THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF SLIDELL
WE SAY KEEP IT FRESH KEEP IT POSITIVEVol. 144 October 2022
THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF SLIDELL
WE SAY KEEP IT FRESH KEEP IT POSITIVEVol. 144 October 2022
October 1 Amanda Shaw
October 15 Comedy Night with Mike Strecker & Nature Boy
October 29 Halloween Bash with Vince Vance and the Valiants
Renaissance • $5,000 Sponsors:
Plus + Publications
Baroque • $2,500 Sponsors: Silver Slipper Casino
Neoclassical • $1,000 Sponsors: Councilman Bill & Laura Borchert
Lori’s Art Depot • Lowry-Dunham, Case & Vivien Insurance Agency
Impressionism • $500 Sponsors: CiCi’s Pizza • Mayor Greg Cromer
State Representative Mary DuBuisson, District 90
Old School Eats Food Truck
Roberta’s Cleaners • Slidell Historic Antique Association
“MoonPie” from the artist: In 2009, I started a collaboration with the Krewe of Mona Lisa and MoonPie. There was an ad in the newspaper looking for an Artist to create a poster for the parade. I entered the contest and I won. I approached the creation of that first poster with the mindset that I would not regurgitate the work of Leonardo Davinci. So, I created my own version of the Mona character; and she needed an entourage, so I created my Smiley-faced versions of the moonpies.
I enjoyed the Parade so much that I joined the board and became the official Artist. To date, I have created 10 official posters and 2 unofficial posters. I created the logo; and, if you happen to catch a decorative moonpie that is made of plaster, I made it as well (but I may not have painted it). This newest poster is inspired by a certain band that happened to be on the run. Can you guess who it is?
On the poster, we have MoonPie Capt’n Tom Collins; Slidell Sync leader Suzie Hunt; Rosies coordinator Kendra Maness; Davinci; Mona and her MoonPies; and, of course, my two boys who have been characters on the cover of this magazine more than anyone else.
This year’s theme is “Mona Breaks Free”. You can interpret the idea how you want (we prefer that you do). And, if you are interested in marching with us, you can join by going to www.monalisaandmoonpie.com.
Kendra ManessEditor / Publisher Editor@slidellmag.com Michael
BellGraphic Designer Graphics@slidellmag.com Assistant Krista@slidellmag.com
John Case “The Storyteller”
Extraordinary Slidell Neighbors
Mike Rich Making Cents of Your Money
Donna Bush Pickleball
October 2022 Business Spotlight:
Damsel n’ Distress
Ronda M. Gabb Legal-Ease
The picture above is one of my favorites EVER. It’s a screenshot I captured from a video of me and my sister, Wendy, singing in her car to Captain & Tennille’s “Love Will Keep Us Together.” Check out my Facebook page to see the whole video. It’s 30-seconds of silliness. We’re completely out of tune and have absolutely no rhythm. It’s perfect.
It’s not a complimentary photo of me (I’m all nostrils and teeth), but I love it because it brings me back to the day and the song that we shared together in her Jeep. We were volunteering our time to put out signs for the Slidell Street Fair. It was a million degrees outside and her car A/C just couldn’t keep up with me constantly jumping in and out. We were dodging traffic on Gause like a game of Frogger. We both had already spent a full day at our jobs and we had dozens of signs and hours of volunteering ahead of us. We were hot, sweaty, tired, and smelled like exhaust fumes from all the cars whizzing past us; not to mention a bit embarrassed from trudging through mud puddles and road kill to get those damn sign stakes to stick in the ground in front of half of Slidell. Definitely not our finer moments. Yet, we both remember it as a great time because of the fun we had just being together, and because of this video. Last month, Wendy had a close call. She owns a dock and marine restoration company and, on an underwater dive, she had severe chest pains and shortness of breath. At the hospital, they diagnosed her with a torn pectoral muscle. But, wait, what was that in the CAT scan behind the muscle? An aortic aneurysm.
God was watching over Wendy that day. She didn’t tear a leg muscle or a muscle in her back. She didn’t even tear a muscle on the right side of her chest. She tore the muscle DIRECTLY over her heart and, because of this, they were able to find the aneurysm and circumvent disaster. She’s in pain, but she’s alive. Unaware of this silent killer, my sister would have continued her deep dives, causing an aortic rupture from the water pressure and killing her.
She’s on the mend and has a bit of a medical journey ahead of her, but we’re grateful to have the opportunity to do it. With God’s grace, love will keep us together for many, many years to come. I love you WeWe!
Who loves a parade? Meee! As one of the founders of Slidell’s original marching krewe, Mona Lisa and MoonPie, over thirty-five years ago, I am all about krewes, floats, and costumes. I’m still a regular at Slidell’s MoonPie parade in October and St. Patrick’s Day parade in March. Pre-COVID, I used to be a regular for Mardi Gras in NOLA. I can remember getting up at the crack of dawn to drive into the Big Easy to park and walk, in search of the Mardi Gras Indians, followed by Zulu. And, yes, I still have my coconuts decorated with artwork on all sides! Then, it was off to see Rex, Comus, and the ever-elaborate, and oh-so-bawdy, handmade costumes in the French Quarter. Long before dark, we had walked for miles, and were happy to be back home on our quiet little bayou each year.
When Kendra told me that for Mardi Gras 2023, The Big Shot for Zulu hailed from Slidell for the first time, I could hardly contain myself! This
interview was one that I had waited for at least a month in the making. You see, the Notorious Big Shot of Africa, Terrance McGuire, was traveling to Atlanta, to regale his krewe members from Georgia.
While waiting to meet The Big Shot, I realized I knew little about the history of the Krewe of Zulu, beyond the early beginnings as a Benevolent Aid Society in the early 1900’s. There were numerous social aid organizations in New Orleans, acting as a sort of insurance for their black members during health emergencies and for funeral costs and major celebrations. Second Lining was part of the tradition. Today, the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Society has expanded to organize Christmas baskets for the families in need, college scholarships, Toys for Tots, and aid several community organizations. Their parades grew from marching, to wagon floats, into today’s double decker floats elaborately adorned by Blaine Kern Studios.
When the interview date rolled around, I was greeted by Terrance and escorted to his second-floor office in his Quail Ridge home. Artwork abounded both floors, including Zulu imagery and a modern painting paying homage to DaVinci’s Mona Lisa. I explained my connection, and The Big Shot immediately offered to be involved. Wow, a Zulu-MoonPie cooperation in the making! We shook hands, and I asked all about the man behind the Big Shot character for 2023.
Though he and his sister were born in Detroit, Michigan, the family moved to North Carolina when Terrance was about eight years old. He considered himself to be raised in Thomasville, North Carolina, where he played football, ran track, and wrestled for Thomasville High School, graduating in 1988. He then joined the Navy, and went to Boot Camp in Orlando, Florida. Almost as soon as he joined, the U.S. became involved in the Gulf War, and Terrance was deployed
“An American has not seen the United States until he has seen Mardi Gras in New Orleans.” - Mark TwainA biography by Charlotte Collins Terrance Damone McGuire
and assigned to the USS Theodore Roosevelt. Laughing, he said, “My Mediterranean deployment.”
After this, Terrance was stationed in Miramar, San Diego, where Top Gun was filmed. He described the area as, “beautiful, beautiful country. I was on what they call ‘Sea Duty’ as well as ‘Land Duty’. But the cost of living was high, so I decided I wanted to go somewhere else afterward. Here’s the funny part,” the Big Shot paused and chuckled again, “after I was honorably discharged from the military, I had to decide where I wanted to live. So, I took five little pieces of paper, and I wrote five cities on those little pieces of paper and folded them up. I put them in a ball cap, and picked out two cities, New Orleans and Oakland, California. So, it came down to choosing which of the two cities.”
So how did he then choose NOLA? It was a matter of happenstance. It turns out that a couple of shipmate friends were from New Orleans, and they offered for him to come experience the Big Easy in 1995. He loved the food, the people, and particularly the music. In 1996, Terrance met his soon-to-be wife, Dr. Hyacinth McKee-McGuire. That sealed his fate for NOLA, and they married in 2000 at the Champagne Palace. Another two years later, their son, Mason, was born and they started their family life in Avondale. Once Mason reached school age, the couple heard about the excellent school system in Slidell, visited, and made the move in 2004 to live happily ever after in their new town. That is, until Hurricane Katrina wiped out their home. After a brief evacuation to Dallas, they knew they wanted to move back and rebuild their home in Slidell. Hyacinth is employed here, and Terrance works at the VA (Veteran Affairs), assisting veterans in getting disability compensation, so Slidell is now their forever hometown.
Now that I had heard the background, I was curious how Terrance became “The Big Shot.” He started by simply wanting to ride in Zulu and loved it. He was a rider from 1998 to about 2002. Remembering those days, he described, “At that time, one of my mentors was Mr. Herbert Baptiste. He was well-known for his brunches at the Hilton, and he is fondly remembered to this day for those events. Mr. Baptiste was the float captain for the Krewe of Juantu. I was a loyal rider with him during that time. I remember Mr. Baptiste being a top-notch guy, and he told me what to expect when I decided to join Zulu. I really didn’t have a desire to get that involved with Zulu at that time.
Later, as fate would have it, one of his clients, Brent Washington, mentioned that he was a member of Zulu, and that he was running for The Big Shot for 2013 and future King 2018. Terrance described, “He asked me to come help him out, and invited me over to the campaign.” Smiling and looking at the Zulu image, he exclaimed, “He won! And I later became an associate member! I have been a regular member of Zulu ever since 2014. Brent always advised me of the expectations of Zulu and the membership.
Terrance decided early on that the Big Shot krewe was the perfect fit and his loyalty never wavered. “Next, I became Lieutenant for the krewe and, over the years, I learned everything I needed to know. In 2019, I decided to take the splash to run for The Big Shot for the first time. Unfortunately, things did not work out and I lost. After the loss, I got a lot of encouragement from my fellow Zulu members. They encouraged me to come back in the future. So, I decided to run for 2023. I felt like the timing was right, and decided to run again against two other contenders.” Then he sat forward and exclaimed, “And I was successful!” He opened his arms wide, smiling broadly. “Ever since I’ve won, it’s just been a whirlwind: from erecting the 2023 Big Shot Krewe, to creating the colors, the logo, planning parties like an event coordinator; and, on top of all that, being the float captain.” He shook his head as he thought of all these roles and responsibilities that lay before him.
It took a moment to embrace the weight of this position as Big Shot. I knew he was second in parade command behind the King. Terrance patiently schooled me. “The Big Shot’s role is to push the King by doing things to make the King strive to be the best that he can be. Basically, I am to push him into greatness by trying to be great
myself. It makes everybody in the organization want to be better. It’s almost like friendly competition. The King this year is Nick Spears. As The Big Shot character, I must push the King to propel him into greatness. It also means that I must impress upon him to want to have bigger parties, raise more money for our club charities, and dress the part. Big Shot must make a spectacle, as people look to me as a leader. That’s what The Big Shot is known for, and there is a long history behind that. So, a lot of pressure comes with this position. Everybody wants to know what The Big Shot is going to do next. All eyes are on him. I view The Big Shot as someone who keeps you in suspense. You don’t know what he’s going to wear, what he’s going to do, or what he is about to say. But everyone will be tuned in to see what I do next. And I think I’ve captured the membership’s attention, as well as the greater community. I have quite a few videos I am putting out. The song about my character just got released. It was written by a guy from our own New Orleans band, ‘Partners-N-Crime’, named Kango Slimm. So far, the journey has been just unbelievable. But I know that, as we move into the Fall and get closer to Mardi Gras, this thing will just get bigger and bigger. That means the expectations for The Big Shot get bigger and bigger, also.”
Well, I had no idea! It turns out that he is in the thick of recruiting riders for his float. He can have up to 120 people from all over the country. I help Cap’n Tom and our Mona Lisa & MoonPie board recruit bands, krewes, flambeaux, and members, plan the ball, put out PR, obtain all the legal permits and insurance, plus run my krewe. But his role sounds daunting!
And the interesting thing I discovered is that, while his character may have to be a showman (and Terrance can play that well), the real man behind the scenes was quite philosophical and down to earth. As a matter of fact, he admitted, “It’s an honor just to be a part of this journey.” Then he regained his jubilance stating, “I guess the cherry on top is that next year will be my tenth-year riding with Zulu and the krewe for The Big Shot!” So, the timing truly is perfect. It seemed to be a long journey and Terrance grew over the years until he was ready to rise to the occasion. Wanting to learn everything about his character, Terrance watched as a Lieutenant and studied the character for nine years.
Lest it sound like an easy feat, he assured me that he had to campaign hard for the position. Terrance described the campaign process. “Basically, you are working hard to get the membership to vote for you, which is harder than it
seems. You must host awesome parties with the different groups within Zulu, talk to them, and appreciate them.”
You can see video clips, including the counting of the votes on his website, www.thebigshot2023.com. The best part in the video was when it sunk in that he had won! His smile said it all!
But, if I ask a specific question about The Big Shot, Terrance goes smoothly into character. I asked about his costume, and he straightened up, letting his voice reflect his pride as he announced, “My costume this year will be totally different. And it’s a surprise! Yes, I will reveal my official collar to the world at my ball which is in early February. I started planning my costume in June with Creative Artistry out of Madisonville. Susan Colombo, they do an awesome job!!! They have been doing this for over 40 years. In my opinion, they are the best Mardi Gras costume design company. My collar will be one for the ages!”
If Susan is working on all the big krewes, her studio must be as busy as Santa’s workshop! Meanwhile, the floats are in progress at Blaine Kern’s den. As we discussed these details, Terrance grew visibly more jovial. He reminded me, “We only pull the float out when it’s time for that special day, so I’m excited! I get chills thinking about it, but it’s something I’ve worked toward for such a long time. I will meet the Krewe at 3am and we’ll have breakfast. After breakfast, we load up, it probably starts at about eight o’clock, but the crowd will start setting up and cooking earlier. I really believe the biggest tailgate in the world is on Fat Tuesday. Folks will be grilling and boiling. And everybody wants a coconut, so they pretty much will give you any of their food in exchange. Just look down and point, then hand them a coconut. We must keep rolling, though, and be done on time so Rex can get to his ball. I’m telling you, it’s going to be incredible. Finally, we have our organization ball (Zulu Ball) which will be the Friday before Mardi Gras. Our Membership and guests will serenade in the halls of the Convention Center, and me and all the other characters will be recognized. There’s the King, The Big Shot, The Witchdoctor, The Ambassador, The Mayor, The Province Prince, The Governor and Mr. Big Stuff.”
For now, The Big Shot is focused on mixers for his krewe members. Terrance explained, “I try to go above and beyond for my Krewe because I think it is important when you create a krewe to help them all feel like family and to bond together. And that’s why I do all these different events. We did a paint and sip party last month. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was cool and relaxing. Every
• No Exposure to Diseases or Parasites from Other Dogs
• Medication Administered
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• Insulin Injections
• Waste Cleanup
• Mail Pickup
• Daily Walks
• Nail Trim
time we changed the color palette on the canvas, we hit the bell, and everyone had to drink. My krewe members enjoyed doing something different like that.”
It really sounded like a whirlwind of events! He has a picnic coming up at City Park where he will get to dress up and demonstrate who the Big Shot is. Next is Terrance’s Appreciation Party a week later, where he will honor those who came before him, as their descendants will be present. He is hoping to work with the City of Slidell to do a flag raising, to get Slidell delegates involved. As he said, “Zulu is more than just New Orleans. We have members all over the country. Even those who have moved from the city for surrounding areas will come back to represent. So, I’m humbled to hold this position and can’t wait to get it rolling! And, here in Slidell, I want to help with your Krewe of Mona Lisa and MoonPie.” Well, that thrilled me!
Then there is a whole other side to Zulu. Most of us are aware of the social aspect. The less known role of Zulu is the benevolent side, and this is what offers Terrance the chance to raise money for Toys for Tots. Terrance spoke more quietly and earnestly as he shared, “Zulu is a big proponent of Toys for Tots, and all the krewes provide bicycles, toys and clothing.” Leaning in, he punctuated, “My goal is to donate 300 bicycles. That’s my personal goal, so that all kids can feel the excitement of Christmas! Toys for Tots means a lot to kids out there in the community. I look to
find other ways to help, too. I want to be that guy. Because that’s who I am. One of the things about my candidacy was that I not only wanted to become the guy to represent, but also the guy who will give back. And that’s what we’ve been doing since May 29. We gave funds to a student who was studying Dermatology, for a missionary trip to Africa, much like a scholarship. My wife helped craft some legislation in July at the state level for people with disabilities going to college to have the same opportunities as everyone else. We are planning a NAMI walk to raise awareness for folks with mental health conditions. There are a couple of other walks we’re working on. Plus, every quarter, we go help feed the homeless. This part of it is just as exciting to me! And we have more in the works. We send all these opportunities to help to our members in our newsletters. Outside of us partying, I want my Krewe to help make a difference. We are constantly doing something to help in the community.”
As we were winding down, the conversation drifted to Slidell, and Terrance immediately spouted, “We moved here from Avondale, which was kind of far from everything. Slidell has turned out to be a great place to live. I’ve lived here during the good times and the bad. The people are great, the trees are beautiful, water views, and great quality of life. And there are new businesses popping up all the time. I’ve always enjoyed the fact that I have lots of different restaurants not that far away from where I live. And, if I ever had a problem, I could pick up the phone
and get a response in a reasonable amount of time. It’s just the little things like that. Now, it seems like everything is right here. I remember when I first moved here, there was no Fremaux interchange, and I had to get off on Old Spanish Trail and come up a service road. When they built this interchange, they created this whole commercial and retail outlet. Now, they’re going to have an Amazon center over there shortly. And it’s still expanding, so I’m just kind of watching it grow from my lens. That’s a good thing. You always want to see a city prosper.”
Looking off, he smiled and added, “Maybe someday, I might open a cigar lounge there. That’s just one thing I want to do. But, for now, I’m happy to be The Big Shot. It’s a lot of responsibility. My phone never stops ringing.” He pointed to it, “It’s been ringing the whole time we’ve been talking. Mainly, I’m spending my time looking for more Krewe members.”
He emphasized again, “I sincerely owe gratitude to the Zulu organization for this honor.”
I was surprised to learn how much things have changed within Zulu, since it was traditionally a men’s organization. Terrance laughed and shook his head, informing me that, “We want families - men, women, black, white, any ethnicity. Anyone who wants to help the community and have fun all the while.” So...who wants to join me and Tom?
If you want to learn more, just go to his website, www.thebigshot2023.com. You can sign up there too!
Oh, and if you’d like to meet Zulu’s 2023 Big Shot, be sure to join me on October 29 in Olde Towne for the Krewe of Mona Lisa and MoonPie, where Terrance and his wife Hyacinth will serve as our Grand Marshals! You can find out more on the website: www.monalisaandmoonpie.com.
The following story appeared in Slidell Magazine in January 2012.
I think that “Travel” is, word-for-word, the best story John has ever written. Like a poem, every word has been chosen carefully to imbue the greatest meaning and ensure the most impact on the story and the reader. “Travel” was further immortalized when it was made into a mini-play and performed onstage at Cutting Edge Theater in 2016.
I’ve read this story dozens of times and just can’t get enough of it. Enjoy!
Bessie Burns pulled herself onto her porch, as much with her arms and the railing on the steps as she did with the strength of her legs. She was worn out. Tired, but pleased to know the last of her cotton was in and the turnips were out of the ground. She sunk into a platform rocker that no longer rocked, just squeaked. The porch slanted to her left and her body leaned that way, but she didn’t notice. The porch had partially caved in ten years ago.
Bessie had never owned a new dress or a pair of new shoes. She had never
traveled more than ten miles north or farther south than the bootlegger. She went there once to buy whiskey with her husband, Leon, back when he was a drinker. But he was dead now. He died last fall, just after the crop was in. Bessie was a sharecropper and she and Leon had worked on the Johnson place for 45 years. She did not pity herself. She knew she was better off than the white sharecropper across the ﬁeld. He and his family were lazy. “Ain’t no place for a lazy white man. Especially if he be poor,” she thought.
She knew what she would have for supper - clabber milk and cornbread left over from yesterday. First, however, she just wanted to rest. She needed rest more often now; and, when she did rest, she thought about the past. She thought about Silas; that was her son, or her only surviving son. One son, her oldest, died at birth and the other drowned in the pond near the house when he was eight.
Silas was grown now and had moved to Chicago where he had a job with the Illinois Central Railroad. He was a porter. She was proud of him, but she missed him. She missed him helping with the crops; but her pride came from the fact that he was making a better life for himself. Wouldn’t have to work like a slave on no white man’s place. Silas told her she could ride that train free, anywhere she wanted to go. She had never wanted to go anywhere.
Once, when she was a child, she told her mother she felt like a slave. Her mother told her never to say that again. Things might be bad, but she was free; free to starve anywhere she wanted to, and that was worth something.
She wasn’t worrying about next year’s crop as she normally would have. Her outlook was somehow different now. She had not been to any doctor - never had - she just had that burning in the belly. The same symptoms her mother had and she died six months later.
Bessie dropped off into a doze and her head nodded down to her chest that was covered by a threadbare blouse. After awhile, she would get up, draw some water from the well, wash up and ﬁx her supper.
She was aroused when the car came to a stop just inches from the porch. The dust rolled in, in layers. It was Mrs. Johnson. Mrs. Johnson waited in the car till the dust settled and then motioned for Bessie to come to her.
“Bessie, come on up to the house. I’ve got something to talk to you about.”
“Yes’em, Miss Johnson.”
Mrs. Johnson left in the same haste she had arrived and Bessie retreated inside. Damn, she thought, then said out loud, “Forgive me Jesus.” She knew that Mrs. Johnson did not want to talk about anything. She knew the real reason was to have her do some chore that could have just as well been done the next morning.
Bessie wanted to tell her, “I ain’t no slave. All I gots to do is farm my plot,” but she knew better. She had said that once when Leon was alive. Mrs. Johnson told her she had ten families that wanted that house and any one of them could work a crop better than she and Leon. Anyway, after Mr. Johnson died and Leon died, the widows had developed a degree of respect for each other. She cleaned up and walked the half mile to the Big House. Mrs. Johnson was on the porch and it was well after sundown. On a table by her side was a pitcher of lemonade and two glasses. Beside that was another chair. Bessie knew without asking that Mrs. Johnson was expecting company and wanted her to cook something to serve.
“Yes’em, you want me to make an apple pie or one of them egg pies you likes that I make?”
“Neither one, Bessie. I want you to sit down.” Mrs. Johnson poured her a glass of lemonade and Bessie cautiously took a seat. She had never done that in 45 years.
It must have been ﬁve minutes and neither one spoke to the other. Finally, Bessie said, “Mrs. Johnson, what be on yo mind?”
“Bessie, I’ve been thinking. You’re getting old, too old to work in the ﬁeld. I am old, too. Too old to keep this big house up. I want you to come and live with me. You cook and clean up, and I will pay you a little. Mind you, just a little. You won’t have to work the ﬁelds anymore. You can use the bathroom behind the house. It has running water and I will put heat and a hot water heater in it for you.”
Bessie didn’t answer, but considered the proposal as if she were about to sign a note to buy the entire farm. Finally, she said, “Mrs. Johnson, I’ll let you know in the morning.”
It was one of the worst nights Bessie ever spent. Not as bad as the night her son died, not as bad as the night Leon
died, and not as bad as the night before Silas left; but bad. The next morning, just after daylight, she knocked on her landlord’s door. She had her suitcase in her hand and most all her possessions were in it.
“No Mame, I can’t do it. I is gone travel.” Mrs. Johnson did not reply, just watched Bessie as she ambled down the dirt road toward town and out of sight.
The next year, in mid-fall, Mrs. Johnson got a telegram.
Mama wants to come home. Please meet the train. It’s the Panama Limited and should arrive about 9:30 on Wednesday morning.
Thank you, Silas Burns
Mrs. Johnson did meet Bessie at the train and each expressed an outward pleasure at seeing each other; but, after the greeting, not much was said on the ride home. Finally, Mrs. Johnson said, “Well, Bessie, how was traveling?”
“It be alright, I guess. I saw Chicargo and that big pond they call Lake Micheegin, but I is ready to come home. I missed being near Leon and where my chil’ren was raised.”
“Bessie, I got the hot water and heat put in the bathroom. I think you will ﬁnd a nice comfortable place to stay in my house.”
“No’am, Mrs. Johnson. I wants to go home. My home. Is it vacant?”
“Yes, Bessie, it is vacant. You can’t ﬁnd any sharecroppers anymore. It’s just like you left it. Everyone wants wages now. I have to pay all my hands one dollar a day, plus lunch. Takes all the proﬁt out of farming.”
“That’s a lot of money. I bet it do.”
“I will take you to your home, Bessie; if that’s what you wish.”
The next week, Bessie passed away and was buried next to Leon and her two sons.John S. Case
My dad never attended high school, but what he lacked in education, he made up for in common sense. Especially when it came to money. He haggled for almost everything he bought, never, ever paid retail if he could avoid it, and was especially proud of his skills in finding fine (and some not-so-fine) wines at fire-sale prices at our local drug store. He could sniff out a bargain a mile away.
As a housepainter, my dad did not earn a lot of money, but he started saving and investing early in his career. Neither of us knew that he was teaching me, but much of what I know today about conservatively building and protecting wealth for my clients (and myself), I learned by watching what he did. Thinking back to those days, my dad’s approach to achieving financial
well-being was based on four common-sense rules:
Rule #1. Spend less than you earn. Money was always tight for our family of five, but my mom and dad managed to save a bit every month. I don’t think my parents were able to hit this number, but a good target for many of us is 15% of gross income per year. Where you actually put your money is less important than making sure you put it somewhere, just to get it out of your hands.
Rule #2. Don’t pay attention to what everyone else is doing (including your neighbor). Today, this translates into ignoring the “financial entertainers”, whose incessant drivel seems to be everywhere – TV, popular magazines, and, most annoyingly, plastered
all over the Internet. Financial information was a lot harder to get during my dad’s time, but I remember him reading The Kiplinger Letter when I was young. He said he got some good ideas from Kiplinger’s common sense approach to investing, but he always made his decisions based on his own circumstances – and financial means – rather than someone else’s.
Rule #3. Protect your family with insurance. And, don’t forget disability insurance in case you can’t work because of an accident or long-term illness.
Rule #4. Work with a financial advisor. My dad’s advisor was a life insurance agent who also sold investments. We called him “the insurance man.” He came to our house a couple of times a year, and I remember him sitting at the kitchen table with his plug-in adding machine, going over figures with my mom and dad. I remember my dad saying, “My advisor can’t paint, and I can’t do what he does. I’ve never regretted working with someone I trusted.”
My dad’s rules worked well. Did he have his share of financial missteps? Absolutely (I recall a less-thanstellar farmland investment in Wisconsin, for one).
However, despite never earning more than $19,000 a year, he and my mom enjoyed a long and dignified retirement.
There are many signs in the financial markets these days that suggest we are entering a time of turbulence, uncertainty, and lower returns than what we’ve seen in recent years. I hope I’m wrong, but what if I’m not? Do you have a trusted advisor to help you, like my dad did? If you are a DIY financial person, would your spouse know what to do if you die unexpectedly? This is not something you want to leave to chance. Call me today, and let’s set up a time to meet.
Tulane offers comprehensive neurosurgery care including Skull Base, Pituitary, Open Cerebrovascular and Spine surgery. Tulane is internationally recognized for utilizing cutting edge research and stateof-the-art technology to improve neurological health and quality of life.
The Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) Program is a civil specialty court program through St. Tammany Parish 22nd Judicial Court that delivers community-based behavioral health treatment to individuals with a serious mental disorder. The program began in December 2020 and is funded by a 3-year federal grant awarded from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA).
AOT Court provides a mechanism to order outpatient services for adults with severe mental illness, who are not presently dangerous or gravely disabled, but who have a history of psychiatric hospitalizations and noncompliance with treatment.
The goal of the Court is to improve the stability and well-being of this population through increased treatment participation and a reduction of hospitalization, homelessness, and criminal conduct.
AOT provides qualified participants with services through a Treatment Team that consists of a case manager, individual therapist, ARNP/MD, Peer Support specialist, client attorney and Judge. This provides the individual
with a continuity of care and support system through a combination of accountability and motivation.
AOT is ...
● A strategy to address non-adherence to treatment
● A civil outpatient commitment
● A means of leveraging the power of the courts to influence behavior
The majority of AOT recipients have schizophrenia or severe bipolar disorder, and 97% percent of the AOT program members have been hospitalized previously. 47% of the participants did not adhere to needed medication regiments before AOT.
The statistics continue on a grim path, which is why 22nd Judicial Court Judge Alan Zaunbrecher is so excited about the addition of the AOT program to his court. Judge Zaunbrecher explained what makes AOT court so unique. “Every other specialty court in existence is based on the criminal side of the law. They’ve committed a crime, they’re going to jail. But, instead of going to jail, they’re placed on probation with the condition that they complete this
specialty court - it could be veteran’s court, sobriety court, drug court. AOT is completely different. These people have done nothing wrong; they’ve not committed any crime. It’s not associated with the criminal justice system in any way. It’s a civil proceeding where someone, either a treating physician, the local mental health director, the coroner or any interested person, can file a petition with the court and ask to have this person ordered to participate in AOT. There are several specific criteria and it’s pretty strict.”
What are the specific criteria for an individual to be considered for AOT?
The person must reside or be found within the 22nd Judicial District (St. Tammany or Washington Parish).
(1) The person is 18 years or older
(2) The person is suffering from a mental illness
(3) The person is unlikely to survive safely in the community without supervision
(4) The person has a history of lack of compliance with treatment for mental illness
(5) The patient is, as a result of his mental illness, unlikely to voluntarily participate in the recommended treatment plan
(6) In view of the treatment history and current behavior, the patient is in need of involuntary outpatient treatment to prevent a relapse or deterioration which would be likely to result in the patient becoming dangerous to self or others or gravely disabled
(7) It is likely that the patient will benefit from involuntary outpatient treatment. Once the qualified individual is identified and a petition is filed, there’s a hearing and the court can issue an order saying that the individual is participating for one year. “This is a form of outpatient ‘commitment’, but not what one may think about ‘committing’ somebody. This is meant for them to stay safely in the community,” AOT Program Director Wendy Griffith notes.
Judge Zaunbrecher continues, “Then, the treatment and administrative sides take over and start the communications. They help the individual with anything that we can help with - from housing, to transportation, to communication, to legal help. And obviously treatment, not only for their mental illness but just getting them a regular doctor. So many people with mental illness disregard their physical well being.”
Once in the program, the individuals return to court once a month. “I put on the black robe and I just try to encourage them. But, the ‘law’ has no teeth. I can’t find them in contempt or fine them or jail them because they’ve done nothing wrong,” Judge Zaunbrecher adds. While the judge’s role as a cheerleader helps build trust, the ritual of court hearings and the symbolic weight of a judge’s order (the “black robe effect”) motivates the individual to regard treatment adherence as a legal obligation.
There are many benefits to the individuals that are enrolled in the AOT program. Primarily, it allows the individual to live safely in the community. Wendy assures me, “Many of these individuals mean no harm, they just need help. AOT can help them access services that are there to help them. When they first enter the program, we do a Needs Assessment to determine things like - do they receive SSDI, or do they qualify for it? Do they receive food stamps? How do they get money? Are they signed up for Medicaid? Many of our individuals come to us with some of these; but if they don’t, we can help get them these services. If they have the ability to work or support themselves, they aren’t in our program.” The AOT model relieves the patients’ family and the medical/judicial systems from the often overwhelming task of caring for an individual with a mental disorder by helping to stabilize them and setting them on the path to develop good long-term habits.
The benefits to the system are just as impactful. First, AOT makes existing services more effective. (Without the judicial order for AOT services, mental health services cannot mandate treatment in certain instances). AOT increases accountability at all system levels regarding delivery of services to high need individuals. It also helps to build more collaborative relationships between the mental health and court systems.
Each psychiatric readmission costs on average $7,500. Non-adherence is the number one risk factor for it.
Mental illnesses account for nearly 20% of all Medicaid readmissions.
25% of Medicare patients with psychoses readmitted within one month of discharge.
The Bottom Line
Even if the AOT Court kept only one familiar face out of the jails and hospitals for one year, the program would pay for itself.
● 40-60 fewer calls to police
● 80-100 fewer trips by EMS
● Fewer days in the E.R.
● Fewer days in jail
“We have a span of ages,” Wendy notes. “The youngest is 25 and our oldest is 64. But at least half are over 50.” When asked why that seems to be the trend, Wendy states, “The vast majority of the referrals that we get are from families that have heard about the program. They have tried again and again to get their loved ones’ services after they’ve been sick for a long time. So, as these people continue to cycle through psychosis, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and bi-polar disorder, their brain gets more damaged and their conditions gets worse.”
Many of the individuals that qualify for the AOT program have had years - or decades - of documented mental health problems. AOT gives them a chance to break the cycle of hospitalizations and gain more independence. Judge Zaunbrecher shakes his head, “It’s unbelievable the resiliency that the family members have and the efforts they go through to try to save these people. They’re at the end of their rope, they can’t do it anymore.”
The majority of the AOT participants currently live with a family member or loved one, some are on their own, and some live in Volunteers of America housing. But Judge Zaunbrecher has a bigger vision for them. “We have a
goal to have some housing for those with nowhere else to turn, their family has disowned them or given up on them. One of the problems is that some of them are incapable of living on their own. So, now we have Safe Haven (the parish-operated behavioral health campus) and it is the perfect spot. I’d love to get 40 living units, but I’d be happy to start with 6 or 8. They are right there for treatment, they have primary care and mental health right there and NAMI has a day center there.”
“One of the important things in the AOT program is that we give these individuals something to do. Between the NAMI day program and the outpatient therapy 3-4 days a week, they are active and engaged,” the judge notes. “Otherwise, they wander, they sit, they do nothing,” which ultimately can lead to further deterioration of their mental disorder.
“If it weren’t for AOT, some of these people wouldn’t be alive, because they’re that sick. We are here to help.”
To find out more about AOT court, visit www.22ndjdc.org or call 985-809-5394
1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year.
715,000 adults in Louisiana have a mental health condition.
That’s more than 3x the population of Baton Rouge.
More than half of Americans report that COVID-19 has had a negative impact on their mental health.
In February 2021, 47.5% of adults in Louisiana reported symptoms of anxiety or depression.
18.6% were unable to get needed counseling or therapy.
1 in 20 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year.
In Louisiana, 179,000 adults have a serious mental illness.
1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6–17 experience a mental health disorder each year.
44,000 Louisianans age 12–17 have depression.
It is more important than ever to build a stronger mental health system that provides the care, support and services needed to help people build better lives.
Louisianans struggle to get the help they need.
More than half of people with a mental health condition in the U.S. did not receive any treatment in the last year.
Of the 194,000 adults in Louisiana who did not receive needed mental health care, 41.8% did not because of cost.
8.9% of people in the state are uninsured.
Louisianans are over 4x more likely to be forced out-of-network for mental health care than for primary health care — making it more difficult to find care and less affordable due to higher out-of-pocket costs.
3,398,990 people in Louisiana live in a community that does not have enough mental health professionals.
Founded in 2022, Be Fierce & Kind Canine, Inc is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that seeks to expand therapy dog services and implement therapy dog programs in courts, adult care centers, mental health facilities, youth-centered organizations, and corrections facilities while continuing to educate on working dog laws (service dog, therapy dog, emotional support dog, and facility dog).
Combining therapy dog services, educational seminars, and community outreach, the organization is also able to show the benefits in real-time of a therapy dog interaction with an individual. In addition to traveling to businesses and organizations to implement working dog programs, Be Fierce & Kind Canine also teaches employees, volunteers, and staff how to appropriately interact with working dogs.
Be Fierce & Kind Canine founder Amber Sheppard is a full time attorney licensed in Louisiana and Mississippi. Her constant companion is Tubbs, a six-year-old Lab/ Basset mix. Amber adopted Tubbs four years ago from the St. Tammany Parish Animal Shelter. “I got her to be my pet; but around the time I got her, I was having crippling panic attacks that were disrupting my ability to function in public. She had an innate ability to alert me before they happened and ground me once they did happen; so, I took the initiative to get her specifically trained to be a service dog for my PTSD and neurodivergence.”
Tubbs has a lot of experience being in courthouses, visiting kids and people with special abilities, and providing comfort
without being a distraction to what is going on around her. She is non-confrontational, compact, and easily able to reach any person of any size in the courthouse. For the past three years, she and Amber have traveled throughout St. Tammany Parish teaching people about the differences among assistance dogs (service, ESA, therapy).
Amber gave me a quick lesson, “There is a difference between a service dog, an emotional support dog and a therapy dog. Service dogs are specifically trained to perform tasks for a person with a disbility to help them function.” Tubbs is trained to be a service dog for Amber. “Some of the tasks that she performs for me that transfer over to her work as a therapy dog is that she can sense anxiety and disassociation in trauma victims, so she can lean against someone or lay on someone and provide deep pressure therapy to them that will help calm them, ground them and bring them back to reality, or not have them focus on the trauma or the trigger that just engaged them.”
Tubbs has also been trained as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs aren’t performing specific tasks for one person; rather, they are trained to provide comfort to many people. “When we are working as a therapy team, we are working specifically in the courthouse, mental health facilities and schools.” Amber stressed, “Most service dogs are not therapy dogs.”
An emotional support dog is not trained to do any tasks, but are there to provide comfort to their owner who has a disability. Amber continued, “In order to be an ESA (Emotional Support Animal), there has to be a letter from your physician or your treating psychiatrist that can prescribe treatment plans and medication for you.”
Having worked in CINC court as a public defender and knowing first-hand the benefits a dog can have on a person’s well-being, Amber and Tubbs are in a position to better the community one interaction at a time.
Tubbs’ trauma-informed trainers taught her the command, “Get your gavel,” so she can accompany a witness or court participants to the courtroom. It helps put them at ease and makes things a little less scary. Tubbs provides comfort, helping to lower blood pressure and relieve stess in the often-stressful courtroom environment.
Never one to sacrifice humor, Amber also utilizes Tubbs (often costumed) to illustrate legal concepts to the community, make the use of assistance animals commonplace, and help destigmatize trauma and mental health conversations. This helps make the duo frequent contributors for magazines, radio, and continuing education courses.
“We want to bring in additional dogs and handlers to expand our services. My ultimate goal is to have Louisiana be at the forefront of having therapy dogs in schools, businesses, and courthouses and see this be a national movement.”
Dr Kopfler tirelessly served several generations of patients and the Slidell community for decades. Everything from simple check-ups and cleanings to the most life-altering oral surgeries were performed at the hands of this talented and dedicated man.
Even nearing his retirement years, he retained boundless energy when it came to striving to improve his skills and embrace new technologies, all in the furtherance of his patients’ comfort and well-being.
During the last year, Dr Kopfler decided to semi-retire, and sought new partners to carry on his practice’s
tradition of excellent service and patient care. The plan was for him to slowly, over time, transition his practice and patients over to Dr Jason Chawla, DMD and Dr Kayla Macri, DMD.
Unfortunately, Dr Kopfler was not able to realize his dream of a gradual and honorable transition to full retirement. We regret not being able to spend more time with this amazing mentor & friend. We hope you’ll join us in offering love and comfort to his family, friends and patients in this time. We love you Dr Kopfler, and we promise to continue to honor your legacy.
A Celebration of 20 Years of Art!
Opening Reception: Sept. 9, 5-7 pm • Sept. 13 - Oct. 21, 2022
George Dunbar Gallery at the Slidell Cultural Center in City Hall
Gallery Hours: Wednesday - Friday, 12-4 pm • Free AdmissionThe City of Slidell presents
The Slidell Noon Lions (SNL) will conduct their 8th annual Touch-aTruck fundraiser on Saturday, October 29, 2022.
Touch a Truck is for kids 10 and below, giving them an opportunity to touch a variety of big trucks, honk the horn, take photos with them, view some antique trucks and have some Trick or Treat fun in their Halloween costumes.
In addition, SNL will be conducting free vision screening for kids 6 and below. This service helps identify vision problems to parents before their children start school. With correction, early learning problems may be prevented. Parental permission forms will be provided and must be signed before screening occurs. SMH Ochsner will provide Pediatric / Adult Diabetes Education.
THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS!
This event is the Lions’ largest fundraiser, with over $18,000 raised in 2021. Funds raised will be given to Lions “Blindness Fighting” charities including our “Cub Sight” vision screening, Free Eyeglasses for needy citizens, Louisiana Lions / LSU Vision Research Foundation and the Lions’ seeing eye dog program. In addition, the Lions support the life changing Louisiana Lions Camp for Diabetic and Handicapped Children, providing a FREE one full week camp experience with 3 camp counselors per camper and much needed respite week for parents. SNL also contributes to local charities to improve the quality of life in Slidell.
Fundraising is a a critical component to provide that service to others. SNL has four on going fundraising activities including 9 monthly bingo sessions, monthly “last Saturday” Pancake breakfasts, various raffles and Touch-a-Truck.
The Slidell Noon Lions President for July 2022 - June 2023 is second time President, Virginia Payne. Ms. Payne is a 10-year member of SNL, Slidell’s first service organization, founded in 1927. Lion “Ginny” has established new goals for the club to create networking opportunities between the Lions and various agencies in the community to help in the mutual efforts to serve others. In order to help serve others, SNL is always looking for new members. Interested persons please call 985-649-1644 for membership information.
It’s not too late to be a Touch-a-Truck Sponsor!!! The deadline for additional sponsors is Oct 20. Interested potential sponsors please contact Dan Ferrari, call/text to (504) 606-8081 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please consider sponsoring this event to help the Lions live up to their motto - “We Serve”
them from dying when they should. These abnormal cells can become cancer.
After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women and the second leading cause of death behind lung cancer. It arises from uncontrolled growth of normal breast tissue and ultimately will affect one in eight American women over the course of their lives. Although breast cancer in men is far less common, the American Cancer Society estimates 2,710 new cases of invasive breast cancer in men for 2022.
While some risk factors such as age, race, family history and genetics cannot be changed, there are several avoidable risk factors of breast cancer, some of which include:
• Lack of physical activity. Those who are physically active for at least 30 minutes a day have a lower risk of breast cancer.
• Excess estrogen exposure . Excess estrogen can occur naturally or from hormone replacement therapy.
• Poor diet. Replace diets high in saturated fat with eating a lot of fruits and vegetables.
• Drinking alcohol. Limit alcoholic drinks to no more than one per day.
Breast cancer is sometimes found after symptoms appear, but many women with breast cancer have no symptoms. Finding breast cancer early and getting state-of-the-art cancer treatment is critical, as this allows you and your cancer care team the highest chance of beating the disease. Breast cancer that’s found early, when it’s small and has not spread, is easier to treat successfully. Breast imaging, such as 3D mammograms available at SMH Imaging Center, help provide a clear picture of tissue to screen for abnormalities. To schedule a screening, call (985) 280-5200.
Breast cancer screening is important for all women, but women at higher than average risk may need to begin screening earlier and more often than women at average risk. Having an open discussion with your primary care provider about when to begin mammograms is an individualized, and important decision.
Our new Comprehensive Cancer Care Clinic offers patients a peaceful, calming and comfortable environment throughout their whole treatment journey. The clinic gives patients the opportunity to meet with their entire care team in one location, at one time, so all questions and concerns can be addressed. Patients will leave the clinic with a targeted treatment plan prepared by their care team. This individualized care plan will help patients navigate through their cancer diagnosis journey more smoothly. Our goal is to alleviate our patients of stress and worry, allowing them to focus on self-care and healing.
Whether it’s learning the avoidable risk factors or making healthy lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of breast cancer, make it a point to be aware of your health risks. Talk to your healthcare provider today to see what early detection options are right for you. If you or someone you know is in need of a healthcare provider, the SMH Physicians Network and Ochsner Health provide easy access to many of the region’s most accomplished physicians and nurse practitioners. Schedule an appointment today by calling (877) 920-DOCS or (985) 639-3777.
Mona is calling you to join her!
The Krewe of Mona Lisa & MoonPie is opening the doors and welcoming you to JOIN THE KREWE!
This historic Slidell arts parade will march (shimmy, dance, boogaloo, skip, prance) through Olde Towne Slidell on October 29, 2022 at 7 PM, following the performance of our Victorious Vicar, Vince Vance, at the Bayou Jam Concert. Vince will escort our royal court, which includes King Matt Litchliter, Co-Queens Katie Case & Michelle Cramer, and Grand Marshals, Zulu Big Shot Terrance McGuire and Hyacinth McGuire.
LAST CHANCE IS OCTOBER 8!
Form a Krewe, join a Krewe!
Flambeaux Membership FREE (must be 16 or older)
Adult Membership $170 (includes 3 cases of MoonPie throws) Children (<15yrs) $100 (includes 3 cases of MoonPie throws)
Slidells’ original marching club, the Krewe of Mona Lisa and MoonPie is pleased to introduce our theme for 2022, “Mona Breaks Free!” Though not Halloween themed, we invite parade goers to attend in their spook fest finery, contributing to the festive atmosphere.
The Krewe invites all to participate in their own way, whether it be as a member, a sponsor, or a costumed viewer. Members and sponsors can enroll online.
Form a mini-krewe, decorate your push float, design your costumes, and express yourself!
The Krewe of Mona Lisa and MoonPie promotes the arts, Olde Towne Slidell, and good humor.
No matter where life takes Rachel Woodham, like a magnet, she’s always been drawn back to Slidell, and especially Olde Towne.
“When I was growing up, my grandparents owned and ran the Old Town Motel,” she explains.
The Old Town Motel was one of the oldest motels in Slidell and has been known by many names over the years, including the City Motel, and most recently the Long Stay Motel.
“I know that many people have a particular impression of that property,” she laughs, “but when I was growing up in the 80’s, some of my fondest memories are of spending time in that motel and wandering around Olde Towne with my grandmother.”
“After church on Sunday, Maw Maw and I would go up to the motel and sit in the office. Paw paw would go grab Sunday dinner at Church’s chicken,” Rachel smiles. “After dinner, Maw Maw and I would walk down to Dunaway’s Grocery to pick out some candy, and then head over to the Olde Towne Soda Shop.”
“On Sundays, Mr. Frank would churn fresh ice cream in the front window,” Rachel recalls. “We’d eat ice cream and visit with Frank’s birds in the back courtyard before heading back to the motel.”
Rachel loves to look through old home videos and photos to relive the cherished memories of her grandmother and time spent at the motel.
“I remember the old ice machine. It was actually in the office. Guests had to come to the front desk to request ice. I used to love being the one who got to deliver the ice,” Rachel said. “Guests would pay 25 cents for a bucket of ice, and Maw Maw told me if I filled and brought the ice buckets to the guests, then I got to keep the quarter.”
Rachel attributes everything she knows about business and customer service to watching her Maw Maw work all those years in the motel.
“My grandmother grew up poor in South Alabama. I can remember her sharing her childhood stories of that. So, I saw this woman, who had nothing, turn it into something. She worked so hard to have a better life for herself, her children and for us grandkids. All I saw was my grandmother running a business,” Rachel said.
Rachel’s grandmother wasn’t her only influence. Her Aunt Cindy had her home and airbrush business (C&C Airbrushing) right next door to her grandmother’s motel. Rachel enjoyed watching her aunt create one-of-a-kind artistic mementos for her customers.
“I loved borrowing my aunt’s stencils from the big filing cabinet in her shop,” Rachel reminisces. “I’d create ‘masterpieces’ of my own to hang on the refrigerator. It’s what started my interest in art and the idea that creativity can make a living.”
Rachel graduated from Slidell High, then Southeastern, receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Social Work. After working for a few years, Rachel left her job and moved in to take care of her grandmother who had been diagnosed with cancer.
Looking to earn some extra money when she wasn’t busy with her caretaker duties, Rachel had the idea to buy some busted furniture and re-finish it in her grandmother’s garage for resale.
“The re-finished furniture pieces sold almost immediately, and I was like ‘Whoa!’” she recalls. “I used the money I had earned to buy more used furniture to rehab, and it took off from there.”
Within six months, Rachel’s new business, Damsel n’ Distress , was born. She found the work to be easier than she had imagined, lucrative, and creatively satisfying. The best part was that she was able to make a living and be there to take care of her grandmother.
“My Maw Maw was such a huge part of my life,” Rachel confesses. “She was there and got to see me start my own business, doing something I loved. I feel that she would be very proud of how far I’ve come since then.”
Rachel briefly opened her first shop in Olde Towne in June 2015, but went back to working from home after the birth of her youngest daughter in 2016.
Outside of running her business, Rachel has worked to create a supportive
Olde Towne is where her HEART is... Damsel n’ Distress
community for local mothers in Slidell. In early 2012, Rachel founded the “Slidell Mommies!” Facebook group. This idea stemmed after Rachel had joined a Mom support group on Babycenter during the pregnancy of her middle child.
“The forum allowed me to connect with hundreds of moms from all over the country that were due the same month as me. I became good friends with several mothers and I’ve had the opportunity to travel and meet a few. This group provided an amazing support system but I wished that I had that kind of connection with other local mothers. We didn’t have anything like that in Slidell. After giving birth, I wanted to replicate that sense of belonging and community with the moms here in Slidell.”
The “Slidell Mommies!” Facebook group page currently has over 11,000 members.
“I never in a million years thought that it would become as big as it has,” Rachel said. “This has become such a great resource tool for our local mothers and best of all, it’s free. It’s a place to come to vent. A place to look for reviews and recommendations. A place to network and connect. I am very proud I have the ability to offer that.”
In 2017, Rachel and her family moved away from Slidell. It was that move that necessitated a shift from furniture refinishing to the home decor that you see today.
“We moved into an apartment and the space that I once had was unavailable,” Rachel said.
She purchased a vinyl cutting machine and, with her best friend’s help, learned how to create designs.
“My brain exploded with all these amazing ideas and designs,” she explains.
Rachel began selling her creations at local events. From there, she traveled all over the South to fairs, festivals, and craft shows, selling items and building a devoted following from Tennessee, Texas, Florida, and everywhere in between.
“I had my stuff in Fleurty Girl for awhile,” she said, “but I always had that desire to BE Fleurty Girl. I wanted to have my own store with that same feel and vibe, but with Slidell creations.”
Rachel grew her clientele over many years, and traveling was a great way to get out there and establish her brand. However, it became very stressful and a lot of work hauling merchandise 5 or 6 hours away from home.
“At a certain point, my success (especially post-COVID) began to plateau,” Rachel said. “COVID helped me take a break from the constant travel and re-prioritize my goal of once again having a storefront all my own.”
“My work has always been heavily influenced by Slidell,” she said. “I keep coming back to the things I saw and experienced in my childhood and teen years. Slidell is my business’ cultural and spiritual center. I couldn’t imagine opening my shop anywhere else.”
In January 2022, Rachel moved back home to Slidell and began searching for a new space to open her shop.
“I wanted to be part of Olde Towne, with or without a shop space,” she said. In April 2022, Rachel was elected onto the Olde Towne Slidell Main Street board. As a board member, Rachel is excited about the 10-year Slidell Revitalization Plan that was revealed recently, and is most looking forward to more things for kids to do in Olde Towne.
“Slidell will become a tourist destination, with shopping, dining and cultural opportunities,” she said. “I couldn’t have picked a better time to bring my business back to Olde Towne.”
Rachel finally found a shop location this past August, and welcomes everyone to join her at the grand opening on Saturday, October 1, 2022.
Damsel n’ Distress will be an eclectic and fun gift shop featuring Rachel’s work and that of other local artists.
Store hours will be Tuesday – Friday, 9am - 3pm & Saturday, 9am - 5pm.
Rachel’s creations can also be found on her Etsy store (to view, click the QR code below), and posted frequently on her Facebook page: Facebook.com/DamselnDistressSlidell
Most everyone has heard of this “new” sport sweeping the country, maybe even the world. Where did it come from? First of all, it is not new by any stretch of the imagination! Pickleball was founded in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington by two dads, Bill Bell and Joel Pritchard, in an attempt to keep their bored kids occupied during their summer vacation. They took some old ping pong paddles, a plastic ball (think wiffle ball), and an old badminton court with a net and made up a game that the entire family, regardless of age or ability could play. Barney McCallum, another resident of the island, lent a hand at making plywood paddles with his bandsaw, which quickly turned into an after-work activity for the increasing number of players on the island. This eventually led to a commercial paddle-making business, Pickle-ball, Inc!
Currently, this oddly named game is
known as the fastest growing sport in America, with an estimated 5 million US players! One of their claims-to-fame is that anyone can learn the game and start having fun in under one hour!
Every state in the U.S. and all Canadian provinces now have some kind of pickleball venue, as well as 63 countries! The fun game has popped up in subdivision cul-de-sacs, homeowner’s driveways, unused tennis courts, public gymnasiums, health clubs, retirement communities, cruise ships and more. Not only is there pickleball, but there’s Pink Pickleball this month to support Breast Cancer Awareness. There’s a variety of events going on: Dink for Pink, Pickled Pink, Paddle with a Purpose, Pickle Me Pink, and Picklin’ for a Cure.
So, how did the game get its name? There are two versions floating around. The first is that it was named after the
family cocker spaniel, Pickles, who was said to chase the ball and run off with it in his mouth. While this is an enduring story of a beloved pet, most pickleball websites dispute it based on the account of the game’s creation by Joan Pritchard, Joel’s wife. She grew up in Marietta, Ohio and loved watching the Marietta College rowing crew races. After the conclusion of the main regatta, the non-starters would compete in a just-for-fun contest known as a “pickleboat race.” As told by her son, “They sort of threw the leftover non-starter oarsmen into these particular pickle boats. She thought pickleball sort of threw bits of other games into the mix (badminton, tennis, ping pong); and decided that ‘Pickle Ball’ was an appropriate name.”
The game is easy and affordable to learn, as all you need is some basic gear to get started. If you become addicted then you can always upgrade to better
equipment. To begin playing, you just need a paddle, a ball, appropriate attire and a court to play on. Don’t think you need to pay expensive court fees either. Most communities have lots of free courts available. Here in Slidell, there are 3 free indoor courts in the gym at John Slidell Park. Cross-Gates Family Fitness health club on Military Road in Slidell offers pickleball for a fee (either membership or a guest fee) on one outside court and from 2-4 indoor courts in the gymnasium. City of Slidell Parks and Recreation plans to repurpose a baseball field at Fritchie Park to house pickleball courts in the near future.
How did the game end up in Louisiana?
Tom Burkhart stumbled across a pickleball set when he was a physical education teacher at Baker Middle School approximately 40 years ago. The faculty decided to give the game a try and loved it. They added it to their curriculum and the students were just as smitten. Tom told me that he single-handled played the mixed doubles winners and if they were able to beat him, they would receive an ‘A’ for the semester. He said, “I never had to give an A!” Tom went on to become the Regional Director for the USA Pickleball Association over a 6-state area – Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Mississippi and Tennessee. He traveled all six of these states, promoting the game. Judging by the number of players, he was quite successful.
Pickleball paddles are larger than
ping pong and smaller than tennis rackets. They can run the gamut in price depending on the material and quality. I personally recommend playing the game a bit before spending a ton of money on the sport. All the players I’ve met are willing to let you try out their paddle before you decide what feels most comfortable for you.
Pickleball balls are still similar to wiffle balls. They are lightweight with holes in them. There’s a difference between indoor and outdoor balls. Indoor balls are lighter, airier and made of softer plastic with 26 larger holes. While they are easier to play with indoors, they cannot hold up to windy conditions in an outdoor game. This is why outdoor balls are heavier and have 40 smaller holes.
You don’t need any fancy apparel; comfortable athletic clothes with good court shoes are perfect.
Basic rules of pickleball are a little tricky to grasp when you first start playing. My best advice is to play often with more experienced players; who, in my opinion, are very tolerant of newbies and willing to teach you the trickiest parts of the game.
Similar to tennis, the game can be played as singles or doubles, with doubles being the most popular. It is played on a badminton size court, 20’ x 44’, with a 7-foot no-volley zone on each side of the net. The ball is served diagonally, starting with the right-hand service square. Points are only scored by the serving team.
Dink – A soft shot that arcs over the net and falls into the opposing non-volley zone (NVZ).
Drop Shot – a soft shot hit off a bounce from deep in the court and landing in the opposing NVZ.
Fault – Any action that stops play because of a rule violation.
Groundstroke – A ball hit after a bounce. Kitchen – Pickleball slang for non-volley zone (NVZ).
Let – When the ball touches the net on a serve and lands in the receiver’s proper service court. Like tennis, these are replayed.
Lob – a lofted shot that sends the ball high overhead and deep.
Overhead smash – a hard overhead shot directed downward into the opposing court, usually as a return from an opposing lob, high return or high bounce. Also known as a Yum-yum!
Paddle – the equivalent of a racket in tennis. Can be made of wood, composite or graphite. Pickled – the equivalent of getting “skunked” in other sports, scoring zero points in the entire game. If you lose 11-0, you’ve been ‘pickled.’ Pickler – A pickleball addict.
Rally – Continuous play that occurs from the time the ball is served until play ends in a fault.
Ready Position – Ideal position to receive the ball for return. Paddle is out in front of the player’s body at chest height, with a neutral grip prepared for either forehand or backhand. Weight is evenly balanced with the knees bent. Side Out – when service passes to the receiving team.
The Party’s at the Kitchen – advice to get to the NVZ after your 3rd shot.
Third Shot Drop – The shot taken after your return of serve and meant to land softly in the opponent’s kitchen or NVZ.
Volley – A ball hit in the air before it bounces. Yips – When a player cannot successfully execute a skill they have performed hundreds of times before without error.
Yum-Yum – Overhead smash (see above).
The winner is the first team to score 11 points, leading by 2. For more in-depth details of the game, Google “pickleball rules.”
Can you really learn the game and start having fun in an hour or less? Yes! I attended my first Meet the Coach session a few months ago. The coach and helpers handed each of us a paddle with instructions on the proper way to hold it and we began hitting the ball back and forth over the net. We started fairly close to the net, just outside the no-volley zone. I learned that this was known as dinking, and it is incredibly fun! Little by little, I grasped some of the finer points of the sport – how to serve, how to keep score, proper stance, and much, much more. All the players were exceptionally friendly, helpful and encouraging. Some of my big take-aways were: play often, participate in beginner drills, observe more experienced players and watch how they approach the game. There’s a lot of strategy involved in playing. Think chess, not checkers. The more I learned, the more addicted I got. I’ve subscribed to probably a dozen pickleball newsletters and YouTube channels! I’m excited to say, I’ve moved up to intermediate drills!
Pickleball is a great way to stay active for any age or activity level. I’ve met and played with 75, 78 and 80year old pickleball enthusiasts and read about 90-year old winning players. Lest you think the game is only for older adults, I recently heard of an 8th grader who learned of the sport from his grandmother and went on to win a national championship at the age of 14, competing in the 19-34 age group! Even before the win, Head athletic gear reached out to offer him a sponsorship. Pickleball tournaments now include Next Gens – starting at age 6. Think about it - they don’t have a big court to cover and are quick and agile.
While pickleball attracts both male and female, young and old, it also attracts a whole new array of female entrepreneurs! First up is Melissa McCurley, Founder of PickleballTournaments.com who was employed at American Express as Director of Data and Voice. Her mom invited her to play in a pickleball tournament as her partner. Knowing she was in IT, one of the players asked her to look at the system they were using to run tournaments. She did and, three months later, purchased the company, which today is the leading pickleball tournament management software company.
Stacie Townsend was a partner at a full-service law firm in Florida where she specialized in business law. She had played softball throughout college, then professionally and internationally. Her parents invited her to play pickleball. She was paired with an older man, Charlie, who had a wicked spin and ability to place the ball between their opponents. Thanks to her softball athleticism, Stacie was quick on the court and able to keep the ball in play. They
won their first game and Stacie learned that Charlie was 90 years young! From that first win where she fell in love with the sport, she went on to create The Pickler, whose mission is “to promote the sport of pickleball and inspire others to play pickleball.” They have a free newsletter, blogs and podcasts offering tips on the game and also sell pickler gear. The list of females goes on and on - from app developers, media and content developers, several apparel and gear lines, and an author of “Pickleball for All.”
I spent some time with Pickleball Coach and Ambassador, Terri Lamperez, who has been playing the game for 11 years and coaching for 3. One day, after finishing a tennis game, she heard this noise coming from the gym – tap –tap – tap. She opened the door and asked what it was. A player answered “Pickleball” and invited her in to play. She thought it was kind of fun. Tennis friends warned her not to play this new game or it would mess up her tennis skills. Not heeding the warning, Terri began playing once or twice a week and decided she enjoyed it more than tennis, with part of this being the camaraderie of the players. She invited her tennis partner to try it and they played their first pickleball tournament about 10 years ago.
I asked Terri what she loved about the game. “Pickleball gives me a reason to wake up every morning and to spread a little joy for somebody else. This game is open to everyone. Nobody is left out - regardless of age or skillset. The other thing I love is introducing the game to the next generation. Pickleball is a game that grandparents can play with their grandchildren, unlike baseball or soccer.” Terri also shared that the pickleball community is a family, whether you are playing at John Slidell Park, Crossgates, Picayune, North Carolina, Florida or your next cruise ship! I can attest to this fact. When my husband was working in Japan with Typhoon Hinnamnor approaching his location, everyone in my pickleball family offered concern, support and prayers. Having always coached sports - whether it was tennis, softball, soccer or swimming - it was only natural that Terri would bring her passion and love of the game to coaching. “My favorite thing is to see the person no one expected to do something get it right. The players who inspire me are the ones nobody else wants to play with.”
Soon, Terri will wear a new hat as she becomes an ambassador for Legacy, a new company making pickleball paddles with a vision of making the sport available to everyone, not just the big name winners. Their goal is to celebrate the everyday hero, whether that is a wheelchair or amputee pickleball player, a mid-60’s mom who was never good at sports, an inner-city youth, or your 85-year old neighbor who picked up a paddle for the first time. There’s even a version of pickleball that can be played at the beach or on a lawn, known as Sandy Pickle. Since the ball won’t bounce on sand or grass, the game takes
on a few different characteristics. The court is smaller and the net is higher. It’s a volley-only game. One pass or “bump” is allowed by your partner, similar to volleyball. Serving is more of a freestyle type and scoring is different. Check out sandypickle.com for more information.
The most unique place I’ve heard of pickleball was the New York Stock Exchange board room when Major League Pickleball (MLP) hosted a pickleball expedition while onsite to ring the opening bell! Yes, there are pickleball leagues and teams! In fact, our own former Saints quarterback, Drew Brees, is part owner of the MLP Austin, TX Mad Drops. He’s been playing the game himself for about 1-1/2 years. While the sport is not included in the Olympics, yet, there’s a good chance it will be added to either the Paris 2024 or Los Angeles 2028 games.
Pickleball isn’t just a sport anymore, it’s now a play written by Jeff Daniels that will make its debut in September at the regional theater, Purple Rose, in Chelsea, Michigan. If you haven’t
already guessed it, it will be a comedy poking fun at the fastest growing sport in the nation. Part of the fuel for his writing has come from his wife of 42 years infatuation with the sport. This amazingly fast-growing sport is enjoyed by thousands of players in our vicinity with 70-90% playing for the fun and camaraderie of it. But it is also a huge boom to the economy of the areas with the drive and insight to embrace pickleball. Terri shared that a Philadelphia YMCA built 12 courts, hoping to attract 300 new members. They ended up with 1400 new members! Not only this, but hotels, restaurants and shops spring up around pickleball complexes to support the crowds flocking there for tournaments or just a fun game.
To learn more about the sport, sign up for pickleball newsletters, check out pickleball YouTube videos or join the Northshore Pickleball Facebook page.
No matter your age or your athletic ability, come give pickleball a try. Who knows? You might just fall in love with it like I did!
October 8th & 9th
Pelican Park Pickled Pink Pickleball Tournament to support Breast Cancer Awareness
October 14th - 16th
Louisiana Senior Games in Baker, LA includes Pickleball
Cross-Gates Pink Pickleball Fundraiser for Breast Cancer Awareness
“Treasure Map” for assets (view this article, and many more, on my Facebook page or my website at RondaMGabb.com).
Way too often we see trust provisions made in a Will (a testamentary trust) or in a Living Trust (an inter vivos trust), yet the beneficiary-driven assets do not match. For example, we met recently with an oil company executive with several children, one had special needs and the others were not yet ready to receive such a large inheritance outright. He actually had a pretty good will that included testamentary trusts for the children, and a special needs trust
double-whammy: 1) those assets now must go through the decedent’s succession/ probate; and 2) it could cause an adverse income tax event, especially if taxable money must now be withdrawn at a faster rate than if a beneficiary was named. I wish I could tell you that we don’t see this often, but we do. Just this year alone, we have done several successions/probate that were totally unnecessary but for the lack of named beneficiaries.
Mind you, this double-whammy can also happen if you fail to update your beneficiary forms after your named beneficiary dies.
your spouse in your Will and/or trust are negated upon the signing of the Judgment of Divorce. But guess what? Yep, this does NOT apply to your beneficiary designations! Just last month I had to levy the bad news to a friend whose dad’s life insurance still named his ex-wife as the beneficiary (it was my friend’s ex-stepmother).
Now do you see the importance of matching your purse to your shoes? Be sure that when you leave this Earth, all of your hard-earned assets will go to those YOU have chosen, and the beneficiaries receive their fair share only when you intended for them to have it.
With more than 600 providers and counting, Our Lady of the Lake Physician Group covers a robust spectrum of care. In addition to your annual checkup, our experienced group of providers specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of a broad range of illnesses and complex medical conditions. Meet the providers who are part of Our Lady of the Lake Physician Group.
Tommy Williams & Rep. Mary DuBuisson are named King & Queen Samaritan LXXII by the Slidell Women’s Civic Club
Welcome Leadership Northshore Class of 2023! This is just the beginning of the great things you will accomplish for our community!
Joyce Snyder Donahue gets her bow ceremoniously tied! She’s an official Mande Milkshaker!
The Rosies had their 2022 Build Wrap-Up Party and presented EST Habitat with a check for $112,000!!!
Rosie committee members (l-r): Kentrell Jones, Taylor Frisard, Kendra Maness, Jess Steelman & Julie Wood (Karen Vander not pictured)
There’s a new pup in town! Meet K-9 Bailey and Officer Esque. Bailey is a 2 year old German Short Hair Pointer from Hungary! Bailey joined the SPD in April & can do everything from tracking people, finding drugs to article searches.
CONGRATULATIONS to David & Victoria Paz on their recent marriage!