THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF SLIDELL
Vol. 105 April 2019
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asset to the Slidell community and, in the end, that was the most important thing. In 2018, MLMP was officially moved to the Saturday night before the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which traditionally runs the second Sunday in March. The 2018 MLMP parade was a huge success! What a great, funfilled weekend for Slidell!
Photo courtesy of Mark Smith
2018: Kendra is crowned Queen of Mona Lisa and MoonPie. Also pictured are King Kevin Young and parade founder, Charlotte Collins During all of your Mardi Gras revelry this past March, did you notice something missing? The Slidell carnival season was one parade short this year - the Mona Lisa and MoonPie Parade. Oh, don’t worry, it will still roll in 2019, but not for Mardi Gras. Let me explain... The Krewe of Mona Lisa and MoonPie (MLMP), has traditionally kicked off Mardi Gras in Slidell since its inception, in 1984. Because it was a night time parade, they were given the first Saturday night of the carnival season to push, walk, stroll and roll through the streets of our historic Olde Towne. What better way to start the party than with the quirky revelry and delicious treats of this artists’ parade! When the Krewe of Poseidon was started in Slidell a few years back, the City was faced with the challenge of finding an available night for the HUGE Krewe to parade. After their inaugural roll and the full magnitude of just how BIG their parade was (and would still become), the City moved Poseidon to the first Saturday night of carnival. MLMP members were a bit hurt initially. However, the common trait amongst all of the eclectic MLMP members - indeed, their mission statement - is “to support and promote the arts, good humor, and Olde Towne Slidell.” The Krewe of Poseidon would be a great
Fast forward a few months and I was honored to be named the Queen of MLMP for the 2019 parade. A dream come true! I began planning my costume and push-float immediately, then called all my friends and asked them to parade with my Krewe. One after another, my friends said no. Huh? Because MLMP was moved to the Saturday prior to the St. Patty’s Parade, come parade season 2019, it would have been Mardi Gras on March 5, MLMP on March 9, and St. Patty’s Parade on March 10. Whew! That’s a bit much, even for the most spirited of us. Some MLMP members feared that Slidellians would be forced to chose between their two most beloved Olde Towne parades, because the public would just be too worn down from Fat Tuesday. I talked with the mayor and approached the MLMP board with an idea -- let’s move MLMP to Halloween! It makes perfect sense! MLMP is known for outrageous costumes, handmade floats, and fiery flambeau carriers. Members walk through Olde Towne, handing out edible goodies to the kids and parents. This all sounded pretty much MADE FOR a Halloween parade!
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CONTRIBUTING WRITERS EFOP, Rob Casadaban, Charlotte Collins The Storyteller, John Case Pet Points, Jeff Perret, DVM Southern Pearl Vet Hospital, Mike Bell More than Just Books, Story & Photos by Donna Bush Crimmi-Mommly Insane, Leslie Gates Legal-Ease, Ronda M. Gabb Making Cents of Your Money, Mike Rich Go Beyond, Spring Cleaning, Rose Sand GrayHawk Perkins, Kim Bergeron The Dish Ran Away with the Spoon, Katie Clark
Cover: “Mad Hatter” by GrayHawk Perkins
It was agreed by all - Mona Lisa and MoonPie will take to the street on October 26, 2019 - the Saturday night before Halloween. It will be an INCREDIBLE time for Olde Towne Slidell. The Street Fair will also be that weekend, so dress the kids in their Halloween costumes and bring them out for an afternoon of shopping and food, then stay in place for an evening of MoonPie treats and revelry! The party continues with the Vince Vance Halloween Concert on Sunday in Heritage Park! Invite your guests in from out of town Slidell is THE place to be for Halloween!!
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APRIL 2019 Story by Charlotte Collins
Extraordinarily Fascinating Fascinating “Ordinary” Extraordinarily “Ordinary”People People
“To have faith is to trust yourself to the water...relax, and float.” ~ Alan Watts
ater seems to have a captivating effect on humans and animals alike - plants too, for that matter. Once you have lived on the water, it is hard to feel truly at home if it is no longer in your field of vision. The sight of a ribbon of glistening motion is calming and exhilarating all at once. We love the sound of waves lapping, or of waterfalls, so much so that we invent facsimiles that replicate the sound or the movement. Even if I can’t hear it or see it, the smell of water, even an approaching rain shower, has an immediate effect on me, almost as if it centers me. I pause long enough to breathe more rhythmically, and more deeply. If you asked me my perfect vacation, it would most certainly involve water. Granted, I picture that water as blue, but I love my dark bayou, too. No matter the beauty of any travels, when I get back home, I always think that a morning looking over the bayou is paradise.
I was looking forward, on this foggy, mysterious morning, to going up the bayou for my interview with this month's EFOP. Pulling up to the drive, I had my first clue I was at the right place because of the mailbox constructed of a stack of propellers. I never know what nautical treasures Rob Casadaban has installed since my previous visit. His bathroom is as close to living at sea as it gets. Literally, the shower is constructed from a mold he made for building the hull of a sailboat, complete with teak molding details and all! The counters, mirrors, and light fixtures were all salvaged from boats. Anywhere in the house you look, you see his kinship to watercraft. There are peaceful paintings of waterscapes, ship wheels, anchors, even his cookie jar is a boat!
mist extended the full length of the front of his glassed living room. We sat with warm cups of coffee and watched the occasional boaters who ventured out this early, and talked about, fittingly enough, the water.
Rob’s house, perched overlooking Bayou Liberty, made for a comforting visit. I had been there for his “Santa on the Bayou” parties, but this was my first time sitting in his house quietly. A curtain of fog and
Rob not only lives on the bayou, he also works on a bayou, makes his living on water craft, and play for him is anything on the water. He has found a number of fascinating ways to make a living in, on, or around the water.
The house itself has an amazing historical sea connection. It used to be Captain Timothy McVay’s home, which you may recall from John Case’s article in this magazine. This was his home after WWII, and after he was court marshaled. Rob added with a gleam in his eye, “We hear his ghost now and then on the steps, and sometimes slamming doors. But I like sharing the house with him. He’s always been good to me.” Every story Rob tells will be told with a smile, or at least a way to get back to putting a smile on your face.
Rob wasn’t raised on the water. He recalled, “We lived on the corner of Toledano and Galvez Streets. Right down the street was Gambino’s Bakery, where the mean old ladies worked.” Seeing my surprise, he imitated their “yat” accent, "‘What dah yah wan’, a donut?’ they would snarl. I guess they were all relatives, because customer service wasn’t their thing. We loved their donuts, but they apparently did not love kids who only had a nickel.” We both laughed at his mimicry. “But seriously, I remember my childhood as a really happy one growing up in the city, and walking everywhere in our neighborhood,” he assured me.
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His dad, Eddie Casadaban, was a World War II veteran who made his living as an electrical salesman. Rob reminisced, “We weren’t wealthy, but my mom, Dorothy, stayed home with me, my two brothers, and my sister. Of course, we all had chores. Mine was taking out the garbage, mowing the lawn, and weeding our vegetable garden, so I was always outdoors. I loved that. Plus our grandparents lived around the corner, so I helped them with their garden, too. Anything outdoors.” I had wrongly assumed that Rob’s dad would have been the mechanical mentor. He wasn’t a mechanic, but he was a handyman, so they did woodworking projects together. From the memories Rob related, I could sense that he was also a very focused child, and he found many things to occupy his concentration. Rob’s eyes gleamed as he explained, “I loved to take things apart. When I was young, I just always wanted to be a mechanic. I have no idea where that came from. My erector set was one of my favorite toys. And if I wanted a bicycle, I would have to build my own, so I did,” he grinned. "Soon, the whole family asked me to fix everything that broke. My dad’s cousin, Frank, whom we called Uncle Zip, owned Zip’s Garage on Magazine Street, and Dad told me I ought to go work for him. Frank turned out to be an extremely good teacher. I was in eighth grade when I started. I worked all that summer, and every summer afterward, until I graduated. At Redemptorist High School, we got off at 2:30, so I went to work every day after school, and Saturdays.” Smiling sheepishly, he admitted, “My daughters both say I’m still a workaholic.” "After high school, I decided I needed a career change, and new challenges." Rob went to work for Halaburton as a diesel mechanic, working offshore. He was thrilled to learn to work on all kinds of ships and boats. When the oil field went in a slump in the 80’s, Rob moved on to Cummings Diesel in Metairie, and learned the ins and outs of diesel trucks. After a few years, he was ready for a new adventure, and decided to dive professionally. It required six months of schooling. Rob landed a job his first day out of school.
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“The diving business is the only one I know of where you start at the top and work your way down.” He laughed, “You start up top as a tender, holding dive umbilicals, air hoses. I worked a 24-hour shift my very first day. My mechanical background actually helped me advance quickly. If anything broke, they came to me. Now, that was a good thing and a bad thing,” he smiled. “After a full shift, they brought me things that needed fixing right away. The other divers went to bed or relaxed. But it suited me, and my fascination with trouble shooting. I stuck with it for ten years. We mostly dove the mighty Mississippi River. Everything was all black.” Gaining a lot of new skills, Rob repaired ships underwater, repaired pipelines, and did search and rescue. For extra money, he could dive deeper or do "penetration diving" which meant underwater confined spaces, like going inside pipelines. He relived the bad memories through humor, and wryly joked, “As the new guy, I got sent in to inspect a sewerage line to find a leak from the inside. The money was good, but I wouldn’t do it again." He told of the rescue jobs like picking up a forklift from the river, and he added quietly, “bodies.” The police departments and the Levee Board would hire them as sub-contractors. "The one thing about diving, it was never the same thing twice.”
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Then Rob described the reality of some of the diving jobs. “We were hired to inspect a pipeline in Bogalusa, running under a cemetery, so they couldn’t dig. This job was the longest penetration dive I had done so far. I went 900 feet. My friend was in front of me and went almost 2000 feet. You see, the second diver goes in first. That was me this time.” Using his hands, he described, “The front man goes past you and you help pull his hose because the weight is too much for one man. Then you sit... and wait... for sometimes hours in the pitch black for the relay message that he is finished. Then you help pull him back. The last guy in is the first out. So, I stayed in the pipe the longest, maybe four hours. The worst part of it all, though, is the cold. You can’t see anything, so you just sit." But what happens when something goes wrong under water? That would describe his job in St. Rose. A pipe fell on his hand, severing his thumb off. All Rob could do was to wait for a standby diver to suit up, come down, and finally lift the pipe. Rob went straight to surgery. He laughed, “Luckily, I had gloves on, so they were able to reattach my thumb.” He uncrossed his arms and wiggled his thumb for me as proof. Rob summarized, "Anything under water, we did it, even airplane recovery. It wasn’t glamorous, but it was thrilling at times. The down side was that we were always on call. It seemed like if it was the coldest,
nastiest night, that would be the night you would get called. I had to break ice several times just to get in the water. It definitely took a mindset. I finally got out of diving because of the long hours, and the fact that I wanted to have kids. I wanted to be there for my family, and this wasn’t the safest job.” Rob found what turned out to be a fulfilling business, and has two great daughters, a step-daughter, a sonin-law, and two granddaughters as a result of making the right move. He proudly told me about his oldest, Elise, who is now 25 years old, and an Interior Designer in Baton Rouge. His youngest, Emily, 19, is at the University of Alabama studying to be an astronomer and a physicist. "They go boating with me every time they come down.” Rob sailed quite a bit and even lived on his sailboat a while before the kids. “I brought my sailboat to the shop to get a bottom job. The place was closed up and had a For Rent sign. So, I talked to my brotherin-law and friend, Kenny Messina, about going into business together. I went in blind, and 25 years later, I’m still in it. My first place I rented was at the Bayou Liberty Marina. Katrina wiped me out completely.” This memory brought no smile.
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The boatyard went completely underwater in Katrina, and his house had four feet of water. To add insult to injury, he then lost his truck in a freak accident from unstable ground due to the flooding, when a crane fell on it right after Katrina. I myself vividly remember trying to get down Bayou Liberty Road, once the Parish scraped the four-foot high debris of saw grass and mud from the road, cut and removed the trees and cleared the power lines. Still, one could go only as far as the curve before the marina because boats were everywhere! All over the road, the land, on cars, in houses. You might wonder why someone would stay on the water after this. Rather than be defeated, Rob turned to salvaging the totaled boats. Business was intense. Rob had to deal with all of the different insurance companies, in addition to the droves of people needing their boats salvaged, if only to remove them for demolition. Rob estimates he salvaged around 200 boats during his career. “Now I have way too many boats, too many to count.” Luckily, previous to Katrina, Rob had bought a building on Bayou Bonfouca. "I had purchased the old Pravata’s Candy Factory on Old Bayou Liberty Road. It’s funny because my uncle’s store was next to a candy store. That one was Merlin’s Candy Factory, the one that makes all the chocolate rabbits. The smell was incredible. There were only four people working the whole factory. They made rabbits all year, just waiting
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Left & Middle: Rob on the job as a diver, 1985. Right: Elise and Emily with Dad, enjoying their favorite pasttime.
for Easter. I remember they would buy old houses and put AC units in the windows to keep the rabbits from melting. I loved it whenever they would bring us those boxes of broken chocolate. We would keep them in the fridge at work. All year they just made rabbits, nothing else. Then I go buying a chocolate factory!” He laughed at himself. “I gutted and remodeled that factory, and moved the whole operation over.” (If anyone has an old photo of that candy factory, Rob and I would love to see it. Lucian Pravata started the business, and I think the name changed to Aunt Fannie’s Candy. Please send me any memories you may have, dear readers, and I will be sure to share them with Rob. Call or email the Slidell Magazine office.)
Thinking back, he shook his head slightly. “When I first bought that place, it had four bathrooms out back. I couldn’t understand why that tiny building needed four, but I later found a sign that led me to believe there were segregated men's and women’s rooms.” We took time out to note that this awful part of history existed such a short time ago. But once again, Rob lightened the moment by moving on to other memories. “A friend of mine who works with me now, Joel Ball, told stories from Gary Larche’s mom who used to paddle to work there. Back then, that was the main way to get from bayou to bayou. Me and my Louisiana Catahoula, Boudreaux, have been boating, or driving on bad days, to work there since Katrina. On days off, that dog still wants to boat
as much as I do," he smiled at the dog sleeping loyally between his feet. Casadaban Marine has operated in the current location since October 1993, and even more new doors have opened for this marine mechanic. The marine department of the movie industry started coming to Rob looking for specific boats for different scenes. That part of his entrepreneurship has evolved over time, as they saw Rob’s ingenuity and problem-solving skills. "My big flat boat is in demand, because of the wide flat space to film from. Movie shoots are long, mostly very boring, but they feed you well. It’s easy to work 12 to 14-hour days. In fact, Harrison Ford rode in that little boat I bought when I was 16.” Wait, what?
Left: Boudreaux is always the first one on the boat! Middle: Casadaban Marine Right: Amazing sunsets from Rob's back porch 10
Left: Rob, serving as boat operator, captures a pic while on location in Lake Pontchartrain for a Disney production. Right: Rob while on location with NCIS, New Orleans, recovering the boat after a carefully choreographed explosion.
He continued, “There are long hours of boring work, offset by a few minutes of fun, frantic work. I get to operate boats, which I love, and I’m on the water, which I love. Sometimes we are out in the middle of the lake, or deep in the swamp. I’ve also done quite a few shows on this bayou, in the Morgan-Whitney house and my own house, which was used in a TV series, named “Claws.” For that series, they took everything out of my living room, and made it into a bedroom. Then they took everything out of my kitchen and dining room, repainted, and redecorated to where I didn’t even recognize it. It took over three weeks for them to film, but most of that time was prep work. The actual footage was shot in only three days. Afterward, they repainted for me, and redid the hard wood floor because they scratched it. It was a win-win! They did three NCIS shows here so I’ve worked with Scott Bakula and Lucas Black.” “Some of the scenes included amazing special effects, which was fun. I got to drive boats for an Al Capone movie in Lake Pontchartrain and watched as they figured out how to make an alligator look like it blew up. My boat was in a bunch of scenes, including the Bering Sea Beast, which was filmed right here in Louisiana,” he pointed with his hands. “You know, the movie people can make everything look different.”
Rob and his constant companion, Boudreaux, go boating as often as time and weather allow. "That’s a really nice change in my life. When you really love something, you don’t mind doing it all the time. It gets to be a part of you, and it’s not work anymore. I’ll let you in on the secret: The boating business is one of the best, because my customers and acquaintances become friends. When their boat is running like a top, everybody’s happy. Boaters tend to be exceptionally good people in general.” When I asked what else he saw in his future, he paused, but not for long, and said, “I’m looking to enjoy more time fishing, and I want to travel south, maybe to Costa Rica or Belize. It’s hard to stop something you really enjoy, but I also want to slow down. If I stopped taking new jobs, and finished everything in my shop, it might take me 20 years. My grandfather, Charlie, was a junk collector. Unfortunately, that trait passed on to me,” he grinned. Assuringly, he explained, “Now my former son-in-law, Cassidy, has an interest in the business. He is allowing me to take those film shooting jobs, and he knows I would like to slow down as time goes on.” “The people who work for me have been with me for 15 plus years. I can’t seem to find replacements in the younger generation, so Cassidy and I are very
fortunate to have the loyal employees we have. Arthur is the perfect example. He used to work for my Uncle Zip, and later I became his apprentice. He also taught me a lot. When he decided to close up his business, he came to work for me. Our friendship goes back a long way. And Dina, I’m so fortunate to have her as my secretary. She’s another reason why I can leave to go do the movie stuff. She really looks out for my business, maybe more than I do. She may be the reason we are even somewhat organized,” he shrugged. “I think she gets a little concerned when I tell a customer how to repair things themselves, to save money. It’s always good to help people, and that’s why I’m in the service business. I like to feel good at the end of the day. We are like one big family, and when we lose a customer, it feels like we lost a friend. I’m telling you, boating is different from any other business. People make my life worthwhile,” and he grinned larger than life. I have a feeling Rob will never totally retire. He just loves tinkering and loves helping people. After all, how many people can say they love their jobs that much? I certainly hope you are one of those. And if you love the water, stop by and chat with Rob sometime. You're sure to make a new friend. 11
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Storyteller SNAKE IN THE GRASS It is remarkable that the old sign is still legible. Nature preserved it by accident because it partially fell from one of the posts holding it years ago. That turned the face side down, away from the sun and rain. After some study and mentally inserting some faded letters, the writing was decipherable. With so much television and drama at the click of a remote, there is no longer the deep intrigue to dwell on local unsolved mysteries of the past. There was a time when the stories of those happenings were passed from generation to generation, with each taking from, or adding to, the original tale.
For some reason, many of these fascinating mysteries did not make the newspapers and these oral tellings and recitings are the only hint we have of the strange or mysterious event. Such was the story of the disappearance of Charles Powers. Not one mention of his disappearance and the aftermath can be found in the obituaries of the time, but there is a grave marker in a local cemetery that denotes a Charles Powers. The headstone reads, Born in 1945, Died in 1961. That’s probably him; and, if it is, it gives credibility to the rest of what was told. The Willow Ridge Bluff sign also is a positive clue.
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Charles and his family lived about five miles east of town. Their home was one of a half-dozen or so on a ridge that rose from the lowlands, or from what locals called, the marsh. These homes were not elaborate, but homes of sufficient size and quality to make a desirable neighborhood. More rural than urban, the only undesirable aspect of living in the country were the mosquitoes. It was as if they were starved for human blood. In the mile and a half between the ridge and the marsh was a wide variety of flora and fauna. At the highest point of the ridge were tall pines mixed with water oaks; but as the terrain traveled toward the marsh, the pines subsided and Live oaks became more prevalent. The view of these oaks covered with moss formed a picture-perfect Louisiana postcard. Past the oaks and moss, the land transformed to support palmettos, willows and marsh grass. For hundreds of years, this ecosystem provided a well-stocked habitat for all its inhabitants. The oak trees provided acorns to support an abundance of squirrels. A small steam wound its way around the ridge, forming a habitat for beaver, mink and wild hogs. There were rumors of black bear and, yes, the always mythical black panther. No one could offer proof of either's existence in the form of a cadaver, so the nearest proof was an occasional sighting and killing of a bobcat. Early Native Americans feasted on this bounty, and later trappers supported their families on the food and hides the area produced. The trappers and the Native Americans were gone by then. There was more money to be made at the brickyard. The animals had been left to multiply for years. They were abundant. This environment was pristine and, if life needed a rebirth, this would be its Eden.
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Charles' mother worked at a general store in town and his dad worked at the shipyard. They drove to work together before 7am and Charles caught the school bus at 7:30. He would return a little after 4pm, but his parents would not get home for at least another hour. The locale described provided a perfect cornucopia for a kid with an avid fantasy for the outdoors. Charles was a dependable, independent kid; and, in the summer, spent his spare time fishing where the river touched the terminus of the ridge. In the fall and winter, he spent his after-school hours and Saturdays hunting. **********
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More of this story can be confirmed by remnants of another sign that still can be found near the highway, not too far from the ridge. Back then, there was a roadside zoo hidden behind a wall made of plywood signs. The signs had pictures of lions, monkeys, apes, alligators and snakes. It was not a place that the locals were particularly proud of, but tourists on their way to and from New Orleans were lured in. There was a general admission charge and a few animals, but no lions or snakes with six-inch fangs as advertised on the signs. Even though there were none with six-inch fangs, the most numerous members of this menagerie were the snakes. There were many local species of snakes; cottonmouths, copperheads, corals, and rattlesnakes. There were two boa constrictors that were said to be from South America, but only the gullible believed them to be anacondas. For an extra twenty-five cents, you could see the “deadly cobra” kept in a separate room. Finally, for fifty cents, you were able to go to the crocodile show. They were alligators, not crocodiles; but the show culminated with the handler putting his hand in the open mouth of the largest of the reptiles. Each visitor most likely left fleeced of a dollar, a more substantial ransom at that time than today. **********
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On the ridge about a mile north, Doctor Sumrall lived with his wife and grandson, Scott. Twenty years before, he and his wife had built a large home on 150 acres of some of the most beautiful land in the parish. It was at the point where the ridge abutted the river, forming a bluff. It was a favorite place for Charles to hunt and fish, as in those days, “No Trespassing” signs did not exist. Doctor Sumrall was now retired but had recently volunteered to fill the unexpired term of the coroner who had suddenly passed away. Being a part-time coroner was an easy job, but a large, twenty-year-old home and 150 acres of land required upkeep. The upkeep was something the doctor did not enjoy now as he had when he was younger. The area was booming with new industry to the north and south. Subdivisions were being developed in the most remote places. He reasoned that he could subdivide the land into lots and develop them as needed, a few at a time. He had some preliminary survey work done and the sign made, but he had not pursued the idea any further. Doctor Sumrall’s grandson, Scott, was twelve years old. He was living with them temporarily while his
parents worked in Central America for United Fruit. Scott, like Charles, enjoyed the freedom of country living; but, being younger and less experienced than Charles, did not have the in-depth knowledge of the outdoors.
Ear, Nose, Throat
Scott affectionally called his grandmother “Moms” and grandfather “Pops”.
Hearing & Balance
“Moms, I saw a big snake back where those survey men had cut the grass.” “What did it look like son?”
“It was long and black and kind of skinny.” “Probably just a black runner. They’re good snakes. They eat mice and rats. Never kill a black runner or a king snake.” It was only a few minutes until Doctor Sumrall arrived. “Pops, I saw a big black snake where the surveyors were working. Moms says it may be a black runner, but I think it was a cobra.” “There are no cobras around here, and no long black snake from this area is venomous. What makes you think it was a cobra?” “Because it lifted up its head and looked straight at me. Like you see on T.V.”
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“You probably saw a coachwhip. Did I ever tell you about a coachwhip?” and a deep smile appeared on the doctor’s face. “No sir.” “They say a coachwhip is the fastest snake there is. One reason they are so fast is they can put their tail in their mouth and form a hoop. Then they chase you by rolling like a tire or a hula hoop. If it ever happens to you, you must jump behind a tree or over a fence to escape. If they catch you, they will whip you to death with their tail and then stick their tail in your nose to see if you are breathing.” “That’s not true Pops.” “Maybe not, but that’s what I heard when I was a kid. Some people call them hoop snakes.” “I still believe it was a cobra.” ********** On that late September afternoon, it was almost dark when Mr. and Mrs. Powers came home from work. Charles was not there. His rifle was missing and an empty box that had contained .22 caliber long rifle hollow point ammunition was on his dresser. There was no cause for concern as this was not unusual. 17
By 8pm, his mother began to worry; but his father, if worried, did not show it. At 10pm, they called the sheriff. Two deputies arrived and, after consulting with the family, reasoned that Charles had gotten lost and would be home when it got daylight. It would be a warm night, so probably there was no reason to worry. Unfortunately, he did not return home the next morning. At noon, a full-scale search was underway. The high school dismissed classes so that the boys could help in the search. They found nothing. On the fourth day, Doctor Sumrall saw buzzards circling on the most remote part of his property. He was aware of the missing boy but wanted to believe the buzzards were circling for a dead animal. He reluctantly went to the trouble to investigate. What he found, he tried to believe was not true. In a slumped position under a tree, he found the body of young Charles Powers. Charles was wearing shorts, a t-shirt and U.S. Keds tennis shoes. Due to the unusually warm temperature, the body had reached a significant degree of decomposition; but, as a coroner and more as a father, he knew the hardest part
would be telling the family what else he was seeing. Charles’ exposed skin, legs, arms and torso under the t-shirt, had been chewed and partially eaten by animals. The body was removed to the morgue which was a small room in the funeral home. Doctor Sumrall, accompanied by the sheriff, stopped to inform the family. He encouraged them not to view the body, but would let them know the cause of death as soon as he had finished his examination. It was late in the afternoon when Doctor Sumrall paused for the day. He had found no reasonable cause of death. The body had no signs of an accidental gunshot or foul play. It had been too warm for the boy to have suffered from exposure. He was baffled. He informed the family of the preliminary findings, or the lack thereof. He also asked them if Charles had any known health problems. If he did, the family was not aware. During the night, Doctor Sumrall woke several times. He knew it was an improbable possibility, but his mind kept remembering the snake that his grandson had seen not far from where the body was found. At daylight, he returned to the funeral home and rolled the body from its cooler.
Starting at the thigh and going to the feet, he meticulously examined the body. In some places, there were just loose pieces of flesh due to the animal activity. Then he saw it. Could it be? There was one puncture wound just above where Charles' sock would have been. It could be a snakebite. In his practice he had treated many. Where the other fang mark should have been, the flesh had been chewed away. Snakebite was a possibility he now had to consider. Dr. Sumrall drove to the small roadside zoo, paid the admission charge, and went immediately to where the snakes were kept. He then attempted to pay the additional twenty-five cents to see the cobra. The owner appeared from a back room. They had previously met when the doctor had treated one of his employees who had been bitten by a copperhead. He had an undeserved dislike for the owner. The owner had not paid for the treatment of his employee, but that was not unusual. Many patients could not or would not pay. “That room is closed.” “Why?” Doctor Sumrall asked. “The cobra died last week, and I have not been able to get a replacement.”
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Somehow Doctor Sumrall did not believe him, but he reasoned that maybe he had formed a prejudiced opinion. He returned to the funeral home, trying to keep an open mind. After making some phone calls to snake bite experts, he was directed to a cobra expert in Florida, Mr. Bill Haast. Mr. Haast had been bitten by cobras so many times his blood could be transfused and used as anti-venom. Just a few years before, eighteen-year-old Irene Raub had been bitten by a cobra at a nearby snake farm in LaPlace. Mr. Haast was flown by Navy jet to New Orleans for the transfusion, but she died while they were en route. No one knew more about snake bites than Bill Haast. Mr. Haast told him that, after that length of time, combined with the elements and animal exposure, it most likely could not be proven to be a snakebite. Doctor Sumrall remembered all the frank and to-the-point conversations he had
been involved with over the years with his patients and their families. He knew there was no easy way to present what he knew about Charles’ death to the family. He knew that, as a father, he would want to know the truth. On the other hand, he had told families the truth before and wished he hadn’t. Would it be easier on the family to think he died of natural causes or as the result of an escaped deadly snake? Can a sixteenyear-old die of natural causes? He knew that if the public heard there was an escaped cobra in the area, there would be mass pandemonium. He knew that his piece of land would always be the spot that people would morbidly point to and say, "That is where the cobra lives." He would never be able to sell the first lot. Selling lots was no longer important. At that moment, he made up his mind to never develop the property. He would not let any conflict of interest influence his opinion.
He had duties to his profession that he had to uphold. He had a duty to Charles’ family and a duty to protect the safety of the community. Any decision he made may conflict with one or more of these duties. After much thought, he made his decision and his conscience was clean. Sometimes a lie, especially if you are not certain of the truth, is appropriate. On the death certificate, he wrote Undetermined Causes. Dr. Sumrall has long been dead; but, to this day, the land has not been developed. The only evidence of the event are the two dilapidated signs and Charles’ grave. If it was a cobra, it was never seen again.
John S. Case April 2019
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By Mike Rich, CFP® Pontchartrain Investment Management
I’VE HAD IT! HOW ABOUT YOU? Because it’s part of my job, I follow several financial websites during my workweek to stay abreast of what’s happening in the money world. Frankly, if we still had phone books, I would probably get a lot more useful information from them than I do the Internet. Consider the following headlines: “Dow skids after ‘dreadful’ retail sales report sparks recession fears” “Why we’ll be asking what caused the ‘sell everything’ recession of 2019-2021” “Dow jumps 250 points early Friday as U.S.-China talks reportedly show progress” “This stock market rally lacks ‘deep roots,’ strategist warns”
“Opinion: The Dow Jones Industrial Average, at the current pace, is on track to hit 30,000 in April”
about saving, investing, and protecting one’s money when confronted with this conflicted drivel?
“A prominent Wall Street permabear says the stock market is ‘stoned on free money’ and it could ‘prove fatal’”
I certainly can’t, and I’m asking that you not try to, either.
“Bear market already underway, recession coming” “Don’t write off stocks just yet because the market has what it takes to hit new peaks, says strategist” “Don’t expect the U.S. stock market to keep rising at the current pace” These headlines are all over the map, and this was only two weeks’ worth! How can anyone make reasoned decisions
After years of working with clients, I’ve discovered that working to achieve financial security does not come from reacting to the headlines on some financial entertainment website. The people who write those articles (and the editors who come up with the click-bait headlines) are paid to get you to read what they publish. They have no idea – and could not care less – about your personal situation, what your goals are, how much risk you are comfortable with, how
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many kids you want to send to college, how much income you need during your retirement years, or anything else about your financial life. Ignore them. Actually, here are a couple of things they ought to be spilling their ink on:
1. Save and invest Nothing is guaranteed, but it’s been shown over and over again that small amounts of money can eventually grow to big sums, given enough time. Simple math shows that $5,000 a year, invested over 30 years in a tax-deferred account at a hypothetical 8% per year, will grow to $611,729.34. If you increase that $5,000 by only 5% a year, year in and year out, the total will be $1,033,328.61.1 I can see the headline now: “Ancient secret to amassing large sums of money is revealed. Find out how.”
2. Make a plan for turning assets into income. Two of my favorite clients, a wife and husband who retired in mid-2015, are enjoying their money. They are not wealthy, but they are financially secure, mainly because they were good savers. To prepare for their retirement lifestyle, which is modest, but very comfortable, we set up a monthly income plan that I have encouraged them to think of as their “retirement paycheck.” It’s their job to enjoy their money, and my job to separate them from the responsibility of managing their assets. Wealthy families do this all the time and it always amazes me that most people never take advantage of the freedom of having a professional – armed with the knowledge of the financial products that might work best for them – take care of their money so they can enjoy life. If you’d like to learn if this would work for you, call me.
After almost 11 years in this business, I’ve had my fill of the financial pundits, but I probably won’t swear off all of the Internet reading I do (after all, I might run across an article about a sure-fire way to get rich overnight). But, I will take most of what I read for what it really is – financial entertainment that is fun to read, but probably doesn’t apply to me or my clients. What about you? If you are tired of the back-and-forth nonsense of financial media types, maybe it’s time for us to meet. Call me for a free consultation.
Mike Rich, CFP®, Pontchartrain Investment Management, 2065 1st Street, Slidell, LA 70458 985-605-5066 These are hypothetical examples and are not representative of any specific situation. Your results will vary. The hypothetical rate of return used does not reflect the deduction of fees and charges inherent to investing. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.
Securities and Advisory Services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
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GrayHawk Perkins • musician
Native American cultural bearer • Story by Kim Bergeron Native American GrayHawk Perkins was born in New Orleans to parents from the United Houma and Choctaw Nations. In his early years, his family lived in the sugarcane fields of Bayou Lafourche, in converted slave cabins. For as long as he can remember, he has been a storyteller and a musician, having grown up amidst a family of the same. So much of what he has learned was passed on from one generation to the next. This was, in part, due to the challenges of growing up in America in the late ‘50s. “You have to remember, this was before desegregation,” he says. “At the time, Native Americans weren’t considered white, and we weren’t considered colored, so we weren’t allowed in schools serving either population.” That finally changed in the early 1960s, but it had a lasting impact on those who had experienced it. It was a racial bias of which many people remain unaware, even so many years later, he says. He also tells of another glaring difference between Native American culture and others.
“In our culture, women are considered our leaders and treated with utmost respect,” he says. “Our women are very powerful, they serve on the Women’s Council, and men respect how they feel, their intuition and their opinions. Men and women work together, side by side, and are treated as partners, as equals.” He contrasts those beliefs to many around the world, in which women are treated as inferiors, or with a lack of respect or honor. “We just don’t understand that,” he says.
The Storyteller~ GrayHawk spent a lot of time with his grandparents, who shared the stories of their heritage. He feels he learned the most from his maternal grandmother. “She would tell the stories, and I was the one who would listen most intently.” Like his grandmother, his grandfather and his father also would engage in storytelling, capturing his attention and his imagination. While such rituals were generally shared with older children and adults, five-year-old GrayHawk would
sneak in and quietly listen to the very tales that he would someday share with others. As he grew older and traveled, he was enthralled by the sagas and legends others presented as well. “What I noticed is that some of those stories included something mine didn’t contain, so I could use some of those elements and descriptions to round out mine, providing more complete pictures,” he says. By the time he was 18, he was appointed to the Tribal Council, which led to involvement with other people in tribes and ceremonial PowWows with the Muscogee Nation. He had an insatiable thirst for knowledge and his culture, accumulating all of the information he could gather. In all, he has spent 40 years collecting and developing the tales, even adding more to include elements from the spirit world. Those stories became part of a series he calls “Dare to be Scared,” which he has since shared in schools and library presentations. “I’ve found that many people want to learn more about the spirit world and the afterlife,” he says, adding with a chuckle,
“Sometimes parents share those stories to frighten children from doing things they shouldn’t do.”
The Musician~ GrayHawk recalls his first professional music gig when he was about 11 years old. The place was St. Bonaventure Parish Fair in Avondale, and he served as the leader of the band, Jerimiah Jam, intertwining his two passions into a narrative concert richly laced with his Native American heritage. The band’s popularity took off, and they started playing gigs at school dances and community venues. Around the age of 15, he began booking different bands for shows, and would sit in with the band if they needed a drummer. He fondly recalls WRNO radio personalities Scoot and Captain Humble coming to emcee the dances, which took place in venues from Marrero to Gretna to Avondale to Westwego. Those efforts were expanded into full concert productions, for which he and partners would rent larger halls, book bands and earn revenue from ticket sales. “We booked Wild Cherry, before they were famous, and they blew the roof off of the Knights of Columbus Hall,” he laughs. “And when I say 'blew the roof off,' I mean that literally. Tiles were actually falling off of the ceiling because the music was so high! It was great.” However, it wasn’t until 20 years ago that people really took note of his talent as a musician in his own right, he says. Though he had spent much time filling in for absent musicians, quite a few people encouraged him to begin to write his own music, and to take the lead and build his own band. “I didn’t do it because I wanted to be famous,” he said. “I just really enjoyed it.
I love feeding off the audience, interacting with them. It just comes naturally to me.”
Shipping Out~ Shortly after he reached the age of 18, GrayHawk went to work in the shipping industry, serving as a journeyman or engineer as needed. “Basically, I was in charge of repair work and anything done on the ship in case something went wrong, or if the ship was in port or leaving on a deadline, I’d ride with the ship and make sure everything was in working order by the time it reached its next destination,” he says. “I traveled a lot between the U.S. and Panama, and I’ve served on Russian, Greek, English, French and American ships, U.S. Navy ships - you name it.” Sometimes, he says, the job was a bit harrowing, such as when transferring from a crew boat to a ship in motion at the mouth of the river. “They would extend a gangplank from the ship to the boat, and you’d toss your luggage, your tool kit, then cross over from the boat to the ship,” he says. “I once witnessed a toolbox that slipped between the two vehicles and it was instantly flattened like a pancake. I remember thinking to myself that it could easily have been me instead. It was an important reminder to be extremely cautious at all times.” Whenever he wasn’t on a ship, he continued making music as often as possible. He was frequently called by bands to sit in with them for shows filling in for other musicians. What he enjoyed most was the variety of music he was able to perform, ranging from big bands to oldies to heavy metal to rock ’n’ roll. In the meantime, he had experienced a few too many close calls on the ships, and made the decision to move on from that career.
his storytelling and music with students, educating them on the many traditions of his Native American heritage. He has since turned that dream into reality, offering arts education programs in the U.S. and in Europe, both in-school and through art workshops. His teachings include immersive, multifaceted experiences in creative writing that expose children to the art, music and stories of other cultures and eras. Some of his teachings have even been incorporated into textbooks in Europe. For a recent Culture Camp, he worked with St. Tammany children to write an original story, illustrate it and hand bind it, and taught the children Native American chants and traditions including shakers and talking sticks. The children also wrote an original song and learned how to play the harmonica. The week culminated in a campfire concert in Covington’s Art Alley, for which the children showcased their newfound skills and artwork.
Inspirations~ Throughout his career, GrayHawk says his work has been inspired by many of the musicians he has met along the way. He cites among his favorites Malcolm “Mac” John Rebennack, otherwise known as Dr. John. “He’s a great friend, and has always been so encouraging,” says GrayHawk. “We’d sit and have some really great conversations, with so much mutual respect. I have always admired him as a person, in addition to loving his music.” Another of his inspirations is the late Coco Robicheaux. GrayHawk performed with the musician at Ruby’s Roadhouse in Mandeville, just a week prior to the legend’s passing in 2011. Bill Miller, one of the top Native American musicians, also tops the list of influences.
“I’ve always treasured his music,” says GrayHawk. “Then, one day, I was chatting with him after a concert we had performed at a reservation, and I’m thinking to myself that I can’t believe I’m actually sitting here having dinner with him - he’s like the Native American version of Elvis!”
As he moved away from his work in the shipping industry, GrayHawk had a burning desire to be a teacher, to share
He speaks highly of Charles Neville of the New Orleans Neville dynasty, and legendary trumpeter Al Hirt, both of whom
“I was hurt a few times, and I used up one too many of my ‘cat’s lives.’ It was 1981, and I had my first daughter on the way,” he said. “I wanted to ensure I was around for her.”
used to come to his home. While there, the iconic musicians would take time to chat with his daughter, an aspiring trumpet player herself. That they took the time to inspire a future musician meant so much to both father and daughter. GrayHawk’s enthusiasm spikes as he speaks of his interactions with Jamaican ska musician Justin Hinds. “He was one of the original reggae stars, like the granddaddy of reggae, along with Bob Marley in that time period,” says GrayHawk. “Justin would often come to New Orleans and we just hit it off. We became really good friends and shared our passion for music.” Through his work, GrayHawk also has enjoyed opportunities to meet and chat with Sting, the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards, and Alice Cooper - all of whom provided additional influence on his music. Local musician Danny O’Flaherty ignited GrayHawk’s interest in Celtic music. The two worked together for an event at Chalmette Battlefield plus other New Orleans events. GrayHawk credits the interest in part to his Welsh heritage, via his Perkins ancestors.
“The time I spent with all of these people pushed me into further developing my craft,” he says. “Though my birth certificate says ‘Native American,’ I am everything I grew up with and the many musicians I’ve met. It’s like a musical melting pot.”
composer and bass player Emmanuel de Gouvello, and his Mobilian chanting was accompanied by de Gouvello on bass, Chris Azema on saxophone, Jean-Marie Frédéric on guitar and Vivian Pérès on drums.
When he flew to France, GrayHawk joined the musicians at a villa in the mountains, allowing for a few days of preparation prior to their tour of France.
One of the elders from the Crete Nation GrayHawk encountered during his travels took note that the young musician would adapt to singing songs in the languages of the tribes with whom he gathered. “But why aren’t you singing in your own language?” the tribesman asked. That question ultimately would lead GrayHawk to producing a collaborative album created entirely in Mobilian, a universal trade language shared by Native Americans living in the Gulf of Mexico region during early years of European settlements. It was 2012 when GrayHawk joined forces with the Mezcal Jazz Unit, a jazz quartet from Marseilles, France, for the production of “Thirteen Moons.” The album content is based on the Native American calendar of 13 moons, with one song representing each of those moons. That collaborative effort was quite interesting, says GrayHawk. As he prepared for recording the album in France, he had not yet met his fellow musicians in person. He had sent the musical compositions to them and they, in turn, sent their arrangements back to him. The musicians worked together via email and Skype, co-arranging until they reached the final arrangements. GrayHawk’s compositions were enhanced with jazz harmonies and rhythms by Mezcal’s
“The villa was built back in the 14th century, and it had a big, beautiful mural on the walls,” he said. “I had a whole level of the home all to myself. It was snowing outside, really beautiful.” The musician says he had to pause for a moment and consider the magnitude of the moment and the project. “It was really amazing,” he says. The Thirteen Moons tour took the musicians through numerous cities in France, then throughout the United States, including a west coast tour from California to Washington, to New York and cities throughout Louisiana. Local performances included Snug Harbor, Ruby’s Roadhouse in Mandeville, Rock ‘n’ Blues Club in Covington, and the Dew Drop Social and Benevolent Jazz Hall in Mandeville. A subsequent project, “GrayHawk Perkins & Friends: Live at the New Orleans Jazz Museum,” was recorded in August of 2017. The “friends” included Gregory Lambrousy, Mark St. James, Kiran and Liam Perkins, David Polk, Norman Jnail, Luther Grey and Marcos Maceira. He’s also excited to be working on his next project, an album to be recorded at the New Orleans Jazz Museum in July. The title,
connected with, and keeps in touch with, many of his French and Welch relatives via social media. On one of his trips to France, he was reading memoirs of Charles Dickens and was intrigued to learn that Dickens met Peter Perkins, a Choctaw Indian in GrayHawk’s lineage. The two had met on a steamboat and became friends.
“Soul Collectors,” is concurrently intriguing and haunting, begging for explanation. It’s all about people and their vulnerability, he says. “A lot of people have a tendency to leave themselves open to those who seek to take control over them, to manipulate them,” he says. “I’ve witnessed it all my life, and I’ve experienced it myself. There are many unscrupulous people who seek to take advantage of others, finding those who are susceptible to this. These people feel empowered by collecting others’ spirits, their souls, who they are. I’ve seen so many people fall by the wayside as a result.” The musician says that this album is about not only spiritual things, but also the people and everyday things in New Orleans - and the back streets, the voodoo communities, and the unseen part of NOLA, as experienced through a Native American’s eyes. Unlike his Thirteen Moons project created with French musicians, for this album, GrayHawk is working to bring together a team of local musicians. The goal is to produce the album, then to bring the New Orleans musicians and their unique sounds to tour Europe. Of the content, he says, “It’s going to be a mixture - some classical, plus influences of Africa, Brazil and Native America mixed with Celtic music, blues and funk. Basically, it will be a culmination of all the people and the music I’ve worked with over the past 50 years, combined with my heritage - the things I’ve always been interested in plus who I am.”
Heritage~ While predominantly of Native American heritage, GrayHawk’s family tree also includes French and Welch ancestors. He
As he perused the book and read the itinerary of the duo, he discovered that it was almost identical to the tour in which GrayHawk was traveling. “I found that very exciting,” he said. “To learn that someone in my family knew Charles Dickens, and here I was, traveling the same journey, it was surreal.”
Favorite Projects~ His broad scope of knowledge has made GrayHawk an invaluable resource for a number of organizations. Among his favorite projects is the work he has done with the Audubon Nature Center in New Orleans East. He collaborated with Founding Director Bob Thomas to develop the center’s Native American programming. Thomas dubbed GrayHawk a “cultural naturalist,” with work including a vast spectrum of education relative to the environment, plants and animals, in addition to his Native American heritage. While working with the Nature Center, he had an opportunity to meet representatives of the Smithsonian Museum, who at the time were developing the Native American Museum in Washington, D.C. The representatives embraced the opportunity to seek GrayHawk’s recommendations regarding that project.
His experience led him to serving as a consultant for another project in Rivertown. Here, he worked with Kenner Mayor Aaron Broussard for the development of the Cannes Brulee (translation: burnt cane) Native American Center. At the request of New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival’s producer Quint Davis, GrayHawk spearheaded the creation of a children’s area and a Native American area for that festival. He feels blessed to have been in on the ground floor of development of these attractions. “Working with Jazz Fest has been very rewarding,” he says. “I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to meet many Native Americans, top notch artists and musicians. And this year, for the 50th Anniversary of the festival, we’ve added new designs, including a Native American hut and exhibition. I also will work with the Folklife Village coordinators toward enhancing that area for the upcoming anniversary edition of the festival.” He always looks for something new, opportunities that have not been done before, to enrich the projects in which he’s so deeply invested. When he’s not developing projects, writing or reading, he can be found listening to music in the comfort of his study. “It’s not a man cave,” he’s quick to say. “It’s more of a studious environment, with everything from educational elements to music to writing--but no television. It’s all about the arts and culture.”
A Passion for the Arts~ An outspoken advocate for arts and artists, GrayHawk consistently finds himself in situations in which he’s standing up for the creatives who contribute so much to society, and speaks of the differences of being an artist in America versus elsewhere. “What I find really interesting is that I’m better known in France and other parts of Europe than I am here in St. Tammany and Louisiana. I find that unfortunate,” he says. “Society in America needs to support the arts a lot more than they do,” he continues. “When I go to Europe, I’m treated like royalty. They look at art and music in a whole different way. Here, artists and
musicians often are taken for granted. But what if all of a sudden, artists, musicians and writers just stopped creating? How boring would life be without the creatives who add so much to our culture? Sadly, in America, so many people don’t want to pay artists, to invest in visual arts, music, and all of the creativity. They just call you to ask you to donate your time and talent for free.”
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“Do people realize how much time goes into developing talent, and the art that other people enjoy?” he continues. “With visual arts, many of the works are one-of-a-kind, made by hand, utilizing talents honed through years and years of work. Yet many people want to negotiate the prices down. And how many people benefit from sitting down and listening to music? I’d love to see people in this country view all artists as seriously as they do doctors and lawyers. Artists and musicians also help people, and the arts are being used more and more in healing programs. People find art and music therapeutic, very soothing. The world would be a horrible place if everyone decided arts are not important to them anymore.” It would, indeed.
The Legacy Continues~ Just as his family passed traditions on to him, GrayHawk has shared his love of music and storytelling with his children. With two sons who play multiple instruments and one of his daughter’s playing trumpet, the music will go on. His wife and other daughter remain the musicians’ staunchest supporters. “My wife plays the piano, and she’s very much into music,” he says. “I think that’s what first drew us together.” And so comes more inspiration for those who are graced with the opportunity to learn from this cultural legend. Their lives, like those of so many before them, will be enriched via the music, the storytelling and the history that he shares with so much passion and authenticity. It’s sure to pave the way for the future culture bearers in generations still to come.
EASTER BLESSINGS By Very Reverend W.C. Paysse, V.F. Pastor, Our Lady of Lourdes Church Dear Friends, In April we think of April showers, flowers, blooming shrubs, trees and Easter. Yes, spring is in the air! It is also a time when childhood memories bring me back to annual trips to Audubon Park for the Catechetical Picnic (Sunday School) with the pastor of my church as well as teachers, parents and a favorite aunt, Aunt Marie. Oh, how the boys always looked forward to the excursion because we played King of the Mountain as we ran repeatedly up and down monkey hill, scaring the girls. In addition, we enjoyed the large oak trees, over a century old. In our minds, they became botanical castles for climbing high. The long-stretched oak branches became draw bridges over a moat or a walking plank on a Caribbean pirate ship. Needless to say, as children our imaginations ran wild, and we never ceased to be curious and to discover something new and exciting! Now decades later, my imagination is caught up with God, who in Himself is mysterious, omnipotent, real and truly present in our world and in each person. God is present in every blooming flower and is experienced like the sweetness of honeysuckle. When I see a cascading wall or trellis of white confederate jasmine, I see God. When I see a rose or an easter lily, I see God. Yes, as St. Thomas Aquinas pointed out, the creative world reflects the divine majesty. Martin Luther once said, “Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not only in books alone but in every leaf of springtime.” As Christians or persons searching for a Creator, a Savior, a God, a spiritual home or a church family, the season of spring lends a hand in guiding us to the Almighty. Springtime reflects the Holy One from above who descends into our world and walks through the garden of life. As we prepare for Easter, we are reminded that Jesus broke the bonds of death. He truly rose from the dead so we might have eternal life. May I invite you to open your heart to Christ, to welcome Him as your Savior? Allow the Easter season to welcome you to worship. We have many Christian churches in Slidell that would make a comfortable spiritual home for you and your family. I am happy to assist you! Let this Easter be different for you and those you love. Do not limit Easter to only an Easter basket filled with colored eggs, chocolates and treats, but allow the Holy Spirit to deliver to your family Easter eggs of faith, hope and love. Enjoy the tradition of the Easter basket; I do. But see the greater sign in the beautiful colored eggs as they remind us of the new life we all share in Christ. See Jesus who brings new birth and eternal life to all who call upon His Holy Name. Remember, always be curious about God and faith. And finally, I conclude with a quote from C. S. Lewis, a Christian writer, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” Happy Easter Blessings, Very Reverend W.C. Paysse, V.F., Pastor
APRIL EVENTS CHURCH 3/31 4/3 Lenten Mission: Simply Live. Reverend George Knab, O.M.I. 4/3 & 4/10 Mass 8:30am. Confessions 5-6:15pm. Mass 6:30pm 4/3
RCIA 7pm, Parish Life Center
4/4 ,11, 18 & 25 That Man Is You with Mass 6am, Parish Life Center 4/4
Catholic Daughters of America 6:30-7:30pm, Parish Life Center
4/5 & 4/12 Stations of the Cross 8am, 2:10pm, 6pm. Mass 6:30pm 4/5
Lenten Fish Fry – dine in or drive up, OLL gym 5pm-8pm
First Saturday Devotions, 8:30am Mass followed with Confession, Adoration and Benediction at 10am
Knights of Columbus Meeting; dinner 6pm, meeting 7pm, KC Hall
4/10 RCIA 7pm, Parish Life Center 4/16 Knights of Columbus Fourth Degree Meeting; dinner 6pm, meeting 7pm, KC Hall 4/17 Mass 8:30am, 6:30pm. Confessions 5-6:15pm. Tenebrae 7:15pm, Church 4/18 HOLY THURSDAY. Mass of the Lord’s Supper 7pm. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament 8:30-midnight. 4/19 GOOD FRIDAY. Divine Mercy Novena and Chaplet 8:30am. Solemn Service 3pm. Stations of the Cross 6pm. 4/20 HOLY SATURDAY. Divine Mercy Novena and Chaplet 8:30am. Liturgy of the Hours 9am. Easter Vigil Mass 8pm 4/21 EASTER SUNDAY. Mass 7am, 8:30am, 10:30am (Church & gym). NO 5:30pm Mass. Divine Mercy Novena and Chaplet following the 8:30am Mass 4/22 4/27 Divine Mercy Novena and Chaplet following the 8:30am Mass (following 8:30am Communion Service on 4/22) 4/28 DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY. Confessions 1-2pm. Divine Mercy Chaplet 2:30. Divine Mercy Mass 3pm.
Early dismissal followed by Employee Appreciation Luncheon
4/10 Parent-Teacher Cooperative Meeting, 7pm 4/18 Living Stations of the Cross, 1:30pm, OLL gym 4/20 School closed for the Easter holiday 4/29 Return from Easter break
Go Beyond by Rose Marie Sand
When I was a little girl, spring-cleaning was a big deal in my house. Under my mom’s guidance, we cleaned everything from baseboards to closets, bed frames and beyond. I wish I could say I’ve carried on that tradition, but I’m just not that dedicated. But I do so wish the baseboards were as clean as my mom’s house. Thoughts of spring-cleaning these days are more about a collection of papers I’ve been meaning to get to. Even with all the purging I did in my recent move, I have several boxes of papers I have to go through. Many of them I know I need to throw away, or possibly burn. I actually have a large plastic bin I took with me when I moved containing papers discolored and sad looking – papers I got out of my flooded home after Katrina. You can read little of the writing on them, and I just needed to keep them for awhile longer. Or maybe I was just avoiding looking at them when I took the whole container to the new place.
But now, as I go through some of the accumulated things that moved into my current garage, I wonder if it’s time to let them go. I may have a bonfire in my new fire pit one night; I may toss them into the fire without looking at them again. One time a few years ago, I burned up FEMA papers from post-Katrina, and cried so much I had to take a hose and put the fire out and get out of the condo. I just came across something I wrote back then - those early post-Katrina days - more a journal entry, I think. I honestly have no recollection of writing this, or what I might have written it for. I wasn’t writing for this magazine then, and I rarely put my feelings about the storm down on paper. It was hurtful in those early days to even see the words in the light of day. So, readers, I’ve decided to share this little essay with you this month, in honor of Mom’s spring-cleaning. In honor of the new beginnings that Spring offers. Here it is, exactly as written in early 2006:
“Ever watch a little kid tear open a package at Christmas? Without regard for cost, expressions of gratitude or politeness, convention or appearance of greed, the child simply holds to him the gift with the pure expression of joy. Mom may prompt a distracted “thank you” or a begrudging kiss to Auntie, but all the kid wants to do is get away from the rest of the festivities and inspect his treasure. That’s the feeling of ownership I felt when opening a plain brown envelope containing a Phantom Ranch t-shirt and hat. You see, I lost almost everything recently in Hurricane Katrina – possessions, car, businesses and clothes – including one white, long sleeved t-shirt that meant so much to me. Every now and then, in the three months that have lapsed since Katrina, I remember an item I no longer possess. My grandmother’s ancient sewing machine that she used to attach lace to my childhood dresses. My children’s christening outfit that once hung on a hook in my exercise room. (Note: I did eventually find the dress in the rubble and it’s a treasure my family still uses.) My beloved PT Cruiser, complete with new shiny accessories, that we parked in the garage for safekeeping before 10 feet of water made that laughable. There’s always a pause, then the numb realization that this is the new normal. It’s just stuff, I say. Move on. But my dear sister-in-law found a way to replace one of my treasures. Gay was my hiking companion in 2001 when I made that journey (Note: At that time she was not yet my sister-in-law; Gay and my brother Joey married after Katrina). When I’d told Gay about the shirt going down with the ship in the flood, she wrote to Phantom Ranch and explained my plight. The manager responded with a gift in the mail - a plain brown envelope containing a Phantom Ranch t-shirt and hat. The only way one can purchase one of these garments is to hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and visit the small store that stocks basic necessities like Advil and souvenir t-shirts. It’s a little canteen at a hole in the ground that’s as beautiful as any on earth. I bought the treasured shirt and hat and rolled it into my backpack. When Gay and I made our hike out of the Canyon, I carried the shirt up in the backpack and wore my new hat proudly. That journey was one long in the planning and anticipation.
Although my hiking companions slept in a dorm room next to me, I was more alone than I’d ever been. My knees throbbed from the torment of the descent. Everything I loved and held dear – home, bed, pillow, husband, mother, possessions – were a plane ride and a hike away. The plane ride part would be easy. But to catch that plane, I’d have to climb back to the rim. To pull myself together and push beyond the physical pain of my knees, my own fears, and as it turned out, an early season hail storm mid-way into our ascent. Because all I had to count on to get myself back to my reality was – me. And that wonderful Advil. I did it, and lived to don my shirt on the plane ride home with a mixture of pride and wonder. Today (Note: This was written three months after Katrina) I have to climb out of another hole – one in my heart. You see, I live near New Orleans, in a town called Chalmette in the parish of St. Bernard. Our community was almost totally destroyed by Katrina. The full force passed over St. Bernard. I drive through the streets of my hometown and witness a land that’s devastated, trashed, destroyed and hurt beyond my imagination. Home after home, street after street, neighborhood after neighborhood, and town after town – destroyed and left in a muddy ruin. My heart breaks every time I think of St. Bernard, it’s good people – my friends and family. I’m living in Denham Springs, and make the journey there as often as possible to find whatever is salvageable in the wreckage. So, yesterday we were in Slidell on our way back to Denham Springs from a long day of excavating, when Gay handed me a plain brown envelope containing a shirt from Phantom Ranch. I sobbed as I opened it, thanked her quickly as I left her home in Slidell. I clutched the treasure to my chest as I drove to what passes for home nowadays – a rental apartment two hours away. My treasured new possession reminded me of that night and the ranch. Reminded me that indeed I’d climbed out of that hole and returned home. This time, I’ll need to find a new home, rebuild a life, and trust my instincts and myself. This Phantom Ranch t-shirt will remind me of the beauty that waits in my new life.”
Reservations for a room at the ranch can take up to two years in advance to secure, which is about as long as it took me back then to gather the courage and stamina and willpower to make the hike one mile straight down into the canyon walls, and spend two nights at Phantom Ranch. And then hike back up. There's no other way to get out unless you're airlifted in a helicopter. On a clear, sunny morning, I hiked down in nine hours (Note: My knees gave out and I ran out of water when we were crossing a bridge into the campground - Gay jogged to Phantom Ranch and brought back water for me), and then spent a painful night choking back tears of fear and loneliness. I wondered how the hell I was going to climb back out of this hole. 31
More Than Just Books Story and photos by Donna Bush
When I think of the library, I immediately flash back to my Saturday childhood trips to return and checkout more books (at least one of which I would finish reading before reaching home). Often, I would beg my parents for a mid-week stop when I finished all the ones I had checked out. As a child and well into my adult life, I was an avid reader. If I were home sick from school, a book was my best medicine. In fact, my first job at the age of 14 was working as a runner at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art and Research Library in Laurel, Mississippi. This predated everyone having a computer with internet access or even a set of encyclopedias. Research papers were written the old-fashioned way. Students visited the library, used a card catalog to search for books, microfilm or microfiche, newspaper and magazine articles on their topic. They wrote down
the catalog number(s) on an index card, which was given to me by the research librarian. I would run down the stairs to the musty basement, pull the specific source, run back up the stairs and deliver to the student. I certainly got my exercise! The first Slidell Library opened on Erlanger Avenue in June of 1950 as part of the Library Demonstration Project funded by the State. Due to the area’s population growth sparked by the aerospace industry, a bond issue was approved by St. Tammany voters to fund a new library in the mid80’s. The construction began in 1986 and completed in 1989 where the Robert Blvd. library resides now. The 22,000 square foot building boasts a contemporary style, complete with a Harold Van Hoten metal and stone sculpture, entitled Vortex. There is also an educational herb garden and butterfly garden maintained by the St.
Tammany Master Gardeners. Take a stroll and sit amongst the beauty of nature while you enjoy your latest book. A million-dollar renovation in 2014 upgraded the HVAC system, added new lighting and automatic doors, and replaced lounge furniture. As you venture through the automatic doors, you are greeted by the Friends of Slidell Library’s display cases housing monthly auction items. From there, you move into the main portion of the library, complete with comfortable seating areas throughout the building. The windows are large and spacious, letting in lots of sunlight. There are designated children areas with children-sized furniture and toys to entertain. The large magazine and newspaper section feature another cozy seating area where you can peruse the latest periodicals. Did you know Slidell boasts two branches?
Friends of Slidell Library (FSL)
The South Slidell Branch was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. In September of 2016, it reopened in a 6500-square foot space on Pontchartrain Drive. In fact, St. Tammany Parish houses twelve library locations! WOW! They are strategically located throughout the parish – Abita Springs, Bush, Causeway, Covington, Folsom, Lacombe, Lee Road, Madisonville, Mandeville, Pearl River, Slidell and South Slidell. All these branches are not just about books! They offer CDs, DVDs, music, movies, audio books, and large print books. You can even download music, movies, TV shows, magazines, eBooks and audio books from their website! But wait, there’s more! All branches are stocked with computers that may be used by the public for FREE. They are installed with the latest Windows operating system, Microsoft Office Suite, and provide internet and email access. Printing is available for a nominal fee. If you’re unsure how to use these tools, sign up for one of the numerous computer classes offered for FREE at the library! A plethora of classes are scheduled each week. They are all FREE! Now, ya’ll know that I’m also a certified yoga teacher. I found out first-hand about these classes when the library reached out to me to teach a six-week beginner mat yoga class at the South Slidell Branch. I’m now in my 5th six-week session and adding a chair yoga class. The response has been overwhelming and I’m loving it! I can share yoga with people who may be on fixed incomes and not able to join a studio or a gym. I have the same students showing up week after week and I enjoy seeing how much they have progressed. But wait, there’s still more! The FREE classes cover a wealth of subjects and are designed for every age. For infants, a variety of story time classes are available. The early literacy environment is utilized for interactive play dates. The offerings build from there to learning about dinosaur
fossils from the Audubon Zoo to imagination encouraged activities. A gamut of after school activities are offered also. My favorite was “Reading with a Pup!” Eleanor Rose Hunter, with Angels on Paws Therapy Dogs, and her canine partner, Ruby Rose, visited with children aged 5-11 in 15-minute reading sessions. Eleanor was joined by two of her associates and their canine partners. Each child is encouraged to choose a book and read it aloud to their nonjudgmental audience, a dog! This was a big hit with all the children and the dogs! At the end of each reading session, the children are allowed to give treats to the dogs in return for the dog performing tricks. A variety of book clubs abound for all ages – children through adults. The classes for adults are astounding. Everything from computer classes, app classes, dance lessons, gardening and yoga. You can even learn to play the ukulele! Visit their website to see a full list of activities offered at each branch. You can sign up for their email list and receive their monthly newsletter, detailing upcoming events. Check back frequently because the line-up changes each month. Please note that most classes require registration, rather than just dropping in. And yes, you can always just check out a book and read it! Although I don’t have as much free time to read as I used to, I still have tons of books. And I still enjoy a good read when I’m on a flight or home sick. Don’t use illness or travel as your only time to kick back with the joy of a book!
The Friends group is a 501(C) 3 nonprofit organization founded in 1976. They provide support to both Slidell locations along with the Lacombe and Pearl River branches. Funds raised through sales and silent auctions of used books and other media items finance their projects - such as book drops, A/V drops, art work for the branches, ergonomic computer chairs, display cases and furniture seating in the gardens. They’ve also funded music performances at the various locations. Each month they host a used book sale, a second Saturday special sale and a silent auction at the Slidell branch. Themes change monthly. I checked out their BOB (Building Out Back) which houses all the donations received for future sales. It was massive, with floorto-ceiling shelves packed full of future FSL funds that will benefit our libraries. Donations are received from library branches and individuals, then organized by categories. Check out their website for the current and future themes. Items that don’t sell are passed on to schools, rural libraries, nursing homes, prisons, etc. Nothing is wasted. You can also access their membership application on the website and volunteer your time to a worthy organization.
Dorothy H. Crockett The Slidell Library on Robert Road is officially named the Dorothy H. Crockett Memorial Library in honor of a Slidell librarian. She was the assistant librarian for 12 years before becoming the head librarian until her death due to cancer at the young age of 44. She was extremely active in the community with the Slidell Women’s Civic Club, the Slidell Ladies Elks, Women’s Missionary Union at First Baptist Church and one of the first members of the Slidell Little Theater. Many in the Slidell community thought of Mrs. Crockett as the backbone of the library.
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Breakfast Circles By Katie Clark Henry is a finnicky eater, which should surprise no one, as he is three. His meals are mostly brown, despite our best efforts - noodles, bread, goldfish, frozen waﬄes. So when my husband awoke early one Saturday morning and decided to make homemade Belgian waﬄes, we both thought Henry will love this! “That’s not a waﬄe.” Sure it is Henry. It’s a homemade waﬄe. Daddy made it. It’s delicious. “No! It’s not delicious. It’s yucky! I want a waﬄe!” A few months went by and we tried again, but this time we got clever. “Good morning, Henry! Daddy made Breakfast Circles!” Henry was thrilled, as never before had he eaten a “breakfast circle.” My college roommate ate waﬄes for breakfast every single morning. A “Waﬄe Wonderful” he called it, because that’s what his mother called it. A Waﬄe Wonderful is rather wonderful. It’s a toasted frozen waﬄe topped with peanut butter, fresh fruit (bananas, strawberries, blueberries and peaches make the best combination), honey, shredded coconut and pecans. Yes, a college-aged man went through that much trouble every single morning. At one point, we even wrote a song about the Waﬄe Wonderful set to Harry Nilsson’s “Put the Lime in the Coconut.” (First you take the waﬄe and you toast it right up…Waﬄe! Gonna make it Wonderful!) One can trace a waﬄe’s origin to the Middle Ages when communion irons and wafer irons were first used. They are the basis for the modern-day waﬄe iron. Communion irons were very ornate with images depicting Jesus and his crucifixion, where wafer irons had more decorative designs. In the 14th century, the first waﬄe recipe was seen in Le Menagier de Paris, and was essentially water, flour and wine. Le Menagier de Paris was a set of instructions written by a husband to his young wife. I really hope that young wife got the proportions right because, from what I’ve read, back then husbands were less forgiving of kitchen mishaps.
INGREDIENTS • 1 1/3 cups flour • 4 teaspoons baking powder • 1/2 teaspoon salt • 2 tablespoons sugar • 2 eggs, separated • 1/2 cup butter, melted • 1 3/4 cups milk DIRECTIONS 1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients. 2. Separate the eggs, adding the yolks to the dry ingredient mixture, and placing the whites in a small mixing bowl. 3. Beat whites until moderately stiff; set aside. 4. Add milk and melted butter to dry ingredient mixture and blend. 5. Fold stiff egg whites into mixture. 6. Ladle mixture into hot waﬄe iron and bake. Enjoy!
Waﬄes grew in popularity throughout the 16th century, so much so that Charles IX enacted the first ever “waﬄe legislation” in 1560. It seems fights were breaking out between “food stalls.” The legislation required the purveyors to be no less than four yards from one another. Was this a precursor for “Leggo my Eggo?” We have the Dorsas brothers of California to thank for the Eggo, established in1953. Today, one can buy pre-made, frozen waﬄes at their local market. The waﬄe has had a full and eventful life. Following is our favorite Belgian waﬄe recipe, or rather, our favorite Belgian Breakfast Circle recipe.
DY SMITH N A R
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“Your Estate Matters” By Ronda M. Gabb, NP, JD, RFC
CO-OWNED ACCOUNTS “Should I add my child(ren)’s name to my bank account(s)”? The answer is “it depends”. Once you know all the ramifications of doing so, then you decide. It makes sense why you may want to do this…to allow your child to have instantaneous access to your account(s) without having to go through any cumbersome legal channels upon your death or disability. Your child may easily access the proceeds while you are alive but also upon your death as the account would not be “frozen” as long as there is another “co-owner”. Sounds great right? Well…maybe. Any co-owner may withdraw all of the funds at any time, without the permission of the other co-owner(s). While most of you will say that you trust your child implicitly and the foregoing is not a concern, can you guarantee that your child will not: 1. Predecease you, and perhaps their spouse or children may try to claim these assets through your deceased child’s estate? 2. File for divorce and their spouse tries to claim these as marital assets? 3. File for bankruptcy? 4. Get sued (for any number of reasons)? 5. Become ill and need to qualify for Medicaid (or any other asset-based programs, like school loans/grants, etc.) and now these assets may disqualify them? Do you still think it is a good idea? If the above causes you concern, and it should, think about a few options: Add your child(ren) to only one account that doesn’t keep a very large account balance, you can always transfer over more funds from another account if needed. Create a trust (either revocable or irrevocable) to own your assets and your child(ren) can be co-trustees (who may act independently) instead of co-owners, with none of the above liabilities but all the access. Also be sure you have a comprehensive and up-to-date financial power of attorney (POA) in place. If you are unable to handle your affairs, your child can now access your assets through your POA as your Agent, and just like being a Trustee, your assets are not at risk from your child’s estate, spouse, or creditors. But remember, a POA ends upon your death, so go to your bank and add your child(ren) as “Payable on Death” (POD) beneficiaries to your accounts. (Most banks and credit unions offer this.) Now, upon your death, your children only need
to provide the bank with your death certificate to be paid. Note that this is NOT the same as transfer on death (T.O.D.) designations on your brokerage accounts. Louisiana law does not recognize TOD accounts, nor any type of survivorship (JTWROS) accounts. Also, never add your child as a co-owner on a brokerage account for post-death access because that account becomes frozen if either of you die! However, the one asset that should be co-owned with a child (if not owned by your trust) is your safe deposit box. This asset needs to be accessed quickly post-death, especially if this is where your Last Will and Testament, life insurance policies, burial plans and cemetery deeds are stored. Unfortunately, we have had to open quite a few successions that were not necessary except for a safe deposit box where a child was merely a signatory on the box and not a co-owner. Please be sure and verify with your bank now that your child will have post-death access.
See other articles and issues of interest!
40 Louis Prima Drive, Covington, LA (off Hwy 190, near Copeland’s) Ronda M. Gabb is a Board Certiﬁed Estate Planning and Administration Specialist certiﬁed by the Louisiana Board of Legal Specialization. She is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the Governor’s Elder Law Task Force. Ronda grew up in New Orleans East and ﬁrst moved to Slidell in 1988, and now resides in Clipper Estates.
40 Louis Prima Drive (off Hwy 190, behind Copeland’s) • Covington, Louisiana • (985) 892-0942 • www.rondamgabb.com
Crimi-Mommly INSANE lie Gates
Les Story by
“cARPET DIEM!” There are Moms that schedule Mondays for laundry and red beans and rice. Then, there is me. I am 41 years old and still rummaging through dirty laundry piles at midnight to wash school uniforms for the next day. I want it to change, but it hasn’t yet. My Mondays are spent thinking about all the things I could have accomplished over the weekend and being depressed that everyone has left for school and work, leaving me alone in an empty home that allows these non-productive thoughts to take root. The weekend dishes are loaded into the dishwasher around 2pm, about the time I am done feeling sorry for myself, then there is a quick cleanup before the first kid is off the bus. During this last-minute effort to hide my dysfunctional Mondays from everyone, I am walking across the livingroom carpet that runs from the front door to the kitchen. It’s the path everyone takes to get from point A to point B, unless they go the “long way” through the tiled hallway. Nobody ever does this, no matter how much I tell them to. So, I’ve pretty much given up as well. It has been a 38
source of frustration for 11 years because of the dirty path it creates on the off-white carpeting. I can never pass it without feeling the need to burn the whole house down. Sounds a little harsh, I know, but you'll see my point once I give a more detailed explanation of the sanity-stealing, life-sucking situation at hand. Just keep in mind, my decisions (or lack of) helped to create the very thing that I have chosen to complain about. In the last 4 months, I’ve found myself in a strange new place. An area between chaos and calm. The chaos lasted many years and, at times, made me want to LITERALLY run away and hide. Brian told me I couldn’t; I had to stick around and build a home the best way I could with the cards we were dealt. Most people in a chaotic place do the best they can; but, like me, will also have unintentionally created more problems along the way, just trying to stay afloat. These self-defeating hiding places could look like: Blame, self-pity, hypocrisy, complaining, addictions, low expectations, hoarding, anger… the list goes on.
When chaos stops, what sticks out like a sore thumb (or a dirty carpet) is all that destruction in the storm’s aftermath. Your weak spots are exposed, and shame may follow. I could talk about the smoking addiction I picked up in the storm or the poor eating habits teamed up with anxiety that caused daily stomach problems. I could go into the self-pity, calloused anger, or my struggle with maintaining a normal, everyday schedule through it all. Instead, I’m going to tell you about carpets. My kids, after 11 long years, decided it would be nice to spend time in their rooms entertaining themselves instead of fighting. At the same time, teachers stopped calling and people stopped appearing at my house at all hours with their problems for me to solve. As you can imagine, I’ve been walking around pretty confused. Waiting to wake up in the hospital, slowly and cautiously opening my eyes while clinging to a bottle of wine, only to hear a doctor tell me that I’ve been in a psychosis-induced coma for 4 months. Hasn’t happened yet. The calm is REAL.
When coming out of a chaotic season you have no choice but to notice the aftermath. How the logistics have been running all this time. Which tasks and responsibilities made it on the motherly list of importance while keeping kids alive and nonexistent comas from happening. It wasn’t noticing the chipped paint on the walls or fitting in a good, sanitary, weekly bathroom cleaning. Neither was it a scheduled laundry day or nice-looking carpets. You do, however, learn very quickly that you must adjust some things. Even add new strategies, and possibly cut away areas that no longer serve you like they did in survival mode. There’s the calm BEFORE the storm, but what about the calm AFTER? What does THAT look like? Well, it looks like our carpet. Peed on, pooped on, worn, stained, and pulled back at the edges. Cleaned over and over again, never quite getting the sanitary results I was hoping for. And that’s just the part people can see. NOT the embedded nastiness that lingers below the surface or what is hidden under the couch. I have begged Brian for YEEEEARS to let me pull up the carpet and lay
flooring. Tired of being attached to a carpet cleaner and washing away the stains with my own tears. Yes, I chose to have all these pets and not keep them outside, but I also potty-trained them. Can’t help that some of them aren’t as bright as others. I’ve also told everyone to go around through the hallway, but no one listens. All the get-togethers, all the memories, don’t I at least deserve the sanity of a carpet-less life?! (Hear the blame and self-pity?) ELEVEN YEARS of cleaning these stupid carpets. WEEK after WEEK. Then, no matter how hard I tried, there was always that one person that walked in and said, “Smells like pee in here.” Look, I’m not a filthy person. Actually, most of my sanity comes from an aesthetically pleasing environment, which makes this reality that much harder for me. If it’s not up to my normal expectations, then help me, I’m obviously overwhelmed or having a hard time. Duh. Imagine a world where there are no carpets and I could spend all that worry and wasted cleaning time on something like, I don’t know, laundry and red beans? Something else? ANYTHING ELSE!
My friend, Meredeth, who deals well with chaos by cleaning and organizing and planning, came over for a visit recently. We have known each other since 4th grade, so I didn’t think twice about asking her to help me move the sectional couch away from the wall so I could clean the carpets underneath. She won’t judge me, but she will definitely be honest with me. She knew the carpet was on my mind when she was talking with me on the phone the week before. When I was distraught, weak, very sick with two ear infections, AND cleaning carpets. Because she loves me, she became very motherly with me and told me to forget about the damn carpets and take care of myself! As usual, I didn’t.
Want to burn my house down yet?
Like all the times before, I hunched my shoulders over and began the pitiful walk of shame to plug in the carpet cleaner. I was already disgusted at the hours of work ahead of me (that never quite get the job done), knowing there were so many other things I could be working on. Instead, it was just more of the same repetitious torture, month after month. Year after year. In front of me again. I was tired of it. SO. TIRED. And I had done NOTHING to change it.
When she and I moved the couch away from the wall, I saw what I was up against and wanted to just curl up into the fetal position. The dogs and people are bad enough. But, because I love animals, I had set myself up for carpet failure, once again. This time, it was the newly purchased ferrets. They like to hit the spots others can’t reach. It WASN’T pretty. And my friend wasn’t envious.
As my friend wished me well, I sensed she was about to bolt. Then, something clicked. Possibly twitched even. Meredeth saw that look she has known since 4th grade, so she said with a firm voice, “Leslie? WHAT ARE YOU ABOUT TO DO?” Immediately followed by, “Oh Lord,” once my crazy eyes locked with hers. Art by Leslie Gates 39
With the biggest, surest smile on my face, I let go of the carpet cleaner and raced to the kitchen closet where I keep my tools, returning with the confidence and giddiness of a little girl. “Here goes!” I said, not even talking it over with her. Then, without a second thought of regret or possible divorce, I got down on my hands and knees with an exacto knife and CUT THAT SHIT OUT OF MY LIFE once and for all! Now, other people may not fully understand the things that weigh me down, but they will realize it once I’ve decided enough is enough. And, it was. Meredeth understood by saying, “I will ALWAYS support your healthy habits. But please don’t tell Brian I was here.” Brian is still with me, and even happier now, I believe. All thanks to my new-found sanity and a Home Depot credit card. I repainted the walls and laid the flooring. 370 GATEWAY DR, SUITE A SLIDELL email@example.com
The animals stay in cages and outside now, for the most part. I’ve also lost 20 lbs. and the painful stomach issues by eating better and practicing ways to cut out anxiety (like not cleaning carpets). Also, I’ve stopped smoking. Again. Still working on a consistent chore schedule though. Cutting away the things that no longer serve you will open you up to new places and get you out of that shameful self-sabotaging cycle. The ugliness that the hard-chaotic places create do not have to remain once you decide enough is enough. Hate is a strong word, but you have to hate something sometimes to finally make a decision to change it. You might love hitting snooze, but you hate being late. It might feel good to complain and unload anger, but you hate finding yourself alone. You may think it’s hard to put in the discipline of preparation, but you hate the feeling of procrastination more. One more drink might make you feel better in the moment, but you hate how it makes you feel in the morning. You have to stop loving what your habits do FOR you and start hating what they do TO you. Seize the day and cut one thing out of your life that isn’t giving you the results you hoped for. We all have SOMETHING that we've become a little too comfortable with that may be adding more harm than good to our lives. If it’s your carpet, well, then I will support your healthy habit.
Just don’t tell your husband I was here.
“Last month, my dog had to be put to sleep, and even though Dr Kara was not on duty in the clinic at that time, she was called and came in anyway. Not to comfort or work with my dog, but to comfort me. She held me while I held my sweet dog for the last time, and I’ll never forget that moment.” When we reached out to people who take their pets to Southern Pearl Veterinary Hospital in Slidell, we heard several great testimonials and stories (like the one above) about the owner Kara Eilts, D.V.M. “Dr Kara” as she’s known by her patient’s families, is a bespeckled, curly-haired brunette whose face always seems to be split with a big smile. It’s said that true happiness come from knowing that you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be, and doing what you’ve been called to do. Starting when she was only 8 years old, Dr Kara knew she wanted to be a veterinarian. Her father raised beagles in Chalmette, where she grew up surrounded by animals of all shapes and sizes. “I always knew that I wanted to work with animals,” she explains. “I was never happier than when I was helping my family, or a neighbor, take care of their pets. I volunteered and became a Vet Tech at a local clinic as soon as I was old enough.” Kara completed her undergrad at UNO, then transferred to the prestigious LSU School of Veterinary Medicine in 1991. She graduated with her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.) in 1995. She and her family moved
to Slidell in late 1996, and she worked five years for a local clinic. In December of 2000, she had the opportunity to own and operate a corporate veterinary franchise. “My dream was always to open my own local clinic,” Kara said. “In 2013, I sold the franchise clinic and started making plans to build my own pet hospital in Slidell.” During the nearly two years it took to have her dream approved and built, on Pearl Acres Rd in Slidell (between CVS and Grace Memorial Baptist Church on East Gause), Dr Kara continued to ply her vocation by offering mobile veterinary care. She traveled to her patients’ homes, administering shots and performing check-ups. Kara’s husband, Darrell, suggested the new clinic be called “Southern Pearl.” “It wasn’t just because we’re on Pearl Acres Road,” she explained, “but also because we wanted this place to be a little Southern gem.” The new clinic opened in October of 2015 with six employees. In the three and a half years since, the clinic has grown to employ sixteen people and serve hundreds of clients. “It really feels like my career has come full circle,” Kara explains. “I started in a small, local clinic in Chalmette, eventually moved up to a corporate franchise, transitioned to mobile veterinary service, and now I own a small, local clinic. I love that I can control the consistency, quality, policies and prices of the care I provide.”
Southern Pearl Veterinary Hospital accepts all dogs, cats and some exotic pets as patients. Their always-expanding services include preventative care, soft tissue surgery, ultrasounds, digital x-rays, acupuncture, laser therapy, grooming, doggy day care and boarding services. “Our goal is to provide compassionate care for the lifetime of your pet,” Kara explains. “We want to continue to grow, so we can take care of as many pets as possible. We also plan to expand our boarding facilities.” When asked about her most memorable moments as a vet, Kara recalls her biggest patient (a bull during veterinary school) and her smallest (a mouse). She laughs about some of the weird things she’s had to remove from inside pets, like tennis balls, leashes, Barbie doll arms, hair ties, and batteries. “The hardest part about being a vet,” she said, “is having that conversation with pet owners about the end of their pet’s life and their quality of life. Delivering that news never gets any easier. A big part of our job is not just caring for pets, but caring for people too.” Dr Kara invites you to stop by, chat with the staff, and tour her beautiful hospital that has Southern Louisiana charm, quality care, and love by the bucketloads! 59026 Pearl Acres Rd.,Slidell, LA (985) 326-8797 SouthernPearlVet.com
Saturday, April 27 • 11AM – 6PM
Fritchie Park – Slidell, LA
All You Can Eat Crawfish Advance: $30 | Gate: $35
Children 12 & Under are Free
Dana Dufrene & The Velvet Kick Bucktown All-Stars Supercharger
by Jeff Perret, DVM
CAT EYES Even if this phenomenon makes their eyes seem other-wordly, cats certainly aren't immune to eye health issues. Many familiar eye diseases that affect humans can also affect cats, such as infections, corneal ulcers (scratches or abrasions on the clear, front surface of the eye), inflammation (uveitis, retinitis), cataracts, retinal detachment and glaucoma. Traumatic feline eye injuries are also relatively common, curiosity being the common character trait. It’s a cliche’ because it’s true! Even indoor cats can get scratched in the cornea by a housemate, or exposed to foreign material or chemicals. Cats' eyes are one of their most striking features. From the almost iridescent greens and yellows of their irises to the shape of their pupils, cat’s eyes are one of the first things you notice about them. And then there’s the almost supernatural appearance of a cat’s eyes in a flash photo or a flashlight. Much of the anatomy of a cat’s eye is similar to the human eye; but one main difference, other than that vertical, slit-shaped pupil, is the reflective layer behind their retinas known as the tapetum lucidum, which means “bright tapestry” in Latin - how cool is that?! Acting like a mirror, it reflects incoming light back through the retina, giving the photoreceptor cells there a second chance to “see” it, thereby helping cats to function and hunt in dim conditions. In the process, it also produces that spooky green glow, as the light is reflected back out to the world. Many carnivores, especially nocturnal ones, and even spiders (!) have this feature in their eyes.
One of the most common causes of infection in cats’ eyes is herpesvirus. Cats have their own herpesvirus, and it is only transmitted between cats, not between cats and dogs or cats and people. However, it can cause an upper respiratory infection, conjunctivitis (red, bloodshot eyes) and corneal disease. Herpesvirus is common in kittens, especially those from stray litters, or crowded shelter conditions. Once a kitten contracts herpes virus, it is infected for life, even if there are long periods with no symptoms, and permanent eye damage can result. Inflammation inside a cat’s eye is often a sign of an internal illness, with certain infections (FeLV, FIV, FIP, toxoplasmosis), cancer, kidney disease or high blood pressure. Inflammation in the front chamber of the eye, between the cornea and the iris, is the most common cause of glaucoma, which can be serious, develop very quickly, and lead to blindness.
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Knowing what to keep your own eyes peeled for can help you identify potential problems in your cat’s eyes before they become serious. Get to your veterinarian if your cat shows any of these symptoms:
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Bleeding from or around the eye Change in appearance, size or position of the eye Change or differences in the pupil size Decrease in vision Change in behavior – hiding, reluctance to play or jump up on things Evidence of trauma to the face, head, eyelids Many of the most common feline eye problems have similar symptoms, making them difficult to differentiate from each other. Some of these problems can be true medical emergencies, so schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible, or even head to the ER. At the hospital, the veterinarian will thoroughly examine the eye and may perform certain ophthalmic tests, such as tear measurement, staining of the cornea to look for an ulcer, measuring ocular pressure for glaucoma, and examining the interior of the eye with one or more instruments. Don't worry, cats LOVE having these tests performed, and will willingly cooperate! (that’s sarcasm) Most eye diseases are treated with topical eye drops or ointments, while others may also require pills or injectable medications. Some may even require surgery. The surgical removal of a seriously diseased, untreatable eye, a procedure known as enucleation, is obviously something we always try to avoid. Many eye problems can be managed by your primary veterinarian. However, if something complicated is diagnosed, your kitty may be referred to a veterinary eye specialist. Years ago, this meant a trip - and possibly many follow-up trips - to the Veterinary School at LSU to see a board-certified Veterinary Ophthalmologist. Today, we’re fortunate to have pet eye specialists in Mandeville and New Orleans when the need arises. If you ever happen to find yourself visiting Southern Veterinary Eye Specialists in Mandeville, be sure to ask Dr. Gabe who gave him the kitty (and doggie) eye charts on his exam room walls. Here’s a hint: you’ll see the same charts on the walls in the exam rooms at my office. A little veterinary humor to lighten up the mood! Eyes are fragile, and diseases of the eye are frequently unforgiving. A small problem can turn into a BIG problem literally overnight, or even sooner. Letting ocular symptoms linger, or “giving it a few days to see how it does” can sometimes lead to a disaster. Get it checked out, sooner rather than later. After all, as our mothers always said, it’s all fun and games, until someone loses an eye!
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1121 Gause Blvd. Slidell, LA
PET SITTING Yacama • No Exposure to Diseases or Parasites from Other Dogs • Medication Administered • Less Separation Anxiety • Insulin Injections • Waste Cleanup • Mail Pickup • Daily Walks • Nail Trim
Gina Triay 45
OUT TAKES Slidell Magazine was EVERYWHERE this month! Here are just a few of our adventures!
RF ECT choice Case, was the PE hn Jo , er ell yt ick’s Day Parade The Stor al of the St. Patr sh ar M d an Gr r fo
Kendra with radio personality/actor Spud McConnell enjoying the Gumbo Cookoff to benefit the National Women in Construction’s scholarship programs and Slidell Little Theatre
ag Slidell M 19 il 20
105 - Apr
The magnificent Miss Rosemary Clement (86 years young) challenged herself to scale the 100 foot ladder at the Fire District 1 demonstration. The hardest part? Stopping her from doing it AGA IN.
re Slidell Mag writer! Henry Case is sure to be a futu Case, Great-Aunt is John ler ytel Stor His grandpa is and now his mom, s, EFOP writer, Charlotte Collin Slidell Mag family. our of ber mem a is Katie Clark, y with the Spoon.” Awa Ran Check out her story, “The Dish
er, t, l-r: Boni Johnson, Jonna Turn The 2019 St. Patrick’s Day Cour Case, John shal Mar d Gran en Jen Baudier, Kendra Maness, Carrie Calvin, Que al, Fand y Rand f Chie e Polic am, John Hodges, James Grah Toney. and honorary Grand Marshall, Ivan
Looking good! Steve Cefalu will do ANYTHING to sell raff le tickets at the Gumbo Cookoff!
Phenomenal coral color displayed during the Bayou Reef keeping Fragniappe Show
joying thew Obergas en Samantha & Mat the Bayou lors of coral at the fantastic co agniappe Show Reef keeping Fr
Birch Pereira & The Gin Joints April 18th @ The Lobby Lounge Tickets available on Eventbrite.com
Save the Date for Bayou Bark Fest April 28! This WoofTastic free event is for the whole fami ly, especially your 4-legged fami ly! See you there!
April 4 April 6 April 11 April 13
Tri-Parish Works Northshore Spring Forward Job Fair Jazz It Up For Life Soiree East St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce Business Showcase Gods & Goddesses Bodybuilding Show
C he ck o ut o u r n e w w e bs i te!
Lobby Lounge April 18 April 20 April 28 April 30
Lobby Lounge Concert Series presents Birch Pereira & The Gin Joints Private Event Friends of the Harbor Center Bayou Bark Fest Private Meeting
w w w. h a r b o r c e n t e r. o r g
The City of Slidell presents
Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra
Sunday, May 5, 2019 Slidell’s Heritage Park Special Presentation begins at 5:30 p.m. Concert begins at 6 p.m. Free Admission!
646-4375 • MySlidell.com In the event of rain, the concert will move to the Slidell Municipal Auditorium, located at 2056 Second Street in Olde Towne Slidell.
Thank you to the City of Slidell’s 2019 Cultural Season Sponsors! Renaissance $5,000 Sponsors:
Baroque $2,500 Sponsors: CLECO Power, LLC • C. Ray Murry, Attorney at Law, LLC Jazz on the Bayou/Ronnie Kole Foundation Neoclassical $1,000 Sponsors: Councilman Bill & Laura Borchert • Lori Gomez Art Lowry-Dunham, Case & Vivien Insurance Agency • Purple Armadillo Again • Silver Slipper Casino Impressionism $500 Sponsors: Chateau Bleu • Chef Charmaigne, Fine Creative Food • CiCi’s Pizza Mayor Greg Cromer • Flatliners Entertainment • The GlassMen • Old School Eats Food Truck Olde Towne Print Shop • Pontchartrain Investment Management • Roberta’s Cleaners Slidell Historical Antique Association • Terry Lynn’s Cafe & Creative Catering Supported by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts as administered by the St. Tammany Commission on Cultural Affairs.