Slidell Magazine, September 2021

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Vol. 131 September 2021





SEPTEMBER 10 - OCTOBER 2 / FRI & SAT 8PM No use just sitting alone in your room. It’s 1931 and the artists, performers, homosexuals and Jews are looking over their shoulders as the Nazi Party begins its deadly rise. It is nowhere more apparent than in The Kit Kat Club, a seedy Berlin Cabaret.


Come see Cabaret, winner of twelve Tony Awards and eight Oscars. Listen to the music. Listen to the jackboots. Tap your feet. Laugh your cares away.

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Welcome 4

Editor’s Letter As I packed to move into my new home last month, I removed all of the items attached to my refrigerator door. It made me think - what does your refrigerator say about your life and your home? Mine held lots of small moments and memories. Look at yours and I’ll bet you find the same. Adhered with magnets showing business logos and Saints calendars, and attached with clips of differing shapes and sizes, were:

Kendra Maness Editor / Publisher

- Names of all my neighbors’ dogs, with a physical description of each. I don’t have my neighbors’ names, just their dogs. Priorities, right? - A bottle opener for beer - A 50¢ off coupon that expired in 2020 - A magnet from my parents’ house that’s no less than 40 years old. It was a constant presence in all of our homes throughout my childhood. It reads, “Once on the Lips, Weeks on the Hips” - The garbage and recycling schedule with scribbled notes and phone numbers in the margin of the page

- A collection of masks, ready to don as I walk out the door. (A true and solemn sign of the times.)

- Magnetic name badges from 5 different organizations/boards of which I’m a member

- A menu to Counter Culure, the best lunch restaurant in town.

- Wonderful pictures of me with my adopted mom and sister, Rosemary and Gwendolyn Clement, dancing at the Krewe of Slidellians Ball, attending

- A sentimental birthday card from my boyfriend, dated October 2019

- A picture of me onstage at Cutting Edge Theater, acting in Steel Magnolias. It’s especially cool because it shows me playing Clairee with the character Annelle, who was played by Krista Gregory. That play was the first time I met Krista. Now, two years later, Krista is a vital part of the Slidell Magazine staff. That yellow, rusted refrigerator with the broken handle was so more than cold storage for the food that sustained me. It carried and displayed many of the items that tell my story. What story does your fridge tell?


MAGAZINE STAFF Kendra Maness Editor / Publisher

a Chamber luncheon, and celebrating an award Mom received from Rotary. These were all Facebook pictures that Gwendo took the time to download and print to give me the actual copies so I can see them everyday. I think we all need to do a lot more of that; pictures have been hidden by the digital world.

Michael Bell Graphic Designer Krista Gregory Administrative Assistant

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS John Case “The Storyteller”

Donna Bush Heroes on the Water

Charlotte Collins Extraordinary Slidell Neighbors

Ted Lewis Slidell History

Mike Rich Making Cents of Your Money

Ronda M. Gabb Legal-Ease

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artist: Amanda Douglas Louisiana-based wildlife artist Amanda Douglas has been honing her painting skills over the last few years. She has always been artistic, but not always an artist. In 2017, Amanda and her Coast Guard husband were stationed in Puerto Rico when hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated the island. After her employer was forced to shut their doors, Amanda was encouraged to pick up the brush. She began designing artwork for the United States Coast Guard, gaining the attention of those stationed in Washington D.C. After moving to Slidell in 2019, she shifted her subject matter and began painting wildlife she encountered during fishing excursions. Her bright and fresh watercolors have been well received and she has become a staple at the Olde Towne Slidell Art Market hosted by Green Oaks Apothecary. Amanda is so thankful for the outpouring of support from the local community, artists and business owners that have helped create a foundation of success for her small art business. She looks forward to continuing to entertain with her vibrant watercolor creations for years to come. You can view and purchase Amanda’s works through her Facebook page: Douglas Designs by Amanda 5

Iris Moore Newton

A biography by Charlotte Collins

“For life is experience, and longevity is, in the end, measured by memory, and those with a thousand tales to tell have indeed lived longer...” ~ R.A. Salvatore

When Sharron Newton called to say her mother-in-law was turning 102 in December, I was amazed. I immediately thought you would love to hear about her experiences in life, and about world history from her perspective. One thing I wasn’t prepared for, though, was how vibrant and curious Iris Moore Newton still is at 101 years old. As I walked up to her front door, a modern painting hanging on the outer wall caught my eye. I was drawn by the Louisiana scenes and symbols, and the bright colors. Searching for the artist’s signature, I found it said Iris Newton. Well, there was a surprise! She took up painting at age 92. She loves to learn something new every year. I have some of the work she gave me years ago when crocheting was her latest goal. I inquired who or what influenced her to be so curious and resilient. “The whole 101 and a half years of experiences. Each experience was different and taught me something as I moved through it.” She raised one 6

finger and announced, “Of course, you live 100 years one day at a time.” Sharron and I both laughed with her. Mrs. Newton started her story from day one. “I was born in Birmingham, England. And I can remember things from as early as six or seven months old. I remember being in the pram, with my mom (Elsie Moore) pushing me. I can remember Mum had a beige coat on, and the lady she was talking to had a black coat. I suppose I didn’t smile, because they didn’t pay much attention to me. Moments like that just stuck with me for some reason.” Iris Newton’s memories were those of a child, blissfully unaware that the world was in a momentous upheaval. World War I had pulled all able-bodied men into service. She had puzzled over why the women didn’t pay her much attention. My guess is that she remembered this moment so vividly because of their solemnity. Children are very intuitive about the emotions of those around them. I picture 1920’s

England, and two women pausing to share any news about their men and the status of the war. Of course, these were not smiling times. Mrs. Newton’s father miraculously survived the war that saw over 12+ million casualties. Once her father returned, the family moved to South Australia for a warmer climate. Mrs. Newton explained, “My dad (William Sr.) got gassed three times and got blown up once in the Battle of the Somme in France. The doctors told him he needed to go to a warm, dry climate. So, we left England in 1927 and landed in South Australia in 1928. I had my 8th birthday on the ship, December 4, 1928. To me, it was just like a home and we did the things kids do anywhere. We went to school, played and had parties!” She laughed at that memory, but she wasn’t one to pause the conversation. “I can remember when the ship was coming into South Australia. It was January, and it was so hot. One of the first things I spotted was a pram made

out of wicker. I remember looking at that and thinking that’s the first one of this type I’ve ever seen! It made sense because the weather was just so hot there. Mum, Dad, and I went into the town of Adelaide, which is the capital of South Australia. We stayed in a nice, large hotel and I went to school with the other children.” I definitely got the sense that no matter where she was, she was happy, and had a good childhood, even as the world was still reeling from the war. Soon, they bought a home and moved to the little town of Goodwood. “My dad worked at Dry Creek Soap Factory as a chemist and manager. I remember that Adelaide is surrounded by the Mount Lofty ranges. My dad, my sister Elsie, and I went up to the Lookout Mountain there. We looked down and saw a tiny little circle of lights. I was amazed that that was our town of Goodwood. Life there was like everywhere else. I went to school and then, as a teenager, I would go out on dates and go to parties. Australian life was very similar to American life. That is, until we went to war on September 3, 1939 and World War II began. All the men from 14 - 80 years old went into service. I mean, everything changed just like that,” she snapped her fingers. “The women actually had to start making the planes, the guns, the ships, and everything else. At 18

years old, I was put on a team making tracer bullets in the factory under the Labor Department. Let me tell you, unless you were pregnant or dead, and you were between the ages of 18 and 40, you were working shift work.” She pointed her finger in exclamation. Next, I asked how she met James “Jimmy” Newton, her future husband. I had seen photos of the young couple, but couldn’t piece together how a young girl from Australia would meet an American during World War II. She informed me that he was in the 32nd Division. His unit was supposed to be heading into the Pacific, but the Battle of the Coral Sea erupted. Instead, they were sent to watch the port of Adelaide, which was a fairly large port. With her usual wry humor, she related, “When the soldiers first visited Australia, they apparently thought that we all ran around in grass skirts with flowers in our hair.” She leaned back and laughed. “They were kind of shocked when they saw me and I looked like they did. They would ask me how to say something in Australian.” Again, she laughed. “They had no idea that we spoke English. It was really strange. They didn’t know anything about the country they were being sent to, except it was a giant island in the Pacific. We were a member of the British Empire at that time, so we were as English as anyone outside of England.”

Mrs. Newton waved her hands as she gestured, “At the time, everything was being sent up north, and we were way down south. Then, this battalion landed at the port in Adelaide. Usually, I never went out on Monday nights. But, for some reason, that Monday my best friend, Cath, and two other friends decided they wanted to go to the skating rink. Cath and I were waiting on the street corner for our other two friends. I remember they had those blue lights with domes that only let light shine downwards, so you couldn’t be seen from the air by enemy planes. And then two Yankees came up to us.” She put her hand to her mouth to whisper, “That’s what we called them. They asked us what the time was. We realized they were Americans. When our friends came, they asked if they could join us.” She swung her head, giggled, and I could picture her as the spirited young woman in the photos on the table. “I remember that night so well. The rink was so crowded that we decided to go upstairs to the mezzanine. Jimmy sat with me on the balcony, and that was how we got to know each other. I remember thinking American men are so loud. When he asked me where I lived, quite frankly, I didn’t know what to say. I couldn’t lie, so I told him my address as fast as I could speak, and went home. I thought he wouldn’t know

1.) Iris’s parents, William and Elsie Moore, at their WWI wedding 2.) Sisters Elsie and Iris, 1920, Birmingham, England 3.) William Moore, 1939, WWII Australian Army 4.) Beautiful Iris in 1940 on her 21st birthday 7

what I had said, much less remember. The next night, he appeared right at our front porch!”

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She put her hands up, and again we all had a laugh together. Iris’s family lived right on the coast, so they were on lockdown with all of the street lights off. The story is that the young man she met had a cigarette lighter that he used to find number 20, having memorized her address. Iris’s father answered the door, then asked her to come down. After formal conversation, the young couple went into town in spite of the lockdown, and met with some of her friends.


Reliving that time, she smiled broadly and confided, “You know, the American soldiers always showed you a picture of their mothers. I recall telling him that all American mothers look alike with blue hair and rimless glasses.” Sharron and I burst into laughter.

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Jimmy was sent on several more training missions, but he always returned for dinner with her family, then took Iris and her friends to town. He was sent to the Battle of New Guinea, as well as the Pacific and the Philippines for other missions. He was in the first battle of Buna in New Guinea, with the 32nd Division. After a certain point, none of the soldiers were coming to South Australia anymore. Yet, after about a year, Iris opened the door and there was Jimmy, holding out flowers to her. She retold, “We went into Adelaide on a beautiful, sunny day. We got away from the main street into a grassy park, and he said, ‘Stop, let’s talk a minute.’ And he asked me to marry him. I said yes!” “Afterward, we went for a snack and found my friend, Ruth, who was working at a jewelry store on Rundle Street. That was one of the main shopping centers there. She insisted we follow her, and we went over to the jewelry store.” She reminded us, “At that time, there was a shortage of diamonds and wedding rings. I started looking at used sets, and she came over and whispered, ‘No, come in the back with me.’ She showed me the most handsome ring set they had!” She put her hand out for me to see, and I could only imagine how she felt when she put it on the first time. Being an American who was marrying an Australian, James had to get permission from a higher officer in the U. S. Army, so the couple pondered over this requirement as soldiers were no longer sent to Australia for missions. I was amused as I heard about the whirlwind scavenger hunt. They went all over town. Finally, Jimmy saw an American gentleman in a Captain’s hat coming out of a hotel, and he grabbed him. After getting a typewritten statement, they went dancing. The next morning, a cab driver drove them to get flowers and whatever else they wanted for the wedding.

Smiling, she recalled, “I had to call my dad’s barracks, since he was also serving in World War II by this time. When he answered, I asked, ‘Do you want to come to a wedding?’ He asked, ‘Who is getting married?’ and I said, ‘Me!’ He agreed and Iris asked him to stop and pick up some cakes or something of the like, because they were getting married in the living room. “So, I got engaged and married in the same weekend in May of 1943. I had a bridesmaid’s dress to wear as my wedding dress, and borrowed my sister’s veil. Jimmy wore his uniform. Only two days after that, Jimmy had to go back to New Guinea. They were in the second battle of Buna. From there, he was sent to New Holland, Australia.” Meanwhile, Iris had to get all the paperwork required, including her leave papers from the American Embassy, the FBI, clearance from the Australian police, and medical checkups. Her family was also interviewed. Finally, she was allowed to board a train on April 14, 1944, only to get stuck in Sydney for three months while the second front began in Europe. She relayed, “All of the ships and everything traveled north in the Kodaka Range all along the eastern island. The Japanese were way up in the north there. So that’s why we waited so long.” Finally, in July 1944, she boarded a huge ocean liner that had been converted to a cruise ship, the S.S. Lurline. Sharron looked up the ship, and discovered it was actually titled “W.S.A. Lurline,” which stands for War Shipping Administration. The voyage took over two weeks, because they had to zig-zag all across the ocean to avoid enemy submarines. Mrs. Newton estimated that there may have been 800 people on board, including the wounded troops and the walking wounded. There were Australian War-Brides and their children on board, and one of her friends was also there. Once again, Mrs. Newton had certain moments etched in her brain. “The soldiers would volunteer to hold the babies while their mothers ate. It was nice for a total stranger to offer help like that. Also, we were allowed to go and visit the wounded and walking wounded. I made a friend there on the boat, a soldier who said he had an eleven-month-old daughter that he had never met. He wanted to know what a child that age looked like. I told him that there must be one on board. So, I went around and found a baby girl that age, and brought her to him to hold.” Once again, Iris made lemonade out of lemons, and enjoyed the experience. Eventually, they stopped in San Francisco, then boarded a train heading through Texas to New Orleans. She described, “All the troops were coming from the West, so my friend and I had to wait our turn because, naturally, the troops got first priority. We wanted to tell the parents of the soldier we befriended on that ship that he was wounded, and that he was here

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Left: Engagement picture, 1942. Middle: Jimmy and Iris on the Australian beach, 1942. Right: Jimmy and Iris were married in Iris’s parent’s livingroom in May 1943. After spending two days together, it would be a year and a half until they were reunited.

in the United States. When the train stopped in El Paso, we called his parents to let them know their son was safe and had arrived with us in the U.S. His parents immediately came and brought us back to their house.” I tried to imagine how this adventure looked from this young woman’s viewpoint. Apparently, she took it all in stride. After a brief shopping trip the next day, the two girls boarded a train to Houston. Once her friend got off, Iris caught yet another train to New Orleans, where her new husband’s parents were waiting for her. She must have been road weary. But, as she got off the train, reporters were waiting for her. She explained, “I was the first Australian War-Bride in New Orleans. Once again, they were surprised to see how light my skin was, and that I

could speak English. They had to take pictures and interview me.”

and Christmas together for the first time in 1945.

Mr. and Mrs. Newton immediately took her to eat at a famous New Orleans restaurant, Antoine’s. Then they drove up to Baton Rouge, where more members of the press were waiting to interview Iris. She was asked to speak at Mr. Newton’s men’s business club meeting and at a university in Alabama. There were more reporters waiting for her there, too.

Jimmy went into the family business in Baton Rouge, and moved onto the family property on Jefferson Highway. Eventually, they built a house on Blue Bonnet Road, back when it was just a little country road. They had three children together, James William, who we all know in Slidell as Bill, Richard Kenneth, whom they call Ken, and finally a daughter named Donna.

Iris threw her hands up and announced, “I finally told them that’s enough! I’m just an ordinary person and this is a pain in the neck.”

It was twenty years before Iris made her first visit back to Australia. Once the children were grown, she continued to visit on a regular basis. Her parents also visited here in the U.S. She added, “My dad was 70 when he passed, but he was lucky to live that long because of his war injuries. My mum lived until

She had arrived in Baton Rouge in July, 1944, and it was the following October before her husband finally was able to join her. They spent Thanksgiving

Left: Bill, Iris and Ken in 1954 on the Amite River. Middle: The lovely Iris Newton, 1954. Right: With her children, Bill, Donna and Ken. 10

1.) Iris and her mother-in-law Alma Newton in 1944, Baton Rouge. 2.) Iris in the family beekeeping business, circa 1946. 3.) The Baton Rouge Advocate covered Iris’s arrival from Australia. 4.) Bill’s first birthday, 1949

she was 88.” Unfortunately, Jimmy Newton passed away at the age of 53 from a heart attack. Never one to sit still, Mrs. Newton went back to work doing bookkeeping in the business industry. She related, “I knew three types of shorthand. I kept going to school, up until I was 45 years old. Then I had to go to computers in the 70s. These were huge machines, not like this little pocket thing,” and she pointed to her iPad and iPhone. “But, if you made a mistake on those computers, then you had to do the math manually. I had to get trifocals to see the little green screens. I finally told my boss I wanted a secretary job again. I could do it, but it slowed me down, instead of speeding me up like it was supposed to.”

Don’t let Iris fool you; she’s pretty techsavvy. She FaceTimes with her family every night, and uses Instagram and Facebook to keep up with family and friends. Every four days or so, she finishes reading a book on Kindle. She interjected, “I try to keep track of things on the television. I don’t watch love stories or soap operas. I like to watch interesting things, and keep track of what’s going on in the world. I like to say you’re not getting rid of me because I’m coming back at age 34. I want to see how this is going to work out. The thing that fascinates me most is the GPS with a camera that shows you how to navigate and view anywhere you want to go! I moved to Slidell in 2009, after I broke my leg, and GPS was amazing for a newcomer!”

Now that she lives close to Sharron and Bill, they go to Commander’s Palace for her birthday every year. I asked what she thought about the changes in our society, and she took the higher ground. “There are always changes. The most important advice I have is to never stop moving. You can do less and less as your body ages, but if you give in…that’s that!” In closing, Iris Newton confirmed that the single most valuable thing she has now, aside from family, friends, and her annual goals, is her memory. “Everybody says I can remember stuff…well, I can! I’ve been lucky that all through my life I’ve had very good health, mentally and physically. I do my best to challenge both every day!”

Left: A family reunion in Slidell to celebrate Iris’s 94th birthday. Middle: Iris at Glen Elge Beach, Adelaide, Australia. Right: What a life! Iris at her 100th birthday celebration! 11



3 - 12


22 - 30

SEPT 10 - OCT 2


7 - 22


I Want My

11 - 19


4 - 20


We are so very happy that local theater and the arts are making a comeback in slidell! Thank you for your support!












Lobby Lounge Series T’Monde > 7 - 9 PM

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CABARET: THE MUSICAL > Cutting Edge Theater > 8 PM 2 OCTOBER


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CABARET: THE MUSICAL > Cutting Edge Theater > 8 PM





Pickle in the Dell > 8 AM - 6 PM Pickle Ball Tournament LSU vs. McNEESE ST > 7 PM

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MATILDA: THE MUSICAL > Slidell Little Theatre > 8 PM



Lobby Lounge Series Ghalia Volt > 7 - 9 PM

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Camellia City Farmer’s Market Every Saturday 8 AM - Noon


Camellia City Farmer’s Market Every Saturday 8 AM - Noon







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MATILDA: THE MUSICAL Slidell Little Theatre > 2 PM


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Storyteller DISGUISED INTENTIONS Going back to your hometown after a long absence is always an experience. It is not that Ron had not been back. He returned often when his parents were living, but they had passed in the 90s. After their deaths, his trips from Virginia to Mississippi were less frequent. His last visit was almost five years ago; and, each time he had come back, there seemed to be less of the town he had known years before. The interstate highway changed things. He remembered, in the 60s, the business district consisted of about a five-block square area. Then there were the neighborhoods. The more affluent lived on the south and west side of town. As the density of housing diminished, it eventually vanished into rural logging and farming communities. Then, the interstate - built a mile and a half west of town - replaced the U.S. highway that once was the artery that pumped economic blood into the area. The town moved to the interstate. He was pleased that he found an exquisite boutique hotel in the center of the old downtown. The Inn on Whitworth had been a mercantile store then; but now, it was surprisingly upscale, capturing the lure of antiquity with modern features and contemporary art. He could tell he would be comfortable there. It would be his home for awhile; maybe a couple of days, maybe a week or more. He had a curiosity to satisfy. He didn’t realize it, but he also had a long-time, slow-burning, romantic fire he needed to control. ********** Ron Ferguson wasted no time starting his investigation. After checking into the hotel, he drove a few miles out of town and


found the driveway. Even though it was overgrown with weeds and debris, it appeared passable. The drive was more like a short road, or at least that is the way he had remembered it. Of course, the last time he had been there was half a century ago. After negotiating a couple of turns, he could see the house and was relieved to know it was still standing. He was puzzled that it was not located a greater distance from the main road. In his memory, it had been deeper in the woods. He knew that, in your mind, things you remember from your youth always remain larger, bigger and better than they likely were. By now, the drive was impassable. Small saplings were standing and fallen trees blocked passage. He would walk the remaining two hundred yards. He had not walked through the door of that house in more than fifty years, and had not even passed the drive in over twenty-five. Just inside the door, he was amazed that it was much like he had remembered. After all that time, the smell was the same. Musty, moldy, sweet, and sour - a real plethora of aromas that were collectively unique to this one place. He stood for a moment where the front door had been. The door itself was gone now; but, from his vantage point, not much else had changed. He remembered the first time he came there. It was with Mr. Graves, the Industrial Arts teacher. Mr. Graves had taken the class to show them the type of construction and the quality. He remembered his teacher’s words as if he had written them down. “They don’t build ‘em like this anymore. Not a nail in it, just wood pegs and perfect joiner work. She’ll still be standing when you and I are dead and gone.”

He was correct. Structurally, the house was much as it had been then. He remembered Mr. Graves pointing out that it was made entirely of virgin heart pine and cypress. It was old when the class toured it; very old by Southern standards. Rumors abounded that it was a haunted house. Most old, abandoned houses had that reputation, but this one was different. No one knew who owned it, or even who originally owned it. At least, that was the story then. Located out of town, some distance and hidden in the woods, no one really cared. Its unknown ownership had proven to be a mystery, almost an unbelievable mystery in this day and time. He was not sure if all he had remembered was correct, but it was told that no one had title to it. The surprising thing was that, with land values rising, no one seemed to care. Had it been forgotten, or was its haunted reputation a market deterrent? ********** The sensation of fright is a strange emotion to describe. It is said that it does one good to cry occasionally. Nowhere does it say that one should be frightened; but, from time to time, we seem to take pleasure in it. It’s obvious this fetish exists by the popularity of frightening movies and scary books. Alfred Hitchcock, Stephen King and Dean Koontz are the masters of the craft. This old house had been a perfect setting for such activity, a perfect set for a horror movie. ********** It was not a place you would go on your first date; but, after a little familiarity, it could be an interesting venue. Teenage girls were easily frightened and seemed to enjoy it; and teenage boys loved playing the macho protector. Still standing in the doorway, he smiled remembering one such experience. Out of the clear blue, Julie Williams, his girlfriend, had broken up with him. They had been dating steadily for over a year. She gave him no reason. She simply wanted to date others and, in short, he was not in the picture. A put-down like that hurts a

young man’s pride. With his friends, they planned revenge. Julie soon developed a more-than-casual relationship with the brother of a friend who was a freshman in college. Losing your girlfriend to an older guy is a special affront. She was only a junior. Being older, the new boyfriend was not in the click with Ron and his friends, but some knew him well enough. A plan of revenge was put in motion. They planned it for weeks. Julie’s new boyfriend was named Larry Wade. He was told there would be a Halloween party at the old house, and he should come with Julie. There would be soft drinks, a fire for hotdogs and, of course, spooky house décor. The extent of the decorations was not revealed. The house had a spooky reputation already. The father of one of the guys in the group owned a funeral home. They were able to secure a damaged casket and a makeup technician. The casket was placed in the house with nothing but a flickering kerosene lantern for light. When Julie and Larry arrived, they did not enter at first, but other couples did. There was ample screaming that could be heard from those inside. Finally, Julie and Larry entered. After going through all the usual Halloween gore - spaghetti for brains, grapes for eyes, and red Kool-Aid for blood - they worked their way to the back room. Lying in the coffin, looking more dead than a real corpse, was Ron. Julie almost fainted. She peed her pants. Embarrassed, she ran to the car. The fair maiden was not won back, but a bit of revenge was exacted. She got a new name, WeeWee Williams. ********** Ron explored each room of the house and was disappointed that younger generations had painted most of the walls with graffiti, but pleased to see that most of the windowpanes were still intact. The glass was not clear, but wavy and imperfect; and, to some degree, made the trees in the distance obscure. This lured him outside.

He carefully walked around the perimeter of the old house. He had never explored the land surrounding the house. The lure was the old house itself, but now he was interested in the house and the land. He began to circle the house in wider and wider circles, kicking at old bottles and discarded debris. About fifty yards in the rear of the house was a clump of what, at one time, may have been a hedge. It was thick and made the small area it covered almost impassable. It was obvious that no one had gone to the trouble to explore there in many years. The area interested him. Pushing one bush back at a time, he made his way to the center of the cluster. There, he found three depressions in the ground. One was longer than the other two. Could these be graves? If so, who would be buried there? He had seen sunken graves before and these depressions in the ground looked just like those. He knew that bodies interred without caskets or those with wooden caskets will cave in over time due to rot and decomposition. With the toe of his boot, he scraped back the decaying leaves surrounding each of the small ones. He found nothing. Then, he scraped the leaves from the larger grave. On the west end of the depression, he uncovered a cross made of the same wood the house appeared to be made of. Fastened with a rusty nail, not a peg, it still appeared old. By now, it was getting late. He was satisfied that the effort he had made to research this old place had real interest. Who is buried there? Is anyone buried there? Could it be fake graves just to take a Halloween party to the next level? He didn’t know; but, he now knew he would be in town for awhile, and tomorrow he would visit the land office. ********** Back in his hotel room, he reflected on what a difference a half-century had made in his life. He was now retired, divorced, and bored with having nothing to do and few to do anything with. Maybe the 15

The City of Slidell’s

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Saturday, Sept. 11 Patriot Day Concert with the Northshore Community Orchestra

His soul searching went from the old house to something more personal. His marriage had failed, but that was long ago. While working, there was little time to kindle a new relationship; and he was smart enough to know that the reason his first marriage failed would still be an obstacle. Maybe now, he had time; but dating sites were not his interest and trolling bar rooms held even less interest.

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mystery of the old house was just an excuse to come home and reminisce. Maybe there was a reason he himself did not understand. Maybe there was some clue as to the history of the house he could solve. Investigations had been his life; since, after completing college, he had joined the FBI. His hobby had been genealogy and, since leaving the FBI, he had spent many hours searching wills, marriage records and censuses. He wondered if the ownership of the house was still unknown; or, for that matter, had it always been known? Was unknown ownership just part of the myth? At least the research would relieve his boredom.

********** He found the hotel accommodations better than expected and awoke fresh with his energy spurred by the excitement of his intended research. At nine o’clock, the land office at the courthouse opened. So far, he had not seen one person that he recognized; but, his desire to reignite an old flame led him to believe that would soon change, and that may be a big reason for his returning. When he saw her, for a split second, it was that dagger-in-the-heart feeling. People change over decades; but, the moment he saw her, he knew who she was. Her beauty was still there. The blonde hair looked natural, not like that of older women that try to remain blonde into their seventies and eighties, but can’t pull it off. She still had the petite, cheerleader figure. What little makeup she wore was applied exquisitely. He got pleasure in knowing someone his and her age could still look so good. Green had always been her color, and that is what she was wearing. He knew who she was; but, at this point, she had not seen him. When she turned, she glanced in his direction. And then, glanced again. A double-take, to make sure she saw who she thought she saw. Her thoughts were not as flattering of him... a little overweight, grey hair thinning, but a reasonable preservation of what he had been. He spoke first. “Julie Williams, you’re the last person I expected to see here,” he lied. “It is great to see you,” he said, trying to make the meeting seem totally coincidental. “Ron, just call me WeeWee. Everyone still calls me that. Even my grandchildren. It is great to see you, too. What brings you here?” “I came to solve a mystery. I want to attempt to find out who really owns the old haunted house.”

He lied again. Or, at least, didn’t tell the whole truth. “You’re in luck. The county owns it. About three years ago, they hired Geoff. Remember him? He is the best title attorney in the county, to research it. When he finished, the county acquired it for unpaid taxes and some other legal reasons that are above my paygrade. Geoff also filed some detailed notes with the title as to his findings. So, with that being done for you, what are you going to do next?” “Find out who lived there and why it was abandoned for so long.” ********** Ron made copies of all of Geoff’s notes. That night, he studied them carefully, charting a timeline of the property transfers.

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He made detailed notes to add to what Geoff had provided as an expert genealogist would do. He realized this would mean nothing to one not familiar with genealogy, so he simplified his findings in a spreadsheet. 1865--- George’s son, George Jr., was living about 30 miles away. Married with no children. ~Source, Post Civil War Census (PCWC). 1865--- Surrounding families were Smiths, Dickersons and, of special interest, widow Stella Windsor and three children. Note: All three were born pre-1865, the youngest born in 1864. ~Source, PCWC.


George Dawes had acquired the land by federal grant in 1820. It consisted of one entire section. That would be 640 acres, or one mile square. George had one son, George, Jr. Ron would learn he was born in 1840. George, Sr. died in 1867 and his will left everything to George, Jr. ~Source, Geoff’s notes. 1870--- George Jr. is now residing on the land his father owned, which he inherited. ~Source, will of Georges Dawes, Sr. and 1870 Census. 1870--- Widow Windsor is now living again on part of the property George, Jr. inherited. Her marital status is not shown, but no male head of household is listed, and she now has an additional 2 children, for a total of five children. ~Source, 1870 Census.


Possible Conclusion: She has followed George, Jr. to the new location. At least two children born after being a widow. 1855--- Marriage record found: Josiah Windsor married Stella Tanny. ~Source, Lawrence County Marriage Records. 1862--- Josiah Windsor died, Oxford, Mississippi, after being wounded at the Battle of Corinth. Mustering pay does not reference wife, only an attorney representing his father. ~Source, Confederate Civil War Records. Possible Conclusion: At least one of her first three children was born after Josiah’s death. Josiah could have known this; therefore, no pay was left for her.


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1882--- George Jr. had sold most of the land he inherited, retaining 140 acres and a home located on the northern part of the property and the old house located on the southern part where Stella lived. ~Source: Geoff’s notes. ********** Ron had read about the South during Reconstruction enough to know that poverty was rampant. It was especially harsh on widowed mothers with small children. Hardly anyone had money and, if so, not enough to share. It was not unheard of for a mother to compromise her morals to feed her children. In those days, it was certainly not accepted; but many knew it was a mother’s ultimate sacrifice, prostituting herself to assure her children would survive. Could this be what had happened to Stella? Did she follow her clandestine lover? Or maybe she lived on the land Dawes had inherited as her means of feeding her children? What happened to her? What happened to Dawes? Why was her home abandoned and never sold or occupied? ********** The next morning, Ron returned to the Land Office. WeeWee seemed to beam as he came through the door. “Hey there, Kojak. Still working on mysteries without any clues?” “I still have mysteries, but I do have some clues, WeeWee. I guess I shouldn’t call you that?”

Ron tried to explain the scenario of who the father of Stella’s children could have been. She got lost in his explanation, so he showed her his spreadsheet. Then he asked her if she thought he could discuss that with Heady. “Ron, you were always bold. There’s nothing like a man who walks in and meets a strange lady and says, ‘Guess what? Your grandpa was a bastard, a real bastard.’ I suggest you break the ice first. But, I’ll call her and tell her that you are a good guy and you need some information. Ok?” “That would be great. By the way, it does not appear you are having sweet dreams about that ex of yours. Has there been, or is there now, another? And, if not, let me get to the point - how about dinner tonight?” “I have no sweet dreams about my ex. Yes, there have been others. And no, there is not now another. And finally, I would be honored to have dinner with you tonight. But, let’s get out of town. Being alone, I eat at all the local places too often. Since tonight I have an escort, let’s go somewhere. Dixie Springs, the Mallards, is open again. You remember that place?” “You bet. Six-thirty? Oh, what’s your address?”

She interrupted, “Call me WeeWee. It’s ok. After all, you had a great deal to do with that.”

“Three doors away from where you are staying. I have a condo above the men’s store where you worked in high school.”

“Ok then, WeeWee. Are there any Windsors living in the area today?”


“Sure, Heady Windsor Smith. She is the head librarian.” “Do you know her well?” “Yeah, real well. Our kids grew up together. We thought at one time her son would marry my daughter. But I think you have personal experience with young love. Kinda fickle, wouldn’t you 18

say? I wish those two had married. My daughter couldn’t have picked a bigger loser than the guy she chose. Followed in my footsteps, I suppose. Oh... I’m sorry, Ron. Yes, I know her well.”

The dinner conversation was typical of two that had not talked in years. She asked about his wife, or ex-wife; and he had the same questions for her. He acted surprised that she eventually married the Larry guy who took her to the haunted house the night she earned her nickname. Of course, he already knew that, he had spent his life investigating much more complex things than that.

“It lasted twenty years. He was married to his job and there was no time for me. Computers. He was on the cutting edge. We moved to Silicon Valley where he helped found a software company. It owned him. I didn’t. We have one daughter. In the settlement, I got 15% of the stock. Good move on my part. You can’t turn the computer on without seeing his company’s icon. I don’t have to work, to say the least.” He was not as open with her, but did divulge the basic truth. “Being married to a cop, any kind of cop, is tough. She hated secrets. I could not divulge much of what I was doing. The day after my son’s seventh birthday, I came home, and she was gone. I had been at work and missed his birthday. I think I missed them all. She took everything. Even the salt shakers that used to be on my mother’s table. You remember them, the ones that looked like windmills. “She was good about me seeing our son, though. She asked for child support but no alimony, so I was not surprised when she married two months after the divorce. My son and I are close, and he says she is happy,” he finished. “We need to get back,” she said. I got you an eight o’clock meeting with Heady. So you would not have to be so blunt, I greased the wheel for you.” ********** If ever anyone looked like a librarian, Heady was the model. Not at all unattractive, but just the librarian look. Hair swept back into a bun, glasses on a chain, thin, wearing a long skirt and flat shoes. She welcomed him into her office, shutting the door. “Mrs. Smith, thank you for seeing me and I hope you can help me solve a mystery.” She interrupted, “No, thank you for pushing me toward what I have suspected for a long time. WeeWee told me what you suspect. “I think you are on the right track. My dad’s aunt all but told me as much. She said their dad, my grandfather, was not a Windsor. I even got curious as to the Windsor in the puzzle and found he died in 1862. My grandfather was born in 1877.

I don’t think the human gestation period is 15 years. My great-aunt also told me that his real father had the same first name as a famous president. I hear you think his name was George Dawes. Like George Washington?” “It could be.” “How do we find out?” she asked. “A little science and a little trickery. I want you to fill out three generations of your family tree. Use There is a place to put your suspected relative’s name. Here you will put Dawes. Then send in for your DNA analysis. Some Dawes relative is most likely looking for answers too. If it is a relative, they will match you. You will then know the grandfather was a Dawes, and the Dawes connection may take you to George. I think it will. It will take a few weeks.” ********** Ron had not told WeeWee about the graves. There had been too much excitement about just making a possible family connection. After a light meal at Betty’s, they returned to the Inn on Whitworth. One of their favorite pastimes was sitting behind the plate glass window guessing if a passerby was related to a classmate, or maybe even the classmate themself. On this night, he told her about the graves. “Have you told anyone else, Ron?” “No.” “Who could they be?”

occurred or even if they are real graves or not. But I have a theory.”

old house?”

“Go on,” she prodded.

“It’s more than that, Ron. And you know it.

“When times got financially bad, let’s just assume that Stella and her two youngest were still living there. Dawes was no longer able to sustain them. I read many folks in those days died of pellagra. It was a horrible disease that affected both your body and mind. It was caused by the consumption of too much cornbread and little else. Death was imminent.

“You know, Ron. The night I saw you lying in that casket, I knew I had made a mistake. But then you caused everyone to start calling me WeeWee. I couldn’t give you the satisfaction. I just wonder how life could have been for us.”

“I believe they died of this, or something similar, all in a short period of time and he buried them on the property. The small graves are the children, and the larger one is her. I believe that, to hide the shame, this family lived reclusively. He never sold the property or allowed it to be occupied because he wanted the graves to never be found. He planted hedges and probably kept them filled with dirt until his death. He hoped no one would ever know he had another family.” ********** Ron went home to Virginia with the intention of returning in a few weeks. It was obvious a romance had rekindled between he and WeeWee. Sooner than he had expected, there was a phone call. It was WeeWee. “Ron, she got a hit! Heady got a hit! A Dawes lady is a third cousin, and she goes back to George Dawes.”

“I have some theories.”

“Wow. But somehow, I knew it. I will be down in a couple of days.”

“What are they?”


“Well, assuming we are correct that she was being kept by Dawes and had children by him, I have this idea. Dawes got into financial trouble in the mid- to late-1880s. It is evident by delinquent tax notices and the fact he sold some of the land below market value. “Probably by the mid-1880s, Stella’s older children had grown up and left. Some of them would have been true Windsors and some Dawes.

She didn’t want to admit that she had missed him and looked forward to his return. She didn’t know if the feeling was mutual. The first day he was back was a Wednesday. That was her afternoon off. As the sun set, they went to the old house. They entered and wandered their way to the room where, many years before, the casket had sat. Nothing was said. In a moment, he could see her tears glistening from the little light that still prevailed.

“There is no record of when these deaths

“Ron, what’s your real interest in this

“I have an interest – some.”

He didn’t answer, and they started toward the door of the room. She was slightly ahead of him, and he reached and took her arm. They turned toward each other. There was an awkward pause that seemed to last for a full minute. Then, he said, “My real interest, and reason for coming, was you. The land office, the mystery of the unknown ownership, and your employment there, all fit into a perfect puzzle to come back. To come back for you.” He took her face in his hands, lifted her chin, and they kissed. The kiss was even more passionate than the high school kisses of their youth. ********** When they reached the porch, there was little light. “You know, WeeWee, I don’t think there is any reason in telling about these graves. Just let ‘em be.” The two of them took pieces of lumber and leaves and covered the sunken holes. They hoped the bulldozer that was coming to wreck the house would permanently cover them over.

Julie “Weewee” Williams Wade and Ron Ferguson invite you to celebrate their marriage. They will be receiving friends at the Inn on Whitworth from 7-10 pm Saturday, October 12, 2019.

John S. Case September 2021 19

Slidell: Our History

Story by Ted Lewis

Back in 2000, the Slidell Daily Sentry polled its readers, asking them to name the city’s greatest-ever athlete. Although his playing days at Salmen had ended more than 20 years earlier, the overwhelming choice was Alan Risher. No surprise there.

“I’d have a hard time not picking Alan,” he said. “Reggie Cooper (Slidell football) would be my second choice and you can’t forget Matt Forte (Slidell football) or Chris Duhon (Salmen basketball). But Alan did everything, and he was good at all of it.”

It’s awfully hard to argue against an eight-time All-Stater, three times each in basketball and baseball and twice in football in which he also was a Parade All-America and the Class AAA Most Valuable Player as both a junior and senior.

Yes, he was. It started with winning the NFL Punt, Pass & Kick (PP&K) championship at 8 years old. That resulted in an Alan Risher Day in Slidell, complete with a parade in his honor. Heady stuff for a youngster. But as Dizzy Dean famously said, “If you can do it, it ain’t bragging.” And Chiri calls Risher the humblest athlete he ever covered.

Risher did not play on a state championship team in any sport, something, he says he’d swap his personal accolades for. Even now, more than two additional decades later, Risher, who went on to quarterback LSU for three seasons, won the Corbett Award as Louisiana’s top amateur athlete of 1982 and played in both the USFL and NFL, still would likely come out on top of another local “Who was the greatest?” ranking. At least that’s the view of one who should know - Kevin Chiri, then the Sentry’s sports editor and now publisher and editor of the Slidell Independent. “There’s nobody in the history of Slidell who excelled in three sports like Alan did,” Chiri said of Risher’s exploits. “What you saw in him was God-given natural talent.” Mike Gambrell, who played football against Risher at Slidell High and then with him as his center at LSU for three seasons, agrees.


His route to the national PP&K championship began on a Sunday afternoon when Jake Dunham, father of his good friend and later prep teammate Russell Dunham, took the two of them to the local round of competition. They were still in their church clothes, including hard-soled shoes. Naturally, Alan won. “From that point forward the whole world opened up – the whole shooting match,” said Risher, now 60 and living in Baton Rouge where he is an executive with Sunbelt Business Brokers. “I don’t mean this to sound arrogant, but anything I picked up I did well.” That includes picking up a bowling ball for the first time at age 12 and winning his league at Lakeshore Lanes. At 13, Alan finished 5th national in the Elks National Free Throw competition. He was twice a national Punt, Pass & Kick semifinalist following that first title run.

However, just to look at him, it wasn’t immediately obvious that Risher was a multi-talented, multi-sport athlete. “He was always kind of gangly (6-foot-4 but just 170 pounds as a high school senior) and not fast by any means,” Gambrell said. “But he could take shots from some of the best, and when you’d think, ‘He’s dead. He’s not getting up,’ Alan would walk back to the huddle real slow and then be ready for the next snap.” Or, as Jerry Stovall, Risher’s coach for his last three years at LSU put it, “Alan didn’t have great speed, or great anything. But God did give him a tool chest of talent and Alan made the most of it.” Alan was not only talented, he was smart. He would graduate 4th in his class at Salmen and earn Academic-All-America honors at LSU, majoring in biochemistry. “It seemed like I was always playing something,” he said. “But school mattered a lot to me, too.” Alan Risher grew up on Jacob Street in Slidell and later the Westchester subdivision, the son of James Knox and Janice Risher. Mark, his younger brother by three years, would be Alan’s successor as quarterback at Salmen. “Knox” Risher, as Alan’s father was called, put his oldest son into sports as soon as he was eligible – SBBA baseball, SYBA basketball and SYFA football. Added Gambrell, “Without Knox, Alan wouldn’t have been Alan.” And no matter the sport, Alan was the best player on his teams, although perhaps at a price. “Alan always had a lot on his shoulders,” his mother, now Janice Swartz, said. “Everybody expected him to carry his team, even when he was just 7 or 8. I don’t know if the pressure ever got to him because he never really said a whole lot about it to me. But I never felt like he got to be a little boy, playing in the dirt and all of that other good stuff. Alan had to be a very strong person.” While Knox Risher, who died in 1992 at age 54, was his son’s biggest booster, he was also his chief critic, especially when it came to football. “Dad was on the chain crew, and he scrutinized every play in every game. He was a perfectionist, and he made sure I was a perfectionist,” Alan said. “The attention to detail I learned from him made me always prepared mentally, physically and emotionally.” Risher’s physical skills did the rest. Before they were at LSU together, Gambrell, who is a year younger than Risher, was his teammate at SYFA. “Alan did everything – played quarterback, played safety, punted, kicked, ran back kicks,” Gambrell said. “He was the slipperiest guy I ever tried to tackle, and believe me, I tried.” So Risher was already somewhat of a playground legend when he reached Salmen in 1975. It was there that he really made his name, enough of one that Alan Risher is in the Louisiana High School Hall of Fame. While Risher’s overall exploits as a Salmen Spartan are memorable, it’s three particular nights that stand out. Those were when he led Salmen to victories against Slidell High in 1976 -1978. These games were not epic shootouts played by powerhouse teams. They were much, much more about what they meant to local fans.

Previous Page, Left: Alan quarterbacks the Green Bay Packers, 1987. Right: Alan and Hall of Famer Steve Young as QBs for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1985. Above: Alan as a record-setting quarterback at LSU

In 1975, Salmen High School was less than a decade old, created by the dramatic growth of the city in the 1960s and the end of segregation, which meant converting all-Black St. Tammany High to a junior high and constructing a new school on the south end of town. It wasn’t so much economic, or even racial, disparities back then so much as Slidell High was the old, tradition-filled school and Salmen was, well, new. Additionally, Slidell was a Class AAAA school and Salmen was AAA. “We were sort of the stepchildren,” Risher said. “If you went to Salmen, you developed an underdog mentality.” That particularly applied to sports, and especially football. In the program’s first eight years, Salmen never had a winning season, much less made the playoffs. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t a rivalry, one that was intensely felt throughout the community. Remember, this was before ESPN and a multitude of other sports outlets on TV. College football teams were strictly limited as to how many TV appearances they could make, and the Rozelle Rule blacked out non-sellouts in the NFL, which usually applied to the Saints home games. Plus, Northshore and Pope John Paul II wouldn’t open until the 1980s. In other words, Salmen vs. Slidell was just about the only game in town. Small wonder it was called “The City Championship” and there was even a trophy the winner kept from year-to-year. “When we played, there were people hanging off the fences,” Risher said. “And when it’s a big event like that and you’re under the lights, you have to perform.” That Risher did, albeit he is quick to point out, with plenty of help. Slidell was held to six points in each of the three games. The Slidell Daily Times’ account of the 1976 game cited the Spartans’ defense for “throttling the Slidell offense from start to finish and even setting up the Spartans’ only touchdown.” A year later there was slightly more scoring – three touchdowns 21

Left: Alan won the NFL Punt, Pass & Kick Championship at 8 years old. Middle: Slidell Independent Editor/Publisher, Kevin Chiri, covered Alan’s illustrious high school years at Salmen when he was Sports Editor for the Daily Sentry News. Right: Risher spent several years as a postgame analyst for LSU football broadcasts.

instead of two. This time Risher had a 74-yard TD pass to Calvin Smooth, although, he likes to point out, “It was a middle screen that traveled about six yards. Calvin did the rest.” Risher completed 7 of 14 passes for 151 yards and rushed for 42 more. Not big stats, but he was now 2-0 against Slidell. Risher nearly missed the Slidell game his senior year. The week before, he developed a staph infection in his right knee and was unable to play against Covington. Without their star quarterback, the Spartans netted a paltry five yards in a 29-0 defeat. Slidell was next, and on Wednesday of game week, it was reported that Risher would play, but only at half-speed. “I’d never missed a game for anything and I was still barely able to run,” Risher said. “I’d never been much of a rah-rah guy either, but the day before the game, I stood up and gave a speech about how important this game was to us. I guess it was so much out of the ordinary for me that they guys stood up and went nuts.” There was little doubt about the outcome. Risher threw for only 86 yards, but 2 of his 8 completions went for touchdowns to his old pal Russell Dunham. Risher also ran for a TD and the Salmen defense did the rest, holding the Tigers to 63 yards. “We weren’t very good that year,” Gambrell 22

said of the Tigers. “But it sure didn’t go down very well losing to Salmen like that. Alan just wasn’t going to let us beat him.” Obviously, there was a lot more to Risher’s prep career than those three Slidell games. In all three seasons, Salmen wound up in the playoffs, as District 8-AAA runners-up in 1976 and district champs in ’77 and ’78. Back then, making the playoffs was more difficult than it is now. Only the top two teams from each district advanced and only league games counted. So the victories against Slidell, while worth local bragging rights, didn’t put Salmen in the postseason.“You had to really work to get there,” Risher said. “The first time was great, but the next year when we won the district was even better. I remember the fans rushing the field. Everybody was really celebrating.” Alas, early playoff success for Salmen was hard to come by. Districts were paired against each other in the first round, and it was 8-AAA’s misfortune to always face 7-AAA which included powerhouses like Lutcher, St. James and Destrehan. Lutcher would defeat Salmen, 20-0 in 1976 and 29-12 in ’77. But, by Risher’s senior year, he and the Spartans looked ready to make a state championship run. They played at home in the first round against St. James. Moreover, Salmen coach

Ken Lyons had switched from the team’s conservative, ground-oriented offense to a split-back pro set late in the season. As a result, Risher had thrown for more than 700 yards and eight touchdowns in his previous three games. But Risher started badly in the playoff game, throwing incomplete on four of his first five attempts. And while he wound up going 14-25 for 261 yards and two TDs in a 21-13 loss that came down to the last play (a Risher interception), he remembers it as perhaps the lowest point of his entire athletic career. “There have been times when the expectation level was high and I choked,” Risher said of that night from almost 43 years ago. I let myself down, I let my school down and I let my teammates down.” Just four days later, with only one day of practice, Risher was on the basketball court, scoring 25 points in a victory against, ironically, Lutcher. That was the way it was for Risher through high school, going from sport to sport with little time for reflection or regrets. Or specializing. “Giving up basketball or baseball never crossed my mind,” he said. “There was no doubt I was going to play all three sports, especially as a senior.” In basketball, Risher was a three-time

district MVP and left with a school record 1,763 points. He was also a three-time district MVP in baseball with a career batting average of .341 as well as being his team’s top pitcher.

Alabama, the Tigers’ first against the Crimson Tide since 1970, and a 55-21 Orange Bowl-clincher against Florida State, the same team that had shut down Risher two years before.

Salmen fared better in the other playoffs besides football as well, reaching the baseball semifinals in 1978 and the second round of the basketball playoffs three times.

Risher, who had 20 completions for 182 yards and one touchdown while scrambling for several first downs in the Alabama game called it, “The end of 12 years of suffering and pain as a fan and player. It was the accumulation of childhood dreams. We’d finally reached the mountaintop.”

He was rated Louisiana’s No. 1 prospect at any position and the best quarterback coming out of the state since Joe Ferguson of Shreveport Woodlawn a decade before. Although Alan took official visits to Florida, Tennessee, Ole Miss and Tulane, Knox Risher, an LSU graduate, had pretty much determined that his son would be a Tiger. At LSU, Risher led the freshman football team to a 3-0 record, but his varsity experience consisted of the final snap of the Tangerine Bowl victory against Wake Forest, which was also Charlie (Mac) McClendon’s last game. McClendon’s successor, Bo Rein, would die in a plane crash before ever coaching a game. He was succeeded by Stovall, who’d been on Mac’s staff. By the start of the 1980 season, Risher was the Tigers’ starting quarterback. His debut was an inauspicious one, a 16-0 loss to Florida State. But LSU and Risher rallied to finish 7-4. The Tigers dipped to 3-7-1 in 1981, but in 1982, with Mack Brown at offensive coordinator, went 8-3-1, including a pair of memorable victories – 20-10 against

The Florida State game was almost equally memorable. Risher completed only eight passes that night, but they covered 212 yards with three going for TDs as the fans pelted the field with Oranges. Risher departed LSU as the Tigers’ career leader in completions and yards, along with 21 other school records. Most have long been surpassed since the college passing game has evolved. But Risher’s career completion percentage of .620 was tops until Heisman winner Joe Burrow came along in 2018-19. Despite his college accomplishments, Risher was rated only a mid-round draft pick by the NFL because of supposed questionable arm strength. So he opted to sign with the fledgling Arizona Wranglers of the USFL. After starting as rookie, Risher was the only player not involved in one of the most unusual deals in pro sports history – the entire Arizona roster being traded for the Chicago Blitz. Risher backed up NFL veteran Greg

Landry in 1984 and was released the following year in a salary dump in the league’s final season. Risher made it to the NFL in 1985, appearing in one game with Tampa Bay. In 1987, Green Bay signed Risher to its replacement squad during a players’ strike, and he quarterbacked the Packers to a 2-1 record, spending the rest of the season on the roster after the strike was settled. That ended Alan’s professional sports career. “I’d played for five coaches in five years,” Risher said. “I’d had enough.” Putting his LSU degree to good use, Risher entered private business, although he did put in stints coaching and running three indoor league football teams. He also spent several years as a postgame analyst on LSU football broadcasts. Today, though, Risher’s athletic activity is limited to golf and tennis, in which he does retain the competitive spirit of his early years. Other traits from the old days are retained as well. “The things you do in high school, the close associations you form - those things stay with you,” he said. “There were a lot of expectations on me, but I grew from them, and they’ve helped me carry forward. “I’ve never been knocked down so badly that I wasn’t able to get back up.” And neither has Risher been forgotten in his home town. “Alan Risher was something special,” Chiri said. “He put Salmen High School on the map.”

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Camellia Bay Resort OVER 500,000 SQUARE FEET OF LUXURY & ENTERTAINMENT Imagine it … a first-class resort Because the new resort casino WELCOME TO CAMELLIA BAY casino on the shores of Lake will be located right on the lake, Louisiana is the heart of camellia Pontchartrain, located right at the a brand new marina is part of country and for years Slidell has foot of the Twin Spans in Slidell. the project. Want to get in on the been known as the Camellia City. It would become a reality if voters fun while enjoying more beautiful So it’s only fitting that the new approve it in an upcoming election. sunsets? Just pull up in your boat resort will be called Camellia Bay. The design plans are simply and enjoy. Another major outdoor The name was chosen in an online spectacular and the amenities are attraction has generated a great contest from thousands of names like nothing St. Tammany has ever deal of interest in the community. submitted by local residents. The experienced. A hotel with up to An outdoor amphitheater with winner was awarded a $5,000 cash 250 rooms and the Northshore’s green space large enough to host prize and the honor of naming first real convention center — big major concert events. But the the $325 million investment that enough for special events, weddings amphitheater will also be available would bloom on the shores of Lake and even Mardi Gras balls. The to the Slidell community to bring Pontchartrain. resort will also include a luxury spa, people together. A space large The project is being developed by swimming pools and everybody’s enough to host farmers markets or a celebrated casino operator, P2E. favorite … a lazy river. In Louisiana high school graduations — no more The company has a proven track we love good food and part of the driving the family to another parish record of excellence. Their resort plan is seven different restaurants to watch your child graduate. properties have been honored as … from casual to fine dining with a outstanding by USA celebrity chef. Today, US News & But the excitement World Report, and even Our mission is to create quality doesn’t end there. earned the coveted entertainment destinations while Outside the resort Four Diamond Award there’s even more for from AAA Travel. enhancing the communities where the community to enjoy.

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From an economic standpoint, the resort casino is a major win for Slidell. A historic five percent of the gaming revenue, which is the largest percentage is state history, will be available to improve our education, roadways and public safety. That means millions annually to be used for drainage, flood protection, and infrastructure. The project will mean thousands of local jobs too. These jobs will pay far more than the local average wage and include full health insurance benefits. Millions of payroll dollars would flow into the Slidell economy creating more jobs and boosting home values too. For a long time the Mississippi casinos have drawn tourists and locals alike to their properties. But think about this … all the tourism money and revenue generated across the state line would be able to stay right here and generate millions for our roads, schools and safety.


“This location in Slidell is the best single casino development site that I’ve ever seen,” said P2E CEO Brent Stevens. “Our mission when we develop a property is to create quality gaming and entertainment destinations while enhancing the communities where we are privileged to do business.” Those enhancements are clearly demonstrated through the developer’s commitment to the Slidell community. Leaders in Slidell have worked for years to develop a sports park for East St. Tammany and now the project could become a reality. The developer has committed $35 million to build a state-of-the-art, regional sports park in our community – the first of its kind in East St. Tammany. The sports complex will offer first-class

sports, recreation and fitness facilities that are not only close to home, but will attract athletes from across the country for tournaments and events. The complex will be independent of the resort and would be a permanent asset for our community. The developer has already made a $100,000 donation to be used to begin the planning and development process of the project they’ve pledged to fund upon approval of their proposed resort. The final step for Camellia Bay to become a reality is for St. Tammany voters to vote yes in a parish-wide election in November. To learn more about the project and show your support, visit

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Read Mike’s past articles online  by: Mike Rich, CFP® | Pontchartrain Investment Management

Can You See CLEARLY NOW? During the last week of July, my family – all 14 of us – spent a week in Panama City Beach. We rented a huge condo on the beach, brought a lot of food and drinks, and spent seven glorious days enjoying the sun, surf, and beautiful white sand of the Florida coast. It was about as perfect as it could be, and even more so because of the water. It was spectacularly clear! We’ve been going on annual family beach vacations for about a dozen years now, but I cannot remember the water being as nice as it was this time. Even after wading pretty far out from the beach, we could still see the bottom, which, by the way was littered with sand dollars. What a treat! The clear water reminded me that seeing things clearly when it comes to our money is important, too. As a financial advisor, I try to bring clarity for my clients so they can see the big picture, understand what they should be doing with

their money, and contemplate the “what ifs” that might come in the future. If you become my client, here are a few of the things I can help you do: I can help you clarify your investment horizon. I can’t guarantee your success, but if you start early, the greatest gift you have when investing for retirement is time. It’s not fast and it’s not magic, it’s just math. Think about this: a 25-year old who invests $142 a month at an average 8% rate of return can amass about $500,000 in 40 years. That’s real money, and $284 a month could make her a millionaire. It doesn’t happen overnight, you have to be consistent, and it helps a lot if you have an advisor to help you manage risk and keep you on track when the stock market goes up and down.1 I can help you clarify the risks in your life. Few things can be more devastating to financial planning than a premature

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death or a disability that prevents long-term saving and investing. If you’re thinking, “It’s not going to happen to me,” I hope you’re right. But, you might be wrong. Don’t take chances with your money. If the people who are important to you depend on you for income now or in the future, you need life and disability insurance. And, don’t forget an umbrella liability policy, especially if you have teenage drivers at your house. I can help you clarify your plan for retirement income. Ask yourself this question: “When I’m no longer working, will my basic living expenses be covered completely by guaranteed income?” If the answer is “no”, you might want to try to fix it. I don’t think Social Security is ever going away because of the critical role it plays in retirement in our country, but my guess is that many people are going to need a reliable source of guaranteed cash flow to supplement or replace the government’s program. “Reliable source” means money that lasts as long as you live. Unless you work for a public agency or the school system, employer pensions are getting harder and harder to find. However, you can build one for yourself by using a fixed annuity. This strategy can work really well if you give it some time. If you follow through with this, I think you’ll enjoy getting a check

in the mail every month during retirement for as long as you live.2 If this sounds good to you, let’s talk. Even before we left the beach at the end of our vacation, my family was already thinking about next year’s trip. Unfortunately, a lot of people spend more time planning their vacations than they spend thinking about their financial future. Don’t be one of them. Call me today for an appointment, and I’ll try to help you see your money life more clearly.

Securities and Advisory Services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC 1 This is a hypothetical example and is not representative of any specific situation. Your results will vary. The hypothetical rates of return used do not reflect the deduction of fees and charges inherent to investing. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal. 2 Annuities are long-term investment vehicles designed for retirement purposes. Gains from tax-deferred investments are taxable as ordinary income upon withdrawal. Guarantees are based on the claims paying ability of the issuing company. Withdrawals made prior to age 59 ½ are subject to a 10% IRS penalty tax and surrender charges may apply. 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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A Continuing Coverage Series • Story & Photos by Donna Bush Continuing our series on non-profits, I introduce you to Heroes on the Water (HOW) New Orleans Chapter. I first learned about HOW when I met Jason Austin, a veteran with HOW, years ago. This organization is near and dear to my heart because my husband, Eric, served in Vietnam. Sadly, Vietnam veterans did not receive the appreciation that most of our service personnel do today. HOW is a nationally based 501(c)3 non-profit founded in 2007 by Jim Dolan. Dolan had a 13-year career with the U.S. Air Force, followed by several years as an American Airlines pilot. With a passion for fishing, he learned to kayak in 2005, which lead him to the realization that physically and psychologically affected veterans could benefit from time on the water, allowing them to heal by recapturing their freedom. With that idea in mind,


he founded HOW. Today there are 56 chapters in 26 states. Nationwide, approximately 6000 veterans and first responders are served by over 5000 volunteers giving of their time. Sadly, Jim passed away in 2019. He will be greatly missed by many that he has selflessly shared his love and passion with. The HOW website is full of countless stories of his kindness. The New Orleans chapter was founded in March 2015 by retired Army 1SG (First Sergeant), Paul Tullier. Paul retired in 2012 after 26 years of service that included several tours of duty during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was ready to take a break. After leaving service, his 1st Platoon Sergeant who always gave the suicide briefings, committed suicide. In Paul’s words, “That was an asskicker. I wanted to give back. I had successfully navigated the waters of a military career and multiple deployments.

I wanted to help veterans and felt that a non-profit would be a good fit. I had heard Jason Austin’s story and was so moved by it. I met Jim Dolan in Grand Isle in 2014 and discussed his vision for HOW. I really wanted to volunteer but there was no chapter available. So, like a good 1SG, I decided if there’s not one here, we are going to make one.” He formed a leadership team that included Jeff and Jessie Saucier (current chapter coordinator). Their mission was to assemble and produce good events that benefit Veterans, First Responders and their families with an objective “to get Veterans and First Responders out, off the couch, and to engage with each other.” Per Paul, “HOW members are all part of the same tribe. When you meet back with your tribe, you can talk about things that you can’t really talk about with others because we understand each other - the lingo.”

Heroes on the Water chapters are mostly run by volunteers who organize the events, transport kayaks and fishing gear to the event locations, load and unload kayaks and gear, assist participants with entering and exiting boats, remove fish from hooks and provide lunch. All of this is free to veterans, first responders and their families! Events are held from March - November in the New Orleans/Northshore area. Events can be at a public launch such as Heritage Park, a semi-private launch such as the Slidell Elks Lodge on Bayou Liberty or at private waterfront homes of sponsors. Participants are encouraged to do what they enjoy. They can paddle around the bayou, they can fish, or they can simply enjoy some camaraderie with like-minded individuals. All are welcome. All are loved. All are supported. Participants do not need to be accomplished paddlers or fisherpersons;

lessons are provided as needed. All events kick off with a safety briefing. In 2019, HOW-NO put 140 veterans, first responders and family on the water. Sixty-one volunteers helped make this possible. I met veterans, their families, first responders and volunteers on a hot summer August day at Heritage Park. Volunteers showed up about an hour early to unload kayaks and life jackets and set up fishing gear. Let me tell you, those are not light kayaks and these folks hustled in the heat! I quickly learned some volunteers are veterans themselves, or even still active duty. Several were associated with Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club volunteering as fishing guides. For the vets and first responders not comfortable in a kayak, outriggers were added to provide additional stability. One kayak even had a battery powered motor with hand controls! They thought of everything.

How can you help Heroes on the Water? Volunteer. Donate. Make a difference in someone’s life.  Host an event if you have waterfront property  Provide lunch for an event  Become an event day volunteer or guide  Join the leadership team (you will be mentored)  Assist with community outreach at a booth or tradeshow. Help spread the word with community organizations  Local businesses can partner with HOW-NO to receive a portion of sales for any particular item  Donate at and mention the New Orleans Chapter in your comments

I met Mary Mayo, an amazing woman. You may remember her story from June of 2007. Mary and her fiancé, Beau Raimer, were both St. Tammany Parish Sheriff officers. They were enroute to EJ Fielding Funeral Home for the funeral of a fellow officer, Hilery Mayo (no relationship, except by badge), who had been killed in the line of duty. A thunderstorm spun up, ripping off a 60-foot pine tree alongside the road, felling it across the back of their cruiser. The freak accident killed her fiancé instantly and left Mary a paraplegic, with 3 breaks in her neck, 2 breaks in her back, 3 broken ribs and a broken scapula. Over the course of her treatment, she suffered from acute respiratory distress syndrome, pneumonia, and sepsis. Two weeks after the accident, she died for over 4 minutes, during which she saw her fiancé in the afterlife. Four months after the accident, she returned to the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office as a

Would you like to join a Heroes on the Water event?  Email Jessie at or send a FB message to Heroes on the Water New Orleans Louisiana Chapter and you will be added to the Eventbrite invite list.  Events are posted on their FB page a month prior to the event. All chapter events are posted on and are open to all regardless of where you live.  Sign up for the second annual Livin’ the Dream Jim Dolan Memorial Fishing Tournament at The virtual event will run from September 11th to October 10th.

Expense examples:  Rod/reel - $100  Kayak - $1000  Sponsor an event covering food, drinks and bait - $250  Annual equipment maintenance & replacement - $1000  Annual storage fees for the trailers - $5000 31

dispatcher; but she later developed a blood clot in her leg, forcing her into disability retirement.


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Mary arrived with her service dog, Willa, for her first water outing since her accident. She has always been passionate about fishing and was looking forward to being back on the water. She had hoped to bring Willa with her in the kayak, but Willa wasn’t keen on that idea. She stayed behind, enjoying walks and pets with volunteers. Mary paddled to a shady spot on the bayou and soon had a fishing pole in hand, ready to go. Her cousin, Todd, and his wife, Trish, along with veteran volunteer, Justin Lang, paddled alongside Mary, assisting as needed. In just a short time, Mary had hooked her first fish, a bream, which might have been the largest catch of the day. When I spoke with Mary about the trip, she exclaimed, “I had a blast! This was my first trip, but it definitely is not my last.” When I asked Mary what HOW meant to her, she quickly responded, “I’m so glad they became part of my life and included me with the veterans. I wasn’t sure at first about attending since I’m not a Vet, but they insisted. It is so good to get back on the water.” One of the biggest surprises of the day was the arrival of Barry Guidry, a retired Army Major from Lafayette. He didn’t come to paddle, fish or eat lunch - he just happened to be nearby. He stayed only 20 minutes, but as Paul Tullier said, “It was truly a God-wink!” Divine intervention brought these two together. Their stories are similar in many ways. Let me share Barry’s story with you:

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After 26 ½ years in military infantry and special operations, coming home from each tour unscathed, Barry made the decision to retire. He signed his retirement paperwork on a Friday afternoon, with a month and a half of leave before the military would release him. On his first day of vacation, he went canoeing down Whiskey Chitto River, stopping for lunch and a couple of beers at a sandbar with a rope swing. He grabbed the rope to swing and, not realizing that it was muddy and wet, he slipped, went upside down in 3 foot of water and shattered his C6 vertebra, leaving him instantly paralyzed. Mary and Barry instantly connected. Mary has been struggling with finding a vehicle that would give her more independence. With Barry’s connections, he plans to help Mary with this. Barry shared with me, “The greatest gift that God has given us is doing things for others, never expecting anything in return.”

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Remember the motorized kayak? Barry assisted with the design layout and field-tested it at a water survival school to verify it would provide adequate safety for wheelchair-bound paddlers. He was flipped numerous times to prove its viability.


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Paul recently stepped down from the leadership team, leaving the organization in the capable hands of Jeff, Jessie, Jason Kahl (a veteran) and his wife Dawn. Paul

shared, “I’ve found that I am now a recipient instead of a provider. I get the same thing that all of the people that show up to paddle get out of it - the benefit of sharing something with a brother [or sister] and hanging out with somebody that knows where I’ve been. They look at me and they understand. If I need to pick up the phone and call someone, I can.” Jason Kahl, an Army veteran of Desert Storm, used his crutch for assistance into his kayak. Once in, he tossed it to the bank. “Any time away from crutches is a good time.” As I photographed Jason pedaling his kayak, he yelled to me, “Watch this!” He grabbed the H-bar on his Jackson Kayak Coosa and pulled himself to a standing position, grinning and proud. I met Karen Lee, an Army veteran, along with her husband, Darrell. Darrell was certainly at home in a kayak. Karen, on the other hand, was getting in a kayak for only her second time. She confessed that she can’t swim and was quite scared getting in and out of the boat. Jason Lang installed outriggers on the kayak to make it more stable for her. She looked so comfortable and happy once she got away from the dock and felt secure. She shared, “Being on the water calms my mind. I stop thinking and worrying about the past. I feel like I’m in a zone. It was so relaxing and comfortable, I wanted to go to sleep, but I was afraid I would roll over,” she laughed. My friend, Jason Austin, joined the Army in 1990 under a delayed entry program and spent the next 19 years as a military policeman. On April 13, 2007, the vehicle he was in ran over a couple of South African 155 rounds and a pile of 80mm mortars. Jason spent the next 900 days recovering from a broken neck, broken back, left frontal brain damage, hearing and vision loss, and some pretty serious head and leg damage. He died 8 times on his way to Germany. He spent a week there stabilizing, then he was transferred to a polytrauma center in Tampa, Florida. He was told he would never walk again, and his brain may or may not heal. A year later, the physical side had started to heal; but it was the mental side that was the real struggle, particularly trying to remember things. Friends and family didn’t recognize him. He didn’t even recognize himself. After 19 years in the Army, he no longer had a career. His wife left after about a year, taking their infant daughter with her. He found himself with no career, no family, and no friends. He asked himself, “What do I have?” The answer – “A shotgun. A letter, apologizing. You make that decision; I’m just gonna leave and be done with it. That day came.”

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Jason shares, “Today, I can still taste the metal from the gun barrel in my mouth and I can see everything going on that day. I’ll be damned if the phone didn’t ring and interrupt me killing myself.” The voice on the other side 33

Nick Rauber is the founder of Swollfest, a generous supporter of HOW-NO. In 1997, Nick was a junior at Jesuit High School and put together his own fishing rodeo with some friends. Through discussions with friends while working out at Jesuit (getting “swoll”) they came up with the name Swollfest for the swollest (largest) fish. That first year there were 3 Dads, their sons and couple of friends. Each Mom cooked a meal for one night. This year, they hosted their 23rd annual tournament, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for different charities. Nick had been searching for an organization to partner with to support veterans. “Choosing HOW was easy because they are such a great organization and their mission aligns with ours. It’s amazing what they do and how dedicated they stay to our veterans. To this day, their organization has exceeded all of our expectations and have been amazing to work with. For our 20th annual, we had a big trailer made to hold 16 kayaks for HOW. Many members of their organization attended and as we announced our donation to them, a truck pulled up with the trailer and kayaks. Cheering applause erupted! It was one of the proudest moments of Swollfest! Those moments make all the hard work of putting on the tournament worth it.” Swollfest has grown over the years into its own 501(c)3 that supports many different charities. Swollfest Outdoor Wish takes differently-abled children and veterans on a once-in-a-lifetime outdoor trip. They have given away numerous Action Track Chairs, an all-terrain wheelchair, to wheelchair-bound children. They help the local community by giving to the Grand Isle School. This year they fulfilled their pledge of $500,000 to Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital in Baton Rouge. In honor of the tournament, the first floor cafe is named the Swollfest Café!


of the phone said, “Hey! I don’t know what you’re doing tomorrow, but you wanna go fishing?” “Something told me to go. I thought, ‘You can kill yourself tomorrow if it doesn’t work out.’” Jason went and spent about 4 hours on the water in Sarasota Florida with a guy he didn’t know. He didn’t catch a single fish. “But my life changed forever. That guy was a representative of Heroes on the Water. I went home and thought about the day. My girlfriend came home from work and said, ‘Hey! You’re in a good mood.’ ‘Yeah, I went fishing today with some guy I didn’t know, and I didn’t kill myself.’ From that day, I never looked back. I sold the shotgun and put that money towards a kayak and some fishing gear.” Jason went on to become a volunteer with Heroes on the Water, New Orleans Chapter Coordinator, National Spokesperson for Heroes on the Water, and he now serves as a full-time Area Coordinator at the National Staff level managing 31 chapters across the U.S. As I did my interviews for this story, I noticed that every veteran or first responder I called answered their phone. None of the calls went to voicemail, like most of us do when we don’t recognize the number. I wasn’t in their contacts, but they all still answered. Why? Because, you never know if that call is a fellow brother or sister in arms needing a friend, an ear or some support. The one constant, consistent thought from everyone that I spoke with is that Heroes on the Water has helped change their lives for the better. The organization has given them an outlet on the water; comaraderie with people who understand how they feel and what they’ve been through; an opportunity to feel a sense of normalcy; a second chance; a fresh perspective, a new outlook; something to look forward to; some serenity and some peace.

“If you’re caught littering, that’s your

Randy Fandal, Slidell Police Chief


It’s against the law to litter in the City of Slidell. You could be fined, serve community service hours in a litter abatement program, or even spend time in jail time after multiple littering convictions. It’s easier to put trash in the garbage and keep our city clean! Refer to the City of Slidell Code of Ordinances: Litter, Chapter 13, Article III, Sec. 13-52 – 13-68 for more information.

For more information about Keep Slidell Beautiful, please call Trey Brownfield at (985) 646-9564. Follow us on Facebook! Thank you to Keep Slidell Beautiful’s $5,000 Media Sponsors:


New Healthcare Choices Now Available on the Northshore Our Lady of the Lake Physician Group has grown, expanded and refreshed patient care services in Slidell. In early January, the Our Lady of the Lake Physician Group opened new offices inside the Fremaux Medical Office Building at 1810 Lindberg Drive, Suite 1100, conveniently located near the Fremaux Town Center and I-10.

Our Lady of the Lake is part of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System. For the past seven years, the health system has grown its Northshore region clinical network which today serves St. Tammany and Washington parishes.

Primary care and specialist providers offer a wide array of healthcare services, including rapid COVID-19 testing, sameday access to care, and on-site lab and x-ray services. Other services include preventive medicine, acute illness care, major injury treatment, wellness visits, physical exams, school and sports physicals and chronic disease management. The primary care clinic is located on the first floor of the building with 10,000 square feet of space and 21 exam rooms.

The health system’s Northshore region has 20 primary care providers, nearly two dozen specialists and three pediatricians and support staff who perform more than 70,000 clinic visits each year.

The new facility has 60,000 square feet of space on three floors and was designed to accommodate future population growth as well.

Additionally, Our Lady of the Angels Hospital in Bogalusa employs more than 500 team members and is the center of a rural family medicine residency program that provides training for 18 LSU medical school resident physicians. Now, you have more healthcare choices than ever before.

What’s more, next door to the new medical office building is the new Our Lady of the Lake Surgical Hospital, which provides outpatient surgical care, connecting you to seamless service. “We are proud to offer comprehensive health and medical services in the Slidell community,” said Rene Ragas, Northshore region president. “We’re committed to providing convenient faith-based care for Northshore residents when and where they need it.” 36

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


BE PREPARED... It's Not Just For The Scouts! I hope you have taken last month’s article to heart, and the person responsible for handling the household finances has shared their tips, tricks, logins and passwords for keeping the bills current and the finances organized. While both of you are involved in this process, why not prepare for hurricane season? Review your important papers, and decide what is important to bring in case of emergency. In anticipation of the dreaded hurricane season, it is a good time to be sure your insurance policies are up-to-date. We have spent so much more time at home over the last year that many have taken the opportunity to renovate or upgrade our homes and perhaps our furniture. This may warrant an increase in coverage for your home and contents. Be sure the limits on your homeowners and flood insurance are sufficient if you must rebuild or replace the contents of your home or business. Remember, contents coverage exists under flood insurance policies, too, as many of us learned the hard way after Hurricane Katrina. Another lesson learned from Katrina is that safe deposit boxes are not necessarily waterproof! Important papers, titles and valuables (like the Dinar I have had for 20 years waiting for it to be worth $1-LOL!) that

are kept in your safe deposit box (or even a safe at home) should be in waterproof plastic bags for extra protection. I even keep my tax returns at home stored in Ziploc 3-gallon bags (but I do live on the water). In this day and age, much of the information you may need can be stored electronically. If you are bringing your laptop or iPad, you may have all you need. Or you can save this data on a thumb drive that is small and easy to carry with you. However, you may wish to carry paper copies in case websites or internet are inaccessible for a while after a major catastrophe. Of course, we hope and pray that will not be the case, but we’ve seen it happen before, so we may as well BE PREPARED! As morbid as this sounds, when we evacuate, we have to admit the possibility that what we left may not be there when we return. Therefore, we should be evacuating with our cash, passports, valuables, heirlooms, medications, etc. However, the “bad” people know that too, so be extra vigilant when leaving your car or hotel room unattended, even when locked. Use your hotel safe if they have one, or just be sure someone is always in the room or keeping an eye on the car. Yes, even at the rest areas. Unfortunately, someone’s tragedy is often someone else’s opportunity.

Here are some suggestions of what you may need in case of an emergency: 1) Insurance policies and your Agent’s contact information 2) Bank account information and extra cash 3) Health Care directives, like your Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will that should include your emergency contacts (or your *DocuBank card if you have a membership) 4) Other important papers/documents (car titles, passports, birth certificates, Social Security cards), family heirlooms, art, photographs—this may include items of monetary value, and especially those of sentimental value. These days it’s easy to be consumed by the possibility of a catastrophic event. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a planner. I like to know the people that I love are safe, and those things I have worked so hard for are protected. The best thing we can do is BE PREPARED, just like the Scouts would do! *DocuBank is a service that houses members’ medical directives electronically, and allows access to these documents and information from anywhere in the world, 24 hours per day. Visit

See other articles and issues of interest! 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.

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