THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF SLIDELL
Vol. 113 December 2019
“The SMARTEST and BEST decision I have made thus far is working with the MENU SURGEON.” - Frank A. (restaurant customer) on An out-dated marketing plan is like all those expired pill bottles you’ve still got in your medicine cabinet. They may have been effective at one time, but eventually you need to schedule a doctor’s appointment, get some new prescriptions, and toss that old medicine out! The MENU SURGEON is ready to help diagnose your old marketing plan, and prescribe some new “treatments” that may be more effective for your business’ health.
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SouthsideCafe.net 3154 Pontchartrain Dr. / Slidell, LA 70458
SOUTHSIDE REMOULADE Our homemade white remoulade sauce paired with your favorite seafood, over a bed of lettuce! • Yellowfin Tuna (paneed, grilled or blackened). 13.99 • Fresh Fried Gulf Oysters 1/2 doz. 9.99 dozen. 19.99 • Grilled Salmon 14.99 SMOKED TUNA DIP Smoked Yellowfin tuna and our special blend of spices, served with jalapenos and crackers. 8.99 CRAWFISH BALLS Crawfish tails & stuffing rolled into balls, tossed in flour and fried ‘til golden brown. Served with our homemade white remoulade sauce. 8.99
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FRESH FRIED MUSHROOMS Hand-cut fresh mushrooms, battered & golden fried. Served with Ranch & Honey Mustard for dipping. 6.99 CRABMEAT STUFFED MUSHROOMS Fresh mushroom caps filled with lump crab meat stuffing & sour cream, topped with Parmesan cheese & butter, then baked ‘til golden brown. 10.99
The Southside Story BUFFALO SHRIMP
On March 28, 1991, Southside Cafe was opened for business by Breaded and golden fried shrimp tossed in your choice of one Dan & Sharon DeBlanc, bartender Chris Legrand (now the managing of our signature wing sauces served over a bed of lettuce with partner) and the help of good friends. The idea was to create a Ranch or Bleu cheese dressing. 9.99 neighborhood restaurant like the ones Dan, Sharon & Chris grew up •>> Southside’s Original Wing Sauces: with in New Orleans. With comfort food like ya’ Mamma makes, a bar 2) Hot 3) Atomic Nuclear Cajun chock full1)ofRegular your favorite libations & frozen 4) mugs of beer,5)you couldFire •>> Traditional •>> Swamp Burnerfrom Buffalo easily imagine yourself to beBuffalo in any neighborhood restaurant the 9th Ward to Uptown New Orleans.
SPINACH & ARTICHOKE DIP
SouthsideA had slowlyblend grownofinto a favorite spot hearts for many& melted creamy fresh spinach,meeting artichoke of Slidell’sMonterey movers and also hadwith become one of the tortilla most chips. Jackshakers. cheese,It served herb-crusted patriotic 8.99 placesAdd to eat. Military theme greweach out of the rising sourThe cream or salsa for 50¢ patriotism brought about by the First Iraqi war and Dan being a former Marine Corps Helicopter pilot. Fresh, As many of Slidell’s finest young men CHICKEN FINGERS never frozen. 7.99 and women left to go protect our country overseas, an idea was birthed A golden-fried, favorite! to honor CALAMARI them by hanging their pictures on the9.99 wall. Those pictures quickly grew to memorabilia and pictures of local veterans from all the STICKS Adults love ‘em too!. 8.99 wars our MOZZARELLA country had fought.
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On August 29, 2005 Hurricane Katrina devastated South Slidell. It “KILLA” FRIES pushed 3Our feetcrispy, of Lakegolden Pontchartrain thepiled restaurant. with melted browninto fries high Again, with chili, the help cheddar of good friends staff chopped Southsideonion was renovated and was cheese,&fresh and jalapenos. set to reopen in early 2005. In the early morning hours of small. 7.99 November large. 14.99 October 23rd, restaurant burnedsmall. to the ground, destroying • JusttheChili & Cheese 6.99 large. 11.99all the memorabilia and pictures. The fire had derailed the hard work and • Just Cheese small. 4.99 large. 9.99 effort that had been put into the renovation and it almost broke the spirit of everyone involved.WINGS Almost… Fiercely determined, construction BUFFALO started over, rebuilt and reopened in May of 2006. Now biggerofand Jumbo, golden fried wings tossed in your choice one of our better than ever, Southside never looked signature wing sauces servedback. with celery sticks & choice of
or Bleu cheese dressing. SouthsideRanch is a success story because of very loyal customers, staff half dozen. 15.99through the most difficult and a special group of 8.99 friendsdozen. who helped Sauces: times. We•>> hopeSouthside’s you enjoy it asOriginal much asWing we enjoy serving you. PLEASE REVIEW US!
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And remember Never, Never,Buffalo Ever Give Up!Swamp Burner Buffalo •>> Traditional •>> Thanks! - Dan, Sharon & Chris
FRIED EGGPLANT PARMESAN Fresh, hand-cut eggplant, battered in Italian breadcrumbs, golden fried, topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and served with a zesty marinara sauce. 8.99 ONION RINGS OR STRINGS Fresh cut, hand-battered onion rings or strings fried to a golden brown & served with our homemade mojo sauce. small. 3.99 large. 7.99
Half sandwiches can be served on French bread, toast or bun. Poboys includes lettuce, tomato, mayo & pickle. Yellowfin Tuna Remoulade HOT ROAST BEEF half. 10.99
SOUTHERN FRIED STEAK whole. 10.99
HAMBURGER half. 8.99 whole. 10.99 • add cheese for 99¢ extra
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RIBEYE PHILLY 1/2 lb. of shredded ribeye, sauteed onion, pepper, mushrooms & Provolone cheese on toasted French bread. 13.99
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FRENCH FRY half. 7.99
CHICKEN paneed, fried, grilled or blackened. whole. 8.99 TURKEY BREAST half. 7.99
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BIG MO JAMMA Sliced ham, turkey, roast beef & melted Swiss cheese piled high and covered with savory roast beef gravy on toasted French bread. 12.99 THE PEACEMAKER Sooo good, it’s no longer just on the Sunday Brunch menu! Fried oysters, two fried eggs, smoked applewood bacon, melted American cheese, lettuce, tomato & mayo on toasted French bread. 19.99 Fresh Fried Mushrooms DAN’S FAVORITE Two fried eggs, smoked applewood bacon & melted American cheese with lettuce, tomato & mayo on toasted French bread. 8.99
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BLACK & BLEU POBOY 1/2 lb. of shredded ribeye steak with bleu cheese & raw red onion on toasted French bread. 13.99
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whole. 9.99 whole. 16.99 whole. 11.99
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IRISH CHANNEL GUMBO TUNA SALAD half. 8.49 whole. 9.49 A levee of our homemade potato salad separates our two gumbo classics. Seafood Gumbo on one side &whole. Chicken17.99 & Sausage gumbo SOFT SHELL CRAB on the other. Perfect as an entree or to share! bowl only. 12.99 1/2 AND 1/2 SEAFOOD whole. 15.99 SEAFOOD GUMBO Choice of (2): Fresh fried Shrimp, Oysters, or Fish A Southside favorite for many years, we start with Gulf shrimp & oysters, fresh okra, our traditional roux and our own blend of Cajun seasonings, simmered to perfection and served over fluffy white rice. We think it’s “better than ya’ momma’s”! cup. 4.99 bowl. 8.99
A La Carte Sides COLESLAW 2.99
HOUSE SALAD 2.99
FRENCH FRIES 2.99
SWEET POTATO FRIES 3.99
POTATO SALAD 2.99
HUSH PUPPIES (10) 3.99
STEAMED VEGGIES 3.99
MAC & CHEESE 3.99
MASHED POTATOES 2.99 • LOADED 4.99
CHICKEN & SAUSAGE GUMBO Our take on the traditional New Orleans recipe, with chicken and the best local smoked sausage, for a taste explosion that you have to try. cup. 3.99 bowl. 7.99 SOUP OF THE DAY -OR- FOUR BEAN & TURKEY Choose our Chef’s Choice Soup of the Day or our classic Four Bean & Turkey Soup. cup. 3.99 bowl. 6.99 FRENCH ONION Traditional favorite served in a ceramic crock, with onion simmered in a savory beef broth, topped with crispy homemade croutons and melted Provolone cheese. 4.99
• add roast beef debris / chili / or bacon & sour cream .99¢ each
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God has blessed us this past year and we thank Him, and you. From our Slidell Magazine family to yours, Merry Christmas and a very blessed New Year!
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M.H. reed COVER: “SILENT AND SNEAKY CHRISTMAS M.H.Reed is an Artist. For the cover art of this magazine he wrote a poem. He wanted to write a limerick, but five lines wasn’t enough. “Silent and Sneaky Chrismas” So dark was the night, one might think to get a fright. But it’s the wrong time of year, for Christmas is near.
Slidell Magazine PO Box 4147 Slidell, LA 70459 www.slidellmag.com 985-789-0687 Kendra Maness, Editor/Publisher Editor@slidellmag.com
Stockings are hung, and the carols have sung. A decorated tree, the twinkling of light allows you to see. Squeezing through the hole, a big guy in red. He knows full well the children should be in their bed.
Shane Wheeler, Graphic Designer
Lured in with good tides, or perhaps just a snack.
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS EFOP, Andrella Scorza Morris & Shelia Lawrence Bercy by Charlotte Collins
A sack of presents he carries on his back. Boxes of secrets, with mysteries to solve.
The Storyteller, John Case
Waiting till morning is the hardest of all.
Pet Points, Jeff Perret, DVM
Two boys lie waiting, perhaps they will attack.
Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center Story & Photos by Donna Bush
Also, in the room, is a dog and a cat.
Crimmi-Mommly Insane, Leslie Gates
Peaking on the side, forward steps K.
Legal-Ease, Ronda M. Gabb
Leaning for a look, M doesn’t know what to say.
Making Cents of Your Money, Mike Rich
It’s better to be silent and sneak quietly away.
The Dish Ran Away with the Spoon, Katie Clark Where is Your Mom, Tom? Story & Illustrations by Rose Marie Sand
A smile and not knowing is what it must be. All while L and P come to see, it’s no one but me.
Brock Elementary Reading Challenge, Gay DiGiovanni
View more of us at www.slidellmag.com
A graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design (a name casually thrown in to impress or validate). Hopefully you enjoy the work, you probably can’t buy the work, but you can certainly follow the work, that is, if you like the work. M.H.Reed can be found on twitter and Facebook and sometimes someplace else.
DECEMBER 2019 Story by Charlotte Collins
Extraordinarily Fascinating “Ordinary” People Extraordinary Fascinating
History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are.
Andrella Scorza Morris & Shelia Lawrence Bercy
~ David McCullough
We all have our journeys, and probably can agree that paths aren’t always as they appear. Some passages seem to glitter in the beginning; but the path gets darker, until you veer off and find sparkles, somewhere off the beaten path. Some journeys can look quite mundane; when, in fact, the gold is actually down a particular brick road. No matter the choice, all journeys lead us to experiences in life that become part of who we are later in life. My prelude explains the journeys that Andrella and Sheila have made. The “gold” turned out to be a huge, extended family bonding experience. But it also refers to the long and winding journey that these second cousins have made to unearth the historical significance of their family in our area, and in distant lands with previously unknown family members. If you think you know Slidell history, this may surprise you.
I arrived at Andrella’s home along side Cypress Bayou, near Coin du Lestin, on a warm, summer day. It was not like this morning’s cold front; as I sit, bundled in blankets, to compose the full story from the sparse notes I took. I remember the birds were singing loudly that day, as I tried to discern which door was the actual front door. Her home was large, and there were two front porches. That memory was short because Andrella luckily was calling me on my cell phone to help direct me. I entered a large great room full of family. Her husband was playing with their grandsons, Nathan and Julian, and I heard their sweet little indoor voices off and on throughout the interview. Definitely not like the three boys my sister and I raised! Her cousin, Shelia, was down from Dallas to add her recent research to their compilations. The ladies led me to the big round table in the adjacent breakfast room. Spread
across it were picture albums, articles, genealogy trees, periodicals, The St. Tammany Gazette and loose photos. Before we opened the albums, I learned a bit about my EFOPs. Andrella married Harold Morris, Jr., and raised five kids in New Orleans and Slidell. Because she had family ties in Slidell, she visited frequently. But she always returned by what she called her "homing path" to the 7th Ward. That journey was to change. Once her husband retired, he viewed the peaceful trips to Slidell as a sort of refuge from the bustle of the city. Somehow, he finally convinced Andrella to make Slidell their home in 1996. That’s when Andrella discovered many more relatives than she ever dreamed of. She laughed as she explained, “It seemed like every time I left my house, someone would come up and tell me how I was related to them.” Most of you know the litany of Creole
names: Narcisse, Galatas, Faciane, Pichon, and the list continues. Meeting these cousins also meant hearing the stories they had to tell. Bit by bit, Andrella was learning more about her heritage. If there’s one thing native Slidellians love, it’s their “her’s and his stories.” Many call it history, but we tend to say "his stories," meaning it doesn’t have to be a lofty tale, just one that tickles our fancy. And we love to tell them as much as we love to listen to the stories from others. I sat back as Andrella and Shelia told theirs.
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Andrella had yet to research the Scorza side of her family, her dad’s side. Andrella knew that she also had family in Madisonville, and had heard that her greatgreat-grandfather on her father’s side, Vincenzo Scorza, was the lighthouse keeper on the Tchefuncte River in Madisonville. He was born in 1797, and died in 1872. My eyes fell on the photo of that lighthouse in Madisonville, and I am afraid I may have skipped a piece of the conversation as I stared at the old photo. I grew up hearing tales about the local lighthouses; and I have photographed those that remain from my boat countless times, including this one. My imagination is always held by the widow’s walk underneath the curved cupola, wondering about those who walked up the long, spiraling staircases, watching for ships, or people, perhaps skirmishes between the French and Spanish, or approaching storms. Then came the big surprise. Andrella unexpectedly announced, “A few years back, one of my friends, Missy Penton, told me, ‘Your great-great-grandfather was the lighthouse keeper for the Bonfouca lighthouse.’ I drove a school bus, and she was the aid on my bus. She even showed me a drawing of the lighthouse by Millie Blanc Silversten. I wondered if Missy was correct, and had to find out.” Well, you can imagine my excitement now! I’ve heard so many stories about that location at the mouths of bayous Liberty, Bonfouca and Lake Pontchartrain. We have heard tales from explorations on Bayou Liberty during the Iberville and Bienville travels, the French and Spanish War, the Civil War, and of course tales emanating from hurricanes and the Storm of 1915. There are some old pilings left standing somewhat near the location where many say the lighthouse was. It is as if sheer defiance holds them up. Those old “bones” are a favorite roosting spot for pelicans. I can’t count the number of times we’ve stopped to talk about the lighthouse and photograph pelicans as they preen in the warm sunlight. I’ve been told by Phil Galatas that the pilings are from an old clubhouse. But I always wondered if the clubhouse might have been built upon sturdy pilings that survived the fire that destroyed our lighthouse. The opening to our bayous could easily be missed, which is part of the reason Bayou Liberty has remained pristine. I also interviewed someone who had
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the beacon from that lighthouse. Sadly, that historic artifact was stolen from his front porch. Stories abound about this mythical structure, but I can’t tell all of them... Shelia took the helm now, and explained that she started her genealogy research around 1990. She knew that her mother was raised by her mother’s father, Vincent Scorza, who was the grandson of Vincenzo Scorza. She added, “My mother was raised by her father because her mom, Albertine Joseph, died when my mother was just a young girl. So I did not have much info on my mother’s side.” Naturally, Shelia wanted to know more about her mother’s family, feeling that she knew her father’s history from the family tales. As Shelia started online research, it felt like she immediately hit a brick wall. There was no local connection, just names she recognized. Shelia described this part of their historical journey, “Andrella and I started a Scorza family tree, and we would talk often to share our findings. We wanted to know more about the Tchefuncte lighthouse and go further into that part of our genealogy studies. Madisonville didn’t have a City Hall. So I came from Dallas to find out where documents might be housed. We were directed to the St. Tammany Parish Courthouse. I explained that we knew Vincenzo was the lighthouse keeper, but not much more. The receptionist asked what specifically we needed, and I gave her the time period. She asked us to sit, as she disappeared into the Archivists office, that of Robin Perkins.” Shelia’s voice got full of animation as she described, “Robin came out quickly and asked, ‘What family member is here looking for Scorza information, and what exactly do you want?’ I told her we wanted a few things, information on his children, marriage records, and his naturalization record. She said, ‘Take a seat, because when I come back, you will realize you just hit the jackpot!'” Both cousins' faces projected the excitement they still held each time they told this scenario. “Robin came back with a file from her office, in her bottom desk drawer. She looked at us and announced, ‘Here is his naturalization record, there you go,’ and she laid it in our hands. She explained to us that she loves lighthouses, and studies the families of the keepers. She had census records, with surnames of Narcisse, Baham, Badon, Doucette, Galatas, Cyprian, LeFrere, Barze, Hessier, and those of family names we didn’t know we had! We got marriage records and boatloads of information to further our research. But we still were not aware of the Bonfouca lighthouse connection at this time. On Ancestry and other sites, we knew birth and death dates, but now we began to get even further. Andrella expressed, “It opened the window into even more views, articles and books, more than we could imagine! One day, I came across an article in the Independent and the Farmer by Ben Taylor that mentioned the
lighthouses. So naturally, I went to him and asked if he had any information on the keepers of the lighthouse on Bonfouca. It turned out that he had a book called Lighthouses, Lightships and the Gulf of Mexico written by David L. Ciara. He told us to mark the pages we were interested in and he would make copies. I found another publication, Keepers of Our Light, published by the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum. The first book confirmed that Vincenzo Scorza was the keeper for both lighthouses!” Then she smiled, and threw her hands up in the air, “You want to know the funny part of this story? Vincenzo was actually the keeper for the lighthouse at Bonfouca first! And he was there the longest! We found out he was at Bonfouca from 1848 to 1862.” Andrella grew visibly excited as she related, “In 1862, the Confederate Army burned it down, stole all of Vincenzo’s property, captured him, and imprisoned him at Camp Moore in Covington, even though he was on the Confederate side himself. He escaped and reported to the Customs House, where he always brought his reports by schooner. After that, he became the Inspector General at the Customs House, until they sent him to be the keeper at the Tchefuncte Lighthouse.” Now this is history that all of us in this area should know, and I was transfixed by all the photographs and documentation. I had heard that the Confederates burned the Bonfouca lighthouse down to keep the Union troops from following the light’s beacon. The early explorers are reputed to have found this area once, but missed it at high tide on their second attempt. Protecting the homes and people that populated Bayou Liberty before Slidell was even founded would have been a good move. Without that beacon, the Union ships would head more towards the South shore. I didn’t have much time to soak it all in, as the cousins had more to tell. Shelia related that she then made a trip to Washington, DC to the National Archives. It was fruitful in that she found the documents from the Department of Treasury, Office of Lighthouse Keepers, appointing Vincenzo light housekeeper at the Tchefuncte River. Andrella obtained a copy of a photo of the Tchefuncte Lighthouse, and documentation from the book Keepers of Our Light from the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum. It confirmed Vincenzo’s appointment in 1871 at the lighthouse in Madisonville, taking the place of a Bernard Segersteen. Unfortunately, Vincenzo died in 1872. The Scorza girls have the report specifying that he died from Bright’s Disease (an obsolete classification for nephritis, a kidney condition). He was on board the Schooner George, making his way to bring his report to the Customs House. Ironically, they also found that he died on July 3, the same day that Shelia’s mother died. Shelia laughed and said, “I often tease my children and ask them to keep an eye on me every July 3.”
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Above: Sheila's mother, Thelma Scorza Lawrence, and Andrella's father, Lionel Scorza, were first cousins. 3.) The Genoa, Italy lighthouse - maybe the Scorza family tended here? 4.) Sheila visits the Cathedral of San Lorenzo in Genoa in search of family records.
Andrella next wanted to know where Vincenzo lived. She went to the Conveyor’s Office in Covington, and found that he bought property in Ravine du Coin du Lestin from Nicholas Galatas in 1850, lots 43 and 44 on the Parish map. She revealed, “This house we are in is only two or three blocks from that family property! I asked for a copy of the current map of this area, and looked at it while I was waiting for your arrival. I just discovered this morning that those numbers are still there, look!” Sure enough, there were the lot numbers in what is now George Dunbar’s development, Coin du Lestin. She also learned that Vincenzo owned property where both marinas are on Bayou Liberty, and both sides of the Bayou Liberty Bridge.
It is interesting how many coincidences there are within family histories. I found it particularly amazing that, because the Bonfouca Lighthouse no longer exists, we lost ties to its history. Here, Vincenzo was better known as the keeper of the lighthouse he tended for only a year (the Tchefuncte). It certainly makes me wonder what other interesting familial and historical stories are waiting to be discovered. At the time of our first meeting, Shelia was getting ready to go to Genoa, Italy to do more research on the Scorza family. She wanted to find Vincenzo’s Intent to Naturalize papers, baptismal records, and information on his biological parents. She said, “I have to wonder, were they
lighthouse keepers? I say this because Genoa is a Port city, and there is a historical lighthouse there. According to the 1850 census, living with Vincenzo were his wife, Agalé Narcisse Scorza, Vincenzo’s children, and a gentleman listed as a sailor by the name of Cerlin. There was no last name given for him in the census. He was also from Italy. Because Vincenzo and Cerlin were 5 years apart, living under the same roof, he potentially could be a brother. It makes me curious to know how both came to be in the Maritime business. I will go through cemeteries, visit lighthouses, churches, and try to look at records however they are kept there.”
Left: The Tchefuncte lighthouse where Vincenzo served as keeper from 1871 until his death in 1872. Middle: Slidell residents Andrella Scorza Morris and Harold Morris, Jr. Right: Sheila's uncle, Vincent Jacque Scorza, in his Army photo. His last wish was to find a copy of this photo before his death.
After her return, Shelia emailed me how amazing it was for her to walk the land where their greatgreat-grandfather was born. She wrote, “I have so many amazing photos. I felt like kissing the ground, I refrained. I took in all the sights, the smells, the food, and the culture of Genoa. I visited the Lighthouse in search of service records for lighthouse keepers throughout its history. There were only a few plaques of lighthouse keepers on site, but unfortunately, they did not refer to the timeframe I needed. I submitted a request for further info and am now waiting for the response. I also visited the oldest church which would have been in existence when Vincenzo was born, The Cathedral of San Lorenzo. The archdiocese archives were housed in that building. Two years prior to my visit, the records were moved to a location that can only be accessed by mail, email, or phone call. I am also awaiting a response from them. Since my visit, Andrella and I have vowed to return to Genoa in the near future.” What a thrilling trip overseas this must have been! Thanks to the online genealogy apps, distant families can now make personal connections. A gentleman contacted Shelia on Ancestry, with a name the cousins had never heard previously. He texted that he felt pretty sure they were related. After a phone conversation, they discovered their commonality was the Scorza family. He was Donald Warning and turned out to be a descendant of the Scorza family. Donald mentioned that his grandmother left him a box of pictures labeled Scorza, and many had names on the back of the pictures. This was of particular interest because Shelia’s uncle, Vincent Jacque Scorza, was dying, and the one thing he really wanted was a copy of his Army picture. Naturally, she asked that man to send a digital copy of any of those photos his grandma left him. She paused, with a twinkle in her eye, then blurted, “The first picture he sent was my uncle’s Army picture! I immediately sent a copy to his daughter!” Andrella concluded, “Who would have thought in a million years that I would be living in the same neighborhood that my great-great-grandfather lived in, and tended this lighthouse. I guess my journey to Slidell was intended for me to discover his-story!” History is a funny thing. Much is left out over the years, kind of like an old family recipe. It’s just not the same once it is passed down, rewritten, or forgotten altogether. Now that we know these two women clarified a forgotten piece of history, I am left wondering, what else is there for me, or for you, to discover? I end with this challenge: Talk to senior relatives as the holidays approach. If nothing else, you will both have a good time. If you find something of interest, upload a recording to storycorp.com. And call me!
The bill to approve $3000 for a minor harbor light to mark the entrance to Bayou Bonfouca, which was the route to the town of Slidell, finally passed Congress in 1847. It had been delayed, partly because they could not find the location on a map. The construction contract, for $2975, was awarded to Joseph M. Howell & Moses Coats of New Orleans. Completed in March 1848, the lighthouse had two rooms setting on a five-foot foundation wall. There was a nine-foot chamber between the two rooms that was the base of the tower. The tower went 12 feet above the building, giving a light height of 39 feet above sea level. It held four small lamps in a latern that was six feet tall and three feet in diameter. It was small since it was felt that it did not need to be seen for over five miles. From Coast Guard notes on the Bonfouca lighthouse (obtained through the website www.lighthousefriends.com): 1854 - The exterior of the dwelling and the small tower on it were painted white also railing of gallery and balusters; shutters painted green, two cisterns lead-color; two hearths re-laid; backs of Chimneys, &c., repaired; all glass re-set; sashes painted, and also iron work of lantern outside. 1862 – Confederate forces burned the lighthouse and took Keeper Vincenzo Scorza prisoner. Escorsa later escaped from Camp Moore. 1868 – Bon Fouca.—Destroyed in 1862 and not re-established. The important point in this vicinity seems to be Pointe aux Herbes, directly opposite, on the south shore of the lake, forming the principal landmark for all steamers and sailing vessels trading in the lakes. The abandonment of the present site and the erection of a light-house on Pointe aux Herbes is recommended, and an estimate of appropriation necessary will be submitted. Keepers: John Wadsworth (1848 – 1849), Vincenzo Scorza (1849 – 1862). *** Point aux Herbes refers to the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain, where the I-10 twin spans and the Hwy 11 bridge are now. The Point aux Herbes light exhibited for the first time August 1, 1875. In 1928, much of the station’s acreage was sold to New Orleans Pontchartrain Bridge Company. Point aux Herbes lighthouse was discontinued just after World War II, and vandals burned the superstructure in the 1950s. 11
767 Robert Blvd. Slidell
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Olde Towne Slidell Christmas Market First & Erlanger Streets Sat 10am-5pm Sun 10am-4pm
SAINTS vs COLTS • 7:15 PM
Lions Bingo Slidell Noon Lions Club Every Thursday • 3 PM
Christmas Parade *starts at City Hall* 6 PM
Wreaths Across America SELA Veteran's Cemetery 11 AM
It's going to be another great year Slidell!
Slidell Noon Lions Pancake Breakfast Lions Club 8-11 AM
Christmas Under the Stars Griﬃth Park, Olde Towne 6-9 PM
ELF • Slidell Little Theatre • 8 PM
Slidell's Bayou Christmas December 20 - 29 Heritage Park 6-10 PM 27
Christmas Under the Stars Griﬃth Park, Olde Towne 6-9 PM
Olde Towne Christmas Crawl 5-10 PM
Slidell Movie Night Heritage Park 7 PM
Slidell's Bayou Christmas December 20 - 29 Heritage Park 6-10 PM
Northshore Community Orchestra Holiday Concert Slidell Auditorium z 7 PM
Tis the Season Business After Hours Harbor Center 5 - 8 PM 12
"The Storyteller" John S. Case Free Greenwood Cemetery Tours Tuesdays-Thursdays • 12-1 PM By appointment • 985-707-8727
Marine Corps Band Christmas Concert Harbor Center z z 7 PM
The Art of Keith & Kelly Dellsperger City Hall Gallery Show runs Thru Dec. 20th Hours: Wed & Fri, 12-4 PM, Thurs 12-6 PM
Ribbon Cutting Tri Parish Works 3:30 - 4:30 PM
Merry Christmas from Slidell Magazine
Harbor Center • December 5th • 5-8 PM
A HOLIDAY BUSINESS AFTER HOURS
TIS THE SEASON!
Look for the RED Fleur de Lis to see all of the local Chamber Events!
SAINTS @ PANTHERS • NOON
SAINTS @ TITANS • NOON
Slidell's Bayou Christmas December 20 - 29 Heritage Park 6-10 PM
Sounds & Soups of the Season Aldersgate UMC 5 PM
SAINTS vs 49ERS • NOON
ELF • Slidell Little Theatre • 2 PM
LPO Yuletide Celebration Auditorium z Slidell2:30 PM z
ELF • Slidell Little Theatre • 2 PM
D E C E M B E R
of New Orleans b u l C s s e r P " Winner, 2018 "Best Column
Storyteller CHRISTMAS, IN THE BEGINNING If you think this story is about Jesus, you’re mistaken. It is not even about Christmas Day; which, in my opinion, no longer has a lot to do with Jesus. It is, however, about a few guys who had a vision that could bring joy. The joy it brought was as much for them as any other recipient, and all have related that the experience was enhanced by Christmas cheer - the cheer found in a bottle with a government stamp on it. Some time ago, Dr. Ron Francis asked me to assist him in writing his memoirs. I have never done that type of writing, but I guessed that a man that has 80+ years of living would have some very interesting life stories. After all, he was Slidell’s first veterinarian, local Rotary Club founder and president, Chamber president, and the list goes on. To learn anymore, you will have to read our biography, titled If a Lady Calls Don’t Answer. I agreed to the assignment. I don’t know if it will ever be finished; and, if finished, how successful the finished product will be. But I have been entertained by the interviews. 14
We now have a custom on the Northshore. It exists in almost every waterfront community; but, based on my research, I believe it started right here, in eastern St. Tammany Parish, and more specifically, near Coin du Lestin subdivision on Bayou Bonfouca. The event has been labeled Santa On The Bayou.
Some unexpected stories have been brought to my attention that have caused me to research things I would have never known about. We are exploring all the avenues of Ron’s life, but one story he has told me may have general appeal and suffice as a Christmas story. Through research, I have found that there are a number of people that are involved in this event and this story is also about them. Now, is this a Christmas story or a Slidell historical piece? I’ll let you decide...
If you are a newcomer or a highlander, you may need some explanation. It is the act of decorating a boat or, as years have passed, a fleet of boats, for Christmas and traveling the bayou, delivering toys to the children. Let me not mislead you, if you think the children were the only recipients of the fun, you would be mistaken. A successful night was calculated by the times the boats ran aground, the times they left the dock without untying the lines, and the “man overboard” drills that were necessary. Memories are now old, and some dates are fuzzy, but as I understand it, it all began something like this: Two Coin du Lestin residents borrowed a small pontoon boat from Mr. Gus Moulin. They decorated it with pine limbs, wired it with lights,
The City of Slidell presents
Holiday Concert with the Northshore
batteries and a primitive sound system, loaded it with stockings filled with toys, an arsenal of liquor, and off they went. The original crew consisted of John Blackman and Frosty Gaskin and the year was most likely 1965 or 1966. Within a couple of years, they were joined by long time crew member John Cool. John used his engineering skills to upgrade the wiring, install a generator, and more or less keep things running. Within a short time, they had outgrown Mr. Moulin’s boat and purchased one of their own specifically for this purpose. They took a large Styrofoam ball, put broken mirror chips on it, turned it with a rotisserie motor and had a spotlight shine on it, reflecting a festive mood into the water as they traveled. They also had a British Air Raid warning bell. The bell had a distinctive sound and became synonymous with the arrival of the entourage. About that time, they were joined by Jim Betz and the recipient of my efforts, Ron Francis. John Blackman would be Santa, Ron and Jim were elves, and John Cool would be the captain. John recalls that he was assigned that position as a designated driver because the drinking and driving had sent more than one of the crew overboard. John Hulitsky served as an elf on and off. John was known as the cigar-smoking elf. The whole event was a combined effort of Santa, Elves, Captain and their wives. The wives did not ride on the barge. Throughout the year, the wives would look for toy bargains to stuff in the stockings. Men would give presents to the elves to be passed to Santa and then to their wives. We will never know how many carats were passed in that manner.
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In the beginning, the route took them through Palm Lake, but that was soon turned over to the Palm Lake Angler’s Club. Ron and his crew concentrated on Bayou Bonfouca and, mostly, on Coin du Lestin Subdivision.
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 Co. Slidell Historic Antique Association • Terry Lynn’s Café Weston Three 19 • Tanya Witchen - Engel & Völkers Real Estate
Dredging up fifty-five-year-old memories with any accuracy is very difficult. Due to time, hurricanes, divorces and floods, pictures of the event are limited, but what is remembered is a positive experience enjoyed by young and old alike. I
Supported by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts as administered by the St. Tammany Commission on Cultural Affairs. 15
know this because of the smiles on their faces as both Johnny and Ron reflected on those events of five decades ago If you wanted the barge to stop, you built a bon fire. This signaled that there were children and refreshments on hand. Ron remembers that they stopped at a house on the bayou and a lady told him that she had a present for him. Maybe she chose him because he was a veterinarian, or maybe she perceived him to be a jolly elf, but she gave him a bag and in it was a live puppy. A little way down the bayou they stopped, and Santa asked a young boy what he wanted for Christmas. The boy replied that he wanted a puppy. Ron reached into the bag, slipped the puppy to Santa, and to the mother of the child’s surprise, his wish came true. The mother almost fainted, but Ron remembers a little boy that snuggled a puppy to his chest. Maybe, he said, “Mama there is a Santa Clause.” Does anyone know who this young man was? I would love to have him relate the story in his own words. At some point in time, Ron had wooden doubloons created for throws. They have become collector's items. The event started just before dark and ended at about one in the morning. The George Dunbar house was a favorite, with lots of food and beverages, as was the Bill and Judy Kramer house. I have talked to grown men who were children at the time. Santa on the Bayou stands out as a monumental memory of Christmas for them.
To my knowledge, only two of the early crew members are still alive. That would be Ron Francis and John Cool. But, as a result of their efforts, the tradition spread. Now, due to the efforts of Diane Pena, there is a Bayou Liberty Santa on the Bayou, as well as one in Eden Isles. You see, snow, a sleigh, reindeer, all those things may make up a traditional Christmas, but in Slidell we do it differently. Better. Listen now, I hear the bell, I see the reflective lights, my mind imagines the events of Christmas passed down on the bayou. Merry Christmas. John S. Case
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THE REAL CHRISTMAS By Rev. Tracy L. MacKenzie Lead Pastor, Aldersgate United Methodist Church
From the time that I was a very small child, I could differentiate between the “world’s Christmas” and the “real Christmas.” Sure, I believed in Santa Claus…did I just use the past tense there? I love Christmas carols. I have mentioned before that one of my favorite things to do during Christmas was to hang out in our “Christmas Tree room” and listen for hours to “Sing Along with Mitch.” Pretty much, no one wanted to hear me sing…so, it was just me and Mitch. But, my true understanding of the season came through the many events that I, as a child, participated in with my local church. And, for all of the gifts that the church gave me as a child, an understanding of the true meaning of Christmas may be the most important. Sure, I loved the “annual” Children’s Christmas play; the outside live Nativity (I still chuckle that one year I was an angel-I know, right?); Christmas Caroling to the shut-ins; the too-many-to-name Choir Cantatas and fabulous organ playing. Yes, I loved, loved, loved all of that. While some of that defined the “real meaning of Christmas” it was the scriptures, the hymnody and the images of the story that cultivated in my heart what Christmas really is. If you listen carefully to the “texts” of Christmas, you will hear that Christmas, at its heart, is a penitential season. “Come thou long expected Jesus, born to set Thy people free; From our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in Thee.”
the people sinned. Micah, Jeremiah and Isaiah all prophesied of the coming of the new King, the Messiah. But, that had been almost 800 years before. And, instead of receiving the Messiah, there was exile and hardship. Had God actually forgotten God’s people? These were dark, difficult times. Today, we are living in dark, difficult times. It is time for repentance, for turning one’s life around, for recognizing God’s great love delivered in the tiny, package of a sweet, little baby Jesus boy. I was a child sitting in that church, at the age of eight or nine years old, and I was in dark, difficult times. I can’t tell you how I know that, but I know that. I can tell you that I wept openly and thankfully that God loved me so much that God sent God’s Son into my life…even to death on the cross for me…I knew that my only hope that the darkness and sinfulness of my life could be overcome was through the Incarnation of God in the person of Jesus of Nazareth and through the power of God’s Holy Spirit. This is what the church gave to me in Christmas...well, I am still that broken little 9 year old girl who’s living in a dark, difficult world whose only hope is in that tiny little sweet baby Jesus born in Bethlehem on a not so silent night more than 2000 years ago. My hope and my prayer is that you, too, may find Christ in Christmas? Rev. Tracy L. MacKenzie
“O come, O come, Immanuel, and ransom captive Israel that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear.” These were dark, difficult times for Israel. It has been four hundred years since they had “a word from the Lord.” It has been six hundred years since the Jews were exiled from their home in Palestine to Babylon. When the Jews returned to Jerusalem, the city and the Temple had been destroyed. Enter King Herod. Herod began to rebuild the city, extravagantly. This increased the taxes, twice-fold: A 10% Temple tax and an additional 10% of income to be spent within the city gates of Jerusalem. The poor became poorer and the wealthy became wealthier. And, Herod had become a part of Rome and Rome had become a part of Jerusalem. These were dark, difficult times. The Prophets had foretold of the consequences of disobedience to God’s Holy Law. Still,
A Winter’s Rose Cantata with Orchestra
Sounds and Soups of the Season
December 8, 2019 Sunday, 8:30am & 11:00am
December 15, 2019 Sunday, 5:00pm
Christmas Eve December 24, 2019 Tuesday, 5:00pm, 7:00pm & 11:00pm
Dish ran away with the Spoon
By Katie Clark
Even as a child, I would get emotional singing Silent Night. It was the falling notes the second time “Sleep in heavenly peace” is sung. My voice would crack and I’d get embarrassed. Nowadays, even pop songs make me emotional, but I blame that on sleep deprivation, new mom hormones, and sleep deprivation. Frosty the Snowman is on my list of the top three saddest Christmas songs. Followed by Frank Sinatra’s version of Have yourself a merry Little Christmas, and of course, Silent Night. Frosty? Seriously? Yes. Seriously. “We’ll have some fun before I melt away…But he waved goodbye saying ‘Don’t you cry,’ I’ll be back again someday.” Oh the ephemeral nature of the holidays! The oversized gift bag of feelings, wrapped in memories, signed with love. Traditions, music, and meals – here and then gone…until next year. The adults littered the upholstered wingbacks and plaid couch, while Erin Kate and I drug our stockinged knees across the seafoam green carpet of my grandmother’s house. We unwrapped dolls and books, while my boy cousins ran wild with swords and cars. My aunt
played piano and always, at some point, my grandmother would play a tune on her coronet. It all seems choreographed now, but it was just Christmas. It was family. It was tradition. My other grandmother set up an aluminum tree decorated with royal blue ornaments. It was beautiful. Her house smelled like popcorn and Glade. I later found out she smoked until she died, which explains the Glade. I never once saw her smoke. Her house was small, but somehow, we all had a place to sit and eat and visit and warm ourselves by her fire. After gifts were opened, it was tradition to throw wrapping paper at her spinning ceiling fan. She’d pretend to get mad, but secretly loved it. Mostly because we were all together - her three girls and their families. After she passed away, Christmas changed, as is often the case when someone dies. As I got older, we no longer spent the night in Hammond. We would drive quickly back to Baton Rouge to beat Santa. I would look out the window at the passing stars, mostly looking for his sleigh, but also thinking about all the wishes above us. And then I’d drift off to sleep, only to be carried inside by my dad. “Wait! We forgot to leave food for the reindeer!” After a night of parties, and an hour drive back to Baton Rouge, my mother’s night was just beginning. Never mind the magic she sprinkled around our tree; it was the feast she had to prepare for the next day. She cooked a huge bird – cleaned and salted, with a
CHRISTMAS BLUES dollop of Crisco on top; sweet potatoes with marshmallows; green beans; cornbread dressing; and pink salad. We also had homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast. I’m trying to do the math and there’s no way she slept that night, yet I never remember her sneaking away for a nap or complaining. She was pure joy – filled to the brim with Christmas spirit. (Real spirit, too! Not egg nog!) All this to say, what a heartbreaking holiday is Christmas! It’s here and then gone! It’s built up for two months and then is washed away by January. Live it while it’s here. And maybe avoid the “All Christmas” radio station. Indeed, may your days be merry and bright. Hug the ones you can and honor the ones you can’t. Have yourself a merry little Christmas. Let your heart be light. Next year, all our troubles will be out of sight. Next year, all our troubles will be miles away. Happy golden days of yore…you are killing me, Frank! Someday soon we will all be together, if the fates allow. Until then, we’ll just muddle through, somehow. Pick me up off the floor! Try to keep it together until next year, okay guys? Here’s my grandmother’s pink salad recipe. Grammy’s Pink Salad 1 Strawberry Jello (1 Cup hot water) 1 Cup half-and-half 8oz can of drained pineapple 8oz Cream Cheese ½ Cup chopped pecans Mix and leave in refrigerator to set. Serves 8
Inner Wheel presents... the Brock elementary Reading Challenge
By Gay DiGiovanni
read progress through school, they are left further and further behind, often not catching up and not graduating.
For many children however, this story is not theirs. Child development and education experts have delineated reading milestones this way. Most children learn to read from kindergarten through third grade. From fourth grade onward, they read to learn. More than 85% of curriculum is taught by reading. That puts reading as a crucial foundation for all learning. As children struggling to
In 2015, US News and World Report magazine stated that the average US high school graduation rate is from 72% to 94%. Louisiana is in the middle at 82%. Success in reading provides an individual with lifetime benefits, such as language skills, knowledge and curiosity. Success in school that leads to graduation also has a huge monetary effect on our communities. As graduation rates increase, so do the benefits to our society.
hink about when you learned to read. Did you love stories and the way they took you to another place far, far away? Did you love how you always learned something you didn’t know before? Did reading give you confidence in class and with your classmates? If the answer is yes, you probably still enjoy reading.
“One of the most important predictors of graduation from high school is reading proficiently by the end of third grade.” (The Children’s Reading Foundation)
Reading, comprehension of what is read, building vocabulary, researching, and writing descriptions and opinions are all part of student assessment tests for English Language Arts in 3rd grade. They are also important in preparing for LEAP (Louisiana Educational Assessment Program) tests in 4th grade. Understanding how vital all these skills are to 3rd grade students in our community, the Inner Wheel Club of Slidell has launched the “Reading Challenge Program” at Brock Elementary School in Slidell. To participate in the program, students are required to read a minimum of six books on their reading level during a nineweek grading period. They must also hand-write a book report for each book to encourage good penmanship and spelling. Prizes
will be awarded to students who meet these requirements, with special T-shirts going to those students who read ten books each grading period. A major prize will be awarded during a special event at year-end to one 3rd grade participant in each class. Sponsors and donations are now being solicited to offset the costs of the program.
If you have fond memories of reading as a child and remember a favorite book, or if you struggled to read and get through school, here is an opportunity to make a difference to the next generation. The Reading Challenge Program is modeled after a very successful Mandeville Rotary Club program at Chata Ima Elementary School. The Inner Wheel Club of Slidell President,
Vicky Magas is also a Rotarian and has brought this valuable program to our community. A small investment today may translate to a more productive, prosperous, and healthier community tomorrow. Contact Vicky at 985-646-1006 or by email: email@example.com for more information.
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By Mike Rich, CFP® Pontchartrain Investment Management
EXPERIMENTS ARE FUN, BUT NOT WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR MONEY. One of the best Christmas gifts I ever received was a chemistry set. By way of my sister (who never throws anything away), it ended up – almost 60 years later! – in the hands of my daughter Heather. Here’s a picture of me at her house with my old chemicals, test tubes, pan balance, litmus papers, and other scientific paraphernalia. How that set is still almost complete is amazing. My parents (or Santa) gave this set to me when I was nine or ten years old. I was a pretty nerdy kid (Mary reminds me often that I’m a pretty nerdy adult, too), and I had a lot of interest in science and math. I had a small table in our utility room, where I worked with my chemistry set for hours at a time. A special bonus was
my mom and dad left me unsupervised with chemicals, glassware, matches, an alcohol lamp, a blowpipe made from an empty ballpoint pen refill, and other instruments of destruction. Experiments with a chemistry set are fun, but, when it comes to money, I prefer that my clients play it safe. Consider the following: that my dad, who was a housepainter, had a small job at a chemical plant, where he befriended one of the lab workers. He came home one day with a box full of beakers, flasks, pipettes, graduated cylinders, and all kinds of neat stuff for me. I was in heaven. It astonishes me that, in our current culture of helicopter parents who won’t let their kids walk down the block alone,
1. If you don’t save and invest money today, you probably won’t have any in the future.
I’ve run into a lot of people who, by the way they are not saving, must be thinking that there are special chemicals out there that will make all those years of spending, spending, spending go away, to be replaced
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with a bowl of money that never runs out. Well, I have looked mightily, but have not yet found the fairy dust. If you haven’t either, and think saving and investing for yourself might work better, let’s get together and put your plan in place. 2. Many things we buy next year will cost more than they do today, so plan accordingly.
You can ignore the monthly gyrations of the government’s Consumer Price Index, but you can’t ignore its longterm effects. Inflation is the insidious tax we all pay and it is not going away. I don’t know what the actual rate of inflation is going to be next month or next year, but I do know that my family’s cost of living over the long haul will grow as surely as the crystals I made with my chemistry set. Here’s a sobering thought: At a 3% average rate of inflation, $500,000 in today’s dollars will have the purchasing power of about $270,000 20 years from now. That’s still a lot of money, but
the message should be clear: we all need to spend less than we earn and save the rest because we’re going to need it. 3. If you are not protecting your assets and income from unplanned bad events, you are setting up yourself and your family for financial disaster.
Premature deaths, disabilities that stop paychecks from coming in, and lawsuits from car accidents are real events that happen to real people (everything on that list has happened to my family). For many baby boomers, the financial bomb is going to be the potentially astronomical cost of medical and long-term care in their later years. The sad thing is that many people hate insurance companies so much that they forget how cost-effective it can be to pass off risk to them. Insurance can help you prepare for life’s financial challenges. Meet with me to review your risks and address them.
Finding my chemistry set intact brought back a lot of memories, especially of Christmases past when I was growing up. Every dollar counted at my house, and my parents didn’t take many chances with their money. I know now that a special gift like that was a bit of a stretch for them. I wish they were still around so I could thank them for taking such good care of me.
Merry Christmas to you and yours, thanks for reading my articles this year, and may your holidays sparkle! Mike Rich, CFP®, Pontchartrain Investment Management, 2065 1st Street, Slidell, LA 70458 985-605-5066 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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• Makeup & Nails package • Hair Cut, Color & Style package • Office or Home Cleaning package • Lawn Care & Landscaping package • Pressure Washing package • Bookkeeping Training package • IT / Tech Support package • Geaux Trade Membership TOTAL = $2,000
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MENU SURGEON MARKETING
• Set-up of relevant social & review sites • 3 months of Social Media Marketing • A 2-hour product photo shoot • New or refurbished business logo • New menu (if business is a restaurant) TOTAL = $2,000
• Two-page spread in Slidell Magazine • (2) Tickets to at least (5) major networking / social events in 2020, including personal introductions to local business leaders, celebrities and politicians. • (3) E-Blasts to 4000+ local businesses TOTAL = $2,500†
* Visit our website for complete details of the giveaway package. † Package value may be greater than specified, due to the difficulty to quantify the value of event tickets and personal introductions at those events.
The MAKEOVER MY BRAND team is comprised of experts from many different industries that each (in some way) help businesses with their marketing plan. We each offer a unique specialty and perspective to this collaboration. We have one common goal: helping
JESSICA IBSEN Promotions Expert
JOHN MARACICH Sign Expert
local businesses create a more effective marketing plan, and then working with them to make that plan a reality. Seven heads are, after all, better than one. We look forward, together, to using our expertise to help local businesses reach new levels of success.
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MIKE BELL Social Media Expert
ns "Cont a e l r O w e N f o b Donna Bush, Winner - 2019 Press Clu
Audubon Species Survival Center Story and photos by Donna Bush
In October, I visited the FreeportMcMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center (FMASSC) for the third installment in my continuing coverage series on Audubon Nature Institute. This Audubon location is not open to the public, but I am allowed to share their amazing accomplishments with you. Their mission: “To maintain healthy, sustainable populations as assurance populations to allow for the continuation of threatened species.” FMASSC is located on a thousand acres of bottomland hardwood forest leased from the U. S. Coast Guard near the Intracoastal Waterway. The Coast Guard utilized the property during WWII and the Korean War as an ammunitions storage location. Today, they use only a small portion of the property. FMASSC was originally created in the mid-1990’s as a reproduction facility for endangered exotic cat species. Since 2017, Audubon Nature Institute has partnered with San Diego Zoo Global to form the Alliance for Sustainable Wildlife (ASW) which resides at FMASSC’s location. The goal of the partnership is "to devise strategies to ensure sustainable populations of unique and endangered zoo animals.” They focus on seven bird species - cranes and storks; and eleven hoof-stock species - giraffes, antelopes, okapi, eastern bongos, and more.
FMASSC’s major success stories are the Mississippi Sandhill Crane and Whooping Crane Programs. In the mid1990’s, they joined the fight to save the endangered MS sandhill crane. At that time, there were only sixteen left in the wild. In partnership with United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USF&WS), FMASSC houses, breeds, raises and releases this unique subspecies of cranes back into the wild.
Species currently at FMASSC: Blue-billed curassow Mississippi sandhill crane Whooping crane Milky stork Abdim’s stork Saddle-billed stork North Sulawesi babirusa Barasingha Reticulated giraffe Okapi Eastern bongo Sitatunga Common eland Yellow-backed duiker Sable antelope African wild cat Lion Helmeted guineafowl
As part of the Endangered Species Act, USF&WS created the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge (MSCNWR) in 1975. Their purpose is to protect the cranes and their disappearing wet pine savanna habitat. The refuge is located along I-10 near Gautier, MS. Genetically, MS sandhill cranes are the same as other sandhill cranes. They are a subspecies that localized in the one area of Mississippi when their habitat began disappearing. Their original range was thought to extend along the Mississippi Gulf Coast from southern Louisiana east through Mississippi, Alabama and into the western Florida panhandle.
Culturally, they are very different from other sandhill cranes. They don’t migrate. They are year-round residents. If you look closely, you can see that this subspecies is a little bit darker brownish-gray. However, the average person won’t notice the difference. The partnership successfully continues today with refuge rangers pulling one of the two eggs laid in the wild and sending it to FMASSC to be raised in captivity. This is done to assist the parents in
successfully raising their offspring. Even though they are on a secure refuge, there are still numerous predators in the wild. Having only one chick to protect and feed increases the odds of a success. FMASSC also breeds these cranes. After the egg hatches, if the timing works, they can place the chick with parents rearing their own offspring. This is the ideal situation. Unfortunately, timing doesn’t always work. If this is the case, staff members don a costume and become ‘mama crane.’ Costuming has been around for a number of years and much has been learned over this time. When the technique was first used, everything was done by a human in costume. Grass was mowed, maintenance to pens was performed. The chicks were fed and raised. All tasks were completed by a person DRESSED AS A CRANE. Because the cranes are very visual learners, they became imprinted. Both the cranes and staff soon learned this wasn’t the best way.
Mississippi sandhill crane and whooping crane hand puppets for costumes: The head and beak hand puppets for the crane costumes are made by world-famous Japanese woodcarver, Haruo Uchiyama, who donates his labor for conservation. He began wood carving as a way for blind people to touch and experience the size and feel of birds they could hear but not see. With these new heads, interns have gotten so good at their crane imitations, they are able to catch grasshoppers and feed the chicks. Richard shared, “It used to take 5-6 days to teach a chick how to hunt for food on its own. Now, in less than 3 days, they’ve got it figured out.” The level of realistic detail is incredible. 28
Today, costuming is only used for the tasks that an adult crane would do with their chick in the wild, such as feeding and bonding. For other tasks, staff wear a ghillie suit, which looks a lot like a shrub walking around. It might look a little weird, but it is effective. FMASSC’s Whooping Crane Program started in the 2000’s and is now considered one of their premier ASW
programs. Their participation began as a housing and breeding facility that would ship eggs to a wildlife research center in Maryland for hatching and raising. Last year, the Maryland facility announced the closing of their whooping crane breeding program. Most of their whooping cranes were flown via a cargo plane to New Orleans as FMASSC ramped-up to take on not just housing and breeding, but raising and reintroducing these magnificent white birds back into the wild. Much like the MS sandhill cranes, the population had dropped to only 14 wild birds. By 1950, there was only 1 whooping crane in Louisiana! Their decline was mainly due to habitat loss and unregulated hunting for their meat and feathers. Their wetland habitat was being drained for agricultural use or damaged through development. Although they are still endangered, their population is increasing in the wild, thanks in part to the success of the captive breeding program. FMASSC partners with Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and USF&WS. LDWF maintains wetlands in southwest Louisiana where a nonmigratory population resides. Similar to MS sandhill cranes, the whooping cranes can be costume-reared or raised by their parents. Per Michelle Hatwood, General Curator, and Richard Dunn, Assistant Curator, they much prefer the whooping cranes to raise their
young. “It’s a lot of work to costume a whooper. They must be fed every hour and walked around the pen five times a day. Staff imitating mama crane has to mimic the mannerisms of a crane, walk like a crane, act like a crane and even emit crane vocalizations.” Often times, they will pull the first clutch of eggs to be costumed and let the parents raise the second clutch. Both of the crane programs have experienced huge successes, releasing captive bred and raised chicks into the wild and having adults breed and raise offspring in the wild. However, the two crane species are not the only animals FMASSC/ASW is helping to save. Owen and Amelia, African saddle-billed storks, have their first clutch of 3 eggs. This genetically valuable pair are unrelated, wild-caught founders of their species. When placed together in captivity, they bonded, mated
and laid eggs within six months. This species is the tallest of all storks. Owen, slightly larger than Amelia, sits on the eggs keeping them warm. They can be distinguished from each other by the male’s dark eyes and the female’s yellow eyes. FMASSC/ASW has twelve reticulated giraffes – five adults, six juveniles and 1 expectant mom. Apparently, they got the memo about our photo shoot as they posed for their family portrait! This fall, the juveniles will be relocated to another zoo to become part of their giraffe exhibit or enter into their breeding program. Omar, a male okapi, looks like a cross between a zebra and a giraffe, with a little antelope thrown in. Also known as a forest giraffe, okapis are very social with humans but loners with their own species. Their long tongues like to reach out for hair or camera lenses. They are only found in one country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), living in the Ituri Rainforest. Their main threat is from habitat loss and hunting. Very little is known about life of the okapi in the wild. Camera traps placed in the rainforest are beginning to reveal much needed details. Captured photos showed a female with a juvenile. FMASSC hopes to gleam details such as when a juvenile will leave its mother to begin life on its own. The iridescence of their coat and their camouflaged coloring help them blend into their native surroundings. Their oily
Okapi Conservation Project: “The Okapi Conservation Project helps to support The Okapi Wildlife Reserve established in 1992 and listed as a World Heritage Site in 1996. Over 1,500 types of plants and animals, including the okapi, are found only here in the world. This Reserve encompasses 13,700 square kilometers (1.5 times the area of Yellowstone National Park) of the Ituri Forest and helps protect the habitat of the okapi and preserve rare plant and animal life, as well as the lifestyle and culture of indigenous people. The largest population of okapi, forest elephants and chimpanzees in DRC, along with 13 species of primates, leopard, forest buffalo, bongo antelope, water chevrotain, and a wide variety of birds and insects, are among the wildlife harbored in the Reserve. The Ituri Forest is also the cultural center of the Mbuti and Efe pygmies, among the last true ‘forest people’ left on Earth. They are true hunter-gatherers and deep forest-dwellers living traditional lifestyles as they have for centuries, perhaps millennia. Through trade and association with neighboring cultivation communities like the Bantu, their activities generally enrich the overall composition of the forest by providing pockets of secondary vegetation, a source of plants on which the okapi feed.”
Transporting animals Antelope are transported in a “souped-up” horse-trailer with lots of small airholes, and a more solid foundation. The goal is to keep the antelope from being visually stimulated causing nervousness and anxiety, leading to injury during the trip. Giraffes travel in a specialized trailer with a hydraulic lift on the roof. The roof is extended to about 15-16 feet for loading of the giraffe, then lowered to legal height for transport, which encourages the giraffe to lower its head or lie down. Every two hours, they stop to raise the roof and allow the giraffe to extend its neck. The Species Survival Plan (SSP) concentrates on moving younger animals before they reach their maximum size. There are people within the U.S. that are specifically licensed to move giraffes since they are such a unique animal to deal with.
skin protects them from the dampness of the rainforest, much like wearing a raincoat. The top layer of skin, velvety to the touch, rips open easily, allowing them to escape leopards, their fiercest predator. When a leopard leaps on their back, its claws slide through the okapi’s skin, allowing a fast getaway. The okapi’s excellent immune system provides quick healing without infection. Unlike their closest wild relative, the giraffe, okapi love human attention. The more petting, the better. A pair of their okapis are attempting to breed. Females only have an 8-hour window to get pregnant, but they go into heat twice a month. FMASSC is hoping to be one of the top three breeding centers in the U.S. with their 4 bachelor pens for each single male and a 22-acre forest to house multiple females. They are called the giant panda of the hoofstock world because they are so easy to work with, like horses but a bit more skittish. You can actually pick up their feet for trimming and cleaning. No other
wild hoof-stock animal will tolerate that! Omar’s girlfriend poses for her photo in the favorite okapi pose, showing me her butt as she glances over her shoulder, as if to say, “I think this is my best side. What do you think?” The ASW partnership between Audubon Nature Institute and San Diego Zoo Global was born out of a desire to make a difference in saving endangered species. While natural breeding is always an option, they are concerned about the genetics of breeding pairs. With species of small populations, genetics become even more critical. The Species Survival Plan (SSP) tracks forward 100 generations to ensure there will be no inbreeding. Think of it as a genetic matchmaker for zoos. They have the technology to artificially inseminate a female with sperm from the appropriate male which allows them to maintain the genetic diversity of the species. The ASW partners utilize their shared expertise in assisted reproduction
Safety and security at FMASSC Animal enclosures feature a natural habitat, double-fenced and doublegated. One gate must close before the other gate can be opened. Gates are solar powered, allowing them to continue working in case of a power outage. Fences on the enclosures have an electric wire running along the bottom to keep raccoons out. Their hurricane plan includes moving their lion to a heavily secured building, relocating the larger hoofed species, such as giraffe and okapi, to a barn and allowing smaller hoofed species to hunker down in their pens where they don’t feel locked in. After a hurricane or similar event, the perimeter of the property is checked carefully for any fence breaches, anything that could be a hazard to one of the animals or the public. 30
techniques and behavioral sciences to develop breeding protocols that will ensure long-term success in rebuilding threatened animal collections. Since their 2017 opening, they have successfully birthed whooping cranes, giraffes, eland antelope, sable antelope, eastern bongo, yellow-backed duiker and more. Soon, they hope to see three young saddlebilled stork chicks, another giraffe and a baby okapi. Their plan is to add more species, expand habitat and refine reproductive techniques, with a â€œlong-term goal of becoming an international center for creating selfsustaining animal populations and a model to other conservation organizations.â€? If you would like to help out this amazing organization, visit any revenue-generating Audubon entity, such as the Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium, Audubon Nature Center, Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium or make a donation via their website. Sponsors of Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center
370 GATEWAY DR, SUITE A SLIDELL firstname.lastname@example.org
Freeport-McMoRan Chevron Dow Chemical Company Louise Roberts Coypu Foundation Trust National Fish & Wildlife Foundation Eugenie & Joseph Jones Family Foundation San Diego Zoo Global
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Photos with Santa 33
Where is your Mom, Tom? A children's story written & illustrated by Rose Marie Sand
This month’s story is about the adventures one cool day in early December, a day of a little turkey named Tom. Tom was a curious little fellow and always ran instead of walking. In fact, his Mom often said, “Tom, you’ve got to slow down!” When Tom was just a poult, he’d often wander from his sisters and brothers when Mom took them for walks. Now that he was a full fledged 5 month old turkey, Tom was nearly unstoppable. Turkey moms lay one egg a day for about 10 days, so all of Tom’s brothers and sisters were born in June; none of them seemed to have the same talent for getting in trouble as little Tom. His sisters, Shelby, Mia, Dottie, Audrey and Julia, were always cheerful and helpful. More than once, they had pulled him back into line on a family trip to the farmhouse.
Brothers Brady, Gavin, Zac and Luke were helpful too, but in that boyish kind of way that turkeys have – he knew they loved him when they pushed him off the porch. All in all, Tom loved his big messy family. Especially his mom, who taught him to respect the other animals on the farm. Tom would often lag behind the others to visit his friends on the farm. He learned owl talk, goat talk, and even how to communicate with the animals who lived in the farmhouse. His fuzzy feathers would quiver as he greeted them. There was Dorothy the G.O.A.T. She told him that stood for Greatest Of All of Them. She always seemed to be on top of something. Her language was easy – a bray here and there would mean she was happy. There was Joey the Barnyard Owl, a wise creature indeed. His deep voice and advice held the wisdom of all animals.
There was a two-legged creature called Miss Judy, who scattered the sweet corn that Tom loved so much. Her language was musical, and his mom called her a “human.” Miss Judy wore something Mom called “clothes” and she was very kind. On one Wednesday night, Tom’s mom prepared her children for a night’s rest, and she snuggled them into a nest in the tallest tree. “Children, tomorrow will be a special day, so I want you to settle in and get a good night’s sleep," Mom said. Our story begins when Tom woke up to find his brothers and sisters and Mom fast asleep, and the sun peeking through the leaves above his head. He could hear their quiet, measured breathing; he knew he couldn’t wait for them to awake to see the surprise his Mom had told them about. Our story begins like so many others, Once upon a time…
“I have to see what’s going on in the world!” Tom thought. He leapt out of the nest and struck off by himself. First, he saw Dorothy the G.O.A.T. on top of her little lean-to.
“She’s home in the nest, still asleep,” Tom said. “She told us something special was going on today. Do you know what that would be?” Joey grinned his owl grin, closed his big owl eyes, and said, “Every day is as special as you make it, Tom.” Then Joey drifted off to sleep. So Tom moved on to the house in the distance.
“She’s home sleeping,” Tom replied. “What’s happening today?”
Miss Judy was sitting on the porch of the big house, with a cup of something that smelled both yummy and bitter; Tom had once heard her call it coffee. When she saw Tom, she broke into a big grin. “Where’s your Mom, Tom?” Miss Judy called out.
Tom had heard about birthdays from Miss Judy and thought that might be the surprise. “Where’s your Mom, Tom?” the owl hooted.
“Get along, turkeys!” Miss Judy said. “You’ll miss the big Christmas parade.” In the distance, near the road that passed the farm, Tom heard musical sounds and shouting. He’d never heard anything like that in his whole life.
There, they saw a beautiful horse with a rider dressed in a red suit with white fur. He was calling out, “Merry Christmas, Ho Ho Ho!”
“You’ll see,” Dorothy said as she jumped off and ran to climb the next structure.
“Good morning, Mr. Owl. Is today your birthday?”
“I’m sorry, Mom. I just couldn’t wait to find out what the big surprise is!" Tom said.
He was very careful to take his place in line as the family of turkeys rushed toward the road.
“Where’s your Mom, Tom?” brayed Dorothy.
Around the next corner, there was Joey the Barnyard Owl on a low branch of an oak tree.
“Tom, don’t you ever do that again!” Mom said. "You are the most impatient little turkey in the whole flock.”
Tom was close enough to recognize the horse named Kendra that was carrying the rider and called out, “Who are your carrying, Kendra?” “Why, this is Santa Clause, Tom. He’s the symbol of laughter and joy. And if you stay right there, you’ll see a float with a manger, carrying a replica of Baby Jesus," Kendra called to Tom. “A baby?” whispered Tom.
“Miss Judy, Miss Judy, do you know what’s going on today?” Tom called back.
“He’s the Savior of all living creatures, Tom," Mom said. "Bow your head in respect, my little turkeys.”
Just then, Tom’s family waddled up to the farmhouse.
Tom and his siblings lowered their heads. And they knew, just like creatures everywhere, the peace of faith and the love of ages. “I’ll never leave my family again,” Tom thought. “Ho, ho, ho, turkeys,” Santa called out. “And peace on earth to all of God’s creatures!”
The End 35
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Les Story by
“ONE SMALL THING” There is something I like to do before I write. It’s a small act, but it makes a big difference when I need to clear my mind of everything. Try it. Sit still for a minute and take three deep breaths. For each inhale, think of one good thing in your life, then breathe it in. Pretend you are using your breath to pull that good thing into your heart. Don’t worry about the obvious fact that it is really going into your lungs, everything in our bodies is connected anyway. Just breathe it into your heart, let it sit for a second until it sticks. Now, think of one bad thing you have had on your heart, and blow it out. Three good things, three bad. 38
If you really focus on this meditation, your heart will feel a little less heavy because you are letting three of your burdens go and replacing them with your blessings. It’s OK if they come back later,
don’t worry about that, but for now, let them float out in the air somewhere. If your outside, let the breeze take them further. Let the energy out there babysit them for a minute while you take the break you deserve. Watch them as an outsider, while they twist and turn through the air, doing their own thing, apart from you. Go back and get them later, if you want, or ask the babysitter if they can stay a little longer so you can enjoy your break for a few more hours. Up to you. Like I said, it’s only a small act, but if it is something you choose to practice, it can have longterm, lasting effects. For now, at least for the rest of this article, let them stay away.
When I was in high school, there was this quiet kid that I rarely remembered talking to. He wasn’t really “known” for anything, as some kids are, he was just there, blending into the crowd. It wasn’t even something I thought about at the time, because he, like all the rest of us, was just doing what we did every day. Waking up, going to school, staring at the clock until it was lunchtime, then staring at the clock until it was time for the last bell to ring. Monday through Friday, for four long years. Like I do now, I stayed in my head a lot, trying to figure people out. If someone seemed sad, I would make them laugh. If they were having problems at home, I would want to dig deeper, hoping to help. My grades weren’t wonderful, and I had no big life plans that I was working towards. I was OK with just seeing that someone might be a little happier because of something small I had noticed and tried to help with. That was enough for me, I guess. But that quiet kid that didn’t stick out much, he wasn’t one of them. I never helped him. I never even knew him. Only his name. There were never any warning signs that my “empathic energies” picked up on. At the end of our senior year, we all went our separate ways, as you do. I knew the college plans a lot of the kids had, and they knew I was leaving for the Army because I didn’t want to stare at clocks anymore. But, of those kids, he wasn’t one of them. There are faces that flash in my memory of those I said goodbye to and wished well… those characters of my class that played some part of that high school story in my mind. Yet again, he wasn’t one of them. About three months into my Army training, I came back home to my parents’ house for a Christmas break. My mind was filled with exciting new stories to tell my friends and family, those “small high
All in the Family The Works of Keith and Kelly Dellsperger
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school days" now having less significance as I replaced them with a new-found purpose and strength in my life. Stories of great things I wanted to achieve. Bigger, BETTER stories than winning a high school football game or getting drunk at a cool party. That’s the small stuff. Now fearless and indestructible, the world was mine! (Oh, to be 18 again.) I felt on top of the world, just knowing the possibilities this adult freedom gave me. The cool stories that would come of it. The BIG stories. The ones that would REALLY matter. At the end of my Christmas break, sitting in my old room and packing a bag to head back to this place where my future was waiting, my parent’s home phone rang. It was late, which kind of aggravated me that no one was answering it and that my packing was being interrupted. Annoyed, I stretched across my bedroom floor to grab the phone. “HELLO?!” Before I go on, I want you to breathe in one more good thing, but this one is specific. Think of a time when someone did a very small act that affected you greatly. Whether they knew about it or not. Hold on to it tight, then, slowly let it distribute throughout your whole body, as you imagine it filling every cell. Now, breathe out everything that you THINK you know, and replace it with silence, trusting that somehow, something bigger is working out there, even in the small places you never know about… never HEAR about.
Let me continue...
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“Hi. Leslie? I looked up your parent’s name in the phone book hoping to reach you. You were having a bad day one day, I could tell, but you smiled at me and talked to me in the hallway anyway, and so I knew that you were the kind of person that cared. I didn’t know who else to call. Um, I don’t want to live anymore. I need someone to talk to.”
It was him. That one small kid I could barely remember. I didn’t even remember the day he was talking about, when I smiled and talked to him briefly. But he had. After an hour on the phone making sure he was going to be OK, I hung up and cried my eyes out. It was humbling. POWERFUL. In that moment, the voice on the other end of the line was all I could think about. It came down to one simple moment that wasn’t even in my “big plans”. It didn’t come from where I thought it would. Instead, it came from a smile on a crappy day and, from him, a brave phone call, one that would save his life and end up teaching me one of the BIGGEST lessons in my own. I never heard from him again, but I looked him up when social media came around, about 10 years later. He was married with a child and had a genuine smile on his face, one I’d like to believe he used at some point to help someone else.
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The small things really DO matter. Even one breath. Because, in that one breath, you could possibly be giving someone else their next.
by Jeff Perret, DVM
HEATING PADS & PETS
July 1990. Las Vegas, NV. As I reported for my very first day working as a licensed veterinarian, I was promptly brought up to speed on the only currently hospitalized case. “Leroy” was a sweet, mid-sized brown mutt who’d had his dislocated left elbow reduced (put back together, that is) a few days before. While the surgery itself had been a great success, the skin over the entire right side of Leroy’s chest was now dying and sloughing off. As it turned out, the standard household heating pad that Leroy had lain on during the lengthy surgery had produced a large 3rd degree burn. Over the course of the
next few weeks, Leroy would lose about a square foot of full-thickness skin, and would require quite a bit of treatment. All ended well, but the entire episode should never have happened. If you think a heating pad is a fail-safe way to provide warmth and comfort to your pet (or to your family), think again. Yes, the same heating pad that you snuggle up with on a cold winter’s night can pose a threat. I have seen horrific injuries from them too many times and felt the need to write about it and let pet owners know what they can do to prevent this kind of thing from happening
Dr. Jeﬀ recommends using:
Happy holidays. No fleas. Lucky dog.
ONLY WITH BRAVECTO.®
A standard heating pad can cause painful, difficult-to-treat burns in both people and pets. I have seen many pets receive serious burns, some requiring painful and costly surgeries or skin grafts over several weeks to return to function. All of these injuries are eminently avoidable. Pet heating pad burns can happen either at home or in a veterinary hospital. First, let’s go over the home version, as that’s the one you’ll have control over. Two rules: NEVER set a heating pad on anything but the lowest setting; ALWAYS use a layer of padding like
a folded blanket or thick towel between the pad and your pet. Make sure your pet can get up and move off of a heating pad if it gets too hot. Very young animals, paralyzed or otherwise immobile pets, and those who may not be fully aware are at the most risk from getting burned by a heating pad. Placing the pad over the animal instead of under it (still keeping the above rules in mind) might also help avoid injury, since the pressure of lying atop a heating pad contributes to injury. This brings us to the second scenario: heating pads used in veterinary hospitals. Pets undergoing surgery or anesthesia lose body heat rapidly. And the smaller they are, the faster they get cold. Aside from being an unpleasant sensation, hypothermia can increase the chance of infection, prolong anesthetic recovery, and lead to many other complications. When I have a patient under anesthesia, I work hard to keep its body temperature at an appropriate level. Several devices are on the market for this purpose, and they do a good job of safely maintaining a patient’s body temperature. My favorite is a gizmo called a Hot Dog (get it?!) that uses a special computer-controlled heated mat to gently surround a patient with minimal to no risk of burns. Others use circulating warm water or warm air. Some veterinary hospitals use household electric heating pads for this purpose. Many use them safely and have never had any problem. But on occasion, because of either an improper setting or not using enough padding, patients may still get badly burned. For this reason, I am not a fan of veterinary hospitals using heating pads on patients, especially when good options like the Hot Dog exist. Anesthetized patients can’t move off the heat, and can’t tell you when they are getting burned. Every doctor - veterinarians, physicians, dentists, and others - is taught to “first, do no harm.” If you have a pet undergoing surgery or recuperating in a veterinary hospital, it might be good to verify with the doctors or staff that no heating pads will be used and that another method is available – or that heating pads are used on the low setting with appropriate padding. Being warm and cozy is one of life’s small pleasures and I don’t want to deny any pets the comfort of a warm spot to curl up in, or a better anesthetic experience. But injuries from heating pads are avoidable if you and your vet use them correctly. Don’t let your pet become one more sad statistic: if you must use a heating pad, use it the right way.
PET SITTING Miles • No Exposure to Diseases or Parasites from Other Dogs • Medication Administered • Less Separation Anxiety • Insulin Injections • Waste Cleanup • Mail Pickup • Daily Walks • Nail Trim
Gina Triay 43
This Christmas... shop local, shop unique! 1928
Slidell Antique Association First STREET • erlanger STREET olde towne slidell, la
Annette’s House of Decor Antique Mall
Antiques & Art
vintage Magnolia House Antique Mall Terry Lynn’s Cafe
Let the Good Times Roll Antiques
Joe Stumbo Antiques
Jeanie’s Southern Traditions Antiques
c o l l e c t i b l e
The Who Dat Shoppe
Embroidery N’ Things
“Your Estate Matters” By Ronda M. Gabb, NP, JD, RFC
2019 YEAR-END PLANNING TIPS It is hard to believe that 2020 is right around the corner so we only have a short time left to accomplish some tax-friendly strategies. Here are some suggestions: Gifting – If you are planning to utilize some (or all) of your annual gift tax exclusion gifting, those gifts must be completed by December 31st. This means the checks must clear your account before the end of the year. Many clients love to make these gifts at Christmas time, which is fine, just be sure your recipients know that they must cash or deposit these checks in a very expedient manner. The gift amount for this year is $15,000 per gift recipient. This means that a couple can actually “gift” $30,000 to each recipient. A common misconception is that the gift recipient must be related somehow to the donor, when in fact the recipient could be a friend, in-law, or even your yard man! These gifts are completely income-tax free to the recipient, and of course removes its value from the donor’s taxable estate. However, it is not a “deduction” to the donor in any way. These gifts are not reported on the tax returns of either the donor, or the donee. The annual gift amount for 2020 will stay at $15,000. Since this is considered a “calendar year” gift, on January 1, 2020, a couple may then gift an additional $30,000 to each recipient. This allows “free” gifting by a couple to a loved one of $60,000 that can all occur within the next 31 days (or less, depending on when you are reading this). The IRS has announced the estate and gift tax exemption amounts for 2020. It is now $11,580,000 per person (2019 figure is $11,400,000), allowing a married couple to leave $23,160,000 to their loved ones before any estate or inheritance taxes will be due. A problem most of us won’t have! Qualified Charitable Deductions (QCD) – You may make charitable gifts of up to $100,000 directly from your IRA to your favorite qualified charity. The donor must be 70½ or older and this gift counts as (or towards) your Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) amount. This is beneficial because the gifted portion of the RMD is not reported on your tax return as part of your income (you will not see this gifted amount on the 1099-R tax form you receive in January). This may help you fall under the income limit discussed below for the Senior Freeze, and since the standard deductions have increased dramatically ($24,400 for a married couple in 2019), many people now don’t have enough charitable contributions to itemize anyway. This is a great way to make gifts to your favorite charities! Senior Freeze – In Louisiana, when an owner of the primary home is 65 or older and has a household Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $75,594 (2019 figure) or less, the property qualifies for an assessment freeze. This means that the fair market value of the property is “frozen” and not reassessed
higher in reassessment years (which 2020 will be) as long as home improvements in excess of 25% of the home’s value are not made. If there is any way to stop or reduce any further income for 2019 to be able to qualify, you may wish to do this ASAP. Perhaps you could donate some (or all) of your RMD for 2019 to your favorite charity, as a QCD discussed above, or, if possible, work less hours for the rest of the year. Or if you are between age 65 and 70 (not turning 70.5 until July 1st or after), you, and your spouse, if over age 50, could each contribute $7,000 to your IRA, thereby giving a married couple’s 1040 tax return an extra $14,000 deduction to further reduce your AGI. Also be sure to utilize all your deductions. We often meet with senior clients that have had large deductions for a particular year due to an illness. Also, fees paid to caregivers, sitters, nursing home, rehab, assisted living expenses, and any other unreimbursed medical and prescription expenses can be quite substantial. Use these legitimate deductions and don’t let them be wasted. Talk to your CPA/accountant to see if it would be wise to pull out more taxable distributions from an IRA (even in addition to the RMD, if any) that can be offset by the other deductions. This equates to more “income tax free” money you can pass to your loved ones upon your death.
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
ag Slidell M 2019 December
Slidell Magazine was EVERYWHERE this month! Here are just a few of our adventures!
Beautiful ladies working to Keep Slidell Beautiful! The Slidell Womenâ€™s Civic Club sist ers, led by the ageless Miss Rosemary Clement, clean up Pontchartrain Blvd. Thanks to all the volunteers who made our community look grea
ists isson congratulate art Eric & Rep. Mary Dubu ow sh art er at their Keith & Kelly Dellsperg e amazing works at th eir th see Go reception. gh rou th ys da urs Th ys City Hall Gallery, Tuesda December 20th.
Slidell Mag Editor, Kendra Maness, felt like a good old boy climbing into The General at the Lions Club Touch-A-Truck fundraiser
Mayor Greg Cromer joins host Andy Prude at Pontchartrain Investment Managementâ€™s business after hours party. Seriously - PARTY OF THE YEAR!
II Museum The Victory Belles from the WW ic tunes riot pat with entertain the crowd wl Cra s eran Vet ne Tow at the Olde
Kendra, as Queen Mona Lisa, salutes the King & Queen of Poseidon, Charles & Paula Conti, at the Mona Lisa & MoonPie Parade
The kooky, crazy, wacky & wonderful women of Slidell Synch Lawn Chair Brigade don their best Vince Vance hair wigs for their performance at the annual Halloween Bayou Bash in Heritage Park
The Habitat Rosie committee, Kendra Maness, Julie Wood, Kentrell Jones & Dawn Rivera, say THA NK YOU 2019 ROSIES for raising $58,000 for Habitat!
al of seniors for the annu Another fantastic crowd a joy en cheon. Seniors Senior Appreciation Lun of the Harbor Center, ds en lunch prepared by Fri e ciation, St. Tammany Fir Slidell Firefighterâ€™s Asso . Inc v Be d Department an District 1, Slidell Police
Rockin Ron leads the 2nd line through the Harbor Center during the Senior Appreciation Luncheon.
Classic cars on display for the 1st Bayou Showdown Car Show
Another exciting event at your Harbor Center! Car collectors from the region attended Bayou Showdown
AshKicker, a restored VW Bug owned by Chris & Robin Wolf from Lacombe, on display for car enthusiasts for Bayou Showdown
The USMC Reserve Band NOLA will perform their annual concert on December 4. Doors open at 6pm, the concert begins at 7pm. Come early to enjoy the holiday dĂŠcor in the lobby. And, maybe Santa will be here too! Toy donations accepted for the Toys for Tots program.
December 04 USMC Reserve Band New Orleans Christmas Concert, FREE Admission. A new unwrapped toy is appreciated as a donation to Toys for Tots. December 05 Tis the Season Business After Hours December 06 Krewe of Dionysus Christmas Party
Che ck out o ur n ew w e bsite!
December December December December
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Private Event The Stewart Group Medical Career Fair & Hiring Event Private Meeting Private Event
w w w. h a r b o r c e n t e r. o r g
Christmas Under the Stars December 6- 7 & 13- 14, 2019 • 6- 9
• G r i f f i t h Pa r k i n O l d e To w n e
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.
Olde Towne Slidell Community Christmas Parade • Saturday, Dec. 7 • 6 pm • Free Admission
Be a part of the inaugural Olde Towne Slidlel Community Christmas Parade! Featuring Slidell Sync Lawn Chair Brigade, decorated golf carts and homemade floats, community members in holiday costumes, the U.S. Marine Reserves Toys for Tots Foundation and St. Tammany Toys For Tots, and Santa and Mrs. Claus riding on the Old Town Soda Shop’s antique firetruck.
Holiday Concer t with the Nor thshore 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 • Saturdays, Dec. 21 & 28 Movies 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.
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