Slidell Magazine - April 2023

Page 1


Vol. 150 April 2023

Arts Evening Arts Evening

Saturday, April 15, 2023

5-9 pm • Free Admission

Olde Towne Slidell

646-4375 •

Local Artists & Artwork

Live Entertainment

Fine & Casual Dining

Antique, Boutique & Unique Shopping

Slidell’s Notor ious Big Shot Exhibit

Zulu’s Big Shot meets Slidell’s Royalty!

Costumes on display at 2065 2nd Street

The City of Slidell and the Commission on the Arts would like to thank our 2022/2023 Cultural Season Sponsors for making this event possible:

Renaissance $5,000 Sponsors:

Baroque, $2,500 Sponsor : Silver Slipper Ca sino

Neocla ssical, $1,000 Sponsors: Councilman Bill & L aura Borchert

Lori ’ s Art Depot • • Lowry-Dunham, Case & Vivien Insurance Agency

Impressionism, $500 Sponsors: P. David Carollo, Attorney At Law • CiCi’s Pizza

Mayor Greg Cromer • State Representative Mary DuBuisson, District 90

Roberta’s Cleaners • Slidell Historic Antique Association

• The City
presents •
of Slidell
“Spring in Olde Towne ” by Colleen Marquis Arts Evening 2023 Poster Artist
Plus + Publications



This month’s cover just makes you smile, doesn’t it? That’s the goal of STARC Art - bringing smiles to all who view, purchase, and create the vibrant artwork that has become a sensation in the Slidell area and beyond. This month’s cover, “Easter Bunny,” was a collaborative effort by two of STARC’s talented artists, Terri and Connie.

Terri enjoys listening to Elvis and Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons. That means she has great taste in music! She also likes watching T.V. game shows, playing card games and working on puzzles. She always has a smile on her face, each and every day, as you can see.

Connie loves talking on the phone with her family and friends. She also enjoys bowling, watching movies, playing cards, and making jewelry. WOW! It sounds like both of these ladies are not only talented, but a whole lot of fun too!

Slidell Magazine is delighted to share the talents of the STARC artists on our covers. This is the FOURTH cover for STARC Art. It is an honor to highlight this great program and great organization that impacts thousands of people in St. Tammany Parish. You can purchase this art, as well as dozens of other art pieces, cards, calendars and creations by visiting:


Kendra Maness Editor / Publisher

Michael Bell Graphic Designer

Krista Gregory Administrative Assistant


John Case

“The Storyteller”

Charlotte Collins

Extraordinary Slidell Neighbors

Mike Rich

Making Cents of Your Money

Donna Bush

Northshore Humane Society: Shelter To Service

Suzie Hunt

Rainbow Child Care Center: Connections, Making a Difference

Ronda M. Gabb


Katie Clark Case

Olde Towne Main Street

Last month, I was honored to represent the Animal Assistance League (AAL) of Slidell at the quarterly meeting of the Steel Mimosas. AAL was one of three organizations chosen to give a presentation that would lead to one of them being awarded $10,000. By complete coincidence from a random drawing, one of the other charities that presented that night was the Northshore Humane Society.

Everyone representing the two, separate animal charities was excited for the opportunity, but conflicted because we were competing against each other for funding. Truth be told, we all were just grateful that an animal organization in St. Tammany Parish had a seat at the charity table and a chance to tell our story.

By evening’s end, Northshore Humane Society was chosen as the recipient, with the funds being used for their Shelter To Service program (check out their great story in this month’s edition).

Slidell Magazine has plans to do a feature story on AAL in the near future. I don’t have the space in my Editor’s Letter to convey how much this organization means to me or how deeply connected I am with their cause.

Briefly, AAL is the non-profit organization that benefits Slidell Animal Control. It was founded over 30 years ago by Pat Chiri (the mother of Slidell Independent Editor & Publisher, Kevin Chiri). My very first introduction to volunteerism, when I was in my early twenties, was through AAL. I loved working with the animals so much that I yearned to make it my life’s work, and soon opened my first boarding kennel, then another, then a pet grooming facility.

In 2005, as Katrina approached, the safety of the pets in the shelter was in peril. Through the heroic efforts of the shelter staff, every single animal being housed at Slidell Animal Control was evacuated to my facilities - 68 dogs and 51 cats, to be exact. The next day, the Slidell Animal Shelter was drowned in 7+ feet of water. And every single animal was safe and dry.

Slidell Animal Control has some of the most dedicated and hard-working staff on earth, for a job that is filled with as many horrors as victories. The shelter is underfunded and dependent upon donations and volunteers. Maybe your business can help? Maybe YOU can help?

PO Box 4147 Slidell, LA 70459 985-789-0687
Editor’s Letter Kendra Maness, Editor / Publisher subscribe today! only $39 / year! Visit our website to subscribe, view current & past editions, view advertising rates & more!

April’s Slidell Neighbor is one whose family has lived in Slidell for generations.

Jake Levy’s grandfather, Lazard J. Levy, was an entrepreneur who had various businesses along the bayou. Hearing about Jake’s childhood growing up in Slidell will bring back memories for some of you. For others, it will give insight into the town we once were, and the values created by community. It also offers a vision for the future of this small town atmosphere in a thriving community. For new Slidellians, it offers a glimpse into some of our hidden jewels, places, people, and what is special about this community.

Entering Levy’s Appliances and Furniture on Front Street is like stepping into a dream. Music from the entertainment center pulls you around the corner to a perfectly inviting living room. Looking left, there’s another, and another, all equally as inviting. Looking right are all the dining rooms, with a wall full of side-by-side kitchen appliances. But right next to the door was the end table I was looking for, as if it was waiting for my entry.

Then I heard Jake Levy’s voice calling out from the sales counter in the center of the store. It was at least a half dozen room settings away. I tried to focus on him and walk swiftly, but enticing accessories kept yanking my focus away from my goal. As I walked up to the counter, he introduced Charlotte (me) to Charlotte (his wife).

Eventually, I managed to settle in on a plush sofa and wait for Jake and Charlotte Levy to be off duty. That is when I was able to see the rooms beyond, with bedrooms galore. The big screen TV was warning us of the impending storms we may have tonight. But here, inside the land of decor, all was comfy cozy.

Jake was the first to join me, all smiles. It was as if the TV switched to an old black and white series like “Ozzie and Harriet.” Though he lived on Maine Street, then on Michigan, it was this place, owned by Jake Jr. and Marguerite Levy, that brought back memories.

He brought me back to our youth,

and told me that he grew up with this showroom and attached warehouse as his playground. “The school bus would drop me off here. My favorite thing was when the giant boxes were emptied. I could spend hours in them, hiding, and playing fort with my younger brother Charles. I was four years old when my parents started this business in 1960. Their first store was on the corner of First Street and Erlanger, catty corner from your family’s business.” (Where Terry Lynn’s Cafe’ is now.)

Like Jake, I grew up visiting what is now Lowry, Dunham, Case and Vivien Insurance. It is all brick in the oldest part because it was once a savings and loan. As you may know, Olde Towne began as the heart of businesses in Slidell. THE bank was here, Bank of Slidell, followed by South Savings and Loan. Churches, groceries, clothing and merchandise stores were all in this area that was anchored by the railroad station.

I was reminded about our favorite grocery stores, Sarraille’s, Dunaway’s, and for

A biography by Charlotte Collins Jake Levy
“The need for connection and community is primal, as fundamental as the need for air, water, and food.”
Dean Ornish

me, Martha’s Grocery. Martha’s was attached to mom’s interior design store, Pomeroy Lowry Interiors. After school, I could sneak in and buy a Three Musketeers or a Snickers and a Coke. Then there was Jitney Jungle. I can still remember the way the wood floors in the Jitney Jungle Grocery smelled. Stepping in from a hot sunny day, it was always cool and dark inside. Jake would have been on his bike, and I would have been on foot. But a cold drink was always a wise break in the summer. Jake chimed in, “I pretty much ran all around what we now call Olde Towne. I would get on my bike and ride over to Haas’s Five and Dime Store, to Dunaway’s, and Jitney Jungle for popcorn or a candy bar. Then I would visit my friend Paul at Mire’s Hardware Store and Bobby at Giordana’s Shoe Store. I just had to be home by six every evening. No one had to worry because every parent watched all the children they laid eyes upon. We couldn’t get away with shenanigans, but we didn’t need to. We had all the activity we needed, right here in Olde Towne.” His smile widened at the memories, and he added, “Man those were really the good old days.” Eventually, Levy’s store moved, but not out of Olde Towne. It moved a whole block, to Front Street. When that property, sitting right on the main drag, became available, Jake Jr. and Marguerite were ready. Jake laughed and said, “My dad ran over and practically tackled them to sell it to him. There was a house on the corner, and this building was next to it. People may remember that house because it was a lot of different businesses: a mechanic shop, a donut shop, a church, a hair salon, even the bookstore. We still have pictures of my baseball team standing in front of it. Levy’s was set back further then, before they widened Front Street. We opened in this location in 1961, and my dad added on to it over and over as Slidell grew.”

I paused long enough to scan the huge showroom. Somehow, it never felt huge because Charlotte had every “room” arranged to capture your attention and hold it within each homey space. Out of the three Levy girls (Belinda, Lucy, and Sonia) and two boys (Charles and Jake), Jake III was the only one who committed to running the family business. Like the others, Jake was given the choice of college or coming to work with them.

Smiling and sweeping his hand across the sections of the store, he announced,

“Next year will be my 50th year in the family business! Unfortunately, Belinda passed away, but Lucy has a shop in Slidell named Lulu’s. She refurbishes and paints furniture, and has a creative flair. Both Sonia and Charles moved to the West Coast. I started working here in high school half a day through DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America). It was great because their mission is to prepare entrepreneurs before they start full time jobs. I also came to work on weekends and summers while I was in school. Mom’s rules were to not put your feet on the furniture and never, ever go into Currie’s Beer Garden. Currie’s was right next door and, of course, I slipped in to buy a root beer and chips now and then.”

Now, it was as if the TV was back to the era of color, and the series, “Cheers.” Jake told me all about the guys in Currie’s, and his favorite bartender, Buster Randall. “They just closed down, but I used to be able to tell what time of the day it was by the sound of the horn honking outside. Mostly men went there to socialize and catch up on the latest news in Slidell. They were in no shape to drive home, so their wives would drop them off, then come to pick up their husbands and blow for them to come out. We all knew who it was by the sound of each horn. There were three different crowds - a morning crowd, a noon crowd, and the afternoon crowd. I could tell you whenever it was 10 o’clock, 12 o’clock, and 3 o’clock,” Jake laughed nostalgically, looking towards Currie’s.

He began to recall, “After various hurricanes, we had to tear the old building down and rebuild it completely. Back then, we also offered financing and layaway. A lot of people couldn’t get financing just for furniture or appliances back in the day, especially the elderly people. We had green stamps and gold stamps. I remember counting the stamps in the back. But things have changed and people have more money

Levy’s on Front St circa 1979 Jake (in bow tie) with his siblings: Belinda, Lucy, Sonia & Charles. Christmas, 1960

now, so we don’t need to offer those services anymore. We had several part time people and several delivery guys working, but mom finally got to a point where she started looking after the grandkids. My kids loved that. She retired, and that left dad and me running the show. And we had generational families coming in here once my age began to get married.”

After a pause, he smiled broadly, and added, “Then I got married in 1981, and my wife Charlotte joined me. She is a huge asset here!”

Charlotte remembers all the different decor changes through the years. She laughed and said, “Jake used to buy the curved red velvet chaise lounges. Then came the more Early American style with all the wood. Next, green was the color in the Floridian style. Now, everything’s Modern with white, gray, and neutrals. Lots of metals and rustic barn door wood with distressed finishes.”

I assumed they met in high school, but that was not the case. I learned that they both attended Florida Avenue Elementary school. We all reminisced about the principal, Charles Sumrall. Charlotte remembered the plays and the old wooden stage. She happily announced that they are in the process of remodeling that area of the school. Jake swears he remembers Charlotte Lett (his bride to be) because she was in the same class as his brother Charles. But he was three and a half years older, so she didn’t remember Charles’ older brother, as he was soon attending St. Tammany Jr. High.

Charlotte laughed at how times have changed for kids, and marveled, “We rode our bikes from Nellie Drive, near the Slidell Little Theatre, to Florida Avenue. We thought nothing about walking and riding that far back then. Kids were active when they had any free time, which I think we had more of in those days. Parents didn’t have to shuttle us to scheduled lessons or activities. Then, my family moved to Mandeville, and that was the end of that. Until… I moved back to Slidell and started working at South Savings and Loan.” She raised her hand toward me and said to me, “Your dad was on the Board then. And his insurance office was right between Levy’s and South Savings.”

How funny, when lives almost intersect in this way. And yet, they were Slidell neighbors whose lives I only knew in a practical way. We were so excited when we were able to order new appliances from Levy’s after Katrina. That is, once the National Guard was able to help get our old side by side out. Anyone remember that pleasant moment of coming home?

But, back to the more personal details that I did not yet know. Jake’s cousin, Kim Parker, worked with Charlotte at the bank. She smiled and looked at her husband as

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she revealed, “Kim told me that Jake wanted to date me. After that, he used to whistle at the window for us to come out and talk to him. Sometimes, we would walk over to Lena Mae’s restaurant over there on the corner (now Terry Lynn’s Cafe). Then we would see each other out in Olde Towne and different places and, eventually, we started dating.”

Laughing and putting his arm around her, Jake joked, “Yeah, it was all over after that!”

She was 19 and Jake was 22. I asked who was most smitten and both of them smiled and pointed at the other. When I asked where they went while dating, it was all the Olde Towne and Pontchartrain Boulevard favorites that “ain’t there no more”! There was Minacapelli’s, which was the hip crowd, Vera’s Seafood, then Pizza Hut before you went to the Slidell Movies, the Cast Net, and Ground Pat’i. For just a quick drink, they went to Time Out Lounge, and on a rough date, even Bastille’s. But for their special dates, they drove over to Lacombe where Sal and Judy’s was the big treat. Once in a while, they headed in to New Orleans. Mainly, Olde Towne was their stomping grounds.

Charlotte added, “We mainly went out with a bunch of friends, or I would go watch him play baseball and softball in tournaments at the Bayou Liberty Civic Club, or where St. Linus Church used to be.”

Those were the days before children, second jobs, committee meetings, and helping aging parents out. The couple now have three children, Ross, Cole, and Elize. Now that they are running the business, they work six days a week. Plus, Charlotte is a school bus attendant, so she puts in 12 hour days on weekdays.

Charlotte waved her hand and exclaimed, “I love working here. It isn’t really work to me. You know, it’s almost like being at home. I like waiting on the customers, I like selling furniture, and I especially love buying the furniture. Jake does all the appliances.”

I could tell they both loved working the business together. These days, after work, they mostly meet friends for dinner. Their one day off is Sunday. Charlotte does her grocery shopping and gets ready for the following week. Jake goes out to the family property on Bayou Liberty to fish, crab, or just relax in the beauty of nature. For newcomers, Camp Salmen Nature Park offers this same tranquility and lush native woodlands. Their son, Cole, often joins him, just to enjoy the peace and quiet, away from the hub-bub. But, as their kids get busier and busier, Jake and Charlotte often find themselves driving up to Walker and Baton Rouge to spend time with the grandchildren.

Yes, together they have seen a lot of changes in Slidell.

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Like most of the people I interview, they love the atmosphere here, the people, and the sense of community. Jake summed it up with, “We have roots here, and it’s been our home for so long. And we enjoy all of our old friends that are still here. I really like the recent revitalization of Olde Towne.

I think they’ve come a long way, and there’s always things to do and lots of activity. So, I’m very happy to see that. I think we have some good leadership right now with Mayor Cromer and our police chief, our city council and all the people they have working for us. They are doing a great job as far as our crime goes. And it’s wonderful to

live in a small town where you know all those people. You can pick up the phone and call them when you have a problem or a question. Of course, I love that they come in here and shop, and it makes for a great place to live.”

Those things are what has always made Slidell great. We also talked about ways to assure development is a positive thing for our city. Jake and Charlotte have lived in beautiful Chamalé subdivision for over 32 years. It was designed by a local developer, George Dunbar, who had a vision for the natural beauty. He put restrictions in place to assure that families would still be happy there for many generations,

and it has proven to be so.

Charlotte Levy commented, “Our kids grew up at Club Chamalé learning to swim, play tennis, racquetball, and riding bikes. The developer made sure the entrance was tasteful, and that we had enough green space to feel a sense of privacy. That’s why people moved to Slidell, the beauty.”

Nodding, Jake added, “Dunbar had foresight. These days, it seems like developers are coming in just to make a buck and then they are gone, and we have to fix all the ensuing problems. I also would like to see more family facilities for our young people.”

1.) Eleven-year-old Jake at Florida Avenue Elementary, 1967. 2.) Graduation, 1975, Slidell High School. 3.) Jake & Charlotte dating, 1980. 4.) A beautiful wedding at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, November 13, 1981. 1.) L.C. Plummer, Levy’s employee for an incredible 47 years, at his retirement party. 2.) Jake III and Jake Jr. were immortalized on the Slidell cartoon map, circa 2003. 3.) Jake, with Charlotte, was honored for his contributions to Olde Towne when he was named a Duke in Slidell’s historic St. Patrick’s Day Parade in 2013.

I found their viewpoint interesting, since they are in the business of selling furniture and appliances when new homes are built. I guess we all are concerned to maintain our quality of life and sense of community. The city seems to be doing a great job, but outside of the boundaries, into the parish, we are struggling to establish these same priorities.

Charlotte summarized, “This community has been good to us over the last 63 years. We appreciate all of our loyal customers and new customers that come in every day. Over the years, we have had some wonderful employees.

We have had friends and other family members help out here through the years. That is how we have been able to keep our family business atmosphere. Our customers would see the same familiar faces every time they would come in. L.C. Plummer was our longest employed staff member, he was like family. After 47 years, he retired with the elder Levy’s. My parents have even worked in the business! Mom is 90 now, and is still helping us out!”

The Levy’s concluded by saying they hope to stay in Slidell, but look forward to retiring. They want to downsize, somewhere that they can hang

their hats. Jake pointed out that our generation is now becoming the old timers that remember how Slidell used to be. They now want to travel while they can, mostly to our National Parks, where there are wide open spaces out West and up the East Coast. But they aren’t going anywhere yet!

The next time you’re on Front Street, be sure to stop in to Levy’s to chat, reminisce, and shop local. It’s a Slidell tradition. Chances are, that’s what your parents and grandparents did too!

Left: Jake & Charlotte celebrate their 30th Wedding Anniversary in 2011 at Sal & Judy’s with their children: (left to right) Cole, Ross & Elize. Right: The historic Levy’s Appliances & Furniture on Front St. has witnessed much in its 60+ years! 1.) The 20th Store Anniversary for Levy’s,1980. l-r: Al Sylvas, Jake III, Jake Jr, and L.C. Plummer. 2.) Levy’s founders, Jake and Marguerite Levy, in the showroom. 3.) The Levy’s - left to right: Jake III, Jake Jr., Marguerite, Lucy, Belinda, Charles and Sonia.
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The Storyteller

There comes a time in any writer’s life when they feel their mind has created its last story. Then, out of nowhere, comes a mental flicker. I do believe you have to train your mind to be receptive to these bits of inspiration.

Such was the case when I met with some old high school classmates for lunch back in my hometown. There were less than a dozen there, most have moved away, many are deceased. They meet monthly, but I can only manage to drive the two hours about once a year.

Naturally, we reminisced about old classmates, those we haven’t seen since graduation, and those that are deceased. A name came up that had crossed my mind many times over the years. His name was D.J. Gardner.



In Our Community In Our World Rotary Club of
North Shore meets every Tuesday at 7:30AM Pinewood Country Club
I have learned through experience that you never know when a happening will take place that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. Such was the case on the second day of class in my fourth grade. Only recently, after almost sixty-six years, I took the time to discover some of the answers.
Slidell North Shore
RCSN recently donated 2 ShelterBoxes to aid recovery for families impacted by the earthquake in Turkey & Syria.
RCSN supported the Ronald McDonald House of Greater New Orleans by providing a cooking grill for families of seriously ill children.

It started when he walked into the classroom. Even for a school in a semi-rural environment, he was a spectacle. Most all of us had been in school with each other since the first grade. We had never seen him before, or anyone dressed like him. He was taller than most of us, skinny to the point of appearing undernourished. He wore farmer’s overalls, the type with the bib up to the neck and held on by straps over the shoulders. Maybe twenty years prior, this would not have been so unusual, but not in 1957. We had moved on to blue jeans and t-shirts, especially on hot September days in a classroom with no air conditioning.

His hair was cut short around the sides. A few boys had similar haircuts given by their parents by placing a bowl over their head and cutting around it; so that wasn’t so unusual. His was different, though. The hair on top of his head was long and greased down with something heavier than hair oil. Someone would later say it must have been sausage grease. He wore high-top brogans, which none of us wore. Black lace-up Keds tennis shoes were now in vogue for us.

His clothes, though unusual, were clean; and he was clean, something you could not say about all the students in our school. I mostly remember his shyness, but he posed with an almost continuous smile. Where did he come from? We had never seen him before. Did he move here from some other place?

He didn’t say but one word all day, and that was to answer “present” when the roll was called. At recess, he stood under a tree on the playground as the rest of us played kickball or something similar. Recess also doubled as physical education class in those days.

At the end of the day, I wanted to see where he went, but he quickly exited the building and disappeared. He would return the next day, but not for long.

The next morning, he was present, dressed in the same manner. Around 9:30, a man appeared at the classroom door. No one had to ask who he was. It was as if this man had cloned our classmate; who,

by now, we knew as D.J. Gardner.

The man was dressed just like his son, but his clothes were dirty, as if he had already put in a hard day’s work. He stood at least six feet tall, very erect, except for his head that was attached to a long neck and bobbled forward.

He walked up to the teacher’s desk and said something we couldn’t hear. The teacher asked him to step into the hall.

“Mrs. Davis,” that was the teacher’s name, “I have come to get my boy out of this here school.”

The door was open, and we could see him and the teacher plainly. He placed his thumbs into the straps that held his overalls, as if to position himself in authority. We could hear the conversation.

“Mr. Gardner, we have been through this already. We have a truancy law in this state. Your son must be in school until he reaches the ninth grade.”

Mr. Gardner responded, “He ain’t never been in school before and when y’all tested him, you put him in the fourth grade. He’s gittin learnin, and he’s gittin all he needs.”

There was some of the conversation we didn’t hear, or at least didn’t understand, but then Mrs. Davis asked Mr. Gardner what he had against education. In a roundabout way, this is how he answered.

“My family has owned 160 acres since before the war. My grandfather only had one son, that was my daddy. And he only had one son, that was me. And I only got one son, that is D.J. My grandfather worked hard to keep that property away from the carpetbaggers and scalawags. My father and I have continued to make a livin there and none of us had as much education as that boy already has.

“If he gets educated, he may think he’s smart and do things different from us. He may even borrow money on the land and invest in some brainstorm or wild idea he has. He could lose our farm. I know best for mine and he aint going to school.”

With that, Mr. Gardner took his son and left. That’s the last we saw of D.J., but I often thought about him. Recently, in search of a story, I tried to


locate him. Unfortunately, I found him on Find A Grave as he had passed in 2016 and was buried at New Zion Church, a small Baptist church at the edge of the county. I drove to the church and found his grave:

D.J. Gardner



Next to him on the same stone was:

Annie Ruth Smith

Wife of D.J Gardner


It immediately occurred to me that she was ten years older than him.

I didn’t notice a car as it entered the church parking lot, but soon a man began to approach me. He identified himself as Brother Alan Wells, pastor of the church. After a few introductory comments, I told him of my interest in the grave of D.J. Gardner. He listened carefully and invited me to his office.

He was familiar with the story of D.J. and Annie Ruth. They had been church members for many years.

“Mr. Case, before we start, let me show you something.”

We walked out the rear door of the church. Immediately adjacent, there was a large, modern building. On the building were the words, D.J. and Annie Ruth Gardner Family Life Center Brother Wells looked at me and said, “Not bad for an uneducated farmer. Let’s go inside and I will tell you the story.”

“You see Mr. Case, D.J. was an only child. So was Annie Ruth. Her family owned 160 acres adjacent to the Gardner family. You noticed she was ten years older than him. Even though she was older, he was the nearest neighbor, and she had a fondness for D.J. Her parents were the opposite of D.J.’s and insisted on her getting an

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education. She always wanted to be a teacher. She took D.J. under her wing and taught him everything she had learned. That is why he was placed in fourth grade, even though he had never attended a real school.

“She graduated from college and got a job teaching just down the road. When she was 26 and D.J. was 16, they married. Even with the age difference, it was a good marriage. He worked offshore 14 days and was home seven. She taught school. When her parents died, D.J’s were already dead; they joined the land and turned it into a first class farm, cattle and cash crops.

“On his seven days off, he did the heavy work and while he was away she kept things going. They had no children and accumulated some money. A few years ago, they leased the mineral rights to some oil company and got a lot of money.

“When they died, they willed everything they had, including the land, to this church, with the stipulation that we could never sell it. It is now leased to a cattle farmer and provides considerable income to the church.”

As I left the minister’s office, I couldn’t help but think of the Biblical passage that says something to the effect, He who has most, will have least, and he has least will have most.

During my drive back home, it occurred to me that maybe I have one more story left in me. I began to think and lay it out in my head. You see, you must see a story before you can write it, so pictures of those two days with D.J. began to become perfectly clear. By the time I arrived home, the story was written in my head. All I had to do was put the images on paper.

John S.
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Last October, Mary and I travelled to the Tuscany region of Italy, where we experienced two weeks of food, wine, outstanding weather, and beautiful scenery. The picture you see is the classic Tuscan view we saw nearly everywhere we went: azure skies, rolling hills, verdant greenery, and the iconic Italian cypress trees.

When we began our European adventures several years ago, Mary said that travelling would change me. I wasn’t sure what she meant by that at the time, but she was right. I’ve changed a lot: I’m more tolerant of others, more open to exotic food (squid ink ravioli, anyone?), and confident in my ability to wedge myself into impossibly small bathrooms.

Yes, bathrooms.

Our tour company prides itself on using small, family-run hotels that often place us in the center of town and close to the action. Although some have been better than others, we have never had a bad experience, despite no elevators, air conditioning as a passing thought, and rooms that are big enough for a bed and not much else. Plus, many of them have teeny-tiny bathrooms that have barely enough room to hold a bar of soap, if you use the travel size. I might be exaggerating a bit, but not by much. Just look at the picture of the bathroom at one of our Tuscany hotels. There’s a sink that the door bumped into, and, even though the

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doorway looks wide enough in the picture, it wasn’t. We had to turn sideways to get in. However, the bathroom was scrupulously clean, the water was hot and plentiful, and the towels were soft. And, in case you are wondering, I did not use the bidet.

Change has been good for me, and it might be good for you, too, when it comes to personal finances. Maybe you have been thinking about changing the way you think about money. Maybe you’ve been telling yourself there’s a better way to manage your investments, deal with risk, and plan for retirement income. If that’s you, we need to talk, so call me.

A parting thought. I had read about the light in Tuscany being “better” than in other places, and I wrote it off as a marketing ploy by Italian travel companies.

I was wrong. It is better, and here’s proof.


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What is Main Street?

Well, naturally, it’s a street that runs through the center of a downtown. At one point, it probably had a baker, a butcher, and a hardware store, and most likely a watering hole of some kind. And then came the cars and the interstates. Fast forward to online shopping and banking. Suddenly, Main Street became a relic, a thing of the past; a museum of beautiful buildings with broken windows, weeds between bricks, tumbleweeds. The people left.

As always, the pendulum swings and people start to realize the value of their downtowns. For starters, the architecture has held up to weather, trends, and generations of people. People also realized that they like to be around other people. They understand the importance of supporting locally owned businesses and being able to spend a whole day in one spot, all while shopping, eating, being entertained and perhaps even being a resident. Turns out, the classic Main Street model that fed all burgeoning towns was a pretty wonderful idea.

Enter the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It was developed as a way to address the multitude of issues

facing dying downtowns. It created a nationwide network of coordinating programs, of which Olde Towne Slidell is a part, to help bring economic vitality back to historic centers, while maintaining character and bringing the community together. And thank goodness for that!

Formed as a non-profit in 2018, Olde Towne Slidell Main Street is one of 36 Main Street communities in Louisiana. We model our program on the “Main Street Approach” which includes Transformation Strategies – Economic Vitality, Design, Organization and Promotion. Our wonderful volunteers help in every aspect of our plan and each aspect informs the other. For instance, if we host a festival, the goal is, of course, to have fun; but more, we want visitors to tour our downtown and realize all we have to offer. They may come to the Antique & Craft Fair, but then stay for a show at our newly opened “Olde Towne Live” venue. Maybe they pass by a vacant storefront and think, “That is an excellent spot for that Juice Bar I’ve been wanting to open!” And that is Economic Vitality.

Yes, we have events almost every weekend, but Olde Towne is also

an excellent place to support local businesses. The area is home to a wide variety of independent shops and restaurants, each with its own character and style. When you shop and dine in Olde Towne Slidell, you’re not only getting a unique experience, but you’re also supporting the local economy and helping to keep small businesses thriving.

Another benefit of visiting Olde Towne is the sense of community that you’ll find here. The area is known for its friendly and welcoming atmosphere, with locals and visitors alike enjoying the small-town feel and sense of connection that comes from an

Story by Katie Case, Program Director
“We are not just a place; we are a community. we are a good memory. We are olde towne.”
Photo by William Blackwell

approachable historic district. Events like the weekly Camellia City Farmer’s Market, the bi-annual Antique & Craft Fair, and the Olde Towne Crawls bring people together to celebrate the best that the area has to offer.

In addition to its community spirit, the area is a great place to explore our history. Visit the old jail, which is now home to the Slidell Museum. Curator Gregory Scott can show you around. He has developed an interactive map with historically relevant places. We also have the Mardi Gras Museum next to City Hall. We are honored to showcase the 2023 Mardi Gras costume of Mr. Big Shot of Zulu himself, Terrance McGuire.

We are so lucky to have a supportive partner in Mayor Greg Cromer. He understands and believes in the Main Street Approach; so much so that he invested in an Olde Towne-specific Master Plan. This roadmap will inform our district for years to come. As an organization, Olde Towne Slidell Main Street looks forward to helping implement this plan.

We are fortunate to have different organizations within our district – the Slidell Historical Antique Association and the Olde Towne Slidell Merchant Association. Both add to the richness of our downtown. The Antique District has a wide-variety of offerings – from some of the best vintage clothing to rare home goods – there’s something for everyone. The Antique & Craft Fair,

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affectionately known as the Slidell Street Fair, is twice a year and is held in the streets of Olde Towne.

The Merchant Association is comprised of local business owners. They sponsor many events throughout the year. This year they hosted a very successful Mardi Gras Kidz Ball and even crowned a king and queen! Do not miss the Zombie Crawl, which takes place before Halloween. This and other events (like our world-famous St. Patricks’ Day Parade) make our district so enviable – family-friendly, vibrant, and unique.

Patrick Heim, President of the Olde Towne Merchant Association and owner of multiple Olde Towne businesses says, “All of us work together to create

a positive and memorable experience for locals and visitors, and we couldn’t do it without our team. Olde Towne may be the heart of Slidell, but the team members are the heartbeat.”

We do have residents in our Olde Towne district, too! Our President, Past-President, and our current and past two treasurers all live a few blocks from one another. Clearly, they believe in our mission – to make Olde Towne livable, workable, and fun!

“I want to restore an old house in the middle of downtown,” said a young Michelle Cramer, Past-President. She and her husband, Doug, did just that – restore one of the oldest homes in our district. It has been a labor of love, but is now the jewel of First Street.

Every St. Patrick’s Day, they have a front lawn “Community Soup Kitchen,” where they cook up cabbage, carrots, and potatoes caught from our annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade the Sunday before, for passersby. Their generosity is unmatched.

Michelle is also President of the Historic Preservation board. “Preservation is imperative to the character and vitality of a city. If we have no guideposts, we lose what is special.” We are fortunate to have a group of dedicated individuals who care about the overall appearance of Olde Towne.

Michelle and our former President, Amber Murray, were instrumental in completing our historic street sign project. Money raised from various events was used to buy and install our attractive street signs. Now, when entering our district, it is evident you are entering a historic district, a special place.

We are finalizing plans for Carey Street Park on the corner of Robert and Carey Streets. This park was made possible by a grant through Louisiana Main Street, another benefit of being part of this national organization. Our goal is to sell personalized bricks to pave the park so it can be used for a variety of purposes. Speaking of grants, we’ve secured $15,000 over the last few years through Louisiana Main Street’s Restoration Grant. This grant helps business owners complete projects that may be monetarily out of reach but are necessary.

Olde Towne Slidell Main Street would not be successful without its volunteers. Our board is made up of dedicated folks from the St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce, Keep Slidell Beautiful, the City of Slidell, a State Representative, local business owners, residents, and more – all who want to improve and promote the heart of our city – Olde

Towne. Whether they are generating ideas for future events, applying for grants or volunteering – they are doing it for you, dear reader! For our community.

Rachel Clayton had this to say about deciding to relocate her family to Olde Towne:

“Since I was a little girl visiting Olde Towne, I’ve always felt a connection to this quaint little downtown. As an adult, my husband and I shared that same passion, even though he’s originally from the West Bank. When the opportunity presented itself, we moved our family right into the heart of Olde Towne. Change doesn’t happen from your couch! We wanted to be living examples to our children how important it is to be involved in your community. Local volunteerism plays a crucial role in creating and maintaining strong, vibrant communities. When individuals volunteer in their local community, they

contribute to the well-being of their neighbors and the greater society. Their willingness and motivation to make a difference is essential to building strong, resilient communities. By working together, volunteers can make a meaningful difference in the lives of their neighbors and create a better future for all. As President of Main Street, I hope to recruit and build a robust board of volunteers that share this same passion for making Olde Towne even more amazing than it is now.”

I am so lucky to be the Program Director. I get to travel all over the state to visit with other Louisiana Main

Street directors. We share many of the same problems and successes; and to be able to learn from each other is invaluable. Soon I will travel to Boston for the National Conference. I will be joined by 5000 other directors and board members all there for the same goal: to help our community live up to its potential.

We are on the cusp! Once we link Heritage Park to Olde Towne; the St. Tammany Trace to Olde Towne; the train to Olde Towne – the people won’t just come. They will stay. We will have a fully realized historic district.

We are not just a place on the way to Florida...We are a destination!

You will not go hungry or thirsty in Olde Towne. Upscale, quick bite, craft cocktails and everything in between - we’ve got you covered.

Near our Historic District, you can find Heritage Park and Bayou Bonfouca. Come by boat, watch a concert, rent a kayak and explore!

Antique & Craft Fair, Oktoberfest, Olde Towne Crawls, Mardi Gras, St. Pat’s Parade, Christmas in Olde Towne, Art Markets, Bayou Christmas, and more!

Soak up some culture at the Slidell Museum. It was the city jail, now it houses precious artifacts and the Slidell Mardi Gras Museum.

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On February 10th, just four days shy of Valentine’s Day, Aimee found her life’s true and eternal love. On that day, she met and immediately bonded with Miss B, her service dog. You see, Aimee suffers from extreme PTSD after her 3 deployments overseas with the U.S. Navy. Her anxiety was so bad, she would seldom leave her house. Now with Miss B by her side, she feels ready to regain her life.

There’s something special about Miss B. She’s not your typical service dog. She’s not a Belgian Malinois or a German Shepherd. In fact, we don’t know for sure what her bloodline is. She kinda looks like a rottweiler, but that’s just looks. What else makes her unique? She is the first graduate of Northshore Humane Society’s (NSHS) new Shelter to Service program and Aimee, her mom, is the first recipient. When I met Aimee and Miss B, they had only been together for five days. It was instantly obvious that they were

smitten with each other. Miss B sported her turquoise nails that matched her collar and leash, like the rock star that she is. Her trainer, Steph, said she wanted to look her best to meet her new mom!

I asked Aimee what it meant to have Miss B as her service dog. “Hope, honestly. Since having her, I walked around the subdivision. Before her, I would not leave the house. When I came to get her Friday, I was a nervous wreck. It’s nothing about people in general, I just have really, really high anxiety. Having her with me makes me feel safer and more comfortable.”

B’s life was not always love and pedicures. She was left tied to a gate at an animal shelter, twenty pounds underweight – no muscle mass; heartworm positive; with horrible skin issues. She ended up at NSHS where she received heartworm treatment, medication for her skin issues, and began to put on some weight.

When she was just under a year old, she was selected to enter the Shelter to Service program and went to live with KPro K9 trainer, Steph Martin. Corporate sponsor, KPro K9, is also the official trainer for NSHS dogs, staff, and volunteers. Miss B went through basic, intermediate, and advanced training before meeting, and moving in with, her furever mom. Steph will continue to work with Aimee and Miss B as she teaches Aimee how to illicit the desired response from Miss B for various commands such as sit, down, leash walk, etc. After about a month living with Aimee and her family, Miss B will return to Steph’s care for her final round of training. This is when she will hone her “service dog” tasks.

Steph elaborated on the training Miss B received. Training is treat-based. They use “luring” to lure the dog into the desired position. For instance, to teach a dog to sit, hold a treat in your hand above the dog’s head. When the

Story and photos by Donna Bush

dog looks up, it is natural for his butt to go down. Say “yes” and reward with a treat. Once the dog learns to consistently sit on command at home, they progress to outings – sitting at the Lakefront, in a restaurant, at the dog park, Home Depot, etc.

They don’t use e-collars for training or correction, only for motivational stimulation. Out of a range of 1-100, they will set the collar to 3-4-5-6; so mild you wouldn’t feel it if you were holding it in your hand and it went off. They want the dog to associate the slight tingle with something good about to happen, like a treat. Evan shares that dogs have the cognitive awareness of a toddler. If you wouldn’t do it to a toddler, don’t do it to a dog.

Steph explains, “One of Miss B’s traits is to lean,” as she leans into my body and stretches her back legs behind her. “This is known as deep pressure therapy (DPT) and can be very reassuring for those experiencing PTSD or anxiety.” I must admit, I felt comforted! “Miss B has also learned ‘cover’ where she will lay on Aimee’s chest on the sofa like a weighted blanket.”

One service dog task is to pay attention to his/her owner’s surroundings, so the owner does not have to. Evan explained that a service dog’s job is to be in-tune with its handler. If Aimee’s heart rate goes up, B will pick up on that. She may even emit a low growl to acknowledge her mom is on defensive and she is ready.

Evan, also a Veteran, brings out his service dog, Phantom. Miss B and Phantom are great friends, having spent many months during training working and playing together. Evan explains that they will do proximity training, which is one of the harder tasks for a service dog to perform. This involves Miss B staying solely focused on Aimee regardless of coming very close to her buddy, Phantom. Evan said, “We are asking her to work in front of her friend. This is one of the

harshest corrections we give, to bring her so close to Phantom, not letting her play with him; instead, pivot and walk away. We are letting B find the boundaries of the leash for herself.” I could see it was challenging for her, but she did it; and got rewarded with treats and lots of love. This program, in the works for just over a year, came about a little unexpectedly. One of the NSHS volunteers, Lawrence “Otter” Obst, is a Veteran with 29 years of U.S. Navy service that included 13

Otter’s wife had talked him into volunteering at the NSHS’ Shelter. While in a kennel, he suffered one of his episodes. The dog with him, known as Teddy at the time, stayed by his side. “I get these bad headaches from my traumatic brain injury that knock me out. I had one with Teddy in the long kennel. He came over, sat with me with his bottom on my foot for at least 10 minutes. That was our first bonding moment. He was so attentive, licking me and resting with me.”

Unbeknownst to Otter, his wife checked Teddy out for a “sleepover” on Valentine’s weekend of last year. He began working with the dog and was stunned by how smart he was; he couldn’t believe he had not been adopted in the six months he had been at NSHS. Knowing that Evan Stewart’s company, KPro K9, was partnering with NSHS to offer training to adoptees of their dogs, Otter contacted Evan to ask what needed to be done to make Kimber (formerly Teddy) his service dog. Evan examined the dog and honestly told Otter that he might not make the cut as a service dog, but they would give it a try and training commenced. One night, Otter fell in the middle of the night as he headed to the restroom. He mentioned this to Evan, who started training Kimber to turn on light switches. In one month, this behavior became second nature.

deployments to various hazardous duty and combat locations. As you might imagine, this was not an easy job. Otter suffers with severe PTSD and the side effects of a traumatic brain injury (TBI). He applied for a service dog through the Veterans Affairs (VA) Office but was told it would be at least another 2 years before he could receive a dog. The career Veteran didn’t have two more years to wait. His conditions were making life difficult and beyond challenging.

Otter shared that life before Kimber was really rough. He was in denial about the significance of his injuries. In addition to PTSD and side effects from his traumatic brain injury, he suffers from vestibular balance disorder, causing him to be unstable when standing. His life was completely changed, leaving him depressed and frustrated.

“Kimber has refocused my entire life.” He used to forget to eat or take medications. Now Kimber nudges him when it’s time to eat, drink water, or


take meds, as they are on the same time schedule. “Kimber gives purpose and focus to my life.”

Considered a mobility service dog; if Otter gets a little off balance, Kimber braces his knees to deter a fall. Otter shared that Kimber has saved him from falling on stairs multiple times. When I visited with the two of them, Kimber readily braced Otter, coming either in front of or behind his knees. When Otter kneeled, Kimber came immediately in front and allowed Otter to use his back to support himself to a standing position. Otter shared, “I don’t even have to call him. When I’m wobbly and losing my balance,

“It’s so hard to believe he was at Northshore, and no-one adopted him. So much of what he does, he learned on his own and volunteers the task.” I’ve never seen another dog as disciplined as Kimber. While working together, Otter sets a bowl of Kimber’s food directly in front of him, but he will not touch it. He patiently waits until Otter

Otter also suffered hearing loss from his years of active duty. He has been at the back of his ½-acre property without his hearing aids; and Kimber will alert him that someone is at the front door with a soft ruff, and a gentle

nudge toward the front of the house. “Before Kimber, I averaged 2-4 hours of sleep per night due to chronic pain. I couldn’t rest. I still have pain but for the last 6-9 months since I’ve had him, I’ve been off my sleep medicines. I no longer have to take a tranquilizer to knock me out. He comes in when I go to bed; I put my hand on his belly and, within minutes, I’m asleep. When I wake up, he’s usually cuddled with me. When my wife gets out of bed, she brings him up. There’s a sense of peace with him. I’m so grateful. He changed my life. Next to my wife and kids, he’s my angel. It’s like we’ve both given each other our lives back.” With a smile, Otter adds, “My wife says I’m more pleasant to be around.”

Today, Kimber is Otter’s certified service dog. Otter tearfully shared, “From Shelter to Service, he has changed my life. He’s my angel and perfect in every way.”

Evan, also a Veteran with PTSD and his own service dog, shares, “Some of us come home a little different than we left. The Shelter to Service program saves two lives – the life of a shelter dog and the life of the person who receives him/her; thereby giving them both ‘a new leash on life.’” Evan put it best when he said, “This program keeps Veterans and their dogs thriving in the community, instead of just surviving.”

The new Shelter to Service program is not restricted to Veterans or First Responders. Anyone with a doctordiagnosed psychiatric need can apply for a service dog. There are 3 prequalification questions that are asked:

1) Do you have a diagnosed psychiatric disability that would benefit from the task (s) a service dog would provide?

2) Do you authorize the Northshore Humane Society service dog selection committee to review your pertinent medical information for the psychiatric service dog application process?

3) Do you understand service dog ownership is a long-term (life of the dog) commitment and responsibility-

including up-to-date heartworm prevention, annual vaccinations, and routine training maintenance?

If you can answer “yes” to all these questions, you can proceed to the application process via their website. The application is thorough and wellthought out. There’s a nominal nonrefundable application fee of $25. If selected, the applicant will only pay $1000 out of pocket for their service dog, which could easily cost $40,000 elsewhere. By partnering with KPro K9, NSHS can train and deliver a service dog for $10,000. This includes training for life, should a dog ever need additional instruction.

Megan Haggerty, Director of Development with NSHS, shared that they have already received 15-20 applications ranging in age from 3-80. A few have been Veterans, in addition to non-Veterans suffering from anxiety, and quite a few children with autism. The service dogs are not medically trained, so they can only assist with the secondary effects of autism. There’s no restriction on where the applicant resides but they should be close enough to continue working with KPro K9 for the duration of the training.

A committee made up of 8 people will meet monthly to review applications to select the next recipient. The applicant’s name will be blacked out on the copy the committee reviews. To maintain privacy, only Megan will know to whom the application belongs. Once the specific needs of the chosen applicant are known, Evan will assess the shelter dogs for the best match and training will begin. The Elite Complete Training Program takes about 4 months to finish, which will include alternating between the home of the trainer and the home of the receiver in two-week periods. Their goal is to choose an applicant each quarter. As they streamline the process, they hope to have more frequent recipients.

One of the goals of this program is to help reduce the load on shelters. Most shelters are bursting at the seams with

animals. Evan shares, “Shelter dogs are an untapped resource. We are not the originator of a shelter to service type program. Throw Away Dogs Project rescues dogs from shelters, trains them, and donates them to K9 departments in need.”

I asked Evan how is it determined that a shelter dog is a good service dog candidate. Evan states that he spends time reading the dog - observing the tail, eyes, ears, mouth, stance, posture, temperament, etc. “It is both subjective and objective. I look for specific characteristics, temperament, and resiliency. How quick does the dog recover from stimuli? What is the dog’s level of affiliation? How much does the dog want to be around people? Some dogs have varying levels of intrinsic drive. We are looking for a medium drive dog – not psycho, but not a bump on a log. We want a people-oriented dog, able to acknowledge the presence of another dog, but not distracted by them. The ideal age is 10 months to 2-1/2 years old. We don’t really look at genetics, but more at personality.”

They utilize the ASPCA® SAFER™ model - a seven item aggression assessment that identifies the dog’s comfort level with restraint and touch, reaction to new experiences including movement and sound stimuli, bite inhibition, behavior around food and toys, and arousal level toward other dogs.

Evan works closely with the kennel technicians, who he calls the “unsung heroes.” As they are responsible for the day-to-day care of the dog, they can provide insight into their true behavior. They are the ones cleaning kennels, feeding, watering, walking, and socializing. Adoption counselors also offer valuable input.

I observed Evan and Steph perform assessments of four dogs at the shelter. Evan did kennel assessments with two different dogs, Roux and Sherbet, to see how they would behave with gentle petting and roughhousing. Would they return to a normal, calm state quickly after roughhousing?

Steph pulled Dobbie for an “outside the kennel” assessment. She worked him to walk on leash without pulling, using a low impact manner. Steph brought him around to greet everyone. Evan handled him to see if there was any malformation of the spine or legs; and if he reacted in any negative way. He found an issue with touching his left lower front leg (pastern). Evan spoke with Nissa, the kennel tech, and recommended a vet check, thinking that there might be some tendonitis. Evan explained that a lot of misbehavior points back to pain or discomfort. This does not rule him out as a service dog if he can be vetted. Bite inhibition was great. Even though uncomfortable with the touch to his leg, Dobbie didn’t bite or snap.

The next dog, Niko, looked like a slightly smaller version of Miss B. Steph worked him for his first time wearing a training collar. They started with circles, progressed to ovals and then a straight line. He responded well. Evan took him for a walk and explained that most of the staff is female and he wanted to ascertain the dog’s ability to respond to a male handler as well as a female. Niko responded well to his first instructions to sit and lay down. Evan shared that they take it slow and easy with shelter dog training. They do not want to take a dog out of one adverse situation and put it into another. “Slow and easy is how we handle all the dogs.”

As the official trainer at NSHS, Evan doesn’t just train the dogs, he also trains the staff and volunteers on best ways to handle the dogs to alleviate as much stress and suffering as possible. “Dogs don’t have a moral compass. They do not know right from wrong and never will. The dogs are incarcerated through no fault of their own and they don’t understand why.” Evan and the NSHS are implementing new kenneling protocols. As a partner with the Canine Center Florida, they are teaching and utilizing techniques from their “Dogs Playing for Life” Program, which redefines the meaning and importance

of quality of life for all sheltered dogs by improving their experience through playgroups and individualized training, resulting in urgent and responsible lifesaving. Helping to improve the quality of life for shelter dogs helps more dogs get adopted, ensuring fewer are left behind. KPro K9 is a professional foster for Dogs Playing for Life. They pull the hardest 1% of dogs with behavioral issues out of shelters and have an 87% success rate. Megan reiterated their goal is to give each animal its healthiest life. They have nap time, play time, conducive music; everything to decompress the animals to help avoid kennel issues.

Northshore Humane Society is a non-profit, 100% no-kill shelter formed in October of 1953, coming up on their 70th anniversary and still in their original buildings. They are located on Harrison Avenue in Covington. Receiving NO government funding, they are run completely off donations and dollars brought in by their low-cost Vet Clinic.

About 40% of the NSHS’s annual income is from the Vet Clinic which opened in the early 1990’s. The other 60% comes from generous donations and sponsors. They have 5 vets on staff. One vet performs surgeries while the other four see patients. Surgery is rotated among all the vets in their complete surgical suite. As a non-profit, they strive to keep costs low for the community and are always offering

specials, whether it is dental visits or low cost spays/ neuters. Much of the money coming in from the Vet Clinic goes directly back into NSHS.

Through the huge donation of time by their fosters they can care for around 200 animals at once between onsite and foster care. Their animals are sometimes owner surrendered or found animals in the community. If owner surrendered, they make every effort to keep the animal with their owner by offering food or other services. They try to never turn an animal away. Having the great abundance of fosters helps them with this mission.

They are often confused with the St. Tammany Parish Government Animal Services (Animal Control) located on Highway 36 between Lacombe and Covington. These are two separate and distinct organizations.

How can you help Northshore Humane Society’s Shelter to Service Program? They are looking for sponsors for their service dogs – corporate or individuals. It is $10,000 to sponsor a dog, but don’t feel like you must foot the entire bill. You can donate as little or as much as you want. Every dollar helps. Volunteers and fosters are always wanted. Check their website for a laundry list of needed items.

Thank you Otter, Aimee and Evan for your service to our country! I am thankful there are folks like ya’ll in the world.

22 A Day

The Veteran Administration statistics confirm 22 Veterans a day are succumbing to suicide on American soil. The total number of those losing their battle grows larger with each day that research and treatments are not able to be done. The Northshore Humane Society


To donate, visit their website and select the Donate tab.

Most patients successfully treated for ADD or Attention Deficit Disorder tell me the primary benefit of treatment is how it affects their financial status. Successful treatment has two effects:

1) Patients lose less money

2) Patients make more money.

Treated patients are much more attentive to costs. They pay bills on time avoiding interest. They balance the checkbook more often and more effectively. They create a budget. They are less impulsive in all aspects of their life, especially impulsive purchasing. They think before purchase. Credit card balances diminish.

Patients treated successfully are better focused at work, they complete tasks on time and more completely, and they organize better. This gains them raises and praises. Other employees are less likely to avoid ADD employees and more likely to cooperate. This also gains raises and praises from the boss.

ADD patients successfully treated are on time. They multitask better, handling many things at once. This reduces stress. One of the most surprising results of successful treatment is the reduction in stress and panic attacks. They find little or no need for stress reducing aids like alcohol, marijuana, benzodiazepines, or other sedative or sleep aids (saving money). This is paradoxical and not logical to medical providers as some ADD patients are treated with stimulants, which according to the textbooks, could or should make anxiety worse.

ADD & Money: What does it cost you?

Many ADD patients successfully treated are able to discontinue anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications since one of the main contributors to their depression and anxiety was failure. Nothing helps depression like success! I have several patients who have decreased their cost of medication, reduced medical visits and medical testing by controlling their ADD.

Many patients start exercising and paying attention to their diet. Regular exercise requires planning, execution—keeping track of progress. Successful dieting requires planning, tasking and execution, cooperating with others, exercising, and less impulsivity. I find obese patients who are “food addicts” and Binge Eat often respond to anorectic medication or “diet pills” which are stimulants with very similar chemistry to stimulants used to treat ADD. My diabetic patients, in particular, adhere to their diet much better with these medications allowing control of blood sugar and, often, discontinuance of expensive diabetic medication or insulin. In addition, they “get their brains back” since an elevated glucose or sugar blood level impairs brain function.

If you think you or a loved one fits the above description, go to and fill out the Master Questionnaire with a self-score system. Completing the questionnaire may reveal why you seem to never have enough MONEY!

(228) 864-9669 112 Village Street Slidell, LA 70458
Stanford A. Owen, M.D. is Certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine, the American Board of Physician Nutrition Specialists, and the Neuroscience Education Institute as a Master Psychopharmacologist. He is certified in Hyperbaric Oxygen and a Fellow in the Obesity Society.

What does it take to create a special place for children, where they can learn and grow, and then sustain it for decades? For such a place, it took one man’s dream at the start and the love and hard work of a community that continues to care nearly four decades later.

Rainbow Child Care Center is celebrating 40 years in operation this October. It provides day care services for low income, working families or parents enrolled in trade school/educational programs. But providing a safe and enriching place for almost one hundred children each weekday would not be possible without people invested in its mission.

“It takes so many hands to make this possible. Rainbow Child Care Center was built by the community for the community,” said Dionne Graham, RCCC Executive Director.

The childcare center has an interesting history. According to Dionne, it was the dream of one man, Bill Speers, who brought it to fruition with the help of two local churches. In its infancy, it was the mission project of Aldersgate United Methodist Church and Macedonia Baptist Church. After some time and with the help of United Way of Southeast Louisiana, plans were made for the program to have its own space. Since that time, Rainbow Child Care Center has been located on Kingspoint Boulevard.

Connections... Making a Difference

The non-profit has had challenges along the way. Hurricane Katrina did a number on the building, as well as the neighborhood surrounding it.

“The center was terribly damaged by Katrina. But we were blessed by the local Rotary Clubs, the Rotary Club of San Jose, California and Rotary International. Their members came and cleaned out debris and partially gutted the building. Then they worked hard to replace the sheetrock, flooring, and equipment. It was a tremendous effort,” said Dionne. During the renovations, the organization continued its mission as Pentecost Missionary Baptist Church provided them a temporary home.

It has been eighteen years since Katrina visited Slidell and the building has some definite structural maintenance issues that need to be addressed. So, the building is getting a facelift, courtesy of a fortuitous tour by a Leadership Northshore class on the Social Services Day. According to Dionne, she had a frank conversation with the class members concerning the repairs needed at the facility.

Andy Frisard is a member of the Leadership Northshore Class of 2023, and he was on that tour. Listening to Dionne talk about the center’s structural needs, he knew something could be done. You see, Andy is a “connector.” (Check out The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. You may find his picture in it.) He is an officer for the Krewe of Dionysus and its vast membership of local businesspeople.

Andy later met with Dionne to get a detailed list of what needed to be done.


“Krewe of Dionysus members have become the ‘House Honeys’ for Hospice House. We help with their maintenance issues to save them money in their budget,” he said. He knew they could do the same for Rainbow CCC.

One major project that the building needs is new windows and lots of them, twenty-seven in all. Andy reached out to Dionysus krewe member Chris Pitre of CP Construction. Chris’ company will provide the windows at a reduced price and install them. Covering the cost of the windows and other projects is CenterWell, a senior primary care clinic in Slidell.

“As a relative newcomer in the Slidell area, we are very excited to partner with these community organizations

in a true team effort,” said Debbie Kaglear, CenterWell’s Associate Director.

There are also a variety of projects due to be addressed by krewe members. More than three hundred feet of new fencing is needed to be replaced around the property due to Hurricane Ida damage and French drains will be installed. That’s a lot of sweaty work to be done. Mike Noto’s company, UNITS Moving and Portable Storage, is providing a secure space for the parts and equipment during the renovations.

The building’s exterior walls will be painted to create exceptionally large canvases for local high school art students.

“We’re accepting original designs from each of Slidell’s four high schools to create fun and positive murals for the children to enjoy when they are playing outside,” according to Andy.

Now for the AMAZING part of this story. Much of the work on this extensive honey-do list is going to take place over a single weekend this spring. Just 48 hours.

“We have to do the window work when the children are not present. Also, there are security and fire suppression systems tied into the windows. Those systems must be reinstalled before the children can return to the building. It’s going to be a very busy few days,” said Andy.

Dionne is excited for that weekend to arrive. Not only will Dionysus members be providing the sweat equity for much of the general repair work, RCCC board members,

The current windows and fencing at Rainbow Child Care that will be replaced through the partnership project between Krewe of Dionysus, CenterWell Senior Primary Care, CP Construction, and UNITS Storage. A giant check showing the renovation donation value is proudly displayed on the wall of Rainbow Child Care Center.

staff and student families will be working alongside them on several beautification projects.

“It will be a joyful day and I can’t wait. It takes a lot of people to make Rainbow the special place that it is,” said its executive director.

She is hesitant to try and name all the people and groups that support Rainbow Child Care throughout the year, with so many being long-standing.

“Leadership Northshore has been a constant blessing to us. When United Way funding was cut year after year, this group created the Olde Towne Pumpkin Fest and holds a tennis tournament to raise funds for us each year. That is huge,” she said. There is also the Bubbly on the Bayou fundraiser, a perennial Slidell event.

Dionne also cited the proceeds from My Girlfriend’s Closet as crucial to the center’s budget. She’s thankful to Jan Stumpf for donating the boutique’s space for years and Ellen Lamarque, MGC’s liaison to Rainbow CCC’s board of directors

“We also have exceptional staff who have been with us for many, many years,” said Dionne. Kitchen chef Bobbi Robinson and teacher Urekia Faciane have been integral to the running of the center for more than twenty-eight years. She is also thankful for Center Director Jennifer Wood and Sonya Johnson, Assistant Center Director.

“Staffing is always an issue in this area, and we have many dedicated workers who are committed to our children and our program,” said Dionne.

Things are looking brighter for the people involved with Rainbow Child Care Center after the challenges the staff

faced during the dark days of the pandemic. The past two years were particularly difficult for many of Rainbow’s families, according to Dionne. The non-profit serves what are termed “Alice” families by United Way. “Alice” stands for asset limited-income constrained-employed.

“We meet an important need in Slidell for working parents or families-in-crisis who need assistance with childcare so they can go to work and earn a living,” she said.

Dionne is excited as she talks about the future.

“For one thing, we are looking forward to opening our doors again to volunteers. They are a huge help in our classrooms. We are also looking for more teachers, both full-time and part-time.”

The staff is also moving forward on new projects to engage the children. There are currently talks going on with a local business about setting up a garden for the children to learn how to grow vegetables and harvest them. There’s also plans to have more STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) projects in the classrooms to help young minds be excited about those fields.

“We are happy to be able to open our doors to the community again,” said Dionne.

The future looks bright for the children of Rainbow Child Care Center as they will enjoy an improved facility and a virtual ‘hug’ from the community that has embraced them.

For more information about Rainbow Child Care Center, you can call the center at 985-646-0718. You can also check out their program or make a donation on their website,

35 2nd Annual Golf Benefit Steak Dinner • After Party • Live Band Friday, May 19, 2023 Pinewood Golf Club  FOR TICKETS AND MORE INFO Check-in 9AM • Tee Time 10AM 3rd Annual Maurice Cousin Golf Tournament Contact:  Shelli Oulliber  Registration / Lunch: 11 am Shotgun Start: 12 pm BringaNoodle Saturday, April 29, 2023 Royal Golf Club $100 per player includes round of golf, t-shirt, lunch & door prizes

Life Lessons from Gary

If you read my column last month, I am sorry to say that my beautiful brother-in-law has left his earthly home. 50 days from diagnosis to death. Glioblastoma sucks. While his death has left us shocked and devastated, I have vowed to continue to use my life experiences, both good and bad, as lessons to help others. After all, that’s just what Gary would do.

Death. It’s inevitable. It is going to happen to ALL of us, so why not have a death plan in place? One thing I know that gave Gary comfort was that his Texas estate plan was already in place. (OK, maybe I did “prod” him a little a few years ago.) While 50 days went by in a flash, what if he was killed instantly in a car crash? Too many people think “oh I can just do it later”, but what if “later” never comes? Do it now--while you’re competent, while you’re healthy. You need both a death plan (a Last Will and/or Trust) and a disability plan (Powers of Attorney for Finances and Health Care and a Living Will).

If you were to die tomorrow, do you have enough assets to leave behind for your family? Have you left enough to pay off debts and mortgages? If you have younger children, have you left enough to finish paying for their education, weddings, family vacations, etc.? If the answer is NO, and you are still relatively healthy, then giddy-up and go get you some life insurance NOW! So many clients ask me “do you think I have enough life insurance” and I always say the same thing: “I have never heard anyone complain that they were left too MUCH life insurance!”

What if you are permanently disabled before you die? That’s a two-pronged approach: 1) if you are still working to support your family, then we need to replace your income (through some kind of long-term disability policy); and 2) we need a way to pay for your own long-term care (and that would be through some kind of long-term care plan).

These days there are some fabulous options to handle all of the above with the right kind of “life” insurance. “Life” is in quotes because so many of us wrongly believe that life insurance is only for death. The life policies of the future are amazing. They can be used for a tax-free retirement, disability, long-term care AND death too. If you are healthy, come talk to me about it. Tell the people you love how you feel about them. If someone makes a difference in your life, let them know. We were blessed that for 45 of Gary’s last 50 days, he was able to comprehend, appreciate and bask in the profound positive impact he made on so many lives. An almost unimaginable number of people! He was able to be the grand marshal of his back yard golf cart parade and the people just kept coming. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen to many people who are taken from us in an instant. Don’t wait for the “special occasion”, drink the good stuff now. We are only here for a moment. Be humble. Be kind. Be Gary. I miss you.

36 Saturday, April The New Orleans Mystics 5-7 pm • Heritage THE CITY OF 646-4375 May 6 The Bettys SERIES Greg Cromer Association
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April 22 Saturday, Total OF SLIDELL’S CONCERT 646-4375 Saturday, May Total Bettys CONCERT SERIES P. David Carollo, Attorney-at-Law • CiCi’s Pizza • Mayor Greg Cromer 646-4375 Saturday, May The Total Bettys thank you to our 2022/2023 Cultural Season Sponsors who help CONCERT SERIES Councilman Bill & Laura Borchert P. David Carollo, Attorney-at-Law • CiCi’s Pizza • Mayor Greg Cromer Saturday, April 22 The New Orleans Mystics 5-7 pm • Heritage Park • Free Admission • (985) 646-4375 Saturday, May 6 The Total Bettys Saturday, April 29 Witness Renaissance • $5,000 Sponsors: The City of Slidell and the Commission on the Arts extend a thank you to our 2022/2023 Cultural Season Sponsors who help make the city’s cultural events possible for our citizens. THE CITY OF SLIDELL’S CONCERT SERIES Neoclassical • $1,000 Sponsors: Councilman Bill & Laura Borchert Lori’s Art Depot • Lowry-Dunham, Case & Vivien Insurance Agency Impressionism • $500 Sponsors: P. David Carollo, Attorney-at-Law • CiCi’s Pizza • Mayor Greg Cromer Plus + Publications
FRIDAY MAY 5, 2023 GOLF @ 8AM or 1:30PM SHOTGUN START LUNCH @ NOON Randy Smith GOLF CLASSIC INVITE YOU TO THE ROYAL GOLF CLUB • 201 ROYAL DRIVE • SLIDELL, LA The Nicholas Eirich FoundATION Thank you to our sponsors: • BROWN SUGAR BBQ • SOUTHSIDE CAFE • FLORIDA MARINE • PIKE’S COLLISION • COASTAL ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES • CASTAWAY’S DAIQUIRIS • HOOTERS OF SLIDELL • NATHAN’S RESTAURANT $150 per GOLFER $600 per 4-PERSON TEAM All Food & Drink Included SILENT AUCTION SPONSOR FOR MORE INFORMATION: Cliff Laigast | 504-296-9982 or Randy Smith | 985-705-4200 Randy Smith Campaign, PO Box 4114, Slidell, LA 70459 PLEASE MAKE CHECKS PAYABLE TO: Hole-in-one wins a $50,000 2023 Toyota Tundra from Toyota of Slidell ! Benefiting the Nicholas Eirich Foundation


March was a busy month in Slidell. Here are a few of the moments Slidell Magazine enjoyed!

150 - April 2023
every week - kids should be living life, not fighting for it.
payable to: Mail to: 233 Robert
1.) Congrats to St. Pat’s Parade Grand Marshal 2023, Sam Caruso, Jr. 2.) The EST Habitat Rosies gave out green & white roses to all the lovely ladies of Slidell along the St. Pat’s Parade route 3.) Mayor Greg & Peggy Cromer celebrate a Slidell legend, George Dunbar, on the night of his film’s opening reception. 1.) REPRESENT! Krista & Kendra brought the March edition of Slidell Magazine along the St. Pat’s Parade route! 2.) Susan & Tommy Williams supporting the mission of EST Habitat for Humanity at the Builder’s Ball. 3.) Present & past Krewe of Poseidon royalty celebrate Gatsby-style at the King & Queen Party. 1.) Father Harry Jenkins of Christ Episcopal Church starts the Lent season with Ashes To Go. 2.) Happy Birthday to Dawn Bell! We celebrated with “A Knight of Murder” Mystery & Costume Party with the Braud family & friends. 3.) Mayor Greg Cromer gets into the Derby spirit at Bubbly on the Bayou





WHAT adhd actually IS: WHAT adhd actually IS:














TROUBLE FOCUSING 112 Village Street Slidell, LA 70458 (228) 864-9669 Stanford Owen, M.D. Treating adult ADD since 2001

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