Slidell Magazine - February 2022

Page 1


Vol. 136 February 2022



2021 - 2022

Royal Court

you’re invited to join us

In The Tradition & Revelry


krewe of slidellians

Jim Thomas



Masque L X X I

Kendra Maness


Carrie Calvin Sharron Newton Robin Marquez

Dukes Trey Brownfield Robert Crochet Bruce Javery

“Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler” presented by the

Slidell Women’s Civic Club

Saturday, February 19, 2022 // 7pm the harbor center // slidell, la tableau begins at 8pm sharp

PURCHASE TICKETS: $75 per person // $750 per table, seats 10

call 985-290-3908 or email

Online Tickets  Use your smart phone camera to click QR Code

Editor’s Letter The Slidell Women’s Civic Club was founded in 1947 to foster civic service to our then-small community of Slidell. With great growth potential because of the railroad, Slidell was just beginning to blossom from a brick manufacturing and ship building town, to a safe and green alternative community to New Orleans. The four founding women started selling brooms, Two of the SWCC founders, mops and cleaning supplies door to Peggy Solberger and door in Slidell’s Brugier subdivision Virginia Madison, at the 1953 (which was a focal point of activity Krewe of Slidellians Ball and residential living), in order to raise funds to construct a park for the children of Slidell. The first Krewe of Slidellians Ball took place in 1951 and followed the traditional Mardi Gras tableau with full pageantry honoring the civic leaders in the community. The “King and Queen Samaritan” are voted on by the club members, based on their community spirit, leadership and philanthropy. The maids

and dukes in the Royal Court are also chosen based on their community and charitable involvement. The Krewe of Slidellians was the first Mardi Gras parade in St. Tammany Parish, in 1961. The parade’s primary purpose at that time was advertisement for the ball and to add to the social and cultural dimension of Slidell. Family trucks, bicyclists, and local bands marched on the original parade route from Slidell High, travelling on Florida Avenue to Olde Towne, then out Carey Street, ending at Tammany Mall. Last year, my beloved Slidell Women’s Civic Club made the difficult decision to discontinue our parade. We had fulfilled our mission of offering Slidell wonderful entertainment, and did so for almost 60 years. We now concentrate all of our Mardi Gras efforts in supporting the other Slidell krewes and holding one of the premier balls in Slidell. I am honored to serve as this year’s Queen Samaritan LXXI. I’m nervous, excited, and pretty intimidated to join the ranks of the former Slidellian queens. I hope you’ll join me in the tradition and revelry on February 19, 2022! Laissez les bon temps rouler!


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 Aerial Visitors, Hummingbirds

Charlotte Collins Extraordinary Slidell Neighbors

Suzanne Stymiest Heartbreak Henry

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: WILLIAM BLACKWELL William Blackwell is a native of Slidell. He started studying photography several years ago as a hobby, and it has evolved into a slow, but steadily growing, profession. “Achieving great photography is my hope and passion. It’s what consumes me for hours each and every day,” William says. He currently does stock photography and works in several genres, including landscapes, architecture, lifestyle and event photography. “A number of years ago, before photography became an interest to me, I had begun researching about Slidell’s early beginnings and found it to be a fascinating topic. Through my research, I gained an understanding and appreciation of Slidell’s history. Once I began studying photography, it seemed to me that some of those wonderful homes and buildings like Chateau Bleu should be photographed to capture and preserve their memory, beauty, and antiquity for future generations. So that has become an ongoing project of mine. We do take those structures for granted, forgetting that they will not always be there.” You can see more of William’s photography on his Facebook page: FieldofViewPhotography 5

Allen & Kathy Little

A biography by Charlotte Collins

“Where we love is home - home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.

As I welcomed in 2022, I did what I often do at the New Year, probably what many of us do. My mind flitted back and forth between reflecting on the past, and imagining what may lay ahead of me. Looking back often involves those people I miss. Looking forward often revolves around things I miss, and hope to revisit. As if to taunt me, my iPhone sent videos with memories of good times from several years ago. It was there that I saw myself throwing our signature throws in our Mona Lisa and MoonPie parade, laughing with my husband, family, and friends. In spite of our flexibility with parade dates, it has been two years since we were able to showcase “Mona Breaks Free” after the pandemic variants. Of course, I wagered with a Covid-clad devil. Would we be able to participate in Mardi Gras this year? When we think of Mardi Gras in Slidell, who comes to mind? Allen and Kathy Little, of course! Our city lost both of 6

these Slidell Carnival icons within the past four months. We miss them both, but that does not diminish our wonderful memories of them. Excerpts from Allen’s obituary: Allen loved every minute of his life, from Mardi Gras to community theater, from traveling the world to fine dining. But most of all, he loved Kathleen Harris Little, his wife of 54 years. Allen and Kathy opened Chateau Bleu, renowned caterers, in Slidell in 1974 and a group travel business shortly thereafter. Allen served as Captain of the Krewe of Perseus for 38 years and was named the 50th King Perseus in 2019, reigning with his beloved sister, Janet, as Queen Andromeda. He served decades on the Board of Directors of Slidell Little Theater, including leading the committee to fundraise for the 2nd Stage, now named the Allen Little Theater. Allen was involved in many civic and community activities, leading to numerous awards from the City

of Slidell, St. Tammany Parish, the Slidell Rotary Club and others. From Kathy’s obituary: After moving to Slidell in 1970, it was in a few short years that Kathy and her husband, Allen, began Chateau Bleu Caterers. Founded on their belief that those who did business with Chateau Bleu “came as customers and left as friends,” also fulfilled Kathy’s personal commitment “to have friends, you must be a friend.” This was most evident to members of Kathy’s family as her friends, with their loving concern, cared for Kathy during her long illness. Chateau Bleu was not only a business, but it was also a personification of Kathy and Allen. Throughout their 40+ years in business, Chateau Bleu was most charitable not only in supporting Slidell’s community organizations, but also Kathy and Allen performed acts of generosity for many people, many of which are known only to those individuals who were in need.

Additionally, during the difficult weeks following Hurricane Katrina, they prepared meals for the first responders. Throughout their career, they provided entry level jobs for many young people in the art of preparing food, some of whom continued careers in their own culinary businesses. Kathy was instrumental in organizing overseas trips and led local groups to become world travelers to experience the sights, sounds and food of France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and South America to name just a few of their travels. Kathy loved a good time and shared her love for Slidell Mardi Gras with Allen. In 1974, they were reigned as King and Queen of Krewe De La Boutte Dominique. After many years as a member of the Krewe of Perseus, she was honored to serve as Queen Andromeda XXXVI. We felt that Mardi Gras would be a perfect time to republish our article about Allen Little. It is with great condolences and great celebration that we revisit Allen and his beloved bride in their home and place of business at Chateau Bleu in Olde Towne from September 2014... September’s Extraordinary Slidell Neighbor has made a career of delighting guests. My meeting with this fascinatingly entertaining person was held in his home, “stage” and business, which is all one and the same. It was almost like coming home for a visit. We sat down in the wrap-around sunroom and it felt like we were out in the beautiful gardens surrounding the wall-to-wall picture windows. The only difference was the glorious air conditioning. My stress began to slip away as I gazed out into the cool, shaded back yard then up into the majestic Magnolia that stretched above us. Then my gaze danced over

the multicolored flowers scattered throughout, finally resting at the water spilling over in the fountain. What brought me back to the present was the laughter back inside, and the tales I am going to share with you. This virtuoso is synonymous with his haven; and, alongside his wife, has hosted many of you in their vintage house on the side of the railroad tracks. This historical dwelling was meant to be their home for three compelling reasons, reasons filled with coincidences that I could not have known until this interview. The

couple named the business after their home, Chateau Bleu. Now, for the reasons Allen and Kathy were destined for Chateau Bleu... First, this entrepreneur needed a venue for his dream career. He held his first job at age twelve, working a paper route from 2AM until school started. Then he started “picking” discarded treasures found along his paper route that he could re-sell. By the age of fifteen, this industrious teen managed to pay his tuition at Holy Cross and purchase two cars. But the job that brought him fulfillment was helping people have fun, “especially if there was food involved,” Allen added. “My mentor in the catering business was Oliver Patton. I landed a job helping his family cater on weekends in his Delery Street Grocery Store in Chalmette in the late 1950’s. I loved the parties, and especially liked to work the wedding receptions for the Pattons. They were such happy occasions,” he reminisced. “That joy is what led me to start my own catering business, and this place would turn out to be the perfect setting for my guests. Then we started the private dining.” 7

Remember I said there would be coincidences? Well, Oliver’s family has continued Patton’s, and moved it to Slidell in the Salmen-Fritchie house just a mile away on Front Street. “I still keep up with the daughters who became good friends and moved here after Katrina, Gail Hines and Pat Bacharach,” he explained. Add to this the fact that Allen and many of his lower 9th Ward friends spent blissful summers here in Slidell, and the second reason he was destined to call Slidell home. “We had a camp out on Rat’s Nest Road, and I loved it. As a young teen, I spent a lot of time at The Roof on Carr Drive, and knew a lot of people there. I took Drenda Charbonnet to my Holy Cross Junior Prom. Her parents, Roy and Shirley, had purchased this very house in 1957, almost twenty years before us.”

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“After Kathy and I married, we decided to look for an older house. When my mom heard about our dream house, she said, ‘You know, Drenda’s mom, Shirley Charbonnet, has her place for sale in Slidell.’ On a whim, Kathy and I drove over, walked in, and immediately knew that this floor plan was the perfect home for us. It is called a raised dog-trot. A center hallway went from the front to the rear door, with rooms on either side. We bought the residence in 1970 and decided to start our business in 1974. We purchased the 1880’s grand staircase from the Salmen-Fritchie office on Front Street. So those stairs didn’t move very far. After it was installed, we built our residence in the attic.” Allen concluded the sales saga with another great tale. “Buddy Ouliber said South Savings couldn’t lend me the money because the entry stairs were not safe, and the house needed painting. Mrs. Charbonnet said I could fix up her house before the sale. My friends thought I was crazy putting money into someone else’s building. But I had a connection to the Charbonnets and I trusted them. Plus, we just loved Slidell and wanted to move to the country after three years in Gretna.” “The location turned out to be great,” Allen added, “but back then, there was no Gause Blvd. There was East Hall, and West Hall was the main highway, which the house faced. They were both gravel roads, even up until the 60’s. Don’t you remember that Highway 190 deadended as Front Street at the Fountainbleau Motel?” he asked. I have to admit that it took me a second. “The swimming pool was right where Gause is now.” It is almost impossible to picture the quaint little cottages of the motel when you see busy Gause Boulevard of today. “But Michoud changed all that.” Allen laughed hard now, saying, “I remember when Slidell Memorial

Hospital was built on a former cow pasture. One of our neighbors got hurt, and he came back shocked, telling everyone that he went to the local hospital and there were cows all out front.” On to the third and most surprising reason they bought this house. It has to do with the railroad, the reason our city was founded. I asked him if the trains passing by drove them crazy. Both he and Kathy chimed in, “We love trains!” and they smiled at each other with a gleam in their eyes. It turns out there is romance behind this tale. Allen began, “In 1964, I was in college in Lafayette and we would all take the train to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. I wanted to have a good time, but I didn’t want to drive back. Well, I was feeling no pain Mardi Gras night, and when the train lurched, I tumbled into the lap of a beautiful girl. I met my future wife on a train on Mardi Gras Day.” He continued, “Alas, I was in no shape to remember her name. I searched and searched for her back at school. Finally, I asked two of my female friends to help me find this wonderful sorority girl. They weren’t able to figure it out either.” Kathy finished the saga by explaining, “I saw him one night up on stage singing ‘Old Man River’ at Songfest during Greek Week. I turned to my roommates and told them that this great singer had fallen into my lap on a train one time. As luck would have it, these two roommates were the very friends Allen had previously asked to find me. And that’s when they told me that he had been trying to find me ever since. We met each other coming out of the auditorium and the rest is history.” Allen looked at her and said, “That’s why we don’t have a problem with the trains coming by day and night. We actually can’t sleep when they don’t pass, which has only happened twice. Once was after Katrina, and the other was during a railroad strike. In recent years, we have both noticed fewer trains. But I think the economy is showing signs of getting better. For the last few months, the number of trains is picking up, plus they are heavier, with more consumer goods.” I could clearly hear the personal passion about trains. Allen continued, “We can sense the weight of the cars inside this house. It shifts with their weight all the time. If you aren’t careful putting things down where they are secure, they’ll slide right off - books, plates, even these pictures. I have to straighten these frames every time a train passes.” But wait, the connection goes even deeper. Next, I learned that Kathy’s parents and her grandparents also met on a train. Did you doubt me when I called it fate?

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After a moment to take in this parallel, I turned my attention to where he was pointing. There was a large grouping of travel photos on the wall opposite the windows. I counted over twenty countries they had traveled together. Allen explained that they fell into the side business of taking groups abroad quite by accident. “I was telling one of our guests about the photos, and all of the adventures we managed to discover. He asked me where we were going next and if he could go with us, and I said, sure, let me check with our travel agent. Her name was Vickie Carolla. Vickie agreed and added that she had talked to others who wanted to go with us. That’s how our next entertainment business started.” “Machu Picchu was one of my favorite tours, it was truly magical, and the vista was simply surreal. As an artist,

you have to go to Ireland with us some day. I would describe the country as over 40 shades of green. And the Netherlands were an eye-opener. I don’t know why we aren’t allowed to recapture land, our coast, the way they do. There’s a lesson for Louisiana. We have taken groups with up to 80 people. Finally, we needed to rent our own buses, and we started advertising our group trips. Allen looked at his arm, pointing to the dialysis shunts. “If I ever get a kidney, we are going to start traveling again, but I’ve been waiting for six years now. The good news is that I have managed to lose 150 pounds.“ I remember Allen as a jolly host with the stature of an opera singer. Every Christmas for our family office party, we would beg him to entertain us with his melodic tenor version of “Oh Holy Night”. It would bring tears across the table. You see, the food and the décor aren’t the only reason we held so many of our parties here. My family has a long history with this historical dwelling, dating back to the first owner, Bill Hursey, who worked with my great-grandfather in the American Creosote Company. My great-grandparents lived in a company house that used to exist across the street. My grandmother and my mother told me many a story about the fun times growing up on the vast creosote property. Little did we know that it would later become a “Superfund Site” while all the creosote was cleaned up. My grandmother’s engagement party was in the home that was to become Chateau Bleu. The best part was that your guests could get up and walk to the train to go home. I continued the tradition when I helped host my son-in-law’s wedding here. I am happy to say that Allen’s fight with blood pressure problems from


the age of 14 and his dialysis has not deterred him from his many passions. “When the economy slowed, I got time to do more. I still keep up my responsibilities as the current VicePresident in charge of productions at Slidell Little Theatre. I’ve been involved in the organization and the plays for over forty years. The musicals, of course, are my favorite. My profession is actually singing, and I went to USL to study music. I loved playing the

Captain in The Sound of Music and King Arthur in Camelot, even the Pickle Man in Crossing Delancey. That last one was a really clever play. It is a fun challenge to adapt when others change their lines since I am also the master of making up lines in a pinch. I’ve directed over twenty plays and, in 1994, I was Chairman of the Fundraising Committee for the new SLT building. Now, we are in the process of adding a new black box theatre. This entrepreneur, singer and thespian is also passionate about Olde Towne. He has received the Pearl Williams Leadership Award from the Republican Women and the Rotarian’s Paul Harris William

Lowry Award. About his community service, he added, “I started in the Jaycee’s. It was a young man’s organization, and that really opened me up to the community. But I grew up and, at age 36, they ‘roostered me out’ as was their custom.” From there, he went on to volunteer with the Mayor’s Commission on the Arts, and was a founding member of the Slidell Museum. “I was Chair of the Bicentennial Committee in 1976, then Judge of the Clean City Award.” With a chuckle, he reminded me, “I was even chained to the live oak on Front Street when I served on the Save Our Trees Committee with your mom.” Finally, back to his proclivity with Mardi Gras, I want to remind you that he and Kathy met on Mardi Gras day in 1964. Perhaps this explains why Allen has been Captain of the Krewe of Perseus since 1982. Smiling, Allen recounted, “This last year, I was hospitalized three times in three months. As I was being discharged from Slidell Memorial Hospital, I was donning my costume and brought straight to the reviewing stand. It was the first time I’ve ever been able to watch the parade since I became Captain. The theme was, ‘It’s 5 o’clock Somewhere’, and I loved the Shirley Temple float with all the little old ladies in the kids’ clothing and those little black shoes. We had Hillbillies with moonshine, and White Russians from Ukraine. The crowds don’t realize how long the costumes and floats take, or how much effort goes into the event. I’ve already started on 2016 since it takes well over a year.” Both he and Kathy were King and Queen of the Krewe of Mona Lisa and MoonPie in 2012.

seafood, and my specialty is ‘Redfish Allen Louis’ which is stuffed with crabmeat and shrimp, and covered with a Newburg sauce. I love to serve it with local, summer vegetables and a nice Savignon Blanc, followed by my ‘Lemon Raspberry Bombe.’ Louis is my middle name, after my maternal grandfather who was a Perez from Plaquemines and St. Bernard Parishes.” He disclosed, “Kathy always does the final tasting. She has a very refined palette.” Suddenly, I realized how hungry I was, and that I had never tried the homemade dessert with raspberry and white chocolate mousse. I assure you I will order this the next time I am sitting in this room! I will also have an added appreciation of the sound of the trains passing by.

My closing question for Allen was about his favorite meal to serve guests. Without hesitation, he perked up and proclaimed, “I prefer cooking






ARETHA Franklin tribute





For more info about the play and the author read the centerfold article from this month.

FRI & SAT at 8PM

FEBRUARY 11 - 19





IN summer!




IN summer!



BLUE Slidell Little Theatre > 2 PM
















Slidell Council Meeting > 6:30 PM


Food for Seniors Distribution Day @ St Luke’s • 1 - 3 PM





State of Workforce Breakfast Benedict’s Mandeville > 7:30 AM

STATE OF THE PARISH UPDATE Parish President Mike Cooper SMH Founder’s Building > 5:30 PM








NEW MEMBER ORIENTATION Chamber Covington Office 8:30 - 9:30AM

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BLUE > Slidell Little Theatre > 8 PM HEARTBREAK HENRY > Cutting Edge Theater > 8 PM




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2 0 2 2

ew Orleans N f o b u l C s s e r 2021 Winner, "Best Column," P


Storyteller IN SEARCH OF IDENTITY The phone call was the beginning of one of the most interesting adventures in my life. The call itself was not unusual, as I often have people call and want to stop by and ask me something about the stories I write, the books I have written, and how I get my inspiration. They also want to know, are the stories true? I welcome them, and I consider it a compliment if someone has enough interest to take the time to know more about what I do. I could tell this call was different from the very beginning. I will paraphrase the first conversation as best I remember it... “Mr. Case, my name is Evelyn McNeil and I have read your book Bogue Chitto Flats. I would like to visit with you and ask you some questions.” I replied, “Certainly, drop by the office anytime, but call before you come to make sure I’m in. You may not know it, but writing is just a hobby for me. My wife, son and I own an insurance agency and that requires much of my time. Fortunately, it is the same office where I do most of my writing.” “Mr. Case, I live in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and I want to make a definite appointment with you. Can we schedule it?” “Hot Springs? You must have a serious interest to come that distance to discuss the work of an amateur writer. I am flattered.” I could tell by her diction and vocabulary, she was a highly educated person and my heart leaped. Maybe she was an agent and wanted to represent me to a major publisher. In this writing business, you wish for a break. A break that usually never comes.


Two weeks later, she arrived at my office at the exact minute of the set appointment. Her appearance matched the voice I had heard on the phone. Immaculately and expensively dressed, but conservative, as she appeared to be in her late 70s. After exchanging a few pleasantries, she got to the point. “Mr. Case, I can afford to pay you what you wish, but I would like to know how much to expect?” “Ms. McNeil, I don’t charge to talk to people about my writing. I am flattered and I guess you could say honored.” There was some disappointment, however, as I realized she was not an agent that was going to catapult me to stardom. “It is more than that, Mr. Case. Hear my story.” Over the next hour and a half, I heard the most amazing story that I have been told in my career of writing and listening. You know, you must listen before you can write. Her story bordered on the paranormal. This is the story she told me... She said she felt that her birth roots were in Bogue Chitto, Mississippi. It was a feeling that she could not explain, as she was raised 300 miles northwest of that small community. She told me that she never believed she was the blood child of the parents that raised her. This was confirmed when, in college, she learned that since both her parents had blue eyes, it was almost impossible for her to have brown eyes. After her mother’s death, a DNA comparison proved her suspicion. This was strange, as most adoptive parents are advised it is best to be open with the child from an early age. Her mother, on the other hand, went to her deathbed without revealing the secret.

She went on to say that, when she was about sixteen, her parents took a trip to New Orleans. In those days, the main route was U.S. Highway 51. When they got to Bogue Chitto, her father drove very slowly, and he and her mother whispered to each other. She remembered that, even though they needed gasoline, they did not stop at the crossroads store on the left side of the road. She said she was entertained by playing with the words “Bogue Chitto”, and intentionally mispronounced them as “Bowl a’ Chili”. This reinforced the name and location in her mind. The interest in the small village was intensified when, two years ago, she again took a trip to New Orleans. By then, I-10 was the main route, but she decided to take the Bogue Chitto exit. She pulled into the old store she had remembered from years ago, which was now destroyed by age and storms. Evelyn parked her car. She told me she must have sat for an hour, even dropping into a light sleep or maybe a trance. That is when she had a most unusual experience, and the experience made her need to find out more. In her mind, that crossroad location was familiar; something to do with her childhood. I thought to myself, what do I or Bogue Chitto Flats have to do with this? At this point, I saw no connection. Then she told me, “I Googled Bogue Chitto, and read the history of the village. I also saw your book mentioned. I ordered your book and became interested in the mysteries, such as the one you wrote titled Bob Smiths Cabin and the sensitivity you portrayed in Homemade Ice Cream. I also saw that you are into genealogy. I found out you made monthly contributions to Slidell Magazine, so I wrote the publisher and got all the magazines with your stories. Being born in Bogue Chitto, if anyone can help me, you can.” I told her I probably couldn’t do anything she couldn’t do and asked her if she had searched Mississippi’s and Arkansas’s adoption records. She assured me there was no record of an adoption by the adoptive parents as she knew them.

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I told her there was no charge for my help except the expenses I would incur; but she had to promise me that, no matter what we found out, I could write the story. She said she would rather pay me and not be obligated to let me write what she hoped would be her personal story. Eventually, she consented. How and where do you begin research on an event that is prompted only by a feeling or a hunch? I recalled a friend who had a similar experience, and it was so strong she felt compelled to pull her car to the side of the road. There, she had the premonition of having a Jewish father and the father she knew was not Jewish. It turned out her premonition was correct. Could Evelyn’s be also? Well, what the heck, I could write a fictional tale if nothing came from it. I would do it.


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About a week later, Evelyn called me to see if I had made any progress. I was embarrassed to tell her I had not even started, but I promised I would go to Bogue Chitto the next week. I asked her to send me pictures of herself, going back to the youngest she had. When the photos arrived, there were ten, capturing her image from about four years old to recent. She told me that her first childhood memories that she could be certain of were when she was about four. She was with her adoptive parents living in Hot Springs at that time. I had no first or last name of her potential parents and only access to census records prior to 1940, so this source would be of little help. I concluded that, if she had been acquired by whatever means, it must have been when she was less than four years old. If her present age was correct, she would have been born in 1941 and be in the care of her new parents by 1944 or early 1945. Since hunches and intuitions were already part of this story, on a hunch, I visited the newspaper archives in nearby Brookhaven. If I had no luck with her story, at the very least, I might find another story to write, as several of the stories I have written have come from newspaper archives. I suppose a blind hog finds an acorn now and then. The first papers I searched were the year 1944. In a June edition, I found a headline that caught my attention. Child Missing, Presumed Drowned in Bogue Chitto River

August 17th

October 31st

Three-year-old Bonnie Reed was last seen Friday night when her parents saw her in bed. The Reed home is deep in the woods, built almost on the bank of the Bogue Chitto River. The recent flooding raised the water level to a depth of about four feet under the house and the current was very strong. The porch has no banister, and it is presumed she fell into the rushing water and was washed away. Her parents did not find her missing until early yesterday morning. A search has started, but since the current is so strong and the river extends far out of its banks, the child could be anywhere. There is little hope of finding young Bonnie alive. The next day, there was more on the tragedy.

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Search Continues for Missing Child Bonnie Reed, a three-year-old, is missing and presumed drowned. Bonnie was the youngest of seven children and lived with her father Willy and mother Katsy deep in the woods on the Bogue Chitto River. There are six other children, ranging in age from eight to seventeen. The river is presently at flood stage for the second time this spring and the highest it has been in memory. The family lives in a cabin built on stilts about fifty feet from the river’s bed. Mr. Reed is a trapper and hunter. The only access to the home is by a footpath, as they own no automobile. This has, to some degree, hindered the search.

Two days later, there was a third article. Search Continues for Missing Child Rescuers have searched the Bogue Chitto River as far as Norfield and found nothing. The search has moved from a rescue to a recovery. Officials have asked those who live in the area to watch for buzzards circling overhead, as they may lead to her remains, but are careful to point out that some livestock have been lost in the flood and this could also attract vultures. The sheriff was asked if there was any suspicion of foul play and he stated that it had not been ruled out, but there was no indication. No more articles could be found. I was intrigued to know if her body was ever found. Even though I did not think this was connected to Evelyn, I was pleased that it would make a good story for a future magazine edition. Did they ever find Bonnie? I wanted to know. Evelyn’s assignment was now secondary.

12th Annual

Bubbly on the Bayou Patton’s Champagne Brunch Saturday, March 5, 2022 11am – 2pm Patton’s Historic Salmen Fritchie House Tickets available at: I still had relatives that lived in the area. They directed me to Mr. Wallace. I was told he was in his nineties, but his mind was sharp as a tack. I found him living with his son and daughter-in-law just south of Bogue Chitto. His daughter-inlaw made us comfortable on the porch swing and brought us each a glass of sweet tea.

Music by Bobby Ohler

I explained to Mr. Wallace that I was there to find out more about the disappearance of Bonnie Reed, if he remembered the incident. I didn’t mention Evelyn, as I had no idea the stories could be connected. I was now just looking for something to publish. He didn’t hesitate. “Yes, I remember it well. I was about sixteen and I went on the search. Later, the teenagers would play a game. We called it ‘Looking for Bonnie’s Body.’ What you call it, a scavenger hunt? Of course, we never found hide nor hair of her.” He continued, “Them folks was strange. They were so poor, they could fart dust. I mean, no car, no electricity, no water except river water. None of the kids ever went to school. I was told, if they were over ten years old, each day they had to catch or kill something, or they wouldn’t eat that night. The old man wouldn’t share what he had with his wife or kids. We called ‘em hermits.” I asked, “Do you remember where they lived?” “Sure, you know what we called Bauer’s Bottom? Just upriver from that.” I had hunted that area as a teenager, so the area was familiar, but I did not remember seeing them or their house when I was there in the early 60s. “Finally,” he continued, “they moved out in the early 50s. The old man went to work as a laborer in the oil field. For that job, they had him digging ditches; the dumber the better and he

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fit right in. I think they’re all dead now, but the daughter lived down in Summit at one time.” On the way back to Brookhaven, I stopped at my friend Tommy’s house. Tommy knew those woods like the back of his hand. When we met, I again never mentioned the Evelyn story, but asked him about Bonnie. He told me he had heard tell of the drowning, but it was about the time he was born. He had seen the house, but it had been gone for years. I wanted to see what was left, but he assured me there was not enough left to justify the walk. Termites, floods and age left only a few posts standing. I was disappointed. I felt if I could just touch something Bonnie had touched, it would help make the story come alive. In writing, being able to visualize is part of the process. Tommy did save me some time in my investigation. He told me he knew of the daughter. He said he didn’t know her personally, but she lived with her son Tucker Purvis, or he lived with her, and she did live in Summit. He knew where they lived, as Tucker repaired four wheelers and motorcycles and had once replaced an engine for him. Tommy told me what street and assured me there would be several disassembled vehicles in the yard. He was sure her name was Quida. The next morning, I drove to the place he had described, and it was as he described. There was hardly room for me to get in the drive for discarded engine blocks, wheels, chassis and the like. A man, who I assumed was Tucker, was working on a motorcycle. I introduced myself but he never looked up. I continued telling him I would like to speak to his mother and told him what it was about. I told him I was a writer. “She in thar. Not gone talk to you though, but go head on. You ain’t the first to come see her bout that.” I made my way through the maze of old Harley and Honda carcasses to the front porch and then to the front door. The house was more of a shelter than a home. It had no siding, just tar paper over a few boards. The porch leaned from rotted 18

pillars and the back had fallen almost to the ground for the same reason. There was an electric utility meter on the home and I saw a pump, so I knew at least they had electricity and water. It was apparent she had been watching and she meet me at the door but did not open the screen, which had more holes than wire. I could see her plainly, though; and, at that moment, I knew there was a connection between Bonnie and Evelyn. The picture I had of Evelyn was an abstract image of the woman behind the screen. Age the picture image a few years, discount Evelyn’s lifetime of facials, hair salons and Estee Lauder, and facing me was a recognizable facsimile of the same person, just a different model with no chrome. I told her my reason for coming and, as her son had told me, she had no interest in discussing her sister’s drowning. I have some experience in getting stories from unwilling tellers, but she was adamant. I knew it was now or never and I only had one chance. With the excuse of leaving her a business card, I reached into my leather satchel and felt for the pictures Evelyn had sent. Hoping I chose the adult one, I pulled it out and intentionally dropped it to the porch floor. When I picked it up, by chance it was the correct picture. I made certain that she saw the photo. I didn’t say a word to her, I just watched her awed expression. After what seemed like a minute of silence, she said, “I won’t talk to you.” She then closed the solid door and retreated inside the house.

drown and somehow I think you knew that.” “I did.” “Will you tell me about it?” She hesitated, then said, “Yes, after all these years, nothing bad can come of telling the truth.” I turned the car back into the drive and she opened the passenger door and got in. At this point, it was the only time her son stood up from his work as if to ask, “What the hell?” I reached for my recorder, but she refused to let me record the story. In the most botched, and almost unrecognizable English, this is what she told me... “My daddy was a trapper and a hunter. He wasn’t lazy. I guess you could say he didn’t have a job that paid much money. We also had a cow, some chickens, a pig and he would make a garden. We had no electricity, or fresh running water. We drank river water and, of course, we had no plumbing or automobile. We walked when we went somewhere, but mostly we stayed in the house by the river. Dad had a small boat to use if the river flooded and we could paddle to dry land and then walk from there. That is how it started. The river was high, and we needed kerosene for the stove. There were seven of us kids and I was about eight years old and next to the youngest. Bonnie was three and the baby in the family.

I had missed an opportunity; but, I had, in my mind, solved Evelyn’s question. I just didn’t know the details.

I was Dad’s favorite. I don’t know why, and he would take me to the store most of the time when he went. That day, we paddled the boat to dry land, then walked the mile to the store. He bought a gallon of kerosene and, while paying for it, a car drove up to buy gasoline.

I had backed my car from the drive to the street and paused to check my text messages. I took one last glance at the house before driving away. That’s when I saw the door of the house open. Quida emerged and, like a person with a bad hip, made her way to my car.

It was a fancy car; and, in those days, there were no credit cards or automatic pumps, so you went into the store to pay before you pumped your gas. The man was dressed up, a city man. Beside him sat a city woman, too. She had on a hat and gloves.

“Is she still alive? Please tell me yes.”

Daddy was a loner and seldom spoke to anyone, let alone a stranger, so I was a

“Yes, she is very much alive. She didn’t

little surprised to hear him talking to this man, especially when he asked me to start walking home alone. I walked slowly and soon he caught up with me. For the rest of the day, he didn’t say one word to me. That night, Bonnie disappeared. We were not ever a normal family, but we got along with each other. As poor as we were, we didn’t know any other life. After Bonnie disappeared, it was never the same. My two brothers fought with each other and, literally, fought with my daddy. My three sisters didn’t get along and it was just a mess. The boys were the oldest and left home within a year or two. Soon afterward, two of my sisters left. Don’t have any idea where any of them went since I haven’t seen or heard from them since. Daddy got a job in the oil field, and we moved away from the river. He and Momma separated. I don’t think they ever divorced. To be honest, I think they just lived common law and were never married. My last sister, the one closest to my age, lived out at Fair River and we stayed in touch until she passed away two years ago this past June. Well, back to Bonnie. I would see Momma often. She even lived with me or I lived with her a few times. She got sick about fifteen years ago. Wouldn’t go to the doctor. Said she knew she was dying, and she said she was in terrible pain. That’s when she told me. Momma told me that Bonnie was an unexpected pregnancy. She was born five years after me. Momma called her an accident. The year Bonnie disappeared was a real bad year. The cow had died, there had been a bad flood just a couple of months before and all the small game had temporarily left to seek high ground. That was what we lived on. Daddy had planted a garden; but, with the second flood that year, that’s when Bonnie disappeared, it washed the garden out again and it was too late to replant. Nine people couldn’t make it under the circumstances. Momma said meeting the man at the store was accidental, but he was the one that approached Daddy wanting to know if there was a child that

he might be able to adopt. He and his wife were on their way to an adoption agency in New Orleans; but, if he could skip all the red tape, he would. That is how it started. One thing led to another, and a price of $100 was agreed on. Bonnie was selected, as she was still real small and would adapt better and she was too young to contribute to her upkeep in the woods, the river, or a future garden. As it turned out, the man said he didn’t need an adoption; he could pull strings and get the proper paperwork done when they got home. Momma made Bonnie drink a lot of Paregoric that night to make her woozy and sleepy. They had to tell us kids something, so they made up the drowning story and, of course, the authorities had to know. I think my oldest brother suspected something. He refused to search for her and wouldn’t talk to Momma or Daddy for a long time.” I listened, and I believed what she said was true. I had one other experience with parents selling a baby. When I was young, a neighbor sharecropper sold their child, but they did go through some regulatory process, even though the motive was money. Years later, the young man showed up at my parents’ trying to trace his roots; so, I knew something like this was not impossible. But that’s another story. I also knew that financial times were bad in Mississippi and the South in the 40s, so many children were adopted from there. I knew about the Orphan Trains. When she paused, I asked her if she wanted to meet Bonnie. She answered, “Not really, at least not now. I’m glad she’s alive.” I left, telling her if she ever changed her mind, let me know and I would arrange a meeting. She thanked me. I had a moral dilemma. Loosely speaking, you could say Evelyn was my client, but not really. I’m a writer, not a lawyer, I reasoned. Obviously, Quida, for whatever reason, did not want to meet Evelyn. I owed her some respect too. I knew if I told Evelyn all I knew, she would contact

Quida. I didn’t think that was fair to Quida. It was a week before I called Evelyn. I told her that she was from Bogue Chitto and she has one remaining sister that is living. I even told her she had been sold for $100, but I explained the circumstances of the time. I told her the sister did not want to meet and I would not give her Quida’s name. I feared she would take it on herself to contact her. Evelyn did not seem surprised that I had made the connection, but couldn’t understand what Quida’s reservations on meeting were. I tried to explain that, even though they were sisters, the environmental surroundings of their youth had made them two vastly different people, except in appearance. Evelyn did not take my answer well. A few days later, Evelyn called. “Mr. Case, I’ve done some thinking. You tell me things aren’t good for her, as far as the condition of her home and so forth. I inherited a large sum of money, and I also made a great deal of money in my profession. I would like to buy my sister a comfortable home and give her a reasonable annuity for life. She must be nearly ninety. You see, the family sold me. As strange as it seems, I would like to buy my family back. Will you discuss this with her?” As I drove to Summit that day, I couldn’t imagine how Quida would respond. When I arrived, the utility worker was disconnecting the electric meter. I knew this meant an unpaid bill. I also saw no trace of Tucker. Quida came to the porch and, after a few minutes, I told her what Evelyn’s intentions were. She was silent for over a minute, and I could see tears seeping from her cataract-filled eyes. “Mr. Case, if she cares that much about me, I’ll see her. In fact, I would love to see her, but I won’t take her money. She don’t deserve to be used twice. That’s all I have to say about that.”

John S. Case February 2022





David Sheffield

Cutting Edge Theater FEBRUARY 11 - 19 FRI & SAT


He made the world laugh and now his new work is coming to Cutting Edge Theater!

An interview with

David Sheffield

about his new play, life, and storied career as a screenwriter. by Suzanne Stymiest

Suzanne Stymiest: You were 19 years old when you worked at the hotel that is the inspiration for “The Heartbreak Henry,” putting the stories and characters on hold for decades. Why did you decide to write it in 2018? David Scheffield: The idea for “The Heartbreak Henry” began over fifty years ago. In 1967, as a freshman at Ole Miss, I took the job of manager of the Henry Hotel, a flophouse just off the square in Oxford, Mississippi. I met a bunch of characters there that I couldn’t get out of my head. When I finally retired from writing screenplays for Hollywood, I felt the time was right to write a play about the Henry. Several of the characters are exactly as I remember them — a couple of alcoholic

About the Playwright... In 1967, as a freshman at Ole Miss, playwright David Sheffield took a job as manager of the Henry Hotel, a flophouse just off the square in Oxford, Mississippi. “The Heartbreak Henry” is inspired by characters he met there. Sheffield began his comedy writing career at Saturday Night Live where he had a hand in writing many of Eddie Murphy’s most famous sketches, including Buckwheat, Gumby, Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood and James Brown’s Celebrity Hot Tub Party. His screenwriting credits – all shared with long- time writing partner, Barry Blaustein -- include “Coming to America”, “Boomerang”, “The Nutty Professor” and the recent “Coming 2 America.”

housepainters, a pair of waitresses who doubled as prostitutes, a sad old lady who drank witch hazel. And me, at 19, a wide-eyed innocent, falling in love with an older woman. SS: In the play, you use stories and characters from your real life. How does that relate to the movies you’ve written? DS: All the movies I’ve written took place in New York or Los Angeles or the mythical African nation of Zamunda. When I retired, I wanted to write about the South, about my own life experiences and that led me back to the Henry. SS: You’ve been successful in the movies, television, and theater. Which genre is more rewarding, or more difficult, and why? DS: Writing for television and movies is very much a collaborative effort. You get constant notes from the network or the studio. In other words, people are always telling you what to

write, or how to write it. The thing I love about writing a play is that I’m completely on my own. I’m free to express myself without interference. Maybe it’s because I had carried the idea of the Henry around in my head so long, but when I sat down to write, it just flowed. I remembered actual dialogue from fifty years ago. Writing “The Heartbreak Henry” was the most satisfying thing I’ve ever done. I didn’t have any stars or studio executives to answer to. I didn’t write this one for money. This one I wrote for love. SS: In the performing arts, the final presentation is a collaborative interpretation of a writer’s vision, as opposed to words that remain on a page. How do you feel about allowing others to interpret your work? DS: In the movie business, the writer is always at the mercy of the director. You hope to God you see things the same way. The theatre is

the place where the writer is more respected and everyone pretty much sticks to the script. Everything changes, of course, when the piece is cast and put up on its feet. And there are always those wonderful moments when an actor brings something special to a part you’ve written. Something you hadn’t anticipated. That’s the most fun. SS: You have been making America, and the world, laugh for over forty years. What makes you laugh? DS: I love British humor. “Monty Python” will always make me laugh. I drive around in my car listening to the stories of P.G. Wodehouse. Jeeves and Bertie Wooster still crack me up. Right now, I’m streaming a Scottish sitcom called “Still Game” about a pair of old pensioners. Wonderful characters. Characters, characters, characters. That’s what it’s all about.

A Synopsis of

HEARTBREAK HENRY Young Jamie Pippen, an Ole Miss freshman, takes a job managing The Henry, an old flophouse inhabited by con artists, moonlighting waitresses, crazy hippies and a host of other crazy residents. In his new job, Jamie learns about life, searches for love, and finds maturity surrounded by some of the funniest characters created by playwright David Sheffield. Come to the Regional Premiere of this new, unpublished comedy, Feb 11 - 19, only at Cutting Edge Theater. For tickets, text the date, number of tickets and your email to 985285-6666, or call 985-649-3727, or purchase online at Supported by a grant from the LMW Endowment Fund.

Movie Poster Archives, Hollywood on the Bayou and the

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Fifty Shades of Louisiana: A Filmakers Paradise January 8 - March 11, 2022 • Slidell Cultural Center

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


Rose A

by any

As Shakespeare said, “What’s in a name?” Well, where the law is concerned…a lot! Since the USA PATRIOT Act (Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism – catchy acronym there, right?) was passed in 2001, it’s now more important than ever to have our legal names be consistent. Many people go by nicknames, middles names, or derivatives of their legal names, and it isn’t usually a problem…until it is. Men are the biggest culprits. Why? Because most of the time it is men who are Juniors (Jr.) and Thirds (III) and Fourths (IV) and so on. News flash gentlemen, under the law, when your father dies, you don’t “legally” drop the Junior! Junior is almost always on your birth certificate, passport, & driver’s license. If you are John Doe Junior and you have a son who is John Doe the Third, and your father, John Doe “Senior” dies, and then John Doe Jr. “drops” the Junior from his name, then shouldn’t John Doe III step up and become Junior now? Does everyone move up the chain? Of course not! We did a Succession a few years ago & had to A/K/A (also known as) the Succession pleading heading with “John Doe, V, VI, and VII” because this gentleman used every variation of his name when buying property during his very long lifetime.

Another misconception: “Senior” is not a legal part of your name. You were not born a Senior. Senior is not on your birth certificate, like Junior is. Gentlemen often add “Sr.” on their names when they have a son named “Jr.”, and so it begins. In order to stop this madness, just keep the original name & suffix you are given at birth, and don’t start adding “Senior” to your legal documents! So let’s put this into motion…legal John Doe Jr. (on his identification) is named on his wife’s Power of Attorney (POA) simply as “John Doe”. John goes to Bank to use his wife’s POA and Bank asks for John’s identification and it clearly states “John Doe Jr.” yet the POA paperwork says “John Doe”. How does Bank know that this isn’t a son trying to “pose” as his dad? Under the USA PATRIOT Act, the Bank has a legal duty to inquire further & possibly not pass the transaction. This should hold true for title attorneys, OMV (Office of Motor Vehicles), and any other legal depository or institution. Using nicknames & middle names have the same problems. A nickname will almost never be on legal identification (unless it’s for very elderly folks as many years ago the rules were much more relaxed). We often see both first & middle names on identification, which does help. But

other name...

again, the PATRIOT Act could cause the institution to deny access if the name on the account & the legal identification don’t match. We sometimes see this problem arise when someone dies & their death certificate (which should have the full legal name) shows a different name than the name they used to obtain the life insurance policy or the IRA/401k account. This could cause a substantial delay in paying out the death benefit or account balance until the company is certain that their insured and/ or account owner is indeed the decedent. Ladies, here is a little Legal LAW-niappe (La. R.S. 9:292): Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, a woman, at her option, may use her maiden name, her present spouse’s name, or a hyphenated combination thereof. If widowed, divorced, or remarried, a woman may use her maiden name, the surname of her deceased or former spouse, the surname of her present spouse, or any combination thereof. Moral of the story: while you are alive and competent, make sure all of the titles on your assets match your legal name on your identification. Or minimally, have a Notary Public draft a “One and the Same” (A/K/A) Affidavit to tie the names together, which will help you during life and make it easier for your loved ones when you are gone.

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.

40 Louis Prima Drive (off Hwy 190, behind Copeland’s) • Covington, Louisiana • (985) 892-0942 •


VISITORS Story and photos by Donna Bush


Hummingbirds are a favorite backyard bird visitor for casual and expert birders alike. They can be very entertaining as they defend their territory and dive-bomb any rivals who dare to come near their food. That food can be a hummingbird feeder filled with sugar water or the nectar of thriving plants. I like to think of the feeder as a fast-food drive-thru and plants as a homemade sit-down dinner! While our most common hummingbird is the ruby-throated, Louisiana has also become home to a few wintering hummingbirds. According to Baton Rouge Audubon Society’s website, the following species have all been spotted within the state in the off-season: rufous, Anna’s, Allen’s, buff-bellied, calliope, black-chinned, broad-tailed and broad-billed. The most common of the uncommon are rufous. However, they look so similar to Allen’s that until officially identified by a bander, they are listed as rufous/Allen. The next most common are the blackchinned, followed by the buff-bellied. Occasionally, broad-tailed are seen, as are the broad-billed and Anna’s.

North America’s smallest hummingbird, the calliope, has also been spotted. Not only does the ruby-throated visit for food, they also breed and nest here. These dainty, petite creatures, weighing from .1 to .2 ounces, with a wingspan of 3.1 to 4.3 inches, can be found visiting flowers and feeders from February/March until September or October. To put it in perspective, they weigh less than a nickel! As miniscule as they are, it is not surprising that spotting a nest is almost impossible. I’ve heard of a few lucky individuals who had them nest in their yard. They exhibit a bright emerald or goldengreen on their backs and crown, with gray-white underparts. You can tell a male by the brilliant, iridescent red throat. However, if lighting is poor, the throat can appear dark, almost black. Females have a mostly white throat.

Interesting Facts About


• Ruby-throats are found in the summer across much of the Eastern U.S. and east of the Rockies in Southern Canada. It is estimated their population totals 34 million birds! • Banding research shows they are likely to return to the same area where they hatched. • A nest is about the size of a half-dollar with eggs about the size of a mini white jellybean. • Their weak feet are mainly used for perching. Other interesting facts about hummingbirds can be found in this article in GREEN boxes or circles...

Agile flyers with a wing beat of 5070 times per second, they can fly approximately 25 miles per hour! During intense exertion, their heart rate is around 1200 beats per minute, with a resting heart rate of 600 beats

FACT: Hummingbirds have large brains compared to their body size.

MYTH: Hummingbirds don’t have feet and can’t perch. They have tiny feet and can’t walk well, but they can perch.

A ruby-throated hummingbird nest photographed by Donna Bush in Lockport, Louisana. 27

FACT: Hummingbird flocks can be called a bouquet, a glittering, a hover, a shimmer, or a tune, but unlike most bird species, they don’t migrate in flocks.

MYTH: Hummingbirds must migrate to survive. That’s not true of all hummingbirds in the United States.

Popular Myths About

HUMMINGBIRDS • They migrate on the backs of larger birds. While it sounds good, it is totally untrue. • Hummingbirds only feed on red flowers. While red flowers capture their attention, they will feed on yellow, light pink, pale blue and purple; as I noticed with my lantana and hydrangea. • Hummingbirds mate for life. They barely mate for a few seconds. Talk about a one-night stand! Other popular hummingbird myths can be found in this article in RED boxes or circles... 28

per minute. At night, they enter a hibernation-like state, known as torpor, to conserve energy. During this period, their heart rate slows to around 50-250 beats per minute. A human’s resting heart rate is typically 65-72!

stop, rest and refuel. A ruby-throated in Minnesota will fly over 3000 miles to make it to Costa Rica! But an even longer trip is taken by the rufous which migrate from Alaska to Mexico or the southern U.S.

Needing to consume about half their body weight in food daily, they can easily visit more than 1000 flowers between sunrise and sunset. Most people assume their diet is strictly nectar. However, they actually enjoy small spiders and insects, such as mosquitos, gnats, fruit flies and even small bees, which provide great sources of protein. They need this extra protein during nesting and prior to their long winter migration. Although a few ruby-throated hummingbirds can be found in the winter along the extreme Gulf Coast and southern tip of Florida, the majority migrate south to Central America. Some make this 500-mile trip non-stop in about 20 hours, flying straight over the Gulf of Mexico. Not all fly directly over the large body of water. Instead, they will go thousands of miles out of their way to fly over land, offering a refuge to

While I have not been lucky enough to find a hummingbird nest in my yard, I have been fortunate to photograph one in Louisiana! Last year, I learned of a ruby-throated hummingbird nest in Lockport. Thanks to some really kind people on the Facebook Page “Louisiana Birds”, I was given excellent directions to the nest location. These instructions included precise information on how and where to find the nest, which involved locating a dead leaf to the right of the nest. I sure hope that leaf doesn’t fall off! Given the fact that the nest was only about 1-1/2 - 2 inches wide and 1 inch deep, located approximately 25-30 feet above water and about the same distance from the closest place I could stand, it is not surprising that I had trouble finding it. Thankfully, a resident and regular visitor patiently showed me.

FACT: Today, hummingbirds are only found on the continents of North and South America, but evidence shows they existed in Europe 30 million years ago. There are 360 different species, with 15 species native to the U.S.

I only spent about two hours during each of my two visits to the nest, but it was an amazing sight to behold. The nest itself was about the size of a large thimble, smaller than the dead leaf. It was compactly built of lichen, moss and plant down, woven together with spiderwebs, displaying their extraordinary construction abilities. The lichen helped to camouflage the nest and gave it a bejeweled look. A nest takes approximately 6-10 days for the female to construct. She will lay 1-3 eggs, typically 2, that are about the size of a pea. Incubation is 12-14 days and fledging occurs after approximately 18-22 days. The female is the sole caregiver and feeder of the young. Mom was definitely run ragged trying to care for two hungry, demanding babies! She looked rough and in bad need of a spa day!

When I arrived for my first visit, I carefully re-read the directions to locate the nest and scanned everywhere with my binoculars. I knew it would be difficult to spot. The first local to visit didn’t know about the nest. But I hit paydirt with the second visitor! I set up my tripod and focused my lens. Thank God for zoom lenses allowing me to zoom out and slowly zoom in to the nest location. There were 2 babies in the nest. My new best friend told me that Mom comes about every 20 minutes to feed. I had gleaned that they were starving first thing in the morning, so she would make frequent trips. I didn’t have to wait long before she appeared and began feeding. After she zoomed off, I marked the time and waited for the next visit.

Food For Hummingbird Feeders This is very easy to make by mixing 1-part cane sugar to 4 parts boiling water. Allow to cool before filling the feeders. Only use natural cane sugar. Home-made syrup-water provides much better nutritional value than pre-mixed solutions. I usually make a large batch to fill multiple feeders with a small amount and store the remainder in the fridge. Clean your feeders regularly with 9 parts warm water to 1-part bleach, outdoors, once a week, to ensure no mold or salmonella grow in the feeder.

I made my next trip to the nest two days later. OMG! They had grown so much. Both were sitting on the edge of the nest, fluttering their wings. One was more of a daredevil than his/her sibling, hopping across the nest, wings flapping. I kept waiting, thinking that I would witness their fledging. But, alas, I ran out of time and left to drive home. About 3 hours later, I learned that the two young had fledged within approximately 2 hours of each other. As long as we are talking about hummingbirds, I must mention the hummingbird clearwing moth that visited us. The first time I saw one, I did a double take, thinking that I had witnessed a baby hummingbird or some kind of miniature hummingbird. But, after a little research, I discovered that I observed a hummingbird moth


Feeder nectar must include red dye to attract hummingbirds. This is not necessary as feeders have red parts on them to attract hummers and the red food dye could possibly harm our feathered friends. Nectar at feeders is better for them. Actually, natural flower nectar and insects are the best.


FACT: The tip of a hummingbird’s tongue is split with inward curving out edges, that create two parallel tubes in their mouth. As the bird extends its tongue, the bill compresses the tubes at the tip, making them flat. Once the tongue hits the nectar, it curls, trapping the nectar in the tubes. The tongue retracts and the nectar doesn’t spill. BTW, they flick their tongue in and out of a flower or feeder up to 18 times per second.

buzzing my hydrangea. Their flight pattern is similar to a hummingbird, allowing them to hover in front of a flower as they flick their long tongue to sip nectar. Unlike hummingbirds, they don’t have a beak and, when not eating, their tongue stays rolled up underneath their chin. Usually reddishbrown in color with clear wings, they are only about 1½ inches long.

Like all butterflies and moths, they have a caterpillar; which are usually green with a horn at their rear end. Host plants are honeysuckle, viburnum, hawthorn, cherry and plum. With our warmer weather, they usually have more than one generation per summer. When the caterpillar is fully grown, it drops to the ground and spins a cocoon and pupates, taking advantage of leaf litter as camouflage.

I’ve also been lucky enough to photograph hummingbirds in Brazil, where there are 81 different species! Sadly, I wasn’t able to capture all 81. However, I did observe plain-bellied emerald, gilded and swallow-tailed hummingbirds. They were just as challenging to photograph as our hummers! Like ours, they fed on flower nectar and small insects.

How to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Yard They are most attracted to red, orange and pink flowers. Feeders with red parts on them also get their attention. There’s no reason to add red food coloring to the sugar water. Instead, try to choose native species that produce many flowers over a long period of time with little maintenance. I’ve had great luck 30

with red salvia, bottlebrush and lantana, but there are many more. Please don’t use pesticides, as they would harm the hummers and other pollinators. Also, a birdbath with a small mister, bubbler or sprayer will attract hummingbirds, as they meticulously preen.

The swallow-tailed is one of the largest of its family, measuring up to 6 ½ inches long, with a tail half that length. They are found only in eastern South America; and, although mostly non-migratory, they will move north and south a short distance during dry winter months. The gilded hummingbird is found in central and southeastern Brazil. But also lives in Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, and northern Argentina. The plain-bellied emeralds are found mostly along the coast at sea-level of northeastern South America and they look similar to some of our North American hummingbirds. I hope you’ve enjoyed this look into these tiny, aerobatic flyers that we are fortunate to have visit us. Plant some attractive red and orange flowers. Keep your feeders filled with fresh sugar water and enjoy their aerial antics and beauty.

MORE FACTS: • Unlike other birds, hummers can rotate their wings 180 degrees, making it possible to fly forwards and backwards, as well as side to side. This is what allows them to hover in front of a flower or feeder. • They have no sense of smell but have very sharp eyesight to seek out brightly colored flowers. • When preparing for migration, they may consume up to 10 times their body weight. • Their name comes from the humming noise made by their fast-beating wings. • They have amazing spatial memory, allowing them to remember feeder locations years later. This also allows them to keep track of bloom peak and remember which flowers they have visited.


Why should you keep your hummingbird feeders up in winter?

Many well-intentioned birders think keeping their feeders up will deter our tiny friends from migrating south and causing them harm during the winter. This is not true! There are always a few stragglers leaving late. They will desperately need an easy food source

on cold nights to help complete their long flight. An additional reason to keep up the feeder is the possibility of seeing a winter hummingbird in your yard! If you see a winter hummingbird, please contact me at

MYTH: There’s a hummingbird family at my feeder. It’s not likely that they are even related. Males never spend time with his mate or offspring. Females briefly assist babies, but they’re not likely to visit a feeder together.


• The City of Slidell presents •

Arts Evening Saturday, March 19, 2022 5-9 pm • Free Admission Olde Towne Slidell 646-4375 • Local Artists & Artwork Live Entertainment Fine & Casual Dining Antique, Boutique & Unique Shopping George Dunbar: A Retrospective Arts Evening 2022 exhibit in the Slidell Cultural Center at City Hall

“ Jazzy 2”” by Nancy Pratt, Arts Evening 2022 Poster Artist

The City of Slidell and the Commission on the Arts would like to thank our 2021/2022 Cultural Season Sponsors for making this event possible: 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 Entertainment • Old School Eats Food Truck • Pizza Platoon • Pontchartrain Investment Management Roberta’s Cleaners • Slidell Historic Antique Association • Tanya Witchen - Engel & Völkers Real Estate

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

Is Your

Estate Plan Ready? I’ve been a financial advisor for almost 14 years, and I’ve seen a lot. However, it still surprises me that many of the people who walk through my door do not have an estate plan. Then again, I shouldn’t be surprised. A lot of folks think that estate planning is only for wealthy people, but that is flat out wrong. Whether it’s large or small, just about everyone has an estate, and it will be distributed to your heirs when you pass. Therefore, we all need a will to direct where and to whom our assets will go. If you don’t have a will when you die, the state in which you live will have one for you. Unfortunately, their plan for your assets might not align with yours. Don’t let your estate fall into that trap. Get a will – now. Your spouse needs one, too.

Most people also need a durable power of attorney, which gives another person the authority to sign legal and financial documents, pay bills, and access bank accounts if you are not able to do these things for yourself. People who are married typically give power of attorney to a spouse. In addition, a power of attorney document might also include a medical directive, which goes into effect if you become disabled and can’t make decisions for yourself. Some attorneys will draft separate documents, one for your durable power of attorney and one for your medical directive. You should also have a living will, which states how you want to be cared for at the end of your life, including

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the administration of means to keep you alive, such as nourishment, medication, or artificial life support. Don’t put your family members in a situation where they might have to make difficult decisions about your care. A living will relieves them of that burden. Also, if you want to be cremated when you die, you might need a special document that states your wishes. Check with your attorney. Clients often ask me about trusts and whether they need one. Because there are many types of trusts and situations in which they might apply, I refer those clients to an estate planning attorney. One more thing. Although it’s not part of an estate plan, here’s something for all of you grandparents out there. If you care for your minor grandchildren on a regular basis, take them on trips, or otherwise spend time with them when their parents are not around, it’s a good idea to have a document that gives you the authority to seek emergency medical care for your grandchild (my wife and I have one and we keep copies of it in our cars). Again, check with your attorney. I’m not an attorney, and nothing I’ve discussed in this article should be taken as legal advice. However, as a


financial advisor, I know that the legal documents I’ve described above are a key part of your financial plan, and they will make life much easier for your family if you can’t make decisions on your own, or if you are no longer around. When Mary’s mom passed in early 2020, it took three months to settle her estate, even though she had every document we needed. I don’t want to think of what Mary and I would have had to go through if her mom hadn’t. So, if you don’t have your estate plan in place, the time to do it is now. To find out how yours should align with your financial plan, call me for a free appointment Securities and Advisory Services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC. Pontchartrain Investment Management and LPL Financial do not provide legal advice or services. Please consult with your legal advisor regarding your specific situation. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investment (s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing.



Saturday, March 26, 2022

For the Good of the People.

Honest. Fair. Available. 35

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Love & Roses Gala F R I DAY

March 18, 2022

7 - 10 PM • Harbor Center Enjoy live & silent auctions, food, libations and more! Cocktail attire. Donation: Couple $100 / Single $75 Reserve your tickets at

(use smartphone camera to click the QR Code below) or call Diane: 504-621-5544 or Beth: 504-458-9900


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