THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF SLIDELL
Vol. 109 August 2019
Saturday, August 10, 2019
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Kendra Maness Editor/Publisher Slidell Magazine
Cover Artist phil galatas PO Box 4147 Slidell, LA 70459
www.slidellmag.com The cast of Steel Magnolias proudly don their “I slapped Ouiser Boudreaux” t-shirts
Yep, I’m pretty sure I’m the only southern woman over 40 who has never seen the movie Steel Magnolias. So, when Cutting Edge Theater directors Brian Fontenot and Suzanne Stymiest asked me to audition for the part of “Clairee”, the iconic role played by Olympia Dukakis, I had no idea that I was walking in reverent shoes. I was encouraged to NOT see the movie once I was chosen for the part, for fear that it would influence my performance too much. That’s one of the many, MANY great things about the Cutting Edge directors - they want the actors to make the characters their own. However, I became more than a little intimidated once the PR started and word spread that I was in the stage production of Steel Magnolias. I started hearing phrases like, “It’s my favorite movie” and “I’ve seen it over a dozen times.” Even more daunting was the social media blitz. People were reciting lines from the movie word for word, easy-peasy. Many of them, MY lines. Like a Pledge of Allegiance. Even after months of play practice, it seemed like almost every woman in Slidell knew my lines BETTER THAN ME. Opening night was electric! We played to a sold-out house. Walking onto the stage, I thought my knees would buckle. As the play progressed and I said Clairee’s most beloved lines, I could hear the ladies in the audience, saying them with me. It was comforting. Like a sisterhood - a southern sisterhood, of course. I can’t wait to see the movie.
985-789-0687 Kendra Maness Editor/Publisher Editor@slidellmag.com Shane Wheeler - Graphic Designer Graphics@slidellmag.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS EFOP, Lloyd Moody, Charlotte Collins The Storyteller, John Case Pet Points, Jeff Perret, DVM Our Friends Closet, Story & Photos by Donna Bush Crimmi-Mommly Insane, Leslie Gates Legal-Ease, Ronda M. Gabb Making Cents of Your Money, Mike Rich The Dish Ran Away with the Spoon, Katie Clark Angels Among Us, Rose Marie Sand Lobby Lounge, Kendra Maness
Cover: “August Summer Interlude” by Phil Galatas
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Born and raised on Bayou Liberty in Slidell, career artist Phil Galatas began painting in high school. His subject matter has always been Louisiana inspired. He has had a lifetime of influence from the wildlife, water, trees and culture of our region’s beautiful scenery. Phil discovered a love of sculpting birds, and his carving expertise earned him the title of Master Carver with three World Championships, three Gulf South Championships and numerous other accolades. Replicas of his beautiful decoys can be purchased through the website WildWings.com. His work has been exhibited in New Orleans, Dallas, New York and Japan, with permanent collections in museums worldwide, including New Orleans Historic Collection; The Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art in Salisbury, MD; and The Phillips Petroleum Museum in Bartlesville, OK. Phil is a Jazz Fest artist favorite, displaying his one-of-a-kind Fruit, Vegetable and Louisiana flavors lamp sculptures. He’s done many carvings, paintings and murals in the New Orleans and Northshore area, beautifying both the inside and outside of known buildings. Some of his most beloved paintings are true Slidell treasures, including Camp Salmen and the Rigolets Lighthouse. This is his second cover for Slidell Magazine. To view or purchase Phil’s art, visit: www.iArtLover.com
AUGUST 2019 Story by Charlotte Collins
Extraordinarily Fascinating “Ordinary” People
Extraordinary Fascinating Ordinary People
“Live your life, take chances, be crazy. Don’t wait. Because right now is the oldest you’ve ever been, and the youngest you’ll ever be again.”
Lloyd Russell Moody
~ Suzanne Collins This month's EFOP is already known to those of you who are avid Slidell Magazine readers. In June 2019, our Editor, Kendra Maness, wrote the story of how she met Mr. Lloyd Moody in her Editor's Letter. Here's a short recap: Mr. Lloyd wanted to restore the broken pelican statue on Kendra’s dock at her home on Bayou Bonfouca. It was a surprise, as Kendra and Mr. Lloyd had never met. Pulling up in his boat, he bumped the dock, knocking the statue off its piling and sinking it to the bottom of the bayou. Kendra saw this from her back window and assumed it was some kids vandalizing her property. Kendra ran towards the boat, yelling some choice four letter words (she also made a few gestures that I won’t elaborate upon) before she got close enough to see that it was a good Samaritan, trying his best to be helpful. After retrieving the statue from the bayou, Kendra began a conversation and friendship with Mr. Lloyd that prompted her call to me. "You have to write about him Charlotte! He truly is an extraordinary and fascinating man!" I couldn't wait to meet him. 6
Mr. Lloyd Moody has rolled with the flow of life for 97 years. And that flow has carried him through many adventures - from the Depression, to World War II, to engineering rock concerts at the Superdome, and to waterways across the South. Through it all, he always managed to land near water, and with a paddle, and lately, a motor. Lloyd lived in Fort Lauderdale, St. Petersburg, Pascagoula, Gulfport, Memphis, Lakeview (in NOLA), and finally chose to settle in his version of paradise, right here in Slidell. Walking up to his lakefront home, I was greeted by a sculpture of a rooster. He was positioned as if he was crowing down at me from the front rail. I figured Mr. Moody must have a sense of humor. As I rounded the corner of the front porch, Lloyd Moody and Hazel were sitting outside waiting. “It’s too hot, come around to the back porch, where there’s always a breeze,” Mr. Lloyd motioned. Walking briskly through the house to keep up with him, I spotted a few other roosters. I collect sculptures of frogs, so I figured it was just one of those quirky things. But I was wrong. We will get to that in a bit.
Before we sat, Mr. Lloyd asked Hazel to bring us a sip of blackberry wine. After she left, he confided with a big smile, “I met Hazel Carle when I was 92, so I waited a little too late maybe.” Then he laughed, “We have a good time together, always up to something.” He sat in his favorite rocker, and I took a seat right across from him. There were ducks and birds feeding on the step rails, the ground, from feeders, everywhere. I watched the Eastern Bluebird come out of his house and stare up at us, begging for bread like he does every morning. And the breeze was just as Mr. Lloyd had predicted. Wafting across the lake, it took the edge right off the summer heat. That and the cold blackberry wine. Before I could get my iPad all set up, Mr. Lloyd was ready to start. “I’m not sure where you want me to start, so I’ll just start at the beginning. I had it good, Momma gave me anything I wanted. She always said, ‘Why, of course, Lloyd,’ and he drug each syllable out and imitated her sweet tone of voice. “I wish I could have thanked her more." By now I was set up and ready for his story, and his quick mind was ready to tell it. “I was
born in Fortville, Indiana, a ten-pounder. At age seven, my father and mother divorced. My uncle said, ‘Take the kids and go South.’ We got on a train, leaving Dad behind. We got off at Fort Lauderdale in 1929, in the middle of the Depression. If you had a quarter back then, you had plenty. The banks all closed up. But that’s where Mom, Gladys Moody Barron, met my stepfather. He was in the Coast Guard, a Chief Petty Officer, earning almost $90 a month, and that was living HIGH for those times,” he laughed. "We rented a great big two-story house in St. Petersburg. It covered almost a block, with orange trees and avocado trees. We rented the whole place for $11 a month,” and he laughed again. Those childhood memories obviously brought him great joy. Come to think about it, everything seemed to bring him joy.
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He continued rapidly, “When I was in third grade, Mother bought me my first boat! It was a solid mahogany boat, twelve-feet long, with sails, oars, and a rudder. I just rowed, and got good at it. Do you know, she paid just six dollars for it? It blows my mind when I have to buy groceries these days. Inflation has gone cuckoo! I bought this house for $24,000 in 1972. It was a large, two-story home on the waterfront.” Well, that actually blew my mind and I had to laugh along with him. Imagine the changes this jovial man has witnessed; and, rather than despair, he just laughs at the world spinning out of control! I barely had pause to reflect, as Mr. Lloyd was ready to move on. He smiled again, and said, “Yep, I had a good childhood. My stepfather was Guy Barron, and he got transferred to Pascagoula, Mississippi, so we left that great house. But we always lived on the water in spite of all of his transfers. We even moved back to St. Pete, then on to Gulfport when I was 14. By then, I had an old pine skiff, and I would row out to a reef with a cane pole about one-mile out. I brought home lots of fresh trout. We lived on white trout and chicken eggs. After four years, he transferred to New Orleans, and we lived in Lakeview. By that time, the rent was high, $30 a month. We were big time then.” As you can imagine, Mr. Lloyd had me laughing again. “I went to Warren Easton High School on Canal Street, just past Broad Street,” and he waved his hand as if navigating on a map. Warren Easton is one of the oldest schools in the city, founded in 1843. “We had a lot of fun back then. Leroy and I played hookie all the time. He was my best friend for 60 years.” Without losing that smile, or missing a beat, he announced, “All my friends have died. There were three of us couples that were very close. One of them once said, ‘Someday we’re gonna make it to the year 2000.’ Now they’re all gone but me.” This time he did pause, and I shared with him my father’s similar experience, except that he still had a couple of friends alive when he passed.
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Moving on to a happier subject, Lloyd exclaimed, “But then, I met Hazel in a fitness class over at CrossGates. There were 25 women and only three men. I spotted Hazel way on the other side of the room. 'Next week, I’m doing this,'” and he pumps his fists up and down several times. “I look around, and she was right behind me. 'Next week, I’m doing this,'" he gestures again. "Then, she is right next to me! So, I asked if she wanted to go to Cracker Barrel. The answer was yes! We talked for two solid hours. Then I asked, “Would you like to see my boat? I didn’t have any etchings to show,” and he wiggled his eyebrows and laughed heartily. His wording was so understated, and so funny, that I was having a hard time keeping up with my iPad. But here, he gave another pause, smiling at some private joke, probably between him and Hazel... Once Hazel came out, she told the whole story. When Hazel came to see the boat, she got in and was quite excited. She added, “I knew nothing about a boat. I was looking around, and realized I was in the middle of the lake by myself in the boat, and Lloyd was hanging on for dear life on the pilings back at the dock! He finally fell in. Meanwhile, the hoist kept going and broke, making quite a racket.” Lloyd chimed in, “So, now I’m standing in the water yelling directions on how to start the motor, and how to get back.” We were all three in stitches by now. Hazel concluded with, “But I made it back!” We took a moment to catch our breath. It was during this brief pause, that I asked about his Veterans hat. Mr. Lloyd moved just as quickly with the next chapter. “I was in Memphis going to college for Optometry when the war broke out. Some guy came down the hall yelling, ‘They just bombed Pearl Harbor!' I volunteered. My number stars with a “1”, that means I volunteered," and he rattled off his number, 18137753, as if the War were yesterday. Settling back in his rocker, he crossed his arms and explained, “I joined the Army Air Force. That was before the Air Force was separate. (Coincidentally, my dad was in that as well.) But my left eye kept me from being a pilot. So, I went to school to be in the ground crew. That’s why I’m still here to tell about it,” and he chuckled wryly. “We were in England, and all the planes were camouflaged on the ground. We were based near Rattlesden in England, a small little village. It was a very different experience. I got there on a steamship, The Queen Elizabeth. There were 15 of us in the Honeymoon Suite. That ship went 40 miles per hour, and could outrun the subs,” he motioned the speed by clapping and sliding his hands apart quickly. Now I was typing faster, as he got excited. “There were 447 of us in our Bomb Group, Squadron 710. We had eight or nine B-17 bombers in our squadron, and four squadrons to a bomb group. At least I had a place to sleep, in a quonset hut! (He winked.) I was
an Armorer and loaded bombs at night. I had gone to school to learn to take the machine guns apart and put them back together. Once you could do it in the dark, you graduated. I kept all 12 of the 52-caliber machine guns in the plane repaired. We had a little “put-put” generator for light. The ordinance men rolled those bombs under the plane,” and he used his hands again to demonstrate rolling these big bombs. “Then I would lower the sling and crank them up, and put them where they are supposed to be in the rack. The maximum was twelve 500 pounders. So, during the invasion, I was coming back from loading them to get my breakfast. I looked up at the sky and it was full of planes. This was the Invasion of Overlord in June of 1944 (code name for Invasion of Normandy). They told me, ‘Go back and stay with your plane and we’ll bring your food.’ We loaded as soon as the planes came back, back and forth, for about a week, and ate all our meals in the field. I didn’t mind cause I figured it meant we were getting closer to going home. The Germans bombed us at night, and we bombed them by day. But we had much more aircraft than they did. We lost every plane we had in about 2 weeks, because they were silver. Soon as one went down, we had another crew and plane within a week. It was suicide. The boys figured if you could go 20 minutes, you would make it home. None of the fly crew hardly made it home.” Needless to say the smiles and laughter was infrequent now. But he still found humor here and there between the memories. “During the invasion, they switched the bomb load on us. They became fragmentation bombs on a bar, with 3 on this side, 3 on the other, and we hung them on the rack. They were already fused while we were handling them. One time, the band that held them together broke and I had 3 live bombs roll onto my shoulder. I just leaned against the plane, so they couldn’t move.” From a leaning position, he recounted, “So, I yelled down to the ordinance men, ‘I got problems.’ They yelled back, ‘What kind of problems?’ I yelled, ‘I got three damn live bombs on me.'” He paused, shook his head and smiled, “You know what they answered? They said, ‘We are not running. We’re staying. You just roll one at a time off your shoulder and we’ll catch it.’" Now Lloyd laughed, “I heard them say, ‘We got it!’ all three times.” Laughing, he repeated their words while shaking his head, "'We’re not running.' They saved my life!” And he grinned admirably. Then he shrugged and said, “The whole time there were only a couple of them that blew up while others were loading.” To him, those were good odds compared to what the pilots were experiencing. “I loaded the same plane for all 120 missions. It was named Cock o’ the Sky,” and he showed me the photo with the ground crew standing proudly by the plane. Now I realized the real reason for the rooster
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Left: Lloyd in his first boat with sisters Lois and Wilma, 1931. Center: Lloyd (bottom row, far right) with his Armament crew before they flew home after the War. Right: The second Quonset hut Lloyd stayed in, after his first was destroyed by a plane explosion.
sculptures! Mr Lloyd described, “It was the newest plane there, then it became the oldest. It was one of the few planes that actually made it. We got famous for our good record and for lasting as long as we did. We were in the British newspapers.” Then he recalled one evening vividly, but still with a grateful spirit. "Then there’s the night the plane caught fire with live bombs on it. A gasoline truck backed into it. Before we knew it, two planes caught fire. My friend alerted, ‘What is that popping noise?’ We realized it was the machine gun bullets on the plane that were firing off. It was like daylight, and we dove under a truck, then to the other side, and dove in a ditch. Kaboom! My tent was gone. If my friend hadn’t woken me, we’d be goners,” and he smiled as he thought of his friend. He quickly picked up the pace with the next phase. “When I first got out of the Army, I knew nothing about anything!” (Another laugh) “I went to radio school on Carondelet Street in 1947." He snickered,
“I thought I was the greatest to be able to fix a radio. Then TVs came out. I went to Woodard Wright Company and met Rome Roussel, who worked there. When I told him I didn’t know anything about TVs, he shrugged and just said ‘Come learn with me!’ So, I started off working on Crosby TV sets, then they switched to Emersons. Working on the bench about 20 years, I got pretty good at fixing TVs! Then Emerson went broke and they closed the shop." He began with his next job, “Frank Fry, my brother-in-law, got a big job at the Superdome. He said, “Come over with me and I’ll pay you $1,000 a month. He showed me around and said, ‘You’ll be in charge of those 60 ice-makers, 6 walk-in coolers, 8-10 electric cars, and 30 big fridges.’ I said, 'Frank I can’t do all that.' He said, ‘Yes, you can Lloyd, you CAN,’ in a very commanding voice. Turns out, it was fun. I retired from the Superdome as the Chief Engineer when I was 65. I was there for all the rock concerts, which is why I can’t hear well," and he laughed at himself.
Looking toward his boathouse, he reminisced, “I used to go fishing every weekend when I lived in Metairie for four years. I even built a boat named The Wanderer in my 20’s. I fished at Grand Isle, Delacroix and Empire on Bayou Cook. I also remember my first house. I paid $9000. It was a beauty AND it was on a paved street! My note was $55 a month. Like I said, inflation has gone cuckoo!” “Then I saw this lake in Slidell and thought I got to come here. In 1972, I had this built for $24,000, turnkey, chimney and all! There were only 4-5 houses on the lake at this time. At that time, the I-10 was just completed. Slidell had clean air, some called it the Ozone Country. It was a nice little bitty town, then the population exploded after the interstate and again after Hurricane Katrina.” “I went to Picayune the day before Hurricane Katrina hit. Came back the next day, and I was one of the lucky ones to get in. I had to walk down the railroad tracks because of all the fallen trees. I got one block from my house and
Left: Lloyd in his boat, Feb. 2019. This picture was taken 6 months after his hip replacement, when he was 96 years old. Lloyd framed a copy of this picture for his orthopedic surgeon. Center: Lloyd, at 95 years young, on the jet ski, with Hazels' son, Henry. Right: Lloyd in the kayak last summer in the lake behind his house.
Left: Lloyd, second from left, with his crew. England, 1943. Right: The plane that Lloyd worked on exclusively during his European tour was the "Cock O' the Sky." It was the longest surviving airplane in the squadron, flying 120 missions. Lloyd says, "Almost every plane that went out didn't come back. Most people didn't make it. I was lucky to have a plane that never went down."
had to stop because the water was still up. I lost everything.” Now the smiles were definitely gone. “This house flooded four times before it was raised. I got a Road Home grant, and that was a huge relief. For 25 years, we never flooded, then bam, four times! This lake is now two feet higher, and there’s no beach anymore. The weather has gone cuckoo too!” and he looked at me for agreement, which he got emphatically. After a quick break, he furrowed his brow and said, “I don’t know why I’m still living. I’ve had three or four major operations. One night, I dreamed I had twelve naked women chasing me, and fell out of bed. It took me two weeks before I went to the VA facility. It turns out I had broken four ribs and my jaw! (Hee-Hee) I also had kidney cancer, and broke my hip, but here I am. Another time, I had to have major stomach surgery. That time I thought I was going to die for sure. I barely made it out." He calls Hazel “my sweet” and commented how she was behind him
through all of this. “When I came home from the hospital from breaking my hip, I suffered for a year. They had put a bar that was poking me. Hazel just couldn't stand to see me in that pain so she made me go to Touro, and the doc said, ‘You’re old, but I think we can fix this by putting in a ball joint instead.’ That worked! Now I’m in no pain, and I’m trying to learn to walk better." "Then there was the time I came to her and said, ‘I did a bad thing. I dropped my false teeth. They fell out of my pocket, and fell through a hole in the boards of the dock.’ So, we pried up the board, and Hazel got the grabber. She saw the teeth on the bottom of the lake, and got them.” (More laughs) He patted her hand and said, “Yep, she’s been through all that with me.” It kind of reminded me of the ordinance men saying, "We’re not running, we’re staying." After all these adventures, you would think Mr. Lloyd would slow down, but no! He was adamant as he exclaimed, “Nooo, I still have a boat at age 97, and still take it out by myself. I’m quite hyper.”
Left: Beautiful couple! Lloyd with Hazel, whom he calls "my sweet." Center: Lloyd on his porch, beautifully and lovingly restoring Kendra's pelican statue. Right: Mr. Lloyd Moody - good Samaritan, amazing spirit, and young soul - July 2019
Which brings our story back to where it started, when Kendra and Mr. Lloyd met. Two days after the boat/pelican/cursing incident, Kendra escorted Mr. Lloyd to the LA Veterans Fest in Heritage Park, where he was one of only two WWII veterans, and treated like a celebrity. Three weeks after that, Hazel invited Kendra to their home, where Mr. Lloyd unveiled the beautifully restored and painted pelican statue, which now keeps watch over the lake that he and Kendra share as neighbors. Mr. Lloyd grins widely and comments, “We do crazy things like that. Once I went to the graveyard and painted a weathered headstone made of wood, put metal supports behind it, and fixed it up nice. I don’t even know who it was. But I like to make people smile, and make the world a little better than I found it.” I know he made my day better, each day I got to spend time with him.
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of New Orleans b u l C s s e r P " Winner, 2018 "Best Column
Storyteller THE OBSESSION, GYPSY WOMAN One of my earliest memories is of a collection of cars - old, large, black cars that were parked on a vacant piece of land on the east side of Highway 51, just north of Bogue Chitto. The cars themselves have become as elusive as the subject of this story, as they are rare. They were Packards, Hudsons and Desotos. There must have been thirty or so such cars, and almost all had a type of camping trailer either attached to it or at least parked nearby. I remember when we passed them, my dad would say, â€œWell, it must be February, the Gypsies are here.â€? Dad would go on to explain that, years earlier, they would arrive in January. They were not using automobiles then. They traveled in elaborately decorated wagons drawn by two horses. He told me they always led a third horse, so they could periodically rest one of the others. Dad admired the way they cared for their animals. I now know they were most likely in route to Meridian, Mississippi. There, 16
From nowhere through a caravan Around the campfire light A lovely woman in motion with hair as dark as night. Her eyes were like that of a cat in the dark That hypnotized me with love: She was a gypsy woman Curtis Mayfield (1961)
the American Gypsy queen was buried. Once a year, they came from all over the country to visit her grave. Who were these gypsies and what about the Gypsy Queen? Gypsies are a worldwide culture of nomadic people. They are believed to have originated in India. Their culture is deeply engrained in their roots. They tend, or at least then they tended, to preserve their practices and seek only to be left alone. Emil Mitchell became King of the Gypsies in 1909. This made his wife, Kelly, the Queen. They were camped in Alabama, just over the state line from Meridian, when she died in childbirth, delivering their 14th child on January 31, 1915. She was 47 years old. The entire gypsy nation wanted to pay tribute to their queen, but it would take days for them to arrive by horse-drawn wagons. Meridian was the nearest town that had an icehouse, so they took her body to Meridian and kept her on ice until the crowd arrived. Over 20,000 attended the funeral. **********
As a young boy, I was fascinated by the gypsies’ mysterious lifestyle. A few times they had camped at a place nearer my house, when they were probably not on their way to Meridian. At night I could hear their music. It pervaded the still, hot summer air. Even to this day, when I hear night crickets and the buzz of summer mosquitoes, I remember their haunting music, its melody, and the beat from the late 1950s and ‘60s.
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We were told they stole chickens and children. It is possible some chickens came up missing, but there was no proof that a child had ever been stolen. Not literally. But you might say it happened to Johnny Allgood. ********** You have all known at least one person like Johnny, and maybe several. A person who acts just a little differently from the norm. Some people would call him peculiar. Not peculiar to the point that he was an outcast, but peculiar to the point that he was never described by anyone as their best friend. He dressed differently than most of his peers. Long after flat-top haircuts were passé, he still wore that fashion, held up by Butch hair wax. He still cuffed his blue jeans rather than leaving them straight; and, while others were wearing penny loafers, he wore high-top Keds tennis shoes. Conversations with him were broken, as if he could not concentrate for any great length of time on any one subject. He was intelligent and, in his brief interludes into side subjects, he was often astoundingly interesting. Johnny lived not far from me. We were not close friends, as he was a couple of years younger than me. Due to our living in close proximity, I would see him from time to time. Before we were able to drive, we walked almost everywhere, and I would see him as he walked a path that crossed the back of our property, near the barn. One day, he diverted from the path and approached me. “Hey, the gypsies are there. You want to go see ‘em?” Being fascinated by their music and lifestyle, something about the proposal interested me. I knew that we would have to hide in the woods some distance away and avoid them seeing us. I think I was intrigued by the assumption of danger. We really did not know if they were friendly or not. We also did not completely dismiss the kidnapping of children either. “Yea, I’ll go with you.”
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It was about a 30-minute walk, and it was dusk when we heard the music start. Soon, we could see the glow of the campfire and a great bit of activity around it. By the time we found a hiding place that offered us a good viewpoint, it was dark.
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That is when she first appeared. Little did I know that this was the birth of an obsession for Johnny. I think we both were instantly attracted to her; not for what we saw, but for what we thought we saw. She stood behind the fire and in front of an old, silver Airstream trailer. Her silhouette projected on the trailer. It was like watching a movie on an actual silver screen. None of her specific features could be seen, just a shapely female body as she moved to the music. We both imagined she was beautiful, even though it was only our imagination due to the distance and the lack of lighting. That is when I felt it. Cinched against my throat was the curved handle of a walking cane being held tightly by a man in blousy pants that made him look much larger than he was. I saw Johnny’s eyes get as big as saucers. The man grabbed the back of each of our shirts and ordered us to come with him. We approached the fire. The music stopped. The girl disappeared, as did all the women except one. She was an elderly woman, and she began to scream orders to the men. I think she was speaking English, but the dialect and the rapid cadence made her incomprehensible. We were forced to sit on the ground. The woman came within inches of our faces, as several men stood by her side and on each side and behind us. “What you do?” she asked. “Steal what little we have? Wait for us to go to sleep and pilfer our goods? Damage our cars? That is what you do? We do you no harm, why do you bother us?” Johnny was almost in tears, and I was close as well. “No, we came to hear the music,” I answered. “What else did you do?” she demanded. I could not believe what happened next. Johnny, who by this time had regained some composure, said, “We watched the girl.” I didn’t think this was a good idea, so I immediately said, “No, we didn’t see her. We came to hear the music.”
My statement made no sense, as the girl had been plainly in sight, and it certainly hit a nerve with the gypsies. The man who had caught us rushed over to Johnny and put the cane rather harshly on his shoulder. “The girl is my daughter, you not look at her. You are not our people. You bring shame. Leave and don’t come back.” We left. I never went back, but Johnny did. He had literally become infatuated with a shadow. The very next day, he walked beside the highway where the gypsies were parked. He kept his distance but scanned the encampment for the object of his obsession. Finally, he saw her. He told me that she saw him and waved.
The few times I saw Johnny that year, all he would talk about was her. About two years later, Johnny came to my house with his guitar. He played a song he had heard on the radio and memorized. The name of the song was, “She was a Gypsy Woman.” He told me that if she came back in February, and he felt sure she would, he was going to go to their campsite and ask them to let him play and sing the song that night. I told him they may resent such a proposition, as they tend to be very private. My advice did not faze him. That is exactly what he did. Somehow, he began to build a rapport with the caravan. Soon, he was allowed to see the girl, but only in her father’s
presence. He told me she was even more beautiful than we had imagined. Each year he spent more time with the gypsies. Johnny dropped out of school around Christmas of his senior year. He worked construction for a few weeks; but, when February came, he made sure to be near the gypsy camp. I was later told it was the biggest caravan that had ever parked there. The music lasted all night, and those that lived nearby said it was a very festive celebration. The caravan left two days later and has never returned. Neither has Johnny.
John S. Case August 2019
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“Your Estate Matters” By Ronda M. Gabb, NP, JD, RFC
THE WRONG WAY TO TITLE ACCOUNTS IN LOUISIANA In just the last month I have seen over a dozen instances of improper titling (ownership) of taxable non-retirement brokerage (securities) accounts that have really messed up a good estate plan. It never ceases to amaze me how many financial advisors (that live and work right here in Louisiana) have no idea how Louisiana law works when titling brokerage accounts. Here we go: 1) Louisiana does NOT recognize Transfer on Death (TOD) accounts. In Louisiana, the TOD designation is basically ignored and the asset must go through the deceased’s Succession (Probate). Many times that is not the same person (or in the same amount) as the named TOD. Do not confuse TOD with a “true beneficiary” under an IRA, annuity or life insurance, which is valid, and should always name a beneficiary (and a secondary or contingent beneficiary, too). Most Banks allow a “Payable on Death” (POD) beneficiary on cash accounts (checking, savings, CDs), which is recognized in Louisiana. 2) Louisiana does NOT recognize Joint Tenants With the Right Of Survivorship (JTWROS) accounts. In the 49 other states, if another person(s) is named on the account as a JTWROS, then all that is needed is the death certificate and full ownership vests immediately in the other survivor(s), so there is no need for succession/ probate to claim the account. In Louisiana, the ownership is presumed to be joint (we call this ownership “inindivision”) and the deceased’s pro rata share must go through Succession. 3) If you are a married couple without a Pre-Nuptial agreement, your Joint accounts should NOT be titled as Tenants-In-Common (TIC) but as “Community Property”. Louisiana had significant changes in our law on August 1, 2018. Namely, if an account is titled as Husband and Wife (by name) as “Community Property,” then upon the first death, the surviving spouse’s share is NOT frozen until the Succession is opened. If the account
does not specifically say “Community Property” in the titling, this new statute will not apply and the surviving spouse could be denied immediate access to their own money! 4) It is almost NEVER a good idea to own an account with anyone else as a Tenant-In-Common (TIC) unless it really is their money in the account too. Advisors often counsel a client (Mom) to add their child as a TIC to an account solely funded with Mom’s money. If that child predeceases Mom, the child’s half (which never was the child’s money anyway) goes through the child’s succession to his heirs or legatees. The last one we saw went to the deceased son’s wife (yes, Mom’s daughter-in-law, uh-oh.) If the child gets sued, that money is now at risk to the child’s creditors. Upon Mom’s death, even if the child is alive, Mom’s half still has to go through her succession but now the child’s half loses the step up in basis to Mom’s date of death value. This loss could cause significant capital gains taxes. So please tell me, when is this a good idea?
See other articles and issues of interest!
40 Louis Prima Drive, Covington, LA 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
By Mike Rich, CFP® Pontchartrain Investment Management
GRACIE GOES FOR SOME GREEN! The cute little girl you see here is my 11-year-old granddaughter, Grace. At about the same time I was writing this article, Grace’s dad took her, her sister, and some friends on a frogging expedition. According to my son-in-law, Grace got right into the program, and you can probably tell from the look on her face (and the size of the frog that she caught bare-handed!) that she was having a great time. By the way, my son-in-law made a wonderful frog leg fricassee, and it was delicious. Taking their grandkids frogging is probably not top on the list for many of my clients; but fishing, playing golf, travelling, volunteering, and other fun stuff are. My job is to help my clients pursue their dreams. However, it doesn’t
happen by magic, and, for most of my clients, it typically requires years of work, planning, and investing. One of the more sobering things I’ve realized – it’s actually quite obvious – is that, when it comes to getting money into your hands during retirement, it pretty much depends on what you are doing right now to prepare. Down to basics: most of my clients want a steady income in retirement that lasts at least as long as they do; they want that income to support a decent lifestyle; and they want to live out their days in dignity. If that sounds like you, here’s what some of my retirement-ready clients are doing to help them “go for the green” in retirement:
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1. They resist the "I want it now" and "super-sized" mind-set. Just about everyone does something silly with his or her money from time to time. If you’d like to come in and chat for awhile, I’ll tell you about the party barge I bought after Katrina that I thought would change my life. Mostly, it changed the size of my bank account…downward. You, too, might suffer through the inevitable money sidetracks and mistakes, but try to stay focused on slow and steady saving and investing. There is no magic to this approach, just commitment and a plan. Here’s my offer: you tell me your retirement goal, and I’ll help you figure out the details in seeking to get there. If it can’t be done, I’ll tell you, and we’ll figure out something else. 2. They seek to build a source of retirement income to supplement Social Security. For many people, the foundation of retirement financial well-being is the
benefit they collect from the Social Security program. However, since the average monthly check for a retired worker is only $1,46111, it can only safely serve as one brick in the foundation. Most people will need something more; and, if my client doesn’t have an employer pension, I like to see it coming from another guaranteed source, perhaps an annuity. Contrary to what you might read on Internet financial websites, annuities do not come from the dark side. Rather, they are powerful financial tools that can provide you (and your spouse) with a source of money in retirement. (Note that fixed and variable annuities are suitable for long-term investing, such as for retirement. Gains from tax-deferred investments are taxable as ordinary income upon withdrawal. Guarantees are based on the claims-paying ability of the issuing company. Withdrawals made prior to age 59½ are subject to a 10% IRS penalty tax and surrender charges might apply. Variable annuities are subject to market risk and might lose value.)
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3. Have a plan for dealing with long term care. A lot of us are going to need long term care when we’re old, and, if it’s something a family member can’t (or won’t) do, that care is going to cost money. I’m seeing it happen among my older clients, and so are a lot of other advisors. Have a plan and consider long term care insurance. It might be worth factoring in to your planning. Being financially able to retire requires planning, saving, and investing. It takes effort, but it’s not impossible. Call me, and we’ll get started on your plan to go for the green – no frogs involved!
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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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The City of Slidell presents the 2019-2020 Cultural Season Calendar White Linen and Lagniappe
Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019 • 5-9 pm • Olde Towne Slidell • Free Admission An evening of shopping, dining, live music and lagniappe in Olde Towne. Presented by the City of Slidell, Olde Towne Slidell Main Street, Slidell Historical Antique Association, and Slidell Merchant's Association
9/11 Patriot Day Ceremony and Concert
Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019 • 5-6:30 pm • Slidell Auditorium • Free The City of Slidell remembers the first responders and military heroes. Followed by a concert with the Northshore Community Orchestra.
Bayou Jam Fall 2019 Concert Series
Sundays • 5-7 pm • Heritage Park • Free Admission October 6, 5-7 pm - Ronnie Kole and Friends October 13, 5-7 pm - Northshore Community Orchestra October 27, 5-7 pm - Halloween Bash with Vince Vance and the Valiants
Christmas Under the Stars
Dec. 6, 7, 13, 14, 2019 • 6-9 pm • Griffith Park • Free Admission This magical holiday celebration features thousands of twinkling lights, festive decorations, visits with Santa, and a life-size Christmas Village.
Christmas in Olde Towne
Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019 • 6-9 pm • Olde Towne Slidell • Free Admission
Holiday Concert with the Northshore Community Orchestra
Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019 • 7-8 pm • Slidell Auditorium • Free Admission
"Summer Interlude" by Phil Galatas
Slidell Movie Nights at “Slidell’s Bayou Christmas”
Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019 • 7 pm • Heritage Park • Free • No ice coolers
Arts Evening 2020
Saturday, March 21, 2020 • 5-9 pm • Olde Towne • Free Admission Come enjoy an evening celebrating art, live music, fine and casual dining and antique, boutique and unique shopping in Olde Towne Slidell.
Bayou Jam Spring 2020 Concert Series
Sundays, 5-7 pm • Heritage Park • Free Admission April 5 - Box Office Giants • April 19 - Cuisine
Some Enchanted Evening with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra Sunday, April 26, 2020 • 6-7:30 pm • Heritage Park • Free Admission Join us for our annual twilight concert in Heritage Park. In the event of rain, the concert will move to the Slidell Municipal Auditorium.
Slidell Movie Nights Summer 2018 Vince Vance 24
June 6, 20 & July 11, 25, 2020 • 8:30 pm • Heritage Park • Free Admission Grab your lawn chairs and gather your family and friends and enjoy familyfriendly movies under the stars.
Slidell Cultural Center at City Hall Exhibits
Located at 2055 Second Street in Olde Towne Slidell. Free admission. Gallery hours: Wednesdays & Fridays, 12-4 pm. Thursdays, 12-6 pm.
Olde Towne Arts Commission Annual Summer Show
July 17 - Aug. 16, 2019 • Opening Reception: Friday, July 19, 6-8 pm Open 5-9 pm on Saturday, Aug. 10, during White Linen & Lagniappe.
Slidell Art League's 2019 Artist of the Year Exhibition
Sept. 4-27, 2019 • Opening Reception: Sat., Aug. 30, 7-9 pm Featuring SAL's Artists of the Year Matt Monahan and Laird Willis.
Mixed Media 2019 Juried Exhibition
Oct. 9 - Nov. 8, 2019 • Opening Reception: Friday, Oct. 4, 7-9 pm This eclectic exhibit features artwork created using two or more media.
All in the Family: The Works of Keith & Kelly Dellsperger
Nov. 20 - Dec. 20, 2019 • Opening Reception: Friday, Nov. 15, 7-9 pm The husband and wife dynamic duo will display their works.
Salad Days 2020 Juried Exhibition of Student Art
Feb. 12 - March 13, 2020 • Opening Reception: Friday, Feb. 7, 6-8 pm A juried exhibition featuring the works of St. Tammany student artists.
From the Vaults of the New Orleans Museum of Art
April 1 - May 1, 2020 • Opening Reception: Saturday, March 27, 7-9 pm Another exquisite exhibit from the vaults of the New Orleans Museum of Art. Get a sneak peek during Arts Evening on Saturday, March 21, 5-9 pm
Slidell Photo Club Exhibition
May 20 - June 12, 2020 • Opening Reception: Friday, May 15, 7-9 pm Featuring photographs from memebers of the Slidell Photo Club.
"Diﬀerent Bird" by Laird Willis
Sponsorships for the 2019-2020 Cultural Season are now available. For more information please call Alex Carollo, Director of Cultural & Public Aﬀairs, at (985) 646-4375.
Thank you to our 2019 Cultural Season Sponsors for supporting the arts in Slidell! Renaissance, $5,000: Sophisticated Woman Magazine
Baroque, $2,500 Sponsors: Acadian Ambulance • C. Ray Murry, Attorney At Law Jazz on the Bayou/Ronnie Kole Foundation • Silver Slipper Casino Neoclassical, $1,000 Sponsors: Councilman Bill & Laura Borchert • Lori Gomez Art Lowry-Dunham, Case & Vivien Insurance Agency • Purple Armadillo Again
Impressionism, $500 Sponsors: Chateau Bleu • CiCi’s Pizza • Slidell Mayor Greg Cromer • Flatliners Entertainment Old School Eats Food Truck • Olde Towne Slidell Print Shop • Pontchartrain Investment Management Roberta’s Cleaners • Semplice’s Pizza • Sirocco Coﬀee Company • Slidell Historic Antique Association Terry Lynn’s Café & Creative Catering • Weston Three 19 • Tanya Witchen - RE/MAX Alliance
Olde Towne Merchant Association Slidell Historic Antique Association
White Linen & Lagniappe Olde Towne Slidell Celebrates Third Annual White Linen and Lagniappe Event on Saturday, August 10, 2019
“Is that a mint julep or are you just happy to see me?” Why, I do declare, it must be the third annual White Linen and Lagniappe affair! Ladies, make good use of that white linen before the clock runs out! Summer is winding down! And gentlemen, no need for that ascot. A simple seersucker will do in this heat!
palate; shops tempting the wallet and artists inspiring! Look forward to plenty of lagniappe, too!
Come celebrate the arts as you stroll through Olde Towne – music will be competing with the cicadas for your attention; restaurants tempting the
“Details are still being finalized, but we have an amazing night planned, full of food, art, live entertainment and lagniappe!” said Slidell Mayor
White Linen and Lagniappe is a collaborative event hosted by the City of Slidell, Olde Towne Slidell Main Street, Olde Towne Slidell Merchant’s Association, and the Slidell Historical Antique Association.
Greg Cromer. “This is a great night for Olde Towne restaurants and businesses to shine. Come see what Olde Towne has to offer!” “This will be a fun event the whole family can enjoy,” said Katie Case, Program Director for Olde Towne Slidell Main Street. “White Linen Night is a collaborative effort among all of our downtown organizations and we couldn’t be prouder. There is such a great energy in Olde Towne right now. It seems every time you turn
around, a new shop or restaurant opens. We are looking forward to sharing Slidell’s 'best kept secret!'” Artists will be setting up in and around shops throughout Olde Towne. “We are changing Olde Towne Slidell one event and one business at a time. We are invested in making Olde Towne THE destination in Slidell,” says Brandee Santini, owner of Green Oaks Apothecary and a member of the Olde Towne Slidell Merchant’s Association. She added,
“Bring your dancing shoes! We’ve got some great live entertainment!”
For more information, visit the City of Slidell’s website at:
“All of these organizations share a common bond in their love of Olde Towne,” said Representative Mary Dubuisson, an active member of the Olde Towne Merchant Association for decades. “We hope this event will draw residents of Slidell and all of St. Tammany Parish to the heart of our city, to see all the amazing things Olde Towne has to offer and, of course, have lots of fun!”
www.MySlidell.com and Olde Towne Slidell Main Street’s website at: www.OldeTowneSlidell.com Follow the City of Slidell, Olde Towne Slidell Main Street and Olde Towne Merchant’s Association on Facebook. We look forward to seeing you on August 10, 2019 from 5-9PM in Olde Towne!
ns "Continuing Coverage" a e l r O w e N f o b Donna Bush, Finalist - 2019 Press Clu
Our Friends Closet Story and photos by Donna Bush
“If not you, then who? If not now, then when?" ~ Hillel
Imagine that you are a 14-year-old girl. School just let out for the weekend and you have no idea how you will eat before returning to school on Monday morning. You also don’t know where you will sleep tonight. The forecast is for rain. You would try to crash on your friend’s sofa, again, but her parents are growing weary of you being there nearly every night . You’re alone, hungry, and more than a little afraid. You walk the mile to the library, it doesn't close until 8pm. As you leave in the dark, rainy evening, you smell the food from Wendy’s Restaurant next door and are again reminded of how hungry you are. Somehow you will make it until Monday morning. You have crackers and an extra apple from lunch. Now, where to sleep? You make your way to a laundromat that you know is open 24 hours. The chairs aren’t very comfortable, but it's warm and dry. As a reader, you are probably asking yourself, “Where are her parents? Why would she have no food or roof over her head?” She is homeless. Yes, there are homeless children in our fair city of Slidell. Who would have thought this could be possible? 28
Per the St. Tammany Parish School System Supervisor, our public school system had 700 homeless students for the 2018-2019 school year. This number is for all grades – pre-school through high school. Our Friends Closet is a 501(c)3 nonprofit founded by Wendy Keller and Tina Billiot in 2017 when Wendy’s 8th grade daughter asked for feminine hygiene products to take to school for a fellow student. When asked for more details, she explained that the student in need was homeless. This weighed heavily on Wendy’s heart. She contacted the school and found out that there were a large number of homeless or low-income students that could not afford the basic necessities of deodorant, toothpaste, hygeine products, etc. Wendy immediately called her friend of 30 years, Tina, and suggested they join forces to help the students. Even though they didn’t know anything about forming a non-profit, they didn’t let that stop them. They dove in head first, setting up a Facebook page, securing donations and locating drop-off locations. Their first delivery after the 2017 Christmas break
was to two schools. By Easter, they had logged 19 schools in St. Tammany Parish. But they didn’t stop there. Wendy and Tina have built personal relationships with the schools and the counselors. When a counselor becomes aware of a student in need, they will reach out to Our Friends’ Closet with details of the need. This information is shared on their Facebook page and donations pour in. With donations of money, they will shop for special items, such as uniforms, shoes, etc. Both ladies are indeed super shoppers – buying sale items and combining coupons to get more for the donated money. The name Our Friends Closet came from those times as a teenager, or even as an adult, where you would say to your friend, “Hey! I’m going to a party and I really need a navy-blue blouse. Can I borrow yours?” Your friend would say, “Sure. Can I borrow your white sandals?” There are so many heartwarming stories of the assistance they have provided. In one instance, Tina talked her mechanic brother-in-law into repairing a student’s vehicle, so he had transportation to his summer job. A young female student
needed shoes but wouldn’t let anyone give them to her. The counselor mentioned this to Wendy and Tina. She dressed in a grunge style and liked combat boots. The ones she owned had holes in them. Without socks, she ended up with blisters on her feet. Our Friends Closet posted the need and size on their FB page. In less than five minutes, a lady offered a pair of combat boots from her closet. The young student was absolutely thrilled! One boy from a Pearl River school fell in mud. The school called his parents to bring him another pair of pants but were told that was the only pair he had. Of course, Our Friends Closet purchased pants for him. On another occasion, they bought pants for a boy to attend his prom. In yet another, they assisted with clothes for a student to go on a senior trip. Every student’s story is different, yet the same. What do they provide to students? Basic hygiene products, such as deodorant, soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and feminine products to name just a few. Our Friends Closet has ventured so far from where they first started with just hygiene products. When they learned that many students don’t have food after their school lunch until the following day, they began providing after-school snacks and food cards. They’ve even provided Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, senior graduation presents, Thanksgiving meals, and Christmas meals. Most of the kids asked for shoes, food and coats for Christmas. A few of the younger ones may have asked for a toy. One student didn’t ask for anything for himself, but instead asked for items for his siblings. Many organizations offer Christmas gifts, but rarely are the children acknowledged for their birthday or graduation. Homeless can mean living in a tent or a car, or sofa surfing (crashing on a friend’s sofa). Some kids are homeless on their own, considered "unaccompanied." Some are homeless with their parents or a grandparent. In many cases, the grandparent is retired, on Social Security and not financially able to provide for a child. Basically, they are offering the child a roof over their head, but often not much more. If the grandparent becomes ill or dies, the child becomes homeless. The number of homeless kids fluctuates throughout the year. It has been as high as 5000 after Hurricane Katrina. Anytime there is a natural disaster, the numbers increase. Students not in a fixed night-time residence are considered homeless. This could be due to a house fire, tornado, flood, storm or falling on rough times and losing their
The Forms of Homelessness Homelessness can be broken down into four categories: • Chronic – Someone who has been continuously homeless for a year or more; or had a minimum of four homeless occurrences over the past three years. Typically, these are older individuals with long-term health issues and live on the street, in a car, a park or somewhere unsuitable to live. • Episodic – Individuals who are currently homeless or have experienced three occurrences of homelessness in the past year. Typically younger individuals, with some form of disabling condition, such as mental illness or substance abuse. • Transitional – This is the most common type of homelessness. Usually younger individuals who have entered a shelter or temporary housing often as a result of a catastrophic life change, such as home fire, hurricane, flood or their guardian arrested. • Hidden – These are the unreported and undocumented individuals. They are often living with others or “sofa surfers,” with no guarantee of a long-term stay or any possibility of obtaining permanent housing. This type is considered “hidden” because they are not partaking of homeless services, even though they desperately need them. Nor are they counted in the homeless statistics.
Our Friends Closet Drop-off Locations (check their website for other locations) Infini-Tees Screen Printing 815 Robert Blvd All-Phase Insurance 303 S. Military Rd, Suite 1 29
Resources in the Community Family Promise - “The Family Promise program is a unique solution because it assists the families in becoming self-sufficient so they can live successfully in a permanent residence. The program is structured as an interfaith blend of denominations that offer their facilities and their congregations to support these families with children during difficult times.” Kids in Transition (KIT) – “The KIT Program offers support services to families in transition. We want to make sure KIT children attend school regularly and have what they need to be successful. As families work to find permanent housing, we make every effort to provide compassionate, confidential services for each unique situation.” Students in Transition: A student is considered in transition or homeless if he or she is: • Sharing housing with family or friends due to loss of housing or economic hardship • Staying in a shelter, hotel or motel, or campground • Living in substandard housing (without electricity, water, heat, etc.) • Living in places not designed for regular living accommodations (car, abandoned building, public place, etc.) Community Blessings Boxes – STP HELPS is working with the community to build Food Bank Boxes, Necessity Boxes, and Library Boxes (or a combination) that will be placed in front of homes or businesses across the parish. Anyone can donate items or take items that they need. How Can You Help? Check out: www.ourfriendscloset.org or the FB page, Our Friends Closet, to see current needs. Items may be left at a drop-off location or make a donation online via their website. Attend the Bunco fundraiser, Friday, August 23 at 7pm at Trinity Banquet Hall in Slidell. 30
home. Basically, any event that would cause them to be displaced. Their parent(s) or legal guardian might be in jail. Some are homeless due to unsafe living conditions. They might even be in a foster care program. Until June of this year, children were aged out of foster care when they turned 18, leaving them homeless and on their own. On June 6, 2019, Governor John Bell Edwards signed legislation to extend foster care age to 21 for all youth in care on their 18th birthday. They must be: • Enrolled in a post-secondary vocational or educational program; • Enrolled in a program or activity designed to promote or remove barriers to employment; • Employed at least 80 hours per month; or • Have a medical condition that renders the young adult incapable of engaging in any of these activities. Wendy and Tina don’t have direct contact with the students. The school reaches out with a need and they deliver to the school counselor for distribution. On the surface, one would wonder why these homeless children go to school. They don’t have anyone forcing them to do so. But school is normalcy. It’s a roof over their head from inclement weather. It’s running water and electricity. It’s at least two meals a day. It's social engagement, and it’s an opportunity to be just like everybody else. Many of the students will not admit they are homeless. They are embarrassed. They might be living in a home with no electricity or running water. Thankfully, the school system provides a lot of education for their teachers, bus drivers, janitorial staff, cafeteria staff and everyone who might come in contact with students throughout their school day so that they will be aware of the need and the school system can help. Our Friends Closet assists an average of 30 students per school per year with 60 schools total in 5 different parishes – St. Tammany, Washington, St. Bernard, Tangipahoa, Jefferson, the City of Bogalusa, and 2 schools in Ocean Springs, MS. Liberty Storage has generously donated a storage unit to store all of the donations and products Our Friends Closet has staged for future delivery. The 2nd annual fundraiser for Our Friends Closet will be held Friday, August 23, 7pm at Trinity Banquet Hall in Slidell. It is a Bunco party, with raffles and door prizes. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Tickets may be purchased via their website or FB page. As you eat your dinner tonight before you crawl into your comfortable bed beneath your ceiling fan with the A/C cranked down to the perfect sleeping temperature, reflect back on this story and think about those children who might be wandering the streets alone, hoping a friend will let them crash on their sofa. What can YOU do to help them? Would you buy some tickets to a fun time playing Bunco? Would you purchase some toiletry items to add to a bag for a student? Would you purchase a Walmart card or fast food card so they buy underwear or a meal? “If not you, then who? If not now, then when?”
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The Harbor Center
Lobby Lounge Nationally touring musicians are lining up to play for Slidell music lovers Story by Kendra Maness, Editor
Sitting in the Lobby Lounge on concert night, it's easy to forget that you're in The Harbor Center. Or Slidell, for that matter. The walls are draped with thick, rich tapestries drenched in color; the floors are covered in plush rugs with inticate designs; the soft lighting bathes the intimate setting in an ethereal glow; and then, there's the music. Sit back and relax. It's sensory splendor. The Lobby Lounge Concert Series is a new offering from The Harbor Center. The concerts bring nationally touring musical acts to Slidell each month to perform in the transformed lobby. I'm a huge fan of the Lobby Lounge concerts. Having listened to the same classic rock for years, I wanted to experience some new artists and music to broaden my musical palette. Oh my, what an experience it is! Here's what I can guarantee: You WON'T recognize The Harbor Center lobby, and you WILL lose yourself in the setting (I cannot overstate this enough). You WILL hear amazing music performed by artists who are on the brink of stardom, and you WON'T spend a ton of money to do it.
Mark Myers, who serves on The Harbor Center's Board of Commissioners, explains, "We went through a rebranding of the Harbor Center in 2018 where we did surveys and public meetings. We had two failed millages and what we gleaned from that is that we weren’t deemed relevant to our own community; that we were perceived as a playground for the
rich and affluent. Anything that we tried to say to the contrary wasn’t being received. So, we did a series of focus groups to try to connect better to the community. The people that voted no for the millage didn’t know who or what we were and what we are all about. So, it was decided that we needed to start fresh. The first thing was our name change. Everyone called us The Harbor Center, no one ever referred to us as The Northshore Harbor Center; so, we changed our name officially to The Harbor Center." Kathy Lowrey, General Manager of The Harbor Center, adds, "The number one thing that the focus group members said that they wanted was music. So, in our logo, we have the Jazz Guy because he’s fun and it fits our overall marketing scheme. It also led to the creation of the Lobby Lounge Concert Series. They also wanted more outdoor events, where they could sit outside and enjoy the view. So, the Food Truck Festival was created to meet that need. Event planners love the fact that we have free parking and a lot of it, something you can’t find in New Orleans." "In the focus groups, music came up over and over again," Mark notes. "We began to explore having more concerts in the Grand Hall. The main problem was the acoustics. When we investigated the cost of having more sound proofing installed, it would have cost too much. Plus, we’re not concert promoters and we can’t risk public funds by having large concerts with a lot of overhead and no guarantee of return." Last September, Mark read a story about “Livingroom Networks.” The article was about musicians who play "filler gigs" in between their scheduled performances when they
are touring. "People will open their homes and invite their friends and they’ll pass the hat and have a small concert. It’s not a party, it’s not a bar – it’s meant to come and enjoy the music. They call them 'Listening Rooms.' I loved the concept. I thought, I know the largest livingroom in Slidell, The Harbor Center lobby. I started envisioning how it would look, with tapestries and dim lighting." Kathy adds, "We said immediately that the acts had to be nationally touring musicians. I love our local musicians but you can see them anytime, anywhere. We wanted to bring something to Slidell that was new and hadn’t been seen before." "We’re not trying to compete with the other venues that have music in town. That’s one of the reasons why we avoided weekends and chose to, instead, have the concerts on Thursday nights," Mark says. "There are two commercial Listening Rooms in Baton Rouge and one in Mobile," Mark says. "As I studied them, I realized that our venue is the largest Listening Room around. We can seat 130 people. When we tell the artists this, they’re blown away. So now the word is spreading throughout the touring artist community and we’re getting calls from acts that are extremely high quality, requesting to play here." Mark and Kathy carefully research the bands prior to reaching out to them, listening to their catalog of work and checking their concert schedule to see if and when they’ll be in the area. Mark says, "We just booked a band from England. Almost every person that has played on the Lobby Lounge stage, when they leave, I wonder to myself – why aren’t they famous? They are just that good. Many of them are making their way to fame, and will be big names in the future, so we’re lucky to have them here now, while we can! I think there are just so many musicians out there, it’s hard to break through." With tickets priced between $16-$18, the Lobby Lounge offers concerts that are as affordable as they are enjoyable. "The beauty of this is that we already have the facility," Mark notes. "The Harbor Center is not losing money, we are very conscious of our public funding. Our Board of Commissioners knows that the community wants concerts, but big name artists cost big money, so this is a way to give the community what they want without it costing the facility money."
All of the musicians who perform in the Lobby Lounge work for a percentage of the ticket sales. Table seating and VIP seating costs a bit more, but are still extremely affordable at $25 per seat. Kathy adds, "People are buying those first, most of them are sold out for the season!" Mark says, "We want people to know that they can go out on a Thursday night and find quality, nationally touring music acts right here in Slidell for under $50 for a couple. They can relax, hear great music, and eat delicious food. Our caterers are blowing people away with the quality of the food they serve, and we offer a full bar. There's free parking, well-lit, and safe. You can have a really nice night out." "Overall, we want our new events, like the Food Truck Festival, the Lobby Lounge Concert Series, Family Fun Day and other events like that, to bring people into the Harbor Center that might not otherwise have been here before," Kathy says. On Wednesday, August 21, 2019, The Harbor Center will open the doors to the Grand Hall for a FREE Community Appreciation Concert. Doors open at 6pm, and the show starts at 6:30. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. The concert will feature the duo of Danika & The Jeb, as well as Louisiana singer/songwriter and 2018 American Idol contestant, Chaislyn Jane. One thousand FREE tickets will be distributed to Slidell and Pearl River residents, up to 4 tickets per person. Residents outside of Wards 8 & 9 are invited also for a $5 admission price. Kathy notes, "The purpose of the free concert is to thank the community for their support over the past 14 years. We want to welcome them in, show them the beautiful Lobby Lounge as they walk through to the Great Hall. And, we want the community to see that we are giving them what they asked for." You can pick up your free tickets at the Harbor Center. Please bring your driver's license for proof of residency. VIP seating and tables can be purchase for $10 and up via Eventbrite. Visit: https://tinyurl.com/lobbyloungedanika The Lobby Lounge Concert Series "Up Close & Musical"
Les Story by
“GRIEF, METAPHORICALLY SPEAKING” We all avoid SOMETHING we need to deal with and can get really good at pretending that it doesn’t affect us when we shut the door to it. What I’m talking about isn’t necessarily the secrets we hide, but the hurt that comes from emotions we don’t feel equipped enough to deal with. Unfortunately, if we don’t deal with them, bitterness builds, and we live in a place where our God given gifts become tucked away. We live numb, letting fear, shame or anger blind our purpose. It’s the process a lot of us would rather not deal with, and quite a bit of people don’t. The painful, confusing, “I might be going crazy” stages of grief.
Now, let’s open this door. If you know me and were to attend a party at my house for the first time, you might be a little shocked to see how clean and orderly everything looked. You might even think, "Wow, Leslie is my hero!" Pop in on a Wednesday, though, it’s a different story; but still not TOO bad. Now, if you were to open any CLOSET door in my house, the whole truth and nothing BUT the truth would be exposed! Which is, I don’t quite have my shit together as much as I’d like to pretend. Take my kitchen pantry for example. Everytime someone in my family opens the kitchen pantry, I cringe and let out a shameful “ugghhhh.” There is anger towards them because no one ever closes it back, forcing me to look at it, and anger at myself for not wanting to deal with it, AGAIN. I’ve asked all 3 of my kids at different times to help me. My husband, neighbor kids... pretty much everyone that comes through the front door, even offering cash payments in order to not have to face the daunting task alone. Still, no takers. Maybe my mom had a better way of asking me to help her when I was a kid, because I did all the time. Especially if I knew she was struggling to do it on her own. Just two months ago, I helped her clean out my Dad’s closets, as painful as it was, because it had to be done, and
I didn’t want her to face it alone. Maybe closets are just my thing. Truth is, this pantry was mine to do, even though the mess wasn’t all mine. After building the strength, I took the first step and slowly opened the doors. Looking at it for what it was, which was... completely overwhelming. With a lot on my mind lately, I’ve been learning that getting into my body and out of my head is the best tool to keep from falling into the downward spiral of my personality type. And, if anything, I knew there would be enough metaphors on those shelves to work through some unbearable grief. The 7 Stages of Grief are: Shock, Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Guilt, Depression, and Acceptance. My pantry just happened to have the same amount of levels to it. Staring at the disaster in front of me was definitely shocking; so, following my intuition for the next step, I simply sat. Taking it all in. Telling myself, “It’s not THAT BAD.” But it was. I decided to only focus on the pantry floor, the starting point of this emotionally overwhelming situation. The area where the unused kitchen machinery goes to die. Cotton candy maker used once. The juicer with a missing part that my friend dumped on me. The tiny crockpot that is only useful if my family of five were each 6 inches tall. A box containing a broken cookie press with 100 attachments. All of them, covered in dust, an unknown powder substance, and mystery drippings from the 6 shelves above them. Cereal pieces, the crumbled remains of cookies and crackers, a scary potato that went rogue... the liquid aftermath of the rogue
potato laying in the tile grout, foreshadowing the horror that awaited me on the first shelf. But for now, the floor. Only the floor. Stage 1: Shock I pulled out everything on the floor so I could sweep and mop, throwing away what was no longer needed. But, now I was wedged in the corner, between this worthless machinery and the kitchen table. With not much room to stand, I grabbed onto the chair behind me for assistance. We have 5 chairs, only one of which has a bad leg. It was the chair I grabbed, not realizing my foot was also standing on part of the slippery trash bag. Down I went, impaling my left knee on a stale piece of cereal. I screamed as loud as I could, “Son of a Captain Crunch berry!” My son walked over, not to help me up or ask if I was OK; but to let me know I had blocked entry to the pantry and to ask if I could hand him a bag of popcorn. Not too shocked from that, and after he regained consciousness, I kept moving forward with the floor until completion. Now, up to the first shelf. Stage 2: Denial Denial is not just a river in Egypt. It is a process to work through. The denial shelf was very interesting, to say the least, and by far the most disgusting of them all. It’s my “rare item shelf,” named of course, after the fact, because there was never any organization going on WHATSOEVER. But I was in denial and told myself what I needed in order to work through it. Even if it was total BS, it was real to me at the time.
On this rare item shelf were things like flaxseed, almond flour, rock salt for an ice cream maker, Thanksgiving napkins, wheat germ, and the bag of yarn EVERYONE keeps in their food pantry. All of it covering up the leaky bag of potatoes and a family of flies. Of course, they weren’t really flies, they were tiny magical fairies helping me clean. Stage 3. Anger This shelf was just embarrassing. You know those days where you tell yourself, “I think I want to make beans today!” So, you go buy a bag of beans. I don’t remember telling myself that either; but, apparently, I did. At least 15 times. This made me angry. Angry for not realizing it sooner, angry for being so selfish when people are starving, and angry at my family for not taking the time to see this mess for what it was or for not understanding how it was affecting me. I found the knife set I had been looking for, and three soap molds. So that was good. There were also 3 bags of expired cornbread mix and 4 bags of cornmeal. Look, I don’t know, ok! Leave me alone! YOU don’t care either, do ya?! I have a bag of beans and I’m not afraid to use them!! Stage 4. Bargaining: Moving up to shelf #3, I could finally stand upright, but needed a break. The trash bags were so full that all I could think about were those Feed the Children infomercials and the possibility that I might be going to hell. As I stepped over my bags of shame, the same stupid foot hit a wet spot on the floor where my Dollar Store trash bag had ripped open. I haven’t done splits since 35
my high school days; but, at 41 years old, I did them over a tall trash bag full of jagged food items, the empty Pringles can sitting upright at the very top. I guess that was my payback for wasting food. After the break, I walked bowlegged back to the pantry and took a deep breath. “I promise God, if you magically make these shelves clean for me, I will never waste food again! Stage 5. Guilt: I’m a horrible housekeeper. Why can’t I be more organized? Do I not care? Do my children want a different mom? Am I doing enough?
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The 4th shelf is where I keep the spices, canned food, and the collection of homemade jarred jellies from when I cleaned my Mom's pantry out last year. I felt guilty getting rid of them, even though they were the nasty flavors. I had one of those 2-tiered spinning spice racks, but the top rack broke off a long time ago. It wouldn’t matter anyway; because, with the amount of spices I had, I would’ve needed three of those. But having three would make me feel guilty for spending the money. And they are only officially spices if they are on a spice rack, right? So, technically, I really didn’t have THAT MANY spices. Wait, denial again? Noooo! Not again! Are you judging me for talking to myself? Do you want a McCormick imprint on your forehead?! Every person goes through these phases in his or her own way. You may go back and forth between them or skip one or more stages altogether. Reminders of your loss, like the anniversary of a death or a familiar song, can trigger the return of grief. Stage 6. Depression: Look, I don’t want to talk about the next shelf. It’s making me sad and I don’t know how this happened. There is nothing I can do to change this, is there? I’m always going to be this way, aren’t I? Why does no one love me or help me? Why do I watch a cooking channel once a year and buy spices I’ll never use? I can’t do this anymore. I think I’ll just eat this can of Pringle’s. Very carefully. Once I crawl out of bed, I will tell you about the top shelf.
Stage 7. Acceptance: Top shelf. A ton of empty cereal boxes, the big bottle of Aunt Jemima with the sticky shelf ring, and the candy I hid in the top back corner two Halloween’s ago. It’s all good, though, because I did my work and the experience made me a little stronger. More equipped to know what I will be dealing with the next time I have to open that door again. But it won’t get better if I don’t open it and deal with the process. I’m going to add a stage 8 even though it may be a part of acceptance. Either way, it should have its own stage and I want to feel special enough to name what I believe to be the final step in the process.
Stage 8. Forgiveness: Forgiving yourself for the crazy mess you were in the other stages, forgiving others for how they reacted to your crazy, and forgiving those who hurt you or left you in the first place, whether intentional or unintentional. “Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give but cannot. All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and the hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love, with no place to go.” We all have metaphorical closets that need to be cleaned. Lots of levels to work through. I didn’t want to talk about my pantry, but
I did. I didn’t want to talk about my grief again, but I did. It was work that needed to be done so my family would be happier, not affected by what I have stuffed away on these shelves, not being used for the purpose they were given. That purpose, not to feel bitter and numb when looking inside, even when you know what used to sit on them. Let go, trust the process, feel the overwhelming feelings, and choose wisely when tossing a can of Pringles. God’s grace will cover the spaces you couldn’t quite reach. Then, as hard as it all was, the only thing left to do will be... To close the door.
August Colorectal Cancer L&L Article 071019 Slidell Mag.pdf
ran away with the
By Katie Clark
“Back to School”
mom tells the story that, every year, the night before the first day of school, she and her siblings had to soak their feet in a bucket of soapy water to get the “summer” off. Three months of bare feet in grass and dirt, puddles and mud, had done quite a number on their little piggies. The bucket of soap water signified the end of wild, free days and the beginning of structure and discipline. Back to school! The concrete sidewalks of the suburbs did not wreak as much havoc on our feet as the strawberry fields of Ponchatoula, it seems, so no soap bucket for my brother and me. Instead, on the eve of the first day of school, we ate ice cream. After supper, we’d pile into the car, sans seatbelts of course, and head to the nearby Baskin & Robbins to pick out one or two of the available 31 flavors. We sang, “I Scream, You Scream, We all Scream for Ice Cream!” the whole ride there. Mom always got Rocky Road in a cake cone; my dad was a Pistachio man in a cup; my brother Beau, mint chocolate chip in a waffle cone and me – I wanted whatever my brother was having, but I wanted to eat it with the tiny sample spoon so that it would last longer.
The college freshman has even agreed to meet his parents in the rec center before the start of classes. And while my brother is letting go of his little boy, my little boy will be starting pre-K. You will most certainly find us at the Soda Shop eating banana splits on Back to School Eve. (I’ll be the one sobbing in my whipped cream.) Traditions are so important - they weave a story, they instruct, comfort and inform - but mostly they are something to anticipate and share. How wonderful that my parents gave us this gift! I realize it’s “just ice cream,” but really it is more than that. It is a chance for us to sit, away from the house, and be together. No TV, no phones, just family and ice cream. It’s a perfect prelude to the seriousness of school. Also, it’s never too late to start a new tradition. Just write it down somewhere so you’ll remember to do it again next year. Otherwise, it’ll be just this thing you did one time.
Vanilla Ice Cream Get a spoon. Go to Rouses. Go to freezer section. Look for a yellowish lid and the word, “Vanilla.” Open door to freezer section (warning: it will be cold) and remove tub of vanilla ice cream. Pay the lady and get in your car. Do you still have your spoon? Has it been in your pocket? Give it a wipe on your shirt. Pop off that lid and dig in. Better eat it all. Don’t want it to melt. OR, you can be all fancy: No-Need-for-a-Machine Vanilla Ice Cream 1 Pint of Heavy Cream 14 oz Sweetened Condensed Milk 1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract Combine the vanilla extract and the condensed milk and stir. Set aside. Whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Turn speed down low and slowly add the condensed milk and vanilla combination. Pour into a brownie pan and freeze 6 hours or overnight.
My brother kept the “Night Before the First Day of School Ice Cream” tradition alive with his two children – one of whom will be attending LSU in the fall.
Angels Among Us Short Story Fiction by Rose Marie Sand
Roberta pushed play on the music playlist she’d selected for this sunny Monday morning, adjusting her green apron to the sounds of the Mamma’s and Pappa's Monday, Monday.
Roberta approached the table with a big grin. “Hiya Kay! How’s that new grandson?”
“The Federal Government should….I tell them all the time…I did what I had to do…”
She hummed the lyrics quietly, "Monday, Monday, can’t trust that day. Monday Monday, sometimes it just turns out that way…”
“Sweet as sugar! Wanna see a video of his first steps?” “You know it,” Roberta said with an equal grin.
Roberta approached the men, scanning them for any new members. Hmmm, I wonder if that new guy is married? she thought, with a quick scan to his ring finger. Damn, all the cute ones are taken, she thought.
“Rough weekend, Roberta?” Jeff called out as he heard the selection. “Nah, just another lonely day in paradise,” she replied. The dining room was already filling up - several groups met at Slidell Coffee Shop to swap stories and sip coffee. The women in a far corner shared the latest news of their kids and grandkids. Occasionally, the conversations were peppered with local and world news…yet somehow those conversations always led to family stories. “Look at this video of Zac taking his first steps…my daughter is having such a problem with the cost of her prescriptions these days…how many points do you think there are in a bagel?” 40
After viewing the video, with more than a few ooh’s and aahh's, their orders taken, Roberta sauntered to Jeff’s station, her mood drastically improved. “I coulda told you before you went over there,” Jeff said, “eggs and dry toast for Doris, lox and bagels for Gail, egg white omelet for Meg. Clockwork.” Roberta added, “And hash browns, eggs and pancakes with sausage and a blueberry muffin for Ruthie.” “That’s my girl, that Ruthie,” Jeff chuckled. At a large table in the middle of the café sat a larger group of men. Their stories were about current affairs and politics – expounding on ways to save the world. Yet somehow those stories would include a comment about how they saved a family member from certain failure, too.
“Hiya, boys. What’s shaking?” she said. “All four cheeks and a couple of chins,” was Norm’s reply. Ever since he’d heard that crack on Cheers, the exchange was always the same. And always met with laughs. Back at Jeff’s counter, she reluctantly gave the order, knowing the comment to come. “Really? Really? Are these guys cheap or what?” he said when she told him the order. “A loaf of raisin bread, sliced, and lots of butter for five guys!” “I think it’s become their tradition or something. Maybe they’re just creatures of habit. They’re not really cheap, they tip well for their bill,” she replied to Jeff’s grumble.
Roberta loved her regulars, but she also enjoyed hearing the conversations of other customers. In the twelve years since she’d worked at the café, she had witnessed the ever-changing kaleidoscope of a community full of warmth and lifelong friends. At this time of the morning, most of the groups tended towards the mature crowd. During school months, groups of teens or young adults congregated at these same tables, grabbing a macchiato or espresso latte to fuel their day. After she delivered the orders to her regulars, she noticed a woman with a small child enter the café. Uncertainty was etched in the woman’s face, and she held onto her little one’s hand tightly. The girl was smiling as if she’d just entered a candy store, however. “Just sit anywhere, honey,” Roberta said warmly. “Um, can you give me a menu first?” was the tentative reply. “Sure, sweetie. Here, look this over and just seat yourselves when you’re ready,” Roberta said. Roberta took this opportunity to visit the restroom. Jeff had put up a sign that said, “Men to the Left because Women are Always Right.” She quickly used the right room, washed her hands, running her wet fingers through her curly hair. When she got back to the floor, the mom was in a booth with a window, and her child was staring at the menu as though she could read every word, her curly pale pigtails bouncing as she danced in her seat to the music. Roberta hesitated for just a second when she noticed the red polka dotted dress the child wore was either two sizes too big, or fashionably long. The mom’s clothes seemed like thrift store finds, too, she mused - clean, but slightly out of sync with their bright smiles and shiny hair. “Mommy, can I have pancakes with blueberries and lots of syrup?” the little girl asked. “And chocolate milk!” Roberta stood near the little one, her pen poised to the notepad. “Best in
town, sweetie. Good choice. And for you?” she asked the lady. “Um, I’ll just have coffee. No, make that water. Um, is there an upcharge for the blueberries?” she asked. With no hesitation, Roberta scribbled the order. “Honey, the coffee is on the house today. I’ll bring you a cup.” When she turned the order in to Jeff, Roberta’s eyes were misty. “What’s up?” Jeff said kindly. “Make those pancakes a big stack, with lots of blueberries,” Roberta quickly replied. She made her rounds of the tables, refilling coffee and making wise cracks with her regulars. As she approached the booth with a full cup of steaming java, the mom spoke quietly. “I noticed a little sign in the window that said ‘Hiring.’ Is there still an opening?" Then more quickly, she said, “I’ve worked in a lot of cafés, even a dishwasher position would be great.” Then she looked directly into Roberta’s eyes. Roberta read so much into the woman’s question. Heartbreak, hope, even grace. “I’ll check with the owner and come right back. Are y’all new in town?” “Yes,” the mom replied, casting her eyes downward. “Just got in from New Orleans.” “Let me see if your pancakes are ready, and talk to Jeff,” Roberta replied. “Jeff, I know you told me to take that sign down that we’re hiring but..” she began. “Yeah? But? Has that pretty mom and her daughter gotten to you?” Jeff said. “You know, that little one’s pigtails remind me of…” “Yeah.” “What’s her story, Roberta?” Jeff asked. “I don’t really know, but I think she needs a job badly. And she’s a good waitress too, I just know it. And a damn good mother,” Roberta said.
“Takes one to know one?” “Look, I’ve been wanting to cut my hours down on the weekends. Try her out a couple of days, I can show her the ropes. Then I'd get to visit Julie and her boys in Shreveport more often,” Roberta said. With a sigh, Jeff agreed. “But if she doesn’t work out in a week, I’ll have to let her go.” He handed her the blueberry pancakes, the largest stack he’d ever made, and a big glass of chocolate milk. Passing by the men’s table on her way to the booth, Norm motioned her over. “Roberta, I heard that pretty little lady ask you about a job and you offering her free coffee. The boys and I want to cover their breakfast, too.” She nodded and then caught the eye of every man at the table, smiling at each in turn. Roberta brought the breakfast to the mom, placing the pancakes in front of the child, whose eyes became nearly as big as the pancakes. A soft “wow” escaped her lips. She also set an extra plate near the mom. “Just in case she doesn’t eat them all,” she explained as she placed a bottle of blueberry syrup in front of Olivia. “I spoke to Jeff about the job. It's part time to start, then could become longer hours, if that’s okay. How soon could you start?” The woman’s face lit up as she rushed to say, “Right away! I just need to line up some daycare, and I can start tomorrow!” she said. “Honey, that’s fine, take all the time you need. This little one needs loving care, huh? By the way, I forgot to ask, what’s y’alls names?” The little girl piped up, “My name is Olivia and I’m four years old. And these pancakes are the best,” Olivia said. “Almost as good as my mommy’s!” Olivia dove into the pancakes after dribbling syrup in a crisscross over the pancakes. 41
WELCOME Meet the newest member of our medical family EyeCare 20/20 welcomes Dr. Jaime Wang We are pleased to announce that Dr. Jaime Wang has joined EyeCare 20/20 Retina & Vision Center. Dr. Wang is a Slidell native, valedictorian of Northshore High School, Summa Cum Laude at LSU and graduated from the prestigious University of California, Berkeley School of Optometry. Dr. Wang’s advanced training allows her to care for the eyes and vision of the entire family and treat a wide array of ocular issues.
To schedule an appointment, call
EyeCare20/20 Retina & Vision Center 1185 Robert Blvd., Slidell, LA 70458 www.eyecare2020vision.com
“My name is Ruth,” was the mom’s reply, chuckling at her daughter and wiping syrup off her soft cheek. “Ruth, if you don’t mind, one of the ladies at that table over there, the one eating the blueberry muffin, runs a daycare from her home. Her name happens to be Ruthie, too! Ain’t that a coincidence!” Roberta said. “Want me to introduce you?” “You’re too kind. But do you happen to know how much she charges per day?” Ruth said. “I was gonna ask my landlady if she could watch her and I’d do some cleaning in the other apartments…” “As you wish, my dear. I just know that Miss Ruthie over there has lots of little ones just Olivia’s age. She used to watch my girls years ago, and her rates are very reasonable,” Roberta replied. “I’ll just go see if she has any openings.” She scurried over to the ladies’ table just as they were finishing up their meals; hearing drifts of their conversations as she approached. “And even that little dress reminds me of the polka dot dress Roberta made for…” The conversation shushed as Roberta approached. “Oh, hi, Roberta,” Meg said, a bit too brightly. “We’re ready for our checks when you are!” “Sure thing,” Roberta replied. “Say Ruthie, do you have any openings at Pathways for a little girl about four years old? See that table over there?” “Yes,” the girls all said in unison, giving away that they’d been secretly observing the pair. “They look just precious,” Gail added. “I could manage one more little one,” Ruthie said. “Do you still charge what you used to when Gina and Julie came? This momma could use a bit of help right now, and I was thinking if you have any…” Roberta had barely gotten the question out when each of the four women shared a smile and Ruthie piped up. “I have some scholarship money available for just the right little girl. Give her my number, would you? We’ll work it out.” “You’re wonderful,” Roberta said. A misty look passed between Roberta, Gail, Doris, Meg and Ruthie. The men’s table had cleared by the time Roberta passed on her way to the booth. She noticed bills large enough to cover their raisin bread and coffee, Ruth’s bill, and a larger than normal tip, their generosity a silent legacy of their big hearts. When Roberta approached the booth by the window, all of the pancakes were eaten and it looked like Olivia had even licked the remaining syrup off her plate.
“Good?” Roberta asked. “They were awesomely awesome!” Olivia said. “Can we come here every morning, Mommy?” “Honey, you can come back anytime you want. Ruth, I can sit here with Olivia for a few minutes while you go talk to Jeff about starting your new job. And here’s the number at Pathways Day Care – my friend Ruthie is anxious to talk to you, too,” Roberta said, sliding into the booth next to Olivia. “Oh, that’s so wonderful,” Ruth exclaimed, as she rose and rushed over to Jeff’s station. “Now, Olivia, you be sweet and Mommy will be right back.” Roberta handed Olivia the crayons that she kept in her apron for just such an occasion. “Do you like to draw, honey?”
“Yes! I’m going to be an awesome artist one day, just like my mommy!” Olivia replied, grabbing the crayons excitedly. “What shall we draw first?” Roberta asked, turning over the paper placemat. “I’m going to draw an angel! My mommy always says there’s angels among us, and she taught me how to draw one.” In the weeks to come, the window of the booth where Olivia sat nearly every morning before daycare was filled with her drawings of angels. The regulars became Ruth and Olivia’s adopted family, as they seamlessly became part of the fabric of life in Slidell. And every morning, right before she adjusted her apron for her shift, Roberta pressed play on the soft music that formed the backdrop of the sounds of the café. No matter the day, the first song on
Roberta’s playlist was her favorite. It was one by Jack Jackson, named “Angel.” I've got an angel She doesn't wear any wings She wears a heart that can melt my own Wears a smile that can make me wanna sing.
Madonna and Child by Rose Marie Sand
She could hear Olivia’s singsong voice and Ruth’s answering chuckles.
“I respectfully request your vote on October 12, 2019. Thank you”
Working for Slidell Families • Married 38 years • 21 Year Slidell Resident • Member of St. Margret Mary Catholic Church • 8 Years as the Slidell City Attorney • 20 Years Experience • M.B.A. from Loyola • U.S. Air Force Veteran
Experience Integrity Fair
Paid for by the Committee to Elect Bryan D. Haggerty
by Jeff Perret, DVM
Turtles I like turtles. Unfortunately though, turtles get squashed by cars with gruesome regularity, and it’s causing their populations to decline. The world loses thousands of turtles and tortoises each year to highway deaths. Often, Good Samaritans get out of their cars to assist wildlife across the street or highway, during which they either save the turtle, don’t get to the turtle in time, or get hurt or even killed in the process. The last time I pulled over to help a turtle across a street, traffic was light, and the few cars that were there stopped for me while I looked ridiculous, I’m sure, running and holding a terrified, urinating turtle who likely wondered why he was suddenly able to fly. That particular rescue effort turned out just as
planned. A few weeks later, I read about a young mother in another state who had stopped to help some ducklings cross a road, and was hit by another vehicle and killed! In the article, a police officer emphasized that drivers shouldn’t try to assist wild animals themselves, but instead should call the police or animal control for help. He was right as far as the driver’s safety goes, but we all know that most likely, by the time the police or animal control gets there, the situation will already be resolved, one way or another. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries also discourages putting yourself in danger. Pulling over and turning on your hazard lights might be enough warning to keep yourself safe
Dr. Jeﬀ recommends using:
Back to School. No fleas. Lucky dog.
ONLY WITH BRAVECTO.® 44
if you should decide to undertake a rescue mission. Or not, as the case may be. So helping wildlife survive our infrastructure isn’t always effective or safe for a Good Samaritan. Even if you survive, you may wish you had never stopped the car in the first place, or vow never to do again. But let’s get back to the real question: Why did the turtle cross the road? To get to the Shell Station! Bada bing! (Sorry) But seriously, they’re crossing the road in search of food or habitat or love. They’re slow pokes crossing the road because they don’t have any place to be any time soon. As herbivores, they’re not chasing prey – they’re just moving on to another patch of greens. They have hard shells that protect them from typical predators, so
they don't need to sprint. They’re just moseying between habitats. In late May and June, pregnant females head for familiar and appropriate places to give birth. This is a common time to spot them on roadways. Later in the year, new hatchlings set out to find their forever homes in ditches, bayous and ponds. Turtles can travel pretty far in a calendar year, and sometimes they’re found quite a ways from water, so don’t be too concerned should you find one in a relatively dry area. Rules of thumb: If the turtle isn’t in danger, don’t help. Stay in your car. To pick one up, gently hold it along the shell edge near the middle of its body. Most likely, it will express its fear and displeasure by peeing. Try to stay upwind. If it’s injured, take it to a wildlife rehabilitator with turtle experience. Get it to the side of the road it was traveling to. If you return it to whence it came, there’s a good chance it’ll just start crossing again immediately once you’ve gone. It’s easy to think we're helping by carrying the turtle beyond the road to the closest bit of water, but wildlife folks say that’s not necessary. I guess it’s like altering its GPS system. Just leave it on the other side of the road and let nature do its thing. Don’t pick up a snapping or softshell turtle unless absolutely necessary; they bite. You do not deserve the pain, and experience is a bitter teacher. Picking one up by the tail can injure its spinal cord, so you’ll have done harm instead of good. If you must risk picking up a chomping-oriented turtle, grab it by one rear leg while your other hand supports it from below. Better yet, get it on something like a piece of cardboard and drag it backwards across the street. A safer option is to use a branch or shovel to urge it to move. All of this presumes you are the person putting your behind on the line. Kind souls who love animals will do their best to help without getting themselves hurt, but human safety always comes first, even when your adrenalin says otherwise. We have bigger brains than turtles; use yours, and don’t put yourself in harm’s way. Sadly, there are those among us who are not kind, who do not love animals, and who get their kicks by intentionally rolling over turtles. Why, I do not know, but it happens regularly and has even been studied informally. Maybe it’s road rage, maybe they’re having the worst day of their lives, or maybe they’re just sociopaths. Sadly, though, it’s not rare and it’s lowering turtle and tortoise populations, including the endangered ones. But enough gloom and doom. Let’s stop crying over turtle demise and move on to doing something to prevent it. What can you do to assist the declining populations, above and beyond helping the occasional road-crosser while not getting yourself killed?
Ask your municipality or state department of natural resources for turtle crossing signs for known turtle hot spots in your area. Most people will slow down upon seeing these. Teach others what to do and how to remain safe: educate, educate, educate. Pass on this article. During breeding season, place home-made signs yourself, as do people having garage sales. They may not last long, but they might save a life or two. Be sure to retrieve them in the Fall so they don’t become litter. Talk about it on Facebook, Twitter, or neighborhood apps such as Nextdoor, so more people will be aware. You can also just talk to someone face to face; even though that’s old fashioned, it's still pretty effective. Know what a snapping turtle looks like. Use a stick to see if it will bite rather than your hand. Be kind, not stupid. Check your state's wildlife department for photographs of the types of turtles and tortoises that live in your area. The more you know about them, the more care you will take for their safety. Turtle and tortoise habitats are being fragmented, according to wildlife experts, and so their populations are dwindling - all around the country. Without turtles, ecosystems shift, and the consequences are not fully known. One of them, though, is that later generations will never have the chance to see and enjoy turtles. If we all pitch in with personal efforts and awareness campaigns, we can offset some of the losses. You in?
PET SITTING • 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
ag Slidell M 2019 ust
109 - Aug
Slidell Magazine was EVERYWHERE this month! Here are just a few of our adventures!
in Street volunteers, Olde Towne Slidell Ma s y Thomas, join Slidell’ Am d Gwendolyn Clement an d an lo, rol Ca Arts, Alex Director of Cultural r) (and Slidell Mag write r to ec Dir t Main Stree Park e ag rit He in s ht Nig Katie Case at Movie
Slidell Magazine writer and Olde Towne Arts Center President, Charlotte Collins, add resses the crowd at the opening of the OTAC Sum mer Show
The cast of Steel Magnolias with their t-shirts that say, “I slapped Ouiser Boudreaux!” l-r: Kendra Maness, Ryan Darby, Suzanne Stymiest, Krista Gregory, Jennifer Gesvantner, and the amazing Brittney Crayton as Ouiser
LOOKING GOOD!! The Storyteller, John Case, helped raise thousands of dolla rs for children’s cancer research by having his hea d shaven at the 1st Annual St. Baldricks even t in Olde Towne
WGNO News with a Twist, with Mayor Greg Cromer, shooting footage for their upcoming live shows from Slidell on Thursday, August 8, at 5:00 and 6:00 to promote arts, culture, business and economic development. Visit Olde Towne Slidell on August 8 for the live shows!
s r Kendra Manes Slidell Mag Edito t, tis ar r ve co 2019 ran into our April Fest e ag rit He at , Grayhawk Perkins
CONGRATULATIONS! Our July 2019 cover artist, Joshua Wichterich, celebrates his first Slidell Mag cover!
ccessful, ic Con was so su d Showcase Com n bi merica, Ro an even Captain A ! ed attend Wonder Woman
Alligators and Reptiles, Oh my ! Hannah and Haley Gray with their new frie nd at the H.E.R.P. Reptile and Exotic Pet Show.
“Isn’t the H.E.R.P. Reptile and Exotic Pet Show awesome!” Michael Hymel chats with his feathered friend.
Chaislyn Jane opens at the Lobby Lounge Community Appreciation Concert August 21
Join us for th e Lobby Lou nge Commu Appreciatio n Concert fe nity aturing Danik Jeb, August a and the 21. Do you liv e in Slidell o River? Conta r Pearl ct the Harbo r Center, 985for your FREE 781-3650 tickets. Visit Eventbrite.c om for discounted tickets.
Chalmette High School and Andrew Jackson High School Reunion
Lobby Lounge presents a Community Appreciation Concert featuring Danika & The Jeb, introducing Chaislyn Jane
East St. Tammany Chamber Fan-Up Tailgate Pep Rally
Che ck out o ur n ew w e bsite!
w w w. h a r b o r c e n t e r. o r g
Servicing all cemeteries â€˘ Pre-planning services available
Celebrating Lives. Honoring Memories.
Bobby J. Ducote Owner Funeral Director Embalmer Cremation Certified
Proudly Servicing St. Tammany and Surrounding Parishes 48
61101 Hwy 11, Slidell, LA 985-645-0600 www.audubonfuneralhome.com