places to eat in New Orleans but my favorite is the email from an out of town friend or colleague announcing their arrival and I play host, an ambassador to New Orleans. Rather than make a long list of things to do, I'll share my three-day dream itinerary. Before you hit the hotel, stop at Parkway Tavern for an inexpensive but filling lunch. More than a good po-boy, it has a true Mid City flavor with huge outdoor dining area and long lively bar. Even President Obama ate there on his recent trip to New Orleans in August. Time to check in. May I suggest Hotel Monteleone on Royal Street in the heart of the French Quarter or if you prefer the residential side, Soniat House is divine. Unpack, put on some comfortable shoes and hit the Quarter for a little window shopping down Royal Street. Be sure to stop at Joe Dunn's Photography gallery and wander to Jackson Square taking in the new Katrina Exhibit at the Louisiana State Museum at the Cabildo. On the way back to the hotel, let's take Decatur Street and make a beeline for Southern Candymakers and stock up on homemade pralines and chocolate turtles for those late-night nibbles and a box or two for souvenirs. After a nap, it's time for an evening out on the town. Start with a drink at the Napoleon House, then a cab or car to Feelings Café in nearby Faubourg Marigny for a romantic dinner. Then back to Frenchman Street popping in and out of the music clubs for some local music with little or no cover charges. Sleep in late, grab your camera and take the St. Charles street car ($1.25 each way) down the Avenue to Camillia Grill for lunch. Make your way to the upper side of Magazine Street and take in the National WWII Museum and Beyond All Boundaries film. You'll need some time to decompress so wander to the end of Canal Street near the river and board the ferry, free for pedestrians and just a $1 for cars. It's a great way to see the New Orleans skyline from the water. If you're into the nightclub scene, the locals like the Warehouse district, and you gotta make a stop at Lucy's Retired Surfer Bar, or Lucy's for short. A bar called the District is another favorite, especially with Saints players Reggie Bush and Darren Sharper. Toast the end of your second

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day/night with beignets and coffee at Café du Monde opened 24 hours a day. The next day, hit the street car again, but this time ride the Canal Street line (red car) that brings you down Canal Boulevard to the end of the line at City Park. Take in the New Orleans Museum of Art or bring the kids to City Park's whimsical gardens. Journey with Captain Hook, Pinocchio and Jack & Jill in Storyland's larger-than-life fabled exhibits. In the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, ride the century-old “flying horses” (merry-go-round) or tour the park on a miniature train. Top off the adventure with ice cream and refreshments from the newly renovated Parkview Café in the Casino Royale building. No trip to New Orleans would be complete without a ride down Magazine Street and some of my favorite stomping grounds: Sucre Sweet Shop for coffee and pastries, Le Petite Grocery for lunch, and Tracey's (owners of Parasols moved there) and is the best neighborhood restaurant/bar on Magazine Street. St. Joes is another great neighborhood joint, especially the back patio, and Bridge Lounge is a must to get the real feel for the Lower Garden District. For some great architectural history, visit St. Alphonsus Art & Cultural Center at 2025 Constance Street, they have tours on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 10-2. On the last day save the best for last and start your morning off with a memorable brunch at Brennans restaurant. Then pack up the car and ride down to Audubon Park and drive along the road that trails the river. Stop and sit on the bench for a moment and watch the tankers glide down the Mississippi River. It's one of my favorite scenes of the city, and I often say my goodbyes here after another enjoyable weekend. To build your own itinerary or get more details of things to do and see, visit or call the New Orleans CVB, 2020 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130 1-800-672-6124

Preserving Memories Ancient Healing Spices Waigne Cryer can pinpoint the day he became interested in safeguarding personal histories. Going through a box of effects after his father had died, he found a cassette tape which turned out to be a recorded “daily diary” his Dad had made while in Vietnam. Cryer says the sound of his voice and the content of his entries was spellbinding. “It was like he was in the room with me talking about his day 'at work.'” That, he says, made him keenly aware of the history all around us and how easily it can be lost. First as a hobby and now as a vocation, Cryer preserves those memories that many people have tucked away in boxes, in closets, or in attics. His business, Red Lion Technologies, converts old photos as well as audio and video recordings into modern, less ephemeral digital form. He also can record audio and video interviews, as well as weddings, reunions, sermons, and speeches. He then puts them on a digital disk, with music or narration of the client's choosing. The disk, which can hold a surprisingly large amount of material, can then be easily viewed on a TV, with menus to allow navigation to specific selections. Cryer says the services he offers are very affordable, and preserve for posterity those memories that might otherwise fade away. As he puts it, “Rescue them. Preserve them. Future generations will thank you.”

Louisiana Road Trips

By Angie O'Pry Blades

To say that my job is an interesting one would be an understatement. I am continuously learning something new about discoveries made on new functions of age-old medicinal herbs. The research and development being done by reputable manufacturers to preserve these remedies for the good of mankind is indeed commendable. Tumeric, the Indian spice used in cooking curry dishes, has been used for 5,000 years as an Ayurvedic remedy for respiratory ailments. Today, great strides have been made to offer it in a user-friendly version as a powerful anti-inflammatory. Another example of a common spice with multi-faceted qualities is wild oregano. Dr. Cass Ingram has been a pioneer on the knowledge of proper harvest and usage of this aromatic spice. His book, “The Cure Is In The Cupboard” is the best reference and an interesting read on the dozens of uses of oregano. He refers to oregano as “a medicine chest in a bottle”. Over the years I have been fascinated with stories my older generation customers have told me of their grandparents using homemade tinture, syrups and teas using common native plants of Louisiana. Fortunately, these cures are still being passed along. We are definitely seeing a resurgence of interest in young people willing to try the “cure in the cupboard”. Angie O'Pry Blades is owner of Fiesta Nutrition Center in Monroe. She started her career in the natural foods business 34 years ago. * Statements made or products mentioned are not intended to treat or diagnose.

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By Dennis Stewart

Show and Tell Mona's idea of writing about what we love best about our area of the state seemed to me to be very appropriate for this time of year, when we evaluate the past and make decisions about the future. At least that's the way it is in my line of work, in divorce court. By now, everyone has gotten their Christmas presents so that's over with and the bills are coming in, people have been off work for the holidays and forced into spending time with each other, meaning all your partners nasty little habits that you contend with all year have become unbearable. Yes, January is the best month of the year for divorce lawyers. But then again, I digress…

So what do I love best about this area? That one's easy. It's my 20 acres of woods located in Richland Parish. I bought it two years ago to hunt deer on. Then I discovered it also had wood ducks, bobcats, coyotes, squirrels. I have spent many enjoyable afternoons just relaxing in a box stand, not killing anything, but just experiencing the peace and quiet of nature. All the stress seems to drain from my body. Actually, I have taken a few girl friends and my mother to watch the wood ducks blast into my duck hole at sunset. They land with a big splash, and it's pretty exciting. I think everyone should have their own little parcel of trees. Zoloft is good, but the trees supplement it well. Other favorites include eating at The Feed Lot in Rayville. My daughter Catherine likes flea markets, so we often visit the antique stores in Delhi and on Antique Alley in West Monroe. My grandsons like the Monroe Zoo, particularly the prairie dog exhibit where they What I love best about this area is our people and our culture. I appreciate the sense of community in a small town can crawl into tunnels where everybody knows everybody, our neighbors, and who we and pop up next to the go to church with. We're never far from shopping or local prairie dogs. businesses. Another incredible benefit of living in northeast I usually celebrate Louisiana is the scenery and all that's available outdoors like the pay-day by going to lake, the river, the fields, and the wildlife. Monroe to eat. My To show off this area, I'd start with the Byerley House favorite restaurants are Visitor Center & Tourist Center in Lake Providence, formerly a the Cypress Inn, the private home built circa 1900 in the Queen Anne style Waterfront Grill, the old architecture. Then a quick stop at the Byerley Airport there. Mohawk on Louisville Other sites would be Bicentennial Flag Plaza, flying flags of and the Outback countries that were part of the Louisiana Purchase. The bricks at Steakhouse. If I just the plaza are inscribed with names of veterans who served from want to window shop, I WWI to the present. go to Simmons in Other places to boast about include the Louisiana State Bastrop, or to the Bass Cotton Museum; Panola Pepper; Lake Providence, a six-mile ox- Pro Shop in Bossier bow lake; the infamous Mississippi River; Grant Canal; Tensas City. While in Bossier Parish NWR; Poverty Point State Historic Site near Epps, City, I love to eat steak at Vicksburg National Military Park; and the Great River Road, a the Saltgrass Steak scenic highway which runs from Minnesota 2,320 miles south House, or the sausage through Lake Providence to the Gulf of Mexico. and artichoke pizza at Jehovah Java Gourmet Coffee Bar for deluxe soup and the San Francisco sandwiches. If you are passing though, this is one place you will Bakery on the want to visit. The Dock on shores of Lake Providence where they Boardwalk by the Bass serve fresh seafood. The Old Hardware Fish House in Pro Shop. The Kilbourne serves a traditional catfish buffet on weekends. Tinseltown Cinema in Green Acres alongside Lake Providence serves home cooking for West Monroe is my lunch. favorite place to watch Don't miss the Snake Rodeo or the Soul Food Festival in new movies. Speaking Lake Providence! of, I can't think of any

All your partners nasty little habits that you contend with all year have become unbearable.

Larry Brock…Northeast Louisiana

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bad movies that Kevin Costner or Clint Eastwood has ever made, but I will say that the ending in Gran Torino was terrible. Eastwood should have pulled out two Glocks and mowed all the bad guys down. Also, Kevin Costner and Robert Duvall's shoot out scene in Open Range is the best I've ever seen. Maybe I've been blessed but I have lived in several towns in northeast Louisiana during my lifetime. I spent the first 14 years of my life in Winnsboro, and I enjoy driving by the houses I lived in when I was growing up and daydreaming about how things used to be. I graduated from high school in St. Joseph in Tensas Parish, and when I visit there, I drive on top of the levee and look at the Riverside area between the levee and the Mississippi River where we teenage boys hunted 40 years ago, and I stop and look down on the spot where the Walking Pig Bar used to be. I remember one Sunday night in particular when I sat in the Walking Pig and almost decided to drop out of law school the next day. I still wonder whether I made the right decision. I have lived in the same house in Rayville for 11 years, the longest I have ever lived in one house. I sold it a few weeks ago and moved to Delhi. I am sure that years from now, I will drive by my little house across from the golf course and remember all the good and bad times I had there. I will especially remember the Christmas's, the different girl friends that came and went, the plans that were made there, and the dreams that were born there. And I will be forever grateful that I lived there 11 years and never got married again. Dennis Stewart grew up in northeast Louisiana, graduated from La Tech and LSU Law School. After having taught law at ULM and working as an Assistant District Attorney, Dennis is now a Hearing Officer in Rayville. He loves to hunt, fish, read, write, and shop on eBay.

Strange Fruit: The Tallulah Italian Lynching By Lora D. Peppers

Not very many people know about a dark day in July, 1899 when five Italian men were brutally lynched in the small town of Tallulah. Some have not forgotten and have passed the story down. There is even a young adult book written about it by Donna Jo Napoli called Alligator Bayou. The lynching made international headlines and strained relations between America and Italy. Several years prior, eleven Italians were lynched at New Orleans in the largest mass lynching in the U.S. It had caused Italy to consider going to war with the U.S. Nine years later, diplomatic relations would be strained again. All the men involved were immigrants from Cefalu, Sicily. They had a reputation of being “a bad gang” and were prone to violence. Two of the men who were brotherin-laws, Joe Defina and Frank Defatta, were each accused of killings in the late 1890's. In early 1899, Frank would be in trouble again. This time, he got into an argument with Will Rogers, the son of a prominent man in the community. He left to get his gun and then laid in wait for the young man. By chance, Rogers went another way home. After finding out about the incident, Rogers' father found out about it and wanted to confront Frank but was talked out of it by Dr. J. Ford Hodge, a family friend. This caused Frank to set his eyes on Dr. Hodge. Things came to a head in July of 1899. Frank Defatta had a habit of letting his goats

roam free around his grocery store. Dr. Hodge's residence was just down the street. At night, the goats would wander around his house keeping him up at night with the noise. Frank was warned if it happened again, he would shoot the goats. On July 19, 1899, Hodge made good his threat. The next day, Frank confronted the doctor but left without incident. There was a sense of unease among the Italian community. Frank's store remained closed all day. That night, as the Doctor and a friend were passing Frank's store, Frank's brother Charles was sitting on the steps. Suddenly, Charles made a lunge at Dr. Hodge, throwing him to the ground. In the struggle, Dr. Hodge was able to free his gun and repeatedly knock him over the head with it. Looking up, he saw Joseph Defatta standing in the doorway of the store pointing a gun at him. A man nearby yelled at the Doctor “Look out, doctor, Joe is going to shoot you!” and Dr. Hodge pulled his coat around himself and crossed his hands. The next thing he knew, Joseph fired both barrels at him from thirty feet away. He was pelted in the hand, abdomen, groin and thighs with buckshot. Dr. Hodge was able to get back to his home under his own power. Hearing the row, Frank Defatta, John Cerano and Rosario Fiducia came running with their guns to defend

“Look out, doctor, Joe is going to shoot you!”


We're posting the front cover of the December issue of LRT and several articles (When You Don't Feel Joy to the World or Have Peace on Earth, by Tom Holman, M.A. and Talkin' It Up!) on our bulletin board in the Surgery Department at our hospital because it is so positive and uplifting for our patients and staff. Thank you. Mary Shamblin, West Monroe

Joseph and Charles, but were quickly disarmed and captured by the gathering mob. Joseph and Charles were found and dragged out. The mob was enraged. Dragging Joseph and Charles Defatta to the cattle slaughter pen, each man was hoisted and hung from a device used to hoist dead cattle for skinning. Frank Defatta and Rosario Fiducia were the next to be hung. A cottonwood tree in the jail yard served as gallows. An hour later, John Cerano was dragged from jail and hung too. Joe Defina was given a warning to leave. Within three hours, he and his family were in Vicksburg. Once word reached the Italian government, they demanded an investigation. The lynching was splashed all over Italian and United States newspapers. The United States Secretary of State, John Hay, was asked to investigate. The Italian community was demanding that the lynchers be brought to justice. Dr. Hodge, who was recovering from his injuries, was interviewed, courthouse documents were poured over and the sites of the incidents were examined. The locals were cordial but refused to talk. The investigating committee gathered lots of interesting stories and theories, but really found no one concrete to bring to trial. The Italian government wouldn't give up. Two black men had stepped forward, willing to testify. One was murdered. Again and again the Italian government pressured the U.S. and Governor Murphy Foster to bring the ringleaders to trial. They were met with silence. Finally, on January 29, 1901, President McKinley, in a message to Congress, called for indemnities to be paid. This ended the standoff. No one was ever brought to trial or punished for the lynchings. Lynchings of Italians in the south continued for several more years. History has dimmed the impact of the Tallulah lynching, but the story still remains.

I absolutely LOVE getting our new copies of Louisiana Road Trips because I'll have wonderful reading ahead! My favorite writers are Lee Estes, Lora Peppers, and Dennis Stewart. I love the history that Lee and Lora write about and hate that their articles end so quickly because I could read their work for days without getting bored. Dennis Stewart's writing style makes me laugh and I was thrilled in December when he had two articles. He's such a great story-teller! Thanks for all the wonderful stories and 'trips' around the state. I truly enjoy every minute reading Louisiana Road Trips! Dara H., West Monroe With every trip back home to West Monroe, it gets harder and harder to leave! It really is "God's Country"! Mike H, Baton Rouge Louisiana Road Trips

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Lora Peppers, a Monroe native, grew up in Bastrop and graduated from ULM. Her love of history dates back to childhood when one of her favorite activities was visiting local cemeteries to examine headstones. She also loves to travel, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park being her favorite place on Earth. Her job as a genealogist and historian has given her the opportunity to lead many lectures and author several books. She can be reached by e-mail at

Calendar of Events

January 2011

Jan 1 ________________

Jan 6 ________________

Jan 13-16 _____________

New Year's Day

Jan 4 ________________

Twelfth Night Revelry Lake Charles 800-456-7952

Mid-Winter Fair & Rodeo Lafayette 800-346-1958

Sugar Bowl New Orleans – 504-828-2440

Jan 7-8 _______________

Jan 14-16 _____________

Jan 5 ________________

Living History Encampment of the Battle of New Orleans Chalmette – 504-589-2636

Martin Luther King, Jr. Festival Lake Charles 800-456-7952

Fur and Wildlife Festival Cameron – 800-456-7952

Ag Expo West Monroe

Louisiana Political Hall of Fame Induction Winnfield 318-628-5928

A Portrait of Morehouse Parish: The Best of the Best By Barbara Sharik

Set against a tranquil background of southern tradition and rural legends, you'll encounter enchantment when you visit Morehouse Parish in Northeast Louisiana. Awaiting you is southern hospitality at its best. It's a real treat to take a trip through this corner of the world. An extraordinary southern heritage, waterways circle through the countryside while unspoiled woodlands watch currents flow with a peaceful easy sound. Where meandering bayous have personalities of their own and smooth creek bottoms are completely bare of rocks and stones. Bayous and cane-brakes tell tales that Jesse James Slept Here, and stories about Ben Lilly, giant 'gators, and the one-that-gotaway. There's Bayou Bartholomew, the Bonne Idee, the Upper Ouachita and Handy Brake National Wildlife Refuges, Bussey Brake and Chemin-A-Haut State Park. It's where seeing pictures in the clouds on a lazy summer afternoon, catching bass and bream, is a way of life. Where fishing from the bank or an aluminum boat equals a mess of catfish deep fried in cornmeal. Like a patchwork quilt decorated in shades of green, sweet potatoes, rice, soybeans and corn grows. It's where mourning doves make their home and large gray cormorants scoop fish from ponds and lakes and white cattle

egrets dot fields like fallen snowflakes and Canada geese glide by as vee-shaped embodiments filling wintry skies. For the sportsman there is Megabucks Duck Guide service, owned by worldfamous duck guide Johnny Wink, located in Jones, where a flyway passes directly overhead offering the best duck and goose hunting anywhere in the country. Squirrels chatter in trees and coyotes howl at night. Unparalleled, the 'possum with its pouch, the nine-banded armadillo, the lager head turtle and lazy 'gators swimming in the swamps, make Morehouse Parish a joy for nature observers. So, bring your binoculars, camera, fishing pole and golf clubs, because when you come to Morehouse Parish, you'll be in Sportsman's Paradise, where you can duck hunt in Jones, go fishing, boating and camping on nearby cypress-filled, moss-draped bayous and lakes at Jones Horseshoe Lake, Mer Rouge Horseshoe Lake and Cheman-A-Haut State Park and golfing in Bastrop. Each little village and town - Bonita, Collinston, Mer Rouge, Oak Ridge - nestled in lush river-bottom land, are wonderful to explore. The history and impact of small Morehouse Parish towns are vital to the entirety of the state. It's where visitors are made welcome; where everyone knows everyone else, southern hospitality with a turn-of-the-century feel. With ongoing

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renovation, yet holding fast to the past, the cities, towns and villages in Morehouse Parish are modern historic sites. Here hometown banks still give away calendars and a man can walk in and with a handshake and make a loan. It's where old folks and young keep their assets strong. Country grocery stores dot the landscape and gas station owners don't mind fixin' and fillin'. Hear church bells ringing in happy anticipation as there's a church on every corner to meet every need. Fairs, festivals, flea markets, arts, crafts, multitudes of foods that tease and taunt. Have fun and celebrate whatever you fancy from the blues to crawfish. Visit the Village Museum in Bonita, the Snyder Museum in Bastrop and the Collinston Museum. Visit the Rose Theatre in Bastrop. Or the Farmers Market. Don't miss the special events and restaurants, antique shops and shop-till-you-drop spots. In Morehouse Parish, boredom is never, ever allowed. When the sky is the color of fire, edged in cobalt blue, Morehouse Parish becomes a breathtaking place that makes dreams come true. Lulled by contentment as the sun sets and drops away, it's here, in Morehouse Parish, that life is gentler by far. It's here that the southern moon stands beside the northern star.


By Shellie Tomlinson

Scientific Priorities and Animal Night Lights Hello folks… welcome back to my porch and your Internet off ramp for All Things Southern! I'm just delighted to have another chance to catch up with one another. Make yourselves comfortable, will 'ya, and let's chat. ~smile~ Being the eternal optimist, I was hoping 2011 would be the year scientists discover a cure for cancer, diabetes, or even the common cold but, maybe not. From what I can tell, y'all, the scientific community is otherwise occupied. Just recently the Japanese, having carefully noted the spread of bird flu, considered Big Al's

All Things Southern “Bringing you the charm and heritage of the South…” ph 318-559-0319 • cell 319-282-2508

never ending global warnings and studied the problem of world hunger, have produced a genetically altered mouse that is not afraid of cats. Yeah. It's not immediately clear how this is going to help the rest of us but Minnie Mouse has been quoted as saying, “Take that, Cat Woman.” Meanwhile, South Korean scientists put their collective genius to work and produced white cats that glow red when exposed to ultraviolet light, which rarely happens even accidentally, but should your cat use the sun-bed when you're at work, you would know immediately upon your return and as a plus, you may be able to use him as a backup generator in the case of a major blackout. In related research, Taiwan's scientists announced their own success in the Field of Animal Night Lights, giving us glow-in-thedark pigs, which goaded those determined Japanese into another remarkable accomplishment-- see through frogs. Side

Lafayette - A gem of a small city By Cheré Coen

note: my older sister Cyndie and I used to make our middle sister kiss frogs, or profess her love for some boy we all found revolting. I asked Rhonda if she would've preferred kissing see-through frogs but she hasn't returned my call. Some people have no interest in science. Perhaps y'all are wondering where this column is going and what it has to do with curing the common cold. I'm generally as curious as the next person, but frankly, someone needs to talk to these scientists about their priorities and I nominate Mama. Southern Mamas are big on prioritizing and mine is certainly no exception. That's why they say things like, “Don't you dare come back in this house before supper unless you're bleeding.” Oh I hear you loud and clear and I realize this could just be stirring the pot, but our only other recourse would be to contact PETA, (otherwise known as people against eating trees and animals), and really, who wants to get them all stirred up? That's what I thought. I'll call Mama. Until next time, folks! Y'all take care and come see me sometimes. That's I'll be watching for y'all! ~Hugs, Shellie

Lafayette is one of those rare small cities where it's hard to pinpoint what we like best because there's so much to choose from. It's a culinary capital, the heart of Cajun Country, so naturally rich in great restaurants as well as backyard barbecues and crawfish boils. People come from all around the world to sample our amazing cuisine. Lafayette's the heart of Cajun and Creole Country, a prime tourist destination attracting visitors for the music, intricate history, great hotels and bed and breakfasts, shopping and so much more. Cajuns were expelled from their homeland in Canada beginning in 1755, from what is now Nova Scotia, and many made their way to Louisiana, under Spanish rule at the time but friendly to Catholics loyal to the Spanish crown. Here the Cajuns received Spanish land grants and started anew, preserving their culture while working alongside “Americans,” free people of color and slaves. Both Cajuns and Creoles influenced each other and today their history is as unique as their food and music. In regards to the music scene, visitors can hear great Cajun and zydeco any day of the week at venues such as Mulate's, The Blue Moon Saloon and Grand Street Dancehall. But don't expect to merely listen to this music found nowhere else in the world - get up and join the natives dancing! It's what we love to do! Lafayette is also home to two world-class festivals, Festival International de Louisiane, the largest Francophone festival in North America that takes place the last weekend in April and Festivals Acadiens et Creole, honoring the Cajun and Creole heritage of the area, held in October. Both festivals feature live music, arts and crafts, great cuisine and more with no admission charge. Let me say that one again: They're free! Most of all, Lafayette is home to some of the friendliest people around. There's an old saying that if you get a flat in Lafayette, a native will not only help you change your tire, but invite you in for gumbo. Again, it's what we do. When you visit Lafayette, you become one of the family. Louisiana Road Trips

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Exercising Your Dog The exercise you choose depends on the age and fitness of your dog and your own lifestyle. It's one of the best ways to spend time with your pet and especially important for large breed, working, and active breed types. Dogs are wonderful athletes and most adapt to even strenuous exercise provided the environmental conditions are not too extreme. Daily exercise is recommended unless the weather is bad or a medical problem limits your dog's activity. Be certain your dog has plenty of water available at all times and provide a place to cool down out of the sun. When the temperature drops below freezing, exercise should be limited. When the wind picks up to more than 10 mph, be careful to prevent hypothermia or frostbite. If your dog is shivering, get him back indoors or in a warm shelter. Don't forget that even in cold weather, an exercising dog needs plenty of water. Almost all dogs, especially those with heart and lung problems and those with thick hair coats, are likely to have trouble with hot and humid conditions. Louisiana Road Trips

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by Stacy Thornton New Year's Cakes Here's to a New Year…2011. I wish you all health, happiness, and love. I also want the Saints to win the Super Bowl so Louisiana will continue smiling. Happy New Year!

1 small onion 2 (16 oz) cans black eyed peas, drained 8 oz cream cheese, softened 1 tbsp chopped green onion tops 1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp olive oil 1 large egg 1 tsp hot sauce 1 tsp dried onion flakes 8 oz pkg hush puppy mix

Saute onion in olive oil until tender. Combine 1 can of peas in food processor with cream cheese, onions, egg, hot sauce, onion flakes and salt. Process until smooth. In a large bowl mix processed black eyed pea mixture with hush puppy mix and the remaining black eyed peas. Mix well. Cover baking sheet with waxed paper. Form 2 tablespoons of mixture into small patties and place on baking sheet. Chill covered for about 1 hour. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Cook black eyed pea cakes for about 4 minutes on each side until crisp. Serve with sour cream, pepper jelly, and/or salsa.

Hoppin' John and Greens 3 cups frozen black eyed peas 3 cups water 32 oz chicken broth 1 bag of frozen seasoning blend, onions and peppers 2 cloves of garlic, minced 1 smoked ham hock 1 bay leaf 1 tsp Italian seasoning 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes 1 cup uncooked converted rice 16 oz bag frozen chopped greens (mixed, turnips, or collards)

Black Eyed Tiger Salsa Dip

Heat ham hocks, garlic and cook onion til tender. Add broth, black eyed peas, bay leaf, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 30 minutes. Add rice and greens, stirring to break up greens. Cover and simmer 20 minutes until peas and rice are tender. Remove ham hock and bay leaf. Serve and enjoy!

2 cups rotel tomatoes 1 small red onion, chopped 15 oz can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed 11 oz shoepeg corn, drained 8 oz bottle of Italian dressing Combine all ingredients and blend well. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with tortilla chips or Zapp's Tiger Tator's.

Sunny Meriwether…Northeast Louisiana Start in the Twin Cities of Monroe and West Monroe, then make day trips further afield. A good place to begin is downtown Monroe. Stretch your legs on the Riverwalk in front of the Ouachita Parish Courthouse, then visit the Masur Museum of Art, the Cooley House, Layton Castle, or the Children's Museum (parents will have fun, too). And don't forget Art Alley, the center of a growing community of artists' galleries that are revitalizing downtown. Have lunch at Coda, in a historic renovated building. And if you can squeeze in the time, visit St. Matthew's Catholic Church, to see the beautiful ceilings painted by the late Glenn Kennedy. Across the Ouachita River in West Monroe, shop til you drop on Antique Alley, filled with a multitude of great little shops. And enjoy the larger-than-life-size metal flowers sculpted by the late Edmund Williamson. Then head out to Restoration Park, a former gravel pit now reclaimed as a natural wetland. Kiroli Park is a great choice, too, with a nature trail and plenty of space for outdoor activities. Back on the Monroe side of the river, visit the Biedenharn Museum and Gardens, which include the Bible Museum and the Coke Museum and Forsythe Park right

across the street. Finish your day at Enoch's with great “pub grub” and live music. Venture out the next day to Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge, off US 165 north of Monroe. Go canoeing or just walk out on the pier to look for alligators, herons, turtles, and other native wildlife. Coming back, have a great roast beef po-boy at Magic Grill. Then head out east to Poverty Point State Historic Site, where native Americans built mounds and ridges that are older than the Pyramids! If there's time, head north to Lake Providence to the Louisiana Cotton Museum, or east to Tallulah to the Hermione Museum. Back in Monroe, wind up the day with fine dining at Restaurant Sage, Warehouse #1, Waterfront Grill, or the Brandy House. And if crawfish are in season, try Cypress Inn or Cormier's! Head south on US 165 for another great day trip to Columbia. Visit the Martin House Museum for a glimpse into how life was lived in “the old days”. Columbia's small downtown area has been lovingly restored. Don't miss the Watermark Saloon, where you can still see the line marking how high the Ouachita River rose in the 1927 floods. The Schepis Museum always has interesting exhibits.

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Then check out Jim Bowie's Relay Station in Enterprise, a trip which can include a ride on the historic Duty Ferry. The restaurant at Jim Bowie's is open only on Friday and Saturday nights, but the Relay Station also includes a grist mill, a covered bridge, and even “Uncle Earl's Pig Palace,” a collection of more than 1,000 pigs begun by Officer Earl Isongood in 1968, when many policemen were reviled as “pigs.” A trip west towards Ruston should start with a visit to the Piney Hills Art Gallery downtown. It's housed in the Dixie Center for the Arts, so check out what's playing there. Ruston's downtown area is home to a number of charming shops, many of which offer works by local artists and craftspeople. Don't miss Follette Pottery in Pea Ridge east of Ruston, for beautiful hand-thrown pottery in a lovely rural setting. Once back in the Twin Cities, check out the website of the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council ( for art and cultural events, ranging from theatre to symphony to ballet to exhibits. You're sure to find something to wrap up your visit in style!

Angels Exist

Honorable Mentions

by Su Stella

After enduring another long, hot Louisiana summer, Albin “Yak” Yakaboski, owner of Yak's Plant Nursery in Farmerville, decided several hundred potted crepe myrtle trees had to find a better home , and soon! They were outgrowing their containers and needed to either be transferred to big pots or planted in the ground. Yak considered several possibilities and decided to donate the landscape trees to a group that would put them to good use. After several phone calls to city municipalities in the region, Doug Seegers, Director of Parks and Recreation of the City of West Monroe, jumped on his offer and accepted several truckloads of crepe myrtles. After some discussion with his peers, Doug plans to have the trees installed primarily at Kiroli Park, The Ike Hamilton Expo Center, and Restoration Park but will use the remaining ones throughout the city at various sites. Earlier this year, the Yakaboski's donated a vast number of tomato and pepper plants and excess herbs to the Louisiana Methodist Children's Home in Ruston where they bottle and sell homemade salsa as a fundraiser for the children's trips and projects. Crepe Myrtle trees were also donated to the City of Farmerville, Farmerville High School and the Recreation Center in the summer months as well as recently. The City of West Monroe and Louisiana Road Trips would like to commend Yak not only for his contribution to visually improving the community but also for his foresight in realizing that planting a tree is an investment in everyone's future. Doug says it best: “This generous donation by the Yakaboski's will provide beauty to the parks and streets of West Monroe for many generations.” With Louisiana Arbor Day being celebrated this month (January 21st), this random act of kindness will hopefully inspire others to plant a tree, whether in memory of loved ones, to commemorate celebrations, or just to provide a little shade.

Trees of Life

A true holiday story Today, November 28, 2010, an Angel picked up a table I left by the side of the road. Wait before you turn the page. Aren't you the least bit curious to hear the story, even if I am nuts… I'll tell you there were no wings or halos or harps. In fact, this angel appeared in a beat up old rusty car. Before I tell you what the angel said, thus causing you to know it truly is an angel, I'm going to backtrack a bit. A while back, a weird cat appeared in our neighborhood. It had a big head, skinny body, faux fur appearance and a strange swaggery walk. I nicknamed him Muffin Top or Muffin Head. Packed in this odd creature were incredible bravery, foolishness and personality. His bravery caused me to fall in love. I have five dogs - four big ones and a yappy one. This little faux cat would walk into the gate entry with all the dogs going ballistic, and would sit and stare at the front door expecting to be let in. His foolishness was his stupidity. I often imagined coming home to a 'flat cat' because he simply would not move from the road, or would sit in the rain. It was like he was saying 'I'm not going to be here long' by putting himself in danger. I spent a lot of time thinking about how I could smuggle the cat into the house without the dogs noticing. Instead, I built cat nests with towels, blankets, and food in boxes but instead the cat would sit on the cold concrete next to it. During this time, we had a homeless and 'down on his luck house painter' paint our house exterior in exchange for some cash, three good meals a day, a Jeep Grande Cherokee, and enough money to register it. However, he did two things: a good job if I babysat him or everything he could to screw up the deal. He knew he was gonna fail and I knew I wasn't gonna paint this house. There were days I pushed this man up the ladder and helped in a million ways. He finally finished. We went out of town for Thanksgiving to bring dinner to friends that were in financial distress. The day after, my neighbor

called and gently told me the cat had passed away. She was there to comfort him; we guess it was pneumonia from all the crazy weather changes, his frail disposition, and all that sitting on cold concrete. A few days later, I was sitting on the porch swing feeling sadness and regret for what I could have done to help the cat, yet at the same time I could hear my Dad's voice. A few years after Mom died, my Dad and I stood in the kitchen and he told me “Don't regret any decisions you made when Mom was sick, you were dealing with different circumstances and you made the best decisions you could then, even if you would do it differently today.” I could tell by the way he said it that he also had some regrets but hopefully had forgiven himself as well. Back home, we had a table on our porch that we carried to the curb, hoping someone would pick it up. A junky brownish and rusty old car drove past, stopped and reversed to look at the table. His window rolled down and we talked a minute. He put the table in the trunk and got in to leave. I said “Have a Blessed day.” He got back out of the car and just stood there. “I knew you were a friend of Jesus.” I was waiting for the religious spiel. Then he hesitated and slowly chose every word. “I can hear it in your voice. I can tell that you have a kind heart, a big heart. I knew you would be nice. Thank you for everything.” I knew that this Angel was a messenger for Muffin and all was okay and he understood that I did the best I could at the time even though I still have pangs of regret. If only… I had a lump in my throat so I couldn't explain the message to this stranger (the painter) but it didn't matter, as he was the messenger, because I knew what I heard. I do miss that silly little cat and will for a long time. New Years is always the most special article that I write all year. I wish you all a most incredible and magical year to come! This is written in memory of my favorite Aunt Jo, Hurricane Jack, Brad Foxx, Muffin Top, and Grandma Stella (101), who all unexpectedly passed this year.

Shellie Tomlinson…Lake Providence

When asked about what I love most about my corner of the world, the answer is simple. It's the people who live in it. After that, I would have to say it would be the abundance of nature. Now if I had an entire day to fill with someone new to the area, I'd take them to lunch at Jehovah Java Gourmet Coffee Bar, followed by a tour of the Louisiana Cotton Museum. Then we'd have to squeeze in a tour of Panola Pepper Company and end up either at the Lake Providence Country Club for an entree as good as you'll find anywhere or else parked on the banks of beautiful Lake Providence eating seafood at The Dock! Louisiana Road Trips

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Natural Wellness Center Healing the Body Naturally With escalating costs of medical care and health insurance, more people are exploring and benefitting from alternative healthcare. Dr. Carolyne Yakaboski, owner of Natural Wellness Center, has recently relocated to a larger facility in Dr. Carolyne Yakabowski West Monroe. Dr. Yakaboski practices naturopathic medicine that promotes physical, nutritional, and emotional health using herbal and homeopathic medicine. She evaluates individual nutritional needs based on toxicities and imbalances via computerized electro dermal bio-feedback screening. This includes lifestyle modification counseling, botanical medicine, homeopathy and mind-body therapies to assist in total body health. Therapeutic services offered are colon hydrotherapy, cold laser therapy, electro reflexology, ionic cellular foot cleanse detox, far infrared ozone detox sauna, lymphatic cleansing therapy, and cranial sacral therapy. Beginning in January, Natural Health Packages will be available to allow you to experience different services at a nice savings. Be sure to ask about these! New modalities now available at this location include: Atlantic Acupuncture (Stephen Maks, ACA Licensed Acupuncturist) Acupuncture is the procedure of inserting needles into various points on the body to relieve pain, headache, Stephen Maks fibromyalgia, sports injury, back pain, allergies, stress, digestion, and other ailments. Brockman Chiropractic (Dr. Jeff Brockman, D.C. ) - This modality

addresses health problems of the musculoskeletal and nervous system to provide natural, drugless, nonsurgical treatments to help realign the body structurally to relive Dr. Jeff Brockman pain and discomfort, achieving optimum health. Therapeutic Massage (Tara Hudnall, LMT) - Therapies include Swedish (relaxation), deep tissue (muscle), reflexology (foot), chair (seated) massage, trigger (myofascial), polarity (balancing energies), pre-natal (pregnancy), sports (athletic recovery), Shiatsu (stimulate blood flow). Tara Hudnall Yoga & Meditation (William Savage) - Two types of yoga are offered: Kundalini Yoga is a yoga of awareness and energy and comprises breathing, hand gestures, body locks, body poses (asana), exercises, relaxation, meditation, chanting and music. Serenity Yoga is a slow, gentle Hatha Yoga practice of awareness, energy, breathing, relaxation, stretching, building strength that improves all bodily systems and contributes to emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. Bill Savage Healing Touch Therapy (Linda Pruden, RN, HTIP) This is an "energy therapy" that uses gentle hand techniques to help re-pattern the patient's energy field and accelerate healing of the body, mind, and spirit. Linda Pruden

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Registered Dietician (Kathy Elkins, RD) Dietician has special training to assist clients in the use of diet and nutrition to keep the body healthy and offer guidance with specific dietary needs. Family Counseling (Rebekka & Adam Mathews, LPC) - Counseling can help promote better relationships and understanding within a family by addressing the needs of the family. The Healing Hand Aesthetics (Michelle White, LMA) - This licensed medical aesthetician works to enhance the natural skin beauty by using natural products and techniques. Zumba (LaWanna Folse) - Zumba is a fusion of Latin and International music that creates a dynamic, exciting, and effective fitness system. Paralleling the health / wellness tone set at Natural Wellness Center is “Yak's Farm” Market, providing local fresh fruits and vegetables grown from seed in greenhouses, planted with care, picked fresh and sold when ripe. If you're familiar with the infamous Yak's Produce & Nursery located on Hwy 33 in Farmerville, you'll want to frequent this location as well. If your New Year's resolution is to take charge of your health and well-being, Natural Wellness Center will be essential to helping you reach and maintain your goals. Formerly located on Stella Street, the new facility is at 2106 North 7th Street, Suite 132, in West Monroe, near McMillan Road. For more information about healing the body naturally or to make, please call the office at (318) 387-3000 or e-mail or visit

On the Scene

Beyond the French Quarter

Young chefs create a new realm of comfort food By Deborah Burst Crisis breeds creativity and New Orleans has experienced its fair share of doom and gloom. Among those leading the charge for change are young professionals streaming into the city spiking the number of new businesses. Some of the more prominent changes come from the kitchens of young chefs who have forged their passion of bold flavors with the traditional southern cuisines. Beyond the French Quarter, the uptown area is ripe with innovative dishes. On your next voyage to the Crescent City, follow the street car line to four restaurants that offer small plate prices with high-brow rewards. La Petite Grocery - A century old Creole cottage, La Petite Grocery once served as a corner grocery and still holds a vintage flair with its bronzed tin ceiling, caramel colored walls and store front windows along Magazine Street. Executive Chef Justin Devillier grew up in California and often times reeled in his dinner straight from the sea. Self taught, he hit the cooking circuit right after high school and moved to New Orleans working in LaPetite Grocery big-name restaurants such as Baccos, Stella and Peristyle where he learned the mechanics of French cuisine. Like most young professionals in a post-K world he helped re-establish the restaurant creating daily specials and training new line cooks. He has received numerous accolades and stellar reviews in national publications and attributes all to his young kitchen. The innovative menu supports local farmers and fisherman with grass fed beef, Berkshire hogs and some really hoppy ales bringing together a distinct Louisiana flavor accented with a French Bistro flair. To fully appreciate Devillier's bold kitchen bring a host of friends and share several appetizers, highly suggest the lobster beignets, potato gnocchi, or baked blue crab au gratin. Every visit demands the Waldorf Salad--julienned apple, blue cheese, and walnuts with a vinaigrette dressing, and entrees run the gambit from the gulf shrimp with grits to the La Petite cheeseburger with home-made pickles. La Petite Grocery serves lunch, dinner and a killer bar Tuesday through Saturday, 4238 Magazine Street,, 504-891-3377.

Boucherie - Chef Nathaniel Zimet and coowner James Denio have created a cult-like following for their culinary sensation called Boucherie located one block off the Carollton Avenue streetcar line. Boucherie occupies a bungalow style home clad in a casual sophistication with small bar and dynamo cocktails. Zimet's North Carolina roots and affection for spirited Cajun cooking offer top notch barbeque smoked over whole logs and prepared with custom rubs and sauces. Chef loves to experiment so the menu changes according to the seasons, temperatures, and climate, but there are some faithful signatures. Wake up the tastebuds with the boudin balls stuffed with rice, Cajun sausage, duck liver and smoked pulled pork. Zimet is a genius in creating flavor from foods that often get ignored such as a roasted turnip faux scallop for Vegans. Most rave about the Duck Confit in a candied ginger emulsion or the glorious presentation of the pulled pork cake with potato confit and purple cabbage cole slaw. At lunch order several sandwiches and split among the table, Zimet loves the smoked brisket, and of course his signature garlic parmesan fries. And the best part, each menu item stays below the $15 price point, even the hefty size European beers weigh in at $6. Zimet's mantra in controlling costs is to make everything in-house and he works hard to maintain a sustainable business. He grows herbs in his backyard garden and buys produce and whole fresh fish from local farmers and fisherman. Boucherie offers lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday, be sure to call for dinner reservations. 8115 Jeannette St.,, 862-5514. Salú - A delectable change in the New New Orleans is the international flavors giving rise to a cultural and culinary fusion. Conveniently located in “restaurant row” on Magazine Street, Salú restaurant and wine bar offers a Tapas (small plate) menu inspired by the Mediterranean and dashed with some unexpected twists. The eclectic art, hand painted skylight, and spacious bar appeal to the young professionals and those who delight in tempting the palate. Executive Chef Ryan Gall has created a masterpiece of local ingredients spiked with spirited island influences such as crawfish dashed with cumin and goat cheese served with Plantain chips, a petite style “lamb lollipops” garnished with fava bean hummus,

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and the very popular pizza style crabmeat and four-cheese flatbread. Another favorite is the signature Paella dishes for two with four different selections offering poultry, seafood, veggie, and a mix of all three. A seasoned professional, Gall began his culinary career in south Florida working with Emeril Lagasse's team in Florida and Mississippi. He moved to New Orleans a year ago working hard in creating a menu rich in international flavors. It's a delectable adventure accented by a generous wine and cocktail list that compliment the zesty cuisine. Open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, 3226 Magazine Street, 504-371-5958. Eiffel Society Restaurant - Set on the illustrious St. Charles Avenue the Eiffel Society's glass and steel structure once perched high over Paris. Filled with contemporary visuals, the restaurant features the creative talents of nationally renowned Chef Ian Schnoebelen and his new world cuisine drawn from local farmers markets and fresh herbs Eiffel Society Restaurant grown in the restaurants urban garden. Small plates encourage multiple tastings from the Octopus Tostadas with cherry tomatoes and pickled red onions to the pizza topped with salami, fresh mozzarella, and Creole tomatoes. Premier cocktails follow the same meticulous precision drawn from organic herbs, exotic spices, fresh fruits and house-made syrups and bitters. Schnoebelen has built a repertoire of cooking from the age of sixteen in Southern California before moving to New Orleans. He fine tuned his skills in Michelin starred restaurants throughout Europe and returned to New Orleans as Sous Chef at Lilette restaurant, and then as chef/owner at Iris earning recognition from Food and Wine Magazine as one of the top 10 Best New Chefs in America. Live music heightens the communal experience and the pulse quickens as the feast begins in a palatial palace that knows no boundaries. Eiffel Society is open Wednesday through Sunday for dinner only and also available for special events. 2040 St. Charles Avenue,, 504.525.2951.

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Louisiana Road Trips January 2011 Edition  

As we begin 2011, we each have the opportunity to write our own story or rewrite an existing one. BEST OF THE BEST by guiding you on a road...

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