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Vol. 114 January 2020



Editor’s Letter

Kendra Maness Editor/Publisher Slidell Magazine

As we bid farewell to 2019, I can’t help but reflect on the highs and lows of the past year. Sure, every year has its fair share of beauty and blunders, but this was a biggie for me in many ways, so I’d like to share some thoughts with you...

I was fortunate to be named Queen of the 2019 Mona Lisa & MoonPie Parade. This quirky krewe has been strolling, rolling, pushing and strutting their carts of marshmallow goodness through the streets of Olde Towne for over 35 years. This year, the parade date was changed, removing it from the Mardi Gras & St. Patrick’s Day time frame and securing it as the only parade to roll during the Halloween season. It was a natural fit! It’s a nighttime parade with crazy costumes and flaming torches, throwing edible goodies. PERFECT. I have a master vision to make Slidell the Halloween destination place in Louisiana. Mona’s parade is just the start of wonderful things to come! Whoever keeps stealing Ronnie Dunaway’s stuff, just STOP. Ronnie has done an incredible job of beautifying our historic Olde Towne district and it’s disheartening when his efforts are thwarted by low-lifes who steal. When I first moved back to Slidell in 2010, I didn’t know Ronnie, but I knew the grotto he had built for public use in Olde Towne. I would sit on the bench and pray, eat lunch, and simply be still with my thoughts, borrowing from the serenity and beauty of the Blessed Virgin statue and the flowers that adorned her. After the statue was stolen, I felt like I had lost something, too. Recently, someone stole Ronnie’s generator, trailer and the blow-up, dancing man that was on the corner of Front and Robert St. I liked the dancing dude. He made me smile. I miss him too.

I said goodbye to my beautiful goat Suzy in September of 2019. She brought joy to so many of our Slidell Magazine followers through her adventures. I miss her everyday. On a positive note, my neighbor’s rose bush has grown back and is blooming for the first time since we moved here. Slidell Magazine’s award-winning writer and photographer Donna Bush did it AGAIN! This time, she won the Press Club of New Orleans’ Best Continuing Coverage Award for her series on the Cajun Navy and the Louisiana heroes in the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Maria. Congratulations Donna! This is so well-deserved and we are proud of you!

A big change came to the landscape of our local healthcare when long-time Slidell Memorial Hospital CEO, Bill Davis, left his eighteen year tenure in March 2019. Bill started at SMH as CFO, when Slidell was in danger of losing our community hospital because of financial problems. Bill led the hospital’s resurgence and the results were nothing short of extraordinary. We now have a community hospital, and a community PARTNER, we can be proud of. On a positive note, I’ve now got a fulltime boyfriend who loves motorcycle rides, walking dogs and sunsets. Life is good.

Uuugggh. Slidell businesses suffered a tough loss when the East St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce closed its doors after 50+ years. On a positive note, The West St. Tammany Chamber has a long track record of success and prosperity (and, bonus, no embezzlement!). Under their leadership, a new, parish-wide Chamber has been formed,the St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce. This Chamber will have representation on both sides of the parish and I’m honored to be one of the board members from Slidell. This new year and new Chamber will bring more than healing to the businesses of East St. Tammany Parish, it will bring regional growth!

The Rosies had their 4th year raising money and building a house for EST Habitat for Humanity. A total of 118 women raised $58,000 and worked their butts off in 90° weather. Next year, we’ll have over 200 Rosies and hope to raise $100,000 OR MORE!


Cover Artist joshua wichterich

PO Box 4147 Slidell, LA 70459


Joshua has always known he was a storyteller, especially through his art. Growing up, he would check out books from the library and begged his parents to buy him comics just to look at the pictures, awe-inspired by the stories they told. Growing up, his dad always advised him to have a story with each art piece he created. Listening to his dad’s words and loving art and drawing, that’s when Joshua’s storytelling began.

Shane Wheeler - Graphic Designer Graphics@slidellmag.com

Being inspired by artists like John William Waterhouse, Norman Rockwell, and Hayao Miyazaki, Joshua created his own unique art and illustration style with a mixed media of watercolor, color-pencil, ink, and digital.

EFOP, James Lauga Jr, Charlotte Collins

Krewe de New Year, which was specifically created just for Slidell Magazine, is inspired by the magic of the New Year and Carnival Season. Standing among the celebratory remnants of the new year, the notorious New Year Baby innocently tips his hat to the glorious, plastic, King Cake Baby, which makes way for a new, whimsical king and merry celebration! Joshua continues in Fine Art, developing his art series’, Art From The Soul and The Red-Haired Girl, which contain a prize-winning piece that was featured in the Mixed Media exhibition at City Hall in Slidell. Joshua has donated art to charities and establishments around Slidell, contributing pieces to Speak Hope Ministries at the Crisis Pregnancy Help Center, East St. Tammany Habitat for Humanity, and Slidell Little Theatre. Joshua is thrilled to have his art featured on the cover of Slidell Magazine. Krewe de New Year is the second piece he has created to grace our cover. www.TheLastLegendAwakened.com www.facebook.com/jwichterichART www.instagram.com/jwichterichART www.facebook.com/JoshuaB.WichterichFreelanceIllustrator

985-789-0687 Kendra Maness - Editor/Publisher Editor@slidellmag.com

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS The Storyteller, John Case Pet Points, Jeff Perret, DVM Oregon, Story & Photos by Donna Bush Go Beyond 20/20, Rose Marie Sand Crimmi-Mommly Insane, Leslie Gates Legal-Ease, Ronda M. Gabb Making Cents of Your Money, Mike Rich Backdrop Louisiana! by Linda Thurman & Ed Poole

Cover: Krewe de New Year by Joshua Wichterich


JAUNUARY 2020 Story by Charlotte Collins

Extraordinarily Fascinating “Ordinary” People Extraordinary Fascinating

Ordinary People

“There's nothing like a pack of mules to give one a sense of entourage.” ~ Tahir Shah, In Search of King Solomon's Mines

This is a story about a boy and his mules. Now grown into a man with a family of his own, he also has over 50 mules, their stable, and two farms for them to rotate, rest, and be happy. James Clement Lauga Jr. also hires personal veterinarians for them, in order to keep them healthy. He calls these mules his “babies.” For those who know little about mules, it is a crossbreed between a horse and a jackass. They are sterile, so you cannot breed a mule with another mule. They do, however, come as male or female. They also come with a wide range of personalities, abilities, and looks, as you will soon learn from James. Walking into his den, James points out a long wall of prints and paintings of Pearl, Sugar, Scarlet, and other mules. He beams as he points to each one and tells me about them. I can tell he has great memories of each, because he pauses as he gazes at their portraits. Then, James turns and says, “They're just amazing, amazing creatures! They'll never let you forget the schedule and, 6

James Clement Lauga, Jr.

believe me, they never forget. They hold you accountable. They are also the most reliable creatures you're ever going to meet. And, you know, people say that they're stubborn, and they have all these misnomers about mules, and most of it is simply because people just haven't had any real interaction with mules.” Then he shows me a large black and white lithograph of the stable on North Rampart Street that his grandparents, Clement and Violet Lauga, started in 1941. The scene was a compilation of men working with their mules during his father’s time. James Sr. ran the family business for 35 years after his parents became too ill to maintain the company. The younger James has now taken on the role of General Manager, though the father and son still jointly own Royal Carriages. He points out each man in the art, and again beams as he announces each one. “That is Mr. Coleman,” and he looks at me as if he were introducing a rock star. One man, he explains, was blind and worked the stable for 40 years. “He knew the

place and the mules like the back of his hand.” Again, James paused as he was propelled back in time, when these men were alive, and James followed them around in awe as a child. After a moment of silence, James explained, without ever shifting his vision away from the scene, “We still operate there today, nearly 80 years later. It's the oldest stable in the city of New Orleans. There is a lot of history right there. Before my grandfather bought the property, it was a lumber yard and a fruit vendor’s yard. The vendors once termed 'rag men' operated out of this yard also. They would travel the cobble stone streets of New Orleans shouting out and singing their wares of the day, rags, thread and cloth.” The voice popped in my head immediately as I recalled, “Waaatermelon...fresh from da vine.” I smiled to myself at the memory, while James continued, “So, it's been many different interesting businesses over the years. There's history that goes back to the Labat family. They owned an undertaker's funeral parlor,

and they processed the bodies here. History indicates that Marie Laveau, the Voodoo Queen, was actually interred right here.” Luckily, he paused at that moment, allowing me to absorb all of the history. It was as if an old movie depicting New Orleans history was going through my imagination. I was loving the romantic imagery my brain conjured up as he was speaking. In a brief flash, I snapped back to the room where James, his wife Ramanda, and their youngest daughter, Emily, were playing. Their two dogs were watching us, the elder white lab from the floor, and the energetic Shih Tzu mix from the blankets on the couch. How in the world did their family end up in Slidell? I learned that James is originally from New Orleans. He explained that, from the time he was about five years old, they had a fishing camp at the very end of Carr Drive. Everyone dreaded Sundays, when they had to get back to the city. He smiled and said, “A lot of times we would just stay because we did a lot of fishing and boating. I can remember my parents, James Sr. and Carolynn, putting me in the hammock on the pier until 11 at night, or midnight, while they were still fishing. Then, the next morning, I got dressed in my school uniform, and they'd drop me off at school, and they went to the stable. That was a pretty good indication that we were probably going to move to Slidell for good,” and James nodded with emphasis.

In 1995, they moved permanently to Slidell, after James’ eighth grade. He shared, “I think I had the greatest childhood, fishing and crabbing on Lake Pontchartrain, even at night under dock lights. We did it all - trawling, running slat traps for catfish, trolling the trestles and fishing Bayous Bonfouca and Liberty. I was the youngest of six and it was a great childhood. I’m forever grateful that my mom decided to build their dream home on Carr Drive. I went to Pope John Paul II High School and that’s where I met my wife,” he smiled broadly. “Slidell is more than a refuge to me, it's therapy after a long day's work. Growing up on the water, you learn the good and bad, like the storms. But, 99% of the time, it's beautiful views, fishing and not having 10,000 cars driving past your house. And so, after Katrina, Ramanda and I found the house in Chamale. I remember seeing it online and saying to her, ‘Look, look at this house! We're gonna buy this house!’ Everywhere I looked were trees!” James led me to the window and invited, “Come look at this oak tree next to me, it's just amazing. Look, there are trees to your right and left!” He had built a treehouse, and in between all of his privacy plantings were various children’s havens, including a teepee!

I also learned that his dad did not set out to take over the family carriage business immediately. During the Vietnam War, he was an Air Force fighter pilot, and he became a captain to ultimately fly commercial airplanes. “Then, when he got home, my grandfather Clem, who was running the company with my grandmother Violet, was very sick with cancer. And so my grandfather asked my father to go supervise for him one night. My dad found there was a lot of theft going on, and so he stayed and ‘cleaned house’. It was a big challenge coming from a strict military background to, at that time, an unruly industry. Many things were changed to make the business run efficiently. He learned to love it, because 35+ years later, he's handing the business off to me,” and James waved his hand with a flourish. His dad can’t seem to stay away, even after many years of retirement. Now he has taken on the role as Chief of Security.

Left: Clem & Violet Lauga. Middle: James "Jim" Lauga in service, 1967. Right: A young James at the farm in Mississippi.


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Next, James explained the history behind the carriage business, as his grandparents started in the transportation business in the 1920’s. “My grandfather was one of three founding charter members of United Cab Company in New Orleans. He soon owned some cabs and limousines and did very well with it. Then he expanded into the bus business and did bus tours of New Orleans. You have to realize; tourism wasn't what it is now. Try to imagine what the economy was like in Louisiana back in the late 30’s, and into the 40’s. The war was going on and the price of fuel was going up. So, my grandmother, Violet, said, ‘We need to think of another way to make money but not have so much expense.’ As a trial, they bought a wagon from Aunt Sally's Praline Company. They had been using it to transfer guests from hotels to their business, which at that time was an old log cabin on the corner of Royal and St. Louis Streets. Now it is the Omni Hotel. My grandparents converted that wagon into a carriage and started a new branch of the company called Gay Nineties Carriages, speaking to the 1890’s. Slowly, they began making more money with the carriages than they were with the limousines, buses, and cabs. With time, they slowly got out of the other forms of transportation, and into the carriages full time. They found that taking good care of the horses and mules was very time consuming, so focusing on this new branch was essential.”


Today, Royal Carriages and its nearly 50 team members and over 50 mules offers several tour options. These options include one called “Mule Town” where guests get to see the “behind the scenes” at Royal Carriage Stable. After gazing at the depiction of that stable, I can see why. "In 2021, this third-generation company will be 80 years old. We're extremely proud of it. And it's funny that it's taken us this long to actually tell our own history. I guess we've been busy telling the history of others. I love it, it's really the only thing I know.” And he made this last statement with a great sense of pride.

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He summed it up by stating, “Those mules are my babies, and my team knows that they are the reason why all of us eat, for sure.” James folded his hands on the table as he mused, “It’s funny, people like to say ‘stubborn as a mule.’ I think it's simply self-preservation in mules. It's basically the difference between a horse and a mule.” He leaned back and painted another picture in my mind, “Look back to the Civil War. The calvary would line horses and mules up and, at first, all would charge into battle. But as soon as the other side started shooting back, the horses kept going and a lot of times died. Whereas the mules turned around and went the other way! The mules, they know danger. They can hear, and they can see danger. So, when you have an animal that's driving down the street, you constantly watch their ears, and you watch the way they may look at something they

perceive as danger. They know what could potentially be a problem. They are extremely intelligent. Interestingly enough, I've never owned a horse, or wanted to. But with my oldest daughter, Laney, turning six, I think ponies might be in our future. Both girls love the mules, and they go with Ramanda as often as possible. She works there with me.” I had no idea of the lengths his team went to in order to operate safely and compassionately. So James described the logistics of owning that many mules. They have two farms that the mules “vacation on” for 3-6 months of the year between driving stints. One is in Covington, and the other is in Poplarville. He explained, “Doctor Jim Biermann and his wife, Linda, have been our veterinarians for over 40 years at the farm in Covington. Kenny and Renee Russell own and operate the Poplarville location. They are also part of our training program that we developed to train mules and drivers. Because of the work we do in Poplarville, we have 100 acres there. Typically, the younger mules go to training in Poplarville. And then, the older mules go to Covington for better care as they age.” I think I may run that vacation rotation by my boss! Now James sat up straight as he relayed the retirement program for the mules. I could tell he was very proud of his new program. “At 20 years of age, they go through our adoption program. As an example, this Saturday, we will have five retired mules getting on a trailer to go to new homes. We have a waiting list of people that we interview for placement. We used to wait until the mules were 30-35, but the adoption program works so much better for the animals if they are adopted while still in their prime of life. The whole point of the earlier age is so that the mules have an active life after they’ve worked in the French Quarter. Like people, mules need to stay active as they retire. There are a lot of people who are retired, and their life’s dream was to own a farm, and have a little wagon to take the grandkids on a ride. Some of the time, they just want the mule more as a pet to feed, take care of, and keep them company. They call them yard ornaments!” and he laughed at that option. “But you have to make sure that the families have the property and the means, and that they're the right kind of person. We don't ever want to get into a situation where we have to go back and take an animal away from a person who adopts a retired mule but can’t properly care for it.” These last sentences were spoken with conviction, but a solemn tone of voice. Then they have to find replacement mules, and James surprised me again with the working logistics. “Typically, they're not going to be any younger than six or seven before driving on the street, because their brains aren't fully developed yet. It's just like humans and the development of the brain. You want to get them to the mental equivalent of early 20s in a human. So that

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Above: James' dad & mom, Jim and Carolynn, at the Bacchus Ball in 1979, the year that New Orleans cancelled Mardi Gras due to the NOPD strike. They had the only parade that year via the mules and their carriages. Middle: James & Ramanda in high school. Right: James & Ramanda's wedding, March 17, 2012, St. Patrick's Day, with driver Dennis Gemelli and Spartacus.

would be about 7-10 in mule age. Then they have many active years. As they get older, they don't work as much, just as humans don't. So, a younger mule will get three months’ vacation over the year, and an older mule gets six months’ vacation a year.” So that made the rotation of vacation clearer. It really depends on the individual. Now to the rotation at the stable: They have on average 30 team members that are drivers at Royal Carriages. There are two shifts, 15 drivers on the day shift, and 15 drivers on the night shift, and each driver has their own mule. You need to have extra mules in case a mule loses a shoe, has a sore muscle, doesn't feel well, or whatever the situation is. That means they need 33 mules at the stable at any given time. And then the balance is kept on pasture,” he shifted and took a pause.

This gave me a moment to reflect on how complex this train, work, rest, work, retire rotation was. He was right when he said the average bystander had no idea how complex the care of the mules really was. Throw the heat of summer in the mix, and the drivers really have a complex schedule to juggle. New Orleans has some of the most stringent working animal regulations across the country. Once the temperature is over 95 degrees, they don’t operate. "First, we don’t sell tickets for the hottest part of the day. We offer discounts for early bird tours in the morning. And, if you're in route, we slow our movement and maybe wrap it up by finishing the stories at Jackson Square. The mules are allowed to shelter in place at Jackson Square, where we have water troughs set up. If we are not in route, they get to go back to their

stable, and we hose their legs down and cool them off. Then we have a big covered area with fans. Believe me, no one wants to be out in that heat, not the customers, or their carriage team. You know the work that these animals do compared to some of the farms where they come from, is not as strenuous work. It's hard to explain to people that they need to be active, and they like to work. Laying around a stall or in the pasture is just not interesting for them. These animals have muscles, energy, and curiosity. They were bred to work.” I also learned that the drivers stick with the same mule throughout that driver’s tenure, so they have a close relation with their mule. The exception is if you are a new driver. "Our new drivers will come in and learn with what is called a ‘plug’, which is basically a slow mule. This way, there's less room for error,”

Royal Carriages has farms in Poplarville, MS and Covington, LA. 10

he laughed. “They drive that mule a whole month to six months, and then we bump them up to a little bit faster mule. And then, when that driver gets a mule assigned to them, they keep that mule through their career. They'll get another mule to drive with while their mule is on vacation.” I had a lot of questions about his employees, or team members, as they are referred to by James. James politely answered, “It's a pretty dynamic job, and we find a role that suits each team members’ interests. A lot of people want to work in the French Quarter, because there's a lot going on and you get to meet people from all over the world. But the thing that stays with the drivers most is that relationship with their animal. Their mule is their partner. That's probably one of the harder things for them when we have to take one mule from a driver and give it to another because of various needs. It's an emotional process, it's not just what puts food on your family's table. These drivers spend a lot of time preparing these animals and getting them ready to go to work.”

I wondered what that entailed, and James obliged me by painting a picture of their daily routine. “Typically, as a carriage driver in New Orleans, your daily routine is to take your mule out of their stall and give them a bubble bath. I mean, they love it. You know, they really get pampered. They dry them off, and then comb out their tails and manes. We don’t bathe them if it is cold, of course. Next, they give them pedicures and put polish on their hooves. Especially at holidays, they may put on glitter. That's kind of a hallmark for us down here. So, at Christmas they'll have green and red glittered hooves and for Mardi Gras, purple, green, and gold. Last, they put their harness on them. You know, it's a lot of hands on, physical work for the drivers. Then you get your mule hooked to your carriage and you go to work! Then you do the reverse of that after work,” and he looked at my face full of surprise at all this effort and smiled. “It's very interesting when a mule has to be retired, because we'll have a mule that's in great shape, great health, then they suddenly get to that 20 year

spot. They are so happy when they go 'on vacation' to the farms. My favorite thing is to load them up in a trailer and take them and watch them run free. But imagine if you have had your mule since they were 10 years old. And for 10 years, maybe, this driver or a couple of drivers have driven them and now we have to retire the animal. It's pretty emotional, so my drivers want to know where their friend is going, want to know the names of the family, and get their contact information. It is not unusual for them to call often and make a trip to visit.” He had a very poignant tale about one particular mule, though I know there were many. This tale is about Sugar. He leaned back in his chair, shifted a bit and related, “I got started through a pen pal relationship with this gentleman out of Texas. He had a six or sevenyear-old 'molly mule', or female, named Sugar. A 'john mule' is a male. Her photo portrayed a beautiful white molly. He said, ‘I want a French Quarter mule.” I had one about to retire, named Sammy Davis Jr. and he was a go getter. So,

Left: The stable at 1824 N. Rampart Street. Middle: Keeping the carriages clean. Right: Emily at the stable meeting the mules for the first time


we met halfway, I got Sugar, and he got Sammy Davis Jr. We continued to correspond, and he came down and rode on the carriage with Sugar. Finally, he's retired in Texas. Sammy Davis passed away when he was 42 years old and is buried on his beautiful ranch. It's come around now that Sugar is retirement age. Come Saturday, she's going back home to Texas. I've been looking for a place for Sugar to go, and the only place that I can see that this mule needs to go is back home. Her former owner started tearing up at those words. He's also going to take one other mule, named Blue. It’s perfect, because I know that he has the passion and the means to take care of these animals for the rest of their retirement," and James looked down at his hands for a moment with a big smile lingering on his face. If you go to the French Quarter in New Orleans and you see the red and black shirts, you will know it is Royal Carriages. “Educate, Entertain and Enjoy” is embroidered on one sleeve, and the American flag is on the other sleeve. “That's our Customer Pledge, and we make sure to get that right,” James beamed. “We have great people on our team. The morale at Royal Carriages is extremely high.” I consider that exceptional, because many business owners I speak to have a hard time finding employees, and certainly don’t find morale high. His response was, “We have a company goal to focus on five goals: teamwork, compassion, integrity, accountability, and continuous improvement." Then James sat up again and I could feel the energy in this otherwise even-keeled man. He smiled 12

as he announced, “We recently started actively selling tickets online!” Royal Carriages had an online presence for 25 years, but never sold their product online. “Now, it is 70% of our business, and it has made us a more organized company. We are working ‘smarter not harder’, like my dad would always say.” “Since then, we put a seven member leadership team together that includes me, former carriage drivers, our Director of Training & Livestock Management, Stable Manager, Logistics Managers, Sanitation, Director of Sales and Marketing persons on it. That has really been a game changer. That has led me to be more involved with the industry on a National level, including the board of CONA, Carriage Operators of North America, which offered new perspectives." "Our bread and butter has always been the French Quarter. We figured out what were the best selling tours, and we combined the French Quarter with the St. Louis Cemetery Number 1, the oldest above ground cemetery. That's our most popular daytime tour. Right now, the history and haunts ghost tour

James Jr. & James Sr. standing in front of a brand new Royal Red carriage

is our most popular at night. Of course, we do other things like the Garden District, and others on request. We have private tours and group tours.” I was having a hard time deciding which to buy for my stocking stuffers when James again grew excited. “And this year is our first year we're actually in City Park for Celebration in the Oaks!” “Our greatest resource, in addition to our animals, is our employees. There's so much history in this area. They do a really good job of telling that history in a way that all people will be able to understand. Keep in mind, they may have kids and adults, locals and new visitors, and the storytellers have to craft it to be interesting to all. Their job is challenging and rewarding.” I had come prepared with questions in my head. But one thing I had never considered was the breeding, raising, and extensive training of mules. Patient as always, and always ready to talk about mules, James educated me. There are different breeds of jacks and horses, and that produces the color variations, from white and gray, to bay, brown or black, even variations in highlights of their muzzles, ears, eyes, manes and tails. It also produces personality and physical characteristics like lean and fast, or stocky and more muscular. James summed it up with, “The whole reason to breed a horse to a jack in the first place is to get a stronger, more tolerant, dependable and reliable work animal. The mule gets its build, power and ability from the mother, a mare, and then the disposition and heat tolerance from the Jack.”

He often gets his mules from the Amish in Pennsylvania. “We have strong connections with the Amish community, and the Amish will work them on their farm sometimes for years, and train the mule to work. Then we'll get the mule and bring them to Poplarville, where Kenny Russell spends time with them on our farm, pulling a sled, and working in a double team. Then they progress to pulling a cart, then a wagon. From there, they go on the road, and get used to traffic and distractions. And then they are ready for the streets of New Orleans. First, we hook them into a carriage with a double team and the Director of Training and Livestock Management. The French Quarter is something that's very odd to them after the farm. Once they acclimate, we have them drive single, so it's quite a transition process. From the day that we've put eyes on them to the day they actually make a dollar could be three years. So, there's a lot of money that goes into that, that animal on the street and the salary of our carriage drivers. Add to that the two vets, feed, the stable, farms, and all the team members. Then we have our CPNC who sees to our Certificate of Public Necessity and Convenience.” James noticed my confusion, and explained, “It gives us the ability to use our vehicle as a place of sale. So, it's kind of like a concession. Our store is our carriage.” Looking off, he reminisced, “I would get up early in the morning, and my dad would drive us to the stable. I cherished that time with my dad! I remember the old days when we would get a big trailer with 8-10 mules from Tennessee. All the old timers would come early in the morning, looking in the trailer, making claims, ‘That's my molly’ or whatever. And they were fresh mules from the country. We would hook them to a carriage and take them around a block. If they made it around a block, we bought them. In that next day or two, they trained them. Then, bam, they took those mules out to work. Interesting. We changed our process and put training into place and have what we call ‘Mule School’. We were able to eliminate our accidents by about 75%.” And that brought a smile of satisfaction!

That led to wondering how the mules interact with strangers on the streets. “They have personalities like we do. In the public, they might have 10,000 people walk past them in a day, and maybe 100 people that want to come up to touch them. The drivers know their personalities and moods, and they have to handle the customers’ requests accordingly. But most of the mules are very affectionate. They wouldn't be in this line of work if they weren't." "They also have very distinct relationships with each other, especially at nighttime at the barn. They're like a bunch of kids, all rambunctious, particularly when it's morning feeding time and the lights click on. It's just like a schoolhouse, you know, and they're knocking around with their heads wrapped around the stalls, trying to peek around. They get oats, with sweet molasses, hay, electrolytes, supplements, and salt licks. Plus, they get fed a snack before we turn the lights off at night. Then you have your night and lunch meals. It's all planned out. From their drivers, they get other treats like carrots or peppermints. Their stalls have automatic water systems, and a fly misting system. Animal care is definitely one of our biggest expenses.” My eyes had been opened to this complex business. Who knew?

Recently, James joined Leadership Northshore, and is loving it! In his words, “I'm having a ball; because when you work in New Orleans every day, your mind is there, because you have a business there. Your home is your refuge and when I hit the bridge, it's like I'm leaving all that behind. I see that lake I love, and trees, and I take a deep breath. I don't know as many people here because I spend a lot of time relaxing with family. Through Leadership Northshore, I get the opportunity to meet people from all different walks and doing all different things. Every one of them is important for business in Slidell to thrive, and it's just fantastic to hear their stories.” “And now through Leadership, I'm learning the history of what was here before me. You think you’ve known this city, but you don't know the needs. Now I'm starting to see it. Now I'm interested in knowing the opportunities in Slidell that need my help. It’s great to be able to give back to my childhood home.” “My goal is to keep Royal Carriages going long enough for one of my girls to have the same opportunity that my parents gave me. I think they would love it.” As if on cue, Emily popped in, and I thought, what a great gift he would be giving them. I slipped out, knowing I had kept James and his family far beyond his dinner time.

James, Laney, Emily, and Ramanda Lauga 13




february march


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10 1

Jan feb

NFL Divisional Playoffs

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Heritage Park 6PM-10PM


AFC/NFC Championship

School Reopens

Martin Luther King Jr. Day


Leadership Northshore Project Presentations SMH Cancer Pavillion • 6PM


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Krewe of Poseidon Line-Up Unveiling Slidell Auditorium 7PM



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6PM - 8PM


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Business After Hours RE/MAX Alliance Mandeville 4:30PM Lobby Lounge Concert "Big Little Lions" Harbor Center 7PM



Ribbon Cutting Northshore Food Bank St. Tammany Justice Center 4PM - 4:30PM

Meet the Judges of the 22nd JDC





"The Storyteller" John S. Case Free Greenwood Cemetery Tours Tuesdays-Thursdays • 12-1 PM By appointment • 985-707-8727

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9 to 5 • Cutting Edge Theater • 8pm

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National Hot Chocolate Day


St. Tammany Parish Inauguration Reception Harbor Center 6PM - 11PM

NFL Wild Card Playoffs


9 to 5 • Cutting Edge Theater • 8pm Titans Ball 18 Slidell Auditorium 6:30PM - MIDNIGHT H.E.R.P. Exotic Reptile & Pet Show Harbor Center • 10AM - 5PM

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


Storyteller THE JOURNAL He hadn’t always done so, but for the last twenty years, he had religiously kept a journal and made detailed daily entries. That was when he first started reflecting on his past rather than on his future. It’s an age thing. There were so many things he enjoyed recalling, as if the past were brighter than the future, or even the present. He was reminded of the Biblical passage, “your old men shall dream dreams.” By some standards, he was an old man, as it was two days before his 76th birthday. He would spend it alone, as his wife of fifty-three years had passed three years prior. His only son lived 300 miles away and would not be with him. He didn’t mind too much, as this gave him the opportunity to reminisce. In his mind he could make the past like he wanted it to be. He packed a few items of clothing, his


blood pressure medicine, a toothbrush and comb in a gym bag. It had been years since the bag was used for its intended purpose. By mid-morning, he was in his truck on his way "home." Southerners do that. He was going “home.” Home meant where he was reared, not where he had lived for 50 years; not where he had worked and raised his son. He thought about his son. He blamed himself for being the first to break tradition and there was some guilt.

When he was growing up, it was customary for you to stay in the general geographical location as your parents. When they got old, you brought them into your house, or maybe you still lived in theirs. There were no retirement centers or nursing homes in those days, at least not in rural communities. Many people had their funeral in the same house they and their grandparents were born in. That was then. Things were different now. Moving halfway across the world was commonplace now. He remembered his father’s disappointment when he decided to move to Louisiana. It is not that he had not been back “home.” When his parents were alive, he made the three-hour drive often. After their death, not so much. Occasionally, the nostalgia created by the absence grew strong and he would

go back. It had been three years. The homing instinct was intense. He parked his truck in front of an upscale hotel, checked in, and then sat in the lobby looking through large plate glass windows that gave a view of the town’s Main Street. He studied each face that passed. Did he know them? Would he recognize them? He knew he looked a little different now, so he had to assume the same of them. Finally, this activity did not satisfy his reason for coming. In fact, he was not sure why he came, or why he ever came at all after his parents were gone. To remind himself, he opened his journal. ********** As he scanned the pages, where his thoughts had been transferred to paper, he noticed a redundant theme. Surprisingly, it was not of family, not of past romances. It was about a place; a place that had become more special in age than it had in youth. A place he had known simply as "the pasture." A place he had not revisited physically in fifty years; but he had mentally returned often, more often now than in the past. Now he would go there physically. It was a forty-acre tract of land that was located across the road from his childhood home. It was not his family’s land; not now anyway, but it had once been. That was before the war, the Civil War, that is. Basically, it covered a long sloping hillside. The highest part was to the north west and it sloped eastward and southward toward the road. There was a stream, well, a ditch that ran through it that would be dry most of the time, but summer rainstorms would swell it with water, turning it into a torrential wet ribbon. In twenty minutes, his truck neared the site. He pulled into a long-abandoned

driveway, parked, and put a CD in the player. He wanted music that was slow and haunting, something to not overpower his mind. His chose a Carly Simon album. ********** The drive where he parked once was a dirt trail leading to a now-fallen sharecropper’s cabin. Luther and Carline Johnson had lived there. They had two children as he recalled. The children must have been about ten years younger than he. Mr. Putnam owned the land back then, but he had moved to town, so Luther was the caretaker. Luther most likely got a few dollars a week to keep up the farm and a plot of land to raise food for his family. He had a milk cow and a hog as he reflected in his journal. He remembered and wrote in his journal about that day, the last time he had seen the Johnson family. He noted it was cool, almost a cold winter day. He watched as a mule drawn slide loaded with the few items the Johnson’s owned moved slowly down the driveway and turned onto the shoulder of the road. Carline walked behind, carefully watching the children that were stacked among the few articles they owned. Luther led the mule. The cow was tied to the rear and walked alongside Carline. He remembers there was no hog. Maybe they had sold it for traveling money. After all, it was hogkillin' weather. He tended to ask questions in his journal, as if the paper they were written on would magically leach a written answer. Where were they going? Why were they going? He would never see Luther or Carline again and no one else ever lived in the cabin. “So many unanswered questions,” he entered. Such as, Mr. Putnam never

farmed that land again, was it not profitable? He did, however, have the field bush-hogged once a year. This provided a playground for him, as he reflects on those occasions so many times in his journal. A journal entry caught his attention. At the top of the page was written “Hay.” It read: I remember that year Mr. Putman leased the property to Mr. Walker. Mr. Walker planted hay on it. In late summer, it was harvested and baled. I remember the smell, the earthy, almost yeast-like smell of the bits of hay left behind. As fall came, I would lie on the hill and watch the birds soar, wishing I had their freedom. I envied their freedom to move effortless and, from their lofty position, see all that happened below. What an advantage they had over us, especially me. I envied the birds. I vowed someday I would fly. Another adjacent entry, “The Kite” read: I could not control the flight of the bird, but I could control the kite. The pasture was a perfect place to launch the dozens, maybe hundreds, I made. The secret was the weight of the string. I used #8 sewing thread. One went past Pistol Sasser’s store, almost to Norfield. That was over two miles. I sent messages to the kite by writing the message on a piece of paper, cutting a slot in the paper and putting it on the string. The wind would blow it up the string. I wish I could recall the messages. “The Dove Hunt” read: Mr. Putnam let me plant an acre of corn. It was a legal way to attract dove. I loved to dove hunt then. I thought they had a chance. I was not a good shot and my only gun was a single shot shotgun with a sawed-off barrel. I read one day that doves mate for life. That bothered 17

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Annette’s Antique Mall and Jeanie’s Southern Traditions invite you to

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MEMBERS: Antiques & Art on First St. • Jeanie’s Southern Traditions Antiques on First St. Let the Good Times Roll Antiques on First St. • Embroidery N’ Things on First St. Annette’s House of Décor Antique Mall on First St. Magnolia House Antique Mall on Erlanger St. • Joe Stumbo Antiques on Erlanger St. Slidell Magazine • Terry Lynn’s Café on First St. • Carolynn’s Wonderland on First St. Slidell Museum on First St. • The Who Dat Shoppe on Robert St. 18

me. One day, I wounded a dove and did not kill it. I killed it by bashing its head on my gun barrel. I never hunted dove after that. I grew to detest hunters who kill for the joy of hunting only. I have tolerance for those who eat what they kill, but no tolerance for those who claim they eat the game but lie about it, as if to justify their plundering of nature. I do remember a few who hunted to keep their families from starving. Even though it was illegal, the community looked away when they hunted out of season. There is a lot I don’t know. I never saw a deer or wild turkey then, but I hear they are plentiful now. Maybe there is something to game management. He cut the CD player off and exited the truck. He first walked to the site of the old Johnson cabin. Some stones from the piers it was sitting on remained. The well and the rack that housed the windlass were still standing. Surprisingly, the corn crib that had looked as if it would fall in was still there and looked almost the same. In the eaves of the roof on the crib were wasp nests. He remembered how often he would rob the nests, using the wasp larvae as fish bait. He was curious. Was the hole still there? The hole where it was rumored Mr. Putnam had dug up the wooden keg of silver and gold. Rumor had it the recovered treasure gave Mr. Putnam the wherewithal to move to town and quit farming. Most people did not believe it. He had written in his journal that he believed it. The land and the entire section, over 600 acres, had belonged to his great-grandfather before the Civil War. He did well with the land. Cattle, hogs, horses, corn, cotton, chickens and 16 slaves made him one of the most envied landowners in those parts. That was before Grierson came. He knew the story well. It was a family secret; but, like all secrets, it leaked out. It started when Colonel Grierson of the Union Army made a Calvary raid through the heart of Mississippi. The purpose was to detract attention from what Grant had planned for Vicksburg. To add to the scheme, they plundered farms and destroyed railroads.

On the evening of April 29, 1863, Grierson arrived with 1700 horse soldiers on his great-grandfather’s small plantation. His grandfather willingly complied with Grierson’s wishes for food for his men and horses. He had heard that 12 miles north, the landowner had refused, and his home, barn and crops were burned. They also took his livestock. Also, with 1700 rifles aimed at him, what else could he do? If he had resisted, they would have taken everything and burned his place, possibly killing him also. The next morning, Grierson thanked his greatgrandfather; but, before he left, his men unloaded a wooden keg. Then the Colonel called the farmer in and explained to him what he had to do. He told him, “You have been cordial to my men. I wish you no harm, but you must do one favor. During the raids, we have confiscated a significant amount of silver flatware and some gold. We will be going into Louisiana and crossing the Mississippi River. I want you to bury this keg with the gold and silver in it. You are the only one to know where it is buried. After the war, and we will win, I or someone on the Union’s behalf will come for it. It better be where you buried it.” That morning, the Union soldiers left, burning the depot and fifteen rail cars in the next village before making their way to Louisiana. Great-grandfather carried out their wishes, mainly because he was a man of his word, even if the promise was to the enemy. Also because he was thankful for them not burning his property. Only he knew where the keg was buried. After that day, the locals accused him of siding with the Union and shunned him, as well as vandalized his property. They set fire to a corn crib and, while fighting the fire, he collapsed and died. No one knew where the keg was buried, or so the story goes. It is not known how Mr. Putman found the location, or even if he did; but it is plausible. He walked the fence line and the depression in the ground could still be seen. He then referred to his journal again. It prompted him to reflect on the ditch. As a young boy, he played in the ditch often.


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On the corner of the property by the highway was a Clabber Girl Baking Powder advertising sign. It was old and a new one was erected. He and a friend had asked if they could have the old sign. The sign company not only gave it to them, they gave them a dollar to dispose of it.

Unfortunately, in this case, the seller was not willing. He immediately increased the offer to $100,000. The owner explained he really did not need the money. That made him want the property even more. It was like trying to buy back your past to someone that will not return it.

The two boys placed the sign across the dry ditch, and it became their fort for the next couple of years. They played in it for hours at a time.

“$180,000 and that is my final offer, but I want the mineral rights.”

When it would rain, and the ditch would swell with water, they would fashion a small boat out of a 2x4 and race it until it disappeared under a culvert at the highway. They imagined their boat eventually would make its way to the Bogue Chitto River and then to the Pearl River and then to New Orleans.

It was agreed. They would take care of the paperwork the following day. He asked the manager of the hotel to recommend a person who could transfer the title. She recommended the attorneys down the street and looked up the phone number. He called, gave the receptionist his name, the name of the seller and the location, and an appointment was made for the transfer of the property the next day at 3pm. He notified Mr. Putnam.

********** It was now late afternoon and he made his way back to the truck. He returned to his room at the inn and to his perch in front of the glass window. It had been a long time since he had done something that he did not consider logical. It was time. He could afford it and he would. The next morning at the courthouse, he located the name and address of the present owner of the pasture. He was a Putman, possibly the grandson of the one he had known. He then went to a real estate office to inquire about the value of land such as the pasture. He was told about $1,500 per acre. That would be $60,000. With this information, he called the landowner and arranged a meeting. He explained that he wanted the property for nostalgic reasons only. He made an offer of $65,000. He had been told by the real estate agent that $1,500 per acre was based on a willing seller and a willing buyer. 20

Mr. Putman responded, “I only have half, but you can have half of my half.”

At 3pm the next day, he entered the attorneys' office without knowing the firm's name or the attorney that would close the transfer. He and Mr. Putman were escorted to a nicely furnished room. Three walls were filled with books and the other wall with the degrees of the attorneys. A few moments later, a distinguished black gentleman walked into the room. "Gentlemen, I am Luther Johnson and I will preside over this transfer. You see, I used to live on that property." He was taken back by this news and immediately asked about Luther's parents. “Well, sir, after Mr. Putnam quit farming, he told dad he could use as much of the land as he wanted to farm. The problem was that Dad had no money to buy seed and fertilize. Because he didn't own the land, none

of the merchants would give him an advance. He had to go. "He struggled and eventually got work at the sawmill. After that, he did ok, as we say, 'for poor folk.' "I joined the army at seventeen, spent ten years there, going to school when I could. I came out with a college degree. I took my GI Bill and went to law school. Here I am. You know, I think about that old place every time I pass it. Dad loved it, sharecropped there over 20 years. I took him back about 15 years ago and let him walk the property. It was kind of sad. That was just before he died. Mom’s gone too now. My sister is still living, however." The property was professionally transferred. Mr. Putnam took his check and left. The lawyer and his new client stayed behind for some time. The two talked as if they had been childhood friends. Then it was time to go. They shook hands and the new landowner started for the door. He then turned. “Do you do wills?” “In this town, we have to do everything.” “Prepare my will, please.” “What do you want to bequeath?” “Take these notes and put them in the proper legal language. I’ll come sign it tomorrow... “I, being of sound mind, do upon my death, bequeath the property I have acquired from Mr. Putman on this date to Luther Johnson Jr. and his sister.” “Why would you do that, sir?” “It’s my birthday.”

John S. Case January 2020

A NEW YEAR: A NEW FUTURE By Rev. Tracy L. MacKenzie Lead Pastor, Aldersgate United Methodist Church Consider this: Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor for lack of ideas. Walt also went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland. Leo Tolstoy, author of War and Peace, flunked out of college. He was described as “both unable and unwilling to learn.” Michael Jordan, certainly one of the greatest basketball players of all time, did not make his high school basketball team his sophomore year. Beethoven’s teacher called him hopeless as a composer. Winston Churchill failed the sixth grade. He did not become Prime Minister until he was 62. His greatest contributions came when he was a “senior citizen.” Henry Ford failed and went broke five times before he finally succeeded. The new year is typically a time to look forward to a new future… resolutions are made…revelations are made known…life offers new promises…new opportunities…And, the new year is an opportunity to risk.

generation. “Expect a miracle…claim it…speak it…” It is true that God is working in us through his awesome and amazing grace… sometimes so much that we do not even recognize His work… Trust and faith in God is the vehicle for God doing great and wonderful things in our lives. No matter what life presents to us, our faith must remain strong and true and it will be God who enables us to be stronger than the storm. IV. Follow Godly Leadership We must commit ourselves to prayer, study and fellowship in the Spirit of God. The church, the Body of Christ, is the place where we find men and women of faith who exemplify Godly life and we follow their example… and, then, our faith increases… our faith grows… V. Claim Your Victory We must live as people whose trust in God drives out fear, doubt, cynicism, hate… Too often, we speak of ourselves as redeemed forgiven Christians but we fail to forgive ourselves and live as redeemed forgiven Christians.

Here are some ideas that may help you live in to 2020 and beyond.

Going out on a limb also demonstrates God’s presence.

I. Get rid of the junk in your lives

Like Henry Ford, Beethoven, Walt Disney, Michael Jordan, and others we, too, have we been discouraged…shot down from time to time? But that should never be the end of the story…we must, through faith, persevere and trust.

If we are to travel safely into the future and prevail, we need to leave old stuff behind. We need to walk away from the past… leave old sins behind… wrong relationships…old grudges… All of these encumbrances are heavy and will make your journey tiresome. Carrying unnecessary weight drains your strength, keeps you off balance and leaves you distracted and ineffective. Examine yourself, your heart and your lifestyle. If you find some “junk” there, pick it up and move it out. Then, move on to a more effective and less encumbered life. II. Believe in tomorrow We are nothing if we are without hope. One cannot live without hope and faith. Faith believes God’s Word and faces down fear! We rest in the trust that God sees our today and knows our tomorrows. Hope sees a future that is brighter than today’s troubles, problems, or fears. III. Expect A Miracle We must look for “Epiphanies”…those times when God makes known His presence in our lives. In a similar way, we need to “expect miracles.” Now, this has become a “catch-phrase” among this

One of my favorite life sayings is, “Breathe deep, lean in and trust God.” So, as you begin this new year, I invite you to look forward to a new future. Blessings, Rev. Tracy L. MacKenzie

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By Mike Rich, CFP® Pontchartrain Investment Management

FINANCIAL CHECKLIST Are you ready for a successful 2020? Answer these money questions to find out. It’s difficult to imagine that, 20 years ago, we were ushered into a new millennium. I remember New Year’s Eve, 1999. Mary and I were vacationing at a cabin in the mountains of North Carolina, waiting for Y2K. The prediction was that, at midnight, airplanes were going to fall from the sky, computers would stop working, and cell phones would go on the fritz (we had cell phones back then, right?). Nothing bad happened, of course, but it was the world-wide obsession for a while to be thinking about how life was probably going to be pushed back to the stone age because of the calendar.

The IT consulting firm I was working for then made money from the Y2K issue. We had a contract to examine a lot of government computer systems to make sure they would still work after midnight, 12/31/1999. To help with our work, we developed a checklist for the systems we were hired to examine and, if all the boxes got checked, we

deemed that the software would not fail. Everything worked out fine, the government kept on chugging away (what luck!), and all was well. Later, we used the same checklist technique for many other jobs. Speaking of checklists, the beginning of a new year is a great time to assess your financial situation, so I’ve put together a money checklist for you. It’s not exhaustive, and not all the items on it will apply to everyone. However, my guess is that at least some of these questions are relevant for you, your spouse, or your family. Your answers are limited to yes, no, maybe so, or does not apply. If you are not happy with your responses, maybe we need to talk. Here goes:




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1. Do I have enough money in a bank account to cover at least a few months of living expenses for my family? 2. Do I have enough life insurance to protect my family? Have I calculated how much death benefit my family would need to replace the income I would have earned had I lived during my working career? 3. If I can’t work because of a disability or long illness, will my family still have enough income for as long as they need it? If I have group disability insurance, do I understand its limitations and if it will work for my family? 4. Is it likely that I might need someone to care for me when I’m old? Do I know who might do it, what it might cost, and what type of care I want? If family members can’t take care of me, am I prepared to pay someone to do it? 5. If I’m retired, have I done a cash flow projection to estimate how long my money might last? If I am the money manager in the family, does my spouse know how to take over for me if I can’t do it because of death, disability, or other issues?

6. Do I invest money regularly and save at least 10% to 15% of my gross income for future needs, especially retirement? Do I know how dollar cost averaging and compounding work, and am I taking full advantage of them? 7. Am I aware of the potential impact of inflation on my money’s purchasing power and have I made an honest assessment of how inflation might affect me in the future? 8. If I am a business owner, do I have a formal written exit strategy that might help me reap the financial value of my business when I’m ready? 9. Do my spouse and I have wills, powers of attorney, and living wills, and are they up-to-date? Do my children and family members know where these documents are? Do they also know where to find my investment statements, insurance policies, group benefits information, annuity contracts, and other important documents? 10. Am I sure that the beneficiary designations on my life insurance, retirement plans, pensions, and annuities are correct?

I could probably add a few more items, but this one is a pretty good place to start. So, how did you do? If you answered “yes” to more than 75% of these statements, I’d say you are well on your way to working toward financial independence. On the other hand, maybe you’re not sure about some of these, or have not addressed them at all. In either case, we should talk. Bring this list when we meet. It’ll be a great place to start our conversation. Mike Rich, CFP® Pontchartrain Investment Management 985-605-5064 Dollar Cost Averaging involves continuous investment in securities regardless of fluctuation in price levels of such securities. Investors should consider their ability to continue purchasing through fluctuating price levels. Such a plan does not assure a profit and does not protect against loss in declining markets. There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or out-perform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk. Contributions to a traditional IRA may be tax deductible in the contribution year, with current income tax due at withdrawal. Withdrawals prior to age 59½ might result in a 10% IRS penalty tax, in addition to current income tax. 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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The Parish and the Movies St. Tammany Parish is no stranger to film with some 120 productions documented by film researchers Ed and Sue Poole. From Swamp Women in 1956, to 2019 Academy Award-winner Green Book, filmmakers love the area.

Sharron Newton - that the iconic wedding scene was filmed. Irish Bayou and Lake Pontchartrain also were local spots featured in the film. Number One (1969) starring Charlton Heston filmed some scenes at St. Paul’s in Covington. Multiple award-winner Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012) featured the Madisonville lighthouse. The list goes on to include Gerard Butler starrer Geostorm (2017) in Springfield, Kidnap (2017) at the old Hwy 11 bridge, and Alabama Moon (2009) starring John Goodman in Covington. Posters for some of these films and many more will be at the Slidell Cultural Center in Backdrop Louisiana! A Morgus the Magnificent poster of the cultural icon created by Slidell resident Sid Noel will also be featured in the exhibit. Prints of the poster will be available for purchase during the opening reception. Sweethearts

Perhaps the most memorable production was Live and Let Die (1973), the James Bond thriller starring Roger Moore and Jane Seymour. It was at the former Treadway Estate - now known as Bayou Bend, the home of Bill and

In 2012, the Pooles presented their first exhibit on Louisiana Film History at Ellender Memorial Library at Nicholls State University, followed by exhibits in Jefferson Parish libraries, Celtic Studios, and a 6-month exhibit in the State Library of Louisiana.

The earliest major motion picture filmed in St. Tammany was Swamp Women, 1956

They were young sweethearts when Ed and Sue bought their first movie poster in the 1970s. As they strolled hand-in-hand through the French Quarter, a street vendor selling movie posters caught their eye. He had rescued the posters from a dumpster behind a movie theater. A Gidget poster featured Moondoggie, one of Sue’s favorite characters. Ed purchased it for Sue in an act of affection that changed both their lives. They went back for more posters but couldn’t find the vendor. Curiosity took them into a world of collectors, dealers, pseudo-authorities, and chaos. They have spent the last forty years bringing order to the “hobby” as they call it. In pursuit of order, the Pooles have written 24 books, had a popular memorabilia store in Lakeside Shopping Center for many years, testified for the FBI in landmark criminal fraud cases, and become the world’s leading experts on movie posters. The Poole Collection includes the largest known collection of Louisiana movie posters, with over 10,000 original pieces representing films made in or about Louisiana. Ed and Sue wrote the first reference book on movie posters, Collecting Movie Posters, released in 1997 by McFarland Publishers. They followed up with the foundational text Learn About Movie Posters which led to

According to Leonard Maltin, film critic and historian, “Ed and Susan Poole are doing heroic work educating us all about movie memorabilia.” Hollywood on the Bayou In 2010, the Pooles realized that documentation of local film history was basically non-existent and turned to preserving Louisiana film history. Doing what they do best, their research led to a series of informative and entertaining books: Hollywood On The Bayou

the only film accessory research network on the internet. The 200,000page LearnAboutMoviePosters.com website, a resource for novices and serious collectors, is sponsored by international auction houses and dealers. The Pooles receive inquiries daily from all over the world. Their LAMP POST Film Accessory News newsletter keeps up with major auctions, breaking news, and information that international subscribers rely on for business and pleasure.

Through the years, many popular films were shot on location in New Orleans such as King Creole in 1957. (French Poster)

Louisiana Film History: A Comprehensive Overview Beginning 1896 Crescent City Cinema Movie Posters Heroine to Hussy: Women in Louisiana Films Louisiana Plantations: Real to Reel America’s First Movie Theater: Louisiana’s Vitascope Hall Knowing that some of the most iconic films ever put on the screen have been made in Louisiana, the Pooles recreated 90 vintage movie posters in a special collection. These high-quality prints bring awareness to Louisiana’s wonderful film history and help fund further research. They can be found at HollywoodOnTheBayou.com store, in NOLA RampART Gallery and at the Silver Lotus Records and Collectibles in the French Quarter. The reproductions will be on sale during the opening of the Backdrop Louisiana! exhibit at the Slidell Cultural Center on January 10, 2020. The Louisiana in Film newsletter, which the Poole’s started in 2019, is gaining popularity with a global audience. Free subscriptions are available at HollywoodOnTheBayou.com.

Hollywood South In 2014, the Pooles received a phone call that opened a new world of opportunities for the reclusive researchers. Author Linda Thurman needed illustrations for her book Hollywood South: Glamour, Gumbo, and Greed. Recently retired from Emerald Bayou Studios which she co-founded, the Hollywood veteran and former managing editor of the Hollywood Creative Directory was finishing up her book for Pelican Publishing. Linda’s research had led her to Louisiana Film History: A Comprehensive Overview Beginning 1896, a valuable resource to the writer. On a whim, she called to see if she could use some of the posters in the book. Ed Poole answered the phone and a collaboration was born. Learning the Pooles were in Gretna, the Hammond native arranged a visit at Ed’s invitation. At first, Linda was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of posters and information. Soon, however, a friendship formed over love of movies, history and Louisiana. Linda learned that over 50% of all U.S. films and 80- 90% of all silent films made in the U. S. produced before the creation of safety film in 1951 have been lost forever. Worldwide, the losses are comparable. The preservation of film accessories the surviving historical documents - is increasingly important as time takes its toll on these fragile paper artifacts. Looking for a retirement adventure, Linda saw the opportunity to fulfill a cultural void and put her knowledge of the film industry and experience on nonprofit boards to work. She created Movie Poster Archives, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit for the preservation and research of movie posters and film-related

paper. Her first step was to engage Ed Poole as consulting archivist and Sue Poole as consulting researcher. Since its inception in 2016, Movie Poster Archives has amassed more than 500,000 original posters, stills, and press kits from over 20 countries. The Permanent Collection is comprised of nearly 50,000 items representing some 20,000 film titles from over nine decades. As a preservation-focused nonprofit, Movie Poster Archives supports other projects such as the historic marker for Vitascope Hall and the Backdrop Louisiana! exhibit tour. Vitascope Hall Movie Poster Archives was instrumental in fulfilling a long-frustrated goal of the Pooles. Over a century after opening, Vitascope Hall is finally receiving an historic marker commemorating the location where American theatre-goers got their first glimpses of the technology that added motion to pictures. On July 26, 1896, the first movie theater in the United States opened at 623 Canal Street in New Orleans. Admission to the 400-seat theater—basically a showroom fitted with a projector and filled with chairs—was 10 cents. For an additional dime, patrons were afforded a glimpse behind the curtain to see the innovative Edison Vitascope projector that converted still, black and white photos into moving images up to a minute long.

1996 to coincide with the 100th Anniversary of Vitascope Hall. However, theirs was not the first request. An article appeared in The Times-Picayune calling for an historic marker in 1912. In 2014, the couple met Michael W. Domingue, the La. Dept. of Culture, Recreation and Tourism’s Recreational Trails Program Administrator, when the two were making a presentation at the Louisiana Book Festival in Baton Rouge. Domingue championed the effort to make this historical landmark a reality. Unfortunately, the application got stuck waiting for approval. Linda Thurman learned about Vitascope Hall and the stalled application process. She made it a priority for Movie Poster Archives. Recognizing the cultural significance of the marker, New Orleans philanthropists Russ and Sandra Herman signed on as sponsors to underwrite the project. With backing, Thurman and Domingue got the ball rolling again with the support of Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser. Approved and purchased in 2016, the marker remained in storage in a City of New Orleans warehouse until Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s executive office director Amy Rodenberger brought the project to the attention of the mayor. Mayor Cantrell appointed director of constituent services Bryon Cornelison to oversee crucial last stages of installation.

The marker allows both locals and visitors an opportunity to stand in the very spot that many consider the birthplace of the movie theater in the nation. Installation of the marker has been a priority of Ed and Susan Poole for over 20 years. Their original application for the installation of the marker was submitted in

Linda Thurman and Sandra Herman lead the Second Line down Canal Street to unveil the Vitascope Hall historic marker

The marker was unveiled on October 16, 2019 and is awaiting permanent installation in 2020. For Love of the Movies The collaboration between Movie Poster Archives and Hollywood on the Bayou to present Backdrop Louisiana! is the result of a deep and abiding love of movies and the State of Louisiana shared by Ed and Sue Poole and Linda Thurman. They look forward to sharing these beautiful, iconic treasures with others. The work of Movie Poster Archives is only beginning. The foundation laid in these early years will be the basis of a research center, gallery and archives. The trio will attend the opening reception at the Slidell Cultural Center on Friday, January 10, 7 - 9 pm. The exhibition will remain on view through January 24. Gallery hours are Wednesdays and Fridays, noon - 4 pm, and Thursdays noon - 6 pm. Admission is free. Additional information about the Pooles’ research, preservation efforts and collection is available at HollywoodOnTheBayou.com and LearnAboutMoviePosters.com.

Ed & Susan Poole with granddaughters Brooke & Ashley Sutherland with the historic marker

For more information about Thurman’s work, visit MoviePosterArchives.org

Story and photos by Donna Bush

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

inuing Coverage"

Join Slidell Magazine's award-winning writer and photographer, Donna Bush, on her travels to

Oregon Bright and early, Eric and I are off on another adventure. We’ve talked often about driving the Oregon Coast south to the California border. So, after our friends, Susan and Paul, moved from Slidell to Depoe Bay, we were given an extra incentive to make the trip. After our flight to Portland, we reached our destination in time for dinner and sleep. Our Oregon Coast drive began in Seaside, just a short distance from the Washington / Oregon border. After a delicious breakfast at The Osprey Café, we departed with chilly temps and clear skies. Our adventure started at Cannon Beach in Ecola State Park, offering sweeping vistas of the stunning Oregon coast, with sea stack rocks punctuating the coastline as they seemed to suddenly jut out of the ocean. Lush Sitka spruce and western hemlock forests guided us to the coastal views. Many surfers were searching for the perfect wave as puppy dogs caught sticks in the surf thrown by their humans. Have you seen the movie “The Goonies"? The scene where the boys navigate the map with the offshore rocks, also called Haystack Rocks (and, since then, Goonies Rocks), was shot here. While you can’t explore an underground cave (that was movie magic), you can wonder the many hiking trails along the beach, enjoy beautiful scenery and recognize scenes from the movie. The Lighthouse Lounge restaurant was built as a set in the parking area of Ecola Point. This area has also been used in “Point Break,” “Twilight” and “Kindergarten Cop.”

Not just famous for movies, Lewis and Clark visited here in the early 1800’s as they searched for food for their Corps of Discovery expedition. Clark described the ocean vistas: "From this point I beheld the grandest and most pleasing prospects which my eyes ever surveyed, in my front a boundless Ocean...the coast as far as my sight could be extended." Views of the decommissioned Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, aka Terrible Tilly, can be seen from the park. Sadly, she has a jaded past. In 1878, this solid basalt rock standing offshore was chosen to become a lighthouse. Her sad saga began even before construction had commenced, when the master mason was swept out to sea, never to be seen again. Only four months into construction, a huge storm washed away the workers’ tools and provisions. Although the crew survived, they waited two weeks for new tools and supplies. Perhaps the saddest episode occurred weeks before construction was completed when the ship Lupatia wrecked in dense fog, killing all aboard except for the crew’s dog. In 1957, the light was turned off after shining for 77 years and replaced by a red whistle buoy. It is extremely important to be aware of the tides along the Oregon Coast. Their tides are much larger than ours and produce sneaker waves, which have been known to seriously injure beach goers, some terminally. A sneaker

Cannon Beach in Ecola State Park, Tillamook Rock Lighthouse

wave is an unexpected, larger than usual wave that suddenly appears. No one is quite sure what causes them, but it is thought that they form when several waves traveling at the same speed come together and create one giant wave that crests taller and travels much farther ashore than usual. They are most frequent between October and April. Yours truly had my own experience with a sneaker wave at Hug Point State Recreation Site, a short drive south of Cannon Beach. The park was named for the fact that pioneers traveling from Cannon Beach south had to wait for low tide and then ‘hug the point’ to make their way past. It is said that the wheel ruts carved into 30

the rock can still be seen at low tide. This area is known for their sea caves carved into sandstone cliffs. I was on my way to take a look at one of the caves when the sneaker wave caught me! Luckily, I only got a wave up to my knees and no camera damage! Oswald West State Park offered a beautiful drive on Highway 101 through the park. While the park has a beautiful beach with easy access, we chose the Old Growth Forest Trail for our last hike of the day. This hike showcased western red cedar, western hemlock (or Alaska-spruce) and Sitka spruce. Many of these trees are well over 100 years old. While this combination of beautiful evergreens is easily spotted in the northwest, you won’t see them around Slidell.

At the end of our hike we headed to our night’s lodging, Sheltered Nook on Tillamook Bay. Our first tiny house lodging! Tiny house lodging has become a bit of a social movement across the country, where people choose to downsize their current space to something smaller and simpler. The average American home is 2600 square feet, while a tiny house is under 400 square feet. One of the beauties of tiny homes is their amazingly efficient use of a small space. They come in different shapes and configurations. It might be on wheels, such as a camper or repurposed bus. Or it might be in a fixed location. There are even tiny home retirement communities and mother-in-law cottages.

area, a porch or deck and a fireplace. Even though they are tiny houses, each has 3 queen-sized beds, a full kitchen, full bathroom, and lots of closet and storage space. BTW, they have local craft beers on tap in the office, along with Oregon wine and Tillamook cheese & ice cream! Plans are for a future building for private events and yoga classes/retreats.

This is where we met up with our friends, Susan and Paul Banas, and my favorite chocolate lab, Roux! Dinner was incredible at Offshore Grill and Coffee House in Rockaway Beach, one of the 15 best restaurants on the Oregon Coast. OMG! I had halibut with a marionberry BBQ sauce. I’d never heard of marionberry, but I am a huge fan now! WOW!! Think about blackberry but so, so much better. They are exclusively grown in Oregon and thought of as the “King of blackberries!” I concur! I must tell you more about our tiny house. Dee and Hank, our wonderful caretakers, along with their two greeter kitties and two greeter dogs, welcomed us to our “tiny” abode. Years ago, they had a passion to open a shelter for cyclists looking for a warm shower, a bed and a meal. From that dream they morphed to 12 tiny houses with a communal fire pit and a warm doggie bath. Each tiny house is set up for visiting dogs with a bed, extra towels, leashes and toys. Each also has a private outdoor garden sitting

Then there is Tillamook Creamery! YUM!! I’m sure you’ve seen Tillamook cheese in some of our local grocery stores. OMG! So good! We visited their creamery for a tour. While their cheese is scrumptious, just wait! Our lunch of three cheese pizza on cauliflower crust was perhaps the healthiest thing we ate our entire trip. It left room for our desert of Tillamook ice cream! Double WOW! Double YUM!! Sadly, I’ve never found the ice cream in Slidell, or even in Louisiana. The Three Capes Scenic Loop is comprised of Cape Meares, Cape Kiwanda, and Cape Lookout. Cape Meares National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) was the first on our southbound loop, named after the 18th century British naval officer, trader and explorer John Meares. Maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard, it is Oregon’s shortest lighthouse. The lens was the first order Fresnel lens made in Paris and still stands abutting 140-acres of old growth spruce and hemlock. There is a short 1.6-mile hike that took us around the lighthouse with ocean views of the amazing sea stacks.

climbing on them as pieces could break off at any time. The Octopus tree is a Sitka spruce estimated to be between 250 and 300 years old. The tree limbs extend out from a central base at the bottom for approximately 50 feet, similar to an octopus’ arms. Some believe that the tree was shaped by the extreme weather conditions of the area. Others believe Native Americans trained the tree limbs in these positions to hold canoes. Either way, it is a unique tree. Cape Lookout offered more beautiful views of stunning beaches, waves, hiking and more. Cape Kiwanda sports the highest sand dune on the Pacific Coast at 240 feet! The landscape in Oregon is so unique, from one mile to the next, it changed drastically. From surfboards and wicked waves, we morphed to dune buggies and sand boarding! We arrived at our next lodge in time for sunset photos. We specifically chose this location at Pelican Shores Inn in Lincoln City because every room has a view of the beach with either a patio or a balcony and easy beach

A sea stack is exactly as the name eludes – a stack of rock rising out of the sea. They are formed over time by the slow wearing of a rock formation from wind and water erosion. Eventually the erosion can cause a complete hole through the rock, a cave or an arch. Because the erosion is constantly taking its toll on the formation, visitors should use caution around them or 31

Cape Meares National Wildlife Refuge Lighthouse

Pelican Shores Inn, Lincoln City 32

access. Did I mention that I have the most wonderful husband in the world? While I scouted for potential sunset locations, my sweet hubby made dinner reservations and converted my tripod to a tabletop version for my low-to-the-ground photo ops. We had the most amazing dinner at Blackfish Café - Cioppino of Northwest Seafood - fresh scallops, salmon, prawns, clams, mussels, dungeness crab, along with other fin and shellfish braised in a red wine, tomato and herb broth, served with grilled rustic bread crostini. OMG! Thank goodness we split it! There was so much incredible seafood, we couldn’t leave anything behind. You would think after living in Southeast Louisiana that seafood could not amaze us, but I must say Oregon does a stupendous job of keeping up with us! We were off to a wonderful hike at Drift Creek Falls as we worked our way south to meet Susan and Paul at their house in Depoe Bay. On our way to the falls we found a covered bridge that begged to be photographed. The bridge was constructed in 1914 in the community of Lutgens and was once the main north-south route along the Oregon

Coast. From 1914 to 1919, this tiny remote community’s name changed 8 times! Gradually the bridge condition deteriorated till it was restricted to foot traffic. Luckily, the family just north of the original site envisioned rebuilding the bridge. Along with their assistance, the bridge was reconstructed in its original position and is still available to walk across and enjoy. The Drift Creek Falls hike is ranked as moderate, but for me, I would rank it easy to moderate. It’s approximately 3-miles round trip, with easy elevation changes. There is a cool 240-foot suspension bridge hanging 100 feet above the canyon floor and creek, providing access to views of the falls. Although it is supported by two giant towers and anchored by bolts into the rocks, it still feels a little like walking a tightrope as it sways from side-toside. Don’t scramble down the direct route from the bridge to the waterfall viewpoint. Walk a tiny bit down the trail to a vantage point from the creek back towards the falls. I found this to be the best perspective, plus a great place to enjoy a snack and watch the chipmunks running around begging for handouts.

While I assumed Boiler Bay State Scenic Viewpoint was named for the boiling ocean and waves crashing ashore, I was wrong. It was actually named after the ship, J. Marhoffer, which ran aground at this location in 1910 after a fire spread through the engine room forcing the crew to abandon ship. The remains of the ship were left in the bay and the boiler can still be seen in an extreme low tide. We arrived at our friends’ home in gorgeous Depoe Bay just in time to take a walk around their beautiful neighborhood with my favorite chocolate lab, Roux. Our walk took us through amazing old-growth forests and along the ocean, with a stop at Little Whale Cove to look for spouting whales. I see why they decided to move here! They have a resident Douglas squirrel who enjoys helping himself to the seed cones from the hemlock trees and taunting Roux. Depoe Bay is known as the Whale Watching Capitol of the Oregon Coast. They even have their own resident pod of grey whales that hang out off the coast from March to December. Many whale watching tours are offered along the coast, but there are several publicly accessible parks to sit and watch for whales yourself.

Drift Creek Falls 33

Boiler Bay State Scenic Viewpoint

“The gray 'California Chukotka' whale has been making its annual pilgrimage from summer feeding grounds in the Arctic Sea to winter breeding lagoons in Baja, California for hundreds of thousands of years. Because the migration path of the gray whale brings it so close to the coastline of the United States, it has become the most observed, most studied and most admired of the great whales.” Depoe Bay is also known for having the smallest natural navigable harbor in the world taking up six square acres. Dinner was in Depoe Bay at Tidal Raves, where I had Dungeness Crab and Shrimp Mac-n-cheese. Comfort food done better! The next morning, we were off for a full day of adventure! Scenic stops along the way at Whale Cove, Cape Foulweather, Otter Crest State Park and Devil’s Punchbowl. Interesting names that conjure up mysterious thoughts as to the meaning behind them. Cape Foulweather is actually the founding point of Oregon. It was the first land formation seen by Captain Cook in March of 1778. He named it for the fierce weather and rough ocean conditions that he and his crew experienced. Winds can easily reach 100 mph! It was certainly much calmer on our visit than Cook’s! This is a perfect place to watch for gray whales. Spotting scopes, binoculars, and large, open windows encourage all to stay and look for the spouts or maybe even see a tail. We spotted several but none close enough for a good photograph. Whale information abounds with material on how to identify the various whales and their different behaviors. The Devil’s Punchbowl was created when two caves eroded into each other and eventually the ceiling collapsed. It is made of sandstone and siltstone, which break down easily. During low tide, you can walk into the middle of the punchbowl, but use extreme caution. It can quickly fill with water as the tide comes rolling back in. Also, it is very tricky to negotiate the slippery rocks covered with 34

Devil's Punchbowl

algae. Originally called “Satan’s Cauldron,” the name originated from the boiling, swirling ocean waves as the bowl fills with a particularly frothy witches’ brew. We arrived in Newport at the Oregon Coast Aquarium, where our friend, Susan, volunteers. Ranked one of the nation’s top 10 aquariums, it resides on twenty-three acres along beautiful Yaquina Bay. The 27-year old facility is popular with locals and tourists. They were recently featured on Animal Planet’s show “Crikey! It’s the Irwins” giving Dotty, a female dogshark, an ultrasound to determine if she was pregnant. She was not. Exhibits include living sea life on the sandy shores, rocky shores, and coastal waters. There are sea otters, sea lions, harbor seals, a seabird aviary, and even turkey vultures. Through a series of underwater walkways, visitors can enjoy The Passages of the Deep exhibit as it leads you from the dark, murky canyons of the Orford Reef, where many of the sixty different species of rockfish lurk among the long strands of kelp; through the active waters of Halibut Flats where lingcod, sturgeon, halibut and flounder thrive amongst the hiding places of a shipwreck; and finally into the vast expanse of the Open Sea. This exhibit explores the infinitely different sea life as you move deep into the Pacific Ocean. A touch-pool is a huge hit with children and adults, allowing the visitor to touch a sea urchin, sea star, anemone, gumboot chitons, and more. We were lucky enough to get the last four tickets for the Octopus Encounter. Our educational guide, Jeff, gave us an overview about the giant Pacific octopus and what to expect during our visit. They grow bigger and live longer than other octopus species. Even with that, life in the wild is only 3-5 years and they die shortly after breeding. Jeff explains that while Rangiroa is usually very social, he can experience a down day where he doesn’t want to interact. Well, today wasn’t that day!

We headed back to his large tank. Before opening the tank lid, we learn that octopuses draw water into their body cavity and push it out from a tube under their head. This is what propels them through the ocean. We are warned that bubbles appearing around the cavity can mean that Rangiroa is about to expel some water and we should move back or get wet! Their average size is 16 feet across and weight of 110 pounds. Typically, they are a reddish-brown color, but can use special pigment cells to change colors to blend in with coral, rocks and plants. If threatened, they can spray a predator with a cloud of black ink. Night-time hunters, they mostly GRAY WHALE FACTS Whales range from 35-50 feet long Females are slightly larger than males They weigh between 20-40 tons Life span: 30-40, sometimes up to 60 years All Baleen whales have paired blowholes No dorsal fin, instead, bumps along dorsal ridge Cruising speed: 2-4 knots (about 3mph). Can go 10 knots Normal dive lasts 3-5 minutes (can go 15 minutes) Gray whales vocalize in very low tones, or frequencies They are hunted by Killer whales, large shark, and man

Oregon Coast Aquarium, Newport

partake of shrimp, clams, lobsters and fish. However, they have been known to attack and eat sharks and birds! They have eight arms, three hearts and nine brains. Two of the hearts are responsible for pumping blood to the gills, while the third circulates blood for the rest of the body. One central brain controls the nervous system, with a small brain in each arm to control movement. They are truly blue bloods due to a copper-rich protein in their bloodstream which helps them survive in the cold ocean. They are amazingly intelligent, learning to open jars and solve puzzles. Once the lid of the tank was pushed back, Rangiroa became a social octopus, extending his arms out of the tank to feel whoever’s hand or arm was nearby. At times, he would touch multiple people or wrap 2-3 of his arms around one person’s arm. I thought he might actually climb out of the tank. After our encounter ended, we continued exploring the Aquarium, finishing our tour at closing. We are almost half-way through our trip and we’ve already encountered absolutely amazing scenery and experiences. But, there is so much more to come! Join me next month to hear all about it!

GIANT PACIFIC OCTOPUSES Giant Pacific octopuses can grow to 29.5 feet wide from the tip of one arm to the tip of another and weigh 144 pounds Giant Pacific octopuses can change color in one-tenth of a second Giant Pacific octopuses can be found more than 330-feet underwater Female giant Pacific octopuses never leave their eggs during the brooding process and die shortly after from self-cannibalization Female giant Pacific octopuses lay 18,000 to 74,000 eggs that are the size of a grain of white rice Giant Pacific octopuses have short lifespans, only 2-3 years on average Giant Pacific octopuses have 2,140 to 2,240 suction cups on their arms, giving them a powerful grip, sense of taste and smell

Go Beyond

20//20 20 Story by Rose Marie Sand

I got to thinking about the future, as we do in January every year, and realized that 2020 is a pretty significant year in ways that I hadn’t considered on first glance.

Universal translation will herald a global revolution in communications – humans can be nicer to one another through the wonders of that technology. Or not.

Sure, it’s a catchy number to say, thanks to a television program and your eyesight rating. But my favorite 2020 fact is quite an old fashioned one to contemplate.

Now for something totally different than technology – let’s turn to numerology. According to those who follow numerology, 2020 is a special number, too.

Yes, it’s an election year with everything that means. As we’ve already been inundated with all things Uncomfortably Political, let’s move on; there’s one special thing about 2020 that you just gotta think about.

“The numerology horoscope 2020 for number 22 signifies your commitment to the welfare of society. The year is more about making things happen rather than dreaming big. Angel number 2020 is an assurance that the angels are ready to support you in life. This means that you have all the reasons you need to live your life to the fullest. Angel number 2020 also appears when you need to create a sense of calm in your life.”

A new year is a time to look to the future, and there are lots of reasons to get excited. Pundits are predicting plenty of progress. (Don’t you just love an extended alliteration?) Chips in your brain to control your home and devices are coming down the pike. Robotic moon bases, self-driving cars, and augmented reality smartphone apps are going to happen whether you’re ready or not.

I’m a big fan of a sense of calm, of dreaming big, of angels and of progress. But there’s one more thing about this New Year that’s grabbed my attention.

2020 is divisible by four! Think about it – that means it’s a Leap Year and an extra 24 hours! Yep, leap year has been around since Pope Gregory XIII created his calendar in the sixteenth century. “A common year has 365 days and a leap year 366 days, with the extra--or intercalary--day designated as February 29. A leap year occurs every four years to help synchronize the calendar year with the solar year, or the length of time it takes the earth to complete its orbit around the sun, which is about 365¼ days.” Which all means we will be rocking in the roaring 2020’s with a whole extra day! What will you do with your Intercalary Day and those 24 more hours? Truly, the calendar and the idea of Leap Year is simply a construct of man created to measure time. If you were born on February 29th, the leap year construct figures bigger in your life than mine.

370 GATEWAY DR, SUITE A SLIDELL clarkhaner@allstate.com

For me, 2020 is more important because of personal goals rather than calendars or numbers. Growing up for lo these 70 years on the planet has come with my share of tragic and magic moments. Mistakes, missteps, and mine fields. Memories and mind-blowing melodies. Okay, I’m over the alliteration now. I’ve learned lately the simple pleasure of slowing life down. So, Leap Year to me will mean less leaping around from idea to idea, from car to house to car again, to project to project to exhaustion. I’m going to leap into 2020 with less leaping and more loping. Long, bounding strides instead of frenetic ones. Flights of fancy with the angels instead of crowds. Here’s my resolution – consider that the secret to success isn’t an extra day. It’s living mindfully every day. A mindful life of kindness isn’t achieved in an extra 24 hours, but achieved with every 24 hours. Here’s to a peaceful Intercalary Day to you. Be kind to yourself and leap lovingly. 37

Sponsored by

lie Gates

Les Story by

“REAL RESOLUTIONS” It’s New Year’s 2020. A time to sit down and contemplate all the ways we could’ve done better in 2019. FUN! We need to do this so we can prioritize the most important ones into some New Year’s resolutions. You know what would be cool? If people used the real, everyday life stuff instead of the typical goals, and then shared them with family and friends

for some support, or across their screens for the cyber world to cheer them on. That might be interesting. Not like all the years before...that slightly different version of everyone else’s... Go to the gym, eliminate sugar, run a 10k. None of those things are REALLY holding you back, are they? They just make you feel good until you give up in February.

Baby Boutiqué 2259 Carey St. Olde Towne Slidell


Hey! Don’t be mad! Starting is the hardest part anyway! So good job for that! I’m not knocking the people that do meet their yearly goals either, I think it requires a lot of strength and courage to commit to those things. I’m just wanting to see some different goals, like, the kind you would be embarrassed to admit. Who cares if you achieve any of them, the honesty alone would be enlightening and much more entertaining.

NEW LIFE GOALS A poem by Leslie Gates Here we go, another year, I’m gonna get this right I’ll start by getting out my head So I can sleep at night. 8 hours sleep will be my goal To wake up with the sun

For example, someone’s goal could be brushing their teeth once a day, or quitting that hoarding addiction of useless items from garage sales. Maybe more positive goals like making love to a spouse 5 days a week, particularly their own spouse. Starting a flash mob. Telling passive aggressive friends that their put-downs are way more obvious than they think, but then forgiving them because you need them for your flash mob. Doing one kind thing for yourself every day, then sharing those things with others that have no idea how to be kind to themselves. Maybe selling our boat for us so it doesn’t have to sit in the driveway anymore. Or cleaning out my closets. Ya know, cool things like that.

No more lying to myself

Personally, this year, I’ve decided to write my New Year’s Resolutions in the form of a poem, with the hope to change my motivation through some artistic words so I can FINALLY get my life right in 2020. And, even share them here with you! Won’t that be nice? There are only a few, so don’t worry, I shouldn’t keep you too long. Who knows, maybe you will find your own inspiration from it.

I’ll stuff that shit back in

Either way, good luck to everyone on making those amazing, healthy, slightly odd, New Year’s Resolutions! We can do it!

The grocery store won’t stress me out

I’M GOING for that run! When I get back, with all that pride, And the children rise from bed No hurried cereal for them But a home-cooked meal instead! I’ll dress in something super cute Wear makeup everyday Make sure to shave my hairy legs And cover up my gray. If something makes me really sad Then focus on some gratitude Until I find my Zen. I’ll hop into my truck And oh my gosh! It’s super clean! When someone cuts me off again I promise! I won’t scream.

Since now I have a list Meal plans for a week, I say! Not a day that I will miss! 39

I’m starting to sound like Dr. Seuss

No one’s gonna fight this year

But I don’t give a damn

I feel it in my bones

We’ll have our dinner with a fox

But it may somehow be tied

And eat green eggs and ham!

To three mysteriously missing phones.

It’s on the low carb diet plan

When monthly hormones creep on in

Which I am gonna start

And I want to throw a glass

And getting rid of cigarettes

I’ll sing a cheery song instead

Will be better for my heart.

Until the moment's passed.

The workout bench in our garage

If cheery songs don’t seem to work

Will be my stress escape

I must not hesitate

No more wine when worry hits

I’ll find another outlet, quick!

Instead, I’ll just eat grapes!

Like something to create.

I'll make a scheduled cleaning plan

And if I get so overwhelmed

So I don't get overwhelmed

And feel there’s no escape

When kids won’t do their daily chores

It's then I will just close my mouth,

This girl ain’t gonna yell!

And cover it with tape.

When dinner mess needs cleaning up

Some other things I’m gonna do:

No longer will I wait

Drink water EVERYDAY!

It’s how I need to teach myself

Meditate, take vitamins...

To not procrastinate.

Do not forget to pray.

On days when laundry’s out of hand

I’ll be a better mother, wife...

And piling up so high

A giving, loving friend.

I won’t complain, just fold them all

I’ll apologize for all my wrongs

And then I’ll bake a pie.

Then find some cards to send.

The kids will want to be involved

So now that you have seen my goals

With fun stuff that I plan

Oh man! I feel ALIVE!

They’ll want to put their screens down

Remind me, when I start all this

So, to help with all they can.

In 2025. Happy New Year Slidell!


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


2020 FIGURES HERE IS A LIST of important figures for 2020 that we use regularly in our law practice: GIFT TAX: The amount you are free to give to each person for this calendar year without either party having to file anything with the IRS is $15,000. This means a married couple could give $30,000 to each recipient. This is called the annual exclusion gift amount. The lifetime gift tax exemption amount has been raised to $11,580,000 per donor. The amount one spouse may gift for free to the other spouse who is not a U.S. Citizen is $157,000, and an unlimited amount to a spouse who is a U. S. Citizen. ESTATE TAX: The amount you may leave to your loved ones at your death free of any estate taxes or Louisiana state inheritance taxes has been raised to $11,580,000 per decedent. This means that a married couple may leave up to $23,160,000 to their loved ones both estate and inheritance tax free. (Yes, you read that figure right, over 23 million dollars!) The top marginal tax rate for estates that exceed these amounts remains at forty (40%) percent. IRAs: The contribution limit for Traditional IRAs remained at $6,000 per year for those under age 50, and $7,000 per year for those 50 or older. If you are 70.5 or older, don’t forget about using some (or all) of your Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) amount to pay directly to your favorite charities to reduce your taxable income. Some of our clients have donated their entire RMD for one year to bring their income down enough to qualify for the Senior Freeze below. SENIOR FREEZE: To have the assessed value of your Homestead “frozen” according to the “Senior Freeze” laws, an owner of the property must be 65 years of age or older, reside in the property, and have an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $77,030, or less, for 2020. You must provide your assessor proof of your date of birth and a copy of your tax return. Once you qualify, future years of higher income do not matter. MEDICAID: For Medicaid (not Medicare) to pay for skilled nursing home care for one spouse, the “at home” community spouse may retain up to $128,580* in countable resources. The primary home (with equity not to exceed $594,360*) is not considered as a “countable” resource, but after the death of both spouses Medicaid may seek estate recovery against the home. For Medicaid purposes, a single person who is in a nursing home may keep only up to $2,000 in countable resources, a married couple who are both in a nursing home may keep only up to $3,000 in countable resources.

For Medicaid purposes, the amount of monthly income the “at home” spouse may keep of the “institutionalized” spouse’s monthly income is up to $3,214.50* per month. This assumes the “at home” spouse had no other income. *The final MEDICAID figures for 2020 have not yet published, but they usually follow the increase in Social Security payments, which for 2020 is 1.6% (it was 2.8% last year). Medicaid will not institute estate recovery against the home if an heir’s income is 300% or less of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. The following are annualized 300% figures based on family size for 2020: (1) $37,470, (2) $50,730, (3) $63,990, (4) $77,250, (5) $90,510. For example, if ANY heir with a family of four makes less than $77,250 a year, Medicaid will not seek recovery against the entire home, not just that heir’s portion. VA AID & ATTENDANCE PENSION: For 2020, the VA Aid & Attendance Improved Pension Program monthly tax-free benefit for both a qualifying Veteran and Spouse needing care is $2,266; for the Veteran only is $1,912, for the Widow of a qualifying Veteran: $1,230; and for two qualifying Veterans married to each other, is $3,032. The asset resource limit for a qualifying Veteran, either married or single, is $129,094.

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


New Year, New You!



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January Feet L&L Article 121819 Slidell Mag.pdf



1:18 PM

Sponsored By:

by Jeff Perret, DVM


Dogs make great pets, and pet dogs make great research subjects. That's not exactly a truism, but it will be if the Dog Aging Project achieves its goals. The study, based at Texas A&M University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and the University of Washington, aims to identify the biological and environmental factors contributing to healthy aging in dogs, and potentially generate insights applicable to human medicine. If all goes as planned, researchers will follow 10,000 pet dogs as they live their normal lives for 10 or more years, making it likely the largest ever canine study.

The project launched a public enrollment push for pet owners this fall. Owners wishing to nominate their dogs for the study can go to dogagingstudy.org for information.

Only one dog per household will be accepted. Owners should have an established relationship with a veterinarian who provides regular care for the dog and keeps digital medical records.

Any owner can nominate his dog for the Dog Aging Project, and all dogs are eligible. Ideally, owners will have a pretty accurate idea of the dog's age and when it was spayed or neutered, if applicable. Researchers are seeking a broad selection of ages, sizes, geographic locations; and a mix of pure breeds and mixed breeds from around the U.S.

Owners who want to participate will fill out a survey with basic demographic information and questions including information about diet, lifestyle and previous diagnoses. From these surveys, 10,000 dogs will be accepted into the study. Each will get a broad DNA analysis based on a cheek swab collected by the owner, using a kit and instructions provided by the project.

Dr. Jeff recommends using:

NEW YEAR. No fleas. Lucky dog.


Owners will be expected to visit their veterinarian for a wellness exam annually. In addition, owners may be asked to fill out follow-up surveys as the years pass. They also may be asked to do cognitive or exercise tasks at home, such as asking the dog to find a treat hidden under one of several matching cups, or timing the dog climbing stairs. Owners with dogs in a more intensively monitored subset of 1,000 subjects may be asked to have their veterinarian collect samples such as blood, urine, feces, saliva and hair for testing, using a kit provided by the project. Ideally, owners in this group will schedule tissue-collecting to coincide with their annual exam and therefore not incur additional expenses. For owners who cannot afford to pay for annual checkups, the project is developing a program to help offset those costs. Dr. Kate Creevy, chief veterinary officer for the Dog Aging Project, said that the study was designed intentionally to be convenient for owners and vets who want to participate. Once a dog has been accepted in the study, the project contacts the veterinarian to share the medical record for the first and every subsequent year of the dog's life during the term of the study. In the case of the more intensively monitored dogs, the veterinarian may be asked to collect tissue samples using a kit provided by the project and to submit samples. All lab results will be shared with the veterinarian. In some cases, veterinarians may be asked by their clients for help filling out surveys, such as providing information about the dog's disease history. Another select subgroup of 500 participants will also be enrolled in a study of Rapamycin. FDA-approved Rapamycin has been used in human medicine to prevent organ-transplant rejection and to treat some rare forms of cancer. Treatment with Rapamycin has been shown to extend lifespans of several organisms, from yeast and nematodes to fruit flies and mice. Furthermore, in mice, that longer life appears to be healthier. Older mice on Rapamycin are more metabolically active, exhibit greater mobility and improved cardiac function, and perform better on cognitive tests as compared with a control group, Dr. Creevy said. One really cool aspect of this project, in my humble opinion, is that it allows the public, especially young, budding scientists, to participate in and help generate original data for a major study. If it can one day help dogs live better lives, help humans age better, and encourage youngsters to get involved in sciencerelated careers, where’s the downside? Check out the web site, and pass the word on!

PET PET SITTING SITTING Lena • No Exposure to Diseases or Parasites from Other Dogs • Medication Administered • Less Separation Anxiety • Insulin Injections • Waste Cleanup • Mail Pickup • Daily Walks • Nail Trim

Gina Triay 45


ag Slidell M 2020 January

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

WELL DESERVED! John & Brenda Case were recognized for their decades of support for the arts in Slidell with the prestigious BRAVO! Awa rd. Pictured here with art commissioners, Alex Carollo and Rep . Mary DuBuisson

Slidell soldier Eric Juneau and his friends unpacking the goodies from Slidell Ladies for Liberty. Each month, Slidell Magazine is part of the care packages sent to our local heroes who are deployed!

OH HO WHAT A NIGHT! t suit EVER) gives Mayor Greg Cromer (in the bes ta & Mrs. Claus San to st toa a hot chocolate de at the first Slidell Christmas Para

Our favorite little survivor, Buddy, plans his mischief with big brother Zeus. You can follow Buddy’s adventures on Facebook: Buddy the little dog that survived

ess Slidell Magazine editor Kendra Man and writer Leslie Gates dance like High nobody’s watching at the Salmen y part Gold & k Blac Class of 1980

The Who Dat Shoppe goes BIG TIME! Hoda Kotb with Al Roker on the Today Show proudly displaying her Saints Santa from Slidell!

The wacky, wond erful cast of “S anta Lost his Pa perform at Slide nts” ll Little Theatre for the STARC an nual Christmas play

Owen Switzer knows Santa will bring joy to all

Brayden Lovett making sure he is on Santa’s “nice” list

Your Harbor Center Team!

love Santa? Who says only kids k! Not Margaret Clar

January 04 January 18 & 19 January 23

Le Cotillion Presentation Ball H.E.R.P. Reptile and Exotic Pet Show Lobby Lounge Concert Series presents Big Little Lions

Che ck out o ur n ew w e bsite!

Thank you USMC Re serve Band NOLA and Santa for bring ing joy to the community! January 25 January 28

Krewe of Bilge Coronation Ball Private Meeting

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


Krewe of Slidellians 70TH ANNUAL BAL MASQUÉ

Platinum Jubilee: Let’s Dance! A FORMAL EVENT

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2020 7:00PM – 11:00PM




Profile for Slidell Magazine

Slidell Magazine, January 2020  

Slidell Magazine, January 2020