Slidell Magazine - October 2021

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Vol. 132 October 2021








First, Second & Erlanger Streets OLDE TOWNE • SLIDELL, LA For more info: 985-788-7799


Editor’s Letter On October 22, 2021, I will turn 50 years old. I thought I’d have stronger feelings about this milestone than I do. I expected to be sentimental, reflective; maybe even regretful or fearful… something, ANYTHING. Nope. Nothing. Well, I am excited about the day, so I do have some feelings about it. Bill made reservations for us at Sal & Judy’s (my first time, believe it or not) and my sister will make a favorite meal of mine to be shared at a later date. I might get a few gifts, and who doesn’t enjoy that? Someone (hint, hint) will make sure I get my favorite cake (German chocolate) and I hope to get lots of well-wishes and amiable chiding about being “over the hill” from old and new friends on Facebook.

I’ve tried to figure out why turning the big 5-0 isn’t affecting me more. I think it’s because I’m living my best life TODAY. I’m not trying to get all metaphysical on you, but I really feel this way. October 22, 2021 will be the best day I’ve ever had. But so will October 23rd, and the next, and the next. I don’t need to reflect on the past or look to the future to experience joy or learning. I’ve got family, friends and a community that shower me with lessons and love every single day of my life. Some might say I’m a lucky gal, but it’s more than that. I’m aware that I control my own good fortune and I steer in that direction. Today is what I make of it, and I choose it to be awesome. Happy birthday to me! Life itself cannot give you joy Unless you really will it. Life just gives you time and space -It’s up to you to fill it. (Chinese Proverb)


MAGAZINE STAFF Kendra Maness Editor / Publisher

Kendra Maness Editor / Publisher

Michael Bell Graphic Designer Krista Gregory Administrative Assistant

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS John Case “The Storyteller”

Donna Bush Power & Might

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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PO Box 4147 Slidell, LA 70459 985-789-0687

artist: donna bush Donna Bush became interested in nature photography in the early 1990’s while working as a Telecommunications Specialist for the USDA- National Finance Center. Photography provided a break from computers and gave her alone time in the outdoors with wildlife, nature and her camera. Since that time, Donna has pursued her passions of photography, nature and writing. And boy are we happy she did! She’s been a member of the Slidell Magazine family as a writer and photographer for almost 100 editions! Donna is also a certified yoga instructor, helping many friends and students explore their own inner passions through group and private yoga sessions. Donna’s work in Slidell Magazine (and beyond) has won numerous prestigious awards from SEOPA (South Eastern Outdoor Press Association), LOWA (Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association) and photography shows across the region. She was the 2019 Press Club of New Orleans (PCNO) winner for BEST CONTINUING COVERAGE and the 2020 PCNO winner for BEST ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE REPORTING. You can visit her on Facebook at Donna Bush Photography, Natural Reflections Yoga, LLC, or contact her by email at 5

Hotel • Casino • Spa • Pools • Lazy River • 7 Restaurants • Conference Center • Marina • Amphitheater

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.

we are privileged to do business.



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

Questions? Email | visit: | on Facebook @thenorthshorewins 7



We come as bereaved parents, family, friends, health care providers - as a community to remember and honor our children of any age whose lives were too short. We gather to remind each other that we are not alone and to proclaim that no child should be forgotten. The morning includes music, candle lighting, prayer, walk, Dove release, refreshments and fellowship.


Walking For Our Children DATE:

Saturday, October 9th, 2021


9:30 am / Gathering at the Church 10:00 am / Ceremony 11:00 am / Walk to Heritage Park for Dove Release (refreshments will be served)


First United Methodist Church 433 Erlanger Ave. Slidell, LA 70458 For more info: Phone: 985-707-8100 or 985-643-6437 Web: Email:

6th Annual Touch A Truck

Planned for Oct 30th! While recovering from Covid lockdowns, multiple Covid surges, the Delta variant, and Hurricane Ida, the Slidell Noon Lions is moving forward with their signature event at Fremaux Town Center from 10am-3pm on Saturday October 30, 2021. The rain date, if needed, will be the following Saturday, November 6, same time and place. Admission is $3 for age 3 and above. Last year, the fundraiser was held in a “sponsor recognition only” format due to Covid. With vaccine availability since December, and because it is an outside event, it is much safer now to conduct the event in person. The Lions encourage children who attend this year’s event to do so in their Halloween costumes for a special Lions Trick or Treat. Vehicles featured include those from the fire and police departments, Cleco,

tractor trailers, garbage trucks, and antique vehicles - all for the kids to crawl over and blow the horns! We welcome anyone to contact us with a vehicle to contribute to this great day.

Last Saturday of the month Pancake Breakfasts restarted this past summer and will have a three month rest from October - December, resuming in January 2022.

“The last 20 months have been a challenge to continue the Slidell Lions fundraising activities needed to provide contributions to local charities and multiple Lions International Blindness prevention causes,” said Club President Rick Elias. “Thanks to twice-weekly Bingo with strict Covid protocols, increased club rentals for Sunday services, and high-value raffles, the Lions have been able to resume contributions to previous levels. Unfortunately, the Sunday church service rentals have recently been cancelled. The importance of the Touch-a-Truck event fundraising is even more critical.” Business sponsorships for the event are still available and welcome through early October. Call Lion Johnny Crow at 985-641-0548 or Lion Dan Ferrari at 504-606-8081 ASAP for more info.

The Slidell Noon Lions vision screening activity was severely curtailed after the lockdown and all of 2020. Vision screening of preschool children is a critical mission for the Lions to facilitate early identification of vision problems that can hinder children’s education. Cub Site vision screening has restarted this summer at several pre-schools but at lower levels. The Lions will conduct vision screening for children under 6 years of age at this year’s Touch-a-Truck event. Parental consent forms will be available to enable the screening. In addition, SMH/Ochsner will offer a Covid-19 Johnson & Johnson one shot vaccine station (contingent upon vaccine availability) at the event for unvaccinated people ages 12 and above.


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

STORMS ARE SCARY, But Your Financial Life Shouldn’t Be. Whether it was a good idea or not, Mary and I decided to sit tight for Hurricane Ida, and we rode out the storm at our home in Slidell’s Chamalé neighborhood. Everything was fine for a couple of hours after the storm made landfall. We had power, TV, internet, running water, and all the modern conveniences. Around 7:30 p.m. or so, the winds started to moderate and I told Mary that we had dodged a bullet. But then, we lost power and things got dicey. The wind picked up again, the rain pounded on our house, and the tree you see here, that is making a comfortable perch for my little Posey Jane, was uprooted by the wind and came crashing down. Fortunately, it fell away from our house, and we escaped with no damage. The storm continued to rage, water came up a few inches into my garage, and we were stranded for two days. All in all, however, we did OK. But, it was scary Hurricanes are frightening, but your financial life shouldn’t be. Unfortunately, that is not the case for some people. Do you want to hear a really scary story? Let’s listen to Bob and Mary.

2065 1st Street, Slidell, LA | 985-605-5066 Securities & advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a registered investment advisor, member FINRA/SIPC.

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They were sitting at the dinner table, and Mary sensed that Bob had something on his mind. “What’s wrong, honey?”, Mary asked. “You look worried.” “I am,” replied Bob. “I don’t know how to tell you this, but you and I are two of the 48% of American households headed by someone older than 55 who have nothing saved for retirement.1 We’ll have to rely on Social Security for most of our income, and I’m afraid it’s just not going to be enough. I don’t know what we’re going to do.”

Fortunately, you don’t have to be in Bob and Mary’s shoes if you take action now to prepare for a secure retirement. There are no guarantees, of course, but neither does it require magical thinking. You just need a plan and the discipline to execute it. If you’d like some help to get you started, call me for an appointment.

After all, scary stories should be about hurricanes, not your retirement.

Mary was stunned! She wondered how this could be. They’d always tried to save money, but, gee whiz, they had to live, too. There just never seemed to be enough left over to save. And, retirement always seemed to be so far off in the future. She just figured it would take care of itself. “I don’t know what to do either, honey,” Mary finally said, “but we’ll make it somehow.”

Securities and Advisory Services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC

As a financial guy, that’s one of the scariest stories I’ve ever heard. As Mary said to Bob, they’ll make it somehow, but it’s not likely to be pretty, and it certainly isn’t my idea of how to spend one’s golden years.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. info-2019/no-retirement-money-saved.html 1

“They gave me the opportunity

to save and rebuild my parents’ house.” Scan here for more stories

Slidell | Covington | Mandeville | New Orleans | Metairie

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7 - 22



ARETHA Franklin tribute

SEPT 24 - OCT 16


FEB. 11 - 19


22 - 30 4 - 26



one weekend only!



I Want My MTV

22 - 30



19 & 20


















Slidell Council Meeting > 6:30 - 7:30PM



RIBBON CUTTING The Longo Group Slidell > 11:30 AM

Slidell Council Meeting > 6:30 - 7:30PM


BINGO! Every Tues & Thurs • 3 PM Slidell Lions Club • 356 Cleveland Ave.


Slidell Council Meeting > 6:30 - 7:30PM



Chamber Golf Tournament Pinewood Country Club Slidell > 9 AM Tee Time


LEADERCAST The Movie Tavern Covington > 8 AM - 4 PM


State of Econ. Development Tchefuncta Country Club Covington > 8 - 10 AM




Chamber Pull! Clay Shoot Covey Rise Husser, LA > 8 AM - 12 PM

RIBBON CUTTING Comprehensive Phys. Therapy Mandeville > 11:30 AM


THIS WEEKEND! SLIDELL STREET FAIR > OCT. 30 & 31 Olde Towne Slidell > 10 AM - 5 PM



Food for Seniors Distribution Day Good Samaritan Ministry 1 - 3 PM



WATER/WAYS Smithsonian Exhibit > Thru Oct 9th Madisonville Maritime Museum > Tues - Sat / 1 - 4 PM

Big Little Art Exhibit > Call for appt. 985-646-4375 Slidell City Hall Gallery > Wed - Fri > show runs thru Oct 22nd


Be on the lookout for the PINK POLICE CAR this month!



2220 Carey St., Slidell 610 Hollycrest Blvd., Covington 985-892-3216 |



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




Megan Haggerty Lions Club 985-273-3007 Pancake Breakfast

Call Us. We Can Help!

HALLOWEEN BASH CONCERT Vince Vance & the Valiants Heritage Park > 5 - 7 PM ROCKY HORROR VOODOO > Cutting Edge Theater > 8 PM

LIONS Touch-A-Truck Fremaux Town Center > 10 AM - 3 PM


CLUE > Slidell Little Theatre > 8 PM ROCKY HORROR VOODOO > Cutting Edge Theater > 8 PM


HAPPY Camellia City Farmer’s Market 50th BIRTHDAY Every Saturday 8 AM - Noon Kendra Maness! LSU @ OLE MISS > 12 PM

CLUE > Slidell Little Theatre > 8 PM CABARET: THE MUSICAL > Cutting Edge Theater > 8 PM


COMMUNITY & BUSINESS EXPO The Castine Center Mandeville > 3 PM - 7 PM


BAYOU JAM > Cuisine Slidell Heritage Park > 5 - 7 PM CABARET: THE MUSICAL > Cutting Edge Theater > 8 PM


CABARET: THE MUSICAL > Cutting Edge Theater > 8 PM 9 Slidell’s Walk to Remember First UMC > 9:30 AM RIBBON CUTTING

Beacon Healing & Wellness Covington > 11:30 AM

RIBBON CUTTING Planet Beach Mandeville > 11:30 AM



BUSINESS UPDATE Breakfast with Mayor Greg Cromer Pinewood Country Club > 7:30 AM OLDE TOWNE ZOMBIE CRAWL Slidell > 5 - 10 PM






Meredith Wright 985-273-3002

Is YOUR Business Getting Enough Visibility?

SAINTS vs BUCS > 3.25 PM


CLUE Slidell Little Theatre > 2 PM

CLUE Slidell Little Theatre > 2 PM






2 0 2 1


Storyteller THREE SOLDIERS Brandon Beck was a twenty-year-old town favorite. His dad was a favorite before him, and most likely his grandfather before him. The family boasted of doctors, judges, mayors, and star athletes. They also were proud of their patriotism, as Brandon’s dad was a veteran of WWII, his grandfather a veteran of WWI, and his great-grandfather served with the Confederacy in the Civil War. They were true town “blue bloods”, and just the mention of the Beck name demanded respect. No one in the community was surprised when it was announced that Brandon had dropped out of the University to join the military and fight for his country as the war in Vietnam escalated. It was 1965. He was the first white citizen from the community to enter the military for the Vietnam cause. The community reacted by treating him as a hero. There was a parade the day before he left. Speeches were made, the high school band played patriotic songs, and hundreds of people were on hand when he departed for basic training. His parents drove him to Fort Polk, escorted to the Louisiana line with police cars and flashing lights. The community knew he would make them proud. A hundred miles away, another young man was entering military service. He was a high school dropout and subject to the draft when he turned eighteen. Probably only a few in the small community knew him, and those who did just called him Sammy. His family had not been mayors or judges. His father had practically deserted the family when he was small, but would drop in occasionally; and what little money he brought with him was welcomed. Then, he was gone again. His mother worked as a domestic. At the time of his induction, she was ill, but no one knew the severity. 14

When Sammy left on the bus for basic training, there were no bands, no parades, and he went to the bus station alone. To his knowledge, Vietnam could have been in the next state or the next universe. He had heard little of it. It was eight miles from Jace’s house to the bus station. Jace Magee rode shotgun, his dad drove, and his mother sat in the middle. It was a quiet ride. All that could be said had already been spoken. Mr. Paul Simmons, the chairman of the local draft board, tried to explain it to Jace, but Jace didn’t understand. His dad didn’t understand either. It was not like 1942, when he enlisted. The country had been attacked. In 1942, his father feared the Germans or Japanese would invade America, even their rural hometown, raping, killing, and burning. That was reason enough to fight, and he gladly served. But Vietnam? He didn’t fear an invasion and neither did Jace. Mr. Paul, as Mr. Simmons was called, served as a volunteer on the draft board and owned a service station at the corner of Fourth Street and Azalea, which was where the Magee family bought their gasoline. Jace knew Mr. Paul had a lot of influence regarding who went to service and who didn’t, and Jace didn’t miss a chance of letting him know he didn’t want to go to Vietnam. These conversations ceased when Mr. Paul told him that every man had the duty to serve his country when he was called, and no explanation had to be given. Jace didn’t share that feeling but realized he had not found an ally with Mr. Paul. Just a little over a year ago, he knew this day would be a possibility. He had graduated from high school and wasn’t going to college; so, without that deferment, he would be eligible for active military service. He tried to honorably avoid it.

He first applied to the National Guard. Years earlier, it had been filled with poor young men who needed the drill money to make ends meet. Recently, there was a waiting list, but those on the list weren’t poor anymore. They were the wealthy, those with connections. If a position came open, one of them would get it. Little did they know that even by getting into the National Guard they may be called to duty. Many were; and, even though they may have wanted to avoid Vietnam, they served admirably. Jace was not one of those whose family could get him in. Jace got a job offshore working on an oil rig. He had been told that working in the energy industry was an occupation contributing to national security and would get him a deferment. It didn’t. He then tried to plead that he was the only child in his family. Maybe this would keep him out of combat, at least. That remained to be seen. As a last resort, he considered Canada. His parents left the decision to him, but they all knew that he would never be able to come home again if he chose to do so. Going to Canada to avoid the draft was a safe haven, but one that was considered just next to treason. He couldn’t do that. His family may be low-income farmers, but they had pride. As much as pride, never being able to come home was the main deterrent to this alternative. Halfway to the bus station, he was already feeling homesick. He had never been more than one hundred-fifty miles from home. Except when working offshore, he had only spent the night away from his parents five times. Until four years ago, he had hardly heard of Vietnam. Four years ago was when Brandon Beck left to go. That was a big deal in 1965, and that brought Vietnam home to the county. The thought of some stranger cutting his hair as he had seen of the new recruits on the newsreels disgusted him. He was determined that wouldn’t happen. The day before he was to depart, he had gone to the barber shop. The barber, aged beyond

his years from standing to cut hair, and the only one that had ever cut his hair, cut it as gently and as short as he could. That wasn’t close enough. Jace asked him to shave it. He then offered the barber a dollar, the usual charge. “This one’s on me, son. When you come home, you have another free one coming. Just remember, always find a tree you can get behind. I spent most of WWII looking for a tree. I made it, and you will too.” It occurred to Jace that the old truck in which he was riding was bought the same year he was born; it was also nineteen years old. It was the only vehicle his family had owned his entire life. He couldn’t help but compare it to himself. By all accounts, he was in his prime, but the old truck probably would not make it the two years until he returned. The scene at the bus station was somber, as a dozen draftees and their families were there. One very pregnant and very young women hung on to her husband, burying her head on his shoulder, sobbing uncontrollably. Other mothers, along with some girlfriends, cried. Some of the fathers just looked lost and bewildered. There were only two buses in the docking area. On the front of one, the destination was posted “Memphis”. On the other was posted “New Orleans”. Obviously, one bus was going north, one south. Finally, his bus arrived. Its destination was labeled “Fort Polk”. It would be traveling west. Jace let the others board first. Maybe he was thinking he would get a last-minute reprieve, but finally it was his turn. He hugged his mother, then shook hands with his father. He tried to be upbeat, if for no other reason than to comfort his mom. He reminded her it was only basic training, and he may be assigned a noncombat position. Maybe in some exciting place like Japan. “Son, keep your head down,” were his father’s departing words.

He would come home for the first time after finishing basic training. Just before departing Fort Polk, his company was called to formation. Each trainee was given his orders for AIT, Advanced Individual Training. He scanned his orders, looking for anything but what he saw. His was labeled 11B. “11 Bravo” meant he would be going to Infantry training. Even this classification did not necessarily mean combat, but it was a step closer. He tucked his orders in the pocket of his dress greens, which was the required uniform for traveling off base, and pondered what he would tell his parents. That question churned in his mind the entire 13 days he was home. On his last day home, he told them of his assignment, but still held hope of a non-combat station. When it was time to leave for AIT, it was a different scene at the bus station. He was the only passenger in military uniform, and his parents were pleased to know that he would be going back to Fort Polk, at least for ninety days. Suddenly, Jace’s parents took an interest in international affairs, especially anything to do with the war in Vietnam. They subscribed to a newspaper for the first time in their lives and watched all the TV networks. They had hope. American opinion was turning against the war. They read that in 1965, 55% of Americans supported the war. Now, in 1969, 52% opposed the war. Also, President Nixon wanted to have a peaceful end. It was the first time his family had ever supported a Republican, with the hope that the war was coming to an end. Twelve weeks after he returned to Fort Polk, he graduated AIT. Another company formation was called. Orders were issued again. He scanned the paper more nervously than he had three months prior. His assignment was not what he hoped for.

“Dad, it’s only basic training. Maybe I’ll be a cook.” 15

Again, he would return home for two weeks before reporting for duty. He didn’t tell his parents that he would be sent to a combat area. For the first time in his life, he told his family a lie about something important. He justified it by reasoning that it would keep them from worrying.

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He had a friend that had been ordered to Japan. He would correspond with his family through him, and they would never know. Three months into his thirteen-month tour of duty, on a hot summer day, Jace’s father watched as a strange car kicked up dust coming down the lane to their house. Not recognizing the car, he turned the tractor toward the house, arriving shortly after two men, dressed in military uniforms, got out of the sedan.

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“Mr. Magee, I am Captain Edward Smith and this is Sgt. Ed Weaver. We have some news that is not what you want to hear, but it could be worse.” “What news, what happened to Jace? What could happen to Jace in Japan? “Sir, I know nothing about Japan, but your son has received a serious, I must say, life-threatening injury. So serious, we are required to advise you.” “What happened, a car wreck?”

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“No sir, we have been given little detail, but it appears he stepped on a booby-trapped explosive.” “Lord, have the Vietnamese invaded Japan?” “No sir, he was not in Japan. He was in Vietnam.” “How and when did he get there?”

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“Sir, the records show that he was injured on his 92nd day of being in country.” “What country?” “Vietnam, sir.” About this time, Mrs. Magee had walked toward the car. “What’s this all about?” she asked. “Jace has been seriously wounded in Vietnam.”

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“Vietnam! Oh my God,” and she began to weep. “How bad is my boy hurt?”

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“Mrs. Magee, I regret to tell you, he has lost both legs.”

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Certified Functional Medicine Health Coach 16

“Where is he now?” she asked.

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“I have not been informed of where he is; but, rest assured, he is in a fine hospital and, when able, he will be coming home.” “What’s left of him,” she mumbled. “Hush, Mama. He’s alive. He will come home alive, not like Brandon Beck, who came home in a box.”

“When will he get here?” Mr. Magee asked. The captain answered, “That depends on him. He will go through psychological counseling and physical therapy, and then the fitting of prosthesis.” “Can we go see him?” Mrs. Magee asked. “At this time, I don’t know where he is, but you will soon be notified. If he is sent to Walter Reed, he will have the same doctors that the President of the United States would have. They do have family quarters, but it has been my experience that soldiers with these types of injuries, at first, don’t want to see anyone.” The officer handed Mr. Magee his card, extended his sympathy, and offered any assistance he could in the future. The couple watched as the military car left in the same ascending dust as it had arrived. It would be three days before Jace’s name was mentioned again by his parents. It would be a year before Jace came home. He arrived by plane from a rehab hospital in St. Louis. Out of respect for him from the other passengers, he was allowed to deplane first. A rowdy applause could be heard outside the fuselage from the seated passengers. This would be the extent of his homecoming welcome. Not like Brandon Beck. When he came home, the town closed for the afternoon and lined the streets as his body was driven from the funeral home to the cemetery.

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His parents waited for him to come down the airstair and walk toward the gate. With artificial legs and two crutches, his gait was slow and unstable. He greeted his parents with embarrassed distance, barely hugging his mother and briefly shaking hands with his father. In the car, his first words were, “I don’t want to talk about it. Don’t ask me.” Not another word was spoken on the drive home. He resented that the old truck, who he predicted would be useless by now, had more life in it than he had in himself. It was just another thing to hate. Each passing day, he warmed a little to his family, but it was obvious he held no patriotism for his sacrifice. His emotions were immature. Why had he not had a reception like Brandon Beck? In his opinion, being dead was less of a sacrifice that being legless. The local paper had not even asked for an interview. It is doubtful he would have granted one anyway.

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It was a year before Jace even went into town. His spirits were better, but still bitter. He often wondered... If I had just gone to Canada... On one trip into town, his father dropped him off on the corner near the town’s only funeral home. He stared at it. He asked 17

himself, Do you have to go through that funeral home to be respected in this town? He stood and stared. As Jace stood there, Mr. Danton, the owner of the funeral home who was returning from lunch, approached him. “Hello, son. I believe you must be that Magee boy, is that correct?” “Kind of obvious, sir, since I am the only guy in town with no legs.” “Not unusual to me. During the Korean War, I buried several with no legs or no arms. Some with no legs and no arms. War is a terrible thing.” “At least you buried them. They didn’t walk the streets like some freak, as I am.” “Son, what happened to you is a terrible thing. I respect you, but I don’t feel sorry for you. If I felt sorry for you, I wouldn’t do what I am going to do.” “What’s that, sir?” “Offer you a job.” “A job? Can you see me digging graves on my crutches?” “No, I can’t, but I can start you as a mortuary assistant. Then, you can get your license. Besides, I need some help. Your duties will be limited, of course, but we can adapt and accommodate. By the way, speaking of adapting, we don’t dig graves with a shovel anymore, either.” “I bet you do need help with all these war deaths.” “No, that’s not it. In fact, Brandon Beck is the only one I have buried.” “Why do you need help?” “Population getting older. Economy is better. People want nicer funerals.” An occupational future was not something Jace had thought much about. His veteran’s disability provided some income and he lived with his parents. “Come by tomorrow and talk to me.” For some reason, the offer interested him. He was there the next morning when the funeral home opened. 18

Mr. Danton showed him around. Their last stop was in the morgue. There, he opened the door, rolling out the corpse of a young man killed in an auto wreck the night before. He rapidly threw back the sheet, revealing an unpleasant sight. Mr. Danton watched Jace’s reactions carefully. Jace didn’t flinch. “Jace, you have the aptitude for it. The job is yours.” Salary was negotiated, which was more than Jace had expected. In addition, there was a small apartment adjacent to the facility. He could live there free. The employment was a good fit. Jace excelled. His spirits brightened and life returned to some degree of normalcy. At Mr. Danton’s encouragement, Jace joined a support group for disabled veterans. Some were not even as lucky as he. Slowly, he accepted his state, and even seemed to take pride in the fact that he had survived and had come home. His life no longer centered on his disability. He and Mr. Danton became close. He confided in how he, at first, resented not dying and getting the hero’s homecoming that Brandon Beck had gotten. He eluded to it several times over the years, but Mr. Danton never responded. One day, the funeral home was empty, no funerals were scheduled, and no one was in the morgue. It was just Jace and Mr. Danton. Jace made the statement again but continued with admitting it was not of major importance to him anymore. Mr. Danton interpreted this to mean that Jace was healed of this emotional milestone. Mr. Danton went to a safe, opened it, and took out an envelope. He handed it to Jace, motioning for him to open it. Carefully, Jace removed the contents. It was a military dog tag. It read: SAM BROWN JR. TYPE A+ RA 438694226 PROTESTANT Jace studied it. “Whose is that?” he asked.

“The fellow most likely buried in Brandon Beck’s grave.” “How do you know that?” “I always open military caskets. Several mistakes were made in Korea, so it’s just something I do. In this case, I had additional suspicions, as the Beck family did not ask me to retrieve the body from the airport. They didn’t use the military, either. It came to this facility by private transportation. “For some reason, these dog tags were in there. They shouldn’t have been. They are seldom sent home with the body.” Jace pondered, “It was probably just an accident… they accidentally fell in.” “Maybe, but it wasn’t Brandon in the casket.” “How do you know?” “Everyone in this town knew that kid, including me. The body in that casket was a negro.” “Shit. What you make of it?” “Just a mistake, I suppose, but they had already planned the parade and the town was closed for the funeral. There is a chance that the real body was lost in battle, so why put the family through the grief? I went on with the funeral.” Jace thought, “Well, Brandon did not come home in a box, as I have thought all these years. His body was not the one that circled the town on its way to the cemetery. What honor was given, was not given to Brandon.” For a year, Jace mulled over what he had learned. Who was in Brandon’s grave, and where was Brandon’s body? In October 1978, Jace’s 10th high school homecoming was being held. Jace was now much more confident than he had been, and a well-respected citizen of the town. He would attend. To his surprise, one of his classmates came dressed in his U.S. Army dress greens. He was a Captain, and wore a Vietnam Service ribbon. He sought Jace out.

“Thank you for your service, Jace. I, and all of us, understand your sacrifice.” Jace learned that his classmate was in a position to have access to almost any personnel records. He shared the story of the black man in Brandon’s grave. The captain listened carefully, and promised to research the matter. Jace had looked at the dog tag so many times he knew all the information on it by heart, including the service number, which was also his social security number. He gave it to the captain. It crossed his mind that this was the only time he had trusted the military. He, for the first time, felt real pride for his service and wanted to explore what he could about the body in Beck’s grave. About three weeks later, the captain called. “Sam Brown Jr. was killed in April of 1966. He was from Forest, Mississippi. Records indicate his insurance was to be paid to his mother, but she was dead. It was paid to his father, Sam Brown, Sr. The body was claimed at the Jackson Airport by unnamed transportation and delivered to Danton’s Funeral home. “Wait, Jace. There is more. Brandon went AWOL about that time. They traced him somehow to Japan and lost him. The military believed he was in Canada.” By this time, Jace had an automobile that could be operated with hand controls. It took some time, but he located Sam Brown, Sr. still in Forest. He drove to Forest and was not surprised that Sam Sr. was still the drunk he had been in 1966. The first question asked was by Sam was, “Can you buy me a bottle of gin?” Jace perceived this to be a good idea, as it would lubricate his willingness to tell everything he knew. He was correct. Within five minutes, he had learned that a man named Beck had given Sam $2,000 to let him bury his son somewhere. He didn’t remember where. That was all Jace needed. Where was Brandon Beck? He felt sure he was not dead, or at least was not dead in 1966. How could he find out?

The resentment Jace held for the glory Brandon had received, and the lack of it given to him, had disappeared. He was torn. He did not need to get even. He was over that; but a wrong had been done. He drove to Brandon’s parents’ house. They welcomed him in, and immediately commented on the sacrifice he had made for his country, but quickly added, “At least you could come home. Our son couldn’t.” “Couldn’t, or didn’t?” Jace asked. Jace wasted no time in dropping the dog tag on the table. There was silence. A lie that they had perpetrated for 13 years was exposed with the drop of a small piece of metal. “Mr. Beck, I suspect your son is in Canada. Am I correct?” There was almost a silent answer. “Yes.” Jace broke the silence. “President Carter gave amnesty to those who went to Canada, as well as most deserters. Why did you not bring him home?” “Honor. Becks are a family of honor. Please, Mr. Magee, this is terribly embarrassing. Promise you won’t tell.” “You mean, you want him to stay in Canada?” “I must, for the family’s namesake. You see, we sent him to the University. He stayed there two years. Unfortunately, he enjoyed fraternity life, but only enrolled in school one semester. He did, however, enlist; he lost his deferment and was set to be drafted. Mr. Paul Simmons cooperated in not letting the other draft board members know. He let him enlist.” “Mr. Beck, you talk about family honor. What is honorable in duping a community into believing your son is a hero? What is honorable about a young man named Sam Brown lying beneath the soil, with not one letter of indication that he even existed? Who made the real sacrifice, Mr. Beck? Your son or Sam Brown? You think about

that. Maybe there is honor to be claimed yet, but that is up to you.” Jace left without receiving an answer. That night, Jace flipped the dog tag like a coin while lying in his bed. He couldn’t sleep. He thought about the years he wasted, feeling that death was the only honorable end for a soldier and that disability was just a curse. He remembered things that he had attempted to forget. He remembered, on two specific occasions, saving the lives of fellow soldiers. He had contributed. He had done something good. He thought about how he almost gave up on life and himself. He then thought about Sam. What was his military story? How was he killed? There was no homecoming celebration. His family didn’t want him. In that, he and the Becks had something in common. Lastly, he thought about Brandon, a person who, at one time, he held underserved contempt for. His parents didn’t want him either; or at least, as he was. What was Brandon doing now? He had a Vietnam wound too, just not a wound in the flesh. What was worth more, being dead or never being able to come home? How had Brandon processed that? Was he still in Canada? Was he happy? He concluded the real loser was Brandon. The real winner was he, himself. In the early morning hours, he got up, went to the safe, and placed the dog tag inside. It remained there for years.

John S. Case October 2021


Poster art by Kristin Steimle 20

Third Annual Ozone Songwriter Festival The Ozone Music Education Foundation will present its 3rd annual Ozone Songwriter Festival on November 5, 6 and 7, 2021. This Louisiana Festival is held in Old Mandeville, with a special night planned for Slidell. The Foundation provides a two-day, family-friendly music environment Saturday and Sunday, November 6th and 7th, FREE to the public. Ozone Music Education Foundation also celebrates and promotes local, regional and national songwriters by providing educational workshops, networking events and performance opportunities, supporting musical artists. On Friday, November 5th, there is a ticketed Festival Showcase event with headliners Jonathan Cain from Journey, Gary Baker and Greg Barnhill. Also performing are the songwriting duo of Wayward Jones and singer-songwriter Claire Kellar. Proceeds from the Showcase event support the Ozone Music Gifting (OMG!) program for the Foundation. Tickets are on sale through Eventbrite. General admission tickets are $60 and VIP experience tickets are $125. The Ozone Songwriter Festival includes a Symposium on Saturday morning, November 6th, that provides an educational component for producers, hobbyists, songwriters - ANYONE who wants to learn from and participate in exercises led by music industry professionals on film, legal and home studio topics. As part of this year’s Symposium, a speaker will offer an educational session on how to produce a music video. This will include conducting a call for entry for a music video contest by the Pontchartrain Film Fest. The Symposium has a registration cost of $25. As an added bonus, the popular, monthly Ozone Songwriter Night is happening Thursday, November 4th at the Wine Garden in Olde Towne, Slidell. As always, there will be two rounds of three performers with an open mic afterwards. The Ozone Songwriter Festival, as with all of the Foundation events, promote our parish and the surrounding area, the arts and local businesses. For the Festival, over 130 song writers will perform throughout the weekend and the beauty of live music will be enjoyed by all who attend.

Calendar of Events Ozone Songwriter Festival Showcase Friday night, November 5, 2021 Old Rail Brewery (upstairs) 639 Girod Street Mandeville, LA Ozone Songwriter Festival Symposium Saturday morning, November 6, 2021 9 AM - 1 PM Old Rail Brewery (upstairs) 639 Girod Street Mandeville, LA Ozone Songwriter Festival 2-day Free event Sat, Nov 6, 2021 - 9 AM - 11:00 PM Sun, Nov 7, 2021 - 11 AM - 7 PM Mandeville Trailhead (on 4 stages) 675 Lafitte Street Mandeville, LA Ozone Songwriter Night Thursday night, November 4, 2021 6 PM to whenever The Wine Garden Olde Towne Slidell As an added bonus, the popular, monthly Ozone Songwriter Night is happening at the Wine Garden in Olde Towne Slidell. There will be two rounds of three performers with an open mic afterwards.


The Pontchartrain Film Festival presents filmmaking as an art form and curates works that offer unique cultural arts experiences. They provide educational opportunities that engage audiences and film creators, and give voice to this form of expression. In conjunction with the Ozone Songwriter Festival, the Pontchartrain Film Festival is celebrating its 10th year with a new program - The Louisiana Made Music Video Showcase Competition. The showcase includes a call-for-entry for Louisiana Made Music Videos with prizes and a music video workshop presented Saturday, Nov. 6 at the Ozone Songwriter Festival on the Northshore. The Pontchartrain Film Festival is a project of the nonprofit Olde Towne Arts Center and sponsored with the City of Mandeville as a catalyst for independent and Louisiana-made film, filmmakers and film education. Since 2008, OTAC’s Digital Arts Program has been teaching the use of digital media by helping to preserve family and community histories. Programs include screenings, filmmakers’ forums, exhibits and handson workshops to engage the public with the local film economy and opportunities for learning.


The Louisiana Made Music Video Competition To be eligible, the music video or short film must be made in Louisiana or by a Louisiana resident or with a Louisiana band or songwriter. The person submitting the music video should provide credits and secure the rights from the songwriter and performers to enter the music in the competition. The deadline for entries is Oct. 1 at There is a first-place prize of $300 for the Best Louisiana Made Music Video. The public can vote for the Audience Favorite Award at the workshop. Screening begins at 11:30 AM on November 6, atop the Old Rail Brewing, 639 Girod St. at the Mandeville Trailhead.

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

I got your attention, didn’t I? So why is something with a 100% absolute certainty of happening rarely ever talked about or planned for? Maybe after reading this, you will change your mind. While death is certain, disability is not. Unfortunately, we still have a darn good chance that will happen too. Nearly 50% of all individuals aged 35 or younger will be disabled for 90 days or longer before age 65, and approximately 30% of all people aged 35-65 will suffer a disability for at least 90 days, and 1 in 7 can expect to become disabled for 5 years or more. Sobering statistics, huh? (Yes, I am a very big fan of Hybrid Long Term Care planning options, and I offer it to my clients through my financial planning firm, GPS Wealth Navigation LLC.) Part of “adulting” is talking about these tough topics. In many ways death is far easier to plan for than disability. It’s final, so we’re not worrying about coming back (unless you’re Shirley MacLaine), and in most cases a succession (probate) can be handled much quicker and easier than a long-term debilitating illness (like dementia). If you have not left your own


Last Will and Testament, the state of your domicile has already written one for you, it’s called the “intestacy” laws of your state. In many cases, this may be exactly what you want to happen, but it also could be the exact opposite of what you want. For a primer on Louisiana’s intestacy laws, visit my website at www. and read some of my articles (especially “Intestacy is Incontestable”). If intestacy isn’t what you want, then you need to get a Last Will and Testament. Disability is a whole different story. There are no “statutory” rules in place for who would “automatically” step up to manage your assets when you are unable to. In Louisiana, it requires a very expensive and time-consuming court proceeding called an “Interdiction” (usually called a conservatorship or guardianship in other states). A Judge (not you!) will choose who will make these decisions for you. If YOU would rather make this choice, there is a far simpler and cost-effective way to accomplish this…get a general Power of Attorney (and don’t forget about health care directives too)!

The best thing you can do for your loved ones, either way, is to have an easy-toaccess listing as to what/where your assets are (see my article “Treasure Map”). You also may want to consider adding a trusted person to at least one of your smaller bank accounts as a CoOwner. This allows them instantaneous access to funds when they are needed most, at the moment of your death or disability. For disability, Powers of Attorney are very important but it could take days/weeks for it to be approved by the institution’s legal department. For death, a succession/probate needs to be opened and it can take weeks for “Letters Testamentary” to be issued in order to access the deceased’s accounts. “Pay on Death” (not Transfer of Death) and beneficiary-driven accounts are great but funds cannot be issued until a death certificate is issued, and these days that can take many weeks. Back to the title, you agree now right? We are all going to die, we just hope it’s “later rather than sooner.” One of my favorite songs by Kenny Chesney has the line “everybody wanna go to heaven…but nobody wanna go now!”

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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As Hurricane Ida doggedly plowed her way towards southeast Louisiana, we collectively held our breath and waited. It was hauntingly reminiscent of that same day, August 29, sixteen years ago when Hurricane Katrina hit our community, changing life as we know it forever. Those of us who stayed through Katrina experienced the same anxiety and fear. Add to that the fact that Ida rapidly intensified from a Category 1 to a Category 4 in less than 24 hours and it’s no wonder we all had PTSD. With the rapid intensification and fast movement, many didn’t have time to evacuate. Memories of hours-long traffic jams while trying to leave ahead of Katrina caused numerous to not even attempt evacuation. No contraflow was available. For many of us, it was more prudent to prepare as much as we could and pray for the best. For veteran hurricane survivors, the usual storm prep involves purchasing extra batteries, water and food, picking up items in the yard that could become airborne, moving plants inside, testing generators, stocking up on gasoline and topping off vehicle gas tanks. And, of course, watching intently for every storm update. Slidell residents weren’t the only ones prepping... and this group started months earlier. Cleco performs yearly drills, selecting a substation and running “what if” scenarios for a day to keep fresh in technicians’ minds the necessary tasks to perform. Cleco has a 200,000 square foot central storeroom that houses materials such as poles, transformers, cable, etc. for daily operations and “storm stock.” Their storm plan outlines that “employees and contract resources be close enough to the expected impact area to respond quickly after the storm passes, but distant enough to avoid unsafe situations and damage to equipment. Thus, employees and contract resources, including those who reside in the projected impact area are not deployed to a location until after the storm passes, and it is safe.”

I was fortunate enough to meet with three Cleco power line technicians just over a week after the storm when most of the Slidell area was restored. They are most commonly called “linemen”, although they can be male or female. Wade Singletary, Supervisor of Distribution Construction; Norbert Shiyou, Power Line Technician IV; and Ben Hirschey, Power Line Technician II met me outside Buffalo Wild Wings in Slidell as a thunderstorm brewed in the background. While the rain held off, the lightning did not, and work was halted until there was no danger. As we chatted, a Slidell lady pulled up with home-baked cookies and praise for their hard work. The three men explained their storm strategy. First is pre-storm. Trucks are fueled and stocked. Tools are readied and stowed. Personal protection equipment (PPE) is verified. Everything needed is staged to prevent any last-minute searching for an essential item. Each crew is prepped, ready to go and a safety briefing is held. “Our plan is to be as ready as we can be, even though we don’t know what we’ll be dealing with.” As the storm nears, small outages begin to occur. These are handled just like any other daily outages. Shiyou shared, “This is an everyday thing for us, just on a much larger scale.” I was surprised to hear that they were in the field responding to outages even as the storm approached. This would explain why my power flickered on and off numerous times from 6:30am on, before finally staying off at 7pm. As the rain got heavier and the winds got stronger, outages became more widespread and larger. “We try to get power back on, as much as we can, for as long as we can.”

near the Slidell Cleco office, leaving the wire on the highway. We needed to get the wire off the roadway to prevent injury and/or spread further damage. The storm was pretty bad, but we were able to secure the roadway. By this time, nothing we do will keep the power on. It’s time to go home and wait for the storm to pass.” Cleco power line technicians were back at work at 6am! The isolation phase begins after the storm has passed. FIRST PRIORITY IS PUBLIC SAFETY. As soon as conditions are safe, Cleco lines are patrolled by land and/or air to assess damages. Per Cleco, “Next, transmission and distribution lines are inspected and repaired. Transmission lines are critical to power restoration because they carry electricity from power plants to substations that deliver electricity to distribution lines which deliver electricity to homes, businesses, etc.” All power line technicians are assigned to a specific substation. Each one of the three guys I interviewed are substation team leaders; Wade – Bayou Liberty; Shiyou – Robert Road; and Ben – Bonfouca. A substation team leader is responsible for every circuit that comes out of the station and for

“As the storm approached, conditions deteriorated, and safety had to take the forefront. There’s always an exception, usually for a safety reason. During Ida, a double circuit pole (meaning it has two circuits) had one pole broken 25

the safety and management of every person that works on that substation, including out-of-town contractors and tree-cutters. At this point, only Cleco employees are working the storm, as they check for station damages and damage to the power grid it supplies. Once the damage assessment is completed, a decision is made on how much assistance will be needed to fully restore power. Approximately 2,500 contract resources from 19 states, including Louisiana, were deployed to assist with restoration after Hurricane Ida. These resources included damage assessors, distribution line technicians, transmission line technicians, tree-trimmers, substation specialists, logistical service providers and support personnel. Cleco secures these resources through a Mutual Assistance Program coordinated by the Southeast Electrical Exchange where member utilities offer restoration assistance after major weather events. There’s a hierarchy to power restoration. Critical community services, such as hospitals, nursing homes, water systems, fire and police departments, sewage treatment and pumping stations, etc. are first. After the critical services are restored, they move to restoration of the largest number of customers in the shortest amount of time until power is restored to all who can receive power. What is meant by “all who can receive power”? Often, after a storm of this significance, there is damage to equipment required to deliver electricity. This damage must be repaired. Also, restoration may be impacted by high water. In order to turn on power, it must be safe for the technicians and tree-cutters to work in the affected areas. At 5pm on August 30, only one day after Ida roared ashore, Cleco reported 95,487 of their total 96,974 St. Tammany Parish customers were without power, affecting approximately 40,000 in Slidell. On September 9, about 25 Slidell customers remained without power, as a result of damaged equipment and/or high-water preventing access. When you choose Allstate to protect what matters most, you get an expert agent who will make it easy for you to save. Like with bundling your insurance. Its’ the simplest way for you to save time and money, while getting protection for the things that matter most. Stop by or call today and let’s get you bundled up.

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The guys shared, “There’s a thousand things going through your head after a storm. First and foremost is public safety and team member safety. More time than less, you are more worried about the public and your men than yourself. As power begins to turn on and areas are isolated, red danger tags are hung on switches or jumpers that are cut. This is a visual key to NOT close (restore power to) this switch because there’s a problem. Information on the tag is filled out with date & time; a brief description of the problem; and TLN/ELN, a 10-digit pole identification number on their mapping system. Information is called into the Distribution Operations Center (DOC), located in Pineville Louisiana, which tracks outages, danger tags and more. Lead technicians must

contact the DOC prior to closing a circuit to verify there is no hold (danger tag).” “It’s weird when you are in this situation. It’s a mixture of emotions and feelings that are going on all day long. You’re worried. You’re scared. You’re excited. You’re driven. When it gets to that key point - where you’ve busted ass so hard and your guys have busted ass and it’s time to make something happen - all you can think is, Did I miss something? Did everybody do what they were supposed to do? Is everything ready? You make that phone call to the DOC and they give you permission and you are about to push that button…It’s like pulling a trigger on a gun. Once you pull that trigger, the bullet leaves the gun and there’s no getting it back.” Shiyou says, “It’s a scary feeling to hear those sirens about 15 minutes after you energize something, and you get that phone call, ‘House fire. Need to respond.’ You’re hauling ass and thinking, Oh shit! Am I burning somebody’s house down? Did I miss something? About 5 days after the storm, an older man was so happy to have his power back. He showed me a tree limb laying on the service pole. I told him, ‘I’ll clear it out later. It’s nothing serious.’ After making it hot, we get a service call to the same address. I began questioning myself, Did I make a mistake? Did I do something wrong? Did I look at it wrong? Was it really something hazardous? Something I didn’t catch right away?’ It’s a sigh of relief when you see the fire department walking out the door holding a smoking surge protector.” Wade shared a story from a few days past. He had just turned on power to an area 15 minutes prior when he began seeing smoke. He hadn’t seen any smoke earlier. It turned out the customer was burning limb debris in the backyard. “It still makes your heart skip a beat!”

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“You really have to take an hour in a day for yourself. You can’t turn the phone off. You have to have it with you. Take that time to walk away from the crew to decompress and clear your head. When you get home, you’re still not decompressed. You’ve left your family. You are walking into your house – a whole other level of stress is there.” Often, they are working 16-hour days to restore power without having power themselves or even with damage to their homes. Tree-cutters, such as Asplundh or Davey Tree Service, must go ahead of the power line technicians to cut trees out of the way, allowing them to perform their jobs. Cleco team leads are in charge of tree-cutter crews and making sure they can do their work safely. Seeing all the downed power lines and poles, I asked why not use more underground utilities? “With Ida, we had two underground transformers go bad and two underground faults. Underground utilities are extremely expensive to


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install and require much more intensive troubleshooting when issues occur. Above ground can usually be repaired in less than the time it takes to troubleshoot underground.” I visited the Robert Road substation and learned about recloser, non-reclosing and a one shot. Typically, breakers are set in ‘recloser on’ mode, meaning that they will close 3 times under normal fault conditions. For example, a tree branch falls on a wire, it will see a fault, amperage rises, and the circuit opens (no power). After a pre-determined amount of time, it closes again. If the tree branch is still there causing a fault, it will open again. This will occur 3 times. After the third time, the power remains down (open) permanently until the problem is resolved and physically turned back on. When power line technicians are working on energized (hot) lines, they would not want the breaker to open and close 3 times. Either by the DOC or at the substation, it is set to ‘non-reclosing’ for down-line protection. Therefore, if anything were to come in contact with a line being worked on, the line would permanently de-energize. This is also known as a one shot, since the circuit will only open once. With this highly sophisticated system, I asked, “Is it really necessary for customers to call Cleco to report an outage?” Ben and Shiyou said in unison, “It never hurts!” Meters are on a network, collecting and sharing information upstream to a central location. This data includes usage statistics, billing data, outages, etc. Outages are reported directly to the DOC. “For example, a squirrel jumps on your transformer and the fuse pops. Say there are 5 meters on this circuit, 28

the meters call in and an outage message comes up on the DOC’s computer screen. If it is after hours, the DOC will contact the on-call technician for that area and send an outage report to the computer in the employee’s truck. The report includes the ELN, and the customers’ names and addresses. The on-call technician heads in that direction to restore power. In a storm situation, where hundreds or thousands of meters are calling in, the DOC is overwhelmed with outage reports. In order to continue working, a physical block is issued to stop the messages.” Yes, it’s a good idea to report your outage. I was curious how the meter could relay an outage to the DOC if it had no power. Shiyou explained that each meter has a capacitor that stores enough energy to send that last signal, called the “last breath”, reporting an outage. I joined Wade and Ben as they supervised crews from Shelton Energy Solutions who were in town from Alexandria to assist with restoration efforts. This morning’s task was to repair cross-arms on a power pole in the parking lot of Journey Fellowship Church on Pontchartrain Drive. Even though the cross-arms are made of treated wood, eventually termites get into them and they start to deteriorate. This deterioration is accelerated by the stress of the storm. To prevent further outages, they must be replaced. A “one shot” was implemented while the lines were worked hot except for the one that runs across Pontchartrain Drive to Los Cantaritos and the closed Burger King. This circuit was de-energized so they wouldn’t have to worry about it while replacing the cross-arms. Los Cantaritos’ only request was that their power be restored by 9am when they needed to

GENERATORS Do not run generators inside your house or your garage. They should be distant enough to keep carbon monoxide fumes out of the house. Carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer, as it has no smell. Only use a licensed electrician. Never hook your generator into your dryer outlet. This can and will backfeed to the power company and can kill those working to restore power. Overloading the generator can kill you and your family. TRAINING

begin lunch prep. The crew was onsite to begin work at 7am and wrapped up by 8am. Wade explained, “As long as we are wearing proper PPE and following safety rules, energized lines can be worked on safely.” Anyone below mid-level has to wear rubber sleeves, which withstand up to 30,000 volts, in addition to Class 2 gloves, rated up to 17,000 volts. Working 16-hour days in areas with extreme heat advisories, wearing heavy safety gear can be brutal. A full-body harness, weighing about 5 pounds, is worn while in the bucket to prevent a fall. In addition to wearing flame resistant clothing, Cleco technicians are equipped with a Personal Voltage Detector that will alert if they come close to an energized line. Ben shared, “The best part of my job is restoring people’s power. The worst part is having to tell someone that I have to turn their power off for a repair. It’s all about maintaining public safety. We are here to help.” After the storms pass and we are living amidst the persistent buzz of generators and chain saws, let’s all be thankful for God’s blessings and the wonderful power line technicians and support personnel that restore our power and bring life back to normal. GENERATORS STORY CONTINUED

At Cleco, all schools are mandatory, educating workers not just on how to build something a certain way, but why it is built in that manner. For example, they learn specifications on hanging a cross-arm a specific way and why. Power line technicians are educated on every device - what it does, how it functions, and why. They are trained on where the power comes from and how it gets there. This knowledge is invaluable when troubleshooting issues. Even though technicians are assigned a specialized area, they are still trained in all areas – underground, overhead, substation, troubleshooting, transmission, etc. Everyone takes their turn as a call crew. Every 5 weeks, three guys are ‘on’ for 7 days. In addition to their regular 40 hours, they are responsible for everything after hours and on weekends. In a way, this is preparation training for storm restoration. This trains the body for working long hours and long days. “We literally spend more time working and with co-workers than our own families. It takes a very understanding spouse.” WHAT IS A POWER SUBSTATION? An Electrical Power Substation receives electric power from a generating station or power plant via transmission lines and delivers power via the outgoing transmission lines. Substations are integral parts of a power system and form important links between the generating stations, transmission systems, distribution systems and the load points.


FRIENDS & FAMILY OF ST. TAMMANY LINEMEN FACEOOK PAGE Similar to the “Feed Linemen” page, this FB page targets St. Tammany Parish, putting those in need with those who can help by providing housing, food, laundry, etc. It was created by Melissa Snow of Slidell to focus solely on St. Tammany Parish pertinent posts. Melissa has a special interest in helping linemen, as her son is an Entergy lineman deployed to Lockport. She shares, “If my son was living in a tent and not able to get adequate food, it would break my heart. I want to do this to help others and I would want someone else to do this for my son, if necessary.”

FEED LINEMEN – TELL US WHERE YOU ARE SO WE CAN BRING FOOD AND WATER FACEBOOK PAGE Sheila Person of Lafayette created the page to connect linemen, linemen crews, linemen parents, and linemen significant others (wives, husbands, etc.) to available resources for housing, food, laundry, etc. Sheila is emphatic about this being God’s work in the community to bring resources together to help others. “It’s not me. It’s God.” Even though her home received major damages from Ida’s wrath, Sydney Ray opened her Folsom bed and breakfast (Casa Bella Magnolia) to nine Entergy-contracted linemen. This is the third Hurricane Ida group she’s hosted. “I’m so particular about my dining setup. Although the guys have said they don’t mind paper plates, I’m like, ‘Nope, you are getting the full dining experience!’ So, we serve on plates, silverware, cloth napkins - everything I would do for any other B&B guest.” FOOTNOTE: Power companies do provide lodging, meals, laundry, etc. for out-of-town crews. However, Hurricane Ida drastically damaged or destroyed many of these resources. As some power companies scrambled to obtain needed services, locals stepped up and did what Louisianans do – offered food, laundry, and housing. Louisiana Strong!


Melissa shared that she was so distraught when hearing that many of the utility workers were sleeping in tents and unable to get good meals, that she bought 45 pizzas, drove around town and handed them out to anyone in a utility truck or in one of the man camps. Kristin Collins, another member of the group, arranged housing at First Christian Church in Slidell for a group who worked for Aquila out of Ft. Worth, Texas. Here, working in dangerous, dirty conditions in the swamps around La Place, restoring communication lines, Johnnie, the foreman, described their work as a candidate for the TV show Dirty Jobs. Frank shared that they are very appreciative of the place to stay and the food that has been provided to them by Slidell residents. “We will be working south of New Orleans for at least 3-4 months. We love Slidell and will stay at the Church until they kick us out!” Melissa, Kristin, myself and others stocked the guys with electrolyte drinks, power bars, snacks, watermelon, and lots of home-cooked meals. My husband, Eric, and I cooked breakfast their first morning at the church. One night, I turned my kitchen into a potato nightmare as I prepared 5 pounds of mashed potatoes! Over a weekend, we set up a table at Northshore Mall and handed out homecooked chicken & sausage gumbo, fried chicken, and more. Many locals stepped up, providing home-cooked meals and laundry services. Without fail, every out-of-town worker I spoke with reiterated how much the kindness of Louisiana residents has meant to them. Louisiana Proud!


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This year is the 100th Anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) have partnered with the Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (SHGTUS) to bring nationwide recognition of this commemorative event. The NSDAR chapters located on the Northshore, St. Tammany (Slidell), Wharton (Covington), and Pierre de Mandeville (Mandeville), have arranged to have a replica of the Tomb visit Covington. This half-scale replica was created by The Exchange Club of Rome, GA and was built with the assistance and permission of Arlington National Cemetery. The exhibit will be open and FREE to the public October 12-14 from 10 AM - 7 PM each day in Veterans Plaza, St. Tammany Parish Justice Center, 701 North Columbia Street, Covington, LA. Educational videos and lectures will be provided each day along with scheduled opportunities for individuals and organizations to lay wreaths. An opening ceremony will be held on Tuesday, Oct 12 at 10 AM where Louisiana State Regent, Charlotte White, will


Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Replica visits St. Tammany Parish Story by Karay Klein lay a wreath and bring greetings from LSDAR, and the three chapter Regents, Bobbi Foster, Geni Newman, and Margo Rhinehart will lay flower bouquets. State and local dignitaries will also be in attendance. The Northshore High School JROTC Cadets and the Slidell High School Band will participate in the opening ceremony. Inside Arlington Cemetery and standing on a hill overlooking D.C., the tomb was dedicated in 1921. It originally contained the remains of four unknown soldiers, each one representing the thousands of unknown soldiers from World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam. Fortunately, in 1998, the unknown soldier from Vietnam was identified through DNA testing and was reinterred in St. Louis, Missouri. Since 1948, elite soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Regiment of the U.S. Army (known as the “Old Guard”) watch the tomb 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year regardless of weather conditions. Sunshine, rain, snow, sleet, humidity, thunderstorms, heat, cold—they are out there! Each hour (in autumn and winter) and each

half-hour (in spring and summer), you can witness the changing of the guard ceremony with its special march and salute. Creation of the Tomb During World War I, U.S. service members received aluminum identification discs, the precursors to “dog tags,” to aid the process of identifying remains. The War Department created a new unit in the Quartermaster Corps, the Graves Registration Service, to oversee burials. During and after World War I, however, Americans debated whether bodies should be repatriated. With more than 100,000 U.S. casualties (compared to fewer than 3,000 in the Spanish-American War), repatriation was more challenging. France and Great Britain, which suffered significantly higher casualties and more unknown dead than the United States, barred repatriation of their citizens’ remains. To ease the grief of their citizens, France and Great Britain each repatriated and buried one unknown soldier on Armistice Day, November 11, 1920. Great Britain buried its Unknown Warrior inside Westminster Abbey in London, and France buried its Unknown Soldier at the base of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. These unknowns would represent other British and French service members whose remains could not be identified. The American policy, by contrast, gave options to families of the war dead. If requested by the next of kin, the remains of service members who died in Europe would be transported to anywhere in the United States at no cost to the family. Or, families could choose to bury their dead at permanent U.S. military cemeteries to be established in Europe. In December 1920, New York Congressman and World War I veteran Hamilton Fish Jr. proposed legislation that

provided for the interment of one unknown American soldier at a special tomb to be built in Arlington National Cemetery. The purpose of the legislation was “to bring home the body of an unknown American warrior who in himself represents no section, creed, or race in the late war and who typifies, moreover, the soul of America and the supreme sacrifice of her heroic dead.” In October 1921, four bodies of unidentified U.S. military personnel were exhumed from different American military cemeteries in France. On October 23, 1921, the four caskets arrived at the city hall of Châlons-sur-Marne (now called Châlons-en-Champagne), France. Early on the morning of October 24, 1921, Maj. Robert P. Harbold of the Quartermaster Corps, aided by French and American soldiers, rearranged the caskets so that each rested on a shipping case other than the one in which it

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had arrived. Major Harbold then chose Sgt. Edward F. Younger of Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 50th Infantry, American Forces in Germany, to select the Unknown Soldier. Sgt. Younger selected the Unknown by placing a spray of white roses on one of the caskets. From Châlons-sur-Marne, the Unknown journeyed by caisson and rail to the port town of Le Havre, France. Then, the USS Olympia transported the Unknown Soldier’s casket to Washington, D.C. The Unknown arrived at the Washington Navy Yard on November 9, 1921 to lay in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. About 90,000 visitors paid their respects during the public visiting period on November 10, 1921. On November 11, 1921, the Unknown was placed on a horse-drawn caisson and carried in a procession through Washington, D.C. and across the Potomac River. A state funeral ceremony was held at Arlington National Cemetery’s new Memorial Amphitheater, and the Unknown was interred in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Nationwide, Americans observed two minutes of silence at the beginning of the ceremony. President Warren G. Harding officiated at the ceremony and placed the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military decoration, on the casket. Numerous foreign dignitaries presented their nations’ highest awards, as well. Originally, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier consisted of a simple marble slab. During its early years, thousands of visitors came to Arlington National Cemetery to mourn at the Tomb and to pay their respects to the Unknown Soldier and the military personnel he represented. The Tomb sarcophagus is decorated with three wreaths on each side panel (north and south). On the front (east), three figures represent Peace, Victory and Valor. The back (west) features the inscription: “Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.”

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The 100th anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the traveling exhibit visiting our parish give us the opportunity to honor all of the unknown men and women who have given their lives in service of our country.


ST. TAMMANY PROJECT CHRISTMAS St. Tammany Project Christmas (STPC) was established in 2002 to give families in need in St. Tammany Parish a memorable Christmas. Along with gifts for children, each family receives food to share a Christmas meal. Children are accepted for the program if their families qualify under Federal poverty guidelines. STPC consults with local charities to avoid duplication of services. Thousands of children have received Christmas gifts since STPC’s inception! There are many children in St. Tammany Parish who cannot share in the excitement of Christmas mornings and family Christmas dinners. St. Tammany Project Christmas is working to change this. They are stewards who facilitate funds and gifts from the community. These items are given to the parents the week before Christmas so that they can surprise their children with gifts on Christmas morning and enjoy a traditional family meal.

WHO QUALIFIES? • Children from birth through high school living with their parents/legal guardians who are residents of St. Tammany Parish. • Senior citizens (65 and older) who are residents of St. Tammany Parish. • All participants must be enrolled in the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) to qualify. HOW IS STPC DIFFERENT? THEY ARE FAMILY FOCUSED, MAINTAINING DIGNITY St. Tammany Project Christmas isn’t just about giving gifts. The program enables families in need to experience and share Christmas as a family. Parents pick up gift and food baskets several days in advance so their children can be surprised on Christmas Day. HELPING THOSE TRULY IN NEED Applicants must provide documentation demonstrating need in order to participate. Applicants also agree not to participate in multiple Christmas assistance programs. STPC cross checks the recipient list with other programs. If a family is found to have applied for multiple programs, they are removed from the St. Tammany Project Christmas program. HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED? ADOPT Individuals or organizations may choose to adopt a child, family, or several families directly through St. Tammany Project Christmas or through one

of their many partner organizations, schools, churches, and businesses that coordinate adoptions. Email: HOST A GIFT DRIVE Do you know of a school, club, civic organization or church that is looking for a worthwhile project? Email: DONATE Each year, STPC shops for children not adopted and for food to fill baskets for families. Most of this happens the week before distribution. STPC’s ability to meet those needs depends on their monetary resources. Your donations ensure that all registrants receive a memorable Christmas. To make a donation: Online: Via Check: Mail to P.O. Box 4043 Slidell La 70459 All Year: Sign up to support STPC with Amazon Smile

REGISTRATION DATES: SLIDELL OCT 13 • OCT 23 • NOV 3 St Luke Catholic Church LACOMBE OCT 19 • OCT 28 The Village Lutheran Church COVINGTON OCT 13 • OCT 30 • NOV 3 Archdiocese of New Orleans Northshore Catholic Center 37

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