THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF SLIDELL
Vol. 134 December 2021
WE KEEP IT FRESH
SAY KEEP IT POSITIVE 1
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Dr. Simon Finger
Christmas Under the Stars D e c e m b e r 3 - 4 & 1 0 - 1 1 , 2 0 2 1 • 6 - 9 G r i f f i t h Pa r k i n O l d e To w n e
Holiday Lights & Decorations • Santa’s Magical Mailbox • Parade of Trees • Slidell’s Nativity Life-size Christmas Cottages • Frozen Ice Castle • New Grinch’s Cottage And be sure not to miss these other festive holiday events in Olde Towne Slidell: 7th Annual Spirit of the Season Olde Towne Light Display and Decorations Contest
Olde Towne Slidell will be decked out with festive lights and decorations, Dec. 3, 2021, through Jan. 3, 2022.
2nd Annual Olde Towne Slidell Community Christmas Parade • Sunday, Dec. 5 • 5-6
You can be a part of the second annual Olde Towne Slidlel Community Christmas Parade! Featuring decorated golf carts and homemade pushable floats, walking groups, community members in holiday costumes, and Santa and Mrs. Claus!
Holiday Concer t with the Slidell Ar t League’s 2021 Ar tists of the Year Exhibit Nor thshore Community Orchestra at the Slidell Cultural Center at City Hall Sunday, Dec. 19 • 7-8 • Free Admission Nov. 5 - Dec. 17 • Wednesday - Friday, 12-4 Slidell Municipal Auditorium • 2056 Second Street By appointment only by calling (985) 646-4375
Christmas Under the Stars is brought to you by the City of Slidell’s Dept. of
Cultural & Public Affairs, the Commission on the Arts and the 2021 Cultural Sponsors:
Renaissance • $5,000 Sponsors: Plus + Publications
Baroque • $2,500 Sponsors: In Memory of Ronnie Kole • Silver Slipper Casino
Neoclassical • $1,000 Sponsors: Councilman Bill & Laura Borchert • Home Instead Lori’s Art Depot • Lowry-Dunham, Case & Vivien Insurance Agency • Purple Armadillo Again Impressionism • $500 Sponsors: P. David Carollo, Attorney-at-Law • Chateau Bleu CiCi’s Pizza • Mayor Greg Cromer • State Rep. Mary DuBuisson, District 90 Dr. David Hildebrandt - Slidell Family Dentistry • Flatliners Entertainmen Old School Eats Food Truck • Pizza Platoon • Roberta’s Cleaners Slidell Historic Antique Association • Tanya Witchen - Engel & Völkers Real Estate
(985) 646-4375 • MySlidell.com • “City of Slidell” on Facebook & Instagram
Editor’s Letter Death is a taboo subject anytime of the year; but it’s definitely a conversational no-no during the holidays. However, everyone has lost a person in their lives, and it’s darn near impossible to enjoy the holidays without thinking of them, or missing them. My brother, Cyle Maness, was an extraordinary man in life; whose death is comparable to a Shakespearean tragedy. It will be thirty years this Christmas and the feelings are still very raw. Cyle was the man of our house for most of my life, having assumed the role at age 14 when my father died. My mother and all 3 of us girls idolized him. And with good reason - he was a quarterback (Salmen), lead in the school play, popular, charming, smart and good looking. At 28 years old, he was a successful business man and sworn bachelor. At his 10 year high school reunion, he reconnected with a girl he had dated while at Salmen, Tandra Lockhart. The attraction was instant. Six months later, Cyle & Tandra became engaged and made big plans for their future. On December 21, 1991, my parents held an engagement party at their home. Cyle & Tandra, along with their parents, toasted to a long, happy life together. The couple then drove to New Orleans for Cyle’s Christmas work
party. On their midnight drive home, the fog prevented them from seeing the 18-wheeler tractor parked across both lanes of the 5-mile bridge with its lights off. Four southbound cars had already hit the rig and started a fire. My brother, driving back home to Slidell, drove into the diesel tank of the rig, causing an explosion. Cyle was killed. Tandra was killed. The truck driver, who was standing on the bridge, was killed. They were all 28 years old. The truck driver’s body was recovered from the lake the following day. His blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit. Cyle & Tandra were killed on the night of their engagement party and buried next to each other on Christmas Eve, 1991. The story is almost unbelievable. Certainly unbearable. And true. Thirty years is not long enough to forget the pain, and every Christmas it comes to the surface. I know the motto of my magazine is “Keep It Fresh, Keep It Positive,” but this is my reality. Not everyone has a merry Christmas, despite our best efforts. We try. There is no happy ending to this story. But there are some lessons: Be respectful of others’ feelings throughout the holidays, because you may not know what their life journey has entailed. And don’t drink and drive. Please, just don’t. Cyle Michael Maness May 8, 1963 - December 22, 1991
COVER: OLDE TOWNE BLUES
MAGAZINE STAFF Kendra Maness Editor / Publisher Editor@slidellmag.com
Kendra Maness Editor / Publisher
Michael Bell Graphic Designer Graphics@slidellmag.com Krista Gregory Administrative Assistant Krista@slidellmag.com
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS John Case “The Storyteller”
Donna Bush Spartan Paws 4 Warriors
Charlotte Collins Extraordinary Slidell Neighbors
Leslie Gates Crimmi-Mommly Insane
Mike Rich Making Cents of Your Money
Ronda M. Gabb Legal-Ease
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artist: PATRICK HENRY Patrick Henry is a Jamaican born artist who has lived in Slidell since 2010. He remembers himself as “a super naive island boy” when he moved to America. “There was and still is much to learn and I love it.” Growing up, Patrick’s mother used to always say, “Your gift will make a way for you.” Inspired by tradition, culture and music, Patrick works mainly with acrylic paints on canvas. Being an islander, he loves using bright and vibrant colors so the artwork “pops” off the wall. “Painting gives me purpose and it is my passion. I had never thought I could make a living from painting, always hearing the ‘starving artist’ narrative. But I leapt forward after my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer at the age of 49. I kept hearing the words from my father on his death bed, ‘Never stop painting.’ He was a pastor, and he told me, ‘There will be victory even though the army will be shed.’ I realized he meant that, even though he won’t be around, my family and I will be successful. My art is in honor of his legacy.” Patrick’s talent and journey was highlighted in Extraordinary Slidell Neighbors in the November 2021 edition of Slidell Magazine. You can view & purchase Patrick’s art at: www.PatrickHenryArts.com or through Facebook / Instagram 5
“Trey” Thomas Brownfield, III
A biography by Charlotte Collins
“A dream does not become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work.” ~ Colin Powell
This month I spotlight a person I consider to be a hero. He not only saved a human life, but he’s also saving generations of lives by teaching us to save our Sportsman’s Paradise! Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser recently spoke about staggering predictions that, by the year 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans. He noted organizations like Keep Louisiana Beautiful that helps protect our state with the goal of a litter-free Louisiana. He invited municipalities across the state to begin their own local affiliations. Slidell can be proud of the work that Trey Brownfield and his predecessors have accomplished over the years for Slidell! Nungesser concluded, “YOU are the reason our state will continue to shine for many generations to come!” This article is one I’ve been wanting to write for years. Decades before Keep Slidell Beautiful (KSB) was founded in 2007, long before Trey was the Director, I was volunteering for cleanups on Bayou Liberty Road, 6
and the waterways of bayous Bonfouca and Liberty. Appropriately, Trey selected Heritage Park as the meeting site for our interview. Many of his cleanup events begin and end there. As Trey spoke, the exercise walkers appeared and reappeared, circling around the interconnecting sidewalk tracks. The boaters lounged or fished, and the squeals of children floated from the water features at the Kid’s Park. Ah, all seemed right with the world that day. I remember breathing in the fresh and breezy bayou air, relaxing and sitting back on a picnic bench, while Trey explained his motivation, and how he found Slidell and his calling in the Keep Slidell Beautiful position. Slidell was very fortunate, as Trey brought passion and decades of business and non-profit experience to KSB, as well as the fortitude and perseverance that the “school of hard knocks” can bring to a young man. He lived in Chalmette; that is, until Hurricane Katrina, hard knock number
one. As a little boy, he loved to go to work with and for his grandfather, Thomas Brownfield, after whom he is named. Thomas Sr. started a family business in his garage, inventing, manufacturing and selling Dab-a-Do, an industrial hand cleaner. It took off, and the business grew until he owned a warehouse in Arabi, next to Chalmette. Trey related, “My grandfather made a big impression on me because, number one, he served our country. He grew up in Urbana, Illinois on a farm. He never finished high school and decided that it wasn’t the life for him. So he signed up for the Army, stationed in New Orleans, and he fell in love with the city, because the Big Easy never closed. Where he came from in Illinois, most businesses closed at six o’clock.” We both chuckled at this early hour. Trey grew serious and continued, “After completing his time in the service, he went to work for the American Can Company. Unfortunately, due to modern automation, it went out of
business sometime thereafter. My grandfather tried at least 13 different ventures to start a business. Then he came across a formula for hand cleaner, got books and taught himself chemistry, formulating his own unique product. He started the whole business in a two-car garage, then in a small warehouse, and ended up in a 9,000 square foot warehouse. I remember that warehouse and watching him looking down, surveying the whole operation. It made a lasting memory.” Trey apparently caught the business bug from that experience, among others. His family was the American ideal, with mom Ka’Suandra, dad Thomas Jr., (known as Tommy) and two children, a boy and a girl (his sister Eden). “We grew up only a couple of miles from the warehouse, and I was homeschooled. So, when my mom would go to a doctor’s appointment, I got to go to the warehouse! Boy, I loved it. I got to screw the caps on the product.” I laughed at how important that seemed to a child. Trey responded with a grin and assured me, “As a small kid, I remember those containers as very heavy, and I worked hard at it. Then, as I got older, my grandfather would let me drive the forklift with him, and I guess all of this just stuck in my mind. Who else had the opportunity that I had, to spend that much time with your grandparents? My grandfather created a legacy, and I even wrote a paper on it in college. It really is the American dream to start from a farm, move to the city, and found a thriving business. And my granny was a great asset to him. She worked, so she was providing as well, which gave him the opportunity to try all of these things and find the golden ticket. She worked for AT&T for more than 30 years.” As a child, Trey also remembered playing in his livingroom, setting up a grocery store with carts and cardboard boxes. I could relate. I used to play school with my stuffed animals. He also loved Monopoly, the purchases,
collecting the rent, and the whole business aspect of the game. But it went further than play for Trey. Around 11 or 12 years old, he and a friend made a business of catching turtles from their canals and selling them to the local pet shop. He described, “We took care of those red-eared slider turtles in a kiddie pool in our back yards. We cleaned them up and fed them every day.” Laughing, he admitted, “We named our business T & T Turtles, and even made business cards. Then we started T & T Lawncare, cutting grass, and began washing cars in the neighborhood, anything that we could do to grow the business. I even tried my hand at selling Freezies with my mom! My mom would take me to Claiborne Avenue and St. Claude to get the syrup, and then we would go home and make Freezies. I knew that people wouldn’t buy from a kid, right? So my mom helped me make a sign that said ‘Mrs. K’s Freezies’. I was just constantly looking for something to do so I could make money.” His smile waned as he explained that when Hurricane Katrina hit, they lost their home, business, grandfather’s business, everything, except what was in their cars. That was when life changed for Trey. It took them almost 6 weeks to return to Louisiana, hopping from hotel rooms to family members’ homes. Trey’s dad tried to get his own company back in business, working on alarm systems, cameras, TVs and surround sound systems. He had lost all his previous accounts, so it was literally starting from scratch. Somehow, they made their way across the lake to Madisonville. Trey described that move from Chalmette to Madisonville as life-changing. “In Chalmette, I could ride my bike back and forth to the grocery store, and we knew everybody.” But his smile returned as he relayed, “In the city, there were no trees besides the few planted in people’s yards. And then we moved to Madisonville, and we were backed up to what seemed like a forest to a
city boy! I didn’t know anybody, and believe me, it’s a different culture out there than it was from what I grew up with. It was truly a culture shock! Now, instead of going to the warehouse and helping my grandfather, I would help my dad because, by this time, people were starting to put their lives back together and wanting to wire their homes with surround sound and all kinds of new technology. At night, that is when I would do my homeschooling.” I learned that Trey didn’t move to Slidell until he was 19. About the same time, Trey was attempting to pay out of pocket for tuition at UNO for his first semester of college. He then transferred to Delgado, which was more affordable. He was working full time for his grandfather, commuting to college, remodeling his first home, and working at Ohana Pier on weekends. The efforts paid off and he graduated with honors and an associate’s degree in Business Administration. Nodding assuredly, he stated, “I was surprised that the classes were relatively easy. Remember, I already had hands-on experience through the years working with my father and my grandfather. It was around this same time that I also became involved in a church, and started working at Ohana Pier, a teen club. Kids could pay a minimum price to stay for the night and play games like basketball, X-Box, pool tables, air hockey, foosball, you name it.” Ohana Pier provided a safe environment for teens on Friday and Saturday nights. On Sundays, it was open for free with non-denominational church services and upbeat music. As the organization grew, Trey’s talents were needed for a management position with the owner and two other men. He enjoyed mentoring the kids, describing, “On Sundays, we would share the Bible with them and talk about things like bullying, self harm, and other topics that nobody else was really addressing with them. We went from 80 teens to 350 on a Friday night. Our biggest 7
nights, we may see 500 teens in the facility. We helped a lot of teens that are now young adults living right here in Slidell!” At the young age of 23 years, Trey bought his first home and remodeled it in 2014. It was a bank repo and, luckily, he had friends who knew construction that helped him out. Looking back, he announced, “This was the smartest thing I did. I lived with my grandma for two years, so I took my time doing the repairs. Two years later, I was able to move into a home where I only had the original note, but by now, it was a fully remodeled home.” Life was good, and many of his Chalmette friends moved over here after Katrina, as well as his cousins. He had started to meet people through the church. Through his best friend and partner in T & T Turtles, he met the love of his life, who is now his wife, Gabby Burge. The two of them hit it off immediately, and dated for about four years. Trey decided he needed to increase his earnings if he was to be a family man anytime soon. As he put it, “At that time, it seemed like everybody who had money owned real estate. So I bought a rental home near Picayune in 2016. The week before my wife and I got married, I purchased another home to flip in 2017.” He laughed and said, “She probably wouldn’t have married me if she knew what that property was going to entail!” Shaking his head, he admitted, “It meant a lot of late nights driving back and forth flipping the home.”
Penny Stettinius, REALTOR (Licensed in LA and MS)
www.RealEstateinMSandLA.com P: 8
601-273-6565 E: PStettinius@latterblum.com
Gabby was working at Texas Roadhouse, putting herself through college to become an educator. Trey was working for his grandfather and Ohana Pier. So they were on a tight budget with little down time. He described, “We held a Bible study out of our home one night a week, and Gabby would cook for them.” He laughed at the memory and said, “In our little 1,000 square foot house, we would have up to 20 teens. We would invite them in, give them a safe place to relax, share the Bible, laugh, and let them know that, at least for this one day, everything was going to be okay. Sometimes I would get frustrated not seeing a change in them right away, but I learned that eventually the investment will pay off. At Ohana Pier, these same kids would bring razors that they used to cut themselves with, and say, ‘Because of you, and what you do here, we don’t need these anymore.’ That’s the impact that we made ultimately.” Basically, Trey went from saving money to saving lives. Over the years, Trey and Gabby had about five different teens live with them. Trey related, “I remember one young man that we invested our time in, and that worked out well. He graduated from high school, came in 4th in the state in track racing, and did real well for himself. Gabby and I were so proud of him! And we were blessed with our
daughter, Bristol, last year. She has made a big difference in our lives, and we hope to make her life enriched with all that we learned from those teens.” Once again, the school of hard knocks got in the way. His grandfather fell ill, and Trey departed from the family business. Trey was running a rebar company in Lumberton, Mississippi when he read about a position as a liaison with the city. Then he heard that the KSB position was open. That seemed a perfect fit for him, and time has proven that to be true. He had already became familiar with the organization after he joined the Rotary Club. “I thought, well, a liaison is a person who negotiates, plus he gets to be a ‘do-er’ and problem solver. I thought that described my personality. I love to solve problems and fix things, and I thought working with the city would be good experience. I applied and became Director of Keep Slidell Beautiful!”
Max • No Exposure to Diseases or Parasites from Other Dogs • Medication Administered • Less Separation Anxiety • Insulin Injections • Waste Cleanup • Mail Pickup • Daily Walks • Nail Trim
October 2019 was Trey’s first week on the job. There was a big city-wide cleanup at Possum Hollow Park. Trey described it as “hitting the ground running. It was a great time and a great success. Next, we had a big tree give-away.” It was as if his energy was abruptly stolen, as he related that was when COVID hit. Another hard knock. The trees had already been ordered to give away when they announced that the pandemic would prevent community service workers from helping. Trey shook his head emphatically and added, “Oh boy, COVID has been a trying time for KSB. But back in May, when things started to open up a little bit more, we adapted it for a drive-thru tree giveaway. Unfortunately, we had to cancel the citywide clean up that spring. I was sitting in the background during COVID, watching social media, when I learned that homebound Slidell residents were looking forward to Christmas lights on Front Street. I thought, let’s bring that back to the city. The mayor agreed, and we just went forward on the faith that, if the citizens want it, they’re going to support it.” Proudly, he announced, “We raised $19,000 cash for the Christmas lights on Front Street. Every penny raised went toward the effort.” Since becoming the Director of KSB, Trey has held the largest city-wide cleanup, and the largest Golf Tournament to date, earning more than $10,000 more than ever before! Not only was he bringing in the bucks for Slidell, but Trey had also learned the difference between making money, and making a difference! He and his crew help pick up beads after the Mona Lisa and MoonPie parade every year. They also walked in front of every parade except for the crew of Titans, because he was actually riding in that one, handing out Keep Slidell Beautiful pencils and bracelets. 9
1.) Trey (age 4) with his grandfather, Tom Brownfield. Like many of us, all of Trey’s photos from his youth were lost in Katrina. Thank God this priceless photo with his grandfather was at a realtive’s home. 2.) Grandpa in the workshop, running the machine. 3.) Barrels of Dab-A-Do Hand Cleaner. 4.) Grandparents Tom & Janet Brownfield with Trey & Gabby.
In addition to raising money, they’ve added a new direction now to get the KSB name out front and let the organization’s efforts be known. Trey interjected, “We are doing whatever we can to educate citizens about how damaging the long term effect of litter is for our community. Our Earth Week events were great. That week, on Monday, we did a Tumbler Awareness Day [to reduce the use of plastic water bottles]. Tuesday we gave out 1,200 reusable shopping bags. On Wednesday, we raised awareness for the at-curb recycling Slidell offers. Thursday, we recycled over 1,000 pounds of glass, over 100 tires, and over five trash cans full of plastic bags! Friday, we held a Camellia giveaway day, handing out 200 camellias with Mayor Greg Cromer. We ended the week with the largest city-wide cleanup day. Special guest Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser was in attendance. The community loved it and came out to show their support!” Smiling, he assured me, “We’re definitely going to be doing that again next year!
So keeping our community beautiful has now become a huge passion of mine. It’s not just a job but a calling to get out and educate our community. I speak in front of various local groups, and I was a panelist at the Keep Louisiana Beautiful convention in October.”
been so rewarding. Slidell is just such a giving community. I tell people all the time how much I love our community, and appreciate these amazing people. Our resiliency is inspirational to watch. I doubt that any community donates more than Slidell.”
At the convention, Trey was awarded Outstanding Director of the Year for 2021, and received the Circle of Excellence Award for the Slidell affiliate.
It is hard not to be proud listening to Trey and his board’s achievements and goals. But his community efforts don’t stop with his job. Volunteerism is a huge part of his life. He also served as chairman of the Heritage Festival in 2021, helping bring a modified festival to Slidell despite the challenges.
Trey proudly announced, “We were awarded over $30,000 in grants this year! $20,000 of that grant is for a cigarette litter prevention program, and $10,000 is going to Ducksworth Park on Martin Luther King Boulevard for beautification and trash cans. We also purchased five additional trash cans for Olde Towne, as attendance is picking up there. Finally, we also were awarded a Personal Protection Equipment grant, which provided masks, vests, gloves, and the trash bags that we use on a daily basis. But we have a lot of other great things upcoming, too. Being involved in this community has
Another of his efforts brings Trey full circle, back to the days when he and his wife were helping teens on a first hand basis. In 2019, he helped organize the first gala for One Way Love, to raise money and search for a way to end homelessness for teens. There are over 1,000 homeless teens in St. Tammany Parish. They might not be living on the streets; but, as Trey related, “They’re living in their cars,
1.) Trey’s childhood friend and longtime business partner, Talon Gallodoro. 2.) Cleaning one of his slides from T&T Inflatables. 3.) Trey onstage thanking supporters at Heritage Fest 2021. 4.) Trey poses with the Slidell Women Civic Club volunteers at the Fall 2021 Citywide Clean-Up. 10
1.) Trey and volunteers at a community outreach event with local teens. 2.) Gabby & Trey at Ohana Pier. 3.) Trey at Ohana Pier with just a few of the hundreds of teens they served. 4.) After four years of dating, Gabby & Trey finally tie the knot!
couch surfing, or they’re living with somebody other than their parents. They really have a special place in my heart, all the way back to when my wife and I opened up our home to them.”
meet once a quarter to hear from three local non-profits, and vote on one to receive money that night. Each member writes out a $100 check to the chosen organization. Imagine the impact this has on our local non-profits!
Meanwhile, Trey and his friend from T & T Turtles started T & T Inflatables in 2019. They now own a bounce house business with water slides and have expanded to include Louisiana and Mississippi. The two men make a point to invest back into their communities.
Trey is involved in so many more organizations, like Olde Towne Main Street and Leadership Northshore (LNS). His LNS group started Project Lead the Way. Focused on Slidell High School, they go to the school and mentor teens. The goal is to expand into more Slidell area schools. He graduated LNS in 2020, was nominated as Vice President by his classmates, and voted to represent his class on the alumni board. Most recently, we was awarded the Pearl Williams Superior Leadership Award by the Slidell Republican Women’s Club. In his acceptance speech, he noted what an honor it was to receive this particular award since Councilwoman Pearl Williams was one of the founding members of Keep Slidell Beautiful.
Just when I thought this man had done more than I could imagine, Trey added, “I’m just in awe that Slidell is so community oriented. It’s just in the culture here. Before COVID, Andy Frizard, Eric Calvin, and I sat down and formulated what is today named Men of Steel. This is the men’s version of the Steel Mimosas. We asked three other men to join our board: Mike Noto, Don Shea, and Gary Frizard. We will likely end the year with a total of 100 members.” This group of dynamic men
Taking the emphasis away from himself, Trey explained, “I feel like everybody in this community has a heart for something and somebody, which I love. I’ve met a lot of great people here. The people are down to earth and they help each other through the storms and whatever it is that our neighbors need. They make me feel like I’ve always been a part of Slidell.” He smiled humbly as I commended his accomplishments. It was at this point that Trey began to get phone messages, and the serious side of Trey returned. He was eager to help and ready to offer yet another solution. I bowed out, and left him headed to whoever it was that needed his help this time. I hope to meet many of you at the next Keep Slidell Beautiful event and all of the other great volunteer opportunities Slidell has to offer. It is a great way to meet great people and lend a hand to deserving causes!
1.) Leadership Northshore class members visit COAST to learn more about their services. 2.) Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser awards Trey Outstanding Director of the Year for his work with Keep Louisiana Beautiful. 3.) Trey with fellow Men of Steel board members. 4.) Proud parents on Bristol’s 1 year birthday 11
7 - 22
ARETHA Franklin tribute
FRI & SAT 7PM - SUN 2PM
FEB 11 - 19
SEASON TICKETS MAKE A GREAT CHRISTMAS GIFT!
A Family-Friendly Holiday Show
“THIS CHRISTMAS” DECEMBER 3 - 12
22 - 30
13 - 28
Olde Towne Christmas Market Antique District 10 AM - 4 PM
Happy Birthday!!! Donna Bush
Best Christmas Pageant Ever Slidell Little Theatre > 2 PM This Christmas (musical) Cutting Edge Theater > 2 PM
Poseidon Fish Fry • Noon Brass Monkey • Olde Towne SAINTS @ JETS > NOON
RIBBON CUTTING OLOL Physician’s Group Covington > 2 PM
WEDNESDAY Christmas Business After Hours Sponsor: Silver Slipper Casino Harbor Center > 5 - 7 PM
LeaderCAST St Tammany 2021 Movie Tavern Covington > 8 AM - 4 PM
Food for Seniors @ St Luke’s Distribution Day • 1 - 3 PM
SAINTS vs. DOLPHINS > 7:15 PM
Shop Local Holiday Luncheon • 10:30 AM - 2 PM
Volunteer to Paint Boxes! Tues & Fri / 9am - 1pm at The Art House call 985-640-2160
Slidell Council Meeting > 6:30 PM
BINGO! Every Tues & Thurs • 3 PM Slidell Lions Club • 356 Cleveland Ave.
Slidell Council Meeting > 6:30 PM
FREE GREENWOOD CEMETERY TOURS by “The Storyteller” JOHN CASE TUESDAYS - THURDAYS • By Appointment • 985-707-8727
BUSINESS AFTER HOURS Northshore Ace Hardware • 5:30 PM
ARTISTS OF THE YEAR EXHIBIT • Slidell City Hall Gallery By Appointment Only > Wednesdays - Fridays / 12 - 4 PM > Show runs thru December 17
SHOP LOCAL ARTISTS WEEK DEC 5 - DEC 1
Everything you need is right here!
SAINTS @ BUCCANEERS > 7:20 PM
Best Christmas Pageant Ever Slidell Little Theatre > 2 PM Northshore Community Orchestra Auditorium • 7 - 8:30 PM
Best Christmas Pageant Ever Slidell Little Theatre > 2 PM This Christmas (musical) Cutting Edge Theater > 2 PM Slidell Christmas Parade > 5 - 6 PM Ugly Sweater Charity Gala > 6 - 8 PM
Lions Club Pancake Breakfast 8-11am
D E C E M B E R
2 0 2 1
Best Christmas Pageant Ever (musical) > Slidell Little Theatre > 8 PM
SLIDELL MOVIE NIGHT Heritage Park • 6 - 8 PM
Camellia City Farmer’s Market Every Saturday 8 AM - Noon
Best Christmas Pageant Ever (musical) > Slidell Little Theatre > 8 PM This Christmas (musical) > Cutting Edge Theater > 7 PM
Dionysus Christmas Party Slidell Auditorium • 8 PM Christmas Under the Stars • Griffith Park • 6 - 9 PM
Best Christmas Pageant Ever (musical) > Slidell Little Theatre > 8 PM This Christmas (musical) > Cutting Edge Theater > 7 PM 10 11 Olde Towne Slidell Art Market Green Oaks Apothecary • 12 - 5 PM
FRIDAY Rosie Pics > Habitat Office > 3 - 7 PM LA Food Truck Festival 11 AM - 3 PM OLDE TOWNE CRAWL > 5 - 10 PM Christmas Under the Stars • Griffith Park • 6 - 9 PM
Slidell’s Bayou Christmas • 12/16 - 12/23 • 6 - 9 PM Heritage Park • to benefit Boys & Girls Club of S.E. Louisiana
OPEN HOUSE Pontchartrain Investment Management 4 -7 PM
SAINTS vs. COWBOYS > 7:20 PM
CHRISTMAS ON FRONT ST LIGHT DISPLAY DEC 1 - JAN 1
ew Orleans N f o b u l C s s e r 2021 Winner, "Best Column," P
Storyteller IT HAPPENED ONE CHRISTMAS Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unaware. Hebrew 13:2
My dad worked construction and, occasionally, he would take a short-term job out of town. It was not practical for the family to accompany him, so my mother and I would stay at home alone. Dad would come home each weekend or every other weekend. In 1958, he was working in Houma, Louisiana. Dad was a very generous person and wouldn’t turn his back on anyone in need. He may not be able to solve their needs financially, but he would give whatever aid he could and, most likely, provide them with a meal. Usually that food would be served at our house and prepared by my mother. The world was safer then, or at least I think it was; but not so safe as to allow some of the liberties Dad took. He would never pass up a hitchhiker on the roadside. Not only would he give them a ride, he would also invite them into 14
our house to spend the night and get a couple of meals. That is how we met David. I can’t remember David’s last name, but I know it was Louisiana French. I think it may have been Savoie. Dad picked him up just out of Houma. David said he was going to Memphis. He was not an unclean, beggar type, even though his clothes were wellworn. He carried nothing with him, as if he had left without planning. David just appeared to be someone who needed a ride and he had found the perfect benefactor. Dad brought him to our house on December 23rd, two days before Christmas. Mother found blue jeans belonging to my brother, a shirt, socks, and underwear and had Dad insist that he shower and change. She washed David’s clothes and, the next day, she patched the knees of his pants with iron on patches.
The next day, Christmas Eve, he asked Dad to drive him to the intersection as he would have a better chance of catching a ride. Dad said he would, but invited him to spend Christmas with us. David didn’t hesitate and gladly accepted. Little did I know that this would be the start of a connection that would influence all of our lives. Mother never cooked turkey for Thanksgiving or Christmas. She always baked chickens. We raised chickens and David readily volunteered to kill and dress the two we would need for the holiday dinner. Mother was impressed. Dad would have never volunteered to do that, and I was probably too young. David had a way of attracting the attention of each family member.
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Mother dug around in my brother’s closet, who was at college and not home that Christmas, and found enough outdated cloths to assemble a reasonable wardrobe for David. He was not giving any indications he was ready to leave; and surprisingly, it seemed Mother and Dad were enjoying his presence. In our family, the period between Christmas and New Year’s Day traditionally was a time for hunting. Sometimes I would hunt alone, sometimes with other friends or family members. I asked David if he wanted to go with me and he readily accepted. Our family did not have an arsenal of weapons like some hunters do today. As I recall, there was a 16-gauge single shot shotgun, a Remington 22 caliber semi-automatic rifle and a 22 caliber single shot rifle. The single shot 22 rifle was the gun he chose, and I always used the shotgun.
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We entered the woods that adjoined our property and he said he needed to sight-in the rifle. I had used the rifle but never thought of adjusting the sights. I suppose the previous user had a shooting form similar to mine. He took a match and fastened it to a pine tree by sliding it behind the bark. He then walked backward thirty carefully measured paces. Steadily, he aimed the rifle and fired. He then examined the spot where the bullet hit the tree and made some sight adjustments. He repeated the process, but this time he struck the match. He struck a match for the next seven shots. I had never seen shooting like that. At eleven years old, I had found my new hero. He told me he was raised hunting in Louisiana and was an expert marksman in the U.S. Army in Korea. He made that day a successful hunt.
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It was New Year’s Day and he said he must be going. We asked him why he was going to Memphis, and he surprised us by saying he wanted to be in the movies. He then told us he had been an extra in a movie called “Band of Angels” that was filmed near his home in Louisiana. That paid him fifty dollars. He had heard they were going to film some Elvis Presley movies in Memphis and it was easy money. We wished him well and made the usual assumption about Dad’s hitchhikers, that we would never see him again. Dad drove him to the intersection. With all the activity of the holidays, it was a couple of days before mother got around to cleaning the room where David had stayed. He had carefully made up his bed in Army fashion, with tucked hospital corners; but of course mother was going to change the sheets. When she removed them, she found three envelopes. One addressed to her, one to Dad and one to me. In each was a one-hundred-dollar bill. That was big money back then. Dad probably wasn’t making three hundred dollars a month. It was a good thing David had left the money, because in about a week Dad became ill with pneumonia. He was hospitalized and missed three weeks’ work. The money was a Godsend. Mother quoted a scripture, something to the effect of entertaining angels unaware. David was her angel. Eventually, Dad went back to work; but the money, including what was left for me, was long gone. The last thing Mom needed was for the local sheriff and a Louisiana law enforcement officer to knock on the door. They explained to her that David had robbed a store in Louisiana and stolen four hundred dollars. He had been apprehended and now we were in possession of stolen property and would have to return it. There was no way to do that. My parents didn’t have three hundred dollars laying around. They knew the money was not rightfully theirs; but nevertheless, they couldn’t pay it back. After negotiations, they arranged to pay it back at thirty dollars per week. Four years passed. One summer Sunday, an old auto came up the drive. It was David. Mom and Dad treated him with a warm welcome and Mother made a place at the table for our Sunday dinner. He filled us in on the last four years of 16
his life. He spent a year in jail and then got assigned to a work release program. He learned carpentry and, for the last year, had worked for a contractor. But that job was completed and he was looking for work. He was in luck. Dad was now a foreman on a pipeline being built by Brown and Root. He needed a carpenter and sent David through the proper channels to be hired. It turned out he was an excellent carpenter and excelled in his work. In a few months that job was finished, but both he and Dad were asked by the company to move to a new site in Texas. Dad declined, but David accepted the offer. It must have been ten years before they saw him again. I was grown and no longer lived at home. Again, it was a Sunday, and I suppose he remembered my mother’s Sunday dinner when he knocked on the door. In the driveway was a new Ford Ranchero. He was dressed in navy blue pants with a starched khaki colored shirt. Again, Mother set the table. He was still with Brown and Root and was now a supervisor. Sometime in the 1980’s, he came for the last time. It was Sunday. Mother set a plate for him again. He explained that he had retired from Brown and Root and bought a few acres of land in Northeast Texas. Dad had long been retired and he and my mother lived on a minimal fixed income. Before he left that day, he explained that if it had not been for that Christmas ride to our house, his life would have turned out differently. He told them that he owed all his success to what our family did for him during Christmas in the late 1950s. He handed mother an envelope and told her not to open it until he was gone. As soon as he left, she opened the envelope and there was thirty one-hundred-dollar bills. That was the last time they saw him. Mother said the Lord always returns gifts tenfold.
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!
John S. Case December 2021
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In October, Mary and I traveled to central Pennsylvania to attend a “mini” high school reunion. For the past several years, a handful of us have been meeting at various destinations around the country where classmates have settled. One of our high school friends lives near Pennsylvania’s state capital, Harrisburg, and owns a small farm out in the country. About 20 of us gathered there to celebrate the day that, 52 years ago, we left the sheltering halls of Bloom Township High School in Chicago Heights, Illinois, to take on the world. Time flies.
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My brother Tommy lives about an hour away from Harrisburg, so Mary and I headed over to his house after our reunion to spend a couple of days with him and his wife. And, to complete an already delightful trip, my cousin, Michelle, whom I had not seen in more than 25 years, drove over from her home in nearby New Jersey to join us for lunch. My brother, sister, and I grew up with Michelle and her siblings, and we had a great time catching up and talking about our childhood adventures. Here I am outside the restaurant with Tommy and Michelle before we had to, reluctantly, say goodbye.
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Tommy and Michelle are excellent cooks and they talked about how fond they are of recipes that tell them to cover the pot and not peek while the food is cooking. They don’t know this, but I’ve found that the same “don’t peek” instructions can work pretty well for our investments, too. Here’s why: The fact that we’re human works against many of us when it comes to investing. We bring an entire laundry list of bad behaviors to the table, including something called recency bias, which causes us to anchor investment decisions on an event that occurred in the recent past – such as a market downturn – that we think will continue forever. So, when the market dips significantly, we sell, thinking that the end is near and things will never be better again. When things do actually get better, we buy back in (typically, much later), which sets up the infamous “sell low, buy high” pattern. This behavior is doomed to fail. Over many years of managing money for my clients, I have observed that the folks who stick with an investment
plan that’s designed to meet their OWN goals (not someone else’s), who do not waver, and, in effect, who DON’T PEEK, actually experience the best overall portfolio performance over the long haul. Of course, we have to choose the portfolio that fits their goals best and re-balance it to keep the asset allocation in line, but that’s about it. It really doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that. If you are the type of investor who prefers to do something other than stare with grim fixation at the daily moves of the stock market, I’d like to meet with you. Call me for a complimentary portfolio review.
Securities and Advisory Services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
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New Year’s Traditions & Superstitions Edited by Kendra Maness
My family has some pretty deeprooted New Year’s traditions that I’ve come to appreciate over the years. Some of these traditions are born of our Southern/New Orleans/ Catholic heritage - mass in the morning, then black-eyed peas, cabbage and pineapple upside down cake for lunch - and some are just commonly accepted practices in America – drinks on New Year’s Eve and LOTS of televised football games on New Year’s Day. Besides having one too many glasses of champagne and kissing everybody in the room at the stroke of midnight, celebrants throughout the ages and across the world have observed numerous lesser known New Year’s customs and superstitions. Because January 1 20
is the first day of the New Year, we have drawn a connection between what we do on that day and our fate throughout the rest of the year. Most of these traditions and superstitions have some historical reasoning behind them and have to do with either warding off evil spirits or bringing us good luck. Here are some ways we attempt to guarantee a good year:
Kissing at Midnight We kiss those dearest to us at midnight not only to share a moment of celebration with our favorite people, but also to ensure those affections and ties will continue throughout the next twelve months. Some historians believe it traces back to ancient Rome’s Saturnalia celebration. A raucous good time full of dancing, alcohol, and kissing galore took place during this festival. As time went on, German and English folklore romanticized the idea of a midnight kiss, suggesting that starting the year with a kiss would improve your endeavors in love. No smooches at midnight could mean no smooches for the rest of the year.
Makin’ Groceries Stock those pantries full for the New Year and you’re insuring food-a-plenty for your family over the next year. It’s also believed that money placed in every wallet in your home guarantees prosperity.
Paying Off Bills You need to do it BEFORE January 1st to make sure the next year will be debt free. Whatever you do, superstition dictates that you shouldn’t pay any bills or lend any money on New Year’s Day or you’ll be shelling out the bucks all year long.
First Footing Here’s an interesting superstition that I’ve actually witnessed from some of my more eclectic friends: The first person to enter your home after the stroke of midnight will influence the year you’re about to have. Ideally, it’s a tall, dark and handsome man bearing a gift of some type. (No, I’m not just writing that because I’m a girl – it’s really part of the superstition…nonetheless, I do enjoy the thought!) Blonde and red-headed First Footers bring bad luck and female First Footers are said to bring disaster. The First Footer (also called the “Lucky Bird”) should knock and be let in rather than use a key, even if he is a member of the household. After
dropping off his tokens of luck, he should walk through the house then leave through a different door than the one he entered. No one should leave the house before the First Footer arrives – the first foot traffic across the threshold should be entering, not leaving. The superstition also says that First Footers can’t be cross-eyed, flat-footed, or have eye brows that meet in the middle.
No Exit Nothing – absolutely NOTHING, not even garbage – is to leave the house on the first day of the year. If you’re delivering presents or bringing a dish to a party, leave it in the car overnight. You’re not even supposed to take a rug outside to shake it. The year must always begin with something being ADDED to the household, not subtracted. If you live alone, it’s suggested you place a lucky item or two in a basket that has a string tied to it, then set the basket just outside the door before midnight. After midnight, you can pull the basket with the items inside, making sure to cross the plane of the threshold.
Work You have to work at your daily job, in moderation, on the first day of the year (and be successful at it) in order to guarantee fruitful and prosperous employment for the upcoming days. Just don’t work too much - that would be unlucky. As for household chores, superstition says that you shouldn’t do the laundry on New Year’s Day or a member of the family will be “washed away” (die) in the upcoming months. However, you can wash the dishes. (Personally, I’m not planning on doing any household chores on New Year’s Day – does that mean my house will stay messy all year long?)
Fashion Statements Wearing new clothing on New Year’s will increase your likelihood of receiving new garments throughout the rest of the year. Some folks in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, are used to wearing white on New Year’s Eve. The practice is rooted in the belief that wearing the color will attract peace for the coming year. Speaking of what color to wear on New Year’s Eve, there are lots of superstitions surrounding the color of your undergarments when the year changes. Red may mean romance or luck, while blue is believed to foster good health.
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At midnight, all of the doors of the house must be opened to let the old year escape unimpeded. The old year must leave before the new one can come in so doors are flung open wide to assist him in finding his way out.
In the early hours of New Year’s Day, watch the weather. If the wind blows from the south, there will be fine weather and prosperous times in the year ahead. (Heck, everything that comes from the south is better as far as I’m concerned!) If it comes from the north, it will be a year of bad weather. Wind from the east brings famines and calamities. If the wind blows from the west, the year will bring plenty of milk and fish but will also see the death of a very important person. If there is no wind at all, a joyful and prosperous year may be expected by all.
Grab the Bazookas Make as much noise as you can at midnight. (The neighbors will just love you for this one) It’s more than just a celebration – you’re scaring away evil spirits. Believe it or not, the tradition of ringing church bells on a couple’s wedding day began for the same reason.
Whichever family traditions or superstitions you follow, the next year promises to offer new experiences and adventures for you. Happy New Year everybody!
The Times Square Ball is located on the roof of One Times Square. On New Year’s Eve, the ball descends down a specially designed flagpole, beginning at 11:59pm ET, and resting at midnight to signal the start of the new year. The event was first organized by Adolph Ochs, owner of The New York Times newspaper. Since 1907, the drop has been held annually, except in 1942 & 1943 in observance of wartime blackouts.
The ball was initially constructed from wood and iron, and lit with 100 incandescent light bulbs. Since 1999–2000, the ball has featured an outer surface consisting of triangular crystal panels (which contain inscriptions representing a yearly theme), and was redesigned for 2008 to use a computerized LED lighting system. Since 2009, the current ball has been displayed atop One Times Square yearround, while the original, smaller version of the current ball that was used in 2008 has been on display inside the Times Square visitor’s center.
Some traditional feasts are celebrated on New Year’s Day. Here’s why we eat what we do: CABBAGE, COLLARD GREENS, SAUERKRAUT All of these leafy greens symbolize money. Eating them should reap you financial rewards in the next year. BLACK-EYED PEAS The peas, since they swell when cooked, symbolize prosperity. Another suggested origin of the tradition has special meaning to us Southerners. During the Civil War, Union troops typically stripped the Confederate territories of all stored food, crops, and livestock, and destroyed whatever they could not carry away. At that time, Northerners considered “field peas” and field corn suitable only for animal fodder, and did not steal or destroy these humble foods. PINEAPPLE This fruit is traditionally associated with welcoming and is enjoyed by guests on New Year’s to show your appreciation of their visit. LENTIL SOUP Lentils resemble coins, therefore bringing good fortune. PORK Because chickens and poultry scratch backwards, and cows stand still, eating them on New Year’s Day is a big no-no. Pigs root forward, so eating pork insures that you will be moving forward in the new year. It’s also said that eating chicken or turkey on January 1st will fate you to scratch in the dirt all year for your dinner (that is, bring poverty upon your household).
“Auld Lang Syne” The text is a Scots-language poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 but based on an older Scottish folk song. In 1799, it was set to a traditional tune, which has since become standard. The poem’s Scots title may be translated into standard English as “old long since” or, less literally, “long long ago”, “days gone by”, or “old times”. Consequently, “For auld lang syne”, as it appears in the first line of the chorus, might be loosely translated as “for the sake of old times.”
January 1 Becomes New Year’s Day The early Roman calendar consisted of 10 months and 304 days. It was created by Romulus, the founder of Rome, in the eighth century B.C. A later king, Numa Pompilius, is credited with adding the months of Januarius and Februarius. Over the centuries, the calendar fell out of sync with the sun. In 46 B.C. the emperor Julius Caesar decided to solve the problem by consulting with the most prominent astronomers and mathematicians of his time. He introduced the Julian calendar, which closely resembles the Gregorian calendar that most countries around the world use today. As part of his reform, Caesar instituted January 1 as the first day of the year, partly to honor the month’s namesake: Janus, the Roman god of beginnings, whose two faces allowed him to look back into the past and forward into the future. Romans celebrated by offering sacrifices to Janus, exchanging gifts with one another, decorating their homes with laurel branches and attending raucous parties.
SPARTAN Paws 4 Warriors December is upon us and most of us have thoughts of Christmas gifts and spending time with loved ones. A popular Christmas gift for young children has always been a puppy. I got my first puppy as a Christmas present. Dusty, a solid white collie, came to us one chilly Christmas morning. This December, three military veterans and their families will receive a puppy. Not as a “Christmas” present, but still a present; made possible through Spartan Paws 4 Warriors, a local non-profit. Torri Tsagournos received his canine handler training when he worked for the Department of Energy (DOE) Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Harahan, Louisiana. Tori completed an 8-week immersive school with Ricky Farley, owner of Alabama Canine. He returned with a comprehensive understanding of explosive search and suspect apprehension, as well as an in-depth understanding of why a dog acts and responds a certain way. While with DOE, Torri started 24
training other people’s dogs after his veterinarian began referring clients to him. After seven years, he made the move to open Spartan Protection Forces and Canine Services to breed and train dogs. Although Torri didn’t see active combat while enlisted for four years in the U.S. Marine Corps, he had a great appreciation for what other veterans experienced while deployed. He wanted a way to give back. It all started when one of his military friends reached out from California to request one of Torri’s puppies as a service dog. Back then, Torri thought of service dogs as military or police dogs searching for drugs, explosives and/or suspect apprehension. He had never thought of service dogs as support dogs. Torri eagerly dug into researching and soon realized he had found a way to pay back service men and women for their sacrifices. He breeds full-bred Belgian Malinois, as well as Malinois
Story & Photos by Donna Bush crossed with German Shepherds and Dutch Shepherds, which are perfect as service dogs. Not only are they extremely versatile, bond fast and learn quickly, they are also loyal for life. Torri explained that many who’ve seen active combat duty have a difficult time talking about their feelings and experiences, particularly with others who haven’t been in similar situations.
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Often, they return with physical injuries, mental and emotional trauma. The battle with depression, anxiety, nightmares and PTSD is very real. These battles can lead to family difficulties. With various emotional and physical injuries, it’s natural to worry about being a burden to family. A returning veteran’s thoughts can quickly shift to suicide. How does a dog help? The veteran and dog quickly bond, building a tight-knit relationship, convincing the veteran that they can’t leave. There would be no one to care for their dog. Per Torri, a service dog can pull a veteran out of a deep hole of depression. Often, veterans with extreme anxiety are not comfortable being in crowded situations. Then, with COVID quarantine, isolation increases mental and emotional struggles. The dog offers comfort and support, helping veterans feel more at ease with going places and interacting with others. Plus, they like to show off their dogs. Since forming his non-profit, Torri has raised 8 litters and between Spartanbred puppies and rescues, donated 10 dogs to veterans in need. What is involved with training a support dog? The puppies stay with their mother for the first four weeks. At that time, the biggest challenge is keeping their kennels cleaned and sanitized daily. Around 4 weeks, Torri begins to wean them and the training commences. He starts with potty training, teaching them their names and basic commands. He always watches for any signs of food aggression. That must be stopped early. He begins to socialize them with the pack. The puppies must
learn to get along with other dogs. As they get older, the training gets more involved. At Torri’s farm, he has miniature donkeys, goats, chickens, cats and lots of dogs. Torri mentioned, “Almost without fail, every breed of dog reacts aggressively towards the donkeys.” The service dogs are taught to get along with all these different animals. They are introduced to loud noises – fireworks, gunfire; and must learn to accept these. The dogs can even be trained to track an injured deer, in case they live with a disabled veteran who happens to hunt. They are trained both on-leash and off-leash. They are taught that when their vest is on, they are at work and must obey every command. When their vest is off, they live life as a pet. However, even then, they must be obedient and ignore any distraction. Socialization with other dogs is not just good for the dog’s soul, but also for taking the dog anywhere the family goes, having it fit in and behave. The
dogs are taught that they cannot approach any person or other dog until given permission to do so. Another part of their training is learning about wheelchairs. Enter Mary Mayo, a former St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Officer, who was injured in an automobile accident while enroute to the funeral of a fellow officer killed in the line of duty. The accident left Mary wheelchair bound. She has her own service dog, Willa, who still needed some training. Torri helps Mary with Willa’s additional training and Mary helps Torri to acclimate support dogs to clients in wheelchairs. The dogs must learn to anticipate when and which direction the wheelchair will move; and to avoid being run over. They have to learn how to come up for treats and how to circumvent catheter bags. Willa came to Mary from B.B. Rayburn Correctional Facility, where the dogs were never socialized together. Part of her training with Torri is getting her used to dog socialization and
Common Dog Handling Commands Desired action in English, spoken command in German/Dutch. (phonetic pronunciation) Sit / Sitz (ss-itz) Sit by side / Fut (foot) Down / Platz (plah-tz) Stand / Steh (sh-tay) Stay / Bleib (blibe) Heel / Fuss (foos) Come / Hier (heeere) Jump / Hopp (hup) Fetch / Apport (ah-port)
Out/Let Go / Aus (owss) No / Nein (nine) Good dog / Brav Leave it / Lass Es Find it / Such (sook) Okay / Command release Easy / Slow down Crate / Go into crate
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learning that she cannot chase every squirrel she sees! Mary shared a story where Willa was missing for over two hours after leaving a doctor’s appointment when she took off after a squirrel. Torri uses e-collars as both warning and correction. A vibration serves as a warning to not take off. Now, Mary only needs to issue a verbal command and Willa heeds. Approximately two to four weeks before a service dog goes to their new home, Torri takes the dog everywhere he goes – Lowes, Walmart, restaurants, PetSmart, Mandeville Lakefront, parks, etc. He wants the dog prepared for any place and any situation with the new owner. The same training techniques are not used for every dog, as each dog is different. It takes about a year to have a dog fully trained. Throughout the training, the new owner receives videos and updates on the puppy’s progress. This allows the new owner and family to hear and learn the commands which are in Dutch and German. The goal is for family members to be able to command the dog, not strangers. If the new owner is local, Torri involves them and their family with the training at an early stage. If out of state, Torri will travel with the dog when ready and work three to four days with their new family. Torri waits until puppies are 4-5 weeks old before allowing an owner to choose their dog. By then, it is easier to see how their looks and personalities will be shaped. Per Torri, “Lots of people will choose a dog based on looks without understanding anything about their inherent behavior and their natural instincts. Many get their dogs as puppies and don’t train them adequately while small. When the dog grows bigger and stronger, the owner is left wondering what they got themselves into! I use training, socialization, control, and playtime every day. A dog needs to run and chase and bite. I hide treats and toys and let them find them as part of their play. Sure, it’s about obedience training for the dog, but it is also about training the owner! The best thing a dog owner can do is to let their dog be a dog. At the end of the day, their instinctive drives are satiated. This reinforces that life is great when they do what they are supposed to do, and life is not so fun when they don’t.” Much of the training is to help protect the dog from harm. A dog that obeys commands will not run out in front of traffic, risking being hit by a vehicle. The first veteran service dog in training I met was Ziva Lexie. She will bless two families this December. How can that be? Her veteran, Paul, served in the U.S. Army - 2nd infantry division, with a tour in Korea and 2 tours in Iraq. During his second Iraq tour, he was injured by an IED resulting in the loss of his right leg, a traumatic brain injury, and persistent PTSD. He must rely on a prosthetic leg and a wheelchair for mobilization. This is
where Mary and her wheelchair are instrumental in Ziva Lexie’s training. Additionally, Paul deals with extreme anxiety doing the most basic tasks that we all take for granted. How does Ziva Lexie bless a second family? A while back, a wonderful mother reached out to Torri to express her interest in donating to a Spartan Paws 4 Warrior puppy. She was searching for a way to honor her daughter, Lexie, after she passed from a rare form of brain cancer at the age of 23. The mother shared with Torri, “My daughter Lexie was a warrior in her own battles with anxiety, substance abuse and then cancer. Lexie had an enormous heart and a passion for all animals, especially dogs. Throughout her life she found comfort in the company of her animals, Leo and Binx. My thoughts went to service dogs and my Google search found you and your program. I don’t believe in coincidences. Both of Lexie’s grandfathers were veterans. My wish is to donate to offset some of the cost associated with the placement of a veteran’s puppy. My only request, in addition to a photo of the puppy and new family, would be to name her after Lexie.” When Torri shared the story of Lexie with Paul and his family, they immediately agreed to the name of Ziva Lexie! Next, I met Zion, who will soon make his home with Marine Gunnery Sergeant Cooper and family. Sgt. Cooper writes, “In times of trouble, a man needs a dog. I never thought I would need nor want a service dog. After 17 years of honorable service and retiring early, I thought I had it all – beautiful wife, 2 beautiful children, beautiful house, beautiful cars and people who I thought were my friends. As strong as I was, surviving 5 deployments, the year of COVID-19 pandemic hit me mentally. My mind got me. PTSD beat me. I saw everything I thought was important go away. I started having suicidal thoughts. This was ruining me, my marriage, my relationship with my children and I was hating myself. I self-imploded with substances and partied with people I thought were friends. When the party stopped, I realized they weren’t friends. I reflected on what was most important. With therapy and Jesus Christ, I saw the Light. Karma and God for some reason said, ‘Maybe a service dog will help me to control my anger.’ I reached out to Torri, whom I had served with years ago and was blessed with the gift of Zion.” Kona came out next. She was nervous around Mary’s wheelchair and Torri remarked that she would receive a lot more exposure to get her comfortable. Kona will soon make her home with U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Austin Combest in Texas. He was deployed twice to Iraq and three times to Afghanistan. During the third deployment, his team was ambushed, leaving his left forearm shattered and shrapnel down the entire left side of his body. After
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a medical discharge, he continued to battle PTSD and depression. He is a firefighter and paramedic in Texas and, along with his wife and 2 young sons, is looking forward to Kona’s arrival. During a training trip to the Mandeville Lakefront, I met Evi and her veteran owner Spencer Jennings, who was a US Army medic, deployed to Kunar Province Afghanistan with a reconnaissance platoon. During this deployment, his platoon was exposed to the worse aspects of war. After this grueling year, he returned home and left the Army to attend college. He refused medical help for years until his wife convinced him to seek care. Sadly, these conventional methods offered little or no relief. At the recommendation of a Veteran Center Counselor, he began to research service dogs and knew it would be a great option for him. His wife reached out to Torri and shared Spencer’s story. Spartan Paws 4 Warriors was able to bless Spencer with Evi, who began providing relief her very first day. Spencer shared, “Evi has made such a big difference in my quality of life!” She goes everywhere with him. He works in Sports Medicine at a Baton Rouge high school. She is with him every day at work. I have to say, she is the best-behaved dog I’ve ever seen, even around a dozen other dogs. Evi was off-leash the majority of my time around her. Spencer only needed to utter the word ‘nein,’ no in German, and she obeyed. Spencer explained, “I work with my hands. I can’t hold a leash all day. Evi is offleash most of the day.” I observed Evi’s behavior as she constantly scanned the Lakefront, watching where Spencer, his wife, Caytlin, and their 2 ½ year old son, Brooks, enjoyed the day. She was alert and never missed a move. Evi even obeyed Brooks! It was easy to see that she’s an important part of the family! As an added bonus, Evi and Kona are sisters from the same litter. Spencer and Kona’s veterans served 28
together and have stayed in touch. A visit is already planned to Kona’s new home to allow the dog siblings some well-deserved play time together All the puppies I met were sired by Thor, a solid black Belgian Malinois that was described as a “beast of a dog.” Two different guys contacted Torri on the same day about their friend’s dog, Thor, who had bitten them both and his owner. They wanted Torri to take Thor or he would be put down, due to his aggressive nature. Torri agreed to give him a look. He was looking for a black full-blooded Belgian Malinois alpha male. Thor fit the bill. Torri kept him in a muzzle for six days, during which Thor repeatedly tried to attack him. Torri shared, “Lots of things cause this type of aggression. For one, he has a really high drive. He’s a working dog. If you don’t work him, he’s going to do something with that high drive. Also, he’s super alpha. His owner had no control of him. He didn’t use any kind of correction collar and Thor became alpha over him. All dogs need love and care, but they also need to know who is boss. If you let them think they are the boss, they will be the boss. In Thor’s eyes, he felt like he had to protect his owner. Thor saw anyone near his owner as a threat and he would become aggressive.” The first week with Thor was very challenging. The focus of this week was bonding. Torri had to earn Thor’s trust and used various methods to do so. He attempted to feed him by hand, pet him, take him for leash walks, etc. Whenever Thor became aggressive, he lost his freedom by being placed back in his kennel. It took one full week of bonding and building trust. After several weeks of training and socialization, Thor became a great addition to The Spartan Pack. Torri’s goal is for the service dog to be acclimated to every possible setting
that it could ever encounter and to successfully navigate these situations and support their owners. I’ve shared a few of the success stories of these service dogs helping heal their owners. But there are many, many more. Please donate to help more veterans find their soulmate service dog.
Real life example of the comfort of a support dog Mary Mayo shared with me and Torri, “A few nights ago, I was worried about being a burden on my mom. She’s getting older and I don’t want to be a burden. Life is very, very hard in this chair. Even after 14 years, it is still a struggle. I feel guilty asking for help. I used to be so, so independent. Not anymore. I was crying and thinking about how to not be a burden. But, at the same time, ‘Who would take care of my baby, my Willa, if anything happened to me?’” Torri asked, “Did Willa come to you?” “Yes! She did! She put her front paws on my arm. I was balling. She completely turned my disposition around. I was laughing and crying at the same time. ‘I love you so much, dog!’ It’s like she saved me. She saves me every day!’” Mary has had Willa for five years.
“Your Estate Matters” By Ronda M. Gabb, NP, JD, RFC
You can’t change
YOU CAN’T CHANGE THE PASSED… person’s disposition! Seriously though, it happens relatively often. While we can’t fix the past we can at least try to plan around it once we have been made aware. We usually see this happen when a person has died quite a few years ago (we’ll call him “Dad”) and the surviving spouse (“Mom”) is still here and has been enjoying a “usufruct” over the home, and other assets. The following scenario will help to better explain: Mom goes to the lawyer’s office to do a Will because she wants to leave her home to her daughter who has been her only caregiver for the last five years. Lawyer doesn’t dig deep enough and takes Mom at her word that she “owns” the home outright. It’s not Mom’s fault as most surviving spouses believe this, especially if they never completed the Succession of their deceased spouse. Lawyer drafts the Will (because many lawyers advertise that they do “Wills, Trusts and Successions” right?) and makes a specific bequest to daughter of what all believe is the 100% complete ownership of the home. Mom and daughter leave and heave a sigh of relief. Now Mom dies and wouldn’t you know it, her son who lives just across the lake (but who hasn’t seen or called Mom for over three years) is already calling sister to ask, “When do I get my inheritance?” Sister tells brother that they both are equal beneficiaries of Mom’s remaining
IRA, a small life insurance policy, and a little cash at the bank, but that Mom has “willed” the home to her so she owns it all now. You see the freight train coming, right…WRONG!
best if Mom would have named daughter as the 100% beneficiary of her IRA and life insurance to be sure that daughter had the money to “buy out” her brother’s 25% share.
Well, Dad died over 10 years ago, his Succession was never done because all they owned was the house, Dad’s IRA (which paid to Mom) and a little money in the bank that was in both their names. Nothing was ever “frozen” so Mom never thought twice about it. Like most Louisiana residents, Dad never had a Will (he died “intestate”) so the law said that his daughter and son equally owned the “naked ownership” of his one-half (50%) share of the home, subject to the “usufruct” (use) of his wife until the earlier of her death or remarriage. Unfortunately, I think we all know how this story ends… since son was vested with a 25% share of the total home the moment his dad died (being half of his dad’s half) and his mom only owned her one-half (50%), then, after both deaths, sister only owns 75% of the home. And yep, sister had to buy out her brother’s 25%! Of course, brother wanted top-dollar or he would simply force the sale of the home because he was VERY unhappy that Mom didn’t leave him what “he deserved.” (And we all know what he deserved…)
Less frequently but much more prone to fall through the cracks is this: One of the children who inherited “naked ownership” from a deceased parent now predeceases their surviving parent. Many times, when the deceased child’s succession is being done, their spouse/kids may not even know (and that lawyer also fails to ASK) that they have “naked ownership” of this inherited property, albeit subject to the usufruct of the surviving parent. Later, when that second parent dies and that property is being sold, it is discovered and the deceased child’s Succession must be reopened and amended, which takes additional time and money unnecessarily. And, if there was a Will, and the lawyer didn’t ask about any inherited property, what if the deceased left all his interest in his dad’s home to his wife (maybe his third wife?) and not his own kids or siblings? Agreed, that may have been exactly what the decedent wanted, but more often than not, it was because this question was never asked by the “nonestate-planning” attorney.
Sometimes, we can’t do much with a situation like this but in this case (and many others) maybe it would have been
Now you get the title…“You can’t change the passed person’s disposition!” And, don’t PUN-ish your loved ones with bad estate planning!
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. 30
40 Louis Prima Drive (off Hwy 190, behind Copeland’s) • Covington, Louisiana • (985) 892-0942 • RondaMGabb.com
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s slie Gate
“Cart Wheels and Christmas Shopping”
It never fails. I always get the shopping buggy with the one spinny wheel.
Duh. That’s why they left it there in the first place. Now, this whole wheel issue always comes with a bigger problem.
Oh yes, I could easily put it back and grab another one, but I never do.
Ya wanna know why? Because I’m only gonna end up picking its defective twin brother. I am meant to have them. What are the odds in the buggy line up that ole’ wobble wheel is at the front of the line every time I walk in the store? I’m usually convinced it will get better as I’m pushing it along. That maybe it will just fix itself in some magical way. If I’m feeling extra smart, I will pretend like I know what I’m doing and grab a random item out of my purse, shoving it into the mechanisms of the wheel, hoping to straighten it out. But then it just stops rolling all together. By the time I get to the produce aisle, I’m ready to give up. As I’m shamefully pushing my defective buggy though the 32
store, I always look around for others of my kind. Another poor soul, click, click, clicking their way through the aisles - someone to share a brief look of sympathy with. But nope, it’s just me.
It’s that pull to the left or the right that causes me to keep having to scoot the damn thing straight again. The heavier the buggy, the harder to keep from being sucked into the sideways vortex. This causes a major forearm cramp during the whole shopping experience. I play it cool though. Trying to hide my shame. But there are always those people that are snooty about their buggy once they see mine.
At the mercy of Satan’s buggy.
It’s that look...”Oh, you’ve got THAT buggy”.
How they mock me so.
Halfway through the store I start frantically searching aisles to find that one lonely buggy sitting by itself so I can do a quick trade off. If I find one, it’s usually in worse condition. Or there is a hairpin stuck in the wheel.
Every now and then I will get a little humor break when I find someone’s old shopping list down at the bottom of the cart. That always amuses me. I mean, ya gotta read it, right? Right.
It always starts with milk. Then it gets weird. Milk, dog bones, tampons, whistle, a wrench, smelly thing for car, and carrot sticks or Milk, WD-40, hemorrhoid cream, flashlight, glitter, and potatoes It makes me laugh to myself, forgetting about the problem at hand. But only briefly. Now. Imagine this... It’s Christmas time. The store is packed. And I have to get the kids some presents without them seeing. Because, yes, they were with me at this particular point in time. The baby was crying, trying to pull things off of the shelves.
My toddler was riding underneath, purposely hanging a limb over the side because he thought it was funny to control the brakes. Which, by the way, is most likely NOT going to get me the “Mother of the Year Award.” Then there’s my five year old, hanging on to the front of the cart - usually a little to the left or right, causing the vortex to suck me in even more. Got that image? Greeeeat. Because my foot was also broken. One in a big boot and the other in a flip flop. It’s like having one long leg and one short leg. It hurts the hips. I know this now. Any person in their right mind would say, “forget this crap!” Well, guess what.
I’m not in my right mind. Now ya know. So, in this nearly impossible situation, what’s a person to do? Strategy, baby. Strategy. Gotta pull up the big girl panties and soldier on! Step one: Push through the pain. Head to the blanket aisle and grab a very boring blanket. This is important. Just make sure there are no patterns or pretty colors because the kids will try and take it. It needs to be cozy though, you WILL be buying it. Unless you just want to pack it back up the way you found it once you are done with it. Ya know - folded perfect, cardboard insert, perfectly straight ribbon meeting in the middle to a cute little bow. Yeah. You’re keeping it.
there are 10 employees standing around using their phones to take Tik-Tok videos of each other while #Working. Opening another register hasn’t even crossed their minds. Now at this point, the candy in the check out line is your best bet. Just give into it this time. Let them all pick a candy with the letter... I don’t know...Q. That should give you enough time to get everything on the conveyer belt, while the kids are still looking for that Qit-Qat or whatever. Part C: Head to the toy aisle with open blanket at the ready. Once you find the item of interest, use one hand to point away from you and yell, “It’s Santa!”, quickly grabbing the item simultaneously with your other hand and throwing it under the blanky.
Finally - pay, do a happy dance, and be on your merry way!
Please don’t pick a toy that makes noise upon movement. That would have to be another block of instruction. And I really don’t have the energy. Or the meds.
Make sure to give those 10 workers a dirty look as you are walking sideways out the door.
Five: Once you have retrieved all desired items and hidden them under the blanket, grab a couple of odd things to go on top. Duck tape, trash bags... oh wait, scratch that. But definitely grab a bottle of wine. You will need it.
Your forearm will be painfully numb at this point, and will most likely be the arm you will need to hold up the back door of the SUV, if it’s like mine was, and had a broken spring.
Time for check out! Say your prayers! ‘Cause this part STINKS. The lines are ridiculously long, two registers are open, and 34
Throw the blanket on top, give the cashier “the Mommy look” which means, double bag it please, then REALLY let your kids pick out a candy once all toys are hidden. After all, they have been putting up with your cursing for the last hour.
They should be fixing the damn buggy wheels! Almost to the car!
One arm holds the door up, one arm grabs a bag. Don’t get this confused. That door really hurts when it falls on top of you. The kids think it’s funny though,
as they are climbing the cart return in the pouring rain. When you pull up in your driveway, the lights from above will be shining upon you, and the angels will be singing songs of praise. Get out the car, grab the bags, throw ‘em in the closet, go get on the couch with your cozy new blanket and bottle of wine, and give yourself a pat on the back. Wait! Get back up and get the kids out of the car! Okay, NOW you can relax. If it just so happens to be around the same time that your spouse gets home, he/ she will most likely wonder why you are sitting on the couch doing nothing. Hold it together. And just be glad you didn’t grab the duct tape and trash bags. So remember, if you ever get THAT buggy (which you won’t, because I’m the only one that does) keep on pushing through it. WHATEVER it is in life. Push through. Even when the cart wheels try and stop you, there will still be a light at the end of the aisle. And a bottle of wine. In any case… Happy Christmas shopping!
Slidell 2021 Slidell Art League’s League’s 2021
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AND DON’T MISS “Fifty Shades of Louisiana: A Filmmaker’s Paradise” movie poster exhibition, presented by y of of Slidell, Sllid S del ell, l iin n the th he Slidell Cultural Center. Hollywood on the Bayou, Movie Poster Archives and The City
Supported Supported by by aa grant grant from from the the Louisiana Louisiana Division Division ofof the the Arts, Arts, Of Ofcece ofof Cultural Cultural Development, Development, Department Department ofof Culture, Culture, Recreation Recreation and and Tourism, Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council, as administered by the St. Tammany Parish Commission on Cultural Affairs.
in cooperation For with the Louisiana State Arts Council, as administered by the St. Tammany Parish Commission on Cultural Affairs. more information, visit NorthshoreCEC.org/ArtOftheFilmExpo.
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