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THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF SLIDELL

Vol. 112 November 2019

NOVEMBER 2, 2019 HERITAGE PARK

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Editor’s Letter

Kendra Maness Editor/Publisher Slidell Magazine

The following is an edited excerpt from a beautiful soliloquy written by Dawn Rivera. It is simply too wonderful not to share...

Cover Artist

Resume of the Southern Woman The swamp isn’t for the faint of heart and neither are the women that emerge from it. My resume is like many of yours. We sit on boards to make a difference; volunteer at nonprofits to fill our souls; keep traditions alive to remember our past; and all while making everyone feel welcome with a smile, a hug and one of two questions: If we don’t know you, ‘Where ya from?’ and, if we do, ‘How’s your momma doing?’ We are Southern Women. All of us are at least a little bit artistic. Music, cooking, creating, writing, nourishing, painting, decorating and even magically whipping up pageant hair that withstands humidity. We garden for bragging rights, holding a rose bush or camellia tree in high esteem because it is a clipping from our grandmother’s yard before she passed. Our creativity gave birth to reimagining our roles, our communities and how to make a cocktail “skinny.” When you lose it all, you learn that connections are everything. So, we porch sit, back yard sit, festival sit: laughing and praying with friends while we watch our children play. We care about our neighbors, our neighborhoods and our communities so we join homeowner’s associations. After all, we believe that one can’t complain unless they are willing to do something about it. “A woman’s place.” How we have had enough self-esteem, ambition and strength to make “our place” anywhere we see fit is nothing short of a miracle. It comes from this unique place that allows self-exploration and expression. Southern women have selfLESS ambition, often fighting and pushing for fairness instead of ruling. We are full of color and flavor! We cook for a crowd, knowing how to make a meal out of almost nothing. We start farmer’s markets like The Camellia City Market so we can support each other, have a place to gather and get only the freshest shrimp and seasoning for our gumbo. We are most trusted when we talk loudly because we mean what we say. It is only in a whisper that you need to be scared. We get involved: in government, in PTA, in civic organizations to pave the way for more young women. We speak up for those who need a voice. We are known to sachet in the streets and are always up for a second line. We celebrate life! We are loved and a little bit feared. We join St. Patty’s Day parades or Mardi Gras Krewes for time to let loose and give thanks for another day. A southern lady will hug you tight one minute and, when you make us laugh hard, we might punch you in the arm. Our strength is like the azalea. We embrace our unique beauty while being impossible to remove. Being here today is a testament to our strength. When all seems to be lost, we rebuild. It is all of our resumes. The resume of a Southern Woman.

adam sambola COVER: 2019 JAZZ & BLUES FESTIVAL: GATEMOUTH BROWN This is the eighth time Slidell Magazine has had the honor of showcasing the talents of artist Adam Sambola on our cover. Adam’s poster art, statues, murals and paintings are instantly recognizable and widely collected, making him Slidell’s best known artistic talent. He has been awarded numerous times, including the Parish President’s Award for the Arts in 2017. We’ve enjoyed a great friendship and collaboration with Adam over the years and look forward to many more years (and covers) to come. Below are all of Adam’s beautiful Slidell Magazine covers, dating all the way back to our fifth edition in 2011.

DECEMBER 2010

SEPTEMBER 2011

SEPTEMBER 2014

NOVEMBER 2015

THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF SLIDELL

THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF SLIDELL

THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF SLIDELL

Vol. 69 April 2016

Vol. 68 March 2016

Vol. 112 November 2019 Vol. 78 January 2017

WE KEEP IT FRESH

WE KEEP IT FRESH

NOVEMBER 2, 2019 HERITAGE PARK

SAY KEEP IT POSITIVE

SAY KEEP IT POSITIVE

MARCH 2016

APRIL 2016

JANUARY 2017

NOVEMBER 2019

Slidell Magazine PO Box 4147 Slidell, LA 70459 www.slidellmag.com 985-789-0687 Kendra Maness, Editor/Publisher Editor@slidellmag.com Shane Wheeler, Graphic Designer CONTRIBUTING WRITERS EFOP, Shirley Thompson, Charlotte Collins The Storyteller, John Case Pet Points, Jeff Perret, DVM Red Headed Woodpecker, 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 Keep Austin Weird, Rose Marie Sand

View more of us at www.slidellmag.com

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NOVEMBER 2019 Story by Charlotte Collins

Extraordinarily Fascinating “Ordinary” People Extraordinary Fascinating

Ordinary People

Shirley Thompson

Telling a story about someone has enormous power. People forget a headline. They remember a story. ~ Michelle Dean

Each month, when I tell the story of the Extraordinary Fascinating Ordinary Person, I try to bring you with me on each visit, through descriptions of the interactions and surroundings during the interview. This month, I am interviewing Shirley Thompson, renowned film editor, at her home in Hawaii. Unfortunately for me, that does not mean Slidell Magazine sent me on an all expense paid trip to Hawaii. Instead, I am speaking with this native Slidellian by phone. I will bring you along through our imaginations. Rest assured, her animated voice will keep us in tune with her energy and passion, both of which come through loud and clear.

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In asking where her love for film began, I learned that Shirley’s interest in storytelling was obvious from the time she was young. She was a voracious reader, and remembers her days spent reading in the Slidell library. Its club, Summer Reading Challenge, was a high point in her early days. Speaking with enthusiasm, her memory tumbled rapidly, “My mom took me and my little brother, Arthur Thompson, Jr., every week to the tiny St. Tammany Parish Library branch in Olde Towne. I loved that space. It seems to me that we were just always immersed in books and storytelling. Arthur would draw pictures from the stories he read, while I grew more and more fascinated in the way the authors would tell their stories, and the many ways in which they could be told.”

As fate may have it, her father, Arthur Thompson, Sr. worked for Bantam Books as a book salesman. Shirley grew even more excited when she revealed, “Once or twice a month a box full of books would be delivered by the mailman. We just couldn’t wait for him to get home, so we would be allowed to tear into that box.” You could hear her girlish enthusiasm. “We were allowed to read anything we wanted. They gave us no limitations. It felt like we had a ticket to the big, outside world! Through reading, I got to experience different parts of the world, see how people lived in other times, like the ancient Greeks, or the women in Little Women. Being a girl, I also gravitated to Barbara Cartland’s romance novels. She published a new one every month. That is amazing if you think about it! Bantam put out a paperback library of classic books, which introduced me to Hemingway.” The electricity in her voice rose palpably. “Then I read everything he wrote! Next, I discovered Thoreau and Walden Pond. I was probably considered young to be reading those authors, but it opened a whole other realm of storytelling. I began to read and write poetry. I hadn’t thought about that in years, but now I remember that the Slidell newspaper back then, The Sentry News, would publish my poems while I was still in school at Slidell High.” She described herself, “I was one of those kids that was into everything I could get

my hands on. Mr. Buccaran was principal then, and he was very supportive. I got on the Student Council, and would run around with a clipboard, getting everybody to vote,” she laughed. “I worked on the school newspaper, and became Editor in my senior year. We would mock everything up, and The Sentry News would print our school newspaper for us. We also had a literary publication, In Medias Res, and I worked on the staff of that literary publication.” She recalled, “I can remember we actually mimeographed that publication.” Her words brought back the smell of mimeographed paper to me in an instant. Remember sniffing the fresh paper as the tests were handed to you? Shirley continued rapidly, “Before desktop publishing, we actually collated the magazine by grabbing stacks of pages and walking around the table putting them in order, then hand stapling them. I had great teachers, like Mrs. Taliancich. She was in charge of the magazine, and was always very encouraging. She introduced us to free expression, writing short stories, and had us explore creating art and poetry from the stories we read.” Shirley’s enthusiasm extended beyond school. Her parents were supportive of her desire to work. She couldn’t wait to turn 15, so she could have a job. “I was really lucky to have parents that would allow me


to work at night. Of course, I had to keep my grades up!” Her first job was at The Movies in Slidell. As we talked about it, I could picture it near Front and Gause, tucked back in the corner, with Eckerd's Drugs on the corner. Shirley described with relish, “It was a fantastic job! We got to watch those movies as many times as we wanted. Everybody came through those doors, boys you had a crush on, your teachers, friends, family, all of them came to The Movies.” Then she paused and laughed aloud as she remembered, “I wanted to be a projectionist! But that was a job that only two older boys, who were also managers, were trusted to hold. The projector was this giant machine. I would watch them actually handling the film, and they agreed to teach me how to thread the reels, and put loops in the film so it didn’t break. One night, they let me run the projector. But as soon as I got it started, I had to run back to the concession stand to sell drinks and snacks. Suddenly, I could hear people yelling from the theatre.” She paused, then gasped, “I had threaded the film backwards. All the letters were backwards! I was sooo embarrassed! I had to rethread it while everyone was waiting impatiently.” She chuckled, “That career was very short! But I remember vividly the tactile feeling of handling the film, and the visual thrill of holding it up to light to see the silhouettes. Working on the computer is just not the same, it’s not nearly as romantic.” It was obvious that Shirley had great memories of high school in Slidell in the 1970's. She graduated from Slidell High in 1981 and stayed close to home, enrolling in Loyola. I was unaware, until she explained to me, that Loyola was a mecca for media studies. “The university was run by the Jesuits; and, back then, they also owned WWL TV, and WWL AM radio. This meant that Loyola got handed-down radio and TV equipment, so their students had access to professional equipment. I started off in Communications, majoring in Journalism to be a writer. But soon, I discovered the college radio station, and became a DJ,” she announced enthusiastically. “From that position, I worked my way up to News Director and put together 15-minute newscasts every day. That’s when I learned how to edit. In those days, we spliced and pieced together audio tape using a razor blade and splicing tape,” she recalled with obvious delight. I discovered I had a knack for the technical side of broadcasting, and working with equipment, kind of like that projectionist job. I changed my major from print journalism to broadcast journalism, so that I could immerse myself in radio and television production. This allowed me to discover cameras. I found I had a knack for taking video and telling stories that way as well. One thing became apparent - it was really hard to get access to expensive equipment. Back then, we are talking hundreds of thousands of dollars as opposed to laptops and software in modern journalism.” She took one of her brief pauses and reflected, “Thank goodness for Loyola!” I realized that the next generation will probably never experience camera, video or audio films like Shirley did. Everything we do now, we experience through the use of computers.

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After graduation, Shirley discovered the power of cameras and recording equipment. She also discovered that, in the South, there were few opportunities for girls to be hired as editors or for technical work in the male-dominated industry. This was partially because of the equipment itself, which was really heavy. Shirley related, “For every classified ad I answered, they received probably 200 resumes, almost all male. I finally got a job with Group W Cable (part of Westinghouse) in Violet, Louisiana.” As with all three of her first jobs, it proved challenging because she was the first female to be hired for the position. She described the general scenario, “Most of my male coworkers were very accepting, especially at Group W Cable. But, in some of the places I worked, there were a few older company men who were less than kind. They were the ones that informed me that they didn’t want to hire me, but had to because of Affirmative Action. I was determined not to let them see any weakness. So, I made myself work harder than the others, and told myself to hit a home run every time. I ran and lifted weights to be strong enough to hold the camera without hurting myself. Those few men I told you about rewired the editing rooms so that they wouldn’t work correctly when I showed up to edit. I would have to debug my room for the first half hour of my shift.” I imagined the projectionist scenario had made her more determined and meticulous. After one year, she left Group W Cable to work at Middle South Utilities, the company which later became Entergy. Now, Shirley found herself producing corporate communications. With her usual enthusiasm, she relayed, “This was a major turning point in my life. It was fantastic because now I had an amazing mentor, Larry Schnadelbach. Mr. Larry was not like the other males, in that he wasn’t threatened by a female. Mr. Larry simply saw me as a hard worker. Without him, I would not be a film editor today. He was an incredible filmmaker himself. He traveled all over the world, and was just so knowledgeable. He did not hold back, and taught me everything he knew. We shot video and edited stories for their company news program, while also shooting 35 mm slides for multi-projector slide shows, and large photo format for print, like the annual report. This meant that we always had to carry at least three cameras, to be ready to shoot in all of these formats. It was great traveling from small towns to industrial towns, even Coca Cola bottling companies. We got to go on oil rigs, to power plants, and to the Levi Jeans factory in Arkansas. Those cameras on my shoulder gave me a way in. I could ask all these owners and factory workers to tell me their story. Then my job was to make it short and interesting, to educate the audience about how these businesses made the region viable. Through that job, I developed so many skills that helped me transition to TV stations. I now could prove that I had the chops. When people tried to intimidate me, I knew I could handle it.” She finished that chapter of her life with a calm, confident voice. At the age of 25, Shirley landed her dream job with WWL, working in Community Affairs. “WWL dominated the media industry in New Orleans. I was fortunate to work under Father Jack Dennis, who was an encouraging ally, and


wanted me to succeed. This provided the opportunity to work alongside such greats as Angela, Garland and the rest of the WWL gang. Our department’s job was to create Public Service announcements for the community good, like announcements for charitable events and concerts. It was a kick! That appealed to me on a humanist level. The ability to use the power of the media for good, to use storytelling for good, and helping people was truly satisfying. Shirley stayed only a year before she felt a need to travel and perhaps gain a broader level of experience. “I was 26, and had ants in my pants. I wanted to spread my wings, and California was calling. I went on vacation to San Francisco and fell in love with the city,” she paused for emphasis, then voiced with a lilt, “head over heels, smitten! I absolutely knew I wanted to live there. Television in California felt like a big pull on me.” “I basically quit WWL, cashed in my $2,000 401-K plan, and flew out. Mind you, I had no job, and knew only one person over there, a camera man I had met on a gig. I called him up for advice, and he said he was leaving for the Philippines. I was surprised, but then he asked if I wanted to stay in his house! That allowed me time to look for a job. Three weeks later, I found an apartment. I flew back for my car." With her usual upbeat confidence she announced, “So, off I drove in my little red Honda Civic, with my dearest friend from Slidell High, Shelly Shay, who volunteered to drive across the country with me. I immediately did three things to try to land a job. First, I called Bobby Dicks at KPIX in San Francisco, who had worked in New Orleans at WDSU with a mutual friend, and asked if he could hire me. Then, I contacted two friends I had worked with through friends at WWL to put out feelers. Third, I contacted the power company in San Fran. I assured them I could do everything they needed. They agreed, but wanted to hire me as a freelancer. I had no idea if I could exist on this pay, but I said yes! So, I started freelancing, and absolutely loved it. I had no staff meetings, heck, I had no boss.” My mind immediately went to lost benefits, but she reminded me, “I was young, and didn’t care about insurance. I was ready for a career adventure! So, I hung out my shingle as a freelance editor!” Speaking from hindsight, she rationalized, “I thought it would be easier to get work there as a woman. Boy was I wrong,” she pronounced. “It was even more competitive! I really wanted to be a cameraman. Men would laugh at that and say, ‘Why would I hire you?’ It was even more of an uphill battle than I had experienced back home where people knew me. No one saw me as a person with hopes, dreams, and skills to offer.” She continued the story, “At that point, I just needed to eat. Landing a job in editing seemed easier. Plus, I was good at it, and I liked doing that job. Sure enough, I got hired at Pacific Gas and Electric and at KPIX, a CBS affiliate similar to WWL. They produced a syndicated show called PM Magazine. Through them, my stories got syndicated all over the U.S.” Now Shirley’s voice began to burst through the phone. I could hear that she had reached some sort of apex in telling

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Left: Shirley with her mom & brother at Audubon Zoo in the 1960's. Middle: As news editor at Loyola University College radio, 1984. Right: Filming for Middle South Utilities in the Ouachita Mountains in Arkansas, 1986

me about her life. She started at a normal pace, which increased with each sentence, “At some point, I read there would be a film festival dedicated to documentaries, and I went. I sat there, unmoving, and powered through back-to-back films in a studio all day. I was knocked out. This is when I discovered that these people get to make films not because they are assigned, but of their own accord. They just set out to make it all on their own. They call them independent filmmakers. I saw that women like me were making films. So, the lightbulb went on! Anyone, you, me, can use a camera and tell their story. I went to a cafe and pulled out my journal, and journaled furiously. I remembered an organization in New Orleans, YA/YA Inc., with Jana Napoli as the founder. Of all the stories I covered, that one had touched me deeply. At the time, I remember thinking that someone should make a film about this. Jana had created an extraordinary environment where the talented young artists in her downtown New Orleans neighborhood would come to her studio to paint their hopes and dreams on furniture. They learned not just how to paint, but how to become entrepreneurs in their own

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right. The story of YA/YA Inc. became my first film, Young Aspirations/Young Artists.” This was a surprising coincidence. Just two months ago, my readers learned about artist Solange Ledwith and her work teaching glass blowing at YA/YA studios on weekends. Shirley took but one quick breath and announced, “So, I called Jana and asked if I could make a documentary film about her work with the kids. You know what she said? She said she had been waiting for me! She remembered me from WWL so long ago. Then she said, ‘I have been telling everyone that you would make a film about us.’ You could have knocked me over with a feather! That was a miracle in my life. We got a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and that enabled us, plus sweat equity on my part, to make the documentary.” “That transformed my life again. Here was my entree into the world of documentaries. I could see myself doing this the rest of my life. That’s when I switched to editing documentaries, and have been doing so ever since. It’s my preferred form of storytelling, because it tells true life stories. Those early

experiences of struggling made me want to give a voice to other women and tell their stories. I have worked mostly with women directors, and on a lot of films with strong female protagonists. And through these films, I have had incredible, life-changing experiences. I’ve worked on location in Chongqing, China and the Himalayas in India. Editing jobs took me coast to coast from New York to Alaska and Hawaii. When I was editing in Honolulu, I fell in love with my husband, Stanford Chang, whom I met while working together on a film.” Then she announced enthusiastically, “Now I get to tell stories for a living! I like to tell other people’s stories that are close to my own heart. My newest project is a documentary I edited and produced with director/producer Robin Lung. Her documentary, Finding Kukan, is about a strong woman, Li Ling-Ai, who went against the odds. It was absolutely unheard of for a Chinese woman to make an Academy Award winning film in 1942. Kukan documents World War II in China in color. It was shown to FDR at the White House, and praised by the New York Times. And then, it just vanished, along with Li

Left: Shirley directing her first film at YA/YA in New Orleans, 1991. Middle: Shirley hard at work editing in San Francisco, 1996 & 2000. Right: Shirley with director Ellen Frankenstein and cameraman Leo Chiang, filming Eating Alaska, 2008


1.) Shirley in Grand Isle while working for Middle South Utilities, 1987. 2.) The first camerawoman editor at WWL-TV, 1988. 3.) With mentor Larry Schnadelbach. 4.) On site in Aspen, CO in 1989

Ling-Ai’s legacy. That is, until director Robin Lung discovers what might be the very last print of Kukan in existence. But if you want to know what happens, you need to come see the film. I invite you to view it with me at the Pontchartrain Film Festival in Mandeville on November 2nd.” I failed to mention that Shirley also cuts trailers (snippets for promotional ads) for documentaries. I was mesmerized by the one she sent me for Finding Kukan, seriously! Shirley explained how she got started on this amazing video tale. “I immediately felt a connection to Li LingAi and her struggles because I also grew up in the television industry. While I had struggled to succeed in the film business in the 80's, it had to have been a hundred times harder for Li Ling-Ai in the 30's and 40's. So I feel enormous respect for her and what she accomplished, and that made me want to really tell her story well through the editing of Finding Kukan. Imagine how determined Li Ling-Ai had to be in order to get her film made in 1942! In a way, her story was my story.” Serendipitously, Shirley then met Sharon Edwards at the New Orleans Film Festival.

Sharon is a Slidell native who you may remember wrote for the Times Picayune and the Advocate, worked with me in Olde Towne Arts Center in Slidell, and helped teach photography, video, and editing classes. She became the community news editor of the St. Tammany Advocate, and started the Pontchartrain Film Festival (PFF) at Slidell Little Theatre. She and Shirley talked and talked about Slidell, and became fast friends. Shortly thereafter, Finding Kukan was having its first national broadcast on PBS. Sharon got excited and asked to show it at the festival. Of course, Shirley said yes. Shirley is just so excited to have her work actually featured in her home state. She shared her enthusiasm, “My parents used to travel to my film premiers. For me, my films are like my kids, so they would attend my premieres like attending a graduation! But now it is just too hard for them to travel across country for film screenings. So I can bring it to them, thanks to PFF. I get to sit and watch with my mom and dad. I’m super excited! Larry and Jana are both coming, and hopefully, it will be a really sweet homecoming.

Many of you know Shirley's parents, Art Thompson, Sr. and Elaine Thompson. Elaine owns Vintage Antiques in Olde Towne, and Dad can be found on the fairways three days a week at Royal Golf Club. I am hoping you will join them at the film festival. The award-winning film, Finding Kukan, that Shirley edited and produced, will be featured at the 8th Annual Pontchartrain Film Festival at 7:00pm on Nov. 2 at the Mandeville Community Center, 3090 E. Causeway Blvd. As a special bonus, Shirley will talk with the audience about the film after the screening. By the way, Shirley is quite a humble artist. She talked easily about the struggles, but not about her accolades. She has won numerous awards including a Dupont Columbia Award for Journalism, two Northern California Emmy awards, and numerous film festival awards. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to be dazzled, and hear the rest of the story. If you want a teaser, you can watch the trailer at: www.findingkukan.com

1.) In 2009, Shirley was the Editorial Consultant in Six Ways to Santiago in Madrid, Spain. 2.) In Beijing at the 2015 film screening of Finding Kukan with Director Robin Lung 3.) With husband Stanford Chang at the Finding Kukan Hawaii premiere 4.) Shirley & her cameraman husband, Stanford Chang.

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SAINTS @ BUCCANEERS • NOON

James & The Giant Peach Slidell Little Theatre • 2pm

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z Bayou Jam Ronnie Kole, John Perkins, Bobby Ohler Slidell Auditorium • 5 - 7 PM

z

James & The Giant Peach Slidell Little Theatre • 2pm

East St. Tammany Senior Appreciation Luncheon Harbor Center 11am - 2pm

13

12

11

5

SMH Women’s Health Alliance Luncheon Harbor Center • 11am - 1pm

Grand Opening Middendorf's 3:30PM

WED

10

Trunk or Treat Aldersgate UMC SUNDAY 5-7PM

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TUE

Athena Awards Luncheon The Sadie Jane 11:30AM - 1:30PM ChamberOne Quarterly Luncheon

4

28

MON

Slidell Gun & Knife Show Harbor Center 10am - 4:30pm

3

SAINTS VS CARDINALS • NOON

z Heritage Park • 5 - 7pm

Vince Vance Halloween Bash

27

SUN

2019

N o v e m b e r


of New Orleans b u l C s s e r P " Winner, 2018 "Best Column

The

Storyteller CHANGES IN LATITUDE New Orleans, aka the Crescent City, aka The Big Easy, is certainly one of the world's unique places. I think its geography contributes, as it sits almost at the terminus of one of the world’s largest rivers. The river has been its window; and the vessels that sailed the river have been cameras that snapped shots of the city and carried New Orleans up stream.

Native New Orleanians believe there is no other place to live. When they meet each other for the first time, they are more interested in where you went to high school than where you went to college. Those of us who have tried to become a part of the city most often fail measurably, regardless of our desire to be accepted. It is said, you will never change New Orleans, but New Orleans will change you.

There is a kinship amongst river towns. Natchez, Vicksburg, Memphis and St. Louis all have a little New Orleans in them; or maybe New Orleans has a little bit of them in it. Whatever the reasons, the Big Easy is an attraction. Visitors have come for two centuries to shop, party, sin and become invisible in the French Quarter, its bars and its brothels. The Crescent City is certainly more than one large gentleman’s club, but that is sort of an image that the city is glad to maintain.

14

It is a city of sights, sounds, smells and culture that has attracted conformers and non-conformers for years.

It is jokingly said the biggest towns in Mississippi are Memphis and New Orleans. I don’t think there is a young man in the state that, by his 19th birthday, has not made his way to New Orleans; and I believe the female statistics are similar.

Forgive me, Lord, for what I am about to say, but there is something fun about sin. Male and female are not immune; and, if we don’t partake, we certainly are enthralled that we saw where it all went down, or maybe came off.

In the 1950’s, there was a special train that ran from Jackson, Mississippi to New Orleans and back each day. It was called The Rebel. This proves the desire to be connected to the Big Easy.

This is the story of two young men that migrated from the poorest state in the nation, to a city that they thought offered them a way out. A city that they were told had opportunity. A city they were warned could be dangerous to their character but offered a better way of life from what they had - if they kept their heads about them. I was one of those young men. My dad told me, “Son, when you grow up, go to New Orleans. They have more money in that Whitney Bank than all the banks in Mississippi put together. Go where the money is.” There are a number of explanations for the name Big Easy, but most agree it goes back to the live and let live lifestyle. It is a place that, if only for a short time, one can get


lost in almost any type of sin or debauchery that satisfies your personality; and, at the same time, stimulate your art, intellectual and spiritual senses. Out of this smelting pot of cultures - Spanish, French, Italian, German, Scottish, Irish, African and American - a "no other place in the world" atmosphere exists. The French Quarter, also known as the Vieux Carre, is a town within a city. It is a town that is as unique as any that exist. On any given day, as you stroll down Bourbon, Charters or Royal streets, you may encounter coat and tie businessmen, strippers on their way to work, hookers coming or going to work, musicians, magicians, gutter punks and even witches. Of all that pervades the French Quarter of New Orleans, nothing is more unique than the fact that the entire economy is fueled by the music that emanates on the streets and in the bars. Jazz, yes, you have heard of that; but it's more. It's R&B, Blues, Metal and, occasionally, you'll still hear some folk, country or bluegrass. The other young man in this story came to New Orleans searching for fame and fortune also. We did not know each other and would not for many years. Strictly by coincidence and unbeknownst to either of us, we were both in the city in the summer of 1966. I was seeking summer employment in the marine industry. He was seeking employment in the entertainment industry. Neither of us had any money, but we didn’t care. The city would take care of us; and I guess she did. As I said, he became my friend in later years. His name is Charlie Hewitt. Charlie is and was a musician. Along with two band mates, they formed a trio called the Cellar Dwellers. They were starving to death back in Summit, Mississippi. Those were hard times, but they had heard of the land of milk and honey just down Highway 51. I never heard them play, but I expect they were somewhere between decent and good. Everyone wanted to be a star in those days, and people with much less talent than those three had made it big. Three guys packed up their gear and set off in search of fame and fortune. After all, New Orleans was the city of Fats Domino, Clarence "Frogman" Henry, Frankie Ford, Lloyd Price and others. Certainly, there was room for three young guys with stars in their eyes. That would have been September. They packed their gear and away they went.

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Charlie and I have discussed that summer several times. This is what Charlie says about the city:

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“I moved to the French Quarter in September 1966 to sing at The Bayou Room on Bourbon Street. I was coming from a small, southwest Mississippi town of 1200 people. I went

Supported by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts as administered by the St. Tammany Commission on Cultural Affairs. 15


from a job making $50 a week, to singing in a Bourbon Street folk club making $185 per week. My head was in the clouds and it was spinning. I knew I had died and gone to heaven. I could only describe it at the time as like getting paid for sex. Singing on Bourbon Street felt just that good.” Having known a lot of Charlies in my time, I read things into this that Charlie did not say. Could he be saying that the lure of the lights and the freedom to be himself was more than he could stand? Could he be saying that the Crescent City offered him an opportunity to escape what he perceived as a society of pious judgement? Could he be saying, “Yes, Marie Laveau, you have me under your spell...”? Charlie continues,“Whatever the essence of New Orleans' French Quarter was and still is, it went straight into my veins just like heroin into an addict...and every time I return, I get the feeling as if I never left. It is a warm feeling, a safe feeling, a feeling that I belong. There's no logic to it. I love the little shops, the places to eat, the street musicians, Jackson Square and the artists, plus the street cars...I love to ride the street cars..." As for me, I grew up believing that only in America could a kid like me grow up to be president. Obviously, I did not. I am not

16

alone in my failed aspirations. I would bet that almost all those reading this, since my audience is usually adult and professional, have not reached the potential of the person they had hoped to be. If you are materially motivated, you did not make the CEO list of a Fortune 500 company. If you are spiritually motivated, you did not become a Billy Graham or a Peter Marshall. But, most haunting of all, are those of us who are compelled by the right side of our brain. That is, those of us who have, or think we have, some sort of art or talent-based drive. You see, we seem to be the most uncomfortable in our own skin -- ever searching, ever longing. If transposing an idea or image to canvas through your fingers and a brush is what has motivated you, I doubt you are, or will become, a Picasso. If you are a wordsmith, I doubt you have become a Shakespeare or a Longfellow; and, if your expression is music, I doubt you are an Andrew Lloyd Weber or an Elvis Presley. What haunts us is that we know we could have been. We often ask ourselves what we could have done differently; and, if we had, would we have accomplished our ambitions? This is certainly true for the ending of Charlie’s story.

This story was originally titled The Fork in the Road. You know the story, where you must choose the direction you take. Sometimes, we don’t have a choice. We are forced to take the other road because one prong in the road was closed, out of your control, unable to pass, or at least that is the way you have perceived it for all these years. What does that have to do with New Orleans? For Charlie, it was a tragic exit from the city, and a creative talent laden mind, that has been haunted because he could not, or did not, make it back to continue his dream. Charlie was forced to detour. The other fork was forced on him on an October morning in 1966. It was forever the end of the road for his two bandmates. ***** In the 1960’s, things were different. The Quarter was more of a haven to artists then than it is now. The t-shirt shops were less prevalent, and it seemed to me that the music was more authentic of what you would expect; but, in 1966, at 19 years of age, I had little to compare it to. I first appeared as a temporary resident of New Orleans in early June of 1966. I was waiting to catch a ship for summer employment; but,

Previous Page: The Cellar Dwellers in 1966, top to bottom: Decell Daughdrill, Lonnie Frazier and Charlie Hewitt. This page: The famous Bayou Room on Bourbon Street in New Orleans where The Cellar Dwellers played for 6 weeks in the fall of 1966.


while waiting, I got a job at a bar on St. Charles Avenue called Casey’s Bar. It was a seaman’s bar, mostly a dive. It was not in the French Quarter, but closely enough connected to be a part of that happening. By the time Charlie, Decell and Lonnie, the Cellar Dwellers, had arrived, I had shipped out; but our experiences of being in the Quarter, at about the same time, must have been similar. It seems that, in the world where we worked, many of the businesses had a dark side. There is evidence that many, if not most, of the bars, strip clubs and music venues were owned or operated by what we imagined was organized crime. Our imagination was probably correct. We had been warned about that. After all, the rumor that organized crime had killed John Kennedy was still fresh in our minds. I knew when I became employed that I had been baptized into the lower ranks of what has known as the French Quarter People. It mattered not if you were a bartender in a dive, a first rate band leader at a fine hotel, like Leon Kilner, a street musician or a hooker, you were part of the entertainment industry, the life blood of the Quarter, and you were protected. We had privileges. We had contacts, even though we did not know them by name. They didn’t know our names either, but they knew that I was the new kid working at Casey’s Bar and Charlie was the guitar player at the Bayou Room. They protected us as if it were our birthright, but only because of who we worked for. Cover charges were waived for us wherever we went, sometimes drinks and meals were free. Gee, New Orleans was the place to be. But even at 19 and 21 years old, we were just babes in the progression of life, not ready for what lie ahead. ********** For me, it was a brief partial summer as one of the protected ones. Then I left on a ship that sailed between the East and West Coast. After a couple of exciting months on a tanker, I got a call. Uncle Sam wanted me on behalf of my friends and neighbors. This would eventually, not immediately, lead to a stay at Fort Polk, Louisiana. I had taken my fork and a return to the Big Easy was not likely or expected. **********

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For Charlie, it was $185 per week. Time to move the family down. Charlie’s bandmates were going to return home that Saturday night and move their families. But someone crossed the line. The yellow line on the Causeway. Charlie was not in the car when both Lonnie and Decell were killed. Charlie packed his clothes, closed his guitar case and left his job, his dream. At the time, did not know that the course he would take would be forever altered. **********

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17


For me, seven years passed. College, military, marriage, and here I am. The road brought me almost back. On a clear day, I can see the skyline of New Orleans. I live just across the lake. You might say I dabble in New Orleans now. I go in for its benefits and I retreat to the suburbs for a different type of benefit. Each is strikingly different. But, if the truth is known, you can’t just dabble in New Orleans. It’s in your veins. This is what Charlie says: “I still hear the sounds of a jazz band far away playing "Way Down Yonder in New Orleans” as the smell of gumbo, Lucky Dogs and beignets drifts to my nostrils. I try to sear that memory in my brain so I can call it up and enjoy it over and over again.” Those were Vietnam years. Both he and I had military obligations. That obligation was directly connected with my departure and his failure to return. Charlie became a commissioned officer in the Mississippi State National Guard. By the time he received his commission,

over a year had passed. Some of the desire to return to the Big Easy had waned as he had other offers. As artists dream, one such offer assured him of fame and fortune, but only stole time from him that could have been used more productively. There was no fame nor fortune. Now Charlie only returns to the city to visit. Almost always, he finds himself in front of what was the Bayou Room. You don’t have to ask him what he is thinking. You know. For every action, there is a reaction. The music at the Bayou Room could not die. Shortly after Charlie closed his guitar case, another young man would walk in and open his. This time and forever after, the Bayou Room music would never be the same. The young man’s name? Jimmy Buffet. I can’t help but wonder... Did New Orleans and the Bayou Room make Jimmy Buffet? Had circumstances been different, could Charlie have been Jimmy Buffet? I sat with Charlie as he told me the story, realizing how two Mississippi boys were

influenced by the biggest town we had ever seen at that point. Charlie picked up his guitar. He squeezed out a few chords that went nowhere. He then said, almost inaudibly, “I may still have a chance, the City is still in my blood.” We both sat quietly for a moment, waiting for someone to say something. Nothing was said. Then Charlie said, “My music has always been an escape for me. I try to write a song a day, and I enjoy an audience, whoever it is and wherever it is.” He picked up his guitar again. This time, the chords were familiar and so were the words. I don’t think the words he sang were referring to himself, but I am sure it referred to someone he knew. At least one person. It’s been the ruin of many a good man, and Lord I know I’m one.

John S. Case November 2019

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“We Had to Make a Move”

Local business ExpoSigns relocates to Olde Towne after 14 years... “Believe it or not, we’ve been coveting this exact location for years,” says local business owner John Maracich, whose company ExpoSigns moved to Olde Towne Slidell earlier this year. “With so many new business establishments opening around here, we felt compelled to become part of the momentum and energy this neighborhood is starting to generate. We had to make a move. So when 2143 First Street became available for rent we jumped on it. The deal to move in was made in a few hours.” The building, originally built as a 5 & Dime in the 1950’s (at least according to one of the many amateur local Slidell historians) has housed endeavors as varied as an art gallery, a salvage grocery store, and even the local Democratic campaign headquarters. “What makes it great for our sign company is the wide open floorplan. If we need to stack political signs to the ceiling one day and print vehicle wraps the next, we’re able to move our mobile work tables. The flexibility of workflow has enabled an incredible shift toward peak efficiency.”

Longtime associate Jim Fairchild switches out a promotional event signs outside the new ExpoSigns location on First Street.

ExpoSigns has been designing, fabricating and installing signs and graphics in the greater New Orleans area for over 20 years. “Our specialties are trade shows and special events,” says John. “We got our start working with the Voodoo Music Experience when it was first conceived. We’ve been the primary graphics provider for some of the biggest locally managed trade shows in the area. So you know we’ve got years and years of experience handling the challenges of event production that some of the other providers probably don’t have.” “You have a bar in here???” While the open space may be John’s favorite distinction, most all visiting customers are stopped in their tracks by another feature not often found in sign and graphics establishments. A 30 foot bar. “2143 was being groomed to be a bar before we got here,” says John. “But fortunately for us, there were some design roadblocks that prevented the previous owners from opening. The bar had already been built and just needed to be spruced up so we decided to keep it and convert it to a multi-use storage area. Our rolling desks fit nicely under the bar. It’s pretty uncanny how productive it is to have a bar in your sign shop.” So is ExpoSigns serving craft cocktails? “At ExpoSigns we try to be prepared for anything but our customers mostly prefer coffee or a cold soft drink.” “Our biggest key to success is community involvement,” says John, who believes the most important part to running a great business is being an active part of the community. “That’s why we’ve been partnering with many of the local non-profits. They do so much for Slidell. Around here, there are worthwhile events every weekend. Where else can you enjoy the Warrior Wing Cookoff, Oktoberfest, Jazz and Blues Fest, Wild Game Cookoff, North Shore on Tap and more in a 30 day span? So our experience helping produce large events really comes into play.”

The business, originally located in Mid City New Orleans, found itself without a home after Hurricane Katrina. John and his wife, Tiffany, moved to Slidell in 2000, and decided it made sense to move the business too. “Slidell offered resources and infrastructure that had been destroyed in our original New Orleans location. Now, looking back, we realize we’ve been fortunate in our recovery.” “Since then, we’ve made so many great friends and associates, I can’t even fathom what we would do anywhere else.”

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The

Dish

ran away with the

By Katie Clark

Spoon

ELBOW ROOM Thanksgiving is… extra chairs pulled from other rooms in the house. It is a card table shoved next to the dining room table and the height is off. It is days of planning, stress dreams and a butter shortage. It is, “No, that boyfriend won’t be joining us this year,” and the first year without Uncle Bill. It marks time, anniversaries and is a reminder of things lost – like recipes. If you were to sit around my husband’s Thanksgiving table, you’d think his Mawmaw made James Beard award-winning butter beans. What could have possibly been in them? Do you know how long she’s been dead? Yet, the taste of those butter beans lingers, and every year falls short I should add. I love Thanksgiving because it’s pure. It’s about one meal and one giant table. It’s about stretching a regular sized day into the longest one. Maybe, for you, it’s about the Cowboys. But for us, it culminates with a turkey sandwich sometime around 8:30PM. Everything is lukewarm by then and still mostly out, gently wrapped in tin foil. (Thanksgiving is also a PSA for an anti-food poisoning campaign. Do you know anyone who has gotten sick from eating left out turkey on Thanksgiving day? Don’t answer that.) Know what makes me tear up? The Presidential Turkey pardon. Every time. I also love second cousins, new babies I haven’t met and strays the nephew brings home from college. I love that my sister-in-law prefers the gelatinous cranberry straight from the can, and my husband won’t touch it. My mom makes my grandmother’s “Pink Salad,” served on butter lettuce, and my dad’s contribution is corn macque choux. I always get charged with desserts, but I prefer the turkey. That big ole featherless bird, shoved into a tiny oven, with hopes and dreams of a fine lunch, but even better leftovers. My mother-in-law tells the story of the cornbread dressing that was prepared, but not served, which is disappointing in itself. But the real travesty is that it wasn’t discovered until months later. There was the Thanksgiving years ago, when my husband was still courting me. He decided to make Galatoire’s Puffed Potatoes in an attempt to woo my family. That day started when he sliced part of his finger off and we all took a trip to the hospital. I think we ordered pizza that year. 20

All this to say, Thanksgiving is…stories! It is front loaded memories, good and bad. It’s elastic pants, Beaujolais and gratitude. It’s serving others and being grateful. Not only for the bountiful feast in front of us, but for all of the small reasons to be thankful for those we love and those who love us. For reunions and traditions, for expanding families with new additions, and adjusting when we lose someone. May your Thanksgiving make you full. My Aunt Lisa’s Pecan Pie 1/4 C Butter 2/3 C Sugar 1 Tbs Flour 1 ¼ C White Corn Syrup Pinch of Salt 4 Whole Eggs 1 C Broken Pecan Meat 1 tsp. Vanilla 1 Unbaked Pie Shell Cream butter. Add sugar and flour gradually and cream until fluffy. Add syrup. Beat well. Add salt and eggs, one at a time. Beat thoroughly. Stir in pecans and vanilla. Bake at 350° for about 50 minutes or until set.


COCO AND THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS By Rev. Tracy L. MacKenzie Lead Pastor, Aldersgate United Methodist Church

A couple of years ago, the Disney group came out with a movie called “Coco.” The movie takes place in Mexico and surrounds the story of young Miguel who dreams of becoming a musician. It is forbidden by his family because his great-great grandmother, Imelda, married a man who left her and her young daughter to pursue a career in music. Young Miguel believes that Ernesto, a wildly popular, now-dead musician, is his great-great grandfather, the father of Coco, Miguel’s beloved abuela. Miguel steals Ernesto’s beloved guitar and, in doing so, becomes invisible to the living but visible to those dead relatives who are visiting the land of the living from the Land of the Dead for the Dia de Los Meurtos. Miguel, after a long and convoluted story, needs the blessing of his real great-great grandfather, Hector, and great-great grandmother, Imelda to break the curse and return, fully, to the land of the living. (You’ll have to rent the movie for the full details.) Basically, it is a story of crossing over from the living to the dead. And, I think it is a story that reminds us that (as a colleague mentor friend of mine once said), “the dead are not that far from us…we are separated by a thin veil…” For centuries, the Christian Church has celebrated the “Communion of the Saints” on November the 1st. This is sometimes known as “All Saints Day” or “All Souls Day.” Who are the Saints of the Church? What is this communion of which we speak? Christianity broadly defines saints as all believers in Jesus Christ, whether on earth or in heaven. The word “saints” itself is a translation of a Greek word which means “holy ones.” Therefore, to accurately determine what the New Testament teaches about these “holy ones,” we must examine what it says about holy persons and things. Basically, the New Testament writings define “saints” in all of three ways: 1) the community of believers gathered, the church, are the saints; 2) those who have lived and died in faith are the saints; and 3) those Christians living on the earth are the saints. As we celebrate the Feast of All Saints, we’re not limited to those who have been officially canonized, or commemorated in the church calendar. They have their own particular days in the church year. “All Saints” speaks of those who were not famous, those who are not remembered by everyone, but those whose lives and deeds have endured beyond their death. The list includes our own beloved dead, those who have lived and died within our own faith community, our own families, our own circle of spiritual companions. As the familiar children’s hymn makes so clear, “The saints of God are just folk like me, and I mean to be one too.”

The “saints” are every day, ordinary people, aren’t they? They are not just the Gandhis, the Martin Luther King, Jr’s and the Mother Teresas, but the faithful, imperfect as we are. Barbara Brown Taylor really captures this, as she writes of the Feast of the Communion of Saints as a sort of “family reunion.” Listen; she says: So All Saints’ Day is a family reunion indeed, of a clan made kin by Christ’s blood. There are heroes and scoundrels at the party, beloved aunts and estranged cousins, relatives we adore and those who plainly baffle us. They are all ours, and we are all included. On All Saints’ Day we worship amidst a great fluttering of wings, with the whole host of heaven crowding the air above our heads. Matthew is there, and Thomas, Barnabas, and the Virgin Mary. Teresa is there, along with Ignatius, Pius, and Columba, plus all those whom we have loved and lost during the year: Hank, Dorothy, Margaret, Al. Call their names and hear them answer, “Present.” On All Saints Day they belong to us and we to them, and as their ranks swell, so do the possibilities that open up in our own lives. Because of them and because of one another and because of the God who binds us all together, we can do more than any of us had dreamed to do alone. (Weavings, Sept.-Oct. 1988, pp. 34-35, quoted in Synthesis) It seems to me that the saints of the church are those men and women who, baptized and faithful, persevere in seeking God’s will in their lives. And, it would seem that by their abiding in the Communion of Saints, they are not that far away. Blessings,

Rev. Tracy L. MacKenzie


MAKING

CENTS

By Mike Rich, CFP® Pontchartrain Investment Management

LONG TERM CARE 1. A lot of people are going to need care when they’re old, and there’s a good chance that you – yes, you – will be one of them.

If you are a baby boomer, this could be the defining issue of your financial life. It’s November, so break out the party hats and call the caterer! Why? Because it’s Long Term Care Month! I know, I know, you’ve been waiting all year for it, but your wait is over. Stop by my office for some champagne, and we’ll raise a glass. Fun! Those of you who are regular readers of my Slidell Magazine articles know that how to deal with and pay for long term care is a frequent topic of mine, and I’m not about to stop. After 11 years of boots-on-the-ground experience with clients and family members, I’m certain that dealing with long term care is going to be one of the defining financial issues for baby boomers, primarily because most of them are completely unprepared

for it – emotionally, physically, and, most importantly, financially. I’m not going to sugar-coat this: because we’re living longer, the need for long term care is going to become ever more important, it’s going to affect a lot of people, the cost for care is high and getting higher, and someone is going to have to pay for it. If that’s not enough to get your attention, ponder this:

The U.S Department of Health and Human Services has reported that about 70% of people age 65 or older are going to need some type of long term care before they die.1 Whether that care is given in a nursing home, assisted living facility, daycare program, or in one’s home, seven out of ten of us are going to need assistance with the things we do every day, such as eating, dressing, or bathing. Or, we might have a significant mental impairment, such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, and will rely on someone to help us manage our lives. We or our family members are either going to have to 1) pay for it out of pocket

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or with insurance, or 2) figure out how to provide the care without paying for it. Of course, you might be one of the three out of ten people who might not need care, but I don’t like those odds.

retirement account can implode when thousands of dollars a month have to be shelled out to someone to take care of you. Even in-home care at $15 an hour2 can add up quickly. Don’t waste your retirement money on long term care. Insurance companies are in the business of paying for it and they do a fantastic job. Let one of them ease the burden for you.3 3. Speaking of paying for it, there are several ways.

2. Long term care is expensive. Lucky for us, we live in Louisiana. Among the many blessings we enjoy here – Mardi Gras, crawfish boils, Baton Rouge politics – you can also count lower-cost long term care. The average annual cost of a private room nursing home stay in our state is about $62,000, one of the lowest costs in the nation.2 However, even though costs are lower here, they can add up fast, and you don’t have to be a financial advisor to figure out how quickly a

The biggest push-back I hear from clients about long term care insurance is that they might not need it and will have shelled out premium payments “for nothing.” True. However, there are other ways to pay for your care. A good option for some folks is to use a fixed annuity with a long term care rider. If you need long term care, the annuity company promises to pay a benefit over a selected time period, with the total benefit being, potentially, a multiple of the initial premium. If you never need long term care, the annuity has grown tax-deferred, you could surrender the annuity for cash or turn on a stream of

income, and it has a death benefit to boot.3 This helps us avoid the “use-it-orlose-it” nature of traditional insurance. Call me to find out more about how this option might work for you. When your spouse or children get a bill every month for $3,000, $4,000, $5,000 or more for your care when you’re old, how are they going to pay it? With a 70% chance of it happening to you or your spouse and potentially blasting a big hole through your hardwon retirement nest egg, don’t you think it makes sense to put a plan in place now to protect your money so you can enjoy it, rather than waste it on long term care? Call me today, and we’ll talk. https://longtermcare.acl.gov/the-basics/how-much-carewill-you-need.html

1

2

Louisiana LTC costs: http://www.genworth.com.

Benefits and income guarantees are based on the claims-paying ability of the issuing company. Annuities are long-term investment vehicles designed for retirement purposes. Gains from tax-deferred investments are taxable as ordinary income upon withdrawal. Withdrawals made prior to age 59 ½ are subject to a 10% IRS penalty tax and surrender charges may apply.

2

Securities and Advisory Services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

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In 2019, Easterseals celebrates 100 years of impact in the lives of individuals with disabilities or other special needs, their families and communities throughout America as a powerful advocate and leading provider of innovative services.


History

Americans with Disabilities Act

In 1907, Ohio businessman Edgar Allen lost his son in a streetcar accident. The lack of adequate medical services available to save his son prompted Allen to sell his business and begin a fundraising campaign to build a hospital in his hometown of Elyria, Ohio. Through this new hospital, Allen was surprised to learn that children with disabilities were often hidden from public view. Inspired by this discovery, in 1919, Allen founded what became known as the National Society for Crippled Children, the first organization of its kind.

Prior to the passing of the ADA on July 26, 1990, Easterseals was a leading advocate for the American Disabilities Act (ADA) and actively lobbied in Washington and across the country for its adoption. Easterseals also created some of the most powerful advocacy pro-ADA public service campaign with messages to support the law and its implementation. After the passing of the ADA, Easterseals worked tirelessly to ensure that all people are empowered to access their rights under the ADA.

The Birth of the Seal In the spring of 1934, the organization launched its first Easter "seals" campaign to raise money for its services. To show their support, donors placed the seals on envelopes and letters. Cleveland Plain Dealer cartoonist J.H. Donahey designed the first seal. Donahey based the design on a concept of simplicity because those served by the charity asked "simply for the right to live a normal life." In 1945, the vision was expanded across the country and in communities nationwide when services to adults and returning WWII veterans were offered. The lily — a symbol of spring — was officially incorporated as Easterseals' logo in 1952 for its association with resurrection and new life and has appeared on each seal since. The overwhelming public support for the Easter "seals" campaign triggered a nationwide expansion of the organization and a swell of grassroots efforts on behalf of people with disabilities. By 1967, the Easter "seal" was so well recognized, the organization formally adopted the name "Easter Seals."

In 2016, Easterseals once again launched a new brand which introduced the reimagined, single name that works to strip away the public’s misperception around “Easter” and “Seals” while paying tribute to the organization’s legacy. The rebrand responds to the evolution of disability in the 21st century—a cause going beyond the physical to include invisible, emotional, social and educational challenges. As Easterseals progressed—expanding in scale and scope to meet new and emerging needs in communities—public awareness became less distinct and visible. The new brand addresses these important shifts by bringing clarity to the crucial services Easterseals provides across the lifespan. Creating a Future Where Every One of Us is 100% Included and 100% Empowered In 2019, Easterseals celebrates 100 years of impact in the lives of individuals with disabilities or other special needs, their families and communities throughout America as a powerful advocate and leading provider of innovative services. In marking this milestone, Easterseals reflects on its legacy of delivering equality, dignity and independence to people with disabilities while embracing a future where every one of us is 100% included and 100% empowered.

According to an August 2018 press release from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 4 Americans currently live with a disability. This prevalence means the need for services that support individuals with disabilities and their families has never been greater. For the past 100 years, Easterseals has answered this need and has served as a leader by delivering programs and services that make a profound, positive difference in the lives of our friends, neighbors and family members who need it most. Easterseals Louisiana Easterseals Louisiana has done remarkable work over the last year alone, with more than 10,000 individuals receiving services ranging from Support Coordination for all ages to EarlyStepsSystem Point of Entry (SPOE). Most recently, Easterseals Louisiana was honored as one of five nonprofit leaders in 2019 by New Orleans CityBusiness. This success was possible thanks to the support of over 200 employees, hundreds of volunteers, and thousands of donors and public advocates. In commemoration of the 100th anniversary, Easterseals Louisiana is joining its fellow 71 affiliates across the country in dedicating itself to creating a future where everyone is 100 percent included and 100 percent empowered. This goal will be accomplished by continuing to respond to the needs of communities through five service categories: LIVE: Hands-on services that provide a wide range of health and wellness resources that empower children, adults and senior citizens to reach their full potential. LEARN: Educational programs that help children and adults learn, or re-learn, the basic skills they need to thrive across their lifespan. WORK: Training programs that help everyone, from individuals with autism to military veterans, prepare to enter or re-enter the workforce. 25


PLAY: Recreational programs that help individuals across several age groups participate in camping and other fun outdoor activities to relax and connect with friends. ACT: Volunteer programs that provide everyone with the opportunity to get involved with their community and advocate for the needs of individuals with disabilities. The Next 100 Years While the Easterseals mission has expanded over the last century, one thing that will never change is who they support or how they make a difference. We will continue to champion the most effective ways to make a profound, positive difference in the lives of those who need it most. Most importantly, it takes a community effort to advocate for people living with disabilities, military veterans, their families and caregivers. There are a variety of ways that friends and neighbors can offer their support. Whether it is volunteering at a community event, participating in a fundraising campaign or engaging civic leaders, there is a role for everyone to play in changing the way the world defines and views disabilities.

Do Easter "seals" still exist today? Yes. In fact, Easterseals mails seals to more than 19 million households across the country every year, raising over $13 million to support services to people and families with disabilities. Although highly collectible, Easter seals are a form of Cinderella stamp, meaning they do not have any postal value.

Easterseals Louisiana History Easterseals Louisiana (ESL), established in 1951, is a State affiliate of Easterseals, Inc.Today the Easterseals network consists of over 70 affiliates with more than 500 sites in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and Australia. Some of Easterseals Louisiana’s earliest programs were Scoliosis Screenings and Post-Polio Support Groups. These programs were very important in meeting the needs of the disability community from the 1950's - 1980’s. With the passing of the American’s with Disabilities’ Act (ADA) in 1992, the opportunities and needs for people with disabilities changed. ESL rose to the challenge and began providing case management for individuals who were now able to receive services and supports in their home and communities rather than in institutions. Also, during the late 1990’s, ESL collaborated with other affiliates to provide critical, innovative early intervention services for children, birth to age 3, in the Delta regions of Louisiana. This early work laid the foundation for enhancements in Statewide early intervention services. By the 2000’s, ESL had grown to become the largest provider of Support Coordination (formerly case management), serving individuals in five of the nine DHH Regions by offering high-quality, person centered services to thousands of children and adults with special needs and their families. Easterseals Louisiana Programs

CAMPERSHIP: Provides assistance with summer camp fees for children and adults with special needs PSYCHOSOCIAL REHABILITATION SERVICES (PSR): Assists individuals with integration as an active and productive member of the community, with the least amount of ongoing supports or interventions. CRISIS SERVICES: Assists in reducing the use of hospitalizations or visits to the emergency room by the delivery of immediate community based treatments and interventions for families in crises. COMMUNITY PSYCHIATRIC SUPPORT TREATMENT SERVICES (CPST): Provides goal-directed support and solution focused interventions, which are intended to assist individuals achieve objectives. AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER S E RV I C E S: Provides PEERS® Training for adolescents and their parents to improve social skills within the adolescents peer group. Easterseals Louisiana: Fast Facts • This past year, ESL supported nearly 10,000 families across the state of Louisiana (9,869 to be exact) • Over 92% of funds expended by ESL were used for direct services & fundraising efforts in 2018.

SUPPORT COORDINATION: Actively serving over 5,000 individuals of all ages through an array of programs including those for children, adults, and the elderly.

• In 2013, ESL received the highest level of accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) and has maintained this accreditation to date.

SYSTEM POINT OF ENTRY (SPOE) /EARLY INTERVENTION: Assists families of children from birth to age 3 in obtaining early intervention services.

• Easterseals Louisiana has offices located across the state of Louisiana in Shreveport, Monroe, Alexandria, Covington, New Orleans and Thibodaux.

BEHAVIORAL HEALTH SERVICES: Supports those who need ongoing active assistance to live in the community, and those in need of transitional housing.

The Easterseals Louisiana website has more information on opportunities to contribute to the goal of creating a future where everyone is 100% included and 100% empowered.

TRANSITIONAL AND PERMANENT SUPPORTIVE HOUSING: Provides a safe and comfortable environment for 26

those with behavioral health, substance abuse, or cooccurring disorders with the ultimate goal of independent living.

www.easterseals.com/louisiana


ns "Cont a e l r O w e N f o b Donna Bush, Winner - 2019 Press Clu

inuing Coverage"

Red Headed Woodpecker Story and photos by Donna Bush

They have many imaginative nicknames such as flag bird, flying checker-board, jellycoat, patriotic bird, shirttail bird, white shirt, and half-a-shirt. All of these bring to mind a specific image. But, for me, I call them tuxedo birds. They look so impressive with their startling red head, impeccable white chest, crisp black-andwhite wings and tail feathers. I imagine that they are dressed in tuxedos with tails ready for a fancy event. Maybe it’s the red head that makes me feel connected to these beautiful birds! For me, these smartly dressed birds are year-round residents. They frequently visit my backyard, picking choice peanuts or seeds from the feeder. I’m pretty certain they nest nearby but I’ve never been able to locate their spot. Once their young have fledged, the adults teach them about visiting our bird feeder. The red headed woodpecker is perhaps the most easily recognizable bird in eastern North America. They are sexually monomorphic. In other words, both male and female look exactly alike! As omnivores, about one-third of their diet is from insects – beetles, spiders, cicadas, grasshoppers and earthworms; the other two-thirds is plant based – seeds, nuts, and berries. They like to cache their food by wedging it into crevices in trees or under shingles on

[

The red headed woodpecker is one of only four North American woodpeckers known to store their food in crevices. Grasshoppers are stored alive, but wedged in so tightly that they can’t escape. houses. Nothing like saving for a rainy day! I’ve watched them take nuts and seeds from our birdfeeder and stuff them under the roof shingles and the trim around a garage window. There were at least 25 nuts crammed in the window trim! This year, I was fortunate enough to learn about a red headed woodpecker nest in Slidell. It was a very accessible nest with terrific homeowners who welcomed me to photograph. Over the years, I’ve photographed under some challenging conditions– cold, rainy, hot, humid, blistering sun, etc. Anyone who knows me, knows just how fair-skinned I am. I will burn to the red of the red headed woodpecker’s head in about 5 minutes if I’m out in the sun unprotected. I could not have asked for a better place to photograph. I was able to set up my tripod and camera next to my car under the protection of a wonderful shade tree. Most days there was a nice breeze and no bugs. WOW! I usually don’t get this lucky!

[ [

Shortly after learning of the nest's existence, I began daily treks to visit my colorful friends. I would arrive in the morning, park in my shady spot, set up my camera and await their arrival. It never took long before one of the adults flew to the nest tree. On my first visit, I learned that there were hatchlings in the nest when I photographed an adult bringing in worms for breakfast. Each visit, I would document my observations. Red headed woodpeckers fiercely defend their territory. They often attack the nesting sites of other birds. Males often call and drum on surfaces, easily reaching 19-25 beats per second. These birds like to nest in dead trees or dead parts of live trees in an existing cavity (hole) or they might excavate a new one. They have been known to excavate holes in utility poles and buildings. Often, they will reuse a cavity from a previous brood or even take over another woodpeckers’ home. According to my research, the male selects the site and the female taps around it to indicate her approval. I’m not sure what she does if she doesn’t approve of his choice. Both parents take part in the nestbuilding, but the male does most of the excavating while the female observes from a nearby perch. Excavation of a

[ 29


new cavity can take up to two weeks. Cavities are approximately 3-6 inches across and 8-16 inches deep with an entrance hole of about 2 inches in diameter. They can produce 1-2 broods per season with 3-10 eggs in each. Five seems to be the most common.

[

[

Cherokee Indians used the woodpecker as a war symbol.

The nest I observed was approximately 50-60 feet from the ground in the top, dead portion of a live southern magnolia tree. On a few occasions, I was fortunate enough to witness both adults visiting the nest tree. There is a good chance that what I observed was their second nest of this season. I watched adults exiting the nest cavity carrying excavation material several times per

30

day. I think they were performing some nest remodeling as the kids outgrew their current space. Interestingly, whenever they removed chunks of cavity materials, they would fly a fair distance from the nest before dropping it. Perhaps they were concerned about predators knowing the whereabouts of their nest. This particular dead treetop presented several holes, leading me to wonder if they were also nest locations? While my location was fantastic for shade and comfort, it was on a busy street with a steady stream of traffic. The sound of the traffic completely masked any noise of chicks in the nest. The nearby road construction didn’t help either. Neither the traffic nor construction equipment seemed to bother the parents.

Mom & Dad were busy working up and down the street, wrestling bugs from the nearby utility pole, and digging them from the neighboring yards. They are very agile fliers, dodging between vehicles, swooping up to a tree, power pole or down to the ground. The adults liked to perch in a nearby cypress tree where they could easily keep watch on their nest opening.

[

They are agile fliers. Watch them fly and you will see the moves of a defensive linebacker!

One of the adults would fly in and perch on the edge of the cavity entrance, often times peering inside. Occasionally, I was lucky enough to catch them on the side of the opening with a mouthful of

[


[

insects for the babies. Sometimes, they would immediately fly away. Others, they would disappear inside for a minute or longer. One time, the adult stayed inside so long that I wondered if they had a back door out of the place! They are mentioned in Longfellow’s poem, The Song of Hiawatha. A grateful Hiawatha gave the bird its red head as thanks for its service. My visits were laced with suspense from a Mississippi kite soaring overhead daily, often perching in the cypress tree next to the nest tree. I was concerned about the kite eating one of the chicks. When I discovered a Mississippi kite nest one block away, I became more nervous! These birds could easily snag a baby woodpecker. I didn’t want anything to happen to my baby woodpeckers. Other predators of red headed woodpeckers include cooper’s hawks, owls, snakes, and raccoons.

[

Weeks went by before a juvenile peeked its head out of the cavity hole! It popped in and out several times before finally getting up enough courage to venture to the edge, holding on and looking around for Mom or Dad. As I reviewed my images in preparation for this story, I determined there were at least two chicks! One exhibited more red on the top of his/her head, while the other only had a splash of red above the eyebrows. I thought surely the bravest would launch flight that day; but, if it did, I missed it. The next day had wicked rain and wind all morning. When I was able to visit, the sun was right in my face. I didn’t see any sign of the chick(s) at the entrance hole, although I saw the parents visit the nest. I returned the next day and finally got a glimpse of one of the chicks in a magnolia tree across the street from the nest. The adults fed and badgered the little guy, attempting to convince him to move out and live on his own. Sadly,

that was the last time I was able to see a chick. I still don’t know how many eggs were laid or how many fledged. I visited several more times and would see the adults but never the fledglings. I was so disappointed. But, especially after this experience, I’m forever inquisitive! I may never figure out their behavior, but I guarantee I’ll be watching for my ‘tuxedo birds’ again and again, hoping they nest in the same spot next year!

[ [ How can you attract woodpeckers to your backyard?

They prefer lots of perching space. We have a tree that we call their staging tree, as they rest there en route to the feeder. Provide a collection of seeds, nuts and berries from birdfeeders, suet or shrubs in your yard. Dead trees or stumps offer lots of tasty bugs and a great place to build a nest.

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THANK YOU, DR. KOPFLER, FOR GIVING ME BACK MY SMILE!

Dr. Kopfler is my dentist. My dental journey was extensive, and I was able to receive ALL of my treatment at ONE place, with ONE dentist. I was able to build relationships with the staff. I trust Dr. Kopfler’s office, and I depend on them to give me a beautiful and healthy smile. -Kendra Maness Editor/Publisher Slidell Magazine and VERY happy pa�ent!

Kendra’s Journey: • COMPLETE EXAMS • X-RAYS • PERIODONTAL EVALUATION • PERIODONTAL TREATMENT FULL MOUTH DEEP CLEANING LASER THERAPY

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SAME DAY EMERGENCY SERVICE AVAILABLE


“Your Estate Matters” By Ronda M. Gabb, NP, JD, RFC

Legal-ease

CREMATION NATION The last time I wrote an article on this topic (March 2015), 48.7% of Americans chose to be cremated. That figure was projected to exceed 50% by 2017, and it did. The most recent statistic (2018) now shows that 53.1% of us chose cremation over either burial or medical donation and that figure is projected to be almost 79% by 2035! There are many factors which attribute to this rise in popularity. Economically, cremations are far more affordable than traditional burials; and, demographically, families move around now more than ever. However, it is probably the change in religious doctrines that has also had an impact. In the past, many religions frowned upon cremation, where now most religions allow it. For example, in 1963, the Vatican began to allow cremation; and, in 1997, they allowed the ashes to be present at the funeral Mass. However, the Catholic religion still does not allow the ashes to be scattered as the ashes must remain together. Interestingly though, the Catholic religion does allow a burial at sea as long as the container is dropped to the bottom of the sea and the container is made to keep the ashes intact. (Be advised there are specific laws regarding burials at sea and it is not legal to do so in some places. Even when scattering or dropping ashes at sea, you must be a certain distance offshore, and you are supposed to report this to the EPA within 30 days of doing so. Visit: www.burialatsea.epa.gov) I wonder if the religious aspect is why the South (which tends to be more religious) has the lowest cremation rates in the nation. In Mississippi, only 20.9% are cremated, followed by 25.7% in Alabama, and 29.7% in Louisiana. The highest cremation states are Washington at 76.4%, followed by 75.6% in Nevada, 74.3% in Oregon, and 72.7% in Hawaii. We always encourage our clients to openly and actively discuss their funeral arrangements with their family and loved ones. We spend a great deal of time with clients to assure that their final wishes will be honored, especially in light of so many clients wishing to be cremated. Louisiana has some very strict laws regarding cremation. If you have made no prior legal arrangements, and you

wish to be cremated, your spouse must agree to the cremation. If you have no spouse, then a majority of your adult children must agree (until May of 2016, this law used to require all of the adult children to agree to the cremation). If you have no spouse, nor living children, then it goes down to your adult grandchildren, if none, then to your parents, then to your siblings. If there are none of the aforementioned, then to your closest adult relatives. So what happens if we can’t get a majority? Then off to Court we go, as we need a Judge’s Order. Who wants that expense and heartache at such a difficult time? To assure that your wishes are carried out, you can designate an “authorized agent” for your cremation and burial wishes. We call this legal document a “Declaration of Burial Desires” but it covers all final arrangement decisions. To be compliant with our law, this Declaration must be notarized. Here you designate the person that you know will follow your final wishes, even if you choose to make changes on your deathbed regarding your interment or inurnment.

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

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Keep

Austin

Weird Story and Photos by Rose Marie Sand


T

here are a few cities in America that claim to be weird. You’d think New Orleans would be in that number, but we have other claims to fame in our area.

I visited Austin, Texas a few months ago, and the slogan “Keep Austin Weird” was a prolific reminder that there are weird things to be found. Austin is the southernmost state capital in the 48 contiguous states of the union – interesting, but not exactly weird, right? Austinites have to dig a little deeper to find a weird vein to beat NOLA. My nephew, Jeffery DiGiovanni, and his wife, Lesley Anne Horst, moved to Austin about four months ago, and they played hosts and showed me and my travel companion and partner-in-crime, Katie DiGiovanni, the sights. We kept looking for weirdness. Jeff and Lesley Anne live in central Austin, in a charming neighborhood just walking distance from some very cool businesses. I use the term "cool" to refer to the inside of the charming shops and restaurants – certainly not the five minute walk to the Hyde Park Bar & Grill on Duval Street. ‘Cause Austin was in a time of drought and 100+ degree weather. Look, we Louisianians know about heat, but I gotta admit the arid and desert-like dry heat of Texas was pretty bad in August. I found myself wishing for some humidity – that, in itself, qualifies as a personal 10 in weirdness. Right next door to the restaurant is Antonelli’s Cheese Shop, a snug little cheese monger featuring artisanal cheeses and cured meats. We decided to pop in and take some cheese home and, two hours later, found ourselves tasting cheese with names like Moses Sleeper, Indigo Ridge and Barely Buzzed. Along with some great local beer, I was getting into that weird. Our walk home that evening took us by houses in this charming city neighborhood with backyard chickens and goats just as much at home as your average backyard dog. Score about a four for weird for neighborhood goats. Another neighborhood with a twist is the Rainey Street Historic District, a former working class residential street that’s turned into a popular nightlife district. The bungalow style homes are now bars and restaurants with huge porches and outdoor yards with dozens of food truck vendors. We snacked on tacos (of course) and listened to live music and rubbed shoulders with other partiers as close as you’ll find in the French Quarter on any given night.

All in the Family The Works of Keith and Kelly Dellsperger

November 20 - December 20, 2019 Slidell Cultural Center at City Hall 2055 Second Street in Olde Towne Opening Reception: Friday, November15, 2019, 7-9 pm Thank you to our sponsors!

RENAISSANCE • $5,000 SPONSORS: 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’s Art Depot/Lori Gomez Art Lowry-Dunham, Case & Vivien Insurance Agency Purple Armadillo Again

IMPRESSIONISM • $500 SPONSORS: Chateau Bleu • CiCi’s Pizza • Mayor Greg Cromer Flatliners Entertainment • Old School Eats Food Truck Pontchartrain Investment Management Roberta’s Cleaners • Semplice’s Pizza • Sirocco Coffee Slidell Historic Antique Association Terry Lynn’s Café & Creative Catering • Weston Three 19 Tanya Witchen - Engel & Völkers Real Estate Supported by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts as administered by the St. Tammany Commission on Cultural Affairs. 35


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My niece Katie said it wasn’t the houses-turnedbars that she found weird, however. “There were scooters everywhere, and the lack of security on a busy college bar town strip was weird,” she said. Now, the scooter thing is something you don’t only find on Rainey Street. There are both electric bikes and scooters for rent everywhere in Austin; the dock-less vehicles can simply be left anywhere when one has finished their ride. Just about anywhere we traveled, you’d find piles of scooters discarded like fast food wrappers after a Mardi Gras parade. I watched with fascination as scooter riders walked up to these portable electric vehicles, and with the touch of an app and pennies per mile, took off down the street as easy as you please. The ebikes and scooters have dramatically changed how people get around, but I wasn’t ready to hop on one (a disastrous encounter with a segue vehicle in Disney has cured me from hopping on things). They’re virtually soundless and do have lights that light up at night, but the helmetless ride seemed much too dangerous for me. We saw a lot of these in SoCo – the local term for South Congress Street – a vibrant neighborhood south of Lady Bird Lake. Boutiques, eateries, music venues, and lots of homespun character were as prolific as the scooters themselves, and every shop we went into had some version of Austin-weirdness. One of my favorites was a strange little frog-like creature referred to as “Jeremiah the Innocent” or the “Hi, How Are You” frog, from a mural painted by musician and artist Daniel Johnston of his 1983 album cover. The little frog now seems to be a testimony to both Austin’s weirdness and its likeability. Heavy in both likeability and weirdness is the fact that in SoCo, and other parts of the city, audible crosswalk alerts are narrated by locals. I was absolutely charmed when my nephew Jeff pushed the button on a street corner to activate the cross/don’t cross icon and a voice dripping with Austin-y Texas-y twang lent charm to the simple act of carefully crossing the street. An Austin Department of Transportation employee named Lupe Alvarado is the voice of most of the crosswalk indicators, calmly advising you to wait before entering the intersection. Now, that’s a weirdly settling contrast to the ubiquitous scooters.

36


I ate a lot of great food in Austin, but I’d heard said that no trip to Austin would be complete without having tacos for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and my family was up for the task. Picture an outdoor breakfast of tacos with soft flour tortilla, eggs, cheese, bacon, avocado, potato and pretty much anything else you’d like to include, and you’ve got yourself something that isn’t weird – it’s a little portable piece of heaven. Which is all probably why U.S. News and World Report named Austin the number one place to live in the U.S. in both 2017 and 2018. Jeffrey told me that Austin has a long history of vocal concerns over rapid growth and resistance to developmental projects that are perceived to threaten natural and cultural landscapes. That’s part of the reason for the “Keep Austin Weird” slogan I found on t-shirts, stickers and posters everywhere. The Colorado River runs through this beautiful city, and I could certainly see the abundant reasons for growth. On the last day of our stay, I also saw something truly weird that eclipsed all of the other weird things I’d encountered.

Mayor Greg Cromer and First Lady Peggy Cromer, the Rotary Club of Slidell and the City of Slidell present

UGLY

SWEATER

Charity Gala SECOND ANNUAL

Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019

Slidell Municipal Auditorium 7:00-10:00 pm

Doors open 6:30 pm

At about twenty minutes to sunset, if you join the throngs at the Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge, you’ll see what I mean.

Gala Ticket • $25 VIP Ticket • $50

Comprising the largest urban bat colony in the world, the spectacle of over one million Mexican free-tailed bats emerges from under the bridge, heading out to get their dinner.

Featuring:

There’s even a batline phone number to call to find out recent activity for these mammals, which emit high frequency sounds that bounce back to their ears to detect objects in total darkness. And with that experience, sitting in the still, hot Austin sunset watching bats soar through the air, my quest for Austin weirdness was fulfilled. Next time, I’ll catch a performance at Austin City Limits with soaring music instead of bats!

Tickets now available • Blow Dry Bar • Stella & Grace • Salon KP • EventBrite.com

Proceeds benefit Peggy’s Playground, adding inclusive playground equipment for children with differing abilities.

For more info, call Peggy at 640-8308 ar

yC

lub of S l

ide

ll

There’s many more memories to be made in Austin the next time I visit my family, and I’ll be more than ready for more tacos.

(with a surprise guest!) Ugly Sweater Competitons Holiday Food & Drinks

Ro t

Humans line the bridge and the surrounding grounds; many people kayak on the river or take a riverboat cruise timed to see the creatures and take the chance of possible falling bat guano.

Music by Witness

Louisiana

37


lie Gates

Les Story by

“BEYOND WHAT'S EXPECTED” As you begin to read this, ask yourself, “What are my expectations? What do I hope to get out of this article?” If you have ever read my stories, then I’m guessing the answer is most likely “a laugh” or maybe “some honest, reallife stuff that makes me feel a little more normal.” What is MY expectation as I begin to write this? Two things: To meet what I believe are YOUR expectations, and to find some deeper meaning in the story of life. One that brings healing to myself and others. Now that we got our expectations out of the way, let’s get rid of them. I’ll write, you read, and whatever comes from it will just have to be enough. Sound good? Yeah, I know. It’s kinda hard. That’s why I chose to write about it. Well, that, and the confirmation from above when I sat down to write and the cardboard box directly in front of me on my Mom’s back porch said, “Beyond what’s expected.” I smiled and thought, what a great title. 38

Expectations, either for others or ourselves, happen when our imaginations exceed reality. We imagine an outcome that will work best with whatever it is we need. We believe these fantasies we live from will protect our egos by asking unrealistic things from the people around us. And if others can’t give it to us, we blame them. If we can’t give it to ourselves, we feel shameful. You know why? Because expectations are rooted in shame and punishment. When you were a child and expected to fit into a mold you weren’t designed for, or didn’t do something to a parent’s expectation, you were shamed and punished. Maybe you never felt good enough or your true gifts were never validated. Either way, it didn’t feel good.

If you expect nothing, you'll never be disappointed

When the E word shows up in an unhealthy way, there is always a hidden truth behind it. Something that lives inside you in the form of fear or shame and has absolutely nothing to do with the people around you that you believe are not measuring up. It’s not them that isn’t measuring up, it’s you. Anything that you want to change or control in someone else is really something you want to change in yourself. Basically, expectation is that bully in school who was really just a hurt little boy deep down. One that took it out on everyone else. Anything that bothers you deeply about someone else is because it is a weakness in yourself. Just knowing that can be very helpful in understanding why you keep putting the same expectation on someone over and over and they just can’t seem to meet it. Whatever it is, fix it in yourself, not in them. I’ve realized how much everyday expectations are controlling my own


life and happiness. Expectations I have of my children, my husband, my family and friends, myself, and, the expectations they have of me. There are so many expectations flying around that I can’t stop saying the word expectations! I expect you also expect that I’m saying expectations way too much. Now, when I say the word “expect” it sounds funny. Like it’s not even a real word anymore. Try it! Expect. See! Ha-ha! What a dumb word! Who puts x and p next to each other? I’ll tell you who, THAT GUY -> (expect). Ugh. Let’s make fun of him some more. I want to continue this roast using examples of two personal stories. One, about the time an expectation used fear and control (as it does) to alter a very important moment in my life, instead of just allowing it to be what it was meant to be. And the

I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.

second, how it can show up in the small places when you don’t even realize it. I’m not writing about this to shame myself or for some healing confessional… I obviously stopped caring a long time ago what people think of me… I’m writing about it because I want you to see how ugly the E word can be and where it might be entering your own relationships. The first example comes from my engagement to Brian, 17 years ago. I had a huge fear which had developed from my first marriage that gave me a strong need to

carefully control my second one. I was in an abusive marriage for 5 years. As a result, I was very scared and had a looooong list of expectations for the next guy. No, literally, I had a list. And he had to hear it. About 7 or 8 months into our long-distance relationship, Brian flew down to see me. I picked him up from the airport and we went down to New Orleans for a fun Friday night of dancing. Right away, I sensed something different. When we got out of the car, I said to him, “If you are going to propose to me, you have to call and ask my Dad”. He smiled, not confessing anything, then we headed to the restaurant to eat. While there, he excused himself to the bathroom. My expectations grew as my fear did. My fears included many things and came out in the form of control. It’s how I protected my heart. Trusting and being vulnerable had been lost somewhere between flinching from angry hands and the lies of multiple affairs. I was expecting something romantic and unique. Heartfelt. Something that was so perfect that I didn’t have to be scared to say yes. I loved Brian and absolutely wanted to marry him, but I was still living out of a very wounded place and was always expecting to be let down. I still wasn’t sure if he was going to propose, but if he was, then we needed to go a few blocks to the place we met, since that would make it more meaningful to me. Every step was carefully planned out of expectation, which is sad, because I never even considered that he may have had an amazing plan of his own. He didn’t say anything or insist on his own plan; which, in my defense, only made me believe even more that he was going to propose by a random piss-soaked lamp post on Bourbon Street. 39


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I didn’t know. I expected. And Brian, well, he just loved me, wounds and all, and wanted me to be happy. So, let me get to the point. He DID propose to me that night. He called my Dad from the restaurant bathroom. The ring was in his pocket. And the moment was beautiful, and perfect, and sadly, I never knew any difference. I had been blinded. It wasn’t until LAST YEAR that I realized all of this. Yep. 16 years later. I guess something in me healed and then, boom, there it was. So, I asked him if he had another plan in mind the night he asked me to be his wife. I saw his face and my heart sank. Of course. Of course he had a plan. I felt sad, immediately wishing I could go back and feel the moment from a healthy place with no fears. He said he had already planned on calling my Dad, and the place where he was going to propose to me was on a particular bench by the river. He said, “It was the bench we were sitting on when I knew I had fallen in love with you.” I cried, not wanting to believe I missed that special moment for what it could have been.

Sometimes we create our own heartbreaks through expectations. What are you missing out on when expectations don’t allow you to simply let the present moment unfold naturally? Where they could be taking away a chance for you to experience love or reality? Most of the time, they aren’t in the big places like my proposal story, but in the everyday connections with the people around us. Which leads me to my second example... As much as I hate that dumb word, some expectations are healthy because they do stem from reality. Like, I expect my kids to do their chores. My daughter’s chore is to put dishes in the dishwasher every day, and lemme tell ya, it’s one of the better decisions I have made as a parent. I hate dishes. Every single day she whines and argues about having to do them, like REALLY BAD. It’s so annoying. When I was a kid her age, I had lots of chores. She has one. Being my only daughter, I have high


expectations for her. You say, sure, that’s normal. But, it’s not. It's high HOPES I need to have, and there is a difference. Expectations bring anger and bitterness when they don’t arrive, and, they seldom do arrive. Hope, on the other hand, stems from love and leaves room to see why the constant struggle is even there. Simply put, you’re not blinded. I knew there had to be something else behind why she fights the dishes every day. If not, I was going to go crazy. So, we went for a walk and I simply asked her. It had to do with her brother who has special needs who gets a moment to transition when told to do something, like, his chore. It’s even practiced at school because the teachers see he needs it too. When I tell him to do his chore, he says, “Give me a minute,” which is the cue that he is taking his transition moment. When I tell my daughter to do the dishes, I EXPECT her to hop up and freakin do them, because there is no reason why she shouldn’t! See, I get angry. It’s a fight. It’s tiring. She asks why I get so mad about it, and I say what parents say, that "I’m not mad, I’m disappointed," because I expect her to do what she’s told. So, I changed my outlook to HOPE for a moment. HOPING I would find an answer. Her answer was, “When you ask me to do dishes, can I also say, “Give me a minute?” It was sweet. It was vulnerable. And it wasn’t a battle I needed to fight. We have enough of them. Not only does she do the dishes without a fight now, but I know the root of her frustration. Also, I won’t be led to the mental institution because of it. Saved once again! It’s a proud Mom moment I will gladly accept.

I find my life is a lot easier the lower I keep my expectations. Expectations are around us every day. We have them for others, they have them for us, and because of it, no one is ever truly seen for who they are in that moment. We miss connections with the people we love when we are constantly controlling our environments in order to fit our expectations. When my

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husband walks in the door after a bad day at work, maybe he has already built up an expectation in his mind that doesn’t quite fit his vision. Maybe the same day was bad for me too, and I expect something from him as well that never quite fits mine. By maybe, I mean, yes, it happens. And we say mean things under our breath because of it. So, I will try and put Hope in the place of the E word and see what changes. I hope he notices the things I have done for our family today, as I’m sure he hopes I will notice what he has done too. Done. I hope this phone call from the school isn’t bad, but I’m not going to expect it’s good, since it usually isn’t. But if it is, SURPRISE! I’m not going to expect my child to come home with a passing grade on the test, but if they do, SURPRISE! I’m

test, and really wanting to pass, because I know it will leave more room for real, unaltered, present moments. And with that, greater hope.

Love doesn’t hurt. Expectations do. not going to put an expectation on myself to fold the laundry tomorrow, but if I do, SURPRISE! I don’t expect you to laugh or feel a little more normal after reading this article, I just KNOW you are. SURPRISE! MAN! All the little surprises we are missing out on! Seriously though, I’m so tired of talking about expectations, imagine how tired we are from having them all the time. They will let you down and control your life by creating fake realities that never measure up. Let them go. It takes a lot of practice. I’m still taking the

Beyond what’s expected, I believe there is a beautiful, more authentic life to be lived, and many more surprises that will unfold from living it in a better way. Maybe the way to get there is to decide that the people we love are doing the best they can for who they are. Good enough just the way they are. And, that so are we. Well, was this article what you expected? Did you expect to hear the word expect as much as you did? Because the expectation, I expect, was expected, just as you would expect. Yep. Still sounds dumb.

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Rabbits Teeth grow up through jaws, puncturing eyeballs. Maggots form in body cavities, killing their hosts. A fungus-like invader infects blood, damaging the central nervous system. These are diseases suffered by wild rabbits. But more and more often, they are conditions faced by pet rabbits that three new studies suggest are occurring on a large scale. One of the papers indicates, for the first time, a predilection among the general public for brachycephalic (flat-faced/short-nosed) breeds, which are more prone to excruciating dental conditions. Another study finds that rabbits with floppy ears are more at risk of serious illness, including

deafness and dental problems. And a third paper finds that pet rabbits in the U.K. die at a median age of 4.3 years, even though domesticated rabbits can and should live to 10 years and older. Dental problems causing starvation were commonly documented in that third study; poor care of rabbits by their owners was also cited as a leading cause of premature death. Scientists conducted the research during their free time, without compensation, presenting surveys as a fun activity for pet owners on social media. And apparently it was quite well received, attracting nearly 21,000 responses from around the globe. Participants in the

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first study were shown photographs of 25 rabbit faces and asked to rate them for cuteness. Among the results: long-nosed, mouselike faces, as are found on wild rabbits, scored much worse than short-nosed, round-faces, which are produced only through human intervention in the form of selective breeding. The short- faced rabbits were 2 to 3 times more likely to receive a high score for cuteness or desirability. Dental disease is one of the most common clinical presentations for rabbits at veterinary facilities. Brachycephalic breeds are far more likely to experience such problems, due to a lack of space


in their mouths and misaligned jaws. Overgrown teeth can press on the patient's eye sockets, blocking tear ducts and causing a discharge to the face. In severe cases, the best course of action is often to euthanize the patient to end its pain. In less severe cases, the patient can be treated by shortening or removing teeth, but lifelong management is required to prevent recurrence. The abnormal facial structure is ultimately responsible for the problem. Ear posture can cause problems, too. In the second study, researchers studied lop-eared (selectively bred) and erect-eared (natural) individuals. Lopeared rabbits were found more frequently to have abnormally narrow ear canals, larger accumulations of earwax and irritation, and higher incidence of pain, compared with erect-eared rabbits. Floppyeared bunnies also displayed more dental disease, including incisor pathology, molar overgrowth, dental spurs and history of veterinary dental treatment. Again, the artificially produced floppy ears produced by the breeders lead to diseases that are much less common in erect-eared rabbits. Nature designs a much healthier specimen than human breeders do. The third study indicated that pet rabbits often die much earlier than would be expected. Research among pet rabbits receiving veterinary care found oral disorders, including overgrowth and generalized dental disease, in 10.9% of patients; overgrown nails, 16.0%; and general dermatological disorders, 20.2%. Common causes of death included myiasis, a fancy word for maggot infestation, which indicates owner neglect; anorexia / starvation due to the abovementioned dental problems; and bite injuries. The most popular breeds are miniature lops and Netherland dwarfs, both moderately to extremely brachycephalic. Results of the “cuteness” study support suspicion among many veterinary researchers that short-faced rabbits are actively being bred to meet demand from pet owners. If that's the case, it means that rabbit welfare problems might be addressed by promoting greater public awareness and improved breeding practices. People might think twice if they learn that the cute-faced rabbit they are considering may well grow up to have more health problems, costing more for veterinary care, and likely dying earlier anyway. As is usually the case, education is everything. Unintended consequences are real. Just ask any veterinarian who’s ever treated more than one English Bulldog!

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OUT TAKES

ag Slidell M r 2019 mbe

112 - Nove

Slidell Magazine was EVERYWHERE this month! Here are just a few of our adventures!

Our annual trip to John Case’s hometown in Mississippi included friends & adventures! Here’s the whole gang enjoying a picnic on the low-water bridge, BEFORE the cops were called!

Slidell Mag writers Leslie Gates and Donna Bush, along with friend Meagan Turpin, are incognito as they search for discarded shopping carts for the Mona Lisa & MoonPie parade. Nice shirt, Leslie. Don’t call us for bail!

Fox 8 news anchor Kim Holden takes a commercial break while installing insulation with the Rowdy Rosies team

bs dal totally photobom Police Chief Randy Fan & vis Da l Bil ss, ne ra Ma Slidell Mag Editor Kend Off. okCo me Ga ld Wi e Dave Kauf mann at th success! The event was a huge ch!) (The picture, not so mu

Jamie Dakin finally gets to enter a chamber raff le with her new business card!

They’re all heart! Resourceful Rosies team members, Robin Marquez & Councilwoman Leslie Denham, install sheetrock for a future Habitat homeowner

to work Dania Fandal and her powerhouse team of Riveting Rosies get Build Women 2019 the for site job Habitat the on the vinyl siding at


Thank you to all the Food Trucks, vendors, and especially the people who came to the Harbor Center for the Louisiana Food Truck Festival! Everyone enjoyed delicious dishes from a wide variety of Food Trucks and spectacular music performed by Christian Serpas with Ghost Town and Category 6 who closed out the day. The event was such a success, we will have 2 next year! Mark your calendars for March 7, 2020 and December 7, 2020. See you there!

November 2-3 Slidell Gun and Knife Show November 9 Northshore Games CrossFit Competition November 12 East St. Tammany Senior Appreciation Luncheon, hosted by the Friends of the Harbor Center November 13 Lobby Lounge Concert Series presents Ellisa Sun

Che ck out o ur n ew w e bsite!

November November November November

14 15-17 20 22

Private Event Bayou Showdown Car Show Private Meeting East St. Tammany Habitat for Humanity Fall Gala

w w w. h a r b o r c e n t e r. o r g

47


Christmas Under the Stars December 6-7 & 13-14, 2019 • 6-9

pm

• Griffith Park in Olde Towne

Holiday Lights & Decorations • Santa’s Magical Mailbox • Parade of Trees • Slidell’s Nativity Life-size Christmas Cottages • Visits with Santa & Mrs. Claus in the Gazebo, 6 - 8:30 pm All in the Family: The Works of Keith & Kelly Dellsperger exhibit in the Slidell Cultural Center And be sure not to miss these other festive holiday events in Olde Towne Slidell: 5th Annual Spirit of the Season Olde Towne Light Display and Decorations Contest

Olde Towne Slidell will be decked out with festive lights and decorations, Dec. 6, 2019, through Jan. 2, 2020.

Christmas in Olde Towne Slidell • Saturday, Dec. 7 • 6-9 pm • Free Admission

Community Christmas Parade, live entertainment, fine and casual dining, and unique shopping experiences. Sponsored by the City of Slidell, Olde Towne Slidell Main Street, Olde Towne Slidell Association and the Slidell Historic Antique Association. Held in conjunction with Louisiana’s Shop Local Artists Week. For more information and to view events, please visit: ShopLocalArtistsWeek.com.

Holiday Concert with the Northshore Community Orchestra Thursday, Dec. 19 • 7 pm • Free Admission Slidell Municipal Auditorium • 2056 Second Street

Slidell Movie Nights at Slidell’s Bayou Christmas Heritage Park • Saturday, Dec. 21 Holiday Movie starts at 7 pm • Free Admission

Christmas Under the Stars is brought to you by the City of Slidell’s Dept. of

Cultural & Public Affairs, the Commission on the Arts and the 2019 Cultural Sponsors:

Renaissance • $5,000 Sponsors:

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 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 - Engel & Völkers Real Estate Supported by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts as administered by the St. Tammany Commission on Cultural Affairs.

(985) 646-4375 • MySlidell.com • “City of Slidell” on Facebook & Twitter 48

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Slidell Magazine, November 2019  

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